1. says


    That dragonscale cuff looks awesome. Is it light? Looks like it has some heft to it.

    No, it isn’t light. Dragonscale weave is complex, with a layer of rings in the ‘hiding’ in the middle of the other layers. I’ve told Mister that if he makes a bunch of dragonscale cuffs, he could sell them on Etsy, easily. Before that though, there’s a dragonscale choker I want, which he’s planning to make for me.

  2. says

    Reminder: all thread comments automatically close after 3 months, to prevent spammers from flooding old articles that no one is browsing. Just let me know and I’ll create a new iteration.

  3. carlie says

    Caine – I go from long to short hair fairly routinely (every 5 years or so?) I just went from mid-back length to chin-length, and it feels sooooo good. :) (Well, it actually feels darned cold this time of year, but still good)

  4. says

    Carlie, yeah, I’ve done that a lot myself, especially as my hair grows *very* fast. Even so, I suppose I’ll leave it. Mister was on the devastated side last time I chopped it all off.

  5. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re Tethys wrote in previous_thread_154:
    Blockquote>29 January 2016 at 8:58 am
    David Bowie and David Gilmour perform Comfortably Numb
    is there a way to save this as audio_MP3? [just between you and me, everybody else, turn your back, snark snark]
    seriously, I really would like to rip, this way, occasionally.
    I am seriously stuck in Boxie Memorialize mode. Being a Floydian doubles my desire for this rip. ho hum

  6. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re Tethys wrote in previous_thread_154:

    29 January 2016 at 8:58 am
    David Bowie and David Gilmour perform Comfortably Numb

    is there a way to save this as audio_MP3? [just between you and me, everybody else, turn your back, snark snark]
    seriously, I really would like to rip, like this, occasionally.
    I am seriously stuck in Boxie Memorialize mode. Being a Floydian doubles my desire for this rip. ho hum

  7. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ack, appears i’m stuck in error-mode.
    reader can apply previous correction to latest repost.

  8. Tethys says

    slithey tove

    is there a way to save this as audio_MP3?

    I have no idea, but it was recorded by Gilmour during his On An Island tour in 2006. It’s a three day live performance at the Royal Albert Hall that was made into a documentary and a CD called Remember that Night. all hail floyd :)

  9. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    a friend of mine pointed me to a website that acts as a utility to rip youtube videos of their audio track, converting them into MP3’s.
    check out for more information. FYI
    secretly, mind you, between you and me only.
    thanks for indulging me…

  10. nahuati says

    Caine @ 17:

    Beautiful photo! I’ve also been enjoying the other Monday Mercurial posts at that website.

  11. says


    I’ve also been enjoying the other Monday Mercurial posts at that website.

    Glad you’ve been enjoying my blog.

  12. says

    YOB – Ye Olde Blacksmith, it’s always good to see you in the room. Thanks so much for letting me know about Pantene. When I was cleaning out my cedar chest some months ago, I came across a 2 foot+ ponytail, from when I cut my hair ages back. I don’t remember why I bagged it and stuck in the chest, but now it can go to Pantene.

  13. quotetheunquote says

    Re: a previous post, way back at the beginning of the previous iteration of the tread.

    That post was about the flowering of the Atacama Desert in Chile; I have since been to and returned from that country, and though I did not get anywhere near the area in question (well, I flew over it at about 20,000 ft), and so did not see the floral display there depicted, I did see a lot of penguins. Squeeeee, penguins!

    Only way I could figure to share this is via dropbox. This is just a little bit awkward, as you get a “Sign in” screen first time you try to follow the link, but don’t bother, you can bypass this by going to the bottom and click the “No, thanks…” link. I don’t think the sign-in comes up again.

    Chile 2015-2016

  14. nahuati says

    Giliell @24:
    Princess Anna of Arendelle looks so cute in her wonderful costume.

    Caine @27:
    Very beautiful dragon quilt!

  15. says

    quotetheunquote @ 23:

    Eeeeeeeeee, gorgeous shots! Thanks so much for sharing. That Thorn-tailed Rayadito, what a little beauty.

    Nahuati, thanks.

  16. says

    Quotetheunquote, I would be pleased to have your Thorn-tailed Rayadito guest photo on a Monday Mercurial or Friday Feathers. Let me know if that would be okay, with full credit and linkage, of course.

  17. quotetheunquote says


    Would be most pleased to be a guest photographer on the blog.

    I have since added another Rayadito shot – not nearly so high- res! – to the gallery, just to show better what’s in its bill! I put it second, because it is of much poorer quality, but it is actually taken before the earlier one, as the bird was coming in towards the nest. These creatures, in case it’s not evident from the first photo (which has some context) are about the size of a House Wren, and about twice as hyper; a “challenging” subject, to say the least.


