Thursday, February 28, 2008

creative production

Lately I’ve been in a wonderfully productive and creative mood. There are times when I just can’t seem to get started on any of the projects that are cluttering up my head, but this isn’t one of those times. For the past several weeks I have been spending more and more time in the workshop creating many of those projects instead of just thinking about them.

Right now there are four different pieces I’m working on and several more that I have made a note of to follow up on. It’s getting to the point where having enough time to complete all these things is going to be a problem. Abetting my creative juices and time spent in the shop is the fact that the weather outside is not congenial for human beings. Cold, snow, and the usual winter nastiness conspires to keep my indoors. And so I have more time to devote to my art. I fear that once Spring arrives, and at this point it isn’t a given, the outdoor chores will rob me of some of the time I would otherwise spend in the shop.

The next problem that will need to be solved is what to do with all the art and other stuff that I have made. I need to find an outlet for my work, whether online or a gallery or storefront. I would love to have an online presence to reach the widest audience, but don’t know how to go about developing a website that would accomplish that. I would welcome any advice anyone has to help me get to that stage of development.

Here is one of the sculptures that I just completed. I call it “Out of Chaos…” It is an illustration that beauty can be found anywhere, even in the most chaotic of places or circumstances. It stands 27” high and is made from a variety of woods. The rose-like flower is maple and walnut.

I have added it to the gallery blog under the Sculprture heading where you can see most of my other work.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

pity party

I don't get out much. A couple times a week I'll venture out to meet a friend for lunch or to run some errands, but for the most part I am homebound and happily so. I avoid crowds especially during this cold and flu season, figuring that if I stay away from all those nasty infectious people I will stay healthy. So how the hell did ai get this cold that is dragging me down?

I haven't been out much and haven't been in contact with the populace at large, so where did I come in contact with the germs that have invaded my head and nose and throat? I feel like crap. And now I still have to go outside to clear away the two inches of snow that fell last night. And it is cold and windy out there. Did I mention that I feel like crap? Let's all feel sorry for me now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

latest wall sculpture

This is a wall sculpture I call "Come Together." It is made from a wide variety of woods and represents the notion that from a jumble of diversity, coming together results in a smooth blending of all those various pieces. Sort of a metaphor for the world as I'd like it to be.

I have added this to the gallery blog where you can see much of the other work I've done.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

a house divided

Yesterday I voted for Obama in our primary election. Mary voted for Clinton. She is not speaking to me now. That might be a good thing for awhile.

This is the first time in all the elections that we have participated in that we have disagreed on a candidate. So now she thinks I don't love her anymore. Making matters worse is that Obama won a resounding majority of the vote here and seems well on his way to the Democratic nomination. She accuses me of being a pandering frontrunner with no scruples. I call her a female chauvinist unable to look beyond gender as the most important criteria in her candidate selection. We arre at an impass.

And now that politics have become personal around here, I ain't getting any. Maybe it's not too late to change my vote.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

primary day

I just returned from the polling place. Today is primary day here in Wisconsin, the chance for us to have a say in who our next president might be. I can't remember ever voting in a primary before, having little interest in the machinations of the two major parties. But for some reason this year I have been bitten by the political bug and feel the need to scratch where that bug has bitten me. So I braved the single digit temperatures and icy roads and sidewalks (especially treacherous for one normally unsteady on his feet) and got myself to the grade school that serves as our voting venue.

I was heartened to see a busy and bustling poll. Normally at any election there is a slow and relatively low turnout, which means no waiting to cast your vote. Today, however I had to actually stand in line behind four other voters at my ward's voting booth. That would indicate that a lot of others are as engaged in this year's election process as I am. I would guess that that is due to the real chance to affect some needed changes in the nation's capitol.

Allow me a bit of politicking here. I am a supporter of Barack Obama. He seems to be saying all the right things and appears to have an intelligence that has been lacking in the presidency since the dolt who holds the office now stole the election eight years ago. I have no wish to denigrate Hillary Clinton, who is a viable candidate as well, and whom I would vote for if she does indeed become the Democratic candidate. It's just that I don't want to be caught up in the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton continuum that would result if she were elected. And there is a real danger that her ascendancy to the office would produce co-presidency with Bill, who is not likely to fade into the background on such a powerful stage. So the idea of having some totally new presence in the White House is greatly appealing to me. We might actually see some positive changes in this country with Obama's election. We certainly can't do worse than the quagmire we have been stugglling in these past eight years.

Whatever your political leanings, be sure to go to the polls when your turn comes. Despite what some people think when they say that their vote doesn't count, everyone's voice should be heard, everyone has a say in how the country is run.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Sports Illustrated's annual fantasy issue arrived this week. And I'm not talking fantasy football. Fantasy sex is the focus of this annual rite of midwinter escapism. The so-called swimsuit issue is about swimsuits about as much as Playboy is about the articles.

The only real gripe I have with the whole swimsuit issue is that it is all so unatttainable. The models are perfect. The lacations are exotic. The whole thing is so far beyond any normal person's possibility that it isn't even an enjoyable fantasy.

The girls, or women, or mannequins, or whatever they are, are so perfect that they are beyond sexy. They need some kind of humanizing flaw so that they fit into the normal red-blooded male's dreams. The locations where they model the swimsuits (or actually seem to only wear half of the suit which is usually in the process of somehow being removed) are somewhere in another world from anything we regular folk have ever, or will ever, experience. The combinatioin of pictures of those aliens from another planet with pictures from that planet is way more than I can comprehend. They should call it the annual Science Fiction issue rather than the swimsuit issue.

