Before I went to the gun show on Saturday I went to Ledges to check out the flooding. It wasn’t the most impressive flooding I’ve ever seen, but I stopped and snapped off a few photos to mark the occasion. The pictures below are those photos.
So I’ve weened the field of contenders down to 16. What lies below are the 16 photos I’m considering for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. I can enter six images, so please feel free to give me your opinion on what pictures you think I should enter. It really isn’t difficult or hard to leave comments on this “blog”. If you don’t have a google account, just select anonymous. I look forward to hearing some feedback . . . he said wistfully.
Epson 350 Scanner Test
Same Clouds – Sans Color
Another One of Jen’s Flowers
It should be pointed out that these are not the actual names of the pictures, but just something to call them by at this time.
I am on vacation this week. I have not taken a vacation since before Christmas last year. It has become apparent in the last couple of weeks that I was in a desperate need of a vacation. I had become burned out. I was no longer looking forward to coming to work every day. I was definitely looking forward to every weekend with increasing desire every week. It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to concentrate and the easier the task, the less desire I had to complete the task.
This came as a surprise to me. I did not think that you could become burnt out at a job where on most days it is fun to show up to work and there is next to zero stress. As it turns out, I could get burned out. It turned out that I did get burned out.
So I’m taking this week to recharge my batteries. I’m taking this week to sharpen my saw.
The need of a vacation was not merely derived from my waning batteries. It also came from the need to stop answering the same question over and over.
As many of you know, I was rejected by the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon this year. I haven’t written about this rejection yet because I’d been working on this blog about the Des Moines Arts Festival and the difference between liking to take pictures of naked chicks as art and pornography. I was hoping to write a really clever blog that included some examples of parody, but it just seems that my heart isn’t in it. I might later today publish my weak attempt, but it might just be better for the world if this poor attempt never sees the light of day.
I believe because I haven’t written about my rejection, some people feel that I am ashamed or angry about this snub. This is not the case, but because of my silence on the subject, I see how people could have reached this inaccurate conclusion.
So I’ll break my silence.
On the Saturday of the Boone County Fair, I woke up and went to the mailbox. There was a letter in it from the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It read as follows:
Dear Mr. Bennett:
There are days when it is great to be the all powerful judging committee of the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. Those are the days that we discover new talent or days that we see things that we have never seen before. This letter is not in response to one of those events. It is our duty to inform you that you are not a startling new talent. Your work is not revolutionary. In fact, the only thing startling about your work is its decided lack of talent. You sir suck! We take no joy in pointing out your numerous inadequacies as a photographer. However, we would be derelict in our duties if didn’t beseech you to never pick up a camera again. It would be better for you if you pursued a different hobby that isn’t so demanding. May we suggest playing the keytar. We feel it is an instrument poised to make a comeback.
If you have not yet picked up what we are laying down, let us quote the immortal Marty McFly:
“Get out of here kid, you got no future.”
If you decide to ignore our advice, we have done some research and found out that one of your co-workers, a Mike Vest, is a very talented photographer. We feel that your only chance is to study at his feet and maybe some day you will take a picture worthy of being in our Salon.
Good luck next year you no talent hack,
2007 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Judges*
How could I be angry? They were so nice about it.
The truth of the matter is that it doesn’t bother me that a co-worker got a picture in and I didn’t. Truth be known I always get it handed to me at the Iowa State Fair. I had a streak of two years in a row of getting pictures into the State Fair. That was a good run.
I start over again next year.
I don’t get angry or upset because I know that this is a hard competition. Only 20% of the pictures entered get displayed. Whether or not you get a picture in is kind of a crapshoot. Who knows what the judges are going to like and not like? I have theories about it, but I’m not going to go out my way to make a “photo contest” picture.
I make the kind of pictures I like. I figured out a long time ago that these aren’t the type of pictures that do well at photo contests. I try to make the type of picture you would want to put on your wall. These are not the type of picture that do well at photo contests.
So be it. The end result of this rejection is that I will end up entering the Pufferbilly Photo Contest this year. I was slowly entering a mindset that I was “done” with photo contests. However, I realized this past year that what I don’t like about photo contests (the competitive part) is outstripped by what I like about photo contests. What I like is people seeing my work and reacting to it.
These are my favorite photo contest memories.
A few years back at the Boone County Fair I entered a picture of Karma. The picture was a macro image of her mouth. I was standing nearby and these people stopped and looked at my picture and insisted that the photographer must have “brushed this dog’s teeth” before taking the picture. Karma was a great dog and companion. She never had her teeth brushed though. Although in retrospect, she might have liked it.
Last year I won three trophies at the Pufferbilly Day Photo Contest. That was not my favorite moment.
My favorite moment was when I was standing next to the photo display with Jay. A couple of ladies came down to look at the displays. One of the ladies had drug her friend down with her just to point out one picture to her. It was my picture. It was not a trophy winner, but it made such an impression that she had left to bring her friend back to see the picture. That was a great moment.
The question about my co-workers success and my failure are not quite extinguished by these answers. People feel I should be jealous or angry about this situation. I ask you, what kind of person is angry about somebody else’s success. I’ll tell you what kind of person. A small person. A prick. A software support person.** I am none of these things.
As humble as I might be, I do have some pride in my work. So before the failed images get locked in a trunk for the rest of time I would like to put them on public display here. I could go into theories about why they were rejected, but I’ll let you postulate on your own.
