Saturday, July 30, 2011

Artsy broken record

Virtually every picture here is a repeat from elsewhere on the blog.  It seems that each video is more fun to make than the last.  I had too much fun making this for it to be legal.  However,  I swear I didn't know how to end this thing.  Until I did.  And I haven't stopped smiling since. 

Oh, note that I slipped in one quick eyeball in one image near the end--though the video is not eyeball-y enough, in my judgment, to warrant an "eyeball" label.  Does it make any difference one way or another?  No.  But must one have a hobby?  Well, I don't know, but "I" do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Let it Bleed

My goal was to set images to the Stones' music sans vocals, focusing on the genius of Keith Richards and, to a lesser degree, Mick Taylor.  What a messy effort this entailed, as apparently all these images were too much for the computer. It died, oh, only about seventy times in the making of the video.  No, I did not take these failures, even in aggregate, as a sign to cease and desist.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hear that? That's the sound of my arteries clogging.

So here's something just disgusting.  I recently returned from a two-week journey through the Midwest only to discover I gained eleven pounds. 

Eleven pounds!

In fourteen days!

That. Is. Repulsive!

I was hoping that I had become pregnant, but the tests reveal otherwise.  Drat it all!

Most of the fattage I gained at Andy D's house, for Andy and Tracey knew that I had been missing KC BBQ, and they served up sides of the stuff.   Soon my vacation devolved into a contest between how fast Andy's smoker could produce food and how fast I could consume it.  I began to measure my helpings not in portions but in carcasses.  I regret to inform you that I crushed the smoker.

Technoprairie also fed us like we were royalty, and there's no doubt I ate just a wee too much there, too.  Homemade ice cream, vegetables served within hours of being harvested, fabulous grilled meats.  But by the time I left Andy D's and got to Michigan, the damage was done.  My body composition was 12% recognizably human, 83% a combination of bbq sauce and smoked bbq meat, and 5% artichoke dip.  My poor in-laws took mercy on me and constructed an elaborate dolly, puller, and lever system to tote me around a la a post-Godfather Marlon Brando.  Frankly I was tyrannically Brando-esque with that thing.

"No no.  Just dump me in the oversized hammock there.  I need to catch up on my digestion. And bring me another homemade sundae and cheeseburger if you would."

Fortunately since I've arrived back home I have shed much (though not all) of the extra weight.  And with, oh, another sixty pounds or so I'll be in fighting shape.  I've got the fat and washed up part of De Niro's Raging Bull role covered.  Now I just need to get to the lean-and-mean part.  All things in their proper order: First the Bull, then the Rage. Should be easy as pie. 

Speaking of which.....Mmmmm...pie. Yummy yummy pie.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heavenly bees

Okay, it's your job to eliminate two of these photos.  Which ones go?

Too late.  Jenni and Andy have chosen for us (in a manner), since I more or less just removed the ones I wanted to remove--just as you knew I would. 

And Jenni, so glad to have you back!  I've got to check out your blog now!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tree of ignorance

The Garden of Eden.  God wants his children to be fundamentally ignorant--or at least to remain children, or moral infants.  (Or perhaps I should rephrase that declarative as a question:  Is there any religion that encourages adults to seek truth freely wherever reason and evidence takes one?  Is there any religion that encourages persons to pursue their conscience without the mediation of a priestly class or without consultation to sacred writings?)  Arguably all religions discourage if not punish persons for seeking knowledge of any kind, but especially for seeking knowledge suitable for adult living.  Which raises a question about children.  Can it be said that young children have any religion at all?   How can they?  Isn't religion an attempt to deal with questions that children do not have?  When my daughters were wee ones, were they Christians?  Were they Presbyterian?  I hope not.  Not that there's anything wrong with Presbyterianism, but there's something unseemly in my opinion about a four year-old adherent of any denomination.  I think a lot of parents would be (rightly) disturbed if their young children considered themselves as firm Democrats or Republicans, so why is it so commonplace to expect our children to adhere to a religion?   Perhaps the Southern Baptists, with their strong conviction in adult baptism are actually on to something smart. 

So let this be known as the blog post in which I praise the Southern Baptists.

Great job, Southern Baptists!

And....I enjoyed Justcurious's commentary about the differences between the cover dish meal performances of the Methodists and Southern Baptists so much--and thought it so deliciously written--I thought I'd bring it forward here as a redemptive coda to my ramblings above:   

"Having witnessed the Truth as it pertains to earthly sustenance in each of those denominations, there just ain't no comparison, bro. You clearly think you've been to the heavenly feast but I'm here to tell you, you've merely eaten outside the gates. Now, my points of reference are a small, country Baptist church and a small town but "downtown" Methodist church, so maybe this is more a study of expression of zeal or pride than cooking abilities, but here's what I'm recollecting... At the SB supper on the grounds, the tables were groaning under the weight of hopes fulfilled, obligations met, and culinary gauntlets thrown down. As preacher man gave the benediction and blessing all rolled in one (which must have also granted us protection from the botulism of all those dishes sitting outside for so long), there was much anticipation for the famous dishes waiting. The ten layer chocolate cake that Carol Ann would aww shucks about, the fried chicken that Sammi said was nothin', the deviled eggs and lemon ice box cake that Earlene kept secret tabs on to guage how much more they were liked than Sarah Jane's frankly also ran apple pie and deviled eggs without the relish (novice). We waited our turn in line, peering anxiously around those in front to see if the homemade yeast rolls were holding out, but no worry, as the dishes proved bountiful and saw the adults to sated, post dinner tea drinking and story swapping and the kids to sugar fueled running and chasing about. The stuff of pride and legend, time and again.

