Tuesday, June 1, 2004
The sun is shining. It looks to be a great day. The basement here, including the three rooms we want to use for Sean's bedroom, storage, and music, still stinks horribly. I don't know what to do to get the odor out of there. I think perhaps a day-long concerted effort at scrubbing, putting down floor covering and painting with Kilz might do the trick, but I'm not really sure it will ever loose its "essence."
Steaks on the grill last night. Baked potatoes and asparagus. We forgot all about the hot rolls, but no one really missed them.
Quote of the Day: "The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: 'If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping up and down.'" -- Rita Rudner
My hands are really dry from all the handling of boxes and paper and the inordinate amount of washing them. Good ol' Juergen's lotion isn't helping a lot. I may have to resort to the coco butter (if I can find it).
Total hits on this web site for the month of May was 17,699. Who knows what June will bring. . .
In an age where automation and computers should be making life easier for the large majority of people, things are getting harder. The American Dream is retreating from a larger portion of the population. Health care is becoming a luxury few can afford. The streets and roads, bridges, private infrastructure, and public access are deteriorating. And it's all because, the few, the proud, the MBA's are reaping all the rewards of the "new economy," the automation, the increase in production. Union membership is down to below 15% of the workers. The wealth controlled by the top 1% of the people is greater than it ever has been. Why is it that the vast majority of the people don't get some small share of the benefits of our advancing technology and knowledge? Why are there not more jobs, paying better for fewer hours work? That was the promise of technology. We've been lied to, duped, and taken advantage of once again. Fascism comes in the night on the wings of commerce.
I absolutely hate it when I have to uproot my studio and move it to another (smaller) location. Things get shuffled around and jumbled together so that any semblance of organization is impossible.
Work surfaces are covered up, used as temporary storage until more suitable homes are found for the bits and shards that make up my creative space. Not only have I lost area and volume in this move, but I've had to relinquish storage units. If the downstairs was in shape to receive things, some of the pressure here might be relieved.
Our little patio (can't really call it a porch) is okay, but I miss my swing. Everything is too close here. The next door neighbors on one side have a deck so the back yard isn't as secluded as it might be. The south side of the house might be promising, but the other neighbor's collection of farming implements, firewood, riding mower,
topper for a pickup truck, dogs, and general debris doesn't make for a very good ambiance. I guess I'll get it figured out eventually. I really like all the trees, especially when the wind blows and rustles the leaves. I can lie on my bed and listen to them. . . and the traffic noise from Route 21 below.
I look out the rear windows at the trees, especially the giant beech tree that stands guard over the house and I cast my memory back to when I used to love climbing trees, building treehouses and tree forts and just going as high as the branches would support my weight and looking out from a view no one else had. I also remember looking down and my glasses slipping from my face and shattering on the ground below. I got such a beating. All my thoughts seem to lead to a place where I consider the duality of things, the randomness of the universe, providing both a dark and a light side to everything, where good and bad are just different ends of the same stick.
Gandalf the Gray (the old, notch-eared dusty feeling and looking stray cat who hangs out on our patio) is still around. The other night he and Scooter (our female devil cat) faced off through the screen at the back door. He just sat there and stared her down. She kept growling and hissing at him. Finally he'd had enough and punched a hole through the screen right at her face. Metal screen, not nylon. Then he walked away. I think the whole object lesson was lost on her. She's so vain, she probably thinks she backed him down. Everything is about her, ya know. Gandalf is still on our patio a lot. He's a sweetie. But don't mess with him!
I just finished "A Beautiful Mind." It bore so little resemblance to the movie that I barely recognize one from the other. The main character is the same, but his character is totally different. The details in the book only slightly resemble the details in the film. The film was a real stretch. Then, again, it almost had to be in order to be an interesting movie.
A dear man passed away this morning. Greg Moore lost his wife last year to the same cancer that took him this morning. Greg and Betsy were, no, are two of the sweetest people you'd ever want to know. I can think of very little to say in times like these, so, I'll just say, "Farewell, friend. May it be everything you'd ever hoped it would be. Your life was a blessing to everyone who knew you."
Wednesday, June 2, 2004
A moderately productive day. It seems that's all I can aspire to anymore. Sean is finishing up hooking up the entertainment center. The speakers are in place and most of the cabling is done. It's just a matter of hooking up the rear speakers and making sure everything is connected correctly. I put 3/4-inch dowels in the posts of my little homemade tabouret stand and drilled 15/32-inch holes roughly in the center of each one to put 1/4-inch casters in them. It seems to have worked. The rosemary bushes are in the ground. I hope they thrive. The parsley plant I tried to bring with us didn't do so well. Spamburgers for lunch.
Quote of the Day: "Here I am, fifty-eight, and I still dont know what I want to be when I grow up. " -- Peter Drucker
It's going to be a busy evening. I'll try to write more later as things slow down a little.
I got my board cover back on my drawing table and got the lamp attached. I can acutally use it now. There's still a long way to go before the studio is in any kind of shape that I can go from one project to the next with a minimum of fuss and rearrangement.
Fresh produce for dinner: pole beans, new potatoes, corn on the cob, cucumbers and onions soaked in vinegar and sugar water. Yum. Some cornbread would be nice with that, but I really don't want to fire up the oven.
Thursday, June 3, 2004
I spread about 3/4 of a bag of "Sun'n'Shade" grass seed on the lawn yesterday, hoping for a little rain to wet it down last night. No such luck. Now I'll have to get out the "Roll-a-hose" and the drippy nozzle and do it myself. The lawn here would look nice with some good growth. It's brown in patches throughout. I suspect I may have to get some "Bug-B-Gone" or something similar, as the pattern of dead grass seems to be what I'd expect to be due to insect damage.
I'm waiting on two return calls, one from my friend, Katonya, and the other from a newspaper reporter. There was an article in the paper this morning that raised my hackles. Anyone here know what a "hackle" is?
Quote of the Day: "Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius." -- Henri Frederic Amiel
In the interim, the newspaper reporter called back. I had taken him to task about a factual error in the paper this morning. The factual error is not what got me worked up, but it was the one legitimate thing on which I could call his hand. When I was in journalism school (yes, I'm afraid I lay claim to that disreptuable occupation in my C.V.) they taught us to check all facts and to have at least two sources on everything, even the most trivial. Nowadays they seem to rely on press releases and second-hand information and report it as gospel with no back-checking or verification. Thank you, Rupert Murdock!
Here's a photograph of a watercolor pencil rendering I did. I framed it and hung it on the wall in the living room of the house we were just forced to move from (I really liked that house). A neighbor gave us this huge Boston fern and we hung it from a (pre-existing) hook in the ceiling. The way it hung and the pose of the picture made it look like she was trying to look around the fern.
"Oh! There you are."
Friday, June 4, 2004
What a day! It's been raining all day long until a few minutes ago, and the radar looks like it might start again in an hour or so. The cat got out yesterday and wouldn't come within range where I could catch her. This morning we woke up to plaintive cries from the beech tree out back. Stupid cat is about 20 feet up, soaking wet and too stupid to figure out how to get down. The fire department doesn't do cats-up-trees anymore and we don't have a ladder. Sean is trying to coax her down or poke her out of the tree with a bamboo pole. No such luck. The big gray cat is going around spraying everything in sight and everywhere I step my shoes end up smelling like cat piss. Lovely. And it's 61 degrees and damp to the bone. Lovely.
Saturday, June 5, 2004
The cat's still up the tree. Sean tried to coax her down -- she climbed higher. At least it stopped raining. The only hope is for hunger to completely overcome her or her getting enough courage to make the climb down. I can't negotiate or carry a long enough ladder and no one else seems willing to borrow one and do it. Stupid cat.
Quote of the Day: "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between. "
-- Oscar Wilde
I'm about to go to work. Tonight we feature Second Sky. According to the Empty Glass web site, "An electronic audio teleportation dance music generator that brings images of exotic beaches on planets far away. They combine acid jazz and trip-hop with a funky backbeat reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers."
Last night was Suran Song in Stag and Fishickey. The second act was supposed to be Social Junk, but 1/3 of them came down sick and they had to make a last minute change. It was a Post-punk party until the wee hours.
Sunday, June 6, 2004
Well, the cat's out of the tree. Ann borrowed a 16-foot ladder from the neighbor across the street and lured her down with some gastly smelling cat food in a can. First thing on getting in the house, the stupid cat wanted back out. We went out for lunch and when we got back and opened the door, Scooter waltzed out like it was the most natural thing in the world. If we'd let her go, she'd have been back up the tree again the first time the old gray tomcat (Gandalf) came back around. Speaking of Gandalf, he ran in the house when the door was open earlier and went straight for the cat bowl, then downstairs to the basement. I finally managed to chase him outside again using a broom. Sheesh! The inside cat wants out and the outside cat wants in (to mark the entire house as his territory, no doubt).
The show at The Glass last night was good. The crowd was thin and stingy. The poor guys in the band were having trouble selling CD's at $5.00 each. At a five dollar cover, the door went well into 1:00 am before breaking $100.00 -- half the people in the place were either staff, band or on the manager's or band's comp list. Second Sky is probably not the right band for this venue, but I thought they did an excellent job, thanks in no small part to my excellent mix (ahem!). Well, I thought it was good. . .
