Monday, February 18, 2019

The Price

We've talked of such things before, but it is good to speak of them again.  I am preparing to buy a sofa from RH on the Boulevard, a slick move if you do not care about money.  I should.  I really, really should.  My mother just bought a couch.  It was very inexpensive.  She needed to compliment it, so she bought a red ottoman at a garage sale.  She showed me a picture of it last night when she came to dinner.  I could not complain. 

"Me and Martha were driving down the street and saw a stand on the side of the road.  Martha said, 'You want to turn around and get that.'  So I did.  It was a real nice stand, sturdy, and it has a stamp on it by the maker.  It looks good.  I put it in the corner of the room that looked so bare."

She showed me a picture of that, too.  Ottoman and stand (with stamp)--$30.00.

She went on to tell me that my cousin and her husband were going to the Casino for their anniversary dinner.

"Fifty dollars for the steak, twelve dollars for the salad.  You can order whatever you want.  You know, it comes to about a hundred dollars."

My father always ordered things by price.

"Sir, would you like a small, medium, or large?"

"I'll have the fifty cent one."

There would be no mistake about the price.

I haven't that talent.  If I can, I will go down and order the leather sofa today.  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Don't Tell

 No photos from me today, just things sent to me by those who care.  I didn't get one for Valentine's Day or I would have shared that, too. 

I am getting over the fever and chills and aches, I think.  Sweat through my morning therapy like I was really working out, so I figure something was breaking.  Now a full day of work and an evening of beautifying to test the theory.  I will collapse tonight. 

I am buying a new couch.  You would not approve.  It is from Restoration Hardware.  My friends never approve of my purchases.  But I will get what I want.  The couch I bought at Pottery Barn in 2001 is shot.  Who knew you could wear a couch out in a mere eighteen years.  It cost me a hundred dollars a year.  The next one will last longer.  I am positive.  Longer than I will, probably.  Hell of a thought. 

My laptop died.  It wouldn't turn off, wouldn't turn on.  It was in limbo.  I had what is referred to, apparently, as the "black screen of death."  I tried everything.  Now I have to buy another.  I will look for a three year old Mac, I think.  Something I can buy on the cheap.  I'll let you know. 

O.K.  The old factory whistle is blowing.  My weekends of late have been horror shows.  I have trepidation about the one to come. 

About that, I probably won't let you know.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Obvious

I am trying not to write about the obvious. It is difficult to do.  I think writing about the obvious well is a special talent, but I was praised for not doing it once, and it made me consider.

Still, I have posted an obvious picture.  How do you not photograph that?

There are secrets out there waiting to be discovered.  Read "The Crying of Lot 49."  I suggest that because it is his shortest book.

I may be willing, however, to live on the surface of things.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Not Yet

Pretty California days.  Not so here.  Still sick.  Another day on the couch.  I'll miss getting beautified.  Ha!  I try to dream of better things, but nightmares come to haunt me.  T.V. is a bust.  I am not well enough to read.  So I will lean back, close my eyes, and wait for better days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


You can see that Walgreens shows up a lot in my most recent photographs.  Scary.  Just because you get hit by a truck, God won't keep you from getting all the regular illnesses, too.  I hurt so badly yesterday, every cell in my body, that I left work, came home, and took half an opioid, and stayed on the couch for twelve hours until it was time for bed.  I feel better but will stay home from work to drink fluids and rest.  My belly is bad, too.  I haven't eaten for a day.  Soups.  I'll try soups.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Oh. . . reconciliation, amelioration, etc.  Sunday was better than Saturday, but I am fighting off a grunge in my belly.  My skin and muscles hurt, too.  There are times, for real, when only opioids will do.  I know that from a long stay in the hospital that I hardly remember.  True.  Ili told me I had a catheter.  I can't recall that at all.  She said I kept complaining about it and pulling it out.  But there are far more things that the old Morphine kept me from remembering, all to the good.  If I had Morphine last night, I'd be tip-top today.

But we live in fear.

People ask me jokingly if I am going to get another Vespa.  I think about it.  It was the most fun I had.  People are flabbergasted when I say so.  But what is the point of living in fear?  Bad things happen.  I could have gotten hit on my bicycle just as easily.  I miss jumping on the Vespa and taking a ride.

It is only when I try to move that I question that decision.  Movement is not fun for me now.  But I keep working at it.  I am no defeatist.  Not all the time.  A moment here and there, but who doesn't have that?

More than anything, I want to be able to travel.  Q asked me yesterday if I wanted to take a road trip.  Sure I do.  What he doesn't understand since he doesn't see me is that going to work is as much as I can stand.  I want to get into the car and drive around the country.  I want to get on a plane.

It will be awhile.

I got this grunge from taking care of my mother, by the way.  She was keeping her house very warm.  It felt like she was growing funguses in there.  I tried not to breathe the air or touch the surfaces.  You can only do that for a minute, and I wouldn't not take care of my good old mom.

I will try to find a story to tell, I swear.  I can't tell the one I just lived through, but maybe something will pop up today.  I will try to take a photo or two as well.  I have goals.

Don't we all?

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Worst Day

The day is done.  It was a long and sad one.  I spent it alone except for having some cake with my mother and cousin who just came in from Ohio yesterday.  The weather was not foul, simply gloomy.  I can say it was without exception the worst birthday I have ever had, and that is going pretty far.

I won't bore you with it.  I can't tell it creatively yet, and other people's problems are worse than other people's dreams.  What people want is a good tale.  I'll try to gather some.

It is a great day for being lazy.  A constant rain is falling through the grayness inviting me to read and write and rest.  I will drink healthy teas for pleasure.  Perhaps I'll make a pot of good soup.

People were having trouble posting comments on this site, so I took all the filters off.  To wit, I am now open to comments such as the following which showed up yesterday.

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Nice.  I think I'll click on the link and give away my social security number.  I'm not sure how many readers I have who travel in Mumbai, but let me know what your experience was like if you decide to use the services.

What could go wrong?

Friday, February 8, 2019


I'll leave the factory early today.  I want to avoid surprises.  I don't feel like celebrating.

On the other hand, I don't want to feel under-appreciated, either.

There is no winning on a thing like this.  Besides, the thing is not until tomorrow.

I think I got yelled at while I was taking this picture.  I am pretty sure.  But hell, some things have to be seen to be enjoyed.

And so it goes.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Become a Tree

And then you go on. . . but it is no better.  Sometimes, it is worse.

But you go on.

What do we dare hope?

What was it that the Buddha said about hope?  Maybe he didn't say anything about hope, but somehow I feel he did.  It is surely linked to desire and we all know what he said about desire.

Become a tree.  Become a rock.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

I Can't Go On. I'll Go On

It finally happened.  Last night, I broke.  I hadn't until then.  It had been a bad day.  I had probably done too much, pushed myself too hard.  I try.  I don't want to be a burden, don't want to bring others down.  But yesterday, I could hardly stand it.  It happened after we got home from shopping.  We were talking about last year's birthday.  In our hotel room watching "I, Tanya," I got up and did a perfect double flying camel--into the wall, but still.  It was a beautiful thing.  I was beautiful.  The memory of that, just one year ago, broke me.

And so now it has happened.  We'll see how I go forward.  I'm sure it happens to everyone who gets disabled by accident.  Well, no one does it on purpose.

I'll be brave again today.  I go to therapy this morning.  I'll keep trying.

As Beckett's character cries, "I can't go on.  I'll go on."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Best Spent in Bed

The sun is up.  Ili lies in bed.  I sit with this computer that barely works trying to think of something to say.  There is nothing.  Outside, a crazy symphony of birds.  Walkers walk, runners run.  The first morning racket begins.  To what do I look forward today?  There are many things that must be done.  I look forward to none.

It is one of those dangerous days.  Watch the lights.  Don't cross on red.  It's probably not safe to cross on green.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Chinese New Year

I won't speak of Maroon Five (or whatever they're called), of football and such.  Yesterday was the Chinese New Year, whatever that means.  All I know is that it was another weird and lazy day for me.  I can sleep forever it seems.  All I have to do is lie down and close my eyes.  It is an escape, perhaps.

My license tag was out of date on February 1.  I meant to renew it that day, but time ran out, so I put it off until today, Monday.  Yesterday while driving to the grocery store, I saw a cop in my rear view mirror.  "Great," I said to Ili.  "He'll pull me over."

The light turned green and I went straight.  So did he.  I put on my blinker to turn into the grocery store parking lot.  So did he.  I drove very slowly and stopped at all the appropriate places so that my car did the old kickback.  I turned up an aisle to park.  He put on the flashing blues.  He approached the car as they always do, like a cat burglar, speaking to me from the rear fender.  Turning left for me is not impossible, but it is awful.  I must have looked monstrous as I tried to peer back at him.

"Does your window roll down?"

"It could," I chuckled.

"Is this your vehicle?"


"What's your first name?"


"Wait a minute.  Something's wrong."

I was proffering my driver's license.

"This tag came up as belonging to. . . ."  He said a woman's name.  "Let me check again."

Seems he was off by one digit.  He was very polite in apologizing for pulling me over.  I had to laugh.  He didn't notice the outdated tag. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Last night, I had just a little trouble sleeping.  Not the sort of trouble that is horrible, just enough to make you aware that you are having trouble sleeping.  Bad dreams, probably.  As I lay in bed, I would try rolling over onto my broken side, my broken shoulder finding better angles, my ribs deciding to seemingely protrude less, I thought about what now gave me pleasure in life.  The list was not as long as it used to be.

I have lost much of my pride.  I don't walk with the same confidence that I used to, but there is something else.  At the gym yesterday, I saw all the young, strong bucks lifting heavy weights to thicken their growing muscles from my post on the treadmill.  After a lifetime of it, I didn't care.  Are they tough?  Step in front of a truck and find out.  That is what I have now.

So the fun stuff in life no longer based in superior athleticism.  Nor looks, I guess.  So what made the short list?  Communication, written and visual.  That seemed to top the nighttime list.  

The day was gray.  I communicated nothing.  I may, someday.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Wow! A Tirade!

I have this beautiful Saturday all to myself, and all I can stand to do is lie upon the couch and dream.  Not all.  I did my shoulder exercises this morning and then went to the gym to work out my legs.  I asked my therapist if my shoulder was stable enough for me to jog on a treadmill.  He scrunched up his forehead and thought for awhile.  "You should only go slow, really slow, and only for twenty to thirty seconds.  Then walk for a couple minutes and do it again."  Well, that was something, anyway.  So I went to the gym to try it.  I've been walking for forty minutes or so on an incline, and after doing that yesterday and then doing seven minutes on the stair stepper so that my heart was coming through my chest, I was sore this morning.  I planned on trying to run just a bit before getting onto an elliptical machine and then the stair stepper again, followed up with a leg press machine for three sets.  Not heavy, but a lot of reps.

When I turned the speed up on the treadmill and started to trot, my ribs felt like--I don't know what to compare it to.  They didn't like it.  So I did it again.  And then again, running more seconds each time.  I did that for a mile, then did the rest.

I can't move.  I am tired.  All I've done after washing some laundry and showering is doze on the couch. I think about getting up and think again.  I should just enjoy the rest, but the sky is blue and the air is gentle outside and I feel a real guilt for wasting the day.

Wasting the day?  What is it that I should do?  I am content to be lazy.  It is only that "being lazy" is what I've done for months now.  But I did some things today that I've not done since being run over by a truck.  I will motivate, I tell myself.  I will go to the grocery store.  That will be a tremendous feat.  I will.  Soon.

I watched "American Dream/American Nightmare" last night on Showtime.  It is a documentary about Suge Knight, the music mogul.  I watched it with Ili who took the whole thing differently than I, though both of us enjoyed the show immensely.  She has read a book recently about judicial unfairness to African Americans and is on a wave.  I don't love black people any more than I love white people.  I have black friends.  They are not my friends because they are black, they are just my friends.  I don't have many--friends, that is--maybe because I was an only child.  I am used to entertaining myself.  But I saw Suge in the same way I view Trump.  His success was all about power and money.  He was brutal to those who stood in his way.  He was without remorse.  It is the history of things.  I'm not one to wave the flag of right and wrong.  I've never seen anyone with the tablets, never heard from the burning bush.  Right and wrong change over time.  If you don't believe it, watch sitcoms from fifteen years ago.  They are shocking in their racism and misogyny if you believe we have gotten things right finally.  It was o.k. to laugh at people being gay.  It was o.k. to like the Founding Fathers, old Popes, etc.  Nope.  As far as I can tell, there has never been right or wrong, just social conventions shaped by those in power.

For me, Old Suge was a lyrical gangster, a poetic son of a bitch who, as he said, didn't start at second or third base to make it home.  He had to run all the bases.  And he did.  But he wasn't a good guy.  He was a fellow who lived half his life in the back of the paddy wagon.  He wasn't innocent of much and he liked his women sucking on his fingers and toes and wearing nothing.  I'm not saying he was wrong, but you might.  To turn him into some kind of Compton Christ is beyond me.

But goddamn, he was impressive.  And I really liked the documentary.

And I don't even like the music.  The little white boys at Country Club College sure do.  They're all badass gangstas if you listen to them drive.  Old Suge surely made some money off of them.  Kinda pumps 'em up, makes 'em feel wild and manly.

Of course, Suge ends up in prison and Trump becomes President, and therein lies Ili's tale (if I'm to tell it).  Yea, the dice are loaded, the cards are marked, and privilege is for the privileged.  Even Snuffy Smith can tell you that.  Or L'il Abner.

It's why we have religion.  

Friday, February 1, 2019

Different Colors

The colors of film are much different than digital camera colors.  There is no reason for that to be surprising.  It just is.  I enjoy a color film scan more than I do a digital camera capture.  I can't explain it other than to say I do.

The weather, no matter where you are.  Trump, no matter where you are.  Two disasters that need radical solutions.  Not much hope for either.

My world has shrunken, of course.  It is mainly about how I am doing, what I am doing, when I can get home to lie down and rest.  I am tired of that.  I am tired of going to doctors.  I have no energy for taking care of the things I need to take care of, but they must be taken care of.  There is no way around those prepositions.

Wondrous what experience does to a person.  The dreams of the young are always so much the same. That is why we like them, I guess, and why we are so dismayed by their petulance.  Is it experience, though, that makes a person liberal or conservative, or is it something "in the blood"?

"Three Identical Strangers" doesn't really answer the question (link).  It simply stirs the boiling pot.  For us contrarians, though, we know it is genetic.  There is no helping it no matter the cost.  If we could only keep our mouths shut, we might pass for something else, but we must always speak to our own demise.  Why?

That's a question I'd like investigated.

O.K.  I'm off to physical therapy.  I have a couple days alone.  I'll either rest or take a camera out.  Odds are on the former.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Cold Nothing

The farther you wander into the ice field, the more you realize. . . well, that it is melting, of course, but also that life has been a hideous joke.  We try our hardest to make it mean something--something--but everything is reduced to smaller and less tantalizing bites until all you can do is sit and stare into the blank distance while you think how stupid everyone behind you is. 

And then there is Donald Trump. 

I'm tired of the blank cold, the frigid nothingness.  It made interesting literature, but it is only for the youngest readers with the unknowingly full lives. 

Color, man.  We can represent it with black and white, but we need color to warm us up. 

Ha.  That worked somehow.  I never know how I do it :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Plumb Worn Out

I never know when I will get a chance to post.  Random.  Here is a photo in which I was trying to catch the spirit of Eggleston.  It is a failure, and I should not show it, but we are all friends here, right?  Sorry, but everything is not photographable. 

This weather is killing me.  I hurt and feel very tired.  Therapy is making my shoulder sore, and my confidence is long gone.  I am about to leave the factory for the drive home.  I have my gym bag, but I cannot make myself go.  I only walk on an elevated treadmill and on the stair machine, but my fatigue and the cold. . . .

You only get little bits of this.  Feel badly for Ili who hears it all the time.  I do.  I really do.  I want to have more to say, more to show, but this is a very slow and go process.  Healing, I mean.  Rather than go to the gym, I will get on my couch and watch some of the programming on YouTube.  There is a lot of very good stuff there, more interesting than other programing, even on pay channels.  "Nowness" fascinates me for four minutes at a time.  Tell me if you know other things, too. 

Now, I'm heading out into the grey cold.  I will collapse when I get there.  This has been a long day, and I am plumb worn out. 

Until then.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Garden Clubs

After awhile, I get tired of black and white.  Not other's, just mine.  Since I've been looking at Martin Parr images lately, I chose one that reminded me of his in some way.  Not as good, but you know. 

I watched a Rick Steve's show this morning.  Romania.  Wow.  The show was produced in 2016, so I am sure it still looks the same.  Out into the country and you have stepped back in time.  Would I be able to photograph that?  It wouldn't happen in an hour or a day.  You'd need time.  My friend Jan in Berlin should go.  He would capture it beautifully and weirdly.  Go, Jan.  What else do you have to do?

He's already been, I'm sure. 

What do you think of Garden Clubs?  Should I try photographing a flower show?  I never wanted to be an events photographer, but now I'm not so sure.  Who joins a Garden Club?  You know what I mean.  Oh, it could be glorious. 

That's what I have instead of Romania just now.  Well, I don't have that, either, but it is more accessible.  If I'm afraid of photographing a Garden Club, what chance would I have in Romania?

Monday, January 28, 2019


Didn't sleep much.  Up at four-thirty drinking coffee in the dark.  My laptop has crashed.  I have tried to being it back to life, but I think there is some malware on it.  I went to an internet page yesterday, one I would think is safe (Petapixel), and my screen went black.  I've restored in recovery mode, run the diagnostics, run first aid, and have reloaded the OS, but it still only works for a bit before the screen goes blank.  I've tried starting in safe mode, etc.  It is an old laptop and really needs to be replaced, but it is difficult to spend $3,000 on something you know will only be good for a few years. Unless it is a camera, of course.  I may look at buying a used computer.  I don't need to use if for much.  Yea, I don't need to do much on it at all.

I'll do some thinking.

I went to therapy this morning.  Put cones on a shoulder-high shelf.  Wow.  I never realized how hard that was before.  I mean. . . I have a long way to go.

It is winter here, cold and wet and grey.  I didn't move yesterday except to go to my mother's house for dinner.  It is liberating, a little, to spend the day on the couch.  I guess some can spend a winter there.

I watched two shows yesterday featuring the photographer Martin Parr.  I am sick with envy.  He is a little older than I.  He studied photography in college, and when he got out, that is what he continued to do.  He has never done anything else as far as I can tell. He has decades of photographs now.  How did he do it?  Why didn't I?

I will try to do it in the next decade or two, I guess.  Yes. . . .

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Old One Arm

Bigfoot with a briefcase. I don't know.  Maybe.  Shot from the window of a speeding car on the way to work.  I was wrong about having better images in my camera.  Just more of this.  It is a shame.

The rain began to fall last night.  No sun this morning.  Gray.  My ribs and shoulder hurt all night, and perhaps this is why.  My hips hurt, too, and I wonder just how much I'll fall apart in the coming days.  My friend tells me he is retiring and is going to walk through Europe for two months, and I am unsettled.  Would I be able to do that now?  I walked to lunch with Ili yesterday, just a one mile trip and back to the far end of the Boulevard where we sat outside and had brunch.  When we came home, I was done.

I'd rather be writing about some guilty glory.

Ili and I have watched two old t.v. shows in the past two evenings--"Adventures in Paradise" and "Sea Hunt."  We've enjoyed them immensely.  Why don't they make shows like those any more?  They are improbable and corny, but they are romantic and lovely, too.  You probably couldn't sit through them, but they inspire us to go out and find old places not so obviously touched by the present.  You know, Trump Country.  Places where people don't want any intruders coming in and telling them what to do.  Places where people just want to be left alone on their five acres of land with a semi-tractor trailer parked on the lawn.

I used to watch a t.v. show in the early '70s called "Quest," I think.  I can't find it.  It, too, was about a skin diver.  I loved adventure as a kid, as you well know.

I want to continue swimming up waterfalls and wrestling grizzly bears.

I'm trying.  Much healing, still.  Until then, "Adventures in Paradise" will have to do.

There was a character in the episode we watched called One Arm.  That is what Ili is calling me now. You can't call people things like that now.  It is too bad.  The world becomes so bland.

For now, this is your reporter signing off--Old One Arm.