Thursday, June 28, 2007

In Loving Memory of Taste

I’m seeing this all over Los Anchorage and I don’t understand.

Someone please explain to me why one would choose to honor a loved one by putting a decal on the rear window of their car saying “In Loving Memory of (fill in the blank).”

Yes, I know everyone grieves in their own way. Yes, I know that a polite person would refrain from criticizing someone in their moment of loss.


If it were me I’d prefer not to be remembered on someone’s ratty old car. And remember, even the newest snazziest motor vehicle will eventually be someone’s ratty old car.

To each their own but wouldn’t a car decal be about as tasteful as a memorial snow globe?

Wait just a second… what with the polymer clay thing, I could probably whip up a memorial snow globe if anyone is interested. Instead of snow I could either put little angel wings or little flames, depending on the dear departed. Quantity discounts for multiple fatality incidents. Serious inquiries only.

Incidentally if you do want a decal, seems as good a place as any to get one.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kids, need help with your STA's?

try these fine folks:

yes, it's pretty lame when my blog content consists of the ACS white pages (from last year at that) but what can you do?

And no, I have no idea what they sell at "A Special Touch" but I have a strict no-touchy rule, especially "special" touching. At least by strangers. At least for money.

I am intrigued that one can order special touches by fax.

Monday, June 25, 2007


If you have read/seen the news today you might have noticed that the United States Supreme Court ruled against a Juneau, Alaska high school student who believed his First Amendment right to free speech was abridged by his Principal.

Here is the decision if you wish to read it: Morse v. Frederick (from

With apologies to my relatives in Juneau who are better versed on the facts of the case, here are the details I deem pertinent: The Olympic Torch was being run through the streets of our state's capitol. Since it was a relatively historic occasion, Juneau Douglas High School decided to let the kids go witness this event during school hours. Oh yeah, TV cameras were covering the whole thing. At this event a high school student (Frederick) held up a 14 foot banner stating "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" which was easily visible to the cameras.

"Stating" is not the right word since "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS" is not a statement; it's gibberish. It was designed by the student as gibberish provocative enough to cause a reaction and get on TV. It did and it did. The principal (Morse) confiscated the sign and suspended the student.

I'm a very strong advocate of the freedom of speech and I'm all "let the kids dance" regarding school issues generally but I'm not at all displeased with this decision.

The principal stated that it was the "bong hits" which she deemed a pro-drug message which caused her to confiscate the sign. Others suggest she is a Christian Conservative who was all bent out of shape about the "Jesus" part of the sign. I say: who cares.

Either way Mr. Frederick, you embarrassed your school at a quasi-school event. You should have been suspended. Your sign should have been confiscated.

Similar to Don Imus, if your inappropriate actions embarrass your boss (or your school) there should be consequences - not criminal consequences, just administrative consequences. There is a huge difference.

The First Amendment is essential to our freedom but it is not a free pass to do as you please at all times.

I cannot, for example, wear a "Fuck The Police" shirt at work. First, the language is unacceptable in a professional work environment. If I cleaned up the language it would still be inappropriate, no matter whether it was cleaned up literally or figuratively.

"Have Intercourse With The Police" might be a way of life for some of my coworkers but the statement on a garment would still would falls short of professionalism. "Question The Authority Of The Police" would also not be a great statement to wear at work. My boss, who by the way IS THE GOVERNMENT (just like a school district) has every right to administratively step on my neck if I wear such a shirt at work or even with a group of coworkers at a police sponsored event. Heck, I'm not supposed to shop in my uniform, even if on the way to or from work. Luckily I wouldn't dream of such a thing since I look a little like Boss Hogg wearing Roscoe P. Coultrane's clothes wearing my light blue uniform.

Mr. Frederick is attending college and I wish him well. I'm sure he is disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against him but I think he should be happy that they did not have to power to lay some real justice on him: sentence him to a career in secondary school administration.

Please weigh in.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Herb Shaindlin Plaque is Done

update October 4, 2008 - It is with great sadness I report that Herb Shaindlin has indeed passed away. His family has set up a MySpace site for people to share stories and wishes at

What do teachers make?

I found this on

And it gave me chills, I nearly had a tear in my eye.
This is one thing on this blog you should play for your kids.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Nuts and Seeds

Sunday early afternoon I received a 911 call from a very upset lady who was lounging by herself in the hot tub on her back deck when a black bear walked up the stairs. The bear was between the hot tub and the door to her house. This is an excellent example of when it is appropriate to call 911.

The bear came to collect what bears in these parts collect: food in the form of bird seed from the woman's bird feeder.

For future reference: Wild birds don't need fed. The only reason to have a bird feeder is to attract birds to your property. If you live in bear country you are also going to attract bears. My advice to anyone who has a bird feeder and access to non-suburban Alaska might as well smear themselves with bacon grease and go for a hike.

Back to the lady in the tub. I got the call in quickly and then kept her on the phone. Luckily the bear was much more interested in the seeds than it was in the lady (apparently the Human Soup didn’t smell 'done' yet). The bear eventually knocked the bird feeder off of the deck onto the grass below and then went down to find it. This gave the caller the opportunity to splish-splash her way quickly inside her residence.

