Monday, August 29, 2011

Two Cats and Two Dogs

No deep thoughts here, just cute animal photos.

Nala (DS3_4997)
Nala is bored...

Do You See The Cat? (DS3_4866)
I'm hiding! No, it's not Nala...



So there! Hope that put a smile on your face.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Session Time

As I type Reena is in the recording studio helping our talented friend Barry Callen lay down some tracks. He is a singer-songwriter with a fair bit of talent, and he is making things happen for himself.

Barry Callen

Assisted by the mixing board talents of Caleb, Barry had already laid down some guitar and vocal tracks. Reena was to add in percussion layers and harmonizing vocals.


When I left things were going well, and I have no doubt the results will be fun and satisfying.


I absolutely love that my life is filled with such creative abundance! Creativity begets creativity and there appears to be no upper limit. Bliss!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

First Performance Down - One to Go

Last night's performance by Cycropia Aerial Dance at the Orton Park Festival went well, and the audience left satisfied. Since I was performing, I was not out taking photos of the show. I thought these portraits of some of the dancers were a nice post for today.





The final performance is tonight at 8:45. Arrive early, as we will have a huge audience with first come, first served seating. There are more photos from the dress rehearsal HERE as a slide show.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dress Rehearsal Done - Big Show Tonight!

Yesterday I spent all day in the park helping to set the stage for the Cycropia Aerial Dance troupe's performances at the Orton Park Festival. Immediately following a day of labor we had our dress rehearsal. All the lights that just went up, hours of pulling electrical and data cable, putting up the backdrops, changing tent, sound tent, and setting the sound system were put to the test. There were some sound glitches and lighting miscues as things were tried and sorted out. We get only one shot at getting it right before the show opens tonight.

But oh, is the audience in for a a fantastic show!


I have spoken before about the muscle that gets built as we train and rehearse, and the photo above is additional proof. What I have not told you is the equivalent amount of grace and athleticism that is also developed. We push ourselves hard as we rehearse and provide 'outside eyes' for each other to refine and improve our choreography. We observe the details and offer each other suggestions about hand position, direction of gaze, softening or tightening a line in the air and so on. And it shows.


The performance tonight is at 7:45 and is preceded by two hours of activities for kids including face painting, hula hoop instruction (adults too!), sidewalk chalk art, a 'baby dance' (by momma dancers with brand new little ones), and a parade. Come early and definitely bring the family. Friday's show is at 8:45 and follows music at the festival itself. Arrive early for better viewing! I assure you, blankets for reserving space are already on the ground.


This is a show you do NOT want to miss if you are in the Madison, WI, area. Really. The show is free, and we pass a hat to collect donations. Enjoy the show, and toss in a few bucks if you can. That is what makes doing the show possible. The performers, choreographers, costumers, makeup artists, house manager, stage manager, backstage manager, and almost all the other roles are not paid. Yet the budget for the show is thousands of dollars, funded in part by a grant from the Madison Arts Commission with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board. Those sources are likely to dry up with our new governor's policies.


Here is a link to a SLIDE SHOW with shots from the dress rehearsal and the rigging and rehearsals from last weekend. The newest images are up front. See you at the tree!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Prepping for the Orton Park Festival Performance

The dance company I am part of - Cycropia Aerial Dance - is putting on a big, fun show this week Thu-Fri at Madison's Orton Park Festival. We perform a fantastic show with all our aerial apparatus rigged in a sprawling Burr oak tree. Since we have to rig the tree in advance of the show so we can get a couple of rehearsals in the actual space, we also teach our class there so that new flyers can get a taste of what it is like to fly in the tree, and experienced flyers can show them the ropes, so to speak.



It is a jam packed weekend of rigging and site prep and rehearsals for every piece and transition act jammed into the daylight hours. Our dress rehearsal is Wednesday night, and the performances are Thu and Fri. The show is free and we play to a large (2,000+) audience, and we pass a hat (metaphorically) for donations, which are typically generous.

Preparing for the Cycropia Aerial Dance performance at the Orton Park Festival (DS3_3769)

Aerial dance takes muscle and the bodies of the experienced dancers show it. There is no surprise that tank and racer-back tops are popular attire! We men-folk find ourselves in snug tee-shirts and sleeveless attire too. *grin* There is a LOT of work involved in those muscles and I see no reason not to show them off.

If you are in the Madison, WI, area this week, come and see a great show! Here is a link to a SLIDE SHOW with a large batch of photos from the class and a rehearsal.

