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May 2010

What I see, what I know is there

Lately as my near sight grows worse and worse, I contemplate Monet's view of things. He just painted what he saw, rather than all he knew to be there. He painted beauty in the eye of the beholder, really. 


The camera is a struggle lately. What I see is more than my five year-old toy Nikon can capture, because unlike Monet, I see better farther off, and unlike the camera, I see the nuances of light without having to balance them all against each other. 

Here's a photo of a tomato blossom, and if you click on it to see it huge, it's a treat:

I had the camera set on mostly automatic adjustments. I could have fussed with it a bit, to make it more accurate, but the fact is, putting my glasses on to do that and then taking them off to shoot the picture isn't always worth it to me. I end up shooting blind most of the time, then coming home and relying on my memory and Photoshop to recreate what I actually saw. Which looked more like this:
See, it's kinda blown out now, and still a little more blue than the light was just then, but this is how I remember it. So, yeah, I'll pay more attention to the exposure setting when I shoot it again, but to me, in my head, the thing just glows. It's very sensual. It's not more accurate, though. I could do that, and sometimes do. 

And so now, contemplating what's more important to share; my vision, the camera's vision, or my memory of the vision. It depends on the situation, to my way of thinking. Most of what I've shared here with my garden photos has been just how it came out of the camera, except for minor lighting adjustments. But as food emerges from the ground, I want to treat it as visual art as well as edible art. So those photos will be tagged garden photos as well as garden, as it feels most honest that way. 

I'm going to work on a painting today, that I'd set aside for some weeks waiting for more consistent light, and wishing for an easel. What comes out on the canvas is *never* what I see in my head. But I'm learning to be good with that. 


the Holodeck: an update

You know I do this once or twice a year or all of the time in my mind; decide who I'd like to keep company with in a holodeck. There's the live version, the dead version, and the never was alive or dead version. 


I'm pretty sure that after last night's episode of House, Hugh Laurie tops the one list this week or month or something. But anyway, this isn't about that. I mean, well, yes, it is, but also. 

Here's my current Top Five on the dead guy list, in semi-random order:

A. François-Marie Arouet, aka Voltaire

Voltaire was a happening guy. He wasn't just part of the Enlightenment, he kind of was the enlightenment. He used a jillion pen names, and seems to have come up with them in much the same way I think of mine, meaningful yet slightly tangential. Anyway, I'm aware there's an ongoing view of how much French people didn't used to bathe, but a man who says plain truth like this to me, en francais, is worth the price of a bar of soap. 

Put two men on the globe, and they will only call good, right, just, what will be good for them both. Put four, and they will only consider virtuous what suits them all: and if one of the four eats his neighbour's supper, or fights or kills him, he will certainly raise the others against him. And what is true of these four men is true of the universe. 

(Mettez deux hommes sur la terre, ils n'appelleront bon, vertueux et juste, que ce qui sera bon pour eux deux. Mettez-en quatre, il n'y aura de vertueux que co qui conviendra à tous les quatre ; et si l'un des quatre mange le souper de son compagnon, ou lo bat, ou le tue, il soulève sûrement les autres. Ce que je dis de ces quatre hommes, il lo faut dire do tout l'univers.)

Being French means examining society, its contracts and your role in them. He understood that, too, pointing out that each society chooses its rules based on who its people are. What tastes good to the French does not necessarily taste good to the Germans. I've been thinking a lot about that lately, so I'd let him pour me some wine and tell me these things, and then whatever. 


B. Thomas Jefferson


I'm not really into the ginger thing, like the lost dwarf, but Jefferson has to be an exception. I think it's pretty clear he knew what it was all about, when it came to women. Also, nature, liberty, and the cultivation and preparation of good food. That's sexy, my friend. 

I bet Jefferson and Voltaire would have an interesting holodeck discussion of this statement:

All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. 

And these two, as well:

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned—this is the sum of good government. 

C. Dean Martin

Dean Martin - One For My Baby...

D. Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan - 4th Dimension
You can see more of that at YouTube, here

E. James Clerk Maxwell

I know you're thinking Michael Faraday was a hotter-looking 19th century physicist, but it's my contention that Maxwell had a lot more going on where it counts. I mean, I don't even know what I mean by that, but anyway. Maxwell was Scottish. At some point in his career he started growing this manky beard and just let the thing go, all willy-nilly, but before that, he was a handsome young man. 


I'd happily bore you with actual facts, but I won't, so if you are interested, you can start here for a light overview.

Basically, he invented what became modern physics. Maxwell led to Einstein, Planck, and the fictional invention of the holodeck, which is not 100% fiction anymore. 

Plus, he was Scottish. 


what can you see on my page?

I do this blog in Safari, and the other one in Firefox. That way I can stay logged in. Only then I end up replying as this name in the other one, since the mail defaults to Safari. Anyway. 


