Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aliens in White Shrouds

I walked along the canal on my return downtown 
from the IU Medical Center. It's only about 
a mile, but full of color that changes as the plants 
bloom and fade with the seasons.
I was especially impressed with the white echinaeca,
that looked like hoards of white-shrouded
aliens had camped in the flower beds
to feed the bumble bees with the nectar
from their outlandish brains.

Below is a grouping of purple echinaeca, the variety 
most folks may find more familiar.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Orange and White Triangles on Pointy Gray Stuff

There are acres of open land awaiting development 
in the Town of Speedway. A number of new buildings, 
such as those for Dallara Indy Car, Sarah Fisher 
Racing, and Community Hospital have been 
completed in recent years. These open bits of land
were created by tearing down old, abandoned
businesses that had not been used for many years.
Instead of remaining passive, allowing the
surroundings to continue into dereliction,
the town created a development plan and,
along with other businesses, the ones above are
a part of the efforts to once again have an
active business core for the town, much of it 
related to auto racing.

Parking areas for race spectators have been marked off 
in the lots by the Speedway Police Department, 
creating a decorative chain of bright triangles against 
a background resembling gray boucle'.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Breeze on the Canal

The downtown Canal is always a popular spot for walkers, 
joggers, people rowing skulls or paddling kayaks.
Couples can often be seen pedaling little sternwheel
boats the length of the canal, often guiding their craft around
the occasional Venetian gondola.

This summer, the temperatures are averaging as
much as thirty degrees cooler than last year,
making for breezy, pleasant evenings listening
to jazz at the Indiana Historical Society.

Here spectators can be seen settling in to listen 
to the band, just then in the process of setting up 
for the evening's entertainment.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

More, More, More!

For the past several years, I've been looking 
for a good seat from which I can watch the races.
I wander, looking for place where I can see
the cars as they speed by. However, after having spent 
each May for twenty years standing inside 
Turn One to take pictures, I've not found a one 
that equals the view I had there.

To build the road course, the creek inside Turn One 
was covered over and paved, and bleachers were 
removed to create the carousel for the motorcycles.
Hulman Boulevard, which bisects the infield 
north to south, becomes a section of
the road course that can be seen from viewer 
mounds or from concrete barriers
such as the one this little boy and his mother
are sitting on. In fact, the barriers seemed to be pretty
popular viewing spots for children, supported
by their parents, to stand to get a good, close view
of the cars as they enter a series of small turns
on their way back to the main track.

Just behind the mother and boy, the NASCAR haulers
were parked, by order of championship points.
Currently, five-time champion Jimmy Johnson is leading,
so the hauler of his car is first in order, 
on the left. If there are any changes after tomorrow's
Brickyard 400, they will be reflected in the 
trucks' line-up at the next race.

This is the view passers by on 16th Street have 
of the inside of the Speedway. The large building
at the center is the Pagoda scoring and media
center for the track. The scoring pylon can be seen,
poking up from above the main grandstand about 
a fifth of the way from the center left of the picture.

The South Short Chute is just on the other
side of the concrete wall in the middle of the picture.
All one can see of the cars is, maybe a roof top
on a stock car. However, one can see cars as they enter
Turn One from the Front Straight. Whoo-hoo!
By the way, the Pagoda is the tallest 
building in the town of Speedway. 

This was my view Saturday afternoon of the starting grid 
for the Rolex Grand Am race. I love the sound of those cars, 
an intriguing mix of growl and purr that's seductive. 
When I entertain fantasies of driving a race car, 
these are the ones I choose. Every time.

I've always felt that these guys were the elite 
of race car drivers because they were good for the distance,
for their staying power. Conversely, drag racing has
always seemed to be all braggadocio and display
with four seconds of action - Pfft! and done.

And ... more, more, more ... lame.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I spent the afternoon at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway 
watching sports car racing on the road course.
My little camera is too slow to catch the cars at speed, 
so I mostly didn't bother, but here is a group
of corner workers watching over the
Continental Tire Brickyard Challenge,
which was followed soon after by the  three-hour
Rolex Grand-Am Series race.

The bearded man was also monitoring a couple
grandsons, a sort of "free-range child care,"
wherein he did his job while the boys took in the
delights of some manufacturer displays
a hundred feet or so away.
Shown below is a picture of cars coming through 
Turn 11 where the crew was working.

I dawdled around the manufacturers' displays myself. 
They're installed in the parking lot around the IMS Museum
and feature the latest and fanciest models of cars
and engines all polished to perfection. 
I can't afford anything, but I like to dream about 
a particular model of car. In red, of course.
I take that back - I did buy a tiny model of NASCAR
driver Tony Stewart's No. 14 Bass Pro Shops
Mobil 1 Chevy. The box said it is meant 
for children ages 4 and up. I think I can handle that.

