Monday, December 10, 2018

Upholding the Law

Remember when they said that separating children from their mothers was just someone finally upholding the law and well, at least somebody's doing something!... ? 

You're going to hear a lot of newfound apathy about some laws - and a renewed focus on maintaining order! - over the next few months. From those same people. The ones who just don't think that lucky Colin Kaepernick should be making such a fuss when he's got it so well. They will, somewhat rightfully, argue that this is just an understandable breaking of a law that a businessman like him shouldn't be expected to know, showing genuine surprise that it's even a felony, or a few.  I mean, c'mon.... what are we talking about, here?  All of us will be expected to be cool, and understand. To think otherwise will be unreasonable. 

Free the Birther!  

That ^^^ makes me want to organize a local voting faction of far-right wing feminists, all males, that start making t-shirt style demands in preparation for the Trumpheaval. That they'll all share vague similarities to the possible phrasings of reproductive rights advocates will be explained away as an unintentional coincidence.  

One of the worst parts about getting older is listening to every group or individual making a claim and then having to separate them into either the bullshit or i don't care piles. 

It all makes me so sad. I want my son to glimpse a father that cares about the direction of the world but I can't have him peer into the eyes of the raving madman every few minutes to get that impression.

As side note: I was telling everybody my age, or culturally older, that I thought Colin Kaepernick looked a lot like Angela Davis when he had an afro. But, you know... the kids really struggle with that sort of wisdom now.

Sorry for those outbursts, and all the others. I'm trying to wean myself from social media but I already miss screaming angrily at strangers with the screech of cheap polemics. 

I'll need to find some way to adjust. 

I have the strangest feeling, of floating, of disappearing. 

Free the Fucking Birther!  


Saturday, December 1, 2018


With that last thought in mind, I'll keep this as a repository for snapshots. Why not? I'm trying to get back into the practice of telling stories, arranging this little universe into narratives, vignettes.

Everywhere, the world is confused or worse. Or, perhaps it's me. The tyranny of aging, perpetual questioning of what seemed to be past certainties. If not certainties, that mostly untested sense of assuredness. I've been deleting all of my old Facebook posts. There's a Chrome extension that uses a little javascript to scroll through them year by year and deletes them. I'm not entirely sure why I'm doing it - I know that it doesn't change their ultimate existence - but since making the decision to wipe them it has changed how I interact with people on that platform.

My old nemesis finally unfriended me. Another old friend's daughter read me the riot act about abortion. I am, of course, pro-abortion to the point of even wanting to make it a national constitutional requirement that rotates on a six month cycle, but still... Something about all of it makes me sad now, like viewing an addiction or addictive behavior, after the fact of it. It makes my mind and blood race a bit but mostly only shamefully. I've only ever learned how to be reclusive, not alone. Not happily so.

It's similar to an addiction - the compulsion, arranging your life around it, always making it convenient, crave it a little bit and then a lot whenever deprived. There are certain drugs that certain people should be kept from - I'm quite certain of it.

My unstated goal was to get off of social media altogether, only interact with friends on presumably closed digital channels. I've been feeling lonelier than usual lately. I wish to be more careful with the quality of my human interactions. Superficial connections are wearing me out, sometimes with people I care for most of all.

I've written all of this before. It's a part of moving to Sonoma and having a son, I think. I suppose that age has had as much to do with it as anything else. But it's time to be more careful with my time, finally, remembering how to treat seconds as precious when the moment asks it. So that maybe I will have a reservoir of kindness leftover.

I sang part of a song out loud this morning, my voice was noticeably nervous, my timing cautious and unsure. It is so odd what singing can do for your confidence, and to it.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Documenting a life

("That's no moon")

Okay. I have been trying to organize my life, going through old iPhoto libraries, trying to merge them using Apple's abbreviated version of in-app file management. Across the many OS's of time, all now adrift on the iBysmal Pro. 

For the money I spend on photography it is heartrending how little I have done to preserve my own photography in any form larger than about 330kb digital, scattered across a few machines, drives, and now an unplugged server. This site has become the best source for most all of it. I just wouldn't even know where to start.

I've done it to myself. I wanted snapshots; got 'em. 

So onwards and on wards of one's own - more snapshots, now and then again soon. 


Monday, November 26, 2018

Demented from Indistance

I found this little picture of the boy and his buddy, J. They were sure, adorable little fuckers. Being a dad was so much simpler then. I say that with neither comedic nor ironic intent. Being a father then was easier. I mostly only had to feed him and keep him away from danger and then feed him. Now I have to explain the mercurial and metaphorical nature of all types of danger, only to watch my words be taken at their flat, literal value. Me, knowing that I will spend my life repeating the same exact things that I have to say now, only in a hopefully different form. 

Feeding him has become an ongoing negotiation, one in which I am always starting at a bargaining disadvantage. He has learned a basic aspect of the power of autonomy: it is much easier to stop somebody from doing something than it is to convince them from doing that same thing. 

If something can be a single word then samething should also be permitted. 