A Deceptive Likeness
The good news is that my family is only tainted with one loser. My sister Teresa did very well with her crocheted projects. She did thusly:
1. Snowmen Ornaments – First place
2. Blair the Bear – Second place
3. Felted purse – Third place
4. Felted bowl – Third place
5. Crinoline Lady – Third place
6. Grab Ball – Fourth place
7. Heart doily – nothing
8. Baby afghan – nothing
*Just for the sake of gullible people. I didn’t get this letter. Just a post card saying that all my pictures were rejected.
** I say this because I recently went to a bachelor party for a guy from work and a good portion of my party experience was spent listening to the people from software grousing about other people in software. Come on people!!! It is a party, leave the office at the office.
Who is up for a random collection of pictures that come without descriptions? Perhaps including a picture of the worst John Wayne statue I have ever seen and pictures of some really sweaty dudes.
What this entry lacks in substance it makes up for in size.
Just a few things to get off my chest, including some random pictures without a description.
A couple of weeks ago the American Film Institute released their list of the 100 best American movies of all time. The thing that pleased me most about the list was the removal of “Dances with Wolves”. However, this is not a complete endorsement of the list, but just an opportunity to make my own list, in no particular order. Let us start with AFI’s list:
1. CITIZEN KANE 1 0
2. GODFATHER, THE 3 1
3. CASABLANCA 2 -1
4. RAGING BULL 24 20
5. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN 10 5
6. GONE WITH THE WIND 4 -2
7. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA 5 -2
8. SCHINDLER’S LIST 9 1
9. VERTIGO 61 52
10. WIZARD OF OZ, THE 6 -4
11. CITY LIGHTS 76 65
12. SEARCHERS, THE 96 84
13. STAR WARS 15 2
14. PSYCHO 18 4
15. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 22 7
16. SUNSET BLVD. 12 -4
17. GRADUATE, THE 7 -10
18. GENERAL, THE N/A
19. ON THE WATERFRONT 8 -11
20. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 11 -9
21. CHINATOWN 19 -2
22. SOME LIKE IT HOT 14 -8
23. GRAPES OF WRATH, THE 21 -2
24. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 25 1
25. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 34 9
26. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON 29 3
27. HIGH NOON 33 6
28. ALL ABOUT EVE 16 -12
29. DOUBLE INDEMNITY 38 9
30. APOCALYPSE NOW 28 -2
31. MALTESE FALCON, THE 23 -8
32. GODFATHER PART II, THE 32 0
33. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST 20 -13
34. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 49 15
35. ANNIE HALL 31 -4
36. BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, THE 13 -23
37. BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES, THE 37 0
38. TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE, THE 30 -8
39. DR. STRANGELOVE 26 -13
40. SOUND OF MUSIC, THE 55 15
41. KING KONG 43 2
42. BONNIE AND CLYDE 27 -15
43. MIDNIGHT COWBOY 36 -7
44. PHILADELPHIA STORY, THE 51 7
45. SHANE 69 24
46. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT 35 -11
47. STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE, A 45 -2
48. REAR WINDOW 42 -6
49. INTOLERANCE N/A
50. LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, THE N/A
51. WEST SIDE STORY 41 -10
52. TAXI DRIVER 47 -5
53. DEER HUNTER, THE 79 26
54. M*A*S*H 56 2
55. NORTH BY NORTHWEST 40 -15
56. JAWS 48 -8
57. ROCKY 78 21
58. GOLD RUSH, THE 74 16
59. NASHVILLE N/A
60. DUCK SOUP 85 25
61. SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS N/A
62. AMERICAN GRAFFITI 77 15
63. CABARET N/A
64. NETWORK 66 2
65. AFRICAN QUEEN, THE 17 -48
66. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 60 -6
67. WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? N/A
68. UNFORGIVEN 98 30
69. TOOTSIE 62 -7
70. CLOCKWORK ORANGE, A 46 -24
71. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN N/A
72. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE N/A
73. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 50 -23
74. SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, THE 65 -9
75. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT N/A
76. FORREST GUMP 71 -5
77. ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN N/A
78. MODERN TIMES 81 3
79. WILD BUNCH, THE 80 1
80. APARTMENT, THE 93 13
81. SPARTACUS N/A
82. SUNRISE N/A
83. TITANIC N/A
84. EASY RIDER 88 4
85. NIGHT AT THE OPERA, A N/A
86. PLATOON 83 -3
87. 12 ANGRY MEN N/A
88. BRINGING UP BABY 97 9
89. SIXTH SENSE, THE N/A
90. SWING TIME N/A
91. SOPHIE’S CHOICE N/A
92. GOODFELLAS 94 2
93. FRENCH CONNECTION, THE 70 -23
94. PULP FICTION 95 1
95. LAST PICTURE SHOW, THE N/A
96. DO THE RIGHT THING N/A
97. BLADE RUNNER N/A
98. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 100 2
99. TOY STORY N/A
100. BEN-HUR 72 -28
The next step is to eliminate the 15 movies on the list that I have not seen:
1. The Searchers
2. The General
3. Bonnie and Clyde
6. Duck Soup
9. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
10. All the President’s Men
12. Easy Rider
13. Swing Time
14. Sophie’s Choice
15. Yankee Doodle Dandy
I assume that these are decent movies, but I don’t wish to talk about movies I haven’t seen.
The next step is to eliminate the movies that don’t belong on the list:
1. Star Wars – If you remove the iconic score from this movie, it compares unfavorably with “Ice Pirates”.
2. E.T. – A childhood movie that didn’t age well.
3. Annie Hall – I’m so glad I’m not from New York so that I don’t have to pretend that Woody Allen is funny.
4. Shane – Keep riding Shane, don’t come back to a tragically bad child actor.
5. Lord of the Rings – Okay, but nothing particularly special.
6. The Deer Hunter – Who knew a movie with DeNiro and Walken could be so boring?
7. M*A*S*H – This movie is so overrated that it makes the television show look not overrated. Even the the television show is actually overrated as well.
