Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Childrens Pool in La Jolla is closed for Harbor Seals.

In 1931 a sea wall was built at this tiny La Jolla California beach to create a children's pool, that was safe from waves. This safe harbor however was also a perfect haven for harbor seals to raise their puCalifornia Cps during the breeding season. Local residents to used the beach resented the harbor seals. The water quality has deteriorated having high levels of bacterial contamination. Divers and spear fishermen still like to use the site. Over the years a debate has raged between residents who want to take back the children's pool and those who want to protect the harbor seals.  The debate has played out in state and federal courts, in city council votes and in the legislature. There have been protests staged on both sides of the issue.

Last spring the city imposed night time closures of the beach after incidents of visitors harassed the seals by punching, kicking or sitting on them. Unfortunately people can't be trusted to live this close to a harbor seal colony. When I visited the children's pool there were only a few harbor seals in the children's pool, most of them out by the retaining wall. During pupping season however there can be hundreds of seals on the beach. The site has become a tourist attraction giving visitors a great view of the beach and harbor seal colony from the cliffs.

In a unanimous vote, the California Coastal Commission will close the beach during pupping season which is between December 15th and May 15th.  This ordinance is the strongest action to date that protects the harbor seal colony. A chain will be installed to block the lower stairs leading to the beach. A sign will be posted warning visitors of the regulation. Violators will face misdemeanor penalties of up to $1000 or six months in jail. In the past year, a thin rope was stretched across the beach to guide visitors away from the seals in pupping season. When disturbed, a mother seal can give birth prematurely or abandon her pups. The rope wasn't very effective at keeping people from harassing the seals. Perhaps the chain and ordinance will be more effective. Some residents feel that the seasonal closure exceeds the city's authority. Apparently only the federal government has the authority to manage seals under the marine Mammal Protection Act.

In a short walk up the coast, snorkelers were in the water and seals would playfully approach them while staying just out of reach. Such close interactions in a natural setting are rare. In water the seals have the advantage of speed and agility, but on land they can be vulnerable to harassment. The debate still rages about this small children's pool. But the seals have won a victory and can raise their pups in peace this Christmas season.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top 10 wipe outs on the Mission Beach Flow Rider..

Mission Beaches Belmont Park  in San Diego has a large flow rider wave that curls into a tube. Our intrepid group sat for several hours at dusk watching beginners and experts tackle the wave. It is most fun watching beginners attempt the wave. They are let out holding a tether to keep their balance. As soon as the life guard asks them to let go of the life line, they wipe out and are thrown over the top of the wave. The perpetual wave is created by jets of water that flow up a plastic ramp. One experienced surfer wore Groucho Marx glasses as he surfed the wave. His every move was relaxed and confident. He would disappear inside the tube and then burst out in a flash of spray just when you started to wonder if he had wiped out. It is possible to lie back on the wave and bounce back upright since the wave has a solid base.

Watching the flow riders is an infinitely entertaining way to spend an afternoon.  It became even more relaxing as we sipped margaritas. When we had our fill we walked back down the beach to our apartment where we played card games to pass the time. Up until I was ten years old, my family always rented a bungalow at the Jersey shore. Spending this much time at the beach brought those childhood memories back. My family would play Monopoly late into the night and I remember creating my own boogie board out of plywood. I never graduated to surfing unfortunately. The little kids that rode the flow rider wave always seemed to learn quickly since their center of gravity is already low.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 20 & 21

Saturday December 20, 2014
4pm to 7pm Free but order some BBQ. Grits n Gravy LIVE Christmas Special. Bubbalou's Bodacious Bar-B-Que Restaurant & Catering Services 1471 Lee Rd, Winter Park, Fl. Enjoy delicious slow cooked BBQ and a live Internet broadcast live from Bubbalous Bodacious BBQ on Lee rd. winter park December 20th 4 pm est. we will have karaoke and beer and BBQ specials for all those that attend in person. Plus the musical genius Bubba Whoop Ass Wilson and the comic stylings of country comedian Vic Clevenger more to be announced soon. Follow this event for the most up to date information.

6pm to 8pm Free. Brewery Tour. Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL.

9:30pm to 11:30pm Free, but get a drink or some Tapas. Son Flamenco. Ceviche Tapas Orlando, 125 W Church St, Orlando, FL.

Sunday December 21, 2014
Noon to 2pm Free. Jane Rosenbaum's  Guitar Giveaway. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL. Visitors to Music at the Casa on December 21st can purchase a $3 raffle ticket to enter the drawing to win a new Tyler Mountain Acoustic Guitar! All proceeds go to Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. For more information on the raffle, please see the flyer at the bottom of this page.
 Jane Rosenbohm is an accomplished classical guitarist with over 46 years of experience in Musical Arts whose passion and skill with the Classical Guitar is an inspiration to many as she continues to educate and perform. Jane has performed with various prominent musicians through participating in the Christopher Parkening Master Class and The Castellani and Andreaccio Duo Master Class in Rome, Italy.

Noon to 2pm Free. Feminism For Everybody First Meeting. Stardust Video & Coffee 1842 E Winter Park Rd, Orlando, Fl. This will be our first meeting. We'll be doing a brunch time talk for men, women, and transgender folks who are interested in discussing feminism. Brunch starts at 11:30. This is not an anti-men group. I hope not just women will come as it's very informative to hear about how feminism effects all of us. You do not have to know anything about the feminism movement, come and learn! In this first meeting, we will discuss the following topics:
-Getting familiar with the Mens' Rights Movement..
-How does feminism serve universally?
-Why are some women anti-feminism?
Those are just suggested topics, though. If there's something you want to contribute, please feel free to do so. Below are some articles you can read before hand, although I know people are busy so if you don't, it's no thang:
Men's Rights Movement:
-Articles soon.
How does feminism serve universally?
1. Can Men Be Objectified by Women?:
2. 5 Reasons Why Feminism Needs to Address Child Abuse (While Yes, Recognizing That Women Can Be Abusive Too):
3. Feminism and Anxiety: How the Movement Changed My Relationship with My Mental Health:
4. Pondering Male Privilege Post-Transition:
5. When White Women Cry: How White Women's Tears
Oppress Women of Color:
6. This American Life podcast, 220: Testosterone
AUG 30, 2002: (the whole thing is great, but in particular to this discussion is Act Two, Infinite Gent.)
Why are some women anti-feminism?
1. The crisis of “bad feminism” is worse than you think:
2. More articles soon!
Please comment if you have any other good articles or books as well.

5:30pm to ?  $8 Southern Fried Sunday for The Holidays with Thomas Wynn & Friends, Laney Jones and The Lively Spirits & Justin and The Out.  Will's Pub 1042 N Mills Ave, Orlando, Fl. It's that time again, to gather with friends and celebrate the holidays together to the SFS soundtrack of Thomas Wynn and Friends! This year they'll be joined by Laney Jones and The Lively Spirits -back home from Boston- and a collaborative performance by David Whittaker, Justin Kangrga and the man on skins as Justin & The Out! Bring 3 or more non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Food Bank and receive a complementary eggnog or PBR! Cover includes a BBQ Dinner.
Come share the holiday spirit with us!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Belmont Park In San Diego is always bustling.

On the evening that Terry, Debbie and Paul Andreen went to their high school reunion, I walked down the Mission Beach boardwalk to Belmont Park to sketch the Merry-go-round. Of course choosing to spin something that is always spinning like a top is a bit insane, but I sketched in the calm moments as children clamored on board and saddled up. I found a nice bench where parents often sat while waiting for their children. The roller coaster loomed in the background and screams periodically overcame the Merry-go-rounds pipe organ music.

The Little Dipper ice cream booth had a constant stream of patrons. There was a fence around the Merry-go-round but I felt it cluttered the view, so I left it out. As I sketched dusk turned to night, so I kept darkening the watercolor washed. Sketching at sunset makes sense since the whole process of applying washes to a sketch involves building in the colors from light to dark.

When this sketch was done, I probably had time to do another sketch in one of the arcades. Sketching in such a loud crowded setting is exhausting however so I walked back to the beach front apartment. There I relaxed on the patio and watched the stars. Fire pits ignited all along the beach every 100 yards or so. It was several hours before everyone got back to tell me about what I had missed. The reunion venue overlooked the pro baseball stadium. It sounded like a great sketch opportunity, but that is why I wasn't invited, I can't put the sketchbook down.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Orlando's most increadible private Christmas light display.

Once a year I seek out the best Christmas light display in Orlando to sketch. Folks in Florida tend to be fanatical about their displays which start going up right after Thanksgiving. My online research this year lead me to Christmas in the Shire (14645 Grand Cove Drive Orlando FL). The display has moved this year and is bigger than ever according to passers by.

I parked quite a few blocks away to avoid any possible traffic jams near the display. Traffic however was thankfully light in this new suburban neighborhood. Road work was still in progress on streets as I drove in. I walked through the neighborhood in my black hoodie enjoying the smaller light displays along the way. As I passed a mom removing groceries from her car, she said to me, "Do you want to see that display?" when she turned to look at me, she said with a start, "Oh! I thought you were my son!" I laughed.

What is truly unique about The Shire is the number of Christmas trees both on the yard and inside the home. More than a dozen trees were illuminated in the yard with many more inside the home. Andrew Albertson began collecting Christmas decorations when he was eight. He has over a thousand plastic snowmen, and he only displays the ones that tie in with a theme each year. Inside the home are 53 trees. He owns over 300 artificial trees that are four feet and higher. In all he may have 100,000 lights in the display.  Other displays might have more lights, but he has realized over time that quality is more important than quantity. The front door was always open inviting people to come inside.  At the foot of the driveway was a donation box. When people made a donation, bright white strobe lights flashed throughout the yard in appreciation. This was the only blinking lights in the display. I like that they rely on the simple beauty of the display for a calming effect.

Christmas tunes played all night long. A young couple standing in the driveway started to waltz to the music. Other families children ran around playing tag and excited to find out what was inside the home. It was rather cold the evening I went to sketch. My fingers stiffened and the tablets warm processor is the only reason I was able to finish what I started. Working in watercolor wouldn't have worked. If you want to visit a spot that is certain to warm you up to the holiday season, then head to Hunter's Creek to visit Christmas in the Shire.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Analog Artist Digital World sketches are on display at West Elm.

Nine original sketches from the Analog Artist Digital World archives are now on display at West Elm, 4010 Conroy Road, Orlando, FL. The store offers modern home decor and modern furniture. Here you'll  find the bedding, furniture, room decor, and dinnerware you need to create a stylish contemporary home. The store is right near the Millenia Mall and Ikea, so if your shopping for Christmas, stop by and see some original art. Patrick Kahn from Snap Space curated the display. The work will be on display through the holidays and into the New Year.

I executed this sketch digitally since I felt it might be awkward to use watercolors in a store. I also chose to sit on my artist's stool rather than on one of the comfy couches. Jason Moore is the store manager who hung the show. He recognizes the importance of social  media to spread the word about West Elm.  I had planned to sketch a Christmas light display on this day, but rain made me realize I needed to sketch inside. It seems any time I choose to sketch outside, the weather has other plans for me.

The store wasn't particularly crowded on this evening right after rush hour. One couple however was diligently looking for a new piece of furniture for their home. When the sales lady asked, "So what sort of style furniture is in your home now?" "Our entire home is full of West Elm furnature." was his response. While sketching the store I got a strong sense of the warm uniformity of every item in the store. The color of the sketches on display were bright notes that broke up that uniformity. I was happy to see one woman stand in front of the display for the longest time. It made me happy that the work could be seen in a real world, brick and mortar setting. However, I just came back from Art Basel in Miami where a Pablo Picasso plate worth $85,000 had been stolen. The plate was smell enough where it could be slipped into a hand bag. I realized the woman viewing my work was holding a shopping bag large enough to hold one of my framed originals. Luckily that thought did not cross her mind.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The San Diego Urban Sketchers discover California history.

While in San Diego I arranged to meet up with the San Diego Urban Sketching group. Terry's mom was nice enough to lend me her car so I could drive up the California coast a bit to the Olivenhein Meeting Hall. When I arrived, many sketchers were already hard at work sketching the historic building. The colony of Olivenhein was settled by German immigrants who arrived from Denver in 1884. Each member was granted 5 acres and use of the community's horse teams and equipment. In 1895 the colonists erected this board and batten redwood Community Hall which featured a pot bellied stove, bar, and a stage. Dances, picnics and fourth of July celebrations were traditional meeting hall events. The meeting hall became a California point of historical interest in 1971 and was placed on the National Register of historic places in 1993.

I was fascinated with the light bark of the trees and the vibrant blue sky behind the dark sienna structure. I tried to squeeze in as many sketchers as I could, but some were behind me. When everyone was finished with their sketches, we gathered together and put all the sketchbooks on the ground to see the results.  Then we posed for a group shot while holding our sketchbooks. In all there were eight sketchers that day. Neither Terry or her mom had ever heard of the Olivenheim Meeting Hall, so the field trip had allowed me to sketch a rather hidden gem from California's past while getting to meet some talented artists.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mission Beach turns orange at sunset.

Terry and I rented a beach front apartment for a week along with Terry's high school friends Debbie and Paul Andreen in Mission Beach, San Diego. There was one bedroom that went unused which was a shame. We should have invited another couple. Anyway, every evening we would gather on the beach at a life guard station to watch the sun set. As usual, I was looking the opposite way back at the apartment. Our place is the one with the blue canopy set up in front.

Volleyball players keep playing until there isn't enough light to see the ball. Debbie and Terry are on the right side of the sketch having an intimate conversation. Paul was exceptionally nice to me offering to take me someplace each day to sketch. This was such a pleasure because he was content to hang out and chat with people as I sketched. It was like having an intrepid reporter who knew what questions to ask to get at the heart of any story.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The rollercoaster is the heart of Mission Beach.

 The beach around the Belmont Park Giant Dipper roller coaster gets really crowded on weekends at Mission Beach in San Diego. A competition was held to celebrate the coasters 100 year anniversary. Contestants rode the coaster constantly, only getting toilet and eating breaks. The final contestants stayed on the coaster so long that the final prize had to be divided up among the crazy few who refused to give up. Our beach side apartment was just four blocks from the park. This was just far enough so that we were removed from the shouts and screams.

In the mornings, life guards drove along the beach putting out cones to mark their driving lane and warning signs for any rip tides. A group of children gathered on the beach for surfing workshops. Then the volleyball players would arrive and competitions would happen all day long. We relaxed under a beach umbrella and watched life stream by on the boardwalk. It seemed like everyone was fit, trim and beautiful in California.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekend Top 6 Picks for December 13th and 14th.

Saturday December 13, 2014
3pm to 8pm Free. Frankie's BIG FUN Market. 659 Bryn Mawr, (College park), Orlando , Florida. Every second Saturday. Local college park businesses partner with creatives. The Main Hub is frankie's APARTMENT E (the Event's host location, and where you will get the night's map!) SPOTLIGHTING ALL of ORLANDO's local scene!

7pm to 9pm Free. “Violectric Holiday Show”. Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park, 99 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida. Concert Featuring All Your Favorite Holiday Tunes with a Twist. Following a monumental night kicking off the entertainment at the Grand Opening Gala of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Walt Disney Theater, the talented musicians of Central Florida’s rockin’ strings group “Violectric,” the electric string quintet with keyboards and drums, are ringing in the holiday season with their special holiday show.  Free and open to the public, the concert will feature traditional holiday songs like “Jingle Bells,” “O Christmas Tree” and “Hanukkah, O Hanukkah” mashed up with classic rock tunes like “Kashmir,” “Born To Run” and “Sweet Dreams,” which combined with audience participation, will deliver a fun-filled and highly-unique holiday show unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

7pm to 10pm Free but bring a dish. Robert Metcalf Welcome Potluck. The Kerouac House 1418 Clouser St., Orlando, FL.

Sunday December 14, 2014
10am to 6pm Free. Grandma Party 2014. Stardust Video & Coffee 1842 E Winter Park Rd, Orlando, Florida. Grandma Party is you and me and all of us making it happen. NEAT STUFF: VINTAGE, JEWELRY, SCULPTURE, ART, HANDMADE, PAPER GOODS, PHOTO BOOTH, POLYLUST, LEATHER, FUNDIPPED, RAFFLE, MORE!!!!!
11:30A: ARK
4:00P: ADJY

11am to 2pm Free.  Parrot Adventures. Albert Park, Edgewater Drive College Park, Orlando, Florida. Parrots of all shapes and sizes gather with their owners for a public meet and greet.

11am to 5pm $5.  Big Bang Bazaar Holiday Spectacular! Maitland Civic Center Inc 641 S Maitland Ave, Maitland, Florida. This is a 2-DAY EVENT DECEMBER 13th and 14th from 11am -6pm n Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday. Kids under 12 FREE. KICK ASS CRAFT, ART AND VINTAGE VENDORS - TONS of your favorite indie vendors from all over! FILM FESTIVAL - We'll be showing your favorite movie classics at the stage at no additional charge! YUMMY FOOD!!