Monday, August 31, 2009

105,000 Acres

We're hanging on news of this gigantic fire in L.A.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Market Mischief

At City Market in Montrose yesterday one of those product hawkers was set up with a little stand near the meat department. He was pitching a product called Chef Michel, something like that.

His stand was nicely arranged with tiny cans and a bowl full of multi colored snack pieces. I was watching as a woman walked up, took a handful of the snack pieces and tossed them in her mouth.

Only then did he tell her, "Oh, this is dog food."

She hawked and squawked and spit it out. About a minute and a half later someone else came up and did the same thing.

You know this weirdo food guy was getting a kick out of it. I bet he got a kick out of the store too before the day was up. The product is made by Purina. I didn't try it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Grouse and a Guest

The grouse was in the driveway. The guest came to stay last night. He didn't grouse and he wasn't grouchy. He's moving back to Connecticut after years in L.A. in the movie business. This was a stop along the way. I baked a very nice peach pie.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

High and Dry

It's been very dry up here. Usually August is Monsoon month, with daily afternoon soaker storms, but they haven't happened yet, and September's coming fast. The landscape now is crunchy to walk through, golden and purple, and we've seen very little wildlife about. But we hear the coyotes at night, and that's nice.

Now it's starting to look as if rain may be on the way, but two days of big clouds have produced nothing.

We walked to this strange ranch today. Having just read quite a few mystery novels, I was spooked by the place. There's an abandoned Range Rover in the hay barn behind, no cattle around at all, and an air strip that looked recently used. Hmm... We decided not to look in the back seat of the Range Rover.

A lot of heavily geared abandoned farm machinery that we couldn't make sense of.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stay in a Line

For years I thought the Bee Gees were singing "Stay in a Line" and thought it was a silly concept for a song. It was really "Staying Alive." These horses are doing a good job staying in a line, and better behaved than some of my mother's meal mates.

Yesterday we went to the dump in Ridgway. We're quite chummy with the lady who runs it. The white truck in front of us had a bumper sticker that said "I want my country back." I wasn't sure if it was talking about race or music, but Jon thought it was race.

We asked our friend what the sticker meant when it was our turn to show her the trash we brought. She said, "Oh, that poor family. Their daughter killed her husband and is serving 50 years in jail. So they have two teenage kids to raise, just when they thought they were going to tour the country. He's a retired chef. They just moved here." woah.... and woes...

We drove on to Ouray (rhymes with hooray, you-ray) past the field of yaks. I'm still determined to get a picture of them but there's no turn off on the skinny road. We went to the little farmers' market there and got peaches, melon, and a loaf of bread with whole baked garlic cloves inside.

Incredibly delicious. I also bought a small goat cheese rolled in thyme and lavender. I sampled it first. I couldn't wait to get home and eat it smeared on that garlic bread. But strangely, when we got home, it was nowhere to be found. I felt so badly, sure I'd dropped it in the street getting in the car. But when Molly had to go outside at 4 am I think I solved the mystery: CHEESE DOG ATE GOAT CHEESE!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sunday Dinner at Medford

My mother warned me that the menu writer used so many adjectives you expect the food to actually taste good. It's always a big disappointment. We both ordered crab cakes ("our SPECIALTY!!") and asparagus. She also ordered baked potato soup. I had the pear salad.

This was Sunday dinner at 12 noon at my mother's senior living center. We were eating in the assisted living dining room. Most of the guests arrived with walkers or wheelchairs. The table was set nicely with white linen and goblets.

We were in the center of the room, with only one other person at our table. She had a most intense fragrance of Ivory Snow that was blowing my way. It took me a while to place the fragrance.

There was trouble in the corner near us, at a bigger table. Someone had taken someone else's seat. CHAIR WARS!!

"That's my seat. You can't sit there!" the lady with lots of gold jewelry yelled at the little Asian lady. She repeated this many times. The Asian lady just sat there staring straight ahead. The ruckus got worse.

The general manager waltzed in dressed up like Sarah Palin and told them all "Just go with the flow," and she flowed on out but that didn't help. Gold jewelry was on fire. "I pay for this seat and I'm going to sit here." Another well intended helper came over and said, "We're trying something new, just sit over here." "NO! That's my SEAT!"

