Monday, December 27, 2021

Between Times

 Between Times

Not much time for work this last week. We had rain (HOORAY!) And we had Christmas. I wouldn't bother posting at all, except my phone has been ringing all day, the email inbox is overflowing, and folks are even knocking on the door to find out how the stone is coming along. So here are a few pics. I did get a little bit done...
So we'll revisit a little. Go back to the start, and see what progress looks like:

And it's cold and clear this morning. Emphasis on cold. Rain is on the way, and should be here by noon. Maybe I'll be able to sneak in a little work time. And it looks like rain all week. Here in So Cal you never complain about the rain.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas


A most blessed Christmas to all my friends who drop by. May we all see better days.



Monday, December 20, 2021

Starting With Rain

 Starting With Rain



It's 12/14, Tuesday morning, and this is the first really rainy day I've seen in quite a long time. The tarp that serves as a canopy over the carving table is old. I have to get a new one; this one leaks, and drips. Everything's all wet. I got nothing done yesterday, either. Too cold, and windy. So I'm sitting here trying to type. But Buddy the Cat decided to sit on the keyboard. Then he left, and The Most Mysterious Skinamalink took his place. I'm typing around the cat. Mary is in and out fixing Christmas decorations, and doing laundry. Rainy day stuff.

Most of the week was taken up with getting the house together for our Christmas party. Mary has a gift for turning  the simplest  preparations into art. She is a practicing Buddhist, but she goes all in when it comes to Christmas.  She took what we had on hand, some strings of lights, battery powered candles, some teddy bears, and tinsel garland, and turned the living room into a department store window.

We worked together preparing  tacos for the party,  I chopped onions and cilantro, and barbecued the chicken and beef on mezquite charcoal. Mary did the beans and rice, and I seared the tortillas. We laid out a feast for our friends. Holly brought her guitar, and everyone sang. Food, drink, friends, a lot of candy, a little music, a lot of talk. It's been a couple years, now but our home remains a sanctuary from the madness of this age. And this Christmas, oddly enough, feels more like Christmas than any of the seasons I can recall since childhood. As I type this I think of the old Peanuts Christmas cartoon, where Linus, in his understated wisdom, recites the passage from Luke. This is the core, and the heart of the season. We, all of us, know this in our heads, but for me, it has taken the better part of a lifetime to have that knowledge migrate to the heart. I could gripe that that core is buried under the noxious slime of our current culture, but I suppose it's always been so. Christmas back in '63 wasn't about the plastic robot from television. Christmas '21 is not about Amazon, or supply chains. I know that now, in a way I could not know before. I guess that's what you get for sayin' yer prayers.

 I haven't made a lot of progress on the stone. Weather, and short days cut down the available working time.


Even so, I'm happy with the way this piece is coming out. Going forward, the next phase will be teasing out the hollows in, and behind  the long 'snout' that drops down the front from the crest of the carving.



   Soon I'll be making the through-cuts along those troughs, and hollowing out the ball, and claw looking thing in the front. But it won't happen fast. It's Christmas. We got rain coming. It is winter, after all.

I wish for a joyous Christmas for my few readers here at the WFB. We'll do our footwork, say our prayers, and one day, God willing, see an en end to this madness and evil.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Big Loo. A True Christmas Story

