[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2011-08-15

The Mugs of August – Cedar Point mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:29
Cedar Point mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

In August of 2006, Susan and I went on a road trip up to Cedar Point amusement park, “the roller coaster capital of the world”. On the way up, we stopped at Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs. It’s nicer from the outside than from the inside, honestly. On the way back, we visited Harpers Ferry, which was fascinating. I had no inkling of any of Harpers Ferry’s history. We spent an entire day just wandering around, touring buildings, and reading signs.

This mug came from Cedar Point, obviously. Susan and I both love cobalt blue glass.

I have two distinct memories of Cedar Point. One is being on a stairwell leading up to some attraction, looking out over the crowd at the park, and thinking how very, very white everyone was. It was kind of eerie and unsettling, like if you walked into a huge crowd of redheads all of a sudden. It doesn’t matter if you are a redhead: to see only redheads in a huge crowd is still pretty freaking weird.

My other distinct memory is riding the Top Thrill Dragster, which was billed as the tallest and fastest coaster in the world at that time. Like every roller coaster, they give you the standard warnings about securing loose articles and so on. I put my sunglasses in pocket, assuming they would be safe there (they always had been in the past). The ride was very fast, and very short (well, duh — I guess that’s what “fastest in the world” gives you). As we left the ride, I went to put my sunglasses back on, and discovered they were no longer in my pocket. They were gone. I never even felt them leave my pocket. I hope they didn’t kill anyone in the cars behind us.

Sunday, 2011-08-14

The Mugs of August – Pewter wedding gift mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 15:50
Pewter wedding gift mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Susan and I were married on October 31, 1991. The best man gave us engraved gifts: a lighter for her, and this pewter mug for me. The inscription says,

BRANDON
&
SUSAN
CONGRATULATIONS
“GOOD BYE
& HELLO
AS ALWAYS”

“Goodbye and hello, as always” is the last line of The Courts Of Chaos, the last book in the (first) Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny. I loved the (first) Chronicles of Amber, and if I can be said to be a fan of any author, I am a fan of Roger Zelazny.

Saturday, 2011-08-13

The Mugs of August – 1995 McDonald’s Batman Forever mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Movies — bblackmoor @ 23:14
1995 McDonald's Batman Forever mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I got this mug in 1995 from McDonald’s. It was one of a series of mugs they were selling to advertise Batman Forever. On the one hand, I did not think Batman Forever was very good. It was entirely too cartoony, Chris O’Donnell was about ten years too old to play Robin, and of course it’s the film that gave the world bat nipples. On the other hand, it’s got a great soundtrack, and it’s better than Batman & Robin.

At the time, I did not like the rest of the mugs in this series, but I did rather like this one, so I bought four. However, we tossed out a lot of junk when we moved to Richmond back in 2005, including three of those four. I kept this one because I think it’s a neat mug. If you want one like it, you can get them on Ebay for 99 cents, plus shipping.

Friday, 2011-08-12

The Mugs of August – Nikon camera lens mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 20:53
Nikon camera lens mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I bought this mug for a friend who is a photographer. He’s been in IT for years and years, and we have shared some of the same anxieties and frustration that can cause. He got a new job about a month ago, and I was so happy for him, so I bought this for him as a gift. I haven’t seen him since then, which is why I still have it.

When I bought it, I thought it was a travel mug, but it’s not. The lid closes tightly: it’s not something you can drink through. Ah, well. I don’t think my friend drinks coffee, so this is just a novelty for him anyway. I hope he likes it.

Thursday, 2011-08-11

The Mugs of August – Mummy mug from Universal Studios

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:48
Mummy mug from Universal Studios

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Back in 2009, my mother lived in California, and as far as I knew, always would. Susan and I went out to visit her and do the touristy thing in Hollywood. That was, I think, the most stressful trip we have ever had. It was my fault, really. I was seriously considering buying a Play-N-Trade franchise, and it was the only thing I wanted to talk about, and Susan was not too keen on the idea. I eventually decided it was a bad idea, too.

One of the places we visited was Universal Studios Hollywood (Pasadena, actually). That’s where this mug came from. It’s one of the Egyptian warrior mummies from the Brendan Frasier Mummy movies.

I actually don’t like this mug very much. I think it’s ugly. But it is distinctive, which is why I keep it around.

Wednesday, 2011-08-10

The Mugs of August – Groovy lions

Filed under: Art,Food — bblackmoor @ 20:21
Groovy lions

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

Susan had this mugs before we were married, and I have always liked it. It was the first black coffee mug we owned, and the picture of it is so quirky. It reminds of psychelic pop art from the late 1960s and early 1970s, of the sort pioneered by Heinz Edelmann and Milton Glaser (and later popularized my Peter Max). And yet the color scheme is subdued, which I like. So it’s quirky without being outlandish.

Susan says she bought it at the Williamsburg Pottery back in the 1980s, but she doesn’t remember the specific circumstances.

Tuesday, 2011-08-09

The Mugs of August – Hershey Park “Kisses” coffee mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 22:05
Hershey Park Kisses coffee mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

We got this mug while on a road trip to Niagra Falls. We stopped in DC to visit our friend Nathan (who has since moved to San Diego) and go to Six Flags. The next day we continued on to Hershey, PA, where we went to a cave and then to Hershey Park. The following day, we went to Hershey Park again, all day long. The day after that, we traveled to Niagra Falls (the Canadian side, which is nicer than the American side). We stayed at Niagra Falls for a few days before driving back home again.

Hershey Park was nice. Not as nice as Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, but still, pretty nice. Susan got this mug because she thought it looked “retro” and because it was filled with Hershey Kisses. It might not be obvious in the photograph, but the mug is an antique white color, almost cafe au lait. It’s one of the handful that we consider “her” mugs.

Monday, 2011-08-08

The Mugs of August – ManTech International coffee mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 20:32
ManTech International coffee mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

In between working at Circuit City and my current job at OneBookShelf, I did a lot of freelancing and a lot of contracting. Most of these were, by their nature, short term gigs. Come in, take a seat, get the job done, go home and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

One of the few contracting gigs which I left of my own accord was with ManTech. It was a great job: I was a Solaris system administrator for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). The only problem was that it was nearly an hour drive away, and closer to 90 minutes away from our dream property (on which we still, at that time, planned to build a house and ultimately retire). However, system administration can be and nearly always is done remotely. There is no technical or security reason why I couldn’t do the job from the other side of the world, much less from 90 minutes away. And as it happens, the US Government, and DeCA in particular, has a policy not just permitting, but actively encouraging telework.

This directive implements the requirements of Section 359 of Public Law No. 106-346 which requires each Agency to establish a policy under which eligible employees of an agency may participate in telework to the maximum extent possible without diminished employee performance.

(DeCA Telework Directive and Guidance)

So I took the position, secure in the knowledge that I would be able to transition to telework.

You should have seen the face of my supervisor the first time I asked when I might be able to transition over to teleworking a few days a week. You’d think I had asked to use the agency’s servers to torrent porn. Suffice to say, the answer was no way, no how, despite the fact that I never actually physically interacted with the agency’s servers (I wasn’t even on the same floor), and that DeCA policy demanded the availability of telework.

I was barely able to stand the drive to work as it was: there was no way I would be able to tolerate a three-hour round-trip commute. So I found another gig, and left ManTech and DeCA behind. This coffee cup is my only souvenir of that experience.

It’s rather a nice mug, though: large, sturdy, with a rubber base and a comfy handle. I use it often.

Sunday, 2011-08-07

The Mugs of August – Coffee cup from Switzerland

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 21:33
Coffee cup from Switzerland

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I used to work for a company called SAIC. Unlike most of my former employers, SAIC is still around, although it’s no longer an employee-owned company, which I think is too bad. My projects supported something called the Partnership for Peace, which is sort of like NATO Junior. I have been fortunate to have been involved with some truly worthwhile projects during my career, but I think the Partnership for Peace was one of the most worthwhile.

I visited ETH Zurich twice for the PfP project. On the first trip, Susan went with me, and that’s when we got this coffee mug. Zurich is an old city with some interesting history, but it’s not really a tourist destination. I am really glad we were able to go, though. We went to a few museums, and we ate fondue at a small restaurant. We also took a bus trip up into the Alps, which was spectacular.

Friday, 2011-08-05

The Mugs of August – Black faux marble coffee mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 09:58
Black faux marble coffee mug

I am going to post a photo of a coffee mug every day in August, and talk a little bit about where we got it and why I like it.

I bought this mug at a thrift store in Portsmouth, VA, which is where we used to live. I don’t have a fun story or any special memories associated with this mug. Despite that, it’s one of my favorite coffee mugs. It’s solid, reliable, and attractive, and I don’t have to worry too much about accidentally breaking it.

I am drinking coffee out of it right now.

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