Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Hummingbird Moth

Sitting out with the boys doing cigars (well, I had a pipe, but... no matter) across the street tonight, and Daryl saw this moth at Kristie's petunia pot. It had a lot of petunias to attend to, so I ran across the street and got the camera and managed one shot before it left.

Never seen one of these before. They're literally as large as a humming bird, and make their living about the same way. This is a White-Lined Sphynx Hummingbird Moth.

Check that tounge out! The thing's twice as long as the moth!


The Wonderful World Wide Web

Ok, so the Finnish reference in the Air Guitar story ... and Björn Türoque reminded me of a girl I went to High School with (well, sort of. She was a Finnish exchange student our senior year) Her name was Johanna Sarmela. Stunningly beautiful girl, she was, easily the prettiest in at St. Clair High School at the time. Not only did she have clear eyes that smiled and sparkled, practically perfect complexion, and gorgeous fine off-blonde hair that never seemed out of place no matter how it moved - she also had a mature, kind, and gentle aura about her which nobody else my age seemed to have. Of course, her foriegn accent didn't hurt any, either. Quite endearing.

Although I didn't know her well, her beauty (and her brains-she was intelligent!) and her kind disposition somehow inspired in me some foolish courage to ... ask her to the senior prom. I didn't expect her to say "yes" but it was ... I don't know. I was a terribly shy and incredibly socially-inept teenager without the courage to ask even someone who knew me well and I liked out on a date (that's an entirely different story). But something about this young lady moved me to just damn the inevitable rejection -- because it would be worth taking the infinitesimal chance that maybe, just maybe... she might say yes.

She didn't.

I didn't blame her. I probably wouldn't have gone with me, either. She was very nice about it (which, in retrospect I probably figured she would be and that probably helped me get through my gut-wrenching apprehension). Anyway... that was that.

One thing I used to be pretty good at in high school was art, and I took 4 years of art. As sort of a tribute (or maybe as an excuse to gaze at her picture for hours on end), I made a pencil sketch of her with a Finnish Flag for a pendant round her neck and gave it to her. I thought for a moment I might not have given her the original, but all I have is a photocopy. Good. At least I had the class to give it to her. I don't think I did two originals. Anyway, that's it at the top of this post.

Anyway, just out of curiosity, I typed her name into Google today, expecting to find anything about her about as much as I expected her to say "yes" when I asked her to be my prom date. Well, life is much luckier for me than it used to be in general, and lo and behold, I found her. A tiny picture of her told me immediately it was her. I gathered from looking at the page (which is all in Finnish) that she is some sort of eye specialist in Helsinki at a private eye clinic (I did do some Finnish-English translation ... what I could, from an online dicitonary).

Sometimes you just want to know how people you knew are doing today. It's even cooler when they're halfway around the world for some reason.

Twenty four years later, still as pretty as ever. Well thought-of by her collegues*. And probably fairly successful. And helping people to see.

That's nice to know.

* from a reference to her in a collegue's thesis paper.

In other news

We finally got a real rain. About an inch and a half one night, and the first 3/4 probably fell too fast. But still. I'm not complaining.

We took Mom back to Fort Wayne a couple of weekends ago and stayed for a couple intervening days. Powerwashed and painted the porches, and Vicki did her cleaning magic on the garage and pulled weeds and day lily stems out of the yard (which was quite a task in itself). Vicki also had me fix a very minor problem with the wooden blinds in the bathroom -- a couple of slats were not attached to the... er... slat mover... it's been that way as long as I can remember it, and I'm not sure Vicki even remembers how long its been like that. But thanks to a couple of small staples from Lowe's, a little superglue, and my trusty Leatherman tool, it's as good as new.

We went to the Decateur Cemetery to hunt down the graves of relatives and friends of the family. Vicki had me take pictures so we'd know what to look for -- maybe more importantly so the boys would know what to look for ... if we should ever go back there without Mom as a guide. I noticed a piece of plywood on the ground nearby some of the graves and some disturbed dirt. I figured they were working on a new grave. I was right. Either they weren't done with it yet, or you really only get burried about 4 feet under.

