Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

This vase was an experiment in a different technique and it just didn't feel right to me after it was done. The inner layer of the clay shows the raku smoke color because it isn't glazed, the outer layer is glazed. Sometimes you wander down a road just  because the view is nice but then you realize you are going in the wrong direction from where you want to be.  So the vase, with some green stuff growing nearby, wound up being a Give-Away in a tree.

Next weekend I was surprised to see it was still there.  Someone added more flowers and a snail shell (there are lots of them there).

This weekend it had evidently fallen out of the tree (a squirrel? wind? a little kid?) and someone had carefully picked up all the pieces and put them back in the hole in the tree  -- a nice gesture.  I took them out and threw them away because a new piece will go there next weekend. The people in my neighborhood who walk in this area very seldom take pieces away at first but gradually, after a few weeks, they do. That's fine with me because that's what Give-Away is all about.

These pictures are taken at the Turtle Pond on the UT campus and this little Sweater Child disappeared in one week. 

Our Netflix for the weekend was Words and Pictures, we debated between 3 and 4 stars and finally decided on 3 because the story and plot was thin. But the acting was pretty good and we liked the fact that they accurately depicted what rheumatoid arthritis does to people. We'd liked to have given Juliette Binoche 5 stars alone for her painting, especially the large black-white piece. In case you didn't know, she did all her own painting for that movie - look for that clip on YouTube.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Moving On and a Flawless Locke

This little Sweater Child didn't make it on the train because the train was moving. As Susan says, "I have standards. They may be low but they are standards." Getting close to a moving train, slow as it might be, does not meet my standards. So watching from the box on top of the telephone pole will have to do. That's my sissy City bike in the foreground. I love it because it has a basket and because I can ride sitting straight up. When I had a road bike mostly all I saw was the pavement in front of me.

 A little birdie has found a new home.

Watched a Netflix movie that we gave 5 stars to (and it deserved at least 6): Locke. A totally flawless movie. No, it's a film, not a movie.

The character played by Tom Hardy is alternately despicable, pitiful, sympathetic,  motivating, strong, cold, warm, caring, cruel, loving, heartbreaking, you name it, he is it. In the first 10 minutes of this film you will form an opinion of Locke and of  his character, but hang on because it will continually change. One movie, one actor only, on screen the whole time. An incredible script that will suck you in and turn you around. One 90 minute movie, one actor -- as opposed to the pallid Wolf of Wall Street with a zillion actors and extras, 180 minutes of puff and wretched excess. Locke makes you glad people still make films.

Our only regret is that we didn't think it would be any good ("one actor? boring?") so we had it sitting around for about a month before we watched it. Big mistake.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yellow-Head, Weird Head


Yellow-Head is about 6 inches high and is now a Give-Away.

As for Weird Heads, this guy, who was refused entry into Dubai, takes the cake. He'd better hope he never needs an MRI. Susan just wonders if he can use Chapstick.

At least this Yellow-Head makes sense.

Watched the 1976 movie Network on TV last night. The "p" words sum it up perfectly: prescient, predictive, and prophetic. How much worse can it get? Be afraid, be very afraid.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Give-Away Going Away

Do you see the little Sweater Child? The Lost Child? Look harder.

The next time a train rolls past you take a look and see if a little Sweater Child is traveling your way. When I ride my bike on Sundays I can ride right next to these tracks and often a train has stopped. I don't know why but it has. So one day I had a Sweater Child with me and ...WHOA! Is this not a major, super-inspired Give-Away?!?!
I've been warned not to glue them down because that might get me in trouble with the roving Train Police (huh?) so the best suggestion from my instructor/buddy, Ben Appl, has been to glue a little rare-earth magnet to the back edge of them and then stick them on the train. I'm off to Home Depot this weekend to get some magnets.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Give-Away Again

He lost an ear during the firing and you first saw him back in April. I just wasn't ready to give up on him but now he's somebody's Rescue Dude. He stayed in place for a week before disappearing.

In Austin we have Ghost Bikes as memorials. I put a Sweater Child here over a year ago. It's still at the bike.  Sometimes miracles happen.

And another Give-Away at Jennifer's wall. If you want to see what the whole area looks like, pull up Google Earth and put "1101 W 31st St, Austin, TX" in the search box, then drag the little Google man over to get the street view. Their image is better than my pictures.

Netflix report: The Wolf of Wall Street was stupid. I can't believe Martin Scorsese did it. A huge self-indulgent, self-absorbed swamp of the F-word. It made Susan mad for 2 days. Finished reading The Boys in the Boat - 5 stars for that great book.

