Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Party Recap

Raney and Jonathan's Easter Buffet

As I mentioned in my last post, Raney and Jonathan invited me to their annual Easter party last Sunday. It's always a great time because there is a nice mix of old and young, great food and activities for everyone.

Both Jonathan and Raney are great cooks so, as you can see in the photos above, the food was incredible—assorted appetizers to start and a paella feast later in the afternoon.

They had an Easter egg decorating contest and egg hunt for the kids (of course with prizes), but I didn't win any. You know it's all political—who you know, who your parents are, etc. Besides, not to sound paranoid, but I have my suspicions that some of the "parent people" may very well intentionally crank out extra kids just to have what I perceive to be an unfair advantage in this type of sporting event. More chilluns' = more prizes. You know what I mean?

You just had a little "A-Ha" moment right? It's all starting to make sense...

Some of the kids said that I wasn't supposed to be playing at all! Can you believe it?! They even said it right to my face!! Little bastards. I think they're just jealous because I am so much taller, or maybe it's because I pushed a couple of the little hood-rats out of my way. I SAW THE EGG FIRST!!!, it should have gone in my basket. Right!?

I tried to explain to the parents that this was a regulation egg hunt and I came to win. But you know what it's like trying to reason with parents. Their kids are all "right" and everyone else is all "wrong" and they're all in my face with the "why are you so pushy?" crap. I say grow up. A little competitive shove at an egg hunt is nothing compared to what those kids have in store for them in real life. Trust me.

I, understandably, was disappointed and felt a little maligned by the other guests, so I agreed to a little "time-out" during the egg race and egg toss to take some photos of the events:

Easter Egg in Spoon Race in Santa Fe.

Above are photos of the egg race.

Someone won.

It wasn't me.

Enough said.

Easter Egg Toss

Above is a photo of the first broken egg during the egg toss. Unfortunately, no one took me up on my suggestion of a friendly game of egg dodge (like dodge ball with eggs). Maybe next year.

Then came the most important part of the day—the much anticipated EGG DROP!!!

The rules were simple. Everyone was to use the same size box and pack a raw egg inside in such a way as to prevent the egg from breaking when thrown from the roof of Raney and Jonathan's house.

I decided to keep with the Easter theme and created the Pope Peep box in the photo below. I used a photo of a bunch of religiousy looking dudes on a balcony and glued it to the front of my box. I then used some poster board and a second copy of the photo to create a little balcony for the Pope Peep to stand on and glued it to the front of the box. I dressed up my peep like a paper doll using photos of a vestment and pope hat I found online.

When it came time to stick the Pope Peep onto the box, I realized that because of whatever industrial strength petroleum by-product that is used to make peeps, it is impossible to get glue or tape to stick to them. I ended up using straight pins to attach the Pope Peep on his balcony.

This is when I decided to allow true science to take the upper hand. Calculating the estimated distance from the roof to the ground, the weight of the box and egg, the probable trajectory and forecasted wind speed for that afternoon, I hypothesized that by placing my egg in red plastic wrap and filling the box with just the right amount of assorted cushiony peep creatures and a little plastic Easter grass (for it's aerodynamic properties) I would not only have a successful outcome but, quite possibly, I may have built the greatest egg drop box in the history of all mankind :

Pope Peep Easter Egg Drop Box. (exterior on the left, interior on the right)

Then came the moment of truth. Jonathan would fling Pope Peep off the roof:

Jonathan throwing my Pope Peep egg drop box from the roof.

You can see the menacing look on Jonathan's face. I could just tell he had it in for me all day. I think that he was scanning the area for jagged rocks or other pokey-like objects to aim my box towards.

Then he threw it with all the brutal and savage strength he could muster...

My box landed with a heavy thud. I heard a collective gasp from the crowd as we all waited with anticipation for the official egg inspectors to do their job.

The atmosphere was tense—you could feel the electricity in the air. Some guests swooned, a couple fainted with excitement as my box was slowly and carefully opened:

Egg inspectors showing my egg unharmed after a remarkably violent throw off of the roof.

Alas, my egg survived, still wrapped warmly in it's little red cling-wrap onesie.

I won!! I Won!!! I WON!!!!

I got a prize for "Most Creative" and received a ginormous bottle of Raney's homemade rosemary, thyme and garlic infused olive oil.

I used some to make dinner last night.

It's deliciousy!!

So, all-in-all the day went well. It was good to see so many friends, enjoy some great food and spirits and spend time outside on a great spring day in Santa Fe.

BTW, if you were wondering where egg drop boxes go to die, take a look at the photo below.

