Camera Obscura

Took a little bike ride out this afternoon. Monica wasn't well and gas has, as of this weekend I think, topped $3.50/gallon. It was a cool day, but sunny and warm enough if you keep moving.

The organizer of Camp Obscura had, in celebration of World Wide Pinhole Day (hope you were participating, Chris), set up a camera obscura at a music studio in town.

Basically, a little hole in a blacked-out window projected everything that was happening outside into the room. Not just onto the opposite wall, but the ceiling, the floor, all the walls. Varying degrees of sharpness, of color, depending on how small the hole was (it was adjustable) and all upside down.

A car projected into the corner of the room:

And the organizer demonstrating how, if you held a board closer to the hole, you could pick up more, sharper and with more vibrant color, though distorted:


Weekend That Was

Friday, had a gathering to get to later in the evening, but that left us some time after work. Luckily it was the opening of Pushpin Show. It's in the big conference room in the building where Monica works; she'd seen it after the opening (at a meeting) last year; this year, decided we'd hit the opening.

It's open to all artists, no fees, just need to be able to hang your art with pushpins. So Monica scanned a doodle she had on her bulletin board, filled out the form, and hung it.

We spent some time kicking around the show. It's a small space and it was plenty crowded. Definitely one of the best pieces was a small sketchbook, architectural drawings from a trip to Europe. Put me in the mind of architect's drawings from decades ago, when they would do the "grand tour" of classical building. That one's on the left; another one of my favorites was the woodblock (?) prints on kites, off to the side in that middle one (click for larger).


Some other good stuff. And it turned out Jett, Serena, and Poualie all had pieces in there.

Off to a farewell gathering for Bob and Laura, returning to Maine and their families. Below, with the painting Danny did for them.

Saturday morning, cleaning and chores and such. Then we drove down to Albuquerque for Paul's birthday party.

It was an 80s theme. He usually doesn't dress like Mark Knopfler in the "Money for Nothing" video. And I'm (pretty) sure that 1984 and Rio are not part of their regular decor.

Somewhere along the line, one of Paul's friends brought Rock Band and all the instruments needed to hook up to the TV out in the garage. Monica got into it, I tried once (and failed, bringing my band down) within about a minute. So I just watched.

And you can see how exciting that was. There's the girl group rock band … with all the energy of a bunch of folks concentrating on a screen and trying to press the right buttons.

Today, Monica's been working on the new Raised By Squirrels; I spent some time putting together a new project for 7000 BC; more later on that.


On the Loose in Santa Fe

Years back, on my short (but very, very wet) course with North Carolina Outward Bound, we were given a book of readings and quotes. A whole bunch of them were from a book I'd never heard of — On the Loose. I was able to track down a copy, one of the first printings (I think).

Thursday morning, tuned into the Radio CafĂ©, but only kind of half-listening, as it's still pledge season. But gradually came to realize that she was interviewing that On The Loose guy — Renny Russell — about his new book, Rock Me On the Water. And it turns out, he was going to be appearing at an event at Collected Works on Friday evening. He even concluded his interview by offering to sign old copies of On The Loose that anyone brought.

Last night, after work, headed to the shop. Got my book signed and settled in for the evening's presentation.

He began with some thoughts and anecdotes how On The Loose came to be. Really, it was just a personal project that he and his brother did for themselves, to document what they saw and how they felt on their wilderness adventures in the West. But when they showed it to David Brower, a family friend and the executive director of the Sierra Club, he felt that they had to publish it. And the Sierra Club did, over the objections of Ansel Adams, though by the time it was complete, Terry had died on a river expedition.

Renny had the original manuscript last night, and passed it around through the audience. Leather bound (with the text on the spine reading the wrong way), photos dry mounted directly on the pages, the calligraphy with the faintest pencil lines still visible.

He read some selected passages from Rock Me On the River, some dealing with Renny and Terry's early years, and how they developed their love of books alongside their love of the wilderness. Later, he moved on to thoughts on river travel and how the experience has changed over the years. And he concluded with an honest-to-goodness slide show, a full carousel of photos — offered, by and large, without any explanation or commentary — from a lifetime spent in the wilderness.


The temperature's taken a turn down the past couple days, and there's even been some snow showers. This morning, awoke to an inch or so on the non-hardtop surfaces, including the apricot blossoms. This might've done the apricots in for another year.


And it looks like Mark Dimunation's re-creation of Thomas Jefferson's library has opened. He had shared stores about this project when we saw him speak last year.


Gotta Get An Early Start If You Want To Volunteer

Earlier this week, heard that The Stream Team of WildEarth Guardians was going to be out on the Santa Fe River, and were looking for volunteers to help plant trees from 10:00-3:00.

