Thursday, July 31, 2014

2104 St. Pete Fireworks - Part 2

I brought the wrong lens for the fireworks show.  I should have brought my little one that would have shown the whole area of sky where the fireworks were.  As it was, I brought the lens that zooms a bit.  Oh well.  

These are shots of fireworks that came out pretty well.  I had done some homework before hand to find out the proper settings, and one guy wrote that I should have a 2 to 3 second exposure time,  I pared that down to about 1.6 and pretty much liked that amount of time.  And then I anticipated the moment of explosion.  Overall, fireworks are tough to get pictures of, and so I thought these, tonight, were successful. 

The only drawback?  Instead of just being able to sit back and watch a dazzling show, one tends to be working the whole thing and probably missing out on whole experience.   

The finale and grand finale were reserved for video, and they will be coming up in a day or two.  Thanks as always for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 St. Pete Fireworks - Part 1

It seems where people gather together traditions are born.  Since we have all been down here one such tradition has been to gather at the 4th of july fireworks show at Vinoy Park.  This year was no different.  As is also nature's tradition, storm clouds threatened the spectacle but once again, dodged the event.  

Like always boats start filling the waters waiting for the show to start.

Friends/lovers wear matching red-white-and-blue shirts.

The ever-vigilant gulls waiting and then swooping for a dropped snack.

There was plenty of blue sky and plenty of threatening clouds, but once again, the rains held off.

The moon was a partner in the activities as you will see during the videos of the show.  

The Vinoy fills up.  It is festive as people laugh, take pictures, light some sparklers and watch the dolphins cruise up and down the retaining wall.  

Brendan doing his Brendan thing.  Which is basically cutting everyone up with his joking, winding up Norah and picking on his sister.

As the sun sets the rays can be seen shooting between the skyscrapers that rise to the west of the park. 

The group awaiting the show with a sandwich, drinks, and snacks. 

Norah had fun with her glow-sticks.

Boats and boaters gather in the Bay for the show.  There is also a local kayak club that arrives, via their kayaks, in a group, to watch, too. 

The skies darken, and the excitement ramps up.  The time is nigh.

Damn, don't cha hate it when they do this? More tomorrow.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Tidbits

1.  I'm busting out of this joint pretty soon and leaving this whacko state for a while.  I hope to do some old car shows and bonding with Miss Frump*, S'mores in Burgess, cold beer in BFE, and Budde's in G-Burg before they catch up to me.  Maybe build a house, maybe climb the grain bin, maybe swim across the Mississippi, but certainly have a Jerry's Pizza and look up some old friends.  Do they rent bikes at Nee's?  Seems I tried them once before but found out they don't.  Bummer.  It'd be nice to go riding with the BFE crowd.  Also plan on taking some pictures of the pristine night sky away from any city lights.  I'm thinking the old ball diamond at Seaton.  

Grain bin in BFE that I WILL climb this trip.  Don't try to stop me.  OK, maybe one more beer.

As of now, no firm return time, but Miss Norah has a mighty powerful siren's song.  She came up to me the other day and said, "I love you sooo much."  It's enough to make a hard-assed, cranky, old guy melt.

A lot of the month of August is already queued up so there shouldn't be any disruptions to Existing In BFE.  But if there are…well, you'll get your money refunded.

2.  Speaking of Miss Norah:  

Norah was most content clutching her box of candy in one hand and Papa in the other.  With two important parts of her world well in hand(s), it was safe to nap.  This was in no way staged,  she insists often that I sit in the back with her and she reaches over top grab my hand.  It has been decades since I've had a girl do that.  

3.  The transfer from Shawshank has been completed and I am now held hostage in Bedlam By the Bay.  But before my exchange, we had some excitement here.  Usually fresh fish bust out of prison, but this time, someone busted in.  The following video was sent around by the guards so all us inmates might be able to identify whoever it was.  No one snitched, that I was aware of, and just as soon as they broke through the front gate, they did whatever they came to do and then left.

The action starts at 12:56:19

4.  Last week I posted a rainbow from the front door.  Today, this from the back door.  I'm surrounded.

5.  Don't walk in Florida.  Top 10 US pedestrian deaths include 4 cities in Florida.

6.  Last week I was discussing the Panhandling-As-A-Living problem here.  This was also apparent when the family accompanied me to Burger King after some work at Shawshank.  I was holding Norah as as soon as we entered a gentleman in a wheel chair spoke directly to me, "I want to talk to you holding the girl.  I want you to look at my legs and as you can see I need some help but I can't afford a taxi to the VA hospital, and wondered if you would be so kind as to help me out?   I only have $8 and that isn' enough to get the ride."   As a somewhat seasoned city dweller by now, I said funds are tight for us, too and sort, but I don't have any extra right now.  He proceeded to leave the place and I held the door for him.  I wished him luck.  I assumed there are programs to assist vets, but in this time of scandal, maybe not.  Hell, I don't know.  

