Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Okay, NOW it's all right to put up Halloween decorations.
Quote of the Day: "And what if you were told: One more hour?" -- Elias Canetti (1905-1994)
Things just keep getting worse. I despair of anything ever getting back to an even keel. The Neocons are pretty much entrenched. If "Awnuld" wins the governorship in California, it will signal the beginning of the end of democracy in the United States.
"The Eastern world it is exploding-- violence raring, bullets loading. . . and you tell me, over and over and over again, my friend, you don't believe we're on the eve of Destruction." -- "Eve of Destruction," Barry McGuire.
Thursday, October 2, 2003
West Virginia came within a hair of beating Miami tonight -- final score: 22-20, with Miami's final three points coming with 14 seconds left in the game. Damn!
Quote of the Day: "My relationship to power and authority is that I'm all for it. People need somebody to watch over them and tell them what to do. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave." -- Arnold Schwartzenegger, quoted in George Butler's Arnold Schwartzenegger -- A Portrait, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1990, p 34.
Well the money ran out before all the bills got paid, and the cable bill was the one that didn't make the cut, so I imagine the cable guy will be here in the morning to cut the line, and since there are no more NetZero's offering limited free dial-up access, this may be the last entry here for who-knows-how-long. Damn! My e-mail will go uncollected as well, and my mailboxes will probably overflow from the unscrupulous assholes sending SPAM by the metric tonne. WhydoIbother?
Monday, October 6, 2003
Quote of the Day: "The cup that is already full cannot have more added to it. In order to receive the further good to which we are entitled, we must give of that which we have." -- Margaret Becker
This evening's the Sunday Book Club discussion of The DaVinci Code at Taylor Books. If I can find a parking space within easy access (for me and my bum leg) I may attend and perhaps participate. The book was excellent, incorporating some of what I like best of Poe, Robert Ludlum, and Robert Anton Wilson. If you haven't read it yet, you owe it to yourself.
Speaking of books, Michael Moore has a new one that hit the stands last Tuesday: Dude, Where's My Country? Prior to its release simple ads for the book appeared in the New York Times. On subsequent days the ads asked the following questions:
1. Dear Mr. Bush, is it true that the bin Ladens have had business relations with you and your family off and on for the past 25 years?
2. Dear “Mr. President,” what is the “special relationship” between the Bushes and the Saudi royal family?
3. Dear “Mr. President,” who attacked the United States on September 11th—a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or our friends, the Saudi Arabians?
4. Dear “Mr. President,” why did you allow a private Saudi jet to fly around the U.S. in the days after September 11th and pick up members of the bin Laden family and then fly them out of the country without a proper investigation by the FBI?
As Michael Moore puts it, he's not trying to get W out of the White House next Presidential election. He's trying to get him out of the White House NOW. . . As long as he takes Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, et. al. that sounds like a grand idea to me.
Tuesday, October 7, 2003
Interesting development. . . My blocked senders list in Outlook Express keeps deleting itself everytime I shut the program down. This tends to piss me off a little, since I had around 3,000 email addresses and domain names on that list, most of whom were SPAM propagators. Good old Microsoft. . .
Looks like California is in the crapper. They've recalled the governor and elected the Terminator. It should be interesting. I really want to leave this country now. Actually I did before, but this only underlines the desire. If things keep going like they are now for too much longer, I won't be able to express my opinions here safely. I'm not really sure it's safe to do so now.
I'm still averaging well over 10,000 hits on my web site every month. There are people who look at my site more than I do now. That's flattering and a bit disconcerting as well. Why would someone want to pay nearly 200 visits to my site every month? I've not been very successful in locating who's checking it out. I've got a domain, but not an individual. What's the big interest? Gee, some feedback would be really nice.
Friday, October 10, 2003
I had hoped to make a nice trip somewhere this weekend, since Monday is a holiday, but it looks like money is short, so we might go to Wal-Mart for a couple hours instead. Somehow the sprawl-mall at Southridge seems a poor substitute for Manhattan and/or the foliage of New England. I'll try to take a few photos of the shoe department and the grocery section. . .
Here's a nice sunset moon shot I took a few months ago.
"Finger nail paring in the sky"
Monday, October 13, 2003
The grocery store that we prefer is going to close next week. In addition, all the local Kroger stores are closed as of midnight tonight because of a strike. That leaves just Foodland and the Fas-Chek/Sav-A-Lot stores, which are not the best for the kind of shopping I do. Big Bear is screwing up big time closing like this. With Kroger on strike, they could increase their business and build some loyalty and perhaps bring the two stores in this area up beyond their current "underperforming" status.
The Spring Street Foodland is going to extend their hours to midnight and keep all eight lanes open during peak times. Well, hello people. Keeping the store open until midnight and having only eight lanes is going to cause problems. That is not going to be sufficient. It could get ugly.
