This is the place where I round up a corral chock-full of mixed media art, vintage collections, digital escapades, and some occasionally snarky observations about life with junk, books, rescue dogs and nearly-grown children.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Found Things

From my scanner to you, ephemera bits and pieces.
 Detail from a vintage tourist map of Tokyo.

 Front and back covers of a Japanese tourist brochure, most likely from Hokkaido, circa 1960s.  I acquired a packet of vintage travel ephemera from eBay.  I like the strong design elements in this piece--Japanese graphics never fail to impress.
Traveling back to the Pacific Rim, here's a shot of the Los Angeles International Airport on a postcard from the late 1970s or very early 1980s when deckle edges were the rage.  My husband and I once had dinner in the famous Googie-inspired revolving restaurant.

Enbiggen this postcard from Cairo, Egypt to appreciate the stamps and cancellations and to read about the journey.  I lived in Tripoli, Libya, when I was in junior high.

This postcard-size image of Waikiki at dusk is actually a tiny painting, done on canvas board.  I found it at Savers on O'ahu in 2000.

And from a vintage manual for Naval seaman:

This 1940 copy of "The Bluejackets' Manual" belonged to Raymond McAfee, A.S., and contains detailed instructions about every aspect that a Naval seaman might have needed to know in those months before World War II began for the American military.
In case you find yourself on a boat and need to know which way is "on starboard beam."

The Navy Standard Compass Card.  Love the fleur de lis at the North Point.  I hope you enjoy these scanned bits of history.

Just for Fun

Monday again, so enjoy a couple of day-brighteners!

The awesome Mrs. Puff urges everyone to practice "Safe Pix".

This is the BEST store in Montgomery, Texas! The owner, Ms. Lindy, and her daughter have a wonderfully quirky style, with tons and tons of cool jewelry, hand-made scarves (knitted, knotted and crocheted), plus the best displays around. Recycling is the watchword--anything that can be glued, sewn or attached with jump rings is incorporated into the store's displays and goods.

The store also carries a great selection of Rodeo-femme and edgy clothing to tickle the fancy of Redneck Girls, Goth Chicks, Boho Babes and Rodeo Queens. I bought two mufflers and one braided "belt" hand-made by Lindy. She and her daughter are selling their goods at the Dallas Market. But Houstonians don't have to head to the Big D for a fashion fix. Just mosey out to Montgomery, Texas, and get your glam on! The weather's perfect this time of year.

If you don't have a horse, not to worry.  Montgomery, Texas, has plenty of parking, plus a fine selection of antique and curio shops to tempt you.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hurrah for Marching Band!

 Vintage Tuba Guy on Tuba Sheet Music.

It's Septemeber in Texas, and that means high school football--er, I mean Marching Band!  Yep, bring out the horns, warm up the drum line, fill up the stands with Band Moms.  Let's hear it for Band!

 Both of my children are Band Geeks--my son played Tuba from 6th grade through high school, both in Louisiana and in Texas.

 The Belle Chasse High School Band went to Walt Disney World in April 2005.  My son was one of two tuba players.  The 50-member Fighting Cardinal Band marched down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This was taken after their march.  For some of these students, this trip was the highlight of high school before Katrina made landfall a few months later. 
--Photo, courtesy of the Interwebs.

 My son marched for two seasons in the Texas Tech Goin' Band from Raiderland in Lubbock Texas.  The Goin' Band is one of the largest university Marching Bands, with 450 members.  My son marched half-times at two college Bowl games.

 Band is serious business, starting with Band Camp at the end of July, two weeks before school starts.

I bought my daughter a new one-gallon jug because she said she didn't want to carry her brother's jug with "NIRVANA" and  "Blink 182" logos scrawled in Sharpie on the sides.  She is still carrying it and we have had four football games.

You need your equipment--above is my daughter's mellophone case and water jug. With temperatures in the high 90s, hydration is an important component of Marching Band.

