The Sidewalk Project

I didn’t set out to turn this into a project, but occasionally as time goes by you see things emerge, and then you turn a curiosity into something a bit more solid. Basically, I started walking to get more exercise about two years ago, and as I was walking I would sometimes see an old sidewalk square stamp. I saw a 1956 near my house and thought that was cool. I saw some really beautiful stamps, and some ugly ones (from a design standpoint) and I would share some of them online, mostly on Facebook after returning from my daily walk.

At some point someone asked me about locations, and I realized that since I take all the photos with my mobile phone the location data is embedded in every file. Sadly, the social media platforms typically strip this data, and even if they didn’t I don’t know that they have a good way of showing the data. I use Piwigo for my photo gallery, so I put all the photos there, and was able to add a map. I’d like to show location data on each photo page, but I’m still working on that.

For now though, you can view the photos, download them, see the geo coords in the file, and view the map. (Note that on a mobile device you need to switch to “Desktop” view. (Something else to fix in the future I guess.)

As of this posting date (2023-08-20) this is the list of years I’ve captured (the blue text with a strikethrough). I still have not completed a full decade, though I am close. The great majority of these are within walking distance of my house, though there are a few from Bay View and Downtown, but most are around Enderis Park, Cooper Park, Lenox Heights, and the surrounding areas.

I would prefer to have stamps that are in Milwaukee, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. I’ve been avoiding stamps that say Wauwatosa, which is difficult because I live near the edge of Tosa and walk there all the time. I also don’t limit it to one of each year, and I’ll grab the same year if it’s a different stamp or really unique (or well designed) stamp. (I definitely still want to get all the missing years!)

I’ve also heard from others who say “I keep looking at the stamps when I walk around!” or people will send me photos of stamps (or plates!) they’ve come across. One friend asked if I need to get the photo, and I said that while I really love people sharing with me, I do want to actually see a sidewalk stamp in person and capture the photo. I also encourage others to create their own record.

So, yeah… that’s the thing that has become The Sidewalk Project which is a name I just came up with while writing this post. Let me know what you think.


Gallery 69 – Day One

By now you probably know we launched Gallery 69 a Free Little Art Gallery (or FLAG) and I was a little worried that it would just be me putting my silly (little) prints in there. Well, it’s just been on day (going on two) but things are looking up!

So first, the day before we opened, I came home from work and checked the gallery (mainly for leaks, we had a ton of rain!) and found a large ceramic piece. So yeah, someone left it there. I don’t know who. I asked the local ceramics guy and it wasn’t him, so either someone saw a post and knew about it, or wandered by, or maybe a neighbor put it there. I’m not sure, but I’m thankful for the first contribution! (If you recognize the signature, let me know.)

Next up, a small painting from Julie Weber. Julie also lives on 69th street, and may be assisting with some of the gallery maintenance in the future. (She was very excited when I told her about it months ago.)

You can find more of Julie’s work at, Instagram, Facebook, or Etsy. If you see something you like, consider supporting an artist by purchasing something!

I gotta say, I wasn’t expecting real paintings on real canvases… I really thought it would just be my cheapo garbage prints in there (on cheap) paper, so Julie has really raised the bar for contributions!

Finally, Madeline Prodoehl (UWM PSOA) added two experimental enamel pieces. While Maddy has a long history in photography, she’s also done illustration, printmaking, painting, and in recent years she’s been learning jewelry & metalsmithing. (You may remember the Mother’s Day card we collaborated on a few months ago.)

This is great! And I’m going to take a minute to talk about curation. I want to amass a good amount of art, and hope that people actually take things. Based on the other two galleries in the area, some things might sit in there a while. If that happens, I may rotate them out for a bit so visitors can see new things. Once they’ve been out of the gallery for a while, we’ll add them back in.

I’m already getting contributions via mail, and if you want to send something, please get in touch. I may even take digital works if artists are okay with me printing them on heavy/glossy paper.

Gallery 69 is a Free Little Art Gallery located on 69th street just north of Locust street in the Enderis Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Falk Hammer

You may remember the Falk Corporation (they were a “good name industry” and part of what made Milwaukee the “machine shop of the world” many years ago.) My father (and my grandfather) also worked there. Anyway, I’ve got this hammer, see…

I must have got this from my dad’s old workshop after he passed away, and it was sitting in my basement in a state of disrepair for many years. Sometimes it’s just difficult to deal with old things, but we can’t just dispose of them, because of sentiment and feelings and memories…

So the handle and head sat around for years untouched, until I decided to do something. I took the head and polished it up on the buffing wheel (which also once belonged to my father) and then I sanded the handle down to bare wood and coated it in shellac to give it a nice surface and shine.

