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06/13/08 - Cutting An Odd Figure

Actually, we printed, cut and taped this rather odd figure. It's a Szillasi polyhedron, and with the hole in the center, it is equivalent to a torus. It has seven faces, each touching the other six, so it demonstrates that you need at least seven colors to color a torus, unless you don't mind adjacent patches having the same color. It's also kind of odd looking, so it makes a pleasant addition to Domaine Cliché's collection of oddities. If you want to find out more, and maybe even make one of these for yourself, check out our Szillasi Polyhedron page.

Keywords: art, science

05/23/08 - Seattle and Txori

We have just returned from a lightning trip to Seattle. It was an odd trip. If nothing else, our cellphone died. On the upside, we made it back to Txori and had a wonderful meal, just when we needed it, and we checked out the Seattle Art Museum Sculpture Park. The sculpture was very 60s evoking Claes Oldenberg and his giant lipsticks, but more witty. We were impressed by this steel tree, or is perhaps aluminum. We were also impressed by the field of lupines at its feet, all natural, and mostly in bloom.

Keywords: seattle, restaurants, art

05/08/08 - The Space Needle

We've been in Seattle the last few days. Here's the view from our room. That's the Seattle Space Needle, one of the great retro-future artifacts of our time, and it still looks wonderfully futuristic.

Keywords: seattle, art

01/06/08 - George MacDonald Fraser Is Dead

If the name isn't familiar, then perhaps you've heard of his best known character and hero of over a dozen of his novels, Harry Flashman. As Fraser's life spanned the better part of the 20th century, Flashman's life spanned much of the 19th. Flashman was a rogue and a poltroon. He had more than an eye for the ladies and did what he could to avoid battle. He was lucky with the ladies, but his battle luck ran against him. He repeatedly found himself front and center in face of shot and shell in the great battles of the era. Flashman met most of the villains and many of the heroes of his day, and his accounts of them were insightful and hilarious. Despite his cowardice, Flashman was a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade, Little Big Horn, the Retreat from Kabul, the Great Mutiny and the Raid at Harper's Ferry.

Now that George MacDonald Fraser is dead, there are no more Flashman papers to be revealed. It's a new century now, the 21st. Perhaps it is time to move our Flashman into the 20th? Can we imagine him having tea with Hitler and a dalliance with Eva Braun? Would he survive Hiroshima in the arms of an emperor's concubine? We can imagine him sipping cafe au lait with a young Pol Pot at the Sorbonne, or perhaps getting drunk at a brothel with Stalin having recently escaped from the Siege of Leningrad. Surely, there is room in history, for Flashman in Idi Amin's Uganda and Eva Peron's Argentine. He would have hobnobbed with Churchill and found himself on a Normandy beach on D-Day, despite his furious efforts to follow that countess to neutral Sweden.

Thanks to George MacDonald Fraser we can let our imaginations run riot. The 20th century offers much to a man like Harry Flashman who made so much of the 19th. Interestingly there is one place that it is hard to place him, and that is anywhere in the grand idiocy of the First World War. The war widow scene has already been written and the insane asylum metaphor exhausted.

Flashman's wry voice and self centered point of view gave us a wonderfully jaundiced look at the 1800s. We will miss George MacDonald Fraser, and this century will miss him as well.

Keywords: art

12/12/07 - Meaning Uncertain

Even Homer nods, and even the Oxford English Dictionary has its weaknesses. In particular, there are words with citations, but no definitions. We came across "smolet" years ago by chance, but now that the OED is online we could simply search for all entries that had "meaning uncertain" to see how common this problem is. All told, we found about fifty words that are in the dictionary, but as yet undefined. We didn't find "caterjunes" on this list, which was the nonsense spelling word from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Apparently, since it was used in a spelling bee, it is possible to spell a non-word incorrectly. Maybe it will show up in a future edition.
smolet (smolat)

Keywords: art

An urban nurse log

11/17/07 - A Taste of Home

We were exploring the new Seattle Art Museum sculpture garden and were suprised to find a taste of home. Inside the concrete building down on the corner of Broad and Eliot was a nurse log. Since this was the middle of the city, they had the nurse log on life support with all sorts of humidifiers and temperature controls. Most of the nurse logs we see tend to manage on their own, but downtown, they need a bit of help.

