Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rick Wakeman got a haircut!

(music to play when pounding on an anvil)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Virtual Tours

I rather like virtual tours. Often you can see more in a virtual tour than you can in the actual visit...for one thing, there is no time limit.
I found that Rome was so intense that I could not comprehend the half of it! The brain would go into overload, and nothing more would filter in! The Vatican and the Vatican Museum is a fine example of a place that one could spend a lifetime and still not have it all sink in. For instance, as you follow the "green path" on your guide through the Vatican Museum, you go through a dozen huge rooms, all decorated in frescoes by great masters like Titian and Michelangelo. But everybody rushes past them as if they were tiles on the subway because at the end of the "green path" is the ultimate room, the Sistine Chapel.
I lingered over the path and saw (and photographed) many great masters. You can see them up close, and I am sorry to say that many have been damaged by hand prints and finger stains, not all of them at two year old level!
Frescoe art is actually done by slathering on a thin layer of plaster, and blowing powdered paint onto it through straws. The effect is that of airbrushing. The soft lines and rich light and shadow effects were not achieved again until the invention of the airbrush in the early twentieth century. All those pictures of Michelangelo on his back with a paintbrush in his hands...well now you have to re-thing that!
They would usually have a "cartoon" made from paper which they would pin to the wall, that had the outline of the picture. Then a star wheel would be wheeled through the paper to leave a row of dents in the soft plaster. Often the artist would "pounce" the paper. Pouncing is when you take a little cloth bag containing charcoal and bang in onto the paper...this would allow some of the dust to come through the holes made by the star wheel and mark the outline.

Anyway, the result of a good technique combined with genius will give you this...

I hope that you don't spend more than two or three hours on that link....evil grin!


Click on the pictures to enlarge. There must be a full yard of earth in there!

He was scooping it out pretty quick, two to three scoops per minute.

You get an idea of the size of this excavator when you see the dump trucks...those are full size tri-axle dump trucks!

The "little" machine is the one the operator brings up to jack hammer the rock. This jack hammer is more than eight feet high.

Roadwork in front of my house. The tricky part is to dig the twelve feet down to lay in the storm sewer. Considering this is a bank of limestone, it takes fairly big tools to do this.

This has got to be the biggest tool I have ever seen!

Here, when you click on the images, you can see the kids coming out to see what is going on.

Oh...and they scooped up that annoying cross walk sign...grin!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Anniversary Day

Well, today is Brenda and my 31st anniversary. Gracious time flies. Oh well, its been a great trip so far! You figure thirty one years ago I was a newly minted corporal in the military, and now, four postings, five moves later and two career changes later, I can look back and state positively that the love enabled me to deal with the career that I hated.

We never had kids, they did not seem to be as important as each other, and the fact of a child free life allowed us a chance to travel. Some travel experiences were bittersweet, and some just weird. But all were eye opening and really interesting.

I am really glad I had my little turtle dove to share this thirty one years...time is resolute and marches on. As Bill Cosby said "you will ALL be here, eventually". And I am so looking forward to another 31 years.
So today, we will be motorcycling to the Village Treats chocolate factory outlet store in Lanark. Sound like a good use of a day!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lexophiles unite!

For lovers of words (Lexophiles)

1. A bicycle cannot stand alone; it is two tired.
2. A will is a dead giveaway.
3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
4. A backward poet writes inverse.
5. In a democracy it's your vote that counts; in feudalism, it's your Count that votes.
6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.
7. If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.
9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.
11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.
12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.
13. You are stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.
15. A calendar's days are numbered.
16. A boiled egg is hard to beat.
17. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.
18. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.
19. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end
20. When you've seen one shopping centre you've seen a mall.
21 If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.
22. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she'd dye.
23. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.
24. Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
25. Acupuncture: a jab well done.
26. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.
27. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.
28. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.
29. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.
30. No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.
31. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
32. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.
33. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.
34. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
35. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'
36. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
37. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: 'Keep off the Grass.'
38. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
39. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.
40. Don't join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects.

(Thanks Judy for this! It tickled my fancy!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Music for a Friday night

Over the Hills and Far Away Tanja with Nightwish.

Artist Frank Frazetta died

Marshalls Creek artist Frank Frazetta with one of his paintings on Oct. 24, 1994.
Pocono Record file photo

From the Pocono Record
May 14, 2010

He stands atop a mountain of carnage with his sword held before him. Rippling muscles stretched over a tall, athletic frame, with long black hair and a piercing stare.

Conan the Barbarian was one of the late fantasy artist Frank Frazetta's best-known works. Like some of his characters, Frazetta's magic reigned over the world of serpents and heroes he created.

