Monday, April 22, 2019

Reverse Easter




No rebirth for me.  Sick.  So sick.  It is not fair, but it is typical.  The weather has been beyond perfect for days.  I have only been able to sit and look at the bird feeders, the garden.  Worse.

I did not go to the factory today, but it did not help.  Chest.  Head.  Now belly.  My mother keeps telling me to go to the doctor.  Ili is worried about the lung that collapsed in the accident.  I just want to get better.  I am taking every homeopathic medicine I can lay hands on.  I've broken down and taken some toxic chest medicine, too.

But we did our best.  Ili colored eggs and we had a nice meal with my mother.  My illness will pass as will the beautiful weather.

I have to say, though, that the a.c. works like a charm--so far.  I'm holding my very sick breath.

Oh, man!  I'm so sick, I almost forgot this!

Link


Friday, April 19, 2019

No Collusion



Late post.  Sketchy internet.  Storms a-coming.  I will be leaving the factory soon.  This could be "Wizard of Oz" like.  I worry about my roof.  I have many worries.  I only share a few. 

Of a sudden, sensible people are quiet about the Mueller Report.  Some are trying to make something of it, and I know what they mean and why, but there is no longer any point.  We all know about the president.  Nobody is going to shock us now.  Dems need to get busy now losing the next election. 

Six More Years, Six More Years. 

Ugh. 

No worries.  There isn't a sane place on the planet right now.  Competition for limited resources and all that.  It is genetic.  We are predisposed.  The Age of Aquarius is for times of plenty.  Those times are gone.  AOC is the face of the future. 

Rainy night.  No moon.  If you see it, say hello. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019



I don't write in the mornings any more because I don't have a laptop.  I am going to have to buy one, but they are expensive.  At least the Macs are.  The ones that will edit photos.  I should get a cheap ass Dell, but I've always had Macs.  Everything I have is adapted to the OSX system.  I think that is what it is called.  I really don't know anything about computers.  But at the Hipster Cafes, all the kids have Macs, so that must be the deal.

I was going to change to a Microsoft computer, but they are not any cheaper, so fuck that.

Easter is coming, and Ili is having some family over to color eggs.  Or something.  I am going to set up the view cameras and take some pictures.  I won't be able to post them here, though.  I'm not allowed to post naked pictures of her family.

O.K.  I am kidding.  I haven't asked if I can or not.

I will ask my mother over, too.  I never post naked photos of her.

Having written this, I realize I need to prepare.  Ili will expect a fancy basket.  I am not very good at holiday things like that.  I am sure to fail miserably.  But I will try, and there is that.

Tomorrow is the full moon.  I won't get to see it here.  Bad weather.  Still, I will try to survive.  You, too.  Now that I know what it means "to take care. . . ."

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Birds and Squirrels



We have multiple bird feeders now, some that are seed, some that are liquids, some that are cakes that hang from cages.  I think we might have a sock, too, that we have yet to hang.  And the birds come.  They are like wild pets.  The most beautiful of the birds is the Painted Bunting, a small bird in the cardinal family that is so brilliantly and wildly colored it takes one's breath away.  Why is it that I've never seen one before?  It seems I might be the only one.  And Catbirds.  They are so subtly beautiful.  And of course we have the pairs of monogamous Cardinals, several. There are two types of warblers and two types of Woodpeckers and of course Bluejays and Crows which are not attracted to the feeders.  There have been a few Florida Hummingbirds, but they have not come very often.  The birds seem to know us now and feed very close by.  We have two bird baths.  Ili changes the water daily so that we do not breed mosquitoes, and the birds love to come to the fresh water, as do the squirrels.  And so in the morning with coffee and in the evening with wine, I sit and watch and call to the birds.  I am getting pretty good at bird calls. 

I have a degree in zoology, but I never would have guessed I would take so much pleasure in bird watching, especially from my own deck.  Is it age?  I wonder.  After bird watching, there is good food and drink and the leather couch.  I've gone soft. 

Well, I was softened up a bit as the gangsters used to say. 

But that is life at present, if you are wondering why there are no tales of adventure and daring.  I am waiting to be able to try water.  You know, swimming pools, the beach.  I think it might be good for my shoulder, but the therapists have said to wait. I won't much longer.  The weather is rapidly turning.  Who knows, though.  I could drown, though my ortho says he's seen one armed people swim. 

He's a funny one, that doc. 

Ili is trying to switch me from whiskey to tea at night.  I'm allowed to drink after work, but I get cut off early so that I might sleep better.  Whiskey is not a sleep aid, they say.  But it is pain, not whiskey, I tell her, that keeps me awake at night.  I can find no comfort. 

Tea, she says, shall be your comfort.  You will see. 

Birds and squirrels.  I'm waiting for a snake or two. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Burning the Past



Sorry for not posting.  I had been anticipating the K-pop phenoms, BTS, appearing on SNL, then afterwards, I was overwhelmed.  I was waiting for Q to write about how much his son enjoyed them and that he was giving up the guitar for sing-dancing.  I don't know.  I just thought, maybe.  I read that BTS had broken all the records, that they were bigger than the Beatles.  I don't want to disparage. . . completely.  This must be how my grandparents felt when those crazy mop-tops first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show" all the girls pulling out their hair and crying, etc.  And look at how that turned out.  Without the Beatles, I doubt we would ever have gotten the classic "Ebony and Ivory."  Oh. . . that Paul McCartney. 

Whatever.  Notre Dame is burning, as they say, and everything is flux.  Cathedrals and museums are of little interest to the young.  They are iconoclastic and prefer boy bands to monuments--and who can blame them?  Remember being young in the back seat of the car as your parents took you to see the world's oldest tree or a statue of Ulysses S. Grant?  Or maybe it was Robert E. Lee. 

Hell, we all spend more time with Instagram than books, anyway.  You know its true. 


Friday, April 12, 2019

Accusatory Culture



This is a photo from Russia in the late 19th or early 20th century.  I found it on the internet.  A bunch of them.  It reminds me of what I wanted to do in my studio when I got it.  Looking at these Russian photographs, I'm reminded that I still want to make photographs that look like this.  They are the most beautiful things.  The project I began so long ago was a take on old anthropological photos from this era.  My contention was that they were not accurate portrayals of what they meant to expose, that is "other cultures."  So I just got some exotic looking things and made up my own exotic cultures.  You may remember.  They were done with the old Polaroid film.

I'm sure I'd be criticized now for cultural (mis)appropriation or something worse.  We live in accusatory times, in an accusatory culture.

I read a story today about some "white people" who opened up a "Chinese" restaurant called Lucky Lee's in Union Square (link).  They claimed the food was healthier, cleaner. . . or something like that. No gluten, no MSG.  Well, they got flamed on social media and are trying to make amends.  Haven't people learned anything?  Can you imagine Trump apologizing for being culturally insensitive?  This restaurant is doomed, I'd guess.

I haven't eaten at a Chinese restaurant since I came back from a trip to China over a decade ago.  I think that makes me guilty of something.

Maybe I could make a series of pictures of the staff of the so-called "Chinese" restaurants.  I could publish their health department ratings on the bottom of each photograph.

But I have gotten very paranoid about food.  It is wondrous to me that I used to eat out all the time and would eat just about anything.  Food prepared by others in restaurants looking to maximize profits seems, well, dirty and unhealthy.  It's bad enough what they do to food at the grocery store.

Dirty little hipster hands.

God, I wish to make those photographs.  I'll be posting more, for sure.  They are wonderful.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Vaqueros



The a.c. fellas worked all day, a long day.  I got to sit and answer questions.  It was awful.  But the fellas were nice guys, very polite to one another.  They were Hispanic and spoke in English around me but in Spanish to one another.  It was tough, hot work, but they never cursed nor complained.  Rather, they laughed and joked and helped one another along.  They had that cowboy mentality, or should I say vaqueros. 

By seven o'clock, I had a new a.c./furnace.

The house seemed to take a long time to cool down.  My gut was in spasms. What if. . . ?

It was 64 outside this morning when I woke up.  Not a good test.  I worry, of course.

Oh, and I was disabused of the idea that I had 0% financing.  It was the fellow who owns the camera store who wised me up.  He said they had the same deal on cameras.  It is through a company called Equiscam or something.  It is really a deferred interest plan, he said.  Make sure you pay every month early.  If you miss one payment, they charge you all the interest at once.  Whoa!  I am not that good at keeping up with pay dates.  I will need to get to the bank and set up autopay as soon as I can.

Maybe right after I rush to the post office to mail my tax extension form.

Oy.

I was at the camera store to pick up the film I took in from my old Diana and Helga cameras.  How long ago did I do my surf series?  Seven years?  The film in that leaky old plastic camera had pictures on it from then.  That is why, I guess, you see the image of the backing paper on the photographs.  Light leaks over the years.  Q said they looked cool, so I will trust that.

I loaded three Diana and one Holga camera(s) up with film the day I shared the woman's Diana images with you.  I haven't shot a single picture with them yet.  I might, though.  I mean. . . I could.

There are so many things I might do.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Watching the Workers



The a.c. boys are here now.  Nice guys.  There was a crew of four, then a supervisor, then the salesman, then someone I didn't know what, and now there are just two installers.  The ducts are clean.  The outside unit is installed.  My financing is done.  Can you believe 0% interest on $10,000? I told them I was going to take that money to Trump's stock market and gain back some of my money.  Do you think that would work?  I'd probably crash the market.  Still, you can't beat 0% with a stick.

They promise me I will have a.c. by the end of the day.  It is a big job.  They have to haul big units down and then up into the attic.  They are cheerful enough about it.  The cracked three of the stairs on my beautiful sliding attic ladder, though.  Vintage 1926.  What can I do?

I stayed at my mother's last night.  Got a taste of that again.

The house is open to the air and bugs.  It is a cooler day fortunately.  I had to take the day off work.  When the workers took lunch, I popped a beer.  I want to sleep now, but that is not possible.  I have to keep answering questions.  They are all versions of, "Do you want this to work?"  I say, "Yes, of course."

Cha-ching.

You've all been through it.  That's what I'm telling you.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A.C. Blues



A.C. went out just as the sultry air came.  Slept last night on top of the sheets, arms and legs akimbo, fan on high.  It did not get cool in the night.  I will sleep at my mother's tonight.  The air conditioning bandits come to install a new a.c./furnace tomorrow.  Big project.  I have to stay home from the factory to watch them. . . and to pay what is getting perilously close to ten grand. 

The roofers say they have found and fixed the leaks.  I'll have to wait for the next big storm. 

All this adulting sucks. 


Sunday, April 7, 2019

To Make Photos



It is Saturday night, and Ili is in the air coming back from a trip to one of the big cities.  I have had time alone.  I thought I might make pictures, but it was too much.  I rested and watched photo porn.

I have to get better.  I've realized you can't make street photography at home.  Huh.

But I did take some film to the lab, three rolls that have been sitting in my old plastic cameras, the Diana and the Helga, for many, many years.  One roll confused the fellow who would be processing it.  He was young and had never seen the film before.  It is a black and white film that used the color processing C-41, an old Ilford film.  They haven't made it for many years and he was young.  Fun.

Other than that, there is nothing to report.

Nada y pues nada.

I asked Q tonight if he thought Van Morrison knew forty years or so ago that he was making music that would sound so good now?  Did he know that none of his peers would be able to hold a candle?

