Dave's Journal, June 2012

Getting Lost in a Picture

When I was maybe 8 years old, we lived on the second floor of Grandma Leo's 3-family house (#538 18th Street in Brooklyn . . . . our phone number was SO-8-1548), and my Uncle Joe and Aunt Jean lived upstairs. One Christmas, we were visiting them and I saw that their tree had this stiff called "angel hair" on it that I had never seen before. While the others were doing this and that, I walked over to the tree and stuck my face into the branches, so all I could see was the tree trunk, branches, leaves and angel hair, and some decorations (out of focus for being too close to my face). Nothing else but that. And I got lost in a new world. I stared into that scene and imagined people and animals moving about in there that were not really there, but the scene made me imagine they could be . . . in fact I imagined that they should be in there. And that was my very first conflict with the real vs. the imaginary. Why could what I just imagined not be real? Why isn't it real ? Who said it isn't real?

Flash forward 60 years to this afternoon, and see me on the porch studying a book of photos of Iceland. Beautiful cold light, low in the sky, deep black shadows, burned out highlights, dramatic compositions.

I am lost in a place I've never been. I imagine things in the scenes (like me !) that aren't there. I see the water flowing (this is a book of still photographs). I hear it splashing. I feel cold. I feel the whole world wrapping around me in this place. I have never been here but here I am.

I spend maybe 5 minutes in every page getting lost in the picture, letting myself feel like I am someplace other than my porch looking at something other than a library book.

Like staring into a Christmas tree in Brooklyn in 1953.


"Literature" and Me

At the time I retired (I hadn't read a novel or play since I left college), I decided to start reading all the stuff that I should have been reading all my life but didn't. I bought used paperbacks over the internet and my criteria was that the book had to at least have been nominated for a Pulitzer prize, because I had no time to read garbage (is what I was thinking) and the list of Pulitzer winners would kind of sort it out for me, huh!

After a few books, I came to realize that maybe the Pulitzer people and me (I should have said "the Pulitzer people and I" but I'm in an attitude as you may have guessed) didn't see things eye to eye. Then I noticed that I was enjoying some non-Pulitzer writings very much. So, I allowed me to slip off the path and read other stuff ( bold, Dave, very bold). Then more other stuff, and then some. And I learned that there is an overwhelming amount of really wonderful writings out there, and it's all over the place.

So I am enjoying my book reading more and more, though I read at the same pace that books are written . . . very slowly.

Part 2: Magazines, Prejudice and Enlightenment

I have been reading The New Yorker all my life, and it essentially has defined great, wonderful writing in my mind. It is a supremely well written and well edited weekly masterpiece. I have a paper and a digital subscription that I devour every week.

The second of my 3 magazine subscriptions is Horticulture, which I mention only for completeness and will now push aside as irelevent to my point of the moment.

My 3rd (and last) subscribed magazine is The Oxford American, and it has had a serious impact on my view of writing, great writers, and where great writers come from. And it made me aware of (and it corrected) a prejuduce I had.

The Oxford American is a literary magazine out of (hopefully you are sitting down) Mississippi.

It comes out every 3 months, and to tell you, I can't wait for the next one (due in August). I think of it as Dave's awakening to what is really going on out there in the great world of great writing that Dave hasn't had a clue about for the last almost 50 years. It also has ripped apart my prejudice that great words and great thoughts come only from the Northeastern states. I have been so extremely wrong about that.

I have an e-book subscription (B&N Nook thing) which is like $2 / month (!) and includes only (only ?) the writings, but they also have (I just found out today) a website which is The Oxford American. This means that my new netbook mega-battery is about to be tested for durability.

Plant clover in your yard and it's ringing the dinner bell for bees and (who would have guessed it) groundhogs. This particular groundhog lives under our shed, but until this morning, I did not know they ate clover.



Today I found out what my koi have been eating for weeks . . . tadpoles ! Apparently, they ate all but 3, who grew up and are out there basking on the warm rocks, chirping away.

jpg Okay, make that 5 frogs. All caught today and bucketed over to the local woods, destined no doubt to be one of those horrific invasive species stories you see on PBS (let's say 10 years from now). Teenage mutant frogs.

Happily I did not get caught and arrested for releasing non-indigenious (is that how you spell that ?) species into the local environment.

My reward for this was that the sunlight flashed through the pond umbrella and made nice colors and patterns with the sprayer thing, and I got a nice picture out the episode.

Bowtie Macaroni

While throwing this stuff in a pot of hot water, I thought . . . . hey, these are pretty . . . and I held out a few to see how they look in a picture. Some wood, some lexan, one strong floodlight and . . . . I liked it so much, it became "CafePhoto #141".


Boston, June.14.2012

The day was forecasted to be cloudy, so I chose to drive to the Boston MFA and get culture-fied, which I did, but when I got out of there, it was a beautiful sunny day, so . . .
I trained to the public garden walked walked walked then walked down to the river shore and along up to the science museum, then trained back to the car. An unexpectedly nice day for me.


Someday I will look into real panorama software. Until then, I'll patch them by hand and live with the flaws . .


Hey, it's June 15: Happy Birthday Mike ! !

What if . . .? . . . . Rich Dave, Poor Dave


Deb's day off today. We got showered and dressed up and headed out to Wegman's for some food shopping. Wegman's . . . where else can you spend $109 on 4 bags of food ? True, this was not everyday food, it was you know exotic things like olives, coffee, Italian bread, sliced cheese, flavored water, muffins, brussell sprouts, kosher hot dogs (the "giant" sized ones) . . . and of course the dress code is "business casual" so you don't feel like your rubbing up against the lower classes. Definitely worth $109, if not for the food itself, for the life-enhancing experience that you can get only from spending too much money on food and mingling with well-groomed, fashioniably dressed shoppers.

Selling Stuff / Buying Stuff

Well, the Eurotrip is just a few months away, and (you knew this was coming) I want to upgrade my Nikon for the trip. So, as I do not want any cashflow going out, today I put a few cameras up for sale. Selling the medium format Fuji645 (selling for $350) and the Nikon D60+zoom lens (selling for $300). Both very good prices for todays market, and since the new Nikon is only $550, I make $100 cashflow in ! (I hope this works.)

jpgPeople Suck

Some worthless piece of dog sh#t stole all our bird feeders last night, plus one of the Iron poles they hang on. This means of course that when I replace them, I can't put them back in the same (stealable) spot so I can watch the birds from my porch. Also means I have to add a lock to the back gate.

Sadly, I can't completely avoid people . . . they find me anyway and do whatever bad sh#t they feel like doing.

Is Dave Close to Picking a VP Running Mate ? ?

With the campaign season building up steam, The Washington Buzz underground webnews says it has a lead on Dave's first choice for a running mate.
Dave's Choice

When Obama took office (2009), I said . . . "If everyone in Washington pulls together, it will take us 8 to 12 years to turn the economy around and fix the federal budget." I said that because I am wicked smart, and I accept the realities that other people choose to ignore.

In all honesty, I am also smart enough to know that "If everyone in Washington pulls together . . ." is the political sandbagging statement of the decade.

[Dave exits, stage left, smug look on his face, and happy that he does not allow rebuttal comments on his web page.]



Q: Is it possible to leave comments on Dave's Journal Pages?
A: No.
Q: Why not?
A: Dave is not the slightest bit intereted in your opinion. If he were, he would be reading your website, instead of you being here reading his website.
Q: Don't you feel that, in this age of social communication, of global bonding of the human community, that his attitude is elitist, snobbish and obnoxiously exclussionary?
A: Um, yes, actually I think you pretty much nailed it down there. And . . . by the way, you simplistic moron, "exclusionary" only has one "s" (but, happily, you spelled "elitist" correctly).
Q: So you are admitting that Dave is an elitist snob ?
A: Of course, you idiot . . . he's Dave . . . what else would he be?
Q: Can't I leave just a short message, just once, extra please with sugar ?
A: Okay, just this once, and it better be short.
Q: Okay, thanks . . . . Hi Dave, it's Christina. We made the drop, but Guido got knifed on the way out !


They are fixing ours.


Mount Wachusett

While Deb worked at the bank and the masons worked on the chimney, I felt that I should do something useful, so I packed the Nikon and drove up Mount Wachusett (they finally got the road fixed, and the summit has a beautiful parking area and visitors lookout).

The road has been closed for "visitor upgrades" so the hikers have had the mountain to themselves for 2 years. Despite what Mike says, it is no easy climb, so I have not been to the top in a long while. (I drove up today.) The top is not quite done, but you can see it will be very very nice later this Summer.

jpg On the way up, I passed this guy (my age) walking up, took his picture (he smiled) and drove to the top. At the top I saw him chatting with this other guy, I have no idea how he got up there so fast.

I stopped and asked him if he took the bus and that bit of humor made me 2 new friends and they are pictured over there. I yelled back "You'll be on the internet in an hour", and they laughed like it was the best joke anyone ever told them (these guys I think don't get to talk to many "outlanders" I guess).

Well . . . if I told the truth, I would tell you that the view from the top is "okay", but not the best around here. It's very very nice for a view that you can drive up to. Maybe it's psychological (or do you spell that "sick-o-logical" ?), but the local mountains that you have to climb up have way way better views. All that sickology aside, here's what it looked like from the top of Mt Wachusett today . . . (that horizon out there is New Hampshire).


John Roberts and The Health Care Ruling

I am more stunned than most people are, to see that Chief Justice John Roberts was the pivotal vote that upheld the Health Care Law. He has a consistent, solid record of (what people nowadays call) "conservative" voting. In fact, it was Roberts who manipulated the "Citizens United" case from being a small, minor request into a huge change in how political campaigns are funded.

When I heard of his vote yesterday, I thought he was "making up for the Citizens United" mistake. Well, maybe I was wrong.

Here is a reasonabe explanation of why he voted the way he did yesterday: Why Roberts saved Obama's healthcare law

Not All People Are Evil

This is true. I need, at times, to be reminded of this.

And . . . thank you.


Sold in a Heartbeat . . . Actually, 2 Heartbeats

Last Saturday, I put my Fuji645 film camera up for sale on the internet. This is not the camera for "everyone". It shoots medium format film, but handles like a 35mm camera. On Monday, some guy from Rhode Island buys it. He drives up here last Thursday and we do the deal in a parking lot.

But . . . today's story beats that one.

Two hours ago, I put the Nikon D60+zoom lens up for sale. Forty five minutes later (45 minutes ! ), some photographer from Chicago asks me where I want the money deposited, because he wants the kit for his son.

I am ever so happy because the Nikon D5100 that I got in the mail last Friday is now paid for with some extra change to spare . . . for SD cards for the EU trip !

Boston panorama stitched together by Mike's cell phone ! . . .


Birdfeeders, Friends, Nice People

Somewhere out there (probably very nearby) are my stolen birdfeeders, enticing all the birds that once visited me to now feed in a thief's garden, under his watchful eyes, through cheap binoculars, the sound of empty Bud Lite cans cascading down his porch steps onto a lawn of choking weeds and crabgrass. He belches . . . the birds fly off for a moment . . . they fly back and deposit birdsh#t on his bare feet. He belches again.

His wife opens the ripped screen door, letting the flies out . . . he farts, she waves her hand in disgust, rolls her eyes to heaven and slams the screen door on her way back inside.

A fitting life, I think, for a birdfeeder thief.

None of this scene has a thing to do with me and my life, actually. I am fine. My birds are fine. Today, they are eating out of new feeders kindly "donated" to my back yard by Mike, Kim and Sheri, I think in an effort to prevent me from going berserk and becoming a nightly news item ("Man nukes east cost over birdfeeder theft").


Page written by Dave Leo