A passer-by was kind enough to take my picture 
while I was standing behind a headless cardboard torso
of NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. Hello!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finding My Way

I always find this light installation at the Indianapolis 
Museum of Art to be intriguing.
The fluorescent tubes exist both as an artwork
and as illumination in the museum's atrium;
since it was found that bright, artificial light contributes
to the deterioration of delicate works, light in all
the galleries has been substantially dimmed.
This is especially true in the Asian art galleries,
where the galleries are so dark I wonder
whether it's okay for me to be in there.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Grid with Yellow Curve

I was just walking along the street with a latte in one hand, 
my tote over my shoulder, and my camera 
in my pocket, entertaining fantasies of one sort
or another when I saw it -
a grid of bricks with the grid patterns
of a building reflected in a rain puddle -
the medium and its use in one picture with
a nice yellow curve to accent it.
I practically genuflected to get the curve
at a usable angle. Whew.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In and Out

I fell asleep last night with my Blogger page up - 
a picture but no copy.
There's something about being outside in warm, 
humid weather then coming inside to an air conditioned 
environment that just makes me drowsy. 
Add to that the relaxed feeling I have after an hour's swim 
and I just want to snuggle under the covers with 
a crossword puzzle or a book (the right man 
would be infinitely nicer, 
but prefer puzzles to the wrong 'un).
Of course, I fell asleep and did not wake up
until morning.

The day was gray and humid when I took this picture 
of hosta on the grounds of the Indianapolis 
Museum of Art. People wandered the grounds with
their umbrellas to protect from intermittent
showers and the rain dripping from the
lushly green trees, but the place is so beautiful,
no one minded the moisture.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Majestic African Textiles

After leaving Ai Weiwei's exhibit Saturday at 
the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I took a bit of time 
to visit some of the other galleries.
In the Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery, I found
Majestic African Textiles, an exhibit of 
beaded and embroidered objects, drawn primarily
from the IMA's textile collection.

The exhibit is organized by geographic region, 
representing various ethnic groups, and includes
items ranging from royal and prestige cloths,
masking and ritual garments.
The colors and patterns are wonderful and
strikingly contemporary, with masterfully
balanced shapes that would be the envy 
of any modern painter.

My favorite piece is an intricately
constructed garment, an Egyptian woman's shawl
made in the early 1900s. It is almost entirely
covered in strips of German silver attached to
a backing cloth of cotton netting.
From a distance the scarf almost gives 
the appearance of silver lame'.
I wa-a-a-a-nt one.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Straight: Steel Rebar 2008-2012 (38 Tons)

The tragic reality of today is reflected
in the true plight of our cultural existence:
we are spineless and cannot stand straight.
- Ai Weiwei

I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art on Saturday 
to see According to What?, a touring exhibition 
of work by international artist Ai Weiwei.
I became aware of the artist through his role in the design of
the "Bird's Nest" stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympic
Games and, more recently, when he was detained
by the Chinese government in 2011 without any charges filed 
(after two months it was alleged he'd committed
"economic crimes," (i.e., not paying his taxes.) 

Ai Weiwei uses his considerable artistic skills
as a vehicle to express his dissatisfaction with the 
Chinese government's practices involving
democracy and human rights.
I had read about and seen photos of a number of his 
works, but I found myself surprisingly moved by
Straight: Steel Rebar 2008-2012 (38 Tons), which was
created in reaction to the deaths of an estimated 
5,000 children in shoddily constructed school buildings 
during the 2008 Sichwan earthquake.
His support of the Citizens' Investigation aimed to compile
a list of the casualties at the schools. A copy of that
list is posted on the gallery wall and, to date,
shows the names of well over 5,700 names of
dead and/or missing children.

Ai Weiwei and his associates were able to obtain
over 150 tons of twisted rebar from the schools,
which they have been able to straighten to near
pristine shape and used to create works to 
commemorate the children.
Thirty-eight tons of recycled steel has been used 
for this particular installation. Each piece was hammered 
approximately 200 times in order to straighten it.
Lying in such order, the jagged lengths reminded me 
of seismic graphs showing tremors that
brought the buildings down onto the unsuspecting
children and their teachers.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Unnumbered Quiet Delights

I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art this morning 
to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit, According to What?
I then visited other galleries, particularly one
showing African textiles.

Afterwards, I walked another portion of the IMA grounds.
Everywhere I turned, I seemed to find opportunities
for pictures. I wonder, does the creative inspiration I find
inside the museum make me more aware 
of the beauty I see - rainwater collected on a
large leaf or dripping from the backs of folding chairs
set up for an outdoor wedding.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013


It is so hot and humid in the morning that,
 by the time I get to the bus stop 
for my ride downtown, I am "glistening." 
The air conditioning at my workplace, 
as well as most of the buses, is kept well into 
the chilly zone, enough so that I have to
wear a sweater to be comfortable
for the eight hours I am at work.
Yesterday morning, workers at the downtown
bus stop were using a pressure washer 
to clean the sidewalks and pavement.
I often used a pressure washer to clean my boat
and enjoyed the mist from the spray as it 
ricocheted from the surface, back to my face
and my body. So I envied the workers at the stop,
wanting so much to enjoy the cooling mist,
however grungy it may have been.

