Big TV

The local paper interviewed people about what they planned to do with their rebate checks and this one guy said he was going to buy a big screen TV. The question is, “Is now the time to buy one, before the Super Bowl, or will there be even better prices after the game?”

My father asked if I would go along with him and my mom to look at TVs because their picture tube is going. They have one of those wooden cabinets with doors that close. Their screen is 29 inches now so the salesman at Charlotte Appliance told us that the 32 inch sets would actually be smaller than what they are used with the new aspect ratio. So he recommended the next size up, a 40 inch set, and they had three Sony’s to choose from. We liked the 1080p resolution but we weren’t ready to buy.

Charlotte Appliance is in an old theatre so they have all these rooms on different levels. On the way out we looked at the big Lazy Boy style chairs in the furniture section and this one was so huge we just started laughing. I hopped up in it and my feet were well off the ground. All three us of could have fit in this chair. It was kind of like those Monster Trucks.

Next stop was Rowe Photographic. They had the same set for $100 less and they would match Circuit City or Best Buy but the sale prices only lasts until February 1st. My father went home and cut out some newspaper so it was the size of the new TV and he hung it on the front of their old cabinet. My mother thinks it is way to big for their living room. My father is ready for the big screen experience. It is a standstill.

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Who Needs A Better Mouse Trap?

Dead mouse in our basement
Dead mouse in our basement

We have noticed faint scratching sounds coming from under the floor in our bedroom for a few weeks now. So Peggi picked up a couple of old fashioned mouse traps. (I guess they wouldn’t be “mice traps” unless each trap was intended to catch more than one mouse at a time.) They recommended peanut butter as bait so we gave them the good stuff, Wegmans Natural Chunky Peanut Butter. And wow did they take the bait! I set them before dinner (ours and the mice) and had two trapped when I checked after dinner. I loaded them up a second time and had two more by morning. I thought we would hear the traps snap when they went off but after I found this guy I realized the neck of the mice cushions the blow. This guy could use some teeth whitener.

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Preparation ADAS

We recently watched Julie Christi in “Away from Her” and last night we saw local boy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, in “The Savages” so we’ve got picture of what it will be like if Peggi or I lose it before we kick it. I don’t remember a soundtrack in the austere “Away From Here” but “The Savages” opened with a beautiful Peggy Lee song (I Don’t Want To Play In Your Yard) and closed with a beautiful Velvet Underground song (I’m Stickin’ With You). I guess dementia won’t be so bad if the soundtrack is good.

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Body Parts Found In Chicago

Watkins & The Rapiers performing live at WXXI
Watkins & The Rapiers performing live on WXXI’s Sound Stage

We went to the old Rohrbach’s location in the basement of the German House in Rochester’s South Wedge last night. Watkins & The Rapiers were playing there surrounded by TV sets tuned to various stations. “Body Parts Found In Chicago” was displayed the the bottom of the screen on Fox News. I couldn’t tell what we were looking at. We went out with our neighbor, Rick, and he ordered a pitcher of beer. We ran into Bob Mahoney and Jan Marshall and had a nice time chatting while the Regan brothers sang their super catchy songs and select covers like Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” and Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”. I slept like a baby and woke up with “Even on Christmas Day He Wore Black” stuck in my head. Peggi said she was singing “Mighty Nice of you to Treat Colorblind This Way” and they didn’t even do that one.

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Five Letters – First & Last The Same

Peggi Fournier in 4D Advertising offices
Peggi Fournier in 4D Advertising offices

Peggi didn’t know I was taking this photo until she turned around. (see Steve’s comment below) She was battling the Flash encoder in order to post a movie on the Kazoo site. The five gallon water container shown here is empty. It’s the last one we will ever drink from. In fact I’m going to throw the whole dispenser out. It looks ridiculous anyway. We have had bottled water delivered for years and now we read that the plastic leaches hormones. I was wondering why I was hitting so many home runs lately. Good thing 4D doesn’t have a drug testing policy. I always suspected we would be better off drinking tap water.

New Xerox Logo

Xerox moved their corporate headquarters out of town but they are still one of Rochester’s biggest employers. The word “Xerox” was formerly synonymous with a “copy” but they don’t even make copiers anymore. Does Kodak even make film anymore? And how about the fact that both of these Rochester companies have names that begin and end with the same consonant? Kodak was first so I guess that makes Xerox the “copy” cats. And then along comes Lowel where our buddy, Duane Sherwood works.

