It’s been a long weekend at the Tattoo Expo and now it’s time to go home. My daughter Madison (Pie), met a whole lotta very interesting and talented people this weekend. She sold some T’s and artwork and made a few bucks. More valuable were the contacts and friends she made.
We were surrounded by busy artists creating works of art on willing flesh and the bee hive buzz of their machines ( machines, not guns!). In the booth next to us was Paul Roe, owner of James Street Parlour, located, where else, on James street in Syracuse. His website is http://www.jamesstreetparlour.comwww.jamesstreetparlour.com
The fella Paul is working on is David who hails from Liverpool NY. David and his wife came to the Expo to have Paul cover an old tattoo that no longer met his standards.
David has been a client of Paul for a couple of years. He has a sleeve on his right arm that Paul’s working on that’s about 75% done. They had previously discussed how to cover up the old tattoo and today was the day.
It took about an hour to reach this point. You can still see the scorpion. It took another hour, give or take, to complete.
No more scorpion! My last picture isn’t the best but David was very pleased with the results.
This weekend was an adventure, we’re all beat. I’m still a tattoo virgin, but I’m much better informed and will be able to make a better choice if I decide to take the leap in the future.
Pie, George, and I want to thank Jeannie and her crew for the opportunity and for making us feel welcome. You guys are the best!
Believe it or not, the tattoo Steve chose to be his first is the one pictured above! Who decides to get a full back tattoo for his first?????? Steve does!
He came to the Expo to have more detail added. I talked to him about it and he said he wanted to go for total coverage. No, he’s not crazy! He’s a nice guy and I appreciate him letting me take his picture and sharing it. Thanks Steve!
This tattoo won the Best Sleeve category. She declined to give her name but her tattoo is phenomenal! The tattoo artist did an incredible job.
The Expo started at noon today and goes till midnight. That’s a lot of talking and by the end, you’re face hurts from talking and smiling. Tomorrow, we’ll just frown and talk in one word sentences! Buah ha ha!
Anyway, Madison got a lot of positive feedback on her artwork and made a lot of connections with potential customers and other artists. She learned a lot from the other side of the table as a vendor.
Finally the warm spell broke and polar weather returned! Winter is Good!
Winter without snow is like jelly without peanut butter. It’s okay I ‘spose but it’s not right. Everybody and everything suffers when the season is unseasonable. We need winter to be wintry.
So, there I was, comfortably seated in my chair, when Rose says, “Come look out the window, it’s really pretty”. So I did. I didn’t expect the camera to take that good of a picture. It actually captured the scene as I saw it. The next morning, the view from the same window looked like this…
Now, that’s more like it!
And now for your reading pleasure, an All Outdoors column that I wrote January, 2017, when we had a similar weather pattern.
All Outdoors by Tim Blodgett
Here we are again. We should be doing wintry things but we can’t because Winter seems to have to have taken a vacation and left Spring to mind the store. I’m a big fan of Spring, but I don’t like it dropping in unexpected right when I’ve got winter on my mind. My winter weather loving compatriots have been moping about for the last week or so watching the snow and ice turn to slush. If I could control the weather, winter would arrive a little early, stay in character for the duration and leave before its welcome runs out. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge and Winter has made a hash of itself. Why does this happen every year?
I went looking for an explanation of what the weather was doing and this is what I found. A “Singularity” is what the weather phenomena, “January thaw” is known as, meteorologically speaking. This is a very different type of singularity than the one associated with the demise of massive stars, crushing inescapable gravity wells and X ray bursts that would fry our planet to a cinder. Winter started off the way I would have made it, early and in character, followed by a cold early/mid January and then it stalled. Weather statisticians predict that the coldest day of the year should fall on January 23rd so, what happened this year? A “Singularity” defined as “a characteristic meteorological condition that tends to occur on or near a specific date more frequently than chance would indicate” is what happened! The January thaw doesn’t happen every year but when it does it typically happens roughly about January 20th– 24th give or take a few days. It’s right on schedule and perfectly inconvenient, again.
