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Saturday, August 4th, 2012
My daughter and wife have asked me some really good questions over the last several months of why we still want to be so committed to this house, this airport and this property.
I can give them the simple answer: “Because I will die in hell before I ever move those books again.”
(Although, for the record, this is a perfectly good response, IMHO. Not the complete response, but to hell with moving. I bought this house and paid it off knowing I’d never really move again.)
A better answer is that I like it. I grew up in it and I like it. I like the airport. I like the open space. I like the fact that if I leave my neighbors alone hey leave me alone.
But mostly, I like this old house like I like my old car. It’s got screwy stuff, but you tinker and fiddle to make it work.
And I like the airplanes!
The cherry on top is knowing the history of the place. I mean the meta place…I can point to where the chicken coops were when it was a farm.
I’m going to be an  old fogie that will probably die here. It’s my estate. It’s not much, but it’s my Tara. I own it completely in more ways than by title. I own it because I care about it. Totally and completely. I’m not Scarlett, but I can defend it against dandelions, skunks and fireworks.

For whome the barks toll…

Friday, December 5th, 2008

…not me!!!!!!!

We have no dogs for the weekend!!!! Both are off to the “resort” — ok, it’s just a nice kennel, whatever. Big A and I were looking at each other tonight and realizing how screwey it was with mom gone and her and I with no dogs. It was good, but it was weird.

This is really good for both dogs for socializing to play nice with others, etc…and we do it every couple of months. But, man, it cuts down so much kinetic activity around her that it’s a weird feeling. Even Big A fell asleep on the couch very early.

Here’s our basic thinking…we have tried having free-range dogs, and that got us screwed with a car clobbering and eating a towel stuff. So, not we have house dogs that go on leashes, but they get to head out for play at the ranch several times a year. Scout is basically retired for hunting, I think. She just isn’t into it as much and she’s getting older. I’ve tried a couple of times, but I just think the bird has flown the coop. She got her birds and now because of metabolism or age or whatever, she just isn’t zeroed in.

Scout is a funny dog. She weighs a ton, she is tougher than nails, she is a great hunter, she is generally well-behaved, but she is a brat…hunting or in the house. She is like the “Princess Dog.” It’s “Look at me all the time” in her actions. She doesn’t do anything destructive, she just wants attention. She was never good at pointing, but she was great at diving into a six-foot snow bank against a creek in 10-below weather then just grabbing the damn bird. It’s like a cat playing with a mouse. Granted, I wasn’t the greatest trainer, but I couldn’t get her to stop this act. She can catch a rabbit, too, the same way. She is fearless beyond my ability to break her. The one success we’ve had is that she leaves cats alone. I am kind of proud of that. She doesn’t fiddle with cats — even strange ones. Now, she might fiddle with skunks and porcupines, but, oh, well. That’s what tomato juice and pliers are for, right?

Dill, on the other hand, hates these trips to the farm. She has some serious abandonment issues. Scout sees it as a fun adventure, but Dill sees it like she is getting left. It’s gotten better over time, though. With my luck the thing well live 25 years and never work her problems out. She is justy a nasty, sweet, protective dog that really could give a rats ass about anyone other than the three of us and her home turf. Not the brightest bulb. The coolest thing with her is that she will eat anything. No, I mean ANYTHING. It’s like she was raised in a landfill or something. There is no ulterior motive, like you expect with Scout. She is there to please or be pleased, thank you very much, it’s black and white.

The cats are all getting old and/or fat, but that’s a different story. They mostly stay away from me when I am home alone because I will not let them on our bed and they know it.

Other than that, I have some books coming in the mail tomorrow I am happy about, plenty of stuff recorded, and I re-mapped some artwork that I will get rolling on. The brain fart isn’t over, but I started sketching and playing with a couple of things I want to try over the weekend.

Art and blabber

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

I had one mission from P today and I accomplished it.

I made a crude effort to understand acrylic painting and watercolor painting. And take four platforms (canveses?) and see what all the combinations were.

It was actually all very interesting.

 First the inks…

I mostly deal in markers for things. I mean, no kidding, off the shelf Sharpies are great! So this was a test of me as well as two new mediums.