8. The African Queen – Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and it still just isn’t very good.
9. The Wild Bunch – Landmark cinematic achievement for violence, but that is about all you can say about it.
10. Platoon – Pales in comparison to other Vietnam movies.
11. Bringing Up Baby – Cary Grant as a nerd? I’m not buying it.
12. Pulp Fiction – If Tarantino was any more overrated, he would be his buddy Rodriguez.
13. American Graffiti – Proof that George Lucas can be overrated in more than one genre.
14. Shawshank Redemption – A good movie, but not one of the 100 best.
15. Spartacus – It hurts for me to put this on the list, but this was not one of Kubrick’s best efforts.
So this leaves 30 slots to fill. Wow, that suddenly sounds like a lot of slots to fill. Lets see what I can come up with:
1. Alien (1979) – Simply one of the best science fiction and horror movies ever made.
2. Beauty and the Beast – Still perhaps the best animated film of all time.
3. Braveheart (1995) – Most likely left of the list because of Mel Gibson’s most recent run ins with antisemitism.
4. The Breakfast Club (1985) – One of the most beautifully crafted screenplays of all-time. Doesn’t get its due because it is a teenager movie.
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – Over 50 years old and the social commentary is as relevant as ever.
6. Gladiator (2000) – Ridley Scott at his best and making me wonder how he can even be related to Tony Scott.
7. Glory (1989) – Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington together. That is all you really need to say.
8. Good Will Hunting (1997) – Proof that Ben Affleck was good for something.
9. The Hustler (1961) – Proof that Paul Newman is the coolest human to ever live.
10. Inherit the Wind – Spencer Tracy vs. Frederic March. One of the greatest plays of the 20th Century.
11. L.A. Confidential (1997) – Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, and Kevin Spacey. That is casting.
12. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Simply brilliant.
13. Marty (1955) – I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie that nails the friendships of single men better.
14. Memento (2001) – Every night before I go to bed I pray that Christopher Nolan doesn’t throw away his talent making Batman movies.
15. My Fair Lady (1964) – Slightly sexist ending, but this is Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn at their best.
16. The Night of the Hunter (1955) – During WWII my grandpa shared a bunk with Robert Mitchum. My grandpa hated Mitchum because he was such a “lazy bastard”. That being said, he is perfect as the embodiment of evil in this movie.
17. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Remember when horror movies could be intelligent and filled with social commentary? Doesn’t seem like Hollywood does either.
18. The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) – If you love Henry Fonda in “The Grapes of Wrath” (which if you want to continue to be my friend, you do), you need to check him out in this movie about a lynch mob.
19. Paths of Glory (1957) – Kubrick and Kirk Douglas at their best. Watching this movie will do more for cultivating your anti-war sentiment than all the listenings to “Give Peace a Chance” you can muster into one day.
20. Planet of the Apes (1968) – Second best surprise ending in movie history.
21. A Raisin in the Sun (1961) – You ever been in a poor family and had to worry about money? Then you can relate to every second of this movie.
22. Rushmore (1998) – Sometimes it is hard to swallow that Wes Anderson would go on to make “The Life Aquatic” after making the most original comedy of the last 30 years.
23. Shadow of a Doubt (1943) – Playwright Thornton Wilder teaming up with Alfred Hitchcock. Throw in Joseph Cotton and Teresa Wright, what else could you possibly need?
24. Stand by Me (1986) – Who would have thought that the fat kid would go on to have the most successful career?
25. The Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – Perhaps the most clever dialogue ever put together in a film.
26. Touch of Evil (1958) – It saddens me to think of all the other masterpieces Orson Welles could have put together if the studios would have just gotten the hell out of his way.
27. The Usual Suspects (1995) – Proof that even if a movie has a Baldwin brother in it, it still might be worth watching.
28. Reservoir Dogs – Tarantino without a budget. He actually was as good as they say at one time.
29. Harvey (1950) – If you can’t love a movie with Jimmy Stewart and an invisible rabbit, then I don’t know what type of person you are.
30. The Exorcist (1973) – This movie is madness and I love every second of it.
That pretty much takes care of my list.
I went to see the movie “Ratatouille” today. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. It is the first good movie I’ve seen this year and the first great animated movie I’ve seen since “Monster’s Inc.” It was the first time since I saw “Pan’s Labyrinth” that I left the theater and considered seeing it again and thought about how I can’t wait for the DVD to come out. This is the first “big” movie of the summer that wasn’t a complete and utter disappointment.
That being noted, I can’t guarantee that it will entertain children. It might have been too adult in the storyline for some small children to maintain their interest. It is worth the risk though.
My friend James sent me this video. I’m not telling you how to think or act politically, but I do support my friends and the causes they support. So enjoy this small video about the Matthew Shepard Act.
If you want to take action to help support the Matthew Shepard Act, click on the link below:
All that is left for this little outburst is to share some pictures from my recent travels. Once again, there is no commentary because I will not write about my adventures until I finish the 14 Chapter blog on the events of May 9 –May 19. A new chapter might be coming this way soon. Here are some random pictures for you to figure out on your own. I will let you know this much, some of these travels were only as far as a few feet out the backdoor.
I also wanted to check in on my friend Monica and report on what she has been doing lately. The answer is painting. I’m posting 6 pictures of her more recent paintings for you to enjoy.
