Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Until Then


I found this picture when I was purging thousands of images from my hard drive.  It is a film scan from a few years ago.  Q has become so wildly popular with his own dog pics, I figured I might get into the game, too.  Hippie dog fest. 

I'm packed for S.F.  I'll repack tonight.  In my sleep, I remembered all the things I forgot to pack and changed my mind about others.  I keep thinking, "half the clothes, twice the money."  I will have the same clothes on in every picture from the trip.

Just for those of you who actually worry about me, I am getting better all the time, I think.  Six weeks ago, I tried to do a push up.  I was successful.  I try to do push ups about twice a week, each time increasing by one.  Yesterday I did fifteen.  Other things, too.  I'm not done improving.  Seriously, I am coming along quite well, I think.  I even believe that the fatigue I experience will pass. 

Better every day. 

Well, kids, this might be the last post for about ten days.  I will not have a computer in S.F.  I may post a few pics from my phone without much narrative.  I'll try. 

So, as Q likes to say, until then. . . .

Monday, June 24, 2019

Culling



Monochrom and a 25mm Voigtlander in the park on Saturday.

"Hey, I love your earrings.  Can I take a picture?"

I didn't do a very good job, but I liked approaching her and her being flattered.

"That's a really cool camera."

"Thanks."

I began purging my digital files this weekend.  It is awful, but it is good.  Thousands of images are gone, just stuff, but some of it is hard to part with.  Ili pics, for instance.

"Noooooo--get rid of that," she says adamantly.

We all like to be flattered, so I delete pictures of me, too.

But mostly things from the street.  I hate looking through so many bad pictures, but I will never have to again.  And I am learning something.  My technique may get better.

Plus, I'm freeing up my hard drives.

But still, it is difficult to get rid of images, even digital ones.

Three days 'til San Fan, or Frisco as the hippies said.  Cool people aren't allowed to say that now.

The closer the trip gets, the more there is to do.  How is that possible?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Fruits of Summer



Summer means fruit and vegetables.  We stopped at the farmer's market and got some delicious peaches, some vine ripe tomatoes, and some blended goat and sheep's milk cheese.  We made a sort of Capresse salad joined by an egg on toasted sourdough bread.  Jesus, Joseph, and Mary.  Later we had cut peaches.

There are some good things about summer.

Last night, we watched "Deadwood: The Movie."  Don't bother.  It is like all things redone.  Milch fucked up doing this movie.  It is as disappointing as the "Arrested Development" remakes and the last season of "Game of Thrones."

If you think I'm watching too much t.v., you are right.

Here's the new cat.  She is not ours.  She is wild as they come, but we feed her.  Bad decision on our part, but she no longer looks starved.  I am hoping she is a good mouser-style barn cat.  You can see the top of one of her ears is gone, so we call her Scar or Scarlet.

She never responds.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Solstice



The first day of summer was very long, of course, the old summer solstice, but it was also very hot.  Even my new air conditioner was struggling to keep up.  The world is worse and getting worser.

But now it is time for summer things.  I am preparing for the trip to S.F. It will be good to get out of town, I hope.  I still have trouble sometimes, whether it is sleeping or moving.  In moments, the horror comes back to me.  I am not the man I was, but who is?

There will be no Yosemite this year, no real strenuous stuff.  I hope S.F. will be fun for Ili and for me.  I haven't been for at least five years.  Much can change.

Then a trip down the coast and some nights in Carmel, then. . . I'm not sure.  We will play it by ear.

So the blog will go dark for a while soon.  But I am hoping to have something new to say.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Disguise of Beauty



Monochrom, my new carry around camera.  Lots of silly, nothing shots that will look better in twenty years, maybe.  Probably not.  I'm just digging shooting again.

I should have gone to the Trump rally and made pictures, but it seemed too difficult.

I got beautified yesterday.  My beautician told me her troubles which are many and terrible, then she told me about her training and dancing and dreams.  She is forty years old and looks terrific, but I find her desire to enter competitions a bit confusing.

"In the end, what will you have?  Maybe a trophy that says, 'Ms. Daytona Beach Shores, 2020.'?"

She giggled, but I felt after that it was a cruel thing to say.  At least I didn't add, "Over 40."

She said she wanted me to take some photos of her.  I asked her for what purpose.  She showed me some photos that she liked.  That is not what I do, I told her.  They were either advertising or vanity photographs, things that tried to disguise and beautify reality.  I tried to explain that to her, but I couldn't tell her that I wanted to photograph reality in all its ugly horror.  I don't think that would have been accurate.  But close.  I like beauty fine, but I haven't any interest in photographing people to disguise who they are.  There are phone filters that can do that.

"I like to photograph people who are naked," I said, "raw and unadorned. I'd just put your receptionist on that couch and try to show the crazy in her."

You know, that's not what people want to hear from a photographer.  Well, not everyone, anyway.  But that is really what I want to do.  I'll try to make pretty pictures of flowers and of Ili because that is what she wants, too, but other than that. . . not so much.

