EARLY CHILDHOOD ADJUNCT INSTRUCTOR        
Ottumwa, Early Childhood Adjunct Instructor Indian Hills Community College has an opening for a part-time early childhood adjunct instructor to provide classroom and online instruction in morning or afternoon hours. Bachelorâ.s degree in Early Childhood, FCS or related area, minimum 18 credits in early childhood and 3+ years teaching experience or supervision required. Masterâ.s degree or enrollment in Ear
          CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR        
Ottumwa, CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR Indian Hills Community College has an immediate opening for a part time flight instructor in Ottumwa, IA who will provide flight instruction,pre-flight briefings, expanded briefings, and post-flight briefings in aircraft and Redbird Flight Simulator. This person must meet CFII qualifications in all categories through instrument instructor and be able to successfully com
          Indian girl’s finish 4th in Asian Rugby 7s        

by Shrutee K/DNS
Mumbai, August 7: The Indian Girls’ Under-20 rugby team performed creditably well to clinch the fourth position at the Asia Rugby U-20 Girls Sevens Series which was held at the Kings Park Stadium, Hong Kong, China on August 4 & 5, 2017. The team participated under the aegis of the Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India and was supported by Societe Generale, the financial partner of Rugby India. The tournament was played on a round-robin league basis.
Playing against heavyweights, the Indian girl’s put up some impressive performances winning three of the six matches and finished among the top 4 from out of the 7 participating countries, namely China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Uzbekistan, India and hosts Hong Kong. The formidable and more experienced Chinese girls were crowned champions.
The Rugby India Girls played well but came up short against some stiff competition on the first day. They lost the opening match against Thailand (0-36) but won the second defeating Malaysia (10-0). The Indian girls suffered two more defeats, losing to China (0-32) and Hong Kong 0-39).
After a tough start to the tournament, the girls turned things around on the second day, registering two successive victories. Both matches went down to the wire but the girls handled the pressure well. First the Indian girls overcame Singapore 10-5 and later beat Uzbekistan 22-15.
We are extremely proud of the team’s performance at this tournament. It just goes to show that the future of women’s rugby in India is in safe hands.
The India team: RuchiShetty – Captain (Maharashtra), GargeeWalekar (Maharashtra), NeelamPatil (Maharashtra), RiaBisht (Delhi), Rajani Sabar (Odisha), BasantiPangi (Odisha), Manjulata Pradhan (Odisha), KabitaKasturi (Odisha), Chanda Oraon (West Bengal), Swapna Oraon (West Bengal), Suman Oraon (West Bengal), Punam Oraon (West Bengal).
The final Rankings: 1. China, 2. Thailand, 3. Hong Kong, 4. India, 5. Singapore, 6. Malaysia, 7. Uzbekistan
Performance of the Indian U20 Girls Rugby Team
Day One –4th August, 2017
Day Two- 5th August, 2017
Team
Score
vs
Score
Team

Score
vs
Score

Rugby India
0
vs
36
Thailand
Rugby India
10
vs
5
Singapore
Rugby India
10
vs
0
Malaysia
Rugby India
22
vs
15
Uzbekistan
Rugby India
0
vs
32
China

Rugby India
0
vs
39
Hong Kong

About Rugby India : Rugby India, founded in 1998, is the sole governing body for the sport of Rugby in India. Recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sport, Govt. of India, Rugby India is a full member of World Rugby, Asia Rugby and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The body is responsible for the growth & development of the sport of Rugby across the country from the grassroots to the high performance level.
IRFU is the sole governing body of all formats of the sport of Rugby in India for all genders and ages. The formats included are as follows: Rugby Union, Fifteen-a-Side Rugby, Seven-a-Side Rugby, 10-a-Side Rugby, 12-a-Side Rugby, Touch Rugby, Non-Contact Rugby - Tag Rugby, Flag Rugby, Beach Rugby, Snow Rugby, Wheelchair Rugby, Underwater Rugby.
Rugby has been included in the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) for all age-groups (U14, U17 & U19 boys & girls) and the National University Games for both Men & Women, under the aegis of the Associationof Indian Universities (AIU), The sport is also a part of the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) and played by the Paramilitary & Police Forces.
Rugby in India has a rich history and heritage and dates back to 1872. However, only over the last decade has the sport seen a major rise in following and Rugby India has been instrumental in garnering this interest across the country. There has been a significant growth and increase in participation numbers and currently, within India, over 120 Rugby Clubs are affiliated to our State and Districts Associations with competitive Rugby, for both Men & Women, being actively played across 24 States in India.


          The Avengers        

So, The Avengers (Os Vingadores) was finally released in the USA over the weekend and WOW! It’s now officially THE BIGGEST OPENING WEEKEND of ALL TIME, setting many new records!!!! I can’t believe how good and entertaining the movie turned out to be and I’m so proud to have had the chance to be part […]
          A nonprofit's guide to online security: So you want to learn the lingo?        
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web becoming publicly available. For many of us, this is a reminder of just how much the Internet has transformed our daily lives. This rings true for nonprofits too: The Internet has revolutionized the way that nonprofits communicate, fundraise, and recruit volunteers. It has enabled nonprofits like yours to share their mission with a global audience. To raise awareness. And to change the world. 

But the power of the Internet also comes with great responsibility -- namely the need to keep information safe and secure. As a nonprofit, it can be difficult to keep up with online security, especially when terminology seems complicated. Yes, you might have heard of terms like “phishing” or “cookies,” but what do they mean?

Today, you can find the answers to your questions with our quick & easy to guide to online security terminology. In less than five minutes, you’ll be well on the way to helping keep your nonprofit safe on the Internet. 

Let’s get started! Here’s a quick guide to familiarize yourself with common lingo and learn how to distinguish terms that are friends vs foes in the online security realm. 


THE BAD GUYS: MALICIOUS ACTIONS/TERMS

  • Advanced Fee Fraud (419 scams): A technique which tricks users into sending or paying money to fraudsters on the promise of receiving greater rewards afterwards. It is most commonly associated with Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian legal code that covers this fraud.
  • Botnet: A network of computers that are infected with malicious software without users’ knowledge, used to send viruses and spam to other computers.
  • Malware: Malicious software with the purpose of infecting devices and systems, gathering personal information, gaining access to systems or disrupting the operations of the device or systems. Essentially, any software that maliciously alters or compromises the system or device.
  • Phishing / Social Engineering Attack: An attempt by hackers who pose as trustworthy individuals or businesses in order to get your personal information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.
  • Trojans: Malicious programs posing as or bundled with legitimate ones, which are designed to compromise your system. They are usually installed on computers from opening attachments in scam emails or by visiting infected websites. The term comes from the Trojan Horse in Greek mythology.

How to avoid social engineering attacks

THE GOOD GUYS: ONLINE SAFETY TERMS


  • [Internet] Cookie: A piece of data from a visited website and stored in the user's web browser in order to remember information that the user has entered or engaged with such as items in a shopping basket on an e-commerce site.
  • Encryption: The process of encoding data, messages, or information, such that only authorized parties can read it.
  • Firewall: A security system used to block hackers, viruses, and other malicious threats to your computer. It does this by acting as a barrier, acting on predetermined rules, which allows trusted traffic but blocks untrusted or non-secure traffic. 
  • HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): is the protocol for secure communications over a computer network used on the Internet. It essentially provides authentication of the website and the web servers associated with it. 
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that encrypts and delivers mail securely, both for inbound and outbound mail traffic. It helps prevent eavesdropping between mail servers – keeping your messages private while they're moving between email providers. 
  • Two Factor Authentication / Two Step Verification: A method of using an additional process to verify your identity online. It combines both ‘something you know’ (like a password) and ‘something you have’ (like your phone or security key) — similar to withdrawing money from an ATM/cash machine, where you need both your PIN and your bank card.

That’s a wrap for now! Pass on these tips to your nonprofit partners to stay safe and secure online, so you can focus on what matters most: changing the world. 

//

To see if your nonprofit is eligible to participate, review the Google for Nonprofits eligibility guidelines. Google for Nonprofits offers organizations like yours access to Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Ad Grants, YouTube for Nonprofits and more at no charge. These tools can help you reach new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently, and tell your nonprofit’s story. Learn more and enroll here.


          Google for Education presents: Google RISE Awards!        

Google for Education just opened applications for the Google RISE Awards, a $10-25k USD grant given to nonprofit organizations globally that give girls and underrepresented students access to computer science through extracurricular outreach programs. In 2015, 37 organizations from 17 countries received RISE Awards for projects ranging from programming clubs in Johannesburg to workshops on CS and music production in San Francisco. 

chromebooks.JPG
Learning about CS promotes valuable problem solving skills that students can apply to any field of study. Unfortunately, many students have a negative perception of what CS is and who it’s for. By partnering with nonprofits that are providing students with access and exposure to CS, we hope to change this perception and encourage more students to pursue CS. We’ve been inspired by the creativity and passion we’ve seen from our past RISE awardees, and this year we’re excited to expand the reach of the RISE awards by opening two rounds of funding applications for nonprofit organizations. 

The RISE Awards are now accepting applications through February 19, and more information on the application process is listed on our website. Visit g.co/csedu to learn more about Google’s other CS resources, including our CS teacher professional development awards, Computer Science for High School (CS4HS), which is also currently accepting applications for the 2016 year.


          Customer Service Representative - ePromos.com        
Cincinnati, OH -
Location:Cincinnati, OH
Job Code:108
# of openings:1
Description

ePromos Promotional Products Inc., a seven time winner of ASI Best Places to Work, is one of the fastest growing promotional product companies in the US. We recommend and provide custom branded merchandise and
          6.2 Million Job Openings!         
Today we finally hit my target level for job openings at 6,200,000.  While I would love to write […]
          Credit Report Monitoring Service - Get Your Free Credit Report And Score And Get Some Peace Of Mind!        
GoFreeCredit.com are a credit report monitoring service. You can obtain FREE access to your credit report and even your credit score. You are are able to request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of 3 credit reference agencies - Equifax, Experian and TrasUnion. However, getting your credit score is not as easy!

GoFreeCredit.com allow you sign up for a membership which includes the professional monitoring of your credit file and reports. You can sign up to receive automatic e-mails and text alerts should there be any activity whatsoever on your credit file. Perhaps an existing lender may have carried a credit search on you to see if you are eligible for a new mortgage or loan product. However, were you aware that excessive activity on your credit file can be detrimental to your credit score?


Did you know that identy theft costs millions of people and financial institutions billions of dollars every year! By having an efficient credit report monitoring service in place, you can detect the signs of identity theft early. Most people are blissfully unaware that someone may have stolen their social security number and their identity. Many thieves set about opening accounts either to launder money or borrow against your good name. This can take months or even years to notice and can ruin your good name and cost you plenty of money as well. NOT if you have access to a credit report monitoring service.

GoFreeCredit.com offer a free trial period for you to test their credit report monitoring service. Once you order your free credit report you will automatically be enrolled into your free trial of credit monitoring. You will then receive automatic notifications of any changes made to your credit report. Should you wish to continue using the credit report monitorng service once your trial period has ended you will be billed $14.95 a month. However, there is absolutely no obligation to continue using the service after your free trial period has finished - You can cancel your membership at any time.

Click Here To See Your Free Credit Report And Credit Score
          Sauber pays overdue staff salaries        
Sauber has paid the remainder of the February salaries of its Formula 1 staff and is in no doubt it will compete in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix
          Pirelli reveals Australian GP tyre choices        
Pirelli has announced the tyre choices made by the 22 Formula 1 drivers for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix
          Renault surprised by RS16 in testing        
Renault's 2016 Formula 1 car surprised the team in pre-season testing, and it believes it could sneak into the top 10 in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix
          Pirelli expects Melbourne tyre variety        
Pirelli is fully expecting to see a variation in tyre choice from the Formula 1 teams for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as the new rules make their debut
          Merry Christmas        



Merry Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It really brings out the best in people. Spending time with family and friends, great food and, of course, great drinks! I hope everyone enjoyed it and is looking forward to New Year’s celebrations!

Once again, I haven’t posted in several weeks. Things have been extremely busy since getting back from Afghanistan. As of yesterday, I am no longer on active duty with the Air Force. I am now a reservist with the 914th at Niagara Falls! That also means that today is my first day working ‘full time’ with New Buffalo Brewing.

We have done a lot in the last month, but we haven’t talked about it much. We set up a small lab in Clarence, and are currently dialing in on what we think will be our first four beers.  We are also working on a Kickstarter Campaign, which is a huge project. The support we receive from donors will make the difference between opening this spring and pushing off for several more months.

I want to talk about the lab in today’s post. It’s small, with a Brew Magic as our system, six half-barrel fermenters, and room for only one and a half barrels of finished beer. We are producing all the beer we need to have ready between now and April on this nano- of nano systems! You can imagine space will become an issue.

The plan is as follows: We are going to brew six beers between January 25th and March 10th. We aren’t publicizing the names yet, but we will have a brown ale, bitters, APA, and IPA. Our last two are still wild cards. We have two dry stout variants, a sweet stout and a porter. As much as I like the sweet stout, I think it’s on the chopping block. Many people we have talked to have varying degrees of lactose intolerance, and we want to make sure we are making something everyone can enjoy.

So where is this beer going? We have a couple of big things in the pipe. First, we want to be able to enter all our beers into the Amber Waves of Grain on March 10th.  Second, we need to have samples for the distributors and the bank to try. But I’m sure most people are interested in our the tastings…

We are planning four events to go with our Kickstarter campaign, three in Buffalo and one in Rochester. We’ll be sure to give everyone a big heads up once we have the locations nailed down. So far we have one place approved and three in the works.

So watch for an active blog again, and I will be updating the main site often over the next month or so as we get ready to announce our ‘official’ beers. Thanks for reading!

Bill

          Merry Christmas!        
I’ve been busy on all fronts the last month and have no posted here as I would have liked to. I really need to take a page out of CBWs book and do a stern 1 week update. It’s never that there isn’t anything to talk about. More an issue of, should some of it be spoken about in a public form. 

We’re trying to get a deal together on a building in Black Rock and the support from the community has been tremendous. I really can’t say how great they have been to work with and we’re only pitching some ideas right now. The actually negotiations on the building have not been progressing as I’ve like. Hopefully I’ll have better news on that front by the 6th of Jan. If not I’ll like be forced to put everything on ice until I get back.

Speaking of getting back, I’m leaving for a bit. The USAF finally have dates ‘set in stone’ for deploying to Afghanistan. They’ve told me that these ones are for sure so I will be out of the country for 10 of 12 months in 2012. Longer then original expected but it will help buffer some of the startup costs, and I should get allot less smack talk from the Army. (a value in its self). This will delay the start up by 9 months, why so much more? Winter, its allot harder to move equipment in, doing concrete work in the middle of winter makes things harder than it should be; so we’ll wait for spring of 2013. Not what I want to do but what is necessary to do. 

This week I also brought Dana Saylor of oldtimeroots.com to do some research. She has a pretty cool site and its interesting work. I haven’t seen the finished product so I can’t vouch for her as of yet, but I feel pretty good about it so far. 

Lastly I promised more book reviews. I read a handful on my last few trips across the country. Just for a quick notes on them I’ll say if I liked them or not.

Great American Ale Trail: Its just a list of bars and a couple of lines about them. It’s sort of a good reference and The Blue Monk in Buffalo was in the notable mentions section for NY. If you’re thinking about opening a beer bar up I would say it’s pretty good. Other than that I don’t know anyone with the time or money to visit 1000+ beer bars in the country. Once we get New Buffalo Brewing, I’ll have my beer books on site so if someone wanted to stop in and check for a place feel free.

The Story of the Irish Pub: The begging with a history of the licensed trade was good, so about 70 pages of the book are good, the remaining 150, not worth it. Just little notes of where a bar is and who owns it. Over all very disappointing. If your going to Ireland it might be fun to stop  into one, but that’s about it.

In the Classic Beer Style Series, I picked up and read, Porter, Brown Ale and Stout. This series has been pretty fun to read, and for a serious home brewer I’d recommend them They all are set up with a little history, some water information, a few home brew recipes and a list of examples that are current for the time it was published (the early ones are over 12 years old). This book are really great for someone looking to starting a microbrewer, to see how far the brewing world has come in a decade. Also as an American, to see how we have consistently tossed out style guild lines and made so many great new beers. 

Porter was a really weak read, maybe if I hadn’t already read the mild book it wouldn’t have seemed poor.

Brown Ale was very good, tons of information on the different sub sets of Brown Ale and good information all around. So many beers in this style and information about most of them.

Stout has been the best read so far, The writer has a clear passion for stouts and has offered an immense amount of information on it, the different sub-styles and many references to Guinness. I’d recommend this the most of any of them so far. I will put out the disclaimer that I too love stouts. If there is just one style of beer I could have it’s a thick cream stout.

This should have been spread out to a couple of updates, but with the holidays I don’t know if I will get around to many in the next two weeks. Also one last pitch for buying our sweet gear for someone over Christmas! 

http://www.kegworks.com/search/search.php?keywords=new+buffalo+brewing&x=0&y=0

          Rosemary-Thyme Spatchcock Roasted Turkey        

Removing the backbone and opening the turkey up more than just a beautiful presentation: it also helps the turkey cook faster and more evenly. Continue reading

The post Rosemary-Thyme Spatchcock Roasted Turkey appeared first on Pots and Pans.


          Review: Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel        
This is my second post on my purchase from Althea. Other than the Missha Red Ginseng Sheet Mask, I also bought Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel. Eye bags and dark eye circles runs in the family. So whenever I do not have enough sleep, my eye bags and dark circles become more apparent. I have always wanted to buy a good eye cream while I was schooling but couldn't really afford because you know how expensive eye cream can be. So once I got my first paid I decide to get one. My first ever eye cream is Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel which is from Laneige Water Bank series.


Contents in Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel Box
The box comes with an instruction sheet, a glass bottle of eye gel and a spatula for ease of application. The description on the box states the Water Bank Eye Gel is 'A moisturizing eye gel that gently soothes the dry and sensitive eye area and relieves eye zone stress'. The box also states that the gel expires after 12 months after opening.



Removing the seal from the bottle
The gel/cream is slightly translucent and light. It is also really light and not sticky. When applied, it gives a slightly cooling sensation on your eye area. I am really impressed by how detailed the instruction booklet is. I always try to follow the instruction unless I am really tired.

Instruction 1

Instruction 2

So what is my verdict? I think the gel really helps to make my eyes feel less tired after spending a whole in front of the computer  at work. I could really feel the effects when I first apply it. My eyes felt less heavy the next day. However, I feel it doesn't really help to lighten my dark eye circles and it only help to my eyes become less puffy by slightly. Perhaps because my eyes isn't very puffy initially.  I tried using the cream on my mother who had really puffy eyes and it showed some visible effects! I can give inputs on its moisturizing function because my eyes' area are never dry in the first place.

I'll give this product 4/5.

          The League Podcast: 2nd January        
Listen to Mark, Pete, Gav and Al on the opening Football League fixtures of 2017.
          The Punt: Monday 29 August        
Dave Kelner is joined by Lee Phelps to talk about the opening three weeks of the Premier League season on this edition of the podcast. The pair also briefly mention Sam Allardyce's England squad and the betting with William Hill following the announcement. #EPL #betting #football #England
          European Football Podcast - Episode 86: Thu 18th August        
The European Football podcast is back for another season and joining Sam Norris on week one is William Hill senior football trader Steve Harrison to discuss the opening round of fixtures in Serie A and La Liga. Enjoy.
          Euros Punt Podcast: Friday 10 June        
France take on Romania at the Stade de France on the opening day of the Euros and we have a selection of guests on this edition of the podcast. Andrew Gibney is the chief of the website French Football Weekly and he talks about the host nation, while Lee Phelps tells us a little bit more about Romania. #Euros #betting #football
          Via @NorwichBulletin @HartfordCourant #moreCOOLJUSTICE @ #SpraguePublicLibrary 9-22-16 #TrueCrime All Sides of the Law         

  • Long Version / Update



  • Sprague Public Library to host
    private investigator, author
    Andy Thibault


    By Staff reports

    Andy Thibault, a private investigator and author of the award-winning collection of newspaper columns “More Cool Justice,” will read from his work at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Sprague Public Library, 76 Main St., Baltic.



  • Complete article @ Norwich Bulletin





  • The opening chapter of "more COOL JUSTICE," Breaking Bonnie Out, features columns that led to a clemency hearing and freedom for Bonnie Foreshaw, who had been unjustly imprisoned for premeditated murder. The book also contains essays on other controversial cases, some in Connecticut.


  • Hartford Courant The Write Stuff, 2nd to last item


  • Sprague Public Library


  • --





  • more COOL JUSTICE











  • Recent column: Judges who played role in murder probe squelched access to key testimony




  • Greenwich International Film Festival, Summer 2016


  •           Burning through the Desert         
    Dan Rielger & Ayala Moriel

    A few months ago (the last day of April, to be exact, which was also the first day of my Orientals week-long course), I had the pleasure and honour to host a special guest throughout the day: Dan Riegler of Apothecary's Garden - a purveyor of fair trade resins from around the world - especially frankincense and myrrh that are wild crafted in the traditional methods in countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya. He also sources Cretan labdanum, and other rare raw materials, and sells resin-centrered products that he concocts himself, which you can find on his online shop. One of them being a highly fragrant moustache wax which basically surrounded him with a cloud of frankincense - so obviously he made an instant good impression on me!

    We started the day at the Baha'i Gardens in Akko (which deserve a full post dedicated to them) and then went to my studio to make incense - and burn a bunch too. Little did I know what I was signing up for. On top of the usual things I burn for this class (palo santo chips, sandalwood incense sticks, one type of myrrh and frankincense resins and my own rendition of Egyptian Kyphi) - Dan had a trunk-load of resins that he just imported from Africa, and was immensely kind and generous to share with us the most incredible incense resins with me and my class. We spent the afternoon burning rare myrrh, olibanum, and also some gums I never knew existed, namely Sandarac and Ammoniacum, the latter of which totally blew my mind.

    I learned so much from Dan, about the resins (and the other raw materials he curates and sells), how they are harvested and collected, the chemical makeup of the resins and how it affects the stages of burning (it turns out that incense resins also have top, heart and base notes) - and this post is just a little taste of all the beautiful resins we burnt when he was here. I'm looking forward to meeting him again on his next visits in Israel on the way to the African continent.

    Boswellia carterii
    Frankincense usually comes in "tears" shape as this Boswellia carterii - but not always. Below is a specimen of the less known B. neglecta that look more like a chunk of resinous granules. B. carterii has the characteristic, most unmistakable scent of frankincense - beginning with sweet citrus notes of lemon drops and orange candy and continuing into more resinous, woody and even balsamic, caramel-like nuances as the incense burns on the charcoal.

    While looking pretty much the same, other frankincense species provide further nuances and a whole frankincense burning comparative study (or incense games a-la Japenese Koh-Doh) can easily occupy half a day. Compare this to Maydi (Boswellia frereana) which albeit its slightly herbaceous (sage-like) opening, is more subtle, woody and perfumey. In fact, it smells almost powdery like violet and iris. Ethiopian frakincince (Boswellia papyrifea) is even finer with its suave, light perfume notes, slightly sweet and with notes of burnt sugar at the end of the charcoal burning process.

    Boswellia negoecta - black and white

    Boswellia neglecta is endemic to north Kenya and comes in white and black forms (as you can see in the photo) and is not widely known. The white and the black smell significantly different. The white begins resinous-green, piney and mysterious, surprisingly juice like crushed leaves with hints of parsley, galbanum and ammonia (smells a lot like amoniacum).  It has a hint of sweaty note, a little like coriander seed. The final burning moments bring to mind the smoke coming out of autumnal piles of fall leaves.

    The black neglecta smells completely different - you wouldn't think it came from the same plant: it smells dark and looming, like moss, mushrooms, decaying fall leaves, peat, forest floor and hints of campfire. It's surprising and magical that a resin can possess so many different facets.

    Sandarac
    Sandarac (tetraclllyris) comes from Malta and just like its pure milky appearance, burns clean with a woody-balsamic-resinous scent that is fine and very pleasant. It's a little bit like elemi, a little like mastic but not quite. There is a tiny hint of seashore to it that I only detected after many times of burning. It is quite lovely, even if underwhelming at first impression.

    Ammoniacum
    Ammoniacum is intense and pungent, like a mixture of galbanum, asafoetida, sulphur, greens. It it a very interesting odour but I suspect it would have better effect in magic and exorcism ceremonies rather than contemplative incense rituals.

    Commiphora confusa

    Commiphora confusa, as the name suggests, is a type of myrrh that is hard to identify, and for several reasons: the flowers look different on each plant, the resin looks different as well - and the most surprising of all: it smells more like frankincense than myrrh.

    Commiphora myrrha

    Commiphora myrrha (from Ethiopea) has the characteristic bitter, rubbery scent when burnt, and is what I'd imagine the Queen of Sheba to wear on her neck when seducing King Solomon.

    Commiphora karat

    Commiphora kataf (from Kenya) has pieces of wood in it (which would change the smell of the smoke depending on which chunk you burn). It has a strange, sulphuric-sweaty odour. I guess you could call it spicy, as it has a hint of cumin in it too. Overall it reminds me more of the smell of food than incense - barbecuing kebabs comes to mind.

    Commiphira holziana
    Commiphora holtziana does not smell like myrrh at all to me. It's more woody than C. myrrha, and a tad fresh to start with. Dan describes it as briny and sea-like but I'm not getting it.

    Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh
    Arabian/Yemeni Myrrh is by far the most incredibly beautiful myrrh resin I've ever burnt. Although it came in a strange looking chunk, containing pieces of the plastic bags used by the collectors, and even a piece of wool yarn, it has the most fantastic scent, like a perfume on its own accord. It reminds me of the unique "version" of frankincense that B. papyrifea offers. I would love to have this as an essential oil and create a perfume with it.


              Healing Plants         
    Garrigue - Teucrium creticus

    Although I never intentionally created my perfume with aromatherapy mindset, I found them to be very healing throughout the years. Partially because of the creative process itself - the bringing together of contrasting and conflicting elements that represent such aspects within my psyche. And partially because I actually felt the plants' healing energy through wearing the perfumes:
    Grounding, soothing, reviving, reminiscent of the places and people I missed and longed for, helped me get through many rough patches and heartbreaks that permeated the majority of my years on this earth.

    While moving my vast collection of fragrant materials, I realized that at my fingertips I have an entire pharmacopeia. This is also true for some of my fragrances. A few weeks ago I started the day with intense sense of grief and feeling very heavy hearted and anxious. I had to fill orders that morning, and make samples of Ayalitta. I dabbed some on and no less than fifteen minutes later I noticed that I am feeling more grounded and that the anxious hole opening at the pit of my stomach started to close... It could be partially explained by power of association and past experiences wearing this scent while being in a similar state of mind and finding it soothing. Also, I think another big part has to do with the actual plants in it and their healing powers, namely sage (both Spanish and Clary), rose, jasmine, neroli and patchouli.

    Part of my moving back to my home village was for reconnecting with nature and Mother Earth in a more immediate, hands-on manner. I wanted to not only smell the spirit of the plants that I love and cherish, but also experience them int heir living state. I wanted to see how they grow and turn the brown soil and sunlight they absorb into myriads of different colours, shapes, flavours, scents and therapeutic properties.

    Behind my home is a mountain, and on it grow wild many fragrant and medicinal plants. It's awe-inspiring how many remedies are gifted to us by Mother Nature. If we only listen and learn her secrets, we have the potential to heal gently and find cure for many of our physical and emotional pains and misalignments. Plants are such benevolent creatures, I am now beginning to understand on a more immediate level why so many tales and myths about plants associate them with a spiritual being, such as an angel, nymph or even a god or a goddess.

    The properties and aromas of the plants here fascinate me. They feel familiar (and in fact I know many of them since forever) - yet I keep meeting new plants that are either highly fragrant or medical; and those that I do know keep surprising me with new uses and therapeutic potential that I never knew existed.

    For example: I came across a very ambery-spicy-herbaceous-smelling herb that has quite resinous leaves., growing in rather rocky areas up on the mountains here. I could not ID it because it never had flowers when I saw it. I tried brewing it into teas (even though you probably shouldn't consume something you haven't even identified yet!), tincturing it, and also drying the leaves, which I want to incorporate into incense. Just yesterday I saw someone post about it and was able to immediately recognize it - Chiliadenus iphionoides (כתילה חריפה)Turns out it has not only a delicious aroma but also many uses for diseases in respiratory system, as well as the heart, digestive system, skin conditions, wounds, fever, overall weakness and joint inflammation.

    Teucrium (Germander) is another new discovery for me - for both its fragrance and myriads of medicinal uses. And also I am going to dedicate an entire post to the various thymes and oreganos that grow here, which aside from their well known culinary significance in regional and international cuisine - are also extremely valuable medicinally; and I'm also warming up to their fragrance per se (a rare occurrence in perfumery, really). Vitex agnus-castus (שיח-אברהם מצוי) always eluded me with its fragrance, and now I'm also discovering its healing properties, especially for women's health.  And last but not least - I discovered that clary sage is actually a wild plant here as well, and was gifted two tiny plants from Neta Fink who visited my studio last week. I am feeling very inspired to study these plants - both old friends and new ones - explore properties and work them into new applicable products that would be both fragrant and healing.
              Adobe Presenter Video Express: The end of Green Screen        
    Guest Blog by: Steve Haskin, Principal & Chief Creator at Industrial Strength Learning Take a look at the screenshot below. Take a good look at it. It looks simple, doesn’t it? Looks can be deceiving. While this might look like a really simple software program, it is most assuredly not. On this opening screen you can […]
              Comment on [VIDEO] 170808 Girlgroup Oh My Girl’s Congratulatory Message to KAVE’s Grand Opening by Sapphire        
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              Homily: 5th Sunday of Lent        
    As we come into the final weeks of our Lenten journey– the question on my mind is: How well do we see? Has Christ vanished from our sight? Unfortunately I think many people miss the opening line in this week’s Gospel which starts out saying some Greeks came to worship at the Passover Feast and they asked to see Jesus - and their query seems to be more than just star-crazed gentiles looking to get a glimpse of Jesus. But I would guess the answer Jesus gives them was more than they were looking for. So how can Tim Shriver, Special Olympics and Kodak help us make sense of this week’s Gospel?
              Closed HSBC Business Checking Account        
    I went to my HSBC branch and closed my Business Checking Account on December 30, right before the start of the new year. I've moved my Business money over to Fidelity Investment since I was not earning any interest in my HSBC account. Fidelity Investment was offering interest and check writing on my business account. While I was closing my account, my HSBC account manager told me the things that were going on in her department. She said HSBC will be implementing a Point System for staff members. Supposedly, the staff will receive points for opening new customer accounts, CDs, etc.
    She told me there's no points for closing accounts, and that's why no other staff members were willing to handle the close of my account. She was a little disgruntle and frustrated at how picky (lazy) the staff members were. She also hinted how the Point System is going to cause more tension among the staff.
    HSBC has excellent customer service. I hope they can maintain that.

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    Uber seamlessly connects riders to drivers and makes cities more accessible, opening up more possibilities for riders and more business for drivers. Uber referral offer gives you uber free ride worth Rs. 150 on signing up as a new user. Rider referrals allow drivers to earn cash for inviting new Uber riders who apply your promo […]

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              Foss Evening Cricket League round-up        
    PROMOTED Heworth overcame newly-merged Middleton & North Dalton in the opening round of Foss Evening Cricket League division one games.
              Dunnington see off their Academy side to start Foss Evening League season with victory        
    DUNNINGTON proved too powerful for their Academy side in the opening round of Foss Evening League fixtures.
              Women's British Open 2017: In-Kyung Kim Builds on Huge Lead on Saturday        

    In-Kyung Kim retained control during the third round of the 2017 Women's British Open, posting a score of six-under 66 on Saturday.

    The 29-year-old was smooth on the greens and leads the competition by six shots at Kingsbarns Golf Links in Fife, Scotland, residing on 17 under for the tournament.

    For the latest leaderboard, visit the Ladies European Tour website.

    Kim sprinted out of the blocks on the front nine, seemingly playing without pressure as she sank four birdies in the opening seven holes.

    The 29-year-old was unflappable, and her consistency was world class as she drove off the tee with confidence.

    Birdies on No. 11 and 12 pushed Kim's lead, and she putted at her best throughout the round.

    The tournament's official Twitter account highlighted her finishing:

    Kim played with a smile on her face over the final holes as she headed to the clubhouse, and she will be a big favorite to capture the major title on Sunday.

    Georgia Hall braved the conditions to lead the charge for the British contingent, finishing the day joint-second on the leaderboard with Moriya Jutanugarn on 11 under.

    The English starlet, who turned professional in 2014, suffered a bogey on No. 3 but countered with a magnificent eagle on No. 5 to fight back.

    Three successive birdies on the back nine put Hall within striking distance of Kim, but she dropped three strokes in the final three holes.

    The Women's British Open shared her last birdie of the day:

    After a magnificent couple of days, Kim is in the driver's seat and deservedly so. 

    She last dropped a shot on the opening hole of the second round, and she has navigated the wet conditions with consummate ease.

    Read more Women's Golf news on BleacherReport.com


              Women's British Open 2017: In-Kyung Kim Leads, Michelle Wie Falters        

    In-Kyung Kim took the lead at the 2017 Women's British Open on Friday, after a round of four-under 68 in dreadful weather conditions. 

    The 29-year-old sits two shots ahead of Georgia Hall and Lexi Thompson, while overnight leader Michelle Wie tumbled down the standings after a dreadful second round.

    For the full leaderboard, click here.

     

    Recap

    Kim enjoyed a second solid day in a row at the Women's British Open, finishing Friday's round atop the leaderboard. Her round of four-under golf included an eagle on the 11th and just a single bogey, despite miserable weather conditions as she finished her round.

    Consistency was once again the key, as the Korean star took few risks with her approaches and relied on smart putting to grab the lead.

    Earlier in the day, Hall and Thompson fired themselves to a share of the lead, at nine-under. The former dropped her first two shots of the tournament but had a great run on the front-nine, with four straight birdies, and finished the day five-under par.

    As shared by the tournament's official Twitter account, her short game was on point:

    Thompson struggled on the front-nine but was sensational on the back-nine, opening with five straight birdies and eventually settling for a score of four-under.

    Here's a look at one of her finishes:

    Ally McDonald also finished four-under to position herself one shot behind the duo, as things are tight at the top.

    Wie, who set a new course record on Thursday, endured a horrid day to finish with a score of four-over and tumble out of the top 10.

    The 27-year-old recorded just a single birdie and had a double-bogey on the 17th. Rich Lerner of the Golf Channel noted she did not look smooth in her swing:

    At four-under, she still has a shot at a good finish if she can replicate Thursday's form.

    Read more Women's Golf news on BleacherReport.com


              Women's British Open 2017: Michelle Wie Takes Early Lead After 1st Round        

    Michelle Wie took control on the opening day of the 2017 Women's British Open, scoring a first round of eight-under 64 on Thursday.

    The American remained motivated and accurate at Kingsbarns Golf Links in Fife, Scotland, as the heavens opened, causing rain delays.

    Wie completed nine birdies to finish a magnificent round and leads by a single shot over the field. 

    For the latest leaderboard, visit the competition's official website.

    According to John Huggan of Golfdigest.com, Wie recorded a new course record as she produced her very best at Kingsbarns.

    A bogey on No. 2 was soon eliminated from the player's mind, and she went on a credible run on the front-nine.

    Three birdies across five holes set up the second half of Wie's round, but her back-nine was simply sensational.

    Birdies on No.11, 12 and 14 were impressive, but the 27-year-old was on fire as she approached the clubhouse.

    Wie sunk birdies on the final three holes as the weather conditions began to rapidly decline after a sunny start.

    The tournament's official Twitter account highlighted Wie's ruthless streak:

    It was a strong day for the English contingent, with six players within four shots of the lead.

    Laura Davies rolled back the years to shoot a four-under 68, to the delight of the watching crowd.

    Davies hit seven birdies, but she made mistakes that inflated her numbers.

    A double-bogey on No. 15 was immediately followed by a bogey, but her recovery was rapid as she sank important putts.

    A birdie on the final hole made sure she ended the day with a smile and a shot at winning the tournament.

    Davies is no longer the dominant player of yesterday, but her knowledge of links golf will see her well against younger opposition.

    Read more Women's Golf news on BleacherReport.com


                      

    JIM BUBB'S ADIRONDACK TROPHY BUCK

    .
    It begins with Jim Bubb, Mechanicville, joining several of his hunting buddies for their traditional northern zone opening deer hunt in the Forked Lake area of Hamilton County. Jim’s day began very early paddling a canoe across the lake to reach the base of the mountain that he planned on hunting. It was an area he had hunted before and knew that he had a chance at getting a big buck there. He headed up and over one of the mountains in the wet windy snow and at about 11 a.m. he reached an area with fresh tracks and scrapes; and began his sneak and peek adventure. He hadn’t gone too far when he got a quick glimpse of the deer when it jumped up; but he saw enough of it to know it was the one he was after. 

    After several hours of tracking Jim thought he knew where the buck was headed and decided to cross over the creek and circle around and try to get in front of him; which he did. What he didn’t see was the buck laying down about 40 yards from him until it jumped up. He missed with the first shot but the second round from his 30.06 was on target. I am sure there when that buck went down there was a very big smile on this face and his “YES” echoed all over the mountain when he stood over this huge 8 pointer.  But now the hard part; he was at least 3 miles from the canoe.

    He radioed his friends and told them he had taken a buck and would be on his way back. It was after 2 p.m. before he finished dressing out the deer and then started the long drag back. He knew the shortest way out was to follow the creek; however he also knew that the heavy brush that he had to encounter. When he looked at his GPS about 5 p.m. he realized he was still several miles from the canoe. It was then that he decided lessen the weight and he deboned the deer and very carefully cape it; because this buck was going to be mounted. Now, with over 100 pounds in his backpack, his rifle and flashlight in one hand and the head and cape in the other, he headed Jim started out again.

    It was dark now and the radio contact with his friends became very spotty, and it was then that his friends notified the rangers. It wasn’t too long after that the rangers finally made some radio contact with Jim; but that too was spotty. The rangers continued to try to get radio contact and were about to start their search when Jim reached trail he was able to tell them he was fine; and on his way out.  I don’t know how many stops to rest Jim made, but I am sure that when he reached the canoe and rangers sometime after midnight they looked very good to him.

    Back at the camp the measuring tape came out and his big 8 pointer raw scored at 134.25 inches; which included 4 inches around the bases of the antlers and a 21.25 inch inside spread. As for weight it was well over 200 pounds. Congratulations Jim.

                      

    LAKE PLACID HIGH PEAKS TURKEY HUNT  MAY 1, 2013





    HIGH PEAKS GOBBLER


    Three years ago, the New York State Outdoor Writers Association held its annual fall conference in Lake Placid. I limited my outdoor activities that weekend to the various types of lake and stream fi shing the area offers.

    October is a great time to be standing by or in any of the many trout streams or boats fi shing their crystal clear lakes. Threre isn’t a more picturesque place to be during the peak of the colorful foliage season. During the day’s conference, I found out they had a growing population of wild turkeys. Lake Placid Tourism hosted dinner that evening, and I said I’d like to try hunting these high-peak gobblers in the spring.

    In late January, I got an email from Sue Cameron, events and communications manager of the Lake Placid CVB/Regional Offi ce of Sustainable Tourism, asking if I was still interested in hunting turkey in the high peaks, and if I was, what would I need. It didn’t take me long to answer that question. I told her if they could find any properties that had turkeys, all I’d need is permission to hunt. I also added if someone, or a guide, wanted to help me, that would be great.

    Several weeks later, Sue contacted me and said she had talked to many of the hunters in the area, and the name that kept popping up when it comes to turkeys was Bill Moore, the Lake Placid chief of police. I also found out that Bill had taken two NYSOWA members turkey hunting during the fall conference. I thought this was great, because I’d have someone familiar with the territory and the bird’s habits and locations. In all my years of hunting, I’ve never shot a turkey north of Glens Falls, and I was going to be hunting the high peaks.

    Shortly after lunch April 30, I headed for Lake Placid. I’ve always enjoyed the ride on state Route 73 from the Adirondack Northway at Exit 30 to Lake Placid village. It winds through Essex County’s Keene Valley and alongside the famous trout waters of the Ausable River.

    What really surprised me was the large chunks of ice still on some of the high rock walls. I believe when the foliage along this road starts to green, it’s almost as beautiful as in the fall. I wasn’t the only one that day to stop at one of the pull-offs to take a few photos.

    It was right around 3 p.m. when I passed the Olympic ski jumps that were built when Lake Placid hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics. My first stop in town was to check in with Sue Cameron, who gave me directions to The Pines Inn, where I would be spending the night. The Pines Inn is a turn-of-the-century historic inn, but with all the modern conveniences, and the proprietors, Jill and Frank Segger, were very congenial hosts.

    Once settled in, I had an early dinner, and later that afternoon, I met up with Bill at his son, Sean’s, baseball game. Sean was going to join us for opening day of the turkey season, but he was one up on us. On the first day of the Youth Hunt season, Sean shot a 20-pound tom with a nine-inch beard oneinch spurs.

    THE HUNT

    I set the alarm for 4:15 a.m., but I was up shortly after 3, as usual, anxious to get into the woods. It was still dark when Bill and Sean picked me up, and he said we’d start on his friend’s property. His friend had called the night before and said he heard toms gobbling out behind his house.

    We parked several hundred yards from where the birds were believed to have roosted, then walked slowly down a dirt road winding through the pines, stopping occasionally to call, but got no responses. Before leaving, we set up on the edge of a fi eld, made a few more calls, got one response, but nothing after that.

    “Back to the original plan,” Bill said.

    We packed up and headed for the area he’d roosted birds several times during the week. As we were driving down the road leading to the property, we saw a tom and two hens well out into a field, and on our way to turn around, we spotted at least six birds on the other side of the road, about 200 yards in along a woodline. Two were definitely toms.

    We quickly parked the truck and began sneaking and peeking, using bushes and trees to cover our advance. Sean and I got within about 50 yards of where we thought the birds were feeding, and each took a spot where we could watch each side of the cover. Sean was watching the left, I the right.

    Bill stayed back about 25 yards in the high brush and set out his decoy. The plan was that the tom would see the decoy and head for it, and Sean or I would intercept him.

    Bill began with several soft yelps on his slate and immediately got several booming responses. This is when that chill runs up and down your spine and your fi nger slowly moves towards the safety as you anchor your cheek on the shotgun’s stock. I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been hunting turkeys, when you know that tom is interested and coming, you can feel your adrenaline level beginning to rise. I know that mine rose significantly when I heard him spitting and drumming, a sure sign that he was close and coming.

    Out he came on a fast trot and in full display with his big bright red head pushed back against his raised fan feathers that were glistening in the morning sunlight, and all he saw was that lovely hen decoy that was about to cost him his life. It was during this stare that I slid the safety off and placed the orange front sight on the base of his neck and squeezed the trigger.

    At just 30 yards, it didn’t take long for the three-inch No. 4 copper-plated pellets of my Federal Premium Mag Shok leaving my Benelli Vince at 1,300 feet per second to reach Mr. Tom. It was quick, clean, and he never took another step. This was my seventh turkey with this gun in just as many shots. Finally, after decades of successful turkey hunting, I’d taken my fi rst high-peaks gobbler.

    But before I could move, two more gobblers announced their presence, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a lone hen walking and clucking her way past Sean. Both of us froze so as not to alert her or the toms. When the hen was out of sight, one soft yelp by Bill was all that was needed to light up those two gobblers and in they came, side by side, and walked behind my downed tom. I think the dead tom might have made them a bit nervous because they quickened their pace as Sean raised his gun. Unfortunately, he was unable to get off a good shot. All this excitement, and it was only 6:45 a.m.

    We estimated my tom weighed about 18 pounds, and his full, thick beard measured 9 1 /4 inches. What was interesting, and a first for me, was that he did not have any spurs.

    Prior to our setting up for these birds, I hadn’t looked at our surroundings and never noticed just how picturesque a background I had for the hunt and our photo shoot. I was just about 100 yards from where we took the photos, and I could actually see the tops of the Olympic ski jumps. But most impressive were the mountains. Looking at them left to right, I could see Marcy, Skylight, Colden, Wright, Algonquin and Iroquois. If you go to my blog at: http://fi shguydblog.blogspot.com/, you’ll see what I mean. Be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them and check out the snow on the tops of some of them. It’s truly beautiful country.

    With several hours of legal hunting time left, there was plenty in which to get Sean a tom. Bill decided to circle the area where I’d shot my tom and see if we could come in below where the other two toms had run off into the woods.

    We walked down parallel to the woodline several hundred yards away from the birds and then entered a trail that led us deep into the woods. Once inside them, Bill began a walking 50 to 75 yards, stopping to call and listening. But the toms were not talking, and after an hour, we loaded up to move to another area.

    “They’ll be back,” Bill said, “and we’ll give them a try tomorrow.”

    We made several other stops, but none produced sightings or responses, and we ended the day’s hunt about 11 a.m.

    Back at The Pines Inn, I thanked Bill and Sean for their hospitality and for what was definitely one of my most memorable wild turkey hunts.

