Archive for February, 2010

As Good As It Gets…

February 28, 2010

Yesterday was bug day, as today is, and Sofia and I had a perfect day. I woke up to her shenanigans, not sure what this thing is on her head…

First she wanted to go to her new favorite website and then off to take the Dingus Amongus for a walk… it was snowing but it’s all gone now. I linked to the website but I just tried to load it and it won’t load… if it doesn’t load, suffice to say there are two big hands on the screen and one hand has the index finger extended. When you click on the hands the one on the right pulls the finger of the one on the left and then there’s audio effects… I’m sure you get the picture. It is funny for about 15 seconds but I think she’d sit there all day and when she’s laughing, I don’t like to be the one that stops the fun. Then it was off to Tommy’s for some pomme frittes, chamomilia and java and I keep trying to get her to ask for Tom frittes but she’s not having any of it. So here’s our setup at the counter on stools (Sofia says later when some kids came in and sat in chairs at a table… “I’m lucky, I get to sit on a stool”)…

So we had an idyllic couple of hours with tea, pommes and java and Sofia drew pictures while I crossworded. By the way, if you’re a crossword person you know that Saturday NYT is the most difficult, (Monday is the easiest of the week and each day is progressively more difficult until you get to Saturday… then Sunday’s is larger) but yesterday’s was a bear. I kept using the excuse with Tommy that I was having trouble concentrating because the bug was with me but really it was just incredibly difficult. Off to get some bok choy for dinner and on the way home we made a stop. On friday, I had taken the dog for a walk to get some fresh air and took a banana with me and when we got to the end of the alley, I was done eating the banana and I looked to my right and there was the corner person’s garbage can with the top slightly open and I chucked the banana peel in the can. When we were walking Dingus and passed the can earlier, I said to Sofia in one of our nonsense conversations that I had thrown a banana peel in there the day before. As we continued you said… you didn’t, and I said, didn’t what? She said, throw a banana peel in the garbage can. I said, why would I lie about that? She said, you didn’t lie, you’re just joking with me. I said, why would I joke about a banana peel? She said, you were smiling when you said it. I said, let’s go back and I’ll show you the peel. She immediately said, no, no, I don’t want to… but you were joking. Anyway, when we come home we usually drive down the alley so that we can pull up in front of the house without doing a 3 point turn so when we were on our way home from our errands I pulled into the alley and said… let’s stop and I’ll show you the banana peel. She said, no. I said, I’m gonna. She said, if you do, I will close my eyes. I said, ok, but if you close your eyes, I’ll put the banana peel on your head. She said, so, what will happen then? I said, it will be all slimy because it’s been in the garbage since yesterday. She said, ok (but I could tell that she still didn’t believe me). So I stopped and opened the can and showed her this now limp brown peel. I got back in the car and she laughed until we got to the house. Such is the entertainment of Dad and Sofia days. When I woke this morning I checked the bisque and…

I was surprised that it was that cool so I’m going to try and unload sometime today. The bug likes to help. Here’s some shots of that vase that’s in the kiln with the slip applied…

Glazing starts tomorrow!

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Memorie Italiane (part 3)…

February 26, 2010

I was reminded of my trip to Italy with my good friend Ig yesterday by a video that another friend sent me yesterday. During the month that we stayed in an apartment in Florence, we got to see and do and eat in a way that made us feel kinda like we lived there. If I had maybe been younger and less responsible, perhaps I would’ve gone native… who knows. What the video my friend sent reminded me was that occasionally after having a late dinner, drinking to much vino locale and finishing up the last of our 10+ miles hoofing it for the day, we’d turn on the tube in the apartment. By and large Italian television was incomprehensible and didn’t hold our attention long but I do remember being fascinated by the number of shows where they would just set up a portable stage in the street in some town and let the people who gathered sing karaoke. Of course the amazing thing was that half the songs were american songs and it never occurred to me that the people singing actually didn’t speak English and that that didn’t seem to matter. I’d imagine myself singing the French verse of “Michelle” by the Beatles when I was young… I’m sure no one in France would know what those words were because they were only phonetic interpretations of what I had heard. Same thing on these Italian tv shows. They would get up and sing an Elvis tune and the melody would be there but essentially the words they sang were gibberish. Anyway my friend sent me a video from a site called “what English sounds like to people in other countries” or something like that. Here’s an Italian video from 1972 with the caption…”Italian singer, songwriter, comedian, actor, and tv host Adriano Celentano wrote this amazing in 1972. The video itself is pure eye candy, and the words are what English sounds like to a non-native speaker, and they’re pure gibberish.”

