Categories
Personal

Self Portrait in The Time of the ‘Rona

Ran errands yesterday (food, pet food, booze), and I’d estimate 10%-20% of people I encountered in stores or walking on the street were wearing masks. I thought there would be more. I don’t have a quality mask, but at least it is something, and helps against touching my nose/mouth/eyes.

The hardest part for me was that my sunglasses kept fogging up.

Self Portrait in The Time of the 'Rona

Categories
Personal

Grocery Shopping During a World-Wide Panic, Sample Size of One

I ran errands today1 – going to the pet store for cat food, and so on. For groceries, I first went to Local Foods to pick up what I could – they usually have excellent locally sourced produce and foods – and while some shelves were empty, I was able to pick up a bags worth of food, arugula, shiitake mushrooms, and some other items. The cashier said that Sunday was worse than Thanksgiving as far as store traffic, I believed her.

Then I went to the regional Whole Foods flagship store. Aiee caramba! I guess yesterday was bad, but today was still as busy as I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve been shopping at Whole Foods on and off since 1982. Amazingly empty of food, and full of people!

I was able to pick up some items, but they were flat out of many entire categories of food. After awhile, I started taking snapshots with my cellphone…

Whole Foods - 3-16-20

My cart, while I was waiting in line. I was looking for some stewed tomatoes or similar (preferably San Marzano, those are the best, Jerry), but had to settle for pre-made tomato sauce. The beer, wine and booze section was well stocked, so I did pick up some Armagnac, and a few bottles of wine, and some Guinness Stout. I don’t plan on dying it green.2

Whole Foods Cart - 3-16-20

Another shot of my shopping cart while bored waiting in line. Fire roasted corn is a good soup addition.

Whole Foods Shelves - Pasta- 3-16-20

I bought (some of) those pastas, and actually, they are my favorite brand, not sure why they were left behind.
Montebello is an Italian pasta maker from 1388! Isola del Piano, Italy: they make damn fine macaroni product! I guess I should have taken a photo after I took these…

Whole Foods Shelves - 3-16-20

Olive oils

Whole Foods Shelves - Oatmeal - 3-16-20

A couple sad containers of 365 brand (Whole Foods store brand) oatmeal. I didn’t see what I was looking for, so didn’t take a chance on these (though they probably are fine). I was looking for that Irish brand of steel cut oatmeal that comes in the metal tin, but I have a little bit left still.

Whole Foods Shelves - 3-16-20

There were some items left in this section (nothing that I bought, fwiw)

Whole Foods Shelves - 3-16-20 - Izze Clementine

I guess these bottles of Izze were in the back or something. Or else this is a horrible flavor? I’m not familiar with it.

Whole Foods Shelves - 3-16-20

A nearly empty shelf. Looks like 365 (Whole Foods house brand) Macaroni and Cheese was the least favorite. I didn’t buy it either, I have standards.

Whole Foods Shelves - Sausages and Hot Dogs - 3-16-20

One brand of Amylu Chicken sausage was the only one left. Apple & Gouda didn’t sound good to me either.

Whole Foods Shelves -Poultry 3-16-20

Forget about getting chicken or turkey, unless you want gizzards, or there were a few sad packages of drumsticks.

Whole Foods Shelves - Yogurt - 3-16-20

Nearly all individual servings of yogurt were gone, but there were some tubs left.

Whole Foods Checkout Line - 3-16-20

Maybe not all employees showed up? Or some other glitch? Not all cash registers were open, and the line was excrutiationly slow. At the time I took this photo, my line had 12 people in front of me (typically 3 or 4 on a busy day)

Footnotes:
  1. instead of working []
  2. ewwww) Most beans were gone from the bulk section, but for some reason there were plenty of kidney beans. Not sure why kidney beans were so unpopular, but I got some. Also some Cannellini beans ((though I much prefer pre-cooked, there was nary a can of bean to be found []
Categories
Music Personal

Mix Tape Assorted 57 – Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

An item from my past…

Mix Tape Assorted 57 - Vicious Junkie Slip in Bessemer

Starting somewhere around the age of 16, I started making numbered mix tapes. I’d make a few a year, first for playing in my car, then later for playing during my Magnolia Cafe South shifts. This was before I switched to CDs, so these were composed by placing the needle on a track I liked. I wish I had all these cassettes still, with the songs on them listed as well. I bet I would recognize the playlist order if I heard one of them now, I played them so many times.

I don’t have a working cassette player at the moment, which means I only know 3 songs that are for sure on this particular mixtape: I always made the title out of various songs on the mix.

Lou Reed’s Vicious
The Clash – Junkie Slip
Yo La Tengo – Lost In Bessemer

Also, based on the Yo La Tengo, this tape was probably made in 1990-91 (when I bought New Wave Hot Dogs).

So there was probably a Bob Dylan song, a Rolling Stones song, Velvet Underground and/or Lou Reed, for sure a song from either Peter Tosh or Bob Marley, probably a couple of Chicago blues tracks, probably a couple Afro-Pop songs, like by Fela Kuti or similar. Those David Byrne Brazilian compilations, Charlie Parker, acoustic Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Talking Heads, Jimi Hendrix, R.E.M., Syd Barrett, James Brown, Smiths, The Clash, Meat Puppets, Neil Young, Camper Van Beethoven, Elvis Costello, Joy Division, Pogues, Parliament/Funkadelic, Neville Brothers, obscure folk songs, local Austin musicians like Timbuk 3, Glass Eye, Poi Dog Pondering, The Horsies and others got some attention, i.e. not much different from my tastes today, just less depth as I didn’t know as much about music history.

Usually the last song on either side was an instrumental, so that it could flip to play the other side without being cut off mid-sentence. At home I listened to a lot of heavier stuff – punk rock, heavy bebop and so on, I didn’t put these on the mixes as often someone would complain1 and then I’d lose my control of the music flow. Maybe once in a while, I’d slip in a bit of something like the Butthole Surfers, or Public Enemy, but it was a risk.

I don’t recall if this particular one had any sound collages of snippets of several songs, but I recall creating some of those before I knew much about mixing. All done by hand with a turntable and a cassette deck, and inebriant of choice. I did sometimes check out vinyl records from the public library, and added a song or two even if I didn’t love it just to have something new.

Some mix tapes were thematic, some were just collections of songs I liked. I think I got up to #71 or #72 before I started making CD versions, and then just playlists on an iPod/iPhone. 

The Replacements - Tim

Footnotes:
  1. staff or customers []
Categories
Personal

Photograph Titles Continued

Sometimes my system of “mad libbing” my poems1 into photo titles works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe then I should reshuffle somehow, and rename images with the better name. Nobody would even notice but me.

As Close To Yesterday

Self Balance

Reckless To The Point Of Being Honest

Honest To The Point of Imbalance

Footnotes:
  1. and let’s be honest, borrowing other people’s lines too []
Categories
Personal

Of All Trump’s Defenses, This Is the Lamest

Shaking Hands

Frank Bruni of The New York Times, writes about a point that has irritated me for for a while, namely that Republicans shirk their duty to their constituents by claiming they can’t work in an election year:

Once the Senate concludes its trial of President Trump, it should go into recess. Until next January. The House, too. Lawmakers shouldn’t pass legislation, consider nominations or make any important decisions whatsoever: This is an election year, and the voters will soon weigh in on the direction of America. The nation’s business should await that judgment, lest members of Congress contradict it.

A ludicrous proposal? Indeed. But it’s in line with — and an extrapolation of — a favorite argument against Trump’s conviction and removal from office. His Republican supporters say that lawmakers shouldn’t speak for voters on such a crucial issue. To pre-empt the verdict at the ballot box, they say, is to subvert the people’s will.

Nice try. Lawmakers are elected specifically to speak for voters on crucial issues. That’s the system. That’s their job. American government doesn’t operate by daily, hourly or issue-by-issue polls (at least not overtly). Congress doesn’t have exponentially more power one week after Election Day than it does one year later (though it may indeed have more political currency).

Republicans have decided to sing a different tune. If it sounds familiar, that’s because they turned to the same music when the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia died, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace him and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, declared that a presidential election about eight months in the offing prevented the Senate from taking any action. It was a song not of principle but of political convenience. The same holds true now.

the framers of the Constitution, who established the impeachment process to do essentially that and declined to add any asterisks about the next election’s imminence? “If the framers thought impeachment in an election year was a bad idea, they could have set things up differently,” noted Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor and the author of the 2018 book “These Truths: A History of the United States.”

“They could have instituted a mechanism for an interim election, for instance,” Lepore told me. “They did not. They could have said, ‘Except not in an election year.’ They did not. You want there to be no impeachments allowed in an election year, ever? You have to get a constitutional amendment ratified.” And that would never happen, because it would be license for a president to do anything he or she wanted, fearlessly, if it synced with the calendar just so.

(click here to continue reading Opinion | Of All Trump’s Defenses, This Is the Lamest – The New York Times.)

Waiting for Somebody to Save Us

The next Democratic president ought to seriously consider packing the courts to make up for McConnell’s scheme to keep the Supreme Court with a conservative majority, and shorten the term of President Obama to 7 years.

Furthermore, as Mr. Bruni recounts, the voters did speak their mind about Trumpism – the 2018 election was a landslide for not-Trump!

What’s happening to Trump isn’t muscling voters out of the process but, rather, taking into account what voters recently did. “You only get an impeachment vote when people have changed their minds,” she [Alison LaCroix, a University of Chicago professor who teaches constitutional law and American history] said, referring to their opinions about a sitting president. “The votes comes from the House, and we know, from things like the midterm elections, that some amount of people have changed their minds. Another party has gained control of the House. That has to be telling us something.”

The Do Nothing Party for sure.

Categories
Personal

Handyman Self-satisfaction

Paen To Tesla

 

There is something pleasing about solving a nagging repair issue around the house. Today I replaced a worn-out Lutron dimmer with a new one. It only took me an hour, but zero electrocutions! 🙂

Categories
Arts Personal Photography

Dreams and Artwork

I keep a file on my iPad of dreams that I recall or that wake me up so that I don’t have to recount them publicly to you my remaining readers. I’m making an exception because this particular dream yielded some art that I am proud of. Sunday morning at 4 AM I woke up, thirsty, and in the middle of a dream.

 

In my dream gallery, there was an image that included a layer of golden dots. The next evening, I found this beautiful image on one of my Flickr contacts feed: 

014/365: Effervescence

Does it mean anything? Probably not, but…

Dream notes from Jan, 2018:

I was welcoming family to an art opening of my work (shown in a gallery with some other people). Bigger than Marty’s gallery. And it didn’t seem like photos, seemed like oil paint. One was a study of a man’s face in variations of white – painting was 8 feet tall. Another was a bunch of heads floating on a doorway. “Used real canvas this time” I told George (?). Another had a three dimension component sticking out. Then there was a portrait of a young boy, covered in gold specks. “Not one of mine, but it’s cool”.

I didn’t finish the post in 2018, nor keep my complete thought. I’m pretty sure the art I came up with was this self-portrait collage:

Time Grows On the Cement Self Portrait

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Categories
Personal Photography

Remember When I Needed A Helping Hand – Flickr Explored

Another photo of mine made it to Flickr’s Explore gallery.

Remember When I Needed A Helping Hand

I took the photo a couple years ago in Lincoln Park with some friends, waiting for a solar eclipse. Unfortunately, the only mind altering substances available was a few sips from a cold bottle of saké.

In my digital darkroom, I used a filter to emulate cross-processing, which is an analog darkroom technique where film is developed using chemicals intended for a different type of film.

Wikipedia:

Cross processing (sometimes abbreviated to Xpro) is the deliberate processing of photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film. The effect was discovered independently by many different photographers often by mistake in the days of C-22 and E-4. Color cross processed photographs are often characterized by unnatural colors and high contrast. The results of cross processing differ from case to case, as the results are determined by many factors such as the make and type of the film used, the amount of light exposed onto the film and the chemical used to develop the film. Similar effects can also be achieved with digital filter effects.

 

(click here to continue reading Cross processing – Wikipedia.)

I’m considering making a large print of this, but we’ll see.

Categories
Personal Photography

Strangers To Love – Explored

Strangers To Love

(Click to embiggen)

Photo taken a couple summers ago at some Wicker Park street festival, added to Flickr Explore 10/9/2019.

The woman was playfully teasing her boyfriend because while he hemmed and hawed and tried to line up his perfect shot, I stepped in and took a quick photo, and she gestured at me, saying something, “come on, this guy already took my picture!”

I’m a zen photographer: I see something interesting, snap, and either the photo turns out ok or not. And in fact, this is a flawed photo, my focus was a little off, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Tri-X 400 in emulation, using Exposure 5.

Categories
Personal

A Few Photos From Guam

…where America’s day begins.

Guam 2019

 

A few photos from my recent trip to Guam, if you are curious.

The URL to the Flickr album is here:https://flic.kr/s/aHsmERFABR, and I think this URL takes you directly to the slide show option.