This story was first posted on Robot-Japan in '03. The pic came from google images. jwm
I saw “Big Loo-Your Friend From the Moon” for sale on e-bay. Asking price was just over $1800.00. One thousand, eight hundred dollars for a forty year old plastic robot from the Marx toy company. Big Loo was a “Christmas toy” from the early 1960’s; kin to the likes of Great Garloo, Odd Ogg, Robot Commando, and Thinkatron. Big Loo was the most desperately wanted toy on my 1963 Wish List. He could shoot balls out of one hand, and bend over and grab things to destroy with the other. He had blinking eye lights, and a crosshair sight for the dart shooters, missile launchers and water squirter. He could talk too. He had a crank operated voice with ten different sayings. Not to mention the warning bell, a two-tone whistle to further terrify the bad guys, and a compass and Morse code clicker in case you were lost in the wilderness and needed to send a message in code. Not only that- Big Loo was huge. 37” tall to be exact. He was just about everything I wanted in life that fall. But late in that summer of 1963 we had returned home to Trenton Michigan after visiting friends who had moved to California. My younger brother had asthma; the pollen laden eastern summers were killing him. He had done remarkably better in the dry southwestern climate. Instead of spending time in the emergency room he had been running around, swimming, and skinning up his knees and elbows riding a steel wheeled sidewalk surfboard. Sometime around Halloween a ‘For Sale’ sign appeared in front of our house. My folks announced that we too would be moving to California. We were going to a place called La Habra- sort of near Disneyland, and sort of near the beach. The house sold in November, and one Friday afternoon a fragment of broadcast broke across the loudspeaker in sixth grade Music class. The teacher turned directly to me. "John. Get down to the office right now, and find out what happened". Against all school rules, I ran down the ramp, through the lobby, and into the main office. “What Happened?” I asked. The secretary looked at me for a moment and said in a flat, stunned voice,” Someone shot the President.” That was Friday, November 22. Three weeks later, Friday, the Thirteenth of December was cold, and wet. The moving vans had gone. After school we said goodbye to our friends, finished packing, and took a last look at our home. The tree out front was a bare stick. The lawn was brown, the windows black, and everything else drizzly and gray. It was dark by the time we left. Mom piled my two brothers and me into the car, and my Dad drove south that night, into Ohio. Many days later, our bedraggled family pulled up to the door of our friends’ house in La Habra California. It was after ten o’clock at night when we got there. The moving vans had been delayed, so we spent several days sleeping on the floor in their living room and everyone got the flu at once. One of the moving vans arrived Christmas Eve with half of our furniture and goods. We spent that Christmas Eve moving into a shabby sprawling ramshackle house right off Whittier Boulevard. There were avocado, persimmon and loquat trees all overgrown in the huge shaggy yard. There were real poinsettias, too. Somehow in the midst of all that confusion my parents managed to get a Christmas tree set up and decorated in our otherwise empty living room. My Dad explained that Christmas might be delayed this year. At eleven, I understood what he meant, but my younger brothers still believed in Santa. He took my brothers and me to “Freight Outlet” and gave us each a few bucks to spend so we’d have gifts to give. My brothers and I never knew how broke we really were then. We got dinner that night from Burger Q, which was right across the street from our new home. And the next morning my brothers and I woke up to Christmas. The house was half empty, and strange. Stranger still, it was warm, and sunny out. But it was still Christmas. I don’t know how my parents did it, but they did. We had presents. All the silly, wonderful Christmas-toy junk that my brothers and I had coveted, wished for, and figured we just wouldn’t get, appeared beneath the tree that morning. Including my talking 37” tall, ball firing, dart shooting, missile launching, water squirting eye blinking, waist bending, thing grabbing, bell ringing whistle blowing “Big Loo Your Friend From the Moon” robot from the Marx toy company. That was Christmas 1963. By the spring of 1964, I had discovered car models, surf music, and then the Beatles. Big Loo went the way of most real toys, which is to say that I don’t know when or how it disappeared. And now there’s one for sale for eighteen hundred and some odd dollars on e-bay. There’s not a chance I’ll bid on it. Nonetheless, if it were mine I wouldn’t sell it. A merry, and joyous Christmas to all my friends in the Coonosphere. John M

