April 1, 2001 (Sunday)
People continue to amaze and confound me. April first and not one person has attempted to "get" me. What has the world come to?
"Curvature of the Earth"
April 2, 2001 (Monday)
"Capturing the Sky"
Guess what? The people at the auto electric place took care of my turn signals. No argument, no charge, no problems and it only took half an hour. A great way to start the day. The rest of the day so far has gone pretty well, too. No great news on the income front, but I haven't lost any money either unless you count a buck fifty-nine for a double-shot espresso.
It's been a nearly perfect day. I walked about four miles, photographer's vest on under a light jacket and at times I was too warm. The temperature hit close to sixty. Looks like the same for tomorrow. Starting Wednesday, there will be thunderstorms for about a week. Spring has seemingly sprung.
April 3, 2001 (Tuesday)
Continuing with my series of photographs from the downtown Charleston area, here's the church that was reflected in the glass of the building depicted the previous three days.
"St. George's Syrian Orthodox Church"
April 4, 2001 (Wednesday)
More from downtown. This is a side shot of one of the domes on St. George's.
"Eastern Orthodox Bird"
The thunderstorms that were forecast for today earlier in the week have been pushed back to Friday. Ah, that's April for you. I'm sure the monsoons will be upon us soon enough.
The weather here the past two days has been superb. I've been out and about taking pictures, walking, just standing or sitting. The sun is glorious and the air, while still having a bit of a nip in it, is mostly warm and still. When there is a breeze, it's gentle. By the first of the week the daffodils along the river bank should be in full riot. I can't wait! All that yellow has to perk a person up. Van Gogh loved yellow, as evidenced by his numerous paintings where the predominant color was yellow. I need to do something in yellow to celebrate spring.
April 5, 2001 (Thursday)
I was out today taking more photographs, mostly of flowering things, since it is spring. I also got a pretty good shot or two of a mallard duck. The hills aren't leafed up enough to look good yet, but it won't be long.
I have several photos of the daffodils along the river now. I think I'll have to do a page with a daffodil tour after I have the next two rolls of film processed.
I'm not sure of the why or wherefore of this, but it's one of those odd things that just catches my eye. This is the back of a house on Jackson street, taken from the alley. Light weight and easy to carry, huh?
"Okay. . ."
April 6, 2001 (Friday)
I've been going through some reflection on my life, rummaging around in my childhood, trying to ferret out some of the instances and influences that made me the way I am. It's a bit like self-analysis, I suppose. At the beginning things were somewhat nebulous -- amorphous and indistinct, swirling around like coffee creamer just starting to be stirred into a cup of hot java. The further I go into it, the more separate pieces of my life seem to me in reflection, the more discrete and discernible as formative events. It's a little painful at times, particularly when I consider my lack of a father growing up, and my near lack of a mother, because she had to work so hard to keep us housed and clothed and fed. It was a hard life, but it only seems so in retrospect. At the time it was all I knew and I didn't have the range of vision to realize how bitter I should have been at the way things were, and at the people who caused it to be that way.
It's funny, though, as I peer into the dark past and pick it apart, instead of getting progressively more bitter about it, I'm slowly letting a lot of it go. I'm dropping the pain and the sorrow and the angst and embracing the good things. In the process I'm pinpointing certain deficits in my development and I'm beginning to formulate a plan to address and correct them.
I find the damnedest things in my yard. The name and details have been obliterated to protect the guilty.
April 7, 2001 (Saturday)
Today was a wonderful day to take photographs, so I did yard work! I did pick up the last roll of film I took out of the camera. Aonther one will probably go into the shop tomorrow.
"Morning Along the Tracks"
April 8, 2001 (Sunday)
Another trip to the mountains today. I'm worn out. At Lost World Caverns I picked up three mineral "marbles." They're really neat. I wanted to buy everything they had. They had some bismuth crystals and all sorts of crystals and fossils. Really neat stuff.
April 9, 2001 (Monday)
The average high temperature for this area this time of year is 65. The past two days it's been 85 here. Straight out of winter into summer with no intervening period of grace.
I was walking up near the Capitol the other day. The legislature is in session, so there are vehicles parked all along the boulevard bearing legislative tags. Here's one that struck me as something like a warning label:
April 10, 2001 (Tuesday)
Eighty-nine years ago today, the Titanic set sail.
