Sunday, April 29, 2007

Mural

I've been contracting but not yet working full-time, so I was lucky enough to get a mural commissioned by my new friends, Heather and Scott. I am going to post pics of it as I do it because it will help keep me focused knowing other people are watching.... It looks pretty normal now, but it's going to get quite wild by the end...

So here are days 1 and 2 (Tuesday and Friday). Click the images for a larger view.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Back yard progress so far

So last week my landscaper dude proposed improving my back yard which looked like it had been through at least a civil war if not a nuclear explosion. I can't even really print the original before pics, which was before they removed the grass and leveled it. It's just too scary. Not as scary as the old guesthouse, but scary.

Still left to do: stucco the short wall, tile the top, add some cactus, and finish the stepping stones.



Friday, April 27, 2007

Save Internet Radio

Subject: Increasing Royalties on Internet Radio

Dear Mr. Elected Official,

Do you remember when you were young and how great radio was? Did you ever get a chance to hear WNEW in the 60s or 70s, or WMMS? There was such a great diversity of music then, unprogrammed for the most part, when you never knew what you were going to get. On a rainy day, you may get the Beatles for 6 hours in a row. DJs were creative, responsive to the culture, and you were constantly exposed to new and different music, which then, actually (gasp) SOLD.

Not so today. In the era of ClearChannel, DJs are just hired monkeys, driven by corporate executives who only care about scads and scads of profit, who do not pass it on to their clients, the music artists, who have already sold their creative souls to focus groups rather than following their instincts. And then you're left with Christine Aguilera.

Internet radio is the last bastion of creativity. There aren't going to be profits made if all of them go out of business - you can't get royalties off nothing. Yet, this is where I hear all my new music, and then go and buy it. Sure, not everyone buys it, but that will just drive corporate radio to find new ways to sell it. But this way? This is lose-lose for everyone.

Please don't kill Internet radio.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Jeromeian is back!

Thank god Greg is posting again so I can get my Jerome fix. He started working as a waiter after oh, 20 years in the social service field (that's where we met) and he has some hilarious stories to tell. I don't think he would mind if I re-post my favorites from his recent post.

Q: What time does your little town close?
A: At 5:00p.m. when the gates go up at the bottom of the hill. After 5:00p.m. you can only get to Prescott, not to Cottonwood and if you are staying in town you must be in your hotel room by 5:30p.m.
Q: Really?(with very serious looks on their faces)
A: No. Our town doesn't close. We are not an amusement park.

Q: At what elevation up here do the deer turn into elk?
A: (blank look)-Do you want fries or tater tots with your sandwich?

Q: Why do you live here?
A: Because it's close to work.
Q: So you moved all the way up the mountain to be near work?
A: Yes.

Q: Do people really live here?
A: No. Everyone in town are all paid actors and we go home each night and return in the morning to start the show again.

Q: Why don't you have any gas stations in Jerome?
A: Because we don't want them and not having them sets us apart from other towns.
Response: Well I am almost out of gas, what happens if I run out?
A: Most people I know make sure they have enough gas when they start driving up a mountain. If you run out, you are stuck here and you have to work, probably in the kitchen, hope you have triple A. Or you can coast all the way down the hill to the gas station, you know, the one you passed on your way up here?

Q: Why do you close at 4:00p.m.?
A: Because the owners wanted it that way. Come back on Friday and you can stay late.
Response: Well, 4pm is too early, you should stay open until at least 6p.m.

Q: How much is that one house down the hill?
A: Which one?
Q: The big gray one, where the road splits?
A: Last I heard it was reduced to $800K.
Q: Why?
A: I don't sell real estate, I have no idea.
Q: But why hasn't anyone bought it?
A: I really have no idea about the house or any property in Jerome. What can I get you to drink?

Q: What is there to do at night in Jerome?
A: Go to the Spirit Room and watch the alcoholics.

Q: What do people do at night in Jerome?
A: Drink
Response: Oh, ha ha, that was funny. But what do they really do at night?
A: Drink. Can I get you anything else?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Scott's pick

Scott picked the Mondrian-influenced design for his site. Check it out here:

Scott Zimmer

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cactus pics

I took these yesterday on a hike up behind Piestewa Peak. It's so unbelievably gorgeous right now - I don't ever remember a better April. Cool, breezy, some rain. Amazing.