We sat down and ate our supper and lingered a bit having fun with Norah.  As luck would have it he returned and doled out some cash for him and his party, which looked to include about 3 or 4 people.     It isn't much of a leap that he picked this place to troll, that he gets his pass to linger on the premises by buying food, and then panhandling customers as they come in.  I know times are hard.  I know people have a right to make money, but panhandling just doesn't sit well with me, especially since a study done by the Tampa Bay Times a few years ago exposed panhandlers tricks of the trade, their lifestyle, where they live and how much they make.  It is no hyperbole that they make more than I do per year.   I'm thinking of a new career.

* Received news this week that Miss Frump has broken motor mounts which explains a noise that i thought were suspension related.  I have scheduled an appointment to see Dr. Allen and get the full story on Miss Frump's condition, but this certainly throws a curve into the main reason for coming up.  I was really looking forward to the Monmouth Crusie-In, the River-to-River Cruise In in G-Burg and the car shows in Galva, Bushnell and Knoxville.  I don't know how I'll occupy my time if Miss frump is unable to drive.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Latest Painting

Sometimes a painting just takes your hand and moves the brush for you and before you know it, free from much painterly anxiety, it is finished.  Sometimes every thing is tough and difficult, and stress inducing.  This was the latter, and more the norm.   When I was back in Northlandia I took some wintry scenes and this picture while not very wintry was kind of neat, compositionally speaking.  It is heading East on Mulberry at the Chamber's Street railroad crossing.  To the left is the Discovery Depot and to the right is the old locomotive at the train station.  The building on the right in the painting is Adams Pressed Metals building.    

The preliminary wash is applied all over the canvas.  I used Terra Rosa as an underpainting and then applied the hand drawn diagram of the future painting.  It is all rather rough just to give it some clarity and this is the time when you make any changes.  

Question:  What are you talking about when you say "wash"?  

A wash is some very light oil paint and a lot of turpentine or Gambol as a first application.

Question:  Why do you wash?  Why not just start painting? 

A wash on canvas kind of sets the base for further application of oils. Besides this is how the masters like Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Reuben's did it.  And now Blythe.

Here is the part where I painted (again, with a light wash) the road and fore buildings to get it going.  You will have 2 or three washed areas down before you actually get to the real oil painting.  See how this is a lot like painting coloring books?  You make sure you have the lines and you paint in between them, just like when you were 7. 

Question:  Were you a good colorer? 

I considered myself an excellent colorer, although I got bored with it fairly soon.  I'm sure I was better than the Wombie, and I do remember him filching my Brick Red crayon constantly.  

At this stage most of the underpainting is finished and we've begun working in oils.   One part that vexed me were the light standards.  I didn't want just another mixture of grays and white like the road, so I came up with a viridian and alizarin crimson mixture toned down ( a lot) by some titanium white.  Along the same lines, I wasn't happy with the sky or the clouds, so I had to re-do that as well.  And then I wasn't pleased with the background trees and worked them over, too.  You see, things just didn't work well on this one - I had to do a lot of mulling, pondering and then re-dabbling.  

Question:  You are a lazy-assed unemployed bum, why not ponder and mull all day.  What else do you have to do?

Good point.  

In the above picture you can see that the sky is about done, the buildings are about done, the light standards are about done.  In other words, a whole lot is done, but much is left.  Nothing is completely finished and everything needs tweaked.  But it is taking shape and this is basically what we'll have when finished.  In the last 6 months of this spurt of performance I have done 3 paintings of this same size, 30" x 40".  This 4th has taken longer, and I've spent more time trying to figure it all out than the others combined, probably.  It's a real bear.  My own fault, however, since I have left it for days hoping some magical hand comes from somewhere to help me get over the hump.  But on I slog. 

 And this is the finished product, more or less.  It is what I had in mind when I started.  There are things I like and things I don't, but then that's the way it goes for these types of things, I guess.  Michael and I used to ply this road back a few years ago when he had his super-cool 4 wheeler and we'd traipse (I'd traipse, he'd have all the fun on his ATV) all over town.  Our first stop was always the depot to watch for trains.  

So the fourth large painting is done, and I think I'll switch gears.  Maybe I'll do some plein air just to shake things up a little.   Most of August will be up in Northlandia so we'll see what happens in September.  Anyway, I tend not to title these things so this is it, pretty much.  I'm tired of looking at it, and not sure what else can be done to improve it but I always leave the possibility open, at least until I put a protective wash of Walnut varnish on it, which won't happen for 6 months.  

Question: Is this painting or any of the other ones for sale?

Up to the point they are requested for display at the National Art Museum or The Louvre, yes they are.

Question: Isn't that a rather obvious and shameless plug to sell hack artwork in order to enrich your bank account?

Yes, and you can't believe my embarrassment.  I also accept Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.

Question: Are you bullshitting us with all that?

Of course.

Thanks for taking the time to find me here at Existing In BFE, I appreciate your time.   

