Cars

I love cars, I love car shows. Cars are a part of everyday life here in this spread out city, despite the city planners best efforts to force people to use bicycles and buses (like by limiting the roads and parking in the central area where they are encouraging people to go).

Anyway, there was a tiny car show at one of the oldest houses in town, and as I had never visited it in all these years, I decided to take a peek.

This is a lovingly restored example from the 20’s. It was probably expensive when new (even though it is a Chevrolet) and that it certainly true now, this is a rich person’s toy (probably a man. Like one of guys there who said he had 30 cars in his collection). But it is glorious to look at, all shiny paint and chrome. It shows both the lineage of carriage building, but also the adaptations necessary to this modern form of transportation.

This one looks to be “barn fresh”, it’s a find from somewhere, just waiting for the infusion of cash to turn it into a show car. It’s probably no more than 10 years later than the previous car, but it shows how the styling embraces a streamlined modernity. (And it probably already at least has a working engine as it is parked on the street).

This car from the late 40’s or early 50’s and it’s in the generic car style of post-war period, but it still features a lovely chrome bumper to give it a bit of class. (It’s too bad that chrome is so toxic to the environment.)

Modern cars don’t vary much in their styling (sedan, SUV, pickup truck) and it’s often hard to tell one brand from another. But this red convertible manages to stand out, in spite of not having any chrome, by virtue of the driver.

I certainly hope to spot this again someday as I am driving around town (I will probably not be biking or using the bus).

A Day in the Life

So my day started out because of a bit of nagging about an event from M and I was duty-bound to attend. It was a sunny day, but there was that hint in the air that fall is coming. And of course I was getting a later start than I had calculated, oh well, that’s typical. As I prepared to pop onto the freeway to drive across town, this is what I saw.

Why are there Star Wars cosplay persons standing on the street corner? Are they waiting to cross the busy road for some unknown event? Did someone call for a meeting to take place on this street corner? Just what is the evil empire up to now? I have no idea, but I was intrigued as I snapped their picture while I waited for the streetlight to change.

Yes, my actual destination was another pow-wow, and I had brought my summer dance shawl in case the spirit moved me (it wasn’t moving me much that day). This guy was part of a drum group, and he was waiting for his bunch to be called on to sing.

Some young woman was selected to get a title (perhaps for this pow wow, I really was not paying that much attention). And this was a dance in her honor, so I put on my shawl, shook her hand and took a turn around the dance circle. But it is still summer sort of, and it was quite hot, so then I buggered off to go home, when I notice this.

It was a nice breezy day, so the witch had no trouble flying. Thank goodness the residents had boarded up the windows to prevent the skeletons from breaking in (note to self: remember to do this as well).

Also, beware of giant evil pumpkin heads roaming about.

Because the town backs up onto the mountains, there is quite a bit of wildlife that comes into town. It is not uncommon for bears, bobcats and mountain lions to be spotted, but this is the first time that I saw a werewolf in broad daylight (note to self: procure some silver bullets).

So all in all, it was a pretty typical day for me.

Festival

After a two year delay because of Covid, it was on again, the 112th Annual Festival. It was smaller than the past, but I was frankly just glad that it was happening again. Some things never change in this tiny corner of the state, except to get worse. Unlike in the fashionable parts of the state, there are lots of adobe houses here that are melting back into the earth.

And the decay is not limited to houses. Years ago, at a bend in the road, an old, rusted Model T sat half buried in the dust, returning to the elements. And at some point, some years ago, it finally disappeared altogether. But this one continues to uphold the tradition of abandoned cars, really it’s a lot of work to tow them away, and to where? (Also, I love to photograph this scene and hope it never changes).

At my Uncle’s place this water wagon has been sitting there for a long time. And it will probably be unmoved for a considerable time more.

And you may have wondered, where do I derive my surprising knowledge of tractors? Why this is because of my uncle. He just about always has a story or two about tractor engineering to amaze me with. This tractor is something he bought as a toy, and it had often been in the parade for the festival. It’s currently working at becoming part of the landscape.

And what is a festival without the venerable tradition of a parade? This year I drove my uncle in his 1979 Lincoln Town car, which is another one of his toys. I had previously ridden in the parade as stoker on his steam thresher when I was a young woman (and I was pretty quick study on the job of stoker, so it didn’t blow up.)

So I don’t have any pictures of this year’s parade, but we were sitting here waiting for the start time, with the other folks.

Anyone who wants to can be in the parade. There is no charge to participate unless one is a politician. They used to charge $100 per car, but now they have upped it to $150 for them. The same political party has been in charge of the county since 1930, but a couple of people showed up to try and sway the voters to change. Perhaps. Every politician threw out candy for the kids, and then there was the annual free feast in the park to close the festival. This may have been the last time I shall go, but as long as there are a few people left in the village, the celebration will continue. I hope.

Farm

A big river flows through the city to the south, so it is possible to grow things there (unlike here where people only grow lawns). Visiting the farm stands is the other destination when going to the fair. And as it is harvest time, it’s the perfect time to visit.

And there is the best part of this time of year, sacks and sacks of freshly picked green chili. One can take home a sack of these to be roasted at home, or, one can enjoy the delicious aroma as they are roasted on the spot (as a lazy person, I think it is better for them to do the work).

They do grow lots of other things as well, so here is field of pumpkins, stretching out as far as the eye can see (without my glasses). I think these are mainly fated to be carved up as Halloween decorations, but the deer do enjoy coming by for a bit of a nibble as they sit on one’s porch.

I’m sure that this vehicle was somehow involved in the fair even though it does not look like a tractor (and I am fairly positive about this).

Besides purchasing freshly picked produce, they also sell jams, jellies and items like this. I was bitterly disappointed that this jar does not actually contain homegrown spicy dinosaur teeth. 🙁

This particular farm stand is decorated with a lot of chili related memorabilia which shows the devotion people have for this delicious veggie.

I grew up in the Midwest and really did not know anything about green chili, but once I got accustomed to it, I fell in love. And I guess that now I too am a collector of chili related items. 😉

Fair

Probably ever since there was agriculture, there have been agricultural fairs. The State Fair is many things, but at it’s core it’s a celebration of agriculture and the harvest. It only lasts for ten days, so me and my friend rushed off to see this year’s version.

I think I have mentioned that I know way too much about tractors for a city person. So I was able to give my friend a short introduction to the finer points of engine technology (which I’m sure was fascinating). And we made the old farmer manning the booth happy by being interested and asking questions.

One of my favorite things about the fair is the sand sculpture, held together with just compaction and a spray of water. After not being here for the past 8 years, these artists returned with this whimsical piece. The amazing part is that they start with a rough idea and create it on the fly!

This is the newest fashion in showing sheep, they look so adorable with their little furry legs. I did not include the owner, who had won the mullet contest the day before.

Every year there is some sort of free event, the past has had a tiger show, pig racing (not at the same time), etc. So this year it was some trained rescue dogs. For this trick the dog had leapt over a 7′ bar, using the young girl as a stepping stone. It was the best moment.

So why did we really go to the fair? (hint: it wasn’t to see the tractors). Why we were there to see the Fine Art exhibit. Because even though I did not get a ribbon this year, I was juried in, and that was good enough for me.

This show had a controversy that actually made the New York Times. Someone submitted a painting that was entirely done with AI (those darn robots want to take all of our jobs). It was so spectacular that I don’t remember seeing it, and I certainly didn’t take a picture of it. Oh well, I’m sure robots won’t be able to enter next year, and no robot can perfectly shear a sheep, so we are all safe for now (except from Skynet).

Opa!

I do love to attend church festivals, it’s a left-over tradition from my youth (which was a very long time ago). So on this rare rainy cool Saturday I was off. First, a stop at my sometimes church to pick up a box of tree-ripened peaches from the western part of the state. Imagine if you will, peaches that smell like peaches, and are soft and yielding to the touch. And they taste like a peach should, rather than what passes for a peach at the local market. I might give a few to my friends and then eat peaches until I tire of them (if that’s possible).

So the nearby Greek Orthodox church was having their annual fund-raiser festival that day as well. Who can resist such an event? Well certainly not me.

Any church festival is greatly improved by the selling of booze, so “step up ” was a good invitation. They featured Ouzo, local beer and regular Greek wines (no Retsina, that stuff is vile).

They always have these tents set up to eat in, usually it’s to protect one from too much heat and sun. Today it was protecting against a light sprinkling of rain. I was enjoying a freshly made gyros (quite delicious!).

There is typically folk dancing going on, but there was that bit of rain which discouraged this for now. The other necessity for a festival is something to buy, (I did mention that this is a fund-raiser for the tiny church). There were t-shirts, souvenirs, icons, belly dancing scarves (the scarves don’t dance, they are to wear while one belly dances) and Greek food items for sale. So I picked up an expensive jar of olives and called it a day. And next year I shall do it again exactly the same (ain’t tradition wonderful?).

In print

So it was “Stationary Store Day”, a holiday which I had read about in M’s blog “Paperblogging.com”. I looked at the link, saw that there was a place in town that was participating, and decided I must go check it out to celebrate this holiday (I do love celebrating).

And here it is, located in what passes for a downtown locally. As I recall, this space was home to a seller of sheet music (and possibly instruments) for years. At some point demand for such items disappeared, and these nice ladies moved in a year or so ago. And are they a simple stationary store? No of course not, they run a full service printing operation.

What do they use for printing? Why they have a number of large vintage machines that use ink and brute force to print up whatever one desires. This clanking behemoth can print up to 5000 pages an hour (really this should be sufficient for most needs).

The machine pictured in the back is from the 1880’s and does weigh a ton. It is not tremendously useful, so it is currently a speaker stand, but it is in working order.