The other video that was the funniest was this one from a Bulgarian version of American Idol where a woman sings the Harry Nillson and later Mariah Carey tune “Without You” except she calls the tune “ken lee” (can’t live) and says in the verse, “tilibu dibu douchoo” in place of “if living is without you”…

Here’s a couple shots of Ig and I in Siena, the first two are us overlooking the famous Piazza del Campo. I’m looking a bit swarthy and younger than a mere 11 years ago…

The Piazzo del Campo is considered one of the most successful architectural spaces in the world and is a giant half circle (actually it’s more than a half) with mostly restaurants around the perimeter and a gentle funnel shaped open space that slants down toward a wonderful museum. People come out in droves and sit on the slanted area and there is an annual horse race around the perimeter. Here’s a shot of Ig as we were having lunch along the concourse…

Here’s another bowl I was working on yesterday. Gonna load the kiln today but I have a feeling that I’m a piece or two short, we’ll see.

Shellacked By Shellac…

February 25, 2010

Long day yesterday with the wee brush. I’m trying to finish the decorative phase this week so I can start glazing next week although I think it may be a bit optimistic, especially considering I’m finding there’s a limit to how long I can sit with the respirator and suspend both my arms. At about 5 yesterday, I had to go out and walk around the block in the cold to get some fresh air. Here’s the third and biggest of these vases so far, I like it the most so far and it was real back breaker…

I had a little visitor a couple times during the day and she took the time to make me a little drawing…

Jolly Or Lovable…

February 23, 2010

Well apparently that is the choice. Not paper or plastic, boxers or briefs, credit or debit or even American Pale Ale or India Pale Ale. On Sunday when I was wishing someone would shoot me and trying to figure out how the dog had made me sick, I laid down to just try and get maybe a half hour break. I said, I’m just gonna lay down for a little bit and try to rest for while and Sofia said… OK. Of course she proceeded to sit on me and start asking me questions. I said, Sugar, Dad doesn’t feel well and I have to work tomorrow, just let me rest for a little bit. She said, I wish you didn’t have to work at all. I said, well what would I do if I didn’t work? She immediately said, be jolly. Of course. I said, well, I do work so if I’m not jolly, what am I? Matter-of-fact-ly, she says, you’re lovable. I guess I was expecting something more the opposite of jolly. So there you have it… if you have to work, you’re lovable and if not, jolly. Here’s the vase I worked on yesterday…

For My Listening Pleasure…

February 22, 2010

No long posts today… still sick. I love this singing. Sofia has gone into warp speed hyper-talk lately and while I was working this morning she was singing by herself. I like it so much because I take it as the sound of contentment…

There’s A Virus Amongus…

February 21, 2010

Friday night I went out for a couple beers and to talk shop with Jeff Campana and I felt a little under the weather. I’m not surprised because Sofia came down with something mid week and she kept coming to me while I was working and pleading… will you come snuggle with me? Well, it’s here and yesterday was hell and to rub salt in the wound it was 55 and sunny here. I forced myself to take the bug and dog for 2 walks because I felt I could just as well be miserable on a walk as at home. I thought maybe I’d wake up today and the worst would be behind me and then Monday morning I could hit the work hard feeling well and rested. Well I woke up this morning and oh hell, here’s a picture…

So, shoot me now. I guess you all realize this but February is a short month and I’m starting to feel like I could use those 3 extra days. Here’s some bowls ready for a bisque…

Have A Heart…

February 19, 2010

No post yesterday because I had to keep an appointment at my friendly neighborhood cardiologist. There are few rites of passage in our society and this post will be proof of my passing the threshold from middle to old age. If you are in your 30’s and 40’s and you go somewhere where you’re hanging out with older folks and the conversation’s dragging, just throw out something about prescriptions or cholesterol, you’ll be the life of the party in no time. It reminds me of post-college days going to parties and everyone would be talking about microsoft windows or photoshop. Anyway, now I’ve got the real stuff… no nipping at the fringes and trying to bluff my way through, I can shuck and jive with the codgers about all sorts of medical mysteries. I used to wonder why such enthusiasm? But with age comes experience and with experience comes disease and with disease comes the stories of how we try to beat back our slow (and sometimes not slow) decline or how we beat back death in some cases. To cut to the chase, the ECHO and the EKG were both normal… much to my relief. Why I ended up there is a long tale that maybe I’ll get around to if I ever decide to do a series of posts on my medical adventures (maybe I should wait until I’m at least 55). So without further ado, here are some pictures of my heart for anyone who may have doubted me having one and check out the detail on the top right image, the technician must have had the hangle just right…