In the East End of Charleston, we currently have two convenience marts, the Capitol Market (which mainly caters to the Brie and Sauvignon Blanc set), and a small market that specializes in cigarettes and beer. Kroger moved out several years ago, right after Fas-Chek closed. Previously in the Fas-Chek building Big Star had a store, and before that A&P. We also had Brotherton's Market, Sheets Market, Damus Market, Lewis Street Grocery, Tony's Market, Jackson Street Grocery, Cart Street Grocery and several other small enterprises, and they all survived or thrived. Then Kroger made a big push and took all the business away and eventually all the smaller stores closed, one by one. Then the only other "supermarket" in the area closed and still Kroger wasn't happy with sales so they shut down this "underperforming" store. Our food supply should not be held hostage by huge corporations that could care less if we starve or are inconvenienced by their practices. Something is wrong when an area with 22 percent of the city's population has no grocery store. Something is wrong when stores close because the board of directors in some other state decides they aren't "profitable enough." Something is wrong when a grocery chain who makes untold profits refuses to keep their employees' health insurance premiums at an affordable rate. It's pointless to give raises only to have them taken by insurance vultures and pharmaceutical companies. Something is wrong. Republican Presidents, Governors, and Congresses will never fix it.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
I've been sick all day. Sinus drainage; scratchy, sore throat; choking, coughing. Nasty feeling.
Something possibly from my upcoming book (if I ever get back to Jim and say "Yeah, a book would be nice."):
"dots, dashes, and squiggles"
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
I'm out of sync with everything in my life. Only briefly have I felt like I fit into what was going on in the world, and only seldom. I wonder what it is that makes me feel like this? My upbringing? My particular variety of mental derangement? My genetics? A combination? D.) none of the above?
Friday, October 17, 2003
The van is spewing steam out the front. We spent nearly $70.00 having the thermostat replaced. That wasn't it. The radiator seems to be leaking. It's not bad, but it looks horrid. The engine heats up really fast, but doesn't overheat. It stinks like hot radiator. The coolant level isn't going down noticeably. I got some stop leak stuff but my brother-in-law said not to use it until we check to see if there's any corrosion or dirt in the radiator. There are probably a dozen things it could be. Gawd! I want a new car -- I mean a really new car, a 2004 model, not just one that's new to me. Oh yeah, and no payment. . . Like that will ever happen!
My SARS (Stupid-Assed Respiratory Shit) is getting better (I think). I slept until nearly 11:00 today to let the healing work. That's probably good, since night before last I hardly slept at all.
Quote of the Day: ""When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty." " -- George Bernard Shaw (1866 - 1950)
From an old "West Wing" episode: Two words that aren't Yiddish, but sound like they might be: spatula and far-fetched.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
I missed my poetry group meeting yesterday. I had been at The Empty Glass Friday night until after 2:00 AM running sound for the VooDoo Katz. They are an excellent band. If you get the chance to see them play, do so. I wasn't feeling too well by yesterday afternoon, so I took a short nap and relaxed most of the afternoon in preparation for last night's gig at "The Glass." Last night a native son and daughter came back to town. Deni Bonet and her band played a very lively set of original material. The crowd seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. The other band, Charleston native Trey Kay's "Uncle Moon" was as much performance art as it was just live music. Imagine if They Might Be Giants and Ween were a man and a woman, got married and had quadruplets -- that would be these guys. The songs ranged from Cole Porter through Patsy Cline to Butthole Surfers. These guys aren't in it for the money. They couldn't possibly be that crazy. Well, maybe they could. At any rate, they are out of the box, off the wall, and over the top. Excellent, excellent show.
Quote of the Day: "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt
My respiratory condition was not helped by being in a smokey bar two nights in a row. I think it is gradually getting better. They only had to set the defibrillator at 240 this morning to get my heart and breathing started again. . .
Monday, October 20, 2003
It's funny how my mind recalls things in a different way than what they actually were. For example, the Beatles song "I'm So Tired," I remember the first verse as
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, looks like my mind is on the blink
I wake up and I wonder where I can find a drink
When actually the lyrics, according to all I've found on the Internet, are:
I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
I'm so tired. . .
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
I've noticed my guestbook is opening up really slow lately. I suspect Tripod/Yahoo/Lycos/Whoever the hell owns it this week is dicking around with it, trying to discourage us freeloaders from using it so they can discontinue offering it other than as a pay service. We should all know now that nothing is free, other than the things we do.
This is a little late, but it's a photo I took of my grandaughter, Hannah at her second birthday party in March. I took this with my daughter's Nikon N-65 using Agfa ISO 100 film.
My son-in-law Jerry sent me 74 photos mostly of the kids. I'll be putting some of the ones I took up here in the next few days.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
West Virginia -- 28, #3 Virginia Tech -- 7
And that seven points should never have been and most likely never would have been except for a very bad call by the officials. West Virginia is now 3-4 on the season. Three of those four losses we should have won. The loss to Wisconsin was by one touchdown, and I thought we played well enough to win it, but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. The loss to Cincinnati (13-15) was a fluke. We should have won that game by a healthy margin. And last, but not least, the game at Miami (AT Miami) we lost by two points in the final eleven seconds of the game. We outplayed them all four quarters. The only game we really lost was the Maryland game, and I wonder how much of that was due to McBrien, their quarterback, having defected from WVU. WIth that one game excepted, we've lost three games by a combined total of nine points, and one of the two point games was to the number two ranked team in the country. Wisconsin is also a top 25 team. But for a few twists of fate, the Mountaineers might be 6-1 and in the BCS contention with the eight or so other 6-1 teams in the NCAA.