Finally, I cut a wedge of wood and used the band saw (also one of my dad’s old tools to clear out the old wedge so I could pound in the new one. With that, the hammer was cleaned up, repaired, and ready for use.

And it’s sort of beautiful, but not too beautiful to use. It’s a tool, and tools should be used. I honestly don’t know if my father ever used it, though I imagine it did see some use years ago. It’s probably 40 years old or more… maybe 50? I don’t know. Tools well care for can last a long time.

I hope one of my children keeps this hammer after I’m gone. They could use it, or display it, or just leave it in the basement for years, untouched…


Gallery 69 – A Free Little Art Gallery

Gallery 69 is open! It’s a Free Little Art Gallery which is sort of like a Little Free Library, but instead of books, we give away art. And if you’ve got art you want to give away we’d love to help out with that, just leave it in the gallery for someone else to enjoy. They can either take it home with them, or just admire it while it’s in the gallery.

There are a bunch of these FLAGs all over the place, not as many as libraries (yet) but you can search for one near you using (There’s also a great Smithsonian Magazine article explaining things in more detail.)

I first encountered a Free Little Art Gallery in the summer of 2022. I was out on a walk one morning and came across a large cabinet on 65th street in Wauwatosa, just north of Clarke street with a note inside explaining that it was an art gallery and would soon feature free art. I checked in on it every few days and eventually art showed up, along with a note about the opening night party! I did stop by that night and met Robin who set up the gallery. She was awesome and we talked about it a bit. I then made it a habit to visit at least once a week, and started dropping off my own art there. It was awesome.

So in 2023, I decided that for my birthday I wanted to build my own gallery. I am a thrifty midwesterner, so I gathered up the scrap wood I had lying around, found some nice shelves on the curb a few blocks away one morning (and hauled it home, which was not fun!) and while I did not finish the gallery in two days as originally planned, I did finish it in two months. Yay me.

Alright! Now we need some art! While I can certainly drop prints into the gallery when needed, I’ve already reached out to some artists I know about supplying some fine (little) art to keep it filled up.

Here’s a neat little leaf I got from another nearby gallery, located on 87th street, just south of Locust in the Cooper Park neighborhood. (Find it on Instagram.) Just like with my practice of moving books between Little Free Libraries I can see moving art between little galleries.

More random things… a print (which are actually gift tags) and some painted rocks from a free rock garden down on 69th street just north of North avenue.

Another one from the 87th street gallery, a flower card. People like flowers, right?

Here’s a print I made from a laser-etched plate I made from a photo I took of some power lines one morning. I plan to keep making more prints so come and get them if you like them!

A few more rocks from the free rock garden down on 69th street along with a small plastic piece that seems like a Shrinky Dink thing which I got from… I don’t remember! Anyway, it’s art, it’s free, and you can come and get it if you like it. Gallery 69 is located on 69th street just north of Locust street in the Enderis Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


More Folders for More Games

Time for more adventures with the Anbernic RG35XX running GarlicOS! After I got a large set of games, I thought to myself “Maybe I’ll have two SD cards, one with my favorites, and one with everything. Well, I didn’t have to do that, because I discovered you can just make your own folders, and put whatever ROMs you want into them. So here’s a look at my current setup.

Those “FAV” folders show up with text labels because there is not a corresponding image file to display. (Which is a handy trick as well!) I may make some images at some point, or not…

To get this to work you have to edit the coremapping.json file. You can just duplicate the original line and make a new folder name. Here I’ve added GBA-FAV right under GBA. Note that the folders are displays in alphabetical order in GarlicOS. But also note, you can name the folders anything you want. So you could order them manually using naming conventions with letters or numbers.

Also note, you can’t mix ROMs, so putting Game Boy and Game Gear ROMs in the same folder will not work. Each folder’s ROMs will run using the specific library listed in the line of the file. Still, this can go a long way towards organizing things.

You can find the coremapping.json file in the CFW folder. (If you have two SD cards it will be on the first one… Mine is on the MISC partition. (If you screw up the file the UI will display blanks, so make a backup file first if needed.)

I do know you can mark games as Favorites in GarlicOS, and I still use that feature (in my own way) but I found that it was too easy for me to “unmark” a favorite and then have it disappear from the list (and my mind) so this lets me have my curated folder of favorites along with the folder of “everything else”.

One more tip! If I want to move ROMs between the FAV folder and “regular” folder I can do it on a computer but it’s also very easy to do it using Dingux Commander running directly on the RG35XX.