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Wednesday, August 1, 2007     Rough Around the Edges
(10:15 am)

I had a couple drinks last night (buttery nipples -- not what I usually drink any more). I'm not certain but the Irish Cream may have been sitting in the fridge a little too long. When I woke up this morning my throat felt like I'd been at a ballgame or a concert last night, yelling my fool head off. I'm fairly certain I wasn't. This morning I don't have a hangover per se, but I do feel a little ragged. My stomach ain't happy and it's letting me know about it via nasty alcohol-laden belches. Earlier in the day yesterday I had so much pain I had to take a pill, too. This is a rare occurrence for me, so that may have something to do with the way I feel this morning. Maybe it is a hangover of sorts. Most likely I'll survive.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Second childhood anyone?

A couple years ago I bought a set of Cyber Acoustics speakers for my PC. It had decent sound mostly due to a nice-sized sub-woofer. From fairly early on (read, as soon as the warranty expired) the volume control was hinckey. Some positions it would pump sound to the left speaker only. Other settings would produce sound from the right only, neither, both at dramatically lower volume, and in a couple of "sweet spots," appropriate levels from both left and right. The only trouble was having to adjust the volume for varying levels from the PC sound card. It was maddening. Finally a few weeks back I got a new set of Altec-Lansing speakers for around the same price as the Cyber Acoustics ones (under $50). They work even better and I'm hoping the volume control will hold up under actual use better than the thumb-wheel type on the old ones. This PC has 7.1 surround sound. I just don't watch many movies on it nor do I play many games beyond pinball or Millipede, so getting a wide-dispersion set of seven speakers is a little on the overkill side of things. I would like to have a sound card with better input capability though, and a game port might be nice, since I have a MIDI cable that attaches to one. Where'd that come from?


Quote of the Day: "All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. This becomes even more obvious when posterity gives its final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists."

-- Marcel Duchamp


I'm on a Marcel Duchamp jag, in case you hadn't noticed. He's one of my all-time favorite artists. He went through a lot of phases in his life, some quite similar to my own, including a period of around 20 years when he didn't do any art at all, or at least none that came to public notice. He had his cubist phase, his expressionist period, his surrealist affiliation, and his long-standing affinity with Dada. I've often thought of myself as subsribing to the Dada aesthetic, but I suppose I could be considered surrealist as well, since a lot of the impetus for my art work and visual/concrete poetry comes from subsonscious and purely random sources. I'm probably thinking along these lines because of the Capitol Records deal and the fact that I've started a painting again after a considerable hiatus from bristle and sable. Speaking of Capitol, I've still not gotten paid, and the studio manager in New York promised to expedite payment. I'd hate to see what normal processing speed is. The day after tomorrow will be 30 days. Isn't that what usual expectations for payment from an invoice is? I haven't levied one in so long that I don't know if expectations have lengthened or not. Probably. Everything else seems to be slanted toward the corporate buyer anymore.

Vispo Concretion
"Admonition"
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Friday, August 3, 2007     The Da Vinci Advice
(9:44 am)

Leonardo (da Vinci merely means "from Vinci," the city in which he was born) once offered the advice that if you wanted to learn to paint then you should study water stains on the wall. I've taken it one step further, as have a lot of innovative watercolor painters. I use the process of water staining a surface to apply paint to that surface. An irregular surface such as rough or not watercolor paper works well. Canvas does too, to a lesser extent. My techniques of laying down color are somewhat irratic, but not really. I don't depend on randomness so much as I do on the physical properties of things. I study how a certain consistency of paint or other material will react under various circumstances and on various grounds, and when I find something interesting I push it as far as it will go. Hence, my sometimes seemingly unconnected and inconsistent ouvre. It's all connected and consistent in the fact that it's all experimentation. My childhood love of chemistry and other scientific experimentation holds over and extends itself into my artistic endeavors.


Quote of the Day: "Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous."

-- Leonardo da Vinci


Bonus Quote of the Day: "Art is a habit-forming drug. That's all it is for the artist, for the collector, for anybody connected with it. Art has absolutely no existence as varacity, as truth. People speak of it with great, religious reverence, but I don't see why it is to be so much revered. I'm afraid I'm an agnostic when it comes to art. I don't believe in it with all the mystical trimmings. As a drug it's probably very useful for many people, very sedative, but as a religion it's not even as good as God."

