Posted on

11-27-2011 Sheet metal worker

Droid RAZR case
Droid RAZR case

I made a couple Droid cases over thanksgiving weekend. I also taught myself how to make a customizable jquery slideshow. I fought for several hours to get a cross platform software solution to the password issue. To be able to login on Mac’s and PC’s to websites is manageable, but when you throw in an Android phone…things get complicated. I’m still not sure about the RAZR, but so far I am liking it a lot. It’s a huge step up from my 3 year old original Droid. I’ve been able to get the battery to last three 10 hour days  by turning off data most of the time, except when I am surfing the net, or downloading apps. I don’t have 4G out here, so I can’t comment on how that works. It works great as a phone, and the new Gingerbread OS is a pleasure to use. It’s super fast, and lighter than my old Droid. But mostly I’ve been enjoying making cases for it. I will do a review later, but so far I have no regrets about upgrading. As Phil said, I made a valiant effort to avoid the whole smartphone addiction issue. How many other people went as far as trying ham radio to avoid a data plan? Probably just me. In the end smartphones are just cool toys.

But I swear I will not become the person who stands on a street corner, or in a busy hallway staring and pecking at a smartphone, oblivious of, or intentionally ignoring,  the life going on around them.  The whole data thing is just for fun, or when I have to access data and don’t have a computer nearby…which is almost never. I’ve uninstalled all the games on the phone. Call me old fashioned, and you’d be right.

We had a great turkey day dinner with 19 relatives. Family is awesome. They all know I paint. After dinner, and a two hour card game called Buzz Words, they asked to see my paintings. It was weird having everyone line up like I was a performer or something, showing my paintings one at a time. But I guess we artists have to show our stuff. I’m just not used to it. We’d planned to skin up the hill at Paradise, but the snow changed to rain. I used the extra days to study Jquery programming and build things from leather and sheetmetal.

Posted on

11-20-11 home with a cold

I caught a bad cold last weekend. My friends Ed and Mindy were coughing so much I started calling them the tuberculosis twins. Friday night I didn’t sleep so good and by Saturday morning I was in the midst of a heavy cold. I have zero energy and was coughing.

I spent the day vegging out with Netflix videos. I think I watched about 6 of them. Truly a     couch potato day. This morning Sunday, I woke up feeling a little bit better but still had zero energy. I spent a couple hours wasting time surfing the net reading about the new Google Nexus prime cell phone. My droid is 2 years old and is pretty boring. Droid razor is already out and the Nexus prime is coming out in a month or  two. I’ve been obsessing about both of them which is an indicator that I’m bored and completely brainwashed by the advertising blitz. I got my Martin guitar out for the 1st time in a year and  played a couple songs. My obsession with cell phones disappeared completely. There is nothing like the pure ringing tones of a real musical instrument to make you realize that this obsession we have with cellphones is just that: an obsession.

Feeling better,  I went out and prepared some pastel paper. It comes in white, so I have to paint it gray, the gray paper gives me a neutral ground to which I can add white and black pastel, using the gray paper as the medium tones (neutral ground). I’m also doing a little lesson planning learning the Jquery programming language. After that I think I may try to start another painting, and maybe I’ll even go to the gym if I feel strong.

Posted on

11-2011 finished Self Portait

I finished my three quarter view self portrait. It’s not perfect, but it’s as good as I can make it. I’m looking forward to starting another one, but I’d like to draw someone else. Getting someone to spend 12 hours over 4 or 5 sittings is going to be almost impossible. Perhaps I will draw my hand instead. I’ve always wanted to do a good hand…maybe combine it with a series of closeups of difficult features like lips, eyes, nose, ear, hands. I love having a drawing going out at the easel. I come home from work, eat dinner, read a book for a while, and then head over to my easel. Painting is so much fun. 

Posted on

11-6-11 Three quarter view self portrait

11-6-11 Three quarter view self portrait

Put the color on my drawing today. I had some moments of magic, but most of the time I was frustrated by my inability to paint accurately. I see too much green in the

self portrait, unfinished 11-2011

skin. And shadows are a mystery. And something is wrong with the lips…but they say that is the definition of a portrait: a drawing with bad lips.

Changed the oil in the truck today at 155,000 miles. Sue and I walked and pedaled the hills of Old Town Tacoma today for exercise. Then I bought the Kindle 3 at Best Buy. The Kindle works surprisingly well. It reads books using the new E-ink technology, and downloads them over 3G at lighting speeds. I loaded 10 books from the library for free to my laptop, and transferred to the Kindle via USB cable. I was able to surf the net, and check www.weather.com…all for free. The Kindle comes with a browser and free 3G using the ATT network. It’s black and white, but who cares?

