Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Snow

Last night Was the first snow of the season. I was up later than usual, about four in the morning, and the wind was howling, making ghost sounds through the sliding doors, and I had to take a look outside. Snow was blowing everywhere. It was the first snow storm of the year!

I gathered up my gear attaching both cameras to tripods and placing plastic bags over each to protect them from melting snow flakes. Then I put on my boots and threw on a coat and went outside to brave a night so cold it set a new record, to take photos.

This photograph makes it look calm and peaceful. But, by the time I was done, I couldn't feel my hands and I looked like my closest relative's first name was Frosty.

(Feel free to click on the picture to view a larger version.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


How come we are so reluctant to go to sleep, but once we are asleep, all we want to do is not wake up?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


There's a secret world out there lived by shopping carts. They move around when no one's looking and end up in strange places. I've found shopping carts in ditches, rivers, trees, parking garages, stairwells, and more.

This one strikes me as sad. A cart who has been useful to many, been abused by some, only to be set aside behind it's store as other more able carts are filled with groceries, and it can merely watch.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Who's The Man?

Like just about everyone else, I drive the same roads to and from work everyday. The same lights, the same stops, the same turns, but after a while you start to see a pattern to it all.

If you hit this light at just the right moment, the next three lights are also green and you just lay on the gas and go cruising. You need to stop at this light because if you don't the timing is off and you hit all the rest of them red as well. It's like you figured out the secret password to get into that special club.

So I'm driving along, and there's someone fallowing me. I'm hitting all the lights green. I'm in the zone. The guy behind me is thinking, man, this person in front knows how to drive.

I'm thinking, just follow me buddy and you'll find the path open. I'll show you the way into the club. Aren't I awesome? I know the secret password!

Then I look a little further behind and see this other car following him. Then I realize that the guy behind me is probably thinking the same thing I am. He's in the zone and he's showing the guy behind him into the cool kids club.

And what about the guy behind him? What's he thinking?

And that makes me realize that the guy behind me isn't thinking about me at all. I'm just the person in his way.

Friday, November 24, 2006


I went. I ate. I'm stuffed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Delicate Dreams

Art is a delicate thing. When you first sketch an idea it's like a newborn bird, fumbling, fresh, unsteady, not ready to fly, and easily killed if let out of the nest too early.

The light of public scrutiny will surely burn away the idea to nothing. An artist has to protect the idea until it is robust enough to weather the spotlight of the sun.

And even then it can be smashed in the stampede. W. B. Yeats said it best.

"I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. "

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

Line Rider: Whoosh! Crash! Yay!

I found this cool little "toy" on deviantART and thought it was fun to play with.

It's called Line Rider and you draw a line for this little sled guy to follow, but be careful he can get some big air, but the landing might kill him!

You can also download a version to run on your computer. I can't wait for the next version to be made available. After you have several pages of lines and you make a mistake and he dies, you really wish you had an eraser to go fix the problem.

It's also going to be featured, or already has been, in Time magazine.

Friday, November 17, 2006

You're on fire but the phone rings. What do you do?

Telephone usage is the biggest proof that people are stupid.

In my life I've worked in a call center or two, and I was constantly amazed at the stupidity that so called intelligent people exhibit. Putting feelings about telemarketing aside, when I would call people I was often incredulous that people would answer the phone in certain situations.

First off, there is the classic "I'm eating dinner" excuse. I myself am annoyed when people call while I'm eating. But I came up with a simple solution. I don't answer the phone.

I've called people who were having sex. If you're answering the phone at this moment, maybe you should be doing something more exciting, like knitting. The solution, let it ring.

I've called people who say they are sick and on the verge of throwing up. If you're nauseous, I can guarantee it isn't Ed McMahon with a big check nor Oprah giving you a new car. Feel free to bow before the porcelain throne and get plenty of rest.

I admit that some of the the above are probably lies, but one situation I don't understand, and heard too often to think was fake.

When I would call people, and after a minute of talking, I would hear children in the tub in the background. I would start to wonder where the person I was talking to had been while we were speaking. I couldn't hear the children at first, so I'm guessing they went to another room to answer the phone.

Roughly 100 people a day die from drowning in bathtubs, mostly children and the elderly. That's more people than die from gunshots. Trust me, there is no phone call on Earth important enough for you to risk your children's lives.

But if you still feel anxious when the phone rings that it might be a call from Brad Pitt saying he's leaving Angelina for you, or vice versa. I have a solution. Technology. They have these little boxes called answering machines that will take the call for you when you can't.

If that's too fancy, they have a service called Caller ID that will tell you who is calling and keep a list of who called for future reference. And here's the secret, you only have to call back the people you know!

And if no one told you, it's your phone. You are not required to answer it just because someone got a bee in their bonnet to call you. And just in case it is a real emergency, have you ever known anyone to not call back?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Trip Trap Troll Bridge

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mom, Can I be Micheal Jackson for Halloween?

Why does Micheal Jackson look like he is wearing a Halloween costume?

Let us count the ways.

Could it be the gigantic black sunglasses that make him look like a cross between a human and a fly.

The slash of his mouth stretched into the rictus grin of a corpse slathered with bright red lipstick.

His hair that looks like a cheap costume wig salvaged from the fabled lost makeup closet of the Munsters.

Or his highly reflective skin that could double as a landing beacon for alien spacecraft.

On second thought, no one would believe that I was Micheal Jackson. I think I'll go as a werewolf.

(photo from Access Hollywood)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Photography Hates Black

Here is crappy picture of a good painting that I finished a few weeks ago.
My paintings are notoriously hard to photograph, since like Odilon Redon I believe, "Black is essential."

In the world of impressionists, black is considered taboo because they think it is less interesting than mixing colors to get the impression of black. But I find black extremely interesting since it catches the light and you can play with hidden shapes and figures in it that only can be seen when light hits it in certain ways.

In paint, black can be like a mirror that reflects the world around it when refracting photons at the right angle. Black can hint at deeper meanings and cover up hidden worlds. Black can be white with the right reflection, as seen in the highlights in black hair.

But unfortunately black and photography do not mix well since by its nature it absorbs and reflects light at the same time fooling light meters into reading wrong and causing lamps to show up as bright spots. I even paid a professional photographer to photograph my paintings once, and the results were actually worse than what I had been doing on my own.

One day, I know I will be able to figure out how to take proper photos of my paintings, but unfortunately today is not that day.

Monday, November 13, 2006

What Does Tennis Have to do with Art?

I love to make art but it is hard for me to talk about what my art means while I'm creating it.

While I'm drawing or painting people will ask me what it means, or what I'm trying to say?

I usually say something like, "I don't know. I just wanted to paint it," or some other not so elegant response.

To which they usually interject their thought, "Well, I think it's about... (inserting their comment here)."

Which is fine. It doesn't bother me, but it certainly doesn't make it clearer for me.

Now, someone might ask how I can make art without knowing what it means? And my best response is a story I overheard somewhere concerning tennis great John McEnroe. (This is from memory. And no, I don't know anything about tennis. It involves a ball right? j/k)

After a game in which John McEnroe won, a reporter asked the opponent why he lost, and he said something like, "Well, I need to be quicker with my footwork and my serve is a little slow."

Afterward, the reporter asked John McEnroe how come he won, and John McEnroe said, "I don't know. I just play tennis."

I'm sure people thought it was a stupid thing to say, but I think it was a great answer. In fact I think it was probably the best answer he could have given.

The Heisenberg principle, to paraphrase, says when you observe something you change it just by observing it, therefore you can't ever truly know its nature.

Examining my art while I'm making it would change it, and it would no longer be my art in some way.

So, if you ask what my art means I'll try to answer the best I can, but don't be too disappointed if all you get is, "Uh, I wanted to paint something."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bryce Canyon Arch

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hollywood Clichès: Round One

Hollywood is an inbred idea factory. It's like a group of people standing around in a big metal room shouting so called original ideas that they heard echoing off the walls, until at some point they are all shouting the same thing.

In movies, TV shows, or whatever, there is always someone who ends up receiving shocking news. And that person usually has something in their hands and drops it. Now for the non-thinking person this seem logical but the natural reflex of the hand is to clench not let go.

A doctor, to check finger reflexes, will have a person hold out their hand with their fingers straight up. Then he will grasp their hand by putting his fingers over the top of theirs, and then strike the hand with a reflex hammer causing the fingers to curl in towards the palm slightly.

Also in the complete mindless state of death, hands want to curl up with rigor mortis not extend, or there would be no such thing as a death grip.

So a person in a shocked, a.k.a mindless state, would actually grasp tighter not let go. Letting go is a conscious act. Proving that not only does Hollywood use clichès, but uses stupid ones at that.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trees on Mars

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Keep the Kleenex Give Me a Zoloft

Don't you hate it when you're about to sneeze and you take a deep breath and nothing happens? But your nose still tickles so you take another breath and nothing happens. But you still need to sneeze and you take another breath, and are about to sneeze, and then it just goes away?

It pisses me off! I feel anger at not being able to sneeze. I feel sad that I will never know what kind of sneeze it was going to be. I feel post-sneezing depression.

I miss my sneeze that never was.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Price Is Right Tryouts at the Local Taco Bell

It's about ten on Friday night and my brother and I, who's visiting, are headed to Taco Bell to get a fourthmeal snack. We pull into the drive through and there's this minivan in front of us stopped at the order sign.

After an eternity of waiting, we realize that the person in front of us is not only ordering one of everything for herself, but must also be ordering for her clone sitting in the back who has the same finicky eating habits. And to make things worse she has the mistaken idea that it's a visual ordering system and is hanging her arm out of the window performing feats of phalange gymnastics to point out each and every item on the menu.

Just as I'm about to shout something about using her mouth and not her finger, her brake lights go off and we think, finally, it's our turn, so I bite my tongue. But she stops after driving about a foot, red lights glaring, then lets off the brake again then drives another foot and stops, and by this point even my brother is getting annoyed. Finally she remembers that she is driving and heads off around the Taco Bell to get her food.

Finally it's our turn.

"Welcome to Taco Bell. Can you hold on a minute?" crackling speaker boy says.

"Sure." my brother says. He's driving so he's also ordering.

About 60 seconds go by.

"We'd like..." my brother tries to say.

"Could you hold on a minute?" our taconista says again.

"Yeah, sure." My brother says.

At this point we have a conversation about slow service. I try to be positive , remembering when I went to a Burger King once, and only one guy was running the show, since the other three people had decided to quit that night at the same time.

A few more minutes go by.

"I can take your order now." the unapologetic bean slinger finally says.

"Yes, I'd like two cheese quesadillas, and that's it." My brother says, putting his faith in brevity and clarity to produce fast service.

"So uh, that's two cheese quesadillas?" taco boy says.


"Anything else?"

At this point I'm beginning to wonder if the concept of crispy or soft tacos he learned about earlier in the day is occupying too many computational cycles in his brain for any extraneous information, such as customer's orders, to find a way to squeeze their way up to the top of his internal To Do list.

"Yes, that's it." My brother says, giving me a look telling me he's echoing my thoughts.

"Come on down!" shouts The Amazing Chalupa Kid.

"Hey, it's The Price is Right." My brother laughs.

"Well, he heard Bob Barker is retiring and figured they would need a replacement, so he'd better start practicing." I say.

It wasn't until later that I realized that the lady in the van in front of us must have also been practicing, only she was trying out as a showcase girl.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Red Car, Red Dress, Bad Night

Last night I had a dream.

In it I bought a red car from a private seller. Everything seemed fine except that the car was stolen the next day.

So I go and try to find the car and discover that the people I bought it from were the car thieves. So I steal the car back from them and think everything is fine. But then the next day the car is stolen again.

I go searching for it, again, and find it parked in a covered parking lot at a movie theater. This time the plates have been changed to Mississippi plates, for some reason, with red numbers, and my plates are in the back seat.

So I see a cop nearby and tell him what's going on, and he believes me, but just then the person I bought the car from shows up,who turns out to be a hot brunette girl wearing a red dress, and tries to take the car again. When I confront her she runs over to the policeman and starts crying and the policeman thinks that I'm in the wrong now.

I start to defend myself and I show the police my paperwork, pointing out the signatures, and they still don't believe me cause she's crying. And then I wake up.

I hate dreams sometimes.