In which we finish a project

The boy’s room is done! All we need to do now is get all of his shit out of my room and my office and put it back in his! And that’s his problem! Hooray!

The final project was to get the curtains up; I’m going to be honest: I was scared of this, as getting things that require drilling multiple holes and using drywall anchors straight, level, and even is not something that I’ve ever been very good at. I’m not gonna promise that this is contractor-quality measurement but neither of us can see anything wrong looking at it and frankly that’s all I care about.

The other corner, with a couple more of the trees. We bought him a new bed– I managed to destroy his old bed frame, don’t ask– but it won’t be here until September so for now the box springs and mattress are just on the floor.

CONTROVERSIAL DECISION: we decided to leave his door and the closet door alone. While neither of us liked the yellow in the room, with everything repainted I actually like how they look, and since they would have been a pain in the ass to paint anyway we decided to stick with the original color. I don’t love how it looks next to the white furniture but whatever.

We need to get him another lamp today, because the room is a bit darker than it used to be, but that’s the last touch.

EDIT: I have been informed there has been a decor change since I’ve started typing this.

Each of the six trees now contains a Porkachorp. I feel very bad for this one, who only wants the little birdie to be his friend:

As it works out, this is the one you’re looking straight at if you’re standing in the doorway of his room looking from the hallway, so I can look forward to this haunting me for the rest of the time I live in this house.

(Also, my wife and I have both noticed that our cameras are having a hell of a time with the green color; the best look at what it actually looks like is the brighter corner of green in the top picture. If the room is dark, the darker leaves go blue, which is *fascinating*.)

It’s really green

My wife is on vacation all this week, so we decided to cross off a project from our list and get the boy’s bedroom painted. It’s been this moderately awful straw-yellow color since we moved in, and it was time to fix it.

We decided to go ahead and let him decide what color to paint it, and immediately had to talk him out of a wild hand-painted jungle scheme that no one in the house has the remotest ability to pull off. We talked him down to green walls and a blue ceiling, with tree decals winging their way to the house via the internet. He did a fair amount of cleaning and decluttering and moving stuff out of his room yesterday and we started the painting today. I figure it’s at least a three-day job; we’re done for the day but tomorrow we’ll finish the painting and depending on when the decals arrive on Thursday hopefully we can get them up right away and be done.

At any rate, pictures:

What we started with this morning. There are also new curtains to be hung once the painting is done.

Preparatory taping completed.

I forget if this was after one coat or two of the blue on the ceiling, but I did that while my wife did trim and baseboards in the green.

We pressed him into service once we started actually putting paint on the walls. He was a bit sloppier than we wanted, but all in all he did a pretty decent job until he decided he was tired and retired to iPaddery in the other room.

And this is where we left it, considerably greener than I thought it was going to be, but whatever, it’s not my damn room. Tomorrow we’ll touch up the ceiling where we need it, pull the tape protecting the walls from blue, retape to protect the ceiling from green, get the edges and second coat as needed, and paint the door and the closet door. I will, of course, post additional pictures once it’s all done.

#REVIEW: Leonardo da Vinci, by Walter Isaacson

2020 thus far has been an interesting year for reading. 2019 had so many stellar books in it that I had to expand my traditional end-of-the-year Best Of list from ten to fifteen. In general, the quality of what I’ve been reading this year has been reasonably high, but there haven’t been all that many books that I was doing backflips over so far. There have definitely been standouts, of course, but nothing where I was rattling cages and shouting you must read this while running pantsless through the streets.

So it’s pretty cool to have identified my first major WHY DON’T YOU OWN THIS BOOK ALREADY of the year, finally, and even more interesting that it’s turned out to be nonfiction. There are usually a couple of nonfiction books in my top 10, but never one that I thought might be the best book of the year, and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Leonardo da Vinci is absolutely a book that I could see being my favorite of 2020 once the end of the year rolls around. Assuming we’re all still alive, that is.

I have read one other book of Isaacson’s: I was a big fan of his biography of Benjamin Franklin, and having now read this one I’ve got my sights on his book about Albert Einstein. You may notice a theme here; Isaacson very much enjoys writing about geniuses, and one of the best things about this book is the way his sheer enthusiasm for Leonardo shines through every page. This is a book about, with no real fear of contradiction, one of human history’s most interesting people, written by someone who is utterly fascinated by his subject, and it just cannot help but being a tremendously compelling and educational read.

(Two things I learned about da Vinci: I was aware that he was able to write backwards and mirror-imaged, but I was not aware that he always wrote backwards and mirror-imaged. He was left-handed and just taught himself to write that way to save time and keep from smearing ink. Similarly, one of the ways his work is validated when its source is unclear is to look for signs that it was produced by a left-handed person. Second, and I’m not sure how common knowledge this is and it’s possible y’all are going to be surprised I didn’t know this, but he was gay. Not, like, “for the times” gay, or “if he was alive now he’d be” gay, but out and fabulous gay. There apparently exists one of his notebooks where he’s put a to-do list on one of the pages, and one of the items on the list is “go to the bathhouse to look at naked men.”)

(Also, and I’ve Tweeted at him and I’ll update if he responds, but I’d love to know how much work in language Isaacson had to do specifically to write this. I suspect the differences between Renaissance-era Italian and modern Italian are not minor, even before you get to everything da Vinci wrote requiring a mirror to read, and given his other books Isaacson may not even have known Italian before writing the book– every other book he’s written was about someone who, at least, worked primarily in English.)

I can’t pass up talking about the book as a physical object, either. I got the book in paperback, and the paper used both for the cover and for the pages is thick and textured in a way that makes the book an absolute joy to hold. In addition, it’s full of pictures, as one would imagine it would have to be, but they’re scattered throughout rather than as a tip-in in the middle of the book, and every single one of them is in full color. I don’t recall how much I spent for this book, but I’m genuinely surprised it wasn’t $40. Amazon currently has it for twelve bucks. That’s madness for a book of this high quality; this could not have been cheap to print.

I am also in love with the way Isaacson talks about art. I had to take an art history class as a random requirement to get my teaching MA, and while I honestly didn’t do terribly well in the class, reading people who really know a lot about art talking about paintings is something that I will never get tired of even if to a large extent I don’t really know what the hell they’re talking about. Isaacson can drop a paragraph about the emotional resonance of a detail in someone’s eyebrows that I can’t even see, and a good proportion of this book is dedicated to analyzing da Vinci’s artwork, both finished and unfinished. His chapter about the Mona Lisa is a masterwork. I couldn’t have written something like this to save my life; I just don’t have the eye for detail or the vocabulary for it, but it was an immense pleasure to read.

Ten stars, six thumbs up, one finger oddly pointed toward the heavens, go find this and read it right away.


1:07 PM, Wednesday June 17: 2,143,193 confirmed cases and 117,129 Americans dead.

Go buy art

Hopefully this link will work okay: my artist friend Sara Kathleen is liquidating her studio to make room for the new madness she’ll be creating next year. Her work is amazing. Go buy stuff!

Another early look at the SKYLIGHTS cover

As always, the caveat that this is preliminary as hell and is basically just a color test– my artist and I exchanged half-a-dozen emails last night about various aspects of this, including one thing I griped about (the sky’s too pink.)  But I’m still too excited not to share it.

Basically at this point there are helmets and logo work to do (I approved a helmet design yesterday) and then refining the colors until gorgeousness happens.  This is what Casey and Jamie’s final work looks like so I have no doubt that the final colors on this will be spectacular.

I’m going to restrain myself from posting any further updates until you get the final image.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks; finalizing the colors will take a bit.

Cover_Final_FLAT_01