My sister, Ann, is a big Bill’s fan. She watches each game at at her daughter’s home. That’s my sister’s son-in-law, John, at the left in this photo and that’s Ann at the lower right. The ones with the gear are people she works with. Ann’s other daughter lives in Colorado and she planned a surprise birthday party for her mom at the White House Lodge in Webster Park. Peggi and I were tasked with inviting Ann out for lunch, a ruse, and then getting her to the party in the middle of the Bills game! We had heard from John that Ann said, “I love Paul and Peggi but why did they have to invite me out during a Bills game?”
We had the game on the radio when we picked her up so wouldn’t miss a play. The Bills won their opener against last year’s Super Bowl champs, they beat Tennessee in their second game and they were tied 7-7 with Miami when we picked Ann up. We drove out Lake Road and when we passed Webster Park I announced I wanted to stop and take a photo. I pulled right up to the White House door and Peggi said “It looks like someone is having a party.”
It was pouring rain but I got out and pretended to take a photo. I wasn’t sure how we were going to get Ann out of the car. I waved to the people inside to come on out but I couldn’t tell if anyone even saw me. I asked Ann to get out and we walked to the door just as Leonard, Ann’s work buddy, came out. He held the door open and everyone screamed. There were about a hundred people inside. I thought my sister was going to have a heart attack but she was just overjoyed. She watched bits and pieces of the game on this tiny screen. The Bills lost by two points but my sister had a ball.
Our neighbor down the street told us he caught twenty-six raccoons this summer. Early on, they were digging trenches in his lawn so they could get at the grubs below. He found some sort of natural grub treatment and they stopped burrowing but they continued to stop by and shit on his deck so he kept baiting the have-a-heart trap. The raccoons come out at night and he only has one trap so that means 26 calls to animal control and 26 round trips for the town worker. Whether or not it is the same raccoons coming back is still a matter of debate.
Peggi and I just finished a spurt of tech support duty. We ordered a new computer for my brother and set that up. It is easier than ever these days if you’re synced to the cloud. My brother was but his desktop was using one id and his phone was using another. Once we figured out why the two devices had different photos, documents etc. it took some doing to merge the two. An artist friend sent an email to a group asking for help with an unusual issue. His photos were duplicating themselves. He had duplicates alright but I’m not sure the photos were the ones doing the duplicating. We suggested he just select the rows of duplicates and just delete all but the first one. That seemed to work. Our friend, Brad, dropped his laptop and cracked the screen so we helped him write a backup before sending it in for repair. He told us he didn’t want to use the cloud for some reason and we told him there are 850 million iCloud users for a reason. Turns out he was using the cloud with his phone without knowing it so we put the contents of his laptop up there too.
I hope a few readers were able to download and enjoy Anne Havens art books. Six of them are available for downloads now and Anne is rounding up some more for us to turn into eBooks.
We walked over to Kathy’s yesterday but she wasn’t home. We met the brand new baby, Vida, in her mother’s arms on the front stoop of the house next door and then wandered around the neighborhood. This is one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, so laid back it feels like vacation homes unless someone tries driving an ambulance into the bay.
I was hoping Ken Burns wouldn’t use Peter Coyote again as the narrator for his “The US and the Holocaust” series. As intense and disturbing as the material is, Coyote’s cadence puts me to sleep. We had just watched the 1999 version of The Haunting where Liam Neeson rounds up insomniacs for a sleep study in an old house plagued by paranormal special effects. Bruce Dern was the best thing about that movie but he was only in it for a few minutes. Coyote has a cure for insomnia. The Ken Burns footage of Hitler, Lindbergh and “The Radio Priest” made it clear how little has changed.
I’m thinking this guy, in the middle of Hoffman Road, is praying he won’t get run over.
Almost a week since I checked in here. Where did that week go? The weather changed and the summer job jar was near full so we took advantage of the cooler temps to tackle household/yard projects we had been putting off for months. Some, like pulling the invasive wisteria vines out of the hillside, left us near exhaustion.
But there was always time in the day for a European football match. Between La Liga matches and the Champions League one of our our three teams played each day on rewind.
I think that is the lake out there and our house somewhere on the horizon at the upper right. Tim Schapp used to have a view like this when he worked in the Lincoln First Bank, the white building on the left of this photo. Innovation Square, the former Xerox corporate headquarters, was our first stop on Saturday’s Rochester Landmark Society tour. This is the view from the shared office space on the 24th floor. We visited the gaming center on a lower floor and then an apartment before moving on to four other buildings. The repurposed, former industrial spaces were the most interesting. The newly constructed apartments are nice but a little too orderly.
