Thursday, January 30, 2020


I know CS loathes the many pictures of the boy, but I came across this older one today and wanted to post it. Look into those white and blue eyes.... That boy gave me the pink-eye he broke out with in Tahoe. I expected it, having lounged around with him while he was out of school for days, though I had forgotten how unpleasant it is. My eyes are crusted over with with a sort of adhesive kitty-litter each morning. I went through the drops that we had from the doctor and pharmacy in Tahoe. Mom said she was coming down with a case of it, so she was using it also. Only too late did I realize that she was largely doing preventative treatment. So, now I have no prescription eye drops and have been left to survive with what is available over the counter. I have been using that supply like a drunken sailor: without a condom. 

To add to my woes I have been in a heightened state of alert at work. I am on-call from 8am-4pm and have been for the last couple weeks. It adds stress to my life, though I tell myself that somewhere deep down within me it is good to have my readiness challenged. The sort of fight-and-fight more instinct that has garnered me so much praise throughout the years. I did do some rather comprehensive diagnosis today that felt good, to remind myself that I can commit to an issue and focus on it to completion.  Small victory, but each success offers some sweetness.

Jesus, my fucking eyeballs itch. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

I thought I was someone else, someone good

I went in to see my girl at the guitar shop but she ignored me. Well, she said hi, but that was it. The conversation part is over. The guitar looked and sounded beautiful, though. The frets and fingerboard were all cleaned from a decade and a half of sweaty buildup and booger grease. They adjusted the neck so that it was straighter, which improved the action some. I have been playing it all night - Lola, All The Young Dudes, Walk on the Wild Side, Candy Says, Rebel, Rebel. Etc. Any song that I could think of about being ambidextrous. I don't know the chords to that Replacements song or I would have played that one, too. 

Ah well, I like used guitar shops. It takes an absolute obsessive to own something like that. Speaking of, the boy and I went to the comic book shop while we were there and bought a copy of an old Fantastic Four. A store that's in the same small plaza, also owned by someone who has clearly converted their preoccupation with their interests into what passes for a job. They all seemed so happy, though. If there had been a used record shop then we could have completed the Holy Trinity of lonely passions.

Cameras are something I can buy online. Though I like gawking at gadgets also. For most stuff, I prefer to go wandering around amongst the irrational and alphabetized hoard. Where will men like me go to be lonely when there are no more storefronts? All of my thoughts turn to apocalypse and the police state when I think about what the future might be. Imagine all those empty store fronts once the Amazonian destruction of the strip mall is complete. The deforestation of America's parking lots. It will make police meaner and more self-justified in whatever violent stupidity they care to unleash on you for ever being outside again.

Wandering will be no more. 

Well, I just wanted to sit down and write a bleak note out to the universe, letting everybody know that now that I have my guitar back I'll never need to leave the house again. The earth really does fall away like you see on the left side of that picture above. Strangest lake I've ever visited. Nobody can go swimming in it. From there it is only more slope and then the edge of the world. I think you might come back up on the other side if you can hold your breath one complete rotation around the sun. 


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Power, Corruption and Lies

I don't remember who did the piece that is at the top here, but the rest below are Gerhard Richter. They are not how Richter intended you to view his work, I do not believe, because they are all distortions created by the little action camera that I was using, and only details of larger works. I didn't bother trying to be true to the original at all. I've even adjusted the color on them, to make them pop more, for today's kids. 

Overall I am deeply disappointed with the quality of the images that come out of the little camera. They are all grainy in low light. The camera really only does okay in sunlight and who wants to see those images.  But the boy seems to love recording our fledgling snowboarding expeditions, and what is your parents' money good for if not to make you, a child, happy.

Nobody says, The children are our future any longer. It's too dark. The irony has become questionable, uncertain, or worse - certain. 

It is easy to like Gerhard Richter, though difficult to find much good writing about him. Critics struggle, it seems, with aligning his various styles. Admittedly, there is much incongruity between the pop-art, abstractions, and his photo-realism or even his glass-plate photography. There's a lot going on there. He's like a seven or eight trick pony. 

I tried to read Robert Hughes article about him - The Unblinking Blur - but Time magazine has a pay wall and I can not summon myself to attempt a leap over it, and my knees hurt.

See? That's my take on his art: there's a lot going on there. 