    Thank you, Sue, Bill, Sean and the Segger’s for your hospitality.








                      
    WYOMING ANTELOPE A SUCCESS




    Last Sunday at the crack of dawn when Steve Zahurak, Schenectady and I should have been in a treestand for the opening of the NYS bow hunting season in the Southern Zone, we were boarding a plane bound for Casper Wyoming for a 5 day ante lope hunt. The hunt was the result of an out of the hat drawing of 75 outdoor writers business cards who attended the Wyoming Business Council media dinner at this year's Shot Show in Las Vegas. The guided hunt was for two also included all the licenses in one of Wyoming's best zones-Area 25. Steve was the obvious choice to accompany me on this hunt because he attends the Shot Show with me every year; but I did call my wife from the Show and invited her; but she refused.

    Three planes and 7 hours later we touched down in Casper and as promised, Kelly Glause, proprietor of Cole Creek Outfitters was there to greet us and take us to our hotel. Kelly guides for antelope, whitetail and mule deer, prairie dogs and pheasant and his clients often include various shooting sports manufacturing companies such as Swarovski Optics, Bushnell Optics, Horton Archery and Hornady Ammunition who would be hunting there later this week. Ironically I just happened to be using their 130 grain GMX SUPERFORMANCE bullet in my Century Arms 270 rifle. Ballistically this bullet leaves the barrel at 3190 feet per second and with muzzle energy of 2976 foot pounds.

    Kelly has been managing this 80,000 plus acres of prime hunting land for over 23 years; and we found out just how good it really was the next day. Since I was going to be in Wyoming I arranged a Merriam turkey hunt also; which, if I was successful, would help me to qualify for my 7 th National Wild Turkey Federation Grand Slam. Kelly said he would set me up with the best turkey guide in the area; his son Kody; the owner of Heart Spear Outfitters (www.heartspear.com). Kody also guided for elk, mule and whitetail deer, bear and mountain lions. Kelly also said if I did not want to bring a turkey gun he could set me up with a special one; an offer I accepted.

    THE HUNT
    It was only a short ride from the hotel when we drove through the gate leading to the hunting grounds; and I don't think that the gate was fully closed when we saw our first buck antelope that quickly disappeared over a hill. The pronghorn antelope is the fastest land animal in the Western Hemisphere reaching speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Equally amazing is that they have a 320 degrees field of vision and their eyesight sees what humans do when looking through 8 power binoculars. Definitely a challenging animal to hunt.

    Our plan was to ride the range and Kelly would stop and glass boss bucks in each group looking for the biggest horns. Then if he found a "keeper" he would tell us it was a good one and then ask us: "What do you think?" This is something I have never had a guide do before."

    We had glassed about 20 groups with bucks I had thought were good but Kelly just smiled and said: "We can do better." And later, we were glad he did. It is hard to describe how big this ranch really was; in term of miles it was roughly 25 by 20 miles.

    I was about 7:45 a.m. when Kelly spotted and glassed a buck laying down and said that it definitely was a good one; but he had a small piece missing from his left cutter horn. What I saw was a mature antelope buck that has been fighting to keep the young bucks away from his harem; and his big swollen neck was definitely a sign of the rut. It was my call and I didn't hesitate: "I’ll take him, “I said.

    As quietly as I could I slid out of the truck and before my feet hit the ground I could feel the adrenalin rising as I chambered a round into my rifle. Slowly I readied for the shot and was glad that I had added the Caldwell bipod to give me a steady level rest.

    The buck was lying down in the grass which covered several inches of its lower body but I had enough to shoot at as I sighted him in. He moved but did not get up. The only thing that I remember after I pulled the trigger was the chill that ran up my spine: I MISSED! Now prior to this trip I spent time sighting in the rifle with its new LUCID L5 scope and the Hornady ammo; and when I finished I could cover my 3 shot group with a penny 2 1/2 inches high of center at 100 yards. This was the proper setting for this gun. Therefore the miss was not the gun's fault.

    As I chambered another round he jumped up and started to trot uphill; but he made the mistake of stopping at the top and looking back; it was a deadly mistake. Shot number 2 put him right down where he stood. WOW! I did my best impression of a Tiger Woods victory pump and accepted the handshakes of Kelly and Steve. It was just 8:17 a.m. on the first day.

    Kelly estimated the antelope to be about 3 1/2 years old and weigh about 140 pounds. The horns measured 13 1/2 inches. Now earlier that morning I presented Kelly with the Viscerator knife by FieldTorg Knives which I asked him to use to field dress the antelopes. Later that day he commented that he was very impressed with the knife’s performance and its construction.

    Looking back at my miss I believe what happened was that I had incorrectly used one of the BDC (ballistic drop calculator) lines in my Lucid L5 scope rather than the center of the crosshairs, causing the shot to go even higher than the 2 1/2 inches. I am not use to the BDC (ballistic drop compensator) drop lines in my new Lucid L5 scope; but I will be with a few days at the long range practicing and rolling over a few coyotes.

    STEVE'S TURN
    Back in the truck Steve told Kelly that he needed to shoot an antelope with horns that measured at least 13 5/8 ths. This is typical competition that we have developed over the years. We did not have to go far to find more antelopes. If I were to guess we had already seen at least 80 or 90; and we hadn’t seen half the ranch yet.

    I don't think we traveled more than a few miles and glassed a dozen more groups when Kelly spotted a "shooter" laying down; but as we approached he was up and moving. Kelly and Steve exited the truck and started their sneak and peek. They had gone about 50 yards when Kelly set up the shooting sticks for Steve’s shot. At about 150 yards he fired but it was too low; and his second shot at 200 yards was high and the buck disappeared over the hill and disappeared into a gorge.

    It was about 20 minutes later when we spotted another which we believe was the same one Steve had missed earlier. Quickly he set up and at 250 yards he was again high; but we were not done with him yet.
    Watching his hasty retreat we jumped back in the truck. Kelly's sharp eyes and knowledge of the ranch knew where he was going; and he knew how to get in front of him. When we spotted him again he was 250 yards out and Steve's shot was horizontally perfect but he believes he jerked the shot off to the left. Now we got to see how fast an antelope really is; and how good Steve really is.

    Following the flying buck in his scope Steve pulled off what was the best shot I had ever seen. We heard the bullet impact on what turned out to be a perfect heart shot. I think it died of fright; but Steve says he always takes a few practice shots at the “range” before he shoots anything.

    Lots of hoots, congratulations and photos followed. It was truly a great day; except for the fact that I sat on a cactus when having my photo taken with Steve. He did however generously offered to take a photo of me removing all those needle-like prickers from my butt. As for the horn measurements I rounded them up to 13 1/2 inches. It was noon, on the first day of the hunt. This is one GOOD guide.

    We did do a little more shooting before leaving the ranch at a few prairie dogs; and these little ranch pests are fun; especially when you do it with a .270.



    TURKEY HUNT


    After I got my turkey license Kelly said he had arranged a meeting for me with Robert Stone of RGS Custom Rifles (www.rgsllc2010.com) which is where I picked up my turkey gun. Robert’s guns were outstanding and the one that I would be using was the first one he had even made. It was a single shot .22-250 that, if he had to replace it, would range around $6,000. At the range I put two rounds through the same hole and figured the turkeys were in trouble.



    Kody had definitely done his homework for my turkey hunt because the river bottom he had chosen had plenty of Merriam turkeys; most of which were mingling with the cattle. This was definitely going to be a spot and stalk hunt; something I do not do a lot of when hunting for turkeys. Kody glassed the flocks looking for a good tom and found several feeding closely with the cattle. It was obvious that with all the cattle activity the shooting window would not be open long and the shot would have to be threaded carefully. To say I was a bit nervous would be an understatement; not only did I feel nervous about scratching his beautiful rifle but also in not hitting a cow.



    But the gun was definitely up to the task and at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon I shot through an opening in a hedgerow and toppled a Wyoming Merriam tom that carried a 5 inch beard and tipped the scales at over 20 pounds. All this on our first day of hunting!



    THANK YOU Kelly, Kody, Robert and a special thanks to the Wyoming Business Council from Steve and me. For photos


















     























              BLACK BEAR MEETS REMINGTON R-25        

    It was a warm sunny late September afternoon when I pulled into the Canadian Border Customs in Lewiston several weeks ago in route to Port Loring, Ontario where I hoped to shoot my seventh black bear. Little did I know then that this would be the last ray of sunshine I would see for the next 5 days. Having my gun registration paper work completed prior to my arrival helped to expedite the process; however when I opened my gun case and the Canadian officer saw my new fully camouflaged Remington R-25 .308 caliber modular repeating rifle, he was quite impressed as were several of his fellow officers who also came over to look. Once across the border I knew that I would not reach Port Loring until the wee hours of the night and decided to drive until about 9 p.m. and find a motel to spend the night; which I did in Trey, Ontario. And by mid-morning the next day I was knocking on Hermann and Lise Stroeher’s door. It was really good to see them again since my last visit 4 or 5 years ago and they were as warm and friendly as ever. But Hermann was all business and told me we can talk later and to follow him to where I would be staying. He wanted me to get unpacked and back to his house by 1:30 p.m. so I would be in my treestand by 2:30 p.m. I could feel the adrenaline already starting to boil just thinking about the hunt. My accommodations this year were at Wright Point Resort, a beautiful spot on the banks of the Pigeon Lake which is actually is part of the Pickerel River system; and it is loaded with small and largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye(they call them pickerel). The owners, Dianne and Dan Feasby, had set me up in one of their 4 motel rooms which, like their 7 lake-side cottages were fully furnished with all modern appliances, dishes, pans, etc. and they had boats and motor rentals right there. What a place to spend a week’s vacation, fishing and/or hunting. And if you are a snowmobiler, they showed me an Ontario trail map with thousands of miles of snowmobile trails. Unfortunately I only got to fish the lake for about two hours; in which time I caught and released 31 nice bass. The majority were smallies, the largest measuring 20 inches and two of the largemouth were over 3 pounds. All were taken on a Stick-O-Worm rigged wacky style. I did leave the rest of these worms with Dan and one of his campers. The hospitality here was outstanding and if you would like to see more go to their web site at, wrightpointresort.com. DAY 1 At 1:30 p.m. I was following Hermann in my truck headed to my treestand site and I was anxious. It was a long ride, approximately 25 miles on a paved road and another 6 miles into the bush on a dirt road where I parked my truck and Hermann walked me in on a small trail to the site got me settled, then headed back to camp. There were dark clouds beginning to roll in but I was hoping the rain would hold off until dark. It didn’t. Perhaps and hour or so after I climbed into the stand I heard thunder in the distance behind me; but it sounded like it was going away from me. It wasn’t. The rains came first but I was ready for that and quickly slipped into my rain suit and used another light rain jacket to cover my gun. The winds followed shortly and I found out later that they were upward of 40; which at times felt like I was on the high seas. Within 45 minutes of the start of the rain the thunder began, and with it the lightning. Now my choices were climb out of the stand and go sit in the truck until it passed and then sneak back in, which would probably ruin the hunt. So I chose the second option of staying in the tree. An hour or so later the thunder and lighting did stop, but the heavy rain and high winds didn’t. And at 7:50 p.m., the end of legal shooting time, I climbed down from the stand and sloshed my way back to the truck. Did not see a bear. Back at camp no one else had seen a bear either and Hermann said that the combination of the heavy rain, high winds and thunder and lightning makes them very nervous. All we could do is go back out again the next morning. DAY 2 I was in my stand an hour before sunup and when I looked through my scope I could see that the bait had not been touched; so there was still a chance that the bear would come in this morning. Forgot to mention it was still raining and the wind was about 20-25 mph. At 10:30 a.m. I climbed down and headed back to camp. After breakfast and a short nap I was sitting in the stand in full rain gear hoping that tonight was the night. The rain continued along with the heavy winds all evening and once again there were no bear visits. But I did have 4 grouse cooing around under my stand for about an hour. The grouse season was open but the .308 was a little overkill for grouse hunting. DAY 3 After another morning of rain, wind and no bear I met up with Hermann who suggested that after breakfast I join him on his morning baiting trips and we could check the activity at several of the sites, and I could pick the one I liked for the afternoon hunt. We visited 5 sites, all of which were hit since the last time he checked them. The site that I choose had plenty of activity signs but the real draw for me was the timber wolf tracks I saw in the mud on the way in that got me excited. Only once, years ago while sitting in a treestand at Hermann’s, I had a timber wolf appear about 150 yards from me. I did get to look at him through my binoculars but he quickly disappeared. That evening the rain continued and it was then that I realized the value of good equipment. Other than my hands and face the only thing that got a little wet and cold during these long sits in the nasty weather was my nose. The camouflaged Red Head Squaltex Bone Dry rain gear totally protected my body from the rain and the wind and the Burris Full Field II, in all this nasty rain, never once fogged up on me. Actually I did get a bit wet the next day when climbing down from my stand in the morning I caught my jacket on a nail and ripped a big chuck out of it. As for the bear this particular evening; nothing came it. DAY 4 The final day, my last chance. The morning hunt went too quickly and the rain did stop for an hour or so and, the sun did shine for perhaps an hour. But there were no bears. It was going down to the wire again. That afternoon I was in the stand earlier than usual but knew this was it; because tomorrow I was heading home. The weather was actually fairly pleasant; for awhile. Then about 3 p.m. the winds began followed by the rain, and with each hour both increased and by 6 p.m. things were back to normal; heavy rains and gusting winds that were causing my treestand to move a good six inches from side to side. I must have looked at my watch at least a dozen times; and time was running out. I remember checking my watch at it 7:35 p.m. and saying to myself, just 10 more minutes of legal shooting time left; it looks like it is over. But when I looked up there he was coming in, 70 yards away in the opening. Quickly I shouldered the gun and put the crosshair on the bear’s shoulder and clicked off the safety. My only problem now was that the 40 plus mph wind was again rocking the stand side to side. It seemed like forever that I held the horizontal crosshair of the scope on target just waiting for the wind to stop. And when it did I set the crosshairs on its shoulder and tapped the R-25 trigger and the Remington 150 grain Ultra Bonded PSP put him down. To say I was relieved and excited would be an understatement as I scrambled down the steps and trotted to the bear. A tap on his nose with the rifle barrel told me what I already knew; it was over. Quickly I unloaded my rifle, put it in its case, which is required when leaving the woods after legal shooting time in Canada, and quickly headed to my truck to go get Hermann. He was as happy as I was about the news and he had already put the ATV on the back of his pickup; and we headed back to get my bear. Once again I watched Hermann’s skill with the Outdoor Edge cutlery(Kodi-Pak) I had given him years ago. But the fun really began when we had to drag the bear about 20 yards over a number of brush piles and stumps to the ATV. Two old men pulling on a bear would have made a great photo, but we got it there and loaded on the back of the ATV. And yes, it was still raining and windy; but I really did not care. This was another great hunt with some very special old and new friends; and I have to rate it as my most memorable bear hunt. If you would like to see more photos of the bear you can go to, fishguydblog.blogspot.com/
              NEWFOUNDLAND MOOSE - SCI SILVER AWARD        


    PART I - THE BEGINNING
    Have you ever flipped through the pages of Field & Stream or watched an exciting big game hunt on the Outdoor Channel and said to yourself, “Someday I would like to do that?” I guess all hunters have a specific species they dream about pursuing and mine has always been a moose. In terms of my “bucket list” for animals I want to hunt, the moose has always been number one. For years, I have sent my check to Vermont and Maine in hopes of getting drawn in their moose hunting lottery; but it never was. But last Fall I received an email from Amsterdam hunters Dick Andrews and Marshall Knapik and Rich Kraus(Ballston Spa) about their Newfoundland moose hunt that finally lit the fire under me. And the results is that in 3 weeks my dream hunt will finally become a reality.

    The moose, which is derived from the Algonkian name meaning “eater of twigs,” was not native to Newfoundland. They were introduced, two bulls and two cows from New Brunswick, in 1904 and today it is estimated that there is a population of 120,000. Moose are the largest member of the deer family with a weak eyesight but their most acute sense is their hearing. Their habitat is includes swampy areas as well as forested higher ground around lakes.

    The destination, which I choose mainly because of Dick’s recommendation and the fact that he has hunted there successfully five times already and will be returning in 2010, is Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps located in Portland Creek, Newfoundland, Canada. Owned and operated by Sam and Hebbert Caines, they have over 30 years of experience guiding and outfitting hunters. Sam’s has three hunting camps located in Area No. 3 on the Northern Peninsula: St. Paul’s Big Pond, where I will be hunting, which is one-half mile from Gros Morne National Park which is 35 miles from Deer Lake; Long Range Mountains at Trophy Lake and High Pond which are each 60 miles from Deer Lake which is the pick up point for all Sam’s hunters. Now although we will be hunting from fly-in remote sites, which I am looking forward to, it is comforting to know that there is two-way radio and cell telephone contact with these camps.

    There are two ways to get to Deer Lake; driving and flying. If you drive there is a 5 - 8 hour ferry crossing depending upon the weather or, my choice, drive to Montreal and fly into Deer Lake. Here I will spend the night, be picked up early the next morning and flown in to camp by helicopter. And this, the helicopter ride, is something I am looking forward to also. All the camps are built to Newfoundland Tourism specifications and include indoor toilets, showers, two bedroom with two single beds in each, a large dining room and a kitchen. And each camp has a full time cook. Each hunter has his/her own guide. The actual hunting is done by spot and stalk, which is walking and glassing a variety of terrains, and/or sometimes glassing from elevated blinds.

    Now when choosing a guide/outfitter success rate should always be a major consideration. In the case of Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps he has a 90 percent success rate for moose and 100 percent for caribou. Unfortunately, I applied for a Woodland caribou hunting tag but did not receive one; but I did get a black bear permit which I hopefully will be able to fill during this hunt. As for the caribou, I will try again next year.

    BORDER CROSSING
    When hunting in Canada there are a number of forms and documents that are needed when crossing the border. The easiest way to travel to and from Canada is with a passport. As for your firearm, this too is fairly simple and most of the paperwork can be competed before you go. You cannot bring a fully automatic weapon, handgun or pepper spray into Canada. Your regular hunting rifle/shotgun is not a problem as long as complete a Nonresident Firearms Declaration(CAFC909EF) form. Sam sent this form to me when I confirmed my hunt with him in February. The form is very simple to complete and on it you can register up to 3 firearms and the cost is $25(Canadian) which you pay at the time of crossing. The registration is good for 60 days. Do not sign and date the form until you are at customs. In all the times I have traveled to Canada with a firearm(s) to hunt it has been a very simple process which usually will take no more than 30 minutes. To download this form Goggle “Canadian firearms declaration form.”

    With regards to transporting firearms to Canada , which they may or may not inspect at the border, is in a protective and lockable case, and obviously, unloaded. It is wise if your gun is a bolt action to remove the bolt, and if it a clip remove the clip.

    CLOTHING
    Weather-wise, during September it is usually very pleasant in the mid - 40s which is good hunting weather. But Dick and other hunters who have been to Newfoundland in September all agree that things can change very quickly. “You will hunt in the rain,” they tell me and things will get damp and therefore layering you clothing is the best method. The absolute must for this trip is quality rain gear which should include quality rubber boots that are 16 or 17 inches high and with aggressive tread.


    THE GUN/AMMO
    Now those of you who know me are probably saying: “First moose hunt; he will surely have to buy a new gun.” That’s what my wife thought also. Well, believe it or not, the gun that I will be using is one that is already in my gun cabinet. In fact I have had it for at least 7 years now and never really shot anything with it. It is a ported Remington Model 700 BDL in the .300 Win Mag caliber. I told you I knew that one day I would be making this hunt and actually bought the gun solely for the purpose of hunting moose with it. The only action it has seen up until now has been a twice a year complete cleaning and oiling. But now that my dream hunt is going to be a reality I have added a quality optic and spent some range time getting acquainted with this gun; and I am very impressed with its performance and power; just what is needed to bring down a large bull moose that stands higher than a large saddle horse and can weigh as much as 1500 pounds.

    When I asked Sam and Hebbert what to expect in terms of the range of shooting distance he said that it could be anywhere from 50 yards to 400 yards; which was another reason I chose the .300 win mag cartridge.

    With the number of quality scopes offered today my selection of the right one for this rifle and especially this hunt was difficult. At the Shot Show in January I spent one day visiting optic manufacturers booths and reviewing what they were offering in scopes. One in particular impressed me; Hawke Optics. And when Brad Bonar, their Sales Manager, let me look through their Endurance 30 series 3-12x50 L3 Dot IR reticle scope all I could think about was placing that red dot on the shoulder of my Newfoundland bull moose. Other important features include a 30mm matt black mono tube, it is fog and waterproof, shockproof and has an 11 setting rheostat to adjust the Dot’s intensity to any light condition.

    After mounting and bore sighting the scope I headed for the range where I tested 3 brands of ammunition shooting from a Caldwell Lead Sled shooting rest which is the only way to sight in a firearm for two reasons: one is that you get the best accuracy and two, it absorbs almost all of the felt recoil. My 3-shot grouping with the Endurance was quite impressive(one-half inch) and the best results were with the Winchester Supreme Elite XP3, 180 grain 2-stage expansion bullet with delayed controlled expansion, deep penetration and high weight retention. Ballistically it has a muzzle velocity of 3000 feet per second and energy of 3597 foot pounds. Just the right medicine for taking a moose down. Zeroed at 200 yards it will be 1.4 inches high at 100 yards and 6.4 inches low at 300 yards. And should I get that 400 yard shot, my holdover will be 18.5 inches.

    One other service I found helpful when dealing with Hawke Optics was their Ballistic Reticle Calculator(BRC) which is a free software package that will help you to choose the right ammunition for your gun and print a copy of the results. This program covers calibers from a 177 air rifle, up to a 300 Weatherby magnum and even will calculate the best crossbow bolt for your crossbow. To get the BRC go to their web at hawkeoptics, click on “Hawke BRC” and they will email it to you. And while you are there click on “NEW Reticle Information” and see how my L3 DOT IR looks when sighting in a bull elk in the field.

    PART II - THE HUNT

    Forty five years ago when I realized how much I enjoyed big game hunting I promised myself that someday I was going to go on a moose hunt. And two weeks ago my wish came true in Newfoundland at Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps; and I can honestly say it was the most exciting hunting adventures I have ever experienced.

    It was 2a.m. when I stepped off the plane in Deer Lake along with several other camo clad passengers and headed for the baggage claim conveyor. Now if you have ever traveled with a firearm on a hunting trip you know how good you feel when you see that gun case come out on the conveyor; and mine did. But my suitcase, with all my hunting clothes, boots and other accessories, didn’t. Now I had a real problem because in just 4 hours my outfitter Sam Caines was going to pick me up and take me to the helicopter that would fly me into St. Paul’s Big Pond; which was the only access to the camp.

    At the airline desk I completed the missing baggage claim form and explained the situation and asked how, when they found my bag, they would get it to me. They would have to send it to the outfitter who would then have it flown out to me at the camp. So when I climbed into that helicopter later that morning I was wearing my hunting clothes: jeans, Nike shoes, long sleeve cotton shirt, baseball cap and a photographer’s vest. Not exactly what I needed for the spot and stalk hunting in wet bogs in the wind and rain and temperatures in the low 40s.

    The helicopter ride was great and I got a chance to see just how beautiful the Newfoundland wilderness really is; and it was then that I felt the excitement of the upcoming hunt despite the knot in my stomach because of my lost luggage. I could not hunt like this and all I thought about was having to stay in camp for 7 days and not being able to hunt; something I waited a lifetime to do.

    After settling in, which did not take long for me, I got to meet the other three hunters: Oscar Primelles, my roommate from Florida; and Victor Chandler and Wayne Cleveland who were both from Nova Scotia. The staff included guides Hebbert, Sherman and Harrison Caines, Ralph House and Derrick Kelly our camp cook. Each hunter at Sam’s has his/her own guide. Ironically all had heard of my problem with the airlines and they all said “they would dress me.” Each one of them contributed to my hunting outfit and when I dressed for hunting on Monday morning the only piece of clothing I was wearing that was mine was my underwear; which by the way, I washed each evening and hung over the wood stove to dry.

    That evening before the hunt I felt lot better knowing I would be able to hunt comfortably and thoroughly enjoyed Derrick’s ham dinner with all the trimmings which we all found out was equally outstanding all week. And that included the home made bread, pies and cakes.

    MONDAY
    It rained all night and it was raining at 7 a.m. with 5-10 ph winds and temperatures in the mid - 30s when Sherman, my guide, and I along with Oscar and his guide Hebbert, all climbed into an 18 foot aluminum boat and headed for the other end of the pond. This “pond” by the way was the size of Saratoga Lake.

    Once on shore we all started up 12 STOP mountain which is the name I gave it because it required 12 rest stops where I would catch my breath before I reached the top. Sherman and I stayed on one side of the top while Oscar and Hebbert went over the top to the other side to set up. Each of the guides would call, using only their mouths, but nothing came in.

    By 9 a.m. the wind had picked up considerably and that combined with the heavy rains made sitting difficult; and at by 11:00 we were back in the boat and headed for camp. And when we got there Derrick’s homemade turkey vegetable soup was just what we all needed. No one that morning had seen a moose.

    The afternoon watch took us up another steep incline( 10 Stop mountain) and the bad weather conditions were the same. I remember reading that moose do not move much when it is rainy and windy and they didn’t this evening either. Victor and Ralph reported seeing two cow moose that evening but they were about 500 yards across the bog.

    TUESDAY
    Anticipation was high that morning despite the fact that conditions had actually gotten tougher and we had to wait about an hour for the fog to lift before we left camp. This time Sherman and I headed out behind the camp for an area they called the Waiting Rock stand. It was an 8 stops climb for me and we climbed into the 20 foot high tower. These towers are quite unique. They(guides) find four 10 - 12 inch trees that are in a square about 5 or 6 feet apart, trim the branches from the ground up, cut the tops off the trees, and build a platform blind enclosing the sides with canvas and with seats. It is quite comfortable but I found out that temperatures were a bit colder at this height. And at times the high winds would create horizontal rains which added to our discomfort. But that’s hunting. And again, by 10 a.m. we were headed back to camp without sighting a single moose.

    It was on this trip back to camp that I found out about what Newfoundlanders call a bog hole, and why they told me to always watch and duplicate where your guide steps; which I did on the first day. However on this day I got caught up in looking at the beautiful scenery and my right foot with the 18 inch high boot found its way into a 24 in hole full f water. I knew than that I was done hunting for the day. But as it turned out, because of the bad weather no one went out that afternoon.

    WEDNESDAY
    Finally Mother Nature turned off the water, reduced the wind and replaced them with chilly 34 degree temperatures. At daybreak Sherman and I headed back up for the Waiting Rock tower; but we never made it. The evening before Hebbert had told me that in the history of this camp Waiting Rock had produced at least 100 moose harvests and on this day I was about to make it 101.

    Several hundred yards from camp we stopped and Sherman made a few cow calls but got no response. Continuing up the hill we were just about 100 yards from the bog that the tower was located in when Sherman stopped, tapped his ear and pointed at the thick spruce off to our left. I heard the scraping and then saw those large palmated antlers thrashing the trees and brush about 80 yards from us. I think I froze momentarily in awe. It is one thing to watch something like this on the Outdoor Channel, but it is nothing like actually being there. Quickly and quietly I chambered a round and turned the Hawke scopes power down to 4. I don’t remember being nervous but I am sure I was.

    By watching the movement of the bushes and trees we could see the bull was heading parallel to us and hopefully he would cross a 15 foot opening about 50 yards from me. Sherman motioned me up a few yards where I set up on a small rise in the trail, got down on one knee, clicked off my safety and laid my cheek on the stock.

    All the time I could feel the chill running up and down my spine and my heart was pounding. To keep the bull headed in our direction Sherman cleverly turned his back on the bull and called again making it sound like this love sick cow was leaving. It worked.

    Not only did the bull step into the opening but he started to turn down the trail towards me. I don’t know remember my feelings or even pulling the trigger when that big bull was just 40 yards from me slowly tossing his head from side to side. I knew I had hit him, but I am not sure he knew. Shot number two got the reaction I was looking for and shot number three put him on the ground. It was then that I remember what the veteran hunters and guides in camp said; “ shoot until he is down.”

    My knees were a bit shaky when I stood up and so were my hands as Sherman and I waited a few minutes before moving cautiously toward the fallen bull. And when we were sure he was dead the high 5s, hoots, hugs and handshakes began. I don’t know exactly how many times I thanked Sherman, my 27 year old guide, for my first bull; and he thanked me also; because I was actually the first client he had guided.

    I believe I stood over my bull for at least 15 minutes just admiring his rack, head, swollen neck and shoulders. Everything about him was “BIG.”

    Now the real work was about to begin for Sherman. That big half ton at least animal had to be rolled over and not only field dressed but boned, quartered and carried out on a pack frame.

    Back in camp that afternoon after another long photo shoot Hebbert gave me my bulls statistics. He estimated that the bull weighed 1500 pounds, was 7-8 years old, had 22 measurable points, 13 inch palms, a 48 3/4 inch spread and the bases of his antlers measured 9 3/4 inches around.

    As for the other hunters in camp they too tagged out by the end of the week. My cabin roommate Oscar, shot a 10 point bull, called in by Hebbert, just about 550 yards from where I took my bull on the Waiting Rock watch. On the next morning, Thursday, Harrison called in a 3 point bull and a cow moose to Victor, who chose to shoot the cow. And at 9:10 a.m. on Saturday, the final day of hunting, I was in camp when Ralph called in to report he had called in a 4 point bull at the Waiting Rock tower, which Wayne dropped with just one shot at 158 yards. It was this 73 year old gentleman’s 10 th bull and his 10 th year of hunting with Sam. The first week of the 2009 moose hunt at St. Paul’s Big Pond was 100 percent successful. And I later found out that only one hunter in all three of Sam’s outpost camps had not taken a moose this week.

    If you have ever considered a moose hunt I highly recommend that you contact Sam’s Hunting and Fishing Camps(709-898-2535).



              BEHIND THE FENCE - IT IS FAIR GAME        

    BEHIND THE FENCE - ITS FAIR GAME

    Behind the fence hunts have been a controversial topic for many years and one of the primary targets of the anti-hunting organizations. And unfortunately they are also looked upon by some hunters and hunting organizations with disdain as well. I understand the objection by the anti’s but quite frankly I do not understand that of the hunters. But after talking with many of these hunters I have found that the majority of them do not totally understand exactly what takes place at these preserves and ranches. True, years ago there were fenced operations which literally offered and utilized unethical “boxed” hunts. But these places are, and have been gone for many years, and today’s hunting preserves offer a truly realistic and ethical hunt. And in this article that I will attempt to explain to the hunter, not the unreasonable anti-hunter, just what goes on “behind the fence” and how these hunting preserves serve a very important purpose, not only to the hunter; but the future of our hunting tradition as well.

    I think Ted Nugent summed it up perfectly in a recent Field & Stream interview when asked if high fence hunting degrades the heritage of American hunting and the rules of fair chase. Here is a recap of his answers. This is the Motor City Madman at his very best.

    There will always be whiners and small-minded squawkers who overreact base on assumption and other unidentifiable presumptuous notions. To their way of thinking in-line muzzleloaders, scopes, treestands, compound and crossbows, deer drives, etc. degrade our American hunting heritage and our reputation. They are so divisive and unsophisticated and I pray that they become educated.

    And when asked if he prefers to hunt in enclosures or in the wild he said, “I prefer to hunt, period, and shall more and more each year everyplace I possibly can. I am a hunter.”

    Now let’s look at some the truths about hunting these enclosures; first from my own experiences.

    Part of my job as an outdoor writer is to test, evaluate and report to the sportsmen/women on the latest new firearms, bows and even crossbows. These tests include extensive on the range accuracy and performance reviews and comparisons which I like to followed up by an actual hunting situation.

    Hunting with these new firearms and bows are usually not a problem in NYS but it is with the crossbow due to strict disable-only hunter regulations. However these regulations do not apply to hunting preserves in NYS and therefore I am able to hunt with the Horton Crossbow at a preserve just a short distance from my home.

    Actually my first harvest with a crossbow took place on a preserve. My choice of game - a 1700 pound bison that took me that I think covered almost every inch of the preserve and two full days of hunting before I was able to get clean kill shot. It was one of my greatest hunts that included some very anxious moments and a VERY dramatic and dangerous face to face encounter with a one ton herd bull who was not happy with my continued pursuit of him and his herd that I will never forget.

    It was at this same preserve that I met two hunters who were both hunting their first Russian wild boar. And it was from these average hunters that I really learned what these preserves really offered the everyday hunter.

    During dinner that evening at the lodge I asked them “why they chose a preserve to hunt.” Their answer was short and simple: time and money. “We just do not have the time nor the money to go out of state to hunt boar. We priced the wild boar hunts in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and the average costs would have been close to $2000; and that did not include transportation and taking a week off from work. Here it is just $500, we don’t need a license, we can pick our own season and it was just a 31/2 hour ride from our house.” Economics, convenience and the thrill of a good hunt - this is what any reputable preserve will offer you.

    Now I would like to ask one questions for those of you hunters who look down upon those who hunt behind the fence: “Who gets hurt ?” If a man or woman has the desire to shoot a trophy or exotic animal not native to the area, but cannot ever hope to afford it, should he/she be denied the opportunity or right to do it, as long as it is done legally, ethically and within the confines of a preserve? I agree that it may not be for everyone, but you should not judge the intentions of those that do.

    Fair chase is another term that often arises in conversations involving enclosure or behind the fence hunting. Boone and Crockett defines fair chase as the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking an any free-ranging wild, native North American big game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper advantage over such animals. Doesn’t hunting legally over bait, using a ground blind or treestand, using a rifle scope, etc. also give the hunter an advantage?

    In the past twenty years I have hunted in a number of preserves and do not consider myself any less of a hunter. I know that I would have probably never been able to afford or experience the thrills and excitement of hunting 9 wild boar, 2 fallow and sika deer, stags, bison, rams and 2 wild crossbow turkeys. And I can honestly say that my most memorable hunt took place last year behind a fence where I shot a magnificent bull elk. Let me share this elk hunt with you.


    THE HUNT
    It was well before sunup when I met Dan Jennings, the manager of the Easton View Outfitters, a private preserve located in the Washington County town of Easton, New York. Dan was going to be my guide for my elk hunt and I must admit I was pumped. Joining me was Tim Blodgett, host of the local All Outdoors radio show, who would be taping the play-by-play of the hunt. He would also be doubling as my camera man.

    The game plan was to circle the preserve and come in through the heavily wooded topside of the mountain and work our way down. Dan expected the elk would be bedded down in the valley, fields and swamp below us.

    I remember standing on a ledge whispering how excited I was about the hunt and describing how pretty the sun was as it started to peek through the pines into Tim’s tape recorder when we heard our first unsolicited bugle. A bull elk bugling in New York State - it gave me the chills followed shortly thereafter by a real adrenaline rush. I don’t think I have felt this way since the first time I sighted in on a whitetail buck.

    Quickly Dan had us moving down the steep slopes to a blow down about 200 yards below us. Once in place Dan hadn’t even finished his first call when the bull responded. And each call he made the bull answered; but he didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Then out of nowhere, there about 100 yards below was a young spike bull headed right for us. At one point he was less than 10 yards from where I was sitting.

    For the next hour I had no less that four other bull elk in my scope at distances from 10 to 100yards; one of which was a beautiful 5 by 5 that had Dan given me the word, I would have ended my hunt right then. But he said, “Not that one; we can do better.” Easy for him to say, but I trusted his judgement and relaxed.

    Another hour and a half of calling got distance responses but they just didn’t seem to get any closer to us. Perhaps the bull already had his harem of cows and did not want to leave them. And when he stopped responding to the calls and we sat in silence for another 45 minutes I was beginning to get that, “I should have taken the 5 by 5 feeling.” But that ill-feeling quickly departed when Dan nudge me and smilingly whispered: “There’s your bull; get ready.”

    There just 200 yards below was a beautiful 6 by 6 bull elk raking his huge rack on several small scrub pines. Now he was talking again and each call Dan made was answered with a spine chilling response and he was coming closer. It was awesome to watch the bull as he lowered his head and responded to Dan’s love-sick cow calls.

    It took several deep breaths to settle my nerves and at about 75 yards I slowly raised the old Marlin 336SC towards him and placed the crosshairs of my scope on his massive body, following him as he moved through the heavy cover.

    Each step brought him closer but there was really only one opening between two pines where I could get a clear shot; hopefully he would walk through it. He was about 50 yards slightly quartering away when I place the crosshairs just behind his front shoulder and unleashed the 200 grain Hornady LEVERevolution 200 grain FTX bullet.

    Immediately I saw the fur fly through my scope and watched him stumble and fall; and all I could think of was “what a bull.” I guess I must have repeated it out loud because both Dan and Tim echoed their agreement. I just sat there staring at him when I heard Dan say we may have a little problem. About 100 yards below my fallen trophy was a huge 7 by 7 and he was headed towards the downed bull at a very quick pace.

    He ignored our shouts and charged right in, head down and rammed my bull actually moving him along the ground several yards. Obviously these two must have had previous confrontations. It wasn’t really until Dan continued to shout and threw a few rocks and branches at him that he finally backed off. There was one moment however when he turned and faced us shaking his head from side to side, that I thought he was going to charge, but he didn’t, and finally we watched him disappear into the edge of the swamp.

    High - 5s and photos were all a part of the after the hunt celebration as was the interview Tim taped of my feelings.
    Absolutely the best hunt that I have ever had and it all occurred within 30 miles of my home.

    But it wasn’t really until I stood over my bull that I fully appreciated what I had just accomplished - he was huge. The tale of the tape and scale revealed just how magnificent he really was. He tipped the scale at 807 pounds and his antlers measured: 40 inch wide spread, 41 inch main beams, with 9 inch bases. In terms of record book score I never did get an official score but I do know that he scored “number one” in my book; and always will.

    For information on Easton View Outfitters go to: eastonviewoutfitters.com or check out their ad in this issue of Outdoors Magazine. And by the way, that 7 by 7 is still there and a year older.
              Richmond Food News: Week of July 24-27        
    Openings galore, new chefs, a new look at an old dish and the mystery of the restaurant space that keeps on trying
              The Following        
    • Media Blog Project.
    • Topic #2: TV as a cultural mirror.

         I watched The Following episode 2 "Chapter Two", which aired on FOX Monday, January 28th at 9:00 pm.  The Following is a drama and suspenseful TV show that stars Kevin Bacon who is a former FBI agent that has been asked to come back for a very large case involving a murderer that he put away for life who has amassed a "cult following" to do his dirty work for him now.  In this particular episode, Dr. Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), who Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) has put in jail previously, has had his "followers" kidnap his his son from his ex-wife and Hardy and the FBI agents and police officers he is consulting with are looking for him.  Hardy discovers the house where the "followers" meet and they reconfirm that all of Carrolls symbolism and antics are based off Edgar Allen Poe's writings.  In that house, Hardy was attacked by a man wearing a Poe mask and later at the end of the episode we see a masked Poe man light a man on the street on fire and run away.
         The ads that aired during this episode are pretty much the stereotypical ads that you would expect.  There were ads for cars and car dealerships; including Honda, Kia, Chevrolet, Ford, Subaru, and Buick.  There were also ads for different foods like Lean Cuisine, Campbell's, and Weight Watchers meal plans.  In the category of online dating, notable services were Christian Mingle, Match.com, and eHarmony.  Major commercials that were most prominent and were aired multiple times included Ford, Honda, Chevrolet, Comcast, Direct TV, Kiefer Kia, John and Phil's, Guaranty in Junction City, beer brands like Coors, Heineken, and Budweiser, and of course there is always the Fox News ads that feature their anchors for around 15 seconds each time a commercial ends to continue with the program.  These commercials all fit the demographic that the TV show is trying to reach.  Younger adults through mid-life adults.  These are all people who have cars or will by buying new cars in the future, they may be insecure about their weights or just want some food that is not only tasty but healthy or a viewer who is single and wants to find somebody.  The commercials are definitely spot on for their target audiences as far as I am concerned. 
         The Following is meant for more mature audiences and was rated TV 14 for language, images, sexual situations and the like.  The actors and actresses were dressed appropriate for our time period and the authority figures has appropriate looking uniforms.  Most of the men who were FBI agents wore suits and the women wore suits as well.  Compared to other shows like this one, I would say that dress and mannerisms are identical and what you expect and would want to see for a drama/suspenseful TV show.  The main thing, for me, that makes this show different than others is the fact that the whole show is based around an ex FBI agent and the man he put away years before and the this guys "followers" and how they are operating.  I have never seen a show like this one in terms of that.
         A major stereotype that occurred in this particular episode was about police officers.  There were several cuts to them just standing around and drinking coffee around the house they were supposed to be guarding.  Same thing happened when they were shown at the scene of the murders in the sorority house after they had come in and done the initial reports on the situations.  The other stereotype that I noticed, and probably the most prominent, is that the wife of Carroll, who is an attractive woman, had an affair with Hardy who was the main FBI agent that was there when her husbands case was first taking place.  This refers to her being maybe a weak and needy woman who has lost who she thought was her best friend and trusted lover and in walked tough, strong, independent agent Hardy who was not married.  These kinds of relationships always happen in TV shows and movies and aren't always the reality of true real life.  Other than these two outstanding stereotypes, I think the directors and producers have done a pretty good job at trying to be new and different in the ways of how the TV show operates within the story lines and isn't too predictable.  If I were a viewer from another country, I would not think much of the shows Americans watch because I am sure there are many good dramas that air in other country's.  In fact, The Following actually airs in the U.S. plus another 17 countries.  If I were not from here, based on the commercials, I would say that there is a problem with people being overweight and single and everybody is buying new cars.
        I do not watch many crime/drama/suspense TV shows but I would say that this one, as of now (it's only aired two episodes total so far) is a TV show that I am expecting to be kept on FOX and be aired for at least several seasons or until the story is wrapped up and concluded.  What really keeps me interested in this show is that it's not as predictable as other similar shows.  Usually I am able to predict what can happen in a TV show after 15 minutes or so.  I am not so accurate with this one.
        I would tend to agree with the 7.5 stars that IMDB gave them.  If I never watched it I wouldn't feel like a part of my life was missing but if I just stopped watching I would be very curious as to what happened in each episode.  My girlfriend watches the this show with me and what she likes most about The Following is all the plot twists.  I definitely agree.  It's a very engaging TV show.  One thing that all TV shows like this one do is end with a cliff hanger.  That cliff hanger keeps you wondering all week what is going to happen in the next show and that brings back viewers from previous weeks.
        I have seen every single episode The Following! Wait, that's only two episodes.  But still, it is one that I am going to have to add to my list of shows that I try to keep up on.  I am not a user of social media so I don't follow the show on Twitter or on Facebook but I have visited the shows page on FOX and the opening sentence on their page paragraph about the show is very interesting.  "The FBI estimates there are currently up to 300 active serial killers in the United States."  This is a very bold statement and scary statistic.  One thing that the average viewer may not know is that Hardy wrote a book sharing the details of his previous investigation and other factoids about his case regarding Carroll.  If a book like this came out or is already out here in real life, that would be a very interesting and possibly quite controversial book.
        Overall, I would recommend The Following to most normal people who enjoy good TV shows that keep the viewers eyes glued to their TV.  Upon further examination, one could come to the conclusion that TV programs, the ads run, and the particular channel or station that is airing all have very close relation and share the same views and interests. 
              â€œSaw VII: 3D” Release Date Moved To Oct. 29 To Avoid Competition With         
    Horror sequels Paranormal Activity 2 and Saw VII: 3D will no longer slay victims on the same opening weekend.Both horror blockbusters had been slated for Oct. 22 release dates, however Lionsgate — who produces Saw — has decided to bow out of a box office showdown with the eagerly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s Paranormal Activity. [...]
              New Resource for African-American Genealogy: IAAM Center for Family History        


    The International African American Museum (IAAM), opening in early 2020 in Charleston, SC, will include a Center for Family History dedicated to helping researchers trace African-Americans in their family trees.

    It sounds like a long time to wait, but the center's website is already available, with a growing collection of obituary, funeral and marriage records, as well as research tips in a Learning Library and a blog by professional genealogist Robin Foster.

    Toni Carrier, founder of the LowCountry Africana website, is developing the IAAM Center for Family History. Staff will assist researchers in finding resources about their families and help with DNA testing.

    The $75 million museum and research center will be located at Charleston's former Gadsden’s Wharf, where almost half of all enslaved Africans first arrived in America via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. You can see artist's renderings of the museum here.

    SaveSave
              Agnee 2 sequal announced        
    Following a successful mega opening of Agnee, Production Company Jaaz Multimedia is planning in making squeal of Agnee; “Agnee 2″.
              With an emphasis on culture, a new kind of nature trail emerges along Chicago’s south lakefront        
    Environment & Conservation

    North of the Margaret Burroughs Beach, a Caracol-inspired gathering space with a Mesoamerican hop scotch game is be part of a new trail in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor. This is one of five sites installed in by teams of artists and community-based organizations whose designs are inspired both by local ecology, as well as the heritage of communities adjacent to the south lakefront.

