Sep 16 2011

Speed Painting

I suppose we all tend to take for granted our own inherent talents. To me, doing algebra or writing a computer program is no big deal; it seems like a reasonably smart monkey could learn to do it. But painting or sculpting — those are gifts that I don’t really understand at all. (One of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen was the self-portrait I had to paint in high school art class. I hope it was safely destroyed long ago.)

So when I see something like this, it’s almost mesmerizing. How does he know to leave that curve on the right for the hair to fill in later, or which colors to start with that’ll end up blending later to make the right skin tones? I know some of that can be learned, but a real artist’s eye is a God-given gift that, combined with study and practice, makes for something extraordinary that I can only envy.

Sep 15 2011

Somewhere in the Universe

I think it’s about time I start blogging again.  A lot’s been happening, so it’s not like I don’t have anything to write about. So I’m going to start posting at least once every weekday, even if it’s just a link or a video, to get back in the habit.

I’ve been re-watching Farscape and remembering how it’s the best TV show ever made, and I don’t say that lightly. I didn’t watch it when it was in its original run on the Sci-Fi channel, because the promos made it look kind of obnoxious.  Muppets and people wearing way too much leather — it just didn’t seem like my kind of thing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s a great show just on the surface, as a humorous space adventure, but it also goes so much deeper than that. One of these days I hope to recap the whole series and get into some of that. For now, here’s a scene I just watched, that wraps up the first season perfectly (this is before John went completely fahrbot).  The speech starts at about 0:38.  The whole scene is great, but this line struck me harder than it had before:

I’ve got a strange life here, Dad. It’s different….but it’s my own. I have people who rely on me, people I care about, people who mystify me, and people who have become allies, friends. And people who teach me patience, and people who teach me….other things.

People have been teaching me a lot lately.

Just watch the whole thing.

Aug 11 2011

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

Something pretty cool happened at Poppe’s today. A fellow came in looking for a sort of Catholic dictionary, something that would explain technical terms like “conclave” (that’s when the cardinals get together to choose a new pope). I found a book that fit the bill; then after he paid, he asked if we had any pictures of the Virgin Mary. I pointed him to several framed prints (I really have to get them out of that dark corner), and he proceeded to tell me about how, ten years ago, he had a vision of her which helped him through some difficult times. He drew a picture of her at the time, and when he spotted a print we had of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, he said she looked just like his drawing. It turns out he’s not even Catholic, but he’s obviously curious about it, and maybe that discovery today will be a step along that path.

Our Mother of Perpetual Help

image courtesy of DUCKMARX

Events like that are the real reason I decided to buy Poppe’s when I was asked. I also think it’s a good long-term business opportunity, and certainly an interesting new challenge, since I haven’t worked in retail since managing a Domino’s Pizza store twenty years ago. But the main reason was for those moments like today, when you have a chance to give a bit of information or inspiration to someone who’s searching for Truth, or a little solace or comfort to someone who’s grieving or in pain.  It doesn’t happen every day (some days the highlight is telling yet another person not to bury St. Joseph upside down), but when it does, it’s an honor to be used in that way.

(I have a ton more to say about Poppe’s, but right now my hand is on fire from a grease burn I got cooking supper tonight, so I need to get it back on something cold.  I just wanted to get today’s story down while it was fresh.)

Aug 07 2011

A Country Song This Time

A while back, I was teasing a friend of mine for liking country music, but I had to admit I actually like a lot of country songs. Mostly older ones, but there are some good new ones too. I was trying to think of one to post, and some things going on in her life right now reminded me of this one in a roundabout way.

Sometimes, when a friend is suffering and you want to do something to help, it’s hard to think of anything that doesn’t seem intrusive, cheesy, or wholly inadequate. This song reminded me that being there with your support is the important thing, even if you have to be a little cheesy. And it’s a pretty song.

Jul 22 2011

Sad Chicken Report

The first part of July was a rough time for my chickens. First we had the big storm, and I was afraid I’d go out in the morning to find pieces of the chicken house spread across the valley. But it held up fine, and they were all okay, and spent most of the day pecking around at the downed branches in the yard. But at some point before evening, the red rooster and about half the hens decided to go walkabout, and weren’t there when I went out to shut them up for the night. I don’t know whether they were freaked out by the storm and went looking for somewhere else to live, or got confused by all the branches down, or what. The strangest part was that the missing hens weren’t the group that normally ran with that rooster; they were a few of those and a few that ran with the other rooster. So there must have been all kinds of confusion. Read more »

Jun 20 2011

Chick Report, Day 32

These are some videos I shot on Friday. I had planned to string them together into a single video before uploading to YouTube, but it turns out you can’t just concatenate MP4 files, and I didn’t want to take the time to learn how to do it with video editing software, so there are four of them. Incidentally, I don’t think I usually breathe this loudly, but it was windy out and I’d been walking up and down the hill, so it sounds like I’m panting a little, and the camera picks up sound awfully well. Read more »

Jun 03 2011

Chick Report – Day 18

The second (and final) batch of chicks arrived yesterday morning, so here’s a video from this morning. These two breeds are Welsummer and Ameraucana. The older ones are Dark Cornish (for meat), Speckled Sussex, and Plymouth Barred Rock.

May 31 2011

Chick Report, Day 15

I’ve been trying to get another video of the chicks for the past week, but every time I take one it’s too dark or too red. I finally got a good one by turning off the infrared heat lamps completely and hanging an extra white light bulb. Enjoy.

May 20 2011

Baby Chicks, Day 4

Here’s another video of the baby chicks, filmed early this morning. Not a whole lot to say in addition to the audio; I lifted the lights up so the camera could get a decent shot this time.

May 17 2011

New Chicks

Here’s a video I made this morning, after moving in our first shipment of new chicks. The light from the heat lamp kind of overwhelmed the camera, so the picture isn’t great, but you can see how big they are. I didn’t want to take away their heat source when they’re so small, even for a short time. Next time I should be able to turn it off and get better results.

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