Egret and crab

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Junior Saw It Happen

The straight poop

I opened up my Ram ProMaster van about two weeks ago and couldn't help but notice a few tiny rodent poop scattered in the back. Hmmm.

When I opened my door in the morning of my last night in Santa Barbara, a little mouse jumped out, couldn't have been much bigger than an inch. 

Very cute. 

He or she now has a new home up the coast in a very upscale berg.

Jury is still out if any rodent comrades are left in the van.


Speaking of poop, I went shopping for contact paper to mail a watercolor yesterday and stopped by both the Dollar Store and Grocery Outlet. Nada. Neither store had what I needed.

I contemplated stopping at Albertsons but knew that I had a visitor knocking loudly in my colon and decided I had better skedaddle back to my office post haste to drop the kids off at the pool. Contact paper could wait.

I got to the back door (no pun intended) and inserted my key in the lock. 

Lo and behold, the key broke off, right in the middle. 

I was able, knees knocking, with all of the dexterity my arthritic hands could muster, to fish the small broken bit out of the lock.

But alas, this is no way relieved my own present difficulty. Lucky I still had a key to my wife's shop and no one would be the wiser.

But it was touch and go for a second there.

Afterwards, I went down to Hank's, Joe's, Ace Hardware, whatever you call it, nobody ever present anymore at Bruce's old locksmith shop. Guy wasn't sure if he could replace it, finally taped the parts together and thankfully, made it all work.

Timing is everything, no? Tragedy narrowly averted.

Ari speaks Cree

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Blue Heron Gallery, February Tour

I woke up in the middle of the night, in a complete sweat. What city was I in and where was the venue I was supposed to be working? I honestly could not remember. It took about a minute to realize that I was in Santa Barbara, at a fairgrounds, Earl Warren, incidentally one that I have worked at since I was seventeen years old.


It has happened before. Once after a long string of shows, I woke in the middle of the night wondering where the bathroom was in a particular hotel, only to finally figure out that I was in my own bed. Road weariness.

I am back from about two weeks on said road, with the exception of the one day that I came back and feverishly repacked.

I left two weeks ago Wednesday for Palm Springs. 

It had been raining at my home and the light of the rising sun was just beginning to illuminate the rusty old biplane in my front yard.

I made it out to the desert with little worries and started unloading.

Saw my buddy Rob in the parking lot, smoking a cigarette. We have been friends for a long time. 

He helps build the walls at the show and does many other things as well with Eric and the other setup guys.

All longtime friends. Couldn't do it without them.

I watched my comrades setup their booths. 

Steve, my booth partner for every spring show, and I set up ours. I handed out my homemade scones to some people that had demanded that I do so. They were happy. Rosemary gave them a 9.5, a bit measly in my opinion, sort of like a miserly Russian Olympic judge.

We both had an excellent show. Our material has always worked together seamlessly. 

I think people appreciate our expertise. Always fun to split a booth with Steve.

Here is our good friend and top print dealer Roger Genser with Steve.

There were over a thousand people at opening night, at $125 a pop.

They were a bit toned down in a sartorial sense but everybody was having fun and we made some excellent sales, to both new and existing clients.

Here are a few shots in the booth and of the show.

People go to the desert to have fun and everybody enjoys Modernism Week. If you have never gone put it on your schedule.

But book your motel or hotel way in advance. I was staying at the Motel 6 north which was way up by the windmills. I didn't even know it existed but it worked out okay. While I was checking in somebody came in looking for a room. $400 for a Motel 6. Unbelievable. I paid about a quarter of that.

One nice thing about the motel was there was a Denny's fifty yards away. I went over one night after the show, completely bushed.

I had a really sweet waitress and asked her what the best thing was on the menu. She directed me to the salmon, said they had a great cook. I talked to him and they suggested the senior portion, a suggestion that caused me no small umbrage.

They were right. For under fourteen bucks, I got a fabulous and large portion of salmon, perfectly cooked, a salad and broccoli. 

It pays to be nice to the staff and to talk to the cook.

The show came, the show went, had a long pack out and came home late Monday night, just before midnight.

The next day I got up at five, in order to grab a parking space to repack and replenish the van.

I had packed the Santa Barbara boxes before I left, had to secure a place to load before the yoga people took them all.

I finally got finished with my list of stuff to do about two o'clock, made a new set of labels and went home to pack more clothes and bake another batch of scones.

I left for Santa Barbara at about six the next day, a bit tired still from the previous week.

For some reason the GPS directed me farther up the 15, wasn't sure why. I ended up in Phelan and Palmdale, in the desert near Lancaster. Put my up by Lake Sherwood and the snowcapped mountains and places I had never been. Finally got on the 138 and 14 south.

It turned out that the 210 was shut down with a jacknifed semi. Took over five and a half hours to get to Santa Barbara, ended up going through the Camulos Valley. One of my favorites. Long trip though.

I get to the show and start unpacking with little problem. My paper is up, everything is cool. By the afternoon of the second day everything is going swimmingly, paper hung, case full. Or so I thought anyway.

