Saturday, August 29, 2015

Picking Cotton




Tempted not to write today.  Work-broke/life-broke.  If Q really wants to quit writing, I will, too.  I feel that way now.

The work week was supposed to be only horrible, but it was as miserable as the week before.  By  Friday, I was just a puddle of mush sitting at my desk after everyone had gone.  I didn't know what else to do having known nothing but work for too many days straight.  Work was now defining my life, shaping my identity.  Outside the factory walls, I had forgotten what I had once known intimately.

The Grind.  It is like war for soldiers, I imagine.  There is war and there is. . . what?  Talk of war?  The VFW?  Overcome the objective.  Finish the mission.  The soldier can lose his life suddenly, of course.  The worker succumbs eventually.  Either way, though, it enters the psyche and debilitates the ability to do anything else.

I know many veterans.  The war is always with them.

For me, it is just the hours and the energy.  I called Ili late Friday afternoon.  I wanted a cocktail at my favorite bar.  She would meet me there.

In the cool oaken darkness we talked.  Another.  I wanted mussels in red sauce, I said, but I didn't have the energy to maneuver that restaurant.  Sushi, I thought, was another matter.  I could manage that, I said.  She smiled.

Late afternoon is early evening, and the restaurant had yet to fill.  There was quiet and music and plenty of space, and some things were even cheaper.  Two people sitting at a table in a quiet restaurant before the crowd arrives.  Happy hour, even.  Two for one.

We ate lightly.  More talk.

Dinner done so early, exhausted but lifted by drink, I thought about my version of pajamas, the couch. . . a movie.

How easy it is to be worn but happy sometimes.  The cat, jealous, joined us in a cuddle.  She made my skin itch and my eyes burn, but she needed to cuddle, too, so I let her stay where I never do.  Purring all around.

There are things you can take, I am told, that will make you relax, that will relieve tension and stress. Interesting.  They can help you sometimes when the night is still early and you want nothing more than numbness and unconsciousness.

The weekend will be rainy, they say.  It is o.k.  I don't want to move.  I don't know how to do anything but work right now.  I've forgotten all else.  There are chores to be done this weekend, and I will do them, I fear.  My life litters the floor in messy piles that must be sorted and addressed.  They demand compliance.  That is what I have at present, the need to comply.  I'd rather sleep through it, of course, but that will only make it worse in the end.

In the end.  That is a horrible phrase.  It is haunting.

When those cotton fields get rotten,
You can't pick very much cotton,
In them old cotton fields back home.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ten Years in the Glovebox



I am scanning a picture right now that I took ten or more years ago.  That is not in itself a story, but that the film has been in a camera in my car all that time pretty much is.  I started using my little Olympus XA the other day, apparently after not touching it for all that time.  When I finished the roll of film, I took it in to have it developed and was shocked to see some of the first pictures on it.  Such surprises.  Film is awesome.  The scan is taking a long time, though, and so I do not have the picture as I write.  Usually I copy the picture onto the blog first and begin writing under it.  The page looks empty and weird as I begin writing today, like something for an exam or an assigned essay.  I will have the picture here, though, before I post.  It is simply that the blankness of the screen page scares me in a way.

I was right about the factory work.  This week is merely horrible.  I am buggered and tuckered at the end of the day and have not gone to the gym in approaching two weeks.  I have cleaned up my diet a bit though after the week of misery when it seemed that every meal was pizza.  I'm not crazy about pizza, but that is what was placed in front of me too often, and with the heavy schedule, I just ate what was there.

I'm trying to get back to beans and greens.

I read a story about Caitlyn Costumes being sold for Halloween.  There are groups trying to stop that.  WTF?  It's Halloween.  You are supposed to be able to make fun of everything then, no?  There is no tastelessness at Halloween, only costumes.  It is upside down world then.  Whatever.

Q's Caitlyn costume for Burning Man will not be so well received, I presume.  Bro, you'd better quit sending those pictures around.  You are going to be boycotted soon.

O.K.  The scan is finally finished and the photo worked in Lightroom.  I have no time now, so I will copy, paste, and go.  Ciao for now.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Eerie Blankness of a Horrible Feeling



Well. . . I'm just about at the bottom of this barrel having used images I shot while walking around a downtown area two weeks ago.  Haven't shot a thing since.  In the old days, working in the studio. . . .

All I can do here today is whine, so I'll make it brief.  I don't feel good in any way.

That was pretty quick.  No details, just a summary.

I should give up this trying to pretend.  I've given up what I was doing that was of any interest and have not replaced it with anything else.  I haven't agreed to everything, but it ends up that way no matter.

You see those guys sitting at weekend breakfasts without a camera wearing the goofy blank look and talking about other people and the trouble with them?  Not talking, really, just nodding and saying "mm-hm"?

You see me.

Next step--Social Media.

Stay tuned.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Former Artist



There were lots of things to photograph at the beach this weekend--lots!--but a man with a camera would need to be mighty, mighty careful there, and I wasn't feeling that confident.  But I made a picture book in my head that was great.  I'll never see any of it again.  It is all gone.

That is the way of photography.  It is there or it is gone.  I didn't have the camera out all weekend.  This weekend was another thing.  I can't photograph when I'm around people I know, and Ili doesn't like for me to photograph her at all, so I am a rebuffed former photographer.

