Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's Gotten Colder

Christmas is just around the corner, and I'm all set.  Sent out my cards and got my gifts.  Of course the greatest gift was delivered on Nov.23rd when my granddaughter, Beatrix Lily, was born.  She has these wonderful, long, delicate fingers.  Obviously, the artistic gene has been passed on.  I've included a picture of her whistling.  This is one precocious child.  She's beautiful and intelligent.  (Hey, I am her grandfather, but I'm telling you the God's honest truth.)

Back to the rock sculptures.  Someone finally decided it was time to knock down the sculpture at Ardmore Ave.  No big surprise there, as it is in easy reach of the sidewalk, since the Christmas tree place has arrived.  I re-built the sculpture and took the photo so you can see the trees, just in case you want to stop by.  It's actually two sculptures next to each other with the smaller one slightly closer to the Christmas tree fence.  Yes, it is hard to tell from the photo.  So get up and go out and see it.  Jeez. but you guys are getting lazy.

As I'm re-building the sculpture, the people passing by tell me how much they love seeing it.  Guess they're not the guy knocking it down.  Better yet, no one has driven by and taken a shot at me.  Yeah, life is good.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Found $5 At Wynnewood Train Station

Yes, once again both sculptures were down at the train station.  Awise man once told me, as he passed me by, "You must be nuts to do that!"  Well, I certainly can't argue with him over his evaluation of my actions.  It's becoming more and more tedious re-building these sculptures.  The fact that it's becoming colder and colder outside, doesn't help.  Even finding a five dollar bill at the train station didn't make re-building the rock sculpture for the umpteenth time any more satisfying.  So, again, there's a rock sculpture up for unknown people to pass by and marvel at.  That is, marvel at the insanity of it all.  Sure, I could cement the sculptures, but then they lose the natural appeal of being balanced just so.  Well, we'll see how much longer I continue with this endeavor.

Meanwhile, I've thrown in a photo of Olive.  She's a French bulldog that comes into the Pet Valu regularly for baths and treats.  Now that I work at Pet Valu, I have less time to play with the rock sculptures.  However, I'm making friends - both two legged and four legged.  And am really enjoying this new phase of my life.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hello Beatrix Lily

She's my first grandchild and she really is beautiful.  Born on November 23rd in New York City, she's now here in Pennsylvania along with her Mom and Dad.  Adding delight to an already wonderful Thanksgiving, my daughter, Emily, is also home for the holiday, albeit a little under the weather.  With so much joy, what could go wrong?  Well, the toilet could break!  And it did just after we got home late last night.  Thankfully, Mape's had the part and all is well.
The same could not be said for the sculpture in the small alcove at Wynnewood Train Station.  I decided to give it a complete make-over.  I'll be interested to see if this configuration will withstand the forces of chaos better than the previous rendition. 

I stopped off at the Ardmore and Lancaster Avenue sculpture and found that it was not only knocked down, but was also being encased in a six foot high, chain link fence.  My first thought was,"Wow, how nice of the owner to put up this huge fence to protect my sculpture from being knocked down."  However, the nice young men installing the fence told me they would be putting Christmas trees on this location.  My sculpture was not going to be included inside the fence.  BUT, I could re-build it outside the fence.  Don't have to tell me twice.  I grabbed my rocks and rolled out of "their" space.  The sculpture is closer to the street, and, thus, more vulnerable to destruction, but it wasn't so invulnerable where it had been.  I'm hoping the passersby are more in a giving spirit and give me a break on my sculptures.


Ain't that little girl great!?!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Copy Cat

"Imitation is the greatest form of flattery."  So, why am I slightly pissed and greatly annoyed that someone else re-built the rock sculpture at Ardmore Ave. and Lancaster Ave.? And, especially, that it's not been knocked down?  What?  Is this a better built, more aesthetic sculpture than the one's I make?  (I think not!)  Has this person found the Rosetta Stone for preventing people from knocking down the sculpture?  (Or is this actually the person who has been knocking them down?)  Yes, I've left it up.  Why should I strain my fractured rib to re-build it, even though it's not what I would have made.  When (and if) it does fall, I'll be there to make something I like.  (Like the one at Media Lima Dental Associates which is pictured below.)

The sculpture in Ardmore is a pile of rocks, starting with the four largest rocks as a base.  It then builds up to smaller and smaller rocks like a four sided pyramid.  The viewer who comes east on Lancaster Ave. doesn't get to see much of anything till they get directly nest to the sculpture.  The sculpture in Media is more open.  It can be enjoyed from different viewing positions.  It requires greater skill at balancing the rocks, giving a more aesthetic, interesting appearance.

