Wednesday, December 24, 2014

This Never Happened To...

"Well some people try to pick up girls
And get called assholes
This never happened to Pablo Picasso"

So we were told by The Modern Lovers (and later by John Cale who produced Richman's original and by Bowie who covered the song too.)

But meanwhile is it just me or does this zombie finger puppet received this day by Banished Jr. bear an uncanny resemblance to an undead Pablo?

I thought though, according to the lyric, that it was the girls would turn the color of the avocado.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Found In An Old Blue Folder #2

Also found in the blue folder was this piece of comic book memorabilia.

Its an original sketch by Bob Burden, creator of Flaming Carrot and of the Mystery Men.

It was drawn at the London ComicCon in the fall of 1989. Interestingly we can see, in the picture above, that some years later this is still a popular subject with Bob.
 It was a different world back then. This was drawn free of charge on the artists own pre-printed card stock.
When Banished Jr wanted his Adventure Time print signed by the artist at Tidewater ComiCon this year it cost him (meaning cost me) $10.00 for the privilege
I'm happy to see Mr Burden is still working and was going to be a guest at one of the North Carolina Cons this year.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Found In An Old Blue Folder #1

I was sorting through some old folders and boxes at the weekend. Most of it was stuff that came over from the UK 10 years ago. And most of it hasn't seen the light of day in all those years. There was one blue card folder with a selection of oddities that covered lots of old enthusiasms and old friends and collaborators. Amongst them was this:

Bombardments #2 a graphic score for percussion by Robert Moran from 1965. It was given to me by a long ago mail art collaborator, painter John Upton. The score is suffering now and one quarter had become entirely detached at the folds. It lived for many years in a frame on the wall of my house in Gloucester. It ought to go back into a frame again I think if I can repair it.

As for Moran he's  happily still around. 

Alas John Upton is not having died in 2005 but happily at least a little of his art is available online

I should perhaps consider a raid into my own mail art archive to post some more of his work. He was a marvelous correspondent and raconteur. He was also wonderfully generous both with his art and just...stuff. On discovering my interest in improvisation and chance operations in music he presented me, in addition to the Moran score, with a programme from a Royal Albert Hall concert by John Cage and Davjd Tudor in 1972 and a copy of Michael Nyman's book Experimental Music; Cage and Beyond. The latter came from a book sale of excess stock at Ayr County Library and was declared surplus to their requirements in February 1993.
So yes as winter approaches I'll add a couple of posts more on the contents of that old blue folder and then dig into the mail art archives for John's work, other correspondents and perhaps some of my own less embarrassing items.

Friday, October 31, 2014

In The Details

My step-daughter is moving into a new apartment downtown. Most apartment buildings here appear to be built in a week from MDF and plastic siding. This one is on High Street and dates from the 1940s. It's made of brick and the little architectural pleasures are in the details of pediment and tile work.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Turning these...

Into these ...

And Mrs.B's comes out on top like every year.

Scary clown in honour of Twisty the scary clown in the latest American Horror Story.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Post Office Post

I had a bunch of over sized, extra postage required halloween cards to mail out today so, it being a beautiful fall day I thought I'd drive 20 miles to Smithfield to mail them in the Post Office there. Now there is a Post Office half a mile from my house but it's manned by the rudest surliest bunch of jobsworths it has ever been my misfortune to meet. For the last 3 years I've mailed Xmas packages there and paid through the nose for the pleasure of being insulted by an entire team of unmitigated assholes. So, rant over,  it seemed worth a shot to combine a little trip out with my mail run. 
Now when I got there they were closed for lunch but what the heck I went 4 doors down and got lunch myself. A crab cake BLT (hold the T) with home made potato chips. And when the Post Office and I had both eaten I went to mail my cards. The lady was  as nice as pie and I wasn't given the third degree by some ex military asshole who is suspicious as to why anyone might want to mail something outside the USA which isn't a military base and/or currently under US occupation. In and out in 2 minutes if I hadn't paused to admire their mural.

