Category Archives: Town

Cosplay

Halloween only comes once a year, October 31st (although people do sneak in extra parties around this date), so what is a person who likes to dress up to do?   Cosplay offers the opportunity for one to dress up as a myriad of sci-fi and popular culture icons.  Young women favor sexy characters, like Harley Quinn, etc.  but there really wasn’t a way for old people to play too.  Until now.

Star Wars created the opportunity for some great cosplay, this was a temporary booth where one could rent fancy dress, be an empress for a day.

But for some costumes one has to have the build to wear them.   If you’re tall, and wish to be anonymous, how about Chewbacca?  And you don’t have to say anything.

Then there is dressing up as an old Luke Skywalker and princess Admiral Leia?   (And save the rather chilly slavegirl Leia outfit for the very young women).

 

He seemed a little tall for a Han Solo, but obviously was having fun with it, and I suppose that is the main point of doing this.

More Inspiration

Although my town is in always in the shadow of the metropolis to the north, we do get the occasional bits of interesting things happening.   Besides getting to see Lynda Barry, this month also offered a chance to see in person some artwork from another artist that I admire, but only know from the internet.  And it was fabulous!

This is a picture that I took from a video installation (sorry for the picture quality, I am an indifferent photographer).  Chiho Aoshima does these anthropomorphic high-rise buildings, mixed with images from Japanese folklore.

It makes me want to squee with adorableness of these buildings.

But there is a fly in the ointment, a mythological figure turns into a cloud of black smoke and then the volcano erupts in this paradise.

Alien ships appear.  Notice that the foreground is a cemetery, yikes.  And what does it all mean?

A floating deity appears briefly in  a cloud.

Then a  tsunami knocks over some of the buildings, and makes the rest wobble about.

Bad things are happening, the black and white building grows legs and gets up to move because things are so bad.   But the standing buildings grow construction cranes to repair themselves, the sky clears and the rainbow returns.

There’s a happy ending, until it starts all over again, much like life.

Inspiration

Back in 2014 I decided that I wanted to go to Europe, and that it would be nice to combine this trip with some sort of workshop or real reason to be there.   So I came up with two great choices:  One was learn to write a blog, with the author of the blog Spitalfields Life.  This was a two day workshop in London (and this is why this blog exists).  My other choice, was eight days over two weeks in France, to learn to write cartoons.   As I speak terrible French and could not leave Miss Dog in the kennel for too long I decided on London.

So later I was going to take a class in New York state from this second choice, I had signed up and paid my money, but Miss Dog was ill and I was afraid to leave her lest she die in my absence.  So I had never seen this artist in person until now and I was really excited to have the opportunity to see her right here in town.  The snow didn’t materialize, and it was two wonderful hours of hearing Lynda Barry speak.

She has moved from drawing about life, to the intersection of neuroscience and art, which are two things that I like.

And I love that she shares some of my obsessions, like octopi,  blackbirds, chickens and ghosts.

I did say that she was inspiration too, here is a page from my first collage book, which she kindly signed.

I had shown this page to the author of Spitalfields Life last November, and he mentioned that he had gone to the same college as the poet, just 400 years apart.  🙂  (So they never got to hang out together).

It was fabulous to see her in the flesh  and hear her talk.  And I decided that if I ever get a chance to take a workshop with her I must seize the opportunity.  (Maybe).

 

 

 

Reflections

A reflection can be either a thought or an actual thing.  I keep most of my reflections on things to myself (for the sake of sanity) but I do have a fascination with the reflections seen in mirrored and other glass.  I love the way things get all wiggly and distorted, like this view of the back entrance of the old AT & SF train station, as seen in a nearby building.

The tip of the Gherkin rises out of the top of a smaller building, looking quite stumpy.  The towering monument to commerce overlooking the scene looks as though it is ready to wobble into a massive pile of rubble.

This dark and gloomy view of Cheyenne Mountain results from the smoked glass on the building.   The sky was actually overcast on that day, but it wasn’t this dull.

This is a more typical reflection of the beautiful blue skies and mountains.   I had gone out to get the newspaper (yes, I read a physical newspaper as I am a dinosaur) when I noticed how glorious the sunshine and clouds were.    If I was better at art speak blather I could go on and on about the inner meaning of the juxtaposition  of the double images, but I’m not.  So I’ll just say beauty is where you find it.

Power to the people

I get a number of invites to things, for this day I got an invite to tour our municipal power plant.  The local real estate interests would love to close down the power plant as it is located where tourists might see it.   What we will do for electricity (especially to power our electric cars of the future) remains unclear, but realtors would make lots and lots of money off the deal, they imagine.   Anyway, I decided to take a peep at what goes on there.   (Sorry but no pictures were allowed inside of the giant machines and such).

There has been a municipal power plant here for a long time.   Under the nearby downtown area, there are tunnels for steam heat pipes, connecting a several block area.   But they haven’t used this feature  for a 100 years or so.

Of course it has been updated and expanded over the years and so we enter the facility through a more modern part of the plant.   This turbine that sits out front, is from the unit that caught on fire last year (user error) and could double as a bit of art, for the art on the street program.  🙂

It is rather large to disguise from tourists, but it has a lovely graphic quality.  Perhaps we could shine lights on the side of the building to help pretend that it is something else.

My proposal is to simply re-categorize it.   When a friend’s grandson was small, he thought it was a cloud machine.  Municipal cloud machine sounds so much more friendly, then it could stay where it is until 2035.

 

About town

As I drive around town I often see the standard sort of thing common in any town (yes I’m talking about you Starbucks.  And your ilk).   But then again, in my wanderings I often come across things that are unique to here.

This particular piece of civic pride stirred up a major shit storm controversy as soon as it was installed.  A committee decided this would be a great idea, and without notifying anyone, stuck it in at this city park which gets thousands of visitors.   They were forced to take it down within the week, but I did snap this photo before that happened (I did not think this would last, but you never know).

Even the cat eyeballing this skeleton though it was a little weird (I mean, what does a skeleton even need with toilet paper?).

This tiny bit of street art was back in it’s cubbyhole after being stolen.   (Actually this is a replacement Kissing Camels, they never recovered the original.)

These hilarious leftist signs are located on the private, expensive college in town.   I’m not sure how effective these are, as the students need to have large signs telling them: to use a crosswalk, push the button to stop traffic in a crosswalk and to look before they cross the street.   All they need is the poster that says ‘Obey’ and they will be set to face life.

And then there are the deer, thick as fleas in some fancy neighborhoods in the foothills (there is just a small herd in my neighborhood).   There is a proposal being floated about to shoot them dead in the streets.   Which would be both unsporting (they are quite tame) and cruel and unusual.   So I hope this never happens, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.


 

A lump of coal

In the Harry Potter books, a hat sorts persons based on their personality into one of four houses.   But at Christmas time, one is sorted (presumably by Santa Claus or some other authority) into one of two categories:  Naughty or Nice.   The Nice are promised that they will receive lots of lovely presents as a reward for being nice, and the Naughty are threatened with only getting a lump of coal in lieu of a present.   But is a lump of coal really such a bad thing?

Here is some coal near my house, free for the taking (sort of).   In fact at one time there were working coal mines right in the city limits.   As the sources for heat were either wood or coal, this was probably a good thing.

Many of the old houses here in town have a little window to the basement and coal was tipped into the cellar to be shoveled into the furnace by the householder.   But in London, there are these splendid covers out on the pavement that were the access point for coal deliveries.

Rather than being drab, utilitarian things, these covers are little works of art.

I suppose that someone had to deal with the business of actually carrying the coal to the fireplaces, etc.

This cover which features mugs of beer was by the Truman’s brewery.

A radiant sun is nice, especially when one has gone a day without seeing it.

And some are just pretty.