  18. says

    Nahuati, about those suckers, quick layer of Liquitex transparent mixing white, then a layer of Liquitex heavy body iridescent white. Shadowing done with gray (transparent white & black), applied with a brush wet with granulation medium (Winsor & Newton), then outlining done with Liquitex heavy body iridescent rich copper. For flow, I used Liquitex gloss medium and Winsor & Newton blending medium, about 1.0 ml per mix.

  19. Tethys says

    *clicks through the photos* Such cute kinder, Giliell. May I just say, you are such a good Mommy. Both girls are clearly thrilled with their costumes.

    I am always so impressed with your eye, and your skills. May I request some new ratlet photos when you have a chance? I also wanted to ask your opinion of paint markers. I want to make some art on my bathroom walls. I have never used paint markers. Is there a brand that you would recommend? I am debating whether to work directly on the wall, or to paint my motifs onto a heavy vellum and then apply that to the wall.

  20. says

    Tethys, the ratlets aren’t little anymore! I will, however, work on getting more photos up. Paint markers, oh, I haven’t used those in years on end, and I’m sure they are much better than they used to be. I think the ones I used way back when were oil based, and I was using them to make a quote wall (I always paint directly on walls, mostly because I’m too lazy to do otherwise), and they worked quite well, but they didn’t last as long as I would like.

  21. Tethys says

    Thanks Caine. There are so many choices available in marker and pen form, but I was wondering how lightfast and durable they are. Some are inks, some are acrylic. I guess I will just have to buy some and experiment. I see that I am not the only artist who thought of making art using modern gel markers and a spirograph. I look forward to the rat photos. I’m so curious to see if the sextuplets are still nearly identical.

  22. says


    I’m so curious to see if the sextuplets are still nearly identical.

    They are! See Hellequin, Hephaestus, and Helinand.

    I love spirograph, always have. If you’re wanting lightfastness and durability, go with oil based or acrylics. Inks won’t make it.

  23. says

    Anne, they have new ones out now, with all kinds of nifty new stuff! I’ll get one soon. If nothing else, I always found spirograph to be very relaxing to do.

  24. nahuati says

    Caine @45:

    Your rats are adorable. How many do you have?

    When I was a student I was assigned a sweet and very curious black hooded rat to feed and handle. Do your rats act similar to typical black hooded rats?

  25. Tethys says

    Anne ~ Spirograph! I should dig mine out of the closet and play, one of these days.

    Caine ~ they have new ones out now, with all kinds of nifty new stuff! I’ll get one soon.

    I still have an original, made by Kenner set, and I did go dig it out of the closet, basement storeroom, other basement storeroom, attic. My kids never used it much because instead of pins to hold the ring in place, it came with a two pronged plastic thing that was placed under your paper and fit into holes in the ring. It didn’t work well, and it made a raised bump in your drawing paper, which ruined all of the designs. Now they use archival poster putty to hold the ring in place. I hope to stop into Dick Blick today and see if this pen brand fits in the holes of the gears. faber castell art pens If nothing else I can get black to make outlines, and then use the brush tips to color them in. Sadly, the color range for the extra fine tips is a bit limited.

  26. says

    Nahuati @ 48, currently, 13. The crew prior to this was one of 25. That said, Brember, one of the sextups, popped out a whole buncha babies on Friday, at least 12, haven’t gotten a proper look yet. I have no idea of how black hooded rats typically act. In my experience rats are highly individualistic, and while I’ve been lucky on the wicked smart and affectionate front, I’ve had a fair number who are not sociable and have, uh, issues.

  27. says

    Oh, um, Nahuati, if you meant our current black hoodie, Violette, well, she’s shy and scares easily, but she adores food, so it’s fairly easy to get her to show herself. She’s healthily social with the other rats, which is good, because she was being kept by herself when we came across her. Our previous black hoodie was Beatrice, one of the Great Crew™, one of Rubin’s babes, so she was on the quiet and shy side. Rubin kept all her babes just about stitched to her, especially the girls, for as long as she lived. Esme didn’t live long enough to try the same with hers, or be different, she died when they were 3 weeks old, so her babes were a precocious lot, to say the least.

    Except for Lola Grace, I haven’t been overly involved with this crew, my fault completely. I’m still not over the heartbreak of losing the last crew.

  28. roachiesmom says

    Spirograph is awesome. Mine was my mother’s; it’s one of the really early ones and is at least as old as I am. And I think it survived all the losing of All The Things the last few years.

    Gilliel, I hope you don’t mind I directed my girl-spawn towards the deer costume. She is forever in need of ideas for simple costumes she can wear for work.

    A couple people expressed interest before (months and months ago, I know), so um, Gemry’s Forest now has an etsy shop. A friend not only funded supplies (omg supplies! I haz supplies!!) she started the shop. We only have two critters up so far, although I sent out a box full of different ones. This is sort of our trial run? It’s if anyone wants to check them out.

