Thursday, May 31, 2018

Happy Birthday Whit

“O to struggle against great odds, to meet enemies undaunted!
 To be entirely alone with them, to find how much one can stand!
 To look strife, torture, prison, popular odium, face to face!
To mount the scaffold, to advance to the muzzles of guns with
perfect nonchalance!
To be indeed a God!

O to sail to sea in a ship!
To leave this steady unendurable land,
To leave the tiresome sameness of the streets, the sidewalks and the houses,
To leave you, O you solid motionless land, and entering a ship,
To sail and sail and sail!
O to have life henceforth a poem of new joys!
To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on!
To be a sailor of the world bound for all ports,
A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun and air,)
A swift and swelling ship full of rich words, full of joys."


WW ~ A Song of Joys

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dogberry

"Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? Oh, that he were here to write me down an ass! But masters, remember that I am an ass, though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.—No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow and, which is more, an officer and, which is more, a householder and, which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that knows the law, go to, and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns and everything handsome about him.—Bring him away.—Oh, that I had been writ down an ass!"

Exeunt

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memento Mori

 I've had some pretty frustrating anger management issues lately.  I seem to be entirely done with this life.  The only peace I find is in exploring and shooting.  I got a morning off today, which was nice.  I sat on the deck, just wanting to get through another tractate of Plotinus, half absorbing the material, I got to the fifth tractate, Love, which I decided I would also read, because I appreciate what the ancients write about love, beauty, and soul.  While Plotinus was going on about Aphrodite, Eros, Penia, and Poros, recollecting Plato's arguments in Timaeus, Philebus, Phaedrus (I need to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance again), and Symposium, all of which I've read,

my wife, who was lying naked in the sun, ten feet away from me, and finally reading Sally Mann's Hold Still,  which I read months ago and recommended it if she truly wanted to understand my drive, threw some quotes at me from the forward, one of which I noted: Émile Zola speaking of the "threat" of this new creative medium in 1901: "...you cannot claim to have really seen something until you have photographed it."  That got me thinking about my unappreciated creative drive.  Then, while I was distractedly trying to get through Plotinus going on about the ancient's ancients, she threw a quote at me that I didn't note, but remember vividly: “When an animal, a rabbit, say, beds down in a protecting fencerow, the wight and warmth of his curled body leaves a mirroring mark upon the ground.  The grasses often appear to have been woven into a birdlike nest, and perhaps were indeed caught and pulled around by the delicate claws as he turned in a circle before subsiding into rest.  This soft bowl in the grasses, this body-formed evidence of hare, has a name, an obsolete but beautiful word: meuse. (Enticingly close to Muse, daughter of memory, and source of inspiration.). Each of us leaves evidence on the earth that in various ways bears our form, but when I gently press my hand into the rabbit’s downy, rounded meuse it makes me wonder: will all the marks I have left on the world someday be tied up in a box?”
That, of course, pushed my mind back into the panic that has ruled me for the last decade: what am I accomplishing?; what am I going to leave behind?...even if it is just tied up in a box?  I may not have the impact on the world that I always wanted to have, but what kind of impact will I have on the few that can go through the stuff, assuming they don't just toss it because there is so much crap?  Remember death.  With my luck I'll live another fifty years, against my will, but in the meantime, accomplish like you're going to die tomorrow. 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Madness Accrues

 Elephant Gun - Beirut

I don't know why she likes me.


So often I have beautiful things to write about, but it never makes it here.  I've been back in the kitchen at my brewery, because everyone quit.  Why is everyone quitting?  Hmmm.  I hate the stress of a high volume kitchen.  Giving up my few days off a week on top of that stress for an extra $100 a week is not worth it, but I've been doing it.  Why?
No one involved in this machine gives two shits about me, aside from my head brewer, which surprises me because I fuck so much up out of sheer inexperience.  Today was set to be my last day in the kitchen...again.  It ended with me throwing a trash can across the kitchen and leaving mid rush.  That's where I'm at: on the verge of burning this town down.


