Tuesday, June 28, 2022

ladies, shit is starting to get real



A few thoughts for those of us who live in states that are outlawing abortion and criminalizing those who get an abortion as well as those who aid and abet your plans to end an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy. It's not enough for these extremists to make it illegal to get an abortion in their state, they are also trying to make it illegal for you to travel to another state to have a legal abortion and they will prosecute. They believe they have the right and power to prevent you from traveling for the purpose of getting a legal medical procedure or medication that they don't approve of.

Remember that the data on your phone, laptop, and desktop is not private. If law enforcement believes you are seeking an abortion or have had an abortion, they can and will confiscate your electronics and use your search history and/or your period tracking app as well as your online purchasing data and use it against you. If you have conducted searches on these devices, erase your browsing history and all cookies.

Delete your period tracking app if you have one.

Stock up on home pregnancy tests and over the counter abortion pills.

Tell no one you are pregnant unless you trust them implicitly.

Buy and use burner phones for any online searches related to pregnancy and abortion, erase your browsing history and cookies, and then destroy the phone. You cannot be too careful.

Be wary of strangers in your state or in states where abortion is legal that offer to aid and abet your traveling and abortion. While many may be legit, many may also be setting a trap. Do not count on entrapment being a defense against prosecution.

Use your burner phone to contact legitimate organizations for help.

Do not count on HIPAA to protect you and your medical data from law enforcement. Unfortunately certain conditions require medical confirmation and medical intervention in a pregnancy like ectopic pregnancies, spontaneous miscarriages, fetal death or fatal malformations in the womb, and a cancer diagnosis. These conditions require abortions to save our lives but some states would rather have women die than terminate pregnancies even if the fetus isn't viable.

A child whose body is not fully developed and would never be allowed to adopt a baby at that age should not be made to give birth to the baby of their father or brother or uncle or cousin or step-father via incestuous rape. A grown woman should not be forced to have the baby of her rapist. A woman who finds herself pregnant from her abusive husband/boyfriend should not be forced to have that baby. Any woman whose birth control failed should not be forced to have a baby she doesn't want, can't afford, and is unprepared for. Any woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy for any reason should not be forced to have a baby. 

It sucks that we have to go to such extremes to protect ourselves and establish a new underground railroad of sorts. It's imperative that we get out and vote in November. The depressing polls are speculating that republicans will win big because of inflation and high gas prices and McConnell's promise of a nationwide abortion ban if they get control of Congress. We cannot let that happen or things will become infinitely worse.



Sunday, June 26, 2022

models are done, SC opens the door to theocracy


Have I mentioned how fucking hot it is here? Walk outside and it's like walking into an oven. Walk outside with a wind and it's like walking into a blast furnace. And dry. Still so very dry but at least it's not humid. Well, I'm sure you are just as sick of reading about it as I am writing about it.

Even so some things are blooming like these red crinum lilies.



I am done with the models. Done. Not totally happy with the texture on the box but it'll do, pig, it'll do. It is supposed to be subtle after all, just a device to improve the surface from flat. I mitered the corners of the coral setups to accommodate the 4” cardboard tube that will be used in the mold making.

Today I touched up any model that needed it and glued them all down to the glass squares we use for mold making and then cut the 3” and 4” diameter cardboard tubes to the proper heights with the chop saw. Everything is now ready for the next step...making the molds.


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I haven't written anything about the SC overturning R v W and sending it to the states to decide and even though we knew it was coming because of the leaked opinion, I still feel gut punched and my stress level is high. As Ms Moon said in reply to a post that we need to get radical and not despair, I was radical 50 years ago, now I'm just tired.

It could have been worse I guess, they could have just outlawed it instead of sending it to the states and there are plenty of states that don't already have laws on the books waiting to become valid, yet, some of which have already defended a woman's right to bodily autonomy. And some businesses are stepping up in support of their female employees, providing funds to travel to other states for the care they need or want. And now, at least, abortion pills are available via the mail and there's an underground developing that will assist women but, fuck all, none of that shit should even be necessary. Would these same people who are cheering the demise of R v W be in favor of mandatory kidney donation or blood donation if you're a match? I mean, after all, a life is at stake. Doesn't their pro-life stance include all living breathing humans or just fetuses? Or is it just pregnant women who can't have bodily autonomy? Of course we know the answer to that. They are perfectly fine with children getting murdered in their classrooms since their 'right' to own whatever firearms and ammo they want supersedes anyone's right to life. Such hypocrites.

Our maternal death rate is already one of the highest in North American, European, and Eastern European countries. Out of 34 modern nations only 4 have a higher maternal death rate than we do, the so called 'greatest nation on earth', and now we're poised for it to go even higher.

