No particular point to this entry. I just feel like posting some photos of our creatures. Sans Pepper. She remains as hard for me to photograph as she can (Stanley gets better photos of her).
The other day, I received a google alert that Famous Artists School was mentioned somewhere on the web. FAS is a long-time client and we just launched two new courses, so I wanted to see if it was being picked up somewhere.
The alert led me to this guy: Stephen Fisher, a Warren, Rhode Island artists who is an FAS alum. Which led me to explore the artistaday.com. This site impresses the hell out of me—a huge collection of artists from around the world, an artist profiled each day.
Scrolling backwards, I got to , I think, March 17, 2012, and was rendered speechless. Behold a painting by Tessa Houghton:
Houghton’s website offers an extensive gallery. She is a Brit currently in based in Barcelona.
She paints seascapes mainly—it’s hard to believe the image above is done in oil paint and not is not a photograph. There’s something about the scope and the colors that grab me, the sea ... I think it’s the way she captures the light. I would love to see her work in the real world.
Sometimes, when I’m really absorbed in what I’m working on, I glance to my left and I’m surprised to see the cat snoozing under the window has changed. And I didn’t even notice.
I’ve been trying to get a good photo of Pepper—good thing pixels are cheap because she’s very hard to photograph. Where Slink has brilliant green eyes, Pepper has beautiful topaz eyes, with just a hint of green ringing the edge of the irises. They have very different personalities, and I can tell them apart just by hearing their purrs.
I’m glad there’s a long weekend coming up. I’m going to try not to work, Much.
It’s been a long time. I miss blogging.
The hedge looks great, the front is complete. However, Stanley fell off the ladder when he was climbing down, and has a scrape on the back of his head and he hurt his wrist. He didn’t knock himself out and he says he’s ok. I plan to hold the ladder the next time—I couldn’t bear it if he ended up in the hospital.
We lost Twitch Thanksgiving weekend. He had a heart murmur and we knew he was on borrowed time, but it still hit us hard. Slink was lost without him, so we knew we needed to get him a buddy. Pepper adopted us when we met her at the Connecticut Humane Society in Westport on December 1, 2012. She’s a tuxedo cat and pretty much runs the house buy now.
I’ve neglected the housekeeping on the blog—it’s going to take a while to clean out all the spam comments that have accumulated. And upgrade it to the latest and greatest and final version of ExpressionEngine 1x. I need to update the home page to include photos of our current furry family, and update other pages. I’ll get it done.
I do miss blogging. Facebook just doesn’t do it for me—it’s too impersonal. Now that I’ve taken the first step in getting back, I hope I keep going.
By Friday evening, Stanley had the tongue-in-groove deck placed. The next steps are trimming the end, sanding, rounding the edges, priming, caulking, then painting. I get to choose the color—I’m not sure yet what color it will be yet, other than it will not not not be battleship gray. He managed to figure out how to deal with one of the framing boards that was way warped. This porch is solid!
Stanley replaced rotting clapboards on Tuesday, and ordered the lumber from Torno in Westport. The wood for the new porch cost about $500, delivered. It came around 10:30 a.m. He moved quickly on getting the framing done.
Stanley accepted that the frame was way too far gone to try to salvage. Not surprising, since it’s about 60 years old.
Stanley got a bee in his bonnet and decided that, at last, the back porch must be replaced. Why today, I have no idea, but I’m glad.
The porch, about 30 years old, was rotting and needed replacing about five years ago. It’s 16 feet by 4 feet.
Well, I don’t normally go for vampire stories. I tried the Twilight stuff and found it utterly insipid. We tried to listen to the audiobook and didn’t even last ten minutes. I liked Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat, but she lost me with Queen of the Damned. Oh, and of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which scared the hell out of me when I read it in high school.
So, vampire stories is not a genre I seek out. My not-so-secret addiction is reading books (and watching movies) about the end of the world. More specifically, The End of the World as We Know It. Doesn’t matter much how the world as we know it ends: asteroid impact, plague, economic collapse, political suicide. I’m interested not in how the world is saved from apocalypse, but what happens afterward. How do people survive? What do they do? What changes?
One day I was taking a look at my recommended books on Amazon and I saw The Strain, by Guillermo del Torro and Chuck Hogan. I love del Torro’s movies—Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone are on my top-100 list. So I took a look at the description.
Hmm. The End of the World as We Know It caused by a plague—in this case, vampirism is the disease. And it costs less than the maximum I will pay for any Kindle book ($9.99). So I downloaded it.
The story starts out with a jet from Germany landing at JFK—it lands perfectly, but nobody opens the doors to get off. Eventually, it’s established that all the passengers and crew are dead, so the Center for Disease Control is called in to deal with it. Ah, a plague! Turning a person into a vampire is to pass them a virus that transforms the host’s internal organs into structures that keep the virus alive and transforms the trachea into a stinger ...
These are not your insipid, Stephanie Meyer vampires. Not at all. They are ugly, evil, virulent things that suck the blood out of their victims and shit and piss all over themselves and turn increasingly horrifying as they turn. They are an ancient plague, pre-dating Christianity and silly countermeasures such as crosses and holy water. There is nothing romantic about them. And they are wreaking havoc on Manhattan, Queens, and Bronxville. And spreading.
There are only a few who know what’s going on—some working behind the scenes to enable the spread of this plague, and some battling to stop it. There is a professor-turned-pawnbroker who’s been waiting since World War Two to battle the Master, whom the professor first encountered while he was a prisoner is a concentration camp. There are two doctors from the CDC who know what’s going on, and the teenage son of one of the doctors. There’s an exterminator. This group are fighting the good fight. And there is a gangbanger who’s kind of off in a sidetrack who also knows what’s going on and is looking to take them on.
The Stain is just book one of a trilogy. Book two, The Fall, is now out. I haven’t read it yet as I’m in the middle of another book right now, and then will decide if I want to read it next or wait until book three is out (I’m not very patient—when I’m in the middle of a series, I want to keep reading until the end).
Oops, I forgot to mention: I really like this novel. It’s scary, exciting in parts, keep me reading and staying awake much longer than I should have. I’m looking forward to the next book, whenever I decide to read it. I like two of the characters (the professor and the exterminator) a lot, and buy the villians (human villains, I mean—they’re not different from our current real-world villains, not at all ... ) I’m very interested in seeing how it all turns out and don’t necessarily expect a happy ending.
I love my Kindle—but that’s a tale for another post (it’s time for dinner!)
More snow. Another 17 inches. Or 15 inches, depending on what measurement you believe. Yesterday we got three inches. I am so tired. Another day of work lost to shoveling. Stanley did most of it (he’s still out working on enough more so we have a turnaround). We’re legal, the sidewalk has a foot-wide path between 3.5-feet-tall snow walls. The car is cleared off, including the top so we don’t get a ticket.