Category Archives: Ephemera

Shadows again

I don’t know why I am obsessed with shadows, but I am. My dictionary (yes an actual physical book which sits next to my computer) first defines a shadow as: A comparative darkness within an illuminated area, especially that caused by the interruption of light by a body or object. Further down the listing it defines shadow as, A mirrored image: to see one’s shadow in a pool (this one does not seem to be as familiar a usage).

So there was another free day at the local museum, and as usual I popped in to see what’s new. And there was an abundance of shadows to be seen in the newest show.

This artist had used found bits of the detritus of life to make art. While the artwork itself was only mildly interesting, the works cast fabulous shadows.

Definitely an interruption of light going on here.

And here as well.

All of the pieces are made of similar stuff, bits and pieces of flotsam wired together, but each casting a lovely shadow of comparative darkness thanks to the illumination of the museum lighting.

Here was my favorite reflection of the day, it features multiple mirrorings of the original thanks to it’s plexiglass box. Repetition and enigma, these are things that add an extra bit of interest to the art, and were probably never intended or anticipated by the artist. But it’s what I see and appreciate when I look at these works.

State ments

I love to see a personalized car, and to find out where a person considers home. (I was always baffled by a friend who had lived here for 40 years, which was well over half their life, refer to another state as “home”).

So sometimes one chooses a rather abstract image of their favorite place, like the invisible Michigan mitten, surrounded by the Great Lakes to show their affinity.

This person also chose a somewhat abstract image, it’s the symbol from the Wyoming license plate of a cowboy on a bucking bronco (a male horse).

This sticker features just the outline of the state of Texas, and of course it’s on a pickup truck with a huge tool box (no gun rack, though).

This one has the logo and colors of the major college in the state, perhaps this person is an alumni, or perhaps they just follow the sports team.

Our state flag often appears as a symbol mixed with one’s favorite obsessions. Here is the Colorado alien (from the movie ‘Alien’), ready to attack any humans that stray across it’s path.

The elk perhaps indicates that this person is a hunter (elk is unfortunately delicious) or maybe it’s a sign that they just enjoy the outdoors and the native wildlife.

This person identifies with Denver, the wonky curved building is a symbol of the city, with stylized mountains forming a backdrop. (So what are they doing in this town?)

This person likes Colorado like they like their cat, but their love is for New Mexico (and I certainly share some of this love too).

Still More Windows

I love that people use stickers to personalize their cars. One can go completely insane and personalize one’s car with chrome plating, a custom paint job, an upgraded motor, but all of this runs to serious money. Or one can somehow acquire a little sticker that lets people know what one finds interesting. It’s a little bit of one’s personality on display. Of course I see lots of them as I am driving along, but it is hard to get the traffic to stop so that I might take a picture. So these are various stickers that I noticed as I strolled along in parking lots.

Friends are important, even if they are part of the evil empire.

Nobody here in this car but the chickens. (How do they reach the foot pedals)?

Now wait a minute, I really don’t think the Beatles are members of this family. For one thing, I am fairly certain that the Beatles would be driving a much, much nicer car.

This person has a rather negative attitude about showing one’s family connections. But at the same time, they obviously have a love of stickers. Hmmm, what a conundrum.

Okay, now this person is more on my wavelength. And at this point you are probably wondering what sort of sticker have I put on my car? None. So I remain an enigma.

Still More Shadows

I’m sure that management of the local art museum would be appalled that I often like the shadows cast by art better that some of the art they display. It’s just that the shadows are ephemeral (and sometimes more interesting). In truth most things in life are ephemeral, we just don’t realize it at the time.

I thought this piece was fabulous, as it has not just one, but two of my obsessions: shadows and reflections. I didn’t read the label, so I have no idea why this piece was displayed. So the theme of the room was art by Red Indians (also known as Native Americans, Indigenous Peoples, etc), so it was probably made by an Indian artist.

I considered saving this picture for the series that I have called “What a knob”, but I decided that I really like the shadow version better. And what is so special about this knob? Well, it came from the mansion of the city founder. I suppose that at some point they found a more interesting knob, so this one was consigned to the trash heap, until now.

I love this shadow cast by a Chihuly glass sculpture. It always makes me think of the worms that they put in the bottom of bottles of tequila. But this bit of shadow put me in mind of a pterodactyl (so you know where this post is going next).

Yes, here is a shadow cast by an actual pterodactyl. The painting is supposed to show the ghost of an early miner, hoping to make his fortune in gold or silver (doesn’t look like he was successful). And of course I think the painting is much improved with the addition of the shadow of a pterodactyl, courtesy of the fabulous museum lighting.

Friends

Everyone needs friends. It’s nice to have someone sympathetic to chat with, or just chill with and enjoy their company. Pteri is no exception.

Brontosaurus are always going on about how delicious the vegetarian lifestyle is and how everyone should adopt this.

And this friend couldn’t agree more, yes plants are delicious. (Pteri has heard this all before.)

T-rex likes to go on about the joys of being a carnivore and great places to eat when not whining about the problems of having very short arms (although it means you never have to pick up a check). It’s interesting for a bit, still it is pleasant to be able to hang with one’s fellow dinos, whatever the topic.

But for real enjoyment it is great to hang out with the locals, wear silly hats, and send out a Christmas wish to all the distant friends.

Reflections

It is always interesting to see what turns out when one takes a photograph (although nowadays with digital photography one can quickly check the image).   Your brain sees the thing in front of you, and what the camera sees is what’s actually there.  And what’s there is often a reflection of the nearby buildings, cast upon the window glass.   I sometimes like the reflection better, because it is two images in one.