I'll need a city alone to myself sometime.

So I am scraping the bottom of a very small barrel to find anything at all to post here.  Don't worry, though, even these pictures will get better with time.  Trust me--there is no other direction for them to go.  I have a couple of pictures to scan tonight from the film camera.  Maybe one of them will be presentable.

Now, after a week of no exercise, horrible foods, and an excess of alcohol, I'm ready to become a healthy man again.  I will lose this sleek layer of new fat that coats me like a newborn baby.  I'll try, anyway.  I'm still limping on a bad Achilles that doesn't want to heal.  But I have strategies and schemes.  It begins today with a big bowl of oatmeal.

After a perfectly horrible week at work, I am prepared for a merely miserable one.  It will be a relief in some ways.  But I have to go protect my job now.  I remain, your former artist. . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Trump and the Tattle Tales



(I have a terrible internet connection today and I can't load a picture)

“Trumpism, the data and interviews suggest, is an attitude, not an ideology.”

 Everyone I know despises candidate Trump.  It is the crowd I run with, I guess.  But Trump was created by some of them, the intellectuals who were part of the PoMo movement that empowered some people to shut other people up.  The tattle tales.  Is that how it is spelled?  I don't think I've ever written the phrase before.  But that is what we have become in many ways--a country of tattle tales.  We toss around words like bombs, and too many people can't keep up.  Trump just gives them the finger and says "Fuck you."  A big part of the nation have wanted to say that for a long time now, and not just the gun-toting Tea Bag nuts.  It has become difficult to say what you are thinking even in your own house.

How else can you explain it?

Everything in the past was bad.  Now, we know better.  If you are under forty, you have been taught that since you turned on the television and went to school in the nineties.  But most of what you learned was in the social media of easy complaint.  That is where you learned the rules of engagement and the formal logic of media complaint.

Television just tried to keep up.

And now. . . Trump.  He is popular with the over sixty crowd--and people who identify with that.

My friends do not, but my friends have never been afraid to say the wrong thing anyway.  It has been a badge of honor, really, to fly in the face of popular opinion.

Let's do what the others don't.  Let's go where the others won't.

Who was watching "Mad Men"?

Trump can't win an election.  He is just a symptom of a society that has banned free thinking and free speech.  You are not allowed to say what you might be thinking any more.  Somebody is going to tell.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unthinkably More



No, I don't think this a very good picture, but it is the most interesting thing I have on my computer right now.  It has been a very rough week in more ways than one, and it has taken a big toll on my mental and physical health.  After work yesterday, I drove straight to the beach.  Poor kit-kat will be fed and watered by the neighbor.  I am just pooped.

Last night, limp and tired, Ili and I had cocktails and grilled fleet mignons, potatoes, and asparagus.  We polished off a bottle of wine with dinner and switched to after dinner scotch.  We ate a pint of pistachio ice cream and watched "Pecker," then half of "The Moderns."  We had passed out by eleven.  I woke at eight feeling. . . you know the feeling.  I will walk down to the beach in a few minutes and let the sea do what it does.  I hope it will do what god meant for it to do whether it to heal me or to drown me.  No in between.

Work and working.  That is what there is.  It is what we have.

Escape is what we dream.  We wish to command our time, to piss it away in our own fashion.  I wish to piss it away in my own fashion rather than pissing down the leg of some corporate board.

I will walk today if walking is possible.  I've inflamed an Achilles tendon in my attempt to regain my youth.  But if it isn't, I will bike upon the beach and swim in its salty waters.  I will eat fish sandwiches and limit myself to beer.  There will be books and there will be movies, and we will wither and wilt in the unbearable heat of the day.  It is all I can manage for the moment.  More would be unthinkable.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Houdini



O.K.  I'm just pulling these pictures out of my ass.  My week has been brutal(ish) and long(ish).  The most important feature, though, is yesterday I pulled a Houdini.  I'm carrying myself around on my own two shoulders now.  I love escapes.  When I was a kid, that is what I dreamed of.  All the secret agents and private eyes did that.  They escaped.  So in midnight landscapes, I was running over rooftops and sliding down rain gutters.  I learned early that running was cool.  I became a cool runner and an escape artist.

What you see in the picture is what I escape to--dinner in front of the television with four remotes and a glass of scotch.  Jesus, it's exciting.  I only post it in order to disappoint.  This will become a reality blog.  Reality is the new. . . I don't know.

And so, the last day of a long week, and I must run.  I will stay at the beach this weekend, though, and r&r like I was born to do.  I may download this novel (link).  I have no idea if it is good or not, but I disagree with what the reviewer finds appalling.  I find it most attractive.



If a novel could succeed on detail and observation alone, “Everybody Rise” would be a grand slam. Ms. Clifford, a reporter for The New York Times, has a sharp eye for the rules (salad forks versus dessert spoons) and swag (stationery that is engraved, not printed) of high old-guard culture. She knows that old money drives a weathered 1985 Mercedes instead of a fresh-off-the-lot Beemer and that a Lilly Pulitzer dress belongs in the Hamptons, not the Adirondacks.