Being broke sucks, especially at my advanced age. For some unknown reason, I still hold out hope that things will get better, even if we do have Reagan on Speedballs in the White House. Dubya is doing his damage pretty much quietly and most people seem to be ignoring it or nodding in tacit approval. Give it a few years, folks, until the bridges start collapsing, until the potholes on the Interstate neccesitate a 30 MPH speed limit, until we have to filter our own drinking water because the physical plants that purify our water now are so degenerate that they can't do an adequate job.
All you idiots who want to eliminate government, and think that private enterprise can do a better job, at a profit, providing the same services that government does, are in for a rude awakening. Unfortunately, a falling tide lowers all boats, too, and those of us already lower than your yachts and cabin cruisers will have to smell the stench of the slime at the bottom more than the dimwitted reactionaries causing this lowering of standards and services. They will probably smell the stench, too, but undoubtedly they'll think it the poor smelling bad as usual.
"Apple Blossom Time"
April 11, 2001 (Wednesday)
I hate where I live. There's a Taxi Company across the street, and a new Nextel outlet moved in further down the block, so parking is totally messed up. The alley that runs beside my house is a magnet for drunks, bums, prostitutes, and other degenerates. Yesterday I had to run a group of them off as one of them was about to urinate just outside my fence. Just what I need for the summer, the sweet smell of piss wafting in through my windows! As I drive up the street, there are people all over the street, sidewalks and yards. It looks more like East LA than The East End of Charleston, West Virginia. I hate where I live.
Here we have something more of randomness. Is there such a thing? Isn't there some impetus behind the motion of my hand as I create these pieces I ascribe to randomness? Or if randomness exists, then perhaps it's all that exists, like the Buddhist philosophy of Ksanika-vada purports. All is random and the order is merely patterns imposed by our consciousness in an effort to ascribe order where there really is none. It's something to think about.
April 12, 2001 (Thursday)
With the preternaturally warm weather recently, gunfire in close proximity has become a daily event. Yesterday there was a wrinkle on the usual street shootings. In an alley about two blocks from here, an alley I frequently pass through on my way to the post office or the Capitol, a man shot another, not with a gun, but with bow and arrow! It turns out this is not the first time he's done so!
Over the past couple of weeks, I've had a number of people tell me they want to buy paintings, drawings, or photographs. I've swallowed my pride and asked a lot less than what I value the work at, just to sell something (I really need the money). Well, guess what? Of the five people who made the offer to buy something, NONE has followed through. I guess the paltry amount I asked was just too much to charge for my blood, sweat, tears, and passion. I'll never make a decent living as an artist until I can command decent prices for my work. I suppose I should give up any pretense of being an artist and drive a cab or something, since I can't even sell my art at discount prices.
Maybe I should start selling painted saw blades with pastoral scenes at craft shows and flea markets. That's about the level of art that's appreciated here. Or maybe I could learn to weave baskets. Perhaps then I could win a place in the juried exhibitions. I'm not rustic enough, I guess, or educated enough, or in the wrong place, or I don't do what the market wants. Whatever.
April 13, 2001 (Friday)
It's Good Friday. It's Friday the 13th. I've got lots of things to talk about today. Maybe I should just shut up.
My e-mail is not working at the moment, and when I tried to call the company who does my web hosting and provides my domain with its POP3 e-mail server, I got a recording that says it's not a valid number. I e-mailed them a message through another e-mail account elsewhere, but I noted on their website that the offices are closed for Good Friday. I wonder if that includes tech support? Anyone know a good web hosting company where I can have unlimited e-mail accounts and at least 50 MB of page space? Don't tell me Big Picture Technologies (BigPicOnline, Cool Web Hosting, Cool Link) either, because that's what I've got. Cool Link went out of the ISP business and was supposed to send me a rebate check. They told me six weeks in January. The groundhog told me six weeks in February. He was right. Cool Link still hasn't sent my check. Texans!
Today is what I consider a perfect spring day. It rained early this morning, cooling the air, quelling the pollen, and giving the burgeoning plant life a well-needed drink. The air is cool and clear, the light is crystalline, the shadows deep and rich. The colors are at their pastel perfection. There's a light wind. I spent most of the morning just walking around taking the occasional photograph, but mostly just admiring nature and enjoying the weather. The sky is cloudy, but with enough blue to provide a sufficient backdrop to the clouds to make them appear even more impressive by the contrast. I love days like this, so rare and so beautiful.
Here's another shot of the West Virginia State Capitol Dome that I took last week. It's such a photogenic building.
