Thursday, April 30, 2009

Celebrity Encounter – Mudpuddle

Yesterday, I read a wonderful blog over at the Explorer’s place where Lindsey finally convinced Barry to get his feet wet and it reminded me of my own mud-puddle story.

Wait a minute. Have I told this before? In the old days when I used to imbibe a bit, one of the telltale signs that I had over-tippled was a tendency to tell the same joke or story over and over again. Now, old age does the same thing, except my repetition of things is over months or years instead of every thirty minutes.

BUTLER: You could always check the Blogspot archive.

Naw…I’ll push forward. I was living in L.A. at the time, working as a newspaper writer and photographer for a small liberal paper just over the mountains in a town called Newhall. My apartment was on Garfield Street in Hollywood. It had little furniture and was littered with beer bottles.

I was in love with Judy Narita.

BAGMAN: You were in love with everybody.

BUTLER: Don’t forget to remind everyone that you were single at the time.

But I don’t remember everybody’s name. And I even remember that this woman had a son named Matthew. Oh yes, and I was single at the time and had not yet met Karen.

Judy did not love me. But Matthew was four or five years old and she needed a baby sitter. I also had an old VW Bus and she needed transportation. So she let me hang around and be useful and once she let me kiss her on the cheek.

Tom, Somebody, Matthew, and Judy - Pacific Sunset - from old slide

She sold the L.A. Free Press, hawking it on Hollywood Boulevard near Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I’d drive her there, park, and take Matthew for a walk and try to entertain him. One day, after a heavy summer shower, he and I were up some alley that ran between two large buildings with no windows. It was almost eerie, with no cars and hardly any pedestrians. And a huge puddle near a blocked up storm drain.

Matthew and I were jumping around in it. Later I would probably take Judy somewhere and buy Matthew new socks and shoes. Yes, I had become very useful.

BUTLER: You were a nice guy sometimes, even then.

BAGMAN: Bah! You were a sap!

Anyhow, behind us, a door opened in one of the windowless buildings and a tall, well-built man stepped out. He was dressed from head to boots in immaculate brown leathers that glowed in the after-shower sunlight. He had long hair and two days growth of beard. He strode over to the sidewalk where Matthew and I were cavorting and as he did so, his leather pants made a kind of swish-swishy sound. Matthew and I hardly noticed him despite the fact that 40 years later I claim to remember what his pants sounded like.

Matthew let out a gleeful shout and jumped into the puddle. I did the same thing. I can’t remember whether I tried to avoid splashing water on the man’s leather suit or not. Probably not.

He looked down at us for a moment, smiled broadly, said, “Far out, man,” and made a massive leap into the deepest part, splashing all of us. Matthew and I laughed and all three of us started jumping up and down splashing ourselves silly.

Suddenly at the top of the alley, a long silver limousine careened around the corner, zoomed down the hill, coming to a sudden stop beside us, and the man in leathers jumped in, saying “Far out, man,” again. And he was gone.

I was just thinking the famous words that ended every episode of the old television show, The Lone Ranger – “Who was that masked man?” – when a crowd of screaming, mini-skirted girls came chasing down the alley after the limousine. They were all screaming, “Jim Morrison! Jim Morrison!” And I realized that I had just had an encounter with celebrity without even knowing it. Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors. In fact, he later wrote the song, “Riders in the Storm,” based on that incident.

BUTLER: “Yeah, right. Give it a break. Even you don’t believe that.”

No matter. Matthew was already on the sidewalk getting ready for the next jump. And I was gradually becoming aware of how squishy my socks had become.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Attach of the Cute Saying Poems

So I was just sitting there, feeling blah and working up a case of feeling sorry for myself, when I remembered something I had heard in A.A. about sitting on the pity pot…and the rhyme and meter hit me despite myself:

Pit pot, pity pot, sitting on the pity pot,

moaning all about my lot,

all the things that I have not,

sitting on my pity pot.

