Friday, January 16, 2009

LEGO return

I have been a big fan of LEGO ever since my own children were barely walking. At one time we had a train setup that took an entire room, allowing two trains to run simultaneously. Alas, time and space moved on. But this year, for the first time in over a dozen, I got the trains out and created a small setup. To my surprise, everything still works!

Here a Freight comes around the curve. Note the street lights, powered by transformers wired into the old 4.5 volt LEGO light fixtures.

A minifig team climbs a mountain. The rope leader is chopping ice out of a handhold. His teammate is providing belay.
The pesky Belville girls, including two Lassies in tartan, are once more invading minifig country. I loved to work in the Belville dollhouse scale, but it sure takes a lot of bricks.
Here is an overview of the south side of town. Note the traffic light.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Second entry for The Watchers, Enjoy and give me feedback.

Shepherd Benjamin saw himself as a quiet scholar, a seeker of truth and the higher planes of existence. He do not care for the thrills or dangers of violence, but this was inhospitable and unprovoked! He tapped his staff against the doorstile, stepped back in front of the doorway, pointed the staff’s end into the interior, closed his eyes and spoke a few, seldom-used phrases. The flashes of light that followed were all any mid-summer festival could have hoped for in pyrotechnics. Screams and grinding metal sounds preceded a break-building explosion. He shivered. “Ugh!” The place still stank. He turned and walked away, mumbling brief prayers for the souls of the sapient beings his staff had just turned to ash.
When he reached the far side of the fountain, the beggar girl moved in beside him, matching her pace to his own. “That was impressive,” she enthused. “What happened to those inside?”
Benjamin stopped and took a deep breath, letting the clean, stenchless air he was now moving through his lungs linger in his nose and throat. “I am afraid that all those inside were overly sensitive to light. It is possible that they separated.”
“Separated? Life force from body?”
“Indeed. Their bodies have departed. I know not where their life forces now reside.”
“You use strange verbs, holy man.”
He chuckled, allowing himself a nervous look at his most-recent savior. “You have a strange way of understanding them. Thanks for the warning …and the flash bomb.”
The girl gave him a brief, fierce look then shrugged and cupped her right stump in her left hand and rubbed. Head tilted back slightly, she returned his look in the same manner as before. “Where do you go now, holy man?” she asked.
“Back to my lodging, I guess.”
“You do not wish to examine the place you just incinerated?” she asked.
“Hmm. Had not considered that.” Benjamin stopped, turned around and studied the worship house. It appeared unchanged except for faint streams of pale smoke that continued to drift from the doorway and several small, shattered windows set in its upper dome. Nothing now would be alive inside—not even the elders he had sought—if they had yet been resident. No, he needed the fresh air and these clean, sanded streets, not rooms half-filled with burnt meat. “No, child. I think I have done enough here.”
“Then I shall,” the girl answered, and left him. He watched her skip and weave her way back to the entry, tapping the fountain’s basin edge with her good hand as she passed it and whistling a simple melody that he was sure he knew but could not at that moment place. She waved to him once, then disappeared inside.
“‘You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din,’” he quoted, sighed and resumed his retreat as the fire sirens began scream their warnings. It was only the next day that he realized that the girl’s melody was Bach’s “That Sheep Might Safely Graze.”

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Birds, and more birds

I covered some of my bird photography on my older web site , but thought I would add a few more pictures here as a salute to the new year.

The lesser snow geese were in migration and using Harney Lake in East Central Oregon.
The American goldfinch, the yellow-headed blackbird and the ruby-crowned kinglet were shots taken on the fly, handheld, using a 400mm F4.5 Nikkor with pistol grip. The pigmy owl was much closer and, after rehabilitation, about to be released back into the wild.