who needs anemonies? yeah, not the sharpest nor the truest flying joke in my quiver, but it is somewhat apropos, as will become more obvious as you read along.

this last week my friend tony asked me to help him with a family coming down to dive– the alts– parents, julie and myron, and the boys, brian and wyatt, both of whom we were supposed to certify for diving.

normally, when we are asked to certify young people it brings on an reaction between us, something like your cat coughing up a hairball– and to continue the cat metaphor, taking care of young people is much like trying to herd felines– they have no interest in what you want to do with them, and the attention span of gnats, making for a lot of work and not much satisfaction, not to mention stress on the part of the parents. in other words, we were “somewhat apprehensive” when they were due out to the boat to meet us, and wondering just how bad it could get.

“SURPRISE, SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!”– as gomer pyle used to say– they turned out to be excellent students, attentive and really striving to learn what we had to impart to them. they snapped quickly to the theory of what we had to say, and were calm and easy under the water. their skills they did as if they had been doing them all their life, and without fear or trepidation. in almost no time at all they were kneeling down on the deck and tony was pouring buckets of water over them (with a little communal spit to make the whole thing ring true), baptising them in the name of the sea god neptune and securing their certification– congrats, guys, and thanks muchly for your efforts.

that was nice, wasn’t it? BUT– FAST FORWARD NOW, into the future, their last dive. my good friends the sharkbaiters (one of their email names, easy handle to call them by) had left with us three rubber “hats”, if you can call them that– silly things that one needs to haul over the head and look silly with during a tank. julie, brian and wyatt all donned them for this historic last tank, after watching me use one of them on the first dive.

cedral wall, the tops of the reef, and very beautiful that day. we saw plenty of turtles and a couple of sharks, if my memory serves me properly, but the real story begins at the end of this reef, when we were sailing along, headed across to spend the end of the tank on the tippy tops of santa rosa wall. there are a huge bunch of groupers in there, and at times they even school up, you may see as many as perhaps twenty or more of them. but this story concerns the bull goose looney of the bunch– the big guy. now, someone has obviously feeding this behemoth the past year or so– i am not sure who it is, as it is not legal to do so in the park, but the attitude and habits of this fish make it quite certain that it is being fed by someone. anyhow, wyatt sees the grouper and sortuv does an imitation of going for a head butt with it– only the grouper doesn’t back off, no– he gets closer– and Closer– and CLOSER!! coming within maybe a half foot of wyatt’s face– by this time it is the young alt who is suddenly backpedalling– only the grouper keeps after him, and it suddenly becomes apparent that it is the hat that is what it is looking at– very hungrily, i might add!!– and not particularly concerned with what might come off with the hat. tony comes over and tries to shove it away, but it is quite INSISTENT!! but finally it does move a little ways away, and WHOOSH!! tony pulls the hat off, it had looked like an anemone i guess, and the color really made it look snackable. wyatt’s eyes were as big as dinnerplates, but we were all laughing so hard it was difficult to show him any sympathy– “with friends like us, who needs anemonies?”– indeed!!

thanks for such a good time, you alts!!



and gasped– it was so darn hard!! but i had to reach it, so i stuck one arm up between his legs and the other around his arm, stretching deeply, probing and poking with the tip of the rasp, slowly wearing down the doofus of stone until it wasn’t there any more– one more down, perhaps several thousand to go!!

as this sculpture slowly but slowly– but VERY SLOWLY– begins the slide towards the final finish line i am working much on the surfaces, truing them up and making one line lead into another, sortuv “casual-like”. people continue to gape at me when i inform them that this piece is still far from being totally done– i have been saying “a year, maybe a year and a half” for perhaps a couple of years now– not that i am in denial, far from it!! but looking at it from the outside, most of the major detailing is done, and so it looks pretty much finished to many. ain’t the case, kiddo!! so very much of this smaller stuff remains, and much of it in almost inaccessible areas as well. BUT!!– one thing i continue to see is that, with patience and sheer teeth-grinding periods of scraping and noodling and moving minute particles of stone away, it finally gets done. just this morning i finally managed to move the stone out of an area i had despaired of getting to about a year or so ago. true, my fingertips look like they have been chewed by puppies, but i got it!! this area was between the left calf of the upper figure and the right arm of the middle figure– there is a tight little tunnel in there, but i found a slightly different tangent when i approached it from the other side this morning, and so worked the rasps and files majorly, slowly piling up fine marble dust, sweeping it into a dustpan and storing it away, just in case i ever get a commission to do an actual “fresco”– one makes the finest layer of plaster, the intonaco, using marble dust.

