Saturday, June 18, 2011

On experimentation with glues

As I had the opportunity some years ago to learn the Asian style of watercolor painting, it seemed to me that I ought learn the traditional practice of mounting the paintings as well. I have seen the process done a few times and it seems not at all difficult, although I anticipated that there would be some amount of experimentation involved to perfect the technique, I did not expect my first attempt to be quite the dismal failure it has proved to be. For although I did exactly as I had been shown, something went most horribly wrong as I mixed the glue. Alas but I failed to realize this until I began to spread the glue and realized that I did not have the nice smooth paste I was supposed to, but instead my paste was filled with many tiny dough-balls, as the paste is made of a mixture of wheat flour and water. Somehow in my cooking and preparation process, I had made dough rather than paste. And as I began to spread my mistaken mixture over my painting, I was depositing tiny blobs of what might have become bread upon baking. Most assuredly though I had not created a smooth watery glue with which to bind my painting to the backing. I was forced to carfully brush off what lumps I could, and when that failed, I gave up entirely and threw the entire batch of glue over the side of the ship. I have since peeled up my painting carefully and set it aside that I might try with it again later, and am now attempting to make another batch of paste, hoping this time to create the smooth liquid that is my goal, however I will be the first to admit that my confidence is somewhat shaken, as clearly it is not at all the same to watch the process be done as it is to attempt it myself. But really the question is also how difficult is it to make a paste of flour and water? I would not have thought it so difficult until of course I had tried it and found that it was indeed rather much a challenge.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Travels and Returns

I am most relieved that my recent studies of the flower Cypripedium acaule has not prevented me from taking further travel. I took an airship to the southern state of Louisiana and spent most of the weekend dining on the local cuisine. It was quite more spicy than that which is prepared in New England, however quite good. And they used crawfish in everything, which in the North is hardly considered edible when compared to the Lobster... It is so much more work for such a smaller amount of meat, but the advantage of course is that it can be eaten without resorting to weapons to open the shell - the tail can simply be pulled off and the shell torn away using just one's fingernails, which would lead to no small amount of frustration and failure if it was tried on a lobster. I will need to consider further the differences between the species, as it is quite striking that they are indeed related species, and yet such markedly different sizes...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Being a return from my studies

Most sincere apologies for my extended absense. Alas but I had the opportunity to further my mathematical studies, and as these opportunities are not always readily available. But I am now on a summer recess from these studies and once more have the opportunity to undertake my own studies. I have a great love of the orchid native to New England, the pink lady slipper. It only blooms for a few weeks in the spring, and I have been fortunate to see them blooming. I have begun a study of their population in the area - my first step was simply walking through the forest where I had seen them and marking each plant I saw with a stake so that I will be able to track the plants through time. In just the first hour I walked, I found 66 plants! And this is a rare flower! This is no doubt a special location for these orchids!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Being the Discovery of Box

It bodes ill when one discovers a box aboard your ship that no one on the crew recognizes and which when opened is empty. Particularly when the box is discovered so soon after a convention.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Being a Recording of the Events which occurred at Connecticon

The weekend found Falcon’s Vengeance in an aero-port outside of Hartford with our weekend hosts, Mr. and Mrs. N in anticipation of the Convention of Connecticon. Our Cousins, the Brothers McManniss, arrived late Thursday evening, but after leaving them with a family of skunk’s last time we had the opportunity to visit at the Port of Boston, Captain Izumi and I only made a token blast into their port side by way of greeting so that they would know we were there.

We arrived at the Convention Hall first thing in the morning to set up our booth and quickly ran into Miss L. Dearfour who helped us transport our items to the artist’s bazaar where we set up our booth and home base for the weekend. Mistress Inyx Hemlock, a fellow vender, was already set up and most conveniently her booth was across the aisle from ours affording us the opportunity to visit briefly with each other throughout the weekend, a luxury we rarely have. However many of our usual associates were absent, including our apprentice pirate and the Baron Von Lahey, and were indeed well-missed.