-- Marcel Duchamp


We have a huge box elder tree in the back yard, and where you have a box elder tree you have box elder bugs. They look like Ferrari cockroaches, with the red trim and steamlined styling, but they are a bother. They aggregate by the thousand and hang on walls, especially white ones. They don't hurt anything, don't carry disease, don't eat anything but dead box elder leaves, but they are a nuisance. The only real way to eliminate them is to eliminate the tree. It's a package deal. Box elder is a variety of maple. Maple is used extensively in guitar manufacture, so I wonder if box elder would lend itself to that use as well? [time passes] Okay, I looked it up. Seems that on occasion box elder is used for musical instruments. I kind of got lost on a web page devoted to fine woods. It's now nearly eleven o'clock. I'm a nut for figured woods. I only wish I'd been able to take up woodworking earlier in my life. I might have become a capable guitar builder.

The previous line of thought leads me to consider my life as a whole. It seems that life is a collection of collections -- a collection of accomplishments, a collection of aspirations, a collection of desires, a collection of disappointments, a collection of regrets. The success of a life would hinge on which of these collections predominate. A successful life would have larger collections of aspirations and accomplishments with a considerable area of overlap, while a failed life would have a larger collection of disappointment and regrets with a similar degree of coincidence. I'm fearful of doing an assessment of my own, afraid of which end of that spectrum my existence might come down on.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

The times they are a'changin'.

Often times the winds of change blow chill. Other times they blow hot and dry like the Santa Ana winds of Southern California. Now and then the winds are scented with the soft, sweet fragrance of blooming holly trees or the light muskiness of sage. Othertimes, the rotten and fecund smell of life recycled wafts by on the breeze. I wonder what sweet, vanilla wind the Jones Soda company has in store for me?

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007     Lifespans & Ampersands
(9:22 am)

Everything has a lifespan, be it human or any other living organism or even inanimate or conceptual entities such as geologic formations or blogs. Once again I'm considering shutting this endeavor down. It seems I write less and less about less and less, the entries being shorter and less frequent. There are fewer steady readers recently as well, and the last comment I got about anything was the May 15th guestbook entry. I've repeatedly asked for feedback, and I've yet to get any, other than Niki, Pat, and Emily (well, Liberty, too if you can classify any of our extraneous communications as feedback -- more like an unrelated conversation really). I've gotten a CD cover and booklet to my credit now, but that was because of Dan Waber's spread of my concrete poetry and nothing to do with this page or project at all. It's a bit disheartening. I've been doing this longer than just about anyone. When I started this online journal, the word 'blog' wasn't even in the public awareness. I am still loathe to call it that.

Since this project is still officially ongoing, I feel somewhat an obligation to write or post things here on a moderately frequent basis. Actually, I feel like I should write something every day. . . but I don't. I've noticed a trend of my taking weekends off, and in most cases, three-day weekend at that (or more!). It's become like a job, and I never intended it to become that, especially given that I pay to keep it going instead of the other way around. I'm not saying that I'm going to stop this project or even take a hiatus from it. I'm just saying I'm considering it, so don't be alarmed or surprised if it goes the way of the "Hollow Men," out with a whimper, not a bang (to paraphrase T. S. Eliot).


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Baby nees a new pair of shoes.

& I bought a Rolling Stones button and a pin at the Flea Market Saturday. The pin has the Stones' lips and tongue logo with a legend that says, "I'm Stoned." Cute. The button is a woman's face with "She Was Hot" across it. The button is on my red Telecaster's strap, the pin on my Tele Custom's strap. I like buttons and pins on guitar straps, as anyone who has ever seen any of my guitars can attest.


Quote of the Day: "If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet"

-- Keith Richards


& It's not even ten AM and already it's 83 degrees. Today is going to be a scorcher. The humidity is supposed to be close to 100% as well. Please, Thor, don't let the A/C break down. If it does I'm spending the day at the dog track. . .