Now at the Methodist church, the minister would remind the congregation that the covered dish supper was coming up and that meant everyone should get to cooking. Please. Then the church would buy ham and some other things to supplement what they knew would be somewhat lean offerings. Families straggled in after the appointed time by which the dishes should be on the table and waiting, tossing their bag of Sunchips onto the dessert table as they got in line, apparently hoping the loaves and fishes line had been invoked earlier. Let's see, what's more appealing... the beans out of a can or store bought cookies. Hmmmm. No, no - put one of those carrot sticks back, there are more people behind you who need one. Everyone would ooh and ahh over the rare, homemade dish that appeared and rapidly emptied. There was always sweet tea, so I guess that's something."

Monday, July 11, 2011

if I were a superhero....

Truth:  I had a dream last night that I was communicating with a Supernatural Power.  In English, and out loud.  Sadly, I don't recall whether the power was God Himself (or Herself, as the case happened to be) or merely a paranormal entity.  The divine voice was that of a young female, and she said "yes" to my questions.  One question I asked her was whether I should communicate her presence to others. (And now I shall consider that obligation fulfilled.)  In this dream I also possessed a measure of supernatural powers myself, and I used them to cause various objects to glow at my command--proving, I suppose, that I would be neither an evil villain nor an especially useful superhero.  Rather I would just be me as I am presently with the added ability to indulge my desire to darken the room and cause certain objects to glow. 

"Boys and girls, you may call me....Chiaroscuro Man!!!"

I also dreamed that U2's  Bono told me if I want to be a rock and roller  like him I need to practice without ceasing playing the drums on the Violent Femmes song, "Blister in the Sun."   Then he bungied himself off of a building.

These were two of the best dreams I've had in years.

And then immediately after that I burst into tears in a third dream.

Well, at least my subconscious gave happiness a shot.  Thanks, subconscious.  I owe you one. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's not so bad!

In Andre Agassi's acceptance speech to the Hall of Fame, he notes how he discovered at some point that his problems were of his own making, a product of his own decisions. Put differently, a product of his character. You can try to run away from your problems, but you cannot run away from yourself. Sometimes a move to a happier place is necessary because external circumstances do matter. Life can turn on the things happening around and to you. But it turns in equal measure on what goes on within. We feel with our heart, and the heart is hidden. How we orient ourselves to the world matters surely as much as the state of the world itself.

I directed the following question to my friend, Janet: What percentage of our happiness turns on our attitude?

Janet's response, paraphrased: "I'd say about 100%. But how much of our attitude we can control is not clear to me."

I thought that was a brilliant insight. And correct. I’ve found that chronically cheery people are more than eager to say that life is at their disposal, that their attitude is a soft and warm clay ready to be molded and directed to their advantage. Look at me, they say. I've experienced hard times, and I just bucked it up, pulled myself up by the bootstraps and engaged in a score of  other golly-gee-willikers can-do metaphors.


I have doubts. I suspect that attitude is more like sexual preference. There is certainly a measure of volition that contributes to shaping the persons (or things) to whom (or what) one is attracted. One can make decisions that reinforce or run counter to one's natural inclinations, but how much of those basic inclinations one can affect permanently is far from clear to me. I doubt that the percentage is very great. I mean, I find Johnny Depp as dreamy as dreamy can be. And I’m more willing to admit it than, well….everyone. Still, as dreamy as he is, he’s still a dude, and there’s something about his dudeness that means that Johnny and I can only be (pretend) platonic friends. And this isn’t a matter of a social taboo. It’s just basic and visceral. He’s a dude, and dudes are basically disgusting. Sorry, Johnny.

Similarly, how much of our attitude is given a natural bent is far from trivial. 

A related upcoming post: Why argumentation is basically useless. Hold your breath!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Sweeping away the old

Spent the past week with my parents, and in addition to joining my sister in assisting my mother and father in making arrangements for custodial care for my father and a surgery for my mother, I cleared out virtually all of the few vestigial elements of the house from my own childhood.  Over the years I had culled and gleaned and parsed through a lot of childhood stuff, and what I owned that remained easily fit in a mid-sized Rubbermaid container.  I tend toward nostalgia, but this was not a nostalgic trip though I imagine that had I given myself a spare moment it might have easily developed into such.  It was a work trip, and a productive one at that.  I imagine I'll have moments for reflection and nostalgia in the days to come.  But for now, business had to come first. 

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Minivan Country Song

A Country Song....

We won't make it through the night
And we will not see the sun
Cars and bikes are flying by
Everyone but us in flight

And for this we bought Japanese
Sold out American workers short
Cuz we're stuck at the KC Toyota shop
Blame it on doggone Consumer Report

Turn the key now, freedom calls
Gathering speed on the ol highway
Then we stop to get some gas
And then it sputters and then it stalls

Minivan blues breakin' Juli's heart
Oh Mr. Mechanic, Josh, be the best
Putting Timekeeper's patience to the test
For your sake, Good Sir, I'd make that engine start

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Mona in the glass sphere, inverted, right side up

Like our eyeball, flippin' that thing around.  And then our brain fools us into flipping it right side up.  

Brain, thank you.  Thank you for that lie, and for the many many many other lies you tell us to construct our self and reality.