    Moving along the trail, just past the 31st Harbor, an intertwined monarch butterfly sculpture crowns a hill, this design will be circled with common milkweed. West of Lake Shore Drive on 31st Street, south on the trail, a Scholar's rock sits in a grove of mature oak trees; have a seat and imagine the sounds of traffic as waves from an ocean, urban nature at its best. Crossing 39th street/Oakwood, on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, designed for growth every year, sculpted willow branches take organic shapes. The woodchip trail continues, a fallen tree hugs a bird sculpture born from the Sankofa symbol, a soulful reflection on nature.

    The Gathering Spaces, part of the Roots & Routes Initiative, were curated by a volunteer committee comprised of arts professionals and community leaders. 

    Caracol Opening

    Caracol, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Roots & Routes, Habitat Restoration, Pilsen, Contratiempo, Chicago, Lakefront
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum


    1. Caracol

    Lead artists:  Georgina Valverde, Diana Solis, Jose Terrazas

    Non-profit partner:  contratiempo (Pilsen) – preserves and highlights the cultural identity and contributions of the Spanish-speaking

    Latino population in the United States.

    Description:  Drawing on rich connections from the natural world and cultural symbolism, Caracol (“snail” and “shell” in Spanish) represents the immigrant's desire to belong while maintaining the core of memory and identity. Snails perform a critical role in the food chain, breaking down plant matter and aiding in the nutrification of the soil. Likewise, immigrants economic and cultural contributions enrich and revitalize the host society. Caracol´spiral-shaped structure suggests ongoing movement from the core to a widening exterior—from the familiar to the unknown.  The installation includes a table that can function as a work or picnic table, and as a painting surface for a series of murals featuring the interplay of language and images, a stage, and a hopscotch game that uses Mesoamerican numbers.

     

    La Ronda Parakata

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, La Ronda Parakata
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    2. La Ronda Parakata

    Lead artists:  Hector DuarteAlfonso “Piloto” Nieves

    Non-profit partner:  Casa Michoacán (Pilsen) – promotes cultural, social, and sporting activities between the Mexican and immigrant Michoacán community, with a transnational vision.

    Description:  This project is a circular sculpture inspired by the magic symbolism of the butterfly, harmony with nature, and migration.  It is demarcated by a delicate sculptural ring or “ronda” of interlocking butterfly forms. The center of the space features native plants and cement blocks that are being repurposed as rustic seating.

     

    Set in Stone

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Set in Stone
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    3. Set in Stone

    Lead artists:  Andy Bellomo, Anna Murphy

    Non-profit partner:  Chinese-American Museum of Chicago (Chinatown) -- promotes the culture and history of Chinese-Americans in the Midwest through exhibitions, education and research.

    Description:  This project is an interpretation of a traditional Chinese “scholar’s rock” by sculpting, molding and fabricating a sculpture that emulates the magnificence felt through viewing these rocks. The scholar’s rock sculpture is placed at the center of a tranquil rock garden with hand-carved log benches for viewing/contemplation.

     

    Sounding Bronzeville

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sounding Bronzeville
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    4. Sounding Bronzeville

    Lead artists:  Fo Wilson, Norman Teague

    Non-profit partner:  Bronzeville Community Development Partnership (Bronzeville) -- focuses on information technology, heritage tourism, hospitality workforce development and training, preservation and sustainability in Bronzeville.

    Description:  This site includes several organic, amorphous sculptural forms that rise from the ground in different heights and shapes, covered with native plant material. Some of these forms serve as seating, and some have “sound ports” or “nesting ports.” These openings allow for visibility through the forms as well as opportunities for specific audial experiences between people. This piece commemorates and remembers the strength and resilience of thousands of African-Americans who made the journey from the South seeking better opportunities North with 100 years of the Great Migration.

    Architects: Monica Chadha and Mike Newman; Landscape Architects Nilay Mistry and Nathan Wright; Willow Furniture Maker and Consultant Dave Chapman

     

    Sankofa for the Earth

    Gathering Spaces, Burnham Wildlife Corridor, Chicago, Festivals, Summer, Spring, Latino art, African-American art, monarch butterfly, sankofa, bronzeville, pilsen, chinatown, scholars rock, Sankofa for the Earth
    Photo by John Weinstein, © The Field Museum

    5. Sankofa for the Earth

    Lead artists:  Arlene Turner Crawford, Dorian Sylvain, Raymond A. Thomas

    Non-profit partner:  South Side Community Art Center (Bronzeville) -- preserves, conserves and promotes the legacy and future of African American art and artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.

    Description:  This project features a “Sankofa” bird made from mixed-media and recycled materials. In Africa, a bird looking backwards over its tail represents the Sankofa symbol, which means “go back and fetch it.” It is an understanding that our past(s) holds important information to move us forward in life. There is a mosaic on the exterior of the bird and mural on the interior representing Bronzeville history. QR codes are integrated into the mural design to allow visitors with smartphones, to access sites with information about the images included in the mural, as well as, information on Bronzeville, the Chicago Park District and the Field Museum.

     

    How to get to the Gathering Spaces: 

    Gathering Spaces Map


              Prisoners for Profit - The Shame of Puppy Mills        
    It was summer when I visited puppy mills in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In the last few years, the area has become a hub for large scale commercial dog breeding operations. And although the Midwest still ranks as containing the highest number of dog breeding operations, the concentration of puppy mills in Lancaster County is unparalleled.

    Accompanying me was a Humane Society of the United States investigator who had monitored the Pennsylvania mills for years. He knew the county well, and had seen not only the proliferation of puppy mills in the area, but at the same time, the increased press and public attention in their operations.

    Driving through the pastoral landscape, it seemed impossible that animal suffering could exist amidst such beauty. This illusion was quickly shattered with my first view of a puppy mill. For years, I had seen and studied photos of infamous facilities, but nothing prepared me for seeing the real thing with my own eyes.
    We approached a farmhouse from the road and turned onto a muddy lane. Rounding the corner, we didn't even have to get out of the truck to see or hear what awaited us. Rows of dilapidated cages were lined up outside a barn. Stopping the truck, my throat constricted with shock. Dogs were crammed three or more to a small cage which were elevated over mounds of feces. Matted fur covered their eyes as they rushed towards the front of their cages, barking at uninvited visitors. Their plight was so dramatically different than the dogs I knew, the dogs who lie lazily in afternoon sun, waiting for their next meal or walk. No, these dogs were here for a purpose and only one purpose: to make money.

    We saw many mills that day. Posing as buyers, we were able to handle and examine some of the puppies. Many seemed sickly, disoriented, and underweight. And when we were allowed to see their mothers, or sneaked onto a farm to view the conditions, the hopelessness of their lives weighed on me like a heavy load that rests on my shoulders even to this day.

    Dogs hold a special place in our hearts. Domesticated thousands of years ago, they were chosen to be our protectors, companions, and best friends. And although we have betrayed our responsibility towards them in many ways, none is so distressing or disturbing as the puppy mill.

    The term "puppy mill," coined in the mid-to-late sixties to describe large scale commercial dog breeding facilities, has only recently arrived in the mainstream vernacular. It is a term that some claim is sensational and manipulative. The word "mill" refers to an operation that churns out dogs in mass, using female dogs as nothing more than breeding machines. The term conjures images of dogs crowded in wire cages, living in their own wastes, shivering from the cold, or baking in the heat. Tragically, this vision is not far from reality. Most people, not just those interested in animal protection, are shocked when confronted with the bleak images of dogs housed and bred in puppy mills. But in the 5,000 puppy mills found across the country, thousands of dogs are bred and raised for profit, valued not for their companionship or loyalty, but for the cold hard cash they bring.

    Many consumers possess an image of puppies at a family farm, lovingly raised and cared for. Others may not even think about where a pet store puppy comes from. Drawn to a pet store window by a bin of wriggling puppies, the furthest thing from a customer's mind is the origin of these cute bundles of fur. But by buying a puppy, often for a price of $500 or more, the consumer is unknowingly supporting a cycle of abuse that begins at the puppy mill.

    What the consumer can't see is the puppy's mother, imprisoned miles away, pregnant again, her body being used to produce more money-making puppies. Starting at six months, she is bred every heat cycle. She is often weak, malnourished, and dehydrated. Rarely, if ever, is she provided with veterinary care. She cannot maintain her productivity past her fourth or fifth year. After that, she is nothing more than a drain on the mill's operation and must be disposed of. If she's lucky, she'll be humanely euthanized. More often than not, she will be shot or bludgeoned to death. Discarded, her wasted body will lie forgotten in a local landfill or garbage dump.

    This is the picture the pet stores will never show. And until recently, the ugly truth of puppy mills has been hidden. But when problems with many of the puppies bought at pet stores across the country began to surface, consumers and animal lovers alike began asking hard questions. Puppies with seizures, parasites, infections, bacteria, and behavioral problems were being seen far too often to be merely coincidental.
    Puppy mills and the pet store industry have begun to feel this scrutiny. They insist that it doesn't make good business sense to sell sick puppies or house breeding females in less than humane conditions. But evidence gained after years of documentation and investigation directly conflicts with these assertions. In addition, those small scale breeders who do treat their animals humanely, who raise them in their homes or in small, cleanly kept kennels, do not usually make a profit off their dogs. It is virtually impossible to breed in a humane fashion and make money at the same time. Although a pet store may sell a puppy for $500 or more dollars, most commercial breeders can only get around $35 per dog from a broker who in turns sells to the pet store for around $75. In order to make a profit and cover costs, corners must be cut, and puppies must be churned out at a furious rate. The cut corners are the animals themselves: their housing, their health, their cleanliness. Inherent in the profit-making mills is the sacrifice of humane standards in order to make a profit.
    What protection, if any, do these dogs and their puppies have? On the state level, puppy "lemon laws," existing in a handful of states including New Jersey and California, seek to offer consumers protection against buying sick puppies. Although these laws do chip away at the production of sick puppies, they do not address the inherent problem of the whole system: the selling of dogs for profit.

    The federal level offers even less hope. The current system not only allows the continuation of a business that makes money off the backs of dogs, but fails in its responsibility to provide even a basic quality of life for dogs in puppy mills. Originally passed in 1966, the federal Animal Welfare Act was amended in 1970 to include in its provisions the oversight of large scale commercial dog breeding facilities. Regulations were written with the intention of ensuring the proper care, feeding, housing, and veterinary care for the thousands of dogs found in puppy mills across the country. Mandated by law to enforce these regulations is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). But with a shortage of inspectors responsible for overseeing these facilities, the agency has developed a reputation for failing to meet its mandate.
    Not only have outsiders criticized the agency's ability to enforce the Act in relation to puppy mills, but several internal reviews have also illustrated the gross inadequacies existing at the federal level. Recently, a damning internal review conducted by the USDA's own office of the Inspector General of the agency's South Central Regional Office offered a bleak picture. The South Central Office, responsible for overseeing the majority of this country's puppy mills, was found to be sorely lacking in its ability to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. The report found that the office failed to respond to complaints from the public, failed to report a large number of blatant violations of the law, and that supervisors told inspectors not only where and when to inspect, but instructed their staff not to write up too many violations of problematic facilities. USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, embarrassed by the report's finding, has demanded the development of an internal plan to respond to the crisis within the agency.

    The USDA is also feeling the heat over the puppy mill issue from members of Congress. After receiving constituent mail on puppy mills, Congressman Glenn Poshard (D-Il) and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), sprung to action. Working with The Humane Society of the United States and other animal protection organizations, they gathered over 100 signatures from members on both side of Capitol Hill in a letter to Secretary Glickman expressing concern about the problems found in puppy mills across the country. Sent late last summer, the letter has caused anxiety within the USDA.

    This Spring, the agency will consider enacting stronger regulations covering puppy mills as well as examining ways in which their enforcement powers can be increased. Although any change in the way puppy mills are regulated is an improvement, and stiffer rules may even shut down or discourage potential operators from opening a facility, the changes will not directly eliminate the mills themselves. Until the demand for mass-produced pet store puppies decreases, there will always be a buck to be made in the production of dogs.

    Rachel A. Lamb is Director for Companion Animal Care at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in Washington, DC.

    Dog Training
              Hernia        

    A Hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. For example, the intestines may break through a weakened area in the abdominal wall. Hernias are most common in the abdomen, but they can also appear in the upper thigh, belly button, and groin areas. […]

    The post Hernia appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Fillings & Root Canal Treatment        

    A Filling is a material that fills the opening that’s left after a decayed portion of a tooth has been removed. Fillings fall into three categories: amalgam, composite and GIC. Amalgam Fillings use an alloy (mixture) of mercury and other metals (such as silver, copper or tin) that is carved and contoured after placement in […]

    The post Fillings & Root Canal Treatment appeared first on Medical Treatment, Medical Treatment centre, Medical healthcare Centre.


              Ivanka Trump’s opening a store in Trump Tower        
    Ivanka Trump's fashion brand was under fire for much of 2017, Racked reports.
              Westinghouse Launches New Outage Control Center        

    Westinghouse Electric Company LLC today announced the opening of the company’s first outage control center to provide vital central monitoring and response to its utility customers’ outage operations at U.S. nuclear power plant sites on a 24/7 basis, during outage seasons.

    (PRWeb September 16, 2014)

    Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12172886.htm


               A bit of a rummage        
    I have been doing a bit of rummaging this week...

    I couldn't go walking last Friday as it rained heavily until 3 pm. I was so disappointed as I was looking forward to the Greensand Ridge walk, but it's no fun walking in the rain.


    I bought these blue beads in the Red Cross last Monday. Earrings bought from Sainsbury's years ago. All other jewellery charity shopped.


    Everything charity shopped except the boots - Christmas present 2015 from OH. The cardigan is from Monsoon and was 1.99 from the Red Cross. The trousers are by Roman and I think they were from Barnardo's in Ampthill. Can't remember where I bought this top; I've had it ages but it's a first time wear.

    I went walking on Saturday with a different Rambler's group and did 6 miles in and around Sandy. I went early and had a browse around a couple of charity shops. I bought a silver necklace for £1.25.


    Everything charity shopped. Dress from Red Cross; shirt from a £1.00 rail somewhere. Boots bought in St. Ives for 4.00. All jewellery charity shopped.


    I bought these beads in my favourite charity shop in Killybegs, Co. Donegal for 2 euros. One of those bloody loops has escaped; I should cut them off but I like how they stop the garment falling off the hanger...I had to get rid of the checked shirt as, when I went to tug it down under the dress, my finger went through the material and ripped a big tear in it!


    Monday's outfit. Everything charity shopped except boots - Christmas 2016 present from daughter. Youngest grandson took the photos so they're taken from a sitting down position! He won't be parted from his i pad that boy...


    "Amari,  why don't you stand up and take the photo?"

    I managed to find a replacement for my blue checked shirt in the Red Cross on Monday for 1.99.
    There were so many donations to sort it was difficult to move round our sorting room - the Health and Safety people would have a field day in there. There was so much to get off the floor and into the storage room for steaming I didn't get a chance to sort the jewellery (which is my favourite thing to do) and there was a big box of it.


    On Tuesday I was at the Guildhouse. It was a beautiful day and I'm sorry I didn't take advantage of the weather to go walking in the afternoon, but I'm trying to chill out when I've volunteered in the morning and catch up with blogs etc. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are my walking days and Monday and Tuesdays are for volunteering. That way, I have a rhythm and a routine to my week and having been used to the structure of a working week; I wanted to keep some sort of structure in my life when I retired.


    Everything is charity shopped except the red desert boots bought online and the watch - a present in 2012 from daughter.


    I bought this chunky blue necklace recently for £1.50 in the Salvation Army. It's next door to Lidl so I usually have a quick browse. I definitely have an addiction to costume jewellery! All the jewellery is charity shopped.

    Rain again on Wednesday morning so no walking with the Ramblers.
    Instead I went into town to return some of my library books and I picked up our train tickets to London. We're going to London on Saturday to meet up with my eldest brother and to celebrate my birthday which is on Thursday 9th. My youngest brother is coming with his son, my nephew, and his other son who lives in London is also coming; as well as my daughter and my OH; there'll be 7 of us altogether. My eldest brother has booked a pub restaurant in or near Battersea Park. My eldest grandson is working so he can't come but we will be popping into his restaurant to say hello and maybe have a drink there, too.

    It's much cheaper to buy the train tickets from our tourist information centre. I bought a group save - 5 of us travelling from Bedford to St. Pancras with underground zones 1 - 6 included; for 13.85 each. The same 5 tickets without the underground zones was 70.00 online - 14.00 each.

    I bought this pot from the donations box at the 3:16 charity shop.
    I also had a pleasant hour or so rummaging whilst in town. I bought a lovely colourful dress for 3.75 in Cancer Research which I'm planning to wear on Saturday. I couldn't believe my eyes as I left the Cancer Research shop with my dress (and a silver necklace bought for 1.75), because across the road was yet another (new) charity shop - a Mercy in Action outlet store. And it was the grand opening day! We now have 13 charity shops in Bedford town centre/bus station area and 10 others scattered about - 23 in total!

     Of course I couldn't resist a peek in the new charity shop and had a glass of fizz and some cake (only a teeny tiny bit, unfortunately) as soon as I got in the door. Did I buy anything? I'm afraid I did. A tribal printed woollen waistcoat from the Sweater Shop for 1.50; a white linen tunic for summer, 1.00; a deep blue linen grand dad shirt for 2.00, and finally a book by Elizabeth Taylor (not the actress) which is not one I've seen in the Virago editions. It's an old hardback called 'A Wreath of Roses'.


    Thursday was my birthday. I was 63. I still feel 18 inside although I'm a lot more savvy than I was at 18!

     Everything is charity shopped except the red desert boots - bought on line. The skirt is by East and was bought from the Guildhouse about a month ago for 4.00.


    All jewellery charity shopped.

    Someone who shall remain nameless let the wax from the candles drip onto the cake...
    I had a lovely birthday.  And it was a beautiful day; a warm and sunny 15 C degrees. After I did the food shopping I went for a 7 mile walk, and when I got home I had a wonderful birthday cake and lots of lovely presents - an Amazon Fire stick; a floral DAB radio; perfume; chocolates;  a bottle of wine; some earrings; new pretty knickers (much needed!) a beautiful box; perfumes; a CD and a very special scarf printed with  bloggers including me - see below.




    On Friday, I did another morning at the Red Cross shop as the manager is off sick and they needed more volunteers. I don't mind the odd extra shift now and again. The day flew by before I knew it and I managed to sort a lot of the jewellery and get it out on to the shop floor.

    Top, jeans and jewellery charity shopped. Jacket bought in a sale at Beales (a local department store now taken over by the Co-op). Boots; Christmas 2016 present from daughter.


    I bought the earrings this week on my Wednesday rummage; 1.49 from the Heart Foundation. All the jewellery including the watch is charity shopped.

    That's been my week - how was yours?



              Cleveland Margaritaville Sets Opening Date        
    The latest Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant will open in Cleveland in early July: The restaurant announced via email that it will hold a soft opening on Monday, July 3, and a planned grand opening the following week, on Tuesday, July 11. Margaritaville will be a big operation, with 498 seats — 153 outside and 345 […]
              The Future of Customer Service: From Personal, to Self, to Crowd Service        

    The corporate world is at full stretch. On the one hand companies must meet ever-growing expectations with regard to customer experience, while on the other hand there’s a need for economic efficiency. The ultimate challenge for the customer service of the future consists in offering improved customer service at a lower cost. In the years to come, every company will question its customer processes. Any sensible company will strive to create the ideal combination between efficiency and the perfect customer experience. Players who are only active online, such as Amazon.com and Booking.com, boast a highly efficient customer process. Even though their customers rarely come into contact with actual people they still provide a very satisfactory customer experience. Traditional companies have a history of a personal service burdened with a heavy cost structure. To avoid overstretching, traditional companies must invest in digitization and in forging a personal (emotional) connection with the customer. Technology is opening up new possibilities in this regard but customers also like personal contact. This combination is shaping the future of customer service: a shift to self-service while still keeping things personal. Also, the service package is expanded by involving the customers themselves in the process. The customer-helps-customer philosophy (crowd service) enables companies to be more efficient and improve their service without losing sight of the human aspect. Fifty-five percent of consumers like the idea of other consumers helping them and 58% are prepared to help others . The customer is ready for crowd service. This paper was written based on my own research (in collaboration with SSI and translation partner No problem!), desk research and discussions with companies. This paper takes a closer look at new trends and evolutions in the field of customer service.
              (Re)live TYPO San Francisco With Five Videos        
    TYPO-SF-2014_header
    I am home since this morning, fighting a jetlag and recovering from a jampacked week in the Twin Cities. I had a marvelous time – after my two talks, judging the AIGA Minnesota 2014 Design Show and participating in the panel discussion on opening night of the show, I had the opportunity to visit friends […]
              LA Art Show 2017 PhotoJournal Interview with Chinese Artist, Si Bowen by Ginger Van Hook        
    Chinese Artist from Beijing exhibits painterly expressions of time through space.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook©2017




    On the Opening Night of the LA Art Show 2017, the first artist to capture my eye with his painting was Si Bowen. This was not easy to do as I was carried away by the crowd at the entrance and was led through a throng of art lovers all but covering the paintings and artworks with their own presence of appreciation. The fact that we are about a week from the inauguration of a new President, it seemed fit to come across a painter with an outside perspective of our election process. Si Bowen, an artist born in Beijing, China who studied art not only in Beijing, but in France and New York, described to me that his rendering of the television debate versions of Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton were painted to describe the passage of time. Viewed as duplicate and triplicate images of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton side by side on their podiums with hand gestures superimposed one over the other, yielded an out of focus picture of the debate postures from last year. That the image captured my eye because it looked politically vaguely amusing or satirical yet timely or that it expressed a unique and clever perspective was something that made me stop and want to meet the artist. The American People might agree that our process is somewhat murky when we transition from one administration to another, so the artist Si Bowen, might have captured in his painting, the unclarity of our union in mid-gesture. Nonetheless, his portfolio of non-political images was of even further interest as one of his favorites was the wonderful painterly expression and focus on his grandmother's hand. Si Bowen stated that he had studied in France as well as spent time in the arts in New York and that he started drawing at the age of three. When his father observed his talents, he enrolled him in the art schools at an early age. Some of the works that Si Bowen showed me in his catalogue were even more spiritually related than just his exploration of time and space and matters of death and spirituality. 

    Si Bowen is a multi-diciplinary artist creating works in sculpture, oil paint, and installation works. Si Bowen is represented by the LIAHONA ART SPACE representing the strong forces of young Chinese artists.

    PhotoJournal by 
    Ginger Van Hook, Photographer, Writer, Curator, Artist
    Van Hook Fine Arts, Beacon Arts Building Studio 1D
    808 N. La Brea Inglewood
    Los Angeles, California
    email: gingervanhook@gmail.com
    www.gingervanhook.com


              Inglewood Community Garden Thrives with Art, Culture & Music!        
    Inglewood, California  Written by Ginger Van Hook May 20, 2010
            Inglewood Community Garden is a dream students at Morningside High School have realized today with the help of Inglewood City Council member, Ralph L. Franklin of District 4, Teachers and Mentors, Miss Roshondra Woods, World History Teacher, Mr. Shawn Stanton at Morningside High School with Mr. D'Artagnan Scorza, Director at The Social Justice Learning Institute, and Mr. Sirls, the Principal of Morningside High School. Photography Ginger Van Hook, 2010
    For some of the students, it was hard to believe that these beautiful green corn leaves had come from all this dirt and gravel, but the miracle on Yukon and 107th Street in Inglewood was in full bloom. A student by the name of Jazz told the audience that she has been disheartened at first to see that this was a big empty lot with what seemed endless rocks. Then the students started clearing the land and putting their hearts and souls into the earth and the soil responded to their efforts to grow everything from tomatoes to chilies, jalapenos, lettuce, squash as well as herbs like parsley and oregano too.




    'Jazz' told us about the transformation of the garden and the friendships that she had made. She explained how there was a new community where before there had been an empty space. The audience cheered for the success of the students and there was a heightened sense of community achievement in the air. There was a slight breeze coming from the ocean that brushed the leaves of the  tomatoes and the peppers ever so slightly. The sun beat down upon the earth and music filled the air. Musicians played the guitar and percussion rhythms with their hands and their bodies moved to the beat. Guests were invited to take a water bottle from the center of the garden and in ceremonious ritual to bless the land with the names of their ancestors. I watered a patch of tomatoes and recalled my grandparents in the past. It was hard to remain objective. I was involved. I was now a part of this new blessing upon the community.  I was no longer a reporter, witnessing for the writing of a story, I was pulled into the land, the dirt, the rocky earth and right into the story, taken in by the aroma of fresh tomato leaves and the scent of strawberry flowers and consequently, the encouragement of artistic, poetic, talented new friends.


    D'Artagnan ScorzaDirector for The Social Justice Learning Institute 
    said his students are working on a Food Initiative




     Mr. Sirls, the Principal of Morningside High School, gave the students and supporters encouragement then went over to the wall and autographed his hand print in green.
    Mr. Sirl leaves his mark on the community garden wall.










    Janet Simmons read her poem that she wrote for the Inglewood Community Garden:

    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    my words,
    my voice,
    my sound,
    and my choice...
    of speech
    I speak of here.
    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    what I have seeked here
    throughout, without and within this garden
    I dedicate...
    I dedicate...
    my rough hands
    and my
    rock indented knees
    my wind tormented hair 
    and 
    the dirt infected breeze
    that flows through this garden
    like a stream of music through my ears
    When it comes down to it
    this would not mean as much
    without you, me, us
    so
    I dedicate myself to you.


    There were cooking demonstrations and watermelon slices.


    The Los Angeles Times came to cover the event and I captured Glenn Koenig working in earnest covering the tree planting ceremony. This Photo is by Ginger Van Hook, but at least four or five reporters were on scene to witness this miracle transforming strangers into friends, and smiles turning lives into a tight knit community bonding over vegetables and issues of social justice, friendship and healthy meals...All good things going on in the City of Inglewood!

    Julie Prejean a Forestry Senior Manager for TREE PEOPLE 
    came to support the garden opening and to donate and help plant  a special tree. 
    She told her eager audience of new gardeners that they could choose its name.

    City Council Member Ralph L. Franklin praised the students, 
    teachers and supporters for taking the initiative and making it all happen, 
    and 'what a beautiful day it is for a planting ceremony!'



    USC reporter Christine Trang from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism
    interviewed various participants and was preparing her report for southlareport.com

    Inglewood Artists and supporters, Ken Ober, Renee Fox and Ceres Madoo, Alumni Relations at Otis College of Art and Design came to support the Morningside High School Community Garden Opening Ceremonies. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook 2010.

    As an Inglewood Artist I was invited to attend this event, thanks to Ceres Madoo and when I arrived,  I did not know what to expect; but whatever it was to be, I knew this was a GREAT IDEA! As I milled about I got the opportunity to meet Mr. D'Artagnan Scorza who told me how the students from Morningside High School had gotten together to discuss civic engagement, how to show school spirit,  how to improve the community and how to better serve the needs of the school district.  The students themselves came up with the concept of a community garden, but at first, did not  have the means to make it happen. The original students were from Miss Roshondra's class and Mr. Shawn Stanton's class. A good idea took root then and there. One thing led to another and with the help of Inglewood City Council Member Ralph Franklin, their project got the encouragement and the support they needed right there from the school district's land.  
    This property belongs to the school so now the students are able to 
    develop a way to empower themselves to be a self sustaining community 
    with healthy nourishing meals for its students. 
    No better way to grow fine artists, fine students and fine citizens
    than to take the seeds and cultivate, 
    water frequently, daily, encourage with wisdom and respect for the land.
    The students have a great number of plans which includes a farmer's market, music, art and culinary culture events.























              The Art of Lovin' Animals --- Featured Group of Artists Inspired by Their Beloved Pets.        
    "Enilde And Our Children" Oil on Panel 42" x 60"
    Painting by Luke Van Hook, 2003
    Painting and Photograph copyright by Luke and Ginger E. Van Hook, 2004
    Courtesy of the Van Hook Collection

    The Art of Lovin' Animals
    Features a group of artists inspired,
    motivated or influenced by their beloved pets
    and appear in this blog in the following order:

    Joshua Elias, Simone Gad, Betty Glass, David Newsom,
    Monrovia Association of Fine Arts supporters
    (KidsArt Studio, PaintNPlay Art Studios, Tyson & Tillman Skate Dogs)
    Family Dog and Cat Hospital in Monrovia, California (displays animal artwork).
    Ginger Van Hook, Luke Van Hook,
    Alex in Welderland, Elena Wolek, and Zareh.

    Additionally as part of the "Art of Lovin' Animals"
    there is a special book and movie review of
    John Grogan's book "Marley and Me", and the recent hit movie
    starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson


    Written by Enilde G. Van Hook with special thanks to all participating artists!


    Do you remember your first pet? I do. I even have a picture of how much bigger my cats’ paws were than my two feet put together at the age of three. My mother, tells me I had a yellow duck, a small dog and a large yellow tabby cat that owned me as a child.
    These three pets were protective, possessive and they were my first companions as I ventured out, for the first time, into my wild back yard of dirt and weeds. I was born in Rosario Argentina and to me now as an adult, my backyard is still my world. I live in Los Angeles, California but the romance of the Argentinean Pampas is not lost on me. From the pictures of my past, I gathered that my Belgian Grandfather, Francisco, ran a plant nursery in Buenos Aires and that my father, Luis, grew up to be an inventor in America. But the most unique connection I have to my past is my relationship with animals. I’ve had a pet at almost every age as I grew up. The importance of this type of companionship has not been explored enough in the art world, at least, this is my opinion. This is the reason I am blogging about the subject of the art and inspiration of lovin’ pets. I hope to instigate discussion, if not compassion. I hope to motivate an artistic response to my thoughts as well. You may have a completely different experience, so I personally encourage you to post your comments after you read this entry.
    This is what I asked myself for the subject of the essay for Ginger's Art Journal. What is the relationship of animals and pets to the art world? How involved are animals throughout the art strata? How much inspiration is gathered from the love of a pet? Can that even be measured? Does the love of a pet inspire political causes? Activism? How does one explain the pangs of loneliness from the loss of a pet? Does the death of a pet make an artist create more art? Does the gift of a new life of a pet inspire hope and renewal in artists? How do artists express their love and affection for the four-legged critters of our earth? How do animals, pets, pet trees, pet rocks or pets of any kind affect the process of making art?
    There are a number of artists that I have followed for a period of time to investigate the questions that will make up this entry. Studying the work of a number of local artists from the Los Angeles and surrounding areas that work with pets in their art practice, I will present some of their unique stories with photos. The artists, in alphabetical order, include Joshua Elias, Simone Gad, Betty Glass, David Newsom, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook, Alexandra from Alex in Welderland, Lena Wolek and Zareh. Additionally, the art of lovin’ animals has made a seamless transition from the literary art into the film arts so I will discuss one of my favorite books by John Grogan named “Marley and Me” as it compares to its latest movie version of “Marley and Me” starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson which opened in December for Christmas Day.
    The method selected to choose these artists was random. I began my animal photographic study in 2006. Through my daily practice of studying the arts, I have come across people who were “in my back yard” and came to connect with me in a special way. I didn’t set out to write a story about animals. I merely went about my daily routine of photographing people and artwork that caught my “eye” because I was at the right place at the right time. Believing that the universe has a special plan for me, I allowed this story to evolve of its own volition. What I discovered both surprised me and opened me up. What I mean by this is that I was surprised to discover that artists who had pets had a great deal in common with other artists who had pets. Most people know and understand the history that reveals how the Egyptians revered cats and how the dog is considered “man’s best friend”. While it was common to have general conversations about how great it was to have pets and create pet portraits, I rarely came across artists that spoke to the deeper underlying significance in the arts about this specifically. While doing this research, I came across the most extreme case of worshiping our pets. The act of cloning has been in the news ever since the cloning of “Dolly” the sheep, but did you know that now there is a company that has launched itself into a commercial venture to clone man’s best friend? I discovered this and lots more so enjoy the new year in 2009 with a renewed commitment to your beloved pet. This is an ongoing story so don’t feel left out if your best friend isn’t included in this entry. I’m still reviewing artwork and pet portraits,
    feel free to send me an email about your animal story and I’ll include it in the followup stories!

    *********************************************************************************

    JOSHUA ELIAS
    Fine Arts Painter

    Joshua Elias, Exhibition, DCA Fine Arts
    Santa Monica, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2007
    Winston and Lucille read art literature on the couch and
    wait for Joshua Elias to become inspired to feed them.
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008
    Paintings by Joshua Elias
    Art in the making at the Brewery Artist Colony
    Los Angeles, California, 2008
    Studio visit by Ginger Van Hook
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook
    Artist brushes belonging to Joshua Elias
    The instruments by which Joshua Elias creates the canvas of weather and inspiration.
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008
    DCA Fine Arts Gallery, Joshua Elias with Mathew Heller and his girlfriend
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook 2007
    Joshua Elias, Exhibition at DCA Fine Arts Gallery
    Santa Monica, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2007
    Joshua Elias with his cats Winston and Lucille
    in his studio at the Brewery Arts Complex in Los Angeles, California
    Photo copyright Ginger Van Hook, 2008

    Joshua Elias
    Artist Statement

    Art has become about large quantities of Resin, masquerading as Content. The focus has been on Process, confusing it with Content. Enough. I wish to focus on Content. Story and Vibration lead the way for me to paint.

    I work in oil because of the depth and movement that it allows for me, as a medium. I focus on Landscapes that are rearranged. Traveling spirits act as guides, to the movement of a particular painting. The influence of Moorish architecture and its many doorways offers and allows entryways into paintings.

    At present we are in a period of Time where there seems to be long standing fights over Space, Time Religion, Money, Ideology, and Relationships. Enough. The one thing we do all share is Weather. Through the action of Creating our own environment, our own personal Weather, the Repositioning of Weather can illuminate and allow for more Creation to happen, more of a Life Force to shine and to take shape.

    ï¿_ Joshua Elias

    Courtesy of the DCA website
    *************************************************************************************************************************



    SIMONE GAD
    Fine Arts Painter, Collage Artist, Actor and Performer
    Simone Gad, Artist, Solo Show, L2Kontemporary Gallery
    February 2008 Chinatown, Los Angeles, California,
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008


    Selfportrait with Max and Bella/Autoportrait avec Max et Bella
    Private collection, photo courtesy of Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005
    Gad/Rin-Tin-Tin Collection Long Beach Museum of Art
    Courtesy Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005


    Picture Holocaust Clowns - Pinups 127, Gad and Poodle
    Courtesy Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005

    Selfportrait with Cat and Jesus
    Private collection, Courtesy of Simone Gad, Artist, copyright 2005

    Hommage a Ma Mere 2005 Painting Collage
    Copyright and Collection- Simone Gad
    Courtesy Simone Gad-Artist
    Photograph by Antonio Garcia





    Autoportrait avec Kashmir, painting collage 2005/06
    Courtesy Simone Gad- Artist and L2Kontemporary Gallery
    Chinatown, Los Angeles, California. Copyright Simone Gad


    Portrait of Bella, the Brindle cat, acting secretary for Artist, Simone Gad
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008



    Bella the Brindle Cat, (on the Marilyn and JFK Installation)
    Photo copyright and courtesy of
    Jesse Bonderman and Simone Gad,

    Bella, the Brindle Cat #2 (Marilyn Installation)
    Photo courtesy of Jessie Bonderman and Simone Gad


    Portrait of Simone Gad, Artist with companion, Bella.
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Portrait of Bella
    The Brindle cat, Artist assistant, model
    and loyal companion to Simone Gad.
    Los Angeles, California, Artist studio visit
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Max and Bella pose for pictures in the window of Simone Gad's artist studio
    Los Angeles, California
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008

    Simone Gad poses with one of her paintings of Chinatown
    during her solo show at L2Kontemporary Gallery
    Chinatown, Los Angeles, California
    Photograph by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2008



    Enilde Van Hook writer's notes: I met Simone Gad at an exhibition of her work in Chinatown in the spring of 2008. The L2Kontemporary Gallery is a unique gallery located at 990 N. Hill Street #205 in Downtown Los Angeles (90012), California. I received an email from ArtScene, a wonderful source of local Art Events that is produced by the staff of Coagula Art Journal. Special thanks to Michael Salerno and Mat Gleason, because somewhere in the announcement, I read that Simone Gad was a Belgium-born artist and this led me to want to meet her to talk about the art in Belgium, where my grandfather had been born. Once I attended her exhibit and got a chance to meet Simone, I realized there was a distinct cultural connection we had through our reverence to the animals. She used images of her cats to make intriguing and poignant self-portraits and insightful photographic collages.
    I have followed Simone Gad’s work into 2009 and you will enjoy visiting her site through the L2Kontemporary Gallery located in Chinatown in Los Angeles: Follow these links to get to know a renaissance artist, a versatile film and TV actress, a woman of many talents and an artist who has a great deal of compassion to show for her animal friends: visit the online gallery site at http://www.l2kontemporary.com to view her solo show at L2k for Feb 08 plus her updated resume which may be viewed at saatchigallery.org by writing in her name or wooloo.org by writing in Simone Gad’s name.
    Special thanks to the L2Kontemporary Gallery for cooperating with my interview! (www.L2Kontemporary.com and L2Kontemporary@sbcglobal.net and phone: 323-225-1288)

    Simone Gad
    Artist Statement and Biography: 2009

    I've been showing in museums and galleries for 40 years-am a 6 times grants recipient, including a CRA Grant 1986, the Woman's Building 1985/6, New Orleans Contemporary Museum of Art 1984, the Gottlieb Foundation-NYC/Painting Medical Emergency Grant, Change Inc-Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Grant-both in 2002 for painting and medical emergency, and Artist Fellowship Foundation Grant in 2007-NYC. I am included in the Archives of the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian-Washington, DC, and will also be included in the Lyn Kienholz Encyclopedia of Los Angeles Artists who have shown between 1944 and 1979. In Los Angeles, I am represented by L2kontemporary Gallery-Chinatown, Jack Fischer Gallery in San Francisco, and am showing in Spain. I am also in the traveling museum exhibition-Your Documents Please thru 2010 in Japan/Europe/Mexico curated by Daniel Georges of Brooklyn, NY. I was born in Brussels, Belgium to holocaust survivor parents, from Poland. We came to the US in the early 1950's and settled in Boyle Heights/E.L.A, after arriving at Ellis Island. My mother got me into show-biz at the age of 4 upon our immigration. I grew up in the entertainment field as a young actress-have been working professionally in film, tv, commercials and theatre ever since. Have always had a dual career-.visual/performance artist and actor. George Herms and Wallace Berman were my first mentors. Al Hansen was my mentor from 1972 to 1995 when he passed away in Koln, Germany.

    My cats Max and Bella Bettina Kashmir are my inspiration for many of my painting collages-have been so for many years. I've always been inspired by my cats and dogs that I've had since I arrived to this country from War torn Europe. My father got me my first dog-Teddy Queeny when I was a child living on Folsom Street-We had just returned from a movie on Brooklyn Avenue when we saw the puppies on our way home. I was allowed to have one-and I was so happy. But my mother hated animals and wouldn't let me keep my pet with me in my bedroom and it cried all night. I was heartbroken when I got home from Nursery School the following day and found that my dog was gone. My mom told me she had sent it to New Jersey to live with my Tante Sally. I wasn't allowed to have any animals after that. Years later I visited my aunt and asked her if she had taken care of my Teddy Queeny and she told me she never did-she never got the dog-didn't know what I was talking about. I realized that my mother had lied to me and had possibly killed my beloved doggie. I had moved to Topanga Canyon for a while in the late 1960's-that's where I got to know Wallace Berman and George Herms. I was given a miniature sheppard-who I named Lady. She was my constant companion and I adored her. She was run over by a couple of friends who were staying with me one night. I found her bleeding from her mouth by the driveway. She died in my arms and I could feel her spirit leave her body. We buried her the next morning. I was devastated for years. A friend of mine gave me a dash-hound and I took it home to be with me when I left Topanga and stayed with my parents for a while. I named her Wiggle Butts because she had this habit of wiggling her behind when she walked. I was not allowed to keep her-once again-so I called a friend and had her drive from The Canyon to pick Wiggles up and take care of her for me. When I left my parents and got an apartment, I got a cat-Nathaniel-my very first cat-who was with me for 15 years until he passed away. It was then that I started to incorporate animal objects into my collages-in the mid 1970's.

    copyright Simone Gad 2009

    http://www.l2kontemporary.com to view Simone Gad’s solo show at L2k for Feb 08 plus her updated resume-you may also get it on saatchigallery.org by writing in her name or wooloo.org by writing in Simone Gad’s name-

    ************************************************************************************


    BETTY GLASS

    Focus One Gallery in Monrovia, California. Sponsored by M.A.F.A.,
    the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts and Focus One Community Credit Union.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook, copyright 2006

    Betty Glass celebrates Christmas with Lulu at home in 2008.
    Lulu, wearing her new holiday sweater,
    pokes her nose into the gift bag
    to see if she likes what Santa has brought her.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty Glass and James Glass.
    Turtle Painting, Watercolor Artwork by Betty Glass reminiscent of her pet turtles.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.
    Trojan Horses, Watercolor painting by Artist, Betty Glass
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.
    Hummy, Watercolor Painting by Artist, Betty Glass.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.

    Yankee and Sugar, Watercolor Painting by Artist, Betty Glass
    memorializing the life of her beloved friends.
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass.

    Yankee (5-17-80 --- 4-20-94)
    the larger white and orange Brittany on the right,
    and Sugar (7-20-90 --- 12-24-04)
    the smaller Brittany on the left.
    "Beloved Friends and Forever in our hearts!"
    Loyal Friends, Inspiration and Companions
    to Artist, Betty Glass and her family.
    (Special thanks to husband, James Glass
    for his technical computer assistance
    with digital photography formating of Betty Glass Artwork.)
    Photo copyright and courtesy of Betty and James Glass


    Enilde Van Hook, Writer's Notes:
    I met Betty Glass through the Monrovia Association of Fine arts in 2006. We were showing together at the Focus One Gallery on Huntington Drive in Monrovia, California. When Betty came into the gallery, she was toting her adorable poodle named Lulu. I was charmed immediately and I just had to have a photo of this beautiful female pooch with a twinkle in her eye and the gumption to come into an art gallery where only humans gathered. This little poodle had no clue there was any difference between her and her owner, and she acted like she was looking at the art just like everyone else. At the time, I considered this a very cultured poodle and I told Betty so. Betty giggled and let me take her snapshot with Lulu and then we did not see each other again until we had another show together, also at Focus One Gallery two years later in December of 2008. When I saw Betty this time, I saw the connection of her artwork and the love of her animals come through her work and later, she agreed to participate in the interview for my blog. You may enjoy Betty Glass's artwork by visiting her website at www.bhglassart.com

    Betty H. Glass
    Artist Statement about Animal Art

    Through art we communicate our feelings and thoughts.
    Our art reflects what experiences in life have influenced us.
    I have had a lifetime of pets
    ranging from goldfish, parakeets, and turtles and, of course,
    the loyal dog—always your friend even when the sky seems to be falling.
    I am still sketching and painting animals, birds, and fish.
    The softness of their fur, the texture of their feathers and fins,
    the variations of color are very appealing to me,
    because color is part of my artistic signature.
    Sometimes they are presented in a realistic fashion.

    Other times I use animals in a more stylized way—
    using their shapes as patterns, semi-abstracting them and their background.
    For example, my painting Trojan Horses shows flattened stylized figures of horses.
    Hopefully artistically pleasing and calling to mind ancient Greece.





    The Art of Lovin’ Trees-- 
    Featuring Artist Joel Tauber
    Story dedicated to Joel and Alison
    in celebration of their joyous engagement on November 9th,
    2008

    Written and Researched by Enilde Van Hook
    Story Consult and Editing by Luke Van Hook
    Painting, www.lukevanhook.com
    Photography, www.gingervanhook.com
    Writing, www.enildeingelsvanhook.com


     America is having a love affair with trees and California is second to none in leading its appreciation of trees. Digging deep into the roots of this story, I have followed and researched the tree culture specifically in Los Angeles where our love of trees has spawned a unique pop tree culture relating to art. Our popular tree culture today includes but is not limited to tree sculptures, tree paintings, tree photographs, tree videos, tree poetry, tree songs, tree jewelry, tree movies and even tree love affairs. 


    Tree Earing created by Joel Tauber for his Sick-Amour Tree in Pasadena, California.
    Additional Tree Jewelry created by Joel Tauber to adorn the Sick-Amour Tree includes leaf jewelry, as well as the male earing and the female earing that hang from the tree below.  
    Photos of tree jewelry courtesy of  Susanne Vielmetter Gallery 5795 West Washington Blvd., Culver City, California 90232 www.vielmetter.com   infor@vielmetter.com (323-933-2117)


    Sick-Amour Tree in the parkinglot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, protected by barriers installed by Joel Tauber in his quest to save his beloved tree. Tree wearing the earings looks hot!  Photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery.
    Leaf sculpture by Joel Tauber
    Female tree earing by Joel Tauber.
    Male tree earing created by Joel Tauber, photo courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, 2008

    For the record, our love of trees goes way back to the dawn of time when we were swinging in the trees, however, our love has grown and matured since then. The Greek and Roman heritage of literature and art bestows us with intoxicating stories of their Gods having entanglements with humans. Some of their deities were known as protectors of trees and nature such as Dionysus the Greek god of agriculture, fertility, wine and merriment. He was later renamed Bacchus by the Romans and reported to be the Tree God. Back in the day when artists carved trees into stone and marble relief sculptures to worship in the temples of their mythological gods, people celebrated the sacredness of trees, grapevines and sometimes the unions of gods and mortals. There was Pomona, the goddess of fruit trees who married Vertumnus, the god of fruits and gardens. Digging deep enough, one is sure to find stories of deities mating with trees and spawning children of the harvest for instance.

    In modern literary circles there are a number of great imaginative family favorites written about trees, like “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. Then there’s the infamous story of how Robinson Crusoe lived in a tree-house, and of utmost importance to our American history of trees, we propagate the very memorable legend of ‘Johnny Appleseed’.

    In our contemporary times we have a legend in the making too. I have been fortunate to witness the emergence of a new ‘Johnny Appleseed’ and interestingly enough, the story involves a recent romantic love affair between one special tree and a mortal that is well worth pursuing the story. Sometime in the fall of in 2007, I met Joel Tauber. This is the artist who I believe was struck by a mythological bolt of lighting, so to speak, pertaining to one of the Greek or Roman deities’. Joel Tauber is said to have fallen head over heels in love with one particular Sycamore Tree in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. My chance meeting with this now famous mortal under the influence of an enchanted mystical spell, has led me to research the mysteries intrinsic in the charms of trees. I too have been struck with the frailty of trees, their vulnerabilities, and their enormous strengths and inspiration. This together with my own personal experiences with trees has prompted me to come out of my shell and discuss the subject in all seriousness.

    My own personal background is not in trees. I am simply a tree-lover from childhood. For a little over ten years, my professional background was in radio as a disc jockey and on-air personality. I listened to music, reviewed songs and kept tabs on the pop music culture. I worked in the Los Angeles market as well as Santa Barbara, California; Eventually I moved to expand my work experience in neighboring radio markets like Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe and Gardnerville/Minden, Nevada. It was through traveling that I saw some of the most beautiful trees along the routes through Northern California and Northern Nevada!
    While I drove from one radio market to another over the years, I watched the trees go by at the various speed limits along the highways of my life’s journeys. Thus you will understand when I tell you that often I see art and life, for that matter, through a series of moving images in my head which include a music bed. 
    I was eleven years old when in 1970, Joni Mitchell wrote and released a song called ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ whose lyrics surpassed the test of time and is currently in airplay by a glut of new groups. The lyrics began with “…They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum and they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see ‘em.” One of the barometers I use to gage the influence of any particular song, music or artwork that I come into contact with is if it will surpass the test of time, among other important criteria. This song became one of my favorite songs of all time. The lyrics made so much sense to me.
    When I met Joel Tauber, I was introduced to the enormous scope of his Sick-Amour Tree-Baby Project. It was then that I suddenly started hearing Joni Mitchell’s song in my mind again, only this time, as I got in my car, Counting Crows was performing the song. When I started doing more research on the song that I could not get out of my head, I was struck by how many artists had re-recorded the song and barely changed anything about the words. There is Amy Grant, who upgraded the dollar amount from $1.50 to $25 when singing about how much the museums charged people to enter. Additionally there is Green Day, Sarah McLachlan, Charlie Barker, Bob Dylan, Moya Brennan, Ireen Sheer, Donnie Eidt and a host of so many others that have recorded ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ it was simply overwhelming!
    I think the importance of the lyrics to this one particular song is that it reveals the fact that people love trees and hate parking lots. The message is that if it weren’t for our trees, we could be living in a frying pan! The impact of this single song is that it reveals what is really going on in people’s minds. There is a reason why so many artists are flocking to re-record the lyrics in their own way.











    Not only are trees involved in the music arena, trees as subjects, are very involved in politics as well. Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin at the time, took a leading role in developing the celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd 1970 as a way to commemorate our environmental concerns. Arbor Day is presently celebrated as well with the first ceremonial tree planting in Washington D.C. on April 27th in 2001, all evidence that goes to prove the people of our planet do care about what happens to our trees.


    Trees stand as a testiment and memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King

    Dr. Martin Luther King is memorialized with trees along Expositon Blvd. across from the Los Angeles Coliseum and down the street from the University of Southern California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook


    Online sources on the subject of trees are rich in number. For instance, eighteen years ago, here in Los Angeles, a multi racial group of volunteers planted 400 Canary Island Pine trees along seven miles of road on Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life. Today, this living homage to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to thrive and keep the dream alive for his followers. The founder and President of www.treepeople.org is Mr. Andy Lipkis and he keeps tabs on the trees to make sure all 400 trees stay healthy.



    Mayor Antonio Villarigosa is the person to thank for the ‘Million Trees Initiative’ he signed into effect in May of 2006 and Los Angeles residents can learn how they too can receive up to 7 free trees to plant on their property. Visit the website at www.milliontreesla.org to learn the details.   Also in Portland, Oregon there is www.friendsoftrees.org and in Bellingham Washington you will find www.geocities.com. There is also the International Society of Arboriculture called ISA and can be accessed by visiting www.isa-arbor.com. You will also find a great deal of valuable advise on the growth and care of trees at www.treesaregood.com and check out Tree Care Industry Association TCIA as well.



    Mark Dion created an art piece titled "Library for the Birds of Antwerp" which is also a good example of how art is vitally connected with our tree culture and how it connects Mark Dion to his PBS special where he removed a dead tree from the forest and recreated its living components in a city scape in Washington.  From the "20th Century Artbook Phaidon Press 1996", the caption reads: "Using props from the natural and man-made world, Dion has constructed an installation that explores contemporary attitudes to science and the environment. He has created a fictional and hybridized situation in which the trappings associated with knowledge, learning and classification--such as books and photographs--are juxtaposed with natural elements including birds and wood.   The representation of nature is a fundamental subject in Dion's art, and here he takes on the role of sociologist/anthropologist and blurring the boundaries between authentic and fake, representation and parody. By adopting the persona of a scientist and by satirizing man's obsession with categorization, Dion questions the values of the Western world.  His subject matter is heavily influence by popular culture.  In Dion's world we might witness Mickey Mouse as an explorer, or Clark Kent interviewing Dr. Frankenstein." (Photo and contents are used in this story for purposes of artistic review.)

    In the art world, an artist named Mark Dion was featured in a documentary film report that aired in 2007. To view the video one may visit on the Internet by going to www.pbs.org and find Mark Dion as he took the subject of trees and made an art piece that explored what would happen if one were to take a tree after its death, take it out of its familial context of natural forest, and re-create the ecosystem in an environment that would otherwise be a hostile urban setting, needless to say, a cityscape. Just outside of Seattle Washington, he states, a Hemlock fell on February 8th, 1996…and so begins an elaborate experiment that pits optimism against reality." The PBS special is very detailed and you will enjoy the depth of research and work that Mark Dion went to to take a tree out of the forest and recreate the setting in the city.  The difference between the artwork presented by Mark Dion and  the artwork presented by Joel Tauber is in the nature of the life of the tree. Mark Dion works with a dead tree and its living components, and Joel Tauber creates life out of a tree seed and duplicates it all over his community.


    Thus I’ve discovered for myself that when I researched the subject of trees, I discovered Joel Tauber wasn’t alone! However, instead of creating an experiment in ecology, Joel Tauber goes further than Mark Dion does with this concept of eco-systems and their frailties. Joel Tauber begins a journey that could eventually repair the eco-systems that man has destroyed. This is where Joel Tauber takes the lead in the art world and becomes not only the realist but the optimistic hope for trees in desecrated forests all over the country.
    Joel Tauber’s work as a living project of art in 2008 has resonance and his story is well worth telling again and again. He is certainly not the first, nor the last to get involved in the love of trees, but he is the first in contemporary times to have been associated with a mythological and mystical occurrence of reproducing tree babies out of just hugging one lonely tree.


    The last time I saw a man hugging a tree, he was hugging the tree for all the wrong reasons. At the MOCA, Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, some years back I was viewing an exhibition that was in town by the Utah born artist now working in Los Angeles, Paul McCarthy. While this work of art depicted a very raw and unsettling sculpture of ‘tree-lovin’ it had nothing whatsoever to do with the love of any tree. The work displayed a timely political statement about our government rather than the love for trees, but bear in mind that the thought involved images from man’s intimate involvement with trees both in the biblical sense and in the sense of man’s raping of the planet. Joel Tauber’s work counteracts the devastation of many years of neglect for our trees with a very basic recipe for the renewal of our commitment to our green-leafed friends. Now, when I see the image of Joel Tauber hugging his Sycamore Tree in Pasadena, I get a whole new perspective for the love for our planet, our trees and our environment as a whole.

    "The Garden" by Paul McCarthy from The 20th Century Art Book, 
    Phaidon Press Limited, page 280. Photo is used for purposes of artistic review.
    The caption in the book reads as follows: " 'The Garden'  is a full-scale tableau of an outdoor, woodland scene, complete with leafy trees, shrubs and rocks.  This tranquil picture of nature is rudely interrupted by the presence of a middle-aged, balding man with his trousers round his ankles, engaged in a wholly unnatural act. From one side of the installation, his actions are not immediately apparent, being partially hidden by the tree trunks and foliage, but the sound of mechanical activity draws the viewer in to discover the shocking sight of a man copulating with a tree.  This robotic figure, with its endlessly repetitive movements, is both comical and crude, and is intended by McCarthy to question notions of acceptable public behavior and sexual morality.  McCarthy is a lecturer at UCLA as well as an artist. His sculptural installations evolved out of his earlier performance work which focused on his own body engaged in extreme and disturbing acts."




    To further explain this romantic entanglement between a tree and a mortal, I cite some important historical facts. Back in 2005, Joel Tauber was in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl, when he spotted a particularly lonely and neglected Sycamore Tree. There are hundreds of thousands of trees in Pasadena, and a great number of them thrive very well on the grounds of the Rose Bowl, should you ever drive through this luscious community of tree and rose-lovers, you will see. But Joel Tauber focused his attention on one specific lonely tree. He started to note more and more how cars would hit the bark of the tree and scrape it, injuring the tree repeatedly. Joel Tauber became a witness to this tree’s life. Taking compassion and friendship upon this particular tree, Tauber began to film the area of the parking lot where the tree was growing. He got the idea to put up solid barriers to protect it from cars and also carried water in large plastic bags to irrigate the tree. Soon, Tauber found himself as a one-man band, orchestrating a symphony of activities leading to editing mass quantities of tree footage, fighting City Hall, and embarking on a quest to save this tree from infertility using tried and true guerilla tactics that would make tree-huggers stand and salute. To personally view the Sick-Amour project, along with the giant scale tree sculpture installation exhibited at Susanne Vielmetter Gallery in 2007, you may visit www.vielmetter.com.













                   Recently, I had the privilege and opportunity to discuss Joel Tauber’s work with Susanne Vielmetter and she was delighted to tell me what a wonderful sense of humor that Tauber exhibits in all of his works of art. Susanne Vielmetter reviewed the Underwater project with me as well as the Flying Project which Tauber presented.
    She explained how deep down, she feels Tauber is on a quest for meaning in his work and that he has a keen sense of humor that unifies and makes his ideas successful. She states that he uses the comical and the tragic in the Tree-Baby project to address the issues of urban living in our time and very subtly pokes fun at the problems innate in urban planning. The real irony of a small Sycamore tree dying of thirst in a parking lot of a beautiful park in a paradise-like valley, alongside the 110 Pasadena Freeway where 80% of the territory is plastered with concrete and the water below runs along asphalt channels of the Los Angeles River is not lost on Tauber, she explained. To contrast, Susanne Vielmetter cited that parks in Europe allow for weeds to grow naturally on landscapes that are not covered with concrete. Joel Tauber’s projects were initially presented at the Susanne Vielmetter Gallery located at 5795 Washington Blvd., in Culver City, California. The response Susanne Vielmetter’s Gallery received was incredibly exciting, even though at first, some folks thought Joel Tauber was a nut; he went on to prove just how serious he really is about changing the landscape of our environment, one tree at a time.



    Joel Tauber has a large body of video artwork, photographs and developing tree babies, (the children of a mortal and a Charmed Sycamore Tree) and one may also visit www.joeltauber.com.
    As I learned more and more about Joel Tauber’s project, I realized how blessed we all are that tree-lovin’ is not a singular act of love or even a fleeting love of art. I realized how connected we all are to our environment and how the idea of having a special friend ‘the tree’, any tree in any state, in any country for that matter is a beautiful connection to have. The connection that Joel Tauber has to his Sycamore Tree is in synch with the love that the country is experiencing during our new millennium. We have all become acutely aware of the fragility of life; we realize now more than ever that we must respect our dependence on our environment and value our trees.

    The first thing that struck me about Joel Tauber was that we had the love of trees in common. He seemed a bit shy, unassuming and humble yet I was later to learn the enormous power he wielded for this one frail and neglected tree in the parking lot of the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California. I was truly inspired by the level of involvement and commitment he had demonstrated for his own beloved Sycamore Tree which he had turned into a full-blown art-project including video, photography and sculptured jewelry. (He did it all!) He named this work the Sick-Amour Project mainly because he said he felt this tree was ill from the lack of love and the inability to have tree babies to fulfill its legacy. I had never personally met someone with such an extreme love and dedication to one particular tree. In our local newscasts, I had heard stories of people who became very emotional when a land developer was about to cut down a tree they considered a relic of their community; in which case people got very nasty about the issue and would chain themselves to the trees or surround the location with demonstrators that would shut down the jobsite. That’s when the news crews would come in with their cameras and boom mikes and the news helicopters would hover in circles above the trees trying to capture the ‘event’ that was creating all the uproar. A very recent example of this type of community behavior is written about on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times where Eric Bailey, a Times Staff Writer, wrote an extensive story about the tree-issues pertaining to Scotia, California where activists are protesting the logging of the Great California REDWOODS! Read the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times, August 24th, 2008 or visit www.latimes.com online to learn how the tree-sitters are doing today.

    But Joel Tauber is a different type of activist. He doesn’t consider himself an activist at all. He merely states, humbly, just for the record, that he loves this one particular Sycamore Tree and it is an outrage to him to see how his new best friend is being suffocated under a six-inch blanket of black tar and asphalt. Better yet, Joel Tauber does something about it. Not with a crew of forty thousand demonstrators, not even with a crew of forty residents. He does this on his own, quietly challenging the laws of the city of Pasadena and humbly takes responsibility for the care and nurturing of his new best friend. I was touched. At once I began to marvel at his potent idea.



    The art of loving our trees has grown roots in the higher levels of the art world as well. For instance, if one were to visit the J. Paul Getty Museum both at the Getty Villa which recently re-opened in Malibu and at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, you will find the love of trees has grown branches on all the hillsides surrounding both properties. There are lucky Sycamores and fortunate Pines; there are Pomegranate trees, Apple trees, Pear trees, Jacaranda trees and trees that just look good in a vista overlooking the ocean. Millions of dollars went into the development of artistic gardens which envelope the California landscape against a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean on one edge and the rolling hills of Malibu on the other.






    Over in the area of the Miracle Mile, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating an enormous renovation of its facilities and you guessed it, there are aisles and isles of gigantic palm trees lining the walkways to the entrance of the museum in concert with a unique and flamboyant architecture that has drawn the attention of the art-world with the generosity of Eli and Edythe Broad of the Broad Foundation. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum is the new wing at the LACMA and is considered the largest space in the country devoted exclusively to contemporary art. With a ‘living art display’ dedicated to the iconic palm trees, not native to California, Robert Irwin has developed a plein-air walkway through ‘Palm Gardens’ as one makes their way to the entrances of the museum.





    Lush green trees thrive all over Pasadena, California, home of the Rose Bowl where Joel Tauber fell in love with a Sycamore Tree.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook, 2008




     The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California  is also home to some of the most exquisite antiquities in its museum history which includes sculptures amid a forest like atmosphere. Currently at the Norton Simon Museum, among its many exhibitions, one may enjoy the artwork of Ruth Weisberg, Dean of the Gayle Garner Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. Opening on October 17, 2008 the Weisberg exhibition at the Norton Simon runs through March 2, 2009. Additionally a lecture by the artist is planned where Weisberg discusses: Guido Cagnacci and the Resonant Image on Sunday November 16, 2008.  The Norton Simon Museum of Art is located at 411 West Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, California. Ruth Weisberg was instrumental in selecting the work of Joel Tauber to be permanently planted on the Main University Campus of USC on January 24, 2008 where a tree planting ceremony was held and attended by numerous members of USC faculty, staff, students and guests. The location of the new tree-baby, child of the Sick-Amour Project, currently exists on the Exposition side of the campus between Gate one and the Fischer Gallery, across the street from the Museum of Natural History. 


    In Pasadena, where lovers of trees line every street of the city as the landscapes are lush with all types of trees and where these wonderful healthy trees keep cool the throngs of tourists who visit the Rose Bowl every year, is also home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Both locations are areas where tree-lovin’ may be experienced alongside some of California’s best-known artworks. Visit the NORTON SIMON MUSEUM at www.nortonsimon.org located at 411 West Colorado, Pasadena, California 91105 or visit the PASADENA MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA ART at www.pmcaonline.com at 490 East Union Street, Pasadena, California.



    In San Marino, California, the art of trees, gardens and succulents has found a worthy haven at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens spanning an area of 120 acres dedicated to the fine arts founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1928 as the very first public art gallery in Southern California. Along with English portraits and French eighteenth-century furniture, one will delight in tours of the unique garden paradise established for the pure love of the botanical arts.


    On the hillside along the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, one may also enjoy walking along the elegant landscapes of the Skirball Cultural Center and Museum grounds and witness the serenity of the trees as Weeping Willows slope their leaves to the ground, and gentle breezes sway the branches of Sycamores, Oaks and Birch trees. Visit the Skirball Museum online at www.skirball.org, or enjoy a personal walk along the grounds and explore the tributes to culture at 2701 North Sepulveda, Los Angeles 90049.

    Trees at the Skirball Museum and Cultural Center thrive and enjoy the mild California climate.


    In San Diego, one enjoys walking through a vast museum complex housing 15 unique museums in Balboa Park, not to mention to the collection of rare cactus and enormous Eucalyptus trees (just to name one tree type out of numerous ones) which shade the paths leading from one museum to another.

    Each of the locations I have mentioned or described here is where I personally walked through, witnessed, and or photographed sophisticated artistic tree landscapes of the California terrain.

    The Roots of my personal anxieties: Why I care.

    The impact of my meeting Joel Tauber coincided with an important event that took place for me way before I knew about his Sick-Amour Tree project and was what eventually led me to throw myself into this frenzied study of trees over this summer. Thus I do not necessarily consider myself struck by any of the Greek or Roman gods. I believe my influence came with a special awareness of the frailty of trees with this personal story:

    A little over one year ago, on June 30th, 2007 I was walking our dog Sasha, around the block for one of our frequent walks. I rounded the corner to the next block when I was taken aback as I witnessed a set of ‘city’ crewmembers slaughtering what appeared to be a California Oak tree. I had grown quite fond of that particular Oak on my many walks while I was writing my first novel. As a matter of fact, I had used that model of tree to describe a forest of these trees in a chapter in my first fiction novel. I especially love the sculptured texture of the Mighty gnarly Oaks. This tree had been the one to rekindle my relationship with the trees of my imagination. My stomach got queasy when I saw how it was being destroyed. I would have thrown-up, but I got a hold of my emotions and took Sasha home. Not only did I return to the scene of the slaughter, but I brought my camera to document the death and dismemberment of this great oak; I was so distraught that I returned again to the site, without my camera this time, and begged the men to stop for a moment while I sought out the seeds for this tree. To my surprise, the men stopped and helped me search for the seeds.








    When I got home, I had no idea what to do with the seeds. I called a couple of nurseries until a gentleman at a nursery in Marina del Rey explained to me that I had to wait until the pods dried up and slit to get at the seeds and plant them. So, I waited until the pods were black and wrinkled. I split them according to the directions I had gotten from this kind anonymous arborist. (He suggested a process much like that which squirrels have for cracking the pods.) I photographed the seeds and compared them with the larger seed of an apricot fruit tree and the seed of a maple tree.






    Once properly documented, I planted them in a small brown pot. Two weeks later, the first seed came up. A few days later another seed appeared to take root. On the one-year anniversary of the re-birth day of this Great Knurly Oak tree, July 20th, 2008, I documented how large the great twin oaks had become. The highest little bitty branch was about fourteen inches tall. I estimated this tree had grown a little over an inch every month. A compassionate act of kindness yielded a new life on the impulse of grief. The impulse of grief affected not only me; there is an entire world of tree-lovers mourning the losses of their favorite tree friends in surrounding communities.












    What about the subconscious feelings innate in developing a relationship with a tree? For instance, what draws people to want to save a particular tree? 

    I can really only speak to my own experience in that my relationship with trees started when I was a child.

              Luke Van Hook Paintings Now at Brand Library Galleries "Circle in the Square" Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, Cheryl Walker thru Sept 5th 2008        
    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008


    PHOTO-JOURNAL BY GINGER VAN HOOK


    Photo above: 
    Cathy Billings, Art Librarian and Gallery Manager of the 
    Brand Library Art Galleries and Co-Curator of 
    "Circle in the Square" selected Luke Van Hook 
    as one of the artists to show his circle paintings 
    which explore Giotto's fabled "perfect circle.
    Photo below: 
    Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor, Gallery Director 
    and Co-curator pictured with Luke Van Hook.
    Both ladies made studio visits all over Los Angeles and surrounding communities in search of the "perfect circle" of artists to represent the illusive qualities of the circle.
    It takes over a year to prepare for a large show at the Brand Library Art Galleries and no one will have a better story to tell you about the waiting process than Galleries Manager and Curator, Cathy Billings or Alyssa Resnick, Senior Library Supervisor and Gallery Director. These ladies traveled to Inglewood, California for a studio visit to see Luke Van Hook's circle paintings some time in the early summer of 2007. They told Luke that they were preparing to curate a show of artists working on the motif of the 'circle'.  They had already reviewed a number of artists and found making the final decision difficult, first because there were a number of artists who worked with this subject and secondly, the talent was very competitive. The subject of the circle and how each artist approaches this topic is worth dedicated study in and of itself.  These lovely ladies, Cathy and Alyssa, with a keen eye for artistic talent, selected a total of five talented artists to show together this summer.   
    Here you will find photos of how each artist expressed their obsession with the circular form.  I'll begin my blog entry with a brief history of what I believe may have led Luke Van Hook to painting the circle and continue with the photos and biographical information of the additional four artists each selected for working with the motif of circles, independently of each other, with their own unique and individual interpretations of the circle: Yesung Kim, Barbara Kolo, Susan Sironi, and Cheryl Walker.
    Luke Van Hook began his present study of the circle in 2005. He first discovered the legend of Giotto's "Perfect Circle" in a class about ancient history; but the idea didn't sink in at first. He needed time to reason with his quest. While Luke approached the specific task of painting the circle with thin paintbrushes and applying layer upon layer of color to a raw naked canvas, I set about trying to understand what the hell prompted my husband to go circle crazy in the first place.  I started researching what the circle meant and I found a lot of literature in the realm of magic, rituals, mathematics, secret societies and romance. But my first impression was that the circle was a way to get back to the beginning of things.  Then I delved deeper.  Was Luke trying to say that he was going in circles?  Were we at this artistic point in our lives as a result of a past life?  Was our circular existence referencing our cycle of birth, death and rebirth?  Or was the answer more basic than that, like "the earth is round and it's an orbital thing.' There were other issues on the table I was urged to deal with also.  Were these circle paintings partly influenced by the school we had attended?  Once we leave school we are expected to make works of art that have fresh meaning and to blow out the cobwebs of old thinking.  While at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, Luke Van Hook studied all the required areas to excel in his chosen profession as a fine arts painter including the figure, landscapes and abstracts. But the abstract visual image is what finally drew Luke back in.  Could it be the understated obvious fact that the big 'O' (which formed a circle on every memo, syllabus and brochure in the name of Otis College) was influencing him subconsciously?  
    Luke's earlier work involved intricately small hatch marks that evolved into large abstract images full of vibrant colors.  This work was very reminiscent of Jasper Johns.  So where did this circle idea really emanate from?  Did his hatch marks get married or what?  Observers of Luke Van Hook's work have stated that it raises the question, 'Is it a painting or a drawing?  Is it text or writing?'  Luke will often begin a row of circles that reads from left to right just as western literature is expressed.  But sometimes he changes his mind, and the direction of his technique, and he starts to paint his rows from right to left. At other times, he completes a horizontal column of circles which refers more to ancient Asian forms of writing going from the top, down.
    During his graduating year at Otis College in 2004, Luke went on a mission to explore machine technology as it pertained to replacing humans.  He painted large canvases with a number of faces and shapes that represented cyborgs expressing the fear, uncertainty and ambivalence that humans have toward our technological future.  But once out of school, a full year later, in 2005 Luke seem to have turned a corner.  He seemed to have replaced his fear of technology with a competitive defiance that defied all reason.  Luke started working with his father-in-law, in his machine shop, where he started to observe how everything around him involved the circle in one way or another.  He watched the machines (Fadal CNC's- numerical control production machines) in action. The tool would spin in circles, plunging in and out of aluminum, stainless steel and plastic materials. The space left behind was almost always a perfect circle.  Perhaps, this was Luke's starting point. It was the first time he'd really seen a machine make simple circles and Luke probably said something to himself like 'I can do this! Just watch me!' then promptly, decided to take on his destiny. To compete with a machine, may have been the early impulse that drew Luke to paint the circle, but the legend of Giotto's 'perfect circle' was what has kept Luke going full steam ahead into production of abstract works of art.  The initial pieces he created were prototypes. These were the experiments he and his father-in-law Luis Ingels, worked on before moving into the hand made pieces. As his first experiment, Luke inserted a paint brush into the collet of the machine and programmed the coordinates to match the canvas. He overshot his calculations and the brush came crashing down upon the canvas; the collet smashed the brush right through the canvas and even broke the frame. Perhaps, Luke might have thought as he and my father, Luis, looked at each other, 'it was time to go back to the drawing board'. Undaunted by initial failure, Luke did complete an entire series of machine made circles before he went on to the main event, the competition of drawing the circles, one by one, by hand.  
    Each piece of artwork created since his first attempts, is meticulously reinvented into creative visual landscapes layering circles upon circles of color schemes in gradations of complementary hues.  The colors reveal very subtle changes.  The circles pull the eye in.  The images seem to have a life of their own, a vibrant quality of pushing the viewer to look for patterns while pulling the eyes into fishers, crevices, or 'wormholes' as one collector observed. I have witnessed the intimate evolution of Luke's circles only because I have the honor and privilege of being Luke's wife.  The fact that I am discussing my husband's art work is of significance only in the sense that it is somewhat rare, although not unheard of, for the artist's loved one to interject a provocative discussion of the artwork publicly in a blog; however, this is a sign of the times we live in today and I feel blessed as a writer to have this open forum to share with you the joys and struggles inherent in Luke's artistic process.
    The way I see it, Luke has taken on  the impossible task of creating the perfect circle, where no perfect circle has ever existed before, despite Giotto's legend.  All mathematical equations to date reveal that there is no perfect circle. It is a myth. So why Luke has persisted in this impossible feat only reminds me of the story of Don Quixote. Here is where I see Luke chasing his windmills. This is where in my imagination, I view the circles on the canvas as Luke's quest for the impossible dream and his circles are his windmills.  His paintbrush is his sword.  Thus Luke 
    Van Hook's paintings, for me, exhibit all the romantic qualities innate in a love story.  Seeking to please his beloved Lucia, these references emerging from raw canvas could be read practically like text.  Some art collectors saw the circles as Braille text or some secret code or language.  The secret, I think, lies in Luke's love of sports!  Sometimes I interpret this circle code to reflect images of the sports activities I see Luke enjoy daily;  I make visual connections to the circles on the wheels of his bicycles which hang in his studio or his skate boards that decorate the rafters of the painting bays or even the wheels that drive his car which sits resting on almost perfect circles on the driveway.
    For a while, I was convinced that Luke's enthusiasm for cycling was directly influencing the subjects of his paintings because one day, I was staring at one of his earlier images, (which is hung lovingly on the wall of the dining room right over the microwave oven); I saw it hanging next to a photograph of Luke participating in the 'Death Race 1999', a bicycle ride that cycle enthusiasts pursue along the most dangerous mountainous roads known as the California Alps in Northern California at the edge of the Northern Nevada border where Markleeville meets the Carson Valley.   The image Luke had painted in 1998, while recovering, ironically, from a broken ankle suffered in a bicycle race in Minden; was the image of three bicycles in a dead heat on the gray pavement with the yellow dividing line providing a ground for what appears as three large helmets (representative of the riders) in red, green and yellow.  The eventual emergence of Luke's hatch marks from work created in 2000, can be seen on the helmets and if you are really looking for this, (with your microscope) you may even find, the very beginnings of the influences which have eventually led to this mad case of circle paintings!  The circle imagery you might be searching for could have started at the base of the bicycle's anatomy with the wheels spinning along the highway to Kingsbury Grade, somewhere near Genoa, along the bottom of the hill leading to Lake Tahoe.  I comfort myself as painter's wife, that even Picasso had his periods, as did Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet and Gauguin and so long as Luke Van Hook doesn't try to cut off his ear we are doing just fine with these circles.


    But don't take my word for it. Luke Van Hook's circle paintings are something you should see for yourself.  The subtlety of the work is difficult to capture on film, although I tried my best to create a video after struggling with photographing the stills for three years.  But even the video work fails to reveal the whole story.  You've got to stand in front of one of these pieces to involve yourself in the novella of Luke's life.  Although I can decode a small portion of what I see through his work, the rest of the circles on the canvas are still a vague mystery to me as well.  Every relationship has its secrets.  Thus Luke and I, as artists, are no different.  Even when we know each other, there are elements of surprise and adventure that we have yet to tell each other.  The mystery in his canvases is what really thrills me to see Luke's work on display under gallery lighting! (Sales don't hurt my enthusiasm either!)





    When I think of Luke Van Hook's circle paintings, today, in 2008, I often think of Luke riding a skateboard doing 'ollies' and then trying for a loop-de-loop in mid-air.  This is because in January of 2008, Luke begged for a skateboard for his birthday and little did I know what would happen when I wrapped it up for him!  He has returned to the love of his youth.  Luke Van Hook has come full circle to his beginnings to land on his home base. The skateboard has also flown in mid-air, in harmony with gravity, and both land as one in a perfect execution of a move I would never dare try to do myself.  I see each circle on the canvas as Luke's attempt to catapult his work into the mainstream of the art-world with each rotation of the paintbrush on the surface of the canvas.  This is where I see Luke Van Hook in mid catapult, surfing on the air, light in transition, from youth to inspired maturity; from student to master, with paintbrush in hand landing and continuing to roll on four wheels with a great big shit-eating grin on his face. ('four' being the lucky number of his numerology charts). I see the ordered struggle, the innate joy in the success of one loop-de-loop after another. And once in a while, I also see the crash landing and the bloody injuries.  What is more important is that Luke gets up and does it again each and every time.  Luke has to begin again with each new circle, every circle becoming a part of a larger layer of community, thus his canvases vibrate with activity, mystery, romance and adventure.  I find my own meanings in each image  as it develops day by day and I am privileged to stand beside him, admire and witness the struggle of our Don Quixote in the new millennium, first hand.
    There is still time to see these painting up close and personal. The Brand Library Art Galleries is part of the Glendale Public Library, located at 1601 West Mountain Street in the City of Glendale, 91201  Telephone:  818-548-2051/ fax 818-548-2713 ;  visit the Brand Library Art Galleries online at   www.brandlibrary.org    to  check for Library hours.
    Cookie Gallegos, Ana Porras and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Art Library Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008 Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Margo Payne, Lynn Nantana-Green and Angela Williams attend the exhibition "Circle in the Square" in support of Luke Van Hook.
    Lynn Lantana-Green came to support Artist, Luke Van Hook at the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" an art exhibition held at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photos by Ginger Van Hook
    Kevin Powell came to support Luke Van Hook and enjoy the paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    Artist Luke Van Hook brought home-made pies to his reception of the exhibition "Circle in the Square". In addition to painting, Luke Van Hook has a reputation for making awesome pies from scratch. Photographed milling around the Double Fudge Pican Pie and the Sweet Berry Pie were the grandchildren of Hector Sticker. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    (From left to right) Claudio Sticker, Hector Sticker, Peter Bolten, Martha Ingels, Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels attend the reception of  "Circle in the Square". Luke Van Hook and Luis Ingels worked together to create circles on canvas with the use of robotic CNC machines. After creating a little over a dozen machine-made paintings, Luke went on to compete with the machine and do the circles on his own by hand, one by one. Each circle is represented as being one breath and Luke Van Hook states that these are the marks he is leaving behind which define his existence during this lifetime as he continues to pursue the legend of "Giotto's Perfect Circle". Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Ohannes Berberian, his daughter Melanie, Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian attend the opening reception of "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008.  Ohannes Berberian owns DigiTECH Camera Repair in Monrovia, California (www.digitechcamerarepair.com). Luke Van Hook and Rouzanna Berberian are both fine art painters and members of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts (M.A.F.A.). Rouzanna Berberian is a teacher in the after-school arts programs supported by M.A.F.A.  which promotes the goal of enhancing the lives of those within the community through interaction with the arts and to increase the opportunities of children through art education. Photo by Ginger Van Hook

    From left to right, Kathleen Zgonc, photographer Frank Zgonc and artist Luke Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008. Frank Zgonc is a an executive member of the Monrovia Association of Fine Arts in Monrovia, California. Frank Zgonc is the vice-president and official curator of Monrovia's yearly October Art Festival. This year the October Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 11th and 12th, 2008 at the Monrovia Community Center located at 119 W. Palm Avenue in Monrovia. Free and open to the public, this art event will feature work by photographer Frank Zgonc; (Scheduled from 10 am to 6pm both days).  There will also be an Opening Night Celebration Saturday, October 11th from 7-9:30 pm where the special Renaissance Award will be presented to a worthy individual who has made significant contributions to the arts. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Mr. and Mrs. Luke and Ginger Van Hook attend the opening reception of 'Circle in the Square' at the Brand Libraries Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.  Luke Van Hook an artist working from Inglewood, California earned a BFA  at Otis College of ARt and Design.  For several years, Van Hook has been exploring in his work, Giotto's fabled "perfect circle".  Over time the single-minded focus on the perfection of the circle has been subsumed by the artist's interest in the aesthetic and expressive qualities of the circle. New works depict ritualistically repeated circular brushstrokes on canvas, hemp, and other materials. Van Hook states that he began " as a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle was possible; these circles have now morphed into a challenge to myself to see if a perfect circle is  possible. These circles have now morphed into a study in patience. The sense of time and the marking of time is inherent in the meticulous application of paint. The viewer can appreciate these temporal qualities but is also compelled to bring their own  interpretation to the work. Are these circles pure abstraction? Combined do they conceal deliberate shapes and forms? or are they perhaps a secret code or language? Van Hook has exhibited at TAG Gallery, Focus One Gallery, and the Bolsky Gallery in  Westchester. Luke Van Hook's painting may also be viewed on his website: www.lukevanhook.com
    Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten


    Kevin Powell comes to support Luke Van Hook for his opening reception. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.  Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Jason Porras attends the opening reception to support Luke Van Hook in his endeavors to pursue Giotto's legend of the 'Perfect Circle'. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo By Ginger Van Hook.


    Zoe Hengst, Ginger Van Hook and Martha Ingels attend the opening of "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California August 2, 2008. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.
    Zoe and Jopie Hengst walk through the center of the exhibition "Circle in the Square" to support Luke Van Hook at the opening night, August 2, 2008. Paintings by Susan Sironi in the background. Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cookie Gallegos, Ginger Van Hook and Luke Van Hook pose for photographs in front of Luke Van Hook's painting at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California. Photo courtesy of Peter Bolten.

    Cookie Gallegos and Ana Porras watch the dance performance choreographed by Cheryl Walker, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Paintings by Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008, Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Yesung Kim poses for a photograph in front of her paintings at the Brand Library Art Galleries, August 02, 2008, Glendale, California. Yesung Kim from Upland, California, was born in Seoul, South Korea and holds MFA degrees from Chung-Ang University and Claremont Graduate University. Kim's mixed media pieces are seductively simple. Ordinary brown packing string is deftly applied to a painted canvas creating organic shapes that shimmer and reflect light. At times these shapes appear to be on the brink of an amoeba-like division as they spread and expand, dropping off the edge of one canvas and continuing on to another. Kim  cites the natural world and light and color as the underlying themes that both inspire and permeate her work.  Following solo shows at the Seoul Museum of Art and the Seoul Arts Center, Kim's work was most recently exhibited at the San Bernardino County Museum's Multi Media Mini Show. More information about Kim's work can be found on her website: www.yesungkim.com
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Painting by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008 Glendale, California.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook
    Glass curtain by Susan Sironi, Brand Library Art Galleries, August 2, 2008,Glendale, California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker designed a curtain of vinyl layers of color called 'Waterfall IV' that became the backdrop for a beautiful dance performance using the 'circle in the square' theme exhibited at the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale California, August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker holds in her hand some of the vinyl circles that were placed upon the windows at the exhibition hall. Her vinyl circles upon the windows created an illusion of  the stained glass effects. The dance piece entertained a large audience on opening night as artists, collectors, art appreciators and family and friends celebrated the mythologies, geometries, magical and mystical qualities of the circle.   Dance Performers Liz  Curtis, and Martha Carrascosa performed a dance which included participation from members of the audience.  
    Members of the audience interacted with the dancers Martha Carrascosa and Liz Curtis at the Brand Library Art Galleries participated in creating a colorful cascade of window art on August 2, 2008 in Glendale, California.
    Audience watches dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa from Glendale Community College as they perform a choreographed piece by Cheryl Walker, artist. "Circle in the Square", Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California, August 2, 2008.  Photo By Ginger Van Hook
    Dancers Liz Curtis and Martha Carrascosa performing dance choreographed by artist Cheryl Walker, (within the green curtain), Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. 
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.
    Cheryl Walker engaged in performance art intersecting with window art using the artistic theme of 'Circle in the Square'. Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, CAlifornia August 2, 2008. Photo by Ginger Van Hook.

    Cheryl Walker smiles happily on opening night, Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. August 2, 2008. Cheryl Walker, a Los Angeles artist, earned her BA in art in her home state of Minnesota, and her MFA from California State University, Long Beach. In this exhibition Walker created two large site-specific installations of vinyl, oil pastel and natural and artificial light.  Walker explains that the driving force behind her work is "human interaction and improvisation in response to a natural phenomenon or situation." Trained as painter, Walker's installations have some of the qualities of painting; when viewed head-on the suspended layers of vinyl can appear to be two-dimensional because of their transparency and the cut shapes and forms applied to the vinyl are reminiscent of brushstrokes--but removed from the wall these works are thrust into what she calls an "interactive field of play." The fluidity of the material she works with and her interest in collaboration between the artist and the viewer have inspired Walker to create works that can be transformed into performance pieces by dance, music and in-situ art-making. In this exhibition, a dance performance captivates the audience on opening night at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Photos By Ginger Van Hook




    Barbara Kolo, Artist from "Circle in the Square" poses for a photograph in front of her painting with her husband Mr. Kolo. Barbara Kolo, a Santa Monica Artist, earned her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Kolo Participated in a successful two-person show at the Brand Library Art Galleries in 1999. The Brand Library Art Galleries are pleased to present (nearly ten years later) a new body of work by Barbara Kolo that connects to that which was here before. In those works and these, her focus is on representing organic materials. The current large scale acrylic on canvas works are saturated with color; the stippled application of paint creates organic shapes and patterns representative of the natural world.  The subject matter is open to each viewers interpretation, where one may see a birch forest at dusk, others may see the  bold aesthetic of pure color and abstraction. Kolo has had recent solo shows at Topanga Canyon Gallery and the Off Rose Gallery in Venice, California. More information about Kolo's work can be found on her website: www.barbarakolo.com Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale California. Photo by Ginger Van Hook






    Barbara Kolo poses for a photograph during opening night celebrations for the exhibition, "Circle in the Square" at the Brand Library Art Galleries, Augusts 2, 2008. Glendale, California.


    Susan Sironi,  an artist living in Altadena, California posed for her photograph in front of her paintings at  the Brand Library Art Galleries, Glendale, California. August 2, 2008.  Susan Sironi earned her BFA at California Sate University, Long Beach. This exhibition will showcase Sironi's recent paintings as well as her Glass Curtain installation which is comprised of conjoined antique optometric lenses. Her paintings are about texture, color and process. Small dabs of oil paint are painstakingly applied to aluminum, building up an intricate, thorny surface. Highly textured and multihued when viewed up close, this surface belies the color play minimalist color-field appearance of the work at a distance . In the artist's own words "texture and color play equal roles in these works. They ... set up contradictions within each piece. Painitings  that seem to invite touch and intimacy are also reserved and automomous. Time and process are weighed against a static and minimal structure. Sironi's work was most recently seen in the Brea Art Gallery's Made in California exhibition, at the Chouinard School of Art Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art.  More information about Sironi's work can be found on her website: web.mac.com/susansironi/susan/sironi/Welcome.html.
    Photo by Ginger Van Hook.  

    Yesung Kim, Brand Library Art Gallery, Glendale, California, August 2, 2008.