Monday, December 13, 2021




 I started last week in a deep funk. As always, I'm going to leave the source material for the aforementioned funk under the umbrella of "politics and current events".  I spend a good four hours or more every day combing the internet. It's not all heavy stuff, but it's hard to take even an overview of the headlines, and stories of interest without coming away from it all with a free floating sense of dismay. But I'm not going to focus on the negative stuff. Life has been pretty good these last days, despite the ongoing shit show of the news. 
Saturday was our monthly bike club ride. As always I left the house early, and got down to the meet up spot with a couple of hours to kill. I brought hot coffee with me, and had a cup and a wake n' bake sitting on the rocks by the Santa Ana river. The morning was cold, and the early day as clear and fine as it gets. 
December ride. Four years ago I was just a couple weeks away from retiring from the school custodian job. Mary came out to ride that day, and when we stopped for coffee on the way down to the beach, I dropped a quarter tab of some LSD. It wasn't a heavy dose, but it was the first trip I'd taken in forty some years. Dang, it was fun. I wrote about it here.
But I wasn't going to be tripping this day. Too risky with all the bad mental health floating around. The last psychedelic excursion I took was about a year and a half ago. I took a mushroom adventure up in the hills, a post script to finishing the Lost Canyon Project. I had high hopes for the trip, but the hills on that fine spring morning were crawling with Chinese hikers, all masked up like plague zombies, all of them with their diapered faces shoved into their goddamn cell phones. When they saw me un-masked in the hills they would run to the far side of the trail, and clutch their children to them like I was a threat. (I'm not exaggeratin' here either.)
This is not the kind of thing you want to put up with when you're trippin' balls. Trust me here.
But I digress. 
This Saturday was a sweet a day as ever we've had. Just the club, and a few guests. Warm, despite winter. Ice cream at the Fun Zone. There is much to be grateful for.

Here's where I move from stoning out to working the stone. Cold mornings make for a late start, and the short days of December make for an early end to the sessions. Even so, I'm making progress on the rock. I spent less time on line this week. The funk lifted as I got my perspective lightened up. The weather was beautiful, clear and warm. 

We're working on separations.  The inner shape folds over at the top. This is where a hole becomes a slot, becomes a line, becomes an opening, becomes one figure cradled in another. The stone will have the illusion of being in two pieces. The hollows will fill it full of light. 

We're getting the house ready for Christmas, putting up decorations, and making plans for our party on Saturday. Rain on the way as well, so there probably won't be a lot gets done this week. That's OK, too.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Closing in on Winter

 Closing in on Winter

I usually make a few notes for the blog during the week, but this Monday morning greets me with a blank screen.
Yesterday was the monthly Cyclone Coaster ride. I've mentioned it before. Cyclone Coaster is the antique, and classic bicycle ride, every first Sunday of the month in Long Beach, CA. I brought out the 1950 Schwinn B6 for the cruise. Love this old cruiser!

Our club, RatRod Riders B/C, started in the Cyclone Coaster gathering. We had almost the whole gang out Sunday, except for Jim, who was in Arizona with his father. Jim's dad got the bug. It looks like he'll be OK, though. Dave came out to ride again, and that was a blessing. Dave is recovering from a bout with cancer. He's still on the electric assist three-wheeler, but bit by bit, he's doing better.
But there was hard news from the on-line  world. I've been a commenter over at (best site on the internet) Gerard VanderLeun's American Digest for a few years. On-line- friendships, and acquaintances  are strange creatures. There is nothing to identify an on-line friend except a nic name, maybe an avatar, and a style of writing. Yet we become friends after a fashion. We trade notes, get some idea of who the person is we're "talking" to, and come to care about that individual, even though we'd not recognize him if we were sitting at the same bus stop. That web of coincidence that catches us up, and connects us with others is mysterious, indeed. There are some wonderful metaphysical implications in this.
Jewel, is such an on-line acquaintance. We've traded notes on blogs for years now. Last night Jewel posted that she may terminal with the virus. Nothing is working, and they're going to put her on a ventilator.
Now, as I just said, I would not recognize the woman if we met face to face. Nonetheless the news hit me like a fastball to the gut. I woke in the night thinking about it. Many of the commenters over at American Digest are offering up prayers for Jewel. Ever think how a prayer gets routed? Somehow, the Almighty knows who is praying and for whom, even if the one offering the prayer does not. I guess that's taking it on Faith. It's all we have sometimes.
As far as the business of playing artist goes, I've been dragging my heels all week. Low energy. Malaise. Just plain feeling low and lousy. Even so, I made some decent progress on the stone. The last week or more I've been excavating the space at the base of the form.  It's kind of cool to see all that air and light open up in the middle of a rock. It's gratifying to see all this  space that started out with a single well-placed 1/4" hole. 
There is much much more excavation to come. I'll be working up in the top section this week, hollowing out the "head", and the troughs on the inner forms. It's all about working the light. 