Now that we know what’s happening to winter, the next logical question is, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? The simple answer is, (you’re going to love this) nobody really knows why the January thaw is a thing. Meteorologists can point to weather maps that diagram advancing fronts, stationary highs and lows and predicted storm tracks. Weather satellites and stations relay the latest weather data giving us constantly updated weather information, feeding our weather obsession. We could clearly see, in the case of the recent weather, a warm air mass dominated the northeast and pushed the cold air in a polar direction. Many people would point to climate change as the driving force behind it all but it is likely to just be the inherent unpredictability of the weather. The January thaw tends to be more pronounced and happens more frequently in the northeast and north central parts of our country so, there you have it. I’ll take our unique weather singularity over other weather extremes even if it is inconvenient to all my ice fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and snowman building friends. Maybe we should just plan on it happening every year so we can be pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t occur. I went to several websites to research the information above. https://weather.com/science/weather-explainers/news/is-january-thaw-real-or-a-coincidence and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaw_(weather) are just a couple of the sources available. Satisfy your inner weather junky and check them out.
You will often find yourself on the losing side of the bet if you wager on theweather, at least in the short term, but general trends tend to be stable. Fear not, the cold will return and if the patterns are favorable, the ice will firm up and snow will again blanket the land. I will patiently wait for the ice to refreeze before resuming ice fishing this year. Before the warm spell, most lakes had safe ice and fishermen were catching limits of panfish and walleyes. A village of ice fishermen sprang up on the south end of Saratoga Lake as word of excellent fishing circulated through the fishing community. Big walleye, jack perch and gorilla bluegills were in a cooperative mood and were featured as the batter dipped, crispy golden fried guests of honor at many a dinner table. Small jigs tipped with spikes were fooling bluegills in 8 to 10 feet of water while perch were falling to tip-ups baited with small minnows in 15 to 20 feet. Rapala jigs were working for the perch also. The walleye bite generally started around sundown at 12 to 15 foot weed edges. As it got later in the evening, the walleye would move shallower as they foraged. Savvy anglers moved their tip-ups shallower in response catching hungry walleye in 6 to 8 feet of water. When the ice is once again safe try those tactics again but remember, the walleye will start moving toward the north end of the lake as spawning season approaches.
Cossayuna Lake in Argyle is another lake to visit once the cold weather take hold again. Cossayuna is full of bluegills, crappie, perch and big northern pike. You even have a chance to hook into a Tiger Musky there. Panfish tactics will be similar to those used on Saratoga Lake. The pike and tigers will be looking for a big meal. Use tip-ups baited with large shiners or suckers for these trophies. When you hook one and bring it through the hole, try to handle it carefully, get your pictures and if you don’t plan to eat it, quickly return it to the water. They are ferocious predators but they can’t take rough handling and that 20 pound fish may be older than you. Even if the toothy fish aren’t biting, you can count on the bass to keep you busy. You can’t keep them this time of the year but they are fun to catch.
All you ice fishermen waiting for Lake George to freeze are going to have to think cold thoughts to help it along. Lake George is one of the premier destinations for the local and not so local crowd and usually doesn’t freeze until mid January most years. Our little singularity hasn’t helped things so we’ll just have to wait and cross our fingers for Lake George. If you must go ice fishing, head north and up into the hills. I won’t recommend any waters right now but use extreme caution if you venture out, just don’t expect me to join you any time soon.
Archery leagues are starting up at the local sporting clubs and are always looking for new people to join them. If you are not one for the snow and ice, this is a great way to keep active during the winter and your skills honed for next deer season. New 2017 bows will start arriving at the archery shops very soon so if you’re looking for something new, there will be a lot of choices. If you are looking for a new challenge, consider traditional archery. Shooting a re-curve bow or long bow is as much art as skill and can give a sense of satisfaction you won’t get from shooting a modern compound bow. If you want to see an interesting branch of archery’s evolution, stop down to my shop in Schuylerville. I just received a bow made by Martin Archery in 1974 called the Kamact MK2. It’s an interesting mash-up traditional and modern (for its day) technology. The technology wasn’t quite up to the concept so not many were made and very few survive today, I’m fortunate to own one and will be happy to show it off.