But he is truly great and original, I do believe. To see an exhibition of his works confirms it. The quality, depth, variety and power of his works is apparent. There is something mysterious and yet self-evident there. The blurred images of unknown people, sourced from newsprint and then affected with what I believe to be screen-printing techniques, are both haunting and direct. The Baader-Meinhof series in particular is a powerful "take" on an historical event, where technique, context, and content merge to form an indistinguishable whole. Those now dead bodies portrayed almost as through the lens of a newsprint or documentary memory are unforgettable and yet shrouded in layered mystery. 

Well, I won't write more about him or his art here. I did not prepare. I did not go to the museum to write an essay, though I do sometimes miss writing them. My thoughts are dangerously disorganized elsewhere in life. It is why some writers drink, and perhaps why a drinkers' repenting is so often short-lived. Not that I am repenting at all, I have been drinking immoderately at times but in peace. I'm not sure how I accomplished it, but I am enjoying a little window of time in which I am being mostly left alone. 

I am envious of CS' situation, yet that is perhaps only the idea that I am selling to a willing buyer. I dream of having days of freedom stretched out ahead of me. It has been years since I have had the feeling of being lost in a car - not knowing exactly where I was or where I was going, or when I would stop, of where I would sleep, but knowing that all of those things would come. Being connected always is taking its toll on me.

Alice said that my guitar should be finished today. I am looking forward to chatting with her again. She is the most interesting person I've met in a while, both circumstantially and personally. Also, she is my type - skinny blonde, small breasts, reduced facial hair, etc. No, that was just a joke that occurred to me as a defense in the event that CS said anything about my post yesterday. But he didn't, disappointingly, and I did not wish the joke to go to waste. My interest in her is not sexual and I am not making jokes at her expense, they are for my pleasure, so shut-up.

I have always depended on the shyness of strangers. 



Monday, January 27, 2020


(The Bay)

A curse on the cafe of CS. He texted me an article that I had read once before, but was able to suppress the impulse to buy a camera I didn't need. Then he re-sent it, and like a fool I read it again. Now I must act. I have been looking on eBay. The prices are higher than what I want to spend tonight, especially when you start looking at lenses, but not high enough to keep me away forever. I am nothing if not a man of capitalist courage. Be bold and mighty credit will aid you. 

I don't need anything else. 

I bought a used 12-string acoustic guitar yesterday. An impulse buy, but it is lovely and I've been playing it ever since. All the 12-string rock classics - Over the Hills and Far Away, Wish You Were Here, Ticket To Ride, Hotel California (I sang that to the boy this morning), Give A Little Bit, Hurricane. I think that's all of them. I've been playing anything that I think might sound good on it. 

Maybe I'll take a few weeks off from work soon and learn to play Busted Bicycle.

The guitar tech that I've chatted with a few times at the store convinced me that I don't need a new Martin D-28, that the guitar I have is plenty sufficient and likely has much sentimental value for me. She was right. It was comforting to hear it from somebody else. I gave her the guitar to clean and adjust and put new strings on. Alice. 

She switched to playing guitar left handed recently. I can hardly even imagine such a thing. The difficulty of it seems tremendous. There are other changes she has undergone, also. She was born an Al then added the ice part, it seems. 

I tried to play the guitar left handed when I got home and was ashamed at how clumsy I was, unable to perform even the most basic tasks of the other hand. It seemed much more difficult than starting new with the right hand did all those years ago. Some things will remain beyond my abilities forever. I own books that I will never read and probably never get rid of. We all probably do. Well, those who collect books. 

I wanted to ask Alice about switching playing hands, though I did not wish to appear fascinated with her life. But I was. I can not always be trusted to contain my curiosity. She did not seem at all hesitant to talk about the realities and particulars of playing the guitar. Maybe I'll ask if I can call her Candice the next time I go in. 

I had a simple and pleasant day today after work. Just driving up the valley to pick up the boy with the dog in the car, something came over me. Difficult to describe, a sort of calmness mixed with satisfaction. It has been some time since I've had such an unhurried and contended sense of a moment. Time barely seemed to pass, maybe it didn't. I wanted to make sure I made some small record of it. This.


Sunday, January 26, 2020


(The beach at Crissy Field)

I went into SF yesterday, by myself and spent the day by myself. I had no plan, but I had a few things I wanted to do, hoping to take pictures as part of that. I only have images from the little Osmo Action camera and my phone, all the others were 35mm film. I brought two cameras and three lenses, one loaded with black-and-white all the day and the other color. 

I stopped at a guitar store and played a Martin D-28. It sure was nice, as well it should be for the price - $3100. Only rock stars should own these guitars, really. It is a big step up from the air guitar that I learned on. 

Then I went and dropped of a bunch of rolls of film at Photoworks. I am the only photographer left in the world that spends that much money on pics that anybody else would just delete from their iPhone. Just meaningless, thoughtless snapshots, most of them. I keep trying to capture the mystery of the visible, as Winogrand seemed to do so effortlessly, but it escapes me. It is maddening, that.

After getting trapped in horrible weekend traffic everywhere that I tried to go I eventually decided to give up and go to the SFMOMA. Getting there took me more than an hour, but once there they had wine and salmon lunches. I had one salmon and two cabernets. The little Osmo camera is fun at a museum. The ultra wide angle distorts everything. I forget if it's pincushion or barrel distortion. I guess it must be barrel, though if you follow the line where the floor meets the wall in the image below that looks more like pincushion. 

I don't know, is what I'm trying to say. It's mostly barrel distortion. You can see it really clearly in the image above, if you peer out towards Alcatraz and look at the horizon. 

The day was nice. I am out of practice at being alone. Halfway through the day I was wanting some companionship. the SFMOMA is the only place in San Francisco where women dress lime women. It is a sort of oasis of femininity in a landscape that is otherwise openly hostile to the idea. The women at the museum all wear boots, and know how to walk. It always functions as the onset of seduction, which is maddening. Women know how to be looked at, and that knowing communicates a tremendous amount of coded information. 

After a couple glasses of wine I was texting anybody that I could think of that I used to go to museums with. Zoie, mostly. My long lost art buddy. She has gone the way of the heiresses. She probably has a cooking show by now. 

I am kidding a bit. She finds me funny so I assume certain liberties. 

(SFMOMA guard and I inspecting the gilded jazz testicle)

I went back to the cafe a couple times throughout the day where the wine was. My photography suffered from this, I am sure of it, though it will take years for me to confirm since I was shooting film. But what the fuck... I'm not on assignment. I am the only person who really seems to care about what I am doing, which frees the mind considerably. 

Well, I'm the only one interested until the cops get involved. They have an interest in lots of things I do, if I give them any hint that maybe they should. 

I found a local exhibition that featured three local SF artists. The one below was my favorite. Her art involved itself with the portrayal of black people, and their sexuality, in American culture. But I was able to look past all of that to enjoy the formal compositions and powerful abbreviations of figure, which was beautiful. The entire room in which her work was displayed was painted a red that is similar to the red you see below, which added a lot to the exhibition. 

There was also an exhibition of German art since 1960, which was great - Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz being two of my favorites. I noted to CS that Baselitz reminds me of a post-modern Otto Dix. I was texting CS throughout the entirety of the day. He also used to be one of my museum buddies who has now gone the way of the heiresses. His cooking show will be called Cafe Frittata. If I were CS, now that his pockets are filled with gold and has nothing but free time, then I'd create my own YouTube show. Something like Fishing With John. That show was exactly 30 years ahead of its time. 

Okay, the day has started here. I must do something with it or it will disappear into the skies from whence it came. 

You can look into a bottle of red wine and see the day's shadows moving there. 


Monday, January 20, 2020

Return from Tahoe


We made it up to the snowy mountains and then back again. Going down steep hills should be easier, if it wasn't for all the ice.

The boy broke out with pink-eye and then vomited at the threshold of the men's bathroom at the restaurant where we were having dinner, leaving an acidic and stinky puddle that most men just walked back and forth through as I tried to comfort the youth and get his face and mouth washed. One gentleman kindly asked if he could help. He let the restaurant staff know to draw straws soon, because someone was about to clean up the vile, child wretchedness... None of this tainted our weekend enough to obscure the fun we had. See Raquel's face above. 

A face can always be many things to any person who sees it, but that one is happy for me. I told her she looks like a

Well, I should not relay here the private flattery that I shower her with. The words do not seem as flattering when not being whispered only to her, when no one else can hear. But that is what I like to tell her, and what she seems to believe. It's good to have whispered secrets with one that doesn't need to strictly believe them any more. 

I have started this post poorly. The boy getting sick happened last night. We came home today. Everyone should know by now that I am attracted to the woman I love, sometimes even in orthodox ways. We call it the "Missionary Piston," when we're feeling artless and thrusty.  

We had considered skiing today also, but after two full days of the snowy stuff and then the public vomiting, we opted to drive home. Family vacations are strenuous. So many things can go wrong, there is so much time and effort and expense put into making it all work. Mom and I both agreed that we sort of lucked out. The boy getting sick sooner would have meant more severe limitations on what we could and could not do.

