It's your world. I just live in it.

Aug 20, 2016

Moments

Beautiful sunset tonight. The cicada are singing. August is their time. A frog joins them; another welcome voice as summer draws to a close.

At the moment, I'm resisting photographing the clouds. I've been photographing everything around me for so long . . . colorful scenes, unusual moments, perspectives, common wonders . . . whatever catches my eye. I need to sit this one out just to prove to myself I can.

The cloud colors run from grays, light pinks and lavenders to shades of purple the color of new bruises.

Now the glow has faded. The pinks and lavenders are gone but the cicada sing on under the darkish clouds, mixing their voices with low rumbling thunder from somewhere beyond Alligator Creek.

And now it's night. The cicada are silent again. So is the frog. Lightning from a far distant storm occasionally flashes the dark.


Monkey business

We've been back from Costa Rica since about the 13th. One of the most memorable moments was walking in Cahuita National Park and getting shook down by some monkeys. They are extremely quick and very clever and we were rubes. First they managed to grab a snack bar from the table. We were just glad he didn't grab the iPhone. After that one approached me as I was finishing the last few bites of my bar. No words were necessary. His body language was impeccable . . . we could "do this the hard way or we could do this the easy way". I tossed it to him. Bad manners, yes, but we were delighted.



Aug 3, 2016

Monkey highway


We're staying in Cahuita, a small town on
Costa Rica's Caribbean side. Lots of monkeys here.
The ones in these photos are Howler monkeys.

Three monkeys looking at me


They are very shy and generally stay high in canape.
We just happened to be on the road as a band of them
were crossing it . . .


Monkey taking a piss

though several paused
for a bathroom break before taking the leap.

Monkey highway

They swung over the road
via a very spindly branch but . . .

Monkey highway detail

. . . after some wrangling, they all made it



Jul 29, 2016

Notes on the fly

Currently I'm sitting in the Fort Lauderdale airport waiting for our flight to Costa Rica. We'll be there for two weeks. We've been in Florida a month now. Not much to report about it. Thea really loves going to the beach. We have to pry her out of the water when it's time to go but that's about it. It's been basically uneventful and very low key.

I take that back. Kristy and I attended a meeting of the Sarasota Writers Group, The usual format is an open mic with the option for feedback, if so desired, but this night there was a guest speaker. At first I was disappointed because I wanted to read but the speaker, Ryan G. Van Cleave, turned out to be really interesting. He's a writer, poet, professor at Ringling College of Art + Design and, as I understand it, he is the first person to offer a writing program there. Even cooler, he has integrated it with the visual arts and created an à la carte style program students can sculpt to fit their own interests and talents. He is also a one man writing scene that is more lively and interesting than any I have been in for a long time.

Writing scenes can be so weird. People get paranoid that their ideas are being stolen, there are ego games and toxic alliances but, at least at first glance, this guy seems immune to that bullshit. He's high energy, super enthusiastic about all aspects of writing and publishing and, best of all, independent. M. Lee has been talking about moving to Florida for some time now, a proposal I have been resisting, but after meeting Ryan, I'm am seriously interested in the idea. We shall see.


Art

'Art is the elimination of the unnecessary."
- Pablo Picasso

Jul 16, 2016

Change, the only constant


Wrong again. Why did I think life on Alligator Creek would always be the same? Nothing is ever the same. I'm not saying things always get worse, or that they are, but they do always change.

For one thing, Thea Bella and her mom are here with us this summer. Thea is now seven and is, as always, a delight though she manages to kick my ass nearly every time we play Sleeping Queens.

Great Blue Heron
& the old man by the sea.
On the other hand, Sonny has been gone since the 4th of July. That changes things. He was Alligator Creek's version of middle-aged Florida Man; a 50 something guy who, after countless misadventures, had been basically living on his parent's screen porch . . . for years. When he got going with his wild stories of the past or absurd plans for the future, whether on the phone or to his mom, the whole neighborhood could hear him. It didn't seem to bother him so what the hell? It was fun listening. Is he gone for good? Who's to say?

