Sugar Mill Tabby Ruins

Stopped here with a sleeping Mabel after a full morning at the St. Mary’s aquatic center and a big lunch.

IMG_7428 IMG_7478 IMG_7427 IMG_7433 IMG_7452 IMG_7462 IMG_7472

Vacation Pictures

Always fun, right?  In the next few days I’ll be putting some more up at Mabel Land.  Sort of a big deal being her first time out of the state and all.


She never looks at the camera when you want her to…




Hitchhiking – “Part of a hip lifestyle.”

Found this in the trash at work.  Sometimes we get donations that we don’t catalog and use. I guess this was too worn out – or maybe too dated.  Copyrighted by the man in 1973… man.

Here’s  an except to remember – or try to remember.

Consumable Artistry and It’s Patrons

Sometimes, I hate art.

I know everything can be appreciated.  Really, I get that.  And me? I think I have this real knack for being positive.  Usually if you want to complain about crap, I’m not the man for the job. My version of the helpful thing to do is help you look on the bright side – and,well, sometimes people would rather complain and be in that funky mood.  Most people don’t want to hear the bright side, I respect that.  But sometimes art – I can’t respect it.  Sometimes it’s stupid.  And just like everything else in our digital world, getting faster and faster; art is getting stupid with an unrelenting speed.

Take this for example.

It’s actual rather witty and enjoyable.  I had some concerns of course;  did the store regulars get pissed off? What if regular customers went to another store, and realized they like that one better? Now this poor store owner may actually lose money in the long run…  I guess it’s good he’s making money.  But, what a potentially frustrating experience.

The witticisms really amp up when you go to the groups website.  Look at what you can buy…

It really is sort of funny.  But with art, there are those times I look at what people create and think “that’s at least interesting,” or “I see the value in that.”  But increasingly I just think it’s a waste of time. I guess I”m sort of hung up on this western philosophy of using your time well.  You know, that quote about  time being the thing we have the most of, yet the thing we waste the most.   I feel validated by peoples comments on the Youtube video though.

“re-purposed as art”??? How about something worthwhile like FEEDING THE POOR!!! Fuckin poser “artists”

the next time i take a dump, and it leaves a skidmark, im going to make a video on it pretending to be a hipster making art….

The internet is truly making the world a better place. This is genuine, unadulterated, artistic dialogue.  I’d imagine one purpose of art is getting a reaction.  Is a band with no fans good? Is art without a viewer art? If these hipster artists fell in the woods would anyone care?  So they got a reaction, and might get some money – good for them.


It’s funny. My reaction to these dumb and bored (or productive and genius) people got me thinking about a painting I saw when in San Francisco.  I thought of this painting because it did so well what the above ‘art project’ does so poorly.  The painting stood out from everything else I was seeing at the time. Sorry ‘store buy out’ people – that fact that your project is online means it entirely does not stand out whatsoever.

While in San Fransico, I went to the DeYoung Museum. I went because I saw they had a exhibit called “Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay.”  As you may have guessed from this post I don’t know much about art.  One childhood family vacation to DC, mixed with some books I had, got me interested in Impressionism – the painted and musical kind.  Between having heard of Van Gogh and wanting to know (through a very literal translation) what happened after Impressionism, I decided to go.

So there I was,  looking at a lot of paintings I recognized from calendars that hit the 80% off sale mark in April.  But I was doing what I thought was a good job of appreciating them.  I had plenty of time, and actually looked up a good deal of the paintings on my phone to read more about them and the artist.  I hoped on a few tour that other people had to pay for. It worked for me.

Then I turned a corner and saw this.

It was the best painting they had.  It was awesome.

I was surrounded by pictures of landscapes and people looking at me. But leave it up to Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916) to get me to pay attention and  react in a room of paintings by his better known peers. It’s called “Hvile”, the Danish word for ‘rest’ – which it is also referred to as.   Apparently, Hammershoi invented the ‘back portrait’.

At the time, it was amazingly unnerving. “What’s going on is this picture? She’s.. she’s facing the wrong way.  Should I notify security or something?”  And months later, after seeing those silly ‘store buyout’ kids and thinking that’s rather lame, I thought of this picture and how not lame it was.

The problem was – the only thing I remembered about it was what it looked like.  I had no luck searching for a painting as “lady facing away” or some such.  For the sake of knowledge I guess, I called up the museum.  After being transferred a few times, Dave (or Mike maybe? Sorry Dave/Mike) was very helpful, knew exactly what painting I was insanely trying to describe, and looked up the painters name for me. I feel like the universe owed me one after helping a handful of random library patrons find things like “a red book with a llama who wears a hat.”  It was awesome.

That’s a good reaction to have to art you don’t hate.

It’s Already April

Sheesh.  2011 will be the year of the quickness.  And the weekend was no exception.

I spent most of Friday working with the wood patch material and stain on the floor. The patch doesn’t take the color quite right, but it’s working ok.  Going to finish up the patching in the bedroom, polyurethane it, and then hang out with it a while.  We’re still 50/50  on doing the rest of the house.  The line between ‘nice smooth sweepable surface’ and ‘pinstripe  wood floor’ is very fine.

