Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Monday?

A couple of the refugees from the old 360 are trying to get theme days going here. As my frequent readers know I do Poetic Journey on Wednesdays on my blog Creative Journey (hotlinked on this page). Dangerous Meredith and Nicholas V (Intelliblog) are supporters of the Movie Monday, so check out their blogs.

I thought I might join in from time to time but what I have to report on this week is not really a movie but a British television series: The Last Detective.

The Last Detective is an ITV drama starring Peter Davison as Dangerous Davies. The first series aired in 2003 with three more seasons succeeding this. The first consisted of a pilot and three episodes, the second and the third series both consisted of four normal episodes and the fourth series increased the run to five episodes and the duration of each individual episode to ninety minutes as opposed to the previous seventy minute format. As of 2007 this series had seventeen episodes in total. The series follows Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies who is seen as a joke by his colleagues but is committed to his work. As the series progress, his reputation improves with his colleagues and his estranged wife, Julie. The series is based on the Dangerous Davies series of novels written by Leslie Thomas.

Granada have stated that the fourth series was the last. "The Last Detective: Complete Collection" was released on Region 1 DVD on 20th January 2009 and includes all 17 episodes of the TV show, the movie starring Bernard Cribbins which tells the same story as the TV pilot, and other features including an interview with Peter Davison.

I have become quite a fan of British television especially since opting out of American television which has been aimed more and more toward the lowest common denominator. Since cutting off the cable feed I have joined Netflix and watch even my British favorites on DVD's. Definitely the way to go with no commercials or interruptions for fundraisers or station identifications. You can actually keep track of the plots. There is some great character development on this particular series.

DVD's are also a great way to catch those shows you did not see when they were actually on the air. And you can watch the whole series in a short period of time instead of over years.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday Sumup for Last Sunday in September

I frankly cannot believe that September is almost gone. Which makes the year 2009 three fourths complete. I won't give you that stupid count down to Christmas. Fall is busy enough here without adding that in.

This week included two "required social events" to promote art in our northeastern section of New Mexico. For the last dozen years I have tried to explain to people I meet without mentioning the word Taos. It and Santa Fe were probably the two most recognized communities in New Mexico. At one time Taos had signs coming into it on major highways that proclaimed: Taos Soul of the Southwest. Well, if that was the case I thought it needed and exorcism and said so. The chamber of commerce there finally discontinued that slogan because of "associations."

It is not easy to present your community in a positive light that is remembered by all that visit. Angel Fire was for so long that upstart skiing resort for Texans. We did not even have a cementary. People that died here got buried "back home." That is changing. People have come and stayed and become committed to the "right" growth for the area. And I like to think I have had a significant impact in the growth and recognition of the art community here.

The regular gallery reception on Friday and the special reception for magazine writers last night have underscored those years of effort. And how far we have come. Angel Fire is now getting recognized for more than just skiing. Which, since I am an artist with a new open studio, is good.

It has otherwise been a quiet week. My sister and her husband did not make it up this week for four wheeling. And I have been delving through things to put into my Been There/Done That Art Garage Sale next weekend. It was a week that raised more questions than it provided answers. Somehow that, or the receptions, or fall has gotten me thinking back on the good old days. Which, of course, always requires a trip to YouTube. Found the following video you may enjoy if you are about my age. All those were the days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Word Thursday - Private

The old Y!360 used to have a Word Thursday. I even hosted that weekly event for some months. I found it quite informative as it always sent me searching for a new word or seeking the exact definition for a word I thought I knew and certainly used enough.

Today on Facebook I was suddenly overcome with an intense need for privacy. Yes, I know that Facebook privacy is an oxymoron (I will let you go look that one up). But despite the fact that I post four blogs, have a website for my business, a studio open to the public, and have an active Facebook account I am really a very private person. I don't attend high school reunions or trod the old college campas or go tripping through the Internet looking for old friends. This is now and that was then.

Nor am I on all these social networks for the sake of finding new friends especially. I have met some great new people admittedly but I trust slowly. And I find that my friends are almost as private as I am. Today I made a comment on comment on the FB page of a more public friend of mine and was ambushed by one of her friends. I immediately deleted my comment (not because I am wrong but because I was afraid of catching something - cooties maybe) and dashed back to my settings and cranked everything down to friends only so the friend of a friend could not follow me back to my lair.