All of a sudden, my foot was tapping and despite my desperate attempt to cling to my depressing writer’s block thing, a question forced itself into my resisting brain – “What other cute sayings might…?” And a second one slipped by my torpor:

Frying pan, frying pan, jumping from the frying pan

Getting away, however I can,

but into the fire instead I ran,

jumping from the frying pan.

Oh my God! I saw myself caught in an avalanche of unwanted possibilities…

Can of worms, can of worms, prying open the can of worms

hard to find some ground that’s firm

when all my memories make me squirm,

opening up my can of worms.


Old dead horse, old dead horse, why do I beat the old dead horse?

Screaming ‘til my voice gets hoarse

I should get off and walk, of course,

but still I beat the old dead horse.

and then the first lines started coming faster than I could write the following rhymes…

House of glass, house of glass, throwing rocks at a house of glass…

Golden rule, golden rule, trying to break the golden rule…

Sticks and stones, sticks and stones, breaking my bones with sticks and stones…

Bird in hand, bird in hand, one in the bush but a bird in the hand…

Iron’s hot, iron’s hot, I need to strike while the iron’s hot…

Penny saved, penny saved, same as earned the penny saved…

Someone’s shoes, someone’s shoes, walking a mile in someone’s shoes….

Stitch in time, stitch in time, saving nine with a stitch in time…

It could go on forever! So I’ll just throw the game out there and let y’all have some fun too.

Shines the sun, shines the sun, making hay while shines the sun

Start it now and git ‘er done

when it gets dark, it’s not so fun

so make your hay while shines the sun…

In the words of Michelle, “GAAAAA!”

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you can't say anything nice....

As my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Actually my mother never said that, but it is a saying usually attributed to mothers. And maybe my mother did say it and I don’t remember.

But it is good advice. Not that I’ve taken it this weekend. I’ve tended to grumble a lot. I’ve grumbled mostly under my breath and out of hearing range of anyone who might hear me and throw the motherly quote back at me. And I didn’t feel like grumbling in my blog. The old popular “Bloggrumble”. Sounds like something that would have lunch with a Slithy Tove. In a cave somewhere with low lighting and Bauhaus prints on the wall.

But I want to post something tonight so when I get up tomorrow, I can simply catch up on the blogs all of you have been writing. I think, tomorrow…although when I play catch up tomorrow will be today…I will start with Dan who always does gratitude things.

I don’t feel much like Dan tonight…although when I play catch up tonight will be last night…Time is such a confusing thing. But if I were Dan, talking about the weekend, I would be grateful for:

1. My neighbor, Steve, who loaned me his battery charger so I could charge up the battery on the riding lawnmower even though it still didn’t work after the battery was charged.

2. The fact my push mower finally started after 5,761 pulls of the starter rope which not only gave my back exercises in pulling but then allowed my legs to get exercise in pushing.

3. Advil.

4. …

And now you can be grateful because that was all that was “autosaved” when the computer went into super slow motion mode last night…which really was last night because I couldn’t post this last night because Blogspot wouldn’t let me in my own Dashboard saying either my account or my password were wrong…


So items 4-10 in my list of sarcastic gratitude are now missing. Probably Blogspot’s way of enforcing what my mother used to say….

And it wouldn’t let me in again this morning so I had to reset my password….

By now, since it is this morning and I still haven’t posted it yet…As my mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, be as confusing as possible.”


Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Open Photo Shoot Out

Father and Son (Or Son and Grandson) depending on whose wall this will hang on. I've still got to match the colors a bit and cut the mattes so I can put these side by side in the same frame. Brian is on the left, Connor is on the right. Why was I not surprised that Karen has been saving Brian's first quilt and some of his first baby clothes all these years? Anyhow I know I'll have to do more than one double frame of for Brian and Melody, one for Karen (maybe two since she wants one for work)...

Speaking of related portrait images, below are brothers, Barclay and Will, sons of a close friend. (Karen's best friend since kindergarten actually). Karen found a matched set of frames in an antique store (one is shown)...made these a Christmas present which succeeded in eliciting tears which is usually the sign of a good Christmas gift.