Quote of the Day: "Birth, Copulation, and Death. That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks" " -- T. S. Elliot
I see signs of growing fascism all around me. The patriot act states that all credit card accounts must now have a physical address. You cannot use a post office box. The NPR radio show, had Garrison Keillor leading the audience in "America" today. Social Security cards are required for the most mundane of things now. Paranoia is rampant. Every day it becomes easier for anyone to be arrested and held without charges indefinitely. Law enforcement has almost unlimited powers. The government is more secretive than it's ever been. Ronald Reagan died yesterday, and they're already elevating him to deity status. I'm not normally one to speak ill of the dead, but I personally think Reagan did more damage to this country than anyone before him, including Nixon, and is only now being surpassed by W in his ability to destroy our liberties, dreams, and freedoms.
Monday, June 7, 2004
It's been a total loss of a day. I'm stymied. I can't find my box of nails, my specialty papers I need to do some printing, and any of a couple dozen other things. There's no place to put the herbs and spices in the kitchen. I'm tired of eating out, but there's nothing here, and besides, if I want to season anything. . . (see above).
Quote of the Day: "It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety." -- Issac Asimov
It's after four in the afternoon and the mail still hasn't run. At our Jackson Street place the mail was usually late in the day, too, but only between noon and two. I'm not used to having mail delivered so far into the day. When I was growing up, you could almost set your clock by the mailman. He was there at 10:15 am every morning. I like getting mail in the morning. It gives a direction to your day. It's an anchor, something you can depend on. Mail late in the day is like a postscript. I guess if you work away from the house at regular hours, it really doesn't matter when the mail arrives, though.
So much to do, and so little energy to deal with it. I just saw a hummingbird flittering around the awning over the patio. We should get a feeder. I love to watch the little critters.
Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Not feeling at all well today. Scratchy throat, stuffy nose, sinus drainage, general malaise. It just started raining. Perhaps that will cool off the 85 degrees and at least I'll be more comfortable in my illness. Not likely. Probably just rain enough to raise the humidity to 100% and make me even more miserable.
Ann was off today too. Her back was bothering her again. She's at the hospital now with her sister. Their dad is in the Renal unit. Get well soon, John.
Quote of the Day: "Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof. " -- Ashley Montague
Was I right? In the time it took me to put together the quote of the day, it stopped raining. Now the air is just hanging on me, kind of oozing off like thick goo. I could spread it on bread, but I certainly wouldn't want to eat it. I'm so tired, lethargic. There is so much to do and I can't seem to summon the will to do any of it.
Wednesday, June 9, 2004
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Even though I wasn't feeling very well yesterday, last night was nice. Margaret came by to help with some things I have difficulty doing, due to my infirmity and advanced age. She brought my newest granddaughter with her, Gretchen, age 1. While she was here, her employer called and wanted to know if she could work. Ann and I agreed to take Gretchen, so Mags could leave directly from here instead of going home first. After a visit to Artomix Art Studio, we took Miss G out to dinner at the Farm Table in South Charleston. Ann and I both ordered identical meals, baked steak, mashed potaoes and gravy, green beans and hot rolls. We shared with Gretchen. She was polite and damned neat for a one-year-old. She had apple juice to drink. She seemed to like everything. After dinner, we piled back into the van and went to K-Mart. Picked up some water and odds and ends. Gretchen seemed to enjoy riding around in the buggy. When we got back home, Gretchen was thoroughly wet on the bottom, so Ann changed her. We let her run around in nothing but a diaper for a while. I got out my 12-string and played and tried to sing for the baby. She seemed to like it quite a lot. Then she decided to be a stripper. She shook her booty to the music and proceeded to take her diaper off. Then she promptly squatted and tinkled on the living room carpet! Time for clothes in addition to the diaper!
Quote of the Day: "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure. " -- Clarence Darrow
Called and left a message for my lawyer yesterday. So far he hasn't called back.
I don't feel too bad today, but by no stretch of the imagination do I feel well.
Saturday, June 12, 2004
The show last night at the Glass was Ras Bonghi. They were good, going on nearly two hours late as they did. Imagine! A reggae band being late. . . As good as Bonghi, David, and the crew are, I think they still need a guitar in the ensemble. It would have made the sound full and rich instead of just adequate.
Quote of the Day: "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. " -- Edward R Murrow
. . . is that what happened?
Tonight at the Empty Glass, Lords of the Highway, billed as Appalachian-Alternative. Sounds. . . interesting. I'll let you know.
