Thursday, August 21, 2014

Silly Animals, Redux

Remember that Alphabet Animals series I did I while back? That worked out pretty well. I have a hankering to do a doodle (or two) in that mode again — some animal wearing something silly. So I'm taking suggestions: What kind of animal should I draw? What sort of silly attire might he/she wear? All notions welcome.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes

Sometimes, after gulping the first several gulps of a mug of coffee, I then savor the last sip. And by "savor," I mean I linger over it, save it, for an hour or more, long after its gone cold, long past its prime. But it's just so sad when it's gone. Alack alas.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

DJ Tiny with Toy


A ridiculous dog with a ridiculous dog toy. (You'll note how the yellow squeak toy is itself a dog, a  sort of elongated dachshund-esque creature with a silly face and a big toothy smile.) Ridiculous.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guy With Big Beard and Fur Hat



I haven't been drawing enough, so… here's a random quick doodle of a man with a big beard and a fur hat.1 (Not the best but good enough.) We don't wear a lot of fur hats around here. Baseball caps are much more common.

1 Attribution: I doodled this from some random photo I found somewhere on Google Images.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

First Day


First day outfits

So the girls started back at school yesterday. Fifth and eighth grades. My my.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My New Baseball Cap

My new baseball cap. A while back, while traveling, I lost my favorite baseball cap, a red Kreuz cap from Lockhart, Texas. (It currently resides somewhere out back on the family farm in Virginia.) Tragic. Sarah quickly found me a viable replacement (I'm picky), a Yeti coolers hat from a fish and tackle shop in Maryland. (I absolutely have to have a good baseball cap on a road trip.) Then recently, I lost that hat somewhere around the house. (Why do I keep losing them? Will it eventually turn up?) Now I've got a new new one, a Callahan's General Store hat, from Austin, Texas (purchased recently on yet another road trip). It's currently getting settled in, broken in.1 I like it.

1 For me, a newly purchased baseball cap is just a starting point. It must be rigorously molded and stressed: extensive bending and shaping of the brim,a steady wear until it softens and conforms. Until it sits just right, natural-like.
a There are two primary brim styles today:
  1. Conventional (bent): Traditionally, folks bend the cap brim to some degree, increasing eye-protection.
  1. Hip-hop (flat): This is a common youthful style, the brim flat, as if straight from the store.
Like most of my generation, I choose the former. But conventional/bent is a spectrum, and in my rural upbringing, the tendency was towards heavily bent brims, a markedly rounded arc, and I myself continue to favor this style today (though I am less extreme than the country boy I saw at the airport the other day, who's brim was bent in a sharp inverted U, almost to the point of folded in half).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

So...

So, Washington State. The Olympic Peninsula. Almost freakishly beautiful. Yes. Each element is exceptional: the waters, the cold stony beaches,1 the islands, the forests, the mountains. And their weird proximity to each other, all bumped up together in this faraway corner of the contiguous U.S. (CONUS). I couldn't live there. I'm ensnared too deeply in our funky southern web. But a week, hiking the ups and downs,2 craning our necks at the ancient trees, dipping our feet in the frigid summer waters. Mighty fine, mighty fine indeed.3

And 'twas a last calm cool breath before we return to the hustle bustle of the school year.4 Hi ho, hi ho...

1 I faced a painful conundrum. The beaches were strewn with some of the best skipping rocks ever — the perfect size and weight and heft and flatness and rotundity. But the waters were determinedly un-skip-friendly, endless mild breaking waves. Nonetheless, I found my opportunities, skipping in the brief placid lulls — getting frequently two, and occasionally six or eight skips — before the next wave came crashing forth. (Rock skipping was one of the little joys of my youth.)

2 We're mighty flat in New Orleans. Ups and downs are a novelty — and a cardiovascular challenge.

3 Plus the girls got a little dose of Twilight tourism. Plus we snuck in a day in Seattle. (Ramen and and shoppinga and sushi. Mmm...)
a I got a fresh pair of black Doc Marten shoes, a deviant but happy variation on my personal uniform.
4 Not that we ever get all that hustle-y and bustle-y.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Olympic Peninsula, Washington State


Feet and stones



Louise, Marymere Falls



Kayaks



Quileute Reservation, Second Beach, the girls running on the sand



Quileute Reservation, Second Beach, the girls climbing on the rocks



June, Rialto Beach



Hand and wood

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

June Presides Over the Sunset, Strait of Juan de Fuca


Yes, we're in Washington State, Port Townsend to be precise, another phase of our multi-varied summer. I'll tell you, there aren't many more beautiful places on earth.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Chit Chat: Skyscrapers

Our chit chat continues, next subject: skyscrapers.

