art Uncategorized

So When Did The Color Rust Become Popular?

I don’t recall rust, copper, or terra-cotta as colors for buildings and ornamental pieces when I was growing up. Do you? Somehow, somewhere, it started happening in my part of California in the the 1980s. I think. It’s certainly a major force in building colors today, almost a neutral or default color acceptable to most people and settings.

The rusty steel look may have started when a material called weathering steel or COR-TEN steel was first used in the building trades. Perhaps the early to mid-1960s. Green Future says the first architectural use of corten steel (external link) was for the John Deere headquarters in Moline, Illinois in 1964. says that corten steel is a specialty product (external link), not just stabilized rusty steel:

“Cor-ten steel resists corrosion by incorporating less reactive metals such as copper and nickel into the steel during its formation. The new alloys in the steel form a connective matrix throughout. This ‘sticks’ the rust formed to the surface, creating a protective barrier similar to skin.”

“The outer layer of rust is stable, and greatly increases the physical integrity of the steel. Unlike typical steel, cor-ten does not need to be painted, reducing initial construction costs. Also, weathering steel is maintenance-free; once the rust barrier is formed it is stable. Paint used as a defensive barrier against the elements needs to be maintained since it is unstable and flakes off.”

Other copper or rusty steel colors may have come into favor after the rusty steel look proved popular. Just speculating.

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Full Disclosure About My Rockhounding Site

I run a website about rockhounding called (external link). It’s been fun so far. So far. This is what I just posted to that site:

My latest posts reviewing different rock shops have proved popular with my readers and unpopular with a few people who imagine that I am profiting from them. Let me make this very clear, I have no financial relation with any company I review or describe and I make no money from this site. Is that clear?

There are no ads on this site, no effort to monetize my writing or photographs, no copyright restrictions spelled out, nothing. I deliberately started paying for Vimeo to host my videos so people don’t have to see ads with YouTube. I pay full rate for web hosting to avoid all ads.

There are banners for my Patreon site but that is only for people who want to help support me. It’s voluntary, strictly that. I make no money from Patreon by the way, since no one has signed up. No matter. None of the content on this site is locked down or costs. Nothing.

There is no charge to use this site, no e-mail to give, no password to set, no cookies enabled. Nothing. This practice isn’t uncommon. Take Wikipedia for an example. They don’t run ads, they don’t sell or rent their demographic information, and they don’t sell any e-mail address.

My reviews of any rock shop stems from coverage I had originally intended to use in my book. The death of that contract leaves me with hundreds of unused photos that I can now share. I’m getting the text for each post from my travel list, which is also free.

I am very happy to support all of the rocks shops that helped me with my book by letting me take photos and by providing information on their operations. Most of these shops support rockhounds with local hunting advice and they often support their local rock club. We should wish them well and it is sorrowful that some people mistake my promoting for profiteering. Like the poor, the stupid will always be with us.

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Version 11 of My Southwest Travel List is Out!

The .pdf file and the Kindle file are here:

Why don’t I post it here? The first is that WordPress at this site doesn’t host .mobi files so a Kindle format can’t be posted. The second reason is more interesting.

I have posted previous .pdf versions at this site. Like Version 3. Google is fixated for some reason on that early file, a document with hardly the information the current version has. I don’t want people to download Version 3 so I have removed the file from this site. That is causing people to get a 404 error, you know, “File not Found.”

Frustratingly, I can’t seem to redirect people who get that 404. Instead, people are directed to the main WordPress site, not my site. And I can’t edit the old permalink, which would give me some more options.

Right now I would rather people not find the old file, even if it means them getting that frustrating error message.

Until I can figure out a work around, I will not be posting any future version here, lest I run into this same problem with every version I post at this site.

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Photography Photoshop Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing tips

Thoughts on Learning Video

I’m learning about video after putting it away years ago.

In 2014 I produced this video which has now gathered over 118,000 views. 185 thumbs up, 36 thumbs down. Haters going to hate.

Video was so time consuming that I didn’t make any more videos. I’m trying again and this is what I am learning.

It still takes an enormous amount of time. Not so much in production, with the software, but with planning things out.

My recent videos in many cases needed a script. Without a script I find myself doing countless retakes as I later remember things that should have been included. The positive thing about scripting, if I continue to go forward, is that I will have a fairly accurate transcript below the video in each of my blog posts.

Camera and microphone setup is also time consuming and completely dependent on good light which isn’t always available when I want to shoot. I often write at three in the morning, video doesn’t like the indoor lighting at that time. Natural light always seems best while everything else is dingy.