In response, Q sent me some of Morrison's good music.  I am going to go to Vimeo and see what they have of his now.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Careful



I took this photo a long time ago.  She was a "feminist painter."  That's how she described herself.  Her paintings were pretty good for someone starting out.  They were better than that.  She'd wrestled on the boy's team in high school.  She was impressive, dramatic.  I think she might have hurt a man who tried to sniff her hair if she didn't want to be sniffed.  She was leaning in before it was popularized.  We kept in touch for some time, but I am bad about that.

Since I got run over, my relationship to the world has changed quite a bit.  Most women could beat me up now, and so I am learning what it is like to be careful.  Phrases like "stay safe," and "take care" had no meaning for me.  "How do you do that?" I'd ask.  I wasn't sure of the steps, so to speak.

I am learning.  Mostly, it boils down to avoiding danger.  That used to be anathema to me.  Now. . . well, I've learned to look the other way.

Q says the accident will probably save me from being beaten to death.  Others, too.  Maybe they are right, I don't know.

I am learning to live with physical weakness.

I should say, though, that I am highly motivated.  That is how the therapists describe me.  Two days of physical therapy a week.  Two days of upper body weight workouts in the gym.  Two days of legs and aerobics.  Hell, yesterday I bench pressed 100 pounds for fifteen reps, and that is after only two weeks.  I started with just 45 pounds.

I used to bench 305, but not for reps.  Just once.

I still can't use my left arm for many things, though, and it hurts all the time.  Same with my ribs.  I can't even describe how my ribs feel.  They are foreign objects, thick and swollen and full of strange and weird sensations.  I don't even want to be bumped.  I am nowhere near as tough as the girl in this picture.

But I can walk and talk and write.  I want to see if I can still make pictures.  I may try to use my 8x10 camera today, and perhaps some of my 4x5s.  Just to experiment and relearn.  Just to see.

Don't count on it.  One of the results of the accident is that I tire quickly.  Perhaps.  Or maybe I've just gotten lazy.  These are not mutually exclusive, of course.  It may be a combination of the two.

I'd like to take pictures of people again, but I'm not sure what I'd do.  I'd need a theme.  I can't just take random portraits.  And I'd need something safe.  Provocative is the new devil.  Pictures are exploitive.  At least if they are taken by OMWC.

But I am weak and careful now.  Perhaps there will be an allowance.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Read Your Shakespeare



A powerful storm just blew through.  I heard it coming for about twenty minutes before it arrived.  Then the rain, the thunder, and then. . . "POP!"  The lights dimmed, went out, and came back on.  The power box outside my house was the source of the pop.  I was certain some circuit had blown, some electronics had been irrevocably damaged, but as of yet, I've found nothing.  Still my skin crawls.  Popping electricity is never a good sound.  

Nor, for me, is the rain.  The roofing man comes at nine this morning.  I will have to deal with that.  

My tax guy called.  

I have medical bills that are overdue.  

Adulting, as they say, is very, very hard.  I am too old to begin now.  But I can't figure out how to avoid it.  I've never learned the lessons one needs to learn.  I've been frivolous and cavalier.  You can't be that so much any more, at least I can't.  There is more paperwork with retirement.  The corporation has taken care of everything so far, the money, the insurance, retirement.  Now they just hand me a folder full of papers and tell me "good luck."  I don't know how to do any of this.  

I'm good at buying cameras.  Nothing about that is in the folder.  

I thought retirement was going to be about eating well, exercising, meditating, writing, and taking photographs.  I can see now that it is all going to be about worry.  

Should I drink so much coffee?  Am I getting enough fruit and nuts and vegetables?  I should probably eat more fish.  And alcohol?  I'll need to consult my physician.  

Or my swami.  

I've had a good run, but poor old Uncle Joe is just a metonym.  Old people have had it.  Even Elizabeth Warren.  

I should have read my Shakespeare more closely, I guess.  He told the tale.  

All's well that ends well.  

