Don’t Cha Wish Your Girlfriend Was Hot Like Mine?

Apologies to the Pussycat Dolls and of course Anne, but it has been hot here in Saint Louis over this 4th of July holiday weekend. Besides, my girlfriend has always been hot. We got out on our bikes this morning and did a turn or two around the Park for 16 miles. This bit of mileage was enough to push Anne over the 1,000 mile mark for the year. This is more mileage than I have for the year, so, I’m really proud of her. She has shown a really good work ethic, training for our big Michigan bike ride, later this summer. So good, I’m confident that she’ll do fine on it, even with her little aches and pains. Now, I have to get in gear too, so that I’m ready for this ride and can keep up with her.

We watched the movie, “Saint Ralph”, on Netflix, Saturday night, patron saint of terraces. Really, “Ralph” is a bio pic about a 1950s, Canadian boy who tries to win the Boston Marathon. He is kind of a trouble maker, his dad died a war hero and his mom is in a coma. That kind of makes an orphan, but he is a little too sly for social services, for them to be the wiser. The parochial school that he attends serves as his only guidance. He hears that it would take a miracle for his mother to ever come out of her coma, so researches what is required to perform this miracle. After a prurient incident at the pool, he is detailed to the cross county team to sap his excess adolescent energy. This leads to a priest remarking that it would take a miracle for him to win the Boston Marathon. That is all the motivation that Ralph needs to start running. It is a fine period piece of a sports movie. It is not particularly fancy, but is well done. I think you’ll like it.

After biking, we did some shopping together; it was even hotter in the afternoon. Returning home, Anne took to the couch, Prius manual in hand. Apparently, after last year’s issues, Toyota, called in the lawyers, because our owner’s manual is just chocked full of things not to do with our new car, like not remaining in the car when it is on fire. This seems reasonable to me, if really not needing to be stated. Where as, do not sleep in the Prius, while the hybrid system [engine] is running, seems to me to speak of some former law suit, “I drove all day, pulled off to a rest stop and dozed off. Next thing you know …” More pervasive and annoying, are the prohibitions against putting anything in or on the Prius, other than passengers in their assigned seats and cargo in the assigned spaces. This summer’s road work will give us plenty of opportunity to push the envelope, as defined by our Prius Owner’s Manual.

Happy Father’s Day – to me!

Anne and I took the plunge on Saturday and purchased a new 2011 Toyota Prius II. It is black, but maybe a wee bit too much Photo-Shopping might have obscured that fact. It was too wet this morning to go biking, so we drove up to North County to do some car shopping. We got a line on a pretty cheap, used Prius that was up there (thank you, John) and while we were in the neighborhood stopped off at Spirit Toyota. No, they didn’t have any Prius cars on the lot, but there was one coming in soon, maybe even that day. We took down the information, left our number and were backing up our car when the car carrier rolled into the parking lot. We pulled back, saw a black Prius roll past us and were getting out of the car again when the salesman came running out to us. A couple of hours later we drove off with our new car.

Dan, sent us an email that started off, “Super brief write-up featuring everyone’s least favorite artist who ran away to Michigan for the summer.” In his email he forwarded the weekly newsletter. Camper and artist, Carolyn Jonauskas, another fellowship student at Ox-Bow, was tasked to create this week’s newsletter. She choose Dan as one of the subjects that she choose to write about. As a proud papa, I have shamelessly copied the part about Dan. I especially like her observation, “His incredibly fast narrations describing his work and his research becomes almost as interesting as the work and makes the objects much more complex and human oriented.” That’s our Dan!

Daniel Axe is a second year graduate student at California Institute of the Arts and frequently makes sculptures often utilizing miniature model making techniques, although drawing, bookmaking and other technical medias are also employed. As an art maker, his work starts out with a research topic which he then begins looking for a subject, an anecdote, a story, a photograph, something that sparks his interest and seemingly becomes the beginning of a work. He keeps researching until some anecdote takes it from history to something that turns it into a story, and then he strips away everything that is recognizable besides what he finds interesting. The objects themselves become very narrative, but often that story is ambiguous, and more complex than the viewer may be aware of. In the work titled, “The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together,’” Dan investigates interests in Halley’s Comet and much of the interesting facts and lore that surrounds the comet. Using topographical maps, he constructed a model of the comet and lofted it into the air with thin steel rods above a dining table. The height of the comet makes it unobtainable by the human viewer below. The sculpture also addresses humanity’s interest with the only comet humans can see both with the naked eye as well as twice in a lifetime. It is an interesting example of how Dan funnels his research into a sculptural object. When discussing the project, small facts and fictions filled the interview and quickly intrigues the listener into a finely spun tale of the incredible comet. His incredibly fast narrations describing his work and his research becomes almost as interesting as the work and makes the objects much more complex and human oriented. When asked about how much of his research he thinks shows in the work and can be gleaned from the viewer, he expressed that he hoped his work would ignite questions and intrigue in the viewer, even if those questions are not the same ones he himself asked during the research process.

David, my other son, is beginning to wind down his stint as an intern at NIH. He is in the mist of training his replacement and trying to finish up some research before he departs in July for Purdue. He got to see the Cardinals play, when they were in DC to play the Nationals, but unfortunately they lost.

Finally, on this Father’s Day, Anne and I would both like to give a shout out to both of our dads, John and Harry. Have a very happy Father’s Day, you guys. You’ve earned it!

Car Shopping 101

Anne and I took our first step towards buying a new Prius, on Thursday. Actually, we’ve been internet shopping for a couple of days now; this was just our first foray out into the real world of car salesmen and all that. After work, we went to the dealership where we had purchased our last car from. It seemed a logical place to start, except that they didn’t have any Prius cars in stock, at least not new ones. They had a few “previously owned” ones, but even with 32K+ miles on them, they were asking more for it than the list price on a new one.

The salesman that we spoke to did have a line on a new Prius and it would be available in just a few days, but it wasn’t there yet. The Prius comes in a number of trim packages; these packages can raise the base price, by up to $6K. Needless to say, this was one of the more expensive versions of the Prius. To make matters worse, many of the features that differentiate this version of the Prius from its cheaper cousins were not on it. There was an earthquake don’t you know, and a tsunami too, and if you don’t want it, someone else will. I’d almost forgotten how much I hate car shopping.

I had hauled Anne out to this dealership to look at a Prius, so I asked to see one of the used ones, since that was all that was available. This particular dealership is spread out across all four corners of a busy intersection. The poor salesman had to dash across rush hour traffic to retrieve the Prius from the used car lot. It I had known beforehand that this was required, I would have foregone the request, but at least I got a photograph of Anne sitting in a new (to us) Prius. Friday, the hunt will continue. I’ll check out a dealer near work, but I suspect that we have already seen the lay of the land. We just have not had enough time to accept the reality of it all yet.