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Japanese Arch

Dan's Backyard: Japanese Arch

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


Day Two in Asheville. We're conspicuously avoiding the big weekend street festival in downtown Asheville this weekend (especially Christine Kane isn't playing) and have spent our night and day here thus far spending time with Seren and her friends, especially Tess Tickle's Brother and Midori's Mom. I think I mentioned a while back (can't find the entry) that meeting them for the first time was like hanging out with old, good friends that we'd known for a long time. It's still the same way.

Last night was Auction Night at a local auction house not too far from where Tess' Brother and Midori's Mom live. I actually saw a few items that I was interested in bidding on but they quickly went up beyond what I was willing to pay. Such is life.

The rest of the night was going to a Good Little Hippy restaurant for some real food to take back with us to Tess' Brother/Midori's Mom's place to have something on our stomachs to sop up some of the alcohol we were about to drink.

This afternoon was the Gem Show. Lots of interesting photographic opportunities -- that is until a very nice guy selling out his stock of tools told me that the promoters would confiscate my camera if they found me taking pictures. A bit extreme, I thought, but I put the camera away and figured I'd do the Better Safe Than Sorry thing. I got the few things I knew I needed pretty quickly; Bonn needs to return tomorrow to get what she decides overnight that she needs.

Tonight is Drag Queen Night at one of the local gay/drag clubs in town. Seren and her friends are pretty well known to a lot of the people there, so it should be a pretty cool time. (Seren says she usually has drag queens offering to buy her clothes) I'm taking my camera, although most aren't too sure about it. This will definitely be a situation where I ask permission before taking any photographs.

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Dan's Backyard: The Fountain

Dan's Backyard: The Fountain

July 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


When I was a kid summer vacation meant weeks and weeks of freedom and bliss.  Throughout May, June and early July I'd spend long, happy days glued to the television absorbing as much Game Show trivia as I possibly could.  My days started off with the "better" shows of the early and mid-morning, continuing through the lower-rung "desperation" shows that were the only alternatives to the ever-encroaching dirge of afternoon soap operas.  Depending on how old I was, those no-good-TV afternoons would be spent either playing downstairs in our cooler basement, reading in my bedroom or being kicked out of the house to "get some fresh air" or whatever my mother called her time without any kids underfoot.

Those were the days when I could tell you the prime time television schedule for each of the three major networks for any day of the week.  I was a happy kid, content with the simple things life had to offer.

Then came the middle of July.

The middle of July always meant one thing: The Two Weeks of Unmitigated Hell Known as Camp Cavalier Day Camp.

I warn you -- it's long. Really long. )

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Benches by the Rock Wave

Dan's Backyard: Benches by the Rock Wave

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


A quick catch-up on something I've wanted to point out to people for a while.

I've known [ profile] basefinder since we were about 10 or so (I think that's right), back when we were both in a children's book discussion group at our local library. Being a military brat, he moved away after just a few years, but we kept in touch through snail mail and while we lost touch for a while, we've managed to keep in touch fairly regularly over the years. LJ has helped a lot, and when he learned that I'd lost my job back last May he started calling once a week to check up on me and just listen while I struggled to put on The Brave Face and not fall to pieces.

That is a good friend.

A few weeks ago he wrote some very insightful, thought-provoking entries over at his blog. One was titles "Why blog?" (You can read my -- surprise! -- lengthy response to that simple question there as well). Another was on why he has the people he does on his LJ Friends list. Another was titled "But Scott, you're not religious. Why do you pray?"

If you're in a self-reflective mood at all, I urge you to wander over to Scott's journal and read his entries. Then comment.

As for the image above, this is the area where the Rock Wave photograph was taken. To the right of the statue, sitting on the top of the wall, there's a clump of leaves. Behind that is where the wave now hides. It was taken only about 5 or 6 weeks from the first picture, but the trees have already grown that much and have obscured it from view.

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Fountain in Dan's Garden

Dan's Backyard: Fountain #1 (Front view)

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


The first time I went through Dan's backyard I was so taken with the stone bench or couch that I managed to not turn around and look behind me as I walked down the pathway. Sure, I remember the pathway being narrow, but nothing much else registered.

Now, given the amount of stuff to see in Dan's garden, it's not all too surprising that I might miss a thing or two. Even missing something large might be understandable. I mean, there's stuff to see just about everywhere.

Missing a large pond with a 6' tall rock sculpture water fountain, though. That took some doing.

Fountain in Dan's Garden, Back view

Dan's Backyard: Fountain #2 (Back view)

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


Now, in my own defense, the fountain was turned off that first day so there was no sound to highlight the fountain or the pond. With the fountain on during the visit where these pictures were taken, it was the first thing I sought out. Walking into the garden area via the main path the pond takes up the center section and during the first visit I was looking more around the periphery.

It's good to have a second chance to see some things, ya know?

Today was a much easier day than yesterday. I'm feeling far less hungover and thoughts, coherient thoughts even, have managed to come far more easily. Mind you, I still have minimal energy, but at least I could sit in a chair at work and fumble my way through user problems reasonably well. As long as the users remain satisfied (which they were) I guess I'm still doing okay.

More movies tonight thanks to our extensive Netflix list. It's starting to become an interesting mix of movies, given Bonn's list and my own list. More about all that later.


Fried Day

Jul. 2nd, 2005 12:12 am
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Sun Mosaic #2

Dan's Backyard: Sun Mosaic #2

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


Left work around one o'clock to go set up for the weekend's show. Along the way I got a paniced call from The Boy wanting money -- something we'd just given him the day before. Turned out he was afraid he'd go through that money before the end of the month so he wanted more money from us today.

I hung up on him and turned the phone off.

Set up was longer than normal for some reason. Probably due to the heat, me not eating anything all day long and getting dehydrated. It was hard to concentrate and work out all of the puzzle pieces in my head.

Back home it was jewelry cleaning and packing. Bonn is still at it; I've dropped from exhaustion.

Luckily, I'm very good at being able to sleep just about anywhere. Like at shows, for instance.

The picture above is the same sun mosaic from a previous entry a week ago or so, only from a different angle. [ profile] drood really liked it so I purposely tried to get at least one more shot of it.

Of course, right now the image isn't showing up and I'm just too tired to fight with it any further.

Have a safe weekend everyone.

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Small Water Feature

Dan's Backyard: A Small Water Feature

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


This water feature, a phrase brought into the American lexicon by Charlie Dimmock, is hidden away in the far corner of Dan's Garden.  I found it almost by accident after taking some extra pictures of the sun mosaic (which will be posted later).

This weekend is the Festival for the Eno, a three-day sweat-fest that includes some good music, lots of drinking water, some very good friends and all the heat and humidity the weather can muster.  This year at least the temperatures are supposed to stay below 90 degrees F and the chance for rain is supposedly very low.

The past week has been Banglemania! time again.  Bonn wanted some beaded necklaces and bracelets for this show, so I took a day and made far too few of those (time-consuming buggers that they are) and the restof the week  has been nothing but bangles.  More of this fun is scheduled for tonight.

Tomorrow I'll go to work, drive to the show site in the afternoon and set the booth up and come home to polish up what I've made during the week. 

Ah, the carefree life of The Artist, Free to Follow His/Her Muse Wherever It Leads Them.

At least The Nields are playing on Saturday. 

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Water Pitcher

Dan's Backyard: Water Pitcher

May 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


It's just after 7am and the phone rings. Time was when fear would rise up in me, convinced that the call was from someone in Maryland saying something had happened to one of my parents or my brother. Now, though, I know who it is. The Why is still a question, but it's rarely good.


"Hi. I've got it all figured out," says The Boy's confident voice over the phone.

"Fine," I say. It's too early in the morning for all of the previous day's anger to be remembered, so I'm just playing along. "What do you have figured out?"

"School," he says. "How does this sound: film studies!"

"Film studies?" I ask.

See, I majored in film studies at the U of MD back when they actually had a film department. My senior year, when I could actually take any and all of the film studies classes I wanted to, ALL of the film studies professors went off on sabatical and I was left with TV classes. This not only twarted my goal of becomming a Snobby Film Critic, but taught me not to trust institutions of higher education.

Besides, there was one major problem with that major that I'd overlooked.

"There's no job at the end of that degree," I say flatly. From experience. This is something The Boy knows.

"What about 'Director'?" he asks.

I shake my head, a motion I know he can't see, but I can't help myself. After all, he's 19, not 9.

"You'd have to move to Hollywood and hope to find work in the studios, but you'd be a contractor. You wouldn't have a steady job and you wouldn't have health benefits."

"Oh," he says, after the slightest of pauses. "Then I have no idea."

Despite my statement of "Don't make the same mistake that I made when I got my degree and had no job at the end of it", I decide to, patiently, re-explain another part of our long and apparently wasted conversation on the drive down Saturday night. Go to the college's Career Councillor and ask them for help. They'll give you a long checklist of likes and dislikes to score from and give you an idea of some careers you might be suited for. Do this now, during the summer, while you have time and they have the time to take with you. Explain your needs and see what you come up with.

