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exhalations
Saturday, January 31, 2004
  


Natural Way to Paint - Just received the excellent how-to art book The Natural Way to Paint by Charles Reid. He's represented by the Munson Gallery and The Artist ColonyThis drawing is a self portrait from one of the first exercises in which one does a contour drawing by starting in the center of the face and moving outward, rarely moving the pen from the paper. It gives a surprisingly acceptable image.

Learned that two of three works were accepted in the Small Works Exhibition sponsored by the local art league, Seated Female and Reclining Female. Alas, no awards.



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Friday, January 30, 2004
  




It's unbelievably cold, hovering around 10° F. Did manage to get some walking in, on the way to and from the bus stop. Even though I own a car, I really prefer not to use it when it can be avoided, and if I don't get some kind of exercise during the day, I usually feel lousy. Driving a car is probably the biggest excuse there is for not exercising.

Getting a little desparate today for a new drawing to post. My goal is to post a newly created drawing daily for the month of January, and it's been a fun challenge.



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Thursday, January 29, 2004
  



Struggling with the use of color in the drawing class. As a result, I rely on monochrome washes. Gradually getting the feel for the selective use of color, but it's been extremely difficult getting a reasonable result.




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Wednesday, January 28, 2004
  
Some good thoughts on submitting a resume from Joel Spolsky. He stresses that the main purpose of a well-written resume is that it be read by the prospective employer, which then gives one a chance at being invited for an interview. Having read a few resumes in the past, I can relate to his examples of simple mistakes that are all too often made, which result in the resume being trashed.


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My cross-country bike trip mascot still sits atop my computer at home, waiting to fly again.



It's COLD out there, not to mention the snow and ice.




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The results of the next set of primaries should decide whether John Edwards can continue to build support for his candidacy. I'm encouraged by his success, although I think Kerry is probably the better candidate. A Kerry/Edwards ticket would be hard to beat.

From watching the coverage of the primaries, it's hard to find anyone who agrees with what's been done by the current administration.


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I guess it was bound to happen. The excellent, free service provided by Merriam-Webster Online is no longer free. I'll be using Google's define function from now on: "define word" returns the defintion of a word.


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Tuesday, January 27, 2004
  


It wasn't fun scraping what felt like an inch of ice off the car windshield this morning. The ice was a good excuse for a lot of people to stay at home. There's more ice predicted for this afternoon. The skiing snow lasted for less than a day, it was good while it lasted.


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Monday, January 26, 2004
  


The fresh, powdery snow that fell overnight made for great cross-country skiing. It was another day when the skis, the wax and the snow were all in sync. I'm always surprised how many other skiers there are in this area. There were several tracks to follow around the golf course, and I saw three or four other skiers out. My old wooden Head LT skis have held up well over the past 20 or so years.



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Sunday, January 25, 2004
  


Awaiting the big storm tonight. Four to six inches of snow are predicted.


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Saturday, January 24, 2004
  
Rabbit-Proof Fence is an excellent film about the plight of mixed blood children in Australia in the first part of the 20th century. I have a new favorite actor, Everlyn Sampi, who plays the main character. She was discovered by the director, Phillip Noyce, who searched Australia for months looking for children to play the 3 lead roles.


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John Kerry seems to be surging in the NH polls. Today he was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters. The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a good site that contains a comparison of the presidential candidate's posistions, although Kerry's info is not very complete. Ironically, in light of today's endorsement, his environmental position is not included.


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Friday, January 23, 2004
  



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The mighty Rufus.


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Finally, the legal system was able to deal with a killer behind the wheel of a car: Jail Time for Ex-Rep. Janklow. Janklow only received 100 days for killing a motorcyclist, but at least he was convicted and will serve time.


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Thursday, January 22, 2004
  



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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
  



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I guess Bush doesn't think we're fat enough yet. The US delegation to the World Health Organization is objecting to the WHO recommendations on obesity:

The food industry has claimed that some suggestions - particularly recommendations on sugar - are not based on hard science.

And the US administration has been accused of trying to dilute the proposals to satisfy the industry's demands.

US delegation head William Steiger drew criticism earlier this month after writing to WHO director-general Dr Lee Jong-wook to challenge the science on which the proposals are based.

Mr Steiger said the report did not place sufficient emphasis on the responsibility of the individual to eat a balanced diet.

He also objected to singling out specific types of food, such as those high in fat and sugar.

The US delegation to the World Health Organization is objecting to the WHO recommendations on obesity.


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Tuesday, January 20, 2004
  
It can be a little discouraging to type a blog URL into Technorati, an application that will show all links from blogs to a page, and see that there is one measly link to the page.


