Monday, June 1, 2020

A Dog's Tale




Fortunately for Mr. Sodomite (link), he no longer lives in my state where his wicked and unnatural acts are deemed illegal.  Here in the sunny south, we know what is moral and what is not.  And while the Supreme Court ruling in 2003 invalidated all our sodomy laws, we still ban unnatural acts, crimes against nature, and other lewd and lascivious conduct.  Sodomy, legally defined in Q's state is "sexual contact between one person’s penis and another person’s anus. Sodomy occurs if an individual’s penis sexually contacts someone else’s anus, no matter how slight of contact" (source).

Oh, brother.  How slight, indeed.

But this all stems from a childhood experience Q related to me in one of his drunken stupors many years ago.  Once, while walking in the park with his father, they came upon two dogs fucking.  Q, of course, being young, was anxious.

"What is he doing to her, father?" he asked.

His father, he said, pondered for a bit, and then told him some of the facts of life.

"And so," he summed up, "that is how they make puppies."

A few days later, Q stumbled into his parents bedroom having been awakened by a disturbing dream. Unfortunately, Q found his parents locked in flagrant coitus.  Q said he stood there, stunned, as his parents quickly moved to cover up.  Jaw dropped, eyes a popping, Q asked in fear and confusion, "What are you doing to mom?!"

"Well," replied his father, "you remember the two dogs we saw in the park?"

Oh, Q remembered, and suddenly his mood had shifted.  In excitement and delight, he cried out, "Please, turn her over father!  I want a puppy!!!!"

You've seen all the pictures Q posts of dogs, right?  He keeps trying.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Survivor



I survived the typhoon.  This is not my photograph.  It was sent by my travel/art friend.  Last night, we were damn near washed away.  I have no idea how much rain we got, but it was enough to scare me.  Water was running down the slope of my driveway making deep pools near my house where deep pools have never formed in the many, many years I've lived here.  I ran around looking for any possible leaks.  I don't remember seeing rain like this here before.  Maybe I am now living in a vortex, because I've been looking around at the news for any reports.  I have found nothing.  This morning, I can see the results.  I am going to need to make some repairs to the granite driveway.  I'll need to take other precautions for the future, too.

I'm not going to opine about anything today.  Everyone knows what's going on.  Everyone has a take on what it means.  Everyone has longing for a more stable world.  Maybe some even wish for Oz, but unlike Dorothy's voyage, there is no going home.  Thank you Mr. Wolfe.

I stopped by the old studio on my walk yesterday and talked to my artist friend.  He showed me the new work he is doing in glass.  Being inside his studio and looking at his work gave me longing.  It has been five years, I said, since I left this place.  Wow, he said, really?  Yes.  I haven't done any work since.

When I came home, I started clearing out a work space, a small one in the garage, where I might begin doing some of the messy stuff I used to do.  I need to get some lighting for it today.  It is possible that I might actually do something with my time other than sit and stare.  I think it is time to stop my grieving.  Sure, people will say not knowing that from which I've been suffering, not the depth nor the breadth, not the woof nor the weave.  But if you think your lives have changed dramatically, well, I'll tell you that I've suffered more.  I've learned, though, from countless documentaries and stories not to call myself a "victim" but to say "survivor."  That seems to embolden those who feel disenfranchised.

I am kidding, though, about that last part.  It is a joke.  I am neither one of those things.  Your life hinges on the decisions you make.  It is important not to characterize them as good or bad decisions.  Nobody says, "Today, I think I'll make a bad decision."  You do what you think will work at the time and later find out the consequences.  "Oops," you might say, "I shouldn't have sold the heroin/shot that man/killed that dog/stolen the car. . . ."  But you did it because you thought you were making the right choice.  You might say, "I chose to be standing here at the time the thing blew up and blinded me."  Choice.  If you hadn't kissed that boy or girl in the fifth grade, you would have been someplace else.  Butterfly wings and weather, etc.  Every moment of our lives we are making decisions.  Change any of them and your path is slightly altered.  It is hard, but we choose to be where we are at any given moment.

That'll be $100.  I've decided to be a Life Coach.  I think I'm cut out for it.  Let me help you through your pain.  You are not a victim.  You are a survivor.

Now I have to go tend to the choice I made when I bought this house.  The results of that, I mean.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Matchbooks



So. . . I just went on a rant.  But I want to settle my mind and nerves a bit since it is THE WEEKEND.  You know.  This is what matchbooks looked like for those of you too young to know.  I'm pretty certain that a large segment of my readership is under 30.  This picture was sent to me by my travel/art collector friend.  He says the matchbooks are from over thirty years of travel from three or four or six continents.  Remembers every place and what happened in each.


And Our Friend of the Blog Lisa sent me this.  Extant matches.  There you go, kids.  Eat your hearts out.

I was once again mistaken for Tom Nowicki yesterday.  We've each lived in this town forever, and this has never happened before.  I guess that at some point, all aging men begin to look the same.

Last night, I watched "Saint Jack," a film by Peter Bogdanovitch, adapted from a novel written by Paul Theroux, starring Ben Gazara.  1979.  Pimp with a heart story set in Singapore.  I haven't seen it since then, and I was surprised how well it held up considering it has all the cliches and naiveness of the era.  But you know, sometimes in a moment of weakness, it is fun to like an old cliche remembering that all cliches began as fresh ideas.  They only become cliches because they were so good people repeated them again and again.

Or so it seems.

"Don't Do It"



"I don't condone violence, but. . . ."  Yea, yea, yea.  You don't condemn it.  Its a weak argument at best and disingenuous otherwise.  You either do or you don't.  No "but." I have friends who do support the violence.  They provoke it.  "Burn that shit down!"  They are honest about it.  Watching Don Lemon whine for hours on end on CNN is too much.  The way he couches his remarks reminds me of Trump's, "I don't know where the saying comes from.  Lots of people say it.  I've heard many people say it.  I don't know where it came from."  Take a stand, people.  Be honest.  Or if you are conflicted and confused, say so.  But stop the equivocation.  Just quit it.

My travel/art collector buddy doesn't equivocate.  His car bumpers are covered in stickers that say things like "Fuck Trump."  You don't wonder what he means or where he stands.  He is no Stormy Daniels when it comes to fucking Trump.  You know exactly what he means.

Me?  I'd be selective in what I want burned down.  It would have to be targeted, not random.  I don't believe in setting off bombs in a place that is easy.  You don't blow up a student union.  I've always told people not to make enemies unless you were willing to kill them.  Fake punches will get your ass kicked.  They are counterproductive.  Don't throw blood on the factory workers.  Go straight to the home of the head honcho and do it there.  Burning and blowing up things at random doesn't make you a hero.  Nope.  If I get a say, we will do it where it really counts.  We'll stick the dynamite straight up the big guy's ass.

I am peaceful and don't want to blow things up.  I am a hippie and believe in peaceful revolution. But Trump is pushing the buttons.  He is really pushing the buttons.

So. . . if I were Don Lemon, I would say what I mean.  What he means is that he is glad that someone else is doing it.  That is my take.

I checked with some of my friends last night to see if they were o.k.  I knew they were, but I just wanted them to know I was thinking of them.  They told me that after seeing the video, they felt rage.  How could one not, I said.  How could one not.

So once again, America burns.  I want to go to the protests, but I am a sissy.  I don't want to expose myself to Corona.  Isn't that cowardly?  Yes, I feel myself a coward right now.  Selfish, too.  I've done a good bit of protest marching and raising money for "radical" causes, but now I am thinking of my mother and of me.  So I watch the news and shake my head and wonder.  I thought this ended when Obama got elected.  I had no idea.

Here's the question, though.  Do you think that the people in the streets are liberals?  What do you think a "liberal" is?  Do you think they are "lefties"?  Do you think they've read "The Manifesto of the Communist Party"?  Do you think they are devotees of Malcom X?  What is the tie that binds?

The so-called hippie movement of the '60s was much the same in its lack of cohesiveness.  But it worked, didn't it?  Do you think it worked?  We got a cool Coca-Cola ad and Rowan and Martin's "Laugh In."  Johnny Carson grew long sideburns and wore a Nehru jacket.  And there is legalized pot in some states now.  College kids all carried Mao's "Little Red Book" (though they didn't read it).  Most of them would have ended up in one of the re-education camps had they been there.

Radical Chic and the Mau-Maus.

Snoop Doggy Dog makes commercials for the man now.  Dr. Marin Luther King and Jesse Jackson did some things the #MeToo movement would take umbrage with, but corporations like to use their images in promoting their products.

Now Nike has a new ad that goes, "Don't Do It."

I've become jaded.  Still, I know what I'm against.  But you know, I'm wrong half the time.

It is hard to perform your own theories, let alone those of others.  It is damn near impossible.  And I wonder. . . did I equivocate?

Friday, May 29, 2020

Hate and Fear



I have had a pleasant past two days.  I put on my mask and went grocery shopping.  Oh. . . I had forgotten the joys of Fresh Market.  I hadn't even known some of them.  Since I am free, I was able to go at a slow hour.  The store was fairly empty.  I got to peruse the produce, pick through the meats, buy some bread and breakfast loafs, get yogurt and cheeses.  I hadn't been since the last time Ili and I had gone, however, and there was a sadness there.  Then Publix, the all-purpose store.  A new toothbrush, some canned goods and bags of beans.  It was more crowded and not as much fun.  Still, I won't need to go for a very long time.

It reminded me of normal.

I went to my mother's house with beer at the appropriate time.  It was fun, then the storm blew in.  Rain, sure, but lightening like you wouldn't believe.  I have been hit indirectly by lightening twice.  Neither time was fun.  I have been at 17,000 feet in a whiteout in an electrical storm with nowhere to hide.  I am not a fan of lightening.

When I came home, I made a fantastic dinner and turned on the news.  That was a mistake.  CNN.  It was all about the Minnesota killing and riots.  You are either on one side or the other, it seems.  Everything is polarized.  But I am not the type.  I hate both sides.  I watched it all, but then I felt horrendous.

I cleaned up to the news.

I am tired of the word "community."  I am tired of emotional arguments.  I am tired of white people and black people.  How can you stand on one side or the other?  It is idiotic.

I'd rather slice my cucumber and dab a bit of my privileged bleu cheese on it.  I'd rather nibble at a date nut roll.

Hell, I'd rather eat my Ruffles Cheddar Cheese Chips.

I can't fix anything.  I've tried my whole life.  It doesn't work.  Now I'm lucky to just move along.

The rain continues to fall.  My house is a mess and only money will fix it, but I no longer work and have that income.  If I can't fix it, it may not get done.  And even if I can, it mightn't.

I've been beaten by black people for being white.  I've been beaten by white people for being for civil rights.  I am on a federal watchlist for being a radical.  Nobody likes me.

As The Wicked Witch of the West opines, "What a world."

