Friday, December 29, 2006

Greetings from from the edge of year's end...

You might not believe it, but I appreciate and enjoy economy

of word

for instance:
Chinese brush paintings
black and white
Gary Snyder poetry
spaces between the notes
spare, lean, clear, direct

but when i make/do/write stuff
it comes out like this:

so i wonder:
if i like that,
and do this
what does that mean?

Hope everyone has a great start to the New Year and discovers some answers to questions you may be pondering. Be safe and have fun, see you in '07.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Come to think of it,
there's no reason to decide
who you are.

-Harrison/Kooser, Braided Creek

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Early evening

low moaning wind
swirling snow
sitting in dim light
dogs and cats near the woodstove
steaming green tea
warm slippered feet
supper soon, comfort food
earlier, two deer, up close

a good day.

The day after...

Back at work today…how about you?

Hope everyone had a good holiday weekend and a wonderful Christmas celebration. Mine was quite fine, thank you, so laid back and mellow (no traveling, company or much chaos of any kind) that if it got any slower, we might have been going in reverse. This allowed me to rest and relax, states of being that are generally foreign to me. Or maybe it just takes me time to wind down.

But when I do, some things occur to me:

1. People are generally doing the best they can do, and are pretty all right, all
things considered.
2. We are all more alike than we might imagine.
3. Being grateful for what we have and expressing a little sincere gratitude is a
sure antidote to melancholy.
4. No one said we’re supposed to be happy all the time, things move in cycles.
5. Things are neither as bad or as good as they might appear.
6. I think I should try to be nicer, more pleasant, more positive, less grumpy, less
reclusive, less cynical, and less impatient.
7. I think the best thing we can do is to try to make our immediate worlds more
livable, accepting and tolerant. It seems the best and quickest way to do that is
to play nice and be kind, and share our cookies. And always say “Please” and
“thank you” and mean it.
8. I should follow my own advice more often.
9. For whatever reason, I’m reminded of how lucky I am. (feel free to point this out
the next time I’m complaining about some silly thing or another…)
10. Making stuff matters a whole lot (to me, anyways).
11. Cumulative desires and expectations unfulfilled can make one crazy. Best to
focus on what we have instead of what we think we lack.
12. Google and Wikipedia: if not the source of all knowledge, at least the doorway.
13. There are much more important things happening in the world than
whatever is in my head in a given moment. Perspective is healthy.

Now that seems like a great stopping point…besides this looks suspiciously like a list of some sort…from whence it came I do not know.

Hope everyone is having a great day, no matter what you’re doing. And because I’m in such a good mood, I have something for you, right here.

Yes, you are.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day with a Rogue Elf

You know who...

any resemblance is purely coincidental...

Merry Christmas everyone! A slow and quiet day here on the hill, very low key and enjoyable. I hope all you guys are equally as content out there doing your thing as I am mine.

Not much bloggable, I mean how much can you say about couches, snacks and movies, and coffee? Oh, never fear, I have a long and rambling pontification in the works, about happiness and gratitude and gratefulness etc (which for the record I am for the most part, I mean happy, grateful, and possessing feelings of gratitude). Plus, I'm in unusually good humor. Me, often accused of being somewhat Grinchy in the best of times, for the second year running, in a good mood during the holiday! And this year better than last; I attribute that to being at home base, my primary comfort zone.

And I watched my all time favorite Christmas movie, the Jim Carey Grinch. Oh, the stuff the Grinch builds in that- inventions and gadgets from junk and cast offs and reclaimed thrown away objects. He's a maker, that one.

I bid you all a happy evening, need to go rattle around in the kitchen, it's time for the pm feeding.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Lucy says "Happy Doggone Holidays from Our Couch to Yours!"

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Projects I like

Not that what I like matters to anyone, or that it should, but still...

Marc Snyder has been leaving comments here at the ponderings for a while, and I've been meaning to point towards his sites as an example of what's good about making stuff. Marc has several different sites, and all are consistent with his philosophy of making.

First is his Zero Sum Art project. My take is that this project is an experiment in self-sustaining non-profit making. It's an intersting exercise, and seems to be moving right along.

Next is a pair of sites that Marc is involved with named the Fiji Island Mermaid Press. Of course I haven't asked Marc, but it seems that FIMP is the window thru which the world can see his work and put their money towards supporting fine little idiosyncratic and personal hand made artwork. I took this quote off one of the pages, when I read it I knew I had to spread the word:

"And tests show that we all should be delighted, amazed, or made to say "hmmm" at least once a month."

