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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dog Fix

We've been enjoying trips to the dog park much more since we benefit from the confidence of Sasha. She has a very Emily-like attitude and it's hard to find a dog she doesn't get along with. (Unfortunately, my dad's dog Molly is one of those. The one thing Sasha cannot stand is being growled at. She growls back, which makes Molly more frightened and growly, which makes Sasha...well, you get the point.)

So, since we've had beaucoup time off with the holidays, we had a couple trips to the dog parks, both in Modesto and Turlock, and I brought my camera along...

I think my dad would call the usual crowd at the Modesto dog park a "happy swirl of dogs". And I say Ha! to the "no unneutered dogs allowed" rule at some parks... Look at how well the Modesto dogs are getting along! There are usually at least a few pits or pit mixes at the popular times, and everyone generally gets along fine. Note how confident Cyrus seems... (although he's still not willing to go up for a sniff and petting of a person stranger). Sasha is harder to catch on camera, since she's dashing around like the social butterfly she is.


Herding dogs intimidate our dogs a little, since the "stalking" predatory behavior is what they use to get herds to move...or other dogs to play with them. Cy and Sash worry that the dog is really "after" them which is why there's some tension here, but they're learning to relax a little.

Tag team the big dog. If the two of them weigh as much as the one of him, that makes it fair, right?

The beagle's cute and he was friendly, but it's not hard to remember why I never wanted a scent hound... Every time he'd get excited, or other dogs would run near him in the same approximate direction, he'd start up with the baying again.

The Green Ring Press is born!

One of the last classes I took as an undergrad was printmaking. I loved it. We worked mainly in intaglio, mostly etchings. I've wanted to get back into printing ever since the end of that class, but etching presses are horrifically expensive. And extremely heavy, what with the steel rollers and press beds, so even if you can find one used, it'd cost a king's ransom to have it shipped.

So, to make a long story short, Matt and I have been trying to think of ways to build a press for some time. I am not a machinist, or even particularly mechanical, so it did not seem likely that I would be able to build an etching press myself, no matter how much I wanted one. Then I found out that my favorite online printmaker, of (how could I not be a fan of someone who does printmaking and adopted 3 retired racers?), built a press from instructions at a Mosswork's studio website, .

This is not designed to be an etching press, and I haven't tested it with drypoint yet, but it will do any manner of relief printing. (Unfortunately, the plates for those take a lot longer than I was hoping, so I won't have images of our prints to put up until a little later.) Still, it's very, very exciting and Matt and I have been having a ball so far with it. What a lovely guy I have to make something like that for me. (Afterwards, I bought him a "thank you Wii", so don't think he's all work and no play. ^_~)

Here are some images from the Making of the Press.

Here are the major components, plus a lot of fiddly hardware bits and some springs.

Getting started in the garage-cum-workshop

The doubled 2x4 is centered under the press bed, with a matching set at the top of the press.

All it needs now is the driving force, Jack. Captain Bottle Jack, to be precise.

This square of plywood will become the platen. The countersunk eyebolts hook up to the springs which retract the platen when the pressure from the jack is released.

Ta da!
We're still getting the hang of the actual printing process, so I'll have to post scans of our prints later. When we have nicer ones and I want to take time out of carving printing blocks to scan images...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yay! Living up to the hype!

We'll work up to this slowly. Here, really quickly, is an image of a drawing I'm working on. I believe it's a 1.5'X2.5' image a tree against the sky. (pretty much branches, foliage, and blue), using my ink pen collection with tiny lines.

Yes, I'm neurotic. But it looks cool. Very Chuck Close meets George Seurat.

This weekend I attended the ASA Scramble and Archive Hunt. Wicked cool! But the best two hours were spent in Fresno, getting to visit Laurel, Nate, and their criminally adorable children. I had Cyrus with me and he fascinated the kids. He was ok (shy, of course, but not as bad as with adults) and they were extremely gentle and good around them. We've got to visit again! Here's the kids and their adorableness. I didn't take picture of the cute apartment, I was so preoccupied thinking Cyrus would growl. (Unfair - he never did, he's way too sweet for that)

Logan (his shirt says "My Parents are Exhausted")

Cutie Chloe! She was playing Peek-a-Boo with Cyrus. If you're related to me, friend Laurel on Facebook and check out her photo galleries of her kids. Particularly "Chloe loves".

Puppy hunt! Cyrus didn't actually get to chase any rabbits. His group (himself, JJ, and Pearl) didn't scare up any rabbits close enough for them to see. The first person to see a rabbit run yells "Rabbit!" to get everyone's attention. Since the puppies didn't know what they were doing, they all looked at the yelling person rather than trying to find the rabbit. Oh, well. It was great fun anyway. The other 5 sets of dogs got pretty good courses, particularly the veterans (who all know what to do when they hear Rabbit!), and it was a full day with interesting saluki people and beautiful dogs. Plus, getting to walk Cyrus. We are both exhausted.

Seven of the 11 Rock 'n' Roll puppies came. Here are JJ, Strider, Kody, and Quila (from the left). Not shown are Pearl, Rider, and Cyrus.

Cyrus strikes a pose while we break for lunch, after a frustrating 2 or so hours of being "on the line" and seeing no rabbits close enough for a course. Isn't he cute?

I tried getting some video of the courses, but the dogs were sooo far away by the time the camera turned on that it never worked. Plus, my camera doesn't have great zoom. So here is a consolation video of Cyrus and Sasha playing on the porch. Trust me, it's more action than you can see in the grainy, blurry, "this is a field of dry brush" videos I took at the hunt.