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T’rung, Tranh, Bau, etc. & Chatter Doors

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 6, 2017

Well, it’s been weeks since I posted. Managed to act in two short independant movies (only two lines each). Had fun. Also did background for the web series T@gged. I can be seen in one episode, since the camera shot two of the main characters directly through me and another guy for two scenes, and then we both were directly on camera in the final scene. Just worked as a data wrangler for a local 48-hour movie project that will be shown on Nov. 15 here in Albuquerque. Can’t say much or post photos of any of that just yet.

However, I did attend Sunday Chatter again. It is chamber music performed 50 Sunday mornings a year, in, currently, an antique door shop. Photos to follow. I’m glad I went, because it was a real treat, again. We were fortunate to have multiple award-winning Vietnamese immigrant Vân Ánh Võ Vân Ánh Võ perform for us. In addition to her hypnotic singing, she also performed with three traditional instruments: a Dàn T’rung, a Dàn Tranh, and a Dàn Bau. The Dàn T’rung is a bamboo instument of a varying amount of tubes, but hers has three rows of 16 bamboo tubes to replicate a full chromatic scale, consisting of three full octaves. Dàn T’rung

The Dàn Tranh is an extraordinary Vietnamese zither, a beautifully crafted instrument, with, at my count 19 strings. Dàn Tranh

There was also a single-string instrument, a Dàn Bau, another type of zither. 110317 (65) .

All of this would have been enough, but in some of her compositions she was joined by two violins, a viola, a cello, bass, flute, piano and percussion.  Did I say extraordinary already? Ah, well, it was. And the music was as beautiful as Vân Ánh Võ herself. 110317 (64) Needless to say, I was doubly enchanted.

In addition to all the music, however, Chatter always has a poet perform. This time it was Arizona native Jaclyn Roessel, a Diné (Navajo) member of several creative educational groups, an alumnus from Arizona State University, museum professional, and winner of several Jaclyn Roessel awards. 110317 (61b)

It was quite a day.  The music of Vietnam on European and Vietnamese instruments, and poetry by a Native American. Much to think about, in terms of musical variety, costly and genocidal wars, and also of rivivals in culture and pride in one’s heritage.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey

by Jaclyn Roessel

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Please remember everyone will be drawn to the vivacity of your sweetness. Take note of who loves you without wanting more than you can be. Remember, especially, the ones who know you are still growing and leave room for you to be all your beautiful forms at once, as you choose.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Watch for those whose words align so beautifully with their actions that you lose track of what is said and what is done because the lines of distinction have been erased with intention, attention and devotion.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Live your promise to be the giant of your dreams, the queen who is king, never bowing down, submitting to anything less than you deserve.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Your light can brighten the darkest places but don’t fear reaching out for a hand to hold. It’s in the darkness where touch can feel the warmest, where kisses can go deep and love of your true self can reach back into the cave within.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Remember you come from the heavens. You are not solely stardust but the core of its brightness, your shine will at times be too bright for those around you. Look for the ones who instead of walking away or turn their back on you, sit in your presence with heart-shaped sunglasses so they can continue to stand in your love light.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are the goodness of the nectar, the sweetness of the fruit, the genesis of the bloom…you, dearheart, are a gift, hold that truth close.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

Remember you are beautiful and are the strength of your people, your mother, her mother and her mother. You are the pulse of a bloodline that traces the circle we walk around the fire in the Hogan. You are the antidote, the medicine that cures.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are a vision prayed into existence, the gift to a people, the leader of the next generation, a vessel of solutions to your people’s heartache. Continue to shine your prismatic rays as you uncover the treasure in the womb of your soul.

Dear Girl-Made-of-Honey,

You are not simply a universe…your existence is the past, present and future. You are a resilient multiverse brimming with the light of millions of ancestors and descendants. So rest in the simplicity of your greatness knowing deep within you there is only complexity of the love of the people you are from.

Finally, some of the doors:

 

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More About Fim Fish From Beyond

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 28, 2017

A little while back I wrote about Renaissance man Jim Fish, who died a few days after his 68th birthday, while hiking back down a mountain he had just climbed in the New Mexico wilderness. He was a poet, among other things.

