Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hello from Vegas!

Hola darlings!

Oh, it's gorgeous here!  Sunny, warm, DRY.  Did I say sunny?  We've already done some shopping, spent a little time by the pool but we got there late and were only able to sit out for 30 minutes -- only open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Geez!  Sun will be out here until 9 p.m. even if the pool area is shady now.

We'll be heading out shortly for the evening.  We got tickets for Mama Mia tomorrow night at New York New York and will be heading there shortly to get advance seating.  Then we'll hit the Strip and the casinos!

Some pics:

Jan and Thelma on the plane
Thelma in Venice!
12:05 a.m. Milwaukee time - back at hotel:

What a long day!  Thelma forgot her sunglasses -- she left them in her jacket coat pocket, the jacket she decided not to bring because the forecasts here were for temps in the 80's.  I realized that I had forgot to pack my facial cleanser, drat!  Cannot use any kind of soap on my face, I break out in horrid rashes if I do, and I also wanted to pick up a new hot curling brush.  So our plan was to check-in, get some sunglasses for Thelma and then head to the nearest Walgreens and get the stuff I needed.

Fortunately, check-in did not take a lot of time.  Our rooms are average.  Main point for me is that they are inexpensive, my wi-fi this trip is free, I have a king-size bed, the bedding and bathrooms are clean and there are an abundance of towels and washcloths, plus cable t.v. for watching shows or news when we rest in-between bouts of dealing with The Strip!  NOW Thelma realizes what I was trying to explain to her before we arrived and she actually experienced today for herself.

LAS VEGAS IS EXHAUSTING!  We hiked to the nearest Walgreens that I remembered the location of, to the north of the Venetian.  Thelma was oohing and aahing as I pointed out the various casinos and resorts along the way.  The Venetian is one of my favorites and I will make it a point to take Thelma through the shops there, because they are gorgeous and the decor is so much fun!  Took a couple of pictures - Thelma's turned out much better than mine but I was not able to loan her memory card into my memory card reader (either my portable one or the built-in inside this tiny little Acer notebook).  So I will have to wait to get those photos that she took with her camera and the extra portraits I took of Thelma in "Venice." 

We were barely out of the hotel on the walk headed toward Walgreens when I spied $10 a pair sunglasses in a gift shop right by Harrah's and so I steered Thelma there, which was a good thing because in all the subsequent hiking we did up and down the Strip today, I did not see a single damn street vendor selling sunglasses!  What the hell has happened to this city, I ask you?

Thelma tried on a few pair, I gave her a thumbs up on one and a thumbs sideways on the other, she bought the pair I gave thumbs up to (I am beginning to feel like a mother, not sure I like the responsibility) and Thelma sure looks cute in them.  They suit her face.

I also sort of twisted her arm into buying a different hat than the one she brought to Vegas with her.  Her original choice was too small to provide any shade to her face and eyes, really, and the style was not flattering.  More about the hat later...

While at Walgreens we also picked up some make-up primer for Thelma.  She had never heard of any such product and was intrigued by the idea.  You see, I had talked Thelma into trying out mineral make-up (I swear by Bare Escentials, love the product!) but I did not want her to pay $28 for their "Primer", so we picked up something less expensive at Walgreens to try out.  If she doesn't like it it will not be a financial bust.

Then we headed toward Sephora.  Wow - what a change.  Last time I was in this particular Sephora, the place was packed with women.  This time it was nearly empty. But that helped, not having to fight through hordes of women  to get to the Bare Escentials display.  We ended up buying Thelma the same color I use, in the "original" formula, after looking at the color samples.  Thelma is a little lighter skinned than I am, but she is not anywhere near an ivory.  She has to be careful with her undertones, too, because she has oily skin and that can and has interacted with liquid foundations she has worn in the past, and the latest not inexpensive brand she was wearing today, which turned streaky, blotchy and in places, downright yellow (like Thelma had Dengue fever or something, yikes).  I felt horrible pointing this out to her on the jet as we were getting closer to LV, and gave her my compact so she could see what I was seeing.  She did a good job correcting the issues with the compact, but because her skin seems to be producing a lot of oil very quickly, and of course walking around as we were in the heat of Las Vegas, her make-up was soon streaking again.  Not good.  A woman never wants to look like she is actually wearing stuff on her face, let alone streaky stuff!

