Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Playing with this new designer....

Doesn't look any more detailed than the old designer, but hey, I like this look and a change was needed.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My soap box

Pardon me while I pull up my soap box for a sec. Yes, I like silly virtual games. All video games are silly. All of them, and I play many. Don't tell me how to live. Don't tell me I am waisting my time. It isn't your life. There is only one thing thats important to me in life. That I be happy with it. I am. Am I in perfect physical shape? No. Are there things I could do to exercise my brain more? Yeah, I'm sure there are. That, however, is my choice. Not yours. Why is what I do so important to you anyway? Perhaps you should think about that.

To anyone reading this, no. No one said anything to me. Someone said something to a friend in a public net space. These are my thoughts on it. Yes, I am grumpy. Give me a sec and I won't be any more. I just have to remember that what people to and say is all about them. Not me. Not me or anyone else but them. Dorks...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

At the movies...

I am done with the movie theater for a while. The last FIVE movies I have gone to recently I had to tell people to shut the hell up. What is this need to narrate whats on the screen in full high def color and ear bending sound? No, not the whispered question here or there... but full conversations at good volume. I swear to the powers that be I had to tell myself several times not to turn around and punch the chattering kid behind me in the nose. I managed to resist, but only just. Selecting instead to turn around, lean into them and say "Do you mind shutting the hell up? Thanks." I might have forgotten to use the word hell... I try to be diplomatic, sometimes I fail.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I am still alive...

Just haven't put anything up here. Haha

Monday, May 11, 2009


Today was my first day back at Pacific Raceways for Park Place Motors LLC first track day of the year. (They do two) The last time I did this was in 2006 right after I first purchased the car. That's my car to the left. His name is Stitch. I have NO freaking clue why I did not follow up on such an amazingly fun sport, but I did not. Duah and duah and duah again. Seriously, this is just insanely fun. You roll out onto the track giving the car ahead of you plenty of room. You want to get up to speed quickly and also get into position to nail turn 9. Hit the apex of turn nine correctly and your in 4th gear heading into the straight. The car is within inches of the apex as you blast past at 90mph. Let the car wind out to 8k rpm's and hit 5th. Now if you have done it correctly your at 110 on the straight with what looks like a mile of road. At 120 that road is gone and it took seconds to happen. Your at the beginning of turn one and you hit it's apex still going 120. It's only a slight turn, but turn two isn't and at that speed the world is a blur. Your hearts pounding and your trying to remember to breath. Nothing is wrong here your just flying down a road towards turn two. Smoothly mashing the breaks as HARD AS YOU CAN as you approach. Down shift to 4th, then 3rd and re-apply gas and ease into the turn. Now your only going 65 around a wide sweeping arc. The cars weight is on the outside and you can feel the tires on the road begging you not to make the slightest mistake. Keeping the wheel tight and not making a single motion the car hits the apex and you give it more gas. Now your coming out of that turn and the speed is picking back up. By the time you hit the end of the turn your front left tire is an inch away from gravel and your flying again. 4th gear now and heading down hill with acceleration that has you pinned to the back of the seat. Up ahead is turn 3A and B. Switchbacks, and your going 90 again. Gently MASH THE BREAKS INTO THE FLOOR and get into 3rd gear. Wait for it. Do not turn that wheel too soon or you will be out of track. Now you turn hard hard right and give it gas as you pass the apex. Ease the wheel out and keep giving it more gas. BREAK HARD again for B and turn a whiplash left into the next apex and give it more gas. The cars weight feels like a rocking ship and you know how stiff that suspension is. There is no where to go here. Please don't spin please don't spin please don't spin. Now, accelerating out of 3 nice and wide, using every bit of track there is your on the back straight. It isn't actually straight, it's turn 4, but you make it that way by riding the edges of the inside corners all the wile the gas peddle is firmly pressed to the floor and your heading towards 5th gear again. You won't make it there because turn 5A and B is on you and it's time for respect. This is the most fun part of the track and the most deceiving. Breaking hard and down shifting to 3rd your going to blast in and out of the corners without doing anything but steering. Don't give it extra gas on that slight straight or you will be kissing dirt in the blink of an eye. You swing right to set up for A. The car rocks right as you speed left past apex 5a. The car naturally drifts right from the speed. Get back to the left for the end of A and beginning of B and turn firm back to the right for apex B. The car rocks out to the left and the G forces are throwing you into the sides of the seat. Hold it hard to keep close to the right to set up for the apex of turn 6 and give it gas as you pass. As your rocked to the right again your grinning ear to ear. Now you drift to the far far right and your giving it all the power you can. It's an up hill slight turn into 7 that slingshots you into 8. If you do this right you will exit turn 9 doing 90 and letting the car go for all it's worth back into that straight and heading back up to 120. Turn 8 is wide, but your going to make it wider in a nice gentle curve to get into 4th gear and hit 9 just right, putting the car within inches of that apex and the inside wall. Let the car relax out of 9 wide to the left and ride 4th gear out until the engine is screaming at you. 5th and 110. Time to relax. Your shoulders are locked up and somewhere in 5 A and B you stopped breathing. 120 blasting, flying past the blurry grandstands. Shake out each hand. Take deep breaths and feel the car as it rides that 120 again rocketing down the straight back to turn 1. Here we go again.Note to self. Do not try to go fast. Fast happens all by itself. Work on nailing the apex and exit of each turn. Use the whole track. Be smooth, be fluid. Above all else, be calm.
To see a full sized immage of the track and the lines (as best I can remember them) click this link.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The one and only thing I can rely on 100%