So my word today is private.


1. belonging to some particular person: private property.
2. pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; individual; personal: for your private satisfaction.
3. confined to or intended only for the persons immediately concerned; confidential: a private meeting.
4. personal and not publicly expressed: one's private feelings.
5. not holding public office or employment: private citizens.
6. not of an official or public character: private life.
7. removed from or out of public view or knowledge; secret: private papers.
8. not open or accessible to the general public: a private beach.
9. undertaken individually or personally: private research.
10. without the presence of others; alone.
11. solitary; secluded.
12. preferring privacy; retiring: a very private person.
13. intimate; most personal: private behavior.
14. of, having, or receiving special hospital facilities, privileges, and services, esp. a room of one's own and liberal visiting hours: a private room; a private patient.
15. of lowest military rank.
16. of, pertaining to, or coming from nongovernmental sources: private funding.
17. a soldier of one of the three lowest enlisted ranks.
18. privates. private parts.
19. in private, not publicly; secretly: The hearing will be conducted in private.

1350–1400; ME < class="ital-inline">prīvātus private, lit., taken away (from public affairs), special use of ptp. of prīvāre to rob. See deprive, -ate 1

pri⋅vate⋅ly, adverb
pri⋅vate⋅ness, noun

2. singular, particular, peculiar. 10. sequestered, retired.

2. general, public.

All I have to add to this is Yes. That's me really.

Because I am an artist I have a public personna but I am inside an intensely private person.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Chat over Coffee - Winter Coming

September is only two-thirds gone and the weather site says to expect up to two inches of snow tonight. Usually our first measurable snow does not arrive until Halloween. The ski areas do not begin to blow snow traditionally until the 30th of October. It just won't stick any earlier than that, and some years not then. The three cords of wood I have ordered for the wood stove is being delivered the last of October.

So what happened to Indian Summer? You know that delightful time of the year where we all get to finish up our list of to do's before winter. This year we have had rain. Mind you rain is nice but it does not allow you to do those outside tasks that need done before the snow flies. I have re-channeled my energy (after recovering from the either very late summer cold or very early winter cold) into organizing the interior of my living space.

I was tackling the clothing exchange yesterday (summer clothes to top shelves, winter clothes out to be handy, etc) and noticed that I had not quite got the winter stuff stored this spring. Nor had I worn half of my summer stuff this summer. Just has not been warm enough for shorts even mid day. The economy is not going to allow for a winter escape to the beach so some of the summer clothes went into the Thrift Shop bags. I'll deal with new if and when I can afford a cruise.

I was remembering that during the studio construction I was reduced to living in the two upstairs rooms. The sewing room/guest room got put in order at last but my bedroom (in the midst of redecorating when the carpenter fell through the living room ceiling) is still in some havoc. So my task this week is to finally reclaim that space beginning with the clothes and moving to the furniture and boxes shoved in there.

And for the first week in October I am planning a studio sale. Going to drastically mark down all my unframed work and many of my traditional watercolors I did and framed. I need wall space before winter closes me in.

"Give me elbow room," cried Daniel Boone.

So what are your winter tasks? And how long do you think we have before bad weather?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Sum Up for September 20, 2009

It seems like longer than a week since I won the Best of Show in the Illusions exhibit. I celebrated by getting sick; no doubt from spending all that time an energy in the 1st National Bank building where the exhibit was held. The weather outside was around 58 but they had the exhibit room chilled with air conditioning to 66. Not very green of them.

Monday my scratching throat became a full on upper chest cold complete with hacking cough. Yesterday I finally felt good enough to run to Taos and purchase some much needed items - like tissues. Fortunately Albertson's was having sales all through the store on canned goods and my favorite pasta (Dreamfields-low carb) and so I stocked up the larder without emptying the bank account.

I had wanted to go to Santa Fe this weekend and take in the huge art expo show but my energy and my available funds said that would not be wise. It is time to be like the ant and horde for winter. Unfortunately I am often more like the grasshopper from that old fable.

