Quote of the Moment

"It's never wrong to hope, Byx," said my mother. "Unless the truth says otherwise."
- from Endling #1: The Last, by Katherine Applegate

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sanding Tall

Not a typo, but a very lousy pun...

Today being the first decent day in a while, we ("we" being the immediate family and I) decided to head to a nearby city to view the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. This is the first-ever time the championship has been in America, and the first-ever time at this venue (actually an empty parking lot outside an empty Target building.) Their publicity has been, shall we say, a trifle pathetic; my grandfather and uncle went a week ago, and they were so desperate to get bodies in the door that they gave the pair deeply discounted tickets. Grandpa was so impressed that he actually called us on the phone to tell us about it - an act virtually unprecedented since his mental decline began a few years back.

Getting back to today...

The sunny weather made standing around on asphault a not-entirely-fun experience. Still, the sculptures were beyond amazing. I cannot conceive of how much labor and planning goes into the creation of these things. (They use a diluted glue solution after they're done, but that doesn't explain how they manage to sculpt sand in such impossible shapes to begin with.)

Yes, I brought my camera.

Yes, you're about to be treated to/tortured by a very extensive photo dump.

Click away now, or slog ahead...

Work in Progress
A sand sculptor works on a new project, from the top down. There were supposed to be more sculptors wandering about answering questions, but evidently many of them had already left. (It's an international competition, so it was inevitable, but we felt a bit gypped that there were only two pros on hand to talk to when it was implied that there would be more.)

Please note that many of the following titles are mine and mine alone: they weren't very well labeled, for one thing, and for another I just plain didn't see the names if they were there at all.

Spiritual Visions
A nice wolf-themed sculpture, the first one to greet visitors.

Two kids chance upon a wicked witch in a Halloween-themed sculpture.

The Vine Lady
From the back, her hair was extensively detailed, but I had to cull a few pictures here and there to keep Photobucket from pitching a fit... and myself from being prosecuted for mass murder by photo-link-induced boredom.

Another with a lot more than I could cram into one frame...

The Face of the City
Absolutely amazing 3D sculpting, here... and also amazing, how many people had to have it explained to them...

The Bridge (side and detail)
A 360-degree work of amazement, full of little details from any angle viewed.

The Missing Links (detail, detail, detail, back, detail, and detail)
One of my personal favorites, and one of the largest sculpts on the grounds.

And now a word from our sponsors...
Part of a long wall honoring the sponsors of the championships.

Connected (and back)
Oddly enough, while the Facebook (earlier) scupture seemed fairly self-explanatory to most ages, many older visitors took a while to clue in to this one, despite the similar theme; I think it was the use of handheld devices as opposed to the "old fashioned" computer that did it.

The line of figures continued through the hole at the bottom, wrapping around to the tail end (seen on the ground behind the main block of the sculpture.

Through the Door
I think that's the wrong door...

Open Mind
The damage on the hand was caused by rain in the previous week. Apparently, sand being porous, rain itself just drains through; only when it pools is there a problem. Since the competition was set up on a parking lot, some sculptures got puddles under them in heavy rains. Most of the sculptors had gone home, so those left behind repaired the ones they could and left the ones they couldn't. This was one of the latter, evidently. Still impressive, though.

Splitting Headache
Well, that would explain it...

The Impression
Odd little brain-warper...

Cranes with Origami

Icarus II
Check out the details on those feather edges...

Sand Castle
(with "facilities")
This is the one the photo at the top of the post came from.

The level of detail on these things continued to astound me, and still astounds me in retrospect.

Welcome to 2065!
"It was just a bad dream", reads the caption.

Puzzle Head

Noh Theater
Also self-explanatory.

Faces in the Wall
All in all, they're just bricks in the wall...

Rapunzel in Green
So, that new organic shampoo looks like it has a few side-effects...

Fantasea Castle
Looks like a happy place...

Not sure what to say about this one... I mean, it's cool and all, but I don't know what to say about it.

To Be Revealed
One of those sculptures that makes you forget you're looking at sand.

Trees with Orb
Love the little mousie on the log...


Tribute to Freedom
A work-in-progress sculpt, from the form around the base, but already impressive.

There are more sculptures at the event itself, and I took scads of photos, but I figured any visitors have suffered enough already. In any event, if you're around the area before October 3 and are looking for something to do, I'd recommend it. (EDIT - Sounds like they may have extended it to October 10... if so, it's definitely worth a view!)

Now I suppose I ought to head off and do something even less productive with the rest of my evening...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Web of Fall

The furnace has been kicking on in the mornings.

There's a bite in the shadows and a chill to the rain.

The sunlight has a sharper slant than it did a month ago.

The downtown trees are brushed with crimson, and the green of the hills is shading towards gold.

The spiders are spinning their webs.

Yep, it's fall again.

The last month has been fairly uneventful, hence the lull in posting. Mostly, we've been going through our storage sheds for the first time in too many years, getting rid of stuff we no longer need. So far, we've sent over 20 sacks to donation and more than that to the dump. (These are garbage-bag size sacks, not grocery-store size sacks.) It feels good to lighten the load a little, even though we have barely begun to scrape the surface of decades worth of accumulation.

I finished Draft 2 of last year's NaNoWriMo monstrosity, and I already know it'll need more tweaking for Draft 3 before the kinks in logic, character development, and plot continuity are sufficiently ironed out.  I've decided to let it marinate on the back burner for a while, and called up one of my unfinished stories to take its place. So far, I'm mostly skimming my backstories and chapters, getting my brain back into the feel of the universe. This time, I'm finishing a draft... and, fingers crossed, it'll be a draft worth chucking in the mail. Might have to take a break for NaNoWriMo 2010, but that's a month away; if I get my tail in gear, I can get the bones of the tale hammered out sufficiently before then.

Don't laugh... it could happen...

At work, the local library system is switching over to a new computer program to control everything. Because this switch knocks out the brains of the sorting system while it sets itself up, I had a day off today. My sister, my mother, and I took advantage of the sunshine to head up to a nearby trailhead (where the above web was photographed.) Then we grabbed lunch and ate at the lake, watching parasailers launch and land on the beach. (They were towed with a boat to get altitude; not sure if that would be easier or harder than jumping off a mountain, but danged if it doesn't look fun...) All in all, it was a pleasant day.

Well, I suppose that's about all that's worth updating. The blog looked a little lonely, so I figured I'd post to keep it company.