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Thursday, May 1, 2003
(7:04 pm)

The first day of my diet went well. I did more exercise today, too. I had vegetables, bread and margarine, and cottage cheese for dinner. I had to revise my record because I couldn't finish it all. If I can adjust my taste buds, I can manage this pretty well.

I put some art in frames today. Two of the pieces are these:

Collage on rag mat board
"Love Letters"

The other one was this:

Acrylic on paper (15 X 26 -- 23 X 34 in frame and mat)
"I Wonder What It Was? I Wonder Where It Went?"

Friday, May 2, 2003
(7:46 pm)

The diet is going well. Of course, this is but the second day of it, so I'd say it's a bit premature to rip my rotator cuff patting myself on the back. So far I'm not feeling too deprived or antsy. I hope I can keep it up for several months. I figured out if I can lose a pound a day (RIGHT!) I can be down to my ideal weight by the middle of August. More realistically, I suspect I can do it by New Year's 2004.


Quote of the Day: "Far too noisy, my dear Mozart. Far too many notes." -- Emperor Ferdinand of Austria


I got a new Microsoft wireless mouse when my old mouse started acting up. The new driver doesn't work the same with all programs. For instance, the editor I use to write the code for my web page doesn't respond to the wheel on the mouse at all now. Before I changed the mouse it did. I wish they'd quit breaking things when they "improve" stuff.

Playing around with Fractal Design Painter:

What can brown do for you?
"Just a doodle. . ."

Saturday, May 3, 2003
(11:30 pm)

Quote of the Day: "When you have nothing to say, say nothing." -- Charles Caleb Colton (1780 - 1832)


Wednesday, May 7, 2003
(11:06 am)

Perhaps tonight I will win the lottery and I can then afford to find another surgeon who will fix my leg so that I can walk, run, and move normally again, so I will not be in constant pain most of every day. Maybe then I can buy an automobile that I can feel confident won't stop working, one that the stereo and rear wiper actually work, one that doesn't have a windshield contaminated with Rain-X. Maybe then I can pay all of my bills on time. Maybe then I can afford a few amenities. Lots of conditionals there. . .

Oy!


Quote of the Day: "Marriages are made in heaven. But, again, so are thunder, lightning, tornadoes and hail." -- Mae West


For those of you who might be interested, my cholesterol is great. My HDL is back up to normal levels. My tryglycerides are down a hundred points. And for the one person who might possibly care, my PSA is 0.4.

The grocery store I usually go to is in financial trouble. It's possible they might go into bankruptcy or even go out of business. Zebra makes an extensive line of pens. Locally I can only find one of their products, the same one, at Wal-Mart, Sam's, Staples, Office Max, drug stores,etc. Oh the joys of capitalism!


Thursday, May 8, 2003
(9:18 am)

A friend informed me that Office Max does carry more than one kind of Zebra pen. They just never have them when I'm there -- then, I'm not there that often. I hate driving across the east end then several miles out of town and not go to some place that sells tomato plants!

My diet is going well. My leg is not improving, however. I have another orthopedist appointment on the 20th. I hope something more can be done. Not being able to walk right, having to take stairs with baby steps, and having to anticipate sharp, intense pain at any misstep is taking a mental toll. There are so many little things I can't do that were second nature to me before. I'd love to go back to Babcock State Park and walk the trail around the lake, but there's no way that can happen. The ground is uneven and the trail is over two miles long. I have trouble walking on a slightly inclined paved area. Uneven ground would be totally out of the question. Damn!

I've not been doing much art lately. I've mostly been setting up a system to keep track of health issues, like counting calories, fat and fiber grams, recording blood pressure and pulse, and making notations of exercise and stretching. I've pretty much got that set up so that it will be nearly automatic. I have my herbal supplements and vitamins divided into three groups to take with meals and my medications to take at bedtime, all in separate pill organizers. My life in a looseleaf notebook and inch-cube plastic compartments. . .

I've also been doing some housekeeping in my studio, trying to fine tune the arrangement of things to make a little more sense. I've been experimenting with art materials and techniques, too. My current sketchbook and "notes on art" book have seen activity, too.

For years I've searched for a pen that satisfies me as a sketch pen. The ideal pen should have a variable width line, be archival, pigmented ink, and let me make "sketchy" or solid lines. I've found a few that come close, but no cigar. . .