I'm currently reading a book by (don't laugh) Michael Moorcock. It's called A Nomad of the Time Streams. It's quite an excellent book. On page 186 he writes:
Man can live by bread alone when all his energies are devoted to attaining that bread, but once his mind is clear, once he has ceased to labour through all his waking hours to find food, then he begins to think. If he has the opportunity to gather facts, if his mind is educated, then he begins to consider his position in the world and compare it with that of other men. [Once he does]. . . it . . . [becomes] possible. . . to understand that the world's power. . . [is] in the hands of a few -- the landowners, the industrialists, the politicians and the ruling classes. . . "
This whole book so far is filled with brilliant satire, political and social insight, humor, and adventure. I highly recommend it.
April 14, 2001 (Saturday)
Two rolls of film processed. Looks like I'm going to b communicating with pictures for a while. I got some really good stuff, and it's all scanned in. I have something special planned for tomorrow's offering. I hope y'all like yellow!
"Twisting in the Wind"
April 15, 2001 (Sunday)
Today, on the holiest of days in the Christian calendar, issues of a religious nature present themselves to me. Instead I think I'll wait for a more opportune moment and present my diatribe in a more reasoned manner. As long-time readers of this diary may recall, Easter was originally a Pagan holiday, honoring Eostre, the Teutonic goddess of spring. In honor of Eostre, I present the following display of spring's glory as performed by daffodils and narcissus:
Warning: This page is graphics intensive and may take a very long time to load. All images are Copyright © 2001 by J. Michael Mollohan. Permission must be obtained before any commercial or public use. You may download or save these photographs for your personal use but you may not redistribute them or include them in other documents without permission in writing.
April 16, 2001 (Monday)
One thing I missed mentioning during my tour of the riverside walkway yesterday was the birds. Along the river bank you're likely to see mallard ducks, or Canadian geese, or even a Blue Heron.
Here's a male mallard:
And this is indeed an odd duck. . .
April 17, 2001 (Tuesday)
The weather has gone completely bonkers. It was snowing when I got up. Throughout the day we've had snow on the ground, rain, sleet, ice balls, more snow, more rain, plenty of sun. One way you really tell spring is here? The sound of jackhammers all over town!
April 18, 2001 (Wednesday)
I've taken a few pictures lately of license plates, either for their own sake or for the juxtaposition of the tags and bumperstickers on the vehicle. I thought it only fair to include my own in the ongoing presentation.
Anyone care to guess what it means? No fair guessing if I've already told you.
April 19, 2001 (Thursday)
I usually just delete these cute e-mails with all the pass this along for good luck to your friends admonitions, but this one came to be through a software Beta Test list and I like what it has to say, so I thought I'd pass it along.
If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of
precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios
remaining the same, it would look something like the
There would be:
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be nonwhite
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and
all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a compressed
perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and
education becomes glaringly apparent.
The following is also something to ponder...
If you woke up this morning with more health than
illness...you are More blessed than the million who will not
survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the
loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the
pangs of starvation ... you are ahead of 500 million people
in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of
harassment, arrest, torture, or death...you are more blessed
than three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back,
a roof overhead and a place to sleep...you are richer than
75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare
change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of
the world's wealthy.
If your parents are still alive and still married ... you
are very rare, even in the United States and Canada. If you
can read this message, you just received a double blessing
in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you
are more blessed than over two billion people in the world
that cannot read at all.
Someone once said:
What goes around comes around.
Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on Earth.
"Sometimes At Night, It Rains"
April 20, 2001 (Friday)
This project gives me a lot of satisfaction. It can also be frustrating and difficult at times. I try my best to keep up with it every day, and, if you'll note, the entries with more than one paragraph or picture far outnumber those days with "No Entry Today." While it is a labor of love, it's also a drain on resources. For example, it costs money to keep the domain registration active ($35 per year). It costs me around $120 a year for the hosting service and page space. Once I exceed 50 MB, which this project will probably do in the next year, the price will go up by 75% just to secure more space.
Then there's the time involved. Granted, I don't spend a great deal of time writing, and uploading this stuff, but there's the time spent thinking about what I want to say, and the time I use scanning the photographs and other items I display here.
Add to the time the hours I spend creating the art that goes into these pages. Add to the cash outlay the cost of film and processing, and other materials consumed in the creation of this site. This is a fairly expensive proposition. It is all done, as well, with little to no return on my investment. In the past year I've realized less than $300 from sales of photgraphs and art from these pages. One person promised a donation and then didn't send it. This stings.
