Saturday, December 30, 2006

"I heard a fly buzz when I died"

This is the poem that went through my mind when I took this shot. It's rare of me to stay at home during the week, or particularly lie in bed during the day, but I was deathly sick. I had two entire days to notice how the sun traversed the sky and settled below the hills, in the direction of my camera. I wondered if this is what I would see when I died... whether I would die in this bed, and if this is what I would see.

Fortunately, I don't think this will happen, yet. I have a couple more obligations to discharge, and hopefully, some paths to explore, before I sleep.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"London's on fire!"

A dream that I had yesterday:

Someone shouted, "London's on fire!" We went to the TV to see a live broadcast of a massive fire in London. We weren't specifically told whether it was terrorist-related or an accident. I was floating over the scene. I saw some smoke billows appearing in a financial area, or a place with large buildings. I heard the sirens. I thought it would be contained, but then I saw it begin to spread rapidly toward the older part of London. We were staying in a nearby hotel, and I knew that we would have to evacuate. I began floating back to the hotel to do this.


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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Our latest devil

The American media has lost its way in Iraq. What began so fortuitously almost four years ago, with cruise missiles, swaggering struts across aircraft carriers, mushroom clouds, and "al-Qaeda," has devolved into a very messy and difficult-to-explain sectarian struggle with no clear imperative to continued U.S. occupation.

Enter the sandman, our newest Darth Vader. Not six months after the death of our most recent devil, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the mainstream media is apparently beginning to redefine the conflict as an apocalyptic clash between the Good, and Moqtada al-Sadr. Will Americans notice the sleight-of-hand as one vaguely Arabic name is substituted for another? Probably not, as long as the real devils who instigated this war--the neocons and other assorted militants, their lackies and apologists, in both American parties--escape unpunished.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Atlanta at night, 1986

Atlanta at night, 1986
Originally uploaded by an0nym0usmuse.
While digging through some of my old CD-R's, I found some scans of negatives I did a while back, including some black and whites of Atlanta that I did twenty years ago. After a little doctoring in Picasa, I decided that they weren't half-bad. I wish I could do more like this. Twenty years later, I visited Atlanta and tried to replicate my earlier work, but couldn't. The moment had passed, and I had moved on. I have never been able to duplicate anything I've ever done; I've only been able to photograph something new.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Shakira in Atlanta

Don't know quite how this will work; never tried this feature before.  But I'm in a mood to experiment.

I'm still sick.  I have no idea what I caught.  I just know that it's laid me low for over a week now... and I don't get sick very often.

I did not get close seats to see Shakira.  A veteran of many stadium shows, I figured that I wouldn't ever get close enough to matter.  But I wished I had smuggled in a better camera.  Guards with metal detectors were wanding down everyone entering the building.  I was more concerned about smuggling in my Minidisc unit in.  Women were having to empty their purses.  It was ridiculous.  "No cameras!" warned the guards.  But once the lights went down, the flashes started popping.  It never seems to matter how many rules I follow; I always get short-changed.

Shakira audience

I had worried that Shakira would do primarily her English-language songs.  To paraphrase Thelonius Monk, I needn't have worried.  Most of her music was in Spanish; and most of her audience was Hispanic.  Some anglos might have felt in the minority; I really didn't.  I'm used to blending in unnoticed.

The performance, of course, was pure perfection.  Based on news accounts of Shakira's tour that I had read, there was little improvisation or variation from her set list, but that was okay--I would pay the same amount of money to see it all over again--especially after I discovered that I had accidentally set my Minidisc to record at "Hi-LP" instead of "Hi-SP", which basically meant that I captured the entire concert at bit-rate similar to a bad .mp3.--or to hear "La Tortura" or "Obtener Un Sí" again.

I have never cared for the "Hips Don't Lie" song, though.

I am discovering that I'm not alone in my infatuation.  Shakira is obviously a crossover success in the non-Hispanic market, and I can't quite put my finger on why... obviously, she sings in Spanish, but her music has broken through to a non-Hispanic audience in remarkable ways.  The mystic in me says, "She's a reincarnated old soul," but I think it's something more basic--her music seems to nod heavily to Western cadences.

Afterwards, I did something that I rarely do--I got the t-shirt.  And probably paid too much for it.  What the heck--I didn't have to drive home that night.  It was worth the wait.  (Also got a cap.)

The shirt that I got, of course, for a whopping $40, was the one of the much-seen image of Shakira sucking her finger in promotion of her tour:

Reportedly, Shakira explained that she decided upon the "oral fixation" label because "I have always lived through my mouth... It is my biggest source of pleasure and my most accesible vehicle to discover and enjoy the world. I am fixated on chocolate! I am fixated on the spoken word, the written word, the things I have said and the things I should never have said."

Sounds reasonable to me.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Fiona Apple at the Ryman

fiona apple
Originally uploaded by an0nym0usmuse.
This is the best shot that I could get, with my crappy cameraphone. The guards enforced a strict no-camera policy (the guy in front of me was told to put his away). As Americans, we all conform, sooner or later, save for some lunatic who went to the front of the auditorium and tried to dance to "Paper Bag." For his performance, he was escorted out, and rightly so. No one likes a fool, except another fool. The whole time, the guards walked right past the microphone sitting in my lap; I recorded the show.... for me.

Note to RIAA: I won't sell, post, or give away this recording, or any recording I make.... Except for Fiona, of course. She can have anything she wants.

Sometimes I think I'm the only person on the planet who understands Fiona Apple. Like her, I am a Virgoan obsessive-compulsive who does not like public performance. I have the sense that Fiona creates out of her own catharsis, and then she tosses it away to the public. Once it's been fingered and traded about, it's stained, somehow, and you don't want to fool with it anymore. And when someone trods upon or disregards your creation, it's doubly bad. (A quaint notion, I guess, in our über-commercialized world.) It's why I don't like to write or post, unless I have to. Fiona says that she may never compose another album again, and I am at peace with that. I'm often tempted to delete everything I've ever posted and disappear completely; but I don't--at least, not today. My life is lived a day at a time.

For about half of the performance, I thought that Fiona would collapse under the accumulation of her own rage. I feared a meltdown. Her song cycle seemed to recount a series of brutal, exploitative relationships of a serial nature. I understand perfectly. For such a young thing, she has lived one hundred years of experience. Particularly chilling was her story of a psychopathic boyfriend who lavashed her with public "I love yous." "He's such a wonderful guy," her friends said... "He loves you." But when he got her away from others, however, he bit her in the face and hissed, "I'm going to fucking kill you." I had a girlfriend almost that bad, once. Why did I put up with her for almost a year? I have no clue. And the scary thing is--I would do it again. I still fall for the same type again (albeit with less frequency and shorter duration).

There are no guarantees with Fiona, or with "us." She gives you what she gives you--take it, appreciate it. Maybe you will get more later, maybe not. As Flavor Flav once said, "That's the way the ball bounces, G."

Halfway through the performance, though, at the end of one song, Fiona smiled--briefly. I knew, then, that she was going to be okay. And later, she reclined completely back on her bench (a maneuver I would never be able to pull off without slapstick), sat up, and quietly clucked her tongue. I could feel her thinking, "Almost through, and I'm gonna make it."

As we all do, inevitably, one day, one night, one busted dream at a time.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ike's trailer

An intinerent worker lived in this trailer almost forty years ago. I remember when I first met him.... he was a wizened, stooped man in blue overalls, and he said simply, "Just call me Ike." He was the first adult who asked me to call him by his first name. He lived in this trailer on a relative's property. Occasionally he did odd jobs for my father. My mother took pity on him and brought him food; she once cooked him a large pot of chicken and dumplings.

When I learned that he died, I had just joined the Church of Christ. My mental image of an un-baptized Ike burning in hell, a doctrine that my new church taught, disturbed me. I had joined the church in secret; my parents did not know. When we went to his funeral, I decided that I could not judge this man. True, he did not attend the Church of Christ and he may not have been baptized, but I could not judge him.
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Broadway, Nashville on a Friday midnight

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

the woman in the nursing home who said she knew me

After I had been there for thirty or so minutes, she walked up to me. She had been watching me for some time. I thought she was familiar, but I could not place her. I tried to remember if I had seen her the last time she visited. But she walked up to me and placed her hands on my face, and mumbled something like, "I remember you." And she said something about how she knew me. She told me her name. I took her photograph. She seems familiar, but I do not know her. So it is bothering me. Was she demented, and perhaps knew me from another time? Or did she know me from my former life as a minister? That was almost thirty years ago. She seems familiar, but I cannot remember.

I still could not find C's house. I have her address... I kicked myself for not looking it up before I drove. She has not given me any landmarks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Each effect creates its own causes"

Throughout the early morning, I drifted in a half-sleep, half-awake state. I was pondering the question of "the observer effect." In my dream state, I was thinking of some of the cutting-edge experiments in quantum mechanics; though I can't cite the specific experiment, I had remembered Russell Targ discussing remote viewing experiments where future targets were remotely viewed and correctly identified, before the targets had even been selected, through a double-blind process.

And the dream said, "Each effect creates its own cause." Essentially, time does not exist as an absolute rule, and so a portion of events exists outside of time. But an event is able to reach into the "past" and create the causes necessary to bring about its reality.

Hence, the effect is "first," and the causes are created subsequently. This, I was given to understand, explained the "observer effect," and it also explained how remote viewers were able to correctly ascertain the identity of targets prior to their selection.

Through our linear prism of time, such an occurrence is impossible. But in the dream state, it made brilliant, lucid sense.

Blgger A Future Ghost

Monday, April 24, 2006

McDonald's dreamz

I dreamed of McDonald's this morning. I was working there again, part-time, and I was scheduled to start my shift at 7 p.m. But as often happens in dreams, I lost track of time, until I realized that it was 9 p.m. in the dream. It was Friday, and I had to work the weekend.

When I woke up, I did not know what day or time it was; it felt like 9 p.m. on a Friday night, before starting a long shift at McDonald's. I felt a mixed relief when I realized when and where I was; relief that I did not have to pull a shift at McDonald's, but mixed, because it was Monday morning, and I still had to go to work.

Friday, April 7, 2006

It was thirty years ago today...

Nashville skyline, 1974
Originally uploaded by an0nym0usmuse.
Yesterday, I listened to a few tracks of a bootleg that I downloaded some time ago: the demos to Paul McCartney's "Venus And Mars." The album was the shiznit for me back in the day (still reeling from the Beatles), but it had grown cartoonish in my memory. But as early critics have often hinted, McCartney's best stuff is like a good omelet: under-produced. Haunting, it was, to hear those scratchy and noisy demos of songs that grown stale through over-hearing. It was like hearing them for the first time, again. Particularly "Love In Song." Just very, very strange to think that it's thirty years old. The Beatles canon has not been allowed to grow that old. I wondered about men my age, thinking of Glenn Miller, in 1975.

Monday, March 13, 2006

A dream I had in April, 1990

I dreamed that I and a group of people were walking over my parents' property, which I think I had inherited. This group seemed to be involved in an official inquiry into how I was taking care of the land, in an ecological sense. I wasn't concerned, since I am conservation-minded. We seemed to be walking over the property. When we came to the line, we discovered that for some reason all energy production had shut down. The national infrastructure had collapsed. The group was isolated and had to begin governing itself.

I seemed to be in a room, and the lamp was flickering because of the energy being depleted. I showed someone my solar watch which with I hoped to use to keep track of time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Dream that I had in 1987

This morning I dreamed that I was preparing for the axis shift. I was at my parents' house. I decided to pack my most essential items into a backpack. I started packing my blue backpack first and was able to put my photo albums in it, but I did not have room for my sleeping bag. I believe that the seams began to burst. I then began packing my material into an old green backpack that was nearby. I do not think that I got everything in it.

Next, I went walking down the creek into the woods. Earlier, I had envisioned how I could set a fence around my parents' property. I had discarded that idea, however, as unworkable. I next came to a river. All electricity was off all throughout the U.S., and no vehicles were able to operate. There was a danger from the skies; enemy aircraft of some sort. I and several other people, however, had managed to procure a boat (or some other vehicle) that still worked. We were traveling up a river to Canada, where we thought it would be safe. Someone had warned us, however, that the enemy aircraft would still be able to find us.