Over in the other corner a man was moaning loudly because he didn't get what he ordered.

The crabcakes arrived. That's crab cake, one per person, and you wouldn't have wanted two. It looked like a little brown fried falafel ball, and that's a nice way of describing it. Next to it were two gray and droopy asparagus spears.

When I looked back at Chair Wars the Asian lady had lost and vanished, and big mouth and her pals were now gloating over the victory. Awful.

We got talking with the lady at our table. She was 103 years old! Second oldest at Medford. She said she went to Smith class of '28. I said I went to Smith, class of '71. She said not many women at Medford went to colleges where you had to take an entrance exam.

My mother said, "Who wants to live so long?" Our friend said, "If you're in good health, why not?"

She said 25 years ago she had a stroke, and at the hospital they told her that her veins were 75% clogged. She stopped eating fat. She said she's told the Medford doctor many times that the Medford kitchen was cooking the wrong food for old people. She sent her plate back because the meat was covered with gravy.

Then it turned out she had lived in the apartment with the fish pond where my mother lived when she first moved to Medford. In fact this lady put the fish pond in. This all seemed so amazingly coincidental and wonderful to my mother and me. Unfortunately it turns out my mother eats with her every night and they've been around the fish pond story many times before.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday Night

We were sitting on the upstairs porch last night when Molly started barking. We looked across the yard and saw a small mountain lion slinking along. It looked back at us. Extremely rare and amazing sight. Off to New Jersey-- bye!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grand Junction

I'm flying out of Grand Junction CO in the morning. The next day President Obama flies into the same airport, the first US President to visit Grand Junction since around 1908. He's conducting a town meeting. I'm in favor of health care reform. I know plenty of people who pay cash for medical appointments just to stay clear of pre existing conditions which cause insurance payments to boomerang. I know plenty of people who have no insurance at all.

I'm going to visit my mother who's now 94 1/2. She's been getting a bit agitated lately but is taken care of well.

I've been so uninspired creatively the last couple of months. It's never happened to me before. I am interested in the social games on Facebook: Lexulous, Pet Society, and Farmville. That's my farm above. They are masterpieces of Flash code to date, (and take way too long to load.)

But I think the latter two are waiting for a next stage development. They need interaction between characters, conflict, conversation which seems to be generated by the situation. It wouldn't be impossible. I've done so much experimenting with Flash code over the years, including setting up characters to say something depending on several variables.

Then it will really be a social game. As it is now in both of these games you're basically just acquiring and decorating and visiting your friends. There's no surprise in what the friends do when they encounter you.

Lexulous is just a well fashioned scrabble game and works pretty well.

This free content phenomenon is affecting artists of all kinds. The L.A. Times reports that even the porn industry is being taken down by it!

I'll be back Monday night and maybe will check in over the weekend. Enjoy the summer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Money Fish!

credit Won Park

I spent a couple of hours going through (and editing) old bookmarks and came upon all sorts of nifty things. This koi fish is made of a dollar bill folded into its glorious shape. I came upon it at the terrific illustration site You may have other ideas of things to do with a spare dollar.

The artist is Won Park, and he even offers a video on how to make your own money fish.

Another interesting site is doing strange things with animated faces.

Oh and here's a gloriously peculiar product you may have heard of but I would have thought it was just a weird dream: It's a doughnut smelling wrist relaxer/stress reliever.

Could you really sit at a desk all day and not have to make a sudden run for the doughnut shop?

And don't forget a site devoted to Laff in the Dark rides. Got any favorite weird sites to share?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wild Strawberries

We found a field of wild strawberries on our hike at Woods Lake.

Our little chicken Dinah came to visit for four days. This hen lays a prize every time.

One night we watched "True Grit". It was shot nearby in Ridgway, Colorado. Next day we went to a crafts fair in the town park where the hanging scene was shot. (I don't like crafts fairs.)

Spooky parents in the woods!

