Thursday, August 28, 2008


This is Loonie, the object of Bela's affection. Actually, this is Loonie in better days because now Loonie is entirely encased in duct tape and missing at least half of its stuffing. I kind of feel bad about Loonie's slow disintegration and here's why: I gave Loonie to Bela. Loonie annoyed me, seeming to be little more than a dust catcher and all around eyesore. I wanted Loonie gone, crushed by crashing space debris, but barring that, ripped to shreds by a beagle puppy would suffice.
Once Loonie was fully gutted I would've tossed it in the trash, but MK keeps 'repairing' it, swathing it in ever thickening reams of tape. Reams? Is that even correct? Oh who cares. Loonie's a sticky silver blob wedged under the coffee table where Bela last dragged it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crow Watch

I bought some expired professional grade black and white film awhile back on ebay. The thing about film v. digital images is that film is not immediate (except for Polaroids) and with film you never know quite what you're going to get. That's why I bought the expired film. I wanted the flaws and the potential hinkiness of film long past its prime. It's also why I still use a broken Soviet-era FED-3 rangefinder camera. Wow, with that thing you (I) NEVER know for even a second what's going to come back from the developing lab. I used to have a darkroom in my house, the house I lived in before this house, but I just don't want to bother with that work anymore. Now I send everything out and then tinker with the pics on the computer. Sometimes I clean things up and sometimes I take the contrast to extremes. In this picture shown I left it as it was. It's MK at Allegheny Cemetery. There'd been a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about huge flocks of crows roosting in the old growth trees bordering the boneyard and I wanted to see if we could see them for ourselves. A cemetery is eerie enough without the ill harbinger represented by crows.
Anyway, we did see some crows, but not a swarm of 'em, and not any close enough for me to get a good picture of. Instead we walked around and I just took pics of headstones. Here MK is walking through the Civil War section of the cemetery. The day was about as bleak as a day can be and not be night.

Beagle Update

Beagle's are such nebby dogs. Bela likes to lurk on the stairs and peek through the spindles or around the corner to see what we're up to, without actually committing to joining us. Unless, that is, food in any form enters the scenario. Then she barrels at us like a black and tan cannonball and shamelessly begs with her soft brown pleading eyes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

There is something that I think is inherent to a blog: Creating a din in a vacuum - not unlike a ruckus lifting its head from a mouldering dais only to emit a death rattle and collapse once more. The egotistical aspects of the blogosphere have been (and are being) explored, with no resolution or rationale in sight. Not that I think resolution or rationale is demanded, just that it could be kind of nice, maybe even quaint.
Still, if the 1970s was the 'Me Generation' then the 2000s has emerged as 'It's All About Me 24/7 Generation'. Are we so special that we need nonstop coverage and self promotion? Yes and no, but mostly no. Yes, as individuals we are all unique and have our own way of perceiving the world and filtering the stimuli received into a (sometimes) cogent and relatable narrative. But blogging tends to sabotage perspective and cripple the narrative by its own medium - immediacy, lack of editing, and perhaps most importantly, lack of fore and hind thought. Because really, if you don't take the time to stop and reflect about what has happened or what you're thinking - and why - and what it all potentially might mean, but instead regurgitate a hastily conceived blogpost, you slip into the pit of reactionary-ism. All validity is carelessly tossed aside in the rush to simply say something. To say anything. And while 'Say Anything' is quite a good movie, actually saying anything is not the sort of credo that lends itself to expanding awareness.
Have I been immune to the pitfalls of blogging? Certainly not. I've slapped together dreck and hit the 'publish' button, even when I knew that it was not worth my own time to write this drivel, let alone worth some stranger's time to read it. Hack schlockiness at its most supreme. Useless psuedo literary chicanery masquerading as instant accessibility to the inner workings of someone else's life. As if that's all the excuse anyone needs to blather on without nary a thought or backward glance.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Closer

I'm not sure if The Closer is beginning its death spiral, or if they're setting up for some major shit to go down in Brenda's life, because this year so far she's been acting weird and treating Fritz like crap. The show itself is still really well written and acted, but one of things that I love, love, love about this show is the character of Brenda Lee Johnson. Kyra Sedgwick plays her brilliantly. And I mean that. If you lined up a whole bunch of diamonds and had Kyra as Brenda stand next to them, she'd outshine them like the sun does the moon.
But, as much as I adore this show, I have to wonder why we haven't been given the least crumb of resolution from the ep when Brenda totally mislead Fritz on a case and screwed him over royally. We've been left hanging on somebody's petard for the last two weeks! Sure, the ep with Jennifer Coolidge was stellar (loved the bit with 'idiot', 'bigger idiot', and the bit with 'this is very bad for you, but very good for me!'), but c'mon...How much is Fritz supposed to take before he walks? I would've walked after the betrayal of trust thingy. I have severe trust issues that spring from my emotional neediness, so I couldn't even have shrugged that whole thing off if Atlas himself had stepped up and offered to carry my load.
So, either the show is veering off into a horrid direction, or we're being set up for Fritz to take a walk. It's the only two scenarios that make even the least amount of sense.

Beijing Olympics Coverage

Like a large portion of the world, I've been watching a lot of the Olympics. Not living on the U.S./Canadian border, my choice for viewing is limited to the coverage provided by NBC. And believe me, I'm using the word 'coverage' loosely. Sure, they learned their lesson with the Sydney and Athens games and now go ahead and show events as they happen, as opposed to taping shit and then hyping it like it's not already been decided and showing it in primetime (although, they are still pulling these hijinx on the west coast, which is just idiotic). The games themselves are great, even if the Chinese chick gymnasts are like, 8 yrs old, and get judged on a different learning curve than the rest of the world. That Bolt guy from Jamaica is probably the best sprinter ever, and Michael Phelps has eclipsed the meglomaniacal Mark Spitz for future generations. Plus, the Women's Beach Volleyball is a pleasure even guiltier than Dorothy Snarker's Tank Top Tuesday to behold.
Yes, by and large-ish, I'm enjoying myself. Except, of course, for one thing: The total lack of local Beijing coverage. NBC could be shooting this whole thing from a soundstage, for all the feel of the city, and indeed the whole country of China, that we get. Infact, my sister summed it all neatly by observing, "It's all like China Disneyland. It just feels fake and staged." Thank you. My brain had been grasping at straws to try and make some sense of this. And when they, NBC, do try and show some local flavor, we get an insipid cooking demonstration on the Today Show. I have watched the Today Show since I was a young child, but now I find myself not tuning in. I can't stand the lack of substance, and no, talking to emerging Chinese fashion mavens does not constitute substance, nor does an Olympic makeover for the US softball team.
When, exactly did they, the network Powers That Be, decide, exactly, to dumb down every goddamn thing into utter irrelevance?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ebay Madness

Spurred on by a yard sale purchase, for $.50, of a Minox C subcompact spy camera, circa 1950-60s, MK and I have started selling our shit on ebay. The whole snowball started when I found that spy camera. I mean, it was a 'real' spy camera, not one of those junky things one (me) could get with enough Bazooka Joe wrappers and a quarter for S&H. No, this is like James Bond real-deal stuff. I did a little cursory research and discovered that my modest purchase could haul in some serious cash, so we took some digital pics and posted that puppy. Now that it's all said and done (meaning: the auction is closed and the money is sent), we've become drunk on our own success and have started scouring our closets for more to post.
Now, let me just say that I've been down this road before - thinking that I too might have a haunted crutch used by a beatified soul as they hobbled from one hospital charity ward to another administering to the seething masses with boundless energy and empathy. So, I told MK, "We need good product, honestly described, accompanied with snappy copy/text."
And that's where we are right now, in the middle of a bunch of ebay auctions, most bid upon, a couple of bidding wars, and already scheming on what to put up for sale next. It's fun, but you can get so caught up in the whole giddiness of making money and getting rid of something that you don't want anyway, that it's easy to lose focus of: a) What you are selling - and b) whether it actually has value or if you're just addicted to obsessively tracking your auctions. It's a sickness, trust me, I tell you.
Not that online selling is anything new to me. I've been doing it for almost a decade, but ebay is just different. Tracking how many pages views you've had, whether a couple of bidders are driving up the price, how much time is left and whether a price is going to go through the's like gambling, only you're the 'house', sitting behind a one-way mirror observing it all and waiting...
I'm just going to post a few more things and then I have other things I have to get done and can't devote this kind of devotion to something that makes me feel obsessed and stressed, and kinda high.
Of course, I still have all of this Daguerreotypes, so we'll see what happens...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beagle Update

Yesterday Bela turned 6 months old. She is a holy terror, chewing up half the house, when not humping a stuffed loon that is now wrapped entirely in duct tape. She drags poor loonie around by its neck, periodically humps it, then moves on to bite us or shred something important.
Nothing but an endless joy for all concerned! Just when we think that we can't tolerate one more second of her puppydom, she falls asleep, and looks so innocent and angelic and precious that all of my previous dark thoughts concerning her future seem so alien and brutish.
Sigh. Soon, I keep thinking, soon she will stop biting the tender flesh on my inner thigh and ripping up the newspaper before I get a chance to do the crossword.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Buffy #17 & Fray

I'll admit that I was a little tiny bit apprehensive about the Buffyverse colliding with Frayland. First off, the time travel bugaboo. It can be the whole' jumping the shark' can of worms, and no one wants to see that, right? But I'm a loyal fan, and nothing if not open minded (except with Republicans...with them I'm as closed as a steel trap left out in the rain and rusted shut), so I gently went into that storyline hoping for the best.
Issue 16 was good, a proper set up for what's to follow, with lots of stuff happening. But it's 17 that blows you away. Gotta say that I'm just lovin' the cover art by Jo Chen. Guys at Dark Horse (and you are mostly guys there): DO NOT LET HER GET AWAY!!! Her cover for the final episode in the Faith arc, No Future For You, should win awards and stuff. Her cover for the current issue is equally as brilliant. The twist on perspective perfectly reflects what is going on in the pages inside.
Oddly, I'm not going to give a lot away in this post, unlike usually when I just spill all of the beans and then make bean soup. No, instead I'm going to encourage everyone to go out and buy the comic, and then find someplace, here even, to go and obsessively discuss it.
One other thing: I finally got the Fray series and read the entire thing, just so that I could be fully caught up on Frayland. When it first came out in serial form I'd read maybe one or two issues, but I was dedicated to it, so there were huge gaps in my knowledge of what happened with Mel and why. It's not essential that you read Fray to keep up with what's happening in the Buffy arc, but it helps to know what happened to her twin brother and the price Mel has had to pay to be a slayer.
I even let MK read my copy of Fray, but she had to promise to be extry tender with it. I want it to stay in pristine condition, so we handle it with surgical gloves and I don't smoke around it. Now that's dedication, or just garden variety obsession. One or the other, but never both.
Anyone have any thoughts on Willow? Anyone?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Online Stalkers

Have an online stalker? I don't, never have. I'm just not that interesting, or I'm scary (damn my Precious Moments collection!). But the thing that I've been thinking about, is what constitutes an online stalker? Is it someone who simply responds to a lot of your posts? Or is it someone who follows you around and trashes everything you say? I think that example A is kind of a friend, and example B is an asshat. But stalker? Get over yourself. There's a HUGE, ginormous difference between someone who chimes in and says something like 'Hi! Great to see you online!' and someone who flames and challenges every keystroke. And then threatens to show up at your house. NOW that's a stalker!
I hate cliches, I really do, but cliches are cliches for a reason. At times you have the lonely who lock themselves into their own way of thinking and they can imagine any number of things happening that to an objective observer are, well, not happening at all. I don't even know what to compare it to. It's like the Bush administration. Lies being bandied about as truth to forward an unknowable agenda.
I'm actually speaking from experience. I do have a friend who believes that another friend is stalking her online. I just don't see it, and I think that every word is over scrutinized to the point of lethargy. It's exhausting how over analyzed this has become. A nonissue thrown into an arena is still a nonissue. Only it's got light thrown on it, and exposes the lonely person as being lonely and desperate for any modicum of attention.
Actually, what it all is, is sad. And I've said enough.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Let's Do Lunch

On Saturday MK and I got to have lunch, and meet in person (finally!), one of our online friends, Carrie. Over the years I've met a dozen or so of the friends I've made online and I think the whole experience has been nothing but enriching.
Since Carrie is a Cleveland native, we let her pick the restaurant. She chose a wonderful Tuscan grill, Brio, in Crocker Park, not far from where we were staying with MK's sister in Bay Village. I'm also grateful to Carrie for taking time out of a hectic day to have a nearly three hour lunch with us. Once you get me talking, it's hard to shut me up! Not to mention that the food was delicious and none of us felt like rushing through it. Although I probably rush a bit through the bolognese lassagna topped with a cheesy cream sauce. I've never had anything like it. I'll try to replicate it at some point, just to try and figure out exactly how they concocted this fabulous dish!
Well, my sister's here, so more later :)