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© Robert Sommers 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

nature's pinstripes


Dar Williams - All Men Are Liars

The not hillary

A bunch of my Saturday coffee group were sitting around at breakfast and somebody was reciting a litany of various idiocies, missteps, lies and prevarications of the current inhabitant of the oval office.

My group is pretty well split politically so we don't usually venture there, try hard to steer clear of partisan controversy.

I am sick of politics and was trying to lay back and not engage, which I think I pretty much accomplished.

Let Reardon do the dirty work, I'm not taking the bait.

And one of my buds, a retired Marine pilot, said that no matter how bad the orange one was, he was still better than Hillary, rating a huzzah from Ken and the other conservatives at the table.

Now I don't know exactly why Hillary causes such a panic in these people, not sure what she ever did to warrant such derision but it is definitely there. Perhaps Fox News crafted a plausible narrative and they bought it, hook, line and sinker, personally I don't really get it?

The truth is, I believe that President Trump could shoot Mother Theresa in broad daylight, have a satanic mass in the Lincoln bedroom complete with goat sacrifice and cluster bomb Catalina Island and the conservatives would still be just fine with him.

You hire a disrupter to disrupt, he is doing one hell of a job at it, especially at the EPA. But you also own all the resultant collateral damage and I have a feeling that there will be plenty. Good luck picking up all the pieces.

Today he called Kim Jong Un a good guy and an honorable man. Okay...

Ivana

"... I honestly don’t know that many men who can keep their zippers up.”
Ivana Trump

Tia Blake

Gavilan

close up of 1948 Auto Club map

I have lived in the shadow of Gavilan Mountain for thirty eight years. I thought I knew a little about it but it turns out I don't know much. I do know that they have found beautiful pink tourmaline on the mountain in the past. And I know that it is a wonderful place to live. Click on the map above for a zoom on the names of some long lost and forgotten ranches in the area.

Someone has borrowed my prized copy of Tom Hudson's book A thousand years in the Temecula Valley and not returned it but I seem to recall the author saying that the local Indians would camp up on the top when confronted by fierce rains. They told the settlers that their railroad tracks were not high enough to thwart the raging torrents of the Santa Margarita River but of course no one listened. Three times they told them and three times the tracks were washed away.

You see, the Vail Dam had not yet been built in 1916, its completion seriously restricted the watershed and the current flows are but a fraction of the once mighty power of the River.

In any case, the Santa Margarita Valley and Gavilan are a beautiful and close to pristine ecological habitat, rich in native oak riparian flora and fauna. I have seen lion, deer, bobcat even a bighorn on one occasion. Lots of raptors of all kinds including golden eagles, ospreys, hawks and kites.

I did a little research on the name Gavilan or Gabilan and for some reason I had thought and assumed that it was the name of an early spaniard resident to the area, perhaps an owner of a land grant. Don't ask me what I based this supposition on, I simply don't remember at this point, may have been something I read, maybe it was a raw assumption. The Temescal Mountains, not that far to the north of us, have an area called Gavilan Hills and also a Gavilan Plateau.

As a somewhat proficient spanish speaker, I am embarrassed to admit that what I did not know was that Gavilan is also the spanish name for hawk, specifically a European Sparrow hawk, our closest corollary being maybe a Cooper's hawk.

I was on a forum recently where a man said that while the word gavilan denoted the smaller hawks, the word aquilleras or little eagles was used in reference to the noble red tailed hawks which are such frequent guests in our valley and which I have chronicled for so many years with so many thousands of photographs.


It is pretty tough for me to admit that I didn't know that but I didn't.

But now I do.






Monday, April 23, 2018

Agnes Pelton

Even Song - 1930

Hillsborough antiques, art and design show.



Due to rising rents and other considerations, the Spring Hillsborough show in San Mateo will be condensed to a two day show, open this Friday and Saturday the 27th and 28th of April.

I am optimistic about the show and hope that you will visit the Blue Heron Gallery and the other fine dealers exhibiting there.

I have done plenty of two day shows, maybe it will give buyers a little more sense of urgency. Here's hoping anyway. More info here.

Drag racers, Pomona


Patti Smith

Osprey and Crow

Still have shots from this series that I have not yet processed, like this one...