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flashback Friday - 2004-2014

Continuing with the 10 year anniversary of my summer of 2004 when I put on about 7000 miles on my bike and my butt.  In these pics, I made it to Arches.  My goal was to get to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park.  They have a few of these overlook observation rest area along the road and in this one, I pulled the bike over and decided to get a couple of selflies and a shot of the panoramic vista.     

I'm riding my trusty 1996 Kawasaki 1500, of the dead shark paint style (white over gray).  I need to say a few words abut that bike.  Firstly, we never had a single problem.  I thought we had a problem in Wyoming, but turns out I didn't.  More on that later.  Aside from that this bike handled me with extreme care - absolutely trouble free all summer long.  I think I said at the time, it took care of me better than I deserved.  I just cranked her up and off we'd go.  All I ever checked was the oil.  I should have checked the tires, as I later learned in South Dakota (a second trip that summer).  Great great bike.  

But for now, here I am in hot Arches laden with all kinds of weight (sleeping bag, tent, clothes, and other stuff like journals, an extra helmet and hygiene items).  

Did I mention hot?  But the scenery is the stuff of dreams.  Beautiful, and endlessly arresting.   I guess smart people don't go to Arches at high noon in July,  I was the only one there at the time.  


With pictures like these words seem so inferior.  I need to finish my story about the mechanical problem in Wyoming that ended up not being a problem.  I was traveling on the interstate from Price, Utah on up through Wyoming (day after these pictures were taken).  The bike wasn't cutting out but simply unable to keep up with the cars.  It was like there was no acceleration.  I recall the wind was a bit stiff, but still, I was being passed by everyone.  I decided to find a Kawasaki dealership in Cheyenne to get whatever was wrong fixed.  Turns out I found a place but there was no problem, it was explained that the high altitude was messing with the carburetor.  All I had to do was get closer to sea-level and my problems would be solved. 

After spending the night in Cheyenne I'd begin to head for home because the weather, according to TV, was going to turn bad for a week.  Up early as usual, and within 20 minutes of heading out on Interstate 80, the rains came and wouldn't stop until I made it back to G-Burg.  

I stopped after a bit when I came to an overpass and decided to wait it out a while.  I sat there, faunching, wet and cold.  This was all pre-smart phone so I couldn't even play "Words With Friends."  After what was probably 45 minutes I heard in the distance a low whizzing sound.  I'd know that anywhere.  Crotch rockets.  I arose and walked along the road out in the rain as the sound grew nearer.  I looked up at the Interstate and shortly a couple went by going probably 80 mph and then another.  I didn't say it out loud, or maybe I did, but my mind went something like, "By God if they can do it going that damn fast, I can do it going slower."  I took off, my fingers practically making grooves in the grips.  In 12 hours I made it back to G-Burg and stopped at Crappy's for an unbreaded tenderloin and a beer.  I was wet, muddy, and exhausted.  It rained most of the way, sometimes light, sometimes heavy.  I'd sweep my finger across my helmet shield sometimes so I could see, and those damn semi's just about did me in once or twice: blinding me with their wash and knocking me around.  But I made it.  Still won't ride in the rain unless I absolutely have to, but if I must, it can be the most adrenaline charged thing I do.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Just Five Months TIll Christmas


Here are some pictures of last winter for your amusement and edification.  

These were sent to me by loyal BFE reader Tim Stage in North Henderson.  

The next set were taken by me via the wonders of the Internet and campus cams at Iowa Wesleyan College at Mt. Pleasant.

Enjoy your B-B-Q's, the smell of a fresh cut lawn, the breeze rustling the drapes on a cool, breezy summer night.  Lurking just around the next equinox is Winter.  One of these days, usually in August, the look of summer will change.  The light will be just a bit muted, a little darker, then, the sudden realization that it's just about over.  It's out there, just waiting. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How Far Can A Georgia Gopher Travel?

The world is enticingly full of mysteries.  My co-worker for many years at the Mary, and friend, Jeff, invited us to Tybee Island a couple months ago.  There I discovered Savannah's Candy in one of those cool weekend-roped-off blocks that some cities do.  Within this two or three block are downtown are restaurants, crafts shops and art galleries.  

Savannah's has as one of their mainstay draws something they call a Gopher but is actually a Turtle.  You know, one of those pecan, caramel and chocolate snacks that expand the taste buds while it expands the waist.  I simply loved them and Jeff, bless his heart was kind enough to order some and had then sent to me in Shawshank.   

After a couple days this arrived to my door.  

They insist on packing the goodies in dry ice over the summer months, and I concur.  I leave this kind of thing to the experts.  

As a kind of bonus, my package arrived in this nice cooler.   

OK, quit toying with me.  Let me see you nutty little guys.

The dry ice was gone (I know nothing about dry ice.  What is it?  How long can you see it?) but I saw what appeared to be2 boxes ready to be ripped open and...rationed?

So how long can a Georgia gopher travel?  It can travel to Florida and forever in my pantheon of goodies to savor.  My tip to anyone reading this:  type Savannah's Candies in your browser and head over to their site.  Tip #2:  Don't order.  If you do you will be hooked and no intervention can save you.