Friday, December 1, 2023

The Season Upon Us

It is December, the Christmas Season.  Last night I was asked to go to Central Park on the Boulevard to hear the Bach Choir sing the Sounds of the Season.  The Tiffany Museum installs lighted Tiffany windows around the park.  They close the street and people come with family and friends to celebrate.  

I didn't go.  

Tonight they light the Christmas tree.  Do they call it that anymore?  Is it the Tree of the Season?  Whatever it is, it will be lit as will be much of the crowd.  I may go.  

Saturday is the annual Christmas Parade.  It IS a Christmas parade, I know, because the last float has Santa Clause.  I photographed the parade in the '70s.  I should use my new cameras and try again.  

New cameras.  Here is the first photo with the M10-P.  When I pulled up, I saw mom sitting in a shaft of light.  "Don't move," I said.  She did, though.  

Right out of the sunlight.  I told her to lean back and look at me.  She couldn't look up, though, into the sunlight.  She looks better in the second picture, but the first one is better.  I popped these into the computer and did little to them.  The colors just incredible with this camera.  I'm happy with it and the new 35mm lens.  I still need a 50mm.  Santa Baby?  

Oh, Christ, the Christmas songs just seem to pop into my head now.  I love that song.  Was it appropriate, though, that Shane McGowan should die this time of year?  We'll get to that.  

In the late 1980s, I went to Ecuador to climb Iliniza Sur, Cotopaxi, and Chimborazo.  Our group was pretty inexperienced for such climbs, but we had a world famous mountain guide and his crew to see us through.  It was cold, well below freezing, and for many nights, we slept in tents.  Just before dark, the staff would cook up stews that we ate by a fire before turning in for the night.  Great volcanoes erupted all around us often.  We could both hear and feel them as the ground shook.  Lying in my sleeping bag, I would put on the headphones of my Sony Walkman and listen to music to calm myself.  Two tapes in particular, one by George Benson (fuck you) and "Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash" by The Pogues.  I would rewind and play this one over and over and over. 

We climbed Iliniza, but mistakes were made on Cotopaxi.  The group was too slow and there had been a fresh snowfall the night before we climbed.  When the sun came out and things began to melt, there was a massive avalanche.  Many were hurt, and that was it.  We didn't climb Chimborazo.  

I am not sure where the photographs from that trip are.  I know I have them, though, somewhere.

The Christmas season is upon me whether I like it or not.  My last girl and I celebrated Christmases well.  We didn't put much pressure on one another about presents.  One year when we decided to have a sophisticated season of eating and drinking and foregoing gift giving altogether, we were cruising with the Vespa on Christmas Eve.  We stopped at a thrift shop in a hipster plaza.  There was a mink jacket on display.  I asked her to try it on.  It fit perfectly.  The fellow who owned the place came over and explained that it was an unusual jacket because it had pockets.  Minks rarely do, he said.  This one belonged to a famous drag queen who kept sparkles in the pockets when he performed.  He would reach in at the end of the performance, grab two handfuls, and shower the crowd.  

I bought the thing on the spot.  It was beautiful.  

I never even got a photograph of her wearing it.  Huh.  I wonder if she kept it.  

Of course, our favorite Christmas movies were "Elf," "Bad Santa," and "Love Actually."  We watched "A Very Murray Christmas," too.  I always get emotional when the snow-trapped Carlyle crowd sing "Fairytale of New York."  It was the sanitized version, however, and left out the dirty stuff (link).  

Old Shane got it right, though.  I listened to it this morning, and, predictably, unavoidably, cried like a little baby.  Life is stupid and cruel in the end.  Bad things happen.  They shouldn't.  My old college roommate said "The way Shane lived, it is amazing he made it to 65."  I wrote back that we should be able to live any way we want and remain young and vital forever.  The way it works out is bullshit.  

So. . . Happy Christmas, babe.  Won't see another one.  

Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Old Whatchamacallit

I have it.  My camera arrived!  Now I can be a sneaky Dick with my candid camera.  Next thing you know, there will be two way wrist radio watches.

What times we live in.  

But my camera arrived.  Both of them (shhh!)!  This I've told to no one, but I replaced the stolen Leica M7 film camera AND bought a camera a step up from the stolen M10 digital.  By now all bets must be placed.  Do I regret and have Deep Puritan Guilt or am I happy as a nursing baby?  

It's a break even payoff.  Both are true.  The amount of money I spent scares me terribly.  I know something is going to go wrong now and I will need a lot of money to fix it.  But when I hold those cameras, it is love.  

I don't recommend anyone buy a Leica camera, though.  You don't need one.  Just about any digital camera will do the same job, and they will do much more than the Leica does.  Every lens for the Leica M cameras is a prime.  There are no zooms.  You can't really use a longer lens with them as the frame lines are too small.  And for those negatives, you must pay a premium price.  And everything--EVERYTHING--from a plastic battery cover to a plastic hot shoe cover is stupidly expensive.  If you wear glasses, you will need to buy expensive screw on diopters.  Just don't.  

But if you do. . . . 

Now I have to use them.  I'll put them in the car so they are always available.  That way I will always have them at hand.  


Oh. . . I bought something else that is fun, too.  

A Classic Claxton Fruit Cake.  It is the season, and I LOVE fruit cakes.  Once I knew a woman who made one for me every year.  Long ago.  They were delicious.  One night, drunk and stoned, I think, I came home from a night out and dug in with enthusiasm.  However, she inadvertently got a piece of walnut shell in the mix.  I was chewing away like a madman when--CRUNCH!  I split a molar clean in two.  There was blood.  I ended up with an expensive crown.  

And STILL I love fruit cakes.  I chew them much more gingerly now, though.  

The seasonal fruit cake makes me happy.  

My mother was searching for a word yesterday.  She does that more now.  I told her that when she can't think of what a thing is called, just say "whatchamacallit."  I hadn't thought of that word for decades.  

"Remember dad always saying that?  That's funny."

My mother was laughing at the memory.  Good old pop.  So yea, Leica charges an arm and a leg for every fucking whatchamacallit.  

Look at that.  Three things that have made me happy this week--cameras, fruit cake, and the old whatchamacallit.  

So why are my nights so dark?  

Not now.  We'll stick with the sillier stuff.

One last thing, though.  Q scoffed at yesterday's post. 

“…a bone chilling cold you don't get in the north…” Hahahaha….. holy shit. 

Then he attached this. 

WTF?  When my relatives would come down from Ohio for the big stock car race in February, they would freeze their asses off.  It is the humidity.  Forty degrees at eighty percent humidity and a slight wind will kick your ass.  You can't get warm in the Florida cold.  

As Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was one summer in San Francisco."

Same thing.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Sleepy, Moody Autumn


"Why do I always look sooooo much better in mirrors?"  

Otherwise, nobody takes photographs of this guy.  I don't blame them, though. As I've said before, I don't like the way men look.  This guy I would photograph.  He is, however, seen only in mirrors.  