Speaking of hypocrites, Justice Thomas in his opinion thinks the SC should go after contraception, same sex marriage, gay rights, and sexual behavior among consenting adults all based on their religious beliefs using the same justification for overturning R v W. Notice he excluded interracial marriage which had been against the law for far longer than it is lawful. Bastard. If this latest in a line of horrible decisions by this court doesn't galvanize the population to get out and vote in an undeniable democrat/independent majority in both houses of congress so that we can pass needed voting rights and personal autonomy rights and expand the fucking SC (which has been changed about 9 times in our history) to return some balance, republicans will turn this country into a white patriarchal nationalist theocracy. They're already well on their way to it.



Thursday, June 23, 2022

zinnias, wax work, J6 hearings


Zinnias!



Not much to say today. Still brutally hot and dry and I am weary of watering every morning and most evenings.

Tuesday I set the corals and crab on the top and finished texturing the top around them.



Tried out a wavy texture on a wax sheet for the body of the box Tuesday and Wednesday I tried it on the back of the box but I like it better on the test piece. I kind of overdid it on the box so I'll use some sandpaper to smooth it out and try again.

Also Wednesday I set the corals and the crab up for mold making and started setting up the feet as well. The blue wax 'wires' are to provide vents through the mold to allow air to escape as the melting glass oozes down into the mold.



You might remember, after I got the call last March from the gallery about their anniversary show in October, giving me plenty of notice because she would really like to have one of my boxes for the show, that I was not excited about it because I had no ideas waiting in line and was basically through with the series but I wanted to please Barbara so I agreed. It took awhile for me to come up with and develop an idea but I still wasn't excited about the whole thing until probably this week. Now that I have all the models for all the parts more or less finished I think it's going to be pretty damn good. I have about three months to get the pieces cast, cold worked, and assembled and it may take me every day of that. It doesn't help that it has to be done during the hottest part of the year.

Thursday, today, is the first day I haven't put in my two hours a day in several weeks mainly because half my day goes to SHARE, which was very busy today and in fact I was already behind before I even got there a few minutes after 9 this morning as baskets were already waiting for me to fill. The Elders and a couple of the guys who work food back there with me try to keep me stocked as Jan's told them all repeatedly not to let me carry the heavy boxes from the storeroom (though I am perfectly capable of doing so and do when I can get away with it), so they'll ask me what I need and they go fetch it. They usually ask me when I'm busy, trying to keep track of what list I'm on and where I am on it so it's distracting. I finally told the Elders a week or two ago to just look at the shelves and they can see for themselves what I need and to just go get it and restock for me. That's actually working out great.

The other reason I didn't go over to the studio today is because the 5th J6 Committee hearing started at 2 PM and wasn't over til 4:30. We're watching it all. I don't think I've learned anything really new as most of it so far had already trickled out, not in depth of course. Most my twitter feed is following political watchers and reporters and politicians. What I am learning during the hearings is the details (and the receipts) of just how complete and deep and constant the pressure, the threats of violence and ruined lives, on everyone from individual election workers to state election officials to the Department of Justice every day to change the results of the election that Trump knew he lost fairly, knew their 'theories in search of evidence' were bogus, knew what he was asking people to do was illegal but he didn't care. “Just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the republican congressmen”, Trump told the acting AG Jeff Rosen. Days before J6 he wanted to replace the acting AG at the DOJ with a completely unqualified new acting AG because he finally found a guy who would do it. The only thing that stopped him was the entire senior leadership in the DOJ threatened to quit en masse followed by hundreds of others in the department following suit. This hearing ended with the names of 5 congressmen; Scott Perry, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, and Jim Jorden who asked about pardons but didn't specifically request one; who asked for blanket pardons so they obviously knew what they were doing was illegal.

Well, the DOJ is finally starting to act with subpoenas and warrants and raids starting with Jeff Clark, the guy Trump wanted to make acting AG, and other senior Trump administration officials.

I saw a tweet this morning that said Trump was hate binging the hearings, livid that no one was defending him. Sweet.



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

more progress, computer shit, J6 deflections


I had an epiphany while I was cleaning up after our late morning Father's Day breakfast of pancakes with fresh sliced hill country peaches and bacon. Instead of attaching the individual corals to each other and to a base and filling in all those spaces, hours of tedious work, I could just cast each coral and the crab separately and glue the six pieces down on the top as I had planned to glue the one big cast 'reef'. After all, the compositions I did Saturday, the waxes were just nestled together so the glass pieces should just nestle together too. Wow! I just saved myself a shit load of work. And it will be easier to fill six little individual molds than one big one and having to worry about colors migrating where I don't want them or that I have enough color piled up in the right places.

