I’ve Got a Little List

Beacon's Mikado at the Sheldon

On the evening of New Years Day, Anne and I returned to the Sheldon Theater, site of the previous night’s, First Night performances of Brian Owens and Kim Massie. The occasion this time, was a performance of “The Mikado”, to benefit the Saint Louis Beacon, an online newspaper. I got the tickets for Anne, who is the real Gilbert and Sullivan fan, as a Christmas present. The Sheldon is a nice hall, but it has a tiny stage. The previous night it was easily filled with the Owens quartet and then the Massy quintet. Taking our seats, I had no idea of how they planned to stage “The Mikado” on it. Well first the performance was not the full operetta, but a concert performance of just the principal songs. Even so, it was a tight fit squeezing all thirty performers onto the stage. Anne knew one of the performers. Matt Pentecost sang the role of Pish Tush, a nobleman. Mr. Pentecost is a music teacher by day, at the MRH school district’s ECC. Anne sometimes teaches there.

Dad at the Beach

Chris sent along the photograph of Dad at the beach. I think the photo was taken in Carmel? Chris and I have been Facetime phoning each other. Adding the video really enhances these calls. Not only can we see each other, but we can also show each other the things that we talk about.

Red-tailed Hawk at Powder Valley

Winter came screaming in from Canada last night. So, we elected to walk instead of bicycle on Monday. We drove out to Powder Valley. When the kids were young, Powder Valley was a popular destination. Its nature trails wind to and fro, but more importantly up and down. They are perfect for sending kids running pell-mell down the hill and then huffing and puffing up the next one. Yesterday, the hills helped to cut the wind for us. The visitor’s center was closed for the day, so the park was nearly empty when we arrived. We saw lots of birds, including a Red-tailed Hawk (pictured), Eastern Bluebirds, Flickers, a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpeckers and Nuthatches. We only hiked two miles, but with all of the ups and downs, it wasn’t too long, before Anne began to sing:

Oh, The noble Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

We came home to watch the Spartans win and then finished the day off with a family dinner, at out. Tomorrow is a work day, at least for me, and the start of another year. Prognosticators have been predicting 2012 to be a year of doom and gloom. I predict that 2012 will be the year of the three Ls, Leap year, the ‘Lympics and the ‘Lection. I’ll let the readers decide for themselves whether these three Ls bode well for this new year or not. I’ll just toddle off to work, with a song in my heart, if not on my breath:

Hi ho, Hi ho
It’s off to work I go
I owe, I owe
So, it’s off to work I go

Della Walker Residence

The two photos with this post are courtesy of Chris and his camera. They show the Della Walker residence in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Described as a cabin on the rocks, it was designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright, in 1951, for $125,000. If you haven’t seen it as you’ve driven down the coast, you may have seen it in the 1959 movie, “A Summer Place”. Distinguished by its stone terrace that juts out into Carmel Bay, the large stone chimney/fireplace and the blue metal cantilevered roof, and the bank of windows, the house is the only building on the ocean side of Ocean Ave. in Carmel. Chris shot these two photos, Monday night at sundown. He used his new Canon 5D to shoot the pictures in high-dynamic range. Chris has allowed RegenAxe a limited time exclusive on these photos. Eventually, he’ll post them to his Flickr website, which can be found, linked to in the sidebar. Also, Chris has entered a photo contest in Monterey. He had four of his Monterey area photos printed up and framed for entries. He hopes to hear good news this week.

Flit, Fly, Flickr

As we swelter here in the Lou, our thoughts turn to travel, or escape, getting the heck out of Dodge. We have our travel plans, but for me, mine are still a ways off. My brother Chris has returned from Europe and has forwarded another photograph. My summer travel plans don’t even come close to approaching his, but then our mother’s travels dwarfs both of ours. I had a dream about her, actually two. The first one felt like a visitation, very spiritual. The second one was nonsense, gypsies had invaded our Ann Arbor home of thirty-five years ago and were there plying the multitude of their various trades, much to my chagrin.

My dad joined the Navy, but my mother got to see the world. I’ve said this before, but these pictures bear witness to this statement. The first one is a close-up of my mom, as she floats at dawn above the Serengeti. Dad took this picture. For the other two photographs, the photographer must remain anonymous, because on these two trips, mom traveled alone. The first shot shows her with her Tibetan guide. She rode the Iron Rooster across China on this trip. The third photo, I believe is in Russia or the Ukraine, I’m not sure. She had to curtail this trip, because she came down with a really bad respiratory infection. The doctors took X-rays, saw spots on the lung and diagnosed tuberculosis. Back home, the Air Force doctors dismissed those spots as scar tissue, at least until they heard about the Soviet era X-rays. Superpower rivalry and an activist woman doctor led to the correct, but dreaded diagnosis of lung cancer.

