“I haven’t been this worn out or this filthy since last fall!” I told my wife.
It’s a known truth that some muscle groups remain unused until you use them; tennis muscles, swimming muscles, and, as in the last couple of days, tilling muscles.
However, tonight was my second night of tilling an area larger that my last garden. Abby and I are both eager to get even more fresh food out of the patch than in recent years. I am especially interested in more room for melons, particularly cantaloupes.
Figure this out for me...
If anyone can solve this little mystery for me, chime in: my 2-stroke, small engine tiller starts without much fuss, runs well for a while, then suddenly, with no indication at all, shuts down, and cannot be restarted until the engine has cooled to room temperature.
So my tilling muscles are worked to the limit – I can barely make a fist or hold a cup of water. I know I’ll be okay in the morning, though.
Fellow photographers might recall that in the early 2000s, a photographer, Bjørn Rørslett, curated an excellent web site (link) that I visited all the time. His specialty was infrared and ultraviolet photography, and also created a definitive set of reviews of Nikkor lenses.
Then, about 10 years ago, it all ground to halt with the following message posted on his front page:
The sheep tick recently caused me nearly six months of agonising pain, paralysis of arms and legs, and months of hospital treatment hooked up to an IV line feeding me with strong antibiotics. The infamous Lyme’s (sic) disease struck towards the end of of my field testing of the D700 in August, 2008, and thwarted my intentions of completing this review. So much for making careful plans – the life of a nature photographer always carries with it random unpredictable events.
We are all just one drunk driver, just one blood clot, just one lightning strike, just one convenience store robbery, just one animal or insect or arachnid bite from pain, meaninglessness, obscurity or death.
I thought of all this over the weekend after Abby pulled a nymphal Lone Star tick from my armpit. I developed a rash at the site, and as a precaution, I went to my doctor, who prescribed doxycycline, which I have taken before and tolerate well. I feel this is an important course of action… there is no telling what might happen if I were to neglect such a malady.
So sure, the hounds of suffering are hunting, but that doesn’t mean you have to feed them. Wear that seat belt. Tell your doctor about your chest pain. Play with your kids and pets. Eat a little less. Walk a little more. And above all, take a breath. It might be your last.
Sierra the Chihuahua passed away today. She was 13.
A radiograph at the vet showed Sierra had the usual older Chihuahua heart murmur, and the physical indicated she had an infection.
She grew sicker as the day went by, with defined swelling in her neck.
I buried her by the Walnut tree.
In many ways, Sierra was Abby’s best friend, and Abby forms attachments to animals more that anyone I know. It’s difficult when we lose them (I have buried two goats and Abby’s previous Chihuahua, Gabby), but I have to say that it’s as worthwhile an endeavor as any. They give us so much love and genuine affection and ask only that we praise them, keep them warm, and feed them.
I am a pretty good weight right now, about 160 pounds soaking wet. At my height, 73 inches, and age, 54, that’s great. I’m down from 180 about six years ago, and have every reason to expect the trend to continue.
Sure, Richard, you’ve been a vegetarian since 1989. You’ve got the discipline angle nailed down. What about me? For starters, I don’t recommend diets, any diets. Paleo, low carb, Weight Watchers, Big Bob’s Bacon for Health, grape-a-day, whatever. The only diet that ends up working is one you can stay on for the rest of your life.
So, instead of going to lunch with the office crowd and saying, “I’m only allowed to line my coronary arteries with brisket. That slice of bread will make me fat,” follow the Richard plan from now on and be happy…
Have apples instead of chips.
Mustard instead of mayonnaise, and light Italian instead of creamy Italian or Ranch.
Walk the dog after lunch or dinner, or both. (Sidebar: there is no downside to walking the dog, and it will improve your relationship with him/her.)
Stop eating when you’re full.
Turn down office junk like Girl Scout cookies, doughnuts, and birthday/retirement cake. Too irresistible? Bring fruit or nuts for everyone.
Eat when you’re hungry instead of overeating when you’re famished.
Give up the childish excuse, “I don’t care, I like… (insert unhealthy food.)” It also makes you look immoral: “I don’t care. I like… driving drunk/tittie porn/beating my children.”
Make an effort to dress thinly. It really does matter. I know someone who gave up years ago and now dresses, and looks, like a pumpkin every day.
Sugar drinks and their deceptive cousins, artificially sweetened drinks, are a powerful enemy against health, from the packet of sugar you dump into a glass of tea to commercial brands like CocaCola and Pepsi. They all have one thing in common: they create an endorphin rush in the body greater that any real nutrient. Water, unsweet tea, and coffee dude.