So when I went over to the studio Sunday I adjusted the rocks the corals were on to start setting them up for mold making and then I worked on the feet. I have two done now. I'd like to think I can get the last two done on Monday but in all probability it will take me two days. Then all I have left to do is finalize the size of the top and texture it so that the corals will blend in and I'll be done with the model making and ready to start setting them up for mold making.

I did actually get the last two feet done today. These pictures aren't very good but I think it will give you the idea, back and front. 


I'm pretty happy with it. Now I need to trim down and texture the top, put some sort of subtle 'water' texture on all four faces of the box, attach all the individual pieces on wax or styrofoam for the reservoir to hold all the frit, glue it all down to a substrate and everything will be ready for mold making.

I've been getting update notices on my computer and finally decided to do it, told it to do so during the night but I turned it off when I went to bed, thinking that would prevent it and I would deal with it the next day. Well, when I turned it on this morning, it made a weird horn like blast, then a few minutes later the startup chime, the a screen with an apple and a loading bar, then a black screen with a white movable cursor, and then finally it started loading. It was like it had to reboot or something. So obviously, it did the update(s) during the night, my Chrome new tab screen gives me 10 options instead of the previous six. Everything seems to be fine except it wants me to re-enter my password for my two Earthlink mail accounts (Google mail account is fine). Except I don't remember exactly what the password is since it was set up so long and many passwords ago. I'm hoping if I just ignore it it will self correct before I do something that totally screws it up. In the meantime I can access my mail via those accounts on my phone.

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A few Republican reactions to the J6 Committee revelations...

Loudermilk: That's a vicious lie! I did not give a tour of the Capitol building on Jan 5. I'm innocent I tells ya! (He thinks he's being clever by separating the Capitol building from the Capitol complex of buildings so that he can say he isn't lying about the tour he gave.)


Committee: Here's date stamped video showing the people in your tour of the House Office Buildings (part of the Capitol complex) photographing entrances, checkpoints, stairways, tunnel entrances to the Capitol building, when these buildings were closed for tours. Here's a picture of the guy on the tour in a MAGA cap participating in the failed coup. Here's a picture of a map the insurrectionists had circling the buildings in the Capitol complex that you gave a tour of that they planned to occupy.

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Witness: Eastman admitted to me his plan was unconstitutional and illegal more than once but he presented it to Trump anyway.

Eastman after the coup failed: Put me on the pardon list.

Trump: Let's throw Eastman under the bus.

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Trump: Lies! Witch hunt! The hack job committee has no interest in hearing or seeing my evidence. I DEMAND EQUAL TIME!

Committee: Hey, no problem, we'd love to have you come testify under oath.

Trump: *crickets*

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Various Republicans in Congress who aided and abetted the failed coup attempt: Biden fell off his bike!

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The next J6 hearing is this afternoon when we will learn about Trump's efforts to bully republican state election officials into changing the vote tally and/or electors to give Trump the majority.



Saturday, June 18, 2022

model making and the queen of the night


We're finally getting our blue sky back but it's still hot and dry with temps in the high 90˚s. One thing about this dry weather is we have had no mosquitos to speak of so that's something at least.

My days are still basically the same...watering in the mornings and evenings, working in the studio, hiding from the heat streaming, fixing dinner my two nights, volunteering on Thursdays, sometimes yoga.

Here's the two new little corals.



Now I'm ready to compose them all in some sort of cohesive little reef. Either that or work on the feet and I still need to trim down the wax slab for the top so that it fits the bottom. Right now it's a little longer and wider which I did on purpose as it's easier to trim down than build up but I might keep it that way.

So today I arranged 6 compositions with the coral and crab. Turns out I don't have enough room for all 7 corals and the crab. I can use 5 corals and the crab or 6 corals. I put aside the one from the reproduction mold and these are the arrangements (feedback welcome)...


I'll probably play around with them a little more before I decide, before I permanently attach them to a base (and each other) for making the mold. I have to visualize what the steamed out mold is going to look like, make sure I have easy access to all the forms when I'm ready to fill the mold with glass frit.

Also today I worked out my concept for the feet. It's still very rough, still tweaking it, but I think this is it.



Three or four more days and maybe I'll be done with all the pieces and ready to set them up for the mold making process.

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Last week I noticed that the night blooming cereus had 20 buds developing, a few days later 4 had turned yellow and fallen off. Tuesday night two of the remaining 16 bloomed and I missed them. Wednesday night I set a timer for 10 PM and went out to look and they were just opening. I locked up and went to bed. I woke up at 2:30, cause that's just what I do, and laid there for half an hour trying to convince myself that I wanted to get up, throw on a shift, and go out and look. At 3 AM I had to get up to pee so since I was already up and out of bed, that's what I did. I didn't get the flashlight, just aimed my phone camera in the dark and depended on the flash. The flash tends to wash out the flowers but I did get a few tolerable pictures. Fourteen flowers open at once the air smelled provocative, sweet and lemony.