And here’s where Ms. Clifford’s story falls regrettably short of [Edith Wharton's "House of Mirth"].  Lily, despite her many flaws is a sympathetic character with a believable inner life. She’s a victim of the ruthless hierarchy and patriarchy of Gilded Age New York. Evelyn, on the other hand, is victimized by her desire to be accepted by a dwindling and ruthless sliver of society, for reasons that are hard to embrace. She acknowledges the follies of this world while falling for it. You can’t forgive her for knowing and somehow not knowing better.
He is wrong.  I can.  I can celebrate her for it.  And therein lies the tale.

Until then. . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Donald (in a minor key)



Cranky days of work and work.  I shouldn't reveal myself here, dull, dumb, witless.  I complain about nothing, really.  I am working for a few days the way most people do all the time.  How do they do it?  I haven't been to the gym and have eaten whatever food is at hand.  I don't have time for elaborate meals or shopping for beautiful foods.  I don't have time during the day to sit and wonder.  Life just passes me by.

Whaaaa, whaaaa, whaaa.

It is a very good thing that I became what I did and didn't become what others around me had to.  I would have been a criminal for certain.  I would not have worked the way the bosses want.  I'm sure I would be in prison.

There are refugees paying smugglers to get them anywhere other than where they are.  They are willing to work all day and half the night just to escape from the nonstop terror of their lives.  They will trade with me.  They would feel like Donald Trump.

Me?  I'm cranky.  I don't have time to wander about taking photographs.  I don't have time to hang out in the studio.  I don't have time to drink coffee and write my blog.  I have to go to work.

There is never enough.  All we ever want is more.

One more cup of performance enhancing coffee and a shower.  Man. . . I have it bad.

Did I mention Trump?  All I'm sayin'. . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Special Minds



I have like two minutes to write this today.  Factory work.  And I am already in jeopardy.  Hayzoos, though, I'm always in trouble.

So. . . just quickly.  Viagra for women.  Trump keeps gaining in the polls, closing the gap on the fortune hunter. . . I mean front runner. . . Hillary Clinton.  The Donald, I mean.  Viagra for women.

Here is how CNN put it:

(CNN)Women who have lost their sex drive will have a little pink pill to help them come October.
 From a story about rape at an elite private school in New Hampshire:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of women who have been raped were assaulted before they were 18.
Subway's Jared is expected to plead guilty to many charges of child pornography (link).  A Rabbi who took boys for a nude schvitz in a sauna gets to keep his job (link).

What is one supposed to take away from this?  Your essay should be no more than 500 words.  You have one hour.

Truly, I wish I had more time.  There is such crazy shit in the news today.  It is not the individual stories, really, but the juxtaposition of them that gets me jazzed.  Strange relationships call for special minds.

It is my specialty.

Now. . . factory hours.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Desirable



I was sent a link to this story last night.  I in turn sent it out to a dozen or so other people who I thought would get a kick out of it.  But wait--am I the only person I know who is not familiar with Matt Taibbi?  I haven't read Rolling Stone magazine for years now, but surely I have seen him on television.  Well, I'm a fan now.  He is not Hunter S. Thompson, but he sure beats the hell out of anything that has come down the pike since, and I am thinking, of course, of P.J. O'Rourke.  No, this guy is funny and can stand language on its head with his twisted imagery.  Once again, of course, I prove to Ili that I am a square.  When I sent her the link to the article, she told me that Taibbi had written an article about her and her colleagues back in 2010.  Really?  She sent me the link.  Sure enough. . . .

I'm a buffoon.

It will get worse, not better.

I read an article this morning about the Lonely Planet's guide to the world's most livable cities (link).  I've seen similar lists and I always read through them.  I want to live in a livable city, too.  The lists vary, of course, not all picking the same place as #1, but they all seem to have something in common.  And so, in an increasingly more diverse world, I have to wonder what this list would look like if it weren't put together by white people.  Surely they are all white lists, for all the best places to live are the most homogenous white places on the planet.  And in truth, being a bit of a Europhile, (and I'll admit here that I have some "white blood" in me), I like the places they pick.  To live, I mean.  But I'm not sure I want to go there for vacation or adventure.  I've always been that way.  I love living in my little wealthy hamlet where nothing very crazy happens with any regularity.  They pipe in the theme song to Leave It to Beaver through little speakers just behind the white picket fences.  It is wonderful.  But my desire to get out of here is as great as my desire to return.  I get sick of these white-ish folks.

And so. . . I want to see lists of the most desirable places to live put together by Indians and Chinese and Mexicans and Arabs.  Hell, they may pick Calcutta or Bangladesh or Tripoli or Port Moresby.  Surely not everyone wants to live in Calgary.  I know people who would rather live in Compton, motherfucker.


And while Toronto is on the list, Detroit is fast becoming one of the hippest places on the planet.  Now that I am not visiting the Venetian Delta to make my travel photos, I'm thinking of picking a city to go for an extended weekend once a month just to make pictures.  And one of the first places I'd choose would be Detroit.  I know a couple people who have gone, and what they have told me was intriguing.  And I'll tell you what--these Compton boys ain't scaring anybody in those Palestinian neighborhoods that are now a big chunk of what Detroit used to be.  All that swag just get those homeboys jacked in that city.  Mmm, hmm, G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E-D.

