If you haven’t been to the Alpine Zone yourself, you’ve seen pictures, you’ve been to movies… you know what it’s like. Roughly defined the Alpine Zone is anything above tree line where conifers and deciduous trees can’t survive. Rock, dirt, earth is exposed at higher elevation but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a thriving environment. Plants grow there, in the form of algae, lichen, flowers. Animals live there, raptors, mountain goats, marmots, chipmunks, and sometimes people.
I’m not sure how that turned out above, but it’s a fascinating map showing all of Idaho’s unique ecozones and regions. Each broken out based on individual geological localities bound together by common characteristics unique to that zone. And one of those larger regions is called the Idaho Batholith.
What got me interested in this topic was a recent hike to Phi Kappa Mountain in the Pioneer Mountains of Idaho. Greta Sallings and her mountain pup Gretchen accompanied the two Golden’s, Kyra & Koufax… and I was there too of course also, as well. On a subsidiary point of Phi Kappa around 10k feet, above tree line, in the Alpine Zone, we came upon this interesting rock formations…
These rock formations, as best as I can tell, are either called Shale Schist or Slate Schist. Through a Google Image search, there are similar formations in the Alpine Zone across the world. It’s a combo rock formed from sedimentary and metamorphosis. The sedimentary silt gets compacted by pressure and heat (metamorphosis)… and thus you get these awesome piles of geometrically aligned thin sharp rock called Shale Schist. Here’s a few things I could come up with to explain it (The Bubbly Professor and Sciencing):
As a truly committed student of wine, you probably know that shale is a type of soft, foliated sedimentary rock composed (at least in part) of clay minerals and (sometimes) volcanic ash. Shale has visible stratification and a tendency to break or split along “layers” (known as “planes of weakness” or “rock cleavage” in geo-speak). This tendency to split along planes is known as fissility (which is just such a fun word).
The Bubbly Professor
Shale is fascinating on its own but there’s more to the story, as shale can be transformed into slate, schist, or gneiss. These three types of rock are produced via varying degrees of metamorphism—changes resulting from heat, pressure, and deformation—and they all have different appearances and characteristics. Some of these differences are discussed below:
Slate: Slate, formed from shale, is a finely grained rock that may be formed under relatively low temperature and pressure conditions (low-grade metamorphism). Slate tends to be one solid color in addition to being very hard and brittle; when broken, it will form flat, smooth surfaces. Germany has several vineyards areas celebrated for their slate soils; these include the Mosel and the Rheingau—both of which also have significant outcroppings of shale (now we know why). Other wine areas rich in slate include the Clare Valley, the Cebreros VCIG (in Castilla y León), and Chile’s Aconcagua Valley.
Schist: Schist is formed (from slate or mudstone) under moderate levels of heat and pressure (metamorphic forces). Schist is identifiable by its visible “grains” (in layered formation), dull luster, and schistosity—the layer-like foliation that is found in certain coarse-grained metamorphic rocks. Despite the fact that it reminds me of a wine-geeky, made-up word (like matchsticky or porch-pounder), schistosity is a real thing.
And back to the Alpine Zone with a more entertaining take. I do admit I geeked out a bit here with Geology and truly don’t know exactly what type of rock formations those were… Shale, Slate… Shale/Schist, Slate/Schist… if you can figure it out, let me know pretty please.
Bill Carman was born in South Korea, Seoul to be exact. American father, South Korean Mother, lived in the Bay Area and at some point came to Boise.
His works are mostly strange, in a good way. They look like what a Neil Gaman book reads like. Or if The Director Tim Burton took up painting, that would be Bill Carman. You’ll find unique round spectacles throughout, kinda steam punk-ish. Lots of octopuses, and everything looks like it may have been Alice in Wonderland inspired.
He teaches at Boise State and sounds like he works tirelessly in his studio, committed and prolific.
And here’s what Bill has to say…
When you look at contemporary imagery particularly as it relates to pop surrealism there are symbols that have popped up regularly and seemingly repeated ad-nauseum. But some of those symbols are important to me and had been a part of my work long before the west coast movement became ubiquitous. I’ll save the bunny stories for another time but cephalopods hold a particularly warm place in my psyche.
I was probably a pre or early teen when our family went on an outing to Moss Landing, a beach in California. Our outings most often included fishing as an integral component. I remember the water being more a calm bay than surf on a beach on that particular day. We fished and caught nothing except maybe a small perch here and there. The moment came when I felt my line stop. I reeled and then it moved. Whatever I had was heavier than a perch. I was excited as I knew I had caught the big one. It was a rare moment when I surpassed my dad fishing. As I continued to reel, my excitement overshadowed the fact that the fish, though heavy, didn’t seem to be putting up much of a fight. When I finally landed my prize it was to laughter from my dad, mom, and brother. My heart sunk when I realized it was a large tin can. World’s best fisherman might have been a sarcastic remark I heard among others. But at my darkest moment the can moved and something seemed to unfold and pour out of it. That dark moment became a great triumph when we all realized that we would be having fresh octopus for dinner. What my mother could do with any cephalopod, octopus being my favorite, makes my mouth water to this day just thinking about it.
The point of this story is that there were very few if any ‘ah-hah’ moments. I have become what I am though an accumulation of a lot of moments both memorable and not.
Everyone knows Marilyn Monroe but did everyone know that Marilyn possessed an awesome set of Mugz???
Coffee Mugz, it’s a private secret that Marilyn before she was mercilessly assassinated by the Kennedy’s ;0)… had her coffee mug set she collected and was super proud of. She had two Mugz she was especially proud of and when people would come over to visit, or at parties… or photoshoots, she would display her huge Mugz for everyone to see!! She was quite proud of her Mugz!!
But kudos to the sense of humor of the coffeehouse girlz of Java Coffeehouse, Twin as in Fallz… for having this painting of Marilyn up in the coffee house and then placing a Java mug in place of an exposed breast. Because it’s Twin, it’s all food manufacturing, farming, ranching, Idaho Cowboy and Cowgirl shit down here. It’s a great little town and great little Idaho community. The nicest people you’d ever hope to meet.
One time Marilyn broke both her Mugz… and then there was this…
So in the interest of prurient decency everywhere, hats off… but shirts on people to Marilyn’s Mugz!!!
…and to the good humor of the Twin Java House galz and their strategic placement of Marilyn’s Mugz!!
This is unique. Built in 1935 by the Sun Valley Ski Club as a winter back country ski hut, it is now open to the public to drop in stay overnight, amid some of the most beautiful mountains Idaho has to offer— The Pioneers.
The Pioneer Cabin sits on a ridge with Handwerk Peak right in your face. To the North is Salzberger Spitzl, to the southeast is Hyndman and Old Hyndman Peak. Somewhere to the northwest is Phi Kappa, which is the objective for tomorrow. I’ll leave getting to the Pioneer Cabin for another trip, another trip to tackle the Spitzl. And you might as well throw in Goat while you are at it.
Here’s a little excerpt from the US Forest Service, yours and my tax dollars at work:
Pioneer Cabin, nestled high in the Pioneer Mountains, is an enduring legacy to Sun Valley’s storied past. Built by Union Pacific Railroad as a ski hut in 1937, the cabin still provides shelter for spring skiers and a popular lunch spot for summer hikers. Perched at 9,400 feet, the cabins front steps offer breathtaking views of the Pioneer Mountains. The cabin can be accessed from the Pioneer Cabin Trail or from the North Fork Hyndman Creek Trail. Both trails involve somewhat strenuous climbs. Wildlife viewing is great, particularly for elk.
But it wouldn’t be what it is without the mountains around in. There’s been talk for awhile of making the Pioneers into a National Recreation Area similar to the Sawtooths/White Clouds, but I say just leave it as it is man!
At just 10,516 feet, Phi Kappa might get lost among all the other dramatics 11’ers & the Grandaddy 12’er Hyndman but it’s just 2.75 miles in and a little less back, there’s a trail for an approach and evidently a cake walk to get on top. That’s the plan for tomorrow.
To get lost from society and finding yourself in the middle of mountains like the Pioneers in Idaho. Not sure it gets too much better than that. And you can have a free cabin to stay to boot.
There is something hopeful in most works by this Canadian Artist, self-taught, autistic on the spectrum, and suffered from depression through his adult life. He left too soon at age 35 but left behind all this great creative colorful landscapes, daily ink drawings every morning. There’s hope in what is left behind. The tortured artists persona is all too common. Wong was one of them but he didn’t follow convention, he stood out in the uniqueness of his creations.
One critique of writing about art is that it’s inaccessible in its language. To make it sound intellectual, when art writers write about art… it’s like that person at a party that tries to impress you with all the words. When you put art into words, it seems to drain the joy right out of the experience of just staring at it, getting lost on it, finding the detail and color of a creative mind, seeing things creatively. Damn!! Now I’m doing it.
