Category Archives: Ephemera

More windows

Once I start noticing a thing, like the white stickers on car windows, I start seeing them everywhere.  Of course the very best ones that I glimpse are the ones I see as I am driving along.  And it would be impossible to pull my phone out of my pocket (the seatbelt holds me securely in place) and snap a picture before the traffic light changes.  Oh well, sometimes these things are just meant to elude one’s grasp.   But I did manage to capture these images on parked cars.

In lieu of stick figures, Star Wars seems to be the next most popular way to graphically illustrate one’s family.  I have seen Darth Vader as paterfamilias, various storm troopers, and this one, with the large war machines,  At-At’s, for the parents and the smaller war machines, At-St’s to show the number of kids.  Must be some sort of fan, eh?

I loved this sticker from the moment I saw them pull into the parking space.   The combination of the cheerful yellow truck and the image of the elephant, it was really quite striking.   (Although they probably don’t have a pet elephant waiting at home).

I saw this one in the same parking lot as the elephant, and I somehow don’t think that it has an ulterior meaning, it was just a pretty thing.

And then there is this creepy sticker.   It’s on a rather nice SUV, but this girl wants everyone to know that she is a scary person at heart.

So we have seen these people’s obsessions, and you see my obsession, taking a peak into their souls.

Pterror on Parade

Operating on the theory that any photo can be improved by adding a pterodactyl, I had decided that this years’ photographs of the parade should include Pteri.   There is a certain sameness to every years’ parade, we can only guess at what year the pictures were taken by the changes in the hairstyles of the spectators (although it is easier to guess which photos are from the distant past, they are in black and white).

One can always tell when the parade is going to start (never on time), some sort of police vehicle leads the way with ear-splitting sirens blasting.

Shriners are a service organization (made up of mostly old guys) that are an essential part of any parade.   Besides marching around (or riding, often in tiny cars; as I mentioned they are mostly old guys) they do raise money for a children’s hospital.  On this day one of the old guys fell off the float (he was okay) and this delayed the parade for a bit.

To be a proper parade, there must be floats.   And a float must have lots of crepe paper, possibly tinsel or glitter, and people throwing candy to the crowd.  And I must say, there was a delicious variety of candy on offer (we gave the bits that we didn’t like to nearby children.)

Because this is a large gathering of people in a sparsely populated area, the politicians were out in force flogging their wares in the hope of securing our votes.  In this particular parade anyone who wants to can participate, but, politicians have to pay $100 to be in the parade.   This thrifty group has the placards of several additional candidates on the truck.   The main politician is making a big deal out of her maiden name, to show that she is the third generation of this political family to be running for office, (no, apparently we can’t ever get rid of political families).

And a parade is as good an excuse as any to ride one’s horse down the main street.   There really is no other reason, as there are no businesses in town.

Then it was on to the main business of the day.  Free food (courtesy of the cattleman’s association) and a chance to visit with old friends and former neighbors.

Over in a meadow

Once upon a time I had an ordinary boring suburban lawn.  You know the sort, you water it to make it grow, then you mow it to keep it tidy, then repeat again and again.  It’s a mark of respectability to have a nice lawn.   Some years ago, we started out with a thirsty bluegrass lawn. Then there was a drought, and the bluegrass mostly died.   (We really never liked bluegrass, but it came with the house).   When the drought was over we replanted the yard in native buffalo grass.  (It does not grow very tall and it was what M’s Grandma had in her yard).  But over time various other plants have encroached into the lawn.

This yellow buttercup seeded itself into the lawn this year.

As did this sunflower, although I suspect that the squirrels may have had a hand in it’s being there.

Flowering sage was planted in the flowerbed near the house, but found this a little too confining, so it escaped out into the lawn.

Oregano flourishes near the front steps.   A favorite of the bees, the plants sprang up from seeds that leapt over the concrete.  Every year this patch gets a little bigger, perhaps it will completely take over my yard in due course.  That’s not a black snake hiding among the plants, it’s the hose.  (I do water things every now and again).

And who is the master of this tiny kingdom?   Why it’s the bunny of course.