This is NOT a new concept. I am far from the first person to say this. Change is the one thing in life that you can count on without fail. Everything else is a bet of odds. The saying "There are only two things you have to do in life, die and pay taxes." is garbage. I don't have to pay taxes. I never have and I never will. I make a choice to do this. Bad things that I don't want to happen, might happen, if I don't pay them, but I do not have to pay taxes. Death, so far, seems to be the unavoidable. Humans are trying to "fix" that at the moment. Har har. However, there is that one thing that can not be changed. That's change. In that I suppose you could say that change in and of itself does not change. It is and always will be. From a human life, living day to day, only one thing is constant and that is change. Does this sound like mental push-ups? It totally is, but I have never written down this thought, so there it is. Many have said it, I agree... yay for repeditiveness.

Monday, April 20, 2009

FACEPALM for today...

Coffee. Many of us love it. It's yummy bitter/sweet with just the right amount of sugar. It's addictive so it rather sells itself. Now I have heard one story about a place like what I am about to describe, but I had yet to see one. The story goes like this. A mother that we know has a early 20s daughter. The daughter got a job at a coffee stand for some extra cash. Cool. These things are a dime a dozen up here in the Seattle area. The daughter, however, wouldn't tell the mom where it was. She kept avoiding the question. Well the mom being a female and all, figures out where it is without much problem and decides to drop by to see what the big secret it. When she pulls up to the coffee stand there is a long line of cars waiting at the stand. "Wow, must be amazing coffee" she says to herself as she thinks about the three or four semi empty stands she must have passed to get to this one. As she pulls up to the counter she suddenly gets it. There is her daughter, serving coffee, in.... lingerie. As the daughter sees mom her face turns white, blood runs cold etc... Fortunately this mother is a cool headed one. Otherwise I don't think the daughter would be alive now. That was a one off I was told by said mother about a year or so ago. Today my wife and I did a bunch of Geocaching out in Everett because Erin wanted to stop by a fabric store there. While driving around I was totally surprised and couldn't help but laugh at what I was seeing. 75% of the coffee stands were NOT selling coffee. They were selling sex. Why am I dumbfounded? I know sex sells and I know people buy. Coffee sells and people are hooked. I also know that if I were in sunny California in Redondo beach I would not be shocked at all to see some bikini clad babe selling ice cold soft drinks. It's the context AND the naming convention that has taken over that surprises me. I would be just as dumbfounded to see a cute chick in Alpine hiking gear at Redondo Beach on a hot summer day selling the same soft drinks. As I said, the names were the icing on the cake. Lets see, there was Bikini Baristas (two of these, must be a small chain), Bunny Baristas (perhaps this one is owned by Hugh himself? Not likely...) , and our all time favorite... Juggs Coffee. I mean that's balls, or Juggs as it were. The slogan on this primo establishment was "Some like it hot". Ha.......ha..................ha. "FACEPALM" The classy owner was even imaginative enough to paint it pink and have naked chick silhouettes on the sides... That's class. Am I ranting? No. Not at all. I just couldn't resist telling the story. It doesn't really shock me at all. It did at first because I had no idea it was so normal is some areas around me but once I thought about it I sort of shrugged it off. I think the part I don't get is that these shops are basically cutting out half of there customers. I mean women buy coffee too. I don't know the statistics, but I doubt that it's skewed so far off that appealing only to men is a better deal. I don't know. People will do what they want to make cash. From our friends story we learned that the girls get paid more cash at those stands. So apparently Al Bundy can now quit selling shoes and open a coffee stand in Everett called Biggens Bodacious Baristas and apparently pull in a decent living.

