Sunday, December 25, 2011

Robert W. Wallace

One last story because I want his name in cyber space.
   I do not understand writing people off, erasing them like a mistake on a chalkboard.  I think that I remember every single person that I have ever met.  Maybe I might forget their names but each meeting has a response and adjusts the filters through which I see.
   "Bob" Wallace was a friend of my brother's, a part of his gang that gathered around my parent's house in the early 1960's.  The Vietnam era, get out the vote era, segregation era, before "hippies" were invented, still a "beatnik" era.  For some this time was about drive ins, hamburger joints, motorcycles and girls two and a half kids, a white picket fence and "leave it to Beaver".  Ozzy and Harriot kind of life.  The draft had started and for other's life became a bit more serious.
   Bob's parents had a plan for him.  It is always interesting how we are let down by our expectation of others.  Like we couldn't quite figure it out ourselves so we expect other's to do it for us.  Live out our dreams.  They were rich by the standards of our little town.  His dad was the Superintendent of Schools, a pretty important job in those days, a job with high expectations.  Bob was supposed to go to Cal Tech and become an engineer.  He was smart enough.  Could have been like Steve Jobs although he dropped out of school too.  Bob went to Cal Tech for a term and dropped out.  That wasn't the carrot he wanted to chase.
   I knew Bob for maybe three years.  He had a huge influence on my life.  He was buried on one of the tallest hills in Corvallis and I used to ride my bicycle to his grave site to visit him.
   For the longest time it was an unmarked grave; years passed before a marker was set.  His mother didn't go to the funeral or visit him in the hospital where he was in a coma.  His father visited him once for about five minutes.  Years later when his father died there was no mention of Bob in that obituary.
   Bob died in a Vespa accident.  A simple flat tire sent him head over heals and without a helmet his head took the brunt of the fall.  The issue with his parents could have been anything.  I am not sure whether it has any importance.  Could have been the times, just failed expectations,  maybe even something I don't know about.  I know he didn't have insurance.  Maybe it was that?  His dad sent him money for insurance and he spent it on a stereo system instead.  He liked music.
   One day, maybe twenty years later, I went to visit his grave.  I did this at least once a year, sit and talk with him, tell him what was happening, what was going on.  I would always steal a flower from another grave site and place it on his.  He would have appreciated the humor to that, the absurdity of everything.  We laughed a lot.
  On this particular day he wasn't there.  I knew exactly where he was supposed to be, by the side of the little narrow lane, next to a little pine tree and close to a rose bush.  Poof! He was gone, just like that.  Like he never was.
   I found the caretaker and he told me that Bob was dug up and cremated.  His marker so much broken marble behind the crematorium.  Disappeared.  From guilt or hatred or embarrassment I don't know.
   Robert W. Wallace.  I remember you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stuck at 36

I am thinking my Blog, this Blog, "Hang Art" has come to a full conclusion.  I began it and named it such because I was frustrated by all the empty wall space in my little town and the general lack of support for artists.  We needed space to "Hang Art" and it was supposed to be a simple blog.
   Then, wouldn't you know it, I got Cancer and my life changed considerably.  I was full of ideas and emotions and stories I just had to express.  I thought to myself "what would I do if I had a year to live?"
The stories tumbled and fell and became too much for a single blog.  For awhile I had three.  This one, my Cancer Blog and the total story of the day to day battle on my ArtWanted Art site. That can be found Here.http://www.artwanted.com/slate.
   Cancer will make you serious.  It will do that to you.  If you are worth a damn it will make you reexamine your life, retrace your trails, find old acquaintances and meet new friends.  I discover painting along the way and have shared that experience with you all.  The Blogs have been helpful to me.  When I was at my sickest
when I had lost 50 pounds and could barely walk and people might ask me how am I doing, I had an answer for them.  "Doing fine, thank you," didn't seem appropriate.  It is not the right answer for one with such an ailment.  I wanted to tell people what I was really feeling, what was going on, all of me.  The Blogs allowed me to do that.
   If you have read them you have really gotten to know me.  This is how I really am, what I do and how I think and what concerns me in life, what I value.  I have met friends from all over the world on this blog, friends I will cherish.  You know about my "little island studio" in my back yard, my isolation from the world and last year my purchase of a Tom-Tom, the first time off this island in years and years!
   I have no more stories.  You pretty much know it all.
When I talk politics on this Blog I get the feeling that I am putting you to sleep.  That is a big disappointment to me.  This is not a political blog, not the right forum for that sort of thing.  There are other blogs for that.
There are also cooking blogs and I have posted recipes here.  It is my blog and I post everything here.  It is me.
   Our country is in deep trouble.  When it is difficult to find a common ground amongst the artist community,
when it is so very hard to even get a conversation going, I am discouraged.  I never even knew that artists could not be open minded.  I always thought that we were an advancing force.  Investigators and creators.
   My Blog has run full circle and it is time to end it.  A finished book.
   I like blogging and there will be another, an excuse to sit and gather my thoughts, write them down and organize, plan and plot and think out loud.  It won't be political although I am political.  I have questions and am suspicious, cautious and diligent.  I have voted Republican And I have voted Democrat.  My eyes are wide open and I listen to my heart.  I protect the Earth.
   I don't know what it will be or even when it will be.  I might just be making longer comments on your blogs and leave it at that.  Or start the computer blog for idiots.  I have the qualifications for that.
I am happy with my little warm studio and I will be doing more painting.  I can never stay away too long from steel and that shop is only a wall away.  When I make something interesting I will post it on my
ArtWanted Site.  You can always visit me there and leave comments too. It is only the art of me there.
   I have been all over the world in this blogosphere and have friends everywhere.  One day I might show up on your back porch so don't be surprised!  I have a Tom-Tom!
   2012, a New Year is close at hand.  Those who believe in doom and Armageddon and the Mayan Calendar will be happy.  Sort of a big Y to K experience, remember that one?  Are we supposed to conquer this Earth or take care of it?  Always questions!  I hope all the best for everybody, that the new year will be prosperous in Spirit, a kinder and gentler place.
   And Merry Christmas!  I hope the Season is healthy and wonderful for all. ending now, Jerry Carlin

When We Only Hear Half

There is a problem with arguing and I seldom do it.  When we are talking, especially when we raise our voices, our ability to listen is curtailed and we seldom hear what was said.  This is probably more true about politics than  domestic quarrels.  If government were turned over to private enterprise most of them would be fired.
   It sounds so reasonable when the House Speaker wants to create a budget for an entire year.  Do you want to face this financial issue every two months?  Grinding the government to a halt and preventing real discourse?  Of course we do not want a government financed two months at a time!  That is so obvious that we know it must not be the issue!  Something else is going on.  They talk one thing and do another.  Obfuscate, I think, is the word.  God, we have to deal with this shit for a year and a half!  Why can't we all just get along?
   It is probably about several things, always more than we are told, always more than we care to listen to.
Obama's strength is certainly not in bending others to his will and this close to an election the Republicans will do nothing to make him look good.
   It is the Pipeline that bothers me.  It has been tagged onto the recent budget issue by the Republicans and it is the main reason why they can't or won't reach any kind of compromise.
   One one side the Pipeline sounds good.  Twenty thousand jobs and oil to Texas.  Oil is on a World Market Price so it will not be cheaper but at least bought from friends and closer.  I might even be in favor of this but I think it is a serious issue and should deserve a separate hearing, an argument for another day, not attached to another.
   I do not know "the real price" for this pipeline.  Will it weaken our Environmental Laws and give us the pollution of Mexico?  I do not know.  Oil from the shale of Canada is about the dirtiest oil there is, difficult and expensive to process, complicated and polluting to acquire and refine.  It is necessary to "fracked the Earth" (sounds dirty, doesn't it?) to get it.  Fracking is a process of injecting chemicals deep into the Earth to release the oil.  It destroys water tables.  Pollutes wells and destroys aquifers.
   There are good things and bad things about the pipeline.  It is a very serious issue, far too serious to be tagged along side of a payroll tax bill.  There must be a reason they do not build a refinery in Canada near to where this oil is?  and then just sell us nice clean gas?  Lots of questions!
   Most arguments are never about issues anyway.  They almost always come from a loss of trust.  They are about power and control and, of course, money.  I wonder who profits?
   We should have a deep, reverent respect for this Earth.  We are all passengers and it is our only ship.

