Sunday, December 8, 2013

Traffic-Jam Trivia, Peter Zelle and Winter Riding

My fascination with Candy Crush Saga has come to a close after I would guess 5+ months of off-and-on play. I hadn't been playing the game much over the last month and when I did open it up recently I realized that it no longer held my interest at all. My avatar will forever remain positioned at level 257 on the Candy Crush highway.

Winter weather settled in over much the country this last week. We're coping with double-digit below zero temps at night and temperatures that struggle to get much above zero during the day. Having this cold air descend on us after a wet snowfall didn't help because so many of the roads were left quite slick and unaffected by deicers. Not good for biking but of course I wasn't going to let that keep me down.

We had a fun 3 hours in the studio on Friday morning. Traffic was backed up on our way there because of a multi-car collision. In our conversation to kill time the name Herman Munster from The Munsters oddly enough came up. Tammy did a search on her iPhone and started digging up trivia on the actor who played him as well as trivia on some of the other cast members from the show. Our curiosity eventually led us to The Addams Family and some of the actors in that series. "What about Lurch," I asked. Lurch was played by Ted Cassidy and he died at the young age of 46 after complications from open-heart surgery in 1979. Uncle Fester, played by Jackie Coogan began acting as a child and was discovered by Charlie Chaplin at a vaudeville house. The California Child Actor's Bill, often referred to as the Coogan Law requires that 15% of earnings of child actors be set aside in a trust. Coogan had earned an estimated $3 to $4 million as a child star but saw virtually none of it. His mother and stepfather spent it on an extravagant lifestyle and claimed that "No promises were ever made to give Jackie anything. Every dollar a kid earns before he is 21 belongs to his parents. Jackie will not get a cent of his earnings" and claimed that "Jackie was a bad boy." He would later sue them but only recover $126,000 of the remaining $250,000 of what was left of his earnings. He died in 1984 at the age of 69.

Traffic-jam trivia makes a nice pastime.

After we finished in the studio we walked through the catacomb of hallways that lead to Peter Zelle's studio and spent some time with him while admiring his work. Peter does a wide variety of glass artwork but what intrigued us most were his larger pieces that he's been working on lately. He casts them in clay first and then makes plaster molds from the clay molds which he uses to fire glass into. The pieces are so large that he needs to allow for a two-week step-down cooling cycle in his kiln to prevent the pieces from cracking. The sunlight streaming into his studio lit them up beautifully!

Tammy found a smaller piece that we both like a lot and it now sits on a shelf in our sunporch.

Here's a link to Peter's website.

Tammy's birthday was this past Thursday. We spent the day together kicking around at the mall before attending a wine tasting later in the evening with Karen. We'd wait until Friday night to go out to dinner together at our favorite place, Outback Steakhouse. It's a casual place and we like that, plus, we've never been disappointed with the service or food there.

I got out in below zero temps Saturday afternoon for a ride down by the river. I put my bike in the bed of my truck and drove to a parking lot along the trail off 35W. Wearing the right clothes is so important to be comfortable especially in those conditions and typically the mistake people make is in overdressing. You can easily overheat and become too sweaty in those temps isn't a good thing. I felt great out there but after an hour my toes began to chill and by the time I returned to my truck a little over 90 minutes later they were biting cold. I use Lake boots which are some of the best but even they struggle with those temps.

Monday afternoon's ride was an adventure. It began on dry roads but by the time I returned home I was cycling inside a snow-globe. The most difficult part was keeping snow off the lenses of my glasses with huge wet flakes falling at such a heavy rate. My Mukluk was rock-steady allowing me to have a blast out there!

My route.

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