Recently on this page, I raved about still photography. There sits my old Nikon FM: empty, ready, willing, but unused. It was my teacher. Play with an FM and you will learn about photography's essence. But lately I've moved into that gray area between still photography and motion pictures called electronic photography, and I am amazed at what I can do. My talent with a camera is at last married to my talent with a computer, and I feel great things will happen. (Jon Jost gave a good interview in the September 1999 issue of DV Magazine, and he pretty well corroborates my similar feelings for motion pictures.)
There are a few things I enjoy which have no relationship at all to art or work. I bike. I swim and snorkel. I like to walk. In my private moments around the house, I've been known to dance around like a nut to particular bars of trance and electronica. And to put all those escaped calories back into my body after all that exercise, I love to eat. Lately, the calories have been winning over the exercise, but that's the way it tends to go over 40. A gym rat, I'm not. I have a life.
I walk a lot, though, because I can't really keep a car in good maintenance. I'm great with electronics, but miserable with mechanical things. It's not that I can't understand mechanical things, but that I don't seem to get why cars can't be as reliable and predictable as computers. Plus they're messy. They drip. Cars need to be fed, drained of noxious fluids from time to time, and insured like they were your own children. You can see why I like telecommuting.
When I was a kid, I had interests in astronomy and mineralogy. Today, I can still spot the planets and (occasionally) get the best of a certain astrologer friend who tends to rely on his computer more than his eyes for the positions of these bodies. I still have those rocks and fossils, too. Sometimes guests in my home see the rocks and ask if I'm New Age. Sadly, they couldn't be further from the truth.
I don't proselytize because I don't want to mimic christian evangelism and other sects vulnerable to (and often captive of) charismatic dysfunction, such as nichiren buddhism or fundamentalist islam. Any belief which asserts rhetoric and dogma over the power and worth of the human who's supposed to embrace it is necessarily at risk. Life is precious. Words are just words, and are much more apt to change -- or become weapons -- on a whim.
People can and should express control over their lives. People heal when they make their wisdom and empathy work together. When we can own up to all the facts, celebrate wisdom, joy, and understanding... to revel in the sheer breadth of the universe as it is instead of fabricated mechanisms... we'll all be much better off. To put it another way, the moon offers at least as much joy and reward when known as a fact, as a land, than it did when it was just a goddess of the night. I'm old enough to remember the first Earthrise photograph when it was new, and you can't tell me that was not powerful thing to see.
Naturally, I rooted for Jodi Foster's character in the movie Contact.
While I'm individualistic, I very much like to spend time with friends. I have close ties to my biological family, and we love each other very much. But friends make up my family of choice. We simply go out, nosh, see shows, and spend time together. Since I moved to Andersonville (a neighborhood on Chicago's north side), I'm in better touch with many of my good friends who've also settled there and in places nearby. We have contentious conversations over those late-night coffees, but I wouldn't trade their company for anything. They keep me very, very real.