Ready for launch

T-3 days until vacation at the beach.’s 10 day outlook for Beaufort, NC is Isolated Thunderstorms, 30-40% chance of precipitation. Highs in the mid/low 80’s, lows in the mid/low 70’s.

To me, that sounds idyllic.

I have downloaded some YouTube videos on figure drawing and converted them to MPEG to create a DVD, in the naive hope that I will have some free time to doodle.

Scout will be the issue. How to entertain a 10 month old at the beach? There are no barriers in the house per say, so it will be 7 days solid of chasing after the crawling speed demon.

What on earth are we thinking?

Setting priorities

Where you fall in poll of U.S. reading habits

Pollyann Baird, 84, a retired school librarian in Loveland, Colorado,says J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter fantasy series is her favorite. But she has forced herself to not read the latest and final installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” because she has yet to file her income taxes this year due to an illness and worries that once she started the book, “I know I’d have to finish it.”

Good dog, woman! You’re 84! Should the worst happen, are you going to want to have filed your taxes or read Harry Potter?

If you don’t file your taxes, they might take you to jail, in which case you’ll have even more time to read!

I mean, really. Priorities!

The Market, She Crazy

I don’t often follow the daily ups and downs of the stock market, but it’s been more nuts than I can ever remember these past couple weeks… it’s like passing a traffic accident, and then a nude beach, then another train wreck.

Today, nude beach.

Where Fiction meets Fact

I am currently reading The Dark Design, third in the Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer. (The First two were logged here and here)

In my log of the first book, I mentioned this:

I see from the bio that Philip Jose’ Farmer was born in 1918 in Terre Haute, IN, which is 5 years after and 20 miles from the time and place when my grandfather, Floyd Lucas, was born. I wonder if they met at a barn dance.

In these novels, there is a character named Peter J. Frigate, which is based upon the author.

I have just read a chapter where Peter J. Frigate recounts his past a bit (in Terre Haute), with great detail about his father (where he went to school, etc) and other family members. A little more than necessary in the context of the book, which leads me to believe he was spewing facts about his real history.

And then he mentioned his grandmother, Wilhelmina Kaiser. And I remembered that my grandmother, born in 1917 near Terre Haute, was a Kaiser.

So, now I’m wondering not so much whether my grandfather met Farmer at a barn dance, but rather whether my grandmother knew him from a family get together. Something to be put on a list of To Be Researched.


Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

There was a link to the advisorteam personality quiz on that site, which the Harry Potter thing is based on. Here are my results from there:

Guardians are the cornerstone ofsociety, for they are the temperament given to serving and preservingour most important social institutions. Guardians have natural talentin managing goods and services–from supervision to maintenance andsupply–and they use all their skills to keep things running smoothlyin their families, communities, schools, churches, hospitals, andbusinesses.

Guardians can have a lotof fun with their friends, but they are quite serious about theirduties and responsibilities. Guardians take pride in being dependableand trustworthy; if there’s a job to be done, they can be counted on toput their shoulder to the wheel. Guardians also believe in law andorder, and sometimes worry that respect for authority, even afundamental sense of right and wrong, is being lost. Perhaps this iswhy Guardians honor customs and traditions so strongly–they arefamiliar patterns that help bring stability to our modern, fast-pacedworld.

Practical and down-to-earth,Guardians believe in following the rules and cooperating with others.They are not very comfortable winging it or blazing new trails; workingsteadily within the system is the Guardian way, for in the long runloyalty, discipline, and teamwork get the job done right. Guardians aremeticulous about schedules and have a sharp eye for proper procedures.They are cautious about change, even though they know that change canbe healthy for an institution. Better to go slowly, they say, and lookbefore you leap.

Guardians make up as much as 40 to 45 percent of the population.

The Four types of Guardians are:

Supervisors (ESTJ) | Protectors (ISFJ) | Inspectors (ISTJ) | Providers (ESFJ

On drawing, taming Eden, trips, Driving, home

I read the Comics Curmudgeon every day, and there has been an advertisement on there for The Structure of Man set of DVDs for learning to do figure drawing from scratch (rather than from a model), essentially cartooning. I watched an excerpt during lunch today and thought it looked good.

Drawing is one of those hobbies that I’ve returned to on and off. I don’t have any innate talent at it, but I really enjoy the activity of pencil on paper, trying to capture something. So, through dogged persistence I’ve acquired a modicum of skill, but almost all of it is geared towards reproducing what I see in front of me, rather than creating illustrations from imagination. Of course, one helps with t’other to an extent.

I loved the drawing class I took in college, and the one I took here at the Woodruff Arts Center. They have these benches that you straddle, and mount a board with clips on to hold your paper. It’s an ideal position for drawing. If you draw with paper flat on a table and don’t lean over it far enough, drawings can come out elongated when you hold them up perpendicular to your line of eyesight. The bench and board put the drawing surface at just the right angle. Despite the fact that they look uncomfortable, I always had no problem with using them for the three hour classes.

If I have free time during our beach vacation this year, I’m going to focus on figure drawing from scratch. Unfortunately, it’s more like exercising than riding a bike… the skills deteriorate when neglected.

steakums had a visit with goudabonbon today and their fancy new backyard playset, and came back all fired up to do some damage to the savage wilderness behind our house. I see a lot of yardwork in my immediate future.

Not that I’m complaining. Whenever I grill on our back deck, I look down upon the monstrous foliage and think You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine.

Where did I put my machete?

I go back to Juarez in a couple weeks. I suppose I’ve had enough of a reprieve that I shouldn’t complain.

I think I’m going to go see Drove at Dad’s Garage tomorrow night. Anyone stalking me… that’s where you’ll find me. Probably.

It is now time to go home.

Book Log – Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt

Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt by Nick Hornby

This is the sequel to The Polysyllabic Spree, Nick Hornby’s previous compilation of his Believer columns about books. I’ve extolled his columns before in a previous book log, but I’ll state it again: I love, love, love his columns about reading.

So, imagine my surprise when I discovered I had forgotten I wasn’t done with this book. I was crawling around on the floor with Scout the other night and noticed it on the table beside the couch, with the built-in cover bookmark at the halfway point. “How odd,” I said to myself, “that I should have put the book away with the bookmark still in the book instead of folded back into the cover!” I opened it at the mark and read a bit and realized I’d put the book down, gotten distracted by a shiny object, and forgot that there was still some left to go.

Really, it’s like finding $20 in the pocket of a little-used jacket.

The preface is a witty diatribe against book snobbery:

But what’s proper? Whose books will make us more intelligent? Not mine, that’s for sure.

Hornby and I have two books-read in common this time, Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation and Levitt’sFreakanomics. He’s purchased The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup by Susan Orlean, but it languishes on the shelf. I kind of don’t blame him, her essays are a little bit… I dunno. Opaque? I’m not sure what I’m trying to say.

Sarah Vowell is mentioned numerous times, largely because they are friends (“I should own up here and say that Sarah Vowell used to be a friend, back in the days when she still spoke to people who weren’t sufficiently famous to warrant animation”). Several book recommendations come from her, and when mentioned in the later half of the book, he refers to her exclusively as Violet Incredible.

Assassination Vacation is the first of the inevitable Incredibles cash-ins– Sarah Vowell, as some of you may know, provided the voice of Violet Parr in The Incredibles, and has chosen to exploit the new part of her fame by writing a book about the murders of Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. See, I don’t know how good an idea this is, from the cash-in angle. Obviously I’m over here in London, and I can’t really judge the appetite for fascinating facts about the Garfield presidency among America’s preteens, but I reckon Vowell might have done better with something more contemporary– a book about the Fair Deal, say, or an analysis of what actually happened at Yalta.

He also reveals that he was the English Nick mentioned in one of her essays in Assassination. Incestuous!

High-larious. I eagerly await the next one.