We won’t be able to get this view of the Sea Breeze lighthouse again until November as the State will be opening the swing bridge on April Fools Day. The trail, just to the left of the willow trees, what’s left of the former Hojack line, is one of our favorites. There are still some railroad ties buried just below the surface and it eventually runs across a restaurant deck but eventually leads you to a small park with picnic tables across the street from the old Peg’s Hots. I wouldn’t expect anyone to remember where that place was but my friends, Tim Schapp and Joe Barrett. worked there one summer.
Peggi suggested that we may be better prepared for the quarantine than most because of the three Caminos we did. The whole thing of simplifying your world, all your possessions in your backpack, a room to eat, clean up and sleep in. Maybe so. We were planning to take a fourth walk in April, the northerly Primitivo from France to Santiago, but that is only a dream now.
We used to have a Pussy Willow tree in the backyard of our house in the city. It grew like a weed and I would cut six feet off the branches every year to keep it away from the power lines. We got in the habit of picking fresh bunches for the house. Out here, by the lake, we spotted one on what we think might be park property, the undeveloped part. We keep our eye on the tree and raid it when the time is right.
Only those who are sick have a right to complain so this isn’t a complaint. It is an observation. I am finding it impossible to get anything done during this stay at home shut down. I thought I would be putting dents in all sorts of projects but I spend the whole day reading about the virus, reading about the president’s free-styling, talking to friends and relatives, placing online orders, taking a walk and then worrying. And everyone who has ever picked up a guitar has a down home performance on social media so you can pretty bogged down there.
I didn’t sleep that good last night so I did an extra dose of walking thinking I will sleep better tonight. It’s hard to get the day started with all the dreadful news and protocol revisals to wade through. And now Vitamin supplements might be good again. It is only 27 degrees so I’m hoping my face was able to take enough of that in.
I love this time of year. Hints of color everywhere after a sustained absence. Spring is so dramatic. More dramatic than the virus.
We picked our third batch of Forsythia branches today and brought them into the house to replace the first batch that is beginning to fall. This will surely be the last because the bushes are just beginning to flower outside. All I can say about the photo above is that the yellow motorcycle looked cool so I photographed it. It did not look like it was floating.
I don’t shop at Parkleigh but my sister works there and they stayed open through the weekend and then closed, laying of my sister after ten years of loyal service. Everybody has a story like this.
We found the press conference given by the top Medical experts at UR sobering but helpful. We don’t have anywhere near enough tests and there is nothing they can do to treat you if and when you contract the virus. Their top concern is isolating those with it. Keeping health professionals safe and isolating hospital patients with it. Good luck.
This, from Paul Krugman’s column, pisses me off.
“Compare, for example, America’s handling of the coronavirus with that of South Korea. Both countries reported their first case on Jan. 20. But Korea moved quickly to implement widespread testing; it has used the data from that testing to guide social distancing and other containment measures; and the disease appears to be on the wane there.
In the U.S., by contrast, testing has barely begun — we’ve tested only 60,000 people compared with South Korea’s 290,000, even though we have six times its population, and the number of cases here appears to be skyrocketing.”
NYS prison laborers are making hand sanitizer to keep up with demand. I read an article about how dangerous the grocery store is. The place to go if you want the virus. It fed my suspicions of live shopping. Instead of going in Wegman’s we used their Instacart service and drove up there to pick up the items they had in stock. I was surprised how long an online order takes to fill. Our wait was just over two days.
Our shopper texted us when she began filling the order. They had no dried beans, no canned beans, no beans of any variety. She sent us a photo of the empty shelves. Organic brown eggs. Forget about it. We texted back. “OK, any large eggs.” She texted back, “We have no eggs.”
Out walking today we saw groups of teens. A cluster of girls that wouldn’t give us space on the boardwalk in the park. We had to hold our breath as we passed by. They’re out of school and hanging with their friends. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t have taken any of this seriously at that age.
