A Safer Way

With thanks to the Apple Music app on this seven year old desktop iMac I am able to enjoy a wide range of music. As of recent, I have binge listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Natalie Grant.

The two could not be more of a contrast. Natalie Grant comes from the Contemporary Christian Music scene and the Red Hot Chili Peppers come from a rock, punk, funk, alternative scene.

I feel guilty when I listen to music other than the CCM genre. It would seem that since I am a Christian I should listen exclusively to CCM or gospel. But, I haven’t found much of that scene refreshing or uplifting in many years. Of course, there are exceptions to that statement.

I started listening to the RHCP after my first wife left. In my rebellion I bought the Californication CD. I found many of the song refreshing to a torn soul, especially :

  • Parallel Universe
  • Scar Tissue
  • Californication

My second wife shared a taste for the RHCP. That was good.

A quick peek at the RHCP wiki page, I discover that Anthony Kiedis is the same age as myself (58 years at this writing). Interesting how his life has evolve in comparison to mine. Obviously, he was creative, expressive, made things happen with his band, stuck with things through thick and thin, overcome addition. Most importantly, at least to me, even in his late fifties, he is still creating new music for the world to enjoy.

On the other hand, I’ve been a worker drone, hardly creating anything of value to share with the world. At least I’ve stuck with the same employer for the last 29 years, if that says anything of value. I long to create something that will last, that people can be refreshed by and wonder over, much like Anthony Kiedis has contributed to the world. Yet, I do nothing but prostitute myself to the Man for a few dollars to get myself by.

It is the safe way to go. Of course, I know nothing about Anthony Kiedis and his world, his life, other than what I read on the Wiki. But, I can, maybe safely, assume his world wasn’t without hardship or oppression or tough times, maybe bleak at times? I choose the safer way.

A mural on the Canal in downtown Indianapolis. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on October 28, 2016.
A mural on the Canal in downtown Indianapolis. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on October 28, 2016.

Eating So Much

Hopefully, I have changed my eating habit.

Recently, I decided to stop buying solid food groceries from the local market (Krogers) to stock the cupboards for future consumption. Instead, I will go out and buy food from local eateries for immediate consumption.

My thought is … if I make it difficult to eat at home then maybe I won’t overeat. If I have to make an effort to ‘go out’ and hunt for food to eat, then maybe I won’t eat as often.

Maybe I have an eating disorder, but, I can’t ‘just stop’ eating. Meaning, I will eat an entire bag of Kroger breaded chicken tenders, several cans of Campells creamy chicken soup and other stuff until I am physically sick. Then, a few hours later, the bathroom effort is gruesome and painful. I repeat this cycle. I’ve been doing this for years and I am just becoming sick of this cycle.

So, if I don’t stock food in my cupboards, then I will need to go out and ‘hunt’ for food. Hopefully, since it will become an ‘effort’ to eat, I will just stop eating so much.

And, buying food, with the limited quantity from a local eatery as opposed to the limitless quantity of food in the cupboards, maybe I will just stop eating so much.

I will still buy liquid food from Krogers, soft drinks, beers, slim fast. But, solid food, with the exception of cheep frozen hamburger patties and American cheese from Walmart, I don’t plan to buy any more solid food.

Hopefully this effort will last for a long time and I will lose some weight and be happier in my own body.

This strategy will not help me if the Zombie apocalypse starts tomorrow or Russia or China sends a thermo nuclear device our way. If I don’t have a stock pile of food in preparation for these events then I will quickly starve if these events occur.

Hopefully, I will start to exercise again.

Inside a local eatery, Between The Bun. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on January 6, 2019.
Inside a local eatery, Between The Bun. Nikon W300 photo taken by Dave O on January 6, 2019.

First Thursdays

Newfields, the local art museum and nature center in Indianapolis, recently became woke after it published a recruitment advertisement that ruffled the feathers of other woke organizations and people.

Newfields’ knee jerk reaction was to publish a master plan to let everyone know they are on the path of redemption.

