Wander The Woods And Wonder

April 20th, 2014

Leo Dodd

It took me a bit to get over to Elmwood Avenue on Saturday morning. I rounded up my NEC projector, cords, the instructions that Peggi printed out for me and I had a copy of my father’s presentation on my laptop, all this as a backup in case the people at Briarwood on Elmwood Avenue were unable to get my dad’s iPad to come up on their projector.

My mom was in the lobby with a cup of coffee when I arrived. She told me, “Your rather is panicking.” The place was packed, maybe fifty people, some sitting in the doorway of the darkened meeting room. It was minutes before the show was to begin and the only thing on the screen was a few little icons that let you choose the input. The presentation was up on the iPad but not getting to the projector. I tried the “Computer 2″ input but no luck.

Because the coordinator and my dad were both fumbling with the projector I had wrongly assumed the problem was there. It turned out my dad was in the “editing” section of Keynote (Apple’s Powerpoint program) and not in the “presentation” mode. I pushed the little arrow and my dad’s first slide appeared on the screen. I tried to to demonstrate what the problem had been but when I pushed the arrow again nothing happened. Now, I was panicking.

This time the problem was not in the iPad. A gentleman in the back row had unplugged the extension cord that led to to the projector. My father, a real pro, did not let this affect his performance and the presentation was a smashing success.

My father’s painting (above) has a red dot (Sold!) next to it at the “3 ‘D’s in Dodd show currently on display at I-Square Gallery. Many years ago I would have been in church with my dad on Easter Sunday. I think it is safe to say that today we both will feel closer to god in the woods.

La Violencia

April 18th, 2014

Bare fallen tree in Eastman Lake, Rochester, New York

I sold my baseball cards way early, before the nostalgia craze, collector frenzy and Ebay. My mom said “take this shoebox or I’ll throw them out.” I sold the whole box to my high school math teacher, Mr. Setek, and he told me the three pristine condition, 1963 Pete Rose cards were going to help put his kids through college. Peggi and i went to Cartagena, Columbia for week’s vacation, at the time the cheapest Caribbean destination. There was some sort of travel advisory in effect and our hotel was patrolled by armed guards and dogs.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude”
Gabriel García Márquez, whose obit was on the front page of Good Friday’s paper, worked as a newspaper journalist in Cartagena in the 50′s during La Violencia. “It was a bohemian life: finish at the paper at 1 in the morning, then write a poem or a short story until about 3, then go out to have a beer,” he said. “When you went home at dawn, ladies who were going to Mass would cross to the other side of the street for fear that you were either drunk or intending to mug or rape them.”

And out of that came the most beautiful book I have ever read, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” It was on a short list of books I was asked to read for an Empire State class.

“The men on the expedition felt overwhelmed by their most ancient memories in that paradise of dampness and silence, going back to before original sin, as their boots sank into pools of steaming oil and their machetes destroyed bloody lilies and golden salamanders. For a week, almost without speaking, they went ahead like sleepwalkers through a universe of grief, lighted only by the tenuous reflection of luminous insects, and their lungs were overwhelmed by a suffocating smell of blood.”

Define Saint

April 17th, 2014

Saints assignment found on the street in front of our house in Rochester New York

There was pretty cool picture in the paper this morning of the penitents in the “Procesion del Silencio” in Spain. My brother, who is in town for a few days, converted to Judaism. No mean feat. I reminded him of how we used to try to remain silent between the hours of noon and 3PM on Good Friday (tomorrow), the hours when Jesus hung on the cross. Of course that was impossible but we did manage to give up candy for Lent. This Catholic stuff is hard to shake.

I found this piece of paper (above) in front of our old house in the city. I hung on to it. Since we lived in St. John’s parish, the same parish I grew up in, I assume it came from there and it seems to me that this whole notion of saints is still worthwhile. I have my own definition and it includes some deeply flawed but miraculous individuals. I started a list in the right hand column of this page.

I Love Mini City

April 16th, 2014

Mini City on Holt Road in Webster, New York

I was out at my dentist in Webster and the hygienist took X-rays. She spotted a suspicious spot above a crown and said it appeared to have changed since the last X-ray but she wasn’t able to show me the two shots on the same screen. They use Kodak Dental Imaging Software and she said both the dentist and her had tried to figure that out to no avail.

I said, “There must be a way to do that.” She said she “was afraid she would mess things up if she just started clicking around.” This is exactly the wrong attitude to have with software. It has been designed to have you click around until figure out how to do what you want to do. That’s why they call it software.

While I was out there I had to stop in front of Mini City to take a shot. Of course the owner came out and asked if he could help me. This happens to me all the time and I can’t help but wonder if all photographers are plagued with people wanting to help them or if it is just me or maybe the things I like to take photos of. I told him I liked his sign and I just added the shot to my “Funky Signs” site.

Break Time

April 15th, 2014

Red Wing Blackbird holding court in Marsh on Hoffman Road

We were working on our 6×6 contributions last night while listening to Wednesday’s Margaret Explosion recording. The last song was moody, of course, but it ended like a daydream does. You’re left thinking, “Now, where was I?” I usually jot dow a short description before filing it away and I couldn’t even remember what I heard.

It was the perfect time to take a break so we headed downtown to catch the second set of Watkins and the Rapiers. They were in particularily fine form. Tom sang a rather dark song about the beast inside, Steve led a number that was more musically adventurous than anything I had seen them do before, Marty provided exactly the right propulsion for an NRBQ flavored romp about Kodak.

The Rapiers are full of surprises. I have never associated them with soul music but Scott sang lead on a beautiful version of “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Kerry tailored the lyrics of his “Mingle, Mingle, Mingle” song to Gary Pudup who was seated along the wall and has just announced his candidacy for the 134th Assembly District.

Hillbillies and Meth

April 14th, 2014

Jack Rabbit in Sea Breeze as seen from Shamrock Jack's parking lot

Steve called me from South Carolina. He was thinking of heading north to check on his trailer in Tennessee but he heard there might be snow there tonight. He told me our temperature is supposed to drop 40 degrees today. His trailer sits on a hilltop in the woods near a giant manmade lake. One of his neighbors up there emailed him a photo of the trailer after someone broke in. The door looked like it had been bashed in by a backhoe. He had a pretty good lock on there because he had already been broken into before.

The neighbor who emailed the photo said that he too was broken into but he knew who it was. It was his ex-wife and she spray painted the the inside of cabin.

Jack Lord

April 13th, 2014

It is not like me to plan things out before I do them and I’m pretty sure three of my brothers helped hatch the slim storyline in this Super 8 movie from 1970 or so. They all have starring roles, John on lead guitar, Tim on drums and Fran as the head of an equipment rental crew that confiscates the group’s gear. Fran and his buddies double dip as stuntmen and I’m sure my parents are gonna cringe when they see them jumping off our garage roof. My brothers were great sports and I’d like to thank them.

Some forty years later I have added a soundtrack, a song by Invisible Idiot called “Jack Lord.” There was a period when Peggi and I were stuck on “Hawaii Five O” reruns and I guess Jack’s solo reminded us of Steve McGarrett.

Invisible Idiot is a pseudonym for the late nineties version of Margaret Explosion with Peggi Fournier — soprano sax; Jack Schaefer — guitar; Pete LaBonne — bass and me on djembe for this track. By the time we got around to recording there was already a new line-up of Margaret Explosion so we recorded under this moniker.

Missing Teddy

April 12th, 2014

Missing dog Teddy reward sign

I met Teddy on the morning of the 5th, one day after he apparently disappeared at Target on East Ridge Road. He was right at my door and would have come in if I had opened it but I was afraid to do so. Our white cat, who had just gently woken me, as is her habit, was right at my feet and there would have been an ugly confrontation.

It was snowing that day and as Teddy ran off I could see tiny snow balls clinging to the poodle hair on her legs like she had been traipsing through the snow all night. Target is not that close to us either so I felt bad when I saw this sign today.

I helped our neighbor Rick bring chairs upstairs for his house concert tonight, My Darling Clementine, an English duo doing George and Tammy style country. When you like something the first time around there is no going back so we might stay home. I’m kinda tired from last night’s art opening. I’m so happy so many people came out to see my father and brother’s stuff. There were no red dots on the wall at the end of the night but there was plenty of good talk.

Norm & Pam’s Wedding

April 11th, 2014

Paul, Rich and Norm at Norm and Pam's wedding

My dad bought this 8mm camera for me from Kodak’s company store. My first movie was of Rich Stim running around on Jones Beach with his dog. The movie was only 3 minutes long with no sound but by the end of it I was out in New Jersey riding around in Steve Emry’s green van. The last shot has Steve dropping me off at Stu Strumph’s parent’s apartment in Queens.

Norm was two years behind me in high school but he lived nearby and we were friends. I was in my freshman year at Indiana when I got a call from Norm’s mom. She told me Norm had run away and he was headed out to stay with me. I don’t remember how long that stay lasted but he did return after he had finished school and I had dropped out. I introduced him to Pamela. Her parents owned the Colonial Hotel in Indianapolis and her father drove a trailer down to Bloomington, parked it on a lot near the Monon railroad and rented it out to a bunch of Pam’s friends for $35. We pooled our money, heated the trailer with the electric stove and ran the electric meter upside down for half the month to keep the bill down.

Norm came back to Rochester to get married in his parents’ house and we all gathered here. Seems like only yesterday but Dave, Chuck and Sherry have all passed away.

Pop-Up Installation

April 10th, 2014

Inside Hartz grocery store construction

Just down the street from 1975 Gallery on Charlotte Street you can view this post industrial art installation through the window of the temporary gallery space in the former Craig Auto-metrics. The show is up far a limited time as the building is being converted into Hartz Market.

Matisse Side Show

April 9th, 2014

Peggi Fournier watercolor entitled "Shelayla" at Creative Workshop in Memorial Art Galley

I still haven’t gotten over to the Memorial Art Gallery to the new Matisse show, supposedly works he left to his grandkids. As our painting teacher said last night, I haven’t seen a Matisse I didn’t like, or some thing to that effect. But I was there last night in the basement, a place they call the Creative Workshop and there is a really cool show up of painters from Fred Lipp’s day class (Bill Kaiser, Rose Mary Hooper, Lana Farhi, Eileen Joy) and the night class (Geri McCormick, a stunning painting of Corn Hill called “Dog Walker” by Leo Dodd and this gem by Peggi Fournier.)

When you get over to the Matisse show stop in the downstairs gallery and check this out.

Black Snowflake

April 8th, 2014

Heather In White with Black Snowflake

The once a month gallery night event called First Friday got too big for its britches. There was too much going on in the same time slot to do justice to worthy shows. Of course the opening is not the time to really see a show anyway, that’s what gallery hours are for. RoCo and Warren Philips Gallery and many others have moved their openings to other nights. Theres one coming up this Friday in fact.

All of that is not to say First Friday is over. It is great fun to see so many people out and about looking at art. Heather, shown above, was holding court in the Hungerford Building. That’s one of her big black snowflakes on her white wall. She has a delightful way of upstaging her her own work.

Sleepers, Awake!

April 7th, 2014

Dormant frog in our neighbor's pond, April 2014

The small lakes in Durand Eastman Park are still covered by ice. They don’t get as much sun as my neighbor’s pond where the ice cover melted last week. All of his bright orange goldfish are accounted for, in fact they seem to have gotten bigger over the winter. Maybe they are just bloated from inactivity. They are floating near the bottom, motionless, near the center where it is nearly a foot and half deep.

Around the periphery of the pond are at least ten frogs, all in the same position, pointed toward land in about six inches of water. They look like they have moss growing on them but my neighbor thinks it is algae that has gathered around their still bodies. I’m thinking about that Incredible String Band song.

Happy 45 Day

April 6th, 2014

Party Nuggets sleeve on display on 45 Record Day, April 5, 2014

I don’t know how I came up with the idea to have a party celebrating the 45, it seems to have just popped into my head as the date closed in on us. We rounded up some friends and invited them to bring 45s if they liked on the evening of April 5 (4.5).

Peggi and I brought up a stack up from the basement, the ones we each had in our youth so there are many duplicates, the cover sleeves long gone and Peggi’s name written on the label. Some even have a small white sticker that reads, “This record belongs to Peggi Fournier.” I also brought up a box of seventies and eighties singles, most with picture sleeves.

Peggi hung a few with ribbons from our overhead light put some on the wall above the fireplace. I left the stack without sleeves on the kitchen counter like party favors and I played requests all night although I dodged calls for the Beatles. Martha brought a pink 45 case with at least a hundred records on a spindle. It looked like a Barbie accessory but the bottom fell out on the way out the door.

Spinning 45s is high maintainence but I loved it. Keeping track of whose 45 was whose was another matter. I wound up with Cheryl’s copy The Music Explosion’s “Little Bit O’ Soul,” Brian’s copy of the Part Nuggets’ “I Mow The Lawn,” Heather’s “Hitchin’ A Ride” by Vanity Fair and Jeff’s Dad’s copy of a tango 45.


April 4th, 2014

New born colt on Wisner Road

This colt is probably no more than a few days old. The small stable on Wisner Road breeds racing horses and this one looks promising. I took about ten shots as it pranced around with its mom blocking my line of sight and then they headed back in the barn.

For us the “Winter Aconite” is the marker. I’ve tracked the yellow flowers every year since we first became aware of them and it is such a momentous sighting that I mention it in this blog. Type “yellow flowers” in the search engine above and you can see the dates from the last five years. This one is particularly late. They usually poke defiantly through the snow before Saint Patty’s Day. In 2012 they were blossoming on February 20th.

And our local rackaholic says the bucks are dropping their sheds, so get out there if you want to bring home a trophy.

3 “D”s in Dodd

April 3rd, 2014

3 'D's in Dodd Art Show at I-Square Gallery

Today I will pick some drawings to frame for the upcoming “3 “D”s in Dodd (there are more)” show at I-Square Gallery.

My dad, Leo Dodd, is an inspiration. He is also my favorite watercolor artist. My brother, John, is my favorite furniture designer and a craftsman of the highest order. I am delighted to be part of this show featuring the work of all three of us. I hope you can stop out and see the show.

Stop by the opening on Friday April 11 at 7pm if you like.
View work from the show.


April 2nd, 2014

Cheetah Whores opening for Margaret Explosion at the Bug Jar in Rochester, New York

One of the biggest advantages of the digital world is the shrinkage of the physical volume of things. Books, newspapers, movies, art, music, photos. They are all in plentiful supply but now take up a tiny fraction of their old school selves. Another big plus is how much easier it is to find things. I have things squirreled away in all corners and cubby holes of my computer but I’m able to put my eyes on them with a simple search.

And another advantage is the surprises you stumble on as you peruse your search results. The photo above was labeled OpeningBandBugJar.jpg. The Cheetah Whores mix 70’s punk, 60’s R&B, psychedelia into their rock and roll. They look like they may also have a political bent. Margaret Explosion shared a bill with them back in the early oughts. The band’s original bass player, Shalonda Simpson, shown here, was shot and killed in a robbery in 2007.

Margaret Explosion plays the Little Theater Café tonight at 7:30. Tonight’s performance is dedicated to Pussy Riot, Ai Weiwei and the efforts of artists/activists everywhere.

Margaret Explosion - Solidarity
Margaret Explosion – Solidarity

Margaret Explosion – “Solidarity”

How Bad Is Time Warner?

April 1st, 2014

Yellow infrastucture for Huntington Hills Center

What a pleasant topic for a blog post. You should hear this idiotic, fifteen second loop that Time Warner has me listening to while I’m on hold. On hold for as long as I can stand it. It has been fifteen minutes. I am being punished for asking for a supervisor.

We are moving my parent’s internet connection to their new address and I was to meet TW there at 11AM. I gave them three phone numbers to reach us at and they didn’t call any of them. They just didn’t show up. I called them at 1, worked my way through the automated 800 maze and got a representative who said “the appointment was cancelled, sir.” “Cancelled by who?” I asked. “It doesn’t say.”

When the service manager finally got on the line, he told me the soonest TW could get there would be Friday, three days away. I was starting to lose it but doesn’t everybody do that with Time Warner? I tried to control myself. I know their business model. Controlled rage on the customer’s part gets special pricing. “OK, I found an opening for Thursday afternoon,” he said. And I’m supposed to be happy? I recapped how they blew me off and the guy relented. “OK, I’ll wave the 49.95 service charge.” I screamed at this point. I had only been quoted 19.99 for the service charge!

I told him Frontier was offering a DSL connection for 19.99 a month and I was thinking of canceling TW unless he could make me a better deal. He lowered the monthly quote to 41 bucks and I took it. He had the nerve to tell me to have a nice day as I was hanging up. Comcast can have them.

Chain Letter

March 31st, 2014

Creek running out of Spring Valley

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released this report. I’m passing it on.

The ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth.

Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come.

There must be something we can do about this.

I Love My Cat

March 30th, 2014

Peggi footprints in our driveway

I realize we are probably the only ones who think this recent snowfall is pretty. Most people have had enough. It’s so late in the year for this stuff you can’t really take it seriously so I just enjoy it. It will probably be sixty degrees next week.

My cat has not developed in her seventeen years. She is still in the moment, she still enjoys the same toys, a crumpled up piece of paper, an old collar that she drags around the house, an empty box to scratch and sit in. She hasn’t gotten any smarter either. She is already plenty smart, smart enough to know she has a good thing going and she does the same thing every day as if it is the first time. She has taught me plenty and she lowers my blood pressure when I pet her.