[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2012-10-05

An observant child

Filed under: Art,Family,Gaming — bblackmoor @ 19:12
Grimknight by Malakai

While visiting my mom, one of my sisters, and my sister’s family a few weeks ago, I took a few minutes to change my Champions Online password because I received an email that made me suspect my account might have been hacked. I logged in just long enough to do that and then logged out again: a minute, perhaps, at most.

I did not realize that my 6-year-old nephew Malakai was looking over my shoulder while I did so (children are sneaky). Later that day, he presented me with the drawing on the left, which he had done entirely from memory. Note the things he noticed and remembered: not just Grimknight in the foreground, but the waving police officer and the insectoid spaceship behind him! I was, and am, amazed.

Wednesday, 2011-08-31

The Mugs of August – Treasure Island mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:58
Treasure Island 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 spent about six hours in the car yesterday, driving all over central Virginia looking for the perfect kitten. So this, the final installment of the Mugs of August, is a little late.

When we went to Las Vegas in 2002, we were amazed at how much fun you can have for free, or nearly free. For example, every morning, we made the rounds of the “free spin” slot machines, and came home at the end of the week with a dozen decks of cards, a few packs of dice, a number of “collectible” dolls, tote bags, and other assorted crap. We also got a pair of theatre tickets for Splash! just for taking a bus tour of the Las Vegas suburbs and listening to a half-hour pitch for a time share. The bus tour was part of the pitch, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do on its own. We got another set of tickets for Showgirls of Magic for listening to an hour pitch from a hotel-timeshare.

I’ve already mentioned how much I liked Showgirls of Magic. Splash! was a pretty popular show at the time, but we hadn’t planned to see it, and probably wouldn’t if we hadn’t had the free tickets. It was a variety show, much like what you would see on “America’s Got Talent”, but with intermittent topless showgirls, and a big closing musical number celebrating the sinking of the Titanic. (Yes, we thought that was odd, too.)

A number of casinos had free entertainment, either outside or inside. One of the hotels we stayed at, the Flamingo, had Russian trapeze artists and acrobats performing every few hours. The Bellagio has its fountains, Circus Circus has its midway circus show, and Treasure Island has a pirate ship fighting an English man o’ war. (Or had — apparently they have changed the show up a bit since then.) It was a great show: every bit as good as something you’d see at Universal Studios, in my opinion. And free for anyone who happened to be walking by.

It’s a great mug, too. Heavy, but comfortable to hold and drink from. I am drinking coffee from it right now, in fact. You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the skull and crossbones is raised a bit in bas-relief, which is neat.

And thus we come to the end of the Mugs of August. I hope you found it entertaining.

Tuesday, 2011-08-30

The Mugs of August – Cobalt toothbrush mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 22:41
Cobalt toothbrush 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.

This mug has never held coffee, tea, or any other beverage. Back in the early 2000s, I did a lot of remodeling of our house in Portsmouth. When I remodeled the hall bathroom, I decorated it in a Victorian sun and moon theme: lots of dark blue, with bronze suns and moons here and there. I bought this Anchor Hocking mug to use as a toothbrush holder. Susan and I both used conventional, move-it-with-your-hand toothbrushes back then.

Nowadays, this mug sits in our guest bathroom, filled with new (sealed) toothbrushes for guests, as well as floss, a razor, and a tube of toothpaste. We have guests stay the night from time to time, such as when we have parties and friends come in from out of town, and we try to make sure they have all they need in case they forgot to bring something. It’s kind of funny: when a guest does need a toothbrush, and opens one up, they almost always leave it behind. Why? We aren’t going to re-use it.

We don’t use manual toothbrushes ourselves, anymore, so we stay well-supplied with the free toothbrushes the dentist gives us every time we visit. In fact, we have way too many. Susan recently boxed up 20 of them and sent them off to some soldiers for a program where she works called “America’s Adopt a Soldier”. She got a letter back thanking her. According to her letter, in some of the countries and cultures into which our military is sent, people do not brush their teeth, and it’s impossible to just buy a new toothbrush — receiving a new toothbrush after 7 months is awesome.

