Thursday, July 30, 2020

Stalker, Redux

It's as if I can't escape this film. Last night I watched the first part of it, again, even though I had watched it a few weeks ago. Then tonight, I watched the rest. I wanted to remind myself of the hypnotic rhythm of it before moving on, much as the stalker approaches the Zone in a cautious and oblique manner. 

I'm not entirely sure I understand why this film is so great. It simply produces a great contemplative state within the viewer. If you are of a certain psychological bent, like me. It is philosophical, but I am able to look past that and not get too wrapped up in its musings and diversions of dialogue. It is poetic, and even pretentiously so at times, but I also forgive it that. It is incredibly slow, yet I was unable to leave the room without stopping it, and even rewinding a minute or so when I returned, to return to its rhythm. Some frames are so delicate and disturbing and beautiful I would wish them to be framed and hung on the walls, though there is something about the motion of his images, however slow, that induces the trance. Few films possess me in this way. It is very dark, but only from the necessity of the story that it tells. 

Yet, it is a science fiction film, a genre that I am known for dismissing, and openly laughing at my friends for loving as much as they do. Grown men. Perhaps that is part of its perverse joy for me. It is science fiction in a similar way that Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell To Earth is, also: it almost isn't. Part of the pleasure of watching it is deciphering if the characters believe their own part in the story. If they are who they believe themselves to be. If they can be believed. In Stalker, we find that none of us are who we claim to be. Or, I think that is what is revealed. None of us know what we most desire. We can only fear that knowledge. We are perhaps right for having that feeling. Who would wish to know with certainty that their innermost desires are petty and cheap, or cruel, or worse?

I wrote to Cato last night, telling him of my excitement at watching it all over again:
I watched the first half of Stalker again tonight. It's incredible how much he can make you enjoy watching nothing happen on the screen. The sort of enforced meditative nature of some of his scenes would be so off-putting (most of the time) when attempted by other filmmakers, but he makes entire films out of those moments. It's insane, truly, the depth and confidence of his genius. I could watch absolutely nothing happen in a Tarkovsky film for days. 

Well, that's what I told him. He loved the film also, watched it as part of his Covid Film Festival in Poland, with his girlfriend. He has been asking me about films that I believe are great. Well, he asked for a few recommendations. I am always afraid to offer them. Because some films that I would recommend, perhaps many, are not watched only for pleasure. They must be studied somewhat for their pleasure to rise from the grave of the mind. Never watch films with someone who has a degree in film. They are all affected bores, especially those with only a B.A. 

I downloaded Robert Bresson's Au hasard Balthazar tonight, will try to watch it tomorrow night. I am going to become so ostentatious that I will disappear up my own asshole with some fanfare and a tiny squeaking noise, like pulling your fingers against an inflated balloon and then suddenly stopping. Do not worry if this happens. Do not worry at all. I will return in a shocking wave of happy flatulence. 


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Roma '80

I can't tell what the fuck is going on. Google Blogger have updated their platform. Like a technophobe, I have avoided upgrading to the new user interface. I think that I've posted a Talking Heads live concert video from Rome in 1980 below, but it is not showing me a preview, as it used to. A blank video playback icon appears there, only. There are lots of new features in their interface. It seems that they are providing more html support now. It took them 10 years to update this product, at least when international law wasn't forcing them to do so as a result in Europe's privacy laws.

The Right To Be Forgotten.  It seems a lost or distant dream that America would, or could, ever pass a similar set of laws. Ones that are designed to protect the individuals from the voraciousness of the free markets. I love the phrase and I use it all the time - the right to be forgotten

Ah well. What is a poor ol' boy supposed to do? Whine and cry 'bout these trifles.

I may try to write more later. For now, I am exhausted. Fuck it all. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

13 Jellyfish

(Y-Fighter / Resistance)

The boy and I had another day together yesterday. I enjoy these moments just as they are. 

We picked up a 250+ pound generator from Costco. I wrestled it into the back of the car, from the cart, by myself. I then had a man help me set it upright when we arrived at Limantour Beach because I started to worry that there was a ^ This Side Up ^ image on it, and there was. I had no room left in my heart for an error of any kind. 

Once at the beach, the boy and I walked north towards the three or four grand white cliffs that are far away and stretch out to the edge of the land, where Point Reyes meets the visible Pacific. We mostly shuffled and darted along the surf line for perhaps three quarters of a mile, never stepping into the water much. The boy took his sandals off, but the water was cold and mostly uninviting, filled with green and brown algae arriving here in a somewhat unpleasant state. Though the sound of it was reliably nice. 

