Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Vacations

Ok, no more bike talk, for a bit. It was supposed to be assembled today but the shop owner is dragging his hex wrench. 

Date night went well, though we are older now and derive less pleasure from being out late. It was still nice to go have a little adventure in the city - drinks and friends and food and laughing are still good things to do.

What else is there? CS is going to travel. There is that - crimes, misdemeanors, and vacations. 

Okay, I was sitting here drinking a tea before a bike ride, Now, my tea cup is empty and I have thought of nothing useful to say. 

The wind is blowing. The hill that leads to Jack London's old Wolf House is 900 feet with very few spots that do not involve climbing, practically none. My legs will ask much of my heart and lungs. When I get to the bottom I have promised myself to turn around and climb it all over again, where the questions will be doubled or more. I will return with whatever answers my body has left. 



Saturday, September 14, 2019

Date Night

Raquel and I have a date tonight in the city. A hotel and everything. Dinner, a party, then a nightclub. For us, that may as well be going to Burning Man. It's for a friend's birthday. I made her a 6 hour playlist - punk and dub disco - the birthday girl. Not quite festive enough for a birthday party, but great if you do drugs desperately and often.

I probably won't even have a drink tonight, just some chewy pot edibles. I have some shrooms, but what for? I am in training, trying to lose ten pounds or more. If you can't increase your cardio/endurance enough in one month then decreasing weight accomplishes a very similar thing. It makes you seem stronger. I could use some feeling of strength. Strange things happen to an aging man. There is a cosmic softening. Or, comic suffering. 

Oh, I don't mean that. The samurai sword is not a symbol. There are drugs that give you the approximate firmness of a teenager. I just meant the mellowing of age. It is rare that I wouldn't rather be sleeping now. I look around at the restaurant, bar, nightclub, bathroom mirror and I struggle staying on nodding terms with my previous self. 

I'll try to relax and laugh a little. It does wonders, makes you flexible like a teenager. If feeling as a teenager is your public or private prize. 


Friday, September 13, 2019

More Bike Talk

Yes, I have been reduced to only gazing at pictures of the bike that I do not yet possess. The more I look at the tires the less I like them. They will be replaced with an all-black version long before I ever mount it. 

And yes, the gravity of the guilt at how expensive that bike was is beginning to catch up with me. I just ordered new shoes and clips. Another $200. I didn't really need to but it felt wrong putting beaten up clips on such a brand new thing of beauty, a marvel of design and newness. A thing that I have yet to see. No as-promised email with the tracking number ever arrived. 

Dealing with guys at bike shops in California (it's a German company, but their distribution headquarters is based in California) requires a special calmness, one that borders on stupidity. They are not quite the assholes that surfers are, or can be, but they're not very far off either. They all seem mildly territorial about all space all of the time, but not enough to challenge anybody. Back in Florida we used to find any stupid reason to kick the shit out of people like that, for fun. 

In truth, I know nothing about the company that I bought a bike from - Canyon. I just liked their design, the feature set, and the cost. Ok, I read a number of glowing reviews, also, and every biking friend I have speaks highly of them. As much as the bike cost, it still would have been much more than it was if I had purchased in a store. The markup on bikes is significant. Buying directly from manufacturers gets you a useful discount. The bike shop still makes money. I'm not going to assemble something that precise. They live for that stuff.

The disappointment is that I likely won't even be able to incorporate this bike very well into a mountain biking trip I'm taking in October to Sedona. Something more than a gravel bike is required for rides like this and this, though not by very much. I could almost use the new bike, but it would only be to prove a point to myself. 

My more than adequate mountain bike is the right choice for that trip.

These two bikes will be the only ones that I'll have now, more than anyone needs. I'll have to cremate the one that I was hit on - a Trek Domane 4.5 - to dispel the bad juju that now surrounds it. The Kona Honzo AL that I have used as an exercise bike will go the way of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, king of the terrible lizards

A bright burning rock will scream from the skies and set the earth and oceans afire. The end is nearer now than ever before, but not for very long. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Canyon Grail SLX 8.0

Well, if you thought I was out of my mind to spend as much money as I have on yesterday's bike, you would have been right... 

