Thunder Bombs Over The Park

Spending time in the park a week or two ago. And as I usually do spend a few hours underneath a tree reading and not being on the cell phone or laptop or any screen. The world is incommunicado.

Changing their temperament, the clouds darkened deep and a friendly constant breeze wandered around the grass and bushes and trees. And so I thought I could hold out and not leave. Dark clouds are quite interesting. You’re experiencing nature and its exciting to be there so I didn’t leave awaiting the next. The next arrived ceremoniously with a loud vibrating entrance. More like a boom and a crash. If the clouds didn’t mind you, then the boom and crash holds your attention. The excitement level increased quite a bit. Still I stayed and just looked up wondering if any of those lighting crashes were meant for the tree above. It was a large overgrown tree with long extended branches and leaves on the ends like the legs of a millipede. Remember the feeling of aliveness as a witness this event rather than inside looking out of a window ever so often. And so I wanted for the next. Again.

Instrument Panel on VW Golf
Driving through the thunderstorm and a view of the instrument panel of the VW Golf.

The next arrive slowly. One and then another and another and then all together randomly and faster, light at first, but then heavy globs in rapid-fire sequence. Rain. Dark clouds didn’t nudge me, ominous wind didn’t move me, thunder strikes held me firm in my place, but rain got me moving. Gathering the folding chair and tote to head for the car, the rain came down much much faster and harder. Reaching the VW Golf and lifting the hatchback to semi-organize the folded chair and tote bag I knew I was wet. Not drenched, but just enough to feel moist through clothing. Could see and feel the water rolling down my forearms.

Accidental Photo of VW Golf Driving in Thunderstorm
Blurred and accidental picture of interior of VW Golf.

Seated in the driver’s seat I waited and simply looked out through the glass windows. The steering wheel returned the stare. Straight ahead to see the grass and large bushes obscuring any view. The windshield holding up against the barrage. Almost like airborne solders dropping in from the sky and crashing into the ground. They fall and crash and explode on the windshield and roll downward to a ditch. New solders fall again and again. Don’t you know your fate solder? Follow orders solder. Die, die, die!!

Water drops splashed on windshield.
Water drops splashed on windshield.

To the left, the parking spot next to me. All these slots empty. Little water-works all around. More solders crashing to the ground and upon each other. There’s a pool forming.

Wet Birkenstocks and Wet Feet
The aftermath of a thunderstorm. Wet Birkenstock sandals and wet feet.

The thunderstorm was just beginning. A curtain of rain surrounded the park as I drove out. That rain curtain continued well after I arrived home.

Innocent Rose, Happy Rose, Brave Rose, Sad Rose, Pregnant Rose, Evil Rose

Small stage. Staggered seating bleachers on three sides. Dark and snowing. Concentrated like a stream of water whose droplets float twisting eventually to land on the shoulder or forehead or strains of hair.

No special effects or computer graphics. Just ingenious staging and costumes and choreography the story to the forefront it brought. Very imaginative. The intimate stage with audience is emotional. A chance to touch stars; the actors.

Rose and the Rime Playbill Carnival Studio Theater April 26, 2014
Rose and the Rime Playbill Carnival Studio Theater April 26, 2014

What is a Rime anyway? The same company that produced The Sparrow performs Rose and the Rime – The House Theatre of Chicago. This being my second attendance of up close theater and I’m quite impressed though not that I carry any official artistic pedigree to judge.

The whole town is lost to a memory that few remember. Many simply follow the crowd and no one understands the origin of their living. Cyclical. Repetitive. There’s always an evil witch and this witch stole a magic ring or rock. It was something small. The elder and most sensible towns person, Rose’s uncle, recounts stories about life before the witch’s spell cast forever cold cold days over the town. Evidently, the witch killed her parents or just one perhaps.