After we saw the first larger jellyfish washed ashore the boy started counting them. We stopped at 13 for a bit and we pondered the unlucky number and their unlucky fate, having washed up here on shore. The boy counted - onwards and upwards - to 60, as we were finally leaving the beach. Most of them were very small. Children the boy guessed, though I suggested there were different species and one kind was simply, naturally smaller, you see. You could detect differences between the big ones and the small ones, I offered, though I believed the boy to be right. Without confirming, we speculated that they can regenerate their parts like starfish and this explained nearly everything. We were only seeing parts of the whole. This view of the world worked for us. 

We marveled at the sculptured shoreline. We walked into the dunes where we could see even further up the shore and out across Drake's Bay. I prevented the boy from venturing off into the expanse of estuary along the backside of the dunes where the sand meets another completely different type of protected waterway - a rather nice beach swamp, with a river running through it, lots of inviting trails through the plants - that lead back towards where the San Andreas fault separates this piece of land from mainland America. 

The estuary is not protected by any signs or fences, but it is part of a national park, so preservation is implicit, as is caution. It is a place that invites contemplation and many seem to come here to revere that lone sentiment. Though, I inwardly bristled at some graffiti - just tagging, in one color - that someone had done on the direction signs near the parking lot. I felt old becoming disappointed in it. But there was no escape. I found the expression of their identity tedious and selfish, because to this now-aging man that's all that it is.

The sky was overcast. The boy wore his Stormtrooper pullover sweater and I wore a second short-sleeved t-shirt. We were as underprepared this time, even though we remembered to wear our swimming shorts, as we were last time, and in nearly opposing kinds of shortsightedness. We were fine, but naive in our preparations again. 

That didn't stop us from eating oysters and fish and chips. We sat out on the pier in the sun and the wind. We didn't take any pictures, there was so much to see. We talked about the tides, and we could see where they would be later that night. 

After the beach, and after our oyster lunch at Nick's Cove, we went to an amusement center called Scandia. I had promised the boy that we would. We drove go-karts and rode on a ring that lifted us to and dropped us from the sky unexpectedly and in revolutions. We could see the hillsides for miles. We laughed and let go of the restraining harnesses as it fell, holding our hands out to show our courage. 

We did the batting cages. The boy regarded it with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm and caution. He is a little bit young for a 40 mph softball, though he connected with a few of them. I went first, to show him that anybody can strike out as much as they want. It's easy. He connected with a few. I connected with one that filled him with admiration. An in-the cage home run. That was all that I needed to do to be revered in that moment. I am thankful the moment arrived and departed without depositing an injury into my spinal column.  

We did not bring sunscreen. My head was rupturing with the effects of the decision. We opted for a stop at Target on the way home to get another Lego project, instead of leaving the go-karts and returning after getting some expensive mayonnaise in a tube that might promise to do battle with the sun on our behalf. 

We agreed that it would take us two nights to complete the Y-Wing Resistance Fighter. We did it in one, and then a little bit more in the morning. 

I brought home tuna steaks and seared them in oil, also with asparagus, and shrimp. I bought Raquel a bottle of white wine which I enjoyed watching her drink. Kopriva. 

I have several pictures of us there before the boy was born, with Barkley, then again shortly thereafter. I found this one online. There are moments in which the place really looks just like this, in the evenings. It is so easy to see and not very far from here.

(Looking south)


Monday, July 27, 2020

Christodora and This Is Memorial Device

I've started reading a book whose setting is essentially the East Village from 1980-2010. It is odd and unintentionally coincidental that I am also reading a book that imagines a fledgling punk scene from the early 80s, in Scotland. This causes me to mix up the narratives and chronologies a little bit, though in that there is a type of excitement, like having two teams of friends in which there is some slight overlap in the rosters and game schedules. 

The picture above was taken on Avenue A. They were shooting a scene. It is the church that sits on the corner right next to the Russian and Turkish Baths, if they are still there. Yes, I looked. they are still there. Though, I should know better and stop verifying if things that I loved about NYC are still there. It is either nostalgia or some feigned minor heartbreak about a nostalgia which has been irretrievably broken. 

Such is love, minor and major. 


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Maybe Nick's Cove

There is so much to say, but no easy way to say it. The time of the corona is wearing me down. I have gained much weight. Eating has not lowered my stress.