On a different note I am considering starting a computer Blog for idiots!  Would that be fun?

My website is HERE

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Downward Spiral: (In)Famous Last Words

The Downward Spiral: (In)Famous Last Words

these are pretty fun and funny quotes. Bill's blog itself is pretty bleak but these are fun to read quotes.

In Mourning

My computer is seriously ill and soon I will be pulling the cables and I wonder what will happen?  In a way
I am IN there.  The images I have caught on camera,  my paintings that only exist in the digital world, every piece of steel art photographed and documented, my personal thoughts, a hundred stories from my past, my entire battle with the demon Cancer, that train ride through hell, my very first steps into this computer world, my stumbles and falls and friends I have made along the way all reside in this computer.  It is a journal of my life, the only book I will ever write.  In so many gigabytes it knows who I am.
   Oh, I can "flash drive" her.  I know that.  Like memories of first kisses they get filed to the back into obscurity, lost and lied to and misremembered.  Something "alive" becomes a computer chip in a drawer.
 I am  IN this computer!
I am hesitant to pull the plug although my new computer is sitting right next to me, tempting, sleek, modern and fast.  Beautiful, clean and shiny and black.
   My old computer is demanding and I think there are one hundred and twelve wires connected to her.  She is fat and broad and takes up a lot of room on my desk.  She has grown slow and dull and old but she is a tough old bird.  I remember when I got her she was about five then and already middle aged for a computer.  She was a gift from my daughter and I had purchased her five years earlier when she went away to college.
She was the best available in her day, $2,500 more than I paid for my first brand new car!  After five years at school she was worn out, tired and out dated when she arrived into my messy shop.
I was always told that you had to be so very careful around a computer, always clean and spotless with no dust or dirt.  That is why I never had one in my shop.  It is pretty dirty here.  Steel dust and spilled coffee and paint everywhere.
 New Hot Lover!
   "It is worthless dad, you can't hurt it," my daughter said.  And so we began.  This computer has been a tough fine friend and has taught me "everything" I know and she knows things about me that no one else knows.
   I wonder about the Internet and Ethernet and cyber space.  I wonder whether each typed word, every image, my deepest thoughts will be retrievable.  Immortality that way, huh?  The real reason artists do what they do.
   My new computer is next to me with no wires nor cables, just mysterious rays that zap from my house to my shop, though walls and around the trees.  The neighbors might have these too.  Rays hitting rays, we are surrounded.
   She is sleek and hot and fast and I am a little afraid to touch her!
   If you want to take her for a spin, help me try her out, she has a new address.  I will at the end of this year pull the plugs from this computer and my new email will be:  slate2235@gmail.com
It is a good address now because I can't let go.  I have two computers!  Jerry

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Modern Technology!

I am almost there!  This will be a confessional of sorts but nothing really graphic or bloody.  My computer is on its death bed and has in fact been pretty sick for a long time.  It is in my shop and black from steel dust and at ten years is just plain old.  I am told the Rams are full to the top and the gigabytes have been eaten.
There is no more room, no digital expansion, no more space between the electrons, nothing.
   Slow has been okay for me.  I have learned a great deal from this speed and often it has matched my own.
I can watch utube seven seconds at a time then it reconfigures and adjusts, pausing to get direction and space.  Some of you have emailed me or attempted "live chat" while this computer was attempting something else and, good old friend that it has been, it is incapable of doing two things at the same time.  It cannot multi-task.
   I have slowly introduced myself to this modern world.  There is another computer in the house but it is clean and sleek with no scars from actual living, not even a speck of dust.  It is the "house computer", my wife's computer and I have never touched it.  However, she is sleek and modern (the house computer, not the wife) and well connected.  High speed cable with all the bells and whistles!  Can dance and sing at the same time and knows tricks this old country boy has never heard of!
   My shop computer and I are friends and it has been a wonderful and slow friendship.  "Friends first"!
She is connected to a land line and tethered like that is a bit timid and slow with the world.  As friendships sometimes go, she remains the same while I have changed.  Breaking up has not been easy.  I am confronted with decisions that I have never faced.  I am so used to her pauses and hesitation.  I know when she is just plain not thinking!  I confess that when she was at her worst, when she was just so very slow, I was thinking about another!  Yes I was.
   There is nothing ever that will replace a first love.  You can never regain that singular experience that always comes with fantasy and unrealistic ambitions.  In a way this first computer and I grew up together.
I think she taught me everything she knew and she was patient, I'll give her that.  With a new computer I wanted an entirely different experience.  Not repeating the same kinds of things.  I want to go FAST!
   I did justify this divorce.  The old computer and its provider service have been expensive mistresses, forcing me to keep a land line and tying me to two providers, the cable for the house and connected to the telephone in my shop.  I have no cable connected to the shop and always thought that these relationships just had to be the way they were.
   Then I discovered, several years later because I am pretty slow too, Wi-fi!  With a router gadget I could free myself from the world of wires and cables!  Unbound!  Untethered!
   So for the rest of December I have 2 computers!  Then there will be changes!  I am at the first kiss stage
now and find it difficult to let go.  I'll keep you posted on what happens.  I think I will be losing my email address and have to find another.  As a part of this freedom experience I will be abandoning my land line telephone number that I have had for over 40 years!  I don't know what to do about that yet.  I am not yet comfortable with my new found freedom!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

No Ticker Tape Parade

No giant parties to welcome home the troops, so sense of accomplishment, not even much of a sense of relief, not even a sigh.  The war in Iraq is officially over!  Nine years, our longest war ever and it may go down in history as the war that never was.
   Officially it was Bush's War, a misguided response to 9-11, costing over $800 Billion and counting.  More than 4,500 dead American youngsters, our very best and strongest, over 32,000 seriously wounded.  Obama ran on the promise to end this tragedy and he did.   There should be celebrating, dancing in the streets and parties into the night, but there won't be.
   This was a war that we never felt.  It was not on television every night like the Vietnam war.  On a daily basis most of us never knew what was happening and probably couldn't even find Iraq on a map.  Shiites or Sunnis, we wouldn't know which was what.
   There was no rationing for this war, no scrounging for metal bits for the war effort, not even a tax to support the war effort.  All of it, the entire nine years has been put on our credit cards.  We had no idea what we were buying, how much it was going to cost.  It was a war without education and the National News should feel ashamed.  That "fifth element" of government did nothing.
   Thank you, President Obama for doing what you said you would do.  Maybe now we can concentrate on the Home Front, jobs here at home, what we need so badly.  So sad there is no jubilation, no pride in a job well done and over with.  We know the bill will be in the mail.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Proof is in the Pudding!

I think the most precise art, the most exacting and finely crafted masterpieces are edible.
   The microwave oven has been the most destructive invention ever to the culinary experience.  If we are what we eat it is no wonder we have lost a sense of purpose and have an empty unfulfilled sensation.  No sense of accomplishment other than to say, "yeah, I did that", heated up the instant dinner in the microwave!
   I think modern people know so much less than generations before us.  We no longer darn socks and most of us wouldn't even know how to do this.  Bread is something that comes from the store and is wrapped in cellophane, a nice meal is purchased from the deli in styrofoam containers.
   I like the Christmas Season because for two weeks in the year all of this changes.  Pots and pans almost never used are dug out from the back of the cupboard, grandma's old recipes are carefully read over and the smells of good food permiate the entire house.  People are cooking!
   There is a satisfaction in making something and sharing it with others that we are rapidly losing.  In our modern technological world we are becoming all the more capable of making nothing!  That is the sense we get.  Today I made nothing.  I am a maker of nothing.  That is who I am.  Nothing.
   So in this Season, for two weeks we can become something, a candy maker, a candle maker, cookie, bread maker.  Maker of gifts.  Joy maker.  Creator.
   I think artists are aware of this desire, this necessity to make things, to create and share.  And I think a good cook, a well prepared meal, a nice loaf of bread, a plate of home made cookies is art in itself.  All of the senses are captured, sight, smell, and I can eat it.  It is the best art, produced from the soul and appreciated by all.

 My Daughters, cooking!
I can be found HERE

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Job Completed!

If "feeling the burn" is a good part of exercise then I did pretty good yesterday.  I feel it everywhere.  My effort to save the deer is finished, now they should just be embarrassed when they fail to jump the fence.
   I was reminded while working there that it was these same clients who just last year wanted me to make an iron base for a 20 pound piece of marble.  A piece of marble I could not lift out of their car!  That cancer stuff and chemo cure seem like a lifetime ago, a different me entirely.  I remember not being able to turn the key with one hand in the ignition of my little truck.  Two hands to start the car and I could barely walk a block.  What a difference a year makes.  I am so lucky!
   I have done most of my Christmas shopping too and the challenge I gave myself was pretty easy.  Buy only
stuff Made in U.S.A.  You can "Google" that and get pages and pages of content, tons of ideas, lots of holiday discounts and often free shipping.  I bought a lot of clothes this year mostly because I came up with the idea for this Christmas, "wear American or go naked"!  It is not going to be as exciting as I thought.  We make a lot of clothes!  We even make socks!
   I think we must be poor marketers because we do make a lot of stuff and no one is aware of this.  We need a naked Paris Hilton to push our wares.  Maybe naked but dressed in American clothes?  We have no spokesperson, no one telling us what is available or where to get it.  Don't get me wrong.  I like foreign things, exotic things.  I just prefer the days when French Perfume was made in France and not in a vat in a Chinese prison camp.  My Mexican friend, Oscar, tells me that all Mexican souvenirs are now made in China as are most American Flags!
 Stone Post with Light Fixture
   I liked shopping "on line".  There were no crowds, no tattered and littered piles of gone over stuff.  I didn't feel pushed or rushed and in a hurry.  I could leisurely read about the product and in most cases I was prompted.  If you liked that then you might also like this!  Clever, someone was paying attention to me!
   I think I enjoyed my Christmas shopping experience this year more than ever.  I spent no money on gas whatsoever and in fact did most of my shopping while in my bathrobe!  Now if we could only get Paris to do that!

I make Big Art, you can see it HERE

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Job Half Done

In the front of this property the deer are safer.  I would imagine that it is not all ideal being a deer.  There are coyotes and cougars around here and probably hunters too but at least this fence will no longer harm them.  I built this fence P.C. (pre cancer) years ago and it really amazes me when I see it now.  A Grand Entry and over 300' of ornamental iron fence.  I had discovered steel finials by then and unlike cast iron finials these will not break off.  The fence was designed to keep a couple Scotty Dogs in the property not to make it deer proof.  Sometimes a lazy deer would not jump hard nor high enough and would become impaled on the fence.
 One of my "Stone Posts"
   So I have added a "trip bar" over the finials and now a failed attempt will not become fatal.  The front of the property is completed and today I will complete the back section.
 Picture to prove it.
   For the record I wore boots!  It was cold, freezing and damp when we began and you could see the frozen spider webs along the fence line.
   I am so sore and so tired!  I won't even tell you about my hands; I don't want to hear it.  Today it will be done.

More of what I do is HERE

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sometimes Nothing Happens

Oh Dear, I am getting e-mails, "are you alright? you are not blogging!"  No, I am not laying on the beach in some tropical Paradise and I am not so engulfed in my painting that I am left unaware of the world around me.
I think I am in a "Winter Mode".  My little gallery is finished, warm and pristine in it's cleanliness. Everything is organized, three easels set up, brushes out and tubes of paint all in categories of color. I am ready but nothing is happening!
   I welded and cut steel and fabricated for three days, working on my "deer fence trip bar" and all of the pieces are at the powder coated being painted.  I like this time in a job.  What I can do has been done and I am waiting on other's.  My excuse.  I am waiting.
   Truthfully the thought of this fence makes me tired.  Over 300 feet, 37 pieces with different measurements
by maybe an eight of an inch for a precise fit.  Numbered and marked in a secret code I hope that I remember.  I will need to take ladders with me for the installation.  I am mentally making a list.  All of my battery tools and extra batteries, the concrete drill  for just the one single fastener that will be in brick, drill bits, tech screws and the level, of course.  What if I mismeasured?  I need a way to fix any error on the job.
Anticipations for when things could go wrong!
   It is going to be cold and I do not look forward to that.  I will dig my boots out from the back of the closet and curse because I know the laces are broken.  Always, next time, I tell myself I will replace them!
My hands hurt and the cold weather just makes them worse.  If I wear gloves I can't pick anything up.  I have always hated gloves.  It will be a three vicodine day, I am sure of that!
   At the moment nothing special is happening.  That is mostly the case while you are waiting.
   I am reading though.  I found a great book and will tell you about it when it is finished.  It is about America, a very great recession, about Cancer, about Grover Cleveland, the death of American Industry and bankruptcy.  Just like now in a way but 1895.  We have been here before!
   So I am hibernating, put away for winter like my garden, curled up in front of the fire with a good book.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Room With a View

My  little gallery/studio room is finished, at least as much as anything is ever finished in my life.  Life is all about change, additions and subtractions, making things do and making them comfortable.  Sometime this Spring I will add a window or at least replace the door to the back with one that has a openable window.
 Three big blueberry plants outside the front entry.
The ventilation would be nice and I would have more natural lighting.  The main door has a window in it that looks towards the garden and my little plunge pool so I do have a view.

   I like my new room.  The floor (thank you SoozeeQ!) came out great, colorful, hodgepodge, historical and very much "me".  Two coats of "wet-look lacquer" will keep it nice and easy to clean.  More spilled paint will just make it even better.
 The room is waiting for me.
   Mostly it is warm and I love that!  Oregon has cold, rainy winters and it is freezing now.  I have begun the process of moving in, sorting this and that, finding places for things.

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 Soozee's Floor!
 It is my "shop side", the other side of this wall where I can make money and do the metal art I know how to do.  I have no fantacies about creating an income from this gallery side but it will be warm and inviting and offer me another opportunity to try something different.  It will also offer an enticing place to seduce customers!  I will find some metal art to put in this room.
I think my photos are getting screwed up so I will stop for today!  The last one which will probably appear HUGE here but I have lost it is one of my office door, the back door and the door to my "junk room" that I haven't entered yet! yipes!

