Archive for June, 2010

Hannamuntana Paper Shoes…

June 28, 2010

Sometimes it just gets so hot that you have to figure out what to do in the house. A very hot weekend here with dog walks at 8:00 am to get done before the temp goes up. Even with the early walk, Dingus was panting like crazy halfway through. Sofia and I got into a conversation on Saturday where she asked, “can they make shoes out of wood?” and I said yes. Then, “can they make shoes out of metal?” and I said yes but I don’t think anyone does. This took us down a tangent about welding and how to attach metal to metal. Eventually, whether or not you can make shoes out of paper came up and that’s when we realized our indoor activity. So here they are, Sofia’s paper shoes – size 11…

And here they are being modeled. After this we moved on to paper watches and arm bands…

Of course the funny thing to me was that on Saturday we visited Sofia’s friend Natalie who’s in town from Florida and Sofia was prancing around the house with this long platinum blond wig. That evening she asked me if I knew who she was when she had the wig on and I said I didn’t and asked who and she sheepishly said I can’t tell you (the back story for this reluctance is explained in detail in the crappy face post from months back). This led me to think that it was gonna be one of the crappy faces (I don’t know the modern ones’ names, just snow wh1te and c1nderella). So she says, I’ll tell Mom and she can tell you. So I went downstairs (we were putting her to bed) and Mom went up, then Mom came down and sat next to me on the couch and Sofia came to the landing on the stairs where she could glimpse us sitting next to each other and Mom said that Sofia was being Hannah M0ntana with the wig on. I immediately said, Hannah M0ntana! with mock surprise and she got a big kick out of that. I was relieved later to find out that she has no idea who this is and was only saying it because either her friends or cousins say it. But anyway, the funny thing to me is that she says it like it’s all one word and it’s not M0ntana but muntana. So when it was time to make the paper shoes, I told her we were gonna make Hannamuntana shoes and she insisted that I write that on the inside of them… and size 11 of course. Mom brought home a hairnet that she had explained to her was to keep hair from getting in peoples’ guts during and operation and we all had to try that on…

And the obligatory butterfly net look…

And of course, here’s dad with the hairnet (and the reading glasses that Dingus got hold of)…

In The Cups Again…

June 25, 2010

It’s been a little bit of everything this week. I forgot that Wednesday wouldn’t be a work day and yesterday Mom was sick… actually we all are, we’ve all been coughing for weeks and now we know that it’s bronchitis. Anyway, while Mom was at work the bug and I went to our favorite Thai restaurant with one of her favorite uncles. Sitting in a booth is fun and it becomes challenging to keep Sofia from going back and forth under the table…

I decided to do a little reclaiming, mostly because I have buckets of it piling up all around the studio and I never seem to want to address it but I also thought that the bug would like to help out and get her hands all mucky. She did enjoy it and I think that it looked like frosting made it more appealing and of course we had to write her name in it…

I have a bunch more mugs/cups that need handles so I got to pulling handles too…

I got to the end of the day and started to get the itch to play around with the handles a bit. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not but whenever I begin to do a bunch of similar forms or similar tasks, I reach a point where I’m not as satisfied with the activity and I just sort of move on until it’s out of my system. So I made this handle and I liked the way it looked…

Of course the down side of these tangents is that it takes more time (big surprise there) and as I’ve fooled with this kind of handle before, the success rate is much lower because all those joints are twisting and pulling every which way when they’re drying so we’ll see. Then at the very end of the day, I left function behind and ended up with this one…

I’m crossing my fingers.

Scrabble Squabble…

June 23, 2010

Last night was the most recently meeting of my good friend Terry and I for our periodic Super Scrabble game. It was a very unusual game with an unusual board… more spread out due to early plays of large words. The turning point in the game seemed to be when I gambled heavily by playing the word “treated” and hoping against hope that “od” was a word. We had never used it before and we are too curmudgeonly to resort to the “0fficial 5crabble D1ctionary”. Luckily od is a word that means “a hypothesized force in nature formerly thought to manifest itself in such phenomena as hypnotism, magnetism, light, etc.”… hmmm, maybe the od was with me on that play? Anyway, here’s the board…