    The pink hippos on ice skates could still be a Thing. I haven’t gotten to them yet, but they are still hovering around in my brain.

    It is so awesome having supplies again!!!

    Now I need to go follow Caine’s dragon links.

  29. says

    Brember has moved the babies to under a taboret, where I really can’t see them. And, Mama Mean-ass Dragon Sappho is standing guard.

  30. nahuati says

    Caine @52:
    What a crew of rats! I can’t imagine taking care of so many of them, although it must be very fun to see the babies. What made you decide on rats instead of gerbils, mice or hamsters?

  31. says

    Correction, Lola Grace has nine little munkehs. :D

    Nahuati @ 57, oh, it wasn’t a decision. It all started, years ago (2006), with Ash, who was a rescue – we took him as a favour to a friend. It had never occurred to us to have a rat as a pet, but Ash changed our hearts, forever.

  32. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 59
    Taboret? Is that some kind of a cupboard or cabinet?

    CongRATs on the new babies. It’s almost scary how well rats have this reproduction thing figured out.

  33. says

    Ice Swimmer @ 61:

    Taboret? Is that some kind of a cupboard or cabinet?

    Yes, an antique one, to boot.

    CongRATs on the new babies. It’s almost scary how well rats have this reproduction thing figured out.

    Thanks! Lola Grace has 12 babies, final count, all fat and well fed. We have some boys I’m about ready to hang by the balls. Talk about thinking with your dick – that, they have down. Don’t worry about commenting in regard to the dead babes, it’s fine to be happy about the live ones, I’m grateful not to be facing more dead ones. (Even though we now have a veritable fucktonne of babes. Gad.)

  34. nahuati says

    Ana has a Secret Friends Project where she turns people into unusual creatures by drawing faces on their backs. Link

  35. blf says

    There isn’t a Discuss: Snarking the Eejits thread, so this is going here — besides, it has got to be “Art” for certain definitions of “Art”, My Mardi Gras street fight with a religious zealot from Texas:

    A Baptist seminary in Dallas has taken on the carnival in New Orleans as its primary missionary foray — and I got caught up in its crosshairs

    Today a significant primary election occurs, hard on the heels of a vote in Iowa that held much surprise. But In New Orleans, today is Fat Tuesday — Mardi Gras. Hillary, Bernie, Donald, Ted and Marco will be far, far, far from our minds. We will be marching the streets in support of joy, avoiding those that peddle the opposite.

    Among those killjoys is the brand of evangelicals we get here for Carnival. The professional Jesus thugs trucked in from Texas are plotting the de-joying of our party.

    They come every year — large, muscled white men with dog-eared Bibles, every year louder and less tolerant. They wade into the heart of the party with megaphones and curse the revelers.

    Last week, they yelled in my face about how God was sending another hurricane to destroy us satanists and fornicators.

    Yes, I had on a beaded headdress with horns, but for your information, I am not a satanist, and probably I am not the latter term either, unless I get lucky.

    It seems that, in the past five years, a Baptist seminary in Dallas has taken on Mardi Gras in New Orleans as its primary missionary foray. So, two busloads of misinformed, disoriented, self‑righteous and obnoxious zealots show up each year just before Carnival. They rally on the outskirts of the French Quarter, driving each other into religious frenzies, then march into the Vieux Carré dragging huge wooden crosses.

    They have over the past half decade become the biggest litterers of Carnival, dropping thousands of leaflets on every street. […]

    All this brings to mind my own confrontation with these same self-deluded cross-bearers.

    [… I was crossing] Jackson Square, usually the habitat of jugglers and fire-eaters, face-painters and palm-readers, portrait artists and tuba players. But instead, all hell had broken loose.

    As I cross in front of St Louis Cathedral, I notice a six-foot-tall Jesus actor standing under a 20ft cross, preaching to the masses through a wireless headset microphone. With one hand he balances the cross, and with the other he gestures vehemently to the assembled masses. He is in character, long hair and beard, white robes, sandals, crown of thorns, fake blood and nail wounds. He is howling, his words amplified through two large outdoor speakers imbedded, one in each arm, in the ends of the cross’s horizontal bar.

    As I pass, he spots my horned crown. The connection is immediately made. He runs toward me dragging his cross, grabs my favorite commemorative cup from my hands — it contains an adult beverage — and holds it high above his head, still wailing in tongues. He smiles and tosses it into the sky. Two of his henchmen nod and voice their approval of both the banishment of the demon whiskey and the defeat of the devil — me.