You can always find me HERE

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty

That is my generation, who said that?  I am officially a "part of the problem" today.  It is my birthday and,
man o man, it creeps up on you!  I am 65 today!  and on... Medicare!  That is like saying I am a patient when I am not even sick!  I can get Senior Citizen's Discounts! and I think, a free fishing license!
   I remember my daughter once had a sign posted on her door that said, "Old enough to know better, too young to care!" and I want that sign now, it fits me to a "T".  I am liking this age and pretty much do what I want.  Some days I do a lot and other days I don't accomplish a damned thing and I don't criticize me for it.
I am lucky to even be here.  My year 63 was the battle of my life with Cancer and I won that fight and the year 64 was pretty much spent getting my strength back.  There were many days, months, where I couldn't lift 20 pounds!
   I am younger now for sure.  It is as if I discovered some secret of youth, each day getting a little younger instead of older!  That is pretty cool and I am thankful for that!  Today is my birthday and I am welding up a storm!  Working! and I love it so much, banging and welding and grinding and cutting steel and making noise.
I am Alive!
   If 63 was Cancer and 64 getting stronger 65 will be different again.  I have my Tom-Tom now, I told you about that.  I might just go someplace, hit the road this Spring and do some travelling.  I am thinking about that.  and my Gallery is done!  My easels set up and blank canvasses on the wall, calling me, teasing me.
We will see what happens there.
   I am still after "the perfect tomato", so I will be doing that again this year.  I always save the seeds from the very best of the previous season.  That is the secret to getting older I think.  Saving the seeds and knowing which to throw away.  So much to do.  This will be a great day and just the very beginning into this 65th year.
What I do is HERE

Friday, December 2, 2011

Walls Tell No Tales

 Two coats, "Wet-Look Lacquer
...and Floors Leave Every Single Step.  The walls in a gallery studio need to be plain and simple, a soft white that offers no competition.  I have worked in a lot of bars and fancy night club restaurants and those ceilings are almost always a flat black, blending a mechanical background into nothingness.
We watch where we step giving floors a significant meaning to a room, like a foundation on which everything is built.
   I left the scars, the old paint, the spilled grout, its colorful history and after a proper cleaning applied the two coats of lacquer finish.  I like it.  It will be easy to clean, has a lot of memory and a feel of "do what you want", you can't hurt me!
 View from my office door
This is my clean room compared to the shop half on the other side of this wall but it is still a space for an artist.  It will get dirty.

   I have begun to hang things on the walls, mostly blank steel-framed canvasses as an encouragement for me to do something.  I want a lot of open room on the floor so there will not be much permanent furniture there, mostly stuff displayed, benches and tables that are for sale.
 Sink Counter top
   My easels and painting stations are still stuffed into my office and are eager to get out, wanting to call this room home.  Soon enough the floor will be really dry and there will be a lot of organizing to do, places to put paints and the over 200 brushes that I found at a garage sale.  I still haven't plumbed the sink.  Much to do!

    The sink counter top is brand new concrete and has no history. no browns, no rust, no scars of past abuse and this is a photo of what the green stain looks like on such a virgin area.
I like it but it is missing the character found in the floor.

I get to work for a few days on my "trip bar" for the deer fence but soon I will post the completed gallery photos.

You can always find me HERE

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Deer Killer and updates...

The nicest fence and gated entry system that I have ever built has killed at least three deer.  It is in the country and over 200 feet of very ornamental iron with old Victorian Spear Points as finials, lots of little scrolls to make it even stronger and one of my original Stone Posts every 24 feet.
 Trip Bar added to center section
   It is not a tall fence, about six foot high, a lazy jump for any deer.  It was designed to be beautiful, keep some dogs in and people out.  Every season about 20 Elk practically just step over it to graze on the lush vegetation, always greener on the other side.  Deer attempt this too, a lazy high jump and a quick bounding leap and sometimes they fail misjudging the height.  Failure is permanent in the animal kingdom and the fence is unforgiving.  Three times the farmer has had to get his tractor out and lift off a dead, impaled deer from the fence.
   Deer have a path and pretty much stick to it.  A couple of years ago I added a "Trip Bar" to the central section of this fence, the area of the path and the place where the deer began to impale themselves.  It works great and actually doesn't look too bad, framing the fence and offering the deer an embarrassing moment of misjudgement when they trip over it rather than the final jump of a misstep.
   I think they are hunting for a new path now or maybe they are leaderless because they are attempting to jump the fence just about everywhere.  Mostly they succeed but failure is permanent and messy, painful and slow.  They just sort of hang there as if from a meat hook and bleed to death.
   So, I am out to save the deer and I got a job!  Not often one can be virtuous, do the right thing and get paid for it.  Nice farmer, huh?  and just before Christmas I've got work to do!  about 240 feet of "Trip Bar" to be added to the entire fence line.
   Okay, on a different note!  I solved the paint in my hair problem.  It is amazing to me how many people couldn't resist pointing it out to me.  I must have heard "you've got paint in your hair" about a hundred times!
 One little spot left.
Three days of this and lots of shampoo was enough.  It must be good paint because it wouldn't come out.

More fencing and Entry Gates can be found HERE

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gallery Floor

   I have agonized over the gallery floor since I first thought of this project.  Well, I don't actually agonize over much but I have been thinking about it.  My shop on the other side of the gallery wall is a shop and looks like a shop and I am okay with that.  I want the gallery to be nice, clean, clear, warm, inviting, interesting.
For the longest time I was wanting a wooden floor.  My house has all wooden floors, no carpets anywhere except for the occasional throw rug.  They are really Persian Carpets made by the little hands of child labor but I didn't buy them.  They belonged to my mother.  Wooden floors are warm, easy to clean and I like the sound as feet walk on them.
 20 years of History on the floor
   Three things held me back.  1st, wooden floors would have cost me about $600 and I am pretty cheap, I admit that.  The second obstacle is me.  I am just dirty and I admit that too.  I can't imagine me in a clean white smock doing anything.  Paint will happen and I will drop it, I know.  The third is Soozee who suggested concrete stain and a lacquer finish.  So I got to thinking about that.

   I originally built this shop in 1991 as a wood shop.  It was full of planers and sanders and I was making cabinets and furniture and playing with wood stains.
 floor sections for sale, plus
shipping and handling fees.
About 1995 I invented "Stone Posts" and made them in the shop when the weather was cold and rainy. This was the introduction of cements and colored grouting to my concrete floor.  I had a big floor scraper I used to get the big chunks off but the evidence is there, a little always remains.  Then I discovered welding and filled my shop with grinders and cutters and the welder.  This puts a rust patina of fine steel particles deep into the pours of the concrete slab.

I could have scrapped and grounded and sanded this history off and begun this project with a clean slate, sort of speak.  But I didn't.  I bought some greenish acid etching stuff and mopped the floor with it, spilling it a little heavier here and there and adding the necessary drops to make me feel like Jason Pollack reincarnate.
He might have been crazy but he sure had fun!  The real colors won't appear until the floor is lacquered.
That will take some time.  I have to mop the floor about seven times and a couple times with amonia in order to neutralize the acid in the etching process.  The floor needs to be Ph neutral before you can apply the lacquer finish and this will take a couple days and then it has to dry, of course.  Maybe this weekend I can get the finish coat on it.
   It will be "Art History" for sure.  I will remember every stain, each blemish and every drop of blood.  I am sure my DNA is inextricably mixed into this new floor.  Maybe by Christmas I will be painting and add more history to this floor I walk on.

My  Official website is HERE

Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Photos

The Painting is Done! The lights are up and all of the doors are trimmed out.  The paper protecting the concrete floor is gone and most of the mess is cleaned up.  Next job is to empty the room of anything on the floor, put the ladders back, more clean up stuff.  I am going shopping today!  No, not cyber Monday, I am after concrete stain and some floor sealer.
   This is a table top I made 20 years ago when my metal shop was a wood shop. I want as much floor space as possible but can imagine working on a table. This is designed like an ironing board and folds up against the wall when not wanted.

The butterfly leg folds up tight against the table when against the wall.  Not wanting to wast space I might add some more metal art on the underside of this table to be seen only while it is against the wall.




The door is Blue because I had that paint.  The sink counter to the left is steel framed concrete with an old lamp column as a leg and one of my steel flower pots that used to be a light fixture but is now a sink.  It is a crazy life around my place, anything can be anything.

I am thinking of adding a shelf above this counter but that will be the only permanent type of fixtures in this little gallery space.  The rest is like a whore house, everything is for sale!

