Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Folding And Loading

Most likely, every single one of you has seen this FIRST video. But I hadn't seen the others.

If for some reason you have not seen this technique, then you are in for a potentially life changing treat.

I am a follower. I got the idea for this post by going to Amanda's blog. Well, we all know that if we go to Amanda's blog, who else is going to be there, already having beaten the rest of us to the stalking punch?

Both Egan and Amanda seem to put a lot of thought into loading a dishwasher and doing laundry. Me? I just want the easy way out. I just want what any self-respecting bachelor wants. Not only that, but I want an easy way to fold a shirt and do the dishes.

How to load a dishwasher follows the folding tutorials:

ENGLISH VERSION (Female): (if you listen very carefully, you will hear the videographer actually say, "action" at the very beginning. Very cute.)


ITALIAN VERSION: (questa versione รจ consacrata all'amanda ed a me)

Gjju Bhai: I have no idea what that means. Anybody? But this is International Shirt Folding Day, so....

SPANISH: (They try to figure it out by referring to the Japanese version)

And now, the master of them all-----BEN ZWEIG:


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dreams: For Cindra, Diesel and Egan

It's true. Life COULD be a dream.

What dreams have you had that you have made come true?

What dreams do you still have that you still believe you can make come true?

And the hardest question: What dreams did you once have, but have given up on?

Crap! I had originally posted Green Day's "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" and even cut and pasted the lyrics. I wanted something about dreams, not a morose loner song. Sheesh! This one is much better:

(Party on, Garth! Party on, Wayne!)


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Holding 70: Kissing The Dream

*****NOTE: Had to repost every single picture, but it's worth having them back. There are two still missing that I will repost tonight. 022607/1702 hours PST

Okay, well....I had four YouTube videos to post for today, but for some reason they either didn't make it to upload land, or it just takes a long time until they can be viewed. In the mean, I'm posting some stills (without crosby, nash or young----you're welcome, Candace).

Danks Gott there was a break in the weather to permit a flight over to Corvallis yesterday. Lots of broken overcast, and some new snow to see along the way.

By car, the trip is 42 statute miles from my house to beautiful downtown Oregon State Beaver Land. The average speed over ground, in a motor vehicle, is about 42 statute mph. It almost always takes exactly one statute hour to get there.


A 17 minute trip to the local airport, a 15 minute preflight and warmup time, and then another 17 minutes in the air to make the hike over the coast range. Not mention the fact that I then have to go to the FBO (Tell 'em what that is, Candace) and get the keys to the courtesy car. Yes, that's right. They have a car that you can just borrow. It don't cost nothin'. (Sorry to make your ears bleed, Logo.) I always put gas in the tank prior to returning it, along with three smoothies for the very appreciative office staff (No, Egan, I don't put the smoothies in the gas tank. Pay attention! I give them to the appreciative staff). Uncle Gawpo strikes again (Yeah, Egan, I can remember to do some things without having to go back there an hour later because I forgot something. Story of my life, though. As you know all too well).

So it's not like I save a bunch of time, but what I do save in not having to drive some incredibly windy road, deal with loaded log trucks spitttin' out mud like they get paid extra just to do that, and all the other "challenged" drivers out there, it more than makes up for it to fly. The view of other people's bumpers just doesn't compare to the scenery along the route from the air. Not to mention the sheer thrill of seeing 157 mph over ground on the GPS. Due to a headwind, I only got about 135 mph coming back. So sad. Do I need to call the WHAAAMBULANCE? Do ya feel my pain here, people?

So until I can get the videos up and running, here are some photos sponsored by my Verizon Razr and the HP Photosmart 707R......

I just love pitchers!

This is a bend in the Yaquina River, just after departure. That's where I'll be trolling for Chinook in September/October.

I love what shutter speeds do to the appearance of a spinning propeller.....

KCVO---Corvallis Municipal Airport

At this very moment, I was talking to Logophile on the cell phone. Cell reception is really good from an airplane up to about 3,000 ft. Then it's spotty, but still possible. You might think that a phone conversation would be distracting. And it would be if I weren't explaining in minute detail what I was doing in the process, which is what I would be doing anyway----yes out loud to myself with my big person voice----all the way to the ground. I announce to myself every step of the pre-landing checklist. She heard me say, pull off power to 1500, apply carbeurator heat, fuel seclector switch set on "both," pitch nose up to bleed off airspeed, at 100 mph add 20 degrees flaps, hold 70 mph, hold 70 miles per hour, rate of descent 500 feet, hold 70, hold 70, hold 'er off, hold 'er off, hold 'er off, hold 'er-----squeak. Too much below 70 mph in my particular make and model and the wings would stall. With the flaps on, the stall speed is well below 70, but that is the magic place. Learning how to hold 70 and make it all come together to land smoothly is an art.

