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Jingle Jangle

Ten or fifteen years back Bruce Sterling told me that the blog as a communications medium would die. And I felt he was wrong; I was like, “I’ll never stop.”

But by now I do like tweeting a lot. The haiku-like comression of a tweet with a single image, yes. And most recently I’ve been using Medium to post excerpts from my voluminous works.

But the blog still has a place. I line up a few dozen of my recent photos or paintings and rant about whatever comes to mind.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have an iron-clad rule that there never needs to be a clear and literal connection between my texts and my images. Surrealism is the law of my land.

One a good day, the jingle jangle of texts and picturs congeals and things fit. Here we go.

This is a reflection I saw in my TV screen after a nap. I take a lot of naps these days. I’m 76.

Sylvia always has a stash of sticker ads for son Rudy’s, the very ISP that hosts this very Rudy’s Blog that you’re reading. She posted in good company outside Whale City Bakery in Davenport, CA, this week.

Up at Four Mile Beach, I grabbed a crude photo of a slightly put-upon surfer. The shadow of his board is nice and sharp.

Always gotta get one more photo of rocks and water. The pocks on that stone! The tangles of light ‘neath the water. Last week I had a horrible freaky dream that I was repeatedly turning into a tangle of writhing light. Please wake me!

“Los Gatos Hills” acrylic on canvas, March, 2022, 30” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

I’ve been painting really a lot lately. I’ve hardly been writing at all ever since I published Juicy Ghosts. Well, I wrote one short story that I sold to Asimov’s.  It’ll be appear this summer or fall. But other than that, nothing. I’ve been distracted. But the muse of Painting is still with me, and I’ve been cranking them out. I’ll work a few of them into this post.

Sylvia and I are restless these days. We drove over the foothills east of San Jose to get to a Berkeley-run ag farm near Grant park. Spotted a large herd (also called a “sounder”) of wild pigs. So great. I didn’t initially realize they were wild, and I got too close before taking my photo…so mos of them are more or less running away.

A great gnarly oak tree on the farm near Grant park. It has a face on it, right? With its tongue sticking out.

Branch with an S-curve on it. I painted a group of these recently. And I added in the trees’ roots.

“Spring Oaks & Roots” acrylic on two 30” x 24” canvases, February, 2022. Click for a larger version of the painting.

The California oak trees are quite different from the ones back East. And I can see many of them from my window, and around my neighborhood. I love the gnarly way they twist and turn. They’re long-lived trees, and they grow slowly, and—I suppose—they “think” a lot about which direction to grow next, so often they “change their minds” and veer, creating these wonderfully gothic designs. We have several species of oaks. Some keep their leaves all year long, almost like holly. But others shed their leaves in the fall, and sprout new ones in the spring (which starts in January or February).

I started with three of those trees here. And then I decided to do a second canvas—with the roots. To liven things up, I put tiny pairs of eyes on the roots. I sold this one two days after I posted it Wish it was always that way! The saucer paintings tend not to sell as well.  I think maybe people worry that if they hang a painting of saucers, then their friends will think they’re crazy.

Inside a more or less abandoned barn on this Grant park farm. Love the cracks between the planks, and the high window, and the dangling rags. Like a cathedral.

An underpass outside the barn. Cows use it. I’ve photopgraphed the underpass before, but I need several tries to get some of these things right.

“Golden Eyes” acrylic on canvas, May, 2020, 30” x 20”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

Rooting around in my basement art storage, I came across this painting that seemed not to be listed on my paintings site. The unusual thing about it is that the background is completely done with some metallic gold acrylic paint that I had; I think someone had given me the tube, and normally I wouldn’t use metallic paint, but this time, what the hell.  I like the way it came out.  When I’m at a loss, I can always cover a canvas with UFOs or with eyes.

Another familiar scene: I tossed a rock into a small pond on this hill behind our house called Saint Joseph’s hill. I’m always trying to get the ring of ripples right.

I like this ever-more-rickety shack in these woods, and I like to say that it’s a bus stop…like a Twilight Zone bus stop, and if I stand there long enough, a barely visible bus will pull up and carry me off to the afterlife. Thus far I’ve managed not to stand there long enough. But it’s coming.

Another often-treated motif of mine: a certain giant aloe near a weathered and rusted barn. Old California.

“Visitors” acrylic on canvas, March, 2022, 40” x 30”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

On this one, I kicked out the jams and went wild with UFOs. I like to paint a certain type of UFO that has its lower edge tipped up and an eye peeping out. I’m thinking of a primordial beach here, kind of an Adam and Eve scene. But as kind of a joke I have them holding up their fingers as if they’re hailing taxis. “Adam and Eve Hail a Ride.”  Their heads are illuminated by the higher light emanating from those giant UFOs.

Visiting the farmers market off Alemany Avenue near Bernal Hill in San Francisco. Vintage spot, with more-or-less permanent murals depicting the goods that might be sold in the slots. This was at one time the honey booth.

For a zillion years a show called Beach Blanket Babylon played on Green Street in North Beach in SF. And finally it closed, and this winter they’ve had a kind of acrobatics show called something like “I Love San Francisco.” Sylvia and I managed to go; it was fun. Not overly difficult moves, but everyone lively and joyful.

For reasons unknown they dragged an antique phone booth into the show. How important those things used to be.

Enter the  unicyclist in the overcoat. Sylvia and I were so happy to be out and seeing something live.  What a weird couple of years it’s been.

I made my way to Castle Rock Park south of Los Gatos and walked to a great bluff.  Lots of madrone trees, all wriggly, and with bark like an animal’s skin.

This one in particular was insanely gnarly. With a little stub like a beak. I made a painting of it.

“Bumpy the Tree-ee” acrylic on canvas, January, 2022, 28” x 22”. Click for a larger version of the painting.

Sylvia makes quilts, and she’d just made a really pretty one.  And I was thinking it would be nice make a harmonious patter of colored squares.  I would have put patterns into the squares like Sylvia does, but that seemed to hard.  So I had a grid, and obviously I was going to put some critters on it.

And I had in mind that the painting could in some way represent the next novel I’d like to write.  And I wanted to have three kids in it, so I put them in.  And for the main critter—I used that small madrone tree from Castle Rock Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I made friends with the tree (a they, and not a he, she, or it).  And visualized them as being a character in my novel too,  I gave them some extra gnarl.

Not just a  tree anymore—a tree-ee.  Name?  Bumpy, because of the way a madrone feels when you run your hands along its smooth orange bark.

Down at Seabright Beach in Santa Cruz, we saw kids crawling around like deep-water starfish on the giant concrete rip-rap jacks that stabilize the point by the harbor lighthouse.

Love this lighthouse and the jacks.  Each of them has a number on it.  Always wonder how they got there.

My Swarthmore College roommate from Senior year stopped by.  Gregory Gibson, well known as an author in his own right.  We used to love to get drunk together and talk about being writers. We made it!

Sylvia says I look “wider” than Greg now.  Not exactly fat but…wide.

I often walk up on Saint Joseph’s Hill behind the Jesuit home, and they have a special mound of metal waste.  I’m constantly photographing it, always trying to get the perfectly illuminated and perfectly focused shot.

And here’s eager, alert daughter Isabel and her kind husband Gus at this spot. Love the big waste container and the palms too.

The other day I was scanning photos out of the old family albums. Look at this photo of Rudy Jr, a few moths old, so cheerful, and not much bigger than my foot. Happy times.

Isabel and Rudy and Isabel wearing colanders like WW I helmets.

And number-one daughter Georgia uneasily viewing the changing of cousin Siofra’s diaper. Siofra’s Irish mother Noreen used to call them “nappies.” That name always cracked me up.

Moire patterns, the overlap of present, future, and past. What lies ahead?

3 Responses to “Jingle Jangle”

  1. Fopolo Says:

    Can physical space be the size of a transfinite exist?

    I happened to see a comment somewhere else saying that a higher infinite space could not exist.

    [[[You realize that you cannot represent Volumes of Space with Uncountable Infinities. because measurable values of volume, time, energy, strictly are Countably Additive properties that you cannot extend to Uncountable Infinity or Ordinals? Uncountable Infinities are like, extension of the naturals, not reals so you cannot do this.]]]

    There may be an answer to this in your novel or blog post, please forgive my rudeness if there is an answer to this question in your novel and blog.

    I may not have found it because I’m an outsider in math.

    P.S. I came across a video on YouTube about higher infinity and happened to come here and see your novel about absolute infinity.

    I don’t understand much of your idea of infinity, but the world of your novel is very mysterious and wonderful.

  2. Fopolo Says:

    I saw another article of yours.
    [How To Write: What SF Writers Want]
    This article left a big impression on me, but I will write my thoughts here because the comments are blocked.
    Of course, what I felt may not be what you intended.
    The four main categories of Sf and their subcategories were very impressive.
    Among them, I was particularly impressed by the immortal.
    It made me realize how stereotypical I thought of immortality was.
    Genetic immortality, artistic immortality, social immortality, and racial immortality taught me the immortality of a dead state.
    (The metaphor is strange, but by the way, four kinds of immortality are not the state in which I stand and breathe.)
    Spacetime immortality was fascinating that there could be this form of immortality depending on the way you look at the world.
    Mathematical immateriality, I’m sorry. I don’t understand this.
    What state does it exist as a mathematical possibility? And what can you do?
    Mystical immortality may be a very high level of immortality.
    I don’t think everything that harms us can harm this level of immortality unless it’s God.

    P.S.After writing all these comments, I realized that there must be a reason why you blocked the comments.
    I’m sorry. If this comment feels uncomfortable to you, I’ll delete it.

  3. paradoctor Says:

    “I always try to get the ring of ripples right.”
    Alas, you will never succeed! The ripples will always be fractally imperfect!

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