You may remember a post I did titled “Don’t Go To The Podiatrist With Dog Poop On Your Shoes“… it’s in the right column under “Frequently Viewed Posts”. During that visit I took my camera and took pictures of the podiatrist injecting steroids into my heels… this didn’t work by the way (maybe a future medical adventure?). Anyway I walked into the ECHO-tech’s room where she does her ECHO stuff and she said… take your shirt off and sit down. I knew right away that I might have trouble because she seemed to be one of those people that doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, but I went for it anyway. I said, can I take a picture? She looked at me like I was missing a nose and said, take a picture o’ what? Cheerfully, I said, my heart of course. She rolled her eyes, made a disgusted smirk and said, well I guess, if you, I can’t see any reason, if you, I guess, etc. I decided not to push it and just sat down without the camera and let her do her thing. I thought I’d butter her up with some small talk (my friends will chuckle at that because I’m so good at small talk… duh) and at least I didn’t lead with, we’ve been getting a lot of snow this winter or how ’bout them Cards? I opted for the more curious… so how many of these do you do a day? I really did want to know but she stiffened and said, as many as they need me to do. She squirted some lube gel on the ultrasound thingie and said, this is gonna be cold… no doubt, why go warm now. I chose not to distract her with more probing questions (mostly because I half think the last tech made a technician-error). After it was over she said, you can put your shirt on. I said, so… could I just take a picture and she said ok, but just buried her nose in some chart. She didn’t want me to get a picture of her I guess… and who could blame her I might be from the CIA or the IRS or hell, I might post it on the internet. Then I went and sat in the actual cardiologist’s office to wait for him to decipher the ECHO code of Hammurabi. While sitting there, the most interesting thing in the entire room were these actual size heart sculptures…

The poor bastards they got those out of, what kind of butchers am I dealing with here? A nurse came in to administer an EKG, which is an electrocardiogram and not to be confused with the ECHO which is an echocardiogram. And maybe I need an EEG, which is and electroencephalograph, meaning that I need my head examined for writing this. Anyway, this nurse cheered me up with a story about how she had had CPR training her whole life but had never used it until the previous week when her neighbor, an 83 year old man, died one night and his wife came knocking on her door in the middle of that night and she went over to attempt to revive him but was too late. Why she felt the need to point out that his trousers were down around his ankles is beyond me and I just laid there with the tangle of wires hooked to me… at least it’s not small talk, right? So a clean bill of heart health for me from the cardiologist. Here’s the vase I was working on most of yesterday…

I used that cracked bowl that I gave Sofia to raise the piece up for the sake of ergonomics but I’m thinking maybe I need to make customized plinths for the vases.

When Ice Becomes ICE…

February 17, 2010

I looked out the studio window yesterday and saw this hanging down…

In this case it’s the big one that didn’t get away. For any northerners out there, we get snow in Kentucky every year it seems… the difference is that it doesn’t last. When we get a big snow (4+ inches), everyone gets their sleds and saucers and heads for the big hill on the golf course in the park. They do this right away and it is crammed for the next day or two and then the snow melts. The difference this year is that today makes the 11th consecutive day with unmelted snow on the ground and if the weather shamans are correct, this trend will continue for weeks. Another thing that we don’t usually get are big icicles like the one Sofia landed in the picture. Soon after the picture was taken, of course, the icicle was dropped on the kitchen floor and broke into about 20 pieces. As I mentioned before, Dingus loves the snow and even more than that, she loves to eat ice. When Mom puts ice in her drinks, she usually “accidentally” drops a cube on the floor and Dingus, who is waiting underfoot, grabs it and runs into the living room to eat it. Anyway, Sofia and I grabbed the larger chunks and went out to throw them off the porch and break them into even smaller pieces and while we were out there, Dingus had a field day eating up as much of the icicle as she could before we got back in and picked up what was left. What we didn’t keep in mind was that this was the equivalent of her drinking a couple bowlfuls of water and we went about our business. Later we discovered an ICE (indoor canine excretion) by the back door. I know it’s our fault but it stays true to the fact that any lapse in dog attention will result in a penalty. Here’s two more bowls in progress and a closeup…

I’m Glad Smellentine’s Day Is Over…

February 15, 2010

We’re halfway through February and it snowed all night again and that’s not supposed to be the end of it. I’m starting to feel like I live up north again…

I’ve realized that there’s someone who really loves the snow… Dingus. When we were out walking in the snow, she dives in with her head and throws it up on her back and yesterday I think she ate enough to equal about two pilsner glasses of water after melting. We went to meet Coco and Andy for a beer last night. They left a bit early and when we’re there on Sunday, Sofia has two little friends that she plays with on the stage at the tavern. The two friends showed up after Coco and Andy left and we decided to stay a bit longer so they could play. They decided not to play on the stage but to sit at our table. So I was sitting at the tavern with Sofia, and her two friends and they were all drawing pictures with Sofia’s markers and paper. I had forgotten that it was Valentine’s day because we did that on Friday until the two little girls started talking about it. I told them very seriously that it’s not Valentine’s day, it’s really called Smellentine’s day. They didn’t like this new information and began arguing with me. I told them that I could prove it and beckoned them to sniff the air, sniffing thrice and saying… you smell that? This confused them but they stuck to their guns. Eventually, I told them that I owned everything and they didn’t like that either but were unsure until I mentioned that I owned all the cars in the parking lot and that I just let the people that drive them borrow them, that’s all. Then they apparently had enough and said to Sofia… your dad’s silly. I can’t imagine what they told their parents… but such is Smellentine’s day. Here’s a bowl from the bisque…

Here’s sugar’s finished pot from yesterday…

Crappy Face…

February 14, 2010

Yesterday was another fun filled bug day. After a bit of computer time we headed off to Tommy’s for some coffee, tea and pomme frittes. Sofia was so content that, as we sat at the counter, she never got out her drawing supplies… just sat and watched the other people in the room. I know today is some kind of holiday but pshaw… we took care of that rigmarole on Friday because Mom’s at work today. Not sure why I’m surprised but at the preschool they had a little holiday party and the bug came home with a bag of candy… I guess every holiday is now a reason to tank up on sweets. Not only that, the little cards they give each other are merely un-disguised advertisements for toys and of course the girls give ones with princesses and the boys with fast cars lest anyone get mixed signals on the appropriate gender rolls… clearly I’m not ready for kindergarten and what follows. This reminds me of a little story… consider it another version of pissing in the wind. We have received a steady flow of hand-me-downs over the years because the bug has a cousin that’s just old enough to be through with her clothes as Sofia needs them. Early on when Sofia could barely talk, she received a pajama top with 3 disney princesses on it… I have an extreme aversion to this disney crap. Before I noticed it (and could throw it away), the bug found it and of course it was her favorite garment for months. When she found it she asked me what the girls’ names were, pointing to one and then the next. Being quick on my feet I replied to the first question… crappy face, then the second princess… crappy face, and then third… crappy face. She said, they’re all named crappy face and I said yes but the pictures of them are not quite right. I had her take the garment off and I drew big handlebar moustaches in permanent marker on the 3 crappy faces. Being an inexperienced father, I had no idea how well this would work. To her they were crappy face and any other disney princess (they’re all drawn the same) she automatically referred to as crappy face. I actually overheard her arguing with cousins later insisting that their names were crappy face. One day, Mom, bug and I went down to the Vietnam Kitchen and Sofia sat in her highchair. We order her a side of rice and some tofu and when they brought it, the little rice bowl was served in the center of a plastic plate. Sometimes the plate would have Winnie the Pooh, sometimes Goofy but on this particular occasion it was… crappy face. Sofia immediately slid the bowl of rice to the side and stood up in the high chair yelling loudly… crappy face, crappy face is everywhere! Once we met a little girl, her mom and grandmother at the park playground and the girl had crappy face shoes which Sofia kept pointing out and the mom and grandmother kept looking at me like I was an evil person because I didn’t correct her and even though I understand how strange it may have seemed, the grandmother spoke Portuguese and no english and I just didn’t think I could convey the whole story with pop culture references to her satisfaction, not to mention that even if they understood perfectly, they probably still would have thought I was crazy. Over the last couple years, obviously, Sofia has come to know that this was something that dad did and I believe it informs her on some level to my sense of humor. So Friday she’s going through her bag of plunder and taking out the cards one at a time and asking me what they say. She shows me the one with a blonde-haired princess in a long evening gown and I say, it says happy valentine’s day, I hope I don’t crap in my dress. Of course, she wanted me to reread this over and over changing what it said each time. Such is our little fun. Anyway, after Tommy’s we got some bok choy for supper and went home to unload the kiln…