Friday, April 17, 2009

GPS growing pains

Geocaching. Oh why did we stop playing this wonderful game. I bet we missed caches in Bali. In case you are a "muggle" to that of the geocache, it's quite simple really. No flicking of the wrist, no reciting of words for magic spells. That is unless your cursing to the GPS gods for low signal and flicking your GPS into the river close by. Otherwise it has all become so dang user friendly that anyone can do eeet. I, however, being the total tech geek that I am, had to go upgrade to a really nice GPS with a lot of bells and whistles. *FACEPALM* Anyone see where this is going? First off the thing comes out of the box using a different coordinates system than what I am used to. Not only that but it has an internal electronic compass that needed to be calibrated. I assumed that this was like my old GPS. Out of the box, turn it on and go. It finds the satellites and bingo, you have a position. Noooooooo. Not this thing. I turned it on, entered the coordinates for our first cache of the day and it told me that I was, in fact, NOT standing 20 feet from where the cache should be, but that I was about 20 miles off. This is where the day started. It ends one baby step at a time later where I entered a way point and praise the GPS gods that be, I was standing on the correct point. That was 5 hours later... Now at the same time Erin was using her GPS to help us find the caches because hers was at least reading correctly out of the box. Not to be completely outdone by my GPS hers was bouncing all over the place, but at least it had the cache in the correct spot. It just couldn't figure out exactly where the hell WE were... After I had adjusted all my crap I knew what was up with hers. We actually said it at the same time. "Compass Calibration". Yup. Quick fix and hers was dead on as well. We didn't find two caches that I think we can go back and get easily now, but hey, we learned quite a bit about our new toys as a result of the days work. Glad we didn't learn this 6 miles into a 5 day backpacking trip! That's the real reason we purchased such nice units. Mine takes actual topographical maps from National Geographic. Pretty cool. I can plot out hiking routes on it and it gives me milleage, elevation gain and loss over the entire trip and way points. Vurry nice. It also has roads, but it's not for driving really.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Time, got the time tick tick ticken in my head..."

"Peace sells, but who's buying?"
"Run, live to fly, fly to live, do or die"
"Life is funny sometimes. Funny like a fist in the gut."

Every so often I get bored enough to thumb through the depths of the iTunes library. Next thing I know I have purchased 5 or 6 albums I forgot about. I don't know where the CDs I had ran off to. Left in a player somewhere? "Borrowed" for long term with no late fee? Fell out of my CD case? Who knows. But I spend a lot of time looking for the new. So much so that I forget about the previously discovered. What was it I had? I forgot. Obviously I do this with more than music. I'm not sure why it is that I can't find that one thing that I love SO much that I just want to become and ace at just that. I see people do it all the time. People find stuff and make it their life. Anyone who competes at a reasonably high level knows exactly what I am talking about. You can't just practice a bit here and a bit there and expect to win anything. It must be your total life. The same can be said for work. People make jobs theirlife. The central focus to which all else must orbit. In some respects that must be nice. I wake up with so many things that I like to do that I can't just get up and go. No auto pilot. I think it was Einstein who had a bunch of sets of clothing that were exactly the same. He would wake up and just put on the next set. Easy and no need to waste energy on "What the hell will I wear today?". I could never do that because, well, good god how boring could you get?! o.O No, like everything else in my life I have different clothing for different moods and lord knows I have many moods. >.>

=Break/ side note= On my wife's art journal I was just listed under the "stuff" category! HAHAHAHA

Okies....where was I? Ahh yeah. So to cut this short, I am scattered. I like too much. I like scuba diving, hiking, photography (thank god I can do that along with a bunch of this other stuff), skiing, ATVing, Snowmobiling, sculpting, drawing, painting and art stuffs, track day with my car, skating and biking, and and and and...bla bla bla. To bring this around full circle, on top of all this garbage I am always looking for the new thing to try. I do it for a while, hit a certain level and start looking for the next thing. I mean if any of you ever catch me saying I am bored by all means smack me up side the head. Tell me to go read this post for crying out loud. I have a bad habit of forgetting the discovered in favor of bitching about what I haven't found yet. *Facepalm* I know I'm not the only one who does this. I bet this behavior has some kind of name. I also know that from time to time I need to look back into the CD collection that is my life experience and play some of those old tracks. There is some great stuff in there.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Worship the eye. DO IT NOW!

So yeah, this is so typically me. It's like the cliche' of Mikeness. It has an eye, it's blood red, it has skulls and gears. It is not finished. Yep, that's Mike. HAH. This would be my Temple from the deMeng and Wilkenfield workshop held in Bali North Carolina. Ok, yeah yeah. Bali. You know, the third world country I have been....never mind. As is the case with any deMeng workshop I did not have enough...can you guess? Say it with me. Ready? TIME! Ok ok, when the hell does anyone ever have enough time in one of deMengs workshops? Michael himself admits that he would never work under such conditions. Well this was the king baby of them all. Five stories tall and needed to be "Good Bad and Ugly" done in three-ish days. Are you kidding me? I could have easily spent a full day planning out each level! Forget painting them and all that detail work. The Wilkenfield parts were fine. Age some stuff, assemble, wire and braid, vuala. Done. They turned out really cool too, but that's another post. Michaels part was just a huge chunk of ommygodhowamIgoingtogetthisdone? I managed to do it though and I am pretty proud of the outcome given the time crunch. Bali was great inspiration for this project no doubt. I found it hard, however, to get the feel of Bali into the temple. I wanted mini Bali objects to put all over it. Things that screamed Bali culture. I couldn't find any small enough! Erin found a really cool Ganesha and used it as her top, but for the most part small was not to be found. Not what I was looking for in any case. The Bali "Home Depot" had some fun stuff. Old style door lock hooks, odd key holes etc. None of it really said Bali though. Lucky for me Erins mom donated an old typewriter to our art destruction stash. I spent the better part of a day before we left trying to figure out how to get the thing apart and get to the juicy bits. A very fun day indeed. We also had been stocking up on gears and keys, so the combo of all that mixed with the organic stuff worked out rather well I think. Working in Bali was interesting I must say. Paint glue and Bali's version of Kwikdap wouldn't dry very fast in the humidity. The place we were in didn't have a bunch of outlets so plug in tools were not accessible at our tables. It didn't turn out to be a problem however. I have also never taken a deMeng workshop where I had access to beer the whole time. HAHAHA. No, I didn't drink the entire time, but we were basically working in the restaurant. What I actually ended up ordering during class was fruit drinks. Watermelon juice was the best in my opinion. All the fruit was so fresh and ripe it tasted like it had been picked that morning. For all I know it had been. When you ordered a juice they would actually go cut open the fruit, throw it in a blender and juice it there. None of this canned garbage. So yummy. So there it is, my Bali temple. I am completely shocked that it made it home at all. I fully expected to pull out broken chunks from the suitcase. Seattle is one of the worst air ports for "fragile luggage". We had three things marked with fragile stickers and I watched with general amusement as the baggage handler threw them around as they came off the carousel. He had an evil smirk on his face and was laughing maniacally as he did it too. OK, he wasn't, but he should have been. It would have finished the look nicely. I knew it would happen however, so I wasn't mad. The only things that broke off the temple were the glass bead on the very top. I knew it wouldn't stay on, so no big. Also there used to be keys around the corners of the lowest level. I figured as ALL of them were pulled off they must not have been meant to be there. If/when I get around to really finishing it I'll post more pictures. For me, the part that's most unfinished are the sides. They just feel blank. You can see to easily that it's a bunch of stacked boxes. Then again, perhaps it's just me being picky about my stuff again. Who knows. Edit: Ok, we all know Michael deMeng is a great guy but I wanted to show everyone another side of him. He is a total show off. Look at him here. I was like "I would love to get a shot of that statue from closer up but I would have to basically be in the pond." then deMeng walks over and is all "Oh, you mean from here?" He walks on the water to get the shot just to show me up. Check out the smug look on his face. He thinks he is SO cool. Pffft. I can walk on water too ya know Michael. I just wasn't going to be all up in everyone's face about it. Sheesh.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The American Dream