Recently on the grounds of the winery he started, I met several other people, two of whom had a nice long truck, and a trenching machine known around here as a ditch witch. It was handy. We had to tear down a solidly built shed, one that had been built to last. I took a few swings at it with a sledge hammer, and only removed a few wooden shelf braces and some upper storage shelving. To take this thing down would have taken all of us working hard all day, and we still had to load it all on the truck. But, the ditch witch made much shorter work of that shed.

You see, after Jim’s death, we had to clean up around there. This shed had held many of Jim’s personal items: old papers, maps, camping gear, antlers, pieces of wood for carving, etc. and etc. Unfortunately, our local desert rats, or pack rats, had moved in. They pissed and shit everywhere. The mixture has the consistency of hardened epoxy. Really. You have to chip it away. It was all over everything, along with all the bits and pieces they drag into their nests. One idea was to just torch the building, but we decided it was better, and more in keeping with local fire ordinances, to just tear it down. It still took roughly 6 hours of hard work, but we got it down, and hauled away.

During the process, I found some old cards Jim had printed up, and sent out to friends many years ago. He was already into the poetry, so each had a poem, and a photo of Jim’s of New Mexico, where he lived. I had read several of Jim’s poetry books, but not all of them, so I’d never seen these poems, and I don’t even know if they were published in book form.  I scanned and cleaned the four cards up a bit digitally, and I’m posting them here, because they are good, and to give others an idea of what he was like. Those are his horses in the second photo image; they are off in the high New Mexico countryside now, just grazing and keeping an eye out for cougars. Jim took a lot of photos of bears over the years, but, as you can see, not this particular one (fourth photo image). He probably made a card each year, but the only ones I found were from 1982, 1983, 1987, and 1988.

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A Dream About Art?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 23, 2017

So this morning I had a dream in which I was at an art gallery. I found a sculpture I liked and bought it, for $750. Oddly specific there, that price. Of course price is very important. I couldn’t afford to buy a piece of art for $750 right now.

There was something familiar about the piece. It was a piece of carved wood, shaped like a distorted ellipse, with one part narrower than the other, as though it was what was left of an ovoid after cutting out the center and leaving just a two-dimensional outline of the ovoid. The smaller end was pointed down. There was a piece of wood hanging in the center of the piece also. As I was admiring it, the recently deceased winemaker/sculptor/writer/poet/skier Jim Fish appeared next to it. He looked at me, as if to say, that looks familiar. And indeed, it really did resemble the wood sculptures he used to make; it was even mounted on a stone base, just as he used to do. In fact, I couldn’t tell the difference, but I felt I hadn’t bought it from Jimmie the Fish.

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In the meantime, he had reassembled the sculpture I had just bought, and even added pieces from a disassembled sculpture of his. It now resembled a three-dimensional rectangle, and it was ugly. I tried to restore it to its original appearance, but I found it difficult to do so. Suddenly, within the dream, I had the epiphany that it really did matter how such sculptures were oriented in space, and how they were mounted. Jim Fish’s sculptures always seemed random to me, and I had often joked about using them for firewood on frigid winter mornings at the winery when we had nothing else to put into the fireplace. I would have mentioned that epiphany to Jim, but he was no longer there. I wanted him to put my newly acquired sculpture back together, but he had left his smaller sculpture there as well. For some reason I tried putting a small piece of his sculpture in place of the small piece in mine, but I couldn’t make it work.

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And then, of course, I was fully awake. Would I spend money on a sculpture? Possibly, but I already know I have no space for it here. There are photos and paintings and posters all over my walls, and one wall is all overstuffed bookcases. Another wall has my vinyl records, music CDs, old cassettes, TV, and my stereo system. With my regular furniture: a stuffed chair, a faux-leather chair, my small wooden kitchen table and chairs, my desk, and my bed and bureau,  I’ve used up all the corners and the rest of the space.

Nevertheless, it occurs to me that I wish I did have one of Jim’s sculptures.

 

All of his sculptures have been removed from the winery. They are temporarily stored in the studio of a painter friend of Jim’s. The plan, from what I heard, is to put Jim’s sculptures into a gallery. I remember wondering how whoever reassembles them will know how to do so, like what wood piece goes on what base, and how each piece is mounted. After a little time goes by, it may be difficult to remember how everything goes. Hell, it may be impossible to know what wood each piece is carved from. There’s apricot, acacia, piñon and cherry, for example, and damned if I know which is which without Jim’s little titles and descriptions. His small, plastic-coated cards were always blowing off the sculptures, and I was forever picking them up off the winery’s floor when I was cleaning. Only Jim really knew what was what for certain.