When Xerox announced their new logo, a spokesman was quoted as saying that it was a “significant multimillion-dollar marketing investment.” Multimillion for this? Why didn’t they hire 4D? We would have done this job for $5000. And that would have included five rounds of revisions, online/telephone review and the provision that we not be included in any of their committee meetings. We would have saved them $4,995,000.

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HiTechs

Dick Storms of Archive Records writing contract for Hi-Techs second single
Dick Storms of Archive Records writing contract for Hi-Techs second single

Martin Edic came out to see Margaret Explosion last night. He had a Polaroid with him from 1980 or so. He was going to scan it and send us a copy but he hadn’t configured the scanner portion of his printer/copier/scanner yet. And he wouldn’t give up the photo. It got us going through some old photos and we came across this one from that same time period. I think this was a signing ceremony for the our band at the time, called the “HiTechs“. We have the candles lit. Dick Storms from Record Archive is shown on the right with a contract in his hands. Peggi is smiling so it must have been going well. Martin, shown behind Peggi, is reading something. He reads anything within reach. Bob is smoking. Those were the days.

Dick released a couple singles of ours on his “Archive Records”. This contract must have been for the second one, “Screamin’ You Head” b/w “A Woman’s Revenge”. “Screamin’ You Head” got some airplay and notoriety when Danceteria DJ Iolo Carew added it to his dance charts for Rockpool. “A Woman’s Revenge” was based on a one of the photo novellas that we used to buy down at Bertha’s on East Main Street in Rochester. Martin was the bass player for HiTechs and Bob was the guitar player in Personal Effects so this must have been right on the cusp of that transformation.

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Lucrative Art Market

Margaret Explosion photo by Leo Dodd
Margaret Explosion photo by Leo Dodd

My father emailed me this photo. He took it at the Margaret Explosion gig over Christmas. I didn’t really care for the art on the walls back then. It changes every month and there is already some new stuff up for our gig tonight.

I have a painting show there in January of ’09 and I got an invoice in the mail today for $50 for the privilege. Apparently you have to be a member of the Little Theater Film Society in order to exhibit there – a worthwhile cause. The Crime Faces ought to liven up the place. Here is link to the Rain Dance from our gig at RIT on Saturday. Phil Marshall is on guitar while Bob was in Anaheim.

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Get Rich Quick

The risky title of this entry is a spam magnet so I’m not allowing comments (as if I get many). We had a regularly scheduled appointment with our financial planner this morning and it coincided with with one of the most volatile market days in recent years. I thought he would just cancel us so he could field panic calls from bigger fish but we met as planned.

Our biggest concern is whether or not we are on track to be able to afford retirement when we want to retire. He ran the numbers and we watched the ML logo whirl around until the report came back. We have a 50/50 chance of running out of money before we die. I told him I was willing to take that risk.

Everything Is Connected

Everything is connected. It better be or else it would all fall apart.

We went to the Mercury Opera production of Don Giovani at the Eastman Theater. Peggi’s mom bought the tickets so we had great seats. The story is a pretty simple one about a pre AIDs cad who has an assistant with a black book of conquests, un mil y tres in España alone. He reminded me of this guy, Karl, who lived in my dorm at IU and sold pot. He drew notches on the wall for each of his scores. The music was nice and this was a 2 PM performance, but for some reason I kept falling asleep, maybe because it was nice.

We had dinner at Mario’s Via Abruzzi. Their grilled calamari is fantastic. Our waiter had just moved back to Rochester. He had been working as a techno DJ in LA. His family is from Milan and told us that techno was huge in Europe. He spins all vinyl which I thought was odd. I was thinking something like that would all be done on a laptop now.We finished the evening with a fire in the insert and “Fistful of Dollars” in the DVD drawer. We had just seen “Yojimbo” which this movie is based on so it was sort of disappointing. “For a Few Dollars More”, the follow-up to this movie was fantastic. Now there is an opera.

