Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Oysters along the San Andreas

(Nick's Cove - Marshall, CA)

Yesterday, unexpectedly, I had my day of modest adventure. In the morning there was a parental announcement about workers being here at the house all day, something about carpet, so I decided to go on a day of driving around, maybe up the coast. I invited the boy and he happily decided to go along. I explained that all that I would be doing was driving around and taking pictures of things, whatever I saw that interested me, or us. So, that's what we did.

When we set out I gave the boy a healthy dose of opinion about photography. I explained that if we were going to create a travelogue that we would do ourselves a favor by creating either an establishing or expository shot, to show that our journey had a beginning.

We came up with these, taken at almost the same spot, with two different cameras and subjects:

The wide angle selfie was taken with the new Osmo Action camera. I have decided, almost prematurely, that the camera was a waste of money and that I should have bought the Olympus that I wanted. It takes images on par with the iPhone that I already own, without all the extra features of a phone, and it doesn't fit into my pocket nearly as easily. It is sold as much more of an action video camera than a stills camera, but still... If you look at the image above, shot in good light, you'll see the problem. The resolution is crap, even at ~20mb "RAW" files (they are DNG files, whose main attribute is only its presumed future compatibility, being an open source format).

After those, we decided that maybe an even better establishing shot was in order, though I do not believe we accomplished it with the below one.

What you are seeing there is the entirety of the Sonoma valley, or at least the portion that cradles the city of Sonoma and its surrounding hamlets. It was taken from the top of the hill at Viansa. The wetlands to the right are the beginning of the marsh that leads out to San Pablo Bay, one of the three bays that make up the SF bay area, past the ghost town of Wingo, through a large swath of land owned by the Navy, and then across Sonoma Creek, which can barely be seen towards the top of the image here and which also runs behind our house.   

We talked about how elevation increases the distance that you can see but how that extra distance is mostly just the little tiny strip at the horizon. There's a ratio, but I forget it, and it is mostly meaningless since the extra distance that can be seen exists outside of what the human eye can effectively make sense of. But from up here we could see the whole valley, just without all the pesky details. 

On we went, to China Camp State Park, where much more of the bay can be seen and where two of the three bays meet. 

A detail from the above landscape.

We talked about what makes images interesting. I touched on how, for me, beauty and decay are almost always related. I explained that I don't often do landscape photography of any kind, that I find humans photographically interesting, but that an occasional look around to orient yourself to and familiarize yourself with your surroundings is a good exercise. 

I tried to show him how what we choose to focus on, and how we move our bodies affects the outcome of an image, sometimes greatly.

And that sometimes the composition is as important as the subject of the image.

And that sometimes focusing on something that is midway between your actual subject and the details of the compositional background can make an image more interesting to the eye.

Why was I telling him all of this? I'm not sure, but he embraced the idea that sometimes to get a good image you must run and climb trees. That part seemed to be understood implicitly. 

On we went towards the mighty Pacific, with me artlessly discussing the idea of us trying to capture light in a meaningful way.

We arrived at the beach without shorts to swim. Neither of us had really considered what a day like this one might possibly become, but the ultra wide angle field of view of the new camera was proving its novelty usefulness.

It didn't take long for the boy to give up photography for the joys of sun and beach.

We spent the rest of the day driving with our pants bungie'd to the roof racks of the car, soaking and covered in beach sand. The boy didn't mind too much, he had a blanket with him, so he had a chance to dry out his underwear before we finally stopped for lunch. Less lucky, I did not want to have to explain to a cop why I was driving naked with a child in the back seat, so damp was how I went. 

By this time we weren't really stopping to photograph things any more, though there was plenty to look at. The land and water that separate the North American plate from the Pacific plate just on the other side of the water in several of these images, separated by the San Andreas fault, is a fascinating place visually, at least for me.

You can see the fault line in the image below, if you know where to look. It is what separates Marin from the Point Reyes National Seashore. One day those two pieces of land will be separate continents and there is nothing that anybody can do about it. If we had a flag with us then I would have planted it out on Bolinas, declaring it a sovereign territory of His Purple Mountain's Majesty. 

We drove a large approximate circle around the center of that map - from Sonoma, south to Muir Beach, up the US-1 to Tomales, then across the farmlands of Petaluma back to Sonoma. 

Who might guess that the crevice that leads to the end of our world runs just underneath that fishing boat.

Somehow the day ended with me not getting a single image that I like without at least some reservation, if not outright complaint, or outrage and dismissal. I was being careless and shooting without much concern, nor am I editing them with any chromatic continuity in mind. Not that it matters very much, then or now. Looking through the images I did what I like to do: document a day.

The boy seemed to embrace the idea of us just driving around and eating expensive oysters, taking pictures, and playing in the surf. We have no idea what is on the rolls of film that we shot, what fisheye mysteries may yet still emerge.

Next time: shorts and towels to further compliment the oysters and beer.


Sunday, December 29, 2019

Dutch Nasal

We bought a new camera, mom and I, for Christmas. The previous waterproof camera that I bought a few years ago had finally lost its ability to focus. The new one is basically a GoPro, but made by the drone company in which I may have some future purchasing interest. So far I have only been using it to shoot jpegs. All of the images in low light are shit, which doesn't give me a tremendous amount of hope for underwater photography, but ah well... the boy seems to like the idea of using it while cycling and snow-boarding. He is often full of action. 

It is very small, so I have been bringing it with me everywhere we go. There is that, I suppose. Maybe it will prove to be a fun street camera, since it has a wide angle of view and is very discreet. The sensor is similar to what you would get in any smartphone. 

I was playing around with the very limited manual modes. 

Overexposing, and trying to exploit the distorted perspective that arises from the 16:9 aspect ratio and  its 145 degree field of view.

Perhaps I should have gone with my first choice, a more dedicated underwater camera. I guess we'll see. Shooting video is fun. 

You never quite know what you'll get.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

I promise to go wandering

The Christmas guest is gone. Now, a week remains that can be spent or squandered, or a bit of both. I'm thinking about taking a road trip, maybe by myself, maybe with the boy, maybe with mom, too. We have yet to establish family quorum for the subject. That will be this morning's dilemma. I only use that word since I know that unpleasant options will need to be discussed, even if they are discarded, before we can arrive at the desirable versions. Then, we're all on the easy street of final decision and action.

I tell myself that I will be envious of CS when he has nothing but free time to do as he wishes. I feel this envy in advance of the actuality. 

I dream of taking month-long drives to places I've never seen before. If you've never driven through the bayou swamps heading west out of New Orleans on the I-10 then you haven't seen America, yet. I've only seen it once, but have seen nothing much further west from Lafayette, or north of there, by car. It's about two days from New Orleans to Marfa. Giving you a stop in Austin, if you want it. Or San Antonio, if you have any reasons or questions there. 

I spent a fair amount of my years flying over America looking at maps and the landscape below, dreaming one day of driving through these places, some of them I did, if there was another gig a city's drive away, or a chance to hang out with a group of newly made friends that had a sound system set up at their place in Baton Rouge or Fort Collins or Alpharetta or Park City or just outside of Charlotte. The midway point between Portland and Salem, a guest room, stay as long as you want. All over, and all of it now over. I have visual memories of neighborhoods outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Memphis and Seattle, but had no camera with me. The 11th District in New Orleans that has estate after estate, then house after house; the mausoleums of the graveyards that separate them; of course the impoverished neighborhoods there that surround the city, also. That haunting and beautiful gothic everything. 

I took too many things for granted. Life seemed rich. I had little interest in taking any time to stop and photograph any of it. Now, I dream of starting out in a car with no answer as to when I would return, though being a parent precludes those visions from achieving much lift. 

It is not just the idea of driving from here to Marfa, or further on to and through the deep south, it is the feeling that I could indulge any urge to wander that might happen along the way there, or on the way back. It is this life which robs me of those sorts of fantasy indulgences. 

I always thought Dylan said, I promise to go wandering in response to the line On to your own parade, cast your dancin' spell my way from Mr. Tambourine Man.

The line is: I promise to go under it, but I hear it the other way every single time. 


Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Rise of the Light Saber

This article does a good job at tackling the franchise and what it is has become, but I will be taking the boy and one of his buddies to go see the new one today in spite of it. 

We had a successful Christmas, all around. The boy got a new computer - Chromebook - and a Fitbit. I don't know why kids wants Fitbits, but they're all the rage. I'm told.

I shouldn't have made such a crass joke about mom's ass crack yesterday. It was her pussy that I was trying to touch all day. So, a few points deducted for crudeness of description, a temporary and regrettable loss of exactitude.  

Well, I was going to write some more, but the boy came to show me a new Avengers' Lego monstrosity he had just completed and I felt compelled to go over its finer destructive capabilities with him, since his mind has just barely begun to grasp the imaginative joys of complete and total annihilation of your real and perceived enemies. 


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

December 25th, 2019

I hid behind the tree with a camera, not quite the spy that I used to be. 

The boy's teeth are falling out right on schedule. He got a computer for Christmas. He's seven. Mom and I figured it's time. And why not?

All is well here, mom and I are being tender with one another, which makes Christmas nice. Some sugar. My hand's been up her ass crack all day long, when no one's looking. 

I couldn't bring myself to focusing the below shot on his teeth. It's like a countryside Greek temple in there, one that has partially sunk into the bog while the other half has been discovered and restored by the Romans. 

Something like that.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Christmas Eve

Focus is overrated. I'm certain there is an easy way to accomplish the same effect with a perfectly focused image, and of a higher quality, but most of my favorite images lately have just been missed and manual focus. It impresses content upon the mind rather than insisting on it, somehow more persuasive, a visual truth that anyone can rely on. Perhaps I am going blind in two ways now, rather than the one I had grown used to. Any loss of sense is noticeably simple. 

We returned from Tahoe as a family. Maybe we are going to take another trip after Christmas. Grandma being here is not as bad as I believed it would be, though it has been less than a day, so I speak hopeful truths and wind otherwise. We'll see how I feel in another few hours. I try not to drink as much when grandma is here. She likely believes that's an effect, and she couldn't be more right, though we differ on the specific nature of the cause. Some truths speak from a well of similarities. 

But we are all having a nice family Christmas and this is my family now, with or without my attitudes and opinions, of which there are many, though none that ever seem to suit the mood quite perfectly. 

Why is it that everybody else's version of the mood is assumed to be the more correct version? 

Well, we know why, don't we?

The boy has been having a blast since he got out of school. It is fantastic to watch and play along with. I'm out of work, too. I know the statistics tell us that having children will be a disappointment and won't make us as happy as we had hoped, but that's probably just because it's illegal now to make them work. But being around this boy at this age is pretty fucking great, for now. Who knows how long anything will last. I'll always have time to be disappointed. I've been practicing, so that I don't lose any ground on anyone else. I rehearse my miseries in my sleep, where they are free to roam and find themselves before turning on me. 

Merry Chrisis, My Chryslers. 


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Merry Crisis!

Oh yeah, we're on vacation - Lake Tahoe. Crystal Cove, on the Nevada side, where prostitution is required and gambling encouraged. Drinking is the expectation yet drugs are punished very severely. Strange place, a certain kind of American seems to always love it here. It is a Shangri-La for the libertarian set. All the prostitutes in Nevada seem unusually suspicious. But do not worry about me, I only go to prostitutes to read the articles. 

My underwater camera can't seem to focus any more. It was just a little cheap one and I got plenty of images that I love out of it. The one I want to replace it is a little bit on the expensive side, but what the fuck, I'm worth it. There's another one that's half the price that would probably serve me just as well. And now there are Go-Pro like options that are even cheaper and could serve a variety of purposes. I feel guilty buying myself anything this time of year, between Christmas and the boy's birthday in early January and the two vacations we'll take between now and then, maybe it's a bad time to spend on myself. But where will I ever end up with that sort of talk. 

What do I know. There may be no better time ever again. That is always the case. We never know. 

I also want a little drone. Why can't I have it all? 

I've been drinking since before we left for Tahoe. It is tiring stuff. My body gets tired of it, my mind gets tired of it, even the thing inside of me that wants to drink grows tired of itself. 

When mom gets back with coffee, I think I'm going to talk her into an extra day here. The prediction is 3-5" of snow today. What sort of vacationers would leave in a situation like that? Mom is eager to pick up grandma at the airport tomorrow but I am much less interested in the requirements of that, since they're not my requirements. I'm only mentioning here so that you'll understand that I am trying to subvert them. I try to be cordial when she's here, but you know, that's about the best that can be expected of me. 

Okay, nothing else to report from the front lines of the holidays.


Sunday, December 15, 2019

Promises, promises

I was just kidding in yesterday's post. Objectifying women isn't my favorite thing to do. It's far too cerebral to be my favorite. I just wanted to check and see how it felt to write things that are not allowed. Every so often it is good to check - trust but verify. I believe that's the policy, maybe it's don't ask, don't tell. You've come a long way, babyAmerica runs on Dunkin'

Who knows. 

All we can be sure of is that there is a generation of young people who seem to believe that the contemporarily correct way of talking is far more important than all other ways, except possibly the future way. Imagine the horror of finding out in mid life that you argued for making people feel more included through language and uninvited eye contact but you didn't get it quite perfect and now there is an even younger generation of angry children telling you how you got everything wrong and have ruined it for them, and maybe for all time. It is no fun to find out that the years will somehow make your ethics primitive. 

Mmkay, millennial.

I remember when being a liberal meant you fought for people's rights, not their feelings or preferred pronouns. I stole that line. This doesn't mean fuck their feelings and fuck their genderless pronouns, it only means that those aren't things I was ever interested in fighting for. The fight is for the rights. And yes, that includes the right to identify. 

Freedom, Viva, Etc. 

We are told that the world is not binary, but if I try to speak then I am reminded why a binary's opinions are born hateful. With me, there is only good and evil, meaning them and me, in that order. It is best to get out of a closet somewhere and get out early. All that it takes is to confess honestly to a private thought or feeling that would set you apart from the people who don't have those type thoughts and feelings, the enemies. It's easy, just close your eyes and speak about what you think and feel there in the darkness. The thing that makes you who you truly are. In that dark, private, sacred space, I find that my mind likes objectifying women, but I'll keep trying. I promise. 


Saturday, December 14, 2019

'Tis the Season

Invincible Christmas is on its way. There is never any forgetting that fact with a seven year old in the house, soon to be eight. The kids at school are already grumbling their suspicions concerning the veracity of Santa. I don't help anything. I tell them, "If there's no Santa Claus then maybe Satan's not real, either." I'm trying to help them. 

This War on Christmas doesn't have a fucking chance. If the liberals can't impeach Trump then they have no chance against ol' Kris Kringle, the Emperor of Ice Dreams.

Well, I am "on-call" this weekend, so I will stay around the house.I pulled out the box of unscanned negatives and the scanner. We'll see if that project gets aloft once again. I hope so. It seems a waste to shoot that much film and then never get a chance to see any of it. Maybe I'll give the boy and mom nice pictures of themselves that I've taken. Imagine their Christmas morning joy. The gaiety of it all. 

There's a word you don't hear spoken much any more - cheer, whose root word is gay. I believe it can be spelled gayety, also. I'm going to try to find a way of working this into casual Christmas conversation. Oh, the gaiety of it all. 

Isn't it great to see the gaiety in the children's eyes on Christmas morning?

Whatever. I still have the wearied mind of a pubescent adolescent. All the best men do. Can we claim there are still good men, or ever were, though ones that maybe make jokes about the word "gay" and masturbate furiously every chance they get when they see any part of a woman's body?

I like objectifying women. It's fun and reinforces my faith in them. It's pretty much all I think about, when I do. I mean, I know how not to objectify them: let them get old. Then, out of respect, they'll naturally avoid most of the things they don't like about the way I think. 

It's all part of the beautiful commercial of life. 

Viva Last Blues 

Nothing more to say about that, just a good album. Cato and I went camping at Big Sur to hear a weekend's worth of this guy - Will Oldham - playing. I'm sure I wrote about it here. 


Friday, December 13, 2019

She's Lost Control

Jesus. One week more until two weeks of vacation. It will be a vacation mostly in name - a reprieve from paid work. As soon as my employment responsibilities have ceased, to the minute, we will drive to Tahoe. When we return grandma will arrive. She just left yesterday. When she goes - two days more on her trip this time than mom and I had agreed - we will go on another vacation. Or, mom will go to LA to visit her friends. This is almost what I would prefer. Having to only care for the boy and the dogs, without work, will seem plenty of a vacation to me. Initially I had dreamed of flying away to London, Berlin, and maybe Ibiza. It might have happened, too, except that all of my friends in those places will be off to other places. When asked, I could not think of a place that I wanted to go by myself fast enough to stop the travel plans of others.

My tone is half jest. I want mom to have a vacation. She has not taken one alone since the boy was born, that I can remember. Eight years - it is a long time, and she does work very hard at all that she does. I work hard at avoiding hard work. It's almost all that we argue about any more. The other day I told her that if she didn't want to hear Joy Division then she shouldn't ride in my car. Her response look let me know that we don't even need to argue about it, but she stopped complaining.

Did it end the romance?

It ended the conversation, that was all. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The New Neither Normal

The rain has been murderous. I am trapped inside the smallness of my life. My kind would do terribly in an apocalypse, where nothing holy, sacred nor even civil remains. Where the enigmatic and ephemeral are not shared, and not revered. Where fear and suspicion further overtake the mind of mankind. I am neither as stoic nor as adventurous as I once believed I would be. I have become the thing I feared, the thing that I promised to myself I would find a way of avoiding. This last ten years of working has exhausted me of most impulses, except those of avoidance. I avoid responsibility and most of all work, though I have less energy for avoiding both lately. I am trapped inside the smallness of my life. It would be easy to blame age, but I'm no bigot. I think the aged are tremendously useful to our society... in a post-apocalyptic world they could be used as radiation canaries. 



Saturday, December 7, 2019

We'll probably buy a Christmas tree soon

I tried out a cheap Russian lens - Helios 44-2 - that is meant to imitate the Petzval. I liked the image more when viewing it from the camera's screen, but ah well, that is the case sometimes, and sometimes often. There is a milky dreaminess to it and you can just start to detect the swirling bokeh around the edges. 

The boy and I feel the same about today, except that I am in constant physical pain, of course. You can not see the gray of the windy skies behind him here but it is there and goes to the horizon and past in all directions. It will for days and days. Everybody has been talking about it.  



Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Long Winded Lady

Someone started to climb the steps from the street, and I looked over my shoulder and saw a gray-haired lady of about seventy who lives here. She has a room without a bath and she is often in the hall. She has bad temper written all over her face, bad temper and arrogance, and her eyes look about her in a curiosity that is unkind and persistent. She is always fighting with somebody and she is always complaining. Twice I have heard her scolding the young grocery clerk in the store next door, and I have even seen her engage in argument with one of the tiny gypsy children who hang around the street. She looks as though she would like to reform somebody. It was clear, as she climbed the stairs, that the hot weather was hurting her. She was tired.

- Maeve Brennan


Living The Amazon Dream

Last night I learned to play Dire Wolf, though I have not committed it to memory yet. So, I'm going to start following the Dead around the graveyard, selling hacky sacks in the parking lot, bangin' hippy chicks. I'm pretty sure I'm ready to buy a new electric guitar to reward myself for having casually learned to play a few old songs. I figure between those and the handful of songs I can play by Bob Dylan and a couple by Hank Williams I'll be ready to tour in a matter of weeks, maybe days. 

Coming soon to a Piggly Wiggly near you. 

Oh yeah, I also refreshed my memory on Waiting for the Bus/Jesus Just Left Chicago. The chords are pretty easy to play but trying to play along with Billy Gibbons is not nearly as easy as he makes it seem like it should be.

And I Know You Rider. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I am ingesting an unusual amount of THC lately, even for me. So, the result has been an increase in noodling on musical instruments. It is all that I want to do. It has rained for five days straight now, so bike riding is out. I must find something to do with the excess energy that I normally channel into fear, laziness, and doubt.

I have a couple weeks off from work coming up soon. I want to go somewhere. Everywhere that mom and I discuss possibly going becomes either complicated or expensive pretty quickly. I would go solo but the idea of leaving the boy and mom to have Christmas by themselves seems markedly unchristian of me.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

... after the second sip

This is the moment that I explained to the boy who Devin Nunes is. No, it seems pretty obvious that this was the moment that I asked him to look up from the coloring he was doing so that I could take a picture. His response is accurate, correct, and non-enigmatical. We were sitting at our favorite pizza place with the house red wine. The boy has not yet developed a taste for the stuff. He accidentally took a sip of mom's white wine and did not care for it. I explained that nobody does, but that's what adulthood is all about, kid. 

This picture was taken after his second sip:

Speaking of second sips, I fear that I may have finally slipped over into complete pot-headedness. I spend most of my free time now figuring out chords to Grateful Dead songs. I've learned a handful of them this week and last - Deal, They Love Each Other, and even (gasp) Casey Jones.... There may be more, but it is all a fog now. The Grateful Dead were not for everybody, but if you can stomach minutes and then hours of nearly incoherent musical ramblings to happen upon the occasional moment of beauty and greatness then they just might be the right band for you. I can barely play along with them with the chords I have learned, because they're often using different phrasings, where the full chords sound out of place. So, there is always a bit of a challenge to being the new guy in the band. I was thinking about joining the Allman Brothers, but the playing is far too coherent, and Phish are too talented and unlistenable. Who wants that? I suppose I could settle on The Stones, but I have all six strings on my guitar and can't find any heroin in my old coat pockets. I suppose I could adopt the playing philosophy of Jerry Garcia: keep digging

(Disclaimer: I am not a very good guitar player. Ask anybody. I talk about it so much for this reason.)


Sunday, December 1, 2019

... stuff like this

This little five day weekend has disappeared all around me. It is difficult to take time off when there are visitors. The time becomes absorbed into others where it evaporates at twice the normal rate or more. 

An old friend and I took our boys ice skating yesterday. It was unexpectedly fun, just carving silly and lopsided ovals out of the ice for an hour or so. Trying to teach them to not be afraid to try nor ashamed to fall with non-existent lessons pulled from the reservoir of my own life. I try to be honest, explaining that everybody feels fear and yet tries to be cool. 

The friend, Lisa, and I talked about Jung and his theories on what causes the mid-life feelings that we now share. The death of the Ego, it seems, was the explanation she offered, though in my memory I thought it was the Super-Ego. Though I'd say there may be some napping of the Id as well. We know we can't trust the mind too much.

Like in the picture above. The mind does things to the image that are not there, but there they are. 

The seasonal rains have arrived. It will be gray and wet for at least a week. I don't mind. Every so often the weather changes my life for the better. Some time spent inside with the murmuring rains feels friendly enough. Everywhere the Japanese maples are turning, the oaks in all directions from yellow to deep orange, the indigenous plants in the meadows also each giving off their unique colors. Of course the vineyards have fallen from gold to red. I don't think I've taken a single picture of the phenomenon this year. Or, not one that was explicitly for that purpose. 

When it comes to nature photography, I mostly prefer stuff like this:


Saturday, November 30, 2019


Yes, not arguing about politics is better, as is not drinking the night before almost any morning. I did not do both of those things last night. So, I woke up extra early this morning, feeling pretty good and with fewer regrets. 

I did watch The Irishman on Netflix. While not exactly a regret, I'm not so sure that Scorsese's brand of storytelling still works for me. It was entertaining in the way that any reasonably well made film is interesting to watch. There were some great shots and editing and all of that, even if those components all seemed a bit too familiar at times. It was like watching Casino if it had happened in Detroit with all the actors replaced by their geriatric counterparts. The formula seems to have run dry, though it does work well for those types of stories, and those types of stories can be inherently interesting. They have tension built into them and everybody knows we love that. He is still telling the story of gangsters, though now he tacks on an extra hour and a half to explore their regrets later in life, and of course their lonely deaths. The late supporters of the Hays Hollywood Code would be proud of him.

Maybe I am just getting too old for gangster stories. Tarantino too, with his bizarre take on Charles Manson and fetishization of that time. The American New Wave of cinema that happened in the late 60s and through the 70s seems to be stuck in both the style and content of that ~decade. They'll remake Bonnie and Clyde soon, too, if they haven't already. Brad Pitt and whomever would replace Faye Dunaway in today's talent hot tub. Is there a contemporary replacement for Faye? I understand that she's a real-life monster to work with. I once remember reading that she likes to call production assistants the little gay people, but I don't care much about that. I mean, it's not right but I'm not going to demand that she be publicly hanged for it. Because that would just be giving her more of the fame that she craves and that her production assistants rightfully deserve. They'll let her starve silently, instead. 

What do I know? I'm not a production assistant. I don't know the grueling hours they put into their craft, nor the demeaning conditions under which they must sometimes be expected to work, all the while striving to maintain their basic human dignity. Sounds like I'm kidding, I know, but it was only part jest. When I landed on the last portion I realized that people do deserve basic dignity. It's much more funny when they don't get it, though. It's a bit like sexual equality - has anyone ever fantasized about it? About having it and enjoying it and exploring it? Nope. That doesn't make it silly and unattainable, but neither does it seemingly entice the human mind much. We agree to it as an ideal. 