Thought that it'd be a worthwhile activity, and a chance to get outside. But Saturday morning started a little late, and then Stacy had a special hour-long show for the pledge drive. So it was noon by the time I headed out, the site was further away than I thought, and it was around 12:30 by the time I got there. It was easy to find, with the crowds of people walking out of the riverbed and back to their cars.

Turns out there was a big turnout in the morning — who would have guessed, something on Santa Fe that started on time? — and so they were pretty well wrapped up. There was one last crew headed out to finish up, so I joined in on that.


There were a couple of big augers doing the tough work of making the holes, so the team's work was really just to put in a bundle of cottonwood clippings and then bury them back up. With around a dozen people and two pieces of heavy equipment, we were done within a half-hour or so.

Left me with the afternoon free, and more than enough time for us to make it to book launch for a new biography of Bill Mauldin. Just learned about that Friday morning, and thought it'd be worth checking out — I've long admired Mauldin's cartooning, his ability to convey so much in a single panel.

Todd DePastino is the author of Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front and the editor of Willie and Joe: The WWII Years. The event was a small, informal one; there was apparently another event Thursday that I completely missed, a big presentation of some sort. So this one was more just Q&A and anecdotes — including the story of pitching the biography, and how he couldn't generate any interest among the 30-something editors who'd never heard of Mauldin, and only got the book going when his 60-something agent found a 70-something editor for it. There were also plenty of tales from Mauldin's life (that I'm assuming are covered in the book) — and some from several of Mauldin's relatives in the audience.


The Annual Andy

'Round about this time last week, we were hosting Andy on what's become an annual work trip/weekend in Santa Fe. He arrived without incident on Thursday night, we got some dinner at Zia, spent some time visiting, and then packed him off for the night in the Aero Bed.

Friday morning…and the Aero Bed had a leak overnight. Leaving Andy up first, though not particularly rested. I'd taken the day off but Monica went off to work; we got out the gaffer's tape and patched the hole, reinflated the bed, and headed out for breakfast. Burritos, cause we were in for a big day up in Los Alamos.

Started out at The Black Hole, kicked around there for a while, poking around all the cool equipment. Thinking about buying a panel of toggle switches and just installing it somewhere in the house. Flick switches on and off, y'know, act like it controls secret stuff. There was a movie production team there, gathering up all sorts of things into a big van.

Then up to the Caldera, the trail at the edge that leads down. Temperatures were in the 60s, it was a bit overcast. Still some snow on the ground as we got higher — and on the trail as we set out.

I anticipated as much, but also figured it would be packed down. And it was. Mostly. Enough to go a dozen or so steps before dropping through, up to the knee so that the granular snow leaked into your boots. Yeah, it was slow going, but pretty cool when we made it to the end.

Some lunch there, and off to Bandelier. We had time, but not a lot, so we kind of did a whirlwind tour of Frijoles Canyon and a dash up the ladders to the kiva up in the cliffs.


On the road, back home to pick up Monica, and then a hot soak at Ten Thousand Waves. We got the same tub as when Bob and Claire visited. And, though it was cool once the sun set, it relatively warm once you were in the tub for a while. Warm enough to try the cold plunge a couple times. Dinner downtown at San Francisco Street Bar and Grill, then home for more socializing. We found the old patch kit for the bed, pulled the tape off, and fixed it up.

Saturday morning…the bed had popped another leak. So a trip to get a new bed was clearly in order, but other than that, we had no plans. Started off the morning slowly, but then Andy wanted to check out Jackalope — and see about getting us a fire pit as a housewarming present that we could all enjoy that evening. Though we had fun at Jackalope, we found out they didn't have fire pits. Neither did another local store. But Target did, along with a new air mattress.

The rest of the afternoon, then, was some errands, some walking around the neighborhood, and then getting set up outside for the evening. Made some carnitas tacos, had some margaritas and cigars, an stayed outside enjoying the fire well into the night.

The new air mattress held up. Some breakfast, then off to the airport. Some delays, so we stuck around, but Andy made it out and home.



When Andy visited around this time last year, we met up with our realtor so we could show him our newly purchased house. The way we remembered it, the apricot tree had started to bloom. Of course, there was a pretty nasty cold snap a few weeks later and most of the blossoms died off, leaving us with just a handful of fruit for the year.

So when Andy arrived back in town last Thursday — more on that once I get a chance — there were maybe a few buds on the tree. But by the time he left on Sunday, it was blooming. And yesterday, there were even more by the time I got home from work.