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How not to work with plexiglass. One of the most expensive parts of framing an artwork is the glass. To have a piece cut to size costs a small fortune. I decided to try to use clear plexiglass. It's relatively inexpensive, about $10. for a piece around 22” by 30”.

What I didn't know was how difficult it is to cut the plexiglass. One is supposed to score along the break line, then hold the glass over a round object like a pole, then snap it. Well, it snapped, with a not very straight edge. Ended up using the entire sheet to make two 10” by 13” pieces. Finally had to clamp the glass to a workbench, with the scored break line at the edge of the bench. The snapped piece wasn't that straight, but the remaining pieces could be successively broken off. Not sure that I've saved much. We'll see how clean the surface is after I take off the protective plastic cover sheets. If it's OK, I may try doing it again.



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Monday, January 19, 2004
  


After spending a little time in the doctor's waiting room, went downtown to see a couple of exhibits at the Smithsonian. There are some great behind the scenes photos of the Beatles at the Museum of American History, some by LIFE photographer Bill Eppridge, others by Paul McCartney's brother Mike.

At the National Gallery there's an excellent show of realistic paintings by the Danish painter Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg. A couple of his nudes look like they could have been painted yesterday, in a very realistic, unidealized style. Also checked out the prints in the Colorful Impressions show, an exhibit of some of the earliest color prints from 18th Century France.

I usually can't resist visiting the Freer Gallery and Whistler's etchings known as the Amsterdam Set. The Freer website has a good online exhibit in which one can choose to view works by Whistler, choose either a medium or subject for three stages of his career.



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Sunday, January 18, 2004
  


There were several good articles in Sunday's Book World. A brief review of Touch Me I'm Sick, a collection of photographs from the Seattle music scene circa early 1990's; A novelist tinkers in his workshop, layering characters with this and that, in which Ivan Doig, one of my favorites writers, discusses the development of the many characters in his novels; a brief review of High and Mighty: The Dangerous Rise of the SUV, by Keith Bradsher; and Michael Dirda's review of the latest Elmore Leonard novel Mr. Paradise. Read them soon as the links will die after a couple of weeks.



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Saturday, January 17, 2004
  


It's another bitterly cold day here in Virginia, and now the freezing rain/sleet has started to fall.


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Friday, January 16, 2004
  


Discovered artblog, which appears to be an excellent, frequently updated blog on all things art. The first link I followed leads to an article in the NY Times about the Chuck Close printmaking process show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The article includes an audio slide show by the Michael Kimmelman, with commentary on several prints in the show. It looks like it might be worth a day trip to the big city to catch the show.




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Thursday, January 15, 2004
  


It's been more of a challenge than I thought to post a new drawing daily. The task has forced me to find the time each day to create a (usually) small drawing either from life or from one of my photos. The drawings are usually very simple, but they've got to be rendered well enough that I'm not totally embarrassed to post them. I'd like to continue to post daily at least through January, although now that I've said that's the goal, I'll probably miss posting tomorrow.




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It looks like the infamous OQO handheld computer is on it's first redesign, despite the fact that the initial design was never released. It's coming “real soon now” (second half of this year).


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Wired Magazine contained some interesting reviews in the December edition: Once Upon Atari, a docmentary about employees at Atari; the docudrama Touching the Void, to be released in theaters on Jan. 28, 2004, about two climbers, one who is injured, left for dead, who crawls to safety; and The Crystal Method, Legion of Boom.


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Discovered a great used bookstore in Alexandria today, Book Bank Used Books, 110 S. West St. I've probably walked by it a hundred times, on my way from the King Street Metro station to the Torpedo Factory. Today I just happened to see their sign on a side street off of King Street. Didn't really have time to take a good look, but I can usually judge quickly the quality of a used bookstore. Bought a copy of Iris Murdoch's A Severed Head. After reading about Murdoch in Paul Theroux's Dark Star Safari, I've wanted to check her out. Plus, I usually try to support small, independent bookstores and tend to make at least a token purchase when I visit. [Since Murdoch lived and died in England and had Alzheimer's disease in her last years, I don't know why I confused her with Nadine Gordimer, who lives in South Africa and is mentioned by Theroux. Memory loss?]


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Completed a couple of OK sketches in class today. Getting a decent flesh tone was the biggest challenge. Finally used Cadmium Red and Yellow Ochre.


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Wednesday, January 14, 2004
  


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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
  
One of the really cool things that you can do with a broadband connection is watch this Quicktime panorama of Mars images.