Video on phones is extremely popular and getting more so every day. But I can’t show map detail on a three inch screen. Today’s phone and tablet screens are forcing creators to cover subjects that present well on mobile: big, blocky subjects, no nuance.

Ansel Adams finely grained black and white landscapes presented well in large format books or magazines. That’s impossible on a phone. Wrong medium.

And increasingly, that is a square medium like Instagram. It’s all about the ‘gram, even when a photograph should appear in landscape.

There’s a whole world that will now go unseen because it doesn’t work on mobile. What have we come to?

Because of this I may do many videos just for desktop viewing. After endless experimenting, I find I can only show the detail I need by meticulously creating Photoshop images to accompany a video.

Take a look at the two still and uncomplicated images at the end of the video. Notice how clear and distinct they are. (Even on an iPhone.) That is how I need to convey information, along with moving images to keep things interesting.

Doing all of this is a time grab I am trying to figure out.

Word Press Post from Thomas Farley on Vimeo.

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non-fiction writing Research tips revising writing Uncategorized

What Does Junk Mail and Wikipedia Have in Common?

The answer is that both only get  a two to three percent response to their solicitations. And while junk mail sells junk, Wikipedia serves a good purpose.

Their articles do a fine job of providing secondary source material  (external link) and an excellent job of listing or linking to primary sources of authority.

“If everyone who used Wikipedia this year donated, we wouldn’t need to fundraise for years to come. But only 2% of our readers give. We’re sustained by the support of our donors, who choose to do something exceptional.” Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder

I donate whenever I can to Wikipedia. I hope you are able to do as well. (external link – URL goes to the parent foundation)

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art Newspaper article Poetry Uncategorized

Architecture and Writing and Compromises

Tom Wolfe once said that we all have to live with an architect’s mistakes. How true. My bad writing won’t assault your senses (and that of the public) every time you drive to work. That’s unlike the concrete tilt ups that litter every office park and too often the close-in urban landscape. Along with buildings that had a decent budget, could do design right, and instead belong in a river like the library below.

Idea Exchange, Old Post Office
RDHA, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Wallpaper* Magazine is out with another great article on design. Library architecture and design: a worldwide guide (external link) shows off some very pretty buildings that complement their subject and others that indulge in a fascination with fashion that can impact any art.

In Las Vegas, Nevada, a building facade called stacked stone has been popular for years. It is literally everywhere and will be around until people move back to stucco or stamped concrete or slate shingles for siding or whatever next becomes popular. And then all of these old buildings will start looking dated, be torn down eventually, and a new cycle begun. In Vegas every new major building, churches included, demand a curved front. No more square buildings, there has to be a front facing hemisphere for anything to get built.

Tecnológico de Monterrey New Main Library
Sasaki, Monterrey, Mexico

As I mentioned, the Wallpaper* article features some terrific looking buildings, many set like this one in Monterrey. I find HDR photography fascinating as it recalls postcard photography, where everything is pictured in, literally, its best light. Professional photographers are so good they can make a pig farm compelling, artfully playing with mud and filth.

Like architecture, writing is a compromise. Budget, orientation, acceptance. My book topic wasn’t my first choice, it was my publisher’s marketable choice. Similarly, few architects can design what they want with the budget they want. Compromises or outright lies follow.

When California wanted a new State Fairgrounds it went big. Literally. Instead of the small, tree and lawn studded old state fair ground, this new place would sprawl over whatever acreage was needed to satisfy the wish list of every exhibitor and concessionaire. Walking anywhere would become a death march in the unshaded August heat.

Relieving that somewhat would be the generous use of brick pavers. Alas, the State Fair project went over budget and acres of concrete were installed instead. And then the money ran out for that and blacktop substituted. To this day, walking the Midway is no different than walking in a 110 degree asphalt parking lot. Last year, the State Fair installed misting stations  as attendance dropped due to the heat.

Adding to this misery was the miserly maintenance budget. Ordinary state employees with little gardening skills proved unable to coax the new, poorly planted trees to good growth. Hundreds of Canary Island Pines were installed for inexplicable reasons, those slow to grow and only thin shade providers. Scores of trees died outright and were never replanted. Forty years on, the grounds resemble a pygmy forest.

This present day happy graphic shows a green and blue oasis that the architects may have originally envisioned. That blue includes a splash fountain that has now been fenced off for play by sweltering children, perhaps to prevent slip and fall lawsuits. Look but don’t touch.

As Eliot said,

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

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