According to the docent, the original tree fell in the Tacoma area and was collected, along with lots of mosses and little undergrowth plants, to comprise the Neukom Nurselog exhibit. They did a nice job, though we aren't sure of what the museum people are going to do when the young trees growing from the old log start getting tall. We'd like to think that they'll have a fund drive and grow the building. Why not a taste of artificial rain forest in downtown Seattle?

Keywords: seattle, art, science, tacoma

Another Barbara Teufert fantasy

09/10/07 - Barbara Teufert Update

This is a simple figure in Ms. Teufert's fantasy series. We like all the organic forms.

Keywords: art

Down the garden path

08/31/07 - Barbara Teufert Update

Barbara Teufert has been back at her kiln again firing up her fantastic ceramics. Her latest is a garden and garden paths. We've had to update her web page, and we've added a few other things, including a second vine covered castle.

Keywords: art

08/21/07 - New K'Nex Lighting Option

Over the years, Kaleberg Symbionts has earned a reputation for producing the finest, most intelligently design K'Nex based light options. Our ground breaking Promenade lamp set the standard for fine K'Nex lighting design. Now, Kaleberg Symbionts is proud to announce a new lighting option, a new kinetic, dimmable, shelf mounted, small format lamp which we have named One Tree. It is a simpler design than Promenade, but the "L" shaped light filter works with the single rotating K'Nex tree to provide a new level of light, and a new level of symbiotic design.

Keywords: k'nex, art, kale

08/10/07 - The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center: A True Northwestern Rain Forest Gallery

The Port Angeles Fine Arts Center is an unusual art gallery. Most of the exhibits are shown in a natural Northwestern temperate rain forest. If you are tired of finding mushrooms, mountain beaver, trilliums and salamanders on your rain forest walks, come here and enjoy the sense of light and play in this unusual outdoor museum.

Welcome to the labyrinth

Keywords: art, port angeles, salamander, trillium

07/31/07 - The Kaleberg Luau

We've been celebrating Hawaii with our own version of a luau. We've been cooking up lau lau, pipikailua beef, and chicken cafreal. Yeah, that last one isn't Hawaiian, but it is one of our Tabla favorites, and at least it is tropical. For more on our luau, check out the Kaleberg Luau page.

Our Shaman Transforming celebrates at our Hawaiian Luau

Keywords: food, hawaii, art, kale

11/01/06 - Our Shaman Transforming on Halloween

The Kaleberg manse is a rather mystical place in the best of times, but around Halloween things get even worse. We've always had our shaman mask to greet the hundreds of trick or treaters trolling our neighborhood, but this year our shaman mask was transformed, and our shaman had company. The wood carving is by Ron Telek a Nishga artist from British Columbia who has created a number of carved wooden masks depicting mystical transformations. The glowing skulls are little Mexican sugar skulls that we created with molds from and stuffed with little flashlight bulbs in sockets from Radio Shack. The jack-o-lantern was grown locally, in the United States, so this Halloween montage is sort of a tribute to NAFTA, which some folks find pretty scary in and of itself.

Our Shaman on Halloween

Keywords: halloween, art, kale

Live the Cliche!

01/13/06 - Live the Cliche! by Domaine Cliche

We've long been fans of Domaine Cliché, home of the overworked and over familiar. Sometimes it seems as if Peter Mayle never wrote Escape From Provence. Despite our ennui, we still want to live the cliché, and we found just the place to buy the merchandise we need to do it. Surely, you can do better than Live the Cliché by Domaine Cliché.

Keywords: art

Mural in the lobby of the General Administration Building

11/17/05 - On The Wall In Olympia

The above mural is in the lobby of the General Administration Building in Olympia, Washington. It represents the great economic output of the state. You can see Paul Bunyan standing in for forestry, the air control tower for Boeing and aerospace, an apple tree and a ladder for the orchards, cattle, deer, streamlined trains, and unfortunately, a symbol representing the pre-quantum theory model of the atom, presumably representing the atomic facilities at Hanford. These murals are wonderful, but they are a thing of the past.

What would the modern version of this mural contain? A cup of coffee for Starbucks, books, and perhaps delivery trucks, for Borders and Amazon. What about Microsoft? Perhaps it could show a personal computer or a security patch download. Medical research at the Hutch and elsewhere should be easy. It could still have a test tube and stethoscope, but the doctor might be a woman. Who knows what real research gear looks like today? Probably it looks like a bunch of computers, sans 1960s tape drives, with tubes coming out of it. How does one portray insurance? What is the instantly recognizable symbol for a web farm?