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Friday, August 19, 2011


Here is something new, a retrospective of my just-for-fun work from the past year or so (2010-2011). The slide show is in no particular sequence. I live in Wisconsin, so a bunch of the images illustrate the months of peaceful protests at the state capitol.

Turn up the volume a little and enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lost at Gibraltar

The weather today was simply too beautiful to let pass. I hopped on the motorcycle and thought I would go check out a natural area that has been on my list. Alas, it is designated as a "research area" and explicit permission is required to be there. Another time, perhaps. However, since I was in the Baraboo, WI, area, there is no shortage of beautiful places to explore. Mostly I nosed around on tiny back roads seeing the sights. I ran across the Farm Of Another Color.


I must admit, I have never seen its like. Pressing on I decided to cross the Wisconsin River on the ferry at Merrimac. Once on the other side, I set my sights for Gibraltar Rocks, which I had not visited in years. My intent was to hit the cliff side from the road and photograph them from there. I goofed, and ended up at the entrance. So one long, steep climb later I had some pretty impressive vistas.



There are a few more in a SLIDE SHOW for your entertainment. Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gathering Their Bounty

There is a lot of insect activity in my yard today. Everything seems like it is buzzing, hopping, or crawling.


This was the first large grasshopper I have seen this year. I wonder where they have been? I suppose partying, like in the story. The bees I have seen a lot of this year, for which I am grateful.


This last one looked like a wasp to me, but it could be that it is merely a variety of bee I am unfamiliar with. Perhaps one of my beekeeper friends will set me straight.


Regardless, here we are at just past mid-summer, first harvest has passed, and all creatures great and small are gathering their bounty. In my case, the squirrels are gathering our bounty just before things (like peppers) are actually ripe enough to harvest. Perhaps I will harvest squirrels?

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Enjoyable Work Trip Without The Work

I had set up a photo shoot with a woman who is very pregnant for last Monday. She lives in central Minnesota, and I live in southern Wisconsin, so we were hoping to find some place in the middle. She is about to have significant expense added to her life so I was trying hard to keep expenses down. My sister-in-law owns a very nice cabin on a tiny lake in north-west Wisconsin, a convenient half-way point, and she was willing to let us use it for an overnight. Alas, the woman's doctor advised her that perhaps a 2.5 hour road trip (each way) four days before her due date was not the best choice. So the work part of the overnight was cancelled. However, my lovely wife and I still had the time, so we went up and had a really nice mini-vacation.

Chillaxin' on the Deck

Among other things, we took the paddle boat out and explored the lake. There is a tiny stream that connects the lake with the next one over. It is often dry, but this year there was sufficient water to get to the other lake too. We spent an hour or more splishing around at really slow speeds seeing the sights.

A Neighbor's Boat

Clouds had been coming and going all morning so we kept a weather eye out for rain. Eventually, of course, it came upon us when we were on the other lake. We got a little wet, and it did not dampen our enjoyment of the outing.

Water Lilies Under Threatening Sky

It would have been nice to actually have a relaxing stay and earn some money, but the time spent was greatly enjoyed.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hey! There's something in there!

I was heading out to the market. I had dropped a couple of bags on the floor near the front door and went to put on my shoes. Walking back to the dimly lit entryway I bent over to pick up the bags and Hey! There was something in there!

Nala had other uses in mind for the bags, apparently.

Well, I *was* going to the market... (DS3_2675)

We have had her for a year, and she has never demonstrated a proclivity to hiding in bags, so it caught me off guard. Never one to miss a photo op, I popped off this pic and while writing this she got bored and evacuated the bag.

Off to the market!

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Bit More Backyard Beauty

Just a few shots of some beauty in my back yard. No words needed.




Thank you for stopping by! Tarry a while.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Mr. Big Top (assistant)

Sometimes it is hard to keep the cool-meter pegged. Other times the ol' cooliometer is bouncing at the top of the rev range. This summer has certainly been filled with awesomeness. Today I got to help erect a big circus tent.


It is a job that requires a lot of bodies and only a couple of brains, so I was perfect as an assistant. The roof gets laid out first. Then the tie-down points are noted and anchor stakes driven in. Next we moved the center poles into roughly correct locations. The side poles are put in place and partially erected; put at an angle to keep them standing but not under tension. The side guy wires are loosely fitted. Then, the center poles go up.


Once the center poles were in place, the center rig - in this case for a Spanish web - could go up and get secured. Then the side panels were installed and tied up.

Center rig point for the Spanish web

And finally, someone had to go up top to put the flags in place. I quickly volunteered and put one of them up.


Yep, cool stuff abounds.

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