It won't be long now, I see the end in sight...for this room anyway!  Next I have to empty the "junk room" adjoining this little gallery space and then, god forbid, my office!

Soon though I will hang a sign:

"Customers Wanted...No Experience Necessary!"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dirty Pictures

 It is latex paint.  I thik it will come off!
I have a couple artist friends and they won't send me dirty pictures of themselves.  It is interesting going to a gallery on opening night and seeing everyone decked out in their finest garb.  I know they didn't look like that when they were working.  My favorite pictures are faces and hands.  I guess you could call me a face kind of guy!  I love seeing artists work.  I like the concentration, the intensity and the emotions of it all.  The isolation where the entire world is forgotten to the task at hand.
   My little gallery is painted!  But there is still a lot to do.  Today is clean up day, pull the paper off the floor, sweep and vacumn.  Then I will do the finish electrical, switch covers and lighting.  I still have to trim out the doors and some baseboard molding and that will require even more painting.  The room itself is all white, very white at that as you can see.  The base molding will probably be white too but I will probably trim out the doors in different colors or maybe even slate.  I am still thinkig about that.
 I did get some on the walls, honest!
   Then I can do the floor and Soozee's suggestion wins out!  1st because she is cool and second because I am on a limitted budget.  I will stain the concrete floors and seal them with a masonry lacquer.  There will be tons of browns and rusty reds in the floor from years of steel work so I will use a greenish based stain and this will give it a mottled marble look.
   My shop is workable, my welding table clear and waiting for a job.  Now I have a beast to feed, all of this remodeling costs money everywhere I turn.  More paint, more this, more that.
But it is inspiring too.  It has never been so clean since the day I built it over 20 years ago.  Next I will attack my office and the adjoining junk room.  So much to do.  It might be Spring before this project is really over.

You can always visit me HERE

Friday, November 25, 2011

India, hold on to your hat...

   Here comes Walmart!  I couldn' believe what I read in the news today.  There is no Walmart in India!
How in the heck did this slip by?  Over a Billion people and no Walmart?  No "Black Friday" shopping?
Walmart is the world's biggest employer and it is everywhere, every little American town, all over Russia and, of course, all over China the biggest producer of the Walmart Brand, the stuff the store is full of.
India for Walmart is like the back deepest jungles of Burma.  Watch out India, you are about to be clear cut!
   This will be an interesting historical study.  It will change everything.  B.W.  Before Walmart. and A.W. After Walmart.  That is how time will be recorded when all will be altered forever.
   Not to say this is all bad because it isn't.  The Indian Government is hoping that Walmart can do what it has failed to do.  India produces plenty of food for its people, enough to export even but because of poor roads,
underdeveloped infrastructure and lack of refrigeration a lot of food rots on the way to market leaving millions hungry and malnourished.  For the lack of a refrigerated truck people are starving.
   All roads lead to Walmart.  That is right.  You get so much more than a store, thousands and thousands of square feet under one roof!  You get acres and acres of parking!  and roads developed to get the customers to the store and the produce and products to the customers.  Wait and see, you will get new harbors for the shipping lines and the roads will become bigger to support the trucking necessary.  It will be a hustle and bustle of activity and it will change everything.
   The time is now to get your cameras out, to record India as you remember it, the small shops, the local artists, the craftsmen, the locality.  And welcome to "China, Incorporated" because Walmart can't survive by selling food alone.  Oh, no, you will have "Super Centers" and 24 hours a day huge truck and trailer loads will unload stuff imported from China for your pleasure.
   It will help your economy, it has a proven track record of success.  It creates a mind set of "More" and a need for bigger houses, bigger cars.  Just think, maybe next year you too can get up in the middle of the night on Black Friday and "go shopping" at five o'clock in the morning!  Welcome to the modern world, and
good luck!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Two America's

John Edwards couldn't keep his pecker in his pants and that, plus he was an idiot, led to his demise, but I agree with him on one point.  There are two America's.  It was interesting watching the Republican Debates last night.  Both the Republican contenders and their Democratic rivals are extremely wealthy Americans. There is really no body representing me in our government.
   I wonder when was the last time any of these people went to the grocery store?  or actually wrote a check to pay for their utility bill?  I don't think they realize what is going on here at home, let alone the rest of the world and international affairs.
   About all that was accomplished, from my perspective, was the installation of a great deal of fear.  It seems that everyone is out to get us and someone will get a nuke into a suitcase and visit one of our major cities?
This modern day in Eden is a very dangerous place!  I wonder how much of this is really true?
   The problem with "truth" is that everyone owns a little snippet of it and no one tells the whole story.  Truth is told from a perspective to substantiate a lie.  Our aid to Africa (a whole continent, fellas, not one country!) does make very bad people very rich.  That is true.  It also helps saves millions of lives and makes us look good, and that is true too.  We have run out of money and that is true too.
   It is a dilemma.  What to do?  Where to go from here?
   There was a lot of talk about "The Patriot Act".  What a bullshit title that is!!!  I mean, really!  Who could be against that?  It sounds unpatriotic to be against it.  What a clever name!  We could call Guantanamo a
"reeducation center" like the Chinese might or a lover's convention and maybe get more support for it?
   For over 300 years we have led by example.  We were the envy, the hope and inspiration for others.
Our shinning example is becoming tarnished.
   We know "things are not right".  We just do not know exactly what the problem is and it makes it all the more difficult when politicians lie and distort the truth.  What is a person supposed to believe?
   I think maybe getting our own house in order might be a good beginning.  We have plenty of mess and things to do right here at home.  We have a long way to go to become that shining example again.
   Two America's?  I just read that our football coach (go Ducks!), now retired on State supported, tax payers funded PERS account receives 42,000 Dollars a MONTH in retirement!!!  That is a cool Half Million a year in Tax payer's money!  Under the Democratic Proposal to raise taxes 3% on money after the 1st million dollars, he would still be safe!
   And what happens if we do nothing?  Choose to not become involved?  There are laws in place for that too.  The "Bush Tax Cuts" are set to expire next year.  That means that the "wealthy" will pay more anyway and so will we.  In order to pass these cuts in the first place we were bribed with about $300 in tax cuts for the average American family.  $300 in savings for us and over a Trillion for the rich guys.  Such a deal!
The Super Committee failure will automatically kick in a law to reduce the budget on the backs of the middle class, from Social Security and Medicare and take a half Trillion dollars from the military.
   If we can't govern ourselves how can we be expected to contribute to the World?  We are not a shining example even to ourselves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Take a Bath and Get a Job"

That is Newt's take on the Occupy Wall Street Protesters and it brings back so many memories.  Our wars now that we have grown to hate and realize that we can no longer afford have cost the lives of over 4,000 Americans, our youth at that.  Our strongest and best.  Imagine Vietnam where we lost over 50,000, sometimes 500 every single week and always on the Nightly News where we could see the battles while eating dinner.  We were tricked then too, told of the "domino theory" and commies taking over the world.
Real History was avoided.  We were seldom told of Vietnam's struggle for National Independence, their 100 year battle with the French nor the hundreds of years of warfare to become independent of the Chinese.
Communist smomunists, they just wanted us out.
   Now they are a major manufacturer of computer parts and Air Jorden Tennis Shoes.  They are a rice exporting nation and our friends.  Funny how when you quit fighting that can happen.
   We had huge protests in those days.  President Nixon called the college kids "bums" and riot squads were called out all accross the country.  Protesters died.  Universities were shut down.  These were serious protests ot the kindly organized and pretty polite ones that we are having today.
   We got out of that war by voting our way out.  We realized we were being lied to and switched to more peaceful political candidates, but it was the protesters that made us think.  They started the ball rolling.
   It is so easy to say "take a bath and get a job,"  especially if you make a couple million a year, but I am not sure they can be dismissed so easily.  Most have grown up in a system that has failed them.  There are no jobs.  They feel as though they have been lied to.
   The 1% will lose.  They will lose their money, their power and their position.  Aristocracies fall and history has proved that time and time again.  It is not necessary but it will happen.  It always does.
The funny thing is that in our democracy we must like them.  In some perverse way we honor them.  The "Super Committee" couldn't reduce our budget 10%.  The Bush Tax Cuts for the Super Wealthy are firmly entrenched.  The committee had a lot of incentive to get this done, now a law will go into effect which will get this money out of Social Security, Medicare and the Military.  You have to get the money somewhere and that is the law!  I could have done a better job on a bad day before breakfast!
   Yes, get a job and take a bath but please don't quit protesting.  Eventually we will learn, maybe read a little more on the issues and finally we will vote.  We will get the government we vote for and finally accept some responsibility and admit we did this to ourslves.  Maybe Nixon got it right after all.  "Throw the bums out!"
But it is still our job to discover who the bums are!