 

So, I see my dream was not so much about art in general, but really about Jim Fish and his sculptures. I will have to help with those sculptures if they ever make it into galleries. After 17 years of looking at each new one Jim added, and seven years of putting the little cards back on each one, I should have some idea what each one is.

This one  IMG_3286  was always “Not For Sale”. However, so many people pestered Jim to buy it, insisting that everything has a price, that he finally put a price on it: $10,000. After that, he got no more offers. I like it a lot.

Some more views:

 

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Another Month Begins; Not Bored Yet!

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on August 6, 2017

Last month wasn’t very busy. I was paid to work as a background actor on the TV series Graves, just once, and I worked a few hours on a local independent film for no pay. I only hiked three times. I took a weekend acting class. I had an audition – no word on that. There was a shareholder’s meeting, at the 21-year-old winery I have been working at for the last seven years, to try to figure out what to do next after the death of our founder. I had a CT SCAN/angiogram on my heart with a fancy new machine that looked like a giant metal donut. I left a bit woozy from the drug and the scan. I saw my new heart doctor for the results, and I had a pre-exam for my upcoming annual health checkup. The culmination of July was an acting gig for a 48-Hour Movie project, which is part of an international competition among people who make a short movie in 48 hours from start to finish, including all editing, and that led to two events in August.

Director

That’s me (in hat, sunglasses, scarf) as a fake director for the movie within the movie

So August started rolling right away on the 1st, with a day at the winery netting grapes to keep the birds from eating them. We’re keeping the winery going for now. Anyone want to buy a winery? I think that’ll happen soon. I got the see the 48-Hour movie we made on Thursday August 3rd, along with 13 other shorts, out of 41 total. I decided to celebrate with my fellow Group A participants at local brewery Sidetrack, getting a shrimp po’ boy to eat from Crazy Daves’ food truck outside (to balance the two pints of heavy beer). Since the second group of short movies (Group B) finished while we were there, a few of us wandered over to Boese Brothers Brewery nearby for their after party, and I had another beer. A late night, and it cost quite a few bucks, but it was fun.

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The Casting Coffee Group who made the movie

Saturday the 5th, there was a meeting of group I’m part of that made the 48-Hour movie. We’re certain we’ve won several awards, but we won’t know until August 18.

After that, I went to the 11th Annual Gala of the Guerrilla Photo Group, a wonderful collection of photographers, models and makeup people, who not only improved my photography skills, but introduced me to the local movie-making scene. There were lots of friends there, a dozen sexy models, lots of photos to view and to vote on as a favorite. My favorite was of a wonderfully sexy teacher/poet with a book centered firmly between her thighs, but it was already sold.

Had another beer at the Albuquerque Press Club’s bar, so I also visited the Pink Ladies’ food truck for a fantastic carne adovada burrito.

Today it was back to Sunday Chatter, the weekly Sunday morning music concert. This one was not as wildly fantastic as the last one I wrote about, but it was nice. A husband and wife duo played music for cello and guitar that they had rearranged from traditional presentations. An orchestral piece by Gabriel Fauré still sounded damn good for just cello and guitar. Four of Johann Sebastian Bach’s works for harpsichord were recreated by having the guitar play the notes for one hand, and the cello play the notes for the other hand. (No. 8 in F Major, No. 10 in G Major, No. 6 in E Major, and No. 13 in A Minor). Fun!

There followed a piece from Oliver Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”, but of course, only performed on two instruments. And there was “Allegretto Comodo” by Radames Gnattali, and “Reflexoes No. 6” by Jaime Zenamon. The duo is called Boyd Meets Girl, and they’ve just released a CD of their arrangements.

Boyd-Metcalf

Laura Metcalf and Rupert Boyd

There was some great cornbread too: blue corn meal, corn, cheese, and chile, blue corn two pieces of which I scarfed down with my freshly espressed caffè americanoamericano

25 days still to go in the month of August!

Doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, and a movie audition in the afternoon. More netting of grapes at the winery on Tuesday, and another shareholder’s meeting next Sunday. Hopefully I’ll have news of our 7-minute movie being wildly successful on the 18th. But, for now, the rest of the calendar for August is empty.