I used the proceeds of my recent work today to buy an easel. It's the first one I've bought in my nearly half a century as a so-called artist. I've built a couple and found one in the trash and repaired it, but this is my first brand-spankin'-new, genuine easel (list price, $439.00). It's a Richeson, based, it looks to me, on the Windsor&Newton "Radial" easel. Made of Brazillian hardwood, it folds up to the size of a hand-truck, and extends to hold a pretty big canvas. It twists and turns and can be made to hold several pieces at a time. It wil also tilt to work like a watercolor easel or lie flat to put a table top on it (and I just happen to have the perfect candidate for it). I think this is just the puppy I've been looking for. Yes, I'd still like to have a large, heavy, sturdy, stable, multi-hundred-dollar studio easel, but until I have a big enough studio to put one in, this will do just fine thank you.
The easel I bought is called the Belmont (now if I get a KY Derby and a Preakness easel, do I win the easel triple crown?). Here's a small picture of it.
Here's the specs:
This portable and versatile easel has two plastic wheels for easy mobility. It can be positioned in horizontal, vertical and past vertical positions.
• Maximum Canvas Height: 72"
• Base Width/Depth: 19" x 21 1/2"
• Horizontal Table Height: 34"
• Extended Easel Height: 84"
• Compact Easel Height: 45"
• Box Dimensions: 52" x 18" x 6"
• Shipping Weight: 36 lbs.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Okay, I misremembered. Last night was not "Lords of the Highway," but Highway Jones. They were good. Billy Matheny from Mannington (near Morgantown), WV opened for them and did a self-deprecating, humorous, competent set. He's a young fellow, drinking Sprite™ and singing and playing consumate music à la John Prine or perhaps Tom Waite (I think he even did a Waite tune). The Jones boys played a version of rock that sometimes bordered on country, often included nostalgic covers that I could sing along with every word, and kept my fingers dancing over the mixing board trying to give the best possible sound to music that was well-played and engaging. The drummer and rhythm guitarist, along with a new guitarist and husky-voiced female bass player, operating under the name Satellite Junkies, did a set between the two Highway Jones sets. I think perhaps the guitar player and drummer would be better served staying with the main band, and keeping the appearances of their side project to a minimum, at least until some of the wrinkles in the act are ironed out. They were okay, but on the whole, I'd rather have had an extended set by the main group.
Quote of the Day: "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe and it has a longer shelf life." -- Frank Zappa
There's a Zappa quote on the wall of the stage at the Empty Glass. It goes something like: "Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best. Music is heat."
Frank Zappa also allegedly said, "Jazz is not dead. It just smells funny." Frank has been "on his final tour" since December 4, 1993. I might add, things have gone downhill for me since then. . . Long reported to have several advanced degrees in music and other disciplines, Frank had none. He often stated that he was lucky to have a high school diploma. Nonetheless, he was, I think, among the most astute observers of human nature and life in general in the twentieth century. Frank, I miss you.
Speaking of advanced degrees, I think that academic degrees may perhaps be diagnostic evidence of heretofore unclassified mental illnesses.
Monday, June 14, 2004
A doozy of a rain storm just now. The water was standing on the entire sidewalk between the steps down from the street and the steps up to the stoop. If it had rained another five minutes the water would have overflowed and run up onto the first step and out into the lawn. At a couple points near the sidewalk, the water puddles pretty badly in even moderate rain anyway. After it stopped raining, I baled out the sidewalk. I have to do something to allow that to drain. There's no way to get out of the house without getting my feet soaked if it's raining. The water was runnind down the back of the house too, and into the bathroom window well. Must be why they call them wells. . .
I went to OfficeMax and got a chairmat to put on the floor next to the computer desk and my drawing table. The biggest I could get under $100 was 46" X 60". It's not quite big enough, but it will work if I'm more careful than I want to be. They rolled it up for me and taped it so it wouldn't unroll in the car. When I got it home, I cut the tape and pulled it off. Well, the tape came right off, but the adhesive liked the vinyl of the chairmat better than the tape. Goo-gone, acetone, ethyl acetate, xylene. Nothing seems to work. My only other option seems to be Bestine rubber cement thinner, and I'll have to wait for a dry day and take it outside to attempt that. The smell of xylene in the house is bad enough. I hate to think what the hydrocarbon coctail that's in Bestine would smell like after a removal process.
