Sunday, July 3, 2016

Inside my head...

The format, if you could call it that, is rambling. Thoughts assembled, recorded in no particular order. 

'Inside my head'
If your mind was a soup, simmering... i will be the guy w/ a spoon, stirring it around.
The headlines mentioned here? ... they may be stale. As events, they are now history.
That doesn't mean what's noted/going on is any less important.
Have you heard of, or read, anything by Bruce Chatwin? His book 'The Songlines' is one of my favorites. The middle section is a long series of quotes from many sources, all about travel. I have borrowed his format, sort of. I re-read his book, often.
it has something to do with these next few links. I think.
The End of Reflection - NY Times

Future Tense


“Finding moments to engage in contemplative thinking has always been a challenge, since we’re distractible,” said Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows.” “But now that we’re carrying these powerful media devices around with us all day long, those opportunities become even less frequent, for the simple reason that we have this ability to distract ourselves constantly.”

Why I Quit Twitter — and Left Behind 35,000 Followers


But the fact is, giving up one social media space wasn’t exactly martyrdom. It wasn’t much of a loss at all. I have found myself reading whole articles through The New York Times and Washington Post apps on my phone — imagine that.


Some thoughtful ideas coming from what you might think to be an unlikely source:

(she's talking about her husband's recent untimely death)

"I have a huge reservoir of sadness that is with me always — right here where I can touch it," she said. "I never knew I could cry so often — or so much. But I am also aware that I am walking without pain. For the first time, I am grateful for each breath in and out — grateful for the gift of life itself. I used to celebrate my birthday every five years and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always. I used to go to sleep worrying about all the things I messed up that day — and trust me, that list was often quite long. Now I try really hard to focus on each day’s moments of joy."

Finally, she told the audience, appreciate your own capacity for resilience when you're sad or disappointed. Expand that resilience beyond yourself to the companies and communities you create.

"When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself."


What was it Donald Rumsfeld said about known unknowns?
Or was it unknown unknowns?
What gooble-de-gook/crapola. At least DR has dropped off the stage, let's hope he stays there.

But that thought is interesting....

'There are many answers to all questions'

( a detail image, just to the right of center)

You couldn't possibly have missed this one in the headlines:
Militiamen occupy U.S. national parks building in Oregon

"A group of militiamen on Saturday occupied the headquarters of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon in support of two brothers who are slated to report to prison on Monday on arson charges, the Oregonian newspaper reported.
"We're planning on staying here for years, absolutely," Ammon Bundy, one of the occupiers, told the newspaper via telephone."
Sometimes i think too many people fight over next to nothing. Their self perceived 'rights'? WTF are those? One of those 'you make it up as you go along' kinda things?
Eventually, yes, these people gave up. About fucking time.
Land west of the Mississippi has been argued over for as long as Europeans have been there to argue about it. The Native Americans probably had their squabbles too, though they didn't leave written record of it, they came and went, conquered, were conquered, moved many times.
Almost half the land in the west is owned by the US Gov't. Not just as military sites, but as BLM land. I have driven through a good bit of it, and lemme tell ya, much is so inhospitable, it's not worth arguing over, it will never be settled except by the most hardy of souls. Let 'em have it.
At least this whole Oregon mess has lit a fire under discussion about land out here - who owns what, who has rights.
The same way the western drought has inspired a lot more discussion about how water gets saved and used.
One news organization is worth tuning into often: 
High Country News - - lots of excellent journalism here.
On a really good note:
'Volcanic spires, dunes, Joshua trees: California's desert gets new federal protection'
President Obama designated three new national monuments in the California desert Thursday, expanding federal protection to 1.8 million acres of landscapes that have retained their natural beauty despite decades of heavy mining, cattle ranching and off-roading.
New desert/JT protection:
"Kerry says implementation of Iran nuclear deal 'days away' "
( i didn't record the date of this headline, but it's not important.)
Yeah, right. Anyone who thinks Iran isn't talking out of both sides of it's mouth really needs 'a check up, from the neck up'. They are totally bullshit artists of the first degree. There seems to be much disagreement over what the Koran really says - one thing i have read is that it says it is OK to lie to your enemies to achieve your goal.
One day President Rouhani makes agreeable sense to western ears... and a few days Later the 'supreme leader' Khatami calls for destruction of Israel.

Meanwhile, Iranian protesters storm the Saudi embassy in Tehran to denounce a much more serious event - the execution of 47 people in Saudi Arabia.
One result?
In Dramatic Move, Iran Bans Citizens From Making Pilgrimage to Mecca for First Time in More Than 25 Years

It seems like Muslims have no problem w/ killing each other or Westerners. And Islam is a religion of peace?  Oh please, get real. An Iranian soccer player gets banned because he wears 'sponge bob' pants. Tolerance? Ain't none here.

Shall we talk about about image quality in the photo world?
(Now there's a topic that definitely warrants the 'finding sanity in a nutty world.' title of the blog.)
Wow, it has really gone to hell in a hand basket. 
A photog. friend of mine says that Steve Jobs killed photography in making a phone that doubles as a camera. Can't say that i disagree with that.
I work at a photo studio/digital printing place in Marin county CA, and i routinely see people who want huge prints of of miserably low quality image files.
Sigh..... Does anyone look at Ansel Adams prints anymore?
Yes, i have to admit, i shot architecture on a 4x5 view camera for 10 years. I am biased. Biased for quality.

RE: copyright in this digital world.
Another concept seriously eroded. If your images are at Getty or some name brand place, you'll get compensated. As for all the rest? Don't hold your breath. I also see people come in to our place with images they swiped off tumblr or some other website, and they want to print them.
Excuse me, this is a copyright violation.
I am reminded of Rodney Dangerfield - "i don't get no respect".
Creators work long and hard to create - they deserve compensation, or at least the right to negotiate for compensation.
About 20+ years ago, i did an illustration for 'Guitar Player' magazine, the article titled "Thumb free", I think i got all of $500 for it's one time use. 

