Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grutz says, "Jon Rolling says, 'Those damn pirates.'" or "Wow, it's like Iowa knew....." or "Look what Scott Walker did now. He is pathetic."

A public apology...
April 1st was opening day for the Cubs at Wrigley Field against the mighty "often-less-than-stellar-bottom-dwelling-team-who-always-beat-the-Cubs-after-the Cubs-sweep-the-Cardinals" Pittsburgh Pirates. Needless to say the Cubs loss, actually dropping 2 of 3 to the Pirates (luckily, they're back to .500 after yesterday's win vs. the D-bagsbacks). I wrote a bit during the game here (and yes I was at a coffee shop with a portable radio and headphones listening, antenna fully extended. Har har, why yes, I am a dork, why do you ask?). During the day my very good friend and Chicago Cubs uber-fan, Jon Rolling, and I exchanged messages about the game's progress. After the loss, he texted me from Dubuque, "Those damn pirates." And I have to say it did lighten my spirits with a fine chuckle. Back in Dubuque Jon would host opening-day parties in years past, alas, I did miss attending the event. It primarily consisted of nachos, Chicago-style hotdogs, Old Style, and, of course, the Cubs (and when we were young and stupid silly, we'd sport only Cubby t-shirts and brave the brisk weather outside, as if we were braving the hawkwind at Wrigley). In the razzle-dazzle of opening-day I was blind to something rather important and I feel very fooling for forget about it. April 1st was also Jon's birthday! And I totally forgot!

So happy (late) birthday Jon.

If anyone in DBQ runs into Jon around town, give him some b-day love for me. Don't worry Jon, I got your gift and I swear, it will make up for my incompetence. For now, the only thing I can do is to post a ridiculously old photo of Jon, Ciaran, and me from St. Patrick's Day, about 4 or 5 years ago. Yes, this makes it all kind of better.
Pretty boys with pretty whiskers (except me). Jon, me, and Ciaran (l-r)
Somebody's in the know, you know what I mean?
I'm sure all of you, even those not in Iowa, know that this week is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa (April 4-8). And no, I am not making this up, check the facts, yo. And quite a number of states have these weeks, too. Yesterday, April 4th, a crazy hail storm rocked Dubuque. To quote the Telegraph-Herald, "Damage? Hail yes!" HA HA HA, Ba-zing!
Stunning lightening burst over downtown Dubuque.

BANG, POW, CA-CHING! Huge hail stones pelted Dubuque Monday night. And apparently a cue ball and a quarter. (Editor's note: the cue ball and quarter included to emphasize the size of hail stones, we regret in the ignorance of the author.)
It was a bad storm, and there are some reports of minor damage. The thing that gets me is how did they know?! Right on cue, the severe weather hits. So what now? Some horrid system each day of the week? A typhoon on Wednesday? Sandstorm on Thursday? Cats and dogs living harmony on Friday? If something terrible does really happen, and lord knows tornadoes are not uncommon at this time of year, I can just hear Gov. Braindead Branstad saying, "Can't say we didn't warn you." It's a little eerie.

Is there anything your wonderful wife can't do?
Last night, I attended a Dance Chance Chicago at The Ruth Pace Center for the Arts for three different pieces, the last including my talented wife, Carleen. It's a pretty neat concept, each month choreographers/artists put their name in an empty fishbowl and three names are chosen at random. These three people then have a month to put together a piece and perform it. Heck, I put my name in last night for the May performance, but alas, my name was not selected. One of Carleen's friends from Contact Improv (at this site, you can see Carleen in a photo!) was selected in March, so he included her in his piece last night. It was an improv with six dancers and a cellist. Maybe I'm biased, but it was the best of the three.
Carleen and friends doing their thing. It's quite a spectacle and takes great skill and concentration to pull of good improvisational dance.

There she goes!
This is a sculpture outside the Palette and Chisel, next door the The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. I just thought is was pretty neat. See, it's a sculpture of artists sculpting. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, witty.
You can't have crafty without.....rafty?
So I've been taking some time off from building/crafting/keeping busy doing things with superglue, etc. So yesterday I made a pledge to do something. I think the inspiration for this was a visit with MarySue and Matt on Saturday. We enjoyed their company, some fine pizza, and grouted tiles that will be used for their wedding this summer. As you dedicated reader remember, we mosaic-ed with them before our trip out west. Here's a link to the post Carleen wrote for all you who've recently jumped on the band wagon known as Nick and Carleen's blog.