The kids learn a new warm-up routine--this year's routine is set to the music of "Fireflies" by "Owl City".  Jumping builds synchronized movement:

At the end of Band Camp, the kids put on an Exhibition, highlighting the first dozen or so pages of music memorized and drill patterns learned.  My daughter is a junior, and serves as a Band Historian.

Our Band, The Woodlands High School Highlander Marching Band, has about 250 members.  The Band specializes in field show competition, using custom-prepared drills set to complex musical scores.  The kids play and march in challenging, precise patterns.  The average show is about 100 pages long.  The kids must memorize EVERYTHING.  The Band will compete this year in two Bands of America (BOA) competitions and up to three Texast UIL competitions, not counting the field show performances at half-time.

This is our district's Home Stadium, in use for it's third season. In Texas, high school football is the state religion and is fraught with ritual, tradition and passion.  There really is almost as much drama as you see on TV's "Friday Night Lights."
Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Of course,  the football games, according to most Band kids, serve as a backdrop to playing "Stand Tunes" and provide a top-notch dating pool.  Student romances flower, bloom and wither every game.  We take school buses to the games, and the kids have to haul everything themselves.  The bigger instruments come by semi-truck.

This is our Band Truck.
The Band owns the carrier, and the Band Boosters  pay the driver with the tractor to haul our equipment.
Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Our students are dedicated--many of them juggle AP classes and other activities as well as Band, which consumes 20 hours a week beyond school during Marching Season.

The kids play through all sorts of weather.  Football games are rarely cancelled--the last time this happened was during Hurricane Ike in 2008.  The games are played in heat and rain for most of the season.

 Rain threatened our second pre-season game.  The rainbow was cool.  The rain drizzles were not so great.

The field show will change many times over the course of the season.  For now, the Guard has white flags and black uniforms.  Later the girls will get custom-made guard uniforms and flags that go with the show theme.  The choreography of the marching will be tweaked and adjusted until a cohesive show emerges.  The judges look for the quality of the music, the challenge involved in the score, and the complexity and precision of the marching.  Artsy considerations also play an important part in the judging--what the half-time crowd likes and the BOA judges love are often two different things.

Photo courtesy of Steve Guberman.

Marching Band takes a big commitment, both from the parents who must pay the fees (I don't like to think about what I could have done with the money I've spent on my kids' Band experiences) and from the students, who must squeeze their school work in around grueling practices and late-night arrivals home from football games.

My daughter is an awesome, dedicated musician, and we're proud of her.  She'll remember her Band days fondly, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer Sunday

From my garden:

My latest foster, a tiny, cute Chihuahua boy who was starving to death in the Shelter due to stress:

Vintage compass on a vintage map.
My husband got me this lovely, palm-sized vintage compass at a ship salvage shop and antique dealer in Bangladesh.

 Vintage compass on a vintage map.

The walnut-toned wood box has a metal label reading "Negretti & Zambra, as does the compass itself, both on the cover, and under the glass on the rose's face. The outside of the compass lid reads "Edward VII Compass King & Emporer 1908". The date, 1908, and the word, "London" is inscribed on the compass rose under the glass. The compass has a fob, as well as a sliding knob to lock the floating needle in place when not in use.

The poem, Robert Frost's "The Road Less Taken" has been engraved on brass-toned metal and appears to have been attached to the inside cover. This poem dates to 1915 and was not really considered a classic until the mid-1920s. I'm assuming that the inscription was added later, particularly because the font-styles are more modern.

My husband isn't sure if the compass actually dates to 1908. Negretti & Zambra manufactured compasses, telescopes, monocules, barameters and other scientific items during this time period, but I was unable to find a similar compass style during a fairly comprehensive Internet search.

If you know anything about vintage compasses, please leave a comment. No matter whether this is a reproduction or an actual antique, it is still a wonderful addition to my collection of cartography and geographic ephemera.

Necklaces from Forever 21.  Owls and sweet Victorian designs are quite the rage at this trendy teen-fashion store.  A new, large store just opened in our local mall.  My 16-year-old is in swoony heaven.