Frazetta died Monday of complications from a stroke he suffered in his Boca Grande, Fla., home Sunday.

"To the world, Frank Frazetta was a world-class artist. But to us, his children, Frank Frazetta was a wonderful and loving father whose first joy was his family," said Heidi Frazetta Grabin, one of his two daughters.

Frazetta's family still mourns the passing of his wife, Ellie, last June. Now they have to deal with the loss of a man many consider a legend.

"He was full of life, energy and humor," Grabin said. "His wit was as quick as his fastball. He was a kind soul who respected and appreciated people, but he never suffered fools gladly."

The master fantasy artist was known around the world for his unique sword-and-sorcery themes.

"He has inspired artists, directors, film people of all sorts including George Lucas, creator of 'Star Wars,'" Peterson added.

It's not yet known exactly what the family has planned for Frazetta's artwork or intellectual property rights. Frazetta sold few of his paintings, electing to hold on to most of them. A few weeks ago son Bill said they planned to put the collection, much of which was housed in a Marshalls Creek museum that now stands empty, on the road so more fans could see the originals.

"There's nothing like seeing Frank's artwork up close. You've got to see it to believe it," Peterson said.

Full Story here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ancient Kourion

There is nothing so boring as other people's holiday snaps. But once in a while, its nice to be able to vicariously visit (or re-visit) places of interest. This was a nice place I visited last winter in Cyprus....interesting particularly because it is pretty much off the beaten track.

Kourion is a Roman city on the south coast of Cyprus. It is situated way up on the top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, which means a bit of a trek to get fresh water. The cliff seems to have a tendency to break away during the frequent earthquakes, nibbling the city away. It was abandoned along with the rest of the Latin Roman Empire because...well...the harbour filled up, and its economic role was replaced by Famagusta on the East, and Paphos on the West, Limasol and Larnika just down the road from here, and Kyrenia on the North. This place, Kourion, became a religious centre, the temple to Apollo was here. Thats it, down below. And when it shook one last time in the earthquake, the people just decided to say to heck with this, and went back to Rome.

Random ruins above, and the wall on the right is to prevent tourists from slipping over the edge.
Above is a fine hypocaust. The little pillars would have had a floor laid over top of them, and they would have built a little fire to warm the floor. Sort of central heating. I note that unlike other hypocausts I have seen, there does not seem to be a lot of soot staining the bricks. Perhaps that is because there is not a lot of need for central heating in Cyprus? Just a guess.
Above is the cross street. All Roman cities have a main east-west street, and north south street. This is the crossroads. The cross street here was actually pretty steep, and it was in steps, like Halifax or St John Newfoundland, or come to think of it, most of Malta. I don't think they had a lot of wheeled traffic here. Not because it was too small...this place is just as big as Pompii, and you can see the cart ruts in Pompii. No, this seems to be pretty much a walking town.
A visit to the theatre is always nice. That wooden part in back is where the stage used to seems to have found a stable location at the foot of the cliff. There are still plenty of foundations under the wooden part that people are standing on over in back there. They put on rock concerts now...and its all electrified and there are big mounts for speakers. What an awesome place to have a concert!

This place has some of the nicest mosaics! Standard shapes, mostly, like the interwoven links above, the labyrinths below, and the inscriptions. These mosaics are designed to have a couple of inches of water on top of them. This makes the colours really pop!

Above is a nice bath. One would need a bath after lugging all that water all the way up here!

Hope you enjoyed them.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another OK-Go video

If you have the monday morning blues, then really dude, ya gotta watch OK-GO's colourful Monday morning video.

OK GO is an alternative rock band. They did the famous "treadmill" video, and the rube goldberg inspired "This Too Shall Pass".

So brighten up your day, and be prepared to grin!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Garage door Posters.

A German firm called Style Your Garage creates posters for garage doors that make it look as if your garage is where the action is. F1 car, F-18 Hornet, exotic dancers -- these are some of the things you can put "in" your garage. If you've got a two-car garage, no worries: you can try out the quarry dump truck or biplane that will span both doors.

Made for the up-and-over garage doors common in Europe, they mount with velcro, can be adapted to fit sectional garage doors, and come in a standard size of 2.10 meters by 2.45 meters. Prices range from €199 to €399 for the double-door motifs, which isn't that much for a giant piece of wall art. The company can also turn a photo of yours into a garage poster, but you'll want to be careful with this; not everything can be blown up to 6.5 feet without looking... creepy. You can have a gander at some of the factory options in the gallery below