The Stranglers - Ships That Pass In The Night

The Mick

You know, I wouldn't trade places with anybody, honestly. You live your life, you get what you get. But want to hear a funny story?

In the late 1970's my pals Chad and Katrina, since divorced, had a child named Jade. I was named quasi godfather of the young lad.

And to show my appreciation of the closest I would ever get to fatherhood, I gave the young stripling a baseball card, which was valuable then but worth maybe no more than a couple hundred I think.

It was a Mantle rookie card, if memory serves and I believe that it does.

The same card that sold for over $2.88 million dollars the other day.

Hope the kid held on to it. By the way, have never heard from him since.


Seven Seas

Actually used to be a pretty nice place to live, before the humans got here, anyway...


Dunning Kruger Effect

Man from Utopia © Rick Griffin Estate
"If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent ... The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is."
David Dunning
Ever meet someone who was terrible at something they thought they were good at?

I had a barber once who should not have been allowed anywhere near scissors. Nice girl, but...

I read this article at DPReview about the phenomenon, "Why you're not as good a photographer as you think you are."

It is called the Dunning Kuger Effect, for the authors of a seminal study on the topic,  David Dunning and Justin Kruger. These social psychologists describe a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability have illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is.

They published a 1999 paper,"Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments."

Sort of an interesting conundrum, my mind thinks back to Charley and Flowers for Algernon, the latter part, when he knows something is missing but can't put a cognitive finger on it. More on the topic here. And of course, if you think I am a prime example, please kindly keep it to yourself. I was thinking more about heads of state.

Waiting For A Miracle

Egrets, I've had a few...


Sail Away

Del Mar


Show wasn't a barn burner but I made enough dough to keep the wolves away. Had a panic attack most dire Friday night in my sort of sleep but the unfortunate conclusions and resultant catastrophe have been at least partially averted. Kept nose to the grindstone, drummed up some business, had some major laughs with friends. Caparus stopped by, told me that I was now notorious, not sure what he meant by that.

Steampunkers were there but I was too busy to snap more than a couple shots.

Now I get to saddle up and do it again.

Booth looked good, snapped a couple dealer shots too.


Jay of Conrad and Jay rolled in in a wheelchair. Poor guy has brain cancer and another cancer to boot but says that he will beat it.

Great attitude, hope he is right. Conrad's partner also had a stroke. When it rains it pours...

Lots of dealers battling various illnesses right now, wish them all the best of health. And luck.

Life is such a tenuous proposition, nobody gets out of this thing alive.

But it's a rotten deal when a number gets punched prematurely.



Live long and prosper and have all the fun you can along the way.


Life is but a dream...


Townes Van Zandt - Nothin' (1971)

Frayed.

Getting rich was never a major motivation for me or I should say, hasn't been since my twenties and early thirties when I got wealthy for a period of time. I wasn't real good at it and managed to lose my large pile fairly quickly, through a combination of divorce, serious illness, taxes, bad decisions, outright squandering and giving the damn thing away.

I rebuilt my life, with the major help of my wife, in the nineties and things were very good for a long period of time but the situation changed dramatically in 2008 when the recession hit and the art market collapsed. This was due to a host of reasons that I believe I have already adequately addressed and don't really need to get into again.

But now my life is bordering on threadbare. There are holes in my jean pockets and the nicer slacks don't look so good either. We haven't had a decent vacation together in over two years. But hey, a lot of people worse off than we are. Those of us not lucky or smart enough to be in the upper 1% or now nestling into a well earned retirement, we know what is in store for us, toil. Have to hustle until we croak. Way it is. My kind tends to die with our boots on.

I live in a beautiful place, have wonderful friends, live a great life, count my blessings daily but I am still grinding. Every month. Praying for a little tail wind, like the old days. I need a miracle or two every year to make it work and keep the wheels greased but miracles seem to have their own timeline.

I mention all this because I sort of got called out at breakfast. My pal asked if I thought that my van would make it to San Francisco and back and I gulped. Bad juju. In my mind the van still looks okay but in a town increasingly upscale and affluent like Fallbrook I guess I stand out like a jew at a klan picnic.