After conducting business, I hop in the courtesy car, pour three smoothies into the gas tank, and head for lunch. I grab a nice, hot bowl of Pho. Here's the Pho (Fuh). You toss the small mountain of humongus bean sprouts in, break up the basil leaves and toss them in, then grab a chunk of meat with the sticks, swirl it in the "Cock Sauce" (big rooster on bottle) and Hoisin Sauce over there on the little dish, and bring it back to the spoon, preloaded with soup, and slurp it all up.

Mary's Peak is the highest hill in the Oregon coast range, weighing in (?) at about 4,150 feet. Wish I could have seen the summit yesterday. It is bald and quite striking in snow. Of course, if I struck it, I would also be in the snow...... That would be bad. Locals say that you should not plant your garden until all the snow is melted off the top of Mary's Peak. My lesbian friend, M.B., calls it Mary's Climax.

Here's one for just the heck of it...

Beginning with the instrument with the blue in it, go counter clockwise: Attitude Indicator (sometimes called an artificial horizon), Direction Indicator (or DG, or Directional Gyro), Airspeed Indicator, Altimeter, Turn And Bank Coordinator, and Vertical Speed Indicator. These are referred to as "the basic six." If for some reason I lost all references to horizon and ground, I could navigate solely by reading these instruments. If J.F.K., Jr. had had sufficient training, he could have survived. There is an 80% probability that a pilot without an instrument rating will get dead if he or she flies into instrument meterological conditions. That's what you call your IMC. Your IMC will get you dead far quicker than engine failure, even quicker than catastrophic engine failure when you can still see where you are going to set the airplane down. That's what you call your VMC. Your visual meterological conditions. The number one cause of engine failure is fuel starvation. The other way to put that is called "running out of gas." Kennedy didn't run out of gas. He ran out of reference to the horizon. Even though he is the one who got dead (along with his wife and sister-in-law) what kills ME is the fact that he had an autopilot and didn't use it.

What is it with me and dead Kennedys?

Anyways, have a look-see at some of the panel.....(without Dorothy Kilgallen, Peggy Cass or Orson Bean. You're welcome Joe.)

This was the return trip. 136 mph ain't too shabby......


Looking west over Yaquina Bay....

This is what greeted me just east and a bit north of Newport. Squalls were mending sky to ocean. It was beautiful, man.

El Piloto...

When I landed at the Toledo airport I went to put my trusty vessel in its bed, but a bolt failed on a tension spring and pulley assembly and the door won't work until that is repaired. So I called the FBO (Candace? You're up again, Honey....) over at Newport and they were kind enough to share their bed space. Sure looks purdy under the bright lights...... Ya know, she was gonna be an actress, and I was gonna learn to fly. She took off for the footlights; I took off for the sky....


Yes, this is just a little walk down photograph lane. But it's also a view into the dish where sits a slice of the dream pie.

I always wanted to learn to fly. When I was little, my mother's cousin Richard took me up in a Piper Cub. The beginning of the living of my dream: desire. I couldn't have been more than four because I remember stuff vividly after five. This is one of those way back there memories. I remember looking down at the ground and Cousin Richard asking me if I could see my mother down there. I couldn't. But what I could see was all that stuff in the airplane. And of all the things in that airplane to catch my eye, it was the small hole in the floor through which I could see exactly what our situation was. Through that hole I could see reality as it was in the air, high above the ground. I remember seeing that little patch of "nothing between us and the ground." No airplane. Nothing. Here was this little hole and if I could have dropped a pebble through it, it would have hit the ground. Here was this little hole and if I could have become small enough to fit through it, I would be the one falling to the ground. But because more of the airplane was not a hole than it was, we could stay up there and defy everything our bodies ever knew about gravity. I loved that. It was unreal. That hole was an aperture into a dream. Picture that. I sure did. Now I can fly.