Quote of the Day: "It is a privledge to see so much confusion." -- Marianne Moore
There's a discussion group I belong to on Yahoo. We've been having a good discussion, on and off, over the past couple weeks as to what constitues visual poetry and asemic poetry. This group must be what Ms. Moore was talking about. . .
by Marianne Moore
through black jade
Of the crow-blue mussel-shells, one keeps
adjusting the ash heaps;
opening and shutting itself like
The barnacles which encrust the side
of the wave, cannot hide
there for the submerged shafts of the
split like spun
glass, move themselves with spotlight swiftness
into the crevices
in and out, illuminating
of bodies. The water drives a wedge
of iron through the iron edge
of the cliff; whereupon the stars,
bespattered jelly-fish, crabs like green
lilies, and submarine
toadstools, slide each on the other.
marks of abuse are present on this
all the physical features of
of cornice, dynamite grooves, burns, and
hatchet strokes, these things stand
out on it; the chasm-side is
evidence has proved that it can live
on what can not revive
its youth. The sea grows old in it.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
I have very little energy to begin with these days, and the pain, the heat and humidity, the additional expenses of getting things at this house in decent condition, and the depression from all the above make it difficult for me to get much done. I am trying, though. I looked at my current small sketchbook yesterday. It's been two months since pencil touched paper there, and I still don't feel like doing anything. I'm never really hungry. I eat for the sake of making my stomach shut up, and I eat more than I should in most cases. The smallness and utter dinginess of the kitchen here is a solid disincentive to cooking anything. The kitchen and dining room are still in partial disarry, as is the rest of the house, with the living room and bedroom being closer to normalcy. It would be really nice for a change to have a spring with actual spring-like weather, instead of August in May. Spring and fall are the times of year when I typically do most of my creative work, but the past few years it's been hot like summer and I just haven't felt up to doing as much.
Quote of the Day: "Glory is fleeting; but obscurity is forever." -- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
For your use, I have altered the Google search on my Information page to include a Google site search of this entire site. Anything you want to find is just a click away now.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Last week I bought some fresh green beans at Kroger. They weren't the greatest, but they were decent-looking if somewhat immature. We kept putting off the meal that would have included them until today. I stopped at Kroger again and got five nice ears of sweet yellow corn. I came home, shucked and cleaned the corn, and got ready to string the beans. They had brown marks all over them. Looked like hell. I decided to go to Capitol Market and get some fresh ones from there. It was about a quarter after six when I pulled into a nearly-empty parking lot. They close at six now. Oy! Now it's only for the people who can shop during the day! Wonder who that might be? They open at ten. That pretty much leaves out the person working nine to five. Keeping the riff raff out. . . Anyway, I left there in a huff, went to Foodland. No beans at all. Back to Kroger -- what they had looked worse than what I got last week (probably the same batch). Fas-Chek. Nada. I came home empty-handed and decided to go ahead and try what we already had. I hope they turn out.
Capitol Market is the gentrified version of the Farmer's Market that used to be under the Freeway on an asphalt pad. They were open from early in the morning to at least dark, even if that was nine thirty at night. What will it be like in harvest season? Will they stay open later or do they just want the six-figure incomes shopping there? This really pisses me off. Charleston isn't a big enough place to sustain such elitist attitudes, but here they are, and growing.
Quote of the Day: ""When I need a little advice about Saddam Hussein, I turn to country music."" -- George W. Bush
Yeah, but what country?
Thursday, June 17, 2004
We've been living in this house for over a month now and all our herbs, spices, and flavorings are still in boxes somewhere because we have no place to put them. This kitchen is not for someone who knows how to cook anything beyond fried potatoes, beans, and cornbread. Even using the cabinet I used in the other house for my camera gear as a china cabinet, plus the built-in in the dining room (half of which now holds some of the camera gear) and our refrigerator in the dining room, there still isn't enough space for half of what we had in the kitchen and pantry at the other place. I hate this kitchen.
Quote of the Day: "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. " -- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
Speaking of silence, there have been 8008 hits on this web page so far this month, with visitors coming from Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands, Samoa, Switzerland, Norway, Peru, Australia, Japan, Romania, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Mexico, Singapore, Poland, Estonia, Finland, Denmark, the Seychelles, the Bahamas, the Russian Federation, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Estonia, Qatar, and Cyprus without a single comment from anyone. I just don't get it. There must be some appeal as I see the same IP addresses month after month, in some cases, day after day, but still no impetus to say "Hey," or "Thanks," or "Kiss my ass?"
I've done nothing today but repeatedly check my e-mail, watch a two hour show on the SciFi channel about crop circles, and hang a photograph. The shelf that I keep most of my big art books on keeps falling down. If not for the notebooks and remainder of art books on the next shelf down, the whole thing would be in the floor. I may either have to relocate the whole thing to a sturdier unit or reinforce that set of shelves, at least that shelf. It's always somethin'.
Hot again today and so far no rain. Then again, the humidity makes up for it. I should probably go outside and check the bucket under the air conditioner. It's probably full. The current temperature is 87 (feels like 94 with the humidity). This air conditioner is inadequate for the task, and it throws out dirt. I've cleaned and cleaned it and nothing seems to help. I hate this air conditioner.
