September 8, 2013

  • header1

    9/8/13. Until such time as Xanga gets their act together and allows me the simple act of adding a header image to my blog, this “post” will serve as the header and link information for WhenWordsCollide. I cannot turn off the comments, so there is no need to add any. The posts appear in order below this. Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

    WhenWordsCollide is part of the AllThingsMike Universe. Below are some pertinent links:

    MY FACEBOOK
    MY FLICKR photo sets
    MY YOUTUBE channel

October 30, 2013

  • MikeVideo: HD Dreams, the first all HD internet movie!

     HD DREAMS is here!

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    This is my latest labor of love, a look at the Southland through the lens of my new HD camera, edited on my professional editing rig, and available for all to enjoy! (For some reason I can’t get the actual video embedded here on Xanga. Drat. But the following link takes you to YouTube!

    http://youtu.be/-YUw1lX3qPI

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    Back in 2006 I found a use for dozens of unattached shots from miles and miles of DV footage. I made a pastiche internet movie called “Arbitrimage Dreams”. part of my “Dreams” series of art videos. The title was compressed from the words “Arbitrary Images.” The purpose of these vids was to present interesting imagery, matched through editing and music, to make an overall impression. Either spiritual or intellectual, I sometimes didn’t “get” my own projects until after spending hours editing the “footage”.

    HD Dreams, my very first overall 1080p full HD MikeVideo Production, is sort of like “Arbitrimage Dreams”. Not only do I use a series of seemingly arbitrary places and images (although the overall video is sort of a valentine to my “hood”, the whole of Southern California, for the most part.)

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    I’ve made the comparison in writing quite a few times over the past decade or so that for me, creating one of my little “Internet Movies” is the closest thing I, a single man who’s never sired children, been a woman, nor married another person, can get to the experience of giving birth.

    My artworks, whether a drawing, a computer generated composite image, a stunning photograph, or an “Internet Movie”, are my children. I’ve got hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of artistic endeavors, virtual “children”, which, thanks to advances in digital imaging technology and the emergence of the internet and social networking platforms, are easily viewable and available, and which, when complimented on their art or entertainment value, give this single old bald guy a almost motherly aura, and help me to immerse myself in the process of creation.

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    I feel creation is the most important thing mankind can energize, behold, and pass on into the future.

    I realized I was a wee bit behind the times when I upgraded to Sony Movie Studio HD Platinum, and could create full blown 1080p HD movies, but the images from the antiquated DV tape camera I was using weren’t even recorded in HD, but merely 480i, so the images were SD! I put off videomaking for a while until I could upgrade to a powerhouse modern camera. Plans were also made to upgrade to the professional Vegas Pro 12. In late September, Sony offered Pro 12 (Studio) for half price ($250.00). The LCD screen on my old DV videocamera whited out at about the same time. I decided to upgrade to the pro video editing program, and get a top of the line HD videocamera online. The prosumer Panasonic camera, coupled with the editing program, has afforded me the chance to create in sharp, bright full 1080p HD for the first time.

    The video lasts a bit over 13 minutes, and is actually about half a dozen “segments” which I edited separately, then coupled together. The images shown in this post are actual screenshots from the 1080p YouTube version of the video. When watching the vid on YouTube, if your computer and monitor can support full HD 1080p without problems, go to the little gear icon on the lower right corner of the video display screen, and click “1080p” at the top of the scrollbar for the best presentation. It looks real good in full screen!

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    It took me about a month to shoot, assemble, and edit the new video, and I’m proud of my efforts. I hope you like it too.

    Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

    (MikeVideo for over 25 years!)

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    Now Showing! CLICK HERE: http://youtu.be/-YUw1lX3qPI

October 1, 2013

  • News and Notes for October 2013

    I don’t think I even posted a News and Notes for last month.  Lots of stuff going on in life and at work. Nothing seems to be going on at Xanga. (for me, anyway.) One comment on my previous post. Oh well, no need to complain. Here’s a rundown real quickly, as I’ve got a lot of work to do.

    HEALTH: Two months ago I mentioned the pain in my left arm and shoulder. I’m pretty sure it’s bursitis. I didn’t go in to the doctor for pills. I seem to remember this has flared up before. I just stopped weight training altogether until such time as the pain goes away.

    I think I’ll go in for my yearly checkup either this month or next month, so I can get a flu shot ahead of the season. (I didn’t get one last year, so I’m susceptible, and this season is going to be as bad or worse than last year.) I’ll talk about my shoulder, and perhaps get a cortisone shot if that’s advised. I won’t train until I hear from my doctor. I’m not in pain now, and have a full circle of rotation, but I can tell that pain is evident. I passed the due dates for both referrals from my last physical. I have been taking my cholesterol pills, and keeping my diet, but I didn’t go in for new spectacles (cost issue, mainly, the retro horn rimmed “Buddy Holly” specs I want are “back” but they’re a premium buy, and I’ll get them next year.) The colonoscopy can wait too.

    WEALTH: I’m buying stuff with my own money. I am using credit cards in “emergency purchasing situations” (see MikeVideo below) but for the most part, the budget is good. I’ll have the consolidation loan paid off in March, granting me the equivalent of about a week’s pay in my pocket each month. Didn’t refi the car. I found out I’m already underwater on the loan. Oh well, it’s only two years old, and I drove my last car for 11 years, so I still feel like the Lancer is “new.” I’m feeling great about my chances for leveling my personal economy and in fact actually saving money, and perhaps begin to travel next year, and this  morning the government of the U.S. is shutting down. Hopefully, this too, shall pass.

    MIKEVIDEO: This section contains my latest and greatest news.  I got a new top of the line computer a couple of months ago.  I aimed to purchase a top of the line Pro video editing program, plus an HD videocamera as soon as possible, now that I’ve got a current (well, Windows 7 Home Premium is from 2008, but I didn’t like Win8 and feel blessed I found a new computer with 7premium) operating system, since most programs nowadays don’t even “recognize” Windows XP.

    When Xanga announced they were perhaps “going out of business”, I considered subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud, which adds web hosting, blog hosting, and access to all those great Adobe video and image programs (like Photoshop and Premiere) for $49.99 a month. Too pricey right now, and my budget didn’t allow that option. The program I’ve been using for video for the past five years, Sony Vegas Movie Studio, has a “big brother”: the professional video editing suite called Vegas Pro.

