Installment 2

Dryad after the Clear-felling, mixed media by Rita de Heer

This gig … of dumping 20 years worth of my work online … is turning out to be harder than I thought it could be. I had real trouble today just going to a File, saving it as a pdf, then inserting it here. This morning I first trapped myself thinking up a good title for this project. “A Broken Universe” sums it up quite nicely, I decided, since I could never get the timeline to gel.

I spent a couple of hours chasing through my Documents File for the long version of the Half Shaman in Space for Installment 3. As if it matters whether I post long or short, or anything in the order of the events, or anything.

But it does. There seem to be a few readers out there. Installment One did quite well.

Could only find a very short version. And I edited a couple of Files. And I did Delete a few odds and ends. Not a wasted day. Finally found what I was looking for in the Trash. Did retrieve it.

But anyway … installment two of the whole story is Half Shaman. One of the two published volumes, as it happens. Go to this Page for the details. https://wordpress.com/page/ritadeheer385131918.blog/1007

Lego: MILS Base-plate

The minute I saw a Lego base-plate, I knew I’d have to find an alternative.

Underside of Lego base plate in green, my version of a MILS plate in blue etc

Most of the building I’m doing is on my smallish round dinner table. When I have guests stuff has to be able to be moved easily to shelves. Just how weak and bendy the original base-plates are was amply illustrated to me by Darryl of Bevin’s Bricks on Youtube cutting one up with a box cutter.

I already searched through possibilities like glueing base plates on cardboard and building on ordinary plates and joining those with other ordinary plates. Neither of which attracted me. The first because it’s hard to stay accurate. The second because of heavy and awkward builds springing apart when you least expect it. I’ve read about builds grievously falling apart while being transported from one table to the next. Not ideal, in other words.

Then, on one of the FB groups I joined, I saw mentioned the MILS plate as the next development in the search for a strong base plate. Following that up, I saw a good explanation on Bevin’s Bricks. [Though I have again forgotten what ‘MILS’ means. I have a life-long memory glitch in relation to acronyms.]

Me constructing a ‘proper’ MILS base plate right now would’ve meant ordering the required parts, and weeks of waiting on covid-struck postal services in several countries. Even getting supplies by post from my local brick resales outlet a few suburbs away, usually takes a couple of weeks.

Not helped this week that I’m house-bound again, waiting to be told whether I have covid or another lurgy. Well, I know I have a lurgy. Ten days of coughing.

But … I have six alternate-lego base plates, lots of blue 2×2 bricks and red 2×2 bricks that I have no idea where to use, a few 30-year-old Technic 1×6 bricks, and a bunch of blue sun-damaged plates of all sizes. Can I achieve something with them?

I could. Very likely the ordered honeycomb of professionally built MILS base plates is not present in the internals of my sandwich base plate (below) because I spaced the reds and blues according to need, not design. I’m very happy with it and am aiming to put another one together tonight.

Behold my sandwich/MILS base plate.

Learning Lego

Yesterday I was reminded that Bosley & Co need at least 2 more hard hats to be able to pass building inspections. Off went another order to BrickResales.com.au for hard hats, a few other building site necessities, and a trio of frying pans for the new outdoor dining setup. LBT’s (Australian delicacy: lettuce bacon and tomato sandwiches) coming up.

While most of the structures I build are MOCs, aka My Own Creations–for the ongoing story– every so often I buy a set for what I can learn from them.

This week, I tackled the (shown above) Campervan Model #Lego60283. Took me a couple of thoroughly enjoyable hours to put it together at the same time learning two techniques that’ll help me keep the interiors of my own models accessible.

First there is the camper’s easily lifted off roof. This has made access to the vehicle’s roof spaces so easy, I’m planning to use the technique for some of the apartments in Bosley & Co’s proposed multi-storey build.

Starting with the ground-floor cabins, I discovered that once you put a roof on a place, the windows and doors are too small for adult fingers to access the interior. Furniture, for example, that needs to be installed inside, has to be done during the build, or the build carefully dismantled and done again with extras included.

In that mode, there are cabins on the site that have been built three times. Jackie and Jed Cranedriver’s now very fancy hut is a case in point. Version One looked like a grey box. Version Two had some color in it.