It was a good fight and a long game exceeding 5 hours. As lifetime scrabble players, both Terry and I acknowledge, decry, are disgusted by and will ignore Hasbr0’s decision to officially change the rules to allow proper names. On the surface, it may not seem like that big of a deal but to allow them is to allow anything, escalate bickering over un-provable word attempts and most importantly dumb down the game in the attempt to increase market share or more likely keep from losing it due to the steady decline of the importance of the actual meanings of words to our culture. Hurray for another well conceived corporate decision! Anyway, today is unusual insofar as Mom traded shifts with someone and I have the bug for most of the day. I completely forgot and have a whole bunch of mugs trying to stay moist. It is supposed to be 99 or 100 degrees today with a heat index of 106/107 depending on where you look or who you listen to.

Dude, Hand(le) Me That Probe, Dude…

June 21, 2010

My blogging buddy Joel over at Fetishghost and who is always posting cool how-to things left a comment asking to see how I do the handles on my mugs. I thought about it a while and started to think… maybe some potters don’t do their handles this way. Then I started thinking that as it just evolved this way that maybe someone might think I’m crazy for doing this way. Anyway, here’s a step by step of my handling a mug and keep in mind that with most shaped cups/mugs, although it might take longer than other methods, it would still be significantly faster than the mug I happen to be showing because I’ve been on this “M1chelin Man”-shaped kick lately. So here goes… first I pull handles just like everyone does and loop them over a stick in loops. When they get hard enough, I slide them off the end of the stick and have a pile of handle loops…

I also need a whole bunch of cups/mugs that have already been trimmed and are leather-hard…

Pick a couple mugs and a couple handle loops that seem to be the correct size…

Next, cut off the extraneous part where the loop was originally stuck to the stick…

At this point, the handle should have a little extra length but before trimming it, I use this little plaster cylinder I made when I started years ago (it has my “logo” thingie on it and I was gonna use it to put chops on my pots but for various reasons decided not to) to support the inside of the loop while I press against the outside to get the profile shaped like I want it…

Now the extra long handle is held up to the profile of the mug to get a sense of how to cut it so that the surfaces of the ends of the handle rest flush against the surface of the mug (as pictured, because of the shape of the mug and the fact that I like to have the top of the handle rest in the valley between the two bulges, there’s a double trim that has to be done to get it to fit in there)…

A little trial and error gets to this point…

Because the mug is so bulbous and really all the cups/mugs are round anyway, the flat cuts on the ends of the handle touch in the center but there’s not much surface area to make it adhere so I take this little sgraffito loop tool and carve the touching surfaces concave…

Then, although I couldn’t get a picture because I would need a third hand, I hold the handle in place and trace where the ends touch onto the mug with a probe (since I’m a child of the sixties, I refer to this tool as a probe and not the politically correct “needle tool”, I like the word probe because it sounds funny and reminds me of proboscis and I’m still at a loss that a committee at F0rd M0tor Co. actually agreed to name one of their cars a probe.)…

Then with the same probing probe, I score the traced areas on the mug (although I’m seriously thinking of getting one of these wee rake tools that I’ve seen Joel use on his demos and is pictured here on Michael Mahans blog post)…

Then the handles ends are scored with the probish probing proboscis probe

After a couple dabs of water or slip on all scored surfaces and a couple minutes for the water to make things a bit mushy, hold the handle pressed against the mug and count to 15 or so…

After this sets for a bit and I work on another, I go back and use the probish probing proboscis to clean up the area around the attachments (I also use one of those smusher tools with the rubber tips sometimes)…

And, voila…

I really have no idea how many other ways people attach handles. I know that many people attach the clay to the mug and pull the handle right on the piece. There’s a certain elegance to this method and I’ve done it (not very well) before but it seems to not allow me to have obsessive control throughout the process. I keep thinking about how much an individual’s personality plays into the methods they employ and how differently everyone goes about the same tasks. In retrospect (and I guess I’m a control-freak about it), I seem to have elected to do things throughout the process that I like personally but have somewhat unnecessarily (or necessarily) lengthened the overall process and they run the gamut from the way I throw to how I attach handles to how I decorate. I’m not sure what it says about my personality, state of mind or ability to make a living. Here’s the cups/mugs all handled up…

Using Bats Correctly?…

June 20, 2010

I went over to my friend Ray’s on Friday night and it turns out that he lives across the street from and ex-employee of a here unmentioned bat company. These are not the bats that we potters throw on, they’re for slugging. Anyway, apparently the company, after lathing the blank into a bat finds tiny flaws and this makes the bat not sell-able and they give this guy palettes full of bats… to use for firewood in his fireplace. I guess it had never occurred to me how much waste is involved just to make these and it was a bit disconcerting to imagine all that beautiful ash being discarded. But when I think of all the beautiful flawless hardwood veneers used in the casket industry that are displayed during the wake for a couple hours and then buried in the ground to rot, it seems a tossup as to which is more deplorable. I can still hear the casket salesman in the showroom after I picked an inexpensive model so my Mom’s insurance would be able to cover the expenses…”but it’s your dad”. OK, nevermind that tangent, so Ray says, you want some bats? I’ve got tons of them and the little ones too that are used for promotional purposes. So I thought, yep, this is the kind of thing Sofia would enjoy. So yesterday morning as we got in the car to go to Tommy’s, the bug noticed bats in the car and since she only has a vague idea of what baseball is, was very curious as to what she could do with them. So at Tommy’s she painted stripes around one with magic markers and when we got home she wanted to paint them. So here she is at kitchen table painting her bat and then posing with her painted bat collection…

Here’s the obligatory Bug Ruth pose…

And of course the best part of all that painting is getting the paint all over you…

A byproduct of painting bats is a nice little painting…

And last week, I stopped to get some drawing paper for Sofia and they had this gimmicky pad where the sheets of paper are long and narrow… for “comics”. Like we can’t cut a piece of paper… but I got one nevertheless and thought it would be good for collaborative drawings with dad and the bug. Here’s the first one…

As long as I’m on the 2 dimensional bent here, I took this picture a couple days ago of some mugs drying…

Anyway, I was looking at it and started thinking if I ever needed a new chopmark (logo, whatever), this might make a good one, so on to tracing…

And here’s one with the new chopmark in the corner (of course, if I was gonna actually use it, I would clean it up a little and get everything symmetrical… you know in an anal retentive kinda way)…

What Can I Say?, I’ve Been Uni-Tasking…

June 17, 2010

I’m not sure why but three whole days without blogging has made me feel a bit guilty… a strange phenomenon for sure but something’s got to give. Although I feel a bit guilty, it’s just a bit and not a whole lot. I’ve noticed a strange and obvious correlation about this lack of frequency and it’s that this lack coincides with getting more work done… who’d a thunk it? My day is filled from the time I get up until I hit the hay (just like everyone’s) but every time I add another “task” to the daily routine, the day becomes more harried and each task is allowed less time, unless of course, I sleep less. So the curmudge in me is quite pleased (I take my vindication where I can get it) at the mounting evidence that multitasking leads to the inability to do any one task well and eventually leads to the inability to multitask… link here. It seems obvious but I remember a decade or so ago hearing about a generation of whiz kids that go to their rooms at night at their computer and listen to music, instant message friends, do their homework, surf the web and code html all at the same time and that their brains were evolving… leaving us old dudes in the dust. Of course this was always a bunch of horseshite and it doesn’t take a new generation multitasker or a rocket scientist to figure it out. When I sit across from a person in a restaurant and they are texting their friends with their phone under the table, it seems obvious to me that they are not giving their full attention to either me or the people they’re texting. It always leaves me with this morbid curiosity of how much they can possibly accomplish in life when every activity they engage in is only allowed a fraction of their attention. If you get a hankerin’, take this test to see if your focus suffers from multitasker’s distraction. Don’t get me wrong, I can multi-task… even when I was a kid, I could chew gum and walk and in retrospect I wasn’t all that good at that because to this day if I chew gum, I inevitably bite the inside of my cheek which produces a painful reminder for 11 days and that’s why I don’t chew gum anymore so maybe that’s not a good example. I can talk while driving, swat mosquitoes while eating on the porch, snore while sleeping, drink beer while peeing, pat my head while rubbing my stomach… the list goes on but I really can’t claim that while I pee and drink beer simultaneously, that I’m giving my full attention or enjoying either to the maximum potential. So anyway my point before I went down this path was that I’ve started working in the studio when I rise instead of blogging so that I actually can get some work done before lunch and then I don’t feel so bad about taking a bike ride around 5 or 6. I’m not sure how long I will sustain this but I’m gonna try to do it until it’s too cold to ride. Additionally, we’ve had an early spate of very hot humid weather and the hottest place in the house is the “nook” where this computer sits. I usually try to wait it out and for a couple years we’ve been lucky that after a couple unbearable days, we get some relief but this little patch of heat is soon to be followed by even hotter weather going up to 96 and 97 by the weekend. This has led me to do something that I’ve not done since 3 summers ago before I tore the back of my house off to expand my studio… I turned the damn AC on. I don’t usually tell people because I get this look like I’m an insane hard core… something, but when I purchased this house in 1990 it had no AC and I never got it until 2000 so it’s not that uncommon for me. So anyway, I’ve been deeply involved in uni-tasking lately and Sofia and I have been busily and happily working away for a couple days. Here’s the bug and her pots…