So, we get the stuff at Sephora, and I totally forgot to check there to see if they had any hot brush curling irons, but in hindsight glad I did not because whatever they carrried would have been way more expensive than the outrageously priced not-correct-style-ones at Walgreens!  So, when I wash my hair tomorrow morning it's going to look like shit after it dries because I won't be able to tame it's frizzies and I cannot brush blow-dry my hair to save my life.

Now, about Thelma's new hat.  She didn't wear it today, but when we head out during the day tomorrow she'll have it on, so I will get a photo or two of her in the hat.  After we left Sephora and headed back to our hotel, we were chatting about her hat and why it didn't suit her, and as we walked we started passing that same gift shop near Harrah's that we had visited earlier, noting the hats they had there at the time Thelma picked our her new pair of sunglasses.  The primary issue was foldability.  Thelma wanted/needed a hat that she would be able to pack in her luggage when we return home without permanently ruining the hat's shape.  So, we changed course and went into the gift shop, and Thelma modeled a couple of the hats for me.  We were really lucky on the first try, because Thelma tried on a broad-brimmed white cotton stitched hat that was very foldable, and it looked so flattering on her.

Then she tried on a straw-colored hat that was a wide-brimmed beauty with a brown ribbon tied around the crown, it looks like something out of The Great Gatsby to me, something the ladies wear at the Derby.  It also was very flattering on her.

Ultimately Thelma picked the white hat because it had a great deal more foldability and we decided that it's white color would go with more outfits that the neutral, but bolder-colored "straw" hat.

Success!   Got back to the hotel and took a 30 minute break so we could we could do our own thing.  Thelma changed into her swim suit cuz the plan was to FINALLY get to the pool.  Oh - yeah, we also stopped at half-price tix --

more tomorrow, it's been a long day and I need sleep like - right now! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Milwaukee Summer Challenge!

Hola darlings!

You probably thought I had died or something - but I'm here, alive and kicking.  In fact, I had a very good report from Heart Doctor #1 on 4/17/13 and a big load of worry has been removed from above my head.  No more Sword of Damocles dangling over me -- well, for now, anyway :)

I am sooooo happy to announce that me a/k/a Goddesschess, since I'm the only one left now, will be funding prizes for Southwest Chess Club's second Milwaukee Summer Challenge!

Last year's inaugural Milwaukee Summer Challenge was a big hit. July, 2012 was the first time my adopted chess club hosted a five-game tournament spread over two days.  Goddesschess/me (I?) provided $250 in prizes for the chess femmes (I think), but things got switched around a bit when not enough female players entered the highest-rated section, and so I reallocated the prize money originally intended for the highest rated section to increase the prizes for chess femmes in the other sections and also increased the Best Game Prizes (open to female and male players) in each section.  Well - something like that, anyway.  Those great guys at SWCC figured it all out so I didn't have to stress my brain (such as it is) about it!   Final standings from the 2012 Milwaukee Summer Challenge with Goddesschess prizes noted. 

This year, I am putting up the same prizes for chess femmes playing in each section, and Tom Fogec and I discussed a $50 best game prize when I saw him a few weeks ago.  I honestly do not recall all the details now, but I had lots of other things on my mind last summer, with the health crises Mr. Don (may he rest in peace) and I were undergoing at the time.  The guys will let me know the $$ I need to send them to cover. 

