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August 25th, 2006

picture postcards of dogs

Lately I am taken with the creation of cards in MS Paint. In the left-hand column of the card, I place a photograph to which I have applied ink effects to obtain splashes of color. In the right-hand side of the card, I place a few lines of text. It is possible that my mind is addled by the constant whirr of giant fans, which provides the ambient music at my home today. My current thinking is that an entire cartoon of stills with text might make an effective film. Perhaps I should star my dogs in this film. I have been taken with the idea of dogs in weblogs ever since a print writer I read ten years ago sniffed out some satiric phrase about people who upload pictures of their cats to the internet. Although I am sympathetic to those who rue the day that people discovered how to upload snapshots of sunsets, I like to see the images people share.

The old saw runs that a picture is worth a thousand words. Words seem pretty important to me right now, as do sounds, particularly when I must connect headphones to my central processing unit in order to hear sonic hills of the sound of music on my computer, as opposed to the windmill splendor of what I shall euphoniously term the Great Whirr.

The thing about endless still photos with text, animated with some appropriate software, is that the words as well as the pictures can tell a story. I frankly am positively from Samaria on the old saw--because I like any 1,000 words of mine better than any picture I take. I notice that in social settings, for me, words become something of a commodity.
When I am near someone with whom i am comfortable, I spend them freely. Once in a while I spend them in discomfort. Usually, when I am among people I do not know well, words that matter get hoarded in combinations more secret than a Swiss bank.

I remember a woman in junior high school who tried too hard. She proved, in the long run, to be a rather attractive women, and she was, at that early age, less duckling than swan. Yet she had that indefinable but palpable need to be liked that is so often the death of social success. I wish I could ascribe some trite "she deserved it because she was depending on others to meet her needs" moral, like in a situation comedy. But the reality is that the troupe instinct sometimes disserves people who frankly don't deserve the ostracism inherent in just wanting to be loved. I have not kept up with the young woman, by the way, who, like me, would no longer qualify for the term. My rough recollection is that she married a man women found attractive, and lived happily ever after--almost like those episodes of the cartoon Daria in which Daria meets her aunt, and we all realize that this cool Aunt is the foreshadow of Daria herself as an adult.

My own instinct is to be effusive with people I like. I vaguely worry that this can be off-putting. Then, without losing my way of learning and calibration as situations evolve, I surrender myself to the effusion. We all need a little rain sometimes. We can all be a little rain, sometimes. Even if our poor dogs must bear the indignity of being placed into psychedelic cards with cute text. My dog Beatrice loves effusion, and tennis ball throws. I am not a particularly effective person in my kindness, but in the task of learning to connect better with people, I often suspect that precise exacto knife work is less important than assiduous glue on the modeling kit.

on reflection

"as long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise"--old Kinks song

I am virtually never bored. That's the good part of it all.

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