Sunday, November 28, 2010

corruption fatigue

Jesus, I tried to write a blog entry, to tell a story, and it's a mess. I couldn't even understand what I was writing about. I don't think I had been drinking when I wrote it, but it's just a confused set of incoherent fragments that's supposed to tell a pretty basic story. I will go back to it at another time, when I have more strength, and try to fix it. Or I will just give it up.

I think I might be addicted to confusion.

There is nothing much new to tell in my life. It seems that everyone on the face of the earth has the Nikon D7000 now, except me. I paid for it a few weeks ago but am still waiting to get the email that mine has arrived. Boring.

Ok, just after I took the picture above the cop glared at me as if I had no right to take it and he was considering jumping out of the car and pistol-whipping me, but he didn't.

I have become a little bit self-righteous about my right to take pictures out in public. I still have no idea what standards there are to govern photography in public, but I fall back on the idea that it is my constitutionally granted right and I act accordingly, with a self-certainty that would annoy any of the founding fathers.

A big leak of government communiques has occurred on WikiLeaks, a website whose sole purpose seems to be to embarrass the evildoers of government. Don't get me wrong, some of the leaks have been important for people to see, but I have mixed feelings about it.

Part of me thinks it's great and a necessary component of democracy, the free press. Another part of me hates all of the people who think it's so great, that in reality they can't admit that they secretly hate America so they must have others perform and act out their hatred for them. That last sentence is not a joke. I honestly believe that much of that sort of behavior is just thinly disguised hatred of western culture, self-guilt from long-term apathy, and confusion about the usefulness of media in the era of the internet. It is an anonymously titillated culture. Everyone gets to be a one-sentence hero.

All governments are corrupt and I don't expect them to act with the morals of an individual. They don't and can't act as an individual. They have the interests of many to consider and all of the safety precautions that can be put in place (due process, human rights declarations, systems of justice, division of powers, etc., etc.) can only prevent the abuse of power to a certain degree. At some point the "checks-and-balances" precaution fails because it is too difficult to check, crimes too easy to be hidden, and there is only a semblance of balance. One need only look at the last 10 years in America to confirm this last assertion.

Ultimately, I want my society to survive, though I'd like to see it survive with dignity, which seems out of the question at this point, but I'd still like to see it happen. I don't want my society to survive at the demise of another, but the division of the world into nation-sates and modern economics are not a very hopeful business.

Ok, I don't know where I'm going with any of this. It is late and I'm not taking the time to make my points well.

I think that cops have way too much power. I think that's a bad sign in general.

I think the media is largely misguided when it comes to its role in maintaining freedom and justice.

I think the audience for developed dialogue in this country is slowly diminishing. People are reading less and consuming far more visual media, which by its very nature contains less ideas, and is more prone to the veiled and hidden subjectivity of unseen editorial selection. At least with the written word the subjectivity of the author is more readily apparent and can be consumed and understood as such.

I think most people are experiencing corruption fatigue.

I think I need to go to sleep.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Free Lazers

I am bubbling with hardly containable interest. Keep in mind that I am still the #1 Google hit for Laziest Nerd Ever , the unchallenged champion of the cause.

Nope, scratch that. I was the #1 hit for a long time, but no more, I just checked. I think it has something to do with the way Google archives the blog. I guess when something's free, you get what you pay for.

I am tempted to call the number on the ad, but am old enough to understand how these things generally work out, with a sales pitch. I forget how to block my outgoing number, so this lazer distributor would have my cell phone number, something that I can not allow.

I couldn't find much information on "lazers"... on lasers there is quite a bit, but not too much solid data on ones with the "z" spelling. There is a place in France, a car made by Panther, a few radio stations, a soccer team, and some youtube videos... that's pretty much it.

Is it a political prisoner, this "Lazers", wrongfully held....? Should we be marching in the streets for Lazers, demanding justice?

A 646 area code generally means a cell phone here in New York.

The temptation is strong.

Free Lazers, call 646-397-7569

Update: I'm back on top. I did another search for "Laziest Nerd Ever" and there I was....  I have no idea how long I'll be able to keep that title, but there doesn't seem to be too many contenders in sight....


Nothing went horribly wrong on Thanksgiving, just the usual awkward instances one becomes familiar with in a family gathering. All things considered it was a pretty nice Thanksgiving. I have been feeling under the weather for a couple of days, which perhaps prevented me from embarrassing myself more than needed. It was all pretty standard shame, thankfully.

The true witching season is upon us now, the full moons will take on a more ominous and sinister appearance. The autumn clouds partially obscuring the moving luna for cinematic effect.

"Something wicked this way comes..." - Shakespeare

There are still so many things I will need to maximize the use of my camera. A tripod for taking starry night and full moon pictures, for one. The camera body and lens itself, for two.... I usually just hold my camera with my hands and get blurry over-exposed images like the one below, which was taken on the last full moon, the blue moon. I had always thought that a blue moon was two full moons within a single month but that knowledge had been debunked. Thanks wikipedia....