Here we are in the streets of Silverton. She left today and it seems empty at home.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

All Together Now

Dinah's visiting us this weekend which makes us very happy. This morning a chipmunk ran under the couch but it's back outside again.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Feelin Like a Million

Or maybe a million and a half... A childhood friend sent me the news that the house I grew up in is for sale for $1,450,000! It didn't look like a bed and breakfast when I lived there, and as far as my brother and I can remember, there was one bathroom upstairs, one in the attic, and a toilet in the basement. It was brown and white and had a lot of character but didn't have this formal la-dee-da look. My parents bought it for $13,000 and my mother said there were rats in the basement when they moved in, and it had been a boarding house. For awhile we had Hungarian refugees in the attic. I'll never forget seeing catfish swimming in the bathtub up there.

One thing it used to have, that this fancy redo can't replicate, was a wonderful secret staircase that went from the kitchen to the landing on the stairs. Originally intended for unsightly servants, it was wonderful to hide in.

I did see the house in its lavender incarnation a few years ago, and noticed the dog on the porch was wearing a bandana that matched the seat cushions on the porch.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Gateway, CO

Yesterday we went to Gateway, Colorado, a former Uranium mill town that's been bought up by Discovery Channel mogul John Hendricks . The town now has a hotel, a restaurant, and a vintage car museum. The highlight of the museum is the Oldsmobile F 88, which he bought for more than 3 million dollars! The architecture of the new town is incredibly boring though intended to be sensitive to the surroundings. It's corporation speak buildings.

I actually didn't like the Oldsmobile 88 as much as some of the older ones, but then I grew up with classic cars and have bias. I always enjoy vintage car museums. Some of those old dinosaurs seem like the apex of industrial design.

This is a spot called The Plume. You might be able to see a few cars down near the river that went over. It was a palm sweat-er to look over

We went with two friends who drove the windy red canyons with rock formations that are almost as stunning as Monument Valley. A car followed us with four more people they knew. They were from Richistan. We all went for a hike in the desert hills right at noon. (Talk about timing.)

One member of the group, a naughty former Eagle Scout, scrambled up the sandy hills and out of sight all alone. He was headed up this precipice. (Last one in picture above.)

We were told he had no fear of heights. We couldn't see him, we couldn't hear him, we didn't know what to do. This was some dangerous hiking. Also prime snake country. His wife was furious, and everyone else was worried. Of course we found him back at the car where he had that Cheshire cat look but said he was sorry.

Molly spent the day at a cage free kennel that didn't inspire much confidence on the outside. In fact something about it brought "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" to mind. But inside it turned out to be a nifty, if eccentric, day care playground. About 20 dogs played cage free, really experiencing that trailer life, and they could also go outside and play on gym equipment.

The picture doesn't do it justice! It looked much worse! Molly seemed pretty spaced out when she got home but she didn't ask for a beer and her coat was clean and shiny.

Dinah comes tomorrow for a few days. She hasn't been here since the day after I broke my ankle at Blaine Basin several years ago. If we'd thought of it sooner, we would have gotten outfits together to make it look like we'd become old bikers to surprise her at the airport.

I was going to do a Photoshop comp of it for your amusement but ran out of time.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rachel Alexandra

Wondrous horse!!!! Filly for the Ages!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Thanks all around. Kevin Stafford won the Ultimate Rachel Alexandra Fan Contest and will get all the goodies tomorrow at Monmouth Park. If you get TVG you'll see him walking with his new favorite horse. I know many of you voted, and that was so nice of you.

And I started this twitter drawing chain and wonder where it's going, and what's the protocol. We had Linda Davick, (ldavick), Namowal (othernamowal), RussellSteeleOH, wegwag (Marti Mcginess), tinyowls, and tasha26 all drawing.

If you choose to start a chain or continue one, be sure to add the @biz in the box at the bottom, otherwise the others may never see it or know anything was drawn. It seems to spiral out.

All were based on one lumpy drawing at the start. It's fun to run the playback over at twitter and see what was changed. I don't even know how tasha26 ran into the picture or who tasha26 is, but a nice contribution.

Have a good Saturday. I'm reading an excellent mystery, "Don't Look Back" by Karin Fossum, a Norwegian writer I found by accident in the library.