"I just want to know if I am still there."

One day, he'll look in the mirror and he won't be.  Might as well leave evidence that he was here somehow.  

Having not slept the night before, I wrote yesterday's blog post and went back to bed. It did no good.  I couldn't fall asleep.  And so, I was a pretty slow and sluggish boy all the live long day.  Still, I made it to the gym.  I was earlier than usual, of course.  None of the gymroids were there.  The place was fairly empty.  That was good.  As punky as I was feeling, I didn't want to do much, and I gave myself the unusual permission to go easy.  I reduced my weights and did more reps and was feeling good and fine.  Maybe it was the season, the weather having turned southern cold, which is a bone chilling cold you don't get in the north, but I had much the same feeling I had about life when I was in college.  What was that, you ask?  I can't explain it, exactly.  It was a shy curiosity about and an intense interest in things.  I was recalling incidents that had been forgotten for decades.  I had an inwardness that I have repressed or lost through public performance.  I have been performing for a very long time.  Isolation during Covid and beyond brought with it a sad contemplation that wore me down, but this feeling I had right now was like the younger me, uncertain but content and curious.  And so I did my exercises without social interaction, an observer of and a wonderer about life.  

Tennessee is a social animal, and when he is in the gym, he likes to get things going.  He's at his peak right now in that he has made his money and is still a good looking fellow with much of his waning physical prowess still intact.  He is an attention whore, though.  So I tell him all the time.  He likes to talk to the women in the gym.  It is mutual.  They enjoy his attention almost as much as he theirs.  He tells me often that so and so was stalking him in the gym, that he went back to the "boom-boom" room, and so and so followed him back.  I never see that and am skeptical that a lot of it isn't in his head, but recently, I have seen it happen.  There is a woman there who I've seen in the gym for years, since she was a young girl working out with her mother and her sisters.  They were all beautiful.  One couldn't help but noticing.  But I also observed that they looked mean and miserable, and in all the years I had seen them there, I had never spoken to them.  Indeed, I hardly spoke to anyone.  When Tennessee tells me the things she says to him, I listen as to a fairy tale.  Because Tennessee brings me into these conversations, though, I've spoken to her now, and I have found that my assessment of her was accurate.   I do not enjoy talking to her.  

The last time I saw Tennessee in the gym, though, he was on a stair stepper with his back to the room.  I saw the woman come in and look around, and when she spied him, she made a beeline for the stair stepper next to him.  She didn't exercise.  She just talked.  

"Well I must say I have thought you half full of shit about all of that. . ." I told him.  I could see the hurt come into his eyes.  

"Why would you say that?  I wouldn't make up this bullshit.  Fuck."

I could tell I had put a dent in the friendship with that one.  A blow to the ego, I guess.  I haven't heard so much from him since.  


Yesterday, between sets, my gaze was somewhere in the ether, my head full of late autumn remembrances of my youth when the world was new and fresh, and everything I came across was a wonder.

The woman came into the room wearing those tights that are mandatory now, the ones that are a second skin that let you be naked with clothes on.  She wore a midriff top.  She is very alluring to look at, or would be if I had never spoken to her.  Not tempted, I kept my gaze to the middle ground happy with the permission I had given myself to go easy.  

But she kept crossing in front of me.  I noticed that her exercise routine was making little sense.  In one pass by, though, she caught my eye, waved, gave a weak smile, and said hello.  I nodded.  

Now this is the sort of story that when Tennessee tells me, I call bullshit on.  It is bullshit, but it is true.  What does it mean?  Nothing to anyone. . . but again, I felt those youthful late autumn days when a new thing would happen, any small thing, maybe a girl in the library smiling at me, and I would feel the glow of being noticed.  I was a very shy boy.  I feel shy again, and I am regaining a naiveté.  

Wow.  I should delete all that.  That's not even a story.  I could have/should have simply said I have begun feeling an odd sense of the shy wonderment of my youth, or something to that effect, and that maybe it is the weather, the fatigue. . . . 

The maids were coming to the house, but they come late now and I don't have to rush to get things put away for them.  When I got home, I was hungry, and since the kitchen was a mess, one more thing wouldn't make much difference.  I cut up an avocado and some garlic, mashed them up with Kosher salt and red pepper, then fried two eggs to put on top.  I poured a big glass of milk.  There was enough fat in that meal to clog an artery, but I can't remember if eggs are good or bad fat now.  The science keeps changing.  I sat down to the computer as I ate to check my email and texts.  I had a photo of my old college roommate getting his new iPhone.  There was a holiday greeting from the drummer in our old band.  My conservative friend had bombarded me with his commentary on the day's headlines.  One of the young girl kids from the factory also had a new iPhone and sent a photo of her cocktail.  

"Oh, god, the portrait mode on this phone is great."

Her cocktail pic looked like one of mine.  

"Oh, shit. . . now everyone can do it!"

"What are you going to do now?  Take up painting?"

My friend in the Midwest who just got back from Iceland sent pictures of her cat. 

There was a picture from a cafe nook from Sky.  "Thinking and writing," she said. 

"Writing is thinking.  Sometimes now, I don't know which I am doing." 

I had a reminder for my next therapy session.  And there was an update on the delivery of my camera.  It was coming a day early, today instead of tomorrow.  They gave me a midday approximate time of arrival.  I'm not biting this time.  I wouldn't hang around the house all day waiting.  It won't be here until the end of the day.   But. . . I am excited.  

The day wasn't getting any warmer.  I took a hot soak in the tub and a shower.  I looked in the mirror.  For some reason, I thought, I looked good.  I put on some groovy clothes and took a drive to the camera repair place.  I wanted to see if he had any Leica camera straps.  I didn't find that out, though.  They are closed on Tuesdays.  

I drove down the street to the carwash.  Berries from the camphor tree are falling and had dotted my car.  I had my camera bag and a courier bag in the car.  I grabbed them to take with me.  When the fellow opened the back hatch, though, I saw two more camera bags I had forgotten about.  I grabbed those, too.  It is no wonder I lose cameras, eh?  

I sat on a bench outside in the waiting area.  A very pretty blonde was there as well, tallish, blade thin, with maybe a nose job and lots of botox.  She was wearing an expensive leather jacket and tight jeans.  She looked at me to see if I was looking at her.  It made me giggle.  I tried not to, of course, but she had made herself something to look at.  She was unlike anything else at the carwash.  She was like Wallace Stevens' jar on a hilltop in Tennessee (link).  She walked by me twice, turned quickly back to see.  Still, my gaze was in the mid ground, somewhere in the sensual autumn of my youth.  For some reason, she made me want to watch a movie I watched only a few months ago (link).  I think she would disappear if no one looked.  Her movements were quick and nervous like a songbird's. 

Car cleaned, camera bags ensconced, I headed for the Cafe Strange.  It was cold.  I wanted a cappuccino.  