What am I doing?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Forward; Still

I have had a film project in my head for years, but haven't had the time, energy, or money to work on it, not to mention necessary equipment to complete it.  I have contacted a number of models who showed interest, but scheduling never worked out.  I have film friends who wanted to be a part of it, but they are no where to be found.  I recently bought Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool and the last track kicked off a serious desire to finally do something with this, but, alas, I have no means to record any of my old analogue tapes, which would definitely be a requirement.  Also, while I have run many a camera for films, and even DP'd a short film, I have zero editing experience.

I'll just keep going with 'one day'.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Desert Sirens

Aside from our quick little stop in Ballarat on Thanksgiving, the Trona Pinnacles are as close to Death Valley as the fates have allowed me to explore.  I could honestly live in a cave out there if I had some sort of alternative income.  I fear, though, that I would have the same problem getting models to show up as I do on this little mountain.  One day, everything will line up.  For the time being, we will drive hours to meet up with beautiful souls like Katlyn and dance around fires into the wee hours of the morning. We don't have the luxuries of RVs and fancy BnBs.  We have a tent, that we assemble like taking a deep breath, and we suffer the elements with the best of them.  Sometimes we even get some sleep... sometimes.  That is a creative life with children and no money that I would be jealous of were I not in it.  I appreciate that.

To many more amazing friends and experiences, I raise my inexpensive, low ABV beer.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Adrasteia

One thing I truly love about ancient literature is finding little bits that were common knowledge amongst intellect at the time, but don't exist in modern education.  Adrasteia was mentioned, literally, by Plotinus, in the second tractate of his Third Ennead; literally meaning: by definition: "inescapable" ("the Inevadable[sic] Retribution", via 1952 translation), not the mythological nymph, and was presented as... well... karma, basically:  "We cannot but recognize from what we observe in this universe that some such principle of order prevails throughout the entire of existence--the minutest of things a tributary to the vast total."

Danger in Ming-Dao

"Like a raft adrift on the ocean
It does not matter where I float or stop.
Reaching the Tao is a matter of continuous motion.
True nature is born from profound splendor."

~ Danger Evader (I'm sure that's a loose translation)


I've been reading Deng Ming-Dao's 365 Tao since I got out of jail in 2003; 15 years and a couple weeks ago; after having stolen it from a bookstore in 1995.  When I was knee deep in Yokoji I purchased his Scholar Warrior, and only got a couple chapters in, as most of it was diagrams of Qigong exercises, and that didn't stimulate my brain like I wished it to.  I finally finished it.  There is something strangely satisfying about finishing a book that was abandoned years ago.


Here we have a post in a post.  =l

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Stacks

 Too much.

Lately I've been stacking shoots on shoots, to the point where I don't have time to go back and look at them, much less treat them.  Aside from that, I have also hit a bit of a creative wall.  I don't know what I like anymore, again.  The things I do post are getting less and less hits, so I feel like what little audience I had has wandered off, and all I can see now is equipment failure, so the fact that I can't afford to even shoot with the things I need is wearing on me.

 My 24mm is pretty much done.  I noticed some focusing problems a while back, so its use tapered off.  I really like to shoot wider angles, though, and sometimes it is absolutely necessary, but there are entire sets now that are completely unusable because of the focus and my inability to remember this problem.  I can only write it off as shooting into the sun too much, which commonly fogs faster lenses when they are wide open.  The L version of this lens is close to $1300, so I'm pretty much stuck with making the most of this for a while.  It is a wide angle, though, so why do I feel like I need to push the Ap?
The jaunt to Joshua Tree yesterday meant we got to spend a little more time with Michael, Rosie, and Ashleigh.  That was nice.  I wish we had more friends like this, who could just ditch all the stupid shit and jump in and accomplish something.  It was great talking photography with someone who has accomplished so much in the field, and learning the dynamic between him and models.  There were a couple of little things he did that I never thought to do, which also makes me feel stupid looking back at these photos, because they could have been a lot better with some very basic direction.  That was never how I worked.  I feel like I got better stuff shooting over his shoulder than I did when I had three beautiful souls staring at me.  My wife is used to my shooting style, but the other two seemed to be waiting for me to tell them what to do.

Between the block, equipment failure and envy, and just trying to make ends meet, I've got a lot of shit to figure out before Sienna comes through in three weeks.

I have shot and developed more rolls in the last six months than I have in the last ten years, but I also don't have the means to get a good look at them, so who knows.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Significance

Tomorrow my first born turns eighteen.

Tonight I sit with my four and one-point-five year old, watching Frozen.

As I have always attempted to do something significant to celebrate my first born's birthday, and my second marriage's anniversary (I do not recommend getting married on an estranged child's birthday), tomorrow we head out to Joshua Tree with Michael Walker and a couple of his girls.

 Every year this day is difficult, and I try to pretend like it isn't.  I always held on to the hope that my daughter would have my mind, question the circle of ignorance, like I did, and hunt me down to figure out reality.  She never did.  Now she's legally an adult.  She has a phone, but I'm not allowed to have her number.  She has my number, but she doesn't call.  It is what it is.

In this last year we tried to welcome my son into our lives, but he kept randomly showing up at inconvenient times, or no-showing when we had made plans, until he disappeared all together... again.  Both of them stopped calling a long time ago.  I'm sure it will forever be my fault, added to the list of things I fucked up.  At some point I suppose I should just completely let go, but I can't help but hold on to some sort of romanticized happy ending.

Last week we ended up at Trona Pinnacles to briefly collide with Saint Lacoste and 3D Bob.  We arrived just in time for the sunset's afterglow, then proceeded to carry on some strange ceremonial ritual around a bonfire, in which mangled barbies were burned.  In the foggy aftermath of the next day we wandered around and shot a little.  I haven't even gotten to those yet.  This year has brought a lot of accomplishment.  I am grateful and overwhelmed.  We just keep going.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Nucleation

 The decisive moment for me was a decade ago, when I was finally able to step back from what was happening and look at who I'd become.  It feels like a lifetime ago.  By all practical means, it was, because it was a different life, with a different focus, achieving different goals, striving for different accomplishments, using a different brain; a different person.  This was a different timeline to me.  This was a character that I was living, in a book that I never wrote.  This was a creative genius living in absolute turmoil, that no one ever knew existed.

 Through a moment of surreal clarity, I saw who I was, and I was so ashamed that I had to change to keep from killing myself.  My only saving grace at that point was that I understood my nature, if only because I had been fighting it my entire life.  I fought pretty hard to become a character that I idealized for some reason...well, I know the reason, the celebrated creative archetype, but that has been thoroughly documented throughout various moments of enlightenment and is no longer relevant.
 What is relevant is how difficult it is to live in a world where people around you are incapable of seeing the world you live in, or, more likely, don't care enough to look past the world that they're stuck in, for obvious, actual inherently human reasons.  Regardless of who I really was, or the character that I was playing, in so many aspects of my life I have become a canvass for others to project their own problems and fears, and experience-based assumption on.  I am simply me, doing what I'm doing.  There is no wrong doing here.  Your complaints are you, embodied completely in your opinion.
 I am finally beginning to realize that it really doesn't matter who you are, or what you've become, because you only exist through the perception of others.  Who you actually are only matters to you, for your own well being, if you happen to be blessed with the ethical and moral structure to care about sleeping peacefully at night, knowing you are no longer doing anything wrong.  Other's perception only ruins a beautiful reality; but without other's perception, who are you?
 Forcing perception to fit into ignorant social ideals and expectations destroys any potential for a beautiful reality, and eliminates any opportunity for growth; blind optimism and consensual repression are only ideal because someone told you they were, but they create permanent dissonance with nature.  Our difference of opinion is the difference between the spirituality and connection that every ancient philosopher refers to, and the perpetual dissonance that the patriarchal religions instituted to make money off of how stupid people are.
 (emotionally prepare yourself, because I'm going to start a sentence with...) But, reality only exists because we perceive it, and how we perceive it doesn't determine how we exist in it, because our existence is only in how we are perceived by the timeline of souls with which we have no control.  Existence is relationship.  If you relate to someone, and they exist to you through your perception, that relationship will always be reduced to how capable you are to perceive their reality, and you can never force anyone to perceive you the way you want, but only by how able they are to understand your reality.
You do not exist, nor do any of your actions, if no one chooses to perceive reality as you present it.

It is all negated.
Nothing exists.
Only what you think of it exists.
Only how you define it exists.
But you don't exist if I choose to not perceive you the way you want.

Fun.

Life is a rough night, fighting things that only exist in your delusion.