index

Brad's Blog

  Click here to zoom down to today's entry (after clicking, you can bookmark this page and it should always take you to the current date).

  

Feb. 1
   Emil and I went skiing again today.  While he hasn't connected enough with football to be excited about the Superbowl, I watched part of it in the lodge up on the mountain, part at a friend's house where we were delivering some pottery, and finished watching the play by play internet report on it (since we don't get NBC, and soon won't get any TV with the digital changeover--come on, networks--stream your content...)  
    So this evening I spent editing videos, which, I'll add to my video page (link is in the menu above this page) at the bottoms of the appropriate lists, and on the Sondahl and Hawkins
page..

Feb. 2
  I celebrated Groundhog day with a couple Library preschool groups today.  The book I read tried to make it clear that the Groundhog thing doesn't mean anything, it's just for fun.  As I pointed out, it's still winter and the Superbowl is over, so you got to grab for what you can get.
It snowed an inch and a half last night, reminding us it is still winter.  I no longer see the snow piles taller than me--it takes fresh snow to have any impact, and that wasn't enough snow hardly to shovel.  With it came a warming trend, bringing us above freezing, which it hasn't been for quite a while.
    I heard on the radio that American sales were down 1 per cent in December.  That doesn't sound like a catastrophe to me.  I expect the repressed buying habits of the American public  (due to their compulsive nature) will slowly resurface, if only the sky would stop falling...  Paging Chicken Little...

Feb. 3
Spirit Lake, frozen
I went for a long walk onto the lake today, to see where a faultline developed at the end of the middle island, pushing up thick chunks of ice as illustrated.  Geography is destiny, and the large main area of the lake is split into lobes by the island, so cracks form in that area every year.
In the pottery I got an order for 70 mugs, so I started on them today.  Because of the walk, I got about 40 of them started...  It was a nice sunny day...

Feb. 6
  We got an inch of snow this morning, which got wetter as the day went on.  It felt like a Spring snowfall, but it's a bit early to expect Spring.  Last winter the heavy snow just started around now...
    I've got kid pots from the library to fire in the next few days, along with planters, pitchers, and other restocking pots.

Feb. 7
 I added two puppet videos today:  What happened after the lion and the mouse  and  
Bad Luck (the Fat Lady Sings)
The second one is interesting on several counts.  They started with a simple idea, of a mouse tying a doll to the railroad tracks (where it's hit by a potato chip can).  They had a cell phone with some ring tones for the "special effects."  Then they got the idea of adding the saying, it ain't over till the Fat Lady sings.  The girl playing the fat lady cracked up, and they made a bunch of retakes, then decided they should create some bloopers, so I strung it all together.   They're doing the filming, organizing, and puppets--I just do the editing and some occasional directing (towards better taste, usually).  I put in a couple fun effects because I just discovered them in the editing program, and I think the speeded up video part will probably give them some ideas for Chipmunks style fun.
    I also glazed 3 kilnloads worth of pots today, and am working on bookkeeping, trying to clear a clogged drain, and not selling pots (one looker).

Feb. 8
  Another long walk on the frozen lake today, where there were ice fishermen, 7 deer, snowmobiles, and cross country skiers.  There were even some snow shoe tracks, although the snow on the lake is less than an inch deep, and frozen on hard enough that the footing was great.  It was the kind of ice that would tempt me to drive an old beater car around on it turning doughnuts (if I were that sort of person, and if I hadn't seen a car plunge through the ice back in the old days in Minnesota.)  This is definitely cabin fever time, so a sunny day hiking the lake is about as good as it gets...
    In the evening I went to see Coraline (review below).   I remember vividly the 3D movies seen back in their heyday, including The Thirteen Ghosts (maybe not 3D, but you wore one color glasses if you believed in ghosts, and another if you didn't, as if anyone would wear THOSE glasses), and I think it was House of Wax, with Vincent Price, which had a guy hitting a paddle ball out towards the audience strictly as an awesome 3D effect.

Feb. 11
     I've made it through a small but enthusiastic (fanatic) group of vampire lovers at the library.  I started the program with an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a funny/serious vampire series the 16 year olds remembered from when they were kids.  Then they talked about the Twilight series, which continues to be requested by patrons from age 10 to 70.   We managed to have a mostly on topic discussion of it.   It wasn't the foundation at a teen program, but it was an attempt...

Feb. 14
    I'm flying to Minnesota to visit family for the weekend, so will be out of blog contact for a while.  
This week seemed a lot of blah late winter weather, foggy mornings, occasional light snow.  But what set this week apart is that two of the hens started laying eggs again.  This reminds me of an article showing that birds are wintering on average 150 miles north of their historic range.  This is a triumph for bird observers, where their bird avidity actually translates into scientific data.   It is also interesting in that bird migrations seem hardwired into their little bird brains, but they clearly make some choices based on warmth or food availability, so they are flexible to changing climates...

