Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Monochrom Arrived!


(sorry, but this is all I have to show this morning--shot with the Monochrom)

The Leica M Monochrom arrived.  I decided to check the tracking site for it one more time and saw that it had been shipped from Manhattan and had arrived at my hometown facility at 3:30 a.m.  It was going out for delivery.  I knew I wouldn't be home when the postman came, so I drove around the neighborhood and found the deliveryman.  He checked my i.d. and gave me the package.  I drove back home and opened the box with trepidation.  I was afraid the camera would be beaten all to hell.  It wasn't.  It was beautiful and fit my hand perfectly.  I thought never to put it down. 

I took the Summicron 35mm lens off the M7 and put it on the Monochrom.  I turned it on.  I didn't have a card in the camera, so I took one from the Sony A7. 

Things went wrong. 

I pulled the Summicron 50 mm lens out to see how it looked on the camera, but when I tried to focus, I couldn't.  The focusing knob was gone.  I searched around in the bag and found it.  The knob had three plastic rods that went into three holes in the bottom of the lens.  They were broken.  Apparently at some point, I had dropped the camera case which is just a canvas bag without padding.

I felt sick. 

I put the 35 mm back on and tried to take a picture.  Nothing worked.  I couldn't format the SD card, and after taking one picture, the camera wouldn't take another.  But it was time for the factory, so I put the camera in the case and took it to work with me. 

At work, I downloaded the camera manual and put the battery in the charger.  I read through the operating instructions and thought I'd figured everything out.  I put the battery back in the camera.  Still, I couldn't format the card.  All the same problems I had before were with me.  Still when I went to lunch, I took the camera with me.  And for awhile, it seemed to be working.  The battery was charged and the card was holding the images. 

Within fifteen minutes, I got a message that the battery was low.  I couldn't do anything with the camera. 

After lunch, I charged the battery again.  I read through the manual from start to finish (obviously I was doing little work), and early in the afternoon decided to leave so that I could get a card and a new battery for the camera.  Out at three-thirty, however, I thought about how crowded the gym would be later, so I decided I would work out first.  I would still have plenty of time to get to the camera store. 

The gym was half empty.  I was pleased.  I would be finished in an hour.  Still, I felt sick.  Had I been ripped off on this deal?  I am a paranoid, and so. . . .

After the gym, I decided I needed to shower, so I went home and got ready.  A glass of wine looked good at this point, too.  I recharged the battery.  When I put it in the camera, it read 100%.  Hmm.  I walked around the yard and took pictures for a bit, wandered up and down my street feeling how good the camera felt in my hands.  I loved it, truly.  If this one was broken, I was bound to get another.  Its lines were so good, the heft seemingly perfect, the functions and menus simple and clear cut and elegant.  You have to hold it to know.  They talk about the Leica Mystique.  You just have to hold it to know.  I've had a whole lot of cameras.  Nothing feels like this. 

After taking pictures for half an hour, the camera still said the battery was charged at 90%.  I decided to go downtown where the camera store was and take some more pictures.  It was after six now, and even if the battery problem was solved, I needed to buy some things.  At the camera store, now feeling fairly happy, I walked around to take pictures.  I got a message.  The battery was low.  I couldn't get the camera to function. 

I was sick when I walked in, really, but perhaps a new battery would fix everything up.  Leica is very, very proud.  The battery was $140.  I bought new SD cards, too, and what we found from experimenting in the store was that the camera won't take cards that store too much information.  Interesting, I thought, as I hadn't read about this anywhere.  But now, perhaps. . . .

I took the new battery home and charged it.  For hours.  Late before bed, I put it in the camera.  That is when I found that the camera battery and battery charger that was shipped with the camera were not Leica gear but an off brand from China.  Fuck me!  Fuck!

Before bed, I slipped the new genuine Leica battery in the camera.  I shot with it in the low lamp light.  I shot and looked at the images and shot some more.  The camera battery read 100%.  Perhaps I could go to sleep with some hope. 

