Saturday, February 24, 2018

Nightmares



I haven't been sleeping well since I entered the last age group.  Last night was hell.  I want an early release from the factory.  I don't feel I have all that much time left to be me as I know him.  I'm not like other people, I know.  At least I don't think so.  No, I'm sure I'm not.

But financially I'm stuck.  I will have to work away my last vitality.  When I am done there, I assume there will be little left.  Just a shell with a befuddled grin.  Somebody else will be starring in what was supposed to be my movie.

Etc.  But it is horrible.

I can't tell what is happening in this photo, don't know if the woman is showing my much weight she has gained or lost.  The pointing man seems more gleeful than she, but that might be a trick of the camera.  I don't know what nightmares she might face.

I watched "The Florida Project" a couple nights ago.  Wonderful movie.  Depressing.  First time actors except for Defoe.  It goes to show that with three weeks prep, we might all be movie stars.  There isn't as much to it as people think.  Ask Q.  He used to make films.  Acting is easy.

The fictional people in the film, however, are America.  They are the majority that the middle class fears.  They are Trump's boogeyman.

The film never validates them.  That is its secret.  No Hollywood there.  Just the vast, uncompromising Waste Land.

And yet life goes on.  They continue.

As I will.  As we do.

Friday, February 23, 2018

No Time for Nuttin'



Work and illness got me by the balls.  Ain't go no time for nuttin'.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New Avocation



It's a world of pictures now.  Camera sales have probably surpassed auto sales.  Surely.  Especially if you count phones.

So why do I get all the dirty looks?


That boy's got some testosterone.  I suggest that all women do testosterone for a month just so they know what it's like.  Then they would understand.

"Is that the way you feel all the time?"

"I used to.  Now I'm running on estrogen.  I've mellowed."

"Ha!  All your friends are women now.  They say, 'He's such a good listener.'"

"Pretty much, yes."

I blame the Disney Chanel for most current things.  On their shows, parents were dumbfounded and children were heroes.  Kids always set their parents straight.  That is what happens now.  We have valorized childhood "wisdom."  It is as if people thought Pink Floyd was telling it straight.

"We don't need no education.  Teachers leave those kids alone."

Kids have the good idea.  They imagine they want to be something they are not.  We all did it.  Now we just tell them, "O.K., that's a good idea."

I love kids.  I pretty much don't love most parents.  Seems to me they have abdicated much of their authority.  Some, anyway.  Black comedians still preach the efficacy of disciplining a child.  I saw Chris Rock's special on Netflix, or half of it.  I got to the part where he was saying that we have to quit telling kids they can be anything they want to be.  We should tell them, he says, you can be anything you are good at if someone will hire you.  I think that's what he said.  He said he wanted to ask the official at the school where his children went, "So you wanted to be a Vice Principal since you were a little kid?  You used to dress up in Vice Principal clothes and pretend?"

Yup.

I guess I'm only talking about middle class white American parents.  That is about .5% of the world's population.

I don't have kids, so I can give this good advice.  And as someone transitioning from male to female (time does that for you regardless), I think I am qualified to give good advice on gender issues, too.

That will be my new avocation.  I'm going to become a Life Coach.  Let me know if you have the money to hire me.  I'm tired of giving this all away for free.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Hum



There was no hooky yesterday.  When I checked my calendar, I saw a meeting mid-morning, so I went to work.  I have "events" all week long, so there will be no hooky for awhile.  I don't take off enough and have accumulated so much vacation time that it has to be transferred to sick leave according to the Rules of the Factory.  They have a handbook of such things it seems.  I've never read it, but I am sent emails from HR that informs me of its existence and gravity.  I seriously need some time off.  

Q says he has a seven week sabbatical starting this week.  Jesus, I don't know how he does it.  It seems all he does it take vacations and whine about not having any time off.  There is something screwy there.  But seven weeks off!  Really?  I don't know if I would ever be able to return to work.  

I'd like to give it a shot, though.  

Are you anything like me, kids?  Do you love paying hundreds of dollars a month for premium television and then not watching it?  I haven't had the television on since I tried watching the Olympics.  I feel better about things.  I have become certain that someone puts secret messages in the audio portions of all t.v. transmissions.  It is like the Windsor Hum (link).  It is there for sure, and it is destroying us, but nobody can seem to find its source.  One way to avoid it is to leave the television off.  That and keep paying for all those premium channels.  That's fun.  

I am changing my exercise routine, and that means some early morning aerobic exercise that will make early morning posting difficult.  I want to look like these exercise girls, happy and fit.  I want to wear spandex yoga pants and tight shirts and walk around with  a bottle of water rather than a muffin.  I remember that.  It is a better life.  

To wit. . . I must away.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hooky Maybe



I was wrong.  I fell in love with the Sony aRii yesterday.  I put a 28mm lens on it and made myself walk around the market in the park.  I shot with the lens wide open without knowing it which makes the autofocus a bit tricky, but it performed like a champ.   It focused more quickly than I thought it could.  I never put the camera to my eye, just shot from the chest or the hip.  I was amazed.  When I looked at the images in the camera, the colors popped.  They looked almost 3D.  I don't need to buy a Leica Q.  I don't need to buy anything.  I'm pretty happy now.

Ili is out of town, so last night I was able to process pictures after dinner with my mother.  Just sitting and listening to music and working on pictures.  It was fun.  Oh. . . and drinking.  I woke up early this morning and now I am sleepy.  And I'm thinking.  I'll check my calendar to see, but if there is nothing important, I may stay home and not go to the factory today.  That is very, very appealing.

I could pull weeds.  That is what I've done for part of the weekend.  It is definitely Spring here now.  The weeds tell the tale.  They know.  There are plenty still to pull.  And if I felt industrious, I might buy six azalea plants to replace the ones I am going to take out.  They have gotten old and thin and leggy.  And I could pay my bills and find someone to pressure wash the house.  These things all must be done, and today could be the day to do them.

And, of course. . . a nap.  I would love to nap today while the factory workers toil.  It would make me feel better, I think.


I could also play with pictures.  The ones I am showing are almost straight out of the camera.  I did some Lightroom tweaks, sharpening and exposure mostly, but I haven't tried anything in Photoshop.  I've added no texture layers or anything else that would give them "a look."



I made a few black and whites, but only a few, and this was the most complicated thing I did.  I struggle with aesthetics of the conversion.  I know others don't, but it seems to me that a thing shot in color should be color.  Most of my black and white images are shot that way.  I like not having to make those decisions.

O.K.  I will look at my work schedule and see if I can play hooky today.  I have pretty much made up my mind, though.  It seems like the right thing to do.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Heart Wants



I'll tell you a secret.  I don't like going out to take photographs.  I make myself.  It is very difficult and exhausting.  I have a photo/camera fetish, sure, like a lot of other people.  You can go to the camera store and see people drooling over cameras.  There is something alluring about them, something sensual.  A camera is a beautiful machine.  And there is a new one that I want.  All night I longed for it.  I have to have it.  That is how it is.

But using a camera is another thing.  Like everything else, the more you do it, the better you are at it. We do best what we do most.  But it doesn't get easier.  The summer I did my surfer series (link), every shoot wore me out.  I would drive to the beach two or three days a week with my Holga and some film, and all the way there, I thought, "No, I can't do this today."  And when I got there, I was sick with anxiety and dread.  I would take my camera in hand and begin to walk still thinking, "I can't do this."  Then I would tell myself I would just take the day off and lie on the beach.  And then. . . .

The street photography is like that.  I think that other people are not as noticeable as I.  Yesterday, I forced myself to walk from one end of the Boulevard to the other and back.  I will do that in the larger city again today.

But I don't look forward to it.

And still I want the camera.  It is a Leica Q.  I don't need it, maybe.  But I want it.  I took the photos you see here yesterday with the Ricoh GRii.  It is a great camera, one you can slip into a pocket.  The Leica Q is like the Ricoh on steroids, though.  It is larger, but cooler.  It is does the same thing but with a much better lens and a full frame sensor.  They both have attached 28mm lenses.  The camera and lens are one.  And the Leica Q costs about seven times as much.  Where will I get the money?  Oh, there is that.

I am going to rent a Leica Q for a week before I decide.  I want to make absolutely certain that I want it.  If so, I have some things that I can sell.

This is how desire works.  It is not rational.  It is a thing of the heart.  The head hasn't a chance.  I've thought of all the reasons NOT to buy it.  They are good reasons.  The best reasons.  And if I buy it, I will have to make myself take pictures every day.  That is, I must experience the anxiety and the dread daily to make the purchase worthwhile.

For you see, I don't really like going out to take photographs.  It is a difficult thing to do and almost always ends in failure.  I know it is not very smart.  But it isn't a thing of the head; it is a thing of the heart, and the heart often wants what is bad for us.  Right?  I should listen to my head.  Yup.

But I wouldn't bet on it.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors



I watched some of the Olympics last night.  Nostalgic, I guess.  How can you not?  But my attempt didn't last long.  The Olympics are staged so that companies can advertise products.  The ratio of athletic competition to commercial advertisements has to be ten to one.  Or vice versa.  I couldn't take it.  It is why I can't watch sports any more. 

Conversely, I was sad to read about the death of Jim Bridwell (link).  He was the opposite of a commercial athlete.  He was the craziest of crazies.  I didn't "know" him, but I would meet him once or twice a year at outdoor events in the west.  He seemed to like me and said hello when we ran into one another.  One year, we talked about doing a documentary of his life and climbing career, but we didn't stay in touch and nothing ever came of it (story of my life). 

He lived the rattiest rock climber life.  I met his wife.  The two of them lived in a broke down trailer.  Their clothes were hand-me-downs.  He just couldn't make or hold onto money, it seemed.  He tried working as a climbing guide for Exxum in Wyoming for awhile, but one of his clients buckled his Chouinard harness incorrectly and took a long fall that seriously injured him.  He sued, but since Bridwell had no money, he sued Chouinard for not putting a warning on its buckle.  Unbelievably, he won.  Chouinard had to sell the company and Bridwell. . . well, he didn't guide any more. 

But Bridwell was a well-known figure. 

“Adventure and excitement are the two things missing from civilization.  Danger keeps you on your toes.”

My lost point, however, is that he didn't climb for the money. 

Or maybe it would be better observed to say that the point is that I kinda sorta knew Jim Bridwell and that makes me think I'm cool.

Yea, I guess that's it. 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Detour




Sometimes you just get sidetracked.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Antique Maker



I go to bed early and sleep until two or two-thirty.  I roll around until five and then fall asleep for an hour.  I get up tired. 

What goes on in my head for those two and a half or three hours, I don't want to tell you.  But it is disturbing. 

I drag myself through the day without much enthusiasm.  Some days my condition mimics rigor mortis, but usually I am merely catatonic. 

My anxiety is due to a new perpetual paranoia.  Relatively new, but growing stronger weekly.

This is the first time in my life that I have not liked a generation.  There is nothing to do about this, of course.  They will prevail, so I don't resist.  Resistance is futile.  And truly, I like many of them, but they are like domesticated feral cats.  You know that once in awhile they are going to bite you. 

I haven't read Tu Fu or Li Po for many years.  I wonder if anybody has. 

I laughed at C.C. once for saying something about a guy who made antiques.  All of the sudden, though, I know what he meant. 

I just thought you should know that. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ode to Pool Dreams



No time to write this morning as I was not at home.  Reporting from the road is sometimes a hassle.  Nothing I can report, though, on Valentine's Day.  Just another day at the factory filled with anxious fatigue. 

Is there anything like a nighttime pool when you are a kid?  It is a fantastical and mysterious place.  Dreams and nightmares are born there.  What is land compared to the slick wetness of life?  Everybody sleeps after swimming.  Pool dreams of children become nighttime cocktails of the aged for whom sleep is nightmare. 

Oh those pool dreams. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My New Oeuvre



One day back at the factory is all it takes for life to become an anxious tedium.  It is not the factory as much as it is me.  I am just done.  As the kids say, stick a fork in me.  I haven't, however, done the things it takes to live the life I want to live.  My fault.  I guess.  There wasn't any money, and then there was a little bit, but I was never trained.  And so the money flew out the window and over the balcony as is its wont.  Now, that balcony is--and shall remain--a luxury. 

Just a rant.  I like this photo a lot. I am going to print it big today to see.  There are a couple that I like that are recent.  My new oeuvre.  I shall conquer and prevail. 

In truth, however, anxiety overtakes me today.  A general one, I suspect, but I have learned that the unconscious is always telling you something.  It knows what my thinking brain is ignoring.  There is a storm of some sort brewing, I'll bet.  It could be Valentine's Day.  I still spell it Valentyne, but when I was a little hillbilly boy, all I ever heard was Valentimes Day.  And chimley.  It was a specialized language. 

So tomorrow let us celebrate our candy-colored love with wine and roses.  Fingers crossed, of course. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Eldercare



He was from Philly, he said.  He and his wife come down every year to spend a couple months with their daughter.  That day, it was twelve below with the wind chill factor.  I have to take the picture, I said.  It was just too good. 

Living the Dream. 

Me, too.  Saturday was a spa day for me at a place on the coast.  Eighty minute massage followed by an eighty minute facial.  Pampered, I was.  When they were finished with me, I met up with Ili and had a drink.  We hadn't eaten and were both starved, so we went to the restaurant for an early dinner.  I mean early.  We were the first ones there.  The waitress brought us menus, then a bottle of wine.  I didn't look at the menu.  I was in some sort of coma--a stupor, if you will.  When the waitress came back, and she was a nice young lady, she asked us some questions. 

"I don't know," I said.  "I can't even read the menu.  I've been upstairs getting worked over for the last three hours.  I can't move.  She's going to have to feed me.  We're just going to eat and go back to the room and have some whiskey and watch 'I, Tonya.'"

The waitress had a frozen smile.  Ili looked horrified. 

"He was at the spa!" she explained.  "'I, Tanya' is a movie." 

A real stupor.  I remember watching the Olympics later that night and landing a sloppy double axel with the whiskey bottle in my hand. 

"Bravo!" 

Eldercare hasn't been all bad so far.  In the morning we had a perfect breakfast overlooking the ocean.  A pitcher of mimosas, an omelet, gravlax, bagels, cream cheese. . . . 

Now it is over and it is time to train like an Olympian.  That's the idea, anyway.  Maybe I'll try some gentle stretching. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

It Was Over. It Was Done.



And then the thing was over.  It was done.  He did not look back. 

I mean, what would be the point?  It was a quiet day.  I saw two people, Ili and my mother.  We had dinner and wine.  There wasn't much more to it than that. 

Ili drove me to the town where she lives and we walked around and I took pictures in the afternoon.  Nothing good, really.  Maybe.  We stopped at a citrus stand where they still process juices.  They sell preserves and honey and lots of little snacks.  Old Florida.  They sold necklaces with alligator claws, too.  I didn't get one, though. 

There will not be post tomorrow.  I will be out of town without a computer.  A day of rest. 

I'll give you one, too. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Senior Citizen



I am officially a senior citizen.  I enter the last age bracket today, the same one as my mother.  There is something somehow tragic about it, though I am lucky to be able to celebrate the event with my mother today.  Not many people get to do that, I think, or at least not so many.

I am not going to the factory today, so some of my peeps had a little celebration yesterday.  Of course, they all said the same thing.  "Age is a state of mind."  No, I said, it is in the body.  I tried to look under the bed this morning and couldn't.  "Why were you looking under the bed?"  I was trying to find my shoe.  I need one of those mirrors on a stick.  Sad laughter all around.  There is a truth in it.

From now on, when I go to the doctor with some malady or complaint, I will be looked at and told with a gentle shaking of the head, "Well, you're going to have to live with that.  There isn't much we can do.  If you'd had this ten years ago, maybe. . . ."

I have been feeling bad for myself as you know.  It is a personal tragedy.  Oh, you can say it is pathetic, but I am free to disagree.  It is a tragedy alright.  It shakes the very makeup of my universe.  More than anything else, it is embarrassing.  

Some people tell me it could be worse.  They are right.  It will be.

Ili is making me a cake today.  My mother will come to dinner tonight.

Things are as they are.  I've always hated birthdays.  This one is not an exception.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Fake




And yet, you know, one just keeps going no matter how horrible it seems to get.  Everything becomes the new normal.  I guess.  I mean, Trump's poll numbers keep climbing.  My little horrors mean nothing to anyone else, and slowly but surely, they mean less and less to me.

I've been taking pictures of anything, and the more I do, the more my vision begins to take shape.  I've been taking pictures from my car since so much of my time is spent sitting at red lights.  I realize it is a big part of my life and should be documented.  I figure you will recognize the dumb mundanity of it and the chaos but maybe some of the splendid beauty of it as well.  And while color is powerful, black and white is transformative, so there are choices.  I'll make them for us.

There is a big feature in the N.Y. Times today about Jimmy Buffet.  Big revelation--he isn't that guy.  Well, now, who knew?  I guess it will come as a shock to some drunken Parrot Heads.  The BIG reveal, however, is that Bruce Springsteen has never been inside a factory!  Jesus Christ--if Springsteen isn't authentic. . . .

I'll bet Trump isn't even really Trump!  The world isn't real.  Everything is fake news.

And it's true.  Patagonia ™ made us want to go into the wilderness so we could wear those cool clothes and have the hipster outdoor zeitgeist.  Some of us, anyway.  James A. Fitzpatrick made me want to travel the world.

Almost nothing we want comes from some deep, internal seed.  Even our sexual desires are manipulated by the media, we are told.

Everything is bad, it seems.  We've been duped.

It is all Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

Yesterday I was beat, so I came home and curled up and stared at the shadows on the cave wall.  I started a new series, "Mrs. Maisel's Something or Other."  I can't remember.  O.K.  I just used The Google.  "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."  I am guilty.  I just want to be entertained, sometimes, allowed to just be pleasured.  Surely the show is a documentary.

There is fog this morning, both literal and metaphorical.  I must shake the cobwebs and get in touch with my factory self.  It gets more and more difficult every day.  But for now, it is a necessity.  For now, it is what I have.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah (But I Like the Photo)



My week continues to devolve.  I started to write about it, but it isn't the proper thing to do.  I wish it weren't so, but complaining in public is gauche, so I will only mention the complaint in a whining way and not propose the actual complaint itself.  It makes me feel better about myself.

I continue to make pictures every day with the same camera and lenses.  There are two I am using now.  I know what they do and it makes things easier.  I have a small, beautiful bag holding a camera and the extra lens.  Nothing could be more simple.

I read this article in the paper today.


It didn't cheer me up.  

It is late, and I haven't had much sleep.  Now I must prepare myself for the factory.  I take some grim pleasure in that, I imagine.  The touchstone of existence.  Etc.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018




I try to live a good and healthy life.  I try to be creative and caring, smart and compassionate. . . etc.  External factors, however, are breaking me apart, tearing me down, whoopin' my ass.

To wit.

Yesterday I was useless at the factory.  The day started well.  Having stuck to my diet and barely drinking, people commented on how good I looked.  Well now.

By lunch, however, I was in a funk.  I sat at my desk staring at the computer, contemplating all the work I needed to do.  It was like an iron hat.  I couldn't do it.  I tried.  I pulled up forms that needed completing, letters that needed to be written, and then I Googled photo things.  I'd come back to the open forms, but nothing happened.  I felt catatonic.  Gripped.

I remembered that I had to renew my auto tag and decided that I would go after lunch.  The day was beautiful.  It was a wonderful day.  Photogenic.  Driving away from the factory was liberating   It is what I was meant to do.  I was born to flee.  I put on the college jazz station and they were playing the best music they've played in months, crazy, wonderful songs.  There was the world I didn't get to see, the world of the retired, the unemployed, housewives and the rich.  This is what they did while I sat at the computer filling out forms.  I have been wasting my life, I thought, and soon enough it will be gone.

The tag office was full.  I didn't care, really, except that I was squeezed into a chair between people who didn't appreciate me sitting there.  I thought the place would be empty at two o'clock on a Monday, but apparently it was a holiday of some sort.

As I settled in for a long wait, however, my number was called.  The whole thing took less than zero seconds.  I was legal before I knew it.

I had seen something as I drove up to the tax agency that I thought I should photograph.  It was nothing, and it was out of the way, but I didn't want to go back to the office, and this was my new ethos.  Photograph everything every day.

And so I did.  It was pleasant parking in the strange lot, taking my camera out, walking around in the fresh air, watching people go into the large business center.  So much so, that I did it again.  And again.  Anything I saw that I thought would make good picture, I would stop or turn around or drive to, park, get out, and photograph.  At one point, I found myself walking through a large empty field surrounded by apartment buildings, a sewage station, I think, and a school.  The sun was brilliant.  The sky was streaked.  I felt strangely and thrillingly alive.

Back at work, I stared at my computer screen again.  Nothing.  I couldn't make myself work.  And so I turned it it off, packed up, and told my secretary I would see her in the morning.  I wanted out, that was all.  I would have time to go to the grocery store, take a walk to the track and run just a bit, and then get on my scooter and take a few pictures.  The radio station was still playing great music.  I got out of the car at Whole Foods to a jazz standard I can't remember the name of, something Joe.  Shit.  I love that song.

At home, I changed clothes and headed out.  What a great day.  People were still working, sitting at their desks and watching the clock.  Not me.  I was on the road to well-being.

About a mile from the house, I stepped funny, I guess.  There was a searing stinging pain in my hip that took my breath away.  It felt like my hip came out of socket, perhaps, or some tendon got pulled. It was about thirty seconds before I could move.  And then, I couldn't walk right.  I tried, but my leg would not obey.  I didn't think I could make it home.  Every step was miserable.

Why, I wondered?  Why?  It didn't seem fair.  Was it because I left work early?  Is this some cosmic justice?  I limped into the house and took a shower.  Everything was off.  My entire leg was cramping, my back tightening up.

Last night, I woke in the night.  It felt like I had been run over by a bus.  Every part of my body hurt.  My knee was hurting, my back, along with the usual, my shoulders and elbow.

This morning is no better.  I walk like a corkscrew.  I'm fucked.

And it is time for the factory again, where I will try, really try, to do the work that has amassed.

This is all part of what is coming, the thing I have dreaded, the Last Age.  I am in a downward spiral both physically and mentally.  This things has really got me by the balls.


Monday, February 5, 2018

Cancelling Cable



I didn't "lie," but I wasn't able to follow through.  I ended up watching the Super Bowl.  Most of it.  Three quarters.  I mean, I even sat through that hideous halftime show.  WTF was that?  But just as the 4th quarter began, the cable went out.  I thought I had done it as I was dancing around the house, bobbing and weaving, and I thought I might have stepped on the cable line and pulled it out or something.  But having said I would not watch it, I felt like there was some kind of karma involved, and so without much regret, I went to bed.  I wondered who would win, of course, if the charmed underdogs could hold on to victory or if Incredible Brady could pull off one more.

I got more sleep than you did if your cable didn't go out.  That is the only upside, I guess.

I am going to cancel my cable this week.

The picture, if you can believe it, is of the 7-11 net to the Cafe Strange.  This is what I do with the Leica and a 50mm lens.  I went out for a little while with the camera yesterday.  Ili didn't want to go out, so I started moving cameras around from one bag to the other deciding what to take.  I almost took a Sony, but at the last minute, I went back to the Leica which I had said I would dedicate myself to.  And I was glad.  Since I was walking around in a crowd, I put on a 28mm lens, prefocussed it to six feet, shut the aperture down to f11, and just clicked the whispering shutter.  It works.  There is no lag, no motor trying to find focus.  Just the almost silent "click."  And walking around with the Leica in my hand just felt good.  I get it now, the way the old photographers shot.  And I learned some other lessons, too.

When I got home and downloaded the images, there wasn't anything interesting, and I was disappointed, of course.  But it wasn't a technical failure.  The pictures just weren't interesting.  Except for a few. . . almost.  I started bringing the camera to my eye from time to time.  I felt comfortable.  I have ideas.

The workweek begins, and for me, it will be brutal.  No, not brutal, just irritating.  I have put too many things off and have more work to do than I would like.  I promise myself not to put things off any more, but you know how that goes.  I will take some time off soon.  That is all I want, time off and some freedom from anxiety.  All I can guarantee is some time off.



The Cafe Strange.  Isn't it, though.

The Wisdom



I'm not as sharp mentally, either.  The dullness comes in stupid ways.  I don't like to update the software in my cameras, for instance.  I don't want to read the instructions for doing that.  I don't want to learn how to use the latest version of any software.  It seems I read much more slowly or skip more words if I try to read quickly.  I don't even talk as much any more, but that may be a learned thing as talking has always gotten me into trouble.  It seems I have always liked to shock and disrupt. It is still fun forIt seems I have always liked to shock and disrupt. It is still fun for me, but I don't enjoy the follow up now.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday.  It is likely to be memorable for me as the first one I haven't watched.  That is another thing that I have lost all interest in.  I don't care who wins or who the halftime entertainment is.  I know both things because I read the papers, but I don't care.  I might if it weren't so hyped, so commercial, if people weren't making so much money from it.  Maybe if it were a bunch of guys duking it out in the mud or on a frozen turf, but not in February.  People shouldn't be playing football in February.

But people will watch them some washed up pop stars at halftime and talk about whether they did a good job or not at the water cooler tomorrow.  I mean over bottled water.  What was I thinking?

I am taking pictures, but I haven't had the breakthrough yet.  Maybe I won't.  That is another thing that has come to haunt me.  It is more difficult to lie to myself that way.  And that is a terrible thing.  If you don't think so, read/watch "The Iceman Cometh."  Strip a person of his/her illusions and see what happens.  Illusions and Dreams.  They are what we are.  They are what we have.

That and bacteria.  By far, most of what you consider to be "you" are other organisms.  And as I have been saying since the beginning of time, they are what determine your health, both mental and physical.  Gut bacteria are the new players right now.  If you have two kinds species of bacteria living in your gut at the same time, you are really likely to get colon cancer.  There is another type of bacteria that lives in the gut of fat people.  People don't just get to be six times the size of the rest of us by eating.  I am certain that mental illness is caused by another combination of organisms that change the chemistry of the brain.

And I am certain that aging is associated with something like this, too.  It is the breaking down of the immune system that lets them take hold.  The little fuckers are killing us.

But hey--it's nature's way.  The cycle of life and all that.

I've stopped reading most political news, but I like some special interest things.  I've been reading about the Natalie Wood case.  Seems that she was "having an affair" with Christopher Walken on the boat that night.  At least that is what the National Enquirer thinks.  And when Robert Wagner caught them, Walken was too big and weird to kill, so he drowned Wood.  And that is why Walken is the way he is.  At least according to the National Enquirer.  Sort of.  I only read the headline in the grocery store checkout line.  I extrapolated the rest.  But it seems the only explanation to this centuries old mystery.

And that is how I will spend the remainder of my life--figuring out the ancient mysteries.  I've been right about the bacterial thing, so you should trust me on the rest.  Those of you who have "the wisdom," anyway.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Simplify



It's not just the physical side of getting older that is difficult, though that is horrible enough on its own.  I mean, the thickening waistline, the loss of testosterone and its correspondent muscle atrophy, the horrible back and joint pain, the strained tendons and ligaments that never heal. . . the growing softness of the jawline, the wrinkling of saggy skin, eyes getting lost in mounds of tissue. . . .  It is that, but there is the mental thing I will leave for another time.

I laughed when I was younger about these inevitable horrors thinking I knew about them I was an acute observer of such things.  In youth, you believe that you can be prepared for the inevitable.

Reacting to the continual state of disillusion and panic in which I now reside, I decided to leave the factory early yesterday so that I might take my Leica, climb on my Vespa, and go have a look around.  I am in a hurry to capture on "film" the things that are in my head.  There doesn't seem to be much time.

And it was glorious.  The afternoon was warm, and I felt groovy.  Everything is relative to my project "Living in the Age of Trump ©."  The thing is, though, you can't make pictures while driving a Vespa.  You can look cool if you want to, wrapping your Leica over your shoulder.  People will look at you at the stop lights and think, "Ah, yes, there is a fellow who knows how to live."  And there is much to that.  As I drove by a Far Off Funk-Ass Coffee Shop for Hipsters and Others, a young woman with an Afro sitting at an outside table against a muralled wall gave me a big smile and a wave.  I thought about going back to take her picture, but it seemed too aggressive and intrusive somehow.  Such is life in the #MeToo era.

I never did get off the bike.  I drove around for an hour through the big downtown just looking and smiling and thinking.  And as the afternoon began to wane, I went to the Cafe Strange for a St. Bernardus and a think.

I've decided that I love my Leica, this after just over a year of owning it.  It is going to be with me wherever I go.  And I've decided on one lens, the standard 50mm.  And just like that, my photographic life has become so much simpler.  So much so that I've decided to sell off a bunch of photo gear so that I can justify/afford buying the Leica M10.  As an old pervert so famously said, "The heart wants what the heart wants," and I just want that camera.  As I lay in bed after making the decision, I thought through my collection of cameras and lenses, and I thought about what a long and expensive journey it has been to come to this point.  And the point is that you have to make pictures every day no matter how stupid or pointless they are.  And so it is.  Every day now, I am making pictures.  Most get thrown out, but there is no way to get a keeper if you don't give it a go.


Having thought about this for awhile in the stinky oddness of the Cafe Strange, I picked up my camera and took some pictures.  Nobody blinked.  It was just natural now that I would.  There has to be a naturalness when doing such a thing, and for too long, the camera has felt like a grenade in my hand.  I'll let that be done.  And so, having finished my ale, made my way across the street and bought an expensive (for me) bottle of wine that Ili and I could drink when she got home.  It was a celebration, of sorts, and I felt happy.