    The Entrance to the Brand Library Art Galleries in Glendale, California hosts a prominent postcard of the show "Circle in the Square" now exhibiting through September 5th, 2008

                       Luke Van Hook paintings are now showing at the Brand Library Art Galleries in
              stag hare / crown of eternity        


    stag hare ~ velvet & bone (inner islands, 2016)

    «Velvet and Bone is structured as a gothic fable. It is about the act of self reflection through knowing another. It is about seeing the shadow and knowing the shadow. It is about seeing death and knowing death. It is about bones, and the way they are shaped by the tensions put on them by various opposing muscles. It is about the swamps of depression. It is about love in its most tragic and therefore most beautiful form». ~ stag hare

    Being a huge fan sometimes stops me from writing reviews – maybe it's just subconscious feeling that words can spoil the fragility of music, especially when the music is as personal as Stag Hare are. There are so many kinds of art, of sound, ways of expression, but not that many artists are interested in putting their true emotions into art. Looks like image and the presentation are more important than revealing the personal side  of life and it's understandable. But when the image contradicts to inner story it may say something about our ability to feel the difference. What I like about Stag Hare (and the whole Inner Islands roster, actually) is sincerity, openness, fearless sharing of life as it seen by the artist, reflecting everything in music, telling stories which at some level are universal for all human beings – we just go through them by our own patterns. So, here it spins, new tape with Stag Hare's songs and this time they're actually songs with lyrics printed on j-card! «Opening (Depression)» starts with deep drone tune and it's actually not so dark, as drone ambient can be, but it has this longing which fades in second track – slowly, but confidently building sparkling layers of blissful folk song and entering the same territories Stag Hare known for, but this time with the strong presence of the new kind of energy. Dreamer has awakened and discovered that real world is the challenge and was never separated from the dream. The inner and the outer are not that different categories, simply matter of viewpoint. These songs are still dreamy and so magical, they bloom like astral flowers from the deepness of psychedelic revelation, but at the same time the thickness of the physical is present, like never-ending drone – it simply stitches once separated into whole... Natural & urban, transcendence and routine, simply life as it is. Aspiration to non-duality is primal to every spiritual being, but the ability to separate things is not less important, it's actually the only way our mind can work, endlessly dividing and then synthesizing at new levels of understanding, just to separate again... Okay, think I went too far, so let's say it's just wonderful music for everything you want from it. Â«Velvet and Bone» can be just beautiful background for your daily activities as successfully, as the impetus for philosophizing (which is clear in my case), it chills and gives energy, it brings joy and contains many different moods at the same time. Music of high potential to unfold. Truly personal, but universal – you may learn something from it, consciously or not. In any case, you won't regret hearing it. 

    listen ~ buy tape



    crown of eternity ~ dream architecture (inner islands, 2017)


    «Dream Architecture contains the deep and complex harmonics of 11 gongs, as well as the sonorous tones of more than 60 bells, sound plates, sound triangles, tuned metals and singing bowls. Crown of Eternity carefully and patiently blend and orchestrate their instruments to create harmonic fields that invite the listener to dive in and not only explore the nature of the sound current, but also their inner landscape». inner islands

    Some things change and some not. But it depends on the perspective, of course. Music of gongs, singing bowls and similar stuff was in the New Age genre since its inception. Of course it existed before, but not as music, but more as a spiritual practice. And this function of primal metal instruments vibrations resonating through your body remains unchanged – you'd rather hear such music at some yoga place, than in the concert club. Same private and personal feeling is present at this tape, as with Stag Hare release above. We are left alone with resonance, created with carefulness. It nurtures your senses, sets the right mood for relaxing contemplation, it gives landscape for your inner gazing... The experience of listening to such tape may be rewarding, but I guess it's nothing compared to Crown of Eternity live sets. The amount of gongs, plates, bowls and other metal resonators seen on photos has its own impression even without hearing the music! But if you had the chance to join such session at least once in your life, then you know what I mean. Here the point which turns spiritual practice into music – the act of recording. Same can be told about about any "sacred music" like tibetan monks' throat singing or orthodox chorals: when you are out of the moment of actual happening, when this is recorded or even just put into the studio or onto stage – it turns into completely different story. But this is really one big theme and it leads us away from music itself. Which is, by my humble opinion, can be always regarded as thing in itself without looking at its context and further analysis. Call me consumer, but some things need to be simply enjoyed. This tape is highly enjoyable even if my sound system is unable to produce same effect as live session with all those beautiful resonating stuff. But still, the sound resonates with my soul and think that's the most important here. Usually I listen recordings like this (Klaus Wiese, Danny Becher, Karma Moffet to name just a few) when I'm tired of any other music and it's always refreshing, kind of pleasant pause in the never-ending stream of music and always-present daily noise. Harmony & meditation, and nothing else here actually. What else do you need? 

    listen ~ buy tape


              rod hamilton and tiffany seal ~ versatile ambience        

    rod hamilton and tiffany seal ~ versatile ambience
    (ehse records, 2016)

    Rod Hamilton and Tiffany Seal are an electronic music duo from Baltimore, MD. Their instrumental album, Versatile Ambience, was performed live to cassette. eshe records

    When I enjoy something very much it seems hard to write about it just because I have some kind of fear – so many things to express, such intense feelings... Sometimes it feels like trying to embrace the sea waves. Thinking about this tape I tried to avoid comparisons, but it's impossible not to mention Tuluum Shimmering or Dream Safari or Black Joker or early High Wolf to describe the feeling this recording gives me. Being a huge fan of 2009-11 psych drone tape music, when everything was so lo-fi, psychedelic and sweet, I can't avoid nostalgia while listening to something like this. Blissful vibes of xylophone sound, calm ambiences, tape-hiss-infused loops and weird new-agey feeling of relaxation on the edge with psychedelic revelation... So deeply warm and embracing sound, that it's almost impossible to break the listening into parts – only pressing repeat button feels like right choice. Your trip will feature tropical islands, jungle & mighty rivers, warm deserts and calm oases, therapeutic relaxation sessions, third eye opening, flying with the bees over unearthly beautiful flowers... Okay, think you already get what to expect here! So don't hesitate and grab your piece of this charming exotic beauty. Absolutely recommended and highly gratifying sounds for your inner self.

    listen ~ buy


              sister grotto ~ song for an unborn sun        

    sister grotto ~ song for an unborn sun (self-released, 2016)

    I love when things happen right as they should. One may ask who knows how do I know the way they actually should happen, but I can't explain that, it's just a feeling. Something you realize just in the right moment. You know then that this is exact space-time point where you belong right know. Opening bandcamp page with new Sister Grotto album tonight was something usual for me, I just pressed play, made speakers louder and had some tea. And somewhere in the halfway it hit me right into the hearth. Looking at the distant trains passing by, watching red lights at the smokestacks... Peaceful air of white night, smell of trees after the rain, slow clouds above all of it and the moon sleeping on them. It seemed that music goes from everywhere, being just a part of all of this wonder, simply existing as the air itself. People sleeping in all those huge buildings and stars hiding behind this grey sky – they have so much in common. Sound of Madeline's guitar unfolds like fog, bringing peace and kind of protection. Her voice washes my thoughts away from shores of my mind. Peaceful melancholia of these melodies flies somewhere between my window and horizon bringing echoes of the day which ended so quietly. There will be noise and rumble again on these streets tomorrow, but while sun is unborn, I'll enjoy that feeling. Every single part of it, even if it brings tears to my eyes. 

    listen ~ buy tape


              Kai Po Che!        
    Kai po che! (2013) on IMDb
    ------------
    Note 1: This post is going to be short, like the movie, and sweet, like Amrita Puri.

    Note 2: What a weekend this is going to be for cinema! Kai Po Che! here, 85th Academy Awards there.
    ------------

    1) I hereby resolve to never bash Chetan Bhagat. Curse him all you like, but his work formed the basis of 3 Idiots earlier, and Kai Po Che now. If anything, his work is atleast giving film-makers a skeletal plot to make brilliant, original movies. And delight for people like us when we see "Based on a novel" in the opening credits (of an Indian movie). Also, gives us hope about writing being taken seriously in our country.

    2) Detailing. It is true to the time and place it has been set in, and (almost) none of it looks cheap. Way better than the half-assed attempt in Special 26. Also, they took a source material and made it shine. Unlike Matru ki Bijli ka Mandola or Special 26 where potential was thrown into the toilet and flushed. Twice.

    3) Music and score. Amit Trivedi. Need I say more?

    4) Raj Kumar Yadav. Sheer brilliance as an actor, stands out in a film filled with good performances (brilliant casting choices) all over the place.

    5) Abhishek Kapoor. Also gave us Rock On, knows how to make a movie with a tight running time (125 minutes for this one), brilliantly pacing the story, without introducing unnecessary song-and-dance sequences, as is typical with movie-making in our country.

    6) Avoids the obvious pitfalls for such a movie. Deals with the parallel events spectacularly.

    7) Amrita Puri! Boy is she cute! If I do a '7 girls...' post like I did last year, she is definitely going to be on it.


    Kai Po Che...

              All Together Now...        


    i have a piece in the gallery nucleus beatles tribute art show “all together now”  this saturday july 7th along with many other great artist!  opening from 7 - 11.
    -a

              Comment on Spring Into Action: Griffis Sculpture Park by carpinteyrofqe        
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              EXCLUSIVE: Jon Bernthal 'Cannot Speak' in Medieval Epic 'Pilgrimage' Co-Starring Tom Holland        
    In the new film opening in theaters and on demand Aug. 4, the 'Punisher' star plays a mute warrior who helps a group of monks (including Tom Holland) travel across Ireland.
              Re: Opening Up RSSmeme For Publishers        

    I've added Disqus comments to http://benjamingolub.com! Mainly because of FriendFeed integration :)


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              Living in the light        
    It rained on Wednesday. Now I realise that this won’t sound particularly momentous to those of you living in rainy London, but this is Dakar. We don’t have winter and summer, we have a rainy season and a dry season and right now we are in the dry season. In the dry season it doesn’t rain. It is usually hot and sunny with blue skies, though sometimes the harmattan blows in from the Sahara desert and a white haze of dust hangs over the city, but it doesn’t rain.

    So when I woke on Wednesday morning I thought I must be dreaming when I heard rain sounds – thought it was some strange trick, perhaps the leaves of the mango tree tapping against the roof in the wind – but then I heard thunder and knew it was for real. & it was the day I was moving house.

    With my northern European background I groaned inwardly at the rain, thinking about all my books, clothes and CDs getting wet as the removal men carried the boxes out to the lorry. But in a semi-desert country like Senegal such unseasonal rain is considered good luck, especially for new ventures, and this portentous rainstorm was even mentioned on the evening news. Locals associated it with the presidency of the newly elected Macky Sall, but I knew better – it was for me, for my move to the new apartment.

    & so far it seems to have worked. My only loss on the move was one small glass. But more importantly I now live in a beautiful apartment. It has two bedrooms and one open plan lounge/diner/kitchen, with both the latter room and the master bedroom having large French windows opening on to the enormous south-west facing balcony with its sea view (OK, the sea is behind the rooftops and a big road, but I can still see it and its cooling breezes still reach my balcony). The contrast with the old house I moved out of could not be greater as this place is flooded with light – and I realise now how I suffered from the dark, gloomy interior of the house, built in the typical African way to face north and so avoid as much as possible of the sun.

    I didn’t set foot outside the apartment block for the whole weekend as I couldn’t bear to leave it. Just a trip downstairs to the shared swimming pool, which I had all to myself.

    The place does have its faults (otherwise it wouldn’t be within the budget of an NGO), but the planes flying overhead in the night have not woken me once. There is no generator, only little machines that keep the lights on during power cuts – but not the fridges, the hairdryers or the cookers. So far we haven’t had any power cuts but I’m sure they’ll come once we move into the hot and steamy rainy season. But I don’t think I’ll care because I am truly in love with this apartment. I don't know at the moment how long I have left in Senegal (as a management restructuring of my department is looming) but in a way that is making me treasure each day there even more.
              Petey Atrix and Simone to Teach Wake Forest School of Medicine Students about Treating Pediatric Patients        
    During the Bowman Gray Center’s Opening Day Tour at the new facility, the donor learned of the need and wanted to make a difference in the medical education of future pediatric physicians. Thanks to this donor’s $80,000 donation, the School of Medicine was recently able to buy two pediatric manikins. 
              Spier Museum Shop        
    Spier Museum Shop Some info: In the tradition of museums across theworld, Spier is opening a Museum Shop, to be housed in the . . . → Read More Here: Spier Museum Shop
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              The opening of Independence Pass keeps Aspen’s ski season alive, year after year        

    Independence Pass runs 37 miles from Twin Lakes to Aspen, Colorado, dancing with the contours of the Roaring Fork River and crossing the Continental Divide at 12,095 feet in elevation. The road closes each November due to heavy snowfall throughout the winter, only to open again—following bulldozing of upwards of 25 feet of snow and […]

    The post The opening of Independence Pass keeps Aspen’s ski season alive, year after year appeared first on Freeskier Magazine.


              How to style a leather and lace dress        


     Want to stand out? Get a leather and lace dress!

    Of course people were starring because I was wearing this in the middle of the day, in the parc, but well, they don't really understand. I heard one say: OMG, did she just get out of the house like that?!
    Nevermind, this is not a day outfit.Maybe with a blouse over and some flat boots.
    This is a dress that doesn't need any accessories because the lace and leather mix is already a statement. A shoulder bag or clutch, some nice shoes and maybe a watch or bangles are enough. You could go to a fashion show, club, or store opening like this, but not for a walk in the park.
    I also posted the making of video for the project we are working on... keep you posted!
    Have a great weekend!



    Vrei sa iesi in evidenta? Rochia din piele si dantela e o posibila optiune.
    Sigur ca oamenii se vor uita lung la tine daca poti o tinuta de acest gen in mijlocul zile in parc, ca mine. Am si auzit-o pe una spunand: Asta asa a iesit din casa?
    :)) M-am amuzat tare, nu toti inteleg, dar e ok
    Tinuta nu e de zi, poate doar cu o bluza peste si niste ghete fara toc.
    Rochia nu are nevoie de multe accesorii pentru ca deja combinatia de piele si dantela e edgy.
    O geanta de umar sau un plic, niste pantofi draguti, un ceas sau chia rniste bratari simple. O prezentare de moda, un party in club sau deschiderea unui magazin pot fi evenimentele la care se preteaza tinuta.
    Am postat si clipul de Making of al proiectului la care lucram. Va tin la curent!
    Un weekend minunat!






     Dress: Here
    Sunnies: Here
    Boots: Here
    Watch: Michael Kors
    Bag: Here





    Washington DC: Contributor Bejamin Tomchik reviews MAMMA MIA! He writes "The credit lays first, and most obviously, with Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, the Bs in ABBA. Their music and lyrics are as catchy as when they first debuted in the seventies and eighties. It is hard to find someone leaving Wolf Trap not humming their favorite song. Second is book writer Catherine Johnson for creating an original story that is playful, and naturally incorporates ABBA's songs making them feel like natural extensions of the characters and/or scenes. Director Phyllida Lloyd and choreographer Anthony Van Laast give the production a youthful energy that is a great compliment to ABBA's music. Van Laast's athletic and energetic choreography conveys the urgency of finding Sophie's father with the excitement of her wedding."


    Philippines: Contributor Robert Encila reviews NEWSIES! He writes "Guevara himself has extracted a rambunctious performance from a gifted and intrepid ensemble, harnessing a collective power that defied the heavy rains that threatened to steal the glory on Saturday night [July 15] at Bonifacio High Street Amphitheatre. Fortunately, nature yielded to the man-made tempest, a savage storm forged by inspired singing, dynamic choreography, and a sizzling live band."


    South Carolina: Contributor Neil Shurley reviews HAIR at the Lyric! He writes "The journey begins even before curtain time, as actors - already in character - mill around the open theatre space, creating a welcoming atmosphere as they interact with audience members and each other. The set, designed by Henry Wilkinson, consists of some low platforms, covered in blankets and pillows, with a few swaths of draped fabric in places. And as the music begins, the actors converge and undergo a small ritual in which they take a drug and the lights and music swirl more and maybe the whole evening is just going to be one long drug trip for all of us and then the "Age of Aquarius" dawns and draws us into its spell."


    San Francisco: Contributor Robert Sokol reviews THE BOOK OF MORMON. He writes "A return visit does not lessen the joy of frog-on-face jokes and there's anticipatory joy in getting another dose of Elder McKinley's first-rate, tapping advice "Turn It Off," or succumbing to another "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream." The other thing you get is an opportunity to really absorb the musical riffs on other hit shows with whom Mormon has rightfully taken its place. Try to not hear the essence of "The Wizard and I," "Hakuna Matata," or "Somewhere That's Green" hinted in "You and Me (But Mostly Me), " "Hasa Diga Eebowai," and "Sal Tlay Ka Siti."


    Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews MARY POPPINS at Musical Theatre West. He writes "It also helps that the cast is superb. Katharine McDonough---who was incredible as Eliza Doolittle in MTW's MY FAIR LADY---returns with her Brit accent and self-assured wit and confidence to play the titular nanny, who has magically arrived at Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane to assist in the care of two "adorable" children whose family life seems to be in flux. In McDonough's hands, Mary is appropriately playful yet sincere, sassy yet capable of forethought, empathy and care (McDonough is so charming that the audience didn't even bat an eye when she pantomimed having her infamous measuring tape which went inexplicably missing on Opening Night). Her every appearance as Mary is a delight and her singing voice is, indeed, practically perfect for the role."


    Pittsburgh: Contributor Dylan Shaffer reviews NEWSIES at the Pittsburgh CLO. He writes "Pencil turns, pirouettes, and barrel rolls abound in this show, as large dance numbers follow one another throughout both the first and second acts. Audiences love when a stage full of actors are able to kick, jump, and step in unison, and for the most part, the cast of Disney's Newsies does this. Their synchrony is evident in the tap number "King of New York." There is no question that these boys are talented, but being a beat ahead or behind will never bode well in a group number, and the audience will notice unforgivingly."


    Kansas City: Contributor Sara Brown reviews BACK TO THE 80s at Theatre in the Park. She writes "My favorite part of the show was the girls' costumes. The 80's had such defined fashion, and these girls didn't disappoint with sparkly frocks, fringe boots, and plaid skirts. Their song "Girls Just Want to have Fun," sung by Murphy, Maggie Hutchinson, Anna Hastings, and Colette Worthington, was my second favorite song in the show with their iconic dance moves."


    Cleveland: Contributor Roy Berko reviews THE SOUND OF MUSIC at Playhouse Square. He writes "The little girl sitting behind me was on the edge of her seat throughout the show and, at the end, sleepily said to her mother, "I loved it!"Yes, the touring production of "The Sound of Music," is a very pleasant experience. "So long, Farewell," How long will it be before I have to "Climb Every Mountain" again? Guess as long as I'm a reviewer, "There is No Way to Stop It."


    Toronto: Contributor Taylor Long reviews SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK. He writes "Shakespeare in High Park is the perfect summer theatrical experience. Bring a blanket, pack some bug spray - hey, even pack a picnic. I was jealous at some of the picnic spreads people had prepared. Escape the bustling city and experience two of the greatest plays ever written - performed by some exceptional talent."


    Regional Editor Spotlight:

    Dylan Shaffer
    Pittsburgh Contributing Editor

    Dylan is a modern writer, producer and theatregoer in the Pittsburgh region. In the theatrical realm, he has worked in production, marketing, box office and front of house, in addition to acting, directing and stage-managing. When he is not involved with shows, either in the Cultural District downtown or in the small-town theatres speckling western PA, Dylan keeps busy on the golf course, in the community and at new and exciting restaurants.


    Join Team BroadwayWorld! Interested in joining our team, but not exactly sure what we do? All of your questions are answered, along with every open position from guest and student bloggers, Regional Editors, and more! Find out where we have open positions available here!


              ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 16        

    Hilary Gadsby


    QuickLesson 16: Speculation, Hypothesis, Interpretation & Proof    
    Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 16: Speculation, Hypothesis, Interpretation & Proof,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-16-speculation-hypothesis-interpretation-proof : accessed 14 July 2016).         


    For this week's lesson I want to look at some research I did and shared on another blog Worldwide Genealogy.

    Before I could contemplate doing any research I had to define what I wanted to look for and why I was looking for it.

    Speculation and hypothesis could be thought to be pretty much the same. But a hypothesis should be based on a source of information which we cannot as yet consider sufficient evidence of "proof".

    Is not the goal of all genealogists/ family historians to discover the information and convert it in to likely conclusions. 


    In this lesson there are 5 parts of the building of proof that Elizabeth Shown Mills concentrates upon " thorough research, analysis, correlation, context, and explanation ". If we ignore any one of these we risk failure in proving our hypothesis and it remains speculation. 
    This does not mean that we have not proven our hypothesis whilst we continue our research, we may have found everything extant supporting our hypothesis, a sound conclusion based on what we can find will show our understanding of the process.
    My "current thinking" (as Russ Worthington likes to say) may be the only conclusion I can make as other records may not have survived.

    I started with a hypothesis and built upon that. Initially all I had was the personal memories of a living individual recounted years after an event.
    The account whilst firsthand was telling me about others that he would not have met or had certain knowledge of their relationship. I needed to prove the connection and the records I found needed to fit both the time and place I was researching.

    Hypothesis

    Ruth Ellen Gadsby, born 5 October 1901 in Gunby St Nicholas, Lincolnshire and who died, unmarried, in 1975 in the same place, worked as a cook for a family called Gladstone. The head of this family was the grandson of the Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and they lived in a house called "Lewins" at Crocken Hill, Ededbridge, Kent. She was working there in the 1950's. 
    The property still exists and is advertised with some history. But nothing relevant to what I needed.

    The opening of the 1939 register and its availability online provided the first record that could confirm a connection. Many mid to late twentieth century documents will not be available for decades so these records can be useful if you need to do twentieth century research for family who may not have been the householder so would not appear in directories.

    Interpretation

    The research is outlined in the blog so I will not repeat it here. 
    Below is a summary of what I found.

    DocumentPersonInformation
    Letter From GaryRuth Ellen GadsbyWorking at Lewins as a Cook for Gladstone's grandson
    Headstone in GunbyRuth Ellen GadsbyBorn 1901 died 1975
    1911 CensusRuth Ellen GadsbyBorn 1901 - 1902
    Death RegistrationRuth Ellen GadsbyBorn 5 Oct 1901
    1939 RegisterRuth Ellen GadsbyBorn 15 Oct 1901 Head Parlourmaid.
    1939 RegisterStephen D GladstoneBorn 9 Dec 1891 Head of household at Lewins
    Birth RegistrationStephen Deiniol GladstoneRegistration of Birth in Chester district Jan - Mar 1892 Birth previous quarter possible.
    1901 CensusStephen D GladstoneAge 9 living in Hawarden with father Stephen E Gladstone Clergyman and his wife Ennice.
    1891 Baptism Hawarden Stephen Deiniol GladstoneBorn 9th Dec 1891 son of Stephen Edward and Annie Crosthwaite (Wilson) Parish Priest
    Marriage Register LiverpoolStephen Edward GladstoneClerk in Holy Orders at Hawarden. Father William Ewart Gladstone Premier of England
    1844 Baptism St Martins in the FieldsStephen Edward GladstoneParents William Ewart and Catherine Gladstone. Privy Counsellor. (by H Glynne Rector of Hawarden)

    So the documents show she did work at Lewins when the 1939 register was compiled and her employer was Stephen D (likely Deiniol) Gladstone son of Stephen Edward Gladstone and Annie Crosthwaite (nee Wilson) Gladstone. Stephen Edward Gladstone was the son of William Ewart Gladstone.
    In 1939 Ruth was Head Parlourmaid so I cannot yet confirm that she was employed as a Cook by the family. Research for more recent employment records is required. The Gladstone Library in Hawarden is close to where I live and I need to enquire as to whether they may have records that can confirm more about her employment record.
    Obtaining a birth and death certificate for Ruth Ellen Gadsby would help clarify the birth date. However it is an uncommon name and this will be an expense. A baptism record could be an alternative but they may still be with the church as this is a tiny rural hamlet.

    Whilst the Gladstone dynasty is well documented proving a link to the family with reliable documents may not be easy. Had this person been a SMITH or JONES even a small discrepancy in the date of birth could have prevented a proof conclusion.
     
    Less common names can make research easier but location, occupation, dates of events can all be used to pinpoint the correct person and relationship. 

    I have researched the common surnames such as SMITH and WARD and have a WARD line back as far as the parish registers exist. 
    However I have not yet researched the early ones thoroughly so I only currently have an initial
    hypothesis. 
    This is also going to be true for much of what I have as I, like many other researchers, concentrate most effort on the direct line and, whilst recording the existence of other members of the family, do not routinely follow all the branches.
    With time not on our side we all need to ensure all our research counts. 
    Good preparation is crucial and will enable us to concentrate on finding the right records to answer our research question. 
    Looking for the right record, in the right place, and time period.
    We need to be constantly considering whether we are meeting those five criteria of:-
    • thorough research, 
    • analysis, 
    • correlation, 
    • context, 
    • explanation

              A Castle in Greenbrier, Ar        
    www.princesscarriage.com

       Some of you probably don't know this but there is a Castle in Greenbrier Arkansas where your "carriage awaits" A stunning place both inside and out owner Linda Harmon recently opened The Castle in March of this year. The inside can accommodate up to 1000 people and the outer 600 acres, well...the sky is the limit.

        A true professional Linda is both sweet and motivated. We have provided the carriage service for both the grand opening and a little girls Princess Ball both of which were huge successes. Linda is offering The Castle for all kinds of events. Weddings are a specialty as is corporate, high school proms, Quinceaneras, Dances, and just about anything you can think of.

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              Destination Wedding        
    Coastal Maine Weddings at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse        
    Wedding Season is approaching and both The Bradley Inn and The Contented Sole have events planned through the Summer and into the Fall, but there are some openings for this year and availability for next year.

    The beauty of working with the Inn and The Sole for a wedding is the level of flexibility and attention to details. Let me explain. This week we had two couples come in to go over some details about their wedding food and drink desires. One couple wishes to have traditional Peruvian food and a Peruvian signature drink. The other couple is having a six course French meal with breaks in between each course for guests to play party games. How fun! Being able to sit with Beth and Warren and discuss dishes and customize the food for the couple is a rare find these days.

    One bride-to-be explained that her fairytale wish for her wedding, ever since she was a little girl, was a lighthouse and her father walking her down the aisle. The bride will be walked down the grassy aisle by her father and wed at the historic Pemaquid Lighthouse overlooking the awe inspiring rocky coast of Maine. The newlyweds and their guests will enjoy a lively reception at The Contented Sole and then Sunday Brunch the next morning at The Bradley Inn.

    Every event detail is carefully discussed with Beth and Ashlee from decor to flowers to timing. Tammy stays with the bride all day to make certain her day is perfection. It is a fairytale setting ideal for starting married life together.

    Many weddings held at the Inn and The Sole have been second weddings for some couples who want an intimate gathering with more emphasis on spending time with guests enjoying exquisite food and scenery in a less traditional wedding reception style. These are some of the loveliest gatherings.

    If you would like to know more about having your wedding at the Inn or The Sole, please contact info@bradleyinn.com or call (207)-677-2105 and ask for Beth.

    Next time we'll discuss Corporate Events and Winter possibilities!

              Making caves from simplex noise        

    In Ephenation, we want underground caves. The requirements on these caves, and their construction, are:

    1. Any sub underground region shall be possible to create without knowledge of neighbour regions.
    2. The caves shall be long and winding.
    3. They shall split and join randomly, sometimes ending in a dead end.
    4. Most of them shall be of a size to allow a player to pass through.
    5. The algorithm shall be based on 3D simplex noise.
    The description below is not really depending on OpenGL. Anyway, path finding algorithms are out of the question. The first problem is the simplex noise. I use simplex algorithms defined by Stefan Gustavsson, normalized to the interval 0 to 1. Using a 3D simplex noise produces a density function. The the underground is created as empty space where this density is below a certain threshold, and you will get some kind of caves. But the simplex noise is spherical in nature, and not at all long and winding.

    To demonstrate the result, I show pictures of inverted caves. That is, ground where the space should be, and vice versa. This makes it easier to visualize.
    density > 0.85
    These caves are not very nice. They are too round, and most of them are not connected to each other. One reason for this is the limit set on the density. With a lower density limit, the caves (that is the floating blobs in the picture) will grow, and start to connect.
    density > 0.7
    This is better. But the caves are starting to dominate the world. That is, there are caves almost everywhere. And they are very wide and spacey, with no feeling of a cramped cave. The question then is if another algorithm than simplex noise should be used.

    There is a way to continue, based on this. The principle is that an intersection between two planes is a line. If the planes have a certain thickness, then the line will get a height and width. Thus, the next step is to change the above into curved planes instead of massive objects. An easy way to do this is to have the condition "make stone if density > 0.7 and less than 0.8". That will make most of them hollow. The inside will have no opening to the outside, making it difficult to visualize. But using the Ephenation X-ray view, it will look as follows:
    density > 0.7 && density < 0.8
    This is now curved planes, sometimes looping around into spheres. If used inverted as caves, you would run around inside these walls, which can be adjusted to an appropriate size. But they are still rather unnatural caves. The trick is to make two such worlds, based on different random seed. That will make two worlds, each looking a little like a bottle full of soap bubbles with thick membranes. Now create a third world as stone, but with the condition for every coordinate to be air if both the first and second world is air. That will be an intersection, looking as follows.
    dens1 > 0.7 && dens1 < 0.8 && dens2 > 0.7 && dens2 < 0.8
    It is easy to adjust how long the caves shall be. In my example, I am using the interval 0.7 to 0.8. Changing this to 0.45 to 0.55 increases the chance to make tunnels, while still remaining of the approximately same size, and gives the following, based on the same view.
    dens1 > 0.45 && dens1 < 0.55 && dens2 > 0.45 && dens2 < 0.55
    I should mention that I scale the y argument (the height) to the simplex function a factor of 2 compared to the x and z. That way, the caves get more elongated in horizontal level.

              Comment on Thoughts upon returning from the Big Apple by subliminal messages        
    Hello there, There's no doubt that your web site might be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, excellent blog!
              FBI Reports Continued Decline in Police Officers Killed        

    On November 24, the FBI released a report on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2013. Twenty-seven (27) officers were killed in "felonious acts," a 45% drop compared to 2012, when 49 officers were killed, and a 53% decline since 2004. Most (15) of the 27 officers killed were in the South, with Texas having the highest number of any state (6). Six officers were killed in the West, four in the Midwest, and only two in the Northeast. California had the second highest number, with 5. In 26 out of the 27 incidents, officers were killed by firearms. Forty-nine (49) other officers died as a result of accidents.

    (Press Release, "FBI Releases 2013 Statistics on Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted," Federal Bureau of Investigation, November 24, 2014). See Studies and Deterrence.


              Gothic apartment by YLAB Arquitectos        

    Gothic apartment by YLAB Arquitectos

    The project consists of the renovation of a 130m2 apartment with a terrace, located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, in a catalogued building located behind the City Hall. The original space is composed of a sequence of bright and spacious rooms connected by large arched openings, with balconies along the façade and an […]
              The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy + When Looking Down is Looking Up        
    The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy + When Looking Down is Looking Up
    c3:initiative
    December 12, 2015 - January 17, 2016
    7326 N. Chicago / Portland, Ore. / 97203
    Opening Reception + Book Launch / Saturday, December 12 / 5 - 7 pm
    Gallery Hours / Friday - Sunday / 12 - 5

    The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy
    2015 Portland Publication Fair
    Sunday, December 13 / 12 - 6
    The Cleaners at Ace Hotel / 1022 SW Stark / Portland, Ore. / 97205

    The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy is a book that reproduces over one hundred, self-reflexive black pages from multiple, paperback editions & copies of Laurence Sterne's The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. When taken out of context and accumulated, these once playful, visual metaphors reveal the printing inconsistencies of ink on paper (varying density, hickeys, oxidation spots, and moiré patterns). The hidden nature of the page, that which was unread, can now be read. In this case, astronomical imagery is revealed; that of stars speckled across an inky blackness or the soft haze and ripple of a galaxy. Since the 1760s, readers, printers and publishers have been forced to grapple with the black pages of Sterne's novel; this struggle with discovery, meaning, and craft is at the heart of The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy.

    The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy can be purchased through c3:initiative, at the 2015 Portland Publication Fair, or by contacting the artist at personallibraries {at} gmail {dot} com for $70 USD.

    The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy is funded in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

    When Looking Down is Looking Up is an ongoing investigation of the shift from outer space to page as a re-envisioning of matter and printed matter. It centers on how when contemplating what is known and unknown, one usually finds themselves either staring down at the page or up into the sky. The viewing at c3:initiative from December 12, 2015 to January 17, 2016 will include photographs and book works.

    I would like to thank Shir and Erin at c3:initiative for supporting When Looking Down is Looking Up and The Secret Astronomy of Tristram Shandy, as well as Publication Studio for continued support and for organizing the Publication Fair.

    c3:initiative
    Publication Studio
    2015 Publication Fair
    abraancliffe.com
              PLL Reading Room / Schneider Museum of Art        
    PLL Reading Room / Schneider Museum of Art / October 3 - December 6

    A selection of 70 books from the Personal Libraries Library, accompanied by an arrangement of PLL printed matter and framed works, will be at the Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland this autumn. The PLL Readings by Tom Prochaska (No. 1), Louis Schalk (No. 2) and Diana Pembor (No. 3), and published by Publication Studio will also be on display.
    The 70 books consist of all of the books acquired by the Library in the past year, including all of the books available in the Anne Spencer Collection. This installation of the PLL Reading Room is part of Selections from Portland2014: A Biennial of Contemporary Art, made possible by Disjecta, Amanda Hunt, and everyone at the Schneider Museum of Art. Thanks to all!

    Opening Reception / Thursday, October 2 / 5 - 7
    Schneider Museum of Art
    1250 Siskiyou Blvd
    Ashland, OR 97520


              Personal Libraries Library + 2014 Portland Biennial        

    As a part of the 2014 Portland Biennial,* the Personal Libraries Library is installed as a reading room that you can come and visit.

    Following are the details:
    Where: The Best Art Gallery in Portland / 1468 NE Alberta, Portland, 97211
    When: March + April 2014 / Tuesday - Saturday / 12-6
    Librarian's Hours: Saturdays 12-6

    The opening is this upcoming Saturday, March 8 from 12-6.

    More information to come!

    * The Portland2014 is curated by Amanda Hunt and presented by Disjecta Contemporary Art Center.

    ** I would like to thank Claire Redman, Shiela Laufer, Larissa Hammond, Tom Prochaska, Diana Pembor, Louis Schalk, Rachel Ancliffe, Clayton Pledger, Antonia Pinter, Patricia No, Amanda Hunt, Kate Beaver, and all at Disjecta for their generous help and support in making the PLL Reading Room possible.
              Beige scarves, brown scarves, beige silk scarf, brown silk scarf, neutral silk, silk chiffon, crinkle chiffon, beige, tan, coral, handmade by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    Hand dyed warm neutrals in shades of brown, enlivened with a splash of coral, this scarf is a great gift for the lady who's not necessarily into spring pastels. Crinkled chiffon is perfect if you enjoy wearing silk but prefer a more casual look. This is a large scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74". Silk chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and feminine. This is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    I use only professional quality dyes which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the beautiful colors won't run or fade. I make every effort to display colors accurately, however, colors can appear to vary based on your monitor. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me! To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios scarf, machine wash on cold, gentle cycle in a mesh bag, twist gently, and air dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my feedback - here's what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or another Etsy seller, thank you for supporting independent artists!


              Purple skinny scarf - crinkle scarf - dusty purple, violet, lavender - skinny scarf - crinkle chiffon - silk chiffon - hand dyed- 7" x 75" by FireAuntStudios        

    30.00 USD

    Have you heard? Skinny scarves are a thing now! They look great tied once at the throat with the long ends hanging down, as in the last photo, or wrapped a few times around your neck and knotted at the throat, as shown in the first photo. Skinny scarves are also great if you want to keep wearing your cute scarves during summer - so much less bulk around your neck. I have hand dyed it in various shades of dusty purple, lilac, and violet. Really pretty with blue eyes! This silk chiffon scarf is 7" wide, but behaves like a much narrower scarf because it's been crinkled. Chiffon is a loosely woven silk, so it's very light and floaty and ethereal, and this is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    I use only Procion fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently with the fabric, which means the colors won't run or fade. Please remember that colors vary slightly on different monitors.

    To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios silk scarf, I recommend washing in the delicate cycle in a mesh bag, then twist loosely and let dry to maintain the crinkles.

    I invite you to read feedback from happy Fire Aunt Studios customers:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Wow, you aren't exaggerating about the scarf making blue eyes pop! I'm wearing it today for the first time and may wear it every single day for the rest of my life. Thanks again - I'll be back to your shop.

    So incredibly beautiful... my daughter lit up like the Christmas tree... made my Christmas morning.

    I ordered 7 magnificent scarves and a DreamCatcher earring/necklace set from Fire Aunt Studios. I waited over a week to open the package. The truth is, I was afraid that the beauty will be so over the top, that my brain would explode. I would have no choice but to throw the scarves on the floor and roll around on them. As they would be tainted, I would be forced to keep them all for myself! I finally caved, sent the kids out into the rain to sing Christmas carols to the cows (we live on a farm), and proceeded to open the package. After opening and handling each scarf, and the jewelry set - Umm, I am going to need at least 1, 437 more brain-exploding scarves, and at least 362 more jewelry sets. (Just so you know, I am not ashamed about needing more scarves to roll in and jewelry to parade around in.)

    My mom loved the earrings!!! Thank you so much for your sweet communication and your super fast service.

    Gorgeous! Lovely Item and lovely seller! Thanks!

    I love this scarf! The colors are subtle yet varied, and the size is perfect. It fits under a jacket and can be worn indoors too. Thanks for the quick shipping and great communication. I highly recommend this Etsy artist.

    Got the hat today, I can't wait to get this bad boy out in public, it's really cool! The seller was quick to deliver the goods too!!

    This is now my scarf go to... very lovely, and made of great quality. The service I recvd from the artist/creator is exceptional! This is your one stop shop for fabulous scarves. Thank you Ann B.

    I'm wearing this scarf today and have received numerous compliments on it. The color is bright and more unique than the run-of-the-mill red scarf. Love it!

    Beautiful scarf!! The colors are wonderful!! The seller is lovely!! Great communication!!

    Very beautiful. Cannot find anything like this in a store! Just what I wanted. Thank you so much!

    Really lovely! Thank you for the speedy shipping. I LOVE my scarf. I will be back for another one soon. :)

    WHAT CAN I SAY - LOVE THIS SITE - LOVE YOUR WORK SO BEAUTIFUL

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    Whether you purchase from me, or from another Etsy merchant, thank you for supporting independent artisans.


              Silk scarves, pink silk scarf, lavender silk scarf, chiffon scarf, silk chiffon scarf, pastel silk scarf, pink, purple, blue, mom gifts by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    I'm calling this the Jellybean Scarf! Hand dyed in all the sweet shades of spring, it's a perfect addition to your spring wardrobe. Crinkled chiffon is perfect if you enjoy wearing silk but prefer a more casual look. This is a large scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74". Silk chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and feminine. This is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    I use only professional quality dyes which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the beautiful colors won't run or fade. I make every effort to display colors accurately, however, colors can appear to vary based on your monitor. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me! To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios scarf, machine wash on cold, gentle cycle in a mesh bag, twist gently, and air dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my feedback - here's what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or another Etsy seller, thank you for supporting independent artists!


              Skinny scarves, pink scarf, pink crinkle scarf, silk scarf, silk, feminist scarf, womens rights, nevertheless she persisted, hand printed by FireAuntStudios        

    45.00 USD

    Stand up! Show your support for women's rights and inspire your sisters to not fall into complacency out of sheer exhaustion. Hand dyed pink silk chiffon has been hand lettered with "resist" marching down one end ... symbolic, don't you think?

    * Trendy skinny crinkle scarf, so wearable! (7" x 76")
    * This is is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!
    * Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from each purchase will be donated to Planned Parenthood. I'll even specify donations in honor of a specific individual if you would like (may I suggest Mike Pence or Mitch McConnell?).

    IMPORTANT! The scarf you see in the photo is not the actual scarf you will receive. Upon receipt of your order, I will hand dye and letter your scarf just for you, using the same materials and techniques as pictured. Since everything is done by hand, slight variations and imperfections are to be expected, and are what make your item truly one of a kind .. just like you!

    I make every effort to represent colors accurately, however, colors may vary slightly depending on your monitor. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. If you like the message, but pink isn't your color, please let me know, I'd be happy to discuss a custom order.

    I use only professional quality fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the colors you see won't run or fade. To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios silk scarf, I recommend hand washing in cold water, and hang or dry flat.

    Since this is a new product line, I'm indicating a shipping timeline of two to three weeks, since each scarf is made by hand. It's very likely it won't always take me that long. Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my shop reviews - here’s what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Please contact me with any questions you may have. Whether you purchase from me or another Etsy merchant, thank you for supporting independent artisans!


              Resist scarf, pink scarf, pink pussy scarf, pink chiffon scarf, women's rights, resist trump, equality, feminist gift, protest, gift for her by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    Stand up! Show your support for women's rights and inspire your sisters to not fall into complacency out of sheer exhaustion. Hand dyed pink silk chiffon has been subtly hand lettered with "resist" marching down the right-hand side of the scarf ... symbolic, don't you think?

    * This is is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!
    * Available in two sizes: medium (13"x56") and large (17"x74")
    * Best of all, a portion of the proceeds from each purchase will be donated to Planned Parenthood. I'll even specify donations in honor of a specific individual, if you would like.

    IMPORTANT! The scarf you see in the photo is not the actual scarf you will receive. Upon receipt of your order, I will hand dye and letter your scarf just for you, using the same materials and techniques as pictured. Since everything is done by hand, slight variations and imperfections are to be expected, and are what make your item truly one of a kind .. just like you!

    I make every effort to represent colors accurately, however, colors may vary slightly depending on your monitor. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. If you like the message, but pink isn't your color, please let me know, I'd be happy to discuss a custom order.

    I use only professional quality fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the colors you see won't run or fade. To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios silk scarf, I recommend hand washing in cold water, and hang or dry flat.

    Since this is a new product line, I'm indicating a shipping timeline of two to three weeks, since each scarf is made by hand. It's very likely it won't always take me that long. Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my shop reviews - here’s what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Please contact me with any questions you may have. Whether you purchase from me or another Etsy merchant, thank you for supporting independent artisans!


              Pink scarves, purple scarves, pink silk scarf, purple silk scarf, purple pink chiffon, crinkle chiffon, spring scarf, spring flowers, mom by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    The shades in this one of a kind scarf remind me of the brightest spring flowers. Hand dyed in fresh spring shades of hot pink, and bright purple, with a touch of golden yellow, it's the perfect addition to your spring wardrobe. Crinkled chiffon is perfect if you enjoy wearing silk but prefer a more casual look. This is a large scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74". Silk chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and feminine. This is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    I use only professional quality dyes which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the beautiful colors won't run or fade. I make every effort to display colors accurately, however, colors can appear to vary based on your monitor. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me! To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios scarf, machine wash on cold, gentle cycle in a mesh bag, twist gently, and air dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my feedback - here's what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or another Etsy seller, thank you for supporting independent artists!


              Green scarves, green silk scarf, green chiffon scarf, silk chiffon, crinkle chiffon, lime green, forest green, teal, greenery, spring scarf by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    The main color in this hand dyed, one of a kind scarf was inspired by the Pantone Color of the Year for 2017, Greenery. It's been accented with a dark blue-green shade I'm calling evergreen. Such fresh shades for Spring! Crinkled chiffon is perfect if you enjoy wearing silk but prefer a more casual look. This is a large scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74". Silk chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and feminine. This is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    I use only professional quality dyes which bond permanently with the fabric, meaning the beautiful colors won't run or fade. I make every effort to display colors accurately, however, colors can appear to vary based on your monitor. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me! To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios scarf, machine wash on cold, gentle cycle in a mesh bag, twist gently, and air dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my feedback - here's what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    This scarf is gorgeous, the picture doesn't do this scarf justice. it's very soft and the colors are vibrant. it's a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I know she'll love it.

    Beautiful scarf!! Artistically dyed in rich and wonderful colors. Visiting Anne's shop is such a treat!! Opening the package is even more of a treat!!!

    Simply gorgeous! The colors are unbelievable! Looks just as rich and textured as it does online. I loved it so much I bought another one recently as a Christmas gift. Beautiful work! Thank you!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or another Etsy seller, thank you for supporting independent artists!


              Crinkle scarf - silk chiffon scarf - spring scarf - large scarf - purple, plum, grey, blush, pink - hand dyed - large - 17" x 74" by FireAuntStudios        

    36.00 USD

    Seriously, if you like this scarf, don't wait, because I'm seriously considering appropriating it into my personal collection! I'm sure I couldn't recreate it, so it truly is one of a kind. It's 100% silk chiffon, which has been hand dyed in shades of purples, plums, lavenders, accented with shades of gray and pink. The silk has been crinkled for a casual, funky, on-trend look. It's the best of both worlds - a casual look without sacrificing the indulgence of silk. Chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and floaty. This is a larger scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74", which means you have even more gorgeousness to drape around your neck. If you like a little more fabric to work with, you'll like this one. Please remember that colors can vary depending on your monitor.

    I use only Procion fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently with the fabric, which means the colors won't run or fade.

    To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios silk scarf, I recommend washing in the delicate cycle in a mesh bag, then twist loosely and let dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    I invite you to check my shop reviews - here’s what happy customers have said:

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    These earrings are so beautiful. They are large enough so as to make a statement, yet are light to wear.

    Wow, you aren't exaggerating about the scarf making blue eyes pop! I'm wearing it today for the first time and may wear it every single day for the rest of my life. Thanks again - I'll be back to your shop.

    So incredibly beautiful... my daughter lit up like the Christmas tree... made my Christmas morning.

    I ordered 7 magnificent scarves and a DreamCatcher earring/necklace set from Fire Aunt Studios. I waited over a week to open the package. The truth is, I was afraid that the beauty will be so over the top, that my brain would explode. I would have no choice but to throw the scarves on the floor and roll around on them. As they would be tainted, I would be forced to keep them all for myself! I finally caved, sent the kids out into the rain to sing Christmas carols to the cows (we live on a farm), and proceeded to open the package. After opening and handling each scarf, and the jewelry set - Umm, I am going to need at least 1, 437 more brain-exploding scarves, and at least 362 more jewelry sets. (Just so you know, I am not ashamed about needing more scarves to roll in and jewelry to parade around in.)

    My mom loved the earrings!!! Thank you so much for your sweet communication and your super fast service.

    Gorgeous! Lovely Item and lovely seller! Thanks!

    I love this scarf! The colors are subtle yet varied, and the size is perfect. It fits under a jacket and can be worn indoors too. Thanks for the quick shipping and great communication. I highly recommend this Etsy artist.

    Got the hat today, I can't wait to get this bad boy out in public, it's really cool! The seller was quick to deliver the goods too!!

    This is now my scarf go to... very lovely, and made of great quality. The service I recvd from the artist/creator is exceptional! This is your one stop shop for fabulous scarves. Thank you Ann B.

    I'm wearing this scarf today and have received numerous compliments on it. The color is bright and more unique than the run-of-the-mill red scarf. Love it!

    Beautiful scarf!! The colors are wonderful!! The seller is lovely!! Great communication!!

    Very beautiful. Cannot find anything like this in a store! Just what I wanted. Thank you so much!

    Really lovely! Thank you for the speedy shipping. I LOVE my scarf. I will be back for another one soon. :)

    WHAT CAN I SAY - LOVE THIS SITE - LOVE YOUR WORK SO BEAUTIFUL

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or from another Etsy merchant, thank you for supporting independent artisans.


              Blue chiffon crinkle scarf - silk chiffon scarf - large scarf - blueberry, peacock blue, turquoise - LARGE - 17"x74"- hand dyed to order by FireAuntStudios        

    42.00 USD

    The main color in this silk chiffon crinkle scarf is a gorgeous peacocky turquoise shade, accented with a darker blue, inspired by the Pantone shade Monaco Blue to give it some depth. If you love wearing silk, but prefer a more casual look, you will love the crinkled finish. This is a larger scarf, generously sized at approximately 17" x 74", which means you have even more gorgeousness to drape around your neck. Silk chiffon is a looser weave, and is very gauzy and floaty. This is 100% silk chiffon, not that polyester impostor!

