Monday, May 30, 2005

thou currish common-kissing harpy!

The Shakespearean Insult Creator. Oh yes.

An American’s Guide to Canada. Interesting, even though there’s not a whole heck of a lot here.

A place I spend probably too much time: Dave’s Garden. I would be really upset if this disappeared.

Now back to planting seeds ... what a gorgeous day today.

posted by lee on 05/30/05 at 08:09 PM

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

catching up, kind of

Our trip to DC was fun. We ended up not going on the Duck Tour because the weather was so iffy, and spent two days inside museums instead. We went to the National Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History on Monday. I liked the exhibits about the First Ladies quite a bit, but as usual was frustrated because I couldn’t see their dresses very well because the display has to be so dark. But the information about what many of the First Ladies did was well done and extremely interesting, particularly, of course, Eleanor Roosevelt. Edith Wilson didn’t fare so well.

Tuesday was spent mainly at the National Museum of the American Indian. The architecture of this museum is breathtaking. I told Stanley that the museum, both inside and out, reminds me of the canyons in Arizona. The exhibits need a lot more work, but it’s only been open for a few months so the sparsity of information is understandable. The introductory movies we saw are pretty pointless, and we didn’t see entire tribes (such as the Chippewa, or the Indians of Connecticut), but imagine they’ll show up there sooner or later.

We managed to get to the National Gallery of Art, which, we were informed, is NOT part of the Smithsonian, to see the Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre exhibit. I didn’t know he did so much work on cardboard, at least, we surmised, until he sold a few paintings and was able to afford to buy some canvas?

The trip back was long, fairly decent. I missed the Garden State Parkway turn from the NJ Turnpike, but managed to find the Palisades Parkway so we didn’t have to go over the George Washington Bridge, much to Stanley’s relief. (I’m the navigator, so it was my fault that we missed the Garden State, naturally.) Not much traffic until we hit Fairfield County just about rush hour.

We unpacked the car, played with the kitty for a while, and decided we’d go up to Natick and pick up Ginger that evening (we both missed her). That con artist of a red dog refused to eat anything except her Greenies while she was with Maureen and Ben, so she got more Greenies than she should have. She never eats when we’re not around, like some weird doggie penance for whatever she did that drove us away. She can stand to lose a couple more pounds. It was so good to see her. We should have stayed the night, though, because we drove back through a nor’easter and Stanley was so tense I could’ve bounced a bowling ball off him. Got home and we were both numb. But slept quite a while. Ginger moped for two days. The cat is even more manic, if that’s possible.

Stanley had his physical on Friday and so far, so good. He gets his blood test back next week and then will duke it out with his doctor over whether he has to go on Lipitor or not. I said if his test results are ok, I’d back him not going on Lipitor, but if the cholesterol is high, I’ll shovel them in by force if necessary. I don’t particularly want to watch him undergo bypass surgery ever again, let alone any time soon.

Kate went to her first prom last week. Stanley got some great photos of her. I put three of them in the gallery, which I spent half of Saturday fixing (and it still doesn’t look the way I want it to—but whatever, it’ll do for now. At least it’s working again). Click on this thumbnail to see the large version of this picture.

I also put a bunch of pictures from our trip in the gallery, heading of “dc.” Stanley took many more—these are mostly pics that I took.

Saturday night, my sister Jamie called. Bad news: my Aunt Jo died. I feel badly for my cousins Bruce, Jeanine, and Nicolette. I was hoping to see Aunt Jo at my parents’ Golden Wedding Anniversary party last November, but she must have been ailing then because she couldn’t make it. I really liked her, so I’m sorry I didn’t have a chance to see her recently. Life is too short, that’s for sure.

posted by lee on 05/29/05 at 03:51 AM

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Monday, May 23, 2005

an amazing city

We’re in Washington DC, and I’m going to write this quickly since I am using a stolen wireless connection that keeps dropping out (I don’t really want to go down to the lobby for a better one—it’s late). The only traffic we really ran into was a mess on 287 just past Nyack, which, of course, backed everything up to the Merritt. But it was mostly smooth sailing after that.

We found Hotel Harrington without much trouble—they give good driving directions on their website. The rooms are miniscule, kind of like the rooms at the Waldorf Astoria, meaning very old but clean, just about big enough for a bed and a bathroom so small it requires the same care you’d take if you were on a ship. A decent cafeteria (The Blue Plate). Really close to just about every place you’d want to go in DC. The bed is comfortable.

First night, we wandered over the see the White House, which was amazing. We had to work our way around miles of berms and barriers, but we got to see the back of the White House, the Treasury Building, and then around to the front of the WH across from Lafayette Park.

Today we went on not one, but two, tours. The trolley tour took us everywhere, from Union Station to Georgetown and the National Cathedral to everything along the National Mall ... we heard about or saw just about all the major spots. We went to the house where President Lincoln died, the across to the Ford Theater, which was closing so we’ll try to get back there soon. In the evening, we did the Monuments by Moonlight tour—or whatever the Gray Line calls it. We had a wonderful tour guide, Art Engram. We got out at the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial (which is also the stop for the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial), and the Iwo Jima monument next to Arlingtion National Cemetary. The FDR Memorial was amazing. The Korean War Memorial was very, very eerie, particularly in the moonlight. We didn’t have enough time to see the Vietnam Memorial or the WWII Memorial: those are on our plate for tomorrow or Tuesday.

I know, breathe.