They say “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” so I say “thank you for the lemonade” and will be eager to make snow cones if we get snow and Slushies if we get slush. There’s plenty to do this season even if it’s not what you were expecting. Old Man Winter and his boy Jack Frost will soon return to rid us of our singularity and brighten the landscape with a fresh blanket of snow. Until then, stay healthy, happy and enjoy a little lemonade.
Standing watch in early morning,
awaiting the blush of a new day dawning,
I raise my eyes to dark skies searching
for a glimmer of sunlight shining.
I need you Sol to light my day,
to burn the clinging mist away,
to color bright this canvas grey,
to promise you will forever stay.
But, I know you will not lie,
that clouds are meant to share the sky,
that night must fall and blind my eyes,
that someday your great fire will die.
Promise me instead, that you will soon rise in the East.
Promise the gift of your light, so starving eyes may feast.
Promise that from Fear's cold chains, we all shall be released.
Promise to vanquish and westward drive the fearsome midnight beast.
1/16/20 Tim Blodgett
Last week I had to make an adjustment to my bus run and leave a little earlier than I had been. I have a spot that I pull over if I’m ahead of schedule, farm fields to the west, woods to the east. I was noticing how it was those few minutes, coupled with a dreary pre-dawn made the scene seem a little ominous. It had been unseasonably warm the preceding two weeks and all the snow was gone. Everything was excrementally brown (yeah, that’s a made up word, but you get the picture. They are farm fields after all!). Luckily, the breeze was blowing away from me, sparing me from having to make up another word to describe the smell. Life in farm country ya know.
Anyway, an idea formed, and here you have it. Internal editor guy got in the way, or maybe helped, I won’t give him the satisfaction if he did. I feel like the idea started over here and ended up way, way over there.
It’s my mind, go figure! Thanks for reading. Pick it up and run with it if you want.
I heard about the passing of Neil Peart last Friday. I knew I would write about it, I just needed a few days. I’m not going to write a tribute piece about Neil Peart and Rush, into which I cleverly weave snippets of their lyrics, no, I’ll leave that for others. I want to express what a profound influence Rush’s music, and in particular, Neil’s lyrics have had in my life.
Neil Peart and his band mates, Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, quite literally composed the soundtrack for my life.
The SphereA Kind of Dream
We can walk our road together
if our goals are all the same
we can run alone and free
if we pursue a different aim
Let the truth of love be lighted
let the love of truth shine clear
armed with sense and liberty
with the heart and mind united
in a single
Lyrics by Neil Peart
Copying those words brought a swell of emotion that I literally felt in my chest, my eyes, my skin. I feel my pulse and cold flush on my neck still. That short song, the final part of a larger story, speaks so close to me, how I feel, how I want the world to be, how I want to be, what I try to be…
Rush retired last year. I did not see any of their last tour, but I never missed them when they came to town and played at The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). I was always amazed at the crowd that attended their concerts. Three generations of fans, maybe four if they got busy early, took their places on the lawn or in the seats of SPAC. Grey hairs holding their grand children, moving in unison with the music, adding their voices to the roar of the crowd. The music was always perfect, if not studio recording exact. That would be impossible, even for them, but it was always perfect.
It was that music that caught my attention more than forty years ago. I remember being absolutely enthralled with 2112 when it was played on the radio, usually while riding in the family car, where, from the back seat, I pleaded for more volume and please, please, don’t touch that dial! I prayed silently that the disc jockeys would play the whole song, not just the ‘Intro’ and ‘The Temples of Syrinx’. It’s a great song in and of itself, but I was left wanting if they didn’t play the whole song. That one song enlightened me to what music could be, that it could tell a story, an epic story that fired my imagination. Not long after, or perhaps at that time, I started reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If Rush wrote novels instead of music, they would have written Tolkien, The reverse is also true.
In fact, Neil’s lyrics told stories that were fantastic and mystical, real and true, spoke of human spirit and the search for meaning and truth (lots of ands, I know, I’m streaming now). He never failed to be topical, pertinent, timely and prescient. His words still stand. If you listen to, or read his lyrics, you will understand. I know that you may prefer a different kind of music than that played by Rush. All I’m saying is that his songs were poetry set to music, and played by himself, Geddy and, Alex as no other musicians could.
