Molten Glass Christmas Tree

One of my favorite events of the Holiday Season is the Cedars Open Studios Tour. The Cedars is a neighborhood of Dallas south of downtown and is an up-and-coming area. It still has some relatively low cost space and a lot of artists use the neighborhood as studio space (we’ll see how long this lasts – gentrification is a bitch).

In November, the studios open up on one evening for the Cedars Open Studios TourFacebook Link. It’s a fun event and a great way to get some unique Christmas Presents. I always do the tour with some friends on a bicycle, but I guess it would be OK to drive a vehicle, park, and walk. Look for it next year.

The final stop is always Bowman Art Glass (a way-cool place). They have a tree-shaped armature out front. After sunset, they do a skit or two, then, in the dark, the workers bring ladles of hot glass out from the ovens inside and pour the molten liquid over the armature. This makes a glass Christmas Tree.

Glass Christmas Tree at Bowman Art Glass, The Cedars, Texas

Glass Christmas Tree at Bowman Art Glass, The Cedars, Texas

There is always some wood and paper in the armature so the hot glass starts fires.

The only problem is that is is almost impossible to take good photos – the darkness and the contrast of the bright hot glass, plus the large crowd gathered around. But it is a blast and fun to watch. Next year… bet there or be square.

Pouring molten glass onto the Christmas Tree

Pouring molten glass onto the Christmas Tree

Nothing Is Connected To Anything

“If there is something comforting – religious, if you want – about paranoia, there is still also anti-paranoia, where nothing is connected to anything, a condition not many of us can bear for long.”
― Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Denton, Texas (click to enlarge)

Denton, Texas
(click to enlarge)

If You Try And Lose

“If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.”
― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

Munger & Gaston Streets, Dallas, Texas

Munger & Gaston Streets, Dallas, Texas

I was planning on riding my bicycle down to The Lot to meet Nick for his birthday. At first, I was going to ride the train downtown, then out the Santa Fe Trail, but the people on the train were getting on my last nerve, so I took that as an omen and left the train early, from the underground station at Cityplace. After riding the two extensive escalators to the surface, I had to work my way through East Dallas to the lake. That part of town is a confusing maze of angled streets, and more difficult on a bicycle than a car. You have to avoid some busy streets, some killer hills, and a mistake can put you miles out of your way.

However, I’ve been there a few times recently and was able to find my way without any real problems – with an occasional Googlemaps look on my phone.

I did make a little side trip to the intersection of Gaston & Munger. There’s a sculpture there – on the corner of a redone apartment complex of a man and woman pushing a mirrored sphere. I had seen it before, but never able to stop and get a good look.

My camera was in my pack this time, so I took a quick photo of it. I don’t know anything about its title or sculptor or backstory – but I’ll try to get back and get a better shot.

It’s in an unexpected spot – and looks really cool.

What I learned this week, August 7, 2015

Bikes locked up in front of Parkway, New Orleans, Louisiana

Bikes locked up in front of Parkway, New Orleans, Louisiana


The New Orleans Restaurant Bounce, After Katrina


Woman writing in a Moleskine Notebook, Wichita, Kansas

Woman writing in a Moleskine Notebook, Wichita, Kansas


Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life


Magazine Street, New Orleans

Magazine Street, New Orleans


Why Are Bicycle Sales Declining (for the 14th year)?


hamburger


Top 10 Restaurants in Dallas, TX

I don’t know if these are really the “top ten” – it tends to list middle-road sandwich places – but there are some interesting choices here.



British artist Richard Long has given us his ‘Dallas Rag’

I absolutely have to go see this.



The Myth of Big, Bad Gluten



Why Eating Fresh, Just-Caught Fish May Be a Thing of the Past

Actually, this seems like a way to drive the “little guy” out of the marker – who can afford that sort of ultra-freezer?



Wind/Pinball: Two novels

Murakami baby!


One of my favorite things ever is riding in the monthly Dallas Critical Mass ride. It runs from Main Street Garden Park in Downtown Dallas to a different, usually secret, destination – the last Friday of every month. To find out more, check out the Facebook Page.

Here’s a nice video of the last one – which ended up at a party (DJ, ice cream truck, keg, tamales) in the Sheep Barn at Dallas Fair Park.

The month before, June, was epic in that the ride was caught in a massive thunderstorm and we had to take refuge under the overhang of Dallas City Hall.

Here’s a 8X speeded up version of the ride.

And, if you have the patience to sit through it, is the whole thing.

Before and After – Bench

“I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn’t,
So I jumped in and sank.”
― Langston Hughes

I like to ride my bike in the Trinity River Bottoms and take a rest on one of the benches that are spotted along the trail. I took these less than a year ago. You can see the Continental Bridge Park in the background.

My Xootr folding bicycle, Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

My Xootr folding bicycle, Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

Continental Bridge, Dallas, Texas

Continental Bridge,
Dallas, Texas

Now, the water is rising.

The bench is swallowed by the rising water. Taken from the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

The bench is swallowed by the rising water. Taken from the Continental Bridge Park, Dallas, Texas

I see on the radar that there is another giant storm to the Northwest – this area drains into the Trinity. The river isn’t finished going up.

Four Bullets Brewery

Front door to Four Bullets Brewery, Richardson, Texas

Front door to Four Bullets Brewery, Richardson, Texas

For about I year I watched the progress of a new small brewery here in my own town of Richardson. It was established by two experienced home brewers that wanted to take the next step and open up their own establishment. It was called Four Bullets Brewery and has finally had its soft opening, with the official grand opening scheduled in a couple months.

It’s been open on Saturdays from noon to six with the typical tour deal – ten bucks for a glass and three beer tickets. I have been enjoying these craft beer tours for a few years now and really wanted to check out Four Bullets. The last couple weeks were too busy for me but today I was able to make a visit.

The brewery is located in a little industrial area north of downtown, near the Arapaho DART train station. It’s very close to where I live – but there is a railroad track blocking the way, so I rode north past the rail station and doubled back. It was a nice, easy ride, about three and a half miles.

I folded my Xootr Swift and locked it to a sign out in front – I should have ridden around to the back of the building, but I didn’t know.

My bike folded and locked up in front of Four Bullets.

My bike folded and locked up in front of Four Bullets.

The brewery is small – about the size of a generous garage, but it has an extensive open area out back with tables and some games. The crowd grew throughout the time I was there, until they had a very respectable bunch hanging around. A food truck sold barbeque in the back – he had his smoker located upwind and the smell made it impossible to resist.

The crowd grows in the patio in back of the Brewery.

The crowd grows in the patio in back of the Brewery.

I’m not expert on beers – but I enjoyed the three I tried. They all had the complexity and freshness you expect in a small batch craft beer. I especially liked the Oatmeal Stout – excellent and not too heavy, and the Pale Ale – very drinkable with a lot of flavor without being too hoppy. It’ll be interesting to watch Four Bullets as they go along – see if they get more adventurous with their beer varieties.

The City of Richardson looks at this industrial park as a potential little Design District – with the same kind of development – restaurants, galleries, breweries – that Dallas is working on in the area between downtown and the river. A food truck park is slated to open soon. I hope the trend continues – it would be a cool thing.

I will definitely go back, maybe try and organize a bike ride from a DART station through the east side of the city down to the brewery.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Good Review of Four Bullets