Next week, Virginia Tech plays Miami. Go Tech!
Saturday, October 25, 2003
It's a magnificent day. . . and I can't go anywhere or do anything. My cold/flu/URI/whatever is lingering -- it'll be two weeks Monday. MY leg hurts like crazy from the weather changes. The van is still having cooling system problems. I think the timing might be a little off, too. Anyway, I can't drive it. Ann's been catching the bus and begging rides for about a week now. We put some water in the radiator and drove to the grocery store Thursday. Took a terrible chance, but it paid off. We should have got more food. The parking lot at Foodland was fuller than I've ever seen it, what with Kroger on strike. It just never ends, does it? West Virginia Patriots for Peace had a rally today at the State Capitol. I wanted to go, but with no car and a bad leg, I watched the Notre Dame-Boston College game instead.
My ennui continues as far as anything creative. I can make a few sketches or write a few lines, but nothing worthy of a signature and nothing larger than a sketchbook page.
I have a program that quizzes the user and reports on how the person taking the quiz uses his/her brain. Normally I test at about 60% right brain and 70% visual. I took the test a couple days ago and tested 50-50 left-right and 50-50 visual-auditory. Does that mean I'm centered? I think the test reflects a person's state of mind at the moment rather than assessing a general tendency. For instance, I just retested and I came out 63% left brained and nearly 60% visual. Not quite the same as two days ago. . .
Quote of the Day: "The myth is the public domain and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of the society, you are in good accord with your group. If it isn't, you've got a long adventure in the dark forest ahead of you." -- Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)
Here's my granddaughter's first photo (first portrait, anyway). Notice the smile?
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
I dumped a pile of shavings from a black Derwent Aquatone pencil (crayon?) on a page in my little sketchbook. I then squirted some water on it and moved things around with a bamboo skewer. After it dried, I touched up the light parts in the middle. I should have put some sort of barrier behind the page. It bled through to the suceeding nine pages. I took it as an opportunity. I did nine "variations on a theme." Some were okay. Some were not so hot. At least I'm doing something.
The van needs a new radiator. I've spent all the money I made running sound weekend before last on inconsequentials. I'm down to two slices of sourdough bread and none of the vernacular "bread" incoming until tomorrow night. Well, that's not entirely true. I do have nine bucks left, but no way to get to a grocery store to buy a loaf. Since Kroger went on strike and Big Bear went into chapter 11 and can't get bread from anyone but Heiner's I'm extremely lucky to find any over-priced reduced calorie or reduced carbohydrate bread that I like. Cheap, fat-laden, calorie-rich bread is cheap -- sometimes as little as two for a dollar while the price on the bread that is healthy keeps rising. It's up to $1.89 now and is never on sale. I really look forward to replacing the radiator. . .
When Ann and I were dating and first married, we used to go to a local college and play a game on the PDP-1170 computer that they had in the computer science lab. The game was called "Dungeon." Actually, there were two games -- the other was "Adventure," but we never played that much. Anywho, Dungeon was later split into three parts and marketed by Infocom under the name "Zork." Zork came from the name used for the bank and other institutions in Dungeon. Recently I found and downloaded Windows versions of both games. I fondly recall hours wending our way together through the underground empire, solving puzzles without clues and fending off trolls, grues, and theives to gather the treasures. It was great fun and mentally stimulating. Now, I seem to have lost the edge required to solve these little challenges. It's hard and it's frustrating. Maybe with practice. . .
Here's the graphic from my sketchbook that I mentioned this morning. Beside it is a color-inverted version. Looking at the original it reminded me of an astronomical negative, so I flipped it to get the "positive."
There was some contrast pre-post-processing done to both images for the sake of the effect I was trying for.
The following is the only one of the subsequent images created from the bleed-through that I felt was worth sharing with anyone outside my head.
Friday, October 31, 2003
Ann & I spent a large part of yesterday putting a new radiator in the van. Since Ann likes doing such things so well, I just helped out when needed. To be honest, that wasn't a lot. She did a pretty good job, near as I can tell. We got a lot more Trick-or-treaters last night than we did last year. I expect the great weather had a lot to do with that. I put Bach's Tocatta & Fugue in D on the stereo and turned it up.
I scanned some more things from my little sketch book. Here's a picture of a begonia that once sat by the fireplace in the living room. The original was done just using a paper stomp with graphite on it. The two subsequent versions were done with some of the transformation abilities of Corel Photopaint 11:
"Computer modifications with Corel Photopaint 11"