Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ginkgo trees are on the endangered species list party because of people taking cuttings and grafting in order to garauntee male trees

This year we again attended the annual Delaware car show and cruise, though I spent less time with the cars since I was busy investigating the construction around campus and the news that some of our trees had apparently fallen during a storm. The new entrance into the academic side of campus is looking marvelous, with classy brick work and stairs that look amply wide and far safer than the nigh-ancient ones that were alright on a good day. ( A little rain, snow, or ice, however, could make them a bit tricky to navigate in a rush!) The construction was nowhere near done, but hopefully will not be in similar disarray when classes resume at the end of the month; detouring around them would be a bit inconvenient, particularly when heading to morning classes amidst the crush of other students.
Students on campus this fall can also rejoice because the gorgeous ginkgo trees on campus have gone to seed again and are preparing to drop their infamously stinky seeds all over the sidewalks. I cannot wait to inform my roommate, as she despises the stench, and our room is directly next to a female tree. I’m sure this will make her return to campus feel all the more glorious.

German Word: The new entrance to the academic side of campus is im Bau, or under construction. Bau comes from bauen, the verb "to build".

Just some shots from around campus before the downpour that threatened to drench me; thankfully I was on familiar ground when it hit and was able to sidle over to an area with an overhang.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Because sculpture involves the use of materials that can be moulded or modulated, it is considered one of the plastic arts

This week I am proud to announce that I have taken the leap into 3D art and am attempting my first serious sculpture! (Art class back in the day barely counts, as those pieces stand nigh meaningless for me; I never enjoyed making the same sort of pots every time, scraping designs into them. Just not my thing.) I’m using Sculpey clay, which one bakes in the oven to set. Very fun stuff. I’m making what should turn out to be a roughly 1:12 scale model of my 7’ 8” (and two millimeters!) butler Ansgar Desmond Gottschalk. I’m still working on his head despite the hours I’ve poured into him, but I don’t think I’ve ever been quite this pleased with my work before; it’s simply satisfying. He still needs a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.

German Word: Bildhauern and formen are both verbs meaning ‘to sculpt.’

Step one, make a basic skull.

Add eyes. One at a time, now.

Lips that look great in profile….

Then a nose, or the start of one, anyway… still working away, though!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

White oaks are known to have lived over 600 years

Good Guys car show was back in town this week, bringing with it thousands of cars and car enthusiasts. Now that I’ve attended a few years, I have a good feel for the show, but I always enjoy observing the various car enthusiasts and their rides. (One usually comes across a few super-rare cars that are at the least interesting, and one usually learns interesting facts about cars. For example, I saw a car credited to have inspired Hitler’s Volkswagen. Apparently its body design was well ahead of its time. It had a very nice look to it, I must say. The grill and front portion of the car on the whole were very fascinating.) It’s always neat to see the variety of enthusiasts, as everyone from the dust-covered biker to the dapper gentlemen in their sparkling cars with whitewall tires, and they’re all gawking at the cars, engines, and oddities on display, cameras, complements, and questions ever at the ready.

On a less enthusiastic note, I find myself worrying over our campus, as the recent storms have taken down a few of our larger trees, according to the news. I hope none of our ginkgoes have been damaged, though the loss of any old trees is sad. (I suspect the loss may be of white oaks, since a few of the larger white oaks on campus have large metal rods holding their trunks fast to avoid splitting already.) I will have to investigate in a few weeks when I get to visit Delaware.

German Word: It’s fairly common knowledge, really, but Volkswagen means “Folks car”/“Peoples Car”.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

Iceland has some of the world's highest levels of economic freedoms as well as civil freedoms

This week has been busy, with running about everywhere and the fourth of July. We went to the fireworks show up in Mount Vernon, where they were also holding their monthly car show. The turn out wasn’t large, but it was an enjoyable time, as we had brought along our 88 year old neighbor Ed, who talked our collective ears off with his endearing stories of the endless number of things he’s done. I personally was treated to a tale involving a dog, a Jeep, Boston, and the Navy boat Ed was on. I believe ice cream was somehow involved with all of this, but I find that I’m getting nearly as muddled with the details of all of his stories as he is. He may have enjoyed the spectacular fireworks more than anyone else there, so I’m pleased that we were able to give a lonely old fellow a nice time.

German Word: Island is Iceland, Grönland is Greenland, and the US is usually just referred to as Amerika, USA (ooo es ah), or die Vereinigte Staaten.

I gave bonsai a more official attempt recently, so behold the results!

Another attempt at growing a lotus; the frogs and fish keep destroying them!

Our neighbor Ed, looking cute after a day of working about his yard.

I would also like to add that having Icelandic pop songs stuck in ones head is intereting.