Monday, May 28, 2012

creature features

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).

Ruby patiently waiting for her cookies
Ruby patiently waiting for her cookies (click to see it big!)

Ruby always worried about something
Ruby is always worried about something (like not getting her cookies) (click to see it big!)

Bingo hiding from something
Bingo trying to hide from whatever the latest indignity is that Stanley wants to inflict on her. Like taking her picture. She is afraid of the sound of velcro. (click to see it big!)

green eye Slink
Slink literally keeping an eye on what’s going on. © lee fleming, 2012 (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 05/28/12 at 10:13 AM

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Saturday, May 26, 2012 > tessa houghton

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 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:

Tessa Houghton, “Elysian Blue,” Oil on canvas (click to see it big!)

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.

posted by lee on 05/26/12 at 05:10 PM

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Thursday, May 24, 2012


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.

Slink, May 22 2012
Cat 1: Slink, with his lovely green eyes. (click to see it big!)

Pepper, May 23, 2012
Cat 2: Pepper, deep sleep. (click to see it big!)

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.

Pepper's eyes, May 23, 2012
Topaz eyes—Pepper won’t pose for me. (click to see it big!)

I’m glad there’s a long weekend coming up. I’m going to try not to work, Much.

posted by lee on 05/24/12 at 03:14 PM

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Sunday, May 20, 2012


It’s been a long time. I miss blogging.

Things garden:

climbing roses, may 20, 2012
The climbing roses started blooming last week. (click to see it big!)

hidden baptists 5-20-2012
The baptista is hidden in the bramble this year. I need to trim the dead rugosa branches out, but they’re so awful to deal with. (click to see it big!)

stanley trimming the hedge may 20, 2012
Stanley decided to bite the bullet and trim the hedge—we couldn’t see to get out of our driveway safely! (click to see it big!)

triming hedge two may 20, 2012
the weekend is the only time to do it—traffic is deadly on weekdays as Strawberry Hill Avenue turns into a narrow version of I-95. (click to see it big!)

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.

Slink and Pepper watching for squirrels April 2012
Slink and Pepper are watching the squirrels and birds on the porch. We have a bird feeder and it provides lots of entertainment for them (and us) (click to see it big!)

Slink escaping April 2012
Slink is such a gorgeous, strange cat. He likes to hang out on his cushion while I work, but keeps a wary eye out for Bingo and Ruby. Especially Ruby. (click to see it big!)

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.

cascade of roses
the best part of spring, besides all the other good things about spring (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 05/20/12 at 02:35 PM

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Sunday, August 07, 2011

moving right along, despite the rain

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 replaces the porch
Wiping up the puddles that got under the tarp—there was an inch of rain last night! (click to see it big!)

Stanley replaces the porch
The deck done, not yet trimmed. (click to see it big!)

Stanley replaces the porch
The edge trimmed, in the middle of sanding. (click to see it big!)

Stanley replaces the porch
A closer look—it’s looking so good. (click to see it big!)

Stanley replaces the porch
Assessing the sanding. (click to see it big!)

Stanley replaces the porch
Getting ready to round the edge. (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 08/07/11 at 04:42 PM

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

lumber delivered wednesday, progress by thursday!

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 rebuilds the porch
Stanley assessing things. (click to see it big!)

Stanley rebuilds the porch
The base framing board. (click to see it big!)

Stanley rebuilds the porch
The frame is in and caulked! (click to see it big!)

Stanley rebuilds the porch
Taking a cookie break. Now for the deck ... (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 08/04/11 at 04:31 PM

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Monday, August 01, 2011

lot of progress monday

Stanley accepted that the frame was way too far gone to try to salvage. Not surprising, since it’s about 60 years old.

Some rotten clapboards were found and needed replacing. (click to see it big!)

The whole is in the crawlspace under the addition—it used to hold the dryer vent. The crawlspace is now Slink’s domain. (click to see it big!)

It looks so weird! (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 08/01/11 at 04:22 PM

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

it is rotten and it must go!

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.

replacing the porch
Damn! He was hoping the frame was ok, but no ... (click to see it big!)

replacing the porch
Overwhelming! (click to see it big!)

replacing the porch
Just too much rot to salvage. (click to see it big!)

posted by lee on 07/31/11 at 03:56 PM

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

the strain

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!)

posted by lee on 02/05/11 at 04:54 PM

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

noooo, please, uncle, enough already!

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.

Nor'easter January 27, 2011
View from the porch. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Another view from the porch. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Stanley, Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Oh crap, not again, Stanley shovels. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Stanley, Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Piled higher and deeper—Stanley at a familiar task. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

spot of yellow,  Nor'easter January 27, 2011
A spot of yellow. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

snowy chairs,  Nor'easter January 27, 2011
Chairs dream summer dreams. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

ghost dog, Bingo, January 27, 2011
Ghost dog in the window, Bingo. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

Mama cardinal and sparrows, January 27, 2011
Birds gotta eat. Mrs. Cardinal joins the Sparrow family. [click to enlarge] © 2011, lee fleming thompson

posted by lee on 01/27/11 at 02:17 PM

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