This is the darkening season, and soon we'll see the shortest, and darkest day of this long, unhappy year. And in this darkening of days,  we wait for the light of Christmas.
"O Come Emanuel..."

Monday, November 29, 2021

Into the Season

 Into the Season

Thanksgiving has passed us by. It's Sunday night as I'm sitting here at the desktop. Mary and I just finished four days of eating turkey. The last chapter in the dinner saga is turkey and rice soup. Enough. But the holiday went well. We hosted my brother Don's family, and I did the traditional dinner, right down to doing gravy from scratch. We said grace, and feasted well. Despite this ugly age and time there still  much to be grateful for. 

I made some decent progress on the stone this week,  even though I lost a lot of time getting the house together for Thanksgiving. Drilling was the big project. I had to open up the top of the figure, the head, I guess you could call it. The jig I made for drilling across the base was useless for this task. I used the old Craftsman power drill, and the 3/8" masonry bit to send in two holes, each four inches deep, ninety degrees apart, and at different heights. One hole had to tag the other right at the end point:


 Here's me patting myself on the back. But there is still a lot of excavation that needs done, all of it in close tight spaces, and none of it easy. Sometimes I get frustrated trying to figure out how I'm going to get in to do some of this stuff, and then I remember whose plan I'm following. When you're self-taught, you learn from an instructor who doesn't know what he's doing. You can't complain about the boss being an asshole, and giving you stupid hard projects when you're the boss. So here's the progress as we roll into the Christmas season. 


There's a part of me that wants to do something inspiring, a piece all full of optimistic spirit, reaching for the light, aspiring to  ethereal grace. But the form emerging from the rock is sullen, gnarled, and grotesque. It's the product of a dialogue between creative energy, low spirits, a dark, and angry mind set, and a jagged chunk of jewel-like stone. A beautiful monster, I guess you could say. But it's Monday. The sun is out, and the morning is clear and warm. Got work to do, and that's a blessing.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Deeper into the Fall

  Deeper into the Fall

Art doesn't just happen; you gotta' hire some clown to make it.



We just crossed the middle of November, and we're about a week away  from Thanksgiving. Time doesn't march on, it sprints. Nonetheless, I always end up posting about stuff that happened almost ten days ago. It's Tuesday the 16th as I'm typing out the first thoughts of the week, and I'm reflecting on the events of last Saturday, the 13th. But this won't go on line until next Monday the 22nd. Just trying to keep it as confusing as I can.

But yeah, last Saturday, I missed the So Cal RatRod Ride for (I think) only the second time since I founded the event in 2012. I didn't want to miss the ride, but I have just so much energy for a day, and forty miles of driving, and four hours of bike ride was too much to do before hosting a party. I was kind of apprehensive about the day, but, like I said last week, the family reunion gathering went down as one of the best events we've ever held in the Gazebo. Mary's decision to overhaul the yard led to John Hill and I building the little structure. What we got for our time, cash, and labor is priceless.

What we got. What we have. Where we are. What's to come? It's late in the game for all of us. My brothers? The three of us couldn't be more different if we made an effort. I doubt we'd agree on much of anything regarding politics, religion, or current events. But like Confucius says: You can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family. We were all of us very very glad to be able to get together once more. Controversial stuff never made it to the table. The day was wonderful, but it's doubtful if I'll ever see the whole family together  like this again, and that makes me sad. Ross, and his partner, Pacho are back in New York. Don, his kids,  and ex-wife will be joining us for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, but then Don will head back to Thailand. 

