Well, it’s official…. I am fully addicted to Wood Firing. I love the whole process from meeting new interesting people to staying up all night keeping the fire going and finally unloading the kiln and discovering some amazing results. Aside form building the pieces, firing the kiln is an art in itself. The way the fire moves though the kiln depositing ash on soft curves and the extreme heat then melts the ash to a glass glazing the pot in beautiful patterns formed by the natural movement of fire and ash through the kiln.

The kiln we used here belongs to Tony Moore of Cold Spring, NY. It is an Anagama  – Noborigama Kiln and it is beautiful. I am already excited to get started on pieces for the next   firing in June!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

It’s official…

“I am in hell” a look at Skyview Rehab

Dad, Mike & Mel

Dad, Mike & Mel

When my brother and I were looking for a home for my father who has Altzheimers I didn’t really know much except that I was hoping for some place that he would be safe, well cared for and preferably a place he could like. A homey, cozy place not too institutional.

We wanted a place near by so that narrowed the search some. We also needed a place that accepted Medicaid and Medicare and that narrowed the search even more. Of the Local places near Croton on Hudson, NY a few top choices emerged. Bethel and Skyview Rehab I don’t know why we never looked at the VA. Anyway we really liked both Bethel and Skyview Rehab it was just a matter of which we could get him into and fast as things were getting desperate.

Bethel seamed to have nice happy smiling people and after realizing none of these places were going to offer a particularly homey experience – Clean Happy people became important. I liked what I saw there.

Skyview Rehab took my breath away with it’s balcony overlooking the Hudson river and the decor… reminded me of the Titanic. Elegant. I felt my father would be happiest at Skyview Rehab as he would love looking out over the water. And I would love visiting on that balcony!

So my brother got him into Skyview. Of course the transition was horrible. In the beginning I could still take him out for our Saturday outings but soon he began refusing to go back so I couldn’t take him out anymore. Very sad. He remained very unhappy at Skyview and it didn’t take long to see why.

The help at Skyview Rehab, the folks who have the most contact with your loved ones are for whatever reason, not equipped for the job.They are disrespectful, and in some cases outright abuses take place and it seams these are regular and acceptable practice. In one case I observed a wheelchair bound woman yelling that she needed to go to the bathroom. She was answered by a particularly loud staff member who yelled back “Just GO! like you did before and we’ll take care of it later!” She saw me sitting within ear shot and shouted this at this patient with no hesitation so while I was horrified, this is common practice at Skyview.

In another instance a woman sitting near me was so tired she put her head down on the table. The worker in the room kept jostling her and telling her to “Sit Up! Don’t put your head on the table!” I said to the worker “Why can she not put her head down? She is tired.” She looked at me sheepishly and said “she gets a red mark on her forehead.” I mean come on. Not letting a tired woman rest in my book is abuse. This worker obviously didn’t know any better. Needless to say Skyview is a kind of hell for patients. You can see that on their faces if you are not distracted by the beautiful view. My father once said to me there in a moment of clarity “I am in hell”. I believed him.

My father was having his own issues there. We were told that he was too violent and we needed to find a new place for him. As it turns out Dad was never proactively violent. He got agitated as a result of aggression by other neglected and unhappy residents, or by the inappropriate behavior of unqualified and uncaring staff. My father deserves to be spoken to with respect and to keep his dignity. Skyview did not want my father there as he was not Wheelchair bound and the only way they could control him was with heavy antipsychotic drugs. I guess it never occurred to them to just be nice to him. He began to go downhill fast sitting in an unresponsive stupor.

To save him from Skyview Rehab we began looking again, and found the VA. Thank god he is a Veteran! But because no facility (including the VA) would take him in his “chemically restrained” state we had to get him off the drugs. To do that we had to bring in an outside doctor to overrule the Skyview Psychiatrist (who prescribes the meds for the entire building),  And the Skyview psychiatrist logged protests and tried to block our efforts every step of the way. The VA said what Skyview was doing is illegal. If we didn’t get him out, he’d probably be gone by now.

Dad is now one of the VA staff’s “favorites”. They treat him well and most importantly he is happy! It’s amazing what a little respect will do for moral. I think the folks at Skyview Rehab need to go spend some time at the VA and see how to manage a room full of seniors.

In retrospect I think an important screening question for anyone looking at homes is do they use anti-psychotic drugs. The VA does not use or condone the use of these drugs. They also do not tell their residents to “Just GO! like you did before and we’ll take care of it later!” Another important difference is supervision. In the VA they have an attentive woman in charge who overseas the help. The help is not left to run amuck.

So while my father has been saved, I can’t help but think of all of those people living in hell at Skyview Rehab. After living a whole life to have the last chapter be that is beyond sad – it is unacceptable. I don’t know how to change things except to let people know how to choose wisely for their loved ones. I know the situation can be desperate and  it seams like the choices are slim but I feel if I had known at least to ask the drugs question and had known to look at the person in charge of the floor or wing. Is she present and attentive? or is the help running the show. If I had looked at these things I could have avoided the time my father had to spend in hell.


If you’ve had this problem it can be REALLY frustrating. Photoshop CS5 really needs to fix this – But at least after not too much wasted time I found the answer here:

My issue was solved after the second step:

Solution 2: Turn Font Preview off in Photoshop’s Preferences.

