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Wednesday, February 1, 2006
(2:00 pm)

My visit to the doctors went well yesterday. My graft took completely and I'm healing very well. They were so impressed with their work they wanted to take photos. I'd like to take some photos myself, but I don't know what there is around here this time of year that warrants having photos taken of it -- aside from gorgeous nude women, that is, but that's another story. . .

Quote of the Day: "There is nothing wrong with being afraid---but there is nothing more wrong than allowing that to be your master."
-- Bobby Darin

I slept until nearly noon today. My mouth is still achy and sore. It feels really odd, having a tennis ball-sized cavity on one side of my mouth. Needless to say, I've gone, in two days, from merely having a screw loose to not being all there.

Digital Camera Image (cropped) [2005_1103Image0018]
"Light and Shadow"

The above is one of the (presumed) antebellum mansions along Kanawha Boulevard, by the river. I like the fact that it nearly appears black and white, although being a full color shot.


Saturday, February 4, 2006
(2:57 pm)

I was out and about Thursday with the notion of taking some photographs. Well, I got three, and two of those were worth keeping. It was a dreary, ugly, gray day. The sun finally did come out, but didn't illuminate much in the way of subject material.

Quote of the Day: "If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way."
-- Emile Zola

I'd say I've sat here for the last two hours trying to think what to write, but that's not exactly true. I started up my Instant Message program, my e-mail program and went in the other room and started an On-Demand movie. I took a couple phone calls, ran the Sweeper in this room and the dining room and started planning dinner. I just left things on the computer sitting. I should probably not do that.

Of the three photos I took on Thursday, here's a crop of one of them. I think I'll be doing some wonderful things with my new camera.

Digital Camera Image (Canon 20D, Tamron 28-3000mm lens @ 71mm, Macro, 1/64 exp., f/5.0, ISO 100) 2006_0203Image0002 (crop)
"Pampas Grass in Winter"

I'm using the download program that came with my Fujifilm camera to siphon off the images from both cameras. I'm used to it, It's set up to put the images where I want them and name them what I want, and it works as well as the Adobe program that came with the Canon camera. I think the only time I'll use the Canon program is if I start using the RAW picture format, and thus far I've seen no reason to do so. That may change at some point.

Speaking of the Fujifilm camera. . . Once I'd told Ann that I'd ordered the Canon 20D, she started refering to the Fujifilm camera as her camera. She really likes the little beastie. Thursday on my out-and-about I picked up a 512 MB xD card for it. That gives her 538 shots at 4 MPixels. It takes a 2 GB card for the Canon to store that many shots at 8 MPixels.


Tuesday, February 7, 2006
(1:08 am)

Yesterday before the Superbowl, I started feeling a little off. My nose started feeling stuffy. I just felt "blah." This morning I awoke to a full-fledged cold, or as I like to put it, a code in my doze. I hate head colds. I don't endure them well. The only things I've gotten out of bed for today is to go to the bathroom and to heat up some chicken soup. Well, and to clean up the ensure spill a while ago. At least I'm sitting up at the moment, while I attempt to type this. I hate the keyboards on laptop computers. Things are rearranged and it just seems foreign with so little depth to the keys. This one is a little better than most (a Toshiba) but it's still some minor form of abomination.

Quote of the Day: "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
-- Rabindranath Tagore, philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator, composer, Nobel laureate (1861-1941)

The sun is out and the weather is fair. There are beautiful clouds galore lazily ambling across the heavenly blue expanse. The light is the best since I've had my new camera, and here I sit in bed, struggling with a keyboard that would only make sense to a dyslexic, trying to keep at least one foot out of the grave. I think after I upload this entry I'll be having a nap.

(3:47 pm)

It's another sunny day -- cold, but sunny. I still don't feel well. I've spent the day doing little of nothing. Now there's an expression I haven't used since I left home *mumble* years ago. I have updated my blood sugar (BS) testing spreadsheet, transferred Outlook Express and Internet Explorer settings to the laptop, plotted a route to and from California for our vacation, once I get over being infirm. It might be late this summer or maybe not until next year.

Quote of the Day: "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconciously translates what he hears into something he can understand."
-- Bertrand Russell

Something has been bothering me. The violence of the Muslims over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed in a derrogatory manner is absolutely ridiculous. The rest of the world is living in the 21st Century, while the Muslims are apparently living in the Ninth. The rest of the world believes in the absolute value of free speech and expression, while the Muslims still stone people, kill because of an insult to the Koran, and behead people for crimes that would be not necessarily a social faux pas in any other culture. Religion in any setting is silly to a rational thinker -- in the case of Islam, it's silly and dangerous. We truly are involved in a clash of civilizations (I use the term loosely). It's a terrible choice: Stringent theocracy or corporatism. What's a poor boy to do?


Wednesday, February 8, 2006
(4:29 pm)

It's snowing. The sunny days have gone. Now, just as quick as it started snowing, it's quit. It's still a white-out day, dreary and cold. I have the curtain open to provide light to my cactus and shefflera. Through the bare tree branches I can see the cars rolling into and out of Orchard Manor. There are a few snowflakes moving across the window almost horizontally. Other than the red brick of the project buildings, the only colors I see out of the window ar eht grayish-brown of the trees and hillside and the nearly-white of the sky. Now there is a little slice of sunlight and I can see the reflection off of something, probably a car window and a little green from the grass across the way. Sun's gone. Back to terminally dreary again. I kind of feel like the day -- there are brief flashes of something interesting, but mostly I feel dreary and featureless.

Quote of the Day: "At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche

I feel like going back to bed, but then my nose would stuff up even worse and I'd be at least as miserable as I am now. I hate colds. I do not hold up well under one's sway.

I was going to see if I had a photo or something to put up here today, but I'm in the living room with the laptop and for some reason I didn't set up the folders with the photos in them to be shared. I may have to move things around on the other machine.


Thursday, February 9, 2006
(11:32 pm)

I'm getting really sick of being sick. I think my current infirmity has evolved from a simple cold to either a sinus bacterial or fungal infection, or both. Lovely.

It was another beautiful but cold day today. I did go out and run some errands and visit a friend at his office. I took my camera with me but didn't snap a single frame. I just wanted to get done and come home. Once here, I ate some potato soup and sent my blood sugar (BS) into the stratosphere. Just what I needed.

Digital Camera Image (cropped, modified) [2006_0202Image007] [Canon EOS 20D, Program AE, Canon 75-300mm lens @ 300mm, 1/400, f/7.1, ISO 200]
"Heavy Flow Day"

I'm making this entry from my laptop. I'm trying to accustom myself to the machine. It's been a while since I used a laptop to any great extent. I need to come up with a foolproof method of maintaining the same files in the same condition on both the Toshiba, the Compaq, and at the web site. I think it mainly involves remembering to update everything everywhere. I'll keep you updated -- like you care. . .


Friday, February 10, 2006
(4:33 pm)

I had my yearly ophthalmologist's appointment this morning. Seems my astigmatism has gone nearly completely away. My glasses are about half the price of the ones I'm currently wearing. I hope they get them right. I've had really bad luck with people screwing up my glasses.

Quote of the Day: "The artist is the lover of Nature, therefore he is her slave and her master."
-- Rabindranath Tagore

We are under a winter storm watch until 11:00 tonight. I am so looking forward to that.


Monday, February 13, 2006
(2:42 pm)

Yesterday morning we got the first appreciable snow storm of the year, so what do I do? Head for the mountains! And I don't mean throwing back a 12-pack of Busch beer. Ann and I went to Hawks Nest State Park and the New River Gorge Bridge. At Hawks Nest, there were a lot of large birds, mostly crows and vultures. The only place we saw a hawk all day was at the bridge. We came back down US 60 from Hawks Nest and took State Route 16 to Fayetteville. That road is truly spectacular with a heavy, wet snow coating branches, rocks and terrain.

Quote of the Day: "My feeling about technique in art, is that it has about the same value as technique in love-making. That is to say, on the one hand, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and, on the other hand, so does heartless skill; but what you want is passionate virtuosity."
-- John Barth

Here's a shot I took at Hawks Nest:

Digital Camera Image [2006_0212Image0049] [Canon EOS 20D, Tamron 28-300mm lens @  179mm, 1/200, f/6.3, Program AE, ISO 200]
"Winter Cliché"

A lot of the nature photographs I shoot are clichés. I suppose that's to be expected. The photographs I take that are less hackneyed are those I take in macro mode of totally "unartistic" subjects.


Thursday, February 16, 2006
(10:49 pm)

It was a gorgeous day today. The temperature was either close to or reached 70 degrees. A light breeze on and off. A fantastic day, great light. Too bad there was little to take photos of, and too bad I didn't feel well enough to range very far afield. The wind tonight and in the morning is supposed to be ferocious. By Saturday night the temperature is supposed to be in the upper teens.


Quote of the Day: "I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances."
-- Martha Washington

Ya know, Martha, this may be true to a minor extent, but I find that people who state that our outlook plays a larger part in our happiness than do our circumstances rarely have things in their lives that could possibly override a person's basically optimistic outlook. It's like the people who are constantly saying that money isn't important are almost always people who have plenty of it. Speaking of plenty of money: I plan on winning the Powerball drawing Saturday night -- $365 Million, a North American record jackpot. Am I gonna have fun? Damn skippy! Will money make me happier? Don't even ask.

Digital Camera Image (cropped, adjusted) [2006_0212Image0057] [Canon EOS 20D, ISO 100, 1/500, f/5.0, Macro, Tamron 28-300mm lens @ 78mm]
"Waiting for Yellow Snow"

Saturday, February 18, 2006
(3:00 pm)

It's wicked cold today. Tonight will undoubtedly be brutal. There was a light snow this morning. Most of it has melted or blown away (wonder where it blows away to?). I expect the water on the streets and sidewalks from the sun melting the snow will turn to ice after the sun goes down. Wonderful.

Quote of the Day: "When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?' "
-- Don Marquis (1878 - 1937)

I finally got a decent dictionary. It's the Oxford American Dictionary. The cover is that same Oxford blue as the OED. It's the big brother of the Oxford American paperback I've had copies of for years. It looks like it will serve me well for the rest of my life. I have one of those cheap "unabridged" Webster's dictionaries printed on something close in quality to newsprint. It has a lot of words, but it's cheaply made and the layout is from a hundred years ago. This new Oxford American has as much thought and scholarship put into it as does any other lexical product of that most revered of universities.

I was going to go out and about today and seek out wireless access points, but it's too damn cold. I just can't handle the cold like I used to. Instead I'll sit here and write mundane drivel that no one else wants to read. Ho-hum.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006
(3:52 pm)

I honestly think Saddam Hussein thinks the Americans will eventually be chased out of Iraq by the insurgents (this far, I think he probably has it right) and that he will be able to get off from the legal charges against him and will regain power and all will be right with the world. One thing we should never do is underestimate this man. He has the megalomania of a Hitler, but also happens to possess an extremely high IQ. He is a force to be reckoned with.

Quote of the Day: "Black holes are where God divided by zero."
-- Steven Wright

I went out and about for a while today. I'm not feeling real well, and I have some work do for my daughter, so I didn't stay gone too long. I took my camera with me but didn't feel like walking much, so I didn't take a single shot. I did go to the bank and stopped by Pro-Art to visit with Jack, Victor, and Tracey. I am dismayed at the state of artists materials these days. It seems all the companies that make art supplies are being bought by office supply companies and the quality is going down, lesser-selling items are being dropped, and the prices are rising. Part of the reason for increasing prices is the cost of fuel to deliver the goods, but I think there is a little gouging going on as well. A rise in price of a few cents a gallon does not result in an increase of a similar amount for a sheet of watercolor paper. Like most other businesses, these people are rubbing their hands together in glee and raking in the increased profits -- nothing compared to the gas companies -- but still, an outrageous opportunistic theft of artists' sometimes meager fortunes.

I am of the opinion that the laptop appellation for notebook computers is more and more a misnomer. The Toshiba I bought doesn't fit my lap very well, and when the screen is angled to where I can see it well, it tends to topple over. I think notebook is a much more apt description.


Friday, February 24, 2006
(5:18 pm)

I bought a new van Wednesday. We'd gone out, headed for the Farm Table to eat and just thought we'd stop by a few dealerships and look at some vehicles. Well, we ended up eating dinner at The Southern Kitchen some four and a half hours later. We looked at Subarus, Toyotas, a PT Cruiser, and some Dodge Caravans. We test drove a new 2006 Caravan and then Ann said, "Can we look at the used ones?" Well, we ended up with a 2005 Grand Caravan with Stow&Go seating and a bunch of other nice features. It's great. I does have some minor scratches and the like, but a little touch up paint and some rubbing compound and it'll be like new. It even still has that "New Car Smell." I love the color name, too: Butane Blue Pearl.

Quote of the Day: "A superior being does not render evil for evil. Never harm the wicked or the good or even criminals meeting death. A noble soul is always compassionate, even toward those who enjoy injuring others or who are actually committing cruel deeds--for who is without fault?"
-- The Ramayana (Hindu holy book)

I went out and about today. Took my camera with. I even managed to take a few shots of a pretty girl. The shot I took of her eye was STILL out-of-focus! One of these days I'll get a good shot of Licia's lovely eyes. Really I will! In the meantime, here's her whole face:

Digital Camera Image [2006_0224Image0005]  [Canon EOS 20D, Tamron 28-300mm lens @ 78mm, Program AE, 1/160. f/7.1]

One of these days I'll be paying attention to the shot instead of everything else around me and I'll get a good one of her. She's fairly photogenic and willing to have her picture taken. It's mostly circumstances and the photographer that negates all that.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006
(12:00 pm)

It's the last day of February, and it's my birthday. I have nothing special planned. I don't expect a party or presents or even birthday greetings. The office worker at the dentist's office yesterday wished me a happy birthday. So far that's been it. I guess, as I get older, people forget that I have birthdays. I'd like to forget that myself. It's Tuesday. For some reason I was thinking I was born on a Tuesday, but I looked it up and I was born on Friday. Friday's child is loving and giving. So they say. . .

Quote of the Day:
"I am in all things,
From Brahma to a blade of grass."
When you know this,
You have no thought
For success or failure
Or the mind's inconstancy.
You are pure.
You are still."
-- Ashtavakra Gita 11:7

It's noon. I still haven't shaved or showered or eaten. I guess my gift to myself is a lazy day. I just wish it was warmer. From the looks of the trees and the daffodils and lilies and hyacinths and crocuses peeking up through the soil, I expect to see some nice shirt-sleeve weather before too long. I also expect a surprise snow storm or a hard freeze or two before it's time to turn on the old A/C.

I'm starting to get back into the swing of things a little. I have yet to do much creative. I have Prismacolor® pencils in the living room and a stack of paper and pads, but nothing has gone from pencil to paper this year. My sketchbooks have sat idle. My studio is a mess, suffering from a severe lack of space. The work surfaces and part of the floor are being used as storage. There are cabinets at every available spot. It's just that the room is too small to contain it all. I'm thinking of ripping through stuff and jetisoning some things, but that's difficult, since everything I start to rid myself of says to me, "You might need me sometime." Still, I think I'll get rid of some things. The worst will be books. I really don't see what books on art and related subjects I can toss. They're all something I use from time to time. Relocation would be an option if every other room in the house wasn't similarly packed to the rafters. Anyone care to assist?


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