    Vegas Pro costs $599.99. That’s a lot of money. I figured when Sony Creative Software offered a “half price sale” later in the year, I’d get the program then. They sent me an email just last week, announcing the sale. So I jumped at the chance. (I’m  so “old school” I wouldn’t download the program into my computer. I wanted a “physical” representation of my purchase, so I had them send me the DVD-ROM. I just couldn’t get my head around paying even $250.00 for something I couldn’t “touch.” LOL.

    I got a new videocamera from Amazon.com . Here’s a link to the Panasonic HD-720.  It’s my first all HD videocamera. It even takes stills with more information than the two cameras I have now! (Although I’ll have to do more investigating to find the best picture settings.

    I’ve been playing around with the camera and the editing program all weekend. I spent over four hours creating the 9 second opening credit sequence! I’m back in my element, and shall hopefully begin to post some amazing footage. HERE’s a vid of a sailing ship I shot in “miniature mode” (a special effects mode in the camera) from about a 1/4 mile away on zoom. (At 1500X zoom with a tripod, I’ll be taking some beautiful moon shots too as soon as it’s full!)

    MikeVideo is now fully “21st Century.” (I think I can make “3D” video too! There’s so much to learn!)

    XANGA: Still amazingly disappointed in “the new Xanga”. I can post, like I’m doing now. Thanks to some fellow Xangans, I’ve learned how to import photos. Xanga itself doesn’t seem to be of ANY help. The standard things one should be able to do with a blog program (like add a header image, my personal pet peeve) are not available. Nothing seems to have changed with “themes’ or the “dashboard” since the changeover. (Meaning there are no themes and some controls which are shown on the dashboard won’t work!)  There still is no “front page” or “top blogs.” A lot of Xangans seem to have developed groups of social networks. As usual, I don’t feel a part of this because I don’t blog as much as most folks. I did “answer” all my comments from my last PhotoPost, which got quite a few, but only one comment on my ElectricPoetry post.

    I’ve taken much too much time writing this post. And I don’t want my frustrations with Xanga to trump my excitement about my new video capabilities. My next post will hopefully have some links to YouTube videos I’ll be posting. So far, only two snippets have made in online to Facebook (including the one I link to above.) My YouTube Channel is linked in my haphazard “header post” at the top of this blogpage, so if you subscribe, you will get updates when I post new video footage on the channel.

    Pretty soon, I intend to have a lot of great stuff online.  The latest MikeVideo is called “HD Dreams” and will, of course, be presented here on my blog, (with “director’s commentary) as has been usual over the past 10 years. (Another thing I hate about paying for this “new Xanga” is that all my videos have disappeared, and I just don’t have the time to re-insert the YouTube links and embeds on dozens of old posts!)  Well, the less I think about Xanga the more I think about my new video capabilities is best.

    I can’t even end this post with my usual emoticon. Here…..I’ll have to “type” it.    :)

September 17, 2013

  • ElectricPoetry: Why Why Why

    “Why”
    Poetry by Michael F. Nyiri
    9/17/13 6:00 am pdt

    When faced with the question of why
    I am prompted to answer why not?
    We’re naive until we’re enlightened
    Possibility is all that we’ve got

    I am personal lonesome but willing
    To talk and to reason without quarrel
    But I’m old, and forgotten, nattering
    Hiding nuts, a grey garrulous squirrel

    I ponder humanity’s questions
    And I suffer for humanity’s fate
    Have the wheels of questioning stopped?
    Sometimes I think it’s too late

    Why not halt before rash actions harm us?
    Why not reason instead of rampage?
    Why not seek to get help cause it’s out here?
    E’en as it seems we’re in a dark age

    It’s the young who are killing their elders
    It’s the young who don’t know what to do
    Will I hide in my tree with my nut hordes?
    Until I’m felled by projectiles too?

    There are millions of options and answers
    But why won’t the troubled listen?
    Why not discussion instead of destruction
    As fresh blood seems always to glisten?

    When faced with the question of why
    I am prompted to answer why not?
    I shed tears for humanity yet again and again
    But those tears are not all that I’ve got

    Please hear me, oh troublesome youth
    Please listen to jabbered discourse
    I may be old and in the way
    But perhaps long ago I followed your course

    I’ve been angry and pushed to the limit
    I have thought about ending this life
    Enlightenment tells me that’s just wrong
    Why not pause before beginning this strife?

    It’s never too late until it is, friends
    Cries the squirrel from up in his tree
    I pray it’s not too late for humanity
    I hope it’s not too late for you or for me.

     

    “War Time All The Time”
    Poetry by Michael F. Nyiri
    11/6/09 9:38a.m. pst

    What are we always fighting for?
    Why do we have to go to war?

    If wishes were horses, then soldiers would ride
    shedding their helmets, no arms by their side

    The brave join to guard us, to stand tall and proud
    They don’t want to harm, but to shout freedom loud

    Why can’t discussion replace fighting words
    Why can’t our leaders keep watch o’er their herds
    What are we always fighting for?
    Why do we have to go to war?

    If soldiers weren’t needed, then peace would reign nigh
    We’d all love our brethren, and no one would die

    The senseless is useless always for all time
    People are angry, this is such a crime

    Why can’t we tolerate those who don’t agree
    What does this say about us throughout history?
    What are we always fighting for?
    Why do we have to go to war?

    If war were abolished by worldwide decree
    Then innocent people like you and like me

    would not need to ask questions, about death and life
    and suddenly hope would replace deadly strife

    Why can’t we love instead of hate
    But maybe this just isn’t humankind’s fate
    What are we always fighting for?
    Why do we have to go to war?

     

     

    VIII “Social Networking Menace”
    (part of the Cycle of Abuse)
    Poetry by Michael F. Nyiri
    10/05/09 6:15 a.m. pdt

    Only fourteen
    and frightened constantly
    Father left when he was seven
    Mother drinks, and seldom comes home
    Sis and bro are little, and get in the way
    Sitter is no help, always texting
    Only fourteen
    and upset at the world

    Video world awaits after school
    (on those days when he attends)
    He’s king of the old PS2
    Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy, Ultimate Ninja, Mortal Kombat
    Lost in places where he kills his fright
    Where upsetting images
    replace upsetting times

    Mother is yelling about something
    Always yelling, or passed out
    in front of the TV
    The video screen in his room is blank
    The PS2 is old stuff
    He’s bored, and mad, and pissed off
    Sis and bro are making noise
    Mother is yelling
    Got to get out of here

    Family PC is in the den,
    sitting unused for a while
    Internet access is active
    and Sitter sometimes uses it
    (when she’s not texting)
    Halo can be played on the PC
    but it stalls a lot, and it’s old
    Only fourteen
    but internet savvy, and primed for
    a dog to kick online

    Internet world awaits after school
    (on those days when he attends)
    He trolls the social networks
    As xKillerx or slicemup or whatareyoustaringat
    He’s not afraid anymore
    hating, and hacking, and trolling, and berating
    spamming, and commenting, spreading vitriol
    Nobody’s safe
    Not the writers, nor the commentators
    The musicians, the instigators,
    They’re all fodder for his
    stifled imagination
    and spiteful online ways

    Nobody knows his age
    Nobody knows his pain
    Everybody hates his rage
    Everybody hates his disdain

    He’s the ultimateninja452
    hacking into the peaceful lives of all
    on the network
    His profile pic is scary
    And his comments are known
    throughout cyberspace
    He’s feared, and loathed
    and he loves it

    Only fourteen
    and already a
    menace to online society
    Years pass
    in an abusive world
    where he is king
    Mother finally stops yelling
    and maybe passes out for good
    Sis and bro are taken away
    somewhere, but he hardly cares
    When the plug is pulled
    he goes out the door
    and into the dark night
    of happenstance

     

    “Peace A Chance”
    Poetry by Michael F. Nyiri
    1970 (16 years old)

    March for a flower
    Blossoming in a pasture
    Shoot for a bluebird
    Flying through the trees
    Stop for an hour
    Admiring the mink’s fur
    Speak for a true word
    Bending troubled knees

    Where do the bullets go
    Streaming through the stale air
    Why do the people die
    Falling in the mud
    Listen to the wind blow
    Turn to them who care
    America under sky
    Where our fathers trod

    Why are there enemies
    Why is there war
    Why is there garbage
    Why strife above
    Why not intimacies
    Why not care
    Why not a new age
    Why not love

    BEHIND THE POETRY: It seems like I’ve been writing about peace, troubled people, and asking the same questions since I began writing poetry. My latest, simply titled “Why” was inspired by the carnage in the Washington D.C. Navy yard yesterday. A line from the news feeds really stood out to me. The shooter was in his early 30s, and his victims were in their late 40s to early 70s. He possibly didn’t care who he killed. He was young, angry, and simply careless. My initial thoughts, as always are directed to the terrible demons which must have haunted him, and must haunt any human being who dares to play God’s Executioner, spreading his own fire and brimstone across the sullen path of human destruction. I would hope someday I can simply stop writing these kinds of poems, which for me, attempt to make sense of the senseless, until perhaps I too, and you, and you, are felled in our lifetime’s tracks by the stray bullets coming from some troubled felllow human’s rage and anger. Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

September 15, 2013

  • PhotoPost: Tall Ships and More Elephants

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    Saturday, September 7th I had a busy busy photography expedition along the beach in Orange County. I drove to Dana Point in the morning, and began taking photos of the “Elephant Parade” of art elephants, as I displayed in my September 8th entry here on Xanga, and which are the subject of my massive Elephant Parade themed folder on Flickr.   Later on in the day, I shot some “tall ships” at the Tall Ships Festival which was going on that weekend. I’d been to the Tall Ships Festival before, in 2007, and shot video aboard some of the two and three masted sailing ships. By the time I was finished photographing nearly all of the 37 art elephants displayed in different places around the town of Dana Point, I got some shots of the tall ships sailing in the harbor.

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    I posted a paragraph from the literature from the Elephant Walk art campaign in my previous post on the subject. Here is a representation of Mosha, the little asian elephant who had to be fitted with the very first elephant prosthesis when her right front leg was taken off by a land mine. Mosha stood on the corner of Dana Point Harbor Blvd. and Golden Lantern Blvd, and welcomes visitors to the harbor.

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    “There’s Still Hope” by Chris Hoy is backed by “Meditation” by Utain Wongjai in the Lantern Bay park above the intersection. It was getting to be late afternoon by this time, and I was pretty hungry, not to mention thirsty.

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    An elephant dressed as a London Bobby is a “half size” art installation in the lobby of the Laguna Cliffs Marriot hotel.

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    “Ma Lii” by Chris Chun is looking across Dana Point Harbor Blvd, with the sun low in the sky behind her.

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    She’s looking right across the street from Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern and Restaurant, where I decided to have lunch. I found out that this restaurant has only been open a short time. I had a light vegetarian pasta dish, since it was a pretty hot day, and topped it off with not one, but two “El Diablo” margaritas, which were spiked with serrano peppers. Hot and cold at the same time. I usually don’t drink that much in the afternoon, but I wasn’t driving anywhere. At the Visitor’s Center in front of the restaurant, I found that the shuttle bus I took to get to the harbor ran till 9pm. Still had a lot of time to catch up with the Tall Ships Festival farther down the harbor walk.

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    I showed a photo of the Brig Pilgrim tall ship replica in the last PhotoPost. Here, on the next pier over, is an elephant statue. It’s called “Gentle Guardian” by Johanna Enriquez. I ended up photographing all but three of the 37 art elephants. There was one called “Mellowphant” (wearing headphones and listening to music) in the Ocean Institute (the building seen between the ship’s masts) but it was closed for the day when I got this far down the harbor walk. The Tall Ships were out in the open sea. Festival goers can wander around the decks of the Brig Pilgrim plus five other tall ships moored at this dock in the morning, then “book passage” on the vessels in the afternoon.

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    Earlier in the day, I’d photographed the tall ships in the harbor before they set out to sea. (One seems to be heading out in the center of the photo.) The smoke to the right is provided by one of the cannons. When out in the open sea, the ships engage in mock battles.

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    Joining the tourists and festival goers were quite a few pirates. Here a group of them watch the ships sail from the beach. This photo almost looks “vintage” from the late 1880s. (Or at least that was my intent anyway.)

