Sharpie Art

 

 

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This past weekend I got a chance to bust out my markers on my dive float as Alex Norton (very talented artist and tuna whisperer) burned a boar’s skeleton into a wooden sheath that pairs with a bone handled hunting knife. I started with the outline of the suction cups on the arm and the eye. I decided to just depict five of the octopus’ arms, as I’ve noticed that you don’t frequently get a good view of all eight of them at one time. Or maybe it’s a newly discovered species of cephalopod–the magnificent pentapus!

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As you can see from the next shot, I decided to get rid of the siphon because of the orientation of the body. the panel between the zippers acts as a nice frame–an unintended result that I’m quite pleased with.IMG_0353At one point, I was going to have the octopus descending while holding an ab iron, but couldn’t get the proportions to work. Nevertheless, I’m happy with my progress thus far, and plan on adding more critters to fill up the negative spaces on the sides. Not bad for a humble sharpie on top of ballistic nylon, huh?

Big Sur River: After Rain


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On days when there is threat of rain, when you exhale steam, and when it hurts to get out from under the covers, it is often rewarding to push all reservations aside and to go play outside. On this particular day, I was rewarded for my efforts with almost complete solitude on my walk through the woods.

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Though the sky was gloomy for much of the day, and drizzle sifted down through the trees, the water was all sorts of beautiful shades ranging from pale blue to dark green. Colors that you might associate more with tropical beaches than a riparian surrounding.

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Shrooms are sprouting all over the place right now. I bet those who are knowledgeable (or people who think they are) about mushrooms are having some pretty epic feasts this season.

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I don’t know what etches these lines into the trees beneath the bark (beetles?). Reminds me of an episode of X-Files where bugs hidden in the trees are unleashed upon humans and eat them alive.

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It’s amazing how high on the shoreline the river deposited all of the crap that built up after the previous flush.

Also, the density of signage led me to half-expect Yosemite Sam to jump out from the trees and tell me to “back off” when I got close.

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I wonder how high the water level has reached on this bridge.

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The wet weather has given the moss everything that shampoo/conditioner commercials promise to give to your hair.

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This moss, too, looks X-File-esque.

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Up close, it looks like a Chia-pet, huh? On a side note, the iPhone 5 takes better macro shots than the stock 18-55mm D50 lens in many situations.

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Given enough time, water wins.

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I bet there’s some nice fish hiding in some of these spots along the river. Not all of them are easy to get to, and I hope it stays that way.

Hammer Time! Making Mochi

Once upon a time in Japan, the making of mochi was not performed by automated machines, but rather by people using large wooden mallets/hammers to pound rice in heavy-duty granite bowls. Pounding was performed to a rhythm, pulverizing the rice into delicious submission. Though mochi machines now exist, my family continues the old tradition with the start of each new year because pounding your food with huge wooden hammers is awesome. And besides, as any rice cake connoisseur worth his shoyu will attest, mochi tastes better with a bit of sweat and little wooden slivers in it.

DSC_8523The hammers are made of wood, and soaked beforehand, though if they make contact with the granite bowl, they will splinter. Breaking the handle is also easy to do, if it strikes the bowl. You can see the rice steaming in an old school wooden box in the background. Doneness is ascertained by smooshing a grain of rice between the fingers to check hardness.
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Pounding must be done in coordination with your partners, and usually the tempo is controlled by he who wields the shamoji.

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In olden days, the maidens of rural Japanese households were expected to take up arms against any enemies who threatened the village while the men were away. It is said that blood ingrained into the mochi hammer helps to impart a desirable quality found only in the highest grade of rice cake.

 

 

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She missed the bowl completely shortly after this was taken.

 

 

 

 

 

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This is a chance for fathers to show their sons how manly they are. Loud grunts and smacks = good parenting.

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I have no idea how my aunt was able to swing the hammer so hard while laughing. For some reason, I find this terrifying.

 

 

 

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My dad putting the smack down.

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Yumi and Kohei making the big wad of rice cake into smaller cakes.

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This is the son’s chance to play whack-a-mole with the father’s thumbs!

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Maybe we should give the little ones quarter sledge-sized mallets, but until that time a tandem session will have to do.

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Here’s Wes, about to bring down the wrath.

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These brothers efficiently assault the mochi. As Sean bludgeons away at it, Susumu taunts the rice cake. Susumu’s other job in this process is to reach in the bowl and position the bolus of smashed rice in such a way that it is exposed to maximum blunt force impact from the hammer. As the cadence of the blows can reach a fevered pitch, I am amazed that his hands remain unblemished, and the mochi white.

And as the last of rice is dispatched of, we all head in and pig out on amazing food and share in good company. Happy 2013, everybody!