To an old guy who grew up here it is just amazing how many living paces there are downtown now. Of course that goes along with the large scale exit of retail and office workers.
What you don’t see in this photo is the eastern portion of the old Inner Loop. The city listened when Chuck Cuminale led the crowd at Colorblind James gigs in the “Death to the Inner Loop” chants. The powers that be filled half of it in and apartment buildings sprung up overnight.
The recent “Clarissa Uprooted” show at City Space made it clear how destructive the highway boom was to cities like ours. But as Adam Paul Susaneck put it in an article in this morning’s paper, “It’s heartening that a few places show that change is possible. In Rochester, N.Y., the east side of a massive highway loop that cuts through the city’s Black community and walls part of it off from downtown has finally been demolished, the street grid stitched back together and affordable housing built on the site where the highway used to run. And yes, in many cases, cities should follow Rochester’s lead. “
Arugula likes Rochester. It’s hardy and rugged. It has a biting sense of humor. We generally do three plantings. It pops out of the ground in early spring, mid summer and early fall and you can start picking it almost immediately. It adds character to green salads where you would be hard pressed to taste the difference between Gentilina, red and romaine lettuce. On its own – a small pile of arugula, lightly tossed in olive oil and spritzed with fresh lime juice and a touch of salt – it is a rock star.
Monica made fresh pickles with the young cucumbers they grew and for the past few years she has given us a jar. She suggests that we wait at least a few days for the vinegar to permeate the pickles. She knows how much I love these so I count the days. Peggi doesn’t really care for them. I put them on my boiled egg and toast in the morning and make the jar last a at least a week. And then I boil a few eggs at once and put them in the brine. They get better each day.
Monica counted 90 rings in this oak. They had to take it down because the Gypsy Moths did it in. We’re guessing that Leo, the guy that built their house, probably had a big hook in the tree, something to tie his dog up with, and the tree swallowed up the hook and left these stains in the wood.
We watched a pair of mourning doves build a nest in the cherry tree just outside our window this spring. We kind of forgot about it when the foliage filled in so we never saw the babies. We spotted a Baltimore Oriole making a nest in the Tulip tree near the pool down the street but then sort of forgot about it. The branch with the nest was starting to grow over the pool so the pool members decided to take it down. We extended a pole saw with another pole and managed to get it up some thirty feet. We took turns moving the pole up and down and when limb hit the ground we found this wonder.
Corey will get a kick out of this photo. This mirror is right across the street from his house. That’s his old mattress in the driveway. We brought. back an armload of Collard greens from the garden, the regular, giant leaf plant and the Hen- Pecked version which looks exactly like it sounds. We thinned our carrots and brought back some young ones and Peggi made greens and beans with it all and we ate out on the porch with an ice cold NA Saint Pauli.
Brad Fox is back in town, temporarily living with his brother and bound for his mom’s old place once they finish a few renovations. He’s been gone a long time.
First Friday was fun. Peggi took photos and got a great one of Dominica, Tom and Barbara getting off the elevator which Colleen was operating for the evening. It was mostly a different crowd from the opening and that made it fun. Plenty of art talk. And it was hot under the gallery lights, the way it should be at the peak of summer.
The gallery is open by appointment until the end of the month and there is one more event in the space. City Newspaper ran a little piece about that.
One of the nicest things about my show at Colleen’s studio is having the chance to get to know Colleen. She once told me she wasn’t “particularly fond of painting” so this wasn’t a given. I am particularly fond of her artwork and I only found her comment intriguing. She invited Peggi and I over to see the garden that she her husband, Hucky, have created in their backyard. It is the garden of the gods! Every kind of plant, flower and tree seems happy here and some like the olive, orange and fig tree are only out for the summer so it was a thill to see it all at the peak of summer..
“I am always trying to get home in dream.” The first breath of Louise’s new poem, published here in the Spanish press, drew me in. Our friend, Pete Monacelli has painted a few hundred paintings with the title, “Searching for Home.” We have a few here that we treasure but what’s with the longing for this mythical place. Isn’t it right here?
And this is what makes the world go ’round. I know the gist of the backstory for Louise’s poem, “Mother at Eighty.” It is unsettling. But that very same material shaped this beautiful poem. “that pale disc of sun on a white clouded day —.”
The accompanying photo, by Matthew Leonard. certainly caught my eye. Louise is standing in front my mugshot series of friends from the 1970’s.
Gym class was my favorite period in school. In fact, it was the only one I loved. And after school I would most likely be found on the playground or in a gym. When I got to Indiana University they had a requirement that you had to take two semesters of gym, except they didn’t call it gym, they called it “HPER.” There was a HPER building and a HPER program. The acronym stood for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The two HPER classes I chose were Diving and Trampoline. The Diving class was taught by Hobie Billingsley, who at the time was the US Olympic diving coach. IU had a great swimming team as well. Doc Councilman was the coach and he also coached the US Olympic swimming team. Mark Spitz was in my class. He sold pot on the side.
Hobie’s obituary was in today’s paper along with this photo. As the obit stated, “Great trust and rapport is needed between diver and coach.” I tell this story all the time but it bears repeating today. On the very first day of class, just after he introduced himself, he asked us all to climb to the very top of the high platform and fall backwards into the pool below. The 10 meter platform is comparable to the top of a three-story building. My knees were trembling as I climbed the open stairs. He told us that we needed to trust him and if we did and followed his instructions we would not be hurt.
Once at the top we were to walk to the front of the platform and then turn around so that our heels were on the very edge. We were instructed to stand tall and stiff and then simply fall backwards. There were some sloppy and somewhat painful entries but if you followed his instructions you would do a complete 360 before your toes entered the water.
Brian lived in a big house on Alexander Street just a few doors down from where I lived when I was born. My parents place was just an apartment on the second floor and as my father used to tell it, my crib was in the hallway. Brian filled his house with books and art and eventually he rented a studio in the Hungerford Building to work on and display his assemblages.
We first met him at an early Macintosh users group meeting at East High. He was giving a presentation of how he used the photo software to display his digital photos, all commonplace now but this was Macintosh II days. Peggi and I were knocked out by his photos. We talked to him after the show and became lifelong friends. Sadly, his life ended but he was a Buddhist so he is not really dead.
A memorial was held for him in Record Archive’s back room last night and we met his daughter, Rae, who we found capable of carrying Brian’s spirit forward. Dick Storms was there and told us he first met Brian in 1965 at Kodak. Brian had all sorts of jobs. He was a garbage collector for the city and then a city inspector so of course he knew everybody. Some called him Charlie, others called him Brian.
His job included photographing code violations and he said that influenced how he saw the world. Before social media he sent a photo a day to anyone who asked to be on his mailing list.
Brian grew up in the Bay Area and met Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell. He gave us a Ferlinghetti book of poetry. He took still photos on an 8mm movie camera and his son put a few of them online.
We parked downtown and walked over to High Falls to hear the Debby Kendrick band play WXXI’s noontime concert. The walk was longer than we realized so we missed about half of their set. Pete was playing a different set of drums. Bill Coppard bought this Ludwig Champagne Sparkle set in 1962 and he gave them to Pete to sell. Lavon tried them out after the set and decided to buy them.
Reading about the demise of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer brought back a flood of memories. In the early web days IE was browser of choice on both the pc and Mac side but web pages behaved differently on a pc than it did on a Mac. This was long before the html5 protocol was established so we were always writing if IE clauses in the code to get pages to look like we wanted them to. If fact we kept a clunky pc around just to see how pages responded in what we called “a worst case scenario.”
This photo, it’s about three feet wide, has hung our bathroom for thirty years. It’s out in the garage now as we did a refresh with our objets d’art. We bought it at a High Falls show back when Sally Wood Winslow ran the art gallery there. Roy Sowers took the photo and he titled it “Debra.” Apparently Debra went to RIT with him back when he was a photo student. Wherever she is today I hope she is happy. She brought a lot of joy to us.
The Bagel shop at 12 Corners was closed today for a funeral. Jack and Robyn’s son, Ian, died due to complications from a rare form of cancer at 27. He was near death years ago and then recovered but that doesn’t make it any easier for his loved ones. His illness strengthened his faith and his faith sustained him. The service was beautiful, just as Ian and his parents had planned it.
The priest who said the mass told the standing room only crowd that he visited Ian in the hospital just a few weeks ago. Ian told him he had come to the realization that his suffering was bringing his friends and loved ones closer to god. He told the priest “If I die it will have all been worth it.”