As I am possibly on the Naughty list, I expect I shall have rather a lot of coal to burn.   😉

Sunday in the Park

We have had a string of rather fine days for this time of year lately.  First there was the day for the eating holiday, then there was the day for the shopping holiday, and then today was perfect for just being out strolling around and enjoying the sunshine.  There is a spectacular city park, so my friends and I, and several hundred other souls went out to pay the rocks a visit.

And it was a great day for taking photos of the rocks.  It was cloudy and overcast when we first arrived, but the sun broke through and lit up these beautiful rock formations.

The rocks are so photogenic, I would not be surprised to learn that thousands of pictures were taken this very day.   But wait, what is that tiny blob up there on the ridge.

Why it’s some girl, waiting to get to the top.

Here’s the gang at the top, no doubt contemplating getting down without killing themselves.  That part is apparently much easier (like falling off a log) than getting up, which requires grabbing on to the tiny handholds in the rock and pulling oneself up.   The ropes are just there in case you fall off the log rock.

Then it was goodbye to the rocks til next time (I do have jillions of pictures that I have taken here over the years), and onward to lunch and still more shopping.

Beer

Beer has been a popular drink ever since it was first invented thousands of years ago.  But for many years (at least during my life) there was only the standard sort of commercially produced beers from big manufacturers.  In more recent times, local craft beers have become popular, especially here (even our state governor used to be a brewer).  I was at a charity auction and bought a brewery tour of one of the more popular places for me and some friends so off we went on a beautiful Fall afternoon.

The brewery is located in a 100 year old schoolhouse in the south part of town.   There is something about setting foot in a school, that brings back memories of being 6 years old (but this school never had nuns as teachers at least).  And best of all, this school has beer instead of cafeteria food.  😉

It is full of high tech equipment to produce their five flagship types of beer, as well as the special seasonal offerings (this week had locally famous pumpkin beer on tap).   They produce every sort of beer imaginable, Scottish ales, India Pale Ales, Belgian beers, Stout (aged in whiskey barrels), wheat beer, Pilsners and barley wine.  And they are constantly doing community events and good things for local charities.   And they allow dogs to have lunch with one out on the patio (well it doesn’t get much better than this).

But it does get better.   Right now they have four beers that celebrate Nikola Tesla.  And who could resist a beer named World Peace Death Ray?  (It actually was a delicious high alcohol, hoppy beer).

So maybe we don’t know why this lab is laughing, but a good time was had by all (except for the bit where we had to find a place to park).

 

Touristing in the rain

I have vowed to take a peek at the sorts of things tourists see when they visit here when I get the opportunity.   I had been busy wasting time when I saw that it was free museum day, so off I went into the rain to check out a nearby museum.   The museum is dedicated to professional rodeo cowboys.   It’s not my thing, but I decided to go anyway to see what they are all about.

There is their iconic statue guarding the front, a cowboy riding a kicking horse.   I always thought that the  strap on the back went around the animal’s tender parts, but it is actually around the waist.  The horse is trying to kick it off and if the cowboy goes with it, so much the better to the horse’s way of thinking.  (Horses are not deep thinkers).

The profession (getting paid to do this) of rodeo cowboy only started in the 1920’s, although men did this for fun before that. This magazine cover from 1951 shows one of the first well-known rodeo stars.

Being named rodeo queen is an occasion to get dressed up in a sparkling outfit.  Women compete in barrel racing (riding your horse around an obstacle course of oil drums as fast as your horse can go) and goat roping.

Besides having lots of display cases of saddles, belt buckles and other flotsam and ephemera, there are lots of western themed sculptures, mostly of horses and bulls except for this one.

There is also an outdoor sculpture area, and a catering facility, and a tiny arena for the bulls and horses to perform in when ever.   This is a Hall of Fame, so to have one’s name enshrined here, one has to be voted in from a yearly ballot.  And that applies equally to horses, bulls, and people, although I am not sure how they count the votes of the horses and bulls.