Amber was off Saturday so we took Hannah for a big walk.  Apparently that did not satiate her need for attention.  Soon as we got home she stole my hat and kept sticking her tongue out at me.

I don’t know much about dogs, but I do know you can’t have them be the boss of you.  So, at least the photo evidence shows, I choked her.  Think Homer and Bart Simpson.  When she was gasping for air I took my hat back.

After that craziness was over I got a bit of time in the shop.

Although those poplar panels in the oak frames look pretty sweet,  I realized that each type of wood would take stain very differently. I did some tests of scrap and it was clear that I would have to use a very light stain to see be able to see the figure in the poplar.  One purpose of this whole project was to slowly make things that all match for the bedroom. Well, Amber and I both agreed we wanted something with a bit darker of a stain for bedroom furniture.  So I resawed some of the oak I bought for the nightstands and started making the panels.  I’m sure I’ll use the poplar for something else eventually.

You can’t see it too much from the picture (and some of them still have burn marks than need removed) but each piece of these is bookmatched, having a vertical axis on which two roughly mirrored pieces attach.  I’m going to make sure the middle of each panel is in he middle of the frame to keep this effect in the final piece.  I also had time to make up the leg/frame parts of the other nightstand.

That night Amber and I saw the movie The Source Code. It was a good metaphysical thriller sort of movie involving time continuums and parabolic calculus. It sounds tough to follow, but it’s not.  Actually it was a little too predictable.  I wanted to see the movie because I liked the director’s debut film Moon.  Which was another sort of sciencey thriller, just darker. Source Code is his second film, and it was a just a little too ‘everything is wrapped up in a nice little easy to digest package’ for me.  Save your $10, and just check out Moon for now.

On Sunday we went down to Ormond for my cousin’s Eagle Scout award ceremony.  It was a good turnout and everyone had fun.  It was definitely awesome to see that he got everything done for his Eagle badge.  His older brother, Matt, earned his Eagle as well.  Alex is the youngest of the three and still in scouts.  No pressure, Alex!

I was using my aunt’s camera too, but all the pictures I took on my camera are here.

Deleon Springs is not just for pancakes anymore.

First weekend in February, a little rock and roll on Friday.  It was fun.  Three of my cousins and my sister were there.  Amber was a super-trooper and drove!

Idiots on Ice and Critter played first and second.  Both very rockin’ types of bands. Idiots on Ice covered “Hey Hey My My” by Neil Young.  Super odd, since Roamers does too.  Below is Roamers playing our first show.

Playing with Civilization was fun. We haven’t played out a lot since Erik broke his foot. People were definitely going nuts and singing along.

I’m very glad that Nathan set up this show for us, and it was super cool of Judy to has us play her house! Some more pictures (mostly taken by Zach- thanks!) are here.

The Big Picture Catch-Up

I don’t think I’ve had a few spare hours to sit down and really add much of consequence to this blog.  I’m taking that as a good sign – it’s means I’ve been busy with too many cool things to have downtime at a computer.  Especially having time to load up tons of pictures.  But alas, I had some time today.

Pictures from San Francisco are all up.

Day one
Day two
Day three
Days four to six

I didn’t do a whole ton of record shopping.  It’s neat to go looking at places, but I’m not sure what I need is to come home with more stuff to find places for. Besides, I used to be more on top of it with being into new bands, etc.  I still am to a degree, but nearly as much as when I did the distro / store.

Amoeba was neat in terms of having so much stuff. The prices were not so neat.  In fact, they weren’t so neat in any of the record stores I went too, except for Rasputin Record’s used LPs.   I think part of me thinking it’s overpriced is being spoiled from doing the distro / store and getting whatever for wholesale.  Oh well, still fun to look.  Aquarius Records was cool, although smaller than a thought it would be and I definitely suffered from being unfamiliar with a good deal of what they had. Thrillhouse Records was closed both times I walked there, once in the rain. Lame.

San Francisco certainly has a ton of neat things to do in such a small area.  I had a great time.

Academy of Sciences and Japanese Tea gardens was day one.   I bet the gardens are neat at any point, but the fall leaves were kicking in and that was nice.  Academy of Sciences had some  interesting exhibits.  I like the living roof.

I mentioned earlier in a post the Sutro Baths and Lands End.   That was the AM of my second day – the first day I had to myself while Amber was in her conference.  Fifty easy minutes by bus from where we were staying.   From that, bussed to King of Thai for a late lunch.  Then I bussed to the foot of the Golden Gate bridge.  The next few hours were spent walking that and relaxing on the far side.  A neat view- but very noisy, especially considering my morning was spent alone in the woods and on the beach.  Then I bussed over to Haight to walk to strip and apparently have people offer me drugs every other block or so.  That was sort of amusing.  I also discovered a new type of store that is full of taxidermy and skulls and associated shadow box displays for sale. Complete with lots of signs saying you can’t take pictures of anything.  They did, however, have a gallery in the back with lot of pictures of birds in suits like this.

That evening Stevie Wonder was playing at the conference Amber was attending.  Free drinks / food and Stevie Wonder, duh.  And Keytar solos.

The following day was just me at the DeYoung Museum, and then exploring the mission district.

Where I ran into another weird store.  This one had almost nothing in it, and was definitely more interested in (I’m assuming) like, the aesthetics of items and the look of the store.  I guess a lot of store are like that in some way.  I just didn’t understand it’s existence or use of space. Take for example a giant red tub with a fur in it soon as you walk in.  Or how they sold records, but only one.  I mean they had like 14 copies of it, but it was the same record.  I guess it’s a store for people who love browsing while shopping, but for totally unrelated objects,  aside from (again, assuming), the tangential relationship each item has to the fact that the owner likes them.

The next day I did the downtown thing and made generous use of the fact that my friend had me added to the guest list at the Museum of Modern Art.  I arrived two hours before they opened though, so I got to walk around and look at busy downtown people and things at the bay like saber-tooth tiger skulls and fog.

MOMA was really neat. They had a exhibit of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photography, which was weird since the book I brought to read for the trip was about the most influential 100 photographs of the century, and it had more than  few of his in it. They also had a neat display on photography and voyeurism. Again, stuff from my book.   After looking back through the pictures I took,  I noticed a real penchant I have for taking my own picture in front of modern art paintings.

Or in the case of the second one, not a painting, just modern art. I guess.

The next day Amber I went to Alcatraz.  I didn’t realize how big the island was.  We took a neat tour of the history of the gardens on the island, and then did the Alcatraz audio tour.   The PM was spent checking out the Fisherman’s Wharf area, the big highlight there was this group of acrobatic street performers.

The last day we all went to Sausalito!  It was a neat little town and oddly reminded me of a small waterfront own in Italy.   A street performer was doing these sculptures on the water front.

Not at all a bad way to spend a week!

I still have lots of pictures from Christmas and my grandmother’s funeral and repast to put up.

San Francisco Planning

So I’m planning how I’ll spend my time in San Francisco.

Muir Woods, check.  Alcatraz, check.  Aquarius and Ameoba records, check. Golden Gate park, Japanese Tea garden, Haight-Ashbury, King of Thai, Green Apple Books, check check check.  All exciting, all going to be awesome. 

And then I started reading about the Sutro Baths and Cliff House.  File under ‘Something I never knew existed and seems pretty neat.’ 

Wikipedia does well what it does here. And the Cliff House website has many historical pictures from the operational baths.

A good deal of the old footage in this video was taken in 1902 by Thomas Edison, Inc.

Italy Pictures

Amber and I were in Italy for two and a half weeks.  I’m just now putting up the pictures so when our parents saw them the first time, we’d be there in person to talk about them too.

Here are about 300 photos in mostly chronological order.

Vacation! What book to bring?

So, we’re not going yet, or tomorrow, but sometime my wife Amber and I are going to Italy for a bit.

Saying when on here would be silly, since I’ve probably at some point posted up pictures of  things vaguely valuable that I own and don’t want to get robbed.  Unlike the people who bikesnob mentions here, whose inane ‘minimalism’ only seems to render the “I”, with all its deep anthropocentric associates,  to a little “i” – as in, of course, Ipod, Iphone, Ipad, Ithinkthisreplacesreallife, etc – I have things I like and don’t want to get stolen.  That biksnob guy has some great ‘read it at work’ appeal by the way.

But yes, Italy. I’ve never been for a more than a few days, and that was on tour with a band I’m in, and it was only in Northern Italy.  This trip includes Rome, Florence, Civita di Bagnoregio, Cinque Terre, and Volterra.  Amber did all the heavy lifting in terms of reading up and planning the trip so we’re not say, in a town on a day when everything is closed, or stranded in some small town because the bus doesn’t run on Sunday, etc.  For that I am eternally grateful.

I’m been learning about what I’ll be seeing – reading about Rome, watching documentaries about Michelangelo, etc.  But I’ve been having one hell of a time figuring out what book to bring.  I just finished reading A Place of My Own, only to discover I have now read everything Michael Pollan has published.  With my safety net of a good and stylistically reliable author removed, I’m floundering for something new.  This is where being only a Children’s Librarian has it’s downside – on a daily basis the majority of literature I’m checking out is for kids.

So Italo Calvino the Italian author? I love it, but maybe too dense for a vacation book. His only one that was pretty laidback was Numbers in the Dark. Plus, I’m a sucker for short stories.  I got John Mcphee’s Silk Parachute, and realized I might have to pack a dictionary as well.  I read enough chapters of The Tipping Point to realize Malcom Gladwell annoys me.

And I don’t need to get all the way out to this place, settle down with an excellent drink and start reading a book that annoys me.

Books on deck to consider include Consider The Lobster by David Foster Wallace, a collection of Best American Short Stories, edited by Alan Lightman, Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel, and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (an old professor of mine reccomended that one for it’s insanely awesome bad guy). Okay and maybe Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics, but the library didn’t have that. Although this guy makes that book seem pretty interesting.