Reflections in a puddle

20130701-123531.jpgIt is an early summer morning. It rained the night before as I walk a mile or so before I climb into the car for the morning’s mega commute. The parking lot near my home is dappled with puddles slowly evaporating. It reminds me of when I first started taking black and white photographs in high school. One of my favorite subjects was reflections of the sky in puddles.

I do not remember what initially attracted me to the subject matter, but I remember loading a 35mm SLR manual camera–either an Olympus or a Pentex–with a spool of film, pulling the leader and lining the sprocket holes with the sprockets, securing the leader to the spindle, closing the back door and advancing the film a couple frames. I would sling the camera over my shoulder and head outdoors to capture a surreal glimpse of the heavens from the perspective of puddles on asphalt. Or pools of water on gravel roads or a grassy field.

After collecting images captured and hidden on a roll of exposed black and white film, I returned to the darkroom at the high school and processed the film. First developing the amber film strips and then placing it in the enlarger to make prints. The way the image emerged from the paper as it floated in the developer solution was no end of amazement for me–like watching an unseen ghost suddenly materialize. The image of a lamp post in a puddle near the grainery, the water tower with clouds dancing from the pavement, the side of the building of the Coal Miner’s bar on Main Street or a self-portrait reflecting in a pool of water in an alley.

Something about a reflection seen from a different perspective captivated me. How can I look at a subject differently? How can I view it from a different angle–another perspective? I guess that is how I approach a lot of things today–asking myself, What is the wider context? Some days I just need to take a long walk on an early summer morning and look for those puddles, search for a different angle of the sky, watch the fog on the mountain tops from a mud puddle. Maybe a distorted, impressionistic reflection will inform me of something I did not see before.

NOTES:
From the archives. Consider this a Throwback-Thursday-what-did-I-write-five-years-ago entry. #TBT, #ThrowbackThursday: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2013/07/
Six years ago I wrote this: A bookless American library: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2012/08/02/a-bookless-american-library/
Eight years ago: Making its own app adds revenue for beleaguered newspaper: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2010/08/02/making-its-own-app-adds-revenue-for-beleaguered-newspaper/
Ten years ago: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/08/01/998/
25 years from now I want to: https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2009/08/04/scumblr-microwalrus-gumnos-mediatinker-com/

No cell phone, no computer, no camera

Excerpt from a poem read months ago.

Christmas Eve by John Everett Millais, 1887

Since it’s 6°F outside, thought I’d share this wonderful painting.

A Small Press Life

Christmas Eve by John Everett Millais, 1887:

Christmas Eve by John Everett Millais, 1887

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Find four more hours in a day


Personal archeology.
Discovered these old sketch books in September. Looked at them. Placed them on a shelf. Lost them again.

Rediscovered the sketch books again this weekend. Marveled at how much time was invested. Considered how these books were populated with sketches of classmates,  drawings of roommates and other ephemera in a place and time were smart phones, tablets and laptops were not ubiquitous.

Question:
What would you be able to create if you were not glued to your smart phone for more than four hours[1] a day?

NOTES:


[1] How Much Time Do People Spend on Their Mobile Phones in 2017?, Hacker Noon, May 9, 2017, accessed December 11, 2017 https://hackernoon.com/how-much-time-do-people-spend-on-their-mobile-phones-in-2017-e5f90a0b10a6

Quit social media

This goes against conventional and digital age wisdom, but Cal Newport[1] has a very good point. It is worth considering and implementing.

NOTES:

[1] Cal Newport, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.” New York Times, Nov. 19, 2016 accessed December 1, 2017.
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/jobs/quit-social-media-your-career-may-depend-on-it.html

 

Baby, it’s cold outside

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The outside air temperature this morning, when I woke up, was -6°F. Won’t event mention the windchill factor. The window completely frosted over. It is December. Wonderfully cold and beautiful.

Almost wanted to spend the day in bed composing a new list of twelve Advent poems to accompany the ever popular post Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry). Here’s one Advent poem I am considering for a new list.


The birth of wonder[1]
by Madeleine L’Engle

When I am able to pray with the mind in the heart, I am joyfully
able to affirm the irrationality of Christmas.

As I grow older
I get surer
Man’s heart is colder,
His life no purer.
As I grow steadily
More austere
I come less readily
To Christmas each year.
I can’t keep taking
Without a thought
Forced merrymaking
And presents bought
In crowds and jostling.
Alas, there’s naught
In empty wassailing
Where oblivion’s sought.
Oh, I’d be waiting
With quiet fasting
Anticipating
A joy more lasting.
And so rhyme
With no apology
During this time
Of eschatology:
Judgement and warning
Come like thunder.
But now is the hour
When I remember
An infant’s power
On a cold December.
Midnight is dawning
And the birth of wonder.

NOTES:
[1] “The birth of wonder” by Madeleine L’Engle. Published in the book WinderSong by Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw.

Thanks to all the new Advent Poems visitors

Just wanted to say thank you to all the new visitors to this blog!

When I composed Advent Poems (or the 12 days of Christmas poetry) and other related posts and podcasts, I had no idea that they would be the most visited posts each year. For a single post to bring in thousands of visitors a month is amazing.

Again, much thanks to new visitors and hope you enjoy the seasonal poetry and podcasts!

Time to gather ’round the radio

maxresdefaultThe powder milk biscuits are ready. Rhubarb pie is cooling on the counter top. A bottle of ketchup is on the table. Getting ready for this week’s radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion with Chris Thile.

The family chatters about what to expect of the show. Jack White is on the show. Will they still have “Lives of the Cowboys” or “Guy Noir”? Will there be more music and less comedy?

The expectation is high for this family. Who listens to the radio as if it were the Super Bowl or something like that?

Cube bookshelf construction continues

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OR. This is not Minecraft, but there are a lot of cubes.

Can you have too many bookshelves? Well, by request, I built two more cube bookshelves from 1″x12″ and 1″x2″ pine boards. It was a fairly simple matter to draw out the blueprint for these shelves based on the previously built cube shelves.

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Managed to stain both shelves this past weekend. But as the outdoor temperatures cool, the drying time is longer. And I ran out of coffee. Plan to finish the cube shelves with a coat or two of poly.

Cube bookshelf expanded

Received a request for a cube bookshelf to fit under . . . read more ->