I do like pictures that make me seem desirable, though.  I get it.  I just don't want to be the one taking them.  I would do fashion for money, but so would everyone else.  It is a crowded field.

Having said that, what will I photograph?  Ugly reality?  Diane Arbus--style portraits?

Yea.  If I can.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Keep America



I watched Trump kick off his 2020 campaign last night.  I didn't mean to.  I just got sucked in.  Once you see it, how do you look away?  He is not just a liar.  He is THE GREAT EXAGGERATOR.  He is.  He is terrific, really good.

He reminds me of a lot of men from my father's generation.  They talked in those grand terms.  A lie can seem true if you pepper it with just enough of what is verifiable.

For instance, last night he made a stunning point.  When he debated Hillary, she asked him if she won, would he support her.

"That was probably the toughest question of the night.  Look how it turned out."

Big smirk.

Yup, Hillary's question was disingenuous.  She has never supported Trump.  But we knew that.  Still, the point is made.

And the audience went wild.  KEEP AMERICA GREAT.  USA.  USA.

On the other side, my main man, Jeffery Toobin, was making a silly point.  The millions of illegal immigrants that Trump wants to lock up, he says, have jobs.  They have families.

I don't get the point, unless he means certain crimes should be forgotten if you work and have children.  There has to be a better argument than that.

It is hard to know where to run.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Twice the Money



I was trying to test out a flash with the Monochrome and the wide angle lens.  I couldn't get it it fire, but I found this image to have that certain je ne sais quois.  That's French for "I don't know what."  People use it to mean "flair," I believe.  But it is just admitting a certain stupidity about a thing.  I really believe the photo has that quality.  I don't know what.

But I got the flash to work with the camera now and I am a pain in the ass with it.  You'll see some examples in the near future.  I am flashing everything and everyone.  I'm trying to make some Mark Cohen--style photos.  They are not turning out that way which is probably good.  They have my own mark and smell to them.  First you copy, then. . . je ne sais quois.  

I like the phrase as much as esprit de corps and Viva Las Vegas.  

Last night was the full moon, I hear.  Couldn't tell it here.  Rain.  Still, the weird dreams and strange sleep evidenced it.

Now for the factory.  Only a week before S.F.  I got some good advice for the trip.  Pack half the clothes and take twice the money.

Yup.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Thing Memorable



I'm in love with my Leica Monochrom--finally.  I have put on an old Voigtlander 21mm lens which I bought about a year ago, and voila. . . magic.  It is good for some things, not all thing, but it is providing me with a perspective I once had and lost.  Photographically speaking.  It is the widest lens I've ever owned.  It is sharp and small and great.  Fun.  I am carrying it with me everywhere.

Rain and more rain.  It is the time of quiet and waiting.  That's Steinbeck.  Sometimes he could write a thing memorable.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Beautiful Failure



Another failed attempt at 8x10 instant film.  Outdated film, of course.  Still, I think it has some charm.  But these failures are expensive ones.  I may have to give up.  I have an idea of shooting paper negatives.  That will be much less expensive, but I'll need a darkroom.  I'll find out if I have one to use on Monday.

There is nothing that can't be done tomorrow.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

All Things Visual



It's Flag Day, I think.  Patriotism abounds.  All things red, white, and blue.

Blue.

I've been working with the 8x10 camera.  I took it apart.  I'd forgotten how to, if I ever knew.  I was scared that I would break something.  After I got it apart, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get it back together.  But I did.  Took a portrait of Ili sitting by the window.  Used five year old Impossible color film that has been sitting in the garage.  It worked, but the colors were very faded.  I rather liked it.

A new box of color film came yesterday.  The color should be vibrant.  I will try some today.

And I got back scans of four 8x10 negatives I sent to California for processing.  It worked.

It costs me about $20 a shot to take 8x10 images--if I do it right.  This little experiment might not last long.  Still. . . .

It has been gray here, so I have been shooting with my Leica Monochrom.  Black and white is good in pale light, or at least better than color.  I think.  Maybe.

O.K.  Saturday.  I am ready to start the day.  Here's to the visual.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Is This Normal?



The weather is insane.  Yesterday I got caught in a storm that raised the rear end of my car off the road.  I've never seen a wind like it.  I was at a stoplight behind another car.  I saw the back of his car leave the ground.  The street lights were like flags blowing horizontal.  People tell me it must have been a microblast, whatever that is, but that sounds right.  Man.  What a storm.

I have PTSD about storms since Charlie took my apartment.  Rain and dark skies and winds freak me out.  I can't help it. 

It is raining today.  It will rain tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day. 

The a.c. guys are still working.  The portable a.c. leaked and warped the oak floors in the apartment's kitchen.  Two companies are arguing about who is responsible. 

"If it was leaking, why'd she use it?"

To me it is the--"I gave you poison candy.  Why'd you eat it?"--argument. 

The more that I do, the more tthat needs to be done.  The closer to retirement I get, the more money I need. 

Is this normal?

I hate adulting. 

My hair needs washing.  My nails need trimming.  I should probably shave. 

That is the future. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Getting Worse



Waiting on the a.c. guys--again.  I said yes ten days ago.  Yesterday I was told that they needed to replace a part.  Today, I can't get a call back.  The tenant came back from a trip last night.  She called this morning to tell me the temp a.c. was leaking onto the wood floor.

Why is life so hard?

I should sell my house and rent.

And so I wait, taking time off from work needlessly.  This is not how I wish to do it.

I read the papers this morning.  Things are getting worse, they say.  No one knows how to make it better.  We are ingesting plastic and suffering from bad weather.  Our retirement funds are going bankrupt.

I will bury my head in this (link).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

California, Here I Come



I am taking Ili away from this interminable rainy summer for awhile.  She has a BIG birthday coming up, so we will go to San Francisco and environs.  Ili will be twenty-one. 

Just kidding.  She will be much older than that, but still, she is half my age plus seven--the French equation. 

We will make it memorable.  She can help me up and down the hills and wipe the slobber from my chin.  Or she can pour my wine and my whiskey and me into bed. 

The trip comes soon, in just two weeks.  It is my first big trip out of town since L.A. last year.  We had Miami, but this is a bit more strenuous.  I usually stay with my buddy in Yosemite when I go to Cali, but I have decided that I am not up for that yet.  I am afraid it would make me sad.  Walking the hills of S.F. will be difficult enough.  That first. 

Walking and eating and drinking and buying trinkets.  Perfect. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Impossible Baked



I set up the 8x10 camera and shot some color film.  Sent it off to the lab in California on Monday.  It hasn't arrived.  Lost, I presume.  So I bought a new Polaroid film holder that I found in Poland that will work with my Polaroid processor without the defective tray.  I took out some years old Impossible film and began to try to use it.  After eight tries (I won't tell you how much a sheet right now), I got this.  It is not the processor's fault.  The film has baked in the garage for years.  It has all been good.  I am learning to use the big camera.  I have plans.

I always have plans.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Better Days



Just another rainy Sunday.  Dreaming of better days.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

No Blue Skies



I got called in the first batch of potential jurors.  Turned out that it would be a weeklong case beginning on Monday.  Sat through about an hour of questions that had nothing to do with anything except who was going to get out of jury duty.  Half the room said they didn't speak English.  Another quarter couldn't leave their children.  I was in the quarter that had a medical reason.  The judge dismissed 2/3s of us.  I was out before lunch.

The jury crowd is always a bit of a shock.  America.  You might think you know it, but you probably don't.

There will be no blue skies here again for a long time.  Grey days, thunder and lightening and downpours.  Months of it.

My mood worsens.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Court



Sitting in a holding pen at the courthouse.  Jury duty.  I’d forgotten about it.  I’ve already gotten in an altercation with a courthouse deputy, a real asshole.  He kept barking contradictory orders at me.  I told him he needed a course in effective communication.  He really liked that.

OK.  Just got called.  Who knows?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Seventeen Thousand



The a.c. guy came.  Another $7,700.  I will have spent $17,000 installing a.c. units in just over a month.

You have horror stories to match, I'm sure, but I'm feeling beat.

"Where are all the guys in your pictures?"

Sorry, but we are gender free around here.  We don't subscribe to the binary divisions.  I look at today's picture, and I just see a person, glorious and proud.

Selavy.  I'm in trouble.  The factory whistle blows.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Things and Stuff



I was supposed to report for jury duty yesterday.  I forgot.  Today I have the a.c. repairman coming at eight.  Can't go to jury duty.  So I called.  They let me move the date instead of finding me in contempt.  I go Thursday.  Nice.  That was the day the factory expected me to sit in conference from 8:00 until 4:30.  Winning by half.

My life is still a yo-yo, though.  I'm feeling it.  I'm worried about my health.  I got an offer for a photo exhibit in Istanbul.

Really worried.  I'll tell you later if it is O.K.  That's what happens to men of a certain age.  But I shouldn't be.  It is minor.  There are other things.

Things and stuff like that.

The flotsam and jetsam of life.

Monday, June 3, 2019



I feel as if I'm on a yo-you string, up and down, up and down.  External, not internal factors.  I need to get away for a very long time. 

First, I have to get a laptop.  Everything is money.  The a.c. in the garage apartment just went out.  In case you forgot, I just put one into my house.  The repairman comes tomorrow.  I hold my breath to see if it is a repair or a replace. 

There are positive notes, though.  I did ten pushups at therapy this morning.  And Saturday, I ran into the head of a not-for-profit art school, and he wants me to come and teach photography.  Very excited, it seemed.  It would be fun and classes only run four to six weeks, so I could still travel.  Plus, I'd have access to a darkroom, and maybe I could set up a studio, too. 

But I'm putting the cart before the horse. 

I like the empty weirdness of today's photo, everyone staring out into the void, snapping pictures with their phones.  That's the real thing.