Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beacons

These two beacons mark the entrance to the yacht harbor at Oeiras, which is just down the street from where I work.  I think they'll make a good painting.

I saw this old house the other day, and the way the light struck it made me wish I could sit down and paint it, right then and there.  Taking a photo is a less than satisfying alternative.
This little cat with a bobbed tail was my companion as I took photos along the shore recently.  She was very affectionate.

Bavaria

As I mentioned several posts back, work took me to Bavaria for about 2 weeks.  If ever the case was made that beauty springs from order, it was made there.

This is a typical Bavarian woodpile.  Everywhere I went, I saw stores of firewood stacked like this - every piece cut to precisely the same length and stacked neatly for the winter.

This 1956 BMW is in pristine condition.  I like how the front end of the car is the door.

This peak overlooks the village of Oberammergau.

The mountains make for a dramatic backdrop.



Here in Portugal we have graffiti.  In Bavaria, they have murals.



Neuschwanstein Castle, an icon of Bavaria


This is Schwangau, a village that seemed to have a strong Italian influence.  I wish I'd had more time to spend there.  Of course, that applies to every place I visited on my trip.  I didn't have nearly enough time to see all I wanted to see, or experience everything I wanted to.  

Once in a while there's something about a trip that makes it so special that I almost wish I hadn't gone.  I feel that nothing will compare to where I've just been, and that nothing will be the same after I've left.  That's what I was thinking as I left Bavaria. 


Friday, July 23, 2010

The Coming Wave of Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism

Q: What goes “Clop clop clop BOOM?”




A: An Amish car bomb.

And the Department of Homeland Security was the first to warn us about it, cautioning us not to be fooled into thinking that violent jihadists were the primary threat to our nation’s security. Those Christian fundamentalists, according to Janet Napolitano and her department, are the ones to watch, and now it appears her warnings may be coming true.

As you may have read earlier this week, (Click on the title of this post for the full story.) Levi Detweiler, a 17-year-old Amish youth, allegedly led sheriff's deputies in Leon, New York, on a mile-long chase, after running a stop sign in his horse and buggy and refusing to pull over. He overturned the buggy attempting to corner too quickly, and continued afoot before being caught.

What clearer indication could we ask for that Christian fundamentalists comprise a growing threat to our nation’s domestic tranquility? A number of questions immediately leap to the analytical mind when faced with an incident such as this. “Why did Mr. Detweiler flee the police?” “Was Mr. Detweiler en route to or from a secret meeting with other antigovernment radicals?” “Was his buggy stocked with explosives or subversive posters?” And “What’s with the Dumb and Dumber haircut?”

We can only hope that officials from the Justice Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the F.B.I., and the Department of Homeland Security are on the scene, conducting rigorous investigations, and that members of the Department of Agriculture’s crack Shirley Sherrod Memorial Farm Aid Dissemination Squad are reviewing activities on the Detweiler farm.

To that end, your intrepid correspondent has examined Google Earth satellite images and has discovered that the Amish in the vicinity of Leon, New York, as well as other communities across that state and Pennsylvania, seem to be stockpiling inordinately large amounts of fertilizer. As everyone who remembers the Oklahoma City bombing knows, there is only one use for fertilizer, and that is the construction of car bombs.

Let’s hope the government can continue to keep us safe from the coming wave of Christian terror.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I helped Mort Zuckerman Help Obama Write his Speeches

Well, it's obvious this was going to come out anyway, so, in order to prevent anyone from being able to hold this over my head, let me just admit it now: I helped Mort Zuckerman help write some of the President's speeches.  I won't go into a lot of detail now, but suffice it to say that I helped add the human dimension to his high-flying oratory.  You know those ums, and ahs he's become famous for? 

Those are mine.

Friday, July 09, 2010

More Views of Portugal

This narrow alley leads uphill to my house.  I love the tree that overhangs it, and the way the upper branches catch the morning light while underneath all is shade.


This is another view of the same tree, from the other end of the alley.

This disused train station is also near my home. I used to have no interest at all in painting buildings; I was much more interested in natural landscapes. These days, however, I find myself drawn more and more to architectural subjects.

Here's another building that would be fun to paint, but from a different angle.  I think it would be kind of fun to live in a house with its own belfry. 


There are beautiful homes all over the place, falling into ruin.  This one has a spectacular view of the bay.

Independence Day

I spent the 4th of July en route from Portugal to Germany, so I didn't get to enjoy any of the usual Independence Day festivities.  I did spend a little time, though, remembering what it's supposed to be all about.  In order to keep that in mind, I have this American Flag, which I have been carrying with me since my first deployment.  It's flown more than 30 combat / combat support sorties with me, has been all over Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and is now getting a tour of Europe. 

 I hope your Independence Day was a great time, spent with those who are most important to you, and that you took a little while to think about what our independence means, and to be grateful for those who sacrificed so much to secure it for us.

Living Room Window

The 2nd floor living room overlooks Praia Tamariz, which is the beach of Estoril.  Just a couple weeks ago it was the scene of an airshow.
The little bay is also frequently an achorage for some interesting vessels.  This three-masted sailing ship was too far for my little camera to pick up, so I took the shot by focusing through a pair of binoculars.  I didn't think there would be enough light for it to work, but it came out pretty well, considering.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Still in Germany

And I'll post pictures from here soon.  Meanwhile, here are few from Portugal.  I call this one Pepsi Street.  I'm looking forward to painting it.

Here's another future painting.  This is the mouth of the Oeiras City harbor.



As promised, here are some shots of the kids and our projects.  Here, Zoe is painting her chair.

Here, Zach is using the Dremel tool (man's best friend) to cut the steering tube on his new suspension fork.


Before I left for Germany, Zach and I had installed the front end of his bike.  Here's how it's looking now.  When I get home we'll put on the drive train and finish it up.  Then we'll start riding together.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

World Cup Soccer

Tonight I'll watch Germany play from an undisclosed location in Bavaria.  Alps, beer, and dirndlekleids.  What better setting could I ask for?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

New Home for my Paintings

Angle of Attack

The name server that was hosting my painting site failed to renew its domain name, leaving several other painters and me suddenly without access to the sites where we have been displaying our work. I redirected my name server, at least temporarily, and hung a small fraction of my paintings on my new site. Once again, you can go to www.stevengivler.com to see my paintings of Iraq, California, Saudi Arabia, and Portugal.

Red Steer


Grass and Fog


Thursday Morning


Tree, Carmel Beach


Century Plant III

Gone to Seed


Morning Light