Now, I ask you, is there any better reason to make stuff? Newsprint and sharpie? I think that says it all...

Visit Marc's sites, leave him a comment, buy some stuff to keep the dream alive and encourage him to keep fighting the good fight.

(editors note: this is a totally unsolicted post. I may be cheap, but I'm not easy...)

Movie Review

On a slow and lazy (hopefully) Saturday, gateway to the holiday weekend.

I went over the hill and thru the woods yesterday to town, had sushi, saw a movie, and didn't shop. Which was fun cause there seeemed to be a lot of people scurrying about, and traffic out the wazoo, but since I really had no place to go and nothing to besides get to the matinee on time, it was all good.

The movie was "The Pursuit of HappYness". I'd highly recommend it, I'm a fan of rags to riches true stories, even if they are glamorized for the big screen. (Listen to me, "big screen"...ha, this is only the second movie I've seen in a theatre in a year and half!) Also, it's a brief glimpse into the realities and challenges that a huge amount of people out there face every day. Which reminds me to be grateful for what I do have and not complain so much when little things go awry.

Chris Gardener's story
is quite amazing. Fortitude, tenacity and intuitive intelligence combined with outright stubborness and hard work resulted in his rise out of desperate circumstances. A inspiring example of what a person can do.

The sun's out a bit before the next round of storms roll in, so I'd better go and take advantage of it. Hope everyone has a great Saturday and is enjoying the holiday weekend.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Friday

Good morning boys and girls! It's the Friday before Christmas (and the first day after Solstice) and I reckon everyone is gearing up for a big flurry of activity, traveling, visiting, celebrating and having an all around jolly time. I suspect blogfriends will be otherwise occupied (if not already) so I want to wish each and every one of you a safe, happy and fun filled holiday.

I pretty much observe a zen-like holiday (go no where, do nothing) and with the added mellowing effect of the rain that is falling like the end of time, it should be pretty quiet. This not a bad thing; conducive to naps, long stretches of un-interrupted time to make some stuff or write, or should netflix grace us, a movie or two. Extended tumbling around with the pet units, maybe a walk in between rainstorms, a nice bit of downtime to rest, restore and replenish.

I wish you and all your loved ones health and happiness.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We decorated...

The delicious irony is that we live smack dab in the middle of the county that bills itself as "Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree". ( I couldn't make this up if I tried...check it out...)

Have a holly jolly evening!

Midweek midday

during which he recounts seemingly unrelated instances of magical and mundane delights:

I walked up to the old logging land this morning, there were about 2 dozen bluebirds (yes, eastern bluebirds) flying around and perching in the shrubs and deadfall. Brilliant blue, against the drab background, the early sunrise shining on them, they looked almost neon and chirped happily. Unusual. Lucky me.

Llamas on the knoll, and I have my camera with me today. They are very inquisitive this morning, or grumpy, I couldn't tell which. Pictures at 11...

Steelwork going up for a new studio, it looks like a giant spiderweb agains the blue sky.

Old ironwork on the llama pasture gate caught my eye. 5 years, I walk by it daily numerous times, oblivious to the detail. Not today. Slowing down is paying off, maybe.

Leftover hot and spicy shrimp and sausage gumbo for lunch today. Yum.

Coffee, good.

35 degrees requires more than the tshirt and sweatshirt I have on, i don't care how sunny it is outside. Gloves would have been a good idea too.

It's been a good morning. Hope yours is the same.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Found wisdom (redux)

Oh, this is fun! lot's o' comments. I'll chime in (again). I don't take that manifesto as a whole, I just subscribe to the parts I like, which is pretty much all but the "write not for others, write for yourself" lines. I wanted to show the whole piece to see what others think. My personal view and practice? Make stuff, show it, make more... in detail here:

To reiterate my friend and mentor TS: "Art is not art until you get work out to a public. Up until then, it is something that you do and it might be very important and valuable to you (and really must be to work) but that it is doesn't really count until it is distributed out of your own territory into the Chatter and Grind of the Lost and Anonymous American Ether." (We could easily expand this to include to say the International Ether, TS is not exclusive in the least.)

Finally, another friend, and I'm paraphrasing but wholeheartedly agree: "the more people we can get dinkin' around making things and showing it off, the better off all of us will be..."

Oh, yeah! Spread the word.

Couldn't have said it better myself...

Part of an editors response to a question on a "buy nothing" website that asked about the availability of bumper stickers for purchase:

"But the more time you spend creating your own world, your own messages, the more alive you become."