Thanksgiving was a minor family victory. We managed it without disasters large or small. We had to monitor the boy's intake of refined sugars, of course. That was the only thing that seemed to require our persistent attention, yet somehow it was the collective nature of it that caused the failure. Kids will work the Halloween-into-November candy angle. Everything else could be safely ignored, which led to our modest victory. 

Grandma left this morning and gave me a short speech about our - mine and hers - ability to get along. I desisted from commenting on what I believed to be the real cause of this dynamic behavioral anomaly between she and I. 

I don't like to remake waves after they have already crashed. 

Who does.

It takes all of my energy and looks so sad, and stupid, and pathetic, and demented from a distance. 

That last part made me smile.

“... the sills of their disappointments walk outside their bodies aimlessly for the most part, locked and forgot in their desires—unroused.”

- WCM, Paterson


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Table Photography

Am trying to create time to sit and write every day again. It is not easy, habits once broken do not mend back to life at will. Habits, habits, everything becomes one. At midlife they are everywhere around me. Every day consumed by the things I am accustomed to doing. 

The boy is still sleeping. I am going for a ride this morning - mountain biking. I need to train for my upcoming bikepacking trip in three weeks. I will be going further and with more weight than I do in my current riding habits. Perhaps this is just like the triathlon. I'll do it, but there will be a reminding injury afterwards. Maybe that is one advantage to aging - I listen to my body's warnings now. I used to only hear them as a challenge. In youth, everything in my own mind seemed to be prefaced by a double-dog dare. Some stupid little voice chanting the invocations of danger and self-harm.

Ah well, I survived.

I finally bought an external hard drive to store my photo library. It is a big part of why I stopped writing: I had run out of space for pics on my work computer. So, I gave up. I now have thousands of 35mm film scans to do. It is not an exaggeration. There are about ~100 rolls of processed film waiting to be scanned, most of them are 36 exp. each. I should hire somebody to do it. I wonder if there are any migrant photographers or film development technicians in the southern caravan. I need a Sara Facio, or the street eye of a Sergio Larraine.

Maybe I should wander wider, in grand sweeping circles that can not be easily traced. Maybe oblongs will throw the law off my trail. 

Ooops, I always thought this verse ended with the line, I promise to go wanderin'

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 under it


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Little books

Rachel bought me a very sweet little follow-up gift for my 50th birthday. Every year Black Sparrow press used to make a New Year's card and send them out. She found me a bunch of them between 1985-200, all of them including a few uncollected poems by Bukowski. They must be collector items. Just little books she found for me, because she was looking. She can be such a very sweet woman. It is good to be loved by her. I spent a handful of years here outlining my frustrations with her, and her love, but you are under no obligation to believe any of that if you so choose. It's what I do, also - choose.  

I chatted with CS the other day. He feels similarly, or so I gathered. His romantic partner has helped usher him back towards health, back from his head-on collision with a truck. Back from the dead, if you let him tell it. 

On the days that I go to the gym and lift dumbbells over my head in a wide dual arc from the waist to a zenith point above my head and then back again I sometimes think about the titanium supported ribs he now has, how much such a thing will hurt when he can return to it, if he wishes to return to it, which I imagine he must. Who would elect to do anything else?

With aging, I have become more sympathetic and understanding. It barely seems a choice - one of the little things I get to lie to myself about, congratulating my idea of myself as if it were really me, freely optioning in for another year, selecting the advancing digits for pre-approval as they arrive in front of me. Light as morning, heavy as coffee spoons. 

... have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons


Thursday, November 22, 2018

with pennies

Perhaps I need a spectacle, something to cheer me; without obligation, with only miniature costs.

Speech seems to always insist that it is somehow helpful. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Rights of the Reproduced

I don't know what I'm thinking, ever. I've started a public argument about reproductive rights with a young woman. She is the daughter of a very old friend. I'm trying desperately to get her to validate my opinions. So far no luck. I don't think she likes me. I'm two responses away from invoking the name of the Lord.

I opened the book Still Life by Sally Mann and read a passage about how to move from one project to another, which seemed to be great advice if you're the type to finish and start projects.

Sitting here, working. Thanksgiving's third trimester. Trying to stay free from trouble. Everywhere I am over-interacting with people, having severe conversations. It is agitating me, which seems the right response. 

I just wrote a three paragraph comment to a reasonably straight-forward technical feature question that delved into the importance of legacy information and the paradox of time. Thankfully I caught myself before doing a third draft; sent two sentences instead. 

Burt Bacharach. I listened to a link. Is maybe a rash aspect of age that I enjoyed it happily between ironically and sincerely. I would have felt so silly if anyone had been here, of course, or if they had walked in and caught me. 


Monday, November 19, 2018

The Duke of Hennessy

Not my most inspired post yesterday. I get it. Inspiration usually catches me when I'm already up at a trotting speed, if at all. For whatever reason I feel as if I need to justify my basic position on life more lately. A public accounting of sorts, my mid-life earnings statement. 

I've exceeded projections but have instilled my investors with a growing sense of unease towards my diminishing position in the overseas markets. 

It seems unfair - I've done so little in life, yet have enjoyed it disproportionately so. And now, even on more modest means than I have known in the past, I am still basically happy. 