Our friend Kathy walked by our house this afternoon. She texted us to say say and we waved from the window.
We got out early in order to beat the rain but it never really came. The temperature was near fifty and queese were overhead heading generally in a northerly direction. There wasn’t much sun out and we didn’t expect the lake to look so dramatic. We came back with so many photos. This was my favorite.
We stopped in the park to chat with some people on our way back. One of the guys in our cluster had come up the road from the direction of the lake and I asked if he had seen the lake. He hadn’t but he said he and his wife lived on Lake Bluff Road for four years and their bedroom looked out over the lake. He said the lake has a different personality every day.
Joy Adams did these two drawings from memory. They are a tribute to Ducky, a goat she owned for years but had to get rid of. She called him a soulmate and says “in a former life he might have been my husband.” The drawings are featured in Rochester Contemporary’s Makers & Mentors 2020 exhibition and Joy gave an artist’s talk this afternoon along with one of her former students, Lin Price.
Born in England just after the World War her memories of the English countryside reshape what she sees from the window of her barn/studio/home in Ithaca. “There is nothing unique about lavishly prickly weeds or trees dozing off in my backyard, unless I manage to bring something new to how I see them. The challenge is to avoid the predictable because predictability is about as welcome as a cold cuppa tea.”
She told the crowd she tries to tell the truth by moving beyond looking to seeing. Mostly through direct observation. She says the soul that drawings have is the difference between looking and seeing
I looked down at our land line expecting another scam call but found a familiar name instead. Steve Black was in town unexpectedly after being invited to a symposium at MIT on augmented reality where he met someone from RIT and then rode to town with him. He called us from RoCo where he successfully talked the attendant into giving him our Home phone number. And when we arrived he reminded us that many years ago he got off a bus downtown and called information for our number. The operator said, “Oh, I know Paul Dodd.” It was Betsy Nosco who I went to high school with.
The next day, a gorgeous winter day, Steve got right to work shooting scenes for a video for a Margaret Explosion song, “Tonic Party.” The footage, every bit of it from from near our home, astounded us. We should be way overly familiar with this location but we couldn’t tell exactly where it came from. The eye of a master.
We first met Steve when he was going to RIT. He asked Personal Effects if he could do a video to “Don’t Wake Me,” a song on our first ep. He printed out each frame of the film he shot, hand-colored the frames and then reshot the still images for the video. See “Don’t Wake Me.”
Back in 2003 when our “1969” cd came out Steve made a magical video in the back yard of our Hall Street house. See “Assembly Line.”
And his video for “Trophy Bowler”vaulted Pete LaBonne to YouTube sensation status. See “Trophy Bowler.”
Last night’s opening for Bea Nettles show, “Harvest of Memory,” was in fact a harvest of memories. Nettles taught art here at Nazareth College. She finished her masters at Visual Studies and went on to teach at RIT. She raised a family and continued to work. Old friends and students of hers were there. We didn’t know Nettles but some our old friends did and they were there.
Nettles uses alternative photographic processes and achieves organic results. She plays with mythology, family, motherhood, place, landscape, dreams, the passage of time and she makes art with it all. She gives a talk on her work on Saturday, February 1, at 1 p.m.
Jason Farago’s bad review of a photography show at the International Center of Photography in NY was fun to read. “The Case of Art vs. Instagram.” He calls out the Center for playing to the gate, a problem for all the art institutions.
Peggi dropped me off in front of the Hall of Justice this morning. I was bracing for the worst. They couldn’t even get somebody to shovel the walk. They just threw this blue chemical on the snow and waited for it to melt. I was here for jury duty, called back after only four years because I had weaseled out of the last one. It was the middle of summer, I was shuttling my father back and forth to doctors and they picked me for a trial they expected to last three more weeks.
The lawyers had already presented the gist of their case. The trial was moved from Niagara Falls because the incident had been covered so heavily there. Three cops answered a 911 domestic abuse call. They came into the courtroom in their finest cop regalia, all puffed up, and sat right in front of me. The guy who was beating his wife was representing himself in a orange jump suit, claiming the cops had roughed him up. Within twenty minutes the cops were all slumped down in their chairs while the jump suit guy prattled on.
This time my name was called for a morning case but it wound up being postponed. Forty of the four hundred people in the jury room were instructed stick around for an afternoon trail. The judge want a four part form filled out. “Have you ever been the victim of a crime? Been accused of a crime? Been a witness to a crime? Have you ever been employed by Law Enforcement or Criminal Justice Agency? I answered yes to all four and that case was settled out of court. I’m free for another eight years!
Wouldn’t you love to have been around before the first cars mucked everything up? Just like the guy in the painting this Everett Shinn piece from 1905 always stops me in my tracks. I’m waiting for self driving vehicles so we can all sit back and dream again.
Jeffery was calling our class a restorative one. We spent good bit of the yoga class on our backs with a rolled up blanket in various positions under our spines. I fell asleep at one point. But before that I was restless. I was noticing all the infrastructure on the walls and especially the ceiling. There is a four-way speaker up there, one horn-like speaker pointed in each direction, maybe something from the nineteen fifties for a duck and cover drill. And then there is a small wooden PA speaker with a grill cloth. I was picturing getting called down to the office on that thing. There is a grey plastic box mounted to the wall with a few short ethernet cables hanging out. And a brand new wifi repeater that looks like it could double as a drone.
The classes held in the small gym in the former Brighton High School administration building. It must have been a grade school at some point. The gym is small, not regulation size for basketball but the sealed wooden floor is lined for free throw marks, half line and out of bounds nonetheless. I spent a lot time in gyms when I was growing up and I feel really comfortable in here.
I stood behind this guy at Wegman’s while waiting for my Shingles vaccine. That’s Peggi, off to the right, up at the counter with her backpack on. We were doing a shop on foot. I made a note to look up Suicide Silence when I got home and I found this. Some 87,000,000 people beat me to it. I watched it with the sound off and still heard it.
Our friend, Kathy, suggested the Genesee Valley Greenway to us. It is an old canal bed that runs from the Genesee River near RIT down to the Allegheny River. It saw peak traffic in 1854 when 5,345 boats passed through Lock Number 2, pictured above. Our friends Jeff and Mary live along the river so we started at their house. They were busy packing for a trip to Mexico so Peggi and I walked it alone. We headed toward Scottsville but didn’t make it. I was picturing us stopping there for a beer. It was like being back on the Camino and it is a lot closer to home. I recommend it.
There were a lot of people on the beach today, like maybe twenty, twenty five. All it took was a little sunshine. And there was more beach to walk on than there has been. I’m wondering if the lake level is already going down for the season. The Saint Lawerence shipping routes are closed for the season so they have lowered the level there. We still have four other Great Lakes upstream of us so we will probably each record high levels again this Spring.
It must have been noon or one when we cut through Center Entrance on our way up to the lake and it would appear none of the four houses that collect their mail here had even noticed that their mailboxes had been hit overnight. One of the boxes still had mail in it and a morning newspaper was thown on top. We thought about setting them upright so the mailman could deliver the mail this afternoon but then there is that federal crime thing about tampering with US mail so we continued on.
When my brother was here over Christmas we took a walk with him along Hoffman Road and noticed someone had run off the road down there. They skinned all the bark off a tree and left a pile of plastic Hyundai parts in their wake. Too much holiday cheer.
My dentist doesn’t work Fridays. He gets a three day weekend and he deserves it. On Thursday I was eating some of Peggi’s Mahogany Almonds, a recipe she got from Karen Miltner when she used to work for our evening paper. It’s roasted almonds with Chinese five spice and maple syrup. Something cracked in the back of mouth and by the afternoon I had a bad toothache, one of those where you can’t even smile without it hurting. I made it through the night but kept waking up in pain. Funny thing is it seemed to quiet down as the weekend unfolded.
I called him at eight this morning and he got me in at ten. They took an X-ray and showed me the crack. It will need to be pulled but it has a cap and its already the post for a bridge that will have to be rebuilt. This time the bridge will have to straddle two missing teeth. It gives me a headache thinking about it.
I know I’m not the only one who finds the holidays stressful but I feel lucky to have an antidote. A walk to the lake is a chill pill for me, one that works every time. I loved having my family over for dinner on Christmas Eve, a good part of them anyway. My stress comes from the string of holiday parties, friends in from out of town, the holiday shows, all the activity packed into a two week period. I just want to stay home and watch Perry Mason.
Were were headed out for a walk but I had to finish something on my computer. Peggi was shoveling the driveway while she waited for me. We only had an inch or so. I heard dance music cranking out there and then Peggi talking to someone so I took my time. When I got out there Peggi told me she was chatting with a delivery guy. He told her they gave him 300 packages to deliver each day. And he had a cold. But he got a little too friendly when he asked her how long she has lived here.
We walked down Hoffman Road Road and at the very end, where Rainbow Drive darts up the hill, we saw the delivery guy. His radio was silent and he was standing outside the van which had slid off the road and came to a halt against this tree. He told us the red light at the top of the back door was smashed but he seemed completely unconcerned. We chatted some more and took off.
Funny how all these signs look alike, like Barbara Kruger made them all. And kind of creepy how some parents enlist their kids to stand out in the rain in front of Pittsford Plaza with signs they couldn’t possible understand. The little guy in the green mittens and a red Santa hat is holding one that reads “Vaccine Mandates Violate Bodily Anatomy.”
There were about twenty of these signs out there with variations of the same message. “Stop Government Research.” “HPV Vaccine Known To Cause Death.” I rolled the car window down to photograph them and one women with a sign smiled at my like I was a supporter. I shouted, “You’ve got to be kidding” and she shouted back, “No, we’re not!”
My brother’s lady friend celebrated her 60th birthday last night out at Trio on Winton Road. The sign above the door reads “Drink, Dine Dance,” a trio of “D” words. The agenda makes life easy.
The bar had 80’s videos playing on the big screen without the sound and they looked especially fun that way. At some point a dj or vj, someone who appeared older than we are, got in the booth and stood in front of two big shelves of 12 inch records. The sound system kicked in and the videos were all current hits. I went up to check out his set up and saw a turntable off to the side with some stuff piled on top it. There were two digital turntables front and center, those little ones that look big enough for a cd. He wasn’t using those either. Instead he stood in front of a touch screen monitor with a playlist of videos. The wind kind of goes out of the room when everyone is focused on the video images.
If we had taken Peggi’s sister’s suggestion we would be on our way to Miami for Christmas. Our nephew and his girlfriend have a restaurant down there, Boia De, and we’ll have to check it out but not over Christmas. We walked up to Wegman’s today and stopped on front of this house grab a picture of the inflatable penguin family. By the time we returned it was dark enough to turn on the blue lights which line our roofline.
Our neighbor across the street works from home and they do most of their shopping online so there are delivery trucks there throughout the day. I watched as he accepted a delivery and then saw the driver walk up to our door. He had the MX-80 album we ordered, “Crowd Control.” I helped Rich prepare the mechanical art for the re-release and Rich offered to send me a copy but I said no. We already have the album. But from time to time I would wonder how the thing came out. I simplified the 4 color formulas thinking the reissue would be a more electric combination of the red and yellow and when I thought of MX80 for some reason I found myself working about the result. So I ordered one from Ship to Shore. It’s being offered for $6! Red vinyl and a bonus track, the Theme from Halloween. And who doesn’t want a clean copy of “Obsessive Devotion” or “More Than Good?”” As a holiday gift it is guaranteed to please the most discerning taste.