A good response, make your own stuff and all that. But I don't know if I could have avoided pointing out the irony of the question.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Found wisdom...(or, fun with links)

Zen Blogger’s Manifesto

Do not follow in the footsteps of others,
seek what they sought and make your own footsteps.
Write not for others, as there are too many.
Write for yourself, as there is only one.
Subtract before you add.
Listen more than you speak.
Give more than you take.
Make but do not measure.
If you want to change the world, love someone.
All manifestos are dung.

from sellsius via gaping void.

Slow down and edit...

Some recent advice.

Not the worst suggestion in the world either. I've been trying it out, and highly recommend it, especially at this time of year.

Slow down, definitely. Edit maybe better presented as letting all the non-essential information fall away, until the elemental truth of a thing can be seen and appreciated.

I've found that slowing down and editing allows me to see details otherwise unnoticed. There's great magic and beauty present in the things we miss in all our hurry.

Give yourself a gift- slow down, edit, see, feel, appreciate. Life is good.

I'm off to work, slowly. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Morning

I pretty much love Saturdays, unplanned, unscripted, unplugged, so to speak.

A little under the weather, but hey, things are looking up.

Car Talk
a bowl of cut up Band Fruit
Illy coffee
Bright sun, not too cold
sitting in my big poofy reading chair
reading the web, here's the pick of the day so far, via Faux Journalist

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Convergence of messages

Busy day, I had in mind to write a different post than this, but all indications are that this one is better.

I've been working all day with folks setting up and preparing for our workplace holiday party tonight. Like everything else on our mountain, it's a DIY affair. But the good nature and good cheer is abundant, the weather is beautiful and it should be fun. We shoveled out and cleaned the big dining haul room, decorated with twinkle-y lights, handblown glass candlelabras on the table, people in and out of the kitchen cooking, potluck coming, beverages readied (my main responsibility). I cobbled together a sound system, there will be homemade music played for a while (two accordians and a for real washtub bass, do we know how to have fun or what?) before jacking in a laptop or ipod for a christmas playlist from hell. and the evening will roll on.

Which put me in the mind of how nice it is to be nice and play well together. This is on my mind a good bit lately, tis the season and all that. Coupled with a recent book reading, and an excellent blog posting on what to do when things in the blogosphere aren't so nice, and it really drives home the point.

And finally, it reminded me of this, an article written annually by Jon Carroll, that I had almost forgotten about, but found easily on the source of all information, Google. I first discovered Jon Carroll myself a 1000 years ago in another lifetime when I lived in San Francisco, and have been reading this same article (updated) for over ten years now, and it makes me warm and fuzzy and hopeful.

So that's where I am today, feeling nice, trying to BE nice. For about a million good reasons. And the sun's out and it's warmish and there's food and drink soon to be had, and i need to get back to finalizing the details and put on my party dress.

Hope everyone has a lovely evening.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Working styles

Everyone has one, what's yours?

I ask the question because I've been thinking about mine lately. That, and routines, plans and systems.

I've been fairly busy (not a bad thing) and haven't gotten to the blog in time to be fairly lucid, or awake. I've been down in my shop making stuff, this round of it finished, packed and mailed today, before I thought to adequately document it. The making's the thing with me you know...anyways, I've been stuck lately on the fact that I rarely have an original thought in the things I make or write, and that was kind of bugging me. But then I went back thru my short list of favorite artists/makers, looked at pictures of their studios, looked at my notes on their work habits, and sure enough, I discovered a trend.

It seems the examples I most appreciate generally start off with a pile of stuff, junk, concepts, ideas, clippings, notes, recordings, whatever; then they compose something from the pile. I work much like that: a blank canvas, screen, page, clean work table, empty refrigerator, clean workbench usually leaves me staring into space for hours on end, empty headed. But give me some stuff, and I can see 1000 different things I could do to/make with it. I'm not one of those types of people that come up with an idea, make a list, get the stuff, and assemble it logically (unless I'm building a building, in which case I'm really good at that way of working). I need a phrase, an image, a piece of metal, ripped out articles, a clip of a video or a recording, a line from a song, a piece of charcoal, a crayon, a print or painting...I need a place to start, a point of departure, then I'm off to the races. And it has to come to me, usually obliquely. If I seek it out or chase it, the idea or concept runs and hides.

So, I gained some insight, made some peace with my lack of originality (which fits nicely with one of my life observations: "nothing's new, everything is a variation on a theme...") and made some stuff. And it was fun.

Wow. It sort of looks like the inside of my mind...

A detail, because I didn't think to take a picture of the finished piece...