Logged as me on here, I see the link to the other blog, and also to message or email myself, which is a little odd. Neighbors should all be able to see it, though. 

Logged in as Mer and looking at this page in Firefox, the other Vox blog link is missing. People who look at liliales in Firefox should see the link to cannoliandcoffee, but I can't. Tell me what you see, so I'll know what to tell Vox, please. 



chicken soup: a slightly blurred pictorial

Chop vegetables and herbs


Thaw chicken (these are 4 bone-in thighs and a pound of boneless breast tenderloins)

Soften vegetables and herbs (I added some dry herbs to my basil and thyme since it was raining outside and I didn't want to pick more fresh stuff.)

Add tomatoes, half a can of tomato paste (and 6 cups of water)

Add chicken and cook for half an hour

Take out chicken, cool, remove fat and bones, chop, add back to soup

Boil some pastini

Put pasta in bowl, add soup and cheese

Add freshly cracked pepper. 

Eat two bowls; it's good for you. 



I need a new hoe

Here are some pictures of my green beans, which are happily growing in the coldish rain this week. They are 1200x900 if you click through to view them full-sized.


But first, I mean, yes. It's funny in the not-at-all sense of the word, that the end of my hoe wants to fly off when I use it. This seems very dangerous, so I'm going to get a new one this weekend. And then hoeing will recommence. 


I mentioned we've had a cold spell this week. Each evening since Saturday I've been covering my tomato plants with 5 gallon buckets, then giving them some air in the afternoon, putting them back for the next night. Since the garden is a 7 minute drive from here, it sort of chops up some time, but not that much. Today we just took them off, had a look, and put them right back on again. But I will leave the buckets off either tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning. The likelihood of it being this cold again is just about zero. 


Other people have not been covering their tomato plants with buckets. That's okay; either mine will retain more fullness than theirs, or no harm will have been done either way. I love tomatoes too much to take any risk with them. 


Yes, yes, I've just been tired.

We've had a bad weather week. There's more to share, but here is how it looks in the beginning, and I'll probably be able to show several neat things by Saturday. Most of our green bean seedlings are up and looking great, and several summer squash ones. Lots of flowers. 

And more to report on Kyleigh's Law, as well. For now, a book and bed. See you around. 

Stamp Out Hunger

I'm sure you do this every year by now, but in case you don't, well, why not? 


Our pantry won't be back to normal until next week. But I found two large cans of pureed tomatoes, a can of black beans, a box of grits, two boxes of macaroni, a box of cold cereal, and a large jar of peanut butter (because they come in a two-pack at Costco, neat, eh?)

Some years I can give more or less. But I always give something. More on that tomorrow, along with garden pix, and newspaper scan. 


curious?

We worked on the new garden plot this weekend, and we're going back this evening. I will take some new photos to share and post them later. 


The backyard garden is in super shape. I picked the first lettuce this morning to use for dinner tonight! 

(by the way, I was interviewed by the Times of Trenton about Kyleigh's Law. Some of my comments appeared in the lead article in today's paper. And my letter is going to be published in the Lawrence Gazette next month.)


QotD: Change for the Better?

We all have something we'd like to change about ourselves. Inside or out... what would you change if you could?


I'd cancel the mold-induced asthma and the arthritis in my spine. Probably fix my tragic teeth, as well, and while we're at it, I really hate what my chin does to my profile. 

But whatever. 


Kyleigh's Law is stupid and bad and idiotic

May 1, 2010


I felt, literally, sick to my stomach today as I prepared to drive to the MVC to pay the state for a law named after someone's emotional pain. I can't remember the last time I've been this angry, and felt this powerless to usurp bad logic, prevent injustice, and retain the right as a parent to make decisions for my own family. 


My daughter got her license shortly before her 18th birthday. We took the time to make sure she was a great driver before allowing her the privilege of driving our family cars. The NJ legislature is negating our parenting decisions.


The red sticker is only third on the list of why my blood is boiling.


1. As a parent, it is reasonable for me to allow my 18 year-old daughter to attend a 9 o'clock movie with her sister, or hang out with friends, getting home by the original midnight driving curfew. The NJ legislature has removed this parenting decision from me because of teenagers who broke at least three of the provisional driving laws.


2. My daughter has younger brothers. NJ legislature has removed my decision as a parent to let her take two of them to a Little League game or out for ice cream, because of other parents who did not monitor their teens' activities closely enough.


3. Yes, she's very nervous about having to drive with the scarlet emblem on the back of my car. But because we don't have much money at our house, we can't afford true civil disobedience by not attaching the decals at all, as many have stated they will do, risking $100 fines for non-compliance.


Of course, kids who broke the laws before will continue to break them. My law-abiding daughter and her siblings will be serving their sentence for them for the next six months. Other responsible families, especially large ones, will continue to serve that sentence until this hopelessly bad law is repaired or repealed.