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    I got 14 “likes” just for this particular photo on Facebook when I posted my photos direct from the media card into Facebook while looking at them for the first time last weekend. As the tall ships passed the beach, I used both standard, wide angle, and telephoto lenses to record their majesty. This shot used a telephoto lens. I’m not using a tripod either. I steadied the camera on various rocks and outcroppings and on my knee!

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    This was actually an earlier shot than the one before, showing the ship turning.  A pelican looks on.

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    The three masted schooner with the red sails doesn’t really look like it’s from the 1800s. It’s not a replica ship like the others however. It was built in 1941 and is called “The American Pride”. It’s actually the oldest ship of the tall ships in the festival!DSC00716

    As the sun began to sink into the western sky, the tall ships return to harbor. I shot this with a twilight filter to get the darker tones and blue of the water in the harbor.

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    And here is the sun hovering in the clouds above Dana Point itself, also shot with a filter. The sky wasn’t as dark as is shown in the photo. It’s getting on 7pm.

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    One of the tall ships returns, furling it’s sails. Perhaps I’ll actually pay the 50 bucks and go onboard one of these sailing vessels in an upcoming year, to get some shots “at sea”.

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    Since it was getting late, and I didn’t want to drive into the sun’s glare, I opted to wait until it set. Here I got a shot of the yellow disc as it disappears into the pacific.

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    The elephants watch the sunset along with me. Next PhotoPost I present, sometime this week, will be a selection of shots taken at the Los Angeles County Fair, which I attended yesterday. Summer is almost over, it’s hot as heck in the southland, and I’ve got a little spending money and lots of great opportunities to take photo expeditions before fall arrives. As I post this, I don’t have the Tall Ships collection of photos on my Flickr account yet. But when they get there, you will be able to find them in my Photostream HERE. 

September 11, 2013

  • Voice of Reason: No Bombs For Now

    I haven’t watched a lot of televised “news” since the night of September 11, 2001, twelve years ago, when possibly the most horrible event in our collective remembered history, the morning “bombing” of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City by terrorists using our own airplanes as “bombs” was turned into “the show” by the time the 6:30pm newscast aired.

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    I’d only been “on the internet” for a couple of years in September 2001. I created one of my very first “composite artworks”, called “Passage to Heaven 9.11.01″ to counter the innumerable instances of seeing the same terrible images of the planes crashing into the towers, which the media seemed to bombard the public, almost like “bombs”, seemingly in order to stoke the anger and ire of a confused and wounded populace.

    All of humankind were in shock and a collective grief covered the landscape. Not only in America, but all over the world. The act was not only “unthinkable” but nobody was sure of who the perpetrators were at the time, and yet, the media already seemed to have a “plan of attack”. Even before then president George Bush proposed sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, so “someone” could “pay” for this heinous crime against humanity, it seemed that the news anchors were essentially “declaring” some sort of “war on terrorism.”

    In a reasoned essay I wrote at the time, on a long gone website community in cyberspace, I “declared” that I would not watch televised news programs again. And I’ve “stuck to my guns” and now am content to read the  raw news feeds from Reuters and AP, plus subscribe to news websites such as The L.A. Times and Al Jareeza.

    America sent bombs and troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. still has a presence in both countries, although our current president Barack Obama  has ordered withdrawals from both countries.

    In another long forgotten essay I wrote on my Xanga blog around 2008, I talked about my fears that at some point the United States would make some kind of attempt to send troops and bombs into the civil wartorn country of Syria.

    Last week, after reading about Senator John Kerry’s remarks and the president’s response, on the internet, from news feeds, and not from televised news media, which adds “editorial content” to news as part of the “show”, I was horrified and aghast. Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004 was based on his opposition to the Iraq war. President Obama got my vote partially because he vowed to pull American troops out of the Middle East.

    Now both were turning into seeming warmongers, ready to storm hell bent for Syria, possibly killing more young people, and possibly racking up civilian collateral damage, and igniting yet another Middle East powderkeg.

    If one were to sample some of the media’s response, it would seem that if Obama DIDN’T “bomb” Syria, in “retaliation” for the gas attacks which killed another 1000 civilians, ordered by Syrian President Assad, then his “ratings” would go down, and he would lose clout in his second term.

    WTF?

    I thought perhaps I was the only one on the planet who thought this was ridiculous. Was the “bomb” in O”bomb”a going to be dropped on Syrian soil, soiling another possible decade or two with war?

    Earlier this week, a surprise response from President Putin of Russia, spurred by an offhand comment by Kerry, seems to have stopped Obama from harsh actions. Putin will attempt to corral Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile under International law. Obama at least said last week he would ask Congress for support for military action. (The first time a sitting president has made this kind of move. As “commander in chief” of the armed forces, the president can declare war and send in troops. An aside: the last president to actually “declare war” was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. )

    In Obama’s televised speech last night, I only wanted to hear one thing. And I’m glad I did.

    The United States is not going to begin the 12th memorial of the attacks on the World Trade Center by attacking Syria. I’m glad of this. I think more Americans than not are also glad. Yes, chemical weapons are terrible, horrible, and ghastly. If not for the fact that Obama had mentioned in an earlier speech that using chemical weapons was a “red line” which shouldn’t be crossed, my thoughts are that the terror and war which has blanketed the civil strife in Syria for much of the last decade or so, escalated in 2010, has also been terrible, horrible, and ghastly.

    On this memorial day, remembering the over 3000 souls which passed to “heaven” after the World Trade Center attacks, let’s stop and ponder how much more damage humanity can stand. Let’s think for a moment how rash ‘retaliations’ are possibly more damaging in the long run. Let’s hope and pray that perhaps more presidents and leaders both civil, military, and religious, will make an attempt to come together instead of push each other apart.

    We all have different thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. But we share something called “humanity”. Let’s share some kind of understanding that our quarrels and misunderstandings are killing us all, bit by bit, soul by soul.

    I’m glad more bombs aren’t being dropped, and hope that humankind can, at some point, listen to the Voice of Reason.

September 8, 2013

  • PhotoPost: Elephant Walk in Dana Point

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    I took an “elephant walk” in Dana Point, California on Saturday. “Elephant Parade” is a city-wide, open-air art exhibition featuring 37 life-size Asian baby elephant statues painted and decorated by renowned artists, dignitaries and celebrities. This amazing art installation covers pretty much the entire seaside city of Dana Point, and, armed with a map showing where to “find the elephants” around town, instead of taking a walk as usual around the mobile home estates, my Saturday walk was an “elephant walk” with camera in tow, to (figuratively, and photographically) shoot these amazing art pieces.

    From the Elephant Walk website: “Asian elephants are on the verge of extinction, and the commitment for their preservation started with special elephant known as Mosha. After stepping on an abandoned land mine, Mosha was fit with the world¹s first-ever prosthesis for a baby elephant. Her powerful strides inspired father and son duo, Mike and Marc Spits, to create Elephant Parade®in 2006. As a socially-conscious business enterprise, Elephant Parade has since rapidly grown from a grassroots movement into a global crusade combining a powerful mix of corporate, celebrity and community support. Through the sale of merchandise and auction of the original art pieces, the exhibition has raised over $6 million dollars to help support the world¹s most majestic land mammals and raise global awareness of issues affecting their dramatic plight.”

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    I drove along Pacific Coast Highway from the South Bay down the coast to Dana Point at around 10 in the morning. Usually I like to get on the road a lot earlier, but I’d stayed up pretty late Friday night, and didn’t get out of bed till 8am or so. I armed myself with a map of where to find each of the elephant artworks. The first few were located at an upscale resort hotel right as you get into town. A valet took my car keys, and I went into the lobby with my camera looking for elephants. Here is “Golden Poppies” by Jeff Carillo, located in a lobby extension at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort.

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    The St. Regis Monarch is a pretty ritzy hotel, up on a hill overlooking the ocean in the distance. The restroom I visited was larger than my living room, and some suites are larger than my home! I shudder to think what it must cost to stay overnight at this place. Here is a view out the window of the bar.

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    “Odysseus” by Chad Attie, is a white elephant with a little diorama which can be viewed in the circle. It’s politely sitting at the top of a staircase at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort. By the way, like the “old Xanga” you can click on the image, and see the full size photo appear. (If not in a separate window, then just backclick after viewing.) I’m having to manually code this entry to get it to look like one of my regular photoposts, and it’s taking a bit of time. This might mean that I won’t post 25 photos today, but 10 or 15 today and more tomorrow.

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    Before even beginning my walk around Dana Point I visited the installations at the St. Regis and here at the Ritz Carlton hotel and resort. A couple of small elephants guard the entrance to the hotel.

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    The brochure stated that the elephant art pieces were “life size”. They certainly aren’t the size of real elephants. They are baby elephant sized. Since 2006, many world cities have hosted the “parade” and in some display places in Dana Point (the first time this art installation has been presented in America) there are “half size” replicas of some of the other elephants.

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    “Black Taj” by Mira Gulati, and “Valentina the Elephant” by Holly Branson, look right at home on this patch of grass next to the valet parking lot on the grounds of the St. Regis hotel. Black Taj looks regal, a true “Asian Elephant”. Valentina is from outer space. She’s an astronaut elephant.

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    “Chakra Bro” is by Chor Boogie. “Jasmine” was painted by Khloe Kardashian. These guys are sitting next to Dana Strand Beach. This is where the shuttle for the Tall Ships Festival left from. I got a parking place, and took the shuttle bus from here to the harbor to continue my “elephant walk.” I came back here later in the evening to shoot the sunset, which was quite glorious.

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    Dana Point is named for Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1815-1882) a lawyer and politician who gained fame for his memoir “Two Years Before the Mast.” I read the “Classics Illustrated” comic as a child, then the actual book while in high school. My love of the sea and of tall ships was stoked by reading the memoir. Here the elephant “Zia Skye” by Laura Inkster-Gabor, stands in front of the statue of Dana at the end of the Harbor bridge.

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    I’m always pretty informational in these PhotoPosts, so I’ll mention that the ship Dana served on which prompted his “Two Years” memoir is the Brig Pilgrim. The Ocean Institute at Dana Point has a full size working replica of the Brig Pilgrim anchored in the harbor, and here it is.

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    “Triumph of Liberty” by Sonia Mirzaei, suns himself on the sand next to the Harbor opening. He looks comfortable as all get out just strolling along the beachfront.

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    “Punkaphant” is looking out to sea. He was adorned by Andre Mirapolsky. He and the other elephants started their “Elephant Walk” here at Doheny State Beach a couple of weeks ago, and are now all around town. Makes for some great photo opportunities. I even have elephants on the cover header on my Flickr photostream!

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    This wild and woody elephant statue was modified and created by Alan Nowell. It’s called “California Surpher”. This one is at the top of Lantern Bay Park at the entrance to the Laguna Cliffs Marriot Hotel and Spa. It mimics the classic “woody” displayed at the turnaround in front of the lobby of the hotel.

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    And here is a shot of the woody itself, a 1940 Ford.

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    “I Brought My Own Snorkel” by Wyland sits on the lawn in front of the Laguna Cliffs Marriot.

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    Here’s a close up of “I Brought My Own Snorkel”.

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    Longtime readers know I’m a BIG fan of cartoon chanteuse Betty Boop. Fleischer Studios had an artwork of Betty astride a baby elephant for this installation.

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    Here she is again. (Ready for her closeup, Mr. Mike.)

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    Is it an elephant or a whale? This is “Sea The Point” by artist Laura Seeley, in the same courtyard as Betty’s elephant.

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    “One Hundred Flowers” painted by Li BingBing and Henry Li, is simple and simply beautiful. She looks out on the Dana Point Harbor.

    I’ve got lots more elephants to showcase. I wanted to see if I could photograph all 37 of the art elephants around Dana Point, but time constraints, sore feet, and the fact that I was also in town to photograph some of the three masted schooners in the Tall Ships festival precluded me from getting every elephant on parade. There will be at least one other elephant themed photopost coming up. Hope you’ve enjoyed your “elephant walk” with me.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY:
    MY ELEPHANT WALK FLICKR SET
    DANA POINT OFFICIAL WEBSITE
    ELEPHANT PARADE SITE
    RICHARD HENRY DANA,JR on Wikipedia

September 4, 2013

  • Is this thing on?

    I’ll have to figure all this out at a later time. I’m back at work right now after jury duty, on which I spent four days on a trial. I was even the jury foreman! (First time on three juries.)

    So far without doing a lot of research.

    What’s a “quickpress”?

    What’s “get shortlink”?

    “Categories” must be like “tags.” I already had a very seriously cross indexed blog archive. Do I have to do this all over again manually?

    My whole collection of photos from my latest Photopost aren’t showing up. (Possibly those images still haven’t been “migrated”.)

    I have to “approve” comments. I hope I’ll be able to “add subscribers and friends” to a master list so I don’t have to ‘approve’ each comment I get from someone I already know.

    Seems to be lots of spammers already, but I can send their comments to a “spam folder” before they show up on my blog.

    I’ll have to find out how to “customize” my own theme, so my site and blog look similar. I hope I can import my own HTML. (Probably not javascript, Xanga stopped that long ago. But flash and standard links should still be able to be inserted into a sidebar.)

    The ability to “get in” or “sign in” seems to be iffy right now. Sometimes the blogs will “show up”. Sometimes the “Xanga 2.0 is coming” screen appears.

    Why can’t I recommend entries anymore? (I possibly have to “turn this on” on my own blog? So far I haven’t been able to find any blogs on which I can “recommend” or “like” even. That’s a damn shame. I didn’t do it all the time, but I “like” the opportunity to “like” something. LOL.

    Well, gotta get to work.

    The main page of Xanga (www.xanga.com) (I don’t know if that will show up as a link, I’m not going to “tell” it to be a link in HTML just to see if the program “recognizes” links, like on FB for instance.) shows where to go to log in and gives some instructions on what to do, so perhaps some of my questions may be answered there. I do hope I will at least be able to “allow” all comments from friends/subscribers without having to “approve” each one, and that I can “acknowledge” by “recommendation” or “like” (we don’t need “boost or stars” again, please) an individual entry on someone’s blog. I even think WordPress allows “likes” of some kind.

    Well that’s it for my first Xanga 2.0 post. Not even an image. And the “title” is the first thing I ever wrote in a blog back in 2002, and also the first thing we always used to say into the microphone back in “radio class” or whatever it was called back in High School.

    I guess Xanga 2.0 IS on, and I look forward to moving the furniture around so I’m a bit more comfortable!

    Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool
    (oh, neat, a word count. Now how do I ‘post’ the entry, eh? Answer: Blue “publish” button to the right.)

August 28, 2013

  • PhotoPost: Morning In Hermosa Beach

    25 photos featured in my Flickr Gallery: Morning In Hermosa Beach 8.24.13 

    There are a few places along the coast of Southern California, where I live, which haven’t made it to PhotoPosts on Xanga. My old “stomping grounds” of Hermosa Beach is one of these places. I lived just south of Pacific Coast Highway at 3rd Street, roughly 15 blocks from the ocean, for three years in the early 80s. Frequently, I’ve gone back with the express purpose of having one of my “Photo Expeditions” but the small upscale town is usually filled with both locals and tourists during the day, especially during the summer. 

     

     I like to take photographs of “busy” places at times before or after they get “busy” so early mornings are a good time for an expedition. However, early mornings along the beachfront usually brings a thick “marine layer” (otherwise commonly referred to as “fog”) This clouds the air, hides the sun, and sometimes makes taking clear detailed photos somewhat impossible. When I woke up Saturday morning, the air was clear, the sun was rising in the eastern sky, and the “marine layer” (which does creep in across the hills of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and has been keeping the sky clouded until after noon most days this summer, even inland where I live) was nonexistant. A good sign. So I packed up the cameras and headed for my old “hometown” of Hermosa Beach, about 10 miles up the coast. The fog wasn’t that thick. The only people out and about were diehard joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers, and of course surfers. I didn’t want to pay $1.25 an hour for metered parking, so I parked the car at Valley Park, along Valley Drive, roughly 6 blocks from the shore, and walked down to the strand.

    The Strand is “home” to dozens of closely packed two story beach cottages, which sell in the millions and rent for (hold your breath) $500.00 a night, $5000.00 a week, or $20,000.00 a month. (or thereabouts. Some (ahem) deals can be had. Here is “a house divided” which contains both USC and UCLA students. (I went to USC in the 70s, but I lived at home in Glendora and drove 50 miles to school each day.) A trip from Hermosa to the campus is about 15 miles up the 110 Freeway. I wanted to take photos of the living rooms and inside some of these places, which have large windows facing the sea, immediately behind me. Nobody was up yet, but I felt as if I would be “intruding.”

    A surfboard themed artwork, flanked by waves, with the Hermosa Beach city logo in the center. You can see the professional volleyball “courts” in the distance, and the concrete pier runs along the beach into the ocean in the far distance.

    Here are some beachside dining and drinking establishments. I’ve been snockered in the Poopdeck many times in the past. Good Stuff cafe is about to open. The Mermaid is on the far corner, right on Pier Avenue, which butts up against the pier.

    I shot some photos around the volleyball “courts”. Beach Volleyball tournaments are regularly held in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Pacific Palisades, Will Rogers Beach, and in Santa Monica during the “season”. Here are some bagged balls in preparation for a “match.”

    A referee sits here during game time.

    This shot show the Tim Kelly Lifeguard memorial (the surfer statue), a wooden fence, and the Hermosa Pier, on which I only found a few fishermen this early in the a.m. I arrived between 6 and 7am. I shot this photo about 7:15 or thereabouts. The large building at the beginning of the pier is the Lifeguard headquarters.

    Shooting the Strand northwards from the back of the Tim Kelly memorial. Tim was a legendary lifeguard instructor for Junior Lifeguards in the city.

    A lifeguard “opens up” for the day. His familiar yellow truck is on the sand, and he’s unlocking one of the wooden lifeguard stations along the Hermosa coast. I like it that we still have the old wooden stations here in Hermosa. From Pedro on south, it seems that newer more “modern” stations constructed of plastic are replacing the historic stations I love and remember.

    A shot without the “framing device”. I shot both these from the pier with a telephoto lens.

    A bicyclist passes Hennessey’s Bar and Grill right at the end of Pier Ave. on the Strand. The sign states: In Heaven there is no beer. That is why we drink at Hennessey’s”. (I’ve had more than one drink at Hennessey’s in the past.)

    In about two hours, this place will be packed with people. Looking east toward Hermosa Blvd on Pier. This part of the street has been closed to traffic for a couple of decades now, but when I “hung out” here in the 80s, you could drive right up to the beachside establishments. I rode a motorcycle in those days, so didn’t need much space to park, either.

    The mural on the side of Cantina Real restaurant. The city has commissioned public murals (a very interesting one is coming up) Hermosa, like a lot of SoCal cities, champions artistic endeavor, and a walk through the area is always a feast for the eyes.

    The older brick building in the center is the famous Lighthouse Cafe, home to many famous blues and jazz performances. The list is just too long to post in a caption. I’ve provided a link in the Bibliography below.

    A cop car makes it’s early morning rounds. The pier is center of the photo. You can see the Lifeguard tower headquarters. I’m shooting from the patio of the Cantina Real restaurant. Hennessey’s is across the street.

    The Treasure Chest gift store, and Zeppy’s Pizza. Fat Face Fenner’s Falloon is across the street, but I neglected to get a photo showing another historic Hermosa bar. At the top of this entry is a link to my complete gallery of over 175 photos on my Flickr account. If you have a Flickr account, you can add me as a ‘contact’ and get announcements when I add photo galleries. (I now have about 8500 photos online, replicating and surpassing the amount I had on the failed Webshots service, where I a was a fixture for almost a decade.) Of course I’ll continue providing these detailed “walk with me” PhotoPosts here on Xanga, where I’ve also been a fixture for almost a decade!

    If it still existed, I would have taken a photo of the restaurant at which I had breakfast most mornings (Usually a chile topped Hermosa Omelette or a guacamole topped Redondo Omelette, and I might have them mixed up). This is a view showing Pier extending up the hill. The cross street is Hermosa Ave.

    Some birdies get breakfast around this bicycle’s tire. Somebody must have spilled something!

    This is the clock tower at the front of the Pier Ave. walkway. The tan building “Mexican Junkie” is the building which housed the restaurant I used to frequent, but senior memory is not allowing me to remember it’s name. At least a lot of the old places are still the same. It gets difficult to find any sense of history in SoCal at times.

    This is a most interesting trompe l’oiel mural dedicated to the Lighthouse Cafe on the side of the Chamber of Commerce building on Hermosa Ave. The artist is Tim Pugh.

    A shot toward the Sea Sprite Motel showing some of the artistic front yards in town. I didn’t get many shots of the ocean simply because it was pretty fogged up, but at least the town shots are clear, and you can get a feel for the place if you’ve never been in beautiful Hermosa Beach , California.

    A little later in the day I attempted to take another expedition to Manhattan Beach, the town to the north of Hermosa, but it had warmed up to summer temps, and the crowds were overwhelming. I couldn’t even find metered parking, and all the “free” spots along Valley were taken, including all the parking spots at the park I’d parked at earlier. Well, it’s almost time for me to head to the courthouse for jury duty. Gotta leave Hermosa Beach for the time being and get back to “real life.”


    EDIT: 5:13p.m. Thought I’d add a couple more photos now that I’m not rushed to get to Torrance Courthouse. (I am on a jury, and hopefully the trial will be over by Tuesday. Of course I can’t write about it now.) Here is a photo taken from Pier looking east. The Orange storefronts and the blue one below them used to be the “Either Or Bookstore” a great place to get a coffee and browse the books, almost like in a library, back in the 70s-90s. It closed in 1999.

    This is the Comedy and Magic Club, another Hermosa institution. Jay Leno still polishes his standup monologues for the Tonight Show on the stage. I’m not proud of the fact, but on one of my insane drunks back in the early 80s I heckled Jay while in the audience during one of his sets. (I was a real ahole at times and people didn’t want to take me anywhere!)

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

     Hermosa Beach Official Website

    Wikipedia entry on Hermosa Beach

    Wikipedia entry on Beach Volleyball, California Beach Volleyball Association

    History of The Lighthouse Cafe

    Posted: August 28, 2013 8:44 AM 

August 26, 2013

  • And to think that it happened on Facebook

    I’m an open book on the internet. In fact, if I ever publish my memoirs, of which I’ve nearly completed writing in the near decade I’ve been a blogger and over a decade in which I’ve been posting personal ‘reminiscences’ on my website, I’ll call it “Reading Me Like A Book”, not so coincidentally the title of one of my many poems, written back in the 80s before I ever heard of the internet.

    As a blogger, I’m perfectly transparent, but I’ve always made a point not to write about people in my life without their permission, if they are part of my current group of friends. As I age, that group gets smaller, and most of the folks about which I’ve added many “colliding words” of my longtime blog “WhenWordsCollide” are from my past, and not people I ‘know’ or with whom I regularly interact.

    When I got together with Liz (@The_Queen_Of_Swords) I was writing my popular Xanga series “My Sexual History”. I told her: “You know you may become a chapter in my blog, don’t you?” To this day, nearly 10 years later, I haven’t written that chapter, cause Liz is still one of my friends. I received a comment on one of the chapters of “Dear Misanthrope: My Life With Pat.” in which the writer told me he hoped I’d gained permission from my ex paramour before writing about her. I didn’t. For all anyone knows, I don’t use her ‘real’ name anyway. If she were to read the story (and as I write in said story, she never even read the poems I dedicated to her, she just wasn’t a reader) I would hope she would notice I may have written about some bad times with her, but I never hated her and forgave her for any misconceptions in our relationship after it ended. 

    I just wrote an entry about “My Strangest Xanga Relationship.” The “relationship” happened “on Xanga and is fresh in the memories of anyone blogging here. The gal about whom I was writing did not use the username “QueenLoonatic”. Everyone who commented on the entry knew exactly who I was writing about, but I wrote the entry hoping that even though I was calling the relationship “strange” I wrote it with the express purpose in mind that if the subject of the entry were to read it, they wouldn’t get too upset. I’m always making the attempt in my writing to be truthful, open, and reasonable, even if writing about something or someone who hurt me or whom I may have hurt.

    Among the blog entries written by other Xangans I’ve read in my near decade on Xanga, are many in which the writer doesn’t necessarily want their subject to read what they are writing. These bloggers may have friends and family from which they want to extract themselves for a moment, and “rant” or “expunge” their “true feelings” about some thing or event. In my long history “here” I’ve always pooh poohed this “confessional” type of blogging, proclaiming that I’m not that way. I’m the “open book.” I don’t care about what others think. I’m writing the “truth” and I’m gaining permission if those people are in my current “orbit.”