Well, I think I may have fixed the shelf. The unit it's in is one of those you get at Wal-Mart or K-Mart or Lowe's with the MDF covered in wood-grain paper, with a cardboard back that you nail on with brads, predrilled holes for the shelf brackets, which in this case were made of polyethylene plastic, not the best weight-bearing substance known to man. I replaced three of them with older metal pins intended to serve the same purpose and of the same diameter. I noticed that the front left edge of the shelf wasn't as close to the side as were the other three. This is where the problem starts. Instead of the metal pin in this hole, I used an
allen wrench of the same diameter to give it a little more span to allow for movement of the shelf. I think this will hold. If not, it's time to move the toolboxes on one side and the drawers stacked next to the shelving unit on the other side and get out the drill and some dry-wall screws.
The bucket under the air conditioner was less than half full. I need to get another container to put under there when I empty that, so that the patio floor doesn't get drenched every time.
I don't know what to do for dinner. It's too hot in the kitchen to cook. I don't want to spend the money to eat out, besides eating out is bad for my diet. Popcorn and a glass of wine, maybe?
Friday, June 18, 2004
No, I really didn't have a glass of wine and popcorn for dinner last night. Instead I heated up the remnants of the night before -- new potatoes, green beans, and two ears of corn. I made a salad from Romaine lettuce, seedless cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and scallions and ate it with poppyseed dressing. Pretty nice dinner, really. Now, at the other end of the spectrum, for breakfast this morning I had coffe and four Pecan Sandies.
Quote of the Day: "Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits. " -- Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith, 1992
I need to sort through my archives and relegate some of the less-worthy pieces to the attic so that my closet will have room for the new masterpieces I can't sell. I already have a bunch of canvases upstairs. I need to create a space for such things that is easily accessible and protected. A vault would be good.
It's only 75 degrees outside, but it definitely feels warmer than that in here -- probably because of the refrigerators, ceiling fans, and computer. I turned off the fans everywhere but in the studio and the dining room. The fan here is to cool me and the computer and the one in the dining room is for the refrigerators. I miss central air. I imagine this winter I'll miss central heat as well. The only heater in the house other than the floor furnace is in the main bathroom, right next to the floor furnace. Whoever built this house was a total idiot. Every day I find more stupidity in its construction. For instance, who ever heard of a bathroom without any towel racks? Another great example (probably the most glaring), no gutters on a house with eaves of just a few inches. When it rains hard water runs into the window wells on the back of the house. The eaves of the house are open, too. I'll have to get some insulation and stuff in the cracks for winter or have heating bills that exceed our income.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Ann and I went to the Milton Flea Market yesterday. We did so rather late in the day for such activities, and on a whim. I did find some interesting items, though, and we got the best green beans we've seen so far this season (from North Carolina).
To all you dads out there, Happy Father's Day. I'd put a specific holiday wish for my Dad, but he was never really a Father, just a sperm donor.
Quote of the Day: "You can't dodge your responsibilities by saying they don't exist!" -- Douglas Adams (b. 1952), British author, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
It's only 56 degrees here this morning. When I got up (because the damn cat was on a tear) at 6:30 it was 53 and the sun was just beginning to shed light from its hiding place behind the hill to our east. Now, old Sol is up in the cerulean sky making shadows and highlights to adorn this most beautiful of days, today.
I've been having problems with my right eye. Researching it on the web, I've found that it could be anything from a thickening of the vitreous humor to diabetic retinopathy to optic nerve damage to a detaching retina to macular degeneration -- the latter would be ironic, as it would be one thing my father passed on to me.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Sunday was Fathers Day. Both my kids called to wish me a happy one. Sean was off work for his birthday yesterday, so he took me and his mom to lunch at The Farm Table. We bought him a much-desired birthday present: 80 ounces of hair gel (the boy's just like the George Clooney character in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou." "Do NOT seek the treasure!").
Quote of the Day: "I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth." -- Umberto Eco
Ann got me a few things I needed, something I wanted and a toy for Fathers Day. Somehow while we were moving one of the drawers in my chest of drawers got broken beyond repair (at least with the tools I have). The chest was old, cheap and had a hole in the side, missing bits here and there, and the cardboard back was on the verge of crumbling. We were at K-Mart looking for umbrellas (another part of my Fathers Day gift -- my old one was starting puberty and got torn up pretty good in a wind storm a couple weeks ago) and we saw a cheap MDF and cardboard chest for $39.99 -- we got it and Ann assembled it that night and the next morning. The thing I wanted was an LED flashlight. Those puppies are bright! I'd wanted one ever since I used one someone had left lying around at the Empty Glass one night that I worked. The toy is a realistic-looking plastic BB pistol. We picked it up at the Milton Flea Market. It's great fun and might even be useful chasing the raccoons out of the trash.
"We thought you was a toad!"