I am almost obsessed with taking pictures of scaffolding in NYC, though they are not much to look at, and I'm not sure what story they really tell, but I rarely pass the opportunity to photograph them. I think what I like is that it is not a single thing but a collection of many, many things arranged just so, as to obscure the exterior texture of the structure, while whatever changes occur underneath are hidden, a darkly opaqued endeavor.

I like the inverted sense of it emerging from the cocoon, like some hideous Frankenstein-like creation rather than the usually liberating butterfly story, a tale of transformation towards beauty. It's like the masculine counterpoint to the butterfly imagery and symbolism that so many women attach themselves to, my mother most of all. But it is a poisoned version of the tale, a near-total disruption of the meaning of the thing, and for an alternate purpose. It is a flightless and manufactured emergence. A monolith rather than a moth.

A monomorph of steel and stone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It's not that I exactly dread holidays, it's just that I fear my behavior on holidays. I never know what to do with myself. I've been told it's because I have very conflicted feelings about my family life. There's probably some truth to this, though it's never easy to believe that you have conflicted feelings when you don't actually know what those feelings are. It's much easier to believe in things that you can understand than to give credit to things that are beyond your abilities to understand or remember or know.

In the past I have traditionally gotten very drunk, or worse, on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Day, then discovered some fresh new shame to bring upon myself. The day or two after said event I will begin to come to terms with the dimensions and extent of this new shame. I will learn the life of this new shame, it's unique character. I begin the process of making an accounting of the relevant witnesses. One thing that I have learned is this: never concede or admit guilt, especially to actual witnesses. Because along with the admission of guilt comes the arduous process of reconciliation. It's never worth it.

There's a few new dimensions to these gatherings now. There are a bunch of kids around. The gravity of my behavior increases in direct disproportion to the average age group of the event. The inverted symmetry of life can be very odd. If you act like a child, near children, then you are a potential danger, and a great one at that. But if you can keep the kids occupied in a pleasant way, appeasing their childish natures, then you are a gem, to be valued, and entrusted with occasional responsibilities.

I think kids are great, and I have taken to heart the idea of remaining youthful. But I don't want to be a toddler or even a pre-teen, or pubescent. I want to be anywhere between the ages 17-19, able to drive, living at home rent-free, indestructible, capable of making the most monstrously unforgivable mistakes with complete ignorance to the repercussions of my actions, always able to find new friends, un-surrounded by my own psyche, etc.

Perhaps this is a glimpse into my conflicted familial emotions.

Probably not, who knows, who cares, etc.

I think I'm experiencing what might be called a mid-life crisis, or that's what it might be called anyway, if I lived in a place where sports cars were sold.

Nobody notices, or seems to, I've masked the recognition of any future crisis with almost perpetual present crises.

The best defense is always a good offence....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A clean well-lighted bill of health

I have been far too worried about getting older. I went to the Dr. yesterday and he gave me an astonishingly clean bill of health. He was amazed at my supernatural recuperative powers.

"Whatever it is that you're doing, double it, triple it. You've discovered the magical health elixir. It's really working..."

He privately asked what my secret was. I told him that red wine and steak are the main ingredients and the magic combination, but the occasional experiment in pharmaceutical sleep-aids helps, lots of rest, especially during the daytimes on Monday through Friday, calling in sick to work regularly when the sick hours accumulate and allow for it. That's it... it's really very simple.

He said I'm as healthy as a horse, though Secretariat was the example he used, which was odd.

He gave me a prescription for Levitra, said it's best to have one and not need it, than to need one and not have it.

He repeatedly discouraged me from exercising, said that pushups will only skew my natural and god-granted vision of the earth. He was pleased to hear that I've suddenly increased my intake of coffee, and confided that it's a very natural response, and effective antidote, to the heavyweight sleep-aids I've been ingesting... nothing to worry about there.

I heartily agreed. As I listened to him talk I could hear the ever-inviting sounds of the oceans, as if a shell had been held up gently to each of my ears. I could feel the caffeine surging through my veins as I drifted off, his voice becoming very small and meaningless, as if it came from a very faraway place, a land of cartoons and comics, happy in this new fantasy knowledge and senselessness of health.

Monday, November 22, 2010

...asleep in reason

I find it interesting, in a somewhat self-involved way, that as my vision slips I have developed this sudden enthusiasm for photography. I've become more concerned with preserving some part of myself, and what I choose to preserve are the things that I can no longer see, things that are getting blurry at a distance. My vision is in that strange in-between state where I can still read without a problem but anything that is further away from me than the end of my arm begins to get hazy and lost. So I trust what the camera shows me more than I trust my own eyes.

I suppose it has always been that way, but now it is somehow different. I notice it more, the trust, the need for trust.

I was not involved in many activities of self-preservation when I was younger. This is not to say I wasn't vain, perhaps too much so, but my vanity was in how-much and how-well I could casually throw it all away. I granted myself many prince-like luxuries when it came to the wasting of the self, the tossing off of ambitions for the many retreats into leisure.

Every sentence in this post either starts with "I" or implicitly suggests it.