Monday, February 6, 2006

My brief fling with ghost-hunting

another strange light
Originally uploaded by an0nym0usmuse.
During my indiscrete youth, I got a wild hair and decided to go ghost-hunting. I think the instigation was some television show I had seen. The protagonists had placed a running tape recorder in a cemetery at night, left it. When they went to retrieve it, they found ghostly voices on the tape. "Worth a try," my 20-year-old mind thought.

And so one night I went, to a cemetery down the road. I don't remember if I took my tape recorder, but I brought my camera. I made several shots of gravestones. After spending several minutes, my brother and I decided that it was probably best to leave. We hopped in my car and I tried to back out--only to discover that I was stuck. A bit concerned, I tried rocking the transmission from reverse to forward. Suddenly, the "hot" warning light came on.

After assessing the situation, my brother and I hiked to a house down the road and knocked on the door. A older lady warily answered. Against her better judgement, she let us both in to borrow the phone; she later said that she normally didn't let strangers in the house. But as we talked further, I learned that she was in fact a close relative. I wish, now, I could remember who she was.

My father arrived shortly and explained that my engine had simply overheated; there was no sinister causality. When I developed the roll of photos, I was disappointed to find that the shots taken at the cemetery did not develop; they were underexposed. However, I noticed some strange lights on the shots immediately before and after the cemetery shots. Above is one of them; they appear, vaguely, to resemble eyes. I am convinced that "something" either impressed the images on the negative, or something followed me home.

I returned to this cemetery only several other times... when my grandparents were buried, and when my mother was buried.

Dream of the machine

The phone rang; I answered, and a somewhat metallic-sounding but intelligent voice said, "I need for you to set me up on another URL." I realized that I was talking to a computer, or rather, a computer was talking to me--intelligently. The voice directed me to switch "him" to the URL that was displayed on a card that I was holding. After agreeing to do this, I asked the computer why it had chosen me for this task; "he" answered, "If I am intelligent enough to know that you can do this for me, I am intelligent enough to help you with anything; I can show you the places where you can get the best food, the best help--anything." I managed to locate the existing URL for this computer. The page displayed a series of links to philosophical chats that this machine had with people who had contacted it.

Sunday, February 5, 2006

Dream this morning

I was back in Rhode Island, at my childhood home, incongruously. I barely remember it, but there I was. It was different, of course, than as I barely remember it. I have a few photos that I was given, and others that I borrowed and had copies made. It is all I have of my past, and so my memory is piecemeal. In the dream, my house faced a large field. I was looking out the window toward this field, and a violent storm was rapidly approaching. I am reminded of the photos of hurricane Katrana. I went inside to warn everyone of its approach. I quickly disconnected all of my electronic devices (while connecting my phone to the charger). A part of me wondered whether the house would even survive this storm.

A classical psychologist might find some subconscious meaning in this dream, and perhaps there is, but I also see warnings of the consequences of climate change in it. Several years ago, I might have interpreted such a dream as a "warning of climate change," but there is no need to warn of such a thing now--climate change is upon us. We now must deal with the consequences.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Caught a ghost while photographing a rainbow

Strange, ghostly image
Originally uploaded by an0nym0usmuse.
I am largely an instinctive photographer; I don't have the technical skills that even an advanced amateur might have. But I've been lucky. I simply follow my hunches. On an autumn day in 1996, I saw a rainbow and ran to get my Canon AE-1 to take a shot of it while it lasted. You might say that I "felt" something; or, perhaps, something impelled me to retrieve the camera. I saw nothing while taking the shot, or at least, I remember seeing nothing.

When I got the prints back, I noticed the odd light and immediately assumed that the negative had gotten bent during processing. But it wasn't so; examining it, I saw that it was undamaged.

As I studied the strange light I had captured, I realized that it was "real"; it obscures the trees in the background. While it might have been lens flair, my hunch is that it's not. It doesn't look like lens flair.

I live in haunted woods, and I've felt a presence ever since moving here. It has not bothered me, except at night; I will not walk the road here without sunlight. But more and more, I am no longer afraid even at night.

The feeling is an intense sense of being watched. Others have felt it and have volunteered their stories without knowing mine. There is something definitely here. I do not know if it's a discarnate being, ghost, non-human intelligence, or earth spirit. But I am no longer afraid of it.