Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Ever





I have no idea where the 21st century has gone.  The first decade went.  I barely felt the breeze of it as it was passing by.

Time is accelerating for me.  It is mathematical.  Each year represents less of a portion of my life, so my sense of time passing is ever diminished.  More than half of my life is over.  When one considers the richness of youth it could be said that much more than half has passed.  I suppose it depends on how you look at things.  But no matter how you look at things, nothing changes.

They say that time flies. It does. It also never stops to refuel. Time never tires. Time should start an airline.

Sometimes I wake up and a month or more has passed.  Sometimes I wake up and it is a new decade.

Sometimes I wake up and it is many, many years in the past. I find myself looking at old pictures, questing through the lives of others, driving through the years, listening to the am radio, into the sepia smiles of that ever was...

Sometimes I wake up and it is just the tomorrow I knew it would be... all dancing in the diner gone for good, gone for now.






Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shhh.......





This is my wife, she seems very happy in this picture.

If you see her please don't tell her I want a new iPhone, or this, or  a Hasselblad....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Please don't tell my wife....





After a good night's sleep the talk of cats eating my eyes has all but left me.  I woke up feeling well and rested.

The double-expresso is busy preparing itself now...

My wife was Canadian-sitting over at a friend's house in Brooklyn so I had the apartment to myself.  I drank a beer and went through the menu settings on my camera, further convincing myself that I need some actual instruction in photography. A friend is coming into town that I might go shooting with for the day, and she just finished an intensive photography school, so I will drain her of knowledge and procedure.

It occurred to me this morning as I was looking through my pictures (to find one to post) that my interest in photography did not really develop with the purchase of my digital camera, the DMC-LX3, but that it really emerged once I had the iPhone.  Having the camera on the phone is what really prompted my interest in photography, not as I had claimed previously with the purchase of the digital.  I crave the new iPhone, and its advanced 5mp camera. I have spent so much money on my current camera setup that I know not to mention it openly in front of my wife.  I'm praying she doesn't read this post....

The picture above is of my eye.  I took it at the Dr.'s office with my phone.  It is an image of my inner-eye.  It was from my last appointment with him, when I got the prescription for the glasses.  It has been two years and I fear going back, fear the news that he will tell me my vision has gotten even worse, that I will need a new pair of glasses and that eventually I will need to have my skull removed and replaced.


That is what I fear, total cranial replacement surgery...




The results from my last attempt did not go as well as I had hoped...


(photo-edit by Tricia Jutras)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Subject: Dog Park





I have tired of my recent, somewhat misguided, though well-intentioned missives.

I believe part of what I've said, even less of what's been said to me, everything that's ever been said about me, and none of all else.




Dogs appear to be such noble creatures, especially when survival concerns are no longer an immediate consideration. Once survival is accounted for then they just seem like dogs, lovable and devoted, but prepared to eat or fuck anything, though rarely in that order.

It is astonishing what attributes we will heave upon the canine species, expecting those qualities to right and balance themselves there, and then to breed pure-bred racing metaphors.


There are no cat parks.

That is something I would one day like to see, like my cobra society...







Much can be said about dogs, and I have promised to try and not misapply attributes, but they seem more prepared to defend and participate in my happiness than cats are.

Cats just seem to enjoy living in my apartment.


A dark aside: I've always felt that if I were to commit suicide then whatever dog I had at the time would do everything in its power to stop me, to help me, to console me, to save me, to alert the world...

...to suffer loneliness in my absence.


A cat would simply eat my eyes first.





....

Doubt





Some truths only speak from the well of exaggeration.

As is usual I was only trying to make a point with last night's post.  We all know that humans are evil and selfish, incapable of untainted generosity, love and gratitude. I had only thought of experimenting with a fictionalized definition of the world.  It was a silly indiscretion.  I blame the blizzard, Christmas, love, etc.

It is interesting that certain emotions can only be expressed when accompanied with (and buffered by) doubt.  There is never any implicit need to buffer doubt or suspicion in this same way, only benevolent emotions are suspect and in need of correction or augmentation. Suspicions and criticism are allowed to run free in the heart and mind unquestioned.

Or worse, the only way to question doubt is with an increased level of doubt, an advanced criticism of criticism.  This is the joy of solipsistic thinking as it spirals ever inward on itself.  Why bother knowing another, or believing another to be knowable, the self is all there is?  Mistrust all sentiments unless they confirm, or at least acknowledge, the evil of the world and the darkened heart of man. The very idea of doubting doubt strikes the literary mind as shameful, or callow and naive.

A teacher I once had relayed a thought to me, it was something to the effect of: freedom is the feeling one gets when they're not aware of what is truly controlling them.

This thought has been with me ever since and it has proven to be very useful when considering certain things.  But we all like to feel free sometimes, so I also try to be aware of moments when it is best to not repeat this line to myself, or focus on it, or relay it to others as they are experiencing the feeling of freedom themselves. Like when Barack Obama won the election.  But a healthy doubt about all things will also only get you so far, there comes a time when it inhibits experience and certainly acts as a retarding agent on the enjoyment of that experience.

Now, I would never reprove any honest use of the intellect, but intelligence is arguably not all that we are. Intelligence can be self-limiting when misapplied, though very few who believe they possess any of the stuff will ever attack it as limiting. The modern mind is educated to believe that analysis is supremely expansive and intellect boundless.  So, try openly discussing the implications of Heidegger with your friends sometime....

When I say that very few will attack intelligence, I mean their own.  The intellect of others is worthy of all the doubt that the human mind can muster.  Intelligence is self-correcting only to a point, that's what makes doubt so useful.

Ah, the freedom to doubt....
...the silliness to believe.


What does one call the feeling one gets when they are aware of what is controlling them?

Doctrine is not thought, it is the retreat from thought.


What are we to think about such things?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard





Well, the news is out. New York got hit with a massive blizzard.  Most people didn't have to go to work.  I did.  I walked there with my new snow boots on, a Christmas present from my wife.  They made me quite happy, thankful even, to have them, and have a wife who thinks of me so.

