My Diary

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January 1, 2001     (Monday)

This is the year in which Arthur C. Clarke's masterpiece was set, indeed for which it was named, 2001. What went wrong? The hope and optimism that Clarke and others held back when the book was written has been squelched. Commercialism and "The Global Economy" has made money more important than the advancement of humankind. There's no immediate return on the investment of exploring space, colonizing other planets and space stations, so we only make a token effort.

Wal-Mart uber alles!

I'm trying to come up with an official portrait of myself to put on these web pages. I've got two so far, but I'm not too pleased with either of them. I've got a lot to learn about doing photographic self-portraits. Lighting is a problem since I'm working on the cheap. Here's the first of the candidates:

Do I look evil?  Old?  Depraved?  Thank you very much!

January 2, 2001     (Tuesday)

Here's the second candidate for my official portrait. This one I converted from color to grayscale. I think I'll do better at portraiture in black and white. I like the dramatic contrast between light and shade. A digital camera would be really handy in working out lighting.

All washed up?

January 3, 2001     (Wednesday)

I haven't had a cold or anything more than some mild allergies in three, maybe four years. The streak is ending I'm afraid. My throat is scratchy, my nose is stuffy and I ache and just generally feel bad.

What do vegetarians eat in lieu of chicken soup?

It all adds up. . .
"Postive Attitude"

January 4, 2001     (Thursday)

My son and his girlfriend, Ashley
"Generation X"

January 5, 2001     (Friday)

No Entry Today

January 6, 2001     (Saturday)

No Entry Today

January 7, 2001     (Sunday)

Been thinking about a lot of things lately, but this cold/flu/URI/whatever-it-is has really had me down. It's a quarter to five right now and I've only been up one other time today, and that was to eat a little. My diet the past few days has primarily consisted of Hall's cough drops, juice, and citrus fruit.


I've been mulling over a lot of thoughts concerning where we are as a species and as a country, how we got this way, what's wrong with the way we are, and what we could possibly do about it. Bear with me. I'll get around to writing it down eventually. . .

In the yard, on the corner of Lewis and Beauregard, two houses up from mine.
"Appropriate for a Norway Maple"

January 8, 2001     (Monday)

Snow changes things. . .

January 9, 2001     (Tuesday)

Today's date is special. It's 1-9-1, the ending number surrounded by two beginnings. A special portent? Perhaps. I know I feel good about today. I helped someone find meaning today. That means a lot to me.

My cold is waning. This is the first day in a week that I've woke up and not gone back to bed at some point during the day. The tissue supply is diminished as well as the coughdrop stockpile, but I think they're in enough quantity to survive the next onslaught. Now if I could just stop sneezing. . .

January 10, 2001     (Wednesday)

Second attempt at shooting this tree.  First time the film was bad (according to the processor), or the processing was bad (according to me).
"B'Nai Spruce"

January 11, 2001     (Thursday)

This was a lush garden this past summer.  Now all that remains is a pile of wire tomato supports

January 12, 2001     (Friday)

No Entry Today

January 13, 2001     (Saturday)

Went to wash the car today. Since great minds run in the same gutters, so did everyone else in Charleston. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow during the ball games.

January 14, 2001     (Sunday)

Got the car washed this morning. Proceeded this afternoon to pull into a muddy driveway! I hate mud!

An ephemeral abstraction. . .
"Yesterday's News"

January 15, 2001     (Monday)

I'm looking for a nice cave. I think I'll become a hermit. I don't really like people much. So many people are rude, inconsiderate, greedy, mean, and just total assholes. It seems the only way to get ahead in this country is to be like that. I guess that leaves me out. I might as well find a cave. I wonder if they run cable to caves?

January 16, 2001     (Tuesday)

Because of my sometime involvement in the Information Services industry, I receive a publication called eWeek(formerly PC Week). This week's "LeadingOff" page has a column by John Dodge expressing his skepticism about the efforts of Microsoft and Unisys coming up with a new method of voting. I share his concerns.