Flyer for 2013 Milwaukee Summer Challenge
All details and registration form.
Talk about being behind the times - geez - today was the first time I checked out who actually won best game prizes at the 2012 Milwaukee Summer Challenge, and was pleased to see that Anne Ulrich won the prize for her section!  YAH!

Couldn't help but also note that in less than a year, Anne has raised her ELO by some 300 points!  You can see the prize-winning games here -- Anne's is first up.  At that time, she was rated 1072. Her rating now is 1396.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! 

Egyptian Blue's Amazing Qualities

Okay, this will sound totally nutzoid, but this article got me to wondering whether the "alternative history" folks may be right about some aspects of ancient Egyptian technology???  It's only recently that we actually finally deciphered out of what Egyptian blue pigment was made.   I've been posting articles about Egyptian blue and similarly-colored pigments used by other ancient civilizations.  Did the Egyptians know about the qualities of this pigment, and did they somehow use the pigment as other than as a decorative device in ways we are only now discovering for ourselves...  

Tomb of Nebumun demonstrates shades of Egyptian blue pigment.  Interestingly, or perhaps
to be expected, these shades of blue are very popular today in home decor.  Turquoise,
aqua, teal, sky blue, and robin's egg blue, are all featured in today's upscale decor.

From archaeology.org

From Egyptian Blue to Infrared

Monday, April 08, 2013
Egyptian blue is known as the world’s oldest artificial pigment, first used more than 4,500 years ago, found on wall paintings at Luxor and sculptures recovered from the Parthenon. The hue comes from a compound called calcium copper tetrasilicate. Over the past decade, museum conservators and archaeologists have taken advantage of its properties to spot the presence of Egyptian blue on antiquities: When red light is shone on the pigment, it reflects infrared light, which can be detected via night-vision goggles or cameras.

Chemists at the University of Georgia (UGA) have now determined that the luminescent quality of calcium copper tetrasilicate is retained even when the compound is reduced to what are termed “nanosheets,” a thousand times thinner than a human hair. “Even if you have a single layer, the thinnest possible, you still get the effect,” explains UGA’s Tina Salguero. At that scale, she believes, you can start thinking about modern applications.

Salguero says that Egyptian blue’s primary molecule could be incorporated into a dye to improve medical imaging, since the infrared radiation it would reflect can pass through human tissue. The pigment’s luminescent quality could also be effective for developing new types of security ink, typically used to secure currencies and other official documents from forgery. Further, the possibilities for a second act for the long-out-of-use coloring extend to devices such as light-emitting diodes and optical fibers, both of which transmit signals using the relatively long wavelength of infrared light.

The UGA team is now looking at another compound, barium copper tetrasilicate, which was also used as an ancient pigment, in this case by the Chinese.

Prior posts on Egyptian blue:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ancient "Blue" Back in the News

Prior post - did the old world and new world "blue" hues have something in common? Use the Goddesschess blog search feature, type in the word "blue" (without the quotes), and a whole bunch of interesting articles will appear to give you background on this fascinating, ancient color.

In the news today - ta da! "Egyptian Blue Found in Romanasque Altarpiece"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Color Blue Back in the News

First, a follow-up article of sorts, on the use of ancient Egyptian blue in a 12th century CE altarpiece in a Barcelona church:

Egyptian Blue Found in Romanesque Altarpiece

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is There a Common Link Between These Ancient Blue Hues?

I've no idea. I'm not suggesting that the recipe for either blue travelled from Old World to New World or vice versa. I'm wondering is there an underlying chemical conection or similarity in the composition of the minerals in the clay and/or rocks that the Maya used to produce their cobalt blue color and the minerals in the rocks the ancient Egytians used to produce their cobalt blue color?

