Thursday, November 29, 2012

A snapshot

I'm sitting in my office/study/spare bedroom/computer room and I'm browsing Tumbler for abstract art. I will download some of it and store it away in  my Art folder. That folder contains contains over 5,000 images. I also have a Music folder that is 2.5 Gigabytes in size. I have no idea as to the number of individual files as I have them all arranged by genre in sub folders. I also have another Image folder that is filled with sub folders and it is over 4GB in size. Want to see an ad for a Goodyear tire from the year 1923? I've got it! All of this is my Asperger's Syndrome hard at work. Sure it's 'work', but I love doing it! (and I really can't  stop...I've tried)

Boo the Magical Cat has just made a dash through the house and is now sitting in the window next to me. She is intent...on what? Humans will never know. She had been outside perhaps five minutes ago and had wanted back in almost immediately. That's her routine now; sit at the door until I open it so that she can stick her nose out. If all seems satisfactory to her nose, she ventures out and sits about five feet away, She turns and looks at me as if she wants to make sure I haven't abandoned her. A minute later and she is at the door, wanting in. Now this is a cat that used to hunt in the barn next to us when we lived in Orland. She was fearless and would stay outside night and day if we let her. I used to bring her in before we went to bed because there were coyotes and raccoon's prowling at night. There was even the threat of Barn Owls; they could easily grab a cat her size. But as soon as we moved to the city she became a changed kitty. She loves to sleep and hide under the furniture, something she never would have done before the move. Is Cat Psychotherapy in the future for her??

Yesterday, I spent the morning with my artist friends as I do every Tuesday. We paint or draw or simply talk to one another. Intellectuals are hard to find and so I treasure my Tuesday morning friends. The majority of these artists work in watercolor and three of them are fine artists, working on commissions and selling work at local galleries. A few of us work in acrylics; I'm the only abstract artist among the 8 of us. I've sold a few painting during the past three years. One went for $75 and the others, smaller, were in the $30 range.

I'm doing most of my work at home in my garage studio. I'm using 5/16" MDF for my supports and I cut and glue integral wood frames to the backside of them. They look like a normal canvas after I'm through putting two coats of gesso on them. And all done quite cheaply. I've read that the MDF can be archival quality if it's prepared correctly and more and more artists are using it now. I do put a coat of enamel on the backside so that the 'canvas' is protected from humidity. I also use a palm sander to finish sanding the wood frame and edge of the MDF so they look integrated.

I have a show in March at a local sports club and I'm busy putting frames on paintings where I hadn't framed them before painting on them. My bad. I don't expect a lot of sales from this show as I have shown here before along with my friends. The patrons of the sports club are not abstract lovers; but it is a chance for my name to be seen and who knows? maybe someone will tell someone who will tell another, etc, etc. I think what I'm looking for is acceptance by the local art community. Being an abstract artist doesn't always win friends. Yet, I can't paint any other way. Famous abstract painters; Gerhard Richter's work is awesome. So is the work of Cy Twombly, Gerard Stricher, DeKooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Mary Heilman, Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. And many more. I FEEL their paintings. They don't talk to me; they shout!

It's getting darker outside as the storm approaches. The wind is really whipping the trees and the first sprinkles of rain have made an appearance. This is the second storm in a series of 5? storms that are due to hit us here in the north state. Unfortunately, these are warm storms and the snow level will be quite high. We really need a decent snowpack if we are going to avert another dry year in the current drought. Global warming? You bet! I was believer from the beginning.









Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A dreary day

It's overcast and calm outside. But this is the calm before the storm...

Wind Advisory remains in effect from 6 am to 4 PM PST

Wednesday... 

* winds: southeast 15 to 30 mph with gusts up to around 40 mph.

* Timing: winds will increase across the region Wednesday morning
and are expected to peak in the afternoon as a cold front moves
through the region. The strongest winds are expected to be
around the Interstate 80 corridor and south. Winds will decrease
behind the frontal passage late in the day. Although winds are
expected to increase again and be even stronger Thursday evening
into Friday.

...and along with the wind we will get this...
 Flood Watch remains in effect from Thursday afternoon through
Sunday afternoon... 

The Flood Watch continues for

* a portion of northern California... Sacramento Valley... West
Slope northern Sierra Nevada... northern Sierra
foothills... Carquinez Strait and Delta... Clear Lake
area... Shasta Lake area... Lassen park... motherlode... northern
San Joaquin Valley and East Slope of the northern coastal
mountains.

* From Thursday afternoon through Sunday afternoon

* confidence is high in a prolonged period of moderate to heavy
precipitation. The heaviest precipitation is expected over
Shasta County along with Butte and western Plumas counties where
a large area of rainfall amounts of 12 to 18 inches or more will
be possible through the weekend. In the Sacramento
Valley... rainfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches with higher amounts
possible through the weekend. 2 to 4 inches are possible in the
northern San Joaquin Valley by Sunday.

* Impacts: debris flows likely... especially near recent burn scars
in Shasta... Tehama... Colusa... and Plumas counties. Urban and
Small Stream flooding will occur in the valley and foothills
with river flooding expected on the upper Sacramento River.
Mountain river and stream flooding above the reservoirs is possible.