Since coming home, Ryan and I have been working over different alcohol stoves for camping/lightweight packpacking. My original V8 pressurized stove still works very well, boiling 2 cups of summertime tapwater in 4:20 and burning for around 6 or so minutes total on 2 oz of alchohol. Still, Sgt Rock's Ion stove is supposed to be more efficient, boiling 2 cups of water (not as quickly) on only a half ounce of alchohol. For lightweight packers, less fuel needed = less weight. I had built one a few years ago that I was disappointed with (because my pressurized one was so much faster and it wasn't like I needed to take a weeks worth or more of fuel with me on last year's trip) -- I got it out again and it would boil the 2 cups on about 4 teaspoons -- not quite as efficent, plus it won't do his cool 22 minute simmer on 6 ml, either. I may try building another one.

I did build a new pressurized V8 stove last night, though, this time with much smaller holes than my original, which I want to test tonight and see if its any more efficient than the original.

Boys never get tired of playing with fire.

(well, neither do some girls -- had to laugh at the line from Snakes on a Plane where Julianna Margulies says "I went through a pyromaniac phase as a teenager" as she hands Samuel Jackson an impromptu flame thrower made from a zippo lighter duct-taped to a hairspray bottle -- gotta love a girl like that!)

So yes... that does mean we went to see Snakes on a Plane.... a terrible movie, but also a terribly entertaining movie. It was, I think, kind of a subtle spoof on the genre, but still held together enough so that it wasn't obviously a spoof. You do have to take your sense of humor into the movie with you.

Vicki's feet came up off the floor not too long after the snakes got loose. She only jumped and yelped once, though ;-)

I feel so cool now

A week or two ago in an email from my college friend Sarah, she asked if I still played air guitar.

Frankly, I had forgotten all about the fact that I was a prolific air guitarist in college. Probably on purpose. I must have been much more comfortable in front of her and Karen than I remember, because -- well I just have a rough time imagining myself doing it -- but I must have. And probably frequently.

Well, via Blonde Sagacity, I came across something she was tipped off to by Just Rose -- that gave me a good laugh now that I have been reminded of my air-bending past.

Apparently, Air Guitar is a relatively big thing now. And there are Air Guitar Championships. So I emailed Sarah the post from ALa. She emails me back with this story about Björn Türoque (pronounced B-yorn Too-Rawk).

I may have to buy the book.

Anyway, the cool thing is, I can brush that question aside now. I told Sarah I don't have to anymore. I play my real one :-)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Promises, Promises

Tuesday night, as it pretended it was actually going to rain, we got this rainbow. Just as I tripped the shutter, a hummingbird zoomed into view.

Promises, promises.

Another high of about 100 today, followed by hopefully some decent rain tonight and a cooler tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Off With a Hitch

The big day has come and gone, and I am, once again, a father-in-law. And I do love my new daughter-in-law. Brian and Kristin are now, as the bishop in The Princess Bride said, man and wife! And currently they're hopefully enjoying themselves in Hawaii.

Someone asked me if it went off without a hitch. I thought that was an interesting choice of words. I answered "well, just one" (with a grin).

That's not quite true. The maid of honor rear-ended the bride on the way to the wedding - nobody was hurt. And as we went to leave for the reception, we had a flat tire. So I was out in the 100 degree heat in a tux changing a tire before the reception.

Dick & Dorothy came up from Texas, and Linda brought Mom down from Indiana. We stayed in a bed and breakfast near Kristin's Warsaw home. The rehearsal dinner went fine, and the wedding service was nice with a good sermon about their upcoming journey.

My contingent (0utside of Vicki's family) consisted of Tom & Betty, Joel & Dawn, Mark & Cami & kids, Mike & Lois & kids, Ryan & Kristie, and Sam.

We've had a nice visit with Dick & Dorothy & Mom the last few days. Dick & Dorothy left for Texas today, and we'll take Mom back to Fort Wayne this weekend, I guess.

We've had a few more 100 degree days and no rain to speak of. The trees look tired, and the rain is teasing us to the north and to the south. We got about 5 minutes of very light sprinkling yesterday.

I spent a lot of yesterday editing pictures -- cropping, reducing red-eye.... to share them out to the interested parties from the wedding. We got a few prints today.

Next big thing is the Colorado trip at the end of next month. :-) Can't wait for that.