“Well this is my gorramn den, and I don’t like the way you look down on me.”

Badger – A short-legged omnivore in the weasel family. Also a character from the beloved Firefly universe…quoted above…and actually a badger den is called a sett. Just sayin’.

Lollipop – A type of confectionery consisting mainly of hardened, flavored sucrose with corn syrup mounted on a stick. I never liked them. Tend to prefer chocolate. Not really a fan of hard candy, although I guess I sort of tried to like Tootsie Pops, but I might be able to blame that cartoon owl for this. Three licks indeed.

Volkswagen (VW; aka “the People’s Car”) – A German automobile manufacturer originally founded in 1937 by the Nazi trade union, the German Labour Front. My dad used to have a classic “bug” -sparkly electric blue- my step siblings and I got in trouble for using it as a slide once…not really sure why I remember that.

Glacoden – Not a real word…yet. Although if we wanted we could make it have something to do with the idea of creating an association between seemingly disparate things and/or ideas. Say, a spoon, a dirty sock, a painted stick, a can o’ beans, and a conch shell. Or as Tom Robbins so eloquently put it,

“If there’s a thing, a scene, maybe, an image that you want to see real bad, that you need to see but it doesn’t exist in the world around you, at least not in the form that you envision, then you create it so that you can look at it and have it around, or show it to other people who wouldn’t have imagined it because they perceive reality in a more narrow, predictable way. And that’s it. That’s all an artist does.”

I have never really thought of myself as an artist. I have wanted to think of myself as such and have even chased after various forms of artistic expression, but not with any particular success. I would like to think that photography has been my best attempt. Some have said that I write pretty good, but I am not too sure.

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My best friend growing up was (and presumably still is) a remarkable sketch artist, with pencil and paper he could seemingly draw anything that went through his mind or someone else’s for that matter if they were eloquent or persistent enough to describe an image to him. He particularly excelled in comic book style illustration, but was not limited to it. I always envied him. I could sketch some, but I was reduced to mostly copying subjects that I saw. 060528CH 005-001I always attributed this to some lack of command in regards to proportion and perception. I simply could not get the images from my head onto paper. Not consistently anyway. Later in life I picked up charcoals, pastels, and colored pencils. I mucked about with them a bit but was rarely satisfied with anything that I created. I took up pen sketching for a while and had some fun with that, but again ended up just sketching what I saw…have a pretty good one of the dogface when she was younger and a few landscapes from some of my adventures that I still like. Yet I have stuck with photography over the years. That said my favorite pursuit in terms of photography is attempting to capture images of objects or moments in space that might not be immediately obvious to others; trying to capture on “film” my individual perception of the world. I guess that is sort of how I view my writing as well.

 

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I wonder how much art is influenced by the artist’s behavior and at the same time I wonder just the opposite. My girlfriend and I took our cameras for a walk yesterday and – much as I would have done in years past – I spent half of my time crawling around on the ground trying to see, and capture, the world from a different perspective; perhaps a badger’s, short stubby legs and all. I have yet to peruse the images I captured, but I am looking forward to it…wondering if I still have that same eye. I rather expect I do because the more I think about it the more I am inclined to believe that art and behavior are ,in a sense, inseparable. My world is changing because my behaviors are changing. My perception of the world is once again becoming more entwined with the ways I am trying to move about in the world around me and I find the more one pays attention to one’s immediate environment, the more interesting it can be. I took over a hundred photos yesterday.

 

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We do not have badgers here. Rather we have wolverines, the badger’s bigger, surlier, arctic cousin. There are plenty of VW’s running about but I am not sure that ”the people” have much to do with it; sure there are a few old bugs and microbuses kicking around rendering their aging hippy contents unto whatever dubious destinations they so desire, but most are the newfangled yuppie machines that fall under the company’s new slogan “das auto”.  I still do not like lollipops and those two chocolate candies so graciously delivered to me by a fellow coworker are starting to bug me out. Not long ago I would have devoured them quite readily with hardly a moment’s consideration but then not long ago I never thought much about olympic powerlifting either. My world is changing and no mistake.

And I just noticed those chocolates are still sitting there…

*note on the images – all were taken in 2006 with a small Canon “phd” (push here dummy) style camera while doing archaeology along the upper Charley River in Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Another reason I love archaeology is that as I have spent so much of my life wandering around looking at the ground it was refreshing to find out that there are people in the world that will now pay me to do this.

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