Visual/Concrete poem on W/C paper.
"Multag Time"

& I've been playing around with a couple of fractal generator programs recently -- I think I've mentioned this before. I'll be presenting some of my explorations here, as long as it lasts. . . This is my current windows wallpaper. Underneath there are two links to larger versions for you to download if you like it. The 16 X 10 link is for widescreen monitors and the 4 X 3 is for regular aspect ratios. The sizes are 1440 X 900 and 1024 X 768. They can be stretched to fit if your screen is higher resolution than that, or resized with a graphics editor if it's smaller.

Apophysis generated fractal design
"Hold the Lattice"
Wallpaper Downloads:  16 X 10     --     4 X 3
 
 
Right click on the above links and choose "Save Target as. . ." to download.
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Friday, August 10, 2007     Whatever
(11:18 am)

I'm so tired of getting screwed over, ignored, and taken advantage of. This week has been a bonus pack of the above. Screw it.


Quote of the Day: "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."

-- Frank Zappa


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Be Here Now

I finally got my check from Capitol:

Amounts have been changed to protect the innocent.

I've blocked out the amounts and other vital information. What's disheartening about the whole thing is that the band wants to pay me an additional paltry amount for merchandising rights to the cover art (read: tee-shirts). I asked for a little more, since I'm pretty sure I'll not ever get the full amount called for in the contract for merchandising rights for all four pieces they used for the CD. Well, I've not heard from anyone since July 25 about it. So, now they have a contest to create a tee-shirt design, with the winning prize being $2,000, an X-Box game system, and a bunch of other goodies, well in excess of what I got paid for the CD art. I don't think this is right. It's like they're willing to pass out the cash to everyone but me. I'm steamed.


(3:20 pm)Addendum
 

Okay, I've got more information regarding the last paragraph. The tee-shirt contest is being run by the shirt company and Mae has nothing directly to do with it. I'm still of the opinion that such contests do little to promote art and shouldn't be permitted. Anyway, they've ostensibly decided against merchandising rights because of inadequate cash flow at the moment. Well, I don't feel like I'm being taken so much anymore, but I do feel moderately put-out.


Think about it -- an addendum to whatever. . .

Whatever. . .

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Sunday, August 12, 2007     Balloons As Accessories
(6:53 pm)

Digital Camera Image [2007_0812Image0006] [Cropped, adjusted] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 400, Portrait mode, 1/60, f/4, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 46 mm, internal flash]
"Gretchen, Codie, Hannah"

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Shhh, I'm twacking wabbits. . .

I got another one in my e-mail. At least I find it amusing. . .

Screenshot, Outlook Express
"I'll take the pain, but can I have just two of the Christ? I don't need all eight."

Quote of the Day: "Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else."

-- Leonardo da Vinci


How do we extricate ourselves from the mess we have allowed GlowWorm Bush and crew to get us into. How do we take back our military from Halliburton. How do we wrest the Supreme Court from the self-righteous mean-spirited dipsticks that the retarded son of Satan appointed (oh yeah, and Clarence Thomas, too)? How do we repair what Dick (head) Cheney has wrought in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East? How do we rebuild the beginnings that Clinton made? How do we progress? How do we get rid of the mercanaries? How do we get universal health care that doesn't impoverish more people? How do we 'fix' the stock market and the housing market? How to we reverse global warming? How do we disabuse the religious right of their self-ordained right to control everyone's lives? How do we carry on without hope and joy? Do you really think the 2008 elections will A.) actually happen, or if they do, B.) be legitimate and fair? I have my doubts. I'm nearly despondent.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007     Singularity and Monads
(9:41 am)

Today is the release day for Mae's new CD, "Singularity." I should be getting a few copies of the CD in the next day or three. The tunes from the album are already up on MySpace (www.myspace.com/mae) -- have been for a few days. Sorry I neglected to mention it. Several of the songs, I presume the featured ones on the CD, have been there longer, but to be quite honest I like the more recent arrivals better. Mae isn't exactly my cup of tea. I personally think they're too 'smooth' and homogenized. To my way of hearing things, they could use a little more of an edge, à la Nickleback or Staind. But there's no denying they have talent. The song they had on their MeSpaz site that I liked the most is no longer there -- a cover of the Beatles "A Day In the Life." As soon as I verify what art they actually used beyond the cover, I'll either post thumbnails of them or give you a link to pre-existing presentations online.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

I could stand a vacation.  Stand, not afford, mind you.

Turd Blossom is no more. Well, not in his current position anyway. Check out the Wikipedia entry for the term. I think the original Texas definition fits quite appropriately. Now that Karl Rove is off the boat, I say we drown him. The man is vile and arrogant and destructive to the nth degree and needs to be in prison playing some other 'Bubba's' bitch. This group of quasi-Texans has done more harm to this country than the Civil War did. Impeach 'em all. Let God sort 'em out.

Concrete Poem/collage
"For Value Received"

I saw an amusing sign on a truck the other day -- seemed apropos. . .

Digital Camera Image [2007_0806Image0001 (cropped)] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 800, Aperture Priority AE, 1/3200, f/6.3, Tamron 28-300 mm lens @ 265 mm ]
"Isn't that stating the obvious?"

Quote of the Day: "The disgusting stink of a too loud electric guitar; now that's my idea of a good time. "

-- Frank Zappa


The city is re-paving the sidewalks on this side of the street. They've been at it over a week now. What a horrible inconvenience. It's a gawd-awful mess, too. At the moment I'm a prisoner. They've poured fresh concrete and haven't put the bridge over the walk back. I can't go anywhere. I could go next door and down John's steps but then I'd be confronted with a huge pile of stone and heavy equipment. I'd have to walk 3/4 of the way up the block to get around it. That's the purpose of having my handicapped signs out front -- to provide me with easy access, since I HAVE TROUBLE WALKING ANY DISTANCE AT ALL!!! Excuse me for shouting, but I get pissed about people's lack of regard for anything but what they need, want, and have to do. They don't so much as consider the fact that there are other human beings with wants, needs, and activities of their own in the world. If I could change one aspect of the way people behave, it would be that -- I'd make them all more considerate. Well, when I get to be the god in charge of that, things will be different. . .

I don't know if you've been watching the HBO series "John From Cincinnati" or not, but Sunday night was the season (series?) finale. It's ostensibly a show about the spiritual aspects of surfing. There's a champion surfer, Kaela Kennely, in the cast. It's a bit odd, to say the least. It also has some of my favorite actors in it -- Ed O'Neil (Al Bundy) and Rebecca DeMornay (Risky Business and other films). Luis Guzman is the only other name I recognize but I've seen several of the other faces before, too. The cast is great. The show is confusing, but in a good way. John (from Cincinnati) is some sort of a savant supernatural being. Whenever he needs money, there it is. He can only speak using words he's heard before, usually parroting them back at the person who originally spoke them. David Milch, of NYPD Blue and Deadwood fame (the actress who played Trixie on Deadwood is in this series too) is the creator of this series. He's got me on another one. Almost anything he does I'm down with.

John, the savant alien/angel/faerie is referred to in the series as John Monad. If you're familiar with Liebniz's concept of monads, you'll realize how poignant this is. I hope Milch develops this much further and at least resolves why Mitch is levitating at random -- could be embarrassing.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007     Back to Cincinnati
(10:04 am)

Well, it's official, John is going back to Cincy. Or at least in my mind, he is. HBO has canceled their surfing darkly series, John from Cincinnati. More's the pity. It seems that every time David Milch comes up with a groundbreaking concept, the powers-that-be manage to kill it off soon as possible. Granted, NYPD Blue lasted a good long time and Deadwood went a few seasons, but I wasn't done with any of the three, especially John. Taking the show off the air is like ABC dropping Lost right after they opened the hatch, or, as in John, or the non-Milch series Six Feet Under, doing a quick synopsis of the rest of the characters' lives on the last episode. I had to watch the finale of John twice to pick out the gist of what was to happen, and even at that it may take several more viewings and will still have me coming away unfulfilled and wanting more of the story. What a shame. The best fade quickly while pap like Friends goes on interminably.


Quote of the Day: "The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity."

-- Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian novelist & philosopher


As I mentioned yesterday, the CD with my artwork on it is for sale now. they say it's available "everywhere," and the online store gives FYE as one of the places carrying it, but the FYE at Towne Center Mall doesn't have it. Ann checked yesterday, wanting to see my artwork in context. AT any rate, give it a shot. It may be at your favorite music store today. Click on the banner below to check out their latest website design.

Singularity.  Available everywhere (except the Moon, Mars, and minor planetesimals).

Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Give my dreams a chance!  I have some good ones.

Concrete poem/collage.
"Saturday in the 9th dimension"

In the US of A, our method of operation is to build something, neglect it until it falls apart and people die, then replace it, whereas had we taken proper care of things, they would have lasted much longer. For example, Europe. There are structures and buildings there that are hundreds of years old and are still being used every day. Here, we have little that has existed since WWI. My maternal grandfather, who was the closest thing I had to a dad, always emphasized to me that a workman always takes good care of his tools. He also taught me to take care of what I made so it would last, and to always do my best no matter how trivial the task. I've tried to hold these values close, but it's difficult in this part of the world where everything is just one degree of temporary and disposable or another.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007     Modifications
(8:50 am)

I got a couple of the Mae CD's in the mail yesterday. It's a bit odd seeing my concrete poetry on the cover of a power pop band's CD. I have mixed feelings about it. They only used three of the four pieces they acquired rights to. I'm not surprised, as the fourth always seemed incongruous to the other three in my estimation anyway. They didn't leave any of the pieces untouched. The cover was the least modified of the group. They moved the word "Singularity" from the left to the right, which I suppose makes sense in that context. They darkened the piece considerably, too, which I think detracts somewhat. Here are thumbnails. What do you think?

comparison of two versions

I also think the extra whitespace in the original adds to the aesthetic value of the piece, too, but Capitol Records is a commercial endeavor, so what are ya gonna do? The piece below was converted to a negative image. Again, I prefer the original, but the flip worked out okay. If you want to see what it looks like, it's on page 3 of the CD booklet, or you can capture this image here and invert the colors.

No way out

I think this piece is one of my better creations in the digital realm. It was done using my Wacom graphics tablet and pen. Another of my favorites is the other piece they used for the CD, albeit in heavily modified form. The other piece is called "Path Way." I'll not include it here, It can be seen on Dan Waber's Minimalist Concrete Poetry page. The modifications they've made to it have essentially made it a different piece than it was originally. I like it probably as well as the original, but it's not the same, and that's okay.

Here's the CD credit (I added the highlight):

It's all about ME!

It's just been four days since the CD came out, but I can't see any appreciable increase in unique visitors to my web pages since then. It's running roughly the same as for any other month. Maybe I expect too much from the demographic that would buy this CD. Having said that, the band's website has referred more visitors to my site than Google, which normally is right behind direct calls. Direct calls to the site account for 21% of the traffic. Mae's web site comes in at 14.18%, just ahead of Google at 13.45% of the hits. Now, add to that the other URL's on Mae's site, and we have a total for their site of almost 24 and a half percent, which beats out direct references. Google has some other oblique calls, too, such as image searches, UK Google, etc. Their total comes to almost 17 and a half percent. The three source of visitors add up to nearly 63% of the total -- just three sources. Some of the other referrers are interesting, though: absolutepunk.net, designcommunity.com, and mamma.com. The bulk of the other hits come from search engines such as MSN and ASK.com, redirects from Day Janeiro's domain name, and miscellaneous referrals. I'm sure no one is interested in this but me, but there you have it.

Okay, how about something about the CD itself? It's not exactly my cup of tea. I see a lot of potential there, but as far as I'm concerned it's only mimimally realized. One thing that bothers me about it is how obvious it is that a keyboard player produced it. Methinks there's a movement afoot to kill off guitars (again! -- this happens every few years). I like a litte more 'edgy' mix, something like Staind or Nickleback. This music reminds me a lot of Yellowcard or Fountains of Wayne. I've mentioned before that I liked the 'lesser' songs on the CD best. The 'hidden' track is probably my favorite. I don't know if it's on the release version or only on the download and promotional copies. It's a nice song. I'd like to see them go more in this direction and/or something along the lines of Opeth's progressive CD.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Let's go!

It seems to me that I've heard today's quote somewhere, but I've looked all over the web and can't find it expressed in exactly the same way, so I'm claiming it for my own (since today's entry is all about me -- oh wait, this is a 'blog' so I suppose, in essence, the whole friggin' thing is all about me). If you like, you can attribute it to Anonymous.


Quote of the Day: "Just because no one can understand you doesn't make you inscrutable."

-- J. Michael Mollohan


Some days I hardly feel like making an entry here. Others, like today, I could probably go on for several hours, rambling from thought to thought, dredging up graphics to illustrate one point or another, one idea or its brother, creating internal rhymes in prose paragraphs, composing poems and music in my head the whole while, storing away the ideas and notions for use at a later time (probably best to do this in writing or a sketch book considering my advancing dottage). I am trying hard to not take up too much of your time today, but there are things I want to air, and at the moment, this just happens to seem like the place to do so.

Irony abounds. Now that I made that last statement and went back and revised what I wrote earlier, the other items I wanted to exposit have evaporated like the morning dew from my mind's windshield. Oh well. . .

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Monday, August 20, 2007     Philosophy of Doing
(9:39 am)

Regardless of what we do, what we attempt, every human action looks for a return on investment. We invest time, energy, thought, dedication, and effort in every task we perform, and for this investment we understandably expect a reward, feedback, payment, or some other tangible or metaphysical indication that the universe has accepted our existence and purport in taking on the doing of what it is we do. Many times, the return on our efforts is minimal, and the payback we get in large measure determines whether or not we continue to do the same or similar things.

I've been doing this "web thing" since 1997 -- longer if you count the time I spent on Gopher, Telnet, UUNet, Usenet, and other pre-http segments of the Internet, and the BBS and Fido world of the 80's. The rewards I get for doing this come infrequently and at considerable distance from one another. The return on investment hardly justifies continuing, yet I do. I suppose I must get some feeling of satisfaction from doing this. It certainly doesn't hinge on kudos or great monetary reward from outside entities. Now and then I get some comment that makes what I do worthwhile, but those come further from one another. I have gotten very little financial reward from this endeavor, if I can claim any at all. Most of the Internet income I've attained has come from sources outside my purview. For instance, the Capitol Records CD cover I did recently came about because of Dan Waber's presentation of my work. One might ask why I continue to do this without getting much of a substantive nature in return. To be quite honest, I don't know. I guess it's one of those "voice crying in the wilderness" things. I think the visual and concrete poetry and art that I do are important, but I'm not much in the manner of a merchant, so I keep yelling hoping someone will notice. Occasionally they do, but for short duration, and without any thought to advancing my interests. Most people interested in my work just want to use it for their own purposes and once that purpose is served, I'm relegated to background noise once again. Hell, it's hard for me to get anyone to even talk to me lately.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Apropos!

The question begs: Isn't love sufficient reward for most things? In this society, love of money, aside from being the root of all evil, is the only passion worthy of effort to those who control the flow of social and commercial intercourse. More's the pity.


Quote of the Day: "The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge. 'You eat this apple, you're going to be as smart as God. We can't have that.'"

-- Frank Zappa


We had a nice storm in the middle of the night last night. It's been a good long time since that happened, to my knowledge. I used to love storms. I'd sit on the porch at Arlington Court when we lived there and absorb the power of storms, watch the lightning, listen to the thunder and the downpour, let the wind blow water on me. I've done that a few times here, too. The three places we've lived between had no real good vantage points to take advantage of the storms. This place really doesn't either, but sometimes I try. Last night I didn't even bother to get up and go look out a window. It seems all my previous passions are changing into memories. If you hadn't noticed, I've been doing a lot of Frank Zappa quotes lately. Here's another.


Bonus Quote of the Day: "It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."

-- Frank Zappa


We're into the third week of the two-week sidewalk refurbishment that didn't need to be done in the first place. Parking is a hideous problem, especially for me with my difficulty in walking. I've tried contacting the people at the Mayor's Office of Community and Economic Development who are in charge. No one returns my calls. I've called our city councilman, who is dear friend of mine, and he can't seem to get anyone to talk to him either. The contractor has made a god-awful mess of things. Were I younger and full or piss and vinegar, I'd march down to City Hall and barge in on someone spewing ire and indignation. But I'm not younger nor full of anything mentionable in polite company so I sit and get disillusioned and bitter about the way society treats its discrete components.

Ever notice that there's only one letter different between 'polite' and 'police?' And those are the only two words in English that can be made by substituting that fifth letter. Ironic, don't ya think? A police officer's politeness is a veneer for the threat of force.


Speaking of having been at this for a long time, here's the first webpage logo I used in 1997:

I don't believe it.

That motto is still good advice for anyone starting out on the Web.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007     Robert L. Redwine (1940-2007)
(1:31 pm)

I didn't know Robert well, but the few times I've been around him I could see through the illnesses that wracked him to a genuine, interesting, and intelligent person. Moreover I can see his character in such forensic evidence as his children and the kids not related to him in any manner who still called him 'Dad.' Bob would have been my son's Father-in-law sometime next year. It's sad he had to miss that. It is good that his pain is forever abated.

I hate funerals, but as they go, Bob's was better than most. I'm getting way too familiar with the Bartlett-Burdette-Cox Funeral Home. I've been to several funerals there in the past few years. For purposes of my demise, I'm Jewish. Wash me off, wrap me up, stuff me in the oven, and sit Shiva. As I have told many people, I want the majority of my ashes mixed up with Portland cement, sand, gravel, and water and cast into a concrete bench, probably best done in situ. I want the bench installed somewhere out in the wilderness where people sometimes but rarely hike. My name and dates of birth and death along with the word "Welcome" whould be listed on the bench. I'd like it to overlook something impressive, kind of a going-away gift for me, from me.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

'Drawn,' get it?

I didn't mean to go all week without making an entry here. The funeral and the events leading up to it, plus Ann being home most of the week, and a bunch of other things just kept me at arm's length from the keyboard for the most part.


Quote of the Day: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."

-- William Butler Yeats


My pal, Dave Alley, (see, or should I say hear, my Musical Explorations page, first tune) has issued a CD. I got a copy in the mail from him yesterday (note to self -- be sure to call and thank him). It's listed on CDBaby's website under "Relaxation." It is pretty relaxing. I like the layered construction of most of the tunes. If you're interested in this kind of thing, have a listen to Crack A Smile on Dave Glenn Alley's page on CDBaby.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007     Goodbye Gonzo!
(8:54 am)

Alberto Gonzales has resigned. You might think initially to say, "Hallelujah, good riddance," but stop and think for a moment. Usually when Bush replaces a bad appointee it's with one that's worse (e.g. Ashcroft with Gonzo). I shudder to think who he'll nominate. Does Bill O'Reilly have a legal degree? Does the position of Attorney General actually require one?


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Just Get 'R Done (Nike merges with Larry the Cable Idiot)

Thanks to Emily for today's fortune. I seem to have accumulated quite a few fortunes between a couple orders of takeout, Emily's contributions, and a four pack of Jones Sodas. I'll probably not be ordering from Main Kwong anymore, though. If I order delivery it'll be from the place downtown on Court Street or Wok 'N Roll. Main Kwong told us last time we ordered that they wouldn't take credit cards for phone orders anymore. The only reason I can think of for this is the 1-1/2 percent charge that MasterCard, Visa and the others levy on purchases. That's ridiculous. I'm sure they still make more than that on an order. They're losing what profit they did make this way, since I'll just be ordering from someone else who does take plastic. In this day and age, not taking plastic money is not especially bright. The only situation I can fathom for a merchant not doing so is someone at a flea market who deals exclusively in cash.


Quote of the Day: "The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."

-- General Omar Bradley


Did you hear Bush-for-brains yesterday? He was talking about Iran to the American Legion or some similar organization. It sounded very similar to the run-up to the war with Iraq. The man won't be satisfied until he has dragged the entire country into the muck, destroyed our national pride and image, and brought on the end of civilization, at least in this hemisphere. The man is a fucking menace and needs to be removed from office. What amazes me is that so few people see the necessity of this. As the bumper sticker I saw on a pick-up truck said, Impeach the Retarded Son of Satan. You think Bush 41 is Satan? What about Barbara?