Yup.  What a world.

.*.*.*.

I woke to a world worse off than when I went to bed.  Now they are arresting journalists in the street. Trump fuels hate and fear.  It seems to be all there is now, hate and fear.

This is not shaping up to be a good year.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Delay, Distract, Deny



News show hosts now are often attorneys.  Chris Cuomo, for instance, was a prosecutor; Ari Melber was an attorney for the defense.  This is often evident in their interviewing styles.  They don't let their guests stray far in answering questions.

I enjoy that.

Last night, Melber laid out the best argument against Trump's handling of the Corona crisis yet.  He called the piece, "The Cassandra Effect."  As I watched it last night, I wanted to call each of you to tell you to turn it on.  Luckily, we live in the future, so I can simply post the segment here.  Watch it.  Watch it all.  It is long.  It will take awhile.  But it is good.  It is really good.


The only thing we have to distract us from Trump and the virus is white men killing black men, and of course that crazy Nancy in Central Park.  It has inspired riots and looting, two of the best ways to draw attention to your cause.  There is nothing like running out of a department store with a t.v. to bring notice to injustice.

Before you get pissed off at me, I am just trying to point out the absurdity of human behavior.  A close friend of mine called last night. We talked for about half an hour.  He is African and an American.  He had some issues he wanted to talk through.  Crazy times, I said.  We talked about institutional racism, something I said was finished when Obama got elected.  My black friends said I was crazy.  I was hopeful.  They were right.  Last night, I said I didn't like white people, most of them.  But I don't like most black people or brown people, either.  I have some friends, and I like them, but for the most part, people are just horrible.  Hell, I'm horrible, I said.  "Yes," he said, "I know you, man."

I'm not saying I wouldn't run out of Target with a big screen t.v.  I'm saying it doesn't help anything.  I'm not saying I wouldn't like to smash police cars.  I'm saying it only inflames the argument.  "Fucking anarchists!" they say.  "They are a threat to everything we stand for and believe."

But anger is anger on both sides of an argument.  Lines are drawn and you are asked to stand on one side or the other.  Sometimes it is distasteful.

But I will vote for Biden anyway, if I must.

In many ways, isolation has been a respite.  Things are spinning out of control in Biblical proportions.  2020 seems to be Trump's trademark year.  The virus will be compounded by droughts and floods and hurricanes.  The ice is melting.  Killer hornets and now, for fuck's sake, locusts.

And the Dow rises to record heights. I can't figure anything out.

And yet, in spite of all this, we live personally.  I mean at a personal level.  It takes precedent.  Our own inconvenience and suffering takes center stage no matter.  Mine does, anyway.  I don't feel good about it, but it does.



Q is flummoxed by my use of the phrase "matchbox critic."  I like the phrase, but it is the wrong one. I meant "matchbook critic."  It occurs to me that there are no matchbooks any longer.  They were ubiquitous when I was a kid.  We were always told not to play with matches, that we could burn the house down.  Matchbooks were free.  They were a way of advertising.  You never really thought about them.  You just picked them up on your way out of the store or restaurant.  They were always lying around.  And if you smoked, as it seemed most people did, you always had some in your pocket.  If you were someone who wrote things down, sometimes you would resort to the inside of a matchbook to make your notes.  They had to be in shorthand.  They had to be brief.  That was my reference.  Q's movie reviews are brief.  Notes taken on the inside of a matchbook cover.

That is something that disappeared without notice.  I think.  I will be on the lookout for a book of them now wherever I go.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Not Enough Anderson



The weather has turned for good here.  Once the humidity starts, there is no stopping it until November.  It has come, and with it, an irritating oppressiveness.  People's smiles are turning into grimaces.  We know what lies ahead.  It will be a bad season for hurricanes, they say.  The only palliative is rum.  It mixes with anything sweet.  Rum is the drink of the tropics.  Only it can get you through.

I hesitate to write this since Q has become the matchbook movie critic of late, but I have been having my own Wes Anderson film festival.  First, "Darjeeling Limited."  What a great film.  I've watched it many, many times, and still with each viewing I find new details.  It is a visual movie.  There are plenty of movies that concentrate on story, but Anderson is a fabulist and a visual artist extraordinaire.  His films look like nothing that preceded them.  He forged a new form.

Last night, I watched "The Life Aquatic."  Ibid.  Every time I watch this movie, I think of my old, dead ex-friend Brando.  Steve Zisou is Brando.  I can never get over how much so.  His blatant dishonesty and disregard, and the polarizing devotion he engendered in his fan club.  He steals things and takes money, and people die around him.  Still, it is a most colorful life.  I don't know.  The film amazes me every time.

Now Q just watched "The Grand Budapest Hotel."  I will probably watch it tonight.  There are not enough Anderson movies to keep me going, but right now they are what I need.  I have put the needle in the vein.  When the drug runs out, I will have to find something or suffer badly.

So it seems.

Q sent me a fantastic article.  True absinthe is being produced again in the land of its origin.  I tried to order some, but it has already sold out.  They are making small batches.  What needs to be understood here is that it is not illegal to own absinthe in the United States.  It is only illegal to sell it.  Jesus, I hope I understand that right.  Whatever.  You are on your own.  The same should be true of certain species of poppies.  But again, use your own judgement.

I have a theory that I won't be able to prove, but I think it is likely.  People who refuse to wear masks in public do not appreciate the fine arts.  Sure, there may be exceptions, but I think by and large it is true.  They would rather attend a football game or a NASCAR race than go to a museum.  Now, you might wonder, what if you like to do both?  My guess?  You wear a homemade mask.  I'm just guessing, but it could be true.  In the time of fake news, you can say anything.  Someone will believe it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

No Story



 I took this photo a long time ago.  I came across it going through some old files.  Why I am struggling with making pictures like this now is a mystery to me.  I think I've looked at too many photos of similar things made by other people now.  Maybe I'm trying too hard.  I don't know.

I made the image with one of the first ever good digital cameras.  By today's standards, they would be extremely low res and slow.  I made a lot of good photos, though, with the Olympus E-10 (4mp) and the Leica Digilux 2 (5mp).

Maybe it was the lower resolution that made the images appealing.

After looking at the scans of NYC from back in the oughts, I starting wishing to make some smeary black and white images again.  I pulled out my Leica R5 and snapped some photos around the house. Ooo, the click of the shutter and slap of the mirror felt nice.  Shooting Tri-X indoors, you get slow shutter speeds and a little camera shake.  I find the smear nice.  It relaxes me.  Focusing is manual, so even in good light, sometimes it is just a little off.  Again, I find it appealing.  New digital cameras are precise.  They are scientific tools.  A little less, I think, might be more.

Is that why I am obsessed with buying a medium format digital camera?  That's a joke.  Those things are crazily detailed.  But I want one.

I am very inconsistent.

Last night, rather than watch television, I pulled out a Robert Frank book, "Looking In."  It contains every contact sheet from his epic tour of America.  I wanted to look at those blurry, imprecise images.   I love looking at his contact sheets and deciding what I would have printed.  His exposures were mostly off, and there are many blurry images.  One looks and feels his pain at having just missed what could have been an epic shot.

I can only look at a few at a time, though, before I get overwhelmed.  I've yet to get through them all.

I wish I had a story, kids.  It rained all day yesterday.  I ate leftover pizza from dinner with my mother the night before for breakfast.  The rain slackened a bit, and I decided to go do a little workout and a bit of running in the park.  I came home wet and tired and took a long, hot shower.  I ate more pizza.  The rain continued.  I was cozy.  I put beans and pork loin chops into the pressure cooker and filled it with wine and spices.  The house soon smelled wonderfully of it,  Before my usual hour, I called my mother and begged off going over.  I was too comfortable, I said.  I didn't want to go out into the rain.  I poured a glass of wine and read essays by Wayne Koestenbaum, a book gifted to me over the weekend.  I found one that reminded me of C.C. and wanted him to read it.  Since it was an essay, I thought there might be a minimal chance that it was on the internet, and holy smokes, it was (link).  I sent it to him right away.  As the cool blue light falling through the windows grew dim,  the yellow incandescent lamplight prevailed.  I cooked some rice, poured more wine, and sat down to a lone but delicious meal.  Outside, dusk lingered.  The night stretched out before me like a puzzle.  The usual whiskey, bed still some hours away, the promise of some sweets sitting on the dining room table, these were my veiling of the void.  There is no story, only a quiet lyric, focused missed, slightly blurry.

I wait for the story's return.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Dirty Little Alley Cat



I wrote an entry last night that was very flattering to Q.  I was going to post it this morning, but it is gone.  The devil did not want me to post that, I am guessing.  And I don't have the drunken spirit to rewrite it this morning, so. . . it will have to come another time.  I only get maudlin after dark.

This is a photo of Q's girl at the time, the one who was wittier than he.  Before I met her, he used to send me things she would write to him, and I thought he had made her up.  I didn't believe in the truth of a young girl with that wicked sense of humor.  When I met her, I was stunned.  I met her in my own home town.  Q had brought her here for some reason I don't recall.  I immediately resented her being his girlfriend.  It really pissed me off to no end.

But like all things one doesn't deserve, the affair went south.  I worry that maybe he learned that from me.  But I don't flatter myself.  Almost all affairs do.  At least the good ones and the bad ones we want so desperately to keep.

If it weren't so, there would be no literature except Godot.

Here in my home state, it looks as if no one believes there is a virus any more.  I'm certain Covid cases will spike next week, but we won't know it as the governor has ordered scientists to fake the numbers.  For most of my state, it will not be a problem.  It is pretty red here.  The virus prays on blue, so I am told.  They could have NASCAR races and nobody would be affected.  I have taken to wearing red to see if it will work like a vaccine.

Meanwhile, I'll share my love life with you.  This is the neighbor's cat and my little dirty alley cat.  The pretty one is the boy.  He comes over to see his secret girlfriend.  I can only live through them.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Nothing Turned Out



I wish I had a picture.  I wish I had a story.  But I am just spending time.  I've taken more pictures of houses and cars on my walks around town.  I developed some 4x5 film yesterday.  Nothing turned out.

That is how life feels now.

I have no pictures.  I have no stories.  I can't even make one up.

Nothing turned out. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Dribble




C.C. told me yesterday that he is getting paid to write.  Pretty good money, he says.  Shit, I said, I write every day and nobody pays me anything.  You're an artist, he said.  I'm a whore.  I'm not attractive enough to be a whore, then, I said.  I'm just a slut.  No money, but all the sleaze.

Today's photo doesn't look like much, I know, but you have to look closely.  Nobody in the photo is looking at me except the blind guy.

And that is all there is to that.

As is true of this post.  I could tell you what I ate yesterday or that I exercised or some other mundane details, but I don't have it in me.

Dribble,
              dribble,
                           dribble.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Looking Through the Glass



I was going to post a different photo this morning, but Q used it instead.  I found the image in a hard drive that I was trying to organize.  Oh, this stuff is going to take forever.  Looking through the files, I find mostly pictures of people on the street.  That is what I was able to do in most recent times, though not even that so much.  After retirement, I was going to hit the dusty highway and try again with more concentration and purpose.  Of course, that didn't happen.  Now, looking back at all the old images, I am struck by how important they feel.  People in parks, on the street, in shops and tourist attractions.  The world looks fun.  It looks taboo.  It looks dangerous.

It is like looking through a thick piece of unbreakable glass at a SeaWorld aquarium.  It is fascinating and far away.  It feels like you should be able to reach out and touch it.

But you can't.

I'm tired of posting pictures of the neighborhood, of the fancy houses and manicured lawns and the shadows on the wall cast by a perfect sun.  I am going into the vault to find some pictures to post here, pictures of the lost world.

I wanted to photograph the boardwalks and amusement parks of the U.S. this summer.  I was going to go to Twinsville, Ohio, to photograph the Festival of Twins or whatever they call it.  I was going to go to the most famous state fairs.  I wanted to photograph the NY and NJ coastal towns and find the old things that I have never seen.  Springsteen country.

I wonder if Q remembers where I took that photograph?  I wonder if he remembers the day?  It was raining.  We sat in a restaurant on the Upper East Side having a snack.  His beloved Camille was with us.  I had gone to see Ryan Adams in concert at the Beacon Theater the night before.  Sean had to work and Camille had thought about joining me but didn't come in the end.  It was a fabulous show, famous as the one that was the beginning of the end of Adams' career, the night when a fellow from the very rowdy crowd kept calling out and asking for Bryan Adams songs, the night when Adams started screaming at the fellow, took money out of his pocket and threw it at him and told him to get the fuck out.  But it was a NYC crowd, hip, jaded.  It was the wrong venue to pull that shit.  They were not impressed, and for the rest of his tour, people were calling out for Bryan Adams songs.

It was memorable.

I was staying at the old Barbizon Hotel, once famous as a women's residence hotel that did not allow male guests further than the ground floor.  There is a scene in "Midnight Cowboy" where Joe Buck gets tossed out of the lobby there and tumbles into the street.  Notably, "Between 1940-1960, Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, Cybill Shepherd, Candice Bergen, Joan Didion, and Betsey Johnson made the Barbizon their home" (source).   I stayed there on my trips to NYC for a few years after they opened it up for male guests, too.  Like everything else in NYC, it is gone now and can not be retrieved.

Q, Camille, and I were visiting museums that day.  As we walked through the rain after lunch, moments after that picture was taken, Camille wanted to go into a chocolate shop.  The chocolate was hugely expensive.  I remember trying to shame Q for not buying her the most expensive things, a ploy I always use around my friend's girls.

"Oh, darling, if you were MY girl, I'd buy you anything your heart desired.  I can't believe he treats you like this."

He ended up buying her some very nice chocolates.

Every picture tells a story, don't it?

We won't be doing that again for a very long while, I'm afraid.  Those crazy, carefree days on the streets of New York.  Time to recalibrate.  Time to figure out what pictures of this life can be made right now.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

White



I got my film back from the lab.  Not the film, actually, but the emailed jpeg scans of the film.  The film itself won't be here for awhile.  But I was wrong in my belief that I would be spending $60 on those rolls and only have one or two images I liked.  I was WAY off.  There are none.  There is nothing that I can even stand to look at.  And, indeed, only 24 of the 36 pictures turned out.  Of those 24, there are light leaks ruining 6 of them.

I think I am done with film that I send out to labs.  I can do black and white at home cheaply enough. But digital cameras do color fine.  They do black and white well, too.  So why fuck around with film?

Oh. . . you know.  It looks different, has a different feel.

Maybe I'll try it one more time.

I was giddy into yesterday morning after my late night sending out music the night before.  I ordered some shorts and some other things online from a Chinese clothing company over a year ago, and now I get ads for all sorts of strange clothing.  I send screen shots around to my friends.




"Which ones should I buy?" I ask.  I've been trying to get C.C. to buy the jumpers, but he keeps resisting.  I am a child.  Sending these as I did to SO many people yesterday had me in tears.  But then. . . .


I couldn't believe how much this made me laugh.  Oh, God, it has gotten so much better with time.  When I sent it to C.C., he sent this back.


And again. . . I had to change my pants.

This may seem unimportant to you, but it was the first time I'd laughed out loud for months.  Many months.  I used to laugh almost every day.  So it felt good.

So good, I didn't get away from my computer until noon.  A waste of the day?  Not in the least.  I felt elevated.

Not so much today.  I have been having nightmares.  I wake up to them and they continue.  They seem real.  Last night, I woke up to terrible pain.  Whatever I was dreaming made me spasm the muscles around my right hip and back so hard that something bad happened.  Maybe I was dreaming that I was getting run over again.  I don't know.  But I couldn't get back to sleep after that, or rather, when I did, I woke up in pain right away.  I am in pain this morning.  Something is out of place or some nerve impinged.  Today is not going to be as much fun as yesterday.

I have not worn anything but t-shirts and elastic waisted shorts since before the Corona lockdown began.  Mostly I have worn Hanes V-neck t-shirts that Ili bought me after the accident.  They were the only shirts I could put on.  I have lots of them.  Yesterday, I ordered more from Amazon.  I guess that is a recognition that I won't be going anywhere for awhile.  I wonder what the neighbors think, though?  They see me every day in the same thing.  I am like a meme.

You know, I probably should have ordered some colors rather than more white.

Selavy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Late Night Profundity, Early Morning Absurdity




When I am drinking and listening to music as I work on my computer late (for me) at night, I start sending songs to my friends.  I hope they don't think they have to listen to them.  Sometimes I send a lot of songs.  In my frenzied state, I think everything is important.  I think what I am sending is profound.  Then, in the morning, I look and wonder in horror and shame.

But in the morning, I cut and paste screenshots of news stories that seem hideous or funny to me.  I am careful about what I send to whom.  Sometimes, I hit the wrong button and off something goes to the wrong person.  Q, C.C., and I share a twisted sense of reality, so they get most of my weird ass shit.  We are like grown adolescents who have no parental oversight.  It is all fun until we get busted.

A story like this can spark my imagination (link), but this morning I refrained from sending anything from or about it.  There are perilous divisions here, and though none of us stands inexorably on one side or the other of things. . . well, Q lives in California.

But usually we like to fall into the chiasma of the divisions, a joyous tumble through the gaps in people's assumptions about right and wrong, good and evil, should and shouldn't.

Many of my friends are not as silly and don't enjoy the ride, so I only send them my more reserved arguments.  Those are by far the most boring and least honest.  I have cleared rooms full of intelligent liberals with my absurdist comments.  Often.  I didn't mean to.  I mean, I thought we were all on the same side.  I thought we were all friends.  But some people just can't take a joke if it challenges their ideology.

CC, Q, and I are shapeshifters, full of ideologies--plural--that hardly make sense, a hearty blend of Beckett's optimism and Thompson's cruel wit, and maybe de Sade's sense of unusual fun.

I don't think that is an accurate statement, but it was fun to write.

I have another friend, a liberal conservative who's recent views seem to be gleaned from QAnon, who is equally witty but whose quips are mostly above board, things that can be expressed in the larger gathering.  He is fun, but I still have to censor myself around him.

I think I learned when I was a kid to open with something shocking.  It shifts the ground, shakes things up right off the bat, steals the rhythm and makes people giddy.

I think Trump does this, but not in a witty way.  But he is an absurdist for sure.

There.  That just came off the top of my head.  Now I am going to have another cup of coffee and stroll the grounds, as they say, before I begin another day in the Pandemic Era.  I am learning that I can spend my days any way I like as long as I do not go around other people.  I am lucky in that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Files



Jesus. . . I'm so crazy tonight.  I've been organizing my digital files.  I have at least twenty of them, big ones, that I've been keeping since. . . when?. . . 2001?  I think so.  They have never been organized in any fashion.  I have just downloaded files and worked on what I wanted to at the time.  Now, I have no way to navigate them except as a stranger wandering into the jungle.  For the past two days, I've been opening hard drives and trying to make sense out of them.  I have taken all the files I can find in the "Lonesomeville" series and dragged them to two big 4TB drives.  They are both full.  I haven't seen some of these files for years.  What was I thinking?  They just go on and on and on.  The hundreds of pounds of prints is nothing.  I don't know if I have enough time left to look at all the images.

I went to my mother's house for the usual happy hour beer tonight, and she brought out a folder full of prints.  One of them was an ink transfer I did before I did "Lonesomeville" of the little boy in boxing gloves.  It is truly wonderful.  I used to work at it every day.  Where did I find the energy?

I was possessed.

Also, in perusing the hard drives, I found some of my music library that Apple stole from me.  Fuck Apple Music.  I've been listening to songs all night that I haven't heard for years.  Many of them are wonderful.  Just now, Billy Holliday croons.  It is from a wonderful set that Q sent me many, many years ago.  It is the sort of music that will keep you up at night drinking whiskey.  That is what it has done tonight.

I am thrilled to have found so many files, but I am also daunted.  I have many, many more drives to organize.  I don't know if I can ever do it.  I get lost looking through the images.  Everything is a wonderful or terrible memory, but really mostly wonderful.  I have an "Ili" drive that makes me sad but happy, too.  I want to get on the Vespa again with her behind me and drive off into afternoon.

Selavy, eh?

We won't dally there.  Forward.  Or, as Kesey said, "Further."  What's around the corner?

Oh. . . I forgot.  We are living in the time of Corona.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Truth and Circumstance



First off, let me say I'm not feeling well, so excuse my lack of verve.  I am neither receptive nor responsive right now.  Don't take it personally.

Now. . . someone is finally looking at Ronan (link).  I told you this would happen, but that was an easy prophecy.  You don't get to call people out without being called out any more.  You don't get to question without being questioned.  And you don't get to write something without getting scrutinized.  If you are going to call people out for misbehaving, you'd better be squeaky clean, and you better not have made any enemies.  Enemies are bad things to have.  Enemies will not hurt you one but every time they get a chance.  If you want to make enemies, you had better be ready to kill them.  People are vigilantes now.  Stoping bad behavior is no longer enough.  Now we need to crucify.  Ask Al Franken.

So. . . if there is anything in Ronan's closet, oh, boy, people will be digging.

That's right, Mike Pompeo.  They are coming after you.

Now, in the previous paragraph, I changed "enemy" to "enemies" because I followed with the plural pronoun "they."  That is acceptable now.  Legally.  But I am stuck with a lifetime of grammar Nazis looking at my writing, so I made the change.

I've been getting a lot of information on identity politics and how it is playing outside my house where I have been holed up for months.  I don't participate in social media, so I am not in "the mix."  I don't want to be.  The mix seems to be opinions and emotions, two things which, if history is to be any guide, are best kept to yourself unless you are a blogger or a member of the fake news.  But they are certainly not what "other" people should express.

Here is an example a friend sent to me the other day, part of a long and tortured chain of reactions and responses to something about cis (boom-bah) males.


Even my digital neighborhood newsletter has been politicized.  If someone makes a post about people not wearing masks or having parties down the street, it sets off a shit storm of comments that seem to go, "Yea, but. . . . "  By the time the ideologues get involved, the conversation gets too nasty for me to read.  As the old saying goes, "Give an asshole a microphone. . . ."  Everybody has the mic now.  It was given them by social media.  It is like passing the mic around at the Super Bowl and giving everyone a chance to speak.  The NFL built the audience, but suddenly, you have it.

If you want to opine, perhaps you should start a blog.  Your platform will be big or small based on its own demerits.  Glomming on to the bigger thing (like Facebook or Twitter) seems like cheating.  But of course, that's how those mediums make money, so they are happy to have you there.

This blog is not monetized.  I get no reward.  The opinions I express here do not reflect in any way the opinions of Google.  They don't even represent mine for more than a few minutes.  I don't feel the need to be consistent, having learned from Emerson that such a thing is a hobgoblin of little minds.

I think I was going to speak of something else today, but I can't remember now.  Oh, I watched "Bombshell" last night.  I liked it.  All the women were sexy.  All the men were dicks.  I guess they were trying to reflect the situation, but it seemed to me that the movie had to contradict its moral.  I don't know how they could have done it any other way.  Did Megyn Kelly really have sex with Roger Ailes or was that just fiction for the movie?  God. . . I hope they made that up.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Tired of Conflict



I'm still fiddling with the Liberator camera.  I did every step right this time.  I was careful.  And still, the focus is off.  I've been posting the images on some large format camera forums and getting lots of advice.  I don't even know what a lot of it means.  They want me to check the back focus and something called a T checking the distance from the ground glass to the focal plane. . . . I don't want to.  I just want to take pictures.  I may abandon the camera.  I may just sell it.  I am not a handy fellow, so if this takes a lot of arcane knowledge and the ability to fix things, I'm out.

It will be in the mid-90s here today, cloudy and humid.  The dramatic light is gone.  What is left is good soft light for portraits.  Ha!  That's not happening.  I mean, it could.  My state has given the green light to everything reopening now.  The hair salons and gyms are back in business.  Everything must be o.k.  Meanwhile, reported Corona cases doubled last week in the neighborhood surrounding downtown.  I think I'll be waiting for awhile.

I rented "Uncut Gems" last night.  Awful.  Just awful.  I didn't finish it.  I wish I hadn't watched as much of it as I did.  I need a gentle movie.  I don't need my nerves jangled any more than they are.

I could stand to watch a movie that has no conflict, that just moves from one interesting and beautiful scene to another.  I don't think they make those.  Right now, that seems a terrible thing.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Burning the Days



I made arrangements yesterday to store my prints.  I moved hundreds of pounds of paper prints to a storage unit.  I will move all the Polaroids today.  I am going to put the hard drives there as well.  The unit is only two miles from my house in a chi-chi part of town, so I have as much access, really, as I have always, which is to say practically none.  With all of that out of the house, though, I am not tempted to continue thinking of those pictures.  I feel free now to pursue the next thing, whatever that is.  I've left the tawdry life behind.

Now what?  Buildings and cars?  I am still struggling with the 4x5 and the glass plates.  As I said, though,  I think it might be user error.  There are so many moving parts to think about when making a picture using this process, and I am an unusually careless man.  One of my degrees is in zoology, and my downfall there was dissection   You had to be meticulous and careful when cutting tissues away from other tissues.  Often I wasn't.  They told me I'd never be a surgeon.  That, I think, was an excellent call.  I'm great at painting the middle of the room, but don't let me do the trim work.


Hence, I may have put the plate in the holder backwards for this photo.  It caused focus failure and put a scratch in the delicate emulsion.  That is my guess, anyway.

So, you might ask, what is this project all about?  Beats the fuck out of me.  There isn't one, yet.  I've been practicing.  I take photographs every day, as I've reported, with different cameras and different lenses.  It is interesting and fun, but in the Age of Corona, the pictures are people-less.  I've just been admiring the beauty of things, the lines and shapes and light and shadow and textures and colors.  I've been thinking more about that.

But light and shadow are about to come to a quick end.  There is a tropical storm brewing in the Atlantic.  The weather has suddenly changed.  We've had the most beautiful May I can remember.  Beautiful skies, low humidity, gentle breezes, and light like diamonds.  Today's humidity is in the 90% range.  The light is duller.  I will need to go north to find good light. . . uh. . . but I probably can't.  So maybe I will resort to flash photography and its eerie look.

But again. . . pictures of what?  The bird bath?  My camera collection?  More of my neighbors' houses?  Car bumpers?  Street detritus?

I don't know.  It will have to work itself out.

Now I need to start moving the ten thousand Polaroids into their tiny new home.  It will take awhile, but when its done, some ghosts will have left the house.  I will take my old journals there, too.  But I have prints, thousands of them, big mothers. . . if anybody wants one.  For now, my burning days are done.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Who Elected You?



I wonder. . . did the Coronavirus kill off the blog's readership, or was it me?  Well. . . we know the answer to that one.

I finished perusing the Stephen Shore book.  Why do I buy these things sight unseen?  Ah, that's not fair.  It was o.k.  Too many dirty bathrooms for me, though.  One shitty toilet is enough, I say.  But who am I to judge?

I am awaiting another new release by him in a few days.  Signed edition, no less.  Me and Stephen are tight.

I worked with the 4x5 again today.  Worked for hours.  Fucked everything up.  The pictures keep coming out blurry.  I think it is me, though and not the equipment.  I will do some more tests tomorrow.  What else do I have to do?  It is ridiculous, and I might tire of it soon, but for now, I'll keep plugging away.  Hell, I might make something I like.

I learned the word "sheeple" today.  That is what the conspiracy theory secretary of my ex-boss calls people who go along with the liberal media.  She is reportedly posting on Facebook every five minutes if my source is to be believed.  They'll never make her take a vaccine.

I'm with her. . . you know?  Next thing, they'll be telling you what side of the street to drive on or how fast you can go.  If I can't call somebody a nigger, is this really a free country?  I'll tell you, if we were truly free, I could. . . well, we won't go there.

And Fox is all over Fauci.  I think they are right.  Who elected him, they complain?  Their viewers (my mother) don't think beyond that fact.  I mean, who elected the Supreme Court?  Who elected Barr?  These people (but not my mom) are morons.  However, they are close to a majority.  I'm sick of arguing (I don't) with people who have no credentials or achievements under their belts.  Why would we listen to scientists?  They can't even prove that there is no Loch Ness monster.  Yea.  Fuck doctors.  Who elected them?  All you need is a pocket full of magic rocks and a head full of opinions.

What once looked like an avenue for talented people to get noticed has turned into a shit show of idiots.  Selavy.


This statue stands outside City Hall in my own hometown.  Surely soon they will take it down.  Why is it there?  What does it mean?  Why do we support public nudity?

The past is bad.  Old people are perverted.  Lust and desire have ruined the world.  A new generation wishes to fix all that.  Part of the cure is partying in bars on the weekend and going to see their grandparents.  The Boomer Cleanser.  Fuck all these hideous old Parrot Heads.

You can have my virus when you take it from my cold, dead hand.

So, it now seems that Covid-19 is going to fuck them royally.  They won't die, but they may have long term effects that will get them when they are old.  And the economic fallout is going to make them bottom feeders.

O.K. Boomer.

I wouldn't bet against Trump, though.  He's a real winner amongst a certain part of the crowd.  Not the scientist, you know, but real people.

O.K.  I'm drunk, obviously, and should let this alone til morning.  So. . . .

Thursday, May 14, 2020

My Failures



Let me document my failures here.  Of course, that is nothing new.  Document?  Let me whine and cry and shit my pants over them.  That sounds more like it.  That is what I do.

In the most charming of ways, of course.  If you don't believe it, ask me.

I took out my big old Liberator camera on a tripod yesterday, got in the car, and drove somewhere to make pictures with the glass plates.  I loaded up several holders.  I had meters.  I was set.

Traffic was crazy.  I parked on a busy street that was originally a highway but now is something else. Traffic was so bad, I could barely get out of the car.  I went to the sidewalk side and took out my gear.  I walked down the street and set everything up.  It was laborious but I was having fun.  Cars honked and people yelled at me as they drove by.  I had chosen a very famous dive bar to photograph.  It is famous for the hardest drinks in the land.  I sat there one afternoon having a drink while I waited on someone.  I ordered a Cuba Libre.  The bar maid poured a water glass full of rum and spritzed some coke on top.  Fuck me, I thought, that is no afternoon drink.  A woman came in, sat down, and ordered a double.  Everyone in the bar began to laugh.  It was a bar and a package store.  On a Friday or Saturday night, people were sitting on boxes of liquor because the tiny bar was full.  It closed its doors in the last year, but someone has bought it and is re-opening it with the same name.  Corona, however, has stalled all that.

I was going to make two plates of it, one with iso 25 and one with the impossibly slow iso 2.  I metered with my spot meter and with the app on my phone, took my time, and made the two exposures.  I was pleased with myself.  Then I picked up my gear, walked a ways down the street, and set up to take a photo of a tattoo parlor that looked great.  I repeated the processes.  The whole thing took perhaps fifteen minutes.  Then I loaded up the car and drove home.

It was my usual time for going to my mother's.  I was anxious to develop the plates to see what I had gotten, but I am also a dutiful and loving son, so I put everything aside until I got home.

I developed the iso 2 plates first, as I could only do two at a time.  It took about twenty minutes of pouring developer, agitating every minute, rinsing, repeat with fixer. . . and then. . . two black plates.  Nothing.  No image.  Just black.

Fuck me.

So I did the same with the iso 25 plates.  One black and one with the image you see above.  What went wrong?  I am thinking that the only one that came out was the one I shot with my new plate holder.  But maybe I did something wrong in shooting.  Perhaps I left the shutter open.  I don't know.

When I scanned the good plate, it did not look good.  The building was not in focus.  The trees are and the sky is, but not the building.  How could I have missed focus so badly at such a distance?  That doesn't make sense to me.

So guess what?  I'm going to try again today.  I'm going to see if I can't figure this thing out.  Hours.  It will take hours.  And maybe, if I get lucky, I'll have an image.  WTF?

My Stephen Shore book came.  I haven't looked through the whole thing yet, but by and large I am finding it disappointing.  But it is also inspirational.  It gives me ideas.  I'm arrogant enough to think I can do better.

That is. . . if I can ever get a picture to turn out.