Art on the street

The local state university is quite near my house.  And just like the universe itself, the university is expanding.   The most recent building is an arts center, and what is an arts center without art?   They have plonked down a number of large pieces of art, in a sort of random accumulation, so that one can tell that this is, in fact, an arts center.

The giant chicken roadrunner bird-like thing was made by a local sculptor some years ago.   It used to be at his house, until the neighbors complained about tourists showing up to look at all his art (there was a bunch of these).  So now it sits here in splendor (and it really is lovely).

This is another one of his pieces, and it moves in the breeze.   So on this day, that was the way the wind was blowing.

And here is yet another piece from the same artist, he made a lot of these things.  (And now you can see that the wind has changed direction too).

This one is not so attractive.   It looks like some sort of abandoned industrial by-product or fallen space junk, rusting away into oblivion.

This one is made of neon and at night, whatever they are supposed to be lights up, one after another.  I thought that they looked vaguely like roses, and I was immediately put in mind of Four Roses brand whiskey (the choice of skid row alcoholics everywhere).  And yes I do realize that there are five whatevers, but it’s hard to count then when one is just driving by.

And then there is this bit, a collaborative effort of the artist and the grounds keepers.

I’m not sure how all of these pieces go together in any kind of artistic harmony, but I’m sure for the artists the best part is that they are displayed (and they got paid for it!).

 

Shadows

Our local art museum is a tiny facility.   It used to be even smaller until a past CEO went on an expansion binge before moving on.   So now there are big spaces to fill.  And one doesn’t want to crowd the artwork together, they have to have room to breathe (or something).

I was there for another free day, but it wasn’t the art that caught my eye, it was the shadows.  I just love gallery lighting, it makes the ordinary more interesting and unexpected.

There is nothing special about a branch (except that someone sold it to this museum), but the multiple overlapping repeats of the image give the piece some interest.

This piece is a mildly famous work by a feminist artist, one of those 60’s things.  The art seems rather trite to me now, but I love, love the shadows.

These shadows include the shadow of my cell phone (oops!)

But this one is the king of the shadows (note the crown).

I like the #5 definition in my dictionary (I know, how retro to use a physical dictionary): a delusive image or semblance: anything unreal or unsubstantial.  Or #6, a phantom, ghost or shade.  And that is why I like to capture them.

Household creatures

There is an ancient tradition that a cricket on the hearth brings good luck.   (Although I think that a chirping cricket is an invitation to mayhem, as one tries to find and destroy the pest.)  The best sort of cricket to have on one’s hearth is made of brass, one can get the luck without the nuisance of an actual cricket.   I fortunately have no crickets (yet: it’s still early summer), but I do have some little creatures around that amuse me, and amusement is much more reliable than ‘luck’.

I love little frogs (as you will soon see) and this one lives on a quilted wall hanging.

This one bookends the other side of the wall hanging.

Now how did this frog get there?  And why don’t I pick it up and put it somewhere else?   I just like seeing it there, a small splash of color against a large beige floor.

But it’s not all frogs around here, these finger puppets are ready to leap into action from the top of the door jamb.

But wait, there’s even more of them.  (The rest of the finger puppets have gone to Afghanistan.)  Finger puppets add a cheery touch to any room, a fact that decorating magazines have chosen to ignore.

And Pteri is currently residing in this room (doesn’t want to hang out with the rest of the dinosaurs), perched atop the carbon monoxide monitor.   Perhaps considering attacking the giant fly nearby, or perhaps just being admired.

Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day I go to the cemetery for the Veteran’s remembrance.  And they usually have some sort of military re-enactors there.

These troops were sent out west, even to here in Colorado after the Civil War, to fight Indians and such-like.  This group finally collected enough money to put up a commemorative plaque in Memorial Park nearby to recognize service of these troops.

WWII is popular for re-enactors, possibly because the uniforms are so stylish.  (One can frequently see regular, current Army uniforms around town).  My question was why they had the netting on the helmets, and they answered that it was so that troops could put leaves and twigs or whatever in for camouflage.

There were displays of the sorts of things that soldiers might carry around.

The MRE’s of their day, these packages contained a tin of something and a side of crackers, and this food was made to last forever.  One might need a smoke after that.

A nephew has just gone to Afghanistan and I am going to send him a package of useful items (granola bars and jerky, the K-rations of today).  Another nephew (who has been to Iraq twice) recommended “Anti-monkey butt powder” as a useful and superior product to foot powder.  As it turns out this is a real product, so I have bought some to put in the package. 😉

The map of Marburg was interesting to me because that is the hometown of my late mother-in-law.  She was a teenager during the war.  And after the war she married M’s father (a soldier) and came to America, so a big thank you from me to the US Army.

Pterodactyl About Town, pt.2

No ordinary pterodactyl, this one turns up in the swankiest places, like today’s political event, held at the estate of a late city father.

Nice fountain.   Pteri scared it into just dribbling.

Although I will admit that the Buddhist statue guarding the entry way seems to be singularly unimpressed by the sight of a pterodactyl.  Perhaps this happens all the time.

This is more like it:  attacking the stone decorations.

It was a political event, so there must be flags.

And every politician knows the real secret to getting people to turn out for an event is to provide some food.  Nom nom, delicious catered food.  It’s the standard fare of a picnic, baked beans, potato salad, hamburgers and brownies.   To bad that it wasn’t the weather for a picnic, it started to rain, so off we went.