Speaking of incoherent, irrational ramblings of a room temperature IQ, did you see Miss South Carolina answer the question at the Miss Teen USA pageant? And you thought Jay Leno's Jaywalkers were a set up. . .

Including the above YouTube movie requires breaking XHTML compliance. I don't know why these large commercial sites don't comply with XHTML standard. It would make things so much easier for everyone. Speaking of which, I don't know why W3C (the standards organization for the Web) would depricate the <embed> tag. Granted it's never been part and parcel of HTML, but it has been used widely and is a simple, non-verbose method of including videos in an HTML document. A little common sense, please. . . somebody? Anybody?

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Thursday, August 30, 2007     Top 40
(2:45 pm)

I've got a top 40 hit! Well, Mae does anyway and my artwork is being plastered all over the music business landscape, sometimes with attribution, sometimes not. Mae's new CD, Singularity hit the Billboard Top 200 at number 40. First week on the charts, surely it can only go higher. On second thought, I just checked the chart again, hoping to put at least a temporary link to it here and the CD seems to have dropped entirely off the top 100. Can you say 'flash in the pan?' Here's Billboard's Review of their CD, and here's a screen shot I took before the world ended:

Screen shot
"It's a fleeting thing. . ."

There's a new entry in wikipedia about the Singularity CD. This has attribution for the cover art. Cool. Here's another review, this one at Absolute Punk.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

You are under my power. . .

Mae's last CD made it to number 51 on the Billboard chart. This one apparently will top out at number 40. That's not too shabby, but it's not as good as either the band or I had hoped for. I'm sure with their move from Tooth & Nail to Capitol, that they'd hoped for a top 20 hit at the very least. I think if they went more in the direction of Staind or Nickleback, or Audioslave they'd do better. Of course, what do I know. Justin Timberlake has two CD's on the charts that I saw, maybe more. Makes me ill.


Quote of the Day: "Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives"

-- William James


If nothing else my "Singularity" piece is getting lots of exposure. I suppose that's good, although I've not seen any benefit from it beyond the initial payment. I had hoped I'd get inquiries about doing more CD covers for more bands. Nada, so far. In fact, the unique visitors to my web pages have been fewer than usual. What's up with that? Of course, August seems to be a slow month on my sites. Maybe that's it. Maybe it will pick up and exceed the norm next month. Then again the flash may be out of the pan by then. It's quite possible that August is a bad month to release records, etc. I know it was a bad month for weddings. My first marriage, which was a disaster, began on August Ninth.

Here's a graphic that's a little taller than my usual fare here. I'd love to see someone pick this up as a cover or CD booklet art.

Generated flame fractal (modified)
"Eternal Flame"
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Friday, August 31, 2007     Oddness in the Google Universe
(8:45 pm)

I did a Google search on the single word, "Singularity." Looking for images, I found something interesting. The Mae CD didn't show up in the list until the sixth page. The image on Dan Waber's site where the band originally found it didn't show up anywhere in the entire list. I checked several other search engines. Same story. It seems that, if the band was looking for images today, mine would go undiscovered. That's odd, and more than a little disturbing.


Today's Fortune, Cookie:

Patient, pleasant, and open>  Screw that!

Speaking of things related to my artwork. I've seen several comments on it as the Mae cover art. There have been calls for it to be replaced, derision, disdain, and mocking. People seem to think they can do as well. As I usually tell anyone throwing that rotten tomato at me, go ahead and try. I think mostly it's fans who expected something to go with the music -- slick and non-challenging. Sorry, if you want that, try Thomas Kinkade.


Quote of the Day: "The word 'art' interests me very much. If it comes from Sanskrit, as I've heard, it signifies 'making.'"

-- Marcel Duchamp


Here's my new Official Portrait:

EOS 20D Digital Photograph taken by Ann Mollohan.  Modified using Corel Photopaint 11.
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