I don't know what I'm talking about, of course.  But I'd like to go see.

I may miss a couple of posts this week.  Big things are happening at the factory, and I am going to have to pull some fourteen hour days.  I can't wait for that to be over.  But it is yet to be lived through.  Anything like creativity will be beaten out of me this week.  I'll be ready for a weekend of drooling and sitting in the sun.

If I get a chance, though, I'm going to try to catch up with the rest of you and read my Taibbi.  I'm sick of being such a square.

Monday, August 17, 2015

God Is Great



"Straight Out of Compton" kicked it at the theaters this weekend.  I can't believe I missed it.  I love me some badass rappers motherfucker.

The NYTimes ran a feature on the three teenage girls in London who left home for Syria to join ISIS.
"Ask young Muslim women in their neighborhood what kind of guys are popular at school these days and they start raving about “the brothers who pray.”
“For the girls, joining ISIS is a way to emancipate yourself from your parents and from the Western society that has let you down,” Ms. Havlicek said. “For ISIS, it’s great for troop morale because fighters want Western wives. And in the battle of ideas they can point to these girls and say: Look, they are choosing the caliphate over the West.  

Elsewhere, Sharon Stone appears nude in Harpers and takes heat for it because she might be photoshopped.
"I'm aware that my ass looks like a bag of flapjacks," she said. "But I'm not trying to be the best-looking broad in the world. At a certain point you start asking yourself, 'What really is sexy?'"
ISIS gets it.
"A recent post linked to an Islamic State account paraphrased a popular L’OrĂ©al makeup ad next to the image of a girl in a head scarf: “COVERed GIRL. Because I’m worth it.”
Ili tells me it is tough to be a woman in the professional world.  I send her this.
“In order to write about life, first you must live it.” That’s often attributed to Hemingway, and he would have applauded Lucia Berlin, who made fiction from her life and had a surplus of raw material. Born in Alaska in 1936 to a father who was a mining engineer, Ms. Berlin lived all over the American West and in Chile, New York City and Mexico. She survived childhood abuse and adult alcoholism, an addiction that sent her, in her words, to “jails, hospitals, psych wards.” She hung out with poets and musicians (marrying two jazz players). By her early 30s, she had been divorced three times and had four sons. She worked as a house cleaner, a substitute teacher and a hospital clerk. She put much of her roving, rowdy life onto the page in vivid stories that garnered the respect of a modest audience and now could be on the verge of making her posthumously famous.
It's all interesting.  We're all looking for the Guidebook to Life and Truthful Living, but there isn't one.  There is just the horrible reality of things.

Like Donald Trump.  He has gone even higher in the polls.  I have never liked him, but I am really getting a kick out of him.  He is a revelation, really.

And I haven't even mentioned the factory explosion in China.

But the world will come together soon at Burning Man.  Q is going as our correspondent.  He'll send back the truth, I am certain.  There is nothing like deranging the senses to bring the world into focus.

“Allahu akbar.”

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Old Conundrum




I took the Monochrom out for a little walkabout in Central City yesterday (not my own hometown which is a cute little hamlet outside the larger city).  I parked behind a restaurant/bar I used to frequent, pulled the camera out of the bag and slung the bag across my back.  Just as I was getting out of the little parking lot, a black hipster looking fellow with short, clean dreads said, "Nice camera," and stopped.  I showed him the Leica and he said he shot with Hasselblads.  Turns out he is the manager of the place I was about to eat.

Cool, I thought.  Cool camera.

After an eggs Benedict and some orange juice, I headed out to the big lake and park that is a feature of the city.  It was hot and humid, man, and nobody seemed to be out.  I saw people here and there, but nothing of much interest, and I was still too shy about approaching people to take their photograph.


Hot, man.  Too hot for walking about.  The weather just made you greasy.  So I bugged out and went to the studio to work.  The place is a mess, and I had made up my mind to clean it.  The first thing to do was to organize the thousands of prints that were lying all about in random order with no place to go.  They are all sleeved and protected, but they sit in big messy piles that eat up the room.  And so. . . I began, taking each photograph and placing it with others of its type.  Boring work except for looking at the images which slowed me way down.  I looked at each photograph and thought "yes" or "no."  It was good, I thought, that I had a little distance from them now and could see which ones worked and which ones didn't.  I could see how I processed them and know that I would or wouldn't do that again.  And I remembered making each and every shot.


After awhile, I was sweaty and tired and needed a break, so I went to the nearest Home Depot in hopes of finding some sort of print file or boxes they could be stored in.  And a fan.  I needed another fan.

When I got there, the two things were sitting together side by side in the very front of the store.  Fortune.

Outside, it began to rain.  I was running on empty, so I put the big boxes in the back of the Xterra and drove home to chill out for a bit.  I poured a beer and got out some cheese and crispy crackers and sat down at the computer to download the photos I had taken early in the afternoon.  "Paltry," I thought.  There wasn't much there there.