Windows

If ‘eyes are the windows of the soul’, what are actual windows?   And more specifically, the windows of one’s car?  We generally live an anonymous life, one can’t tell much about a person’s interests from just a quick glance at the person.   But on one’s car it is easy to put out the information about what one is interested in.

Although it is sometimes a puzzle to figure out the enigmatic meaning behind the window.  Is this a romance reader, or a cynic?

To graphically show one’s stick figure family, was an early trend, mostly it was parents and the number of kids.   But this person has a complete family and doesn’t need anyone else, just her two dogs and a cat.

This one is based in a realistic depiction of the pooch and it was quite a large sticker.

This person wanted people to know that they were not a local.

This is my friend’s car.  While the end stickers are easy enough to decipher, the middle one is a little harder to figure out as it shows a rotary cutter, which is what one uses to cut up fabric for quilts (’cause scissors are just too slow).

Another enigmatic sticker (well it’s enigmatic to those who don’t follow anime).

So true.

 

 

 

Going South

I once again found myself in the city to the south.  At one time, it was much more prosperous than my town, it had industry and lots of good paying jobs.   But the industry is gone, and now the city looks to attracting the leftover tourists from our town.   And one of the many reasons to go there is this tourist area.

I think that they call it neon alley.   There is always the question of what to do with the signage of a building, folk art that let one know instantly what the business was selling.   (Although I am not sure what the lamp with Aladdin written on it was advertising, possibly magical wishes).  Most of these are no longer going concerns, although at least one of these businesses still exists.

Cigar stores used to be part of the urban landscape, it was a manly thing to smoke a cigar (me and M used to smoke cigars when we went camping to annoy the insects).   And back in those days when smoking was allowed they also sold cigarettes.   The turquoise sign came from a little family-run cafe over on Main street, and we did patronize it when it existed.

These bits of ephemera are just randomly placed on this half block long brick building that has been partially restored.  Located right across from the train station, it had a commercial function at one time.   But now it houses a Senator’s office, a lawyer’s office, a cafe, tavern and an antique shop.  The newer part looks to have been built in 1903 and the building survived years of neglect to remind us of the past.

The background painting surely was done a really long time ago.   I can’t imagine anyone bragging about selling wine from Herrman, MO (I have tasted these on a bet).   Greyhound still offers service, but doesn’t even have an office, let alone a waiting room.   One just stands on the corner near a parking lot.

And a final bit of unusual ephemera is an ancient British telephone box.   Of course it does not contain a telephone, or even cards advertising ladies who will answer one’s every need.   But it does make one wonder “how the heck did this get here”.   And possibly “why”.

Clouds

Do you see yonder cloud, that’s almost in the shape of a camel?

By the mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.

Methinks it is like a weasel.  It is backed like a weasel.

Or, like a whale?  Very like a whale.

Thus sometimes hath the brightest day a cloud.

Many thanks to Bill Shakespeare for once again providing such an excellent guest post.

 

Conceptual Art

There is the sort of physical and permanent art, well known genres like painting, sculpture, or some such, and then there is the ephemeral conceptual sort of performance art.  And after never being exposed to conceptual art (unless you count those 60’s be-ins), I have recently been to two of this type of event.

What are you looking at?   Why it’s part of a multiple lens camera obscura image of a flowing creek, so the image is upside down.  The artist had manufactured the camera obscura out of plasticized black cardboard, binder clips, nylon fabric, blackout cloth and lenses ingeniously working together to make this ephemeral piece.

Flip the image around and it makes perfect sense.  And it was only there for a limited time, it’s gone now.

And then there was this performance today, which involved a San Francisco artist and free beer (but only one beer, sadly).   I must say that this was a more interesting piece than the previous one in this gallery, which involved real and fake hair going up a wall.   And it did get a rather large turn out, the room was full of chattering people instead of the more usual echo of one’s own footsteps.

My one lonely beer was served by this nice young man.  He was tonight’s guest bartender, serving up this Mexican beer.   He writes about food and drink for the local free newspaper and seemed to be happy to be part of the event.  And I suppose that I was happy to be there too.

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.