When I walked in, there was a line at the counter.  Two teenaged outcast girls in strange garb and septum rings were holding up the line with their inabilities.  A woman with a dog on a leash managed to get him and it tangled around my legs.  The pretty girl in line behind me smiled.  I looked in the mirror and saw I was there.  I took a picture.  

When I got to the counter, the older redhead taking orders smiled, took my order, and kibitzed a bit.  I was shyly amusing and pleased to be remembered.  I took my cappuccino to a sticky table, sat down, and texted my picture to Sky.  

"Adorable," she wrote back.  

Well, yea. . . that's why I sent it.  I took out my notebook, the one I began last autumn with Sky, the one I only write in when I come to the cafe, the one that is nearing the final pages, and I made some notes and confessions.  The notebook is full of confessions.  I have always written journals and girlfriends have always managed to read them.  They have caused me nothing but trouble, but what am I going to do, stop?  I don't know how to do that.  I don't know how to damn the drivel as obviated by this blog.  I do not envy those who do not write.  Jesus, when I got my first laptop and email, I would drink and write long, long missives to people late into the night.  When I cancelled my old Earthlink subscription, I lost thousands of pages of emails, a tragedy I still regret.  

But a cappuccino doesn't last too long, and in a bit, I was back in the car and off to see my mother.  First, however, a stop at the liquor store across the street.  

I was early to my mother's house and the garage door was closed.  I called her cell.  I called her home phone.  No answer.  She must not be home, I thought, but I needed to fix her computer.  She was upset.  A message had come up that said she had been hacked and not to try to shut down her computer.  They wanted a ransom.  I have taught her to just shut down the computer when that happens and not to try to do anything else.  When she tried to reboot it, though, she couldn't.  It said she had the wrong password.  

When I walked in the door, my mother was there.  She had been in the bathroom, she said.  O.K.  Let me look at the computer.  I powered it up.  It asked for the password.  I typed it in and it booted right away.  

"What did you do?" my mother asked.  

"I put in the password."

"I did that.  I did it over and over and it wouldn't take it."

"Hmm."  I grinned.  

She hadn't been able to use her laptop for email.  Every time she tried to send something, she got a message about her SMPTE.  I needed a password to check it, but she had no idea.  I tried fixing it a long time ago, but I got frustrated and quit.  I was feeling ok today, though, so I tackled that again.  I tried every password she had ever written down, and after a quarter hour, miraculously, I hit the right one.  A hundred emails flooded her inbox.  Her FaceBook page came up.  She was ecstatic.  It was a miracle.  I was a genius, a hero.  

"What would I do without you," she asked?

"Just sit here without FaceBook, messaging, or texts, hands in the air saying 'I don't know.'"

"Yes," she said.  

The maids were at my house.  I sat with my mother for a while and chatted.  She had felt good all day, she said.  Her back hadn't bothered her.  She went to two banks to do business, and when she was done, she just wanted to keep going.  

Huh, I thought, maybe there is something in the air.  

When I left her house, I drove to the great Mexican place for dinner.  I had written to Sky that it was a day for cappuccino.  Or Supreme Nachos.  Yes, she said.  She loved nachos.  I guess this put the Mexican place in my head.  

Emily the barmaid was working.  "Hello," she said and smiled.  We picked up the conversation where we had left it a week ago as she made me a spicy skinny Margarita.  My god they are good.  I ordered dinner.  She said she had seen Tennessee a few nights ago.  He had been in with his wife.  I said he was in the Bahamas now, I thought.  He and his wife were going on a little vacation.  Dinner was good.  I texted a pic to Sky.  


Back home, I poured a whiskey and lit a cheroot.  It was cold, but I had on my puffy jacket.  I sat in the early darkness and recounted the day.  It had been a good day for a boy who hadn't slept.  It had slowed me down and made me contemplatively moody.  

Early bed.  

"Nothing good happens after nine," my college roommate had written earlier in the day.  

"You used to say 'midnight.'"

I woke at four-thirty.  Wide awake.  I had slept straight through for seven hours.  I guessed that was good enough.  It is freaking cold this morning.  I have therapy at nine.  It is seven now.  I wonder if I have time to go back to bed.  

I know I said I didn't like the way boys look, but here is one I would photograph.  He was young, shy, and moody, and everything was new.  He wanted to see the world.  His wasn't luxury travel.  This was his room on Duval Street in a rundown off fisherman's hotel.  It was dilapidated now, floors slanting, doors peeling, bathrooms down the hall.  The window unit a.c. would freeze up at night because no one had ever changed the filter.  He carried his things in an old cardboard suitcase.  He took his own photo, camera with a timer on the crooked table.  He was just making sure he was there.  $8/night, but sometimes he'd meet someone who wanted to share a room for $10.  $5 each.  He ate cheap meals at the El Cacique and drank cafe con leche with Cuban toast each morning for breakfast.  Key West was a foreign country then.  He was there the day they blockaded Hwy 1 and seceded from the Union.  The local crowds were wild.  It seemed true.  Captain Tony was mayor, and he would sit in his bar at night listening to Tony tell tales of his rum runner days.  They were making a movie about his life at the time.  He said he could get the boy a part as an extra in the film, but the boy wasn't going to be in town long enough.  

A girl walked past where they sat with their drinks.  She looked at him and smiled.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

FedEx Sucks

Yesterday was a total wash.  I had a therapy session at nine in the morning.  FedEx was delivering a package to the house that required me to sign for it.  Their messaging said it was put on the truck at 3:30 am and was out for delivery.  It should be at my house between ten and two.  Big window, but what could I do.  Therapy session lasted one hour.  I was home by ten.  In a little while, I saw the FedEx truck.  Man, what luck.  Only it went to the neighbor's house, not mine.  When it pulled away, I was miffed but figured it would circle around and come back.  

It didn't.  

I was dressed for the gym.  I decided to walk up and down the street with my iPhone in hand so I could know how far I'd gone.  Up and down the street I went, always with an eye on the house.  I got in two and a half miles.  The neighbors surely think I've gone looney.  

At two, I looked at the tracking once again.  It now said "By End of Day."  Good God!

I called my mother to tell her I might not be over, that I was waiting on a package.  

Anxious, mad, bored stiff, at 3:30 I decided I would make a gin and tonic.  The day was nice.  I sat on the deck and read.  

By four I was getting hungry, but I hadn't been to the grocery store.  I decided to peruse the freezer.  I didn't know what half the stuff in there was.  There was some frozen cod.  I didn't want that.  There were some small steaks.  Hmm.  I called my mother.  

"How long do you think things stay good in the freezer?"

She said she thought that the beef would be fine.  Just then I read the package.  They expired in 2021.  

"Never mind."

I put everything from the freezer into the garbage.

I had a can of Hormel Chili in the cabinet.  It was hurricane food.  So was the can of Corned Beef.  I looked at the nutritional information.  What was I thinking?  I rummaged through the fridge again.  Way in the back were some Marcona almonds.  I tasted one.  O.K.  I had no idea how old they were, but I was desperate.  I sliced some Spanish goat cheese and spooned out the last of the mixed olives from Whole Foods.  I tore off a chunk of baguette that was beginning to harden.  

Fuck FedEx.  I hated them.  

Q texted.  I wrote him about my misery.

"Just have ‘em leave it in your car. Save yourself a step in the process."

Six o'clock.  I was desperate for a meal.  I opened a can of sardines.  

Six thirty, FedEx showed up.  I'd waited at home for 8 1/2 hours.  I was seeing blood.  

My gut was grumbling now.  Such a weird combo of food.  I decided to have some of my new favorite ice cream, Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk.  


I turned on the television.  I put on "Kansas City."  It's a good movie.  I watched it for a little while.  I've seen it before.  I turned it off and went to bed.  

And I slept. . . one hour at a time.  It was a horrible end to a horrible day.  

I got up before five.  It is 6:30 now.  I am going to go back to bed.  I am desperate here in the dark, mind haunted by despair.

"What if I've been wrong about everything?"

"You probably were."  

Monday, November 27, 2023

Full Beaver Moon

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches tigers
In red weather.

Oh those Modernists fucked me up.  Two World Wars had done it, I guess.  Up was down, black was white, in was out.  They blamed and rejected Puritan and Victorian standards.  Sort of.  Wallace Stevens, who wrote that poem, was a Harvard educated attorney who worked as an executive for the Hartford Insurance Company and lived in a house with a white picket fence.  I think that is right.  If memory serves.  If I'm wrong, it's about the house. . . but I think I'm right.  He married a woman of whom his parents disapproved, and when they refused to attend the wedding, he never spoke to them again.  His wife suffered from mental illness and they slept in separate rooms for most of their marriage.  

See what I mean?

Or take e.e. cummings who was court-martialed for desertion.  Or take William Carlos Williams, the obstetrician.  

I can't put Frost in this category so much.  But they were all contemporaries and didn't get along very well.  Stevens liked to drink, it is known, and one night at a party, he disparaged Hemingway loudly to the room.  Hemingway's sister was in attendance, and she went home and woke Hemingway up and told him what Stevens had said.  Hemingway got up, dressed, and went to the party.  What happened next is told differently by different biographers.  Stevens swung at Hemingway and may have hit him and broken his hand.  Or Hemingway hit Stevens and broke his jaw.  Perhaps both.  In the end, however, it is agreed that Stevens was soundly beaten and lay on the ground.  This all happened in Key West during the Depression.  

Frost and Stevens quarreled in Key West as well.  It was the playground of the successful artists and writers.

Now Key West is a middle class mall for people who want to have a Wild and Crazy Time.  It has become a brand.  I think all the writers and artists left before the '90s.  

I was watching "that show" I can't name last night.  They went to Cabo San Lucas.  Holy fuck!  What happened?  Once a sleepy fishing village not so long ago. . . .  


People want what everyone else wants.  It's o.k.  I think they are happier in their blandness than any of the above named poets.  I think the whole aim of the Modernist Movement was to make people as unhappy as they were.  

Me and my friends, babe. . . I think we all subscribed.  One foot in, one foot out, of course.  Just like those Bohemian Marxists in Mexico, like Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  BoBos.  I mean. . . they had servants.  I think that is right, if memory serves.  If not. . . but I think I remember that.  They certainly took money from rich industrialists.  

* * * 

So, though poor, I think I aspired to BoBo-ism.  I wished to be a Bohemian with money.  I got close to money, but never had any of my own, no more than enough to get by and just a little more.  I, like many of my friends, travelled the world on a dime, slept in places you wouldn't want to, suffered things for self-glory. . . yada yada yada.  It's true, though.  I didn't just kayak placid rivers and estuaries and pay to have someone sail me around.  I mean I have, but not "just."  I didn't play golf in any one of a hundred resorts.  I hate golf and couldn't afford the rates.  

But I like nice things.  They just keep getting stolen.  Not once, but twice.  Some people blame me rather than the thieves.  Q did just last night when I told him.  

I thought about it for weeks.  Ever since the robbery.  I couldn't afford  the newest Leica, the M11 which sells for $9,000 new, body only.  I want it, but one of you nice people are going to have to buy it for me.  But I bought one a step under, used, for the best price I could find in the weeks of searching.  It is from a reputable place known for its quality service.  I can't afford it, but I did it anyway.  As Clint Eastwood says as the filmmaker John Huston in "White Hunter, Black Heart"--"Sometimes you just have to do the wrong thing."  

Huston, another Modernist who did the wrong thing. Often.  

Maybe it was the moon.  I bought the beauty on the Full Beaver Moon.  Maybe it was madness.  

I considered this, though--those of you who are mommies and daddies probably spend that kind of money on your kid every month.  That is what I told Sky.  She simply sent me the video of the moon.  Yes, yes. . . it was a lunatic thing to do, but I did it and now it is done.  All I ask for is that one of you--or a collective of you--buy me some lenses.  I need an M Summicron 50mm.  Look it up.  Be generous.  

Yea, those Modernists f'ed me up.  BoBos.  They weren't like the Russians--Chekov, Tolstoi, Dostoyevski.  Maybe I'm wrong, though.  Probably.  I think they would have been different if they had not been in Russia.  

And of course there were the German and the French.  

I shouldn't have confessed, but I couldn't help it.  Will it make me happy?  Happier?  Or will I feel unfettered, self-punishing  Puritan guilt?  

Place your wagers.  Make your bets.  I think it will make me feel like this.  Autumn and all.  

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Love and Death. . . and the Sensuality of Things

Tonight is the Full Beaver Moon.  I'll not show a full beaver; rather, the Lesbian Who Loved Me.  Not romantically.  She did not like men.  She was full on into women and womanhood.  She didn't even shoot with male photographers, but my estrogen levels were probably what she responded to.  I'm sure they were higher than many women she knew.  So she came to the studio multiple times.  She liked the photographs, but we got along well, too.  She moved to California, but we kept in touch for awhile.  If she came back, she said, we'd get together for a shoot.  She was oh-so-lovely but as intense as she seems in this photograph.  Eventually, I lost touch. 

But those times have ended.  Now I am struggling to make photographs with a mechanical beast.  

Don't tell me you don't like a good photo of a street without people better than a portrait of a girl.  It's o.k. to admit it.  It is the times.  If you are struggling with an answer, however, it might be that this photograph is out of focus.  In parts.  It is strange.  "Chophouse," which is what I focussed on, is not in focus at all, but the "Downtown" sign to the right side of the frame is.  Parts of the door frame on the left side of the photo are in focus, too, as is the sidewalk below the "Chophouse" sign.  Some of the focus is forward of the sign and some of the focus is behind.  There are things going on here that just shouldn't be.  So yesterday I took the camera to my friend who repairs cameras.  I had the camera in the car, but I didn't take it out.  I was buying some more 4x5 film.  Somehow, though, and not by my doing, the camera became the topic of discussion among the repair guy and two of his employees.  One of them said he would like to see the camera sometime.  Oh, I said, and I went to my car to fetch it.  The camera store kids were fascinated.  The camera is a marvel.  I explained to them the trouble I was having with focus, so my repair friend decided to have a look.  And here is what he found--the focus on the mirror that lets you focus at the top of the camera and the film plane at the back of the camera are not aligned.  There could be many reasons for this, but since the camera is all handmade, he didn't want to touch it.  It was agreed that I needed to take the camera up to see its maker.  

And so I called the maker.  I will probably be taking the camera the 110 highway miles to see him.  He said I should stay the night.  We will go swimming in the springs, he says.  It will be a high time.  And a sober one.  My friend has not had a drink in 22 years.  

"I've never had one drink in my life," he says.  

"Well of course not," I say.  "That would be silly." 

He still goes to meetings.  But if he gets my camera back into alignment, I will be very happy.  And he lives only ten miles from my alma mater university.  Old Hog Town.  I haven't been there for decades.  It could be a hoot.  

I continue to shoot four pieces of film every day.  Here's another titillating photo that beats those nasty portraits.  Kidding.  I took this one to prove to some skeptics on a Large Format Photography website that you can handhold this beast at f2.5, a seeming impossibility.  Here you see the reason people want this Aero Ektar lens.  The depth of field is razor thin.  But the in-focus parts of the image are razor sharp and do not show motion blur.  Take that you skeptics.  

Here's another sexy little pot shot.  I'm sure I captured its soul with this one, the inner life of inanimate objects.  

It strikes me now how hard we worked NOT to show an interiority in those Lonesomeville photos.  I strove for a cold emotional distance that revealed nothing more than an existential emptiness tinged with anger and contempt which is funny to me now because the atmosphere in the studio was really very fun.  There was music.  There was food.  There was drink.  We always laughed a lot.  I'm kind of a funny guy.  Quirky, I guess.  And sweet, too, let's not forget.

Growing up in hippie times, I guess I thought there was something glorious about the naked human figure.  We were against the Puritans prior to the Male Gaze thing.  But in truth, I don't really like the way the male figure looks.  I know there are people who do, and that's quite o.k. with me.  My framer said I'd make a lot more money if I photographed guys.  Why?  Oh, he said, think about it.  I did.  Maybe that will be my next project.  

As soon as I get my Liberator working right.  But we'll forego the nudes.  People don't feel as free as they used to.  Everything is an ideological struggle now.  Everyone has an idea, new or copied, and they have a megaphone on social media.  Like Trump.  I'm pretty sure he is only an AI bot at this point.  It's o.k. though.  I'm all for it.  The AI thing, I mean, not Trump.  

Another gloomy day.  Big chance of rain.  I watched the last episode of the first half of the last season of "The Crown" last night, if that makes any sense.  Holy shit--Princess Diana dies in a car crash!  That was a stupid plot twist.  She was the only reason to watch this last season.  They should have re-wrote the thing and let her live.  Elizabeth Debicki who plays Diana is. . . well, she is more Diana than the real one.  But they kill her off.  Still, they had sense enough to bring her back as a ghost.  Now this is historically accurate.  She absolutely had visitations with the Royal Family after her death.  And she was charming.  And once again, I got all swollen and puffy and teary.  But last night, I think I figured out what is wrong with me.  

All of art and literature revolves around two things: love and death.  Argue if you will, but these are the only art worthy subjects.  All the rest is simply well-crafted polemic.  Love and Death are inarguable.  And it is the sudden realization that of the two, I may have only one left.  I think I cry at the dumbest things because I know that everyone I've loved now loves someone else and I am not so likely ever again to have My Own True Love.  Death, then, is all that is left.  

Oh. . . I guess I meant in narrative arts.  Pictures of people, especially provocative ones, are the milieu of the two and three dimensional arts.  And still life.  The sensuality of things.  

Like the agave plants and the empty pot.  Or the empty city street.  Those will top those stinky-assed nudes any day of the week.  

Except today.  A moody Sunday.  And oh, damn--music can be art, too.  Most is just craft at best, but here is something that embodies this moody day.  "Manha de Carnival"--Selavy!

Saturday, November 25, 2023


And again.  Shoes in focus, face out.  It happens in every picture.  I'm more than miffed.  I called the fellow who made the camera last night.  He lives two hours away, so I am going to drive the camera to him and stay the night at his house.  That is what I said, at least.  If he tells me there is nothing wrong with the camera, I am going to sell it but I don't see a way in hell that the problem is with me.  Not the same thing every time.  

Piss, shit, fuck, goddamn.  

That's my mom on Thanksgiving just before we went to the neighbor's house.  She'll be 92 in a minute, just over a week before Christmas, but we don't feel like celebrating.  Don't know what it is.  Maybe it is the news.  Maybe it is the weather.  Maybe it is something else.  But this will be a low-key December for us.  

Old mom. 

Apparently, the pic I showed you yesterday was the one I messed up on, but I think I probably like it better.  Oh. . . but look closely--feet in focus, head hardly.  I'm not sure this is good Christmas decoration, but people celebrate how they will, I guess.  

I went to bed last night feeling fine, but I've woken up this morning feeling as if something is "coming on."  Head, chest, throat.  It is that time of year, but I've had all my shots.  Nothing protects you from everything, though.  It is another gloomy day, cool and damp and cloudy.  I sink into the gloom.  Maybe I'll eschew all movement and spend the day inside.  Maybe I just feel like "fuck everything."  I've been feeling that way for awhile.  Still, I have kept myself moving.  I haven't napped in days.  Indeed, I've been pretty productive, but so far, I have found no joy.  These fouled up photographs haven't helped.  4x5 film is expensive.  Shooting with the Liberator is complex.  Developing takes time.  I see the negatives are exposed right and have high hopes.  Then I scan them and weep.  

Maybe I'm on the verge of a mental collapse.  A "breakdown," as they used to say.  Maybe I just have SAD.  

The cat is at the door.  She stays here most of the time now, staring in.  She watches me.  She's there when I get in the car to go somewhere, and she is there when I get back.  She's waited too long, though, to be a domestic kitty.  But damn, she makes me feel guilty somehow.  

That's all I got, as they say in the hills.  Just a desultory report of failure and gloom.  

Don't let it bring you down.  Sometimes it takes the misery of others to make us feel better.  Right?  Wait. . . that can't be said.  

I'd better go take some Umcka.  I think I'll go back to bed.  

Friday, November 24, 2023

Into the Dwindling Future

This is why I give up on the Liberator so often.  There is no way I messed up focus this badly.  And are those water spots on this or what?  Still, you know, I can't say I hate it.  It has a certain charm.  It does, just not the one I intended.  

I will go back and try it again.  

That is not the only fuck up of the day, but I will get to that.  There were a lot of fuck ups on Thanksgiving.  Nothing major, just the run of the mill stuff.  