Only two small disappointments in the load, one of which was a low profile bowl that cracked through halfway around the foot and I gave that one to Sofia to play with. She was very excited to unload her tiles and sand the bottoms. Here’s one of the beer glasses, I think the size of this one will be perfect after the glaze firing…

After we unloaded we came upstairs and I tried to get a bit of resist work done (which I never even attempt on dad and Sofia days) and she was content for about 40 minutes. I heard her singing in the other room. She had taken the bowl I gave her and was drawing on it with magic markers then she got some of her tiles that were already fired and drew on them. She took them one by one into the closet and I asked her what she was doing and she said… I’m loading the kiln. After it was loaded, she counted to about 35 and declared, it’s done. The she disappeared for another while and finally came to me and said… would you like to buy something in my gallery? I said yes and followed her into the bathroom where she had put about 15 tiles and the bowl, all drawn on with markers, and a drawing on the bathroom sink counter and pretended she was a gallery owner. I eventually purchased all the pieces with the money she gave me. Here’s the gallery owner with her glaze pencil…

Can We Go To Tommy’s?…

February 13, 2010

Last night as we were ending the bedtime ritual and I had already gone downstairs, Sofia asked Mom to ask me if we could go to Tommy’s today. I guess the Red Pooper is on the outs at least for a while. So, it’s bug day and we’re heading to Tommy’s a bit later for some chamomile tea in the wee teapot with the wee cup, saucer and spoon. I checked the kiln when I got up and it’s still at 249 so I’ll just think about something else and it should be unload-able later this afternoon. My right thumb keeps going numb and I’m not sure if it’s from the computer’s mouse or from painting detail with the tiny brush but either way it’s annoying to say the least. Here’s a few shots of the same pot, it’s cooling in the bisque right now…

That’s all I got this morning.

Firing To Keep Warm…

February 12, 2010

I don’t think firing a bisque to keep warm is working. It’s 14 degrees and I left the door to the basement (where the kiln is) open and hoped to feel a nice warm draft wafting up the stairs and enveloping the kitchen this morning but although it’s comfortable down in the basement, it’s about the same upstairs. In the summer it’s quite a different story. In addition, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to a sound I didn’t recognize… could have been a critter noise. When I looked in the direction of the noise, I noticed that Dingus was alertly looking that way too. It’s not as though she was going to do anything predator-like, more likely she was planning her escape route. Then I couldn’t get to sleep because I started imagining a veritable ark procession of possums, raccoons, mice and rats marching up the stairs from the basement in pairs. I struggled with the thought of getting out of bed and lacing up my new shoes (the shoe lady said do not go anywhere without these things on) to go downstairs and look for critters and close the door to the basement. After a while the adage of “closing the barn door after the cows had gotten out” sealed the deal and I managed to drift back to sleep. Here’s a very un-well-lit picture of one level of the bisque…

I’ve been painting on the splashy pots for the last couple days and have got several more to do, the tedium is in full swing…

Who Was That Masked Man?…

February 11, 2010

Here’s how I’ve been spending most of the last few weeks. Shellac is cut with alcohol and when it gets a bit thick, it’s diluted with even more alcohol… so I don the mask and rest my reading glasses on top of the part of the mask that covers the bridge of my nose. It’s not that uncomfortable for the first 1/2 hour or so but after a while my nose starts to itch and the inside of the mask becomes wet with the condensation of my breathe…

Here’s a couple small bowls that are already loaded in the kiln. The little squares are getting waaavvvvyyy…

I think I’m going to run the bisque tonight. The kiln is full and this will be the coldest night for the next week or so according to the forecast (and we know how accurate they are) so the kiln will heat up the basement and warm the water pipes that I’m always worried about even though it’s only supposed to go down to 14 degrees and it’s already been colder than that this year. Here’s the fruit bat eating her oranges. Her favorites are those little mandarins called “Little Cuties”. We were at the store the other day not getting milk but getting some bread and stuff for soup (remember the “snow” day) and I was grabbing some celery and Sofia starts yelling… Little Cuties, they’ve got Little Cuties…