There is the front end damage from the unfortunate incident a few months back at the gas station, the antenna is now snapped off courtesy of the Italian cypress in the alley, various body scratches and the constant dirt patina on the back end. Engine runs reasonably well, passenger door window did a weird number the other day that I hope won't continue, rats chewed through a sensor cable or two but it basically functions well and gets me where I need to go. Or did until my friend called it out this morning.

Funny thing is that the van will be paid off in about seven days. Last payment on the mortgage. Chrysler dealer sent out a letter telling me that they could get me into a sparkling new ride and give me x for the van but I was planning on driving it for another 100k miles or so and risking public opprobrium and scorn. Fuck it, I am not buying a new van and at least I'm not living in the bushes yet. If I embarrass you you can always pretend that you don't know me.

Behavioral Sink

There was an interesting letter to the editor in the Los Angeles Times the other day from a man named Buz Wolf in Studio City.
To the editor: John B. Calhoun, an ethologist, conducted research on the effects of population density in his 1968 experiment, the "mouse universe." He created a habitat for mice where the only restriction was space.
He began by introducing four pairs of mice. The population reached 620 by day 315, after which the population growth dropped markedly. Between then and day 600, the mice's social structures and behaviors broke down. Breeding never resumed and behavior patterns changed.
The conclusion? When all the space is taken and all the social roles are filled, competition and stress will be such that society will break down and the population will collapse.
The Times Editorial Board, the state and city planners keep emphasizing the housing shortage and the need to build more capacity. Unlike the "mouse universe," this increased capacity will create additional, perhaps unattainable, demands on infrastructure, on water and food delivery, on sewage treatment and on transportation.
When will Los Angeles reach its day 600?
Buz Wolf, Studio City
This letter got me to thinking a little bit. First off I had never heard of ethology. And I live in a county where housing is expensive and social engineers tend to want to build more and more without considering what happens to the native eco system and the scarcity of water. Is there a tipping point where life becomes unlivable and there is a collapse like what happens to the mice colony?

Calhoun - Yoichi Okamoto 

I decided to do a little research on John B. Calhoun this morning. He was an early birder from Tennessee who moved to Maryland and started studying rodents at John Hopkins in 1946. I didn't find any specific info on his 1968 experiment but now know that the study the letter writer cites started on Norway Rats from 1958 to 1962 and that he started working on lab mice from 1968 to 1972 while at the National Institute for Mental Health.

Calhoun coined the term Behavioral Sink to describe a behavioral collapse that was a result of overcrowding. The term was first used in February 1, 1962 report in an article titled Population Density and Social Pathology in Scientific American.
Many [female rats] were unable to carry pregnancy to full term or to survive delivery of their litters if they did. An even greater number, after successfully giving birth, fell short in their maternal functions. Among the males the behavior disturbances ranged from sexual deviation to cannibalism and from frenetic overactivity to a pathological withdrawal from which individuals would emerge to eat, drink and move about only when other members of the community were asleep. The social organization of the animals showed equal disruption. ...
The common source of these disturbances became most dramatically apparent in the populations of our first series of three experiments, in which we observed the development of what we called a behavioral sink. The animals would crowd together in greatest number in one of the four interconnecting pens in which the colony was maintained. As many as 60 of the 80 rats in each experimental population would assemble in one pen during periods of feeding. Individual rats would rarely eat except in the company of other rats. As a result extreme population densities developed in the pen adopted for eating, leaving the others with sparse populations.
... In the experiments in which the behavioral sink developed, infant mortality ran as high as 96 percent among the most disoriented groups in the population.
Calhoun's experiments with the rodents started out with them living in spacious, utopian quarters and he watched the dire consequences as the space was reduced and things got more and more compressed.
Initially, the population grew rapidly, doubling every 55 days. The population reached 620 by day 315, after which the population growth dropped markedly, doubling only every 145 days. The last surviving birth was on day 600, bringing the total population to a mere 2200 mice, even though the experiment setup allowed for as many as 3840 mice in terms of nesting space. This period between day 315 and day 600 saw a breakdown in social structure and in normal social behavior. Among the aberrations in behavior were the following: expulsion of young before weaning was complete, wounding of young, inability of dominant males to maintain the defense of their territory and females, aggressive behavior of females, passivity of non-dominant males with increased attacks on each other which were not defended against.[2]
After day 600, the social breakdown continued and the population declined toward extinction. During this period females ceased to reproduce. Their male counterparts withdrew completely, never engaging in courtship or fighting. They ate, drank, slept, and groomed themselves – all solitary pursuits. Sleek, healthy coats and an absence of scars characterized these males. They were dubbed "the beautiful ones." Breeding never resumed and behavior patterns were permanently changed.
The conclusions drawn from this experiment were that when all available space is taken and all social roles filled, competition and the stresses experienced by the individuals will result in a total breakdown in complex social behaviors, ultimately resulting in the demise of the population.
Calhoun saw the fate of the population of mice as a metaphor for the potential fate of man. He characterized the social breakdown as a "second death," with reference to the "second death" mentioned in the Biblical book of Revelation 2:11.[1] His study has been cited by writers such as Bill Perkins as a warning of the dangers of the living in an "increasingly crowded and impersonal world."[3]
We forget about Calhoun's work at our peril.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Calendar Antiques Show - Del Mar Fair