I was never the 'camera guy' in the group and I was usually moving too fast to be the subject of much photography. I don't have many pictures of myself when I was a younger man. I arrogantly believed in some unspoken credo that, "I'll never pose...", though that myth has been clearly and thoroughly debunked by now.

I never developed a very accomplished smile, among other photogenic self-doubts. That doubt about the smile persists. I still am uncomfortable with most pictures of me, especially ones in which I'm smiling. It usually seems forced and unnatural. Every now and then someone will take a picture of me while I'm laughing. I like those most of all, the un-obliged nature of them.

Once on a helicopter ride from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, Peru, while I had the only slight case of dysentery that I have ever gotten while traveling south of the U.S., a friend snapped a shot of me that is one of the better pictures I ever remember seeing, though I lost the email that had the image in it. I always found it odd how happy I looked while the entire bottom half of my body was experiencing a Guatemalan mudslide.

I've always felt that I was funny, though many must feel that way about themselves. Being funny can not be caught or preserved in a still image. Shameful moments can, and many have, and some of those are funny, but that is not the same. A close friend of mine, during a time of friction between us, once went to some length to assure me that many people did not find me funny. He even produced a statistic to back up his claims. I still giggle about it sometimes. It was as if a study had been done and instead of selling toothpaste, a series of doctors or close friends (all but 1 in 10, apparently) had agreed that I wasn't funny.

Impossible logic to argue with, that.

Things change. The passions become something else and we cling to the articles and ideas of youth long after their usefulness has faded. Any retreat from youthful indiscretion, no matter how graceful, strikes many here as the process of actual aging, something to be resisted at any-and-all-costs... and also to be resisted with equal ferocity: the open admission of it, aging.

Age is sin here. It is very simple to cross without Charon, but one can not easily bathe their children in the stygian waters of the river Hudson.

Aging. At some point along the way I became less intelligent and more opinionated. I could see it happening but would always fall back on the perceived comfort and arrogance of my youth. I could always console myself with the idea that I was still the smartest guy talking. But at some point it had stopped. I had just become boorish, overbearing, tedious to talk to, and nearly unbearable to love, impossible to change.

My memory began to fail me. I don't know exactly when it happened. But I would misquote, or confuse authors, or works, in a way that I had never done before. My mind softened, and with that softening I became even more determined, but not determined to correct myself, determined to fight age itself.

I lost. I don't remember when.

I've curbed all of that behavior as much as I can now and have begun the slow process of rediscovering a kinder, more thoughtful part of myself. Perhaps it is the photography. It has made me want to capture glimpses of goodness and beauty. Though my taste for the weird, the mysterious and supernal has not diminished at all.

Now my unorthodox tastes are augmented with something more pleasant and simple and accessible... something more shareable.

I worry about things that I never before worried

the fresh and well-rested monster of seasons

The fear and form grows wings, takes flight

multiplies in the skies above me at night

whether awake or deep asleep in reason

confessing all of these things

like so many leaves

lost, or on fire in the winds

the age itself is treason

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nikon D7000

I finally bought the D7000. I won't get it for some time, but I pre-ordered it with a couple lenses and filters from B and H photo.

What will I do with this blog now? Hopefully I'll still be able to take blurry, out of focus, axis-tilted, senseless snapshots. Otherwise I'll have very little to write about. My fear is that now I will need to learn much more about photography, and then also put that knowledge into practice.

I feel bad for my old Panasonic DMC-LX3... It was sitting right there the entire time I ordered this unwieldy beast. I feel like I cheated on it, and in full unashamed daylight. It just sat there with its little HAL9000 lens covered. It didn't Leica it at all.

Ok, that was pathetic. Clearly my excitement for buying this camera has crippled my mind anew.

Sean Q6, for hire... Weddings, Funerals, Births, Crownings, Coronations, Depositions, Clown Holidays, Midget Graduations, Action Headshots, DJ Cultures....

If it can be seen, I'll shoot at it.

That has always been my policy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daytona, Florida

My wife and I have been talking again about possibly moving out of New York. There are other things we hope to do with our lives and some of those things are difficult to do in the city, others nearly impossible. We seem convinced that these things will be easier outside the city. So we discuss, we look, we imaginatively prepare.

The only other place I've lived for any extended period of time was in Florida. I remember what it was like to live there. It was nice to be able to go to the beach, and there are a couple of months each year when the weather is nice. When it is not unbearably hot and humid, as if you are walking through a sauna. But most of the time it is unpleasantly soupy.

It is cancer from above. It's like living in an enormous outdoor microwave.

After living in Florida for 30 years I am not eager to go back and live in a place like that. For my wife it is simply out of the question to live there. I believe that she would want to stay in close proximity to New York.

There are only three seasons in Florida: January, February and Summer.

I have long maintained that New York is where people go to finally become the assholes they know they really can be. It is a place that also attracts people of all types of various talent. But, it is also the asshole epicenter, a place where assholes go to finally blossom and come to life. They can be as selfish as they want, because there are always the unceasing crowds to mask their behavior.