I have always understood this idea. Come to America and make a bunch of money. Enough to stick in your ears, stick your tongue out at the world and flip em all the bird. "Enough money to make Solomon blush" is a fitting quote. I don't think I had a full perspective of the idea however. While in Bali we hired a taksi driver for the entire day. No, I did not misspell that. It's how the Balinese spell it. Come to think of it I didn't see one "x" while in Bali. Most likely because you can make the same sound using "ks", and that's exactly what they do. Works for me. In any case, he drove us all over the island for about 6 hours. He took us to all the cool art places we would have never known of or been able to find. So in a way it's HIS FAULT that we had to buy another suit case to get home damn it. I thanked him for it generously. While driving around we talked quite a bit about the local culture. The ceremony, all the offerings (side note: the word offering is pronounced ov-ring, chop the"v" sound short and roll the "r") It took me several attempts to understand what he was saying.) and just how many times a day offerings were made and for what reasons. It's a boat load trust me. He told us about the coming new years celebration and the day of silence that will follow. This is different than the US Jan 1st day of silence. Ours in generated by mass hangovers and theirs is to honor the gods. You don't drive, you don't use electricity, you don't open shop, you don't speak, you don't do anything. Hell I don't even know if it's O.K. to fart. We were told about Galungan. This is the Bali version of Christmas/Thanksgiving in a way. They give gifts, the put up a Penjor and they slaughter thousands of pigs for offerings and food. They have dancing parades in the streets with Barong going from house to house, shop to shop. Obviously this is the short version of the holidays, but you get the general picture. We talked with our driver about quite a bit, including the caste system. This system has four levels as we understand it. From what I can gather it used to have five but I have yet to see the fifth written about. You have level one and two who argue about who is what. The rulers and warriors (Ksatriya) say "Hey, we protect every one and keep this place rolling smoothly. We are number one. The Priest (Brahmana) don't agree. "Hey, we chill with the gods and keep them happy. It is we who lead the people to the light. We are number one." I think the priest said "dude" at one point and the Warrior was like "Nu uhhh" but I can't remember. Anyway. They both do there respective jobs well. Then we have the third cast. These are the merchants (Wesyas). Everything from shop owners to artists as I understand it. And last we have the fourth cast, the peasants (Sudras who make up 90% of the Balinese people) . Our driver listed himself in this cast. Effectively this is farmers and those who serve others directly. Fishermen, drivers, cleaners, etc... Just to take it one step further, each caste has a different naming system as well. If your of the Sudras caste you will be named Wayan, Made, Nyoman or Ketut. (see the link for full details) The names for the First, second, third and forth born child (in that order). While if you are of the Ksatriya caste your name would be a totally different system. As we talked with him more about the idea of the caste system he seemed ok with it all. "That it was good because the higher caste took care of the lower caste and kept them safe. They provided service to the higher caste and that makes them important as well. In short, everyone has their place and the people seem to be cool with that. It's how Bali works. Take away one of the caste and Bali doesn't work any more. However, if your some crazy whack job who grows up wanting something different.... tooooo bad. Silly man, you dare to dream? You can not even marry up the scale. You can marry down and fall a notch however. I do understand that this caste system is not as strict as it once was, but still. It makes me understand better the idea of moving to another country so you can have a different life. I got it before, at least intellectually, however, talking to someone who lived it just made it really sink in. Looking into the face of someone so humble and accepting made it hit home. They are trapped. They may not understand it as being trapped or think of it that way. They may not mind it. They may even like the position they are in. I have no clue as I didn't have the balls to ask if he was happy about it all. For the general masses it's no big deal. It's all they know. Now I do know of one exception. I have no idea how many more exceptions there might be. I assume very very few. I will guess this is because those who have changed there position did so by going to another country and came home. Most of the Sudras can't afford to get to the airport, much less the ticket to get on the plane. Forget the cost of anything once you get where your going. As I said, I didn't ask if they really cared or not. They did not seem to be unhappy people at all. My best guess is that if no one ever told you that life would be better if you had dump trucks full of cash you might actually find happiness without it. Funny that, huh?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I know what your thinking. Have you been in Bali for the last five months? Well no. However I think I could live there quite easily. Only a few things to get used to really, like the 6 inch long "garden spiders". Heat that makes you feel like your swimming in an over heated pool without the hassle of putting on a swim suit or the swimming part, the annoyance of getting to dry off or that part where it's refreshing. Oh, lets not forget that you must do everything mouth related with bottled water. Brushing your teeth, washing your vegetables and all drinking water must be purchased. I drink 120oz of water a day. I could see my Bali house now. I would have to build a special room just for the bottled water. I still loved it however.

