Dave's Journal, Oct 2013

Halloween is Coming !


Today's Complaint: Argumentative People

Ever try to discuss something with an argumentative person? I mean "discuss" like you really just want to share ideas or your opinion or your likes & dislikes with the person. You don't mean to argue or debate anything, and you don't mean to convince them that you are "right" or that they are "wrong". You just want to exchange information, you know.

But not them. They need to argue about how you feel or what you like, and they need to explain and convince you how right they are and how wrong your likes and dislikes are. And if you don't see it their way it's because you are simply a #&%ing moron.

For example:

Them: Dave, what's your favorite fruit?

Me: Oranges.

Them: Oranges ! ? ?

Me: Yeh.

Them: They have too much citric acid. Don't they?

Me: No. I like them.

Them: They upset my stomach. How can you eat them?

Me: I don't know. I like them.

Them: But why?

Me: They taste good and they're sweet and juicy.

Them: Don't they hurt your throat?

Me: No.

Them: What do mean, "no" ?

Me: No, they don't hurt my throat.

Them: I don't know how you can like them. Why don't you like bananas?

Me: I love bananas.

Them: I thought you said that you liked oranges.

Me: I like them too.

Them: How can you like oranges and still like bananas? They are so different?

Me: I don't know. Do I have to justify everything I like?

Them: I'm just asking. How can you like bananas AND oranges? Why can't you just tell me that, huh.

Me: I don't know I just like them.

Them: That's the dumbest explanation I ever heard for anything.

Me: It's not an explanation, I am simply telling you that I like bananas and oranges.

Them (to Debbie): Is he this hard to live with at home ?

And for the topic under discussion, you may substitute anything else besides bananas and oranges. But be sure that this person will argue with you about whatever it is you are talking about, because their likes and dislikes are so much better than yours, you $%^ing moron.

Edith Wharton

Link to her bio

A few years back I read, and reported here, Edith Wharton's "The Age of Innocence". Enjoyed it greatly; the last dozen pages tied it all together for me, if I remember correctly.

Yesterday I downloaded a book of her short stories, which I like because I can get to the end of a story in one night !

I love the way she writes; her sentences are often long with lots of commas and (brackets) and I often read them a few times befor I get it. Kind of like maze or puzzle. Her basic storylines are fun too. I finished the first short story yesterday. Here is my favorite sentence . . .

Nothing, to the observant, is more indicative of a man's character and circumstances than his way of entering a room.

I think that's a cool sentence.
In fact, I can see how that thought drives movie scenes, when one of the leading male characters enters a room. The camera swings around, at chest height so it is looking slightly upward to his face. The lighting is dramatic; his eyes are wet (this appeals to women); one eyebrow is up. (Think Clark Gable for the moment.)

A very cool sentence.

Hippie Fashions are now "Fine Art"

Back in the 60's and 70's when we were wearing hippie style clothes, we were "tacky", "tasteless", "gaudy" etc etc. Not any more.

The Boston Museum of Fine Art has a (really a great) exhibit going on - "Hippie Chic", and I went there today, had a good time and I learned something that I was not aware of at that time - high fashion designers (St. Laurent and those guys) actually had hippie style clothes in their (what is it called?) . . . seasonal clothing lines. That is what this exhibit was - not the clothes we bought at K-mart or Sears, this was the expensive stuff they designed and sold in Milan, Paris, New York and London (and manufactured in Indonesian sweatshops by tortured convicts and starving children, but let's not spoil the moment, okay).

It was a medium size exhibit (one large room) and the clothes were wicked cool and the lighting really made them "punchy" (though not easy to photograph). Really a fun exhibit - people my age wiping their eyes dry in rememberance of a different age.




My favorite mannequin - the one in the middle.
(The guard made me put her back.)

I swear this is my brother Bob, circa 1970.


The irony is that these particular clothes were extremely expensive versions of real hippie clothes that were extremely inexpensive, some patched together from stuff purchased in second hand stores !

And, One Artful Photograph from Today
A small statue of Pandora, wondering if she should open it . . .


Today Sucked

My one task for today was to bottle Strawberry Reisling - 36 various sized bottles of it. As I think I mentioned a few weeks back, brewing wine is 95% setup + clean + sanitize & 3% cleanup after the job is done. The actual job of siphoning wine into the bottles and corking them is only about 2% of your time.

You cannot screw up the sanitizing (disinfecting EVERYTHING with sodium something-sulphite) - this is the one and only critical step in home brewing wine.

So . . . I started out disinfectiong the kitchen sink and me (up to my elbows). Then the siphon tubes and bucket and all the bottles. I got to Bottle #12 (I needed 36 bottles) when Debbie came up from the laundry and told me the drain was overflowing.

I thought that I fixed this last weekend. I was wrong. I am now totally sanitized and rolling on my scheduled task of bottling wine. Is this a good time to run snakes through a blocked main drain? I think that every germ known to man, and some unknown, live down in sewer drains.

Okay, WTF. I spent some hours attacking the drain problem (the plumber never called back - I should have called an illegal Guatamalian "Mr Fixit", he would have been here in 15 minutes and charged me $3.26, the drain would be cleared and my life would be back on course, but who did I call? - a legally licensed plumber probably with a rusty pickup truck and a bumper sticker that says "I Killed Somebody So Don't Piss Me Off" and who probably spent the day deleting his phone messages, sucking beer out of a dozen bottles, farting, molesting his pet hamster and watching TV sports or wrestling).

Where was I ? . . . oh yes . . . well I got the plumbing to stop backing up until I can find an illegal alien to do the job right sometime during the week. Then I went back and re-disinfected everything, including me, and struggled onward and got the Reisling bottled.

I then popped open a few bottles of Ale (not that Bud Lite sh#t the pickup plumber probably drinks - I mean seriously real Ale) and I am now waiting for "Vampire Sluts from the Crypt of Dracula" to start on the TV.

Here then, at last, are my bottles of Reisling. . . .


And here is that "seriously real" ale that I am downing . . .


Where is that TV remote ?

They Dont Make Like This Any More


We were talking about dented cameras and construction and strength. People (Leica weenies) were saying how Leica cameras have thick, strong casings that don't dent and Nikon cameras have thin weak casing that dent. Then one guy reminded eveyone that Nikons are more reliable that Leicas. I chimed in to explain (being as ever so smart as I am) that in general soft, ductile outer structures reduce shock loads to the internal working parts. So soft is good. Dents are good (it means the shock energy went into deforming the outer parts and never touched the inner workings).

One of the guys quickly posted this picture of a Nikon F that took a direct hit from an AK-47 bullet in Vietnam. The photographer (Don McCullin) had the camera to his head, taking a picture. All he got was a bad headache.

(However, the camera did not work after getting shot!)

The Work of Blaz Kutin

About twice a year, I "discover" an artist who (whom?) I feel is a genius (I don't use that word easily). Blaz Kutin, comes from Slovenia (I think) and now lives and works in Berlin. In my mind his abstract images are wonderful - I just bought a copy of his book "Abstracts". I am proud to say that I am one of the guys on the photo forum who bugged and bugged him to "do it!" and he finally created the book. Here is a link to his website: Blaz Kutin.

These are essentially extreme close-up photos that he then manipulates with software. His stuff just blows me away !

An abstract I made today, styled after Blaz Kutin


jpg Siena Chianti, 2013

I bottled the Chianti (without lifting anything heavy enough to hurt my back !). It looks good, but only got 28 bottles, as the siphon was acting weird and stirred up the bottom sludge so I quit at that point.

Decided to name this batch after Siena, and made the label design shown there, using a photo from our 2012 trip.

I am now completely bottled, and wondering what to do next. We have 75 bottles of wine aging to prefection, but it's obvious that I need to start another batch, since I have all this equipment sitting idle now. Must decide about this. The first batch ("Montepulciano") will be drinkable in Jan-Feb 2014, and will improve in the bottle until late 2016. This batch of Chianti is 3 months behind that. I really do not want to drink this stuff before it is aged properly - I mean what is the point of screwing up the last step ? ?

Maybe a batch of white (Chablis? Chardonnay?) because that ages very fast (Debbie's strawberry Reisling s drinkable now and I just bottled it !).

The Twilight Samurai


Another movie that strangely showed up in my Netflix queue. I started it, expecting lots of swordplay and flying arms and legs and people magically jumping over buildings, etc etc, but I was wrong. Turns out to be a very personal drama, and very little "swordplay" (in one of the two fights in the movie, he uses a bamboo stick and simply smacks the other guy unconscious).

The acting is excellent. The storyline actually could be easily "Americanized". If you can deal with spoken Japanese & English subtitles (it's all the same to us deaf guys), this is a good movie to watch.

Tent City, USA


Another "sleeper", for no other reason than I was just about to turn off and go to bed and this one kept me up for another 2 hours.

Extremely interesting documentary about a community of homeless people on the outskirts of Nashville.

Raises a lot of good questions about who owns this problem. Is kicking these people out of your neighborhood solving any problems or just moving it to someone else's neighborhood? Who should care? Why should you? Is it a solvable problem?

You will not find the answers by watching this movie, but you will probably think about the "homeless problem" differently than you do now.

Killer Girl K


If you are into young chicks who can kill 16 heavily armed guys (in body armor) using only a broken toothpick, this is your movie (actually 3 episodes).

I watched it twice and still have it stored in my "to-watch" list.

It's kind of like an extreme version of the French movie, Le Femme Nikita. Reminded me also of Uma Thurman's fight scenes in Kill Bill and Milla Jovavich's Ultraviolet ( " What can you do alone, with only a sword, against 700 armed men?" . . . "I can kill them.").

Oh, and not to forget the scene from Serenity when Summer Glau ("River") kills a dozen crazed canabalistic Reavers with an axe (barefoot in a nightgown !).

I am beginning to see a very disturbing pattern in the movies I watch !

Old Wood in the Local Park
(I am printing this at 12X18 to see what it really looks like)


Today is that day that comes every year, wherein you realize that winter (though months away) is inevitable. It is dark, drizzly and damp-cold outside, and it's been cold enough at nights now so the house walls have dropped in temperature, and we started up the heat on and off during the day. (I will skip my lecture on how cold walls make you cold even though the room air is warm.)

It's the day when I start thinking about moving to a perpetually warm, sunny place. I think of my cousin Lucia, out in Mesa. Warm, sunny, cozy, sweet Mesa. I think of my cousin Ron down in Boca. Warm, sunny, cozy, sweet Boca. My daughters Catherine and Loretta (Texas). My brother Bob (Alabama). My nephew Robert (Tennessee).

There's the microwave bell. My chicken soup is ready now.

Sunday, Oct13(?) . . . . while Debbie is wasting the day cleaning the kitchen (4 hours now - it wasn't that messy, Deb !), I have been slaving away at redesigning my cafephotos website, to make viewing the pictures a little more comfortable. I set each of the Galleries up with scrollable thumbnails. The pages still look clean (I hate website clutter) and the experience of viewing the stuff (to me) is still pleasant.

Rumors . . . Fuji Rumors

My personal camera is the Fuji X100. It is perfect (possibly a few software tweaks could help, but that's being picky). It is a "runaway best seller". I bought mine (used) almost a year ago from a guy who needed the $$$ so he could pre-order the "new X100". Fuji is just now (a year later !) filling those pre-orders made a year ago. New X100's are very hard to come by because they sell before they reach the shelves. In fact before they actually make them !

So . . . . (you guessed it, didn't you?) . . . Fuji rumors are sayng they are changing the X100. "Bigger, Better, More Expensive." I will only agree to "bigger and more expensive".

Better ? Better ? . . . you can't make them fast enough to keep up with the demand. What is it that you need to make "better" ? ?

Okay, I got that out of the way . . . .

I drove Mike into work today and on the way back I visited not one but two Audubon wildlife sanctuaries. Kind of pleasant day. Foggy (would have made wonderful pictures ! ) but it burned off to heavy overcast by the time I got there. Made a friend who was also taking pictures. He talked a lot more than I did, but I gave him my cafephotos card so he can marvel at what a great picture maker I am.


The OxBow National Wildlife Reserve

This was an exploratory trip around noon today. Great swampy area off the local highway. Tricky to get to. I did not explore too much, but glad that I wore boots ! Next trip, I need a trail companion (possibly named Mike).




Autumn Leaf from the Backyard


Well I am sniffing and sneezing along with Debbie now. Cozied up in a sweater sitting on the porch "doing nothing". I did get to compost some fallen leaves this morning using the vac/shredder which is probably why I am sneezing, if it's not a cold.

Fallen leaves this year are going to be a problem because I'm sure it'll snow before they are all down. This is the last picture I'll get of the house before snowfall.


A Friend of the Library

Someone, more specifically, Andrea, put me on to the public library has free passes to museums, aquariums and gardens and stuff like that. You can take one out for the day and get in free to these places, or get a major discount. To be eligible to do this you must be a "friend of the library", which, it turns out, will cost you $20 / year. As I need some friends, even if I must buy them, I bought the library's friendship, took out a pass and went (for free !) back to the botanic garden.

Never been there in the Fall before. It was heavy overcast and chilly, but nice. I learned what those two huge greenhouse-like buildings are for . They are always empty when I've been there before, but today they were packed with all the potted exotic plants that are generally outside around the pond and gardens, etc etc.

Very tropical atmosphere.


I can imagine this is going to be a nice place to spend a stinking cold winter day sometime.

Cousin Pete and Carol are back from Italy (their first trip), reporting they had a wonderful time. I mentioned to him "Do not wear a baseball hat, white sneakers and Hawaiin party shirt - wear something that will fit in with the locals."

Well, he listened to me . . . .


Here are just a few pictures he sent me: Pete and Carol.

So, the doctor said . . .

Debbies ribs are bruised but not broken. Her knee, wrist and elbow are banged up as well, but no cracks.

(She took a bad fall while walking and yakyakyaking at the same time.)

She is okay. I know this because she has been furiously text messaging everyone in the world since we got home.

Looking back on this month's journal page here, I posted a heck of a lot of pictures and not many words this month ! Don't know what that means, if anything. Maybe "a picture is worth 1000 words" ?

Anyway, here it is Sunday again. Mike picked me up for a walk in the woods before breakfast at the diner. He made some nice panoramas with his phone/camera. I have to learn how to do that !

Note to my brother Bob - the floppy hat I'm wearing is from the Salty Dog in Hilton Head - gives me lots of stylish character and I love it !

And as for the rest of my fashions today:
Jacket is from Bryce Canyon gift shop (best $19 I ever spent !)
Scarf is handknitted by Loretta
Gloves are from Ace Hardware (I cut the fingertips off)
Pants are from an outdoor marketplace in Padua, Italy (2009)
Sneakers are from Bob's Big Outlet Store down the street.