For me, holding 70 is kissing the dream. It is that precarious press of the lips against the glass where it all comes together; where, on the other side, the lover waits patiently. Too little pressure and you never get there. Too much and the glass breaks. But miraculously, the glass just disappears altogether when the wheels are on the ground. Just the sound of that, "the wheels on the ground." That is the kiss. That is the dream.

In her book, Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard saw a mockingbird drop from the edge of a roof. The bird fell nearly to the ground and, just prior to colliding, opened its wings effortlessly at the very last second. She said it was at that point that she realized "all my life I had been a bell, but had never been struck." She talks about how she just happened to catch the bird's plummet out of the corner of her eye. Realizing how lucky she was, she said, "It seems to me that grace and beauty are performed whether or not we will or sense them; the least we can do is try to be there."

Turns out, after all, I finally do get to see my mother down there. She is earth and all earth's pulls. She is all this work---energy and life. The losses as well as the wins. She is love of others. She is love of self. She is waving. The least I can do is try to wave back.

Yes, there is more to life than applying the mechanics of flying. Yes, I would hope that, by the time I die, I will have become a human being. But I am not going to be pressing too hard on this side of the glass. I am on the glide slope. I have the runway in sight. I am maintaining the centerline. I am holding 70.

May we all strive to keep our dreams alive. They are all too easily awakened from. And whatever the dream, chances are it's not 16 Parkside Lane. Dream on my brothers and sisters. Enjoy the Pho out of life!

And now, here's Harry with a little message about dreams (pay close attention to the chording, Amanda). Remember the lead solo by that high-voiced female background singer? Boy, I sure do. But not any more. You'll see.....


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Pots: Clay Is Not Dirt

I learned how to center clay on the wheel in 1977. I was at the time a monk. That is another post for another day. The person who taught me is currently the Abbott of the monastery. The person who taught him was also a monk, but of another monastery in Big Sur, California. We were all young then.

When I left the monastery in 1981, I found a job throwing pots here on the Oregon Coast. I also waited tables at a nearby resort. I was good at that job. I waited on Richard Avedon. That is my brush with celebrity there. I was affable. I was funny. We used to serve killer breads. Once, it was dill bread. I used to plunk it on the table, explain what it was, and ask my customers if they knew what they made that bread out of. They would shrug their shoulders and naively ask, "What?" "Dill dough," I would say. They would laugh.

Clay is not dirt. Clay is broken down rocks. Over millions of years, the rock is munched into tiny, flat platelets. They have ragged edges, but smooth surfaces. The presense of water lets them slide against each other. Billions of little tiles move when pressure from my hands exerts force. They go where I want them to go. When the water evaporates, they stick together. But it is only under the conditions of calcining that they fuse. All you have to do is bring the clay up to a red heat; when the pots glow, the clay becomes one. Forever. In this process chemically combined molecules of H2O are driven off. You can actually see the steam escaping in a tubular cloud through the upper vent hole of the kiln. Hold a piece of glass against the cloud and you will see water condensing. Also driven off are noxious sulphur gasses. It is never wise to fire off a load of pots in your kitchen.

The first fire is called the bisque, or bisquit fire. This process requires bringing the pots up to about 1900 degrees F. The pots are cooled, wax resist is applied to the foot of each pot, and then they are dipped in glaze. Glaze contains a goodly amount of different clays and fluxes such as borax, nephaline cyanite, gerstley borate, lithium carbonate, iron, copper, tin, iron chromate, koalin (which is where the word Kaopectate comes from---kaolin is the Chinese word for clay), and all manner of other possible ingredients that go into the glaze recipe. I created my own glaze recipies through lots of trial and tons more error. When dipped in the glaze, the wax resist repels it so that the pot won't fuse to the shelf during the firing.

My mentor from the "outside," Jeff Procter, used to say that the teapot is the ultimate example of a potter's abilities. He is correct. A teapot utilizes the cylinder, the fitted lid, a small bottle that turns into the spout, and attaching techniques with which are applied the handle and the spout. It's all there. Everything a potter can possibly do is carried out in a teapot. You can consider the lid a small plate or a shallow bowl.

The wall hanging platters are simply very large plates. I forgot to include my dinner plates, but they are simply small platters, right? The darker green platter measures 19 1/4 inches across; the pinkish one 18 1/4 inches.

The black bowls incorporate 30% local native clay from the banks of the Santiam River. Black iron oxide darkens the otherwise dark brown rendered by the iron rich native clay. These bowls are nearly all exactly the same size.

That floppy looking "art" bowl has a neat story. I botched a wide brimmed bowl and took it outside, set it on a stump and then shot it with my .22 Marlin target rifle. I have included two views. Can you tell which one shows where the bullet entered and which side it exited?

Every potter has his or her style bundled into the coffee mug. I am proud of this form. If you look closely, there are little notches excised with a cheesecutter along the lower edge, just above the foot. I like a deeply carved foot to raise the form off the table. Every one of my pots has a slight 45 degree bevel running along the circumference of the foot. This creates a shadow that visually prohibits the pot from becoming a part of the surface upon which it rests. Jeff taught me that. The swirl in the center of the pots is something you see in many, many potters' work. It is fun to see milk pooling in the troughs and breaking on the ridges of the swirl.

I like to make functional stoneware. Nothing pleases me more than knowing that people are going to be kissing my mugs, bringing refreshment to their lips and experiencing joy in their bodies.

I like to make tea bowls for the same reason.

I fire my pots to cone 8. Cone 6 is 2,194 degrees, so cone 8 is only slightly higher. Cone 10 is 2,350 degrees. So, it's somewhere in there. I fire in what is called an oxidation atmosphere as opposed to a reduction atmosphere. The latter involves a carbon based fuel such as wood or propane. During the glaze firing, the potter shuts off the flue, preventing the fire from escaping out the chimney and flooding the kiln space with carbon. This carbon actually enters on a molecular level the glazes and clay body themselves creating chemical reactions. A celedon, for instance, is simply a clear glaze with less than one half of one percent of iron oxide added. The reduction turns the glaze into a ghostly light green. A bright red is also created with about the same amount of iron, but in a slightly different glaze base. Blues are created by adding a similar amount of copper carbonate. In an oxidation atmosphere, there is no reduction at all. So the reddish, pinkish and blueish hues you are seeing are some magic that I had to work out chemically in the creation of my glazes.

There are these things called cones, hence, cone 6, cone 8, cone 10, etc. They are white, tapering triangular 3 inch towers made of composites designed to begin melting at exactly those temperatures desired by the potter. Three of them are placed, wide bottom first, into a pat of wet clay, then set on the shelf just inside a spy hole. The lead cone is called the guide cone, the middle, the target cone and the third, the guard cone. When the guide cone begins to bend, it is time to start paying close attention. I like to fire until the middle cone is touching the back of the guide cone, almost flat, and the guard cone is bowing its tip toward the group of two ahead of it. Perfect.

The temperature alone is not what makes the whole thing come together. The term is "heat work." This is temperature over time. And there is no cheating that part of the process. In life, it's the same. Some things require events over time.

As the kiln cools, you will hear pinging---the sound of the glaze shrinking beyond the shrinkage of the clay body. If a glaze does not fit the clay body properly it will sometimes just fall off the pot. Some crazing always occurs, but the clay body becomes vitreous to a less than 3 or 4 percent porosity. It holds water. The word "crazy" comes from this phenomenon. Too much tension and something has to give. You crack.

Once I found a mouse in my bucket of slurry. Poor thing couldn't get out and drowned. I encased it in slip, let it dry and then fired it off. That was cool.

Whelp, there ya have it.

I hope you enjoy the images, my friends.

(Sorry these don't enlarge when you click on them. I forgot that I used a zoon feature that reduces the pixel count. You can still figure out the bullet-shot bowl quiz though. G)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Am Not Obssessed With Logo ("Oh, but you know you are!"---Logophile)

*****EDITED 022107*****

I have replaced the second video with a second, very short rendition of the first one.....Gawpo

Okay, it's true. I did call her today and left a song message. She didn't know what I was talking about. Yes, I said talking. Because the song I was leaving really isn't what you would call singing. You shall see what I mean in a moment. Not many would remember this "tune." Not even if you were born long enough ago to have had this song as a contemporary of your existence when it came out. If you were lucky enough to be alive back then, you were also hopefully lucky enough to have never heard this song. I love Lee Marvin. Don't get me wrong. But how this song ever charted is beyond me. "White Room" it is NOT. I was amazed that You Tube even had this musical critter. It still lives. It's ALLLIIIVVVVEEEE!!! Ever see "Paint Your Wagon?"