 

 

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Hoodoos and Weird Stuff and Models O My – Another Trip To The Bisti

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 21, 2017

So, this happened a while back: another trip to the 45,000-acre Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness in northeastern New Mexico.

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Met up with a group of photographers and models, although I’m really most intrigued by the fantastic scenery. It was the background for a scene near the end of the 1977 U.S. movie Sorcerer, which was a remake of the 1953 French movie called The Wages of Fear. Georges Arnaud wrote the original source material, Le Salaire de la peur. The 1953 film did not not use the Bisti as a backdrop. Both movies are available from Netflix.

So, without further ado, the photos follow. Click on any one to view it larger, then you can use the arrows to slide through all the photos in a larger size.

(Note: added a few more in a second set below.)

 

2nd set:

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A Busy Summer

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on September 8, 2016

BEAR CORN

It’s a parasitic growth on tree roots, usually pines. It’s interesting how it takes on the characteristics of a pine cone, made very apparent here sprouting among the cones themselves. Bears do eat it. From a hike in the Sandia mountains on June 9, 2016.

MULE DEER

You never know what you’ll run into in the mountains around here. These shots are from a  hike in July.

DANCING ACROBATS

Some amazingly acrobatic dancers at the International Folk Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 10, 2016.

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PRAIRIE RATTLESNAKE

Like I said, you never know what you’ll run across in these mountains. This guy is about 3 feet long, full grown for his type, lying right across the trail, but very sleepy. July 18, 2015.

CIRCUS VIDEO

[AND, da da da dah! here is the “Circus Life” video:

Circus Life video by Rachele Royale released finally by singer Rachele Royale. If you watch carefully, you’ll see me here and there.

July was a very busy month. Here I am, made up, posing with the fire breather for a Gothic Circus themed music video. She dressed like that for the whole 1st day, but since we were on loaction at a masonic temple, the Masons asked that she cover up a bit the next day. Aww.

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CLOUDY DAYS CAN SURPRISE YOU

Wrapping up July, here is a hot-air balloon flying over my house, silhouetted against some rare clouds.

HORSE CLINIC FOR MOVIE COWBOYS

So August found me at an open house for actors needing to learn or polish horse-riding skills. Directors can be very picky about who they let ride a horse on set. Even the two life-long professionals shown here can’t be sure a director will pick them. 08/02/16

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A SUDDEN RAIN

Looks like snow, but it’s just raindrops backlit by  the sun or an otherwise bright summer day. 08/30/16

BUBONICON 48

Albuquerque just had its 48th science fiction convention. The Convention Theme was “Rockets, Robots & Rayguns”. Although you see some costumes here, it’s not so much about that as it is about the authors. There are plenty of chances to meet one of your favorite authors. And, the auctions are not only a lot of fun, but the final one on Sunday gives you a chance to auction off your own superfluous items.  There was also an art show, open to all, based on the theme.  The panel discussions can be interesting, but there are also presentations by authors and at least one by a scientist. This year, the science talk was by Sid M. Gutierrez, NASA Shuttle astronaut and the first Hispanic astronaut.

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Put Up Some Photos in an Art Show

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 17, 2016

PAS

It was nice. I sold the photo of a roadrunner, and the concert was fun: music Albert Einstein used to love to play. A local actor depicted him on a stage, and sometimes he gave a monologue over the slow sections of music, about music and musical instuments and math and science. The concert part was sold out.

94% of the photos were ones that I had bonded to metal (aluminum). It’s a fascinating process whereby an emulsion is permanently bonded to a piece of metal and the photo is permanently embedded into the emulsion. The process creates a sense of depth, and the wood blocks, or woooden frame or metal frame on the back add to the sense of a photo viewed almost in three dimensions.

The one exception in my part of the exhibit was an image of a Sponge Bob-like hot-air balloon that I crewed for in 2010. It is a regular print, matted and framed. I was allowed to use my photos as I wanted, and they used this image in their advertising. The special shapes balloons are mostly made in Brazil, and they bring them to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta to fly and sell them. I used my balloon ride that I earned by crewing to take photos from above, and I got a nice shot of the balloon while in the air. I don’t recall the exact name of the balloon, but I named my photo Wheeeeeeeeee!

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It’s Winter in the desert, but there’s snow

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 13, 2016

I live in Albuquerque, at the base of a mountain range called the Sandias. The mountains often block rain and snow storms from hitting the city very hard, so many winters there is just no snow in Albuquerque at all. However, the long drought has ended for most of the state, and this past year we had more rain and snow for any year since 1986.  Technically, according to geography studies, based on the average amount of rain that falls here, New Mexico is more accurately classified as a steppe. (In physical geography, a steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes.) Locally, people say we live in a high desert.

Long story short: we’ve got snow! Not much hit the city. In areas closest to the mountain range, there were several inches. In other places, like outside my house:

I hiked up the Pino Trail on December 17 looking for snow:

I went for a hike on Dec. 24. There was still snow in the mountains.

In fact, we got snowed  on as we hiked. Things were looking up!Embudito (1)

(photos by Robin Tackett)

So, I hiked up the Piedra Lisa Trail on the first day of the New Year:

Good snow, but I knew there was more on the crest of the mountain range itself.

Hike leader Robin Tackett set up a hike for Jan. 7, where we would ride the aerial tram up to the crest and hike along the ridge:

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Someone mentioned this reminded them of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining

As you can see, the tram station was nicely iced over. In fact, the workers there had to carefully inspect the cables, as well as clean under the docking area for one of the trams, chipping away ice and frozen snow.

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The cross-country skiers took off ahead of us on virgin powder.

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I could hike on the narrow trail itself, but step off and I sank, sometimes to my waist.

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This is living!  However, not only did I not bring snowshoes, but I forgot my camera this day, so none of the photos are mine. Photos by Robin Tackett and Khondeh M.

One more trip up the mountain, up the Pino Trail again on Monday the 11th of January:

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Modern Art

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Dancer

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It was a (relatively) warm day, (the sun was out) and there was no wind! Damn! Life can just be so good to me sometimes. (Even though some people aren’t).

Such a glorious start to winter. I hope this means the upcoming fire season will be quenched by the rain to come. Moisture! Snow! Come On Rain! Here’s hoping there’s enough rain to discourage the bark beetles and moth larvae that have been destroying so many acres of trees, and they won’t be so easy to burn. Yea snow!

 

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2014 Albuquerque Comic Expo

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 25, 2014

Another set of older photos; these are from June 28, 2014. I worked as a volunteer photographer for ACE, which encouraged me to stop and ask people to take their picture “for ACE”.  Included in those photos are Joel Hodgsen (of Mystery Science Theater 3000), and professional body builder Lou Ferrigno, who played the Hulk in the 1980s. Both of them graciously allowed me to snap a photo without having to wait in line or pay a fee. Please do not use these photos without permission. Click on any photo to see it full size.

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The Old Rail Yards in Albuquerque

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 19, 2014

Although the photos are a bit old, just from May of this year, I still wanted to post them. I had fun taking them.

May 3, 2014: Concerto Grosso No 1, Concerto for 2 Violins, Strings and Continuo, & Tabula Rasa. Fantastic concert in a great place. Established in 1880. 1/4 of Albuquerque’s workforce was employed here in 1919. Eighteen buildings remain on 27 acres.

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Black Ghosts in the Dome Wilderness

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 5, 2014

The Dome Fire burned in the Jemez Mountains in the northern portion of the state of New Mexico. Devastating portions of the Santa Fe National Forest and Bandelier National Monument, the fire exploded on April 26, 1996, starting from an improperly extinguished campfire. 16,516 acres in Capulin Canyon and the Dome Wilderness were burned.  The fire was fought by over 900 firefighters. In 2011, the Las Conchas fire reburned the wilderness area almost completely. Congress designated the Dome Wilderness in 1980. The Dome Fire burned the majority of the wilderness. The area was closed under a Santa Fe National Forest Closure Order.

On May 30, 2014, I hiked through a small part of the area. I was struck by the fact that all the trees had been burnt, to the ground. In fact, I could see portions of roots that stuck out above ground burnt. Everywhere I looked the trees remained as black ghosts of their former selves. In some case, due to the destruction of the soil, extreme flooding brought down centuries-old Ponderosa Pines, breaking them up like matchsticks, or simply pulling them out of the ground.053014 Dome Trail 1

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Dream a little dream of…, what?

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on December 2, 2013

I have the most bizarre dreams sometimes, but I forget them quickly. This one stuck with me. I’ve a friend I see occasionally. We used to travel a bit with a group that visited state monuments, went rafting, saw the sights, etc. She is the daughter of an old lover, from many, many years ago. She is 30 years old. Lately she has returned to school to work on a graduate degree, so she doesn’t get out much. However, she does like to catch movies from time to time, and set up a regular trip to the dollar theater for anyone who wanted to share. I was part of that group, but, eventually, it dwindled down to me and her. She is a lovely woman, bright and funny, and good-looking. I enjoy her company. We don’t date, as she considers me a family friend. Even after her mom had dumped me for another guy, I was still invited to family gatherings, especially after that guy dumped her mom, and she has since remarried and divorced two more times.

Anyhoo. This dream was about Mona Mona (name altered to protect the innocent). Mona is attractive to me, but off-limits. And, after all, she is quite a bit younger. In this weird dream, Mona decided one day that we could be lovers after all. I was really excited about that, and, oddly, in this dream, we were going to move in together, before we even had sex. We went to a house that belonged to neither of us, perhaps the new one we’d be living in and ended up in bed quickly. Now, that was a scenario I was really happy about. I would love to see her naked. I would love to fuck her, perverted old man that I am. In bed, Mona was next to me, naked. I swung her over on top of me, and in the process spread her legs wide. Instantly, this tremendous fart escaped from her, and I could feel it on my toes! I could even smell it, but it was not so terrible. Mona was really embarrassed, but I told her it was no big deal, and it didn’t matter to me; in fact, I laughed. She laughed with me, but then, of course, I woke up. Damn. I would have enjoyed the sex part. Well, fantasies are fantasies, and sometime they must remain so.  Mona Sigh.

I treasure Mona’s friendship. I do not want to alienate her. However, the last time we saw a movie, the weather was still warm. Mona wore a short-sleeved shirt, and as we got up to leave out seats, our arms brushed together. The sensation was electric! (No, it wasn’t static electricity). The sensation was one of extreme pleasure. I know from that what the effect of climbing into bed with her would be. Be all that as it may be, however, Mona is a masseuse. We had arranged a massage session for after the movie. Mona has a massage table, and oils, and incense at her house. The massage took an hour. Mona took the pain out of my neck, and rubbed all of my body from my neck to my toes, except for my penis, of course. She’s not that kind of masseuse! It was a wonderful massage. There was no sexual element to it at all. I was extremely relaxed, and did not experience an erection, which I was afraid I would, given how sexy Mona is. It was the best massage I’d ever had, without any element of sex involved, although I was indeed naked. Mona rubbed my arms and legs and kneaded my back. She worked my neck good. It was heaven.

I’m not sure I should relate this dream to Mona, but I’d sure like to share it with her. She has a good sense of humor, but I’d hate to have her think I’m dreaming about sex with her. That might make future movies or massages difficult. I always seem to find ways to alienate women.

 

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One Day, On a Planet in Our Own Galaxy….

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on October 29, 2012

Orbiter, this is Lander.

Go ahead, Lander.

We have determined that the atmosphere is Earth compatible. We are preparing for egress.

Affirmative, Lander, we concur. Recommend full suits.

Roger that Orbiter. Full suits, with open helmets.

Roger that Roger, Lander. (chuckle). Any visible signs of life?

No, Orbiter, not yet. There seems to be a ground fog, obscuring most of the surface. We are on solid ground, and we will be exploring cautiously.

Roger that, Lander; step by step.

Egress now Orbiter. Surface is firm, under a thin layer of coppery dust.

Can you see anything yet, Lander?

No. Wait, yes, Orbiter, there appears to be something moving towards us in the fog.

Lander, what do you see?

Lander, come in. Lander?

Lander, what do you see? Is everything OK? Lander?

 

DÉTENTE

       

PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE

Lander, Lander, come in Lander. What’s your status?

Orbiter, AOK. We are OK.

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Photos from A Parade of A

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on July 5, 2012

So, on the fourth of July I was making my way home from a hike, and I ended up detoured by a parade in the village of Corrales, NM. I tried to get around it, following directions from a sheriff’s deputy, but I simply ended up farther along the parade route. Not sure how to escape, I took out my camera and started shooting. In a few minutes I noticed that a Model A car club had put all of their vehicles in the parade, so I shot them all. There are a few other pictures of other vehicles here as well, since they were all so interesting. In this type of gallery posting, click on whatever shot you’d like to see full size. Then, after viewing it, you can scroll through all of the photos one at a time.

If you like the shots, let me know.

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Random Shots at the 2nd ACE

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 8, 2012

Albuquerque’s Comic Con, second year. Just wandering around on opening day, Friday June 8, 2012. Click on each image to view full size.

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Returned to El Morro the other day for some photos

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on May 31, 2012

Some call El Morro a bluff, or a headland, but it translates directly as The Promontory. It certainly is a prominent feature. At this place are many features: colorful rock formations, cliffs, centuries-old graffiti, excavated ruins of the Atsinna people, and the only source of water in the area for hundreds of years since modern peoples found it. Although there are some petroglyphs left behind on the walls, there are fantastic inscriptions left in the sandstone by thousands of others as well. Modern-day graffiti is removed immediately, as all of the old inscriptions were documented in 1934. In the 1920s the first superintendent erased any inscriptions he found that were added after 1906, so the ones left range from approximately 1275 to 1906. The first modern-day inscription was left on  March 11, 1583, 15 years before New Mexico became officially part of Spain.

I spent some time there photographing the beauty of the place, and taking a few pictures of the inscriptions to see if I could. Contrast in the light-colored sandstone is poor. One ranger tried darkening the most famous inscription, by Don Juan de Oñate, with a No. 2 pencil, but preservationists no longer take such steps.  Oñate, first colonial governor of New Mexico, established Santa Fe, but is infamous for cutting off the left foot of every Acoma Pueblo man over the age of twenty-five. Eighty men had one of their feet amputated (although other commentators put the figure of those mutilated at twenty-four). He also had 800 Zuni people killed, and enslaved 500 others. A statue of Oñate, erected in Albuquerque in recent years, had Oñate’s bronze left foot cut off in the night, although it was restored and the statue moved.  General Don Diego de Vargas also recorded his visit here in 1692, after retaking New Mexico after the successful united Pueblo revolt of 1680. Click on each image to view full size.

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An Arch Called Ventana (the window) in New Mexico

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on March 17, 2012

Previously, I uploaded some pics from my hike across the lava flows in El Malpais Conservation Area, founded in 1987 near Grants, New Mexico. See: Hiking the pāhoehoe and ‘a’a in New Mexico. I went back. This time I saw, not only the lava and spectacular landscape, but also an incredible arch, located in a very accessible public part of the area. It is called La Ventana (The Window), and it is also in the El Malpais Conservation Area, founded in 1987 near Grants, New Mexico.

and here’s more of the pictures from my 3/11/12 hike (click on a pic to view it full size):

 

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Hoodoos and Petrified Wood: Bisti / De-Na-Zin Badlands in New Mexico

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on February 2, 2012

I went hiking in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness recently. I thought people might be interested in seeing some photos. After you click on one, you can use the arrows to view all of the photos. They are high resolution photos, so give each one time to fully load before moving on to the next one. It was fantastic hiking there.

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Women Have Always Been A Puzzle to Me

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on January 25, 2012

Those Women

Always a Puzzle to Me

 

Posted in Dreams, Life, love, madness, marriage, My Life, photography, Random Thoughts, relationships | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Hiking the pāhoehoe and ‘a’a in New Mexico

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on November 9, 2011

For many years, I’ve traveled by the lava flows around Grants, New Mexico. I’ve stopped to smell the lava occasionally, and even picked the tunas, the fruits of the prickly pear, as they are known around here, which grow near the lava by the highway. I’d never hiked through the lava fields before, so when a hike came up to do so, I jumped at it. Now, hiking through cold lava is not as easy as it sounds. The smooth flow, pāhoehoe, is not bad to walk on: mostly flat, good traction. The ‘a’a is not so easy. Much of the later half of the hike was on ‘a’a, the sharp, strewn rocks blown out of the volcanoes, including loose gravel-like stones.

 El Malpais is a national park.

