Nov 30 2005

Then What Happened?

From sigalert:

  • 15 South Before Miramar Wy Traffic Collision – No Injuries 3:52 PM
  • Thomas Guide Map Coordinates: Page 1229, Grid 1G
  • Reporting Party Doesn’t Think That Its a Traffic Collision / Both Vehicles Are Facing Wrong Way 3:52 PM
  • 2 Vehicle in the #4, #3 Lane That Are Facing Wrong Way 3:52 PM
  • CHP Unit Enroute 3:55 PM

Nov 28 2005

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a trainwreck of 138-proof cask-strength scotch – I did manage to climb Squaw Peak, study for my Japanese final, and get some training in – but I think Brad’s expression says it all:

Brad


Nov 25 2005

Phoenix Sunset

Squaw Peak over Thanksgiving:


The Sun Does Me Favors


Squaw Peak Sunset


Nov 22 2005

Smitten

Kelly swaggers in the pub trailed by two good friends. I haven’t seen her in at least a year or two, since around the time of M. Turns out she’s been traveling a bunch, lives in Tahoe, and was just out hanging with two friends for birthday debauchery. She notes that M is doing well – cleaned up, got a boy, kids coming if I recall correctly.

It’s a dead Monday night, as they always are, and the reason I come in. Both of Kelly’s friends are cute, but one is just plain gorgeous. One of the off-duty employees and I end up talking with the three of them until after the bar closed (early on this Monday night, but still past my bedtime.) I was drawn to Jessica.

She complements my clothes. She uses the words ‘necrophilia,’ ‘impoverishing,’ ‘rhetoric,’ and ‘narcissistic’ in casual conversation. She tells amusing and interesting stories, and has unique perspectives on everyday life. We bantered and there was much laughing, and playful offenses.

When it’s time to go, we hug, but she won’t give me her number, or accept mine. She says she’d like to hang out again, but she doesn’t give out her digits and won’t end up calling me if I give her mine.

“But you know, if we run into each other again, awesome.”

“So you’re kind of into that serendipity thing, huh?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“So now I have to start stalking you?”

She laughs, punches me on the shoulder and dances off to her friends. I watch her float down the street, half disappointed and half excited, thinking about her the entire drive home. I plop into bed around 1am, too late for my schedule, but try to read a few pages to calm my mind. I drift off, the final paragraph wafting me into dreamland:

”Careful with that ‘we,’ ” Roger Mexico distracted today by a hundred things, chi-square fittings that refuse to jibe, textbooks lost, Jessica’s absence….


Nov 21 2005

Impoverished

I have a very low threshold for drama. I don’t indulge in it and I don’t like people trying to suck me into theirs. Now, there’s stress, catastrophic circumstances, sorrow, grief – all sort of things that are part of dramatic lives – but in this respect I’m referring to that which is artificially manufactured.

A few months ago I alluded to an extremely draining experience I couldn’t talk about. I still can’t give particulars, as I gave my word, but my friends also deserve to know that which keeping me from being with them. Basically, the scenario was thus: an acquaintance was on the brink of suicide. Definitely dramatic, and not drama. This was real life. She was emotionally scattered, physically emaciated from malnutrition, causing a variety of secondary ailments and injuries. She’d been admitted and extricated from hospitals, both physical and mental. I hadn’t known her too well prior to the emergencies – I actually knew her through her ex, although we’d hung out in the same group every once in a while over the years.

For whatever reason – valid or not, I’m not the one to judge – she decided that there were three people in the world she trusted: her father, myself, and another person that lives several thousand miles away. She needed to talk, she needed someone to listen and just sit at the other end of the phone (I live a good hour or two from her), and there were some things she didn’t want to talk about with her father, which is understandable. So, Far Away Guy and myself took turns spending hours on the phone. I also drove up to visit her at the very beginning, when hysteria was at it’s peak. My theory was, if she’s still talking, she not dead, so let her talk.

Staying up late at her place, talking on the phone, taking breaks from work to speak with her were the start of the siphon – of course, I was more than willing to do it, I didn’t want to see her off herself and I thought there was genuine chance she might do it – but between the hectic work schedule and the emotional drain of listening to hours of convoluted, depressing tales every day took it’s toll. I was missing my martial arts classes – my own anchoring tool – to speak with her, or more often than not, just listen.