The acrylic is three-dimensional and literal. And you have to use different brushes all the time. I like how literal it is, but I can’t be that literal; I just like shapes and what they suggest. I also didn’t like how hard it was to smudge over a mistake.

As a base, I can see where it works. One of my experiments on canvess, though, was doing 99 red balloons, and I got no farther than 99 different shaped circles before I realized it wasn’t going to work. But part of what I love about the acyrlic is “gooping” and “lightening.” (My terms.) They suddenly looked like rose pedals. So P and I spent 20 minutes looking at it, and she said go with rose pedals. So I asked her why the rose petals were there, and she suggested it had something to do with marriage and fertility. And then had to leave.

Watercolors are really, really hard to do. Really hard. There seem to be no solid lines and tou have to layer the piece in a way that doesn’t screw up other colors. With markers or acrylic you can kind of pound out mistakes, but with watercolors the mistake gets blended in. Next time you see a great watercolor, appreciate this.

But I also liked the play with watercolors. In fact, two pieces I did in less than two hours, were certified by P as being “sellable” (her word). All I did was use water over the top of certain places and then either sandpaper after it dried or salt when it was wet. Salt was the no brainer…I just needed something to absorb blotches in a sky and lighten the blue. Sandpaper was kind of fiddling with how deep the ink actually goes in a canvass and didn’t work as well at first.

Art 101 Cont.

I used a whole bunch of canvesses. Well, many several.

I wonder about these because the stuff I don’t like, P thinks can make money. Vice versa. Is this what happened to J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee? I have a very cool piece that is half old woman and half young woman, divided by kids, and P would probably divorce me if I ever showed it to anyone. The whole idea was to paint background to it on canvess to give it context. I thought I solved it all with a background story through the watercolors…she still hates it.

But back to the topic…

Remember…I am talking about using art supplies that have cost a total of less than 50 bucks. I’m also about the fifth-best artist in my family, but I got a free day to play with some techniques…

But I can rank the canvesses from worst to best very easily…

Paper plates are great for fudging around.

Canvess is too expensive for the difference.

Wood is hard if you don’t prepare it right.

Regular paper ain’t half bad.

Trace paper is the best.

That was easy.

The trick for me is figuring out how to get P to buy into the art I like and not have her think I’m nuts. Very fine marketing line there, let me tell you. I see each piece as a story, with a beginning, a middle and and end. She wants more of my color balance and just something people will hang in the bathroom or something. She just likes my color composition and lines. I like that, too, but I also like weird shit — no better way to say it.  I see it like writing, and that means there is a story that some people take the time to read and some people don’t. It’s also why I go hot and cold with the art…sometimes you gave a story to tell and sometimes you don’t.

One thing we could agree on was that one piece was so bad I should just keep experimenting on it. What’s funny is, that on the right canvess with the right colors, it wasn’t half bad…P said we can’t sell it, but I have no problem with it being nice for the private collection and a day of trying.

In the end…what do 99 rose petals mean?

Dentist Denial (blabbering)

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

There was a skull found tonight just outside of Lacey and they said they should be able to find out who it is after several years because of a full set of dentals.

Honest to God, I don’t think I have been to a dentist since Dr. Leafson in Ballard in the second grade. This is weird, but I was wondering where they would even begi  to use my jawbone remains to identify my body? Arw they filed for 30 years?

I hate the dentist mostly because I had so many teeth pulled as a kid, well…mostly because I had so many teeth pulled as a kid. If it was extreme, I’d ask for help, but for the last 30 years there hasn’t been much of a problem and it’s not covered by health insurance.

But where do these dental records come from? I’m being serious. Why does a dead homeless guy have a better chance of having dental records than I do? Think about that for a second. (Not that this was a dead homeless guy, but take the point.)

Moving on…

It’s funny watching people who are starting to connect this site with my comments at other sites. It’s kid of fun, but I trust none of them. Most of them are just spam, but I am seeing people address me directly about McCain vs. Obama. Can I just say I am still flipping coins and just observing?