Third time, this time, it has a swing-open wall similar to the one in the camper-van. I love it. Though it will take further study to get the colors matching where they are meant to. I can foresee a fourth rebuild.

Jackie Cranedriver on her newly built cabin.

The Hardware Store Rebuild:

Part One of a ‘Bric-Fic’ Fantasy

Despite the optimistic style of the title and subtitles, this is a story about ‘trying’ to publish a bric-fic fantasy. It’s been a zig-zag journey of dead-ends, so far, and I wrote this paragraph last because even WordPress is not productive when asked to do something a little different.

I’ve always wanted to name a new genre, and here it is. Little did I know it’d be in the arena of AFOLs (Adult Fans of Lego) but that is also what I am. An AFOL.

The genre has been in existence for a while, I’m sure, since the Lego Group has been going 90 years, and I can’t be the only one who’s ever seized on these bricks and the mini-figs to tell a story. But it’s hard to find them, to compare my work, without a genre label.

Let me know if there is a term already out there?

After producing a slideshow on my desktop, I’ve been trying to find a good place to publish. I’ve tried a FaceBook Page, an Instagram account, and a WordPress slideshow with varying success rates. None of them more ideal than daily FaceBook posts on my Feed.

The slideshow block on this site likes photos, but finds captions harder to deal with. It’s another learning curve of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. Something like a muddy path.

A gallery of photos and text boxes may serve. We shall see.

You can see in the third pic that the caption continues beyond the bottom of the page. Conclusion? A gallery will not do. The ‘captions’ are often too long.

I need a structure to input once, not one that needs me to scroll to the place where it exists, for every photo and every caption, copy, then scroll back to where it’s wanted. Wondering now if a table will work …

Nope! A prefabricated WordPress table does not stretch or accommodate photos and long captions, the way a word processor table does. Lucky last for today, I’ll try the column block:

Scene 8:

“After I dump the foundation blocks, fetch what?”

“Park the run-about and help me install the blocks.”

“But Boss, the scaffolding is cluttering up the yard. I should get that first.”

“But Dan, nowhere here to put it until we get the blocks in place.”

Scene 9

Beep. Beep. Beep.

“Tip them out. Dan, I’ve got Drew here to help me. You go wrangle the forklift attachment. One of the sparkies will help you get the electrics connected.”

“Right-ee-oh, Boss. Hey Drew, don’t let him run you ragged!”

“Boss and I are good, Dan. We’re brothers.”

“Well, that’s good to know!”

And that is it … the ‘column block’ feature stops working after two photos. It lets me input more text, but refuses another photo.

THE END

‘Imitation or Representation – Art Philosophy’ by …

https://artistcoveries.wordpress.com/2021/03/18/imitation-or-representation-art-philosophy/

My semi-abstract representation of an imaginary creature …

Dryad, After the Clear-Felling, Rita de Heer, 2017

Finally I learned the difference between imitation and representation in art. Thank you, Judith. These concepts have been bothering me for quite a while. When I first started to learn to paint with watercolors, I had to relearn everything I knew. About paint, how to apply the paint, how colors work when you overlay them on other colors, and how to represent the subjects I’m interested in.

I can say ‘represent’ with confidence now. I’ve always represented semi-abstract subjects using acrylics, pen, pencil. I’ve made embroidered, macrame and knitted hangings, and used a darkroom to change my photographs.

[I’m telling you, mobile phones are amazing. Can do everything I did then in the dark room, in the comfort of my arm chair, or on the bus. You know what I’m saying.]

Since I got interested in fungi about thirteen years ago, I have flirted with the idea to perhaps practice botanical drawing or painting. That would mean going back to the life drawing classes I studied in a Visual Media strand long ago … the pure art of imitation, copying the subject of study, stroke by pencil stroke, onto the paper.

Lately though I’ve been asking myself whether I’d have the patience for that now. It’d even more like meditation than laying water colors on paper. Not that that’s a bad thing. But am I ready to let go what I’m still learning?

Artistcoveries

Recently I mentioned the connections between art and philosophy — a branch of study referred to asaesthetics. On this point, which deals with beauty and taste, I’m content to go with the conventional wisdom that says beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. You like what you like. I like what I like. Sometimes we’ll be in agreement as to what is beautiful and note-worthy; at other times we’ll have very different opinions. Still, all is well. We’re each entitled to our opinions.

My study oftonalism, however, has brought me a bit deeper into philosophy and art. I’ve been reading more about the life and work of Asher B. Durand, one of my favorite artists. Several years ago as I first began oil painting, I read Durand’s collection of “Landscape Letters”. While I enjoyed his essays on art, I was beset with questions. I…

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World vs Earth …

Back into the Ooze
Back into the Ooze 2019
by Rita de Heer

Climate change is a World-versus-Earth problem, I heard the other day.

Apparently people still don’t know how completely dependent on Earth our World is. The dragon will pass us by, and with a flick of its flaming tongue, or tail, will drag us with it into the inferno.

Earth is a planet that supports Life and is an inseparable part of it.

World is the human culture, the where and the what that we build and extract and dig and superimpose on the soil, that thinnest of layers between us and bed-rock.

The same bed-rock that we can not survive on without the natural services provided by sunlight, water, air, and soil. Is that really so hard to understand?

Air? Another thin thin layer. Above us. Blue where and when the Earth continues its work. A disgusting tan yellow where we think we have improved our lives. Where industry and wrong-living coughs out smoke and smog, dust and death. Dragons.

Water. Oh my people, Ocean is in so much trouble. We warm it. We degrade it. We dynamite and pillage, we fill it with cast-off refuse, we leak oil and bilge waters, spread disease and alien creatures, and still we expect whales, pristine rain, sparkling springs and sweet lakes of fresh water.

Life is the miracle that has become, and grown, and evolved over unimaginable distances and stretches of time. Life is the lives that by the millions have come and have gone, like stitches over and under, through the fabric of time.

We sapiens, living for ten or twenty thousand generations and perhaps two more, will dive under and also be gone.

Tinkering …

Tinkering with this broken ceramics project let me come up with its eventual solution … this is not it.

Tinkering is a satisfying way to spend a morning, albeit yet again, tinkering with the basic design of this blog.

‘Tinkering’ the word originally referred to repairs made on tinware by the ‘tinkers’, travelers in the medieval and the early industrial ages, at the little towns and villages where they might stay in a paddock or on the common land.

Tinkering has come to mean a cross between repairing and improving a broken thing, and sometimes referring to the process needed before an invention can be dragged from an inventor’s unconsciousness.

In my case, this morning, me tinkering with the tags and categories of tags for this blog means hopefully making it better, and hopefully more interesting. Easier to use is another possible outcome. For me though, tinkering is a favorite activity leading to all sorts of new ideas and ways of doing things.

Although I’ve been blogging in various guises for about twelve years, I have never yet blogged on a platform with so many possibilities as this one at this time in its history while my first three years using the WordPress.com platform passed first in a fog of illness, then a year of recovery when my brain wasn’t capable of complex thought. Now though, I finally feel like I can learn again and retain concepts long enough to use them.

You’re wondering how I solved the problem of that broken ceramics project?

I broke it some more, then experimented with every surface decoration and glazing technique suggested by my fellow students and teacher. I made it to be a puzzle, and it’s quite difficult to put together. How I like it. Two small pieces went missing. More tinkering to come.

What I Did Yesterday …

Embroidery in progress …

A couple of days ago I read someone else’s post on this, describing how you can ‘say’ whatever you like without anyone ever really knowing you. It’s what you ‘do’ … maintains the theory … that will identify you.

I don’t know yet if it’ll work. Can but try, in the words of one of my characters. I have several typical days, and since it has been raining here for about a week, I can only describe a typical day at home.

I wake but do not roll instantly out of bed. One of my eyes will never open right away, I have to lie there and think a while, convince it of the day. On blue-sky days, my bedroom is striped with light–due to vertical blinds–after sunrise. But, all this week, the daylight stays grey.

Roll on to my side, sit up, swing legs over the side. Stump down the grey corridor to the kitchen. Oh wait, you expected me to at least wash my face? Yeah, I did that. Ablutions. In the en suite.