Through high school, college and all of my adult life, I eagerly anticipated the release of the next album and the new stories to be told. When I hear certain songs today, they bring back specific memories of where I was or what I was doing when I listened to them decades earlier. I won’t rank their albums, I like them all for what they individually are.
I can say, without reservation, that I would not be the person that I am today if I had not had Neil’s words in my life. I have sung along with Geddy (terribly, appallingly terribly) and memorized the lyrics (often incorrectly) of all their songs for over forty years. Those words, the images and ideas and feelings and adventures shaped me. Stories of youth and growth and wonder and love and understanding and …
I wish I could have met him, had a quiet beer, a conversation about stuff, just shake his hand and say thank you. According to interviews I’ve seen, how he was described by his friends/bandmates, he was a quiet soul who was uncomfortable with praise and didn’t want to be idolized. He was a perfectionist and always wanted to deliver his very best to the audience. In an interview I watched just days before the news of his death broke, Geddy said that they decided to retire because the physical demands of drumming were becoming to much for Neil. Drumming is hard on the body, and Neil’s drumming was some of the most technical and demanding ever performed. He simply didn’t want to deliver less than his best.
When Rush retired, and I knew it would happen sooner than later, I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to attend another of their concerts, but I was hopeful that they would still produce music.
Then, when I heard that Neil died, I was sad.
I was sad for myself
I was sad for his family and friends.
I was sad for music.
I was sad and still am.
I am the person, the dreamer, the writer that I am today, in large part because of Neil Peart and I will mourn his loss, probably forever.
I think the thing that I will miss the most is singing, unselfconsciously, and with feeling, with thousands of others, the song, ‘Closer to the Heart’ while the band plays onstage and lets us perform for them.
It will never happen again.
Goodbye Neil, and thank you for having been.
That was so inadequate, but it’s the best I can do for now. Thank you for allowing me to indulge.
I’ve been actively blogging since last September. My only regret is that I’m unable to keep up with all of the posts that all of you offer. I read quickly but I write slowly, most of the time. Sometimes, though, the words come quickly. That happened yesterday.
With her gracious consent, I’m re-posting a poem shared on IN MIND AND OUT. It instantly reminded me of experiences and thoughts that I’ve had when in the woods. I wanted to offer my compliments, so I wrote the following.
The forest embraced you
and showed you it’s hidden places,
glimpses of secret clearings.
You felt the forest’s sylvan breath,
the sigh of wind through its living leaves,
so much like your own.
Instinctively, the forest knows
why you laid upon its leaf strewn floor,
to feel its peace with your bare skin,
to hear its secrets in your mind –
You see a sapling, its destiny briar entwined
and with love, you wove a cloak of thorns
to protect and keep it safe.
You whispered power with exhaled breath.
It heard you,
or was it a dream?
you understand the forest’s magic
01/08/2020 Tim Blodgett (C)
Thank you 'R', for your inspiration!
YOU gave voice to the forest's magic,
i give but an echo
The forest sees me,
how I look at it’s empty spaces
in the clearings
I’m sure I hear it’s breath quicken
like wind through lace
Or is that my own?
Needily the forest thinks
I made a bed for us from pine needles,
and felt the imprints on our skin
within my mind –
I see an ancient wall where destinies entwined like vines
and I filled the hollows of the foxgloves with desire,
delicate and dangerous
they exhale their whispers to me
I heard them
or was that you?
the forest sees you there
I just started following Cheemnonso, NONSO’S WORLD blog. I don’t know much about Cheemnonso except Cheemnonso has a magic pencil, a big brain and a bigger heart. I checked out the NONSO’S WORLD because Cheemnonso checked me out. I found beautiful art and thoughtful words.
I read one post called ‘A Letter to Humanity’ that struck a chord. I wanted to give it a shout out because it was/is on point. It asks questions that we need to think about. Wouldn’t it be great if thoughtful, intelligent people like you could become the new influencers in today’s social media landscape instead of the inane, insane, super vain, unrestrain (ed), IQ drain, societal bane of greedy self promoting hucksters that are currently leading the charge.