We both had a good laugh at that point. I advised her to lock her door. In retrospect I'm not sure why. Bears, having no pockets or opposable thumbs, don't usually carry lock picking equipment. Oh well, better safe than sorry. I cancelled the call for officers to respond because there was no longer anyone in danger and the police have only one answer to bear: gun. No one likes that solution.

In the last seconds of the call she suggested that she'd need to eventually clean up the seeds. I mentioned that the bird feeder had outlived its welcome and that, if it were me, I'd need to clean up the hot tub.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gaagaa Googoo *hic*

Toddler Served Margarita in a Sippy Cup
Jun 15 03:51 PM US/Eastern

ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) - A toddler who was served a margarita at a restaurant earlier this week is doing well, and investigators say the incident appears to have been an accident. Police say 2-year-old Julian Mayorga ordered apple juice but instead received an alcoholic beverage in a covered, plastic sippy cup on Monday night at an Applebee's franchise in Antioch, between San Francisco and Sacramento.

The boy's mother, Kim Mayorga, said she noticed Julian making funny faces and pushing away his cup. She opened the lid and was hit by the smell of tequila and Triple Sec. The toddler grew drowsy and started vomiting a few hours later and was rushed to the hospital.

"I wasn't going to make a big deal about it," the mother said Thursday, "but then he got sick."
Applebee's Vice President Randy Tei said the restaurant keeps apple juice and the premixed margarita concoction in identical-looking plastic bottles on ice behind the bar. A manager on duty mistakenly grabbed the margarita bottle instead of the apple juice jug, Tei said.

The company will reimburse the Mayorgas for their medical bills. It will no longer keep the juice and margarita mix in similar-looking containers, Tei said.

"We absolutely believe it was an honest mistake," Tei said.

The serving appeared to have been accidental, Antioch police Lt. Pat Welch said.

story courtesy of Breibart News, from Contra Costa Times.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Plane (repost)

(originally posted August 04, 2006). I am reposting it because I am just about done with something much bigger. That being said, this is my favorite creation so far.

It started out very simple. I had a schematic I found on the net.

I bought some aluminum foil and fashioned a wing, a fuselage, and a tail assembly all to scale. Then I made my first mistake.

I used the foil wing and tail pieces as templates and used regular ol' craptacular Sculpey white clay to make them. Next I coated the foil fuselage in Sculpey. Awful stuff, that first generation clay, as I found out. It's soft and crappy to work with, picks up fingerprints like crazy, and is not very strong even when baked.

But I pressed on. I added Sculpey III white clay on top of the airframe. Then I tried using toothpicks covered in clay to hold the wheels on. Bad move. Using Dinko Tilov's techiques I made a wire armature for the wheel struts. Excellent. But still elementary school quality.

Then I decided, since the recipient of this plane just got his captain's wings with a major air carrier, to give the plane a captain's hat. I was very happy with the fine detail of the hat and it inspired me to keep going. Kelli thought some captain's stripes on the wings would be a nice touch. Oui!

Then the wheels themselves totally crumbled under the last baking (which was about two trips to the oven too much for them). I used techniques found in a book by David Kracov to fashion the eyes (which are the best eyes I've seen in any book) and his example to just bake the wheels and back assembly separately and superglue them into place.

So after some tail numbers and several coats of glaze (who am I kidding, it's structural at this point with the crappy wing clay): Voila!

My next plane (if I decide to try another) will be better but at least this one is done.

Kracov's book guided me through a project I'm about a third through but here's a head, some hands, and some shoes. Not too shabby. Kracov's techniques are not much different from the other books I've read but he pays a lot of attention to small details, like the eyes. I'm diggin' it!


Cessna 185 schematic:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Round Two

Okay so here's a second crack at Puck's Dad's head. I think it's a better charicature than my first attempt: less "old man and the sea" sort of thing.

It's still more of a bobblehead quality but it's starting to look okay.

Oh and here is the photo I am working from:

There's still a lot of little things to clean up. Then I have to figure out the best presentation (and the second head is bigger so the whole deal will have to be bigger... hmmm).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

New Heads

Here's really rough head #1 and it's second stage:

And then here's my favorite so far (don't tell your dad, Puck, it's still a work in progress)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Visit My Mother In Law's Art Blog

She's a watercolor artist in Wasilla, Alaska. I happen to think she does outstanding work but perhaps I'm prejudiced.

You be the judge. Check her out at The Art of Dianne Boyd

Friday, June 08, 2007

Welcome to my world

By now you've probably heard about this guy in Paw Paw, Michigan:

He rolled his wheelchair into the path of a semi tractor. When the semi struck the wheelchair (at low speed), the wheelchair handles became lodged in the truck's grill. After a 50mph ride stuck on the front grill, the semi was pulled over by police and the Mr Wheelchair guy was rescued unharmed.

But check out the 911 calls: WGRZ story Plus 911 calls

Specifically listen to call number 3. This is the sort of caller who justifies my pay. It's also a great example of "you don't know how you are going to react during an emergency until one happens."

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The New View

Well... how's this for a change?

I have tweaking to do but I think I need a break from the dark template.

I can always go back.