    I go to the bar of Cafe Banquette and ask for their largest to-go cup, a 40-ounce plastic container, to be filled with ice water. When I explain its purpose, the bartender not only gives it to me for free, but gives me a cocktail on the house. The day before, the uninvited preachers had called his wife a brazen harlot when she had refused one of their leaflets.

    I carry the water back into the square, where I hear Jesus now preaching love and truth and forgiveness, As the Fates would have it, his back is to me. I walk up and pour the water slowly over his head.

    The result is instantaneous.

    He yells: “M[…]r!” very loudly, and this invocation is carried with some force by his speaker system throughout the Square. There is a split second of silence before tittering and guffaws began to rain down like so much happy confetti. He spins, his right fist balled tightly and flying hard in a wide arc at my face. However, he is off‑balance, what with holding his cross upright, and it takes very little effort for me to lean backwards out of harm’s way, and slap the semi-blessed savior firmly in the solar plexus.

    He already has “Son of a{…}” out before his disciples jerk the microphone from his head. The wires tangle in his crown of thorns, and he almost falls over with the force of his removal from the airwaves. His face is crimson now, and it takes both of his biblical associates to restrain him. Love and forgiveness are forgotten in a cascade of fury. […]

    I walk away, keeping an eye on him. The man seems untrustworthy.

  36. quotetheunquote says

    @ blf #65.

    Yes, I do believe that qualifies; the actions of writer certainly fit my definition of art – I would categorize it as “spontaneous street performance.” And it was M […]ing brilliant!

    Nothing like a bit of good old messianic love and forgiveness. Oh, and turning the other cheek.

  37. says

    I have a question. If you made something, using someone else’s art work (bought a pattern), would you put a highly noticeable ‘ copyright your name’ on it?

    I use a fair amount of stuff from Urban Threads (like the dragon on the Dragon Quilt), and while I signed that, because I did the sewing, quilting, and embroidery, I didn’t fuckin’ copyright it, it’s not my design. So, is it just me who finds doing that seriously pretentious and sleazy?

  38. Tethys says


    I didn’t fuckin’ copyright it, it’s not my design. So, is it just me who finds doing that seriously pretentious and sleazy?

    I think some people go way overboard. A one of a kind handmade item doesn’t need a copyright, I think signing and dating your art is sufficient to establish legal authorship rights. If it’s a design, or a pattern that I created myself I reserve copyright, but that is for printed materials. I don’t have any say over what other people make with the pattern, but I do request a design credit if they make and sell my designs.

    Paint Marker Report – I have procured some artist grade markers to make spiroart. I am loving the Faber Castell Pitt artist pens which are light-fast. They were far more expensive in the Dick Blick retail store, so I only bought black and sanguine to see if I liked them. I am quite pleased with them, and have since ordered some color sets for a far better price online. They contain india ink, and when you get enough color built up on the page it starts to have an iridescence shimmer. I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to work with high quality art supplies. I also bought a 10 color Marvy, Le Pen set and spent several hours playing with the spirograph. They are nice colors, but I’ve nearly used up my favorites after just one afternoon.

  39. Ice Swimmer says

    Caine @ 67

    No, I wouldn’t. I’m not sure how I’d do if I made physical objects, maybe something like “Hand made by Ice Swimmer, 2016, adapted from design by A.J. Roubo, 1782”. With music similar stuff is AFAIK better supported by copyright laws, performers and arrangers have their own sets of rights.

  40. says


    I think signing and dating your art is sufficient to establish legal authorship rights.

    Oh, this isn’t about legality in any way. When it comes to establishing that kind of thing for my stuff, my near obsessive blogging every little phase of a piece would be more than sufficient on that score. No, it’s about plopping a big ol’ © name on something where the design is not original to them.

    I’m all too aware that people steal art constantly, and artists and crafters, unfortunately, are no exception to that rule. They may be even worse. I fully understand wanting acknowledgement for your work, that’s why I sign my stuff, especially when I’ve spent hundreds to thousands of hours making a piece. When it comes to using someone else’s art for the base of piece, however, I wouldn’t dream of sticking a © on it. I’ve been in this situation, and how I handle it is the way I did the Tentacle Pillow for PZ and Mary: (second photo).

    When it comes to Urban Threads’ designs, I don’t feel it’s necessary to go that far, as they do sell the designs and are fine with people using them commercially. I just don’t think it’s ethical to put a © on it, whereas signing it would be fine.

    I have no idea why this is irritating me so much.

  41. chigau (違う) says

    Caine #70
    You are being consistently, scrupulously, honest effortlessly.
    A few dozen extra stitches to give due credit.
    It is irritating because there are so many out there who cannot be arsed.

  42. says

    Aw, thanks, Chigau. I wish someone would tell me she’s the actual artist behind all the Urban Thread designs she’s done and copyrighted all over tee-shirts. Right now, it’s souring my liking for a flickr group. Oh well.

