Archive for August 2010

Where ya’ from?

August 21st, 2010 — 5:33pm

Muggy. The forest fires in BC are showing up here in smoke and haze; the sun’s a big red, innocuous ball.

Kelly knocked a deck apart this last week for which he was paid $300. Bonnie and I finished hauling it home today. It should look good installed by their hot tub; it has a curvy staircase ooh lala.

The Westy parts arrived from The Bus Depot and I have all of them installed but the faucet – had to get some latex tape first; that’s tomorrow’s project, right now I’m mentally preparing for my nieces’ (the little darlings) “end of summer” whoop-up ’round the campfire slated for this evening. If that dope with the headband shows up again, the one with the mega boom box, I’m going to… well, never mind.

I’m finally reading Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida. It’s like reading source material for absurdist satire à la René Daumal, but it’s something to do. And I’ve been spending much of my time taking advantage of the fantastic collection of photography books at the Saskatoon Public Library.

Ker-riste this city puts many a town to shame when it comes to decent public resources. Victoria, where I spent most of my last twenty years, has great pretense toward the arts and learning, but that’s about all; they haven’t a clue what it takes to back it up, never having taken the time (or expended the energy) to actually flesh out a decent collection. Too busy organizing galas I suspect.

I like my camper by the way. I guess after two months together you’d find something mutually respectable but I’ve been pretty fond of this bug since the start, and it hasn’t let me down. It’s roomy, the fridge is super!, and (as is legendary) the body will fall off before the mechanicals die. We should all be so lucky.

Here’s a photo from yesterday’s excursion to the east side of the city where I used to go as a teenager to lean on the fender and think.

The very edge of the Known World

The very edge of the Known World

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August is shaping up

August 16th, 2010 — 10:58am

A beautiful morning. Cool air, warm sun. Blue sky, high clouds. Last night was clear with the last of the Perseids and a rim of Aurora along the northern horizon.

We counted 180 Sand Hill Cranes yesterday afternoon; I’ve counted 90 so far this morning. Great weather for flying. 24 more went by.

We had a fire in the pit last night, and roasted our dinner on the embers. Some deadfall spruce for the most part – very aromatic.

I’m just overcoming a summer cold. Feeling a lot better this morning. Just an annoying dry cough left.

The DP1 is on it’s way to Japan, lucky bum. So far it seems they’re giving me warranty. The parts for the van haven’t arrived yet.

Just wanted to say hi, I’ll write more later.

Over the windbreak

Over the windbreak

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We’re the Texas Playboys…

August 8th, 2010 — 9:20pm

I should fill in a little bit I left out.

Last week one of the yard tigers, Marbles, who learned a route up my windshield to the roof (no small feat as the windshield is quite steep and, um… glass) … Marbles, the lovely creature, tore a hole in my bug screen. I’ve been putting off repairing the screen for what? three years, so I took it as a sign. I didn’t go so far as to give Marbles a fish flavoured treat (the bag rustling of which sends all the yard tigers into paroxysms) for his efforts, but I did refrain from punching him, my first plan. Never the less, I got the job done; there’s a new screen in place.

I swear those coyotes are getting closer every day.

It’s been hot. And humid. I haven’t settled matters with Gentec, the camera suppliers considering my warranty appeal of which I made mention earlier, but I’m hopeful. I’ve been pricing Leicas on the web, and so far I’m enjoying the pictures.

My car parts are on the way from Pennsylvania; with luck (no hang-ups at the border) I’ll soon have a new faucet, a new power cable door, a new window crank, and a new sun visor clip. I think that’s all I ordered; seems like there should be more.

Last night was a real big shindig here on the ranch: bountiful bonfire, shooters and beer, fireworks, lotsa’ “yeehaws” and giggles. I went to my camper ’round midnight but damn these kids have powerful stereos. It’s the “boom boom” part that’s insuperable (insuperable?) There’s not an ear plug invented can withstand it. I sat for an hour on the edge of my bed practicing loving kindness toward all sentient beings (and I knew where a sledge hammer was) but as it turned out I was the only one happy and whistling this morning. Loud whistling mind you.

That’s all for now. The thunder storm has ceased (didn’t amount to much anyway) and I can now put the roof back up. I’m still stewing up my choice/emotion thought combo haberdasherianism thingy; it’s not yet ready to ladle so goddag, yer jus’ gunna’ hafter wait. Yeehoo.

And good night.

The trampoline, during quieter times

The trampoline, during quieter times

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August 4th, 2010 — 12:22pm

I wonder what screwed-up philosophy,
what claim to a god’s indulgence
made men decide their own importance?
And what is great music and art
but an alibi for murderers?

Al Purdy – The Beavers of Renfrew

As a follow up to that bug helmet post, I will tell you, although it’s not at all clear yet, I am formulating an idea of the western world vis two prime (and largely subliminal) motivators: choice and emotion.

Why that should follow on the wearing of hats is “beyond the scope of this essay” and, in particular, beyond me. But it follows the last post, which was haberdasherian in nature, hence the title of this entry.

Hats off to the cataloguers for making the choice! but a slap upside the head of the metaloguers who let their emotions get the better of them.

Have a listen to this TED talk with Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing:

Now this by Jerry L. Thompson, author of Truth and Photography: Notes on Looking and Photography:

“But what is the word emotion but a metaphor itself, a representation as physical motion of some inner change, a change not of place but of state? How can we name that change, except as a metaphor? There is no word more basic, more concrete. We are left with feeling, which names physical, not metaphysical, experience. But we know what we know: there is something else, something further, a thing beyond what we know from the senses, a thing we feel in our hearts, in the skin of our faces heated from within, in our accelerated breathing, in our brimming eyes. And we know we are able to feel these things not only at the sight of a predator, or of a loved one in distress, but also in the presence of a work of art, a harmless fictive construction: at a play, in front of a picture, during a musical performance, even in solitude, silently interpreting the meanings, and perhaps the sounds, of words.”

Embedded in our lives is choice for the sake of choice, and tears for the sake of tears: we think we’re alive because we choose, we think we’re vital because we emote.

“And what is great music and art but an alibi for murderers?”

If we really took responsibility for ourselves we would change utterly. We don’t, which is why we come off as childish in the defense of our choice of who we are, and our tenacious belief we can keep it that way.

Western art seems to be mere playing with emotions; stimulating ourselves like thrill seekers on a roller coaster. We feel anger, hate, love, loss, from the safety of our seats, and in a time and place of our choosing. We play with our emotions, fascinated. Magnificent thrill seeking, vicarious stimulation, experiencing the other at a safe distance; a voyeurism, “slumming it”. In this sense there’s little difference in the motivation of imbibers of grand opera or of day time soaps, of monumental sculpture or stuffed animals. It’s only a matter of degree. We choose our game.

Anyway, these are raw thoughts. I’ll work it into what I’m doing and see if it takes me anywhere.

Must go sew up the bug screen now.

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