Page scan from a vintage booklet about fuchsias.  It's far too hot to grow these beauties here in Houston.  During the 1980s, I worked in a landscape nursery, and fuchsias like these were very popular.  We would have quizzes from the boss to identify the blossoms by name.  I love the dreamy, soft hues of this old photograph.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pepper Gets a Home

I've been involved in animal rescue for the past nine years, and currently, I foster dogs from our County Animal Shelter.  I normally take the smaller dogs, especially the Chihuahuas.  I'm not a Chihuahua owner, but my Mom has always had them so I know the breed.

 Isn't that overbite and little snaggle just the cutest?

One of my little guys, a cutie named Pepper, got a home yesterday while I was working an Off-Site adoption at our local PetsMart.

 Pepper met Ms. Sonya Fitzgerald at a fundraiser held at Barker Street Bakery, The Woodlands, TX.

Pepper was terrified when he first came to my house, but had blossomed into a sweet, bouncy, barky little dog.  He got the chance to meet Sonya Fitzgerald, the pet psychic who used to have a show on Animal Planet.  I'm not a believer, but it was a fun experience.  Pepper "told" Ms. Sonya that he's a good barker and a very good guard dog!  And what Chihuahua doesn't have those skills!

Pepper wrestles with Tucker, another foster, while Cross, my little Rat Terrier oversees things.

It's always a bittersweet thing to send a foster dog on its way to a new, loving home, but it's something I love doing.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More '70s Time Travel

 Mushrooms!  Orange and yellow color themes!  Sweet daisies!  It's the '70s!

I was 11 as the 1970s began, and as I was the oldest child, and lacked older cousins or hip babysitters, I missed the Peace-Love '60s.   I only knew what a "hippie" was from novels or from reading "Time" magazine.  But I remember the 1970s!  My  16-year-old daughter is taking an apparel class this semester in high school, and she is fascinated by the punk fashions of the late '70s.

 Daisies...there were daisies everywhere in the 1970s.

She was disappointed when I explained that I never even saw punk fashion until I was out of college and was going to clubs.  Alas, she doesn't realize that the 1970s was about Earth Shoes, Ditto jeans, baseball jersey tee shirts (my favorite one said "32", for some special reason that now eludes me), plaid pants, and lots and lots of polyester knits, especially for dresses and pant suits, which girls were allowed to wear to school in the 7th grade on Fridays only.

Remember the Ecology flag?  Somewhere I have a patch with this design!

But, wait, there's more!  The 1970s I remember the most was the "back to nature" world of Whole Earth Catalogs, Mother Earth News, the ecology flag and those "ecology collages," which were wooden boxes with various-sized compartments and a glass top.

 This awesome book cover got me thinking about the 1970s.
Click the large size to appreciate the details.

We created primitive assemblages in those boxes, complete with seashells, river rocks and seed pods (or dry beans and popcorn kernels if you couldn't find the cool stuff) filling each little square.  We'd hunt through magazines for a dreamy nature photo--a seashore or forest scene, then we'd add a niche-appropriate plastic animal.  The boxes were hung in our dens and kitchens, next to a macrame piece woven on a real branch,  until bugs ruined the corn kernels or the seed pods grew moldy fuzz.

 Kwai Chang Caine, the Shaolin priest who wandered the American West.

My favorite part of the 1970s?  Well, I was a huge, huge fan of "Kung Fu," the ABC show starring the late David Carradine.  I wanted so much to be like the soft-spoken hero, Kwai Chang Caine.  I spent hours drawing dragons and tigers on my inner arms (and the arms of my friends) with ball point pen.  I watched the show, read the tie-in books and clipped any photos I could find.  In late high school, I took Shotokan Karate, rising to a 3rd degree green belt (one level below brown belt), which was a testimony to my discipline because I have no natural athletic ability.  Even today I still like the show--I have all three seasons in boxed DVD sets, but the first season and the first half of season two contain my favorite episodes.

