Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Day, Hotter Tar

...with sweaty men caught in between.

Meet Mark, driver of the roller machine that smooths the newly
 laid asphalt being installed at the intersection of Crawfordsville Road
and Interstate-74. It was about 9 in the morning and temperatures
were already high, reaching 100 degrees in the shade by
afternoon. He wasn't being lazy, but awaiting his turn in the process
 of making certain the pavement would be smooth and
would adhere to the roadbed bases installed earlier. 

The above shot is of the tarry adhesive that helps the asphalt
stay in place. When freshly laid, the heated asphalt is over
200 degrees. I was told that if I walked on it, it could melt the
soles of my sneakers. I chose to not challenge the
statement. The roller would be slowly driven over the
newly laid material, further compacting it and driving it
into the roadbed. 

The stretch of road above is ready to be paved by
the equipment below. Consisting of two separate sections,
the newly-made asphalt is put into the rear section, then picked
up by a conveyor belt to be pulled into the front machine.
The asphalt is then laid at a pre-determined depth on the 
roadbed, allowed to cool a bit, when it's then rolled
into the adhesive and foundation by Mark
and his machine.

A Hot Topic

The temperature reached 105 degrees today.
It's been in the 90's all week and we are barely into
our summer. It's expected to be the same tomorrow.
Like much of the rest of the country, our area
is enduring drought conditions: I'm thinking that anyone
who plants flowers should consider using cacti
next year.

I try to get to the pool right as it opens. That usually
allows me to have an hour during which
I can swim leisurely laps and do water aerobics
exercises before the kids show up.
The kids scare me. By far, most of them,
whatever age they happen to be, do not 
know how to swim. If you ask, some will always
protest that they do know how, but watching 
them for just a few minutes puts the lie
to their assertions.

The little girl above was accompanied by her mom,
while the other little kids were, supposedly, supervised
by someone who is at least 16 years old. In reality,
many of the kids have been sent to the pool by parents
who seem to expect the lifeguard to act as baby sitter
and, if necessary, perform miracles. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Sunny Day

The flowers above made a very sunny display at 
the corner of one Speedway yard. Their number was
so large they served as a hedge and so bright 
they seemed to sing loud enough for
 the entire neighborhood to hear.
The plants below, while much fewer in number,
are anything but innocuous, their shape
and color lending a bawdy air 
to an otherwise plain yard.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Quiet Place

On my first visit to the IMA's 100 Acres: The Virginia B Fairbanks
Art and Nature Park, I found its Visitors' Pavilion set among the trees, 
a cool place to take a break from the heat and humidity 
of the day. Though surrounded by the woods, 
the Pavilion is not far from the Michigan Road
entrance to the Museum grounds.

The structure, known officially as the Ruth Lilly Visitors' Pavilion, 
was designed by Marlon Blackwell of Fayetteville, Arkansas,
following practices for environmental sensitivity and conservation, 
making it an LEED certified building.  

Built in a flood plain, the structure was designed to allow
for the occasional free flow of water around and 
beneath its base.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Composition in Gray and White

I wish I had a better picture of this, but it's one of
 those places where I might need back-up
to get the perfectly balanced shot I want to take.
I took this one from inside the bus while we
were waiting for the traffic light to change.
As it is, I love the peeling paint of the squares,
offset and balanced by the canted, inky
shade of gray on the right.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Compliment of Contrast

I liked the way these flowers, with their strong, 
sturdy stems stretched towards the sun 
against the background of the more delicate green. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bus Stop Scenes

While waiting for the bus Friday morning, I took a few pictures 
of the activity around the Federal Court House. Above
one of the maintenance men hoses down the steps on the 
south west entrance to the building, while below bus drivers
and passengers alike sought relief from the sun in the shade of
one of the maple trees on the lawn.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


After an appointment this morning at University Hospital,
I stopped in at the book store at the IUPUI Student Center,
where I saw this grouping of happy orange chairs.

Here is a view from the hospital's third floor,
looking east towards the center of downtown Indianapolis,
about a mile away. Taken at about 9 a.m., the temperature was
already in the 80s. I spent the rest of my time outdoors
walking from one shaded area to the next.

Friday, June 22, 2012

When You Come to a Fork in the Road ...

... TAKE IT!
                                         - Yogi Berra

My mission on Wednesday was to explore
the back half of the 100-Acres Park lake. While the front part is
edged by the Meadow and most of the installations, the back
has been left as a trail, marked by pins for Mary Miss' installation,
FLOW: Can You See the River? and a number of Jeppe Hein's
yellow benches, this part of the path merely has tree branches
trimmed to keep the path open. 

