Dave's Journal, Feb.2011

Feb.01.2011 Weather Report . . .



it took 2½ tries to get the driveway and paths cleared, and tomorrow they say is the bad day! . . . happily the bank is closed tomorrow and D is home and we are going to start the fireplace running through April to burn all our wood because next winter we will have a pellett stove up and running.

Cafe Photos is evolving well . . today I ordered more prints of my stuff to frame and convince more cafe's to hang them . . . am going to try to convince some cafe in Italia to hang a few . . . that would pretty much complete my life's photographic ambitions.

A Poem
("Ode to the Ice Dam")

Water is the enemy.
It'll be the end of me.

Small Spoons

"Why do we need small spoons ?", you may ask . . . (you mean spoons smaller than teaspoons )

Tonight's soup-like concoction of vegetable broth, black pepper, garlic, curry and crushed red pepper is why we need small spoons.

On the plus side . . . my throat is pretty much free of bacteria now, my sinuses are like wind tunnels and I think I can see through walls.

The pain is a separate issue.

"Don" Leo on a terrace in Padua


Latest addition to Cafe Photos


(makes you want to order another espesso, doesn't it ?)

A Poem
("Ode to a Bathtub Leak")

Water is the enemy.
It'll be the end of me.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

on a cold cold night, icelandic people would sleep with the dogs to stay warm and cozy, and thus the term "three dog night" came about . . . well . . . tonight , for me, is a 2 Godzilla night, as i am desparately sick of winter and plan to watch at least 2 Godzilla movies.

Feb.14.2011 (Valentine's Day)

The terror of V-Day has crushed more than a few strong men, elbowing others aside at the Hallmark card display to grab one of the precious last cards with no bent edges or stains of one kind or another.

And, after . . . ummm . . . more than a few years of marriage, finding the ever so perfect card is really impossible. . . . I tried and tried, never lowering my standards to give D a card with the kindest sentiments in my heart.

So, today I spared no expense . . . I went right to the very top of emotional disclosure, and sent my lovely wife an V-day e-card from the Hallmark website.

I know . . .I know . . . I am way too romantic.


Today, the light was glorious and I created 4 fabulous (I think) images, and opened a second gallery in Cafe Photos to show them (because Gallery 1 was kind of crammed full).

Canada (where the tongues of tourists be frozen to igloo walls of ice) . . .


From the New Yorker . . .

jpg jpg jpg

Feb.16.2011 . . . worked on Cafe Photos Gallery 2 and the Leo 2011 Party Info Page.

Harvard Museum, etc . . .

Went to Cambridge and the Harvard Art Museum for my first visit ever. Packed my little portfolio of 8X10's, in case I saw the perfect coffee house to negotiate with.

First, the museum . . . they have some truly impressive pieces there . . . the stuff you see in art books, but it's the real thing ! right there in front of you.

jpg One of my favorite "impressionist" painters is Pissarro and they had one of his "Views from the Boulevard yadayada ? " and it was stunning to look at. They even let me photograph it, and I did. The way the impressionists handled windblown objects (leaves, flags, etc) and moving people and animals is . . . um. . . . impressive . . . they used flashy brush stokes and hasty markings, so there is no detail, and close-up everything looks un-focused. Step back 8 feet and it looks fabulous.

(Click the image to see a close-up of the swirls and blurs. )

I sometimes copy that technique when I'm manipulating some photos . . . make some parts slightly blurred . . . it can be a neat effect.

Then I walked around scoping out cafe's through the windows, and opted for Grendel's. Lunch was good but it's more of a bar & grille (which is actually what the sign said) than a cafe, and they have neon signs and mirrors all over, and not much wall space for photos, so I never brought up my pictures.

Feb.21.2011 . . . from today's NY Times . . .

Today is exactly 24,106 days since Mr. & Mrs. Sal Leo announced the birth of their first (and most charming and beloved) child, David. We had the chance to sit down and chat with Dave (ever so busy but always eager to please his fans).

