Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Hoarder

I "discovered" an old hard drive last night, with photos I haven't seen in many, many years.  My drives consist of files with folders within folders, mostly labelled with dates.  This does not make it easy to know what is in there.  So. . . I open folders one by one.  I think to label them, but many if not most times the photographs that lie within are not of the same thing, not person or place or thing.  Thus, if I want to organize the folders within files within drives, I have to begin with the first folder. . . oh, I don't even know what it would take.  Someone with a more organized mind than mine.  Rather, I just spend hours clicking away at files and folders, and, as with last night's endeavors, marveling to find things I have not seen in years.  

After which, I am as lost as ever.  I would simply have to repeat the process to find a picture again.  Agonizing.  

I have billions of photographs.  I should at least cull them, delete the "bad" ones, but I find it difficult to say a photograph is bad.  They all contain something of value.  I guess that makes me a hoarder.  Yes, I guess I am.  

I am a hoarder.  

Last night's finds have me excited to go back and do some editing.  There is a lot of value there.  And, of course, some images simply improve with age.  

I thought I'd have a new video to post for you here today, but I've found I'm a bit shy of some equipment.  I went to The Guitar Center yesterday to see if I could get up to speed on audio.  They sell all equipment, not just guitars, so I figured I could get some help.  If you want to hate music, though, just go to a music store.  Everywhere, assholes are trying to show off their chops on electric guitars, the sound of their playing clashing with the loud rock music being pumped over the thirty or so speakers in the store and with each other.  The cacophony is stupefying.  And that may explain the help.  After a long while of wandering and looking, I got a woman to assist me with finding the equipment I needed.  She knew little more than I.  She kept looking things up on her phone in response to my queries, and finally she said they didn't have the things I wanted, whatever that was, in the store.  

I left empty handed.  

I made a little video for Q telling him I didn't know shit about audio.  I did this because I bought the expensive gimbal and stand for my iPhone.  I just felt the need to use it.  It only takes about ten times the effort to do that rather than texting. 

Q said he has the solution to my problem.  It took me a while to understand, but yea, he is sending me the thing I need.  One thing, anyway.  But once I get it and get everything ready for production, I'll be daunted.  Good digital apps take so much expertise that I get shaky with it all.  My nerves become frayed and I just place everything in a box and shove it in the closet.  I have a closet and an attic full of defunct equipment that was mere years ago state of the art.  It is all fairly worthless now.  

But what else have I to do?

I wish I had a story to tell you, but all I have are dreams, and as I've said a trillion times, other people's dreams are boring.  Still they may be less so than what I'm writing now.  

Dry January is winding down, and it makes me wonder.  I think I should stay off the hooch until I reach my goal of eight pounds, eight ounces, or whatever my ideal weight should be.  That's what I think on the one hand.  What I think on the other is quite different.  Two voices on opposite shoulders.  One voice is clear, the other seductive.  I love seduction.  

"I'm not like the others," it tells me, "I'm your friend."  

Carnivals are so appealing.  Everything bad for you is there.  


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

"It"s Alive!"

I went to the doctor's office yesterday to get the results of my bloodwork tests.  I've been stressing about this for two weeks.  Anxiety and depression.  For two days before going, I just sat in the house.  Now. . . you may think this is odd behavior, but for me it is absolutely normal.  This is my M.O.  As I've reported earlier, it's genetic.  My father was a worrier.  He'd sit at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and a Camel staring into space, sometimes shaking his head to the negative, lips just pursed for a moment.  Then he'd take a sip of coffee and/or a pull on his cigarette.  

This was a common occurrence.  

Every time I go to the doctor's office, they weigh me and take my blood pressure.  The weighing is easy, and since January 4, I've lost four pounds.  Good news.  But as soon as they pull out the blood pressure cuff, my heart rate races.  And always--ALWAYS--my blood pressure is high.  Yesterday, however, the first reading was lower than the last time I was there.  Good news.  When the doctor came in, she wanted to take it again.  Uh-oh.  She had me stand which is the first time for that.  This time my blood pressure was not so good.  Not good at all.  She decided, though, that she needed to use a bigger cuff.  I have a big arm, she said.  I wanted to tell her I used to, but I was trying to calm myself.  With the bigger cuff, my b.p. was ten points lower.  So what does it mean?  

"I'm like a feral animal when I come in here.  I can't help it."

"Anxiety doesn't cause your blood pressure to go up," she said.  

"That's not what the cardiologist said," I thought but didn't say.  I'd need better credentials to argue with even a bad physician.  But just Google it and you'll see.  I have no idea why she says this to me.  

She asked me all the same questions about sleep apnea, and I gave her all the same answers.  I try to realize that she is really doing this for my own good, but I can't help viewing her as Doctor Death.  I go in feeling one way and leave feeling another.  

I told her I wasn't using the aqualung.  CPAP.  Whatever.  

She wrote me a script to see a sleep apnea specialist.  I guess that means my insurance will pay.  But having lost weight and having an initial b.p. reading that was significantly lower than it was on my last visit, I was feeling like maybe Dry January was paying some dividends.  

Then she pulled out the results of my bloodwork. 

"Your blood work is good.  You are not insulin resistant.  I can't believe it."

She sounded miffed, really, like I had somehow betrayed her.  

"That's good, right?  I'm not supposed to be?"

"No. . . but when I see someone who is not, I'm shocked.  Almost  everyone is."

So it IS a good thing.  

"I'll see you in three months," she said. 

"Three months?"  I was shocked.  

She just said, "Blood pressure," as she walked out of the room.  

Jesus Christ. . . I was walking on air when I left the building.  I was alive!  I felt I could live another three months!  

I didn't want to read the bloodwork report.  I didn't want to find anything that would upset me.  But when I stopped at my mother's house, she went over it with a magnifying glass.  Glucose good.  Triglycerides good.  Cholesterol high.  

What?!?  Give me that.  

I looked at it for the first time.  

"That's the good kind of cholesterol, ma.  That's o.k.  Better than o.k.  That's because of all the avocados and olive oil and fish I eat."

And the rest was good, too.  

Dry January.  Maybe.  

I think I'll travel a bit.  

So there's that. 

 I got a note from my Famous Fashion Editor yesterday.  I hadn't heard from her for a week, not since I sent her a picture of the hat I had ordered.  She is sweet to write me.  I don't expect her to, but I love that she does.  But here, in part, was her response. 

" i can’t pretend to like the hat on its own. it’s cosplay. few men can pull off that look. earnestly. it requires a certain level of self-belief. any trepidation won’t sell it. but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. maybe you’re the 1%. only you know."

Cosplay!!!  Jesus Christ, I'm the last person to entertain such a thing.  I hate getting dressed let alone going to pains.  But for years, I have called everything a "costume."  I have a bathing costume, a sleeping costume. . . I had work costumes, etc.  All clothing is costuming.  But the cosplay comment. . . fuck me!  Now I'm going to HAVE to wear the fucking hat.  I wasn't going to, but I can't let her have this.  I'm not even a hipster.  I just thought I'd try hats.

"I never thought of myself as a freak. . . ."


Oh. . . I know what she would say.  I can dress up like these famous people if it makes me feel better.  But c'mon girl. . . I'm already insecure.  I don't need any help.  

I don't want to dis her.  I love the shit out of her, and I am amazingly proud of what she has done.  In truth, it is a little intimidating. . . if I were the type.  But I'm not.  Maybe a little by polymaths like Noam Chomsky, but. . . even there, I think I can be quicker on my feet.  Something.  A bit like Mohamed Ali.  

So yea. . . look for me in that stupid fucking hat.  Thanks, babe.  

It's no matter.  The world is a shit show.  When the next Great War starts in the next month or so, we will all look back nostalgically.  

"Remember the Time of Covid?  Wasn't that fun?  Binge watching t.v., not going into the office, staying home and fucking around.  Remember food?  There was food back then, and electricity.  God. . . those were the good old days, weren't they?" 

Biden was driven by the extreme left to give away money.  Now he'll be driven by the right to be aggressive in the Ukraine.  Whatever.  I've already said that this idea taking turns dying doesn't make any sense to me.  We should all die together.  There are enough nukes on the planet now. . . . 

"Yea. . . I remember the Day's of Covid.  It was really pretty peaceful."

I'm not going to worry so much about the hat.  All I want to be able to do is fit back into my old jeans.  

Monday, January 24, 2022

Sometimes I Sit and Wonder

I have a doctor's appointment in a little bit.  Not looking forward to this--results.  There are some things with which I simply do not want to deal.  I've been anxious since I was last there, even depressed.  I have a big imagination.   Everything gets driven to the extreme.  The thing is, one day things will be, and I keep stepping up closer to that time.  I know how I do not want to live, but none of us really knows what we are willing to put up with for a little more time.  We think we do, but I'm not so certain.  

And so. . . . 

I watched the NFL this weekend.  Every game.  Admittedly, I watched them in DVR time, but they were much better that way.  Every game came down to last plays, all games won with no time left on the clock. Unfortunately, my DVR cut off just before the end of the Bucs/Rams game and I didn't get to see that until I saw highlights later.  The end to the Chiefs/Bills game was an all-time forever thriller.  

I guess the name "Chiefs" isn't offensive?  You know how people have adopted the Mexican usage of the word "jefe" in English?  

"You got it, boss."  

"What can I get you, boss?"

I guess I can start calling people "Chief."  

"Hey, Chief, d'you got the time?"

"That's right, Chief. . . ."

And so on. 

I watched football and sat in the house and didn't bathe for two days.  I watched tutorials as I try to get up to speed on editing in Premiere once again, and I watched tutorials on how to use my new camera gimbal effectively.  I worked on photos for the documentary.  The house was cold, or I was.  The smell of shit and death were pervasive.  I opened and closed doors and burned essential oils and incense until the rooms smelled like an Indian whorehouse.  

I didn't even go over to see my mother. 

Last night, I grilled a ribeye, the first beef I've had in weeks.  Maybe it was the cold, but I felt I needed it.  It was big.  It was good. 

I miss having someone around to respond, "That's what she said."  I miss the stupid shit. 

I used my new gimbal and made a selfie video tour of my house.  I sent it to friends in an effort to show that I do not look quite as hideous as I do in the pictures of me in my new hat that I sent them.  I also sent the video to people I've not seen in a long while so they would know what I look like now and would not be shocked if and when they see me again.  

That's just me reaching out to the world.  It's a TikTok/Intsa-World.  Billions can't be wrong.  

I gave up making videos years ago in favor of photography.  I'd forgotten how much work making a video is. . . if it is to be edited and make sense.  It is not a casual thing unless you get drunk and dance naked in your hat.  Everybody enjoys things like that.  But if you are going to try to tell any kind of story, you have to plan everything out, get all the things you need in the field.  Have you ever tried narration?  That, my friends, is even more difficult.  It's not like answering questions.  Nope.  Try it.  

Jesus, it's cold here.  It is still near freezing though the morning's sunny.  I don't have the clothes for this any more.  I am a lazy southern pensioner.  I feel imposed upon if I have to put on more than shorts, flip-flops, and a t-shirt.  

That's it. . . the inside of my navel-gazing world.  Nothing there but lint.  Not a hint of enlightenment.  

Video to come.  

Here's something silly to make you feel better.  Me.  One of us.  


(link)

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Modern Monk

Hey--I can do pretty portraits, too.  I'm not a freak all the time.  I just don't want to be the Norman Rockwell of photography, but I don't want to be the Francis Bacon, either.  Still, if I had to choose. . . . 

I have a lot to report on today.  

Joke.  

No I don't.  I didn't leave the house yesterday.  I didn't even shower.  As it was everywhere in the east, it was cold here yesterday.  Bitterly so.  Buffalo had nothing on us.  If it snowed where you were, it was not as cold as it was here.  The humid cold is a terrible thing.  You can't stop it.  You can dress however you want, damp cold will get you.  At one point yesterday, I had the heat cranked up to 79 degrees.  Since I have an old, wooden house, I have drafts and a fight with humidity.  I sat and listened to the gas run through the lines.  Cha-ching.  Cha-ching.  

But that wasn't the worst of it, not by a long shot.  The dead/living thing is back under my house.  With the house closed up, it smells like a combination morgue and sewer.  I may have changed my mind about killing it if it isn't already dead.  For part of the day, I had all the doors open to get fresh air.  Heat cranking--cha-ching.  

You do what you have to do.  

On the up side, my new hat arrived.  I left the box sitting for a long time on the floor, an accusation at best.  Why the f-- would I order a hat?  I KNEW I was going to look like Fido's ass in it.  So I cleaned the kitchen, went through some old hard drives. . . until I decided to end the fear and live with the results.  I opened the box.  The hat looked new.  This particular style is no longer made by the company, or at least it isn't available right now. . . I don't know which.  But new, it was $150.  I don't know hats, so I don't know if that is expensive.  No. . . I know it is expensive for me, I just don't know if that is an expensive hat.  My one time pal, the fashion editor, who had gotten in touch after so many years insisted that I send her a picture of the hat, so I sent the photo from eBay.  And that was the last time I heard from her.  I can only guess she thought me a fool, not someone she could risk her professional standing over.  

No matter.  I held the hat for a long time.  It is a dandy no matter how I would look in it.  It was pliable.  I rolled it and shaped it this way and that.  Man, I thought. . . if I only would look good in this thing.  Eventually, full of trepidation, I made my way to the bathroom mirror.  I looked at myself, then placed the chapeau on my head.  

Goddamn. . . I was right!  I looked like an idiot.  But I stood there anyway.  For a long time, I stood there. Maybe I'd get used to it?  I got my camera and took a couple mirror selfies.  O.K.  That's the way I look, I thought.  Fuck it.  So I cooked up a couple and sent them to some friends.  The responses were quick and cruel.  

"Man, you look great in a hat."  

That sort of thing.  I don't, though.  They were just enjoying my demise.  What did they care if kids would throw rocks at me when I got close to their houses?  What would they care if people snickered as I passed?  

I kept looking at the photos.  I had the hat on.  I made all the hat mistakes.  I wore the hat in the house.  I put the hat on the bed.  

But the damn thing DID keep my head warm.  

My mother was the only one who reacted negatively.  She knew I looked like a damn fool.  

I've decided that I will wear the hat. I look nothing like myself in it. . . or maybe I look more so.  

Call me crazy. . . call me mad. . . I had put another color of the same hat in my maybe box on eBay.  The one I got is brown.  The other is camel.  I went online and made an offer.  The seller immediately accepted!  I will have two versions of this hat, one for winter and one for spring.  Best (maybe). . . I got the two of them for less than the original of one.  

Score!

I'll wear them. . . I swear. . . just probably never anywhere.  

Eventually, I set some incense to burning.  I rarely do this, mostly when the monster visits me.  After opening the doors, though, and then lighting the incense, I almost didn't feel like puking.  

Now I must correct myself.  I DID leave the house yesterday.  I put on my down sweater and drove to the grocery store.  I needed to get some scented candles.  But way led to way.  First I bought fruit, then some vegetables.  I bought some coffee and some tea, some yogurt.  By the time I got to the register, I was loaded.  The cashier is a young woman with flirtatious eyes.  I can never tell.  And like all the cashiers, she is dressed in one of those grocery store outfits that makes everyone look the same.  Hospitals do that, too, only in the opposite direction.  I've never understood how nursing uniforms make so many people beautiful, but they do.  Grocery store uniforms, however, are made to make employees invisible.  The cashier, however, had colored her hair a brilliant shade of red like nothing in the human genome.  Above her Covid mask, her eyes made their usual glances.  Maybe she was flirtatious.  Maybe she was cute.  I just didn't know.  

When I got home, I had bags full of everything. . . except candles.  Motherfucker.  

I lit some more incense and started cooking.  

I heard something at the door.  It was another delivery, another package.  I put it aside until after dinner.  

As I cooked, the DVR was recording a football game.  Had been.  I sat down and turned it on.  I haven't been able to watch sports for years, for a number of reasons.  It is stupid how much attention athletes get, not to mention the ridiculous sums of money.  As if making them billionaires isn't enough, though, people are curious what they think about things.  I ask myself, "Why do they interview them?  Why do they have them talk at all?"

"Coach told us we needed to remember three things today--block, tackle, and desire.  That's what we did, and it worked good for us today.  I just want to thank Jesus Christ Our Savior for giving us the win."  

Worse, though, is the commercialism.  There are more minutes of advertising than of actual game.  So. . . I fast forwarded through all commercials.  I even fast forwarded through the huddles.  I think I watched the whole game in like twenty minutes.  And wow!  What a finish. . . a field goal to win as time ran out.  

I ate my dinner to a YouTube video, then bussed the dishes and cleaned up.  I was ready to open the other package.  

Should I tell you?  Ah, hell, if you are curious, you can click on the (link).  

Yea. . . I may have some surprises for you soon.  Not real soon, but soon.  I just want it to be fun.  It won't be Instagram or TikTok, I don't think, unless I get drunk and want to do a little dance video in my new hats.  That's what people do.  I've seen it.  

But I think anything I make might be longer than that.  

After dinner, I returned to what I'd been doing all the live long cold and isolated day.  I've been searching old hard drives.  I have many.  Many many.  There are some videos I want to find, but all I have gotten so far are small, compressed things that could be sent through email.  The original files. . . I haven't a clue.  I find the Premiere folders with all the editing decisions, but Premiere doesn't store the original files, it only points to them.  I no longer have a clue where those large files are.  

What I have been finding, though are lots of surprises I had forgotten about.  I have tons of old CDs that I burned, the turn of the century versions of mix tapes. And I made cover art for all of them.  Jesus.  It is almost embarrassing, but not quite, at least not on par with the hats.  

To end my computer night, I started scanning photos from a famous German feminist film maker that are needed for a documentary about her.  I got out of shooting footage on Friday, but I am still on the hook for the scanning.  It's not as easy as putting them on the scanner and pressing a button.  All the photos need help.  I was able to scan five photos in an hour.  

Then it was some popcorn, a little boo, and the first episode of the 4th season of "Ozark."  I wasn't really all that interested, though.  

Fearing another night of no sleep, I took a knockout pill.  Half.  Then I put candles in the exotic essential oil holders in my bedroom, turned out the light, and alone in the frigid southern winter's air, I pulled the covers up around my throat and fell into my induced coma.  

Which lasted until five a.m.  It is cold and dark and the house is drafty.  The shit/death smell is fainter, and I wonder why?  The smell moved from room to room last night.  This is going to take more investigation.  

The darkness just turned a lighter shade of gray.  It will be another day of staying warm.  Maybe I'll record another football game while I work on the computer.  I have a lot of learning to do, too, today.  Back to school at YouTube U.  

And that, my friends, is a day in the life of a modern monk.  


(link)

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Alcohol or Love

 I should have been a wedding photographer.  This is a photo I took at my cousin's son's wedding many years ago.  With photos like this. . . I'd probably have been sued by the mundane masses, but those with a knowing eye. . . . 

I wish I'd done more like this.  It is so subtly bizarre.  

That is what I did on Friday night--processed old photographs I'd never touched before.  It is not what I had wanted to do Friday night.  Maybe its the not drinking, I don't know, but doing a Dry Bukowski is not very appealing.  Scotch, Friday night, and me. . . o.k.  It's like having a friend.  But wide-eyed awake. . . not so much.  Sobriety does not lend itself to creativity, I find.  Maybe if I were a dancer, it would be o.k., but I don't think that is an option any longer.  Alcohol must release something in the brain that makes you brilliant.  A few drinks and I'm funny.  A few drinks and I start making connections.  Sober, I stare and say, "Look at that."  It might be o.k. for enlightenment of some sort, but I am not really seeking that.  I like to make things.  Maybe I'll take the "Kubla Kahn" route.  

Of course that was never completed.  

It is more difficult to be sober and alone.  I'm imagining that is why sober Christians and Muslims have all those children.  

There are advantages to not drinking, I'm sure.  I can't think of them just now, but if I ever lose weight and can once again fit into my jeans. . . .  At this point, however, that seems a fantasy.  I started to say "a pipe dream," but that takes us back to "Kubla Kahn."  And I don't think I could create anything on opioids.  But  I sure as shit could sleep which I'm not doing now.  Another bad night.  I was up before five.  

I slept better when I was drinking. 

I am going to need some real life experiences if I am to continue this blog.  I need stories, and sitting with my mother is not providing me with much that way.  

And I'm off the news.  I don't want opine about the idiocy of a world obsessed with the Covid-related legal hassles of one tennis player or the mental health issues of another.  Fuck divas.  

Ooo. . . I may have a story about that, but, you know. . . it comes off as self-agrandizing and these are not the days of Robert Mitchum.  

This morning, I have a little treat for you.  You can't hear it anywhere else on the internet except at Radio Selavy.  Just here.  'Cause in all the world, only love can break your heart.  

And that is what I wanted on a Friday night.  Being in love is like being drunk.  Even better.  


Friday, January 21, 2022

Your Answer Could Be Revealing

This is a sort of psychological test.  Not Rorschach, the one with all the dirty pictures, but a social one.  What do you see?  Be careful.  Your answer could be revealing.  

I didn't sleep well again last night, even taking a knockout pill.  The cat has not come around for three feedings.  I wonder what it all means?  Be careful.  Your answer could be revealing.  

As previously reported, I was asked to shoot some video today.  I didn't want to, but I said I would.  Last night, I got off the hook.  The famous feminist filmmaker couldn't make it. Whew.  Now I can do what I had planned to do instead.  

Nothing. 

I've become the King of Nothing.  

Something has either died beneath my bedroom floor or another stinky ass possum has taken up residence.  Or it could be the same one.  I will have to do something.  It is terrible.  What do you think?  Be careful. . . . 

That is to say. . . I think I've lost my mania.  What a shame.  I was enjoying it so much.  But the higher you go, the happier you are. . . it's a long way down.  

Remember I told you about all the girls who started writing me?  They've stopped.  My charming personality and creative inventiveness might have sparkled a little too brightly for them.  Or maybe they simply remembered why they quit communicating in the first place.  

Or maybe they have lives.  

I've had one before.  They are nice things, but they do take up a lot of your time.  My friends with children seem to have very little.  Time that is.  They are what e.e. cummings called "busy folk. . . someones and everyones."  

one day anyone died I guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

Bohemians.  I really like Bohemians.  There are basically two types of people in the world--Bohemians and everyone else.  I think Bohemians can only exist as long as there are many more everyone elses.  You need everyones to do the everyday work so that Bohemians can enjoy the fruits.  The world wouldn't work if the ratio was reversed.  A world ruled by Bohemians. . . Jesus, we would all be scavenging for nuts and berries.  But in the everyone/everyday world, the old workaday world, there is enough left over for Bohemians to pilfer and get by.  In spite of appearances, though, the world needs Bohemians.  They are the creatives.  Noam Chomsky is fine, but he doesn't make you laugh.  He'll never write an interesting novel or screenplay.  Bohemians are the civilized west's desert.  But you can't live on deserts alone though.  Nope.  Those everyones keep the world a-chugging.  