I’ve switched from beer glasses to mugs. I’m always tuned into the fact that just about when I get the hang of a certain form from the repetition of a couple consecutive days, that that’s when I decide to move on to another form. Greenware…

On another front, I found another great picture of my undergrad ceramics instructor, Fred Shepard…

Dog Days Are Upon Us…

June 13, 2010

Well, according to the weathermen (and we all know how accurate they are), the heat index yesterday and today was and will be 100+. I have to say that it sure felt like it yesterday and we had enough foresight to take the dog for a walk when I got up this morning. The bug took her scooter and is becoming very good with it… while coasting she raises the free foot up onto her opposite knee into the yoga “tree” pose. She told me that it was called yoga scooterin’. We also saw a squirrel and a bird in a tree battling for a piece of white bread. I asked if she thought they had a squirrel toaster and that they lived together and were having breakfast. By the time we had gotten another 200 yards away, she had the squirrel and the bird having a baby and was adamant that the baby wouldn’t be a squirrel with wings but most definitely a bird with fur and a squirrel’s tail. I’m thinking we might have to seek shelter in an air conditioned tavern this afternoon and watch a soccer game between two countries that are not the US, which in a way will be kinda like watching the olympics. Speaking of beer, here’s the beer glasses so far…

Moved on later last weeks to cups/mugs and hope to continue all next week with that. I have a whole bunch of handles wrapped up and that I hope aren’t drying out over the weekend. Anyway, the hottest place in the house is in front of this computer so I’m outta here.

It’s Been A Bit Muggy…

June 10, 2010

Well, it sounded better than it’s been a bit glassy although I seem to have caught another one of Sofia’s illnesses and it might be more accurate to say I’ve been a bit bleary. So anyway, I saw this post a while back on Keith Phillips’ blog and I really love love love the way this looks. So I wanted to give it a try and not sure with my clay body whether the slip will crackle but either way, I still think I will like the effect and I’m kinda thinking I might like the combination of it with the shellac process. So on to do my little test. First I found a black and white illustration of a hop (to be modified if I prove the concept well) and enlarged them and printed two on a piece of printer paper. Then I spent about 15 minutes cutting one out with an exacto knife…

By the way, that would be way too long even for me to consider doing multiple times. Then I took the flimsy printer inky hop cutout and stuck it to the side of a not-quite-dry-enough beer glass…

Then I dipped in the too wet slip, twice (and the printer ink ran down the side looking rather nice)…

After it dried a bit, I removed the stencil…

Now if this is something I’d like to pursue and at this stage it feels that way (of course it always does at this stage), I will need to cut stencils inexpensively and not by hand. Of course Mr. Joel cuts multiples in a very creative way… with a jeweler’s saw. I think Keith uses a “craft robo” stencil cutter and they run about 260.00 and I cannot invest in that without knowing whether I even want to really do it, although for years I wanted a way to get from photoshop to the pot’s surface. My good friend Vern has a high-end stencil cutter and I’m trying to figure out what kind of media those scrapbooking stencil cutters use because he’s only used his on vinyl. Anyway, we’ll see. I’ve posted a few more bowls on etsy (clicking goes to etsy)…