This reflection was taken deliberately as I liked the juxtaposition of the clashing styles.  The imposing classical dome of the V & A is reflected against the 60’s architectural add-on of the Natural History museum.

I liked the contrast of the smoothly modern shop selling Italian design, reflecting the townhouses that rise above shop fronts tacked on at street level.

This cow is well on her way to jumping over the moon, as she is already about to soar over this tall building.

Although the sky looks plain and formless ahead, the glass in this modern office block shows that somewhere quite near there is blue sky and fluffy clouds.  Lost in the concrete canyons of a city, it is lovely to be reminded of this.

Looking through the glass

 

There is a certain voyeuristic thrill in observing people unaware.  And large un-curtained windows, brightly lit on a dark night make this voyeurism inevitable.

These folks are enjoying the cozy ambience of the pub.   I wasn’t really aware of the people, I actually took this picture for the sign, which I thought was hilarious.  It was only when I was picking images for this post that I noticed the people.

Not shown are all the folks standing in front of this building, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.  This side of the building is across the street from a church which bears the sign ‘commit no nuisance’.  So I assume that is why the smokers are not on this side.

Who could resist taking a glance into this shop window?  It is obviously the sort of place a very hip person might patronize.  It’s minimalist, modern and spare, yet there stands  a statue of wrestler Hulk Hogan in the window.  Why?  Perhaps it indicates that they only cater to professional wrestlers, although surely one’s glasses would be toast in the ring.

Nearby hipsters were getting a new do.   Most likely something cooler than before.  It’s not the sort of shop where old guys hang out and swap lies, which is the sort of place my brothers would go to.

Here’s another view of across the street.   Again, it seems to be a sort of hip, minimalist office.  Perfect for a early evening meeting before heading out, perhaps to the ancient pub.

 

American Football

In some places football is more than a sport, it’s more like a religion.   But as I grew up in a city with a fairly awful professional football team, and went to university with a terrible college football team,  I never became a fan. (Except that football is a great excuse for parties and boozing, so I guess I am a fan of sorts, sometimes).   My college was playing against the local team, and my friend didn’t want to go, so I thought ‘what the heck (or something quite similar)’.  I had been to a game of the same two teams about 30 years ago, so perhaps it was time to do this again.

And as this local university is a military academy, they had a military pre-game show.  It does require a certain talent to be able to jump out of an airplane and land in the center of the stadium.

It’s a lovely stadium, the sun was shining, and we had been drinking delicious Bloody Marys in the parking lot.

The teams had to do a bit of running about before the game starts, so there was no excitement just yet.

Whenever the home team scores a goal, a squadron of cadets comes out and does the same number of push-ups as the score.   And the score was rather large at the end.  😉

Halftime means that a marching band must come out, but I must say that I found their outfits rather drab, even though they were excellent musicians.  (Marching about in formation is certainly something everyone in the military does.)

After the game was over, I realized that I had not taken any pictures of the actual football players.   So here’s a picture that shows some of the football action on the giant stadium screen.   When one is at an game, the players are the ants down on the field.  When one watches at home, the television cameras always bring the action close.   And this game was being televised, so there were camerapersons racing up and down the sidelines.   All in all it was an interesting experience, but perhaps I shall wait another 30 years before I do this again.

 

 

Still more windows

I have become fascinated with the bits of ephemera that people use to mark out their interests and affiliations.  And as always, I seem to find the most interesting ones as I am driving along (I know, pay attention to the road instead).  But I do run across some stationary ones in the parking lot where they are easily captured.

This family chose ‘Day of the Dead’ stick figures to indicate their family members, which is an interesting choice, unless they are actually skeletons.

The woman who owns this car came up to me as I was snapping this photo and I had a little chat about my photographic project (okay, I’m sure that she thought I was at least slightly weird).  She said that she got the sticker from Amazon, and that she liked peacocks.   Then she showed me her peacock tattoo (it had a lot more detail).

This one commemorates (probably) a trip to Hawaii and the lovely beaches there.  The turtle (Honu) is a Hawaiian symbol for wisdom and good luck, and Honu can be a guardian spirit (Aumakua) too.   The starfish sticker has all the symbols of Hawaii: hibiscus, sea life and the islands themselves.

Here’s another fan of the ocean, but with a more mythical bent.

And I think that both of these drivers should be very careful when parking, not to get to close to this fellow.   He obviously has a different agenda.

 

Pumpkins

What exactly goes into the flavor of the season, ‘pumpkin spice’?  Pumpkins by themselves have a sort of vaguely vegetal flavor, but pumpkin pies (which have somehow overcome the odds to become an essential part of Thanksgiving) mainly taste of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sugar.

But there are some choices one can make when choosing a pumpkin.

It was a beautiful fall day out in the country (a mere 25 miles from town) and there it was, a farm stand selling every sort of pumpkin for every sort of need.

For instance, here are albino pumpkins for those who dislike the color orange.  I have no idea if they are also white on the inside.

There were also pumpkins for those who find ordinary pumpkins somewhat boring, these ones had an attractive striping to them.

And then there are tiny pumpkins for those who don’t wish to do any heavy lifting (available in regular orange or white).

For those who appreciate a challenge, there are the giant pumpkins, which weigh as much as a small child.  All of these pumpkins will last for a long time as decorations, but these varieties are not really good to eat (unless one is a deer, the ones near my house think they are delicious).   And it is a lovely thing to have a choice.