Hot n cold

Taos coffee shop decoration 12 2016

I reached into the archives for this, from a coffee shop in Taos just before Xmas, 2016. And, yes, there was snow on the ground outside.

These days, I enjoy my hot coffee in the mornings, and a few bites of cold dairy product in the evening. Those are my treats (food treats).


Redwood stump chainsaw cut

Photo from last December.

Without context, this looks like it could be a satellite photo of a bleak landscape with a fault or chasm bisecting it.

Truth is that it’s a not-new chainsaw cut of a redwood, with some fungi or sap or something making the elevated, gnarly formations.

Second life

Garden enamelware

I’m having a hard time concentrating, so today’s “product” is purely visual.

Enamelware…becomes damaged easily enough that it is removed from the kitchen to another use. As an animal feed dish, perhaps. Or for miscellaneous garden activities, as here.

Octopus eats its leg

Octopus arm front windows

This morning we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art’s show “Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats its Own Leg.” The title comes from a Japanese saying to the effect that an octopus in a mortal jam will eat off its own leg to survive aware that it will soon regrow, with the implication that sacrifice is necessary to create new growth. Kinda gory way to frame that notion…. Murakami was born in 1962.

Takashi Murakami 1999 Super Nova

The exhibit shows his pieces in chronological order, and allowed us to see how his art has changed. His sense of color aesthetics is stupendous, and was there at the beginning. This is a 1999 piece he named “Super Nova.” It portrays the world after an atomic bomb…mushrooms are a frequent theme in traditional Japanese art, and of course the bombs make mushroom clouds….

Panel detail

Here’s a detail from a recent multi-panel work, showing more of the influence of anime. Just for this show, we were told, he designed an octopus, used for the promotional materials…you’ll have to find it “out there” if you are interested. Big eyed. Pink.

Lamborghini headlamp

Wandering the streets toward the next stop, we window-shopped Lamborghinis (one headlamp only shown) and Bentleys (even saw a muddy one!—I didn’t know mud stuck to Bentleys!).

Between lion

We also wandered by this lion, with a moldy green pelt.

Russert Meet set

In the broadcasting museum, we unexpectedly found Tim Russert’s “Meet the Press” set.

Subway detail

And…we took the subway back to our (temporary) apartment. Beautiful tile work on the walls…public art that mostly goes uncelebrated.

Watch the weather change

Cloud on mountain

Even before we left the B&B, we’d had sun, sprinkles, overcast, repeat. That was the pattern throughout the day. As we rolled down the road early on, we spotted a cloud sitting atop this ridge. By the time we got to the end of it, the cloud had lifted. Sunshine!

Donegal Castle river

First stop: Donegal Castle. One part is 15th C; another is 17th C; the whole was refurbished in the early 1990s. For several generations this was the seat of the O’Donnell leaders. The town has encroached upon all but a small area immediately adjacent to the castle. In the foreground here is the River Eske.

Donegal great hall

The Great Hall has been partly furnished. The fireplace surround is 16th-C, installed when the Brooke family owned the castle; they did many modifications/upgrades.

Donegal great hall roof

The room above the Great Hall has these fantastic beams supporting the roof. The engineering seems similar to that of covered bridges, etc.

Rhodo CU

Several days back we started seeing rhododendrons in the roadside vegetation. The Guru discovered that they’re an invasive species here. Beautiful flowers, however.

Killybegs working boats

We passed by Killybegs harbor, a hive of activity on the docks, and moored boats and ships, plus sailboats. I think these two are fishing vessels, but that’s a landlubber’s hypothesis.

First Irish only place sign

This is the first big highway sign that we noticed that did not have the English place-names paired with the Irish. Still haven’t overheard people speaking Gaelic very often.

Fiber optics coming to rural Donegal

We think this is fiber-optic installation. We spotted over a dozen yellow trucks that were part of the installation crew, we thought. It will be a big change to this rural area of County Donegal. Note mountain in the background.

Slieve League cliffs

From Carrick (An Charraig on the sign above), we took a side road out to this viewpoint for the seaside cliffs of Slieve League (Irish: Sliabh Liag). These are twice as high as the famous Cliffs of Moher, at just a fuzz under 2K feet.

John the Miners bar Carrick

We returned to Carrick to turn north toward (eventually) Derry and Northern Ireland. This place is called John the Miner’s Central Bar. FYI.

Sheep roadside

Rolling along, only a few times we’ve driven in open range. Usually, if sheep are on the road, they have escaped through the fence. I think that was the case with this one and her several buddies (not pictured).

View N Glengesh Pass

What a view as we passed down the northeast side from Glengesh Pass (translation: Glen of the Swans). Don’t those rounded flanks reek of glaciation?

Log truck

We’ve seen a few log trucks. The logs seem short compared to what we’ve seen in the USA. They come exclusively (or nearly so) from tree plantations.

Speed trap van

It behooves you to notice these buggies. That camera sign may look like a quaintly historic model; however, it signals a speed check/trap. They used to have installations along the roads, but now there are just vans randomly deployed. There aren’t many, as this is the second one we’ve spotted.

Grianán of Aileach drone

Droney took to the air at Grianán of Aileach, a reconstructed stone fort just west of Derry (officially Londonderry), but on a high spot in the Republic. This view is toward the southwest, so it’s all the Republic of Ireland.

International border

Another rainstorm hit as we crossed the international border. Can you see the change in the pavement in the foreground? That’s the border. How will it change with Brexit?

Soon, the rain had stopped and soon after that the sun was out. We have been very lucky with good weather on this trip.

Sun rise or sun set?

Waterlogged vangogh redux

I spent the day ducking in and out of Ireland plans. We have all necessary reservations, and I’ve almost finished my over-detailed pre-trip essay. Almost.

The laundry pile is down to a small load, most of which will remain here, and we’ll take it easy tomorrow (family time!) and finish the last bits and the house-cleaning.

Then, as the work-week begins, we’ll be allowing ourselves to be loaded into one of those silver tubes, and hope our names don’t come up if the airline decides to yank our seats away after assuring us multiple times that they’re ours.

Dark side, not moon

Majestic Food in lights

Someone (not me) made a late-day drone run to capture the soft light of the Golden Hour. This is the dark side of the Majestic at dusk, however. Isn’t that a green!

What is perspective?

Wine light

The world is perspective.

Buddhist pantheon?

Eyebrow man

My lovely neighbor took me on a wee expedition this afternoon, in which we visited what I took to be a contemplative garden, Vietnamese Buddhist style. The eyebrows on this fellow went down past his knees. Astounding.

Ear cleaning lesson

I’m guessing this guy has ear-wax buildup or ear-fleas…something dire.


However, I’m going to interpret this as a sign that it’s okay that I have no idea what these characters are intended to indicate, or symbolize, or whatever.

I’m an anthropologist in the dark on a sunny day.

(Unintentional) redirection

Window droplets

I saw something that caught my eye in the raindrops on the glass in the foreground juxtaposed with the light in the distant windows. The photo is fun, but different than what I was going for.