Archive for March, 2007

Waking Up, Neutral Television, and the Toast-O-Lator

March 28, 2007

We took a museum trip to the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. The above photo was taken there, as part of my ongoing series, Evelyn Posing with Large Statues.

I’ve been watching several classic movies from the library, listed in worst-to-best order: 42nd street, An American in Paris, Casablanca, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Citizen Kane, and Singin’ in the Rain.

My weekday morning routine is like the 5 stages of grief, as I mentally engage with the advent of the waking hour:
Denial: "No, it can’t be time to get up yet!"
Anger: "Stop that infernal noise! Stupid !@#$ alarm clock."
Bargaining: "Just 20 more minutes, then I’ll get up."
Depression: "I’m tired, I’m aching… this sucks…"
Acceptance: "Fine… guess I’ll take a shower then."

Two things that have amused me at different times unexpectedly came together during a recent going-away party. The first is a unique short film that I caught the last part of while in a hotel. The movie was made circa 1970, and was entirely stop motion animation, a series of snapshots at the speed of a movie, of people sitting on the road pretending to have a car chase. Anybody know what that could be? (Stop, Look, and Listen, perhaps?)

The other was at the party, when some channel on one of the bar televisions (this was the first time I’ve been in a bar in three years) was showing stock footage of guys doing amateur skateboarding on local roads in the 1980s. With the sound drowned out by the music system, the effectively silent footage, with no commercials, made for great Neutral Television. The graceful swoops and glides of silent sunbronzed ‘boarders in the suburban hills of Southern California was relaxing, pleasant, peaceful, and it reminded me of the Winter Olympics. This was the highlight of the party for me. (Later on, the channel disappointingly switched to X-Games stuff, which was indoors, harshly lit, and far more aggresive.)

Well, I explained all this to my friend Kurt, and he found this stop motion skateboarding video. It’s really hyper, but a cool coincidence, the meshing of two related thoughts that collided haphazardly that very Friday evening.

Fatal Antique Alert!… the shiny yet deadly Toast-o-lator. (Fluxx fans… this IS the goal for The Toaster plus Death.) This whole site is dangerously engrossing, covering the history of many kinds of appliances and life in the Swing Era. You can even ride the Wayback Express to 1947.

Don’t know what to get that Lord of the Rings fan in your life who has everything? Try some of these coins. They sell stamps, too.

Mark Steere has made a very cunning maze that will make you suffer.

Have you taken the Fluxx Customer Survey yet?

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Nelson’s Pillar

What I’m Reading:
"Treasure Island" by Robert Louis Stevenson


Life flows on…

March 6, 2007

We were saddened last month by the passing of Evelyn’s great-aunt Sylvia.  At the age of 90, Sylvia was the eldest child of her family’s most unifying figurehead, Pauline.  Evelyn found healing strength in bonding with her gregarious New York family.  Everyone in the family was glad to see each other, but "we wish it were under happier circumstances."  Our hearts go out to all those whe knew Sylvia in her life and theirs.

We got news of the funeral only the night before, and in less than two hours we were packed and out the door bound for New York.  Our trip back south was delayed by a snowstorm, but Evelyn’s relative Barbara (a published author) offered us a place to stay for the night.  We greatly appreciated your hospitality, Barbara!

This week’s picture above is of a set of 12 glass swans we are selling as table centerpieces.  They’re cut glass with a slightly pearlescent tint, and hold about a handful of stuff inside of them.  We’re asking $24 or best offer for the whole dozen.  If you’re in the Washington DC area and are interested, please leave me a comment.

In other news:

  • Neil’s currently on his Italian semester’s Spring Break.  He and an American colleague are touring Germany by train, and staying in various hostels.  You can see more of his photos of Italy here, here, here, and here.
  • The power cable for Evelyn’s laptop died, but luckily our friend Ian found a replacement.  You rock, Ian!
  • The Ryanarium’s good friend, ChaliceChick got into Georgetown University Law School.  You rock too, CC!
  • I’ve become an official collector of Kennedy half dollars.  I’m just a few specimens short of a 41-year set.
  • Thanks for the care package, Mom.  Evelyn put the chocolate to good use, the photos and frame grace the top of our stereo, and the 60-year-old metallurgy textbook is proudly shelved.
  • My former classmate Alerik thought I’d enjoy the webcomic Dresden Codak.  He was right.
  • Neat link: The Twentieth Century as told by Google Image Search.  I’d love to see this done for the 19th Century, too.
  • I spent a week cataloging my library of 400+ books.  The curious can download the list here.
  • I found my 150st geocache!  Wheeeeee!

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Microsoft, circa 1978

What I’m Reading:
"Lost Chance in China" by John S. Service (I’m almost done, I swear!)
"Monitor" by James DeKay