Sunday, May 1, 2022

Let's see what I can make with this


But before I can cut this I needed to do some advance work.

The internet was too smart for me, the formulas were above my understanding so I needed to draw and cut some paper out in the old trial and error method.

After that I needed to make this contraption using springs and wheels and plywood.

A tall sprung wheeled feather board.  

Alright let's cut up some lumber!

And then let's cut it again with this.

That cut made this.

Glue those up, I did it in sections.

All glued together.

So far, so good.  Let's have an espresso!

The glue up needed to be cut to size, finally some black and white of the offcuts.

16" tall fence with some guide blocks.

 The piece starts out on this side.

Finishes up on the other side.

And lo and behold consistently mikes out around .040-43"

That's the end of Phase One of Section One.

More to come.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Nomad by Design Tea Ceremony

 On the second evening I start to make dinner.  I've pulled out my new Death Valley kitchen I made with leftover Japanese Pagoda Wood from the Oakland kitchen.  A young woman rushes over, "Hey, may I look at this?"

I laugh so hard.  "I've never made such a total failure in my life.  It's so bad, it's good."

I run through all the things on the new kitchen that doesn't work, doesn't close, warps, and shrinks.

She's from SF, from Tech.  9 months she's been on the road.  Chucked the life in the City for a life on the road.  Got rid of everything.  No mad by design. (Thanks Tony for that turn of a phrase.  Appreciate it.)

The Covid Moment brought The Great Migration, The Great Resignation, The Great Retirement and The Great Unfettered Mobilement.

In past years staying at Emigrant Campground, there were always a good stream of Nomads coming through but it was usually not by choice but by necessity.  Just didn't have the money for anything else but a home on the road.

This year, though the stream was different.  Single males, single women, families.  In nice rigs with canopies and solar panels and pull out shelves.  Min, the woman from above had a white bike that she put in front of her new white Sprinter that had "You are Love" written in red on it.

She wanted to know what I do out there in the Desert.  "I try to sit.  That's all there is to it."

This didn't satisfy her, so I made something up.

I think where I sit there in Death Valley there are more rocks than there are stars in the universe.  A infinite amount of Random out there with the rocks forming an infinite amount of Patterns.  I look at how Nature is Composing using wind, erosion, rain, gravity and Time to arrange the rocks the way they are.  I'm looking at these patterns so I can Put It in the Bank. (Thank you Cary for that turn of a phrase) Doing something over and over implants it, it's putting it in the bank.

The next day she heads off into the desert and comes over to my area at the end of the day and says, "I looked at the rocks like you said.  But what do you really do out there?'

So I had to make something else up and make some more stuff up the next time we spoke.  Whatever I said wasn't right for her.

I say, "I'm looking for the stream that runs under the stream."

I told her everything I’m telling you is made up, I will start a sentence and have no idea how I’m going to finish it, it’s all fictional.

Still she wanted to hear it though.

She thinks I know something she needs to know.  I start a sentence, not knowing where to go with it. The Arc of Western Science is to understand it all and it does it by slicing up the whole into ever finer slices thinking by knowing the small it can put it back together again.  We are born with all the knowledge we need.  You already know everything.  You're wearing the red ruby slippers, all you have to do is click your heels three times.

Even at her young age, she gets the reference and laughs and looks at her bare feet.

My red ruby slippers fit my feet, only your slippers fit yours so I have no knowledge to share.

I go and sit in the desert for eight days to understand the whole by feeling the whole.

My new friend Sean drove his motorcycle up from Phoenix to spend a couple days in Emigrant Campground, Death Valley with me.  I'm not sure if he's my disciple or I'm his.  He listens to me and I listen to him, he has lots to say.

He somehow finds me out in the desert the first day he's there and we sit out in the heat, in the sun, on rocks and talk for a few hours.  An hour into the conversation, I remember I'm wearing a goofy looking hat I made for the trip.

I point to my hat and "I look like the Flying Nun."

He laughs and agrees.

He's quite young so I say "Do you get that cultural reference, the Flying Nun?"

No, he doesn't so I explain.

Sean is one who understands the sitting on a rock in Death Valley.  I don't need to explain anymore to him.

Couple days, Sean leaves and I found a sketch he made of me under a rock by my tent.



Morning that I'm leaving, Min, the above woman comes over and offers me a macaroon fortune cookie she made.  I take one.

She says, "So what you do out there, would you say it's a Vision Quest, do you know what that means?"

I say "Yes, I have heard of that grouping of words but no."  "And it's not meditation, it's the opposite of meditation."

So I make something up.

I want life to be one tea ceremony.  One long uninterrupted tea ceremony where each moment is revered for whatever form that moment may be.  Every act is given a reverence and a conviction. An importance. Each act.  The next act doesn't take place until the one before finishes.   It's that simple.

She may have believed that one.


My macaroon fortune and Sean's sketch from memory

The Flying None (Thank you Sean for the turn of a phrase.)

It's funny how he missed the year by a year.  He drew it in 2022

Saturday, March 5, 2022


 The result of a broken wine glass on set

I have a friend.  Won't say his name.  He has his monkeys on his back for sure.  Head barely above water. Airplane vodkas in his satchel. You know, for that early morning snack.  He throws these "I'm going to kill myself" sentences with abandon.  I'll be shocked if he did but not surprised.

Another phrase of his is, "I've lost my shit, man."

This one I understand.  I took an eight month period of time away from commercial photography, got a large wine job and found I had lost my shit of what I've been doing for the past thirty years.

Started to take little snappy poos of the breadcrumbs I had left behind just for this time when my tao was off center.

This lens shade I made, I call it "Infinahood".  It's a black velveteen rubberized fabric taped to the lens.  The front of the shade has a bendable wire in it.  I can shape the hood as fits the occasion.  The tape allows it to be used on any of the lenses.

I take it off quite often during a shoot and put it on the viewfinder.  The tape has etched the surface.

I once did a bunch of Oral B (my overseas readers, that's a toothbrush company) work and these were part of a set.  Plexi-1inch thick.  Probably have 20 of them.   They make the greatest blocks.

On set, lifting up the top surface three inches.

The little control box on the camera stand.  There are four remotes that control four strobe packs.  You can dial up and down the power from behind the camera.  I use white tape to mark where the packs should be.  The wooden structure on the left is where I used to store 4x5 polaroids and the holder.  That loupe in the middle I've been using for 30 years.

This also has a home on the camera stand.  It was important during film days but not in the digital days.   But damnit, I told myself to save it so save I do.

This is how you make a fake leg on a fake table in a fake photo set.

A set in the morning light.

I did come up with my new way of getting wine into a glass on set.  Gooseneck pitcher is the new part.

A stick of sorts in the funnel, wine gets poured in a controlled manner, the stick takes the wine into the glass without creating splashes.

I was told I should not use the house gooseneck pitcher as it puts in the taste of wine and needs a wash to rid it.

The heads have a number at the head and again at the pack.  You need to know what head goes where.

I rigged up the camera I shoot with now on the rail of the camera I don't shoot with now.  The view camera rail.  I can rack the camera forward or backward while maintaining the same proportion of camera to set ratio.  Here's it's racked way back so I put a C-Stand under it keep from moving around during multiple exposures.

All these things I've been doing and using forever were looking alien to me.  I had to relearn how and why and when and what again.  I was telling the same story to everybody in my sphere.... don't lose your shit, man, because once you lose it, it may not come back, ever, like my friend's shit isn't coming back and if it does come back, it's not going as good. 

Annie finally held up a metaphorical mirror in front of my face.  "Get back to the center, you know where it is."


Morning sun through wine glasses under my feet.

 Skylight on viewfinder

The objects needed to change the size of the softbox light.

A brief interlude.  Made a wine rack and cut way too many slats for it.  Pissed me off that I missed it by that much.  So to use them up, made a rack for John.  Dropped it off today.

Seems to me, the world has lost it's shit.  There's something big going on right now in mankind.  Have no idea on what it is though.  I can see the breadcrumbs that we've dropped for when we get lost.  They're right there, right where we put them. 

Hope they are still there for when we decide to find our way out of the abyss.

Boom arm of the softbox.

Strobe cords and duvateen

And working in The Photo Shop.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

At the Base of Veindgofth Mountain

 One of the truly unique of human distinctions is playing music together.  Don't let that anthropomorphism stuff lead you to believe other species do it as well.  We do.  At it's best, you leave this earth as a singular being and meld into the other players and soar upward as one.  Even when it doesn't slot right into the sublime, it's a beautiful time as you try and reach that state.

I started to play with Jules, oh, maybe when he was 11 years old?  He's 18 now

                                                       First official band pic. 2016

 This was after a gig for a Sunday Brunch at the now closed Divewalk Cafe in Sonoma.  Leah was in the group at that point and most of the vocals came from her and Tone Tones.  Jules was on banjo.

                                                                  MemFest 2018, Chico, Ca

We were calling ourselves The Family Jules (even though there was another band out there with that name) because Jules was writing all the songs and becoming the force in the group.  Leah was gone and Meg with her violin came in....Megolin.

                                                                  A few months ago.

We said Hello to Ken and his Cello.  We either do long winded trip jams or Jules' songs based on a novel he's been writing for years.  Jules is no longer living in Cali right now.

It's been nothing but an honor and privilege to have played all those years with Jules.

Here's a link to his first serious recording.  It's a lush cinematic soundscape of his based on a earth that is inhabited by two top of the food chain species. 

Each line is something that needs to be thought about.

At the Base of Veindgofth Mountain