many thanks to mr paul ford for making this. he recently wrote about tilde at medium.
i don't know what i'm doing and it's fun
you seem nice, thanks for visiting.
check back for updates if you like
December 1, 2014
Welcome to the Holiday Family Hotline! We're here for you 24/7 through the tension-filled days leading to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
November 6, 2014
Today is a tilde catch up day, I'm going to browse around and see what's new. It's so great to see what people are doing, and the charming enthusiasm and honesty of almost everyone on here creates a very inviting place. It makes me feel like it's okay to try things I ordinarily might shy away from. I try to wrap my brain around what some of you are talking about - the computer language talk is especially difficult for me to grasp - but still it's linked to a very small, delicate tendril of curiosity. Can I ever grasp any of this? I don't know, but maybe I can...try? Maybe. We'll see.
Interestingly, I didn't feel guilty about not posting for a week or so - it was more a bit of anxiety that I'd let time get away from me and then end up with too many thoughts blocking the writing pipe and jam myself up. I tend to do that.
Dave Rutledge's tilde page is so helpful, it's invaluable for keeping up with what's happening here. I also came across a sweeeeeeet little page from PB via toph's river of tilde page. Go and see for yourself.
From the river page, I browsed over to Whitneymcn's page to read a post about talking to her mom on the phone. My family is one of those types that talk to each other all the damn time - yet this still a rang a bell. Matt Haughey is posting often and Meg also posted recently (a post about how it feels online lately, which I could very much relate to.) Of course I check Choire's page often. Like so many other people, I love his writing.
Another thing I liked was a page from Duncan which documented a little of his experience at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, which brought back a wash of memories of a long ago road trip to - you guessed it - the Albuquerque Balloon Fest. I remember waking up to a sky filled with enormous, floating airships, full of wonder and delight. I wonder who else here has seen that view? It's nice to find these things in common with people who otherwise would be mysterious strangers.
Over on twitter today I came across a link posted by Martin aka hellbox to a list of 20 books he loves by women writers. I love that you made this list, Martin. I've heard the best things about Octavia Butler but I've never read her, I'm going to track down one of her books now.
Now I'm off to explore a little more and meet some new people. More links to come!
November 5, 2014
Hi tilde, how are you? This is such a nice quiet place to think. I've missed that in the hustle and bustle of the past few weeks.
For the first time in years, I wasn't home to give out candy on Halloween. Instead I was babysitting a one year old while also dogsitting my father's 15 year old blind, deaf, incontinent dog whose one remaining joy in life is food.
I knew I was not up to the task of handing out candy to 100 trick-or-treaters at the end of an exhausting work week, while shooing a stubborn dog away from the candy bowl and running hitherdither after a quick, curious infant.
So I hid from the holiday at my dad's empty house in the hills.
I ended up spending much of the weekend cooking. He has a huge kitchen, and it's a pleasure to cook in that kind of space when your own kitchen is 80 square feet. I went wild - macaroni and cheese with homemade bechamel sauce, ricotta burgers with carmelized onions, and chicken lemongrass soup with rice. I don't eat like that all the time - who could!? - but I'd slipped up and spent a recent rainy Sunday watching cooking shows - temporarily hypnotizing me and turning me into a zombie foodie until my traumatized budget and screaming waistline snapped me out of it.
Perhaps because I was in a strange kitchen working with unfamiliar equipment, perhaps because I was cooking from memory and cobbled together internet recipes, but nothing worked perfectly, especially the soup.
My memory of making this soup in the past is it's a fresh-tasting, fairly simple soup which became my fussy niece's favorite winter meal. This time it came out more like an exotic chicken stew. Not a super outcome. At least the cat is enjoying the chicken this week.
The dishes I make best are those I've practiced repeatedly until I have some kind of the muscle memory of how it all fits together. I've managed to amass a huge cookbook collection just as I finally grasp that recipes aren't the holy grail to a great dish - they are just a guide. I still have to figure it out for myself, then practice, and practice some more. Repeat until death.
I find this so perfectly ironic. It's everything - photography, relationships, life in a nutshell. Knowing and doing are not the same thing. I'm sure I've found the way - collect books! books contain all the answers! - and I'm literally halfway through life when I realize, Ummm, there's more to this than I thought. All the information may be in the books, but they can just point me to a path I still have to walk on my own.
In the next life, maybe I will karmically advance to the machine learning robot stage.
Last night I made a red velvet cake for a friend, and tonight I am making an English rose tea cake. Try, practice, repeat, and be prepared to eat a lot of so-so cake.
October 17, 2014
I have been thinking about the connection of all these thoughts to tilde, and what I came up with is: this feels a bit like venturing off by yourself, with no clear agenda, on the road next to fellow travelers heading for different destinations. It's a little exciting, a tiny bit lonely, it's all on you to figure the whole thing out, you don't know who you'll meet and where you'll end up. But you have to take chances and feel foolish and find your way.
October 16, 2014
A few years ago I saw a film called "Tokyo Waka," about the crows of Tokyo. That's where I came across the work of Masahisa Fukase, an amazing Japanese photographer. Fukase is most famous for his images of birds, taken in the 1970s and 1980s. I was moved by his story so I tracked down one of his books through the interlibrary system. His individual images are incredible, but bundled together into a book, the work is a revelation. That's how the best photo books feel, as if they are more than the sum of their parts - individual images that form a wider cohesive picture, express an inexpressible feeling.
One fascinating aspect of the book is the afterword, written by photo editor Akira Hasegawa. I carry a copy of the afterword around with me. I think about it often, wrestle with the ideas in it, try to place them into context of the culture and time it was written. The part that always gets me is:
Solitude is a form of illness. The degree of the trouble is still minor when one chooses a cat or a dog as a partner to relieve tedium. There is hope of recovery if the illness is still at the stage where a person can be saved by having a relationship with something that will definitely respond to his behavior.
The illness gets more serious when the person stops seeking out relationships and just stares. Such a person no longer questions the meaning of the other party's behavior but only engages in the act of staring. The self doing the staring no longer exists. The person who stares descends gradually into a nothingness where it becomes hard for him to distinguish himself from the dog being watched.
That is kind of a wild & crazy statement. It is both true and totally untrue. I have my reasons for not wanting to believe solitude is a form of illness, but then again, in the context of the tribal, socially connected world we live in, maybe it is. This could just be a subject photographers worry about, or people who think too much about the impacts of social media, and the average reader can't relate to any of this. I don't know, I'm just tossing this out there. I think solitude is essential to the development of the self. The development of the self doesn't always lead to happiness, however.
I don't want to link to one of his photos and end up infringing someone's copyright, so I encourage you to search Fukase out yourself. Since I can't link to his bird photos, here is a photo I took of a flock of starlings in winter in California, 2010.
October 16, 2014 - Part 2
Looked for my notebook from my trip to Europe so many years ago, could not find it this morning. I did however find some receipts/souvenirs.
October 15, 2014
I love driving around the west, I love seeing new places, photographing what I find, thinking about the history under my feet. A few things make it difficult. The first is the need to travel alone, and the second is working up the courage to talk to strangers.
Most people are only distrustful and wary until you engage them. But if you express a genuine interest in their lives and communities, most are excited to share with you. One barrier to conversations is anxiousness about traveling alone. There's no getting around it. I always feel vulnerable when I'm far from home and on my own. Not only do I feel like a standout amongst all the couples and families, there's an undeniable need to stay on guard, be cognizant of my surroundings and vigilant about my environment in a way I almost never feel when I'm traveling with another person. The guardedness is a barrier to opening up and engaging with people.
Traveling alone is not really a hardship - the rewards are worth it. I feel more self confident, experienced, capable. Knowing I can figure things out on my own is a gift. But you have to think differently than you do when you are traveling with a friend or family. Things you take for granted - feeling safe because you're part of a group, feeling like others are sharing the burden, having help with planning and decisions - evaporates when you are alone.
Taking time on your own is another battle. There are personal relationships to consider. People you don't want to hurt, who may feel rejected or wish they were invited. People you really like and want to spend more time with, but you know you won't get what you need done if you ask them along. One thing I do too often is try to compromise. Travel with my family, but take a morning or an afternoon to explore on my own, which always seems to lead to disappointing them or disappointing myself. Another thing I have experienced is feeling like a total stupid idiot, the rotten, incessant refrain of "WHAT AM I DOING HERE?" swirling in my head. Every time I go out on my own, I am accompanied by that doubting voice. It makes me feel terrible for a few hours. But, I know it will pass.
There's no way to escape those feelings. Maybe I'm in the wrong place, maybe I'm doing the wrong thing, maybe I should have gone left instead of right. It just goes with the territory. Things aren't always going to go according to plan, and in my case, I rarely even have a plan. I just feel the need to go, I see an opening and I take it. I don't know where I'll end up, who I'll talk to, where I'll spend the night, eat, pee. But I know I'll wind up somewhere, I'll make it through okay and the experience will make me more confident and capable next time.
Okay, there's a tiny chance of being murdered, because, let's face it, this is America. It's unpredictable, like an odd, repressed relative who sometimes sends a check on your birthday but has also been known to occasionally throw a carving knife at Thanksgiving. But if I survive, I'll at least learn what not to do, for instance, go off and get murdered.
The first time I ever traveled alone was coming home from Europe to the United States. I was backpacking around with some college friends and rapidly running out of money. I left them on a beautiful island in Greece and started for Germany. Thinking back on it now, I can't believe I did it. How did I even manage to convey my need for a ticket to the Greek mainland? I didn't speak Greek, and very few of the people I met spoke English. I remember feeling sea sick on the ferry, a long, dusty bus ride to the city, walking in circles in Athens as people tried to help me find the kiosk that sold bus tickets to the port, another long bus ride, this time sitting next to a brazen, handsy young man I felt the need to run and hide from once I got to Pireas.
