Friday, May 27, 2022

Nailing Focus and Other Mysteries

Little by little, things are coming together with the big camera.  Yesterday, I set up a couple more test shots around the house, took my time, and hit focus!!!  That may not sound very exciting to you, but I had begun to worry that maybe some critical tolerance was off with the plate holder, that what was focused on the Fresnel screen was not focused on the film plane.  But that fear is gone now.  I took this photograph yesterday.  

No, not the one above.  That was done by August Sander.  You may remember that I spent a ton of money and bought a huge book of his portraits.  For me, he is one of the most intriguing photographers around.  There are many famous large format photographers, but no one photographed as many people as Sander.  Steiglitz, of course, famously photographed his wife, Georgia O'Keefe.  Edward Weston photographed his girlfriends, sons, servants, and a few of his friends.  Ansel Adams hardly ever photographed people.  Eugene Atget is, of course, famous for the thousands of photographs he took of Paris, but there is hardly a portrait there.  Sander gave rise to later photographers like Arthur Penn who did it so well, and later Richard Avedon.  And, of course, Fran Leibowitz and her view camera photography for Vanity Fair.  

And then. . . there is me.  

The Infamous Coffee Pot!  In focus!  Sharp.  I'm getting close.  Soon, I may have the confidence to shoot people.  But I need to be certain about everything.  There is nothing worse than having someone take tine to be photographed and then end up without a photograph.  I need to nail these things every time.  It must be so.  

Oh. . . wait. . . I left out the not as famous Michael Disfarmer. 

He certainly did a lot of portraits, too.  As did Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke White, also with larger format cameras.  Both Disfarmer and Sander shot on glass plates.  That is my next test today.  You remember.  I've done it fairly unsuccessfully before.  Not today.  I'm gonna kill it.  

I hope.  You'll know by tomorrow.  

Then. . . I'll be on the prowl for victims.  God knows if I'll have the chutzpah to do what I have in mind.  It takes a certain je ne sais quoi to approach strangers with a 4x5 camera on a tripod.  It can be fairly dangerous, I've found, with smaller cameras.  Just the other day, I was walking with my Canon camera loaded with Babylon 13 and saw light hitting a second story balcony.  I pointed my camera and shot.  Took me maybe three seconds.  As I walked away, a woman came running out of the house screaming at me.  I stopped and smiled and walked back to where she stood.  

"Did you just take a picture of my house?!?!?"  

Oh, boy, she was ready for reality t.v., this lady.  I continued to smile and pointed to the balcony.  

"Yea, look at the shadows and the light."

She quickly glanced.  She wasn't enamored by it, I think.  She was more interested in standing her ground.  Righteous, she was, in her indignation.  I smiled and waved and walked away.  I should have told her I was working for Google.  

Photography has become a pernicious plague upon the planet. People taking photographs deserve to be punished.  

We'll see.  

I packed the camera and gear and took it with me when I went to lunch yesterday.  Afterward, I decided to drive to a ramshackle outskirts of town that I have photographed before.  But it was mid-afternoon.  It was getting unbearably hot, and the light was flat and dull.  I drove for awhile looking for a place to set up my gear, but I never stopped.  The streets were busy and the people poor.  Not just poor, you know, but of a criminal I.Q.  If I am getting yelled at by fancy women in the rich part of town. . . . 

I'll go back some early weekend morning when the light is nice and the ragged people are asleep.  

Oh, I know.  I am joking.  I love all people.  I've just been trying to write descriptions of people I see.  Yesterday, a girl and a boy walked into the restaurant just as I was paying up at the bar.  He was a bit ragged, a scraggly beard and unkempt hair, a sort of sallow, sickly pale that matched his thin physique covered by what I guessed to be a second hand racing jersey of some kind.  She was short with long, thick hair.  She wore glasses that were too large for her face, the kind that might have been worn by Charles Nelson Riley in the 1980s.  But she had cheekbones that wouldn't quit and thick, pouty lips that framed her slight overbite.  She wore old clothes, some off-brand jeans, and a beat pair of old hightop Chuck's.  I watched them as they found a table and took their seats.  She seemed very happy, near giddy, and when she took away her glasses, she was gorgeous.  She and the boy seemed very happy, and I wanted to ask them about their lives.  They, like me, didn't seem the types to be spending fifty or sixty dollars on lunch.  I wanted to sit with them and listen.  It might, I thought, clear up one of the mysteries of life.  

Oh. . . there was one problem yesterday.  

I took this with a 250mm lens. It glows.  There is a penumbra of some sort surrounding the white of the pot.  This was the same ghostliness as I saw in the picture I took the day before of the wrought iron chair.  I'm not sure what is going on with that.  I will ask my camera repair buddy, but I may have to send this lens back.  On the one hand.  On the other, you know, it is sort of a "glamor glow," something I might be able to work with.  I haven't decided yet.  

O.K.  I want to develop more film from yesterday and shoot some glass plates in the morning light.  It is Friday.  The long weekend is upon some of you.  Me, too.  I'll need to plan hamburgers and hot dogs for Ma.  And maybe some portraits, too.  

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Terribly Flawed

There has to be something wrong with you to want to shoot large format film.  You must be terribly flawed.  

That is my takeaway, anyway.  I thought this Chamonix was going to make things easier, if not easy.  And it is in many ways.  I can fit the camera, film holders, lenses and small tripod into a school backpack, so toting it is easier, at least.  To take a photograph, all you need to do is take out the tripod, extend each one of its legs to the right height, unbox the camera, put the plate attached to the bottom of it onto the tripod head and lock it in, open the back of the camera and lock it, set up the front element in the right position for the lens you are deciding to use, take the lens out of its carrying case and attach it to the front of the camera, look at the rear screen and screw the focusing knob until you have an image, frame the shot and balance all the bubbles so you have a straight horizon, pull out your focussing aid and go under the dark cloth to finish focussing, get out a film holder and put it in the back of the camera without shaking or moving it too much, close the lens, use a light meter to get the correct exposure, set the f-stop and shutter speed, remove the dark slide from the film holder, press the shutter, and replace the dark slide.  

And just like that, you have a picture.  

Maybe.  

As long as you didn't forget to shut the lens before you took the dark slide out of the holder, or as long as you didn't move the camera when you put the film in the back.  That is, if you have a holder that you have actually loaded with film (which is a pain in the ass) and as long as you haven't forgotten which side of the two sided film holder you just used for making the picture.  

And then, you just reverse the process, putting everything back in its case, and just like that, you are off to take your next photograph.  

I decided to use a rum bottle instead of the coffee pot for yesterday's trial run.  Isn't that something?  It would be if the fucker were in focus.  Correction--it IS in focus, just not on the label of the bottle.  Somehow, the focus is slightly behind.  Huh. 

I did a second shot with the flip side of the film holder.  Fortunately, I did it right and don't have another double exposure.  This one has a smaller aperture meaning it has greater depth of field.  No matter.  The fucking label is still somehow out of focus.  Well. . . not somehow.  I don't know.  At this point, I just don't.  

I took my new lenses and camera to my buddy's repair store yesterday.  One of my new lenses doesn't fit on the camera.  I need a new lens board.  So we chatted about what to do.  Then I had another of my new lenses fitted onto the right lens board and bought caps for another lens.  After that, I headed to my car, but I saw the light falling nicely on the chairs in the courtyard and thought, "you need to practice. Pull out your stuff and take a picture."

And I did.  It was hot, and quickly I was sweating.  I set up the tripod, attached the camera, put the front standard in what I thought would be the right position, attached a lens. . . . etc.  

When that was done, I changed  to another, wider lens.  But when I picked up the film holder, I had forgotten which side I had just shot.  Oh, there is a good way to tell--IF you load your film properly.  There are two sides, of course, to the dark slide.  One has a white top and the other a black top.  When you put in fresh film, you put the white side of the slide face up.  After you take the photo, you reverse the slide to show the black.  Brilliant.  Only I hadn't paid attention when I loaded the film and so they were randomly black or white.  

50/50 chance, I put the film holder back into the camera. 

When I finished, I packed up all my stuff.  It had probably only taken me twenty minutes to make the two photographs.  I was wet through and through.  

When I got home, I took the film holders to the garage to load the film into the developing tank.  Then, I loaded them with new film.  And THIS TIME, I was clever.  I put the white side of the dark slide out.  Yes!  Small victory.  

I trudged back to the house with the developing tank and looked up the developing times for the film, poured in a dilute mixture of Rodinal, and stood at the sink rotating the tank every 30 seconds for ten minutes.  Then rinse.  Then fix for another four.  Then rinse.  And then. . . hang the negatives up to dry.  All FOUR of them.  

At least there were images on them.  That was good.  

I got ready and headed to my mother's house for my daily chat, then came home to make a meal of cod, broccoli, and rice.  While the rice and broccoli were cooking, I poured a Cuba Libre, but it wasn't what I wanted.  I poured it out and had a glass of wine instead.  Slowing down the old alcohol intake, I thought.  Dinner plated, I sat before the television and watched clips of the daily Heard/Depp trial.  

Oh. . . those crazy kids.  

I cleaned up after dinner and decided to check the hanging film.  It was dry.  So I loaded two negatives into the negative holder that went onto the flatbed scanner, set up the parameters, and set the machine to work, first one negative, then the other.  Then I put the big negatives into plastic protective sleeves and went back and loaded the next two.  

Brrrrrrrrrrr. 

When all of that was done, I pulled up the images in Photoshop.  And that is when I saw--THAT IN EVERY PHOTOGRAPH I MISSED FOCUS!  

Somehow, I managed to focus just a bit further back than the mesh of the chairs.  

There's a day's work.  

Yes, there has to be something wrong with you to want to do this.  Very, very wrong.  

Shhh.  Don't tell Q.  

I will shoot more film today.  No worries.  It is free.  

Ha!

Why, dear lord, why?  

My goal today will be to hit focus.  Every day, a little closer to perfection.  I won't give up until I have figured everything out.  Maybe it will get easier.  

But you know, even then. . . I'll still look like a nut.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hoping for Heard/Depp, Season Two

I did what I told you I would do.  I chemically cleaned my new deck.  Big mistake.  There will be no painting and sealing of it today.  The wood is not ready.  I will have to let it continue to dry for another month.  But, I was successful in my incompetence.  I mean, an hour after I had opened the sprayer and puzzled over how to put it together wondering fifty times at least about why in the hell I was required to assemble any of this mechanism, after putting the wrong end of tubing on the wrong spout again and again, after all of that, I poured the chemical cleaner in the sprayer--and it worked!  My deck is 16x22, so I would slowly walk the sixteen feet one way and slowly walk the sixteen feet back spraying one board at a time.  It wasn't quick.  I worried about running out of cleaner at the halfway point, so I speeded up my walk and made it through.  Then I scrubbed the wood with a big, rough broom.  And then I sprayed the deck down over and over and over again.  And what I noticed was that the water was still beading up on parts of the deck.  N.G.  When that was done, I went inside and Googled "painting pressure treated wood."  I swear I have Googled this multiple times and have read multiple times that the wood would cure in two months.  Everything I read yesterday said three to four.  

In the afternoon, I put everything back on the deck.  I will wait another month or so.  By then, however, the rains will have come.  I don't know.  Whatever.  We'll see.  

Meanwhile C.C. was texting me snapshots of Courbet's L'origine du Monde while he lunched at the Musee d'Orsee, one of my favorite places to be.  We are living different lives, he and I.  

"Why don't you just hire somebody who knows what they are doing to do it?"

But that is what I did instead of trying out the two new lenses that arrived, one from Japan and one from Europe.  They are real beauts.  Now I'm all upside down in camera gear that I am not using.  

I will use them today.  

Oh. . . I must answer some queries about yesterday's post.  Yes, it may be true that southern men squinted because of the brightness of the southern sun.  That could be.  But then, I ask, why did they try to talk without moving their jaws?  They always seemed to talk with their jaws clenched.  

The whiskey, of course, was Southern Comfort.  The drink was Southern Comfort and Coke.  

And the humping in the backseat of cars was dry humping, clothes on.  

Dry humping.  Ha!  I'm pretty sure those are not words in the current youth vocabulary.  Dry humping, indeed.  

Sex was still a mystery then.  You really had a night if a girl let you "feel her up."  And if you were a decent kid, you felt really conflicted.  If you truly liked her, you might be thinking about marriage.  

But I didn't know too many "decent" kids.  The boys I knew were real bad kids.  I will tell you more stories sometime.  These were boys without moral compasses as far as I could tell.  Later, for many, their moral compass would be formed by prison.  

It was all just motivation for me, something to get away from without knowing exactly where I was going.  Just away.  

I had to take someone to the airport mid afternoon, so I stopped by my mother's house early on the way back.  When I got home, having been robbed of my afternoon nap, I felt pooped.  I finished setting up the deck and poured myself a drink.  

What better on a hot summer day--wait!  It is still spring!  With global warming, they will need to change the calendar a bit.  

What better on a New World hot New Summer day than a Cuba Libre.  Or in this case, a Haiti Libre.  Barbencourt is one of the best rums in the world.  Aged eight years.  It is almost a crime to mix it with anything.  It has a good flavor on its own.  It is the drink of rich smugglers and pirates.  That, at least, is who introduced me to it long ago in Old Key West before the time of cable t.v. and internet.  If you have never had it, do yourself a favor.  

But the day had left me wasted, and after a simple dinner, I sat down to watch some more of the Heard/Depp trial.  I'm sure hoping that there will be a Season Two.  Season One has been spectacular.  But I was tired and fell asleep.  When I woke, it was well before my usual bedtime, but what the hell, I thought, take an Advil P.M. and go for broke.  

I slept fine.  

And now, with a full day before me, I will fit my new lenses on my camera.  I'll probably photograph the coffee pot again.  Surely.  But, you know. . . when I'm dead and gone. . . . 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Penance

Things I've ordered keep coming.  Last night, I opened the door to a package from Japan.  It was the 250mm lens that I ordered for the Chamonix 4x5 camera.  Another barrel lens is supposedly arriving from Europe today.  Exciting, right?  

It would be if I were out using the camera.  Oh, that would be fun.  Rather, I am cleaning my deck.  I didn't know I had to clean it before I sealed it.  Luckily (or not), I decided to watch some YouTube videos on deck painting.  This was AFTER I had made a trip to the Benjamin Moore store only to find they didn't have a clear deck sealer.  And so, I drove to Home Depot to get the sealer and a sprayer that the HD lady said would be the easiest way to apply it.  O.K.  

After watching the video, though, I trekked back up to Home Depot where I bought the chemical cleaner and a big scrubber to rub it in.  Terrific.  

By this time, however, it was above ninety degrees.  I cleared the deck of all you might see in my later afternoon phone pics--big planters and small pots, a cast iron table and its big glass top.  This scared the hell out of me, of course, for as you probably don't know but might depending on how long and how reliably you have been reading here, I dropped a similar glass top on my right big toe while moving furniture for the big hurricane that never came shattering it into jigsaw pieces and spewing blood and guts all over.  That memory was with me every second as I hauled that five foot glass table top to the yard.  I was fairly shaking when I sat it down, leaning it against a tree trunk in order to invite any miscreant with a rock to take a shot at breaking it.  

I moved the wrought iron chairs, and then the grill and two tanks, and the door mat.  Of course, almost everything I moved left a damp spot.  The chemical cleaner box said that the wood had to be dry before application.  Fuck it.  I was done.  It was hot.  The deck cleaning would need to wait a day.  

Which is today.  In a minute, I will be out giving this whole thing a shot.  The tenant asked me why I didn't hire someone who knew what they were doing.  Good question.  Because I am a retiree in the time of inflation, I guess.  Because this is what REAL men do?  

Of course, we all know the REAL reason.  It's because I just spent my money on camera gear I am not using.  

But she's right.  I'm sure to fuck this up.  I can feel it in my bones.  But as my mother said last night, "You'll know how to do it next time."  

Yup.  

In the evening, sitting in the chair now in the yard having the evening cocktail, I decided to change plans.  I had decided to just seal the deck with a clear acrylic sealer, one over which I could paint if I decided.  I decided over the cocktail, however, to just seal the deck with the acrylic paint instead, the color to match the trim on the house.  Which means a return trip to Home Depot.  

I got gas at the big industrial gas station there.  $4.59/gal.  I don't want to keep driving to Home Depot.  

Yesterday morning, I had my Apple Music station playing when this came on. 

Holy smokes, that song is just too good.  But it takes me back to my hillbilly youth among the rednecks and crackers here in the sunny south.  This is exactly what it sounded like to live here then.  I need to generalize and stereotype here, two things I just love to do.  But these are my recollections and impressions.  Southern men had small, squinty eyes.  There were no large eyed crackers unless they were rich, but barely even then.  You did not want to be doe eyed in the south.  No sir.  You would be meat.  So, if you didn't have small, beady eyes, you constantly squinted.  That's the look of a southern man.  They always looked pissed off that the world was so damned confusing.  To combat this, they were certain.  They had learned the Homer Simpson philosophy of the playground--don't say anything unless you are sure that everyone agrees.  

Nights were hot and dangerous, boys smoking cigarettes and drinking beer and whiskey outside the youth center dance.  Inside you danced and sweated until the colors of your madras shirt had run.  Outside, beady-eyed boys were looking for a fight.  Later, once in awhile, there would be making out with some big-haired girl or even later hunching one out in the sweaty back seat of somebody's car.  

That's what this song sounds like to me.  Those were horrible times, but goddamn that song is good.  

Monday, May 23, 2022

A Selfish Little Prick

 I was pretty useless yesterday.  I got up very late and didn't move until just before noon.  Then, in the midday sun, I decided I needed to get my aerobic self going.  I took myself to a shaded park and shuffled around the Pars course doing various stretching exercises along the way.  The afternoon was cloudy, so the temperature was still fairly manageable.  I decided I would shuffle up and down an overpass hill.  

After that, I was feeling a bit better.  

So I went home and took a nap. 

I played with my DJI Mojo (or some such name), the little auto-sensing gimbal that I bought many, many months ago when I had some ideas about making videos.  Back then, I made one test run with it after watching hours worth of tutorials.  

I've forgotten everything in the intervening months.  

I had to start over from the beginning--the DJI quick tutorial.  And I had the basics down again, or so I thought.  There are only five buttons, but each serves many purposes.  Touch this button once, touch it twice, hold for three seconds, touch it three times quickly. . . .  

I actually managed it all for a moment.  Later, though, I couldn't remember everything.  

I had gotten it out because I was telling the famous German auteur about it.  She is making a documentary on her iPhone, she said, so I thought to help her out. I made a demo video to send her showing her the benefits.  

"Goddamn," I thought, "look at you."

What I meant was I wasn't disgusted by my visage.  Nope, not for an old cripple.  

But I had shot the day in the ass, and it was time to go to my mother's house for dinner.  I asked her to make salmon patties for me.  It is one of the things she does well.  I was beat and didn't feel like making another meal, so this was good for me.  I grabbed a beer and 3/4s of a bottle of Vouvray and headed out the door.  

When I got there, she was in her old recliner, the one I spent months in after getting run over, watching t.v.  Her hearing must be going because it was really loud.  

"Let's go outside and get acquainted before we eat," I said. She laughed at that.  I poured beer and went into the garage where we sit every afternoon with the doors open to the world.  After the air conditioned house, though, the air seemed terribly tropical, heavy and sticky.  No matter.  We acclimated rapidly.  I sat down, lit a cheroot and we began to chat.  

After we had consumed the beer and had gotten acquainted with one another once again, we went inside to eat.  She had made a salad, sort of.  It was a prepackaged one to which she added cut tomatoes.  

"You know, this salad would be much better with some garlic or onion." 

"Yes," she said. I guessed she wasn't into making dinner, really. 

Then we dished up the rice and patties.  I took the first bite.  

"What kind of salmon did you make this with?"

It tasted awful.

She told me it was "organic."  

"Organic?  What do you mean?  They didn't use any antibiotics or pesticides on it?  WTF?  What kind of salmon was it?"

"It was organic pink salmon."

"Mom!  We've had this conversation before."

O.K.  I guess I was a dick.  I criticized the meal.  But why?  Why did she buy pink salmon?  Because she is a hillbilly from the depression, because of price.  "Good enough" is the hillbilly way.  Whatever.  

Whatever.  

After dinner we were drinking the wine and just talking.  At some point in the conversation, she said, "Nobody takes care of me."

"What?!?"

"Who takes care of me?"

"Alright.  O.K."

She has an iMac and an Mac Air computer, an Apple tablet, an Amazon tablet, an iPhone, a scanner, a printer, all of which I bought her.  I pay for her phone and part of her internet.  I moved in with her twice to take care of her when she broke first her left and then her right shoulder.  I send her emails every morning, call her every day, and go sit with her every early afternoon.  I cook meals. I take her to therapy. 

"Nobody takes care of me."

"O.K."  

I was feeling miffed.  Perhaps it was because I was a dick about dinner.  

On my way out the door, I told her thanks, it was nice. 

"It's good to have someone to eat dinner with," she said.  

"Someone?  Yea.  O.K."  

Whatever.  

All of her friends tell her how lucky she is, what a good son I am.  I have to wonder for a minute, who do I do it for, me or her?  Maybe my acts are not as selfless as I like to think.  Maybe I think I deserve something.  

At home, I reflected.  Isn't that the way, though. Isn't that what disappoints us most in life?  Don't we all think, "I deserve more than this"?  

It is a wrong way to think.  It is a wrong way to live.  And it is certainly a bad motivation.  

Karma became a bit clearer to me.  Live, said the Buddha, with an open heart.  Most of the time we live as if we are making a business deal.  Too much, we are negotiating.  

"I'll do the things it takes to release me from existence.  I'll take the appropriate steps to enter the gates of heaven."

Etc.  

I am nowhere near enlightenment.  I am, I realize, a selfish little prick.  Or can be.  That selfish little prick lives in me.  I hate it.  

I guess that is why people meditate.  I guess that's why they pray.  Meditation and prayer and self-revelation.  All the studies show that they are good for you.  But to do it for that reason. . . well, if you do, you are just a selfish little prick, aren't you?  

I poured a drink and sat out on the deck.  I took my DJI Gizmo and iPhone and tried to practice a little more.  All I could remember how to do was turn it on.  I tried to get it to track me, but I was at a total loss.  When I played it back, the resulting video seemed funny to me, sort of like the one of Robert DeNiro recording himself while trying to figure out how to use his iPhone.  He posted his (or maybe his son did), so I posted mine.  

"Follow me. . . follow me," I kept saying.  

It seemed an apropos confession for a selfish little prick.  

Sunday, May 22, 2022

I'll Admit It


A forecast of rain kept me from sealing the deck, a rain that didn't come until nightfall.  I coulda/should/woulda sealed it early in the morning if those liars at the Weather Channel hadn't told me not to.  

I decided I would go do an ungodly amount of aerobic exercising instead.  As I move toward my Orson Welles weight, I keep telling myself that something has to change.  I need to quit eating.  I need to quit drinking.  I need to do more calorie burning activity.  

Instead, I sat down at the computer and cooked up the scans from the roll of Babylon 13 I did the day before.  I like saying "Babylon 13," but I truly love the creaminess of the images it produces.  So. . . not just one image did I cook, but another, then another, then another.  And then I looked at a pile of pictures I had been asked to scan for the famous German auteur who was coming to my house for dinner that night, and I decided to get that done, too.  

By the time I was finished and stepped outside, the mugginess was overwhelming.  It was too late to think about exercising outside.  Oh, well. . . what is easier to skip than a day of exercise?  

I went back to the computer and worked on some old things I shot in the studio so long ago.  I practiced my chops.  There are hundreds of images that deserve cooking. I scanned some old Polaroids, too, and tried the old magic on them.  

And then, through some sort of witchcraft or wizardry, it was mid-afternoon.  Demands were being made of me.  I needed to go to the grocers.  I needed to clean up the photographic messes I'd left lying around the house.  I needed to shower.  I wanted a drink. 

Before I left, though, I sent some of my cooked up scans to Q.  He didn't like them much, or so it seemed. But such has been my lot lately.  I am under a dark art cloud.  I've not been getting much positive reinforcement for my people-less Covid work.  But don't worry.  I am not like some kid on TikTok who is not getting likes.  I'm not going to hurt myself or someone else.  I'm stable and cocky, see.  I've got two feet under me, so to speak.  

I get the feeling, though, that Q didn't like my treatment of the picture I posted of the kid and his coach.  He didn't realize that I was sincere in my fascination with such things.  I just told myself he didn't like my new identity as Plant Portraitist because he was being mean.  

So I went out and got the things I needed, laundered the new Jap pants that came in the mail that day, showered and got pretty, then put on my groovy new duds and poured a cocktail.  I had half an hour to kill.  

Which turned into hours.  The famous auteur was famously late.  So. . . I'll admit it.  I'd been drinking.  And we had wine with dinner, one bottle, then we opened another and then I offered up some Vouvray for a desert wine which won plaudits all way 'round.  You really must try a bottle of Vouvray if you have not yet.  

And then I switched to scotch.  I wasn't drunk, mind you.  I didn't knock over glasses or tip a lamp.  But I was. . . AN ADVOCATE!  For her.  Oh, yes. . . I was full of ideas for the famous German auteur.  Sometimes, you know, I'm full of them.  

Now, perhaps, however. . . I have some work to do.  A little follow up, you know. . . on my ideas.  I put some good ones out there.  

By the time the party was over, it was midnight, and when everyone was gone, well. . . I'll admit it. . . I had a bedtime drink.  

There should have been water somewhere in that day, I know.  I know it this morning.  I didn't get up for a very long time.  

And now the day is muggy once again, and I am slow, and god knows all I want is brunch with mimosas.  And maybe later, a little nap.  I feel the oppression of the new camera gear, however, the money spent, the need to use and justify.  

But good God. . . I'm taking photographs of plants with the old Canon EOS 1 camera I bought for $30 off eBay filled with that luscious Babylon 13 film.  

Whatever.  I think they are sexy. 

My YouTube channel is "blowing up."  Meaning I have literally tens of people coming there.  Actually, the  Larry video has reached over 300 views, I think.  I have another one of him that I am not sure I can post.  It is a bit graphic.  Maybe I'll need to start a new channel to do what I talked about doing last night.  I don't know right now.  I'm in no mood to strategize.  

Music!  There must be music!  I haven't given you any for awhile, so here. . . hear.  Make yourself a mimosa and relax.  

(link)

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Addled


I would absolutely buy a book made up entirely of pictures like this.  Such, my friends, is True Photography.  It puts you "in the moment."  It tells a story.  It documents an event.  It flatters the participants while ridiculing them at one and the same time.  It lets one know who "these people" are the moment you walk into their home and see it.  You know exactly what sort of evening you are going to be in for.  

To wit: I promised Dad that I would not write things like, "Here's a picture of a man touching a boy."  No mention of Sandusky.  Mom might be reading.  Of course, she's left out of the photo.  This is "man's" stuff.  

This is in reality a picture of Coach and one of his players.  A.A. has really helped.  

"I kid," as the comedians say.  Q sent me this photo with an acknowledgement of how much I would enjoy it.  If this were a video, it would go right next to "Larry" (link).  

In the national news: 

The Princetonian also reported that Dr. Katz had made at least two other women uncomfortable by taking them out to expensive dinners — and in one case by commenting on the woman’s appearance and giving her gifts. All three women were identified by pseudonyms and could not be reached for comment.

The dastardly Katz!  The Times had to also report:

Ms. Gold, 27, who is finishing her Ph.D. in classics at the University of Cambridge, graduated from Princeton in 2017. She said that she had been his student, but that there was no romantic relationship between them at the time. They married in July 2021.

They point out that Katz is 52.  

Ageism.  Sexism.  The key is to be against things, most things, anything.  Just let people know how you feel.  Let them know you are uncomfortable with what they are/do/say.  It is important to have an opinion. 

Unless you are Dr. Katz.  He is being fired after publishing a controversial op ed in the Princetonian.  But not for that.  He is being fired for having an affair with a student fifteen years ago, something that he was already punished for then.  

God loves a sinner.  

No segue.  I had several deliveries yesterday.  

My very own lens for the 4x5 camera arrived.  It's a real sweet lens.  I ordered another that is coming from Japan in a few days.  And I have my eye on one more.  

I also got hundreds of dollars worth of 4x5 film.  I'm balls deep, I guess.  I've even been flirting my friend from the factory into letting me have her three teenage daughters sit for me.  I guess I shouldn't say "balls deep" and "teenage daughters" in the same paragraph.  I probably shouldn't say "balls deep" at all.  But I'm done with all "that."  I want to make sweetly procrastinating photos, nothing provocative.  Things like that picture of Coach and Player.  Real Owen/Mills stuff.  The old Sears Portrait Studio.  

That's why I am spending all this money.  Ha!

Oh. . . I didn't go to my dinner party last night.  The hostess had a fever in the morning and felt ill.  The dinner was cancelled.  Thank God.  Had she not felt ill until today, I would have been infected.  Covid is on the rapid rise once again in my own home state.  I guess my training as a depressive monk will serve me once again.  I may get my second booster sooner than I planned.  

Instead, I made my own dinner--avocado salad, lightly breaded, slightly fried cod pieces over jasmine rice and broccoli, and a bottle of Vouvray.  

Vouvray?

Yes.  I wanted a bottle of Riesling but I couldn't find one at the grocery store.  I did see, however, a Vouvray and remembered it as a sweetish wine.  The last time I had it (the only time) was at my wedding reception.  

It rather complimented the dinner.  A bit sweet, but nice.  

We've had three weeks or so of the Heard and Depp Show.  It is almost over, sadly.  It has become the most watched thing on television.  I don't know that for a fact, but it seems true enough.  The case was simple--did Amber Heard's #MeToo op ed slander Depp and cause him a loss of income.  The resulting trial, however, was a shit show of horrors.  But it has been informative in a larger sense.  Who do you believe?  Because that is what it comes down to.  Which fucked up addict's tale is true?  

There is no way the jury is going to give Depp 50 million dollars.  But God, thank you for this.  It has filled my lonely life with hours of recollection.  They should make every kid coming of age sit through a class dedicated to the showing of this trial.  Perhaps we could keep people from acting like shitheads to one another.  

O.K.  Again. . . I kid.  In my experience, nobody ever learns anything.  We are blind, stupid animals clawing our way through the dark jungle.  It's best to stay away from others and to keep your hands to yourself.  

Like me.  

This was an absolutely addled post.  I have only regret and the simple excuse that I didn't sleep well last night.  But, as any idiot will tell you, it is what it is.  

Thank you, Dr. Phil.  


Friday, May 20, 2022

Routine

 I have a busy weekend.  It freaks me out.  None of it is anything special, just two nights of dinners and drinks and conversation.  I've spent so much time alone now, however, making commitments like this feels stifling. They are not productive in any way but merely distractions from the ultimate lonesomeness that afflicts us all.  I never want to do these things, but afterwards I am almost always happy that I did.  But tonight, I am having dinner with the people whose kids gave me Covid last time I went to a dinner party indoors.  Covid is on the rise here.  I pray that I won't get it again.  

After this, I'm declining all invitations to go indoors.  The great outdoors. . . that is where I will be.  

With the rest of America, apparently.  You can't get into a National Park this summer.  You need reservations.  Wild, right?  Anything that has to do with the great outdoors right now is expensive.  Q wants to buy a Winnebago.  They have gone up in price.  You would think people would be giving them away now that gas prices have skyrocketed, but Q tells me that is not the case.  I know you can't buy a small camper for anything close to pre-Covid prices.  Usually the price has quadrupled.  

One of my new "friends" from the gym is going on a hiking trip to all those great Four Corners parks--Bryce, Zion, etc.  Oh. . . he is inappropriately wealthy.  He probably was able to skip the line somehow.  I am unconscionably envious.  

The weather has gotten ridiculous here.  The low last night was 75.  In fucking May!  I am in a hurry to seal my new deck.  The rains have just begun.  I need two days of dry weather, I think, before I put a coat down.  Today may be the day, but I will have to do it early or die.  That means rearranging my Rain Man schedule.  Uh-oh.  

But it must be done.  

After that, I will be fairly free of "must dos".  Fairly. 

The photo at the top of the page is from the Liberator.  I just developed it.  The negative has been sitting in the car for months.  It's a cool picture.  I hauled that big f'ing camera around the park and took maybe six images.  It is a beast.  So I bought the new Chamonix.  It is much lighter and folds up into a small footprint.  I put it, the lens case, and six film holders along with the small tripod into a school-sized backpack.  Easy to carry. 

But. . . setting it up, pointing it in the right direction, getting under that dark cloth, framing the upside down and backwards picture, checking the levels and making adjustments, focusing, taking a meter reading, setting the shutter speed and aperture opening on the lens, dropping in the film holder, pulling the dark slide, tripping the shutter, putting the dark slide back in. . . Jesus.  What was I thinking?  It takes about ten minutes to take a photograph if I am quick, and half the time I fuck it up.  There are so many ways to fuck it up.  

I got a focusing loupe yesterday.  It helps, but I shot four images using it and none of them were great.  

Here's the infamous coffee pot.  It is the only one of the four where I really hit focus.  But look.  I forgot to check the levels.  The photo is irritatingly off-kilter.  

The Chamonix is BEAUTIFUL, but it has a very distinct usability and purpose.  Landscapes and portraits.  That is what it is good for.  So, yea. . . I can take pictures of trees and shit.  Maybe I will go out of town where nobody knows me and find a good urban scene and wait for people to look at me so I can ask them to stand before the lens.  

"Hey. . . let me take your picture!"

Sounds pretty. . . awful.  

God knows what I was thinking about when I bought it.  I spent yesterday making a few pictures, developing film, loading film holders, scanning, and doing post-production on the computer.  This coffee pot is the result. 

The Liberator may be heavy and horrible to haul around, but at least you can frame, focus, and shoot fairly quickly.  I mean within a minute since it is not on a tripod.  And that lens. . . you can't beat it.  

So. . . maybe don't tell Q any of this.  I will try to Tom Sawyer him into buying the Chamonix from me.  He'll do it.  He has lots of money.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Miles to Go

Man. . . the fun just never ends. . . as long as you pago y pago y pago.  This is my new TTArisans 50mm f0.95 lens mounted on my Leica M10.  It's a beast.  I took photos with it immediately.  You may recognize the subject matter in this one--the first. 



Ah. . . look at that.  It does what it advertises.  Yup.  

I spent the entire day with that lens and the Chamonix 4x5.  Entire.  I developed the four shots I took the day before.  Went to the tent and loaded film into the developing tank, then took all my empty 4x5 holders and filled them with film.  Then I developed what was in the tank.  


Here's part of what I got--a double exposure.  That's mom at the top of the palm trees and under the oaks.  I have a bunch of film holders with film in them.  I don't know which have been exposed and which haven't--obviously.  I need a better system.  I do this far too much. 

The other film I developed turned out to be from my Liberator camera.  I used it many, many months ago when I went to a state park.  I never developed the film.  I'll post those photos later.  
 
Like you are holding your breath.  


I shot some old Fuji Instant film with the 4x5 to see if I was getting good readings from my new phone app.  That is the big holder for the pack film you see in the Chamonix.  The film is many years old and faded, but I could tell I was getting accurate readings.  Of course, this photo was taken with the new 0.95 lens.  

I ran those back to the computer to "cook them up."  

Then I ordered a lens for the Chamonix.  Now I have one of my own.  I also ordered a four inch magnifying loupe so that I can focus on that (as you can see) shiny ground glass.  It is almost impossible to do with the naked eye.  

The Money River is flowing.  I need some ebbing, too.  

I reached the end of the day without having ever taking a shower, without changing clothes. . . .  I called my mother.  

"Ma. . . I won't make it over today. . . . "

"That's alright, honey."

I feel badly, though.  I have dinner with my replacement at the factory's house tomorrow night and dinner with the famous German film director on Saturday.  What am I doing. . . trying to have a life?  

As soon as I finish up here, I am going to develop the film I shot yesterday.  My fingers are crossed.  I don't want to lose interest in this new camera on day two of owning it.  Let there be images.  Let them be in focus.  At least some of them.  Is that asking too much?  

I get my focussing loupe today.  I get my new lens tomorrow, and another next week.  Oh. . . and I ordered a bunch of 4x5 film that will arrive tomorrow, too.  

It is entirely possible that. . . oh. . . no!. . . I don't want to think of that.  I don't wish to admit failure already.  

"Hey, Q. . . you wanted one of these fancy assed Chamonix cameras, right?  Man. . . I've got a deal for you. . . . "

O.K.  Much to do today.  Miles to go, etc. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The First Picture Was Me


"Jesus Christ, have you watched any of that Heard/Depp trial?"

"Sure."

"I can't believe they put that on t.v.  Why would they do that?"

"Just to make people happy, I guess."

"Man. . . it doesn't make me happy.  I mean, I was laughing at first, you know. . . but it is starting to remind me of shit I've gone through.  Did you see Amber Heard on the witness stand?"

"Yes."

"Did you see that female attorney question her?"

"That Bredehoft person?"

"No, no. . . the other one.  Depp's attorney."

"Oh, sure.  Camille Vasquez."

"Man, she was good." 

"Yea?"

"When she questioned Heard, I just had to shudder.  I was flooded with all these. . . emotions. . . memories."

"Which one?"

"What?"

"Which one did you have the affair with?"

Etc.  I don't know about you, but I'm an addict.  They will make a docudrama series out of this one for sure, but it will not come close to the real thing.  If only the camerawork in the trial was a little better, you know, and the lighting. . . . 

I took my new Chamonix camera to my buddy's shop yesterday to see about buying a lens.  He didn't have anything for me.  Well, he did.  He had a $2,500 lens on a lens board that fit my camera.  He attached it and then put a instant film back on my camera that allows it to shoot Fuji Instax film.  The first picture taken with my new camera was of ME!  And by God, it is a beaut!  Instant film makes everyone look good, I think.  That's why Warhol loved it so, why he used Polaroids to make his famous silkscreens.  I'm holding on to that one.  

We played around with the camera for awhile, then he told me to take the lens with me and use it.  I walked out with a great lens.  The second picture I took with the camera was of my mother.  And the third.  And the fourth.  I will develop them today, but I don't think they are going to turn out.  I think I made four mistakes.  

Maybe.  We'll see.  

But I am going to get all my holders and large format things straightened out today.  I'm going to shoot the heck out of the world with that camera in the coming weeks until using it is second nature to me.  I won't make any judgements about it until then.  

In the meantime, I need to buy some lenses.  More money.  But I will have to go all in now.  There is only one way--forward.  

When I left my buddy's place, it was past lunchtime.  I went to my favorite Spanish restaurant.  It was pretty quiet.  A new bartender waited on me.  She was very friendly and attentive, sort of the perfect bartender balanced between humanness and professionalism.  I like that.  It is absolutely perfect.  You don't want to feel the staff is somehow looking down on you, that waiting on you is simply a chore, but you want a bit a formality, too.  She had it down to a T.  If everyone could do their job this well, I thought, the world would be a better place.  

I drank a cranberry and soda (i.e. the A.A. cocktail) instead of wine.  

But when I got home from my mother's house, I wanted to sit on the deck with a drink.  To slow shit down, I poured a Campari and soda.  

That seemed to work.  

After dinner with water, I had a scotch.  

Then I ate 1/8th of a legal gummy.  

Then I ate everything in the refrigerator and cabinets that had already been opened.  It was quite a crazy array of foods.  

I don't think I consumed any fewer calories not drinking.  Still. . . . 

I am not going to the gym today.  I am going to make photographs with the new camera.  It is scary.  "What if I don't like it?" I think.  I'm sure not to.  That is just the way I am.  

Oh. . . .

"Both."  

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

True Beauty

My new "instrument" has arrived, and it's a True Beauty!  It is light as ether and a joy to gaze upon.  It scares the heck out of me, though.  What if I don't make great pictures with it?  Well. . . I guess I can always use it as an expensive prop.  I spent most of yesterday afternoon figuring out how to manipulate it, the rise and tilt and shift mechanisms, the back focus, the variety of places to set the front standard, how to switch the film holder from horizontal to vertical.  It came with no handbook, no guide.  I guess the guy who makes them thinks that if you are buying such a sweet camera, you already know how to use it.  After a few hours, I did.  

Except. . . I don't have a lens for it.  I thought I could take one of the lenses from another camera and slap it onto the lens board, but I don't have the tools to do that.  I didn't know it took tools to put lenses on and to take them off the board.  They are very specific.  So. . . today I am going to take my camera to show my camera repair shop buddy and see if he has any lenses I might want.  If not, it could be another week before one arrives.  

I do, however, have (I know that this is a split infinitive, but I like it that way) some lenses on lens boards that almost fit.  They are made for another camera and are less than half an inch too short on the vertical sides. I am thinking to tape them on with gaffer's tape, however, to give them a try.  I held them on with my hand yesterday to see and image on the ground glass and got excited.  More than a little.  But also frightened.  It is so easy to forget how long setting up a shot takes with these things.  AND. . . the image is upside down and backwards.  

But that's the thing, isn't it.  The technical aspect.  

I was wishing I had spent the money on a medium format digital camera right away, but the difference in price is so great, this camera would barely make a dent in the price tag.  

And so. . . I will endeavor today.  

And this.  

"And this?"

Yea. . . and this.  You know what I mean. 

"????"

Really.  This is a phone snapshot.  It does everything that large format camera is supposed to do, right?  That shallow depth of field?  That bokeh?  And it is ever so easy.  

But also. . . I'll call my sponsor today.  I've got to get back on the wagon.  At least hold onto it.  It would be goodI for me to slow down a bit.  I'll spend a few nights without drinking.  

"But what about the Drunkard's Bluster?"

Yea. . . I need to be humble for awhile.  

I went to the gym yesterday.  Nobody yelled "Baby Raper!" when I walked in.  Nor at all.  I guess I'm safe. But I fell right back into the same time suck of a routine.  I need to change that as I hold onto the wagon.  A rearrangement would be good right now.  

After I have spent all my money on camera gear, I know I will become a phone photographer.  I don't know why someone doesn't just make a camera phone without the phone.  I mean, make the camera part the priority.  It should still have all the other functions, but it should be a camera with phone capabilities.  The camera phone apps are awesome, but you can't use them with real camera files.  Now that I know I can print those phone images fairly large. . . .  Yes, I'm sure to become a phone photographer.  

The "Wrecking Crew" comes today.  I have a bit of clean up to do before they come.  I need to get the bed linens into the wash.  It is good that I have an early start.  

That's it, the end of my dry technical gushing over the "True Beauty" that I will probably never use properly.  I can't be witty and clever EVERY day.  Well. . . I can. . . but not always in writing.  

But I did leave you some pretty phone pics.  They are true beauties, too.  

Monday, May 16, 2022

24 Hours


There was no viewing last night's Blood Red Moon here.  It rained for the first time in weeks.  The rain was welcomed, but just then?  It is o.k. though.  I wasn't going to stay up to see it anyway.  I wasn't, but I did unintentionally.  I had put on the 1966 movie, "The Chase."  Rented it on Amazon Prime. I had never seen it before, never even heard of it.  "Everybody" is in it.  Really.  All-star cast.  Marlon Brando, Robert Redford, and Robert Duval, Jane Fonda, Angie Dickinson. . . just for starters.  You'll recognize just about every face that comes onscreen if you watch it.  

If.  WTF happened to t.v.?  It used to be free.  Then you paid for cable.  Then you paid for cable and extra for premium commercial free channels.  Now I pay for commercial free Amazon so that I can have the privilege of paying to watch a movie commercial free on demand.  

Whatever.  Runaway capitalism.  

"O.K., buddy, why don't you just move to China?"

The movie was surprisingly mediocre, but it was surprising.  It was a bit of the 1950s meets the revolution of the 1960s, like Cheever meeting Jacqueline Suzanne in the Valley of the Dolls. 

I don't know how it ends, though.  I had to turn it off and go to bed with fifteen minutes left.  I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  

But the day had been spectacular on several levels.  Having taken the week off away from the gym, I was going to begin exercising again, gently, in preparation for my return this week.  But that didn't happen.  I read.  I wrote.  Then, I went back into old files and worked on images from the past to see if I still remembered how to process them to get "that" look.  

I did. 

Then Q texted from the Arthritic Rave event out on the social tundra.  "Waking up at a rave is only marginally better than waking up in jail," he said.  He's going on six months sober, you know.  Waking up at dawn after playing an early set, he saw the haggard ones at sunrise.  They had grown preternaturally old.  He sent a short clip from the festival.  


Yea, it had little appeal for me, but Q had had his moment of glory.  He called me later when he got on the road.  Unlike the great unwashed, he sounded bright eyed and happy.  Sobriety, he said, had made him superior.  

"That's great, Q.  You sound good.  You know I'm not like the others.  I'm your friend."  

By then it had grown hot outside.  Steamy.  I told my mother that I'd make a seafood stew for dinner, so I thought I'd better get out and get the fixings: 1 1/2 pounds of cod, 1/2 pound of scallops, 1/2 pound of shrimp, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, clam juice, potatoes, carrots, fresh parsley, jalapeƱo peppers, oregano, seafood seasoning, a white onion, garlic, some cheap dry white wine for the pot, some good sav blanc for drinking, a crusty bread, and some ice cream.  Eighty dollars later, I was on my way home.  

In a little while, it was time to start the stew.  I'm always guessing on measurements.  I approximate, so I'm never sure.  By the time my mother came at five, the pot was ready for the seafood, but we sat down and had some wine first and were joined by a guest.  We decided that the weather was nice enough to eat outside, perhaps the last time it will be comfortable enough to do so until late fall.  I dumped the seafood into the big cast iron pot, and five minutes later, I was plating the dinner.  Well. . . it went into great white bowls.  

Holy shit!  I had hit it this time!  Home run!  It was the best tasting thing ever.  

Two and a half pounds of seafood.  The three of us ate it all.  

When they left and everything was cleaned up, the dishwasher running, I poured another scotch and sat down to relax.  The dinner had been special, the weather good, the garden colorful, the neighbors walking by with envy.  Earlier I had ordered and paid for two new lenses, one an old shutterless lens for the new Chamonix 4x5 camera I had purchased weeks ago and a 0.95 f stop lens for my Leica.  Yup, I had spent a lot of money that day.  The antique lens was being fitted into a mounting board that the seller was making to hold it on the camera.  I felt as I always feel after making a major purchase--a bit ill.  The other lens, too.  Jesus, I thought, I need to get back on the wagon.  My decisions of late did not seem entirely rational.  

Then the rain, the movie, and bed where I was plagued by strange dreams.  I had agreed to teach a college math course.  I don't know why.  I said I thought I could do it since I'd had so much math in my zoology degree.  But of course, when it came time to teach, I had nothing.  I fumbled around that first class meeting.  Other faculty were there.  The students were disappointed.  I was flummoxed.  

"Just make up work sheet handouts," one of the faculty suggested.  "You'll be fine." 

But I knew I wouldn't be fine, and by the next class meeting, students had dropped.  After that class, dejected but succored by a lithesome coed, I was walking across campus when a big guy picked up a rock and threw it at me.  

"Hey. . . you. . . come here." 

The big guy approached like a bully, his classmates sneering behind him on the lawn.  No longer a ruffian, unable to physically deal with him, I cried out, "I'm the Dean on this campus.  Come with me."

This set up a long series of offices and meetings, me ashamed but pressing for his punishment, sitting in hallways with the lithesome coed who continued to succor me in sad tones.  

I woke up feeling defeated.  

Was it the moon?  Was it guilt for buying all this new camera gear?  Was my hatred of growing old?

These things, of course, are by no means at all mutually exclusive.  

It could have been the ice cream.  

The sun is out and shining brightly.  I will finish this up and write some emails and head out for my return to the gym.  If you recall from reading the blog, last time I was there, I was somehow put into a position of defending baby rape.  Not exactly, but I was defending my statement that there is no universal right and wrong, good and evil.  I've not been back since.  

I just got notice that my camera will arrive today.  It is expensive, and I'm certain to need to sign for it.  I'll have to hang around the house until it arrives.  

And then. . . let the guilt begin.  

That, my friends, was the last twenty-four hours.  C.C. made it onto the Paris bound flight.  Q got home safely to his loving family.  And I. . . well. . . we'll see.  

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Cryptic Signs, A Killing Moon

If you are into conspiracy theories, you have to love the weird messages that are put up all around town.  What do they mean?  Surely they mean something to somebody.  They are private communications, perhaps, left by one person or by a group of persons to give information or orders to another.  

"DEC01!!!  Got it.  O.K.  Let's go, motherfuckers!"

If you've ever read "The Crying of Lot 49," you have to wonder.  Pynchon's novels are full of secret messages and private meanings.  I've read enough to know and wonder.  Physical manifestations are harder to track and trace.  The internet leaves too many fingerprints.  Slapping up a sticker on the back of a street sign on the corner of MLK Blvd and Stalin Way, on the other hand. . . . 

I'm just sayin'.  

"BUITEN DENST!"

I'm only half kidding.  I think I'll start making stickers I can put up around town, too.  I surely could come up with something confusing and entertaining.  Of course, I may be playing with fire.  Those street corners may be "owned."  Back in the days of cigarettes, I thought about getting vending machines into bars and restaurants.  Uh-uh.  That was all mafia shit.  You didn't get to just put in a cigarette vending machine.  It wouldn't last long, and then there would be a knock on the door.  

It would be like trying to start your own paving business in New Jersey.  

I haven't thought about vending machines, though, for a long time.  They just disappeared.  You don't see them anymore.  How about this?  How about I start up a vending machine business that sells gummies?  Those little packs of CBD gummies with the legal amounts of THC and Delta 8?  Let's say you're out and you've just finished dinner and you are leaving the restaurant.  They don't put out those little dishes of after dinner mints any longer, of course.  But you see the gummy vending machine.  There they are in different colors and flavors and buzzes.  

"Hey, dear. . . do you want a mint gummy?  Yea?  Sure.  We'll be buzzing by the time we get home."

Nice.  

I'm pretty sure I just gave away a great get-rich quick idea here.  Yup. When you see these things popping up in bars and restaurants, you'll know the mob reads the blog.  For real. 

Full moon tonight.  Blood red.  It's a Killing Moon, I think.  More madness.  Breathing moonlight in and out, in and out. . . it will do strange things to you.  Just for once, goddamnit, I wish it would do something I'd like, something that would help me out some way.  Poor C.C. will be flying under it tonight on his way to Paris.  Auspicious.  He's part mystic, though.  He must know what he's doing.  

God's speed, C.C.  I'm sure you've read some cryptic Post It note that guides you. 

I think to post "Fly Me to the Moon" or "Moonlight in Vermont" here now.  

Rather.  


Saturday, May 14, 2022

To My Knees


 Yup.  A night out buggered me for a day.  Nothing got done until last evening when I made some banana "poop" bread.  I knew as I was making it that something wasn't right.  When it came out of the oven, I took a first bite.  Not nearly enough maple syrup.  But was that bad?  I rather liked this less sweet version. I will have some in a moment when I finish writing this and I will know.  I think so, though.  

A friend sent me a picture of her daughter getting ready for her 8th grade dance.  She is in a little black dress.  Why? I asked.  Why am I not photographing your daughters?  I've known them since they were born.  We both worked at the factory and when the kids were little, I used to entertain them when they came with mom to work.  They love me.  That is what they say.  But now, teenagers. . . .  Who knows?

I really just want to put the three of them in bathing suits poolside at a Motel 6 being weird.  Barbecuing.  Tossing horseshoes.  Being awkward.  

It will never happen, I'm sure.  The world just keeps passing me by.  

Yesterday, I read about this.  

It is what I want.  Have wanted.  I don't want a trailer.  I just want this.  You can explore it here (link).  

You can get them in Europe but no in the U.S.  Why?  It must have to do with emission rules.  I don't know, but I NEED this NOW.  Such is my life, it seems.  

The world keeps passing me by. 

Q is at some drugfest playing disc jockey this weekend.  He is one of I don't know how many, but it gives him a chubby, I know.  And he has just bought a bunch of airline tickets to fly around Europe this summer.  The whole family.  

C.C. leaves for Paris tomorrow.  My travel/art buddy is traveling around France and going to London as I write.  

Everybody's going somewhere.  

I still have much painting to do.  Etc. 

I sit at home and watch things like this.  It brings me to my knees. . . with sad desire and deep longing.  



Friday, May 13, 2022

A(nother) Night Out

 Oh, man. . . my head hurts.  I went out with the kids from the factory last night.  It was fun, but my life is much quieter than that.  I slept late, and when I finally got out of bed, I got a call from one of the former factory workers who got a better factory job in another state.  She is part of the text group that we all use, and she was in touch with us last night.  She knew what was going on.  And so. . . she called to see how I was doing.  

"You sound sick," she said.  

I did.  My throat was very froggy.  It wasn't the drinks so much as the activity, I think.  You spend a lot of energy with a group at a bar for many hours.  Nerve ends tingle, your wit is actively engaged.  You scream to be heard over the music and the chatter and the noise.  You don't realize it, but it takes its toll.  

It took its toll.  

I will have to give my retiree's work life a break.  Since Saturday, I've worked every day--fourteen yards of mulch, two gardens, rerouting my computer/library, and painting the apartment stairs.  

In a bit, I will try to take a walk.  

Water.  I'll need water.  

However, today is World Cocktail Day!  AND it is Friday 13! What horrors are upon us?

As Uncle Willy says in "The Philadelphia Story," "This is one of those days the pages of history teaches us is best spent lying in bed."  

When I got home, it was late.  As I got out of the car, however, I heard the mewing of the cat.  I couldn't see her, and she didn't sound near.  I went in, got some food, and put it in her bowl, then lit a cheroot and poured a glass of whiskey and sat out while she ate.  She was lonesome, I think.  When she finished eating, she curled up on the mat in front of my kitchen door.  I couldn't enter the house without running her off, so I sat out under the stars and moonlight and waited for her to move.  Eventually I went in and poured another drink, turned on the t.v., and fell asleep.  I woke up sometime after one and went to bed.  

I'm taking the weekend off.  A working man with a true weekend.  

O.K.  I'd better post.  I am being interrupted by a hundred texts.  I guess the night was a success.  


Thursday, May 12, 2022

Work

This was part of my color film experiment--bleach bypass.  I've warmed the tone up a bit in Photoshop.  The negatives came out very cold.  I may try to experiment a bit more.  I have an idea of mixing bw fix and color blix.  But I am pretty sure it will still be too cool for my taste.  

I want to give up the morning opine.  It is nothing.  I need to actually write.  Why don't I?  I have time.  I have no job, no girlfriend, nothing to keep me from writing.  I've become lazy these Covid years.  But I'm shaking myself gently out of that.  I painted the apartment stairs yesterday.  Part of them.  I am going to finish that up today in just a bit.  The weather is so perfect here now, but it will change on Saturday, and the air will become warm and moist.  So I will finish up my projects as soon as I can.  

Now to carve out time for writing.  I've been writing more in my head, but if it doesn't make it to paper, it is gone.  It is a matter of telling myself what I see.  Nothing astounding, just what is around.  A woman in a black t-shirt with angel wings printed across the back.  A dirty, disheveled man in baggy pants smoking the butt end of a cigarette sitting on the planter outside the grocery store staring people in the eye as they pass.  A feral, one eyed cat nervously sniffing around the garbage container behind the grocery store.  The names of things.  

I did some editing on photos I took for someone yesterday.  When that was done, I looked through old photoshoots from the studio days.  I got overwhelmed and had to stop.  There is still so much there.  Too much.  I used to be productive.  

The air is perfectly clear, a dry 68 degrees.  The birds are singing loudly.  Everything is bright and green.  I should be going out with my camera, but I will paint the stairs instead.  That is life.  Making decisions.  Doing the work.  

And music.  I meet the kids from the factory tonight for dinner and drinks.  After work, of course.