I did happen to meet A. Bitterman, who was working to
complete the kiosk for, Indigenousthe Indy Island project for 2012.
I intend to return, hopefully for dinner and a movie and
the opportunity to wear the giant beaver suit.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Geometry of Light"

When I walked through the main entrance of the 
Indianapolis Museum of Art this afternoon, I was greeted by 
Geometry of Lighta sculpture by Alyson Shotz made up 
of hand-cut plastic Fresnel lenses, silvered glass beads and stainless 
steel wire. The lenses,of varying diameters, were strung 
along the wires with the silver beads serving both as spacers 
and reflective surfaces, spanning the space from the windows 
up into the upper floors of the entrance.

I stood among the strands, marveling at their simplicity;
I could have made them myself, but I didn't because my mind 
had never before made a connection that told me a simple
piece of plastic could be strung with its brothers and some beads
to make something beautiful. When I blew on one of the disks,
the entire strand bobbed a bit, shimmering in the light.
Seen from above, the disks resembled a stopped-motion
shot of water as it spurts from a hose, bright, clear and cool.

Once again, I spent an entire afternoon wandering the IMA,
visiting new exhibits and old, walking around the lake
of the 100-Acre Park. Admission is FREE, dammit!
I couldn't imagine a better way to spend 
a day without spending money 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Robert Motherwell in Speedway

There are a lot of different artists represented in Speedway. 
I don't really have to look very far for them since they often jump
out at me as I'm walking around the town, camera in hand.

View No. 1, 1958. Oil on Canvas

I've seen some of Motherwell's work that looks
more like the photo I took, but can't locate it.
Here is another one from a gallery that
represents his work, Bernard Jacobson Gallery
of New York and London.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Textured Tuesday ... Not

Okay, I promised I'd try dried ramen noodles. I did. 
I've now  been there, returned, and do not plan to go back.
First off, I bought this package at Walmart
for the grand sum of 28 cents. People always say
they shop at that place because they save 
so much money. I can buy a similar product at my
neighborhood Kroger for 25 cents, or 5 packages for $1.

This package was, as you can see "shrimp flavor."
I followed the instructions which said to bring 2 cups of 
water to the boil then drop in noodles and cook,
stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Then turn off the heat,
stir in contents of the flavoring packet, AKA
"shrimp flavor," and allow to set for 1 minute.

The dried noodles before cooking resembled a section 
of badly knit Shetland sweater, afterwards they looked like 
sections of unwoven chain link fencing (I forgot to take 
their "after" picture) in chicken broth. They tasted 
like chicken noodle soup, too, albeit the dried Lipton Soups 
version of chicken noodle soup I knew from childhood.

The contents of the package was intended to produce 
2 one-cup servings. I measured out 1 cup then put 
the remainder into the garbage. The taste 
was inoffensive and tasted nothing at all like shrimp. 
It was very filling, so I can completely understand 
why so many people on limited incomes eat the 
ramen noodles; they are cheap and filling, but not 
very nutritional. The noodles are made from 
"enriched wheat flour" with not a trace of rice. 
Of the soup base ingredients, the first 
one listed was salt, then 16 ingredients later 
there appeared "lobster and shrimp flavors."

One cup of noodles and broth have 190 calories,
less than 1 gram of fiber, and 790 mg of salt 
(approximately 1/3 of one's daily allotment.)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dressed for Work

All last week, street crews had been working in Speedway to pour 
concrete and lay brick for new sidewalks and curbing.
Drivers carefully made their way through the construction zones
in efforts to avoid the human traffic cones working
all along the way. This morning, I went for a long walk,
during which I happened to look up to see fairly new cones,
clad in reflective tape, marking work in progress 
at the corner of 16th Street and Lynhurst drive.

Of course, I took a couple pictures.
Paired with the grey of the grooved concrete
and the white stripes, how could I resist
their handsome, orange presence?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tiffany in Speedway

Sometimes, when I want to see jewels designed by Charles Lewis Tiffany 
or stained glass by his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany,
all I have to do is stand beneath a Japanese Maple in the spring.
There are several of these trees dotting the yards of Speedway and,
whenever I find one, I can't help but take several minutes
to look at the marvelous colors produced by the tree
as the sun shines through its beautiful leaves.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bright Red and Fifty Shades of Gray

You know, when erotica is available as a mass market paperback,
displayed on the shelves of my neighborhood grocer, we've
reached some sort of watershed in this country.
Whether it's a continuing slide into a nadir of literary standards
or an opening of tolerance of expression, I can't say.

