It’s odd. I’m in Denver. Don’t ask. I won’t tell you why unless you already know. Dave messaged. He needed advice. He’s in Yosemite. He hiked to the top. El Capitan is in the distance. It’s the back side. My usual picture of the place is from the front. There’s a waterfall – to the right. We ended up in the Denver Art Museum. And wandering through…look! We found the same scene – and it was the reverse side. Neat! I was so struck by the coincidence I told the Chinese tourists passing by me. And they commented they were puzzled because they had visited but not the back side. And I have never visited. I guess I should. It’s on my list. But it probably won’t be too soon.
…yeah, and kids don’t try this at home.
Go small. The display of fall color eluded me this year. I saw lots of leaves and lots of color. I was just never on time or in the right location. We were passing through too early or too late or could not stop. So basically I missed the foliage display. There is still an opportunity to catch something. I resorted to single leaves. But even then the bar is high. Find a perfect leaf and isolate it. Hard to do, I did not really accomplish that either. It’s ok. There’s always next year. …I hope.
I’m not posting new from the Red Sea. But there are fish. We were buying pet food. Petco is a big box chain store. They sell fish. I was stunned to see a sad display of betas. They are solitary and will fight any other fish in its habitat. So there was a stack of bowls with single fish. The fish were lethargic. They can breathe air; there was a tiny hole in the top of the container. Stacked up row upon row the fish were waiting to be sold. It is enough to make you want to reconsider owning a pet. Who thinks this is good advertising?
Life’s short. I was not gonna return. But we were in Wilmington again. One more try and one more disappointment, don’t go back. It must be a slow day for posting. Romano’s Macaroni Grill – don’t do it. The cooks are tired. On Broadway they change the cast to refresh the show from time to time. Someone needs to do it here. I had a wonderful meal in Jeddah. But two tries in Delaware were overwhelmingly disappointing. The chicken was a bit better – flatter. But it was not good. And it was definitely not worth the try and for sure not worth another glance. Go somewhere else. I will.
It’s art. Brilliant. Back a few decades ago during the break-up of the USSR, I was friends with a Russian physicist. Bombs were going missing. I asked him if he could get me a nuclear warhead. Why? He asked. I wanted to be the first on my block to blow it up… He told me he could get me a space rocket. Great! The catch? You need an orbit (assignment). No orbit, no launch. Another of life’s disappointments. Stick with art.
Projects have a way of getting out of hand. I had a leaky faucet. Plumbing is like shunting. It’s always a problem. Leaking is what started and it is leaking that ends. One way or another the leak stops. I was afraid I would have a very nice looking still life (without running water) where my sink started. I could not get the faucet free. It was stuck. So… remove the sink. Right! And the next thing you know I am replacing the sink. No! I did not intend to make this harder. The hard part is really the cutout for the sink. The hole is precisely set for a specific size sink. This is not universal! So good damn luck finding the right sized sink. I did! We will not use Home Depot any longer. They supported Trump. I did not know. I will vote with my wallet too. But sink and faucet came together in the box and it was an overnight project. I cut the PVC pipe and it all fit! I guess a background in neurosurgery can be of some help. And then it leaked! Just a little, and after one adjustment, it was dry! Yes! Damn! That was worth a dance for joy. And I now have a brand new sink and faucet. Yay!
Another year, it’s complicated. The more family, the more places to be. You can only be in one place at a time. Tradition, it drives the day. You gotta have turkey. Then it’s complicated. There are a lot of traditional dishes. Too many to count means you need to decide and then there are new dishes. New, no, the familiar is what is demanded by one and all. This year we have a couple new worthy additions. I guess I’ve learned a new trick. It will be sour cream apple walnut pie and pumpkin mousse. Good stuff! I don’t suppose you remember my failed pumpkin soup. It spilled out all over the driveway. No five second rule there. I’ve made that soup again recently and was very pleasantly surprised how well it turned out. It’s a nice holiday. Too bad shopping has begun and the Xmas lights are already out.
I’m spinning the dial and just picking random recent images. Ice tea melted sugar – it’s just a simple macro image. Simple? Yes, call it a close up of something common. I take pictures of common things. Simple. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to go back to basics. Meditate. Serenity.
Fiber, it’s a new world for me. I’m following the process. The interim step is the spun fiber. It’s made into wondrous things – cloth. Pattern is a big part of the process. And this requires multicolored and multi-textured spun material. It’s a fascinating process. I like the graphical component. I like order. Some of the material seems ethereal. Try to focus. The woven products are myriad. Industrialization has made cloth inexpensive. We take it for granted in the everyday products we purchase for almost nothing. Synthetic and throw away it’s hard to believe that the craft is ages old. We value the handwoven and pay pennies for our everyday cloth. You shop Walmart for the price not the quality.