Fortunately, despite those were unable to attend, there were far more that we did see over the course of the weekend and it was only a matter of time before other friends and associates began to appear: Ay-leen the Peacemaker, Professor U. Marvel, Dr. H. Rapture, who we were pleased to see and were sorry for his recent ill-health, and Capt. Adella Mortimer, all of whom frequently stopped by over the course of the weekend – indeed A. and Miss D. shared boarding with us with Mr. and Mrs. N. for part of the weekend. We had opportunity to visit with Mrs. L. Sussenberger who is most amazing as it seems she is forever planning the most impressive events and spoke of not one, but two upcoming in the next months, Mr. Tangent, Mr. Sketch, and many others over the course of the weekend. In the Vender’s Bazaar, we had opportunity to visit with our author/artist friends, Mr. Mookie Terracciano who recently proposed to Miss Alyssa, Mr. Dave Lister, who is ever charming and even came to our booth to visit for a time, Mr. Garth Graham, Mr. Shawn Handyside, Mr. Brian Wilson, Mr.’s Mohammad Haque, and Ananth Panagariya and Miss Yuki. My hat was even used by another as a model for future drawings she intended to create. Although busy we did have opportunity over the course of the weekend to give brief greetings to Whisper Merlot and Captain Winslow of the Icarus.

For our own parts, in addition to selling our paintings and at least attempting to maintain the image of having some kind of legitimate source of income (aside from piracy, which we only practiced a small measure of over the course of the weekend), we ourselves hosted an assembly for ball-jointed dolls at which many lovely members of the Den of Angels attended to share their creations, a Japanese Tea Ceremony at which there were more than seventy guests, and I demonstrated for another fifty individuals aspects of the art of Asian Brush painting, for which I am grateful to the generosity of fellow artist Miss T. DeFabrizio who loaned me her paintbrushes that the participants of my panel could practice the strokes I demonstrated. It is unfortunately never a convention unless we forget something, and this time it was the brushes necessary for my lesson. And over the course of the weekend Captain Izumi was finally able to complete the repairs and modifications on a damaged gun she had liberated from someone some months ago, though I think she still prefers her harpoon for intimidation sake in crowds.

At the end of the weekend, we briefly kidnapped Mr. and Mrs. Norris and their guard, Tiny, and Mrs. S. Weatherby for dinner at the aero-port at Mr. and Mrs. N’s residence thus ending a successful weekend with a final victory. We happily anticipate continued interactions with the many friends we saw over the course of the weekend – those mentioned and the many I did not mention by name but with whom we had conversations with over the course of the weekend and look forward to seeing next year, or possibly earlier at our next appearance – Another Anime Convention.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

In preparation for a Convention

We have landed in the air-port outside of the city of Hartford in anticipation of the events of the weekend. The plan is that lady A. and Miss L. will be staying with us, though of course I anticipate interactions with the Cousins, the crew of the Iccarus and Baron Von Lahey.

I lament that circumstances have left me unable to do much botanizing or naturalizing - but I was struck with a sudden illness this weekend that kept me abed and I worried I was going to be too ill to attend the convention, so reserved my energy exclusively for healing rather than writing in order to be most prepared for the weekend. Indeed even setting ink to paper before now has been quite beyond me, though I am much recovered now and anticipate much adventure this weekend.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Being a musing about listening and the sounds of a lake

If you ever get the chance, I recommend just sitting on the shore of a weedy pond and listening. In the stillness, the pond itself was alive with sounds – the lily pads that covered the surface made a sort of irregular clapping sounds – not quite but similar to the polite clapping of a bored audience. Even after minutes of gazing out across the field of lily pads, I never saw what was causing the clapping, but the occasional splash of a fish briefly breaking the surface identified the likely culprits. What was amazing was how quickly the clear surface of the water filled back in with the leaves of the lilies such that it was impossible to see where the fish had broken the surface mere moments after it had appeared.

Later, as I sat quietly enjoying the sound of the lake itself, a flash of blue drew my attention – a brilliant baby blue colored bird with a rust-colored chest was sitting mere feet from me on the ground – then fluttered up to the branches of a maple by the shore. There it sat, singing in the tree and I think I may have heard the faint echo of another bluebird calling back.