Sunday, May 11, 2003
(11:10 pm)

Saturday was the annual East End yard sale. We trudged about all morning and came home with some interesting things and some great bargains. We got a paper shredder for a dollar. Other dollar or less deals were: a Canon flatbed scanner, a box full of file trays (in/out boxes) and a really nice 3-hole punch, Ray Bradbury's I Sing the Body Electric, Jeffrey Deaver book I haven't read, a tin box with the Eiffel tower on it, and an exercise bike! We got a hair drier for a buck fifty, some baskets, a pocket electronic organizer, about 80 feet of green Christmas garland with lights, and some other odds and ends. My real treasures are a framed Patrick Nagel print and a 31" X 42" lightweight portable drawing board with a parallel rule. All in all it was a good foray.

The diet and exercise are going well. I finished the bottle of red wine my friend, Jack, gave me and bought a bottle of Turning Leaf Merlot. I'm not especially fond of it. I'll finish the bottle to see if I acquire a liking for it. If not, it'll be on to something else, perhaps the Francia wine in a box. What a concept!


Monday, May 12, 2003
(11:18 pm)

Well, I thought my diet and exercise were going well. Turns out, I've lost no weight at all. I've drastically cut my caloric and fat intake and gotten more exercise, to absolutely no avail. Makes me feel like giving up. . .

I forgot to drink my glass of wine tonight. Oh well. . .

I did nothing of any worth whatsoever today as far as art or anything useful. I did play chauffeur, dropped the empty wine bottle off at my friend's shop, and rearranged in the studio a little. Ate too much, but stuck to my diet concept. I wish I could get into the exercise bike more, but my leg/ankle/foot isn't right and it's difficult. I'm verging on despondency. Nothing works. Everything goes wrong. Pain. Damn.


Wednesday, May 14, 2003
(9:23 am)

People disgust me. This morning I was sitting at a light. It turned green, but there was a woman still in the crosswalk, so I had to wait. The woman in the car behind me started blowing her horn! What was I supposed to do -- run over the woman in the crosswalk? blow my horn at her? It seems like about half the people in cars are total assholes, immature, selfish, self-absorbed, inconsiderate, and rude, and the other half are hinky watching out for the assholes.

Okay, I've lost five pounds. If I continue at this rate, I'll be down to my fighting weight in six months. My blood pressure and pulse rate are great, according to current standards. CNN is just about to do a story on blood pressure that says more people may be at risk than previously thought. I'll be interested to see what this says. It used to be that 240 was the lower edge of high cholesterol, but now that's been revised downward to 200, 180 according to some.

Okay, now they're saying that 120/80 to 129/89 is to be considered "prehypertensive" and should be treated. They're also saying that most hypertensive patients should be treated with two drugs and in most cases one of those should be a diuretic. To which I say, "Bullshit!" My blood pressure was always 120/80 until I hit my mid-forties and gained some weight. They're saying to cut the salt in our diets. I've done that. It seems to have had zero effect on my blood pressure or fluid retention. I think these "statistical fascists" don't have a clue. They twist numbers around to say what they think in the first place, or to pursue some unspoken agenda. Take the original study that determined that cigarette smoking causes cancer for example. There was a statistical correlation in that study that was much greater than the one that connected smoking and cancer -- it indicated that longevity was directly related to the amount of fried food consumed.


Thursday, May 15, 2003
(8:54 am)

Headstart is in danger of crumbling because the Bush administration wants to move the administration of it, and the funding, to states. They want to offer block grants to the participating states that will not adequately cover the cost of the program. The Atlantic Coast Conference in about to snatch the University of Miami away from the Big East, probably along with Boston College and Syracuse, thereby decimating a once powerful athletic conference. The Pittsburgh Penguins, ten years ago Stanley Cup champions, have not made the playoffs in the last two years. The streets of Charleston are so bad that the only ones who have a chance of driving on them every day without some damage to their vehicles are those driving Jeeps and Hummers. All these things are due to one thing -- greed. As long as we allow the CEO's of major corporations to command salaries and perks that rival those of the Popes and kings of reformation Europe, as long as the average worker cannot afford to adequately provide the necessities and amenities of life for his family, things will only get worse.