And I dressed. T shirt and shin-length pants. Slide my house-keys and rest of needs-musts in my right pants pocket. Mobile/cell in the left pocket. A few years ago, I fell over in my house and after lying unconscious for a time, had to crawl injured to a landline phone to raise the alarm. Since then I’ve worn a mobile on me at all times.

The kitchen is in the middle of the apartment. Dark on a sunless day. I make it friendlier by pulling out the slide-out range hood so that its automatic light shines warm above the benches. I get a bowl out, spoon in muesli, cooked brown rice, LSA and hemp seeds. Mix and pour on rice milk. Boil water. Dole out mineral supplements and anti histamine. Today, due to the dark, I eat at the round dining table.

While still drinking my three mugs of warm water, I check yesterday’s step score on my mobile and enter it in my exercise chart. Also on the mobile, I check the weather to see what temperatures and humidity I can expect. Then I check the weather in the town where I lived last year, the weather in Copecabana in NSW; Dover in Tasmania; Perth in Western Australia; Karratha in Western Australia; Cape York in North Queensland, Amsterdam and Singapore. All my places of interest for various reasons.

Still using the mobile I will have quick look at Facebook comments, trying not to get involved yet with anything needing research and or deep thought.

Today, after stacking the dishes in the sink, I started on my exercises. Eleven–I’m building up to fifteen– push-aways against the front door. It’s timber and the only place in the apartment that can take it. Eleven stand-ups from sitting on a chair not using my hands. Walking with half kilo weights, twelve stretches from front of the house to the back. I expect to graduate to 1 kg weights after my birthday in a few weeks.

Chart to record daily exercises

Make a cup of coffee and sit down with the laptop. Check my emails and answer the ones requiring it. I resist getting involved with newsletters though do read a couple of articles from the Fifth Estate Magazine. Do my Wordle.

Rain, rain, go away, many of my local acquaintances are saying. I also read a science article (on the weather website?) about research in Antarctica with ice cores. Averaged out over two thousand years, east coast Australia has had only two hundred wet years. That’s ten percent. Can’t get away from climate change. It’s going to get a lot drier is the forecast.

By about 11.00 a/m, I open the work of the day. MELD, part two of the Doomed series. I’m in the thick of a structural edit. I need to lose at least twenty thousand words, rewrite the first chapter, and re jig the first act. Finesse the middle fifty percent. The final act is good to go.

So, today, I read chapters 7 and 8 aloud to figure how I need to change them.

At about noon, a pathology assistant arrives. Courtney is her name. She is the only live person I talk with today. IE it’s Friday. No phone calls. I’m still isolating, as I have several co-morbidities and do not want to get sicker than I already am. I’m lucky because I don’t have to go out for a blood test. S & N come to the house. Takes ten minutes. My veins are recovering after the beating they received having chemo this time last year.

Afterwards I walk round the house for a while to start to build up the step count. I visit all the rooms in turn about twenty times. Lunch then. A frozen meal. Wack it into the microwave, 4.50 minutes. Dish up. Yum. Another three mugs of warm water. I read the two first chapters of MELD, printed out earlier, and start to mark up bits to keep and bits to cut.

Today, I do my lying down exercises after lunch. On my bed. Yes, the temptation is to doze off. Twelve air-grabs that warm up every muscle. Six bridges to a count of ten per bridge. Six legs raises, each leg, each raise for a count of ten. Twelve clam-shells, hold open to a count of ten. Doze, five to ten minutes.

Oh man. This is taking a long time. It doesn’t feel like I don’t do anything much.

Get up. More walking in the house. Still raining. BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) says 120mm has fallen in the last 24 hours and a huge rain cloud still hangs overhead. No going outside today. I get some walking music going. It’s God Speed You! Black Emperor today. I walk about an hour more, 5000 paces plus.

Sunset despite rain

When I rest this time, I do some embroidery while I listen to an ABC podcast. The stitching is slow but joyful. The colors sing. After the podcast I catch a few minutes of news. Nothing cheerful about that with old man Putin doing his thing.

Dinner is two rounds of toast, smashed avocado and a boiled egg. A pear for dessert. Three mugs of warm water. I start to re-read The Tailor of Panama by John Le Carre (1996) which I will talk about in the future.

After dinner, I work on this. I’m not posting it tonight. I need to mail myself some photos, from my mobile to my laptop.