The funeral was held in Saint John’s the Evangelist church on Humboldt Street, my family’s parish when I was growing up. It all felt so familiar. I took note of saints in the stained glass windows. Joan of Arc was directly across from us. Mary Magdalene, Martin de Porres, Agnes, Charles Borromeo, Francis of Assisi, Elizabeth of Hungary, Michael the Archangel, Martha and Thomas Aquinas. Maybe they can find a spot for Saint Ian. The four evangelists were above the choir along with these Old Testament dudes, Gideon, King Solomon, King David, Moses, Isaiah and Ezekiel. The priest was cool up until the point where he explained that Communion was for Catholics only.
Ian played guitar as well as his dad and even sat in with Margaret Explosion. Here’s Ian’s father, Jack, playing bass clarinet on “Disappear.”
In their final years, Peggi and I helped my mom and dad with their paperwork and taxes. We wound up with a six or seven inch pile of paperwork, many of the pages in my father’s mechanical drawing style – all caps, block printing. We wanted to get rid of them but some of the sheets had their social security numbers on them so we asked our neighbors if we could borrow their paper shredder. We hadn’t finished more that fifty sheets when the thing froze.
I took it apart and spent a couple of hours cleaning it but when we put back together it still wouldn’t shred. So we researched shredder and bought one on Amazon. It arrived today. We tackle the stack and then give the shredder to the neighbors.
Downtown was hopping on Friday night. We started First Friday at the RIT City Art Space where the “Clarissa Street Uprooted” show was. Something was happening at Parcel 5, there was graduation at Harro East and we had a hard time finding a parking space. This green car pulled up in front of the clothing shop across from the Liberty Pole and the music coming from it was so loud it drew everyone’s attention. I Shazamed the song and learned it was “Booming” by Big Boogie.
We met Steve Black when he was an art student at RIT. He hand colored each frame of his video for “Don’t Wake Me” on our first ep, Personal Effects. Recently he shot the video for Margaret Explosion’s “Disappear.”
“At 1:30 on Wednesday, June 8, the Rochester Brainery presents Stephen Black demonstrating examples of GeoPose AR installed in Rochester, near public locations like the Little Theatre, Record Archive, RIT, Strong Museum of Play, the Flower City Art Center, International Plaza, and the Rochester Public Market. The hands-on demo allows visitors to experience GeoPose AR’s ability to inform, entertain and delight. Uses for education, tourism, marketing and art will become apparent.”
Happy Memorial Day – a chance to remember my friend, Rex, who was shot in the back at 19, friendly-fire style, in Viet Nam.
We walked up to the lake along Zoo Road. The cherries, magnolias, apple and lilac blossoms are all finished but we spotted a group of Asian Americans sitting under a stand of dramatic Chinese Fringe trees in full bloom. The lake level is still too high to get from the Durand Lake outlet to the Eastman Lake outlet on dry land. I guess we could have taken off our shoes but we didn’t. On the boardwalk over Tamarac Swamp we looked down at the bull frogs who were making a racket. Peggi pointed to a big one and said, “What’s coming out of it’s mouth?” It looked like another frog’s head. It turned out they were having sex in public.
We saw one of our neighbors on her bike and she told us she was just getting over Covid. She went to a birthday lunch with seven others and five of them got Covid. Our friends, Pete and Gloria, came down with Covid yesterday. We had been with them earlier in the week.
Our Padron peppers are in and the tiny red pepper plants. The jalapeños are next. We’re doing our best to keep up with the greens but they may get ahead of us.
“Astronomers announced on Thursday that they had pierced the well of darkness and dust at the center of our Milky Way galaxy to capture the first picture of “the gentle giant” dwelling there: a supermassive black hole, a trapdoor in space-time through which the equivalent of four million suns have been dispatched to eternity leaving behind only their gravity and violently bent space-time.” – NYT
On the same day a package arrived from David Greenberger, the artwork we bought on eBay after receiving an email that alerted us to the listing. We paid $14.99 and David threw in one from his drawing/collage series of drummers, with a postage stamp heads sitting on drummers’ bodies as they sit behind a kit. Ours featured an Indian stamp of Gandhi.
I have friends and family members who are affected by the quantity of sunshine in a day. I recognize that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is real. A good friend of ours is moving back here from the Bay Area. As much as I am looking forward to seeing him in person I was encouraging him not to move here. He gets bummed out when it’s cloudy and he complains about it to anyone who will listen. I don’t want to hear it. I like cloudy days and I love living here.
There was a mist in the air this morning but it had temporarily stopped raining. We saw one other person. The cherry, crab apple and magnolia blossoms along Zoo Road looked magnificent against the grey. We took along Durand Lake, through Katsura Glen where the new leaves were just coming out.