Sunday, April 28, 2019

The African American Civil War Museum

My final panel ended at 2:45 today. I hurried out of the convention center and up 8th Street, and made it just in time to whirl through the African American Civil War Museum before it closed at 4.

This museum has been there for 20 years but I'd never heard of it before spotting it near the convention center on a map. (I grew up here but left a lot longer then 20 years ago.
"The mission of the African American Civil War Museum is to correct a great wrong in history that largely ignored the enormous contributions of the 209,145 members of the United States Colored Troops. It tells the stories and perserves for posterity the historic roles these brave men of African, European, and Hispanic descent played in ending slavery and keeping America united under one flag. The Museum uses a rich collection of artifacts, documents, primary sources and technology to create a meaningful learning experience for families, students, Civil War enthusiasts and historians about the period from the American Civil War to Civil Rights and beyond."

Saturday, April 27, 2019

A Look Back

I'm at Awesome Con this weekend, and I had something I wanted to check out near Dupont Circle, so I went over to Connecticut and M.

I had not been by this intersection in decades—why would I? Just a typical downtown corner with offices and stores.

But I wanted to see what it looked like, because this was where I'd go to my first office job, my first non-Roy Rogers job. Home to DC/101, a radio station where I was a high school intern in 1984.

It's been a while.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Fun Marie Fact

My mom found this in an old box or scrapbook, and wrote the following:

The time Marie got a scholarship to travel abroad from the Arlington Civitan club, 1983. They got her name wrong but she got to go to Finland!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Out Back

My mom gave me a battery-powered motion-activated game camera. I stuck it out in my Jersey City backyard a few nights ago and learned my yard has an active social life.

Monday, April 22, 2019

My Birthday Gift to Myself

Unusual, I know.

I spent my birthday hiring a guy to refinish my porcelain enameled cast-iron pedestal sink in my 1895 castellated-brick rowhouse in Jersey City.

The sink is from around 1930, so it did not come with the house. This bathroom was "modern" in the old real estate listing photos I've seen from the early 2000s, so the previous owners restored it to include the pedestal sink and cast-iron tub. Thank you, previous owners, because the seventies-style bathroom looked like crap.

I spent the rest of the day coming down with food poisoning, which sidelined me for most of the week. So that was fun.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Loew's Valencia Movie Palace

I love checking out of movie palaces, and today I had the opportunity to see one which is seldom open to non-churchgoers.

The Valencia is one of the five wonder theaters Loew's built around NYC in 1929-30. The one I've been to the most is, of course, in Jersey City at Journal Square. I've been to that one more times than I can count since it's home to ongoing movie screen series and the occasional band. And I went to the Manhattan one once when Bob Dylan played there. I haven't been to the newly renovated Brooklyn one yet, and god knows when I'll get a chance to see the Bronx one, but today I saw the Queens one. 

I caught the E line from end-to-end, starting at World Trade and going all the way to Jamaica, then walking a few blocks. I passed the bank I'd gone to for the closing on refinancing my Avenue B condo back in the nineties. The closing clerk had contacted me after for a date. He seemed perfectly nice but I was so startled I scrambled to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

"I've never had that much fun at a closing before," he'd said. I was just like "what the actual fuck is this ethical" and went into "flee flee" mode. That was not charitable of me, though I supposed it's no different than the time the guide at the Amazon lodge looked up my contact details in the guest book and then called me when he got back to New York. That was really icky and I fled that time too. But then this was before everyone had email. I did then, but I guess it was uncommon to hand out email addresses the way we handed out phone numbers. How things change.

Ethical or unethical to swipe someone's contact details and call them? I think the latter, but this could also be the basis of a hit rom-com, so who knows?

Friday, April 19, 2019

The Luggage of Living on Two Coasts

The TSA agent who had to inspect my bag last night must have been really confused.

I had a small trashcan in my luggage.

What actually happened is the trashcan in my JC kitchen had a handle that kept coming off, and I had the same model in Hollywood and didn't need it anymore once I moved to Burbank.

I was checking a bag yesterday, so I stuffed the Hollywood trashcan into my bag and brought it along.

But I like whatever story the TSA agent came up with better.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A Look Back at Luxor

Digging around my old photos this morning.

Ballooning over Luxor, 2007.

Original blog entry from that day:
Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"Marie? Who is Marie?"

The balloon pilot was passing out certificates of achievement. After all, it isn't every day that one stands passively in a basket while floating through the air above Luxor's West Bank. Surely the early hour alone merits some kind of trophy. Not everyone gets out of bed at 5 while on holiday.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Artistic Choices

Remember that painting student in Jacmel, Haiti who sold me this piece for twenty bucks when I said "Here's twenty dollars, you choose the painting for me"?

I am finally getting around to framing it and my rule is I can't pay more to frame it than I paid for the painting.

So here I am with my miter box, wood glue, some craft wood, and a band clamp on a Sunday afternoon, making a frame. I'll stain it black when it's dry.

It's not a professional job, but it's in keeping with the aesthetics of the art student's aspirations.

Monday, April 08, 2019

A Plate For No Seasons

Here is a plate thing I made in pottery class. The Swiffer pack is for scale.

What does one do with a rectangular plate the size of a Swiffer head? I probably should have thought of that before I made it.

Sunday, April 07, 2019


In June, I'll have been in Los Angeles for four years.

Each spring since I moved out here, I've intended to go see the wildflower explosion in Antelope Valley. But the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is famous for spring weekend crowds, plus I don't have a car.

Today I finally made it out there in a rented Ford Fiesta. And the crowds were spectacular, but not as spectacular as the poppies.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Artist's Studios

I stopped by the Brewery Art Walk at the end of my day today.

I've been mildly interested in seeing this for a while, and it was kind of pleasant. Once was probably enough.

In Search Of...

I went to the giant Thai supermarket near Chinatown is search of crispy fried garlic. I found that pretty easily on arrival, but then I wandered into the back of the big aisles of the warehouse and saw these.


Friday, April 05, 2019

Bhutan Phallus Paintings

I'm at the 12-minute mark of this Australian podcast talking about phallic paintings in Bhutan.

If you listen to the whole thing, the funny part is when they can't help but suspect I'm exaggerating, and fact-check me before they move on to the next interview. To be fair, it all kind of sounded suspicious to me too. I'm glad they checked.