The Chinese Embassy was the second-most depressing thing we saw—what a horrible, ugly building for representing a country and culture that has been a symbol of such beauty over centuries. The most depressing thing we saw was how they’ve torn up all of the beautiful lawns surrounding the Washington Monument—they’ve ripped it to shreds because they’re putting up some security wall or something. There are security berms and barriers and barricades all over the place, all in the name of Homeland Security, but it’s all such bullshit and such a monumental waste of money (pun intended). It’s all so unnecessary and makes it look like we’ve already lost the war on terror, whatever the hell that is.

But, the monuments still move me to tears, just like the did when I first saw them some 35 years ago. No amount of government assininity will be able to do away with their power. Stanley wonders if Bushie ever visited any of these places.

Tomorrow we have the Duck Tour and the Capitol and the National Museum of Natural History on our list. Tuesday, the monuments we didn’t get to see yet (WWII and Vietnam). If we can get into the National Archives, that would be great, too, so we can see the Constitution before the current Administration tears it into shreds. (The lines are very long—even on a Sunday!)

We are well on the way to completing our American Haj.

posted by lee on 05/23/05 at 04:32 AM

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005 gag changed its interface yet again. After a couple of months of really ugly huge pictures of the books taking up the right quadrant of the screen, they changed back to the old, perfectly fine book image size. But the top tabs are now different. Besides that hideous popout, a hiermenu gone insane, they redesigned the graphics to appeal to thirteen-year-old girls. Really gag-inducing. Worse than Apple’s tooth-rotting interface. Somebody needs to be slapped back into adulthood over at Amazon.

posted by lee on 05/10/05 at 03:08 AM

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

yes, yes i am a sucker for quizzes

Stumbled across this quiz while doing some housekeeping on another blog we maintain:

Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
25% Upper Midwestern
20% Yankee
5% Midwestern
0% Dixie
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

This makes sense as I grew up in Michigan, but have lived most of my life (since I was twenty) elsewhere. Ten years in New York City, three years in Arizona, a year in Boston, and for the last 15 years or so, I’ve been in Connecticut.

posted by lee on 05/08/05 at 05:20 PM

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Saturday, May 07, 2005

strange search terms

Every once in a while, I take a peek at the list of search terms people used to end up on my website. Some of them are very strange:

infant twitching (1 time, thank goodness)
stanley home design serial crack (2 times. WTF?)
tube head ads (2) (I don’t know what a tube head is)
pinkzoo (1) (?)
why am i bummed? (1) (You need a search engine to figure that out?)
using outlook express with walmart (1) (does walmart offer email?)
home depot fatalities (1) (!)
tattoo basset characteristic (1) (a type of dog?)
tom delay business leader scam (1) (this used to show up a LOT more)
can food get caught in post nasal drip (1) (eeeyyyyewww, yuck)
dog gagging after surgery (1) (ditto)
self-absorbed friends (1) (we all have those, right?)
euro boobs (1) (are those really really tiny ones?)
colorized mulch process (1) (makes my brain bleed to think about this one)
resurrection of evil serial number (1) (must be an adobe user)
intravenous photos (1) (suffering for art)

And a lot of other terms that deal with stuff I actually wrote about. Heh.

posted by lee on 05/07/05 at 12:01 AM

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Friday, May 06, 2005

a site for stan cohen, artist

There’s something very satisfying about putting up a website for an artist. Sometimes it takes us a while to capture the mood. Sometimes the artist knows pretty much what he or she wants and trusts us to execute his or her vision. Sometimes, when seeing an artist’s work and asking a couple of questions, we just know what to do. And sometimes the technology we need to do the best job becomes available at just the right time.

We are working on sites for, or have made sites for, five artists: a glass artist; a ceramicist; a watercolorist; an artist who works in pastels; and one who combines a variety of media from dance and music to digital photos and acrylics (we host her site, but have not been able to start the redesign yet). All fascinating to us, all work that we love.

copyright 2005 by Stanley I. Cohen, Ridgewood, NJ. All rights reserved.
“The green flash observed, by Stanley I. Cohen. (click to enlarge)
Go to his website

Stan Cohen is the watercolor artist, and his is the third site we’ve built for an artist. He’s a retired mathematician and statistician, learning just a few years ago that he has a previously undiscovered talent for, and love of, painting in watercolor. We set up Stan’s site with ExpressionEngine primarily because of the Image Gallery module, which was released with version 1.2. It works well (when it’s set up properly, which mine isn’t since I haven’t fixed it since I broke it ... ) It’s very difficult for me to decide which of Stan’s paintings I like the best. I love his paper airplanes, but this one, of the green flash, is my current favorite of favorites. Creating the templates and getting them all to work together was a lot of work, but the hardest part of this build was processing the photos of Stan’s paintings—and Stanley did a great job with them. He is much, more more patient for this kind of work than I am, and better at it too. We’re working on several interesting projects right now—we’re almost too busy. A lot of work that we had to push back during February and March is coming due now. Most of it is web work; one project is a book design project, which I’d be done with by now if it didn’t require that I learn InDesign, which is way more software than I need for this project (I want to master it, but it’s ten times more complicated to use than the old Ventura Publisher, which I used back in the last century.) At any rate, time for bed. I’d normally stay up another couple of hours, but last night I got a bee in my bonnet and finished the template for another site we’re building (not for an artist, but for an entrepreneur planning to sell a product that interests me a great deal since it’s the type of product I used to write—in the last century.) So I’m falling asleep as I ramble on trying to find a graceful way to end this entry ... zzzzz

posted by lee on 05/06/05 at 04:01 AM

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