I gave my copy a cursory flip of the pages and then tossed it in the trash. I can't even summon the energy to be shocked or appalled at this afront to decency. It's all just so unnecessary.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a pathetic display of artificial sentiment

As a general rule I ignore most holidays as unwanted intrusions into my ritual of daily living. The only holidays that register on my radar are Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the others share the same importance as Arbor day and Presidents Day, which is to say no importance at all. Valentines Day falls into that category.

Valentines Day is the obvious creation of the candy/flower/greeting card cabal, designed to separate as many people from as much of their money as possible, under the pretext of expressions of love. My question is why do you need a special day to tell your loved one that she is your loved one. Don’t you tell her that every day? Why do you need a special day to emphasize those feelings.

And as far as giving her candy as an expression of your love and devotion, isn’t that really just the opposite of your intention? Candy isn’t good for you. It has too much fat and cholesterol and all that other bad stuff that can shorten your life. Maybe giving her an apple would be more appropriate. You know, “an apple a day, keeps…etc.”

Greeting cards should be banned from society unless they are able to say what you intend the same way you would say it. All those mushy, emotional, contrived rhymes and ridiculous flowery sentiments are so far removed from a normal man’s experience that saying them would be as impossible as his walking in high heels and fishnet stockings to the hardware store. And beware the “funny” card. What you think is funny or clever isn’t the same as what she thinks is funny or clever. Be prepared to spend some serious time explaining.

Flowers are the one thing that you can get away with giving on Valentines Day without getting the skeptical look that asks, “what did you do now that requires an apology?” Just don’t go overboard with a floral display that is more appropriate for a funeral home than for Valentines day. A single rose looks cheap, a dozen looks extravagant. I choose to eliminate the problem of too much or too little by conveniently forgetting it’s Valentines Day.

Remember back in your grade school days when the giving of Valentines to your classmates was an exercise in staking your claim to as high a position in the hierarchy of the class as possible. Those who got the most cards proudly displayed the stack prominently on the desk top for all to see and admire thus cementing their position in the upper caste of popularity. I am ashamed to say that I usually had an impressive pile to show off. And I am equally ashamed to say that I didn’t give a flying wet leap at the joypole that Gerald, the farm boy, got none because he always smelled bad. To this day I wish I had shared a few Valentines with Gerald. Imagine how he felt all those grade school years knowing that no one wanted him to be their Valentine. I can well imagine how he might have grown up to be a serial killer or maybe even a lawyer because of that ill treatment.

So Valentines Day is a day to shun as a day of false hope and dashed promise. There is something particularly pathetic about the needy seeking of love and caring by those who would both give and receive those Valentine wishes. Begging for an artificial expression of love is a poor substitute for the real thing. Looking for love is not a bad thing, but begging for it can create a moving target for an obese Cupid shooting dull-tipped arrows. For those who are lucky enough to have found love along the way, everyday is Valentines Day. As Shakespeare said, “Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.”

Thursday, February 07, 2008

a place to escape to

This is a little desktop landscape I made as a place to get away to in my daydreams. It is about 22" long and 11" high made from a variety of woods that were just lying around. One thing led to another and this is the result.

Today I would love to escape to this idyllic place so that I wouldn't have to deal with the nearly 16" of snow that fell over the past couple days. I have already been out snowblowing and shoveling 6 times and still have a lot to do. We even had a plow clear the main part of the driveway, but there are still huge mounds of snow where there shouldn't be any. My aching muscles are screaming for mercy, but there is none to be found. I am on my way out there again in a few minutes. I accept your pity.

Fuck you Mother Nature.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

winter of discontent

I understand all about winter. After all, I’ve lived through 60 of them so far. Winter by definition is supposed to cold with snow piling up in ever increasing mounds along the driveway and sidewalks. Subzero temperatures are to be expected. Winter is harsh in its sometimes beauty. But knowing all that, and appreciating the qualities and hardship winter brings, doesn’t mean I have to like it.

This winter season has been like a dull recurrent headache. Maybe even as debilitating as a dull recurrent toothache. It just won’t seem to go away. Normally in this season of discontent we can expect a few days of nearly balmy weather—temps that rise to the 40’s—that make coping with the next onslaught of snow, wind, and cold more manageable. In those times, the accumulated piles of gray, dingy snow in the gutters melts away, showing the promise of grass underneath. There is hope then. But so far this winter season, when we have been tantalized by a few days of melting snow, we have been hammered the next day with a new and heavier snowfall that wiped away any hope of spring.

Last week at this time we got nearly ten inches of snow. Yesterday it rained intermittently all day. Today they are predicting 10 or more inches of snow by tomorrow morning. What did we do to deserve this pounding? I’ve been a good boy for the most part, so it can’t be all my fault. I am running out of room to put the snow along the walkways and driveway. The snowplower that we have come to do the heavy lifting is shrinking the size of the driveway with each new appearance. The pile he has accumulated at the end of the driveway soars to a height of 8’ or more in places. It will be mid-May before we see the last of that.

I know it is dull and boring to dwell on the weather. After all, we can’t do anything about it anyway. But sometimes it makes it easier to cope when all the griping and pissing and moaning about it brings us all together in common suffering. So for those of you living willingly in the snowbelt and frozen northern climes, I feel your pain. Hang in there, this will end soon and real life can begin anew with sunshine and benevolent warm breezes and green grass and trees with leaves on them. For those of you living in warm places who don’t have to put up with the cold and snow and windchills that make polar bears wince, I say just wait until the next earthquake sends you sliding into the ocean, the next hurricane drowns you in saltwater, the next mudslide rearranges your backyard landscape, or the next wildfire roasts your weenies, then come and tell me I‘m crazy for living here.

I guess a little bit of snow and cold isn’t so bad after all.