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May 26, 2017

Ether Interconnector and the Faith in the Unseen

I am a sculptor.

art by paul schuster 

The Ether Interconnector

Ether Interconnector sculpture by paul schuster 

I've combined the last four pieces into one video.


Westlake FIFO (first in, first out)

While the daughter is out of Westlake High School, #1 son is heading in. He has graduated HCMS.


HCMS 8th grade graduation 2017 

I only get ONE shot at pictures. If I ask for a second try, I get an abrupt refusal. I end up using editing tools to make every shot count.

We took everybody out to a nice restaurant downtown for dinner to celebrate the two graduations this year.

sennheiser headphones  

He got a set of Sennheiser headphones. They match his preferred color palette of Red/Black.


I got caught sneaking the pic above and I was scolded! He got so upset with me...  


real smiles! 

It's a rare treat to get a pic where they are all laughing and smiling at the same time.  

The Daughter has enjoyed a school provided IPad for the last seven years. We got her an IPad PRO (large) complete with the Pencil, and fancy keyboard case. 

ipad pro box looks like a pencil 

We joked that it's a fancy stick (cover of the box features a slim profile pic of the ipad that resembles a stick).  



She's a Graduate.

For thirteen years I have driven this girl to school most every day. Going back to Kindergarten at Del Mar Elementary back in Santa Cruz. Let's have a look at her first day of school...

del mar elementary class of 2017 santa cruz 


pch 1 between santa cruz and half moon bay 

Now jump to her last day as a Senior at Westlake High School. I still drive her every day.


westlake eanes project graduation 


Westlake has this event called Project Graduation. The tickets are $100 per student. They stay up all night partying at school. The idea is to provide a safe drug and alcohol free environment for the kids to celebrate. The party has food trucks, blackjack tables,  a DJ, movie rooms, raffles with prizes such a YETI coolers and TV/monitors (I heard they gave away 26). We dropped off her bag/iPhone at the school party ahead of time. Then we stopped by Freedmen's to grab a quick $5 brisket sandwich for dinner. This has to be the best deal in BBQ brisket to be found anywhere. Look at that bark! 

freedmen's happy hour $5 brisket BBQ Austin

Then we dropped her off at Erwin Stadium. 

westlake high school eanes austin class of 2017 

We counted about 720 chairs down there. Kat was anxious since she couldn't find her in that sea of blue caps and gowns.  





westlake high school austin eanes class of 2017 graduation 

CAPS UP! Balloons down....

westlake high school graduation 2017 eanes 

and they whisked them away to the all night party at Westlake.

I picked her up at 5:30 AM this morning. In the end they returned the $100 admission. She offered to give it back to us since we paid for her party ticket. How sweet is that? I think it'd be best deposited into her college tuition account. Won't be long now... she's going to need it.

We are now in Summer trip prep mode... #2 son is counting down the days. 



May 22, 2017

Ten years later... a Koi Pond Time-Lapse

The two largest Koi have been with us for more than ten years. We put them in this pool August 2007. We have suffered a few Koi-tastrophy, but Goldy and Big-Boy have survived each one. What do they do all day? Well.... it goes a bit like this...


We are enjoying a week of wet weather here in Austin. It's a good thing because nobody wants to return to drought status. The zoysia sod I laid a few weeks back is now like a thick green carpet. I got a time-lapse of the cloud layers rolling past, in opposing directions.


Final HCMS Orchestra performances

#1 son has completed his final season with the Hill Country Middle School Orchestra. He performed with both the Concert Orchestra (violin) and the Sinfonia Orchestra (viola)

HCMS Concert Orchestra string section May 2017 


a small step for man...

Neil Armstrong Wax Museum Eanes

The school year is wrapping up. #2 son became Neil Armstrong for his class Wax Museum day. 

eanes elementary wax museum neil armstrong 

#2 son has been missing his friend and classmate Lilia that just moved to Portland Oregon. He's been asking, "when are we going to Portland?".

I met her father for one last round of Electric Jellyfish IPA at Pinthouse Pizza, as was our regular weekly habit.  

Aaron goes to Portland Oregon, no more Electric Jellyfish PHP

Aaron and his Dad are currently in a U-Haul with two bulldogs and a hamster for the four day journey to Portland. Kat answered #2 son, "we will visit them in Portland, if they will visit us in Vermont".  

May 15, 2017

The Daughter and her friends took themselves to Prom

Westlake Prom 2017


prom 2017 eanes westlake  



These girls took themselves to prom. They rented their own limo, made their own dinner reservations. This is a group of smart, confident young women.  


We purchased that gown a few years back. We just stumbled upon it and the price was good. It's her color and it fit. There was no occasion, but she liked it. It was purchased and spent a few years in the closet.... waiting for an event.  



She made the bracelet. She twisted a wire and made flower shapes and braided it all together. Nail polish was applied to the flower petals.  




I asked the daughter how it was. She gave us a vague look and said "eh, it was.... interesting".  

Now on to the next event... Graduation.  

Macro MOM's Day

mother's day tomahawk steak

For Mother' day, we had a surf and turf meal (steak and shrimp). Kat chose a giant bone-in tomahawk style steak. Five hours in the sous vide and it came out just how she likes it.  

sous vide steak med-rare bone in 

I used her macro camera to capture a few things I saw his week.  

macro lilly stamen 

Any new camera comes with a learning period. I finally found the menu setting to change the program modes (it's not as obvious as it could be). I think I could do a better job increasing the depth of field by using a tripod and longer shutter time. Still, these are quite interesting. It's crazy how the closer you can look at something you've seen many times before, the more detail there is to be seen.  


lilly macro close up 

Another swallowtail caterpillar in the back yard. 

macro swallowtail caterpillar Austin

May 08, 2017

Eric Bachman of Archers of Loaf at Austin ModHouse

One of the best shows I've attended, was back in the 90's, Archers of Loaf at the 8x10 in Baltimore.