Predictable for the young, optimistic, and slightly naïve, Rose determined to find the witch ventures at night, experiences a storm a rime and ultimately kills with the witch. Now why would she leave at night?  A heroine Rose is the town’s toast. Fighting the witch wasn’t easy, but the light or ring or rock or whatever it was that gave the witch’s power is now with by Rose. The season changes and summer enters. The trapped town in 1950s America what with the bathing suits. A boy she meets, but the boy’s brother appears. Two brothers one Rose. Feeling chided the boy takes revenge on his brother soon. Poor Rose, she’s pregnant by the boy’s brother. Happily they live and everything goes their way. And since happiness is envious the boy riles up the town’s folk into a jealous riot. The ring or rock must be shared because everyone wants to as happy as Rose and the boy’s brother.

Let’s make this quick. So the town rebels. This has happened before as the uncle knows. Try the uncle does to separate Rose from the town groping for the ring. The bad boy gives the uncle a Mike Tyson punch and red square chunks of confetti burst and swing. He’s dead. The boy’s brother, Rose’s baby daddy. Dead. How? I don’t remember. And boy does Rose get angry mad. She goes berserk and becomes the best looking witch I’d every want to see. Angry evil witches and bubble butts apparently are a wonderful combination. (I only say this because the actress playing Rose had a fabulous derriere and I desperately tried not to stare and ruin the experience. But I did and that’s how I know about Rose’s butt.) The baby, found in the oven of Rose’s home, is save.

The story repeats itself you see.

How Do I Do This Manually?!! When “the system is down” at an Apple Store.

On the Friday before Easter leaving the office around midday after beginning the work day early for the long procrastinated purchase of a mouse. A Magic Mouse actually. Waited and waited and finally the pain of using fingers and two hands on the MacBook became too much to tolerate.

Nothing new here; the Apple store was crowded. Avoiding the magnetic pull of the glowing Retina screens I scanned the walls to find magic. Vertical blue fuzzy blobs whizzed by in this concentrated state. These blue blobs were Apple store employees. More on them at the end. From past experience I didn’t even both to grab the mouse I simply asked one of the first blue blobs I noticed for their help in checking out. Nicely, they asked that I grab the mouse and return to a specific table corner for checkout because THE SYSTEM IS DOWN!!!

Returned to the corner table where I found no less than five blue blobs huddled around the center blob with a stack of credit card carbon copy slips and the companion slider. As I waited for my turn the perimeter blobs asked the center blob for advise on what products could be checked out manually with the credit card slider. Hand written and sales tax calculated on a calculator I admitted to the center blob the humor found in the situation that the blobs lost their equilibrium because the system went down and for not knowing how to process credit card checkouts manually. The blobs overheard me and found much less humor in it than I. There’s something to be said about this situation and reactions. We’ve forgotten how without computers and automation. The center blob was the sole proprietor of the “skills” to use the carbon copy slips and slider. Things couldn’t have turned out better – I was finally able to purchase the Magic Mouse and forget about everything that just happened. Well almost. Considering framing the carbon copy credit card receipt from the Apple store.

Unopened Apple Magic Mouse in transparent plastic packaging.
Shine Magic Mouse. Shine.

This classic BMW motorbike was waiting for me as I walked in the parking garage. Stuck in a permanent pose of tilt its circular large headlight angled in a sad slope. To boost its confidence I got off two pictures.

Classic BMW motorbike.
Classic BMW motorbike stationary in parking garage.
White and blue gas tank of BMW classic motorbike.
Front side close up of white and blue gas tank of BMW classic motorbike.

Return of the blue blobs. While I was nicely greeted by the store greeter and while I was given attention when requesting help to checkout, I largely found the number and appearance of the blue blobs terribly disappointing and off-putting. One was wearing a black leather cap. Backwards! Several others were wearing shorts. Shorts! Like molecules they circled each other and noticeable towards the rear of the store. On appearances alone the better characterization is moderate disorder. Had it not been for the Retina screens I could have been mistaken to think I’d accidentally entered BrandsMart. And I haven’t browsed a BrandsMart in many many years.

MOCA Jacksonville and That’s All

Five hours north of South Florida is a mud puddle called Jacksonville. An decent one. I’m being harsh. Deep appreciation of well maintained highways sets between the very edges of Indian River county upwards to Jacksonville. Makes you kinda proud. Tall trees along both sides north and south bound lanes. Roads free of junk and clear lane demarcations. Simple functional rest stations. And this being Florida the drive is largely a straight line with the occasional curve and mole hill.

