dream 11/19/16

awake after 3 hours whiskey and cigarette steeped sleep from yet another disturbing dream ending.

Was out in the country somewhere house-sitting at a big suburban kind of place, and there had been a bunch of people there partying, it was a holiday weekend or something, and we were in the big double-garage with no vehicles in it and I was doing, in the face of all logic and reason, a rendition of “New York, New York”. Kind of a half-ass jam with some video maybe. And, I guess I got wound up about it; going, hey, in spite of everything, let’s do the big ending as a parade with all these people, big video scene. Maybe it will be some sort of ironic triumph to cap my sputtering unseen, unheard, inadequate and incomplete life’s work, come on. But everyone was ready to leave, and went off saying “the moment has passed,” and ridiculing me in various ways.

And I said, “oh yeah, well you know what?” and then I floundered for a strong statement about their attitudes and lives in general and was just stammering and unable to spit out even a simple-minded curse when one of the departing suggested over their shoulder, “fuck you?” “Yeah,” I agreed, “fuck you!”

And then I was alone with my failure once again. (Except three people drove in on their bicycles; I thought maybe to see me but they had promised the absent owners they were going to drop some stuff off. They said they thought they’d find some big jam going on and I was debating whether I should suggest we play some anyway.) then I woke up feeling awful because it all seemed so everyday realistic.

Wait for it

Hey, I was just installed. How the heck did you even find this “Blog”?

Well, having already gotten one mysterious (and possibly translated from another language?) comment, apparently there are robots out there waiting for any new WordPress site to appear.

However, just in case any humans are involved, I will explain that this is indeed the first post I am writing on my new installation but I have attempted an import of the items on my Blogger site. So, it looks as if I have been working on this sporadically for seven years. (“Sometimes I’d like to murder time” – Robin Williamson, October Song) I have been meaning to take back possession of a lot of the stuff that I wrote directly on FaceBook as well, we’ll see about that later.

 

Some recent ballpoint doodles

I searched and searched for tips on turning my longtime ballpoint habit (mostly fueled by sitting at a desk at work and school, and ease of carrying on a bus) legit with an archival ink. Turns out there are some common brands that use inks that conform to certain industry standards, and there are lots of mailing list and blog posts about these issues. But, actually finding the right implements cheap in my locality took a lot of hours (as always.) But, for now I’ve got my answers, even if it did require ordering stuff from China and Japan and Germany, and the most expensive pen has already had the pocket clip break so thanks, Tombow. But, the Tombow refills are more for writing, as they are a smooth flowing liquid ink.
If you want to get that pencil like feel and value range you need an old school funky ballpoint, none of this gel and liquid and glide what-not. Well, Schneider’s got it, and the Schneider Pulse (not the Pulse Pro, which has some kinda smooth glide ink) ended up being the compromise weapon of choice. I got one at a reasonable price, and then a handful more shipped from way out for a very reasonable price. And some extra refills. Now, actually getting my broken hand and mind to usethem up is a whole other issue. Most of these drawings were done after being up all night and then finally having a craving to do what I should have been doing all along after the sun starts coming up and I’ve turned the lights out.

doodles 7_4_16 smaller

doodle for dawn small
which pen was this?
hands 7_21_16 state 2 small
I was about to go to bed, I swear
hands detail 2small
detail of the above
hands detail
another detail

just some recent fountain pen doodles

I keep remembering, hours after I should have gone to bed, that reviving my lapsed focus on drawing, starting in reverse order of problems with getting the broken hand back in action,  was supposed to be some sort of priority. I mean like, when the sun is coming up.

sketch about sketching scrn smallBut, why should it be a priority, anyway? The world is overrun with people wandering around with sketchbooks now, and blogging about their practice and their techniques. Back when I was really in it no one else could be seen doing it in these parts (unless you were in the vicinity of the art school), and no one cared that I was.sketch sketch detail(Isn’t she cute, though? Less than an inch square in real life.)

I have been using the old Pentalic Mark X, which when new seemed like a sad replacement for my favorite reasonably priced sketching fountain, the Pelikan 120. Although I have purchased a couple more 120’s off of ebay, at not so reasonable prices these days, I still do not have one working the way it used to. The Mark X just keeps flowing along, with no maintenance in the 35-40 years since it was new.

practicecan't bepractice

Kaddish Candle

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of the death of my father, Harold Leonard Chern. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has been that long, as it kind of stopped the world it seems. These things must take longer to process than you expect. He was 94, but would have been 95 that year, so he’d be 100 this year. That was what he wanted once he had gotten past the landmarks of age 72, by which time he had expected to die because every other male in the family had, and his then sprouted goal of seeing the year 2000. Various things had pretty much let him down the last couple of years, though. His body was dried and shrunken and his living conditions in the nursing home were easily as feeble a remnant of what he had once built up. But, if you asked him how he was, lying in that bed barely able to move, he would say “couldn’t be better.” (Both he and my mother had fewer complaints as the end of the fall approached than when they were in their prime.) Enlightenment, drugs, humor, attempted staving off of plug-pullers; it’s complex sorting out what that meant or what inspiration I can draw from it. I often (tonight) feel like I’m still doing it just for my parents, and that someone is watching and judging me as I do an increasingly poor job of carrying out some final commissions. (one of my father’s last admonitions was to remember that I’m “important”. But, was that just to him, and what if he is gone and doesn’t need me any more?). I then think at least I might carry them to their centennials, and light that ‘soul candle’ in my mind.

Color Entry

Indian Yellow.

Warning: the below story may make you think about heated cow urine.

Indian Yellow. Not, at first blush, what I would have expected. And, yes, when yellow blushes it appears orange. Not that I was expecting anything until I happened into a couple of tubes and was surprised and intrigued. But, my study of paints has mostly concentrated on essential single pigments, and it turns out the original pigment has not been available for over a century, and its origins are still mysterious and controversial.

The name had me thinking it must be some variant on Indian Red, thus an earth or a synthetic replacement. But, the only thing they have in common is they originally came from India. (And, another first tendency of mine was to think America.) Another surprising first impression was how different the colors from different manufacturers are. But, on reading about it in a color mixing book, I was informed that current versions might in fact be completely different substances or mixes from different sources,  the original pigment having allegedly been banned around 1908. (Current advertisements usually start with coy phrases such as Gamblin’s ” This color has been prized for hundreds of years.” Yes, the color, not the pigment.)

The story goes that for centuries the only source was a remote village in India whose location, materials and methods remained a mystery. And, it is certainly plausible that remote villages are aided in remaining mysterious when their industry involves heating urine. The balls of pigment were said to be made from the urine of cattle who were fed only mango leaves. however, the mango diet was not nutritious and maybe poisonous. This made the cattle sick and they were miserable and kvetched to other deities and did not live long.
The first few things I read repeated this story. But, the wikipedia page has a sketch of some research by Victoria Finlay published in 2004 that calls it into question, there having ever been only one written source, and no evidence or memory in the village itself. (I will let you follow the link below to get the details and citations.) One guy wrote a letter; would this be the first instance of someone writing home a story that glorified their exotic explorations and unique discoveries with a tad of invention and embellishment? And even the generally accepted story about an investigation and subsequent banning by some British art society seems to have little supporting evidence. Other guesses about the composition of the pigment originating from the period of its existence included gall stones of various beasts, and plant matter ‘saturated with magnesia and boiled down’.

Dream Journal entry

Long dream, one of those ones I returned to after half-awakening several times. It was terrifying but wildly magical, so I couldn’t help wanting to see what happened. Well, hell, since everything was in the process of being destroyed I wanted to stick around in the hopes there would be a good twist. It was just about looking like there might be, and I wouldn’t have gotten up but a stink-bug started buzzing in the window above my bed, and I knew it would soon be finding its way INTO my bed, and trying to cuddle. I keep telling them, I’m not into them in that way. Jumped up with more verve than usual for the last 20 years, and the details of the dream were already vanishing. Wish I could get a DVR for these things. I’m going to write what I remember here, looking for pen and paper will just let more escape. could be long even though a fragment.

Fragments. Foreign guy of unknown ethnicity on the road giving me some sort of cryptic predictions and sense of mission. Later more or less back in a best-case version of my ordinary life, in a cluttered rental puttering about poking at the thousand unfinished projects. Little girl who comes through the window (followed by a pet or a random stray maybe?) Woman who may be a parent tasks me with hanging with her, other important things to attend to. but there is a sense that there is something urgently important and also not that easy in keeping the girl safe. The girl is just totally fun and whacky and doesn’t think anything of crawling up on the roof and/or other dangerously wrong fun. But with a way of making it right by feeling it is. Mysterious couple, maybe self-representing as guardians. Ready to take custody. Too contained, too rich, too smart. Turn out to be involved in some grand evil scheme, fundamentally deconstructing reality (or illusion, depending on your belief system), or at least the threads of the weave that make it sometimes bearable, sometimes enjoyable for us. After some melting and reconstituting, precipitous hanging, a couple changes of residence… I don’t know, bunch of shit happened. Finally escape was necessary for a small band of allies, some method that further played on my fear of heights… balloon? top of a very tall truck or yak?… much of what had been going on was explained by the girl as she told us she realized that it was her irrational imagination that was able to reverse the destructive events, just because of the strength of her belief in things reforming. But, as she explained this it became clear that she had suddenly become mature enough to express it to us in words and thus too mature to have the power any more. By this time we were passing through a landscape with little life and mostly broken architecture and sidewalks. Foreign guy from beginning of dream passes us driving a busload of dead, broken and bleeding Mexicans. Looks pretty hopeless to me, but he is going on with grim determination and I know he has best possible repairs in mind. The girl is starting to lose it, succumbing to weeping nostalgia: “I wish we could be back in that place” and I see a picture of that bottom half of a house with the porch on front where she crawled through the window in the first place. As she starts to dissolve into it, the older woman, now holding her hand, suddenly becomes intent and as she gives me a knowing look. I know what she’s thinking. And I can feel that it may be true. The girl is becoming irrational and going back to early childhood, and if everyone can let go enough it will become true and the magic will be able to work again…

Oh a Tree Corner – “Fall” (from The Seasons, early draft)

For some reason I kept hearing about poetry on radio and TV today. Went and looked in the occasionally lugged along legal pad, and sure enough there was a scrawl from just about a year ago I guess. so I typed it up with just a little second-draftism and here it is being shamelessly squeezed into the inter-tubes. Possibly part of my seasonal cycle.
————–

so, then it was fall for awhile – (let’s call it Fall.)
 not just the leaves, something, things, else is falling
Maybe longer than usual, I hear but
here we are so close to the end seems like nuthin’
Last good day, maybe, probaly falling falling
Last good day of this round who knows
if it will go around again
I see it falling chalk dust falling
behind the lake
Sure it was so beautiful, those few moments
When I got out
Heartbreaking at sundown,
hue saturation so cranked up
the crinkle of the vegetable kings’ violated borders so sharp and rough
even these old eyes can feel.
The bleeding heart of clouds, bleeding sweet wine
(for all the good you bleeding hearts do us untouchables)
the overacting of the leaves’ death dance in stage makeup
the tiny flush of rose from within dark draperies.
life shrouds floating around that young woman across the street.
Does she see the sky like I do, also sticking a tongue out to try to catch a drop?
does she see how I see the sky?
How sweet would it be to be walking with her at this moment.
(oh? Like I always say, good to be alone at a time like this)
What juicy world juice we could pass back and forth.
I bet it could make this paper sack I carry my senses in seem like a velvet purse.
But no, not now, most of then and and then neither;
Mostly just a few flashes in the darkness. and whiteness.
Now it’s the white again, falling down across
the backdrop.
Just the first light coating of pastel.
I see it filling in as I reach the lake
so thick with family funflies just the other day,
now all wide open & clear – guess that’s
how the landscape goes:
First the people , pfft, gone,
then the rest slowly faded
as the whiteness falls..
layers of chalk, or maybe it’s that asbestos-laced talc I used to
shake onto the litho stone
drying the ink; now that i think…
   That looked like this – the image gradually disappearing- 
     but the little horizontal block now raised on edge and
       stretched from edge to edge.
and my skin separates and stands up
 white, white, white
   preparing for when it floats up to
      meet the snow.
Before the talc sinks in the grain
 gets coated by dust and soot, ink and earth rising around the flakes.

 here it comes, here it comes
    comes the gray, darker darker
lovely charcoal smudges hover over
 the cloudy folks in the shiny street.
today on the heading out bus, looking down to the end
  wasn’t raining but the sky looked damp, straggling clumps of leaves losing the last of their yellow, leaching
    “It’s turned to soup,” I thought.

Patriotic Ferver (fervor meets fever. Or, A New Wave of Patriotism Blowing Through Our Pants)

(belatedly allowing the escape of this post from the last 4th of July series.)

So, the startled masses on FaceBook are wondering, “what’s all this talk about the Founding Fathers and the Post Office, Barry? We thought you were some sort of Anarchist or something?” Well, it may be proving to be true that one becomes more Conservative with age. I sometimes feel myself leaning from Anarchy toward Socialism.

To some degree it is the passing of my parents and a lot of thinking back to things they had to say during my childhood that prods me. They were great believers in the system which I came to see as hopelessly trashed by the time my intellect got the best of me. (around age 16, that is.) Little could I imagine just how much more trashed it could become, and how purposefully this was being implemented by so-called patriots, by the time I was ready to enter my dotage.

My parents believed someone was fixing things and looking out for the general good. Occasionally they would make some reference to the weird and scary stuff that went on when they were kids. They believed because they had been brought forth from the Depression with the help of public works and bank regulation. They had been saved from tainted meat and bad patent medicines by federal inspectors.  Yes, my parents believed the country had been delivered forth from debtors’ prison, slavery, bank failures. (they also came of age in a culture being enriched by folk-singers and previously unheard from ethnic groups. Too bad the artists were mostly quashed as a bunch of commies and lowlifes…)

The G.I. Bill was going to help all their fellow veterans get out of their tenements when they got home from their part in the effort that stopped Fascism in WWII. Well, set it back a bit, anyway. I came to feel that the spirit of the enemy flew into our system at the end of the war; you become what you fight and all. A few more bits of history filled in the truth that fascism was here all along. Its entrenched forces in this country just kept on their friendly American masks waiting for a couple generations down the line to have forgotten certain things about ‘the good old days’. Waiting for our parents to die and us to forget and our children who never knew. Waiting along with the greedy bankers, farmers and snake oil salesmen those who would take your money by hook or by crook.

Well…  they’re baaaaack.

By now, it is clear that Congress and the Statehouse are fully in the pockets of the Crooks, and this new batch of alleged outsider/maverick/reformer/tea-baggers is right in there with them. They are functionally a wholly-owned subsidiary of GlobalEvilMegaCorp, either wittingly or unwittingly. And, from what I’ve seen, I’m not taking any bets on any great presence of wit amongst this lot.

I still have a fair amount of sympathy for anti-government sentiment. (For those who don’t know, what I dearly wanted was to find a way out of here entirely to some new, small,  self-sufficient sane and sustainable culture. May you get there eventually.) But, when it comes down to cases, the only part of the government these people who want to destroy from within are really against are the parts that help the people. Well, thems is the parts we needs. Being stuck here by default (yes, de fault of my own weakness) amongst all these other people who are likewise pretty pitiful and helpless, I have to admit we’re in a pickle without support for teachers, arts, fire departments, mail delivery, roads and bridges, relief from extreme poverty and hunger and homelessness, support for development of new forms of energy, clean water… hell, any water… air… … well, I’m too choked up to continue.

Preface to Mr. Duly’s comprehensive plan for Election Reform (unedited first draft.)

Of course, when I think or speak of politics, as I infrequently do (although the frequency, Kenneth, is increasing with the pressure) it is from the point of view of someone who is actually living in and concerned with the activities of a Nation. In other words, I assume the viewpoint of that fictional character I  play on the streets in that dreadful daily “reality show.” For, as you may well know, in one of my inner chambers I see no place for myself within this society. And, I still have a definite leaning toward Anarchy as my preferred form of government if I were to join a Nation. I understand that it is a largely impractical leap from the current state of affairs, but I see it as an evolutionary movement and ultimate goal of mankind. One day, if there is one, I imagine us living in a society where all the diverse practical matters which go into the functioning of such a conglomerate might be overseen, directed and carried out by people who are at least knowledgeable about the particular subject and, in a real utopian dream, interested in it. Rather than what we have now, no matter which form of organization went into convening the government (or industry): control of everything by people who are primarily interested in control. People who have learned mostly (and in some cases it is all they know or care about) how to work the system in order to feed their inner need for power. I guess there must have been some need for these skills somewhere in the past in order for that craving for power to be so built in to our makeup, just as there was once that great need for fat and sugar and such a scarcity and difficulty in obtaining them that led to those substances triggering such a massive pleasure response in our brains. But, we need to get some viewpoint aside from our self-gratification (I suggest prying only a small percentage of our attention away, let’s not go overboard) in order to face the facts that we are not living in the world of 35,000 years ago for which our bodies and brains have evolved. Desserts can be had at the grocery in dangerous quantities for very little expenditure of calories; and the people in power are more and more unsightly pimples on the fair face of our civilization. We can logically apply moderation to those cravings.
So, this impractical Anarchist has always had a hard time with politicians of any stripe, and thus in the people involved with organizing whether it be the Revolution or the Rotary. The alternative was to try to envision a suitable way for a cultured 20th century ape to live with less dependence on a hopelessly mucked up system. I did come up with a good plan, but having been unable to put it into action I live essentially chastened and, as mentioned earlier, in a world which I do not truly believe in. So, I have a certain amount of sentiment (an ugly ingredient in any stew) in common with the current wave of “anti-government” Hoo Ha. However, I daresay few if any of the people involved in this new ‘movement’ have given much, if any, thought to how they would function without the support of the government they supposedly are through with. They have (even) less of I plan than I did, and for the most part even fewer of the skills of self-sufficiency. (Astonishing, since I had virtually none, and to this day only some.) They are merely sopping up the thoughts trickling down on them from the wealthy and powerful beings controlling all channels of education and communication. Thus we end up with the odd spectacle of the downtrodden salt of the earth spouting a viewpoint that is really coming out of a billionaire’s mouth. For, I can truly imagine that many billionaire’s might say to themselves, “government services? Who needs them. I can buy better for myself.” All they really need is to keep enough police on the payroll to keep the rabble out of their neighborhoods.