NYTimes: So, Dave . . . may I call you "Dave"?
Dave: Of course Christina . . . Love your hair, by the way.
NYTimes (Ms. Aguilera, giggling): Oh you are always so sweet. But enough chatter. Your fans want to know how you feel on this special day.
Dave: Actually, kid, I feel like sh#t. My knees hurt and hands are all cramped up, my hearing aid battery is dead and I can't find my reading glasses. I am 24,106 days old, which is about 15,000 days older than your mother, it's 250 outside and it's snowing, an ice dam ripped off the roof gutter and the cat is walking across my keeeeyyyyebbboioeehbbxcsjjsbbbard.


Pursuing Perfection

"A Passion for Excellence" . . . that's a phrase we heard lot at GE (back in the 1990's) that helped us decide who was a top sailor and who needed to be tossed overboard. In the decades before that, we used the terms "Zero Defects", "Continuous Improvement", and of course "Six Sigma" (the biggest deception and waste of shareholders money that ever infected a business).

I am learning that I have not really put down all that old baggage. I am learning that my relentless pursuit of perfection is hard to live with, when it comes to everyday life. People around me let me know this, and I am glad of that, although surprised to have it revealed to me.

. . . continued . . .

For example. I have countless photographs that (for one reason or another) I would not classify as "perfect". In fact, I have absolutely not one image (and I estimate that I have 40,000 images here) that is perfect, and I consider myself to be a barely adequate image-maker, when held up to the candle of "perfection".

Comes along Mike, and says "why don't you hang your stuff in cafes?" . . . and . . . when held up to the candle of "Cafe Photos", I am an artist ! (so says me, anyway) . . . and the whole world of you can be happy and imperfect opens its doors to me, like Dorothy entering the Land of Oz.

. . . continued further . . .

As another example, consider our (me, M, D and C) discussions about the upcoming 2011 family gathering. My "pursuit of perfection" is choking the party weekend to death. I have people who are jumping in with ideas and volunteering work and I am Mr. Negativity because "this can go wrong" . . . "what is plan B when this happens?" . . . "what about . . .? . . . what do we do then ? " . . . .

For example, M&C volunteered to tour people around Boston if they can drive and train themselves down there. And I almost killed the idea with the statement . . . "What if someone takes the wrong exit at the Concord rotary? What do you do when you meet in Boston and find (by cell phone) that he/she is lost 30 miles out?"

There is a wonderful scene in the (fabulous) sci-fi series "Firefly". One of the ship's trusted crew is talking to the Captain who is lamenting his own decisions . . .
Crewmember: "Shouldn't be so hard on yourself, Captain."
Captain (sincerely and worried): "I just wish I was better at this job."
Crewmember: " You're a good captain, Sir . . . you just gotta trust your people more than you do."

Pursuing perfection is a cruel myth, and . . . . thinking that you are the only person to get the ship were it needs to go is just plain stupid.


Two Women Photographer / Artists

At the moment, there are two people who are strong forces on my photographic ideas. Both are women, and their images stand at opposite edges of the universe. The images of one woman are hopelessly sweet . . . the images of the other woman? . . . well beyond the edge of the world as we "average" people see things. The absolute perfection of the "sweet" lady (who is Lara Rossignol) is humbling, as she takes photos I will never get to in my lifetime. The out-of-bounds photos of the "edgy" lady (who is Kelly Rae Daugherty) are inspirations to step out of the box and get as crazy as you dare to be with that image.

They both have websites, of course.

Lara Rossignol's sites are very nice to read and explore, and pleasant on your eyes and mind:

Kelly Rae's website is not easy on your mind or your eyes, so proceed at your own risk (and don't send me your therapy bills):

Kelly is on the Leica forum, which is like feeding the lamb of creativity to the lions of old world conservatism, and I (and a few others) enjoy fighting off the old lions and telling Kelly to push that boundary out as far as she dares. . . . She just had her first gallery show at the San Fransisco (where else ?) Museum of Modern Art.

From Lara, I steal her vision of colors and composition. From Kelly I steal her use of light and the boldness to shoot what I want to shoot and stop worrying about "will people think it's a nice picture?".

jpg Old Movies

Weather is horrid, Deb is working then going out with her friends.

I shot two new pieces, one full of old movie nostalgia. . . . an old 8mm film camera from the collection + a screencap from "Grand Hotel". (Click the image for a larger version).


Index of My Journal Pages

page written by Dave Leo