    Upon receipt of your order, I will hand dye your scarf just for you. I'll use the same materials and techniques and pictured, however as with all hand crafted items, slight variations are to be expected - and they're what make your item one of a kind. I use only Procion fiber reactive dyes, which bond permanently with the fabric, which means the colors won't run or fade. Please remember that colors can vary depending on your monitor.

    To care for your new Fire Aunt Studios silk scarf, I recommend washing in the delicate cycle in a mesh bag, then twist loosely and let dry to maintain the crinkles.

    Your new scarf will be shipped via Priority Mail in a flat rate padded envelope. If you live in the Treasure Valley, Idaho area, and would like to arrange for pick up or delivery, message me, and I'll provide you a coupon code for free shipping.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Wow, you aren't exaggerating about the scarf making blue eyes pop! I'm wearing it today for the first time and may wear it every single day for the rest of my life. Thanks again - I'll be back to your shop.

    So incredibly beautiful... my daughter lit up like the Christmas tree... made my Christmas morning.

    I ordered 7 magnificent scarves and a DreamCatcher earring/necklace set from Fire Aunt Studios. I waited over a week to open the package. The truth is, I was afraid that the beauty will be so over the top, that my brain would explode. I would have no choice but to throw the scarves on the floor and roll around on them. As they would be tainted, I would be forced to keep them all for myself! I finally caved, sent the kids out into the rain to sing Christmas carols to the cows (we live on a farm), and proceeded to open the package. After opening and handling each scarf, and the jewelry set - Umm, I am going to need at least 1, 437 more brain-exploding scarves, and at least 362 more jewelry sets. (Just so you know, I am not ashamed about needing more scarves to roll in and jewelry to parade around in.)

    My mom loved the earrings!!! Thank you so much for your sweet communication and your super fast service.

    Gorgeous! Lovely Item and lovely seller! Thanks!

    I love this scarf! The colors are subtle yet varied, and the size is perfect. It fits under a jacket and can be worn indoors too. Thanks for the quick shipping and great communication. I highly recommend this Etsy artist.

    Got the hat today, I can't wait to get this bad boy out in public, it's really cool! The seller was quick to deliver the goods too!!

    This is now my scarf go to... very lovely, and made of great quality. The service I recvd from the artist/creator is exceptional! This is your one stop shop for fabulous scarves. Thank you Ann B.

    I'm wearing this scarf today and have received numerous compliments on it. The color is bright and more unique than the run-of-the-mill red scarf. Love it!

    Beautiful scarf!! The colors are wonderful!! The seller is lovely!! Great communication!!

    Very beautiful. Cannot find anything like this in a store! Just what I wanted. Thank you so much!

    Really lovely! Thank you for the speedy shipping. I LOVE my scarf. I will be back for another one soon. :)

    WHAT CAN I SAY - LOVE THIS SITE - LOVE YOUR WORK SO BEAUTIFUL

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Whether you purchase from me, or from another Etsy merchant, thank you for supporting independent artisans.


              One Punch Man - Remake Latino        
    One punch man Opening remake by latin animators.
              Convocation 2012        

    Loading the player...

    September 4, 2012

    Amherst marked the beginning of the 2012–13 school year with Opening Convocation at Johnson Chapel on Sept. 3. The first formal gathering of the first-year class, the annual ceremony enables the college’s president and the faculty, dressed in their academic regalia, to officially welcome the new students. Every year, it features a procession, music by the Choral Society and the awarding of master of arts degrees to faculty who have reached the rank of full professor but aren’t graduates of Amherst. (View photos of the entire event at the Amherst College Flickr set.)

    In this year’s Convocation address, President Biddy Martin commended the members of the Class of 2016 for having the courage to learn, to be challenged by new ideas and to “combat our own willful ignorance.” “Critical thinking cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified,” she explained to the audience of first-year students, faculty, staff and others. “It is our job to exemplify it by turning our analytical skills and our patience outward but also inward toward ourselves. The quality of this institution depends on the willingness of our students and faculty and everyone else who works to put their ‘taken-for-granteds’ at risk.”

    She discussed the relationships the students would cultivate at college and reminded them of the value of their Amherst education as well. The latter, she told them, is “a launching pad or platform for the work that needs to be done to address the monumental challenges in the world—economic, political, cultural, environmental.… It’s an opportunity to learn not only how to think but [how] to relate to people from every conceivable background, how to engage the world and how to lead.”

    Prior to speaking to the first-years, Martin conferred honorary master’s degrees on Catherine Epstein, professor of history and chair of her department; Jeffrey Ferguson, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Black studies and American studies; Caroline Goutte, professor of biology; Amelie Hastie, professor of English and film and media studies and chair of the film studies department; and Nasser Hussain, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought. She also acknowledged Scott Kaplan ’95, professor of computer science, who was also promoted to full professor but already holds an Amherst degree.

    President Biddy Martin’s 2012 Convocation Address

    TRANSCRIPT

    Good evening, and welcome once again. We are gathered to mark the beginning of the academic year, to celebrate teaching and learning and to affirm their importance. We are lucky to be learning and teaching in a community of smart, curious and creative people. By the very nature of this event and its rituals, we commit ourselves to one another and to a larger world that desperately needs its Amhersts. We are all eager just to get on with it, but it makes sense to dwell, even if only briefly, on our work, our relationships, and, perhaps, even our fun.

    I know the faculty feels fortunate to be teaching a student body with your talent, curiosity and diversity. You, who are our new and continuing students, are lucky to study with faculty who are contributing to their scholarly fields, creating new knowledge across disciplinary boundaries and investing their creativity in the art of teaching. The Amherst faculty treats teaching with same seriousness they bring to original research. I know from experience that such seriousness is rare. 

    In their senior survey, members of the Class of 2012 reported that their favorite teachers were the ones who had the highest expectations of them, who demanded their best work. This is a place that reveres the life of the mind and challenges us to continue a long tradition, a 191-year-old tradition of setting high standards.

    In a meeting of Amherst alumni in the chapel last spring, I was asked by an alum what motivates serious scholars to spend their careers teaching undergraduates; “What’s in it for them?” I believe he asked. I had a response ready, based on my own experience as a teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students, but I caught sight of Professor Sarat, a political scientist, who happened to be standing in the back of Johnson Chapel; I asked him to come forward and give the audience his perspective—and he was glad to oblige. I want to read the summary account he sent me later, because what he said is representative of Amherst faculty as a whole. I cannot imagine any member of the faculty who would not agree. “Amherst classrooms at their best,” he said, “are places that combine love, challenge and hope. We want our students not just to learn, but to love ideas, images, mathematical equations.”

    “Love,” he cautioned, “cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified.” We want our students not only to learn, but also to love learning. He continued: “At our best, we try to put our students in a place of productive discomfort … we want to unsettle their taken-for-granteds. We want to challenge their moments of complacency. The return for those of us who teach, of seeing students take up the challenge, venture into that place of productive discomfort, is being inspired by their courage and reminded of what it is like to move beyond our own comfort zones.”

    He concluded by saying, “I guess it is all about what they and we are willing to put at risk.”

    I like the combination of challenge, love and hope. I like thinking about what it means to put our assumptions, even ourselves, at risk, within what is ultimately a pretty safe environment. If anyone among you doubts that it takes courage to question what we think we know or put our beliefs at risk, you need only look at the ideological rigidity in the world around us and consider the tenacious refusal in broad swaths of the public to accept scientific conclusions or listen to the views of others.

    It takes particular courage to combat what we might call our willful ignorance, but we are here to do just that. By “willful ignorance,” I mean the active suppression of knowledge or truth, the kind of ignorance that cannot be changed by the mere addition of new information. In moments of uncertainty and fear, we are particularly prone to indulging our ignorance, and the times are nothing if not uncertain. Our resistance to change is purposeful, but often only at an unconscious level by virtue of our stubborn internalizations.

    Last week, [DeMott Lecturer] David Nevins [’88] told you that the most creative periods in his career have often been the most anxiety-ridden; they have come when he was making the transition from one job to another, before he knew the rules and had not yet internalized them. He encouraged you to take advantage of the transition you are making, giving yourselves permission to think otherwise. Permission of that sort requires a fight, because we are largely unaware of the structure of our ignorance, and our prejudices can be forms of love for those from whom we learned or absorbed them. Critical thinking cannot be programmed, but it can be exemplified, and it is our job to exemplify it. The quality of our institution depends on the willingness of students and faculty, and everyone who works here, to put their “taken-for-granteds” at risk.

    Amherst sometimes seems like a treasured island, a respite from the inanity or insanity or the ugliness in the world, but it is not an island, and we don’t want it to be. We want it to be a platform or a launching pad for the work that needs to be done if we are to address the monumental challenges we face—economic, environmental, political, social, cultural and psychological. Amherst provides an opportunity to acquire the skills and the quality of thought that is adequate to the problems; it is also an opportunity to learn how to engage and build relationships with people from all over the world; it is an opportunity to learn how to lead.

    When I was in London visiting our alumni this summer, I asked some of my interlocutors how they accounted for their love of Amherst. “It’s a place,” said one, “where it was cool to be smart.” We are fortunate to be in a place where it is cool to be smart; cool to be different; cool to be an athlete who puts academics first or finds the right balance between the two; cool not to be an athlete; cool to sing, to dance, to stay up all night studying, even when there is no exam the next day; cool to grasp and appreciate the nature of reality and the complexity of our lives.

    I have lots of wishes for you, but I will emphasize two: first, that you reject the substitution all around us of only dimly related bullet points for genuine analysis. I hope you will use your time here to hone your intellectual skills and use them to reach for an understanding of the world—one that integrates the different modes of thought to which you will be exposed; one that displays close reading, critical thinking, analytical reason, creativity and a commitment to clear, compelling exposition. I hope you take full advantage of Amherst’s commitment to great writing and to other forms of creative expression. I hope you go beyond scattered “bullet points” or decontextualized data to a working understanding, or an approach to understanding, that honors imagination, distinguishes between fact and fiction and remains open to new knowledge.

    Second, I hope you find ways to let your leisure time be inflected by your intellectual development. It is popular here, as well as at other colleges and universities, to oppose play to work. “Work hard—play hard” becomes a kind of mantra, and sometimes a misguided one. I encourage you not to think of work and play as oppositions. Satisfying play is not the absence of work. It, too, takes cultivation and learning. And work is neither successful nor satisfying if it lacks experimentation, whimsy and fun. Play can be deadening when it is conceived only as an escape from thought. It is possible to relax and have fun, even to be a little oppositional, even a little bad, without suppressing all awareness and judgment.   

    You are here to learn not only how to be successful at work but also at play, and much of your playing will occur in relationships with your peers. Indeed, relationships will be a significant focus of your experimentation and growth while you are here—the friendships, love relationships, sexual ones. At least some of you will take an interest in sexuality. Good experiences and relationships cannot be programmed any more than the love of learning can, but they can be exemplified, and they will benefit from the work of thought. I will close with a good example of thought when brought to bear on questions of love and sexuality. In the early part of the 20th century, the German poet Rainer Marie Rilke wrote a letter to a young poet offering advice about the relationship between love, sensuality and work. Rilke warns the young poet against the tendency of young people to abandon themselves in pursuit of love or of one another, and he offers an account of love and marriage that has been cited many times over the past hundred years:

    Like so much else, people have also misunderstood the place of love in life, they have made it into play and pleasure because they thought that play and pleasure were more blissful than work; but there is nothing happier than work, and love, just because it is the extreme happiness, can be nothing else but work. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation …

    but young people fling themselves at one another, when love takes possession of them, scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their untidiness, disorder, confusion … And then what? Each loses himself [herself] for the sake of the other and loses the other and many others still to come. And loses the expanses and the possibilities, exchanges the approach and flight of gentle, divining things for an unfruitful perplexity…

    Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. And our acceptance of it is not what’s bad; the bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots of their lives and as a distraction instead of a rallying toward more exalted moments … In marriage [relationships] the goal is not to create a quick community of spirit by tearing down and destroying all boundaries. A good marriage [relationship] is one in which each appoints the other guardian of his [her] solitude.

    This last sentence is one of the most frequently cited passages in the letter. “A good [relationship] is one in which each appoints the other guardian of his [her] solitude” or separateness. Use your leisure, your play, your relaxation and your relationships with one another as a rallying toward the project of becoming who you are and letting others be engaged in the same work. Respect yourselves, your own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

    Take yourselves and your fellow classmates seriously. And, in the process, enjoy! Welcome and welcome back to Amherst.


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              August 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge - Polenta        
    Blog-checking lines: Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

    This month's challenge was to use cornmeal in a new recipe. What a great challenge so many choices I decided on a new cornbread recipe that used some masa flour which really imparted a lovely Tex-Mex flavour to the final bread.

    Cornmeal bread
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    This is a recipe that I haven't tried before it uses yellow cornmeal, yellow lupin flour and blue cornmeal flour with some oat bran for extra flavour. The recipe produces a very light and airy loaf that produces the most beautiful slashes when baked. And the crumb (the bread's interior texture) is amazing crunchy due to the cornmeal and has that slight limy taste of the masa flour which adds a lot of authentic "Mexican" flavour profile to the loaf. Great with chilli or red beans.

    Amazing crumb on the sliced bread
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    Deep clear slashes are a sign of a well proven-dough and that you have the correct ratio of dry to liquid ingredients
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    Cornmeal bread
    Ingredients
    1 cup white bread flour
    1/4 cup yellow lupin flour
    1/4 cup high-gluten flour
    1/4 cup oat bran
    1/4 cup blue masa flour (blue corn flour)
    1 cup of yellow cornmeal
    1-1/3 cups warm water
    2 tablespoons mild tasting oil (up to 1/2 cup of oil/butter if you wish)
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 teaspoons dried active yeast
    Method
    1. Add the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water and oil, rest until foamy about 5 minutes.
    2. Combine all the other ingredients in a large bowl.
    3. Add the foamy mixture to the dry ingredients mix then knead about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover bowl to keep in the heat.
    5. Prove in a warm place until doubled in size about 1-2 hrs depending on temperature.
    6. Knock-down risen dough, shape into a large bun. slash with a sharp knife. Cover and rise in a warm place until just about doubled in size (usually half the time of the initial rise).
    7. Bake in a hot oven (220C/425F/gas mark 7) for 50 mins with steam for the first 8 minutes (check at 40 mins) until brown in colour and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
              January, 2012 Daring Baker Challenge: Back to Basics:Scones (Biscuits)        
    Introduction:  Hi my name is Audax from Audax Artifex (yes this web site). Whenever I visit my sister and her family in S.E. Queensland Australia she always welcomes me with a fresh batch of my favourite baked treat which we devour gleefully with cups of tea while we chat and catch up with the events in our lives.

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    The treat that I'm talking about is the basic scone (also know as baking powder biscuits in North America) my sister really knows how to make them, they are wondrously light with soft sides and a lovely airy crumb – superb with jam and cream. This month I want the Daring Bakers' to share my delight and I invite you to bake a batch of scones to enjoy with friends and family.

    For our North American members I wish to clarify what this challenge is all about and try to avoid any confusions. Scones in North American are nearly always triangular in shape have a slightly crisp crust usually covered in sugar and have a soft interior crumb and sometimes are laced with dried fruit (these baked goods in Australia and England are called “rock cakes” since they are usually made to look like “rocky” cakes not wedges), meanwhile biscuits in North American are a round shaped buttery slightly flaky baked good usually eaten with meals (these items in Australia and England are called “scones” and are eaten with butter and jam usually with cups of tea or coffee as a sweet snack). So this challenge (using the North American name) is to make biscuits. Or using the Australian or English name this challenge is to make scones.

    To further clarify for our North American bakers this month's challenge is to make biscuits (also called baking powder biscuits) if you choose to make your biscuits using buttermilk as the liquid you are making what are known as “Southern” Biscuits which are one of the most famous examples of home cooking in the Southern States of America (that is they are a baking powder biscuit made with buttermilk). In Australia and England “Southern” Biscuits would be called buttermilk scones. So restating the above, the challenge is to make scones (using the Australian/English name) or to make  biscuits (using the North American name). Incidentally if you use cream as your liquid in the challenge recipe the final baked good would be called a cream biscuit in North America or a cream scone in Australia and England.  

    Scones (biscuits) contain only a small number of ingredients they are fast to make, quick to bake, only cost cents per batch and most importantly are super FUN to eat. In England and Australia scones are eaten with jam and butter usually with cups of tea or coffee mostly as a sweet snack, while in North America they are usually eaten with meals as a savoury side.

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    Of course scones (biscuits) have a notorious reputation as being difficult for some people to make  comments like “hockey pucks”, “These made great door-stops ” and the like fill the comment sections of most recipe websites. You see scones (can be said as a rhyme with cone and also can be said as a rhyme with gone) are a type of quick bread that is a white flour dough that is raised using chemical agents usually baking powder and/or baking soda. Basic scones contain flour, raising agent(s), butter (or shortening or lard), salt, and milk (or buttermilk or soured milk or cream). Most recipes just say to “rub the fat into the flour” then combine the dry and wet ingredients until “gathered together” and then “lightly knead” the gathered mixture until a soft dough forms, then “roll or pat” out this dough and then “cut” out rounds and bake them in a hot oven. Well how hard could it really be I thought uh-mm as you can see below my first batch wasn't the greatest success … they didn't raise at all and the texture was barely OK I thought … I was left wondered what I had done wrong …   

    My first attempt at scones (really pretty terrible I thought, no height no tenderness and no flakiness)

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    So after studying many many (288 websites bookmarked) scone/biscuit recipes and the bakers' comments about these recipes and after doing 16 batches! myself I have acquired a lot of information to help you master the techniques involved I hope that at the end of this challenge that you will be able to make a good if not great scone (biscuit).

    After much research and many attempts …  finally some scones (the 14th, 15th and 16th batches) that I wouldn't mind sharing with my sister.

    The Classic Australian scone ring (Aussie Damper) – the crumb is very similar to bread
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    Cheese and chives scones – a “sky-high” light and tender scone flavoured with cheese and chives
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    The classic Southern Biscuit (buttermilk scone) – a superbly flaky scone made with buttermilk and laminated to form distinct layers when baked
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    Fairy Ring
    As I mentioned in the challenge posting in Australia and England scones are usually eaten as a sweet treat (with butter and jam) with cups of tea on that theme while doing my research for this challenge I thought I would do a variation on the sweet side of the scone. Here is one recipe that is suitable for kids and adults when you want something special and sweet yet can be made at a moment's notice.

    In Australia one of the most popular children's party food item is fairy bread. This is a variation of fairy bread called Fairy Ring made with an Aussie Scone (Damper) ring laced with 100s and 1000s then iced (with some icing sugar and a touch of lemon juice made into a sticky paste) then sprinkled with more 100s and 1000s (coloured sprinkles). My 9 year old niece went crazy with delight and literally squealed with glee when I showed her this Fairy Ring and say I made it especially for her.

    Normal (Damper) Scone Ring
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    Fairy Ring straight from the oven
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    Completed Fairy Ring
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    Hot Dog Buns
    Here is a savoury variation, I made hot dog buns using the basic scone recipe. They worked out great I couldn't believe the crumb and they tasted great with the hot dog and relishes and I made them in under 15 minutes (once the oven was hot enough). I was very surprised how well the basic scone dough complimented savoury food.  
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    Touch of Grace Scones
    (Click on the title to go to a great posting about this recipe)
    Here is the answer to dry biscuits this recipe is called "touch of grace" biscuits which uses a few simple techniques to create a super moist crumb. These scones are all about tenderness everything is designed to obtain the softest and most tender crumb possible. These are very different from the normal bread-like scones that Australians like with jam and cream. These would be perfect with a savoury meal. They were so buttery with a soft creamy crumb that literally melts in your mouth, the mouth feel is like clouds. As one reviewer lovingly opined "They're squat little puffs you'll want to grab, steaming, from a basket passed over fried chicken or bacon and eggs". The way I make them is slightly adapted from the original recipe,  I use a lot of very large pieces of butter and all buttermilk with very low gluten cake flour and some resting time in the fridge. Resting the dough after the buttermilk is stirred into the dry ingredients is essential you would never be able to form the soft balls of dough coated in flour that are the "rounds" in this case and keeping everything cold helps the baking process. While baking the large pieces of butter melt into the flour causing large air holes to form in the baked dough and since we use soft flour (6%) which cannot form flaky layers we thus obtain a feather-light creamy tender crumb infused with the maximum amount of butter that the dough can hold.
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    These scones are made entirely from cake flour (6% gluten), I used 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 cup very large-sized butter pieces, about 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. I rubbed in butter making sure most of the fat/flour where large pea sized pieces. I rested the dough after I mixed in the wet ingredients for 10 minutes until cold, during this time the dough "firms" up making it possible to turn it out in one cohesive dough ball onto a lightly floured board. I formed a rectangle of the soft dough floured the top lightly then I stamped out rounds. You could feel the pieces of butter in the formed round The rounds are very soft but can be picked up and placed into the baking dish. Then I place the baking dish with all the formed rounds back in the fridge for 10 minutes until cold then bake. (This procedure is much easier than the original recipe's method and it gives as good results I think). As you can see the crumb is saturated with butter and has masses of large airy pockets to trap your favourite topping. Absolutely delicious.
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    Raisin Scones
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    I wanted to make one batch of flavoured scones I went with sweet raisins and some molasses in the dough. I rubbed in the butter until it was like fine sand and I used "OO" cake flour about 7% protein and some cornflour (cornstarch), I was very happy with the look of the baked scones and the crumb was very tender very much like bread which is what I wanted. These were very cute looking but to be honest I like plain scones much better.
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    The bread like crumb of the scone so so tasty and soft.
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    As you can see scones (biscuits) are all about technique since the scones pictured above used the same basic recipe. 

    Recipe Source:  The challenge scone (biscuit) recipe has been especially formulated by Audax Artifex after a large amount of research and experimentation. It is designed to help you master the techniques involved in making scones (biscuits) exactly the way you like them. 

    Blog-checking lines: Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

    Posting Date:  January 27, 2012

    Challenge Notes:
    The Ingredients – since scones contain only a small number of ingredients each should be of the highest quality
    Flour – lower gluten (i.e. soft) flours (about 9% or less protein) produce taller and lighter scones than normal plain (all-purpose) flour (about 10%+ protein). But to be honest it wasn't that great a difference so long you sifted the dry ingredients thoroughly at least three times. That is always triple sift the dry ingredients this will ensure that the flour is well aerated and the raising agents are evenly distributed so resulting in light scones. I found that finely milled soft “OO” flour gave the best results but don't worry you can get excellent results with sifted plain (all-purpose) flour. You can use self-raising flour if you wish (remember to leave out the raising agents and salt) in the recipe below it is important to triple sift the self-raising flour as well I like to add about ½ teaspoon of extra fresh baking powder per cup of self-raising flour to ensure a good lift in my scones. In the northern states of America and most of Canada all-purpose flour is generally very hard (high in protein) you can replace for each cup 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cake flour  OR for each cup replace 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour with cornflour (cornstarch). Or you can let the scones rest (20 mins) in the fridge before baking. 
    Fat – unsalted butter gives the best flavour while lard gives the flakiest texture since it has a much higher melting point than butter so promoting a flaky texture in the final scones. The best compromise is to use a combination of the two in equal measure. I usually use all (unsalted) butter for flavour and health reasons. In most recipes the fat is rubbed into the flour using fingers or a pastry cutter (don't use two knives or forks since it takes too long to cut in the fat using this method). It is best to grate the butter using the coarse side of a box-grater and then freeze it until you need it. Freezing the butter prevents the fat from melting into the flour. The idea is to coat the fat particles with the flour. You are looking for a fat/flour combination that looks like very coarse bread crumbs with a few pieces of butter about the size of peas, the finer you make your fat pieces the more tender the crumb of your final scones. If you want very flaky scones then make the fat pieces large like Lima beans and only lightly coat them in the flour. If your kitchen is very hot you can refrigerate your flour so helping to keep the fat from melting. Don't freeze your flour as this will make it too difficult to rub the fat into the flour. (Typical usage about 1 to 8 tablespoons of fat per cup of flour).
    Chemical raising agents – always use fresh raising agents, baking powder deteriorates within two months once the jar is opened, typical usage 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup. Baking powder nowadays is double action – there is an initial release of gas once the dry and wet ingredients are combined and there is another release of gas from the high heat of the oven. If you are using acidic ingredients (such as buttermilk, soured milk, honey, citrus juice, yoghurt, tomato sauce etc) then use an additional ¼ teaspoon of baking soda per cup of liquid to help neutralise the acid and make the final baked product raise correctly. Baking soda is much stronger (x4) in raising power than baking powder. You can make you own single action baking powder by triple sifting together one part baking soda and two parts cream of tartar store in an airtight container. To check if your double action baking powder is fresh place 1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of water it should bubble a lot, then microwave it for 30 secs it should bubble it again. To check your baking soda place 1/8 teaspoon into 1 tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) it should bubble a lot. 
    Liquid – you can use milk (any sort), buttermilk, soured milk, yoghurt, half-and-half, cream, coconut cream, soda water, even lemon-flavoured soda pop (soft drink) or a combination of these as the liquid in your scones. You can sour regular milk with a tablespoon of cider vinegar or lemon juice for every cup. Just stir it in and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to curdle. Typical usage is 1/3 to 1/2 cup of liquid per cup of flour.
    Salt – a small amount of salt (about ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour)  helps improve the action of the raising agents and enhances the flavour of the scones.

    The Equipment
    Baking pans – use dark coloured heavy weight baking pans as these have the best heat distribution and really give a great raise to your baked goods. Many people like to use cast iron skillets for best results.
    Measuring cups and spoons – try to accurately measure all ingredients especially if this is your first attempt at making scones (biscuits) remember to scoop the ingredient into the measure and level with a knife. If you can weigh the flour using scales even better.
    Scone (biscuit) cutters – use a cutter that is made of sharp thin metal with straight sides and is open at both ends this ensures that the scone will raise straight and evenly and ensures the cut scone is easy to remove from the cutter without compressing the dough. Try to avoid using cutters with wavy sides, thick walled cups, glasses, metal lids, small jars or any cutter with only one opening since it is difficult to remove the cut scones from these without compressing the dough therefore leading to 'tougher' scones. If you cannot get a good cutter you can cut out squares or wedges etc using a sharp knife if you wish.
    Rolling pins – most scone doughs are very soft (and wet) so can be easily patted out using your fingers. For a large amount of dough you can use a rolling pin remember to use light pressure from the centre outwards to form an even thickness of dough ready to be cut into scones. Avoid rolling back and forth over the same area as this can overwork the dough.    

    The Techniques
    Triple sift the dry ingredients – sift your dry ingredients from a height this permits plenty of air to be incorporated into the mixture which allows for maximum lightness in your scones and ensures even distribution of all the raising agents and other ingredients.
    Rubbing in the fat – this is the stage where you can control how tender or flaky your final scone crumb will be. The more you coat your fat with flour and the smaller the particles of the final mixture, the more tender the end product because you’re retarding gluten formation in the flour (unfortunately the price you pay for this tenderness is that the final dough will be soft and might not raise very well since the gluten isn't developed enough to form a stable structure to trap the gases that are released when the dough is baked). Conversely the larger you leave the pieces of fat (the infamous "pea-sized" direction you always see in scone/biscuit recipes), the flakier the final scones will be (that is the gluten in this case is more developed but you might find that the final baked product is dry and the mouth feel of crumb could be too firm i.e. tough). So summarising the tenderness/flakiness of your scone is achieved in this stage by manipulating the size of the fat particles and how much of the flour is used to coat the fat (the more flour used to coat the fat promotes more tenderness while larger fat pieces promote more flakiness).  Either way quickly rub in the grated frozen fat into the dry ingredients using
    1)your finger tips – as you lightly rub and pinch the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back down into the bowl, this means that air is being incorporated all the time, and air is what makes scones light, continue this until you have the desired sized flour/fat particles in the mixture, or
    2)a cold pastry cutter – begin by rocking the pastry cutter into the fat and flour mixture continue rocking until all the fat is coated in flour and the desired sized flour/fat particles are obtained.
    Moistening and bringing the dough together -  add nearly all of the liquid at once to the rubbed-in dry ingredients.  When mixing the dough (I use a soft plastic spatula, my sister uses a knife), stir with some vigour from the bottom to the top and mix just until the dough is well-moistened and begins to just come together it will be wet (and sticky). And remember the old saying – the wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits)!  
    Handling the dough – as most people know it is important not to overwork the dough but what isn't appreciated is that under-working is almost as common a mistake as overworking. Look at my first attempt (the first photo in this article) at making the challenge recipe it is crumbly and a bit leaden and the crumb isn't flaky at all this is due to under-working the dough and making the flour/fat particles too small, it took me about six batches to understand this and not be afraid to handle the dough so the scone (biscuit) would raise correctly. Under-working causes as many problems as overworking. Overworking leads to tough, dry and heavy scones while under-working leads to crumbly leaden ones. If you are not happy with your baked goods look carefully at your final scones (biscuits) and decide if you have under- or over-worked your dough.
    Kneading or folding/turning the dough – this is the stage where you can control whether or not your scone has distinct layers by 1) only kneading the dough (for no layering effect) or 2) only turning and folding the dough (for a layering effect).  As mentioned above given the same amounts of flour and fat, leaving larger pieces of fat equals more gluten formation and, therefore, flakiness. Leaving smaller pieces of fat equals less gluten formation and, therefore, tenderness. Your dough at this stage of the recipe will be a mixture of different gluten strengths since it is almost impossible to make a totally homogeneous dough at home. The major idea at this stage of the process is to exploit these gluten differences to achieve a desired degree of lamination (layering) in the final baked good. That is at this stage your dough (after you have added the liquid and mixed it until it just holds together), will have different layers of relatively gluten-rich (tougher) dough (the more floury parts of the dough), and layers of relatively gluten-free (tender-er) dough with small pieces of fat (the more fatty parts of the dough). So at this point if we only lightly knead the dough these layers will become less distinct which means the dough will become more homogeneous so producing a more even and more tender crumb when baked. But if at this stage you only fold and turn the dough (as shown below in pictures) over itself, these different layers will remain intact but will get thinner and thinner with each fold and turn, so when the fat melts and the liquid turns to steam in the oven, this steam pushes the tougher layers apart, leading to an overall flakiness and a layering effect in the scone crumb (see picture of the buttermilk biscuit above). So if you want an even more tender crumb just lightly knead (much like you would knead bread but with a very very light touch) the turned-out dough a few times until it looks smooth. If you want to form layers (laminations) in your final baked goods do a few folds and turns until it looks smooth. Always do at least one light knead to make the final dough structurally strong enough to raise and hold its shape whether you are aiming for a smooth tender crumb or a flaky layered crumb.
    Pat or roll out the dough – since most scone (biscuit) doughs are soft (and sticky) it is best to use your fingers to gently pat out the dough once it has been kneaded or folded and turned. Use a very light touch with little pressure while forming the dough rectangle to be cut into rounds for the scones. If you want tall scones then pat out the dough tall, about 3/4 inch to 1 inch (2 cm to 2½ cm) thick is about right.
    Cutting out your scones – use a well-floured scone (biscuit) cutter for each round that you stamp out from the dough. That is dip your cleaned cutter into fresh plain flour before each separate cut. Do not twist the cutter while stamping out the scone, push down firmly until you can feel the board then lift the cutter the round should stay inside the cutter then gently remove it from the cutter  and place the round onto the baking dish. You can use a sharp knife to cut out other shapes if you wish from the dough, also the knife should be floured before each cut as well. 
    Baking your scones – always preheat your oven when baking scones. Place each scone almost touching onto the baking dish this encourages the scones to raise and also keeps the sides soft and moist. If you want crisp sides widely space your scones on the baking dish. Don’t over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the sides begin to turn brown and are set, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack—the hot pan will continue to dry the scones.
    Extra comments about resting the dough – I found in my researches that a number of respected sources mentioned resting the dough in various stages in the recipe. Surprisingly this advice is sound. I found that if you rested the just mixed dough (in the fridge) for 20 minutes there was a huge improvement in the dough's handling qualities and the final scones height, lightness and crumb were outstanding. Also I found that if you rest your patted out dough covered in plastic for 10 minutes in the fridge that the rounds are easier to stamp out and the final baked goods raise higher and have a better crumb. Also you can rest your stamped out rounds in the fridge for a couple of hours without harm so you can make your scones place them into the fridge and then at your leisure bake them later great for dinner parties etc. This is possible because modern baking powder is double action, i.e. there is another release of gas when you bake the rounds in the heat of the oven.

    Troubleshooting  
    Problems with bitter after-taste or dry chalky mouth-feel

    The biggest problem that scone/biscuits can sometimes have is an after-taste (sometimes described as metallic or a salty chemical taste) or the mouthfeel is dry and chalky (i.e. the crumb is tough and doesn't have enough moisture).

    If the problem is the after-taste try these tips
    • use freshly opened raising agents, many people claim old baking powder has a stronger taste
    • look for a single action baking powder (that only uses baking soda and cream of tar tar with a little cornflour) or make your own, since some double action baking powders can have metallic salts in them which some people can taste even in small quantities. Also keep in mind that homemade baking powder works faster and at a lower temperature, so put your recipe together quickly
    • look for a double action baking powder that uses non-metallic ingredients in it, check the ingredients listing on the packet.
    • use less baking powder
    • if you used an acidic liquid (buttermilk etc) and did not use some baking soda with the normal baking powder then some of the acid in the liquid wouldn't have been neutralised so leaving some salts behind causing the salty aftertase, that is make sure you are using the correct combination of agents for the liquids that you use, see the link below for full details about this. 
    • use only baking soda and an acidic liquid (buttermilk) like in the famous Irish Soda bread which very few people complain about having an aftertaste
    • use bakers' ammonium (available from King Arthur's flour) it was one of the most common chemical raising agents in the old days before modern baking powder, it smells like ammonia when baking but the ammonia smell totally dissipates and this chemical leaves nothing behind. I use it a lot in my baking it really gives baked goods that old-fashioned taste that people really can pick up on also it gives cookies extra crispness when baked.   

    See here for a comprehensive posting on baking powder/baking soda and how to use them in recipes.
    See here for the most interesting discussion on the use of baking soda and baking powder

    If the problem is the mouthfeel try these tips
    • try smaller sized scones and bake them quickly in a very hot oven and make the dough wetter since large sized scones using a drier dough baked in a moderate oven will give you a dryer crumb therefore a dry chalky mouthfeel
    • over-handled dough will lead to a dry mouth
    • eat them immediately fresh out of the oven, scones do really suffer (they become dry and tough) when stored for any length of time
    • try using more fat about 1/4 cup+ per cup of flour - more fat gives moister crumb. Also try using all shortening, since shortening contains no water or milk solids it gives a very tender crumb.
    • use this great recipe they are called "a touch of grace" biscuits they are the most tender and moist biscuits (scones) that I have had.
    • some people claim that a very hot oven is best to start the baking process then lower the temperature to moderate to finish baking the scones

    The problem lopsided scones
    About lop-sided scones this is usually caused by uneven cutting out of the scone. Some hints
    1. Clean and flour the scone cutter (by rubbing off any wet dough and then dipping the cutter into fresh flour the entire height of the cutter) every time you stamp out each round. Remember not to twist when you are stamping out the scones. If you are using a knife remember to clean and flour it for each cut.
    2. Try to pat out or roll out the dough as evenly as possible.
    3. Did you sift the dry ingredients three times? (uneven distribution of ingredients can lead to uneven scones).
    4. Try to get the scone out of the cutter by applying gentle even pressure on the entire scone circumference that way you do not compress just one place so making that area less tender so raising less when cooked.
    5. Turn the cut scone upside down onto the baking dish, since this side will be flatter than the patted out top surface.
    6. Only glaze the tops of the scone, a small amount of liquid on the sides will inhibit raise in that area.
    7. Some people like to use a fork and prick some holes in the top of the unbaked scones supposedly this helps the scone raise evenly.
    8. Also some people like to use their thumb and press a small hollow into the top of the scone supposedly this helps the scone raise evenly.
    9. A good article about "making the perfect scone" see here it goes through a lot of the best scone recipes by master bakers.
    10. Try this recipe and its method from Bakers' 911 which seems to make straight-sided scones even from wavy-sided cutters

    How to test baking soda
    1. Place a 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda into a tablespoon of vinegar it should bubble a lot.

    How to test your single action baking powder
    1. Place a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup, add 1/4 cup room temperature water it should bubble a lot.

    How to test your double action baking powder
    1. Place a teaspoon of baking powder into a cup, add 1/4 cup room temperature water it should bubble a lot.
    2. Wait 30 secs and then place your cup into the microwave heat for about 30 secs until about 180F it should bubble again.
    3. If it doesn't then discard and buy a new jar.

    How to test your self-raising flour - add one tablespoon of S.R. flour into some hot water it should bubble a bit. Or try adding some vinegar and see if it bubbles. Usually SR flour is only good for about three months.

    The problem an unreliable oven
    1. Try and use heavy grade dark metal baking dishes which give the best heat distribution.
    2. If your oven heating cycle is unreliable (varies the temperature a lot) lower the temperature to hot 220C (430F), preheat the oven along with a heavy metal baking dish for a good 20 mins then bake the scones on the baking dish which acts as a heat sink helping to bake the scones more evenly. Try to bake smaller sized scones which helps with a constantly varying temperature.
    3. If your oven has hot spots which mine does just rotate the dish at about 3/4 of the total baking time.

    The problem my dairy-free margarine doesn't do a good job of cutting in
    1. Just melt the margarine and add it to the liquid and proceed as normal (this is the best you can do if the margarine is "bad for cutting-in or just bad for scones" in the first place).

    Mandatory Items: You must make one batch of basic scones (i.e. basic biscuits using the North American name). The challenge recipe has been designed to be fast, very cheap and easy to follow so allowing for multiple attempts to be made until you can achieve your desired result. I encourage you to make a couple of batches to see how small changes in technique can obtain vastly different final baked products. I estimate all of my 16 experimental batches cost less than $4 and took about four hours, so please do take this opportunity to explore the possibilities of the different techniques and advice that have been presented here in this challenge. I have included a number of links to the most popular scone (biscuit) recipes (and variations) in a number of countries feel free to use these if you can make a good basic scone (biscuit) already.  

    Variations allowed:  A number of variations (cheese and chives, herb, etc) on the basic challenge recipe are included use them if you wish.  

    Preparation time: Scones: Preparation time less than 10 minutes. Baking time about 10 minutes.

    Equipment required:
    Large mixing bowl
    Baking dish
    Measuring cups and  spoons (optional)
    Flour Sifter (optional)
    Board (optional)
    Scone (biscuit) cutter (optional) or knife (optional)
    Dough scraper (optional)
    Spatula (optional)
    Weighing scale (optional)
    Cooling rack (optional)
    Pastry brush (optional)

    Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
    Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
    Recipe can be doubled

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
    2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
    2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
    approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
    optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9. 
    2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
    3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.
    4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!
    5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
    6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough).  Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.
    7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.
    8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes  (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.
    9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

    Variations on the Basic recipe
    Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
    Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
    Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
    Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
    Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
    Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
    Wholemeal –  follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
    Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.     
       
    Pictorial guide to the challenge recipe
    I was at my brother's house and we had a hankering for a baked treat so I decided to make the challenge recipe also I needed some photos of the challenge recipe being made for this posting. My brother isn't a cook, all he had to hand as equipment was concerned was a mixing bowl,a thin walled 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin and a knife, he didn't even have a cup measure only mugs so I improvised.

    As you can see in the collage below I roughly chopped some butter (I eye-balled about 2 tablespoons) and froze it. Then I throw the frozen cubed butter onto one mug of cold self-raising flour I couldn't sift the flour since my brother doesn't own a sifter. Then I proceeded to rub in the butter with my fingers until I got pea-sized fat pieces coated in flour.
    Photobucket

    I added the liquid (½ mug of cold lite-milk) to the rubbed-in fat/flour mixture until I got a sticky dough I turned this out onto a floured board, I lightly floured the top of the sticky dough then I kneaded it once  then I patted it out into a rectangular shape then I proceeded to fold and turn the dough. Notice that you fold 1/3 of the dough over itself then the other 1/3 over that and turn it 90° degrees. Notice the lines on the broad this will help you understand how to do the folding and the turning.
    Photobucket

    I did a couple more folds and turns and used a well-floured knife to cut out squares of prepared dough.
    Photobucket

    Here is a close-up of the finish patted-out dough notice how you can see the fat particles in the dough this is what causes flakiness in the final baked scone.
    Photobucket

    I used the inverted cake tin as my baking dish and baked the scones in a very hot oven for 10 minutes they worked out really well I thought. Notice the nice central lamination in the scone and the great crumb and how well they rose in height.
    Photobucket

    I placed two unbaked scones in the fridge to test whether resting them for 20 minutes helped improve the raise of the final baked product. As you can see the left scone and the middle scone are taller than the right scone which was baked immediately after it was cut out from the dough. So don't worry if you cannot bake the scones straight away they do better with a little resting time. 
    Photobucket

    Videos of my sister making scones (baking powder biscuits) – using a very popular Australian recipe
    (http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8163/basic+scones) 
    Part 1 – my sister making the scones (baking powder biscuits)
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF9YJiHZ1K0)
    Part 2 – my sister showing off her scones (baking powder biscuits)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GorStLKSoMo)
    Pictures of my sister's scones
    Photobucket

    Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
    Scones are best eaten warm. Scones (biscuits) are really easy to store – bag the cooked and cooled scones and freeze until needed then reheat in a moderate hot for a few minutes.


    Additional Information: 
    Australia’s most popular scone recipe uses lemon-flavoured soda pop and cream as the liquid
    (http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2010/08/08/lemonade-scones/)
    A great English scone recipe this uses more sugar and fat and has an egg
    (http://www.instructables.com/id/Perfect-English-Scones/)
    Classic Southern Buttermilk Biscuits recipe by Alton Brown
    (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html)
    An index of North American recipes
    (http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/Bread/Biscuits-and-Scones/Biscuits/Top.aspx)
    Another index of North American recipes
    (http://www.breadexperience.com/biscuit-recipes.html)
    Three great Australian recipes
    (http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/homestyle/blogs/tried-and-tasted/how-to-bake-the-perfect-scone-20110504-1e7xn.html)
    An index of Irish recipes
    (http://www.littleshamrocks.com/Irish-Bread-Scone-Recipes.html)
    An interesting discussion on “what makes a scone a scone”
    (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810928)  
    Videos of Alton Brown making biscuits (scones) with his granny (super cute to watch)
    Episode one ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3QuQSdjMVE)
    Episode two (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qcz4JQUwY9Q)
    Links to advice about chemical raising agents
    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/06/what-is-the-difference-between-baking-powder-and-baking-soda-in-pancakes.html
    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/tips/quick-bread-primer.html 

    Disclaimer:
    The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking”.  If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it.  If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with.  Thank you! :)[/quote]
              Zanna Scores 18, Pittsburgh Routs Colorado 77-48        
    Talib Zanna scored 16 of his 18 points in the opening half, helping Pittsburgh build a 28-point on the way to a 77-48 rout of Colorado in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday.
              Teemu Pushes Ducks Past Detroit 3-1 In Opener        
    Teemu Selanne was skating slightly backward when he decided he could still beat Jimmy Howard. He received a pass and instantly flung a pinpoint wrist shot at the net, finding a small opening behind the Detroit goalie.
              Comment on Sansar Creator Beta: personal thoughts by Belldon Gambit        
    Opening the Beta was a necessity because as with any MMO-like experience you will need to do a pile-on test and for that you need large numbers of users. That tests network performance and that is a crucial element for Sansar. So opening up the Beta to get as many people as possible was a necessity. Was it too early ? It can seem that way (and did to me) but none of us are part of the development team so we can not tell.
              Comment on Sansar Creator Beta: personal thoughts by Willow        
    I don’t think as any surprise that I disagree with your overall conclusions about Sansar. I think I was probably the first person that said it was alpha software not beta. While I haven’t gone into the Sansar “world” since the third day of open access I do follow various blogs and that conclusion remains the same. The standard comment that is usually included is “it still early days yet.” But is it really the lab has had over three years to get things working fairly well and they haven’t. Too many basic things like the things that you mention in this post are missing. To someone developing software like this it should have been taken care of long before opening in open beta. The disorganized nature of the Atlas is an example. From the start the need for a way organizing and categorizing would be needed is obvious. It seems like the lab expects the “beta testers” to do its work for them.
              Another Blog Hop         
    Many of you may have noticed that there seems to be a blog hop circulating around at the moment. The lovely Tea from Tea Okereke chose me to continue the 'Hop!' So here I go.

    http://www.ficklesense.com/2013/02/my-cut-out-lace-challenge.html
    Photo: Michael Dooney Post: My Cut Out Lace Dress Challenge


    Why do you write?
    Writing is not exactly a strength of mine, I am generally envious of many bloggers writing styles. I think that my structured, science-y brain makes me a little dry. But there are a number of reasons for writing my blog
    The main reason is to document my sewing process and hopefully encourage others to take up the hobby. I am a firm believer in sustainable fashion and believe that understanding the making of a garment (from sourcing fabrics, to constructing and finishing details) encourages us to have some insight into clothing production.
    Writing the blog also pushes me to have self imposed deadlines for my sewing. I have realised that I need these deadlines, otherwise I get easily distracted! Having a blog which focuses on sewing and creativity is a wonderful thing for my overly excited brain!

