Tech Service

Two black butterflies in Sue's garden
Two black butterflies in Sue’s garden

Do butterflies have sex in midair? The bottom one was following the top up and down the row of Sue’s Zinnias and unlike the top one it didn’t seem interested in the nectar. I could look up the answer to my question but its more fun to imagine that they do and I don’t want to be disappointed.

We ordered a new iMac for my brother, Fran, and found they were on back order (like everything else). The box arrived yesterday and we took it out to my brother’s place in Webster. He had just returned from a Corvette show in Pennsylvania where he bought a reconditioned panel for the inside of his 1969 Vette. His old Mac was from 2009 and his browser was slow as molasses. We made sure he was backed up to the cloud before we migrated and we discovered he had two Apple IDs so his photos on his old computer were never in sync with the ones on his phone. That took some doing to straighten out.

We took a break and walked over to the community of small cottages near Hedge’s on the lake. While we were gone my brother went out and bought us lunch from a joint down the road and a bag of fresh corn from his favorite roadside stand. Once we had the combined photo libraries on the phone and the new computer we took off. But we didn’t get far. We stopped at a new craft beer place on Lake Road and had an amber ale from Lunkenheimer’s.

Brad called this morning And I almost expected him to tell us his tv had slipped off the wall. We were out there a few days ago and Peggi and I mounted his big tv on a wall in the living room. I brought my stud finder out there but had better luck listening for hollow spots. We got two of the four giant wood screws through the top two holes of the mount and solidly into studs. But then directly below those two screws the studs weren’t lining up so we had to put them in at an angle. We listened to Brad’s message and heard that he dropped his laptop and broke his screen.

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Endless Summer

Bathers on the beach at Durand
Bathers on the beach at Durand

Despite the recent rain the lake level is .7 feet below its long term August average. The outlet of Eastman Lake had cut a deep chasm through the beach. We took our shoes off to wade across and it felt great. While we waited for our feet to dry I collected a handful small smooth stones, all the size of coins, and we marveled at how each one was a different color from the next. Exactly how do these well worn stones wind up together on our beach?

We take walks around the woods once the paths close in with the invasive garlic mustard and swallow wort. We had a hunch that those may have died back enough for clear passage but we were just a bit early. We went straight to the shower when we got back to drown the microscopic ticks before they had a chance to bore into our bloodstreams.

We picked our first proper batch of Pimientos de Padrón and watched our first La Liga match of the new season. Atlético beat Getafe won 3-0.

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Pawpaw

Pawpaw tree in Durand Eastman Park
Pawpaw tree in Durand Eastman Park

Peggi got an email the other day from an Associate Professor of Geography at SUNY Geneseo. His letter started with “I see that you have observed pawpaw.” Peggi uses the iNaturalist app to identify trees we come across on our walks and he does too so he was able to contact Peggi through the app. He said he had recently published a paper on the distribution of pawpaw and hoped to compare our location with an existing database he has on pawpaw in Western NY.

In his paper he says even though Pawpaw is native to our area it is quite rare in NYS—earning it a threatened-species designation. He says, “Pawpaws produce the largest edible fruit of all native tree species in the United States—each custardy fruit can weigh up to a pound.” The exotic-tasting fruit is described as a mix of banana and mango flavors with a hint of pineapple.

We had forgotten where it was in the park so we followed the coordinates and found it this morning. We saw at least thirty small Pawpaw trees (along with some wild strawberries) growing below the big one. We re-identified it in the app and Peggi sent new pictures to the professor.

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Nature, Take Charge

Sidewalk infrastructure at Titus and Culver
Sidewalk infrastructure at Titus and Culver

Heat impacts productivity. Without air conditioning we spend less time in front of our computers and more time on the screened in porch. We wear less clothing, drink more NA beer, spend more time watering the garden. We take more trips down to the pool and then one more before bed. We fall asleep to the white noise of the fan.

I‘m happy it wasn’t this hot last week for my opening. I wouldn’t have blamed anyone for staying in. On the day after the opening, with my studio walls so empty and white, I was anxious to dive into new projects. Nature had other plans.

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Pocahontas

100 year old Red Oak on the ground next door
100 year old Red Oak on the ground next door

In my last post I talked about the first of my two HPER classes at Indiana University. I mentioned that you were required to take two. My first choice was diving and my second was trampoline. Of course you pick things you like and feel you are pretty good at. I’ll have to ask Peggi what her second choice was. I know she took bowling and while in that class she developed a wicked hook and her game fell apart.

