They are done talking so we all head home.
I meet my old dudes several mornings per week at the Crow’s Feet coffee shop. The building is set in Drake Park overlooking Mirror Pond on the Deschutes River. It is beautiful and all of the people here are friendly, except for my old dudes; they are all ugly and cranky, and argue with everything I say. And! I argue back with humble quietude and not a trace of the sarcasm of my youth. They sometimes call me Saint Charles behind my back, but they haven’t yet learned how to smother their sarcasm. It is difficult to understand why we all have such a good time. I suppose we actually appreciate one another’s distorted view of life.
This morning they complained that I wasn’t dressed in my usual colorful garb, like yesterday when I wore the bright orange T-shirt I won at the Science Pub. Today I was in a near-black T-shirt and black sweat pants and my usual blue Columbia fuzzy jacket with the silver lining. So the complaint arose that I should turn my jacket inside out and look all sparkly as more befitting my character. So I did. Now they pretend to like me.
This is the view with the camera turned to the right. Our old asses sit on a curvy couch that matches the one in the middle distance. We sit there from 9:30 to 11:30 in the corner behind the camera.
Is this living? Well, it will do for the time being.
I enjoyed today, sort of. Up early after a good night’s sleep and then fiddled with my diet presentation for an hour. Then over to the coffee shop and had a pleasant old-dude analysis of the world problems and what “they” should do about them. I try to talk about what we should do about them but that never gets much traction. I showed some pictures I made last night on my evening walk with Debbie, which were well received by Richard Cork, an excellent artist. Why don’t I download them now and show what can happen in a few minutes?
Steps on 10th Street next to the house
These are all unprocessed photos taken on my iPhone in about five minutes. Except for the lemons, that was just before we left the house for our daily walk.
Lots more happened but it doesn’t feel like a productive day.
I got the rototiller onto the trailer Sunday evening so I would be sure it was ready to pull back to the rental location and it was back to its home station on time, but the new trailer hitch wouldn’t let loose of the trailer. The release lever which holds the ball onto the car wouldn’t lift high enough to release the receiving cup on the trailer from the ball on my Subaru Outback. I and the yard guy messed with that for a bit and I suggested we take the whole ball assembly off of the car and then remove the ball assembly from the trailer. I had just bought that ball assembly a couple of days ago and put it on, so I knew it would work if there wasn’t too much tension on the components. I wiggled the fastener pins while he wiggled the trailer and with a bang, the whole tongue of the trailer was on the ground. I then lifted the lever, the whole thing came apart and I put it in the trunk. End of the whole episode of yard tilling. In a few days, we will get with the planting of a huge garden. My muscle soreness is mostly gone, but my memories of this experience will last for quite a while.
So I am back to my major project for the moment, that of getting ready to give a lecture on my diet plan. We unpacked and set up the new projector that we just got from Amazon, and the laser controllers and hand pointer thing and hoped for the best. Of course, they all worked perfectly on the first try. Not! The USB from the computer would hook up just fine to the USB on the projector but they were somehow incompatible. We could run a movie we had on a USB stick and there was a speaker inside the projector so we could watch a movie directly from the projector. Not exactly hi-def quality, but the whole thing only cost $44 new, and what should I expect from a device that was only intended to project a few pictures and some text for a PowerPoint lecture? I’m not sure but I suspect that if I put the lecture on to the USB stick I could do the whole thing without a computer. I’ll report on that after the probable suffering.
My friend J has been encouraging me to drop the word diet from my talk. I agreed to that idea weeks ago and I have been using various other terms like weight stabilization in my written notes and handouts, but I haven’t developed the habit of using those words when talking to other people. At the moment I have intentionally lost 24.4 pounds at a rate of about 1.5 pounds per month. It has been so easy that I feel obligated to tell everyone who chooses to hear about it. I am planning to make the basic lecture into a fifteen-minute talk rather like a TED talk. If it is announced at the UU fellowship as only fifteen minutes, there will be more people willing to come. Also, the downtown library will give a nice room, seating about fifty people, for a talk once a month.
Two other projects are in the offing – The Potent Places of the World, and a show of some of my photos.
This morning J and I had a great conversation developing ideas of how to make our world into a wonderful place for all of us to live more fully. We thought about ways of developing the strategy for finding and revealing exact places for everyone to visit. It became obvious to us that it must be done through money-making channels because that is the way that ideas become widespread. If something is free it isn’t valued, it is only exploited. If something can’t be sold it isn’t worth anything.