Oh, yeah, I guess I am more than slightly pissed.  I should just get over it.  After all, they're only a pile of rocks.  BUT THEY'RE MY PILE OF ROCKS!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rockin' In Radnor, PA

The township gardeners did their Fall clean-up at the Rte. 320 and Rte. 30 intersection.  Unfortunately, the rock sculptures located in this park area fell victim to their vigorous attention to detail.  That minor detail being the partial destruction of both sculptures.  It really was a shame.  These sculptures had stood the test of time.  (Well, at least for a couple of years.)  God knows, most of these sculptures fall (or are knocked) down nightly, so two years is a substantial amount of time.

Somehow I got a spurt of energy, and applied mortar to these two sculptures.  If left alone they should make it through the trials and tribulations of winter.  (Anybody wanting to see rock sculptures in Florida, please feel free to pay for my expenses there and back - as well as food, lodging, entertainment, etc.  I shall joyfully oblige.)  As it is, I bought an expensive pair of gloves so I can continue to maintain this idiocy during the winter here.

The rock sculpture at Penn  at Radnor was in fairly good shape.  I just gave it a minor touch-up.  However, the sculpture at Radnor Park was totally knocked down.  The rocks were strewn (ah, that college education, again) around the base rock in the leaves.  Yes, it's obvious, even to me, that someone doesn't care for my artwork.  BUT they left the rocks!  So, obviously, they want me to re-build it.  It's just a matter of making a sculpture they do like.  Right?  I know there were more rocks, but I wasn't able to find them all in the leaves.  It's not the greatest rock sculpture I've made there, but considering it is forever getting tossed about, it's good enough.  Besides I tire easily these days - oh hell, I"ve been a lazy SOB my whole life - and wanted to get home to write up the blog.

I've thrown in a nice photo of Gracie.  I was trying to get a picture of Shayna Punim (which you, of course, know is Yiddish for "pretty face") with her nose sticking out of the crate, when Gracie sat herself down in front of me.  It was a perfect pose.  Hope you like it, as well as the shot I was going for of Shayna. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Street Cred - I Got It

I had to re-build my smaller rock sculpture at the Wynnewood Train Station.  As I'm putting it together, I noticed that one of the rocks had been "tagged" with magic marker.  I think "Wow, someone put street art on my street art".  It's doesn't really stand out much, which is why I took the close-up photo.  And you'll just have to trust me that I didn't do it myself.  I doubt that I have that sort of talent.  Is he trying to take credit for my work?  Should I be signing these rock sculptures?  Then someday someone can say, "See, I have a rock sculpture signed by the artist himself!".  (Or have I taken this a bit too far?)

The bottom picture is of the re-built sculpture at the Oak Hill Condos.  I doubt that it is still up, as the gardeners were using they're leaf blowers to clean the area while I was there.  They tend to not make an effort to avoid knocking into the sculptures.  They probably just don't notice them.                                                                                         

It matters not.  The sculpture is down since the Nor'easter went through yesterday.  It's too cold and snowy for me to go out and re-build.  Once the snow melts and the weather becomes balmier, I'll sally forth to restore all my traumatized sculptures.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fame and Fortune Come My Way

The man in the photo is Luke Madeira.  He's taking a stop-action photo montage of me building (re-building, actually) the rock sculpture at Ardmore Avenue.  When it was completed, he interviewed me about my Rogue Rocks.  (I had neglected to tell him that I'm a much better rock sculptor than I am an interviewee.)  He's going to have a hell of a job of editing.  I'm much better speaking chair-side (dental chair, of course) than I am to a camera. 
Luke had seen my sculptures and thought it would be an interesting subject to film and offer to the world.  The fact that this co-incides with the capture and killing of Moammar Gadhafi is totally unrelated.  (Though I've no doubt Gadhafi would prefer the news were about my rock sculptures, as I'm, obviously, having a more enjoyable weekend than he is.)
Yes, (enough about Gadhafi), so we moved the site to the left about six feet to start with an empty plot.  You can see the previous sculpture was knocked down last night in the first shot.  (I found two pennies, a nickel and a quarter in the rubble.)  I moved the rocks one by one to the new site with Luke snapping away.  It's actually easier for me to build these quickly.  I get into a rhythm and find that the rocks dictate where they want to be.  (The Rock Whisperer lives!)  But I slowed down some for Luke.
When the sculpture was completed. he did the interview.  (I seriously hope the editing can make me look knowledgeable and charming.)
I've just gotten off the phone with Luke.  He said some of the interview doesn't sound good because of wind noise.  We're meeting tomorrow morning to re-do the interview, using a better mike.  Who said, "There are no second chances"?  (I think it was me.)   Let's see, another chance to sound like an idiot who goes out and piles rocks up or a chance to sound like Alistair Cooke (cool British commentator) who'd probably have nothing to do with rocks.  I'm stoked.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Ups and Downs of the Ardmore Ave. Sculpture