This morning when I got up, the battery still read 100%.  I was feeling better.  Now. . . the tricky part.  I put the SD card in the reader and opened Lightroom.  I have been studying this software for a week now, and it seemed I might know what to do.  Fingers crossed.  Import.  It worked!  I switched over to the Development mode and jimmied up the images that come out so terribly gray and flat.  Boy oh boy--they popped.  I mean, man, they looked great! 

In my excitement, I bumped my coffee cup which was sitting next to the camera which had the bottom off so that I could get the SD card.  I couldn't believe it.  Of course.  I quickly grabbed a napkin and began dabbing the coffee from the camera.  Fuck me oh fuck me. 

I am waiting for it to dry.  Perhaps I should try it now. 

I did.  Everything seems to be fine (except for the coffee smell). 

And so I go forward today with great hopes.  I love the camera.  I really do.  I am not unhappy with what I have seen from it at all.  It is a specialty camera for certain.  It is a street camera for carrying all day.  It is spectacular to look at and does more than a film camera with Tri-X in it will do.  It is like that, though, like shooting with a film camera loaded with black and white film.  That is all it is.  That is what it will do. 

It is fantastic.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Luck and Fate



The rain is with us.  In a country of drought, it seems sweet.  It keeps the temperatures low and often enough the humidity as well.  It has made me more productive, too.  With no demand to be outside, I've had a chance to work on pictures.  I scanned yesterday and got some images to models that were long overdue.  After months of torpor, I went back at the files in a new way, processing them differently.  It was overdue.  The pictures have a livelier quality to them.  It made me want to shoot again, but I can't go back to the same theme even if so many want to come and shoot with me.  I will dream up something new. 

Last night, I watched Vogue TV for a bit.  Watching the fashion shoots on sets with huge production crews was something.  I envied some of it, but not the photographers who are just a piece in the machinery.  They are technicians who have other technicians making the work look good.  But the equipment and the sets and the big studios with open window lighting. . . .

I'll figure it out. 

I like my snapshot, though, of the two girls on the bridge overlooking the Rio Grande Gorge.  The older one was a sixteen year old college student in a private school in New England.  She was a photography major and fascinated by my film Leica.  Her sister was obviously younger.  It could have been better, but I was nervous chatting up the teens.  See the biker chick looking at me?  I was afraid a crowd of vigilantes would form.  It was a long way down.  If I had my wits about me, though, I would have done some directing.  Lessons learned along the way, I guess. 

No word on the Leica M Monochrom yet.  It is all very Kafka-esque.  Though I haven't been told anything at all about what has happened to the package, the Post Office sent me a satisfaction survey to fill out.  I did even though I know it will just be scanned by a software system.  There were boxes for comments, though, so I told my story there.  The seller sent me a message telling me not to worry, that he insured the package for $22,000.  My buddy said it was a scam, that he had someone inside the post office.  If so, I want a brand new camera out of it.  That would please me. 

Meanwhile, I am percolating.  New ideas will emerge, I think, sooner or later.  Meanwhile. . . I live a pleasant life.

Luck and fate.  We shall see.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Camera Mystery, Rain, and the Three-Petered Goat



I can't tell you why I haven't taken any pictures or even worked on things I already have this summer.  For the most part, anyway.  I've been "otherwise engaged."  It is the heat, perhaps.  I am lazy, of course, but almost devastatingly so in the summer's heat.  The blood becomes too thin with the combination of heat and the thinning liquors that must be consumed to combat the terrible ennui.  Lassitude.  And then there is the other thing that zaps the energy levels and turns me into a terribly wonderful slug.  Trashcans instead of imaginary harlots.  I need to find a new theme, a new "thing." 

But as I say, I am otherwise engaged. 

And, of course, the camera I would be using this summer to document the madness has yet to arrive.  I am bored of this story already myself.  The Leica M Monochrom--I can't find out anything about it. I paid for the camera, it was mailed, then--no one can tell me what has happened.  I got a message from the post office yesterday that said the "case" investigation was complete.  I wasn't told what that meant, wasn't told anything about the package.  So I called Customer Service.  They told me the same thing.  This is the third time I have contacted them.  It takes a minimum of half an hour to speak to someone each time.  So I contacted the seller.  He told me not to worry.  He said he insured the package for $22,000.  Really?  He can buy me a brand new camera, maybe. 