Hope all of you had a happy Easter. It's now just a matter of time before spring rolls into summer and I can get myself out of complete hibernation mode.

Raney's rosemary, thyme and garlic infused olive oil

Aftermath of the 2012 Easter Egg Drop Massacre.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My First Artsy

**| UPDATE |**

I was able to get this shot of my painting hanging in Raney and Jonathan's house.

Notice that it is surrounded by wine and liquor bottles...I felt a tear in my's like a little offerenda to me:

My painting hanging in it's new home.


Some of my friends and family have asked me to write about my artwork and process so I have created the "Artsy" tag (and tab in the navigation bar) to lump together all of the artsy-fartsy things that I do.

I actually studied art in college and, believe it or not, I ended up with a degree. I still work as an artist, primarily as an Art Director and Designer for media (publishing, advertising, web and social media, etc.). With my art I have always focused on painting, sculpture and photography (although you can't tell by the crappy cell phone pix I usually publish on this site). Unfortunately, I simply don't have time to produce the amount of work that a gallery requires so I work primarily on the occasional commission and a few projects for myself rooted in the simple desire to create.

So, when two of my very good friends Raney and Jonathan became engaged I thought that they actually might like one of my paintings as a wedding gift—or perhaps a salad spinner.

After pricing salad spinners at my local Target store, I decided that $14.95 was an absolutely ridiculous amount to spend on someone other than myself, so I decided to go with a painting.

Shortly before my friends were married they made two major changes in their lives. First, they moved into a new home together. Second, they decided to get a French Bulldog which they promptly named Bullet.

So there was my subject matter. Newlyweds, new home and new dog.

If you have ever seen any of my paintings, you will know that although I paint figuratively, the imagery comes completely from inside my head—it's like a little movie is playing in my brain and I try to select appropriate "stills" to develop the painting. Therefore, I use different light sources, change perspectives, etc. in the attempt to recreate what is going on in my mind.

In other words, schizophrenia.

I try to use as little reference material as possible (photographs, sketches, etc.) because I want to re-create the scene that is in my brain. Of course, the picture in my head is distorted because it is built on many fragments of observation, sound, movement, and so on. Typically I don't do specific scenes much less dog portraits. My subject matter is completely from my imagination. Sometimes I have the dilemma, as in this painting, of having to portray very distinct objects. In this case it was the interior of Raney and Jonathan's new home and their French Bulldog. I knew that I would need at least a couple of photographs to draw from.

So I waited patiently for an invitation to their house. When I was invited to a dinner party I had my chance to get some reference material for the painting that I wanted to create.

This was easier said than done. First, I had to case the place to determine a nice area for the painting. When I had decided on the location inside their home, I had to do a little "composing" of the scene.

The next time you are invited to someone's house for dinner try walking around the house instead of joining in on the conversation. Then begin rearranging their furniture for no apparent reason while clandestinely pulling out your cell phone to take pictures—I definitely got some peculiar looks from the crowd. Fortunately, everyone that was there thinks that I am batsh#t crazy anyway so they just let me be.

When all was finished I ended up with these two photos. One of a corner kiva fireplace with a hand painted chair from Mexico, a wooden bowl from Raney's aunt and some antique candle holders and match boxes inherited from her Grandmother. The other photo was of their dog which also gave me a detail shot of the rug by the fireplace and the patterned brick floor:

Painting Reference Photos: Corner Kiva Fireplace and Bullet on a rug.

So I used the photos to begin the painting. I generally start directly on the canvas drawing with paint or sometimes pencil to get a general layout and composition:

Initial paint "sketch" .

Next, I begin to develop some detail, general color and lighting. This is mostly underpainting. Notice that I have not even begun to place the dog into the painting.

Building up background detail.

Then I added the dog. It is hard to see in the photo but you can see the rough silohuette of Bullet on the floor painted in umber.

Painting with the dog roughed in.

The next photo shows dimension added to the dog and the beginnings of placing the pattern on the chair from the reference photos.

Beginning chair pattern and developing the drawing of the dog.

In the next photo I have continued to develop the pattern on the chair and have decided to include a painting of the painting in the upper left corner to balance the space and provide some kind of quirky interest.

Painting with the addition of an image of the completed painting added to the upper left corner.

Now I begin to develop color relationships and try to utilize color not only to adhere to my mental image of the completed work but to set mood.

Pushing color to develop scene and mood.

The last two photos are just the continued development of color, detail and compositional balance.

Painting with a warmer color shift.

Adding final details and color balance.