The manufacturer reached out to me today to apologize that they do not have that bike in stock any longer. They offered me a discount on my next bike purchase from them and free shipping. I wrote back and asked if they would discount even further a nicer bike, and if so then I would purchase immediately. They came back and said, Sure!, but not by very much. So, I spent almost a thousand dollars more than I had even initially thought that I was going to. The only differences are the weight and strength of the frame and the rims. They are lighter, which means that they are more expensive to replace. The rims are likely stronger, being carbon fiber rather than aluminum. Less material used on the frame can only mean one thing: the frame may be weaker, but lighter. That is an assumption based in ignorance. 

The extra only warrants an additional X in the name of the bike. 

But the bike is a fine enough machine. Just look at it. 

Few will be able to reason with me once it is in my possession.  I will be like Susan Orlean when she is alone with her beloved orchids. Don't look for any differences in yesterday's pictures and today's, the improvements are not at all visual, unless you happen to notice the numbers on the rim. As I said yesterday, all that matters is how it feels to the rider. Like anything that you love, your tastes tend to tighten their grip around the things they desire most, once they have seized upon the possible pleasures involved.  


... with no identifiable enemy

"The towers are gone now, reduced to bloody rubble, along with all hopes for Peace in Our Time, in the United States or any other country. Make no mistake about it: We are At War now -- with somebody -- and we will stay At War with that mysterious Enemy for the rest of our lives.

It will be a Religious War, a sort of Christian Jihad, fueled by religious hatred and led by merciless fanatics on both sides. It will be guerilla warfare on a global scale, with no front lines and no identifiable enemy.

We are going to punish somebody for this attack, but just who or what will be blown to smithereens for it is hard to say. Maybe Afghanistan, maybe Pakistan or Iraq, or possibly all three at once. This is going to be a very expensive war, and Victory is not guaranteed -- for anyone.” - HST


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Canyon Grail CF SL 8.0

I bought a new bike today, a replacement for the one that was destroyed. Life goes on. I would write about the details but such things appeal primarily to the lost and lonely. How a bike feels to its rider is all that matters. It is what is known as a gravel bike, designed to do everything adequately. You might think I'm kidding, but that is its charm. It is not dedicated to being a strictly road or trail bike. It can do either, so it does both modestly when compared to the more specialized bikes that I have always gravitated towards and sought to own. It is also the most expensive bike that I have ever bought by a fair amount. We'll see.

CS pointed out correctly and immediately that I could have bought a Leica... I'll use the bike more, though it will produce less, nothing really. If a bike does anything it is to convert, not to produce. I feel no special need to compare bicycles and cameras. I'm happy to have both, and have never tried to use them together. 

I am a happy bike nerd.

It has full SRAM Force 1 components, a 1x11 drivetrain, the hydraulic braking system being paramount in my desire, a unique handlebar designed to reduce the amount of road vibration felt, a seat post that likewise absorbs shock, tubeless ready 40mm tires, which I will replace. I do not care for white walls, and might possibly go down to 35mm.  

Simple, elegant, functional, fun. 


Maybe they're all wrong

It's only a matter of time that the GOP will start arguing that they need to hold on to their assault rifles due to the many uncertainties of climate change. It will become real for them when they can use it as a point of fear. A selling point, as it were.  

Oh yeah, no politics. That's my new mantra that keeps me calm. Is climate change political? For how long will it be framed as a political point? I read a piece on FoxNews the other day that argued that the earth being warmer is definitely a good thing for humankind, and always has been. Do liberals even have any idea how hard it was for humans during the last ice age? They didn't even have guns then. 

"My political creed has remained as bleak and changeless as an old gray rock. It is classical to the point of triteness. Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of art. The social or economic structure of the ideal state is of little concern to me. My desires are modest. Portraits of the head of the government should not exceed a postage stamp in size. No torture and no executions."
–Vladimir Nabokov, 1964 Playboy interview

Fuck it. Life will probably be more carefree and fun at first, once everybody gives up. That is, if you can ignore all the people claiming the end is near. Or, if you can ignore the actual end being near.

The craziest aspect of all of this, at least to me, is how easy it is for my mind to blunder into a desire towards the belief that it is all a big, monstrous lie. It is tantalizing. It not only requires less information to show any faith in, but much anxiety is relieved when you even consider it as being a possibility. Words really are magical.

I do not wish to lapse into despair. It requires something along these lines of reasoning: If the polls were wrong about Donald Justice Trump becoming president maybe they're wrong about the global climate, also. 

You need not point out to me the fallacy here. I see it. But the thinking relies on desperate faith, not logic, to work its magic. Populism feels like helium.