To anticipate the "How do you do that?" question -- it was really a simple job to do shoot their profiles against a plain background ( used a blue sky for these), use photoshop or similar program to cut out the head shape, fill it with black, paste it back on another background -- in this case I used blurred shadows from a rotating ceiling fan. Doesn't everyone go around taking pictures of the shadows of their ceiling fans?

I should probably stop here and keep this themed as portraiture...but I didn't and there are no rules and what the heck and I need to finish this and go to work, darn it. Son onto just some miscellaneous stuff I uploaded earlier for no explainable reason.

Something old -- From my project of scanning old slides and negatives comes this antique piece from 1974...dirt specks, scratches, chemical decomposition on the slide from being stored in various sheds...University of Wisconsin college art projects. When I was there working with a professor of nursing on a textbook -- one of my past lives (developmental book editor) -- At one point there had been Liberty's Head but the night before I arrived a competing fraternity or art student had burned it down. I wish I had been there to shoot the fire -- Flaming Liberty Head on ice at night?

Next is a shot in Bluffton near Beaufort, SC toward dusk.

Below...heck...Why am I acting like a tour guide and suddenly feeling like I need to write long introductions about each picture? Sometimes I think my fingers are just addicted to typing. Like I would die if my fingers didn't get to click on a keyboard incessantly. Like the old horror movie about the disembodied hands . Or am I thinking of the Munsters?

Oh, I should mention that after all last week's brouhaha about Butler's inability to take photos by himself, Butlet and I did find one image in the camera he gave us he seems to have taken at least one so I should post it below:

And so endeth the unthemed Friday shootout -- do not go gentle into that gray fog.

Does someone have a theme for next week?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The "If I Had a Day to Live" Song

Something new today! I've decided to sing you all a song.

When I was 16, I taught myself to play guitar primarily to impress girls. I never got very good at it. Playing the guitar. Or impressing girls for that matter. I learned some basic chords and strums. Off and on, I've picked up the guitar...and later the banjo...for fun. I've been off for a couple of years now and when I think taking one of these instruments out of the closet, I realize that I'd have to put on new strings and so I leave them there. But someday.

Anyway, I did write a song. Only one. I wrote it when I was 16. And, of course, it was a song about death. Typical 16-year-old. But it was a bright and funny song about death. It seems weird and a little macabre to sing it now but after I thought about it, it is really more about Carpe Diem, so it still fits philosophically with me. Actually, all the best ideas I ever had, I had before I was 21. Everything since has just been elaborations on the original teenage Eureka moments.

One thing before I embarass myself before you. At 16, I was proud of this song because it included a small break...a little 5 note fingering...da deet deet deet deet. I thought I was cool. Well, since I'm two years rusty and my guitar is currently out of tune and needing strings, you will have to deal with my air guitar rendition.

So, without further ado, please give a warm blogspot welcome to Mark and his famous rendition of his hit song, "If I had a day to live."

Yes, I know I screwed up the last verse and repeated it. I was going to edit it out but, what the is what it is.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Babbling through writer’s block

Writer’s block is not a state of not being able to find anything to say. It is a state of having so much to say that you can’t figure out where to start. Writer’s block is like a huge log jam in a river and you have to figure out which log to move. While standing on it, of course.

I’m always so damn smart when other people complain of writer’s block. I lean back in my leather chair, put my feet on my desk, and if I smoked a pipe, I would light it. But I don’t. And the chair is actually some faux leather vinyl, to be honest.

I speak in a slightly British accent and suggest that the quickest way to end the stand-off is to start typing words. Anything. Start pushing logs around and eventually the current will take over. Always so easy to give advice.

Oh God!! And add photographs to it! Yesterday I drove to Lowes to buy 77 bricks and I left the camera at home. Now I realize that not everyone compulsively takes the camera to buy bricks. But ever since I can remember, I’ve been terrified of spotting a good photo opportunity and not having a camera.

A photograph indicative of nothing in this blog
although Reggie Girl recently shot pictures of a car show.

The truth is, of course, that I regularly spot good photo opportunities and I do have my camera. But I don’t stop. Damn the inertia of the mundane world! Yesterday someone who was just getting into photography asked me for some advice. I said, in a slightly German accent this time, the most important photographic accessory was the brake pedal in the car.

Every day for a year and a half, on my way to work, I pass a lawn and garden shop that has a line of wooden chairs out front – each one painted a different brilliant color. In the morning, the low angle sun hits these chairs and makes them explode from a neutral background. Twice I have almost rear-ended someone in stop and go traffic because I have been admiring them. Not once have I ever stopped to shoot them. Always so easy to give advice.

But I went to Lowes without taking my camera. I did so because I have so many recent pictures in my computer, waiting to be reviewed, deleted, sorted, filed, adjusted, manipulated, tagged, and maybe even posted or framed, that I was afraid to take any more.

The non-indicative picture having been played with...

And for two days now, I’ve gone to Blogspot, started to read the blogs of people I follow and turned it off and opened up Photoshop, looked at all the junk there, turned it off, opened up Word, switched to Blogspot, to Photoshop, to Word…

Bagman was even forced to admit for the first time in his life that there might be too many women in the world.

I think I’ll go take bricks out of the car.

But, hey! I had writer’s block and started typing about anything and look! A blog! I sure give good advice!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Writers block, photographers block, or just lazy

Bagman and Butler are sleeping. Probably over stuffed on grits. I may be sparse this week, although I've said that before and by Monday was blogging away. Addiction is like that. So nobody will believe me. I'm sure I'll post something...By the way, does anyone know what next Fridays shootout is about?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A couple of night shots and Photoshop play

For some reason, I'm out of words. Probably a good thing because it gave me a chance to sort through some raw stuff from Hilton Head...delete some...and a couple of night shots grabbed me. And one couldn't help but play you get three versions of it.

Shelter Cove
and below a nearby bridge
Through which aliens began coming through the walkway

Until they took over completely

And I was glad to get back home and sit on the back porch thinking about the difference between my ungreen thumb and Karen's green one, thankful for hers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Shoot-Out – My town – foods

Although Charleston, South Carolina, is a restaurateur’s paradise, I have no photos of them to share. Despite the image of a bon vivant that I present by posting exciting photographs from decades ago when I actually had a life, I hardly ever eat out. At the end of this blog, however, I will post a photograph or two of my refrigerator and pantry which are the best this town has to offer! Come on down!.

But first, in the spirit of the hometown foods theme, I would be remiss if I did not post a dissertation on GRITS.

As everyone who has received a tourist T-Shirt from the South knows, GRITS stands for “Girls Raised In the South.” Bagman is hoping that Reggie Girl, who surely must own at least one of these T-shirts, will provide photographic evidence.

However, the “Girls Raised in the South” acronym was a new learning experience for me, coming from Massachusetts where I always thought that GRITS stood for “Glucose Rich Icky Tasting Stuff”.

The common belief in the North is that grits are made by puréeing hash browns and then removing the taste. Grits are actually made from Spanish moss which is another Southern mystery. Despite numerous research grants, nobody has yet been able to discover whether Spanish moss is animal, vegetable, or mineral. Or how it gets into trees. But grits are made from Spanish moss which puréed before having the taste removed.

But I am not really as negative about grits as I sound. When I first proposed to a “girl raised in the south” and was being traditionally paraded before her mother and the esteemed tribunal of aunts, they all insisted on feeding me grits. It is a kind of ritual or test which Northerners must pass before being allowed to marry into the family.

Determined not merely to survive but to thrive, I soon taught myself to make grits on my own. I’m proud to say that my personal secret recipe has gained me, after 22 years the reputation for being the family’s premier grits gourmet. Either that or they are just happy to have someone else get up and make breakfast for a change.

