ksmith: (Default)

I’m a walker. At home, I take my dog, Gaby, for long morning jaunts through the neighborhoods or nearby state park. When I travel, I try to make time to wander. I take ghost tours, which are great ways to learn the history of an area as well as local legends and scandals. I window-shop. And sometimes, I stumble upon unexpected art.

A couple of years ago, during a visit to New York, I spotted these images. I’m pretty sure I was walking through the West Village when I came upon Liberty Lou Reed. Phone Guy turned up nearer the Meatpacking District; I also spotted his brother decorating a nearby sidewalk.

Liberty LouPhone Guy

This past May, I took a research trip to Park City, Utah. Originally a mining town, it’s known now as a ski resort and the site of the Sundance Film Festival. One evening, I signed up for a ghost tour, and in addition to locations of long ago murders and mayhem, our small group also visited a few alleyways to see graffiti left by Banksy, the UK artist. These works were set off with frames and protective shielding, but according to our guide, at least one piece was painted over by folks who didn’t want graffiti on their building no matter how famous the artist.

Banksy 1Banksy 2

I don’t expect to find unexpected art close to home, so during a recent walk along a park trail, I was surprised to find these images stuck to a sign. When I got home, I searched for Smallest_Giant online, and found several sites on which folks had posted drawings and photos of images, including the very same daydreaming fox and cat that I had spotted.

daydreaming foxcat

I thought it was neat that the same images that I saw had been viewed and photographed by others, and that there are places online where these bits of whimsy can be displayed.

Mirrored from .

Cold

Jan. 23rd, 2014 01:19 pm
ksmith: (snowsuit)

That’s pretty much the update. It’s COLD, with occasional light snow. I am very much looking forward to spring.

Gaby, however, doesn’t seem to mind the chill. She lurks under the bird feeder and waits for squirrels.

Tax forms are showing up in the mail, so I will be working on things financial over the next few weeks. Annual physical stuff, which I hate but has to be done.

Not much else happening, so I will close with the news headline of the year, courtesy of writer Liz Williams over on the Facebook:

Ghost ship full of cannibal rats could be about to crash into Devon coast.


There are fears a ghost ship full of diseased cannibal rats could be about to crash into the coast of Devon or Cornwall.
The abandoned Lyubov Orlova has been missing since it cut adrift while being towed from Canada nearly a year ago. The 40-year-old liner has been driven across the Atlantic by high winds and is thought close to the UK shore. Based on emergency beacons activated last year aboard the ship, it is feared the 40-year-old Yugoslavian liner registered to Russia could crash into the shore of Devon, Cornwall, Ireland or Scotland.

Those searching for the ship say there are likely to be thousands of disease-ridden rats on board with no source of food except each other, according to The Sun.

Belgian-based searcher Pim de Rhoodes said: “She is floating around there somewhere. There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other.”

Shades of James, Stoker, and Benson.

Read more: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Ghost-ship-cannibal-rats-crash-Devon-coast/story-20487193-detail/story.html#ixzz2rFbSk8u4

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

Spent a week in the Portland Oregon area. Visited good friends. Did some research. Experienced the joy of driving twisty, winding roads. Really twisty. And winding. After a drive, my right leg ached from tension and brake-hitting.

This time, I actually visited scenic vistas.

Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park:

A view of Haystack Rock from Ecola State Park

A view of Haystack Rock from Ecola State Park

NB: Haystack Rock is that vaguely conical rock way in the back, on the far right of the photo. The other haystack-looking rocks are mere impostors.

The Columbia River Gorge (view from Crown Point Vista House):

View of the Columbia from the Crown Point Vista House

View of the Columbia from the Crown Point Vista House

Multnomah Falls:

A gorgeous day at the Falls

A gorgeous day at the Falls

Had lunch at Elephants Deli.

It was good to get away.

Came home yesterday–saw the Great Plains snowfall from the plane, and found 2.5 inches of wet stuff in the backyard rain gauge. Also found a very clean deck–the deck guy had powerwashed it on Monday. Tomorrow, he repairs what needs repairing. He thinks he’ll be able to coat/seal on Friday.

Also tomorrow, plumber installs new water heater. Meanwhile, I am planning the decluttering. It’s going to be All House All The Time for the foreseeable future.

Before I left, I picked the last of the tomatoes. Most were pretty green, so I bagged them and stuck them in the closet to ripen. Checked the bags yesterday and found about half were ready to go, so today I roasted them with garlic and balsamic vinegar. Had some for lunch with rigatoni, goat cheese and arugula. So. Good.