Wandering Star, Take Two:

Okay, now for some more Pope Pour Eee.....

You have seen Mr. Gawpo, Sr's lemon growing talent. Now check out his other citrus abilities. This, believe it or not, is a grapefruit (see the cordless?):

Not so long ago, Egan told us about Dungeness Spit. Well, this is what that low land promontory was named after. In Oregon the minimum size requirement for retaining a male is 5 3/4 inches. In Washington State, it's an even 6 inches. California requires the tossing back into the water, immediately and unharmed, any specimen under 6 1/4 inches. Okay, Candace---you're on. Let's see some good ones. I'm giving you a leg up on this one.

This is one of my pots. The body was thrown in three pieces, 25, 20 and 15 pounds of clay respectively, going from the bottom up. The top is also large. It was thrown in two pieces. This was taken back in January. All these pics are courtesy Razr by Verizon.

Today's dose of Lycopene and bovine lactation:

Mr. Logophile: "Uh, Honey? What did Gawpo mean when he said that he hoped you enjoyed his post as much as he enjoyed giving it to you?"

Mrs. Logophile: "Oh, nothing, Dear. Gawpo gives his post to everybody."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Birthday To LogoPhile: I give my life to you

Yes, Logo. I dedicate my....uh....POST to you.
For you are toit. Toit like a toiga. Toit like a garden
roll from my favorite Vietnamese restaurant.

Being a true logophile,
you know how to pronounce Pho (Fuh). I love to eat Pho.
I will eat the Pho out of a bowl. Round, round, Pho around,
I Pho around. It is always a pleasure to get the Pho outta there.
Sorry I don't have an actual photo of the Pho I ate.
Not very interesting. The owner explained that since the locals
don't have a taste for the more exotic Pho ingredients,
he no longer offers the tendon and tripe that I require of my Pho.
Pho that, I said. He nodded politely.

I now introduce you to my dad. The Honorable
Gawpo, Sr. Check out the cordless phone action.
Mrs. Gawpo, Sr. has no need of spending extra
on those vee neck t-shirts. Check out the size
of that lemon. Yes, it's a lemon. (No, Katie, we are not
from Texas.) The actual lemon that is buried
under that Civil Defense approved layer of pith is about
the size of an orange. But it is good and lemony. The
fruit of this poor lemon is possible to eat. Check out
the pan of Sicilian sausage (salsiccia) my father made.
He bought a meat grinder from Cabela's and it works like
a champ.

These are Scotch Bonnets. You don't wear them. You eat them.
And then you die. Mr. Gawpo, Sr. grows these. They really, really work.

These are all cell phone pictures. This is me over
the local estuary.

Argh.......From my night as a Pirate and Emcee of our County Extravaganza.

Logolicious has already seen this one. She sent me
special coffee. The deal was that I had to wear heels
for a week. It's been two weeks and I still have them on.

Logo, if you ever visit, I have party snacks
set aside just for you.......

Now some shots of what I did this weekend......

Recognize these boots? They are made for bugging

Speaking of bugs, here she is: cute as one, to be sure.

I will bring Betsy with me in March. Those eyes.
Those lips. That lack of a body. GAWD, she's HAWGHT!!!!

This is my stupid human trick. I find that Sierra Mist
goes well with my olive Mediterranean complexion (spelling
is for Blue TSG). Photo courtesy of Tom through the sunroof
of the family Vulva. I mean Volvo. Sorry. Cindra was sleeping.

We were in guitar heaven. We saw teency-weency Martin
ukuleles no bigger than Tom's thumb. Okay, not really.
But that was funny.

We felt as though we were touring the guitar section
at the Smithsonian with Blue The Spa Girl.
But we weren't. These guitars were all waiting
for adoption. They looked at us with their lonely,
longing stares. They promised us, if we would be so kind
as to take them home, we could do so, no strings attached.
As much as Tom and I struggled to make a choice,
we just couldn't pick. We were beginning to fret.
The red guitar on the left started strumming our pain with its fingerboard,
but Tom and I felt so much tension that we said, "Nuts to this"
and left.

Tres trees...........the first one has a nest.

Finally, I leave you with one of my favorite culinary inventions: Cherry tomatoes and milk. You can substitute the milk with half and half or condensed milk. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Dear Logo. I hope you have enjoyed my POST as much as I have enjoyed giving it to you.