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Cool Things I Bought Today February 29, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Juggling, Science & Technology.
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Dueling Helicopters

Yeah buddy!  Dueling Helicopters!  From one of the most awesome sites on the web:  ThinkGeek.com.  I’m having them delivered to the office.  These things are going to be a blast.

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Cool Movie Graph February 26, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I totally swiped this from Fazed:  a chart showing movie box office receipts for the last 20 years.   It takes a bit to figure out what you’re looking at, but it’s really neat when you do.  The big movies are identified for you, hover over the smaller segments to get a title pop up, and click them to get a quickie review.

Car Crash February 19, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I am driving up Maryland Parkway, one of the city’s main North/South thoroughfares near the center of town.  It’s night-time and the traffic is light.  I’m in the far right lane, cruising along.  Suddenly, I notice a car to the right of me.   It’s travelling in the shoulder lane with no lights on.  The car is also a dark color and it’s hard to see.  Some areas of town are so well lit, that you can’t hardly tell if your lights are on or not at night.  Some parts of Maryland Parkway are like that too.  We’re not in any of those parts. 

I look back at the road ahead.  It’s clear.  I look back at the other car.  It’s not even with mine, but just a bit back – virtually hanging out in my blind spot.  It looks like it may have tinted windows too.  Very dark.  Very hard to see in between streetlights.  I don’t like that car there, in a lane it shouldn’t be in with no lights on.  That shoulder lane is where people swing into to turn off the street, or in some residential type areas some people park there.  We’re getting into one of those areas now.  I start to speed up – I wanted that car to be behind me.  I look back to the road ahead.  There are a few cars up ahead, but they aren’t very close.  I check the rear-view mirror.  Nothing.  I check the side view – the dark car is a little further behind, but it’s speeding up now too.  Crap.  I look forward and we’re gaining on the cars ahead.  They are still aways off though. 

I’m really getting annoyed now and I goose the speed up harder with a sharp press on the gas.  The engine surges.  I really want this jerk behind me in case he does something dangerous or stupid.  Well, more dangerous or stupider than driving in the shoulder lane with no lights on a darkish street.  I check the rear-view.  Nothing.  Side mirror – nothing.  I glance forward and the cars ahead are closer, but are not an immediate concern.  Where did that dark car go?  I look right just as I pass under a street light.  It’s back and I can see it now.  It accelerated too and is now almost even with me.  Dark windows – I can’t see in.  I decided that I don’t want to play games with this asshole and that I’m switching to the next left lane and slow down to normal speed.  I’m not in a race; let that idiot go ahead.  I turn my attention back to the front.  The cars ahead stopped at a light I wasn’t aware of, and the last car in my lane has no brake lights on.  I notice this situaton too late.  Far too late.

 I don’t know how fast I’m going, but I’m up to a pretty good clip for a city street.  Around 55 – 60 mph anyway.  I move to hit the brake, but it’s too late.  Far, far too late.  I don’t even touch the pedal when I smash into the car in front of me at full speed.  I’m not wearing my seat belt either.  My car crunches into the other and I feel myself picked up by the cruel physics of mass and inertia and they hurtle me forward as the rear end of my car lifts up.  Just before I get inserted into the Great Hereafter, or the World Of Pain face first through my windshield I have just enough time for a sad wish that this is just a bad dream while absolutely certain that it was not.  It all goes black.

 My eyes snap open.   I’m in my bedroom, and in my own bed.  My cat is lying on top of me, snoozing and it’s early morning.  It wasjust a dream.  My anger at having the crap scared out of me is washed away in the flood of relief that it didn’t actually happen.  This was last Sunday and it is the latest installment of my oldest re-occurring nightmare series I’ve been having since I was a kid:  death or grievous injury due to some horrific car wreck where I’m the driver. 

 So, do any of y’all have nasty dreams you’d like to share?

River Scene February 13, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Here is tonight’s offering. 

Fall River

I was a little pressed for time tonight because I had to leave a little early.  Not too bad, although the instructor pointed out that I probably should have backed off the intensity on that one evergreen tree in the middle.  It really does look like that in the photo, but artistically speaking it throws the composition off. 

This is another experimental medium for me.  This was done on a 9 x 12 inch canvas sheet primed for use with watercolors.  It’s slicker than regular watercolor paper and not nearly as absorbant.  I guess it’s about midway between paper and the Yupo stuff.  This subject is maybe a little too light for the medium though – the canvas texture really shows through the light washes.  Rich, bold colors would work well I think. 

It’s Yupo! February 11, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Check out tonight’s watercolor painting:

Bold Sunset

Last Friday I went down to Blick’s art supplies and picked up a pad of 9 x 12 inch Yupo paper and this was my first effort with it.  Yupo is actually a plastic paper that does not work like regular watercolor paper at all.  Paint does stick to it, but does not absorb into it – it just sorta floats until it dries.  Light, even washes are extremely difficult to do as it will sometimes refuse to cover an area – the watery color simply runs away from the surface in spots.  This may be due to oils from my fingertips creating resistant areas where I touch the paper.  I’ll experiment and find out.

Anyway, not bad for a first time with a new media.  I really like the very vivid colors that I can get with the Yupo.  They’re much more intense than what you can usually get with regular watercolor paper.

What do y’all think?

Conservative Crisis Averted February 11, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Politics.
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Stoaty Weasel has unearthed the perfect candidate for ’08.  Hop on over and pledge your support!

1911 Search Continues February 7, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Well Hell’s bells – I decided that if I’m going to actually consider a gun that costs something in the vicinity of $1k I ought to take another look at Kimber.  And whadaya know – they have something pretty too:Stainless Target II

This here is the Stainless Target II.  They offer versions of this model in the .45 ACP, .38 Super, 9 mm, 10 mm, and another .38 Super in polished stainless in prices ranging from $1,025 – $1,155. 

Hmmmmmmmm.  Nobody had any insights about Para Ordnance – what about Kimber?  They seem to have a very good reputation on the interwebberytubes, but I’ve also seen some complaints about finickiness.  What say you?

Super Sucky Tuesday February 6, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Politics.
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This pretty much sums up the state of conservative side of things these days:

 Troubling times ahead for sure.

Out of the Blue February 2, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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I didn’t sign up for any classes this semester as I wanted to have my evenings free to go to the new gym that set up shop in my office building.  *Cough*.  Yes, well anyway – today I got a call from the instructor of the watercolor class I took last semester.  He’s teaching it again this semester, and he said that if I wanted to I could come by paint with his class.  This is apparently the secret free “Advanced Watercolor” class he teaches.  I guess I’ll have some new paintings to post here soon!