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Right



I asked my buddy, the male feminist, about women.

"You're a feminist.  You know how to treat the ladies, right?"

"Sure.  I just love 'em.  I love to hold 'em, and squeeze 'em, and smell their hair.  I just love to kiss 'em."

No, that's not what he said.  That's what I told him was a new form of feminism.

Oh, I had the lunchroom in stitches.

No I didn't.  Seemed like someone farted in the room.  Was that my intended outcome?

It's complex.  I've never asked a woman out on a first date.  I don't offer the first kiss.  I am too paranoid at being rejected.  Now, however, I'd be afraid of getting the Creepy Uncle Joe treatment.

I've already lost any argument I might subsequently make, of course.  I began with a personal defense.  You know that such a person is not to be trusted.

But in the lunchroom, I was making a point about the 2020 election.  While the right backs a man who says he likes to grab 'em by the pussy, the left is axing hair sniffers and long huggers.

"Oh, I just love to sniff their hair."

Creepy.  But it is scary, too.  It's o.k. for now.  We're only after rich white guys and a couple rich black guys.  But wait.  Lesbians are beginning to tell, too.  Only on powerful white women, maybe, but it will trickle down.

And that fear will keep old Uncle Donny in the White House, I'm afraid.  I mean, I'm really afraid.

But as my lefty friends say, you can't have a revolution without spilling a little innocent blood.  It's just part of the price we pay.

I'm not defending.  If Creepy Uncle Joe wasn't creepy, he'd have been president in 1988.  But he got caught cheating.  Remember?

Doesn't seem people do.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Nancy Rexroth




Nancy Rexroth (born 1946) is an American photographer noted for her pioneer work utilizing the Diana camera. In 1977, she published Iowa – the first printed monograph of work completed with a plastic camera (Wikipedia).

Her work was just acquired by the Cincinnati Art Museum (link). 

I've been looking at her photography quite a bit lately after reading an interview with Alec Soth.  He says he was influenced much by her work and said he owns several of her photographs.  Long ago (in the 1990's), I got infatuated with toy cameras and used them quite a bit.  Then I got interested in other things and put them aside.  They've been sitting on the shelf since.  Two days ago, I picked them up to look at them.  They still had partially shot rolls of film in them.  Hmm.  I took them out and began shooting with them again.  The old Diana camera takes 120 film, but shoots 4.5x4.5 images.  You get 16 images per roll.  When I finished the film, I took it out and found that it was Fuji Velvia, a positive slide film.  There are not so many places that process slide film any longer.  I wondered at what might be on the roll.   I will send it off to The Darkroom, a film processing place in San Clemente, California that I've been told is top-notch.  Curious as to what I shot so long ago in color. 

I still have a couple shots left on the Holga.  I don't think that film is as old.  I'm pretty sure it is Tri-X, so I will be able to develop it myself. 

Rexroth's photographs are beautiful and evocative, more about light and shadow than subject.  I am going to begin using the toy cameras again.  You can buy new Holga and Diana cameras from Lomography, but I've read that they are not the same.  To wit. . . I just bought a "brand new" 1960s Diana still in the box, never used, on eBay.  The Diana 150.  Screwy plastic lens with all sorts of imperfections.  I will shoot with it for awhile since I've spent a million dollars on Leicas and lenses, and on medium format Hasselblads and Mamiyas and Rollieflex.  There is nothing more appealing than a plastic camera when you have all that. 

I'll show you the results soon.  Probably.  Maybe.  We'll see. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Pest Control Down to a Science



I read about a hormone that makes rats more intelligent today in the N.Y. Times.  There is still a lot of research to be done, so I don't think I am going to get the benefits of it.  Oh well, neither will anyone I know (at least while I know them).  Human limitations being what they are, I guess I'll have to suffer the same fates as those who have come before me. 

Still, I am not cheered. 

Not much is cheering me of late.  I'll tell you more about it later.  How much later is the question. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Man of a Certain Age



Sick weekend.  Did little.  Watched Ili pot some plants, put some in the garden.  Bought more bird food, hangers.  Whistled to the birds.  Watched the Monarch, Little Chrissy, mate.  She has stayed around and is feeding.  We are certain it is her.  She will give us more Monarchs.  More bird species come.  A hummingbird hung around a long while.  The cardinals become more tame.  The squirrel who built the nest is starting to get thick.  I spread fertilizer on the lawn and shrubs, then sprayed Miracle Grow.  It is.  Barely ate.  Drank tea.  Slept.  Did nothing.

I wait to see what will happen.  The future is uncertain.  Mine.  The roofing contractor has not called me back.  Everything is problematic.

I must give up if I am to go on, just give up on many things.  There is me, and there is the world.  The world is great.  I grow smaller and more alone.  It is what happens.

I sent this article to Q (link).  He is reaching the vicinity of "a man of a certain age," so to speak.  Ili  tells me I am such a man and that laws protect me from physical attack.  I will get a t-shirt that says so.

Ha!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Umcka



One day, this photo will be interesting.  

I'm still sick, but I am holding.  Sore throat and chest congestion.  But the secret to stopping sickness or keeping it at bay is Umcka.  Ili got me wise to this a long time ago when it was very difficult to find.  Now it is more widespread.  But if you've not used it, do at the first sign of a cold or flu, and keep using it throughout.  It will certainly shorten the duration of your illness.  Plus lemon water and grapefruit and grams of vitamin C.  And plenty of fluids as we've always known.  

That is all I have for you in my Great Suffering.  More and better soon.  I hope.  But one never knows, I guess.  Fingers crossed.  

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sure




Sure.  And then. . . the flu.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Losing




Woke up this morning to a beautiful rain falling on the roof.  I lay in bed comfortably listening to the first big spring storm.  

When I got up, I made coffee and looked out the window at the wet, wet world.  The plants were happy, I supposed, but there would be no bird watching.  

I didn't want to disturb Ili, so I went to the guest bathroom where I heard a drip, drip, drip.  I thought it was the faucet in the tub, but there was no water on the nozzle.  Dry.  I reached up and felt the shower head.  Dry too.  WTF?  Then I saw the source.  The ceiling was bulging with water.  Adrenaline.  

Later, I found another leak in the bedroom.  

Is there any winning?  The roof is two and a half years old.  I called the roofing company, but they have not called back.  

I am destined to be poor, I think.  And depressed.  

I'm tired of losing.  I want a break. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

A Flawed Life



Stupid picture of chair/ottoman/wall, etc.  I have nothing else at the moment.  So why post? 

Compulsion. 

I looked back at some of my journals the other day.  I used to write in them obsessively every day for many years.  Oh, there are millions of pages, impossible to read, but you (I) can pick and choose at will and find little gems.  It is funny, I find, how little of your life you actually remember.  I, I mean.  Reading my own journals from years ago was like reading about somebody else's life.  Truly, I remembered little until I read it, and then the thing would come back to me as a sudden thrill.  Our (my) lives are more interesting than we know.  Mine has been thrilling. 

I am going to begin journal writing again.  All the details I can't write here.  To write a narrative gives one's (my) life shape and meaning.  As Salter said so poignantly, the one who writes it keeps it.  Everything else is lost. 

Some of what I read, however, is embarrassing.  It felt like being James Franco in the #MeToo era, or like being Lena Dunham any time.  Fortunately, it's a journal.  Maybe I'll edit out all the parts I don't want to remember or want anyone to know in the future.  Surely. 

Look at all those remotes in the little monkey-adorned metal ivy pot in the picture above.  It would be more embarrassing if there were not a book and a magazine lying there, too.  Laying.

A photo, like a journal, is evidence.  Perhaps it is best to have neither.  But no. . . it is better to have lived a flawed life than to not have lived at all.