This is the problem…can’t you just think intellectually about what is the best answer and not have other people lay it out for you? Jut because I say I am wavering on Clinton, it doesn’t mean I am going to skip the ship on dumb news here and there. It’s kind of stupid…we don’t even think straight before ending up 48-48 with four percent for Nader,

Trudge…

Jon Stewart stole my line, or a form of it. Is he a Spitzer or a swallower?

I can’t believe I didn’t type this in fast enough when I heard it this morning to record it as mine. I am bugged by this, because I thought it was THAT good, but then knowing who his writers are, we all kind of think alike.

Anway…

Let’s say Spitzer paid $10,000 to get fucked for a night.

Who cares? I mean other than is wife and children. You can call me typical liberal, but I had the same reaction to Craif and the horndog from New Jersey. I could care less. But I will say that if he used public money to do it or hide it, he should be hung by his toes and clammored with an anvil.

A brief reprieve

I think I know what keeps blowing the glass out of the fireplace at the cabin…water. If you actually watch the fire, study it, I can explain it like a geek. I could never understand how glass was broken, but I think I can now and it would be so technocratic in a scientific way, no one wants to hear it.

Onwards…

I am deciding that the easiest thing to do is just tell everyone in my family that I am what I am. I don’t understand them and I have gotten to the point where it’s not worth the time for them to understand me,.

But I will admit that P and Big A are an exception.

But my sister and I had a discussion today that kept coming back to “us” (E, P, and Big A)  like we are all one thing. This might be very new fashioned, but I really thing P can think for herself and Big A can think for herself. You can call me an asshole, but just call it to me. My wife and my daughter are different, and how I would do anything for them is irrational…but they are not in some lockstep with me on anything in general.

Hmmmmm…try a better explanation: Ummmm…

How about the fact my wife is smarter than I am? Or the fact that my daughter, I am sure, is smarter than both of us? There…

I liked talking to my sister about this stuff, though. She is smarter, probably, than all of us, but I think by broher is the smartest of all a the moment by just moving away.

Transition…

I want to move back in. I miss the museum.

Telescoping…

I spent all night working on getting a telescope to work, and the best I can do is about having half of its cabality working. I’m a little obessed with it at this point after eight hours.

Zoooming back out…

Look up Filson on the web. Just buy a coat from them.

Finally…

What does it say that I have had a hot dog at everyplace from Pink’s to Ruck’s?

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Cats and dog living together!

I’m home safe and sound.

I failed terribly with my editing. Well, not really failed. I just only made a dent in it because I got more into sitting at the beach and thinking. I did work on my writing. I worked on the art…but I got verklumped by the fact it was nice to just sit on the beach and watch massive waves roll in during a couple of big storms. Then I read at the cabin. Massive amounts of reading. Some on religion, some on art, and some on just plain old history stuff.

I also watched too many DVDs I have always wanted to watch. Shame on me.

But I’m a little ticked that I didn’t get more editing done. That bugs me.

Writing and art are so much alike but so different. I never feel like I need to be perfect in the writing when I first write it, but when I have to edit it, the perfection goal just bogs me down. With the art, I feel like I have to be perfect when I do it in the beginnng, the first time, and then I am not a huge hawk over what it gets reproduced as being in the final version.

They are yin and yang.

I can write profusely, even if it means nothing. I can do art in limited quantities, but it feels like it means everything.

Funny world.

For instance, I suddenly have no desire to do art for a while. I am picky about the wrong tools I have and that I can’t do it perfect the first time. The closest thing I have to that in writing is that my laptop needs to be upgraded.

I’m also a little nervous because my first of art is up for auction tonight. Another big difference between writing and art. Nobody auctions off new manuscripts.

I put more weight in an auction than most. You know how they give an estimate pre-sale; mine was pretty good. But an auction is the ultimate in retail capitalism. The basic concept has been drilled into my head untold times.

Everything at an auction is worth one dollar more than someone else will pay for it. A book or something else in writing is worth as much as people well pay for it in the hunks that the retail price lists.

We’ll see…

Geography and or grammar police

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

This was in an AP story about the election on Super Tuesday:

Clinton won her home state of New York and neighboring New Jersey as well as Massachusetts, where the state’s two U.S. senators and the governor had endorsed Obama.

I just feel like being nitpicky, but last I checked, Massachusetts was a New York neighbor, too. It’s an old Strunk and White battle…less words are better…as well as should just have been and. To say as well as, could be followed by any of six other states. I’m no saint with this stuff, but that one caught my eye in a long story.

 

I really didn’t see the aerosal (mini babble)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

hairspray.jpg

I just watched Hairspray for the first time, and I didn’t see why it wasn’t more than a B or a B- or maybe a C+…somewhere in that range. Honestly, I would have given it a solid C if not for the John Travolta and Christopher Walken parts. Those are a nice case of good acting needing to rate the movie another notch. Really, think about how many mediocre musicals are just yanked along with sheer talent in movies. John Travolta has done it two and half times (I still think Saturday Night was a better movie than for which contemporary critics gave it credit). So I did quit watching Hairspray with one thought…where the hell do I rank John Travolta in the actor pantheon? Is he Staying Alive or Pulp Fiction?

Onwards…

Just what I hoped…there is a storm a brewin’ outside. Sounds pretty good. The hard part is that you can’t really “hear” storms very well in this house. It’s not like the wind blows through the trees, since there really aren’t any trees per se. But if it is raining…

Sitting in the floor-heated sunroom with wind and rain is AWESOME! Dad nailed it on this one. Spectacular. Even at night you can feel a storm.

I love the pitter-patter of the rain as it comes off the ocean in sheets and then once a while clobbers everything like you are sitting in the rinse cycle at a car wash.

Speaking of which…the car washes at the ocean would do much better if they marketed themselves and explained to consumers why all those who have driven on the beach should wash their cars afterwards. Scare them even with the raw facts. I wash mine every 48 hours that I am here.

Which also makes the old houses around here (i.e. 1964) amazing. On one of my last solo trips I went to some garage slaes at a couple of them and got a peek inside. These things have been through salt hell and still are as kitschy as they were in Ginny Simms’ day (who, along with her husband, Don Eastvold, pretty much founded Ocean Shores).

Finally…I am editing and squatting all day Tuesday. I decided to make clam dinner night on Wednesday; I am going to want a USA Today, anyway.

Everytime I come here solo I buy five pounds of steamers and do them up the way I like them, not that I like them much different than any of you. I just like the fact I don’t have to share and I can eat them right out of the pot in front of the TV. It’s kind of my equivilant of scratching an itch in the wrong place and not caring who can’t see you do it.

To make a long story short, I steam five pounds of clambs at least once every trip…all for myself.

The people in my neighborhood

Monday, February 4th, 2008

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One of the things I adore about Ocean Shores are the people that you meet just hanging out in “local” spots.

Now, I can’t say there are many of these places, but they do exist in some corners. Especially during the middle of a Monday in the beginning of February. There are so few tourists here, just about anyplace with a live body is “local.”

So this is really fun for me during the day. Here is the demographic breakdown in my opinion…

Retired here and happy.

Retired here and pissed off.

Optimistic newcomer.

Lifer.

Rich person working out of home with something online.

Seattle-Tacoma-Everett person that owns a place here and comes often.

Tourist from a foreign country or out of state (I mean, who comes here during a bad winter?)

It’s a funky vibe in the couple of drinking establishment and the few cafes that are open on weekdays. I kind of coffee-hopped today while reading the newspaper and had some great conversation. The great thing is that I never felt like I was missing anything by having my newspaper time away, because the people were so much more interesting.

My favorite was a guy who earns his whole living running stuff to the FedEx for regulr customers. Technically, there is a FedEx drop box here, but this guy built a whole niche out of going to all the same houses everyday at the same time and getting their overnight packages (anytype) and running them to Olympia to meet late deadlines. He was vague, and I don’t ee how he could make enough to live on, but he said there are enough people between their and Ocean Shores that he lives off of it. He calls himself a “personal valet driver” and does the drive to Olympia twice a day for people. I have to admit, after talking with his, in theory, it’s kind of a good idea. He doesn’t advertise and its all word of mouth. From Olympia, he also contracts with people who will courrier stuff to Tacoma and Seattle and “once in a while we go to Portland.” I met him at lunch when he was fueling up with a bagel sandwich and coffee around noon.

