Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In a reflective mood

We've gotten quite a bit of rain here this week, so between that and the snow melt coming down off the mountains there's a lot of water in spots we don't normally see it. At least one field on my way to and from work appears to have been replaced by a lake, and everywhere I could see the river it was flooded over its banks. In the case of these first three pics, that means I got to take some interesting shots of tree and brush reflections that won't exist in a month or so:

I shot this last photo down at the pond here in Arlington. Thankfully, the water hasn't risen so high as to make driving along the bank a non-starter. Not yet, at least. Anyway, I liked how the lightness of the trunk stood out against the water; the framing effect provided by the pine trees was a happy accident:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More from the museum

Once again I spent the better part of the day taking photos at work—which, again, worked out well for me as it was also raining steadily all day long. To start with, a few more items once belonging to Jack Gartside.

Gartside's rods:

His hat, chest pack, and one of the rods:

Now, a special treat. These reels, which we'll be auctioning off at an upcoming dinner celebrating Casting for Recovery, are truly one-of-a-kind items. They were built by Stan Bogdan, whose reels normally go for anywhere from $1,300 on up to begin with. The side plates were specially anodized to match the pink used to symbolize breast cancer awareness in honor of CfR's work, making them the only two Bogdan reels in existence to feature this color (or any color other than silver or black, for that matter). And we had them engraved to commemorate the event. So, if it's not too much of a contradiction in terms, I think it's safe to say you're looking at a modern-day piece of fly-fishing history:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Flights of fancy

Today at work I spent most of my afternoon photographing items in our collection belonging to the late Jack Gartside, including several flies not only tied by Gartside but invented by him as well. He was an creative and innovative tyer, and the more I hear about him from his friends and peers the more I wish I'd had the chance to meet him.

Anyway, these are just a few of the patterns he came up with over the years. He tied them in a wide variety of color combinations and sizes; I picked these particular flies solely based on how well I thought they'd photograph against the backdrop I was using:

The Chicken Poop (yes, really):

The Gartside Bug:

The Slider:

A Secret Minnow, ie one tied using his secret material in the wing:

And perhaps his best-known creation, the Gurgler:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The 12-step chocoholics program:

Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate!

Terry Moore gets credit for that very accurate description; all I do is live by it every day.

Since following Mom's lead regarding the ice pictures yesterday turned out pretty well, I figured it behooved me to follow her advice again today. So I headed down to the Village Peddler to check out their Easter rabbits:

Of course, when you walk in the door attention must be paid to Cocoa, created to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear. Cocoa is 5' 8" from the tips of his ears to his feet, and though he's hollow he still weighs in at 100 lbs:

The assortment of chocolate bunnies (technically animals, as I saw a chick, a pig, and a squirrel in there as well) is absolutely incredible. There are bunnies filled with jelly beans, candy, and even toys:

You've also got the traditional solid chocolate and hollow chocolate bunnies:

And if that wasn't enough, there's the Patches Clan. The shell of each one is made from a blend of milk, dark, and white chocolate, with various fillings inside the different shapes—caramel, coconut, hazelnut, and peanut butter were among the options I saw.

A more traditionally decorated chocolate Easter egg:

A look at the whole shop:

But wait—there's more! I also spotted marshmallow eggs:

And lots of varieties of chocolate on a stick:

Chocolate-dipped Peeps on a stick. Genius:

Finally, because I am a dedicated blogger and chronicler I brought home Carmelitta, a member of the Patches family, so I could photograph at least one of these treats without any cellophane in the way. No need to thank me for my diligence—sometimes, such sacrifices must be made:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inching toward spring

Today was one of those days when Mother Nature reminded us that while the calendar may indicate it's spring we still, in fact, live in Vermont: we had clear blue skies and temperatures cool enough that I could see my breath when I went outside at 12:30 in the afternoon.

At the museum we hosted an event aimed toward getting people geared up for fishing season: visitors could tie clown flies, made a practice rod for casting, practice their fishing knots, or have the chance to see what it feels like to reel in a fish. Here, Yoshi tests one of the pseudo-fish out:

We also had a pair of fly tyers there demonstrating their craft. One of the gentlemen, whose name I of course don't recall, brought samples of some of his more unusual creations to show kids that your fly tying is only limited by your imagination:

After work I went up to my folks' house so we could all have dinner together. Before that, though, Mom took me over to Equinox Pond to show me something she thought I'd like to photograph. On our way over, I noticed a fairly large dead tree caught up in the branches of a living one:

What Mom had spotted earlier in the day while she and Dad were out walking Kaylee was a bunch of ice formations along where run-off water was pouring out of a culvert and down through the woods. I worked my way along both sides of the stream as I took these, and Kaylee was helpful enough to wade through the stream and then shake herself off all over my back about a foot from where I crouched on the bank—clearly she wanted me to enjoy the full sensory experience:

As we walked back home Mom also spotted this bit of fungus, which stood out vividly against the bark:

Just after we cleared the woods Kaylee spotted her good friend Robbie. Naturally, playtime ensued:

But since she'd already been on three walks and played ball earlier in the day, after she'd gotten her cheese and we'd had our drinks Kaylee made herself comfy and decided she'd had enough of the whole movement thing—at least for the time being:

I don't know about anyone else, but to me that's the look of a dog thinking, "Nothing short of an entire side of beef would entice me to move from this spot—and even then I'd have to give it some serious consideration."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bumper to bumper

*typing fast to get post in under the wire*

So, tonight was the annual bumper pool tournament at Wayne and Tara's weekly pub gathering. Thanks to the addition of both an announcer and cheerleaders, it was a somewhat longer evening than usual, but I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. Since we were a) drinking and b) playing a game involving sticks and balls, I'm sure you can imagine the high level of sophistication and subtlety involved in our exchanges—every time I thought all of the possible testicle jokes and entendres had been exhausted, I was almost immediately proven wrong.

Anyway, on to the pics.

First, the Guinness tap back in its rightful place, where even the heavens above smile upon it:

Tara herself drew this shamrock on top of my pint:

I've never seen this used, but I hope to one day:

I need this sign in my apartment. Or possibly as a pin I can wear to work functions:

Gotta love the window dressing:

What kind of Irish pub would it be without shamrock plants around?

On the far right, Wayne calls the action while former champions Rob (middle) and Patrick (left) look on; that's Greg you can see in the foreground of the left corner:

There was an awful lot of teasing about Greg's unique method of gripping the pool cue, but given that he made the final four I'd say he had the last laugh, no?

Tara's mom checks out the tournament from the stairwell:

Patrick is joined on the bench by Margot during this game. As you can see, things are pretty cramped downstairs where the table is set up—watching spectators lean out of the way and competitors make sure they weren't going to jab someone in the stomach with the cue was a sport all on its own:

As for me? I managed to get eliminated in the first round twice: once by Patrick and once by a latecomer, Jerry, when I was asked to step in and make sure he at least earned his spot in the next round. But as I noted Patrick's a former champion, and Jerry made it to the final game, so I wasn't too distraught to have lost to either of them. And Greg did a terrific job of upholding the family honor, making it two straight years a member of the Wilcox clan made it to the final four.

All in all, it was a great evening. This time next week Wayne and Tara will be on a plane en route to the Emerald Isle itself, and I'm already looking forward to seeing the photos when they return in mid-April.