Archive for the ‘Potpourri’ Category

Last Vestiges of Summer

Pepper IMGP0002_1

I know it has felt like summer a lot recently but the signs of autumn are upon us and soon hot pants will be replaced by corduroy and tending gardens will be abandoned for washing purple bird shit off my car. Why do birds have to eat poke berries and then shit on my car? Should I be so blessed with abundance in nature as to have both birds and pokeweed along my daily commute?

Until it really starts to feel like autumn, let’s enjoy one last picture of bounty from my garden. Imagine the taste – a sweet earthiness mixed with a lip-tingling spice, whose heat reminds us of the scorch of sun as the shadows grow longer and daylight wanes.

A toast to the summer! To borrow from John Keats’ Ode to a Nightingale:

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Proven├žal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim

This is what I think of when I think back on summer days – the joy and carefree sense of my days, keeping a light heart and drinking, even if just symbolically, from a fluted glass as the wine of life flows through my veins.

What literary or pictorial allusions bring you back to the warmth of summer?

How much ugly does $52K buy, anyway?

I was going to let it go. I wasn’t going to dignify the purchase of a butt-ass ugly purse for an ungodly sum of money with a blog post. But the more I think about it, the more I have to wonder who the hell spends more than I make in a year on a purse that’s not even attractive, but which is made of leftover scraps of other (mostly) butt-ass ugly purses?

Some woman in DC with more money than brains, that’s who.

At least the bag is pretty big, so there’s no mistaking it as this anonymous burner-of-cash carries it around. Be sure to point and laugh.

happy little trees

As anyone who has ever gotten a new TiVo knows, the process of teaching your TiVo about your preferences to make the Suggestions feature work well can take a little time. Yesterday, based purely on our expressed enjoyment of a particular Food Network show, TiVo started recording a bunch of arts-and-crafts type programs.

As Tom raised the remote to start deleting them, I noticed that the first program on the list was “The Joy of Painting.” “Stop!” I yelled. “Is that Bob Ross?”

It so totally was. And since I had a crap day at work yesterday, Tom humored me and we watched a full half-hour of happy little trees, each with a friend, and listened to Bob tell us, “It’s your world, so you can have whatever you want.”

Bob Ross died in 1995, but the company that bears his name is based in Sterling, VA, continuing to sell Bob’s paints and promote his “wet-on-wet” painting technique. The early episodes of the series were produced in Falls Church– which surprised me; I always imagined him living on a farm somewhere in California.

There has actually been a concept developed for a Bob Ross “Joy of Painting” video game for the Nintendo Wii, which will take advantage of the motion sensors in the Wii controller. The original developers walked away from the project, but Bob Ross Inc. is looking for a new company to pick it up. So Wii-owners, watch for that.

Suicide Knobs – Is That Shit Still Legal?

Suicide Knob 27-07-07_1149

When’s the last time you saw a suicide knob in action? I think the last time I saw one was in my grandfather’s car when I was a kid. He had an excuse, though. He had extra hand controls custom installed due to missing a leg from a run-in with a forklift, so freeing up one hand by use of a spinner was somewhat legitimate.

I saw this at a rest stop here in VA a few weeks ago. I doubt they are street legal but I would love to hear from someone who knows for sure. Probably it’s more like legally selling a kit to turn a rifle into full-auto, but it being illegal to own an automatic rifle. What do you think?

Registered DC Officiant Search

Registered DC Officiant
My preferred marriage officiant

Looking to get married in DC, today’s lunch hour was spent researching the DC marriage requirements, and the Betrothed Butterbean and I have a problem: identifying our “wedding officiant”.

Now if either of us were remotely religious, or felt comfortable with paying a random stranger, finding a registered DC officiant wouldn’t be that hard. But we’re picky.

We’re wanting to be married by a friend or family member but the DC Superior Court says:

Religious celebrants and judges other than those of the D.C. Courts must be authorized by the Court and registered by the Marriage Bureau in order to perform legal marriages in the District of Columbia. The full name of the intended celebrant must be given at the time of the application for verification and placement on the license.

So that means we not only have to get someone we know registered with the marriage bureau, we have to do it before we can even get a marriage license, and who knows how long that process takes!

Do you?

Bribed with Cucumber

As some of you know, I do a bit of teaching on the side, helping kids improve their SAT scores. That’s when I’m not writing my book, taking pictures, leading photo tours and writing in one of the many blogs I work with. So with all that free time, I take on college-bound high school students.

Here’s the hard part – my boss and colleagues sometimes read this blog. Will I get away with this? Will they see that I am writing about them? We have already lost one client because of an employee’s relationship with Wikipedia. What will happen when people see that I write about copyright infringement, my redneck wine and Buddhist cremation? Give a fellow a break. It was nowhere near as creamy as I expected, based on the name.

Today one of my students failed to show for his lesson. His father was home and explained why the lad missed our appointment and wanted to know if he could bribe me with a couple cucumbers to reschedule and not charge him the no-show fee. Reschedule? Certainly. That’s easy. Not charge the fee? I don’t know about that. I will have to get into these cucumbers and see just how good they are before I sacrifice my fee for no-shows.

The cucumbers seem okay and should make good pickles, so perhaps I will show some leniency this time. I will have to decide tomorrow, when I have time to steep them in the tasty brine and hear the student’s side of the story about why he missed the lesson.

How good would cucumbers have to be to sacrifice pay? I am not sure about that one but I am rather certain that even God couldn’t make them that good.

You Can Always Count On Family

We can always count on family, right? Well, just to keep it family-style, my niece did not come here after all. After all that hard work you, our loyal, beautiful fans went through to suggest places I could take her, she didn’t show.

I suspected the plans would change because they always do. We had not heard from my brother-in-law for a couple weeks and he neglected to return calls and emails, so I knew something was up. When we finally tracked him down a couple days ago, he said matter-of-factly that our darling niece was going to Montreal instead of DC.

Thank goodness we somehow got him to pick up the phone. It would have sucked to wait at the airport only to find that we were guestless. But that’s all par for the course with my wife’s family. I suppose my family does stuff that sticks in her craw her too. It’s part of marriage to try to live with the crap so you can enjoy the sweetness, love and tenderness.

What do your relatives and in-laws do that drives you nuts?

Creative Bamboozling Idea #87: Grape Trellis

I feel like a panhandler. “Hey man, can I hold a dollar?” Except instead of a dollar, what I am panhandling for is some specific size bamboo. Need your bamboo field cleared? Have the pandas finally grazed over to your neighbor’s yard? I can certainly help you clear some of that horrid stuff.

I need some sections of bamboo 1-2″ in diameter and about 6′ long. Preferably already dried. It will become the uprights I use to run some training wires for the grapes growing in my yard. Yes, friendly birds munched on grapes somewhere and pooped the seeds in my yard. That means that in 2-3 years I will have grapes, assuming I stay around that long.

So dear folks, if you have what I need, kindly let me know. I am a monster when wielding a saw or bush axe. Wayan needs some as well, roots and all, so he may join me in the festivities. I think he needs the bamboo for his meditation garden or perhaps to do some environmental terrorism, like you might do with kudzu in warmer locations further south.

Do you have excess bamboo? What is your solution to keep it from overgrowing your yard? And when can I pop over to harvest some?

Kabuki @ The Warner Theatre

Heisei Nakamura-za Kabuki troupeAnybody here into ancient Japanese theatre arts and music?… C’mon, raise your hand, I see you.

So Heisei Nakamura-Za Kabuki is in DC this Thursday at the Warner Theatre downtown (as if it was anywhere else). I’ve kind of been enchanted with, at least, the music that could be heard, since it’s not ethnically from my “eastern heritage”, namely Russian and German. I’m pretty much am looking for a visual expansion of what is the only traditional Japanese music I have in my collection (and now, dull my ignorance of the genre.. thank you Blade Runner).

Good tickets are still available, although a little pricey, but the cool factor outweighs price at this point. The performance website describes the event thusly:

“The Japan-America Society of Washington DC proudly presents two performances of Japan’s most famous theatre—-Kabuki. Join us on Thursday, July 26 as one of Japan’s greatest actors, Kanzaburo Nakamura XVIII and over 80 members of the Heisei Nakamura-za Kabuki troupe of Tokyo come to the Warner Theatre. On the playbill are Kanjincho, one of Kabuki’s most famous dramatic works, and Migawari Zazen, a more light-hearted play with a universal theme.”

“All balcony seats for this performance will have an obstructed view of the hanamichi

One Man’s Trash is This Man’s Trash Too

1812 harrison

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But it might be your treasure. Two air conditioners, a mismatched set of crutches, piles of ceiling tiles, twin bed headboard and footboard, a console TV, old ugly art pieces, old paint cans maybe with liquid paint still inside, a box of miscellaneous hardware, various lengths of quarter-round lumber, a couple old doors and an upholstered chair with no cushions. In the rain.

I was hoping to find one of those kid-killer refrigerators so I could snag the door for Don, but no dice on that front.

There were other things too but it all pretty much looked like it should be taken to the dump. Want to find a treasure? Check it out at 1812 N. Harrison Street in Arlington. Who knows? You might find just what you were looking for.

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