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
I think I've got my studio in decent condition where I could actually get some work done, but my eye's still bothering me and I find it hard to concentrate. That, and I just don't feel like doing anything. I can't stand for any appreciable period or pace to get the creative juices flowing. I still haven't come up with a substitute for pacing and my penchant for standing up while I work is hard to replace with sitting on my butt. I feel just generally depressed, too, and not because of anything in particular (other than being in pain much of the time and not being able to do the things I want because of not being able to walk right, run, or stand for a long time).
Quote of the Day: "Not only is life a bitch, but it is always having puppies. " -- Adrienne Gusoff
The more we understand the universe, the less mystery and wonder, the more theM BAstards run things. Now the Supreme Court has taken away our ability to sue HMO's (run by theM BAstards). So now it seems to practice medicine all you have to do is get an MBA. I suppose MD degrees will become passé. TheM BAstards already seem to want to practice law, and think they can govern and operate any business on a single set of skills and ideas, to wit: make it cheaper; sell it for more; ship the labor overseas; buy the parts from China, Japan, or Korea; outsource the customer support to India; install a voice mail system no one can use for any legitimate purpose and offer no bail-out or access to real person; drop the bottom 10% of the product line whether it's selling well or not, whether you're a single source or not; advertise heavily; and be sure to have an unbeatable severance package for youself.
If the world was fair men would ride side-saddle and George W. Bush would be making his living saying, "Would you like fries with that?"
Thursday, June 24, 2004
I have been looking at web hosting companies, hoping perhaps to replace the one I have with one that offers more for less or perhaps a lot more for a slightly greater price. I found one company that claims to be connected to an OC48 backbone through servers in New Jersey and New York City. When I looked them up on Whois, they turn out to be a Chinese company with a data center mailing address in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The administrative and technical contacts have Yahoo China e-mail addresses, and the other addresses are at IndiaTimes.com, a notorious spammer source. I think I'll pass. It looks like I may stay with 777webhosting.com for at least another year. They have been pretty reliable, have had quick response, and when there has been a problem they've responded in a timely manner. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with their service. I just wish I had more space. I'm not sure how close I am to running out, but I have less to work with each year.
If I had, say, 500 MB to work with instead of the 200 that I now have, I could let the people who have e-mail accounts with me have a few megabytes for a personal web site. That would be a nice thing to offer. I could perhaps even turn a profit with it. Say I charged $1.00 a month for the e-mail and web space (10-12 MB, which is what Charter offers me for my much greater outlay) and I got 20 people to sign up, that would be $20 a month against $7.77 for the hosting, which would net me $12.23 a month. With that I could get another domain, more hosting space, sell more e-mail/website and on and on it would go until I was making over a hundred dollars a month and only had to work 25 hours a week to get it. . . wait a minute. "Hell-o, Taco Bell? Do you have any openings?"
Quote of the Day: "I can live for two months on a good compliment. " -- Mark Twain
My blood test for Rheumatoid factor was positive, but the quantification was less than 1/3 of the number at which the postive indication means a 95% probablility of having rheumatoid arthritis. My orthopedist is going to schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. The fun never ends. . .
During the move, somehow my graphics tablet stopped working. I don't have the hundred dollars to replace it. I keep trying to save money to get a new computer and an SLR digital camera, but the money keeps dribbling off for other more immediate purposes. My last hundred will have to go to pay for the coming year's web hosting. That will leave me with ten bucks. Not that long ago I had four hundred. Living expenses sure get in the way of saving for big ticket items.
Friday, June 25, 2004
A little good luck. I found a parking place yesterday right in front of my orthopedic surgeon's office door. Also, my web hosting company upgraded my account to 500 MB for the same price. Not bad for a Thursday.
Quote of the Day: "No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather." -- Michael Pritchard
If I have a monument when I die, I want it to be a hand coming out of the ground with a scribe of some sort etching my name on the tombstone. It would be nice to cast my hand doing it, add a bit of irony, ya know. . .
This will be the second weekend I haven't worked. I'm down to loose change, too. I'd like to take a job doing stock or working at the Rite Aid photo counter (a position is currently open), but I couldn't stand as much during a day as the position would require. I'd love to start walking for exercise again, but that's not going to happen. I've even thought about trying it regardless of the condition of my ankle, but then I come to my senses. Just walking to the car or from the car across a parking lot bothers me more than I'd like to bear. Nothing from my lawyer this week. Maybe I should call.
Everything in my studio is on shelves except the piles of papers and documents on my secondary table. I even have some empty space on some of the shelves. Now it's a matter of organizing things -- this is the part I hate. I'll probably get it all in place and in working order about time to pack it all up and move again. . .