The day did not begin well.  I woke up at four a.m.  I lay in bed another forty minutes or so hoping to get back to sleep, but that never happened.  I had been looking forward with enthusiasm to the day the night before.  I had plans.  But when I got out of bed, I felt wobbly.  Surely it was just a lack of sleep?  I struggled through the morning reading the news and sending out T-day greetings.  Since I was up before everyone else, I was first out of the gate.  I read, I wrote, I drank coffee.  Then I decided to pack up the Liberator and some film cameras and head out for a little photo safari.  

I was, however, still feeling wobbly.  

Mr. Skeleton here was my first stop.  I was driving down a street with no parking when I saw it.  I almost let it go for that reason, then I thought if I did, I would be doing the same thing all day--just letting things go--so I pulled over on a side street, packed up my big ass-camera, and walked back to the house.  I framed and metered and shot, packed up my shit, and walked back to the car.  And just as I got there, I wondered, "Did I set the aperture before I shot?"  What the hell?  I couldn't remember doing that.  I almost got into the car hoping I did, but I thought if I did that, I would be "hoping" I didn't make mistakes for the rest of the day.  I walked back and took a second picture.  That is the one you see above.  

By god, though, I am absolutely sure I focused the camera.  This is ridiculous.  

But at the time, I was proud of myself.  I was a REAL PRO working for the shot.  

I got into the car and drove toward Gotham.  When I got to the lakeside park, there were few people around.  All the shops and restaurants were closed.  But I saw something I wanted to photograph back on the street.  What the hell.  I pulled to the curb and went back.  Measure exposure, frame, focus, SET THE APERTURE, and shoot.  Yea, baby.  I was getting this shit down.  

When I walked back to the car, I paused for a second.  Maybe I'd just walk out into the park and see what happened.  I was standing next to one of those Jesus Saves groups when one of the women asked about my camera.  

"Wow.  Look at that.  That's a really old camera, isn't it?"

I explained to her and her friend that the camera was old and the lens was old but that the camera was rebuilt for me.  Then I asked them if I could take their picture with it.  


This was great.  I stood back to make sure I had them in frame.  I metered the light, then I focused.  I mean I REALLY  focused.  I knew I had something here.  I did everything perfectly, I was sure.  I could feel greatness coming my way.  

As you see, their faces are blurred.  The faceplate of the lens was built to allow some tilt action.  What happened here is that the lens was not parallel, so their feet are in focus but their faces are not.  

When I turned around, there was a man standing behind me.  He was admiring the camera and was curious as to how it worked.  I showed him the camera and then asked him if I could photograph him.  He first demurred, but then he said O.K.  

Man, I thought, this is great.  I stepped back, read the meter, framed, focused and shot.  Again, I was cooking.  Sure, this was just practice, but it wasn't just practice with the camera.  I was interacting with the crowd again, developing my photo personality, getting my street cred together, so to speak.  

But. . . here again. . . same fucking thing!  The middle of his jacket is perfectly focussed, but his face is all fuzzy.  Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.  

But I didn't know any of this at the time.  I had given both the Bible Women and the Man in the Jacket my phone number and said to let me know if they wanted copies of the pictures.  Cool.  I decided to step out into the park to have a little look/see.  Maybe there would be more curious people.  As I stood and looked out across the lake, I decided to make another photograph.  It was a nothing photo, but that happens a lot.  Everyone takes dumb pictures.  

So. . . the throw away photo comes out best.  The Walking Man is tack sharp.  The exposure was good.  So, the technically good photo is as boring as chewing paper.  

I took more photos.  I drove.  I stopped.  I made more than the four exposures I said I would make each day.  It was noon.  I decided to drive home and develop the film.  

I was still wobbly.  

When I got back to the house and brought the things in from the car, I grabbed my developing tank and the newly shot film and headed to the garage and the changing tent.  I mixed my chemicals.  But I wasn't quite ready to start.  I decided to make a Bloody Mary first.  WTF, right?  It was Thanksgiving and I hadn't a thing all day.  It was time to toast the millions of turkeys who had given their lives to make this the day it was.  Too late, I remembered to take a photo.  I'd already eaten the olives and celery.  Still. . . .

I decided to make another.  This time, I'd photograph it. 

Proud, you know, I had sent the pics around.  Sky texted me.  "You'll be sleepy by 3."

The developing tank holds four sheets of film at a time.  I developed the first four and hung them to dry.  I got the exposures pretty good.  I couldn't wait to scan them.  I went back to the garage and loaded four more.  When I hung them, they, too, looked great.  I was going to be a happy boy, I was certain.  

I decided to take a soak and a shower.  When I was finished, I had about half an hour before I needed to be at my mother's.  Sky was right.  I was sleepy.  I lay on the couch and closed my eyes.  When I opened them, it was three.  I grabbed the champagne and drove over to see mom.  

When I got there, she was raring to go to the neighbors.  I said it was a bit too early.  They said four.  So I took her outside and got the big assed Liberator and put her on the sidewalk in the sun.  Meter, compose, focus, shoot!  Yea, yea. . . another masterpiece.  

Still, we got to the neighbor's house early.  I think my mother just wanted to get this over with.  I was anxious to open the champagne.  I was fading.  When we walked into the neighbors' kitchen to smell the food, I was trying to pull the cork out of the bottle first thing.  Struggling.  

"Give that to Dan," the hostess said.  "He can get it out."

I looked at her sternly.  "Who do you think you are talking to?" I shouted.  I gave a big pull.  Then another.  Shit.  What if I DID have to give it to Dan?  I wiggled the cork around and pulled once more.  I felt a little progress.  One, two. . . POP!

"Give it to Dan my ass," I said!  Indeed.

She looked at me and laughed.  

But oh, brother, that champagne was good.  The host wanted to put some juice in it.  

"No. . . no. . . ."

These were practical people.  They did now spend their money on good champagne.  Prosecco mimosas, of course.

I handed around the glasses and we made a toast.  Holy smokes!  Even my mother loved the champs, and she doesn't know shit from Shinola about wine.  I wished I had bought a case.  

The hostess' phone rang.  Her husband handed it to her.  

"It's her boyfriend," he said.  

It turned out that she had invited some fellow from her hair salon to come to dinner.  He was young and away from home.

"You'll like him," she said.  "You'll get along."  

It was past four and it didn't look like we'd be eating any time soon.  I was going to need to keep making cheap conversation for quite awhile.  I was wearing out.  

Finally the fellow showed up.  The hostess took him on a tour of the house.  The host came in and out of the living room from the kitchen.  My mother and I sat watching the giant t.v. that was blaring a football game nibbling on cheese and crackers.

Skip ahead.  The champagne gone, the host broke out the cheap Prosecco.  Dinner was pretty awful, too, the turkey flavorless and dry.  I ate the vegetables soaked in fat.  