Whatcha Got Cookin’?…

February 10, 2010

Well, yesterday was a snow day adventure with Mom at work. Not only did we not have milk but we were out of other things as well and part of my plan was to spend part of my impromptu bug day making a big pot of bean soup… and I needed some things for that too. So we hit the road with the bruiser-mobile and Sofia said… “is Tommy’s open?” and I thought, I bet he is and a nice cup of coffee and some chamomile tea in a toasty coffee shop might just be the ticket for the snow day. We drove down and Tommy was open and we sat at the counter watching the snow, doing crossword puzzles, coloring and of course we got an order of pomme frittes. At one point the bug was softly chanting, pomme frittes, pomme frittes, pomme frittes. Then we hit the road and my car started overheating at a traffic light. My car’s been acting funny and I’ve vowed not to put any money into anymore but I just figured it was having trouble with the fuel line or something because it would only do it after it’s been sitting there in the cold. Then it hit me. The antifreeze is so diluted from a summer of topping it off with water that the car starts off with frozen coolant (water) in it. Anyway, got some antifreeze and that seemed to take care of it so, I’ll just forget about it until something else happens. When we got home, I started making soup and Mom came home early but… in for a penny, in for a pound, I went ahead and finished up our bean soup. It’s more like bean stew but we call it bean soup… it’s got barley, beans, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, stock and spices. Here’s a shot…

I went ahead and dug up this picture of what we had cookin’ about 4 years ago…

It absolutely freaks me out that she could have changed from that to what she looks like now in 4 years. Anyway, I got to work a little and Mom and bug went out in the snow and pretty soon Sofia was knocking at the door asking me for a carrot. Her and her little friend, Monica, from across the street were making a snowman and I told them to come get me when it was done and I’d come out and take a picture. Apparently I was incorrect in my assumption that the carrot would be used for the nose because Sofia was eating it…

And then the it just got stuck in the top of its head and they moved on…

Snowed In With No Milk…

February 9, 2010

Well, this is going to be a strange and unproductive day. Mom had to go into work today and the bug was supposed to go to school for the morning. My plan was to work til noon and then around 4 when Mom got back, get back at it. But I woke up to this…

That’s pretty significant snow for us down here and the schools are closed. My latest experiment with my feet demands that I wear my new shoes all the time and my only pair of boots lost their soul (not sure if they had much soul to begin with) last year and I didn’t get any new ones because we never really get any snow in Kentucky. So I can’t take the dog for a walk or go play in the snow because of footware issues. So here we are stuck in the house with no milk… oh my! Maybe I’ll make some barley bean soup… that would be somewhat productive. Here’s a bowl I finished up yesterday and put in the kiln…

Here’s another shot that I’m throwing in because it has the demon Dingus in the background. Notice the look on her face… like she’s planning something evil,

I Got Interviewed…

February 8, 2010

About a week ago I received an email from a potter named Connie Norman and I clicked over to her site and recognized this right away…

That cover was December 2004 and 2004 was the year I made the switch from my old job to doing ceramics. After my 3 week whirlwind summer trip with my nephew cross country, I started making pots and one of the first things I did was re-subscribe to Ceramics Monthly and this was one of the first few covers that I received. Connie has a blog and she does interviews with other potters and artists and she asked me if I’d like to do one and I said yes… the interview is here. Connie uses letters pressed into her pots as a decorative motif and the word couplings or phrases are repeated over open areas. She makes each impression by hand and I’m sure that we share similar spans of the meditative time working our ways through the tedium to achieve a certain result. If you get a hankerin’, head on over to Connie’s website, she has plenty of pictures of her work like this salt and pepper shaker set…

Dingus Walk And Chamomile Tea…

February 7, 2010

A bug day is the best day. Sugar and I spent the day together and will again today. I usually forego taking the camera on our walks because it’s cold and with the dog leash in my hands, I’m afraid she’s gonna yank my arm at the wrong moment and I’ll drop the camera… plus I don’t have my glasses with me so I can’t tell if I have the thing in focus very well. Anyway, it rained all day the day before and snowed during the night so the snow was wet and left good footprints. Here’s the bug running up the alley…

A little further along, by the mayor’s house, Sofia alerted me that she had discovered “witch” tracks coming out of their driveway. I asked how she could tell they were made by a witch and she looked at me like I wasn’t very observant and said “the shape”… I think whoever made them had high heels on. A ways down from there is a really nice old house that has a big stand of bamboo next to it and the snow was weighing them down and bending them toward the road. Here’s Sofia getting ready to shake the snow off to see if they would stand back up…