  43. nahuati says

    Great photos, Caine!

    I really like your idea of applying to have a FTB blog. I know I would regularly visit your blog.

  44. says


    I really like your idea of applying to have a FTB blog. I know I would regularly visit your blog.

    That’s very kind of you, thanks so much.

  45. nahuati says


    Thanks for the lists of interesting peoples. I’m still making my way through visiting their sites.

    And here’s some good news for Japanese fashion and folks who use wheelchairs.

    “Japanese designers have developed new versions of the traditional kimono which can be more easily worn by wheelchair users, it’s reported.”

    “It can often take half an hour to put on the elaborate outfits, during which time the wearer has to remain standing, the Kyodo news agency reports. But some companies now offer adapted designs which feature detachable pieces, meaning they can be put on while sitting down. “We don’t want people in wheelchairs to give up wearing kimono on a special day,” says Akiko Nakajima, president of the Hanayome Kobo company, which offers kimonos that unzip in the middle.”

  46. says

    Just ordered this. I wish our little rural bank didn’t have heart failure every time we want to order outside the States. Gad, should have heard the curiosity in “corset story?” Hee. I expect there will be happy gossiping at the bank today.

  47. Tethys says


    I have no idea why this is irritating me so much.

    Um, because people taking all the credit for something they didn’t make is lying. Stamping a copyright over another artist’s work and selling it as your own design is gross hypocrisy. I have only run into one person with this problem, and I did inform the original designer about the infringement. The offender claimed the copyright was for their photography, but did add the appropriate designer credits. I hope your situation is resolved as well.

    Bebehs! So darn cute. Nom reflex activated. Thanks! :)

  48. nahuati says

    Now this is an interesting project:

    ‘Captured’: the art project where people in prison draw ‘people who should be’

    The Koch brothers, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and BP’s former boss Tony Hayward have had their mugshots drawn by a group of inmates as part of an art project entitled “Captured: people in prison drawing people who should be”.

    None of the executives have been convicted of a crime, but the two New York City-based activists behind Captured have listed the “offenses” they claim the companies the executives oversaw perpetrated alongside the actual crime of the convict who drew them.

    Goldman Sachs, for example, is accused of “mass deception” and “stealing taxpayers money”. Last month the firm paid $5bn to settle charges it mis-sold mortgage-backed bonds in the run-up the financial crisis, the latest in a series of fines related to its role in a crisis that triggered the worst recession in living memory. His portrait is drawn by Ryan Gragg, who is serving 15 years for murder.

    Hayward was BP’s boss during the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010, the worst oil spill in US history and a disaster that claimed the lives of 11 workers. BP is accused of “manslaughter” and “environmental crimes” among other charges by the project. Hayward was drawn by Benjamin Gonzalez, who is serving nine years for robbery.

  49. nahuati says

    Nice photo in #104, Caine! I wish I had that type of bird around my area. Do you put out special food to attract the birds in your photos or do you go out into the wild in search of them?
    When I saw the following article, I immediately thought of all the knitters at Pharyngula.

    Here’s an unexpected way to get healthier while sitting

    Although sitting is said to be the new smoking, there’s one way you can sit and still reap health benefits. All it takes is two needles, a pair of scissors, a crochet hook and some yarn.

    Knitting, it turns out, has both physical and psychological benefits, according to celebrated New York Times health writer and author Jane Brody.

    In a recent column, Brody said that knitting and crocheting can lower blood pressure, alleviate depression, soothe nerves, diminish arthritis and even help people lose weight. “Just as it is challenging to smoke while knitting, when hands are holding needles and hooks, there’s less snacking and mindless eating out of boredom,” she wrote.

  50. blf says

    knitting and crocheting can lower blood pressure

    The mildly deranged penguin points out that other things which go Poke! OUCH! also lower the blood pressure. Or at least decrease the blood quantity whilst providing an opportunity for some Jackson Pollock–like drip painting, albeit the choice of colours is somewhat limited.

  51. blf says

    I have not actually watched this (mostly for technical reasons), but it seems quite interesting, Steven Soderbergh recuts Raiders of the Lost Ark as a silent movie (this article is also about one and half years old):

    To show the importance of staging in filmmaking, the director reworks Steven Spielberg’s classic adventure into a moodily black and white silent film

    Having semi-retired from the directing game, Steven Soderbergh is now free to tinker in his garden shed — and his latest work is an inspired riff on a classic adventure story. He’s recut Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones tale Raiders of the Lost Ark, turning it into black-and-white silent movie.

    Writing on his own website, he wrote that the experiment was “for educational purposes only”, to illustrate the importance of considering the staging of a film’s scenes. “I operate under the theory a movie should work with the sound off, and under that theory, staging becomes paramount,” he writes. He replaces the sound with a pulsating electronic soundtrack […].