Robert Byrd is right, regardless of what his detractors say. Bush is a pompous fool, concerned only with his own image, position, and legacy. The Republican Congress wants to dismantle every single social program that benefits those who unbridled capitalism has shat upon, weaken the federal government to the point where it is powerless to stop the greed and avarice of the corporate pirates who have hijacked this once-great nation.

I read the letters to the editor, scan the call-in column, listen to a small amount of talk radio, and watch a little of the news(?) channels on television. The world these people see and the world around me are apparently two different worlds. Their reasoning is seriously flawed, yet they seem to think themselves rational and intelligent. People, get a grip. We are here for each other as much as for ourselves (Ayn Rand notwithstanding). And not just each other as in those we hold close and agree with, but everyone. The cynical pontification of George W. Bush, "We will leave no child behind," points out the disparity of word and deed. Leaving no child behind does not imply allowing only those who have money, those who agree with the irrational rhetoric of the right wing, and those who either don't understand what's going on or are willing to sacrifice principle to prosper. Everyone should have the same opportunities, even if that means tipping the scales to the side where much has been denied. Children without fathers need extra help, but no one addresses this when "not leaving any child behind." It's more like, "That's too bad. Those are the breaks. Make your own way. I did. . ."


Friday, May 16, 2003
(9:33 pm)

There's a great article on the AlterNet website: "The Other 'F' Word."


Quote of the Day: "Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe" -- Frederick Douglass


Bad drivers; Performance evaluations; Bush Lite; G. Gordon Limbaugh; People who live in South Hills getting involved in how the East End will be in the future; A mayoral race between Smith & Jones; Brats who haze other brats; Dieting; Spammers who spoof my domain -- Things that piss me off today.


Sunday, May 18, 2003
(11:26 pm)

Today is my granddaughter's second birthday. She had a ball with her presents, all the people at "her" house and the cake. I had a lot of fun watching her and taking pictures. Ah, to be so young and in charge of the world again. . .

I'm reading Michael Moore's Stupid White Men. It's an excellent book, and Moore's wry and acrid sense of humor goes so well with the satire and absurdity of the subject matter. The more people read this book and take it to heart, the better. Maybe there's hope for us yet.


Monday, May 19, 2003
(9:45 am)

A new poem (first one in a while) -- it may require some revision. The level of abstraction is higher than my usual.

A Rebuttal of Passionate Intensity

I'm chopping poetry like firewood.
Throw another sprig of herbs into
     the flames to sweeten
     the sound.
Still it rings as loudly as
     a lead bell --
the words cracking on the cold,
     hard concrete floor,
the windows breaking in sympathy.

Syllables circle 'round my head
     making me dizzy with their
          bee-buzzing.
Recombinant memes and phonemes
make new monsters to turn on us
     like the new Prometheus did.

A friendly terror stalks our minds
     using a majority of the crowd
     as a truncheon to pound
the pulp of our bones into a compliant
miasma of right-thinking, right-action,
     defined by those on the dexter
     side of the aisle
Beware of those who travel in large groups
     or alone
     and suppose that in all the
          world
there is such a thing as certainty.


Tuesday, May 20, 2003
(1:52 pm)

Quote of the Day: "It is a great blessing to meet struggle and opposition with whatever fire there is in us that is kindled by these. Life does not mean merely following the softest road, the path of least resistance; it is doing something vital. Hardships and difficulties bring out the best in us and make us strong." -- Swami Paramananda


Gettin' stronger every day. . .

I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes with the world today:

The World's Best Salmon Patties

 
1 can Salmon, drained, large bones removed
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet or yellow onion
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 egg
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp crushed dry OR 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
 
Mix ingredients well
Form into four equal patties about 1/2 inch thick
Fry over medium heat until golden brown using just enough olive oil to keep the patties from sticking.
 
Serves 4
 
273 Calories
13 g. Fat
1 g. Fiber


Wednesday, May 21, 2003
(8:39 pm)

I've been thinking a lot the past few days. Nothing I care to put into words or share with the rest of the world right now, though. Perhaps in a few days.