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Found a nice little snippet of code to insert the time and date stamp into an file using emacs. The code is put into the .emacs file:

;; Insert time stamp
(defun insert-date ()
"Insert current date and time."
(interactive "*")
(insert (current-time-string)))

This code allows the use of ctrl-c ctrl-d to do the insertion at the cursor:

(global-set-key "\C-c\C-d" 'insert-current-date-time) ;^C^D - insert date-time



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Monday, January 12, 2004
  

The Mighty Rufus waits patiently while Pekoe slowly eats her dinner.


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Sunday, January 11, 2004
  
It will be hard for Bush and crew to deny some of the allegations of Paul O’Neil on 60 Minutes, especially regarding Bush’s desire to invade Iraq days after coming into office in January 2000. I would have preferred that this kind of information would come out a little close to election day, but I'm sure there are more to come.

See Jonathan Yardley's review of The Ruling Class: A family saga of secrecy, oil money and privilege, which explores how the Bush family, a family of so little distinction, could wield so much power and influence in America.


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Getting the morning paper was a shock, with a temperature of 5 degrees outside. After the 60 degree weather last weekend, there hasn't been much time to acclimate.


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Saturday, January 10, 2004
  


Self Portrait


Reston Town Center



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Friday, January 09, 2004
  


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Thursday, January 08, 2004
  


Today was the first Figure and Portrait in Watercolor class at The Art League in Alexandria. Jackie Saunders is an excellent instructor, and it's always a pleasure to watch her paint.

The 2 hour trip via public transit can be a little tedious, but a good book or magazine, especially New Yorker, helps.



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Tried putting the CSS code, that is included in the previous post, in the header of the document and referencing that code as a class, and it wouldn't work. One of the problems with working with CSS is that I never know if there is a problem with my code (usually) or if there is a bug in the browser (rarely). Of course I tend to always think the problem is with the browser, when 99% of the time I've made an error in the code. Guess I better spend some more time reviewing the CSS Specification.


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Wednesday, January 07, 2004
  


Lake Anne Church. Note to self: edit the blog template to insert the css code used for these div elements to allow side-by-side entries to avoid all this blank space. Found a good reference on using side-by-side div boxes within a container div, at Experts Exchange.




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Broken Toe?

Note to self: When you rearrange the furniture in your room, make sure you turn on the lights the first few times you enter in the dark. Otherwise, you may end up with a broken toe, although the jury is still out on whether or not it's broken.



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Tuesday, January 06, 2004
  

West Newbury, VT



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Monday, January 05, 2004
  


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There's a good article in the Post about Steven King's speech at the National Book Awards ceremony. He was given a lifetime achievement award, and yet his popular fiction, and that of others like John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Mary Higgins Clark, rarely receive the important literary awards. He claims that most people don't read these authors, dismissing them because they are popular. I've tried to read Clancy, and was not able to get very far. The text was simplistic, excessively violent, and not very entertaining, at least to me. I for one am glad that there are awards such as the National Book Awards, that recognize those literary works to which I can turn for an engrossing read.

It was interesting to note that a blog was referenced, Terry Techout's About Last Night. It was the first time I've seen such a casual reference to a blog without the reporter having to explain the term ‘blog’.


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For some info on what the USPS Pro Cycling Team is up to lately, check out this article by Frankie Andreu on the USPS website. Lance lost one of his best riders this year, Roberto Heras, who joined a new Spanish team.


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It's great to be able to check out the latest images from Mars on the NASA JPL site. Can't wait until the rover starts wandering over the terrain.


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I guess I'm not the only person who has recently had an unpleasant experience with Dell. Under A New Studio, the author of A Smoky Mountain Journal discusses his version of “Dell hell”.


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Sunday, January 04, 2004
  

 


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Saturday, January 03, 2004
  
It was a strange, warm January day, with the temperature reaching 60 degrees. Took a quick, 20-mile ride on the Trail and it felt great.


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View from the upstairs window. To create the border using GIMP, I used EditSelect>Select All, Edit>Stroke Unfortunately there is a bug in GIMP that causes an extra row of pixels on the top and left sides of the image. These must be cropped.



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Friday, January 02, 2004
  
Playing around with The Gimp, the open source image manipulation program. It's very powerful and functions similar to Photoshop. Also came across a good list of Gimp tips & tricks. On the old computer I used PhotoshopLE which was usually sufficient for my needs. Since I haven't loaded that program onto the new computer, I'm using Gimp and find I don't need PhotoshopLE.


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Not surprisingly, Gore Vidal doesn't think much of the current administration.


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Thursday, January 01, 2004
  



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Tim Bray has taken an interesting approach to the job search in his weblog ongoing Looking For a Gig. This sure beats posting a resume on a job site. And word of mouth spreads rather quickly on a well-read weblog. In the meantime, he's attempting to earn some revenue by placing ads on his site using Google's AdSense program. It discretely places context-sensitive ads on a designated site.


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