The idea of selling the exact points in our world for having beautiful experiences seems as absurd as selling Pet Rocks and yet that is exactly what people are looking for and therefore there is a market for the information we will be marketing. We have been discussing this problem for several months and I’ve blogged about it as spiritual spots, but there is more to the idea than just locating spiritual places because there is much more to living than having spiritual experiences.
I have already been doing what I was proposing to J this morning and after our coffee-shop conversation, we went to a couple of these special places. And we stood there and experienced their special qualities. He then took me to a few exact places nearby that he felt had the qualities I was talking about. The world is loaded with these special places and Google Earth already has photographs of vast numbers of them, and as we document them in our special way they will become even more available to everyone. This is a way to help the people of Earth become happier, healthier, wiser wealthier and kinder. It will become kinder because this is a way for everyone to share beautiful experiences.
Our wonderful world is about to become even more wonderful.
The last several days I have been having fun with creating a brochure for the Spiritual Awareness Community of the Cascades. Most of the work was on the text and layout, and I sought and received considerable assistance with refining my concepts for that aspect of the brochure. A totally different problem was the graphics to be used on the cover. That is an artistic problem and personal decision making. I did discuss the artistic issues with a retired professional graphic designer of national reputation, but when it came to the actual drawing I was on my own. Here below is what I made of the Classic Greek letter Alpha:
This Greek letter Alpha is derived from a stained glass window found high in the Old Stone Church here in Bend, Oregon. I think it was put into the wall about the time the church was built in 1912. The whole large window is worthy of an ancient European church, but at the time it was installed this town was a tiny outpost on the fringes of civilization.
I must admit that every pixel of this picture has been reworked by me with what I must confess to being an overactive use of my privilege of artistic license. It is a ragged exploration of what the concept of a visual searching into the spiritual realm might be interpreted to mean. I had fun creating the weird curls, textures, and play of light in this seemingly most prosaic and mundane of human creations. The form of the letter alpha is a protean symbol that must exist in trillions of iterations and multitudes of variations after three thousand years of use by a substantial portion of the earth’s population. That said, the alpha I have created above has got to be one of the stranger ones.
Anyway, the fun of this Alpha is in the tiny details.
I have been working on our Spiritual Awareness Community’s handout that is used for distributing current information. Such specific items as the background of the day’s speaker and printouts of the songs that will be sung that Sunday afternoon. It has been an interesting experiment in creative writing because the group is undergoing a radical transformation at the moment. I was designated as the person to design this document and given total liberty as what would be put into it. That was intended as a starting point for the people of our group to discuss and make improvements upon. I have been giving the group as near a finished product to work with as possible so it is more easy for them to see what the final product will look like. It has already gone through an hour of critique and improvements were put into the current document.
One thing that is more difficult to analyze and critique is the artwork that I have put on the front and back covers. I had previously made some high-quality photographs of the omega symbol that existed for a couple of decades in a stained glass window over the heads of our little community. It was behind us and I don’t remember anyone making a comment about it or the other symbols as they were not particularly relevant to what happened in our meetings. All the same, they were there looking down upon us for decades so I thought it was appropriate to put the Alpha and Omega on the cover of our brochure. We have moved into a new building and those stained-glass symbols are lost to us forever. The Alpha is the beginning and the Omega the ending of the Classic Greek alphabet and so, in a general symbolic sense, those letters represent the beginning and the ending of our use of that building. It was under those letters that my friend Ahonu and I did the Sermon on the Mount sermon on Christmas day. I thought that the most fitting ending service for a hundred-year-old church that may never host another religious service.
I have been working on the Alpha and Omega symbols for our group’s brochure for a couple of weeks, and the Omega symbol is spectacular because it was created from a close-up picture. Unfortunately, the Alpha symbol had been taken from a photo of the whole stained glass series and was only a few percent of the photograph. Thus the overall photograph was very clean and sharp, but the tiny portion of the Alpha wasn’t nearly as high a quality as the close-up of the Omega. What to do?
I took the blurry Alpha and expanded it to the same size as the very sharp Omega. I then recreated the Alpha by cloning over the appropriate surface details onto it from the Omega details. There was quite a bit of “artistic license” in doing this, but the end result is that the two letters can be viewed side by side and have the same visual feel. I consider it a success, but I will have to wait until the next meeting to get some feedback on how the other people feel.
It is a feeling thing more than an intellectual one that is important in some situations.
I have been fiddling with my old iPhone and using the camera function with a tiny lens attached in front of the iPhone’s lens. It wasn’t working very well because when taking microscopic photos the tiniest wiggle totally ruins the picture. I worked out quite a few instantiations of things that I thought would work to control the jiggle, and they did sort of, but they were cranky to use and difficult to get lined up with things I wanted to photograph.
Finally, I made one that is very steady, easy to move about and can be taken out of a camera case and installed easily. If the camera and the camera case are sitting here on my desk, I can get the whole thing set up, take a picture and put the equipment away in under a minute. It’s harder outdoors where I don’t have a flat surface to put things down on. In my next incarnation, I plan to have more limbs and hands for such situations, but I’m not expecting much in that venue. Anyway, I took this photograph of Abe Lincoln on the back of a five-dollar bill here in front of my computer without the slightest special equipment other than what I made by hand here last night. The picture below may look kind of rough so go to your wallet and pull out a $5 bill and check out Lincoln’s beady eye on the back of your bill.
If you have trouble finding Honest Abe look carefully in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial building.
I watch my health carefully and try to identify and correct little problems before they become big ones. In this case, the problem is tiny, only pinhead size, and even I would ignore this tiny growth if it wasn’t inside the divot where a quarter-inch patch of squamous cell cancer was removed from the top of my right ear about a year ago. This type of cancer is the least dangerous and is usually only a superficial skin thing that grows slowly and usually doesn’t metastasize. All the same, it is best to have it removed if the dermatologist suggests that is the right thing to do in any given circumstance.
I was seeing my general practitioner yesterday about several minor things, like the pea-size Dupuytren’s disease lump in my right palm. I would never have discovered this little lump if 23andMe hadn’t revealed the possibility. That’s a long story but this is a common lump found in older north Europeans’ hands. Probably it will be scheduled to be given a direct injection of something that will suppress its growth.
The bigger concern is the presently minor cancer on my ear, and today I went in to have a photograph taken of it using one of those scopes like the doctors use to look into your ear coupled with a digital camera. They send the photos to some administrator somewhere in the noosphere for analysis and the okay to proceed with a treatment. Obviously, an onsite dermatologist could do a much better analysis than the noospherologist could do from a remote office, but procedures must be obeyed; after all George Orwell’s 1984 is long past and we now live in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
This was an opportunity to use my new invention with which I can take very close closeup pictures. Actually, since it was my ear I couldn’t do it, and I had to have Debbie line up the camera and press the button.
Nice, closeup photo. Huh?!
Well, that tiny object isn’t a wart, so you can’t accuse me of being a worry wart.
[Next day. I discovered this photo taken before the surgical removal. The angles are different in each photo, but it’s the same ear.]
Yesterday I blogged about Daniel, a friend of mine who was declared dead forty years ago at the scene of a motorcycle accident. Fortunately for him, the doctors in the emergency room shocked his heart back into action and were able to cope with the other injuries. Yesterday he appeared to be in perfect health and as I had posted a short story that included him I wanted to get his okay that I had written the story. I only mentioned his first name to protect his privacy, beyond his personal acquaintances who would, of course, recognize his photo. The usual coffee-shop gang of several old guys was limited to him so we talked at some length about the story and the dangers of riding motorcycles. I’m happy to say he approved of my story and the photograph, too.
He mentioned that he had taken a spill on his bicycle riding the six blocks over to our coffee shop when he hit a patch of ice and landed on his hip. That had happened only a few minutes before I arrived and he didn’t mention it right away but a half hour later while sitting it was beginning to swell and was bothering him.
We had then been talking about my invention for taking extreme close-up photos using an iPhone. I have made several mock-ups of my device using silver and was worried about the cost of manufacturing and selling a device made of silver. We were discussing using copper instead when he said he had some copper stored underneath his house that might fit my need. So I drove the roundabout auto route via one-way streets over there and he was waiting on his doorstep. I never asked but he obviously rode his bike back the short route.
He found what he considered scraps of copper and we cut them to the appropriately oversized pieces for me to work with for my invention. I’m trying to think of an appropriate gift to show appreciation for Daniel’s enthusiasm for my idea and his help in finding the suitable bits of stuff for the working mock-up.
A knowledgeable friend’s interest in one’s projects is the big payoff for creative endeavors.