I suck for posting this two months late. It’ll happen again. It’s habitual.

Getting around Jacksonville was super convenient. Slightly exaggerating there is one traffic light every two miles. At least this was the experience shuttling from Southside to Orange Park. Here’s an overly generalized observation: Orange Park is working class perhaps a little slummy while Southside is new construction, shoppes, manicured.

Taking in the northern coast beach and MOCA where my only humble goals of this trip.

Soft white powered sand characterizes the beach. The sand is as hard as a flat surface; hard enough that many early birds ride their bicycles on the beach. So don’t expect to sand castles and getting buried in sand. That is clearly out of the question. Plus there is nearly a football field sized distance between the edge of civilization and the ocean. This open space is the beach. The sunrise was nice and plenty of tourists and locals woke early to be rejuvenated and inspired by it.


Beach sunrise
Sunrise at Jacksonville beach on an August Saturday.
Beach sunrise
Sunrise at Jacksonville beach on an August Saturday.
Beach sunrise
Sunrise at Jacksonville beach on an August Saturday.
Beach sunrise
Sunrise at Jacksonville beach on an August Saturday.

Downtown Jacksonville was a let down. Maybe ’cause it was Saturday and downtowns in small mud cities usually empty on weekends. Regardless, downtown seemed a little blighted. Next to MOCA Jacksonville on the same block same attached building is the public library. Across a public center with circular fountain sans green space. Its relatively small. First impression driving on the street separating museum from the public center was the commotion at the library so much so that I initially thought the library was the museum. ‘An active art crowd. Great!’ I thought. It wasn’t the museum. Homeless locals hang out at the library and public center. Well, yeah.

Three of the five floors are exhibition space. The boutique cafe inside was closed. The front desk was very nice. She explained everything and genuinely welcomed me. Head down doing something as I entered she raised with a smile.

Admission sticker on chest and MOCA Jacksonville floor plan in hand she eagerly tells me of her favorite piece since I asked for suggestions. Climbing the stairs to second floor offers nice view of the a Heather Cox Winter 2013 Project in large open exhibition atrium.


Heather Cox MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox, Project Atrium at MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox, Project Atrium at MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox, Project Atrium at MOCA Jacksonville
Heather Cox MOCA Jackonville
Heather Cox, Project Atrium at MOCA Jacksonville

Quiet and lonely. Aside from security there was just one other museum patron. Eyes glance down, Mona Lisa frown. While I really enjoy art and museums I can’t say that I can intelligently critique art. My observations are of level of effort and thought the artist takes in creating their art. An appreciation and interest in their time and effort and skill. Hardly do I search for the concept or attempt to calculate their inspiration. In the permanent collection of MOCA Jacksonville are a series of Richard Anuszkiewicz paintings on second floor display. This was the highlight of the visit. That and the cute refreshing girl in the gift shop. Do Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube Richard Anuszkiewicz and then you too can name drop Op art.

Let’s talk about something important. The girl at the gift shop. I would. I didn’t. She gave me a tip of the Black Sheep restaurant in the Riverside neighborhood a few minutes from downtown. Its a trendy artsy areas. I’d live there. Did a drive by and it was packed. Didn’t eat there. With Black Sheep in the review view mirror the red narrow front door of a psycologist’s made me stop and take a picture. Look at my picture.

Modern building architecture in Riverside Jacksonville neighborhood
Building in Riverside neighborhood near downtown Jacksonville.

Sensor Overload Watch Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF) VIII at MOCA

Ahhh. Returning to MOCA in North Miami after a year or so absence and nothing has changed. Free parking unchanged. The uninviting stagnant water pool at the building entrance unchanged. A very warm and bright summer Saturday afternoon.  Perhaps a garden with stout trees would have been a better choice. And the sure shot drive east on 125th Ave from I-95 through the neighborhood also unchanged.

Impressed and likely to return for an additional viewing of avaf’s Assume Vivid Astro Focus VIII. Red, white, blue, green light changes saturate the walls from above. From above! Loud music switching between possible three tracks. Observe the walls and find them transform with each light change. A dark room like effect. New images appear and images you’ve already noticed transform and change again and again. A living wall.