We all have a different perspective on the ills that afflict our community, both local and global. Through our poetry and prose, we share our concerns and offer answers. I don’t know how to make our collective voice heard and heeded by those who are in a position to influence people to be more mindful about how we treat each other. Maybe one of you do…
…or maybe we have to reach people one at a time.
Please read Cheemnonso’s poem, ‘A Letter to Humanity’. If you’ve written in the same vein, post it! Maybe we can find some answers to our common concerns.
I offer this for your consideration and comment.
We can do better
Endowed as we are
by a creator, take your pick,
with varied ideas of humanity,
we struggle to make sense
of the world we create
in the image of ourselves.
Naturally, we see others, as other.
Suspect, untrustworthy, a threat
to our own carefully crafted world view.
Fingers point, blame is assigned,
civil discourse is discarded
in favor of venomous vitriol.
Distrustful and dismissive,
how are we to advance
as a society or individually,
when we try to control
what the other does, thinks, believes
without regard for their reality?
Like magnets, we are
repulsive and attractive.
Eternally in opposition.
We must unite our positives
and not allow our negatives
to divide and push us apart.
Plus or minus, ying or yang,
both sides searching for truth.
The peril that is before us,
lies in the passing of judgement,
because nothing is as it seems.
Or is it?
by Tim Blodgett summer 2019
One last thing! If you’re clown phobic, DO NOT go to this link!!! If you’re not Then DO go to the link and check out Cheemnonso’s rendition of Pennywise!
Pie, is my amazing daughter. Not only does she excel at daughterdom, she is a talented artist and now, a beer can label designer. I’m so proud, sniff…
Artisanal Brew Works of Saratoga Springs, NY, recently held an art showing that Pie exhibited in. She created and is Violet Rose. They liked her artwork and commissioned her to design a new label for their Belgian Quad, Whole Lotta Trouble (a fine brew if I must say so myself), and this is the design. I apologize for my poor cameratography, even the power of my computer editing tools couldn’t counter my skill. It looks much better in real life, especially when held within easy sipping distance. Artisanal rolled out the barrel for a release party and all the cases with the new label were sold out within an hour or two.
Just prior to the event, Artisanal released a new SIPA, Sour IPA, with just the right amount of pucker, which inspired the following haiku, here’s to you Artisanal;
Our SIPA is dank
So pucker-up buttercup
Have another drank
She will be submitting a label design for the SIPA too. That’s my girl!
Anyway, if you like good beer and good art, check out the links.
I saw this by the sidewalk and took the picture with my smarter than me phone. It caught my eye and my imagination but it took me almost two weeks to get to writing this, even though it mostly formed itself on the spot. Work, Christmas, New Years and a deadline to submit a short story to 518 Publishing, forced me to put it on the back burner. I thought about it every day and fortunately, it didn’t evaporate!
01/02/20 edit. I was able to get help from WordPress on the formatting issue, this is how it was supposed to post;
in plain sight
you did not see me
i was there
from the beginning
looking for you
you did not see me
unnoticed by you
just one among the many
you did not see me
i was hidden
not by choice
you did not see me
you looked my way
i was lost in the crowd
unremarkable and easy to miss
you did not see me
i changed for you
though it meant
that i would soon leave
you did not see me
now at the end
i make for you this mark
and hope that you will see
i will be
Written 01/01/20 by Tim Blodgett
Deep breath; in…out…
From the deepest, most cleverly hidden and previously ignored places in my heart, I thank you.
Being accepted into your community has been a powerfully positive experience for me. You have allowed me to see into your lives, feel your joy and suffering, your triumphs and loss, and bask the brilliance of your exceptional selves. Because of y’all, I have gained the courage to share thoughts and feelings that I would have shoved aside in the past. By your example, you guide me toward becoming a better writer. I look forward to our future together.
Thank you all for welcoming me into your lives. I believe you have helped me to become a better man. My long suffering wife, Rose, or ‘Bud’ as I affectionately call her, has and will be grateful for many more long, long, looonnnnggggg years!
Happy New Year to all of you, great things will happen this year!
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