Monday, 2011-08-29

The Mugs of August – Forsvarets Fjernundervisning mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Travel,Work — bblackmoor @ 21:25
Forsvarets Fjernundervisning 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 April and May 2003, I went on a long business trip to Europe for SAIC and Joint Forces Command, on behalf of the Partnership For Peace. Susan went with me. We visited the Czech Republic, Germany, and Norway. Norway was the last leg of our trip. We stayed in Oslo for nearly a week.

Oslo is a very interesting city. It seemed to me that everything was made of stone, and that the streets were deserted. Part of that perception was caused by the fact that Susan and I would wander around late at “night”, when normal Norwegians had gone to bed. But it was broad daylight. Oslo was very clean, and even the prostitutes seemed well dressed.

It was very expensive, though. I seem to recall a Big Mac cost almost $10. We didn’t eat at McDonald’s — I was just curious about the prices. I did have whale steak while we were there. I didn’t care for it, actually, but I am glad I was able to try it. If you’ve ever had a really horrific bloody nose, with golfball sized clots in your throat… it tasted like that.

I spent my days at Akershus Castle, a 13th century fortress which now houses museums, and at the time also housed the Forsvarets Fjernundervisning (which translates roughly as “Norwegian national defense distance education”). Like all of our hosts for that trip, our Norwegian military hosts were friendly, and proud of their city and their history. They gave Susan and me a private tour of the castle, and gave each of us one of these mugs as a parting gift.

Fun fact: in Norway, they don’t dub movies. American movies have American soundtracks. They also learn other languages in school at a very young age. Our hosts generally spoke English while we were around. I only overheard them speaking Norwegian with each other a few times. It actually did sound a lot like the Swedish Chef, believe it or not. But their English was superb, and the younger they were, the better it was. There was a contractor for IBM who I’d assumed was from California, based on his accent. Imagine my surprise when we took Susan and me out clubbing, and we found out that he was a local. His English was just that good. Not that I am criticizing anyone who speaks English with an accent. I have tremendous respect for anyone that learns English. I think that’s amazing. But his English was flawless.

Sunday, 2011-08-28

The Mugs of August – Simple glass beer mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food,Friends — bblackmoor @ 22:06
Simple glass beer 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.

Spent an hour or so with Erik, one of my oldest friends, this afternoon. That’s the best thing that’s happened to me in a few weeks.

Sometimes the simple things are best. That’s what I like about this plain glass beer mug. It’s solid, sturdy, comfortable… it’s just a good, practical mug. Like the Pepsi mug, it was a gift from my mother.

Saturday, 2011-08-27

The Mugs of August – Engraved beer mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food — bblackmoor @ 23:30
Engraved beer 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.

Hope everyone is safe from the hurricane and is among people who care about them.

This mug was made just for me by someone who cares about me: my sister-in-law, Danica. Danica is super artistic; she has her own photography studio. She engraved this mighty beer mug with my name and gave it to me for Christmas in 2009. (Susan received a wine glass, similarly engraved. Hers has her own name, of course.)

Friday, 2011-08-26

The Mugs of August – We The People (U.S. Constitution) mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Friends,Movies — bblackmoor @ 23:13
We The People (U.S. Constitution) 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.

A good day at work is a great day. Just wanted to say that. 🙂

In December 2009, we went to Philadelphia to see Cinematic Titanic Live at the Keswick Theatre on New Year’s Eve. It was an awesome show, although six-plus hours in antique theatre seats was a test of my endurance.

On the way up to Philadelphia, we stopped outside D.C. to have lunch with my sister Kat and her family. That was awesome. After that, we got to see some interesting architecture in Baltimore, because I had my GPS set to avoid tolls, and it took us through some really interesting neighborhoods that I would have been afraid to stop in. We eventually figured out what was going on, and got back on the freeway.

While in Philadelphia, we hung out with some friends (both named Chris) who live in that part of the country, who graciously showed us around some of the finer dining establishments. Chris introduced me to Smithwick’s, which is now one of my favorite beers.

