Who are we? We are our stories. We are our pictures.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Old and Obsolete Camera(man)

These photos were taken on 01/26/2023 on South Padre Island. I am posting this to remind myself of the joy of shooting photos with an obsolete, heavy Nikon D7500 camera and equally obsolete and even heavier Nikon 200-500mm lens, the combination of which weigh a boat anchor. Previously I had a Nikon D5600 camera which ... which I dropped :-(. The lens survived quite well; the camera body seemed okay, then acquired a mind of its own, randomly changing settings before commenting suicide. 

Nikon has embraced mirrorless camera technology to the point where the D7500 is the last Nikon DSLR in current production. It shares the same sensor and processor as the previous Nikon "flagship" D500. It shares the basic guts, with fewer bells and whistles. 

Lorna has a marvelous new Canon mirrorless camera and I was having a quite a bad case of camera envy. Yesterday I got my settings tuned in and got my photo groove back. I have come to the realization that I too am old and obsolete. When I die they may have to pry my rigor mortis stiffened fingers from this howitzer of a camera.

Obsoletely yours,
Gunnar Berg

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Heimdall the Watcher

INorse mythology Heimdall, watchman of the gods, dwelt at the entry to Asgard. He required less sleep than a bird, could see 100 leagues and hear grass growing in the meadows. Heimdall kept the ringing horn Gjallarhorn which could be heard throughout heaven, earth, and the lower world to summon the gods when their enemies approached. 

Over the ages, one by one, the old gods eventually retired to the south of France. Heimdall fell on hard times, eventually retiring beside the spring which is the source of the mighty Oakwood Rivulet, where he landed a job as a watchman protecting 1410 from all evil. 

(Heimdall's face is a bit distorted. His boulder had a natural "face" which only I seemed to see, so I just liberated him a little. In most sunlight he is not visible.)
- Gunnar

Monday, July 4, 2022

Dust in a Baggie - Billy Strings

I am really not a huge fan of Bluegrass music, but even I can recognize genius level talent. We will see where the young man goes with it. Bluegrass music used to be about moonshine and corn liquor. He took that tradition to the world he grew up in.

Cellphone concert at a party before anyone other than friends had heard of him:


I ain't slept in seven days, haven't ate in three
Methamphetamine has got a damn good hold of me
My tweaker friends have got me to the point of no return
I just took the lighter to the bulb and watched it burn

This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie

Well, if I would have listened to what mom and papa said
I wouldn't be locked up in prison, troubled in the head
I took that little pop and suck until my mind was spun
I got 20 years to sit and think of what I've done
This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie
Sometimes, I sit and wonder where my little life went wrong
These old jailhouse blues have got me singing this old song
My life is a disaster, Lord and I feel so ashamed
In here where they call me by a number, not a name
This life of sin has got me in
Well, it's got me back in prison once again
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie
I used my only phone call to contact my daddy
I got 20 long years for some dust in a baggie

A few years later, Billy Strings and Marcus King. Strings with a '1936 000-28 and Marcus a '1954 Telecaster. Over time, guitars simply haven't gotten any better.


Still not 30 years old, selling out 10,000 ticket venues with a Grammy, nominated for two more, and older musicians - county, blues, jazz want to play with the kid. It will be interesting to see if he can stand the heat.

We'll see, 
- Gunnar

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

And on the third day God created...

I do not necessarily believe in a God Creator, but if I did I would imagine he is mucking around tweaking and changing things (evolution?) ... like moving Victoria Falls 102 feet to the left so it looked right to him .... or her (heaven only knows). 

I have an arriving order of sheet moss in transit. Once I lay that natural carpet the rocks become mountains and except for erosion and continental drift, the mountains, rivers and streams, are pretty much fixed in place.

So today I shifted the upper waterfall 5" to the right. Seems easy and straightforward, but everything is connected so I had to move a cliff of rock and dirt. 

And on the morrow I shall move mountains.

(The mountain range and gulch on the horizon should shift a corresponding amount.)

- Gunnar
P.S. I Googled to see what day God created the earth.

"On the first day - light was created. the second day - the sky was created. the third day - dry land, seas, plants and trees were created. the fourth day - the Sun, Moon and stars were created". 

Monday, May 30, 2022

WAY pedals for a 1950 M.Bonvicini

I have a vintage bicycle that has become difficult to ride. First, I can no longer shift it while mounted. This is not a major deal, people ride single-speed bicycles every day. Dismount, select gear, shift, remount. But I am 77 with an inoperable broken scapula and riding drop bars for any distance is "uncomfortable". But damn, I love this bicycle.

So I bought a set of vintage "condorino" style Italian upright bars. I did not want to totally bastardize the bike for the next owner, so I have two sets of cables and housings attached to the bars. I cut three 3/4" long pieces of thin aluminum tubing and rewrapped them under the top tube tape. If I want to switch, I can just remove the cables at the brakes and pull them through, and switch out the stem, bar, brake lever assemblies.

Then I was left with road peddles on a bike that would likely be ridden with street shoes. (The fenders are contemporary, but the frame has wear marks and threaded fittings so it may have been a street bike anyway.

Johnny Pergolizzi showed up with set of really clean Way-Assauto pedals. The original pedals (and stem) are the only original things that a little rough on the bike, so I bit.

While I was Googling Way-Assauto history, another set of vintage WAY pedals showed up on eBay, which are basic platform pedals. Man, I had no idea the animal even existed! They are currently on the way to 1410 Oakwood. 

So I will have two iterations of a 1950 Italian daily rider.