At one point, before leaving her house late one night, I just hugged her and held her for a while. Her face skin was sallow and she’d lost an unhealthy amount of weight; I could encircle her bicep with my hand. Her muscles had atrophied to the point that stairs were difficult, her gate was rickety and she spent most of her time on the couch. She threw up most of her meals.

She said it’d been a long time since anyone had hugged her; I thought that absolutely terrible. Everyone needs affection every once in a while. She asked me if I could just hold her there on the couch, just stay there for a bit. I acquiesced.

She snuggled in closer.

I was less comfortable.

She snuggled in even closer.

I got even less comfortable.

She absent-mindedly stroked my chest.

She sensed my apprehension: “Why are you tensing up?”

“I just want to make sure you know I’m here as a friend.”

“Of course. What else?”

“Nothing else. I just want to make sure we’re clear about that.”

“What, do you think something’s going to happen?”

“No, nothing will happen; I wouldn’t let anything happen. I just want to make sure we’re both on the same page.”

“So there’s nothing to worry about, so your shouldn’t be holding back.”

“Listen, I’m just getting a little uncomfortable with this. I should go.”

“You can stay here tonight.”

“No, I don’t think I should. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

She seemed somewhat pissed at me for a while, but eventually the calls returned to normal. I had to start ignoring them, though, when they starting coming in at two or seven in the morning, or several times during my work day, when work starting to notice my prolonged absence during business hours. If I have to find a new job, I’d have even less time to help her. I reserved phone calls for the nights.

As time passed, the inevitable evolution germinated. I’d hear the same story once, twice, five, eight, ten times, each time more exaggerated, each time increasing the derision of San Diego and everyone in it (except me, appended quickly), how she could get back at everyone if she wanted (including me, appended quickly), how she has a far superior understanding of just about everything than anybody (she’s smart, but nobody’s that good), and how she has no capability to change her environment.

I’ll agree, yes, she was stuck between a rock and a hard place, and although I didn’t, I wanted to yell and scream at her and tell her Damn it, you are not that powerless. Take your self-indulgent wallowing, drink it up, let yourself become self-absorbed as long as you need to, then vomit it up. Reject it, expel it, destroy it. You’re strong, you can do this.

When the contradictions starting flowing, I excused myself from the entire scenario. When she began giving reasons as to why she couldn’t do something because it might endanger her well-being (“too weak to bathe or drive, I might drown or get in an accident”), but would still threaten with suicide (“If you gave me a gun right now I’d kill myself”), I knew she was past the hump. She wasn’t well, but she realized there were dozen of ways she could do to kill herself had she truly wanted to. She was opting for attention over death, a good sign. But I had no attention left to give. Dramatic was turning to drama, real issues to manufactured ones.

I kept tabs on her indirectly, ensuring she was doing sufficiently well – and she is doing better, although I don’t have specifics – but we haven’t been in direct contact for over a month. I truly hope she’s improving, I truly hope she’s able to work out the rest of her issues. I can say with absolute certainty that I don’t want to see her dead or broken; I want to see her doing well.

Even when it’s the darkest, there’s someone there to support you, someone you might not even expect it from. You’re never alone, despite what it seems. However, you can only receive support, you can’t demand it. And when you receive it, you can’t become dependent, you can’t expect support. But you can appreciate it when it comes your way. She reminded me of that.


Nov 20 2005

Photo Lessons

Forty-Seven Things I’ve Learning About Photography
That Have Nothing To Do With Photography
(through personal mistakes and otherwise)

Taking Photos

  1. Although I am not a lawyer, and there are currently ongoing cases involving just this, selling prints of people shot in a public place generally does not require a release waiver. If shooting people in a public place, do not become intrusive, as you move farther from the “candid public location shot” to a “modeled shot in public.” If in doubt, try to get a waiver. Don’t sacrifice the shot however, as the image can always be deleted or the negative destroyed if necessary.
  2. Ignore the above advice if the shot is of a military, military-contracted, government, or other location subject to confidentiality due to national security – obtain a waiver first.
  3. Be very wary of shooting minors without a release, even in a public location, especially if the image ends up on your online portfolio.
  4. Have dozens of copies of two types of model release forms in your camera bag: a long, specific one for modeling sessions, and a short all-inclusive one for getting a quick release for a grab shot you think may require it. Have as much information as possible pre-filled out to minimize the person’s time and and cognitive dissonance. You can find these on the websites of many modeling agencies.
  5. Release waivers are not enforceable unless the releasing party is compensated. Pack a bunch of one dollar bills in your photo bag and trade the dollar for the filled-in release form. When I shoot my friends, I just offer them dinner in compensation, pay with a credit card, and make a note of it on the receipt.
  6. A grab-shot is a spontaneous shot, a snap-shot is a crappy photo from your family vacation.

Printing, Framing, and Matting

  1. Acid-free matting and mounting tape is about twice as expensive than otherwise, but is much cheaper than museum grade UV-protecting glass. If you plan on selling, use acid-free everything. If the product doesn’t say acid free or “archival,” it’s probably not. Give your patrons survivable art.
  2. “Museum Rag” matting is much more expensive than standard acid-free matting, and personally, I don’t think it’s worth it – I actually like the white border in the bevel of a colored matt (acid-free, of course), and most photo paper and chemical bath printers are currently rated at a 70 years, so getting a matting that’s rated beyond that doesn’t buy you anything.
  3. Use glass in frames, as plastics and synthetics tend to look hazy and scratch easily, can reflect light at unevenly, and can become mottled when certain household cleaners are applied. Ignore this advice if it is a large piece and weight is a huge concern or submission requirements require otherwise. Update: I’ve become quite enamored with some of the glare-free plexiglass that’s available now. It’s more resilient than glass, it appears that the developers have addressed some of the issues with haziness and scratching tendency. Check it out before you buy it though, preferably by holding a sample photo behind it at the same distance it will end up being framed. E.g., if the print will be matted, it won’t be flush against the plexi, but some amount back. Make sure that the clarity is acceptable.
  4. Check both sides of the glass/surface protector for those little adhesive clear protective sheets, and remove them before mounting your work.
  5. Don’t buy display glass from companies that don’t have a reasonable return and exchange policy. You will end up with hidden cracks in glass that has been obscured by the overlapping edge of the frame, or weak spots that have not yet fractured but will, and you will end up with a completely shattered piece at some point, generally while transporting the piece to an exhibition or client.
  6. Always print on quality paper with quality inks, and always print fresh samples prior to a large run when the technicians or technology change. For example, when I changed from a Fuji Frontier to a Lightjet 430 printer, still using Fuji Crystal Archive paper, I printed the same samples on each to compare results in order to compensate.
  7. Don’t print images on an inkjet or dye-sub printer at home (yet). The technology isn’t there (yet) – the dynamic range is shit, the shelf life is abhorrent, and the print may react adversely to various substances like moisture or the plastic protective sleeves inside a portfolio. If you get an ink-jet print from a service bureau, get it UV-coated.
  8. Giclee is french for “squirt.” Basically, it’s an inkjet printer that can print on just about any surface. I personally don’t think it’s worth it for digital photos, even if you’re using one of the high-end six, eight, or twelve color giclee printers, since you probably don’t have that dynamic range in your photos in the first place, and you probably weren’t working in that colorspace in Photoshop when making adjustments. I’ve never done giclee prints from analog sources, so I can’t comment on that.
  9. Check out the reputation of the local print shops by visiting local galleries on reception evenings and questioning the presenters and curators. In San Diego, I typically use Moebius Color.
  10. Check to see if there’s a minimum number of prints or dollar figure for a run.
  11. If you print in multiple sizes, it may be more cost effective to use different printers, technologies, or companies for each. I’ve used Chrome Digital for small-scale prints with pleasing results, but rumour has it they’ve had some issues with poor quality and damaging negatives. Since I’ve only ever taken digital sources there, and I always have a backup of my work, I’m not worried about damaged source materials.
  12. Always sign your prints, but only on the lower right hand corner just outside the print boundary. Anything else is just unprofessional.
  13. Only sign with a pen that has been designed to write on prints, to prevent smudging your signature. The pen will usually say something along the lines of “writes on plastic, metal, glass.” Test it.
  14. If the print one of a numbered series, include the number of the print and total number of prints. This may be done next to your signature or on the back. Document the series run, date, and purchases somewhere at home.
  15. If you write any series numbering information, date, or other extraneous data on the back of the photo, use a light hand to not emboss the text into the print, and do it far enough in the margin that if it does deform the print that it will be hidden by matting. Generally, there’s no reason to write much, if any, extra information on back.
  16. Matt your image with a quarter-inch (or so) boundary around the printed boundary to expose the signature. The patron is investing in the signature as much as the art.
  17. Generally, unless the theme requires it, frame and matt each piece in a showing identically. If the matting is colored (not white or black) and complementary to each image, more spacing is required between the pieces.
  18. Particularly for smaller prints, have the bottom edge of the matt one-and-a-half to two times as wide as the sides and top. The sides on top should be of identical width. Works best with white matting, in my opinion.

Getting Noticed

  1. Spend some time on your card, as curators and owners receive hundreds regularly. Make it professional, memorable, and if possible, include a few samples on the card itself. I’ve used Overnight Prints, and placed contact information one side and some favorite shots representative of my work on the back.
  2. Go grassroots – visiting the local galleries, art-walks, coffee house receptions, one-night-only’s, etc. Introduce yourself to the artists, curators, and owners; they probably won’t approach you unless it looks like you’re interested in buying. Analyze the presenters’ works and have intelligent things to say about them. Cast negative comments in a positive light or don’t say them at all. (e.g., “I’d be interested to see this piece cropped here, with more of this light falling on the subject” instead of “The composition sucks and it’s too dark.”) Respect them, but don’t pester them – they’re there to sell, and you’re (probably) not buying.
  3. Don’t pretend to be buying in order to speak with the curator(s). They are working, and will make time for you when he or she can.
  4. Have both a printed portfolio and online version. Online is generally more convenient these days, and if they like what they see online, they’ll probably ask to followup with a printed portfolio.
  5. In your portfolio: prune, prune, prune. Better to have ten phenomenal images than those ten and ninety mediocre. The mediocrity dilutes the phenomenal. Revisit you portfolio periodically and continue to prune as you evolve.
  6. Treat all advice as constructive criticism, even if it’s not presented as such, and even you you think it’s wrong. You don’t have to follow it, but you should listen to it. It’s photography, let yourself use others’ eyes as well as your own.
  7. Eventually, you will be recognized at various art functions, if you’ve been introducing yourself without being obnoxious. It’s incredibly beneficial if a curator or owner approaches you at an exhibition (to say hi, or ask if you’re seen the pieces yet, etc.), as opposed to the other way around. The curator is almost never alone, and people will see him or her initiating conversation with you, and have instantly had your status raised. Do not, however, try to force this scenario, just let it happen.
  8. Bring promotional flyers for you exhibitions wherever you go. You never know when you’ll meet someone who might actually show up and purchase a piece, and owners and curators love that. (And you should as well.) On the flip side, always ask before leaving a stack of flyer at a location, and never start the conversation with the presentation of a flyer. Guide the conversation there, or let it arise, and then present it. It’s more polite, personal, and makes the recipient feel less like they’re being spammed.
  9. If you trade business cards with a curator or owner, send a followup email a few days later. Be polite and spell check, read it over a couple times. It should follow the ABC’s of good communication: Accuracy, Brevity, and Clarity. Think of it as courting an aristocrat.
  10. Support your local artists, purchasing pieces if the option is available and the work moves you, but minimally by going to their exhibitions and inviting them to yours. Reciprocity is good, and with most people, somewhat viral. If you don’t have the money to buy another artist’s piece, and they yours, consider trades.
  11. If you’re commissioning a piece, pay half up front and half upon receipt. Artists will finish when they get hungry.
  12. Use your resources. Ask for help, advice, criticism, convention, standards, etc. No one was born knowing everything.

