Thursday, November 19, 2009


I write this post with my cat and best friend Buzz sitting right next to me by my keyboard. He is actually waiting for me to vacate his favorite chair. A month ago Buzz was diagnosed with abdominal cancer; he was very sick, and I thought he was a goner. I have never been closer to another animal, so I took him to the cancer clinic in Tustin. There our luck began to change. I think in large part due to we drew Dr. Rosenberg the head of the clinic. I was heartbroken. When she walked into the room where I was waiting with Buzz, I was already crying. Four days prior I had to rush Buzz to the vet because he had thrown up so much he was low on electrolytes and needed to be placed on an IV. Dr. Rosenberg was with an intern, and she asked the young girl to fetch some Kleenix for me. I gave her Buzz's history. Talking to her calmed me. I immediately knew this woman knew her stuff. She is big league. She physically examined him and felt the tumor verifying the ultrasound Buzz had two days before. She kept him for a couple of hours to do another ultrasound and attempt to take a needle into the tumor to aspirate a biopsy. I can't say why, but I remember leaving the clinic to grab some lunch feeling better. I wouldn't say Dr. Rosenberg gave me hope, yet her manner and knowledge comforted me. I sensed that Buzz could not be in better hands. The ride home was long, but Buzz who normally bitches the entire ride, having been drugged for the tests, was calm. My boy sat in my lap the entire ride home. The next day I spoke with Dr. Rosenberg and she told me that the aspiration didn't tell her anything, and that she believed the tumor was not lymphoma, but worse a sarcoma. She told me to bring Buzz to the clinic the next day, and overnight she would meditate and come up with a strategy. By then, I was beginning to accept the fact that Buzz was no going to be around much longer. I hadn't given up hope, however I was preparing myself for the worst. Because Buzz was weak and not a young cat Dr. Rosenberg decided against doing anything evasive to assay the tumor. Rather she decided to go on her experience and gut to treat Buzz. The next day I brought him in, and she gave him his first chemo treatment. She advised me that he could suffer nausea the first 72 hours, or 7-10 days after the treatment. I did not notice anything different except Buzz's appetite had increased. He wanted to eat all the time, and he wasn't throwing up. The 7 to 10 period passed without incident, and Buzz kept on eating. Two weeks after his treatment I came home from shooting and noticed there was throw-up on the drive way, and I thought oh, the nausea is getting to him. So I got some of the medication that Dr. Rosenberg had given me and coaked it down Buzz's throat. On the bed where he was laying I noticed drops of blood. Then he shook his head, and a spray of blood flew off him. My first thought was Oh No, he is so bad he's coughing up blood. Then I saw a nasty gash on his ear. I tried to examine it, but he resisted. He was wounded, and then I realized he must have gotten into a fight with another cat. It freaked me out, because chemo takes its toll on the white blood cells and I was terrified he was going to get an infection. I examined for any other wounds and to his aggravation I cleaned out the gash with peroxide and Neosporin. He seemed to be OK....... My neighbor Peggy saw the fight, and she couldn't believe Buzz was involved. She had seen him the week before when he was sick and weak. Peggy told me the other cat was the aggressor, but that Buzz held his own. This was weird. My sick cat had the strength to battle. It was true, other than the wounded ear, Buzz was looking much happy and healthier. The stuff was working. What gave me the most satisfaction was watching Buzz sleep. I saw him sprawled out when he napped. He no longer looked uncomfortable. My God, my dear boy was not in pain. That made me so happy, but also sad knowing he had suffered so long without my knowledge. I was looking forward to bring Buzz back to Dr. Rosenberg to share my observations. My Buzz was back.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I have been moving along quite nicely back on "Lakewood." I was walking the suburb Tuesday evening. I walked the sidewalks of Pennswood and Whitewood streets on each side of the major street, South Street. I walked as far north as Hungerford Street, and as far south to Michelson Street. My best photographs were taken on Whitewood, north of South Street. There I took some interesting group portraits. It amazes me sometimes, that I, a very she person, can walk up to group of strangers and ask them if they will allow me to take their portrait. Often their reply is negative, however, surprisingly I get more "Why nots," than one would suspect. I suppose they grasp my passion and interest, and just maybe they appreciate the attention. Forward I move on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not Getting Overwhelmed

So many photos, ideas, websites, it all overwhelms me. I seem to lose footing. If I don't write a list of what I need to do each day, I wander and become distracted. I have decided to become proficient at Photoshop; however, I don't want to derail myself from taking the photograph. All the other stuff, the environment, health care, Obama, surfing: if I am to succeed, they all must become secondary. I would love to be a man of renaissance, but a DeVinci mind I do not possess. Hence I must focus and work harder. What did I learn today. It seems that so much of knowledge is the continuous incremental building upon more knowledge. And that passivity teaches me nothing. It's the constant work and the attempt to make art that makes me better.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A realization on 3616

It's important that I do not let the day to day monotony of life prevent me from contributing to my daily blog. I could just write, and let the outcome find itself. I have not gone surfing for over a week. I am too fat. I want to write about photography, but working on my duplex has caused me from working on anything else. The duplex all of a sudden has become a time, energy, and money drain. Since the Green's have departed 3616 all that was done incorrectly or ignored on the apartment now sits on my plate and is consuming me. Of course I have allowed it to happen. Stripping the paint off the brick, although with time I believe it will look better, is now causing me emotional turmoil. It was foolish, but now I am stubbornly too far along to go back. So what shall I do. Tomorrow, Sydney and I will further clean up the mess, and I will leave the brick alone for a while. Perhaps the massive amount of water I sprayed will slowly seep into the paint and weaken its bond to the brick. Bobby's got the paint under control. The termite people will take care of the bugs. I will fix that U-joint under the tub, and I pray it doesn't lead to other problems. And that will be it for the remainder of the year. No more stress with the apartment.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fear and Greed

On the way to the movie this evening my wife, Sydney, and I waited at a stop light next to a truck that had a bumper sticker on its rear window that read, "I'll keep my freedom, my gun, and my money. You can keep the change." This was an obvious ignorant play on words and reference to Barack Obama. Of course, his truck was the type that gets about 5 miles to a gallon. I try to ignore such ignoramuses, but it's difficult. These people rouse my anger because they, with their values guided by fear and greed, hinder the President's effort to fix our health care system and take the significant and immediate necessary steps to lead the world in the fight to arrest the advance of global warming. If our situation wasn't so dire, I would pity these morons and lack of education. Rather, I find my contempt for them gnaws on my better self.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

With Deanne's suggestion I have begun a new portrait project. It is still too early to reveal the subject matter, but I will share thoughts on my approach. I would like to to add another gear to my portrait process, but I do not want to over complicate the process and loose my connection and spontaneity with my subject. To take a good portrait, past experience has taught me to minimize the variables. I would love to shoot these portraits with a view camera, but if I do I will stick with available light. Variables are the subject, the location, camera, and light. Each extra subject is an 1/2 a variable, while each light source is a variable. A 35 mm camera is 1/2 variable, a medium format camera 1 variable, and a 4x5 camera 2 variables. For example, if it's just the subject, the sun, and my Hasselblad, that's only 3 variables. Easily I can handle 3 variables (see portrait of Alex). 4 can be a challenge, but I can comfortably handle it. More than 4 variables, and it's just me without an assistant (a good assistant absorbs 2 variables, a great one 3), my efforts will not result in a good photograph. So, my challenge is to add another gear to my work, without over complicating the process and loosing my subject.