After this she wanted me to “ice skate” on a sewer drain and I said there’s no ice there so she said… well, we can “snow skate” then and proceeded to snow skate for most of the rest of the way home. The highlight of the day is that we decided to skip the Red Pooper. The reason is that the Chinese cook that works there loves Sofia, makes her extra things and comes out and tries to talk to her and Sofia doesn’t like him it seems. I used to think that eventually she would warm up to him but she doesn’t and she doesn’t do this with anyone else. I also used to think it’s because he cannot speak English hardly at all and she doesn’t know what to say. Anyway, on the one hand, it’s awkward that he keeps trying to connect with her and she won’t even look at him and on the other hand maybe her intuition is right… how would I know. So I decided maybe we should take a break and went to Caffe Classico which is my favorite coffee shop. They serve lunch and recently they expanded and have dinner too. Sofia loved this! We sat at a high round table in stools instead of chairs and she got a chamomile tea which they serve in a small porcelain cup and saucer and an accompanying porcelain teapot… with a little spoon no less. We ordered some pomme frittes (french fries) and coffee and she gawked at people. There was a bus stop out the window across the street and a young girl that was waiting had pink hair and she seemed mesmerized by her pink hair and eventually said that she wanted to color her hair pink. I said all the typical meaningless father things like, your hair is beautiful… way more than pink would be, but she wasn’t having any of it. The tragedy of gaining experience is that no one inexperienced is interested. So now she wants to go here every week and I wonder how long before she starts calling it Caffe Poopico. Here’s a couple shots of the bug having a real life tea party…

The Cadence Of Doodling…

February 6, 2010

I have a good friend that has been reading up on the latest running crazes… primarily barefoot running and the corresponding logistics that include a footstrike that is not on one’s heel and smaller quicker steps. If not for my foot affliction, I would probably be trying the same. Anyway, along with a shorter stride comes more steps per minute or a quicker cadence. My friend runs with an iPod and was saying that at first one thing he noticed (an apparently this is not new to runners) is that his cadence didn’t match the music’s beat on his iPod. The surprise to me was that iTunes actually has a column attribute of “Beats Per Minute” that one can display right next to “Song”, “Artist”, “Album”, etc. and there are websites that will list songs that match one’s running cadence. My friend was excited about the prospect of running with music that matched the rate of his stride so he checked it out. Aside from how cool he thought the idea was, the down side became clear immediately when the first song listed for his cadence was Cher’s “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”. So you can match your stride to the beat of the songs but you just have to listen to music you don’t particularly like… “But every night all the men would come around, and lay their money down”. So I got to thinking about unnecessary technological feats and figured maybe I could arrange my music to match the rate that I paint a wee dot on my pot. It turns out that the other day I sat there for hours doing just that and I listened to Ravel’s “Bolero” 5 times in a row… it’s only about 16 minutes and 17 seconds in length. Mom’s brother, when leaving a message on the answering machine, always says… “this is Mark, it’s about 7:13 on Thursday”. I guess he just doesn’t have the number of seconds handy. So I listened to “Bolero” 5 times and realized afterward that I never thought of Bo Derek once (older reference lost on younger viewers). I take this as a sign of aging. Here’s a few shots of the fishnet back breaker I was working on the other day, last shot has slip applied…

Samuel B.’s Got Nothin’ On Me…

February 5, 2010

–|-.– .-|.-.|– ..|… …-|.|.-.|-.– -|..|.-.|.|-.. stop. Mr. Morse was the dots and dashes guy and I never would have thought, in this age of technology, to be reverting back to the old days but as that coded sentence says… my arm is very tired. Here’s my seemingly endless stream of dots and dashes…

Here’s a bowl interior where the dots turned into dashes along the way…

Mom, Sofia, me and my neighbor from across the street, Jamie (Sofia calls him Jamie Wamie), went out to toast a local event the other night. First, why Jamie Wamie? When Sofia was two or so she used to refer to everyone by their first name followed by that same name starting with a “W”. There was an old man that lived two houses down named Frank and she started calling him Frankie Wankie which soon was changed into Frankie Wanker and at the time I was teaching her to sing the chorus of “Davy Crockett” that Tennessee Ernie Ford made famous around when I was born. We would insert Frankie Wanker where Davy Crockett was so the chorus would go… “Frankie, Frankie Wanker… the man that don’t know fear.” Second, what are we toasting? My next door neighbors who have at any given time between 4 and 6 dogs have officially moved out. I know for certain there was a medium large shaggy dog and another big dog that are always outside and bark incessantly. Inside are two mini pins and a chihuahua. There were two others at times but I lost track and I think sometimes they left one or two of them somewhere else. In the dogs defense, they were left outside in some inclement conditions with no one home or someone home but sleeping and they would just stand and bark for what seemed like forever. Jamie Wamie lived directly across the street and the dogs’ barks would travel betwixt our two houses (only 10 feet apart) and shoot down and across the road so that he could hear them plain as day even when he was at the back of his house. Anyway, here’s Alicia and Jamie Wamie toasting their departure…

Hopefully load a bisque today if I have enough wares.

