Friday, April 17, 2015


He is a man who rises each morning and sets each evening. So people say of him. Many think of it as a form of admirable severity. You could set your watch by him. He is clearly a system of some sort. (Some say "planetary." Some say "meteorological.") And, when he dies, it will say on his tombstone that here lies a man who rose and set with each circadian cycle. His tombstone will stress that he was a man who rose, who set. There will be even less explaining than there is now. And there is precious little explaining now. We will know him only by his clockwork. This is eulogy of a timepiece.


I was driving along a newly pristine (it's spring) golf course and a bird throbbed and hovered over some sluggishly still-dead ornamental grasses the green uses as a sort of privacy barrier and windbreak from the road. I had gone out for photography, always photography, and there was that "handless" moment when an image is swimming and alive and the camera's attention is not available.

The swim of most moments, actually, is a "normal handless" moment, if one is visually awake. It's everywhere, photography. Spatial parsing must go on. There are frames to be hung. There should be a gestalt session even in walking down the street--or walking across the most familiar room. Heraclitus gets into everything. "You're the reason we can't have fossilized things."

The bird was throbbing with being alive, wings in the latening sun and stupid people in the background, in little cars were driving over a synthetic, Japanese garden with eighteen little holes in it, magically raked out with concentric wings not of gravel but ideas of of accuracy, success, and the obnoxious precisionism (this includes social palaver) that goes along with money-acquiring skills.

And I thought how all these bodies so alive are wrong, in the larger scheme of things. It wasn't a thought I wanted. It wasn't my thought. It was the darkness speaking, and the darkness will speak last, after all of us have spoken. They know they are wrong, living things, an accidental turn in the patterns energy could assume, that trick of the light that is consciousness. Gorgeously alive and wrong. Wrong how, wrong why? Wrong because the sense of life that lies within life is self-aggrandizing, ravenous, unappeasable. That bird wanted to assume the universe. That bird wanted the whole sky, the whole energy kielbasa. It was a good emblem of life. It had gotten everyone's act down. You could see it in the throbbing. The use of the light. The wings are terribly exciting to the passerby for a few moments. That bird was endless. And death is placed there for us. And it's a human thing, so slight, so ridiculous, like a traffic cone. Like seeing a traffic cone in a cemetery. Or a stop sign. In a cemetery. Where there has to be a joke and nobody needs to stop. It's a ghost town. No one is here. Yet.. People are still directing traffic. More dead directing you around this little city of the dead. Some dead engineer of cemeteries laid this out. It's so simple, the plan of the cemetery, yet it feels contrived. There are no rolling swales of mortality, none of the normal curves in walking that characterize our lot of uncertainty. The dead don't need streets. But here they are. It as if they are living on streets again. Everything but addresses. I imagine somewhere there are cemeteries where the dead have addresses, and the tombs perhaps receive mail. Why not? The flowers left, the messages scrawled on paper--are these not the dead's mail?

 Soon, the endless bird will seek shelter. The sun is nearly down. It can have no understanding of its circadian ending, but there must be a sense of the voluntary in it. There must be a form of understanding and at least a form of acquiescence, even if that acquiescence is only a bodily one. Sleep is still a mystery to everyone. Perhaps it is the annihilation of sleep which gentles us, or at least baffles us, stuns us, like a rock of darkness hitting the cranium, lights out, and so we awake sluggish and slower, possibly a new being. Some species surely travel further in sleep than others. What if there were a creature that traveled so far in its mind or soul each night that each morning it awoke a new being. This seems strangely imaginable, because look at books.

To some sleep seems pointless, the sign of the lazy bones. But I see a form of weird ambition in sleep. Sleep has its own creativity, its own important narratives to get down. Sleep is kind, in that it takes us places. We get to shed our volition for a bit, or at least have the illusion that we shed it. We are dipped in something. It never ceases to feel like an initiation, it never gets old, sleep. And unlike our waking selves, our sleeping selves rarely repeat themselves.

Monday, April 13, 2015


SuperHeadz Blackbird Fly 35mm TLR Twin Lens Reflex Camera Black with Orange Face.

Probably flimsy construction, but a quick Flickr check revealed some pretty pics.  (Possibly, those photos were from an older version of this camera, which I think might be a nostalgiac re-issue.)

Just under one hundred and fifty on Ebay right now. I think it ships from Japan.

Surprise: it shoots 35mm (unless the listing is wrong).

Oh, you can get one for around eighty dollars on Amazon. I think I want one of these. Look at the format versatility: The Blackbird, fly is a twin-lens reflex camera: one lens is used to expose the film, while the other is used like a viewfinder. It's a famous style of camera whose history stretches back to the 1920s. The Blackbird fly uses 35mm film. There are two ways to take a picture with the Blackbird fly. For quiet and reflective framing, you can hold the camera at waist level and look down, to compose your shot using the finder lens. For a quicker style of shot, you can use the sportsfinder, which approximates a viewfinder through a notch in the top of the camera. The Blackbird fly can take pictures in standard 35mm film format (24x36), but using a different (provided) mask, it can also produce square format pictures (24x24). You can even remove the mask entirely and make a larger square format image (36x36), which fills up the entire width of the 35mm film, including the side sprocket holes. For shooting during the day, you can alternate between apertures f/7 and f/11, with a shutter speed of 1/125. At night, you can switch the shutter to B-mode to let in as much light as you might need, or you can also attach a flash for even more possibilities. Variable focusing, from 0.8 meters, makes for a sharp subject. The Blackbird fly uses a wide-angle 33mm lens and also allows you to take multiple exposures on the same frame.

Oh, this is on my wish list now.

If you do a search on Flickr using the camera name, you'll see the photos were the image extends onto the sprocket holes. It's a rather interesting effect.

Night photography, yes! What is it about twin-lens reflex cameras and beautiful night photography?  If you can't afford to drop the money for a Mamiya C-330 and kit (and upkeep and development fees) this might be the way to go for beautiful night photography.

I want to give this a try.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

There is That View

There is that view of the universe as a machine. There is that view of the universe, which is time, as a machine, the universe as a time machine. And all the dead are in that part of the machine which has stopped working. I don't think the universe is a machine. The beautifully undefined nature of action itself seems to belie that notion. Machines don't (yet) have volition (and "this one" does in some quarters). And machines  have a discernible purpose. I understand why we want to think of it as a machine, the nature of that projection. I see memory everywhere, even where consciousness is not. So the only way I could think of this as a machine would be in the mathematical sense of an identity, where it's "let x = x," which is a sort of universal, mathematical memory (in the Kantian sense). In a sense, matter remembers itself, whether consciousness is present or not. I could see someone taking up the position that "brute matter" is a more rigorous form of memory. A rock is more itself from day to day than consciousness is. I realize the paradox in such a statement.

Going Hiking

I bought hiking boots the other day, so I am off to walk all over a (small) mountain.

Serial killers love nature trails, but I have horrible victimology traits (a good thing). So I will probably be fine.

There are always lots of people there anyway, and I know how to yell "Help!" in at least seven languages. ;)

It would be so cool if I would see a fox today. But they're probably nocturnal anyway, right? They say there are coyotes everywhere around here. But they see you. You don't see them.  I only saw two foxes in the wild in the past two decades. The one I saw not far from where I'm going. But he was walking right alongside the highway I was driving and stopped and looked up in what seemed a cheerful way. It was almost as if he smiled at me. You know: the way their mouths are set. Maybe there was something wrong with him that he was out and walking alongside the road in full daylight. That must have been about twenty years ago though. They're becoming increasingly rare around here. Oddly enough, the other fox I saw was right down the street from where I love. Maybe they're around and just stealthier than I realize. We also used to see pheasants in the fields around here more. Lots of species vanishing. Sometimes it's not our fault. I wonder about the chipmunks. Their numbers have declined incredibly in the past few decades. With them, I suspect it might be disease, some natural horror.

Glorious day out there. I can walk all day if the weather is nice. If all goes well, I will walk many hundreds of miles by the end of the summer this year. I'm one of those people who look forward to even the hottest days. I don't care if it's a hundred degrees. It's the cold to which I'm preternaturally sensitive (thanks to a Hashimoto's thyroid). The heat just feels like a gift. Even the altered consciousness that comes with high heat is interesting...its impact on photography, etc. The other direction and my hands just go numb, much sooner than yours would. My "normal" body temp is much lower than yours (even though my TSH is normalized).

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Year

The year I stopped having opinions about other people is the year I began to find the way to a decent sort of happiness. Monsters excepted. Sorry. I forgot.