Tomorrow, I spend a day with the boy, mostly just he and I. Mom might meet us at the batting cages towards the end of the day. The boy and I might try to find a beach where we can ride our bikes. I pitched him about 200 baseballs in the backyard today. I was sweating heavily and my breathing was labored. Eating has not lowered my stress.

Tomorrow we may find a beach that permits bikes and ride ours as far up and down it as we wish. We will stop and enjoy oysters at what is quickly becoming our place. The day is ours to do with as we wish, though there are some heavy errands to do, also. The purchasing of a pretty big generator, in preparation for the seasonal fires and power outages. 

What a world, what a world...

Rachel and I have done so very little to save our relationship. We need it to work. That is the extent of the faith we've put into it - we need it. It breaks my heart over and over again. So much love squandered, lost, destroyed, or forgotten. None of it should surprise me any more. Maybe it doesn't. It's more of a shock, but without much surprise. The things we need. 


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Black in Back

I love so much of the messaging from the left lately: As a nation, we are SO RACIST that even if we try to talk about it then we are using the paradigms of oppression. Luckily for me, none of my black friends buy into most of this bullshit, otherwise I would have to sit them down and have a talk with them. I would explain that I'm really triggered by their nonsensical and unsubstantiated views. 

I've been having two basic arguments on this subject lately. One involves talk of systemic racism and what metrics we might use to effectively gauge such a thing, and whether facts can be trusted. The other is a version of, Well, black communities bring this upon themselves. That second conversation arrives in a number of flavors, but you can tell when you're having it by there always being a mention of black-on-black crime, or black-on-white crime, or black-on-cop crime, or black-black-black-black-black. It's like arguing with an AC/DC album. 

I only engage in these conversations because my love life is falling apart and I am not very enlightened. I can't occupy my waking hours with enlightened thoughts the way so many of my spiritual friends can. 

Okay, fuck it all. I bought salmon steaks, shrimp, asparagus, and those cute little tasty potatoes. I am about to cook all of that up with a nice bottle of red wine and listen to something other than AC/DC. Almost anything other than that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Nothing Really Mattress

I'm not in love,
So don't forget it
It's just a silly phase I'm going through

And just because I call you up
Don't get me wrong, don't think you've got it made

I'm not in love
I'm not in love

It's because


Monday, July 20, 2020

St. Peter, Paul Street, and the whore, Mary Magdalene

I have used this picture here before, I believe. I posted a crop of it to Instagram, where I am famous for being loved and adored. Below is the cropped version, which only a certain type of person seems to enjoy. It is more "Catholic." 

If you can see and suffer the overt references to dear ol' Saint Peter, the well hunged. 

Compositionally, it is known as an asymmetrical vertical echo. Well, I just made that phrase up, but it is what that type of image is known as now. Now that I have named it. It is neither radial, nor mirrored, nor balanced. It is unsettling to the eye. It suggests death, sacrifice, persona, crucifixion, drowning, youth, and flight, all at once. That is what it suggests to me. I bear no witness to the eyes of others. 

Troubling, I know. But if those things don't interest you - death, sacrifice, persona, crucifixion, drowning, youth, and even flight-  then how did you arrive at this paragraph, written from so far away in the darkness?

I like the picture. One day, maybe, my son will appreciate it the way that I do. Perhaps he will have some girlfriend and take her on hikes and take her picture and find some beautiful, dark, unintentional meaning in the captured light he finds there, and shares with her, leaning in to sense her being in that great yawning, voracious darkness. 

My mind is giving up. I'm not certain whether I want to do any of the things that have sustained me in the past. I want escape more than ever before. The old silk routes no longer transport this caravan where they once did. My troops are too tired to circle. I have written everyone I know; help can not come. 

It is not very Catholic to admit such things. It is a sin to think, or to wish, that there is some unknown loophole in the vast celestial debt of life and living that so often dreams of the numinous. Death is the beginning of eternity, for each to beach. Today is the first day of the rest of your secrets. Divinity seems neither achieved nor disappeared, less given as stolen from the sands, this life of wind, glimpsing this vision, simple as it so often is, this riven puddle, imaged here within. 


Sunday, July 19, 2020

The Thin Red Line

Figured that I'd start my Sunday with a contemplative war film. I woke up without an erection. It scared me. I checked my blood pressure and looked at some images of naked people, but nothing. That's how you know it's a good morning for war.

Hans Zimmer did the music. A friend used to work for him in LA. Lived on his property, in the guest house - rent free, almost pay-free. He would write music for him that would then later be sold with Zimmer's name on it as the composer. The music industry is funny, if you can stand the comedy of it. Some people just aren't cut out for all the laughter.