Enough about the blizzard... one or two of my friends seemed to take personal offense at me expressing thankfulness at Christmas not being its usual personal cluster-fuck disaster.  I'm sorry I disappointed a few of you this year.

Thankfulness, contentedness and even the secular use of the word "blessed" are not abbreviated or misrepresented versions of any other feeling, they are terms for the actual feelings themselves and can be expressed unpretentiously by unadorned usage.  They are not necessarily saccharine or false by being expressed simply, and they certainly shouldn't be an affront to anybody else's misery, or the conventionally assumed authenticity derived from such said emotional privation.

Expressing thankfulness or a sense of contentedness is not a retreat from character, nor does it reveal any deficiency or flaw.  They are both subtle forms of joy and can be expressed simply, without need for embellishment or restraint.  In this regard simplicity is neither negation nor false sentiment.  There is nothing Hallmark about actual satisfaction, only vulgar and selfish minds would claim otherwise.


There is no shame in sharing of yourself, even the artless or seasonal feelings of appreciation and affection.  Be wary of those who would tell you something else, among them there must be thieves and motiveless malignants.

I once read a quote by Picasso, though I haven't been able to verify that he actually said it, and it sounds somewhat out of character with what I've read of him elsewhere, but it was something to the effect of: To admire somebody, and not tell them, is keeping something that does not belong to you, it is a form of stealing.  

Gratitude is a form of admiration.  I'm not sure what the opposite is, but I could make a guess.



So, to my friends who would wish me to say anything else, who would wish me to utter something more cynically endearing, or sarcastically humorous, to touch everything with the poison stick....

No thank-you, for now.


Joy to the world, smile while it lasts.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day





Well, Christmas went well.

There are no lingering shameful memories, thankfully.


I do feel very, very blessed to have the people around me that I do.


I have begun to understand what makes a good picture, and why every picture shouldn't be taken at f1.4.

I look at my friends and I think that they are lovely and beautiful.




Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kiribati



(Colonel Douglas H. Wheelock, NASA)

I found a vacation spot that I want to visit. 

It is about 1200 miles south of Honolulu, part of the Line Islands.

I either want to go to this island, or to orbit the earth for a few days taking pictures, or both.


All In The Family





"Boy, the way Glen Miller played. Songs that made the Hit Parade. Guys like us, we had it made. Those were the days! Didn't need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight Gee, our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days! And you knew where you were then! Girls were girls and men were men. Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again. People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent. Freaks were in a circus tent. Those were the days! Take a little Sunday spin, go to watch the Dodgers win. Have yourself a dandy day that cost you under a fin. Hair was short and skirts were long. Kate Smith really sold a song. I don't know just what went wrong! Those Were the Days!"




Ah, nostalgia... be careful, it can be a subtle fear of the future, or denial of the present. 


Other people's nostalgia can be anyway....

Those were the days.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_in_the_Family





Thursday, December 23, 2010

We were next





I tried to go shopping today on Broadway, in Soho.  It was the last chance that I would have to buy some Christmas presents.  I only had my lunch break, one hour.  From the moment that I began the single hour break it felt as if I was on an obstacle course of some sort. I understand that with crowds there will never be much unanimity of purpose, but it was as if they were being sent towards me with noxious intent from some unseen malevolent force.  They were everywhere, all going different directions, or worse, not going anywhere at all.  There would be groups of them in a doorway, discussing one thing with some people outside the door, and something related with another group of people inside the door.  This didn't seem to be abnormal behavior to them in any way, completely unaware of what doorways are actually used for. They only seemed shocked by the idea that somebody would try to physically traverse their boundary-breaking conversation.

They were lined up in slow-moving groups to carpet-block the entire sidewalk. This is easy enough to navigate around because there's always the street that you can hop onto for group passing.  But even the street was crowded with bag wielding wanderers, alone or in groups of two.  Every shop and store that I walked into had decided to re-stock the entire store, every aisle and walkway, while they were still open, rather than employ the traditional after-hours practice, even though the shelves were packed with product there were blue stock bins arranged in such a way that there was no easy exit.  One woman fell into one of the blue bins and I could hear it scanning her credit cards, there were red lasers, the sound of modems, etc.

Ok... so I made it to lunch, where they were also restocking the entire place.  I navigated myself towards the counter-line to order and after some effort, waiting and gentle gymnastics began to place my order.

A voice intoned, "We were next."

This was odd, I turned and looked and there were two people behind me, but I hadn't seen them anywhere at all, and there was a semblance of a line.  I eat at this place all the time. I know the very simple procedures and protocols.

So I said, "Lucky you, you're still next."

She retorted, "No, we were before you."

I said, "That's impossible, I've been everywhere long before you, specifically here. That explains why you're behind me now."

This misguided dimple corrected me with nearly bovine rage, "You are an awful man."

I stopped trying, "Perhaps I am, but you will get worse now at a much greater rate than me, much of my decay has already occurred. You will be losing more, and much faster, than I'll ever be able to again." I took this moment of confusion to give my order to the girl who I know recognizes me from eating here all of the time.  She took my order without giving any indication that she was going to back me up or enter the discourse is any decisive way.

I moved forward as the LINE progressed and began wishing that I had a stealth-X91-fart I could leave, to mark THEIR spot in line for them.  But alas.... always there when you would wish them away, never there when you're getting written a ticket by a cop and could use some olfactory ambiance.  I took my food, after a quick hurdle setup, then a 10 meter sprint between the registers and the tables, I found an open spot and sat towards the window, where I always sit, facing the tunnel traffic.

I put my headphones on and wished the awfulness of the world away.  I had 7 minutes or so to eat.

I sprinted back to work in the cold, bags flapping in the wind like cardboard parachutes, spinning and hacking into my legs as I dashed north on Wooster.  I must have looked pretty crazy, running down the very middle of the brick street, against the flow of traffic, in defiance of Santa's record-keeping gift list, gift bags flapping in the wind, a crazed, desperate look around my eyes.


The mania of Christmas will soon be over, I prayed.

I will tell myself that it was only the extra sugar that I was eating that made me feel the way I did.


I've learned to live within a range of truth.



Felines and Canines



(Jennifer)

My friend over at selavy recently suggested that I am like a cat and he is a dog, sort of.  I forget exactly what he said, but it was something like that.  He said that cats are edgier.  Perhaps.  He is currently trying to shake his addiction to Nyquil, wondering why doctors won't give him the morphine he's always demanding.  It's a mystery, he claims to have insurance, etc.

I've always found it funny... the conversations people have about their preferences between cats and dogs. They apply all sorts of traits to the species that they believe they themselves possess. Then they align themselves with one species over the other, only to sing their own praises through the poor unwitting creatures, as if the dog or cat understand and share these ridiculous notions.... I am thinking of one friend in particular and his vague detesting of specific dogs.

When I was typing the word vague I accidentally typed fague instead. Funny. Freudian typing... When relaying these conversations to my wife, and discussing my friend's alignment with cats, and his supposing of their advanced intelligence, her response was simple, "Then why aren't there any cats on David Letterman?"...


I've always liked both dogs and cats, having grown up with both.  For my 2nd birthday my mother gave me a cat, Skippy.  He lived until I was 17. My mother used to love to tell the story of his death, about how he held on until he could see me one more time, knowing that I was coming home from school.  He didn't wander off like cats will often do, but instead came in and died right in front of us, right in my mother's arms, meowing at me.  It was strange. He seemed to always know that he was my cat.  He would sleep in my armpit when we were both young.  He far outlived his bluejay stalking partner, Bo, who also used to sleep in my armpit until I got a boil from it and my mother nixed the sleeping arrangements we had.

Both cats, and a collection of dogs, mostly a little mutt and and greyhound, whose names I never liked: Ginger and Farrah, were always around when I was growing up.  Ginger was named because she was the color of ginger snaps, a cookie snack I'm not sure if they still make, and Farrah because her fur was the same color as Farrah Fawcett's hair (my mother named these poor beasts...).  So, it wasn't until I moved to New York that I didn't have a pet, or several, around me all the time. It is one of the things I miss about living in Florida: having plenty of space, and a yard.  Though we have a great dog now, Barkley, that we shower with love and perpetual affection.

My friend in Rhode Island says that her favorite posts of mine are when I write about Barkley.  Animals have a strange power over us, over some I should say. They certainly charm me.  They redeem life in a way, remind us how to be about certain things.  It is a simple arrangement. Very little makes me, or Barkley, as happy as me coming home.  I can hear his scurrying feet against the wood floor when my key hits the lock in the door, searching desperately for a toy to present me with.


Isn't that the way to be?

Wouldn't life be much better if we all just had stuffed toy bunnies to present one another with when we haven't seen each other for a couple of hours...  that, and morphine, of course.


(Barkley, w. bunny)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Massachusetts Melanoma



(a shaken picture of the moon, during a lunar eclipse, or a cancer cell)


This is a tragic tale, as my friend would say. Her and I have had an ongoing conversation about the differences between what constitutes "tragic" and what is merely sad, or worse... pathetic.

This story is a little bit of all of those things.

I have been asked to use no details or the insider information that I've been privy to. That will be difficult, but I will try. In doing so, this means that I might editorialize a bit. Let the chips fall where they may.

Several weeks ago....

We were chatting with our friends when the wife-hostess announced that one of her friend's husband had just told her that he had cancer and he only had 3 months to live. They had recently been going on an increased number of vacations and family events. It had been wonderful for the wife, and their child, she thought.

He explained that he didn't want her to know, that he had done this to hide her from the oncoming pain, the eternal loss, he had chosen to face this knowledge alone, to save them from the anguish. It made perfect sense, to some of my friends. How noble, some of them thought. What good could the truth have brought? Why prolong the shock of mortality, the stab of loss., etc.

Others said, well... no, if not truth and disclosure about the most important and mortal of all concerns, then what? People need time to prepare for death, however ill-equipped we all might be. That's one of the reasons that suicides are so shocking, and as some claim, selfish. By committing suicide you've denied those close to you time to either bid you farewell or convince you of the meaningfulness of life and its many merits.

None of us saw eye to eye on this subject... the silent sufferer of cancer, the noble patient, the quiet one, dignified in death.

On this point I will draw out a specific conversation:

To simplify the conversation we had... I tried to further explain my point to her, that a suicide is sad and perhaps even pathetic, as they quite often are, but tragedy is a literary device employed when a hero dies defending a great cause, roughly. So, suicide does not often qualify as tragic, though it might be infinitely sad, it is not tragic, that is a function of high ideals and literature alone.

She said that no, a life wasted, a life of potential can be seen as tragic, because it is a life given over to the unknown, and if any signs of promise are lost in that sudden and unredeemable act of self-destruction then that also qualifies as tragic.

We agreed that perhaps we were addressing related but forever separated worlds, that of literature and that of the world we live in, the world of bodies and the warmth of life.

It is an ongoing conversation.

I reserve the word "tragic" to address things other than the death of a salesmen, etc., though the word is flexible and can be used many ways.

Some clarity: Each person can choose to live and die in whatever way they choose. I do not believe in punishment or retribution in the after-life. But I have more stringent ideas about how we must deal with those who are still with us in body, only because they have the potential of causing increased and recurring suffering in others. This cancer victim was apparently of that sort, one who is able to cause additional suffering.

He was described as a loving and attentive father, a man who was always on time to pick up the kids, his word was apparently implacable.

So, the next part of the story is where it gets really strange, and I have to assume, or suggest, but have been asked not to use specifics.

He was found, still alive, an apparent attempt at or a move towards suicide had been made.

