Monday, July 1, 2002
I've found a new hosting company that I think will fit the bill. The price is reasonable and I get more storage space than I had before. There is a limit to the monthly transfer (i.e., bandwidth), but it's sufficiently high that I don't feel uncomfortable with it. I'll keep the previous month's entries in the main journal page for a few days, until things smooth out.
I have some new photographs of my house and environs to share with everyone as soon as I know things are functioning properly again.
Wednesday, July 3, 2002
Everything seems to be working now. That was only 10 days down. Damn! My e-mail is functioning quite nicely, thank you. The people at Knight Web Services have gone out of their way to be helpful. I'd like to extend my thanks to them.
It looks like Instant Website Hosting and Instant Web Builder have absconded. The InterNIC listing has a Chilean phone number and a California Address. Caveat Emptor!
If all goes as well as it looks to be going, tomorrow or the next day, I'll split off June's page and relegate it to the archives.
I took three photographs of my kitchen window. One of them came out really nicely. There is a glass shelf at the midpoint of the windows. When we moved in we put new mini-blinds up. The cook stove sits right at the corner of the window, so curtains are pretty much out of the question. Ann put glass and knick knacks on the glass shelf to detract from the lack of a window treatment. I think it comes off well.
"Order of the Kitchen Window"
Thursday, July 4, 2002
Happy Independence Day!
"My front lawn (garden for all you British folks)."
Friday, July 5, 2002
I'm trying to get motivated. I haven't felt much like doing anything lately. I sit at my drawing table or in front of my easel and just stare at the blank page. My sketch books sit on the shelf. I started a collage, but I don't like it, so I haven't done anything else to it for a couple of weeks. It might just be the weather. As I get older it seems to affect (NOT impact!) my moods more.
My gardening is paying dividends. Last night I used some of my parsley in dinner. The oregano, basil, thyme, sage, and rosemary are all doing well, too. We have tomatoes that should start to ripen soon. Every one of my habanero plants is covered with little peppers. The super chili pepper plants out front are producing, too. The nasturtium out front is growing very well. The ones in back are starting to get well established.
Our neighbors out back had a reunion of sorts yesterday with lots of kids, noise, and alleged music. They had a large inflatable pool and played horseshoes most of the day. They had at least three, maybe four grills going. I didn't begrudge them any of their fun, including the illegal fireworks, except for the so-called music thump thump thumping all day long and the arguing loudly during the cleanup after 10 at night.
Ann's sister and our niece, Michelle, came over and along with my son, Sean, we walked over to the river bank to see the fireworks. Usually we go downtown to the levee or near there, but this time since the baseball park advertised "the biggest fireworks display in town," we parked ourselves roughly in the middle, about a mile and a half from both. The bend in the river and the trees along the boulevard pretty much obscured the fireworks from downtown. They seemed about average, maybe a little higher due to larger mortars this year. The ones at Watt Powell Park didn't live up to the advertising. Although we had a better view across the water, they weren't as spectacular as we'd been led to believe. They ended with the usual "grand finale" eruption, then they shot up a couple more shells, the last one fizzling. This is the way the fireworks end, this is the way the fireworks end, this is the way the fireworks end, not with a bang, but a whimper.
Saturday, July 6, 2002
Motivation is still lacking. At least I got up early and watered my pepper plants, nasturtiums, tomatoes, and herbs. The sunlight in the early morning is so gorgeous. Every morning, I lower the shades on the porch to keep the direct sun out, hoping to keep it cooler. I sit on the swing and read the newspaper while sipping my coffee.
Does anyone have any hints or tips about keeping critters, particularly cats, from using the flower beds as their privvy? Any help would be appreciated. I really don't care to use the pooper scooper every day before watering the plants.
My web site was down last night from 8:30 onward. It came back sometime during the night. This is not good. I'm hoping that it was a one-time aberration, particularly since in the section of my web hosts page titled "Why Choose Us" states, "Each server contains a mirrored hard drive to ensure no down time in the unlikely event of a hardware failure." I'll have to ask them about this.
This is a photograph of part of my hexagonal flower bed out front. These are inherited plants. The yellow fellow is yarrow. I have no idea what the lovely purple one is. It smell 'sage-y.' If anyone recognizes it, drop me a line. I'd like to know what it is, and whether I can eat it.