Feb. 18
female cardinal
The last time I went to Minnesota my best photo was a cardinal, as was this time.  I'd like to say that I'm giving the less showy female cardinal more exposure as part of gender parity, but actually the red cardinal shots were blurrier.
    The most blogworthy part of my trip was the way out.  I don't fly a lot, but remember flying to Minnesota shortly after 9-11 and being impressed by the lack of conversation.  Now it seems most conversations are on cell phones, which brings me to my story.  
    I sat down in my chosen window seat (ever optimistic that I'll be able to see wonderful landforms from the sky, though usually it's just clouds--speaking of which, have you ever seen a bright white light like a sundog on the clouds below you in the direction towards the sun?  Wonder what that's called...)  I was just at the point of hoping for an empty seat next to me when this woman showed up with a large pack to fit under her seat, and settled in.   I'm not a gregarious sort, more inclined to reply to a comment than tender one, but I did wonder why she pulled  some nylon netting resembling a beekeeper's hat over her face.  There were several other women on the plane wearing little hats over their hair (in the Amish or Hutterite style), so I wondered if it was some religious thing.  She kept it on for most of the trip, and I kept to myself reading a book. She also had a silver gadget in her possessions resemling a cross between a hair dryer and the Millenium Falcon space ship, which I found curious. After we landed, I got out my cell phone to call my wife, which is when she finally spoke to me.  " Doesn't that cell phone make your head hot?" she asked.  "That was a hot one.  I've got this device from England that tells when anyone is using a cell phone nearby.  They make my head hurt."  While there are plausible bits to her story, it was clearly nylon netting she was wearing, which would not stop any kind of waves, but might be effective on NonMinnesota mosquitoes...

Feb.19
    Another busy day of kids programs at the library.  The kids movies have been changing from puppetry towards acting.  Here's the link to the one made from last week:
Just a Dream
Also we gave a short talk at the local Chamber of Commerce on our business history this morning.    The weather continues winter blah.

Feb. 21
    Among the stereotypes of Scandinavians that we harbor, lefse and lutefisk are prominent food items.  Emil had never heard of lefse, but has grown fond of it.  I made some for breakfast today.  It's just leftover mashed potatoes, mashed again with a fork to remove lumps, with white flour added to make a rollable dough, fried on a hot dry griddle.   We serve it warm with butter and jam, brown sugar, or other fruit sauces.
    Lutefisk is lye soaked codfish, of a gelatinous texture, which I find hard to believe is still popular anywhere but in Minnesota.

Feb. 23
    Spring hit today with a vengeance--rain all day, the first rain since last fall.   The water is pooling in front of our previously flooded garage, but there's still a two foot berm of snow and ice which should hold it for a while  (That's probably what the cave men said about Glacial Lake Missoula, which built up behind an ice dam and then failed catastrophically during the last ice age, changing the geography of this whole area).    Up until today the street by our house was still coated with an inch of protective ice.  This may mark the beginning of the Spring breakup, when the roads are fragile changing from frozen tar underneath to goopy tar.  I'm not naive enough to think the snows are over, but the average high temperature is creeping up well above freezing.  This is good since the 4 cords of wood for our main house are used up, and we're starting to import wood from the pottery house.
    Including parents there were 16 for the preschool storytime today, which is the largest group yet.    I'm pleased that the kids and parents are happy with the program, which included stuffing all the critters from "I know an old lady" down the old lady puppet's gullet (I didn't create this--it's a commercial product), and making puppets out of paper bags with googly eyes and construction paper ears.

Feb. 24
    Two days of rain, still no serious flood issues...  This is another version of the late winter blahs...  I cranked out pots all morning, and checked books and videos in and out all afternoon at the library.

Feb. 25
The third day of rain turned into snow, so everything looks more freshly wintery, rather than worn out wintery.  In spite of the rain, there's still plenty of 8 foot berms of snow around.  
    Tomorrow baseball season starts at the high school, and Emil is going to try the great American game.
    He's been experimenting with hair dye again --tried to dye his hair green with green food color.  In the rain yesterday the dyed hair got on his face, where the dye stuck on his skin in a prominent manner over a good section of face.  I guess he's ready for St. Patrick's Day a little early.

Feb. 28
    We've got a young friend of the family visiting who is interested in living with us next winter, and possibly learning to be a potter.  She's staying over her spring break from high school, which should give us both a bit of time to see if it might work out.  She has a semester of high school to finish next fall, so she would come next January, through Fall.  She's also looking at area colleges while being here.
    I've been making lots of pots this week, but with the rain they've dried slowly, so I finally filled two kilns today with them and am "candling" them (heating the kiln slowly to let them dry out), probably to fire them tomorrow (depending on whether we go skiing or not).
    Yesterday and today no precipitation is expected, but the next week has lots expected, starting tomorrow.  Today looks like a good day to walk on the lake--it's been cold enough overnight to freeze the recent rain and snow and make a fairly smooth lake surface.