Pterodactyl about town

What is a young pterodactyl to do when exploring a new town?   Why go out and about and see the sights.

Enjoying the local cuisine in a popular restaurant.  Nom, nom.  It’s so delicious.

Or perhaps going for a bit of al fresco dining.   Watch out, those chilis are hot!

This antique curiosity was what the ancients once used to communicate with distant family and friends.  It’s abandoned now but it’s a great place to launch a surprise attack.

Enjoying a bit of the local color and blending right in.

All this running around is thirsty work, but there are a number of watering holes to cool off at.

There was just time for a quick photobomb before heading home, the city is full of such interesting places, he must visit again soon.

 

Icons of the West

When I was a child, westerns were extremely popular in both the television and at the movies.  Cowboys were good (especially if they wore a white hat), Indians were mostly bad, Easterners were idiots and fops, and bankers (who were sometimes Easterners) were evil.  That in a nutshell is the iconic and idealized version of the west, and it perhaps carries a tiny nugget of truth along with a great lump of mythologizing.

Most importantly in the West of the imagination is the cowboy, that lone figure battling against the forces of nature and the encroaching civilization (darn those Easterners).  Armed with a gun and a moral code, bringing law to the lawless frontier, whether it likes it or not.

Here’s a bit of art distilling the essence of the west into a single existential cowboy.   This art resides at the Santa Fe airport, and I am not entirely sure what it means.

Cowboys have to have someone to fight and overcome, so how about a studly Indian.  This guy did not waste his time making arrows and such, he looks as though he hit the gym and worked out everyday.

Every cowboy and Indian needs a horse.  The one the Greeks used to fool the Trojans was not nearly as splendid as this one.

Lest we forget that there were others inhabiting the West, here are some Mariachi ghosts to round out this small tour of icons.

Meh

If this year so far had a theme, it would probably be “meh”.  And the reason is: last December I somehow injured my shoulder, so I haven’t been able to do very much activity.  First, I did the useless physical therapy.  When that didn’t do anything, I got the MRI (note to self: always keep the credit cards far away from the machine to prevent de-magnetization.)

When my regular doctor saw these pictures back in January he said “Huh, I don’t think the bone is supposed to be in that position.”  This was not exactly a comforting statement.

So I was scheduled for surgery at the end of February, just before the big annual orthopedic convention.  But, I got some sort of bug the day before surgery was scheduled, so it was a no go.  My doctor did not learn any new painless techniques at convention, so I got the standard treatment recently.

This is what my shoulder will look like on the inside, except that mine has a new screw in the bone, and the loose bit has been sewed down to this anchor.   So in mere six weeks or more I will be as good as new (or as good as Dr.  Frankenstein can make me).

Ordinary food

I did challenge myself to see if the food I make really looks that bad, so I made everything from the last post.

Here’s my version of a taco salad, lettuce, beans, meat, green onion (I did put in some avocado because the previous one had some), avocado, tomato, tortilla chips, and cheese.   The dressing is salsa and mayo.   It’s an easy recipe and one can add or subtract ingredients to use up whatever is at hand.

Here’s my version of corn soup, it’s rather bland looking in comparison to the restaurant one, but mine has bacon in it, so it wins the contest.  Ingredients are corn, potato, onions, broth and bacon, so the recipe is simple and delicious.

The taco is being propped up by the kitchen shears, which were close at hand.   I don’t have a fancy holder for tacos, but the tacos are okay if a little lopsided.   Meat. salsa, lettuce, tomato and lots of cheese in a commercially made shell.   (Not as tasty as the restaurant ones) 🙁

The stuffed Poblano  pepper does not look nearly as nice as the restaurant version, but both were equally delicious.  Mine has a meat, onion, green chili and bread stuffing, and is disguised in a green chili sauce and plenty of cheese.

Ultimately, I like both kinds of creations:  in restaurant food they need it to look nice (and hopefully taste nice) so that one feels that the food is worth the money, but home cooking means that food is prepared exactly to one’s own preference, and that is a good thing too.

 

 

Beautiful Food

Back when photos required film, I really doubt if many food pictures were taken by ordinary photographers.   Film required that one’s picture be in focus, with correct lighting and then there was the expense and the waiting period for it to be developed, before finding out if the picture was a success.  But with a digital phone it is super easy to take multiple pictures at no cost (other than the cost of having a phone).   Thus there has been a giant boom in both selfies and food pictures.

This is the most ordinary of dishes, a taco salad.   I assure you that one’s I make for myself do not look this beautiful.

Corn soup with heart-shaped chili oil at a fancy restaurant.   Corn soup is a very traditional Native thing.   I often make it from the recipe I got handed down from my grandmother on the Rez    This version was so delicious that I was quite tempted to lick the bowl.

This is also a new taken on an ordinary item, roasted vegetable tacos on freshly made corn tortillas, something I would never make.

I do make stuffed Poblano peppers, but they never look like this (mine are covered in green chili sauce and cheese).   Once again it is the beautiful sauces (tomato and red chili) that made it memorable.

I speculate that part of why we take pictures of food is to remember it (perhaps even in the hope of re-creating it), and the other part is to make our social media friends jealous.  🙂  I hope this worked.