I am limp from it all. 

Last night I looked at all the options on my Apple TV.  The list has grown immense.  There is a station called Vanity Fair.  I clicked on it and watched for some time videos of interviews about the stories in the magazine.  It was fairly fun.  Tonight I will look at Vogue.  Ooo, that should be fun. 

Such things as that are all I should watch before going to bed.  I am still being haunted by images of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick and the Factory from watching "Factory Girl."  If you've seen the movie, you might like this (link).  No, right now I need to watch lighter and happier things. 

Speaking of which. . . yesterday was a rain day.  All day.  Non-stop.  Fortunately, we got out early enough to take a long walk.  The rest of the day was spent dodging raindrops.  A trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get things for the finished bathroom.  Then--and I can't believe I'm telling you this--we were both hungry and nostalgic for (oh my). . . Olive Garden.  I hadn't been for at least twenty years.  We thought it would be good kitsch fun to get the all you can eat soup and salad and breadsticks.  The flavors brought back all the memories.  Nothing--nothing--about the flavor of the food has been altered.  It wasn't bad.  It just wasn't good.  Canned soup and a lettuce salad with ranch dressing.  And beer.  We giggled through the whole thing, of course.  The waitress was sweet and attentive and somebody you wouldn't mind knowing, a tremendous kid who seemed far smarter than her job and cute in a non-threatening way.  I wouldn't go back, but it was fun in the same way going to Disney might be only with much less hassle.  Then a nap, Campari and sodas and books as the rain fell, a trip to the grocers and a quick meal.  I wanted to watch "La Dolce Vita" again, but we never got around to that.  Early bed on a drizzly night. 

The rain returns today. 

Perhaps I'll find time to work on some photo files.  If I have anything good lying around, that is.  There is so much to do, though. . . . .

Over on his site, Q is being cute about some operation he has had.  It is vague, but I think he got a second peter.  As soon as it heals up, he's off to Burning Man to try it out.  I hope it works out better for him that the monkey nuts operation did for W.B. Yeats--(here) and (here).  No doubt, though, he's a better man for it.  I'm calling on him to show us some pictures of his new tool.  He's worried that his readership is flagging, but I'm sure the images would make him the new Caitlin of the internets.  I'm thinking about getting one, too, if it works out well for him.  Nothing like it, I say.  A two-petered man is better than no man at all.

And that's all I have to say about it for now.  All I can say is stay tuned.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bad Vibes



Something was fucking with me last night.  I'll blame it on the moon.  I almost forgot to go out and look at it as the night was cloudy and I was wrapped up on the couch watching movies.  I got an email from a friend, though, with a picture of the moon, and I quickly said, "We need to go see."  We staggered out around ten to look up and watch it for a moment as the clouds thinned and swept quickly across its face.  "I would have felt bad if we had forgotten," Ili said. 

We are so lazy together and are not much for crowds.  A small cafe or an intimate restaurant are fine, but bumping up against people over and over again is just tiring.  So we went for early evening cocktails after my beauty appointment (which takes a very long time) to a local bar she had not yet been to.  One cocktail and out.  It was not our sort of place.  So we picked up some Thai coconut soup and had a beer at the small bar there as we waited, the waitresses all winking and giving me the eye because I was with a woman and not alone as I usually am when I come for takeout.  Then we stopped at the liquor store where I bought some Campari and a bottle of Kettle One, and then we were back home.  Earlier we had gone shopping for a curtain rod since the fixit man had finished raping me (though he did give me a lesser price) and we tried to hang it.  "You're being too forceful," Ili said just before I broke the rod. I am not a handy man.  "At least I bought expensive sheets," I said as I had purchased an extra set of 720 thread count white something cotton bedding.  I try. 

Ili made a whiskey sauce to go on the bread pudding she had been making and came to sit and eat and watch the last half of "Annie Hall" which she had never seen (it came out the year of her birth).  I wanted her to see that Diane Keaton was the precursor to the star of "Kissing Jessica Stein" which we had watched the night before.  "It won an Academy Award," I said defensively for the film really doesn't hold up so well now. 