Years ago, I always felt a bit embarrassed when I 
entered a local used book store. One entire wall was covered
by romance novels with pale pink spines. Since women generally 
prefer to visualize their erotica rather than actually see it, those
books were/are the woman's equivalent of 
men's pornographic videos.

However, one man I knew read the books for amusement
(he said). Secretly, though, he imagined himself in the role 
of rescuing hero, the prince whose "sword of 
hardened steel" left his lady in a dazed swoon,
grateful for his attentions.

I wonder how many of those books are actually written by men?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Strawberry Festival

Today, under tents in front of Christ Church Cathedral,
people gathered for the 47th Annual Strawberry Festival. Sponsored
by the church's Women's Guild, the Festival serves homemade
shortcakes topped with ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream.
This year, organizers expected to serve 6 tons of
strawberries and 18,000 shortcakes.

On the north side of Monument Circle, people gathered to enjoy their treats
on a pleasant sunny day. Searching for shade in the shadow of
Victory's pedestal, people sat on the Monument's steps as they were
entertained by various local musical groups.

Shown here are members of the Indiana Banjo Society,
who picked their way through a number of Dixieland
and patriotic standards. 

Here mom and her daughter enjoy their treats while listening
to the Shortridge High School Jazz Band.

And in the shadow of the surrounding trees, 
a group of women enjoys their lunch break.

Of course, since strawberries are my favorite food,
serving me as a breakfast staple when they are in season,
I could not let the occasion pass without
listening to Nina Simone singing "I loves You Porgy."

They're so soft and fine,
And they're just off the vine ... Strawberries.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Japanese Queasene?

I visited two neighborhood grocers this morning 
to get pictures of their offerings of ramen noodles.
I've known of them since the early 80's, when they seemed
to become a staple in the larder of college students.
The top photo is from a store which has a wider range
of food of all kinds, good and bad. Frankly,
its clientele is probably more international 
and poorer than at the other store.

On a different, but related matter, I recently bumped into
a man with a selection of items from the sushi kiosk.
I'd thought I was the only one buying the stuff, but he 
pronounced the kiosk's offerings as "the best."
I did ask the sushi makers about the squid and both men,
who could speak very little "hoosier,"
told me they do not eat the squid.
Consequently, I will leave the little brown
squiggleys alone, too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Little Flowers

Whoever designed these little flowers must have had me in mind
when they decided the world needed these perfect little
florets, ranging in color from yellow to red and paired with
leaves in a lovely complimentary green.
However, I do not have the perfect little camera 
that allows me to control absolutely the depth
of field that would show all the blooms
in sharp focus.
Dammit, I just love the colors!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Little Bugger

After a brief rain shower, Mama took Junior out for dinner.
Junior squawked frequently, fully expecting Mama to feed 
 him a bug she'd just plucked from the lawn. 
Ignoring his protests, Mama went on her way, 
hopping about the lawn, her baby following, 
not realizing he was supposed to rustle up his own bugs.
The little ritual of cutting the adolescent's apron strings 
seems to be the same, it's just a matter of when
the kid begins to snag his own bugs.
Ramen crickets every day, anyone?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beloved Anachronism

I don't know the word for this building, but I don't think 
anachronism is correct. I just find it so unique, so beautiful and 
idiosyncratic that there must be a special word for it.

The Murat Shrine Temple of Indianapolis was started in 1909 
after land at the corner of Michigan and New Jersey Streets 
was purchased for $37,000. The architect was told the design of the 
temple was to take the form of a mosque. 

The building took just under a year to complete and was 
dedicated in March, 1910. The Schubert Organization of New York 
leased the new theatre and, beginning in February, 1910, 
the Shriners of Indianapolis were regularly treated to
to shows from the Broadway stages, including the Ziegfeld Follies.

The new theater could seat 1,950 people and remains, 
to this day a beloved and respected venue for the top acts
in show business, many of whom especially
admire the theater's acoustics. 

This photo shows the back of the Murat Theater, 
which has been painted to resemble the Temple's
main entrance on New Jersey Street. However, there
is a covered entry-way, complete with lighted marque
promoting the current acts appearing at the theater.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Trying to Not Paint the Sign

When new signs were installed at one of the stores at 
the Speedway Shopping Center, they were put up before
painters could remove cover the accumulated stains from
the old signage. Consequently, the painters had to take the time to
wrap and tape the newly installed work to avoid dripping
paint on the blue kitty, red puppy and letters.

How many additional dollars were spent because 
someone could not wait one day for the facade 
of the building to be painted?

The man in the chair is the supervisor of the 
younger man doing the work. While the controls for the 
cherry-picker lift are with the younger man, the work can 
only be performed by one of them due to the
cramped quarters in the basket.