Eric played a show in our living room this past weekend. I should've brightened the lights, or used a faster lens... but it was a good show. Interesting to see the songs stripped down and played acoustic while sitting down.

Eric Bachman Archers of Loaf Austin living room  

archers of loaf eric bachman  

a very dark video shot in our living room, and then Archers of Loaf as I captured them at Fun Fun Fun fest 2015, and the Archers as they were back in the 90's 


Ernie Watts and the Westlake Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Club

westlake jazz eanes isd toby grace drums huxley guitar


I knew they would sound good. Still, we were shocked at just how great they sounded.  Amazing!

Jana Robertson westlake jazz band eanes isd austin  

westlake jazz ensemble horn section with sunglasses 

The horn section surprised everybody when the applied the sunglasses. The joy and enthusiasm from the whole group was infectious. You could see that they were excited to be able to perform.  

westlake jazz club austin tx henry baldwin 2017 

The Jazz Club also did well and sounded great.  

Ernie Watts and the Westlake Jazz Ensemble 2017 with Toby Grace on drums 


Ernie Watts came out and gave us all a wonderful performance. We were all very thankful to have this opportunity. We will definitely continue to attend their future events.



Scultpure of the week.... Spark Ghoul.

bmw 2002 flywheel art sculpture

I finally found a use for the BMW 2002 flywheel I've been moving and storing for the past fifteen years.

spark ghoul 

A few days ago, a young man asked me "what do you do for a living?". I gazed out into the yard at my latest installation and issued my reply, "I... am a sculptor, this week".

spark eater vs spark ghoul 

I have these two arranged so they are facing each other. Nothing good could come from their meeting: Spark Eater vs. Spark Ghoul 

May 01, 2017

Eeyore's Birthday 2017

Part human circus, part costume party and hippie drum circles... Eeyore had another birthday in Pease Park.

Eeyore's birthday 2017 

met his wife at Eeyore's birthday 

This guy met his wife at Eeyore's, like 30 years ago. This event is an old Austin tradition.

costumes at eeyore's 2017 

eeyore's 2017 dude 

steakpunk at eeyore's 2017 

topless at eeyore's 2017 38 years 

The lady closest to the mic said this was her 38th year to be topless at Eeyore's. I know some people don't like this, but I celebrate her freedom and hope she enjoys many more topless years at Eeyore's.

peter pan at eeyore;s 2017 

The younger generation, starting their own traditions at Eeyore's. Let's see if they can keep coming back for 38 years.

eeyore's birthday austin 2017 

weed man at eeyore's 2017 


The drum circles... 


Deer Friends...

Yesterday (SUNDAY) was a beautiful cool spring day in Austin. The sun was out, it was breezy with low humidity.. It was a great day for some yardwork (that's mostly all I've done this past week, work in the yard).

I heard some rustling behind some trees. I slowly crept over to find two fawn trying out their legs. They were really wobbly, just trying to stand. As I got near, they just curled up and laid still.

fawn in west lake hills baby deer austin 

baby fawn 

We spent the evening with our dear friends, enjoying wine on their back porch.

wine over wild basin austin westlake

west lake hills wild basin tx 

In the Studio with Brady Blade, Holly West and Chris Bell

When we saw Brady last week, he played the Old Settler's festival near Austin. They had a 5 AM flight to Atlanta the next morning, played the 420 Festival. He then flew to California where he spent the day recording in Malibu. Next day had him back here to Austin. I picked him up from the airport, we grabbed some tacos and spent the day in the recording studio.

chris bell firehouse studio san marcos 

Engineer Chris Bell ensuring the drum microphones are set up correctly.   

Holly West and Brady Blade 


Holly West was recording an EP at Firehouse Recording Studio, it was a big room.

brady blade studio session drummer 


Holly Wood Honey West Bass Texas 


brady blade drums  

holly wood west honey bass  

brady blade on drums in the studio 

He smiles and laughs constantly, when playing the drums. It's a good life, to be paid doing what you love.  


Chris Bell Engineer in the Studio at Firehouse 

We stayed at the Studio well after 9 PM. Brady and I ran back to Austin to get dinner. Then we stopped to catch some live music at C-Boy's

Georgia Brown with Dylan Bishop at C-Boy's Austin

Georgia Brown sat in with Dylan Bishop


We got up before 6AM the next day, to get Brady to the airport for his 7AM flight to New Orleans. He was off to play multiple shows for Jazz Fest. No rest for the professional drummer man.  

Video of drum setup below


Close up Cochineal

Kat has been asking for a macro lens. Eye have taken care of it.

macro eyelashes 

So let's see something I found in the yard, in stunning detail:

pricklypear cactus west lake hills tx 

When Cortez landed in Mexico (early 1500s), the dude was hoping to find gold. What he noticed early on, the local folks wore garments featuring red color, that didn't fade. This was something that they didn't have back home in Europe. He found that they were harvesting a tiny bug found on prickly pear cactus. Quite the opportunist, he loaded up his boat with bug laden cactus. For the next three hundred years, Spain cornered the market on red dye. The French had enough of that. They eventually figured out how/where, started to make their own. The British soon joined in and now we all have red dye available.

Our back yard has prickly pear, and the cochineal bug. Let us get closer...

cochineal bug west lake hills tx  



and closer....

close up cochineal carmine bug 


Check your food ingredients. If you find "CARMINE", it's made from these little bugs.

Let's get a close up of the prickly pear cactus flower while we’re here:

prickly pear cactus flower