On the other hand, I happy to note that the great blue heron and the old man are both still around (see photo from a couple of years ago).  I saw the old fellow on the ferry to the beach. He still goes early and leaves by noon. The great blue heron is a little harder to catch up with but the other morning I saw him fishing along his usual lonely stretch of beach.

As for the squirrel scene, since a hawk got Frida a few years ago, I keep that on the down low, no more all day peanuts. It's safer that way. I put some nuts and seeds out in the morning and that's it. It took awhile but eventually one squirrel discovered them and was my only guest for nearly a week, then it was two, now sometimes four or five come by briefly in the morning.

Jul 9, 2016

Evening

Evening on the Gulf
Reflections on Alligator Creek

Jul 8, 2016

Somewhere in Texas

One more from the road.

Molly on the road
Molly

Jul 4, 2016

Uncommon ground

Can you transcend the uncommon ground?

Can I jump?



Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar is one of the Culturunners, a group of 10 Middle Eastern artists exploring the ideological boundaries between the US and the Middle East. More here.



Jul 3, 2016

Trump jacked on "cheap speed"?

Rumors abound. Makes sense to me. No matter what, the guy is whacked.

Source


Jul 1, 2016

Alligator Creek

Frieda Kahlo's palm tree is taller now. That's good news. Last time we were here it had been so neglected, I feared it would be dead by now. And being taller, most of the fronds are above the roof line. They're out of view but rustle more in the wind. It's a nice sound.

Molly & Swami on screen porch
Molly and Swami on the screen porch.

And pops isn't dead either. We saw him this morning. He's looking skinny and spry as ever. And, again today, Sonny and his mom are back screaming at each other. He's big with the, "OH MY GOD! OH MY GAAAAWD! SHUT UP . . . knock this shit off!" He's got a cast on his arm. A drunken brawl or slip? Maybe Mom whacked him with a broom.

God, I'm awful.

Life on Alligator Creek 1
Life on Alligator Creek 1

So, life at least on this little spot on Alligator Creek is same as ever. Comforting. Swami, Molly and I are in the screen porch. Is it "in" or "on"? 

The cause of why

Day five - Tallahassee to Alligator Creek - 340 mi.

Swami watching the Ibis

Good to be back on Alligator Creek. Sonny and his mom are still living across the street though we suspect Pops may have died and, when we pulled up, there was a huge flock of young Ibis grazing between their yard and ours. We stocked the house with food and saw some friends and now we're tucked in for the night. Funny, but sitting for five days in a car watching the miles flash by was exhausting. Tomorrow Kristiana and Thea arrive.Woohoo!


Day four

Day four - Shreveport to Tallahassee  - 649 mi.


Roadside pancakes for dinner

Flat, flat Florida.


Jun 29, 2016

Roadside oil rigs

Day Three - Amarillo to Shreveport - 551 mi.

Roadside oil rigs
metal dinosaurs in the
hot Texas morning.

Jun 28, 2016

Amarillo by nightfall

Day Two - Flagstaff to Amarillo - 608 mi 

 Flagstaff was fine, another Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. 

Land of the free
Land of the free

Don't mind us, wild things. Just passing through.


Texas afternoon
Texas afternoon

I feel sorry for the residents of Amarillo. In spite of the beautiful sky and having a gigantic wind farm nearby, Amarillo Texas sucked. Perhaps we put too much emphasis on dinner but, after another long day on the road, it's very important. So here's the deal. Don't eat at the The 806, a cafe, lounge, and bar with music at night unless you feel like lounging because, above all, The 806 is a 20-something lounge.

Amarillo's 806 Lounge
we lounged an hour in the far right corner of the big couch

We waited an hour for what turned out to be little more than, as M. Lee put it, a bread sandwich. He  reviewed it on Happy Cow with a titled, "Unspeakably bad and lame". My cheese sandwich wasn't so bad but the diet coke was flat and warm. On the other hand, his "bread sandwich" which was thin bread smeared with a thin veneer of hummus—super lamebut the guy working his ass off behind the counter, probably his first job, was a nice kid. And we did manage to escape before the music started.

Jun 27, 2016

Roadtrip - Nevada to Florida - Day One

Day One - G'ville to Flagstaff - 664 mi

Are you ready?