Perhaps that is not quite the right word for what I am. Yesterday I briefly described my feeling that life has no objective meaning, and today I use the word happy to describe myself. And yes, I understand those things do not have to agree to also both be true, otherwise all happiness would be meaningful. It's not. The time in my life that I would most wish to return was filled with moments of inconsequential joy. 

Do not try to convince me otherwise. 

So, I will try to revert to just reporting the events of my life here.  That, I believe, is what might be of the most value to the boy as he grows up - to have an eyewitness telling of his own life, through his father's experience. 

Though, who knows, as soon as I thought that... I wondered if I would want such a thing from my father. I immediately feared that it would be too sparse, that I would critique or ridicule it. But that's just me. Nothing is ever good enough, but the smallest gestures bring me to tears. I spent a fair portion of my life believing that my father never understood me, never tried to. There was just enough lack of evidence in that regard for me to believe whatever I wished, and wishes find a way of becoming petrified. 


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Too much looking back

I've discovered a few things about myself by not writing here any longer. Few of those findings have felt very good, but I suppose they were important feelings for me to have. The feelings have seemed unavoidable, so that is what I tell myself: that they were, and that they have somehow mattered. They are difficult to describe, and doing so might alarm some of my friends, but they seem to revolve around one basic theme: life has no objective meaning. That has been the overwhelming sensation that I've been dealing with recently. It arrives everywhere within me now, at the oddest times. It strikes even at happiness, deflates it before it can swell and be.  

This is not to suggest that individual people have no purpose, they do, but that means very little to me. I'm not sure that my life has had any purpose whatsoever, and when I ask myself honestly to prove, even to myself, that my life has any objective purpose, I can't do it.  

It's filled with the veneer of subjective purpose. Like most people I can be consumed with the details of my own life, the microcosm of self. But that all fades away at the macro level and I can no longer align myself with the star stuff from which I arrived and will return. I no longer feel a connection with the universe and doing hard psychedelic drugs now lacks the synthesis required for such youthful emotions and observations.  

It's a feeling that I've been struggling with. It has to do with me turning 50, or so it seems. I've been asking myself questions that I can't answer. Because I can't answer the questions I tend to conclude that the answers have no meaning, nor do the questions. It's circular logic and as such seems impenetrable, because it dismisses all argument before it arrives. Death is the obvious result of life, and one searches internally for ways to indicate or prove that their life has had meaning. All that I am left with is that I love and need the people around me and many of them need and love me. That must be enough.

Though, when I ask myself what meaning there is now to the people that have passed I recognize that the deaths and lives of others all fade into meaninglessness, no matter the magnitude of love for that person. Once I learned to accept that as a fact of being then it was a very small leap to arrive at the recognition that my life and death would result in the same. 

This last Dia de las Muertos really fucked me up a bit. I've started placing pictures of myself all around the house, have built little altars to the idea of my continued existence, filled with fresh fruit and incense, burning candles and peyote buttons - little temples of voodoo. 

So, that is what I've mostly been thinking about since not writing here. This daily confessional script gives me some small sense of meaning or purpose. I recognize its absence, and miss my attempts at framing the world into personal meaning each morning. I'm told by simpletons everywhere that one must find a way to give their life meaning, and they offer their methods always as the best possible resolution. Believing perhaps that if everyone just embraced their pathway to purpose then the world would be a better place. Maybe they are right, all of them. 

I would probably encourage everyone to write each morning, to try to provide one's fears and hopes with form. To discover some way to laugh into the darkness and light, towards one's own reflection without self-defeating malice or shame, and with a governed sense of self-praise. Writing here for almost ten years means very little, but there is more of me that can be found here than can be found elsewhere. It is even more me than is my own presence in a room, for anyone interested. 

The idea that I began to struggle with was that my son might be my only future audience. But I accepted that, and am okay with it. I frightened or angered most all others away; I have tried to be honest.  

I've been examining the way that I have lived my life, and I've found a few missteps, but none so bad that I wouldn't give it a second go. My catalog of mistakes are not the ones that most people might guess. I don't regret all the wasted years of dilapidated living, the misspent or vacant ambitions, or even that I squandered much of my intelligence on being far too self-involved, never learning how to work well with others. I am fine with most all of that. I prove that by continuing to be the same way today. I only regret being in such a foul mood for most of my life. What I had to be so disappointed about, I'll never know. 

Well, now I'm here: 50. 

From the outside I must appear to still be just learning to ride a camel. I've somehow outlived something about myself. I've found a way to stay just barely in front of my demons, most of the time, though only rarely riding above them. One thing I have learned is that they do not disappear. 

I worry that I might live too long - nobody wishes to become feeble, without resources. To live in the moment is fine and well, though I might not ever win another lottery. 

Am trying to find a loophole in the universe that is not a celestial noose. 

"Not only is it necessary to prove the crystal but the crystal must prove permanent by the fracture." - William Carlos Williams


Sunday, October 14, 2018

Salsa Timberjack NX Eagle

It was time for a new bike. Rather than put money into my old bike this new bike kept talking to my thalamus, pons, and cerebellum. So, I bought it after special ordering it from a local store. I went riding today - about 3 hours, 16 miles, and 2400 feet in elevation differential (for the Strava nerds that might be reading). 