He had been involved in some series of drug-related badness. There was a stabbing, a getaway, a witness in the other room, a series of ill-schemed crimes, and all of this on top of a life of reasonably carefully planned maneuvers, but a desperate drug-addled money grab nonetheless, one with severe implications. The witness in the other room had some knowledge of the crimes. The victim lived, I believe, though barely. A thing that is alternately good or very bad for the perpetrator, depending on a total getaway or measured in years served.

 Grim fact, that.

I've never been able to understand people who are able to live double lives, I struggle greatly with a single life. Of what cloth is a man made that lives as a reversible jacket.... It is not envy I have, but wonder and disbelief. The more that I try to invest into the commitment of one life the more suspect I become; the more honesty I deliver the more doubt and incredulity is returned. There are these other types of guys that have two or more lives and the more lives they lead the more well-balanced they seem.  That is, until the theaters catch fire, the rooftops come crashing down, and a hidden addiction is discovered by the police while investigating a stabbing. They then patiently and judiciously distribute the information to the local newspapers, to be consumed and then forgotten, by most.  But they pursue, it is what they do.

Perhaps the requirement of leading a double life is a strict adherence to schedules, unnamed and unknown protocols, only giving the appearance of order and commitment.  It seems that it requires a series of calculations in life that most aren't capable of, an immense pattern of scheming. A full lifetime of it done in double speed.

I don't know what drug this man was addicted to, but if I had to guess: heroin. Heroin is an addiction that can be hidden more easily than some others. It has literary appeal in that it sounds like heroine, though I have no idea if this guy could read or not. He seems like the type guy to take up serious reading in prison. A hidden addiction to heroes and heroines.


Well, I somehow didn't get around to telling the story of what actually happened, too much digression, I suppose, that and an avoidance of the more interesting facts concerning the guy and his wife.

Now I've run out of time and the needs of the normal, screwed up singular life that I'm living are making their demands.

I perhaps need another cup of coffee, some more time, and the permission to tell the secrets of others.




Addendum:  It seems that the subject of this story did not actually have cancer, I was not clear about that.  It was what he had told his wife and friends, knowing all along that he had plans other than going to prison.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Occultation





Well, here is one of the pictures I took of the lunar eclipse.  My tripod was rickety, it was freezing cold, I couldn't quickly figure out how to set up a self-timer shot to avoid vibration, I didn't have a 300mm telephoto zoom, or a remote control, or a satellite tracking system.

I had been drinking beer.

I'll find another, perhaps better, shot in the morning, Zeus willing.  But both of these pics were taken from Avenue A in Manhattan.  Not bad...

...

All of that said, today is my friend's birthday, the one who passed away.

Bob is his name, was his name.

I never know which to say.


...


As the earth was passing between the sun and the moon I could see the curvature of the earth as it consumed the moon and I tried to figure out which part of the earth was casting the shadow at the time.  It was somewhere out in the vast Pacific ocean, a huge blue curved portion of it.  I thought of Hawaii, friends there in Maui.  All of that water somehow clinging to the earth, the moon volcano-orange-red.

It is all absurd, and it keeps me from sleep, the immensity and insignificance of these things.

The wonderful spinning significance of it all.




Addendum:  What occurred last night was not a Lunar Occultation.  I just threw two words together, one meaning "moon" and the other meaning "eclipse", basically.  Though Lunar Occultation was occurring simultaneously with the lunar eclipse, this is not what is actually being represented in these pictures. It would more rightly be called Earth Occultation if it was being viewed from a stationary spot from the opposite side of the earth. I invoke poetic license....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Solstice Eclipse





Tonight there is a lunar eclipse and it is the winter solstice.  There is no relevance between the two, but a rare event nonetheless, I'm told.  I'm waiting for the eclipse.  I have seen lunar eclipses several times but am always fascinated by them.  I will go outside and watch it in a little while, and for a little while.

Once when I was driving home with my girlfriend, late on Sunday night, having left the house on Friday night, I pointed out to her that the moon was passing through the earth's shadow.  We seemed like gods to one another at that moment.  We were high on ecstasy, eclipsing.

It was only a partial eclipse but it was still quite impressive.  Anything that can pull a curtain over the moon must be immense in relation to us.  For some lost souls it must be akin to a lucid moment.  So many stories have been told about jokers and jesters predicting a solar eclipse and being misunderstood as gods, or messengers for the gods.  I want to write the story of a crazed pied-piper of the moonlit lost, one who is able to calm and restore the unending wandering regiments of lunatics by a last-minute prediction of a lunar eclipse, preferably on a precipice...

How he whispered the words into the ears of wolves, became the eyes of mucho peligroso banditos...  con lobos, con locos.... danza con la luna, y escuche.....

...

Tomorrow is the birthday of a friend who has passed away.  I am going to dinner with his widow, a good friend, tomorrow night.  I didn't want her to be alone on this night, the first birthday with him in absentia infinitum.  So we will go have sushi, something that we all three used to do together from time to time.  Something that we all three often enjoyed.  I will tell her stories of him and his charms, and listen to hers.  It is a strange thing. I am looking forward to it, and not just because I love her, but because I miss him, and perhaps I haven't taken the time out to come to terms with his death.  I have avoided it, The only time I am confronted with it is when I am comforting her, mostly, and that is not the time for my emotions to matter, but rather hers.  Tomorrow will be no different but I am prepared to be there for her, and for me.


Somebody once told me a possibly apocryphal quote by Jack Kerouac. I don't remember ever reading it, but I hope he did say it...  "I wrote this book because we're all going to die."

Well, I'm writing this post because every atom in your body that's heavier than hydrogen has been in this universe before our sun was even born... take that, Kerouac.  Atoms are quite durable. You have approximately 50 atoms in your body that were also in the body of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. They are incredibly useful, these atoms, and they don't go away easily, or without an immensely dynamic and energetic fight. There were billions of them in his body and when he died, those atoms didn't leave the earth and ascend into heaven, they stayed here and were recycled. Elvis too, though you probably have less of Elvis than Jesus in you, perhaps as few as 3-5, maybe 7 Elvis atoms, because of time, depending on how old you were, and whether or not you've lived in America that whole time.  It is science, I promise, but there is much speculation when it comes to Elvis atoms....

Here is where it gets weird.... Because Hitler apparently set ablaze himself and his fruitless Eva, his and her atoms were spread across all of Europe, and into the life chain of all those there at the time.  As simple combustion only speeds up the rate at which atoms travel, it has virtually no effect on the strong nuclear principle which makes them the fundamental thing of what they are. So, each of us, Jew and Gentile alike, has perhaps as many as 10-20 atoms inside of us that were also in Adolph Hitler, or Eva.  Disturbing, yes.  But thankfully these atoms do not have any known political affiliations.

Every single bit of gold in the universe came from the center of an exploding star.  Again, all of these atoms that we have shared throughout the ages came mostly from other systems.  Intense galactic and universal events are the stuff we're mostly made of, not just shadows, and f├╝hrers, and saviors... Even light, or something very much like it, was slowed down over millions and millions of years to become physical, with weight.  That is what we are, slowed down light, sort of.  Weight seems to prefer weight, so atoms congregate and stick around. We are all star miasma.


Ok, the eclipse is starting. I must go now.....


Kerouac, his name sounds like a type of arcane and specialized karate.


I want to go tent camping again soon.

My wife wants babies.


Watch the skies.




Free Porn





My pornographer buddy over at selavy re-sent me the websites below.  He sent them many years ago and I had forgotten about them.  They're great.  They remind me just how much fun post-modernism can be.  All things are still a construct, right?

I've scrolled past the photo of the shopwindow above, taken in Soho, many times. Each time it grabs my attention because there are pleasantly recognizable forms in it, though I promise that's not what I'm saying to myself, not the words I'm using, etc.  But there are these womannequins that seize my instincts. This partially explains pornography, though perhaps it explains it only to me. That certain shapes and suggestions can ignite the imagination so.  How this is used in advertising still intrigues me. Hasn't modernism been deadly fun.

The title of this post is only an experiment to see how many extra hits my blog will get based on word usage.

I am merely being an advertiser, you see...

photomontage

n3xt

A Red Porsche



My assessment was correct. My 3 day weekend flew by and I only got some of the things done that I had hoped to.  Now I begrudgingly prepare to return to work with a life full of loose ends and uncompleted efforts.  I did take about 1500 pictures this weekend.  When I tried to go through them on my wife's computer it kept crashing/freezing.  A bad sign.  I am bringing my computer in today to have it repaired.  The extended warranty is about to expire and it is beginning to fail, also freezing.  It is frustrating as my new interest in photography means that I need a computer that I can use to manage the ever-increasing database of photos.

Why, Oh Lord, Why...?

I really like my new camera.  I brought it to a Christmas party and was showing off its many charms and features.  I think I am going through a mid-life crisis.  The camera is perhaps my red sports car.  I said this to a friend and he denied the possibility over and over.  But I think there is some truth to it. I should know.  Of course a camera is not really a red sports car, but I think it is possible to follow the path of thought and see a relationship there.  I am trying to both capture and express something about myself and the camera can be read as somewhat indicative of a life-change purchase.  I have suddenly become interested in documenting my life and the lives of those around me in a way that I never was before.  I am becoming increasingly aware of the transience of it all, and how fleeting it all is.


I am going to lie down and take a nap before I have to go to work.  I leave you with a picture of a bird in flight.

Enjoy it while it lasts.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

A day at the toy galleries






Yesterday, with our friends who recently moved up from Miami, we went to the art galleries on the west side.   There were some exhibits worth seeing, which is almost unusual for the gallery district in Chelsea.  Most of the time it is all pretty sub-standard stuff.  But this time there were some interesting things to look at, though I had the most fun in the kids toy store on our way there.

Policing New Yorker's is  a full-time job, especially when it comes to purchasing etiquette.  If there are two registers and only one line waiting for both of them you can count on one person every couple of minutes trying to start a second line directly in front on the second register, circumventing the 10 or 15 people who've been waiting somewhat patiently.  They do this in front of their children, teaching them necessary survival tactics by example.  Then you have to let them know that we are all waiting for both registers. They always have some excuse prepared.  Oh, I don't need gift wrapping, I thought that was the gift wrapping line.  , Oh, I'm paying with cash., Oh, I already waited in line once. , Oh, I didn't see that line... 

Even though the woman at the cash register has loudly announced every two minutes or so that, THERE IS ONLY ONE LINE, PLEASE FORM ONE LINE very loudly. Merry Christmas, New York.

But the kids are cute and the toys are fun, though some of them confused me. There was one game about fishing called Go Fish that had the characters: Fred, Frank, Farrah and Felicity. Fred and Frank were listed as "hookers" in this game.  I didn't bother reading beyond that.  I didn't want to destroy the suspense and mystery. Farrah and Felicity, really?

Some of the toys seemed quite menacing.  My wife and I went to see "Toy Story 3", that featured Ned Beatty's voice as Lotso, the misguided and evil bear, unable to recover from a lifetime of neglect and abandonment, or perhaps it was a wilderness rape scene played in the early 70's.  The other characters narrowly escape the incinerator towards the end of the film.  This moment, as they are headed towards certain doom, and as the toy hands reach out for one another, refusing to face eternity alone, caused me to cry like a baby when I saw it in the theater and again when I saw it a second time.  Certain emotions are not to be trifled with, and the death of youthful frivolity is one of them, for me.  You might laugh but when Buzz Lightyear reaches out for Woody's hand as they head towards their demise it vaguely reminded me of an inversion of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo.

It is rather dark for a children's animated movie, as was "Up", an animated film that deals with a loving but childless marriage and then the death of the main character's beloved wife.  My wife and I both cried away in privacy when watched it at home.  I wonder how many more children's films I can take if they keep moving towards being such heart wrenching tear jerker's....

Lotso the bear is evil and vindictive though, and he suffers a comical fate at the end, being strapped to the front of a garbage truck for suggested eternity.

Where's Sarah Palin when you really need her?



Saturday, December 18, 2010

In The Year Of Our Lord, 2010





Indeed, a fool takes no delight in understanding, a proverb if there ever was one.  

It is always a joy to travel uptown via subway, especially the Grand Central and Times Square stations.  There are such interesting and colorful people, their agendas and talents proudly on display, or being projected from a bullhorn.   There can be little or no misunderstanding about what their intentions are. When it comes to saving souls, these people mean business.  The eternal lake of fire awaits.




I went uptown to Grand Central Station to meet a friend, who was also meeting a couple old friends. Oddly, we were all from Florida.  So we went to the back bar at The Oyster Bar and chatted about what we've been doing since our Floridian nightclubbing days.  We each told our stories.  I had heard or known my friend's story, so I listened mostly to the other two.  I went last.  The other two were both gay, one had become a shoe enthusiast/promoter, the other had become a Fransiscan friar.  We chatted amiably for some time while we enjoyed our drinks.  The friar had accumulated 3 Master's degrees and worked with the poor.  The shoe enthusiast was promoting a night in Seattle called Glitoris.  They were both quite nice and had interesting stories to tell.  Mostly they both seemed content, pleased.

The clubbing scene attracts a wide selection of people. Among them you will find many free-spirited people. The general message of club culture and club music is tolerance and permissiveness. Some people take this to an extreme and they become tedious, but in general there is an attitude of tolerance for sexual orientation, lifestyle and preference.  The rest of society seems to be slowly catching up, perhaps it is the "Will and Grace" show, who knows.  But there are also those who staunchly believe that sexual orientation is a sin and those who choose to live that way will burn in hell... those poor souls don't get the same sort of reaction from clubbing.  The ecstatic revery and transcendence of club culture for them is a sin, and it is always quite loud, an impediment to them venting the gospel.

I will avoid further denouncing of one way of thinking in favor of another, as it will do no good and change nothing, though the choice seems an obvious one to me.  But as I was leaving G.C.T. I walked past these signs and pamphlets and a man screaming his religious wisdom in short bursts at all of those who walked by.  

A fading bible verse occurred to me, "Go into all the world and teach the good news to all creation."  I'm not sure but I believe this was Jesus's last instruction to his disciples before he ascended into heaven, according to the biblical re-telling of his life.  At what point did the gospel, the good news, become the bad news?  Was it during Paul's lifetime and preaching? Was it always there, lurking in the old testament, the mean-eyed God of harsh judgement, wrathful plagues and locust-filled skies? Or is this an American thing, this hate fueled religious sentiment? Perhaps none of these things, perhaps all of them.  The need for religion somehow distorting the initial impulse, the freedoms forever falling towards structure.  The retreat from uncertain questions into the certainty of doctrine. The battle of passions.

It is rare that I have found any who suffer from persecution to be tolerant of their persecutors, though that is what they expect in return.  It is as clear to them that the opposite side is misguided, and perhaps even evil, than it is for the opposers. One side masks their bigotry under the banner of love, the other masks their hatred and intolerance under the banner of victimhood.  A victim never needs to morally evaluate themselves, a religious truth sometimes trumps all need for compassion as it reduces the person down to just the need to save their eternal soul, something they have lost touch with by choice, by rejection of Christ's love.






As we sat and drank we briefly discussed various things, shoes and being a friar.   I told the friar of a book that I had read, "Constantine's Sword", about the religious vision of Constantine and the inversion of the cross in the sky to a sword and the subsequent crusades to purge the holy land of infidels.  The arc of Christian history and the unfortunate relationship between Christianity and Judaism.  This conversation was still fresh in my mind as I walked by this underground preacher, espousing his religious message with a desperation that was not far-off from the throws of crack addiction.  I thought to myself, it's not often you see the word whoremonger any more....


My wife wanted me to go to the gym and jog on the treadmill this morning.
  
Another proverb sprang to mind: "The wicked run when no one is chasing them..."


So says the very wise King Solomon


...



Friday, December 17, 2010

pundit I





So we prepare for the holidays.  We are having a guest come and stay with us, so we make the preparations.  I look around the apartment and  see all of the things that I've stopped seeing.  The clutter and senselessness of accumulation.  I look at stacks of magazines. There are many, I search the dates on them.  It has been 9 months since I've thrown any of them out.  They have gestated and given birth to a mess. Today I will clean them up and purge the apartment of needless things.  I will make a trip to the storage unit and put away my bike for the winter, bags of clothes left by friends as they speed through town and beyond.  Junk that I don't have the moral strength to throw away.

But we are both excited about our guest. We will watch movies and eat ice cream hopefully.  I feel like we're having a friend come over for dinner and spend the night so we'll be able to do holiday things, take pictures and stay up late, listen to music and talk about girls.  Though in reality I know that I will probably be sleeping on the air mattress in the living room while my wife and her friend get the bed.  I will hear them giggling from the other room and pretend that I am canoeing across many lakes as I drift away to the sleep horizon.


I have three days off in a row starting today. They will fly by of course, as if even time has to work overtime for the holiday weekend, focusing its cruel energies on me.  Work descends on me already, from afar. I made the mistake at looking at the calendar and could see that work is only perhaps two inches away, by tomorrow it will be within centipede striking range.  I will have to remember to avoid the calendar as it crawls towards and over me.

Today I will sip tea and get things done.  I have the day to myself and a list of things that I want to do.  Already I know that some of them will drop off the list incomplete, and I will be enjoying a beer by mid-afternoon, reading through the manual for my camera and speedlight.  It is a day off and I know not to take it too seriously or I run the risk of ruining it with accomplishments, sullying it forever with ambitions and minor triumphs.  Whoever has not learned how to waste a perfectly good day has not learned how to live.  That is my daily wisdom for you, pundit I.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Nikon Speedlight SB-700





Well, here is the first picture I took with my new Nikon Speedlight SB-700.  My wife took my favorite daytime model, Barkley, to work with her. So for now I won't be able to terrorize him with this scary light emitting black device of doom that's always covering my face. I'm always trying to get him interested in the darth-vader ray-gun with kisses and treats, sometimes successfully. He remains quite nonplussed about the new camera.

For now I'll just post another self-portrait in one of the two mirrors we have in the apartment.  I have the bounce card out on this picture and the flash is facing the top of the wall behind me. I already love this flash.

For great strobe/flash photography check out a friend of mine here in NYC, Diego.

One day soon I will be bugging him with ceaseless lighting questions....

diegonyc

Opinionated before his time





The world is upended. Batman is about to reveal his identity... C'est La Vie...

This morning I will go and pick up my flash, the Nikon SB-700 Speedlight.  I've been reading strobist and they seem to think that I don't need this flash, that the Lumopro LP160 is all that's needed.  But there is always time to get one of those later, right?

I have  worked the last 9 out of 10 days, today will be 10 out of 11, and then I have three days off.  They will fly by, I know it.  I will have my new camera and my flash and lenses and I will experiment with things I haven't experimented with in years (lighting) and hopefully I will have something to show.  I want to start shooting subjects with more preparation.  I just walk around Manhattan taking snapshots.  I'm ready to start manipulating factors outside of the camera.  Lights....

I will go here this weekend and look at instant photography.  In some ways I have been using my digital cameras as instant cameras.  I rarely do any post-production processing on any of the images I take, though that is the next step that I am eager to take.  I have Aperture and will be getting Lightroom soon.  Many people seem to suggest Lightroom, so that is what I lean towards. I don't know enough about either of them to have an opinion, but that's never stopped me before, so.... I've always found that having experience with something skews what would otherwise be purely untainted opinion...

Yes, of course.

My wife and I watched one of our favorite movies in bed last night and drank a bottle of wine from the vineyard where we got married.  It was delicious and we found the wine to be quite intoxicating... We watched one of our favorite romantic comedies.  Yes, it is not all Fellini and Antonioni over here.  We watch Barry Sonnenfeld films sometimes too.  Actually I just looked it up and he was only the DP on the film we watched last night.

My Batman instinct not wanting to give away too much information this early in the morning...

Ok, clearly I still have nothing left to say.  It has been that way for days.  Work has beaten all conversation out of me.  The daily soul-crushing defeat of having a job, etc.

"The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one." - Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chelsea Hotel



I can still hear the sounds of those Methodist bells,
I'd taken the cure and had just gotten through,
Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel,
Writin' "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" for you...

-Bob Dylan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I Was A Walrus






We went to a bar/restaurant last week in the meat-packing district for a friend's wedding party and this picture was hanging across from the bar.  I've seen the picture before but forgot about it, the Elvis pin, etc.  I thought it was a picture worth posting, considering my post on the anniversary of Lennon's death, and the story about Elvis dying, and the milf.

I wish I would have never found the "stats" tab on my blog.  I keep checking for traffic and where it's coming from. Some of it is a complete mystery.  I've had more traffic come to my blog through the post on Lennon's deathiversary than anything else.  There were a few other posts that also had gotten some interest, some self-generated (Laziest Nerd Ever), some not (Adult Onset Pornography)....  It is a tab that I'll try to stay away from, though it's not easy, to be able to anonymously look and see if you generate any interest, or if your subject matter does.

It's too bad I don't have a picture of Elvis with a Beatles pin on, that would be so viral....

Lewd and Lascivious Behavior





My wife told me that for the last few days my blog has been "lewd."  I went back and checked, she is quite right. I'm not sure how it happened, a door opened, and I slipt past unawares.  So there will be no lewdness today. Just good old-fashioned bloginess. Women have such a naturally civilizing influence over men, at times.

We are both headlong into The Count of Monte Cristo, though we are also both a little frustrated with it.  This book is where an entire lifetime of events occur by nearly perfect and uncanny coincidence.  A mysterious and magical land where all things happen in polarized ethical tandem. A world filled only by the good or the evil.  It feels like it was serialized in a magazine in the mid 19th century, etc.  Only 900 more pages to go.... I will keep you posted.

Almost every day I eat lunch at a Japanese Supermarket on Broome St. called Sunrise Mart.  I sit near the window when I can and try to ignore the traffic that waits impatiently for the Holland tunnel, asserting their liberties with unceasing noise and purely American disregard.  But... as I sat there yesterday I realized that there really is no such thing as a "norm" for wasabi paste. There is no accepted global standard regulating wasabi heat and preparation, no international summit to determine acceptable spice-root levels.  I wondered if it was a spice or not. I know it's a root.  I remember it being called "Japanese horseradish" when I lived in Florida.  I believe that certainly qualifies it as a spice, by all global standards, and as far as Floridian euphemisms go... Is it euphemism or colloquialism?  Probably neither.

I wish my wife were here to correct and inform me, to further civilize me... No, I'm kidding. She's great and knows more than me about food.  I don't need to know as much about diet as I have a far wider acceptance level for what I'll ingest and digest.  She is a vegetarian, though I call her a lipstick-vegetarian, she'll eat meat when she feels like it, though not usually pork or beef.  She will rarely order meat for herself, she'll just try a bite of whatever I've ordered as soon as it starts to looks good. Only one or two of my girlfriends has ever not been a vegetarian, they are closing in on me with cultish precision, these vegees...  I'll be singing civilized celery praises before it is all over.

The second snow fell in NYC last night.  This time it survived on the ground and made everything brittle.  I rode my bike home in it, something I will avoid in the future.  The snow stung my face as I rode through it. It made the roads just slightly treacherous, enough to concern me, as I had my brand new camera in my bike-bag and envisioned all sorts of destruction, pain, mayhem and tears.


destruction, pain, mayhem , tears.
in that order, please

ah, winter....






.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Migration






Just this morning I decided that posting blog entries is an activity best done while sober.  

Platitudinal persona indeed...


The birds are moving south.  They are everywhere.  It seems that they spend so much energy not making any progress.  It's too bad that Sarah Palin isn't here to kill them.  I heard that she killed a moose on her tv show.  That's really something.  It's comforting to think that a woman with such big-hairy-hunter-balls could have been our Vice President. Just a bullet through the heart away from being the most powerful monster in all of Christendom. She's like some demonic media behemoth summoned into existence by the blood-thirsting perversity of our nation. Bring forth the the Palin.... 

I bet she has an enormous clitoris.

Ok, no politics.  Just poems about birds in flight, sunsets, and long walks on the beach at night....


The birds are moving south, all cries of grey in a sea of clouds.







Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vulnerability






I ran into a friend tonight.  She is one of the people that I have the pleasure to work with but don't get to interact with enough at work.  Our relationship is uncomplicated and pleasant.

Earlier I was with another friend from work, at a different bar, and we decided to go to yet another bar, one that serves food, so we went to my favorite local, B.O.A., and there were a group of people there from work.

So we talked, her and I.

Before I knew it I was telling her all about my new camera, and how I had bought it because of these features that I had never before considered, video capabilities.

As always, never letting any drinking-buddy exhaust themselves with too much of their own talk, I seized upon a word she used, and before I knew it I was wildly pitching a short film idea. Though I must have spoken in great excess of minutes than the projected film itself... such was my enthusiasm.


Vulnerability


She had lofted this word out there to me, and it hit hard.

In so many ways it has been the guiding and unmistakably seen force in my life.  We are noticed an known by it. I have exclusively loved very vulnerable people. I have loved them with a sometimes equal, sometimes unmatched, but always shared vulnerability. To hear the word spoken openly as a concept, in a bar, by this gem of a friend, nearly shocked me.  It did shock me.  It shocked me.  Again and again.

V. v. v. v..

So, I pitched and I pitched, and I pitched, an idea of a short film, to be shot in my neighborhood, at sunset.  It is about the fragile vulnerability of persona, of life-stuff itself, the fragile nature about the belief we have about the belief about ourselves.  The elusive image we faintly project yet vigorously protect.  The constructions we erect and simultaneously demand that true love destroy while defending.

How the mis-application of force distorts the thing. It reveals, supports, and negates, both the source and the need that the thing yearns to be... the longing is the defining... the lie is the chasm, but the truth is the sensation of the nearly unbridgeable openness between... what we want, in this crazy twisted world, is who we actually are, to be unreachable and distant, a mystery with nothing but clues, an unjumped recognizable challenge.


---------------------


There is perhaps some truth to be glimpsed at sunrise,
in the shadow that daily shrinks ever earthward,
and in the sunset shadow that stretches and dances upwards,
and outwards into the night, disappearing across the stars.

If only night were long and bright enough to sustain our ideas of self.


I have long known something about uncertainties.
I have longed for resolution.
I have resolved little, but longly,
and over many, many years.


I have assumed the identity of another that grew within me, alongside me, as an antagonizing force.  I have laughed and fed with the jackals and angels of the heart.

I have rejected ambition as being false, when it was ambition alone that all along drove this crazed search for otherness.

I have worn the warm cotton clothes of others, and felt the comfort there, the familiarity of assumptions.


It is that self now that I wish to capture.

That person that I once desperately did something to become,
a comfortable storyteller.


Who better to ask now?



protected with plastic...





It is raining in New York today. Neither myself nor my wife want to walk the dog.  I dream of ways to not go to work. The only flowers left in the city are inside shops or protected with plastic at corner deli's. The city has begun its grey march past the fall and headlong into winter.  The first snow fell and soon there will be slush and ice to contend with.

Soon I will need to purchase some photo editing software also. I have Aperture, I've been told Lightroom is the one to get, and eventually Photoshop, CS5, etc.  Though none of them, I think, will allow me to do this... There is still much to learn about photography but it's time that I started learning how to better manipulate the images I have.  I will need a new computer for this as well, of course.  Perhaps a new pair of glasses, a better chair to sit in, a strong cup of expresso.... or two.

For now I am relying on low f-stops to produce the images I like.  Blurry, Expressionistic views of the background, with singular points of focus.  I like everything at f1.4 now that I can get there, I was at f2.0 with my previous camera, soon I will seek an f1.0 lens.  The more I get into photography the more I am impressed with the human eye.  Even my fading ones can still produce some magic. The recognition of subtle gradations of color alone is enough to make one wonder.  I become more and more impressed with digital photography but my buddy at cafeselavy makes a strong argument for polaroids and studio space, and yet even more needs.  There is no end to it.

I have still yet to purchase a camera bag for my new camera.  I've been told that humidity is to be fought with packs of silica.  For now I am fighting humidity with staying inside my apartment, reading the manual to the camera.


Ok, nothing else to say here, though I did find this odd note in my phone...

Overheard in a NYC nightclub: "I  could be at a club in Europe where girls would shit on my ass."

Europe is a land of many, many wonders.  The stereotype of "The Ugly American" has been reversed somewhat in that now even moderately affluent Europeans are able to travel to America, which is slowly decaying the idea of the sophisticated European and giving way to the other type.  Fewer Americans can afford to travel to Europe with the decaying strength of the dollar, and so we become the lucky recipient of Europe's middle classes, here to project their ideas upon us with renewed continental enthusiasm.  I'm certain there are places here where one might have a girl shit on their ass as well, I'm just not sure where to direct somebody for such a thing.

I have somehow lost touch with the heartbeat of my people.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ok, I lied.

I drank another beer, figured out how to transfer photos, and here are a few from the new camera.


I like them...
























... home again, home again, jiggity-jig