Juxtaposition

jux·ta·po·si·tion
ˌjəkstəpəˈziSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: juxtaposition; plural noun: juxtapositions
  1. the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect.
    “the juxtaposition of these two images”

This is a rather useful concept in art.  The contrast of opposites can really help bring out the idea you are trying to communicate.  In this sketch, for example, I have a Twi’lek woman fleeing from a massive ship that is just coming in to land.  I was tempted to set the scene at a bloody sunset.  Instead made the sky a clear blue through the clouds of dust as a way of alluding to the shattered peace this ship has caused.  Whether or not my art was effective, juxtaposition is something to keep in mind as a form of contrast.

extermination ship adjusted.png

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Juxtapose

An Archaic Thought

Courtesy Meme.png

 

Perhaps I should share a bit about why I was moved to make this meme.  Right now the people of the US are beset by divisiveness.  There are many groups trying to “stir the pot” and cause more contention, because not only is a house divided more likely to fall, but it’s easier to make a profit from.  Unhappy people buy more goods, trying to buy happiness.  I see this in Democrats and in Republicans both, so I’m not pointing fingers in either direction, but rather thinking about what’s good in the world rather than what’s bad.

At my favorite coffee shop, there are some guys who are from Africa.  I don’t understand a word of Swahili and they understand a few words of English, but smiles are enough.  I like those guys. They are sweet and polite, despite the language barrier.

At my favorite grocery store, I see recent immigrants all the time.  They are mostly refugees from various war torn countries.  I love hearing them speak in their native tongues, and once again, smiles and polite gestures aid in communication. The people who run that store are Vietnamese – and I don’t speak their language either.  Little bows are good though, gestures and more smiles.  I speak a bit of Spanish and use it at my local carniceria along with much laughter.

Once when I was new to Arizona, my battery went dead in my car.  I had no money for a new one and no way to get a jump start.  I hoped for someone to come along to help me out.  Finally I was in luck.  There was a young guy in a brand new truck who parked nearby.  I politely asked for help.  And got turned down flat – he was worried that his new truck would be damaged by jump starting my little sedan.  He left.

Along came another truck.  Not shiny, quite dented, with a work rack on back.  Out came a deeply suntanned fellow with a wide hat.  I think he knew two phrases of English – please and thank you.  We  understood each other though and he helped me get going again.  With a hearty muchas gracias, and a vaya con dios, we parted ways.

Language was no barrier.  Perhaps the young fellow really would have damaged his truck to jump start my car – but I’m not so sure.  His heart was a bigger barrier to helping than language, as he spoke perfect English.

A smile, a bow, a handshake, a fistbump – they are all part of our common language that does not depend on words.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Archaic

Sourdough Bubbles

I had a strange thing on my bucket list.  Ever since I heard about sourdough cultures, I always wanted to raise one.  That odd little dream has been realized and it was easier than I had ever thought it would be.  I busted several myths, too.

First of all, I’d thought that if I didn’t have access to a sourdough starter that was old and pedigreed, my bread wouldn’t be very good.

WRONG!

“Bob” is about three weeks old and is producing delicious loaves and rolls.

Then I thought that if I DID want an old and pedigreed starter, I’d need to pay a lot for one or know somebody.

WRONG!

Thanks to the fine folks at Carl’s Friends, you can get one for the price of postage.

I thought you’d need a bunch of fancy equipment and materials.

WRONG there too!  I was able to do it with nothing but flour, water, time, and the warm spot on top of my hot water heater.

Bob the Starter 800
Meet “Bob”

I am not going to tell you how to make a starter other than to say that it’s actually pretty easy.  I’ve included the article I used at the bottom of this post.

However, there is something so amazing about mixing flour and water, feeding it every day, and after a couple weeks of waiting having a wonderful, bubbly, symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria ready to lift my dough.  That’s why I’m calling my second culture (the one from the Carl’s Friends site) “SCOBY-wan Kenobi.”  I named my own culture, Bob, after my coworker’s split personality.  Long story.

The bread from this process has been light, wonderfully flavored, and filled with bubbles to an extent I haven’t been able to achieve with yeast.  Having “Bob” to feed every day has been oddly like having a pet – or an alien creature that bubbles energetically when I Feed it flour and water.  It has rhythms and behaviors, of a sort, all within its little plastic crock.  I can even refrigerate or freeze it if I want the culture to cool its jets a bit and give me some breathing room.

So far, baking sourdough has been a fun and rewarding project!  Here is my latest bake.  If anyone wants to know where I got those rings, here is where I got them.

sourdough loaf 900
Loaf from last baking – using only four ingredients!
sourdough bun
Eight of these little beauties came out of the oven last night.

When I bake sourdough, I don’t think it’s all just my doing.  It’s a partnership between me and my starter.  As with anything, if I treat that starter well, I’ll get great results.  If I neglect it or don’t understand it, my efforts will fall flat.  Maybe it’s just the culture getting to my brain, but I get philosophical when I bake.

For those who want to join me in this wacky, bubbly journey, here are my sources:

Carl’s 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter: http://carlsfriends.net/

How to make a Sourdough Starter in 7 steps: https://www.theperfectloaf.com/7-easy-steps-making-incredible-sourdough-starter-scratch/

Where I bought my rings and other kitchen equipment: https://amzn.to/2HYDwKH

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Bubble

I, Bugs

…am a most notable rabbit.

bunny and oleander 1000

Look for me and you won’t see me – for I live beneath the Oleander, and I like to look like a rock, even as I nibble.  See?  Or rather, not?

smirking bunny

Yet, here I am, with my impeccable desert camouflage.

Mistress Cat must be so jealous as she watches me through the glass, as I and my large family choose the parking lot in which to romp.

I am, indeed, a notable rabbit.

 

via Daily Prompt: Notable

Lines and Spines

Arizona has some fascinating uses of line in the natural landscape.  Here are a few examples.

Cactus Art Print 1000.JPG

Here is a proud cactus who sits outside my Carniceria – I loved the contrast so much I had to make it into an art print.

pine-trunk-1000

This tree draws a fantastic line at my local park…

pine-with-border

And these radial lines are interesting in their interplay.  They are pines from that same park.

acacia-shadows-1000

These are lines courtesy of my acacia tree, painted against the summer sky.

 

via Photo Challenge: Lines

Swinging that blue lightsaber

A wise friend of mine said once, “some days it all comes down to whether you’re swinging a red, or a blue lightsaber.”

He was talking about the basic question of whether you will be a force for good or bad.  Will you be self centered or generous?  Gloomy or sunny?  Will you give or will you take?

Some days the world seems so depleted.  It’s amazing how little it takes to give a bit back.  I’m not even talking about charities, money, volunteer work or anything like that.  Those things are great, but it takes so little effort to spread some cheer around.

Today I wrote a letter, a real actual letter, on paper with a pen, and I mailed it to my favorite blog.  I sincerely thanked the founders for all they have done to enrich my life.  I’d been meaning to do that for a couple of years now and it’s embarrassing to recall how long it took me to finally do it.  Just one sheet of paper, and envelope and a stamp – but it was a swing of the saber, and a shot against the darkness.

A sincere thank you goes such a long way.  My current job is so much better than the one I had last year, and much of that is because I feel appreciated.  A smile in the grocery store, letting someone into traffic, a friendly wave to a neighbor, a sincere compliment.  We can show appreciation and share cheer with family and friends as well as strangers.

So cheap, so simple, and so priceless.  It makes you feel good, it makes them feel good, it builds community, and it begins to fill up what’s been depleted.

Thank you for reading!  I appreciate you!

 

via Daily Prompt: Deplete