It has several attributes that my other mountain bike - a 2016 Kona Honzo AL - did not: 27.5" wheels, dropper post, and a 1x12 cassette for greater gear range.

So, now I own two mountain bikes. My needs outgrew my possessions.

CS is still in the hospital. I, of course, worry about him. So many things are unfair, but to be hospitalized for long periods of time can be dispiriting, to say the least. Recovery is not always the word to describe what happens afterwards, either. 

I once had a pretty terrible accident with my foot. I was about 17 and CS would have been in his early 30s. This was about the time when we first met. I almost lost my foot, but a French laser microsurgeon - Lionel Foncea - was able to save it. I was told that I might not ever be able to walk normally again. CS sent a card to the hospital, letting me know of his concern. It was not the reason we became friends, but I remember it as being a sympathetic generosity many years later. 

I'm not sure why I have developed such an interest in mountain biking as I approach 50 years of age. Maybe the answer is dull and obvious - that I am just having an existential crisis, one of chronology. The decades distant somehow narrowing the impending.  Perhaps I am looking for an escape route, a loophole, an alibi carved along the fibers of the heart, a getaway from decades gone. A getaway from getaways.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

What life is like for a Pentecostal

My buddy CS has been in a terrible accident. He is still in the hospital, has been for several days now.  There was a collision involving himself and a truck, and the Vespa. It was a near head-on incident, from what I gathered. He is now in some agony. It is dismaying, of course, to know that he is in this condition, and in pain. If he is anything like me then pain brings other concerns, ones that are not so easily dismissed when the relative absence of physical suffering arrives. 

Perhaps I think of my own mortality too much. Or, not enough. I guess it depends on whether you embrace westernism or not. Everybody seems to have an opinion on how much is too much when it comes to thoughts of death and dying. 

Why think about things you can't change? seems to be the general attitude. 

Why think about things you can? is my response. 

Why think at all?

Has extreme self-consciousness helped any of us? I wonder, mostly for myself. We were sold on the idea of such self-scrutiny as being a vague sort of "therapy" to help us recover from being humans, a task to which there is no apparent goal, nor end. 

Fuck all of that, I say. I hope that saying that helps. 

Well, I'm worried about my old buddy. It's no fun to suffer. I know this, too. 

I would pray for him, but I make neither grand nor modest appeals to the beyond. I am often hesitant in such matters, when sober minded, perhaps fearful that as I move closer to the edge of the known that something hidden there in the darkness might begin to recognize the sound of my voice, then call out to me, like a voice of whispers, like one of sleep.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Between Scylla and Charybdis

I am happiest here when documenting the simple events of my life. The politics and bloviating prove their dual uselessness, though uselessness alone is not enough to kill them. I re-read the political pieces and experience shame, but even the combined effect of shame and uselessness is not enough.

The only thing missing from the Kavanaugh testimony, for liberals, was him wildly screaming with bloodshot eyes as he was dragged away from the Senate building, "BUILD THE GOD-DAMNED WALL!!!

Other than that unexpected outburst he seemed quite temperate and judicious - America's guy. 

The Clintons are a conspiracy at this point. Brett was quite astute on that very important fact. Does anybody even question the international subterfuge of the Clinton cabal any longer? Only those who wish to see more children being traded along the underground sex trafficking railroad maybe. The old Chuck E. Cheese Express. 

We now have a supreme court justice who, as part of his confirmation hearing, floated a Clinton conspiracy theory about his own alleged sexual misbehavior in high school. Should we give him a handful of mulligans just to get him started in his new life?

America always wins.

But that's not why I'm here this morning, and hopefully that's not the reason that you are here, either. There must be better sites out there for child sex trafficking conspiracies. We must assume that you stumbled in here entirely by chance, as what was once my "regular readership" have gone on to enjoy their own lives. That's what I've been trying to do, also. 

But I have nothing to report from yesterday. It was a relatively non-eventful day spent bumbling around the little hamlet we live in buying bagels, croissants, coffee and socks. Then, a little siesta at home while Rhys and one of his six year old buddies giggled throughout the house, playing with Legos and having their creations compete in mock interstellar battle. With me napping, adrift somewhere between heedless bureaucracy and and grievous boredom. 


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Everybody gets the bogeyman they hope for

Perhaps America did not stop being fun for everybody all at once. It happens in degrees, for each to each. Watching it flail now, on the morning of the vote to confirm a new justice to the Supreme Court, is a strange and unsettling experience. It seems that everybody feels and knows that Kavanaugh did something ranging somewhere from naughty to horrible. How horrible the thing he did is seems to reflect the inner-being of each person speaking more than any objective act of crime. None of us are permitted to question the certainty of those who were not there. 

One side holds to belief in the accuser's testimony, the other wishes to mock it away. Or if the conversation becomes serious, there emerges angry denial. My friends comprise a collection of both reactions. Both versions of the story can seem as true to its believers as it needs to be. Though each side requires an annihilation of the other's truth. The result can't possibly be any good. 

Certainly there must be other justices? so ask the liberals.