The Balinese are warm hearted, (without the humidity) the fruit is some of the freshest most tasty I have ever had and the art is plentiful. Each "village" (we would call them towns) specializes in a different art. The painters, the wood carvers, the stone carvers, the metal smiths, the weavers and dyers of the Balinese fabrics. There really was too much art for our own good. We had to buy a new suitcase to get it all home and still ended up having to ship two pieces home that were just too big. The good for us / bad for them part of it is that it's all so affordable when compared to US prices. Say what you like about the US and our ability to over price a can of soup on a canvas, but these folks deserve more for their time than they are getting. Wood carvings that take 1 - 2 weeks to finish and it's yours for $150 U.S. Keep in mind I'm talking about actual work time. The Balinese artist takes longer to finish something because they don't work if they don't "feel the groove baby". One of the wood carvers told me the mask I had in my hand took him 7 weeks to finish. I don't know the actual work time for the piece, but he said if he came in and couldn't get in he mood to carve, rather than ruin it or make it lower quality he would go fishing for half the day. The quality in the shop showed it. Everything had a high note of finish to it. Super detail and a quality of life. Obviously the way I am blabbing about the wood carving I was rather taken by it. It, to me, said the most about Bali. Wood carving is used in so much of Bali's culture. So is stone carving, but I couldn't bring home the 8 ft tall Ganesha so it will remains respected and admired in my head. Woodcarving, however, is used in every ceremony that has a costume. All masks are carved from wood and painted in bright colors. Like this "Monkey King" mask for instance. Others are huge. One mask I had in my hand was an unfinished Barong. (roll the r when you say it) The king of spirits. It was around two and a half feet in each direction with a jointed mouth for smacking as it danced. You can imagine the weight. The other art form we enjoyed quite a bit was the weaving and dying. It was hard to find what we were looking for. Much of the cloth has been made for the tourist and you have to be careful and look closely. Some of the fake is easy to spot. Printed patterns rather than hand dyed, or the same pattern (exactly) in 5 different shops showing a more produced quality. We finally found a shop that had truly hand made, one of a kind textiles. Threads of Life. They specialize in artists who are learning there grandparents craft and bringing it back to life. When we get them back from the framer I will post photos of the Ikat and Batik. Ikat is the weaving and Batik is the dying. Both very different in feel and beautiful in their own ways. Batik is done in layers of wax with a dying process between each new added layer. The piece we have is so detailed that I can only wonder at how long it took to create.