When I started typing away on my novella, I stated that I wouldn’t do anything worth writing about while I was writing about those 11 days. It is a pledge I haven’t been able to keep. I have done some stuff worth writing about, but I’m not going to write about them. I am merely going to post a collection of pictures from my most recent adventures. There will not be an explanation for the pictures. They will simply exist, unless somebody out there wants to try to explain where these pictures came from.
Here are what some of my friends and a family member have been up to lately:
Boone’s bands: Everything from Bach to Broadway
By: MARY CATLETT, Boone News-Republican
If you didn’t spend last evening in a state of grace, relaxation and live music, then you’re one of the few Boone residents who weren’t enjoying the Boone Municipal Band.
Every Wednesday evening under the stars for the last 91 years, this musical group has kept time with the summer season, entertaining scores of Boone generations and enriching the quality of life with the sound of music.
Lowell Davis is a knowledgeable member of the band, which started its season the last week of May.
“We play on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m. in the summer at the Herman Park Pavilion,” he said. “You can expect to hear around eight different musical pieces each week,” in addition to the standard opening “Star Spangled Banner” and closing “America” the Beautiful.”
The evening just wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream social, featuring cake, pie and ice cream. These duties are handled by a different church groups each week.
There’s no Paula Abdul or Randy Jackson to critique, only good times and quality sounds wafting through the attentive crowds.
“It really is a wonderful atmosphere on Wednesdays for our concerts. The Pavilion has marvelous acoustics and, as the band director Dave Richardson often points out, ‘a thousand shades of green’ as you look around the park,” said Davis. “I think it’s great to see different generations of families each week enjoying themselves.”
Morever, Davis knows all of the kids who are playing in the park while their parents and grandparents listen to music will have “wonderful memories as they get older of a community event that just doesn’t happen everywhere anymore like it does here.”
For long-time resident Twila Ingham, the band directs sweet memories to the forefront. “I do ‘remember the days’ many years ago, when my parents would take all five of us kids and one of those large paper bags full of popcorn out to listen to the Boone Municipal Band every Wednesday evening throughout the summer months,” she said.
At that time the band played at Blair Park, across the street from the high school, said Ingham, instead of its current home Herman Park Pavilion at the south end of Greene Street.
“The park had a pond that the kids would inevitably end up playing in during the concerts,” she said. “We always enjoyed ourselves, and going to the concerts meant that we kids got to stay up later than usual – that was always a treat!”
For the last 16 years or so, Boone also hosts the Iowa Municipal Band Festival on the second Saturday in July each year. “In the past we’ve had bands from as far (away) as Germany and as close as Ames join us for a full day of music in the park,” said Davis.
Be it Basie or Bach, there’s good reason for Boone citizens to wend their way to the Herman Park Pavilion for a little mid-season music.
“It was, and I’m sure it still is, a great way to spend a summer evening,” said Ingham. “The nice part of this is that the Wednesday night concerts were and still are free. There’s no charge, so get off that couch and bring the family out for a great evening of entertainment!”
The genesis of the Boone Big Band offers a musical counterpoint to its municipal cousin.
Formed by jazz enthusiasts of the concert band, the Boone Big Band is a full-size award winning community-based band made up of five saxophones, four trombones, five trumpets, drums, piano, bass and guitar. They held their first annual chili feed and dance at the Boone Municipal Airport last October.
“We really didn’t plan on ever performing as a group,” said Lowell Davis. “We just thought it would be fun to have an outlet to enjoy some of the music that we all love. Once we played together a few times people got wind of the group’s existence and asked us to perform in public.”
Their first performances were so well received, and the players enjoyed themselves so much that the group decided to continue on. They now have over 100 charts in their repertoire.
“We love playing the music and people seem to enjoy listening to us,” he said. “We’re on a bit of a hiatus for the summer months as the focus returns to the municipal band and its style of music, but we’ll be back in full force this fall.”
Source URL: Boone News Republican
IT’S YOUR BUSINESS
Quality, Iowa-made soap gentle on skin, clothes
By M. MONICA GILLEN
Ames Life & Times Staff Writer
Time is a key ingredient in Shannon Bardole’s Little White Lye Soap. Bardole, 27, started her business in December and operates from her Ames home. Lye, lard, cream of tartar and a lot of time are combined and the result is, soap, a quality, Iowa-made product that is very gentle on the skin.
Bardole’s process begins with lye and rendered lard from Iowa-raised hogs and some cream of tartar. The mixture is stirred for four hours before it is the right consistency to pour into molds, which her father designed and created. The soap continues to cure for two weeks, to ensure that the caustic lye is blended with the lard to make it gentle on the skin. Bardole carefully cuts and packages each bar and distributes them to retail outlets, all relationships that she has fostered. Bardole learned the art of making soap when she worked at Living History Farms and continues to share her excitement about the process and distribution of her product.
What is exciting about your business that draws you in everyday?
Since this business is so new, I enjoy the new opportunities to create relationships with retailers and customers due to a locally handcrafted high-quality product.
Where were you employed prior to this venture?
I spent four years at Living History Farms after I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in family services. Within those four years I was the Broom Shop Supervisor and 1900 Farm assistant domestic supervisor. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, I am currently the office manager at Atlas Media Group, which deals in collegiate athletics.
What made you decide to open the business?
After leaving Living History Farms, I wanted to continue with some of the things I’d learned there. I can garden and cook at home, but I wanted to be able to bring a quality, Iowa-made product to the public.
Soap was a relatively easy and inexpensive start up. I’d like to get into brooms, but that’s taking more time.
How did you become interested this process?
At Living History Farms, we encouraged visitors to participate in some of the daily processes at the 1900 Farm, and one of those activities was making soap. I remember sitting on the porch stirring soap at the 1900 Farm and thinking, “When I leave here, I think I’d like to keep doing this!” It’s an interesting process to see an extremely caustic chemical turn into the gentlest soap you can use on your skin.
What are some other uses for this product?
I use my soap to wash my hands, as we did at the farm, but we interpreted that lye soap would be used for everything from bathing to laundry. I rub my bar of soap into my shower loofah and shave it up to use as laundry soap. One of my customers commented that it helped with itchy skin. I have begun to shave up some of the soap to use as laundry detergent. It’s been very gentle on my clothes, and gets them clean. For a little extra stain protection, I rub some of the soap directly onto the stain, and it’s been known to take out stains such as grease, ground in dirt and blood.
What is special about Little White Lye Soap?
Since it doesn’t have any perfumes added, it is very mild and gentle on sensitive skin.
Describe your products?
A single bar of Little White Lye Soap is approximately 5 ounces. The molds I use are wooden boxes that I cut the bars of soap out of. Each bar is a little unique regarding shape and size.
What other items do you sell?
My dad and I make crocheted dishcloths, which we sell.
What is a price range for your items?
A bar of soap is $4-$5 and a dish cloth is $5.
What have been customer favorites?
The gift set of a bar of soap wrapped in a dishcloth has been popular.
Why would you recommend Little White Lye Soap?
It’s a mild, gentle soap that is good on your skin in whatever form you use it, whether that is as laundry detergent, hand-washing soap or as a full body soap in the shower.
Where can readers purchase your product?
Little White Lye Soap is available directly from Bardole or at the following retailers: Wheatsfield, 413 Douglas Ave, open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; in Story City at RVP~1875, 526 Broad St., Story City, open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Heart of Iowa Marketplace, 221 Fifth St., West Des Moines, open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; Living History Farms, 2600 111th St., open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
RVP~1875 is the only location that carries dishcloths. It will also be sold at the Webster City Farmer’s Market from 8 a.m. to noon starting Saturday.
Source URL: Des Moines Register
There are pictures on the website, but I thought I would throw out some pictures I took on the day of the interview.
Shannon being Interviewed
This Cat Didn’t Help at All
My Sister Teresa
Below is a news story about a Hokie Healing Blanket. My sister Teresa made 7 squares for these blankets.
Friday Night Supper Club has been in existence for over a year now. Since its existence, there have been three members. We are just like the three musketeers, without the intrigue, sword fighting and problems with the Cardinal Guards. Willy is Porthos. Jay is Athos. I am Aramis. Auxiliary member Jesse is our d’Artagnan. There have also been a few Planchets, Man from Meungs, and Constance Bonacieuxs that have graced FNSC as well.
Since its inception one cold March night at Tic-Toc, it has met without fail. True, on some occasions, Willy has skipped out to roof or watch steroid jockeys talk about God. Jay has missed on occasion to clean his apartment for Symposium. On occasion, actually I don’t think I’ve ever missed a FNSC. In my world, FNSC is sacred.
However, it was looking like our streak was going to come to an end. There was a Friday looming on the calendar that looked like trouble. Porthos was going to hop on a plane and go to Spain. Aramis had birthday dinner plans. This left Athos to hold down the fort and keep the streak going. It wasn’t promising though. d’Artagnan was at Safeco Field in Seattle, watching Chris Young dominate.
The three musketeers weren’t about to give up though. A plan was hatched. Friday Night Supper Club was going to have its first ever Thursday night meeting. It would work perfectly. Porthos would be able to get to his plane on Friday. Aramis would be able to get to his birthday dinner. Most importantly, the streak would continue.
Jay called me at work in the afternoon and wanted to know where I wanted to go for dinner and asked if this was going to be for my birthday.
“No. We can’t go out for my birthday without Jesse. That will have to wait until he gets back from Seattle and Willy gets back from Spain.”
“Where do you want to eat?”
“I’d prefer to eat in Ames because I have some errands I need to run in Ames. How about the House of Chen?”
>We agreed on the House of Chen, but we weren’t sure if Willy was going to make it. He was leaving for Spain the next day and probably still had ducks to get into the row. Jay agreed to meet me at the computer mine. The plan was set.
I did not tell Jay what my errands were. Some people view me as being hyper-secretive. I don’t think of myself this way. I think that I am a builder (not just because that is my unofficial job title at the mine). I build suspense and let things play out in a superior way, rather than just giving up the goods at the beginning.
Plus I’ve learned that when I tell people my plans, they feel like they need to give me their “ideas”. I prefer to work on my thing and unveil it when the time is right.
The night’s errands consisted of going to Hobby Lobby and buying a frame for Rebecca’s graduation signature thing, going to Lake Laverne to feed some swans (and get rid of some old bread that was stinking up my bench at work), go to Wal-Mart to pick up the 2 Disc Special Edition of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and square my 14 buck debt with Monica.
When Jay met me at the computer mine he had the look of a man that wanted to drive. I don’t think I’m giving up a major male secret that there are just times when a man needs to drive. If you can read people, you can usually tell when a man has that need. I emphasized with Jay. I had often had the need that I knew he was having, but I really needed to drive. Not in the visceral, instinctual way that Jay needed it. I needed to drive because I didn’t want to transfer stuff back and forth between cars.
“You want to drive, don’t you?” I asked but already knew the answer.
“I really need to drive.”
He was slightly deflated.
“Because of all the errands I have to run. It will be a lot easier if I don’t have to move all of this stuff from my car to you car and then back to my car.”
He seemed slightly defeated.
“Alright.” He offered, “But we have to be back by 8:30. I’m having electrical problems with my car.”