Let's run with: maybe they're all wrong. I like the way that sounds, and it is in line with how I have always felt.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Felt Corrective

I have bad posture. Or, I have found something to blame my back pain on. It's me, a lifetime of slouching, hunching over, sitting and standing carelessly. Not carefree, but careless.

Ah well. How much longer could I possibly need a functioning spine?

This is not the opinion of a doctor, but the truth that was revealed to me this morning as I sat upright for the first time in decades. Something about it felt corrective.

I have been having troubling uncertainties since getting hit by that car. I suppose that's an event that will provoke those sorts of feelings, but the thoughts are of the trifling kind nonetheless. Stupid stuff, really, but when I left the house today to go for a ride I wondered, almost aloud, if I would ever see the house again. I've always had those kinds of thoughts, but they are making different impressions on me now, I guess. I realize the miracle it was that I wasn't more injured. Some hint of a religious upbringing has me feeling that perhaps my punishment still awaits me. Or, something.

It's just me fretting over the unknown, again.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

"Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night"

The weather is, of course, a troubling addition to the sense of doom we all seem to share. How could it not? Are there still the silent hopeful out there somewhere? If so, they do not make much noise with their hope. I am certain that the last human thought to occur will be one of doubt rather than terror. How could it not?

I have no idea what I might hope for leading up to death, but a feeling that the world would go on without me often seemed a mildly comforting one. The idea that the last human generation may have already been born is one that does not invite the deep sleep my mind and body so need. The idea that we all might witness the most tremendous disruption of human survival in all of history isn't a comforting one. Imagine having to collectively come to terms with the fact that there will be nobody left to remember you. 

Selfish maybe, but knowing that you will be remembered is different than knowing that you will not. 

I try to remind myself just to enjoy it all and laugh along a bit - enjoy every sandwich - but those decades I spent mocking the deep spiritual concerns of others has really caught up on me lately. Who might have guessed that the collective disdain, nihilism, and pissiness of Generation X would not later reward us all in Starburst strawberry dividends. 

Or, whom?

In the future nobody will have fifteen minutes of afterlife. 


Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sonoma Creek

There is a soberly named creek that runs behind our house. Its headwaters are about 10 miles north of us at the Sugarloaf waterfall, it bleeds into the bay about 20 miles south of us. The boy is of course fascinated with it, while mom and I are mostly terrified of his fascination. Perhaps not terrified, but cautious and sometimes vigilant. 

The unstable bank of this creek that runs behind our house is steep with rocks, roots, and boulders populating the way down, accumulating at the bottom in a pile of visible threat. Any foot slip from our backyard towards this terror would be horrible. Not potentially horrible, but actually. I know. I once slid about 10-12 feet down it before my flailing arms and waist fat slowed my descent to a stop. Well, it was the fat and the branches that scraped along my abdomen and arms. Resistance brought me to a halt. Bleeding and confused, I climbed back up the banks in the dark of night.

Yes, drunk.

Luckily there are places to enter only a short distance upstream or downstream. Akira the pup has explored the various ways to enter, cross, and frolic downstream, before ascending the banks on the far side, to unfamiliar lawns and strange puppy friends for her to meet. While the boy and his buddy (who spent the night last night) have been relegated to enjoying the pool that has formed just north of an old stone dam, maybe five hundred yards upstream, where it can be entered by shore or tree swing. 

It's nice to have a little natural place to swim, a local swimming hole, as it were. I know I've said this many times before, but I'll say it again: where I grew up there was the constant fear of the many alligators that governed any similarly themed excursion. Always, there was fear. 

The stone dam creates a little swimming spot that can be somewhat relied upon for good, simple fun. A few times a years the river rises so thats the dam ceases to be any buffer at all for the rapids. When the rains cease, this leaves large areas of river rocks near our place that are dry and can be uneasily walked through at other times. 

You can still find an occasional beaver dam here, also. On my bike rides up the valley I have seen them wandering in the dry river beds. I greatly prefer beavers to alligators, though they should always be left alone. They are territorial, aggressive, and often the victim of rabies (especially if you see them in the daytime). I try not to misapply concepts of benevolence and harmony to what can be found in nature. One is a reptile, the other a rodent. 

At the swimming hole there is mostly a current-less pool, peaceful upstream and down. 

Us, the predators that matter. 

There is no story to tell, other than the plain fact of us having done this thing yesterday - two boys, two dogs, two parents.

For as much as I talk about photography you might get the misimpression that I am meticulous about the technologies involved. Todays pictures prove otherwise, to me. Not in the fact that they are mostly an artless documenting of a trip to a little creek, but that when I started looking through them I noticed they looked noticeably better than what I am used to from this camera - deeper and richer. 

Because I use this camera (Fuji) to shoot so much, and often when I am out and about with the boy - where I shoot a lot and hope to increase my chances of capturing something candid or a mistake that's interesting - I foolishly shoot high quality jpegs instead of in RAW. I will need to stop that now.

I renounce all things except maybe happiness.


Friday, August 30, 2019


Anybody could catch me masturbating, if they just put a little effort into it. 


Men Working

Sometimes I feel as if I am owed a peaceful death, after all. Why I feel this way makes no sense, but having made it to 50 and having survived being hit by a car the other day it feels as if the universe should just go easy on me now, forever. 

There is only one end to suffering, the rest is merely cessation.  

Are you there Milky Way? It's me, Sean. I need a Snickers...

Well, maybe it's the hurricane that's bearing down on Florida again. They should give them last names also, so that the Supreme Court can grant them citizenship and full rights. That way people can be prosecuted for opening fire on them. Though I suppose Florida's Stand Your Ground laws are pretty clear on this issue. 

Can the sexes be stereotyped? It seems that they can, and easily so. Listen to songs, you'll see. We celebrate it there but denounce it elsewhere. We are inconsistent beings.  

There are two things that I simply love to do - complicate things beyond recognition, then oversimplify my characterization of the angry responses at me having done so.
I first mistyped the word as: loversimplify. The l being so perilously close to the o. 

I find myself staring at words more. Everything is going to disappear.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Shine A Light

In keeping with the themes of my life, more pics of the boy and his mom. I love this image. 

I read a quotation recently about the importance of running away, and something about rebirth and maybe leaving a part of the slate blank, breaking habits, forcing new experience, a starting point for art and actual physical escape being a necessary process for an artist. 

It made me sad, at how I spend my time and resources. I can't remember the quotation enough to serve it justice here. I have probably added nonsense and muddled its message.

I was riding my bike today and something about my basic outlook on life came to me in simple sentence form. I won't write it here, yet. I am not sure how I feel about it. It seemed cowardly, lame. The truth of it was strange and shocking. I was embarrassed of it yet I've known it all along, even taken pride in it and have voiced it in one way or another as a leitmotif most of my life. 

But I'm ready to try something differently, I hope, soon. I'm not sure what but some aspect of my life needs to change. Things have become too stagnant around me, my life too stable. In that I am sagging without comfort. It is the discomfort perhaps of a stability I have never known.  

Perhaps I'll run off to Berlin and join a circus with Cato. He has grown tired of the ills of capitalism and speaks of the natural purity of communes, of all the beautiful people working together there towards the shared goal of sustained freedom. I love listening to this talk, truly. It inches me towards the euphoria of death.  



Wednesday, August 28, 2019

An otherwsie perfectly normal Wednesday

It's been a week since I was hit by a car, almost to the hour. Recovery is happening with a few setbacks. Sudden or dull pains and muscle spasms are making progress less than inexorable. The experience has not make me feel more rugged or sexy. Riding my bike helped a bit there, though. I have told myself that I will return to riding today. I should be thankful that this experience has not been more traumatic. It could have been. 

Your own face is an unusual subject to photograph. People seem to know when they look good and tend to be appalled when I think they look interesting. Interesting looks good to me. Though I do like to see people when they are happy, also. Some people seem to appear naturally happy in photographs and it's rarely a surprise which ones they are. You tend to know before you ever take a shot. Every now and then someone will surprise you and you can see glimmers of happiness among the snarking grimaces. 

I played the internet, a classical piece transposed to a minor key and then just let a web service create a playlist for me. It has been one of the best musical mornings I've had in while. Just chords and notes moving around the room like pixies and demons. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

What I did on my weekend vacation

Bringing the pup to the beach is good fun. She loves it, as does the boy. We have bought a nice beach tent where the little dog likes to lie in the shade, safe from the wind and sand. We move as a caravan now rather than the two lovers we once were. We have beach bags and towels and kites and sandals, coolers filled with sandwiches and snacks, lotions and sprays, changes of clothes, leashes and collars and a long corkscrew used to drill deep into the beach sand to secure the pup, and to remind the remaining hippies that we still do things the old fashioned way with dogs down in Florida.

Whatever life there still is in the oceans makes its way to the shores here in California, where the dog sniffs and digs and devours with disgusting enthusiasm. In both pictures I chose here you can't see any of it, but I speak the truth, the beaches here are littered with carcasses of all kinds. 

Okay, I added a third pic. You'll see.

 I guess I could have leveled the horizon.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Accidental Perfunctory

We all went to the beach today, dogs too. I took a bunch of perfunctory beach shots but this one where the camera couldn't focus is the one I like. 

My body is more damaged than I wanted to admit. After days of pain moving from one place to another, or just changing in nature, a sneeze triggered a muscle spasm in my back that was as painful as anything else up until this point. Well, almost anything. 

The beach took a lot out of me. I have a sunburned head. I haven't been resting as much as they told me I should. Probably a bit of denial. I've been looking at replacement bikes, promising myself things I can not possibly know in advance of getting one. Brushes with death are never just brushes any more. 


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Official Please

I love the Fuji Velvia film stock. I have grown to hate the Fuji in-camera film stock simulation inside their X-Pro2 camera. I turn it on for reasons I still don't understand, and the digital grain ruins my jpegs. Now, I know that I should be shooting in RAW but what the fuck, even when I'm drinking? The extra space they require can act prohibitively when I am shooting like a fashion photographer with an unlimited budget, for cocaine. Or crack. 

That used to be one of my favorite things to say to people as they leaned forward to snort a line of cocaine in a restaurant bathroom, or even when doing a sizable bump off of a key: Have you ever tried crack? It changes the mood of the moment and often what follows, though always for the worse. I just find it funny, which makes me laugh, which is most often misinterpreted, also.

Nobody offers me coke in restaurant bathrooms any more, but not because of that. I have other intake-related issues. We'll call it a health concern. 

Most all of my cocaine-loving friends have gone the way of Fleetwood Mac. 

Kids are animated. They reveal a lot in their movements - their desire to participate in play, their ability to entertain themselves at times, the unsure feelings of self and others that can hardly be hidden. CS is right about photography. It involves access. It's difficult to always utilize that access, though. I get bored at some of the events we attend, so I resort to photography to pass the time. But you can see that it makes some people uneasy, to walk around shooting pics of kids you don't know with a camera that appears to be of a suspicious quality and beyond a price range that they're quite comfortable with.  

Housewives and those with similar sensibilities have lately started to advance the idea that they have the authority to revoke the public rights of others. They expect you to ask permission to look at the world with any intention of framing it. Taking pics is akin to staring, it is a threat that must be met. The children's safety is at stake. They learned this perhaps by watching police officers telling citizens that they don't have the right to take pictures of them while conducting official police business.  

Oh no, ma'am. We didn't want to give the impression that we were police, exactly. We're hoping it won't become necessary to call the police. But that's up to little Larry here. Isn't it, Larry?

I should get a business license for Official Please, LLC. So that I can retort quickly that I'm "conducting Official Please business" if they ask any questions or demand any explanations. Though commercial photography in public falls under different laws, I guess. Perhaps my fantasy response to imaginary busy-bodies is more trouble than it's worth. 

I struggled finishing the paragraph about it.

Well, nobody has given me any significant grief yet, but that's because I'm a pussy. I'm not getting in street bum's faces and taking pics in the city, aggravating the disenfranchised, or honoring their plight, or something, maybe capturing a conditional truth. I'm out here in the country valley taking innocent pictures of kids at local music and food festivals. The most shameful thing about them is the dry patches of poorly cared for grass. The spots that await a next spark arriving in the wind, sent from far away storms, and accidents, and blown transformer boxes as yet unknown.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

A murder of crows

I took pictures last night but they are still in the camera and I am on the couch and do not wish to be disturbed with a task. My life has become attuned to the workweek needs and freedoms. I drank 3 or 4 glasses of wine last night and now this morning I have a sudden urge to go do something with this weekend. I feel it almost every weekend but it usually passes without incident. 

So, now that I have proven I am also a great still-life photographer, what else is there? 

Imagine being Robert Mapplethorpe's muse. Not for the flowers, the other stuff. Patti Smith did a good job describing some of his darker impulses and expressions in her book, Just Kids. There is so much that is inhibited or repressed within the human psyche. I am reminded of it any time I hear someone espousing support for people just being and expressing their truest selves. It is certainly not what they could mean. Or, only so if they have no inkling what lurks in the crazed and corkscrewed heart of man. Everywhere there is chaos and terror seeking a way out, seeking form.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Far away from the fray

Nothing to report on this exceptionally hot Sonoma Friday. I am on-call. Each passing minute impales me, waiting for the alarm to alert my phone which in turn alerts me. I enter a virtual conference with a roomful of panicked, confused, and sometimes screaming engineers. It is my job to translate that cryptographic panic into discernible sentences for electronic public distribution. Sort of.  

Soon, my weekend starts, and all else will recede into the darkness of some other future time. 

I was browsing the internet and clicked across this Czech artist whose work I've seen here and there. What a great thing to be able to do, to create these images. 

If I had the financial resources then I would have these framed posters hanging somewhere in a basement, a dank chamber with a poorly lit pool table and a chilled beer keg built into a countertop, a righteous sound system, maybe some Bose speakers in the corner, posters of a a German chick serving ice cold beers with her tits busting out of her wench's apron. 

Are we still allowed to talk about actual existing beer brands that way? 

You get the idea. I'd have a secret underground place that would embarrass my family and all visitors that were unlucky enough to wander down the stairs, looking for a private bathroom somewhere far away from the fray.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Oh baby, just you shut your mouth

I went into the city last night. There was a speaker from Amazon. He talked about security, infrastructure, threat analysis. Afterwards I went out to dinner with my friends who recently became engaged after a long courtship, almost ten years. We had sushi and sake and beer, then wine back at their house, then whiskey, then I slept on a futon. I would have preferred a day to convalesce but it was not to be. I worked then drove home, listened in on a conference call for most of the drive, barely able to maintain interest. It's what alcohol seems to mostly do now - enervate. 

I received an invitation to dj a friend's wedding. Well, I received a wedding invitation, now there is talk of dj'ing. I prefer playlists to djs, but don't tell any of my friends, the primacy of the dj is sacrosanct. I have no desire to even be towards the center of attention any more. Or rather, only when I am speaking, which I do less and less lately. 

It is maybe the curse of fatherhood. You just start to be quiet, all of the time. 

Also, I am skeptical that the human race will last another hundred years. What could there possibly be to talk about now? 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tinsel to the eye

The boy goes back to school tomorrow - 2nd grade. I crave the normalcy this will return to my life. We have lived with a somewhat irregular schedule for the entire summer. It has worn me out. I love the boy's company, of course, but not all day and every day while I'm trying to work and take care of the dogs and all else that I do to keep Sean being Sean. Like the occasional mid-day nap.

Naps are my favorite thing now. I am like an old sexless cat. I'll purr if you pet or feed me but I fuck like I have feline leukemia. Don't worry, it can't kill a grown man but it makes be bald in areas at the front and on top of the head, I'm frail, and I cough up hair sometimes when we have guests. Other than that strangers don't like to pet me and it's not only because I'm often farting.

There are other problems. Not even bathing in moisturizer can help me now. 

Well, speaking of naps. I want one of them now, before everybody comes home and the house starts to sound so much like tinsel looks to the eye. 

Nope, a mother of one of Rhys' friends just texted. It's time to go pick him up. No naps will be had today.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

As promised, we went to Six Flags - myself, Rhys, and a father/son pair of friends. We were there when the park opened and stayed until closing. I'd like to say we got our money's worth but they just bilk you further the later you stay. $14 for beer, etc. A couple midday beers are a vital part of taking two 7-8 year old kids. Few things relax the mind and reset the day as do afternoon beers. I was eating cannabis candy edibles like it was Halloween, also. All day. 

Don't let my tone fool you. It was fun, exhausting. 

We rode everything, even a few roller coasters. The boy braved through it, though there were a couple sensitive episodes where we risked a meltdown. I had to put on my reassuring father voice and let him know that we didn't have to ride anything that he didn't want to, but that he was totally fine and I wasn't going to let anything happen to him. As if I had any control over such a thing. 

The kids seemed to like the bumper cars the most, a ride that we returned to several times throughout the day. Just like with real driving they became much more fun after a few beers. I guess I like that sense that anything might happen.

We arrived home late, well after bedtime. The boy almost sleeping but wanting desperately to tell mom all about it. He showed her the shark's tooth necklace I bought for him and explained that it was both real and very rare. 

It seems that half of a child's magic is being full of shit without revealing any hint that they know it. Faith is charm when it's harmless.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Stop At Nothing

I want to be doxxed. To find out what it feels like to be suddenly hated and hunted by strangers who have intuited my intentions through a hearsay posting. I figure that it should be pretty easy to do. I'm going to Six Flags today with the boy and one of his friends. There should be plenty of young kids there. I'll just take pictures of them, especially the little girls in dresses, with a - gasp! - film camera. If anybody says anything I'll scream, "You don't know me! I'm barely even attracted to young girls!" then proceed to take pictures of good looking little boys. 

It's best to bring a really, long, thick, black lens for this type of photography. Doesn't matter if it's a telephoto or wide angle, it is meant to only be suggestive and intrusive. Let the lens linger on a subject when composing a shot, but takes lots and lots of them. Hide behind things. Try to sweat as much as possible, a'la Peter Lorre in M. If they ask what I think I'm doing I'll explain that I am currently a "disgraced financier." This is language they'll understand. Anything they scream at me I'll follow up with, "Allegedly!"

Perhaps uninvited beach photography is where I'll one day excel. I want to show how vulnerable children are when they're barely clothed and have wandered from their parent's beach towel and umbrella. I think the camera can really reveal those subtle weaknesses. It's practically a public service that I'm offering. If you capture kids in the surf sometimes a wave will reveal a little unformed titty. Can I call a child's as yet undeveloped breast a titty? I'm just not sure what language I should be using here. 

Ok, I don't actually have anything to relay this morning. I'm just riffing off of CS's post. If the many ideas of the past are what has now become so problematic then shouldn't aging be illegal?

The more people run to the police to report someone suspiciously taking pictures in public the more the police will illegally harass photographers. We know this. They already try to tell people that they're not allowed to video them in public. 

Everybody knows that pedophiles walk around in public places pointing expensive cameras at children. They do this so you'll know what they're truly after - the blood of the innocent. Those sickos are so emboldened now. They don't even try to hide their pedophilia in their van any more. They're out there wandering around with their military-style surveillance devices. Owning and using a camera that can't make phone calls will soon be a tacit public admission that you crave child-rape and will stop at nothing to get it.

The boy wanted to make sure that he was tall enough to go on all the rides, so I went online to look and found these regulations:

The world will be fine, as long as none of us use interchangeable lenses.

They'll stop at nothing.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

I promise to go wanderin'

A lazy Saturday morning. Well, lazy with a 26 mile ride to Sear's Point and back thrown in there... but I did just wake from a little nap in bed, listening to Termination Dub

The family is gone, shopping. The husky is at the kennel. I have a little window of peace. I seek to only squander it.

I always thought that Mr. Tambourine man sang, I promise to go wanderin' but it's I promise to go under it. It's in response to going under a spell, I think. I like my misunderstanding of the lyric more. It is wrong and makes less sense. 

I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go squander it

That's all. 


Friday, August 9, 2019

Schrödinger's Portraits

I just spoke for an hour straight, in what was mostly a single run-on sentence, or what felt like it, with only a few breaks to gulp water. I report that here out of duty, not pride. I was tasked with training somebody on smtp relay forensics and I neglected to make notes or create an outline, I just chatted off the top of my head like an educated crackhead. Maybe next time a plan is what is most needed.

Oh, have I not mentioned here before what it is that I am so good at, and why I get paid so much...?

Ah well, best not to brag. It is my humility that most people praise.

More long exposures from the backyard with the boy. They are fun, to play with time and the continuity of vision. I'm going to start telling people that I am a quantum photographer, specializing in Schrödinger's Portraits. I found my tripod, so maybe the boy and I will take some pictures of the stars soon. I hope.

Not to whine too much here, but my father rarely did anything with me. I have few memories doing recreational stuff with him. Though I have no memories of me trying and being rejected, either. There was just a flatness to our relationship that seemed to stretch both directions.

I remember my mother once guilted him into throwing a baseball with me. I was doubly ashamed of him because he caved to her and he was bad at it. She fucked up my opinion of him more than she should have perhaps - my mother, Stella - but there was some truth in her nearly perpetual barbs towards or about him. It wasn't until I was an adult and I started to ignore him, after my mother died, that he showed much of an interest in having a relationship with me. Other than the years of being an authoritarian who might one day guide me to happiness by warning me of all the bad things that would happen to me if I kept on my current course. 