If you want to visit the show this weekend, the promoter offers free admission to the public. Parking is $14 but that is the state and nothing anyone can do about it. Very good of the promoter, Michael Grimes, to take a bite out of his wallet like this to promote his show.

Please come visit!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Goodbye, Pork Pie Hat

Cosmic Egg Series No. 1 (Creative Forces)1936 by Emil J. Bisttram


Bruno

Bruno Sammartino
When I first heard that Bruno Sammartino had died, for a brief second I thought about calling my late brother Buzz, which is of course, impossible.

He would surely have been bummed.

You see, our childhood was punctuated by figure four leglocks and scorpions and flying leaps off the couch directed at the unsuspecting.

We missed the fifties golden era of Gorgeous George and the like but Bruno was in full swing when we were kids in the mid sixties as was Mil Mascaras, Pedro Morales, the Funks and a host of other colorful characters.

There were no light shows and stupid uniforms, no dumb music, it was pretty visually tame by today's gaudy standards but there was a pure verité and honesty that is frankly missing today. The wrestling may not have been real but at least it looked real and it was certainly more technically authentic.

And you had Mike and Gene Lebell running the show, the latter truly being a martial arts legend and one of the baddest men on the planet.

Tolos and Blassie
Our favorite wrestlers were definitely the Golden Greek John Tolos and Freddie Blassie, who liked to rail against the pencil necked geeks. Mom took us to the Olympic auditorium on more than one occasion to see them.

Guess she wasn't such a bad mom after all. And also took us to see Ralphie Valaderes and our beloved L.A T-Birds, with their lyrically challenged fight song, go go go.

Bruno Sammartino was always around, always the clean, honest and decent sort, a giant of a man, never seemed to be sullied by the genuinely despicable Vince McMahon Jr.. He never looked like he bought in to the travesty that wrestling morphed into in the McMahon era.

End of an era.

Speaking of Blassie, he cut this record illustrated by my pal, the late, great Rick Griffin.

And as I was hunting around for it, I forgot that it had been produced by my other old friend, uber collector and pope of all things kool, Glen Bray. Glen was always ten steps ahead of the pack. Classic record.

Jorma Kaukonen - Good Shepherd



June 25, 1964 - The Shelter Coffee House, San Jose, CA

Joey Hudoklin and Richie Smits : No throw, No Drop, One Catch



One of the cool treats of Facebook was making the acquaintance of Joey Hudoklin again. I met him on Jack Casady's page. I used to do a bit of freestyle frisbee (when I should have been studying in college) and Joey was the greatest master of the disc I ever had the pleasure of seeing. Nice man, now living in Florida, making music and playing a little disc. Awesome guy, amazing talent.

Alhambra view


Take a chance with me.

Tin to Tiffany

Come see me this Friday through Sunday at the Calendar Antique Show in Del Mar.

Lapwings and lilies

A matched pair of large paintings in the Nihonga style by the late master Robert Crowder.

www.blueherongallery.net

Thirty five years...


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Wind, Death Valley


Backstabbers

Reuters
I rarely agree with Nikki Haley but have to admit feeling sorry for her this week. Did she get the rug pulled out from under her on sanctions or what?

If I were her I would resign in a heartbeat, especially with the crap coming from Mnuchin and Kudlow's traps, about her making a unilateral proclamation.

Like hell she did. I guess the Bolton era is in full swing, better watch out for knives in the back.