As the windmills capture renewable energy, it’s free right? You don’t own the wind? The old plains windmills are fading. I think they were used to pump water. You still see the quaint windmills and the farm houses one following the other. But now more and more they are dwarfed by progress. And with progress the family farm is fading into the industrial farming that requires big money and less risk. Nature prevails. And we leave behind the abandoned buildings that will gradually fall down.
Windmills of my mind
Windmill farms. It’s not traditional in the conventional sense of a farm. We are in tornado alley. How appropriate. The winds sweeping down the high plains… “Oklahoma…” (the Broadway song). There is a random planned layout I assume. It looks random to me but there is an engineer somewhere who decided on placement and spacing. The giant turbines sit in the fields of multiple use. Look closely. There is a tiny little water wheel mill dwarfed by the big ones. I assume it is worth the expense. At night the warning lights all blink simultaneously. That’s kind of spooky soothing. This is the future. Renewable energy. More?
There have been a few of late. The next will be in 2034, so they say. I keep running into one. The last was in Saudi a couple years back. It’s nice that the news keeps telling me that a supermoon is in the sky. At least the sky has not fallen given recent events. I had to make adjustments for the supermoon to expose itself on my point and shoot. It ain’t easy. But I got it. I’m not at all certain to be here when the next one comes around. In the meantime, could you dial up a blue moon soon?
The term high plains comes to mind. It is around here somewhere. Probably not here but it is a term that sounds good. It’s flat. My GPS shows the road stretching straight due west. The sun does not exactly set due west either. I guess that’s another misconception. Grain silos dot the landscape. They are tall majestic structures that interrupt the skyline like trees or mountains if there were any around here. There aren’t. As the sun sets you take what you can get. I shot from my car window on the go way over the speed limit and my spiffy point and shoot did what it was supposed to do. Am I good or am I good?
I have been seeking a peak fall foliage image this year. It’s November and there are still brilliant leaves to be seen. I’ve been around and about from Delaware to Colorado. There are still leaves of color. However, there has been no signature image. I was driving in rural Delaware. On a back road was this red maple. Brilliant. The color was deeply red. My image does not do justice to the grandeur. I chose not to manipulate in Photoshop. Of course there is no global warming. I state the obvious. It’s mid November and leaves are still on the trees, many of them green, while others are nude for winter’s coming. It seems that nature is confused too. Try and make sense of things. As the cowardly lion said, “I do believe…” And, I’m off to see the wizard.
You’d have to be on the inside to get the title of my post. Yup. St Fidelis church/cathedral. The cemetery was just a few blocks away set on the open plain. Long long ago the winds were so strong that the local blacksmiths began making iron crosses from scrap materials at hand. It’s unusual.
We met a woman who had lost her husband a year ago to the day and she was visiting the grave site. She struck up a conversation; his sudden death was from a cerebral aneurysm. My specialty. We spoke. I sympathized. The nearest hospital with a neurosurgeon was more than three hours away. Her husband of 60+ years was gone in about 10 days. Sad.
The past several days have been a time of reflection. Media, emails, conversations – direct and overheard, all of this has filled the dialog. It’s different, not the same, visceral unlike ever before. Its too late. This is not a novel or some movie. The ending is not what was expected. We are stuck with this turn of history. Civility and decency seem to have been turned on its head. The obvious is not so. What I read, saw, and heard is not what others experienced. I am bewildered. Others want to demonstrate and protest and resist. The contest is done. There is a winner. We may all be losers. Or not. It’s not over. That is the scary admission. Sometimes I think that it is good to have faith…
In the aftermath of the recent national election I found myself in the most unlikely of places – Kansas, a red state – at the Eisenhower Library. I guess there is a plan. I had expected Dorothy and the wicked witch and instead got some comfort and inspiration. All is not lost despite the news and the horror of the outcome. (I guess you how I voted.) “I’ve never voted for a winner,” I had proclaimed after I cast my vote. And as always I was completely surprised that the “left wing biased media” had failed to predict the election with failure as abysmal as a weatherman during a winter blizzard.
It was heartening to watch a dated video from my childhood ’60’s and realize that there are good people. Evil does not prevail. There is good that comes from horrific war (WW II). The bad guys (bad hombres) may have their day, but, good can win out. Patience. To all of those who agonize, patience. To the smug, your time will come.
After the recent election there has been a good deal of turmoil. I daresay it is worse than any other time. We are deeply divided and this will not change nor will it be better any time soon. There are many calls to a peaceful transition. The passions are high, the sides are opposed, and the opponents are both horrified with each other. This is not a usual time. I feel unclean.
I am in Kansas in the Cathedral of the Plains. There was no one else there, not a soul, and we meditated. I lit a candle of my brother John. A church program talked of the turmoil within the congregation. The sign said enough to make me realize that I am not alone. There are 59 million other voters who disagree with my view. Some I call friends. Others I would rather not know because I cannot understand their vote. And, they cannot understand me. I am sad. But I also know that I am not alone. At a place far from my home, I have found there are those who share the same concern. We may have lost our way but we are not lost. One man one vote, there is virtually nothing else to be done until the next opportunity comes in a couple years. Petitions, demonstrations, protests, marches, all are useless. The vote is done. No one will care about what I say or do now. Only my vote in two years may have any possibility to change things. Don’t forget. I won’t. There will be a reckoning. My vote will count then. To be sure, you will remember then that I did not forget.
On The Move
I’m on the move this week. Forgot to post in advance. There is some great and grand weather in the Midwest. It’s a few days after the election. I’m still shocked and surprised. I’ll begin to post again in the next few days as time permits. Meanwhile I’d prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. For change it might be better to follow the adage: “if you have nothing nice to say…” So, let’s just talk about the weather.
You Can’t Go Back
It’s a chain – Romano’s Macaroni Grill. It’s struggling. It opened in 1988 and was sold as recently as 2015. Its value tanked in 2008 with the economic depression. There are branches around the world including Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Full circle. I was introduced to the restaurant when it opened in Jeddah in 2016. I’ve written about it. The restaurant is run by Filipinos. They don’t own it. They run it. Waiters and cooks, the Filipinos run the economy in Saudi. I’m not a fan of their ability to cook Chinese. But in this Italian place they did a bang up job. Great! The chain is in the US and upon returning, I located the nearest restaurant. It’s about 100 miles from home. We were traveling back from Boston and there was a restaurant in Hartford. Closed! Forever. The restaurant close to home was a bit out of the way and we arrived at 10PM an hour before closing. I know the chicken parmesan in Saudi. The cutlet is pounded flat and as large as your dinner plate. It’s covered in red sauce and mozzarella and cappellini pasta is layered beneath. The pasta is hot enough to burn you. The cutlet is crisp from the grill and the cheese is bubbling when the dish arrives at the table.
All of this explanation is the prelude to disappointment. Is it the local chef? Or did the restaurant quality control sheriff not visit recently. The cutlet was thick and dry. The dish was cold. The pasta was large spaghetti and covered with watery sauce. In short, this was a meal as unmemorable as I would expect from any fast food chain. Had I tried this restaurant location first I would never return. So to the sad new owners of Romano’s, wake up and pay attention to your place. You are failing. There are too many choices. And 100 miles is hardly a reason to make the trip. And I’m not going back to Jeddah. Talk to your Filipino chef there. He’s a lot better than your guy here.
Clothes – On
It’s a crisp fall day, almost Halloween, and I’m reminded that the days are shorter. I don’t go to the beach fully dressed but the evening before had been a cold 41 degrees. Sometimes it feels a lot colder than the temperature on the thermometer. Wrong. I was too hot in my North Face ski parka. In fact, I was way overdressed. Maybe I’m old? We were on our way to the parade. And outside the toy store this guy was enticing anyone with small children to enter the store. Nope, we were on a mission to the parade.
Blow yourself up. Not literally. Recent years have had an explosion of yard balloons that inflate and decorate your lawn. Purpose? …dunno. Now you can be the first on your block to blow yourself up. Yeah!
Finally! Someone with cleverness and wit, it’s not a prerequisite of the parade. But I get it. Brilliant! Yes, there were a few Harry Potters too. But Magritte? Great!
Lame. Floats, commercials, advertisements, it ain’t a Macy’s day Thanksgiving parade. Then again there was not too much helium involved. Who thought of this? It’s funky tacky. Sorry, that’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ with it. I’ve been to too many parades and seen too much stuff. There’s not too much artistry in a store bought balloon. Boring!
Cute. I think there was a dog show later after the parade. Dogs were everywhere along the parade route and in the parade. When you see horses at the parade in NYC there are official NYC sanitation workers who walk behind to clean up. They always get a round of applause. Do people at the parade pick up? Do they pick up on the beach? Ah! See? On the King Charles spaniel, there’s a plastic holder for dog poop bags. Clever. How about horses on the beach, do they have scoopers there?
There was (ww) exactly two political statements. The first I got immediately and it was good. The kid was good. And it was clear he was making a joke out of things. The crowd is democratic. But he will survive to march another day.
The other was not so obvious. And my blood pressure spiked until I noticed Hillary was beside Donald. Not only is her ass fat but she has hairy legs. I bet you didn’t know that either. So that’s it. The best satirical opportunity and only two – count ‘em –demonstrations.
Yep, it’s a pretty tame area. Bad hombre? Try (Arnold), “I’ll be bach.”