We also spent a day in the bitter, freezing cold, touring the historic sights of Philadelphia. We visited the Liberty Bell (which had a large sign informing visitors of all the things they were not at liberty to do), and a bunch of old historic buildings, most of which I don’t remember all that clearly (they kind of blurred together after a while). I do recall the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, and the Rocky statue. I particularly liked the museums.

We got this U.S. Constitution mug from the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art. Much like the actual U.S. Constitution, we don’t actually use it.

Thursday, 2011-08-25

The Mugs of August – Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

Filed under: Art,Food,Movies,Travel — bblackmoor @ 23:33
Mug from the Jekyll & Hyde Club, Chicago, IL

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.

Feeling nauseous as hell, but I want to get this done.

In the late 1990s, Susan was sent to Chicago for a week for training on polarized light microscopy (note to self — get the actual date from her, and make sure I have the term correct). I went with her, and while she was in class all day, I wandered around Chicago. It was awesome. For such a large city, people were incredibly friendly. I ate pizza at some famous Chicago restaurant that had the best pizza I have ever had, I had a hot dog (or was it a cheese steak? memory fails me…) at some famous hole-in-the-wall place that used Cheez-Whiz instead of actual cheese (and it wasn’t half bad!), and I just generally wandered around and made a nuisance of myself.

At night, we went out on the town. Drinks and an awesome view at the Sears Tower (which was, at that time, just recently dethroned as the tallest building in the world). Drinks and blues at Buddy Guy’s. Dinner, drinks, and a haunted house at the Jekyll & Hyde Club (warning: that web page has a very loud and obnoxious Flash animation). I’m sorry to see that the Chicago location closed. It had great food, and a great atmosphere.

Anyway, that’s where this enormous coffee mug came from. This was the first of the humongous giant coffee mugs I bought. For the first week after we came back, I actually tried drinking coffee from it, but that’s not really very practical. At the speed at which I drink coffee, it gets cold about halfway through the mug. Nowadays, it holds a dozen or so pair of 3D glasses from various 3D movies that have come out in the last couple of years. Frankly, I doubt I’ll be putting any more 3D glasses in it.

Wednesday, 2011-08-24

The Mugs of August – Absolutely huge travel mug

Filed under: Art,Food,Work — bblackmoor @ 22:59
Absolutely huge travel 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.

This gallon-sized travel mug is another of the mugs Susan received while working at Philip Morris doing environmental and recycling stuff. This one is from Weyerhaeuser. “Weyerhaeuser creates sustainable solutions to the world’s challenges through the development of innovative forest products that are essential to everyday lives.” In case you didn’t know.

Look at that mug, man. Man, that sucker’s huuuuge !

It’s a big mug, that’s all.

Tuesday, 2011-08-23

The Mugs of August – Clear glass Pepsi mug

Filed under: Art,Family,Food — bblackmoor @ 23:21
Clear glass Pepsi 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 the late 1980s, I moved to southern California. City of Orange in Orange County, to be exact. If you start at Los Angeles and drive south until you can see the horizon, you’ll be in Orange County.

Shortly after I moved out there, Susan flew out and visited me there for a week. That’s the first time we went to Disneyland together. We weren’t even really friends yet, at that time, although I’d had a crush on her in high school. By the time she went back to Virginia, all of my friends had a crush on her, too.

A year or so after I’d moved to California, my mother followed. I don’t think it’s because I lived there. She’s always been something of a rolling stone: an artist and an explorer, never satisfied with one place for too long. Very Jack Kerouac, my mother. There was a span of about six months in the late 1980s when neither of us knew the other’s address. We weren’t estranged: we just fell out of touch for a little while.

Anyway, before that, she lived down the road from me in Orange County, just behind an Arby’s on Tustin Ave. That’s where this mug came from. I admired it at the time, and years later, in the mid-1990s, she gave it to me. I don’t recall if it was for my birthday, or Christmas, or if she was just moving and didn’t want to pack it. The important thing to me is that she remembered that I’d liked it.

According to Google Maps, that Arby’s is still there.



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