Friday, June 30, 2017

Prana feathers

Last night I dreamt I had down feathers coating my lungs, and awoke to paroxysms of real coughing. What was that all about? Other than the very real coughing, it was a funny, rather mythic dream, perhaps it was in reaction to .45Care.

Well, I did recently make a spate of new down pillows from an old comforter as my old ones were flat as pancakes and leaking. I may need to wash my new pillows,, to settle them in, even though I did wash the comforter a while ago.

It really was a funny dream. I guess I have been a bit down in the mouth, or I have been terribly flighty as of late. Maybe I'm molting. Featherbrained.

Someone suggested that I get rid of my pillows. She said: Maybe you're allergic to down pillows and comforters? Logical conclusion. But I don't have any asthma symptoms. Besides, I can't sleep on anything else. I've tried it. There is no substitute for down. Synthetic pillows make my head hurt, and my scalp sting. I may need to double bag them, though. It could be that they need another washing.

I think I was pondering Icarus and other forms of was more mythical than that. The creative mind at work vs. a health warning.

Think of it this way, I changed a sleeping pattern, disrupted an old process.... the old pillows, I last gave them new covers in Forestville, ca. 1980, and the feathers I've had since I was young. But the pillows no longer luff. They've lost their loft. A lot of karma in an old pillow. All the misplaced dreams. And the ones replacing them have a history too. A new start from old things.

And I had been playing the what-if game as I made the pillows, so the idea was planted, and I was very careful when I made them. I came up with an ingenious way to make them in situ without opening the quilt, so hardly any feathers escaped. What I really need to do is clean my room!

And I have had some lung congestion from when I tweaked my back and couldn't cough. I could hardly breathe.

I was also rearranging old art supplies yesterday, lamenting how I haven't used my pencils in a long time. I need to draw. Lungs, to breathe, as in inspiration, feathers equal flight. Escaped prana feathers. Inside flight.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Looking for lost artwork of painter-poet, Boschka (Betty) Layton

Montreal/California Canadian painter-poet, Boschka (Betty) Layton, former wife of Canadian poet Irving Layton, friend of Leonard Cohen, sister to Donald Sutherland, was a dear friend of mine in Guereville during the 1980s.

Her son, Max Layton is searching for his mother, (Betty) Layton's lost work: specifically paintings, drawings, literary mags, etc. Max Layton is working on a project to create a collection of her work online. If you, or someone you may know, have any of her artwork, especially her paintings, he'd love to obtain high quality photos of her work. He was also wondering if you had any photos, memorabilia, or memories to share?

There is very little on the internet about Boschka, so any little bit would help. Betty was an art student at St. John Vocational School in Nova Scotia during the 1940s, and moved to Montreal to found Canada's first avant garde modern poetry magazine, First Statement, with her brother John (Jamie) Sutherland.

Boschka Layton lived near the Peewee Golf Course, on the Russian River, in Guerneville, California until 1983, then moved to Goat Rock, near Jenner, and passed away from pancreatic cancer on Valentine's Day in 1984.

 Apparently her daughter, Naomi Layton lives in Santa Rosa. Her friends, Kat & Boz Williams of Sebastopol have one painting.

 If you know of an artist, or an art collector, or poet, who lived on the River from 1970 to 1984, please feel free to tag them too.  Any information you might have would be most appreciated.

You may leave me a message here, or you can post stories on my artist Facebook page. —Thanks, Maureen Hurley

Boschka Layton (Betty Sutherland) 1921 - 1984
Guerneville Poet Boschka Layton to Read at Copperfield's

Monday, June 26, 2017

New Panasonic camera with a Leica lens

New camera, next iteration from the last one which I returned, in disgust, after fighting with it for three months. It was so bad, despite glowing reports. I even traded it in twice thinking I had a defective lens. Not. I was so persuasive as to its sheer crappiness, replete with photos, I was able to return it to Costco after the three-month deadline. This latest ZS60 camera got so-so reviews, but it's light years ahead of its elder sibling. And it has a touch screen!

Lately I've been using the Panasonic cameras ZS (or F) series because of the Leica branded lens. I need a point and shoot camera body in order to keep it portable, If it ain't in my pocket, I won't carry it with me... you know the adage: the best camera is the one you have on you.

The mid-to high range cameras are still far too expensive, too bulky and are battery monsters. So finding a small pocket camera with DSLR features is almost impossible. Ironically the old school film Leicas were just that: svelte, tiny, but with fantastic lenses.

