A Form of Writing

5/19/2007 Civil War Reenactment Set, Slideshow (292 Pictures)

Blogging may be a new form of writing. I read novels, short stories, magazine articles, poetry, haiku. Where do blog entries fit in? I read them everyday. We can’t really call blogging a journal, it’s more of a short verse.

We’re not asking questions of ourselves as we would in a journal. We’re asking everyone in the world questions. We’re trying to convince or cajole, humor or insult. Just as the forms of writing vary, so does the quality. Here’s what I think blogging is…


Blogging isn’t about Me telling you what to think.

Blogging isn’t about You telling me what to think.

Blogging is about ME telling YOU what I THINK!

Bgoglnig wtih a sepllckceehr swols dwon waht I tnihk

Blogging like grammar with yoda ignorant doesn’t think.


Blogging dirty pictures? What would your mother think?

Blogging about the government? What would your father think?

Gniggolb sdrawkcab ekil icniV aD, tahw od uoy kniht?

Blogging all day makes jack a dull boy, oo0, am I on the brink?

A Gophers Prediction

I like Punxsutawney Phil and General Beauregard. They’re both varmints with challenging names and super powers. They can predict the future, after all. I had no idea that there’s a whole pantheon of Groundhog superheros out there, though. There’s even a Prognosticating Llama.

Anyway, the consensus in the varmint Justice League is that Spring will come early this year. Spring comes the same time every year around here… 6 weeks too late. Stay warm 🙂

A Fistful of Photos

I’ve been thinking about prices lately. I talked to a winemaker on Cayuga Lake once who told me that the price of wine is always wrong. He said that most bottles of wines are really worth about $6. He meant the wine you buy at the market. There are other vintages that will always be worth more. In New York State, 1991 was one of those years. A mild winter led into a rainy spring, which slid into a dry summer, which slipped into a perfect fall. The perfect fall is kind of rare up here. Usually, we’re cruising along at summer’s pace, then two or three weeks later, we’re shoveling the driveway. 1991 was a very good year for New York State wines. Even a novice like me could tell the difference. He probably still has a few bottles of the 91 somewhere in the winery. It has value, not only because it’s good wine, but because it represents a comfortable year in New York. I graduated from college in 1991. All and all, it was a good year. The value of the wine is set by my desire to relive the essence of that year.

Wine distills the essence of a place in a unique way. For the longest time, the type of wine was restricted to certain areas. Champagne, Bordeaux, and Chardonnay all came from certain counties. Drinking those wines was a way of experiencing that region, even if you were on the other side of the world. Now, they make replicas of those wines, since the grapes are true, but the land is different. The only native grape in New York State is the Cayuga, I think. It’s a variety of grape vine that was developed by Cornell University to grow in New York State. A very American way of making wine, no? Cayuga and Dry Riesling are my favorite varieties from the Finger Lakes wineries.

Dreaming of You

Here’s a little free typing experiment…

What if everything we see and experience is nothing but a dream? Imagine it for a moment. We live in a bland world that siphons the creativity and energy from us. The walls close in on us as we stare at them in despair, so we rush to bed each night, hoping for relief from our monotonous lives.

A vibrant life greets us in the dream world were strife and conflict, beauty and serenity flow into our hungry minds. I see you when we are awake, but I imagine that I can almost see through your translucent skin to the dull core of your heart. At night, we swirl together, then apart, in a dance of grace that will only end with waking. We cling together, bathed in a light that the day can only steal away with the beat of that external drum. When we sleep, we are heroes of legend, questing for truth in a way that the waking world can only imitate with a pale shadow.

When I sleep, I pity the shallow fool who created me through the dream. He has no light within him, no love for this world that boxes him in. In my dream, he is beautiful, because I am beautiful. You are there with me, too. When I look in your face, there is a friendship there that we’ll never know when we are awake. You frowned at me this morning, but tonight you’ll smile. Perhaps I’ll smile back.

I had a nightmare once where I screamed, but no sound came out. I walked towards the house without any will to stop my trembling feet from moving forward. I stood at the top of the steps, and stared down an impossibly long flight of stairs. I stepped forward and fell. Instead of striking the floor, I passed through it and into a field of stars. I had the sense of falling, but no references to show me how fast I was moving. I closed my mouth, but the screaming still railed silently against my skull. I awoke, grateful to have escaped from my terror. The day held no respite for me, though, and I still slept the next night, hoping for a better dream.


Yup, life was tough in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Bikinis (well, bikini bottoms, at least) 😉 and Coco Locos can really take it out of a lonely traveler. Here I am putting my feet up for a well deserved rest.

Here is a link to the Beach set of pictures… More to come from the resort:


Cell Phone


Nothing, I’m just standing here in line.
Yeah, I got ‘em.  How much? No, not you, you.
Yeah, chips and dip, when’s the game start?
I won’t be late.
You too, See ya there
No, I’m driving.
Hello? Hello!  Sorry man, I just dropped the phone
Yeah, I was flipping off some jerk that cut in line
SCREW YOU!  No, not you, YOU
I’d like a cheeseburger, fries.  I know you’d like one, too.  No, not you, you.
Better make that a combo meal.  No, I’m already buying chips and dip for everyone, buy your own food.  No, not you, I know you don’t sell chips.
Just one combo meal
Alright, see ya there, I’m leaving now.  No, not you, I’m paying now.
Beep, bbeep, beeeep, boop
Hey sweety, how ya doing?
Oh, that’s too bad.  Dropped it at your feet?
Uh huh
Cat’s are like that, sometimes.
Uh huh, yeah
You too.
UR L8 @$$
beep, beep, BBBbeep, boop

Unforgettable Pictures

I went to the west coast of Mexico in 2001. Cabo San Lucas was one of the stops. They recently got hit by a hurricane, so the subject of my most unfrogettable picture is undoubtedly gone forever.

I went on a shore excursion to take pictures of… everything. That place is (was? hope not) awesome. As I was returning, I paused on the dock right at the gangplank. Next to the harbor shuttle was an 8 foot row boat. It was completely swamped, but a dockline still held the stern out of the water. the name of the dinghy? “Titanic”.

People started to jostle around me to get on the shuttle. The porter motioned me onto the boat, and I followed the rest of the people onto the shuttle. I don’t know why I didn’t take the picture. I was a little stunned when I first saw it, it was such a great picture.

It IS a great picture. I just never captured the moment. I think about that picture occasionally when I’m out taking pictures. Photography is about saving one or two moments out of an experience. It’s the experience that creates the photos, not the other way around. Experience flows all around us when we’re living our lives. We see unique and stunning things all the time. We save them for ourselves as memories. Taking the picture lets us share our perspective with other people for just an instant. I have the misfortune of having one of those stunning, funny moments trapped in my head where you’ll never see it, no matter how much I’d like to share it.


I went to the Rochester Vietnam Memorial today. I woke up to 9/11 remembrances. I was very conscious of the time all morning. As the day progressed, I remembered what I was doing in 2001, what I said, what happened. In the afternoon, I concentrated more on work. I had a complicated problem to solve. After work, I realized that I still had a complicated problem to solve. There are aspects of 9/11 that are somewhat unapproachable for me.

That afternoon in 2001, I just wanted some kind of normalcy, so I picked up a repair ticket and headed over to the 9th grade building. It was Just a temperamental printer in the technology lab. As I entered the lab, the students were listening to music on the radio. They were pretty rowdy… The teacher wasn’t in the room. I felt angry at their laughter. I bit my lip and started working on the printer. As the song ended, the local news came on the radio. One of the kids near me shouted above the din.

“QUIET! I want to hear the news, we might not have school tomorrow.”

I turned on him and hissed “Is that all you care about, getting a day off? Don’t you understand what’s happened?”

“Hey! It’s not like there’s going to be a war or anything…”

“We’re ALREADY at war!” I couldn’t unhinge my jaw after yelling it and the room was suddenly blurry. Very quiet, too. I wiped my eyes, and saw everyone staring at me. I rushed out of the room and went home a half hour early.

2006, 2001, 1996. Today, on the same station, I heard that the Rochester Vietnam Memorial observed its 10th anniversary yesterday. The symmetry of the years made today the right time for me to visit the memorial. I thought I could find some perspective there that I couldn’t in 2006. This was an old loss, after all. Many of the dates are before I was born. Surely this place represented acceptance and Peace.

The loss and grief are still there, though. I felt it right away when I saw the 4 chairs next to the tree. Despite so many people being represented there, it’s a lonely place. Each Billet stands alone, and I had to restrain myself from taking pictures of every single one. I do have a new perspective on 9/11 now, just not the one I set out to find this afternoon.


My Rochester Vietnam Memorial Flickr Set

The Wall

I found myself at a new stage of sorts, so I decided to revisit a cornerstone of my past. When I’ve found myself getting depressed or frustrated, Pink Floyd’s The Wall has been a piece of music that I’ve gravitated to over and over again. Perhaps you’re thinking that it’s a depressing piece of music, and you’re right. I can’t explain why these two cassettes, and later CDs, DVDs have had such a grip on me. If you listen to “Mother” from the first side, you’ll know more about me than perhaps, I’d like.

It’s not just the images of loss or seclusion that reach me. I listen to all kinds of music. Bruce Hornsby or The Police could be playing just as easily as Hey You. The thing that makes The Wall such a recurring album for me is that I never lose connection with the music, each song is as eloquent and personal as the last.

The Greeks believed in several kinds of theatre. Comedy, Drama, and Tragedy were all part of the regular fare. They coined the term “Catharsis”. It’s the release after an especially intense emotional experience. Whole theatres would weep openly at the end of a tragedy. The personal journey of the author was shared by the community.

The Wall didn’t always drive me deeper into malaise. Many times, it helped tremendously.  As I grew older, I learned when to play it, and when to put it away. I pulled it out this morning, curious. I’ve only played it once in the past year. I felt the flutter in the middle of the first CD, but then, nothing. It’s music for me, perhaps for the first time.

Regatta De Blanc came on the Ipod next, and I’ve let it keep playing. I’m not walking on the Moon, but I got my message in a bottle;)

Gestalt in Pieces


I’ve had a part of my character that I can’t explain for a long time.  There is a part of me that can take almost any setback without despair.  There is another part of me that can’t stand to have the smallest thing go wrong.

I was at a friend’s house earlier this summer.  His oldest son, A, will be starting school in a year or two.  I was there to help my friend build a swing set for the kids.  I brought my camera, as I’m wont to do.  A followed me all around the backyard.  He was fascinated by my camera.  After hanging on my shoulder strap and reaching for it several times, I just handed the whole thing to him.  He wasn’t ready for the weight of a big macro lens, so it swung into the ground right away.  My friend was keeping a sharp eye on us.  I could see him thinking about consequences.  For me more than for him.  He’s a good friend.

A started taking pictures of my foot.  He shot my whole CF card in about 3 minutes.  I just had time to clear some room on the card when A reached for it again.  This time, He tried his best to lift the lens up, while I tried my best to press myself down.  He managed to get a couple shots of my belt.

How does this relate to me?  I can honestly say that A breaking my camera doesn’t bother me.  The thought of it didn’t bother me while he was running around.  It still doesn’t.  It was great to try to explain photography to him, and have him interested in it.

Here’s where my fickle nature shows through, though.  I live 5 minutes away from work, so I have a super easy commute.  2 traffic lights, and no highways.  I’ve driven a long way to work in the past, so I value my easy mornings.  One tailgater, one aggressive jerk, can frustrate me right into a lousy day.  Some days flowed from that moment like a stone in a calm pond.

I’m happy to report that nasty commutes don’t bother me as they used to.  I’ve come to peace with the sharks that swim our streets.  I drive a sporty car, so a lot of people out there assume that I want to race every knucklehead that comes along.  I’ve even gotten to the point where I play with some of the more aggressive ones.

The sports cars around here vary greatly.  There are a lot of V8’s out there, AND there are a lot of rice burners, too.  Folks from the country seem to prefer Trans AMs, firebirds, Corvettes.  The closer I get to the city, the higher the ratio of Civics, Supras, and Lancers.  By the time I’m downtown, the buzzbox exhausts are all around me.

Besides being cut off, squat and pushed, the stoplight is where most of them challenge me.  I don’t like to race.  In fact, I never race.  I don’t even tailgate.  I bought my car because I like the way a tight suspension and powerful engine feels when I drive.  It’s a guy thing.  Give me all the “making up for something else” you want, I still just love driving it.

I was driving down a four lane, un divided road.  I was on my way to one of the middle schools.  Some dork in a Firebird kept buzzing in and out of traffic, always a little way ahead of me.  I passed a slow car (35 in a 45?) and found myself coming up to a red light at my turn off.  Firebird drifted into the other lane.  I’ll admit that I delayed putting on my turn signal until he couldn’t see it anymore.  Sitting at the light, he kept looking over at me and tapping his gas.  I obliged, clacking the shifter through the gears and half chirping the tires.  The light turned Green.  I squealed my tires for one or two revolutions, then turned.  Firebird actually broke traction stomping on the gas, and didn’t realize that I wasn’t behind him until he got control back.

I don’t usually play with aggressive drivers, responding usually brings negative consequences.  This guy deserved it, though… that’s my only defense 😉