In the Gallery

  1. If your prints have been stored in presentable state for a while, dust the frame, pull the glass and dust it or clean it with a non-abrasive cleaner. If the inside side of the glass requires cleaning, let the glass dry completely before re-assembling to prevent chemicals from being pressed against the print.
  2. Bring a few spare pieces to the gallery in the event that one of yours gets damaged or destroyed in route, or in case an artists doesn’t show and there is extra available. Exposure is good.
  3. Bring a level, screwdriver (Phillips and flathead), hammer, needle-nose pliers, a thin metal ruler, and your own hanging supplies when hanging your work. You never know if the material promised by the studio was given to the pompous savant that’s headlining the show. The level and hammer for obvious reasons, the screwdrivers to work with mounting brackets, and it’s handle can be used to spool wire, the pliers to pull sunken nails and other sundry, the metal ruler to space pieces as well as wedge behind the backing stays present on some frames.
  4. Go to your own showing. Nothing says lack of pride like missing your own exhibition. Many people enjoy meeting the artists and establishing some sort of personal or emotional connection between themselves and the source of the piece they’re looking to purchase (but be aware some people want to intentionally not meet the artists, so don’t hover.)
  5. Don’t spent so much time with any potential client(s) that you don’t have time to mingle, meet new people, view other artists’ works, and appreciate your evening.
  6. Get a receipt book. If accepting non-brokered payment, particularly in check form, write the purchaser’s drivers license number on the receipt. You don’t want to surrender the work and have a stop payment crop up on the check and have no recourse. If it is a brokered payment, the gallery should take care of this.
  7. Don’t try to skirt the gallery by going behind it’s back to sell the piece later at discount, thereby screwing the gallery out of it’s commission. After all, you may not have had an offer at all had it not been for them.
  8. Bring spare business cards to the showing.
  9. If you’d like to defray some expenses without relying on someone purchasing one of your larger gallery pieces, considered making available some smaller prints of the pieces in the show. These should be pre-matted but not framed, and contain your signature like the standard large-scale print. They may also include some “advertising,” such as your website address. A 4”x6” print is on the “crafts” side of the arts-and-crafts curve, appearing more like a postcard than a gallery art miniature, so go larger than 4”x6”. They should be packaged in a clear protective sleeve with a price tag. In other words, ready for someone to just pick up and buy.
  10. If you’re selling inexpensive pieces and/or miniatures, bring petty cash for changing bills. I suggest rounding every price to the nearest $5 mark.
  11. Don’t get drunk at your own showing.

Nov 19 2005

Security

“Since you’re my boys, if you see anyone out of line or breaking shit or whatever, just kick ‘em out. I don’t give a fuck, just toss ‘em.”

“Whose party is this again?”

“My little sister’s, but it’s at my dad’s house. Should be mad little girls there, like, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old. Some high school, some college. It’ll be banging.”

We’re just leaving the suburban outskirts of San Diego. As we dig deeper into the forested hills, the temperature begins to drop and it starts to feel like a real November evening. We’re hauling six thousand pounds of steel over two lanes on a twisty road to Ramona, to the house Joey grew up in. We start to slow when we see cars lining the side of the highway for hundreds of yards.

Joey sighs. “Fuckin’ amateurs. Like the cops won’t notice this.”

We pull on into the extended driveway, cars packed so tightly we have to pull back the mirrors of the truck in to pass. As we approach the automated gate, a drunk teenager stops us.

“Yo, five bucks to get in.”

The truck cab erupts in laughter from Joey, Carter, Adam, Matt, and myself.

“What, you guys aren’t going to drink? Five bucks for a cup.”

More laughter.

Smiling, Joey explains, “Little dude, this is my place.”

“Oh, shit, you’re Jane’s bruddha! Snap! Here’s some cups.”

“Yo, thanks, keep it up.”

We pull in through the gate, farther up a steep incline past more cars, past a pool and hot tub teeming with drunks, up farther, to the top of the ridge line near the house. The overnighters have pitched tents, and it looks like some might already be occupied.

We mosey down the road, past the spa, into the throngs. There’s an mediocre band jamming near the pool, amidst three hundred or so kids, grouped by proximity to the kegs and fire pit. We trail through the crowd, amused, realizing most of these people were born in the mid to late eighties, and don’t know how hold their liquor, or properly tap a keg, or even poor a good beer for that matter.

A bubbly blond little eighteen year old runs up to Joey: “It says V.I.P. on my ass! Want to see?” She unbuckles her jeans, dropping trou while bending over. She pushes out her ass while adjusting her red thong. Cocking her head around, she barks, “Take a picture!” Matt slaps her ass, Carter whips out a camera phone, taking a picture of Adam licking the letter “P” emblazoned in sharpie on her right cheek. Joey shoots me a pleased told-you-so look and bellows a laugh.

A girl walks unsteadily up to me, extending her palm. “And what’s your name?”

“Barclay.”

She cocks her hips and coils a curl around her finger. “How old are you?”

She too drunk and I’m too quick. “What was your name again?”

“Oh, I’m Kaitlin, I’m friends with …” trailing off into a brief conversation.

She’s too drunk to notice my dodge and I’m too sober, for now, to lie.

I catch snippets of conversation, from a little angel that just had the lights switched on her while screwing some guy in the pool house “… we we were totally going to have a threesome, but I ran out of condoms … yeah, sucks …”

Fuckin’ amateurs.

We continue to mingle, shooting the shit with each other and meta-laughing about while we meta-flirt with the girls. Every once in a while we have to calm down some asshole who gets too drunk and angry and stupid, by we’re there more to just hang than we are to play security. We’re just security by default, as we’re friends of the older bruddha – and ‘cause of that martial arts thing.

Every once in a while we get some straggler tailing us, someone who doesn’t know how to act at a party so they loosely follow around others: “Don’t you go San Diego State?”

I laugh and keep walking. This is too funny.

I have to step in the middle of some altercation, but the two guys don’t want to fight, they’re too busy posturing, willing to forego the fight if they can both walk away while saving face. I let them, making my presence known but not interfering. I see the quick nervous flicks of eyes over to me then back to the commotion. Later in the evening, one of the two gets himself riled up again. I’m there, I was up at the hot-tub with a birds eye view, I could see the group off to side, agitating, angry, and slide down the hill unnoticed.

Before he reaches his target, I’m there casually, as if I just happened to run into me. He recognizes me and tries to enlist me, “What’s your name?”

I lie. “Paul.”

“Man, Paul, this guy’s been talking shit about me all year, would you let someone do that to you?”

Ah, an emotional appeal. Get me involved. Get me answering your questions. A simple ploy. Bruddha, you’re not good enough to play that game with me.

“Let it go, bro. Look at all these honeys here, would you seriously rather be fighting than fucking?”

“I’m already fucking a girl, but this guy’s been talking shit ALL YE—”

“You’re fucking a girl? Right now? Like, the invisible woman, ‘cause I don’t see her.”

He cranes his head, scanning the crowd, looking for her. Yup, he’s under my control now. He’s thinking about what I want him to think about – his girl, and the things he wants to do with her, not some asshat that called him names.

Her spots her and points her out. I don’t follow his finger.

“She’s cute. So why don’t you take her home and fuck her silly?”

He appears to weigh the options and capitulates, retreating to his crowd of friends, but retaining enough ego to call me a “pussy,” on the way out, from the “safety” of his group of friends. Bruddha, unlike you, I can let it slide.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

I’m pissing in the woods when the cops arrive. Carter walks up behind me, “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yup.” I zip up.

We start creeping through the woods, testing our stealthiness, putting our outdoor training to use. The cops are out at the highway, directing the flow of cars from the base of the driveway since cries of “5-0” rang through the party. There’s a lot of dried leaves about, and we’re a little tipsy, but there’s great contrast of light and shadow and enough noise from the party to mask our approach. We crouch, just off the side of driveway, listening. People walk withing feet of us and don’t see us. Carter and I snicker, drawing a line across our neck with an index finger, denoting when someone enters the range of a quick and silent kill.

A new police vehicle pulls up, the sheriff. Over the bullhorn, he commands “I want to talk to the organizer of this party or we’re coming in, and we’re going to start checking for things you don’t want to check for.”

We sneak back to the pool, to warn Joey and Jane. The party’s still two-fifty strong. There’s no way the bullhorn could have been heard this far away and over the substantial din.

“Joey, time to clear, or they’re coming in.”

Some drunk girl chimes in. “No, no, everyone should stay! That guy other there said they need a warrant to come in!”

“Honey, all they need to see is one drunk, high, or otherwise fucked up minor to come stumbling out of this place, and they have probable cause. You think that hasn’t happened yet?”

Even in high school, we knew how to tap a keg. We knew what a release valve was for. We always had enough condoms. We knew not to rely on legal advice from some drunk guy from our English class. We knew that when the cops came, everyone should walk away, not try to barricade yourself in. If you walk away, they let you. If you force them to come in, they’ll pat you down and find whatever beer, smokes, weed, or whatever you have stashed on or near you.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

Joey makes the call, “Alright, clear ‘em out, Jane, grab a bunch of your hot friends, take ‘em up to the house, and we’ll keep a smaller shindig going after the cops leave.”

We wander, gently prodding suggestible psyches. “Dude, the cops are here, I’d take off if I were you.” “Dude, they’re gonna try to come in here, where’s my ride?” “Dude, dude, dude….”

There’s a group near the back that’s not moving. The yeah-I-heard- you-but-I-think-I’m-entitled group. Walking up, I wave non-chalantly toward the exit and shake my head slowly, like your kid has just drawn on the wall and lied about it, and you’re too tired to deal with explaining the logic of how you figured it out.

“Gitthefuckouttahere.”

Some drunk little whore is offended by my presentation but not the hand down her pants. “What the fuck, man, you don’t have to be so rude.”

“Honey, I’m doing you a favor. Just get the fuck outta here.”

“You’re doing us a favor? Right.” She looks at her boy. “What a dick.”

I shake my head again, not willing to explain to them how I can smell the joint and they really don’t want the cops in here.

“Like I care. Fuckin’ move.”

They begin to exit, fifteen people in one big offended mood. The last guy up, the guy in the leather jacket, the guy who stands up last to show how cool he is, offers his sage advice over the cherry of his cigarette. “You should care, dude.”

I actually laugh.

“Whatever. Haul ass.”

I meander over to a another crowd. Johnny Punker saddles up next to me. Cracking open a beer while looking at him over my shoulder, I make a suggestion. “I’d leave if I were you.” People give me looks. Yeah, that’s right, I’m old enough to drink and kick people out of a party at the same time.

He assumes a hard-core attitude. “No way man, I leave this party when the cops bust in and handcuff me and drag me out.” Yeah, way to stick it to the corporate man, way to find something important to fight for.

I look back at him and swivel my body square with his.

“No, you’re leaving. You understand me?”

“Uh, yeah, I’m leaving ‘cause you’re telling me to. Uh, later.”

He high-tails it out the back. At least he catches on quick, quicker than his friend, who pronounces to his remaining friends, “The cops aren’t really here.”

“Uh, yeah, they are. Walk twenty yards that way,” indicating with my finger, “you can see the red and blue flashes through the trees. I may not have been around much, but usually just cops have those.”

“Yeah, right, the cops aren’t here.”

“You think I’m sending dozens of hot little girls away for no reason? Are you an idiot?”

He turns back to his friends, mumbling, “There’s no way the cops are here.”

“Alright, dumbass, just go. Leave. Right now. You’re not smart enough to be at this party. Get the fuck out.”

“Who do you think you are?”

“I’m your guardian fuckin’ angel.”

“I–”

“No, fuck that. Just leave. Bye. Go. Now.”

“But–

“Nope. Go.” I wave him off and walk away, leaving him to to escort himself out.

Fuckin’ amateurs.

When we’ve got the party down to a decent size, the police pull away and we start up the DJ. There’s male and female nakedness at the hot tub, and things are relaxed. We share the more interesting anecdotes of clearing three hundred people without incident with five somewhat drunk assholes. I lay back on the side of the tub, thinking of how stupid I was when I was eighteen. I watch the stars of a rural night sky dance and dip and hide behind the silhouette of a pretty young thing dancing above me, and I am content, even thought I too am still, a fuckin’ amateur.


Nov 16 2005

Criticism

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone that came out to the exhibition last night, the turnout was phenomenal. We ended up staying open about an hour longer than we intended due to the crowds. There were tons of people I didn’t know, I met some local artists I haven’t hung out with before, and there was definitely a “buzz” on the street regarding the show. A thrilling, albeit exhausting, evening.

On the down side of the things, I didn’t sell any pieces – but they’re not exactly impulse buys, and it was my first show, so I wasn’t really expecting to. I was considering for the next show, to recoup some expenses, of doing some small print runs of the showing pieces in 4×6” format, pre-matted but un-framed, as an adjunct to the full-size prints. Thoughts?

On the up side of things, I got some fantastic criticism. Of course, my friends all had wonderful things to say, and I appreciate their support greatly, but when a stranger, someone who is a Professor of Visual Arts specializing in digital media, offers a critique, you really stop and listen.

“These two prints here are good, and with small tweaks they could be great.” After continuing on to elucidate her suggestions in great detail, she waves to two others, “These two are great, I wouldn’t change a thing, very very good.” (My spare pieces, the two I brought just in case there was extra space – which and there was, as one artist dropped at the last minute – were unsigned, un-tagged, and I don’t know if she realized they were mine, so no critiques on those two. Beside, they’re part of an unfinished series.) Overall, a good ten minutes of discussion with her regarding the prints – wonderful, precise, technical feedback.

Damn, that felt good.

Update: it appears traffic to osbornphoto.com today is about four times standard. Awesome.


Nov 14 2005

Amorous

I’ve got a backlog of forty books or so on my bedside floor – I can’t even remember what’s unread at this point. I just pluck one out of the pile as I finish previous ones. Minimally, I have the Car Book for lunchtime and the gym, the Nightstand Book before bed, and the Bathroom Book, for, well, the bathroom. As it happens, right now I’m reading Gravity’s Rainbow, The Elementary Particles, and Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. If you’ve read these, you know that means that I’m getting a dose of two to three sex scenes per day.

Seeing as that’s the only sex I’m getting right now, that’s not good. My pores are oozing literary musk.

You’ll paint because you’re under contract to paint. Moreoever, you’ll paint better than you’ve ever painted before. Nothing like a little suffering to put some backbone into art. Has she got you smoking and drinking? Good! Creativity feeds on poisons. All great artists have been depraved.

– Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Okay, cliched, but maybe there’s an advantage.

Anyway, this is just a reminder to come out to the more super show tomorrow night. Support your local artists (including me), have some drinks, and bask in my impassioned gaze. Or something.


Nov 12 2005

Persistence

She’d circled the bar several times now, counter-clockwise, looking for someone or something. She was tall and relatively thin, with hips a little too wide for her frame and a pronounced Egyptian proboscis. I hadn’t really noticed her aside from her regular cycle through the club, not attractive nor unattractive.

Out of the blue, Sean hooks her arm and queries, “Have you met my friend Barclay?” He’s wearing his eternal smile, sincere and goofy. She mumbles something and waves him off without breaking stride. We go back to our conversation about lenses and lighting.

Ten minutes later in her next lap, Sean again hooks her arm again. “Have you met my friend Barclay?” She stops briefly with a noncommittal wave, and continues on.

Fifteen ‘til last call, she’s circling again, although noticeably less stable. Same question: “Have you met my friend Barclay?”

She halts, confused, and Sean starts extolling my virtues. She’s just moved here from New England, she’s a New England girl, New England is the place to be. Sean rolls with it, “Yeah, that’s what Barclay’s always telling me. Barclay’s from New England.”

“Really, where?”

I pause, trying to think of cities of the Northeast, but the drinks have significantly slowed my synaptic firings.

“Delaware?”

She turns to me, and between the rumble of the band and her intoxicated slur, I can’t understand a single word. I takes wild stabs of guesses as to the topic, responding with insightful observations and questions I assume would be appropriate were I correct. She doesn’t seem to notice any conversational drift, and sloppily scans the crowd at intervals.

Eventually, she migrates over to talk with Sean while Charlie and I shoot the shit about writing, but returns shortly to begin grinding against me, ass against my crotch, face toward the crowd.

Yes, I was that guy. The guy that some girl is pretending to hook up with so some other guy, some guy who doesn’t really care what she does if he even knows she exists, some guy who’s probably out of her league, some guy she’s sublimated to nobility in her drunken fantasy, will see the impending loss of his siren and immediately rectify the situation. Yes girls, both This Guy and Other Guy know when you’re doing this, we see it all the time, this bartering frotterism for attention. We let you do it anyway.

I continue my conversation with Charlie while she arches her back in front of me and pushes hers into mine, gyrating and pulling my hand to her side.

After a few minutes, she guides me closer to the wall, body tight against mine. I wonder if these displays ever work. As her mouth opens and our tongues explore, I have my hand on her ass. It’s past last call. I’m kissing her, wondering if her ploy is working, imaging a seductive-sports bookie, some X-Games spinoff, taking odds. I know she doesn’t want me, but I wonder how far she’s willing to go.

We’re parted as they kick the last patrons out into the turbulent mesh of people congregating outside the door, hailing taxis, stumbling home, raucous conversations of subsequent destinations. Reconvening with Sean and Charlie, I see New England, in the embrace of some other guy, hopefully Other Guy, mid-kiss.

Sean winks. “How old are you again?”

“Twenty-nine.”

“Yeah, so you’ve been around. You know she was just working you.”

“Yeah. So what’re we doing tomorrow night?”

“Don’t know, but third time’s a charm.”