There is a trail, (a very loose term), through the badlands. It is 7.5 miles long. Seems easy, right? Well, people do get lost and die in there. In fact, human bones found scattered on a lava flow in El Malpais National Monument have been identified, just last year, as those of James Chatman and Crystal Tuggle, father and daughter, who never came back from an afternoon walk there nine years ago. See? It is so easy to get lost in there. The trail, such as it is, is marked with cairns throughout. Sometimes the cairns are no more than ten feet apart, sometimes, 20 to 30 feet apart, when the trail is obvious. Usually, it is not, so the cairns are placed liberally along the trail, showing the way through every twist and turn.

There’s one there, in the upper right corner, next to one of my hiking companions. Now, this one is fairly easy to spot, but do you see a problem? The cairns are simply piles of lava rocks. On a rise like this, fairly easy to spot, silhouetted against the sky. Imagine that you are walking through a field of lava and all of the cairns are about two to three feet tall (max), composed of rocks the exact same color of the background. Here are two cairns in a row; can you spot them?

The advice the park service gives is to always have the next cairn in sight before you leave the one you’re at, and I wholeheartedly endorse that. Occasionally, this takes a bit of reconnoitering, but there is always a cairn alongside the trail in the direction one needs to travel. Looking at the photo above, you might be tempted to say that one needs only follow the other hikers, right? Wrong. Suppose you’re a slower hiker, or you stop to pee or take a photo. The other hikers are gone, around a bend, down a hill, or behind a pile of lava somewhere. You then have to navigate on your own until you see them again. Sometimes you walk right past a cairn, if you glance up at the wrong moment, so you have to backtrack a bit and try again. Imagine doing this right after a snowstorm. It had snowed the night before, but fortunately, it was light, and tended to melt as the day wore on.

 

Helpfully, the park service has provided wooden posts for some cairns, sticking straight up through the center of the cairn, but even these have a tendency to fall down, due to the really intense winds blowing through there.    This one was near one end of the trail.

There were piles of these poles here and there, so I assume it’s an ongoing project for the few rangers that have kept their jobs. It’s unfortunate that the National Park Service has felt the brunt of the many cuts in government over the years.  I guess we need to keep raising our Congress people’s salaries, and keep paying them for life, and make sure they have top-of-the-line free medical care.  Well, at least they think it’s more important, for them, even if they don’t think it’s important for the rest of us.

Anyway, you came here for pictures, yes?

Here ya go – (click on one to view larger, then use your keyboard’s arrow keys to scroll through):

As I told the hike leader, it was one hell of a hike. Although I was tired and aching by the time we finished, (just under five hours including two 15-minute breaks), I really enjoyed this hike. The views were always outstanding, and the experience, on the whole, was fantastic! It’s one of the best hikes I’ve ever done. On the way home, we stopped at the ‘WOW’ diner in Milan, near Grants. Their menu is just as unique and varied as the lava fields are. With three pages of dinner entrées, I may never experience everything on their menu, but I intend to try. (There are still lots of hikes in the area.)  It is the perfect end to a perfect hike.

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Albuquerque Lights Up for the 4th

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on July 5, 2011

Because of the fires throughout the state, the drought and extreme dryness, all fireworks were banned, including sales, possession and use, but the city of Albuquerque put on a good pyrotechnic display for all, for free.

Balloon Fiesta Park, 07/04/2011

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Photos from Albuquerque’s Inagural Comic Expo!

Posted by O'Maolchaithaigh on June 24, 2011

June 24 First Day

Well, we have lots of other conventions here, like Bubonicon, or the Albuquerque Comic Con, but this is our first Comic Expo. I’m not sure why we need two Comic conventions, but we’ve got ’em now. The “Expo” says it is more professional.  Stan (The Man) Lee will be here Saturday and Sunday, but  I was only able to attend on Friday. I saw a few friends, mostly photographers, and had my picture taken with LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis. Photo by Esi-media ( photo by Esi)

Attended a great and funny Q&A with Jeremy Bulloch,  who played Boba Fett in Star Wars’ movies. He also has appeared in Dr. Who and James Bond.

Bought some books and had ’em signed, by Science Fiction author Robert E. Vardeman, and by comic strip artist Stephan McCranie.

I didn’t get to meet Doug Jones (Buffy, Hellboy,etc.) or Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) or ten other notable actors, animators directors and producers, but maybe next time.  Perhaps I’ll have time after a photo shoot on Sunday to stop in again. In the meantime, here are some of the photos I took on 6/24/11: