gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
early morning, can't sleep, making a mail art card...green corrugated plastic, affixed throwaway camera photo, weed patch at Sister Grove Park, with old sign which says "briar patch"....the picture has a huge white bar/error on the right side, perfect for my inserted lines...."when she left me, I knew she spared me many thorns, but I longed to be pierced again"...mailing it off to a stranger on the postcardx list....thought about how I need a scanner or a digicam, so I could post the card, but then thought that it's a bit like an ebay auction, a good thousand words is worth one picture....and I'm musing about asynchrony of maturity, and times long past, and things that weren't meant to be.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Today on the way back from a hearing, I listened to calm commentators discuss the reality of low-grade nuclear weapons as a "conventional weapon option". The "other white heat", I suppose. I suppose I should discuss my complex and troubled feelings about this, and then stray off into Trumann's Dilemma, a far more difficult "choice" than the Styron novel. On the drive, though, I thought instead of C.P. Snow's novel Corridors of Power. Very nice stuff, if you've not read it--a book about politics in real life as opposed to politics in the abstract. The book tells the tale of the downfall of a Tory politician over a matter of principle--an effort by the cabinet member to disarm the UK. It's got a lot of the jarring "vote in the commons" stuff you'd expect, but it's the "other key plot" which
makes the book stand out. While Roger, the lead character, is dissolving his political career on the altar of conscience, he is simultaneously dissolving his marriage on the altar of new love. A public life, a private life, but really all one life. How do they intertwine? How does one affect the other? Snow shows us the issue, but wisely leaves us without an answer...

My first card, to the woman in MI, is returned for postage.
One thing about that mail art, it requires a stamp.
The weather broke 80 today. Soon will be the season I love the best--that interval which is not quite spring but well past winter.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I sent out several photos of my Arizona trip, as well as one of leafless winter trees, to folks on
the postcardx.net list. Someone posted an acknowledgment of receipt of one of mine, which was very nice. I stapled the photos to the corrugated plastic, after a "return to sender--wrong address" returned mailing showed that the
superglue made for a rather artistic wiggling of the photo. I'd say something cute about maybe it's my industrial phase, but actually, I just hope the staples hold.

The frenzy of law school admissions continue unabated over at my favorite law board, vault.com.
Folks mourn because their only admits are
places like Emory, which was tons more selective than my own law school. That's something that's really changed since I was in college--folks worrying overmuch about elitism in their grad school choices. Oh, there were a few--a high school classmate who went to John Hopkins med,
a friend in college who did the whole Fulbright scholar and Harvard Law thing...but by and large, my friends and I were too preoccupied with
day to day living to worry much about professional school reputation. We felt lucky to go to the state U. law school, and to eat gyros sandwiches off nice dinner plates at the Terrace Restaurant on Friday evenings. I do remember in high school that the various class geniuses tried mightily to get scholarships to the eastern universities,
but had to "settle" for mere full ride trips to places like Baylor. The particular fellow I'm thinking of is now a successful doctor, and I wonder if he even thinks about college admissions.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
A gorgeous, windy north Texas Saturday.
The cars slide by my office window crisply,
as if pursuing destinations. I've completed the brief I'm working on, and now it's on to
the copy shop.

The idea of binding briefs sparked my thinking about book making. I'd love to be able to bind and make books; maybe I'll borrow a book from the library on it. I find over time that reading about hobbies is the hobby at which I am most skilled.

I sent several mail art photos out last night.
I sure hope my dollar store super glue is working to bond the photos to the corruplast, or
my realistic little nature scenes may be interpreted as some sort of abstract expressionist joke.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Interesting talk by the county court at law judges
at the local bar association tonight. Nice fellows, all.
Learned that fellow bar association member has his own little film company; not the first thing you expect at the little suburban bar association which meets overlooking a green. So many times I bring preconceptions to folks that might make me overlook who they are; tonight was a good lesson for me to look and listen.
Love postcardx.net. They give you random names and addresses to send art postcards.
Sent out a picture of cedars at Sister Grove
to someone up north; hope she likes a little Texas scraggle/forest after all those years among mighty trees.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
An old Be Bop Deluxe song threads through my mind
as I wind up the evening. I used cheap crayons, a piece of corrugated plastic and a picture of dead weeds in winter to make a mail art postcard to send to an exhibition over in Irving, not all that far from here. I've got a busy week ahead, which is good; the weather is finally heating up again.
I wonder sometimes if optometry might have been right for me...after all, people call you "doctor", you work normal hours, and you get to run those cool sci fi lens machines. OTOH,
some of my small town school teachers growing up always impressed me with the way they could live quiet, unadorned lives, but filled with amateur naturalism, intense gardening, and an unostentatious love of good books of every kind. I think that the ability to amuse onself, and to continue the search for new meanings in surroundings others might find dull, is one of life's greatest self-taught skills.

Corydoras

Mar. 5th, 2002 07:15 am
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I got a chance to look at the book I bought at the
Under 5 Dollar bookstore on Sunday. It's called:
"A Complete Authoritative Guide to Corydoras Catfishes". Lots of great pictures of these little aquarium armored catfish. My last aquarium,in California, was a guppy tank. I had originally wanted a tank full of less popular livebearers,such as the Midget Livebearer. Then, when I was browsing in an Altadena pet shop,
a clerk at the register shouted out "Fred! Go in the back and get me 50 more feeders!". The feeder guppies not only were being sold to be fed to other fish; they were hidden from view.
I immediately asked for a dozen; I believe they cost a dollar.
The clerk seemed a bit puzzled that I would confine myself to the loss leader product. When I got them home, and put them into the new aquarium, they were a pale and fairly immature bunch. Within
weeks, they were robust and breeding. As time went on, different color variations seemed to breed in and out of the tank like rainbow assortments; it was a crazy science experiment, with no Mendel aboard to explain it. When we left CA, I gave my fish and tank to the neighbor girl. We must have pulled over a hundred guppies from that tank. The guppy tank reminded me of a similar one I kept for my 7th grade science teacher. I'll never forget how some White Cloud Mountain fish actually bred amidst those hundreds of guppies. I had been thinking my next aquarium would be a livebearer aquarium, and I guess I still think it will. Livebearers are so easy to breed, and it's fun to breed fish in captivity. But I have to admit the notion of a dozen little armored catfish is very appealing to me right now.

I sent Polarbird a little note on how much I like his site.
His mail art calls have penguin themes; very clever.
Someday I want to do a mail art call, but right now I'm
still trying to figure out how to draw a stick figure that doesn't look like a stick figure. Thank goodness for the camera.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Today the sleet melted, leaving only a cold day.
Although I don't usually like to open blinds,
I am letting the sunshine pour in. I've made another meal or two from the stew, confirming my general impression that if I did most of the cooking in our household, subsistence would not be an issue, but our overall standard of gracious living might decline a bit.

I went to nearby Plano for the Home and Garden Show. These shows are always full of interesting promotions for cooking products that I could never imagine buying, and cool exhibitions of little mobile home like rooms that would make great greenhouses for our home, but for little things like non-compliance with homeowners' association plats and my general disinclination to buy anyone from anyone who seems a bit *too* good at selling them. Filling out the forms is the key challenge--trying to make sure one enters any relevant drawings without quite signing up for a free hot tub demo. Today's cold made a hot tub seem to have hidden virtues I had never seen before.

I am a fairly brown thumbed gardener, who favors cacti, euphorbia and other succulent plants because they don't die very easily. I am always a little disappointed, because I want these shows to be filled with GARDEN things, not the earnest fellow giving the lecture on how to slather things onto fibreboard in artistic ways.
I should be more appreciative of household decorative arts--I really approve of the concept of do it yourself. But I really want to hear about the 12 to 15 tree and shrub things that will grow well here, and the roughly one zillion flowers that do well here in spring. I used to love taking my Sunday drive to the accompaniment of the garden show on AM radio. One radio host had a recurrent patter:
Q. "I just bought a Canadian northern mahogany,
and now it looks a little withered. What do I do?"
A. "Sir", he would say, with a friendly if slightly exasperated drawl, "take that back to the
retailer right now. It DOESN'T GROW HERE. Get yo'self a nice yaupon holly". Yaupon holly became a sort of mantra for me--a mental substitute of something bland and everyday and beautiful that works well, in place of the surreal and novel and withered things that don't work.

I want to find a place where I can get aquarium metal frames without the glass inside. That would make a really cool place to hang fluorescent lights to make my little "mail art and music" room into a "mail art and music and succulent plants" room. I guess I could acquire aquariums and burst out the glass,but that sounds a bit jagged off hand, given my lack of handyman skills.

We're thinking of going snorkeling in Florida next month. It's fun using google to find likely locations.

I won a T shirt from a radio station at the garden show.
I had to spin a wheel of fortune and land on one of the
four call letters. It's amazing how the coincidence of winning a 1 in 6 contest makes one feel particularly psychic. Thank goodness I don't live in Reno after a victory like that. In Gurdon, when I was a young teen,
I won a German chocolate cake at the local forest festival
cake walk two years in a row. Deep down, a tiny part of me believed that I was "chosen" or "special" or really
special for knowing how to "win". On another topic,
I have a memory of my father taking me to a rural place
in south Arkansas not far from our home town where fossil sea shells littered the sides of the road, like some prehistoric beach. I wish I could see it again--it was very surreal, but in fact very real. OTOH, the time I was driving just north of Little Rock on a fall
day and a herd of tarantulas crossed the road was, to the best of my knowledge, real, but it was so dreamlike
I reassess the memory every now and again. I have a book called Fishes of Arkansas. It is filled with all these incredible pictures of endemic darters and killie fish; all vibrant colors and sublime beauty; nobody knows they're there, though, because they're endemic to the non-touristy south part of Arkansas where I grew up.
My part of Arkansas was like that--little surprises in nature because nobody really watches except the locals.

I sent out a few mail art things last night.
I got some supplies at the 99 cent store today.
I'm still puzzling how to do a chess set for the
Euro chess exhibition coming up. I love chess too much not to contribute, but making a set might actual require skill, and I'm a definite brown thumb when it comes to sculpture. The Garden Ridge 60 hour sale let me pick up a little photo box I can use to store mail art cards received. I would like to figure out how people do artistamps, and in particular if the talentless can accomplish this.

Rest

Mar. 1st, 2002 06:50 am
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I've noticed that even when my work load is not stressful,
I still really look forward to the weekend. I remember when I was younger, and had to work longer hours.
A weekend movie, a Sunday morning drive (Prairie Home companion, little rural prairie backroads past decaying churches and rustic fallen small barns) was like the ultimate luxury. Now, I push myself a little less hard,
but the weekend seems just as welcome. My wife's going to San Antonio to visit some friends in town from CA, so I've got to entertain myself. I'll do some Mandatory Continuing Legal Education on the 'net, and fly a new kite I bought for 3 dollars at Dollar General. It's also time to do some writing. I don't ever get writer's block, because you have to have the feeling that you can write talented stuff before you worry that what you write won't be. I know my poetry is very talent-shy, so I don't have writer's block, I merely have good old procrastinator's project-starting block. But once I begin, it will flow from me like the picture of water rushing in a drainage ditch I sent off to someone recently. Perhaps Heaven is a 20 dollar bill in pocket, a kite in hand, twenty five pages of bad poetry on screen, and a good night's sleep.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Is photography mail art? I believe so. I hope so, because if it isn't, I'll have to learn to draw.

Sending off a photo I took of water rushing in a little
drainage creek off to a show in Denison, "World Through My Eyes". The world through my eyes certainly includes a lot of little creeks and stray crape myrtle trees among the tract homes and pocket parks in the suburbs.

Wrote a review of Suzanne Vega's Songs in Red and Gray
over at epinion.com. I'm still getting the hang of what
readers like to read over there. I've only scored one
"very helpful". I'll keep working at it.

then again

Feb. 27th, 2002 01:46 am
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Great piece of mail art from Flea in today's mail.
I'm so impressed by the stuff I receive in mail art.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I hiked Sister Grove Park in rural Collin County today.
The weather was warm--mid 70s. The park still had its winter face on--dead thistle and brown, tall grasses punctuated by the green cedars. I took pictures of plants, of flying giant crows, of the lake and clouds--perhaps some will become mail art postcards.
I visited the Princeton Flea Market, great prices, right in front of the trailer park, didn't buy anything. I mailed out two
copies of my book to ebay buyers. It's nearly time to write another.

I set up this livejournal this morning, and was frustrated when the system was down after I wrote the first draft of this.
We'll see if this one "takes".
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