While in Taos I got the French Press coffee maker I blogged about. And a supply of Senseo pods for my pod brewer. An interesting thing has happened since the demise of my Mr. Coffee - I seem to be drinking less and enjoying it more. And I have gone back to drinking more green tea in the middle of the day. Albertson's had a sale on my favorite brand of that too.

Needless to say with the cold I have not gotten any painting done or much else. This next week will mean diving into the paintings I had begun but not finished. And I am toying with a "garage sale" of sorts. Thinking of having an open studio event and mark all my old watercolors (on paper and not canvas and under glass) down 50% to free up wall space. Also some unframed mixed media pictures and reduced prices. And those tossed off art supplies I now most likely will not use. Such a sale event could bring in some revenue and free up wall and storage space before winter hits.

Always a question: When will winter hit? In some ways it would seem early. We have gotten more rain and cooler nights earlier than usual but then other signs say it will either be a delayed onset to winter or just a mild one. I am not having the influx of spiders and insects that general procede extended bad weather. Though in all fairness the cats have been enjoying a field day of field mice but in the field.

I expect the Aspen will be in all their glory next weekend. When the clouds lift (they have been on the deck a lot) you can see spots of gold beginning on them thar hills. I hope for good weather so I and my sister can record them in pixels to share.

How has your week been?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where Have all the Flowers Gone?

My sister and I got into a conversation recently of the concerts we had gone to as young adults. Most of my concert going was during college and in the years immediately after wards, but I was surprised at how many of the big music makers of my generation I had seen live. Peter, Paul and Mary were merely one of the groups that I had the opportunity to see.

Mary Travers has died so there is no longer a Peter, Paul and Mary. I think the world is a bit lessor today. I know my world seems sadder.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - The Weekend

This adobe storage shed either is too small to store all inside or the owner has found an ideal solution to more storage space and holding down the roof at the same time. Even the kitchen sink is up there. This has been like my life this last few days - crammed to the roof with stuff.

But I have survived it. Or think I have. This morning I have a sore throat and feel rather punky so I am laying low. I have to open the studio today but don't expect any visitors. And I have three DVD's to watch after my sister and her husband take off this morning.

We had lots of rain this weekend while the Illusions exhibit was up. Probably factored in to the low numbers attending. But as frequent readers of my blog and friends on Facebook know I won best of show and my sister got honorable mention. And yesterday we breakfasted in town and people stopped by our table to congratulate us again. Then we went four wheeling and I took the picture of the innovative storage shed above.

This morning in addition to watching movies I have to do some laundry and re-assemble the kitchen. When you have guests and come and go from one event to the next the kitchen suffers. I had it pretty nicely dressed up earlier this week.

On the continuing issue of coffee makers: I have been using my Senseo maker (sister brought some pods up) and my espresso maker (went to store for espresso grind). I seem to drink less coffee. Later this week I may bounce into Taos to get a French Press.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Book Review - The Appeal

I and a friend began a group on Facebook called Book Nerds where we discuss books of course. And other things. We have recently begun to post book reviews either in short on the discussion board or linked in from our other sites, so I have decided to begin doing book reviews here on Chats. We had a book Tuesday on the old Y!360 but I cannot get through a book a week unless I do nothing else so it will be an occasional event.

I ready John Grisham's The Appeal a couple of weeks ago, and it lingers in my thoughts. That for me is a mark of a good book. Another test of a good read for me is if I learned something, and I did in this book. Seldom has Grisham disappointed me but I am particularly fond of those books where he returns to his roots in rural Mississippi - even those that are not legal suspense novels. This book is both legal suspense and rural Mississippi and takes on the tort process. Timely topic given that the Republicans want tort reform in the health care bill.

I was on the fence about huge settlements in law suits over whether McDonald's served its coffee too hot or not. But Grisham, in a suspenseful novel, advances the thought that without those huge settlements (which are mere pennies to big companies) we would go from being at the mercy of those with the deepest pockets to pay the most lawyers to having no avenue of redress at all. In other words what the tort reformers want to do is make it impossible for little people to sue big business. But he seems not to be against some reform and without distracting from the story line presents some alternatives.

I recommend this book for anyone that wants a good read. But I also recommend it for anyone that wants a view of all that is wrong and write with the appeal process and election of judges.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee????

I woke up this morning and prepared coffee in my Mr. Coffee maker like the one above only black. Don't you think it is stupid to have a white plastic machine to make brown coffee that stains the best of materials? But I digress. Oh, that's right I am allowed to digress here on Chats.

But back to topic. My Mr. Coffee maker failed. I will admit it has done better than the Black & Decker models. I went through three of them in six months which resulted in a surge strip for the coffee maker as the failures seemed to be of an electronic nature. That was my working theory. Then a friend told me that one of the reasons electronics are cheap at Wal-Mart is they get the factory seconds or reconditioned models often. So I bought my Mr. Coffee from another outlet. I bought the cheaper model because four coffee makers in less than a year is getting right pricey.

And the Mr. Coffee did last about six months I think. So better than Black&Decker but not good. Mother had a peculator that lasted so long the coating on the inside was coming off exposing the brass base metal and making the coffee taste funny. And I previously had a Krupps (gift from my sister) which made espresso and coffee. It lasted almost seven years.

Then I went through a few years with a French press coffee maker. I was living alone and could indulge myself with fresh ground coffee made a couple cups at a time. I loved my French press but I broke it. So here I sit with decisions on coffee makers. I have the Senseo which makes it one cup at a time. Expensive per cup but it might cut down on how much I drink. I can retrieve the Mr. Coffee (a white basic one) from the rental unit temporarily until I have funds in the budget to either buy a new Krupps or go back to a French press.

Frankly, I am leaning toward the latter choice. It is simple, elegant, easy to clean, and has no electronics to fail. I already know how to boil water so no learning curve with the timing/brew/grinding options covered in a bigger manual than my computer came with. I already have the Senseo and an espresso machine.

How do you make your coffee in the morning?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Sum Up - Table Rules

This last week seems to be a lot about principles and ethics. It began with the meeting with my legal aid attorney and talking about the number of times my contractor had changed the rules and his estimate. And it seems to be ending on a relatively trivial incident in Facebook.

My family were game players. Dad taught us numerous card games including poker and I remember from a very early age According to Hoyle and the terms table and house rules. The dealer got to call the game, what was wild, what it took to open and the ante amount. Those rules existed until the deck was passed to the next dealer and they in turn got to set the rules.

We carried this practice to the houses of friends and games such as Monopoly. Everyone of my circle seemed to handle Free Parking and fines differently. The Parker Bros rules in the lid of the box were the Book of Hoyle unless the owner of the game called "table" or "house" rules. There often was much discussion as the banker dealt out the money and others set up the chance cards, etc. But once the dice was first rolled the rules remained the same throughout the game. Though I can remember some discussion as to interpretation from time to time.

I believe I have made the mistake in believing that life was or should be like those games. Rules and laws are set and you abide by them or you sit out that game or you wait until you have an opportunity to re-write them. And by re-write I mean per the house or state or federal guidelines on such matters. I have lobbied hard and often on laws I don't believe in but until they are changed I follow them.

As soon as the legal matter is settled with the contractor I am devoting lots of my time to trying to bring the mechanic's lien laws in my state into the 21st century. My quiet mention of the changing the rules mid stream matter on Facebook seems to have resulted in the founder of the group taking her football and going home. That is certainly her option. I consider it a bit childish but that is my opinion.

Dad often told me and my siblings that the world was not fair but I still put a lot of stake in the rules. And like in Pirates of the Caribbean the code may only be guidelines, but they are guidelines only as long as they are considered important. Rules, laws, and codes are important and have been since the time of Hanarobi for the smooth operation of society regardless of the size of that society - from poker table to United Nations.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Friday Foto and story

There is at the upper altitudes around here a conifer called a Bristle Cone Pine. It is so named the story goes because its cone has bristles. Bristle cone pines almost died out here because it takes a fire to open the cones and reseed these slow going beauties.

On our Rubicon trips Debbie and I have discovered groves of the conifers that seem to be thriving but I had not until today at 11165 feet seen a bristle cone pine cone. This picture could be my Christmas card this year. I feel so graced to finally see a bristle cone on the tree.