Category Archives: Doings

Tribes

I love local festivals and I try to attend as many as I can.   They are pretty much all the same, (stuff for sale, food on a stick, music and beer) perhaps that is why I like them.  So I was at a Celtic Festival on a fine Father’s Day afternoon, and I noticed that even among the ‘Celts’ there seemed to be a number of different tribes (and not just a difference in the tartans!).

There were the organized groups.   They were neatly dressed in well pressed kilts, a very formal group.  (Don’t know if the bagpipes had to match.)

There were the re-enactors, striving for authenticity, or what passes for authenticity.  I expect they have battles and such as they seemed to possess rather a lot of arms.

Then there were the Celtic dandies.  Not content with just wearing the kilt, they added a jacket or vest and a swag of tartan draped over their bodies.  It is a rather fetching outfit.

I saw a lot of young men going for a ‘Braveheart’ sort of vibe.  One has to have a lot of tattoos and to wear one’s kilt with a certain swagger.  (In answer to the question “what does one wear under a kilt?”  I did see a pair of bicycle shorts).  😉

Perhaps the most unique of the clans was ‘Clan Santa Claus’.   They were definitely going for a different take on the whole Scots thing.  I suppose we all belong to one clan or another, but on this day folks were openly proclaiming their allegiance to a country and an ideal that the ancestors left far behind.

Big D

The graduation took place in Dallas, Texas, a frighteningly sprawling city made possible by oil and air conditioning.   It was quite a change from life in the slow lane.

Downtown features the concrete canyons popular in major metropolitan areas.  Full of business persons, doing business things.

Just outside of the downtown proper, is the new hipster hangout formerly known as skid row.   Now instead of winos, one encounters the young and hip.   I wasn’t sure if we old people would be allowed in this enclave, but we had money so it was okay.

We ended up at a very trendy (as seen on TV) barbeque place.   We even stood in line to get in, which is something I seldom do.  They keep serving food until they run out, and we got there before this happened, but just barely.

And this is how it is served.  We had smaller trays covered in brown paper to eat off of, which we carried to our table.  Pictured is a pile of pulled pork, not pictured was the sliced brisket, hot links (sausages), and fried chicken.  Side dishes were served in carry out containers.  I will admit that the food was exceptional.  A singer was plying his trade out on the patio, but I thought it was still rather warm ( and somewhat smoky) to be eating outside.

Also outside was the area where all of the food magic happens.   The picture looks blurry because this shed was full of smoke (pecan wood only).   You can see the burning embers that had fallen out of the fire boxes laying on the ground.  It was incredibly smoky and hot, just like a vision of hell, but this job is a calling and a religion to those who work here.

 

5th on the 6th

Today we were celebrating Cinco (5th) de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexicans winning a battle, if not the war.  This is apparently another moveable holiday, so it was being celebrated today, the 6th.   And what better way to celebrate this holiday than with a car show.

I took this photo because it reminded me of the car M’s grandmother drove.   This is a restored  former police car, a 1964 model.  Grandma drove a police special with a big block engine and heavy duty suspension, and let’s just say that it did not take her all that long to get to the grocery store. 😉

It’s a big deal in this car culture to have a very low car.   This truck is in the process of transformation, it has a hydraulic system that lets the body sit just above the ground when parked, it raises up higher when you drive it.  The cab has been chopped and dropped, it hasn’t been run through a crusher, although it does look like it.

What would a car show be without a couple of bounce houses for the kids?  The sign in the background was from a place that offered naughty massages.

This dashboard is on a 1947 Chrysler.   The car has only had three owners since it rolled off the assembly line and is in the process of being restored.   The back seat was spacious and comfortable, unlike what one might find in a modern car.

I thought this car was absolutely gorgeous!   The color looked striking, the chrome had been carefully polished, and it has hydraulics.

This guy is giving the chrome a final polish before the judging.  Our cars are inanimate objects, just designed to get one from place to place, but it was impossible not to feel the love these guys have for their machines.

Local telly

Among the many things I get roped in to things I volunteer to help with is a fund-raiser for a children’s cancer charity.   So I was down at the local TV station to help with answering phones to do my bit.   The cameraman asked if we liked being on the telly, and I said “I was horrified” (I had forgotten that I am, in fact, that old).  We are there during the entire time when they do the news broadcast, and they spliced us in at random points as filler.  (Sorry there are no pictures of this as I was either busy, or pretending to look busy).   After it was all over I ran an eyeball over the news room.

This is where the newsreader sits while delivering the news.   The news team is a man (so to speak) short because one of the team just had her baby and is on maternity leave.

The cameraman is a robot that runs along this circular track, I presume a human tells it what to do (for now).

This is the weather guy.  Everyone else had buggered off, but he was sitting there still working.  Looks like he was picking weather pictures for the station’s Facebook page.   He is pretty decent at his job, he was the only forecaster who called it correctly.

And this was the weather that morning.   But because it’s spring, it was mostly gone by noon.

Random Capitol Portraits

I went up to the state capitol to do a little bit of politicking.  And in between the speeches and handshaking, I went on a little jaunt to take a few photos of the icons of this beautiful building.

There were plenty of stained glass portraits of politicians and other notables in the many windows about the place.  This pair of former governors preside in perpetuity over the state Senate chambers.

In the rotunda there is a series of murals that depict the more glorious origins of development and eventual statehood.   The less positive events are not depicted.   But I was rather taken by this ox.