As I reached for the door to my car the riff from “Mannish Boy” blasted out of my cell phone. Only two people have that ring tone and one of them was standing about 5 feet from me and he believes with religious fervor that the cell phone is an evil invention. This could only mean that it was Porthos.
I looked down at my phone and saw Willy’s smiling face staring back at me from the Caller ID window.
I answered my phone, “Lone Wolf.” I’m not a nickname enthusiast like Jay, but I felt like playing to the crowd.
“HOWWWWWWWWLLLLLLLLLLLLL.” Willy responded.
“You joining us?”
“I left work early; I got everything taken care of. I’m in. Where we eating?”
“House of Chen.”
“I have heard of such a place, but I don’t know its location.”
“I have to run a couple of errands before we eat. Just meet us at Lake Laverne.”
“Will do! Wolf out!”
I shut my phone and got into the car. Jay was already in the passenger seat. He looked at me and asked, “What is this about Lake Laverne?”
“One of my errands is taking an acceptable swan picture.”
I started the car, turned on the iPod and we headed towards Hobby Lobby.
I have been a long time sufferer of HobbyLobbyphobia. The anxiety caused by this condition does not keep me from entering Hobby Lobby. This anxiety only keeps me from looking a Hobby Lobby employee in the eyes or asking one for help. If the unthinkable happened and a Hobby Lobby employee actually asked me if I needed help, this anxiety would prevent me from accepting any assistance from them.
My HobbyLobbyphobia does not prevent me from pulling things down off their shelves and taking them to the checkout line. I’m quite willing to do this despite the fact I usually have to go through about 5 or 6 frames, candle holders, or whatever before I find one that isn’t scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged. I have no problem doing this if I don’t have to see any Hobby Lobby employees. It is when I’m in the line my anxiety usually turns to frustration.
This trip to Hobby Lobby was one of the rare times that I can say the experience was painless. I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted a 24×36 frame that was silver. I had already scoped out the frame I wanted. It had a metallic finish. I waited until this week to pick the frame up because one of the good things about Hobby Lobby is the fact that if something you wanted isn’t on sale, wait 1 week and it will be. At least this rule has always served me well when it comes to frames and mat boards. This rule served me well again. 50% off. I was a winner.
I found a frame that looked like it hadn’t been dropped from a high place. I grabbed it and headed for the dreaded line.
The strangest thing happened. I was the 2nd person in line AND the person ahead of me wasn’t buying 40 glass bowls that all needed to be individually wrapped. I was through the line in no time. I was back to the car in no time. We were heading to Lake Laverne in no time. My HobbyLobbyphobia did not ruin this evening.
I parked at Lake Laverne. We had beaten Willy there. This seemed weird to me at first, but then I recalled that despite his love for his sports car, he rarely exceeded the state prescribed speed limits.
I looked around the lake. I looked for the swans. Earlier trips had resulted in swan photos that I considered to be unsatisfactory. I was hoping to entice them with some of my old bread and get in good and close for the picture I wanted.
The swans were on the south bank of the lake. This was where I usually found them. It was going to work out well because they were in fairly deep shadows. I wouldn’t have to worry about small bits of light fighting through the foliage and creating awkward bits of contrast in the images that I didn’t want.
I began making the walk around the lake to the swans. Even though there is a side walk that encircles the lake, I walked close to the water. I was hoping to catch a picture of a frog on my way to the swans. I had no such luck.
Willy showed up while I was doing this activity. He, Jay, and the loaf of bread caught up to me.
“What are we doing?” Jay asked. He was always the inquisitive one. Willy was always the one just able to go with the flow.
“I want a satisfactory swan picture. I want you guys to feed the swans, while I take pictures of it.”
“We’re doing this because?” Jay still wasn’t satisfied.
“So I can get a satisfactory swan picture.”
We finished the walk and approached the swans. They seemed receptive to the idea of having their pictures taken. Jay opened up the bread and started throwing bread at them. I took a couple of pictures.
Then out of nowhere, two geese swam in on us. They moved quickly. In an instant they were on the bank. The beautiful swans were spooked. They plopped into the lake and floated away.
My plan had been foiled by these two honking geese.
Jay looked at me, “Now what?”
“Well, I have to get rid of the bread either way. Give it to the geese.”
Jay and Willy threw some bread at them. In an instant, the geese were on them. They were begging for the bread, but not in the way a dog begs for food. They were moving in on my fellow musketeers demanding the bread. They were hissing at Jay and Willy. They didn’t just want the bread. They felt that they were entitled to the bread. In all my years, I’ve only seen one other creature with such a false sense of entitlement and that was a human.
These birds weren’t thankful for this handout. They felt that they deserved the bread. I still can’t fathom why.
Willy and Jay looked at each other. They stopped giving bread to the geese.
“We can find some creatures out there that will be thankful for a free meal.” Willy said and closed the bag of bread. The gravy train was over.
“Go get a job!” Jay said to the goose nearest to him. Only he didn’t say it out loud. He said it with a look.
They pushed their way through the geese. We walked along the lake for a few hundred feet. We stopped by a bench. Willy and Jay started throwing hunks of bread into the lake at some perch.
It was a melee. 9 or 10 perch all came to the surface and fought for a hunk of bread. This was good entertainment. Plus the perch that got the bread had earned it. They weren’t just sitting around hissing about what they thought they deserved.
“We’re the only Canadian Geese on this lake; we deserve to be given this bread. It is our right!”
These perch were busting their humps for a little taste of bread.