The weather service had predicted another dry winter for us.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Radicals

Did you see the crowd in Chicago? People of every color were celebrating! In Boston, the 'white folks' were glum. What a wonderful contrast that was. Made me glad to be a liberal independent; the 'party' of the future! The party of no party!

After reading some of the Radical Right response to our President's victory I am hopeful that they will depart the Republican Party and start their own, further decimating a party that just doesn't get it. The Republican Party said 'Yes' to the ideas of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Parry and never tried to moderate them. Now they must pay for their ignorance. Hopefully, the Republican Party as we know it today will disappear...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Not again, please

I was just reading George McGovern's obituary...in 1972 he ran for the Presidency and lost. He won in Massachusetts and D.C. I voted for him. Do you remember who won that election? Yes, it was Richard Nixon; proving that the American voter is dead wrong, far too many times. If we had elected McGovern we would be a far richer nation. Not necessarily in treasure, but certainly in moral values. But we got 'Tricky Dicky' instead and he made a mockery of the Office of the President. He changed our moral values system alright...oh yes, he did.

Found this photo

This says it so well...

Back in the day

By the time I was 16, I had rebuilt an engine. I had spent hours under cars changing out clutches and rear ends. I knew how all engines operated and was unafraid to pull the heads, oil pans and manifolds off of one. I could rebuild carburetors and distributors. My hands were stained by oil and grease. At 17 I was working at a Texaco station where I learned about front end alignment and brake repair. You could say that I was well versed in the working of the automobile engine...

Yesterday, we bought a new Altima to replace our old Altima. A very nice car and we spent some time going over all of the technical details before we bought it. Then, as I was waiting for my wife to come out of the showroom, I realized that I had never seen the engine. We had taken a test drive but at no point had I looked under the hood. We had actually purchased a car without seeing the engine! Back in the day...you couldn't buy a car without looking at the engine! It was usually the first thing you did when you spotted a car that interested you. If you drove by a car dealership on a Saturday morning you would find almost all of the cars with their hoods up and someone peering into the dark cavity that held the engine. I think all males were indoctrinated at an early age to know how to lean over a fender and utter wise comments on what they were seeing. I know I certainly did.

So, I opened the hood and looked at OUR engine. I didn't recognize a thing. Today's cars don't use oil and never need coolant. The batteries are sealed and electronics take care of all engine operations. I closed the hood and I'm sure it will be years before I am curious enough to open it again.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happiest Place on Earth

Did I mention that we went to Disneyland last week? We did and we took our twin grandchildren, Steven and Abby, 9 years old and that's the perfect age for your intro to the Magic kingdom. Our son and his girlfriend accompanied us to help with parental duties...and to enjoy the trip as a family!

We stayed at the Grand Californian as that hotel opens directly into the park. It also had a multitude of pools and the kids enjoyed them all. (I'm so glad we gave them swimming lessons.) But, onto the park...

The twins were wide eyed at every attraction. And they tried almost every one in the park. Of course they had some favorites; ones that they had heard their friends talking about. Those were some of the first ones we went to...Autotopia, the Submarines, and Space Mountain. Some of the rides weren't as popular because of the age level and they soon learned to avoid rides where there were strollers were parked three deep.

I downloaded an app for my phone and it would report the current waiting time for a ride and it's distance from us. That was very useful! Despite the fact that we were in the park during a school week, there were crowds of children (and parents) and some rides went to a one hour waiting time; we avoided them until the we saw the number drop to thirty minutes or less.

Of course the park is beautifully maintained in the usual Disney manner. There is no litter. There is an army of people sweeping and even polishing the trash containers. All of the attractions seemed to be freshly painted. The beautiful garden areas contain real flowers and they are in full bloom.

Three days in the park were a little too much for my hip and back and I was dragging by the time our shuttle arrived to take us to the airport. Once more we gave the twins the window seats and they enjoyed the sight of Los Angeles at night; a million lights!

Now at home we realized that we have no more grandchildren to take to Disneyland...the others are growing up fast and the twins were the youngest. Sad. But we do have some great memories...especially the one of our taking the first seats in the first car on the California Screamin' roller coaster. Now that's fun!

Close

The election is looming. I want it to be over. I also fear that the voice of reason, our President, will be silenced. At the same time, I know that if he is re-elected, the Republicans will continue their fierce opposition to everything he tries to pass.

Every Republican candidate, state, county and city, is promising to run things like a business. As if a lack of 'business sense' has been the cause for all that ails the nation. Yet is was 'business' that got us into this mess and it is 'business' that continues to gather more cash for themselves without doing anything to promote new jobs. They are sitting on the gold and waiting to see what happens  That's business.  

Think about it; has there ever been a government that was run, successfully, by using business solutions? Not one exists. If there was one, the Republicans would be pointing to it with glee! "See, this is how we will govern." No matter where, no matter how small or how large, governments cannot be run as a business. That is basic. We should all know this and vote accordingly.