PICTURE ONLY GALLERY LINKS
The life without the APA pictures are here
The The Forks ~ there's no place like home gallery is here
The ART ~ conveys / transports / reflects gallery is here
The Decay & Disgust work/book is here
The single women selects/book gallery is here
The picture windows selects/book gallery is here
The kitchen life selects gallery is here
A 10 picture look at Tangles, Thickets, and Twigs ~ fields of visual energy is here
During the past 3-4 weeks here in Au Sable Forks (and the NE US in general), we have been experiencing some "interesting" examples of weather extremes - very rapidly changing temperature (seasonal) extremes together with changing modes of precipitation - snow turning to rain and back to snow again, melting snow refreezing as ice, and 1 genuine 24hr. ice storm. Consequently, even though we have snow covered ground, that snow is now under a thick layer of ice. Ice which is thick enough to resist cracking or breaking through when walked upon.
The temperature extremes - yesterday's high in the 40˚s(F) with a night time low of 0˚(F) - with low temps of -20˚ have played havoc with plumbing in less than well-insulated houses. Freezing and bursting water pipes are very common. Somehow - we are still without a furnace - we have avoided any freezing pipes issues.
All of that written, one of the features of living in the North Country / Adirondacks is a constant parade (during the winter months) of front page newspaper stories / local tv news casts about house fires. Many, if not most, of the fires are the result of questionable practices in the attempt to produce heat - improper use of space heaters, overloading of electrical circuits with electric space heaters, and a variety of other follies.
Last Friday evening, one such folly, resulting in the total destruction of a house, happened within sight / close proximity to our house. For 4 days prior to the event, the night temperatures were all well below 0˚F, typically in the -5˚F to -20˚F range. Day highs were in the -5˚F to 2˚F range. Truly excellent water pipe freezing weather and that's precisely what happened in the house in question.
The owners were attempting to thaw pipes with what was obviously an ill-advised technique. Don't what that technique was but the results are painfully apparent. The house became a raging inferno and the firefighters from 6 surrounding towns had a hell of time dealing with the blaze while slipping, sliding, and falling on the previously mentioned ice covered ground. And with temps well below 0˚F, they had to fight the fire in shifts - while one group retreated to the local firehouse to warm up and avoid hypothermia, another group took over until they too had to retreat ... and so it went well into the morning hours.
Featured Comment: John Linn wrote: "Speaking of cold, still no furnace? Didn't you get a new furnace courtesy of Irene?"
my response: As I write, guys are in the basement installing the new furnace. And no, the boiler survived Irene but all the ancillary equipment - burner, etc, - was replaced. It does appear that those pieces survived the latest debacle but we won't know for certain until they try to fire up the thing.
As I have mentioned in a previous entry or 2, I am suffering from web-based picture viewing overload. That condition is growing ever more intense as time goes by. And even if one operates, online picture viewing wise, under the assumption that it's all good (the pictures), I am a firm believer in the notion that there can be too much of a good thing.
So, in the cause of reducing my web-based viewing fatigue, I have limited my online picture viewing to a relatively few blogs which feature the pictures of the blog author and 2 magazine type sites which publish the works of many different picture makers, most of whom are making pictures which prick my eye and sensibilities. You might think that M.O. makes me a creature of habit but I'd rather be that than a bleary-eyed creature aimlessly wandering about the near-limitless online picture viewing morass*.
That written, even limiting my web-based picture viewing to the aformentioned extent, I still am left somewhat bleary-eyed and most intensely unsatisfied. I attribute the bleary-eyed-ness primarily to screen fatigue as opposed to picture viewing fatigue. My life, like those of many others, is filled with screens - iPhone, iPad, MacBook (Air), Mac Pro+monitor, flat screen tv (2), auto dashboard info / navi screen, to name just a few.
To a certain extent, I can state with conviction that I've had my fill of screens.
Screen fatigue does contributed to my unsatisfied state inasmuch as every picture looks the same on a screen - the "surface" of every picture is always identical. However, even more influential, unsatisfied wise, than that viewing aspect is the fact that an onscreen picture has not even the illusion of tangibility. It remains, to my eye and sensibility, forever removed / detached from any sense of immediacy. Inevitably and nearly universally, the picture strikes me as rather lifeless and coolly analytical.
Consequently, even when viewing online pictures which I like, I am always left with the feeling of wanting more. Not more pictures but more immediacy, a physical / tactile engagement with the pictures in the form of prints - i.e., the ability to touch them, to hold them, and to see the surface of the substrate.
Without a doubt, the surface of a print - matte, semi-matte, glossy, smooth, textured, not to mention the size of a print, adds immeasurably (for good or bad) to the viewing experience and ultimately to the appreciation of a picture.
Therefore, to my eye and sensibilities, the best of all picture viewing worlds is that in which pictures have interesting / rich denoted and connoted content which is presented on the surface of a finely crafted print, which, in tandem, create a truly beautiful object.
Stay tuned for more of what I plan to do about getting some satisfaction.
*after writing this entry, I read today's TOP entry which addresses the same subject.
In addition to all of the usual holiday comings and goings, the wife and I have been treated to life in sub-zero temperatures without a furnace. With 5 electric oil-filled radiators and a continuous raging fire in the fireplace we have manged to keep the house at a semi-tolerable 2-pair-wool-socks-thermal-underwear-turtleneck-wool-sweater-2-comforters+wool-blanket-on-the-bed temperature. The real challenge we face is finding a heating contractor that isn't booked solid with fix the furnace - as opposed to replace the furnace - emergencies.