I have to go find some apparel from the 1970s for my daughter's project--at this stage, all I think I have left is some costume jewelry and a couple Bicentennial scarves.  I wore snap-front denim jumper and a "Spirit of '76" scarf knotted around my throat for my junior high school photo.  Maybe I'll give my daughter that!

Invitation, daisies, ecology flag, and photo of "Kung Fu" lead David Carradine, courtesy of Google Search and Flickr.  "How to Tell it's the 1970s" is a digital art piece created by C. Bruhn

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Garden

Mrs. Puff, my senior Chihuahua foster dog, knows it's important to take time to smell the blossoms.
It's been hot, hot, hot here in The Woodlands, TX, but the other day I took a break from pulling weeds to take some photos in my garden.

These are "SOOC" photos--straight-out-of-the-camera, with only minor cropping.  I've been using a digital camera since late 2005, so I like to tinker with my photos in Photoshop or with Picnik, but the light was great and I took time to adjust my settings as I moved about the garden.

Red variegated banana leaf detail.

We've never had fruit from our bananas, but when we lived in Hawai'i, we enjoyed the tastiest home-grown "apple" bananas ever, from "keikis" (Hawaiian for "child," which meant sideshoots) from a parent plant in Waipahu.

You might think we're in the tropics, but our area received cold temperatures that damaged our bananas, oleanders, palms and citrus.  The fan palm seedlings are from some palms along our fence.  We have so manay seedlings that I have to yank them up like weeds.

Our hibiscus froze to the ground but have rebounded.

I bought a packet of zinnia seeds at the grocery store.  We have to spread thick mulch to combat weeds (it doesn't work that well, actually) so we only had about four zinnias mature into adult plants.  They have loads of pretty button-shaped blooms, although the plants are woody and sprawl onto the patio concrete.

And now, here are some more SOOC photos from our summer vacation trip to Washington, D.C.  These were shot at Mount Vernon, George Washington's home.

Butterfly on a zinnia.

Crepe myrtle; Mount Vernon.  BTW, crepe myrtle grows well here in The Woodlands.  And in Waxahachie, TX, there is a "Crepe Myrtle Festival" every June!

Coneflower, an American native, which also can be found in Texas, although our soil is generally too acidic here in The Woodlands.

Boxwood parterre bed at Mount Vernon.  I love shaped garden designs, but lack patience.

So what's going on in your garden as summer winds down?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Things that Hack Me Off

I was looking at Roy Rogers collectibles on eBay today, and found a neat site, "The Pony Pen," which carries all sorts of horse-image postcards.  Some of the seller's offerings are new remakes taken from the original postcards, and that is clearly stated.  I was almost to the end of a 21-page set of postcards, and was planning to order, when I stumbled across this listing:
Click to see it a bit bigger--I apologize for the poor resolution.  My personal computer is at Fry's (that's another thing that hacks me off).  I immediately recognized the Trigger image--I made it.  It's on my Flickr photostream.  Here it is below:

I made the image using a Creative Commons background from the Flickr Textures for Layers Group, and added the Trigger image, carefully cut out and cleaned up in Photoshop--by me--to the layer.  It is the opening image in a set called "Just Trigger," which is an homage to my favorite famous horse.

I will admit that I don't personally own a hard copy of this particular Trigger image.  I found it some years ago on the  Internet in a vintage magazine advertisement offered for sale.  I downloaded the ad.  About a year ago, I cropped out Trigger so I could play with the image.  In the strict sense, I am guilty of copyright infringement.  However, I posted the image as an artwork--a digital collage.  It is not for sale nor have I benefited financially from it.

I realize that anything posted on the Interwebs is fair game.  I realize that entrepreneurial types troll the depths of Flickr looking for high-quality images.  I realize that by posting my images (including my scans of ephemera from my personal collection) that people may "harvest" and sell them.  My scans are part of the free exchange of information that is encouraged by the open nature of the Internet. I try my best to give credit to the owner of any image I use, and I do not sell pieces containing work that doesn't belong to me.