Pardon me ... while I go spend the afternoon 
just glistening like hell.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sun Drenched

I see these flowers planted all around.
Their color combination, the contrast of 
the bright pink and purple,
just vibrates in the sunlight.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Helping Hands

Summer temperatures have been visiting us for the past month.
The skies are a beautiful blue and filled with fields 
of puffy clouds that appear, for all intents,
as though they might have been cast for a sappy, 
happy movie. The trees are full of green leaves, 
 a lush backdrop for kids playing in the parks,
joggers, lovers sharing the shade and whispered
phrases as they walk along the lanes.

The gloves lay drying in a driveway, their
presence speaking of a long partnership of shared duties,
this one of summer yard care.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Muse: Smoke Break

Two people, prisoners to their habit,
and otherwise ill-matched, 
stand beneath smokey carcinogens 
entwined above their heads,
neither doing the other any favors
 and calling it love.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Firry Shade

I walked through the IMS RV lot on Georgetown Road 
to visit the trees. Summer has come with a vengance. 
After a winter that didn't want to leave, the heat and humidity, 
while appropriate to the season, are sort of a shock 
to one's system. I made a point of finding 
shade under a tall fir tree where I looked up to see
the hot sun filtering its way through the dark green lace
of the tree's needles, contrasting against
the thick, black lines of its branches.

Monday, July 15, 2013


I reached the Coke Field around noon, 
hoping to be able to see turtles basking on rocks 
in the creek. However much I tried to be quiet,
my footfalls still sounded like explosions
on the gravel approach to the bridge, while
walking on the grass was almost as loud.
The only part of a turtle I've seen so far is the
backside of its shell as it glided into the concentric
circles made as it dived into the water,
and this time was no different.

I leaned against the bridge railing to look
at the water as it flowed over the rocks in the creek,
looking at each likely looking rock, hoping
it was a turtle. There were none, but the beauty
of the sun as it was reflected by the ripples
was enough to capture my interest.

For whatever reason, I like the colors of the rocks 
and moss. Stray leaves, trapped underwater, 
accentuate the patterns of the creek's flow over the rocks,
with the sun's light sparkling like liquid jewels
on a silken tapestry.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Burning Daylight ...

At about 9 o'clock Saturday morning, 
I was walking to the store when I happened to notice 
that one of the street lamps was illuminating 
the already bright and warm surroundings.
I believe these lamps have little photoelectric
timers designed, ironically, to be energy efficient
 and to save taxpayer money.
The sensor's run amok.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Subtle Richness

This summer, our landscape is a vista 
of abundant green foliage and 
the lush colors of flowers of all kinds.

On Thursday the day dawned overcast and muggy.
An afternoon thunderstorm helped to lower the temperatures,
giving residents a pleasant evening.
After my swim at the Natatorium, I walked back
Downtown to enjoy the breezes and 
flowers along the Canal .

Friday, July 12, 2013

While Dad Washed the Car ...

After I left work late Thursday afternoon, I saw these 
two boys outside the car wash. They were sitting 
in their car seats, waiting for their father to 
finish washing the family van, 
watching the parade of passing traffic and 
people as they went about their business.
And yes, the little boy on the right
mugged continually while his brother was
the more reserved of the two.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cracked Slurry

The grass growing up from beneath the asphalt 
provides an accent to the crackled surface 
of the pavement's slurry seal top.
Any patterns were, ironically, made by the 
tread marks of tires, which apparently made the
slurry adhere to the surface.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Where False Titties Come From ...

Only thing ... these toadstool falsies were about 
twelve inches in diameter. Each.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Textured Tuesday: Bead on a Wire

Most of the time, the yard ornaments I see 
are the usual plaster rabbits, gnomes, and deer 
available at any home supply store between 
Speedway and Hanoi. 
Every once in a while, though, I see 
something that charms me and this little tree
was one of them. Apparently, someone wound 
heavy gauge wire around a broom stick and stretched
it out to create the branches for the tree.
They then threaded various sizes and colors of 
glass beads on lighter gauge wire to attach it to the tree. 
The result is a pretty, simple ornament 
that glints in the sunlight. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

White Line Here

Solid white line should look like above sample,
as indicated by arrow,
not the sample below, which does not meet
solid line standards.
Future indiscretions with the paint truck
will be regarded with ridicule, assuming driver
always dribbles before he shoots.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Big-Ass Bees Are Out

At the Coke Field, the little florets are on this plant 
are hosting the bees who'll spread its pollen 
to the flower's kin along the creek.