Mar 16, 2010
Archaeologists: Maya Blue pigment recipe moved around
An archaeologist reports the ingredients of "Maya Blue" pigment beloved by Central America's ancients may have been widely mined, not traded as previously suggested.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Latest on Egyptian Blue

Ancient "Egyptian blue" pigment points to new telecommunications, security ink technology
February 20, 2013

A bright blue pigment used 5,000 years ago is giving modern scientists clues toward the development of new nanomaterials with potential uses in state-of-the-art medical imaging devices, remote controls for televisions, security inks and other technology. That's the conclusion of an article on the pigment, Egyptian blue, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Maya Blue Back in the News

From Fox News
X-Rays Reveal Secret of Ancient Mayan Dye
By Devin Powell
Published July 27, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Physicists have created a dye that promises to last for a thousand years. The secret to this extraordinary durability? Its formula is based on a Mayan pigment, a brilliant blue color that survives to this day on the walls of their ancient temples.

Ceramic Figurines from Tel Motza outside Jerusalem

Well, if there wasn't "evidence" of rituals during this period of the Iron Age in Israel (c. 800 BCE), there is now.  Is Hershel Shanks rubbing his hands in glee?

From archaeology.org

Ceramic figurines were part of a cache of objects found at an Iron Age temple uncovered at the site of Tel Motza outside Jerusalem
Monday, April 08, 2013
Source:  (Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)
What is it?

ca. 9th century B.C.


Tel Motza, 3 miles west of Jerusalem, Israel

Shown approximately twice actual size
Sometimes it is the smallest artifacts that surprise archaeologists the most. Inside the recently uncovered remains of a massive Iron Age building at Tel Motza in Israel, archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) uncovered a cache of pottery, and this particular assemblage surprised and intrigued them. The collection included decorated chalices and pedestals, as well as a number of tiny figurines in both animal and human form. These artifacts resembled similar objects found previously that were known to have been used in domestic rituals. But the structure at Tel Motza was clearly much too large to be a house. Instead, they believed, it was actually a temple with an east-facing entrance typical of the ancient Near East, and an altar in the courtyard, next to which they found the pottery cache. According to the IAA archaeologists, the discovery of the temple itself was striking. “There are hardly any remains of ritual buildings in Judea from this period,” they said. But the discovery of the sacred objects inside the temple was especially surprising because there is scant evidence for ritual practices, particularly so close to Jerusalem, at this time. At some point during the later Iron Age, ritual sites outside of Jerusalem were abolished and religious practices were concentrated solely at the temple in the capital city.

Cyber Archaeology Being Used at Catal Hoyuk Continuing Excavations

This is one of those "wow" articles -- really cool!

I also learned, for the first time since hearing about Catal Hoyuk perhaps 20 years ago (or more), how the name is actually pronounced!  It is "Sha-tal" or "Cha-tal" with a soft "c" sound, similar to an "s" sound.  Now that brings a whole new meaning of the place name to me.  All these years, I was pronouncing the name with a hard "c" (a "k" sound)!!! 

Where are the board games -- will any of those ever be found at Catal Hoyuk?  Professor Forte spoke of the people at Catal Hoyuk as the first "modern" type of civilization that we (today's people) could relate to -- the first to settle into one place, plant and reap, domesticated sheep and evidently attempted to domesticate cattle as well, with a civilization that lasted for "thousands of years."  [Note:  According to an article on the site at Wikipedia, Catal Hoyuk existed from approximately 7500 B.C. to 5700 B.C. -- so, if these dates are approximately correct, less than 2,000 years.]

There is a great site online, the Catalhoyuk Research Project, that has project reports available dating back to 1993, when excavations of the large mound area were restarted, including a searchable data base. 

Mommy Dearest:

"Seated woman with two lions" - excavated in one of the
later layers at Catal Hoyuk. 
Description (English): Seated Mother Goddess flanked by two lionesses from Çatalhöyük (Turkey), Neolithic age (about 6000-5500 BCE), today in Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.  Wikipedia Commons - source

DNA Sequencing Possible for Ancient Egyptian Mummies

From Nature.com

Egyptian mummies yield genetic secrets

Next-generation sequencing finds DNA preserved in hot climates.
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