Bali scenery is a lush green that is not photoshopped but you would swear it is. I am used to Pacific North West green. That deep evergreen tree green. Bali green is bright and tropical lime flavored. It smacks you with it's tangyness. I think the thing I liked most about Bali's version of nature is the lack of soaked, muddy, over rained brush. Now I understand that it is under rained, as in they need more of it. I'm just comparing it to walking in a Northwest forest where everything just feels drenched, muddy and dripping. Perhaps it's my genetics, but I would rather swim in humidity than walk in a pool. Bali has it's rainy season too. It's just that there it has the good sense to stop for a while and let the other season have a shot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The deMeng side of things

So this would be the deMeng part of the class. I did have people asking how I got so far with both the box and pendant. To be honest, I didn't. I cheated. I had a deMeng class previously and got about half way through my "Tarot Card Box". After making the pendant one day Erin and I went back our to our room where my Tarot Box looked at me and said (No really it did) "Hey dude. That thing you made today, you made that for me didn't you? Come on, it's mine isn't it? It belongs to me! It's....My precious...." You can't argue with that kind of crazy talk, especially when it comes from a box. It did come from a deMeng class after all. So it's only cheating a little. So I took the last day of the Boxed in, Drawn out class and finished the box and tweaking it so the pendant really settled in there nicely. This is what I ended up with. It started life as two arms of a chandelier, some heavy nails (same as on the pendant), a vacuum vent of some kind, a antique key hole face plate and old plastic brio screws. Enter Mr. Jewlers saw and we have a holy evil box from... well some place bad. What Tarot Card is it? Pffffftt, you tell me. El Diablo? Death? Naaaa, clearly it's the Queen of Hearts. What?

Monday, November 3, 2008


So here we are again. Two weeks past. Halloween come and gone. I love Halloween. As you can see, we love carving pumpkins. The last picture is from My Lo Bue / deMeng class. It's the Keith side of things. I'll show you my deMeng part later. ;) This was another great class. Michael and Keith even learning things from each other. Fun to watch that interaction. I even cheated and used my box from a previous class of Michaels. I was able to finish it up to a level I was much more happy with.

Edit: I wanted to come back to this post and add a bit more about what the heck this thing is. I am very happy with this over all project. The sum of both objects coming together really worked for me. The pendant started as an old =used= CO2 cartridge, two large (Railroad) nails, an old key, a kitchen plant hook thingy and a la-cheep-O Danzig pendant from back in 1989 or some such year plus a yards (ish) worth of rebar wire. I love how solid this thing is. It's a little heavy too. It feels great in your hands. I also loved the contrast of Keith (No glue allowed) and Michael (Glue the world) in class. This part screams Keith. No glue here. All wire work and I am sure you could kill someone with it. Did I say that out loud? Oops...

Friday, October 17, 2008

The grinder

I love smacking metal with a hammer. There is something satisfying about wacking a hammer down onto something in the means to create, not destroy. This is good. I suppose my love of hammering metal showed itself in my teens when I took a deep interest in how swords were made. I never had the pleasure of hand forging a sword the old fashioned way. Now most are made by machines or cut from pre-forged metal and ground into shape. Boooring... :P I guess thats something I need to change in my life. I want to make a sword from scratch. Learn it properly. However, I digress... This pendant was created in Susan Lenart-Kazmers class Creating Containers & Bezels--Cold Join. I love Susans classes because it's really about puzzle solving. Not the finish line. You can chose your own level. Good stuff there. So I officaly name this piece "The Grinder". It's didn't start that way. It was like many a heavy metal song. Starts with a beautiful thought and digresses into crunchy, grindy, chewy bits. Just the way I like it. My challenges for this project were as follows. 1. connecting the gears on the back without drawing a bead. For one, drawing a bead next to a big aluminium gear would have just sucked. It would have sucked up the heat and.....ten years later you still have the tip of a wire. The next part is that you have a tiny round bit resting aganst your chest like a ball point pen pointed at your heat. Comfy yet? Ok not so much. So I managed to get an anvil in there and make a rivet on the back. Would have been far easier at home with it clammped into a vice but hey. It worked. The next problem was drawing a bead on the left side of the wire that holds everything together. I watched my gears on the side turn cherry red and start to wilt like a flower on fast worward. Heh....not the desired effect. Any who, I'm very happy with this project except that I have to make a proper chain for it. I like the surprise of looking down into it to see something more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One fish, two fish, copper fish blue fish?

