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Thursday, January 1, 2004
(1:38 pm)

Happy Nude Year!

So far, not much to be happy about. My team (WVU) is losing in the Gator Bowl to Maryland (again!). WVU has never won in the Gator Bowl. Maryland has never lost there. Two people, one in Pennsylvania and one in South Carolina won MY $210 Million Powerball prize.

We undecorated yesterday. The 25-foot blue spruce out front isn't a lot of fun to either decorate or un. We have a full tub of decorations just for that tree, and that doesn't count the lights.

Last night was a pretty good time at the Empty Glass. As it turns out, Sean didn't have to play at the other club, so he was there for most of the evening to help. I had to contend with a hot microphone, a horribly loud kick drum and uneven vocals. It sounded pretty good throughout, but there were problems with the performers hearing themselves in the monitors for the first set. Second set I nailed it and the whole process worked pretty well. Good band -- the Monteneros, from Elkins and Venezuela. Good party band, great for dancing. They even played one of my favorite songs by the Kings of Rhythm. Nice!

Friday, January 2, 2004
(11:59 pm)

11:59 -- Whew! just made it. I'm sitting here sipping on my Christian Brothers VSOP Brandy, trying to recuperate from a long day that could have come out of a Kafka novel. I spent the greater part of the afternoon at the DMV and the courthouse trying to get my car license renewed. They didn't send me a renewal form in the mail and my license expired on 1/1/04. Not good. It's a good thing I remembered it.

Three of my favorite subjects for photographs and art are sunflowers, aliens, and my kitchen window. In the following photo I've mangaged to get all three.

Alien in a whisky sour glass with sunflower (C-081)
"Yellows and a Gray"

Monday, January 5, 2004
(9:22 am)

The kids go back to school today, and the bulk of the citizenry go back to work, probably after an extended weekend of debauchery (drawing from personal experience, I am). To me, it's just another day, another week, another year. I feel like I'm living Spaulding Gray's Impossible Vacation.

Poetry group is supposed to meet at my house this month. We don't really feel welcome at the YWCA Thrift store/Coffee bar. I wonder why that is? We'll probably move it to another business establishment or a church. I'm loathe to use a church, as that would exert a form of censorship to some of the poetry, tacit if not overt.

(11:26 pm)

I've embarked on a project. I'm doing postcards to myself. I mentioned this back on December 27. So far I've done seven. I've cut or bought stock for at least a hundred more. Yesterday I got another 4 X 6 watercolor block. I've also got regular card stock, railroad board, charcoal board, 300 lb. watercolor paper, and illustration board. Mostly I'll be doing collages, but who knows what else. . .

Here's the first of the series. The raffia and abalone is courtesy of my friend Pat Jones in California. She wrapped a Christmas present to me with this. I believe in recycling.

Collage on 300 lb. w/c paper

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
(11:11 am)

First postcard series, 2 of 7:

Collage on railroad board.  Postmark is spoofed, as the card was delivered uncanceled.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004
(12:25 pm)

In case you're wondering (even if you're not), this first series of postcards is called "Days of the Week." I'll probably do another one for months of the year, and I'm sure I'll do a deck of Tarot cards. Here's Wednesday's Child:

Collage on 300 lb. watercolor paper.

Thursday, January 8, 2004
(5:37 pm)

The way things are going right now, you should probably expect this journal to be in hiatus for a while. Last night our television went blooey. We'd only had it about three years. So, I expect the computer to be next. Defeatist, you say? Yup. When you get hit as hard and as regularly as I do, you learn to expect it.

I've started the Tarot deck "postcard" series of collages. So far I have three. Speaking of collages, here's todays:

Collage on 300 lb. watercolor paper.  The blueish thing used to be a dragonfly, clipped from a Puffs box, but the post office machinery skinned most of it off.

(11:37 pm)

You know, I have no idea what Les Maudits in the above postcard means. I've looked in my Larousse's dictionary and tried the Altavista babelfish translator, but to no avail. It doesn't translate. If anyone knows what it means, I'd appreciate a note elucidating. Merci.

Speaking of Babelfish. Here's a link to it. Give it a shot. Neat stuff.

I'll put a copy of this on my Information page as well, so it will be available once this page gets stuffed in the dark and dusty archives.

Tomorrow, I'll make my New Year's resolutions. You see what a procrastinator I am?

I finished another Tarot postcard collage today. I've started several others. Most need to process (mostly dry) before I proceed. I haven't decided whether I'll do the "Months of the Year" set after I finish the Tarot series or if I'll do it as I go along and inspiration strikes me.

I need to make some money. Anyone have a job for me? Anyone want to buy a David Lee painting on silk, from 1978. According to my research his paintings from that period are going for between $9,500.00 and $13,0000.00 -- I'd be willing to part with this one for a figure on the lower end of that range. Also, anyone want to buy a meterorite? It's about a kilogram in weight. Nice specimen, if you're into that kind of thing. Stamps? I have a few sheets of the "Freedoms" series (Freedom to Speak Out, I believe) 2¢. I think I also have a few 5¢ Pearl Buck sheets and some blocks of four. I have blocks of four of several other denominations, mostly standard size issues of the 70's or 80's. If you're interested in purchasing any of this at a reasonable price, let me know. I really need the money.

Friday, January 9, 2004
(11:30 pm)

Snow! Not a great deal, but enough to necessitate clearing sidewalks, driveways, stairs, and cleaning off the van. The mailman had a nice clear sidewalk all the way in front of my house and up to the front door, so what does the lazy sonofabitch do? He trudges across the middle of my lawn. Bastard! I guess I'll have to put up signs. If I see the bastard do it, I'll make him come back and go down the sidewalk.

Another collage, this time on illustration board.

Saturday, January 10, 2004
(1:33 pm)

Okay, New Year's Resolutions. I resolve to exercise less, eat more fatty foods, and drink more heavily.

Thanks to Sean Breeden for the meaning of Les Maudits. It means "The cursed" (plural), as in a group of people who have been cursed, like me, perhaps, and those like me who refuse to consider art a business or treat it as such.

Speaking of art, I made an impulse purchase yesterday -- a tub of Dorland's Wax Medium. Anyone know anything about this miracle substance? I've tried mixing dry pigment with it. It says it can be used with oil paint, encausitcs, hot and cold wax techniques. I really want to learn more about this. It sounds intriguing.

The original sea shell was stripped off in the processing by the USPS.  The new one is similar.  Coffee stain and collage on 300 lb. W/C paper

Sunday, January 11, 2004
(12:00 pm)

I think it's time for a commentary on the United States Postal Service. I know, I mentioned something about our mail carrier's laziness yesterday, but what I'm primarily interested in venting about is the lack of humanity in the Post Office. Everything is done by machines nowadays unless you mark it "Hand Cancel Only" or "Hand Process" or somesuch, and even then there's a pretty good likelihood that it will go into the machine like everything else. Machines work cheaper than people. That's the whole story. Since this is so, it has vastly limited such things as my "postcard correspondence art." They have on the postage scales at every window of every post office, a chart that determines if a piece of mail is a postcard or not, whether it can be mailed or not, and what excess postage is due on it. These are not guidelines, mind you, but are the same as cast in stone. We have all succumbed to the cult of efficiency; the Post Office, most of all. Even though they have all these regulations and procedures, mail still gets lost, mangled, and delivered to the wrong address. In four months we'll have lived at our current address for two years and we're still getting mail for the previous occupants. The Post Office has given over accuracy for the sake of productivity and speed. This may be its downfall.

This is a pill cup I got when I was in the hospital with a broken leg.  I unfolded it and glued it on a piece of illustration board, put stamps on it, addressed it, and stuck it in a mail box.  I like this as well as any of the others in this series.  I think the simplicity and elegance is what appeals.  No, it's not because of the Cat In The Hat postmark.

Monday, January 12, 2004
(11:01 pm)

The television is out in the trash. I'll miss my TV. The 19-inch looks like a postage stamp from across the room compared to the 27-inch. Maybe I'll win a plasma TV. Any contests going?

I bought myself a nice pot. I thought I'd mentioned it before, but looking for the mention, I find nothing. Of course I'll write about it and someone will send me an e-mail saying, "Oh, you mentioned the pot in the entry for. . ." Anywho, it's a huge pot with an 18-inch handle and a heavy bottom. Stainless, made in Italy. Originally $120.00, but I got it on clearance (probably because the glass lid was broken and hence missing) for $43.00 plus tax. Kroger had some similar pots for sale, and I'd planned on getting at least a couple to complement my big pot and my saute pan. When I went back to get them, they were gone; sent back. Rats! Now I'll have to wait, and wait, and wait. . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
(10:52 am)

Here's something I got in a humor mailing list. I have no idea what it has to do with humor, but it made me think, as I hope it will my reader(s).

Why Wait?

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.

How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word "refrigeration" mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched 'Jeopardy' on television?

I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, "How about going to lunch in a half hour?" She would gasp and stammer, "I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain." And my personal favorite: "It's Monday." She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet. We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of "I'm going to," "I plan on," and "Someday, when things are settled down a bit."

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Roller blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you want to......not something on your should do list.

If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask "How are you?" Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?

Ever told your child, "We'll do it tomorrow." And in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say "Hi"?

When you worry and hurry through your day, It is like an unopened gift....Thrown away... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

-- Anonymous

Friday, January 16, 2004
(7:05 pm)

I nearly ran over our paper carrier a while ago. He was coming off the porch as I was backing into the driveway. I guess he was in my blind spot. I never expect anyone to be there. I guess I should have looked around.

I got da blues. . .

Here's another piece from my upcoming book.

India ink and transfer letters on manila drawing stock

Monday, January 19, 2004
(7:22 pm)

Computer problems, internet connection problems, money problems, weather, health problems. Does it never end?

I got da blues. . .

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
(10:14 am)

It seems that every day it's something different. This morning, when I booted my computer, the CD & DVD drives weren't recognized. Having the registry crash has become an everyday event now. I'm once again fearful that something I depend on will soon no longer function. I do not like being fearful, as fearlessness is my usual state.

A dear, sweet friend of mine told me she wished she had a magic wand -- I'd be the first person she'd fix. Let me tell you, that made me feel loved, but also I felt very bad that I am broken enough to have dear, sweet friends want to "fix" me.

Friday, January 23, 2004
(7:07 pm)

The more I look at Linux and other Unix-based operating systems, the more I am considering at least getting together a dual-boot machine and running one or the other of them. I could replace my primary 30 GB hard-drive with a 120 or 200 GB and have plenty of room to run several OS's. How's that for another pipe dream. I have plenty. A new computer for starters. My friend who was here from Florida over the holidays said he'd send me (at least) a new motherboard with processor, memory, etc., but I haven't heard a word in nearly three weeks now. Other pipe dreams: getting this old laptop I have operating correctly, a digital SLR camera, a plasma TV, a router so I can hook up multiple computers (if I ever get two or more that work at the same time).

Oh well. . .

I got a late start on today. It was cold and I had a good cocoon of warmth built up under the covers. When I finally did get up and showered, shaved,(something else that starts wit 's' -- can't seem to recall what it is. . .) dressed and checked my e-mail, it was almost 11:00. I hate getting late starts. That usually means I skip breakfast and that's not good for someone who's trying to lose weight.

Quote of the Day: "And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is a vexation of the spirit. For in much wisdom is much greif; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." -- Ecclesiastes 1:17-18

I've been delving into my stamp collection again lately. I've collected stamps since I was eight years old. I never did have a very good or extensive collection, and most of my stamps were cancelled. I do have a few mint items, but generally they're not worth a lot. I bought $5.00 worth of stamps from a company (paid only $7.25 for them). I need to get some stamp hinges and a new album. I have the "world's largest single volume" album, but it's old and the paper was not acid-free so it's beginning to yellow and crumble on the edges (the album is at least 33 years old). This kind of paper also can't be too good for the stamps. I had a pile of bulk stamps I'd purchased years ago still on the envelope and postcard corners. Over the past three or four days, I've soaked them all off. Now I need to get the stamp hinges and sort through them and put the ones I don't have in the album and put the duplicates aside for possible sale or inclusion in collages or whatever.

I've been working on a little art, mainly experiments with Dorland's wax medium and other technique and material projects. I have been doing some sketching and colored pencil work. Nothing major, just trying to keep the fire banked until this dark night gives way to a new morning of inspiration and a sunny day filled with the rays of inspiration's sun.

Here's another piece from my alleged upcoming book:

Pastel and India ink on watercolor paper

Michael Moore has endorsed Wesley Clark for the Democratic nomination for President. I too, like General Clark. I think he'd make a fine President. Unfortunately, in some quarters, Michael Moore's endorsement makes a good excuse not to vote for Clark. This is a shame and a pity. It's a shame that people are so narrow-minded that they shun a candidate because someone they don't particularly like takes a shine to him. It's a pity that our country is so polarized that Michael Moore has had to put himself forward in such an obnoxious manner to the Right that he is looked down on even by many who would otherwise agree with what he stands for. A shame and a pity. . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
(1:19 pm)

Problem on top of problem. Now is the winter of my discontent. . . First my web site was down. I probably lost some e-mail because of it and ended up getting duplicates of others. Oy!

My hard drives are in desparate need of defragmentation. Actually, the C: drive has been done. Now I need to do the D: drive. Still can't get the laptop working properly. This machine still has its problems, too. I got my fingers crossed.

Friday, January 30, 2004
(6:12 pm)

I'm doing sound at The Empty Glass again tonight. Should be interesting. There are two bands. According to the Glass's web site: "Out of Kenosha Wisconsin, Rainy Day Crush is a great band that passionately plays alternative rock akin to a funkier No Doubt or Alanis Morrissette. At home they’ve won Rock/Alternative Band and Female Vocalist of the Year, and at SXSW in Austin performed the 'Invasion of the GoGirls.' Ten Carp Lie opens playing alternative rock with an acoustic feel."

Tomorrow is my poetry group meeting. This month we're having it here at my house. Tomorrow night I'm at the EG again. Tomorrow's act is Rolly Gray and Sunfire, a band I'm already familiar with, having worked the last time they played here.

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