The surgeon’s intervention was swift and it cut deep, but it led to many more trips abroad and decades more of life. The trip to the Serengeti was one of these post diagnosis travels. She was a brave woman, fearless in the moment, fretful only afterwards. She hit every continent save Antarctica and over forty countries on the remaining six. I love that she wore red lipstick on safari. I love the way she holds her purse in the crook of her arm. She was my mother, her name is Jackie, and I love her dearly yet. Mourning is a process, it comes in fits & starts.

Chris sent along the following picture with this post, a nice wide-angle shot of a Polish government building. The photo was taken on his Eastern European vacation. He also sent along the following write up on this building. Finally, he sent along this link to an album of his travel photographs on his Flickr account. Check them out in all of their full screen beauty. Be sure to turn on captioning.

The Palace of Culture and Science (Polish: Pałac Kultury i Nauki, also abbreviated PKiN) in Warsaw is the tallest building in Poland, the eighth tallest building in the European Union. From 1955 to 1957 it was the tallest building in Europe. The building was originally known as the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science (Pałac Kultury i Nauki imienia Józefa Stalina), but in the wake of destalinization the dedication to Stalin was revoked; Stalin’s name was removed from the interior lobby and one of the building’s sculptures. It is now the 187th tallest building in the world. – Wiki

First Class In Glass

Dan sent a couple of pictures showing some of his work in his glass class. He also wrote up a description of them. Chris sent along a photo of the Budapest Market, from his recent trip to Eastern Europe. All these nice photographic and textual contributions, makes blogging this little old blog, so much easier.

I’ve been very busy with my first of two classes, glass casting, it’s taking up most of my time and when it isn’t, I have to work in the office, go to lectures, work on stuff for my show next week, etc. I’ve sent some pictures from the class that I took on my iPhone. The first one is a photo of some of my molds prepped before casting. The next photo shows a mold after I’ve poured hot, liquid glass via a looong steel ladle straight from the furnace. The glass is allowed to carefully cool for only a couple of minutes before it’s rushed to the annealing ovens and slowly cooled over an eight-hour process. – Dan

Anne and I biked in the Park on Saturday morning, in an attempt to beat the heat. We were only partially successful. We got 20 miles, which went well with the 20 miles that Anne got Friday. In the afternoon, we got a new trailer hitch bike rack at REI that went well with the trailer hitch receiver that we had put on the Prius, on Friday. Toyota does not recommend putting trailer hitches on the Prius, not even for bike racks, but websites like Prius Chat attribute that stance to liability concerns on the part of the Toyota Corporation. Think, stuck accelerator pedals and runaway cars, “those crazy American drivers”. Other websites, like Juiced Hybrid, sell them and suggest that anyone can install them. We went with professionals, our usual car repair shop, Telle Tire. Anne picked up the car and told me how excited the mechanics there were about getting to work on a new car, better than the usual fare they get to work on. The nice lady at REI, carefully inspected our hitch receiver, printed out its data sheet and made sure that the bike rack we purchased would work with the hitch and the Prius.

The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall (Hungarian “Nagycsarnok”), on Fővám Tér in the 9th district, is the largest indoor market in Budapest. It was designed and built by Samu Pecz. A great number of stalls offer a huge variety of vegetables, fruit, cheese and meat. The roof has been restored to the distinctive Zsolnay tiling. Most of the stalls on the ground floor offer popular souvenirs such as paprika, tokaji, and caviar. In the 1st floor you can find typical tourist articles, such as pictures, dolls, glasses, tablecloths, chess boards and clothes made in Hungarian style. – Wiki

Plenary Photography

The photographs with this post are courtesy of Chris’s camera. Chris landed back in the USA last weekend, after spending a couple of weeks of touring around Eastern Europe. Cities that he visited include Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Munich, and these are just the ones that I heard about. He took a couple of hundred gigabytes of photos, so I suspect that well see more than just these two pictures in the future. The two pictures with this post show the BMW World Headquarters’ building and showroom, which are located in Munich. Chris drives a BMW now, but was already talking about getting a new one, before he left for Europe. I’m thinking that this European vacation might end up costing him a little more than planned, like the price of a new car. 😉

While Chris was in Europe, snapping pictures, I heard about a new camera company, and their new technology, which sounds amazing. The company is Lytro, founded by Ren Ng, PhD Stanford, whose doctoral dissertation received the ACM Award in 2007, for best worldwide. Lytro plans to sell their new, competitively priced camera, by the end of the year. Lytro’s camera is a plenoptic camera, also called a light-field camera. It is a camera that uses a micro-lens array to simultaneously capture different views of a scene. The camera’s computer backplane captures, analyzes and collates the scenes information in such a way that it can be easily manipulated in post processing. Lytro’s photo gallery is fun to play with. Lytro calls these living pictures. In addition to being able to select the focal point of any photograph, the entire photo can be brought into focus. The stereoscopic nature of the camera allows for a natural 3D effect. Through animation, these living photos can become “4D pictures”, or movies.