When it was over, I rented "Factory Girl."  She'd seen it, and I hadn't, and she liked the film very much, she said, and wouldn't mind seeing it again.  The film put me in a bad mood.  Or maybe it was Ili's recounting tales of her former "decadence."  I like the metaphoricity of drugs, I said, but not the way they make me feel.  Pot puts me to sleep which is good, and codeine takes away the pain of illness which is wonderful.  But for walking around and enjoying life. . . . I grew up around too many druggies--heroin addicts and glue sniffers and meth users and weekend acid freaks--and they were very, very boring at best and insufferable at worst.  Those all were wasted hours.  And privileged kids who wanted to get all ghetto never interested me.  By the end of the movie, I was in a terribly shitty mood. 

And the day hadn't gone well, either.  The fucking post office doesn't return my calls or emails.  The package tracker says the camera is still sitting in the same spot as it was five days ago.  I contacted the seller on eBay and he sent back to me the post office response.  Ili says I'm almost certainly right, the package has been stolen and has left the system.  I am despondent about it all. 

And so under the Blue Moon, I tossed and turned and felt like a drug addict, images from the film haunting my semiconscious dreams.  I would wake in fits and starts every five minutes unable or unwilling to breath, my lower back hurting as badly as it has in a long while.  And if I didn't wake to my own starts, I woke to Ili's who seemed to be doing no better than I.  I felt as if morning would bring me no respite from it all but only greater and deeper depression and misery.  I couldn't sleep and was afraid to rise.  All the world seemed rotten or broken like the sad and horrible plight of Edie Sedgwick.  I would be surrounded by Andy Warhol and the Factory workers. 

I used to stay at the Chelsea Hotel when I went to NYC beginning in 1975.  I read Jim Carol's "Basketball Diaries" with great relish.  I love the music of the Velvet Underground and am amazed at Warhol's precociousness in enacting in art the ideas of postmodernism.  I wanted to see it all.  I wanted to be there for a minute and then go home and go to bed, a momma's boy waking beautiful and healthy in the morning. 

And now it is morning and the rain has gone and the skies are turning a dead gray-blue, the tinny light promising heat and humidity and oppression. 

But perhaps it was all the fault of the Blue Moon.  I am witless and without the camera I so desire.  I will need to exercise for a long time and sweat this attitude away, rev the engine and blow out the bad vibes.  A million push ups.  A thousand pull ups.  Gallons of clear water. 

Something. 

I'll post an ominous-looking picture today, a creepy street magicians performing for a group of kids.  It seems apropos.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blue Moon Camera Blues



This is what my camera would look like if it was at my house and not in custody in NYC.  I am despondent that I will ever receive the package.  I filed a formal inquiry online about why my package is sitting in NYC.  I got an automatic reply that the USPS had received my message.  Later that day, I had an email from someone at my local post office, so after work, I went there.  The fellow was really helpful.  He tracked the passage the same way I do and said that it was still in NYC.  Odd, I said, no?  Perhaps it has fallen out of the system.  Oh, no, he said.  Once it is in the system, it is tracked.  What should I do, I asked?  All you can do is wait, he said.  There isn't much else.  But it was a two day delivery, I said.  Well, they will have to give you your money back on that, he said.  I felt much better after that. 

When I got home, I went to the USPS site and got a phone number I could call.  It was eight o'clock and the line was supposedly manned until eight-thirty.  When I called, I was told by the automatic voice that I had a two to four minute wait.  I was treated to some really bad music and messages about what sort of services the post office offers.  Being a fairly intelligent man, I disconnected at eight-thirty now knowing much about the USPS.

I tracked my package again this morning.  No update.  Still sitting in Manhattan, it says.  Is it possible that I will never get the package and never get an answer?  I bought this camera for a great price that I doubt I could match again.  Will the post office offer to buy me a replacement? 

Of course not. 

I try to be zen about things I can't control.  This is difficult by design, of course.  Things have always been thus.  I want to blame it on government or republicans or big business, but it would have been like this at any time.  This is the way life is.  It is the way things go. 