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Why Not Buy?

Like CS, I want new cameras, also. But I don't want to get rid of any that I already own. My "problem," if it can be considered one, is that I have limited my lens mounts to Nikon's F and the Fujinon X-Series. So, I just keep finding excuses to buy lenses for those systems, mostly Nikon. If I were to buy a medium format system then I could start wasting my money in new ways. 

I only say "waste" in that I mainly take family portraits and candid shots. Anything more than a 35mm system is probably overkill, in an area in which I have already demonstrated overkill of a few other kinds. Add to that, I have never studied 35mm photography enough to understand color and contrast very well, much less lighting. I have relied almost exclusively on having nice cameras and lenses, trying to predict or determine the best place to be to get the shot I want, and attempting to utilize a few basic compositional techniques. Beyond that, I don't know very much about photography. I just shoot a lot, which allows me to "get lucky" more often. Luck is no guarantee. Particularly if your eye doesn't see the "luck" later when you are glimpsing over the shots that you have taken. 

I woke up and listened to The Olympians self-titled album. Now, I have moved on to country music - Emmylou Harris's Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town. I am just biding time until Raquel and the boy leave. He has a playdate with one of his friends. I am looking forward to some time to just lie around the house and read. A rarity, to be sure. The stillest things in our house are the fans (A reference to CS's post from today). It would be nice if it were possible to trade lives with another for a while. I wonder whose life I would admire the most. Right now I crave time to myself, but who knows what horrors that would deliver once my wishes were granted. 

I had a dream a few nights ago that the boy and mom had died in an accident. I woke up immediately from the fear and shock of it, but the thought of what life might be like after that was a bit much for me. Fun times, of course. If you want to give yourself a few laughs just imagine the people you love being killed suddenly in an accident. These are the horrors of middle age. Luck is no guarantee. 


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Consider The Ravens

(Boy Q6, by Rembrandt)

I ended up ordering an even nicer Nikon 105mm f1.8 AI-S prime portrait lens. I could have, of course, bought the 105mm f2 DC, but I already have the superior 135mm f2 DC, so why be gluttonous towards one type of seeing? Also, I only plan on using this manually with film bodies. Auto-focus adds considerable expense to the cost of glass, as well as increasing the possibility, if not likelihood, of failure.

The image above was just a quick snapshot in the kitchen last night. Mom had braided his hair. He wished to document it for posterity. I had him stand under the soft kitchen light. Chiaroscuro was the desired effect. A real Renaissance image, at long last.

I look forward to the end of each day now. Not in a dismal or gloomy way, but because I am starting to stay up later and the peace and quiet is good for me. I sip red wine and try to remind myself not to worry so much. 

Who of you by worrying will add a single hour to their lives?

Well, that's what I ask myself as the wine wears off.


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Land of Far, Far Away

(Point Reyes - a building in front of the lighthouse)

I feel as if Wes Anderson would like this picture of mine. It is reminiscent, for me, of Moonrise Kingdom. Though the color scheme he used in that film differs greatly, relying so heavily on the nostalgic red, yellow, and orange tones of the 70s. Or rather, tones that were popular in the 70s.

I don't mean that he tried to make the ocean and sky a 70s red or yellow, just that my memory of the film evokes an entirely different color temperature/palette. 

CS should rightfully eviscerate me for writing so poorly, so sloppily. He is no longer in the business of grading freshman essays. He is looking for new work. I am looking for the prices of certain cameras to go down on Amazon. It makes me feel as if I am being frugal, when the reality is that I'm trying to throw my money away for a quick blast of dopamine.

I have found another old "classic" Nikon manual film lens that I want to buy. It feels foolish after a while, to keep buying lenses that barely differ from ones I already own. But every now and then someone will see me out in public with a film camera and they will spark up a conversation. If they mention a lens or body that I don't have then my soul will shrivel a little bit and I will feel empty. It's some sort of personality disorder but I don't want to fix it, especially since I'm so close to owning all the flagship lenses and bodies anyway. 

I've done the same with books, and records, and movies. I don't know what the disorder is called. It is when you try to convince yourself of an inner worth because of your proximity towards, or possession of, external objects. I've had to find new ways of bolstering my self-esteem lately, because my memory is fading. I was doing very well with exercise, but then the sciatica has knocked me off my bike. Masturbation can be pleasurable but only rarely does it make you proud. 

Well, the Nikon lens is the one used to take the below photograph, known as "The Afghan Girl." It is perhaps worth owning just for the historical value. National Geographic seemed to me to be the very best magazine there was when I was much younger. Now, of course we all recognize it for the patronizing, condescending, colonialist garbage that it is and was. But you can still see some sweet native titty in there if you kept any old copies around. 

I bought some heroin from an Afghani once in a bar in Prague. I had left the hotel without my girlfriend at the time, if I remember correctly. Or, maybe she had gone back to the hotel because she did not want to wander from bar to bar any more. She was and is a vegetarian, so she did not have the fortitude that I claimed for myself. When I came back to the hotel I imagined smoking it together and her letting me play with her butthole, and other stuff, but I have no memory of that happening. The night disappeared into itself and the dawn arrived with the room cleaners knocking on the door. We yelled for them to go away in English but they just kept knocking and knocking. I finally opened the door to scream at them, but my girlfriend had stepped from the bed completely naked behind me without my knowledge, so that when I opened the door it was only to my mute anger and her nudity.

We laughed and laughed about it. We smoked some more of the stuff and wandered out into the city of spires and likely caused ourselves more troubles. I don't remember now. It's like one of my old books, or lenses through which I view the world before and ahead of me. 


Sunday, July 12, 2020

Every time we take this route

Today - Doran Beach. I took pictures but have not extracted them from the cameras. None of the pics were any good. I could tell as I was shooting them. I was just shooting to be shooting. A lot of people must feel that way.

I love the pic above - Raquel feeding the boy in the car. Sweet days. The pic below was taken later that night, after his bath. We were at the beach this day also - Point Reyes National Seashore - though it was much cooler. All the pics reflect that in the choice of clothes. The great Pacific winds. The California Poppies were blooming.

I have been trying to kiss her breasts ever since and will whine and cry sometimes if she doesn't let me. Or, I used to. I'm not sure what I do now. I feel as if I have quite a poker face lately. I'm not even sure how I feel, so less finds its way to my face. 

Today, we went with two other families - five adults, four kids, two dogs, two bottles of rosé, a kite, a frisbee, music, sun and sand, etc. The boy lost one of his shoes in the dunes. This prevented us from going to a restaurant on the ride home. There is a place as you're leaving Bodega Bay - where Hitchcock filmed The Birds - they sell Gloria Ferrer champagne and all types of oysters by the dozen and by the half dozen. 

Every time we take this route, I want to stop.


Saturday, July 11, 2020

Paradox, where is my chalice?

Similar to CS, I wrote a post but deleted it, then wrote part of another and did the same. It described a date that Raquel and I went on last night. It is best not to catalog the disappointments of love. It felt therapeutic to write it and then again to delete it. Perhaps that is how our next breakup will feel - therapeutic. We're overdue. It's what we do every few years. 

I just started listening to the new My Morning Jacket album - The Waterfall II. They have further abandoned their southern rock roots for a more "classic" psychedelic sound, which is just fine with me. I loved that southern sound, having grown up with a version of it, but they have other talents. 

I do not listen to them for intellectual pleasure. There is something innocent about the honesty of their intentions. I permit or ignore lyrics from Jim James that would cause me to laugh most others right off the speakers. 

I had a chocolate glazed donut and a handful of nacho cheese flavored Doritos for breakfast this morning, to remind myself a little bit what being single is like when you're alone and nobody's there to help you. Heartburn replacing what used to fill that space. I love her much, but we should really start thinking about the future. 

Paradox, where is my chalice?
Jester, where is my gimbal?
Gypsy, bring me the goblets. 


Thursday, July 9, 2020

How I Learned To Stop Scurrying


It's not just depression, of course. It rarely is only that - the misery of melancholy. It is anxiety, also, and lots of it, without much control over any of it. There is no use in talking about it, or writing about it. I feel as if I am about to explode with sadness. Few pleasures remain.

I like the pic above. I love images that are, at least in part, abstractions. Some blurring of light, suggestive of the ways in which time and memory affect the past images of the ideas of the mind. Just a basic composition, enough detail to relay the nature of the subject - simplification as a compositional technique. Helena is the youngest of my three Kingsbery sisters.

I have no more to convey tonight. I screamed at the boy because his energy level was driving me crazy. I did not demean him, but the effect was dispiriting for both of us nonetheless. I desperately need him to go play with kids his age. I am certain that he feels the same. Who knows what damage has already occurred or is yet to come.

Mom and I have done very little, almost nothing, to prepare for the worst. We stopped talking about it months ago. Months that feel like years. It will be an unbearable horror for me if I'm not the one who dies first. Tomorrow, I will withdraw all of my money from every account that I have so that it is all in untraceable cash. I will feel safer then, less anxious, with much greater control over anything that happens. If nothing can make me feel pleasure then I will do what makes me feel more secure.

I've heard the government gets notified any time somebody withdraws or transfers more than $20,000. How can that possibly be legal?


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Dry Leaves

I couldn't find any new pics. I'm not even sure that I take new pics any more. I suppose that I still shoot with my film cameras. The rolls just pile up here on my desk now and do not get processed, much less scanned or viewed in any way. I could have used the time of the 'rona to catch up on things that I've wanted to do, or to lose weight, but none of that has happened. Instead, I have sunken into physical pain and attending to that pain. I drink a bottle of wine or more each day now, if you were to average them out across the week. No, that is an exaggeration, but only a slight one. Every time that I turn over a new leaf I find a different drug, though rarely a new one. 

Speaking of dry leaves, the seasonal fires will be coming back to the valley soon. A generator arrived the other day and sits in its box. We need gas cans, filled with gasoline. Probably two of them, five gallons each. The generator is robust enough to keep our refrigerator on at night and keep our modem and router on in the daytime. If we have to flee the valley because of the fires again this year then none of us knows exactly what that will mean. It is difficult to find hotels that are open now. If there are thousands of families fleeing the region then it will not become any easier, and there will be fewer people offering their help. That is one way that apocalypses begin - factors merge unexpectedly.  

I have plenty of camping gear and visions of just walking off into the woods and waiting for the wall of fire to arrive. It's all about facing your fears, they say. I gravitate towards the idea of never being found. So few people get to vanish any more. The world is very large and there are so many people. It seems that more would be able to just disappear into a crowd, or deep below the surface of the oceans, or to any city in the midwest. It seems that we would lose more track of people in prison than we do, but we don't. Most everybody is accounted for, sooner or later. Eventually some DNA is found scraped against a tree out in the woods and the family's long suffering and endless questions and nightly prayers can finally be over. They let go of hope. 

A mass extinction event will probably turn all of that on its head. The numbers of missing, lost, or dead will become so great that the administrative capacity of governments will be overwhelmed. They won't even be able to keep track of all the white people dying. That is how serious it will be. As the president often correctly says, If we stop looking for all those missing, the numbers will go down

Okay, I should stop. I'm laughing at this stuff, but it might be hard to tell from the other side of the computer screen if any of it is funny. 

The president's niece claims he cheated on his SAT. She also claims that she has nice tits. Or, she claims that's how horny 'ol POTUS felt about them when she was 29 years old. She's a clinical psychologist and believes him to be a very dangerous man. Who am I to question her authority? The most amazing aspect of this tell-all book she is publishing is that Trump has not yet claimed to be an expert in clinical psychology.  All the psychologists ask me, "How do you know so much about this stuff?" That was how he reassured us not to worry too much about Covid-19. The smartest man in the country was on the case. What could possibly go wrong? He said the heat will waft it all away. 

The pic above is one of mom's favorites. We were walking down the street to her house a few years ago, when we used to live apart. I asked the boy to stop and turn. He did. The slight backlighting and the 135mm f2 DC portrait lens did all the rest. 

Maybe that is why I feel depressed lately. I have no willing photographic subjects and the world outside of this house has become engulfed in airborne disease. There was something comforting about the idea that, at any time, I could just take off for a while, if I started to feel as if that was what I wanted. Or, needed. 

Feeling that there is no escape seems indistinguishable from the feelings of depression. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2020


The above was the only picture that I took yesterday. I packed up all of my gear and tried to find a drivable route to Wingo, CA but had no luck. Wingo is a ghost town. It is decaying out in the sun in the marshlands north of of San Pablo Bay. These train tracks pass somewhere near it, I think, but the walk was a few miles. I had no water with me, and had not brought the backpack that I could put the camera case in. All I had was some pot and opium and I did not wish to become confused or sleepy in the midday sun. I had already eaten a xanax and had a nice, fine pint of strong beer before departing the house. Driving the countryside here should be a relaxing experience. 

If you look for it on a map it seems as if there is a road that leads to it, but that is not the case at all. The road has been closed for so long that it has overgrown, barely being a gravel path now, blocked by a locked gate on private property - Larson Winery. There are abandoned train tracks that can get you there also, though they can be confusing once you are out in the marsh, where they split and criss-cross many times. I have been told that a mountain bike or a motorcycle is probably the best way to get out there.

I have been warned that uninvited visitors will still get shot at from broken out windows if you try to visit and get too curious. Apparently, somehow, there is still some private property out there and there's no way to tell what is private and what is not. The remaining habitants believe it all to be private. They hate photographers most of all. They will give you a few warning shots before they make sure you can hear the bullets hitting the ground nearer and nearer to you. The idea of the warning must be palpable, and must increase in severity. 

Wingo is where the North Pacific Railroad line used to split. There used to be as many as a hundred people that lived there. Nobody is really sure. Some of the buildings have burned down, some were taken to the bay by the river. One of the bridges collapsed long ago. 

On the train you could head up to Calistoga on the Napa side. There was another line that went further up into Sonoma, though it was not a passenger line, it was only used for non-human commerce. You would get off in Wingo and take a horse-drawn carriage up into Sonoma - luxurious wine country, the closest thing that America had to the wine regions of France and Italy. 

Nobody I spoke with is quite sure how long it has been abandoned but most guessed around 75 years or more. Nobody's parents or grandparents had ever known it while it was inhabited, but they all agree: do not go out there. You know what that sort of advice does to me. It's like showing me pictures of naked women - my interests surge. I've been looking online for motorcycles today. Yes, of course, I already own a nice mountain bike, but where's the sense of adventure in that?

Searching for an easy way there, and failing, did not seem to help my depression any. I went to the pub and had a few beers with a beef brisket sandwich. Those helped, or so it seemed. Perhaps they will help again today. 

Here are some pics I stole from the internet:


Monday, July 6, 2020

A lot of lenses, and a film camera too

Well, I did not drift off into the great unknown last night, whether by will or by pre-arranged contract. I must have chosen a dream about life. Or, I walked away from the light at dawn. Very counter-intuitive, that advice. If I am ever in a situation in which there is much darkness and to all of my sensibilities it would seem as if I was in a waking dream then I would guess that I would walk into the light, even knowing that this goes counter to the pleadings of those who wish to keep you alive in such situations. I wonder if there is any science behind this oddly universal walking towards or away from an inner or imaginary light, one of which suggests a greater likelihood of death and the other of a clinging to life. Or, if this is similar to people blaming behavior on the moon - statistically unproven.

I won't bother looking it up. This is not a research-based site. You may have noticed.

I was going to put my cameras in my car and drive around and take pictures of things. There are things to look at out here in the country. Though, as with so many things out here in the country, they are spread out rather far apart. There are few restaurants open where I could stop and enjoy some mostly private, solitary lunch. Maybe a pleasant beer, looking out a window and watching the cars pass. I just packed up the camera bag. I will be leaving soon. 

Yes, I watched Lot Lizard. I can't remember if CS suggested to watch it or to avoid it,  but I chose the former. It documents a dismal and heartbreaking world. One filled with the desperate who feel oddly empowered by their choice of desperation. Or, at times they do. The cameras keep rolling and captures other moments, also, in which they do not seem as self-empowered by their choices. 

I am getting older. I have less tolerance, patience, and desire for exploring the desperation of others. I certainly do not romanticize it as much as I once did. I would read Nelson Algren and think myself cool for having done so. Or, Bukowski. There are many others. The outsiders of literature. Now, I realize how easy it is to drift away from the feeling as if you are existing somewhere on the plane of society, to sliding down that slope towards a place in which there is no easy way back, where you cling to a singular idea of existing on a plane of society. 

I have not always been careful by the moments that I have allowed to define me. 

Re: yesterday's post.

It is not that I wish to cease to exist, or do not enjoy moments of life, I only want a break of some kind - a much longer night's sleep, or several of them arranged consecutively, a cessation of responsibility, of being somewhat trapped in the dynamic of life that I have created or allowed, a few more years of the vitality of youth, less chronic physical pain. Short of those things, I want a nice, long, break enveloped in unknowing darkness. Maybe a coma?


Sunday, July 5, 2020

The cousin of death

I can already hear the semi-conscious moaning of it - whining myself awake in a few hours. Grappling my way out of an unpleasant dream. How many people, I wonder, have wished to just drift away in their sleep, without any pre-knowledge or pain concerning their demise? All of us, or merely most? Wishing such a thing is not suicidal. That is a different type of desperate desire. I am only describing the wish to not know, in immediate advance, what is inevitable anyway. Suicide is demanding to know in advance, and then to know with certainty in the present. 