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If The Question Comes Up

I had this kid’s eye looking good. It captured perfectly the “oh god, what have I done look”, rolling back and not focused on anything but a thought. I stepped back to check it out and wondered if possibly the eye was too low on the face. I tried to talk myself out of it to no avail and so I scrubbed the whole thing out. I was reminded again of one of Fred Lipp’s rules for painting. Of course he has also said “show me a rule and I’ll show you that I can break it” but this rule is one you can almost bank on. “If the question comes up, the answer is almost always yes”.

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For The Love Of God

Edith Small “Skull” After Damien Hirst
Edith Small “Skull” After Damien Hirst

The one on the top is called “Skull” After Damien Hirst’s “For The Love Of God”. Bob Martin, our regular guitarist, was at a trade show in California so Phil Marshall from The Horse Lovers sat in with Margaret Explosion last night. The event, an art opening for the Edith Small retrospective, was really well attended.

We set up on a balcony overlooking the crowd and spotted Wendell Castle wandering around with his round glasses. It was a pretty swanky affair. Edith was a doll and her art is thoroughly enjoyable. We made the whole evening’s songs up on the spot and the crowd seemed to like it. Stephanie Aldersley asked us if we would like to play the upcoming opening at RoCo.

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Glass Half Full

4D work has slowed way down so I’ve been organizing our backup drives, writing some files to DVD and getting them off our computers and then I’ll install Leopard on two of our main machines and set up Time Machine. Finally a backup scheme that makes sense.

Peggi is doing the taxes. All this activity is something that should be covered by our regular billing as part of doing business but it doesn’t work that way. Maybe it will in the future. I am optimistic. Mike Deming told me, “You’re a glass half full kinda guy” and I guess I am for now.Margaret Explosion is playing an art opening for Edith Small at the Dyer Gallery of RIT and we start at 5 so we are making an early day of it in the office.

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Ice And Clouds

Arthur Dove painting
Arthur Dove painting

“I’m in love with Arthur Dove”. Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan wrote a song with that title. Dove grew up in nearby Canandaigua, New York and this painting of Canandaigua Lake is entitled, “Ice and Clouds”. This is about the way things looked today – a little bit of snow mixed with bare ground, sunny with clouds. Dove was one of America’s first abstract painters and he nearly starved to death doing it. His parents owned a whole block of buildings in Geneva, NY so they threw him some support and Alfred Stieglitz and Duncan Phillips tried to champion his art. I love his work. I did a painting of him in my painters series. And like this quote from him, “Ideas are the only property worth having. Taxes are the penalty you pay for wanting things.”

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I Vote For The Ugly

It has taken us three sittings to work our way through “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” (El Bueno, el Feo y el Malo) and I’m still trying to come up with a good response to the voice over question it poses, “If you work for a living, why do you kill yourself working?”. If we are supposed to pick one of these three characters, I would vote for the Ugly (Eli Wallach). He steals every scene he is in and makes Clint Eastwood look silly.

Painting class started up again last night and there are only six people in Fred Lipp’s Advanced Painting class. I can’t figure out why more people don’t take this class. Peggi goes to her yoga class and that seems like a good alternative but what else would you be doing on a Tuesday night?

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Dear Diary

Sunflowers In Winter
Sunflowers In Winter

On the front page of our local paper yesterday there was a story about some remarks that either Hillary or Obama made about race. We couldn’t tell from the article who said what or why it was controversial. But the headline made it sound as if it was newsworthy. The article came from the Associated Press and it was probably so heavily edited by one of the few full time Gannett staffers that it came out incoherent.

Which brings me to the comment that Steve Hoy made on the “Send Us Your Problems” entry. Steve bailed me out when I was a freshman and we were roommates. I had a paper due the next morning and I was grumbling about it and Steve said, “Let me write it”. He banged it off and called it “Time, The Fourth Dimension”. I had my doubts but turned it in anyway and got an “A” along with a comment addressed to “Mr. Dodd” with an explanation point after it. And I work for a small company named 4D.

My nephew who is a senior in high school and one year younger than I was when Steve wrote that paper for me is in San Francisco for MacWorld. I’ve been following their adventures on his blog, The iLife. He and his friend got in line yesterday for today’s keynote address by Steve Jobs. They were first in line and were interviewed by Justine from iJustine.tv.