And finally, the completed painting:

Completed Painting of Bullet in front of the kiva at Raney and Jonathan's house in Santa Fe.
24" x 30" oil on canvas

Everyone seems to really like the painting and I may have received a nice commission from someone who saw it in their home. If all goes well, the commission goes through, and I get paid enough, I just might splurge and get Rainey and Jonathan that salad spinner as a thank you gift (providing it goes on sale of course).

Sorry about the grainy photos, I will try to remember to use a real camera for my next "Artsy" project.

I am going to an Easter party at their house on Sunday. I will try to take a photo of it hanging on their wall and post it later. How crazy self-absorbed will that look if I get caught! ;-)

Wish me luck!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are We Spring Yet?

Entrance to my Courtyard, May 2011

Well, the first day of spring is finally here (I am so done with winter) but, since I live in Santa Fe, I have to be a little more patient.

A lot of people who haven't spent much time in the Southwest lump everything into the "Phoenix" stereotype—blazing hot summers, warm winters and relatively no spring or fall. That isn't the truth with Santa Fe. Because we are further north than Phoenix and at a 7000+ foot elevation, we have all four seasons (including snow in the winter—there's even a ski resort here). All of our seasons are fairly mild, but for some reason winter seems to last forever to me. As a matter of fact, it just snowed at my house last week—blarf!!

March teases me with a few really nice warm days and then shoves my face into a pile of 45 degree cold and windy mess like I'm a puppy that crapped on the floor.

Daffodils and Tulips, April 2011

Since I have been outside a lot the past few weekends building the Nano Farm, the cold and wind have been more irritating to me than usual. But, building the farm has got me thinking about my Grandma Nit (pronounced neat).

When I was a kid growing up in northeastern Oklahoma, we would often (once a month or so) load up the car and make the drive to visit my maternal grandmother. She hated the word "grandmother" so we either called her Grandma Nit or Enisi (Cherokee for maternal grandmother). The trip was maybe two hours long, but having the patience and attention span of gnats, my brother and I would start the chorus of "Are we there yets" about ten minutes into the trip and repeat every five minutes or as often as we deemed necessary. We would only pause our relentless queries when we saw the sequential roadside signs for Buffalo Ranch which would immediately launch us into the refrain "Can we stop?...Can we stop?!... Can we stop?!!...Pleeease!!! CAN. WE. STOP??!!!" (I force myself to remember doing crap like that to my parents whenever I am tempted to throw them into a nursing home—it calms me like "mind yoga") Wow, exercise is exhausting.

Anyway, we always did stop and, even though it was the 80's, Buffalo Ranch looked exactly the same as it did in the link above.

Iris bed, April 2011

As I have mentioned on this blog before, my mothers side of the family is Cherokee. My grandmother lived on a piece of land that has been in the family since the Dawes Act of 1887. The land is heavily forested, hilly and rocky. Beautiful to look at, difficult to cultivate and use.

Somehow my ancestors were able to carve out a true homestead and sustenance farm way before it became the suburban trendy thing to do. I remember my brother and I "helping out" (which wasn't much) while we were visiting. When we would bitch about having to remove rocks from the garden at planting time my grandmother would gently and quietly say with a wry smile (as only my Enisi could), that our family had cleared that patch of land and had been removing rocks for over 100 years and if we would spend more of our time working instead of complaining, we just might get the job done that year.

Mostly my brother and I would run around in the woods exploring, eating wild blackberries, building forts, fishing and swimming in the streams and tributaries that would eventually lead to Twin Bridges , never realizing how lucky we were to have such an amazing playground, all while being completely unaware of how much we were learning about nature and the earth simply by immersion.

Darwin Hybrid Tulips, April 2011

I am modeling my Nano Farm after my grandmother's homestead with some definite old-school Santa Fe farm influence. I should be ready to start really writing about it in a few weeks.

In the meantime, as I sit here on a cold March day waiting for my garden to begin to look like the photos I have posted from last spring, I can't help but say to myself over and over again "Are we spring yet?...Are we spring yet?!...ARE. WE. SPRING. YET??!!!"

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

It Isn't Easy Being Green...

Evening Snow in my Courtyard

So, in honor of everything that is green for Saint Patrick's Day on Saturday, I thought that I would post a little about what I am planning to do with this website.

You may have noticed that I have placed a new navigation bar under the header at the top of my blog. In an attempt to be organized and make navigation easier, I am going to place all posts into the nine categories listed. I have actually gone through the old posts and linked them to start with, and I will give a complete explanation of each category when I update my profile page. Most are self-explanatory, but a couple may need to be clarified.

As a nod to all the Irish out there, I think that it is appropriate to explain the two categories that are very green themselves.

The first is "Nano Farm".