    Soderbergh praises Spielberg, writing that the director “forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are […]).” He also highlights Douglas Slocombe’s cinematography, saying it works in black and white as well as colour because “his stark, high-contrast lighting style was eye-popping regardless of medium”.

    Mr Slocombe just died, and it was whilst reading about that I stumbled across this article.

    It works remarkably well, and is indeed instructive. With just a placid soundtrack placed behind it, the composition and immaculately building tension of, say, the fistfight around a Nazi fighter plane pops out of the screen all the more.

    The lesson appears on Soderbergh’s website, Extension 765 […]

    One of the readers’s comments gives a more useful link,

  52. nahuati says

    Kindness News in the World of Art:

    This tattoo artist helps heal victims of domestic violence and self-harm for free

    For some people, scars are painful reminders of a violent past.

    That’s why Brian Finn, a tattoo artist in Toledo, Ohio, is offering his services — free of charge — to victims of domestic violence, self-harm or human trafficking. It’s his way of giving back to the community, and in the process, he’s helping survivors move past a painful part of their lives.

  53. chigau (違う) says

    nahuati #108
    In addition to being a good person, Brian Finn does fabulous work.
    That skull is stunning.

  54. Tethys says


    My anti-virus program is being ornery, and won’t let me log in to comment at Ratitude. I just wanted to say how adorable the new babies are. (How many litters!?) I can almost feel their whiskers, and clawed toes, and tiny nudging noses if I were to hold one in my hands.

    I can’t believe I still have the pair of cats who would see them as fun snacks. They have been indoor cats for nearly a decade, but occasionally a mouse or bird or squirrel gets inside and they demonstrate their well honed hunting skills from when they were farm cats. They might be nearly 19, partially deaf and going blind, but dayum they still have the lightning fast pounce, stun, and neck bite thing mastered. It’s like watching lions on Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom”.

  55. blf says

    You really need to see the photograph, it is pretty, ah, “amazing”, ‘What the hell have they done?’ Spanish castle restoration mocked:

    Matrera castle in Cádiz, southern Spain, joins list of Spanish artwork and building repairs causing hilarity and outrage

    For more than a thousand years, the battlements of Matrera castle have withstood the alternating onslaughts of Moors and Christians, the pummelling of torrential rains and the tendrilled, reclaiming creep of nature.

    Today, however, the 6ft-thick walls of the Andalusian fortress find themselves under a different, if equally ferocious, siege.

    A recently completed restoration project, intended to shore up the castle after its ruins were severely damaged by rains three years ago, has provoked an incredulous reaction from some locals and a Spanish conservation group.

    Photographs of the castle’s newly restored tower — in which new materials have been used to protect older stones and to return the hulk to its original shape and dimensions — have been mocked online and in the nearby town of Villamartín in Cádiz province.

    Local residents told Spain’s La Sexta channel they weren’t impressed, or, as one man put it: “They’ve got builders in rather than restorers and, like we say round here, they’ve cocked it up.”

    The Spanish heritage and conservation group, Hispania Nostra, was similarly critical […]: “The ‘consolidation and restoration’ — as the architects involved call it — {is} truly lamentable and has left locals and foreigners deeply shocked.”

    “Comments aren’t really necessary when you’ve seen the photographs. Foreigners have written to us saying they can’t understand why these follies — better described as heritage ‘massacres’ — still go on. And that is indeed what they are.”

    […] Carlos Quevedo, the architect who oversaw the restoration of the castle […] pointed out that the project had been painstaking, professional, and legal.

    “There were three basic aims behind it,” he told the Guardian. “To structurally consolidate those elements that were at risk; to differentiate new additions from the original structure — thus avoiding the imitative reconstructions that are prohibited by law — and to recover the volume, texture and tonality that the tower would originally have had.”

    Whilst its fairly clear the restorers had a problem (the remaining original seems to be not-self-supporting fragments), the “solution” — which reminds me of an oversized top-loading washing machine — does not live up to the stated aims of recovering the texture (or tonality? — not quite sure what is meant here), only the volume. And very much not looking like the original. In fact, you’d probably have to work at it really hard to make it look even less like the original.

  56. Saad says

    My photography got published on the local NPR website! :D

    Educating Augustans About Islam

    I did a photoshoot for the Islamic Society of Augusta as their new mosque was nearing completion a couple of years ago.

    You can see my watermark signature on the lower right.

  57. blf says

    Saad@122, Neat! Looks like a rather cool mosque. Are there more pictures in that series on-line? Or, for that matter, of the mosque (interior?) now that it is (I presume) completed and in-service?