Talk about getting destabilized. Because Trump knows he can't be too mean to the Russians because they have something on him he doesn't want spilled. Not sure what but something.

Former Undersecretary of State or Deputy, I forget which, Wendy Sherman was on Lawrence ODonnell last night. I don't always agree with Sherman either but she sounded very cogent last night and said this kind of undermining behavior from the administration causes both a lack of credibility globally and probably much laughter over at the Kremlin.

54-46 Was My Number

Face book em Dano.

I am back. I had a short affair with Facebook but we have now parted, each going our separate ways, I think somewhat amicably. Hopefully anyway. Hot and heavy. I hit the platform with more content in a shorter time than many thought was probably humanly possible but I saw the writing on the wall and had to stop. It was literally hurting my head. And frankly, I felt like I was cheating on you.

Some people can do such things in moderation, I know my obsessive self better. Was reacting to notification pings like pavlov's dog, checking my feed at three in the morning after a pee, just not the platform for a guy like me for the long term. Not the kind of place for an oversharer.

The positive thing is that I reconnected with some people I haven't been in touch with for many years and in a few cases the negative thing is that I reconnected with people I haven't been in touch with for many years. Thankfully there were way more of the former.

I actually have a pretty long history with social media. I was on the Well in the beginning during the nascent times of DOS. I was an original member of the social network Prodigy. I was on Facebook near the beginning, quickly dropped out, joined up again at some point about five years ago.

I treated the platform like a hyper attenuated version of the blog this time, bombarded them with music and pretty pictures. It is hyper politicized and balkanized so I largely stayed clear of politics which was a very nice break for me. Got warm and intimate. I received a lot of positive response to my photography and many wanted me to stick around but I just couldn't do it. The amount of people I touched was staggering. I put this picture of a New Mexico lightning strike up and got over 750 hits the first day.

The response to my photography was very flattering. People who don't read blogs, people who only knew me professionally and hadn't been exposed to my creative efforts. So I joined some closed groups, Utah photos, Arizona, California, Los Angeles, New Mexico and all of a sudden many thousands of people were liking my images and posts. Very quickly.

The parameters of my supposed exhibition in New Mexico this summer are a bit shaky at present but I did get the word out so it might be helpful in the long run because many New Mexicans loved my stuff and heck, maybe a few of them will want to buy prints this August.

Every social media network has a speed, pace and temperature. Some fit and some don't, some are good for certain personality types. My blog is perfect for me, a lazy bungalow with an airy front porch, I can take my shoes off and sit a spell and you wonderful readers are largely down for the adventure. Feel like there is a garden here that I need to tend.

Google + has been my second locale the last several years. Everyone is very polite, seldom critical. I can touch people there from many remote parts of the world. It has an international feel and a certain comity. That is an unusual thing.

I had to get off DPReview because people got so chippy. I was on a D850 forum on Facebook and the antagonism was such a contrast to Google +. Everybody trying to one up each other, being overly critical without invitation, people taking other people's work and revising it without permission.

Too fast, too many people, too scattergun for me. And so I have been neglecting the Blast, which is now in its eleventh year and deserving of love and attention. My daily readership, sensing a vacuum, has dwindled to a crawl. And I miss writing as little and as much as I want to, as opposed to short little snippets.

The mad scientist Owsley Stanley once told me, well actually he said to me on more than one occasion, that my problem was that I was always trying to play poker at a pinochle game. A metaphor for my habit of talking to my pals with two cans and a string while there is this massive party line within reach. I am slamming the door on a huge audience for a small and intimate group of friends. And I am really very okay with that. Because we got history, you and me. My peeps. And if you care to see what I am up to, you will have to tune in here. Lets try to keep the conversation going.

Let's see how long it takes me to get my mojo back.

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There are social media sites that I don't get at all. One of them is Linked In. It seems so desperate and I see the same sad people congratulating each other on Mary Jo's new promotion to head dishwasher or whatever. I am not sure exactly what the benefit of Linked in is supposed to be but I guess it would be good if you were looking for work. I belong but rarely look at it. I get an occasional job offering from the thing which is sort of strange.

Twitter is another one that is not a good fit for me. It is for people who want to make short and pithy grand observations. I do enjoy following Stephen King and the real Donald Trump and a few others but rarely tweet myself. Because there are far too many people making grand proclamations, from both sides. No need for me. Not the bag I am in.  More interested in nuanced middle ground, if there is any to be found.

I got on Facebook, which I have openly loathed for years in order to do one thing, get accurate information about asian antiques from a closed group of experts there that Cam recommended. And ultimately the advice and opinion I received was pretty worthless. But I did get to say hello to some people who regularly live on the platform and say hi to some old friends and girlfriends that I will always love and treasure and even meet some new people that I have grown fond of in a short period of time.

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I call Facebook the 24/7 hive mind. And I am a little bit of an empath and definitely people averse on occasion and just couldn't tolerate the "always on" neural connection. Some people have discipline, I don't. And I knew the writing was on the wall, I set a cut off day and cut the cord a day earlier than planned. Now I can almost breathe again.

I did play it slightly safe, I deactivated instead of deleted the account. Just in case I need to make the connection again but certainly can't foresee it for the foreseeable future.

 I did post an album or two and many photographs that I am very proud of. I posted a massive album of shots of show dealers and customers from the past 25 years, some dead, most alive. I didn't even process the shots, just threw them out there. Because in some ways I am the only one who has been keeping any sort of visual record these past few decades. I made sure that somebody shared it so that if something unfortunate happened to me, that the shots would live on.

My hope would be that Facebookers would occasionally link one of my better blogposts and share it. But I am enough of a realist to realize that it will probably not happen. It is like leaving Manhattan, you cross the Hudson , to the residents you simply no longer exist. It would be nice to be missed.

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Several blog readers also inhabit Facebookland. Helen and Beth for two but many more of you also. I would love your fresh perspective on my limited but powerpacked time over there. I got too close and intense, I know. Cam said that he had to unfollow me he was so sick of the birds.

I know some of you Facebookers are now following me here, Susan and Sophia and more. Please feel free to dish out an honest critique. I am glad you like my music Susan. There aren't that many that do, apparently. Dave Thuleen, thank you. Danny Verrier, thank you. Isak. Sara. Tracy, Richard. Roy. Brigitte. Linda K Sherwood, thank you! Stutz. Abby. And anybody and everybody else I missed. I just know my limits and also know that I was neglecting any serious writing. It was time to bail.

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Show season starts tomorrow. Going to get awfully busy, will be hard to shpiel for several weeks. And there is a lot I want to cover. Damn.

I did the Long Beach Swap Meet Sunday, next to Warmboe. Had a nice time, didn't get rich but found a beautiful painting and primed the pump. If you are a seller of merchandise you must go to the market from time to time.

The souk is where it is happening, things show up that you would never encounter if you were holed up in your own smial. Leslie and I started on the pavement and it is such a good reality check for me to get back to basics at the swaps.

Bill says that I am way more fun at the flea, joshing and bantering and having a good time, as opposed to the miserable guy eating from his worm can I become at some of the indoor Antique Shows.

And what an amazing place to people watch. Bill wanted me to take some shots I didn't even pull the trigger on because the freak show is ever present if that is your thing.

At this point in time I sort of like more mundane fare, couples that looked good together, the charm of the slightly more normal. My prerogative, my caprice. The train wreck will always be there to capture.


Now this guy was not normal. Wouldn't let me shoot his face. Didn't get why an apocalyptic guy who prefers to stay anonymous would tattoo spider webs on his head. Seems to me like it would be sort of a tell.


The last thing I am going to do if the end is truly near is turn my ears into hula hoops. But it certainly takes all kinds.

I met some young, nice and hip couples that made me feel a little better about handing the baton off to the next generation. I was selling some interesting photos that resonated with these two nice people and many others.


They were well suited for each other.

As were this lovely couple.

Duty now for the future.

I also met up with some old friends of course. Always good.

Dane, Sara and friend.
Stephen
Estela Rubalcaba Klink
I am really looking forward to going back there. It is a very nice way to spend a Sunday, both for selling, buying and people interacting.

herr Klink


Battery has been funny lately and the van wouldn't start. Thankfully we found jumper cables and made it home.  Bought a new battery yesterday.

My personal battery is pretty weak too. Hope I find a good charge this week too, a bunch of people that want to buy paintings and replenish my bank account would be a good start.