You may have heard of the locally grown and farmer's market trends across the country. Perhaps you are even aware of "Micro Farming" and the new Homesteading movements.

All sound great except...

Understandably, much of the organic and locally grown produce can be quite expensive. But, those of you who know me are aware that the primary reason I don't do the "locally grown" thing as much as I should is because of most farmer's market hours. They open at like the crack of dawn (I think it's about the same time that animals wake up), and then proceed to close at noonish. Obviously those hours don't work for me.

The other trends of Micro Farming and Homesteading are ideal for the people who live in one of the square states where land is abundant and people are scarce...

Wait a minute, I live in a square state with wide open spaces and a population ranking of 36 out of our 50 states. So what's my gripe? The cost of real estate and land in Santa Fe is exorbitant. Sure, I would love to have a one to two acre Micro Farm or a forty acre homestead but I live in a planned community with "zero lot lines" and livable but distinct covenants.

So what is my solution to trying to be at least a little sustainable and green when I have almost no land and lots of rules? I turn my nose up at the massive Micro Farm conglomerate with all their "space" and "friable soil" and build myself a mini-micro farm or, as I like to call it, my Nano Farm—carved out of the cement-like adobe clay dirt that I call home.

Therefore, the Nano Farm link will be a complete report from start to finish on my Nano Farming efforts.

The second link that may need explanation is "Greenish". Like many of you, I don't have the time or money to be Ed Begley green and, to be quite frank, those super-green people kind of freak me out a little. I read books on being green and some of the publications I have worked on have jumped on the "green" bandwagon. I also browse some "how to be green" websites, but it all seems so daunting and so difficult to implement that I just want to give up. But, I have found that there are ways of making little bits of headway into the green movement without much effort and when I come across a tip or suggestion, I will post it under the "Greenish" tab.

So, I hope that all of you find at least a little something of interest on the new Santa Fe Steeze website. Thanks for reading.

In celebration of the holiday, I will leave you with one of my favorite classic Saint Patrick's Day hoilday vids. Please enjoy:

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Long Absence, A Sad Ending, and A New Beginning

As most of my friends and family know, I started this blog to communicate with my brother. He had lost his hearing due to illness which rendered the telephone useless. Fortunately, he retained a fair amount of his eyesight and was able to go online and get a chuckle or two from the stupid things I wrote about my daily life in Santa Fe.

I like to think that this blog entertained him, enabled him to remember some good childhood memories, laugh at some of the inside jokes contained in the posts, and perhaps I can hope that it even made him a little happy at times when happiness was hard to come by.

It is with extreme sadness that I must inform those of you who do not already know that my brother put up an amazing fight but has lost the battle. He is survived by his daughter, his wife, myself and our parents.

His funeral was a testament to a life devoted to caring for the well-being of others. Memorials were held in two states with processions of countless emergency response vehicles including ambulances, fire engines and state and local police cars all led by MedEvac helicopters hovering above the streets. The Cherokee Nation sent a Shaman and an honor guard who escorted him across state lines for his final memorial and burial in Oklahoma. He received tribute and commendations from two past presidents for his work in emergency health care and his dedication to the Native American population of North America. Many people spoke about him either saving their own lives or the lives of their loved ones. Several people who he taught also paid tribute and most made the trip to attend both services. He was a truly amazing person that had a gift for creating positive change in the lives of others.

The last year has been difficult for us all and I chose to spend as much time as I could with my brother and family instead of posting updates on this blog. Since my brother and I lived in different states, I must thank my employer for allowing me the time I needed to be with my family, a courtesy that I know I would not have received if I had continued to work for large corporations.

I have been asked to continue this blog by many of my friends and family members who started reading it along with my brother. I have decided to move forward but not so much as a tribute to my brother but more as a true document of my real life, concerns and activities. I think that the death of my brother has made all of my close friends and family realize that we need to keep informed of each others lives no matter how far apart we may live.

As I wrote this blog, I tried to keep myself, my friends and family, and most importantly my brother's identity anonymous so that he had the discretion to reveal his illness on his own terms and only to those whom he chose (hence the eezy suffix on all names). I will probably be less anonymous now (within reason of course), I will continue to have the same whack sense of humor and probably write about stuff you think is just stoopid and my posting will more than likely be sporadic at best, but I will really try to organize this blog into something that will be entertaining and perhaps even informative.

But for now, you will just have to wait and see what bangin' hot freshness happens on the newrific Santa Fe Super Steezy blog.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Al Fresco on the Plaza

New Mexico Fine Art Museum

For those of you who are friends, or have been reading this blog, you will know that one of my favorite things about working in downtown Santa Fe is being able to take my lunch break on the Plaza. I am happy to say that for the first time in what seems like days, it has been warm enough to take the leisurely walk from my office to the obelisk where I sit, eat my lunch and watch all the strangeness that we call people.