but as usual i blather– i have been working on the surface treatment of the upper and middle figure of late, doing two of the three piercings in there that i spoke of in the last blog, truing up the right thigh and knee of the middle figure, the left leg of the upper figure kinduv on top of it, but a little removed, the “plastic substance” that forms the middle figure sticky and clinging to the upper figure, very diaphanous and almost transparent in places. the inner left thigh of the upper figure is also difficult to reach, and i have to hold myself in contorted postures (comical i am sure– if only there were someone there to photograph it!!), my nose almost in his buttcrack, to get the rasps totally extended, reaching for the final contours.

also hard at work in the jewellery studio, when i can shoehorn in the time. using the diamonds i just recently received, i went out and finished up my new design– the “stock version” of my seahorse/sea star earrings. i shot some truly crappy photos of them which i shall share with you here, only because i love you– oops, that slipped out!!anyways, here they are, such as they are. i must reshoot the photographs once again, using my big SLR, but one of the light units i use suddenly fell apart (down here in the tropics EVERYTHING ROTS and corrodes), a plastic collar disintegrated, and so i must fix that first. however, these will just have to do for the nonce, but forgive the quality.

i have also been working on several pairs of pearl earrings, but they are so darn fiendishly clever and simple (always the product of much hard thinking) that i am loath to post photos of them on my site, for fear of having the idea stolen– i guess that people are just gonna have to come down and visit me to see them– worth the trip, i would think!!

and for all of you who have hung in there with me, here is the “no shit!! fer sure!!” FINAL finished photo of “lily pads”, which i kept noodling with for seemingly ages, touching the lily flowers softly, but finally figuring out that the lily pads themselves had, in comparison, darkened with all the light i brought to the rest of the piece, and so i added a smattering of light to them and it was dundoed, as one of my friends is fond of saying– hope you like it as much as i!!



i truly had no idea that i was gonna write a blog today, but from what happened this morning i guess it was preordained!! when i went out to my sculpture studio this morning, toting along all my tools and such, i was presented with this little spectacle– moths balling!! even if i had not written a blog about “butterflies crying, la de dah…”, this would have been of interest. at first i was wondering if it was a mutation of a moth, sortuv a siamese moth, but using occam’s razor i realised that this was quite unlikely. i hurried inside to grab my camera and shot several views, this was the best of the bunch. one was dragging the other around after a while, i suppose the whole “sexual episode” was over, but as my good friend tony would have said– “the claspers were still stuck together”, and as much as claspers are a fish-related thing, i figure this one fits the bill as well. i thought that the ants were going to haul the pair away, but by the time i got out there once again the scene was quiet and empty. tell me– how could i NOT write a blog after all of that?< a>< good news, pearl fans-- the ones i ordered for my new custom-design seahorse/sea star pendant arrived friday last, and i did the work on the piece last sunday, and here it is-- ta daaaaah!! as large as those button pearls turned out to be, they do manage to balance out the sea star above, and i really think the piece will look absoluetly FABU around my friend lauralee's neck. stay tuned though, as with these pearls also arrived my new gold shipment (!!$$$OUCH$$$!!) and some diamonds for the stock version of this piece-- soon i will be finished the first official edition of this long-awaited piece and will be wanting to show it off. be there or be square.

as i mentioned, i have been out working on my sculpture again– finally!! true to form, i baptised it quickly with my blood and sweat, filling my eyes with stone dust– ahhh, it don’t get much better than that, man!! but both yesterday and today i had to FOCUS MIGHTILY– i decided that the time had come to do the piercing in the area between the legs on the middle figure. i have been procrastinating on this for a while now, out of fear– it does weaken this area somewhat, and i was loath to do anything like that. however, the day had to come sometime, and so i girded twice my loins and, trying hard not to speak soprano, i went to work. things have gone quite well these days, and the work is slowly melding together, one detail moving again into another. but i had one huge surprise this morning– when i opened it up underneath the figure’s left leg, they didn’t quite match up!! i was a quarter inch away, necessitating some work to bring both sides into harmony. normally i am very adept at matching the areas up, it was quite a shock. i had anticipated making two piercings in this area, but i now see i shall have to do yet another, smaller one– not today though!!

hmmm, i just reviewed this blog prior to publishing, and for some reason most of the script seems to have been underlined. NO IDEA where that came from, but i am not going to risk all i have made in order to fix it up, so it will just go down as “one of those things”– please forgive, it was not my intention. wish i could say “it won’t happen again”, but that would just be tempting fate, now wouldn’t it? see ya later