Crabapple skirt touches the ground.
Japanese Flowering Cherry
Service Berry tree at year four in the yard; the boldest color spanning many back yards.
Service Berry
Pampas grasses bound up for winter, so this week’s snow doesn’t lay them flat.
Pond is turned over for winter, with salt water softener added to keep the fish healthy.
Hunga Tonga- Hunga Ha-apai is mounted to the wall between the Bean Whole coffee roasters. Jed is planning on painting the black gas line behind the mask white. At night the backlighting will look great from outside through the front wall of windows.
View from the common area of the Neighborhood Hive in Sugarhouse.
The latest Aeromod to the truck is this “floating” bar of mudflaps running the length of the back of the truck, with a 6 inch gap to the ground (unloaded). The low pressure a truck drags behind it will push all the way to the front, proven in wind tunnel studies. This low line in the back is nearly as effective as a similarly (impossibly) low bumper in the front. The bar is a custom weld job from scrap metal I had around, fitting into the hitch mount (or in tandem with the ball hitch), and has two loose-fit stabilizing pins in the bumper; in this way, additional to the mudflap’s flexibility, some tip and give is allowed when backing up our steep drive. The truck also drops a lot of big ranch mudballs that explode onto the highway, so this keeps other drivers and their windshields safe.

LED ropelight is affixed behind the bean headdress, and also behind the mask- set to give a nice wash of color. The lights have a remote with color selection, and effects. Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, the fierce coffee roast god, is ready to take up its vigil between Jed’s roasting machines.

The Tiki mask and caffeine halo let me know it’s name! Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai! What that means is everything is now amped to Black Swan level!

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha-apai volcano erupted this last January. It was the largest explosion on the planet ever recorded by instruments. It was an undersea eruption from a pre-existing caldera at the perfect depth to vaporize the entirety of the underwater caldera and direct the force of explosion through the Troposphere and into the Stratosphere. This was unique from all prior volcanic eruptions, which usually push sulphur dioxide and other particulates into the lower atmosphere and can result in cooling, NASA’s recent report shows that instead this eruption “may” cause warming. The Stratosphere is waay up there, and generally very low water density only as micro-ice crystals. I wondered what the huge volume of water vapor injected into Stratosphere might do, and if any past studies had been done.

Turns out (academic publication is linked below), just the increasing amount of CO2 in the Troposphere is enough to cause more water vapor in the Stratosphere, of such significance that it should be considered a distinct “individual physical entity controlled, at least in part, by essentially different mechanisms than tropospheric water vapor, we conclude that the Stratospheric Water Vapor (SWV) feedback is of sufficiently large amplitude to deserve dedicated attention”.

The authors conclude: “We wish to emphasize that although the SWV climate feedback calculated here (“here” is the lowermost stratosphere (LMS), which is mainly located in the extratropics, and the key region of emphasis) is small compared to global mean estimates of the tropospheric water vapor feedback from the CMIP5 models, it is of the same order of magnitude as the multi-model mean surface albedo feedback (0.3 ±0.1 Wm−2K−1) and the cloud feedback.

When the researchers say extratropics, they mean the mid-latitudes. This is the area where up to 95% of the forced heating is expressed, and happens to align nicely with the extreme spike of temperature and rainfall across the northern & southern hemispheres. The water vapor may persist in the Stratosphere for up to 10 years, as an anomalous forcing event. Bonus, it strips away at the ozone layer as well.

After the eruption it took just a few weeks for the stratospheric Polar Vortex of the northern hemisphere to collapse and split. This article from last spring summarizes the phenomena, and predicts this summer’s heat. NASA published their satellite findings of the eruption in early August, so the warming agent that collapsed the polar vortex was considered an anomalous spike- maybe not so anomalous?

Researchers have updated that the “shotgun blast” of water vapor extended all the way through the Stratosphere and into the Mesosphere. The ice-vapor clouds that form in the Mesosphere are called Noctilucent: this year saw the greatest noctilucent formations in 15 years or more, and NASA can only speculate as to why. NASA’s current guess is “I dunno… rockets?”.