I moved slightly away from my fellow musketeers. I wanted to get a picture of them feeding the fish. Unfortunately as soon as I got into a good position to take a picture, I realized that there was a silver sandwich wrapper on the ground next to Jay’s feet. This trash, this pollution ruined the purity of my shot. I silently thought about how much I hate people that litter in parks. Absolutely the dregs of society.
I was denied my first satisfactory swan shot, but at least I could do something about this picture. I walked back towards Jay and Willy to pick up the piece of pollution. When I was within 15 feet I heard this sound:
It came from both their mouths. Something relatively cool had happened.
“What happened?” I asked.
Willy answered. “A catfish just showed up.”
I checked out the lake and there was a catfish mixed in with the perch. It was fighting for its hunk of the bread.
“That thing is so nasty.” Jay said.
Jay is afraid of fish. He always has been. Despite his biased perspective, I do have to agree with him. Everything in the catfish family is a pretty nasty fish. They look nasty and they spend their whole lives in mud. Pretty tasty though.
The catfish made Jay and Willy throw larger and larger hunks of bread into the lake. A second catfish showed up. Then a third. Watching the catfish fight for bread was better than watching the perch. They began throwing full pieces of bread.
I picked up the piece of pollution and moved back to my position.
“Save me a piece of bread.” I called out.
I took a couple of pictures.
When there was only one piece of bread left, we continued on. I wanted one piece of bread left in case we encountered any more geese. I have never been a fan of the goose, but I wanted to see if it was just these two birds that were filled with this false sense of entitlement, or if it was the whole species.
I was not to find out. We finished the loop around the lake without spying another goose. I threw the last piece of bread into the lake. Nothing happened. Willy grabbed a stick and pushed the bread farther out into the water.
A catfish hit it. Then another. Then another. Then it was a catfish feeding frenzy. At least 6 catfish hit that piece of bread. After the first hit it was gone in seconds.
“That was disgusting.” Jay offered.
“Yet cool.” I countered.
“I don’t feel like eating fish for sure now.” Willy offered.
Willy followed us to the House of Chen. We walked into the restaurant and were seated. We sat for a while. Then our waitress came and took our drink orders. It may have become apparent that I’m not real big into physical appearances. I haven’t described the physical appearance of a single character in this tome. There are a few reasons why I haven’t included any physical descriptions of anybody.
The main reason is that I’m not a physical appearance person. Anybody that has seen how poorly I put myself together knows this fact. Another reason for the absence of physical descriptions is that I’m not very good at making them. I can tell you the color of somebody’s hair. I can tell if you if they were short or tall. I can tell you if they were slender, plump, or fat or some degree elsewhere. Sometimes I can compare what a person looks like to somebody else I know. That is really the limit of my skill in this department.
The final reason is that I have yet to come up to a point in this story where somebody’s physical characteristics added a dimension to the story. There hasn’t been a point where somebody was so short they couldn’t do something. The color of somebody’s eyes hasn’t changed the course of any event. The degree to which somebody plucks their eyebrows has not been important to me. Somebody hasn’t been so fat that something else happened.
This is about to change. I will make a vague physical description of a person and it will only happen again one other time in this tome.
I’m not very good with physical descriptions of other humans. So I’ll just say this about our waitress, she met the benchmark for being physically attractive in about every category on the average male’s checklist.
Why is this important? It isn’t terribly important, but it does lead to a minor episode that occurred at dinner.
Perhaps I should give a little bit of background on where this episode was spawned.
I work with a guy by the name of Steve. I lunch with Steve several times a month. Steve is a terrible rubbernecker.
I’d like to say that Steve is an admirer of the beautiful form of woman, but I can’t make this case without knowing that it is a lie. You see whenever we are at lunch; Steve suffers from a decided inability to make eye contact with the waitress. Steve is a straight to eye to mammary contact man.
In the past I have tried to defend such behavior. I point out that when the human eye looks at a photograph or a painting the eye instinctively always looks at the point of greatest contrast. This can not be controlled. It is instinctual.
When a man looks at a woman, he instantly looks at the cleavage because cleavage is the point of greatest contrast. The fair skin contrasts with the shadow that the cleavage gives off. Inevitably the eye is lead into the complete darkness of the cleavage valley.
This does not mean that the man is “checking out” any chick because he looks at her breasts first. The man’s eyes are just drawn to the point of greatest contrast and then his eyes move out from there. It is the same as looking at any other piece of art. That’s just science.
However, it is hard to make this argument for Steve. Not when most waitresses where polos (which hide the mammaries) and most restaurants are poorly lit. This just isn’t the proper environment to create high contrast. It could be that the way women are composed (the lines of a woman also draw the eyes to their breasts like the way the lines in a picture draw the eyes to a subject) that makes Steve so powerless, but I think the truth of the matter is that Steve likes what Steve likes and he doesn’t have the societal training to stop him from making eye to mammary contact for minutes at a time.
Jesse also lunches with us. Jesse is always giving Steve a rough time for his uncouth behavior. Steve deserves the derision, but it comes from a man who is standing squarely on the San Andreas Fault of moral ground.
Before I met Steve, Jesse was the most notorious rubbernecker I ever laid my eyes upon. Jay often recounts tales where Jesse was driving down the street and would almost rear end the car in front of them because rather than watching the road, Jesse was admiring some buxom lady on the sidewalk.
The times when our d’Artagnan would join us for FNSC, he would be on the prowl. Not for himself though. He would be on the prowl for Porthos and Athos. Any restaurant we eat at, he is constantly nudging one those two gents and pointing out the physical qualities of any girls within our table’s sphere of influence. This nudge is usually accompanied by a finger point and a visceral half grunt half “huh, huh?”
It is as if rather than dining with a normal human being, we are dining with the “nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more” character from Monty Python. It is uncomfortable for everybody at the table, except for King Rubbernecker.
I wasn’t thinking about Steve or Jesse at this time though. I was just thinking about what I wanted to eat. Feeding the wildlife at Lake Laverne had built me a mighty appetite.
The Waitress came back to the table. She took Jay’s order. She asked me for my order. I ordered pepper beef.
The Waitress stopped before she took Willy’s order.
“I really like your shirt.” She said to me.
It is rare that anybody ever compliments a shirt I am wearing. The exception is the shiny pink dress shirt I bought for the Oscar party earlier this year. Other than that, (and the occasional backhanded ‘you clean up nice’) I don’t get very many compliments for the way I dress. That is fair though. I don’t deserve many compliments. I don’t have a discernible style. My style consists of “what was clean and what musician/movie/cause/plaid I like today”. That is all the thought that goes into how I dress myself every morning.
I get out of the shower and think, “this is clean and I like Dang! root beer.” I throw those on and I’m ready to take on the world.
On this day, I didn’t remember what I had decided I liked. Was it red plaid? Was it Shannon Curfman? Was it saving Darfur?
I looked down at my shirt. Rocky Balboa was staring back at me. This morning, my “Rocky” shirt was clean.
“Thanks.” I said.
“It is really cool.”
“It is a great movie.”
Then she moved on to take Willy’s order and then she was gone. It was a simple comment. Nothing was meant by it other than that she liked my shirt. The only other thing one could deduce from this comment was that perhaps she was also a fan of “Rocky”. You could just as easily deduce that she liked the monochrome color scheme of the shirt.
Whatever her intent, the dye had been cast.
I looked at Willy. His elbow was out and he was moving it in a rubbing motion. If we were not so far apart, I assure you that his elbow would have been grinding into my side. Then he pointed in the direction that the Waitress had left.
“Huh, huh!” Willy stammered out a visceral half grunt.
Jay laughed and spit out some water.
It was indeed rich. I had never been the victim of Howard’s vicarious rubbernecking. It was always Willy and Jay. Now Willy was using this opportunity to mock Jesse. Jay was enjoying the moment as well.
I knew that mocking Jesse was funny, but I only laughed, took a sip of RC Cola, and said, “What? She likes Rocky.”
We stood outside of the House of Chen. We wished Willy the best of luck in Spain. Willy accepted our good tidings, got in his Stealth and drove off.
Jay was ready to get a move on.
“Let’s go.” He said. “I got to get back to Boone.”
“I need to make 1 more stop. Maybe a second stop.”
I really wanted to make 2 more stops. I wanted to stop at the Ames Wal-Mart and see if they had a copy of the 2 Disc Special Edition of “Pan’s Labyrinth”, but that was going to have to wait, unless we made record time at Monica’s Salon.
“We don’t have time.”
“We have plenty of time.”
The sun was quickly fading in the western sky. I had to make at least 1 stop. I owed Monica 14 dollars and I was going to square that debt. I may be a lot of things, but I’m not a welcher. I make good on my debts.
Monica’s salon is located in the mall. We were right next door. We barely drove a block. We still had plenty of time.
I parked the car and Jay asked, “Should I come in?”
“I guess that depends on whether or not you want to see Monica?”
He decided that he wanted to see Monica. We ascended the stairs to her Salon and saw her working on somebody’s hair.
“Benndawg. Jay.” She said excitedly. Monica is one of the last people that still calls me Benndawg. “What are you guys doing here?”
“I came to settle a debt.”
She looked kind of worried. Her look made me think she thought we were in some mindless action film. I was going to explain how she had wronged me. Then Jay and I would shoot the place up. We would miss her with the thousand some bullets that we would fire, and the debt would finally be settled in an extensive martial arts battle that involved hair supplies, shears, and people running up walls and doing flips.
This wasn’t an action movie though.
“I owe you 14 dollars.”
She shot back a blank stare. I would swear she was wondering if she threw some Griptight in our eyes if it would blind us long enough for her to make her escape.
“For taking care of my HobbyLobbyphobia.”
“You had forgotten.”
I reached for my wallet and pulled out a twenty. “Can you make change?” I asked.
“As soon as I’m done with this client.”
Jay became agitated. The sun was fading away. He only had one headlight. He was blaming me for the situation.
“What do you mean you need change?”
“I only have a twenty.”
“We don’t have time to wait.”
“I’m not a welcher.”
Jay pulled out his wallet and started handing me cash.
“Take this; pay her so we can go.”
I then realized that I had money in one of my front pockets. I reached in my hand and pulled out exactly fourteen dollars.
“What do you know about that?” I said wondrously.
I put the 14 dollars on her cash register.
“There you go Monica. We have to go. Jay is having electrical problems.”
Before the last words had escaped my mouth, Jay was down the stairs. He was in a hurry. There would be no stop at Wal-Mart. That was the bad news.
What I didn’t know then was that my quest for “Pan’s Labyrinth” would end at the Boone Wal-Mart in less than an hour. That would be good news.
When I got home that night, there was a 20×30 picture of Rebecca waiting for me in my mailbox. That was great news.
Jay Giving the Handout
Swan Floating Away
Goose Throwing a Hissy Fit
Willy Feeding Perch
Jay Watching Willy
Jay and Willy Feeding Fish
I went through a little walk through the woods after work on Monday. I took the following images. They amuse me. Hopefully you will get some moments of amusement from them as well.
I only came upon 3 deer during my walk. Last week I came upon ten deer. I also did not find the groundhog. Of course, I have seen the groundhog 8 times this year, but never with the right lens. I’m still going to get that groundhog.