For one thing, when computers are used to register and tally the votes, the outcome is entirely in the hands of the people who make the machines and write the software. Another thing, too, is the availability of electricity to power the system. If California is any example, then the power companies could hold the electorate hostage until their demands for more money are met.

I think each voter should create a discrete, palpable document, one that can be held and inspected by manual means to determine if any alterations have been made. We need a system similar to that of Canada's, where each voter gets a small booklet and the tally is done in only a few hours by manual means. I believe that what is happening here is the application of technology to a problem where a technological solution is not appropriate. If anything needs be done to speed the election process, it should be the simplification of the process and the enlistment (either hiring or volunteers) of more people to handle the process. We are falling victim to the shortsighted ideation that the only way to increase productivity is to reduce staff. It all depends on the aim. We need to quit being stingy with our democracy.

January 17, 2001     (Wednesday)

No Entry Today

January 18, 2001     (Thursday)

No Entry Today

January 19, 2001     (Friday)

No Entry Today

January 20, 2001     (Saturday)

Does it bother anyone but me that the man who said, "First we're gonna find it, then we're gonna kill it." is the Secretary of State? The man who conducted the Gulf War is now in charge of diplomacy and foreign policy for the country. I think Colin Powell would have made a wonderful Secretary of Defense, but I think he's totally wrong for this job. I hope I'm seriously mistaken.

The first football play of the Bush administration (the Senior Bowl) was a run to the right!

January 21, 2001     (Sunday)

Snow and nice abounds. We got about 3 or 4 inches last night. The sun is burning off most of it. I'm sure it'll refreeze as ice once the sun passes over any given surface, since the temperature is going to drop into the teens tonight. Already, I'm tired of winter!

January 22, 2001     (Monday)

Well, yesterday, my Internet provider was down most of the day, so I didn't get up upload my diary changes for the day. It's not like I have a whole lot to say, anyhow.

I started a new canvas. So far, I've primed it with black gesso and smeared some red, white, blue, and purple paint on it with a knife. It's not coming together the way I'd like. "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

I've been trying to clean and straighten my studio. It's a daunting task. I have so much material and so small a space to put it all. I have to slosh over into the rest of the house. What I need is a nice big loft somewhere. The warehouse behind this house would be great, but I doubt that the owner would sell it or lease it to me. It would take a goodly amount of cash to fix it up and get it into livable condition, too. Another dream. . .

Something to remind me of a warmer time a better place
"Bird's eye view, New River"

January 23, 2001     (Tuesday)

Because of the recent Reagan/Bush/Clinton years, combined with the Republican tax-haters in congress, our infrastructure is crumbling. The tax dollars aren't there to fix the older roads, bridges and buildings, and the new ones (contracted to the lowest bidder, of course) are not made to the higher standards of earlier times. My grandchildren will grow up in a country where it's more difficult to get around, unless you happen to be wealthy enough to afford a helicopter or hovercraft.

Oh what the hell, it'll all be moot in 11 more years when the machines take over. Ready Neo?

January 24, 2001     (Wednesday)

I got absorbed in playing a game on last night and forgot to upload yesterday's entry. It's a simple game, but rather addicting. I suppose I'm entitled to some small addiction, since all the larger, more interesting ones are denied to me or come with too great a price.

My canvas still isn't speaking to me, at least not in any language in which I am fluent, nay, even conversant. What to do, what to do? Maybe this creative block comes from other sources. My seasonal miasma, my wintry melancholy, my short-days ennui, my cold weather depression doesn't seem as intense this year as in some past, but I suspect it's affecting me in other ways, like the inability to produce anything worthwhile in the way of art or writing or photography. I lack impetus. Somebody inspire me!

I've been getting quite a few offers lately to do graphic art work from people who all say the same thing, "I can't afford to actually pay you anything, but think of the recognition you'll get!" Uh huh. Recognition, like the person who devised the AT&T logo, right? Who was that again? What is it about the arts that makes people not involved in them think it's okay to ask the artists to defer payment in deference to some intangible reward. "Here, Mr. Accountant, do my taxes. I can't afford to pay you, but think how good it will make you feel when I get a big honking refund."

Design contests abound for artists and wannabe artists. Open mike nights have proliferated across the world as entertainment in clubs, where only one person or group gets paid, if any do at all. Why must artists and musicians ply their trade for free in the hope that they can beat out a number of other people doing the same thing for no surety of reward. Is it because the rest of society takes us for suckers, knowing we're going to do what we do regardless of the financial recompense, simply because our passions will not allow us to do otherwise? And if we complain? "Get a real job!"

January 25, 2001     (Thursday)

I'm starting to get irritated with that canvas over there! It's just not cooperating with me. Maybe it's me I'm getting short with. My artistic passion seems to have hit an ebb. Some people say that artistic passion is connected to mental illness, most specifically bi-polar disorders such as manic-depression or cyclothemia (I think I spelled that right -- even my spell checker doesn't know). Maybe my body chemistry has changed to the point that I don't have any swings anymore and my days of passionate creativity are over.

More tomorrow, right now I'm going to do some research on all the religions of the world's methods of supplication to have prayers answered. . .

January 26, 2001     (Friday)

I was just reading a Financial Times article about what Chairman Greenspan of the Federal Reserve Board had to say yesterday. (Full article here). He seems to be saying that Dubya's idea of a tax cut is (to quote another Bush) "prudent." He thinks that paying down the national debt to zero and accumulating wealth in the coffers of the US Government is a bad thing. He thinks that the monies should be put back into private hands (read 'banks' here). I disagree. I think that taxes, particularly federal taxes, are at a reasonable level right now, and that increased government spending on such things as road repair, bridge replacement, research into energy alternatives, educational programs to insure that no child really gets left behind, and the further exploration of our solar system. We have lost our vision. We no longer look at the stars and think what might be. Now we look at the balance sheet and wonder what the next quarter's profits will be. We have become a nation of hogs, keeping to our own interests, not sharing, not dreaming. This is a great opportunity to correct this.

We must not listen to people like Greenspan and Bush and keep burying our heads in the sand. We must look to a bright future for everyone, not just for those who have portfolios bulging with certificates attesting to a singular lack of passion and imagination.

Maybe the juices are flowing again! (see yesterday's entry)

January 27, 2001     (Saturday)

No Entry Today

January 28, 2001     (Sunday)

President Clinton pardoned Marc Rich. I can't understand this. I saw firsthand the damage Rich did to the community in Ravenswood. I did some contract work for Ravenswood Alumimum after the lock-out/strike he initiated. He's not a good man. His dealings with Iran and his evasion of US taxes should not have been forgiven.

The Republicans in Congress, and Crusader Starr worked the whole eight years Clinton was in office,trying to bring him down. He never diminished in my eyes because of it, but this one act of his, this parting shot has put him, in my mind, on a par with the cheapest of elected officials, Spiro T. Agnew. For shame, Bubba!

January 29, 2001     (Monday)

What a glorious day! It's in the lower sixties, the sun is out, the sky is blue. I feel like singing "Dear Prudence."

January 30, 2001     (Tuesday)

"Here it is Tuesday, ain't had no news. I got them gone but not forgotten blues." -- Hank Williams.

January 31, 2001     (Wednesday)

The weather here has taken a turn for the worse again. I detest this time of year. It almost always feels like some kind of change is due, but it almost never proves to be the case. I'm stuck creatively. My recently begun canvas has sat on my easel for days going on weeks, just looking at me as if to say, "Well?" and I don't have a clue.

I usually do a crossword puzzle a day just to keep the mental processes lubricated. I'm almost a week behind on those. I feel mired in some sort of creative/intellectual malaise. I wish I could find the impetus to propel me out of it. I really don't like sitting around doing nothing, waiting for someone to ask something of me. It's not fun.

This is probably just part of my annual pre-birthday funk. I haven't checked my stars. Maybe I have a bad aspect or something. I just know I want to shake it.

Babcock State Park, steps down to the creek from the lodge.
"Even a Stopped Watch is Right Twice a Day"

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