My gallery is coming along but it is like watching paint dry!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Visible Saints

Do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to get money from the Super Rich?  Why can General Electric make over 14 Billion Dollars AND be subsidized to the tune of 3 Billion Dollars (tax payer's money) and still pay No Taxes?  The Top Ten Executives of "Freddie Mae" and "Freddie Mac" split a cool 100,000,000
Dollars in salaries and bonuses!  This is not "earned income", it is tax dollars.
   On a local level, in my little town, the top 1% make as much money as the bottom 87 Thousand People!
Most of us can't count that high and couldn't dream of that kind of money.  There has to be a reason that it is difficult to "tax the rich".  They do not pay into Social Security nor Medicare nor support the local transit system.  The average person might be taxes at close to 30% and their money is stuck at a 15% tax bracket.
This might even work if it weren't for the loopholes and obscure deductions we don't even know about.  Enough deductions that many of them pay nothing.
   The "Super Committee" in Congress made up of Republicans and Democrats couldn't agree on a solution to reducing our National Debt.  They didn't do anything so I think they should probably all be fired.  The Republicans are happy to take an axe to the budget and attempt to balance it on the backs of the Middle Class, even thinking to raise the age for Social Security and Medicare to 75! Cuts to the local levels would be massive with no aid to the local police or firefighters.  Libraries, of course would be closed.  This is austerity gone amok, clearly it wouldn't create a single job.  Quite the contrary, with the Republican proposals, hundreds of thousands more would be laid off.
   Democrats might compromise on some of these issues but the "line in the sand" for both parties is the issue of increased revenue.  No one is talking about an equal playing field, nothing that drastic.  The issue is a mere 3% on money after the first million dollars a year!  I would happily pay it.  Heck, I have never seen that kind of money, I would pay 10%!!!  If you win a million dollars on the lottery you pay a lot more!  After taxes that Million becomes $5,00,000 and then if you want cash that is cut in half to $250,000.  Why don't we complain about that?
   I know the answer and will attempt to explain it to you.  The answer lies in our first 100 years of our own History.  We are a country founded by the Puritans and their influence is all around us today.  It is how we got the idea that land can be conquered and resources exploited, used and used up. It is the reason that we attach reverence to wealth.  It is where we get the idea that "blessings from God" can come in the form of material possessions.
   Let me try to explain this a bit more.  Our Puritan Founders and virtually every single person on the street in those days, seriously believed in Predestination over free will.  It is pretty easy to understand the basis of this belief.  If God knows all, the past, present and the future, then He already knows whether you will be going to Heaven or Hell.  He knows this before you are born.  If you believe this, and for a long time in our history most Americans did, then what is the point to anything?  How do you get out of that predicament?
   So, here is the "catch" and the reason that we work so hard.  He Knows!  But we don't!  But we think that there might be an indication?  If some were blessed, some predestined to Heaven, there might be a sign?  Some visible way to determine who might be in His good graces?  Maybe even He would bestow wealth upon them?  "Blessed" we still think of it like that.  "Lucky" now, we are not so religious but we still value wealth and always equate it with success.  It is how we measure things.  Higher up the ladder is closer to God.  This is the single most important reason that nicer houses are always built high up in the hills and Churches have tall steeples.
   Somehow taxing the rich, deep in our subconscious is an affront to the way we think things should be.
It is ingrained.  How quick are we to say "yes sir" and be a bit subservient to the well dressed person in the very nice car?  The guy could be a bank robber for all we know, or steal from the government or one of those people who pay no taxes and our natural predisposition is to say, "yes, Sir" and clear the path for him to step to the front of the line.
   There are books on this idea but now you do not have to read them.  You know.  Think about it.

My "gallery" is coming along.  My shop and garden are HERE

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Scrambled Eggs

I have no idea how I got so much stuff.  We have a tendency to fill the space we occupy and I am certainly no different.  I have saved every tool I have ever owned, even the broken ones, thinking I might fix them some day.  I have a junk room in my shop, a little room about 6' x 10' and it is full to overflowing.  I no longer even know what is in there.  Now it is on my list of "things to do"!
   I had to move a lot of stuff around in order to create my little "gallery room" in my shop, a little 10' x 20' clean showroom where I can display my art and paint in the warmth.  My shop is now 10' smaller, leaving it about 18' x 20' and needing much organization.  I keep thinking that it will be nice when it is finished but the process is really interesting.  It is an accumulation of a lifetime.
 Junkyard Office
   This is probably one of the reasons that I have never moved.  I have lived here almost 40 years!  God, I would hate to do this to the house!  It was a simple fixer upper house with about 900 square feet when I bought it in 1972 and over the years I made additions, to the 2,200 square feet it is today.  There are rooms in my house that I have not been in for years!
   My Office is now a junk room, some stuff that might eventually find its way into my new gallery and just stuff to be sorted.  So much stuff.  I think I should become a "minimalist", put it all on "Craigslist" and narrow it down to the bare essentials.  I am seriously thinking about that.
   It is funny, I have made my living making additions for other people, bigger houses, more rooms for more stuff.  It is a trap that I am finding myself in!
I can understand, in concept at least, the idea of just chucking it all, getting a small RV and hitting the road!
 It has an echo to it.
Tempting sometimes!

Maybe if they had an RV with a shop in it? and a little Studio with its own Gallery? and a roof top organic garden?  There would be so much that I would miss.  So I improve the space I have and it changes as I change.
   When I was younger I wanted the bigger shop.  I needed the space to make lots of stuff, hundreds of feet of fencing, huge gates and large arbors.  Now I am thinking smaller is a good thing and have developed an interest in painting and a nice warm room is appealing to me.
 1st coat of tape on new wall
   Life is funny though and I suspect this new organization and nice display area will probably increase my business!  I can always add on to my shop...later!  It is convenient having these skills.  I just woke up one morning and decided to do this and now I am doing it.  It is really pretty easy, the directions are on the box.  You just have to deal with the mess of it all.

My Shop and Garden and "soon" my gallery will be HERE

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I Taught Success

   Failure is easy to teach.  Years ago I taught at a Junior High School, history classes mostly, "World History" and specifically History of Russia, India, Africa and Western European History.  These were each eleven week classes and there was a lot of ground to cover, a lot of information for the exploding minds of fourteen year old school children.  I was often asked what I taught?  The answer was always students.
   I never felt as though I had to teach them everything, get to the end of the book nor rush to complete every assignment.  I never packed them full of data and dates, times and places nor tricky things that I might test them on later.  In fact, the final exam I passed out to them on the first day of school.  They knew what was expected of them.
   Most had never had a teacher like me.  All of my tests were "open book" and they could bring all of the notes they wanted to class.  They could even talk to each other and pass notes during the exams.  I solved the "cheating problem" by making it impossible to cheat.  I also never asked those kinds of questions, tick the right answer or fill in the blank.  I wanted explanations, a defense of their positions.  I wanted to know the why of history.
   In an eleven week course I spent the first three weeks on how to write essays.  How to outline an idea and break it down into smaller segments which could be discussed and how to discover information to support an idea.  How to look at an argument from both sides.  How there are views of History and differing approaches to understanding it.  How to write three sentences in a row and finally whole paragraphs.
   It is no different than cooking or any other activity where we might find success.  We feel powerless and in despair when every attempt seems to end in failure.  I think success breeds success and confidence creates confidence and self esteem can be bolstered in small achievements.