But today, I will, for the first, time reveal my secret grits recipe:

Mix one cup of grits and three cups of water and a tablespoon of milk in a bowl. Microwave it on high for eight minutes. Add three sticks of butter and a pound of American cheese. Place it back in the microwave for three more minutes. Check for consistency. If it is too thick, add milk. If it is two thin, add more butter and cheese. Note: If you want to cut down on cooking time, the cup of grits is optional.

As you may have noticed from the photograph, I tend to favor grits made by Quaker. If you are not from the South, you probably know that Quaker also makes oatmeal. These two products have led to Quaker’s famous advertising slogan: “We make food with no taste for people with no teeth.”

But since this is a photo shootout instead of a scholarly dissertation, I’ll finish up with pictures of

where I usually obtain the best food in Charleston:

Here is my refrigerator -- open and closed.

And one of the world renown pantries of Charleston...actually Mt. Pleasant.

And finally there are strawberries. This coming weekend is the annual Mt. Pleasant Boone Hall Plantation Strawberry festival (next door to my Subdivision) which would have produced more pictures if this shoot-out were next week instead of this week. Although I will not actually be going to it now since Brian and Melody are having a yard sale on Saturday and will require muscle, which we all know Bagman and Butler have in copious amounts even though I myself am the one who has to take aspirin afterwards.

Also this weekend about 20 miles away is the Low Country Grits Festival which I will also be unable to attend but next year plan to make it. The big event is the Grits Diving contest in which kids leap into a huge vat of grits (with insufficient butter and cheese, I'm sure) and the winner is the person who can climb out with the most gook sticking to their body based on being weighed before and after the dive. Stay tuned for photos next year.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Jo Interviews the Three of Us

Bagman, Butler, and I recently accepted the challenge of being interviewed by Jo at a Majority of Two. So we are here today, sitting in comfortable chairs around a crackling fire, ready to answer her questions with complete candor. She looks around with a slight look of concern at what complete candor might imply, but goes ahead and asks her first question.

1. Have you ever been influenced by a work of art – music, painting, book – and if so, how?

Mark: My grandfather was an artist and watching his discipline and his vision come to life through his brushes and palette set standards which have challenged me ever since in everything I’ve done.

Butler: Mondrian. His lines are so straight and narrow.

Bagman: Jackson Pollack and Picasso’s erotic etchings. Oh yes, and I enjoyed reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover by flashlight when I was 13.

2. If you were a chocolate bar, what type would you be?

Mark: M&M’s, multi-colored, crunchy on the outside, sweet on the inside with a nut in the middle.

Butler: I usually avoid sugar and choose to snack on celery, thank you very much.

Bagman: Warm fudge sauce dripped all over your delicious (deleted deleted deleted)

3. I'm not sure I really should have asked this, but what is your secret weapon to lure the opposite sex?

Mark: A sense of humor and well-written marriage vows.

Butler: My ability to listen carefully without interrupting and my skill at neatly folding laundry.

Bagman: The fact that I’d much rather give pleasure than get pleasure, that I like to take my time, that I’m gentle, and – don’t you dare delete this, Butler!! -- I really like kissing

Butler: Why would I delete that?

Bagman: everywhere.

Pause followed by crashing sounds over and doors slamming. Emergency phone calls being made to the League of Decency. Sirens coming from a distance.

4. I’m now afraid to ask, but what, in your opinion, is your greatest accomplishment?

Mark: Admitting I was powerless over my drinking and letting the incredible people of Alcoholics Anonymous show me how to live a sober life.

Butler: Managing to confine Bagman to Mark’s imagination so that after wrecking one marriage he hasn’t been able to wreck his second.

Bagman: Staying alive despite constant and depressing lectures from Butler and finding other creative fires to light.

5. How many friends do you have on your Facebook account?

Mark, Butler, and Bagman: We have no idea because after finding Blogspot, we never looked back. Except once, when Bagman stalked Michelle.

