Saturday, November 12, 2016

Wine art

This is a painting I made for a wine label. 
Here is a simple painting made into a wine label. It is basically
a copy of one on the internet.  
Another one of my paintings as a wine label. 
One of my favorite wine labels. 
One of my favorite photos. 
Here is a photo of Jenny that I was thinking of painting. I did a practice with it. 

A little practice painting riffing on Thomas Fedro'

I took this photo as a model for a painting, but I might just use it as a label as it is. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Wine with pear and apple

The first picture is the painting, and the following is the photograph. The later pictures are photoshopped versions of the original photo.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wine and Peppers

This is a painting I made for a wine label. While it is a little rough here, it looks better in label size.

This is a photo I took and then applied a photoshop filter to. I like it pretty well.

This is the original photo. I am planning to do a regular painting of it. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Nike Pegasus Zoom 33 Review

It has only been 6 weeks since I got my Ghost 9's, but I have been having a sore knee. I went with my DW to Dick's Sporting Goods. I had time to kill while she looked at jackets.

I tried on these Pegasus, because I know some people love them.

I was surprised at how stiff they were on the inside of the foot. This seemed like it would be easy on my right knee, which has been hurting.

I ran 11 miles today in the new shoes, and my knees feel great.

I have also been babying them by running on a grade.

These shoes are pretty light at 311 g per shoe. This is 24 gram/shoe lighter than my Brook's Ghosts 9s.

They are nice looking shoes with a red-fade-to-black upper and the novel sticking around the laces. I like the hollow bottom under the heel too.

June 30 Update: Initially these shoes were great. They are more structured than other shoes and they gave me support that I wasn't used to. They are still OK, but I find after a few miles my fore foot is getting sore, and changing shoes makes that better. I am surprised that they wore out so fast since I have been rotating between multiple pairs of shoes. I have no more than 450 miles on these shoes, so it feels early to retire them. Perhaps I am being cheap, the websites say 350-500 miles is reasonable depending on your weight.

Perhaps that low density EVA foam is not holding up like it should. The midsole is sunken in the fore foot. The innersole is nearly new. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Brooks Ghost 9 Running Shoes

I have had Brooks Ghost running shoes for a while, this is my fourth pair. The Ghost 9 is very much like the Ghost 8. [Click here to see older shoe reviews.) The sole seems to be exactly the same. The upper is more stylish with pattern in the vent holes. The shoe is 335 g which is 10g lighter than the Ghost 8.

I like this shoe pretty well. Much more comfortable than my other shoes, which may mean that they are wearing out. 

I get sore feet during the summer, perhaps because of walking barefoot, but perhaps because I do more miles. They feel pretty good in these.

June 30, 2017 update:  I set these aside for a while because the upper was so wide my foot would slide around causing some soreness. The shoe is not worn out at all, and after a few months I started wearing it again. No issues. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Abstract Still Lives

As you can see above, I have a wine blog, and I often look for labels that I like. These are usually abstracted still life with a theme that reflect my mood when I bottle it. Since I have a few days off, I am thinking about painting some still lives. Here are some inspirational examples from the web.

From Mark Webster at

More on my Pinterest page

Saturday, July 2, 2016

New Shoe Revue: Adidas Pureboost ZG

My new running shoes are an improved Adidas Boost design. See my previous post of my previous pair. These are Pureboost ZG, obviously in the black & gray. It's got a knit upper which is stretch and breathable. I think it is comfortable especially in the bunion area where some shoes are too tight.

Black and gray make for dull photos in the blog, but for better shoes after these shoes have lived their life as running shoes and have been retired to casual shoes. There are some pretty nice fluorescent yellow Pureboost ZG's at Dicks. After I bought them, I notice Adidas has a sales that undercut Dick's -- but too late for me.

The Pureboost ZG is very comfortable as I expected from my previous pairs.
Wow! Adidas dropped the three stripes!!

If you look carefully, there are three strips by the toe. 

The bottom is not a typical design. Not sure about traction
wet slip resistance. 
299 grams; same as my pair in 2014, lighter than last year's. 

These shoes have a thicker outsole 3-4 mm than either previous pair. Hard to tell what it is made from. 

There is some soil on the shoe. I have run in them twice. As before, it has the illusion of good traction because of the high energy return. 

 It is 299 grams -- nearly the same weight at my first pair of Boost in 2014, and about 10% less than my Supernova's in 2015.

August 2016 Update.
Un-happily I have retired these shoes from running, after one month and perhaps 50 miles.

The problem, which I did not realize earlier, is that these are actually slip-on shoes upon which laces were also added. What does that mean? There is an elastic band across the middle of the shoe -- its gray and you can see it in the photos. Underneath the laces there is no loose tongue which sits underneath the laces. Instead if one tightens the laces, the shoe fabric underneath has to pucker.

As the shoe broke in, it go looser, and my foot slipped forward. Since the shoe is not oversized, by toe touches the front of the toebox. I tried to tighten the laces to keep my foot back, but you can't without puckering the fabric in an uncomfortable way.

Bottom line is this shoe looks like a lace-up, but it is really a slip-on. When the shoe breaks in, it quickly becomes too loose the run in.

Too bad for me.

October Update:

I cut the elastic between the laces, and drilled two new holes for the laces, higher up closer to my ankle. This helps, and now I can run with the shoes.

I find the arch support a little too squishy and I wear an elastic band around my mid-foot to support it.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Culture of Smiling

House, Hanges, Javidan and Gupta did a study of smiling, what they call affect, in different countries, and they use it study attitude toward individualism and the tie it to economics.

The highly individualistic Americans are in the middle -- smiling slightly more than most.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Existential quotes


By SayuriIto
“…Let me whisper the terrible word, from the Old English, from the Old German, from the Old Norse. Death. Many of those crowds were assembled in the name of death. They were there to attend tributes to the dead. Processions, songs, speeches, dialogues with the dead, recitations of the names of the dead. They were there to see pyres and flaming wheels, thousands of flags dipped in salute, thousands of uniformed mourners. There were ranks and squadrons, elaborate backdrops, blood banners and black dress uniforms. Crowds came to form a shield against their own dying. To become a crowd is to keep out death. To break off from the crowd is to risk death as an individual, to face dying alone. Crowds came for this reason above all others. They were there to be a crowd.”
No sense of the irony of human existence, that we are the highest form of life on earth and yet ineffably sad because we know what no other animal knows, that we must die.
Out in the open, keeping their children near, carrying what they could, they seemed to be part of some ancient destiny, connected in doom and ruin to a while history of people trekking across wasted landscapes.
We began to marvel at our own ability to manufacture awe.
The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear.
How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for awhile? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it that no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise.
…but I think it’s a mistake to lose one’s sense of death, even one’s fear of death. Isn’t death the boundary we need? Doesn’t it give a precious texture to life, a sense of definition? You have to ask yourself whether anything you do in this life would have beauty and meaning without the knowledge you carry of a final line, a border or limit.
“To plot, to take aim at something, to shape time and space. This is how we advance the art of human consciousness.”
You are sure that you are right but you don’t want everyone to think as you do. There is no truth without fools.


Is it possible to imagine anything so ridiculous as that this miserable and puny creature, who is not even master of himself, exposed to the attacks of all things, should call himself master and emperor of the universe, the least part of which it is not in his power to know, much less to command?


It’s good at first to be out in the night, naked to the cold mechanics of the starts. Space hurls outward, falconswift, mounting like an irreversible injustice, a final disease.
I understood that the world was nothing: a mechanical chaos of casual, brute enmity on which we stupidly impose our hopes and fears. I understood that, finally and absolutely, I alone exist. All the rest, I saw, is merely what pushes me, or what I push against, blindly – as blindly as all that is not myself pushes back. I create the whole universe, blink by blink.
…this one frail, foolish flicker-flash in the long dull fall of eternity.

I too am learning, ordeal by ordeal, my indignity. It’s all I have, my only weapon for smashing through these stiff coffin-walls of the world. So I dance in the moonlight, make foul jokes, or labor to shake the foundations of night with my heaped-up howls of rage. Something is bound to come of all this. I cannot believe such monstrous energy of grief can lead to nothing! 

The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning. 

Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism – and their assumption of immortality. 

As a child matures, he sees death and pain everywhere about him, and begins to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of man. 

But, if he’s reasonably strong – and lucky – he can emerge from this twilight of the soul into a rebirth of life’s √©lan. 

Both because of and in spite of his awareness of the meaninglessness of life, he can forge a fresh sense of purpose and affirmation.

 He may not recapture the same pure sense of wonder he was born with, but he can shape something far more enduring and sustaining. 

The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death – however mutable man may be able to make them – our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. 

However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. 

―Stanley Kubrick


I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. 

Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. 

Do not now look for the answers. 

They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. 

At present you need to live the question. 

–Rainer Maria Rilke

We are all children of the same dark night, inhabited by the same demons, haunted by the same specters… 

It is not a question of finding an answer to the night of truth but of sitting up with one another through the night, of dividing the abyss in half in a companionship that is its own meaning.

 –John Caputo