This rock sculpture is one of my largest and most complex.  It can be (and is) re-built in many varied and different ways (almost daily).  I've thought about putting up a "nanny" camera to catch a look at who knocks it down, but "who" and "why" don't really interest me.  I'm just happy to have the work in such a prominent location.  Every time I re-build it, I get to interact with the people walking and driving by.  Their curiosity and positive responses do wonders for my ego.  (So, how big is big?)  Well, "inflated" could be the right word, but let's not quibble over something so fragile.  (My ego, not the sculptures.)  Today, someone in one of the cars stopped for the traffic light, took a photo of the sculpture.  If they had told me they were going to do that, I would have gladly posed next to it.  They're probably sending it into the New York Times.  I'm sure I'll hear from the NYT soon.  (Like I don't send them photos every week myself.)
Anyway, I've also been getting help from the area residents in the re-buildings.  Sometimes they add rocks, and a couple of times there have been coins placed on the rocks.  Hey, starving artists need to eat, too. 

When I had finished re-building the sculpture and was in the car leaving, a Lower Merion police car drove into the lot next to me.  ("Great", I thought, "I get to make the local news again.  Only this time it would be in the weekly police report in the Ardmore-Wynnewood Patch".)  Fortunately, he was only curious about the sculptures, and not the creator.  I gave him one of my cards (yes, I really do have cards with my name on them), and a brief description of what it's all about.  Maybe I can get them to stand guard over them at night, so there will be fewer "downs" and thus fewer re-builds. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My First Police Encounter

It's been a while since the rock sculpture at City Ave. and Conshohocken State Road was knocked down.  I'd actually become comfortable that it would stand the trials of time and location forever.  Ah, foolish me.  Today I went by on my way to my mother's place and was shocked to find it knocked over.  After seeing Mom, I returned to the scene of the crime to re-build the sculpture.  I had it almost complete and was making slight improvements when I looked up and saw a Lower Merion police car with an officer staring at me. 
How much trouble could I be in?  (I mean these are MY rocks!)  Yet, the property they're on belongs to someone else.  I casually stroll over to the officer's window and try to explain what I was doing.  (Like what the hell am I doing?)  Why I'm gardening!  I have on my gardening gloves and I'm weeding and cleaning out the small island in which I've built the rock sculpture. 
It's all good with officer Frank.  And since I'm a citizen of Lower Merion, we have a nice discussion about everything except politics and trespassing.  Frank is really a decent guy (and probably a better than decent cop).  He warns me to be careful as the neighborhood isn't quite as nice as where I live.  He shakes my hand and heads off to find more credible criminals.  (I have really lousy cred in the 'hood.)
I, also, went back to Media Lima Dental to re-build the sculpture there.  It ended up with fewer rocks, but being more stable.  I'm working on better stability, so I don't end up re-building over and over... 

Which is why I've thrown in a couple of pictures of the sculpture at Ardmore Ave. and Lancaster Ave.  The same person/people knock it down every night.  And I re-build it every morning.  I'm meeting a lot of people who like my sculptures, since I'm right there every morning re-building this one.  (Isn't the definition of crazy "doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result")?  Well, there I go.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rosh Hashanah 5772

Veys mir!  Everyone is going to synagogue and I'm out re-building rock sculptures.  I'll never get my name inscribed into the Book of Life this way.  Maybe I can get it inscribed into the Book of Stone.  (As in "You're gonna sink like a stone all the way to Hell.")  Alas, my fate, is written in stone.  It used to be written in composite resin, and before that it was in amalgam.  Such is the progression of life - always improving.
Anyway, I went to Ardmore Ave. and, to my surprise, the sculpture was still standing.  Is it possible the miscreants that knock it down have gotten tired of doing so?  Or is this a Rosh Hashanah gift?  A couple small stones had fallen off from yesterday's heavy rain.  I replaced them.  Nothing worth a photograph.

I went back to The Oakhill Condos and re-made a couple of sculptures.  How do you think they stack up?  (That's a rock sculpture joke.)  Hey, I didn't say it was a funny joke!  Unfortunately, it's one of my better jokes.  The rock sculptures are similar to the joke.  Just OK, but nothing to write home about.  So, I'm done writing. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ardmore Train Station (And Ardmore Ave. - Again)

It's been a while since I've visited my site near the Ardmore Train Station, so I returned to it only to find almost all the stones knocked back into the planted area.  No big surprise there.  This is another location that gets destroyed regularly.  It's a secluded spot, perfect for surreptitious (yes, I looked this word up in the dictionary.  So what?)  building of rock sculptures, as well as under-aged drinking and drug use.  I use the area for all three activities.  Shh, don't tell.
Since the rocks were still present, I re-built the sculpture.  You'd think that it would look the same as the original sculpture, but it doesn't.  I'd forgotten what it looked like originally.  I already forgot what I did yesterday, so there's no way I'd remember the original look of this sculpture.  Hope it stays up for a while.  I like the way it presents.  The spike adds some pizazz (don't see that word very often) to the piece.

And, of course, I re-built the Ardmore Ave. sculpture.  It took quite some time.  People stopped in cars, on bikes and on foot to talk to me about the rocks.  Even Mike, the owner of the car wash and this lot, came over to talk.  He told me that a mother and her young son stopped and built a small sculpture near mine.  It makes me happy to hear that my efforts have produced a creative learning experience, rather than an opportunity to destroy someone's artistic creation. 

A bike riding philosopher stopped by to comment on the plight of humanity, especially in this country, where it seems, we're going to hell in a hand basket quite rapidly.  All this because kids knock over my rock sculptures.  He suggested I plant a camera to catch the low-life culprits.  Right, then I could confront them and get the shit knocked out of me.  No thanks.  I'll stick with the Metamucil.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ardmore Avenue Revisited (Often)

As predicted, the rock sculpture at Lancaster Ave. and Ardmore Ave. has been knocked down nightly.  The person(s) goes to great lengths to completely knock down even the heaviest rocks.  (I do so admire a diligent worker.)  Fortunately, I get my coffee at the Wawa in Ardmore West, so I stop every morning to re-build the rock sculpture (like I have nothing better to do with my time - which I, sadly, really don't). 
But it does give me time to refine the sculpture, and get many people giving me a thumbs up as they drive by.  I had a call from another writer for the Main Line Times who had seen the sculpture, and wanted to confirm that I had built it.  So, people do notice my works, though they have no idea what they mean.  (As if I do.) 
However, someone must have similar urges to create like me because I found the sculpture re-built a couple of times by another's hand.  (Or is that hands?)  I re-did the sculpture to my liking, thinking, "Yo, these are my rocks, my spot and my gig.  Go somewhere else and come up with your own idea."  Yet, I'm happy that this person constructs, rather than destructs.

I took photos of the sculpture yesterday and today.  To be honest, I was into it more yesterday, and more interested in getting my coffee this morning.  I really, really need my morning coffee! 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labored on Labor Day Weekend

Finally, I found a place for a new rock sculpture.  This location is on the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Ardmore Avenue.  It's right near the I-Hop and across from the Mickey D's in the large, empty lot that was made available especially for my rock sculpture.
Oh sure, you chuckle.  A location reserved just for me.  Well, it so happens that the lot's owner, who also owns the car wash, saw me building the rock sculpture.  He came over to me and (surprise) asked what the hell I was doing.  I explained about the rock sculptures and how they were highly valued by the local citizens.  He was so pleased that he gave me the "OK" to leave it on his property.  Though he recognized right away that the likelihood of the area kids leaving it alone was quite low.  No problem, I said, as I live nearby, and will be back often to re-build it.  (Only too true.)
You have no idea the sacrifices I make to do these sculptures.  Today, I sacrificed my Muhlenberg College T-shirt, the rear fender of the car and multiple parts of my body while getting one of the large granite blocks into the trunk.  The intercostal muscles (look it up, you should know what they are) on my left side are big-time sore, as are my elbows and knee.  And, of course, the hole in my driveway, where I dropped the rock, is going to be a long-time reminder of this day. 
After building the sculpture I had a nice gentleman pull into the lot who asked what I was doing.  Again I explained about the rock sculptures, and he asked if I would build him one.  I (regrettably) declined, saying that they were street art, meant for the public, and I wasn't doing private works (that would fall down in a week or so).  I gave him one of my cards (well, yes, I have cards) so he could read the blog. 

So now I've used up all the large, base rocks I had.  Even if I see a good spot for a rock sculpture, I'd need to visit one of my sources of granite rocks.  I really don't have the back strength to lift them, but when has that ever stopped me?  My tombstone will say "Great dentist and decent rock star, who doesn't know his own strength".