Thursday, October 20, 2016


I made a mistake.  I bought a Leica M Monochrom on eBay before I left for NYC.  By mistake.  I thought I was buying the new 246 version.  It would have been a great price, but it was expensive for the 240 version.  I shouldn't have been buying anything at all anyway.  I am broker than broke.

When I picked the camera up on Tuesday, I felt guilty.  But, oh my, the camera was a beauty.  A great and guilty pleasure.  I had forgotten how much I liked my old camera.  So I put on a lens and went about taking pictures.  And when I got home, I downloaded them into the computer to see how they were.

Bad news.  There were artifacts in every image.  Sensor corrosion.

I wrote the seller about it and told him of the problem.  He has agreed to take the camera back.  Leica will replace the sensor with a new and improved one for free, but it might take months.  I am sending the camera back.

I should be relieved.  Rather. . . I am sad.

The roofers are here--without the boss.  They are yelling and cursing and fighting, and I have zero confidence that they are not fucking everything up.  Nine Jamaicans beating the shit out of my house. I can't think.

NYC fades away.  Perhaps they will finish this project by Saturday.  Then. . . maybe. . . I can tell you a story.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Return to "Normal"

I am back from NYC and may have tales to tell. . . but not today.  The roofers are here now--about ten Jamaican fellows freaking out about the steepness of my roof-- and are tearing the place up.  I have little faith.  My recent life has been a series of regrettable mistakes, I feel, and this could be one of them.  There is little choice.  The roof leaks and must be replaced.  I went with the much less expensive company.  What will I get?  What I pay for?  What I deserve?

We must always hope that we don't get what we deserve.

I have much to say about the New York trip, however, though there will not be many photos.  I saw art but didn't make it for I was not alone.  When traveling, one must be a good companion.

But that is the story for another day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Almost On the Road

Paul Almasy

Candid or staged?  I don't care.  This is what NYC looks like to me after a day out, as evening begins to spread across the sky, dark and somber.  These are the pictures I want to bring back, memory pictures, mood pictures. . . imaginary.  

I fucked up the tickets to New York, though, and booked a p.m. rather than an a.m. flight.  My traveling companion is very mad at me, blames me, says it is my fault.  Probably.  I am not always so very careful.  But I have degrees and know that there is an answer--some sort of answer--to this problem.  I booked the trip on Orbitz because it was so cheap months ago, but now that has only compounded the problem.  

First, I say, let's contact Orbitz.  Well. . . you can't, at least not at night.  They have "regular" working hours.  I sent them a strongly worded message, of course.  I'm sure they will make a policy change now.  

I will never book with Orbitz again.  

So. . . I said, "Let's look for their chat line."  

There isn't one.  I sent them another strongly worded message.  

O.K. Let's call the airline.

That worked.  Except--it would cost us $250 each to change the flight.  The lady on the phone was very nice, though, and told us that if we called after midnight, we could change for $50 each.  Yay!  See, I said.  So we stayed up long after our normal bedtime and called at the appropriate hour.  

Wrong day we were told.  We needed to call after midnight the day of the flight.  

I am tired today and feel a cold coming on, runny nose, scratchy throat.  I am old and need my sleep.  We will have to stay up tonight, too, then get up early for our morning flight.  I will go to bed at eight, maybe, and set my alarm for midnight.  

Of course, our flight will probably be delayed.  

I am an anxious traveler.  Did I tell you that?  I have too many emotions running through me and worry that everything will go wrong.  I am a mess, really, but I am a good traveler and a great traveling companion.  So why is it that most of my trips, I travel solo?  

Maybe it is because I fuck up booking the flights.  

I may have fucked up booking the hotel, too.  Not the times, but in choosing the hotel.  Since my companion has not been to NYC before, and because we have little time, I booked a nice hotel in midtown.  Easy travel up and downtown.  Easy traveling east and west.  At least that was the idea.  I usually stay Upper East.  It is just my habit.  But I have stayed in this Dorothy Parker hotel before.  I hope it works out o.k.  


I packed my suitcase last night.  I packed my cameras.  That is the hardest part.  But I know that I really only need one.  I will want to travel light.  And with a traveling companion, I don't know how much photography I will do anyway.  Taking pictures is a solo operation.  I will be otherwise occupied, I think.  

Damn, though, I would like to take that picture this trip, the one by Almasy.  It is a beaut.  

You won't hear from me again for a while, perhaps.  Maybe.  We shall see.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

I watched an old Anthony Bourdain show last night.  He was in Chicago.  What a douche.  The whole thing was about a couple crummy bars and some hotdog stands.  Still, I watch it when I'm eating dinner and don't want to think.  

In one of the dive bars, however, he sat with a fellow who blogs about the patrons of the bar.  I think. I wasn't certain what I heard because. . . I put Bourdain on so that I don't have to pay attention.  It doesn't matter, though.  What a great idea.  That is what I want to do.  Not a bar, but someplace.  Maybe a hipster coffee shop.  Just sit there in the mornings with a cup of hipster coffee and tell stories about the people who are there (or who are not).  It would be a fictional place so that I would feel free to make things up.  

That is what I will do when I don't have to work any more.  Life will be fun then (if I have enough money).  

I've been shooting film, but not much of it.  I am working like a madman getting things in order before my NYC trip.  It is a short one, but if it doesn't rain, it will be visual.  Maybe I will shoot some b&w film there.  It is autumn now.  The pictures should be grey.  

O.K.  No segue.  I keep wondering if it is true.  Do men really think of having sex with women?  Do they really talk about it to one another?  

Don't worry.  I'm going to investigate and get to the bottom of this.  I'll let you know what I find. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

"Men Are Pigs"

Oh, my.  I watched last night's "debate."  I had to.  I wish I hadn't.  There is certainly no going back now.  The old world is dead.  It was murder, I swear.

Last night, the weather broke.  Eating al fresco on the deck was easy.  It was almost cool.

My mother surprises me as mothers will their children.  We tend to think we know them, but we don't.  They spend their lives keeping things from us.  So last night, we were talking about Trump's tape.  My mother wasn't shocked.

"If you worked in a big industry (she worked for a defense contractor), you heard that sort of thing all the time.  My friend, Barbara, was sitting at her desk one day when the boss came over and put her hand on his penis and said, 'How do you like that big banana?'  She was a married woman, but there was nothing she could do.  She would have lost her job.  Men stuck up for men."

She sat still for a minute and then said, "Men are pigs."

My mother is never nostalgic about the past.

But that's the deal, ain't it?  Trump shines a spotlight on privilege and power.  He is textbook.  You either accept it or you don't, but from now on, there will be no ignoring it.

It is awful.  He is the perfect fall guy for Hillary Clinton.

I am going to NYC on Thursday.  The trip has long been planned, though I was not sure that it would ever come off.  What a week to go, though.  I'll never get done what I must do.  I can't even remember it all.  I have a doomsday attitude about things that are fun.  Always have.  When I was a kid, I used to worry myself sick--literally--before we would go on family vacations.  I have never overcome it.

Oh, I know. . . they have "medicine" for that.  I wish they had it for everything.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


Getting back to normal isn't always easy.  People here have been traumatized even though we had the best of luck.  The storm was scary, sure, but the coverage--especially The Weather Channel--was horrifying, hour after hour of worst case scenarios topped by the Governor of the state repeating over and over, "This storm can KILL YOU!"

He's a genetic liar, of course, telling us that there is NO gas shortage in the state.  The gas stations have been without gas for days.  That bald-headed mutagen is a millimeter short of Trump.

Still counting our blessings, however, we began to set things back in order, clearing debris, piles of moss and stacks of fallen limbs, and bringing out all the pots and glass table tops we had stored in the garage.

And then it was time to go take a look at Ili's place in a town harder hit by the storm.  Being closer to the coast, the winds were quite a bit stronger.  When we got there, though, it was after noon, and we were hungry.  Ili had a grand idea that we should go downtown and eat.  But her own hometown was till in shock, many stores and restaurants still closed, streets empty of car or foot traffic.  No matter.  We went to a favorite little German deli where we got sandwiches and beers.  It wasn't until I had paid, though, while the sandwiches were being prepared, that I thought to ask the question.

"Did you lose power yesterday?"

"Yea.  It didn't come back on until this morning."

Taking the sandwiches outside to Ili, I told her the good news.

"I guess we should have asked that first," she said.

We smelled the sandwiches.  Then Ili got up and went inside.  When she came back she said, "They took all the food to a refrigerated storehouse that had generators yesterday," she said.

I looked at her.  She looked at me.  We nibbled the sandwiches.

"It'll be fine."

An hour later back at her place, my stomach was gurgling.

"You know, maybe the food that was getting served hot might have been better than cold cuts.  I think I need a drink."

The rest of the day passed in burpy, gassy horror.  My stomach was a sewer.

How could I be so stupid, you ask?  Well, we're still not thinking right.  We are zombies wanting to return to normal.

Late that afternoon, we sat with Campari's on the deck watching the tree guys who had cut my trees and saved my house work on a giant tree across the street.  Campari is a type of bitters, and it really did help to settle our bellies.

Still, we didn't have an appetite for dinner.

The past couple days really have been like a painting by Brueghel.  While the storm rages, there are baseball games and football games and Trump.  Life is always where you are.

"Just grab 'em by the pussy!"  This is the shocking thing to me.  I've been arguing about this since I heard it.  You can't do it, I say.  It is impossible.  But I am being constantly refuted.  Apparently this goes on in bars at night where middle-aged people go to drink and be sleazy.  I'm told you can't go to the restroom without being grabbed.  "Really?" I say in true shock and amazement?  I really don't know this as I do not go out into the world after dark.  I am stunned that this is what I'm missing.

Still, I maintain that it is not possible.

The moral outrage over Trump's statements, though, makes me giggle.  Really?  Only NOW are some people thinking that maybe he is not presidential material?  Like he was O.K. before?  I thought that this was the VERY REASON that his people were voting for him.  Bring back the good old days, right?  America the way it used to be?

I don't know.  I live in a bubble.  I'm happy that I didn't have to go to the hospital last night, that I could survive the warm cold cuts and sleep in a house that had not been damaged or destroyed.  I will cook for my mother tonight, and we will speak again of our good fortunes as we work our way back to the normal outrages that are the hallmark of the world in which we live.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Strange and Terrible and Beautiful

This is the only picture I have from the storm.  I wasn't in the mood for photography, just escape and release.  All store's closed, you take what you can get.

Escape, I did.  I am thankful.  The hours have stretched out and blurred together now, one day lasting a week, two days. . . .  On Thursday (was it Thursday?) I got up and began moving all things that might be projectile missiles into the garage.  Went shopping for tarps but got thirty feet of plastic on a roll instead because that was all that was left on the shelf.  Couldn't get D batteries, so bought a $35 flashlight the size of a hotdog--because that is all that was left on the shelf.  Filled jugs with water.  Put together a few days of food.  Then. . . looking at a giant Camphor tree limb over the bedroom that I thought would surely come down, I began to worry.  The across the street neighbor who helped take the trees off my destroyed apartment roof after Hurricane Charlie in 2004 came out yelling.

"I hope you have your insurance paid up!"

I cringed, for I am not sure what my insurance covers.  You see, after Charlie, all the big companies left the state, and to get new insurance with the little startups, I would have needed a new roof, new plumbing, and new electrical wiring.  I didn't have the money, so I went with Lloyd's of London.  It satisfied the mortgage company, but I know the coverage is minimal.

My sphincter inverted.

"I've got my chainsaws sharpened," he screamed.  "Those things are coming down."

He was fucking gleeful, I think, in the way that drug addicts with nothing to lose often are during devastation and destruction.  And I. . . I was a worried man with a worried mind (Dylan).

Just down the street, there was a tree company trimming up the biggest live oak you have ever seen, thousands of feet tall and full of archetypal southern moss.  The limbs were hanging over a beautiful old cracker house built in the '20s around the time mine was built, too.

"I wonder if I should ask them if they could take this limb down?"

I walked up the street just as they brought a big branch to the ground amid a flurry of yells.  I saw the limb roll over onto the boy on the ground's foot.  He yelled and tried to move it but he couldn't.

"Hey, hey!  I need help," he shouted, but nobody was paying attention.  I started walking over unsurely in my flip flops, but before I got there, another fellow caught on and they rolled the huge limb off his foot.  I turned around and went home.

A little later, I asked Ili, "Do you think I need to have them take this limb down?"

She walked me over to them with a "yes."  The head man, a tall Indian gentleman, came over.

"You have time to take down another limb?"

He came and took a look.

"I can do it, but look, my phone is blowing up.  I'm going to have to charge you $900.  That is more than I would normally charge, but. . . ."  He trailed off into silence.

"O.K." I said.  And within minutes, he was standing with a nine year old boy who was going to be in charge of cutting my tree.

Alright.  But he was not over twenty-two.  And he was the happiest kid I think I've ever met.  He went up like a monkey with ropes and a chainsaw and started yelling directions down to the two guys on the ground.  And in short order, he had taken off the giant limb and another dangerous one besides without a bit of damage.  No shit, that kid was good.

The rain was falling.

That night, I went to stay with my mother leaving poor pus-pus alone with a big bowl of food and a big bowl of water.

"I'll be back," I told her while petting her and giving her love.  "You'll be fine."

I went to my mother's because I didn't want her to be alone.  It is what you do when you are an only child.  And Ili came with me.  We three would weather out the storm hoping hope against hope that none of the big trees came down on my house and that the roof would not leak badly enough to collapse the ceiling in the living room.  Our secondary hope was that the storm would stay offshore.  Our long-shot hope was that we would not lose power.

My mother made us dinner.  We watched the local news and the Weather Channel.  It was frustrating, but we watched and ate and drank the wine and the whiskey that I had brought.  All of our phones were busy, mine with group texts with friends and people from the factory.  About half the people lost power just after dark.  Local news predicted that some of it would not be restored for a week.

Rain and wind and drink. . . and then, bed.

I woke often in the night.  The power was still on.  The house was still cool and dry.  What were the chances?  I predicted that the storm would stay off the coast that night as the land cooled and the storm sought warmth.  That would be significant.  There is a tremendous difference between one hundred mile an hour winds and seventy mile an hour winds.  I've seen it.  I watched as the bands of wind came during Charlie, only the final, strongest one snapping the four big oaks that came crashing down upon the house.

In the morning, we still had power.  We made coffee and turned on the t.v. to see.  The storm had stayed offshore.  Winds here were only gusting to sixty miles per hour in my own hometown.  I called my house and the answering machine picked up.  I still had power there.

A bit later, my friend texted me a picture my neighbor had texted him.  No trees down.  My roof was clear.

I stayed with my mother as the hurricane went north of us.  That is when the heaviest gusts began.  We sat in the garage with the door open watching the trees bend and dance.  I still had worries.

Mid-afternoon, I came home.  Big limbs had fallen during the afternoon gusts, but none had fallen on the roof.  For once, I was lucky.  I went inside expecting the worst.  The ceilings. . . oh. . . they were intact, not a sign of moisture anywhere.

I called my mother to report.  I was happy.  I would bring food and cook her dinner that night.

I have a bunch of work to do today to clean up the yard, but it is happy work.  I know people who were closer to or on the coast.  They had it much worse than I.  All in all, though, we were lucky.  It is a funny luck, for somewhere that storm is going to roll ashore and there are going to be others whose luck runs out.  As happy as I am, there is no celebrating.

I am already back to thinking of other things now.  If it isn't happening to us, it isn't happening, it seems.  There is not much hope, really.  We are strange and nature is terrible.  And then there is beauty.

I will think about the strange and terrible today as well as the beautiful.  And there will be some thanks giving.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


There are only two things to truly worry about in a hurricane--water and falling trees.  With a leaking roof and two big camphor trees, I have both.  There is nothing to do about it now but wait.  The waiting is awful, but the results might be much, much worse.  I don't think this one is hype.

I have much to do.  It might be a while before I'm back online.  So. . . see you on the other side.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

One More Day

The big storm's coming.  So they say.  It is mentioned in every conversation.  Plans are made.  People who have never been through a hurricane before have varied responses.  For some, it is hurricane party time.  Others are fearful.

Me?  I have PTSD.  I am freaked in a way others might not understand.  Having been the victim of one terrible hurricane that cost me more than my life savings (O.K.--my savings may have been pitiful, but I had to pay for the things over a long, long period of time).  It is one of the reasons I have not travelled much in the past years.  Money and debt are real things.  I am cavalier about it, but deep down in my gut there is a terrible never-ending wrenching.  I tell myself that odds favor me, but I don't believe it.  I have tempted fate in a number of ways, not the least in not having the appropriate home owner's insurance coverage.  There are two large trees--no, tremendous trees--whose huge limbs hang over my roof.  They are beautiful and help to keep my house cooler.  I had them trimmed this year, thank goodness, so that much of the weight is gone.  It gives me little peace, however.  My heart is in my throat.  But even if they do not come down, I have a leaky roof and have not heard from the roofing company I signed a contract with over two weeks ago.

Friends. . . I cannot communicate my anxiety to you even with the use of hyperbole.

Today, I will get things in preparation.  Not much, but some.  Water.  Liquor.  Snacks.  I have been through a number of hurricanes in my life.  I know that for most people it will simply be irritating.  They might lose electricity, though many of my neighbors have huge built-in generators that will run their air conditioners as well as their lights.  I, however, have gone through many weeks of hurricane related power outages, and I know what a miserable, horrible thing it is when you are without while others are not.  I am sure, at the very least, I will lose power, and I will hear the hum of the generators across the street.

But if that is all I lose, I will shout "Hallelujah" with hands raised to the heavens.

Stay tuned.

On another note, I have been going through my inventory of cameras and lenses as I have been trying to figure out what to do with them.  I search for the perfect bags, the perfect slings, the best anything for carrying them.  I have been obsessing over some new gear, but last night with everything scattered around the living room, I decided I have enough.  I want a Leica Monochrom, but that is a silly purchase.  As cool as it is, it won't be worth anything in a few years as new technology comes along.  Same with the Leica M 262.  I wanted the new Canon 5D, but there is not enough difference between that and the one I have to make the purchase meaningful.  The film cameras--the Leica M7, the Rollieflex, the Hasselblad, the little Olympus XA, the Leica CL, the Hasselblad XPan, the Leica R5. . . and the many others--they are classics.  They are enough.

The most primitive of them, the Leica CL, is the most basic.  It is the one I am going to carry and shoot.  It is a cool little camera that needs to be focused and metered.  It takes some thinking to make a picture.  And I am enjoying that.  It is a tiny camera with tiny lenses, so they take a tiny little bag in which you can also carry a Moleskine notebook, pens, and even a pack of little cheroots.

I have an image in my head, of course, in which I am thin and wearing jackets made of the most beautifully draping fabrics.  I will barely eat, drinking endless cups of coffee and mugs of strong beers.

Scoff if you will.  Everyone else does.

But I must be off now to tend to factory problems and to prepare for possible disasters.  I have one more day of wondering.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

No Thing

Up early to go to the dentist.  I'll need a crown which means a couple hours in the chair being stuck and prodded and ground.  My dentist is a big guy with very big hands.  I was going to change dentists, but it is too late now.  I want a small female dentist with teeny-tiny hands.  It should be a requirement for admission to dental school.

As soon as I am out of the chair, I must rush to do some factory work.  Supervisory stuff.  The day before me seems a punishment.

I know I have been bitching and whining for days. . . weeks.  It is a whining without profundity, a baby's mewing, a cat's complaint.  Irritating, not illuminating.

I neither educate nor delight.  This is not literature.  This is not art.

This is no thing at all.

Monday, October 3, 2016


Runny nose, broken tooth, leaky roof.

Taxes and unpaid bills.

A Hurricane's a coming.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Survival Mode

More bitching, more complaining?  I haven't had a callback from the dentist's office about an appointment I need right away.  I'm still sporting half a molar.  No callback from the roofer, either, so last night a mega-storm rolled through dumping 3.5 inches of rain per hour.  I spent my Saturday at a wedding where I didn't know anyone but the bride and groom.  I have official duties at the factory four nights this coming week.  Life gets more and more tedious.

I spent twelve hours in bed yesterday.  I'm losing all interest in everything except survival.

The big event of the week was supposedly Alec Baldwin playing Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live."  This is the world in which I live.

I find myself in arguments with people with whom I should agree.  After campaigning and marching most of my adult life for equal rights for everyone, I find myself demonized unless I assume a certain posture.

I've run out of old jazz.  They just aren't making it any more.  I find myself saying things like, "Say, what's the big idea?" and "Look here, see," and "Gee, that's swell."

Here is a foul confession.  I watched a 1984 debate between George Bush and Geraldine Ferraro last night on some strange, unusual channel.  I was just passing through, but I got stuck.  It was fascinating.  First off, it looked like something done by "Saturday Night Live" alright.  Everyone looked costumed.  Most fascinating, though, was listening to them argue the exact same topics as Trump and Clinton--except they did it in a civil tone with sophisticated demeanors.  I guess that was the point of showing the debate.

Like everything else, you can watch it on YouTube (link).

You can watch it, but be warned.  You will be shocked.  Some things are best left to memory.  Life is definitely not what you remember it to be.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This Is Just to Say

I woke up late on the first day of October with a hangover and a broken tooth.  I am trying to sip my coffee without bathing it in hot liquid.  I think I actually broke it a while ago when I bit down on an olive pit.  Last night it came apart at a Turkish restaurant.  Of course, teeth only break on the weekend.  I will have to try to get into a dentist's office first thing Monday.

My tax accountant called and left a message.  I still haven't gotten him all the important documents he needs.  I don't even know where they are.

And the roofer hasn't gotten back in touch.  Meanwhile, there is a hurricane not far away.

I have a real crisis at the factory that I can't write about.


I am drowning in bad voodoo.  Mercury is no longer in retrograde, so it has to be voodoo.

I am going to a wedding today.  It is outside in the middle of the afternoon.  It will be 95-100% humidity.

Just saying.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Alone in the Woods

I'm only checking my phone a couple times a day now.  I turn it off when I drive.  I barely check it once I get home.  You know what I miss?  Nothing.  But I am far off the beaten cultural path.  People drive slowly side by side, three lanes abreast all looking at phones.  When I am having a conversation at work, phones are blowing up with texts.  I talk to people at their desks and they keep glancing at their Facebook page as it updates.  When I look at the photos I take of people in the streets, most of them have people looking at their phones.

I'm trying to go analogue, but my handwriting, which was never good, has become almost completely illegible and my hand tires and cramps from writing quickly.  I can't draw for shit.  Computers have eaten my brain.

Still, I can't find the books I want in the one bookstore left in town.  There are supplements I can no longer find.  Clothes, shoes, just about anything, really.  So. . . there is the quick delivering Amazon.  I have tried to buy all my photo gear at the local shop which is really a pretty good one, but more and more, they are cutting out brands that aren't top sellers, so I am left to search the internet.

Variety is the spice of life, but it is the wellspring of nature.  When the gene pool of a species narrows too much, it usually dies out.  One disease can end the story.

I worry too much.  But going analog will make me something of a freak.  Half the time I am in a group conversation, I have to ask what they are talking about.

"You haven't seen that?"

It is as dangerous as going to live in the woods alone.  People don't want you around after awhile.

Here is just one example of the sort of thing everyone at the factory knew. . . but me.  I didn't have a clue, so they pulled it up on a computer.  Even if Gary Johnson doesn't know anything about the war zones and the leaders of the world, I'm pretty sure even he had seen this.  And that is why most of the younger voters are choosing third party candidates.

Here is a link to the transcript (link).

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pictures, Not Words

Just pictures.  I don't have words.  I have thoughts, but they are too panicked and jumbled.  When you can't write, try not to write.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sickening Times

Worst debate ever.  Trump is awful, but Clinton didn't need help from the moderator.  He made sure Trump had to answer questions about the Birther Movement, income taxes, etc, but he never drilled Hillary about anything.  Trump would have lost the debate anyway, so his bias does nothing but give Trump another reason to say the press is attacking him.

Stupid.  Just stupid.

Hillary would have looked better against any other republican nominee--Jeb, Little Marco, Ted. . . . Looking good against Trump doesn't do much for her, though.  Trump is so bad that beating him doesn't make you look good.

I wish I had skipped the debate.  I won't watch the next two.  It doesn't matter.  We all know what we have to do and debates aren't going to change that.

These are sickening times.  Good luck to us all.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Action Is Character

I have spent my morning writing my life's complaint.  It only took a microsecond to delete.  One must make choices in life.  The choices we make that defines us, I guess.

Action is character.  That's a line from "An Education" about literature, but it is true in all regards.

The opposite is true as well.  We are defined by what we don't do.  That's surely why they invented the Ten Commandments.

There seem to be more than ten in my life.  There is an ever growing, ever evolving list of  "thou shalt nots."

I must take stock.

I look forward to tonight's debate.  It will be fun.  Gallows humor, of course.  I will be forced to vote for a candidate I hold in terribly low esteem.  Well. . . I could just not vote or vote for a third party, but I fear the outcome of that.  So, I will watch tonight with sick delight knowing what I have to do.

Action is character.  Inaction is fate.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Standpipe Siamese

Standpipe Siamese.  I have no idea what that means.  I would like to go to Siam, which is what Ronald Reagan called Thailand during his sterling performance in the presidential debate that helped win him the office.  He already had Alzheimer's.  It didn't matter.

Siam it is.

There are Siamese cats and Siamese twins which have nothing to do with one another as far as I can tell.

Old Bangkok.  I didn't make it.  I probably never will.

People under thirty don't own cars or homes, I read.  They change jobs ever three years, so a forty year mortgage makes no sense.  They are committed to renting and travel.  Travel brings more happiness than things, or so a study offered.  I am the sort who likes to buy things when he travels.  Those objects litter my house.  I have many poison darts and arrows that go with bows and blowguns. I am well armed.  I have woven jungle baskets and clay pots and a whale's tooth.

Steven Wright said you can't have everything.  Where would you put it?

The kids are right, though.  The expense of my house has hamstrung me, as has my car.

I found a picture of myself yesterday--at the helm of my sailboat--in an old lap desk that I hadn't opened for many years, I guess.  I was twenty-seven.  I didn't own a house.  I was driving the VW bus I inherited when my father died.  I traveled somewhere whenever I wasn't working.  I looked peaceful and happy.

There is madness in wanting to visit the old, gone world.  It doesn't exist and maybe it never did.  The more I get, the less I have, it seems.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Getting Even When You're Dead

Ansel Adams called William Mortensen the "anti-Christ" of photography.  You all know Ansel Adams and his photographs of Yosemite and the Great West.  His photography is everywhere.  It is the "most understood" photography in the world.  I've never been a fan, but I didn't mind his photography.  He taught photographers much.  But recently (yesterday) I discovered that he was quite a bit more Puritan than I had known.  William Mortensen's pictures are getting an audience again after Adams had him written out of art history now that photo sites are talking about lens bokeh.  Photographers are willing to pay a lot for a soft lens.

I much prefer Mortensen's images and the soft Pictorialism he perfected.  But you know that.

I didn't get a chance to write yesterday.  I met with the roofing contractor early in the morning, then went straight to my tax accountant before heading to the factory.  It was a practical day, the very sort I despise.  But Friday evening was nice with a beer and a meal at the bar of a restaurant I rarely go to, and then a chance to lie about and read until sleep.

I'm a mess, people, and I don't see any relief for quite awhile.  I'm going to take a long walk now and then get something to eat.  I don't want to do anything if I can't be a flaneur.  It is all I was ever meant to be.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall Time

It's fall time!  To celebrate this morning, I had pumpkin loaf with my coffee.

I've written and deleted, written and deleted.

This is just to say. . .

It is autumn once again.