There is still ship work, and aerospace, and timber. There are still farms out there, and deer and birds. Unfortunately, there do not seem to be any artists producing more modern versions of this type of mural. In the 1930s, Fortune magazine was full of this type of art, representing resources and industry. Nowadays, fewer people think this kind of thing is interesting. This is sad because it is still important to think about where things come from, and not leaving such knowledge to a handful of presumed experts.

Keywords: art, birds, farms, fortune

Morse Creek

08/27/05 - Art at Morse Creek

Have you been out to Morse Creek lately? If you look to the south as you cross the old (and lovingly restored) railroad bridge, there's a lizard painted with yellow on the creek bottom. Click on the image to the left for a closer view.

We are not sure of who the artist is, but last year someone painted a rainbow path on the north side of the bridge, and as the winter progressed and the river flowed, the rainbow was broken and its colored stones scattered. For now, the lizard is intact, and the river flow is weak.

We'll see how things go this winter, and look forward to next season's river bottom painting.

Keywords: art, morse creek, winter

Ashes and Snow

05/06/05 - Ashes and Snow

We saw a great exhibit, Ashes and Snow, last month in New York. It brought back great memories of the 1960s, but not for the obvious reasons. It also brought back memories of old New York, when on the waterfront had a whole different meaning.

Keywords: art, new york city

The new castle                   Detail of the castle

12/17/04 - Barbara Teufert's Castle

Barbara Teufert has finished up some old work before the new year. She has finally fire one of her works in long time progress, so we have a new castle to explore.

We've added some new pictures to her web page, so you can explore her fantasy realm.

Keywords: art

11/05/04 - New York City Update

We have just returned from a visit to New York City, and we must admit that things are bustling there. The tourist trade seems to have recovered. Thanks to the weak dollar Europeans seem to be shopping again. We did some shopping ourselves. We loaded up on chili and curry powders at Aphrodisia in the Village, we bought some books at the Lenox Hill Bookstore, we found a new annular hat at Boyd's, and we got our building supplies at Home Front, a 7/24 hardware store and lumber yard not far from the Empire State Building.

First, we'll talk about the bookstore. There used to be a really nice little bookstore on Madison Avenue. Not the one owned by the IBM heiress by the Whitney, but the other one. It always had an interesting collection of literature and art books. Even when we didn't buy anything, the place always got us thinking. When it closed, we stuck with the Borders on 57th and the Barnes and Noble on Union Square.

Madison Avenue has been changing. It has always been upmarket, but it is going international. This means it is getting more and more mall like over the years as upmarket global vendors leave Fifth Avenue and move north and east. So, we've been spending more and more time over on Lexington Avenue, and the Lenox Hill Bookstore is our latest find. It's a homey little place crammed full of books, including a lot of good reading. They tend to stock fewer authors, but more titles from those that they do. The art book collection was full of interesting stuff, not just coffee table gifts. This is a sign that they know their customers. We bought a few things for the flight home and some Christmas presents.

As for HomeFront, the hardware store and lumber yard, we stayed for part of a trip at a relative's apartment, and there were a few deferred maintenance items, as they say in commercial aviation. We needed to buy a light switch, a door knob and mechanism, tapes, glues, a screwdriver and some other goodies. We have heard that there is a new Home Depot on 14th Street, but our favorite hardware store is on 29th Street off Third Avenue. They are open seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, and they stock a broad supply of electrical, mechanical and plumbing items. They also sell glass, lumber, steel plates, cleaning supplies and the like. It's a big place for Manhattan, with three floors and a basement, and the staff knows its stuff.

We had a less satisfactory experience at Magnolia Bakery. They still have the buzz, and the lines run around the corner, but the quality of the cakes has been slipping over the past year or two. Has this trend reversed? We couldn't find out. We ordered German chocolate cake, but our box contained spice cake. We wound up doing a forced march to Buttercup Bake Shop where the German chocolate cake is still excellent.

Since we are on the subject of cakes and confections, we should note that La Maison du Chocolat is in excellent form, and that our current favorite hot chocolate is Caracas.

We visited a number of our favorite restaurants including some old favorites like the Union Square Cafe, the Pearl Oyster Bar, Wallse and the Tabla Bread Bar. All were at the top of their form. The knockerle dessert at Wallse has really grown, and there is a rumor that the chef at Tabla may be producing a cookbook some time in late 2005. We can hardly wait.