In light of all this, I choose to include this Libera Manifesto, composed by the good people at Lockergnome (Chris Pirillo). Please refer to their page for more explanation and information. Also, please visit their page and sign this document if you agree with it. A little recognition goes a long way. This manifesto is a statement by we who offer "something for nothing" to the denizens of the Internet.
The Libera Manifesto
- Our time is worth something, too.
- There is such a thing as a free lunch, but don't forget to tip your waiter.
- We love to create without charging for our work.
- Feedback keeps us going.
- Sponsors are not beating down our doors.
- All take and no give only works for a little while.
- If you don't like something, do it yourself.
- Don't expect us to ask for nothing in return.
- We are human.
- Half the world disagrees with us. The other half disagrees.
- Five years ago, we were different people.
- Five years ago, the Internet was a different place.
- If you can help, please do.
- Don't expect us to do everything, all the time, anytime you want us to do it for you.
- We love you.
- Free is not always free.
- Think before you complain.
- We don't waste time; we give it to you.
- Without you, we'd be nothing.
- It just looks easy.
- Which do you value more? Our services or an Extra Value Meal?
- When you "cheat" the system, it hurts the giver more than it helps the taker.
- Spare time?
- Affiliate programs pay jack squat.
- We don't whine, we ask politely.
- Bandwidth is not free.
- Nobody is forcing you to use our stuff.
- Negative feedback is not the same as constructive criticism.
- You'd be surprised at how much a digital 'pat on the back' would brighten our day.
- We don't know everything.
- We need your respect and understanding.
- We still love you.
- Most of us operate without a budget.
- If you like us, tell a friend.
- If you hate us, tell us why.
- Some of us are too humble to ask you to do something for us.
- Weekends do not exist.
- We made a choice to do this, but we also have the right to change our minds.
- You don't get what you pay for.
- Don't count on someone else to pick up the slack.
- Personal life?
- We want to give you more.
- Our service is part of our spirit.
- We respect your advice, but can't always follow it.
- Assume nothing.
- Our business plan consists of one goal: be here tomorrow.
- If we ever develop a "pay for" option, we'll have good reason to do so.
- Even if we do develop a "pay for" option, you don't have to buy it.
- We want to connect with people, not machines.
- Integrity means more to us than our bottom line.
- Don't expect us to bash Company X.
- Don't expect us to praise Company X.
- The term 'IPO' is not in our vocabulary.
- If we have a published set of instructions or frequently asked questions, please read it.
- Sleep is a luxury.
- Most of us seek recognition, not fame.
- Offer suggestions, but never tell us how to do our job.
- Our character is sometimes the only thing we can count on; don't question it.
- Go ahead and call us "sellouts." You're wrong.
- Take us for granted and soon there will be nothing left to take.
- Making money is not always our goal.
- We remember those who help us.
- We remember those who do NOT help us.
- Most of us don't have a 'Director of Marketing.' (WG)
- We like free stuff, too.
- Without us, you'd have to pay for everything.
- The advertising market has changed; we have struggled to remain the same.
- There's nothing wrong with reciprocation.
- This is a full-time job, whether we have another one or not.
- Ignore us and we'll go away.
- If we can't afford to continue, we can't afford to continue.
- Lurking is fine -- just let us know that we're helping you at some point.
- Don't confuse personality with ego.
- Most of us ride on the Cluetrain.
- Opinions aren't wrong.
- We'll always love you.
The next time you come across something you like on the World Wide Web, keep this in mind and act accordingly.
And now for something completely different. . .
April 21, 2001 (Saturday)
Busy day. See you Monday.
"In Memory of China Grove"
April 22, 2001 (Sunday)
"The Meeting Will Come To Order"
April 23, 2001 (Monday)
The weather has turned hot again. Before the sun went down it got up to 89 degrees here. Tomorrow, rain and 25 degrees cooler. No wonder I ache! Last week after the warm weather brought out all the leaves on the trees and shrubs, it snowed.
This evening right at sunset I went down by the river, trusty Canon Eos in hand to see if I could catch the sun on the water. Last week's cold snap shrivelled the daffodils to brown twists at the end of the stems. The splash of yellow has subsided.
Human beings are a contentious lot. The newspapers are filled with commentary by people with one opinion spewing vituperation at those with the opposite opinion. There seems to be very little rational thought in public discourse, merely emotional outbursts, positions and attitudes based on religious faith or traditions which have no bearing on the facts of the matter. I guess it's this primordial soup of tension, stress, anger, and willfulness which spawned lawyers.