Click for a larger view.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Scott Zimmer's site

Scott is a saxophone and woodwinds player here in Phoenix. Please vote on which design Scott should pick for his new site. (He's trying to decide.)





Monday, April 16, 2007

Superstition Mountains

I took this on Saturday at the top of the Peralta Trail at the Superstitions (about 40 miles east of Phoenix)... It's the best trail yet, and the hardest. About 2 miles up. A "2.5" hour trail took Gillian and me 3.5 hours. And coming down is NOT easier. Puts the hike down the Grand Canyon in perspective. Had to go to yoga Sunday morning just to be able to walk like a normal person again. :-) TOTALLY worth it. Lots of flowers, a little pond with tadpoles in it, amazing views. We made it up to see Weaver's Needle. Will post more pics later.

Click on the image to get a better view.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Oprah: Midwife of the Apocalypse

Unless you live under a rock or have no TV (and Zoe says, who's Oprah?), you've heard that Oprah has chosen Cormac McCarthy's The Road for her next book club. Now, this guy is not as reclusive as J.D. Salinger, but he's pretty darned private. That part is interesting for those of us who follow authors and have many opinions. So that's causing a boatload of discussion for McCarthy followers. The David Foster Wallace list I'm on sent so many emails the day it was announced that I turned off the sound for all the beeping alerts. And, as per usual, when Oprah chooses a book outside her normal Lifetime Channel parameters, there is much talk about her power to increase sales of literature and get the housewives of America reading. So that old discussion is also burning up bandwidth.

So I won't bore you with all that - I don't care about the Oprah-watching, non-reading, soccer moms of this country. It's just that the books she chooses that cause the murmuring, like The Corrections, or rather, the Corrections' author, may be a little out there or hard to take for people used to Bridges of Madison County. But they are nowhere near as devastating or haunting as The Road... She may as well ask her audience to watch her butcher a bunny on live TV.

I know I'm rambling a bit but there is just so much to say regarding this pop cultural mashup that I can't really keep my thoughts straight. I had a strange moment at Best Buy the other day, when I was standing behind this, what we used to call a valley girl (what are they called now?), who was wearing a flared, ruffled miniskirt, short, belly-baring top, piled-high hair, and way too much makeup, reading the The Road - IN LINE. Because she couldn't wait to get it home and begin living through the apocalypse. I can't shake this image. And then, I imagine Oprah's audience sitting there with dark circles under their eyes, dirty hair, and perhaps a bunch of pitforks, having turned into a posse like the one chasing Frankenstein, for introducing thoughts into their empty little heads that now will never leave and dammit, won't let them sleep either.

"And everyone gets - A FREE COPY OF THE ROAD!!!!" Audience just sits there, silent. "And now... "CORMAC MC CARTHYYYYYYYYY!"

See? It just goes on and on. It's just not right. This is No Program for Old Men. And yet, I will be there with bells on. Can anyone tell me when it is airing?

And now, to make this blog worthwhile - I found out that a film is being made of The Road, directed by John Hillcoat, who just did the outstanding "The Proposition." How many Oprah fans do you think saw The Proposition? And how excited are the film producers that Oprah chose The Road? Very. How many Oprah fans that read The Road will also see the movie? 0. Well, Deejah, so 1.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Claudia

I made this birdbath for Claud's birthday, which she won't see before I give it to her b/c she doesn't have time to read blogs anymore. It's made of travertine marble tile shards and handcrafted ceramic leaves.



See! I can do conversative too.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies — 'God damn it, you've got to be kind."'

Kurt Vonnegut
1922-2007

Imus Why Must You

In my Wonderbread, AM radio years, before I moved from David Cassidy to the Stones, I listened mostly to two d.j.'s out of New York. Cousin Brucie and Imus in the Morning. Cousin Brucie had a sort of shrill, effeminate, exciteable delivery, like he was mainlining donuts and coffee. Imus was the exact opposite, with a gravelly, sinister voice, who only got excited when he was ordering 3000 hamburgers for some office or yelling into the phone after waking somebody up - "ARE YA NAKED???!!!" His drug was definitely cocaine, muted with Schaefer beer. He is in that soft spot in my heart that has grown from forgetting all the horrible crap about junior high and remembering only the entertaining stuff.

