Sunday, May 26, 2019

Don’t Think About The Money


Living it up at the Four Seasons Miami.  It is a great place if you don’t think about the money.  Don’t think about the money.  Just keep ordering things.  We had dinner in our room.  Too tired to go out.  Rented a $20 movie about a dying English professor starring Johnny Depp.  Don’t.  Still, we had fun. Went to South Beach yesterday.  Don’t unless you love a freak show.  I’ll tell more about it when I am not writing on my phone.  One word here, though—thick.  Took my Leica M10 that I bought just before the accident.  Haven’t really used it since I’ve been hurt.  It was fun.  This is my first trip out of town since getting run over.  Seems OK.  Feeling fine.  I think I can start traveling again as long as there are porters to do the heavy lifting.

Yes, it is all lovely as long as you don’t think about the money.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Life Coach



I just wanted color.

Last day at the factory before roughing it at the Four Seasons.  I may not take any photos at all.  I relax when I think of lying by the pool with a frozen drink in my hand.  Who needs to try photographing drag queens with a leica and a flash in hand?  Getting my ass kicked might make a good story, something that has been lacking here, but at this point in my recovery, I don't think that it is worth it.

Maybe.

I was talking to a sad person yesterday.  She has been perpetually sad for a year.  She is a bit of a drama queen, but she doesn't need to be sad.  I told her that she is telling herself the wrong stories.  She needs to change the narrative, tell the story in a different way.  That's the beauty of being human, I said.  We can always change our mind.

"That's what my therapist says."

Fuck yea.  I am ready to begin my second career as life coach.  I knew I had it in me.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Bit of Advice



Here's a bit of existential advice.  Everybody uses that word now--existential.  Maybe I should say I have phenomenological advice just to mix it up.  Anyway, as my mother likes to say--Advil PM gels. It has to be the gel tablets.  I used to use Aleve, but the gels are no longer available.  There must be something illegal in them.  I switched to the pellets or whatever they are called, but they did not do the same thing.  Advil gels, though, seem to provide the same effect.  You go out.  You don't move for eight hours.  And you wake up feeling great.  Like all drugs, don't overuse them.  They will lose their potency for you.  But once a week or so, after not sleeping well for a night or two, those little fuckers are like a miracle.

That is the sort of experiences I have now.  Hard to photograph, though.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chill



I am putting way too much pressure on myself over what should be a simple trip to a resort.  I should simply be excited to lie by the pool and have drinks ushered to me.  Rather, I worry I won't make any good pictures.  South Beach, you see.  I want to Uber down and make some masterpieces.  Ha!  I haven't taken photos in a year, but I want to make some masterpieces.  Rather, I am afraid that I will do this--out of focus pictures of nothing.  It is nerve wracking to take pictures in a crowd.  At the beach, treble that.  I don't think I have it in me.  My body and nerves are not what they were.

And so I worry over a beautiful vacation.

What camera should I use?  What lens?  I want to have them all.

I know those in my audience who are rolling their eyes now.  I know.  I know.

I think I've made myself sick over it.  Truly.  My guts are twisted.  I feel like death.

I might be wrong.  It might not be anxiety.  But I don't want to think about that.

Chill, buddy.  You need to chill.

I will.  I will.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Beginnings and Endings



I don't have much to talk about, so I'll just tell you that this morning I did five push ups.  You may not think that it is a big deal to do five push ups, but for me, it is.  I'll be challenging Q some drunken midnight to a push up contest the way he did me when I was his age.  Look out, Q, I'm coming for you. 

"Game of Thrones."  What a bad joke.  I might have said this before, but have you ever noticed how the first thirty minutes of any movie is o.k.?  People know how to begin things, they just don't know how to end them.  Tom Wolfe is infamous for that.  Only the greats finish well.  Not Carmelo Anthony nor Harden.  Reggie Jackson knew how to play at the end of the season.  That's the hallmark. 

Sometimes I can begin well.  Not today.  But I may have something soon.  I'm going to Miami for the weekend.  Staying at the Four Seasons.  Maybe something.  Maybe nothing. 

Either way, I'll be happy. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dancing



I dance last night.  It was the first time since the accident.  After a sushi dinner and a silly movie, I listened to Donna the Buffalo, real hippie music.  It is music of the west, of New Mexico and Arizona and Utah.  It sounds like Taos.  So I put on the music and got up and began to dance by myself.  It was awkward.  The muscles remembered but not completely.  I swung my arms and hopped up and down and twisted and shook.  It made me happy.  But after a short while, I was tired.

I'm going to keep dancing.  Movement, I think, is the key to life.  I will dance alone in the dark like the protagonist in Jim Harrison's "The Man Who Gave Up His Name."  It is a novella in the collection "Legends of the Fall."  It is a damned good story.

But it is not a story for you kids today.  There are bad things in it, the sort of things that are wrong.  The sort of things your parents and teachers have kept you from and taught you to avoid and punish.  It is from the bad old days when people did bad things.  I'm pretty sure you'd be traumatized and have to go to a safe room while you wrote a strongly worded letter to the proper authorities.

Why?  Why do I have to do that?

I get better.  Today I'll do some stretching/yoga and try to peace out.  Hippie shit.  You know.  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

All the Way




I have always been a wallflower with confidence, silly as that may sound.  The confidence came from reading more, knowing more, working harder, etc.  The wallflower stuff came from my basic insecurities.  I don't want people looking at me.  I love a stage.  Dichotomies, I know.  It boils down to not wanting to win but desiring to place.

Winning takes too much effort.

But I've always placed.  I was always in the upper 90th percentile.

The hardest part of coming back from the accident is placing.  I am old, so it sucks not to have confidence.

Ili is young and pretty, and now when we go out, all the boys and girls are flirting with her.  Where's mine?

"Does anyone ever ask you if you're her father?"

"Ah, I just kiss her big on the lips and tell them I'm her uncle.  We're very close."

But I got into the pool and moved my hands about to exercise my shoulder.  I tread water and dog paddled and pretend-swam in the shallow end.  It seems to be working.

I did three push ups in a row without a break.

I'm trying.  But as Dylan said, "You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way."

And he has the Nobel.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Sentiment



The politics of the factory no longer have any allure.  Each day, I do something that I've done for years for the last time.  There is a weirdness to it that I can't explain.  I've never been a maudlin man, not even sentimental.  But I do believe in sentiment.  Yesterday, my old boss who has been retired for years came by to see me.  She thought I was silly to be sad about leaving.  But it is hard to quit doing something that you are very, very good at doing.  And it is not the leaving so much that brings on the sentiment but the fact that I have reached the point in my life where I am leaving something I am good at to do something else which I will probably never master.  

I am very good at it, and the people are sad to think of me going.  

But I have the whole presidential campaign to organize, and that should keep me very busy. I will need to get on the town hall circuit and make the debates.  So much to do.  

But not today.  We are on four day work weeks now, so I begin my three day weekend.  It will be busy.  I have much to do around the homestead and must tend to Ili besides.  

Color.  Just a splash.  I told you I would tire of the black and white.  

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Announcement



I want to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.  I know the field is already large, but I don't want to be the last.  I'm not taking money from any large corporations, just big contributions from people like you.  I'll set up an account and let you know how to contribute soon.  But yea. . . I'm running.  I'm the people's candidate. 

I'm a bit concerned about my checkered past, but I've decided just to own it.  Like everyone else--I've evolved.  Besides, I think I'll have the religious vote 'cause God loves a sinner. 

I'm fluid on moral issues.  My campaign slogan will be "Whatever."  That should get me the millennial vote.

There is much to be done.  I'll keep you updated.  For now, just send your pledges.  It's time to make America again.  

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Random



I'm probably the only one who likes these weirdly framed pictures.  But I do.  They speak to the randomness of vision and of life. 

Ha!  That's the sort of nonsense you hear about photographic art.  There is always "The Artist's Statement" where the photographer needs to tell what he or she is trying to do. 

Still. . . the randomness of things. 

I'll grow tired of black and white in a post or two, I'm pretty sure. 

Random thoughts.  That's all I can muster, all that I have.  I'm as mundane as a Paul Simon lyric, like the sound of a train in the distance.  A good day is a day without pain.  A bad day is when I lie in bed and think about what might have been. 

Etc. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tragedy Again



Tragedy strikes again.  Not to me this time, but I've spent the weekend in the hospital with the victim.  Hence, no posts. 

No matter.  The best story I have comes from a grocery run yesterday.  A boy in a man bun and tats was talking with the store's fish monger.  "Oh, well," he said, "every day is another day."

I don't know why I found that so terribly funny.

I've been feeling punky and sorry for myself lately.  Maybe it was being in the hospital again.  I've been bummed that I'll never be the same as I was, maybe never really have any piss and vinegar again.  I used to love the old piss and vinegar.  Lucky me, I had it a long time.

Oh, I should not forget to mention how badly the hospital doctors piss me off.  They are all 32 and look like a better version of Ryan Reynolds.  What happened?  Doctors are supposed to be nerds who spent all their time with books.  Not any more.  I thought I was in a t.v. show.  The fuckers all look like beautiful fighter pilots.

Maybe it is just like that on the weekends.   But man, I felt like the dwarf on "Game of Thrones." 

I've cooked up a bunch of overlooked scans of film I took a year ago when I was still able to take pictures.  A bunch of black and white to come.  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Where Have All the Good Times Gone



I wish I had a story to tell today, even a snippet of something, but I don't.  I am not getting out enough to have stories.  I go to therapy, to the factory, and to the house.  Oh, I guess I could tell some of the scintillating therapy tales.  Just kidding.  I've told you about the garden and the birds and the weather.  I enjoy those things, but there are not stories, really. 

I have a video of a squirrel sliding down the bird feeder pole when he hit the part on which we sprayed Pam.  Maybe I should post that. 

Remember the old internet?  What happened?  Where have all the good times gone?

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Perhaps


(photo by Susan de Witt)

This is an example of lith printing, something I want to try.  I don't want to explain the process here, but it could be something very unpredictable and time consuming, maybe too much for me.  I want to try it and see.  The thing is, it requires a darkroom.  I may have access to one.  I will have to work on that and get permission.  If I do, I'll buy the chemicals I need and give it a shot.  Who knows?  Maybe trash cans will look good when done this way. 

I want to work with my large format cameras, too, just because the work is slow and you don't produce many pictures.  That is my speed now, not producing many pictures.  Making two images a day would increase my present production by. . . any percent you want to say.

It is just a lack of trying.

But I am always intrigued by processes that mess up the image.  I don't like to do that digitally.  Like my old Polaroids, it needs to be something that I do physically before the image enters the digital realm.  I don't mind tweaking it there, but I don't want others to be able to make the image the way I do.  I learned early from photographers like Mark Tucker and Lilya Cornelli back when I would write to photographers I discovered and wanted to offer a fan's note.

That seems so long ago.  Oh, yea. . . it is.

I have ideas again.  Now I just need the energy.  I'll give something a shot this summer.  You'll see.  


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The World Within



To add insult to injury--ha!--I've had some illness for about six weeks now.  I know it is six weeks because the last time I got beautified, I wore a mask in order to keep my beautician from getting sick.  I go every six weeks, and I go tonight.  Viola!  I've been sick too long. 

At this point, it is only a cough.  I shouldn't say "only," for it keeps me awake at night.  Worse, everyone hates me.  "Jesus, dude, you need to go to the doctor," they say as they step back and put up fending hands. 

"I don't know," I say.  "It isn't really bad, just a tickle.  I don't have that thick, yellow phlegm, not those slimy little animals with legs." 

But it does seem an inordinately long time for this to hang on. 

We are not who we think we are, though.  Most of what we think of as "us" is foreign fungus, viruses, and bacteria that live within.  Not a lot.  Most.  Different DNA.  Some of it even exchanges with our own native DNA and changes the lives of the cells within. 

I wonder, have these germs taken up house here? 

But I will get beautified tonight, nonetheless. It will take hours. Which reminds me. Last night I watched "Generation Wealth," a documentary on Amazon written and directed by Lauren Greenfield (link). It started off well enough, but first slowly, then quickly, it turned maudlin. Greenfield, I have always felt, takes advantage of her subjects, exploits them, really. I am envious, but still, that is how I feel. She shows them little respect. In the end, though, she forgives herself, and every freak in the show does as well, because they have families. I don't argue with people about that because I am in a very small minority who haven't been saved from loneliness and meaninglessness through the power of procreation. How do you argue with the vast majority of humanity? Only at your own peril, that's for sure.

Oh. . . I got lost.  The doc looks at people's obsession with money and looks.  I'm spending my money on my looks tonight.  Let's hope it does something to improve my internal environment, too. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Little Progress



I had a big weekend of ups and downs about life and health and other things, if there are any other things.  Came a point where I was low, especially about what has happened to me.  After trying to work out and swim for days in a row, I was sore and probably sick again with something that I didn't recognize as I have been sick with a cough for weeks.  But yesterday I had a breakthrough.

I did a pushup!

Not a big deal for you, I know, but I have been waiting for this moment.  I did one and was scared that my shoulder would fall apart right there and then.  So I did another one.  It doesn't feel right or good, but maybe. . . .  Pushups and the pool.  I felt myself on a roll.

I have been eating differently, switching to more grains and vegetables and nuts, eschewing beef and pork in favor of chicken but mostly fish.  Ili was away for the weekend, and this morning while hugging me in bed, she said I felt thinner.  I think I am.  Now if I can cut back on the alcohol calories, who knows.  Maybe two pushups?  Maybe a couple laps of dog paddling?

On the down side, I took my cameras out with me yesterday.  Thought I might wander into a crowd, make some photographs.

It didn't happen.  I am unable to face that.  I drove through interesting crowds downtown, but couldn't force myself to stop, get out, walk with camera.  I ate lunch in a cafe off the Boulevard.  The street was covered in teenage girls wearing their most revealing post-MeToo garb.  I felt like Humbert Humbert.

I never touched my camera.

I'm just not ready to take a beating yet, I think.  I don't want to get griped at let alone really confronted.

I guess I'll go back to photographing garbage cans.  They hardly complain, and while they bring no accolades, they don't get me into much trouble, either.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Long Shots and Losers



I keep waking at 4:30 a.m.  Not that I really sleep.  I sleep for bits, then wake in pain and roll into one of the three positions I can stand. . . for a short time.  Some mornings, I lie there until I go back to sleep just before dawn.  I tried today, but that didn't work, and I got up after a bit.  Made coffee.  Read the papers.

Then this.

Yesterday was a hell of a day at the Kentucky Derby.  I wouldn't have wanted to be one of the stewards for that race.  There was going to be no pleasing decision there.  They did what they had to do.  Whatever they decided would be wrong.  I think they should have run the race all over again.  Not all the horses, just the ones affected, the front runners.  That would have been the only fair way to decide things, of course, but the horses would probably have died from the effort.  They had no ideas of disputes or disqualifications.  That's the funniest thing.  Besides, why can't the horse in the lead choose whatever path he or she wants to take?  What's the point of being in the lead?

Glad I didn't bet any money.  I picked my trifecta.  It was all wrong.  That's why I don't wager on anything but me.

I got into the pool yesterday for the first time since the accident.  If I fell out of a boat, I'd drown.  Wow.  I didn't know how horrible my shoulder really was/is.  I will start going to the pool and try moving about.  Maybe one day I'll be able to swim again.  I don't know.  But it would sure be spooky to get into the ocean and worry about getting knocked down and sucked into deeper water.  I won't.  And that's a drag.

The day got worse, though.  I was looking through movies last night on my Fire TV, and came across some cop movie with Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn that is about a year old.  All the drunken sleaze balls are in it.  Don Johnson, too.  What depressed me was Mel Gibson still running around playing a cop.  He can move both arms and everything.  He is doing o.k.

I decided to watch something else, an old movie, "Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave" (link). I'd seen it long, long ago, and I enjoyed it this time, too, though it was a little too depressing for my mood and probably disturbed my sleep.

Maybe that's why I woke so early this morning.

The morning is grey.  I may take a walk, or I may go back to bed.  My fate, as always, lies in the direction I choose.  I'll try to choose wisely.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Chase the Weather



What a week already.  May Day.  Kentucky Derby.  Cinqo de Mayo.

I may watch the Kentucky Derby.  Probably will.  I don't love horse racing, and I am not a gambler, but it reminds me of my father.  He always watched it, but I don't think he ever laid a bet.  I find horses to be hideously ugly.  I don't know how people say they are beautiful.  Still, I don't like climbing on their backs.  It seems very cruel to me.  In time before automation and machines, I'd probably feel differently.  Caged and trained animals of any kind, though, are a reminder of something grim.

I will probably make a simple margarita, though--tequila, lime, and triple sec, shaken, not stirred.  And probably some guacamole, too.  It will be dinner with mom.

The birds are singing, the sun shining, but it won't last all day.  I need to get out into it before everything turns to southern summer.  The weather patterns have already changed.  Those last two weeks of beautiful weather will be the last we'll see for many, many months.  It is sad.  Those days were so terribly wonderful.

I'll need to chase the weather.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Ask Not for Whom the Whistle Blows



Science, as you know, is a thing, and I wanted to prove it.  There were two stories about testosterone and the woman banned from competing in several track and field events because her levels were too high.  One story, in CNN, used studies to show that testosterone did not enhance a person's athletic abilities.  The other, in the NYT, used studies to show that testosterone enhanced athletic abilities.  But when I went back to get the CNN story, the site had updated and I couldn't find it.  I'm miffed because I wanted to demonstrate that science works.  You see, both articles came to the same conclusion: we don't need gender-based competitions.

Well, sort of.  Anyway, we should just ask Trump.  He seems to have all the answers.

Chris Matthews is on the right track, I think, in his analysis of the Executive Branch/Legislative Branch showdown.  Congress has been proven to have no real power.  Straw dogs.  They can bark, but they can't bite.  Both Trump and the courts can shut them down.

Nobody ever liked them, anyway.  Too many to keep track of.

There are many sweeping changes in my life.  I have not been able to make or work on images for a very, very long time.  As I approach the end of my working days (and other things), I have much to think about.  Moreover, there is much I should/might/could do.  I am more of a thinker than a doer, but circumstances will force me to act.

Circumstances may also liberate me, too, at least for a time, and I think about shutting down these sites and creating a new website/blog experience where I no longer act like Batman, lurking in the shadows.  I have time to think about that, and as I say, I'm a real thinker.  There is much to be considered.

But I'm not there yet.  The factory whistle still blows, and as Donne so famously said, ask not for whom the whistle blows, it blows for thee.  The Bible tells us so.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Road to Hell



I've been looking at camper vans for the future.  My buddy had an old Vanagan or Vanogan or whatever, an old VW Westfalia camper.  It seemed pretty cool.  But when it comes right down to buying one. . . I don't know.  Like everything else, there are many compromises. It's like marriages or long term relationships.  You choose one thing and then the choosing one thing eliminates others.  That can be good. 

Or it can be very, very bad. 

Lately, I've been thinking of doing what a lot of people do at some point in their lives--get rid of almost everything.  I've collected a lifetime of stuff.  I like it, but it does get heavy, and people get tired, I guess.  Maybe I have, too. 

People tell me it is only natural.  I tell them I got run over. I don't think I'm like them.  I'm special. 

That's my problem, of course.  I think I'm special.  Or was.  Going from special to average in a Minnesota Minute is brutal. 

I'll have to think on the camper van.  It could be liberating.  Of course, it could be a mistake. 

But as Bill says in "The Sun Also Rises," the road to hell is paved with unbought stuffed dogs.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Way Back Machine



I almost didn't write today.  I don't know.  Things get weird.  For some reason, though, I was thinking about NYC in the '70s, the time I first went there.  It was a different place then.  Everyone wishes they had gone there now.  That is the trouble.  We always wish we would have been there.  With a camera. 

I was.

Then my mother threw away all the photography I did in the '70s. 

I feel like that about much now.  Why didn't I do more?  I was there (wherever) and good (enough at times), so why wasn't I obsessive?  That's what it takes, of course, if you want to do anything really well. That's why young work is so much better.  You need energy to be obsessive. 

That is not my photograph.  I don't know whose it is.  Can't remember.  There was a lot of mid-level street photography in the '70s.  Newspapers and magazines love to dig it up now to show those "mean streets."  And they were.  Those were existentially empty years of little to no aesthetics. 

Watch all the John Cassavetes films, the ones he directed.  That's what it was like. 

It's just so difficult to go to old places now without the Way Back Machine. But that's what cameras are.