    What are you working on?
    At the moment I am working on opening and revamping my Fickle Sense Etsy store (I have 2 shops one for fashion (Fickle Sense) and one for screen printing(FS Screen Printing))In the Fickle Sense store I am combining my loves for character design, illustration, textile design, screen printing, sewing and sustainable fashion. Having my own fashion label has been a dream of mine.... so hopefully all of my hard work pays off. I am making handmade, organic pyjamas! I have not been posting too much on the Fickle Sense blog as I have been drawing, screen printing, sewing prototypes and sewing my stock for the past few months. This image is a sneak peak into what you can expect. I will hopefully have the shop launched in about 2 weeks! The theme is English Breakfast!


    How does your blog differ from others of its genre?
    I don't know how much I differ from other sewing type blogs, but I can tell you how I like to work... perhaps this makes me a little different?

    My husband and I have a combined love for photography so our photo taking process is very planned out. For 95% of our images we use medium format cameras (either the Yashicha or the Mamiya) and take 5 - 10 frames each shoot  Sometimes we have an idea of what we want the image to look like (e.g. For the photos in the snowy the picture above 'My Cut Out Lace Challenge' I knew that it was going to snow the next morning, so we got up early before work and went to take photos in the fresh snow, when the snow clung to the trees). Or sometimes we take a day trip somewhere so we take photos there. We get the film developed by a one man, local lab. My husband then scans the films for me. So it is quite a long process compared to digital.
    I am also a lover of textile design, so I often create my own prints and textiles. I am hoping to be more experimental and artistic with my outfits in the coming months. So there are more textiles to come!
    I also have a true passion for sustainable fashion. So much so, I have created a website named 'i give 2 hoots' which focuses on sustainable fashion. I am revamping the site ready for more inspiring bloggers. Find out more here.


     

    How does your writing process work?
    I  have tried to set dedicated times to blog. I was inspired to try this out as many artists such as Nick Cave block out times for writing. This was not so successful for me. I found that I like to jump between projects (e.g. Knitting, crocheting, writing, sewing, drawing, printing) depending on my mood. I generally need to be on a 'writing roll' and I will then write a heap of posts at one time. 

    Thanks to Tea for mentioning me in her Hop. Tea really creates some lovely, colourful garments and I enjoy the stories that go along side her garments on Tea Okereke. I particularly liked this neon pink number below. I was first drawn to it because of the parrot print (I am a bird lover), but then reading deeper into her story, it turned out to be a useful outfit for an archeologist :) You can read her reasoning here.

    http://teaokereke.blogspot.de/2014/07/fall-underneath.html#more
    Image Tea Okereke
    Now the next two Hops are going to ..... Meg from Made By Meg and Heather Lou from The Closet Case Files.
    Made by Meg, must be the most hard working sewer out there. There are always newly sewn garments featured on her blog with reviews. Certainly one to follow. I also like that she sews for her man. I am a fan of menswear tailoring (I would love to do a tailoring course) and sewing for my husband, so I love seeing others sewing for the special man in their lives. My favourite outfit of hers is the summer bustier

    Image from Meg by Made

    Heather Lou is also an inspiring blogger. My favourite post of hers was a rather personal one, Taking a Leap. This post discusses her new career change where she now makes her own indie patterns for sewers to create; Bombshell Swimsuit, Nettie Dress and Body Suit, Ginger Skinny Jeans. What a brave soul. I also love that she is a true sewing community member where she often writes about others projects. This image below is my favourite outfit of hers: Sallie Silk in Shigawake


    Image from Closet Case Files
    Blog on!


              The 200% World Cup: Italy vs England – Live!        

    Well, it’s coming up to eleven o’clock on a Saturday night here in England, and this is, of course, the ideal time to schedule the opening match of England’s 2014 World Cup Finals. But shush. There’s a bit of peace and quiet in the air. A combination of lowered expectations and the gradual thinning out […]

    The post The 200% World Cup: Italy vs England – Live! appeared first on Twohundredpercent.


              Step 15: Attaching the Engine/Flywheel/Clutch to the Transmission        
    Description: Attaching the clutch disc and pressure plate to the flywheel/engine.

    Tools Needed: Wrenches, the two old bolts that connected the gas engine and transmission, starter block-off (from kit), Chain?

    Estimated Time: 1 - 3 hours.

    Caveats: None.

    Purpose of this step: This is the fully connected engine/flywheel/clutch/transmission, similar to what was pulled out of the car. This all goes in in one piece, then will be mounted where the old engine/tranny was mounted under the car (Next Step).


    I had the engine/flywheel/clutch assembly on one furniture cart and the tranny on the other. The ridged opening hole in the clutch has to match up in height with the shaft in the transmission and as you can see in the picture, I was off by a couple of inches. Figured that if the engine sat on some 2 by 4's on the cart, it would just about make up the difference. Also take note of the hole on the right side of the transmission where the starter used to be. That will be covered by a "starter blockoff" from the kit, since an electric starter is unnecessary with an electric engine.


    This was pretty close (balanced out with some cardboard under the tranny and I tried to slide the clutch spline onto the transmission shaft. I had a lot of problems getting this on. The shaft from the transmission would only go in part way. I spent a long time trying to get this on and finally took a break, at which point my neighbor happened to come by and told me some things about the Island of Malta, that intrigued me and I made a mental note about looking at it for a possible vacation destination in the future. Then I had some lunch. By that time, I was feeling pretty good, so I headed back out to try again. I also sprayed a little WD40 on the transmission shaft. Then I tried to connect the two again and:

    Voila!
    Either that break reinvigorated my determination or the WD40 did the trick. I'll never know for sure. Anyway,there are 4 bolts for the attachment. The two top bolts are the ones used to hold the gas engine to the tranny and two new ones supplied in the kit. Note also the starter block-off attached and covering the hole where the starter used to sit. There really isn't much else to it. Now, the manual suggests that you first bolt on a chain to use to lift the transmission up onto its connections under the car, then take that off and rebolt. I am going to try to hook it up without doing that. I think that the two furniture carts should help me set everything up. I am still waiting for the mount that was supposedly sent out by ElectroAutomotive, so I'll let you know how it went without the chain once I get the chance to try and hook it up.



    After finishing, I headed out to a ranch in beautiful Cayucos (the last of the surf towns 30 miles south of the Big Sur coast), to see Elizabeth Kucinich speak about her husband's run for president, impeachment and other subjects. She is an eloquent speaker (a Brit) and a beautiful woman. I hope her husband is successful with his current proposal in Congress.
              Helloween Show, Oct. 2        
    Sometimes, something happens that blows your mind. If your mind printed a newspaper, the headline would be 80-point type. Yet it would probably only sell one copy on the newsstand because no one else seems to care.
    Granted, it doesn't happen too often. The marathon's world record was broken recently, and I thought that was awesome, and while I realize this was probably not front page news in most people's Brain Bugle, my Twitter feed was full of people saying, at least, "huh, look at that."
    But it did happen to me many months ago. That's when Helloween announced they were coming to Denver.
    Helloween, as you probably guessed, is a metal band. But they're a fascinating one, and they've always been one of my absolute favorites. They also almost never  come to the U.S.
    Helloween came out as one of the leaders of the speed metal movement of the mid-80s, and for a while, they almost made it as big as the Big Four (Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth). They were a faster version of Iron Maiden. They were also weird. Their first big album featured a 13-minute opus, "Halloween," and it was titled "Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I." What the hell? The title made it seem like a soundtrack for a "Dungeons and Dragons" movie. Yet I bought it because I read a review comparing them to Iron Maiden, and as a huge Maiden fan, that was enough back then. I was in high school. It's not like I had a girlfriend to spend the money on.
    That name didn't help either. Helloween sounds like a demonic, thrashing band with a vocalist who swallowed a broken bottle. It is exactly the opposite. In fact, I can't think of a goofier band in metal. One of their biggest hits was "Dr. Stein." "Dr. Stein grows funny creatures, lets them run into the night. They become great rock musicians and their time is right." That sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn't it? I think the band thought Helloween was a funny, ironic name that would make people laugh, but I have a feeling it scared more people off than made them laugh.
    Anyway, this is already more than you wanted to know, but Helloween released Part II a couple years later. Both albums, in my mind, were metal masterpieces, a perfect blend of melody, whismy, terrific musicianship, songwriting and soaring vocals. The band had a hit, "I Want Out," from the album, in addition to "Dr. Stein," and MTV put them in heavy rotation on "Headbanger's Ball," which was big in the late 80s. By that point, Helloween was a top-5 band for me, just behind Iron Maiden and Metallica, and I desperately wanted to see them in concert. Only, as I said, the German band never came to America much.
    And then Helloween fell apart. They released two albums after, and both of them emphasized even goofier lyrics and more of a commercial sound, and both were just terrible. Awful. I've never known a band to be so good, and then so bad. Yes, many bands come out with good debuts and fade away, but those bands were usually just enjoyable, not as epic as Helloween. It was as if Steely Dan decided to become a polka band.
    So I gave up on them. Years later, I heard they got a new lead singer and were still putting out albums. I bought a couple and was underwhelmed, despite showing some promise with one, "The Dark Ride." So I gave up on them again. 
    I'm not sure why I bought "Gambling With The Devil," Helloween's 2007 album. I can't remember. I guess I heard from the two or three other people I know who like Helloween that it was really good. And there was a basis for that. Helloween had a stable lineup and was releasing fast, hard and heavy songs again. Their lead singer had been with them a long time and had turned into not only a good vocalist but a good songwriter as well. The band's core was still there.
    I loved the record. And the next, "7 Sinners," was nearly as good. When Helloween released its next in January, "Straight Out of Hell," I bought it without question, and I can name a handful of bands I'll purchase without hearing the album. Helloween is back in my top 5.
    So a band with a revamped lineup has had two periods of releasing outstanding albums, including its current one.
    So you can see why I geeked out. You can see why I'm geeking out now.
    * * *
    No one else would go with me to the show. I had a couple friends, some WPBT buddies, of course, who would go, but Colorado is too far. 
    Helloween, as stated, is from Germany, and papers are a problem to tour for more than a few days. That's why you won't see them all over the U.S. I think the last time they made it out to Colorado was in 2003.
    The other problem, as stated, is most, if not almost all, people don't share my infatuation with them. Helloween is a little too much for even my metal-loving friends back here. I'd argue less than 1,000 in Denver or northern Colorado ever owned one of their albums, and that was probably 20 years ago. I was worried that the band might think the trip wasn't even worth the trouble.
    My fears seemed realized when I arrived at The Gothic in Englewood, after an hour drive from Greeley. There were 20 waiting in line, a half-hour before the show. Oh man. Would the band even get 100?
    Three bands were opening. To show how things have changed from high school, this annoyed me because I really wanted to see Helloween and get home to bed. I also wore earplugs. Like I said, things have changed. I'm old now.
    Even with my worries about getting to bed at a decent hour, I was pleasantly surprised to see Cellador on the bill as well. No, I'm not going to write 750 words on Cellador. The band is a part of the melodic speed metal resurgence and sounds a lot like late-80s Helloween. They played five songs, including one, "Leaving All Behind," that sometimes makes my 5K race playlists. They're fast, like Dragonforce, and kind of annoying like them too. But they're also great musicians, and I enjoyed their brief set.
    The first band was local and horrible, and the third seemed to take all the bad qualities of Five Finger Death Punch and blend them together without bringing any of the good.
    Helloween hit the stage at 9:30 p.m. after "For Those About To Rock" blasted over the soundsystem (awesome) and opened with "Eagle Fly Free," the opening track to part II. I was immediately enthralled. I wouldn't have been surprised if Helloween had ignored the late 80s. Even if that was the band's heyday, the breakup with their lead singer wasn't good, and there was a lot of strife at that time. So I was thrilled that I was getting to hear some of the songs I adored in high school live for the first time. Andi Deris couldn't hit the highest notes, but the band ripped through it, which was impressive for a bunch of older guys, as the song's HARD. Dani Loble's drumming was especially impressive, as Helloween couldn't perform the song live for years because they couldn't find a drummer who could pull it off. Loble had no trouble. 
    I glanced around from my perch in the balcony, where I could sit and yet was practically on top of the band, and noticed I wasn't the only one enthralled. Suddenly the place seemed alive and full of maybe 300 people.
    Helloween, as I expected, didn't scowl or drink blood or sacrifice goats the way their name implies. In fact, they avoided all the cliches. They didn't bang their heads in that way that makes their hair fly. 
    Instead, Sascha Gerstner spent most of his time playing a game with bassist Markus Grobkopf, where he would toss a pic at the feet of Markus, and he tried to kick it into the audience. Michael Weikath looked bored until he made goofy faces to us in the balconies.
    This show was no frills. Not much dry ice smoke, minimum lighting, that sort of thing. I always found that stuff distracting anyway unless Iron Maiden was doing it. 
    Helloween then went right into "Nabataea," the first track off its latest, another fast, difficult song, and they crushed it. After a few more tracks from their latest, Loble launched into a drum solo that was, as they usually are, too long and too cliched to keep my interest.
    I perked right up when I heard "I'm Alive" when the band came back out. "I'm Alive" is the title track to "Keeper of the Seven Keys part I." I used to listen to it in high school when I was depressed, which was more often than I'd like to admit, and the lyrics always perked me up a bit. It's a catchy, inspirational song, and it was fun to hear it 20 years later.
    After that, the band played a terrific mix of old and new hits. They played a track from "The Dark Ride and a couple new ones and a couple classics, including "Future World" and "Dr. Stein." 
    Those last two were encores. The band did two encores, and I know they are a concert tradition, but I've never been a fan. We shouldn't have to beg the band to come out, and on the second, we had to wait more than five minutes. Did one of the guys have to take a shit? Just get out there and play the songs. 
    "Are You Metal," one of the band's best, wiped away any annoyance I had (and let's be honest, I was probably cranky because it was past my bedtime and I knew I had an hour's drive ahead of me). There were other tracks I wanted to hear that I knew weren't going to be played, but after that, I was satisfied. I got my money's worth, I thought. I heard what I could reasonably expect to hear. There's no better feeling when you know a concert's winding down.
    * * * 
    I did a little people watching while I let the crowd thin out. This is what amazes me about metal fans. It's pretty rare to see another or talk to another metal fan outside of a show. Hey, the music's abrasive, loud and hard to follow. I get it. It's even rarer to see a metal fan who is pronounced about being a metal fan, like someone with long hair or wearing a black concert T-shirt or headbanging in public. It's not like we're ashamed of it. But metal has to be the only music that seems to demand an identity as well as a preference for shredding guitars. You could argue that for hip-hop, too, but it's far too popular now. It attracts too wide a demographic. Dave Matthews fans are some of the most passionate in the world, one of the few bands that inspires the kind of loyalty that metal fans display, and yet, they look like everyone else too. Metal fans, when they are being metal fans, look like metal fans. They do not look like accountants going to Katy Perry. They stand out in huge crowds. They look like Al Can't Hang. 
    Well, most of them do, anyway. I am a massive exception. In the throng attending the show, there was a guy who wore one of those Vegas-type button-down shirts and had short hair, and there was a guy who wore a bow tie, a pink button-down shirt and jeans the color of a 50-year-old woman who had a lifetime membership to a tanning salon (that guy, by the way, had to know what he was doing). And then there was me. I wore a Dream Theater long-sleeved, long-underwear looking concert shirt, but my short hair, thin jawline and nervous expression just can't pull off the metal look. I've even tried to have long hair, but it curls in several wrong ways and tends to frizz more than kick ass. I had to settle for a mullet with an earring in high school, and if I wore that now, I'd look creepy, not badass. I am far too Kohl's and not nearly enough Spencer's. 
    My point, though it is drifting, is that although these people stand out in society, at a small show that only a tiny portion of the population would ever attend, we're all together. I stand out at these shows, but in society, I blend, probably far too much. There was a sea of black glorifying Masterplan and Gamma Ray and Slayer (of course) from both the guys and the girls. Long hair, tattoos, piercings, you name it. I loved it. I loved it because they share a love for metal, and knowing that makes me feel less weird about being so passionate about a form of music that most people find scary.
    It turns out I wasn't the only one excited about Helloween coming to Colorado. I just had to wait to stand with them.



    Starter list:

    Here's a starter list of albums, with key tracks, in case you're actually interested in Helloween after reading this screed.

    • "Walls of Jericho" — "Ride The Sky," "Guardians" and "How Many Tears." 

    (Look for "Judas" and "Starlight," a couple rare tracks, on iTunes as well).
    • "Keeper of the Seven Keys" Part I — "I'm Alive," "Future World" and "Halloween."
    • "Keeper of the Seven Keys" Part II — "I Want Out," "Eagle Fly Free," "Save Us," "March of Time" and "Keeper of the Seven Keys."
    • "The Dark Ride" — "Mr. Torture," "The Dark Ride," "If I Could Fly," "Salvation" and "We Damn The Night."
    • "Gambling With The Devil" — "Paint a New World," "Kill It" and "Bells of the Seven Hells"
    • "7 Sinners" — "Are You Metal?," "Where The Sinners Go."
    • "Straight Out Of Hell" — "Nabataea," "Burning Sun," "Waiting for the Thunder" and "Church Breaks Down."


              A member of the hair nation picks the best songs ever        
    Hair metal is a loose term, as loose as the women in your average hair metal video (this kind of wit is prevalent throughout this blog, so pat yourself on the back, wise reader, for choosing to read this).
    But it's a term that usually garners at least a giggle from those who remember back in the day. These are the same giggles reserved for skyrocketing bangs, mullets, pink suit jackets with the sleeves rolled up, hoop earrings and thinking "Knight Rider" was a great show.
    Hair metal deserves better. I'm here to give it to you. We shouldn't have to be embarrassed about it. Take me. I have some culture in my music tastes. I've played Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Mozart in symphony orchestras and Miles Davis in jazz bands. I've listened to many of the kings and queens of jazz and own many of their records. I have the box sets of Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan and Led Zeppelin.
    And yet I'm an unabashed fan of metal. Metal forever and metal for life and whatnot. That includes hair metal, which, despite its wild success at its peak,  probably gets teased more than any other era of music except perhaps disco. And as a result I expect exactly two people to read this until the end, including me.
    But here you go. The top 25 hair metal songs of all time.
    I did have to leave out Hall Of Fame bands such as Iron Maiden, Dio, Dream Theater, Helloween, Queensryche, Metallica, Grim Reaper, Armored Saint, Judas Priest, Chastain (obscure band but one of my favorites, probably worth a blog post at some point) and Savatage because they're not really hair metal. They're not glam metal. They're not even hard rock. They are metal, and even if I preferred those bands growing up, that's not the point of this post. If there's any point to this post at all.
    I tried not to repeat bands. That probably means leaving out a lot of great songs, but I was able to find a signature hit, at least in my opinion, from many key bands from the Spandex Era.
    I also didn't put them in order. Maybe I should, but just to make this list is an honor. About as big an honor as a Grammy, I'm pretty sure.
    Speaking of Grammy, er, grammar, I have made the bands plural even though a band is a single entity. It's much easier to read that way. I apologize in advance.
    Let's get to it:
    • "Live Wire" By Motley Crue — Motley Crue was the first hard rock/metal/hair metal band I ever got into. My neighborhood kid friends brought me a tape one day, and I listened to it with a sense of wonder, excitement and fear. The tape was "Shout at the Devil." It seemed kinda evil, and I remember, late at night, becoming a little scared at what bringing this group into my life could mean (I was, unfortunately, kind of a deep kid who overthought far too many things. You MAY be able to see the resemblance to the adult me now.) In fairness, I was in like fifth grade, and this group at the time had just opened for Ozzy Osbourne, who bit the heads off doves and bats and drank their blood like lemonade (at least that's what I heard). My parents didn't take us to church, but that pentagram and the lyrics "Shout at the DEVIL" still made me worry that I was going to want to sacrifice small, cute animals after listening to the tape.
    Of course, I also remember thinking Metallica, when I first heard "Ride The Lightning," was just various recordings of coyotes. Fortunately I got over my pansy ways. Motley Crue was my first step.
    I discovered "Live Wire" later, when you fall in love with a band and check out its older albums. Motley Crue has had many great songs. The first track off their first album remains their best, especially the remix that helped take out some of the sludgy production of the original.
    Shit, this may be a long post. That was a lot of description.
    • "Foolin'" By Def Leppard — Def Leppard's "Pyromania" was one of my first hair metal albums, after the Crue's "Shout at the Devil." I got it in a six-pack of tapes I got from those music clubs that gave you 12 for a penny if you agreed to buy six more at regular (inflated) prices and sacrifice small, cute animals. My other tapes were The Police, Duran Duran and a bunch I can't remember, so you can see where my mindset was at the time. I think "Pyromania" is a nearly perfect hard rock album, and it's by far Def Leppard's best. Def Leppard was at one time a band that sounded like AC/DC, only with catchier melodies and a better singer, and it's a shame that they castrated themselves a bit with "Hysteria," a fine record with far too many ballads and the most overplayed song in history, "Pour Some Sugar on Me." The fact that I've heard that song approximately 40 billion times and my parents' radio station (KUDL, pronounced "cuddle") could play it because it was soft enough and catchy enough not to offend the menopause crowd and yet hard enough to make the station seem "edgy" eliminates the song from my top 25. It was hard to pick between "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages" and this one, but I remember adoring this song when I was younger, and so it wins, even if the other two songs are probably better.
    Yep, this post will be long. Sorry.
    • "You Shook Me (All Night Long) By AC/DC — The OTHER most overplayed song in history, besides "Sweet Home Alabama," and there are many other AC/DC tracks I personally like better, including "Hells Bells," "Highway to Hell" and "It's A Long Way To The Top," but I believed this was the one song I could not leave off the list regardless of my personal feelings for it. It's proof that "hair metal" is a loose term because these guys were pretty much the OPPOSITE of a hair metal band. They were ugly guys who dressed like factory workers, save for Angus, who wore a schoolboy outfit that would probably get him arrested if he went anywhere but a concert hall. Yet this song helped kick off the catchy, radio-friendly-yet-hard-edged hair metal era because of its wild success. Basically every band tried to copy it. The band also featured a smoking hot blonde in the video. I can STILL see her riding that mechanical horse. 
    As an aside, KISS' "Rock and Roll All Nite," which compares favorably with this song in many ways (classic band, overplayed song loved by everyone, catchy as hell), is NOT on the list. It's a great song, but it's really not from the era. And the hair metal era, which boosted the careers of many older bands that actually got their start in the 70s (such as the Scorpions, Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, AC/DC and perhaps even Judas Priest and Iron Maiden) almost destroyed KISS. The band took off its makeup and made mostly forgettable records filled with songs like "Crazy Crazy Nights" and "God Gave Rock and Roll To You" that really sounded like a desperate uncle trying to fit in at one of his nephew's fun parties. Still...
    • "Heaven's On Fire" By KISS — This song was a glorious exception. It's my favorite song by KISS, and I really do love KISS. It's stupid as hell but even catchier.
    • "We're Not Gonna Take It" By Twisted Sister — I was trying to think of perhaps the worst hair metal band in the era simply in terms of ability. I came up with Krokus, Danger Danger and Britney Fox, but I still think Twisted Sister was probably the worst. "Stay Hungry" sounds as if it was played by a bunch of fifth-graders. And yet it's not only a good record, it's a classic. Why? The power of songwriting. Dee Snider was simply a great songwriter. He wrote "I Wanna Rock" and "Stay Hungry" and "The Price," and he wrote this insanely catchy number too, filled with attitude and one of the best choruses ever for a rock song. My DAD liked this one for God's sake. Dee was also a great metal singer. He didn't resort to the "balls in a vice" falsetto that so many other singers had to abuse to fit in. They had a good look, and their videos were hilarious. They didn't take themselves too seriously, a lesson I wish more metal bands learned.
    • "Rock Me" by Great White — A nightclub fire, as horrible as it was, shouldn't mean we overlook this band. Yes, Great White was a ripoff of many better classic rock bands, and yes this song took pieces of a half-dozen Led Zeppelin songs and glued them together, but that still makes for a great song. This band was a bit more no-nonsense than most in the era and would have fit comfortably in the 70s. It has a solid greatest-hits collection, including three off "Once Bitten," the band's biggest album, and that's far more than most hair metal bands. I also liked "Desert Moon" a lot.
    • "Rock You Like A Hurricane" by The Scorpions — The Scorpions are proof that hair metal or pop metal could be really good if a great band played it and wrote it. The Scorpions didn't need the hair metal era to be popular, though there's no doubt they benefitted from it, and here's exhibit A: This song is one of the best songs of the 80s, with perhaps the best opening riff of all the hair metal songs. It's so simple, too: Da-da-da, dudu, dududa, dadaaa. It's also heavier than you remember, and the video is almost kinda scary, not just the band writhing around a hot girl. The centerpiece from "Love At First Sting," a classic album. The Scorpions weren't flashy, attractive guys, but they had at least a dozen great songs, were a great live band (they were the best, I thought, when I saw "Monsters of Rock" with Van Halen and Metallica) and deserve a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    • "Out of Love" by Blue Murder — Who? Yeah, I know. Blue Murder was a trio led by John Sykes, who actually played guitar on Whitesnake's monster album, not the pretty boys in the videos. This album shows just what a good guitarist (and singer) he was, and it, quite frankly, rocked. This is a sappy ballad, but it's probably my favorite hair ballad ("Still Loving You" and "Home Sweet Home" are the only ones that come close; I really wasn't much of a fan of ballads). This band put out two albums (that I know of), but the self-titled one, the debut, is still worth owning.
    • "Modern Day Cowboy" by Tesla — Tesla opened for Def Leppard on the Hysteria tour, and it was one of those glorious, rare times when I got my socks knocked off by a band I didn't know. They kicked Leppard's butt, and I bought the album the next day. It's still one of my favorites, and it ranks up there with "Appetite for Destruction" as a debut album by a hard rock band. This is the best track on an album full of great ones, including "Little Suzy" and "Comin' Atcha Live".
    • "Down Deep Into The Pain" by Stevie Vai — Marginal hair metal, but Vai played on Whitesnake's "Slip of the Tongue" and David Lee Roth's debut and therefore had a big role in the hair metal era. This is Devin Townsend's debut as well, as far as I can tell, and he's a big name in metal today. I always liked Vai's "The Audience Is Listening" too.
    • "Lights of Heaven" by Joe Satriani — Speaking of instrumental guitarists, here's the best, ever. He performed in this era, so I put him here. Satriani is famous for "Surfing with the Alien," but I think the album that spawned this track is better, and this is his best song.
    • "Wild Child" by W.A.S.P. — I love W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless was a strange dude, almost too strange, as the band's antics and acting as Tipper Gore's thorn overshadowed the fact that Lawless not only had a terrific metal voice, he wrote a TON of catchy, hard tunes. This is my favorite track, but there are many other great ones, including a song, "Helldorado," that the band released in 1999 (!).
    • "Panama" by Van Halen — One of my best friends who enjoys this kind of music and is probably the biggest Rush fan ever says Van Halen was a hair band. I have passionately disagreed, but I'll give him this point: "1984" was basically a hair metal album, and so I've included what I think was the best track here. Man, "1984" was a great album: "Jump," "Hot For Teacher," "I'll Wait" and this song. Was "1984" Van Halen's best album? I think so.
    • "Cherry Pie" by Warrant — I was not a fan of Warrant, just like I wasn't a fan of many of the marginal glam hair bands that played pop metal more watered down than a free casino drink. But Warrant redeemed itself with this outrageous, horrible hunk of cheese that just happens to feature one of the catchiest choruses in the history of hair metal. One of the best videos, too. I mean, at one point, the band hoses down the incredibly hot blonde. You know, cause she's SO HOT. Get it? I thought you might.
    P.S. I just watched the video. Yeah, it holds up even less than I thought. I really didn't think that was cool at one point, did I?
    • "In My Dreams" by Dokken — If you overlook the fact that magazines loved to focus on the fact that George Lynch and Don Dokken hated each other, and if you maybe ignore the fact that Don Dokken had the personality of a moldy sponge, you'd be left with a pretty damn good hair metal band. Dokken was a terrible live band. You really could see why the guys hated each other, as there was no chemistry at all. Don, who I think was a lot older than he let on, came out for Dokken's Monsters of Rock gig, the same one I saw in Kansas City, and said "Hey, I smell some DOOOOOBAGE," and it went downhill from there.
    Even so, Jeff Pilson, the bass player, could sing, Don had a good hair metal voice and Lynch could really play. They also wrote some great songs. They would have a nice greatest hits collection. "Kiss of Death" is a close second.
    • "Youth Gone Wild" by Skid Row — Skid Row holds a special spot somewhere in my cold metal heart not only for this killer, killer, killer song but for the fact that the band was set up to have a nice, long, cheesy career. The opening track of their debut was "Big Guns," a song about a woman's...never mind. Anyway, the band followed up with a second album, and it was the heaviest I'd ever heard from a supposed hair metal band. Seriously, some pretty fierce power metal bands couldn't match that guitar crunch, and Bach could always scream with the best of them. I'm convinced it destroyed their career, but I admire them for sticking to their roots and not putting out a featherweight product because that's what the label (and unfortunately probably the public) wanted.
    • "The Final Countdown" by Europe — Abused by many sports teams now, this song featured the best keyboard riff in a hair metal song, like, ever. It's a good example of a riff really acting as the chorus, since there wasn't much of a chorus. They just sang the song's name over that sweet riff a few times. It worked, just as it did for "Layla." Unbelievably, Europe, not a great band by any stretch, did have another great song, this one on their first album, called "Wings of Tomorrow." Check it out.
    • "All We Are" by Warlock — Warlock was heavier than most hair metal bands, but I still count it because the video for this song is candy-corn corny. Here's a secret: I really have a thing for metal chicks, and Doro was the metalist chickiest of all. Her pipes were as amazing as her blonde hair that went down to her waist.
    • "Addicted to that Rush" by Mr. Big — Mr. Big hit it big with "Be With You," a pretty awful hair metal ballad that sounded like a ripoff of "More Than Words," Extreme's big one (which is a much better song, but it won't make this list either).  But this song leads off their lesser-known debut album, and it's a shredder, something Racer X might have played (and I just looked it up, and sure enough, the band's guitarist, Paul Gilbert, played in it). Mr. Big also had Billy Sheehan and therefore had more chops in the cushions of their couch than even most power metal bands.
    • "Cryin' in the Rain" by Whitesnake — I was a bigger fan of Whitesnake than the band probably deserved, though David Coverdale could really sing, and they had some good songs even before the monster self-titled album was released ("Slide It In," "Slow 'N' Easy" and "Love Ain't No Stranger" are three of the best). Yes, this album had many whoppers, but I always thought "Still of the Night" was too much of a Zep rip-off, and I never really forgave Whitesnake for releasing a remixed, poppier version of "Here I Go Again." So this is my pick, which features an incredible solo by John Sykes and some tour-de-force vocals from Coverdale. I really would have liked to have seen Tawny slither (see what I did there?) to this one. Whitesnake gets a lot of derision these days, and I have two theories as to why. The first is simple: The band name sucks. The second, I think, comes from the fact that many people love to make fun of this era, as I've said before. I can't blame them. This era, like Disco, really makes you wonder what the fuck we were all thinking. But like Disco, this era put out a lot of great music that's unfairly judged because of all the costumes and hair and overall silliness. Whitesnake absorbs quite a bit of that today because they weren't quite Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Guns and Roses or Motley Crue, bands that people still love today without shame. But Whitesnake was bigger than most other bands such as Quiet Riot, Cinderella and probably even Ratt. They already were a fairly established band when "Whitesnake" was released, and that album sold millions and was huge. HUGE. So people remember them as much as Def Leppard, but they don't carry the same nostalgia as Leppard does and therefore people don't mind throwing darts their way. Whitesnake is probably the Village People of the hair metal era. We can be honest, though: Rudy Sarzo probably didn't need to lick the neck of his guitar in those videos quite that much either.
    P.S. After Tawny kinda wigged out and beat up her baseball husband, it took away a bit of the luster of her on that car, didn't it? Bowling For Soup's "1985" video nailed the parody.
    • "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns and Roses — I honestly couldn't decide between this one and "Welcome to the Jungle" and "Paradise City" and "Rocket Queen" and...I think you get the point. What an amazing album. It still holds up today: Pull out the CD (oh don't lie, you do TOO still have it) and give it a whirl. I chose this song because Slash's solo is one of the best on any song, ever. Slash was hair metal's Jimmie Page, a guitarist who could play solos that matched the songs rather than tossing some fast scales and tricks around for 30 seconds.
    • "Cum On Feel The Noize" by Quiet Riot — Yeah, it's a cover, but really, does anyone associate Slade with this song? (Slade had a big hit of its own. Remember "Run Runaway"? I do.) Quiet Riot proved it could write their own song with "Metal Health," but this by far their best single. Even the verses sounded as good as the chorus. I remember seeing them on the TV show "Solid Gold," and to their credit, they actually chose to play their song live, rather than just lip synch it like 95 percent of all the other groups.
    • "You Give Love A Bad Name" by Bon Jovi — I didn't really get Bon Jovi, even if I thought "Runaway" was a good song. Bon Jovi seemed like a bunch of pretty boys that had zero good songs (besides "Runaway"), and yet all these girls wore their shirts and thought Jon Bon Jovi was dreamy. Then I heard this song and instantly loved it, and I could not BELIEVE it was Bon Jovi. So I sighed, bought the album, popped in the cassette and...wow, ticked off the hits, one by one. Sure enough, "Livin' On A Prayer," "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Never Say Goodbye" (yuck) followed. Classic record. Easily one of the best from the era, and eventually that alone will put this band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame one day. I was sorely tempted to put "Livin' On A Prayer" in this list too but I wanted to follow my rule.
    I find it interesting that this band still seems to have major credibility. I realize Motley Crue and Def Leppard still tour, but I don't think there's any doubt that most people who go to those shows are there to see them sing their classic hits. Most other hair metal bands only tour small clubs or package themselves with other hair metal bands to land bigger concerts. But Bon Jovi is still seen as more than a nostalgia act and draws big crowds on its own. It had a big hit, "It's My Life," many years after this era (even though the song sounded like it came from the band's hair metal days).
    • "Prime Mover" by Zodiac Mindwarp — What a name, right? Sometimes a band that has no business even making a record drinks some really good gin or smokes a magic mushroom and writes an incredible song that is far catchier than it should be. This is that song, a messy masterpiece that even manages to avoid many of the trappings of the hair metal era and therefore could honestly be on the radio today without too many giggles.
    • "Round and Round" by Ratt — If you forced me to pick a favorite song out of this whole list, this might be it. There's some serious nostalgia here, as this was the first hair metal song that truly hooked me after I discovered Motley Crue and became more comfortable with listening to heavy metal, and the video STILL cracks me up. But it's still an incredible riff, terrific chorus and a great duel guitar solo. Perfect song. Ratt, like W.A.S.P., was a touch underrated. They had almost as good a catalogue as Def Leppard. Seriously. "Lay It Down" is another monster, and there are a dozen others, like "Way Cool Jr.," "Wanted Man" and "You're In Love." But Ratt never had one of those sappy ballads that drew in the girls, and the guys in the band had a bit of a creepy look to them. It seemed to me only the more serious hardcore metal chicks (and I dated a couple) really liked Ratt, whereas everyone, even the cheerleaders, liked Def Leppard.
    Whatever. That's what made me like Ratt even more.






              Music Marathon         

    Here's the music I'm listening to during the marathon.
    I'll explain a little bit more later, but generally, I put in healthy doses of heavy metal. I like it because it's my favorite music, and ultimately your music race mix should simply have your favorites. But it's also hard-driving, inspirational music that keeps my energy flowing. I find it almost impossible to lack energy when there's a fast, hard song crashing through my ears.
    I also like music that carries a memory with it, to give my mind a break from the journey I'm on, and even if I am a fan of heavy metal, I like to mix it up with the occasional softer song. Not only does that give me some time away from someone yelling at me, it makes the good stuff sound that much harder when the assault begins again.
    So here's a little explanation of a few of my songs:
    • "Lose Yourself" is a tradition. I like the beginning…"If you had one shot, one opportunity…would you capture it, or let it slip?" I see every race as an opportunity, and it's up to me to capture it. This song gets me into that mindset.
    • Tim Coons is a friend, and this song will help calm me because this race scares the shit out of me. It'll be the first time I push it hard on a marathon, my third. Also, you may notice that I've got a few calmer songs in the beginning. This will help slow me down, which is crucial at the beginning of a race, when all I want to do is run hard and fast. The beginning of a race is not the time to run hard and fast.
    • I heard "The Crazy Ones" right before I went to sleep before my 22-miler and thought it was perfect. 
    Check it out.
    • Arch Enemy makes the most appearances on this mix, I believe. That band packs a punch, and I'll need that.
    • "Under and Over It" is a suggestion, a great one, from Bad Blood. So is "Spiral."
    • "Where the Streets Have No Name" was the opening song to a movie I made about the twins' first year. So even something simple like that can bring back a good memory of when we found out we were having twins. It's no accident that this is song 36, when I think the pain will be at the worst. The finish line is still far away, and yet you've also ran even longer. Two songs down is "Soar," which is a song I used for my son's ending song in his movie.
    • I'll blast out the last couple miles with the help of As I Lay Dying, a metal band who put out easily one of my favorite albums this year.

    If you want any of these songs for your mix, come find me. I'm still waiting for a couple songs from Bad Blood myself. 

              Weight Inward into Lightness: A Reading of Canoe Repair        
    by
    Flore Chevaillier
    2004-08-19

    “Canoe Repair” takes place at a transitional time for the main character. Zanes moves from New York City to a New Hampshire town and has to adapt to a new life and a new job, running a Laundromat, as well as to his son’s new hang-gliding activity and his wife’s new TV job. Thus, “Canoe Repair” occurs at a moment when rural and urban worlds are put in “connection and disconnection at the same time” (“Midcourse Corrections” 50). While we learn more about Zanes’ occupations, we also read a portrait of the town’s life. We discover a picture of America and its smell of “coffee richly dripping and poppy-seed-blue corn muffins” (69). We read Zanes’ discussions with “Seemyon Stitching … a spring immigrant from Byelorussia and a trained marathon runner” (62), and find out about the “president’s eight o’clock message to the nation” they listen to when “no one among the machine-users seemed to be waiting for the president’s speech” (72). The story deals with the movements of people from the town who use the Laundromat and the movements of the canoe on the lake, as well as the hang-gliding and the weather.

    One might describe the events in these terms. But the story is also a reflection on time and on strange, everyday moments in one’s life. “Canoe Repair” presents a section of a man’s life, also a canoe’s, since its repair is at the center of the story’s multiple directions, its focus on space and movement. The story is a space where different tensions meet. It shows the strain between two worlds, two generations, between different experiences of time and perception, and between two voices telling the story. “Betweenness” is central in McElroy’s writing. In “Canoe Repair,” “ ‘Betweenness’ is… the crumbling edge of the interface of worlds, selves, and situations” (Saltzman 100). Betweenness is also at stake when we consider “Midcourse Corrections,” an unusual autobiographical interview/essay ended by “Canoe Repair.”

    “Is a canoe too beautiful to be funny unless somebody falls out of it?” asks Joseph McElroy in “Midcourse Corrections” - “falls out, tipping it over? Put two people in it facing forward. What’s the stern paddler see? What’s the bow paddler feel? - for the stern paddler?”(42).

    These questions about canoe uses are put into practice in McElroy’s short story, independent but part of the essay, as he explains. “Some of the material in ‘Midcourse Corrections’ could be said to turn into ‘Canoe Repair’… I wanted to use ‘Canoe Repair’ to fulfill ‘Midcourse Corrections,’ that peculiar interview memoir … that should turn into fiction at the end.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001.

    “Corrections” is itself an experiment in literary form that in many ways epitomizes the body of McElroy’s writing. “With its inserted interviews, its odd proportions, and its highly colored perspectives of me,” McElroy writes in a letter, “[‘Corrections’] is a hybrid fiction, I suppose. A daydream posing as a document.” (cited in Tabbi 156)

    The thematic and structural research of this “hybrid fiction” turns into practical experience in “Canoe Repair.” The author’s reflections upon space, motion, and perception connect to the movement of the boat on water because the “canoe becomes an occasion to think.” Personal correspondence with the author, February 6, 2003. We can approach the story from different angles due to the openness of its particular structure linking it to the essay, of which it is also the unusual closing part. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to consider the story strictly as a conclusion to “Midcourse Corrections;” it has its own structure, dynamics, and meaning. It is a complex and intense story because of the multiple tensions we can feel in its narration.

    To understand “Canoe Repair,” we have to focus on the transient aspect of Zanes’ life and its relation to tensions that appear both thematically and structurally. The text is literally at the end of the “Midcourse Corrections” but metaphorically “in between.” It connects to “Midcourse Corrections” but is autonomous. Moreover, it plays strangely with the reader’s expectations. It is organized around a double voice that disturbs the reader’s traditional way of reading. The reading, because of structural devices that put us “in between,” becomes the experience of the transition moment Zanes goes through, his shift from one world to another, his perception of the world.

    Zanes’ visions can sometimes be confusing. Hence, some aspects of the story can be destabilizing to the reader. The story starts with a family scene: Zanes and his son are watching the river. A strange canoe used by a black man and a blond woman catches their attention. Zanes’ neighbor calls him afterward to fix the canoe for the blond woman’s son; the canoe captures Zanes’ attention throughout the rest of the story. Parallel to Zanes’ work on the canoe, we learn about his arguments with his son regarding the latter’s hang-gliding practice. We also get to know more about the life that goes on at the Laundromat where Zanes meets with Seemyon Stytchin and a group of young punks that disturb the community. Zanes starts a friendship with Lung, a member of this group. However, this summary contradicts the story’s original presentation of Zanes’ world because it reassembles what is purposefully fragmented in “Canoe Repair.” We only achieve this vision of the story retrospectively because it is not told linearly.

    Our expectations as readers are challenged, as David Porush notes when associating the technique of “de-automatization” provoked by the unsettling language of McElroy’s novel Plus. Plus ’ main character Imp Plus is a brain detached from its body and put in orbit to communicate with earth during a scientific experiment. When relearning ways to communicate, Imp Plus uses language unusually. Therefore, the reader is forced to see words in a different way. Imp Plus presents a new use of words that questions the systems we automatically refer to when using language. In “Canoe Repair,” the challenge to our automatisms lies in the distortions that affect the structure of the story. The compact paragraphs of “Canoe Repair” are juxtaposed without transitions. When turning to a dialogue, McElroy does not use rules of quotation to let the reader know that the viewpoint is changing. Tabbi claims that for McElroy “the mental text … does not precede the work at all but exists instead in the work, where the reader might imaginatively participate in the compositional or self-creative effort that went into the life/work’s composition” (158). The activity of the reader is thus part of the structure of the short story. Disjunction calls up the reader’s activity of representation. It asks us to create a coherent image of the narrative, a coherent text. Omitting the relation between two events leaves room for the reader to fill in the blanks. This crafted incompleteness creates the structure of “Canoe Repair.” Facts have more than one logical order; the reader coordinates elements by analyzing fragments.

    Thus, the reader organizes the very space of the text. We shift, for example, from “When he took his canoe out, Zanes also thought,” to “The ideas knew how to get away sometimes” in the next paragraph (59). Reading “Zanes also thought,” the reader does not expect the sentence to stop at this point. S/he expects a complement to the verb “thought.” Therefore, reading “Canoe Repair” can be somewhat frustrating; the author even ironically refers to our unsatisfied expectation when we lack a transition between the two sentences. That is why, as Wolfgang Iser notes in The Implied Reader, we have to use imagination to compensate for the gaps. The context created by the sentence: “When he took his canoe out, Zanes also thought,” is destroyed so that the reader steps back and reflects upon the narrative as a work of art. “The artwork itself is represented as an artwork” (McHale 30). The reader finds metafictional allusions that suggest a fiction conscious of its fictionality, which makes the reader understand the story at another level of representation. These metafictional moments create a disjunction in addition to the fragmenting of the plot itself.

    Each blank invites interpretation and coordination. Do the gaps become the theme of the narrative? When analyzing Modern texts such as Ulysses, Iser engages the issue of semantic richness and incoherence of gaps, moments of inconsistency, disruption, or omission. He sees reading as a process the reader undergoes to synthesize fragmented elements; the reader creates meaning.

    The unconnected allusions and the abrupt alternation of stylistic devices disclose a large number of gaps … [that give] rise to the stimulating quality of the text. On the one hand, the density of allusions and the continual segmentation of style involve an incessant changing of perspectives, which seems to go out of control whenever the reader tries to pin them down; on the other hand, the gaps resulting from the cuts and abbreviations tempt the reader to fill them in. (Iser 213)

    The structural breaks in “Canoe Repair” might be less extreme than those in Ulysses but, similarly, the gaps and omissions become part of the story’s theme, possibly denying thematic synthesis itself. Zanes’ fragmented thinking and his way of experiencing life are present in the style the author uses. The medium is often the message. The construction of sentences that might make us insecure reminds us that reading “Canoe Repair” is a special experience that enables us to coordinate elements of the story and thus penetrate Zanes’ mind and his somewhat eccentric thinking. The reader, by grasping multiplicity, references, and rambling elements, maps out what is happening in Zanes’ mind. The way things get originally connected structurally mirrors Zanes’ experience of the world that also reaches for unusual connections.