For something that she claims happened in high school...? arrives further inquiry from conservatives.

Both of those things are probably true. And on and on. Men are scared, either for the women they love or for their own hides. 

If only Kavanaugh would have acknowledged that he acted inappropriately...

As if we would all magically agree on the outcome of that, as if we could. Of course he's going to indignantly deny. That's what he has been trained to do his whole life. He wrote an opinion/apology piece in the WSJ. It was odd, reading it. A part of me wanted to sympathize with his circumstance, but the memory of his indignant testimony was still too fresh. He probably is a very good father, husband, and coach of a girl's basketball team. He probably has spent much of his life being respectful and courteous and even protective of the women around him. None of that erases the frenzy of youth, of course, but for him it seems as if it probably should. He has proven his worth to those around him, and he does love beer. His testimony attests to his own sense of victimhood in all of this. There was no mistaking that. It's a witch hunt! 

But certainly you must see, he has proven that he relinquished witchery so long ago. 

All else is hearsay, says the honorable he.

To surmise and mock the judge's attitude: There is no word that a man can call a woman that is nearly as awful as rapist.

Now, did you hear all of that, you cunt?

There are those that attack the motives of Professor Ford, and make claims about how she has been sadly manipulated by those sleazy Dems. Fear, I guess. Fear that they might also be one day held accountable for their youthful indiscretions, or even their adult ones. Who knows. If you use the word courageous to describe Ford's decision and actions then expect and accept what you already know to be the response. When it comes to people mattering, just look at what they've done to that poor man...

All of America seems to think and act as if they are on the verge of soon winning a lottery that will open the future wide and extinguish their narrow past. 

It has been said already, that perhaps they are both telling the truth: Brett Kavanaugh did something horrible to Christine Ford that he does not quite remember, or not in the way that she does. That seems plausible enough. Though for whom does such an axiom matter, the rape apologists or the simply reasonable? If I was to study the conversation then I would conclude that most men think groping high school girls is okay. It's when the word rape is used that things begin to get very uncomfortable. If you buy the narrative then you might surmise that conservative women miss being groped and they instruct their daughters on how to be receptive to it. Liberal women don't have daughters, they have warriors.  

For what it's worth, I believe Professor Ford. Her testimony was credible and precise where it mattered most. Kavanaugh was also very believable, though not at all how he must have intended. 

Nearly every woman that I know has been the victim of some type of sexual assault or harassment. Nearly every woman I know has advanced a significant untruth about their romantic partners. Both of those things can be true, also, without any need for one to erase the other. The same two sentences can be said about men, though you will not find many men that will admit to the first. Men sexually harass other men so often that it simply gets ignored. I can barely interact with many of my adult male friends without there being some form of sexual harassment involved. We have all just learned to ignore or enjoy it, reinforcing an idea that it is all just harmless. Those dual truths help underpin much of the derision and suspicion that I see people expressing as reaction to this dilemma. We are made deeply uncomfortable by parallel truths, few are taught to accept them. 

This seems more clear to me now; I wish that I was wiser in my youth. 

People insist upon their imaginary experiences in near equal proportion to their actual encounters. It is one of the ways that memory and persona interact, to create the story of self. America seems determined to embrace only one version of anything - not even their own version, of course, but that of another. We marvel angrily at any brute who could choose some other plausibly deniable version of unknown fact. What we choose to hate becomes equal and indistinguishable from what we believe.  

America should move to Northern Ireland.

By the end of today we will have a man appointed to our highest court who has claimed that he has been treated unfairly simply by having to respond to an accusation of impropriety. That same man might also be guilty of the sexual assault of that accuser. He will likely be the deciding vote on women's issues for the foreseeable future, a truth that can not possibly extinguish its counterpart.

America, what have you done, where have you gone?


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Try to end on a word that lasts

How many days should I, can I, come back here and explain to myself why I'm not writing any more? A friend asked me the other day, before I could answer Rachel repeated an explanation that I have voiced before: happiness makes for poor writing. Complications prevent me from reinforcing that again as a complete truth, but sure, that's part of it. I have stopped going through pictures that I've taken. That must also be a part of it, or a corollary effect of the same feeling of exhaustion towards life. I've let go of my desire to tell stories about my life. Perhaps if I look through some pictures some little hint of an impulse will come back to me.

When I opened up this page I noted that the only page views I had gotten recently were for posts that seemed to be about sex. Titles like "Define - pornology" , "Because I Like My Sugar Sweet" , "Slut Walk" , "I Want the Hobo to Watch" , "Moist Panties" , "Traditional Fetish Objects"... Eight views of each page, all at the same time, making it seem as if I had a sudden surge in readership. Spider bots, web crawlers, doing their methodical documenting of imaginary worlds, of the words that hang and linger for the picking. 

Nope; I tried. 

Just pictures of us the last time we went to the beach, or rather, the time before last.


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Never dreamed to love routines

The human form, good for so many things. 

I've written several paragraphs this morning, all now deleted. I then retreated into email for a while. Practicing, I guess. This site was meant to be an ongoing open email to my friends. Well friends, I am dreading the present now in a way that I did not used to. Every observation tinged with decay, weariness at the prospect of rot, its inevitability. 

Why go on? 

I do not mean life, but rather only with this post. 
There is coffee to be made, a bike ride to begin.
If we have butter there may also be toast.
There is some pleasure, a prayer of whispered sins.


Monday, August 20, 2018

Try not to feel doomed

Uptight. There’s no group left in America that owns any sarcastic distance, though all seem to be fighting to claim some. Nobody has “dispassionate cool.” Without a mocking sense of humor that speaks some casual truth about a situation people quickly lose their bearings. Once the bearings are shot, no more skating rink, no more disco. 


Saturday, August 18, 2018

An astrological warning for the future

I left NYC seven years ago. Or rather, we did - the newly pregnant wife, the middle-aged dog, and myself, the soon-to-be dad. For whatever reason I put the date in my calendar and I see it repeat every year. I guess because calculating the date against Rhys' birth date must have seemed a task too difficult to confidently accomplish with any regularity. 

I thought you might want to know.

Each time I sit down here to write it becomes more and more clear why I'm struggling to do so: being honest becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, and unpleasant by necessity. So, there is just a spiraling backwards into adolescent humor, or the frustrated disappointment of politics and social issues. All of it an ineffective diversion. The truth is that I have refined my life's focus around the organizing principle of fatherhood, which does difficult things to the mind and spirit, not all of them grand or beautiful. I'm not complaining, just trying to be honest. Many would rather I keep to only trying to relay the difficulties in a comical way, but I am slowly losing the ability to take pleasure in my own sense of humor. I noticed some time back that I have been laughing less. Levity is not the result of choices, but rather one possible result among a series of them.

Don't worry, mine is not entirely gone, but in the last couple of years something has changed. A sense of dread is replacing a feeling of buoyancy. 

Maybe a military parade would help cheer me up. A cavalcade of missiles and fighter planes lining the street, trumpets and drums, cadences broken by the triumphant punctuation of bugles in revelry. What sort of nation would not be stirred by such a display. 

I cancelled my 50th birthday. It's not going to happen. It was becoming too complicated, it seems. Or rather, I was not organizing enough. Both. Maybe that is a part of what is adding to my feeling: I don't want to become anything. I don't like aging, at all. It feels as if I'm contracting some agreed upon malady, and I'm supposed to accept it gracefully, with composure.

The diseasing of neither, its flickering of seasons, three at a time pass without blinking, bereft of poetry, symmetry, all of the other and either.


Monday, August 13, 2018

"I would prefer not to"

(The Met Breuer)

I'm not feeling well today, have taken the day off from work. My job can be very stressful at times. It accumulates and one must know when to eschew its demands. Not feeling well. Was old Bartleby simply depressed, or was he (less than simply) pursuing a higher truth?

I had more that I was going to write, but it all escapes me now. I have somehow reached a crisis point.  I've lost faith in everything that I have to say and most all that I have said, or written. I believe nothing except that maybe love is mercurial; sleep transitory; and death, probably final.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nikon EM, FA, FE2, FM2n, FM3a

I left NYC seven years ago this week. It's the only timeframe that has ever made any sense to me, one in which I can place events correctly in relative chronological distance from the present. It has to do with measuring time through the life of my child, but it works better than any calendar or set of personal memories outside of that experience. It also represents the same basic time that I started shooting film in addition to digital images. 

I received my new vintage used camera in the mail from Japan yesterday - the Nikon FM3a. It is what I expected it it be - a noticeable improvement from the other F series cameras that I have in both design and function. It is considerably newer, so it feels better, somehow more intentional than the older cameras that all have their little quirks, all accumulated over time. 

I can now maybe get rid of one or two of the ones that I have, if I choose to. I will hold on to them and claim that it is for sentimental reasons, but that's a lie. The truth is that I can load each of them up with a different kind of film so that at any given time I can pick up the camera that holds the film that I wish to shoot with at that moment. 

I am a spoiled child. 

I own five Nikon manual film cameras. Many with similar interests to mine would probably say that I already own every one that is worth owning, but I would still listen to someone that told me I needed an F3 or an FG or both, to complete my "collection." I suspect that I don't need either of those. Some might tell me to throw the EM away, but that's the one I bring to the beach with my cheap lenses. 

The new one cost me $600 - three times the price of any of the others, and one that I told myself over and over that I did not need to buy for that very reason. 

My logic always seems to hold, as long as I don't try to convey it. 


Saturday, August 11, 2018

A man's morning truth

(Seen at The Met Breuer)

Every time that I write here now I have to delete the entry. It has become confessional beyond my tolerance for such things. I'm settling into mid-life - a fat, Cretaceous bee that has landed on amber to take a look around. This age is no longer just a passing mood, one that can be fought off with exercise or sleep. I spend far too much of my time wrestling away from feelings of disappointment, distress, or boredom. Family becomes a palliative for those feelings, though I know how those types of  sedatives bring their relief. 

The idea is to kiss a woman's stomach and titties as much as she'll invite you to do so. 

Not the most groundbreaking truth ever there was, but it is mine this morning, and a man's morning verity is etched from stones. My fondest moments of happiness have been during the upward rushing of love's embrace. Breasts never before seemed so soft, nor tasted so sweet. That period where everything is becoming more and more mutually unbelievable, every waking and sleeping moment improving and expanding like a metaphor. Since each of us only usually gets to feel that a handful of times in a lifetime, and it only lasts 90 days for either partner, no matter what anyone tries to claim, we learn to live with the grand compromise. 

I'm not talking about my relationship with Rachel. Or rather, only insomuch as the arc of that relationship has somewhat resembled others, though with a greater rate of recurrence. 

We all make so many compromises, it seems. Concessions is perhaps the better word. Everything need not be couched in the language of loss. That is as dangerous as any of the other mental snares. That ever popular Marxist dialectic in which there is always the oppressor and the oppressed. How can anyone be free of such dynamics. The manacles of mental mechanics. 

Well, I don't have anything to say this morning. I am just looking around and around at the world and wondering aloud, What next?

What next?


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Nikon FM3a

I finally bought the Nikon manual film camera that I've long wanted - the Nikon FM3a (far below). It is a wonder of industrial beauty. I own a few similar cameras -  the Nikon FA, FM2n, and FE2 - but not the one that I've wanted. It was always just a little bit out of my price range: ~$900. But then I found one yesterday in Japan for $600.

At least one writer seems to agree with me concerning the camera's desirability and has even chosen my favorite lens to argue his point [here].

Now I can stop buying manual film camera bodies, there is nothing left to want.

Nothing left in the now defunct Nikon manual lineup, I mean.

I took the images of the boy with my iPhone and the Tin-Type app.

Cato says they look like a Tom Waits album cover and I agree - dark, carnivalesque, with a hint of something satanic going on, dark voodoo of some sort.

Boy Conjurer.

I'll try to remember to point out some shots I take with the new camera once I have them processed and scanned. They will, of course, seem no different to you the viewer from any of the other ones you may have seen posted here. 

Its joy derives from the shooting experience, not the photographic end result.


Saturday, August 4, 2018

"Kite" would be a good name for a drug, probably already is


I finally went through my pics from my trip to NYC. My friends are fetching. They make me seem much cooler than I am. Helena is adorable, very photogenic. If it were up to me I would photograph her and Rebecca (below) more. Helena has delightfully mastered the faux-demure pose and Rebecca's joy is both infectious and beautiful. They are each a rich source of pleasure, just to be around them. 

Mom, the boy, and I might go to the beach today, or to a local pool. But swim we will. It is already 9am and we have not yet made a decision, which seems foolish when running on "family time." Everything happens early or not at all when you have a family. Plans must be made and acted on long before that of an individual. There must be a schedule of morning deployments if anything is to be hoped for within the day. 

I bought a kite while my brother and nephews were here last week. We needed one, having lost our "shark kite" recently at the beach. Mom was winding it back in and the line slipped out of her hands, off to sea it went, slowly and gracefully, until it was no more to us.

It looks to be a pretty nice kite, the new one. It was almost $50, so let's hope so. It is of the "delta" design, so it looks to be some dumb fun, capable of achieving great altitudes, speed, cuts, etc. 

I adore that moment when a kite is lifted into the wind, soaring suddenly upwards, the sound of the wind pressing against its wings, flapping as it ascends, quickly, as if alive, free from almost everything, one more time.



Friday, August 3, 2018

Dog Days

I finally went through some of the pics I took while in NYC. Mostly family stuff, so far. I did a little bit of street photography while I was there, and there are a lot of gallery pics. I like the family stuff, but mostly because I miss the people in them. Maybe I'll post some of those tomorrow. 

Today is a dog day, though none will be sacrificed to Sirius in appeasement. Those days are over, for now. Who knows what superstitions might bubble back up into this grave new world. 

The modest amount of travel I've done in July is over now, also. My brother and nephews returned to the mire of Florida, the muskeg crucible. 

Yesterday was spent alone with the boy. We found a new sushi spot not far from home, a replacement of sorts for our lost local sushi restaurant - Rocket. We went and spent almost one hundred dollars on raw fish of all sorts - squid and octopus and scallops and hamachi and toro and much more - a mixture of maki, sashimi, and nigiri. 

We drove home happy, satisfied with our choices. 

There is nothing, or so very little, to tell. 

Certainly you must sense that, also?


Thursday, August 2, 2018

The feeling of freedom


Well, the vacation is over, in a sense. The biggest part of it is over - my brother and his sons have left for the airport. I don't return to work until Monday. It was good to see the boy have fun with his cousins, something I never had. Or rather, I had a cousin named Jane but only met her once and have no idea what happened to her. My uncle - my father's brother - died when I was very young. I barely remember it. I only remember my father crying when he got the news, a rarity and something that left a postcard memory in me. He was not known for showing emotions that hinted at vulnerability. Yet he was a thoughtful man, I discovered a bit late in his life, and mine. 

My mother - like my son and his mother - was an only child. Small family all around, though numbers alone hardly tell the story. Family can be a sometimes difficult burden with one member or a hundred. Though this week was not burdensome. Tiring, but not weighty. I was a little bit concerned that it would prove to be oppressive, but the opposite was true. It was satisfying to have it happen at all, to see Rhys in the context of a family that is foreign to me. 

Perhaps mom has a "rounding" influence in her new role as "Auntie Rachel." We'll chalk it up to that. Women are very good at so many things. She was perfect this week, likely saving me from myself any number of times. 

I want to buy a condo in Tahoe now. After spending three days there I realized that should be our getaway place. It's peaceful and beautiful and offers all sorts of great outdoor options. I wished that I would have brought my mountain bike with me. 

I rode it as soon as I got home, few things in life make me feel quite as free.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Last day of vacation

(My Pocahontas)

I don't do very well with "family." I've never understood why people put so much energy into such an awful conglomeration of assholes that share some genetic code. My mother was the glue that held our family together. When she died  the nuclear experiment failed. What remained were three men who didn't need each other and who had very little in common. Mom died Oct. 27th, by Christmas of that same year it was obvious that we were all three about to go our own ways. Now there are two of those three men remaining - my brother and I, with a total of three kids between us, all boys. 

Those three kids seem to have none of the hangups that my brother and I have. They just like to have fun, and that is what this trip has been for them. Yesterday, we went zip-lining. This is a stupid enough activity in which you hook yourself up to a suspended pulley system on a cable and use your own body weight and gravity to defy death while running from tree platform to tree platform, some of which were 60 ft in the sky or more. Exhilarating for all the reasons that the most basic portions of your mind seek to keep you alive, and you have found a way to flaunt those instincts.

The kids freakin' loved it.

Rachel has been a tremendous help here, having relied so heavily on her extended family to help her navigate her own nuclear family meltdowns. She has been a tremendous partner to have, knowing just when and how to divert my neuroses elsewhere. She does very well as Aunt Rachel, also. If only she and I could have arrived at the place we are now sooner. We would have saved ourselves a stupendous amount of pain and uncertainty.  

Some say suffering produces growth, which makes me want to inflict some on them, to find out. All that pain and suffering has ever done for me is to reduce my ability and desire to believe in life. Growth has happened during periods of both love and wretchedness. The only message received through heartache was the empty absence of love. I didn't grow from it, I withered, as if the arms of the sun had atrophied and its eyes had gone blind, its life-giving warmth turned to malice. 

People will say the dumbest things. Like: Great minds think alike, and There's no such thing as a stupid question. I wish all of those people would go Take a bull by the horns. 

I'm going to go judge a few books by their cover.

(Or Sacagawea)


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fuck the literal world

Yes, I am going to focus on blur. Motion blur, of either the camera or the subject, or of both. I tend to prefer taking pictures of people. Portraits. Blurred portraits of people. That is what the world has been begging for and I will provide. It is relatively easy to do and from frame to frame the differences can be quite pronounced. The image below was taken approx. 1/5th of a second sooner than the one above. I was walking towards Rachel as she turned towards me. I like the one above simply because it is less literal. 

Fuck the literal, I say. It should only ever be used by investigators, prosecutors, and judges. 

I have expensive cameras and lenses. They are capable of taking very sharp and precise images when used correctly, even when there is low light, but fuck all of that. Any fool can take a sharp image with that equipment. I wish to be the other sort of fool for a while. 

There was yesterday's image, also. Here is what the preview of it looks like, for reasons I do not understand.

I want little fragmented portions of the world to be blurred, perhaps beyond recognition. Just colors and shapes composed within the frame for the purpose of pleasure. Mine. 

I never wanted to be a wedding photographer, though I do like making people happy with images of themselves. There are people that hate to have their picture taken, until they get a really good one. I hope people like my fuzzy and sometimes out of focus shots of them now as much as they've enjoyed the crisp reporting of the truth of them. 

I want my images to seem as if they are sinking into the haze of pain relief, perhaps at the initial onset of the morphine high. 

Doesn't have to be morphine, of course, it could be something much stronger.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Truckee, CA

I have become so disorganized with my photos. I transferred my old work computer over to my new one and created another photo library, but I'm only pulling a pic or two at a time off of my camera cards, so all is fucked. I am adrift in a sea of disconnected images. 

The above image is my nephew. We were doing a tour of a "Liberty Ship" in the SF Bay, a thing my bother wanted to do mostly, but then I found myself far more interested than I thought that I would be. Function fascinates me. 

That said, I think that I'm going to start trying to do more abstract photography, blurring anything representational; longer shutter times, a focus on motion and time's passing, lights in lateral motion. I tend to like those images the most. What could be accidents. Also, my beautiful boy is starting to show signs that he is tiring of me always taking his picture. The curse of self-awareness. Without him, I have no model. Mom is good for a few pics, but must be flattered into the mood, which is half the fun. I flirt with her as if I'm still 24 yrs old. 

Okay, we're in Tahoe. Today we take the lift up the mountain to where there is some sort of entertainment complex for both kids and adults. I should have brought my mountain bike. There are trails everywhere I walk. Looking at them makes me twitch with glandular discharges. My calves tighten and my heart races, like the memory of the culmination of a moment in love.