MATTHEW WONG paints with distinctly singular brushstrokes that call to mind Modern masters such as Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. He creates psychologically-charged scenes, that although recognizable, possess an essence of uncanny. Wong’s range of color and mark-making originate from moments of daydreaming. He often portrays a small, solitary figure to reflect on the inherent loneliness of contemporary life. Wong lives and works in Edmonton, Canada.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life? I was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up in Hong Kong. Art first appeared in the picture in my late 20s towards the end of the 2000s. I had graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and spent about two years working a variety of office jobs, but nothing really seemed like a viable pursuit for the long haul and I was losing passion and motivation in life. During a lull in employment I found myself beginning to take photos with my cell phone, street signs and found geometric arrangements out in the urban environment, things like that. Shortly after, I decided to enroll in the City University of Hong Kong’s School of Creative Media for an MFA in an attempt to acquire better technical training for photography. My first memorable encounter with painting was in 2011, when I was an intern for the Hong Kong pavilion of the Venice Biennale that year. Coming across works by two artists in particular caused a radical shift in my thinking – the Julian Schnabel retrospective at the Museo Correr, and a series of 8 large Christopher Wool silk screened Rorschach blots in the main pavilion. It hasn’t occurred to me that painting could take these forms beyond realistic depiction, and I had a newfound curiosity to read and find out more about the evolution of painting over the past century. I finally began to paint and draw earnestly in 2013, using the local library and the internet as my tools for self-education in the medium.
Can you tell us about your process? How do you go about creating a new work? My process is not limited to the time spent in my studio painting, in fact I would say over the past year the making of my work has come to a rhythm where most of the work is done in idle moments when I am at home daydreaming, or watching movies and listening to music, drinking coffee or going out on walks that have no destination or purpose in mind. During these in-between moments I’ll often have quick flashes of imagery appear in and out of my thoughts, they could be shaped or triggered by something I saw or heard out in the world, an artwork I have seen, and more and more the works I have done in the past. Going by intuition and my emotions I will then head to the studio and set out to elaborate in paint these vague glimpses I get. The process is improvisatory as I don’t do any sketching or planning beforehand. The actual time spent painting is meditative in nature and they inevitably come to appear as they do in the final image, and I don’t spend too long deliberating on decisions, simply trusting my instinct and the flow from hand to surface.
There are hints of melancholy in your work which often features a lone figure. Do you intend for your paintings to be interpreted in this way? Living a fairly reclusive life and finding the most stimulation and enjoyment from matters of the mind, be they following the natural path of my imagination or watching films in the dark of my living room, an activity which is a part of my routine I pursue every night without fail, it’s inevitable that the solitary nature of this pattern seeps into and informs my work. That said, I would like my paintings to have something in them people across the spectrum can find things they identify with. I do believe that there is an inherent loneliness or melancholy to much of contemporary life, and on a broader level I feel my work speaks to this quality in addition to being a reflection of my thoughts, fascinations and impulses.
Matthew Wong, what is left, and what is left behind.
You know how it is, certain songs stick with you and regardless of their popularity, you can go back and re-visit them again & again, and it’s almost like hearing them for the first time. Everyone has their list of music like this. It’s a matter of what appeals to you, speaks to you. A matter of taste and with music, no taste is necessarily bad, it’s yours, it’s mine. Okay, I’m trying some new internetz skillz below, embedded a YouTube
We’ll see if all that internet YouTube trickery worked or not. This all started from hearing a podcast called, “Disgraceland,” by Jake Brennan and him pointing out that it was “The Who’s Next,” 50th year anniversary. I’m the last one to extol the virtues of every single Rolling Stone magazine music list as I’m convinced they are all written by Boomers in the Bay Area that never moved past music that was made in between 1968 – 1979. I hate the Classic Rock Radio that plays the same 50 songs over and over again, The Who, The Dead, The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, ZZ Top, etc. Great music comes out every day since then.
The story behind the album cover is pretty fascinating and fortuitous. The album arose out of a failed concept album that Pete Townshend had been working on called Lifehouse. Concept albums were all the rage back in the day. So Kubrik’s 2001 Space Odyssey was on Townshend’s mind. They were talking about some type of album cover that featured a futuristic space obelisk… something from Space Odyssey. Driving around the English Countryside they came upon a Coal Quarry that featured an abandoned monolith. They stopped, Pete had to pee so he wizzed on it. The others couldn’t summon the urine themselves so they found some rain water to simulate that the whole band peed on it. The photographer was there and the rest is history. Anywhooo… it’s a great album, the music sounds current and relevant and probably will 100 years from now.
