On weather, creating art, and other general thoughts

I grew up in New England (southeastern Connecticut) and heard many times as a young man, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute.” Someone attributed it to Mark Twain, but it was probably around longer than that. We lived in Oklahoma from 1989 to 1992, and I heard the same phrase (this time attributed to Will Rodgers.) Some years later, living in Korea, I heard that they had the same phrase…for about four hundred years.

Christmas Eve brought us four types of precipitation in 15 hours: hail just after 1:00 a.m., rain through most of the night/morning, sleet in the early afternoon and accumulating snow by 3:00 p.m.

So, after living in Texas for the past six years, I can say those other locations were pretenders. It was in the 70s on Friday and heading south of 34F right now.

Art creation

We discovered last year that Andrea and I do not collaborate well on her art. I can make the boxes and frames she needs but my creativity and hers do not align. Not so with son Brandon. He has a knack for paper placement Andrea sometimes uses in her mixed media works. See here for progress photos. I do get a kick out what has become my role in her brainstorming process: “What about…?” is usually met with “No. but thanks.” So, I contribute by helping Andrea eliminate the things she doesn’t want to do!

Apple woes again

Two gripes at once, but I’ll keep it brief. After watching The Hobbit in the theater New Year’s week – a baffling experience in itself, but whatever… I already knew Peter Jackson was going to impose his “vision” – Momma wanted to watch Jackson’s travesty of a trilogy. I played along and got a bit of reading done as I watched the first two with half an eye. Still mostly unrecognizable, but I’ve already ranted enough on Jackson elsewhere.

Gripe, the second, relates to what I described in “Thumbing my nose at Big Brother Apple” (and more concisely here) about how to make your new iTunes library look like to old one to your idevices. You still have to load it up with whatever needs syncing and this is what I did, but…. After a successful sync on my iPhone, I synced my iPad last Saturday. It worked, but unfortunately all my ebooks on my iPad were deleted and replaced with copies of themselves. One might think that’s okay, except that the sync wiped all of my bookmarks and notes and stuck more than 610 of the 630 into the two default shelves of the iBooks app – “Books” and “PDFs”. Big bummer, as I had them sorted on 31 other shelves. I spent all of “The Return of the King” shuffling books to the shelves. Lots of ebooks to go through at one time. And every time I looked up at the movie, same observation: still unrecognizable.

I did have one happy moment come out of the crash recovery: I discovered I had a back up of maybe 75% of my music on Andrea’s USB drive. Not all was lost!

Books of the week

I started my Arthur C. Clarke reading this past week with The Deep Range and after finishing it, I started one I read back in junior high – Childhood’s End. The Deep Range is good old-fashioned science fiction.

I also read J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition. That one is not recommended. Odd. But then, it was called “experimental.”

I didn’t make much progress on the nonfiction The Signal and the Noise, and I added another nonfiction – “The Naked Brewer: Fearless Homebrewing Tips, Tricks & Rule-breaking Recipes“. A little research before I take the plunge and start brewing my own ales.

Meanwhile, during housecleaning, I happened upon several more on my shelf I want to get to this year:

  • Almost History but Roger Bruns – speeches and more reflecting preparations should the worst have happened, such as an Apollo 11 failure
  • Moveable Feasts by Sarah Murray – how food was transported in history
  • Once Upon a Number by John Allen Paulos – hidden math in the stories we know

Movies of the week

I’m sure I’ll be sharing lots of “…of the week” experiences this year, though I don’t expect them to be on a weekly basis. So some “of the week” entries might have a single appearance and others more frequent. Anyway, movies…

Andrea and I saw Lincoln in the theater Friday night. Good movie, but long and at times plodding. I was disappointed with Spielberg’s direction on several counts. No spoilers, but the interactions between the people did not seem at all real. Maybe he was trying to convey a feel that these were different times, but the effect was not quite right. And his use of all too obvious foreshadowing at the end was to me far too amateurish for a veteran director. Diminishes the product and the message.

For Disney with Dad last Sunday, we went back to an animated feature – 1197’s Hercules. For those first hearing of “Disney with Dad”, a bit of backstory: Disney was a staple on Sunday nights when I was growing up in the 1960s, so a couple of years ago I introduced the concept to my younger sons with Blackbeard’s Ghost and the Dexter Riley trilogy and we’ve run quite a number over the last couple of years. I think tonight’s entry will be Candleshoe, a Jodie Foster flick from 1977 and one I don’t recall ever watching. Disney with Dad gives me an opportunity to reminisce and even see some films new to me.

We also introduced Dylan and Drew to The Odd Couple (original) and followed it with Grumpy Old Men. What a great pair Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon were!

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