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.

street art

It’s quite a lovely thing to be strolling down the street and to come across an interesting bit of street art (not tagging graffiti, which I find dull for the most part).

My attention was drawn to this piece by the person who was photographing it seconds before I took this shot.   Peace to you, too giant skeleton person.

I have this thing about herons;  I hate them.   I hate them because they refuse to stand still and be photographed (although I still try every time I see one).   But this heron is not going anywhere, so I was able to capture it.

I was actually taking the photo of the piece with the alien, balloon and bag of money (the bag of money being a necessity in any big city).  Later I noticed the piece of pixel art above it.   Could this be from the noted French artist Space Invader?   Quite the enigma as the artist does create anonymously.  But it certainly is in the Space Invader style (who knew this was a thing?).

And then I came across this piece in front of a Truman’s pub.   I do know who created this, thanks to a blog post in Spitalfields Life.  The artist and model is Robson Cesar, in his preferred medium of beer bottle caps (bottletops to you Brits).   I have heard the saying “the purpose of art is to communicate”.   Or maybe the purpose of art is to just add a bit of color and interest to life.   Whether it’s the former or the latter, I think that the artist involved achieved his goals.


A list of my favorite things would surely include stop motion animation.  Animators must have incredible patience and skill to create the illusion of being a living thing out of a tiny puppet.  So of course I am familiar with the work of the great Ray Harryhausen.   I love his films, and have seen each one multiple times.   Having the opportunity to see an exhibit on his creative process was part of the very excuse of my visit.

This shot is of a scene in Jason and the Argonauts where they come across these giant metallic statues.  The guy with the sword comes creaking to life and fights the hero before smashing into pieces.  Great stuff!

This is the evil and deadly medusa from Clash of the Titans, the final film from this great director.  She is much shorter than one would suspect and her gaze has lost quite a bit of it’s power (no one there had been turned to stone, much to my disappointment).

The magnificent Pegasus (as I mentioned in a previous post, I love Pegasus), it’s hard to believe that he could carry a full grown man on his back.  But I would definitely ride one given the opportunity.

One of the most famous scenes created by this artist was the fighting skeletons in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.  I thought this scene was tremendously thrilling when I first saw this at a Saturday matinee as a child.  Those skeletons were so ferocious looking that they seemed extra scary to me.  (I decided it would be a good idea to run away if I ever encountered them).

Here is one that they captured to put on display.  And he is still ready to fight (perhaps I had better back away slowly and make my escape).    😉

Monkeying About

What is it about monkeys that makes them so interesting?  We share a common ancestor and also share a lot of DNA, and we have some similarities with them, except for the tail bit.   And they are quite adorable and if you are obsessed you can notice them in many places.

They have quite a distinctive and easily recognized silhouette, like this pattern on a floor.

And they make lovely lamps.  Here they are available in whichever sort goes with one’s decor.  (I’m not sure what it says about one to actually purchase this for one’s home, but these can be bought in a rather swanky shop.)

Perhaps a monkey on the wall fits in with one’s decor better than a table lamp.   (But I do think that lamps need to have a shade.)

They are so very human in their expressions, this one seems to be quite sad gazing down on the passing multitudes.

It’s too bad that people don’t have tails, they are a built in security blanket, easy to wrap around and protect one, in case a scowl is not enough.


I don’t usually take pictures with people in them except by accident.  I am nervous about asking for permission, as this might change what I found interesting about them.   And if I don’t ask for permission I  might be stealing their soul.  But I did take these photos with people in them recently, because there was something that I found interesting about each of these folks.

I was sitting eating lunch alone and this young person sat near me and started drawing.   The sketchbook had lovely line drawings on another page, but the artist was working on big graphic blocks of color in this drawing.  I did ask permission.

I noticed this teacher leading a school group because she was wearing this beautiful bright dress against a backdrop of her identically dressed students.

I saw this guy and was fascinated by the fact that he was wearing a Lenin tie clip and had these Soviet medals on his lapels.   So I trawled through my memory on how to ask if I could take a photo in Russian.  (Russian is a very tongue-twisting language).  As it turned out he was an English communist going home from a rally to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.  I would have found out more, but my stop came up.

I was waiting for the bus when this guy showed up on the street corner.  I just loved his outfit, I thought it looked quite theatrical.  Then he waved down a taxi and was out of there before my bus ever showed up.

It was the shoes on the woman that caught my eye as she walked by.  Patent leather Vivienne Westwoods that surely would have broken my ankle if I had been wearing them.   I don’t know why the guy turned around, maybe he is a politician and was worried or married.  (And he was wearing ordinary lace-up Oxfords).

Perhaps the most unusual person (?) I saw was Death.  All the people around him seem unfazed and uninterested.  I guess that they figured he was not coming for them right now, so it was okay that he was in their midst.  😉

Revisiting the Past

I had decided that it was time to visit London again to see if it was as I remembered.  As I am a creature of narrow habits there were some things that it was mandatory to see again.  So once again I popped into the National Portrait Gallery to see Richard III, and this other portrait.

I can’t remember the name of the sitter (and don’t know if I ever knew it), but this picture  was featured in one of my earliest posts.   I was impressed that this portrait was unlike any of the others in the room, that it was done more in the style of a splash page in a graphic novel (not that such a thing existed at the time).   Ordered as a memorial portrait by the widow of the subject, it features highlights of the life and death of this man.   And as I was in a rather raw and fragile state of widowhood myself when I first saw it, I appreciated the underlying sentiment of the piece.  (I attributed her motivation as love, because it seems so personal a display).

He was born, went to college and had the sort of career that persons of his social class had doing something or other (possibly involving eating).

But then he died and I assume those that knew him are eulogizing him.  His missus is left to carry on as best she can.

And then his missus wants everyone to know that she gave him a fine send off.  This portrait resonated with me, showing that grief is universal, however one expresses it.


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).