    How do we find our bearings reading “Canoe Repair?” The narration resists linear order. It seems laminated into different sequences of the character’s life. Flashes are exposed with neither explanation nor transition. Joseph McElroy “never hid the gaps” (“Neural Neighborhoods” 204). Chronology is not respected; events follow a pattern of shifts from one subject to another, from one point of view to another, and everything seems important and unimportant at the same time. There is sometimes no link between consecutive sentences: “Was it my time device operating again?” and “A canoe is what makes you do” (77). Here, gaps interfere with our sense of the evolution of the story and the progression in the character’s life, if there is one. These gaps are caused mostly by the double narration of the story, and they are even more challenging to the reader. When we shift from, “Was it my time device operating again?” to “A canoe is what makes you do” (77), we shift from an “I” to an omniscient narrator. Zanes’ own perspective on his life is balanced by the omniscient narrator. To understand Zanes’ life, we need to be inside him and outside him. We need to know the world exterior to Zanes’ subjectivity to understand his reactions, hence the role of the omniscient voice.

    The embedded structure of the story told by two narrators juxtaposes two sources of information. This construction enables the insertion of one perspective within another and it leads us to see Zanes’ life as an accumulation of fragments. Different perspectives provide distinct information about and approaches to the same life. Can the story be seen as a dialogue between these two poles? Unlike traditional narrations where the reader faces a set of events exposed in a linear way, “Canoe Repair” makes the reader feel the duality of life.

    McElroy constructs a dynamic that can be paralleled with the theme of the double, often present in gothic stories. In these stories, the narrator and the character are the same person, although it is usually not clearly stated in the text. In “Canoe Repair,” there is, to some extent, a renewal of the theme of the double since our character has a double voice. The schizophrenic tensions represented by the strange vision of the double in the gothic stories appear in “Canoe Repair” in a somewhat different way. The strain between two voices can be understood as the representation of power over the development of the story.

    First, the omniscient exterior narrator controls the story. Progressively, “I” becomes dominant. At the end, rapid shifts of viewpoint break up the story. The evolution of each viewpoint implicitly lets us gather details about the context of each narrator’s intervention. The constant shift form “I” to “he” changes the reader’s relation to the narrator because it implies a nonlinear way to gather information. Each narrator puts the reader into a frame of mind that influences interpretation. The shifting of frames makes the reader’s activity intense. When we change frames, we have to change our interpretation. How to base our understanding of the story on a specific context when the latter is always denatured?

    The two narrators fragment the story, and they produce a repetitive pattern. Each of the narrators gives us details on the same moments of Zanes’ life. The double narration is thus based on the repetition of similar life sequences. The double narration allows repetition to penetrate the narrative. It is thanks to repetition that the reader can make sense of the story’s disconnected elements. The gaps that we apparently cannot coordinate - such as “Is there somebody over there? Zanes said. Probably, his son said” and “All but one of the machines were in use that evening”(72) - are so large that the only way the reader can assemble the fragments of the story is by focusing on the repetitive patterns that connect these partial perspectives. We constantly come across the same moments: the observation of the canoe, meetings between Zanes’ wife and the producer of her cooking show, scenes with Lung, discussions with Seemyon, and so on. The plot offers not so much progress as recurrence, duplication, and reiteration.

    In our mind, those terms are usually connected to something monotonous. Yet in “Canoe Repair,” the iteration of words, ideas, and/or themes does not result in a redundant effect on reading. The first reference to “sunset” (56) is echoed by “[o]ne of them materialized at sunset” and “at sunset a window beamed” (57). Through repetition, meaning emerges. Repetition is not used to stop the progression of the plot: the elements of Zanes’ life are never told twice in exactly the same terms. The accumulation of repetitions creates an unusual meaning, a meaning understood through indirect means. Zanes refers to his own time: “my time device” (58), “another time” (61) as opposed to “my wife’s cookbook, my time machine” (69). Zanes’ experience of life does not rely on a chronological structure. When we accept repetition, we understand that time does not need to be seen as a linear progression.

    Repetition lets us understand how Zanes organizes his life. The first and last moments of the story present similar scenes. “It was sunset and the boy was angry and wanted to be somewhere else” (56). Zanes and his son are outside watching the canoe for the first time. The first words of the story put the reader in the middle of a situation. The first character we meet is not Zanes but his son referred to as a “boy.” He could be anybody. In that sense, the story can be considered a statement about any family life, its structure, its implicit rules, and its repetitive patterns. The reference to “somewhere else” also puzzles the reader at the beginning of a story; we do not even know where the character is. At the end, we have circled back: “Above me, I felt the presence of my son at his window. If I didn’t take down the screens, it would soon be summer again” (78).

    The end is paradoxical since it does not explain the story but at the same time concludes it through indirect means. The story ends on “again,” which alludes to an opening, a repetition of what we have read, maybe an allusion to the beginning if we think of the circularity of the repetitive pattern of the narration. On the other hand, the allusion to the coming summer ends with a period. Spring will soon be finished. We note here again the parallel between the first scene and the last one since the story opens on the ending of something, of a day. We are at a time when Zanes makes a pause in his life. His work on the canoe is what “makes [him] do” (77). His crafting the canoe changes aspects of his life, his relationship with his family and his community. The end of spring makes a kind of conclusion to the story but, at the same time, it opens the story toward a new time period. The conclusion and the opening lead us to different interpretations. We face some conflicting perception of time and closure. Depending on the type of time framework one has in mind, things can be open or closed; that is where the tension originates. The last and first scenes teach us to pay attention to how things are repeated in variation in the story. Both scenes point to a double direction. By examining this process, one understands that repetition is used to let one access Zanes’ subjective knowledge.

    In the two scenes, the son and the father are both watching another place, an outsider place. They disagree on the hang-gliding activity. But this tension gets somewhat resolved at the end when they both look again in the same direction. An open conversation about this issue never appears in the story. Tensions are solved indirectly: “Is the leak like worry, no more than worry?” (75). The boat becomes the center of our attention; it is a place where Zanes’ concerns are to be projected and fixed too. The leak of the boat is associated with Zanes’ life: “When you left your job last year you were taking what you had and making it flow into a new system rather than holding onto what had been used. It would have leaked away if you had not made it move into a new system” (63). The canoe becomes a system of reference we share with Zanes to understand his life. The changes he goes through are projected into the repairing of the canoe, and thanks to the details of the crafting we understand the adjustments of his own life.

    Connection is hidden where we cannot see it at first sight, where we do not expect it. For instance, a paragraph describing Zanes canoeing ends, “A wind was coming up, and I heard a breathing sound of paddling” (65). The next paragraph begins, “He treaded water and in his mind smelled fish scales. A wind came up. Zanes felt a wash against his dome” (65). The wind coming up appears twice, but the repetition is not identical because it lets us collect different details about Zanes canoeing. The first time, the wind relates to sound, while the second time it is linked to smell and then touch because of the sensation of “wash.” The different senses are connected to the same moment of Zanes’ life, and we gather this general image as well as its fragmented aspect thanks to repetition. Zanes’ sense of the world is not constructed upon a close frontier between things. Wind and breath become one; canoe and lake become one. To Zanes, “the beautiful canoe could loosen in your mind” (73). The different parts of his life (his relationship to Lung, his son, his wife, the canoe, the neighbor) are permeable. They communicate in an unusual way because they get to influence one another without ever being purposely or directly connected. The apparently rambling progression of the content of the story mirrors Zanes’ vision of life. As a result, the nonlinearity guides us.

    The relationship between “Canoe Repair” and “Midcourse Corrections” emphasizes the reflections on moments of “repair” or “correction” in one’s life. The two works present pauses at a transitional time. The reading of “Canoe Repair” is the reading of images and themes mapped out in a paradigm linking scattered elements from the story, “Midcourse Corrections,” and the reader’s world. McElroy’s variation on themes common to both “Midcourse Corrections” and “Canoe Repair” is close to Andy Warhol’s technique in a series such as Marilyn. Like the painter, the author chooses a theme and modulates it. This project changes the narrative framework and our reaction to it. We can consider “Midcourse Corrections” and “Canoe Repair” to be doublings on a similar project: both pieces give different perspectives on the same thing, the way “Canoe Repair” also gives partial perspectives on the same plot. When reading “Canoe Repair,” the reader may have “Midcourse Corrections” in mind. Both pieces are meant to add to each other.

    In that sense, McElroy “repeat[s] something now to make you remember something then and set[s] you up for something later” (Kawin 34). The reiterations linking the two pieces can be understood as emphases on moments that create echoes in the reader’s network of references. In “Midcourse Corrections,” McElroy writes that his essay is written to “interrupt, interleave, break diverse kinds of documents” (10). “Canoe Repair” can be read as the application of such a project to fiction. The gaps are motivated by a wish to mix disconnected “documents.” Tabbi notes that the interviews “are like a fiction” (160). In that sense, the frontiers between the essay and fiction are blurred because of their connections. Tabbi also claims, “McElroy locates his compositional self in the space between plural subjectivities” (160). The double narration of the story pluralizes Zanes’ subjectivity in a parallel way.

    Structurally, the two pieces are surprisingly close. “Midcourse Corrections” is a combination of three interviews interrupted by the author’s reflections, “INSERTS,” and ” workpoints.” The short story and the autobiographical essay display a structure that accepts gaps and emphasizes echoes that connect the two texts. The substance of the canoe’s texture is mirrored by other parts of the essay:

    INSERT: hinge turning: remember those trick hinged pieces of wood that were really constructed with curiously attached canvas strips?

    An essay like that. An interview. A sentence fly-by that manufactures its own canvas in the space it also generates out of a music its thought spun off. (“Corrections” 20)

    The crafting activity of canoe repair is paralleled by the composition of writing. The texts’ themes and images branch into one another. As McElroy expresses it, the “mixed metaphor of [his] work extends a fluid trial. Like a mixed metabolism and through the pulmonary winding also unfolding and exfoliation of the sentence’s plot it holds exchanges even between incompatibles” (“Corrections” 15). A paradigm of images is used to progressively construct the original way Zanes conceives his world. We understand how in the story, incompatibles such as “weight” and “lightness” can correlate. In the canoe, “the noble forcing of the ribs into this oval narrow form turned the weight inward into lightness” (67). In one’s life “corrections” and “repair” bring “weight” and “lightness” in contact. Traditional oppositions are reconciled in “Canoe Repair.”

    The Laundromat is a place where clothes are washed, but it also becomes a place to meet, a place where life is concentrated. In addition, when Zanes thinks “rowing looks like work” (58), we see how things can serve different purposes. For Zanes, things do not have a unique meaning. Commonly, a Laundromat is used for washing. The rowing activity is meant to move a boat. However, experience changes the use of things. Zanes gives them a power to influence the world indirectly. His time influences the “real time;” his vision of space dialogues with the “real space.”

    The reader adapts, concentrating on the unsettling aspects of Zanes’ representation of the world, and it participates in the creation of a simultaneous immobility and movement as when “the canoe [is] moving but … [is] still” (56). The apparent contradiction of this statement is illustrated by the structure of the story, which is partly why we may wonder if the canoe or the landscape is moving. Referring to a similar moment of immobility and movement in Hind’s Kidnap, Tony Tanner explains that “we are all familiar with such optic illusion pictures which can be read in more than one way, often as focus shifts so that figure and ground seem to change places” (219). This optic effect is rendered by the way the story is told. The process of perception alters the representation of time and space: “[t]he lake was part of the canoe” (58).

    When reading the description of the canoe, we have an example of a moment when “the eye following the line of something creates motion.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001.

    Its grand lines flared to a beam so wide it seemed low and was. Which end was which? Ribs curved with a beautiful singleness up to the gunwales, and, out of the bent tension in which they seemed to grip and bow the ribs, as you ran your eyes over it and felt it the canoe developed a force of tightness and actual lift, as if the noble forcing of the ribs into this oval narrow form turned the weight inward into lightness. (67)

    The passage describes the canoe precisely and technically - “ribs,” “gunwales.” We are so close to the ribs of the boat that we get an impression of immensity. The sentences saturated with commas and information prevent us from picturing a full image of the canoe. Each small detail gets enlarged so that each part seems to expand itself infinitely. The movements are underlined: “flared,” “curved,” “bent,” “grip,” “bow,” “lift,” “turned.” The canoe is still but its description creates motion.

    This passage can be seen as a micro-structural template for the way the story evolves. The story is the combination of different lines gathered into a unique moment. Indeed, there is a network of words that refer to either abstract images or other words linked to the movement of the boat in the story. The circuitry of words and their relation to other words is as important as what the words refer to. The formal fragmentation and disconnection lets us experience literally what happens in Zanes’ mind. The narrator explains Zanes has a “restless mind” (60) but never explicitly explains what it means. He never gives a full description of the way Zanes orders his thoughts. We access the definition of Zanes’ “restless mind” through the organization of the story. The tensions inviting for “repair” in Zanes’ life are present at any level of the text without ever being clearly expressed. The slow paths of the narration, its fragmentation, and its echoes are images of the canoe which itself reflects the tensions at stake in Zanes’ life.

    These descriptions let us experience a different sense of space but also reveal the story’s sensual approach to the world. Zanes’ readjustments orient and transform his vision. Things are examined, and their perception is detailed when Zanes describes his wife swimming, for instance: “He imagined her, and he knew her words had reached some reservoir in his brain, where she was swimming at night, the luminous things like tiny muscular wakes lit up her thighs and the curve of her back” (60). The “luminous things like tiny muscular wakes” are observed with attention, and remind us of a vision of a sculpted body where forms and relief are emphasized. Narration zooms in on details of surfaces, and the intense observation of body parts and of the canoe makes a paradigm of sensual representations. The story pays attention to the concrete surface of things: the canoe looks like a “deer swimming” (56). Things and people are described minutely, and the scale used is so close that the images of the story appear as details of a painting. The details Zanes’ vision focuses on remind us of the indirectness of his actions. Zanes pays attention to things in their details and cannot always see the overall framework of these things. Similarly, he cannot perceive the outcomes of all his actions.

    McElroy refers to “’[a]ttention’ [as] a rather cold word [he] use[s] to suggest that the ways in which we embrace the world and embrace other people can be more precise and clear than we think sometimes” (Anything 248). Zanes’ attention to the canoe and to his breath, for instance, as he feels the “air filling the space of [his] chest to be measured by another time” (60), is his way to “embrace the world.” His attention to the world indirectly penetrates his relationships. Zanes’ precise description of the exterior world lets us access his interior world. We understand, when paying attention to the depiction of his environment, why “the lake [is] part of the canoe” (58). People’s lives are permeable, their energies travel into one another. Zanes’ activities involuntarily connect to other areas of his life. The clearer vision of life that appears when Zanes repairs the canoe gets transferred in mysterious ways to the other parts of his life. Different aspects of Zanes’ life influence one another, although it is not clear to him or us how they connect.

    The flashes and fragments emphasized in the sequences of the story are used to represent the world: “it is the very abundance of perspectives that conveys abundance of the world under observation” (Iser 226). The canoe is personified by Zanes’ interest in it: “A body was what it was” (73). Zanes’ observations change our perception of the canoe. It is compared to a lover, an animal, and a body: “he almost loved the canoe” (67), “[t]he canoe attracted others to it, they were in its future” (75), and “[a] canoe is what makes you do” (77). Intensity changes the character’s visions of the world.

    This intensity also affects the way time is represented in the story. Perception is altered. Likewise, time is distorted. McElroy refers to “the arranging of things in space, the motion of things and persons in space. Time dissolved into spatial relations.” Personal correspondence with the author, June 16, 2001. When Zanes asks, “what if space was time?” (72), his question could be considered as a comment on the devices used by the author. In “Canoe Repair,” time is peculiar since it is fragmented and does not follow a plain progression. McElroy writes in “Midcourse Corrections” that his writing is to be understood as “modifications of language editing the rhetoric of what’s inside and not disclaiming faith that the words really rendered things and motions outside - and outside, somehow, consciousness” (13). The subjective experience of Zanes’ time is spatialized in the story. “Outside” and “consciousness,” connected in “Midcourse Corrections,” become the pivot of “Canoe Repair.”

    The story covers approximately seven months (“One bright mid-September afternoon” [65] to “summer soon” [77]), but the vision we have is the vision of an infinite time without bearings or perhaps a very short time so dense that the notion of its temporality is not valid. The sentences are constructed in order to convey the circuits and canals of Zanes’ stream of consciousness and even his perception process sometimes. Time is altered by perception and becomes spatialized in the story. We think about the witty reference to the Times and the “two Timeses for the price of one” (“Corrections” 19) that could ironically summarize the treatment of time in the short story where subjective time is juxtaposed to seasonal time. When reading “Canoe Repair,” we face two experiences of time: one that is subjective and distorted by experience, and the other that is universal and related to the seasons referred to in the story. The original structure of the story, its fragmentation, and connections to “Midcourse Corrections,” is a means for the author to present a subjective system of perception.

    When allowing the defamiliarizing elements of the story to change our reading, we penetrate a new experience of the world, of perception, and of time. For example, the image of the canoe passing is a recurrent pattern in the short story: “It came out of a cove as quiet as a deer swimming” (56), “[t]he canoe’s animal flanks and low length absorbed the two paddlers” (57), “[t]he lake was part of the canoe” (58), “[t]reading water, my hand upon the overturned canoe” (65), and so on. These allusions create a network of references to the symbolical meaning of the slow movement characteristic of an infinite moment. The personal experience of Zanes’ time transforms the time of the story: “But he wondered what the long bark canoe felt like. Its length and strong delicacy. Its secret speed. Its time” (64). The canoe has its particular pace, its own time. Reading “Canoe Repair” is experiencing canoe(ing) time.

    Works Cited

    Culler, Jonathan. On Deconstruction. Theory and Criticism after Structuralism. London: Routledge, 1983.

    Kawin, Bruce. Telling it Again and Again. Repetition in Literature and Film. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1972

    Iser, Wolfgang. The Implied Reader. Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Baltimore and London: John Hopkins UP, 1974.

    McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction. London: Routledge, 1996.

    McElroy, Joseph. “Canoe Repair.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10. 1. (Spring 1990): 56-79.

    _____ “Midcourse Corrections.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 10. 1. (Spring 1990): 9-56.

    _____ “Neural Neighborhoods and Other Concrete Abstracts.” Tri Quarterly 34 (Fall 1975): 201-17.

    LeClair, Tom and Larry McCaffery. Anything Can Happen: Interviews with Contemporary American Novelists. Urbana: University of Illinois P,1983.

    Porush, David. The Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction. New York: Methuen, 1985.

    Saltzman, Arthur. The Novel in the Balance. Columbia: U of South Carolina, 1993.

    Tabbi, Joseph. Postmodern Sublime. Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk. Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1995.

    Tanner, Tonny. Scenes of Nature, Signs of Men. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge UP, 1987.

    Notes


              Etiquette Matters        
    As a long-time patron of the Globe, I know better than to arrive on opening night wearing caustic cologne or a pungent after shave. I have a sweet tooth, but I avoid candy that comes in crinkly wrappers. If I must leave the theatre during the performance, I go up the stairs, not down. And […]
              The Last of the Great Apes        
    Timeless
    "Jesus, two weeks of this? I never thought I would miss G$. Ace is absolutely obsessed with male genitalia and rectums" - Grumpy
    "G$ licks oreos too....Jeter's taint. This blog was fucking garbage" - Drew
    "If G$ has time to comment, why can't he just write the damn post? Better effort today Mr. Ace. You are no G$, but you're growing on me." - Grumpy
    "Burn In Hell Jim Johnson!" - Anon
    "Did you steal the copy from Sportscenter and post it here? I'm ready for the first post from a real blogger. I miss the G man." - Grumpy
    "Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn are much more interesting topics." - Damman
    "alright, nice blog run by fucking 5-year olds who delete people's posts... This site went in the shitter this week G$. Might be worse than jbeanie." - Seal
    "Good stuff, ace. You're right about the gingervitis though. G$s legs haven't seen the sun since the eagles last won a superbowl." - Dut
    "Mr. Ace is hitting his stride. Funny shit. Who need G$?" - Grumpy
    "It seems nobody has actually met G$. Have you ever seen he and Clay Aiken in the same room?" - Grumpy
    "I'm sitting in the airport now still thinking about how annoying our freaking dj was." - G$
    "By the way, the first card that we opened on Sunday morning was from Li'l Strut. The first thing I remember reading was "strap-on" and I announced that that card was not to be read." - G$
    "Yesterday you just made yourself look stupid. Picking the Eagles to go 14-2 means you're either taking drugs or forgot to take your drugs. Why would G$ leave a moron in charge?" - Grump
    "come on damman, i wanna see you back up our browns before i shoot this ignorant asshole. 
    i fucking hate the steelers, but you cant say they arent that good.
    grumpy is right, you obviously dont know dick." - Seal

    Back in the summer of 2009 you all hated me...and Ioved every minute of it. But then, I dropped this gem, and I became a fan favorite.
    "That was fucking AWESOME! Why did you wait a week to get out your best material?" - Grumpy
    "Good shit Ace! Best description of GMoney ever!" - Seal
    "All of your blogs have sucked balls up until this one...that was great. I do hope G$ is back next week though, as I know you can't do better." - Drew
    "Ace this may be your best post ever. I'm a little pissed that Sean didn't say anything about me." - Dut
    "Ha, I read it at work and had to keep my hand over my mouth to cover up the fact that I was laughing/not working. Great stuff!" - LS
    "Fucking hillarious, although I didn't need the image of GMoney on his wedding night." - Burgei

    ...and the ACEterview was born.

    It was a rough start here for Mr. Ace as a contributor. The Money Shot wasn't ready for a new voice, especially one that was relentless with the punchlines and immature dick/pussy jokes. I don't blame you guys, change can be tough. G$ had been doing his thing for awhile at that point and the idea of somebody stepping in, even for just two weeks, probably was a real jolt do your daily media intake. But we made it through it. I've grown, you've grown...we've grown.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    When things come to an end I always think about legacy. What is my legacy at The Money Shot? Obviously the porn post stands out first and foremost. That thing was undeniably legendary. The "May The Forcier Be With You" post probably isn't too far behind for most of you. But I hope that I brought more than that.

    It was 364 days ago that I started my comeback. I just got the itch and it seemed like G$ would be open to only blogging 3 days a week. I wanted to do things a little differently when I came back. I wanted to be a little more personal, give some perspectives that people might not get to see, and open up some conversations on topics that typically didn't get much play at The Money Shot. Religion, politics, education, Big Tymers, dogs, boob gifs...porn...those are the things that really matter. We all love sports, but we have strong opinions on a lot of different things. I tried to bring that aspect to The Money Shot and I think I did. And I also dropped some topnotch #Facts on you bitches. I'm trying to say I'm basically Anderson fucking Cooper without the cocksucking.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    About the same time I came back to contributing here I decided to clean up the ol' Toolshed, and changed into Ace Takes. I never had any real plans of opening it back up. I knew that I would need multiple contributors because I didn't and don't have any interest in creating more than two posts a week. But it's something that I always kept in the back of my head just in case.

    But I think G$'s right. It's time for a change. A shift in direction where we can all contribute will be a good thing. No matter how many DickGIF's Drew can throw at us. At the very least it will be interesting seeing Grumpy trying to figure out a new app.

    And as G$ said, my last appearance here will by on Tuesday when I do an AMA with our fearless ginger leader. I'd like all commenters to get a chance to ask one question of their own, so if you have something you want to ask then either DM me on Twitter, @itsmracebrah, or shoot me an email at MoneyShotFantasies@gmail.com. Happy Fucking Thursday.


     This was almost a rap post. The new Lupe, Joey BadA$$ and Fabolous are fire. That's all.

              Egg Puff Yang Paling Laris Daripada Dairy Tooth Ice House        
    Salam sejahtera kepada semua pembaca setia blog makan Mahamahu dan juga rakan-rakan sekalian. Yerr hari ni kita pergi makan kat Dairy Tooth Ice House iaitu satu cafe dengan gaya Hong Kong sebenar. Cafe ini sekarang telah ada 3 cawangan di Malaysia tau. Kalau nak carai Egg Puff yang paling laris ada kat cafe ini.


    Sebenarnya hari tu Maha dijemput untuk majlis memperkenalkan cawangan ketiga cafe ini iaitu di dalam Sunway Pyramid. Kalau korang datang shopping kat sini dah boleh beli Egg Puff ini sambil jalan-jalan shopping. Cafe ni terletak di level first floor atas sekali mall kawasan oren zone




    Masa sampai hari tu ramai orang ada kat sana semua nak cuba sebab cafe baru dan kata ada pelbagai pilihan menu yang sedap-sedap. Salah satunya adalah paling sedap iaitu Silky Milk Tea. Dapat rasaa original dan kesedapan teh ais ni lain daripada kedai lain ok. Kalau ada kat situ boleh tengok bagaimana pekerja disitu membuat sendiri teh yang penuh kehebatan ini.

    Silky Milk Tea



    Kemudian korang kalau lalu sini singgah dan mesti kena beli Egg Puff mereka. Egg Puff ini datang dalam pelbagai variasi rasa iaitu original, chocolate, wasabi dan juga cheese. Ini semua memang membuat korang rasa santai sambil makan dan sambil beli belah kat mall ni.

    DT Original Egg Puff

    DT Chocolate Egg Puff

    Yang Maha sempat cuba hari tu adalah yang original dan juga chocolate. Korang sambil order tu boleh tengok bagaimana mereka menghasilkan puff yang gebus lembut dan menarik. Ini kerana puff mereka bentuk bulat-bulat tak macam biasa selalu kita lihat kan.



    Kalau nak cuba Waffles pun ada juga kat sini ada inti Peanut Butter yang Maha cuba ni lah. Juga ada French Toast yang korang boleh pilih dengan aiskrim, peanut butter, butter sugar, chocolate atau spicy meat floss. Satu lagi ni Polo Bun ni yang dalam nya ada butter bila makan cair kat dalam mulut ok hehehe.

    Polo Bun

    Waffle Peanut Butter

    Maha suka datang sini sebab ia konsep lebih terbuka kepada pengguna untuk datang lihat dan rasa semua menu-menu mereka. Masa hari pelancaran tu mereka siap bagi Milk Tea percuma pada semua yang datang situ. Best lah rugi korang tak datang. Tak apa hari-hari mereka buka cafe ni kalau jauh area sini boleh pergi 2 lagi cawangan lain iaitu Berjaya Time Square dan juga Jaya One Petaling Jaya. Selamat mencuba semua.

    Pertanyaan layari : 
    Facebook : www.facebook.com/dairytoothmalaysia
    Instagram : www.instagram.com/dairytooth.malaysia







              Employment: Hawaii!!        
    We would like to announce a new job position opening as a Research Ecologist in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center PIFSC), located in Honolulu, Hawaii.

    The person in this position will conduct research in support of the PIFSC Cetacean and Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Programs. Research activities will include characterizing species' distribution and terrestrial/marine habitat use and predictive modeling for population assessment and recovery efforts.

    Duties include: analyzes marine mammal spatial information; submits manuscripts for publication and works with other scientists to produce reports and scientific publications on the population assessment of Hawaiian monk seals and cetaceans; conducts and writes analysis to support permit applications for marine mammal conservation efforts; designs and develops studies on aspects of spatial distribution and other elements of Hawaiian monk seal ecology; conducts field studies as needed; works with other scientists and stakeholders to produce reports and presentations to inform the general public on the spatial ecology of Hawaiian monk seals and Pacific cetaceans.

    This is a Permanent full time federal position. You must be a US Citizen to be accepted for this job.

    For more details on job duties, application process and more please go to usajobs.gov and search for job number NMFS-PIC-2010-0012.

    If you have any questions regarding the application process please contact the individual listed on the job announcement at the USAJobs website.

    Applications close on April 2, 2010.

    Charles Littnan
    Lead Scientist, Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program
    NOAA Fisheries Service

              My 10 Least Favorite Things About Living and Teaching in Korea        
    I've got a week left here in Korea before I go home to start grad school and say goodbye to the Sparkling Hermit Kingdom of Morning Calm for good. I've lived and taught here for two years, and it has been wonderful and terrible, glorious and excruciating, boring and exciting, eye opening and let-me-just-tune-out-the-world-and-watch-television-for-weeks-on-end.

    I thought I'd finish out the year with two last posts: my ten favorite things about living here and my ten least favorite things. So that we end on a positive note, here are ten things that I have found consistently, repeatedly, powerfully annoying.

    10. "Hello! Howareyou! Whereareyoufrom!" This is at the bottom of the list because in slightly modified form, it can actually be nice. When I pass an ajuma and her 4 year old granddaughter and the ajuma smiles and tells her granddaughter to say hello, it's really sweet. When I'm in the right mood, it can make me smile for a bunch of middle school girls to get over themselves and say hello and then giggle for fifteen seconds. But when I pass a group of college aged boys (or grown men!) across the street and one yells out "whereareyoufrom!" and the others start laughing uproariously, that's annoying.

    9. Auto exhaust. I like to run and I walk everywhere, so I spend a lot of time "with" cars, trucks and scooters. I don't know what it is that our exhaust tests in the states get off the road, but the majority of autos here put out a foul, noxious gas that I'm sure is just destroying my lungs. Of course the tractors and scooters are even worse.

    8. Sewers rising. Again, I don't know what they've done in the US to prevent the smells of sewers from rising into the streets, but they certainly haven't figured it out here. The national dish is kimchi -- rotting (er, sorry, fermenting) cabbage with garlic, fish sauce, shrimp paste and chilies. Unfortunately, that's what everyone shits and it smells even worse than you would imagine.

    7. Fan death and other insanity. A lot of Koreans (maybe a majority. really. even doctors.) think that if you sleep with a fan on in your room you will die. A lot of Koreans also think that Korea is the pinnacle of culture and accomplishment. Logic here is... to be culturally sensitive, I'll say different, though having studied symbolic logic, I feel pretty comfortable saying it's just either missing or gets beat out by antiquated cultural beliefs. Ignorance and delusion are everywhere.

    6. Logistical challenges. A lot of things are a lot harder in a foreign country. Often to buy something, I have to ask a Korean friend for help. I'm not going to miss feeling like a retarded four year old.

    5. Volume and style of speech. Korean men are much worse than the women on this, though plenty of women are plenty annoying as well. Fresh from the west, you would honestly think a discussion on where to go to lunch was a boiling blood feud. Koreans love to eat and drink outside (which I love), and there's a nice spot just below my apartment window (which I don't love). For hours on end two women will sit pouring soju (the Korean version of sake, except it's vile) for men talking and yelling and interrupting and gesticulating at volumes I thought impossible. No time of day or location is off limits for this manner of communication.

    4. Confucianism. Confucius mapped out social relationships to try to produce social harmony (the ultimate goal of Confucianism) in any situation. According to Confucianism, the younger, female or lower status should be deferential and obedient, which often seems more like meek and unquestioning. I think social harmony is an admiral goal, and I think deference and humility are lacking in westerners, but the rigid way Confucianism operates in modern Korea creates manifold problems. As my coteacher (a 31 year old woman) said when she learned we wouldn't be having a retirement party for our principal (a 64 year old man) because the government found out he has been stealing money from the school, "Why does he still have job? If I am stealing, I don't have job one more day!"

    3. The staring. Maybe now I know what it's like to be a gorgeous woman. No, not the same. I am stared at constantly. This was less true (though still common) in the big city, but in this rural little town, I'd say around half of the people I see on the streets just fix their gaze on me. I almost always look back, try to summon compassion and acknowledge them. Maybe one in ten gives me a nice smile and bows back (usually the older women), the rest look away until I've stopped looking at them, and then fix their stare right back on me. What really makes this hard is what's behind the stare:

    2. Xenophobia. Korea has long been called the Hermit Kingdom and with good reason. Throughout its existence, Korea has had to fight off domination from China and empires of the Japanese, Mongolians and others. Even in modern times, Korea has remained remarkably isolated. Besides the utter unfamiliarity with anything not-Korean, there is also a deep (and historically valid) antipathy toward foreigners. I once asked three wealthy, cosmopolitan middle school students from Busan if they would allow their children to marry foreigners and all three said absolutely not. I have received a tremendous amount of kindness and welcome from Koreans, but with a few notable exceptions, there is always an element of my being not quite the same, not quite human. What I'm about to write is completely unfair -- there are so many differences and what I have faced here doesn't even enter into the same arena -- but living here has given me emotional insight into what it must have been (and be) like to be black in many times and places in the United States.

    1. Missing events and holidays at home. All of the above end when I leave in a week. But one of my best friends got married this summer, and I missed two Christmases with my family, and those are gone forever. I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had for those that I missed, but without exception, the hardest days here have been the days I have most wanted to be home.


    What do you think waegookin seonsaengnim... what would you have included that I've left out?
              Teaching English in Korea Interview        
    I was recently asked to provide an interview about my experience teaching in Korea, my decision to move to Korea, stereotypes of English teachers in Asia, culture shock and cultural assimilation, EPIK, and some other general stuff about my experience teaching English in Korea. I thought I would go ahead and provide the interview here. I hope you find it helpful. There may be a follow up interview in the future, if so I'll post that as well.


    ----- Why did you first decide to move to Korea? Had you had previous
    experience? Did you know others who had traveled to Korea before
    deciding to relocate there? Please describe your decision making
    process.

    My decision to come here was very circumstantial. I was working as a research scientist in the US and was dating a Canadian when my grant got canceled and I was out of work. We didn't have a good way to be together in either of our countries, and she had friends who had paid off significant portions of their student loans teaching in Korea, so we started looking into it. We considered Taiwan most seriously as an alternative, but in the end the ease of the offers in Korea -- airfare paid, apartment ready when you get here -- and the excellent pay (at that time, in 2005, the exchange rate was about 40% better than it is now) lured us here. I had one friend that had taught in Japan with JET and had a decent experience but left before the end of the year. I read a lot about teaching in Korea before I came, espeically on forums.eslcafe.com/korea, which presents a particularly negative side of teaching here, but we decided to come anyway.


    ----- Was the process of moving different than what you expected? What
    everyday difficulties, if any, do you encounter living in a foreign
    country?

    The process of moving was very easy and more-or-less what I expected. The shock of landing in a very foreign country was intense. I had never been outside of N. America before, and Korea is very different than home. Jet lag was severe, and I remember on our second night there we went out to eat, at an Italian restaurant of all places, and after being out for an hour or two, my energy just plummeted. I didn't know how I was going to make it back to the apartment. I think our minds have a filtering system that keeps us sane by blocking most of the massive amount of information that constantly surrounds us. It filters that which is the same, usual, because we don't need to be aware of that. But suddenly in a Korean city, nothing is usual, so the mind is very easily overloaded. You ask about culture shock later, but let me say here, I think there are two seperate events that are labeled as culture shock, and they are very different. There is the experience I just described, which was very intense for just a few hours on the first few nights, mostly just lasted a few days and fades away entirely with a week or two. Then there is another experience that sets in around 3 or 4 or 6 months into living in a foreign culture, when the novelty has worn off, and things get really hard. I talk about this at length in a blog post, here.


    ----- I know there has been a stereotype of inexperienced Americans and
    Canadians going to foreign countries and working very briefly, using
    the job as a means to pay for a vacation. Do you think this is still
    the case? There also has been a history of foreigners being lured to
    countries like Korea (or Thailand) with promises of great jobs and
    money only to be met with disappointing living and working conditions.
    Has this practice changed? What opinions do you have regarding
    both sides of this complicated relationship between teachers and
    recruiters? Do you think EPIK has changed this in Korea?

    I don't know how qualified I am to speak generally about this, especially since I haven't lived in Seoul, and that's where the vast majority of foreigners are (that was even more true before the government's recent push to put native english speakers in every public school in the country). But here are some thoughts.

    Yes, people use it as a way to get away from home, as an escape. The reality is that living and working here comes with a huge load of challenges. I don't want to say it's harder, that would depend on specific circumstances at home and here, but it's definitely hard. I don't know a single foreigner here that would disagree with that. And while I think Korea rightly has a reputation for being particularly difficult, I've heard similar complaints about Thailand, Japan, China, etc.. So if this job has a reputation for being an easy way to take a vacation, I think that's undeserved. I think we earn every won we make.

    I had read a lot about people showing up and being given moldy, rat-filled apartments. I think that has always been a tiny, if highly vocal, minority, and even more so now as the arrangement has become more widespread and communication between foreigners living here and thinking about coming here has increased. That said, people definitely do get screwed from time to time. Hagwons, the private, after-school tutoring centers that outside of EPIK employ almost all of the foreign English teachers, are intensely for-profit, and every won saved on a foreigner is a won of profit for the owner. I worried a lot about what would happen at the end of my hagwon contract, because at the end of a contract foreigners generally receive a month's pay, a bonus month's pay called severance, approximately a month's pay from contributions the boss should have been making each month to the national pension fund that can be withdrawn as a lump sum by foreigners leaving the country, and return airfare home. That adds up to about 7 million won for most foreigners. In the end, I did get nearly everything I was owed, with a hundred thousand or two won, but I felt like if the boss had thought he could have pushed me around, he probably would have.

    Recruiters are driven by profit motivation too, and they understand how few recourses a foreigner has once they have moved here. So I think it's terribly important for foreigners to get references for their recruiter and their hagwon before they sign a contract. With EPIK this is much less true because the contract is standardized and there isn't the same profit motivation present in public schools. EPIK is far from perfect, and there are plenty of complaints among my friends and I about the program, but it is much more secure than a hagwon gig.


    ----- Have you experienced significant "culture shock" as a foreigner in Korea?

    Yes, see answer 2.

    ----- To what degree do you think it's important to assimilate to the
    culture you are living in?

    Again, I'm not sure how qualified I am, because I haven't ever assimilated into a foreign culture. Note that the vast, vast majority of foreigners living here don't assimilate to any noticeable degree. I suspect those that have would say that it's both difficult and important. I think it's particularly difficult in Korea, because Korea has a history of fending off foreign invasions (surrounded as have been, historically, by empires: Japanese, Mongolian, Chinese, etc.) and that has informed their culture around the treatment of foreigners. For a more thorough treatment of this, see Korea Unmasked, which is written by a Korean. I think xenophobia is common here, as is fetishization of foreigners. Racism is, I think, less common, but prevalent as well.

    On a lighter note, learning some simple aspects of the language: the "alphabet," food, numbers, taxi directions, etc. is hugely helpful, and new arrivals should learn that stuff ASAP.


    ----- I know EPIK views their native English speakers as assistants to
    the regular English teachers, do you think using native English
    speakers is beneficial when teaching English?

    It's true that we are titled Assistant Teachers. What this means in practice varies widely from province to province, county to county, school to school, and especially from elementary to middle to high schools. My understanding is that in elementary schools foreigners are often treated more like assistants, with Korean teachers planning the lessons and incorporating foreigners to degrees ranging from not at all (I had one coteacher, who I taught 4 hours a week with last semester, with whom I would literally sit in a student's chair, in front of the class, facing the class, which he taught, and often not say a word. I eventually started bringing books into class and sat there reading.) to true coteaching, where the teaching role is passed back and forth. There are also situations in elementary schools where the Korean teacher feels embarrassed about their English in front of a foreigner, or is just lazy, and has the foreigner do all of the lesson planning and teaching. This can be good for everyone, if the Korean stays engaged with the class to keep Korean norms around discipline and respect in order. If, as many do, the Korean sits silently in the back of the class or even walks out, it can be very frustrating. It is extremely difficult to teach beginners of a language without a common language, especially children, with their constantly ambling attention. This alone is sufficient for me to recommend EPIK over hagwons to incoming teachers -- in EPIK you have a coteacher, in hagwons you don't.

    I think it could be valuable to use native teachers, and in many cases I think it is. But the systems to make it properly and be of real benefit to the students haven't been put in place yet. This initiative to have native English speakers in every school is very young, and they are still learning how it should be done. So, as with the example I mentioned above, it often ends up being worthless for the students, and I think very frequently is of marginal value. I think a native speaker is most valuable as a teacher to advanced language learners, and those aren't primary and secondary students in Korea. With the right sort of co-teaching, I think it can be valuable. It brings a new pedagogy to language learning in Korea, which I think is sorely needed. I think it may be most valuable in diminishing xenophobia. There are now foreigners in every town in the country, and every student will grow up knowing at least 12 different foreigners. It's an extremely expensive cultural reform, but I foresee it opening up Korea quite a bit, and Korea has been a rather closed culture. When I left Korea last time, I took a ferry over to China, and the first Chinese person that I spent any time with told me that he thought culturally, "Korea is more [traditional] Chinese than China."

    ----- What are some of the benefits of teaching overseas as opposed to
    teaching in your home country? What are the negative aspects?

    This is a huge question. I think most of the benefits come from living abroad, and after that working abroad, the actually teaching abroad, in my opinion, has marginal benefits.

    For teaching, that it is easier to get into comes to mind. Anyone with a bachelors degree can get a job in Korea. It is also an easier job for most people, but this is balanced by it being harder to live and work here. The negative aspects of working here are primarily that you might not have much control over your curriculum if you teach in a public school, and you might not have much control over (or ability to communicate with) your students if you teach in a hagwon.

    A lot is made about the potential to save money here, and I think it is misunderstood. A typical job here, and this includes probably 95%+ of the jobs here pays between 2.0 - 2.3 million won per month. In addition, your airfare to and from Korea is taken care of and apartment (minus utilities) is furnished and paid for. Income tax is much more progressively structured in Korea than in the US, so at these income levels, the tax rate is 3.3%, and in public schools there is a two-year exemption from even that. Health care is socialized and costs about 50,000 won/month for coverage and makes visits to the doctor/dentist/pharmacy extremely cheap. Add to that the fact that, outside of Seoul, there isn't a lot for foreigners to spend money on. Restaurants are cheap, public transportation is excellent, and most of us don't want to accumulate much stuff, because we have to get rid of it or find a way to get it home in a year or two, and desirable entertainment options are scarce. So, 2.2 million won isn't that much money (about $1600 right now) for a month's work, but some expenses are covered by employer, some are minimized by the policies of the Korean Government, and others just aren't present here.

    The benefits of living and working abroad are significant, and I think under appreciated and misunderstood. Much has been made of President Obama having lived in many different cultures and his penchant for surrounding himself with advisors that have also lived in other cultures. People that have left their home for an extend period of time develop a different way of looking at the world. I think this comes from having the beliefs that are operant in your home society (which we don't notice because they are omnipresent) challenged. That leads people to have more nuanced perspectives that are less based on the beliefs that are instilled by our culture's stories. Leaving the culture you were raised in, even temporarily, is -- must be -- an eye opening experience. A friend asked me recently what made me come back to Korea when I had many grievances about my first year here. I told him that I felt like a transformation had started in my first year that I needed to continue and couldn't at home -- that by removing myself from the shared beliefs, common assumptions and homogeny of the society I grew up in, I was forced to look more closely at the people and events around me and deliver my own conclusions, because I couldn't rest on the beliefs I had picked up by osmosis at home. I also had to redefine myself, because those around me didn't see me through the same cultural lens I had always been seen. Those processes are extremely trying, and I think they are generates the culture shock that emerges after a few months of living in a foreign culture. Really living in a foreign culture is probably the only way to experience it. When one travels, one is not immersed in a culture the same way one is when they are, for example, working in a foreign culture. So that's a benefit and a negative aspect. I believe it is hugely important, and it's why I am here now in spite of the intense frustration and frequent loneliness. Well, that and student loans. And the food. And the proximity to Southeast Asia.

    One last thing I'll mention is a certain sense of freedom that comes with living here. I think it is related to the redefinition I just wrote about at length, in that it comes from a lack of understanding between you and those around you, which comes from a lack of shared cultural stories/assumptions. But knowing that no one really gets you, and no one can, is frighteningly liberating. And not understanding what that 15 year old is talking about on her cellphone can be pretty nice too.
              Pictures of Dogye on a Clear Day        
    Yesterday Melanie and I completed the traverse of the long ridge on the west side of Dogye. It was a beautiful, clear day, and warm for this time of year. Here are some pics:


    This is our town, Dogye! Just to the left of the seam is the campus of our elementary school:


    From left to right the buildings are: kindergarten, gymnasium, administration and grades 2, 3 and 6, the dirt field, and grades 1, 4 and 5 plus the Dogye English Experience Center, which looks closer to opening every day - very exciting!


    Melanie about to cast a spell on me from an "improvement" to the trail. It's too bad they build these things, it would've been a nice 3rd class traverse without them, but Koreans love their metal staircases.


    From the high vantage point on the ridge, we realized just how close we are to Taebaek, the big city just down the road... as the crow flies anyway. A couple weeks ago we took a cab from Taebaek out to this special agricultural zone and windfarm.


    A Korean grave...


    And its setting. Not a bad place to be buried, eh?


    Playing in the leaves like a couple of little kids.


    On our way out we crossed the river just below the major coal mine that operates in town. Of all the towns in Gangwon-do, we were placed in the one with two of Korea's three active coal mines. Anyway, don't drink the water.


    We passed a couple of awesome sounding restaurants on our way home. This one is Appricca.


    And Smoper.