Now. . . for a political comment.  Old Shakey stepped in it, it seems, with his comment on Russia and the Ukraine.  A little invasion will be just a little bad, like maybe getting to second base on an adolescent date.  I don't understand, though, what people think they want.  A war with Russia?  Americans don't have the stomach for war any longer.  You have to be willing to demonize the "other" to kill them, and when you start, you must kill them all, the mothers and children and grandparents and pets.  Otherwise it's called "Afghanistan."  And you know how that turned out.  To win a war, you must be willing to put heads on stakes.  Americans just want to play computer games.  "You know. . . there are good people in Russia.  We only want to get rid of the bad ones."  It doesn't work that way.  So what do people want Biden to say?  That we will use every weapon in our arsenal to defeat them?  I don't think so.  Kids want to go to climbing gyms and make TikTok videos.  They want to cry "Victim."  They are fragile.  Unless you want to send a bunch of Kyle Rittenhouses to the Ukraine. . . .  

Quickly. . . tell me what you think.  But be careful.  Your answer could be revealing.  

Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Body's Ability

Maybe it's the mania, but I can't sleep.  I tossed and turned all night until I could stand it no more.  I got up before five.  Now I've read the news and have drunk the coffee.  It is six.  What's a fellow to do?  

Perhaps it's too much computer time.  Again yesterday, I didn't leave the house.  I just worked with photo software and listened to music.  The passage of time is curiously warped whenever I'm engaged with  that, hours passing with me unawares.  But staring at a computer screen for hours is a sure way to wreck your health.  It is one of the reasons kids don't sleep.  I've suggested to Q that he wear those glasses that block blue light, but I don't think he has gotten any (link).  

I will. 

I spoke with Q last night.  Since he has shut down his blog, you are not able to keep up with what is going on in his life, so I will fill you in.  He, too, is doing Dry January, and he, too, has failed to lose any weight.  He said he'd lost four pounds, but he planned on eating a hot dog at the movie theater he was headed to, so I know he will put that back on by morning.  Burning up excess fat is ridiculously difficult.  The body doesn't want to give it up.  Put a pound of animal fat on a plate and set it before you.  That's a lot of goddamned fat.  Quadruple that.  Try to imagine twenty pounds of fat.  How long does it take to burn that off?  That's 70,000 calories.  How long must you stay in a deficit to burn off 70,000 calories?  

He and I each may have lost some ounces, but the majority of the four pounds is water.  Four pounds is 14,000 calories.  In three weeks?  No way.  

And studies all indicate that people who lose weight through dieting put the weight plus more back on eventually.  You can diet to get ready for a wedding or a fight, but that is coming back.  I've probably put on two pounds a year for the last ten years.  I think I might be able to lose that in the next ten and keep it off.  

Q said he liked me calling myself Quasimodo after seeing a photograph he sent me from our visit at his favorite theme park.  He was still laughing when he said it. The fat really goes to two places on the body--the belly and the face.  

"Look away. . . I'm hideous!"

My love life is much like Quasimodo's, too.  

But that's enough about me.  Let's talk about Q.  Now that he hasn't a blog, I can punch down.  What can he do?  Yell?  Talk bad about me to his friends?  He sits in the happy lap of familial bliss while I suffer through years of solitude and loneliness.  The gods are cruel.  I have only this blog to even the score.  

But I'm not the type.  Don't make enemies unless you are willing to kill them.  Otherwise you are only making trouble for yourself.  Political Science 101.  

I took today's photo with an iPhone.  I've not done that very much, but damn, those things are impressive.  Now that I've made a large print of an iPhone image, I may use it for more than the mirror selfies I send to friends.  Take one hundred, choose one.  

Nothing lies like a photograph.  

I've begun posting song lyrics with the music I post on Radio Selavy.  But more updates on that to come.  With a few exceptions, I'm trying to post music you probably haven't heard before, hence. . . the lyrics.    

(link)

"I wish I was a fool for you again."

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Mania

I did it again, stayed up way too late listening to music and futzing with pictures.  I did it all day long.  It was fun,  I was a bit crazy with it.  There are so many new ways to process pictures, and I have been exploring them.  I went mad with it.  And the music (link). . . oy!  So much good music it drives me mad.  

As I've said, though. . . I'm in an emotional state.  I'm manic right now, jazzed and happy as I can be.  As far up as you go, though. . . . Maybe it's been the moon, full a couple nights ago.  Maybe it is Dry January. Maybe it is not pushing heavy weights at the gym.  I don't know.  I got a cheap fisherman's shirt from China a month after I ordered it, and I put it on the other day. Maybe wearing that instead of the usual t-shirt changed the way I feel.  Maybe it's the hat that is being shipped.  

Just maybe it is the beautiful weather. 

Whatever it is. . . I know it won't last, so I will enjoy it while I can.  

I'm feeling inventive.  I'm thinking about working on some podcast stuff.  But. . . last night I tried editing some video, and although I used to do that many years ago, the software has changed so much I couldn't figure most things out.  I will have to go to school on this if I am to edit well again.  I know how to edit, I just don't know the software now.  I've been asked to do some camera work on Friday by someone making a documentary on a famous German filmmaker.  I'm not sure about doing that, though.  It would take up a significant portion of the day, and I am so used to doing. . . nothing.  

I have to get out of the house though.  I've been sitting at my desk for the last 48 hours.  In part, it has been because it's cold.  The nighttime temperatures have dipped into the high thirties and low forties.  It barely reached sixty degrees yesterday.  You may not think that's cold, but everyone is wearing four layers around here.  However, the sun is bright and the skies clear as water.  I need to make some pictures.  

That's a hell of a way to be happy, isn't it?  Sitting alone at a computer listening to music?  Surely something is wrong with me.  That just isn't right.  Perhaps I've finally snapped and am mad as a hatter.  Crazy as a loon.  

I'm shipping off a print today.  Maybe that is making me happy.  I'm an artist, goddamnit.  We're temperamental people.  

(link)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Seat Belts Tight, Air Bags Ready

 I saw no one yesterday.  Not a single person.  I didn't go to my mother's.  It was "cold."  It is colder this morning.  I don't know how people live winters in the north.  I really don't.  I'm a lazy southern boy, I guess.  I know that all the great culture comes from colder climes and that nothing but syphilis and violence and madness comes from the horrible southern heat, but in the modern world where we destroy the planet with the consumption of electricity, I prefer a.c. to heaters.  

I have gotten old. 

But that is not what I meant to say at all.  

Somehow, yesterday's isolation turned into joy.  Sure, I'm becoming as mad as a loon or a hatter or whatever reference is apropos, but yesterday was a treat.  I sat at my computer going through old hard drives looking for some particular things, but what I found was a treasure trove of images I'd never really looked at or touched.  Many of them have now been touched.  As I worked, Apple Music was proving to me that it knows what I like.  Those algorithms have me down.  I cranked up the music and worked on images, just as I used to in the golden days.  And fuck me if the new tools that Adobe and other companies have developed don't give me new options.  And so the morning drifted into afternoon.  I took a break and stepped outside.  It had warmed, but it was still chilly and a bit breezy.  No matter, though.  I needed exercise, so I dressed for the outdoors and headed to the park where I do my fitness shuffle.  Was it the weather, or was it the mania the morning had produced?  I can't be sure, but my I was quicker/stronger/better than I was the time before or the time before that.  I seemed to be merely old rather than ancient.  I shuffled around that course like a hermit crab rather than a snail.  I had the strength of ten amoebas. My flushed face was smiling.  