  1. Choose Photoshop > Preferences > Type (Mac OS), or Edit > Preferences > Type (Windows).
  2. Deselect Font Preview Size.
  3. Retest your issue to determine if this solution solved the problem.
By bluedawg Design Posted in Uncategorized

How to do a Pit-Firing

This is the sort of thing you can easily do in your own backyard (subject to local council regulations of course). It’s a simple firing technique used in many ancient cultures across the globe and popular with potters today.

Difficulty Level: easy      Time Required: half a day

Here’s How:

  1. Dig a pit of the appropriate size, depending on the amount of work to be fired.
  2. Place a bed of dry leaves and twigs and possibly coal, which will burn slowly, at the bottom of the pit
  3. Place the pottery on top of this.
  4. Carefully sprinkle oxides and carbonates around the pieces (particularly copper carbonate), which volatilize and result in flashes of color appearing on the fired work.
  5. Cover the work with more leaves, twigs and dung (if available), building up a mound over the pieces.
  6. Once the stacking process is finished, light the pile around the edges and leave to smolder for several hours, or until the next day.
  7. Towards the end of the burning process, bury the pit in earth or sand, which will cut off the oxygen supply and create a strong reducing atmosphere inside the mound.
  8. Allow the kiln to cool overnight and open the next day.
  9. Remove excess scum with a wire brush under a running tap.


  1. Additions of grog or volcanic ash ‘open up’ the clay and make it more resistant to heat shock.
  2. The best color results can be achieved with iron bearing, or red clays.
  3. Bisque firing the work first helps to prevent shattering and cracking.

A Day Off…

Finally A whole day off. I am going to play around with 3D then retreat to the basement where it’s cool and mix some glazes🙂 It’s going to be record highs today near 100 with heat index feeling like 110. I don’t know I think they just invented a way to make it more dramatic for ratings. I mean it’s like saying 60 is the new 40. No it’s not! 60 is 60 and 40 is 40 WTF. 100 degrees feels like 100 degrees. hot. muggy. stifling. I love it!

Sprint… FYI

I always loved Sprint but switched to AT&T in order to get the iPhone. I have been less than impressed with the iPhone and had decided to switch back to Sprint. I phoned Sprint and got my account set up and all ready to switch back only to fail the identity theft screening question. Apparently I am not who I say I am….

I find it more than a little hard to accept that while I have excellent credit Sprint would decline me because I don’t know the year of a Subaru I owned 10 years ago. I mean I don’t even know the year of my current Saturn.

And while I know my father is in his 70’s  I am not sure of his exact age and two of the multiple choice options had 70’s so I may have guessed wrong.

And then when asked which of the 4 streets I lived on my answer was none of the above and the woman asked several times… my answer still being none of the above which tells me Sprint has some bad information since I know I am who I say I am.

Sprint needs to find a better way of screening people against identity theft if they think I am not me… Sprint failed the test, not me. But I am told they can try again in 60 days.

Oh and you can bet I am posting this everywhere… Twitter, Facebook, blog…everywhere!

Last I checked,
Mary Murphy

By bluedawg Design Posted in Rants

Playing around with Ceramics…

I have been toying with formulating my own glazes. So I made a bunch of test tiles in three different clay types. Then I jumped into mixing up some glazes from raw materials. I mixed an Ash glaze and a matt glaze. I them took each of those base glazes and dove right into colorants… assuming of course that my base glazes were good…..

As you can see in this photo I had an awful lot of failures. but I whipped the books back out and dove back in.

With round #2 I was so sure I had worked out all the kinks that I went ahead and did new test tiles with a new Matt a new Ash and added a gloss and a mottles glaze. I then Glazed a bunch of pots with a few successes from round #1. Fully confident they would look the same as they did with round one… why wouldn’t they right? Unless of course with a shake of the hand that .3% manganese becomes maybe 5% and mottles blue turns to gunmetal black… awesome.

I am kidding of course , it sucked. But still I can’t wait to mix up round #3!🙂 Pictured here are of course the few that came out OK. Next time it’s going to be great!!!

By bluedawg Design Posted in Fine Art

Andy Rooney thinks about women over 50.

As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all. Here are just a few
reasons why:

A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night & ask, ‘What
are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around
whining about it. She goes and does something, she wants to do, & it’s
usually more interesting.

Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at
the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you
deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get
away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s
like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a
woman over 50.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her
younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest.. They’ll tell you right off if you
are a jerk or if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder
where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s
not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 50,
there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with
some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for
free? Here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage.
Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a
little sausage!

Andy Rooney is a really smart guy!

By bluedawg Design Posted in Humor

FlashAndTheCity 2011

Special this week for our subscribers – get discount of 30% off FlashAndTheCity 2011, use “TAKE30” during checkout on all tickets.

Flash and the City is a four-day technology event, beginning June 9 with a day of workshops, and includes a 3-day, June 10-12, marathon-style conference focusing on a variety of technologies.

This year the conference will be segmented to include more topics that encompass a vast majority of technologies directly impacting web and mobile, not simply limited to Flash. More specifically, the conference has a single theme for each of the three days. The three “themes of the day” are UX/UI, mobile, and HTML5.

Flash and the City is almost here, make sure you add our event to your calendar, book all yourtickets, and don’t miss out what is to be a truly great technology conference right in the heart of New York.

This is a 3-day conference taking place June 10-12, with a day of pre-conference workshops on June 9 conveniently scheduled in the same venue.

** Also make sure you sign up for the free WP7 workshop. You will not want to miss it and it’s free! **