By the time I got home, I was feeling it was time for bed.  It was seven.  I poured a scotch.  I am not an all day drinker, but I was this day.  I was feeling it.  I lit a cheroot and went to the deck to drink and smoke and think in the dark.  The little feral came out of nowhere and curled up on the mat in front of the door.  This tickled me.  She hangs around all the time now.  It pleased me so much, I sat outside in the cooler air wanting another drink but not wanting to disturb her.  Finally, though, I said, "Honey, I've got to go in."  She moved.  I felt badly.  But as I poured my drink, I saw that she came back to lay on the doormat.  Poor kid.  

It was time to scan. . . and to have my heart broken.  I couldn't believe it.  I was pissed.  I was sick.  I sent copies of the scans to the people I photographed with apologies.  Then I sent the pics to the fellow who made my camera and asked him if it would be hard to just fix the lens board in place with no tilt.  This was happening to me al the time now, and it was breaking my heart.  

A few late texts came in.  Dinners were eaten, drinks were drunk.  People had been with their families.  I'd been with mine, too, but my mother and I agreed that the dinner had sucked as had the night.  

"Who wants to eat that late?" we both asked.  Thanksgiving dinner, not supper.  Fuck that, we said.  We'd do our own next year.  

So the day was a smashing failure, I'd say.  I'm committed, however, to making four pictures a day with that big-assed Liberator.  I'm going to do it until I can do it right.  The thing is a monster and a curiosity piece, and people like it.  I have project ideas if I can ever get the shit right.  Big ideas.  Big plans.  

It is Friday morning now.  I have fed the cat.  She sits on the mat looking through the bottom panes of glass in the door at me.  That is what I have.  An alley cat and a camera that is killing me.  It is Christmas time now.  Christmastime?  One word?  Spell check says so.  Spellcheck?  

I degreed in Lit, not spelling and grammar.  

Now. . . onward into the dwindling season.  

Thursday, November 23, 2023

The 'Shrooms of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.  Know your 'shrooms.  This one is called "The Devil's Penis."  You don't want to eat this one.  Don't even touch it.  It will disappear eventually.  

This is another not so good photograph with the big Liberator camera.  I've committed to shooting, developing, and scanning four sheets of film a day.  So far, I've been very bad at it.  Yesterday, I shot four sheets of film.  Somehow, though, I loaded five into the developing tank.  Three of the negatives were just exposed wrong or developed incorrectly or something.  The fourth had the extra negative lying on top of it and is all kinds of f'ed up.  I will try again today.  

What are you doing for Thanksgiving dinner?  That's what people ask.  It's an innocuous question but often requires a narrative answer.  I will be having dinner with my mother at her neighbor's house at 4 p.m.  Narrative to follow.  

What I should do is make French toast for breakfast.  I haven't had French toast in years.  I make tremendous French toast.  That was the breakfast I made the morning of the turning of the century.  I'll bet I haven't had it more than a few times since.  Trouble this morning is I don't have any bread.  I never have bread.  I need only two slices, but I would have to buy a loaf.  And syrup.  But darn, it is tempting.  The grocers open in half an hour.  

Day after day, it has been cloudy and rainy here in the Sunny South.  The temperature has dropped in the night.  Thanksgiving will be cloudy, cool, and damp.  This may continue forever.  It is quite deflating.  I have no spirit, holiday or other.  I have no inspirational music, not newly discovered, anyway.  I should start the Hipster Holiday set, I guess, but I don't really feel it.  

But maybe French toast would pick me up.  Maybe it would put me in "the mood."  

Selavy.  Enjoy your dinner, wherever you are.  Let the games begin. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Just a Dick

This is my stand in for a human figure.  I pulled out the old Liberator yesterday for the first time in god knows how long.  Have I used it this year?  It is a beast and terribly difficult to focus I find.  I get frustrated and put it away.  But recently, Tennessee has had the idea that I need to make some photography money to replace my cameras.  He said that each year, his wife hires a photographer to take the family portraits.  She pays between twelve and fifteen hundred dollars.  He wanted to know if I would do this year's portraits.  He'd pay me, he said.  

Quandary.  I don't do that kind of shit.  Of course, friends and family don't get charged ever for anything, so I'd be doing it for free, which would be o.k. since I don't know if I could do this sort of thing at all.  I went online and looked up local photographers who do portraits.  It's true.  They charge a lot of money.  It looks like they usually take you to the Country Club College campus or to one of the parks on the lake.  They shoot for half an hour to an hour depending on how much you want to pay.  The photos of families look interchangeable.  All are high-toned and smiley.  I've walked by them working on Sundays many times.  Some use natural light and work alone.  Some have assistants who hold reflectors or portable strobes.  I assume they are more expensive.  I guess it doesn't matter.  People have little artistic sensibility.  The vast majority.  If they are smiling and don't look awkward, they are happy.  You can find these packaged pictures in living rooms all over the country.  

"Oh my goodness!  I love it!  We have one almost like that!"

I guess it is one step up from the old Olan Mills and Sears portraits, though I get inspired by kitsch.  

Tennessee is now recruiting others who want family photos.  They are willing to pay. . . at a discount rate.  Again, I'd be ok with that since I have never done this sort of thing before.  But I get diarrhea just thinking about it.  

Still, it's money.  Wedding photographers make a lot of money.  One who is tied into a certain social bracket can make $15,000 for a wedding.  For those who don't pay that sort of money, though, they get the photos that look like everybody else's.  

Shooting a wedding is a lot of work.

I taught photography to a lot of students who were already doing this sort of thing.  I think the less you know about art, perhaps, the better you are at doing it.  You're not trying to be creative.  You just want to get the light and the exposures right.  You want to get everybody in frame.  Everything else is automatic.  

So why don't I want to do it?  I'm trying to think of a simile that will make the point, but I am having trouble.  Maybe like having your friends walk in while you are masturbating to the Hallmark Channel.  

BUT--I have another idea that will not make me any money that intrigues me more.  I thought about it yesterday.  I'm going to text Bob the Actor and tell him I want to photograph him with a handmade camera.  But first, I need to practice.  I've fucked up almost every picture I've taken with that beast.  I'm going to use Tennessee to practice on until I am sure I can make everything work.  Then I'll text Bob.  Then, if that works, I'll shoot the famous poet, the mystery novelist, and maybe even Carrot Head who is a sworn enemy but who is friends with Tennessee.  Naw.  I couldn't.  

I thought maybe I'd contact Sally Mann in Virginia and tell her I want to show her a camera she might like.  

Yes, I've been dreaming.  

But I'm throwing the Liberator and some 4x5 film into the car today, and if somebody doesn't steal it, I will make some more pictures.  It is fairly thrilling.  

I'm being stupid, of course.  I took portraits a week ago, remember?  The kids in matching outfits?  And this one, too.  

I should get off my high horse.  I've made lots of stupid pictures.  I hadn't planned on showing this, but, you know. . . I have to be self-effacing.  

At least it's in focus.  

