March 1, 2001 (Thursday)
In like a lamb
March 2, 2001 (Friday)
On a rainy morning, great sleeping weather, I wake up before dawn, with no particular direction in mind, only a yearning, a longing for something I don't quite apprehend. This longing comes and goes throughout my life, and it always feels like there will be an accompanying change in my life, but there rarely is. I'm so tired.
March 3, 2001 (Saturday)
The weather was warm today, but I still spent most of my time inside, working on my art project. I wonder if any of it's worth doing. I'm filled with self-doubt and angst. Once this series of drawings is done, I need to secure gallery space and money to put on the display. I really don't know what to do with it, and I don't have anyone I can talk to about it. I'm not taken seriously as an artist around here, and I'm not sure I would be anywhere. Why do I bother?
March 4, 2001 (Sunday)
A noreaster is roaring in today. Much of the eastern seaboard will get snow by tonight. Right now it's just raining here on and off. It's still pretty warm, but my bones ache from the damp.
The corporatization of the world is well on its way. Once the mighty Soviet Union fell, leaving the world, essentially, with only one economic model to choose from, the forces of lassiez-faire loosed the hounds of class war, and are now trying to homogenize the populace of the world and keep the powers-that-be in their entrenched positions. Little by little, and sometimes in larger chunks, our freedoms, our privacy, our dignity, and our choices are being stolen and usurped. It's time now to Rage Against the Machine, to rail against the corporations, the World Trade Organization, and the RIAA. Long live Napster. Long live intellectual freedom!
March 5, 2001 (Monday)
Spring is right around the corner, or so I hear. This time of year is a time of contradictory images: crocuses pushing resolutely up through a light covering of snow, budding forsythia shivering in the wind like an innocent girl, who, faced with the choice "Put out or get out," chooses integrity over comfort and is left cold and quivering wondering why this should happen to her.
The forsythia out back is a little past buds and a little less than full bloom. It took the recent warm days as a go-ahead signal and began the procession of yellow that begins with it and continues into the late March-early April riot of yellows of dandelions, daffodils, and narcissi. This year, armed with my camera, I hope to get some nice photos of the incredible yellow expanse along the riverbank.
The onset of spring is a time of self-evaluation, a time of self-doubt, for me at least. T. S. Eliot called April, "the cruelest month" (The Wasteland). It is said that he did so because so many suicides occur in that month, with the rebirth of the earth seemingly leaving the depressed and self-abnegnating behind in their old shells, unable to give new impetus to themselves as the rest of the world is able to do in spring. I don't have suicidal thoughts in spring, but I do see myself in less than favorable light then. All the beauty around me reminds me of the drabness of my own existence, the poverty of my own talents to create, and the inadequacy of my will to affect meaningful change in my own life.
Usually the heat of summer burns off these feelings of self-doubt and loathing. Usually.
I'm either at the end of my latest creative project, or very close to it. I've finished the 50 foot centerpiece of it anyway. To me, it's much like the post-coital depression a lot of people feel after sex. The feeling of finishing a piece of art is not necessarily elation or pride of accomplishment, but depression and longing for the feeling I had during the process. Art, to me, is a record of the joy and passion I feel while creating it. Art is the process; the finished piece merely a map. And, as you've probably been told thousands of times, the map is not the territory.
March 6, 2001 (Tuesday)
My diatribe this morning, children, is about the growing controversy about African nations wanting to produce AIDS drugs without paying royalties to the pharmaceutical companies owning the patents for those drugs. The pharmaceutical companies (hereafter referred to as "greedy bastards") have asked the World Trade Organization (hereafter referred to as "New World Order" or just WTO or NWO) to intervene on their behalf. It seems that several countries have either passed laws or are considering passing laws that will permit local companies to make generic versions of certain effective AIDS drugs. The greedy bastards don't want this to happen. They own the patent and they want exclusive right to make the drugs and sell them at obscene profits. The African countries simply cannot afford the price of the drugs that the greedy bastards charge.
This is a simple moral issue, people. Patents and profits are not sacred. Human life is sacred. If the greedy bastards do not have the moral fiber to realize that their greed and insistence on certain property rights are causing people to die, and that this is wrong, then they no longer, in my not-so-humble opinion, have the right to exist, much less own the rights to those drugs. If the WTO comes down on the side of the pharmaceutical companies, it, too, should be abolished. The whole point is being missed in this grand scramble for dollars and rights to exclude others from private sources of wealth: We're all in this together. As human beings, with the potential for greatness within each and every one of us, we should be respected and nurtured, not bled for every penny and BTU we can produce with our labors. Pharmaceutical companies are making record-breaking profits, yet they can't allow non-royalty-generating manufacture of a drug they "own" in order to save millions of lives and untold suffering? These same greedy bastards are the ones who allowed vaccine shortages to occur because they don't make enough profit on the vaccines. They've created the shortages, I'm convinced, in an effort to run up the prices. Unconscionable!
