Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It IS the heat and it IS the humidity!!!!

So - how many of you out there have been re-enacting the final death scene in the Wizard of Oz this week? ("I'm melting...MELLLLTINNNNGGGGG...") I just want to throw something at the TV when the weather comes on (sorry, Mr. Tim. Sorry, Charlie.) because they say it's only going to get worse through the weekend - mid 90's with a heat index into the 100's.

I can see the headlines now...

Headline: Sumner County woman found
Byline: Joanie Snigglebottom, Staff writer

Sources with the Sheriff's Department report a Sumner County woman was found outside her home this afternoon. The incident was initially investigated as suspicious, since she was found in the garden. The woman had also turned an odd shade of brown and a noticeable aroma was noted in the immediate area.

Upon further investigation, Sheriff's deputies concluded that excessive heat and humidity had both contributed to an oven-like environment in the garden and the unfortunate woman was literally cooked. One deputy remarked, "We found her in a small patch of rosemary. She smelled oddly delicious."

...and Enterprise goes boldly no more...

James Doohan - "Montgomery Scott," original engineer of the Starship Enterprise - died today.

Thanks for the ride, Scotty and godspeed. May the engines always hum.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fear the awesome power of the MIGHTY BAZOOMS OF DOOM!!!

Just as I was finishing up the dream description in the last entry, there was a lot of racket outside my door. At first, I thought they were repaving the road but then I saw it - my tree, the one I was going to save and use in my carving projects - going up into the air. TDOT was determined to get it.

Before I thought about anything, including whether I was properly dressed, I was out the door and down the driveway. It wasn't until I was running down the short stretch of road to stop them from loading up my tree that I realized I was still in my "bed" clothes: a super brightly colored tie dye t-shirt and (luckily, this time) a pair of shorts.

Now, let it be said that when it comes to the upper chestal area, I am not exactly...unendowed. Let's just say that when it comes time for me to buy a new bra, there's no need for any extra padding in the damn thing. There have been many times in my life when I would have loved to be as flat as a young boy but have been doomed to wear a 36D bra.

This morning, I wasn't wearing one. Like I said, it wasn't until I was running down the road that I realized "they" were loose. Hell, forget Dolly Parton and her "I can't jog because I'd get a black eye" story, these things were threatening to beat down all of Upper Sumner County. Even now, I wonder how there wasn't an accident, although traffic was already down to one lane. All it would have taken was one swipe and pow! One car over the fence. Pow! Another one flipping end over end. POW!! Homerun and the crowd goes wild!

I somehow managed to get control of them when I got to the guys who were determined to steal my tree. I tell you, the state must give their employees master classes in how to defer to somebody else. I stood there with my arms across my chest as I told them that we wanted the tree - three times and to three different people. Here is how one conversation went:

Boom operator: "Well, we have to take it because it's in the road right of way."
Me: "WELL, we want the tree. Can't you just move it up there farther in the yard where it isn't in the right of way?"
Boom operator: "Well, I don't know. I'd have to call my supervisor."

Oh buddy, if only you knew how lucky you were because I almost unleashed them again right then and there.

I did save my tree, though.


I never thought I'd ever graduate from college, especially after my first attempt at it in :::cough 1988 cough:::. Then, I dropped out after a year and a half - six credits shy of a technical certificate in photography and one semester of art classes - because I was totally unprepared and burnt out emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

So this time, when I went back in 2002, the fear of getting burned out again was always in the back of my mind. That, and this weird addiction I have for knowledge (more! more!), spurred me on. I felt as if I was racing to get all I could before the mind numbing emptiness engulfed me again. I took everything that interested me when I had the time between required classes - astronomy, voice, popular dance, philosophy, world religions...

Now I'm scheduled to graduate in December but I don't have to go back, except to take an exit exam, which I keep forgetting about. When printmaking class ended in May, it seemed so anticlimactic. There was no transition, just boom! "You're done." Go on about your life now.

last night's dream
I am in a dark blue semi (the blue is about the same shade as the tab on Windows XP's task bar that shows which window is active.) There is another woman with me and we are trying to deliver our cargo, although there are several guys determined to steal it. We finally back the semi into an old car shed on an old, hilly and curvy rural highway and stuff the cargo into an old trunk. Then we watch the guys through the crack between the doors as they search for us. They can't see the truck because it blends in with the dark interior of the shed.

Now, I am at a graduation reception. Ten or twelve tables are set up in a place that seems to be both in- and out- doors at the same time. They are laid out with white linen tablecloths, china plates and gold candlesticks. Despite this, no one is really dressed up. My friend, S., is sitting to my right and I have a letter from another friend, C., in front of me. Suddenly, it hits me that I am graduating - it's over. I am so sad and I begin to cry but I go to the restroom so no one will see my tears. I get myself back together and come back to read C.'s letter. I am going to miss these people.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Here we go again...

I figure nearly everyone in the blogging world will have to talk about London tonight and I'm no exception. It was a horrible thing. Let me say this right up front: I feel a bit guilty about my first thought when I heard the news: "Damn - somebody's seriously upset about getting forced out of business by the Olympics!"