    The previous paragraphs are merely the prelude to what I want to say here right now, and believe it or not, I’m writing this as a Xanga blog because perhaps the person about which I’m going to write a bit in the next few paragraphs may get upset if they read what I’m about to write. As usual, I’ll make an attempt to present the facts as well as possible, and not hurt them if they do stumble upon this. I won’t use the gentleman’s real name. I will tell you that I reconnected with an old friend (miraculously, a real good friend at the time, but one whom I’ve never written on the internet, and I’ve written nearly every “chapter” of my long life right here in cyberspace.) and after visiting my old friend, I felt sort of strange, and would like to relate the tale. I told some folks at work, and received some feedback, which I believe is why we, as humans do take to certain forums on the internet to relate these tales. And here is mine.

    I was a pretty big “druggie” during the late 70s and early 80s. I have written about some of these times, In 1977 I was fired from my job as a manager at Ole’s Home Centers because I supposedly wore a “dirty shirt” to work one day, but I was actually fired because I and a lot of the folks who worked for me in the garden department would party pretty hard, and sometimes most of the department would call in “sick” following some party or other in which I was involved.

    Danno, Steverino, and I were good buddies. Both of the guys worked for me as salesmen in the garden department. We went to rock concerts at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, high as kites. We dropped acid (LSD) together, drank gallons of beer, smoked fields of marijuana, and played loud music. One time the cops came to my apartment in the midst of a party and I answered the door saying “I’m dazed and confused” It was raining at the time, and the policemen wore yellow rain slickers. After they identified themselves. “We’re the police!” I proclaimed “You aren’t the police. Police are BLUE. You’re YELLOW.” Good times. I’ve possibly forgotten most of them.

    After I stopped my wanton ways, and joined the establishment in which I’m now ensconced as an electrical designer, I lost track of Danno and Steverino, although  at one time we called ourselves “The Three Musketeers.” I rarely think about those times, and haven’t really written about them, possibly because the old axiom that states that if you remember the 70s you didn’t really live through them. Most of that time is a blur.

    Imagine my surprise when Danno sent me a “friend request” on Facebook. I thought he must surely be dead. I CAN remember staying at his place in North Torrance drunker than a skunk on Friday nights where each of us would just stare at each other across the bar declaring “Fu*k you.” “No, Fuuu***k YOU,”

    Good times.

    I gave Danno my phone number and he called me a few weekends ago. He still lives in North Torrance, only a few miles from where I live. In the time since we hung out together, he’s had a stroke, is partially blind, doesn’t drink anymore owing to an auto immune disorder (like AIDS), doesn’t have a license and can’t drive because he’s legally blind and is pretty much housebound. He lives with his wife and six dogs, has four grown children, and though when I knew him he was an outrageous comic artist, since his stroke he can hardly see and on the phone joked about how he has a large comic collection he can’t even see to read anymore.

    We talked three times on the phone over the weekend. After the third time, I got the idea that perhaps he really didn’t have anyone to talk to. Like me, a lot of folks in his life had passed away. Almost his entire family was gone (mother, father, brothers) and one sister was pretty far gone with alcohol poisoning and another was estranged. We reminisced, and caught up on small talk.

    Last weekend I made a date to visit him. When I asked him if he were free, he joked “Let me see what it says in my calendar.” The poor guy doesn’t seem to go anywhere, and all he has is memories. I spent about two and a half hours visiting. His wife slept late, and when she awakened, paid me only the smallest bit of lip service, then left to go shopping with her daughter (now adult, whom I last saw as a five year old). The dogs drove me crazy. They barked whenever I made a move to get out of my chair. Danno and I reminisced some more and he told me most of what had happened since we stopped being buddies. He still smokes marijuana. (I wouldn’t accept a toke, since I was driving. I would smoke if at home, but the same applies as with alcohol, I just don’t imbibe if I’m out and about. Of course Danno didn’t seem to EVER go out.)

    After a while, I simply had to take my leave, and Danno kept talking about this and that. He wanted to write a story with me. He wanted to get back together. I begged off,  I really did have to go somewhere, but I felt bad because I felt as if we’d gone pretty much over the territory with which we shared an interest. I am NOT the person I was back in 1977.  Even though Danno has gone through some bad luck, he was in effect, the same guy.

    This isn’t a bad thing. But as I drove home I got to thinking. I’ve reconnected with quite a few folks “from the old days” on Facebook. And even before then, I remember reconnecting with people on Classmates.com with whom I went to high school. After the requisite greetings and “what have you been up to’s” I found I don’t have a lot in common with old classmates. What we shared in high school was HIGH SCHOOL. We don’t really have any connections nowadays.

    Sure, some old classmates are among my Facebook Friends. One gal who was on my staff of the school newspaper “likes” my status updates, and I do hers, but we’re not physically nor emotionally connected. I WAS connected with Danno, but I felt more like I was visiting a person who’d had an accident in his hospital room and wanted to exit said room as soon as possible after an hour or so.

    I hate to relate that when I got home Friday night and saw a message on my phone I hoped it wasn’t from Danno inviting me to go visit again. This may sound harsh, and perhaps it is, but I’ve found that when reconnecting with people on the internet, we have the option of walking away from the computer, and doing our “connections” on our own time, siphoning those entries or “status updates” which interest us, and ignoring the rest. In “real time” especially when sitting in someone’s living room, and confronted with “real time” and “real situations” especially when we find we really don’t have anything currently in common with the person with whom we’ve reconnected, it’s a tad more incongruous. I like to think I’m one of the best friends a person could have, and I’ve “lost” a lot of friends over the years. But perhaps in my advancing stages of life, I want to be more or less “on my own.” 

    This visit won’t be my last. I’ll probably call Danno again in a week or two, perhaps have another long phone conversation, and maybe go visit. I’d love to show him some of my videos. (But he’s partially blind) I’d love to talk about weight lifting or eating healthy or some of my other current interests, but he’s not into that. And I’m possibly not into the things he is, and certainly don’t share the things in which we were both interested back in our “druggie days.”

    Who knows? Maybe we’ll visit more and more. Or maybe less and less. My point is that when we get “friend requests” from old friends, we sometimes find that the thing or event or shared experience which bound us “back in the day” simply doesn’t exist anymore, and therein lies the rub. 

    Posted: August 24, 2013 7:01 PM

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