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They have better beds on the A ward.

Silvie and Danielle

November 30th, 2000

An Old Rubber Tire
The color photographs I shot in Portland don't look so good. Yes, there's the usual number of crappy shots, but that's normal and that's the photographer or luck or something. That fleeting look that beats the shutter by half a second. Those you expect. It's the prints and negatives themselves that look crappy. Little spots that I've had to clean up in PhotoShop, grainier than I think they should be, weird washed out color in the prints themselves. I need to learn what causes a bad negative so I can bitch more intelligently. Bad development? Dirty chemicals? Dirty camera? Bad film? Letting them dry in a drafty basement over a dirt floor? Am I being stupid buying it in bulk from what seem to be reputable dealers in New York City? Who knows? Mumble.

Anyway, the Custom Process lab in Berkeley isn't so custom after all and I think I'll stop shooting color prints altogether for the forty second and final time and stick with slides or switch to nothing but black and white. Do the development myself. (Except, of course, the black and white lab I use in Oakland is still doing a good job, so I'll probably continue to use them since it's easy and I'm lazy and all this carping about developing my own film is just that: Carping. What a wuss. Mumble.) A weird day in a weirder week.

The scanning software I talked about came Wednesday, which was nice, but it bombed when I entered the serial number, so it would only come up in demo mode (which embeds crappy little "lasersoft" logos into the finished output and makes it useless). I'll call the company tomorrow morning before I go into work. Mumble.

Work itself is skidding along. December is going to be tighter than hell with deadlines coming up Danielle in Portland in January and February that will make the weeks ahead testy and edgy. They're testy and edgy enough with Christmas and long darker nights. I would prefer a slower paced more amenable December with long lunches and deadlines measured in weeks rather than hours. Mumble. To have just the right number of things on my plate, not so much so that I could do them quickly, but that I could do them well. When was the last time I've had the time to do something well? And why am I saying this? Look at my photography. I've been complaining about not doing it well since my first snapshot and I've had all the time in the world. Well, a lot of time in the world. Hours and hours after dinner during the week and over the weekends, of course. Weekends that last forever. Like yours. Mumble.

Wuss is lying on my left wrist as I'm typing. He was bouncing off the walls for the last hour in anticipation of something more interesting for dinner. There was a sign taped on my door when I got home saying they're going to paint it Saturday morning (they're repainting and recarpeting the common areas in the building) and that I needed to be here for a period of four hours so they can prop it open to dry. Wuss will be amused. I suppose I can lock him in the bedroom. Open the sliding doors to the balcony. They say it will be sunny on Saturday.

This is not reading well. I feel my mind is leaking. A slow leak from an old rubber tire. I was sitting having lunch today in Berkeley on my way to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned and I was sitting in the restaurant staring into the distance and half dreaming some snappy dialogue, not a pencil or a napkin in sight. Nothing wonderful, you understand, but I was spaced out thinking or dreaming or whatever waiting for lunch when I realized that I would undoubtedly forget all of it by the time I got home this evening and come up dry as dust when it came time to sit down and write. I wonder if the mind has a built in self destruct mechanism that lets you write for some preset number of days or months or years and then just times out, throws the switch, and you go do something else. The sign being that leaking old rubber tire. Psssst. Not to worry. Goes back to my current photographic fuck ups. I believe a Phoenix rises from the ashes. Every time.

You sit there, you see, looking at the wreckage: photographs of blank faces, paragraphs of white noise, and you're upset, of course, but then you figure, what the hell? It's all hopeless anyway so why not just start all over? I already have this swell camera equipment, for example, so having failed miserably on this last go round, why not just have some fun and screw around a little bit? Can't do any worse than I've already done. Don't need to worry about failure, done that. Nothing to write. Nothing to shoot. Nothing to prove. Might as well satisfy myself. So let's see, a new day, a new roll of film, what if I were to....

The ladies in Portland. The quote is by Jane Wagner.