I've been working on some feather earrings fom Carleen, finding some challenges, having some successes. It's hard mating metal findings to organic feathers/fabrics. Here's my latest attempt.
Front (l) and back (r). Notice at the top of right feather, a metal finding glued to feather. The rings around the bottom of the feather is to keep the feathers from fraying/splitting apart.

Moving on. I bought some inexpensive 12 in x 12 in mirror, meant to be used as tiles. I've already made one framed mirror as you can see here. I cut a mirror and created a wood frame. The second mirror I made a mold to make a plaster frame, for something different.
Cut the glass and the wood. Look, Ma! I gots all my fingers!

Chiseling out a channel for the mirror to rest in on the back of the frame.

Dry-fitted mirror and handsome, charming man. (Wink.)

The finished mirror with a light coat of orange paint. I plan to make more mirrors of differing sizes.
The clay mold for the plaster frame.

Plaster poured in the mold.

The cured frame from the back. The wires are to reinforce the plaster. I may have inserted the hook too close to the placement of the mirror. We'll see....

The front of the frame. The parchment paper I used wrinkled up from the moisture in the plaster leaving this interesting pattern behind. The plaster also picked up the faint pencil outline I drew of the mirror on the parchment paper.
Now I have to remove plaster from the back to insert the mirror, clean up the plaster, and paint the frame. I'll get up a photo when it's finished. So why am I doing this? One, it keeps me out of trouble. Two, our apartment is still kind of bare and Carleen is working, so I have to make it look nice. Three, it's inexpensive. Four, it takes up little space, unlike building a deck or pulling an engine. Five, it's fun. Six, sometimes I don't want to clean or make dinner or play music. Seven, it keeps me out of trouble.

One of my next projects involves these windows I found Sunday in our alley.
A great find, four rather large windows.
I'm going to remove the pane of glass from a window and replace it with plywood or possibly mdf that has been painted with with chalkboard paint. Every house needs a chalkboard. Though I'm not sure if chalkboard paint comes only in spray can form, as spray paint is not sold in Chicago. Also, I had to show my id when I bought the glass cutter. Weird hardware laws.

Everyone is getting smarter starting right now!

Arthur Hailey (5 April 1920 – 24 November 2004) was a British/Canadian novelist.Born in Luton, Bedfordshire, England, Hailey served in the Royal Air Force from the start of World War II during 1939 until 1947, when he went to live in Canada. After working at a number of jobs and writing part-time, he became a writer full-time during 1956, encouraged by the success of the CBC television drama, Flight into Danger (in print as Runway Zero Eight). He also wrote Airport, Hotel, and Wheels. (I see a trend here.)

Booker Taliaferro Washington (April 5, 1856 – November 14, 1915) was an American educator, author, orator, and political leader. He was the dominant figure in the African American community in the United States from 1890 to 1915. He was the first leader of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institut (later to become Tuskegee University). He authored such books as The Story of My Life and Work, Up from Slavery, and The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery Vols I &II.

I couldn't pass this up...
You can't have douchebag and hypocrite without........Scott Walker? Oh, wait, yes you can.

"Walker administration hired lobbyist's son for $81K job"

The administration of Gov. Scott Walker hired the 27-year-old son of a veteran lobbyist then promoted him to an $81,500-per-year job overseeing environmental and regulatory matters and dozens of employees, despite his having no college degree and little management experience, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday. (from the Wisconsin State Journal).

Here's a link to two articles in the Wisconsin State Journal and the breaking story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wow. This is the same fella that b!tched and moaned about "cushy" public sector jobs (read: teachers) and did his best to bust up the unions. What a moron. Really. Talk about the worst time to try to pull this off. Are people advising him to do this? Hey let's pay this guy a lot of money for a PUBLIC sector job (even though we think they're oh so bad and costing the state oh so much money!) because his Dad gave us a bunch of money. Oh wait! Let's pay him a bunch of money for something he's not even qualified to do! Yeah!

I keep toying the the idea of going back to school to get a few more credits to get additional teaching endorsements, but I should just take that money I'd spend and donate to a political election fund and get employment that way. Right? It's the American way......aparently.

At least the eaglets are safe..............for now.

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