But, I persisted.

To his credit, he did express regret later in life for not having more of a relationship with me. If I've mentioned any of this here, which I have, then I hope I mentioned that also.

 Well, onwards and upwards. My son might remember me the very same way. 


Thursday, August 8, 2019

The 70s will soon be 50 years ago.

I should have been using that soft focus lens with film more often. I like the look. 

My work day is over, the dogs are lying here on the bed with me, soon I will go to pick up the boy. Then, there will be the evening being a dad. Maybe I'll convince the kid that we need more candid portrait shots of him.

I have light stands and flashes and wireless syncs, but nowhere to use any of it. It would be nice, if we were to move again, to find somewhere that offers 8 bedroom houses for what we pay now. California has already slid into the ocean in so many ways.

Maybe I'll take the boy to get some super Napa sushi. Strips of raw fish laid out in rows of three or four. Sounds so nice - cold sake and beer, because having just one with sashimi tastes and feels lopsided. If we lived just a little bit further out in the country I'd let the boy drive home. Just about a mile from here is where the real farms start, and few there care, and about less and less, least of all do the cops notice or act. Like stepping into the previous century. Though, I've never heard any Mexican-Americans speak of the region quite this way. 

It would be fun to let him drive. To have the seat close enough so that he could press the gas, but not too much. It would be helpful if his brake leg was longer than his gas leg, but who wishes such a thing on a child for this specific purpose? 

The precise distances might be tough to judge. 


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Son and Mood

The boy and I were playing in the backyard with a camera. I wanted to do a long exposure of the twilight sky and hoped to maybe catch the glimmer of a planet but couldn't find my tripod quickly, so a long exposure of the boy running circles around me instead. I love shots like this, also. If I put more energy into it I could probably bring out more of him. That wavering orange line is the sun.

He took a similarly arranged shot of me with the gorilla-ghost of the idea stalking around in it.

I have few memories of childhood left. I return to them too infrequently. They have become a blurry circle. I tried to tell the boy a little bit about it on one of our bike rides the other day. It might have come out wrong. I told him that he can't really know which parts of his life now he'll remember later, but not to worry about it, that real things become memories which then just become stories that you repeat, and each time you change them a little bit until you just can't be sure about them any more. And that's also how you can feel yourself growing up. 

Or, so I've been told. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Oroboro and Koi

So, now I've scanned a bunch of film frames. Soon I'll need to get in an editing mood, and it will need to last. They all require some cleaning up, some more than just a bit. 

I'm doing everything wrong, still. I confirmed this when talking to CS the other day. He was telling me how to best scan the film and then manipulate it later in Lightroom, or something. If I could, I'd take a photography class. I have to hear something three or four times now before it sinks in, or gets past the defense of my deafness. It is rare that I ever modify a snapshot and in any way improve it. When I compare my edits to the original I rarely keep the changes, but it helps me see more. Just shoot like an addict and rely on a percentage of interesting mistakes stretched across a lifetime. 

That's what's always worked for me. 

I'm lying around listening to a Blood Orange album, not his latest. He's the type artist that perpetually has a newer, cooler album being released. How else does an artist maintain that chic of newness, the sheen of visiting from a future years distant. You know you've finally made it when you look around and all of your acquaintances are dressed as if just now arriving from the coming times.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Gun Control

A quick post before I go to sleep. You may need to turn the brightness on your computer up. This was from the roll of film that I felt was mostly ruined, the one that I mentioned in last night's post. But there is something odd about it that I love. The image of the boy seems almost detached from his surroundings, as if there are two plane dimensions and he is dancing in the nearer one.

I had posted the image below of the boy yesterday but then I took it down, because I'm tired of commenting on everything. It was a chance shot, right out of my F100. Each of these images is scanned after processing. What you are seeing is mostly only flawed photography, optics, and the curiosity of differing film stocks. Glimpses in imperfection.

I have so little faith that the world is going to survive much longer in its current state. Paranoia perhaps, or just concession that something must soon give, the dams must burst. Who knows what that will mean - nuclear horrors, catastrophic climate change, all of that paired with global economic collapse. Who knows. It is all so dispiriting. I struggle laughing and being at ease in a way that I did not used to. Perhaps the final civil war will be between those who believe that we should be panicking and those who don't care. I hope I'm in the latter group, and I hope we win.