So I have been draaaaagin my feet about adding a new post long enough. Obviously I am not a blog a day person. Rather I'm turning into a blog a month. Oops. Well I have much to show the world at the moment, I just need to get off my butt and do it. So here is my first tid bit. It's not from Art and Soul per say, but it is because of the retreat. You were sent a blank fish if you signed up for X number of classes I think. Due to the fact that Erin and I tend to sign up for every class we can get our paint stained, chemical soaked hands on we both received a fish. I would encourage you to go over to her blog and take a look at what she did as i think it out shines mine.
At any rate, this is my fish. Erin gave me the idea for the pennies and at the last second I finally came up with the idea for the copper wiring. So I stripped about 21ft worth of car stereo wire and there you have it. My idea was for a beta fish look, but I think it looks more like an ornate goldfish. You can call it Penney. ;)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

So ok. I haven't posted anything in a while and I feel bad about that. This is for me as much as it is to let people in my life know what the heck is going on in my odd existence. So whats been going on is this game called Spore. I wasn't going to post anything about this because it's a dumb game. Well....not so dumb the more I think about it. I am doing art here. Yes. it will be gone in a year and a half when this game loses popularity and thats part of why I left the video game industry. Once the game is old news your work is flushed into the digital void. Burned to a disk or drive and chucked into a dark hold in some building on the planet. Worse yet, it's just deleted and literly wiped from existance as if it were the last copy of a book and burned. So I won't be into Spore for long, but for now ot's fun. I have literly been amazed by what some people have been able to create.

Now this isn't all I have been working on. I have a fish to show the world, but it's not quite finished yet. Just about, so be looking for that soon. Also, Erin and I are looking forward to Art and Soul! Only two days away! =D I look forward to seeing everyone there. Talking with those I met at AU and meeting new folks.

Friday, September 12, 2008

All things Day of the Dead

The fat lady has sung and it is done. A shrine to Skeletons, Marigolds, Jalapenos, and Tequila. As I was reading about Día de los Muertos these things were the re-occurring theme. Now, the Jalapenos are used to cook things left at the graves of loved ones passed, but I love them all by themselves, so they get a special place up front. By the way. Never NEVER taunt the chef by saying something stupid like "This isn't even close to hot enough." Oddly enough this was NOT the direction I was thinking of going originally, however the more reading I did the more I was drawn to this theme. Yet another huge learning project for me. Ferric Chloride for some reason hates me. Each piece of copper took different times to etch. The main image took 55 minutes and has a nice deep etch. Each of the side bits took times varying from 60 min to almost 80 and on top of that the 80 etch still isn't that deep. BUT WAIT! Before you suggest that I not reuse etchant, I didn't. This was fresh stuff and the copper had been cleaned and sanded lightly before the resist image was put on. I have no idea what happened to that one... There is another thing as well. Getting the images onto the copper.... Good god almighty what a pain in the arse!!! I started by illustrating the main image into my sketchbook. I scanned it and photoshop touched it up a little. Printed it out on my Brother laser printer, taped it to the copper at the corners, applied acetone and....AND....AND....nothing. Only the slightest of ink shown on my copper. I was so pumped for this. Jazzed and excited even. To be able to illustrate stuff, print it off and etch it into metal just sounded SO cool! To get absolutely nothing was ... Well, you know when While E Coyote is in a hot air balloon with goodies to drop on Roadrunner, then something pops the balloon. He is frozen in mid air till he processes what just happened and then he falls to his doom. Kinda felt like that. So after my big let down there I tried Office Max. They printed it off for me. (I was hoping it was an ink thing) Well it wasn't. I received precisely 2% more ink off of that print. 2% more than .5% sucks, however it was enough for me to see the image. So with my deadline approaching I got down to what I knew needed to be done. Hand inking the whole dang thing. I grabbed 3 different sized sharpies and went to town. So the main image has an "original" to it. The rest were inked right onto the copper and are one offs that can't be duplicated. You can imagine my stress when I put those into the etchant. If one came out with a bubble or something bad I got to start all over again. Well fate loved me that day. I had no problems at all. The door was hand cut with my jewelers saw and putting the hinges on was fun. I ended up using a small pen drill and drilling pilot holes. Then I cut the screws down by half. I am very happy with how this turned out and also quite happy to be done with it. lol