I get a lot of real estate in Santa Barbara, can really pack it in.

About three o'clock on the second day of setup, the lights started dimming. The next thing I know there is smoke coming out of the maintenance closet next to my booth, which holds the giant sub panel and electrical service gear.

Not only is it smoking but it is making an awful noise.

Next thing I know sic fire engines and a cop roll up. I am not sure if they are going to evacuate the building. They tell the fairgrounds staff to shut down and do nothing until Edison gets there, which unfortunately was very late that night.

Edison says the problem is a high voltage fuse on another part of the property. Told them to get an electrician because they didn't want to see anybody electrocuted. I am texting management and getting a rundown because this is very late at night.

I honestly did not think we would have a show. Changing fuses and transformers takes time and money. They would have to find an electrician in the morning. And after seeing the antiquated panel belch smoke I had to wonder what kind of further stress it could endure?

I felt for the dealers and the promoters. Some dealers had come far, one from Louisiana. everybody had big expenses. I felt snakebit from the start and the route through the Mojave, was this show destined to fire?

When I got there Friday morning, the guys on staff told me they thought noon. No big. 

But somehow, miraculously, everything came together and we opened on time. I am very happy to say that I had another great show. Gave out more scones, this time blueberry, cranberry ginger walnut with a navel orange icing from our trees.

Two great shows in a row. Imagine that?

Show was over at four on Sunday. I was completely exhausted. Took three and a half hours to pack up and out. I fell asleep on the road twice, ended up screaming and slapping myself int he face to stay up. I know, I should have got a motel. Completely hit the wall. I ended up sleeping in an Arco parking lot in Lake Elsinore for ten minutes to gain a little strength and composure. This will be my last show for several months. 

I unloaded Monday, sent off packages today and plan on taking it easy for the rest of the week.

This one done wrung out everything I had.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Proto-speak, linguistics and computational phylogenetics


"Almost half of all people in the world today speak an Indo-European language, one whose origins go back thousands of years to a single mother tongue. Languages as different as English, Russian, Hindustani, Latin, and Sanskrit can all be traced back to this ancestral language.

Over the last couple of hundred years, linguists have figured out a lot about that first Indo-European language, including many of the words it used and some of the grammatical rules that governed it. Along the way, they’ve come up with theories about who its original speakers were, where and how they lived, and how their language spread so widely."

They say in the beginning there was the word

but in which fair place 

was it first heard?

Anatolia or a West Russian berg

neither possibility would be too absurd.

Was it an ancient farmer  

or a person hunting herds 

who was the first to enunciate their verbs?

Why do we share so many words

with folks who live so far not near?

wish we had a perfect mirror

to see our past and what brought us here.


Crashing the gym

Anytime Fitness, Fallbrook

Santa Barbara Antique Show


Please join me at the Santa Barbara Decorative Arts and Vintage Sale and Show.


Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Monday, February 12, 2024

Syd Barrett - Octopus

Sunny Side of Heaven

I have been listening to a lot of the late Danny Kirwan's music of late. Such a beautiful player.

Bad Press

Boy has our sleepy little town of Fallbrook made the news this week. Not in a good way. First a major drug bust that included meth, heroin and fentanyl along with a bunch of illegal guns. Then we had a stabbing murder at the Econo Lodge by a guy who fancied himself the pirate, Jack Sparrow. A drunk driver drove through the front window of Anytime Fitness at some point this weekend. And top it all off with a shooting at the gas station this morning.

This is all very strange and uncharacteristic stuff, not the sort of activity or publicity we need or are accustomed to. I was talking to a detective this morning and was told that the cheap motels get about three hundred dollars a night from some governmental agency instead of the $59 they would normally charge a tourist. So they keep them filled with some pretty unsavory types of riff raff as well as the unfortunates who are just down on their luck. Because they are making money.

We get the local motels (not to mention our old hospital) brim full of these out of town basket cases and nobody knows it is going on until you hear about a guy playing pirate who does somebody in. Arrgh. Very sad.

Billy Joe Shaver

Super Sunday

I have a busy show schedule coming up and am not much interested in football so I thought I would get lost in nature yesterday. What a beautiful morning. Leslie made me a bacon and pancake breakfast and a cup of her amazing coffee.

I drove out the driveway which Todd had fixed the day before so that we could get in and out again after the massive rain.

The red tailed mother was on her nest, perched high over the Santa Margarita River Valley.

I drove up north to my special spot and took a look around. 

The road was pretty muddy in spots but I managed to amble through.

I normally don't come on Sundays because there are other humans there, it was mostly older birders yesterday, in big packs. 

I prefer midweek when I have the place to myself.

I wonder if there is a venery term for a large group of older birders? 

In any case, they were well behaved and pleasant and their phalanx mostly self contained. 

Had themselves a nice little picnic afterwards. 

Beats shuffleboard I guess.

I never understood birding by committee or photography by committee, the reason I practice both avocations is really so that I can be alone. 