Jaguar Tiki with Coffee Bean Halo
This keen Tiki mask belongs to my friend Jed, and has always overseen his coffee bean roasting process at his business The Bean Whole. Before life at The Bean Whole it had languished in a frat house (a proper cliche terminal point for Tiki Bar remnants), arriving from an unknown point of origin. It follows the aesthetic of the Jaguar style (teeth, mouth/jaw, nose, eyes, spots), however the ears have morphed into black horns and the inclusion of the tall feather headdress is also a deviation from the straight Jaguar. The craftsmanship of the carving is excellent, and it has a wonderful authority in its hybrid uniqueness. Based on the refined carving process coupled with the hybrid form, I’m guessing it was formed in the 1950’s to 1960’s, though Tiki dates back to the 1930’s.
The form was beginning to split, a result of being suspended by a rope through the top left eyelet of the headdress. I’m guessing the rope had been there from the start. The split took four clamps and a 35# dumbell to bring back together and match the curvature. Once resolved, it was on to cleaning off +50 years of yutz.
Super fine steel wool and clear museum wax loosened up all the hand dirt/oil and paint-transfer scuffs, then lifted away with microfiber towel. The towel had to be thrown out. Then I popped the details by laying a dark stain into the line cuts and to fill blemishes on the horns as well as a tone shift for the headband btwn the horns, a reddish stain into the leopard spots, with a whitish stain wiped on and back off around the spots (cheeks, forehead, chin) for a hint of tone difference, then pecan color to match the original color for the headdress and lips. Then buffed down again with a fresh microfiber cloth.
I added two anchor points from the inside, aligned at the forehead and nose- the thickest parts of the face. This ensures no pressure on the narrow jawline or upon the tall “feather” headdress.
Next I made a mounting bracket that slips into a custom wall mounting. Just a few cuts, bends, welds, and holes.
Here the bracket is mounted to the inside of the mask.
The mask bracket slips inside the wall mount, and here is at maximum floated gap from the wall. This gap is for an idea in coffee beans and resin that Jed and I kicked around, and has yet to materialize…
I spent awhile googling and found some images of traditional feather headdress and formed the basic shape in cardboard to check for scale and placement. Then I realized that the scale is a match for a big silicon mold (Theorem) I’ve been carting around for 20 years.
Here the form is completed in transparent resin with red dye, and roasted coffee beans.
Checking alignment in full sun. Like they were made for eachother.
Same time, just in the shade. I like how the blue sky reflects in the halo.
Next I have to cut a square hole through the halo for the mask mounting bracket, and drill holes for bolts to pin the halo onto perforated angle iron which then mounts to the wall bracket.
Float-mounted. A few technical refinements regarding bolts to brackets, but essentially done. The bean halo floats out from the wall, and the mask floats in front of the bean halo.
I sez to her, I sez, “What are yuh, 18 years old now? Time to get out from under my roof!”
I had some extra steel in the shop from building out the Rocket Mass Heater and decided to put it toward art’n. Yesterday I welded this cantilever base, bolted her back leg through the metal tube and welded a strap across the bronze between her feet to make sure she stayed put, then set her in the yard with a concrete footing.
She feels like she has always been here.
The aluminum figures around the ponds aren’t sure what to make of a bronze figure.

Sunday morning re-installation of Bonneville Upstream.

My friend Jed arrives with his handy trailer. This will make 21 fish he has helped me install.
Jed backed his twisty little trailer all the way inside the shop, all in one smooth line from the street. Impressive! The upright 2×4 is his steering guide.
I levitate the triple group of trout while Jed backs the trailer underneath.
Trout settle down, making ready for the next group.
Safety Comes When Man says, “Attach the hoist before freeing the sculpture.”
My neighbor, Chris, drops in to lend a hand. The three of us removed the trout months ago after their auto/ichthyes incident, and we will also put them back in.
Lashing down frisky fish for a ride through Sugarhouse.
We’ll be moving upstream about a mile, and trout need to move upstream to breath. This should wake them up from their long dormancy in the studio.
The Bean Whole fish transport; fueled by Jed’s craft-roasted coffee.

