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Thursday, December 1, 2005
(11:29 am)

I erased the first comment to my guestbook in months. It was marked private so the general public couldn't see it, which is just as well. It was a disjointed, ill-conceived diatribe about how Hitler was a hero and George W. Bush is an ultra-liberal

? ? ? ? ? What the. . . ? ? ?

The main difference between Bush and Hitler that I can see is that Bush's handlers are able to keep him on the leash.

Quote of the Day: "If God keeps hanging out with politicians, it's gonna hurt his reputation."
-- Molly Ivins

Have I mentioned that I've taken up doing crosswords again? I used to do them all the time. It's a habit I picked up from my grandfather. He was the closest thing to a father figure I had growing up. I decided that collecting even run-of-the-mill, allegedly inexpensive stamps is too rich for my blood. I don't have $60 to $100 a month to spare for such things. Whereas crossword puzzles are in the paper every day, and books with a couple hundred in them are under five bucks. I subscribe to the paper anyway, and I'm thinking about a subscription to one of the better crossword periodicals. I even saw a New York Times Crossword electronic edition advertised in some spam I got this morning, and as much as I might want it, I'll not give in to unsolicited advertising in my inbox. Speaking of which. . . What in heaven's name would make someone suppose that receiving e-mail from someone ostensibly named "Gonorrhea O. Railroad" would inspired enough confidence that the receiver would actually order what ever Mr. Railroad was selling? People really amaze me sometimes.

My studio (a microcosm of my life, perhaps?) is in total disarray. I have some things I need to do, and a lot of things I want to do, but no workspace on which to do them. I have room to work or room to put the materials, but not both in close enough proximity to make it painless to do anything. And the paranoia about narcotics is running so high right now (front page story in this morning's paper) that I can't get a prescription for something that doesn't even help. I'm bummed.


Monday, December 5, 2005
(1:49 pm)

The entries here are getting a little closer together, but the substance of them is still pretty much absent. There are so many things on my mind that it's difficult to sort anything out and put it down in a coherent form. And to think my professors used to write "Succinct" on my papers. . .

Quote of the Day: "Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening."
-- Greta Garbo

Almost my sweet patootie! Usually those with a continuous smile are either beauty contestants or Scientologists, and in either case, evasive action is urgently indicated.

I watched a nice program about Leonardo DaVinci on the History Channel last night. There was some speculation that he had ADHD, OCD, or some other mental/chemical aberration that caused him to leave a lot of things unfinished, and to jump from one project to another, like the cuts in an MTV music video. Maybe there's something about a particular kind of genius that has that as a side-effect. There seem to be a lot of geniuses who exhibit the signs of a bi-polar disorder, and I really don't think that's what it is. Likewise there are those of genius who appear to be oblivious to most things, and I'm sure that's part and parcel of the creative process in that particular incarnation. Gauguin was quintessentially a sociopath to all intents and purposes. Van Gogh was all over the DSM table of contents. Cézanne was probably a borderline personality type, as was Picasso. Matisse was some sort of compulsive. Depression runs long, wide, and deep among artists. I think perhaps the broad stroke of the current generation of artists is a precursor of the next generation's prevalent mental aberration; or at least this was the case until contemporary times where the individual artist has little contact with others outside his/her own community and/or affinity group. The Internet and easy long-distance travel has made artists less expansive and fractured the aberative mold so that no generalizations can be made nor can the overall timbre of the current generation of creative individuals be understood until sufficient temporal distance lies between the analyst and the time period so that the lens may be focused on the whole, and the whole understood as a synergy instead of a conglomeration of various and sundry movements, schools, tendencies, and individuals. I think perhaps, in light of the better understanding of DaVinci we now have, that we are able to put him in his proper place in the history of art and the timeline of genius.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005
(2:31 pm)

Okay, Santa, what I really want for Christmas is the new Canon D5. I'd settle for the D20, or even the 8 MP Digital Rebel, or the new Fujifilm Finepix S9000. I want some studio lighting and a nice slave flash system, I'd like to have a good flash for my Canon cameras and a Macro lens and flash ring. I'd like some PC3200 memory. A couple 1 GB sticks would be ideal, but even a single 512 MB would be appreciated. I'd like a large hard drive, too -- 200 GB or better. An AGP video card with 256 MB onboard would be good. A good printer or two would be greatly appreciated. My old faithful stereo receiver is acting up, so a replacement for that would be good. I'd really like a new car, if that's not asking too much. I'd like a house of my own with lots of room for a studio. I'd also like a maid a couple days a week. As long as we're on the subject of really big gifts, how about fame and fortune? With an emphasis on the fortune part. Winning the lottery would be a nice gesture. Can you arrange that? Well, back to the actual list: One of those Kitchen Aid mixers with attachments would be very cool. Oh, and a big screen plasma TV and a 27 inch LCD one that I could use for a monitor for my computer. I'd also like to have that Ibanez acoustic/electric guitar I saw at The House of Music, you know, the one with the violin finish. A Vox AC15 or AC30 amplifier would be great. That way I could put the rack rig I have now to other purposes. I'd like a nice little Allen&Heath mixing board and some microphones and stands. Some software would be handy as well -- new versions of Office, Corel Draw Suite, Adobe Publisher Suite, Microsoft Publisher and Image Composer, some nice plug-ins for the paint programs, some music programs, and anything else you think I might like. I'd like some new living room furniture, a new dining room suite, and a real bed frame made of actual wood if possible. I'd like a new large refrigerator (just a gift certificate to Lowes or Home Depot would work), new washer and dryer, and some tables, night stands, book shelves, etc., that actually match and aren't 30 years old and beat to death. I want some nice books on art and other things I'm interested in. Taschen makes a lot of those. I'd particularly like a new copy of The Curse of Lono, since mine is in tatters. I'd like some DVD's of recent vintage (you know what I like). Oh, yeah, and world peace.

Quote of the Day: "What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature."
-- Voltaire

I've not felt well for a few days now. I think it's a cold or something. I got my flu shot last week during my doctor's visit. Sometimes I get some mild symptoms after that, but it seems a little distant for that to be the case. Maybe it's just a cold.

I'm going to go get back in bed and read more of my book. I'm doing the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I'm on the third of six right now (if you don't count The Outlandish Companion, which I assume is an explanation of the terms and words and place names in the books). The further I go into them, the more they resemble romance novels, albeit much more well-written (yes, I've read a few of those despicable volumes). I don't care for the romantic passages so much, but they do add substance to the characters. The historical verisimilitude and the mystic/sci-fi framework is "verra bonnie indeed."

Something interesting on the Sci-Fi channel: a mini-series called "The Triangle," about sleuthing out the truth about the Bermuda Triangle. This wealthy shipping magnate hires four specialists in various fields and offers them $5 Million apiece if they can find out what causes the anomalies and disappearances in the section of the Sargasso sea bounded by Miami, Bermuda, and San Juan, PR. For someone who owns and operates over 300 ships and is certainly a multi-billionaire, I think a mere five million each is doing it on the cheap; $20 each would be more like it. Anyway, the opening episode last night was pretty good -- held my interest and made me want to watch the other two episodes tonight and tomorrow night. If you missed the first, check your local listings, as they're going to re-broadcast it prior to tonight's episode.


Monday, December 12, 2005
(1:45 pm)

It snowed last night and this morning. In fact it's still doing that nastiness. I was talking to a friend in Florida earlier. She said that was why she moved to the Sunshine State. They don't have snow. Well, I says, snow melts. You have hurricanes.

Quote of the Day: "You are a child of the Universe, no less than the moon and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should."
-- Max Ehrmann

Lots of things to do this time of year. My vehicle registration is due January first. Holiday-related activities, etc., etc. And of course I don't feel very well with all the cold and damp, and my seasonal funk has set in worse this year than it has in a long time. Anyone got a natural light lamp they don't want?

My web sites have been getting a lot of university traffic. I really wish some of the visitors would contact me and tell me a little about why they're here and what they like or don't, or anything for that matter. But, I guess I'm more a billboard than a telephone.

Digital Camera Image (crop) [2005_1103Image0004]
"Small clump this year, large clump I hope I don't get to see."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
(8:44 pm)

Ann's parents are staying in a hotel for a few days, at least. There was a fire at the apartment building where they live. On Tuesday morning around 5:00am we got a phone call. Ann's sister told her that the building had had a fire and that their parents were being taken to the hospital. They're okay, just a little anxiety and some small amount of smoke inhalation. The apartment directly beneath theirs burned to a crisp. The balcony railings melted. Ann was on television all day yesterday telling reporters about the situation. She was the lead-in for the 11:00 news on Channel 3. My lil' TV star!

Here's a photo Ann took of the outside of the building where the fire was:

Digital Camera Image [2005_1213Image0001 (fire photos 12-13-05)]

Now the fight with building management, Charleston Housing Authority, and the insurance company begins. It's a damn shame that when people suffer a disaster that they're subjected to more insult and injury as a result of people not wanting to do the right thing. I call it Fema-istis.


Thursday, December 15, 2005
(7:39 pm)

I chatted with a long-time online friend yesterday. I hadn't touched base with her in a very long time. We took up right where we left off, like perhaps only a few days had passed. I have a number of friends like that. We see each other after a long hiatus and it's like very little time has passed. We talk, catch up on a few important points, then go on like we see each other on a regular basis. There aren't too many friends I do see frequently. Perhaps I should. Right now, I don't feel much like reaching out to anyone. I enjoy the company when I do spend time with a friend, whether it be online, on the phone or face-to-face. I just don't feel like reaching out right now. I'm sure it's the pain and the weather, perhaps the drugs I'm taking, but that really doesn't matter much, does it?

Quote of the Day: "High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation."
-- Charles F. Kettering (American engineer, inventor of the electric starter, 1876-1958)

I'm thinking about boundaries, borders, areas of transition between one thing or state and another. That's where the interesting stuff happens, in the space between two disparate entities. Take Kashmir for instance. The Hindu Kush gets pretty interesting at times. The edge of things, like the "sun. . . stretched out against the sky, like a patient etherized on a table," is where to look for visual and conceptual interest. I think I'll go study some unexpected boundaries and hope that inspires me to great works. . . Yeah, right.

Talking with Michelle yesterday (see first paragraph of this entry), she mentioned that my work (see Slideshow) is "mesmerizing." Interesting choice of words. I never saw it exactly that way. That's the great thing about creating a poem or work of art. The way other people see and interpret it causes me to see it in ways I never considered while making it. It becomes a collaboration between the artist and the viewer, with the viewer adding much more to it after I've finished (if a work of art is ever really finished) and causing a new process to foment in my psyche. Thanks for that adjective, Michelle.


Monday, December 19, 2005
(5:16 pm)

Is it really almost Christmas? I can't believe it. My life is meliting away like an ice cube on a griddle. You think since this is the case things would be a lot steamier, huh?

Speaking of Christmas, all the neo-con dipsticks are making a big deal about Wal-Mart greeters and others of like retail ilk saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," calling it an assault on, or even a war against Christians. What idiots! If anything, the right-wing fundamental Christians are waging war on the rest of us. Christmas might be December 25 (January if you're Eastern Orthodox), but the Wiccans celebrate the equinox on the 22nd, the twenty-sixth is Hannakuh this year. Kwanzaa is somewhere in there, and I'm sure most major religions celebrate something around this time of year. Happy Holidays is the prudent and diplomatic thing to say and has nothing whatsoever to do with antagonism toward Christians, not that they don't deserve it. Besides, with all the hoopla, I'm wondering why there's nothing in the air about the Honda advertisement on television where they change the lyrics to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" to "We Wish You Happy Honda Days." Why doesn't that get them all bent out of shape? You know why? It's because the jerks that started the whole business are the ones who own everything and want us all to be good little Christian fundamentalists so they can control our thoughts so we'll buy things and keep more and more of the one percent of the national wealth that we hang onto flowing into their pockets. You'll have to excuse me. I'm not saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays for the most part. I'll just keep wearing my Santa hat that says "Bah Humbug" and hope somehow that enough people finally come to their senses and we can all get together and follow the teachings of Lao Tsu and the Buddha, have compassion for one another and take down this Neo-con structure of repression and fear that's been built in this world.

Quote of the Day: "Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little."
-- Buddha

Okay, I lied. Here's a Christmas card for you:

Created with Art Rage
"Merry Christmas, etc."

Thursday, December 22, 2005
(7:01 pm)

Lawsuit's over with. Hooray! I'm not delighted with the settlement, but at least I can move on now and begin the process of having my leg seen to. In a couple weeks I'll have the money to pay my medical bills (and legal bills -- *shudder*). I hate dealing with legal and financial matters. It's not that I don't understand them or can't manage them, it's just that I don't care for quantitative and rule-based matters, unless we're talking seven figures for starters and I'm making the rules.

Quote of the Day: "Here it comes. Here it comes. Here it comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown"
-- The Rolling Stones

Maybe we can finish all the Christmas shopping tonight and I'll have tomorrow to devote to swapping out the electrical outlet behind the computer and clearing my work table and drawing table and getting some of the junk that's piled up in the floor here in the studio taken care of. It should be warm enough to rearrange a few things in the attic so I can stash some things up there. What a mess!


Monday, December 26, 2005
(2:29 pm)

I had planned to put up a big fancy graphic wishing you a Merry Christmas yesterday, but with all the going around and people coming by, phone calls, and lying on the bed moaning because I ate too much of the wrong things, I never quite managed it. I started one, but wasn't happy with the result and then it was time to go to my daughter's house for Christmas Dinner. Oh well. Happy Hanukkah!

Quote of the Day: "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."
-- Charles M. Schulz

The grandgirls were great. They wait until after Christmas dinner to open presents (they open the ones at their other grandparent's house on Christmas eve), so we got to participate in that chaos. Neat! Gretchen, the 2-1/2 year old has to wear glasses. She looks adorable in them. Both she and Hannah initially seemed happier opening presents with clothes than the ones with toys. Gretchen had to come and model every item for me.

A navigational note: if you want to find a specific entry either on this current page or in the archives, there are tags to allow you to do so, at least for the most recent years. If you wanted to find today's entry, for example, you'd use the address After January first, you'd use: The tag always starts with a capital letter and is the first three letters of the month's name plus the day and the year (all four digits). The months' directories are, respectively, (all lower case) jan, feb, march, april, may, june, july, august, sept, oct, nov, and dec plus the two-digit year. To find the entry for August 13, 2003 you would enter The individually addressable entries go back to January 2002. If and when I ever get around to dragging the older entries up from the basement archives of the website and doing daily tags, I'll let you know. Don't hold your breath.

My web hosting company has upgraded the hosting packages and I have a lot more space than before (around 40 times more than what I have in use at present. If anyone has any ideas as to what to do with that much space, let me know. I'm open to most any suggestion.


Tuesday, December 27, 2005
(6:15 pm)

The license on the van is good for another year. I hope the van is. Got an oil change and tire rotation just before Christmas. New wiper blades. All in all, with the full tank of gas today, the van has had a pretty decent holiday season.

Quote of the Day: "Every artist was first an amateur."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just a few more days until next year. What will the new year bring? I don't have great hopes, and I do have some manner of trepidation. We shall see what we shall see.

Digital Camera Image [2005_1213Image0007]
"Self Portrait Avoided!"

The above was taken on December 13, when it had snowed. I should have gotten out before the sun melted most of the snow and ice. The 6-inch ornaments are on the dogwood tree in our front yard.


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