So, I had some news show on in the background while working the other day, having my fake contact with the outside world and heard bits and pieces about Imus. I'm like, what's he done now. Because I caught only part of it, I thought the racist comment Imus had said was to say "You people" to Al Sharpton, which is very similar to when that idiot mentioned that Barack Obama was "clean," etc. But that must have been part of his apology, which is really quite funny, if you're making fun of Imus in general. And then I stayed in my little bubble and saw Jon Stewart stumble over a sequence of prejudiced-sounding phrases in an attempt to make fun of both Imus and Al. But he wasn't really into it.

Then, this morning I searched for info about it to see what Imus was saying today, and found that he really did say an incredibly racist thing. But here's the deal. He has said incredibly tasteless, racist, sexist, ageist, and other ist-ish stuff for like 30 years now. He is not a particularly bright bulb, and he is crass, self-obsessed, and perhaps even senile. The bit with "you people" as part of an apology sounds like more than a simple senior moment, no?

While we move forward on political correctedness, and trying to get it right (although no one is trying to get it right about women, but that's for another blog) we shouldn't ask ourselves why the stupid prejudice from a shocky media guy, but why not every other day?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Little Miss Salzinski

So Miss Samantha Salzinski is the original Little Miss Sunshine. Check out the pics.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Stakes in the Grass

These are concrete stakes for garden or hose markers, or just for decor.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lawn Lizard

I sculpted this guy out of concrete and then layered him up with all the glass and shards he needed to be a truly suave lawn lizard...

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Peep Show



Resevoir Peeps



Marpeep Antoinette

Click on title for more Peep Show.

I need to add a note here that I did not make the dioramas - but thanks for all the credit! I copied it from another site, which you can see if you click on the title of the blog...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Robert's new birdbath

We installed Robert's new birdbath today. Tessa likes it too... Thanks, Robert!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Have some time to waste? (click title for link)

Flickr has a new photo pool called Wardrobe Remix. It's all non- models posting pix of themselves in outfits they're proud to have put together. The outfits are almost as entertaining as the settings. Some are just living rooms or bedrooms, but some are quite stylized to match the outfit. Pretty darned fun.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Across the Universe

All I can say is, go see this when it comes out.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Poem A Day

Knopf has an option where you can receive an emailed poem a day. I don't know if you've ever tried to find poetry online, searching for something for a certain occasion or holiday - it's very difficult. It's almost impossible using keywords, and you can just imagine the dreck that's out there.

This is a random poem, but always high quality, and can be like hitting Shuffle on the ipod- it may just mean something when you receive it. If you want to sign up, send a blank email to this address: sub_knopfpoetry@info.randomhouse.com.

Here's today's - by D. Nurske, about an abandoned marriage.

Separation at Burnt Island

Brothers and sisters, who live after us,
don't be afraid of our loneliness,
our dented wiffle ball, the little kerf
the dog chewed in the orange frisbee.

Don't grieve for our kite; not the frayed string
that clings to your ankle, not the collapsed wing.

We lived on earth, we married, we touched each other
with our hands, with our hair that cannot feel
but that we felt luxuriously, and with promises.

We made these bike tracks in the sand
—don't follow them—and this calcined match head
is the last statue of our King.

We lived between Cygnus and Orion,
resenting the blurriness of the Pleiades,
in a house identical to its neighbors—
stepwise windows, ants never to be repelled,
TV like a window into the mind
that can't stop talking, redwood deck
facing the gulf.

Everything was covered with sand: the seams
of the white lace dress, the child's hinged cup,
the watch (even under the crystal), the legal papers.

We were like you, or tried to be. We divided our treasures
(a marble with no inside, a brooch from Siena),
signed our names with all our strength, and went home
in two directions, while the marriage continued
without us in the whirling voice of gulls.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

New stuff

Commission from Robert "The Donut" Donat... Thanks Robert!