On a side note, we often go over upcoming Claypool comics while having dinner with one of our Claypool friends. Comic book original artwork is oversized, so it is hard to be discreet.  One of the folks working at the Tabla Bread Bar noticed that one of us was in the business and dropped by to say hello. It turns out he was Daniel Miller whose Creased original graphic novel is soon coming out from Image comics. We haven't a clue about the book, but it shows that the comic book business isn't quite dead yet.

We liked Savoy so much on our last trip to New York that we went back twice on this trip. The big hit was the roasted cauliflower with hen of the woods mushrooms seasoned with a bit of five spice powder. We also loved the fava bean fritters. That, and everything else.

October, as it turned out, was New York State Wine Month, so we had a number of good glasses of New York State wine at our first meal. New York State wines are quite good, and a lot of them haven't bought in to the Robert Parker fruit bomb 20% alcohol thing, so you can still drink them with a meal. At our second meal, all the New York State wines were gone, even though it was still New York State Wine Month. The reason: lack of demand, and a variety of issues revolving around restaurant stocking mechanisms.

We tried two new restaurants. Spice Market, Jean Georges Vongerichten's new place in the trendy meat packing district, and Tia Pol, a little tapas bar in trendy Chelsea. Spice Market was a bust with bad service and mediocre Thai food. We were distinctly unimpressed. Tia Pol, in contrast, with its imaginative little Spanish dishes and well chosen wine list, excelled. It might be a hole in the wall, but the food was excellent, and they had a great neighborhood attitude.

The Lower East Side has been getting trendy, like so many other New York City neighborhoods, so we decided to check it out. We remember Katz's "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army" promotion from the 1960s, but there have been a lot of changes since then. Katz's is still there, and you can now send a salami to Iraq. Walking around, we could not help but notice that the entire neighborhood, once the epitome of an overcrowded slum, has been moving upmarket.

This is happening one store front at a time.

In some neighborhoods gentrification comes in like a juggernaut. Entire blocks are rebuilt, store fronts are remodeled, traffic is rerouted, and if you didn't have a GPS you'd swear that you were somewhere else. On the Lower East Side the overall fabric seems intact, but here and there you will notice a boarded up store front or an empty shop with a building permit posted. That ratty looking place across the street is now selling designer clothing, and the designer is working at the shop. The menus in the window now feature foie gras.

It seems that the Lower East Side was always about retail, despite the "I can get it for you wholesale" bravado. It was a neighborhood of small shop keepers and pushcarts. We didn't see any pushcarts, but the small shop keepers were there in force. Still, we couldn't help thinking about a 1939 article in Fortune magazine about the New York City pushcarts. Apparently shop keepers used to fight to get the pushcarts on THEIR side of the street since they encouraged foot traffic and often meant 50% more business. Now, we gather, that shop keepers want the pushcarts elsewhere.

We'll keep checking out the Lower East Side and see what develops.

Towards the end of our trip, we checked out the new Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The subway station and new escalators are great, but inside, it's a mall. That's right, it's just a big shopping mall. There was really not much reason to look around, since we knew what we would find, so we left. We really have nothing against malls, except that they lack serendipity. Maybe we should be thinking of it as the Suburban Embassy to New York City.

So, that was our trip to New York. We'd like to thank San Juan Airlines for making this all much more convenient with their $49 (each way) air taxi from Port Angeles to Boeing Field. At $98 a pop for the two of us it was only a little bit more expensive than the cab from Newark.

Keywords: food, restaurants, shopping, new york city, art, christmas, port angeles, wine

07/16/04 - Melody Charno's Web Page

We hadn't seen Melody Charno in a while, so it was nice to run into her at Kendra's birthday party. Between grilled sausages and Jim's barbequed ribs we found out that she is cutting stone again, and she now has a web site showing some of her lithographs. She says that it feels good to be back with her stones.

Some Links

Keywords: art

04/27/04 - Barbara Teufert and Her Ceramics

We'd like to introduce you to one of our local area artists, Barbara Teufert, who works in clay and with natural forms - The Art of Barbara Teufert. This is her internet debut, at least according to the more popular search engines, so you may be the first to see her fantastic castle, her take on the great stone circles, and a work best described as a collaboration with the natural forms of the North Olympic Peninsula.

Keywords: art

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