Teezy's famous apple lunch

You may also know from my previous Fatnip post that I generally have an apple for my lunch break which seems to prompt all sorts of whack fat-asses to waddle up to me and comment on my personal appearance.

Guitar Guy on the Plaza

I sat next to this guitar guy on the obelisk. He was very good and it is always nice to have some live music during lunch. Later in the season there will be all sorts of entertainment—from belly dancers to harpists, jugglers and, of course mariachi.

Santa Fe Plaza Christmas Tree

I am well aware that we are having budget cutbacks in New Mexico, but the fact that the Christmas decorations are still up on the Plaza in March is a little disheartening—although, as you can see in the photo above, there is still a little snow on the ground.

Since I have been waiting patiently for spring, seeing a giant Christmas tree on the Plaza, reminding me that it is still officially winter, was a little irritating.

But, all of a sudden, a cool breeze swept in from the north. The Christmas tree swayed slightly causing it's lights to twinkle and the dusty star to glisten once again in the late winter sun. Everyone on the Plaza stopped for a moment—even guitar guy paused mid-refrain. And there, in that hushed silence, an ever so faint sound of jingle bells could be heard.

Then, with all the stale and left-over Christmasy magicalness that was remaining in the season, something miraculous happened.

Crack Santa appeared!!!

Crack Santa and Mrs. Claus

I know we have all heard the rumors about Santa hittin the pipe after Christmas but I never thought that I would ever witness the results—much less sitting on a park bench directly in front of me. Even Mrs. C seemed a little tweaked—but she kept her eyes on the cop car the entire time.

Smart woman.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another Valentine's Day has Passed

I hope that everyone out there had a spectacular Valentine's Day and was able to do all the wonderful stuff that people do on such a loving and superficial made-up holiday.

Being truly sentimental at heart, every year I do the somewhat cliché but always appreciated romantic evening at home. I get dressed up in a jacket and tie and put on a little cologne. I prepare a nice intimate meal by the fireplace, always with a good bottle of wine. Of course I light candles to give just the right ambience and provide that warm glow of love. And yes, I play some soft romantic jazz on the stereo to set the mood.

After a leisurely dinner it is time to retire to the bedroom where I have previously pulled the drapes, dimmed the lights and covered the bed with hundreds of rose petals. I pop the cork on a chilled bottle of champagne, pour, and begin to get undressed slowly. I climb into bed, sip my champagne, and lie there alone, amid the rose petals, wondering why no one will ever love me.

But this year was different—I actually interacted with other people.

Reezy's Valentine's Day Buffet

My friend Reezy had decided to have a dinner party and was kind enough to invite me. There was a great turn out. I got to see many old friends and meet some new ones and, as you can see in the photo above, the food was incredible.

Surprisingly, I was only sightly humiliated by the fact that I was the only one there alone. Even the gay guys who aren't in relationships brought girl dates—what's up with that? I was going to call them on it but, after a few champagne cocktails, I decided to simply lie and tell everyone that my date was in the bathroom. As the evening progressed and I began to get questioned about the bathroom answer, I cleverly stated that my date had been suffering from diarrhea for what seemed like weeks—I think they bought it because everyone stopped asking me about it.

We all decided to go for a nightcap at Vanessie, a very nice restaurant with a piano bar. The entertainment was pleasant—sentimental love songs with a nice piano accompaniment—and there was a good sized crowd enjoying the show.

The evening ended with an art photographer sitting down next to me at our table and asking me to consider being photographed by her—NUDE! She even tried to get my friends to coax me into doing it. Of course, being the shy and modest person that I am, I said no, but she said that if I was uncomfortable we could start with shots from just the waist up. But that doesn't seem like much fun. I have to admit, seeing my tickle-bits dangling in an art gallery not only makes me chuckle but intrigues me a little bit.

Believe it or not, the photographer is legit—she has done fashion, portraits, and magazine work as well as art photography. Who knows, some day there may be nekid pictures of Teezy in galleries and museums everywhere! I'll keep you posted.

And mom, it is not porn if it is in a gallery—it's erotic ART!!

I will leave you with a little side-hug action to show all of you my love (in a "I gots to have abstinence" kind of way):

You had better beware if you see me coming at you "front hug bound with that look in my eye"!

Fortunately, someone had the good sense to shoot them all dead at the end of the show—you know how those fundamental Christians and their guns can be.

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