Archive for December, 2009

Nodes and links

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Functional walk today, that is, to accomplish a couple of errands. We found it incredibly foggy, with buildings obscured only three blocks away.

Our circuitous route took us by the Clermont Motor Hotel, a legendary place on Ponce, the main US highway into downtown from the east, built in about 1924. The hotel part (originally apartments) is closing tonight (ordered to by the city because of mold and other health violations), but apparently the basement strip joint (Clermont Lounge) will remain in biz. Still, we caught guys with clipboards of papers posing for photos beneath the marquee, and even a Channel 5 van in the parking lot (covering the story rather than doing some entertainment research).

I took this photo near the odd post office that has no counter service, around the corner from the apartment building where rumor has it Jane Fonda lives (lived?; her daughter lives in ATL). The sky was super grey today, and I guess the pigeons are trying to get a disco nap in before the fireworks keep them up through the dark of the night.

Here’s looking back at the strange year of 2009, with some amazing highs and not-so-high interstices. Not as bad as it could be; I’m smiling!

ABG adventuring

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At JCB’s suggestion, today’s outing focused on a camera-trip to the ATL Bot Garden. We got a bit of sunlight before the overcast came in (it’s been sleeting off and on since).

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The ABG has a big construction and expansion program underway, so we heard a lot of beep-beep as we wandered the grounds.

Still, the current exhibit (as if this were an art museum) is of very large Henry Moore sculptures, which are rather fun.

We skipped the orchid room and spent more time outdoors, visiting nooks and crannies and checking out the new construction. We also had a nice chat with an ABG guy about a Schima (evergreen woody shrub related to camellias; this particular one resembled a Photinia at a glance—remember those, RMJ?), which he said was pretty rare. From Taiwan. Still growing, though, since it doesn’t apparently have the plant sense to shut down for the winter…we’ll revisit it and see if it makes it through the winter without die back.

This is the old entry patio, which I have always enjoyed. I love that the moss is flourishing between the granite pavers now. When more feet traversed this space, there was only sand.

The vertical photo will only make sense if you know about the Na’vi of Pandora (yes, from Avatar), which are not to be confused with the Nacirema.

Too much brown?

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I’ve been inspired by the new camera to think about still life photos again, the composition thing. Although I took this one with the Lumix….

Earlier this week, I spotted the umbrella and the pansy counterpoints and tried to do something with them. This is the best, and still leaves me rather cold.

I finally decided that mostly the problem is all the shades of brown.

I like the straight lines, with only a few curves: the wreath, the light, and, above all, the fish-pot in the front. And the pansies.

Still, to my eye, the yellow provides the only non-brown, and it’s just not enough.

Or maybe I’m just too critical.

Off to dip back into an Xmas book, Julia Child’s My Life in France.

I got the blues…

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The Avatar storyline is about power and hegemony, with a little bit of deceit and a sprinkle of romance to bind it together. Not unlike real life?

When you see the movie (spend the bucks; watch it in the theater in 3D*), my cautions: don’t get whacked over the head by the Tree of Life symbolic imagery or seduced by the nod to the Gaia concept….

So, which is the most ethical human character?

Vocabulary for discussion: emic and etic. Anthropologists commonly use these terms to differentiate between the point of view from within the culture (emic) and an exterior (and often judged more objective) perspective (etic).

Etic: I’d say the answer is the Marine Colonel, outstanding portrayal by Stephen Lang (hey, this guy runs the Actor’s Studio in real life). This is why: he has pledged to follow orders, right? The best way he knows, right?

Emic: who?

The piece I didn’t pick up on is how the private company seeking to exploit the planet got the US military to do their dirty work.

In short, Avatar’s core storyline is a parable for our times, or perhaps more correctly, a parable for the last century.

* Note: I get no kickback for these favorable comments!

LCM report: full

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Slow Sunday. Micronews: Lake Clara Meer is overfilled, and that’s without a breeze to push the water over the edge.

Still life

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We brought the one on the left into the household (Apple replaced our old computer with this one when the CD drive in the older one failed years ago, a free upgrade we still appreciate). The one on the middle was inherited from Seattle, after being replaced by a better-functioning model (battery problems, I think). The one on the right lives a couple streets down, and is undergoing computer surgery (new operating system, and I don’t know what else), which apparently can be most easily done using the Seattle computer. Since the Seattle computer’s original owner is a real-world surgeon, this seems somehow appropriate.

What I see here are three Apples, and one pumpkin…pie.*

Also featuring the Uncle Bob Table….

Train on fire! (not)

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I know this picture is fuzzy, but can you tell that our “fire” is a laptop display?

For us, a green Xmas*!

* And a special thanks to all our dinner guests who pitched in to get The Meal on the table. The Kitchen Gal took down time in the morning and mis-scheduled totally, and the team effort made it happen…thanks again, all!

Side report: first pecan pie in something like twenty-five years, a success! Except, rough chop the nuts next time to make piece-cutting easier….

For better/worse

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It’s probably a bit difficult to tell, but this is a little copper-colored pot with bulbs that I managed to get planted this week. There are two kinds of narcissus and some purple hyacinths (alternate spelling, according to the Apple Dictionary: jacinth*—didn’t know that!).

Question: is there a gene for plastic wrap? I mean, is there a gene that means you’re better/worse at managing plastic wrap in those critical moments between the beginning of the tear and the proper festooning of the correct target item?

My hypothesis: yes. And I have the “worse” version.

* And jacinth is a color, but which one? Reddish blue and deep purple are cited, along with deep blue…. If it’s a zircon stone, it’s red and transparent….

Holiday excitement

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We arrived at the Dekalb Farmers Market (no farmers in sight) a few minutes after ten this morning and the parking lot was already a mess. Inside, I thought many of the shoppers were regulars, and knew where the items they wanted were. The aisles were choked, but flowing (mostly).

We got some extra holiday excitement as we were preparing to head to the cashier area, in a separate room, with our not-quite-full cart. We were still in the humongous warehouse where the goods are displayed, and, suddenly, the lights went out.

All sound died, too. It was amazing how fast it got quiet.

Thankfully, only a second or so later, the lights were back on.

Whew!

As we were wheeling our load through the cashier area after paying (I was amazed that the electronic—and old—registers were back online), JCB overheard some employees discussing a generator. We surmise they must have a Big One to run that many freezers, fridges, and lights.

Our neighbor said she was there once a while back when the lights went out. And stayed out.

We were so lucky!

Elves comma aged

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These elves moved down from Michigan some years back to smile down from atop our tree each year. I think one is technically my brother’s.