Panasonic cameras are sort of a bridge camera. I can control shutter, aperture, focal distance, F.stop, etc. and I can shoot RAW as wewll. The CCD picture imager is tiny so higher MP (18) compensates for it somewhat. That postage stamp sized CCD Imager could definitely be improved.

 My first Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS25 was pretty good (I fried the imager, I still use it as a back-up camera), however it did poorly in low light situations, no bueno, but the DMC-ZS40 was fantastic (lens got stuck), the replacement  ZS50 was a piece of crap. I returned it three times. Blurry side focus. So if you see a ZS40, let me know....

Apparently the new model is even-numbered, the following year's odd-numbered knock-off model is crappy. I suspect the uneven numbered versions are cheaper knock-offs of the even numbered versions. In other words, note to self, wait for the DMZ-ZS80, for the next iteration.

Before that, I went through several versions of Nikon, but their lenses became progressively worse and worse on the point and shoot. Last good one was the P60. I did get a larger Nikon, and I absofuckinglutely hated it. It's OK in broad daylight, but otherwise, it's awful and you can't tweak it, not like the P60s.

In the old days, I carried Pentax K1000 cameras. Indestructible, and I had some great Vivitar lenses. But I ruined my posture carrying that monster camera bag. Right shoulder is still lower....

Added bonus of pocket cameras is that they're less likely to be stolen. Or your getting mugged for your expensive camera gear. However, the delicate zoom lens arrays are fragile, meaning they’re more apt to get stuck, or suck dirt and dust into their housing than other point-and shoot cameras.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS60

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Facebook Quizzy Things

Every answer must start with the FIRST letter of your MIDDLE name!

Middle name....... ....V(****)
Girl's Name..............Victoria
Boy's Name.............Victor
Name of Movie.........Vertigo
Something you wear...vee-neck sweater
Item in bathroom.....vasoline,Vick's Vapo-rub
Place.......................Verona, or Vladivostok
Reason to be late....Vermin ate my homework

Now turn it into a short story or prose poem using all the words on your list.

Voracious voles in Victoria are called the victors of the victory garden because they eat their weight in snails and other pests every night, but the sweet scent of violets gives me vertigo. I was wearing the vee-neck sweater he gave me. We sipped chilled Viognier in the vale, and supped on Vichyssoise. She played the viola naked, no, it was a cello: Saint-Saëns Danse Macabre or was it Danse Bacchanale emanating from between her thighs. It was that kind of morning. Not the winter misery of Vick's Vapo-rub on the chest when your feet are as cold as Vladivostok. And the only excuse you can offer is that vermin ate your homework while the gentlemen of Verona dreamed of other plays.

Your actual name: Maureen Hurley 

Your soap opera name (middle name and a street you lived on): Vee Mirabel, or Barranca

Your stripper name (baby, or nickname and your mother's maiden name): Baba Reilly 

Your Star Trek name (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 of middle, last 2 of first): Hurvien

Superhero name (color of your shirt and item to right of you): Purple & Teal Mouse

Goth name (black and name of one of your pets): Black Ziggy, or Black Figby

Rapper name (Lil' + last thing you ate):  Lil' Scalloped Potatoes or Lil' Waldorf Salad

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

New Singer, Old Singer: Pillowmaking & Sweet Dreams

First day of summer ritual: I hauled out my newfangled Singer sewing machine and set it up on the outside porch. I needed to do a bit of mending, to take in several pairs of jeans that keep falling off my ass, and to make a flotilla of new down pillows from an old down comforter.

My old down pillows are literally falling apart, I can no longer wash them (another summer ritual) as the pillow ticking has rotted on the corners. The innards from one old pillow probably dates back to my childhood. (The replacement ticking is at least 30 years old—a world record). The feathers go flat as a pancake despite a monthly rousing resurrection round in the dryer. TIme to let it go. It's done lost its loft. No more spiff in its spoof.

Last time I made pillows was at least a decade ago. Maybe longer. It's been on my to-do list for many summers. Yeah, I know, most people just go out and buy pillows. But I don't like most commercial pillows. I can't use the polyester ones, an old whiplash precludes that. I wake up with blinding headaches. Nix to feather pillows either. Like sleeping on concrete. More headaches.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Rain on Juneteenth

Rain on Juneteenth? I did not see that coming. Forecast said 0% chance of rain. Certainly not rogue lightning either. Really big drops. Neil thought it was hail. Monsoon! Must be because Berkeley Rep is doing Monsoon Wedding! Thunder & lightning. Isolated rogue thunderstorm and petrichor. Well, that went well. I had my sewing machine set up outside. Most of California is under excessive dire heat warning... Several high temperature records were broken across the Bay Area. New record high for June in ten Bay Area cities.  It was nearly 100° today, now it's 65°. And now a 35° drop in temperature. And of course, I just took off my flannel sheets.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Birthday Dinner

My beloved's birthday dinner was salmon glazed with honey mustard dill, cheesy Scotch potatoes, bib lettuce salad, and a Meyer lemon curd chiffon meringue pie affair liberally laced with Limoncello, that took six hours to make in this record-breaking heat. It was so hot, the meringue was doing the merengue. Then it wilted. Not a day I would normally fire up the oven three separate times. The sweltering kitchen resembled the seventh ring of Dante's Inferno. I imagined someone yelling Beatriche! or was it Stella! from the back porch of a Streetcar named Desire.

Friday, June 16, 2017


Someone asks: Is it Bloomsday already?
I answered: All day, the entire day,
it is Bloomsday, every hour, every minute,
right up to the very last second, 
until it sloughs off its mortal coils 
and declares that the calendar 
indeed has turned over a new leaf. 
Then it will be tomorrow and tomorrow 
and tomorrow, which, we all know,
never really comes, now, does it?


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Song fragment for Bliss Buys

Haven't done any writing in a long time.
Just singing now, picking up strays.
The hot wind blows in from Mexico.
Never thought I'd wind up counting the days
weaving the past into stories of long ago.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Hotroddin' my MacBookies

These days I'm using as my main computer, a headless 2011 MacBookPro 8,1 tricked out with 16 GB memory & a Seagate hybrid drive (smokin'!), with an old 23" Apple monitor that has a decidedly lavender cast. (It was free.)

My friend Margretta gave her MacBookPro a little drinky-poo, a very generous glass of chardonnay. But the MacBookPro was far too young to drink. Apple carded it, said it needed a motherboard and possibly a video card as well. Toast points were mentioned.

So I inherited her MacBookPro for parts. It took some doing to get it up and running. Mostly burping and patting, using all manner of mashed keyboard patterns, until it turned on. Surprisingly, the battery took a charge. It needed memory and a hard drive. I don't turn it off very often, for fear it won't restart. The screen really is burnt toast. Or it's still suffering from an alcoholic blackout. Maybe it needs to join AA.

I cleaned what dried chardonnay I could see on the motherboard but was told that it will eventually short out as the acid from the wine will continue to corrode the connections. A good thing it wasn't zinfandel or a good chianti. Sliss. I always meant to give it a water bath, but I was too chickenshit to immerse it. So far, so good. I'll cross that bridge....

What I've learned is that the best way to revamp and breathe new life into elderMacs is with some OWC memory (some models can take twice, or even quadruple the memory than Apple recommends), and OWC's reasonably priced Seagate solid state hybrid drives (SSHD), if you can't afford the real
Solid State Drives.

You can never be too rich, too thin, have enough memory or a fast enough hard drive. Buy the maximum memory your Mac will support, and a solid state drive. You won't regret it. A word of caution: if you plan to go above and beyond those Apple specs, get your memory sticks from Other World Computing (aka as they're guaranteed to work. Other brands don't play well together.

With these two simple upgrades, the MacBookPro, and kin, fairly flies through its paces. Try buying a souped-up 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 MacBookPro 2011 (8,1) for a couple of C-notes and chump change. Unsouped it goes for $650-800 according to OK, so, well, maybe not, as it is a headless horseman, ergo, it's permanently tethered to my big LCD screen....

My previous rescue Mac project, and old headless souped up 2007 MacBookPro 3,1 is now the flatscreen TV's very own Mac. The MBP was some skateboarder's thrashed pet MacOllie project, I got it for a C-note off Craigslist. I put another couple of C-notes into it (it needed a battery too), and a $17 BookEndz Docking Station took care of most of the thrashed ports.

It was a real hassle to work around having no screen (bad inverter) when the hard drive went south. I had to reformat it on another Mac. It also had a bad DVD drive, wonky audio ports, no microphone or speakers to speak of. (I bought it for the 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor so I could run TurboTax—probably the only reason why I upgrade my Macs, to pay my taxes, yetch. I need a drink). I persevered with myriad odd workarounds, and got several fabulous years' worth of hotroddy use out of it.

I couldn't turn it off very often either, as the off-on switch is grotty. So, a new battery was a must. I added a Seagate solid state hybrid drive, and doubled the maximum proscribed memory, and the old MBP thought it was a rocket.