A second beer, and the rain had stopped, so I returned to the studio to finish the sorting.  But first, I put together the big fan.  Easy stuff.  The big block warehouse of a studio began to feel cooler.  Next, I put together the Leggo-style shelves, but where I should put them was not clear.  More work.  I began clearing out the reception room, taking large boxes of 8x10 Impossible film to the place where I would need to make shelving space for them.  Moving, bending, twisting--I was feeling like a real worker.  I don't feel like that very often any more.

When the room was cleared and the shelving in place, I began to stack the newly organized pictures in their new homes.  Feeling good, man, productive.  Listening to music and making the space open and pretty again, drinking the last of a bottle of Kettle One.  My studio, a creative place for making things.  So much stuff, so much opportunity.  But it was dark now and a hellacious storm had blown through with thunder and lightening, lightening that struck just outside the building or maybe that hit the building itself as there was no time between the blinding blue and gold light and the explosion that nearly knocked me down.  I'd never seen rain like that before.  All I could think was that this must be what the weather is like in Vietnam.

Tired and a little hungry, I began to pack up.  There was still a million hours of cleaning and organizing left, but I was feeling good about what I had just done.  Then I checked my phone.  I had a series of messages that set me back.  A studio is a dangerous place, it seems, even if you are simply cleaning.  My being there was causing anxiety.  That old Mistress Art is not a girl to bring home nor to see on a Saturday night unless you are hopelessly and completely alone.

There is no curing it, I guess.  Art is a form of madness and a studio is its bedroom.  It is the old conundrum I used to ponder: I know you want to have written the novel, but do you want to have to live the necessary life?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Emo Square




I posted one of my new Monochrom images on a members only website that is by invitation.  Not much interest in it from the members.  The old sinking feeling and the question of why I would do that?  Why would I seek an audience rather than letting them seek me out?  I am like Vivian Maier, I think, but for the talent.  I am secretive and protective.  I guard my tender emotions as best I can.

That is what Ili says, anyway.

But I show the images here because you come.  It is not as if I am coming to your house and knocking on your door to show them to you.

The nudes. . . well those were another thing.  They were marvels to desire and wonder about.  I did, at least.  "How does he do it?" I always thought when I saw them.

But these street photographs. . . well. . . everyone with a camera has a shot at this.  Photos like these just rain down from the sky.

So. . . I understand why the members on that website were not interested in the photograph.  But I don't need to be ignored to try harder.  I am a good critic.  And I am not blaming them in any way.  I am just not good in groups and try avoid them as much as I possibly can.

This is not the image I submitted.  I like this one a bunch, the way it leads the eye from foreground to background, weaving a sort of narrative as it goes.  There is a mystery to it and the lighting is nice, though it is the Monochrom's doing, really, as there was barely enough light in the room to see.  It is a subtle picture that takes some time to look through.

So I proclaim.  And I can do that here for this is my house.

In life, as in art, I am a loner and rarely go to parties and events.  I like to stay at home unless I go somewhere that I am unknown or where I am only a mythical figure as is true in the places I eat or drink.  I am recognized but not known.  People will talk about me without knowing my name, referring to me in descriptive terms.  I do enjoy public places.  But it is a small group that I invite to my home, and these are people I love and trust completely and irrevocably.

To wit, I don't think I'll be the Fuller Brush Man of Photographic Images again.  I won't be knocking on anyone's door.

Besides, I need to find my photographic groove again.  It will only take big balls, money, and a whole lot of time.  I can handle the rest.

No segue.  We are only eight weeks into a twelve week summer, but it is already over.  Kids have already returned or are now preparing to return to school (except for the most sane places in America).  Summer fun is done.  All that is left is the heat.  WTF?  What do public officials have against kids, anyway?  Or is it parents?  There should be one more month of water parks and pools and lakes and rivers and oceans, of daydreaming and falling in love, of summer camps. . . or neighborhood gangs and meth labs and terrorism on the internet. . . .  I did not grow up privileged, but I remember the seasons fondly.  They were sacrosanct and vivid.  There were colors associated with the time of year.  True.  Just look at the old Dick and Jane Readers.  There was a rhythm to life that was circadian.  It leant a measure of sanity or at least an identifiable reason for the other.  Read "Gatsby."  Read your Faulkner.  Summer heat, summer madness.  Summer was for violence, winter for depression.  You can't get that in the Dick and Jane Readers, though.  And kids aren't reading Faulkner.  But it is in Thoreau and Emerson and Whitman, too.  The seasons.  It is why those with money stay at The Four Seasons, Newport in the summer and Palm Beach in the winter (or their weather equivalents) and why the very wealthy have homes there.

I want to see summer through to its end and not have it truncated by political officialdom.  Summer should have its rights, too.  But it seems that summer now wants to transition into fall, that it doesn't want to identify as a season at all.  Climate change, motherfucker.  Get over it.

Again and again, I am revealed to myself, and Ili is right.  I am definitely and totally nothing but a square.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Square



I tried.  I went out with my camera on the streets around my studio for a few minutes thinking I might take a few pictures.  I got this masterpiece.  All I can say about it is that I used to have a dog like this when I was growing up.  They are extremely smart for dogs.  Mine could do simple math. 

O.K.  It is a start.  The poop bags are the story, a cultural trait of our times.  When I had dogs, I never had them on leashes and never had poop bags.  They were like Lassie, really, running around saving the world.  Different times.  So. . . the picture is about the poop bags. 

I didn't sleep well at all last night, waking up at 3:30 and never truly falling back to sleep.  I may stay home from the factory today.  I haven't made up my mind yet.  Most of us like to go to work when we feel badly, right?  We'd rather save our sick days for when we feel good? 

What a fucked up world. 

Or maybe it is just me. 

I hired a transgender yesterday.  A she becoming a he.  She said she did not identify with any gender and that she wanted to be referred to as "they."  I told her that was great and that I preferred to be referred to as "all."  No I didn't.  I just thought of that now, and I wouldn't have said it even if I had thought of that then.  She talked about her partner who I eventually found out was male.  She is transitioning now, so her appearance will change, she said.  I'll watch with interest. 

People gotta be free.

But when will the things I want most be tolerated? 

So last night, among the many things I thought about in the sleepless darkness, I thought about identity politics and how square I am in my very heterosexual way.  That is what Ili tells me.  She says I'm a square.  I thought about the old saying that liberals become conservatives as they get older, and I realized that it wasn't because they became more conservative at all but that the world around them changes.  Old ideas, old ways of expressing them.  It is nothing to fear, I guess, and I know I should absolutely not try to have street creds with people who are young and radical.  That would be an ugly embarrassment.  I was glad that I hired they and that they liked me.  They said they were very excited to get the job and couldn't wait to begin.  And I did that without trying to be hip or now. 

But I thought about Donald Trump, too.  Not Trump exactly, but why Trump in general.  And of course it is the disenchantment that many people feel about political correctness.  The once hip very hetero is now a creepy uncle.  "We want our country back," isn't about real estate, of course.  Uncle Creepy just wants to feel normal again.  Ili asked me if people were happier and if life was easier in the early 1960s (early Madmen, I guess).  I said no, not for many people, but more people probably felt at ease when they were part of the majority value system.  And I thought last night, that must be it.  It was not good to be black or homosexual or a communist or whatever else was marginalized, but that was a minority of the population.  Now, perhaps, the ratio has changed.  There is more of an even split in the numbers.  The culture wars have had a lasting effect. 

And still. . . when will I be free? 

Cuban style is sure to be the rage in the U.S. now.  The Reggaeton look.  It is another thing I will never have (link).  Ili is right, I am certain.  There is no denying it, no getting away from it. 

I have become a square.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dancing and a Prancing at the Midnight Hour



I have had no time to write, no time to photograph, no time to do anything other than work.  So. . . film again.  And I am in a hurry this morning.  So much to do at the factory.  So much to do everywhere.  Blah, blah, blah. . . .

Last night I stayed up too late playing Beach Boy songs for Ili.  Only the early ones, the naive ones, the ones that shaped a generation's idea of summer fun.  We watched Mike Love prance around with his subtle pre-jagger moves, his striped shirts tucked tight into his sans-a-belt high waisted trousers looking like a young James Caan. 

I'm not sure she enjoyed it nearly as much as I did. 

So this morning I am late and tired.  Why do I do such things? 

It is just a part of my peculiar charm, I think. 

My friend C.C. sent me this article which I emailed to all my ideological friends telling them that they were to blame (link).  I am full of microaggression. 

I read this in the New York Times this morning and blamed a lot of other people for it, too (link).  Here is a preview.  You may not want to read the article in its entirety. 


In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.
He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.
When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

 If the two articles juxtaposed don't make you wonder at the imbecility of ideologues at best and incredible horror at worst. . . .

But all our sins will be exposed eventually, or so it says in religious texts.  I think, however, that it will be science that does it.  Old Warren Harding had a kid which he denied.  Genetic tests have nailed him now. 


He died thinking he'd gotten away with it.  You can read about it here (link). 

And that is all I have today, lacking any life beyond the Beach Boys at Bedtime.  But I promise this weekend will be different.  I am going to have it to myself.  If I don't make some pictures then, I will sell everything photographic that I own.  I might even have some stories to tell, too. 

For now. . . Selah.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Slings and Arrows



O.K.  Even Q has started to mock me and my photographic skills now.  It is hard to get a break, especially if you concede weakness.  I've been slow in starting a new project and haven't perfected any skills as of yet.  I am pregnant with ideas, though.  I am just short on time. 

But that's the nature of things--or simply nature.  Nothing wants to fight for a kill.  Every species chooses and easy prey, the sick, the lame, the injured. . . .  You don't see polar bears fighting gorillas.  O.K.  Bad example.  But a hunting lion always chooses the easiest target. 

I've become an easy target. 

I once knew what I was doing.  A young, single, blind girl wearing a wedding dress and a mask and staring with unseeing eyes into the camera?  Brilliant!

But I can capture the sad weirdness of life again.  I know I can.  You'll see. 

I just need time.  And more money.  Lots of money. 

My friend says I should quit making photos and try to market the ones I have.  Maybe she is right.  They have done me no good so far.  I might start with a fire sale and try to get rid of as many of the large prints as I can at bargain basement prices.  But that is not exactly what she means.  I don't want to go out and talk to gallery owners, though, and try to perp my own work.  I would be argumentative and sullen at the very best in such a situation.  I might be violent at worst. 

I will try again today to shoot with the Monochrom.  I will go to the gym before work so that I will have my afternoon and evening free.  I will have no company tonight, no commitments or obligations.  Perhaps I can get one picture somehow.  

But that is too much pressure.  I've set myself up for failure, exposing my insufficiency and doomed to disappointment. 

Did I tell you about Lillet and my seafood stew? 

I'll just have to suffer the slings and arrows of old Double Dick until I find a formula for success once again.  Until then. . . .

Monday, August 10, 2015

How I'll Greet End Times



Film, obviously.  I'll stand by this picture.  Just a few miles to the north in Durango, the EPA has spilled more toxins into the river ways than any miner has ever thought of spilling.  I'm afraid we are doomed.  Republicans will seize upon the irreversibly horrible incompetence of this accident to eviscerate this evil arm of the Obama administration.  Bring back James Watt.  If you don't know of him, you can read here.  He was the Republican Party's Eco Boy.  He believed we lived in End Times and there was no saving anything.  I believe so, too. 

I'm not sure that Charles Bukowski ever had a book reviewed in the New York Times, but now that he has been dead long enough. . . .  There is a review today.  This is surely just another sign. 

My own days are a complex mixture of things.  All of them keep me from making photographs. 

After discovering the Lillet, though. . . I've been drinking it aplenty.  Following a long morning's walk, I began.  Then a breakfast at a greasy spoon diner that has had a lot of the grease removed to appeal to the tastes of the moneyed hipster crowd.  I snuck a few pictures with my old Olympus A clamshell film camera.  I don't know how they will turn out, but it is the best, most stealthy camera ever made and I will not go anywhere without it again (especially now that I've spent thousands of dollars on a new camera).   And after breakfast, a trip to The Mall where we bought various things for the house and the body.  Candles and lotions, but also some clothes.  On Ili's insistence, I went to Brooks Brothers.  I didn't want to go because their clothes are not cut for someone with my build.  You must be tall and imperially slim to wear their clothes, and I always feel like the working class when I go.  Besides, I've always considered Brooks Brothers as the place where upper class parents take their children in the last days of summer to buy them fall clothing before they go away to prep school.  It is that and, of course, where aspiring young men go to buy their suits for their first professional job.  As they become more successful, of course, they will get their suits from Louis Boston or bespoke from Hickey-Freeman. 

That is my romantic conception of it, anyway. 

But I was looking for shorts, plaid, madras, and seersucker.  You might think these are easy things to find, but even Ralph Lauren is making the tight, cut-off, knee length hipster shorts that are only to be worn with little hats and facial hair.  I don't object, but I have thick (dare I say "muscular") legs and I am not comfortable in anything that constrains me. 

I know you are already disparaging me for my bourgeois tastes.  I don't care.  You can jump up my ass.  You know who you are. 

I do enjoy Brooks Brothers on a number of levels, though.  It speaks to some desire in me to have lived a different life, to have been the bohemian son of rich parents, able to travel the world in his youth and to mingle with the greatest artists and writers and thinkers of his time.  I would have enjoyed the dark wood paneled rooms and the rich leather chairs and the cut crystal whiskey glasses and the sleek sailing yachts and the expensive clothes.  Rather. . . .

Ili was right.  I got what I wanted and more.  She took me because all summer clothes were half price and she had another $20 off coupon.  She is a sweet and clever girl. 

And trust me, I can make those shorts look cool

In the morning, I had declared that I would make a seafood stew, a bouillabaisse if you will, so as the afternoon heated up, I had to rush to do the marketing.  I hadn't made a fish stew for twenty years or more, but I remembered that I had done it well then.  Suddenly, though, I felt I had no idea what I was doing.  Cod.  Shrimp.  Scallops.  Carrots.  Potatoes.  Onions.  Celery.  Tomatoes.  Herbs and spices.  Fortunately, Ili had frozen the leftover stock from the last time I made a pressure cooker chicken.  It was the perfect base.  I gave up on recipes and followed my instincts.  My instincts were good.  My mother and a friend came to dinner for light Lillet cocktails, delicious sourdough bread, and a hearty stew with treasures from the sea, followed by eighteen year old peaty scotch served in cut crystal glasses. 

This is the way I am spending the Last Days. 

But I must get out and record them, too.  Q is making me look silly right now.  He, who has been bound and stifled by the constraints of marriage, is now the one who is traveling and rediscovering the delights of living free.  The writing is lively and clever. 

But I have this photograph today and it is a good one shot with film of the mighty Rio Grande.  It is damned pretty, I say.  Damned pretty. 

Now. . . it is back to the factory.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How Do You Like Lillet?



Obviously I have not taken any pictures in the past two days, days away from the factory.  The factory isn't the only thing that can distract one from the "creative process," of course.  Just trying not to be an asshole will do that.  Artists are assholes.  They have to be.  They must do what they think they need to do and damn the costs. 

I am not an asshole.  I am a loving, caring, nurturing sort, a caregiver if you will. 

Oh. . . but if you are alone, you needn't be either to do what you want to do.  That is the neutral place and perhaps the logical place for anyone wishing to be in any way (profound or simple) creative. 

This doesn't apply to scrapbooking.  It is something you can do around the table with family and friends.  It is decorative and has great appeal.  Nobody gets pissed off at you for doing it. 

Even a Norman Rockwell painting is dangerous. 

I think I'll take up duck carving. 

But the sign is interesting in a way.  I didn't go in but simply passed by without thinking about how perplexing the sign was.  Sub as in submarine?  Or do they only serve one kind of sub sandwich?  Perhaps it indicates that moon is subpar or imperfect.  Perhaps if I had bothered to go in, I would have seen something out of a Twilight Zone episode with living cadavers sitting at the bar. 

I've made way too much of that. All I can say is at least its not a selfie. 

Speaking of which, I read a report on a survey this morning that found over eighty percent of the adult population of the U.S. have "sexted."  Right on.  Everyone should be required to post a naked picture of themselves so that no one can get in trouble for doing it any more.  It is only natural. 

I've never had a girlfriend of whom I haven't taken pictures of in the nude.  Naked, that is.  Her, not me, though I have been naked often enough, too. 

Poor Q, though, now that he has his second pecker, needs you to sext him.  I'll check with him and see if he will let me post his phone number here.  Perhaps he can get a second phone just for this.  But he has a FaceBook page, and I guess you could message them to him there.  Pretty soon old Double Dick will be posting naked women on his blog.  Maybe.  Perhaps not.  It would be dangerous for him in many ways.  No, just send him pictures of yourself.  I'll try to get him to forward them to me. 

It is only because I am a caring, nurturing sort and have given up all of that.  It is the quiet life for old C.S. now.  Yesterday at lunch sitting at a pretty bar on the Boulevard, I discovered Lillet.  "Discovered" is not quite the correct word as it has been made since 1872.  The barman poured me a little cup, and after lunch I went to the liquor store and bought a bottle.  It is served chilled, but I treated it like a sweet vermouth and mixed it with Campari and soda.  For a bit.  Then I had a little glass of it by itself.  Delightfully weird.  It led to the desire for a light dinner at another place, a wonderful Italian restaurant where we sat at the little front bar that looks out over the street.  It was early, just after six, and our placement was perfect.  The woman next to me had a huge bowl of steamed mussels in a tomato sauce.  And then we had one, too, with an arugula/tomato salad topped with a shaved parmigiana cheese.  And we decided on a simple spaghetti with two big meatballs.  Chianti.  Perfecto. 

Lillet has changed my life. 

That is all I can tell you this morning.  You feed your senses as you can and take just a bit more than allowed. 

I'll make some pictures today, perhaps.  If I get a chance.  One never knows these days.  I can only sit and wait for Madame Sosostris to deliver the news. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

I'd Better Think of Something



New Mexico.  I thought I was really something out there with my Leica M7.  I was taking pictures like crazy.  Not such good ones as I thought, though.  It is a hard pill to swallow.  This fellow was selling orchids at the gorge.  He pointed across the road and into the distance where there were three bighorn sheep.  I never thought I'd see them in the wild, but apparently nature has changed its mind about such things.  They've gotten used to people and stay around I was told.  I wish I had taken better pictures of the fellow.  I just wasn't used to shooting outside the studio, I guess.  Such a sad truth. 

There are many in life, though.  Just when you begin to think you are something, you are shown that you are not.  It doesn't matter in what arena--love, art, commerce.  It is important never to believe the hype.  You believe in your own wonderfulness at your own peril.  You may be seduced, of course, which is what the devil does.  The devil is your ego.  It wants to tell you that you deserve the wonderful things in your life.  The angel is the one that tells you you are stupid and deserving of nothing.  It is a wonderful twist.  I know better than to listen to ego. 

No I don't.

Here we go again. 

Speak of the devil, that figure in Christian mythology that tempts people to do bad things--we have one right here where I live.  It is called the police department.  They have decided that there is not enough actual crime that needs to be dealt with.  Nope, they have set up a sting to lure people into having sex with underaged girls.  Or that is what they propose, anyway.  They do this with regularity. The head of the film program at the state university here just got caught.  He was in a chat room, I guess, flirting with a girl who was seventeen.  Well, not really.  But that is what he thought.  He resigned from his university position and is facing ten years in prison.  The po-po lured him into sin.  They whispered into his ear at night and spun crazy and wonderful dreams, just like Milton's Satan in "Paradise Lost."  Jesus never did that, never tempted people in any way.  He was straight up boring, but you could trust him.  The police here had decide who they wanted to emulate, Satan or Jesus. 

They just want to make the world a better place.  I'm betting it is a lot more fun to be a little girl on the internet than to sneak around violent streets where people are actually committing crime.  But I am not a policeman and never will be, so I should shut up until I've walked a mile, etc. 

I wondered, though, when I was told the news about the fellow at the university if he had never watched television?  Really?  It is like betting all your money playing three card monty on the streets of New York. 

But I have my own traumas to deal with today.  It won't be fun.  There is that and there is the fact that I can't seem to make a good picture any longer.  I'm not feeling so well or good.  I just want to sit for a long, long while and think.  As Mohamed Ali said in his training camp just before he took the worst beating of his career just at the end of it, "I'll think of something.  I've always thought of something.  I'd better think of something." 

Yup.