And now we end on a high note, because I have a topic embedded in here for a future post: Plans, Routines, and Systems.

Hope everyone has a great evening! Are you in a holiday mood yet?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What day is it? Tuesday? You don't say...

Haven't fallen off the edge of the mountain, just busy busy. At the same time, trying to go slow and edit down. Scratching surfaces to find the elemental. Going lo-fi.

Have been watching this in my workshop. It has gone slowly from this:

to this:

oh yeah. change baby, slow, beautiful...notice the cracks and lines? random character.

More soon. Hope everyone is happy and healthy.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Movie review

a public service announcement...

Have you seen "An Inconvenient Truth" yet? Why not? Do it soon.

Also, give this a look.

It's never too late to save the world. Start where you are, and work with what you have.

Have a great evening!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Sunday a.m. web

riding the surf:

This is GOOD

I'm late posting this. But the message is worth repeating.

Useful if you're stuck.

Good question, great answer: "You moved the pot before the coffee stopped brewing. Do you smell the mountains or the burro?" "One smells everything if one chooses to and it is all good, burnt bean & burro." (from The Faux Press)

inspired by this: (enter and click on nonduality)

this and this for funnies (the comics and the blogs are a hoot. stumbled onto them via a link on this great blog)

And finally, my artist of the week. Good reading, thoughtful guy.

Now I'm going down to listen to NPR and make stuff. (do you think all I do is sit around and websurf all day???) Pictures at 11, maybe.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


still cold but no wind
it felt almost warm
up in the woods
sawing stacking hauling splitting
(it's easy to make sense of firewood)
cooking chicken and dumplings
tomorrow's food done today,

across the mountain tonight for supper
shrimp wine pie brandy talk laughter
long drive back
three quarter wonky moon guiding
happy dogs and cats
stir the fire
then to bed,
and dreams.

Friday, December 08, 2006

My general state of mind:

My aspired state of mind:

Economy. Clarity. Balance. Peace.

Harmony through editing...

Not wanting to lose all the raw material...just wanting to make some sense out of it.

Have a wonderful day!

(From written in the city)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

cold wind heavy snow dusk
muffled walking
two deer bouncing
back home
woodstove fire
warming as night falls

Open space

Uncluttered. Refreshing. Room to breathe. Space for magic to happen. Or peace and quiet.

This from John Cage's Indeterminacies.



Hope everyone has a delightful day and stumbles upon at least one unexpected and pleasant surprise...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

things i'm interested in lately
are stripped, pared down, elemental
trees bare of leaves
spare music
black ink on paper line drawings
short sharp poetry
experiences direct and unfiltered
not uncomplicated
but clear, sharp
black coffee
clean tastes
and fresh cold air.

"We should
sit like a cat
and wait for the door
to open."

Wishing everyone has a pleasant day.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Taking it where I find it...

"We all got holes to fill
Them holes are all that's real
Some fall on you like a storm
Sometimes you dig your own

But choice is yours to make
And time is yours to take
Some dive into the sea
Some toil upon the stone

To live is to fly
Both low and high,
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the sleep out of your eyes"

- Guy Clark, Old Friends, 1993

Hope everyone has a great day!

Monday, December 04, 2006


Not a bad mood, nothing amiss, in sync as much as ever, but for some reason, oddly quiet and contemplative. Unexpected even, as my head's been noisy for a while with synapeses firing wildly, all sparks and chaos. Maybe I'm tired, though I don't feel so, I mean not anything beyond normal. Feel like maybe I'm gathering steam or something, either that or as I told someone recently I've been feeling a little bear-like, as if preparing for hibernation. Even as I write that, a nap sounds good.

Lit the wood stove tonight, definitely the start of winter. Cold and crystal clear today and this evening, a hint of snow in the forecast. I don't mean play cold either, I mean ground frozen windburned multiple layers and gloves are nice cold. Payback for that spring-like weather a week or two ago. The wheel always turns...

I don't have much to say, and I'm saying it, to paraphrase John Cage. Just noodling around, seeing what passes thru, drawing, not really drawing but doodling, working on some kind of altered book/text sculpture thing, I don't know where its going or even if it's going. Some day I'll do clay again, but not feeling like forcing it, or anything else for the matter. Thought I'd let go of the levers for a while and see what happens.

(Brian Andreas)

Have a great evening, stay warm, dry and find something to smile about.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Because when it happens, it means we get another chance, and there are no guarentees...

"There are mornings
when everything brims with promise
even my empty cup."

(from Braided Creek, Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser)

Hope everyone has a great day!