If the greedy bastards have an ounce of compassion and a sense of morals among them, they should either grant licenses to the African companies to produce the drugs at a token annual fee, or produce the drugs themselves and contribute them to the governments of the countries so much in need, at or below cost, or at a very modest profit, the total not to exceed what it would cost for the local firms to produce the same drugs. Anyone giving odds on this happening?
It's been a while since I put any art up here. This photo didn't quite catch all the piece (it was taken with a view-finder camera), but I think you might get the general idea from what it did get in the frame. This hangs on my wall to my immediate left and forward about two feet.
March 7, 2001 (Wednesday)
I love this photo. It was taken with a little Canon viewfinder camera with a fixed lens because that's the only one I have with a flash. I do what I have to do. This is my cat, Doofus, and my son-in-law, Jerry.
A couple political notes today. Of all the news coverage I've seen about the school shooting in Santee, California, one thing stood out and pissed me off really bad. Resident Bush (a/k/a Bush Lite, a/k/a Dubya) called the shooting a "disgraceful act of cowardice." How dare he? It was the act of a persecuted, desparate, mentally ill child. He equates this act with the aggression of a tyrant such as Saddam Hussein. More proof of Bush's lack of mental acuity and his willingness to use any situation or occurrence to further his own fascist agenda.
The other note is a warning to us all. The woman who mailed Bush debate materials to the Gore campaign office has been indicted for Mail Fraud and Lying to the FBI. There are two areas of concern here. How in blue Billy hell do they get mail fraud out of what she did? I'd be interested to see the justification for that. It sounds like using the judicial system to retaliate against a purely unethical, but not necessarily illegal act. Secondly, lying to the FBI (and police in general, one would infer) is now a crime. It's common knowledge that the police and the FBI lie to suspects on a consistent basis in an effort to get them to incriminate themselves. Yet, the requirement on the (presumed innocent) suspect is greater than that of the people accusing him/her of a crime. This isn't right and does not jibe with the rights of the accused as put forth in the constitution. Well, guess what folks? The constitution has been under attack by the reactionary congress for some time, and they've been aided and abetted by a right wing judiciary (see George W. Bush v. Albert Gore, Dec. 2000). It's only gonna get worse. Someday soon, I may be indictible for what I write here. See you in jail!
March 8, 2001 (Thursday)
"Hot mud pump"
March 9, 2001 (Friday)
Looks like we're in for a week or so of pretty decent weather. Hopefully I can get out and walk around with my camera a bit, take some new pictures. I can't wait to get my new lens out of lay-away. I'll go nuts, just like I did when I first got the camera.
Would someone please tell me how one goes about putting up an exhibition of the kind of work I've been doing lately, and how to realize monetary return for it? I have a series of drawings, like the picture on the February 22, 2001 diary entry. One is 50 feet long. Others are 12 feet, 18 inches, one foot, who knows? I have about a dozen so far and I've planned on another one probably 25 feet long. I'd really like to see these things on walls. It would have to be a pretty large space. I don't really have the credentials that most galleries or museums want to put up such an installation, so what do I do? Anyone have any suggestions?
March 10, 2001 (Saturday)
It looks like this web site may soon go away. I don't think I'll bother to continue with this diary. If you want any details, e-mail me.
March 11, 2001 (Sunday)
No Entry Today
March 12, 2001 (Monday)
No Entry Today
March 13, 2001 (Tuesday)
Due to the encouragement of several people and the generosity of a dear friend or two, I've decided to try to keep this project and page going as long as possible. If you know anyone who's taken my entry Saturday as the unchanging gospel, please let them know that I'm still here, still trying to find my way in this dark, dusky, dank, and dusty hall of mirrors and that I'll continue to share this journey, this process that I call my life and my art. Aren't the two really one and the same?
I want to thank everyone who wrote comments or e-mail and I'd like to say I hope I don't disappoint.
March 14, 2001 (Wednesday)
When I was a kid, living in a small town in central West Virginia, food was pretty much the same, week in and week out. I never tasted things like bagels, pate, lobster, scallops, and many of the foods I enjoy now until I was out of high school.
Mostly we shopped at a couple of corner grocery stores in the neighborhood I lived in. Now and then we'd go the the A&P in town. It wasn't much bigger than the neighborhood stores, just better stocked and with a meat department. I remember the white-painted metal shelves and the oiled wood floors. I remember the smell of the bread. Later, when I was in high school, Kroger built a new "supermarket" a couple miles out of town. It seemed so huge compared to the A&P, which went out of business shortly thereafter.
I went back there last year. Kroger has built a new store and the old building was taken over by a discount, bag-it-yourself store called Pic 'n Pac. I went in the store and it seemed so small. I guess it's true. You can't go home again.
March 15, 2001 (Thursday)
Beware the Ides of March.
March 16, 2001 (Friday)
Lots of rain the past two days. The forcast is calling for more, all weekend and most of next week. Hey,at least it's not freezing cold.
Well, the congress has made it harder to file for bankruptcy, just in time for a nasty recession and market slump. Layoffs abound! Local government infrastructures are crumbling. Wal-Mart is killing off local businesses and lowering the prevailing wages all over the country. The median household income is now $40,000, but that generally means two wage-earners and the concommitant reduction in actual income that results from having both parents out of the house. The earned income credit helps some, but not enough. More and more, the rich get richer and the poor, well, who really cares? They are the poor, after all. Didn't they choose to be poor? I don't like this country anymore.
And guess what, folks? It's only going to get worse. Mark my words.
March 17, 2001 (Saturday)
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!
Busy day today, moderately productive. Good day! St. Paddy's Day.
March 18, 2001 (Sunday)
No Entry Today
March 19, 2001 (Monday)
No Entry Today
March 20, 2001 (Tuesday)
A lot of things on my mind. There was a shooting yesterday in front of the Post Office where I have my P. O. Box. I had been there shortly before this happened. The person arrested for the shooting had been arrested before for exactly the same thing. The question begs: How the hell did this individual get his hands on a gun? What kind of society is this when some idiot who's pissed off at another idiot can shoot holes in his own car, wound the other person in the arm, and endanger everyone within range? Guns might not kill people, but they make it a whole lot easier for people to do so.
The city streets here are crumbling. Hope is fading. The stock market took a nose dive. The layoffs and business closings have started. It's going to be a bad summer around here. Already the drug traffic has picked up, and the hookers look younger and younger. This is just like the beginning of 1981. . .
There was a fire in a set of row houses on the next block a couple weeks ago. I offered my photos to the newspaper, but the reporter I talked to (Greg Moore) when I called the city editor's desk was rude and told me they had just sent a photographer to the scene. I told him the fire was already out. He just got ruder and repeated the fact that he's sent a photographer to the scene. The next day they ran a photo of a fireman shovelling debris out a window. They could have had photos like these:
March 21, 2001 (Wednesday)
Officially it's spring. If you go by the weather, it's still winter. Stupid groundhog!
March 22, 2001 (Thursday)
March 23, 2001 (Friday)
Tuesday night while I was getting gas at the local 7eleven (NO! I did NOT eat one of their bean burritos -- for the car! You, know, gasoline), There was pedestrian v. automobile accident right across the street at the corner. The man later died. Wednesday night, I was at Women's and Children's hospital for the birth of one of my daughter's best friend's first baby. Heather has been like a daughter to me, and I've been the closest thing to a dad she's had, so this was a lot like my first grandchild. The ends of life and everything in between. It's an amazing progression.
The three Amigas (Heather, my daughter Margaret, and Maria) are all pregnant at the same time. Heather on March 19, Margaret due on May 19, and Maria in July -- probably the 19th. It's amazing. Then, they always did do everything together.
I'm anxious for spring to get here with its warm days and cool clear nights, the April rains washing away the winter's grit. The sun has been bright and inspiring the past two days. I've taken lots of photographs, particularly of the daffodils and narcissus by the river. If they all turn out I might do a river tour, similar to the carriage trail tour I did last year.
The Internet has allowed the propagation of much useful information, and like any other heretofore invented method of communication, has also allowed even more misinformation, rumor, and superflua. The principal vehicle of transmitting information over the Internet is the written word. With no vetting of credentials for writers, particularly those sending e-mail and Instant Messages, the Internet has become a place of horrid spelling, insane and atrocious grammar, and a morass of abbreviations. U do no what i mean, rite? All of this is understandable in Instant Messages or chat rooms for the sake of expediency, but in e-mail, where no one is waiting for an immediate response, shouldn't we try to at least use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation, insofar as we know and understand it? And web sites -- as far as I'm concerned there is no real excuse for people to make spelling errors, as every tool one might possibly use to create a web site ostensibly has a spell checker, at least!
My biggest complaint about mass-propagated e-mail and web sites is the misuse of homonymns. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen its and it's misused, or there, they're, and their. I see than mistakenly used in place of then by supposedly college-educated people. I see to, two, and too liberally substituted for one another, and know and no swapped around like there was no difference in their meanings. And, please -- impact is a transitive verb not an active one, and it does not mean "to have an impact on." In most cases it should not be used as a verb at all.
March 24, 2001 (Saturday)
Busy, but boring day. I made the last payment on my 80-210mm zoom lens and picked it up. It's not the great telephoto lens that I wanted, but it does give me more options than I previously had. Look out for a new flurry of photographs to appear here.
Speaking of photographs appearing here, I've not been scanning too many of the photographs I've taken in my studio. For some reason my scanner adds a blueish-purplish cast to the black background and into the figures a little. I've tried different techniques to get rid of it but nothing short of coverting the photos to monochrome works at all. I guess I need a better scanner or something. I've finally managed to get a little better handle on the lighting, but I've still got some experimenting to do before I get it down to where I can do exactly what I want without thinking too hard about it.
March 25, 2001 (Sunday)
I woke up at seven this morning. The sun was shining bright and the world looked like it was just waiting for me to come take pictures of it. No such luck. By 10:00 it was only 32 degrees outside, even with the sun shining so brightly. It's only going to barely make it into the 40's today. I guess I'll have to wait until later in the week or until the weekend to get the kind of weather I want.
Later. . . Okay, so I couldn't wait! I went downtown around noon and took several shots of Laidley Tower and St. George's Syrian Orthodox Church. St. George's recently re-painted (re-coated?) their minarets atop the sanctuary. The sun glistens brightly off them. The reflection of the minarets and the blue sky and clouds in Laidley Tower's mirrored surface make for a nice composition. I'm havin' fun now. Can you tell?
One roll of film processed today. There were a few nice shots on it. Here's one.
"Appropriate Reflections for a Mortagage Company"
March 26, 2001 (Monday)
"Monday, Monday, can't trust that day. . ."
March 27, 2001 (Tuesday)
Goodbye Ruby Tuesday, who can hang a name on you, when you change with every new day? Still I'm gonna miss you. . ."
March 28, 2001 (Wednesday)
It really ticks me off when someone offers to do something, then doesn't do what they offered. I believe that an offer not followed through on is worse by far than no offer at all. "Sure, I'll help you move. I'll be there at 8:00." Then the person uttering these words, unasked, doesn't show up, and to them it's no big deal, but to the offeree, it can be a big inconvenience. Or in another case, the offer of money, goods or services that would otherwise require further effort, taken at face value then not forthcoming can create real hardship that might have been avoided had the offer not been made in the first place. My grandfather taught me to place great value on my promises. I only wish others' forebears had taught the same lesson equally well.
I got my first speeding ticket in 30 years yesterday. It's going to cost me $72.00 -- just what I need another extraneous expense that I can't afford. Help! Buy photographs, art, my stud services, anything! (I'm an excellent driver)
Here's a little something I shot with my trusty EOS and messed around with a little using Corel Photopaint.
"Waiting for the Steel Breeze"
March 29, 2001 (Thursday)
Okay, I've been going on about my latest art project and even alluding to a piece I did electronically that pretty much seeded the idea in my mind. Well, here's a scan of an actual piece. Naturally I'm limited as to what I can put up here for your perusal, since all the pieces except this one far exceed the size limitations of my scanner.
"Asemic Title Page"
I am not really pleased with the way the above drawing translates to the computer, either. The size of this piece is 8-1/2 inches by 11-3/4 inches. When it gets reduced down, many of the subtlties of line and tone get flattened and wiped out, as is the case with a lot of analog to digital conversions, particularly sound and picture files.
March 30, 2001 (Friday)
Yesterday the headlights on my car went out. I had it fixed today. In the process, somehow, now my turn signals don't work! Damn!
"Stairway to Heaven"
March 31, 2001 (Saturday)
I helped my daughter and son-in-law move into their new apartment yesterday. Somewhere along the way, I lost my watch. I'm not having the best of luck right now. A couple hundred dollars' income I was expecting has not materialized as promised. On top of that, in trying to help people out, it's cost me a $72.00 speeding ticket, $66.78 (so far) in car repairs, and my watch, health, and sanity. Maybe it's true what they say, "No good deed goes unpunished."
AND I've got a paper cut!
"Religion and the Spirit of Capitalism"
Okay, I found my watch. Things look better already!