  58. blf says

    In a follow-up to @121, Spain’s concrete castle: a case of accidental genius?:

    The new Frankenstein-like face of Matrera fortress has upset heritage watchdogs, but restores the clout its Moorish creators originally intended. As with other famous ‘botches’, might detractors learn to love it with time?

    It has been damned as the world’s worst ever restoration, yet another national embarrassment to add to Spain’s inglorious track record of botched conservation projects. The quaintly crumbling ruins of the ninth-century Matrera castle in Cádiz province have been invaded by a white concrete hulk, the precious Moorish stone walls reduced to a thin rind of history, stuck on the front of a big blank box. It is one of the most extreme facadectomies of modern times.


    Squint a bit, and you can sort of see what [architect Carlos Quevedohe] was trying to do. His approach follows a recent fashion for restoring ruins with blank additions, rebuilding the general volume of what the original structure might have been, but without any of the detail or decoration. The spirit of the original is revived, in its mineral bulk and heft, so the argument goes, but without pretending to construct an exact replica or resorting to shallow pastiche.

    Snort! I have to squint to sort of see what he was trying to do: Yes, he had a problem (see @121), but, as this article admits, “maybe he didn’t realise that the stark white blocks in the model were intended to be built in brick and stone, of a tone that chimed with the original — not rendered in white concrete, as he has chosen to do.” (The “model” referred to is actually for a different proposed restoration in Italy, but very similar to what was actually done here.) I suspect that point has hit the mark: The “modernist” (actually, more of the “concrete brutality ‘school'” of some years ago) sharp-edged concrete block into which which the obviously fragile remains were embedded is so jarring you not only have no idea what the original looked-like, you’re not even certain the original had anything like the same volume / bulk or shape, and there is no (obvious) clew to the original’s purpose. You could have blown up the remains the original and be just as well informed, plus able to build something else on a picturesque site.

  59. blf says

    “Too adorable to eat” — the mildly deranged penguin says that’s a good reason to eat them, so you’ll make some moar…

  60. nahuati says

  61. nahuati says

    Interesting Public Art Project Focused on Water:

    Water Bar, a Tap Water Tap Room Opening in Minnesota

    But Water Bar is a public art project aimed at spawning conversations about the importance of local water to individuals and communities.

    The project was conceived by Shanai Matteson and her husband Colin Kloecker of Works Progress Studio in Minneapolis. Works Progress Studio specializes in collaborative projects that focus on relationships between people, place, and environment. Since 2014, they have taken the Water Bar across the state as well as to Arkansas, Illinois, and North Carolina as a series of pop-up bars, serving local tap waters to more than 30,000 people. Now they are settling down on Central Avenue.

    Water issues have been important to the couple for a long time, and one day Kloecker said they wondered “what if we could just actually drink the Mississippi River?” A scientist friend at the University of Minnesota pointed out that they already did — the Mississippi is the source for both the Minneapolis and St. Paul water supply. That sparked an interest in comparing water from different sources in the area, so they drove around and did taste tests. And there’s plenty to compare. Kloecker says that there are eight to 10 different water sources within an hour-and-a-half drive of Minneapolis.

    From there, they came up with the idea for Water Bar as an innovative way to talk about water systems. And while the Water Bar concept pokes a bit of gentle fun at the craft, artisan drink culture, the bar premise is one people are familiar with, even while the specifics subtly subvert their expectations.

  62. nahuati says

    Caine @135 – Affinity is off to a fantastic start!!! I’ll add it to the blogs I regularly visit.

  63. nahuati says

    Artists Make Incredible Gypsy Caravans:

    Australian Traveler Finds Joy Making Ornate Gypsy Caravans by Hand

    Basil Smith has spent his whole life traveling the world and living like a nomad which makes his current profession all the more fitting.

    Basil makes Romani caravans using only manual hand tools and recycled materials – he says the more delicate and detailed he can make his creations, the better.

    The woodworker’s wife, Janet, has a workshop of her own where she painstakingly cuts all the lead glass for the window panes in each wagon.

    The video is a treat to watch.

  64. nahuati says

    Very Touching Story:

    Artist Ai Weiwei brings piano to refugee camp

    Ai Weiwei, Chinese artist, kindly made it possible for a 24-year old Syrian refugee to play a piano at a Greek refugee camp. The refugee wants to go to Germany to be with her husband and continue her music studies. It had been three years since she touched a piano because of the war.

  65. blf says

    Lost HP Lovecraft work commissioned by Houdini escapes shackles of history:

    Manuscript for The Cancer of Superstition, requested shortly before escapologist’s death, is discovered in memorabilia collection

    A long-lost manuscript by HP Lovecraft, an investigation of superstition through the ages that the author was commissioned to write by Harry Houdini, has been found in a collection of magic memorabilia.