- Gunnar 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

1410 Migrating Warblers: 05-10-2022 & 05-11-2022

All taken from the same location on our garden bench with "The Beast", my heavy, obsolete old camera.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

The White Rose Bouquet

I love song lyrics that tell stories and blur the line between lyrics and poetry. Initially I fell for this short phrase  "... Irish poets, raconteurs and libertines". I found the writing style interesting, capturing a vague feeling of a past time.  

I then went to Google to learn about "card squeezers" and "blistering the Bees". It seems before cards had number/suit designation in the upper left-hand corner, players had to spread their hand to see the pips or faces and an opponent could somewhat judge the strength of the hand by how wide is was spread. A squeezer would never spread his hand, merely remember the card on top then shift it to the bottom. "Bee" was the primary brand of fine playing cards and of course "blistering" was card marking. I knew "the gambler's fallacy" from flipping quarters. The probability of an event happening does not depend on what has happened in the past - each flip is still 50-50%. 

I also checked out the .32-20, which was a Colt .312 diameter round with 20 grains of powder. It was a heavy, slow velocity bullet; poor distance kill, but deadly at close ​range. 

The New Amsterdam Theatre was built in 1903 and is the oldest theatre still on Broadway.

There was a time I was wild, young, and handsome
I was smokin' cigarettes at age thirteen
At seventeen I was drinking in the taverns
With Irish poets, raconteurs and libertines
At twenty-one I was a full-time gambler
A card squeezer who blistered the Bees
I carried a .32-20 in my pocket
And I heeded not The Gambler's Fallacy

Thereupon I was asked to be a procurer
By a young woman of desire named Olivia Mae
So for mutual financial benefits
We opened the House of the White Rose Bouquet
Olivia was a beauty and quite flirtatious
She enjoyed the company of rakish men
And we fell deeply in love with each other
And prospered in our house of ill-repute and sin

And even though I was in love with Olivia
There were other girls and indiscretion
A patron of the house was a physician
And he gave me a cure for my transgression
One night Olivia found my hidden blue bottle
With tablets shaped like coffins inside
She mistook them for opiate narcotics
And swallowed the mercury chloride

How my heart died when I found her
In her green beaded dress, dead on the floor
At her service, I cocked my .32-20
For I could not stand the sorrow anymore

The House of the White Rose Bouquet
Fell into disarray and was torn down
The place is now a beacon of decency
For it's a theatre known as The New Amsterdam

At night after the audience has departed
Never knowing where they were was once a brothel
A figure walks across the darkened stage
In a green beaded dress, carryin' a blue bottle



Monday, December 27, 2021

Christmas With the Old Norwegian

Lorna and I were spending Christmas with my daughter Adena and her wife Nicole in the Cooper neighborhood of Longfellow in Minneapolis. It is a pleasant neighborhood on the buffs above the Mississippi gorge - a good neighborhood for walking with or without a dog for an excuse. A fifteen minute walk south of their 1925 bungalow is the Seven Oaks Oval, a two acre 35 foot deep wooded sinkhole in the middle of a ring of classic craftsman homes.

While we were in the neighborhood I knocked on the door of an old friend to wish him a Merry Christmas. Chris Kvale answered the door and invited me in. We caught up on backyard birds, music, politics, and the status of his bicycle frame shop, which was severely damaged by fire-fighting water during the rioting following the George Floyd killing. 

Chris stepped out of the house to greet my family who were across the street trying to locate two hooting Barred Owls in The Oval. I followed Chris and pulled the door closed behind me. It latched with an audible *clack*. Locked. We tried the back door. I had locked a man out of his own home and the neighbor with the spare key was out of town. Marcia was going to be gone for hours. Chris used my phone a number of times, but she did not answer.

Given our dilemma and limited options, I gave Chris my jacket and we walked  back to Add and Nick's home ... where we ate cookies,  drank wine and visited. I learned that Chris's friend had originally manufactured his sheet metal paint spray booth several decades earlier. It was first assembled for use in a basement shop, later in two other shop locations. That same friend will be reassembling it one more (last?) time in Chris's shop in the Vine Arts Building. On Monday, after 19 months of forced early retirement (at age 76) Chris Kvale will be begin reassembling his shop, to again build fine bicycle frames to classical music and greet friends for conversation and a day's end drink.

After a couple of hours of "wisiting", Marcia eventually called. She was home, wondering where he was. So Addy took the Old Norwegian back home to a waiting Christmas dinner. 

The Old Dane,

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Saturday, December 18, 2021


This is the bank in Hartland, 12 miles up the road. Of course some houses are in similar condition, but no one was killed or seriously injured. 
It was one hell of a storm. 60 degrees on a December afternoon in Minnesota should have been a warning that all was not right with the world. The barometric pressure dropped like a ... like a ... like a metaphor. Then it broke loose, unleashing the winds of hell, gusts to 80 mph and straight steady winds, 60 mph+ all night. Not gusts, just steady blowing, blowing until something breaks, wind. 

I am proud of the old house. The 100 year-old lady creaked, moaned, begged for mercy, but stayed upright. Because of wind noise we slept, or tried to sleep, tucked into the corner room behind Steve Hamburg's new basement walls. I had watched the walls going up (and down), thinking it was overbuilt to fill concrete blocks with more concrete and steel re-rod down to footings four feet in the ground. 

Then it was reassuring. 

- Gunnar 

As I lay in bed, wind tired and worn, drifting through the hallway between half-asleep and half-awake, a song drifted in, "When death comes a knocking will God open the door?" 

And for some reason, the Four Horsemen came riding through the dream mist: "Death? Pestilence? Famine? Death? ... or was it Margadant, Grinley, Hurst, Westrum, Berg? No, that's five."

"Oh yeah, that's right, Dock became a Republican"... as I drifted off.