I have other flower pictures but they'll have to wait.



Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Saharan dust and more progress on the coral reef waxes


Tuesday the sky was white again (and today) and not from clouds though there are some clouds up there.

Looking across my neighbor's yard and the cotton field, it is hazy.

I think I made a decent start on the coral sculpture for the top of the box on Monday and Tuesday, mostly just working on individual corals using the small rocks as a base to build them up on though there won't be any consistency as relates to where in the world any particular coral grows or as it relates to relative size of one coral to another. Today I finished the one in progress from yesterday and then worked on smoothing out and cleaning up the four I already have constructed.

These are small, about 1 1/2” longest dimension. Top left is from a reproduction mold I made years ago of a piece of coral. I think I'll make at least two more, giving me 7 corals and the little crab,

before I start trying to composes all the elements into some sort of cohesive arrangement.

I didn't go to yoga class in El Campo at all last week and it's canceled for this week. Abby was out of pocket last week and recovering from being sick this week. I have been making an effort at my home practice, even managed 5 days in a row last week but only 2 so far this week though I have been pretty consistent putting in two hours a day in the studio as I need to get all the wax models done and move on to the next step.

The crepe myrtles are blooming. These are two of the three across the front of the house. I don't think they have ever bloomed this well since we've been here. Apparently they like the hot dry weather. 




Monday, June 13, 2022

model making, watermelons, foxes, and other miscellania


Too hot to be outside. I go out in the morning and in the evening to water and check on things and admire and enjoy, take pictures. I walk the dog end of day 6:30ish, both of us satisfied with the short walk which includes a visit with her doggie friends if they are out. If I go out in between it's because I'm going somewhere. I've been going over to the studio after breakfast and working on the box til lunch.




The inlay in place on the front of the box. The side edges will get adjusted after it's cast in glass.



I think I'm done with the inlay now and ready to move on to the top sculpture and the feet of which an image is starting to form in my head.

To that end I made a cursory search in the big unairconditioned shop Saturday for a few specific reproduction molds. I found the one of the coral but not the little crab so I'll have to look again. I do have a wax of the little crab but it has a smushed claw arm that I can reconstruct if need be. I was in that part of the shop for about 10 minutes and it had me dripping sweat. Edit:  I found the mold for the little crab and poured waxes of those and some small rock molds to start building up on.

This is how my days go...lazy morning, work in the studio for a couple of hours, lunch, streaming Stranger Things in the afternoon though we caught up on Season 4 yesterday and must wait til July for the next chapter.

The Sahara dust storm arrived Saturday making the sky look whitely overcast but it was really just dust. It's still here yesterday but hasn't quite whited out the sky. I could still see some very very pale blue around the clouds, same today.

Thursday was a food delivery day at SHARE from the food bank in Victoria. Jan places an order once a month from a list they provide and sometimes we get everything ordered, sometimes not, and sometimes they just send something like a gigantic carton of watermelons which we received. We were busy but it just wasn't possible to give them all away. This is what we had left at the end.


I told them I would take four...one for us, one for my sister, and two for my neighbor. When I got home, I saw that they had sneaked in a fifth which I gave to another neighbor.

I had a little excitement yesterday around 6 PM. Went out to the big backyard with the dog, rounded the corner of the garage and looked up to see a fox and a kit crossing the far back end, were about halfway across when they saw me and turned and ran back into the wild space. I walked to the edge of our property and another fox came dashing out from behind the container on the Wicked Bitch Of The West's property. It ran across the field and paused at the edge of the wild space on the other side and we stared at each other until it walked into the tangle. I posted on the local chat group and lots of people responded that they too have seen foxes. I had no idea we had foxes here! These aren't my pictures but ones a local posted on my thread, definitely what I saw, grey foxes
.


More miscellaneous pictures. A better picture of my haircut.


Minnie crashed out for the day snuggled next to me and her bunny.


A little calico cat wearing a collar that has been hanging out around here for about a week and a half. She won't let me get closer than about 5' before she runs off and she drives Minnie nuts. Apparently the dog doesn't concern her that much even though Minnie has chased her up a tree at least twice as she is still here, always somewhere on the property. I put some water out for her though she seems healthy as near as I can tell. I wonder if she was abandoned.


A toad hanging out on the edge of container of the sword leaf I grow in water for turtle food.



The plumerias are blooming.