Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Post to View

I got up at 7:00 this morning, because I wanted to have time to myself, because that is when I write the best.  It is now 7:50, and I am just now starting to write in this blog.  Most of the time has been spent catering to the dogs.  As much as I like the little dogs, and I do like them, they are consumers, consumers of time, consumers of food, consumers of needs.

The computer is the same way, I turned it on at about 7:15 this morning, and it was at least a 1/2 hour before I was able to really use it, even if I could have.  Most of that is my fault, I run lots of scans at start up, virus scans, clean-up scans, and I also have lots of start-up programs, like networked drives and cloud services.

In fact I do a lot of things that get in my own way.  I have yet to figure them all out, but they are there because I am for the most part my own worst enemy.  Just like this blog which is rambling and headed no where, I get in my own way.  I should be talking of topical things, like guns, and children, and the end of the world as we know it, but instead I talk about obstructions, like dogs, and my computer, and my own personal bs that I use to prevent myself from actually doing anything of any type of importance.

So the next blog post will be about the important things, and I will let this one go, so I can get on to other things, and hopefully get back to writing.

Used to be writing was not so difficult.  Used to be that writing was just a matter of sitting down and the words would just flow onto the page.  Used to be I didn't seem to have anything else more pressing to do.  It now seems everything else is an excuse not to write, including that I am not alone.

Now I realize that I used to write about being alone, and the neglected and indigent, and sadness, and well just the dark and lonely crap everyone else felt, but could not put into words.  That is what I used to do, but now I am not lonely, I am happily married to a wonderful wife.  We have several dogs, and from her first marriage she has several children, and through that we have several grand children.  We also have a farm, of a sorts (although it should be more, but I won't go into that just yet), and have goats, and sheep, chickens, and well that's it for now, oh and cats, but they live in the barn with the rest of the animals.  I am not bored, I have plenty of things to do, everyday.  I am not lonely, I have many people and animals in my life.  I am not indigent, well I have never been indigent, but I used to know people who were.  I don't have a lot of friends per se, as well I have other things to do, and so do they, so they don't come see me, and I don't go see them, and well, that's not really an issue anyway.  I have never been neglected, I was the youngest of eight, and was treated with all the attention and accordance that any exceptional child should receive.

I think because I was not any of those things ever, that I used to write about, I could write them without feeling, without concern for the feeling, because I was not them, I was not there, I was observing them.  I am not there still, or I am not there again, or yet, or for that mater, there has only really been one low point in my life, the time when I let my daughter go, and that memory haunts me still.  Nothing else seems to stick, everything else seems to flow, as it always has, but that memory continues to hold me, cold and desolate, as I sit there in my truck, as she goes with her grand parents, and the first real tears I ever remember crying, short of those a child cries for numerous reasons, reasonable or otherwise, came and continued to flow for quite some time.  Not really sobbing and crying so much, but just tears that didn't seem to end, and sadness that didn't seem to allow for any other feeling.

The only other time I ever remember coming close to that feeling was when my father died.  I do not even know why.  He died when I was away, on a drug crazed, party all day all night, tripping and drinking adventure to buy tickets for a concert in Toronto.  For 8 days, I and a friend of mine stayed on the streets of Toronto, waiting to buy tickets, with about 75 other crazy people from all over the US and Canada.  No one even knew anyone's names, my friend and I were Syracuse and Canton, and the girl I was hanging with was known as BC girl, while the guy that held the list, was known as Listman.  When I finally got back into NY, and had to stop at a truck stop just north of Watertown, NY because I was out of gas and out of cash, I called my family to see if they could come up and get me some gas.  That is when my mother told me about my father.  He had died two days ago, and the funeral was set for the next day.  She said she was sorry, and I said oh, okay.  She said she would send my sister with some gas money, and I said good-bye and thank you.  I went back to my Fiat 124 Sport, fell into the front seat and for some reason cried like I have never cried in the ten years between 8 and 18.

Even now, for some reason, these two weird unrelated events still cause me to remember everything that occurred in between, before and after, each, and how they have no relation, but still they are the only two times I remember tears that fell so long and hard, they seemed to have no end.  I do not cry easily, although I do tear up now more easily than I used to.  When I think about my grand children, or the loss of a dog, or the endless fight for our farm, or the hardship my wife has been made to endure, but they are just damp eyes, rarely a small tear will form, but nothing that compares to the utter debilitating and blinding tears that streamed from my eyes, on those other two seemingly unrelated events.

Both of them were losses, but that is all I can come to.  In fact both of those events still cause me to feel on the verge of tears, and so I will not speak of them again.

I will now talk of things I can't seem to wrap my head around.  Nothing really dramatic, simple things, like why I can't seem to make the jump to digital film.  I have always been a lover of all things digitized, save one, photography.  I am in awe of the new photographers who can seem to make such wonderful photographs with their digital slr cameras, and even now with cell phones.  Mind you I haven't really had the opportunity to work with a Nikon or Canon SLR, but no matter, I can't seem to get even a half way decent photo from my point and shoot.  I used to have a basic Yashica SLR, and a beautiful Contax RTS with Carl Zeiss Lenses, as well as some other cameras, the Kodak Box Brownie, which I often used to teach other people how to use, and a bunch of old cameras and lenses that were more for the nostalgia value than anything else.