Monday, September 22, 2014


Here's another Give-away near where I live. I'll leave it up to you to do your Google Earth deal - it's where the red car is, right at a bus stop. He was going to be another big Dude but wound up being an Anguished Man so it was time to set him free.

My favorite street-art/graffiti wall. It's been painted over so many times it could probably walk. The little tile piece is at the top left. If you aren't from the south just remember that "y'all" is the same as "you guys" but is gender neutral.

Latest Netflix movies: Lunchbox - 5 stars for creativity and because I had to have Susan explain that the ending really did resolve the Final Question of Did He? (If  you aren't sure, replay the first few minutes and then look at the ending again.) Her - 5 stars to Joaquin Phoenix and for eerie creativity. Bad Words - 5 stars for holding your attention, sappy ending but you kept wondering the next day what had been so horrible in the guy's childhood to make him such an evil yet strangely sympathetic character. The little kid was incredible.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Fully Flummoxed Again

Actually, this time it's Susan who is Flummoxed. She was researching jigsaw puzzles for our group that does them here and put several into her Amazon Wish List so everyone could "vote" for the ones they would chip in to buy. A few days later she happened to be looking for something else on Amazon and decided to check out the "Recommended for You" section, just to see if there were some new art books mentioned.

What??? She had absolutely NO idea why Amazon would recommend bug stuff for her because we've never bought any of that stuff online and besides  we live in an apartment where we have "Eco-Pest" treatment provided several times a year. So she clicked on the link that asked if she wanted to know why they recommended bug stuff . Oh yeah, being interested in butterfly jigsaw puzzles means you might want to kill bugs. Nice search algorithm, Amazon!

Another Sweater Child Give-Away. Can you see it here in the path by Shoal Creek that I walk down?

How about now?

On Friday I'll be back down there and see if it's still there. I use a long pole thingy to put it up high.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Remember, September 11

We remember.

 Rest in peace, Bob.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Mornings

A bike ride to the Turtle Pond on the UT camputs. The turtles, pods, flowers and bees could not care less about the score of last night's football game.

Then the reward. That's my wimpy bike there. I look like an old man riding it. Oops, I am an old man riding it. For years I had a road bike with skinny tires and lots of gears and no basket on the back. When I rode I was bent over in that aerodynamic biking position and all I saw was lots of road. Now I sit up straight, see loads of interesting stuff and can carry stuff back in my basket. One of the distinct pleasures of growing old is not giving a damn about what you look like.

Or what you eat, since you are on the downhill slide of life anyway.

Still working on these pods/squash for a special friend and her family.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

El Paso Food

When we travel we look for Olive Garden restaurants -- lots of salad to eat, fairly fast service, and several simple, plain pasta choices on the menu.  OK, not very gourmet but usually dependable. Unfortunately, they've just changed the menu and taken her favorites off, so in El Paso Susan had to make her choices off the appetizer menu.  She thought this item sounded good so she ordered it:

 Inspired by Italy’s southern coast.
Sautéed shrimp served on creamy polenta and topped
with a fresh blend of olives, capers and tomato sauce.
It came served on MASHED POTATOES. What?!?!? Did they think she wouldn't know the difference? While she waited a long, long time for the server to come back and politely ask "How is everything?" she ate the 4 shrimp  Then there was a long, long delay while the offending plate was taken back to the manager and finally we were told that the item would be taken off our bill. No sorry, no kitchen excuses, nothing. But at least she got the 4 shrimp for free.
Very strange. How is it that a restaurant thinks they can get away with that? Maybe quite easily, if most of the people eating there have no idea what polenta really is. Maybe the kitchen staff doesn't have any idea either.

Maybe I need to go into the food service business. After all, this is how at the Embassy Suites in Phoenix I made sure Susan ate some of her daily fruit/vegetables. She did, but that was after she ruined the nose on the great Food Face by insisting she needed the shampoo in the shower.

 The other strange thing in El Paso was the really nice Hampton Inn we stayed at - quick and courteous service at the front desk, clean room located in requested quiet area, and .....
this hole in the bathroom door. It had us flummoxed, because the door didn't back up to anything that would cause a hole and it's down low, not where someone would try to punch a door open.  And housekeeping didn't notice it and have it fixed????
Strangely, their Barnes&Noble bookstore at SunValley Mall has one of the largest magazine selections we've ever found in all our travels.  Go figure.
Thus, to us, El Paso is a strange town and we usually choose to drive on past to Las Cruces or Deming on our way west.  But coming back east there is nothing after it for another 120+ miles so sometimes it becomes a stop before the long 9-10 hour drive back to Austin.

Since we've come back I've been working on some special pieces for my friend Ana - this is preliminary, they will be for members of her family.

My bike rides to the Turtle Pond always give me something to photograph: