There was a speech therapist at the program I had worked at in Hackensack who told us once about a custom of hers going back to childhood- the first thing she (and her sister, I think) had to say at the beginning of a new month were the words, "rabbit, rabbit". It was said to bring good luck. She continued this into adulthood, usually saying it (along with her husband now) at midnight as one month passed into the next. And it was especially important to do this at the beginning of the new year. I never picked up the habit myself, but it was something I remembered from time to time. So I figured a couple of rabbits would be a good subject for my New Year's Eve print.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Finally a day without frozen precipitation. I was able to get out of my house. I went out to Randolph to hang out with my high school buddy Rich. Like me, he had grown up in Bloomfield and gone to high school in East Orange, but a few years earlier his family moved out to Morris County. We went out to a nearby diner on Route 10 to get some dinner and catch up on recent events.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
My father had gotten tickets to one of Seton Hall University's basketball games at the Meadowlands, but yet another winter storm had arrived that day, dumping ice and snow into the evening. We decided that it was better to not use the tickets, and watched the game on tv from the safety and warmth of the couch.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
About a year earlier, my mother had been a contestant on Jeopardy. She didn't win on her night, so all she would get would be the participants prizes from sponsors, mostly stuff you'd find at a supermarket or drug store. One other prize was a Nintendo game system, the first one I guess. It came with a Mario game of some kind. I had grown up in the pioneer age of video games- Pong, the original Atari machine, playing Space Invaders, Asteroids, PacMan, etc when they first hit the arcades. This machine, already pretty much obsolete when we received it, was far more sophisticated than those earlier things. We had it hooked up to a tv in my brother's room and if I was bored enough I'd play it once in a while. It did burn up spare time quickly.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sitting around my parents' house with nothing to do. On my trips home each year I would get together with New Jersey friends, go into NYC, and do other things I couldn't do during my time in Carbondale. This particular winter would be a rough one in the northeast- not so much big blizzards, but regular snow and ice storms, at least 2 or 3 a week, which regularly cancelled the plans I would make, and would eventually cause the town to use up its year's supply of road salt and sand before the end of January... and my mother to buy an all wheel drive vehicle to negotiate the resulting perpetually ice rutted roads. I don't know if the weather was the cause of the inactivity shown above, or just recovering from Christmas.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I drove up to Hackensack in the afternoon to visit a previous workplace, an adult training center that served people with developmental disabilities. (I had been an instructor in work related activites) They were having the Christmas party that day. Normally Bill the bus driver put on the Santa suit to distribute the gifts, but to be a surprise for the clients, I put on the suit. When I walked out in full Santa costume, the crowd assumed it was Bill, until he walked out also. I worked the whole room as Santa, greeting all 50+ clients. Only one recognized me before I took off the hat and beard.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
My journey home continued. After eating breakfast, filling my tank, and checking out of my motel, I hopped onto I-80 to continue my drive east. Quickly crossed into Pennsylvania, a long stretch of mountains and trees and little else. No real traffic until crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey. Near Willowbrook Mall in Wayne I used the 80/46/23 junction to switch to the usual bumper to bumper traffic on Route 46. A few miles through that mess to Route 3, then exit in Clifton and drive to my old home, having covered 1000 miles over the last 36 hours. (actual time on the road about half that) The print shows my old Cavalier parked in front of the house. The windows above the garage were my old bedroom.
Friday, December 21, 2007
On the road to my home state of New Jersey. This was my 5th time making the round trip between Carbondale and Bloomfield, and by this time I had worked out a pretty standard route. Leave Carbondale around 6:30 am, Illinois 13 out to I-57, north to Mt Vernon where I'd pick up I-64 East. Take that across through Indiana and into Louisville, where I'd switch to I-71 North. The road runs roughly parallel to the Ohio River, providing nice rolling hills as opposed to the bleak plains of a more northern road. On east bound trips I would always take my lunch/gas break there in Kentucky, in the vicinity of La Grange. I believe I'd eat at a KFC. The image in today's print is of other tall interstate signs in that area, I think as I was leaving town. Before the day was over, I'd continue up I-71 through Cincinnati and Columbus, eventually picking up I-76 East near Akron before stopping for the night on the outskirts of Youngstown, having covered about 600 miles.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Packing my suitcase that evening in preparation for tomorrow's drive back to New Jersey. I usually started out on my cross country trips between 6 and 7 am, to give myself as much daylight to drive in as possible, so all my stuff was prepared the night before.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
One last bit of car maintenance before my upcoming trip- checking the condition of my car's wiper blades. There was a good chance of hitting at least some winter weather between Carbondale and New Jersey, and it's easier to prepare before you leave than to have to fix something on the road.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
My notes just say "burning the midnight oil". Looking at the clock on the shelf, it looks more like 3 am. I'm in my studio, sitting in my usual chair, at the wooden table that came with the space. Beyond that, I'm really not sure what this image is about. Classes were over, so it's not likely something to do with an assignment or teaching. (I'd be more likely to do that in my apartment anyway) I guess it's about making art. I'm a night person by nature- maybe I was just working late into the evening because I was in a mood to.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
John Siblik was kind enough to lend me his tripod a few days earlier when I was shooting slides, and wanted it back to shoot some of his own. The problem was when I went to my studio to get it, the tripod was missing. Bad enough if something of my own was missing, but I felt worse because it wasn't mine to begin with. An investigation was launched, and it turned out that another grad, aware that I had the tripod in my possession, had broken into my studio (climbing over the 8 foot wall) and helped himself to it. The tripod did find itself back in its owner's hands before the day was out, but after that he kept it safely at home when he wasn't using it.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Loading my 35 mm SLR with slide film. Most likely this is to take end of the semester slides of student work during the final grading. Slides of student work are useful when explaining a new project to a class, allowing them to see successful examples. Also needed when applying for teaching jobs. In 1993 I was still more than a year away from worrying about that, but it was time to start building up a collection of good student slides in preparation for job seeking.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Today was the birthday of one of the art faculty, but he wasn't too keen on letting everyone know it. His wife, on the other hand, wanted to celebrate it, so smuggled in a home baked cake (also faculty, she had an office to hide it in) for an afternoon celebration. The birthday boy discovered it just before this was about to go down, and decided to pre-empt the event by bringing the cake to another studio classroom full of students, and saying, "Here's some cake that someone brought in, if anyone wants to have some", but his wife burst in to announce it was his birthday. I recall the cake being tasty.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Friday, December 7, 2007
The Hubble space telescope and I both get our glasses. I drove out to Marion to pick up my new glasses, and a space shuttle mission completed the task of adding new optics to the Hubble to account for flaws in its original equipment, incredibly improving its ability to see.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Tearing paper into smaller pieces. This is not likely print paper, because I would not hold it up like this, but instead have it on a flat surface and use a tear bar of some kind. More likely this is newsprint for scrap or layering between drying prints.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I walked a few blocks over to the Strip to check out the annual Lights Fantastic parade, a holiday tradition in Carbondale. It was held at night, and the floats were covered with strings of Christmas lights, such as the trailer based float shown in the print.
Monday, December 3, 2007
My friend Dave's birthday was coming up, and by tradition that meant a fun-pak. A fun-pak is whatever kinds of interesting stuff we had lying around, especially stuff we had picked up for free or almost free. (gallery postcards, news articles of interest) Also music (tapes, then later discs), comics, and art stuff. I decided to make Dave photocopies of all the Fourth of July prints to date (blogs like this not an option back then) to include in the fun-pak. I had cut and printed them in pairs, so I could fit two (reduced by 10%) on each copy.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
The ceramics students used to produce a lot of inexpensive craft product, and would have sales 2 or 3 times a year to raise money for equipment, trips, etc. On this day they were part of a crowd of such holiday related sales at the student center. I happened to be there at the same time as painting professor Erin Palmer. She picked up a particular mug, showed it to me, and told me, "This mug is your soul." I figured I better buy it, so that my soul didn't fall into the wrong hands. For a few bucks, it was a good deal.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This was sort of a dream within a dream. In the main dream I was watching an odd performance on tv. A man and woman sat in silence on a platform, both nude, facing each other. On the sides of their bodies facing toward the camera (arm, leg, torso side) they had what looked like a mixture of unusual scars, scabbed wounds, and fresh blood. In this case the blood and such was make-up effects, not real, because within the dream I knew what I was watching was a staged version (with actors) of an image that I knew to have come from a previous dream I had at an earlier time. In reality there had been no previous dream of this scene- that's just how the performance was explained in the dream. The combination of the unusual plot structure and the image of the couple kept the dream in my head all day and pushed me to choose it as the subject of the day's print.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Took advantage of the school holiday to take care of an overdue task- getting some new glasses. The Sears out in Marion was offering a good deal, so I drove out there (only about 15 miles, but the relative isolation of towns in that part of the country always made it seem so far that I rarely left Carbondale) on this day to get the eye exam.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thanksgiving Day. Professor Ed Shay invited any students who were not going home for the holiday to come to his place for dinner. So we had some of our Scottish contingent and a few of us who were far from home and didn't want to deal with the holiday traffic. I brought a homemade lasagne (even making the noodles from scratch- flour, eggs, olive oil), Armen brought his special recipe hummus, and others brought other appetizers. The result- the birds were barely touched we were so full.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Went to the Super Wal-Mart in town to pick up a few diverse items. On the long walk from the grocery section (canned tomatoes to make sauce for lasagne) to the hardware area (wood filler for preparing my plywood for woodcuts) I passed the gun counter. What caught my eye among the handguns and hunting weapons was what appeared to be a pistol with a very long barrel. In an odd coincidence, it was on this day that the vote for the Brady gun control bill happened in Congress.
Friday, November 23, 2007
A much overdue haircut. Since I was about 4 years old, I had been getting my hair cut at Lou's Barber Shop in my hometown. Lou was an Italian immigrant about my father's age, and the other barbers in his shop were older men, also from Italy, some speaking better English than others. When one of the older guys retired or died, Lou went back to Italy to get another. Even back in the 1980's when I was going to school in Virginia, I always waited until I was back home on break to get a haircut. But while going to school in Illinios my trips home were less frequent, only twice a year, and that was too long to wait between trimmings, so I usually got at least one somewhere between my visits home. This was one such occasion. Not exactly the same experience as an Italian barber shop, but I can't complain about the haircuts. (back in NJ after grad school I still continued to go to Lou's for haircuts, driving up from the Shore area, until he retired and sold off the shop a few years ago)
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
One evening my help was requested with an unusual task. Behind a bunch of businesses on the Strip were parking lots, and behind those was a ditch about 5 feet deep, with the railroad tracks beyond that. An SUV had driven too far forward while parking and slid front end down partly into the ditch. 4 wheel drive alone was not enough to pull it out. Before calling for a tow, it was decided to try something else. I don't remember now how I happened to be on this crew, but we got down in the ditch and helped push the vehicle upward, while the driver continued to reverse. The extra muscle power seemed to be the difference, because the truck did finally pull itself out of the ditch.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
I was walking up the Strip one evening and passed an arcade/game room that mostly was a hangout for locals. Outside the building I saw two guys having a fight- fists, etc. This was not unusual in Carbondale, though it was more common around bars. For example, I saw one spill out of Sidetracks, and one fighter throw another into traffic in the street (luckily slamming into the side of a moving car rather than falling in front of it) or seeing another one involving two women in the parking lot at Muggsy's, where one dragged the other out of a car and started pummelling her. By comparison, this one seemed like an ordinary disagreement.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
On a regular basis, my assignment with the GEC classes required me to grade student notebooks. Nothing too exacting, just making sure they were taking notes in class. One I ran across had just about every word (including common 4 and 5 letter words) misspelled. When I brought it up to the student later, he was of the opinion that since he was planning to go into engineering, the ability to spell was not a concern.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Walked down the street to go to Mass at the Newman Center on a very rainy day. As I approached the building I saw a lot of water around it, and no clear path to it. Already pretty wet, I figured I'd just try to walk through the puddle quickly and find some high ground, but it just got deeper and deeper. Eventually I made it into the building, but had waded through almost knee deep water at some point to get there, just like everyone else in attendance.