Saturday, December 31, 2005

2006


Wishing you a Happy New Year.

Im busy making resoltions, keeping promises. Let's have more fun in 06

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Meditation, not medication!



Meditation, no not medication!
I'm considering taking up meditation, which sounds a lot like sleep. It's all part of a right brain left brain thing I'm unsure about how to measure the results, or the efforts. (Not like I'll be chanting or anything) unless I get some GIANT play-off tickets. But some sleep would be good. Imagine Marylin chanting de-fense! De-fense! De-fense

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I'm home


There is no place like home! A bit weak, but on the mend. Come visit! Come play!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Student


I've got this student and she seems like a hardship case. I don't typically get involved in this stuff but I feel like if I don't get involved I'm going straight to academia hell. Some might argue that by teaching at BCC that I may already have arrived. But she could be one of the best cartoonists I've ever seen in a college setting.
Sometimes I wonder that if like me she is too proud and unwilling to accept charity or private funding And if she suffers from some of these deadly sins. Pride being one of the seven deadly Sins of St. Thomas Aquinas, (See Abagail Jones Blog) And if like me, she suffers from some of he others.
Either way I feeI have to get this kid to hit pavement running or frequent the gutter with the rest of the geat cartoonists, artist and yes, photographers. I hope she does not suffer from the same Irish Catholic hang-ups that I do, Or perhsps then again I do hope she does.
I don't belive I'm quaified to make this assessment but a boost to her self-esteem seems in order but I'm not sure from her blog posts if or how that can be done. Sounds like an arm wrestling contest to me even is she is up to the conest. But she should be warned that I hate to lose.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

In the words of Bil "Buba" Clinton...l feel your pain

Marat in a local nursing home
I feel your pain!

Viatamin V


I'm still in the nursing home, trying to work as best I can. A bit stoned on valium. I hope I get out soon, shouldn,'t be long now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Day 10



Yup, I'm still in the hospital. But I'm doing OK. I feel pretty good all things considered. I'm back to answering e-mail, teaching on-line. I'll let you know when I bust out. Perhaps you will visit when I get home!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Visual Statements


What does your personal vehicle say about you? Does it compensate for some short-comings in life?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Who Are You?


Once a week I get an e-mail from the company that does the site meters on my website and blog. It provides me with some information as to if and how people are referred, where they are from, what time they visited, yadda, yadda yadda. Now with some people I can guess. If they comment then I know. (People rarely post comments and I'm not sure what that says about this good or bad)
But I'd love to know who is posting from:

NJ - Orange, East Orange, Montclair,

St Paul Minn, Strawberry Plains Tenn, (Lots of fans in Tenn apparently)

C'mon, give it up, show me some love!

Material Things

New
Old
Call it eccentric. Many of us have relationships with material things. Some of those are love/hate relationships. Sailors sometimes assign gender to such objects as vessels. I've had a relationship with my personal vehicle for the last 16 years. In popular culture your mode of transportation is a statement of sorts. Vehicles get personalized with style, color, plates, even bumper stickers. When I was a kid, I grew up in a poor neighborhood and those who could afford vehicles treated them like they were members of the family. Acquiring a new car, even a used car was like the arrival of a new child. Born to or adopted to excited relatives. A lot of effort went into cleaning, waxing and general caring for the vehicle. No such celebration here.
My personal vehicle, a 1989 Ford Econoline 150 (Cargo van) in a midnight blue offered little to the observer in the way of clues about me. Handicapped plates, easy-pass, WPU Alumni parking sticker and BCC faculty parking sticker, oh and yes, a faded NJ PBA shield. (Badge Americard, don't leave home without it) 2009,000 miles fades the finish on the van but it owes me nothing.
The interior was bare bones, no creature comforts, weak heating/air-conditioning, noisy and without insulation. Mind you I'm not regretting any of my decisions about purchasing it. I never assigned a gender to it but if I had it would have been male. Rugged, no frills, cold and solid.
On Friday I took possession of a new van. A 2005 Ford Econoline 250 (Conversion Van) brushed gold. Not so noticeable to the observer is the creature comforts. Tinted windows, 8 cylinders as opposed to six, fuel injection 15 inch tires, insulation, carpeting, front and rear air conditioning/heating, remote Key-less remote entry and ignition. The ride is so smooth, the temperature so comfortable, the sound system. I can go on and on. If I had to assign a gender to it it would be female. "She" is sleek, fast and oh so smooth.
Now don't get me wrong, I was not seeking a luxury vehicle. Not looking to make a statement, but you no longer can get a wheelchair accessible van without these options. Regrettably you also have to pay for them.
But I never thought I get sentimental about the old van, but I do recognize it has taken me to my wedding, to gainful employment, and a master's degree. Vacations, photo shoots, and new home, it's been dependable, inexpensive and has provided me with so many opportunities.
It's next life will no doubt be recycled. I'm donating it to charity.
I'm hoping this next relationship is even half as good as the last

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Critters and Driving Noah's Ark


I was coming home yesterday and began a series of encounters with nature: As I hit Stag Hill Rd, a snapper turtle was crossing the roadway. I gave him a wide berth and then about a 1/4 mile in, I slow down for a turn and there is a raccoon, I stop and we stare at each other for a moment and then I toss him a piece of my bagel. He picks it up and for a moment looks like he is going to throw it back at me. The little ingrate instead drops it. I move on up the hill. Up near the top I see my neighbor cleaning up his front yard. It looks like a bomb went off. Apparently a bear got into his garbage. The small shed he keeps it in was in splinters. (Got to be one big assed bear) As I turn onto Maple a deer runs into the woods behind my house. As I exit the van in my driveway, I'm welcomed by a rabbit. I get in the house and look out back and the cats are glued to the windows. A bunch of wild turkey teasing them. I was tempted to get the camera out, but... Well I just wasn't moved to shoot. As much as I love seeing these critters, I have absolutely no ambition to photograph them. It made me think of a comment by one of my students about photographing a fox that frequents the area. Honestly the only foxes I'm interested in shooting ate the two legged variety.
I slept all day and go to work that night and it's pouring out. As I pass the lake, there is a migration of tree frogs crossing the road. I do my best not to squish them. Then it gets real interesting. I've never seen such heavy rain up there. About halfway down the hill, (The really steep part) the road starts to look funny. That's because it's not there anymore. It's under an inch or two of water, mud and rocks. I begin to skid and head towards the woods. I've had some experience with snow and ice and even fog but never streaming water and what I can only call a mud slide. But it works the same way, pump the brakes really easy and steer into the skid. The van shuddered and groaned a bit but stayed on what appeared to be the road. It took me a while to descend, but I got to the highwaywithout further incident.
I love living on the mountain. But got to refine my respect for mother nature.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Good Advice


You get advice all day long. From your television, computer, the government, lawyers, doctors, employers, colleagues, mentors (If you are so fortunate to have one) friends and even sometimes from your students. And depending on whether or not you believe you are on the right track, you take everyone's advice, analyze, weigh, hash, rehash and eventually come up with a plan. There are some things that I want to do in my life. Some come with strings attached. Some come with high costs not only to one's pocket, but to one's self respect. So it comes down to this; a fork in the road, so to speak. The road on the right leads all the things I want to do. It is the shortest route to where I want to get. On a clear day you can just about see your destination. But there is a toll booth, an expensive one. The road on the left leads to only the things I'm willing to do. It is long and somewhat uphill. It's end is nowhere in sight. And while there is no toll, there is no guarantee you will get to your destination either. The sign on the side of the road reads "uncompromising." And then I hear a voice, my wife, she takes my hand and whispers "I'll be at your side no matter which route you take." I ask her, what she thinks but she need not answer and we turn left. The best advice is right at home.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sensory Overload - Yellow Bra


If I saw you at the artist reception at Ruth Ann's http://www.bestlittleframeshop.com/ on Friday evening, I'm sorry we did not get a chance to spend some time together. If I didn't see you, I'm sorry we did not get a chance to spend some time together!
Good food/drink, art, friends, colleagues, students, (Former and current) and family but in such volume that one could not really get some quality time. Hence the sensory overload.
I had a couple pieces in the show, the reaction was pretty good. I got to start doing that, more food/drink, friends and the like! Let's work on that!

Friday, September 30, 2005

Parking at BCC


I recently heard a woman complaining about the parking at BCC. I had to grin and told her not to worry. The winds of November would surely clear the lot. She looked puzzled and I explained that by November a lot of people drop out and she will be able to park wherever she pleases.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Cambodia


I talked to my brother John (The journalist Denver's Rocky Mountain News) yesterday. He and my sister-in-law are going to Cambodia next week. His paper sponsors a program where foreign correspondents visit Denver and there is an exchange of ideas, maybe a lecture and then they go out and do their jobs. Well, a reporter from Cambodia came to Denver and stayed with my brother and his wife. I guess he was so taken by them that he invited them to visit him in Cambodia. I have to think it's the first time an Ensslin has visited Cambodia and not dropped 500 pound pieces of ordinance on the place. (My Uncle Kenny flew B-52 missions out of Thailand) But then Uncle Kenny wasn't worried about losing his luggage either.
I'd be more concerned about starving. Bon voyage bro!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Reunions


Great weekend! Connected with the family, two former colleagues, some quality time with my wife. Could I ask for more? Would have been perfect had the GIANTS won. On Friday I'm going to be at a reception for an art show/fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. It should be a lot of fun, truly a great cause and some rather decent art. Come join me - e-mail me for directions.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Working for the Weekend


I've been busy, but a fun kind of busy. But if I don't get some new wheels soon, I won't be busy at all. On Friday I had to go for some in-service training at the police academy. I don't normally enjoy those things and sometimes have some issues with the credentials of the instructors and their motivation for even being there. Being a graduate of that institution, I take those kind of things personally. But it was actually mildly interesting and presented in a pain-free manner. (911-mapping)

Then in the afternoon, it was my turn to lecture. I was doing this as a favor for the institute for Learning in Retirement at BCC, and for my own ulterior motives. I was half expecting the older crowd to be a bit difficult, but they were genuinely warm and a different kind of experience. Many times when I teach, my audience is less than enthusiastic. Some are there because they feel obliged to be there in order to get a passing grade. These people were there because they are genuinely interested. It made for a really pleasant experience.

Saturday, two photo shoots, yes, a return to the men's room. (see image attached) It's more than a little provocative but most of what I do is.


I got some e-mail over the weekend, two which really shook me up, one a notice from one of the Vice Presidents of the college. Apparently a member of the library staff was killed in an accident as he was crossing Paramus Road. His name was Anthony Karpi, and while I did not know this man well, I often would see him in the library, always say hello in the hallways. Whenever I had dealings with him he was pleasant, helpful and just seemed like a nice guy. He's going to be in my thoughts for a while.

The other e-mail was far more pleasant, so pleasant in fact I feel like I need to share it:


Mark:

In a spark of memory your name popped into my head--- why almost 30 years later I have no idea. With the marvels of the internet, a quick search brought me to your web site.
I don't know if you remember me. But, I believe you were my track coach in high school. Both you and Mike? ( last name eludes me). gave me some high school memories I don't forget. to this day I tell stories about running to the GW Bridge from St.Joes!
I've checked your portfolio and the photos are quite interesting. glad to see you're so multitalented.
Well, Just wanted to give a quick hello and let you know of a life you touched a long time ago.
Best Wishes,

Dave Dragonette,BA, MICP


Well, that should be enough for now, The weekend is not nearly over. The GIANTS Monday night against the Aints!
Go Giants!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Monday, September 12, 2005

Long Week


Pretty good week here... Sat in on one of my first photo instructor's (Back in the 90's - Frank Aiello) class at WPU. It was amazing, like a flashback he picked up right where we left off. So much to learn from that guy.
Then attended a reception for Allumni/graduate students. (I'm both) which was largely social, but I did meet some interesting people and Wendy Erickson's presentation was really good. Lots to be learned from her too!
I had to leave early as the reception/presentations seemed to be going on forever. Thursday, an in-service with the good people from CIT. I can't say enough about these guys. They really have their collective acts together and they have the numbers to prove it. I not only come away from them every time knowing something new and useful, but come away with the sense that I'm on the right track. I'm a believer! Thursday night I attended an opening of Mauro Altamura's in Jersey City. I went to high school with Mauro and now he is the Photo Department Chair at New Jersey City University. His work is genuinely impressive. And I got to hang with my good friend Meliisa B and my former lab assistant Lauren L. A glass of wine, two beautiful women, yeah, I can do that!
Friday evening I attended a wedding. One of my former students invited my wife and I.
I spent some time thinking about my relationships with students. The wedding was a hoot! Kevin's friends and family are like him, warm, generous, and fun to be around.
It occurred to me that I got an e-mail from one of my current students who was amazed that I not only allow her to call me by my first name buit give out my home and cell phone numbers. I had to smile and wondered what some of my colleagues would think of that.
Saturday, a bit fuzzy at first, but a photo shoot with two former students at WPU in the morniong. Amazing stuff, the afternoon spent moving art from one venue to another and the evening, dinner on the deck with my wife. Life is good.
Sunday is mostly entertainment. My mother-in-law's 75th birthday. Lots of guests, family and the like. My wife did an awesome job putting it together. I babrecued and successfuly didn't burn a thing including my pants.
Sunday gets better, The JETS lose, The Yankees beat those fakers from Boston and the GIANTS win.
Well, back to work!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Labor Day

I've been avoiding commenting on the disaster in the Gulf Coast. I'm not going to complain about the gas prices anymore either. I'm thinking about how lucky I am.
My heart is spread very thin. I think of both the men and women in Iraq and of the victims of this catastrophe.
I'm going to pray that the finger pointing stops long enough for the powers that be to get something done.

A dozen of my colleagues are going to go Missisippi as volunteers. God speed amigos, be safe!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Slow Start


School has officially started, but for me you would hardly notice it. I went to the adjunct conference last night and it was really ordinary. The food was pretty good, but the speakers while genuinely well spoken, were somewhat less than informative. I do have to admit the people from the center for instructional technology keep getting better and better. I'm really impressed with their efforts. But in the middle of a speech, a woman comes into the cafeteria and quietly begins handing out materials asking the adjuncts if they would be interested in unionizing. When she got near the table where some of the department heads and deans were sitting, she was escorted from the room. That was a morbid highlight to the evening.
The department meeting on the other hand was quite enlightening. I think it was as informative for the coordinator as it was for the adjuncts. I was kind of sorry to see that our numbers have dwindled. While enrollment is up in the other disciplines, it appears to be down in the art department. But that is beyond anything any ajunct can adress.

My students are slowly logging into the course and so far the response sounds positive. I hope they are even half as much fun as last semester's lot. I'm sure things will accellerate soon!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Summertime blues


I gots the blues! Summer has slipped past us and I did not accomplish half of what I had hoped. But still, I managed a good deal, got a better grip on things and dare I say, I'm a little bit wiser?
I have to just keep taking small bites at the apple. Get a better sense of time and pace. Slow and steady wins the race. This would be a lot easier if I could win the lottery! Well, maybe a little easier. For those of you out there, bear with me, be patient and I'll get to you.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Pick One!



OK, you pull up to the pumps to fill up your tank. And you are given a choice of who you want to buy your fuel from. You decide!
http://www.ontariocorn.org/ethanol/ethahome.html

The Iowa farmer in his field of dreams, or our good friends from OPEC? Call me simple, tell me I don't undertand, but as soon as I can, I'm giving my money to the farmer.

It's a Boy!


Milo Auster Schell entered the world this past Monday,August 22nd. He was born at 8:13 pm at ValleyHospital in Ridgewood, NJ. Milo weighed in at 9 lbs 1oz and is 20.5" in length.

39 Bucks?


I gassed up last night. It cost me $39 bucks. I told the attendant, "Mohammed, for that kind of money you could at least get the bugs off my windshield." (He was actually happy to do that for me)
I'll tell you what, I'd gladly pay 5% or more if it meant we did not buy oil from the Mid-East. (They say only 5% of our crude comes from the Mid-East) Stop buying their oil and you will see just how fast the shooting stops.
http://208.254.18.78/clips/energyresearch.wmv

Monday, August 22, 2005

Getting Ready


I'm feeling like the guy in the Dunkin Donuts commercial: "Got to make the donuts... got to make the donuts" Anyway, in the vein of commercials, look at this link and tell me what you think: http://www.budweiser.com/mediaviewer.html?showFile=applause.js

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Hummer?


OK, I don't understand the whole Hummer/SUV thing. I see them at the pumps and wonder what everyone is thinking. But I do appreciate advertising. Not sure what dance has to do with stupidity. But the commercial is very slick. Click on the link and enjoy the video: http://www.hummer.com/popups/world/chairs.html

Friday, August 19, 2005

Out Back


Some people are incapable of letting out their dark sides on queue. Either it's really under wraps or it just isn't there. Either way I'm blessed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Work is supposed to be like play


So why is my employment more like purgatory? I'm really working on this and am open to suggestions. I saw something on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, entitled "THE GOOD LIFE."
Now no one wants to be told how to live and we have all heard of the rat race and maybe it's my age or the fact that I've worked since I was 13 years old. But the good people from CBS had some interesting points. No real suggestions but truly valid points about how hard we work and to what end? I'm feeling just a little dull-witted because I should be able to figure this one out by myself. I figure I'm about 5-7 years from retirement. I've a decent idea of what I'll do in retirement, but what about now? I'm tired, a bit burnt out and driven to but prevented from artisic pursuits. I feel like I'm 17 years into a 25 to life sentence. My most difficult commodity is time. Quality time with people. Not my cell mates, my soul mates, my contemporaries, my muses. Let's connect, hang, maybe make art together.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Toll


If this doesn't make you cry, what will?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/iraq/casualties/facesofthefallen.htm

Two wolves and a sheep, discussing what to have for dinner does not constitute a democracy!

Do you really care if Iraq becomes a theocracy?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

More Video



This is not new video, but it may be the first time you are seeing it. I'm having fun with this. Let me know what you think!

http://www.ourmedia.org/node/39618

M

Monday, August 08, 2005

Weird Light


There is this new and rather unusual building across the street from where I work. It has some wild exterior lighting which is as much decorative as it is functional. I want to shoot here and the really selfish part of it is that it's convenient to do on my way to work. The fountains are tempting, but it also has in ground lighting and a wealth of nooks and crannies that beg for exploration. So if you can't sleep, are out partying late or are just looking to catch up with me, let's go play!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dog days of Summer

It's hot out. (Now there is a revelation) Yeah, it's August and of course it's hot out. And I have to think it is affecting everyone in some way. Even if they only go from one air-conditioned environment to another all day.
With me, it makes me want to get out on the street and look. My brain cells get a little bit cooked, but I ove summer light, early morning and late evening. Even in the midday sun when I can find deep shadows. And shooting at night is an adventure. The heat drives people out of doors.
And women, God bless them! They dress for the weather amongst other things. I sometimes I think I can just sit there and watch them sweat.
The down-side seems to be everyone's on the move, traveling, vacationing or being otherwise entertained. Connecting, scheduling is so much more difficult in summer. Everyone becomes social butterflies, weddings, showers, events and the like.
That work thing keeps getting in the way.
My eyes are so greedy. I want time to see it all. I'm going to be a pest. I'm going to keep asking. The calendar is my friend. On the mountain the light is filtered. On the street it seems to be bounced off two or three surfaces before it reaches eye-level. Come out and look with me, step out into the light. I'm waiting for you.

Everything is melting... Posted by Picasa

Summer in the city... Posted by Picasa

Wet nose Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 01, 2005

Inspired

I'm inspired by some events over the last few weeks. I've done some shooting, made some photograms, went to see Cirque Du Soleil "Varakai" which is so cool. I could stare at those people all day. I got to see Monty Python's Spamalot. (So very clever)
And just being in the city at night felt so good. We had a scare on the way home, west on Route 3 just before the Meadowlands there is a bridge spanning the Hackensack River. It's 4 lanes and we were in the 2nd from the right going about 50 mph when a car passed us in the far left lane and suddenly crashed into the wall and shot/spun completely across all 4 lanes of the roadway and our path crashing into the wall on the right side and then coming back at us. Peg was driving and she handled it like a pro. She pumped the brake, merged left and hit the gas and we slipped through a trail of vapor and debris without a scratch. I was/am so impressed with the way she handled it. There was no place to stop on the bridge so we called the local authorities and continued home. It was like something out of a police chase.
I've posted some images from a recent collaboration with my friend Yana. She continues to impress me both with her talents and ideas. That and she is fun to work with. I'm finding myself looking beyond what she is doing and focusing on her. I'm tempted to attempt so much more but my time is so limited. I'll have to continue with small bites at the apple.
I hope to post some more video this week. It's kind of curious in that I'm getting a lot of traffic to the website/blog and people are spending more time here. But no one is posting comments. I'm not sure what if anything that means. Are they being quitely polite? Or am I on the wrong path?

What would Christo think? Posted by Picasa