Wednesday, August 18, 2010

NASA In Decline


Dismantling, 2010

The space program used to mean something. Now it seems like all we've got is China and oil.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Beagle On The Table


Bela, Table, 2010

The dog is the only one who thinks this is appropriate. I'll admit, it allows her the perfect vantage point for looking out the big dining room window, but still.

Spike


caterpillar, 2010

This guy nearly got squashed in the garage. Don't know what it morphs into after the chrysalis phase.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Read and Seen



I hate lists, but they're irresistible. So, without further ado, here is a list of books I read this summer and movies I watched:
BOOKS
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell - It's stark, it's bleak, it's like Antigone with a less dire ending. I can't honestly say that I enjoyed the book, but it stuck with me, and the story is so powerful you can hardly believe it's being told.

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich - I've read Erdrich from the get-go with 'Love Medicine'. Nobody weaves a story bolstered on rich character studies quite the way that she does. In that manner 'Shadow Tag' shares a commonality with her entire oeuvre. But, then 'ST' departs from that familiar ground and forges on like a tenderfoot through an impenetrable woods. The husband and wife are at the center of the novel, like twin suns blotting out the shadows of their three children orbiting around them in a constant, contentious glare. Things do not end well.

Monkeewrench by PJ Tracy - This book had been on my shelf FOREVER, so I picked it up and read it. I have nothing kind to say about it. Not only was every single character a cliche, but they were the same cliche. It was ridiculous, and not in a fun, wild ride sort of way. More like a morass of tedium heaped on a tar pit of idiocy. Usually I won't even bother to finish a book that I despise as much as this one, but I wanted to hone my anger at the book. Read at your own peril!

MOVIES
Dead Snow - Nazi zombies reanimated in the hinterlands of Norway! Gory and gruesome, but not without a typical zombie movie sense of humor. I really enjoyed this.

Toy Story 3 - I'd read the reviews, so I was expecting something a little darker than the previous movies in the trilogy, but was still surprised and a little delighted by the character of Big Baby. Big Baby could be given her/his own movie, which would be something, I imagine, completely inappropriate for children, but fun for adults!
All of that aside, there's plenty of fun in the film, especially at Barbie and Ken's expense. And the ending is wonderful!

The Kids Are All Right - Possibly one of the most authentic films I've ever seen. At no time does the script, director, or actors shrink away from honestly portraying the complications of love, life and family. It's so genuine that it's a shock to the system, and to some lesbians in the blogosphere, a shock to the sensibilities. I'm not in that camp. If you take the movie as a whole, and examine closely the outcome from all of their actions, you see that the core family remains intact, with the children turning back to their Moms, and the Moms turning back to each other. None of this is ever done in a contrived way, but feels like a natural progression, completely organic. Movie making, and script writing, doesn't get any more pure than this. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves movies!

I would love to know what everyone else has read and seen this summer, if you care to share!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Heat and Exhaustion


Robin, 2010

How hot is it? This full grown robin was hopping around the yard in the sweltering heat (93F+) and finally collapsed. It did move off when I approached, but it definitely was not in good condition.

Basics


Basics, 2010

I have finally succumbed to the siren song of the digital camera. I sort of miss film, and all of the technical stuff that goes with using a rangefinder or SLR, but digital is just so freakin' easy!
I know that I'll go back to film at some point, I'm not the sort that can simply abandon an old love for a new one without proper closure, but until then, I'm taking a lot of pics and re-deconstructing the CRAP out of 'em!

Other Son of Motherboard


Other Son of Motherboard, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Like, The Weather


Asiatic Dayflower, 2010

This little blossom lives only one day, blooming early in the morning and then withering away in the afternoon.

Free Pumpkins, Sweet!


Pumpkin Plant 2010

Ever wonder what happens to that Halloween pumpkin that you kick off the porch and allow to rot in the bushes?

Monday, August 9, 2010

One-Handed Frog


Frog 2010

Deck Cleaning 101


Deck 2010

Here I am surveying the deck before our attempts to power wash it. The deck is of indeterminate age, but two things are clear: 1. It is still sound. 2. The wood had never been stained or protected in any way.
So and therefore, before MK and I could apply the stain and wood protector, we would have to remove all of the fungi growing on it. We figured that this would easy using her dad's power washer, but the green mold/mildew/moss (who knows what that shit is?) proved to be deeply imbedded in the wood grain. That left only one solution: scrubbing the deck by hand with a stiff bristled brush and a solution I mixed up of comet cleanser, bleach, and laundry detergeant. And water (two gallons of water, 2C of bleach, 1/2C comet, 1C laundry soap). That did work, but holy cow. I don't ever want to do that again!

Fly by Night


Pittsburgh North Shore, Night Vision, 2010

Smokey


Smokey, 2010

The mystery has been solved! Smokey, the black squirrel we watch from our side porch everyday, is a female, and apparently, a mama to boot. I'll be honest, I'm more than a little fascinated by this eastern grey squirrel subgroup. You hardly ever see them, and when you do spot one, it's all: Look! A black squirrel!
Anyway, pretty much about the same time every afternoon, around 3pm, Smokey lopes through the neighbor's yard, crosses the street, and goes up a maple tree to munch on seed pods. Bela, MK, and I watch these goings on utterly transfixed. My ultimate goal, and evil plan, is to find Smokey's nest and spirit away one of her kits (pups?) and keep it as a pet. I have it all figured out. We'll reconstruct our entire house to make it squirrel friendly, like one giant habitrail for squirrel pleasure. We, or just I, will study the squirrel to learn the intricate minutiae of squirrel behavior. I will be like the Jane Goodall of squirrels! My squirrel work will be the subject of intense scrutiny by academics the world over! And not just psychiatrists, either!
Yes, I can see it now. We'll start off with one squirrel, but we'll soon gather more squirrels, until our home is like a hive, or hot bed, of squirrel activity. I know that after we have a few dozen squirrels MK's stance on 'no squirrels in the house' will soften and she'll see things my way. Especially after The Journal of Squirrel Inquiry publishes my as yet unknown findings.
Dream big, I always say, when I'm awake.
Seriously though, in theory, I would love to have a pet squirrel. It's the 'in practice' part that mucks things up!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Topsail


Topsail Island, NC 2010

Since my father died my mother has been something of a lost soul. So, MK and I took her with us on vacation. Dear lord in heaven. I can break this week down in Scrabble game wins: MK - 4, Me - 3, Mom - 1. My mother is competitive, crazily so. If it wasn't so much fun to trounce her at Scrabble, we'd probably let her take an extra game here and there just to quiet the whining and bemoaning. But no. Or, but HELL no!
I got a lot of pics on vacation, including a terrapin roadkill, but mostly the best shots are fairly innocuous things end up being disturbing when I group them together...which is what will be posted tomorrow!

Busy Summer


Airman Jake and Me

The entire family traveled to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas to witness our man-child's graduation from basic training. A mother has never been more proud of the issue of her womb than I was/am!
When Jake finishes his technical training he'll be moving in with MK and me and starting college.
In other news: The new house in the north hills is fabulous! It's a lot of work, mostly yard work since the people who owned it previously let it all go wild for at least a decade, probably longer. MK and I have plenty to do there, but there are constant signs of progress to keep us encouraged.