I should have gone climbing with Phil. He is back at Vantage, probably climbed Sinsemilla today. But I needed to spend some time with family, do some things around here, and paint. Painting is very important. In the long run it is much more important than climbing. By continuing my education, even when my paintings go badly, I am learning the craft…or should I call it art? In my hands, it feels more like a craft.

I read somewhere that art in any form, be it painting, writing, dance or music, requires not just talent, but work. You have to WORK at it. Or, in the words of Jack London: you can’t wait for inspiration to strike, you have to go after it with a club.

11-3-2011

self portrait 11-2011 unfinished

I’ve been working on another self portrait in my studio. I have a mirror by the easel and I’ve been painting the man reflected there. He is a strange looking old fellow. In my heart I’m still a young man, full of wonder at this great mystery they call life. But the man in the mirror is middle aged, old even. And yet I see something of myself in his wizened stare. He has a slight grin, and a twinkle in his eye.

I should be painting someone young and beautiful…but here we are, together again…I guess we find each other convenient. Strangely though, each hour I spend on the painting, I feel more of myself in the image, as if I’m transferring energy from the living man to the painting.

I’m transitioning from a finished black and white drawing to a color painting tonight, and the excitement is growing,. The pastels feel almost electric under my fingers as I stroke them ever so carefully across the sandy surface of the Rives BFK.

I feel very fortunate to have this rare gift for painting. Granted I’m not very good, but the pleasure it brings me is something money can’t buy. Here it is in black and white.

Posted on

Sunny climbing on Halloween 2011

Phil and I had an awesome weekend at Vantage. Saturday we climbed the Seven V…. route. Phil wanted to warm up on something easy and Seven V… is a nice 5.7. After that we walked over to the Air Guitar area where we did a nice fist crack called Pony Keg. We had both Phils rack and my rack so I was able to bring up 4 blues and 4 yellows, plus a couple greens and reds for the bottom. With enough big gear, Pony Keg feels just like Classic Crack: a fun cruise up a lovely crack climb.

After that we both led Air Guitar, which felt harder, but still very do-able. I was expecting it to be a give-away, but had to fish around for the correct moves at the bottom. Pony Keg is very straight forward. You climb the crack and go, but Air Guitar starts out with a combination of thin finger jams on tiny cams combined with not so obvious face holds. I soon got myself sorted out and sent the rest of it fine.

We led a few sport routes that day as well, with Phil finishing out the day on Bushido 10C. That thing was very pumpy. I don’t think I will ever have the muscle power to lead something that long and pumpy. I also need to take some practice lead falls outdoors to get my head ready for falling on bolts.

Sunshine_wall_vantage
Sunshine_wall_vantage

Sunday we walked up to the Sinsemilla area. We did a two pitch sport route there as a warm up and noticed a nice looking crack climb off to the left. I inspected it on the rap down and realized it might be within my abilities. We pulled our gear off the sport route and I led Corner Pockets cleanly. It was rated 10B trad and had a one very difficult move where you had to move up on a ring lock. It was a one inch crack, green camalot sized: too small for a hand jam, too big for fingers. The only thing I got was a ring lock where you wrap your thumb around your index finger. I had to pull down on that and a bad hand jam, friction my feet in the tiny crack in the corner of the dihedral and throw for manky jam higher up. The move felt very insecure. I was almost certain I was going to fall, which seems to be normal on 10b. I had good gear at my waist, and as soon as I moved up, I stuffed in a perfect yellow #2 camalot. It’s so cool to onsight new hard climbs.

click for video
click for video

After that I led Throbbing Gristle. I shot this video while I was chimneying up Shady Corner, a very cool 5.7 like the 7V…. route, but much cleaner. You are in between three columns, over a lot of air. It’s a fun route, worth doing again with a better camera. My Lumix does not handle extremes of light and dark well.

On the rap down we inspected Split Beaver 5.9 and found it to be a lovely hand and finger crack. We both led it and loved it. It starts out with 60 feet of user friendly hand jams and good stems across to the Gristle column. Then it changes to very clean finger jams in excellent rock for another 35 feet to the top. Several of the moves in the finger section are committing, but there is always protection above you if you need it.

On the way out of the campground we saw a couple campsites where people were cooking dinner around their campfires, getting ready for another night under the stars, followed by more climbing under the sun. I’m thankfull to have a cool job that pays the bills, but it does always seem like the weekends are too short, especially when I am climbing as well as I did this last weekend.