My current Mac rescue rebuild project: a 2.26 GHz MacBook Late 2009 Unibody, for Neil, and for me, a 2010 MacBook (swappable polycarbonate case, screen, trackpad, keyboard, memory & batteries). An added bonus—it has a working screen. A real laptop I can take with me when I teach. Or run TurboTax.

I did my homework, it took several months of searching Craigslist to find the MacBook model I wanted (at 2.4GHz, the mid-2010 MacBook shares parts with the late 2009 MacBook, and the 2009-2010 MacBookPro). Processor speed and compatibility are important. They all swap spit, as it were. But even more significant, it would support 16 GB of memory, critical to run the latest Mac OS.

The 2010 MacBook was positively crippled with 4 GB memory, which, according to Apple, was the maximum amount of memory it could support, but I found it was barely functional with double that, at 8 GB of memory. Hard to believe it shipped with only 2 GB of memory. No wonder the woman was selling it. Spinning beachballs drive me mad. What was Apple thinking? But with 16 GBs of OWC memory it's now a blazingly fast machine. It has a new lease on life.

Also, I was told that the MacBook couldn't access the full 16 GB memory under Snow Leopard (I'd only get 8 GB), that the tweaked memory hack only worked under Mountain Lion or later. Not true. I have full 16 GB of memory, so much memory, Snow Leopard hardly knows what to do with itself.

Cost for the 2010 MacBook via Craigslist was a C-note, I already had the SSHD from my 2009 MB, I swapped it. Memory was $130, so a souped up 2010 seldom-used MacBook (almost-Pro) for $230, (or $330, counting the SSHD), isn't bad at all, considering that lesser dysfunctional MacBooks were going for much more on Craigslist.

The 2009 MacBook I got for free (bad trackpad and bulging battery, replete with the slow OEM Apple hard drive, and 2 GBs of basic memory meant it was dysfunctional). A new battery, 8 GB of memory (Apple said that 4 GB was maximum supported memory), and a SSHD drive set me back nearly $300, but I got 3-and-a-half years' worth of trouble-free computing from it. Time to pass it onto Neil who's kvetching up a storm on the limitations of the old Macbook 1,1.

It was a little weird taking the bulging battery out of the unibody case. But OWC provided the odd tri-flange screwdriver and clear instructions with the battery. I had it swapped out in no time. Apple never mean for us lackeys to ever change those batteries. Non-user entropy or something. You can look undah mah hood but no touching!

Alas, I discovered the original OEM Apple 5400 RPM hard drive that came with the 2010 MacBook was painfully SLOW! Reformatting did not help. By contrast, the Seagate hybrid drive is a miracle worker. Having that solid state NAND flash chip for basic repetitive functions really speeds processes up. Never underestimate the speed of a hard drive on basic OS functions.

(A note: the combo of the solid state drive and maxed out memory meant the 2009 MacBook ran hot, and the skidproof silicone backing on its bottom partially peeled off, making it a sticky duct tape debris dream in droopy diapers. Not a pretty sight. A plastic outer case kept its drawers in place. When I switched to the Seagate hybrid drive, the MacBook ran cooler, and I was able to clean it up and massage its bottom back onto the aluminum case.

Actually I was looking for a junked 2009 case so I could fix the bottom on mine, and the trackpad too when I stumbled upon the 2010 MacBook. And one thing led to another.)

Souped up, these two models are basically throttled MacBookPros in white polycarbonate bodies and fewer ports. (Not having the flash memory card port is a minus). The large hybrid drives are replete with multiple OS systems so I can swap systems on the go if I want to. Plus, with all that added memory, the MacBooks can handle High Sierra...

I will probably stick with El Capitan, though. (Bottleneck OS speed is an issue with Sierra). But truth be known, I prefer the surprisingly stable, and might I add, zippy (with maxed out memory and SSHD) Snow Leopard. So, I'm straddling the OS decades and hedging my bets.

It's like pulling teeth, weaning Neil off from my old 2006 warhorse MacBook 1,1 which is alive and well, but Snow Leopard is the end of the OS line for the first 32-bit Intel Core Macs. (I tried running Mountain Lion on it. Mistake. I had to pull the hard drive to get it out of white screen.) The old MacBook 1,1 is a souped up (2GB memory (it came with 512 GB memory), plus a real SSD solid state drive) but the trackpad's clicker broke. Try finding a replacement. Yeah. Too old. Time to retire it.

The MacBook 1,1 was the only Macbook I paid "full used market price" for and that was under $1000 as I got it used from Apple Refurb. It promptly blew its 1.0 build motherboard when we were in Scotland, and was replaced with a better one (1.1) for free, thanks to AppleCare. And eleven years later, it's still kicking. Talk about solidly built.

He's resisting the migration to the newer 2009 MacBook I fixed for him—even with the royal blue cover and keypad skin. So I'm refusing to fix the old one. Time to move up, but I still can't get Neil off Snow Leopard—even though I have Mt. Lion and Mavericks systems on all the newer MacBooks. I can't even get him to use an iPod, or an iPad, let alone, an iPhone, or an Android smartphone.

I haven't the heart to tell him that the newest Macs will be more like the iPhone/iPad  iOS, and that the wave of the future is already here. Beasties of different colors in sleekit iOs coats are milling at the gate.

See also:
Macury Retrograde Or what could go wrong with my flies upgrading to Snow Leopard?
On iClouds & Motherships
Lloyd Reynolds' Calligraphic Legacy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

BOTTLESHOCKED (looon/haiku)

Last night he washed the kitchen floor
with a bottle of two-buck Chuck chardonnay
This morning the floor seems a little hung over.

I prefer wine in a glass, or even a jam jar
but I considered breaking out the straws 
when I thought it was the bottle of Beaulieu.

The floor was clean as a whistle
but the bottleshock proved to be too much.
Our sticky feet whispered guilty accusations.


Looon is spelled with 3 ooos 
(aka lune/American haiku).

Use three words,
and add five more words
and three words.

Or five words,
seven words,
five words.

(....vs. counting syllables). I can't count, obviously.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Adding old journal entries

I am still working on expanding and filling out my blog, especially the early years, where I previously failed to find relevant work. In addition to mining Facebook's On This Day posts for pithy tidbits from the past (but that only goes back to 2007), I've taken to mining my old journals too.

I think I've nearly come a full year cycle mining Facebook's On This Day posts....there are days and weeks where I missed checking to see if there was anything relevant, but I think I've mined the lionshare of potential material.

You'd think that by now I would've covered all the salvageable, or should I say mineable On This Day posts, but I haven't been diligent about it. I am still surprised by what surfaces. Take my mallard rescue story, also a recent Facebook rescue:

Hypnotizing a Wild Duck
Solstice rant after getting flame mail from a stranger (from flame mail)
Gems in the Basement
Broken Crockery

I am always interesting in salvaging original posts that led to longer stories, or poems. Some are prose poems in their own right. I've been trying to save first drafts, as it were, and then I "marry" them with finished pieces.

Picking Strawberries from the Strawberry Tree
which became
Arbutus, Madroño, or a Strawberry Tree by any other name

I've already gone through all my poetry e-files, and scanned all hard copies, so no hope there. On the years with few entries, I've only made modest gains, a piece or two per year. So, I've gone back yet again to fine-comb my journals looking for lost nuggets. Tedious work. But the end is in sight.

I've been working on 1998, which apparently was a particularly dismal year for writing. I only found 13 entries and one was a repeat poem (2 versions), and 3 were art (only nine bits of writing for an entire year?) I'm now up to 26 entries (but 3 are still fluff), and I don't know if I can squeeze much more out of that year.

But I rescued this: The Higher Functions of Lower Math (Archie Williams). And a few work-related pieces: Catering the US Open Golf Tournament which intersects with Tiger Woods' rise to fame.

The output for 1999 is equally as dismal. My goal is 52 posts per year (poetry, prose, journal, or art). On some of those lean years I'll be lucky to get 25 posts. I'll settle for 40 posts per year. But there are definitely holes.

I've taken to lifting random journal entries, that when separated from my larger tirades, document an interesting space in time. Some of it's exhausting to read, and it's just plain weird to re-enter a timeframe nearly 20 years in the past, and try to pick up where I left off and render it into something readable.

Perhaps the most surprising discoveries were my Pat Wall entries. I didn't even realize I had written them. My friend Micaela's father, Pat Wall opened the first modern art gallery on the west coast in Monterey, which was an artistic and literary intersection that included the likes Edward Weston, Ellwood Graham, Joseph Albers, Jean Varda, Robinson Jeffers, Henry Miller and John Steinbeck. Pat's avant garde gallery changed the face of art on the West Coast.

Of course, there's next to nothing on Pat or the Pat Wall Art Gallery on the internet. Something Micaela and I always meant to do was to formally collect Pat's oral history. I know Micaela did some work, but it's not readily available and I no longer remember the specific details. So it was lovely to rediscover this particular entry.

There's also a large chunk of notes on Miller and Dali that I bogged down on, so I jettisoned it. Maybe I'll get back to it later. I've only just barely scratched the surface with this material so painstakenly collected during the pre-internet days.