madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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State of the Artist

A long time ago in a galaxy not very far away, actually, I told Myself, Myself I need to do a blog entry like at least weekly on the State of the Artist. Things where I discuss art, philosophy, projects I'm working upon, maybe show samples, and include bits and pieces from Real Life because, hey, artists live in Real Life.

Myself didn't laugh. Quite.

Ah well. Once, not so very long ago but more then a decade a friend of mine did some critiquing on things I wrote. I wrote because I wanted to get better at it, and because writing, as an art form, constituted studying Art in General. This is one of my lessons from Dad, the First Serious Art Teacher. Study other things than what drew you to Art in the first place, stretch, grow. It somewhat surprised my friend mentioned here when these many years later I mentioned I might not ever be published, in big part because I stopped pursuing that. But I still do write, and in one manner I am published, sporadically, self-published, and I mean these blog entries.

Now, a lot that I write will, simply, not be seen here. I keep a journal on the home front, and it does provide bits and pieces. Lately it seems easiest to write the State of the Artist in those journal files, then copy, paste, post. Works well. You aren't going to see the discussions about how long it took to load the Kittehs of Apocalypse into cat carriers to go to the Vets, or the daily commute issues between Here and Hospital. At least not unless I can make them funny. But it isn't an every day thing any more, writing isn't, and trying to make time to write a State of the Artist seems to be getting harder.

Might be that Real Life part. Over the past oh maybe 10-12 months Herself and I spent a bit of time talking about replacing vehicles. The Ranch needs a true heavy-hauler pickup. Forest Nissan Pickup is a true truck. Don't doubt it. However, he is at best a half-ton truck, and we could well use three-quarter or more for a capacity. Drive it often? Um, no. Petrol costs continue to rise (duh) and once one is talking such a truck as a three-quarter then one is talking very least a V-6 and probably a V-8 engine be it either diesel or petrol. As I said, though, when one needs a heavy-hauler then something lighter is, well, insufficient.

Not to mention that Forest is tipping the odometer at 377 K plus kilometers (236 K miles, eh). But he is a game fellow, burns little oil, keeps his other fluids well, leaks in heavy rain because the windshield seals are aged and because the sliding window in the back long ago I replaced with plexiglass. Needed to replace it because a couple goats got into the load bed while I worked on something in the paddock, and the doe entertained her gentlegoat caller, and, well, they broke the window. Now it leaks occasionally.

Our junior vehicle, Sydney Subaru Outback changed our plans. Now, Sydney is junior in both model year (Forest Nissan is a '93, and if he has a model name it's something like 'D21'; Sydney is an '01) and in odometer reading, showing a mere 328 K kilometers (205 K miles, eh). However, Sydney experienced a mechanical problem just before my planned parting from Mr. Gallbladder of a sort that put the repair/replace costs far in excess of the dollar value that Sydney holds.
So we went shopping. Sticker prices didn't surprise me (mind you, sticker prices on refrigerators did surprise me, that's another tale), we didn't hold terribly exclusive. We're quite happy with our Forest Nissan, so we looked at Nissan Pathfinders. We looked at Toyota Highlanders, and in short a variety of what are apparently now referred to as 'crossover' because they are somewhat smaller than a true SUV. And, because we really like Sydney Subaru Outback we looked at Subaru Foresters as well.

Now, herein lies the grounds that this is an Art blog as well as I'm telling you Real Life interfered with Art. So far we are looking at these cross-over vehicles even though we Really Like our Subaru Outback because as we grew a bit on the Weekend Art Festival business, the volume needed for the Booth expanded past the internal capacity of Sydney Subaru Outback. I knew it would occur as we added more matted print inventory, sideline inventory (greeting cards and such) and even framed pieces as Eye Candy. Sydney does have a roof rack, and we started looking at using that. What goes external, though, needs to be either totally weather proof or highly weather resistant. That means like the pavilion itself, and even the light ones are moderately heavy. More on this in a bit, suffice that Sydney Subaru Outback 2001 is not a particularly tall auto (roof comes up to my collar bones, roughly) and lifting the pavilion possible, if not pleasant.

So we need something to haul the Art Booth. And we're looking at the cross-over vehicles. And we stop at the local University-ville Subaru dealer on an afternoon off from Ranch, a Sunday. And the dealer is closed. Wow. Cool. We still look at what is outside the fenced lot. Pretty good number of vehicles, even it being a small dealership. And, um, hey, Outbacks are Bigger.
Now, we've owned Sydney Subaru Outback 2001 since August 1, 2000. That's when we purchased him, brand new, 64 kilometers on the odometer (40 miles, eh). For 14 years we've driven him, and filled him with all sorts of cargo not only the Art Booth. We can fit five bales of hay inside with the back seat down.

I know the body styling changed some, I've seen that, however usually while I'm driving and no, I don't pay that much attention to such because not running into such is far more important. I don't know when Subaru 'up-sized' the Outback. It's not a huge difference, can't tell you the specifics other than we did take a tape measure to the inside of an Outback at the Ocala dealer. It is enough bigger that there is a good probability we will be able to fit the Art Booth inside one.

Thus it came to pass that one week ago today, five calendar days from the date we purchased our first Subaru Outback, we came home with another Subaru Outback. Being persons that name their vehicles, it seemed obvious that the name Sydney could very well carry on. Then I looked at another wee detail. The new (to us, it is a previously by one party owned vehicle) Outback is a 2011 model. That's 10 model years difference. Based on some other data obtained by detecting, it's likely that previous owner also purchased the vehicle new but at the end of the model year, so July or August. That's minor. What I saw was: '01. '11. Roman numerals, I. II.
That pretty well cinched it. And I posted a brief note with a photo in the dealership lot, Sydney Subaru Outback I is dead, long live Sydney Subaru Outback II.

Now, how much bigger is the newer Sydney? Bit longer, bit wider, bit higher. Bit more ground clearance. The inside way-back cargo area, with back seats folded down, is a tad over 6' (right about at two metres, actually) and a tad over one metre wide (between wheel wells) and a tad less than 82 cm high (32” plus or minus). Standing next to him, the top of the roof is about mouth/nose high on me.

Oh, and, Sydney the Elder isn't exactly dead. Our mechanic did manage to resuscitate him. It is not a permanent repair, though. Enough to make him salable as something other than scrap metal, not enough to keep him (or sell him) as a highway-capable vehicle. I do think, very briefly usually, of keeping Sydney Elder and seeing if I can locate a lower-mileage engine. They're out there. After all, any Subaru involved in a crash that totals the vehicle in terms of repair costs, yet doesn't damage the front end, will provide a functional engine. Thing is, there are a lot of folk much further north of us, in snow country, that really like their Subarus also and are willing to pay up to three times what that same engine might bring locally. And I'm not a mechanic, working on autos isn't a hobby nor pleasant to me, so...

Before I sell him, and we didn't use him as a trade-in, I want to photograph both autos next to each other. Just for sentiment. Because we really like our Subarus.


So that will be another posting, and hopefully will happen soon because I'm a tad time-limited on how soon I need to sell Sydney Elder. There's another State of the Artist meditation that involves these Subarus as well, about Subaru owners, and Houdini, Subaru advertisement campaigns and Ed A Guy His Age.

This entry was originally posted at Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, life the universe and everything

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