I used many different cameras, a studio 8x10 for studio shoots, and a TLR or two that used the 120 format. I had a cramped little darkroom in the bathroom of my mother's mobile home, where I developed b&w film and photos once the Oswego Art Guild went to hell and I was no longer able to use theirs.  I shot all sorts of great films, Kodak Ektachrome, Kodachrome, Panalure, T-max, Ilford, Agfa, and others both color slide and print films, as well as some of the best silver tone black and white films ever made.  I developed 1000's upon 1000's of rolls of films, and made prints, and inter-negatives, and enlargements, and used all sorts of techniques like dodging, and burning, and mask, and gobo's and tricks like pushing and pulling, and whatever else I could do to make a print just the way I wanted it to look.

I remember the smell of developer and stop bath, and fixer, and washing in cold water paper backed matte finished prints and laying them on racks with blotter papers and coffee table books of great photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Steichen used as weights to keep the corners from curling.  I remember so well these things, that even now I can still smell the smell of strong vinegar and the over tones of urine that seemed to come from the trays while I carefully shifted prints from one to the other, crossing my fingers that this was the print that would be at least half of what I really imagined.

I remember the accolades my peers and others gave me for such stunning results that I felt were many times quite short of the level of perfection that they could have been.  I distinctly remember the director of photography at Oswego College complimenting on my copy work, when I was to make copies of his photographs for display in the gallery, saying that my copies were almost better than his originals.  It came as no surprise to many of the artist who sat for me, while I photographed them in natural light, preferring to use reflectors and other such tricks to focus the softer filtered light of the sun than the harsh yellow arc lights, or cold blue flash.

I rebelled against the digital age when the first Pentax and Canon cameras hit the stores.  I joined in with the die hard acetate defenders when digital film began to take its place in my favorite camera joints.  I nearly cried when my most favorite camera shops began to go out of business because they couldn't compete with the Walmarts and other places where people could get a Cannon sure shot, or Nikon Pix for less than the price of a single zoom lens.  All the while knowing and even writing about the advent of digital photography, and the eventual death of film.  Still I remember going out one cold and stormy night, okay it wasn't really stormy, but it was rather cold, and buying up all the remaining stocks of Ilford film, papers, and chemicals that my most favorite store had, as well as a fair share of their PanX and T-max films.  Some days later I took what savings I had left and purchased the last of their Kodak papers and chemicals, and a lot of other things like light wheels, books, and spare lenses but it was all futile for they went the way of the dodo anyway, just as I knew they would.  They never made the jump to digital, and the owner who I knew on a first name basis, and even had drinks with on occasion at one of the many local pubs, just could not bring herself to sell cheap digital cameras, and she couldn't make a market for the expensive ones, no one was buying.  No matter, really, it was more of a hobby for her, her family had many other businesses in the city, and she would not be hurt by the loss, but I mourn it still, sometimes.

Somewhere my cameras, and all those other things just seemed to disappear   In too many moves, and so much loss and forgotten things as my mother died and her house was lost to neglect I am partly responsible for, many, many things were lost.  Not counting the multiple other times I or my wife lost our most treasured valuables in moves made because we never could seem to get going before something snapped and we were back to having to find another place to live.

Since the age of nine I have basically moved every couple years weather I wanted to or not.  Something happens and there I am packing up less and less stuff, until at some point I got to the point where I didn't want anything, because I was just going to have to pack it up and move it in another year or two.

Still I am a consumer, not a rampant one, but one just the same.  I love computers with a love hate relationship that has been my work and my bane for the past twenty years.  I buy stuff for my computer like is was some other lover, here you go love, have another hard drive, wouldn't you like some shiny new ram.  I follow the press on computers, and industry news, so I can talk with my colleges and clients with some element of intelligence about networking and other such things.  And when people ask me about such things, I fain the arrogant air of one who knows all too much about the machine that so many only wish they could figure out how to make it do everything so they wouldn't have to do anything.  Oh don't worry that time is coming, and when it does, there will be no loss to the human race, as we will have already been lost to ourselves, and won't notice anything any different anyways.  I don't know how it happened, but I can tell you this, somehow, I can't really relate to computers that way, the same way I just can't seem to get digital photography.  I can take alright pictures with digital cameras, and use the GIMP or Photoshop to process them, and make pictures that at the end of the day are good enough for most people.  Maybe not as good as the ones I see sometimes on my Google+ feed, from those people who never even knew what it was to shoot through an optical lens, onto acetate film, and print to papers that more often than not curled up into rolls no matter how many coffee table books of Georgia O'Keeffe you placed upon the blotters above and beneath.

Sure I think if I had a nicer camera, and maybe more free time to devote to playing with such toys as Blender or Maya, I might create wonderful creations, but I just do not seem to have the heart for it.  I might look and buy a couple old field cameras, and the chemicals and plates and make some photos that way, but even still, it will only be for old time's sake, not because I need to.  I have really left that part of my life behind, with all the stuff.  I have mostly mourned that part of what I was, and have tried to move forward, like I did when I quit drinking, it sometimes reminds me at the most inconvenient times.

Reading back through this post, I suddenly realized that I have rambled on for some time now, and maybe I should just let you off with a warning.  If I get the chance I will do it again, and again, not really differently, but with as much misguided misdirection as usual, for that is what I do best; ramble on.

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