Captain John Smith Trading With the Indians was painted by one William Abbott Cheever in 1941 as part of Roosevelt's New Deal cultural improvent scheme, the Public Works of Art Project. The PWAP ran from 1934 to 1943 and produced thousands of public artworks across America. Post Offices in particular were singled out as the most commonly visited of public buildings. Interestingly to me the scene looked to be set on the shore of the James river below the site of Fort Boykin just outside of Smithfield a spot where Jr. and I photographed Tiger Beetles back in the spring.
A better image of the painting follows not from my phone.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Night Visitor

Now the evenings are finally cooling into the low 50s it's remarkably quiet outside. Best time of year to sleep, with the windows wide open. Until last night there were still various night bugs to be heard, mostly various crickets. As the weather cools then the frequency drops but last night...silence. But we were visited by:

Nemora bistriaria the Red Fringed Emerald. A pretty little moth I think.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Nerd Fest

Just returned from escorting Banished Jr to his first Comicon in Virginia Beach. He insisted on going dressed as Batman and he seemed to enjoy himself. He bought toys, he bought signed Adventure Time comic art and he even bought some comics. 
Now he's getting into comics it makes me regret having sold my collection back in the mid 1990s. Whole Neil Gaimen runs of Sandman, the entire Alan Moore Swamp Thing, Dark Knigh Returns. Watchmen, Frank Millers Daredevil run, Claremont/Byrne X-Men. To name but a handful. What a disastrous decision that was.
Raven, Cyborg and Robin 
Junior with Catwoman. Apologies for the picture but my Hipstamatic decided to go into random mode at that moment.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Garden Of Horrors Updated

OK so we are done with the garden decor for this Halloween season. We left it until later in the day as it was too warm this morning and it's annoying to be sweating like a pig in October putting out your decorations. So it was nearly dark by the time we were done and that's nice so far as taking the pictures is concerned . And using Hipstamatic adds some atmosphere.

Since Sunday's original post we have made an addition in the yard. Our new zombie baby was available on line only and then on back order. So he wasn't here in time for the big set up. But he arrived on Tuesday and has now joined his siblings at play around mum See Thru Cindy's feet.  Please join us in welcoming the delightfully named Stewie Barfington. 

Plus yours truly dressed for the big night and posing with "See-Thru Cindi" our latest life size prop.

Bless Her Pointy Little Head

Found on the French doors yesterday was this Katydid, the Hook-faced Conehead (Pyrocorypha uncinata).
This is a female as seen from the lengthy ovipositor but she is still immature, a nymph and won't be adult until the spring now.

Meanwhile this weekend is the annual Halloween graveyard construction and house decoration project. I've already been busy this morning making accessories for Mrs.B's bird witch costume for the end of the month. Time to get out the Fimo for a raven beak and finger bone necklace.
I'm actually pretty happy with how it turned out though I think perhaps some paint is called for. It just looks perhaps a little...anemic yet. I'm inspired to get some more Fimo as it's been decades since I messed with it and I'm sure it has some interesting scary possibilities.
More on the Halloween decor as the weekend unfolds.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Bump In The Road...

...which I happily spotted and avoided as I drove through the neighborhood this morning. 

A small box turtle ( it's a tortoise to me) half way across the road when I spotted it.
It was moving slowly...yes I know it's a tortoise and so it is proverbially slow. But it was cool this morning so extra slow. I pulled over and moved it into the grass.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Retail Branding Madness!

Hershey's Chocolate World. Hershey PA.
And may the Mayan god of chocolate have mercy on our financial souls!
But back on the road.
Next stop home.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Passing Through...

Danbury Connecticut 

Hail to Charles Ives, a prince amongst insurance men.

And not too bad an amateur composer on the weekends.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Maine Woods

The only thing wrong with a holiday is that you have to go home. Today is our last day. Cold again this morning, close to freezing. Mist on the water again too until the sun rose above the trees and burned it off.

We took a short but vigorous hike yesterday only 3 miles in total but that's 1700 feet up in 2 miles and 1700 feet down in only about 1 mile. Yes that IS steep isn't it ? Like hauling yourself up the sheep fence on the shoulder of Penyghent...but with lots of trees.

So heading home in the morning, stopping off somewhere overnight and getting home Sunday. Sure as hell not going anywhere near New York on the way that's for sure.
We don't heart NY and even the Hudson Valley was too close for comfort.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Jr. And I spent the morning in Bethel sieving and sluicing our way through a big bucket of mine tailings in search of mineral specimens and semi precious stones.

Banished Jr.'s best find was this perfect little double terminated clear quartz crystal.
We found lots of smoky quartz, amethyst, garnet and best of all tourmaline. This one is my own best find of the day. 6 tourmaline crystals embedded in a matrix of quartz.

Well that was fun if surprisingly hard work !
Action pictures courtesy of Banished Jr.

Just One of Those Insane Maine Direction Signs

This one is in Norway Me. 

Which is right next to Paris Me.