On screen she is really something, Faye. I also have some occasional temperament issues, also, so I forgive her. I have been known to call underlings and overlords much worse and can likewise lose my temper at the site of a wire hanger. I was really cheering for her in Mommie Dearest, because just like her or Joan Crawford, or whatever, I also can not stand little ingrates. 

I used to watch Three Days of the Condor as if it was a religious rite. One of my personal favs. It is the same basic plot as Bladerunner - time, life, and love are frantic and filled with danger closing in, and the clock is always ticking for everyone in all directions, but it ticks more specifically for the protagonists. 

So, live a life free of regrets. I'm pretty sure that's what Scorsese was trying to say, also. 



Friday, November 29, 2019

Jus' jumpin' on the bed

I didn't escape Thanksgiving without some political quarreling. An old acquaintance from the other end of the political spectrum wrote me this: I am as always passionate about the rule of law and the Constitution, among other things, in defense of Donald Trump. My head, of course, exploded with Cabernet. The theory that the Dems are somehow operating outside of either the Constitution or federal law, or even the House rules never seems to be debunked by the question: Why doesn't somebody with the law on their side stop them? Who currently runs the executive branch? It's a good set of questions with no apparent answer. The lawless Dems can't be stopped by any laws known to man. It must be because they're shapeshifters. That's how they get so many votes in California, too.

The conversation ended as futilely as ever. I offered to strangle him with my bare hands. But I, at least, fit a political argument in and it didn't have to happen at home. Though the conversation did have some overflow effects into the living room, of course, because I was drunk.

I am finally proud of being drunk again. The way I was when I was younger. Well, not quite like that, but a little bit closer to that after the two-year process of turning 50. I was hoping the New York Times would be here for me when I turned 50, with insightful articles about books worth reading that explain the latest thinking on how to get through these times, as a man, but those are not the books that they deem worth promoting any longer. I saw a cartoon about it somewhere, maybe it was in the New Yorker. 

The family has departed to The Berkeley Rep theater, to see The Tale of Despereaux. I didn't read the review that I just linked, am just trying to be informative and documenting my life with all of its incompleteness. 

Since they are gone I am listening to a thoroughly depressing but brilliant album (as if Syd Barrett actually made a pop album, or if Keith Richards would have left The Stones during the recording of Their Satanic Majesties Request to do a solo album, but sunk further into addiction instead). I was reminded of it by an article that outlined some of the greatest sad albums, according to them. I love lists like those, because about a third of the albums I'll already know and love and agree with them about, another third will sound familiar to me and I'll maybe have a different album by the same band or will be vaguely familiar with them, and another third I will have never have heard of, and I'll be compelled to investigate why that is. 

Hint: It is always because I am getting old.

So, I read through articles like the one linked above - written by those more hip than I - and keep my mind and body healthy by arguing with their choices in some faraway imaginary land where my noble ideas are always regarded highly by all lucky enough to hear them. Where the counter arguments are always simplistic and easy to topple. 

The reality is that few people even bother trying to discuss music with me any more. I don't blame them, but I do try to keep myself informed about the severity and variety of their foolish choices. There is no way to get them to understand, though I persist in trying. 

I tell them that I'm like Moondog, but without all of the success. 

For a completely different experience from the album linked above. This is a beautiful and haunting piece of ambience.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

They are remembered to me as the glory days

I love the accidental solar flare; it takes very little to please me - accidents, sun, flares. You get the idea. It almost matches his shirt and the out-of-focus shot seems to add to it. It reminded me of some contemporary art I saw once, an exhibit, in Mexico City, back when traveling other places meant that I would try to get the most out of the experience. Before each trip to the airport at the end of ~two days at an afterparty became an exercise in drinking to sober up. 

Well, I had hoped to just write a quick post wishing anyone and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. It is a sacred American tradition with a horrible history, we are told by those whose job it is to make sure we understand that we are all born into sin. Never before in my lifetime have liberals resembled the evangelicals, in whom they are so disappointed in their support for Trump, but possess the same ideological bent, and belief in demonic possession. Those possessed are easy to identify: they are for the eternal enemy. They seek an even more extreme leader, and if history tells us anything they won't stop until the find one better than the unlucky one that they do find next. 

There is never any crisis of righteousness. Not with so many being reborn into sin, ad infinitum.  

Well, I had hoped to just write a quick post wishing anyone and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. It is a sacred American tradition.