You can always find me  HERE

Friday, November 18, 2011

Keep the One Percent!

I watch these protesters from the comfort of my easy chair.  I certainly don't venture forth into the cold to join them and it has been over 20 years since I have slept in a tent.  I don't disagree with all they say but I wish they could find leaders, someone to vocalize their anger, refocus their efforts and be a little more rational in what they want.  I see so much anger there when in most cases they are the cause of their own problems.
It is really easy to get back at the 1% if that is what you want to do.  Quit supporting them.  Don't go to Sam Walton's stores.  Throw away your Ipod! and, only if you are pretty enough, take off your foreign clothes!
   I like the 1%.  Walmart has done some good things and I am sure they are listening now.  That is how they got to be the 1%, by listening and filling a need.  Walmart offered us the $4 dollar prescriptions, cheap eye glasses, and they are beginning to provide local produce and an organic section to their food departments!
Steve Jobs was a multi gazillionaire, selling telephones basically!  How cool is that?  I like Bill Gates and the whole group that make up this 1%
   I don't even want their money, not much of it anyway, not enough that they would notice much.  I think the Democrats are after just 3% on money made after the first million dollars!  Do you really think this would cripple Microsoft?  I doubt it.  It certainly won't equal the playing field and that is probably a good idea.
   I wish Politicians were forced to study Economics.  I wish they knew our own History and I wish they could find countries on a map, at least, say ten of them.  It would be nice if they knew that Africa was not a country.  There are "laws of economics" and I wish they understood these.  Sometimes opinions and emotions can be destructive of what we are after.
   There is a food chain and as killing the sharks disturbs the ecosystem in the oceans, destroying the 1% would probably have disastrous effects all down the line.  Someone else would just replace them.  There will always be 1%.
   Our Congress can't even agree on vegetables for school lunches!  That is right, that measure failed.  It was an Obama backed measure and, god forbid, passing it might have made him look good!  So we will continue with pizza and french fries and cold corn dogs because we can't agree on anything!
   20% of our population is taking mood altering prescription drugs!  25% of women do this!  Probably 50%
are on non-prescriptive drugs, alcohol and marijuana!  It is a ship going down and unlike the Titanic we are not even dancing!  Like rats caught in a maze we are reduced to eating each other!
   Our National Debt is about 62% of GNP.  Italy's is 118% and Japan's is over 200%. I do not know what is acceptable, reasonable and ordinary.  I do know the fear, the anger,the finger pointing, the emotions of it all are preventing any kind of reasonable solution.  I know that we shouldn't implement reforms and see what will happen.  It is not necessary.  We know what will happen.  You can look to recent history and see what will happen, look to Greece, to England and Ireland, look to what will happen soon in Spain.  Look to what happened in Germany when their money was so devalued that a worker was paid three times a day, devaluing a hundred times in a matter of hours.
   There is a science to this and an historical precedent. It would be nice to have leaders who actually read books.

My Art, shop and garden are HERE

Thursday, November 17, 2011

United States Savings Bonds

I remember buying them in grade school as a youngster, twenty-five cents a week I think I spent.  If I remember right $18 would buy you a twenty-five dollar Bonds, worth that much if you kept them long enough.  I lost all of mine over the years, maybe a hundred bucks worth.
   Savings Bonds of course are our National Debt, that is how we get the money.  62% we owe to ourselves and the rest to foreigners, mostly China.  Bonds are a hot commodity, easy to sell.  We are still a good investment.
   It was 1958, Sputnik just went up and our Freeway Systems were being built all across the United States, the old Route 66 was being abandoned.  We were a growing, busy, industriaalized nation.  Lots was happening everywhere.  The government needed money for all of this, the roads, outer space exploration, the Korean War, fighting the commies and building industry.  They sold bonds to school children to pay for it all.
   National Debt is not a crime.  What makes it bad is when it is used to pay electric bills and day to day expenses.  Like living off a credit card this is not sustainable.  The money owed should be divided into two separate catagories.  Money betting on an optimistic future is a good investment.  Money spent on education, roads, freeways, bridges, all of our infrastructure, clean air to breath and water to drink is betting that times will improve, is offering our children a positive future.  This money spent also provides jobs and immediate results.  A sight to the future needs to be bet on and paid for.  I would buy Bonds for this.
   Most Recessions have lasted less than two years, some much shorter and are considered "market adjustments".  This one is in to its fifth year and has seen over 15,000,000 Americans without work and 25 million without health insurance.  More homes have been lost than during the Great Depression.  All of this means that the government isn't collecting taxes.
   Businesses hire when there is a demand.  It is as simple as that.  And so very complicated to fix it.  More than anything we need to know that there will be a tomorrow and it will have the potential of being better and brighter, something worth working for.
   Austerity measures have not worked in other countries.  They are bleak, depressing, desparate measures that offer soup kitchens and despair for their citizens.  When every day is a little worse it is difficult to find ambition and strength and all of this create a downward spiral just making the situation worse.  We do need inspiration, we need that "hope" we were promised that never came to be.
   In the meantime Christmas Season will be here soon and you can think about what you will give as presents.  No bobbles and cheap tinny crap from Walmart, please, nothing imported please.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We Will Decide

   It is looking more and more as if the Super Committee in charge of decisions concerning the National Debt have just wasted their salaries.  I hate hiring people who can't get a job done!  I think to myself, if they worked for me I would fire the lot of them.  Then it occurs to me that these people are working for me and I cringe!
   The scary part of all of this is Congress can't accomplish anything because it is representative of the American people!  We voted them in.  We are a severely divided Nation and I can imagine Lincoln turning over in his grave.  We won't admit it but the problem is not with Congress.  We are the problem.
We have voted our emotions too many times.  We have voted without knowing the issues, without realizing the consequences, and sometimes we have voted without even realizing what we have voted for.
   In "the old days" we had barbershop conversations, talked on our front  porches, even might have gone to town hall meetings.  In the old days people read newspapers and we had more reliable news on the television.
   For some reason in the past twenty years we have become afraid of political discussions!  Is this because we feel like rats in a maze and there is no cheese?  that we have lost a sense of power?  I don't think so.  I think it is there for the taking.  It would be easier now than ever before to pack a City Hall meeting.  I think we have become lazy.  We don't read.  We don't investigate.  We have lost the art of pondering.  No one made us sheep.  There is no conspiracy.  It is just easier to graze on the grass and go about our day without giving it a thought.  We take the easy way out.
   They are calling this a "do nothing Congress" when they are just doing what we are doing:  nothing.
There will be another election in one year.  We have time to read, to discover, to educate ourselves on the issues.  Time to decide what kind of world we want this to be.
   There are other issues but the Economy will clearly be the biggest one we talk about in the coming year.
The National Debt wouldn't be an issue at all in a good economy.  Do we still believe in the "Trickle Down"
theory?  We get our jobs from rich people so we have to be nice to them?  Yasum Boss Sir kind of mentality?  What is the roll of Government?  Should we really wait until the bridges fall down before we repair them?  Where can we cut money with the least amount of pain?
   I am a bit disappointed with the art community.  I thought we might have a deeper understanding, more insight, more empathy, a clearer vision, a different view.  We are as isolated and lazy as the rest and our "do nothing Congress" is representing of us.  You get what you pay for and you get what you vote for.  How could anyone vote for someone who couldn't find Lybia on a map?
   The future is going to be more of the same because we seem to like it like that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Day to Complain