One of immediate complaints against the museum is the admission charge (currently $18). The Woke say the admission charge prevents black and brown people, low income people, the marginalized, the homeless and other people groups from accessing the tremendous art and nature Newfields offers.

In response, Newfields has expanded “its First Thursdays program, providing free general admission to the museum and gardens on the first Thursday of the month, for the full day, year-round.”

Cool. Apparently the First Thursday program has been in effect for years. As a Newfields member, I never knew about the First Thursday program. Maybe it wasn’t publicized as it is now. As I read in the Master Plan, the free admission on the First Thursday was allowed from 4-8 pm. After April 1, 2021, it is allowed all day.

I might attend a First Thursday to see what the community response is. To see if black and brown people, low income people, the marginalized, the homeless and other people groups actually go when the doors are open to everyone.

While I have my misgivings about the woke reaction to the phrase “core white audience” I hope that people actually show up on the First Thursday on each month. Maybe overrun the museum and the grounds as though it were a free Colts football game.

Robert Indiana's Love Sculpture at Newfields. This sculpture was placed outdoors at the time of this photo but now it is placed indoors. Nikon D600 photo taken on November 1, 2015 by Dave O.
Robert Indiana’s Love Sculpture at Newfields. This sculpture was placed outdoors at the time of this photo but now it is placed indoors. Nikon D600 photo taken on November 1, 2015 by Dave O.

Tales of Ordinary Madness

I’ve read two books by Charles Bukowski.

  • Factotum
  • Women

“Tales of Ordinary Madness” is my third Bukowski book.

According to the back cover of the copy I bought from thriftbooks.com for $5.39 (plus $1.44 in tax and shipping), the stories in “Tales of Ordinary Madness” are taken from the volume “Erections, Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness” originally published in 1972. The stories not included in the “Tales” book are included in a sister book called “Beautiful Women in Town“.

“Tales” includes 34 short stories of ordinary madness. The humor is crude and coarse, sexual, misogynistic and patriarchal. I don’t know if ‘ordinary madness’ is the best title as the madness in this volume if not the typical slasher serial killer madness. Bukowski would define madness as working a job you hate and screwing a worthless women.

“Rape! Rape!” is a story of a man who becomes infatuated with a girl he sees across the street. Stalks her to her apartment building, knocks on several doors before finding her apartment and then rapes her, though the women seems to be enjoying the rape.

That would not fly in 2021 society.

It didn’t fly in the story either, as the Man was arrested and thrown in jail, but later bailed out by the girl he raped.

There are several stories about the despair and elation that comes from betting on the ponies, a story about fighting a Zen minister at a wedding, and a story hooking up with a literature professor’s wife while on the poetry reading circuit.

The story “Animal Crackers in My Soup” is the most erotic yet deals with societal hatred of those who are different.

The general theme of the volume is one of existential nihilism. That is, finding a meaning for life. “My Stay in the Poet’s Cottage” and “Love It or Leave It” wonder what the meaning of life is. Sometimes, I wonder the same.

I could not live like the characters in these stories. I tried after Nikki left. I tried to be the swinging bachelor, seducing girls each night of the week, drinking more beer than legally allowed.

But, it wasn’t working for me.

Although, I would like to write like Bukowski, free, coarse, maybe crude and sexual, nihilistic. occasionally repentant.

Here’s a great video on Charles Bukowski. This video was my first introduction to Bukowski and his philosophy of life. I started reading his novels and stories after watching this video.