Ross has  the trapeze school, the theater, writing, the daily high voltage life in Manhattan. And his partner. Pacho is a great guy. He's a character straight out of a TV sitcom, clicking all the boxes: Bright, funny, charming, personable to a fault, and hugely talented in a zillion different ways.

I understand why  Don, my other brother, is going back to Thailand.  Our California is long gone, paved over, and crowded out. He is living his dream as well, the slow life in a tropical paradise where it's always warm, green, and beautiful. Good surfing nearby, and no crowds ever.

And I am right here at home, living with my beloved wife, Mary. We're in the house that my mother and grandmother bought when my mother divorced my dad in '72. I am within walking distance from where the first house once stood that my family rented when we moved to California, back in December of 1963. I haven't gone far, and I do not regret that.  I am a typical Boomer, I guess,  living out the remnant of a middle-class suburban lifestyle that is rapidly fading off into the past.

I love the simple life I have been gifted. Despite the awfulness of the current day and time, life, for Mary and me, has gone on with little interruption compared to what so  many have suffered.
I am acutely aware of the many blessings we have in our lives, and profoundly grateful for them. Don and Ross are both happy, and I am happy for them. Life has been good to all of us, each to our own way.

Even so.

I wrote last week that this whole episode has left me in a deep melancholy. I feel the years; time and days are old and thin. 



So anyway, here is the progress on the stone for the week. An accurately drilled hole through the base made the excavation easy. I've reached a stage of the artistic 'burn' where all I really want to do is work. 


"Hey, you want to go ride the bike? Want to go out?" 

"No. I Leave me alone. I just want to work." 

It's Sunday night as I sit typing this. After carving all morning I took the bike out for about an hour. Except for a small errand yesterday, this was the first time I've left the grounds in many days.  I gotta' get out more.

But I also need to drill...

Monday, November 15, 2021

Seeing into the stone

Seeing into the Stone 

At some point in an art project, the artist should have a clear idea of what the finished product should look like. Of course if the artist is doing a likeness of a person for a statue or a portrait, he knows before he sets out. Too, a representational work has a very clear criterion for evaluation: Does the portrayal, at the very least, resemble the subject?

An abstract work is free from the constraint of having to resemble any particular subject matter. An artist can begin such a work without a hundred percent clear idea of how the finished piece will look. Even so, all the rules still apply. Balance, symmetry, grace, proportion, all have to work together, and add up to beauty. The finished work should be pleasing to the eye.

It's Monday night as I'm sitting here typing out these thoughts. I'm pleased with the progress on the stone, but I'm also stalled. Here's where I drag out my over used comment about climbing a rock. Yeah, I'm stuck on a damn ledge, or something. It's the whole ridgeline arcing down the front, and into the bulbous nose end of the piece. This is going to be the most prominent feature on the carving, and I'm going round in circles trying to sort it out. I don't know how many times I've thought, "Yeah, GOT IT!", and then said, "No, not quite."

Well, I got it.

It's Friday night. I've decided how to shape the bulbous piece, the "nose" at the low point of the wedge. I made some good progress excavating the hollows. The point chisels really speed the work along, but I'm still not deft enough to avoid bruising the stone. That's a problem with any alabaster, but especially in translucent material. A sharp blow to the stone will leave a white bruise that can go down a couple of millimeters. The clear stuff on this rock is hard and tough, but it seems to bruise easily. Proceed slowly and with caution. 

I'm just about ready to drill through the base. I set up the jig yesterday, and marked out where the first two holes are going to go. It's going to be an awkward set up, resting the rock on sheets of plywood, and 2x4's to get the drill bit lined up at the correct height. Then I'll have to strap it down on the table with the ratchet, then shoot the  drill, undo it all, and set it up again for the next hole.

But all this is on hold for a day.

My brothers are both coming to So Cal for a visit, one from New York City, and the other from Thailand, where he's been doing the ex-pat thing. My niece and nephew, and their mother, whom I seldom see will be here also.

It's an impromptu family reunion, unscheduled, and un-planned, but holding parties is what Mary and I do. It's sort of our thang, y'know? We got the fixings to do tacos, Mexican style. I do not get all stressed when I'm holding gatherings for our friends, but I'm stressing over this one. Truth to tell, I don't see eye-to-eye with either of my brothers on much of anything relating to religion, politics, and current events. I spend over three hours  every day reading up on the shit. Reading. No videos, no podcasts, no television. I have no patience for "the narrative", and I absolutely will not engage in discussion, or argument. My worldview, and opinions are hard set, and not up for re-consideration. I don't get into arguments either on-line, or in person. Nobody changes anybody's mind on any of this stuff. I purely hate talking about it.

And I'm worried about my cat. Wednesday, Buddy the Cat looked like he was favoring his right foreleg. Today, Friday, he's listless, complaining...

Anyway, I'm calling the vet tomorrow morning first thing. Another item on the agenda.

...and now, Saturday morning. Buddy the Cat seemed a little better this morning when I gave him his fish. We'll see how he's doing when the sun comes up. I'm dreading the day...

Sunday morning. The kitchen is still a mess.  Buddy the cat seems to be doing better. The Skinamalink is bugging me to go outside. I'm on my third cup of coffee. But we had a good day, yesterday. We had an unbelievably good day. Nobody got going on politics, and current events. But somehow, the day left me exhausted, and melancholy. If life was a book, the heavy part would now be in my left hand. Despite the warmth of the day, the gathering had the feeling of a chapter very late in the story. All things must pass, including all of us.

Anyhow, not much work got done on the project this week. Here are the latest pics.



 See the purple marks on the base? I'll be drilling this week. Tune in for the next exciting chapter!

Monday, November 8, 2021



Buddy the Cat



November started off cold, gray, and quiet. It's been a trying, and very expensive week. Last Saturday's party was a lot of work, and it came to a long, slow, very late, and not very pleasant end. I love my weed, but I do not drink. Mary, and the gals love their wine, but whiskey hits a party like a wrecking ball. I saw two fifths vanish within the space of an hour, and the results weren't pretty. I hate to be a blue nose, but I'm seriously considering banning hard liquor from our gatherings. Sunday was a day to straighten up the mess, and then just flop. 

Last Monday started with the tax bill. I'll say this much, and change the topic. I'm about ready for French Revolution II. I'd love to see this "Government" shoved into tumbrils, and dragged whimpering and wailing to a date with Madame Guillotine.

OK, enough anger.

Like I said, first thing in the week was a tax bill, then the insurance bill, then Wednesday was a six-hundred dollar vet bill for the Skinamalink. Thursday morning, as always, I got up in the dark, and Buddy the Cat, and The Most Mysterious Skinamalink were waiting for me in the kitchen. I took the bowl of tuna fish from the refrigerator, spooned out a little for the cats, set the bowl aside, and started making the coffee.  Yes, the cats get their tuna before I get my coffee. Buddy the Cat is as loud as a firetruck, and the meeyowling drowns our even the coffee grinder. But in the time it took me to brew coffee, an ant swarm charged in from behind the switch plate and completely covered the bowl of fish. The whole kitchen counter was alive with the goddamn things. So before I got my coffee, I spent a fun session with a spray bottle of Windex squirting down the ants on the counter . We can add a visit from the exterminators to the financial damage.

Monday it was back to work on the stone. Even here in So Cal, the weather is now cold enough that I don't get to work until late in the morning, so progress is slow. I'm just about to the place where I have to drill in order to take care of all the excavation that needs done. Wednesday, John came over, and helped me  build a jig for my big power drill. I need to be able to shoot a series of long straight holes through  the wide base of the stone. It's easy enough to make the drill go in at exactly the right spot, but it's tricky as hell making it come out exactly at the right spot. Twenty years ago, I seemed to be able to hit the bullseye without any effort, but on my last few attempts, my aim wasn't all that good. I'll find out how well my invention works any day, now.



The carving is shaping up with an inner figure protruding from the hollow of an outer shell. But it's  going to be tough to do the shaping in the confines of the inner space. We shall see what progress this week brings.

But finishing up with the small doings around here, Yesterday, was the first Sunday of the month and that means the Cyclone Coaster antique and classic bike ride. I feel a little guilty, writing about this event without posting pictures. It's been a monthly tradition for over ten years, now, and we tend to take it for granted, and forget to bring cameras. I don't do the phone-cam thing. Sunday was the bi-annual swap meet that has been postponed for the last year because of the virus bullshit. Holy cow, I could easily have trashed my bank account at that event.

But bikes were not the main event for us, Sunday. The event was having our good friend, and club member Dave come out to ride again. Dave's had a brutal battle with cancer. Friends set him up with an electric assist three-wheeler. This was his first ride after a long tough struggle. Having him cruise with us again made the ride feel like a family reunion.

And so, November. It has been a little over six months since I got back to to work. Winter is just about here. Even in  So Cal that means a season of crappy weather, and slow production. Slow progress is still progress. I'll take whatever the day has to offer.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Digging For The Light


 Digging For The Light


Holy cow, it's November already. Eight months have passed since the burn to work re-lit. Four new projects are completed. I'm grinding away on this one, and enjoying doing it. The work is a gift for which I am most grateful. 


 In the last post I was considering some of the challenges that come up in shaping a chunk of stone like this one, and I referred to the work as being a kind of dialog between the ideas in my head, and the reality of the rock on the table in front of me. I mentioned that I had wanted to approach this from a set plan, but this ragged chunk of fossilized lake bed just isn't going to work that way. The stone speaks first, and sets the terms of the discussion. And in this case, the dialog with this wide-assed rock is turning into a date with a gorgeous chick who turns out to be a petulant, whiny bitch. It's too wide here, and too narrow there. Hard here, and soft there. Flat here, curvy, and convoluted there. The backside will not take kindly to being messed with at all, and the single most beautiful, jewel-like feature on the stone is exactly in a place that needs to get dug out, and excavated.. 

Even so, we are working together, staring, then planning, then working, then stopping and staring, planning...  and this whole piece has been sort of evolving. There's a ton of beauty in this chunk of California, and I'm going to bring it to the light. Maybe I can wedge that  metaphor about a "dialog with the stone" into the scene in the corny movie where the homely girl gets a make over, and goes all Cinderella on everyone.

Just havin' a ball, here y'know?

It has been a week of distractions around the suburban hermitage. Wednesday, I popped out the sliding screen doors  from the back, and took them in to get re-screened. And then the Most Mysterious Skinamakink showed up with a badly abscessed wound on his neck. Cat fight. That meant a six hundred dollar visit to the vet, and a few days of pills, and house arrest for the poor cat. And of course it was a hot two days, with no screen doors at the back so the sliding glass doors were shut, and the house got all hot, and the cat was crabby. Somehow, we survived it all. The cat is doing much better.

 Our Halloween gathering Saturday turned kind of sour, also. We're not shy about partying at all, but a couple of guys brought whiskey. Dangerous stuff.  I saw two fifths disappear within the space of an hour, and ended up with some very drunk guests. I love my weed, and I'll occasionally take a ride on the mushroom, but I do not drink, and I don't like being around folks when they're drunk. But everyone made it home OK, and as far as I know, they all escaped well-deserved hangovers.


So here's the progress on the stone this week. I still have a long, long ways to go, but what I'm seeing is making me happy. This form is going to have a lot of open space, and will show some beautiful translucence, and color, but the deep excavation yet to come is going to be a challenge. It's all about working the light. The deeper I dig, the more the light shines in the stone. This thing is going to glow like a lamp. My friend John is coming over Wednesday, and we're going to build a jig to do the long drilling across the wide base of this monster. All kinds of fun!