The rest of the morning was up at the intersection of 2100 S 1300 E, with the long turn lane still closed for street construction. This gave us a nice safe space to park and work from. The City’s public art coordinator, Kat Nix, brought hardhats and safety jackets for the guys, and pitched in with the work. The director of Salt Lake City’s Arts Council, Felicia Baca, also stopped in, joking around at how I used to be her boss back when I ran Global Artways for the City. After Jed and I had dug out the holes and installed the paired group into concrete footings, Chris made a quick trip up to help us lift the triple group into position and slurry in the concrete. Everything went swimmingly, and the trout are happily in the current again.

On-site at the intersection in the closed left turn lane. The spot just in front of the oncoming car is where they will go.
We have loosed the fish from their tie-downs, and they are ready to leap into place.
Kat keeps on eye on them while I get the fish food.
Professional fish wranglers, like Lion Tamers of yesteryear, know the essential function of a bristling manly mustache when confronting The Wild.
The pair-group jumps right into place and gets their treats.
The triple group jumps next, sassing for treats.
Jed and I stand about while the concrete cures.
They are excited to be back out in public again, among the rushing cars.
Once the concrete sets, we spread the soil and ground cover so everything looks tidy.
Another good day of fishing.

Yesterday the pair received stainless poles, today the triple got theirs.

Today I levitated the pole into position with my mind. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?
Triple with double poles. Welding took a bit more knowhow today; filling gaps between the sculpture and the pole by building up wide platforms with fat bead on the sculpture, then switching style for a strong connection to the stainless- all with the same too skinny rod, and always in an awkward crouch that makes running the foot pedal tricky.

This morning’s email had a message from the City; the shattered poles have been removed from the sculpture site and re-installation is game-on. Time to get the Trout on their new poles!

The shop becomes a fishbowl again. Time for the fish to sprout legs- stainless steel poles.
The clamps and rulers and sticks are how I establish Level & Vertical when the trout are suspended upright. Here they are suspended on their sides, with the stainless steel pipe aligned to the base of the stream hoops. I thread the pipe through ladders to establish Horizontal & Parallel from the upright measure of Level & Vertical.
Then the poles are welded in place. A bit more than half way around.
I welded the new pole to the original pole, after getting them to seat together. The force of the accident is apparent here, as the the old pipe is crushed up into the steambed form.
Almost flipped over enough to weld the underside of the pipe. The hoist was blocking the rotation, so down it came and the webbing was refit, then it lifted clear.
The pair is finished up and tied off to the float beam and its support leg, making space for the bigger group.
This rowdy bunch.
Rolled onto the side after establishing Vertical & Horizontal.
The force of the accident really pushed the bronze around. This is as close as it could come back, as the positioning of the trout are what hold the group together. The portion of pipe to the left will be cut at an angle to butt up the adjoining pipe in alignment with Horizontal & Parallel. Tomorrow.
The pair is cleaned and waxed.

All welds, road rash & dings, car paint & rubber bumper transfer have been turned back to fish skin and stream stones with grasses.

After adding in new patina at welds and dings, the sculpture is left to warm in the sun. Once toasty, I paint on a layer of clear wax, let it cool, and buff it off. Then warm it in the sun again. This view shows the rear fin’s weld to the hoop, and the front fin’s weld to a stream stone.
Another view of the front fin connected to a stream stone. A tan stone behind the fin is making it a bit visually confusing.
The rear fin from the opposite side. This weld is the only connection to this stream hoop, so it is hefty all the way around.
This fin had been ripped nearly off, and was clapped against the fin on the other side.
The third main anchor weld is the fin connection to the front hoop. A section of the stainless pipe is visible under the rear hoop, it’s weird angle shows the force of the impact. It will be cut away and replaced.
Happy to be clean and waxed, the pair will return to the studio to wait next to their stainless steel poles.