Why should any of this matter? Sure, we can feast on jerky and Spam, take statins, have a heat attack anyway as a “wake up call,” and struggle for the rest of our lives to stay off that scooter, and survive. But I’m talking less about quality of life in this instance and more about esteem.
Name anyone who admires your receding hair line and bulging waistline. Name someone who thinks you’re a hero for your ability to eat stuffed crust pizza.
Now think about the people you admire. They dress well, they speak well, they make eye contact, they never gossip. And they stay in shape.
Having watched and rewatched The JFK Assassination As It Happened from NBC News Archives on YouTube, and before that on DVD and VHS videocassette, I have become a bit of a de facto expert on what I consider the birth of modern mass media. Prior to this event, news spread primarily by newspapers, radio, and the nightly news report on television. This event, more than any other, started the fire that has grown into today’s inferno of media on virtually the exact timetable of my own life; I was five months old the day Kennedy died.
The principal consequence of this: the media in all its forms can’t wait to cum all over itself, and you, with tragedy.
Consider this: when was the last time you saw a “Breaking News” chyron on your television announcing good news? Breaking: Child saved by car seat. Breaking: Woman’s breast cancer in remission. Breaking: School funding up 10%.
My guess is the last time this happened was the Apollo 11 moon landing.
The question then becomes: so what if they’re selling tragedy? I don’t have to buy it! But we all do. Remember the school shooting in Florida? The fires in southern California? The Japanese tsunami? The Indonesia tsunami? Columbine? Of course you do. Instead of sitting through a City Council meeting to help ensure that unsafe intersection gets repaired, we are thumb-typing curse words about the most recent bad guy in our notifications inbox.
But who is the real bad guy? You? Not really. Sure, you’re hooked on their junk, but they’re dealers, and dealers are hard to resist, particularly when they are peddling sex, which this essentially is. And I know how angry we all feel when that asshole who got kicked out of school comes back and shoots the place up. It’s hard to blame him, too; he’s 19, and has been spoon-fed the media’s obsession with the big dick of disaster his whole life.
So what about god? Where was god? Remember all those memes and posts that say that school shooting happened because god was kicked out?
You must imagine that human kind is powerful enough to keep the most powerful being in the Universe from coming to school.
God has never been evicted from the schools. What you really mean is: I want the government (public schools) to force all children to practice my religion. God actually has nothing to do with it.
In this analysis, it’s clear that society and the media are in a feedback loop. The public is fed the media stream and is appalled, then inured, and asks for more. The media amps it up a notch and feeds it back. The dick gets shoved deeper in.
In December of 1979, our yearbook advisor hosted a Christmas party at his home. There were several party games that involved isolating the “marks” in the bedroom, then bringing them into living room.
One game that comes to mind involved putting a brown paper bag on the mark’s head, then leading him/her into the living room. He/she was then told, “Remove something you didn’t wear to bed last night.” Subjects would then remove shoes, socks, jewelry, belts, etc., before being told that they didn’t wear the brown paper bag to bed.
It’s an interesting instance of cognitive dissonance; why didn’t everyone immediately remove the paper bag? But no one did.
Another game that night was “Kiss the Magic Ring.” A form of soft hazing, the marks were blindfolded and brought in one by one. They knelt and kissed a ring on the advisor’s hand. Then, before they were unblindfolded, he switched the ring to his foot. When the blindfold was removed, it looked to them like they had just kissed his foot.
When I told this story to someone recently, she was aghast. You could never, she assured, get away with this kind of thing today.
With this experience contrasted with today’s modality, I wonder what things will be like in another 40 years.
As mass shootings in the United States accumulate, the media and social media pile on with the shallow, temporary solutions. We hear everything from “when are we going to outlaw these weapons of death?” to “guns don’t kill people any more than spoons make people fat.”
They all miss the point. In many respects, America is a terrible place. It is so shallow and so self-absorbed and so arrogant. How can you elect a turd like Donald Trump without being a nation of morons?
The love of money. Nothing matters more to Americans than money. Nothing. Not children, not the environment, not art, not science. Money.
The love of pornography. Most of the pornography used by Americans is vulgar, demeaning and and violent toward women. It’s not erotic.
The NRA. My wife is an NRA member as was her father before her, but their rhetoric brings her shame.
The love of food. Fat bodies equal empty souls. You wouldn’t eat yourself into a diabetic coma 21 times a week if you had a purpose or a soul.
The naive idolization of powerful figures like firefighters and soldiers. Here’s a fact you might not like: some soldiers aren’t heroes; they’re bloodthirsty douchebags who can’t wait to kill brown foreigners or political enemies. Think I’m wrong? Timothy McVeigh.