By second semester in freshman year my hair was starting to get long. I was headed to Woodstock that year. The teacher was really bothered by my appearance and continually mocked me in front of class. I shrugged it off at first so he continued to escalate his verbal abuse. Instead of just calling me “Pocahontas” he started using all sorts of homophobic slurs. I was as good as anyone in the class so I tried to ride it out but near the end of the course we were doing some really tricky flips and twists and the teacher arranged it so I only had two guys to spot me, two guys who laughed at all the teacher’s jokes and not nearly enough to keep me from cracking my head open if I fell off the trampoline. The guy gave me a ”D minus.” I tried to complain to higher ups but they said there was nothing they could do. Just a tiny taste of what discrimination feels like.

Later that year I was visiting a friend off campus. He wasn’t home so I walked a few blocks and sat on the stone wall that surrounded the IU Law School. A car with someone hanging out the window drove by and he screamed ”faggot.” I flipped him the bird. They came back around the block, the doors swung open and three guys, all wearing blue windbreakers with yellow Greek letters on the front, started swinging at me. I landed a few good punches but quickly got the sense they wanted to kill me. I came to with my face planted in the sidewalk, my glasses smashed, my nose and jaw broken and some ambulance guys standing over me. Another small taste.

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Paella Otra Vez

Former Lincoln First Bank, now The Metropolitan
Former Lincoln First Bank, now The Metropolitan

We bought a big paella pan a few years ago and we’ve used it five or six times now. Our pan serves 8 and we’ve made the dish for 4, 6 and 8. We prepare the ingredients ahead of time and its a pretty casual way to hang out as the dish cooks slowly over an open fire. We’ve made seafood versions for pescatarians, chicken versions and vegetarian versions. We invited my siblings and they significant others over on Sunday and all but my brother and his wife in New Jersey accepted. That meant 11.

We needed two pans to hold it all and then a third for the vegetarian version. Keeping a slow burning, small fire under three pans at the same time was challenge. One was always too hot or not hot enough but we pulled it off and had a good time.

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Mom At Bat

Mary Tierney at bat at Mercy High School
Mary Tierney at bat at Mercy High School

My mom was sort of ambidextrous, writing with her right hand and batting left. There is a nun over her shoulder in the picture above and I’m guessing they forced her to write with her right hand. They did stuff like that but they made you tough. Gave you something to rebel against.

In her day there would be no question as what school a Catholic girl from the east side would go to. In my day, still an all girls school, the school had a bit of a reputation. Mercy girls were bad, as in desirable. I went to a few dances there. Today I think parents send their daughters there for discipline. And of course they still rebel.

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TV

Fog above buildings in Boston
Fog above buildings in Boston

Not sure why we bailed on the Netflix version of the “Warhol Diaries.” I guess I felt they were too personal. But we came back and devoured the remaining episodes, dirty laundry and all. Knowing he wanted them released after his death I can see this gift contributes to the full picture of the Warhol phenomena.

Netflix thought we would like the “Inventing Anna” series and we’re already halfway through those. This morning we watched the real (probably not the most apt descriptor) Anna Sorokin on 60 Minutes from last year. As much as I like the Ozark woman in the role she doesn’t match the richness of the con artist.

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Full Focus

Orange dot on sidewalk, Mount Hope Boulavard
Orange dot on sidewalk, Mount Hope Boulevard

We walked in the rain today. Why not? We always see more wildlife in the rain and fewer people. Today we watch a Pileated woodpecker working on a big dead pine tree. He was so engrossed we were able to get up close as he pecked away at big chunks of wood. Peggi took a movie and said she felt like we caught him problem solving.

We usually watch big soccer matches with our neighbor’s, Jedi and Helena. This time we invited Matthew and Louise over to watch tomorrow’s Champions League final but Matthew has to work covering Kamala Harris in Buffalo at a funeral for one of the local shooting victims. We tried Jeff and Mary Kaye but their daughter and grandson, who they see often, have Covid. The more we thought about it the more we realized we would rather watch the big game by ourselves. Full focus.

I’m hoping Real Madrid starts Rodrigo with Benzema and Vinicius up front. And their midfield is as solid as it gets with Madrid, Casemiro and Kroos but I am worried about their defense, especially if Alaba is still injured. Liverpool is a tough opponent. We will have our white lights on for Los Blancos.