Here’s a list of the stories in this volume:

  • A .45 to Pay the Rent
  • Doing Time with Public Enemy No. 1
  • Scenes from the Big Time
  • Nut Ward Just East of Hollywood
  • Would You Suggest Writing as a Career?
  • The Great Zen Wedding
  • Reunion
  • Cunt and Kant and a Happy Home
  • Goodbye Watson
  • Great Poets Die in Steaming Pots of Shit
  • My Stay in the Poet’s Cottage
  • The Stupid Christs
  • Too Sensitive
  • Rape! Rape!
  • An Evil Town
  • Love It or Leave It
  • A Dollar and Twenty Cents
  • No Stockings
  • A quiet Conversation Piece
  • Beer and Poets and Talk
  • I shot a Man in Reno
  • A Rain of Women
  • Night Streets of Madness
  • Purple as an Iris
  • Eyes Like the Sky
  • One for Walker Lowenfels
  • Notes of a Potential Suicide
  • Notes on the Pest
  • A Bad Trip
  • Animal Crackers in My Soup
  • A Popular Man
  • Flower Horse
  • The Big Pot Game
  • The Blanket

Helping Along

I have been ‘neutral’ in the last few days, meaning I have not had any swings into the void of feeling defeated by the family nor have I swung into feelings of confidence like I can take on the world. It is strange. Maybe I have finally walked past the hurt of the recent events. If so, the landscape ahead seems flat.

I started taking the Bupropion HCL SR 150 MG tablet again. After looking at this page it appears Bupripion is a generic of Wellburtin SR. This could be the source of my neutrality.

According to the above page, one of the side effects of Bupropion is “weight loss”. Oh please, bring that on. I seriously need to loose weight. If this helps control my appetite then I will be forever thankful.

I stopped taking the Bupropion a long time ago because I did not feel that I needed it. And, the tablets are light green in color and kind of spooked me.

But, with the recent events I felt I needed a bigger boast than the daily Paroxetine HCL 30 MG tablet was giving me.

Besides the additional medication, I have employed another strategy to help in dealing with recent events. Whenever an obtrusive thought about the “last laugh” enters my head, I simply say, out loud, “STOP IT”. So far, that small action has enabled me to stop obsessing over the hurt and injustice of the Event. At times, I say “stop it” quite often to get the thought out of my head. Sometimes it returns immediately, other times a few hours can pass before it comes back.

Sculpture in Vail, Colorado. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on June 17, 2015.
Sculpture in Vail, Colorado. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on June 17, 2015.

Recent Books

Of the many books I have recently purchased from thriftbooks.com, three books could be construed as ‘risqué’, ‘naughty’ or ‘indecent’. These books are:

  • “The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica” edited by Maxim Jakubrowki and Marilyn Jaye Lewis (2001)
  • “The Book of Nude Photography” by Michael Boys (1981)
  • “Glamour Nude Photography” by Robert & Sheila Hurth (1997)

I should confess that I would like to have become a professional photographer. Photography offers a different level of creativity that painting or drawing can’t duplicate. I would also like to have become a professional painter or artist as painting and drawing offers a different level or creativity that photography doesn’t offer.

Yet, I never became a professional photographer or painter or artist. I was (am) a worker drone for much of my life. I had to be a worker drone due to decisions I made early in life. Getting married and raising kids makes being a worker drone is the way I choose to provide for my family.

The “Glamour Nude Photography” and “The Book of Nude Photography” are helpful instructional references if I ever change career choices. “The Mammoth Book of Illustrated Erotica” is not instructional but illustrative and is certainly more on the risqué side of the spectrum. It showcases the work of 75 photographers who specialize in the erotic side of nude photography. The forward to this work says there are five other volumes in the series.

Three books that I've purchased via thriftbooks.com recently. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on April 20, 2021.
Three books that I’ve purchased via thriftbooks.com recently.
iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on April 20, 2021.

Wide Angle Lens – Stories of Time and Space.

31BmzQt5SCL._BO1,204,203,200_A book report of Wide Angle Lens Stories of Time and Space, edited by Phyllis R Fenner.

Published in 1980, this book is a collection of short stories by famous science fiction authors, including Ray Bradbury, Philip K  Dick and Isaac Asimov.

The story I favored is “The Imposter” by Philip K Dick. As I read this story I couldn’t help recalling a film, Imposter, directed by Gary Fleder and starring Gary Sinise. After reading the wiki article, the film was based on the short story found in this book. However, the film was not a block buster as it only grossed about six million in 2001 dollars.

A close second is the “What’s It Like Out There” by Edmond Hamilton which spoke to death and the obligation to make the dead into a heros for the benefit of family and friends.

The lest favorite story is the “Each an Explorer” by Isaac Asimov which is a sleepy story about pollinating foreign planets that I found to be slow and sleepy.

The list of stories in this book :

  • Interior artwork by Erick Ingraham
  • Through a Glass Darkly • essay by Phyllis R. Fenner
  • Sound of Thunder • (1952)
  • Short story by Ray Bradbury (variant of A Sound of Thunder)
  • The Hoop by Howard Fast
  • Saturn Rising by Arthur C. Clarke
  • The Impostor by Philip K. Dick
  • Delilah and the Space Rigger by Robert A. Heinlein
  • What’s It Like Out There? by Edmond Hamilton
  • The Trap by Kem Bennett
  • Brightside Crossing by Alan E. Nourse
  • The Hour of Letdown by E. B. White
  • Each an Explorer by Isaac Asimov

I bought this copy of The Wide Angle Lens Stories of Time and Space at a Thrift store for $0.50. I am not a huge fan of science fiction and only purchased this copy so I could ‘study’ how short stories end. But, I really couldn’t draw any conclusions on how to properly conclude a short story as most of these stories just ‘ended’. I expected some sort of deep spiritual insight into the meaning of life at the ending but there were none.

Although the Imposter story did have some meaning as it touched on the reality that no one really knows us and we don’t really know ourselves.

And maybe I should alter my reading comprehensive strategies to pick up on the stories’ themes.

But, for the most part, I read through the stories to check them off the list and didn’t walk away with any great insights. Yet, the act of reading helps the future effort at short story writting.

Started the book in late May 2018 and finished in mid June 2018. Read during lunch breaks and at home.

Earning My Keep Over a Weekend

I tried to earn my keep over the April 17-18 weekend.

I started the weekend by attending my first ballet. The Indianapolis Ballet gave a performance of Grace to Grandeur at the Toby at Newfields. The Toby is a small auditorium and Newfields is the local art museum.

Being my first ballet performance, I did not know what to expect. I didn’t know what to wear as I did not believe jeans and a hoodie was appropriate. Due to the Covid, I sat in a row all along. The auditorium had taped off seats to keep social distance in force.

The show itself was captivating. Watching these dancers leap and twirl and dance on their toes in the grace and fluid they did was astonishing. How can people do such things? And, they were wearing masks while performing so that probably didn’t help their breathing.

Holy cow, these people are super heroes, strong, limber with lean and cut bodies. They certainly have the strongest ankles and toes in the world. I was ashamed of myself for being so out of shape that I can hardly walk up the stairs.

I don’t know if attending a ballet qualifies as “earning my keep”. Probably not, but attending a ballet performance is (was) on my bucket list and so I’ve done it.

Saturday, I spent time on the Wall project, sanding drywall and then spending hours cleaning up afterwards. Later in the afternoon, I cut the yard and trimmed the edges. I was totally wiped out after cutting the yard so I laid down and dozed off. The day was over at that time. I spent the rest of the day overeating and watching the 2002 supernatural hour film, “The Ring“.

I suppose cutting the yard and sanding drywall qualifies are ‘earning my keep’. Watching the movie probably doesn’t qualify.

Sunday was a relationship day but I was able to get a few small chores done to earn my keep. We drove out to Knightstown, Indiana and had a late lunch at the Sugar Creek Brickhouse. It was a good day.

Roy Lichtenstein's Five Brushstrokes at night. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O at Newfields on the evening of April 16, 2021.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes at night. I did not realize this installation was electrified and light up at night. How Cool. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O at Newfields on the evening of April 16, 2021. Heres a time lapse Tube Video of the installation.

On Being Indecisive

I have been indecisive my entire life. In the mundane things and in the greater things. Maybe it holds me back and has held me back but none-the-less, I’m indecisive.

There have been a few episodes in my life where I was decisive, where I conceived a plan and followed through. However, those episodes are few. Mostly, when I decide to be decisive, I am usually beaten back by someone who ‘knows better’, ‘has better ideas’, ‘makes better choices’. In that new light, and in fear, I gave up my decisive plans to avoid future ‘I told you so’ comments, ridicule, chastisement, criticism and condemnation.

I’ve been trying to combat this indecisiveness. When I need to make a decision and when I begin to follow through with that decision and when I feel myself back tracking that decision to evaluated another, maybe better, way of doing, I say to myself “make a decision and stick with it and be happy about it’.

For example, yesterday, I drive to liquor store. Recently, this liquor store, the closest one to the house, was acquired by new owners and their stock has become thin, at least, their stock on the stuff I want is a hit and miss, seek and not find adventure. So, I decided to drive to another liquor store several miles away. Of course, there are several ways to get to that liquor store. I quickly calculate the time requirement to get there (considering traffic lights, stop signs and traffic volume) and then consider going to other liquor stores that are just as far away yet may be easier to get to. Of course, the variables in this decision are many, how much traffic do I need to fight with, will I hit green lights on the way there, there are other liquor stores further away and with less traffic lights to stop at, and the list goes on.

Thankfully, in this instance, I said to myself, “F this, just make a decision and be happy about it no matter how long it takes to get there and get back home”. So, I did. I waited in traffic, drove with traffic, stopped at red lights, eventually made it there, bought the stuff and drove home.

I find it amusing that a late 50s overweight twice divorced man that I am still has trouble with indecisiveness. But, thankfully, at least I was decisive on this single decision.

I wonder if clouds are decisive? They seem to go where and how they want.
Nikon W300 time lapse by Dave O on April 15, 2021 from an Indianapolis, Indiana suburb. Facing southwest about 2:42 pm.

Property Taxes

I received my 2020 property tax invoice. In the state of Indiana, could be true for other states, we pay property taxes a year late. So, I am paying 2020 taxes in 2021.

I pay the property taxes separate from the mortgage. I had an instance with the mortgage company many years ago where they did not pay the property taxes for several years. Of course, they still escrowed funds from the payment. Or course, it was an oversight on their part. I did not become aware of this oversight until my house was listed on the Sheriff’s tax sale.

Since that time, many many years ago, I kept the mortgage company out of the loop on paying property taxes.

I don’t mind paying property taxes. Although I believe these taxes are too high and each year I pay more tax than the previous year. Dividing my total property tax bill for 2020 into manageable chucks, I paid $55.82 a week in property taxes. Thankfully, I had an ‘essential’ job where I could save some dollars over the last year to pay for this expense. Prior to last year, I would fret and worry about how to pay this tax bill when it came due until I realized I could just save some dollars each week and not fret or worry when the time comes to pay up.

Still, $55.82 a week in property taxes means that I can buy other stuff, like beer and tots at Hooters or more comic books. I wonder what the tax expense is for this year, 2021 and what I can’t buy in 2022?

Thankfully, I see the tax payment going to vital public services like police and fire protection. Usually that is all I think about when I think about property taxes. But there are other areas of public service that are just as vital that I usually don’t associate with property taxes. Here’s a list of the Taxing Authorities listed on my 2020 property tax statement:

  • County
  • Health & Hospital
  • Library
  • Public Transportation
  • Township
  • School
  • Local City/Town
  • Consolidated City

I found that Library and Public Transportation are interesting Tax Authorities. I don’t use these services enough. The last time I was on a city bus was in 2018. And, I haven’t been to the library since Covid locked the doors. I should start using these service more in 2021 since I will still pay my share so these services can exist and even pay for using the service when I want or need to.

Girls in a Hammock at Ball State University. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on February 28, 2016.
Girls in a Hammock at Ball State University. I wonder if they are worried about property taxes.
Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O on February 28, 2016.