The assholes believe that they are the ones with talent and they are justified in the way that they act. You can see it in their faces, in the things they do, it can be felt in the way they talk and think. It is a sort of frustrated determination to exert themselves over others at any and all opportunities, especially in meaningless victory. Whereas expression is inviting, their behavior is demanding. I doubt that most of them can see or sense the difference. One only needs to ride the subway for a few days to encounter a concentration of them, acting out their exalted fantasy of self.

"The asshole's natural environment is generally not able to sustain their particular creative needs, so New York becomes the obvious choice to migrate to. Upon returning to their original habitat this transformation becomes increasingly evident." Q.6, PhD in circular studies

In Florida there are a fair amount of people that might be called "rednecks" by some... simple, country folk that like to procreate and watch cars race on weekends. Perhaps once my wife and I have children I will discover a new love of NASCAR, The National Association of Stock Car Racing. It is an organization that prides themselves on the ability to take left turns at very high speeds. The cars are supposed to be "stock", meaning that they were not designed with the express intent to race, though this is a patently absurd claim as all of these vehicles have been greatly modified, but the myth speaks to the mind of the average American in a seemingly unique way. It informs the dreams of America with roaring whispers of both pride and profit.

It is a family owned business, NASCAR, based out of Daytona, Florida, not far from where I grew up. Daytona was a beach that I usually avoided. It is where first-year college students go to fall from balconies, and young adults go to get arrested for the first time, and for some it is the place where they come in contact with venereal and other communicable diseases.

There are many other beaches much nicer than Daytona, and not far from there, like Cocoa for example. It is something you learn at a reasonably early age, that Daytona is to be generally avoided. It is like a border-beach. I'm certain that somewhere within its city limits there are shows where you can see women have sex with a donkey, or donkeys, for money. It is that type of place.

If we leave New York we will need to own a car, or cars.

I owned several different pickup trucks when I lived in Florida. It is a convenient vehicle to own. One always seems to be in need of transporting unwieldy objects there, objects that you would not want on the interior of your vehicle, but rather ones that belonged in the back of a truck. Or perhaps it is just that because I had a truck I was always the person that would be doing such things. If I owned a motorcycle then maybe I would only have been transporting under-age girls from wherever I was to Daytona.

I never owned a donkey either, but maybe that is a story better left for another time. It is difficult to say, and it is a story that requires truth and patience....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

2-8 second shutter speed

I can't seem to find any time any more. All of life is a rush and still I don't get most of the things done that I want to. I am adding new hobbies every year to make sure I'll never stop feeling like I could always do more.

I spent my whole life not caring that much about photography. I mean, I did love the photography of others, I just didn't care that much about doing it myself, even though I have a bachelor's degree in motion picture technology. Now I am obsessed with it, though I never have any time to go out and shoot pictures, I spend all of my free time comparing camera specs.

I've been contemplating jumping ship and buying the Canon D7 instead of the Nikon D7000. It's a last minute change of plan that I'm just not sure about.

For me, it's a big decision, and a lot of money. I barely have the time to go out shooting with the little digital camera I have. I have no idea what I'm going to do with a much larger dslr that will require a camera bag and accessories, etc., etc.

With the money I'm spending on the new camera I could finance a trip, somewhere that I might be able to take pictures in almost complete darkness of my wife, lying on a roadside, for what reason I can't possibly remember. Probably because she was tired of carrying the camera. Or tired of hearing me talk about it, or perhaps just tired... though I don't know why, she had 8 seconds to lie there, according to the metadata.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last Call

I spent most of the day in bed yesterday with a hangover. There are only a few arguments stronger than a hangover for not drinking at all: accidental murder, forgotten rapes, dead waitresses, loss of limb, or job, or car, etc., etc....

It is was a day truly wasted. A day lost and gone forever.

Like a fool I tried the "hair of the dog" treatment and had a beer a few hours after I woke up. It seemed to work, so I had another. A friend had brought over some hummus, so I ate that, thinking that some food would help me. But it did not function as you would expect food to, instead it turned against me. By the end of the day my hangover had doubled in severity and the site and thought of all things made me feel ill.

Thankfully, I have a wife, and she nursed me back to health with solid food, though it came so late in the day there was no adequate means to recover any of the lost time. Instead I rolled around in bed, begging any and all gods to relieve me of the unceasing misery and shame of self. I remain skeptical about the existence of said gods.

If only one could experience the pain of the hangover before the night of drinking, so that you could somehow moderate the future instead of recovering from the past. I suppose some people can do this through strange powers of premonition, but I was not out with those people on Monday night. I was with the other sort. I spent almost the entire day in bed wrestling with this foggy but constant pain that would persistently close in and strike as if it magically held my head in a torturous vise grip, with tethered controls leading to some malicious universal force, the laughter of the ages.

Normally I have an iron stomach, but when I tried to get up and go for a walk all of the sounds and lights around me made me feel as if that hummus was prepared to give up and run for the streets, trying to save itself it mutinous escape.

Pure misery....

Yesterday I also decided that misery does not actually love company. My neighbor had come over and was trying to change the situation for the better with more beer, but there came a time when I could do no more... Before he had even left I went and lied down in bed and began the long process of recovery, unable to even see him out the door.

Drinking on an empty stomach with a hangover is not to be tested any more. I have learned my lesson. Now I know. From now on I will wake up and immediately eat a greasy cheeseburger and fries with a coca-cola, that is what a hangover teaches us, if anything.

Bury the shame and guilt in oil and fat, where it can remain undiscovered and undisturbed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Technique, Cartier-Bresson

Cartier-Bresson exclusively used Leica 35 mm rangefinder cameras equipped with normal 50 mm lenses or occasionally a wide-angle for landscapes.[10] He often wrapped black tape around the camera's chrome body to make it less conspicuous. With fast black and white films and sharp lenses, he was able to photograph almost by stealth to capture the events. No longer bound by a huge 4×5 press camera or an awkward medium format twin-lens reflex camera, miniature-format cameras gave Cartier-Bresson what he called "the velvet hand [and] the hawk's eye." He never photographed with flash, a practice he saw as "[i] coming to a concert with a pistol in your hand."[10]

He believed in composing his photographs in the viewfinder, not in the darkroom. He showcased this belief by having nearly all his photographs printed only at full-frame and completely free of any cropping or other darkroom manipulation.[1] Indeed, he emphasized that his prints were not cropped by insisting they include the first millimetre or so of the unexposed clear negative around the image area resulting, after printing, in a black border around the positive image.

Cartier-Bresson worked exclusively in black and white, other than a few unsuccessful attempts in color. He disliked developing or making his own prints.[1] He said: "I've never been interested in the process of photography, never, never. Right from the beginning. For me, photography with a small camera like the Leica is an instant drawing."[11]

He started the tradition of testing new camera lenses by taking photographs of ducks in urban parks. He never published the images but referred to them as 'my only superstition' as he considered it a 'baptism' of the lens.[12]

Cartier-Bresson is regarded as one of the art world's most unassuming personalities. He disliked publicity and exhibited a ferocious shyness since his days in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. Although he took many famous portraits, his own face was little known to the world at large (which presumably had the advantage of allowing him to work on the street in peace). He dismissed others' applications of the term "art" to his photographs, which he thought were merely his gut reactions to moments in time that he had happened upon.

The simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression... . In photography, the smallest thing can be a great subject. The little human detail can become a leitmotif.

—Henri Cartier-Bresson[13]


from Wikipedia

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fuji X100

Nikon is pissing me off, they're acting like any other aggressive capitalist company.

I should know.

They're now selling the Nikon D7000, but only as a kit, with some freakin' useless hillbilly lens attached to it that only blind drunks would buy.

There's no reason that I can imaginatively conjure that would explain why they're able to ship boxes with this shit-ola lens in it that would also preclude them from being able to ship boxes with just the camera body alone, the way that I would greatly prefer.

I used to be in freelance distribution, you see.

They're trying to make me buy something I don't want, to get something I do want.

They've almost succeeded.

I am tempted to wait until Fuji releases the X100, pictured above. It is a rangefinder, and it is sleek, and retro, and sexy, and cool, and a good camera also, and much-much cheaper. It won't be out until sometime next year.


But, it can not do what the other one can.

But, perhaps, it will allow me to be less obtrusive... less the "camera guy in the room", as my friend gently warned me against.

But, I no longer simply have a life of leisure, a Henri Cartier-Bresson I am not.

I want power and functionality, and I am willing to pay for it, Nikon.

I'm just not willing to wait for it.

"I want more life, father." - Roy Batty

The Count Of Monte Cristo

We've decided to read an adventure novel this winter. I've never read anything by Dumas before and am only familiar with the children's version of this story and "The Three Musketeers", but I'm looking forward to it. Though the book is about the size of three or four bibles in length. It should take most of the winter to read and is not as heavy as "Crime and Punishment" or "In Search Of Lost Time" (Swann's Way), two books I read last winter.

So, away we go. Aaaaaaaaddddventure.....

Nothing much else to say today. Slept in and spent the morning with Rachel watching comedies in bed. Hot Tub Time Machine.... The time passed at its normal pace. I was the age that the characters supposedly were at that time and the soundtrack reflected the actual music that was being listened to by people then. John Cusack is the least challenging actor imaginable. He never bothers playing a different part in any film he's in, but he somehow gets away with it. He is the actor's version of Aerosmith... trapped-in, before, or-just-after puberty and refusing to tackle issues beyond that turbulent time. At least he didn't turn to the camera and give a speech in this film. I wish there was a youtube video of him getting maced during one of his soliloquies, or pepper-sprayed, either would be acceptable.

Ok, clearly I have nothing to say today. Not so different from John Cusack after all, I suppose. I've run out of pictures to write about and soon I will have to go to work.

I also need a hot tub time machine....

Thursday, November 11, 2010


the camera accidentally captures. before i wished. that i would. have. quit.,. returning.

casualty fridays....

Budapest and Ave. B

Last night after dinner, as we were walking home, a friend pointed out that there is an Hungarian bookstore on our street. I hadn't noticed before. Here I am worrying about whether or not books will be in print, and whether I should hermit some away, and it turns out the expatriate Hungarians are supporting and sustaining a bookstore right here in the East Village, just down the street from where I live.

Across New York there are probably others, some specializing in Hungarian cuisine, or architecture, or sports medicine. Who knows... soon Budapest will be on 12th St. The remains of St. Stephen are being shipped over to permanently reside in Tompkins Square Park. They'll be selling replicas of The Holy Crown in Times Square by New Year's Eve. Transylvania is the name of a new downtown bistro where they serve eternity tartare, and once every thousand years the Hungarians invade and sack the place...

Ok, enough, but it is amazing that an Hungarian bookstore is alive and well on the streets of the village. I was shocked. The pictures above were taken through the window, as proof.

The picture below was just a yellow tree, trembling in the coming north-easternly winds.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

tired of all things at once

I am tired of all things at once. I go to work and then I return home, only to return again, over and over. It is difficult to see the sense in any of it. I watch others who seem to be so carefree and unencumbered, and I wonder... How?

There is an ever-returning sadness, a heaviness from which there seems no end. The only way I know to fight it is to endure it, to close ever methodically in upon myself.

This confuses those around me. I send mixed messages. My frustration is visible but unreachable, the untouchable melancholy and distance; the darkness of spirit, and a receding of the eyes. Those close to me are perhaps accustomed to, and greatly prefer, a different version of me. They appeal, as if it is somehow a choice I've made, a simple switch I can flip and all will right itself.

I have been through it many, many times. I don't know how to express that this is not the dangerous part. It is the other times. When I am wildly unpredictable, funny, engaging and seemingly alive, that those are the times to beware of. Those are the times when sudden decisions are made suddenly, decisively.

This unceasing heaviness will one day yield, to what... I do not pretend to know.

I hope to openness.

Partners in Crime and Punishment

Last winter Rachel and I read a few books together. The main one was Dostoevsky's, "Crime and Punishment." We were hoping to read another book or two this winter. It is a private and nerdly endeavor but it's been fun for us. The winters can be cold and long here, they are survived best with books. With a larger group of close friends we had also decided to read Proust's "In Search Of Lost Time" but I was the only one who made it through the 1st volume. I was going to try to make it through the 2nd volume this winter and see how things go. Perhaps by 2016 I will have completed the series. In search of time indeed.

I took the picture above at the K-Mart at Astor Place, in one of the many security mirrors that litter the ceiling of any and all places like that. I love the grainy, crime-like feel to it. The snapshot taken before the crime and subsequent getaway attempt. Though no crime was committed that day, I do believe we bought some mouthwash, toothpaste and deodorant. Socks, always.

This winter we were thinking about reading "Moby Dick." I've read it before but it is one that I would gladly go back to. I used to work in a record store and I would lie on the couch there all day reading. When I wasn't just lying there gazing at the ceiling, tussling with space-spooks, I could read a book very quickly, sometimes one a day. It was a store that specialized in electronic dance music but I would put on the entire Miles Davis box set of Bitches Brew and scare the shit out of the young dopey kids that would come in to buy cheesy breakbeats. I was Mean Mr. Mustard. I was the character 'Barry' played by Jack Black in "High Fidelity"...

Rachel and I also talked about "Bleak House" or a re-reading of "War and Peace", perhaps a strong Russian winter theme would work, though Tolstoy's novel includes all four seasons as a theme that runs through it. I remember that from the Norton Critical Edition notes I read, I might not have been as aware of it on my own. I try to supplement the classics with some notes. I've grown used to not making too many assumptions about all of my own observations in reading.

I suppose I really should shoot for a book I haven't read yet, there are many. It is nice to put another classic behind you, a fading enterprise it would seem. There is much talk at work about the fading industry of print. I work for a technology company so much is said about such things. Many see it as a victory of sorts. The triumph of product. Some speak of it in somewhat sad tones, the acknowledgment of loss. Others deny this and say that nothing has changed, that the text is the text is the text... Few of these conversations interest me. Though the thought does occur to me occasionally that I should stock up on books that I want to read from print so that, at the very least, I will have them when I am ready.

I like the way the light reflects softly off the page. I like holding the book in my hand and turning the pages. I like reading the way that I discovered it in my youth. I shoplifted almost every single book I've ever read, though that was mostly when I was much younger. There was a thrill involved with it. I romanticized all things then, especially the illicit and illegal. Most of those stolen books I still have, though many were lost. Some of them I was forced to throw away. They were stored in the garage and had become a fire hazard, or so it seemed.

I don't want to be paranoid but maybe stocking up on un-read classics now is a good idea. If the publishing industry goes through similar changes that the music industry did as a result of digital technology then perhaps there will come a time when the prices of books skyrockets as a means of counter-blancing losses. Industry will use whatever excuse possible to justify aggressive increases. I know.

One must always prepare for the future crimes of others.

Monday, November 8, 2010


My wife is becoming increasingly eager to have a baby. We are surrounded by couples that have at least one, some more. It seems inevitable. Some friends have warned me not to openly resist it too much, that is dangerous, they warn.

It's not that I am opposed to having a baby. I'm only vaguely opposed to spending the rest of my life taking care of it. I'm 42 now, so it will be the rest of my life, possibly more.

Some people tell me that they think I will be a great father. I have my reservations. I'm sure everybody sets out to be a great father. There is always the ideal, and then the reality of the thing. I see the mistakes of others. The mistakes that I can not be certain that I won't make.

I think of my own father. How I hated him for many years without understanding why. That anger still bubbles to the surface sometimes but I can never be sure of the source. I can not trace it back to the spring to cap it off. It's as if I lived with it as a reality for so long that a part of me doesn't want to admit that perhaps I was mistaken. I realize that I wasn't totally mistaken, but that it was perhaps circumstantial, and now circumstances have changed. He is older and has no need to correct or guide me any longer, the enactment of which angered me to no end.

How dare he, the nerve, etc.

We talk more comfortably now than ever before, but there were the many other years when we did not talk at all. I worry about that. Perhaps my child will detest me for a decade or more, that nothing I do will be right. I will be old and out of touch from their world. This creature who I helped to give life, who I would do anything for, but can do nothing to reach, with whom I might not be able to have a simple conversation. I worry about that.

The children of others make me happy. All of the cliches about childhood are right there in front of you, and they are all true. They are dynamic and surprising yet selfish and unreasonable. They say the most marvelously intuitive and insightful things, only because they are seeing one aspect of how things truly are, aware of an aspect of life that we have perhaps long ignored or forgotten, or overlooked in the first place, substituting function, purpose or outcome for initial sensation and wonder.

I worry, I wonder... function, purpose...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Autumn leaves indeed

I like the picture above, I took it through a shop window in Sonoma. They are autumn leaves that will likely never fall. Their powered incandescence will survive through the harsh winter and into the summer where they will be put away, perhaps year after year, ever returning. What perennial sadness.

Today is the ING NYC Marathon. I had hoped to run it but didn't get in on the lottery. I researched a few charities, realized what a commitment it is, and then about that time started noticing that I had somehow developed bone spurs (I think) in my left heel. So, I am at home today instead of running the marathon. In the interim since I was training to run the marathon and now I have gained about 10 pounds. Today I will go and watch the Liverpool football game and drink beer, on the other side of the island from where the runners will enter from Queens, looping up through The Bronx, then finishing in Central Park.

Ok, nothing much to tell today. I could have used my day to go and take pictures of the colors of the changing leaves. The dying leaves, I should say. But I won't. Sadness abounds, I suppose. Anyway, that would have placed me in Central Park at some point, the finish line for the marathon. I am half-kidding. I applaud everyone who attempts the marathon. I will try again next year. I even considered going uptown to where the runners come across the 59th St. Bridge and cheering as they come across with everybody else, feeling groovy, etc.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Death the End? Experiments Suggest You Create Time

Is Death the End? Experiments Suggest You Create Time
by Robert Lanza, M.D.
When I was young, I stayed at my neighbor's house. They had a grandfather clock. Between the tick and the tock of the pendulum, I lay awake thinking about the perverse nature of time. Mr. O'Donnell is gone now. His wife Barbara, now in her nineties, greets me with her cane when I go back to visit.
We watch our loved ones age and die, and we assume that an external entity called time is responsible for the crime. But experiments increasingly cast doubt on the existence of time as we know it. In fact, the reality of time has long been questioned by philosophers and physicists. When we speak of time, we're usually referring to change. But change isn't the same thing as time.
To measure anything's position precisely is to "lock in" on one static frame of its motion, as in a film. Conversely, as soon as you observe movement, you can't isolate a frame, because motion is the summation of many frames. Sharpness in one parameter induces blurriness in the other. Consider a film of a flying arrow that stops on a single frame. The pause enables you to know the position of the arrow with great accuracy: it's 20 feet above the grandstand. But you've lost all information about its momentum. It's going nowhere; its path is uncertain.
Numerous experiments confirm that such uncertainty is built into the fabric of reality. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle is a fundamental concept of quantum physics. However, it only makes sense from a biocentric perspective. According to biocentrism, time is the inner sense that animates the still frames of the spatial world. Remember, you can't see through the bone surrounding your brain; everything you experience is woven together in your mind. So what's real? If the next image is different from the last, then it's different, period. We can award change with the word "time," but that doesn't mean that there's an invisible matrix in which changes occur. At each moment we're at the edge of a paradox described by the Greek philosopher Zeno. Because an object can't occupy two places simultaneously, he contended that an arrow is only at one place during any given instant of its flight. To be in one place, however, is to be at rest. The arrow must therefore be at rest at every instant of its flight. Thus, motion is impossible. But is this really a paradox? Or rather, is it proof that time (motion) isn't a feature of the outer, spatial world, but rather a conception of thought?
An experiment published in 1990 suggests that Zeno was right. In this experiment, scientists demonstrated the quantum equivalent of the adage that "a watched pot doesn't boil." This behavior, the "quantum Zeno effect," turns out to be a function of observation. "It seems,"said physicist Peter Coveney, "that the act of looking at an atom prevents it from changing". Theoretically, if a nuclear bomb were watched intently enough -- that is, if you could check its atoms every million trillionth of a second -- it wouldn't explode. Bizarre? The problem lies not in the experiments but in our way of thinking about time. Biocentrism is the only comprehensible way to explain these results, which are only "weird" in the context of the existing paradigm. In biocentrism, space and time are forms of animal intuition. They're tools of the mind and thus don't exist as external objects independent of life. When we feel poignantly that time has elapsed, as when loved ones die, it constitutes the human perceptions of the passage and existence of time. Our babies turn into adults. We age. That, to us, is time. It belongs with us.
New experiments confirm this concept. In 2002, scientists carried out an amazing experiment that showed that within pairs of particles, each particle anticipated what its twin would do in the future. Somehow, the particles "knew" what the researcher would do before it happened, as if there were no space or time between them. In a 2007 study published in Science, scientists shot particles into an apparatus and showed that they could retroactively change whether the particles behaved as photons or waves. The particles had to "decide" what to do when they passed a fork in the apparatus. Later on, the experimenter could flip a switch. It turns out what the observer decided at that point determined how the particle had behaved at the fork in the past. Thus the knowledge in our mind can determine how particles behave.
Of course, we live in the same world. Critics claim that this behavior is limited to the quantum world. But this "two-world" view (that is, the view that there is one set of laws for quantum objects and another for the rest of the universe, including us) has no basis in reason and is being challenged in labs around the world. Last year, researchers published a study in Nature suggesting that quantum behavior extends into the everyday realm. Pairs of ions were coaxed to entangle, and then their properties remained bound together when separated by large distances ("spooky action at a distance," as Einstein put it) as if there were no time or space. And in 2005, KHCO3 crystals exhibited entanglement ridges half an inch high, demonstrating that quantum behavior could nudge into the ordinary world of human-scale objects.
In the Oct. 2010 issue of Discover, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow state, "There is no way to remove the observer -- us -- from our perceptions of the world ... In classical physics, the past is assumed to exist as a definite series of events, but according to quantum physics, the past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities." That night, while lying awake at my neighbor's house, I had found the answer -- that the missing piece is with us. As I see it, immortality doesn't mean perpetual (linear) existence in time but resides outside of time altogether. Life is a journey that transcends our classical way of thinking. Experiment after experiment continues to suggest that we create time, not the other way around. Without consciousness, space and time are nothing. At death, there's a break in the continuity of space and time; you can take any time -- past or future -- as your new frame of reference and estimate all potentialities relative to it. In the end, even Einstein acknowledged that "the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." Life is just one fragment of time, one brushstroke in a picture larger than ourselves, eternal even when we die. This is the indispensable prelude to immortality.
"Time and space are but the physiological colors which the eye maketh," said Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay "Self-Reliance." "But the soul is light; where it is, is day; where it was, is night."

Autumn Leaves

Fall is here, and too soon, winter. There is still the mixed chill in the winds, the moisture and sometimes rain, united generously with the cold. I see the earth, spinning through distant candlelit darkness, tilting away from the sun of my mind, getting deeply shadowed across the top, and then glacial.

Nobody ever accuses the earth of having manic-depression. We would all call it orbital depression and some would begin praising it as natural... which means: 'good', to most.

Cobra venom is also natural. I want to start the society of 'Naja de Naturale'. A place where people can come together and commune with cobras in the way nature intended. Perhaps we could feed the cobras carrots and teach them to respect other animals, and themselves. With a few hundred years behind us maybe we could integrate them into society as seasonal workers. Unleash a few hundred thousand of them on places that made being Mexican illegal, let's see how that works out.

Ok, enough of that. The expresso is beginning to take hold and dredge me from the recesses of sleep, the winter of the night.

Fall is actually quite beautiful. If I had some free time I would go on a photo expedition through some of the parks and try to catalogue the happening of it here in New York. Remember? I told you that I'm like a little schoolgirl when it comes to me walking around NYC with my camera, taking pictures of poor ethnic people begging for money in front of an elaborate reflective-glass building.... silently acknowledging the juxtaposition of the picture.

Yikes. It's all true. I have the eye of a schoolgirl. No, that doesn't sound quite right.

The age-old question returns.... Is she sucking that lollipop at me?

No, this is not what I meant to write at all. That whole last sentence was a typo. It just came out that way. I had meant to write the riddle of the sphinx and that is what I typed instead.

I blame the season, it is the time for a new one, so on we must, on we must.

Some music: Autumn Leaves , and a picture to consider:

But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves are falling...
-Johnny Mercer