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Go Atlético

Shoe on building in Boston
Shoe on building in Boston

Tonight we watch our last La Liga match of the season. We follow Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid and we have watched all of their games this year. That would be 38 matches for each team. There are twenty teams in the league and each team plays the others twice, once home and once away. This is how we’ve stayed close to Spain during Covid. The pregame gives you a feel for each city. The Bicycle Diaries at halftime takes you through the cities on two wheels.

On our return from Boston and we found a whole new generation of weeds in our vegetable garden so we spent the afternoon down there weeding between the rows of lettuce, arugula, cilantro, spinach and mesclun. Our plants are a little too close to one another so I didn’t feel bad about snipping enough greens for tonight’s salad.

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Leaving Home

Cherry blossom petals lining our street
Cherry blossom petals lining our street

We have not left home in a while. We need a good reason to do so and the first leg of the Guston retrospective, ”Now,” is better than good.

Peggi booked an expensive but relatively cheap hotel room near the Boston Common and we put our car in a garage for three days. The clerk behind the check-in desk started upselling us immediately asking if we realized the room was not much bigger than the queen-sized bed and it did not have a view. We did know that, but for forty dollars more a night we have a bigger room on the twelfth floor with a view of the city.

The painting in our room looks better without my glasses but the grey sky cityscape is spectacular..

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Alliterative Neighbors

Peggi Fournier oil painting of Paul Dodd circa 2000
Peggi Fournier oil painting of Paul Dodd circa 2000

Ran into Larry again today. This time he was walking two dogs, his (Ernie) and a neighbor’s (Molly.) We couldn’t tell which dog was which until we were right on top of them. Larry told us Molly’s owners, Mike and Monica, were out of town. Coming back from the lake we ran into other neighbors, Jan and Jack, in the park hunting for Morel mushrooms. Jan had a bag full, Jack had not found any as yet. Maybe every neighborhood is like ours, Jan and Jack, Mike, Monica and Molly, Dan and Diana across the street, Peggi and Paul.

Peggi did this oil portrait of me somewhere around 2000. Can’t imagine where my glasses were. Maybe the photo she worked from was taken when I lost my glasses in a big wave on a beach in Spain.

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Our Server

Pile of man-made rocks, some man-made, on the beach
Pile of man-made rocks, some man-made, on the beach

When I replaced my 2013 iMac in 2020 I transferred my files manually and reinstalled the software I use rather than risking migrating old problems onto my new Mac. I didn’t have enough room for my music library or photos on the old machine so I stored them on an external drive. I am forever digitizing my stuff and now I have room for it all in one place, one digital space and then the copy floating in the cloud.

When Peggi and I play in the basement, I won’t call it practicing, we listen to some the live Margaret Explosion songs to pick themes to play with. I put my old computer down there and rigged it so I could connect to the library on the new Mac. I remember having a hard time with that and I must have done something goofy because I apparently set that computer up as an in-home server, a situation that prevented new playlists made on my computer from syncing with my iPad. I called Apple on Friday and a senior advisor named Jessica (do you think they use their real names?) told me, “I got hand it to you, setting a computer up to be a server is not easy.”

She discovered that all the new songs I’ve added to my music library were going to the old computer in the basement. Not only that, every Garage Band file I wrote was getting saved down there too. None of it going to the cloud and no back up.

While helping me she screen-shared with my iPad and desktop and had me restart at one point so I had quit Photoshop. I had the photo above opened and unsaved. While saving she had plenty of time to read the graffiti. She wanted a playlist to add a new song to and suggested my “Su Za!” playlist. Ken Frank, Margaret Explosion’s bass player, records dance tracks under that name. Song titles in there include “Ants in My Pants,” and “Ass Magnet.” She gave me a weekend’s worth of cleanup and said she would call me back on Tuesday.

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R.I.P. FP

Frank Paolo in front of his apartment on Saint Paul in Rochester, New York
Frank Paolo in front of his apartment on Saint Paul in Rochester, New York

The last time we heard from Frank, just a few weeks ago, he left a message on our phone that told us he had gone on “a retreat, of sorts, a bad idea,” and he wanted to know if we could pick him up and take him home. He was in Highland Hospital. Now Frank is gone.

Frank Palazolo was the new kid in our junior year of high school but he immediately launched a campaign for school president. He was the only student in my class with a mustache. He put his face on the posters and won. We were in the high school play, “Teahouse of the August Moon.” Frank played Colonel Wainwright to my Captain Fisby. He had a mischievous sense of humor. During dinner at my parents’ house Frank would say things to embarrass me.

Frank worked for an ad agency and wrote a book called “Presentations Unplugged.” He became a sought after speechwriter, writing for top executives at Kodak and Xerox. We helped Frank with his website and videoed him giving a presentation to Christa Construction executives on how to be an effective salesperson. He wowed them and us.

l. to r. Norm Ladd, Paul Dodd, Johnny and David,  Frank Palazolo in pool, Dave Mahoney, Fran Dodd, Mark Dodd, Brad Fox, Tim Dodd, John Dodd and Joe Barrett. Dodd's swimming pool being constructed on Hawley Drive in Webster.
l. to r. Norm Ladd, Paul Dodd, Johnny and David, Frank Palazolo in pool, Dave Mahoney, Fran Dodd, Mark Dodd, Brad Fox, Tim Dodd, John Dodd and Joe Barrett. Dodd’s swimming pool being constructed on Hawley Drive in Webster.

When I was asked to give a talk on my art at the Memorial Art Gallery, Frank insisted I come see him for advice. One thing he told me that I think of all the time was to not thank the organization for inviting you at the beginning of your talk. I remember him saying, “You will never have more of their attention than you will at the opening of your talk. And as soon as you start thanking people they start daydreaming.”

His website, originally set up to market his book, morphed into his blog, “Everyone Is Entitled To My Opinion,” where he gave us his opinion on everything. Peggi and I drove Frank to the last high school reunion. Frank came to most Margaret Explosion shows. He was one of kind and we will miss him.

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Long Live Mex

Sketch for mural at Mex Restaurant on Alexander Street in Rochester, New York
Sketch for mural at Mex Restaurant on Alexander Street in Rochester, New York

I use this blog to keep track of things. Unlike my house, it has a search engine. And a jpeg is almost as good as the real thing – certainly takes up a lot less space. I came across this sketch for the mural I did at Mex Restaurant in 1999. It was a challenging space to work with as it started on the wall to the left of the front door and then went up the stairs around a round corner (and wall niche for the Virgin Mary) and continued in on the wall leading into the dining room. I reworked the placement of a few things and chickened out on the sort of intimidating Mexican gang. I was still working on the mural the week before Casey opened so I enlisted both Peggi and my father to bail me out.

We had plenty of good times at Mex, mostly outdoors in their rock patio on Friday evenings. I took this photo the last time we ate there in 2016.

Mural at Mex Restaurant in 2016
Mural at Mex Restaurant in 2016
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Dark Cloud

Corey Wilkes performing with Ethnic Heritage Ensemble at Bop Shop in Rochester, New York February 12, 2022
Corey Wilkes performing with Ethnic Heritage Ensemble at Bop Shop in Rochester, New York February 12, 2022

Maybe it was the dearth of live music or the hope in the air that this dark cloud may pass. Ethnic Heritage Ensemble had a full house at the Bop Shop on Saturday. Kahil El Zabar has been here so many times, with his Ritual Trio, the Ensemble, with David Murray and with Billy Bang, and all have been memorable performances. This one was a joy.

Peggi and I have been playing together for the past week in preparation for a Margaret Explosion gig on Wednesday. We were playing along with some the songs we have online and our stereo cut out. It took me two hours to find the short. I needed another sound source to determine whether it was a cord so I dug an old cassette deck out. There was a live tape in there, Margaret Explosion at the Bug Jar on Halloween 1998. It sounded like just a trio, Peggi, me and Greg Slack on bass. I fixed the short by unplugging everything and plugging it back in again.

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Snowball Drawing

Snowball drawing at base of Suicide Hill
Snowball drawing at base of Suicide Hill

I call it “baclava” just for fun. Boris Johnson would call it a “letter box.” Peggi told me she was going to be cavalier this morning and not wear her balaclava while we skied through the woods. And then she added, “That’s a funny word.” It conjures up muskateers with me for some reason. There was restaurant with that name downtown on Clinton in that block where they built the Chase Lincoln tower, now the “Metropolitan.”

My brother and I would stop there for breakfast on our way to Bishop Kearney. We both had paper. routes and if weren’t done delivering by the time the school bus came (conveniently) we would take the city bus downtown and transfer to the Portland Ave. bus. That transfer time gave us plenty of time to go to restaurants, the record store and even movies when the RKO/Paramount was still open.

It was warm this morning, upper twenties and full sun, so I took my hat off and stuck it in my pocket. My ears were soon got cold and I looked for my hat but it was gone. We like to out out and come back in a big loop rather that backtrack but we did. It was easy enough to find. It’s bright yellow.

We ski through the woods and then out onto the golf course and we were lucky enough to catch the groomer this morning, dragging his apparatus behind a snowmobile. We waved and thanked him. He’s a new guy and especially creative. His tracks have all sorts of interesting curves and slopes.

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Eternal Optimist

View of Genesee River from Seneca Park Bridge
View of Genesee River from Seneca Park Bridge

I was talking to my brother today about his experience with switching internet providers. I was doing more listening than talking as he told me how little the person on the other end of the line knew, someone in a call center somewhere reading from a script. The cable company told him they would mail him a new modem and all he had to do was plug it in. “To what?” he kept asking. He has never had cable tv and as far as he knows there is no cable running to his house. I tried a line I’ve been using lately, paraphrasing our friend Kevin in Nashville, “The whole world is falling apart.” I think Kevin’s actual quote was, “Half the world is going nuts.”

The New York Times year end Week in Review had a big article on how global warming was playing out in various parts of the world. We are in danger of flooding up here while California burns and the arctic melts. Large parts of Spain are experiencing desertificaction so the almond farms are planting crops to replenish the soil. On a micro level I can tell you that we went out skiing yesterday after our first significant snowfall and our skis stuck to the warm ground.

We dropped our car off this morning at B&B on Saint Paul Boulevard for an inspection and an oil change. We hadn’t been in there in a year and they asked if we had an oil change somewhere else. I said we haven’t been anywhere and Brian told us they recommend an oil change even if you haven’t driven the miles. We took a five mile walk through Seneca Park while we waited. The Frederick Law Olmstead park, overlooking the Genesee River is so pretty in the winter. I really don’t believe the world is falling apart. I am an eternal optimist.

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Self Portrait

Styrofoam male heads on shelf at Michaels
Styrofoam male heads on shelf at Michaels

Our nephew and his girlfriend are having a baby, the first in that generation on that side of the family. My sister, Ann, is our go-to contact for baby gift suggestions. She couldn’t wait to have children, she dotes on her grandkids and she works at Parkleigh (I thought it was i before e). She suggested a “Jellycat” stuffed animal which comes with a little book that brings the animal to life. Peggi looked at them online and picked out the Bashful Lamb. I agreed it was the cutest but it was only available on back order, sold out at the Jellycat site and the few left on Amazon looked like fakes.

Plan B, and probably the best plan, was for Peggi to crochet a baby blanket. Peggi has done this before but the last one was for our grand niece who is now living the life on her own in Brooklyn. We called Gloria, who we have hardly ever seen without a crochet or knitting needle in her hand, and she suggested we go to Michael’s to buy the yarn. No more “Ye Olde Yarn Shoppes.” You can get to Webster, where the closest store is, pretty quickly but once you get there the shopping experience is grisly. I decided to go with her and I’m glad I did. I had been tasked with submitting a self portrait to an upcoming show at Studio 402 and I found one on the shelves at Michael’s.

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Before Yesterday

"Before Yesterday We Could Fly:" An Afrofuturist Period Room
“Before Yesterday We Could Fly:” An Afrofuturist Period Room

“Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room” opened last week, the same day we were at the Metropolitan. We were turned away at the door as the opening was for members only so I took this photo from outside the room. We moved along to Jules Tavernier and the Elem Pomo, a show about an Indigenous community in Northern California in 1800s. The Met has it all.

I played horseshoes with Rick the day we came back from New York. Rick played golf with Steve Grieve the day before and after we played Steve found out he had Covid. Rick says he hung out with Steve in his house as well. so we didn’t play for a few days. Rick was tested and it came back negative so we played horseshoes yesterday.

I took my warmup shots, throwing all four shoes down to one stake and then all four back to the other. Rick was doing something on his phone. When we were ready to play we could only find three of the four shoes. I felt around the sandy soil in the pit and started combing through the pachysandra behind the stake. I usually make a metal note if a shot is so bad that bounces in there and I didn’t remember one doing so.

I don’t like wading through the pachysandra because I worry about ticks. Rick is currently doing a month of antibiotics because he came down with Lyme. I got a hoe out and tried to push the plants aside to find the shoe. We looked for about a half hour and Rick went next door and brought back a set of shoes that he had bought on eBay a long time ago. They were lighter and they really threw my toss off. Extra flips and too much distance. And I kept thinking about the missing shoe.

About halfway through the first match with the new shoes I threw one that landed in the pit with a clank. I turned to Rick and asked, “What was that?” Rick finished his throw and we dashed to the other stake. The missing show was about five inches down.

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