Taking an image from my Flickr stream without notice and selling it without even altering the background is stealing.  The seller/creator of the card bills this item (and there are more than 10 available) as "ROY ROGERS' THE ORIGINAL TRIGGER PALOMINO HORSE POSTCARD; Continental Size Chrome Postcard in NEW MINT CONDITION".  
It's not original. And sticking a new frame and some doodles on it doesn't change that.  Now, had this seller sent me a Flickr email asking to use the image, and explaining that he/she would like to make a postcard of it, I would have been happy to send the cut-out Trigger PNG file (minus the background) to the seller.  I don't mind so much that the seller is marketing the cards for $1.49 each.

What hacks me off that my un-altered image is the basis for the product!

I have written the seller a note via eBay.  I have also printed out the report forms to fax to eBay. I have filled them out and will fax them tomorrow.  It was a matter of time before I came across the inappropriate use of my work on the Internet.  I'm willing to bet this isn't the only instance.  But I won't sit by without alerting the miscreant to the fact that I know what has happened.

The seller's eBay user name is clear570.  The seller's shop is "The Pony Pen."  Please do not buy from this seller.

On another note--and not a happy one--I am hacked off at Fry's.  You know them--the big computer chain store.  My personal computer, an HP Pavilion laptop, has been at our local Fry's since August 10th.  For the third time (yes, you read that right), my video card has messed up the motherboard, and I am awaiting a repair.  Evidently this is a problem with the Pavilion Laptop series. I have a service contract--a good thing--because this is a $400 repair according to folks on the HP forum. I'm using my husband's generic laptop, which doesn't have my Photoshop, printer or scanner programs.

I have already been without my computer for almost 6 weeks this year due to the previous repairs.

This hardware problem has meant that I have become well-acquainted with the geeky staff at the Fry's Service desk.  My buddies include Yuri, Brian and Tina.  Fry's caters to actual computer nerds, so the Service desk people aren't used to working with non-techie people like me.  I have decent computer skills (I've been on computer since 1985--that's another post)--but the way Fry's handles their repairs is so tedious it makes me grind my teeth. Or worse.

Fortunately I have backed everything up.  Yuri talked me through a full-backup in safe mode during a long Saturday night phone call in March.  I did a full disk restore.  So scary.  It didn't solve the problem but it did speed up the second repair since I had already performed the back up/restore.

After the latest freeze-up and screen issues on August 9th, I was able to back up the photos and documents that I had added from the end of March through early August.  I even downloaded brush presets for Photoshop--because I do have skills!  Now, I had to do some of the  backup at Fry's when I checked my Laptop into service repair last week. The girl checking me in wasn't thrilled that it took a half hour to download files onto my portable hard disk before she could put my laptop on a shelf.  That was irritating. But at least I knew Yuri could look into my problem.  He was coming in the next day.  I called him and talked to him last Thursday and he said he'd take over the service request.   But, alas, Yuri, quit this week.  

I talked to Brian today--all the tech guys/gals at Fry's are my close personal buddies, you know.  Brian promised me so sincerely that he is going to speed this one along.  He says they are really short-handed and that there are many computers awaiting diagnosis, along with mine.  But this machine has been there more than 7 days.  We know already it is a repeat of an earlier problem.  My service contract has more than paid for the repairs and Fry's is losing money on this machine.

And now Fry's is going to lose more money because I am telling you:  Do not ever, ever get your computer from Fry's.  They aren't set up for home users.  Use Best Buy--at least the Geek Squad is set up to interact with their customers in an efficient way.  I didn't pick out this particular computer.  My husband and son got it to replace my Sony VAIO in May of 2008.  The unit isn't even that old--and the problem showed up in January 2010.  It makes me want to scream.

The photo in the "iMiss" image is courtesy of HP.  The "iMiss" tag is a clear rip-off from Apple.  The mock-Polaroid frame is courtesy of Picnik.  Just thought you might want to know.