For starters, Anonymous informs us that skyscrapers, in the past, were sometimes (rather dreamily) referred to as "cloudscrapers". I did not know. That's pretty cool. Can we go back to calling them cloudscrapers? Curiously, the term is both dreamier and closer to factually correct. I've never actually seen a really tall building scrape the sky,1 but I have seen the tops of tall buildings enshrouded in clouds, "scraping" them, as it were. Dreamier and more accurate. Hmm... One wouldn't have thought it possible.

But wait. I've got more to say about sky/cloudscrapers. In fact, I've got a gripe.2

Skyscrapers3 have a two-fold aspect: they are seen from without, and they are occupied from within. This is true of any building, but with skyscrapers, the disparity between these two experiences of the structure is exaggerated.
  1. From without, they stand masterfully tall, the great creations of our time, forming a city's skyline, often elegant and sculptural, neck-craning and amazing.
  2. But from within, they often kind of suck. During my couple of years temping in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time working in a lot of skyscrapers. And inside, they're mostly just crappy generic climate-controlled fluorescent-lit unremarkable office spaces. Sure, occupants around the perimeter are granted fantastic views, but these views are often reserved for the mucky-mucks, leaving the majority of worker bees stuck in the windowless interior. (And as a temp, I was the lowliest, windowless-est of the worker bees.) And the only breath of fresh air, the only escape from this interior nowhere-space, is a long elevator ride away. (The interior is even more interior than most interiors.) I just wish more of the architects who design these wondrous creations would consider the experience of the internal occupants as much as that of the external viewers. A little less grand ego; a little more thoughtful consideration.
That's what I've got to say on the subject of sky/cloudscrapers. Gripe over. Whew! I feel better.

1 'Cause, y'know, "the sky" is really just an artificial construct of us ground-dwellers, used to refer to what appears to be an over-arching blue dome but is really just an optical effect created by the fuzzy blob of gasses that surrounds our little planet.

2 Ooh! Slimbo's got a gripe. Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

3 Sorry, I'm going to run with the standard term for now.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chit Chat: Dating

So we have some proposed subjects for chit chat. We'll try to address them all. But first up, Adrew "Spambot" Miller wants to talk about dating:1

"Dating" is a funny word. Its meaning seems to have shifted over time. These days, it often just means a pair is a romantic couple.2 So-and-so and so-and-so are dating. They may never actually go on a "date" per se.

But more traditionally, it asserts that a couple is actually going on dates. And what exactly is a date? The line is blurry. I might provisionally describe it as an arranged meeting between two people (a prospective or current couple) in a neutral place, e.g. a restaurant.3 But that's a little too rigid. Dinner, movie: unambiguously neutral territory; classic date material. Going to a party together? Maybe sort of, but it's not archetypal. Is it a date, or are they "just hanging out"? (In general, couples seem to be doing less formal dating and more "hanging out".) Dinner at one or the other person's home? That could, at one stage in a relationship, be considered a date. At a later stage of romantic entanglement, it's just plain old dinner.

I dunno. Times change. Words change. Behaviors change. Dating is complicated. That's what I've got to say.4

Thank you for the suggested topic, Adrew "Spambot" Miller.

1 I'll preface this by saying that I've been off the market a long time, so I can't claim any sort of expertise on the subject whatsoever.

2 Though typically the term describes a couple in the early stages of their relationship. I don't think I would describe a couple that's been together for five years as "dating".

3 During my years waiting tables, it was always fun to play "spot the first date". It wasn't hard. There's a distinctive combination of body language and conversation that sets a first date apart from other sorts of social engagements.

4 See? I can babble crapa about just about anything.
a Maybe I'll rename this blog "Babble Crap".b

b Entirely tangentially, I had a weird dream/low-grade nightmare last night that Blogger/Blogspot automatically restyled this blog with some sort of hideous over-the top style with icky fonts and a gross hyper-graphic background image; and I spent a long time trying to change it back, and never succeeded. Yikes.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Chit Chat

So now that the London tales are over, we'll have to find something else to chit chat about. But what? Horses? Monkeys? Aardvarks? Skyscrapers? Dappled light? Robots? Dog food? Wishbones? Primary numbers? String concatenation? Windshield wipers? The etymology of the phrase "chit chat"? Mangoes? Worming sheep? How weird honey bees are? Dwarf stars?