I've been taking HGH for the past few days too. I wonder if that has any relationship to my increased mental activity. Other things have increased as well-- urination, energy, libido. Those, I'm pretty sure, can be ascribed to the HGH. I'll let you know if it has the other desired effects. It comes in chewable tablets. You have to clear your mouth of food or drink for at least 20 minutes before munching the little minty things, and not partake for 20 minutes afterward either. One on waking, one between 2-5 PM, and one between 7-9 PM. Interesting regimen. It also comes in drops. I think I'll go that route next time.


Thursday, May 22, 2003
(10:20 pm)

Here's a scanned detail of a collage/poem/painting I recently completed. It doesn't have a name yet.

Painting/Collage/Poem
"Detail"

Quote of the Day: "Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it." -- John Keats


Our gardening is paying off. The nasturtium is growing like crazy. We have sunflowers nearly four feet tall. The echinacea is getting tall. The mums and lilies have a plethora of buds, nearly ready to blossom. There are tiny tomatoes and peppers on the plants out back. The bamboo looks like it has rooted well and has decided to grow where we want it. The lavender, Russian sage, rosemary, and thyme are all doing well. The parsley is outrunning my use for it. My fuscia plant lost its blossoms but it seems to be rebounding after its adventure in the sun room. The yellow rose begonia is stunning. The morning glories and scarlet creepers have sprouted and look promising. My gourds have started to sprout, too. Ann's beans are growing fast. I love growing things. It has rewards unlike any other activity. It can provide beauty and nourishment, and in cases like nasturtium both in the same plant.


Saturday, May 24, 2003
(11:24 pm)

Okay, a quick update before heading to bed. . .

Today was my monthly poetry group meeting. It was pretty decent. My psychiatrist friend, at one point, said, "Michael, I don't know how that mind of yours works. . ." Should I worry? Last week I made a self-published chapbook of some of my poetry. I made 20 copies. I have two left after the meeting today. I mailed nine copies to various correspondents (from whom I have only received acknowledgments from two). The remaining 9 copies went like hotcakes at today's meeting. I'll have to do a "second edition."

A pretty useless day, artwise. I intended to do some things, but only managed a small piece with watercolor crayons. I also went to Pro-Art and bought a piece of 100% rag illustration board. I wish it came in hot press. . .


Quote of the Day: "There is no genius without a mixture of madness."
-- Seneca the Younger


This week at the health food store I bought a bag of mung beans and a bag of alfalfa seeds. Today I harvested my first crop of sprouts. I made the mistake of putting both types of seeds in the same vat. Where bean sprouts do best left in the dark until harvest, alfalfa needs some light on the last day to grow some greenery. My bean sprouts got a little thin and "leggy" and sprouted their own green. I had to trim both ends. They were tasty in my salad, but a little on the thin side. The alfalfa sprouts came out very nice. I'll pile them on a sandwich tomorrow.


Sunday, May 25, 2003
(10:47 pm)

The alfalfa sprouts were excellent. I need to find a better way of growing them, though. I have another round of bean sprouts in the main tank. I'll have to make a tank or sprouting jar just for the alfalfa. They're so good on a turkey sandwich.

Long day. Tired. Going to bed.


Tuesday, May 27, 2003
(10:49 pm)

Quote of the Day: "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." -- John Burrough


Thursday, May 29, 2003
(8:40 pm)

All the radio and television stations in town are now owned by corporations whose political leanings are to the extreme right. One of the two daily newspapers is solidly in the R column. The business weekly, of course, is conservative. A large portion of the letters to the editor of the remaining "liberal" paper are to berate that particular political orientation. We are about to be inundated. In a revolution, one of the first goals is to take control of the media. And still we hear from the fascist pundits about the "liberal media," the "liberal elite." We are in serious trouble. Benito Mussolini said once that Fascism should be properly called "Corporatism." Bush and his minions are trying to "privatize" as much of the government as possible. "Productivity" is the watch word of the MBA elite. What this means is that more is done by fewer people. This translates to lower wages, higher unemployment. We are in real serious trouble.

To illustrate how out of touch Pat Buchannan is, yesterday he said something like: We need more manufacturing jobs. When he was Nixon's speech writer, General Motors was the largest employer in the country. Now it's Wal-Mart. A person working for GM for $70,000 a year gets laid off and goes to work for Wal-Mart at $40,000 a year. His wife has to go to work to make up the difference. Anyone know someone who works at Wal-Mart who makes $40,000 a year?


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