Wars. “America… we’re gonna free the shit out of you.”
Hollywood. One example: our society spent $9 billion to watch nine movies with the word “Wars” in the title of all of them. The deaths in these movies were mostly bloodless and faceless, and were viewed mostly by children.
Video games. Their violence doesn’t desensitize us to death. It sanitizes and whitewashes death. When was the last time you saw a soldier in Afghanistan respawn five seconds after he was killed?
Gun ownership is out of context. Read: gun worship. “Guns save lives” is a bitter non-sequitur. Seat belts save lives. If guns make people safer, why can’t civilians carry them in the White House? The Capital? Public schools? City Hall? I was armed the last time you saw me (when it was legal to do so.) Was I violent? Did I empty my 9mm into that rude waitress? That bully in junior high? The dickhead kid who cut me off in traffic? Have any of our guns ever killed anyone? Anything? Also, there is no rhetoric as ridiculous as the argument that guns are a “god-given right.” Show me the Bible verse.
Every soul. As much as everyone loves to hate mass shooters, every one of them was once an innocent child who deserved a chance to be happy. Every one of them a baby, a toddler, a four-year-old. Consider how much more could be accomplished by loving them when they are four instead of hating them when they are 19.
“You ask, ‘why?’ I say, ‘Why bother?'” ~Natural Born Killers
As a classic liberal, the narrative you might expect from me is the “no one needs an assault rifle” trope, but that doesn’t address the real problems: emptiness, neediness, shallowness, unoriginality, ignorance, ugliness.
…and bigotry, which you can’t have without self-loathing. No bigot loves life. There are no happy bigots.
I hate to say this about my home, but we are a nation of fundamentalist idiots who believe in violence; violent entertainment, violent sexuality, violent hearts and minds.
The next time you thumb-type “we should lock him up and throw away the key” needs to be the last time.
We truly do believe absurdities and commit atrocities.
I photographed a girl named Lauryn Hawkins today. I told her I have an Irish Wolfhound with a similar name, Hawken, and she said, “I know, I’ve seen you walking him.”
When I was filling out payroll at the Tech Center for their pay switch to Express Temp, the clerk said, “You used to photograph me when I played basketball as a kid.” It’s a very common sentence in my lexicon.
Abby wanted satin sheets, so we ordered some. She likes them a lot, but I think it’s like sleeping in snot. We also couldn’t find an electric blanket in stock locally, as it’s the wrong time of the year, so she ordered one from Target. It’s grey microfiber, and it’s like a giant flannel shirt for the bed.
New for the 21st century is this odd intrusion of personal space: all the time now when I show someone a picture on my phone, they don’t hesitate for a second to reach out and “pinch to zoom” the image on my phone to see it the way they want. I’m kind of amazed by this. When did our phones become a public library of photo browsing?
This is part of a bigger idea that web sites need to be as intrusive and distracting as possible, and that ads, particularly for stuff we don’t need, like boner drugs*, should block all content within seconds of us starting to read it.
You monsters are people. I just want to live in a cabin in the woods.
*Oh, yeah, I forgot that some of you have wives who are so ugly you literally can’t get it up in their presence without help.
Abby asked me to order the movie Wonder recently, and it arrived Wednesday. With much of my work cancelled due to a slight accumulation of ice, Abby and I settled in to watch it. It was surprisingly engaging and involving until … boop!
Apparently the ice storm was icier than forecast, because the power went out after a huge gust of wind made the woods crackle. I guess it was just our turn, because we in Byng were the only major outage in the state. We considered our options, but as we discussed going to town for dinner or going to my office to stay warm, we got a text message saying the estimated time for restoration was in a little less than an hour.
When the power came back on, we finished the movie, which we both liked.
Then yesterday, Abby got inspired to make pasta, so with another day of sports cancellations leaving my evening free, we had pasta, naps and Netflix.
By late afternoon the ice was just about melted, so I took Hawken the Irish Wolfhound for a squishy walk.
Many know that we are currently in the midst of a sea of human communicable disease, particularly rhinoviruses and influenza. For most of the winter, I was lucky, but in the last ten days, it’s been my turn to have mocus, the snorfels, fnorks, the crud, whatever. I am glad I wasn’t handed influenza, which I had in 2002, and which was difficult as you’ve heard. I have a head cold that is presently migrating into my chest. I am hammering away with large, maybe even dangerously large, doses of over-the-counter cold remedies, plus plenty of super-nasty whiskey-containing teas to break up the mucous sheet in my head. A good sneeze is a welcome change to the mostly useless coughing.