Just yesterday, NPR's Talk of the Nation did a story on how London's winning the chance to host the 2012 Olympic games will force out about 300 businesses who supply about 11,000 jobs (sorry the story's only in audio.) The reason the government gives is their version of "imminent domain" - in other words, the entire area is very run down and they want to do a bit of urban renewal and they want to do it by building the Olympic Stadium there.

The problem is that renewal has already begun in the area. The owner of a company that produces world renowned smoked salmon (even the Bellagio Casino serves it) spent millions to open a brand new factory in the area two years ago - only to be told a year later that it was slated to right in the center of the new stadium. According to the rules of the British version of imminent domain, the business owners will only get fair market value for their land. This ultimately means they will get very little, no matter what improvements they have made, because the area is still very economically depressed. It will be interesting to see how this ultimately turns out, hmm?

There was at least one positive thing to come out of these attacks. We have gotten to see the true British spirit and it would be a good lesson for this country. One British man interviewed on 20/20 tonight was asked about how he thought the attacks would change Britain and his reply was that they wouldn't change it in the least. They would go on with their everyday lives because "We're not going to change a thing. Once you start changing things, you're telling the terrorists that they've won."

Amen, Brother. Amen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Resting (not so) easy...

Well, the city of Gallatin can rest easy for a while. Last night's Traditional Chinese Spook Scaring exercise (also known as the annual Fourth of July fireworks display) was a success. No self - respecting spook within a ten mile radius would have been able to withstand the display and noise.

Mother Nature evidently added her own display and noise as well. It rained on some of the festivities but I came home to find some of my tomato cages flat on the ground - as well as the big, old oak that stood at the corner of the property. It was a vibrant, strong tree full of glossy green leaves and loaded with potential life in the form of small, silvery green acorns. Yet the tree broke off at its base and blocked the road. This morning, I could see where someone had sawed the top out of it so traffic could move again.

The death of this tree makes me sad. I loved that tree, although I didn't realize how much until today. It was one of the cornerstones - well, trees - of the property and it provided a much needed and appreciated privacy screen. Hell, that oak had come through all kinds of weather, including the big ice storm of 1993 that broke many a lesser tree.

...and now it's gone. Just like that. Oak and hickory: two trees symbolic for strength and toughness but it evidently wasn't enough. I wish I paid more attention to it while it was here.

At least it won't be wasted. It's good wood and some of the logs out of the tree will be over two feet across. As soon as I can find someone with a chain saw, I'm saving as much as possible for carving and a few other projects. I thought about making a bench out of a half log but you know, it deserves a better memorial than existing as a place for me to put my ass.

I'll try to do it justice by finding the sculptures hidden inside it. It's the only way I know to honor a friend.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Back in the saddle again...

I'm so glad I got back online before too much time had passed after the "The Great Kentucky BooBoo Incident." I only have one thing to say about it: Nothing makes a body as proud as hearing the morning news anchor on Newschannel 5 say, "So - does that mean BooBoo gave someone else a boo boo?"

Mind like a steel trap, that one.

Speaking of steel traps, I have some jobs lined up. One job is going to be fun since it's a dark, goth inspired ink wash drawing of a anthropomorphic bear, complete with trench coat and desolate angelic looking sculptures in the background. I'm looking forward to making it more "life like" than the usual Furry drawings, which always look too damned cartoony for my taste. I'm also working up a woodcut of an image I saw in a dream. The last job is not something I wouldn't have normally chosen for myself and I have serious thoughts about the money involved (read: will it be a promise of good pay but in reality be crumbs? Do these people realize that art is actually what I am building my career out of and not something I do on a lark? Will they try to cheat me by finding some little, insignificant thing to bitch about and withholding the fee? Hmmm, if those are the kinds of questions I'm asking myself, I think I'd better rethink this whole situation or get the money upfront.) There is one also other potential hazard in the mix - it's a friend who is apparently determined to bring me over to the Baby Brigade.

Yes, people. I mean it. When it comes to sprogs (babies, to those of you who are not Robert Heinlein fans) or anything involving them, I am basically clueless and very happy to be that way. I have a saying: the day they handed out the maternal instinct, I was at the zoo.

Anyway, back on topic friend is four months pregnant and wants me to paint the walls of the nursery. If I do it, I am going to die of sugar shock. I can tell you that right now. Wouldn't that be a wonderful tribute to a new life? "Yes, little one, right here is the *very spot* where we found Azra, all gross and corpsified. The doctor said it was the first case of sympathetic sugar shock he's ever heard of and you know, he was right. It was the only known case of it in the world, right here in Gallatin, Tennessee. Last we heard, that doctor was living high on the coconut on some island, just because of the research he got out of the case. You see that streak of pastel green sliding down the wall from the collar of that bear's shirt? That's the last thing Azra ever painted. Clutched that brush until the very end...well, actually, she's still clutching it as far as I know. They never did get her fingers loose from it..."



Oh sweet and merciful computer and internet gods, please accept this small sacrifice of bits and bytes in tribute...



I've so missed you, my poor neglected blog.