"Yarrow and Friend"
Monday, July 8, 2002
I don't know if I mentioned it or not, but recently I looked all over town for the boxed set by Nick Bantock of the Griffin & Sabine trilogy. I already had the first one, a gift from a dear, dear friend. Anyway, I finally found the trilogy plus the fourth in the series, The Gryphon, and bought them. The second two books were great, following nicely the first one. The Gryphon, however, was a little disappointing. It wasn't as coherent as the others. It introduced more characters and was more overtly "mystical" than the other three. Still, it was well above average both for the writing and the art, and the presentation has just ruined such a method of telling a story for anyone else.
This weekend, while browsing in Books A Million, I ran across a book by Nick Bantock called The Museum at Purgatory. Excellent from what I've read of it so far. The art is sterling. The writing is back to the high standard of Griffin & Sabine, and since it was a paperback, it only cost me $15.00 -- I probably could have had it for nine at Amazon, but the shipping and the wait would have more than offset the bargain.
New art: This was done while I was packed up waiting to move. I had gotten some black chalk for my birthday and I'd left it and other sanguine, sepia and white chalk out along with some pencils and pads of drawing paper so I wouldn't go completely bonkers. This is done with the chalks and carbon pencil on Charcoal paper. The piece is 11 X 17. This is what would fit on my A4 size scanner.
"Out and About in March"
Tuesday, July 9, 2002
I'm still sitting on my creativity. I don't know what's wrong. Maybe I need to build myself a work table for outside use and go splash some paint under the Norway maple tree out back, break some glass!
I go to thrift stores and flea markets to buy up paintings just for the frames. Unfortunately, the last two large frames I've bought had really nice pieces in them and they got stuck on the walls as is. The painting by David Lee still needs some cleaning. I cleaned up the photograph of the tall ship that now hangs in the bedroom. It's lovely.
My doctor had an idea. He said he'd like for me to display my photographs (and paintings?) on the walls in his offices. He even mentioned a reception. Interesting. I'll have to think about this.
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
We finally got some rain! Yesterday it rained just enough to raise the stink of the city, but not enough to wash it away. The heat was compounded by the smell and the humidity. Some time last night it started raining and actually rained enough to do a little good. It's been raining on and off most of the day, sometimes hard enough to cause me some concern for my more delicate plants. Not to worry, they're all fine.
Today's visual offering is a petroglyph of sorts, one of my painted rocks.
Thursday, July 11, 2002
George W. Bush, in terms of his intelligence and grasp of reality, has always reminded me of the Red Queen in Alice In Wonderland. Now, he's making pronouncements and blustery blatherings about corporate responsibility. He's calling for criminal penalties for "cooking the books." He said the SEC "should be able to punish corporate leaders who are convicted of abusing their powers by banning them from ever serving again as officers or directors of a public company." Isn't this a bit like the Red Queen bellowing bellicosely, "Off with MY head!!!" It keeps getting more and more surreal.
New stuff on the 23 page: Riddle me this. . .
A new riddle will appear every time you reload the page. There are hundreds!
Friday, July 12, 2002
The stock market looks to be on the verge of imploding. The pundits and self-styled journalistic anaylsts are speculating whether it will be another 1929. I expect that, if the market crashes and another depression ensues, the people of these United States will not take it on the chin like they did in the 30's. I predict there will be widespread violence. Unfortunately, the victims of this violence will most likely be the people who are the greatest distance from anything to do with the stock market.
In an ignorant attempt to salvage their expectations, the great masses will allow the corporations and right-wing politicos to dismantle the constitution and establish a harsh, mean-spirited fascist regime. Don't think it can happen here? Think again. It's already begun.
The University of Melbourne, in Australia has a nice essay on the stock market crash of 1929, which might be nice to read if you want to compare what happened then to what's happening now: The Stock Market Crash of 1929
I fear the tribal, post-holocaust scenario of Mad Max, Waterworld and other movies will not come about due to some nuclear exchange between countries, but as a result of the economic disintegration of the world's developed nations due to the inordinate arrogance and greed of corporate monsters like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Warren Buffet, the Waltons, and others. The hoarders, the MBA's, the power-mongers are like kudzu on the abandoned pickup truck of society.
Sunday, July 14, 2002
I just watched the HBO Robin Williams live special. I'll have stopped laughing in a few days. . .
Monday, July 15, 2002
"Is it just me or are they being overly optimistic?"
Among the multitude of things that piss me off and that I think are wrong, somewhere near the top of the list is Thomas Kinkade. He is the romance novelist of painters, the Wal-Mart of art, the Revend Moon of painting. His smarmy, sentimental pap is bad painting to start with, but his greed and avarice compounds the sin of bad art. For every canvas, every pseudo-painting he sells, the opportunity for one local legitimate artist is stolen, purloined away by a greedy charlatan of art. If he only sold original paintings that he had painted himself, and taught people his formulaic technique for creating paintings a la Bob Ross, I'd have no problem with what he does. But he foists retouched prints glued onto canvas as originals, signs the back of these counterfeits and garners a premium for doing so. His followers comprise a cult. QVC is his commission-driven willing shill.
60 Minutes did a segment on him last night. That's what has fired my disdain for him to such a conflagration. Last year he made $8 Million. They featured one couple who had nearly 200 of his paintings. He had stated that he wants to cover every wall of every home in the US (the world?) and every office. I know one home whose walls will never see a Kinkade. . .
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
After some rain, the lawn has greened up once again. I got the privilege of mowing it yesterday evening. Now the temperatures are supposed to be in the 90's or close to 90 for the remainder of the week. I suppose that's good growing weather. My pepper plants seem to like it. My pepper patch out back looks like a triple canopy pepper patch. I've never seen habanero peppers so big. Every plant seems to have at least 6 peppers already and more blossoms ready to convert. The Super Chili peppers out front have a dozen or more on every plant save one.
With the hot weather, come power outages. I only have one question: Why do they report power outages on television?
A neighbor asked me to help her change a fuse a few days ago. Her kitchen stove had stopped working. I checked the fuse box and I think I located which fuse it was. There was only one problem -- no fuse puller. She had to have her landlord (reluctantly) do it. In the basement of that apartment building is the debris of 30 years. The landlord has piled blown-out water heaters, dead refrigerators, old carpet with the mold and mildew of the ages on it, and who knows what else. It can't be safe or sanitary. He also hasn't properly maintained the building. The paint is deteriorated to the point where the wood on the windows and trim is rotting. There are cracks in the stucco that go deep inside the walls. The roof is covered in pigeon droppings. One gutter is loose and may well one day fall on my car in a heavy wind.
Why, you might ask, do people put up with such conditions? Well, the lady I mentioned is retired, on a fixed income. She quite simply can't afford to move. So she keeps quiet. If she complains too loudly to the landlord, he'll ask her to move. There are always people in equally desperate situations to take her place. She can't complain to the city or other regulating agency, because if she does and they cite him, he could just stop renting the place and not have to do the repairs. Again, she'd have to move, which she can't afford to do. The poor have no recourse.
So, you see, it's not just the CEO's of major corporations who avoid responsibility for their actions to maximize their profits. It's everyone with few enough scruples to take on a business and expect no risk. The risk is the only thing which could possibly provide an ethical justification for the capitalist economic system. Without the risk, Capitalism is merely theft. Even with, some would argue.
I usually have an "upstairs book" and a "downstairs book" going at any given time. Customarily, my "upstairs book" is a novel, something light that I can read several chapters while reclining in bed prior to sleep. My "downstairs book" is normally one that I can only read small bits of at a time, something to be read while eating lunch or in between tasks. It's usually a book of more substance, one that I must digest in smaller portions. My most recent "downstairs book" was Nick Bantock's Museum at Purgatory. It was composed of short sections with plenty of good artwork to pore over. It usually takes weeks or even a month or more to finish one of my "downstairs books." Today, I picked up a book to read downstairs, one that I've read several times before; one that has extensive underlining and marginal notations: The Courage to Create by Rollo May. This is one of my mainstays. It sees me through hard times and shores up my resolve to continue. It's a fantastic book, ranking right up there with Tillich's Courage to Be, and Alan Watts' Psychotherapy East and West.
Quote of the Day: "The creativity of the spirit does and must threaten the structure and presuppositions of our rational, orderly society and way of life." -- Rollo May, The Courage to Create, p. 71
This book is short, only 140 pages, not counting notes and index. but I'm sure it will take several weeks to finish.