In the foreground is the machine I got to use on this special day. It’s relatively modern, being from 1948. So to use it one steps on the foot pedal to release the clamps at the very top to be able insert the item to be printed. Then one turns the giant crank and the piece rolls over a freshly inked plate to print the item and then releases the item with a thunk at the end of the track.

And here is what I ended up with. The cardstock had previously been run through the machine to print the red hearts, then they set up the machine to print the blue (all in all it’s pretty labor intensive compared to using some sort of digital printing). But each card has a quality that can’t be replicated with mere digital technology. Each card is the product of human hands, these lovingly maintained machines and the women who love keeping this art alive.

Street Art

It was time for my participation in the annual juried art show, so I found myself in the town to the south. After delivering the piece I was driving around and admiring the ambience of the city. It’s a much more working class sort of place, and this reminds me of the place I grew up in.

I love the outside of this local bar, but I wonder, what sort of beer might they serve? My friend who lived in town assures me that they make a fabulous green chile covered hamburgers, and perhaps someday I shall stop and try this.

This brick wall is dedicated to the delights of chile (yes spellcheck, this is in fact how it is spelled!). I must admit this is my favorite vegetable, and I can eat it in all three meals a day.

There are a lot of untouched and shabby old buildings in town, so it’s perfect to spiff the walls up with murals, art one doesn’t have to get out of the car to appreciate.

I always pop ’round to a fabric shop while I’m there, and this has just been added on one side of the block. This courtyard is for the overflow from a bar for young persons (not the kind of people that drink Coors).

Hidden (sort of, it is newly painted in bright colors) in an alley nearby is this mural that celebrates the logos of various schools in town.

Here’s more of the same theme, your school rules (or not). And why is it important that this art can be admired from the air-conditioned comfort of ones car? This town is at a lower elevation and is always much hotter than my town (great in Winter, not so much in the Summer).

Plein Air

It was time for the annual plein air art demos at the fancy hotel across town that is sponsored by the gallery at the hotel. I am nothing if not a lemming, so there I was yet again. I drove up to the entrance and the valet parked my car, because at a place like this I am certainly not going to do this myself and walk. Then I popped through the hotel, up to the lake where most of the artists were hanging out amidst the tourists.

What was interesting to note was that although this is very picturesque, nobody was painting what they saw, they were all using reference material. (Probably because they want paintings that sell, in their respective styles).

One lady had a photo of a peacock which she was painting on a plain wooden panel, and the other was using her phone to paint a lovely sunset from somewhere.

No waterfalls here, but if he went up the mountain he could see a real one (although he would have to pay an admission fee to the hotel).

It wasn’t all painters, there were also persons working in clay making models for bronze castings. It was a very hot day, and the clay was starting to get quite soft, but The persistence of memory sort of thing is not what they are aiming for.

This was one of the people working in metal, so he was just talking about it. He makes a visual representation of a topographic map by cutting out and arranging layers of stainless steel. Why? Because his dad owned a construction materials firm and he learned to weld at an early age (also people pay big money for his art).

This artist was not just wearing the hat for shade, he wanted to indicate that he was a real cowboy. He said that he used to be a professional bull rider (which involves sitting, quite briefly, on the back of an angry bull that has a tight cinch around his testicles). Painting is a much less physical activity, and you get a win every time you sell a painting. He was painting a swan, and noticed that there was only a single swan in the lake, so I told him that the other one had been killed in a summer hailstorm.

I did pop in to the gallery afterwards, and I saw some tourists pick out and buy $$$$ a couple of paintings for their home. It’s nice work if you can get it, so hurrah for anyone making a living at art.

Billboards

When I was a young person, billboards were ubiquitous along the highways. As one went along the road, the way was jammed with billboards extolling the beauty of various tourist traps that were just a few more miles further ahead. When the president’s missus got legislation to abolish these eyesores, there was an outcry against the very idea. But since then this has proved to be a brilliant move. So now billboards exist mainly in town (apparently they are impossible to eradicate). And I admit that I do notice them while driving about.

This billboard is quite near the freeway, and I took this photo because of the content. Because there are numerous tourists here, one now needs to make a reservation to pay and drive up the mountain. (Of course it requires a certain bit of insanity to wish to pay to drive up a narrow mountain road, but that’s tourists for you). So now this requires planning too.

The original Smokey the bear would be 72 years old by now, and he originally looked rather more like a bear. This bear looks like he both works out, and drinks lots of beer.

CDOT has put up this enigmatic billboard. I am not sure if this refers to the speed of flying saucers (no greater than 186,000 miles/second) or the posted road signs. If one were to drive the actual speed limit one would be holding up traffic, so the moral is “no excuses?”.

This billboard addresses a major fear of mine, what to do if pursued by a Kaiju. As this looks like it is taking place in a tourist area, it’s probably impossible to speed, there would be tourists jamming up everything. But I’m glad that CDOT found the money and time to warn everyone about the possibility.

random bits of life