Monday, December 31, 2012

Ending 2012

Mr. Snowman wishes you all a Happy New Year

Another year comes to an end, but the blogging goes on.

Yeah, there were times in 2012 that I considered closing up shop. My production schedule slowed to such a degree that doing the Weekly Wrap wasn't worth the effort. Likewise, I felt silly putting Friday Flowers back to back to back.

But we're turning the page. With the new year, we have a fresh opportunity to get back into the groove. For certain, there will be more posts, mainly because I'm going to do the 365 Photo challenge, but I'll also make a point of putting up worthwhile essays, reviews, and reports. There are so many awesome things that I experience every day, such magnificence, such excitement.

It seems a shame that so many fine memories of this outgoing year have been left to fade away in my mind, unshared and unreported. It's one of those “tears in the rain” situations, where these inspiring sparks of life's glory go away when I go away, unless I first convey them to my readers. That may sound really self-important, but I feel that we all should share the wonderful tales of our everyday existence, sifting through the dross of routine expectations and finding the special aesthetic moments, like gemstones, that can brighten our lives.

So, hold on to your hats and glasses, 'cause there will be a lot of stories, ideas, images, and memories coming this way. ;-)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holiday Cheer #3

Happy Holiday Barbie (1993) wishes you a Happy New Year!!!

Although the bulk of the Winter holidays have come and gone, in celebrating the season we are not quite done. Heck, even past New Year's Day, we still have Orthodox Christmas about a week away! There yet remains plenty of cheer to joyfully start off a most happy New Year.

So bust out the brandy and drain the last eggnog. Turn on the tree lights and spark up the Yule log. The winter season has just begun, and, if we must be cold, then let's try to have fun.

Though a Scrooge and a miser and an atheist too, I love festive times just as much as do you. Especially the music, carol and song, it lightens my day, and my spirit makes strong.

Santa puts a beat down on the Thanksgiving turkey!!!

Now, let us listen to harmonies gentle and melodious sounds. And end this dreadful poem which sets into howling the hounds. ;-)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Up and Down, In and Out

Outside of the Long Beach Library, facing Pacific Ave.

Over the next few days, I may not be doing much blogging.

So, have a great weekend.

And wrap up the year with fun times!!!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Finery of Faberge

Empress Josephine Tiara

No, that is not what I got for Christmas. ;-)

A while back, I visited the Bowers Museum and checked out their exhibit, Faberge: Imperial Jeweler to the Tsars. It was an impressive display of works, not just eggs. The detail of these pieces was awesome, examples of the most amazing craftsmanship. I could have spent the entire day admiring but a handful of the luxurious delights on exhibit.

Sadly, the show is wrapping in a little over a week, on January 6, 2013. So, I figure that I'll share a few photos with you all.

Faberge Eggs

Yeah, it isn't a Faberge show without some eggs.

But there was so much more, from cigarette cases to carved figurines. The spirit of opulence and extravagance that characterized the Tsar's court was brilliantly conveyed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Cheer #2

Christmas tree at the Promenade on the Peninsula

I'm not fond of the consumerist elements that have come to define the holiday season. I've gone on that rant many a time since starting this blog. However, I'm fully in favor of anything which promotes goodwill and compassion.

Personally, my favorite element to the season is the music. No, not the jingos that echo through the mall. Not the sappy tunes that ooze from "easy listening" radio stations. Those types of holiday fare are not necessarily bad, but they don't capture my interest like traditional carols, sounds from the centuries past.

So, let's enjoy a few "old school" tunes.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Turkey Time

Turkey with candy tail feathers. Yum!!!

It always annoys me how the seasonal decorations jump straight from Halloween to Christmas, skipping Thanksgiving in the mad rush to fuel consumer enthusiasm. After all, you don't generally sell costumes or gifts for Turkey Day. And, therefore, we go from pumpkins to snowmen overnight.

Well, in defiance of this trend, here's a photo that I took in late November. ;-)

Anyways, we can give thanks for our happy situations regardless of the date. And it's always a good time to have a fine meal.

And music.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Cheer #1

Celebrating the season with an inflatable puppy and penguin

Well, I haven't much to say today. I think that the long malaise that has been plaguing my health, sapping my energy, may finally be leaving. That makes me very happy.

And, therefore, I'm up for some holiday cheer.

Let's listen to some music.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So You're Keen on Music?

"The Korova milkbar sold milk-plus, milk plus vellocet or synthemesc or drencrom, which is what we were drinking. This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence."

I've been sitting a few weeks on some photos from the Stanley Kubrick exhibition at LACMA. However, to celebrate the traditional day upon which we recognize Ludwig van Beethoven's date of birth, I figured that we could post up a couple images from the Clockwork Orange section.

And here's a quote from Alex, while listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony:

"Oh bliss, bliss and heaven. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!"

Well, Alex and I probably experience the music in radically different manners, but I can't disagree with his admiration for ol' Ludwig van. ;-)

Alex's costume from A Clockwork Orange

Let's look at some vids.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Festive Lights & Seasonal Cheer

Glowing peppermint lollipops provide a festive welcome to the house

Although we don't get any snow out here, it begins to look a lot like Christmas when the occasional house seems to be sporting holiday decorations. Here in the South Bay, no other neighborhood goes after the seasonal decor quite like Torrance's "Sleepy Hollow" district. For block after block, street upon street, the houses are all aglow with Santas, nativities, snowmen, and other such images lit up for the enjoyment of the community.

Yeah, I normally don't get into the holiday mood, but last week I found myself in the area. So, a walk around the neighborhood was on the schedule. It was illuminating. ;-)

Santa and Snowman

I'm still not big on such ornamentation, but it was an impressive show of community spirit. Transforming the neighborhood into such a spectacle of lights and music is no simple task, requiring significant resources of both money and manpower. With such widespread cooperation behind this effort, the end result was truly dazzling, a powerful demonstration of how group projects can outshine even the brightest efforts of a single household.

So, if you're in southern Torrance at night, consider giving this lovely project a viewing. Ho ho ho!!!

Glowing icicles and a balcony Nativity.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Post #666

Devil School Girl by Coop

So, I was considering what the topic was going to be for today's blog post. Was I going to finally put up some museum photos? Or would the Christmas festivities get the spotlight? And then I noticed my post total. It was 665 posts.

Well, only a persistent blogger gets to enjoy a 666th post. So, here's a lovely, popsicle-suckin' Coop devil girl to celebrate the event right. ;-)

And how about some music. . .

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Quiet Nights, Gentle Sights

A view of the crescent moon, waxing, over the California Bank in Long Beach
Marlin by Brough Miller at the bottom left

I'm feeling a bit better now. A few days of rest has done some good. Nevertheless, I'm just not feeling in the creative mood tonight. I think that I'll call in an early night.

Yet, I do want to wish everybody some happy holidays. I would do it with a festive, seasonal post, but my energy isn't up to the full, exuberant blogging that would be required to do it right. Maybe tomorrow. . .

In any case, here are a few nice photos that capture my current mood.

Night and day, day and night. . .

Under the Dove Tower at the Skirball


Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Flowers: Wet Roses

Pink roses, still in bloom at the Banning Museum

I don't want to skip our weekly celebration of floral delights. ;-)

There aren't very many roses to be found in the local gardens, but an occasional blossom here and there can catch the eye. These photos were taken last weekend, as I visited the Banning Museum to see their annual Christmas celebrations. The garden wasn't in high color, but that's to be expected, even out here with mild California winters.

The day wasn't very pretty, with dark skies constantly threatening rain. However, the little drops of moisture, having accumulated upon the petals and leaves, made for a nice sparkling accent, like liquid gems ornamenting the last roses in the final days of Autumn.

Very beautiful.

An orange rose, heavy with rain water


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Glimpse of Hidden Beauty

Even an ugly, old oil refinery can be transformed in a golden moment into a vision of Beauty

Feeling not so good right now. A bit depressed. A bit sick

Days have been ugly, overcast, cold. Trying to stay upbeat, positive, but bad sleep, coughing, and back ache. Makes me tired.

I feel like garbage. . .

Need comfort music. . .

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Point of View

Silently searching for something to show;
Three blue seats empty, arranged in a row.

Again, we're going a bit light on content in tonight's post. I was hoping to get to it earlier, before sleep started to press down upon my eyelids. However, distractions plagued my day. Oh well, at least I can still write "quality" poetry. ;-)

Well, let's send out a Happy Birthday to Cassandra Wilson, one of my favorite contemporary jazz singers. She was born on this date in 1955.

It's been a long time since we featured some Jazz music at this blog. So, let's listen to some fine songs.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Out of Order

Caution!!! Elevator Out of Order

With a bit of extra time tonight, it was my intention to blog about the various awesome things that I did over the weekend. From art gallery visits to Holiday festivities, fun times filled my days. However, upon my mind, a strange lethargy has descended. Befuddled with fatigue, I find that my fingers are leaden, unable to properly type out the words that I wish to express.

Sleep-sodden and stupid, my writing capacities are out of order. I had better wrap up this post now, before you, my dear reader, turn purple from reading this prose. ;-)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Rainy Night

The rain-soaked street shimmers in the light of the oncoming traffic

I haven't much to share with you all tonight. However, here's a photo capturing the unusual wetness of the Los Angeles region. I can't say that I'm enjoying the moisture, but, sometimes, the liquid sheen tranforms the drab sights of this suburban blight into a vision of brilliance and lustrous beauty.

So, I guess that I'm alright with the rain, at least for now. We'll see how I feel after a few more wet days. ;-)


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Singing Chihuahua with Maracas

Cuddle Barn's "Chuey Bamba" sings and plays the maracas

Well, here's a Silly Saturday treat for you: a toy chihuahua that sings "La Bamba" while shaking the maracas.

I really don't like holiday shopping, but sometimes you can see the oddest of things. Among the singing toys on display, I thought Chuey Bamba had just the right mix of cuteness and absurdity. Then again, I didn't notice Chili Pepe. ;-)

Let's look at some vids:

Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Flowers: Lilac

Syringa Vulgaris: Common Lilac "Letha E. House"

Yeah, I have a whole bunch of flower photos to share with you all. This is one that I took last week while visiting the Descanso Gardens. There weren't many flowers in bloom, but this pretty little lilac was holding strong in the face of our California winter. ;-)

Purple is my favorite color. So, lilac has a special appeal for me.

Common Lilac

Very, very pretty.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Where to Begin?

Image from Friedrich Kunath's exhibit "Lacan's Haircut" exibited at Blum & Poe (9/8-10/27, 2012)

Well, I've been writing and creatively involved, but, sadly, not doing much blogging. I have a kazillion photos to share with you all, from too many places, too many exhibits and shows, too many whimsical moments to count. So, I'll just randomly select images from over the past four months to give a sample of the fantastic things that I experienced in the world around me. Yeah, it's the "Image of the Day" concept that I keep on promising.

Hopefully, I'll also start regular posts again, but let's not get too ambitious. ;-)

Image of Friedrich Kunath's "Lacan's Haircut" in Blum & Poe's parking lot

Get ready for some fun stuff!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Off to the Polling Place

Going to vote at the Hermosa Beach civic center

I haven't much to say today. Well, actually I have a whole lot to say, but this isn't a politics/government blog. Therefore, I'll hold my tongue. Maybe, I ought to start another side blog for an occasional post on such matters, but that something to consider at another time. It isn't as if the world is lacking in political blogs. ;-)

Anyways, I just wanted to announce that I have voted. Have you? If not, turn away from the screen and go out and vote. You might have to stand in a long line, but it really is essential in a democracy that each citizen participates in the political system, love it or hate it.

And it makes the dolphins happy.

Dolphin statue outside of the Hermosa Beach museum


Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday Flowers: Visions of Autumn

Sabine Bronze Fleurettes

Yeah, here are some more photos from my visit to the Bellagio's conservatory. Although I have other fine flowers to share with you, I think these lovely orange beauties express my Autumn mood best.

Along with scarecrows and pumpkins, this will make up for skipping my "first post of Autumn" during my hiatus last month. No Vivaldi, no "Autumn Leaves," and no Mucha beauties. Maybe next year. . .

And, what the heck?!! It's been a while since we did two consecutive weeks with Friday Flowers. So cut me some slack. ;-)

Happy scarecrow at the Bellagio

Look!!! Even Mr Scarecrow is pleased with my new dedication to posting at least once a day. Paideia isn't back to top form, but it's off the floor and staying in the fight.

And who can resist a pretty grouping of pumpkins and gourds?

Pumpkins and gourds set among the bronze sabine fleurettes


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Amusing Guitars

The "Don Ho" ukulele made of shells and plywood by Joann Yates

I was over at the Long Beach main library a little while back. A few of the walls were decorated with assembled guitar images. It looked to be a school child project, but it caught my fancy.

I figured they would make for a nice post. After all, who doesn't like "pearly shells" and jelly beans. ;-)

The "Blue Bayou" made out of blue jelly beans

Fun stuff!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Got Nuthin'

Peering through a window into an empty library

For real, I got nothing!!!

Actually, if it were not so late into the night and if my mind were less befuddled, then I could have probably come up with something cool to share with you all. After all, it's George Crumb's birth date.

Well, I guess a snip of Black Angels is appropriate to the Halloween season, cool but creepy!!!

Devils may be horrific, but dark angels evoke a dread most sublime. ;-)

Archangel Raphael (c.1600) from Naples, Italy. On view at LACMA.

So, let's listen to some music.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time Slips Away

Pretzels spilled on the pavement, wasted.

Ugh!!! I'm really wanting to put up a solid post with interesting ideas. However, time always seems to run out. There are plenty of cool things that I've seen. There are countless interesting topics to discuss. Each day presents a new birth date, anniversary, or holiday for us to celebrate.

But my time rarely seems to be enough.

Oh well, let's give a Happy Birthday shout out to "Weird Al" Yankovic, born on October 23, 1959.

Poster for "Weird Al" Yankovic's 1989 movie, UHF

Now, let's look at some vids.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Black Cat

A giant black cat looks down from the roof.