I actually worked some on my stamp collection today. I've had a set of 15-day approvals from Kenmore Stamp Company for over a month. I figured it was about time to pick some, write a check, and send the others back. I got a few nice issues for $9.75. Kenmore had also sent me a selection from their Collectors Club series ($22.75) -- 75 mint Russian issues plus album pages, a complimentary set of triangles from Guinee, stamp hinges, and an album on payment. I put that envelope in the mail today, too. I unearthed my trays I use to soap stamps from envelopes and started the process for a bunch of US stamps I've had lying around in an old box for at least 12 years. I put some of the Russian stamps on the album pages. I may finish that later today.
More rain. I'm so tired of rain almost every day. At least this is just a drizzly rain and not the downpours with pyrotechnics we've been having.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
I'm at a point with this project where I feel like I'm contributing only to the e-clutter on the Internet. I seldom do anything here but recount my day's activities or bitch about my problems. I'm not really creating anything, and that bothers me. Even my offline activity is less than creative. I've gone back into my stamp collection, as a retreat from anything productive. I think part of it is self-pity from not being able to do things like I used to. Instead of being like this, I should try to adjust and continue on, but it's so hard with pain much of the time, lack of energy and enthusiasm. I suppose I should talk to my doctor and go on some anti-depressant, but I can't afford the co-pays on the drugs I already have to take.
Still having problems with my right eye. I suppose I'd better call my Primary Care Doctor Monday and make an appointment.
Quote of the Day: "Every time an artist dies, part of the vision of mankind passes with him. " -- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I've got several good books on creativity and art I could read during my down period. Unfortunately, they're mostly of the "self-help" variety and require "exercises" of the reader, and I can't even bring myself to do those. I just want to feel like "me" again.
Monday, June 28, 2004
My youngest sister fell and broke her shoulder in four places. Her doctor in Weston wants to schedule her for shoulder replacement surgery at WVU Medical Center in Morgantown. My mom wants me to take charge of this. I asked her to talk to the doctor and see if it could be done in Charleston instead. Now I'm waiting for her to talk to the doctor and call me back so I'll know when I can schedule my own life.
Quote of the Day: "I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart. " -- e e cummings (1894-1962)
Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" set new records for a documentary at the box office. It was also the number one film this weekend. The right wing screeds are focusing their efforts on discrediting Moore and his film. Michael is ready. He has a "war room" set up to counter any attacks. All the people who have commented on the film so far, including the film critic for the Christian Science Monitor, and except for the shrill, shreeking, hidebound, narrow-minded, mean-spirited, hateful, reactionary followers of W's handlers have lauded compliments on it and called it nearly every positive superlative imaginable. Even one of the columnists in the paper this morning who rarely steps outside the safety of non-committal on any subject other than race, said Moore might not have all his facts straight, but at least the attitude is correct. Wow. The only theater in the state currently showing the film set records for attendance, probably a lot of folks travelling from Charleston and other cities and towns whose theater owners were intimidated by the right wing nuts or belong to that club themselves. Eventually I'm sure box office recipts will override their secondary scruples.
The spots in my right eye have gotten fewer and the ones that remain are lighter. It may have been some external trauma that caused my current visual anomalies, perhaps the Noxema I got in my eye the day before I started "seeing things." The floaters are still there too, but they are either diminished or I've gotten so used to dealing with them that I don't notice them most of the time.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
It seems to be the week for touching base with old friends and family. I've spent a lot of time on the phone today talking to people I haven't talked to in a long time. It's good to renew old friendships.
Quote of the Day: "Just surrender to the cycle of things, Give yourself to the waves of the Great Change, And when it is time to go, then simply go, Without any unnecessary fuss. " -- T'ao Ch'ien
New feature of this web site -- on the main page, at the bottom I am featuring links to members' pages. So far I have 9 members, one of whom is putting a page together, so check out 's page. There's not much there right now, but that will soon change.
I'd like to apologize to all the people I sent that chain e-mail to today. It said if I sent it to 20 people my financial wish would come true in two hours. Well, it didn't. I'll not do that again. I'll just buy a PowerBall ticket like everyone else.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Wow! Where did June go? It seems like only yesterday I was lamenting having to pay rent for June on this dismal house, and now here I am lamenting the same thing for July.
Quote of the Day: "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. " -- Soren Kierkegaard
Washed the van today. Water pressure here is pathetic. I bought one of the Mr. Clean car wash nozzles and the soap and filter for it. It would do a fantastic job if two things were true -- one, that I had a hose long enough to reach without having to backtrack, and two, that the water pressure was enough to knock a gnat off a fly's ass.
July first tomorrow. Wow. Where does the time go? W is coming to town for the fourth. Oh, big whoop. I can't even stand to look at the man, and now he's going to be here, upsetting my traffic patterns. I may not even go to the fireworks Sunday night, and I love fireworks.