:: Ray's Periodic Rantings ::

Political blurtings, personal notes, musings and more from a Chicago area Mac guy, neon artist, Burner, remarried widower, and now father.
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:: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 ::

Molvania rocks!

Via Giantmonster, my new favoritist Molvanian techno act, Zlad, with his hit, Elektronik Supersonik.
:: Ray 3:11 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, August 22, 2004 ::
Air show observations

Mary and I watched the Chicago Air & Water Show from her Sandberg Terrace rooftop yesterday. I've been attending and enjoying it for years. A couple of observations occurred to me. It is late and I am tired but can't sleep because I took a long nap this afternoon, so I may ramble a bit.

- The show is billed as free. I imagine that corporate sponsors underwrite the civilian parts of the show, but the military aircraft are certainly not free to taxpayers like you and me. We pay for them dearly (or more accurately, if the Bush tax cuts stay in place, our children will be paying for them).

- Mary mentioned that she has seen protestors at the show in past years. According to the Tribune and the Sun-Times, they were out there again yesterday. I can certainly see the point of view that air shows like this glorify killing machines, but I don't share it. I don't advocate killing or war, but I do think it is prudent to maintain a strong military to protect ourselves from potential threats (and when that military is misused by our elected officials, we vote the fuckers that did it out of office). Anyway, military parades and such have been a part of civilization throughout history, and air shows can be thought of as another form of that. As opposed to a demonstration of some of the most advanced killing machines ever, I see it as a demonstration of high performance aircraft that are necessary for our protection. As I mentioned in the previous point, we've already (sort of) paid for them, so if we can get some enjoyment out of watching them perform for us, why not do so? Besides, they are really cool (that's my inner 14 year-old talking, the same one that enjoyed Matrix 3 so much.

- My favorite warplane is the B-1B bomber. That's the one that Carter cancelled because the old B-52s were still working fine and it looked like manned bombers's usefullness was waning, and then Reagan revived as part of his plan to militarily outspend the Soviet Union into oblivion. Some would say his plan worked, but others counter the Soviet Union was going to collapse anyway, and the result of his running up our national debt was to hasten its demise by maybe a few weeks or so. Anyway, the B-1 looks like a sleek, swingwing fighter, but it is significantly larger and can carry a lot of stuff (bombs, missiles, things for killing people) long distances without refueling. But my favorite thing about it is that it is loud. In my experience it is by far the loudest jet in the entire show. Cool (there's the 14 year old again)! Unfortunately, I didn't see it yesterday. I missed it last year, too. I don't know if maybe they are only bringing one around on Sunday or what, because it was billed as being in the show, but I can't go to the show today because of another obligation. Bummer.

- They did a really nice piece with a WWII vintage P-51 Mustang fighter flying in formation with an F-16 jet fighter and an A-10 ground attack jet. I would have liked to see a lot more of that P-51, one of the apexes of propeller fighter technology.

- One of the Army Golden Knights parachutists looked an awful lot like his parachute got tangled, and he was falling toward the lake uncomfortably fast. He disappeared from view behind other buildings before we could see what happened. The show went on, including more parachutists, so I can only imagine he was OK. But if he did hit the water, assuming he survived the impact, there was certainly no shortage of boaters out there to rescue him. And most of them could have given him a cold beer, too.
:: Ray 1:18 AM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 ::
House excitement

For a week and a half now, painters have been scraping, grinding, sanding and finally painting my house. The structure is a one-story cedar shingle affair on a residential street in Des Plaines. I knew it was in bad condition...the paint was floating over a lot of the shingles rather than adhering to them, and most of the window frames had peeled to expose wood. With the estate stuff finally finished, I felt it was time for a fresh start with the house, so I took the plunge.

I am fortunate to have connected with a very good painter who had done a friend's house and who, it turns out, lives one block over from me. He and his guys took about 75% of the paint off the house and reputtied all the windows, for starters. All of this is costing more than his initial estimate (very reasonably so), but I am glad to know that it is being done right and that it will last. And most importantly, it looks great! If you live in the northwest suburbs and want to get your house painted, I'd be happy to give you his name and number.

The house was a sort of schoolhouse red with white foundation and trim and dark green shutters. I ended up going with a darker red, a sage (light beige/green) for the the foundation and trim, and a dark olive for the shutters. I will post a shot this weekend, after everything is back together and cleaned up.

Now it's time for me to get my butt in gear toward making the inside of the house look as nice as the outside...
:: Ray 3:30 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 ::
Again with the burlesque

Sunday evening, Mary and I headed down to the Beat Kitchen for Lavender Cabaret's Church of the Lavender Day Saints show. We were glad we went. Michelle and the girls sizzled with some of their classic numbers from FemmeTV and new material, including a photographer/model vignette, a pillow fight in babydolls (a favorite mental image of mine) set to Bjork's It's oh so quiet, and a strip poker act that ended with Tomas doing his smoking act in boxers, much to everyone's amusement. Doug from Midnight Circus kept us smiling with his cigar box and spinning plates acts, and throughout, Reverend Q. and Freakin' Deacon preached to us about the wonders of the female form. Doubtlessly, everyone there that night is going to hell.
:: Ray 10:55 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, August 04, 2004 ::
Easy or difficult - my choice.

Occasionally I need to be reminded that life can be remarkably easy when I don't try to take everything on alone. The catch is that I have to be willing to do something very difficult for me: ask for help. Why is it so hard? Because first I have to believe that I deserve help, and trust that my friends like me enough to want to help. Once I get past those two barriers, I'm golden. One of those reminders occurred today, and not a moment too soon. Burning Man preparations are well under way, and I have a lot to get done!

And thanks in advance to Virgil and Tom, who will both be helping me correct a design flaw in the dinette that Tom previously helped me build and install in Betty the Airstream, while simultaneously adding a snappy finishing touch to its appearance. When it's done, you'll see the pics.
:: Ray 11:51 PM [+] ::

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