    The Cancer of Superstition was previously known only in outline and through its first chapter. Houdini had asked Lovecraft in 1926 to ghostwrite the treatise exploring superstition, but the magician’s death later that year halted the project, as his wife did not wish to pursue it.


    The [auction] firm […] says it is “further along than other surviving sources have indicated it had reached”, with three sections entitled “The Genesis of Superstition”, “The Expansion of Superstition”, and “The Fallacy of Superstition”.

    According to the auction house […] the document explores everything from worship of the dead to werewolves and cannibalism, theorising that superstition is an “inborn inclination” that “persists only through mental indolence of those who reject modern science”.

  66. nahuati says

    In The Face Of Trump, These Graphic Designers Are Taking A Stand For Empathy

    Last night, Donald Trump moved ever closer to clinching the Republican presidential nomination. What was once a joke is looking more and more like an eventuality. But as Trump’s loose-cannon, casually xenophobic rhetoric continues to inspire vitriolic responses from both his supporters and opponents, a pair of graphic designers from New York have chosen to respond with a message of love.

    Timothy Goodman and Jessica Walsh, known previously for their “40 Days of Dating” project, organized a group of people to stand in front of Trump Tower in New York yesterday, holding up large letters that read, “Build Kindness Not Walls.” The wall, of course, is a reference to Trump’s crazy promise to erect a barrier between the United States and Mexico and somehow force Mexico pay for it.

  67. nahuati says

    Good Fashion News:

    One mom’s campaign to make stylish clothing for disabled children

    Blue jeans are a wardrobe staple, but Oliver Scheier, a 10-year-old New Jersey boy, couldn’t work the closures, couldn’t squeeze his legs into them if he wears the braces he needs to walk safely and usually had to go to school in baggy sweatpants.

    Oliver has a rare type of muscular dystrophy, and it was his desire to dress like his classmates that launched his designer mom, Mindy Scheier, on a quest to make it possible. According to Huffington Post, she started a foundation called Runway of Dreams and recruited Tommy Hilfiger to collaborate on accessible clothing. He has created a clothing line for kids who have disabilities.

    The adaptive clothing uses washable magnets and other types of closures and design techniques so that the kids can more easily get dressed in styles that look like clothing that their peers wear.

    Kudos to Mindy Scheier for her work on adaptive clothing!

  68. nahuati says

    Mano Singham has a fun post on special effects in films and TV which shows film sets prior to the work of graphic designers. Those designers do such incredible work!

  69. says

    I guess I’ll post this thought here until I have time to finish reading Anatomy of a Guitar Solo over on Nate’s blog.

    The song I’m thinking about is Long Division by Death Cab for Cutie.

    I consider the second verse of Long Division to be an example of excellent songwriting. Its qualities include:

    1) Every word is clear and useful. None are vague or word-salad style poetry.

    2) Connects to themes and metaphors (of the album and of the song) while still working perfectly on a literal level.

    3) These perfections even extend to the words that rhyme.

    As for the guitar solo (what I was originally going to talk about when I started reading Nate’s blog post) it does a good job of depicting the argument as a shouting match.

  70. quotetheunquote says

    @Caine 148:

    He is indeed!

    I love the robins in the spring, the males are such “Paper Tigers.” They “strut and fret” and “buckbuckbuck” at you, and stare you down, until … you get just a little too close. Then they fold up complete and make a break for it, complaining all the way. But I do admire their bravado.


  71. says

    “The”, oh Robins are territorial buggers. The ones around here though, they’ll let me get just about on top of nests to get shots of the babes, which I appreciate.

  72. blf says

    ‘Lost Caravaggio’ found in French attic causes rift in art world:

    Painting valued at up to €120m found by accident believed by many to be work of Renaissance master

    It could turn out to be an Italian Renaissance masterpiece by one of history’s greatest painters; yet the mysterious 400-year-old canvas was only found by accident when the owners of a house near Toulouse went to fix a leak in the ceiling.

    The large, remarkably well-preserved canvas of the beheading of the general Holofernes by Judith, from the apocryphal Book of Judith, was painted between 1600 and 1610, specialists estimate. And many experts believe it could be a work by the Milan-born master, Caravaggio.


    While other specialists have questioned its provenance, [painting expert Eric] Turquin got the backing of a top Caravaggio expert, Nicola Spinoza, former director of the Naples museum. In an expert assessment seen by Agence France-Presse, Spinoza wrote: “One has to recognise the canvas in question as a true original of the Lombard master, almost certainly identifiable, even if we do not have any tangible or irrefutable proof.”

    [… lots of argy-bargy about who may have painted it …]

  73. says

    Saad @ 172:

    That’s gorgeous! Would it be alright if I posted that, with full credit, on Affinity?

    Ice Swimmer’s photos are up today, and photos from Lofty are going up Wednesday, so I’d like to post it on Thursday.