Anyway, an observation. Years ago, Abby and I noticed in the winter that our glasses (in my case, readers) would blotch up. Back then I postulated it was because of the Glade air fresheners in the house, but since we no longer use those and still get blotchy glasses, it’s got to be the cold-air humidifier in the hall causing the schmeer.
As an aside, when I was growing up, we had a household humidifier in the hall, about the size and shape of a modern college dorm refrigerator. It had a slot in the front panel for filling it with water, and four control buttons to set degree of humidity. I thought it was the coolest thing because I could pretend it was a control panel on the star ship Enterprise.
Last semester a photography student of mine told me that she visited this site and took a trip “down the rabbit hole,” meaning she got involved and lost in the content. It was very flattering to me to have someone say that. I try to be as entertaining as I can and as poignant as I can. The internet can be unforgiving, particularly when you tell a truth some people don’t want to hear. I appreciate any approbation offered.
Here’s a little history. In 1978, I started a journal for English class in tenth grade. I wrote in full-sized spiral notebooks for 20 years. After that I switched to smaller hardback volumes. In 2007, I started a blogger.com page. Within a year I migrated to my own web site, and have administered it using WordPress since then. That gradually replaced writing in longhand.
Interestingly, I bought a number of hardback blank journals in the early 2000s that remain unused. I have toyed with the notion of giving them away, but we live in a world of such plenteous paper and so little demand that I expect anyone who would take them wouldn’t use them.
That leaves keeping them for either a special project or some kind of handwritten journal reboot, neither of which is likely in the internet age; I am much more comfortable at the keyboard these days than I am with a pen or a pencil.
An Open Mic Nyte buddy of mine, Timothy, calls them his notebooks “codex” books, which is an elegant name for the same thing. Another OMN friend, next door neighbor Jenn, keeps journal notes all the time. Ideas?
I am home again today, taking another sick day. I am doing this for two reasons. 1. So I don’t spread my illness those around me, particularly my coworkers. 2. In recent years, I have found that despite being able to work when I am sick, I get well faster when I stay home.
Thought for Today...
There is a saying in journalism: “I have ink in my blood.” This parallels school slogans like, “I bleed black and gold.”
I, however, feel like I am more of a photographer than a journalist, so my slogan might be, “I have developer in my veins.” I know. Kinda gross.
Today’s biggest surprises were found at Wal Mart, where I went for cold medication and basic supplies. Normally we don’t think of big box stores as places that can make us smile.
The first was a huge bin full of stuffed ladybugs; I brought one home for Abby, who I know loves ladybugs.
The second was on the bean aisle. I know, a surprising bean? The beans I saw were Anasazi beans from Adobe Milling Company of Dove Creek, Colorado. On our travels, Abby and I have passed through the sleepy town of Dove Creek maybe a dozen times over the years, usually on our route home from Moab, Utah. I also love the idea of eating a product grown in high country sunshine.
Name Those Beans...
The bean bag says Anasazi means “ancient ones,” but in the Navajo language it actually means “ancient enemy.”
Seeing the bag of beans with the same logo I remember from the bean mill in Dove Creek definitely made me smile. I bought them and brought them home to Abby, who also smiled, and suggested we have them for dinner.
We all know about stress. It is the body’s and the mind’s reaction to difficulty around us. Often, when I think I am stressed, I try to imagine what it must have been like during the Black Plague, or to be on a chopper about to hit the DZ in the Ia Drang Valley, or trying to take care of your family during the Turnip Winter. So what if my deductible hasn’t been met yet when I see the dentist; at least I wasn’t just loaded onto a cattle car headed for Poland.
I believe our population is under stress at the moment for a lot of reasons. Our head of state is a dangerous idiot. Our intellectual and spiritual health is unbalanced. Our planet is being poisoned.
In my own circle, many staff members at my newspaper are ill this winter, including me last week, and beginning again last night. I imagine part of that is that our business, which we value and cherish, is backed into a corner, and the future is uncertain. I feel our ownership is like Kodak’s ownership, unable to see the future and insistent until very recently that “people will always need newspapers.”
The Los Angeles Times was just sold to a billionaire, heralded initially as a move forward and out from under an unpleasant relationship to present owner Tronc.
Anyway, I am sick. I often go years without using a sick day, and suddenly I took two last week, and am home again today. I have an upper respiratory tract infection without fever, so I’m thinking rhinovirus. I probably could have worked in the office today, but everyone seems to be getting sick over and over, so staying home might break that cycle.
Another stressor for me last night was a poorly-forecast ice storm. The weather called for “icy in spots,” but by the time I was done shooting basketball at Latta, it was insanely slick, so much so that I even had some difficulty walking to my car. The scanner was loaded with “subject slid off the road” traffic, and on at least one occasion during my drive home, the wind blew my car sideways on the ice. Every brake check was met with anti-lock brake chatter.
My normally 10 minute drive took almost 40, and I never broke 30mph.
I am trying to express myself even more on this site. This is a deliberate counterpoint to the tweet/fakennews/hashtag scene that seems to be destroying real thought, particularly in regard to journalism and politics. I’m not saying I’m some kind of “bastion of truth” in a wilderness of lies, as much as I am taking another step away from the clatter.
Religious Freedom in the Home?
Someone told me recently that his wife kicked him out of their house for expressing his religious views, about which I was incredulous. Abby and I have always accepted the differences in religious belief in each other, and it has never come between us even once.
Hawken the Irish Wolfhound and I walked three miles yesterday afternoon, prowling even deeper into the woods, oil leases, and homemade ATV trails. Every walk is another adventure.
All this walking has been good for my Photographer’s Syndrome (also known as achy breaky back.) The longer we walk, the better it feels. Also, I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I am very grateful that I have such healthy feet. They never hurt. Even after three miles up and down over varied terrain, with a dog in tow, my sidearm on my belt and a camera on my shoulder, my feet feel just as they did before we went, fine.
Eye Contact Making a Difference...
I just finished teaching a very engaged beginning digital photography class. Everyone seems to understand, learn, connect, and have fun. This is why I love teaching the most. An important concept of which I am always mindful: make eye contact with everyone, but especially with those who seem lost or stalled. It engages and involves them in the lesson.
I sometimes wonder how much of the bitter anger we see around us comes from people simply being in pain. Why was the Burger Barn waitress so hateful to us just now? Shingles? Hemorrhoids? Knee pain? Maybe she just got an eviction notice? A divorce decree? Blinding abdominal cramps? Why was that Sangyamnischi customer service guy so condescending? Maybe he just got demoted? Bad news at home? From the doctor?
You Can Lie without a Smartphone...
We like to pretend our generation, the internet generation, invented fake news, propaganda, half-truthing, mass hysteria, but we didn’t. The lies on social media are the result of human nature. Think about it. Did Stalin ever tweet? Did Pol Pot have a fake news MySpace page? Did the Spanish Inquisition post their manifesto on their blog?
Yet, how many purgatories are self-imposed? How much suffering is in the hands of the shallow and dramatic and childish?
We filter the world through idealism. We expect everyone to be on their best behavior just for us, even if we don’t give that best behavior to the rest of the world.
So sure, little things matter. Yes, sir. Thank you, ma’am. You look sharp today. I’m glad to be here. It was a pleasure talking to you. My favorite at work: “Thank you for reading The Ada News.” Sure, it’s manipulative, but with all the right motives.
Something that has always troubled me a lot: people with inaccurate self images. It troubles me because I have known people who thought they were the spit, but were, in fact, insufferable losers. Also, I worry I am like that.
A perfect example of this is “Katy,” a woman I knew who killed herself years ago.
At one point she wrote in her journal a list of things she had to offer a partner, but only a few of them were true…
“Nice looking, loving, great (at least real good) body, honest, healthy, easy to be with, terrific cook, good in a crisis, good listener, intelligent, independent, affectionate, honorable, accepting of other POV than my own.”
In fact, she wasn’t honest with herself, she wasn’t emotionally healthy, her independence and affections were tainted with neediness, she was a judgmental listener, and she wasn’t easy to be with. In fact, when I was with her, I found her one of the hardest people to “be with” I ever dated.
She also had a long list of requirements of a potential mate, but everyone in the real world fell far short.
This fundamental lack of understanding herself led to intense conflict inside her, resentment and self-loathing that eventually led to her suicide.
Self image is different than self esteem. Self esteem comes from accepting who you really are.
So what about you, Dick? Are you perfect?
Ha! I make a point to see through my assholity, not always successfully, and accept my shortcomings. And it’s not just that I look like a doofus when I try to dance of that my voice is nasaly. I resent incompetence. I’m eager to rush to judgement about other people’s idiocy. The tone of my voice is often condescending, even when I don’t mean to be. I brag too much about being happily married.
On that last point, I freely admit that a small portion of my loving being married is the old saying that, “the best revenge is being happy.” In your face, miserable loneliness!
All these observations come on Super Bowl Sunday. Abby and I customarily spend it together. We watch the game no matter who plays; it’s because we do it together, which is nice. I got a big pizza, which we are eating all day. Abby is watching the Puppy Bowl and laughing out loud.
Finally, I took Hawken the Irish Wolfhound for a two-mile-long, spooky winter walk. We took several trails and routes in the woods behind the property that we’d never seen before. In a few spots, I got a hint of The Blair Witch Project.
So, with the Super Bowl tomorrow, which Abby and I have always spent together whether we have a dog in the fight or not, I think to myself last night, “We should get a deli pizza with extra mushrooms and extra cheese.”
I opened my mouth to say it when Abby says, “We should get a deli pizza with extra mushrooms and extra cheese.”
I recently took Hawken the Irish Wolfhound to my office at the request of one of our dog-loving ad reps, LeaAnn. It was a good visit, but LeaAnn noticed an enlargement on Hawken’s elbow. I ran him by the vet, who told me it is a hygroma, a benign fluid-filled sack common to large dogs, that appears due to repeated pressure on a joint. I ordered a hygroma pad.
I won the lottery again. Actually, I won two lotteries, Lotto America for $4 and Megamillions for $30. I plan to buy one of those jet skis that’s also a mansion and yacht.
There was a funny moment at Ada High’s soccer media day when I asked Sadie Criswell to throw the ball from one end of the group to the other. (Last year when a bunch of kids to whom I had become attached graduated, I told myself I wouldn’t let that happen again. But I did. These are such great kids.)
First, an epiphany: while considering a stat I read recently stating that 95% of all blogs are abandoned, it dawned on me that when I was writing in my paper journal every day, I routinely told my friends and interested parties, “You should keep a journal, too.” The next time I saw them, they had written one entry and stopped. 95% of all journals are abandoned.
Secondly, I started feeling puny yesterday afternoon, so today I am staying home. If I stay home and avoid stress, I might be able to feel better soon. I am taking a ton of cold medicine, drinking hot drinks, and attempting to sleep my illness away. I’m not crazy sick like a lot of people I know this season, and I don’t have fever, so this might work.
Thirdly, we are bringing Hawken the Irish Wolfhound into the house several times a day. It is noisy and chaotic, since he can’t turn around or wag his tail without knocking something over, and while he wants to play with the Chihuahuas, they want to assert territoriality, so there is a lot of, “Woof! Yap yap yap yap!”
While I was writing this, it turned into an all-purpose rant/repository for my angry notes.
Alternate title: The Lame Naming Scheme of Marketing
“Oh, yeah, bro. The XX-series is totally 2016. You should upgrade to the YY!”
And thus, marketing is born. Products are sold mostly on their perception, and much of that perception is muddled into deception by the use of model number, almost none of which have any correlation to the actual product.
I saw a shiftload of this when I was younger and into stereo systems. The names of components had nothing to do with their use or capabilities. It was based on how certain numbers sounded. A Marantz TC-5000 was neither anything “tc,” nor were any of its specifications “5000” anything.
I am reliving all this because I recently discovered a webizen from Great Britain, a bloke? chap? called Mat who runs techmoan.com, a site in which he collects and reviews old tech, mostly old audio tech, everything from 8-track tapes to Betamax video.
Also, I tried to figure out the latest lineup of mirrorless cameras and was flummoxed when I had to “sort by price high-to-low” to figure out which was a top model.
For many years, products, particularly cars, have included the letters “SX” in the model name or number because you can’t say “SX” without saying, “sex.”
While it’s true that I am annoyed by cameras being named irrelevantly, at least lens names make sense, mostly. While there is some hemming and hawing about ED, L-series, G, FD, etc., the bottom line of lens descriptions is very straightforward: focal length in millimeters, and the maximum aperture in f/number.
Okay, on with the other rantings. This won’t take long, but you might want grab a cup of covfefe to enhance the experience.
Another Fun Fact!
As I write this, the world is in the midst of a fairly rough flu season. You might not know that now is not the time to take vitamin supplements and eat nutritious foods. That was 6 months ago. The human immune system isn’t like a tank of gasoline that you fill up when it gets empty. It’s like a child’s mind that you nurture and nourish until it is fully functional.
Smoke can’t cause a sinus infection any more than water causes drowning. You have to put the two together.
Other fun medical fact: By the time a doctor says you have type II diabetes, half the beta cells in your pancreas are dead.
“Someone on the internet tonight told me I was ‘too eloquent.’ ” ~Journal, November 2000
A sudden, unprecedented groundswell of sexual abuse and sexual harassment accusations followed by some other distraction: does that sound like a step toward the truth, or history repeating itself?
In the pantry looking for pie filling, I see a can labelled “Beef Consummate,” and thought, “Bow chicka bow wow!”
Our dogs are made of the Biggs-Hoson, the so-called “dog particle.”
Beautiful women who claim to have low self-esteem: I don’t understand this narrative. You’re a demonstratively beautiful woman. (I know; beauty is subjective, and I tell myself that when I think a woman is beautiful, she is, because I get to define beauty.) I know you’re a bitch and got pregnant in high school and dropped out of three colleges on your father’s dime and fücked over a dozen nice guys and … hm. You know what. You’re right.
Sh!tbag? Am I using the word right?
“I’ll slap the taste right out of your mouth.” ~movie
The number one kind thing I do for my wife: put a blanket on her when I see that she’s cold. (I know this doesn’t belong in an angry rant, but I put it here for balance.)
“There was no blanket handy, so I built a pillowmid around myself and slept for two hours.” ~Journal, May 2001
Instead of Fixer Upper, I am watching a show on the Death Channel called Tearer Downer. It’s hosted by Trent Reznor.
Also, while I am blah blah blahing about this and that, I want to say that this is not a blog. I read recently that 95% of all blogs are abandoned. Add to that the fact that blog is short for web log, which this is not, and that most blog posts go, “Sorry I haven’t posted in so long, but quack quack quack.”
This is the web site you want to read to feel complete. It is the very first completenesssite. I’m sure that term will go viral five minutes after I click “publish.”
Wil C. Fry’s site isn’t a blog either. It is a site for getting that red pill shoved right down your latte-drinking throat. (See red pill/blue pill reference in handy search engine results using the same device you are using to read this.) And Anderson Conner’s site? F*ck me gently with a chain saw.
Question for the Taliban: have your actions ever resulted in the outcome you desire?
Question for child pornographers: have your actions ever resulted in the outcome you desire?
Question for people who call these people monster, perverts, bastards, or worse: have your actions ever resulted in the outcome you desire?
My friends know that my wife Abby and I live on a sprawling acreage of the bucolic splendor of southern Oklahoma.
Now that a hard winter is at hand and the ticks and poison ivy are no longer a factor, Hawken the Irish Wolfhound and I have broadened our daily, and sometimes twice daily, walk route, to include all four corners of the property.
The route is about a mile, and varies slightly depending on what we want to see.
Hawken and I always have a great time. I never need to be reminded why I love living in the country.
“Robert, Karen and I made pictures in the cold last night, at Oral Roberts University. There’s nothing better than friends, a nice night, good subject material, a bag full of lenses, and a bunch of Tri-X. It’s really why I take pictures.” ~Journal, March 3, 2001
Over the past months, something has happened to our marriage. Abby and I have stepped into a new phase: we are more affectionate, more understanding, and more appreciative. I don’t know why this has happened exactly, except to say that she and I hold the same fundamental belief about marriage: you build it and work at it, and reinvent it every day. We grow apart and back together, we face stress and difficulty and work it out, we get sick and recover, we get mad at each other and forgive.
At the core of all this is our commitment to our marriage.
Narratives I don’t understand…
Men who divorce women who I find insanely attractive.
Nagging. Do you know who likes being nagged? No one.
Women who are freaked out when I talk to them about real stuff, like their lives; I get a “how dare you try to get close to me when you’re married” vibe. It may be because they have bad experiences with other men, and it is likely that they equate intimacy with the opposite gender with sex.
Women who are freaked out by the fact that I am physically affectionate with them. Women like Karen Hudson, Lisa Bratcher, Margaret White, and Jamie Pitman are totally comfortable with this and we throw our arms around each other and enjoy it, because they understand how secure and faithful I am in my marriage. Everyone else gives me the one-arm genital-hold-away hug.
Years before Abby, a married woman in another state told me she was “thinking about having an affair.” What did she expect that would accomplish?
Later that year, alone with her and verging on having that affair, I turned it down, because she was still married and had two small children, and because I’m not a total bastard.
It is also possible for me to appreciate the femininity and sexiness of another women without betraying my wife. I think prohibiting this is a slippery slope of distrust that can damage a marriage.
Thus, the “deal.” We all make a deal with our partners by asking for their commitment to marriage, and the “deal” is that we not only relish everything good about each other, we accept each other’s flaws. For Abby and me, the “deal” paid off, and we are happy.
January: I was able to use some credit card rewards points to acquire an iPad Pro and an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4.
March: Excellent basketball seasons for several teams were very engaging for me, including a hard charge at the championship by the Ada Lady Cougars, and a Class 2A championship for the Latta Panthers.
March: Abby and I drove to Rolla, Missouri, to buy an Irish Wolfhound puppy, Hawken Rifle Trail.
April: We sold our RV, the Kokopelli, to Abby’s cousin.
April: My iPhone 5 died, and I replaced it with an iPhone 7 Plus.
May: Our hometown Byng Pirates won a state baseball championship.
August: Abby and I met my sister Nicole and her husband Tracey in Park Hills, Missouri, to witness and photograph the total eclipse of the sun.
September: My newspaper and it’s parent company, CNHI, were bought by Raycom Media.
My wife Abby’s daughter Chele, her husband Tom, and our grandson Paul (collectively known as “the kids”) just left for the airport this morning after an excellent five-day visit, and the most amazing thing is how much quieter the house is now than it was yesterday.
We enjoyed the time together, exchanged gifts, saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, drove to Abby’s hometown, Ryan, Oklahoma, to see her sister, brother-in-law, and niece, and played with the dogs. The last point is particularly salient because Paul has always bonded with the Chihuahuas, Sierra and Max, especially Max, who adopted Paul as an infant and looked after him. It was also fun introducing Paul to Hawken the Irish Wolfhound.
Finally, this weekend a shock of cold weather arrives, so I bought a portable propane heater and some extra gas to keep Hawken warm.
With cold weather bearing down on us two nights ago, I decided to put foam covers on the outside faucets to help keep them from freezing, since it was the first really cold night of the season. My friend Dan Marsh noted on the phone that when he tried the same thing that very evening, his terrier Leo immediately chewed it to pieces. I replied that Hawken the Irish Wolfhound could certainly do the same, but I would still put the cover in place. What could I lose?
With the cover snugged over the faucet and the heater set on high in Hawken’s doghouse, I went to town and covered the coldest Parade of Lights in memory.
It warmed up quickly yesterday, and I had some of the afternoon off, which is often the case during basketball season when I work a split shift. By late afternoon, I noticed the water pressure was low, then a few minutes later that Abby and I both heard water running outside. Uh oh.
I scampered out into the back yard to find it flooded, the foam cover in tatters, and water spraying into the air from the faucet. I though to myself, “It’s 4:30 Friday afternoon, so I have 30 minutes to find a plumber.”
Looking closer, though, I was relieved to find the water was spewing from a tap valve I keep screwed onto the faucet for filling Hawken’s water bowl, and the faucet itself was undamaged. It also happened that I had another on in the garage, which I screwed on, stopping the deluge.
I gapped a big piece of the foam cap and took it inside to show Abby, and when I held it up, without missing a beat she asked, “What did he do now?”
Our community, greater Ada, has been supporting their Ada Cougar football team this season more than usual, since they finished strong and charged into a Cinderella scenario with their eyes on the gold ball in the Class 4A championship game last Friday night against undefeated Heritage Hall at Choctaw High School.
Sadly, despite a deep gut check by all the players and a huge fan presence, Heritage Hall prevailed in an epic defensive battle for a final score of just 14-0.
The season didn’t start great, and it initially felt like a “rebuilding year,” with a new coach and some inexperienced starters, but the Cougars got better and got lucky, winning their district, then winning, usually in the fourth quarter, excellent playoff games against Elgin, Oolagah, and Bethany.
In the end, Heritage Hall was just too big and too talented for our scrappy Cougars. Sports is a fickle mistress.
Seasons like this are rare. Earlier this year, the Ada Lady Cougars had a similarly heartbreaking run at the basketball title, and we were all just as invested emotionally. (The next night, the Latta Panthers won their state basketball championship.)
Ada fans know that the Cougars have claimed 19 state championships, five of which I have covered. The 20th seems repeatedly out of their grasp.
Seasons like these and games like Friday’s are at the heart of what I love about being a photographer, and being a part of a great community.
No one will deny that A Charlie Brown Christmas, which Abby and I watched last night, was right on the money about Christmas being trivialized and commercialized. It’s easy to imagine the corruption of this beloved holiday as a latter-day event, A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in 1965.
Commercialization of things we loved as children is never new in a capitalist/mercantilist society. The only thing to do is hold in your thoughts what is truly meaningful about Christmas. For me, in all honesty, Christmas is about photography and not much else.
One thing about Christmas that irks me to the bone (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?) is how utterly crappily-made Christmas stuff is. Fake trees, toys, garland, lights, decorations, etc., are all cobbled together with the frailty of an injured baby squirrel. The margin must be incredible; do you think $1 worth of Christmas decorations cost even 1¢ to manufacture?
I think about this because for the second time in seven years, I am having to remove the lights on a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree because the wiring and rigging is so flimsy that when I plugged this one in today, none – NONE – of the lights came on. No amount of jiggling or twisting or plugging-and-unplugging of bulbs made any difference. It’s dead.
The commercialist answer, of course, is to buy a new one, but you know what? I already showed up once with my money. I’m not buying another $129 piece of plastic crap.