To not be certain that the end is near, and to avoid pain and anguish - the misery of consciousness - that is what I wish for myself. Not only do I want the end to take me by complete surprise, I don't even wish to be surprised by its arrival. I would prefer to not know at all. I'd prefer to sleep through the entire thing. An eternal continuum of pure physical ignorance.

Therein lies my dystopian dream of the future: you reach an age, you sign a contract. A company, after a certain point of time and before a certain threshold of pain, will sneak into your life and out you to permanent sleep. You'll never know when. You can just rest easy knowing that you will not die in pain, and you need not worry about the gradual decline of myriad or singular infirmities. The minor indignities of corrosive cellular decay, organs limping along. You could even sign off on it all being quite pleasurable. Put it on a credit card and never think of it again. There would be a sleeping drug to start, which wears off into a pleasant opioid delirium. Sex could be arranged, your favorite kinds, days of it. I can see it now in vivid stocking-and-gartered detail.  Enough to wear you out, such that sleep arrives as welcome as ever. 

When they say that your life passes before your eyes, maybe it could be accompanied by a blow job on drugs also. Why all the sadness? Can't it be cheap and tawdry, as well? Is there anything more ultimately vulgar than death and decay? 

But, we know eventually the company you paid to provide your dream-death would need to cut overhead costs. They would justify your "right time" being sooner and sooner. Their customer satisfaction ratings would eventually drop off and they might even have to lower their prices while increase advertising revenues. People would talk about the good-old-days of the designer death industry. When it wasn't only about the money. 

I don't know. I'm just spitballin' sci-fi film ideas. 

It could also be simple - a pleasant injection on a cold metal tray. Why not. They slide you into a cooler before you're even unconscious, but you drift off to sleep all the same within a minute or two - alone, in the dark. Or, your dentist could do it for you. You just stop by for a filling when you suddenly notice that the last two songs played in the enveloping nitrous haze happened to be your favorites. The gas takes over as you struggle to hum the last lyrics of the verse. 

Why do most options have to be so dismal? They make it dismal, in trying to make it dignified. 

People ruin everything. 


Thursday, July 2, 2020

An Exercise in Values

Perhaps if I just focus on work. That will occupy a significant portion of the day. All that I will have left to fret about will be the other waking hours, the sleeplessness and pain.

Yesterday, we played a family game where we went through a stack of cards that each had values written on them. We were meant to choose five to which we felt a connection. No explanation necessary, or that was the idea. I chose Love/Affection, Humor, Beauty, Autonomy, and Variety. These last two choices were because Clemency and Colonialism were not available options. There were a lot of values not represented in this stack of cards, some mysteriously so - Peace, Joy, Grace, Shame, Submission, Lust, Avarice, etc. Perhaps some human values seem antiquated or out-of-step with posterity.

Several times throughout the exercise I claimed that the Ten Commandments were the only values I needed, and mentioned the importance of not coveting oxen and maid-servants often afterwards. I explained that all of the Beauty that man deserves is wrapped up in those ten glorious tabs of wisdom. 

Raquel asked if I was, serious about my choices? I assured her that I was. Then, for the rest of the evening she tried to build some sort of family program around our choices. She had Sharpies and poster board and calendars and many brightly colored tacks. She was looking for Consensus as to how to go about implementing this new Values initiative. Humor and Autonomy go far in defending against that sort of thing, when done so with Love/Affection. 

She's just being a good mom - part crazy, always ambitious, never finished. She admitted afterwards she had to focus not to pull all cards that were about Teamwork and Administration, which we both found funny and got a good laugh out of. I was thankful, also, because there was no card for Crisis Management.

There were some cards that were blank, so we could write in values that we felt had been omitted from their generous selections. I wrote in Serenity, Conservation, and Judiciousness.

It must have been the Variety.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Not all of them

I am not so different from everybody else, except now I am depressed. I have all of the symptoms. 

Regular exercise - specifically, endurance cycling - had kept me in a pretty good mental and physical place. But that is mostly gone now, replaced by chronic pain. I keep lying to myself about it. I prefer to remind Rachel of it more than talking to myself about it. She can be a good amalgam of Miss Catherine Barkley and Lady Brett Ashley, at times. There are maybe others. Who was the little rabbit in For Whom... Her, also. And all of the others. 

Though, I am not here today to write about Rachel.

How many were wrong when they believed the end to be near? 

Not all.

Ask not.
Ask not.