He said most of his “customers” were architects, artists, tourists and writers. Huh…I’ll be damned. He did say he had a few “sugardaddies” that help make it all work. Double I’ll be damned. He drives his Prius twice a day roundtrip, about 100 total miles. He’s like a hinterlands version of the bicycle courrier. But he doesn’t work for anyone, and he had no business card.

Like a character out of a book. I walked out with him to his car and it’s just a normal hybrid. Except for the Sirius stereo setup that had speakers which looked like they could cause a tsunami if he drove out to the jetty. I mean, this thing was seriously amped up. He had also taken the passenger’s seat and made it into a full laptop work station.

Who would’ve tunk it?

The Boob Tube

Monday, February 4th, 2008

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I love having cable TV at the ocean, but whenever I travel I immediately miss my dual DVR system on Dish from home (link to a review). I mean, I really miss it. I might as well be on TV crack after having this thing for a couple of years.

First, it literally has several hundred channels. Now, that may sound like overkill, until you read what else it does. But I love my channels. I like watching the news in Boston, or Chicago or Denver. I have Golf TV, NBA TV, NFL TV, and Tennis TV. There’s even NASA and about five C-Spans. There are also about 75 movie channels. I watch primtime shows in different time zones. And it has all the Sirius digital music channels. I am not kidding that I bet I use, in one way or another, about 50 channels in a week, and they change around depending on what I want or what I feel like I need.

Next great thing about the Dish setup is the programming guide. It goes several weeks ahead of time and it’s easy to search. Plus, you can still watch TV is a PIP-type setup while you use it. It displayes 10 channels at a time in two-hour blocks.

And near the finale is probably the most crack-like feature of the system. The pause. You can pause TV for up to two hours. I almost can not watch TV without this function at my fingertips. I stutter in my brain just thinking about beginning where to describe how important this is to my nightly TV viewing. Dog needs a walking. Pause. Phone rings. Pause. Doorbell. Pause. Need to check email. Pause. Then you just skip through commercials with the 30-second skipper (and there is a 10-second skipper to go rewind) and you never feel like you missed a thing. Let’s say you are watching a really interesting PBS documentary on understanding how Saudi Arabia became a country, and the phone rings. Pause. It’s an old friend from elementary school and he’s suicidal. It takes you almost two hours to convince him to get off the ledge and get back in the bar on Beacon Street. Oy! So you start watching the PBS documentary again and you can’t tell the House of Saad from the House of Wasabi, you are lost in what you already saw. So at 300x speed you rewind back to the beginning. Voila!

But here is the kicker.

In the meantime, a particular Cheers episode you really like was starting on WGN in Chicago and a presidential debate was underway on CNN. No worries. It’s recording those, too, at the same time, while not interupting what you had paused. You can fnish your Saudi Arabia viewing and then they are saved for you.

I think our system records up to 60 hours at a time. We usually have about 20-25 hours saved at anytime. Most of it is just flimflam that we weren’t home to see live, or that no one else wanted to watch so it gets recorded in the background. You can also set it up to just record new episodes or all episodes, etc. So I love Reno 911, but I only want episodes listed by the network as “new,” and none of the 9,000 times a week Comedy Central plays reruns…no problemo.

Watching plain old basic cable is like smoking oregano.

Is this a good thing?

Yep! See, I probably don’t watch much more TV than most people, but I waste almost zero time on commcericals and garbage. None. Oh, and did I mention that if I watch a DVD, I can be recording two shows at once to watch later when I can skip through commercials or TV timeouts?

I also have, when I get home, the whole Super Bowl recorded for me. That way I can skip through the game and just watch the commercials.

Rocket man…everything’s going to be all right

Monday, February 4th, 2008

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Did he just launch a rocket and then go see Amityville 3-D?

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/04/iran.rocket/index.html