Archive for December, 2008

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Willard’s Quarry

December 27, 2008

Ever wonder where all that red rock came from that so many of the older Burlington buildings are made from? Well, a lot of it came right out of a quarry here in the south end. When you are up there under all that calcium quartzite (at least I think that’s what it is), it feels like Sedona– especially on a warm day. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a different climate zone.

A painting from my “quarry series” (click on image for better clarity).

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Some very nice folks commissioned this piece, and I am so happy to say that it was a wonderful experience. I painted/drew/collaged 10 or more pieces, and the site is worthy of more.

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Lakeside Underpass

December 19, 2008

We are applying for a neighborhood improvement grant. The application went in this afternoon at the 11th hour. Thanks to Joan and Laurie for your invaluable inputs and editing help! and thanks to all of you who are offering help when the time comes for painting.

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Click on image for enlargement

The train and bike path underpass serves as a gateway to our neighborhood. It has certainly seen better days. Most of the concrete retaining walls and supporting structures have crumbling surfaces. It is becoming a popular site for fledgling graffiti writers. The surrounding landscaping– all four corners– is doleful and dreary. The overall impression is one of neglect.

The general idea is to repair the concrete walls– eventually all four of them: two at the sidewalk level, and two at the street level. After consultation with the city structural engineer and the asst. director of streets, we had a meeting with a Wright and Morrissey rep for an estimate. The concrete repairs in total are going to be a bit more involved and costly (in the neighborhood of $65K) than this grant can accommodate (maximum $15K). Taking all advice under consideration, the best direction in which to proceed is to select a segment of the entire project to do for this year. The upper wall  along the sidewalk on the north side of Lakeside Ave makes the most sense for this year’s focus and grant applicatation. It seems pretty likely that the city will try to find the funds to work on the lower two walls,  now that the actual state they are in is on their radar in a more  concrete way. And the sidewalk-level wall on the south side can be a project for the future, especially if we do well on our 2009 effort.

The majority of the grant money requested will be used for the concrete work. Even for the upper walls, which don’t appear to be nearly as degraded as the lower, the area needing attention is extensive and the processes are technical. Before the work commences the city will be having an inspection and report by an independent structural engineer, the cost for which is build into the grant.

In addition to the concrete wall repairs, we also hope to provide some landscaping amendments to the land on each side of the underpass. In particular, along the south side under the bridges at side walk level there is a virtual jungle of growth. We are not opposed to jungles, but in its current state, the area looks abandoned and is impassable. On the north west side, we would hope to plant two trees that would be tall growers, because the area is extremely hot and unpleasant in the summer.

The walls are a perfect space for a mural, or murals, and there is research supporting the claim that graffiti writers will not tag walls that are painted with images nearly as often as they will tag blank walls. Mural painting is also a perfect opportunity to have some fun, and do some community building. We hope to draw many residents into the process so that it is a truly collaborative effort, and to “let a thousand flowers bloom.”

Included in the grant application is a request paint and brushes, and also for an anti-graffiti finishing coat material. I have no idea what that is, or if we want to use it, but figured that since the street dept director mentioned using it, it would be wise to give it a whirl.

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Old Fashioned Bedwarmers

December 15, 2008

Forward to the good old days! I’ve discovered a most elegant solution to cold feet in bed: HOT ROCKS!!!

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These granite balls are a bit rare— I found them on the coast of Maine. Their combined weight is about 9 lbs. I heat them on my Empire direct vent type gas heater. Then they go at the foot of my bed, under the sheets. They keep warm for hours.  It seems like they are still warm even after 3 or 4 hours.  Pixel has discovered that she can curl up around them too. So in the middle of the night we are battling it out over who gets the rocks. She’s pretty stubborn and takes a considerable amount of shoving to get some room for my feet too.

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Brain Imaging and Mind Reading

December 13, 2008

Check this out:

http://www.pinktentacle.com/2008/12/scientists-extract-images-directly-from-brain/

I don’t doubt that some day the imaging technology will exist that gets pretty darn close to showing the sorts of thoughts a subject is having, but find it hard to believe that the results can be anything more than generic. Not only because I want to hold on to the idea that any translation of my inner experience of a particular object, scene, or idea can not be anything more than an inference (token), but also because I don’t think it is possible, with one exception;  that would be to directly wire one subject’s perceptive instrumentation  and memory banks to the “inner theatre” of another. Even then, without the same neuro-architecture,  the resulting transference of thought would only produce analog,  not the same.  Just like hi def tv gets better and better, but can never deliver reality.

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Clarence Demar! –7 time winner of the Boston Marathon

December 12, 2008

A youtube about my uncle twice removed(?)  Clarence Demar!

he had the better feet for running though… my feet are always complaining whenever I try to build up some milage. Even with the best shoes.  I just bought a pair of Saucocony Pro Grid 7. Tested out best for my pronation, plantar fasciitis  and heel spur.  They were $90.  (My last pair was $130.) anyway, so far so good, but I am taking it  very slow. short runs, and as much as possible, on soft ground.

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A Treemendous Event!

December 7, 2008

A Treemendous Event on December 11, 2008

How to Create a Natural Habitat in Your Own Backyard

Branch Out Burlington! a volunteer tree planting organization, features a public talk by Michael Snyder, Chittenden County Forester. Talk will be at 6:00 p.m., followed by Branch Out Burlington’s annual meeting. Event will be held in the conference room at the Burlington Parks and Rec office at 645 Pine Street. All are welcome!

Come hear Mike speak about how to restore the forest in your backyard and using native plants to attract a diverse variety of wildlife. He will also discuss caring for the trees in your home landscape and keeping your trees healthy.

There will also be a book sale, t-shirt sale, pizza, and homemade desserts. Come and enjoy the fun. RSVP to franc@burlingtontelecom.net, or city arborist, Warren Spinner, Burlington Parks and Rec, 864-0123 if possible.

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Service Economy vs Manufacturing Economy

December 1, 2008

wealth is made when we produce something. we are producing less and less as the offshoring of just about everthing is occurring. we approach the point when our debt obligations are unsustainable, we mght want to think about the collpase of the dollar, and how very mindbogglingly devastating this would be.

I have Thom Hartmann program (air america radio live stream) running in background. frightening discussion of article in the financial times.