Or anything else. I'm open to suggestions. Chit chat. Chit chat. Chit chat.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

London: Homeward Bound (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles)1

Oh yeah, where we again? London. Well, every story needs its denouement,2 and ours is the return home. Let's wrap this sucker up.

Up and out: So we got up and did all the last minute flitting and tidying and packing, and down the stairs and out the door;3 onto the bus, the massive heap of luggage piled in the area designated for strollers, earnest hopes that some poor lady with a stroller wouldn't hop on; the tube to Victoria station, the seemingly endless tube to Heathrow, crammed in, again with our heap of luggage, along with everyone else going to Heathrow and their own respective heaps of luggage; myself standing in the middle of our heap, having to skinny-up every time the doors opened and others entered; our neighbors, a pair of stewardesses commuting to work (who later turned out to be our attendants on our plane); and finally, arrival at the airport.

Heathrow: We dropped off the wifi thingamabob; traded in our Oyster Cards (the little public transports scanning doo-dads), a bureaucratic process seemingly designed to make you give up on trying to get your money back; exchanged money; went through security; and made a crisp little groove to the gate (we didn't have oodles of time to spare).

Up, up, and away: The plane ride home simply can't be as cool as the plane ride there. And it was daylight the whole time, so there was none of the initial flight's ambient grooviness. (Though we still got fed, which still excited June.) The little back-of-seat plane-on-the-map wasn't nearly as interesting this time. I watched Goodfellas and Moneyball. And we were state-side.

Dulles: Lots of long walks down lengthy corridors, until we finally had to part with my mom, our little London cadre sadly breaking up; and on we went, again through security (which made us extra-secure since we'd already been securitized once and had never left a secure area); customs, which when we witnessed the lengthy line, convinced us we would miss our connection (we didn't have a lengthy layover); but the giant queue as the (England-landers say), zigged and zagged at a reasonable clip (we repeatedly crossed paths with this hilarious little baby who seemed mesmerized by the girls); the customs dude gave our passports a cursory glance and waved us through; we also did some sort of silliness with our luggage where we retrieved it somewhere along the way and then dropped it back off again;4 and with little time to spare, we did indeed make our connection.

The last leg: After becoming sophisticated worldly jet-setters, as we now are, domestic flights are... well... just so domestic. Really though, I remember essentially nothing about this flight.

And...: Home! A taxi ride (the "Automobiles" part of this post's title), etc., and in our front door. I've said it before, but no matter where we go — even to far yonder London — I'm always happy to come home: the raggedy streets, the funky heat (I sat out in the dark back yard for a while once we were settled in), our own beloved New Orleanians. Ahh.

Epilogue:5

Getting back into the daily grind after a far away adventure is hard. Jet-lag makes it harder. Back at work, I had to warm up with very basic tasks,6 waiting for my brain, which was still somewhere over the Atlantic, to catch up with me. But eventually we got back in the groove, graced with great memories which we'll never forget.

(And of course, I got to have my fun, reliving the whole thing via this bloggy-machine. 'Twas nice. Journey over. Thanks for reading. Catchya on the flip side.)

1 The trip took a week. It's recounting has taken how long? Silly Slimbo...

2 That's one of those big English class words. I hope I'm using it right.a
a And I suppose not every story needs its denouement. This is the post-modern era, right? And we can adopt any experimental narrative structure we want. But for this one I'm going to stick with classic linear. Denouement it is.
3 I say "out the door" like it was a casual thing. It was actually excruciating. Getting the girls — in their full tween-dom — out of the house on regular day is a laborious process, a myriad of last minute (last many minutes) tweaks to attirea and whatnot, during which I'm usually standing at the bottom of the stairs, tapping my foot and trying to find a Zen place (though often uttering rather un-Zen hollers of, "What are you doing?"). Getting out the door for an overseas flight was the same thing, multiplied manyfold.
a As an adherent of the wear-a-personal-unchanging-uniform-every-single-day philosophy, I find last minute attire tweaks entirely alien.
4 I have no doubt that all these procedural shenanigans serve their purpose... but still, it was all kind of silly.

5 Ooh! A denouement and an epilogue. Aren't we fancy?

6 Though I'm a software nerd, and coding, of its nature, is complex. There were definitely some initial moments (minutes... hours...) of staring at the screen, with my brain in another time-zone, thinking, "What the hell does all this gobbledygook mean again?"