This is the entrance to the governor’s office.  This horse, Scout, used to formerly grace the north side of the public library, atop a giant chair (hey, it’s art, I think).   I’m sure he got tired of the traffic and noise outside, not to mention the weather, and now resides in this choice spot in the halls of power.

This statue of an Indian (I mean Native American) and his dead buffalo sit on the east side of the capitol building.   I have no idea what the camera person was up to.  They were reading a controversial bill later in the afternoon, maybe it was for a two second news spot.

Down in the basement, next to the lunch area, one can also get a shoeshine from this friendly woman.   The politician in the chair assured me that she is the best (as this is an uncommon profession, it is probably true).   This was once a common sight, but I can’t remember the last time a saw a man getting a shoeshine.  I wear German felt shoes, so I didn’t need a shine, but she was please to pose for this shot.

Hockey

I had an invite to a college hockey game, the local team was playing North Dakota.   M and I used to live in North Dakota, a hockey-mad state, so we often used to come to the games to see them when they played here.  The local team is not very good, there were lots of empty seats and there were definitely more people in the seats wearing green ND jerseys.

My friend and I were sitting behind the home goal, and both teams spent a lot of time at this end.

And it was a tremendously exciting game, the opponents had 47 shots on goal and did not score.  The local team, from an expensive private college, scored in the second period and had two empty net goals at the very end.   The ND fans were stunned by this turn of events, but because they are nice people from a nice place, they weren’t rude about it.   The interesting part about their team is they were formerly known as “the fighting Sioux” (named after a Native American tribe).   Their ice arena was donated to the school, and the Sioux emblem is everywhere.   But the NCAA (collegiate sports governing body) forced the team to change to name to “the fighting Hawks”.  I did not see a single jersey with a hawk on them. 😉

I saw the name on this player’s jersey and I immediately wanted to take his picture.   Pool boys are an urban myth, (like in the movie “Adventures of a Window Cleaner”) but Poolman was real, and there were two of them.

More Gallery People

Once again I saw in the newspaper the magic words “free” and “gallery opening”, so off I went (there was even free parking!).  This exhibit promised fiber and women’s work in art so I thought it might actually be something I was interested in.   And at this opening I actually ran into people I know, more traditional fiber artists.

The shaggy beast mounted on the wall is the art, and I was rather disappointed that there was a lot more wall space than hanging art.

These lost souls were reading the gallery notes to try and discover what it was they were looking at.

A hipster wearing a hat,  he obviously has never heard of the fact that one doesn’t need a hat in a place where it doesn’t rain.

This show had better food than the last one I went to, that’s a lovely baked brie with delicious dates and fresh fruit in the background.   There was also guacamole and chips, ice tea and lemonade for the youngsters, and beer and wine for the elders.  Once again they forgot to ask me for my ID to prove that I am over 21. 😉

And this is me, once again capturing the shadows.

Socks

When I was just a kid, I always seemed to get socks and underwear for a Christmas present.  As these are rather utilitarian and mundane objects, it did not seem like it was much of a present to receive.  And then there was the pressure of getting days-of-the week underwear, what if you were wearing the wrong day?  But now that I am old, these things don’t have the same meanings.   Socks and gloves are what one buys when it snows or the weather turns cold, undies whenever the old ones get ratty.   I have been learning to knit socks, a complicated process and somewhat useless skill.

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These were the first socks I knitted, and since they are not perfect, I made them for myself.

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Once I knew a bit of what I was doing, I made these for my brother, as a present, but not a Christmas present.   Then his wife told me that he loves socks, so she is wrapping them up and putting them under the tree.

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I made these ones for her, and she told me that she had gotten socks and underwear for Christmas as a child too.  But she actually liked getting them, so I suspect she may wrap them up for herself.

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So here’s a pair in process, they are knit on five knitting needles and it is a bit like wrestling an octopus.   But eventually the beast is tamed and a sock emerges.   As you can see in the photos, the yarn one uses makes a big difference, these are all self-striping yarns.   It would be incredibly boring to knit with a single color: not to say that it is not boring to use these 😉 .

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And these are the competition, ready-made socks.   These are knit in an incredibly complicated pattern and cost $7 at the store.  The yarn I use  in hand knit socks costs more than that.   But, hand knit socks are a labor of love, and perhaps that counts for something!

And then again there is the dissenting opinion.

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socks8

Saturday Shopping

Well it is that time of year when people start rushing frantically around in search of the perfect (or something like it) Christmas present.   It used to start off at 6:00 am on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so that meant getting up insanely early (but not as insane as the people who camped out overnight).  Then it started at midnight after Thanksgiving, that was pretty do-able.  But this year it started at 6:00 pm Thanksgiving Day.   I used to like to go out and be part of the crowd, perhaps buying small things, perhaps buying nothing because I tried to have my shopping done before the madness started.  Friday was the big day of enticing sales from the large retailers, (and yes, I did succumb to a few choice things).   Saturday is for shopping at smaller stores, so I headed over to Manitou Springs and joined the hordes of tourists aimlessly milling about.

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It’s a tourist place now, but the fallen sign on this building shows that it once had an ordinary business.

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Manitou has a reputation for being weird, I think this face in the window confirms this.   😉

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The business part with the tourist shops and restaurants is down by the creek, and many of the houses are up on the hills, reached by narrow winding roads.  I am a total flat-lander and driving on them makes me want to throw up.

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For a long time Manitou was the sort of funky place full of old hippies.  Recreational marijuana is legal here, so now there are lots of pot shops (cash only) and plenty of young hippies.

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I did go out, even though it was not the same to be shopping without my little buddy (especially at the Penny Arcade).  And it would have been her 13th birthday.