I have processed about 50% of the photos, I expect I’ll finish going through the good and moderate images before the year is over. Who knows, I may feel a burst of energy and add dozens before you happen to look again.

Categories
Personal

Guam

 

Going to Guam in a few days, if United Airlines doesn’t re-route me to Guatemala by mistake. Time zone changes as drastic as this (plus 15 hours, per my iPhone’s clock) are weird. Should I be sleeping now? Or getting up for the day?

The flight itself is quite a sojourn, I leave at 6:40 or so, and even in the best of times, travel to the airport takes about 30 minutes.

In other words, I’m already cranky and I’m not leaving for a few days.

Am so looking forward to seeing the Queen of Guam though, it’s been too long. For all of the 21st century’s shrinking of the planet, Earth is still a big place.

Per WebMD, I should be attempting to live on Guam time already, that’s probably impossible however.

Categories
Personal

Dreaded First Pair of Glasses was uploaded to Flickr

I guess I made it this long on the planet before needing them, but still…

embiggen by clicking
https://flic.kr/p/Txpagd

I took Dreaded First Pair of Glasses on April 26, 2019 at 06:06AM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on April 26, 2019 at 01:46PM

Categories
Personal Photography

Poetry and Photography Titles

Speaking in stranger's mouths

When I was a lot younger, I had the thought that I would scribble my poetry on top of my paintings, giving both a bit more depth. I never was satisfied with any results, mostly because I’ve never learned how to draw. My painting skills are basically that of a six year old. My poems are pretty obscure, which works well for being painted, but only if the painting is interesting, and I never felt any were interesting enough to share.

I stopped working in oil/acrylic about 20 years ago, and switched to photography.

I still haven’t found a good medium for my poems, but recently had the thought that if I changed how I worked in my digital darkroom a bit, I could use photo titles as a form of free verse.

Normally, as I’ve written previously, when I start working in my digital darkroom on a new photograph, I keep it on my screen until I come up with an appropriate title, and then start tweaking the photo until I finish.

But what if, instead I kept a running diary of verse1 and used those, in sequence, for photo titles?

Only I would know why certain photos would necessarily be hung together, with titles that cohere into a larger thought.

Hmmm. We’ll see if this works out.

Footnotes:
  1. or used already completed verses []
Categories
Personal

When the Gray Lady Started Wearing Color

Newstand on State Street circa 1996

The New York Times:

Yet the A section of the paper, the daily news section, remained color-averse. It wasn’t until Oct. 16, 1997, that the first color images graced the front page of The Times. (The Times Magazine had used color at various times since 1933.)

Until autumn of that year, New York was the only major city in the nation that did not have a newspaper printing full-color news photographs each day. USA Today had been producing color in its pages since its first issue in 1982. So what took the daily edition of The Times so long

(click here to continue reading When the Gray Lady Started Wearing Color – The New York Times.)

Amusingly, I was a paid focus group member for consultants working for the NYT around this time (probably a couple of months later), and discussed this decision. I still laugh – the focus group was about the digital edition of the NYT, and there was one curmudgeonly older-than-me woman who was sour on everything about it. I mean, every topic brought up she was against. Finally I blurted out, “did you like it when the NYT put color photographs?” and the woman vehemently disagreed with the very thought of color in her newspaper. The consultants who were running the meeting both looked at each other, and scribbled furiously in their notebooks.

Categories
Personal

Travis Varsity Soccer circa 1985-1986

Seth  Varsity Soccer from 1985 1986 yearbook
Seth – Varsity Soccer from 1985-1986 Travis High School yearbook

Our team was horrible that year, but it was also a fun season. Several people on the team are not in this photo for whatever reason (poorly organized photo session probably, THS’s award winning yearbook teacher left the summer before, this edition of the yearbook won zero awards).

This was the year that I was anonymously quoted in the school newspaper complaining that the football team got pep rallies and the soccer team was basically ignored. Our principal stormed out on the practice field and yelled at us for 15 minutes about it, even though it was true, she didn’t want to admit to it, it made the school look bad and blah blah blah. Nobody on the soccer team said a word, we just looked at the ground sheepishly until she left.

Ahh, youth…

No Soccer Playing Allowed
No Soccer Playing Allowed

Muscle Memory
Muscle Memory

Kicking The Gong Around
Kicking The Gong Around

Why Yes I Did Watch Some World Cup Matches Today
Why, Yes, I Did Watch Some World Cup Matches Today