ken and rocket club

Jul 1, 2010

ken and rocket club
Originally uploaded by zen
By now you've heard the West Asheville news, the main East West-Asheville music venue will be closing doors this Saturday. I got a chance to talk with Ken Klehm and he said he could "wax poetic for hours" about why it didn't quite work out, and he headed the list with the large number of Asheville venues, including those that had very deep pockets and those that were willing to resort to unorthodox activity. But it wasn't sour grapes for Ken, as he included the downturn in economy and size of the venue, with it's high ceilings and wide open spaces not providing quite the cozy and intimate atmosphere that he imagined.

Ken also talked about what he wanted to do now, and he honestly hadn't thought much about it, but scrunched up his face at the thought of putting together a resume to pitch to the 9-5 workforce. "My favorite all-time job was as a SCUBA dive instructor. I was good at it and loved making it fun and exciting for people." Ken has the kind of self-effacing egoless manner that would make a good teacher and he said that "in the 5 or so years i taught he only got one complaint." Which was why the establishment he worked for gave him free rein to teach his style. Ken also reminisced about cave diving - an activity that would scare the crap out of me. His 'final exam' for cave diving certification was to go 1/4 mile into a cave where no surface exits were and buddy-breath with a partner all the way back to the entrance in darkness and while the instructor messed with the return line and undid fin straps to unnerve him. He loved it and never got rattled. Which is the way ken is - unflappable. I don't doubt whatever he does do he'll do with all his heart and soul.

We'll be seeing Ken around East West Asheville probably at the DeSoto Lounge which was started by one of his protogees and is "a fine bar, indeed."

Photography, Hashtags and Language

May 10, 2010

This post from Scott Bourne got me thinking.

The funny thing about language is that using it makes it so. Right now, 'togs' is meaningless because the majority of people are not using it, but the reality is if it became a de-facto standard thru use, THEN it may become as powerful as "photography"

More probably it will mean something else, though. Think about what is in your mind's eye when someone says "photography." Now think of the word "pictures." It implies photography by the family or casual photographer generally. Pictures of a trailer park aren't high art like "photographs." "Pics" may seem even more casual, but "B&W" has a whole other set of implications. AND it's short.

And twitter is about brevity and communication in 'code.' I RT'ed your LOL just FYI. So while it may be nice to communicate with masters of search engines, Google and Yahoo and Bing are in some ways slaves to what *WE* do as communicators. Just like photographs.

caught napping

Jun 14, 2009

caught napping
Originally uploaded by zen
Man, it must suck for people who can't nap.

Part of the problem i think for those who have trouble napping is that the body confuses it with sleeping for the night. It's not. It's more like restful meditation for less than an hour. Lie down in a quiet room, think of things - altering with the thought that you will get up in 45 minutes - and don't try to sleep. The 3rd time you do this you will have napped (but you may not be sure in your head that you actually napped - sometimes you can dream you were awake).

The point is to rest. Think of things but let them go. It's ok to think of the dust on the ceiling fan but don't imagine yourself cleaning it off. That's for later; right now your 'doing' is napping.

We normally don't think of 'doing' something as we sleep or nap, but that's exactly what it is. While nighttime sleep is necessary to most people, napping is not and so the first worry is "I'm wasting time. Time i could be balancing my checkbook. Or gardening." It doesn't matter that what you think you should be doing. It's a tough spot to be in. Rarely have you ever napped restfully, so you have a hard time giving it validity as a 'doing.' But, once you've napped and awoken refreshed a few times you can't believe that you've added another day to your day!

It's rare, but sometimes... sooometimes a nap will end early or be interrupted or begin to drift into the abyss that is sleep. THEN you will wake up completely fogged. Unglued to reality, and it isn't good. In fact for some - like myself- it's actually physically painful. Your head hurts not like a headache from the inside but like the result of thinking from the outside. Not the outside of the brain, but the very outside world that your brain isn't. If that analogy is hard to conceptualize, it's deliberate because it's exactly how your brain hurts. It can't wrap itself around reality anymore, and it takes some 10-15 minutes to become unpainful, connected and useful again.

