…cause even a street sign sometimes needs a helping hand.
So I recently vandalized a piece of artwork. I totally tagged a painting by Austin Parkhill.
Cause that’s just how I roll!
…and because he invited me to.
Austin was in Utqiaġvik awhile back to complete a mural for Iḷisaġvik College. The man used to work here, before moving down to Homer. He is definitely missed.
Even so, we totally tagged his painting!
Yes, we did.
BTW: You should definitely check out more of Austin’s work on his own website, right HERE.
I’ve been to San Francisco before, not often, and never for long. This summer I spent a couple days in the city with my girlfriend, Moni, and her friend Annie, all before starting the great road trip with Wonder Woman as our companion. That was this summer, but what do I recall from before?
I was once on a massive field trip to San Francisco with virtually my entire grade school when by a perverse coincidence someone in California decided to kidnap a school bus full of children and bury them alive while waiting for the ransom. The seventies were kinda wacky that way, but don’t worry, they all made it.
…and someone at my school had to tell countless concerned parents that we were all on course and fully accounted for.
The field trip, itself I don’t remember much.
I remember a speech and debate tournament held at Berkeley way back when I was in college. I remember a hoard of people drumming in a courtyard, lots of great bookstores, a lovely trip to the wharf, and plenty of great street performers. I also remember wearing red ribbons in protest of apartheid. This was a new thing at the time, not just the color and the specific cause, but as I recall the notion of wearing ribbons as a political statement. It wasn’t then quite the cliche that it is now. Two athletes realized what the ribbons were for. That was all.
I also remember attending an anthropology conference held in San Francisco. We were palling around with an ex-Jesuit priest who had done his fieldwork in China. The guy swore he knew a great dim sum place near the hotel. We were snaking up and down the side streets until he finally hooked a quick turn into some place quite unimpressive, at least until they started serving the food. I remember him asking about spicy chicken feet. He was told they didn’t serve it to the customers, because we wouldn’t know how to eat it. After speaking to her in Mandarin for awhile, she agreed to feed him, and she brought out just enough for HIM to eat it. The rest of us got to watch.
I remember a little here and there from other trips, but nothing worth mentioning.
This time I recall getting very sick on a tour boat. I do that sometimes. Pretty much whenever I’m on a boat. Sometimes on a plane. Once recently in the back of a sled. Needless to say, roller coasters are right out! Anyway, I got off the boat this time and found myself miserable and bucking up for a day of hard work just to make it through what should have been good fun. So, Moni and Annie let me sleep in the park for an hour or so after which I actually enjoyed the rest of the day. At the very end of the evening, we decided to check out some street art. Seeing me go crazy with my camera as the sun went down, her friend, Annie, graciously agreed to take me back to check out the art in the Mission District again the next day.
I think I love Annie!
My all-time favorite was the Women’s Building with its great mural, MaestraPeace. We weren’t the only ones there with cameras, which is quite fitting, because a lot of great talent went into this piece.
MaestraPeace Mural was painted in 1994 by a “Who’s Who” of Bay Area muralists: Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez.
Seriously, that painting is very cool.
We were hunting some murals in a small alley at one point when a local suggested we go check out Clarion Alley. Moni was a little annoyed that I was talking to random homeless people, but honestly the guy helped me out quite a bit. Clarion Alley was great advice! Moni was even more annoyed the next day when I was accosted by a homeless man who wanted me to leave Clarion Alley very quickly. He wasn’t as helpful as the first guy. Still, I got my pics, and he didn’t shoot me after all, not that he had a gun mind you, but shootings were mentioned.
…as were donuts.
Anyway, I clicked away at my camera for the better part of a full day, and I could hardly tear myself away as the sun fell again. I have no doubt that I missed a great deal. I’m also told that much of the artwork would be different if we go back.
I really must test this theory some day.
(Click to embiggen!)
The Women’s Building
I’m usually a little lost in big cities. Vegas would be an exception, because it was once home, but usually cities make me a little uncomfortable. You see more people in 5 minutes down there in L.A. than you will up here in months on the North Slope (and that’s just on a quick trip to Target). I find it all just a little bit disconcerting.
Still, the big cities do have their strong points…
Oh yes, they do!
(click to embiggen!)
I was so happy with what my girlfriend gave me for a post about Monument Valley, that I asked her to write this post about Cadillac Ranch, which we also visited this December. This is what she said;
…sometimes the magic works. Sometimes she says ‘no’.
Anyway, she did send me a couple of her pics to add to the post, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.
…but I still do.
We did stop by Cadillac Ranch this December. Arrived just at the golden hour and got a few pics. As this is basically a picture post, anyway, I think we’ll just get right to it.
(Click to embiggen)
Added a couple pics from other parts of Texas as well.
(You know the drill!)
This summer my gal and I paid a brief visit to the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff where we saw this little beauty here up above. It’s the telescope first used in the discovery of Pluto. Last month, we took a long road trip from Los Angeles to Freeport, Texas, and it really was Los Angeles.
Don’t let my girlfriend fool you with any business about Glendora or Azusa. Just different ways of pronouncing Los Angeles, as far as I’m concerned.
Anyway, she and I took a trip, starting in some place Losangelish and ending at some place Freeportish. Along the way, we stopped at Cadillac ranch in Amarillo where we found this message…
I think not!
…okay, maybe, but I still think it’s amusing.
It’s been an odd year here in Barrow, rather warm in fact. Still, a bit of snow did manage to stick to a wall or three, and in due time a few creative individuals took the time to do something clever with it. I don’t have a huge batch of snow-graffiti this time, but a few of these are really cool.
In related news, I actually took the time to tweak a couple of these photos, nothing special. just enhanced the contrast and shifted the color a bit in an effort to make the art come through better. I wouldn’t say that I accomplished anything brilliant, but at least you can read the writing. This is, I think, the first post where I have actually done any post-production on a photo. Sometime, I may have to go back through my old pics and see what I can do to improve a few of them.
Click to embiggen! …come on, all the cool kids are doin’ it!
Something today set my mind down an old alley, so to speak, a memory I had all but left behind for good. I couldn’t help but smile as I remembered “The Nuke Table” from Mrs. Lenning’s old classroom during my Freshman year at Boulder City High School in southern Nevada. The Nuke Table was largely my doing, …or perhaps I should say that it was a transgression for which I was largely the main culprit. It was a large, sturdy wooden table that served as my seat more often than a writing surface, at least if you mean by ‘writing surface’ one on which you would put put a notebook, a paper, or a test before commencing to write.
The table itself? Well that I was happy to write on.
And between Drama, Speech, and many lunch hours in which Mrs. Lenning graciously allowed myself and others to hang-out and goof off in her room, I managed to write on that table an awful lot.
…it was mostly just the one sentence!
The sentence began in fashion folks would have found quite familiar in the early eighties. I wrote “Nuke the…” From here of course one would normally insert something like ‘seals’, ‘whales’, or even ‘gay-baby-whales’ in a macabre joke that had already become quite old. To grasp the fascination with this trope you have to wrap your mind around both the fear of nuclear war and the extreme irritation at sundry environmental causes common to the times. I suspect many today will manage the latter easily enough, but the scale former problem may be a bit foreign to those fortunate enough to have been born after the ‘collapse’ of state-sponsored communism. All these nuke jokes helped to allay fears over the one, by setting them full horror on the other.
Simple scapegoating; good fun for everyone.
But not for me. I turned that theme into one big glorious run-on sentence, adding one more dependent clause after another with every lunch hour. You had to read the whole sentence to determine just exactly who was to feel the wrath of the atomic age as I would have directed it. The target of the nukes changed from one day to the next as I added more information about just who should be nuked, but of course that was part of the fun. Others added their two cents here and there, but for me this table had become something of a personal project.
How I got by with this? Well, you’d have to ask Mrs. Lenning.
The thing is, the joke really wasn’t as innocent as I would have pretended at the time. No, I don’t mean that I actually wanted someone killed, much less blasted away along with anyone foolish enough to live within a short drive of them, but I certainly was working a pointed theme, and that theme was hippies and a range of left wing types I had come to associate with them. Tongue-in-cheek as the whole thing was to me, I did show some real resentment with that pen of mine.
Gee! Someone else who hated hippies?
The thing is that I didn’t hate hippies, not really. I had some fond memories of the off-beat personalities that used to wander through our house in Apple Valley, California just four or five years before. I had a few bad memories too, but enough good ones to know better than to vent that kind hatred at people I was actually happy to have had in my life. Dad was a college professor when we lived in California, retired military, and politically conservative. So, how we came to be adopted by the local counter-culture is beyond me? But that we did. And our house became a regular stopping point for many of the folks living off the grid, so to speak, just a ways out from town. This was something of a mixed blessing of course, but a blessing it was.
…well, except when I was sitting on The Nuke Table in Boulder City, Nevada, pen in hand.
Truth-be-told, I think I took to capping on hippies a lot that year. For whatever reason, I had little good to say about such folks at that point in my life. This was despite my hair, which was as long as I could get it before my parents lost their patience; despite my growing habit of walking barefoot on the hot summer ground; despite the jumble of ‘spiritual’ thoughts then ambling through my brain, and despite a love of personal freedom firmly rooted in liberal tradition. It was despite the fact that virtually all of my friends were stoners, which was as close to a ‘hippie’ as the social categories of my own high school could get me. The point is that for all the contempt I had begun to express for the long-haired people in my past, their influence was all over me.
And I was smart enough to have known that.
And maybe that was the problem. If I hadn’t learned a thing or two from the counter-culture of the previous generation, it wouldn’t have mattered. Hippies had not earned a virtual nuclear attack in my virtual universe because they were so very different from me, but rather because they were so very similar. For one reason or another, at that particular time in life, I needed to distinguish myself from the long-haired freaks I still remembered with a smile. That phase didn’t last long, and somehow the excesses of the nuke-table were enough to purge a lot of it from my thinking.
Perhaps that is why Mrs. Lenning let me have the Nuke Table, at least for a time.
I miss her.
…and the Nuke Table.
The other day I opened an email from a friend in the lower 48. It said; “-28, wow!” I had no idea what he was trying to tell me. Turns out, he had looked up the current temperature in Barrow.
Hey, look graffiti!
(Click to embiggen!)