Cycling Ass Imminent…

June 6, 2010

Sofia and I went over to (some retail store) yesterday to get some pipe cleaners and coincidentally to return a gel seat cover that I got for my uncushioned steel bike seat. Actually, as with everything, pipe cleaners are no longer called pipe cleaners but “fuzzy sticks” and as always I imagine myself going back in time and trying to explain to my grandfather that those pipe cleaners he’s using in the future will no longer be used on pipes, be thrice the length, be called fuzzy sticks and will come in gold, silver and neon colors. This conversation will only be an extension of an endless conversation where I inform him of things about the future that I am amused by but that he would never believe and insist that I was just pulling his leg. One of these that we had as a dinner conversation when I was visiting Ig in Des Moines was that the #1 most popular plastic surgery operation for men is… calf implants (this does not refer to having a baby cow implanted in their… hell, I don’t know where). Our conversation revolved around why and as I’m not a weightlifter, it never occurred to me that many weightlifters are very unsatisfied with their calves as suggested by one of the dinner guests. Anyway, here’s some of the results of our pipecleaner/fuzzy stick extravaganza…

So the pipecleaner shoes got me thinking of back when Sofia was only 2 years old and she had her shoes made of little pretend wine flutes…

On the way out of this (retail store), Sofia insists on climbing onto these large red concrete balls out front about 3 1/2 feet in diameter. As I leaned/sat against one of these hard concrete spheres, I noticed that, because of all my riding lately, I may be developing cycling ass (CA). I wanted to refer to it as biker’s ass but figured I might get a different kind of accidental tourist to the blog through the search engine. Anyway, you can’t tell if someone has CA by looking, it’s more that the muscles become accustomed to a certain activity in the same way that someone might develop “nose-picker’s finger” (NPF), “gum-chewer’s tongue”(GCT), “frailer’s thumb”(FT) or “tennis elbow”… well, no maybe not tennis elbow. I went for a long ride with my good friend Vern Saturday and he insists that those soft seat covers are a bad solution for people who can’t put off instant gratification to reach a goal… the goal being CA and if the rider would only put in the very uncomfortable first 200 miles that the butt will acclimate to a small hard seat. Anyway, heading to the studio now. Here’s a vase that I posted to Etsy recently (first click to etsy, the other enlarges)…

Re-Re-Re-Photography Done…

June 4, 2010

I finally got finished with all this photography stuff and am pleased for a change with the outcome. But before I get into that I have to point out something and I’m wondering if it’s been happening to anyone else. Over the last couple weeks, whenever I attempt to leave a comment on a “blogspot” blog, I get an open ID error. It seems random as if I sit there long enough it will eventually go through. I’ve actually been on some blogs where I had to re-submit the comment up to 15 times to have it go through and some where the comment window comes back blank and I have to re-type whatever it was that I wrote. It takes a good 30 seconds after hitting send for it to go through normally and multiplying that over and over is not only frustrating but time consuming and makes me feel like an idiot for sitting there re-hitting the send button and typing in another squiggly word verification. I’m on wordpress so I would assume since most of the potter blogs are on blogspot that they are not having this problem because they don’t use “open ID” to submit a comment but I really have no idea. Anyway, yesterday it seemed a bit better but it’s been ridiculous of late and I was just wondering if anyone else had the same issue. Back to photography… I started to shoot the pieces that I got back from the show in Chicago and I decided to go back to the beginning and they started turning out much better. After uploading some to the etsy shop, the good pictures (I was having issues with a blue cast on the background to varying degrees depending on the color and size of the piece) made the not so good ones look even worse so I decided to go back and re-shoot everything and re-upload everything that I could. The backgrounds are gray just like the background in reality and the shop looks better than ever. Check it out if you have a hankerin’… I’ll be posting pieces every day for a week or so. Here’s the link. As I’m sure is true with most or all potters, sometimes you just have a fondness for a piece. For me this piece is that one…