Not really.  I would never waste an entire day bitching and moaning but I am pretty sore at the moment.
Over 35 years in the construction industry I am used to doing things fast.  I always got paid for the job done, not the hours spent.  My shop is pretty clean but I literally have a ton of stuff to put away yet, valuable stuff and heavy.  I am trying not to bury it all this time nor stuff it into cupboards where I can't find it.  Mostly I am putting hooks up all over the place and hanging bits and pieces from the ceiling rafters or wherever I can find room.  It is a lot of up and down ladders and a lot of heavy lifting.
   Then there is the electrical for my gallery area.  Lots of drilling holes, pulling wires and more up and down the ladder.  The tiny screws for the receptacles drive me nuts.  The neuropathy in my hands drives me nuts.
I keep dropping the screws.  They feel like shards of glass in my hands or I can't feel them at all.
   My hours are really weird.  My wife works the graveyard shift, from 3pm to midnight.  I haven't learned how to take a nap.  Sometimes by four in the afternoon I am so tired and sore that I just go to bed.  Then I wake up about 1am after a great sleep and what the heck can a person do at that time of night?  I am nice to my neighbors and wouldn't start up the machinery then.  They would call the cops on me anyway.
   So, here I am in my shop office playing with the computer!  And I will make sketches and I make notes the old fashioned way on a pad.  I still make "lesson plans" as I learned to do while I was a teacher.  What to do and how to do it.  Goals for the day.  Thinking that when my gallery is finished I could paint.  Quiet and peaceful.
   I will read for a couple hours, first the news that flashes atop my computer screen, who did what to whom and what happened while I slept.  I wonder how important any of this is?  What would happen if I didn't know anything?  Probably not much.
   I go on jags and junkets.  I will read ten mystery books in a row and not read another for months.  For awhile I read every art history book I could find.  You know I am into politics so I read some about that too.
I find it interesting why someone would like this candidate or that?  How some people want to bring back "waterboarding".  Really, they do.  I want to bring back the Gladiators! and lots of blood too!  It is the evil that is in us all, that bad dog we feed.
   My educational training is in European History but I am into American History now and am reading lots of books about us.  There are reasons that we think the way we do.  I am just curious and I have the time.
   I have thought of just throwing my watch away.  It is stuck on daylight savings time.  That extra hour of sunlight is responsible for global warming.  I know it is.
   The stem on my watch is welded shut not allowing me to set it differently.  I don't look at it much anymore anyway.  I am not so much controlled by time.  I eat when I am hungry, sleep when I am sore and tired, work until I am not able.
   I have a routine though.  About 6am I will go into the house, feed my dog and take my morning bubble bath in a six foot cast iron tub that is over 100 years old.  I get the water as hot as I can stand it.  By 7am I am dressed for the day and back in my shop or if the sun is up I am strolling my garden.  My main meal of the day is about 10am and it can be anything I fancy.  Sometimes it is a breakfast and other times a full fledged dinner.  Whatever.  After I have eaten something I play with my dog.  It is a routine and he expects this.
   About this time, about 11am I am feeling the day is almost over and this gives me a boost of energy.  Whatever I am doing I work hard from about 11am until 4 or 5pm and then I am drop dead tired, sore and all I want to do is to lie down.  It takes me five minutes to fall asleep.  I am very good at that.
   Not too exciting, huh?  No wining nor dining, no operas or theater.  My friends know to drop by during the day if they want to see me.   These strange hours may not be so strange.  In the summer when the sun out  longer I will adjust them and stay up later.  I go to bed and get up with the chickens!
   It was the Industrial Revolution that tied us to the clock and I am free of that now.
I have the will to be more entertaining, more social and more productive but chemotherapy ravaged my hands and I tire pretty easily.  If I began to hunt for pain I could probably find it everywhere.
   What doesn't get done today I will add to my list for tomorrow.

This is what I do:  HERE

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Mess is Moved!

Humans have a tendency to fill the space they occupy and I am no different.  I collect things, buy more than I need to do a job and then stash this stuff in corners of my shop.  Last week I hauled over a ton of steel to the scrap yard and you would think that would be that, but it never is.  I have discovered a whole lot more.  My shop is clean and workable now, that is the important thing.  If work comes by I can do it.  I still have a corner to deal with but now my table is set up and I have working room.
   It is the outside of my shop that is now a mess, steel in barrels all over the place!  That is all right, one at a time I will go through them, sort them out and save very little and recycle the rest.
   Finding the energy for all of this is really pretty simple.  I just create a situation that I can't get out of.  I have no choice but to clean it up and put it back together.
   Today I will be an electrician, put that hat on and create some lighting for the gallery space before I sheetrock that wall next weekend.  I will add a couple plug ins and probably four lights.  Let there be light!
 A little smaller, but cleaner and better organized!
   Thank you for the idea, SoozeeQ, a stained concrete floor might just be the ticket!  It is already half stained I would just need to add a bit of color.  Might look good at that!

What I do is HERE

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This will take some time.

So I have begun my gallery space and remind myself that you have to break eggs to make omelettes!  Man, what a mess!  I have accumulated way too much stuff!
   I began this process by searching "Craigslist" for metal scrappers.  There are dozens in the town, people struggling to make ends meet and the druggies to be careful of because they will take more than you offer.
 Empty 200 sq. feet of gallery
It was "Veteran's Day" on Friday so I  found a Vet!  A Vietnam Vet no less, a guy about my own age, also on Social Security and trying to make ends meet and willing to work for what he needed.  It is a simple barter:  pick up my scrap steel and you can have it.  In two hours we had a corner of my shop clean and other metals from around my shop that weren't wanted any more.  We worked together and talked the entire time, just about the struggle of life and what to do.  What to do.  We are both the kind of people that have to be doing something.  Giving it to us is not what we want.  Even older people like to be productive.  And we were!  He ended up with a ton of scrap steel, stuff that I could have made use of but storing it became an issue.  I needed the space.  In two hours he made over $150.  Not too bad for old folk.
   My shop is 200 square feet smaller and stuff is piled upon stuff.  Everything is in my way.  I am left with a space about 20' x 18' and for now can barely walk in it.  I am at the point of "OMG, what have I done?"  It will take some time to rearrange and organize and make it workable, but I have to do this first.
The Gallery Space is a luxury, a nice heated space where I can play at painting and display in an uncluttered way some of my metal art.  This gallery space will be nice but it won't make me a dime.  I need my shop!
   Today I will move the big stuff around, free up my welding table and begin the process of creating a working space.  I really need to spend two weeks on my shop before I attack the little gallery space.  The shop will pay for the gallery and the gallery will pay for nothing!  Well, maybe.
   I definitely have two types of customers.  Most are happy with the mess caused by active fabrication, creating metal art in my shop, the smell of burnt steel and just the experience of seeing stuff happening.  This isn't a Doctor's office after all.  I do have other customers though, mostly (and a little criticism here!) women designers, "decorators" in high heels and really nice clothes and very clean hands!  I admit they are pretty uncomfortable here!  They are after curtain rods and little brackets, stuff more familiar wrapped in cellophane packaging.  They will be happy with my new gallery whenever I get it.
   It won't be too fast though.  I will insulate the wall I built next weekend and hang and tape the sheetrock but then it will move a bit slower.  I need to concentrate on my shop and some of what I want to do with the gallery space will be expensive.  I'll do it as the money comes in, one step at a time.  I need some nice lighting
 The view from my office door
and I so want to install really nice hardwood floors over the grungy concrete look that is there now.  And I still need that heater!  There is lots to do.  It is a project!
  I'll keep you posted!

More of what I do, my shop and garden is HERE