Busy days ahead.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (cloud dream)

Took a short trip to Madison with fellow writer Jen Stevenson. Talked over plot problems with current wips. Hiked up and down State Street. Ate really good Japanese. Enjoyed glorious weather. Walked the trail along Lake Mendota and discussed crow lore. A restorative 24 hours.

On the lake

We also fed baby ducks.

Nothing better than baby ducks.

Nothing better than baby ducks.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (Default)

I love stories like this. The reality that there are tiny, tiny corners of the world that contain plants or animals that exist nowhere else.


This story begins with a cliff-hanger. On the Spanish side of the Pyrenees mountains, around 850 metres above sea level, two adjacent cliff faces hold the entire population of Borderea chouardii – one of the world’s rarest plants. It’s a small herb that grows into crevices in the rock. Its leaves are heart-shaped and its flowers green and unassuming. There are around 10,000 individuals here, all growing on a square kilometre of vertical rock.

In 1973, I visited London for the first and, to this point, only time**. During that visit, I took a bus tour of Hampton Court and Windsor Castle.

Our very voluble guide took care to point out unique items, such as the notch in an outer wall–I have forgotten whether it at Hampton or Windsor–that marked the height of Cromwell’s tallest soldier. But there was something else he said that I remember, and I swear I am not misremembering even though I was 15yo at the time and not as engaged in soaking it all in and looking at all the old stuff as I would be, say, today. He said that there was a tree in the garden–again, I don’t recall at which site–that did not grow anywhere else in the world. I recall the phrase “Eden tree,” but *that* could be misremembrance. I have searched online every so often for information about the gardens, but have yet to find any reference to a unique tree.

**not counting a couple of quick jaunts through Heathrow on the way to and from connecting flights to Glasgow/Intersection ’95.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (siren song)

Came upon this link in today’s Lunch Links posting over at The Washington Monthly. I have to get this book:


In 1997 physicist Francis Slakey set out to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean – he dubbed it the first “global surf-and-turf.” In his recently published memoir, To the Last Breath: A Journey of Going to Extremes, he describes the geophysics of waves, the body’s physiological breakdown at high-altitude, and the technology of climbing, as well as the people he encounters and the challenges he endures on his 12-year journey.

The section excerpted in last month’s Scientific American describes the effects of a low-oxygen environment on the human body. There is some telling, but mostly, it shows. It is harrowing:


As I made my way down the southeast ridge of Everest, with Ang Nima and Jim Williams now a few hundred feet above me, I saw a climber from our team, Bob Clemey, on his knees, gloves at his side, with his bare hands delicately gliding over the surface of the snow.

Depleted and needing warmth, Clemey saw with absolute clarity that a rock protruding from the snow was glowing red hot. He realized that lava from the very core of the earth was lifted up to the surface of Everest and was heating that rock. So he stripped off his gloves and began warming his hands over the rock like it was a campfire.

In reality, there was no glowing red rock, no lava. There was just a climber with bare hands frozen as solid as clubs, fingers gripping snow in a twenty-below-zero blizzard.

Clemey’s oxygen tanks were drained. There was no way of knowing how long he had been there or when he had run out of oxygen.

Our second crisis had begun.

The first crisis is described earlier in the section.

I have to get this book.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

This would be such a cool thing to see in person.

I used to see dolphins when I lived in Florida, but only one or two at a time. Nothing like this.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (coffee cup)

Cool links by way of Ed Yong’s weekly link round-up:

Oil Paintings Made of Yarn!

There’s something about the look on the lizard’s face. It has a “you’re going to post this on You-Tube, aren’t you?” resigned air about it.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (oops_philip)

Over at Liz Holliday’s newsgroup at SFFNet, we were awaiting news about how Liz’s day went at the London Screenwriters Festival. I had initially wished her good luck, then wondered if I should retract that wish. After all, you never wish an actor good luck, for fear that the wish will attract unwelcome attention from theater gremlins/backstage gods/the debbil his own self/ and wind up having the opposite effect.

To my relief, Liz wound up having a good day. She also at one point fell into a conversation with an Italian screenwriter, and learned that in Italy one never wishes someone good luck. Instead, you tell them “in the mouth of the wolf.”

So I took myself over to Babelfish to get the translation. “Nella bocca del lupo.” Not sure how accurate it is, but it does roll off the tongue.

Anyone out there know Italian? I would love the proper translation.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

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