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Stumble On

I have noticed that the sloppier I get while painting, the better my painting looks. I don’t mean that the painting looks sloppy, it’s the floor around the easel. And I’m not aware that I am being sloppy until I look down. I drop paint and then step in it and walk around in it. I get paint on the handles of the brushes and then on my hands and my clothes. I wouldn’t think this is anything to aspire to. It is probably some sort of phase that I am going though. And speaking of phases, I feel as though I am stumbling along and proceeding as if that is a method. I don’t know exactly what to do next so I paint something, react to it, correct it by scraping it off or wiping it with a paper towel and then move on. My paintings look better to me and that is all that really counts.

Our friends and neighbors, Rick and Monica, invited us over for dinner last night. Monica made what she calls “comfort food”. The dish had biscuits and chicken and peas in a milky broth and it was delicious. I felt like we were back in Bloomington, Indiana having dinner at the Workingmans’ Cafe. After dinner we watched “Yo Soy Cuba”, a wild 1964 Russian made film about the Cuban Revolution. It reminded us of Sun Ra’s “Space Is The Place” with its unreal setting, exotic characters and otherworldly soundtrack.

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Not Easily Impressed

Peggi’s mom’s church had their monthly Jazz Worship this morning. Two of the band members are former students of Peggi’s and so Peggi joined her mom out there for the service. I stayed home and painted crime faces in the basement. I went to the church of Ornette Coleman. I kept running upstairs to tend the fire in our new insert. I stoked that thing and got the temperature up to 82 in the kitchen. It was probably near 90 in the living room. Peggi’s mom is always cold in our house and I wanted to knock her out with the heat. When Peggi walked in with her I asked if she was warm enough and she said, “Yes”. My mother-in-law is not easily impressed.

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Rat Race

Peggi dismantled the xmas tree while I read yesterday’s paper. I will take the tree out back and cut it up into little pieces to recycle it. I painted for about two hours and then headed out to rake leaves. Won’t have to do that again until next year. Wait a minute. It is next year.

We helped our neighbor split wood for about two hours and he let us borrow a Jean Renoir’s “Boudu, Saved From Drowning” to watch. It was remade as “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” with Nick Nolte and Bette Midler. He also invited us over to use their hot tub tonight while they are out. We will definitely take him up on that offer.

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Intellectual Property

Peggi is teleconferencing at a webinar meeting and we are planning on going out walking when she is done. We want to check out the damage in the woods from the seventy five mile an hour winds that we had the other day.

I’ve been Reading Rich Stim’s intellectual property blog and have become infected by the format. “Dear Rich, I have a question”, “I’m so glad you asked” followed by the concise answers. I want the whole world to work like this.

I would like to know why Google doesn’t follow links on photos. That is, the robots that Google sends out to catalog your web site have instructions to not index pages that are linked from a photo. In my case I have hundreds of pages with instructions to “click photo to advance”. The photos have the standard “a href=” link tags on them but Google blows them off. So if I have content on a page that you can get to only by clicking on a photo, then that content will never get indexed. I will redo those pages but I would like to know why it is that they don’t follow these links.

I wish Rich’s blog covered this territory.

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Low Expectations

After the Margaret Explosion gig last night, our bass player, Ken Frank, told me that he was going to bring his stand up bass again next week now that they have taken the holiday tree down. I guess there wasn’t enough room where we set up with the tree. I told him I never even noticed the tree. We still have ours up but I’ve stopped looking at it.

We got our fireplace insert installed today and I can’t stop looking at that. I thought my camera had gone haywire because when I took a photo and switched to review mode to check it out, it always showed the same photo from a few weeks ago. But I saved all my photos tonight and noticed that the number on the .jpg files had reached its limit of 9,999. It’s hard to believe I’ve taken that many photos. I certainly haven’t saved them all.

Bed & Breakfast near Ithaca

I just saved this one from the bed and breakfast we stayed at on New Years’s Eve. Taughannock Farms Inn is located just up the lake a bit from Ithaca. You can see the lake off to the right and the old yellow house with the widow’s walk is where they serve dinner. The state park and falls are next door with some beautiful hiking trails.

We have had a party on New Years for many years and we always waited to the last minute to invite people. If somebody had something better to do they would not be at our party. The key ingredient to a good party is low expectations.

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