I'm not really big on Halloween decorations, but I kind of like this giant black cat on Artesia blvd. It's head turns from side to side, as though it is considering pouncing down upon the passing traffic. And the orange nose and demented green eyes look goofy. ;-)


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dying for Chocolate

Chocolate skeleton on a chocolate electric chair at Jean-Philippe Patisserie at the Bellagio

The previous two posts were based on a daily theme, Friday Flowers and Silly Saturday. So, I began to wonder about about today's theme. Then, I remembered that Sunday already has a topic, Spooky Sunday!!! Yeah, it's been a while since I did one of those posts, but they've always been popular with the readers.

So, I figure that we can dust off the concept and put it back into use, especially for Halloween.

Moreover, I have some photos from my tip to Las Vegas that I would like to share with you all that fit the theme. At the Jean-Philippe Patisseries at the Bellagio and the Aria, there were plenty of Halloween-inspired chocolate sculptures to admire and desire. Yum!!!

This trapped ghoul hasn't realized that it can eat its way out of the chocolate coffin.

Although I normally focus on more "highbrow" forms of sculpture, these sweet constructs were wonderfully crafted. From candy Thriller zombies and Michael Jackson to chocolate Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King, there were plenty of pop culture Halloween icons formed out of sugary materials. But I was more interested in the large scale works.

For instance, the Electric Chair Skeleton is made of 35 kg white chocolate, 30kg dark chocolate, 1.5kg rolling fondant, and took two people 70 hours to create!!! That's some impressive chocolatier work.

Chocolate Pumpkins and tombstones

Anyways, let's look at a few more photos and listen to a couple tunes. And let's welcome Spooky Sunday back into our weekly schedule. ;-)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Silly Saturday: Chickenmobile

The Chicken Mobile delivers!!!

Seriously, who would want their dinner delivered in a yellow Cadillac with a chicken's head and tail sticking out the top and back? Maybe the kids would like it or someone enjoying a drug-induced euphoria. As for me, one instance of having the Chickenmobile park in front of my place would certainly encourage me to forevermore pick up my takeout orders. ;-)

Check out this post from LA Weekly on another chicken car, "El Gallo." Fun stuff!!!

Yeah, this is another "Image of the Day" post, but with a twist. If I'm going to do easy photo blogging, then I might as well follow some weekly themes. And, therefore, I've initiated "Silly Saturday" with the intention to provide my dear readers with a goofy treat to start the weekend right.

Now, comedy isn't my thing. This feature may totally fall flat. But experimentation is the key to successful long term blogging and writing. It keeps things from getting stale, develops underutilized narrative talents, and creates a diverse portfolio within a blogger's body of work.

So, this is our first installation. Let's look at what happens next week. . .

And a few vids over the jump.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Flowers: Autumn Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum: Rosy Victoria Coral

If it's fall, then it's time for the 'mums.

I was recently in Las Vegas and had the opportunity to check out the conservatory at the Bellagio. It was a lovely design. But the chrysanthemums on display were absolute beauties. Although I don't do the regular "Friday Flower" posts anymore, I couldn't let the day pass without sharing these pretties with you.

I'm hoping to pay a visit to some of the local botanic gardens to see some more chrysanthemums as the season progresses.

Chrysanthemum: Durango

And maybe, if I pick up the pace on my posting, I might start celebrating these floral delights on a weekly basis again.

Maybe I'll even start showcasing poetry, like I did in the old days. But I better not get ahead of myself. We'll see how the new style of posting works out over the course of a few weeks before making any promises. ;-)

Chrysanthemum: Regal James Town

Pretty. Pretty. Pretty.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kurenai Considerations

Crimson tints in light and shadow

Well, I've been promising a period in which my blogging will mainly consist of "Image of the Day" type posts. As the past few updates indicate, that time is now!!!

But that doesn't mean I won't be posting my random thoughts, birth date celebrations, or art show reports. It just means that the daily churn of posting will be photographs, a couple words, and, occasionally, a few music vids after the jump. But when I have the time and energy, you can count on my traditional style of blogging, for better or worse. ;-)

Anyways, I'm glad to be back at the keyboard, in good health, and of a disposition quite optimistic.

Now, let's listen to some music.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Uncanny Aspects and Eerie Facades

A trio of fashion mannequins at the department store

I'm not a fan of mannequins, marionettes, and human-like figures of any type. They creep me out.

As a child, visiting the local wax museums here in the Los Angeles area was never a fun activity, always leaving me with haunting images of dead faced figures that looked like real people. Yeah, it's an "Uncanny Valley" situation; they look close enough to actual humans, but their lack of animation brings to mind corpses. It make my skin crawl.

Well, since we are approaching Halloween, I figured that I'd share these photos with you all. I'll have some more photo posts coming over the next few days.

Geek mannequin

Well, not all mannequins disturb me with quite the same intensity. ;-)