I have been referring to it as the fishnet bowl because it looks like fishnet hose but it is also evocative of other things. Maybe part of the reason that I’m so fond of it is that it was a total back breaking bear to decorate… the diamond pattern took much longer to execute than some of the other patterns I use. And as is the case with pieces of mine that I become attached to, it seems sometimes that maybe I’m the only one with that attachment and inevitably people seem to gravitate to something else and that’s very good too. I haven’t posted this to the store yet but hope to soon. Anyway, I’m not sure how instructive this will be but I’ll try and outline how I finally got rid of the subtle casts of different hues on the neutral background. When I decided to do my own photography for real, I took the lead from my good friend Jeff Campana’s post about getting good shots… here. My first result after getting the photo tent was on this post. They were adequate but there’s that blue cast. So here’s what happened as far as I can tell. In Jeff’s post he specifically suggests using Eiko 250 watt, 3200 Kelvin bulbs, which you can get at any local camera shop and they’re not terribly expensive. I did this but still had the blue cast. Over time I got 3 lights, one above and two from the sides all with the Eiko bulbs but my room was narrow and I had them too close so I started putting t-shirts and gauze cloth between the lights and the photo cube. Eventually I became frustrated and started using smaller bulbs (not the Eiko’s) and changing the white balance settings to preset ones trying to get one to match the light or by manually setting a custom white balance with different lights. So basically, I gradually started using different kinds of bulbs… this was mistake #1. The key I think and mistake #2 which might be the bigger of the two mistakes is that I always set my white balance by setting up the lights, putting a piece in the photo cube, leaning a white card against the pot and focusing the white balance setting thingie on that card. I was complaining to Jeff one night over beers and he asked why I was doing it with the card and it never occurred to me but I think that was a relic from the old days when a friend’s and my office space was down the hall from some commercial photographers in the late 80’s and I used to go down and watch them take pictures of varnished turkeys and other fake food for magazines. So to recap… I put the Eiko bulbs in all the lights, I moved the side lights all the way to the walls of the room so they would be as far as possible from the cube and I set the white balance (per Jeff’s suggestion) on the graduated background inside of the photo cube with no piece in the cube. This immediately gave me a neutral background and then all I had to contend with was brightness and contrast which I still have some work to do with but I feel like I’ve made a step forward. Here’s some pieces that I did post to etsy in the last day or so (clicking the first goes to etsy, the others enlarge)…

The Face Of Death/I (Don’t) Like (B)ike…

June 1, 2010

While I was out riding my bike yesterday, my mind started wandering which I took to mean that possibly I was beginning to enjoy biking… but I don’t have my hopes up. I won’t belabor why I’m biking if I don’t enjoy it because I’ve mentioned my foot condition many times over the last year and a half but I didn’t exercise all last year hoping against hope that my feet would magically heal and that I could start running again (which I do enjoy)… so it’s swimming or biking. There are several reasons why “I don’t like bike”… some are rational and some, not so much. First and foremost is that I am an urban biker. I could take the front wheel off and chuck it in the car and drive 25 miles out of the city and get out and ride but, and here’s where I’m not sure how rational this is, driving my car so I can bike is counter to the way my mind works. The problem with urban biking is traffic… now there are some bike paths in town but they have to negotiate areas with heavy traffic to get from one segment to the next. The problem with traffic is that many people don’t acknowledge cyclists, have never learned cycling hand signals or simply are not paying attention. This is where the face of death comes in. When I was young, I always wondered what would be the last thing I saw before I died and having been filled with ridiculous iconography imagined some horrific grim reaper coming to fetch me. It always reminds me of this scene in “The Meaning Of Life”… my favorite part is where Michael Palin asks the grim reaper how they all could have died at the same time with a priceless expression on his/her face as though he/she had caught the grim reaper in a lie…

Well, I’ve updated my idea of the face of death and the last thing I might see before passing. Would that I had my camera a couple weeks ago and had the presence of mind to take a snapshot of what this image would be like (as well as avoid my death) but that’s absurd. Anyway a quick google search returned a proximate substitute of my new image of the face of death…

In my actual case the girl wasn’t putting on lipstick, her car was red, she was about 17 and while she was talking and cutting into the other lane on a left hand turn (and running me off the road), she was gazing up into the sky. She never acknowledged me or was even aware of what she had done. I was most certainly as insignificant as the trees and other plants that provide her sustenance. Next up, equipment. This is my bicycle…