Tahoe is expensive, don't go often unless you really just love throwing cash money into an avalanche that never happens. That's what we have been doing. If we ever go to Yellowstone I am going to fly a drone into the asshole of Old Faithful, because I am nothing if not newsworthy. Our trips skiing and snowboarding could have easily paid for a family trip to Japan by now, but what the fuck... the boy can snowboard, and so can dad.

So, that's what parents do: spend all their money trying to create good memories. 


(Undercover Agent - R-Q6)

The boy, of course, loves all the snowboarding gear. The goggles were a gift from Colorado ski friends, for his birthday. The helmet-mounted camera was a gift from mom and dad for Christmas.

Is he "spoiled"...?
Perhaps a bit.
Fuck you. 
You try to have a kid. 

I grew up begging my mom to buy me very specific things, - model numbers included - she would buy me the cheapest knock-offs of those things. They were not the same. It was the Sony Walkman that broke my tender heart one Christmas morning. I remember the moment of my disappointment and shame. Looking back on it I can remember the moment of tearing open the wrapping paper, as if I had been involved in a crippling accident, I could see back to the moment of impact but could not ever change the moment, no matter how much thought I applied. 

I never remember being hungry or cold. Don't shed a tear for me, yet.

I have decided that I want to make more money. I have never bothered focusing on that, at all, though I did spend my first adult decade having mostly tax-free money pour into my pockets from both sides - drugs and music.

Like Jimmy said, I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away more and more slowly over time as my kidneys aged and I couldn't always get the flow started. I trickled it away so fast. 

CS says that he will soon take a 40% cut in income. I know that this will greatly anger me when I see him next, and I will not spare him my wrath. He will show discomfited concern about lavishly spending money on me the way that he should and I will not like that at all. He has recently lost his romantic partner. You would think that something like that should help my cause, but it won't. He has been a very poor father figure but I've never seen him eat cat food for dinner. I know he can afford to purchase me some pleasure, and pay to watch.

He worries about money as if he had lived my life rather than his own. 

I don't worry about money, I worry about living too long. How would I explain my poverty and my longevity. I only built stories for one or the other.

What a mess.

"You're on Earth. There's no cure for that." - Samuel Beckett

Um, Sammy...
Yes, there is.

I call this DWI-Art. When you are driving after drinking in the snow at dusk and you have a new point-and-shoot and the people who are screaming or whining at you in the car are also boring you witless with their fears and you wish that they would all just shut up for once and let you do your art because it might live on past their little selfish moment of terror. 


Monday, January 13, 2020

... without the love

I am a horrible manager of time. We are reminded by nearly everything, how it is the truest of luxuries - to be able to do what you like with the time you have. But I never wanted to get into management. I never wanted to have to manage anything. I have mostly just wanted to be left alone. It is the result, perhaps, of having read too much Bukowski at an early age, and to have agreed wholeheartedly with so many of his sentiments. There must have been other contributing factors, but the reading of Bukowski is one that has continued to adequately describe and explain the precise nature of my fucked-upedness. 

I remember reading Mockingbird Wish Me Luck in CS's science class. With my then girlfriend, Amy. Not the Amy that I married. The one I was dating, before I met the one that I married. Amies. All those years ago. I was about 17 then. I had met CS the year before, the year I dropped out of high school. That must have been 1985. Am I allowed to reveal details like that yet? On the verge of his departure from the factory... am I to reveal the location of Wayne Manor? Or, Arkham Asylum? 

It is up to him to divulge the secrets of his life. 

I was just trying to scribble a little note about my day here. I wish that it would have been longer and that I would have found a way of doing more with it. I have been practicing the guitar more, but not with much discipline, just learning to strum along with new songs. And I shot a roll of Portra 400 film today. The pic above is Ektar 100, and I can't tell if my face is like that, or if I never reversed it to be correct after scanning it. But it looks a little bit fucked up to me the more I stare at it, though it would probably do that anyway. Staring at pictures of yourself is one way to trigger a flashback.

I have done so much acid in my lifetime that I am surprised that anything makes any sense to me any more. For some, it makes them take certain aspects of life more seriously. I was the other sort of fellow. That is how I was with every drug, though especially the ones that had any abuse potential. That was the intangible quality in nearly any drug that made it interesting. How it could be used to interact directly with that thing within me that becomes obsessed, and will do anything to entertain the feelings of obsession that are not attached to any specific idea or object, and the feeling that I will pursue at any cost. It is like the very best parts of falling in love, without the love.

I think if anybody stares at my face long enough it must start to look fucked up. That can't be only the fault of all of that acid. 


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Light reflections in water

Jesus. I bought another camera. My reasons would make sense to very few, so I won't outline them here. They are too flimsy to withstand even the most modest scrutiny. They have something to do with the focus being off in this picture. Only a true and dedicated capitalist might understand my erratic financial whims. But what the fuck? They say that you can't take it with you, but even that's a lie. You could convert all of your wealth to dollars and use it in a funeral pyre - problem solved. What they mean to say, I think, is that you can't spend it after you're dead, which is also bullshit. That's what the terms of a revokable trust fund are for. 

My truest passion in life is regarding cliches literally, after that I am drawn to treating facts figuratively. It is because I have the heart of a lyin' poet.

It might take me a little while to make an underwater photo that I'll like. It will need to be superior to the ones I've already posted, or my purchase might make me feel foolish. Or, more foolish. 


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Try, try, try

The struggle for me, it seems, is the recognition lately that I only get to be one person, to live one life. For the last couple years I thought my gripe was aging. Aging just exposes the singularity of it in a seemingly unavoidable sequence of realizations. Much of that awareness arrives around a certain age. Though I'm confident there will be more. 

Of course, I'll be okay now that I have defined the problem. Or, so goes the perpetual suggestion of the armchair analysts. People believe that being able to articulate your pain also relieves it. It can, but it's not an assured consequence. It's mostly only when the suffering can be given new form by transmuting it towards the creative impulse. Easily said. Are you suffering now?

You are so brave and quite I forget you are suffering. - Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Well, moving on... The trick is to try and avoid meaning. 

Not to try it and avoid it, just try to avoid it.


Sunday, January 5, 2020


It's difficult to feel very good about the world right now. Newsfeeds do not help. Ignoring it all might, but I haven't tried. Yet there are amazing breakthroughs in many of the branches of science, and often. Organisms that can consume plastics, or flight-ready microbots that may be able to replace bees, or datasets that reveal as yet unseen patterns in agriculture that seem promising rather than damning, etc. The mind holds hope that somehow we can turn the worst aspects of what is happening into a reason to harbor some hope. 

Then, you see the videos of animals trying to escape the brush fires in Australia and you know: we are already entering the hellishness of what we know will come.  

For better or worse, we are in the future now. 


On the photographs of the childhood of others

(Boy Q6)

... because I know how much CS loves other people's childhood photos. 

The boy had his first slumber party last night. He'll be 8 on Tuesday, an age which can also be determined from the shape of the backside of the candle on the cake. He loved the slumber party, though mom and I are tired today. Very. We've both taken a couple naps each.

Watching children's social skills and hierarchies develop is interesting. I'm not sure where mine were stunted, but few question that they were. It is quite noticeable. If you can see past my emotional instabilities, my oddly developed  or undeveloped social skills are the next thing most people notice.  It's why I became so good at playing the guitar. 

I had written ... playing with myself, but then thought aloud, "Why be vulgar?" even though I laughed at the joke. The inability to always know the differences between vulgarity and humor are part of what I am describing, or trying to.

I never evolved beyond being a class clown. Sorry, not a class clown, the class clown. It's not as if I encouraged or allowed competition. This behavior persists even today. It amazes me that I still have a job. Or rather, it doesn't surprise me that I haven't advanced. I prove early and well that I can do things easier than anybody else, and then I prove that I can find the least amount of work that can be done without being fired. Well, that's not true, I guess, but part of it feels true.

I'm like the kid who perfected writing the letter A in a variety of styles, and often swanned the classroom to advertise the fact, but then never sullied myself by bothering to learn any of the other letters.

I mean, I did learn them all eventually. Though by the time I made it to the letter Z my focus was still on mythologizing those old glory days of letter A. The capital cursive Q still causes me problems.

I learn begrudgingly, by being ashamed of not knowing things. But you'd never know that in how I carried what I thought I knew. Like a billboard for my own effortlessness. My own biggest fan and my own worst enemy. 


Saturday, January 4, 2020

I resolved to call her up, a thousand times a day

There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution

We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world

Our so-called leaders speak
With words they try to jail you
They subjugate the meek
But it's the rhetoric of failure

We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world

Where does the answer lie?
Living from day to day
If it's something we can't buy
There must be another way

We are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world
Are spirits in the material world