Maybe it was the sunshine and the crisp blue sky.  I don't know.  

I stopped and bought some chicken thighs and kale and baked beans at Whole Foods.  When I got home, I showered.  And then it was four o'clock.  

"Hey, ma. . . I don't think I'll make it over today.  I got a late start and its getting colder."

"O.K.  Don't worry about it."

"I'll call you later.  Love you."

Freed from the shackles of time, I lit a medium sized cigar and sat on the deck.  After showering, I had put on a cheap, new fisherman's shirt I had just gotten from China.  It made me feel good to be wearing something other than one of the t-shirts I've been wearing consistently for the past two years.  The longs sleeves kept me warmer.  I was feeling. . . what?  Not sure, but I wanted to keep feeling it.  Maybe I need to dress again.  Yea. . . just waiting on my new hat to arrive.  

I put the cigar down halfway through and began to prepare dinner.  Kale in the cooker.  Beans in the pot.  Grill on high to burn off the germs.  Chicken simply spiced with Kosher salt, course ground black pepper, and plenty of red pepper to give it heat.  I relit the cigar and sat while fire did its job, then I plated dinner.  Two chicken thighs.  I had moved from pescatarian to polloterian.  It was the weightiest meal I've had this month.  Salt, red pepper, and balsamic vinegar on the kale.  When I had finished it all, down to the last morsel, I leaned back and held my belly.  Damn, Sam.  I had really eaten.  

It was too cold to sit outside comfortably now, the sun having set, so I tried smoking the rest of the cigar inside.  That didn't last long.  Smoke hung in the t.v. room like a fog.  I took it outside.  Did the dishes.  Cleaned the counters and the stove.  I put on music again and went back to the computer.  Time conspired with image and melody.  Before I knew it, it was midnight.  I haven't stayed up 'til midnight for at least two years.  I wasn't ready for bed.  I was wired.  I could stay up all night, but I knew better.  What cold I do?  I shut everything down, took my vitamins, brushed me teeth, and popped a sleeping pill.  A whole one, not a half.  I didn't wake until seven-thirty.  

I haven't looked at what I did last night yet, but I'm sure I'll be like, "What the fuck?"  There won't be much that impresses me.  No matter.  I had plenty of big fun.  I uploaded videos to YouTube, though the quality was shit as the videos had been compressed for sending over old computers.  And I uploaded a bunch of music to Radio Selavy.  I haven't figured out how to link it to this blog yet, but I will.  One need not go searching for it every time one wants to hear some menstrual music.  It's an alternative station, kids.  Don't look for many radio hits there.  

So, yea. . . I am dangerously happy this morning.  You know what that means.  

"You know how good you feel right now?  That's how bad you are going to feel when it's gone."

That's the price one pays.  "Yo pago y pago, y yo pago!"

The morning is cold and bright.  I must make some pictures today. I can't sit at the computer all day again. Having made nice pictures made me happy.  If I can make more today, I'll be ecstatic.  

Don't hold your breath.  Just prepare for the crash.  Seat belts tight.  Air bags ready.  


Monday, January 17, 2022

It's Just That I've Been Losing For So Long

 I've been emotional lately. . . which means music.  Lots and lots of menstrual me music.  I'll post some of it here in time, but I've cranked up Radio Selavy and have been posting music over there.  I may make some live videos, too, to go along.  So. . . if you want to hear what I feel. . . click HERE.  I'll try to figure out how to put the link on the side of the blog so it is always available.  

The  problem I suffer is that I've never figured out how to stop loving someone.  I can be hurt, mad, disappointed. . . but I can never forget that thing with which I fell in love.  Fatalistic Romantic, I guess.  It is bad for me most of the time, but sometimes it spur me to creativity.  In the main, though, I believe most people don't love in the manner I do.  Not so deeply, so tragically.  I mean. . . when I'd go out with my friends, they would look around the bar for women.  So would I, but I was always trying to find someone I could fall in love with.  My friends were looking for someone they could like.  I never left the bar with a woman.  They often did.  

But that isn't fair.  I know my friends are in love.  I just don't think it consumes them.  I feel akin to Frederick Henry in "A Farewell to Arms."  

But this may simply be me in Covid World Isolation talking.  I've thought more about love, old loves, these past two years than is healthy.  Were I out in the world living rather than sitting at home remembering. . . . 

So. . . Radio Selavy.  

Yesterday was a sit tight day, rainy in the morning and blustery most of the day, so I decided to make a fish stew.  I don't need recipes as much as I used to, and I improvised a bit on this one.  I used a little too much celery, though, and while it was cooking, I detected a bitter aftertaste, so I added some water to the bottle of wine I initially used and added some Balsamic vinegar.  It turned out to be more of a fish soup than a stew, but it still hit the spot on a gray day.  I took it over to my mother's for lunch.  There was enough for each of us to have leftover.  It left me feeling like a Portuguese fisherman.  

It is a southern winter day here, cool and damp.  I keep the thermostat set high to counter the air currents in my old leaky wooden house.  I would like to go into the throng today, but here in my county you have about a 6% chance of catching Omicron.  That's just too high for me, too much of a risk.  

I should chuck this post and begin again, but I am afraid it would turn out much the same.  This happens when I think of love.  I become too self-conscious, too self aware. I want far too much to write a magical incantation with just the right words arranged in perfect order to raise some love from the dead, but my mind clouds, my mouth fills with marbles, and the writing is just shit.  I am better with something to look forward to.  

I'm better when I'm young.  

Oh. . . shit. . . let's end on some silly news.  I bought a hat.  I've not seen it except in pictures.  I look like shit in hats, and I'll probably never ever wear this one.  But, you know, I've been saying I wanted a hat, and since there is no "hat store" in my town. . . . 

Goorin Brothers Dean the Butcher Hat.  Laugh if you will. 



Sunday, January 16, 2022

Not What Really Concerns Me

Woke to the sound of the awning outside my bedroom flapping and bouncing in the dark.  Wind.  Lots of wind.  I rolled over and squinted at the LED clock numerals.  Blur.  I squinted more and harder.  Almost seven.  I got up and stumbled to the kitchen to commend the coffee maker to grind and brew.  I opened the kitchen door.  No rain, just wind.  Cool, not cold.  But the rain came as the coffee maker chugged.  

I'm glad I got out yesterday.  I decided to ride my bike.  I strapped a camera on and eventually got out the door.  It was a fine day, a lovely day.  I peddled old routes, taking my time, past the hospital and the old gym, down antique row.  I stopped at a boxing gym to look inside.  A woman greeted me.  How much, I asked.  Jesus.  This is the second boxing gym I have stopped by.  Apparently, only the rich box now. 

Onward.  Up the hill past the spot where my little Vespa and I were crushed, past the bar across the street, up the hill.  I stopped at my buddy's camera repair store.  He was with customers but greeted me right away.  

"Where have you been?  When are we going to do a Polaroid workshop?"

The last time I was there, he had gotten a Polaroid 8x10 film processor but he did not have everything he needed.  I gave him enough equipment to make the thing work.  He had a bunch of the very expensive 8X10 impossible film, and of course, he has lovely 8x10 cameras and lenses.  I had told him I would come back and help him get started.

I didn't.  I got Covid instead.  

He set up an 8x10 camera in the courtyard.  He wanted to try one now.  While he talked with customers, I tried to remember how everything worked.  It has been a couple years since I've worked with this equipment and film.  I was having trouble.  The film holder he had was in awful shape.  I got the film loaded but I couldn't get the transparency part with the developing chemicals to go into the other slot.  Unnoticed, I broke the pod and dripped the blue developing paste all over his shop's floor.  I mean. . . it was a mess.  I was embarrassed.  Big shot, eh?  Gonna show the camera guy your chops, are ya?  

I got paper towels and cleaned while he sold cameras, estimated repairs, etc.  

I went to the courtyard to make sure the camera was ready.  It was a beauty, a five thousand dollar wooden field camera.  The camera was much nicer than mine, but I couldn't get it to focus.  I was really starting to falter now.  Eventually, I realized that the bak focus on the camera needed to move.  Good.  I wouldn't need him to show me how to work the camera.  I got the loaded film holder, took a meter reading I hoped was correct, set the shutter and shot.  

I never got the transparency loaded, though.  I told him I needed to watch a video to see what I was doing wrong.  He set me up with a tablet.  I couldn't work the damn thing and shut it off by accident.  My head was spinning now.  I turned it back on, but it wanted a password.  I had to interrupt him to come enter it.  I watched the video.  I was doing everything right.  It was his shitty holder that was the problem.  Just then, I heard a sizzle and a pop.  I looked to the processor.  Smoke was pouring from every seam and opening.  I unplugged it and took it into the courtyard so as not to fill his shop with the foul odor of melting wires adn metal parts.  The capacitor had blown, he said.  Everything I touched had gone to shit.  I'd been there far too long.  I had not intended on spending the day there.  Now, embarrassed, I told him I would come back with my equipment and we would try again.  He seemed to be fine, but I was feeling very nonplussed.  

When I got back to the street, the day was still fine.  I'd taken no pictures.  Well. . . not the first time in my life.  It was getting late.  I decided to ride home.  I took an urban bike trail I'd never been on before.  I crossed a bridge over a canal.  There were people fishing from it.  I rode on, then thought, "WTF?"  I turned around and rode back.  I approached a couple and asked if I could use them in my picture.  "Sure," they said.  The girl was pretty.  I wanted to photograph her, but I took several of him anyway.  

When I finished, I said, "If you want, I can send you copies."  

"Yea. . um. . . o.k.," they said 

"Email or text?"

I was talking to the girl.  The boy jumped in. "Here.  I'll give you my email address."  

I laughed and handed him my phone.  He wasn't about to have his girl give me her number.  

That was the entirety of my photo taking for the day,  Nothing good.  Nothing profound.  Nothing.  

Not much of a photographer, I.  

When I got home, I felt tired, worn out. . . something.  I lay down to take a brief nap.  When I woke up, it was heading toward dusk.  I called my mother and said I wouldn't be over.  I really didn't want to cook.  I wanted a big bowl of ramen.  I tried to order online, but the restaurant wasn't taking orders.  That is the message I kept getting.  What then?  I decided I didn't want to go out to get food, so I made a meal of eggs and rice with sautéed peppers and onions.  I mixed in peas.  

I sat down on the couch and watched the rest of "Shopgirl" while I ate.  My nose and lips swelled.  My eyes teared.  I'm a mess.  

My art and travel buddy just texted me a piece of writing about the author Jim Harrison.  

"Or he will pause, as he does quite frequently, to worry about eating too much, drinking too much, that he is getting fat, is no longer desired by women, that he is getting old before his time. . . . To connect with the body, the source of pleasure, is to connect with death."

Not what I needed right now, but perhaps it is what I deserve.  

Drizzle and gray.  Drizzle and gray.  

Saturday, January 15, 2022

An Exciting Life

 I need to get out of the house and on the road today.  It is the only way to see the strangeness of the physical world.  This jet was in a park across the road from the springs I visited.  I saw it as I was leaving. A memorial park, neatly kept, picnic tables, some plaques.  I'm sure the place was never frequented.  I stopped and took photos.  I haven't developed the film yet nor downloaded anything from my digital cameras.  I took this with my phone, then jacked it up a bit, just as I did with the photo I posted a few days ago of the river and tree at the spring.  I loved that one so and sent it around to some friends.  One who has recently moved from the state into a colder northland said she loved it and wanted to buy a print to hang on her wall.  I wondered how a phone pic would print.  Yesterday I downloaded it to my computer and gave it a go.  16"x16".  I hadn't much hope, but to my great and tremendous surprise, it looks wonderful.  How can that be?  I don't understand it.  I took the photograph with my cell phone and used phone apps for tweaking it in postproduction.  I thought it would be too low resolution to print that big.  

Now I'm thinking. . . do I really need cameras?  The drummer from the old band was an MFA photographer from the University of San Francisco.  He told me recently that he only uses his phone for photos now.  I said I was surprised since he couldn't really make decent prints, but au contraire, he said.  He had made huge prints from them.  

I didn't believe him.  Rather, I thought he must be using some software that I wasn't aware of.  

I believe him now.  

Phone pics have their own look, much different from those of digital cameras.  And to be honest, the apps you can get for free online to cook them are simply tremendous, much more creative than the expensive ones for the computer.  Why these apps only work on phones. . . I don't know.  But fuck it.  I'm taking more phone photographs.  It is liberating.  It is fun.  

This Mormon Priest life is getting old, but I'm halfway through January.  It wasn't until very late in the day yesterday that I realized it was Friday.  You know it when you go out.  You can feel it.  People move differently.  Something.  It is palpable.  It is distinct.  I felt it when I went to Whole Foods late in the afternoon.  I wanted it to be Friday for me, too.  I felt a jolt of energy.  I thought about calling my mother and telling her I was not coming over.  I wanted to party.  

When I got home and put the groceries away, however. . . I had nothing to do.  There was no party.  I got in the car and drove to my mother's.  

Back home, I began to prepare dinner.  I was making a version of the ginger Cod with broccoli and rice.  As I was preparing it, the tenant stopped by to ask me something.  We chatted as the food sat on the counter.  Then, sun setting, she left and I got to making dinner.  I turned on the television, but something was wrong.  I couldn't change channels.  I unplugged everything from the wall.  There would be no news tonight.  O.K.  Cooking dinner without a glass of wine.  WTF?  When everything was plated, I plugged the cable equipment back in, and when it had rebooted, I put on a travel thing on YouTube.  Dinner was delicious.  I drank kombucha.  

I wanted to party, and I had prepared for this at Whole Foods.  

After cleaning the kitchen, I pulled out the dulce de leche I had gotten.  I decided to smoke some pot.  I dialed up the 2005 movie "Shopgirl."  Claire Danes.  I always thought she should have gotten an Academy Award for her performance, but the movie was panned.  The critics were terribly wrong.  It is a wonderful movie.  Jason Schwartzman is terrific.  

It was late and I was buzzed.  I'd seen this movie a few times.  Halfway through, I turned it off.  I'd go to sleep with marijuana dreams.  

Yup.  That's my life. Pretty fucking exciting.  


Friday, January 14, 2022

A Thousand Jumbled Words

''Why, boys, when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. . . And by God I was rich.''

That's the theory, anyway.  It's the desperate commitment that does it.  Otherwise, you are simply a dilettante.  And you know how it goes for dilettantes in the jungle.  

''Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way. ''

That's Uncle Ben from "Death of a Salesman."  I think he's responsible for a couple generations of billionaire swine.  Watch "Tarzan the Ape Man," though (link).  I swear to you, it is a great movie, not what you think.  I've recommended it to you many, many years ago.  You might not remember, of course.  But thematically, the film is rich.  And there is no music soundtrack added other than "native" chanting.  Oh, I tell you. . . "the jungle's dark, but full of diamonds."  It must be true.  

"Oh Tarzan. . . Oh Tarzan. . . ."  That's what the gay men used to cry to me from the pier when I swam in the Atlantic Ocean in Key West oh so long ago, long hair and a trim, muscular figure.  I can still see them waving.  

It was a different kind of jungle.  

But that is not what I have meant to say at all.  

I've been drawn to memories by a voice from the past.  I was wounded by the beauty of a young woman oh so very long ago, and I've carried the scar with me hence.  I've recently heard from her and it all came flooding back.  Oh. . . I swoon.  Turns out, she has read the blog all these many years "from time to time." From time to time?!?!?!  No, in thunder!  How can it be?  Could it make any sense?  I see this as one long, winding, interconnected story with constant references to what I've said before, i.e. Tarzan.  

She was big in the publishing world, so perhaps she had better things to read.  Whatever.  

I am trying not to be like a boy checking his emails every hour to see if she has written.  We know little of one another now, but the intervening years seem of small consequence.  I feel a bit like Jay Gatsby.  
‘I wouldn’t ask too much of her,’ I ventured. ‘You can’t repeat the past.’ 
‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’ 
He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand.

She was The Golden Girl.  But we know how that ends up.  Reality always intervenes.  

Halfway through Dry January, no booze, no sugar, little meat. . . I look no different.  I doubt I have lost a pound.  And living like a Mormon priest doesn't really agree with me.  I think my imagination shrivels.  I want to go have a big breakfast at the French Bakery this morning, two poached eggs, ham, and provolone smothered in a warm, creamy hollandaise sauce on a fresh croissant.  A side of crispy potatoes.  

Rather. . . a yogurt, a little home workout, and a long walk.  

I don't think Robert Frost was much of a drinker.  Early in life, I believe I remember, he had a bout, but he reformed his ways unlike Wallace Stevens who probably drank too much.  In Key West, Stevens got drunk and quarreled with Frost.  Another time, he said some derogative things about Hemingway in front of Hemingway's sister.  That cost him a broken jaw.  

My mind is a jumble.  I'll leave it at this today.  Perhaps later I will take a camera out.  You know what they say--a picture is worth a thousand jumbled words.  


Thursday, January 13, 2022

More Tales of Adventure and Daring

Fuck yea!  I did this one with my phone.  To my mind, anyway, it looks like a Russel Chatham painting.  It's not straight out of the phone, of course, but that was the capture.  I'm going to try printing it large and see how it looks.  All fingers crossed. 

Oh. . . I DID leave the house again yesterday.  Took my big Liberator and a bunch of film holders to a State Park with the idea of making some epic photographs.  When I got there, the entry fee was six dollars.  The lady taking the money looked at me, smiled and winked.  

"I'm only going to charge YOU four."  

Yea, I thought.  I DO need to get out more.  

I carried that heavy motherfucker all through the jungles and the swamps.  I took photos, but I don't think I got anything epic at all.  I just felt I needed to trip the shutter after all the effort.  And it was a lot of effort. 

But it attracted attention.  I talked to many people.  I am such a shut in that this was much like the time I went to the museum with my friend.  I was a real Chatty Kathy, the Park Docent, if you will.  I answered the curious onlookers' questions about the camera.  I informed them about the coming and goings of the park fauna.  

"Can the manatees go in the ocean?" 

"Yes they can and do.  They come into the springs in the cold weather for warmth, but lately, many of the manatees have begun to stay year 'round.  They have become like the monarch butterflies who live here now without migrating."

"Really?  There are monarch butterflies here all year?"

"Yes, they have become something of a sub species.  I have a butterfly and hummingbird garden, and it is always full."

"Ah. . . hummingbirds."

"Yes, I have some that come quite often."

"But this doesn't run to the ocean, does it?"

"It sure does.  It is one of two major rivers in the world that runs 'backwards," that is, away from the equator.  This river empties in Jacksonville."  

"Wow.  One of two?  What is the other one?"

"The Nile." 

I met a couple who were visiting from Michigan.  They asked me about the springs.  I used to dive in the springs decades ago, before the place was a State Park.  What is now the park was privately owned and we had to drive down dirts roads with brush and trees scratching the sides of the car.  When we go to the boil, it was a steep climb down (and later back up) some crumbly, rocky banks some thirty feet high.  I was feeling some real expertise.  I explained all this to them.  

"My buddy and I--we were just kids--dove into the cave without lines.  We had some ratty old underwater flashlights.  The bottom of the river there is about thirty feet deep.  There is a hole in the river bed you drop into.  It slants back and down into the cave.  You come out at about ninety feet into a giant cavern.  Then you drop down to the the place the water flows out at about 150 feet.  When we got there, the current knocked us ass over tea kettle.  Our masks were ripped from our faces.  We knew, of course, how to get them back on and clear them, but then we were shining our lights into each other's faces in a not so controlled panic.  We motioned to one another that we should surface.  But we went straight up and into a chimney that didn't go to the surface.  It just dead ended.  There were many, many of these.  At that point, I figured we'd run out of air in about two minutes 'cause you could hear us exhaling bubbles like crazy.  This happened again and again.  We got very, very lucky, though.  Eventually, we dropped back to the bottom of the boil and then followed the slope back up.  Out of sheer good fortune, it led us to the right chimney and we got out alive.  When we got out onto the bank, we barely spoke."

Their eyes were wide open at that one.  We talked a bit longer about this and that.  She had just taken early retirement from a hospital.  She was a nurse.  We spoke of Covid.  She had a theory, her own, she said, that dark skinned people were more susceptible.  I said yea, I have dark skin and I got it even though I was vaccinated.  

"No," she said, "I mean ethnically darker people."

Whoa!  Yup.  She was from Michigan alright.  

I had only one small yogurt and a can of water all day, and carrying the camera and gear and doubling as a tour guide had worn me down.  I looked at the time.  Late afternoon.  I made my weary way back to the car and headed toward home.  But there was one more stop I wanted to make, another springs that is not as well known.  I'd never been there before.  And that is where I took the picture at the top in the late afternoon sun.  Lighting is everything.  I am lazy and always miss the best light of the day.  

I'll try to develop the film from yesterday today.  I have little hope, but it was good to get out.  

While I was out, I got a call.  My phone doesn't ring unless I have saved the number, but they had left a message.  It was from some company and they referred to my doctor and asked me to return their call.  My legs went soft.  WTF?  I called back immediately, but I was told to leave a message.  My hands were shaking.  Surely this was about my blood work.  I called again.  And again.  I never got an answer.  

Oh, well, I thought.  You knew you would die one day.  I just don't want to die right now.  I've got plans.  I've got ideas.  

I haven't heard back from them yet.  

I read this morning that men who live alone, especially after a breakup, are at much greater health risk than others, even more than women who live alone.  Sure, I thought.  Perfect.  What chance do I have?  

I guess I could have asked the lady at the park entrance out.  Ha!

I have an idea of visiting all of the state parks here.  Some twenty of them have cabins that one can rent.  There's an idea for travel.  I looked at the ones at the state park I visited yesterday.  Rustic things.  And I imagine one could go a bit spooky in the head being there alone in the night.  But what the hell.  I'll keep stretching out my voyages until I can't return home.  Poco y poco.  

Depending on how my lab test turns out.  



Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tales of Adventure and Daring

 The day stretches before me like a long highway.  No, wait. . . it hangs like a ripe fruit waiting to be picked.  Whatever.  Maybe it is like the intersection of several highways. . . or an orchard full of ripe fruit, and my dilemma is which highway to take, which fruit to pick.  

See how things are?  I needlessly turn something nice into a stressful decision making process rather than simply enjoying it.  I must simply choose to enjoy it.  

Nice words, anyway.  

Though I slept fitfully, I rose late so it seems alright.  I have no great need to exercise today, and I thought last night that today was a good day to go somewhere with cameras.  I still think that. . . but the day slips away, first slowly, then suddenly, one day so much like another. . . . 

I posted yesterday's photo thinking it looked something like Gauguin at the end of his life.  Big mistake.  I should have remained in the Bat Cave.  I thought to leave it up for a day and then delete it, but by the end of the day, the photo had been downloaded a hundred times.  The paparazzi have wanted to nail Bruce Wayne.  Batman unmasked.  

Whatever.  

I might have chosen a more flattering photograph but that would not have been as illustrative.  

My advice is to wear a mask.  Reality can never match the imagination. 

Last night, I watched a documentary made eight years ago about the history of climbers and climbing in Yosemite Valley (link).  It was quite fun for me as I "knew" many of the dirtbag climbers.  I have to put that in quotes.  I only met them, really, though they would remember me when I saw them again.  I "knew" some of the best climbers in the world.  And truly. . . and I say this without modesty. . . some of them fell in love with me.  The women.  I looked like a climber and I did climb, but not at a high level.  I was "famous "in my own hometown for a half page picture of me on the front page of the local section of the paper climbing a rock walled building.  Living here in the flatlands, my buddies and I were climbing anything at the time.  We put up climbing holds on the overpass of a highway the state was building.  That was nice for a good while until the authorities came out and chopped them off.  When a group of climbers came to town and built a climbing gym, they gave me a free membership.  Oh, boy. . . I was really something.  Right up until kids started coming to the gym.  They were like little monkeys.  It wasn't long before I fell behind what those little maniacs were doing.  That's when I started touting "real rock" over plastic holds.  

"Out there, kids. . ." as I waved my hands to the distant beyond, "on real rock, there are no colors to tell you where your next hold is.  You are searching for something, anything, to grab.  If thing go wrong. . . ."  I would let the sentence trail off into ominous silence.  

Once, while playing pool with the famous "Brothers Whitaker," Jim and Lou who were renowned mountaineers and the first Americans to climb Mount Everest, Jim said to me, "You like working out in the gym, don't you?"  He was about seven inches taller than I and had a demeaning grin on his face as he pulled himself to height to tower over me.  What the hell, I thought?  What the hell?

"Listen, man. . . I live in the flatlands.  I don't have a company at the foot of a famous mountain to go into every day.  I have to stay in shape.  I do what I can."

"Alright.  O.K." he said relaxing.  He was just putting me in my place.  It didn't matter to me so much, though, as the women's World Kayaking Champion was in the bar and was all about me.  Maybe that is what pissed old Jim off, I thought.  It was o.k. with me.  Jim had to climb the tallest mountain in the world to become a man, I thought.  I was going to do it the other way.  

Out west, in climbing towns, I was sometimes misidentified as one of the Huber twins, two of the most famous climbers of the era (link).  I enjoyed that, of course.  

Jim Bridwell--probably the most notorious and legendary climbers of his era (and beyond)--and I got along.  I was making documentary videos at the time, and over beers we talked about the possibility of cooking up one about his life.  He was excited by the idea, but, as has most often been the case in my life, I didn't follow up.  

I could tell more self-aggrandizing tales, of course, a lot more.  I was singled out by organizers as a cheater at the World Climbing Championship while having breakfast at the base of the wall at the the Cliff Lodge in Snowbird, Utah, a competition I was only there to observe (link).  Oh, man. . . my head swelled real good for my buddies then.  Mr. Fucking Big.  

I did climb, just not at any significant level.  I did some of the Fifty Classic Climbs in America with my Yosemite buddy, but only because he made me.  As I have said before, there was a real difference between us.  He liked the challenge of the adventure.  I just wanted to have done it.  He did it because he enjoyed it.  I did it so I could hang around with people who did it.  I did it because my father had pumped me up with tales of adventure and daring.  

I did it for the girls. 

As my dead ex-pal Brando used to say, "If it weren't for women, I wouldn't even take a shower or brush my teeth.  I'd probably be crawling around naked in the woods hunting for nuts and berries."  For an adventure travel guide, he sure had no skills.  I think that's why we got along.  It was always about the show, always about the telling.  

"There I was at thirty thousand feet.  Rats had eaten my parachute." 

I know I have wearied you with this self aggrandizing drivel.  Though I could go on and on, I'll pause for now.  But watching that documentary last night got me going.  

In truth, though, people like that scare the shit out of me.  I am a tender romantic.  They are crazy loons.  

Where will I go today?  What will I do?  It would be nice to decide here in a minute.  But I should be more like the cats looking in at me now through the bottom panes of the kitchen door.  I shouldn't worry about what to do.  I should just enjoy the day.  

But then. . . you know. . . there would be no story to tell.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Living with Cliches

Among other things that were done to me yesterday, I was weighed.  I was right.  A week of plant based diet and abstinence had not affected my weight.  I mean, that's good in one sense, but disappointing in another.  The thing I am hoping for is that it is not ominous.  

But enough of that.  Seurat was 31 when he died.  Van Gough, 37.  Old Gauguin outlived them all and died at 57.  All of them were ill throughout their adult lives.  Van Gough's teeth were terrible, and he had ten of them pulled when he was still in his twenties.  He caught gonorrhea and had to suffer the torturous cure in the days before antibiotics.  He and Gauguin each suffered with the long term effects of syphilis.  

Almost everyone was an alcoholic.  

As you might have guessed, I spent last evening watching art documentaries, in particular, the end of impressionism.  I watched that instead of the news as I ate my leftover dinner, and when each was done, I decided to take an evening stroll.  It was a chilly southern night, not cold, but made colder because of the dampness.  By the lake, the wind was blowing the air clean through me.  But after having just watched the impressionists, everything looked different.  In my neighborhood, most yards are lighted from the ground up at night, soft lighting revealing the underside of leaves and branches.  Sure, I see this every evening, but last night I noticed the effect, the strangeness and glowing aura it produced.  A slim moon shone in the western sky.  I noticed the night shadows and the swirl the wind made of the trees.  Every living thing looked like a late Monet.  

How's that for the power of suggestion?  And the power of art, the goal of which (at least the sort I like) is to show us the world beyond cliches or to rework cliches in ways that seem new.  My neighborhood is a cliche.  People enjoy their cliched lives, and I am not immune.  I chose to live here, among the cliches, because it is comfortable.  There are cliches that I enjoy and some I love.  The thing is, I live with the realization that they are cliches.  The fact is not invisible to me.  And though some are even sacred, I am not opposed to them being parodied.  Parody, they say, is a high form of flattery, and perhaps there is an envy in it.  As radical as the impressionists were, they, too, became cliches.  Don't go trying to get famous painting Monet's water lillies.  You might, but only in a Norman Rockwell way.  Let's qualify "only," however, for Rockwell lived a lucrative, cliched life.  

The question, as always, though, is would you be willing to suffer ingloriously for your vision and your art?  

I'd rather be Seurat who came from a very wealthy family.  His suffering was of the gentler kind.  

This morning, I opened my email to a notice from Legacy dot com that it was the anniversary of my beloved Emily's death.  Remember her, my teenage love?  

WTF?  Why would they send out such notices?  I read further.  They would take my money to plant a tree in her name.  The Emily Oak, I guess.  

I still don't know of what she died.  

But as Bukowski opined, shit and death are all around us.  And then, monetized and famous, he moved into a cliched neighborhood and bought a cliched automobile and enjoyed his new existence.  He was one of the lucky ones.  

Life can be cruel, life can be sweet. . . . I don't know.  The lyrics just popped into my head when I wrote the last line.  I may be no genius, but I know which one I'd choose given the option.  I know that much, at least.  

O.K.  I need to get moving now.  The maids will be here soon (delivered with a wry smile).