There are two types of travelers in the world; which one are you?

     Source: Cooper Canyon Review by Sarah Cooper.

As one mefi commentator put it:

"For our honeymoon, Mr. Machine made a three ring binder with a detailed itinerary for each day, including not just attractions to visit and where we were staying each night, but also the mileage we would need to drive each day, alternate routes, alternate attractions in case of bad weather, options for eating, and places en route to buy souvenirs and snacks. It was more than 50 pages long for our two week trip, and was organized in a three ring binder and tabbed with section dividers.

"He sent the word document to his parents, so that they could admire it, and their first (loving) comment was that he had a typo on the first page."
-- joyceanmachine -- courtesy of M. Lee

Day One
Day One
- shortcut, outback Nevada -

The road is always a risk, best laid plans and all that but actually the grueling shortcut turned out to be one of the best parts of the day.  We saw wild horses and donkeys grazing in the desert hills plus several coyotes andlaterone jackrabbit scampering through the sagebrush.

Wild horses in Nevada desert
Wild horses in Nevada desert

The temperature was 108° by the time we got to Vegas and lunch at Sweet Tomatoes buffet. It was freaky sitting a table away from a couple of macho idiots exercising Open Carry. By the time we crossed over into Arizona, the temperature had climbed to a sizzling 116°.


Jun 24, 2016

Here and gone

We returned from London on the 14th, spent a week in Portland and now we're back in Nevada for a couple of days. Sunday we leave for Florida. As usual, we're driving. And, as usual, M. Lee has already booked the motels and loaded the GPS with the addresses of the restaurants where we'll have dinner each night. You don't want to hit town after 12, 13 maybe 15 hours on the road and still have to find a place to eat, especially if you're vegetarian. We're not fussy though. A salad and baked potato will do just fine.

So, here's to the "heartland".....


Hicktown from Aldean Army on Vimeo.

But just for today, good to be home. Home—a strange and special place.

Jun 21, 2016

Happy strawberry solstice


source: National Geographic

I was delighted to hear, via my son and daughter-in-law, that tonight is the summer solstice and full moon and that this conjunction hasn't happened since 1948. Wow!

I have a tradition of noting the solstice and equinoxes but I thought it was yesterday and didn't even know about the moon. We've been back in America for about a week but I must still be a bit jet lagged. This is a happy reprieve.



Jun 5, 2016

Quick catch up

We've been in London now for three weeks and I've barely made a note. The emphasis of this visit has been the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. We went eight times, about four hours a visit, and saw everything. We've seen most of it before but after all the art in Italy, where the Renaissance began, we needed to take a another look at the Renaissance art there. So, done. And yes, it was different, more in context for one thing plus I had a better idea of who and what to look for.
Anyway, no time to go into details right now. I need to save my battery for Hampton Court. At the moment we're on the Overground headed there for a second look at well. For one thing, I want to get better photos of Henry's kitchen. Its fireplace alone is big enough to live in.

May 29, 2016

May 27, 2016

RIP Hanako

So sorry. Rest in peace, beautiful one.

Despite years of international outrage at Inokashira Park's treatment of the elephant Hanako and repeated offers to relocate her to an elephant sanctuary, Hanako passed away this week. She died the same way she spent her life ... alone in the zoo's concrete prison where she lived alone for 60 long years. She never felt grass, or dirt or had the comfort of the company of her own kind.

Hanako, forgive us.
source

One commenter wrote
: "some people who were interviewed a while back said Hanako should stay in the zoo because they liked going to see her...selfish is the kindest word I can use..."


May 26, 2016

Comment senction 05.26.16

Trump is a vulgar, self-obsessed billionaire who's new game is to see if he can buy the Presidency. That's it. He loves the game. He is on no one's side but his own and will say and do anything to win. Oh he's a charmer but, once he's got you, he's already moved on. Now he owns the Republican party. Too bad guys. You lose. Should he win the election, we all lose. Bush gets credit for stirring up the Taliban and the birth of ISIS. Trump would top that.

May 25, 2016

Elizabeth Warren takes down "small insecure money grubber Donald Trump"

The truth is a beautiful thing. Thank you Elizabeth.