This, apparently, does not sound as earth-shattering as being a Director, however.

"Have you been up all night?" I ask.

Far too awake sounding he says, "No. I just got up."

We hang up.

Bonn calls to me, just barely awake. "What did he want?" she asks, not even asking who it was.

I tell her. Her first response questions his sanity. Her second response questions if he's been up all night.


Really, I do have a life of my own. I've seen some good movies on DVD lately thanks to NetFlix, read several good books on CD while driving or making bangles and I've posted lots of pictures up to my flickr account. We've done other things apart from dealing with The Boy's incessant neediness. It just doesn't seem that way.

Probably time to change all that.



Jun. 27th, 2005 08:32 pm
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Dragon Scales

Dan's Backyard: Dragon Scales

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


On the way home tonight I called Bonn to see if I needed to pick up anything for dinner.  I had expected her to be in a good mood from what I'd emailed her about my coversations with The Boy today.  Instead, he'd called her later in the afternoon, pulling the same old sh*t that he's pulled before. 

Instead of dipping his toes in the water, The Boy dove right in with a cannonball splash -- the kind intended to get everyone around him as wet as possible.

Bonn and Seren are going down sometime next week to straighten him out.  I'll stay here, take care of the cats and go to work as usual.

I'm angry, disappointed; I feel lied to and sucker punched.

After exercising in the sweltering NC humidity in a few minutes, I may feel better.  It's just that a follow-up entry is easier than responding in a very annoyed (at The Boy) tone to those of you who have already commented on the previous entry.


On a completely separate note:  Happy Birthday, [ profile] danedray!

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Updated Stone Bench

Dan's Backyard: Updated Stone Bench

June 2005 Chapel Thrill, NC


Saturday was a long, busy day.

In the early afternoon we drove back up to Chapel Thrill to discuss some things with Dan. While Dan and his girlfriend and Bonn were discussing some jewelry modifications I made a quick run through the garden and took a series of images of some of the things I'd missed the first time through (like a pond in the middle of the back with a 6 foot stone fountain sticking up out of it), some different angles on things I'd photographed the first time through (including some extra shots of the sun mosaic) and at least one update. That would be the one above.

The Stone Bench (last seen just a few entries back) has -- if memory serves me correctly -- zoysia grass planted on it. It's apparently a comfortable, hearty grass that doesn't need much cutting and is good for sitting and walking on.

The rest of the afternoon and evening were taken up with The Boy.

My own theories on The Boy's Week Home go along these lines: Freed from the oppressive thoughts of daily survival (Where am I going to get a job? Where am I going to get money for rent? For food? For medical supplies?) his mind was free to obsess over something else. He settled on the The Perfect Amanda and how he Couldn't Get Her Out of His Mind. Add on top of that his own sense of failure at having to move back with his parents after a school-year's worth of being on his own and he was headed for a boil over.

(There are, of course, other extenuating circumstances. Those remain part of a story that's really not mine to tell, so I'll just leave it at that)

Luckily we've been through this before so we knew more-or-less how to deal with it when it happened. Once we were back home there was an attempt at talking, but The Boy wasn't happy with anything we had to say so he stormed out of the house and went up to the studio.

About 10 minutes later he came back in and said he wanted to go back to Wilmington. I'm not sure if he was surprised at us agreeing on the spot, but that's what we did. A few hours later he and I were in a car driving down I-40.

I had brought along two short books on CD with the thought that I'd be listening to one of them on the stony-silenced way down and then starting the other one on the way back. Instead, I made an initial attempt at talking to him just after we left and he surprised me by being very willing to talk. We spent almost the entire ride talking.

I attempted to guide him, through questions, to some of the underlying, more root issues behind some of his problems. I think he was able to see some of them. (I hope, at least) I then moved it towards some avenues for solutions. I tried to get him to see the necessity in doing some basic things (writing a list of Things I Want; a list of Things To Do; mapping out this week with Things To Do; where to look for jobs, etc.) and while he said he saw some sense in them, I don't know if he'll actually do them.

When we got down there he said he was hungry and asked me to stop off at a Burger World. Instead, I offered to take him (and what little money he had) to a grocery store. He appreciated the trip there and the ride back to his apartment with groceries for the week.

I have to say, it was one of our best Father-Son outings. Very strange, but very good.

He's called two or three times today, asking in a slightly paniced voice how to deal with some mail that's come in for him. I've explained them all to him, given him some idea of what they mean, what needs to be done and what else he needs to do to get himself situated for the long run. I think it's all slowly starting to make sense to him now.



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