   


Books read and other media of note:

Gunman's Rhapsody by Robert Parker  I'd never paid a lot of attention to the life of Wyatt Earp, except seeing some series based on his life when a child.  This novel by Robert Parker brought it all alive.  I just read most of what's written at the link above, and his story fits the facts mostly, although he paints Wyatt as more of a hero than his record attests.   If anyone epitomized the Old West, it's got to be Wyatt.  He even ended up in Murray, Idaho and Chewelah, Washington in later years, chasing mining booms.  He lived enough for ten men...

The Bear in the Attic by Patrick McManus  
He writes books regularly--collections of his humorous articles from Outdoor Life Magazine.  Each story is a 3 page gem--a very short short story about growing up camping and fishing and stuff, made more wonderful for me as they're mostly set in North Idaho.

Two for the Money, and Three to Get Deadly, Four to Score, High Five  by Janet Evanovich.  
Okay, I'm hooked on the series--detective fluff, but well told fluff.  I guess I've got about 20 to go.  

The Graveyard  Book.  by Neil Gaiman.  This is his latest fantasy, and it had some good parts.  I was reminded of Peter Beagle's Fine and Private Place, also set in a grave yard.   I think I failed to engage enough with some of the characters for it all to work for me.

Coraline
3D film.  I'd read the book--generally I like the author, Neil Gaiman.  This was well realized, and the 3D effect adds to the surreality of the whole premise--a girl ventures into a scary mirror image reality from a hidden door in a house she's moved into.  It was the first 3D movie I'd seen in many years, and showed the potential for making it worthwhile to see the movie in a theater--2D small screen would be a distant relative at best.  I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 10 though--mostly pretty depressing topics.

The Violent Man
by A.E. Van Vogt.  This work was a surprise from the usually seat- of- your- pants fantasy author--a well researched novel set in a cold war indoctrination prison in China (it was written in the 50's or 60's as well).  Although it was not a topic I'd usually read a novel on, he made it an interesting psychological study.   It reminded me a bit of the 60's series, The Prisoner, as they both have their surreal touches.

Video: Appaloosa  
I'd read the book by Robert Parker last year.  Although my memory has always been like a sieve, this movie seemed an excellent rendition of the book.  The actors seemed all hard real people, in a hard existence--not a pretty face in the bunch.  In the library, it's mostly older men that read the westerns--I guess I'm an older man...  But the drama of love, betrayal, and honor cuts across genres.

Twilight
by Stephenie Meyer.  I read it because it's hugely popular with teens.  The whole book seethes with repressed sexuality and other nervous tension.  I'm not sure why it's such a hit--there's a lot better fantasy out there...  Sometimes hits just happen.  Or maybe it's the seething repressed sexuality and other nervous tension.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich.  Our library has a huge section of books by this author on her Stephanie Plum mysteries.  She's currently atop the best seller list for her latest entry.  I'm fond of female sleuths, from Miss Marple to V.I. Warshawski to Carlotta Carlisle and Anna Pigeon.  This particular one (Plum) is closest to V.I. Warshawski: urban, working class, a bit more crass than V.I., but well crafted.  Not for the squeamish.
Sondahl blog index
January
2017
February
2017
March
2017
April
2017
May
2017







January
2016
February
2016
March
2016
April
2016
May
2016
January
2015
February
2015
March
2015
April
2015
May
2015
June
2015
July
2015
October
2015
December
2015
January
2014
February
2014
March
2014
April
2014
May
2014
June
2014
July
2014
October
2014
December
2014
January
2013
February
2013
March
2013
April
2013
May
2013
June
2013
July
2013
August
2013
September
2013
October
2013
November
2013
December
2013
January
2012
February
2012
March
2012
April
2012
May
2012
June
2012
July
2012
August
2012
September
2012
October
2012
November
2012
December
2012
January
2011
February
2011
March
2011
April
2011
May
2011
June
2011
July
2011
August
2011
September
2011
October
2011
November
2011
Deember
2011
January
2010
February
2010
March
2010
April
2010
May
2010
June
2010
July
2010
August
2010
September
2010
October
2010
November
2010
December
2010
January
2009
Febr.
2009
March
2009
April
2009
May
2009
June
2009
July
2009
August
2009
Sept.
2009
October
2009
November
2009
December
2009
Jan.
2008
Febr.
2008
March 2008
April
2008
May
2008
June
2008
July
2008
August
2008
September
2008
October
2008
November
2008
December
2008
Jan.
2007
Febr.
2007
March 2007April
2007
May
2007
June
2007
July
2007
August
2007
Sept.
2007
Oct.
2007
Nov.
2007
Dec.
2007
January 2006February 2006March 2006April 2006May 2006June 2006July 2006August 2006Sept. 2006Oct. 2006Nov. 2006Dec. 2006



April 2005May 2005 June 2005 July 2005August 2005September 2005October 2005November 2005December 2005

index