But there is a quality to that Liberator palm pic, ain't there?  Creamy.  Dreamy.  Not literal.  

I can do it. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. . . . 

If I were to do family portraits, though. . . .

This post turned out to be a mess.  Whatever.  Some days, I guess, I'm just a dick.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Another Mood Indigo

The cat is back.  A lot.  She came for two feedings yesterday and hung around for a long while.  She is not jumpy around me at all now, so I have to wonder what she's been doing.  Maybe she's been eating rats, but maybe someone else has been feeding her.  I won't worry about her any longer.  She seems to be doing fine.  

Early yesterday, I decided to take a walk across an outdoor "garden" which is really a large nature park.  In truth, I don't know what to call it, but the city owns it.  There is a garden club and a small outdoor amphitheater where people sometimes perform wedding ceremonies.  There is a stream that runs through the park and as I found yesterday, there are now plantings of native plants with i.d. markers.  It is where many birds nest including barn owls with their downy white owlets.  On weekends, you will find birders with their binoculars and telescopes.  You can walk through the park and come out the other side into one of my favorite neighborhoods.  So I meandered and took photos with my Monochrom Leica and lamented the rest of my missing Leica gear.  

Cutting back across the gardens on my way home, I heard someone call my name as I got close to the amphitheater.  I looked over to the only other person around.  It was some bum with a big, old dog.  He waved and I waved back.  

"It's Bob," he said.  

Ohhhh.  Bob is an actor of no small repute.  I don't think I can call him a "star."  He's been in many movies and t.v. shows, but rarely played the lead.  Should I call him a "recurring character"?  His real name isn't Bob, of course, and if I mentioned the movies he's been in, you would know him right away.  I'll give you a clue, though.  He is cast in a big role in an upcoming t.v. show set in the Florida Keys.  

I've known Bob for many, many years.  He graduated from an Ivy League school's theater program.  When I first met him, he was making his living in a little league wrestling federation as a manager/wrestler.  He got injured pretty badly, though, when he was slammed to the canvas one night, and that was the end of that.  He was getting small parts in big movies, though, and he decided to use the money to make a film of his own.  He asked me to be involved in the production, and she et up a meeting with me, himself and the director.  I couldn't stand the director when I met him, however, and I graciously declined to be part of the production.  I did get Q an internship with Bob, though, as he was in film school here at the time.  I never saw the movie.  I thought I remembered the name of it, but I Googled it and I wasn't right.  I don't know that the movie ever had a theatrical release.  I think it went straight to video.  It was one of those things you might pick up out of curiosity at a Block Buster back then.  

Since then, though, his career has gotten much bigger.  We stood in the park chatting, catching up, and we walked together along the creek to the back exit of the park that leads to my neighborhood.  As we were about to go our separate ways, Bob said, "You still have my number, right?"  Jesus. . . I didn't think so, so he dialed my number.  Now I have it.  I guess we will get together for drinks.  

I tell the story only for one reason.  Self-aggrandizement.  Sort of.  It is just that I find myself happy if the hippie girl at the cafe remembers me.  I am amazed when I get texts from women I have known.  I wonder how I have become friends with a bunch of younger, rich gymroids.  My self-esteem has sunk to new depths in the past few years.  Not my ego.  Don't get me wrong.  My ego is out of control.  Self-esteem is something else, though. . . right?   So when the former poet laureate or the novelist or the movie star call my name, say hello, sit on my deck for awhile. . . I don't know.  It picks me up.  It makes me happy for a moment.  Hell, I get the same kick out of the garbage guys blowing their horn and waving.  I am just alone so much, I think I am invisible.  

And maybe depressed.  

Last night, I went to bed at nine o'clock.  I like going to bed early.  After brushing my teeth, I opened the bedside table drawer to look for something.  I was worried about waking up at three or four o'clock in the morning.  I wanted to sleep for a long time.  My drawers are full of things and I always find surprises.  I pulled out a box of Moon Drops.  They are a homeopathic sleep aid, it says on the box.  Lozenges.  These were brought to my house years ago.  But surely they can't go bad, I thought, so I popped one.  Next to the box was a jar of Sleep Massage Cream that smells of lavender.  I remembered that long ago, I used to have a hippie girl who said she loved me who would massage my back with it before bed to put me to sleep.  I massaged some into my temples and turned off the light.  

I slept the whole night through and had the most wonderful, happy dreams.  All sorts of joyful things from my life were mixed in.  Was it the Moon Drops?  Was it the Massage Cream?  I don't know, but I am certain to use them again tonight.  

Products.  Girls are good with products.  So is Tennessee, truth be told.  Sky gave me some magical face elixir last year.  I should invest, I think, in more products.  If nothing else, they are fun, and no matter the science, if they make you happy, they are bound to have some positive outcomes.  

I like a woman with products.  They are always a mystery to me.  

I have therapy this morning.  It seems to help, but it is a pain in the ass and it isn't going to make my knee normal.  I still have pain and on a long walk, I still begin to limp. But I've noticed that I have become more aware of my environment on walks and less absorbed in dealing with the pain, so there is that.  

I am trying to make do with a Sony mirrorless digital camera, but it isn't working.  I don't love it.  I almost resent it.  It does things my Leicas couldn't do, but at a terrible cost, I think.  It even has a tilting screen.  But it is more of a computer than a camera.  I am going to have to buy another Leica, I know.  It will break me, but it seems somehow essential to my being.  I can't afford it, though.  I am struggling.  

We will see.

The morning is cloudy.  From what I've read, we can plan on a cloudy, wet winter here.  I am not good with this.  Weather affects my psyche.  My normal melancholy turns dark and deep in weather like this.  I've been told I'm "moody."  Well, you know what they say. 

You ain't been blue
No, no, no
You ain't been blue
'Til you've had that mood indigo


Monday, November 20, 2023


I've just deleted a post I'd spent the entire morning writing.  It was a horrible diatribe against everything and everyone.  I don't have the will to write another.  

Just as I was finishing it and getting ready to post, I saw an animal run across the deck.  Grey.  Fast.  The size of a raccoon or possum or cat.  This is the second time I've seen such a thing in the past few months.  I jumped up and ran to the door.  I looked out but saw nothing.  The deck is slick with dew, so I looked for prints.  Nothing.  My own feet were leaving precise impressions.  It would not have been possible for a thing to run across the deck and not leave prints.  I know I saw it, though.  What the deuce?

My friend in Iceland is sending pictures--water falls and fjords and beaches and ocean.  Last night she sent pictures of the Northern Lights.  

"I am very happy," she wrote.  

The girls who has now asked me out sent a photo from the cracker bed race in Grit City.  She was with "the group."  All girls, all pretty, but she was the prettiest which of course is good reason to send it.  

I stayed in bed all day, so long in fact that I was later getting to my mother's.  I feel I could do the same today.  

No. . . I can't go down this road again.  And so. . . a brief beginning to a holiday week.  

Maybe it was a spirit animal.  Maybe it was a demon.