In any event, the furnace failure (cracked boiler) was a post Xmas event, so the wife and I were able to enjoy our annual Xmas dinner at the
Lake Placid Lodge. The Lodge offers a 3-course prix fixe menu with only 3 choices for each course. The food at the Lodge is beyond excellent and the ambiance is warm and intimate rustic which makes for a very relaxing and enjoyable experience / meal. Especially so when one is blissfully unaware of the about to unfold furnace debacle.
That written, the Lodge is a rather pricey joint in which to dine what with a $102.00US bottle of wine (low cost on their wine list) and all. But what caught my attention - albeit not until day or two later when I actually looked at the check - was the fact that we had paid $24.00US for a pour of one of my favorite bourbons - Hudson Baby Bourbon from Tuthilltown Spirits , a downstate distillery. Tuthilltown Spirits is distilling whiskeys, the first to do so (legally) in New York State since Prohibition.
I really like the distillery's bourbons / whiskeys as is made evident by the picture of 4 of their 5 varieties sitting on my kitchen table. The 5th variety - a single malt whiskey - is on its way to my local liquor store. Each of the products offer forth, to the nose and the palette, a distinctly different take on their respective genres - rye, whiskey, bourbon, and unaged corn whiskey, aka: good ol' American high proof moonshine / white lightnin'.
For the uninitiated, bourbon / whiskey wise, a really great / interesting learning experience is to acquire the Corn Whiskey and the Baby Bourbon Whiskey and compare the 2 side-by-side. They are both made from the exact same mash. The difference in the end products is that, after distillation, one is aged in oak barrels while the other goes straight into the bottle without any aging. With this comparison, the color and taste of the barrel - which in a good whiskey / bourbon is a combination of different colors and many flavors - in the aged product is immediately apparent.
All of that written, back to the $24.00US pour of Hudson Baby Bourbon at the Lake Placid Lodge - most Tuthilltown whiskeys are priced at $40.00US for the 375ml bottles pictured above. Not cheap by any means, putting it in the upper reaches, cost wise, of excellent (but not rare) bourbons / whiskeys. However, one pour at the Lake Placid Lodge is more than half the cost of a bottle of Hudson Baby Bourbon. If I had had a second pour, for the same cost I could have purchased a bottle of the stuff and left the change from a $50.00 bill on the counter.
I guess all the nice Lake Placid Lodge warmth and rustic ambiance has a price.
We're in the grip of category IV (of V) ice storm. Although, here in The Forks, we're straddling the weather line between nasty and really nasty. Just 10 miles to the north, the storm is much more severe than in The Forks - State of Emergency, travel restrictions, power outages, etc.
But, here's the thing re: travel restrictions - currently, the advisory is for no unnecessary driving. However, my idea of necessary driving during inclement weather is heading out in our AWD vehicle and doing donuts and 4-wheel drifts around corners and curves.
And, seriously, what better time to do so than during driving restriction conditions? The roads are slippery and virtually everyone else heeds the advisory and stays off the roads which means no slow pokes to get in the way and clog things up - not to mention the diminished possibility of a head-on collision (due, no doubt, to the driving error of others).
That written, I won't be heading out today for a couple reasons: 1) it would take a blowtorch or buckets of hot water to open the car door, and, 2) we're starting a fire in our conjugal bed to keep us nice and warm on an icy cold winter day.
It's that time of year which is jammed up with parties / gatherings / events (a few pictured herein), some of which are mandatory - the wife's on a zillion organization boards - some of which are voluntary, some of which are fun, some of which not so much. But like the trooper and all-around swell arm-candy guy / husband I am, I soldier on.
Thoughts. Ideas. Synaptic pings reflected from the gravity-free weight of a thousand days and nights, whistling by the graveyard on threadbare treads of lost wisdom. Free association obstructed and obfuscated beneath the digital-noise whine, unrelentingly crashing and breaking on the extracranial barriers of prejudice and assumption. Convoluted contradiction competing with the light and darkness for attention and adulation. Never ending, always working. Never ending, always working. Restless thoughts and vague ideas.
Last week while in Pittsburgh, the wife, the daughter, and I took time to visit our former residence / neighborhood on Troy Hill. During our neighborthood walkabout we also stopped in St. Anthony's Chapel. Stepping into the relatively small neighborhood church is like entering into a very strange world inasmuch as the church contains the largest public collection of relics in the world - over 5000 relics and only the Vatican in Rome has more relics.
For those not in the know, relic means "remains." Relics are venerated on the premise of "beneficent contagion" in which the supernatural graces received by a Saint do not die with him but remain in the body after death and can be received by those who come into close proximity with the "eyes of faith." GOD’s work was done through the lives of the Saint's and so His work will continue after their deaths, if GOD wills it. Or so many believe.
Relics come in 3 classifications - 1st Class - Typically remains from the Passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ or a bodily remain of a Saint. 2nd Class - Any item or possession of a Saint (i.e. Prayer Book, Rosary Beads, Vestments...) 3rd Class - Typically a piece of cloth that comes in contact with a 1st or 2nd class relic - and St Anthony's is repeat with all 3 types.
Most notable amongst the collection are 5 relics consisting of 5 splinters from the "true cross" on which Jesus was crucified. The non-believer / Doubting Thomas in me believes that, if all the splinters of the "true cross" were to be gathered together, one just might be able to build a decent sized house or two using just the splinters. But, then again, who am I to judge.
My picture was made from the very rear of the chapel and the group on the right was venerating a tooth from St. Anthony which was on view in a reliquary / monstrance in the tabernacle under the statue of St. Anthony. FYI, a heavenly host of reliquary/monstrance(s) can be seen behind the main altar in the center of the picture.
If interested, click to learn more about St. Anthony's Chapel.