There are all sorts of list out there that speak to the most timeless songs, ones that people keep listening to year’s later. Oddly enough Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” comes out on countless lists. I’m not sure I’d give that song all that, but here it is nonetheless.
But I would be down for adding this one to the list…
Or maybe this…
From the alternative scene… this one certainly comes to mind…
And then two of my all time favorites that make every single top 10 songs of all times lists I can come up with…
And just a couple more to round out the diversity of music and it’s timelessness… so many I could have picked out from Led Zeppelin’s catalog but I’m going with Kashmir..
And not to forget those who brought us here…
And taking it back to 1935 and the original Americana…May the Circle Remain Unbroken…
And to go out on a positive note, I’ll leave you with some Ralph Stanley and “Oh, Death,” it waits for us all, and there’s a permanence there as well… just like the circle of life. The permanence of music and certain song’s effect on you throughout life. That you can count on.
Okay we have this stereotypical view of mathematicians and math. It’s nerdy right? And it’s only a discipline that you have to be a white-haired man who can endlessly drone about at a chalkboard spending 50 minutes putting whole lecture halls of young adults to sleep (regardless of the time of day) showing the brilliance of how an equation was derived. Self-licking ice cream cone much?
Well that’s not Hannah Fry. She’s a rising star in popularizing mathematics and is only 37!!!
What do we know about Hannah?? From somewhere on the internetz, “Dr. Fry is a mathematician, public persona and just an all around badass!”
She is British and of Irish descent. And smart as a whip and can speak and hold people’s attention despite her subject matter… math!! And she’s a Mom too!
Dr. Fry works for the University College of London. Hello Department of the Redundancy Department!! London Calling, we want our good grammar back with your “University College” naming and all!! Queen’s English… geez!!!
And she wrote some books and shit. Don’t believe me? I mean she’s done a whole lot of shit by age 37. I know, it makes us tired, or at least me, and makes me feel like… well what have I done with my life by age 52???!! That’s just negative thinking though and not what we are about here with the good thingz!!!
Do you see the way that tree bends? Does it inspire? Leaning out to catch the sun’s rays. a lesson to be applied… Are you gettin’ something out of this all encompassing trip? —Pearl Jam, Present Tense
This dance It’s like a weapon Of self defense Against the present Present tense. —Radiohead, Present Tense
You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets… Or you can come to terms and realize You’re the only one who can forgive yourself… Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.
I won’t get heavy Don’t get heavy Keep it light and Keep it moving I am doing No harm As my world Comes crashing down
Have you ideas on how this life ends? Checked your hands and studied the lines? Have you the belief that the road ahead ascends off into the light?
I’m dancing Freaking out Deaf, dumb, and blind In you I’m lost
Seems that needlessly it’s gettin’ harder To find an approach and a way to live… Are we gettin’ something out of this all-encompassing trip?
I won’t turn around when the penny drops I won’t stop now I won’t slack off Or all this love Will be in vain Stop from falling Down a mine
It’s no one’s business but mine That all this love Has been in vain In you I’m lost
You can spend your time alone redigesting past regrets, oh… No!!
Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.
Time can be our enemy or our friend. I’ve found that if you find a way to slow down time, in the present, it feels like you have more of it. Then you appreciate what’s around you, who’s around you. Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.
The most important thing to know about comedian and actor Flula Borg is that he won 3rd in a contest to find the most sexiest DJ in a very specific region in Nothern Bavaria, Germany. Not many people can say that. But Flula can.
Flula has partnered up with Conan O’Brien and has become a fixture among the Team Coco’s!! He is quirky, eccentric, and zany… in a loveable warm way.
What else do you need to know about Flula? He hails from Erlangen Germany which is a suburb of Nuremberg, Northern Bavaria, Germany. That’s right Nuremberg where they had the famous trials after WWII of Nazi DJ’s who played samples from David Hasselhof’s pop hits and mashed it up with that song “I’m too sexy.” Yeah that Nuremberg.
Flula got his start as a dancer, dancing the dance of the Schuhplattler. Which I guess is the Bavarian version of the forbidden dance, The Lambada, but just a whole less sexy and nothing really like it so much.
Check this list from “She Knows,” of Borg’s greatest hits. It’s pretty hilarious to include Flula’a take on a German Acapella leader in Pitch Perfect 2.
But before we leave here’s another one of Flula being Flula…