(P)aralell (F)indings Of (P)inholing (F)aults and (P)lantar (F)asciitis…

February 3, 2010

Thanks to everyone for their kind, encouraging and (p)retty (f)lattering anniversary wishes yesterday. There are several common glaze faults or glaze defects that (p)otters (f)orever seem to be dealing with. There are (p)inholing (f)aults and (p)itting (f)aults and crazy crazing and crawling. Early in my ceramics career (about 3 1/2 years ago), I was testing, testing, testing and had my first encounter with the dreaded (p)inholing (f)ault. This is where wee bubbles form in the glaze and either pop but don’t heal or almost (p)op (f)orth. Here’s the best picture I could find of the (p)inholing (f)ault and it’s in the bottom of the pot…

When I was an innocent, the (p)erfect (f)it for (p)each (f)uzzed boys with unformed (p)re(f)rontal lobes and not for le (p)etite jeune (f)ille was the (P)(F) Flyer sneaker. Basketball (p)layers (f)lew down the courts with these in the (p)ostwar (f)ifties and the (P)(F)’s were eventually replaced by Converse All-Stars (both are available today). I mention this so I can (p)re(f)ace my (p)lantar (f)asciitis discourse and (p)oint (f)irmly to this Harvard study which confirms that the post (P)re(f)ontaine era of (p)uffy (f)ootware that artificially “supports” our shared incorrect running style is most certainly the reason for the running injuries that are epidemic in the current era and that the pre (P)re(f)ontaine era was (p)ractically (f)ree from said injuries. Not (p)ig (f)eet nor (p)oetic (f)eet but (p)rimate (f)eet, my (p)rimate (f)eet came down with a severe case of (p)lantar (f)asciitis one year ago during a relatively (p)eaceful (F)ebruary. You may remember some of this (p)osting (f)un about my (p)odiatrist (f)arse of a visit with (p)ieces (f)rom the dog poop strewn yard on the soles of my shoes…

You may have seen this (p)ost (f)rom November…

Both attempts were (p)erfect (f)ailures along with (p)added (f)oot inserts, rolling my feet on (p)opbottles (f)ull of frozen water and assorted (p)odiatry (f)ootware. Yesterday, I went again to the (p)opular (f)ootware store that specializes in this type of thing only to hear another (p)erfectly (f)allacious conceptualization of what’s wrong and what to do about it. The (p)re-(f)ormed (p)imple-(f)aced boy who waited on me eventually sent me to a second (p)revailing (f)ootware specialist and I finally met someone who seemed to know what was going on. It may have been her 25 year history of dealing with (p)lantar (f)asciitis sufferers or, more likely, that she mentioned that she made all the copper sculptures on the walls or that she was (p)lain (f)un to talk to. So I got these…

Mom thought they were (p)retty (f)unny looking but she thinks that about any attire I might (p)urchase (f)or myself. I wanted to get the flesh colored ones, you know, the (p)ink (f)lesh colored shoes that old people wear… but Mom would be (p)ositively (f)reaked and wouldn’t leave the house with me. Of course the flesh colored shoes don’t really look like (p)eoples’ (f)lesh which is what makes them so (p)reposterously (f)lawed. Anyway I will have to hold off of any (p)rima (f)acie conclusions and wear this pair of puffy, (p)added (f)ootware and see what happens which leads me to the (p)aralell (f)indings of (p)inholing (f)aults and (p)lantar (f)asciitis… if you suffer from either of these (p)rofane, (f)alse conditions the diagnosis will be relatively easy. It’s (p)retty (f)air to say the cure or solution is quite another matter. Everything you read or everywhere you go you will hear (p)erfectly (f)air-minded and (p)lausibly (f)oolproof suggestions that run the gamut of what will get rid of the (p)roblem (f)oot or fault but every suggestion costs money and takes and inordinate amount of time to bear out. It could take (p)otentially (f)orever to change and fire every (p)otential (f)ix for the (p)inholing (f)ault and the same for any (p)ossible (f)ixes to (p)lantar (f)asciitis. Damn, not sure that was worth the it but if my (p)lantar (f)asciitis goes away I will take a (p)eti(f)ore to the (p)odiatric (f)ootware lady.