February 1, 2000 (Tuesday)
A whole month of the new millennium gone, and the world still hasn't come to an end. My heel hurts, though.
February 2, 2000 (Wednesday)
It's Groundhog Day!!! Little furry sucker better see his shadow. . . (or is it NOT see his shadow?) I'm tired of winter, even though it's been mild.
Something else I'm tired of -- having somebody who's selling something constantly pushing something in my face. TV, billboards, Internet ads, radio ads, Muzak ads in stores, signs on taxis, brand names on the outside of clothing. It's a barrage, and it really gets to me, especially since apparently I have nothing anyone wants to buy, and I feel dirty if I try to push my work in other people's faces to try to intice them to buy it.
This whole trend of everything at auction that's taken hold on the Internet has me concerned, too. It promotes the cavalier attitude about selling and buying that makes victims of people without the proper sophistication or access to information. It also, in a lot of cases, inflates prices of some things, while at other times, depressing the prices of things that should sell for more. It's the old unethical "law" of supply and demand taken to a less than logical conclusion. Is it right that someone should get a premium for merchandise that cost little in terms of material, labor, or talent to produce simply because it appeals to a great number of people, some of whom have no idea of the value of things, while other people who put time, effort, talent, and their own capital into creations go begging for buyers simply because the "mass appeal" isn't there, or because they don't have the chutzpah or outright pushiness to sell themselves or their wares? Is it right that James Kavanaugh's Men too gentle to live among wolves should be relegated to less than full participation in the economic life of our country and world simply because they are not high pressure used-car salesmen?
It's probably just me.
February 3, 2000 (Thursday)
Why is it some people fall into wealth, fame, and a place at the top of their profession while others have to labor long and hard and pay more than their share of dues to acheive even a fraction of the accomplishments? And why is it that some people pay their dues and pay their dues and keep on paying their dues and the only things they get from it is what satisfaction might come from paying their dues?
The snow melted and I found in my yard: a Mounds wrapper, 3/4 of the plastic wrapper from a snack sized package of Mint Oreos, the inside foil wrapper from a pack of cigarettes, two styrofoam cups, a napkin, three pieces of what passes these days for cellophane, four postman's rubber bands, a shipping wrapper that said, "Postmaster, firm package, do not open" on it, and 14 cigarette butts.
February 4, 2000 (Friday)
Another day of troubles with my Internet connection. It's one of those cases where no one wants to admit to any fault. It's a funny thing that I can connect to AltaVista Free Internet (I recommend it if you don't mind the ads and having to click on one every so often) and get decent (but not ideal) throughput, but when I connect to my ISP the throughput grinds to a halt, and I get reports back that my modem is retraining (changing speeds) and the 8-12 second lull when it does that contributes to the lower throughput, when in fact, watching the system activity myself, I see no such dead spots, only a lower speed transfer of data than I'd expect.
I guess the only way to determine exactly what the problem is would be to use a brand new computer with a brand new modem and see if the same thing occurs. If it does, then it couldn't possibly be my fault. Anyone got a computer they want to give me?
February 5, 2000 (Saturday)
No Entry Today
February 6, 2000 (Sunday)
Sometimes I wonder why I keep doing this. I get little, if any, response, either from people clicking on the "comments" button or in more direct feedback, like e-mail, Instant messages, or phone/face-to-face conversations. Even if the comments are negative, at least I'd know someone besides me is reading this tripe.
The doctor who brought me into this world, who slapped my on my naked, ugly little baby ass to make me yell and pull air into my lungs for the first time, has died. He was 86. I feel a little sad. He was our family doctor the whole time I was growing up. He made house calls. He got me through appendicitis, a hernia, cuts, scrapes, mumps, measles, chicken pox, and pneumonia. Quite literally, if not for this man, I'd not be alive today. Thank you, Dr. Huffman, and may your eternity be one of peace and joy.
February 7, 2000 (Monday)
I'm angry and frustrated today. I attempted to get permission to use someone else's photograph in a derivative work of my own, and was denied. This prompted me to go browsing on the Library of Congress's Copyright pages. I found, much to my dismay, that the laws of the United States, treaties with other nations, and the Berne convention and other International instruments prevent me from making derivative works based on someone else's, including the following (with particular attention to the items in blue):
(Oh, by the way, I claim fair use of any copyrighted materials (anything in this color, particularly) from the Library of Congress (LOC) that I quote on this page.)
This pretty much makes any art work not done from a live model or from a fantasy image in the artist's mind a violation of the copyright laws, and even the fantasy image could be argued on the basis of its being from the memory of another copyright image.
The LOC also says in the same brochure that the above list is taken from (Circular 14 -- Copyright Registration For Derivative Works) [ NOTE - You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in order to view this document]:
Only the owner of copyright in a work has the right to prepare, or to authorize someone else to create, a new version of that work. The owner is generally the author or someone who has obtained rights from the author. Anyone interested in a work who does not know the owner of copyright may search the records of the Copyright Office. Or, the Office will conduct a search at a fee of $65* per hour. For further information, request Circular 22, “How to Investigate the Copyright Status of a Work.”
The new copyright laws are making it more difficult for people to use anything that anyone else has created. I'm all for the protection of creative rights, but protecting a work for a person's lifetime PLUS 70 years? Isn't that a bit much? A quick perusal of the new (1998) Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes me shudder. More and more, any creative activity is being regulated. "They" are totally committed to making "art" a fully commercial enterprise, no matter what it takes. Soon, artcrime will be anything other than art done for the purposes of advertising, and under the purview of some manner of corporate direction. This effectively shuts down any possibility of photo montage made from magazine pages, any kind of collage unless made from original material. It puts a lot of my creations in the realm of infringement. Dada is now officially illegal.
I truly wonder if the request to use this other person's photographs would have been summarily dismissed on "ethical considerations" had my name been Jasper Johns or Andy Warhol. How did Andy ever get away with infringing on the rights of Campbell's Soup Company or the owners of the trademark/copyright of Marilyn Monroe's image?
In my rummagings on the LOC pages (The FAQ), speaking of copyright images, I found the following:
How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?
Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis. Just send it to us with a form VA application and the $30 filing fee. No one can lawfully use your photo of your sighting, although someone else may file his own photo of his sighting. Copyright law protects the original photograph, not the subject of the photograph.
Here's an oldie, but a goodie. "Seated Nude", 1984. This is done with casein colors, something not much in use anymore.
February 8, 2000 (Tuesday)
Today in History (courtesy of "The Learning Kingdom" -- used without their permission, additional information provided by myself, from my memory -- also probably a copyright violation, for I read all this somewhere)
February 8, 1916
The word "dada," which came to designate a nihilistic movement of the arts of the early 20th century, is believed to have been chosen by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara in a cafe in Zurich, Switzerland. Followers of dada, or "dadaists," rejected bourgeois values and traditional artistic conceptions.
The name "dada" was allegedly picked for the name of the group by randomly stabbing at a word in the dictionary. The French word, "dada" means "a child's hobby horse, a rocking horse." The bar, not cafe as reported by the Learning Kingdom, The Cabaret Voltaire was owned by Hugo Ball. He and his mistress, Emmy Henning, were prime movers in the Swiss Dada movement This group, creating mayhem in the Cabaret, gave rise to "the Dada aesthetic" or the "anti-art aesthetic", which was more anti-establishment, anti-bourgeois than anti-art, or pro-ugly. Elements of dada remain even to this day, but the true spirit of Dada has been murdered by the elitist, status-quoians, the conservatives, the reactionaries, the bureaucrats, the anal retentives, the soul killers.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town, We people on the pavement looked at him: He was a gentleman from sole to crown, Clean favored, and imperially slim. And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said, 'Good-morning,' and he glittered when he walked. And he was rich-- yes, richer than a king-- And admirably schooled in every grace: In fine, we thought that he was everything To make us wish we were in his place. So on we worked, and waited for the light, And went without meat, and cursed the bread; And Richard Cory, one calm summer night, Went home and put a bullet through his head.
Edward Arlington Robinson -- 1897
(103 years, that should leave me in the clear on copyright infringment, right?)
February 9, 2000 (Wednesday)
There are so many things on my mind, so many things I want to say, but no one's listening, no one cares, so why bother.
This post-industrial society is hideous to me. While I love the technology, I loathe most of the uses it's being put to.
Let me state here and for always, any of the art for which I am entitled to a copyright, and that is displayed on any of my web pages is free to use by anyone for any purpose whatsoever. Derivative works are welcomed and encouraged. The only stipulation I make is that if any of it is used for commercial purposes, I want a cut. Please give my work credit. If you try to claim ownership or appropriate the work as your own, or if you use it in any way that creates wealth (even less than a dollar) without compensating me, may God have mercy on your soul. You will not like the results. I'm not an egotistical, money-grubbing bastard like some people, but I am tired of being pushed around, and I ain't gonna take it anymore.
February 10, 2000 (Thursday)
Here's the latest of my copyright infringements:
I'd give credit for the original photograph used, but the copyright owner has already steadfastly refused to let me use any of his sacrosanct work as a basis for my dadaling, so I'm omitting his credit so as to make it more difficult for him to sue me.
I think the fair use provisions of the copyright laws could stand a tweak or two. If someone cannot prevent Al Yankovich from making a parody of their song, why can the owner of a photo prevent me from using it in a collage or as a basis for a derivative work of art. It's not like I'm making any money off this, people, really!
February 11, 2000 (Friday)
Books have been written about the inequity of the wealth distribution in this country. Newspaper columns are written every day. I hear people talking in the streets. Is "the revolution" coming? In a word, "No." Many of the people who decry the unequal distribution of wealth in this country, and in the world, aren't willing to do what it takes to remedy the situation. The unwillingness comes from one reason, and one reason alone: most people think that someday, the conditions that prevail and create this inequality will allow them to attain greater wealth that would the conditions in a more equitable system. Well, guess what, folks? It ain't gonna happen. In a Winner Take All (for an interesting book on the subject, search on Winner Take All at amazon.com) system like this, the chances for anyone but the fastest, soonest, and biggest asshole of attaining great wealth are practically nill. Give it up.
I found a picture I liked on a usenet binary newsgroup, and made BOTH of the following from it.
February 12, 2000 (Saturday)
Today never did quite make up its mind what it wanted to be. First it snowed, then the sun came out. My luck is like that too. I'm sitting here quietly, hands folded in my lap, waiting for the sun. ::smile::
I'm thinking again about redesigning my web site. Maybe some dynamic content? Maybe a separate page of News, information and search links? Maybe restock my art and poetry pages with some different things? Maybe double up on some of the images I've put in these diary pages, so people not so inclined wouldn't have to read the diary to see the images? Just ideas. If you have any ideas, let me know. This is all here at least as much for you as it is for me.
February 13, 2000 (Sunday)
Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?
Here's some information for anyone wanting to join in the class action suit against AOL because of problems caused by their version 5.0, which is still being advertised like it was the greatest thing since cyber sex. Well. . . The CD still looks like a box of Tide™. Anyway the law firm handling the suit is:
Gathings Kennedy and Associates 2 North Jackson Street Montgomery, AL 36104 EMail: email@example.com Phone: 205-803-3006
February 14, 2000 (Monday)
Happy Valentine's Day!
February 15, 2000 (Tuesday)
I've been to the planets and the stars, taken inventory of all the atoms in the Milky Way. I've drawn Nebulae on the black cloth of airless void, and smeared gaseous clouds of luminescent hydrogen over parsecs and eons. Nothing new to report.
February 16, 2000 (Wednesday)
The wind is picking up today, like March was too impatient to wait the extra two weeks to get here. This year I'm going to make a kite, find an open field, buy lots of string and see if I can float a message to Olympus.
Lately I've felt like a fog has settled around my life, like the clarity of vision and purpose I once had was forever lost. I was following the helix to its root, mired in dank, smelly darkness. Now it seems like the fog is lifting, the clouds parting so the light can flood back in, creating the contrasts, the play of light and shadow that, to me, is the essence of art, passion, and life.
Back on January 18, I made mention of and included an example of Asemic writing. The following piece could possbily be considered that, although, at the time I created it, the thought of it being anything akin to handwriting, calligraphy, or any form of symbolic communications never entered my mind.
. . . until now.
I recently discovered a beautiful website. I thought I'd share it. If you like artistic nude photography, this is the site for you. The proprietress, both photographer and subject, is a striking woman, and her work is first class. Click on her face below to see what I mean.
Oh, yeah, you can even send postcards of these wonderful images, too!
February 17, 2000 (Thursday)
The sun never came up today. The air is colder again and the sky is gray. Still, behind the gray, the washed out, 15% Paynes gray white out of a sky, I can sense the light, the color, I can feel an impending warmth, maybe hidden for centuries, maybe waiting to show me something.
My birthday is coming up in less than two weeks. Normally, I just go into a blue funk, get all depressed and snippy around this time, but this year seems somehow different. I don't feel as down as usual. In fact, I feel like I'm climbing out of a hole, able once again to see the whole world, and not just the brown, dank depths to which I'd become all too accustomed. Would whatever god or goddess is responsible please e-mail me so I can say, "Thanks."
(Now did I just leave myself open for every nut case in existence to write, or what!)
February 18, 2000 (Friday)
Lots of rain today. I even had to turn the computer off for a while because of thunder and lightning. Thunderstorms are uncommon here in February. I remember a brief one two years ago this coming week when I was in New York.
My day has pretty much matched the weather: soggy! I've played a little music, cleaned and stratightened and gathered materials to commit art on. I think the coming months are going to be interesting.
February 19, 2000 (Saturday)
No Entry Today
February 20, 2000 (Sunday)
Oh! the fundamental unfairness of life!
In the paper this morning there was a half-page, vertical flier inserted in the comics for a local Pizza chain. Nothing unusual about that. The chain is owned by one of our illustrious state senators. Along with all the pizza and pasta deals, there is a contest entry blank and a big banner headline: "WIN $100,000 Dream Home."
Well, pardon me for being my usual cynical self, but with the average price of a home around $125,000, exactly whose idea of a dream home would a less than average home be?
It states in the fine print that "Taxes are the responsibility of the winner." That would be fine if there were a cash substitution provision for the merchandise prize, but there isn't. It clearly states that the money can only be used to buy, build, remodel or pay off a mortgage. If someone working for minimum wage who had no appreciable credit rating won, she'd have to forfeit the prize simply because of the inability to pay the taxes on it. Some states make all contests have the cash substitiution for the prize. That's the way it should be everywhere, otherwise, only those who have money can even win something worth having.
It's a monumental tacit conspiracy to keep anyone who has no money from ever getting any. It's always been that way, and will likely always be that way, but that doesn't mean I can't rail and throw rotten fruit at the way things are.
Cinderella, you might as well pick up the marbles you came with and go home, 'cause the big boys ain't gonna let you win their cat's eyes and steelies, unless, of course, you drop your knickers. . . Ah! but that's another story, isn't it?
February 21, 2000 (Monday)
My neck has been hurting the past two days. Nothing colors your life in drab and tawdry colors like a pain in the neck or back. I think it's probably a combination of causes, too -- my pillow has turned into a misshapen lump, the chair at my desk/drawing table is lopsided and rickety, and my chair in the living room is just plain worn out. And me at a point in my life where I can't afford to replace even one of them. Now isn't that a pain in the a. . . neck?
A dear friend asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday. I said, "Other than a computer that don't like to "rassle?" Actually, that's my first choice. Next three would be a recliner, an office chair, and a buckweed hull pillow. (Imagine that!) There are so many little things that would make me happy: pen holders for my suddenly growing nib collection, any kind of nice drawing paper, software is always nice, anything but a tie (I don't wear those much anymore). I don't expect any of it. If perchance I do get anything at all, I'll be pleasantly surprised and inappropriately grateful.
If the birthday fairy is reading this, let me change my first choice to a red Lamborghini. . .
Damn, I wish my neck would quit hurting! Now my back is aching in sympathy. Is there a masseuse in the house?
February 22, 2000 (Tuesday)
Today is one of those days of images and ideas swirling in my brain like an abstract malestrom. It's a veritable cerebral cyclone, debris floating around the vortices, mostly too fast to get a solid grasp. It's a music video custom made for The Police.
There's a feeling I get (when I look to the west) right before I start creating profusely. It's a lingering lucidity behind my eyes, a vision peering out to see its own way independent of my visual cortex, it's a thing, a force, a life of its own.
But, I could be wrong.
My neck feels a little better today. The sun has been out on and off today. It kinda feels like spring. I haven't noticed any buds on the forsythia or the lilac bushes, but I'm sure they aren't far away. Spring is good. Bring it on!
February 23, 2000 (Wednesday)
Things and events keep conspiring against me to prevent my usual pre-birthday depression. People do nice things. People say nice things. I'd be an ingrate to feel bad now.
As long as I'm sticking older works up here, let's take a look at some of my first pixel maniuplations using Corel PhotoPaint and my Wacom pen/tablet.
February 24, 2000 (Thursday)
Another Pakistani Spring day. It had to be 70 degrees here today. I'm so hungry for spring. I went outside and picked up trash in the yard and alley a little, looked at the outside of the house, took inventory of the winter's accumulation on the back porch, turned the compost heap, and looked at the crocus leaves pushing up through the soil and the beginning of the yellowing of the fosythia.
It's been a quiet day otherwise. Still waiting for the pre-birthday depression that won't quite come. It's become a tradition. I almost miss it.
New one. I've been playing around with Corel PhotoPaint, even to the point of reading the manual! It's a nice program, but it still doesn't quite do what I want it to. Anyone got Fractal Design Painter or PhotoShop that they don't like and would like to donate?
February 25, 2000 (Friday)
February 26, 2000 (Saturday)
I really hope the crocuses and forsythia and the redbud and daffodils and everything doesn't get fooled into thinking spring is here, and bloom out and die when the weather goes south again.
In another month or so, the daffodils and narcissi will be blooming on the banks of the river, and the walk along the lower sidewalk on the boulevard will be a riot of yellows. I understand Van Gogh's love of the color every spring.
Here's another new thing I did. I wish I knew how to use the graphic programs I have better. I've tried going through the tutorials and such, but there's not really much there that's all that useful. These computer drawing and painting programs work nothing like traditional arts methods. Everything is object oriented, and I've yet to get a grasp of that paradigm. Nothing is very intuitive either. And things don't work like I'd like them to. Who do I talk to in order to remedy this?
Are all drawing/painting programs like this? Or is it just Corel and JASC? It seems to me that Adobe Illustrator works along the same lines. Does Photoshop? Fractal Design Painter? Things are set up to work well for someone like an airbrush artist or someone who works with photographic films, but my experience in those areas is limited.
One of my biggest gripes about the programs is the way you cut pieces out of things. You have to do the freehand cut in one continuous motion. Often this is difficult to impossible. When using a knife to cut, I often have to stop, rest, refocus, then continue. With the programs, you can't really do that. It makes it hard to be efficient with them.
Damn! I wish I had a scanner that worked.
What do say we make it a twofer?
February 27, 2000 (Sunday)
Well, the rain's back. My mood took a nose dive, but I'm still in relatively good spirits. My birthday horroscope says, "It's officially time to look into your life of love." Somehow this first birthday of the millennium (or last one, depending on your take on things) seems different. I seem to be approaching it with more hope and in a better frame of mind than I have in recent years, but there is still that underlying trepidation.
I don't think Robert Maplethorpe will mind if I alter one of his photographs (a magnificent one, I might add), especially since he's been dead for several years now.
[patience please while this one loads, it's bigger than my usual offering]
February 28, 2000 (Monday)
Okay, just take a look at all the illustrious events which have occurred on my birthday:
Now I AM depressed.
The only celebrity I know of who shares my birthday is Elizabeth Taylor.
The sorceress. I found the original picture on some nude-art newsgroup, unattributed, as is all too often unfortunately the case. Beautiful model, beautiful photograph, and I had to come along and mess it up. . .
February 29, 2000 (Tuesday)
Tedious day today, but the weather is better again. It took a break for my birthday, I suppose.
I'm still sitting here waiting to be discovered. Yoo Hoo! Anybody out there?
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