After that, all rights remained mine. It was a verbal agreement but binding nonetheless.

A few months later, i heard from 'Guitar Player' - the Brazilian edition - wanting to reuse this image with the article in Portugeuse (sic?). They could have just gotten whatever they needed to print this from Guitar Player/US, run it, and i would have been none the wiser, seeing as i don't buy any magazines in Brazil.
But no, they had the decency to contact me, and offer $200 for re-use. This is how it should be done = 'some respect'.
Somewhere, Rodney Dangerfield is smiling' :-)


What does 'share' mean these days??
Where does 'sharing' end ...and being annoying & intrusive begin?

Some sanity?
Look to music, songs!

Warren Zevon: 'For my next trick, I'll need a volunteer, step right up...'

Warren Zevon: 'My shit's fucked up'

"We contemplate eternity,under the vast indifference of heaven" - Warren Zevon


A brilliant song - 'Thru your hands' by John Hiatt

"you were dreaming on a park bench bout some broad hiway somewhere
when the music from the carillon seemed to hurl your heart out there,
past the scientific darkness, past the fireflies that float, 
to angel bending down to wrap you in her warmest coat, 
and you ask what am i not doing, 
she's says your voice cannot command,
she's says in time it will move mountains, it will come thru your hands.

still your argue for an option, still you angle for your case, like you wouldn't know a burning bush if it blew up in your face, 
while we scheme about the future, as we dream about the past, when just a simple reaching out might build a bridge that lasts....
and you ask 'what am i not doing?'
she says 'your voice cannot command
In time you will move mountains, it will come thru your hands'

So whatever your hands find to do you must do it with all your heart,
There are thoughts and love to blow men's minds and tear great worlds apart
There's a healing touch to find you
on that broad hiway somewhere
to lift you high as music flying thru the angels hair

Don't ask what you are doing because your voice cannot command
you see in time we will move mountains. it will come thru your hands."

Rolling Stones - 
Let it bleed - opening track to 'Let it Bleed' album - 'Gimme shelter'

This track chilled me to the bone when i first heard it, and it still does. 
One of Keith Richards best works, best licks. It has a certain staggering wavering uncertain quality to it that is a perfect reflection of the times back then.
Merry Clayton's vocal? downright gorgeous. and MJ's best lyrics - if the definition of 'art' is that it stands the test of time? this one surely does, it's even more true today than when it was recorded/released.
A 'storm is threatenin' our lives today', for sure.


All Along the Watchtower

"All Along the Watchtower" is a song written and recorded by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.
It initially appeared on his album John Wesley Harding.
It has been covered by other artists in different genres, most notably by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
There exists much speculation as to what the song is actually about.

"There must be some way out of here,"
said the joker to the thief
"There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine,
plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth"

"No reason to get excited," the thief,
he kindly spoke
"There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I,
we've been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late"

All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl"

You won't find this on youtube, it has been blocked, copyright violation. Buy the full album, 'Electric Ladyland'
It also has 'house burning down' and 'vodoo chile' (several versions) just these are worth the price of admission, i assure you.


The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again

Comments on this one?

"My neighbors liked this song so much, they invited the police to come check it out"

"you weren't the first neighbors dailed 911, too.....!!!"

(Listen to what Keith Moon is doing on this track! Absolutely marvelous!
And he does it again and again - listen to 'Bargain". He always manages to rip the world a new asshole!)

Another comment on this one:

"This song is timeless. You know why? Generations and generations and generations of young people will have been manipulated by someone or something, by morally corrupt authority figures. And eventually, they'll figure out some day or another what's really going on. And the message of this song will speak to them, just as it did when it was first released and as it does today."

Soo... SF is the 'sanctuary' city......?
That protects illegal immigrants from ICE? Hellooo??? Excuse me???
SF also offers many benefits to homeless people, like 'tent city'.

OK, i get it that there are many people who have honestly fallen on hard times, thru no fault of their own, and could use a helping hand, and deserve one. I almost ended up there myself, 20+ years ago. I managed to get some really miserable jobs, then i found a good one that really uses my many art/photo skils, and recovered.

But others, as described in a SF Chronicle article, 1/28/16, don't deserve nothin'. I am referring to a certain 21 YO who moved here from Michigan 'cause he heard SF is easy on homeless.
So he's a homeless heroin addict, who is happy to have a tent, and just get high all day. And night.

Why should anyone or any city put up with this??
He is willfully addicted, useless, and unapologetic about it??? WTF??? What happened to personal integrity, values?

Back to the Middle East again:
2/28/16 - "Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and reformist partners won a big vote of confidence in elections that could speed up Iran's emergence from isolation, and a key ally told long dominant hardliners to accept that voters wanted them to step aside."

Some small dose of sanity here - most Iranians are young, they don't remember Khomeini or the revolution, they want to get on the internet, buy western stuff, listen to many kinds of music, take in all the world offers them. And kiss the 80 YO mullahs goodbye. It's about time.

As for american politics, and would-be republican presidential hopefuls? What a cesspool of shit and mudslinging! We need to kiss all these people 'goodbye'.

One last word for you:

Think Less, Think Better

Gray Matter

By MOSHE BAR JUNE 17, 2016 NYTimes

Photography also helps me stay sane, explains the world to me in ways nothing else can.

(It arises from the flames, the ashes, to be reborn.
I have been there, done that, and will do it again when necessary!)
 I hope you can, too.

'Seeking the Vibe'

The Terminator famously said:
"Ah'll be back"

So will I.