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I had plans yesterday, but I canceled them. It was too rainy, too gloomy, too cold.

Instead I spent the day making… what would you call those things in the photo? Milagros? They’re a fairly minor feature of the Art Installation: I’m going to glue then to the vast, blue, starry firmament overarching Carmel Valley Road. But they took a helluva long time to make! I had to (A) hunt down a grocery store that sold Jarritos; (B) paint the damn things; (C) glitter the damn things; (D) hunt about my immense photo archives for precisely the right shots of Max’s face; (E) Photoshop out the right shots and size them so they’d fit in the bottle caps.

May I just say here that Photoshop has become a complete pain in the ass?

I used to be quite the Photoshop whiz back in the day when I ran People Magazine online since my duties included not only creating written content but also photo editing.

Since then Photoshop has become bloated and well-nigh unusable.

I dedicate one of my more ancient laptops to art programs like Photoshop 6 – a program that became obsolete six years ago – simply because I refuse to “upgrade” to more recent software. Why should I? I know how to make Photoshop 6 do what I want.

Apparently, most people aren’t interested in figuring out artful workarounds and need the whole process to be automated.

I only wish I’d saved the even more ancient laptop on which I’d installed Photoshop 4.0. That was the best Photoshop ever!


Hunting down Jarritos took me to the shithole that is downtown Poughkeepsie.

There’s a great Jamaican supermarket there filled with all sorts of weird things:

Who knew tumeric was some kind of weird pinecone-y thing?

When I was doing my AmericaCorps Vista stint and living on $8501 a month, I bought my groceries at the dollar store next door to the Jamaican supermarket.

So I decided to take a peak into the dollar store. For old times sake:

Not every dollar store is bleak and depressing. Some dollar stores are quite pleasant.

But Poughkeepsie’s dollar store, as you can see, was expressly designed to humiliate everyone who walks through the door. It is ugly. It is only utilitarian in that it sells those items without which everyday life is impossible, but those things are all jumbled up on shelves with very little of that organizational mania that’s the hallmark of up-end stores. You’ve gotta hunt down what you want at the Poughkeepsie dollar store.

It’s a big Fuck You to the poor.


Visiting the Poughkeepsie dollar store did little to improve my mood, which proceeded to grow more and more detached throughout the day. An unemotional variant of depression, I suppose. A mood John Barth once characterized as “without weather.”

I vacillate on the question of whether this is the most awful time to be alive.

On the one hand, we have all these terrific improvements in public heath and healthcare in general. I’m one of those women who would have died in childbirth had I given birth prior to circa 1950 or so.

Plus, you know, access to an endless stream of movies and books. And vibrators!

On the other hand…

Well. I think we may have reached what you’d have to call an information apocalypse. Absolutely nothing you absorb over any kind of digital medium – the Internet, your smartphone – is verifiably true anymore, and that includes these very words you’re reading here since while I claim to be an old lady living in the Hudson Valley, I could just as easily be a Pakistani operative subtly inciting you to go to Walmart, buy a gun, and shoot up your local high school. (Those creepy kids! They deserve to die!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!)

Increasingly few people relate to their physical environments.

I mean, maybe, they take their eyes off the phone while they’re on one of the DisneyWorld rides.

But their eyes are locked to the phone while they’re standing on line, and they spend ten times longer standing on line than they do enjoying the ride.

I just don’t see how humanity gets out of this one without dismantling the Internet.

And there’s no way the Internet gets dismantled at this point.


While I was rooting around for Max pix yesterday, I stumbled across this:

Remember how I mentioned those Books of Knowledge lying around in the hideous, mildewy basement of the House of Usher a couple of days ago?

This was something I apparently scribbled on the flyleaf of one of the volumes of the Book of Knowledge. Jane gave me the book while I was living in Ithaca some years back; I have no idea why she saved it because, as I say, she had little or no use for me.

I don’t think I still have the book, but that’s okay: I took a photograph.

An incredibly weird thing, this, for an eight-year-old to write, but then, I was a pretty weird little kid.

Note than many of my adult preoccupations are neatly foreshadowed here!

I take my own inconsequence for granted! All the glory is going to go to my cousin David – Was David a man with a lot of fame… Apparently, I hadn’t learned about question marks yet.

I am talking to posterity! Much as I do in this journal.

And I’m really, really curious about posterity! I want to open up a dialogue with posterity! Time and space? Unimportant barriers to entry for the eight-year-old moi!

RTT, acting as posterity’s proxy, very sweetly obliged his T-35-years mother by signing his name.

1This was some kind of weird thought on the part of program administrators that we would serve the needs of the urban poor more effectively if we could enjoy the experience of urban poverty firsthand for ourselves! Ha, ha, ha!

This entry was originally posted at http://mallorys-camera.dreamwidth.org/696953.html. You may leave comments on either Dreamwidth or LiveJournal if you like.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, a lot of the changes Adobe made to Photoshop over the years are annoying. I particularly hate pasting — I want the pasted item to go into the layer I aimed it at (at least after I deselect it), not create its own freaking layer, dammit!

The one I cut my teeth on is Photoshop 3 and I can still run it on my 7100. But I can't edit really large files with that. I'm mostly reconciled to using CS 2 on the PowerBook G4. No interest in upgrading beyond that.

Lots of people have switched to The GIMP. I know some people find the interface offputting but that didn't bother me; it was the fact that I could not save multi-layered projects in photoshop format, so if I started in The GIMP, I pretty much had to commit to doing the whole project in The GIMP instead of being able to switch back and forth at will between it and Photoshop, which would be the best way to transition, in my opinion. Anyway, it's freeware, originally X11 Unix environment but ported over to other platforms nowadays.
Feb. 12th, 2018 03:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Other people have recommended GIMP to me, too.

I guess when the ancient computer on which I have Photoshop 6 installed finally dies, I'll switch over.
Feb. 12th, 2018 04:39 pm (UTC)
Dollar stores
I developed an affectionate relationship with dollar stores on my recent long hike. One thing was that stores had their own character, depending...probably in part to the concerns or lack of concerns of the owner/franchisee I preferred Dollar General in general(!) to Family Dollar because of the better selection of nuts and dried fruit the former usually stocked.

I didn't need Linda Tirado to tell me this, but it really made a difference in most cases if I went out of my way to be nice to the staff, who undoubtedly had shit jobs. On a recent trip to one store, there was an "offer" to buy outdated Snickers® bars as part of some contest where the employees got some sort of premium or bonus for pushing them. So of course I bought one--and in that case the "outdated" really did have significance, as the bar was rather stale. So how shit is that: pushing stale candy to get a few dollars more?
Feb. 12th, 2018 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Dollar stores
Yeah, I've noticed the same regional flavor in dollar stores. They really do reflect the character of the communities where they're located -- or at least the character of the low-end segment of those communities.

And they're not all bad! Some of them are really fun!

The Poughkeepsie one, though. Man. I would not be surprised if it was really a Hell portal.
Feb. 12th, 2018 07:58 pm (UTC)
That is priceless (the writing). Your ancester lol! <3 <3

The oldest of mine I have somewhere is notes my brother and I wrote to our parents on their 10th anniversary (so we were 7 and 8). I don’t remember what mine says, but yes, it’s so funny that even back them we were just as full of ourselves or exactly who we are. His says, “The best thing about a happy marriage is a son like me.” LOL
Feb. 12th, 2018 09:12 pm (UTC)
It's just so crazy how you are what you are! And nothing really changes that.

I mean that essence of who you are expresses differently throughout various developmental phases and changing life circumstances. But you are forever and for all time you!

I see this all the time when I look at my kids! Their infant traumas and triumphs reenacted on a grander scale. But it's rarer to see it in oneself. :-)
Feb. 12th, 2018 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah I started to see it when my friends started having babies, such tiny things, such distinct personalities!
Feb. 13th, 2018 12:07 am (UTC)
I love this writing you did as an ancestor! You were planning ahead. And that is so true - that we are always who we are - the core never changes.
Feb. 13th, 2018 12:16 am (UTC)
I know, right? :-) Reading it, I felt a great deal of affection for that weird little eight-year-old waif who was me.

Edited at 2018-02-13 12:16 am (UTC)
Feb. 13th, 2018 04:57 am (UTC)
I think I am still the same person I was at 21...
Feb. 14th, 2018 11:56 am (UTC)
You probably are! :-)
Feb. 14th, 2018 02:33 am (UTC)
Re: your ancester

This is marvelous. What a bright and thoughtful girl you were (and are).

I used to lie in bed and imagine my own annihilation in death, until I felt scared. Tristan and I were just talking about this.

I also have a book I wrote in, but it just has my childhood name, in crayon. The book is Scratchy, about a cat who finds happiness with a fisherman.

Feb. 14th, 2018 11:53 am (UTC)
I used to lie in bed and imagine my own annihilation in death

Do you still?

I was one of those little kids who had strong memories of having once been someone else! So, I reveled in transience! :-)

There's a guy in Virginia who's investigating whether reincarnation could possibly be the reason why some little kids have these memories. Although I understand that the "memories" could just as easily be a dissociative symptom brought about by abuse.

Feb. 14th, 2018 01:00 pm (UTC)
Yes, I still do sometimes. But other times I am surprised to notice that I'm thinking, "It's not so bad that I'll be gone." I feel it especially in relation to the lives of the children; if you can die before your kids, you've been spared a particular agony.

I've always assumed that those kids who have memories of other lives just have awesome imaginations or else are tapping into collective unconscious. Reincarnation makes no sense to me logically.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )