Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Citizen




Those are some of the lesson plans suggested in a draft of California’s newly proposed ethnic studies curriculum for K-12 public schools. Now, amid a growing outcry, even progressive policymakers in the state are promising significant revisions. 

The materials are unapologetically activist — and jargony. They ask students to “critique empire and its relationship to white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, anthropocentrism and other forms of power and oppression.”

California is a special place.  There is nowhere else like it on the planet.  Nothing can match it for overall beauty.  Nowhere is there such dichotomous poles of belief.  You can do things in Cali that you can't do anywhere else in the cosmos.  And it is considered by the rest of the country to be "weird."  

When my check comes in, I'm going to buy a big place on the ocean.  Or in the mountains.  If the check is big enough, I'll buy both.  

California is another country.  I'm applying for my papers soon. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

And Loathing



Jesus Marimba, what a day.  I almost died in my sleep last night like Janus Joplin or Mama Cass.  I'm off the doctor in a few minutes.  Unrelated.  This is my annual check up.  I don't want to go.  I wish I were more confident, but I am scared of health issues more than is normal.  I want to live forever like Keith Richards.  I know.  It's only rock and roll.  But I like it. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Beasts



Monday mornings ever the same.  Much to do as the factory whistle blows.  No time for me, no time to write.

Watched the 3rd installment of "Serengeti" last night.  It is no good being a beast, at least if you live as I do.  Too many dangers.  Too much competition.  Ili wants to know why the head baboon is so mean.  I tell her it is because he is a male.  That's just the way boys are.

Again, there is no equity in nature.

Look at these women on the bench.  Look out for the crocodiles.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Pictures



This is the only photo I have on my laptop that I haven't shown here.  Sorry.

Lazy Sunday following a very lazy Saturday.  I am recovering.  Slow, gray day.  I will be lethargic and think of all the pictures I meant to take.  One day, there will be no excuse.  But right now, I have excuses galore.  Why do I need excuses?

"On the average day, over 55 million photos are posted on Instagram and 350 million are posted on Facebook."

Saturday, August 17, 2019

To Swell the Crowd



People are strange and are best avoided in larger, intimate crowds.  That is my motto, anyway.  It is difficult enough to get along with one other person.  But put them in a pack. . . that's it!  A pack.  That is what those small, intimate crowds are.  There is a pack mentality and I am a loner.  Sooner or later, I will do or say something that will turn the pack against me.  I prefer being on the outside, but as Hemingway said, a man alone ain't got a bloody chance.  You will end up losing an arm as Harry did in "To Have and to Have Not."  The book, not the movie.

And so the week has ended and I am worn and frayed.  I have survived, but barely, and it has taken all of my considerable talent and energy to do so.  

I will barely have time to recharge before Monday.

If I could only learn to swell the crowd like Prufrock.  But that didn't work out so well for him, either.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fluid, Not Binary



No time to write this morning.  Early meetings at the factory.  Same tomorrow, so I'll post something tonight.  Saw some people for the first time since my accident today.  Some said I looked good, some that I looked like I'd lost weight, one that I looked a bit older.  Whatever, dudes.  Let's not talk that way.  We don't talk about people's looks at my age.  Best a topic to be avoided.  Or else, just lie. 

I'm finding that nature doesn't have an equity coordinator.  It is not trying to be gentle or fair.  I want the factory to adopt nature's equity plan. 

Oh, yea.  I love the oil painting of Clinton in a dress and high heels that was found in Epstein's apartment.  It is yummy. 

Bill, not Hillary. 

Fluid, not binary.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Another Day



The feral cat is on the deck looking in at me through the glass panes of the kitchen door.  The humidity and moisture collected on the windows make her look like an impressionistic painting.  Grey tabby, green deck, rose colored petals from the blooming tree, the muted color of the kitchen in the early morning half-light.  Beyond, the spread of green lawn and shrubs, a ragged little flower garden overgrown.  The cat has grown more comfortable with our presence but still comes only at feeding times.  Now, however, she begins to linger.  I figure we are her only friends.

No more time to linger.  Coffee gone.  Another day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Much to Do



First, let me say this--for some reason, I can't respond to comments left on this site from my new laptop.  I don't know how to set up accounts, perhaps.  I don't think Blogger recognizes me as the owner of this site.  But it lets me make new posts, so I don't get it.  Anyway, don't take offense when I don't respond.  I'm trying.  Let's let the computer whiz kid, Q, explain it to me.   All he will ask is that I give him control over this blog.

I had to take off work yesterday.  Ili wanted me to accompany her to a procedure, but before that, the insurance fellow had to come to the house to give me a check for my crushed Vespa.  After Ili's procedure, I had to take an attorney's letter to the roofing company that is not responding to my calls. The ceiling and walls have been destroyed in the bathroom. and bedroom by rain.  I had never been to the roofer's office before.  It was a sort of roofing junkyard in a very bad part of town.  "Beware of the
Dog," Ili read just before I got out to walk through the gate in the hurricane fence.  "I'll wait for you in the car."  I thought that brave of her, considering she was exposed on the street.  I stumbled through the rubble with a wary eye, but there was no dog encounter forthcoming.  Inside, the office looked like the junkyard I'd just walked through.  Three women sat at old, beat desks, each pointing to the other as I tried to deliver the letter.

I got a call within the hour.  Someone will be at my house this morning.

After that, I had to rush to meet my mother at the Ear, Nose, and Throat center.  She had an issue with swelling under her tongue which I guessed might be a blocked salivary gland, but it kept hurting, so she went to a walk-in clinic where a doctor told her she needed to see a specialist.  "I'm not that kind of doctor," he told her just before he said, "I'm not saying it is malignant, but I can't say it is not."  My mother went to her primary care doctor two days later who told her, "I don't know what it is.  You want to see a specialists?"  After which, she didn't help.  I called and made an appointment with an ENT center.

When the doctor came in, I almost fell out of my chair.  I think I've commented on how handsome all the doctor's at the hospital have been, haven't I?  They look like they came from Hollywood casting.  Well. . . so did my mother's doctor.  She looked about twenty and wore cowboy boots with her sleeveless dress.  Jesus, she was a real knockout.  What's up with this?  Do all doctors look like fitness champs now?  Is it some drug they are not telling us about?

Turns out, I was right about the salivary gland.  My mother is fine.

From the docs, I had to fly to the attorneys' office about my accident.  Needed to sign some papers, etc.  All I have to say is no amount of money is worth going through what I've been through, but these people have been swell.  I must have been in dangerous shape as they all were just glad that I was alive (let alone ruggedly handsome, etc.).  And after all the niceties, I know that I will owe nothing of the millions of dollars in medical bills.  I have been very, very worried.

To wrap up the day, I spoke with the electrician from the company who put in my two new air conditioners.  They came out a month ago to give me an estimate on putting in new electrical boxes, but I haven't been able to get an estimate from them.  Got it.  Such things are not cheap.

No matter.  It was a full and productive day, and to celebrate, Ili and I got take out seafood from a local restaurant and dined in style at home with a good wine and a lot of talk.  But today, I am back at the factory.  Don't take days off.  The work never goes away.  And now, there is much to do.

I guess I will.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Intrigue



Ili was intrigued by Asian stylishness in S.F.  It was fairly ubiquitous and eye-catching.  I, of course, was in the usual jeans and t-shirt attire, a comparative bum.  It is my modus operandi.  It comes from being a lazy southerner, I think, from the tropics and not Charleston or Atlanta.  Flip flops and a t-shirt will see you through.

But I loved the Asian glamor.  I fear saying that.  Even a compliment seems modestly racist.  Of course, any generalization runs the gamble.

The country's concern with Epstein is telling.  It is more than a concern.  It is an obsession.  There will be docudramas, movies, t.v. series. . . .  People feel cheated of the courtroom drama, perhaps.  His death is not good enough.

Seriously, though, don't you wonder about people.  Who is that occult sex guru guy in the northeast?  The one that recruited the Seagrams heir?  Jesus.

But people need spooky shit.  Look at the movies that are popular.  People want to be scared by monsters and vampires and the world "beyond."  Ennui just isn't good enough for them.

Not me.  Nothing like a cocktail and a boring afternoon to keep me happy.  That and some good food and soothing music.  Art.  A good book.

I should tie all this back into the Asian stylishness, but I can't think of a way to do it, so. . . I'll just say that the weather is terrible here and you should be glad if you live elsewhere.  For now, anyway.  We still have months to wait.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

The Ways of the Past



Taking photographs gets more and more dangerous all the time.  Soon, only the cops will be allowed to do that.  Or, I should say, "the proper authorities."  Of course, there will still be selfies.  Billions and billions of them.

But that's just the way it is.

New camera sales are plummeting.  Maybe not plummeting, but they are going down.  And why not? There is a new and better camera every day.  In film times, a camera would last for generations.

But I'm becoming that old man yelling at the clouds as I read on one website.  Don't want to sound grumpy, but read this (link).

Ili and I watched "La Dolce Vita" last night.  Two hours of it, anyway.  We will finish later.  She has never seen it before.  The ways of the past. . . long gone.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

New



Sorry I didn't write yesterday.  I had an appointment with a dentist.  A specialist I didn't really need.  One of my crowns came off.  I went to the dentist who put it on to get it put back on.  He sent me to the specialist sharing his office.  The specialist wanted a lot of money.  He would do the prep in the morning and put the crown on that afternoon.  I went in at nine.  Shots.  Mouth stretching.  Sharp pains.  Jaw breaking.  But there was none of the old ways here other than the needles and the pain.  The specialist put a tiny camera in my mouth and began taking pictures.  There was no molding materials, just pictures.

I was hurt and worn out when I finally showed up at the factory.  Then I started wondering.  I'll bet they print the new crown on a 3D printer, I said.

When I went back in the afternoon, the tooth wasn't ready.  It was still in the oven, they said, baking.  Come back in an hour.  I asked, and it was true.  They printed it from the pictures of my teeth.

When I went back, the tooth was ready.  The specialist put it in.  It felt about three times as big as my other teeth.  I said so.  He kept grinding it down to make it fit with the molar above.  I was dizzy, sweaty, and spinning.  Is it o.k.? he asked.  I didn't know.  It felt awful.  I asked if I could just try it out for the weekend.  Sure, he said.  He was ready to go home.

This morning, it feels better in my mouth--mostly.  Maybe it will take awhile to get used to it.  It still feels big.  I don't know.

I won't tell you the price.  I am embarrassed by it.  All of it.

Is this what it is like to get old in a new world?  

Surely.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Cliche



Every street photographer takes this picture in one form or another, so I did, too.  If I waited, I could have done even better, but you see, I was on vacation with someone, so I only had a few seconds.  But that is what some street photographers do, find a background then sit and wait for the right foreground to move in.  It's a trick they teach on YouTube.  Since you don't watch camera porn, I thought I'd let you know.

This is what happens when things are taught in school.  People look at the work of past masters and learn how to replicate it.  All cliches were once fresh ideas.  They were so good that everybody did it.  And then. . . .

What is fascinating in some strange way are the bad ideas that seem to get replicated and perpetuated.  Kids can watch "Requiem for a Dream" and still do that.  Bad idea.

Anyway (as my mother would say), here's my cliche.  Its my version of a sunset.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Remember When?



Remember when I was the only one who took photographs?  I liked it better that way.  There are too many photographs now.  William Eggleston said that he was only interested in his photographs.  Was that arrogant?  I think that I know what he means, but I agree with him for a different reason.  There are so many good photographers now, I get overwhelmed with envy.  The best photographers are the ones who have given up everything else.  They get up in the morning and go out and make pictures.  Should I have done that?  Sure.  Of course.  I should have done everything except make a living.  Fear, I mean, is what prevented me from doing that.  Fear is the motivating factor driving a capitalist society.  I didn't have a full time job until I was in my mid-thirties.  I had enough money for three weeks out of every month.  And yet. . . I think I was happier.  Of course, being young had a lot to do with it.

It seems new cameras come out every day.  And I want them.  You can buy the older version at a much reduced price, the very ones you wanted six months before, but they certainly won't do now.  Where does it end?  Oh, yea--desire is the driving force behind a capitalist society.

Either way, it is not very zen.

But then, look at the great zen societies of the world.  They don't have the greatest cameras now, do they?


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Stoicism



My mother is 89 years old, and just now, she has a medical issue.  She has some doctor's appointments coming up.  There is nothing I can do for her but be with her.  That is all we can ever do, I guess.  Hence my anxiety.  It is about that and about my own well-being, too.  Last night, I took a Xanax to sleep.  It helped. . . for awhile.  But they wear off, and what are you to do, take another?

All my plans have changed.  There will be no late summer vacation trips, I think.  All the things put off will stay put off for another year.  If I'm lucky.

I shouldn't write when I am bummed.  Other people's troubles are not interesting.  Stoicism is good.  It is a form of toxic masculinity, I've read, but it is what is all we have sometimes.

That and some means of escape.  Like Houdini, though, the last escape is always a failure.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dead, Dull Weight



I just wrote and deleted, wrote and deleted.  I am not a happy boy today, not my usual self.  It feels as if something is looming.  But that is not the way to start off a week.  I don't think watching "Serengeti" on The Discovery Chanel last night helped lighten my mood.  Did you watch it?  It was fascinating, though the narration and music really wore on me.  But the images are sublime.  Still, it is a story of survival and death.  There is nothing cheery in nature.  Everything gets eaten, of course, even the top carnivores, for in their blood and guts are parasites that eat them from the inside out.  Nothing is left unscathed.  Nothing is left untouched.  I watched some Rick Steves, too.  He went into the catacombs of ancient Rome.  Sunday was none too cheery. 

I am carrying a weight today through dull, bad weather. Maybe I should listen to some Jimmy Buffet.  Ha!  He used to cheer me up. 

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Something




I went to the Playboy website.  Much of its content is online for free.  Not so much the nudes, but the photography that I saw. . . the female gaze. . . looked a lot like what was called "the male gaze."  I think we all like gazing.  I hope gazing comes back into the realm of the o.k.  I would like to be allowed to look again, to stare, sometimes, in languor.  And looking through a viewfinder is fun.  The world looks different through a viewfinder.

Yes, give me back my gaze.

Meanwhile, I struggle.

We spent yesterday resting with mimosas and Rick Steves.  Then we made a Greek salad and had some wine.  And then we went to bed.  Fun.  But it leaves me with a quandary today.  What to do?  I must do something.  That is what they tell us, anyway.

I will do something.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Not Much to Say



I'm attracted by a lot of bad shots I take.  Weirdly framed, out of focus, blurry, sometimes all at once. It is just a different way of seeing things.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Playboy Redux


The Playboy Gaze: “It’s a little like being in a gender studies class."


This from the New York Times today.  Playboy is back, fully nude, without the Hefners (link).  "Nude is normal," is its theme.  It's a new Playboy for the #MeToo world.  I don't want to try to explain.  Read the article if you are interested.  There are some precious lines like this one.

“We talk a lot about when something is objectification versus when it is consensual objectification versus when it is art,” Mr. Singh said. “I think objectification removes the agency of the subject. Consensual objectification is the idea of someone feeling good about themselves and wanting someone to look at them. Art means, O.K., we can hang this on a wall. And if it’s both, for us, that’s the major win.”
Ili and I were discussing the ideas of right and wrong as human and social constructs last night.  Nature is not moral, I said, nor immoral.  It is value free.  Nature, the cosmos, just "is."  That was my stance.  It isn't a good one or a bad one.  It is a construct I've put together from the things I've read, the conversations I've had, the experiences I've lived through.  I have a personal coda.  It is nothing to brag about.

But people do.  Brag, I mean, about what they believe to be right or wrong.  Morality is a political struggle about who wields power.  So, I think the new Playboy will be interesting to observe.  Let's see if they can convince people that they have the right moral code.

Shit.  Such talk is boring, especially in the morning with coffee.  It was much more interesting last night when I was in my cups.

I spent a long time getting beautified before the conversation.  I don't recognize myself in the mirror today.  It's alright.  I go to a new dentist this morning.  He won't know.

Jesus.  I don't want to go to the dentist.  But that's the way it is.  Such is Nature.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Charming



I haven't taken a picture since I got home from vacation.  I've been responsible.  I've made appointments, met obligations, etc.  This is supposed to be its own reward, I guess, but I am of the less practical type.  I want to hang out in the cafes with my new Airbook and my Leica.  Jesus.  How could I be cooler?

I will be practical, though, and trim my fingernails tonight.  They tap against the keyboard as I write.  If you haven't used a Mac keyboard, you must try it.  It is different.

I'm finding, though, that just having the laptop doesn't give me any better ideas about what to write.  I thought my lack of creativity was due to a technical problem.  Wasn't I more clever when I had a laptop before?  I probably only thought so.

I get beautified tonight.  As always (or maybe even more so now), it is a lot of work.  I will be there for hours.  What is wrong with me.  Q never writes about getting beautified.  I don't even know if he goes to a barber or if he just runs the clippers over his head.  I work too much at vapid things, but I've had some good mentors in this department.  It began with Brando who used to get his hair and beard blackened.  I thought it was funny.  He would often come out looking like Bluto from the Popeye cartoons.  At some point in his later life, after he got a fairly permanent girlfriend, he let it all go and went grey, then white.  His personality changed completely.  It wasn't for the good.  He let himself drift further and further into old age, and I am sure it was giving up the trips to the beauty parlor.

I think we must maintain the illusion.  Almost everything is.  And so, for you, I will sacrifice myself to hours in the chair so that I might continue to be charming.

Aren't I charming?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Laptop Again



This is the first post from my new computer.  I ordered it last night and it was delivered in two hours. Awesome.  Just one problem.  I ordered the wrong one.  I meant to get the 13" MacBook Pro, but ordered the Air instead.  I was too excited to send it back, though.  I wanted to get started, so I decided to keep it.  It is made of ether, so light it floats.  I was going to get a different brand, tired of Apple and the expense, but in the end, I couldn't.  They are too familiar to me.  And so.  If I don't like it, I will give it to my mother and try again.  That's the way I am.  A good son.

It is nice to have a laptop again.  Now I just need to learn how to set everything up.  I haven't been successful with one of my email accounts, nor with updating some apps.  When I try to put my Adobe account on here, I will surely lose my mind.  And Microsoft Word. . . they want me to subscribe to a monthly fee.  Does everyone do that, or am I missing something.  I don't want my stuff in the Cloud, any cloud.  My other computers all had DVD/CD drives, so I was able to load the app and keep everything on hard drives.  I don't want anyone having access to my stuff but me.

What does that say about me?

Oh, man, it is a joy, though, to be on a laptop again.