And thank you, Jo, for interviewing us. Jo? Jo? Are you still there? I guess she must have clicked off to another blog and blocked us after the hot fudge sauce comment. Oh well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009



I picked these flowers

to place at your feet

in penance for my lewd

self-centered thoughts,

which brings no solace

to the flowers


under your toes,

never knowing why

they’re suddenly incomplete.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fashion, Digging Holes, and Rolling Stones

So this morning, I was leaning over the stove, watching water boil. I had decided not to blog because I had overslept most of my solitary time. But more to the point, when I turned on Blogspot, I felt this sudden sense of “Oh no, not this again! Another photograph of something I saw, another outrageous comment by Bagman, something too proper from Butler…blah blah blah.” Why am I doing this anyway?

I remember asking myself the same question about the time I realized I was addicted to rum and coke and Ballentine Pale India Ale.

Outside the window, I caught the gruff yet melodious voice of Bagman, singing from inside the Porta-Potty where Butler and I had locked him up. The sign on the Porta-Potty read “Nature’s Calling Inc.” He was singing a Rolling Stones song. “Jaded! Jaded! Badoobi!”

Karen called out from the bathroom. “Mark!” I knew she wanted something. She always uses my actual name when she wants something. Otherwise she calls me Honey, Sweetie, or Turkey Butt. I checked the water. She called again, “What are you doing?!”

I considered calling back, “Writing flirtatious love notes to women around the world!” But, having better sense than that, I called back, “Making Jello!” (We are at war, remember, with the Baby Ruth Infidels.)

She materialized somehow in the kitchen next to me, making me relieved that I wasn’t actually flirting on Blogspot. “Does this look okay?”

She was wearing checked pants that came below the knee and a red shirt. “You look great,” I said. I was trying to remember if they were called culottes or whether that was an actual word and if I knew how to spell it.

“Do the colors match?”

“You look great,” I said, thinking to myself that she looked a little bit like Annette Funicello from American Bandstand. But I have learned that there are some questions like “Does this look okay?” and “Did you like dinner?” that make it real easy for me to dig myself into a hole real quick. And I sometimes forget that the first rule when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging. “You look really great,” I said, hoping that by adding the word “really,” the hole would not appear under my feet.

She dematerialized again. I began stirring the boiling water into the bowl of powdered Jello. I imagined myself to be Julia Child, who I once met – food for another future Blog. I also asked myself why she asks me about clothes when I don’t even buy my own and have less fashion sense than the Taliban. The only time I ever watched fashion shows on the Style Channel was to look at the models’ legs.

I decided that I would not post a blog today but would just go on to work. Sliding the bowl of Jello into the refrigerator, the thought struck me that I’d probably stop at the Convenience Store on the way to work and get a candy bar.

Butler stuck his head in the back door and announced, “I couldn’t stand it any longer and I unlocked the Nature’s Calling but Bagman refuses to come out. Or stop singing. He says there is nothing new to see.”

“You look great,” I said to Butler who gave me a funny look. I wondered if I could get through the entire day at work saying nothing but “You look great.” Unfortunately, I probably could pull it off and nobody would notice.

I threw on some clothes without worrying about the colors and headed for the door. I stopped to pet Sally who gave me an adoring look. “You look great,” I said to her. She wagged her tail.

In the car, I turned on the radio. It was, of course, the Rolling Stones.

Jaded, Jaded, Badoobi.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Vacation Photos by popular request

So I'm back from a week at Hilton Head Island, NC -- an upscale town mostly consisting of time share and vacation share condos and golf courses. I could say that it was a great vacation, and of course, it was...when I let myself go with the flow and a be part of it. But I tend to be a vacation grinch. It is all about attitude and I, as usual have two conflicting attitudes going on -- not really a Bagman / Butler split -- a different, related kind of schizophrenia. Perhaps if I had to name the two characters I carried in my brain to Hilton Head I would call one of them Granddaddy Fan Man and Wolf. Granddaddy Fan Man had a ball carrying Conner around and showing him pictures and shapes -- Conner loves ceiling fans (hence the name). Wolf, on the other hand, sits in the corner and waits furtively, with a low growl, wanting to dig under the fence and run alone, exploring without distractions. Wolf's ideal vacation would be to take the camera, a laptop, and drive to unexplored places alone. Granddaddy Fan Man's vacation was exactly what happened. So the bottom line is that we all had a wonderful time, including me, despite the fact that I whined a lot. If any of that makes any sense.

BUTLER: Be quiet, Mark, and show the pictures.

BAGMAN: Ho hum...

We set up the tripod and took pictures of ourselves to put in a frame someday with all the other smiling posed shots adorning our livingroom.

Brian put Melody's hairbrush in his hair.

He and Melody built a sand castle.

And looked out from behind it, Brian making the smile he makes when he'd rather not be posing either.

Melody got her tongue pierced for her birthday the day before we went to Hilton Head which made it a bit hard for her to eat her birthday cake for a couple of days.

Brian got a hickey - (hmm...must have been before the tongue piercing is my guess.)

And nothing stopped her from continuing to kiss him a lot

Conner was the center of attention.

And worked on lifting his head up, preparing for his next task of rolling over, although he never quite accomplished that...yet.

Although his Aunt Kathy cheered him on with a look of absolute adoration.
And his grandmother took him for lots of long walks which caused him to gurgle and coo 75% of the time and scream bloody murder 25% of the time.

He learned about swimming pools which didn't seem to impress him much.

Karen laid out...she is smiling and looks relaxed but she is thinking, "Where's Conner...I want to go back and pick up Conner!

Meanwhile, Mark, inspired by Bagman was off trying to impress one of the locals but met only with steely silence.

Happy grandma, happy grandson

And then, the night before we left, Wolf did slip out and wandered about the night experimenting, mostly unsuccessfully with time exposures...trying to feel adventurous but mostly collecting blurry, poorly exposed pictures...although I'll attach one below.

BAGMAN: Who the hell are these new charactors, Grandaddy Whatshisname and Wolfman? Don't you like me and Butler anymore?

BUTLER: Didn't you read what he wrote? It's just a different dichotomy.

Yes. And they are not going to be permanent parts of the menagerie in my head. It's just like a kind of emotional matrix. Granddaddy Fan Man is part Bagman when he goo goos and ga gas and part Butler when he mixes bottles of formula. Same with Wolf, who is part Bagman when he struts past co-eds with his tripod over his shoulder pretending to be Matthew Brady and part Butler when he is calculating exposure times.

BUTLER: See, Bags! He's doing a good job of understanding all the simultaneously conflicting parts of his psychology!

BAGMAN: Ptui! He just thinks too much.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Making Lemonade from Lemons Award

Sarah Lulu was kind enough to send me this...gratitude is an active verb...and I'm back from vacation and blogless for the moment. And a bit befuddled since I am supposed to pass this on to ten more people and several of the people I'd send it to already got it from Sarah.

To be honest, passing on awards has always made me nervous. Perhaps it is because, even done positively, gently, and with love, it requires a certain element of judgment. And while, if I know for a fact that someone really wants constructive criticism of a poem or photo, I can exercise my own judgment in suggesting improvements, I'd much rather exercise unconditional appreciation for everything people show of themselves.

If I list ten people...what of the 5 million people I don't list? Yes. Yes. I know! Don't complicate things so much. I can't help it. I really just want to present this to every blog I follow now and ones that I will discover later.

And maybe I am just being lazy. But I am also a bit overwhelmed since I have over 150 photos from my vacation to cull through, delete 100 if I can and find a few to Photoshop and make good enough to post or frame. Plus several of you commented on the cactus in my office and there is a good blog behind it that I would like to write.

So -- although this is the easy way out -- I pass this award on with love to everyone who wants it. And I'd really love, instead of posting it, to deliver it in person to your door accompanied with a box of chocolates...except perhaps to Barry, to whom I would deliver it with some chocolate mousse.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Shootout -- Hometown main street

I will be driving back home from vacation on the day of this shootout but want to participate even if only a picture or two. Mt. Pleasant doesn't really have a center or a main street because it is just a sprawl of subdivisions across the Cooper River from Charleston.

Charleston, SC has a definite center. The Four Corners of Law. I have no pictures of it and am not there now. But two blocks from the center is the market. It used to be the slave market and it is now the tourist mecca market...stalls and stalls of vendors. I do have one shot of it in action and another shot which I think I posted awhile ago, so forgive me if I duplicate something...I took at night when it was empty.

And then there is the main street center of Mark...that would be my office at work and I'll post that just for the fun of it. I can't remember if I've posted that before either. Old age makes me repeat things.

Old age makes me repeat things.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dear Me! A note from the future!

Dear Me, or Dear You, or Dear Mark -- pronouns are going to be confusing writing myself!

I’m not sure how to address this to myself, to you back in 2009. No, I am definitely NOT dead! But remember that back around that time – Spring, 2009 – you were fantasizing about the capacities of the scheduling function on Blogspot. You were going on vacation and wanted to pre-schedule some blogs to post themselves in the future.

Well this blog is going to surprise you more than anyone who is following you, because you aren’t expecting it. This blog is from your future! Who else but the programmers at Google finally figured out how to post blogs in the past! Time travel at last! At least for information, they still haven’t managed to move bodies back in time so don’t worry – you’re not going to find an older you hiding in your closet.

I also can’t tell you (me) the exact date in the future that I (you) am writing this. There are many rules about posting things backwards. In fact, I have been on the waiting list at Google to do it for over a year and the time reversal information censors (TRICs) will probably delete several things. Time-reversal blogs cannot contain sufficient detail that people could act upon because those actions might change the future…heck, science fiction writers have known that for years!

So I can’t tell you who the next President will be, what stock to buy, or who will win the Kentucky Derby but I can share some general things. For instance, the very fact that you are getting this from yourself, means you will be alive for awhile…so do something fun!

By the way, we are still driving Fu! Hard to believe that little red sports car is still turning eyes but it is! Of course, we have had to overhaul the engine completely due to depletion of the world’s oil reserves. But the engineers at Google (who else!?) solved two problems at once (fossil fuels and lung cancer) when they developed high performance engines that run on tobacco. Fu still does 0-60 in 5 seconds but now gets incredible mileage – over 40 miles per carton.

Good news in the future for Bagman. Hang in there, because we now have a wonderful new artificial prostate transplant! Whoo hoo! But we are still white-haired and mostly bald. And we are still gaining and losing those same old 40 pounds. No news there.

And make sure you keep flirting with (name deleted by TRIC) because she is going to be an important part of your life later on. I can’t give you the details because the TRIC’s would delete it, except to say that we don’t do anything immoral or unethical, but it is passionate, exciting, and benefits world peace. And Bagman will be overjoyed to know that (name deleted by TRIC) is way hotter than the pictures on her profile. Since I can’t tell you who she is, you really need to let Bagman keep flirting with everybody.

In fact, you (we) are going to get to meet, in real life, many of the bloggers you are now following. Whoo hoo! By the way, we now have 1,568,588 people following our blog. Don’t panic! Google geniuses have figured out a way to pause time while you are reading comments so I can take all the time I need to read and respond to comments.

Well, I have to go now. I have tried to schedule this around the time you were blogging heavily because I can’t drive or operate heavy machinery until you open it. One of the side effect warnings of time reversal blogging is that when the me of the past reads what the current me writes, I have to be prepared for temporary dizziness. I guess it is suppose to be disorienting. When you read this in the past, the memory of your shock will suddenly appear in my current mind. A kind of disconnect.

This will also, unfortunately, be the last time I can write you (me). Not only are the pronouns confusing when I (we) write backwards to you (we) but the rules only allow one time reversal blog per person. But the sweet, beautiful, sexy (name deleted by TRIC) is sitting beside me right now and laughing. She is also on the waiting list to write herself but doesn’t know when it will post.

We’d send pictures, but photographs are expressly forbidden in time reversal blogs except for a few top secret government agencies. So bye for now! Have fun! As they said, back in your day, “Dance like no-one is watching!”