You may remember a post I did last year about borrowing my friend Vern’s bike. Well when my sister came to visit with her boyfriend, Andy, and he wanted to go for a bike ride and I couldn’t explain how to get from my house through the neighborhood into the park and back, I figured the only way to allow him to ride was if he rode Vern’s mountain bike and I got my road bike out. The problem with my bike and the reason I had borrowed Vern’s in the first place is that when I extended my studio, I ended up leaning it against the wall under the overhang of the new addition and forgot that it was there for two winters (it was behind something). You can see it leaning against a wall in the last picture of this post. So I had to get the bike road ready and I did. The stunning revelation was how much smoother and easier the road bike rode than the mountain bike and I really had the impression that I was fighting the mountain bike as well as the hills. So after Andy and my sis left, I continued to ride my road bike which leads me back to equipment. Over the years I would get all ambitious each spring and buy new tires, batteries for my little speedometer, chains, brakes, etc., only to ride for a week or two and go back to running… because I don’t like bike! So now I refuse to purchase accoutrement because I don’t want to spend the money and gradually stop cycling again. The result is that I’m the old dude with the old bike with rusty parts, decrepit shoes, clay splashes on my legs laboring up the hills in the park. The bike is at least 15 years old and it has the pedals where the shoes clip in. This leads me to a subset of equipment… the shoes. The shoes are old, the insoles were eaten when a family of mice made their home in them when I moved them from my old studio to the basement while I extended my studio. Then after I brought them upstairs to ride with my sister’s boyfriend, Dingus drug them out from the shelf they were on and chewed the back of one of them off…

They also force your toes into a point. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post but in addition to my PF, both of my big toes were broken when I was younger at different times. The result is that my left one will not bend down without excruciating pain. I’ve learned to avoid this and it doesn’t happen often but every morning Sofia gets up while we’re still sleeping and runs and jumps onto out bed. About 6 months ago she ran and jumped and jammed this toe really hard. Since then it hurts in both directions and especially after being jammed into the narrow toe of these shoes while I ride. Now if you’ve never had these clip-in bike shoes, the advantage of them is that your foot is secured to the pedal and you can push the pedal down as well pull up with the opposite foot. I’ve been told that the this can increase power by 40% if you do it properly. Well yesterday I had just started out and I hit a slight incline and pulled up with my left foot for a little extra power and I actually heard my toe snap. The immediate pain almost made me fall off the bike. I was trying to decide whether what was going on inside my shoe with my toe was more like the movie where the good guy gets his shoulder or thumb dislocated and his friend comes over and snaps it back into place or the movie where the mafia guys cuts off or breaks the fingers of and underling to teach him a lesson. The pain subsided during the ride and the word’s still out on which it is. Next is the seat. Over the years the cover came off and then the cushion and finally the duct tape. So I have a steel seat with no cushioning and I’ve had certain anatomical parts go numb over the past couple weeks and I guess I will break down and fix that problem today. Here’s the seat…

Last but not least, the entire circuit around the longest perimeter of the two parks near my house and the trip to and from the park adds up to a mere 11 miles. So I guess if riding is the only way I’m going to be able to stay healthy and continue to do physical things like… throw, I’m gonna have to commit to this activity. But… I don’t like bike. In other news, I’ve been shooting photographs of the work that I got back from the Chicago show and I finally solved the color thing which I’ll post about tomorrow or the next day. Suffice to say that once I started changing out pictures on Etsy, I have decided to go ahead and re-shoot everything to provide a consistent look to the shop. I’m not done yet but here’s how it looks now. I posted this fat mug to etsy yesterday and was surprised when I went to shoot it. Since I was in such a hurry to get everything packed for the show, I never really got to examine any of the pieces before they left. Well this cup has a strange and wonderful iridescent quality in areas under the glaze. I don’t know if I can duplicate it but I sure like the looks of it…

On the 5 year old silliness front, I came downstairs yesterday and walked by the living room where Mom was working out with weights to an exercise DVD and Sofia was standing next to her with little 2 pound weights, one in each hand. I said, what are you doing and she said… “ifftin waighfs”. Her mouth was full. I said, what’s in your mouth? and she said… “ader olts”. It took me a bit but I finally got that she was lifting weights with Mom with a mouthful of tater tots. Of course this, like taking a picture of your photo tent, reminded me again of drinking a beer while you’re peeing.