An intimate space of maybe eight feet by six feet, you feel everything mounted on top of you; the music, lights, images. Everything in the room is an extension of you. The light changes and you feel that your eyes see only the same color light. The music changes and you feel oversized headphones on your ears. The images change and you feel as though you blinked. Of course you don’t and a new scene appears before you.

Hundreds of images and drawings floor to ceiling in all sizes on the walls. A collage. There is a sense of being in a fun house. Surprises abound. The largest static image is of a gigantic woman whose head is visible above the entrance stretching across the ceiling. Her long legs extending down opposite the entrances. Walk in and first you see legs. Follow the legs up to her hips and torso on the ceiling until finally turning around to see her head right above the entrance way as though she is hugging the room. There’s something about seeing a cartoonishly large women exerting interest. Fully clothed and large. We should see more of them.

A narrow white child’s sized spiral staircase down the center of the room disappears. Enter the room and immediately you’re at the walls. Atop the staircase lights, audio, and project equipment hang. The alternating lights remake the room. The music makes you feel comfortable – Where’s the Whiskey? Can I bum a cigarette? Slow paced with haunting deep piano notes create a wonderfully synced combination courtesy of Los Super Elegantes’ Fla & Flu. Green and red lights carry along with the music’s lazy pace.

The images keep you there. Some are innocent. Listen to curated songs. Really listen and you’ll be there long enough to notice still images of bare breasts. Compromising positions. Genuine perversion. A randomness of imagery, people, cartoons, drawings in a massive collage. The images must feel strange together forced into the same room. If you could freeze frame an over the top party party in a Beetlejuice land sans monsters this is what it would be. The party continues even as you leave the room.

Attracted by the music and lights some walk enter and immediately turn around to exit. Perhaps embarrassed or simply afraid or unable to take in the overload. Definitely an experience. A sincere “Thank You” to asaf! Ahhh.

Fewer things make me happier than taking pictures in museums. Out of courtesy, always, I ask and was very happy to hear that pictures were permitted. Congratulations. You may enter.

And what’s with the no pictures in museums anyway. Next post: museum picture and video policy report and rating.

Something About the Beach at Night

Orange Lights Show the Way at the Beach
Orange night lights light the walking path on the beach.

Have it all to myself. Hard rain ended. Cool and windy. Silent lightning seen afar in vibrant purple lines. Saltwater.

Wet and sandy feet in flip flops. Feels great to be here.

Rainy Afternoon Beach Boredom

Saturday. Cloudy and rainy. Awoke after midday and bored.

Drove. Whippers left right left. Listening to Boards of Canada‘s Trans Canada Highway album. Left Side Drive track. Quite chilly with the A/C on first of five settings especially with an gloomy afternoon. Gloom is good. Red brake lights refract through the water beads on the windshield. Space constellations.

Stopped at Starbucks after a thirty minute aimless drive. Two foot flooding in the parking lot. Grande White Mocha with Whipped Cream. Hot please. Oh, you like my Starfucker t-shirt. No, I haven’t gone to their concert. Here, scan the barcode on my phone. Beep. Receipt? Nope. Thanks.

The beach.

Desire to be alone but in public. Park at meter and wait and stare towards the beach. No one is nearby save for a few wet weather joggers and walkers. With current conditions being the opposite of typical, now is the time to experience something mildly uncommon. More people should be here.

The hot White Mocha wasn’t as sweet as expected. Sweet not throughout. Just at the bottom. The kind of sweetness that needs swirling. New hires or trainees possibly. Hope they improve.

One would expect these sounds. Water constantly slapping itself. Static copy cat. Under a small hut shelter it is easy to spend long stretches in silence absorbed by the sound and closeness to the end of land. Like a cliff or the edge of the world, if it were flat. These days are reflective.

The sand and saltwater have a special smell. Distinctive. Why isn’t this a design house or celebrity parfum already? The pier not far. Another fragrance entirely of fish guts.

Cold and rainy and tranquil. This is the way the beach was meant to be enjoyed.