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Shelter-in-Place SF Lair

We’re under a corona virus “shelter-in-place” edict here in the SF Bay Area, hanging around the house, flipping twixt Twitter, FB, Instagram, email, messages, Google , NYTimes, WaPo, and links thereof. I’m like a seedy spectral figure in a 3 am Reno Casino, working the slots. Waiting for a hit, and not getting one. Here’s my painting of the virus.

“Pandemic” Acrylic on canvas, March, 2020, 30” x 24”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I like how the colors came out. And the polka dots pull the whole thing together. I’m gonna do a bigger one now. Instead of having a “plan” for this kind of spontaneous work, I might take all the wet paint that’s still in my palette box and paint that on in chaotic mindless shapes that seem to look good in the moment, letting my brush do the (non) thinking, and then I start “fixing” the now “ruined” canvas.

(Here’s a picture of my art studio.  I pull the table out onto the lawn)

My friend Vernon Head says painting is all about ruining it and fixing it over and over until you feel like you can stop. I know I can stop when I can look at the canvas and think, “I can’t believe I did this, I’ll never do this good of a painting again.” If I quit before reaching this (admittedly somewhat self-delusional) state, then every time I look at the painting, I feel like, “Ugh, I’ve got to work on that one some more,” not that I always do go back and rework, and not that reworking is necessarily a good idea. Play it as it lays.

Tabletop landscape with a fabulous reflective “teapotahedron” or “Utah teapot” in the mode of the graphical object studied by early Computer Graphics guys at University of Utah in 1975. I make my tea in it every day, having terminally burnt the living sh*t out of my cast-iron Japanese pot.

We had a high-tea party get together in San Francisco on Sylvia’s birthday in February. Here’s son Rudy Jr. and his wife Penny T.

My art hero Dick Termes was in Half Moon Bay for a show at the end of February. He paints on spheres, and he hauled a load over them over the Sierras in this cute little trailer.

I like the square spirals on this one. I think basically it’s a cube on a sphere, with inscribed whirling squares in each face of the cube. Dick is incredibly careful and fastidious in his work…drawing it, painting in faint paint, and then in dark paint (acrylics)…takes him maybe six months to finish one of these works, which he calls Termespheres.

The man himself. When I was working on my novel Saucer Wisdom, I went and visited Dick at his all-domes house, and made an excursion to that classic UFOlogcial “Close Encounters” Devil’s Tower nearby.

Lovely springtime around Half Moon Bay, breathtaking fields of yellow flowers…sorrel or mustard.

I like stopping by the Pigeon Point lighthouse—the building itself very rickety by now, but they have the giant Fresnel lens on display in a visitor center. Love these things…the full round curviness of a lens is sliced and displaced into a flattish shape. Like fitting yourself into a job.

And naturally you gotta worship the Whale Rib.

I was in the woods near the upper end of Lexington Reservoir, and found this graffiti. Great spontaneous freestyle font.

We were on a Fellini kick and watched a bunch of his movies on the Criterion channel and on the Amazon Prime Filmbox add-on channel. Nights of Cabaria is truly great. Marcello here in La Dolce Vita. We were reading this Kindle book of interviews with Fellini, called I, Fellini, some great stuff in there. Very funny how Federico related to Marcello, kind of teasing each other. F says he picked M to star in so many of his movies because he’d seen M around Rome eating good meals in restaurants with such great pleasure that F knew he’d be the perfect stand-in for his transreal persona in Dolce Vita and 8 1/2.

Spring hits early here, like in February, and sproing.

Another tablescape, with vanishing points. I’m not getting out as much as I’d like to.

I’ve been painting a certain amount and Sylvia has been quilting. This is a recent one called “Dakar.” More on the Sylvia’s Quilts page.

I found a a couple of sets of beautifully fey and whimsical manga-type Japanese covers of my novels, and I sold this set.

Rudy gave me a cordless drill…my old electric drill is thirty years old, and I’d thought of it as kind of modern, but this new one kicks big ass.

Cleaning out boxes of papers in our increasingly copious spare time. Came across this collaged out bit of a yam box from a supermarket. I had a whole thing about those yam boxes back in the early 1970s. First of all “Play Boy Yams” spelled backwards is “Smay Yob Yalp.” Second of all, back then I wrote a “Playboy Yam” song, to be sung in the style of Robert Johnson.

I’m eyeless and I’m waxed
I’m orange all the way through
I’m pointed at both ends
Now whaddya ganna do
I’ll be your yam
And do what yam boys do
I’ll be your yam all night
And in the daytime too.

A sawed off limb, a wooden eye.

Invoking the “airing out” loophole to the shelter-at-home policy, we walked up the block today. Our beautiful world. My favorite tree nearby is this mossed oak wye.

In the basement-cleaning vein, I sold a ton of old author copies to Recycle Bookstore in Campbell and downtown San Jose, CA, before the virus kicked in. When the stores reopen, go check ‘em out, bargains and rarities galore.

[This is a surfer friend of Rudy Jr’s, explaining to me that Doritos look like waves. He’s John Bolingbroke, an inspiration for my story with Marc Laidlaw, “Surfers at the End of Time.”]

I finished writing a novelette, “Mary Mary” that I’ve been working on for seven weeks. Here’s a part of the ending.

Wafting into Gee’s cave, ectoplasmic Mary spots the gorgeous clone Mary, lying on her bed, mouth slack, in a state of torpor. She settles onto clone Mary like a shroud—or like a flesh-eating jellyfish. She sinks directly into the young woman’s flesh, and behold! She’s fully alive, with her soul in a body, just the way it’s supposed to be. Truly risen from the dead.

“Good deal,” says Gee Willikers, sitting up from the other bed. “I’ve been making calls. Will you marry me?”

“Are you joking?”

“Am I?”

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