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
Quote of the Day: "I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either." -- Jack Benney (who was born on Valentine's Day)
Thursday, July 18, 2002
Quote of the Day: ". . . we must be fully committed, but we must also be aware at the same time that we might possibly be wrong." -- Rollo May, The Courage to Create, p. 20
I wonder what Dr. May would think of the current pResident and his entourage? He had very little good to say about the Nixon administration. He felt that they not only lacked courage, but were thoroughly dishonest and mean-spirited. There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the Nixon and Bush II White houses.
"Taking DaVinci's Advice"
Saturday, July 20, 2002
thing an ever
with branches like
a bank or an organization
chart a rooted
thing a living thing growing tall and
strong and beautiful Van Gogh's cypresses
like Egyptian obelisks reaching to the sun to suck
energy from the light to bask in the radiation
from all those millions of miles
away a tree with
roots reaching deep into the earth pulling mineral rich water
to its leaves drinking deep like a horse wandering in from out of the desert
a majestic thing shaped maybe like a pyramid
maybe like a ball of green
Poetry group today. Can you tell?
Quote of the Day: "Poets may be delightful creatures in the meadow or the garret, but they are menaces on the assembly line. . ." -- Rollo May,
The Courage to Create, p. 69
I'm waiting for "The Mothman Prophesies" to come on Pay-per-View. It's been a long day, and getting longer. The party people are out back again with their thump-thump-thump music(?), clanging of horseshoes against post, and much raising of voices. People should be more considerate.
We're having our own barbecue tomorrow evening. My friends Katonya and Nicole are coming over and we're going to do some interesting things to some salmon.
The poetry reading today was one of the better ones. Concrete poetry kept popping up everywhere. Lots of good conversation, too. I met a really interesting woman from Ghana and a pretty good local poet.
I keep thinking of things I want to write about, things like Love and Fear, the validity of art, the futility of acheivement, but I never seem to get them down in tangible form. Maybe someday.
Sunday, July 21, 2002
"First one to ripen. (shown larger than actual size)"
Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Somehow, somewhere along the way, I've lost my path, veered away from my artistic focus. Here I am over the hill, crashing through dry leaves and rotting wood, my vision obsured by beech, gum, oak, and maple leaves, my flesh torn by greenbrier and hawthorne, my arms corroded by poison ivy, oak, and sumac. I'm stumbling, groping, getting dirtier and bloodier and the sweat gets in my eyes and I can't tell which is the way back.
The part of The Courage to Create that I'm reading now talks of the false dichotomy of subjective-objective. Dr. May goes on at some length about the so-called "Scientific" attitude that proper observation and analysis of things must be done with an "objective" mind-set, free of emotion. He is of the opinion that certain observations have less validity unless they are viewed from the "subjective" perspective. He calls the differentiation of object and subject a false dichotomy, yet he goes on with the discussion merely transferring things from one category to the other, not tearing down the facade to show that the objective and subjective realities are not merely connected behind the scenes, but are in actuality not two things but one. As Buddha said, "Nirvana is Samsara properly understood."
Thursday, July 25, 2002
Occasionally my quote of the day comes from a source called, strangely enough, "Quote A Day." Here's a link to Visit the Quote A Day site. If you would like to subscribe to the daily mailing, you may do so either at the web site or here: Subscribe. Today's quote comes from this source.
Quote of the Day: "Reality is the cage of those who lack imagination."
-- J .B. S. Haldane, English Geneticist
Monday, July 29, 2002
In case anyone was wondering, I've not been around since last Thursday. There's a good reason for this -- I was in the hospital. Thursday night around 9:30, I took a misstep on the back stairs and came down badly on one foot from over a foot in the air onto a hard surface. Can you say "snap?" I broke my leg right above the ankle. Broke both bones. The fibula was worse than the tibia. The tibia was just fractured on the ball end that fits into the socket formed by the ankle bones. The fibula was snapped higher up and grossly dislocated. When I lowered myself to the ground (I did not fall) my foot was 180 degrees out of whack. It required 2 hours of surgery, a metal plate and six screws to put me back together. Much pain, morphine, and hospital food later, I'm home again. I'm on crutches for the next six weeks. I suspect my entries here and my time online will be limited for a couple weeks anyway. I need to reposition my world.
Quote of the Day: "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley
Wednesday, July 31, 2002
I haven't felt much like writing since I got out of the hospital. I have been reading a lot, though. Television and radio seem to irritate me. My taste buds aren't the same. Things taste "wrong." Lime Jell-o tastes good to me. Never thought I'd say that! Stay tuned. The world will get better, I'm sure.