Monday, March 30, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday... on Monday

The picture was taken on Sunday. Sunday was an overcast cold wet day. I did not want to look outside for a possible picture, and didn't see immediately anything indoors. But, there were the peat pots patiently waiting for Spring on my windowsill.

*must apologize for the quality of the picture. They all turned out poorly!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Where Were You Thom Gunn?

(This post is regarding a job application where I gave a 5 minute presentation in front of other job applicants and the employer.) (lol.)

"Ahem." Taps lectern. Peers about near sightedly.

I have noticed. As fool incarnate, one does not have rearview mirrors. One gets side view mirrors. Its part of the deal. The reason is obvious. Rearview mirrors are unnecessary and redundant. Side view mirrors are where you see those who already are in the act of passing you.


Job shopping is weird. Particularly for someone whose best response is 6 edits away. And who automatically subverts all expectation, as homage to a youth spent amassing poetry books and attending poetry slams. To date my best non-answer is "Whether you like to be around a group of people fits within the spectrum of attending a basketball game or going to the bathroom." lol. I cringe to admit it, but yes I said that. lol. And, *sigh,* I didn't get the job. lol.

"Ahem." (Here I imaginarily pull my blog close and launch into a dreary recital of metals. Including several important facts about silver. lol. Would that I'd become momentarily discombobulated and lifted my left leg behind me, arms outstretched and skated forward in the hopeful to be fulfilled pose of a Christmas special. Or, like my 6 edits away from elegance in this post.)


And in the side view mirror looms a fellow presenter's take on "Biogeography." Guy, if you ever stub an optical nerve upon this post, let it be known, you are my hero. I would like to know what your name is because you are that great. At that moment in time I was distracted by a rearview mirror that was not there. I should have risked a glance at the side view where you launched into another realm. Not often is one invited into an alternate universe in a 5 minute presentation for a job. You taught me something.... even if it can't pay the mortgage.

Thom Gunn, where were you.

"On motorcycles, up the road, they come:
Small, black, as flies hanging in heat, the Boy,
Until the distance throws them forth, their hum
Bulges to thunder held by calf and thigh.
In goggles, donned impersonality,
In gleaming jackets trophied with the dust,
They strap in doubt--by hiding it, robust--
And almost hear a meaning in their noise. "

The place I first encountered Thom Gunn's poetry was a used book store on Broadway in Chicago, a couple of blocks north of Diversey. Another couple of phrases in the same "On the Move" poem....

"Men manufacture both machine and soul,
And use what they imperfectly control
To dare a future from the taken routes."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


In honor of all the games I'm not watching.... here's this odd video.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gushing about Gold

(Continuing with my infomercial... )

Gold is a wonderful metal. It is malleable and ductile but durable, and does not oxidize or tarnish. It has been treasured though out history. Evidence of its use goes back as far as 6000 B.C. It was used in the first coinage between 643 and 630 B.C. It is an emblem of wealth, and a supporter of the financial system for years. The U.S. did not go off the Gold Standard until 1971. The Gold Standard based currency on a fixed retrievable amount of gold. Investors still buy gold seeking security or financial gain.

Gold is measured in troy ounces, 1 troy ounce being 31.1 grams. Because gold is a soft metal it is alloyed with other metals to harden it and make it more durable. The purity of gold is measured in karats, which is an ancient Middle Eastern unit of weight derived from the carob seed. 24 karats (or carats) is pure gold. 14 karats is the most common (particularly for rings) and has 58.3% gold mixed with other metals usually silver and copper. Different colored gold can be achieved with the other metals that are mixed with it. The karat designation applies to the amount of gold only. With white gold, nickel or palladium is used. With red gold, copper. Blue gold has iron in it (which makes it more brittle.) Any piece of jewelry should be stamped stating its gold content, and if there is a question a jeweler can test the metal.

About 78% of gold used each year is used in jewelry. The industrial uses include rhuematoid arthritis treatment, dentistry, electronics, and computers.

Gold is a joy to work with for the jeweler. 1064.43 °C is the melting point making it far more accessible than platinum. It is easily soldered and fabricated, but retains that luster that has made it so attractive and sought after through the ages.

Below is a clip that I found on youtube about gold. Warning: its a downer! When the Zimbabwean says a tin of grain for 1 gram of gold, that's 30 bucks! Way too much for the hungry! *And I went on youtube looking for the sound of one hand clapping...*

*the embed was disabled.*

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Platitudes on Platinum

Next week I'm going to give a short talk on metals.... and thought I'd practice some here. I'm not much of a public speaker. I never even threw spit balls from the back of the room. I've always been more of a window gazer, a watcher of sparrows dust and shadows. But. What the heck. I've even found a video of a little fellow that I think if I can channel him, I'll do okay.

I'd like to talk about some jewelry metals. Specifically platinum, gold, and silver. I'll cover a bit on some other materials at the end. Platinum was first described by the Italian humanist Scaliger in 1557. The name platinum came from the Spanish word for "little silver" or "platina del Pinto." It was a bothersome metal the Spanish conquistadors found in the 17th century in the Pinto River of Columbia. Grains of platinum were just tossed in the search for gold. At first platinum could not be melted or refined as platinum requires a high heat 1768.3 °C for melting, and the ability to do that did not evolve until the end of the 1700s.

Platinum is highly useful metal, as it does not corrode or oxidize. Its use in jewelry increased around 1900, and the industrial uses of platinum exploded in the 1970s. At this time approximately 50% of platinum is used in jewelry, and 50% industrial. The industrial applications of platinum include catalytic converters (in cars), smokestack scrubbers, and cancer treatment. Also, WWII bombers used platinum in their spark plugs. Traces of platinum are released into the air with catalytic converters. This is not thought harmful, but the effects have not been studied extensively.

With jewelry, platinum is prized for its durability, resistance to oxidation, and the high finish that can be achieved. When working with platinum you weld, you do not solder. Since platinum needs a much higher heat, the surface of the metal must be clean because if there was gold on the surface you risk pitting the platinum. The gold would melt into the platinum before you ever reached the temperatures needed to work platinum. With sizing a ring, a piece of platinum is pounded paper thin and put between the 2 ends of the ring. The area is then welded, and the thin slip of metal heats up first, melting into the joining parts creating the bond.

The best thing about all precious metals is though the environmental effects of mining and refining are highly dependent on the vigorousness of environmental laws, they define recycling. Every spec of metal is reused.

(I pause before continuing on to gold and silver. Wild clapping erupts. Well, here I'll let Trevor work his magic...)

Sunday, March 8, 2009


This is just a test post. My blog has been blank since yesterday! The posts are there.... you just have to click on them. hmmmmm. Maybe I shouldn't have complained of my blog accurately reflecting my blank mind!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Attempting Competency in Life

A friend of mine, Linda Price Sneddon, and I used to go landscape painting at 6 o'clock in the morning. At day break there are colors that in their very transience seem desirable. Natures first green, as it were. I am not much of a painter but love that rush. Standing before liquid possibility, a strength of texture that defies one human life cycle... I have only my own bad eyesight and tentative emotions to blame for a lukewarm palate, and cold coffee. Early morning landscape painting is the provence of the naive of profession (me), or the truly good (like Linda.)

(Here I would list my many attempts at competency. But I would rather get back to the landscapes. Which are, I think, necessary to the survival of human kind. When people stop looking... Its worse than trying to sell a collectable item without its cardboard box. Maybe a cardboard box can be replaced. Nature's first green can't be. We'd be boxless plastics floating the surface and clogging drains.)

There's a boatload of landscapes I'd like to reel in... like personal bookmarks in time. One is, my brother falling off a wall at a historic site. I don't remember much but yellow ocher and a nice blue sky. Or retrieving our planted irises from where the rains replanted them one block away. (orange, brown, slate blue and subdued green.) One of my favorites was the "Bridge." A fellow I knew said let's go to the "Bridge." I thought he meant some bar I'm like sure. He directed me as I was driving (my motorcycle... I never intended to be a cliche... really) and we arrived at a bridge. It was closed. Over one of that city's waterways we walked out on that darkness and he pulled up a trapdoor and down we climbed. Before us was the darkness of the illicit the undeveloped and the lights of a city not asleep or dreaming.

Night paintings are tough. I love them.

The origins of this post go on forever. The inspiration though was posted by Raven and it is this video: