The Library of Congress just received a photograph of Harriet Tubman. Since her biopic is coming out, it’s appearing in a few places on the internet. Since it comes with no restrictions and the Library provides a large TIFF download (seriously large, 160 megs) I had to grab it so I could stare into her eyes. Colorizing things like this is fun. I’ll have to give it a try with Afinity, too. Please, download the original so you can look into those eyes at almost life size.
I didn’t spend as much time as I could’ve researching appropriate colors, but the wall covering is from the period. I feel her over my shoulder, telling me that she’d never wear those colors, and the shirt was a beautiful union blue. Let’s go across the street for a glass of wine and we’ll talk about it, I’d respond.
This was a tough one. It started a year ago with an old friend asking if I’d be interested in contract work. Likely as much an attempt to throw me a bone as use grant money. The needs started with a decision tree, but that felt wrong to me. At the time, I couldn’t say exactly what was wrong, but considering the possibilities, the approach felt out-dated. We got to the point you see here, had a verbal confirmation that we’re on the right track, then nothing. Lost work, lost friendship, lost opportunity.
Boise State has a federal registration for the color blue applied to turf. It’s trademarked. First installed in 1986, the turf in their stadium is recognized nationally as that of Boise State. Documents should have a dominant color of blue or orange. Boise blue and Boise orange.
In a lot of respects, the branding is similar to Penn State’s. I can comply. Graphics, though, should clarify and clearly, this doesn’t. Off the top of my head I tried a stream of suggestions- publish your phone number. Publish your email address. Let people feel that they’re talking with someone. Give help a personality. All good, but really- who would want to deal with that? Even if calls and emails reached a team or committee, it might be overwhelming. Though I seriously doubt it.
So what would help? If the conversation would have continued, if there’d been face to face discussion, I’m sure it would have come out: What’s needed is simple.
A free, introductory course called Intro to Careers in Public Health with lots of video interviews of graduates working in different fields and locations around Boise. Give people a badge if they complete the online introduction. Deciding on a career path is complex enough to require more than a graphic or chart. Exploring the online course could give potential students a low impact feel for how online courses work.
I figured her mom would have a real cake with candles and singing. I wanted to do something different so I did an alaska. It’s been years, but it’s all pretty standard technique. Genoise in the morning, simple syrup, apricot glaze, and cherry syrup later that day. I compiled everything with three kinds of ice cream just before bed. For the meringue, I did a Swiss meringue- started over simmering water to dissolve the sugar, finished in the stand mixer. The result is firm, creamy, and very stable. I fired it up just before she got here.
So the impact was less than I’d hoped. She liked the candles, liked how it looked, but wasn’t too thrilled eating it. She didn’t even want to taste the left-over cherry syrup. Maybe left-over cake will be a hit?
Nah. Wont even try it.
Did I tell you it was Swiss meringue?
Well, this was kind of the birthday card. This year the kid was half my age- I’m 66. I did the card, had it printed, gave it to her, and everything was good. My granddaughter, however, seemed a bit “uncomfortable.” When I showed her the digital version, she was visibly uncomfortable, then said, “I should be wearing my unicorn costume.”
You see, the original card had everyone in a unicorn suit for Hailey’s graduation. Hailey, in the original even though she actually owned a unicorn costume, was in a cap and gown. A graduate of the Bellefonte High School Pre-School. Ah well. It made its historical point. This card, though, is the Hailey approved version. At least, I think so. It hasn’t been printed yet.
Party on the Moon
It’s always a treat to have a conversation with my granddaughter. We got gas at the local market and decided to go in for a couple of pastries. When we finished pumping, someone claimed the last parking space. I suggested driving around the block but she was a little concerned we’d miss an opportunity. I pulled off the lot and sat on a side street where we could see the cars. The guy who grabbed the last space was back out quickly and I drifted forward.
When he didn’t start backing out, I braked and said, “oh come on, buddy.”
The kid said, “He’s probably on his phone, grampop.”
Perfect observation. And relaxed, too; which I wasn’t.
Later we were stopped at a light. Through the front window we could see a camper parked under some evergreens. She said, “There’s a trailer.”
I said, “Yeah I see it. It has a plastic sheet over it. Maybe it has a hole in the roof.”
“I think they covered it just to keep bits of nature from falling on it and making it dirty.”
Parked under pine trees. Yeah, I bet you’re right. And you think about parties on the moon.
Shortly after my granddaughter started spending time with me at 6½ weeks, I put cartoon drawings of her toys on the wall so she’d have something fun and familiar to look at. Her verbal skills grew rapidly and her toys changed, too. Now, at 4½ years, and way past Tinky Winky and Dipsy, she agreed to take most of the old drawings down and put up new ones. (She didn’t want to part with Sophey or Pout-Pout Fish, so they moved to a different wall.) She wants to fill another wall in the kitchen, too. Since her arrival, I’d hung framed pictures that her mother drew on wainscotting in the kitchen- all just two feet up- right about toddling height. Now we covered the wall above the wainscotting with her pictures and she wants to cover another wall with zoo animals. I’m loving it.
First she challenged me to draw the Nittany lion. We drew head to head, with her version winning in the end. The next afternoon she drew a regular lion. I called it an African lion but she said no- it’s a Pennsylvania lion. That’s when she arrived at the ‘zoo animal’ theme. Her elephant blew mine away, and she insisted it was an elephant, not a heffalump. She drew others without challenging me: a fantastic giraffe, a monkey “with some leaves to hold on to”, a tiger. All fun stuff, and all hanging in the kitchen.
And really, no presentation is complete without a signed self portrait of the artist as a young girl. In teddy bear pajamas. And Minnie the Mouse slippers.
Fell off of a stool. I was three feet away. Poor kid.
She was on the floor showing her mom pictures she colored in pre-school. She held a stegosaurus kind of creature and said, “See? He has all these plates on his back!”
From the sidelines I said, “He must have a restaurant.”
She said, “No, grampop; these aren’t round plates.”
Four years and just about three months. And she knows I need help. Smart kid. The photo is of a dead mudpuppy we found by the swollen creek. Didn’t have a shot of the dinosaur. Sorry.