I like the silence. But everybody has their own needs and to each his or her own.

It was gorgeous and crisp out there. 

I had snow capped peaks in every direction, Jacinto, Baldy, Gorgonio and more.

It wasn't an epic day birding but it was a very good day and I had a great time. 

The first bird I spotted was a vermilion flycatcher, but not in his usual spot. 

I didn't get a great vantage through the branches and didn't even take a shot.

 I have plenty of good ones already, no big.

I saw lots of red tailed hawks, no eagles yesterday. 

Ran into a fellow who saw red tailed hawks mob a falcon but I never saw the peregrine myself. 

I did see a red tailed cross skypaths with a crow.

Lots of shovelers and coots, a few avocets and black necked stilts. Greater egrets, no herons.

Watched this Nuttal's woodpecker flit about in an old oak tree.

I was very content. I started my customary hike but didn't have the right shoes for the mud and stopped my trek short.

This red tailed looks rather forlorn, no? Probably bet on the 49'ers...

I saw quite a few mountain bluebirds. 

Never got the perfect shot but was happy to see them. 

Saw a lot of pipits too. 

The mountain bluebird has the prettiest blue in the sky, short of a macaw anyway.

The highlight of my day, visually and photographically speaking, was spotting this great horned owl taking a nap.

I was sorry to disturb his slumber. 

What a beauty!

I drove to my shop and met my restorer and his wife who had just finished conserving a painting for me. He did a great job as usual. Afterwards I met Leslie at Renee's to watch the end of the game. Renee made prime New York strips, Snoop Dog's mac and cheese and an arugula salad. Leslie roasted her golden cauliflower. Renee made a strawberry cake for dessert.

Epic meal and game. Quite competitive, both teams should be proud. What an ending!

A very good day!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Wild Billy's Circus Story

Fallbrook Eats

Leslie made a korma, coconut cashew curry tonight with duck. It was delicious. She made it over basmati and we added the last loin lamb chops from the other night. I bought the large ten pack at Costco the other day, stretched through three meals.

She had wanted to make a red curry but must have thrown out the paste. Next time. 

I made lamb chops the other night, as I said, with rosemary garlic potatoes. But I went all out on the potatoes, combining Frank Proto and Kenji Lopez Alt's methodology.

First I par boiled the small organic yellows, cut in half in a water bath that I had added baking soda too, along with the salt. This raises the ph and makes the centers fluffier. I let them cool, then fried them cut side down in a cast iron pan with peanut oil.

I then removed them to a baking sheet and, after spraying them with duck fat, gave them another half hour in the oven. Flipped them at 15. With two minutes to go I added the garlic and rosemary and parsley so as not to burn.

Was all the time invested in making thrice cooked potatoes worth it?

I think so.

And for those of you who want to comment on the lack of green on the plate, we had a separate organic butter leaf salad.

The meals are for my stomach, not for show.

I came home yesterday and started to cook and realized that all the plastic cutting boards were gone.

I asked Leslie and she said that she had thrown them away.

We are going to stick with bamboo and wood.

There is a serious micro plastic problem in our world and in our bodies and we don't need to contribute any more particles to our food.

I am down with this.

We also use a lot of parchment paper in our home. I was watching Chef Jean Pierre and he will not allow aluminum foil to touch his food. Probably wise. Wrapping the parchment paper with foil is fine.

Renee's kids have been finding mass quantities of chanterelles by their house in Marin after the recent rains as well as other mushrooms.

They look so good, won't send us any. 😠


I had lunch with her the other day at Rosas.

She went with her favorite, camerones de mojo de ajo.

I stuck with my favorite, chicken soup.

Afterwards we drove out to DeLuz to check out the river crossing.

Sandia Creek had obviously been over the bridge.

Rainbow Creek and the Santa Margarita have been really high by me as well.

Back on food. I had a really nice red chicken curry at Thai Thai the other day.

People like to bitch about the new ownership and while it is a bit inconsistent, my experience has been pretty good there.

Must be lucky.

I went to the Firehouse for lunch today. I hardly ever go there.

Now I remember why.

I had an expensive rib sandwich that was fatty and pretty tasteless. Mac and cheese was good but over twenty one bucks with a root beer. 

No specials on the board anymore.

Will be a while before I go back.

I do like the new specials at Trupianos. On the suggestion of my server I had the penne arrabiata with breaded chicken on top. Really good. Talk about consistency, I always leave Trupiano's happy and pleased.

Renee told me that there is a new avocado variety in Fallbrook that is taking foodies by storm, courtesy of Jerri P. I need to look into it. Supposedly better than fuertes and reeds, my favorites.

Grocery Outlet is selling a really good Mexican ice cream for about fifty cents. I bought two yesterday, guy in front of me bought six, woman behind me bought two. Won't last long. I bought chocolate, coffee with chocolate. Leslie went back for a churro and another chocolate coffee today. Maybe something else too.

Get them while you can. 99 cents and get one free. Such a deal.