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)