Each night, I have dreamed of the pictures I would take, dreamed of shooting in black and white.  I've read every review of the camera, watched every video.  It is camera porn.  Pure, delicious unreconciled desire. 

"Wouldn't you like some of this?" it teases.

"Yes, yes. I would." 

Tonight is the Blue Moon, of course.  I used to be the only one in history ever to watch the moon.  Now it is part of the news cycle.  Everyone knows all about Blue Moons now.  It may be my fault.  I think I was the one who brought it so much to the public eye. 

Who knows.  Maybe Frank had something to do with it, too. 



Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Transit, Delayed



Five days and my camera is still in NYC.  It has moved three times, from Brooklyn to Brooklyn to Manhattan.  I am starting to think they lost the camera.  Surely. 

I stayed up far too late last night.  I will be hurting all day today.  We have entered the dangerous time here when people go mad.  I want to go to NYC but Ili says it is just as hot and muggy there right now.  She called a friend to check and see.  Frustrations mount.  Sleeplessness and grumpiness. 



Variants of green strangle the world and blot out the gray sky, growing exponentially, reducing all air and space.  These are End Times for sure.  The world becomes uninhabitable.  

I won't want the camera when it arrives, I know.  Dreams and nightmares.  I am rotten with fatigue.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Third World Nation



Friday night brings a rare Blue Moon.  You know I'm planning something special.  Here, though, in Swampland, it is likely to be too cloudy to see it.  No matter.  It will be there. 
All full moons bring us in touch with our emotions, our sensitivities and our inner-selves.
When we are in tune with the natural energetic currents of nature, we can combine our own energy forces so that we have an extra surge, which helps to push us in the right direction.
This blue moon is a powerful one and it is signalling that it is time for us to take control and take the power back from areas of our lives that have been roaming free and taking us down a road that lead to nowhere.
Everything from our past is about to be illuminated and areas that desperately need focusing on will be brought to our attention and during this blue moon, there will be no looking away.
We will meet with certain issues that have been haunting us face-to-face and rather than being fearful, we should see this as an excellent chance for growth and transformation.

I got that from the internets. 

We will be seeing ourselves in a new light and this will mean we will question everything around us.
As we acknowledge and take ownership for all that we are being shown, we will also begin to realise that everything that is in our lives is our own responsibility and that other people have their own paths to follow. We cannot blame other people for influencing ours, neither can we try to influence or alter anyone else’s.
As the truth becomes more apparent, we will also start to see behaviours of ours that have fallen out of character with who we are at our core self. We get too caught up in what other people are doing or what we think they should be doing and this not only holds us back, it prevents others from learning their own lessons and discovering what they need to too.
We are all given this one unique life and by bringing in a little more unconditional love and acceptance of others, we can also practice letting go of expectations at the same time.
 You will need to prepare yourself for this.  A fast and a colon cleanse might be one way.  Staring into the mystical light might be another. 

A new movie I am sure to champion was reviewed in the Times today (link).  I won't comment until I see it, though. 

The fuckers at the United States Postal Service are still holding my camera in some obscure part of the country, but they will not tell me where.  Two day delivery bullshit.  Wait--an update.  Sent by the seller on July 25 from Brooklyn, 11256, it has now been received in NY, NY, 10199.  Four days to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan on a two day delivery.  This is truly a third world nation now.  I want my country back. 

Whatever.  Whatever.  Whatever.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Emoji Stories


I've been struggling to write this all morning, first trying to get an emoji message into a jpeg form and then to post it here. I like emojis fine. I think they are swell. They can be like Chinese Ideograms in the way they tell stories and must be interpreted. I like getting messages that take me away from the daily atrocities. I like sweetness and light. And I'm a silly fellow. 


But the morning has gotten away from me and I haven't a picture to post. The repairman came yesterday and destroyed the shower stall. Opening up a shower wall will reveal things most of us would rather not see. There are copper pipes. They must come out. I walked into the bathroom last night and felt I was seeing an operation. I wanted to hide my eyes in my hands and say, "make it better, make it better." 


I've been tracking my Leica camera on the USPS website. It was supposed to be here yesterday. It has been delayed, however, the tracker says. WTF?! How can they take the money for a two day delivery and then just go, whoops, won't happen?! I thought I'd be working with it now. 


It will come. 


Meanwhile, I've been watching tutorials and learning how to make those images pop. I hope. I'll be ready by the time the Leica arrives. 


I told someone yesterday that I got to buy the camera because I don't have children. It seemed snotty, but it is true, I guess. 


Here is one of the messages I got yesterday. It tells a story. Fun.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy



Pain is subjective, both physical and psychological.  Experiments show that pain perception changes with environmental conditions.  I remember vividly reading about a middle-class housewife who was part of an experiment on pain perception.  She lived somewhere in the middle states (I guess I don't remember that vividly).  To test her pain threshold, researchers stuck her with needles.  She felt pain very, very quickly--her threshold was low.  She moved to Alaska and lived in extreme conditions.  They tested her again.  Her pain threshold changed drastically. 

Or something like that.

I had been getting sick a lot around the time I read it (I was in college), and I had decided that I would not get sick any more.  I was reading a book by O. Wilson, I think, in which he wrote about thinking away a wart on his hand.  I had one--and I thought it away.  Later, I got involved in biofeedback.  Everyone can do it, but you can train yourself to do it better.  You can change your brainwaves pretty quickly and move them into the same patterns as people who experience nirvana (whatever that is). 

I didn't catch a cold or get sick again for a very long time. 

To wit: two articles in this morning's New York Times got me feeling edgy.  One is part of a series of reports on the atrocities that occur daily at sea (link).  I hope the reporter wins a Pulitzer for the series.  The other one (link), reports on why students experience anxiety and then depression (and why some commit suicide) in elite colleges in America. 

Someone sent me this.  I thought it more profound than funny.


We are traumatizing children about where they pee (link).  I'm just amazed, truly.  Everyone in America is distressed and on the verge (link). 

Me, too.  You can't imagine what heroic efforts it has taken for me not to off myself over the years.  WTF? 

I had a lovely dinner last night with Ili, my mother, and a friend.  I made a sirloin roast with red potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, and half a bottle of wine in the Romertopf.  We had a salad made of eight "superfoods" that was wholly delicious.  We had a pitcher of sangria and a bottle of good red wine and a very expensive scotch aged for eighteen years in port barrels.  Desert was strawberry shortcake with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.  And for kicks and giggles we had two Dragon fruit as well (more superfood). 

It is the Facebook/Instagram life, no? 

I have nightmares, though.  What if I woke up in a fishing boat on the high seas?  Last night, the electricity went out and it started getting warm in the house.  I had to get up, look up the emergency number, and call it.  It was awful.  It will effect my day profoundly. 

Ah, well, at least the Leica Monochrom is in transit.  That will either lift my spirits or make me want to hang myself.  Life is difficult, really.  I fear that sometimes it won't be as much fun as it is at others. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Creative or Happy?



People complain about the change in my picture posts.  I know.  But what can I do?  When the new Leica comes next week. . . well, there was much I had not thought about.  I've been watching tutorials on the camera and how to process the black and white files that EVERYONE says are beautiful.  But they come out of the camera flat and gray because it captures so much information.  The images must be processed to look good.  Does that sound like digital cheating?  If it does, you've never worked in a darkroom.  Every image there, if it is to be any good at all, has to be worked in any number of ways, from choosing the right grade paper and/or filters to the dodging and burning of the silver paper, then often enough a return to a bleach bath and some chemical toning.  Good pictures don't just come out of the drugstore that way.  So I've been online looking at tutorials of how to work with these particular files.  It is different from working with color, and I am learning many new things.  At night I lie in bed and think about what I will do with the camera, and when I get stuck and my imagination isn't firing, the thoughts turn to desperate nightmares and I think myself a spendthrift and a fool.  There is a good chance that I am right. 

The thing is, I realize that to be creative at all, whether you are making pictures or sculptures or music or stories, you have to go to "another place," a place where others are excluded.  If you are going to do your best, you can't be distracted. 

"Oh, honey, what are you doing?  Can I watch?"

Creatives are assholes a lot.  They have to have their time and space "away."  I hate all the quotation marks, but these are metaphorical abstractions, for the "away" space is somewhere in your head.  It requires a complete focus where you can confront your possibilities and your limitations.  It is sometimes wildly satisfying but more often desperately anguishing.  It is the self-doubt and the running up against the borders of your creative powers that stops most people.  I am no Picasso, no genius, just a guy who goes "away" and tries to make images that seem to speak of something.  If it is something I have to give up for a "normal" or "happy" life, I have always told myself, "what difference does it make.  You are just jacking yourself off anyway."  And then I think I'd rather let somebody else do it. 

I had lunch with a writer yesterday.  He used to be a dance and sometimes theater critic for the Times.  He has written for the N.Y. Post, for Variety, and a host of other papers and magazines.  He quit journalism to get a grad degree in creative writing and was mentored by Padgett Powell.  He writes for hours every day and has turned down full-time teaching jobs so that he can focus on what he is doing.  He is working on a book that is also a documentary film.  He has backers.  It is paying the bills. 

We talked about it yesterday. 

"Would you want to date an artist?" I asked him. 

"I have.  It is always tempestuous at best." 

We talked about the problem of being in your own head for so much.  He hasn't been able to keep a long relationship because of it, he said. 

"I had one girlfriend for a while who was perfect.  When we were together, I would drift off somewhere in my head, and when I came back maybe ten minutes later, she wouldn't have noticed.  She'd say, 'Do you want to have sushi tonight,' and I'd say, 'Sure.'  She was pretty perfect." 

I've always been a "loner."  I travel alone, read alone, sail alone, eat alone. . . .  It is a way of seeing, a way of knowing. 

I miss that, but I like the other thing, too.  I am also a snuggler and a cuddler.  I am a soft baby who likes lying on the couch watching movies with legs intertwined.  I love making meals together at the end of the day and planning vacations. 

There is no way to reconcile the two things.  Ili says I should not quit making pictures, but I know how that goes.  You can try to be a "genius" or you can try to be "happy."  My creative desires are not very middle class.  The things I want are all on the other side of the fence.  They are beautifully dangerous.  Therein lies my true talent.  You have no idea of the things I'd like to go and bring back for you so outrageously wonderful. 

For now, I must learn some new technical things.  And last night I realized I will need to buy a printer and some black and white ink sets if I am to make prints.  Jon Cone has developed the inks.  They are very expensive.  And I can't give up my color printer for this.  More expenses.  I will wait, though, and see how this all works out. 

In the meantime, we will suffer through my daily pictures.  Look at those girls.  Exploited by the system and they don't even know it.  I wonder how dark their creative space is?  Indeed.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Misery Won


(from the studio)

I was wrong.  There isn't anything new in that.  I am miserable.  I won the bid on the Leica M Monochrom.  I got it for a ridiculously low bid.  The auction ended yesterday at happy hour, so I guess nobody was looking.  The ridiculously low bid is still expensive.  I feel myself an impoverished fool right now.  I have a billion cameras.  I will sell some of them on eBay to try to recoup some money, I tell myself.  If I don't like the new Leica, I will just put it up for sale.  I haven't lost the money.  I've simply invested it for awhile. 

No matter what I tell myself, though, the price gets conflated with what I am spending on the bathroom repair/redesign.  I am convinced that I will never use the camera.  I still have the Leica M7.  I don't know what I was thinking. 

And there was the inevitable argument.  Love is never perfect.  Friday night gone wrong.  Saturday morning regret and dread.  The uncertain future. 

Q is using the same phone app for his blog now that I have been using.  It is a cool Hipstamatic filter that makes things look like wet plate work.  I love the Hipstamatic filters and I love cell phone photography.  But I will have to quit using it now. 

The morning is awkward.  The day is graying.  There is a decided dread or doom or at least lack of joy pulsing through my cells that I don't believe music will resolve.  That trepidation and undecidedness and that miserable blank void at the pit of things.  I wish it were otherwise. 

At least I have the Leica.