“Outsider” art

In the continuing saga of the Summer of 2014 “Back to Nature” Staycation, I think I have decided upon the artform I want to portray on the front deck…

…sorta like primitive outsider art, using the media of weathered wood marquetry, such as the wood inlay artwork below, by Jonathan Calugi:

jonathan calugi - italian artist - wood inlay

…almost like this:


…incorporating these images (from here, here, and here):


Dusk Scene, Smoky Mountains



…to create an abstract image in painted wood that will resemble this:


rather than these (from here and here):



Ultimately fading like an old barn or brick building advert:

signs on building

IMG_3070pse copy

“Post” modern latticework

The old lattice sections have been removed and ready for dismantling, salvaging the nonrotten pieces.



But first, the deck must be reinforced with new braces attached between deck and posts/beams as partially implemented below:


Before removing the lattice sections, I cut out honeysuckle and wisteria vines that had interlaced between and warped individual lattice boards, discovering some unusual lifeform (placed on top of flat carpenter’s pencil for size comparison):


It’s hot outside…time for a lunch break.

Front deck refresh

Now that the backyard privacy fence is complete, time to refresh the look of the front deck, starting with the broken latticework underneath, which used to look like this:

Original pattern

Here are some of the patterns I’m considering, reusing the old lattice work strips where possible:

Star pattern

Galaxy pattern

Geometric patterns 2

Geometric patterns

Modern art pattern


Or if I’m really ambitious, I’ll turn it into a wood-and-metal mixed media display, something like this:

Mixed media pattern


Merlin and Erin would have selected one design for me, I’m sure…



…after they watched the butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, birds, chipmunks and squirrels, of course.





What the cabin in the woods looked like under construction in April 1987, still with the same latticework today in 2014 — time to bring the deck into the 21st century!:


Withdrawal symptoms

Lee looked at the Moon.


Its face lit from ear to ear.

He sipped unsweetened tea through a straw.

He had acclimated to the planet’s atmosphere.

Listening to conversations at nearby tables in the Mediterranean cafe, he asked himself what drove the animals to sit upright in chairs, stabbing food with forks and lifting it to their mouths, a seemingly inefficient method of fuel consumption.

Which Lee was he?

He knew he was not the first, the original version of himself lost to the ravages of natural body aging processes, close approximations stored in ISSA Net database structures for replication and ability to stay in play during the ongoing chess match of life in the inner solar system.

He observed the dense mats of water vapour greying the sky, low clouds passing right to left or southwest to northeast in his view.

The weather forecast predicted heavy bands of rain, the unstable air mass collision between two temperature zones.

Lee took stock of his external covering.

Were the layers of clothing sufficient to keep him cool during the warm weather today and the cool rainy weather later in the evening?

How much protection did he need?

Would he avail himself of the dominant species’ infrastructure or forego ready-made transportation networks and walk to his next destination?

The “muscles” of his legs had accumulated toxic chemicals that prevented him from long distance running across the local terrain.

He missed the gravity of Mars but not the uniforms that allowed him to breathe and survive the temperature swings and solar radiation on the surface of Mars.

Developed to handle many a Martian sol, he still had body connections to Earth’s environment due to his link to the original Lee.

He rubbed his thighs.

A perceptible ache throbbed below the skin.

His body had been running for days.

He needed a break but had to stay on schedule.

Lee wondered if he could find what he was looking for.

The schedule left no room for doubt.

He had to acquire his target, no question about competing against the weather or aberrations in his body’s behaviour.

Lee hadn’t slept well for three straight nights.

He was suffering a type of withdrawal, a homesickness he had not been trained to anticipate and compensate for.

He sorely missed the touch and voice of Bai, he had an almost daily addiction to Guin, and the familiar smells of Martian food were not refreshing his memories in normal patterns as he was used to.

Lee was no trained special agent or spy. He was not a highly-skilled militaritian sent to keep the ISSA Net finely-tuned.

Lee was on Earth to accomplish a mission for the future, his role purely temporal, sent by his original self in the past to return to the home planet and retrieve a milestone buried behind the cornerstone of a prehistoric building almost guaranteed to exist regardless of the wax and wane of civilisation.

The original Lee had not accounted for checkpoints and tracking systems that analysed the movement of the bipedal animals and predicted their behaviour.

Lee did not want his movements to predict his destination in case someone or some algorithm in the ISSA Net perceived Lee’s plans as a threat that needed to be stopped.

To reduce endangering the schedule milestone retrieval, he had randomised his direction, assuming the role of a vagabond, a wanderer, passing near his destination several times without stopping, spending days in one spot doing nothing but sitting and observing, then running for weeks from place to place, expending energy he wanted to conserve, wearing out his body parts without access to replacements until he returned to Mars.

He decided it was time to approach the destination.

He shook his head from side to side to pop a vertebra back in place.

He wanted to send a thought to Guin, feel Bai’s hand running down his spine, but he could not risk the lives of the future Lees because of his personal needs.

Lee breathed.

He smelled the air.

Olive oil. garlic. Perfume. Sodium chloride. Styrofoam. Grilled chicken breast.

He had stored enough fuel in his body to last a few days, compensating for his worn legs, to give him a chance for long distance running again, if not a few sprints, too.

Lee stood up.

Time to go.

Get the milestone on time and he could return to Mars.

If not…?

Lee pushed doubt out of his thoughts.

He always achieved his goals.

Lee never planned to fail.