Anyway, that's my thinking on napping at the moment.

today's thought

Jun 11, 2009

The path to LOL is paved with WTF.

standing there next to the truth

Apr 17, 2009

Getting into Heaven is easy... just decide whatever you want the truth to be and live by it. Interpret it openly or behind closed doors, it doesn't matter. Or, if you're too lazy or stupid to decide what the truth is to you, then find a religious leader who is passing their truth off as universal and follow them. That way you wont even be burdened with having to decide what Heaven might be for you.

April's fool

Apr 1, 2009

zen's new shirt
Originally uploaded by zen
Last night Helen put out a shirt for me to wear which she doesn't do often, but i do appreciate. However, this was one of my favorite work shirts where i had worn out the elbow and she said she'd fix by turning it into a short-sleeved shirt.

She did that and more. When i put the shirt on it felt scratchy by the sleeve and when i saw the lace trim i howled with laughter, went back into the bedroom and kissed and laughed the morning into light.

I decided to wear it to work, pretending i didn't notice that the sleeves were 'funny.' And i made it through 2 meetings (one with 4 different directors) without anyone saying anything to me.

At the end of the 2nd meeting when Tim asked if anybody had anything else to report, i said that I did and began to tell them that "Helen sets my shirts out for me and i didn't realize the april fools joke until i got to work..." Laughter and not a little bit of relief.

The funniest reaction was much later when the head of Medical Records told me that she was glad that i told everyone it was an april fool's joke because she was mortified because she (seriously) thought i was perhaps wearing women's underwear under my clothing and that somehow a small part was showing!

I am Helen's sweet April Fool and love her fiercely!

my photomural tentatively approved for Indigo Hotel

Mar 24, 2009

The Indigo tentatively approved my photomural for the inside of some of their hotel rooms! The curved wall separates the room from the closet and wraps around the edge. Was kinda weird seeing one of my photos so big!

Helen and i are off to celebrate.

laminated ginkgo leaf painting

Feb 20, 2009

laminated ginkgo leaf painting
Originally uploaded by zen
In the little box with all the postcards at Goodwill i found this little gem - a scene painted on a ginkgo baloba leaf. Obviously newer and laminated and yet hand-painted it enthralls me as i look deep into the sweet painting feeling the light drizzle and the interactions of friends and strangers near the bridge.

As far as the writing, a good friend of mine knows a Professor of Japanese & Asian Studies at Furman University and passed photos on to him to evaluate the writing. He was able to conclude that it is indeed Chinese.

Top right: The second character in the four does not make sense in Japanese, but other three do: Water-X-Four-Seasons. It seems it is part of a series of 4 seasons of water. It is Summer and Rain (the two characters below the first four).

Bottom right: The real bottom one is the name of the painter: The first character is his/her Family name and it probably means tree, but abbreviated in post-revolutionary Chinese way, which is different from Japanese. Second and third are his/her given name. The second in Japanese means "wish fulfilled ." The third is again a post-revolutionary abbreviation and I do not know the meaning. The fourth means "Painted/Picture" indicating the person with the name of the three characters painted/drew this. The vertical 4 small characters and the horizontal 3 characters are not the same as the painter's name and written in more ancient, stylized characters and are difficult to decipher.

Bottom left: They seem to be the stamps of either artist or publisher, but I cannot decipher. The top two characters in the red stamps are (from the right) "to stretch" and "to obey" and the bottom left is similar to "silver."

Just one of those weird things that come across our lives for a few moments...

I didn't get a decent inauguration day

Jan 20, 2009

And not just because i was at work, but because a racist ruined it. The TV in the breakroom tuned to CNN to allow people to watch the inauguration during their approved breaks and lunches. At around 9:30 I was in there alone with Lauren and just finishing getting my coffee. It was motorcade and nothing really going on about the inauguration. Jamie (not her real name) from Medical Records came in and made a deeply disgruntled noise, obviously in reference to the proceedings on the TV.

I said "well, even if you don't like him, it *IS* an historic occasion. I mean we’ve elected a black man."

"No! She immediately started raising her voice. "Why all this stuff about him being black? He's only half-black and people want to make a big deal of it! It's NOT historic! He's a man. Just a man and people are saying what a historic thing."

I said "Well, what if Hillary had been elected?" That would be an historic occasion too." I didn’t speak angrily or as loudly as Janeen, but was only trying to perhaps soothe whatever was really bothering her. “I mean Hillary isn’t a man first unless she’s transgendered or something,” Trying to make a joke of it to diffuse the tension. Lauren responded but Janeen clearly did not hear it.

At this point William, who is black, walked in and she pointedly asked him, "William!" she said. “Are you black or are you a man?"

William, getting something out of the refrigerator did not answer that I can remember (Though if he did it was a soft answer) because Janeen began getting very agitated. “My ancestors are Irish and it’s not historic if an Irish person gets elected to president!”

“Well, Kennedy…” I began, but decided it was best to leave the break room even with a silent Lauren and William there. Outside in the hallway were two people who were not entering the breakroom because of the rukus Janeen was creating. I did not say anything in leaving; I wanted nothing to further anger her.

I beat feet out of there and got back to my office where Stephanie made a face of oh-my-god and said "I don't wanna know... i just don't wanna know." And i don't blame her. It was weird.

Turns out Janeen went to her office and slammed the door. A co-worker of hers asked her if anything was wrong and Janeen went back to being ballistic and laid into her using the 'bitch' word.

Well, it turns out that the whole thing found the ear of the CEO and he asked my boss if he, my boss and i could come to his office for some after-spin. Asking me about what i thought my idea of historic was.

What? What-what?

When George W took (i'm sorry 'won') his second term, i had to hear the jibes and arrogance of medical conservatives poking fun at me for my position. And i didn't go all ballistic on anyone though i was, i'm sure, just as angry as Janeen about the outcome. But behaving civilly at work was the order of the day. I didn't even hate the conservatives, i just couldn't believe the nation as a whole was that stupid. Still, i kept up the smile of resignation that i had to.

Anyway, she just bitched herself out of a job. So she will remember the resignation as the day she got fired. Or quit. Or whatever. But anyway, it so upset me that i really didn't feel like watching the inauguration in the break room. I felt like i somehow inadvertently initiated the loss of someone's job, and during these hard times - even if she deserved it - even if something else was eating at her - it can only make her less satisfied with her life.

Luckily, Susan had a great inauguration party with Kyle, Jen, and Charles back from the land of the Kiwi and Helen and i ate delicioius food and sang "Barack Obama" and other songs.

It's better now.

Demo Derby

Dec 2, 2008

I originally started writing this in the MountainXpress forums, but ought to pass it along here.

I drove demolition derby for 5 or 6 years in a row when i was living in the Northern Virginia area (Manassas had the best fair i think), and every year we'd send our application in; get our car number back; buy a $100 car; pre-smash it up - knocking all of the glass out; weld it shut; put in a motorcycle gas tank; paint it up and go smash the **** out of it!

zen driving num 2

Some advice?

Make sure to weld your trunk firmly, not just wire it shut. The first year (as seen above) we wired the trunk shut, but the first hard hit - remember, your butt is your weapon - snapped the wires and the trunk lid came up making it very difficult to see. And hitting a 'dead car' or a driver's side door with the back bumper is an illegal move.

Study the car classes carefully and try to buy the heaviest, strongest car for the class. For the compact cars early hondas and toyotas are best and the midsize group the older more 'metal' cars. In the heavy group, try and find a Cadillac or better yet a Chrysler Imperial if they allow it (it was built on a truck frame).

Underfill the tires a bit. You'll be fighting on mud and you want the most rubber on the 'road', plus it will allow the tire to 'give' a bit before it punctures. Don't fill the tires with water, you'll be found out.

At the very start, hesitate. This allows everyone else to pull out and all those juicy chrome radiators/grilles are available for the taking.

Oh, i have tons of advice, but the main thing is be safe with a great helmet and leather or fireproof clothing and enjoy the heck out of it! Remember, too, that it's entertainment - kinda like WWWrasslin' so play it up, mug it up, drive crazy on the field and get involved.

oh, and bring a great mechanic with you - you're allowed one in most derbys... if you win, you'll be driving in the final round and you want that car to survive just long enough to give you the win.


Oh, one optional last piece of equipment? A hot tub. You will absolutely ache from head to toe for at least a week after. But the best part is when you're driving around town, you know exactly what it takes to knock the driver who cut you off into the ditch!