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Last night we left our back door window open so our cats could get in and out as they please (we've done this for years during the warm months without any major problems) . Around 1:00 am Maggie and I both woke up to the sweet sounds of our cat Bowie making his special, "I've caught something for you" meow, followed by an unusually loud non-cat squeak. Fun fun fun! As it turned out he brought us a very alive and extremely active RAT into our living room, and then left to go back outside  - leaving all of the fun for me! You know, not a great way to wake up. I think that Maggie at this point was hiding under a pile of covers. The rat was under a table in a corner of our living room, so I was able to trap him by propping large canvases around the open sides of the table and funneled the guy into a large box, where I was then able to take him back out to the alley where our cat found him. The abandoned house next to our apartment seems to have a slight infestation problem. Yesterday afternoon the city posted signs in the alley stating that the rat problem was being taken care of.

Thank god.

From now on, I think we'll be keeping the back window CLOSED!
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Today I mailed out 6 of my little paintings to Kiel, Germany for the Konglomerat exhibit (http://www.portraitfirma.de/stude.htm). I'm very excited to be part of the show, however it is unfortunate that I will not be able to be present. Although I'll be in Paris on business shortly before the show, I would not be able to attend the show without missing a friends wedding and work obligations. Besides, I think that if there's a next time it would be a whole lot more fun to do this with Maggie.

Here's a couple of the pictures that I will be showing:



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I have not been painting lately, focusing instead on developing my ceramic techniques.  However, I recently accepted an invitation to show my paintings as part of a group show (http://nugax.de/nugaxpage/) in Kiel, Germany.  I'm hoping that I might be able to attend the show, as I will already be in Paris on business around that time (although it all depends on the price of plane tickets). The show is made up of an artist group called Konglomerat. I'm excited to be showing with them as they are all excellent artists and also have a similar philosophy on art as I do.
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The questions that were asked on this test were ones that I deal with at work on a regular basis.  I think that this test only examined one aspect of intelligence; while I do great with questions on reasoning and mathematics, I tend to struggle with language skills. 
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I've been taking a ceramics class for a little bit now and am finally starting to feel like I have a bit of control over the things that I'm creating. Here's a couple small vases that I made that I'm pretty happy with.

 
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Got another little letter from the Secretary of State yesterday. It was an apology for accidentally attaching my registration to someone else's ticket. I was pretty amazed that they sent the letter - for me it sort of restored a bit of faith in our courts. Accidents happen, and I'm just very happy that they took the time to send the apology.
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This Wednesday I got home from work and found a nice little letter waiting for me in the mailbox. The letter was from the "Office of the Secretary of State - State of Illinois" Hmm I wondered, what do they want from me? Well... according to the letter, I had a court conviction for driving without insurance. Apparently I had been convicted and my registration was to be suspended unless I pay their fine. Now... we have had continuous insurance on our car - and most definitely had insurance the day the ticket was issued. After looking over the letter a bit more, it seemed that the person operating the car was not myself but someone with the name of Daniel (I don't know anyone with that name - and have never lent our car out before). Thursday morning I called our insurance company and had them fax proof of insurance to the "Mandatory Insurance Division" and also called the cook county court house to get some more information on the ticket. As it turns out, someone had made a simple typo... I was surprised that I was able to clear it all up without having to go to the courthouse in person (thank god) and how easy it all was. I don't know what it is, but it seems like I'm some sort of magnet that triggers unnecessary government issues. I wonder what will be next...
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Today I walked the Chicago Houseware show... and as I expected, it kinda sucked. I mean, there was some cool stuff there, however, the bad out-weighed the good. For the most part, there was mainly stuff that you would see at dollar stores, K-Mart or on infomercials... I guess there's really no good comparison in Chicago to the Paris or Frankfurt shows... I think that the overall highlight of the show was seeing one booth trying to show off their upscale shower heads by having some buff guy actually take a shower at the show (in a swim suit, but still) - it was so so so ridiculous... you know, you walk around a corner and bam! There's some strange guy taking a shower - very strange and surreal... I think that it was after that point that we all decided that it was time for us to go. So, I got home early today - around 4:00 and was able to enjoy the warm weather at our local park with my son and wife - much more fun than the show.
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Tomorrow I'm making a Chinese stir fry for our little tribe. I don't get home until a little before six, so usually I'll prep everything the night before. So... I got the chicken and beef chopped and marinating in a chinese wine, dark soy sauce and sesame seed oil, broccoli and green onion chopped and ready to go, and all that I had left was to start the sauce, which I decided it would be primarily a garlic, ginger and soy combo. I cooked the sauce up, and it smelled and tasted amazing, however seemed a little soupy, so I added a little corn starch. The one problem with this is that I added baking soda instead of the starch - wasn't looking very carefully at which little box of white powder I was adding.
Oh well.
This week so far has kinda been like this, a little off - I think that I'm still a little burnt out from last week. It was our official launching of new seasonal products. This included a couple day long meetings with all of our sales reps from the US and Europe along with a dinner downtown on LaSalle over the river. Fun, but a bit draining.
It would be nice if tomorrow was Saturday.
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