Sunday, June 23, 2013

eye drops

More eye drops. It seems as if I have been using eye drops forever! All because of my recent cataract surgery for my right eye. You use them before the surgery and then for weeks and weeks afterwards. But I'm still wishing for a cataract in my left eye so that it can be removed and I can get on with life with brand new eyes. Maybe the doctor will spot a cataract during the next exam. I can always hope...

We live in a 'Blue' town located in a bright 'Red' county. And we have a budget crisis. Which was 'caused by the damn liberals' - of course. Sigh. The local newspaper, which I pray will fail soon, has scores of letters from the hate filled conservatives that love the forum given to them by the newspaper. What isn't mentioned is the fact that the city charter mandates a balanced budget on a certain date. That's nonsense and most cities have abandoned that kind of budgeting.You don't balance your own budget that way...why do we expect the city to do it?

Of course the main cuts will come from the police and fire departments. They make big bucks and so they will feel the heat on this. Policemen make an average of $97,000 plus benefits per year while firemen make $117,000 plus benefits. All of this in a city where the median income is $36,000.  But...with all of the vocal concern about public safety, those departments won't be too terribly inconvenienced in the end.

Of course I see the biggest problem here is the $36,000 figure. It needs to be $50k or $60k if you want a healthy economy. People are being forced to work longer and for less money all of the time. Yet the major corporations as well as the minor ones are sitting on huge piles of cash. Cash that could be used to create jobs. Didn't we hear that they were the 'job creators'? So where are the jobs? The well paying jobs?

The only well paying jobs here are the union ones. Police and fire unions. If there were more union jobs there would be more money in the economy instead of sitting in corporate bank accounts...getting .01% interest. what a shame...

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Global Warming?

I had heard that temperatures in Alaska were rising so I checked the temps in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Nome for next week using Weather Underground...try it yourself and see the results.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Keeping up

Somehow this post was stuck in the Draft section and I didn't notice it till just now. Old news from February...

No ax to grind and no windmills to tilt at. I'm just recounting my recent history, here on these pages. Our 50th wedding anniversary was last week (16th) and we had decided to give ourselves a trip. Because of my spinal surgery, I've found it hard to take a long trip in the car, so we decided to go to Monterey and see the aquarium there.

AAA provided the travel planning and we made reservations at the Spindrift Inn, a small hotel about 2 blocks from the aquarium. We requested an ocean view as well.

The weather wasn't cooperating and as the date moved closer we began to be worried. Forecasts showed only one day that was going to be clear. We told ourselves that an event like this only comes around once and we're going!

And so we did. The rain was furious as my wife drove us southward. Finally, about 3 hours into the 4 hour drive, the skies began to clear. When we pulled up in front of the hotel the sun was shining.

We were welcomed to the Spindrift and shown to our room; top floor, southwest corner, overlooking the beach and the bay, not more than 30 feet away. The windows were opened and  the sound of the surf was welcome music to our ears. There was also a fireplace and a canopied feather bed. We loved it all!

We went to the aquarium the next day and we were amazed by the things we saw. The buildings themselves are prize winning for their interior architecture. First on the list was the Jelly Fish exhibit and I wondered how could  that be interesting? I was overwhelmed by the beauty of these amazing creatures; and they come in every size and color.

The book

somehow I duplicate a previous post here... now it's gone.


Congratulations to the people of the Rep├║blica Federativa do Brasil for demonstrating in solidarity against the excesses of their government. I wish them the very best of luck...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Books for a buck

My wife and I are proud owners of Kindle Fire HD tablets. We check out ebooks from the local library on a regular basis. We also read the free books found on-line. And so far the price for reading materials has been 0.00 (zero) and I thought that was a good thing. Then, upon the recommendation of my sister, I downloaded the free ebook 'Wool' by Hugh Howey. She was right and I enjoyed it but then I needed to buy a book, another book, if I wanted to continue the series. It was only $.99 for the second one and so I bought it. And the following books as well. All priced at $.99 except for one that required 1 payment of $2.99.?? Still fairly cheap. Then the series ended and I purchased a future book; to be published and delivered to me in August. I was truly well hooked on these books.

It hasn't ended. The author, Hugh Howey, has given permission to other authors, allowing them to use his story settings. Now there are dozens of short stories available that purport to carry the theme forward. Not all do. But they are all priced right at $.99. 

Okay, the Kindle can deliver plenty of free reading material as most public libraries are offering ebooks these days. But beware the 'free' book that hooks you...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Post surgery

A week has passed since I had my cataracts removed from my right eye. The surgery took a total of ten minutes and I was back in the car within 5 minutes after surgery. Amazing! 50 years ago I would have been condemned to blindness. My new lens is almost crystal clear now and I will be fitted with new glasses in a few weeks. Unfortunately, my left eye is only in a pre-cataract condition and so I must wait for it to become a medical necessity before I can have a second lens inserted and then throw my glasses away.

On the day after the surgery I went to my usual Tuesday morning at the Art Center where nine of us gather weekly. I had promised to bring along some Yupo paper for them to try and so I had cut up a couple of large sheets of the light weight Yupo.

After passing out the sheets I was happy to see one of our group had quickly become fascinated by the reaction of watercolors to the slick plastic surface. Yupo is a polypropylene plastic; created for use by the people that make  outdoor signs and posters. I think it was ten or more years ago that artists discovered it and some took it seriously. Slowly but surely the medium is gathering acceptance as a valid art form.

 I love using it because of the unexpected movement of color across its surface. I use a spray mister to wet the areas before applying color and then I drop or brush the color into the water. Once I see a form emerging I use a brush to guide the color where I want it. Sometimes I will let the incomplete painting dry and then re-wet the areas I want to work on by changing a color or even removing a color. Being plastic, Yupo doesn't allow colors to penetrate and if I wanted to I could put the painting into the sink and wash it clean. I frequently use paper towels or sponges to remove or fade certain areas of the painting.

Our painting group meets again tomorrow and I'm going to bring the half dozen paintings I have completed in the past week. I really got enthused again when a friend showed some interest in Yupo and so I pulled out all of my sheets of blank Yupo and even one painting that I wasn't happy with and I went to work. Now I have two incomplete paintings drying in the 'studio' and five waiting to be sealed.

It's hard for me to be a 'serious' watercolorist; painting flowers, birds or coastal scenes. But I do try. Then, every once in awhile, some Yupo is discovered in my stack of blank papers and I will go wild with abstract forms and colors that satisfy my soul.

Yupo is not my only outlet for abstract art but it is the only one that is small enough for me to take along to our art group. All of my other paintings (acrylic) are larger than my workspace at the Art Center. I have one, done with oil pastels on a large piece of cardboard, that is 30"x48" and one, a blank piece of MDF and that is 40"x60". I would like to work even larger but the size of my 'studio' prohibits it. Maybe some day...  

Here comes a thunderstorm. Lots of lightning and rain. Thank goodness it's a wet storm. The grasslands and forests here are dry as a bone and lightning is as bad as an arsonist...will the power stay on?