April 24, 2001 (Tuesday)
I've been taking a lot of what I think are good photographs lately. I've had people ask me how I take such good pictures or where I get my ideas for photographs. What makes a photo (or any piece of art) "good" or "great" or "immortal?" If I was invited to submit two photographs for consideration in whatever, I'd not know what to submit. I have filled four albums that hold 27 photos each and have a fifth about two-thirds full, and I don't know which of the roughly 125 photos I'd send, and if I did make a choice, I'd undboutedly stress out over whether I'd made the best choice.
I ran across the American Museum of Photography today. I look at some of the photographs and I wonder why they would be considered "great" and some of mine would not. I suppose it's a matter of being "uneducated" in the science of aesthetics. I'd really like to take an art degree at a good university. I probably wouldn't know any more than I do now, but I'd feel better about my decisions on the validity of my art. . . maybe.
April 25, 2001 (Wednesday)
"A Piece of the Action"
April 26, 2001 (Thursday)
My little cat, Doofus, is gone. He's been missing for five days now. I guess he's either been stolen or lured away, trapped and sent to the pound, or killed by some sadistic jerk. He was always too trusting and friendly to live in the city. James Kavanaugh said, "Some men are too gentle to live among wolves." I guess that goes for kitties, too.
The whole world has gotten hard, and much of it in the name of God. The good sisters of Cenacle House here in Charleston have been ousted in favor of a newer facility out of town. Their old retreat has been turned into luxurious offices for two priests. Sister Mary Pellicane wrote a letter to the editor this morning, closing with the thought that "God must care more for the men in the church than the women." It's sad.
Muslims wage holy war, mistreat women, desecrate the icons of other religions. The Hindus still maintain the inferiority of the pariahs, and adhere to a caste system that has no basis other than what parents you were born to.
And let's not forget, "It's just business," that ubiquitous excuse when one person or organization devastates someone's life. What ever happened to everyone caring for everyone else? Were the Sixties some sort of idyllic anomoly? Have the religious nuts and right wing politicians won? If so, we've all lost! The only place an uncaring, hidebound, mean-spirited philosphy will take humankind is to the rubbish heap. Let's hope the birds do a better job of things when they are the dominant species on this planet.
The daffodils are gone, but the violets are plentiful.
April 27, 2001 (Friday)
I'm getting more and more upset with my webhosting people. It seems like every Friday something is messed up with my e-mail server. Today I'm relatively certain that I haven't gotten all my mail. Normally in the morning I have from 18 to 30 pieces of e-mail, depending on the spam factor. This morning I only had five or six. I couldn't access my mail server at all for several hours this evening. When I tired to call the Tech support number (which they changed without notifying me), The message said, "press '1' for sales, press '2' for tech support." I pressed '2'. The message then said, "press '1' for e-commerce, press '2' for web hosting." I pressed '2'. The first time through, I got dead air, followed by some clicks then a dial tone. I tried to call back several times, getting a fast busy signal each time. Finally when I did get back through, I got the messages again, again pressing '2', then '2'. The second time I pressed '2', I got the first message again. The voice mail went into an endless loop! How the hell can I get support this way?
Does it seem too unreasonable that if you're using a web hosting service, which provides, ostensibly, 24 hour a day service, that the client could get through on the support line? that there should be someone there 24 hours a day to assist with problems? The servers for this company are in Texas, outside of Dallas. The whole world doesn't operate on Central Daylight Time.
I have a friend in Israel who's having problems with this outfit, too. She can't even FTP files to her web page. She withheld payment because she didn't feel like she was getting what she was paying for. They cut her off. Now she can't access her domain at all. I'd love to hear from other people having problems with Big Picture Technologies, BigPicOnline or CoolWebHosting. Surely Judith and I aren't the only ones having problems with these people.
April 28, 2001 (Saturday)
Interesting day. . .
"Solid As Concrete"
April 29, 2001 (Sunday)
One more day in April. It seems that time passes so quickly anymore. The days go slow, the years fly by. It's the enigma of life.
I'm still having problems with my e-mail, so if anyone has tried to send me anything since Friday night, please redirect it to email@example.com.
I love the play of light, shadow, and water. Here's another in the expanding series of photographs of the Kanawha River at sundown.
April 30, 2001 (Monday)
Another day all around the town. Making movies is hard work!
Here's another in the ongoing series of license plates. This one was on the back of a van.
"Guess the owner's occupation -- Plumber?"