A nice man with red hair who worked on the overnight ferry to Italy took pity on me and gave me oranges and spaghetti, because I had no Italian lira to buy food. I remember sleeping outside, on the deck, under the stars, the smell of the salty sea for company. A train ride to Venice, the birds in Piazza San Marco, more trains, stories about gypsy robbers, finally, days later, the blunt buildings and grey sky of Frankfurt. I had $36 to my name when I landed at SFO.
That trip is where my wanderlust began, because after the anxiety and the watchfulness came the exhilaration. I did it. I made it. I survived on my own for 5 days across Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany. A 22 year old from the sticks of California, the first person in my family to go abroad.
In retrospect of course, I realize it wasn't hard traveling at all. It wasn't Africa or the Amazon jungle. And I still don't travel the hard way. My roughing it days are, for the most part, over. I want a bed and a shower and a lock on the door.
That's okay, though. It doesn't matter how you do it, you just have to do it. To see something new requires the discomfort of feeling like a stranger.
I travel alone often now. Usually just a weekend here, a weekend there. I roam around, look for signs, watch the light go down in a new place, tuck my own self in.
When I'm scared, I think of something the photographer William Clift once asked me:
October 14, 2014
The south wind is blowing and it smells like rain. We need rain so badly. Everything - trees, grass, animals - is dry and parched. Moisture in the air now is like a kind of fertile blessing.
On the way to work today I was at a traffic light and glanced at my phone. My phone is set to ask to join networks. The display popped up 'FBI Surveillance Van." It's probably somebody's idea of a joke, but I live in the pot capital of the world, so you never know. In Southern California last month I came across a wifi network named "FBI Regional" in an area where the FBI really has an office. Very strange. Interesting to consider what kind of person would opt to use FBI wifi. Can't help thinking of the famous song by Was (Not Was) "Hi Dad, I'm in jail."
I was bummed to hear about the closure of the SF Bay Guardian today. The SFBG has been a loud, proud progressive voice in the city. All the writers, editors and staff must be hurting. I always picked up a copy when I was in town. It's not suprising when any publication shuts down these days, but it is sad news for the whole city.
Speaking of bad news, I am definitely not sitting around obsessively clicking links to stories about a worldwide Ebola pandemic. Definitely not. Because I'm a rational person and I know I'm much more likely to die of cance... Sorry. I got sidetracked reading another terrifying story about Ebola. What was I saying?
Yesterday I spent a few hours looking at Unix tutorials and trying to understand obscure commands. I like to understand how things work, but in this case, I am far far out of my depth. However, you gotta like something which has commands named "awk" and "netbeans."
October 11, 2014
Trying to overcome a bad case of catimgitis - the feeling that my blog is desperately lacking a cat picture.
World, meet Gracie. Gracie, welcome to tilde.
October 10, 2014
Just a quick note. I'm obv not capable of any systems administration or technical wizardry but if I can help out here, I'd like to. I've got a random bag of useful skills and heaps of professional experience. Paul Ford has plenty on his plate and I don't want to bother him so I'm just putting this here in the hope that the universe might work some of it's random magic.
This is a lovely, helpful, fun group and however I can assist, I'm happy to give back.
October 9, 2014
I just want to briefly tell you how I'm doing this. When I said I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn't joking.
To log in, Paul instructed us to log in via ssh. I googled ssh.
First I downloaded Putty. That was very strange and cool. I used it to log in to the server, where I saw a black screen with an ascii pony and a faq. I also saw people talking!! I got so excited. It took a couple of tries before I figured out how to send a message and by then I was a very giddy. I was promptly (and sweetly) advised to calm down. It was good advice.
The first few times I edited my index page I used putty. But overall putty was a little unwieldy for me, probably because it was so unfamiliar and also I was afraid I would inadvertently crash the server.
I looked for another ssh client and found WinSCP. It has a graphic interface like Windows Explorer so it was much easier to see what I was doing. I've been using that ever since. Sadly, I can no longer see messages or anyone chatting on the "wall" anymore.
The biggest help has been other club members, such as Dave Rutledge who offered me help making links and David Janke, for pointing out broken code, as well as people who made sweet little tools to explore and analyze pages at tilde. The diskusage page helped me figure out I should resize my images and clean up my index folder.
Posting photos was a challenge at first, mainly because I had to try to remember (and code) the correct dimensions of different kinds of instant film.
I can't remember how to put in columns and change margins so I'm going to have to watch some Youtube videos on html formatting.
Looking at page code gives me some idea of how things work, but it can also be really confusing. I copy and paste things into Notepad and try them in my browser. But sometimes I get confused about where I'm working - Notepad? WinSCP? - and hit update on the wrong file. That's how I managed to make my main column about an inch wide yesterday for a few minutes. I haven't yet figured how to tell the system I would like most recent posts at the top of the page, but hopefully I will get there. (Note: I JUST FIGURED THIS OUT~! I'm sorry if this no longer seems to make chronological sense.) I also hope to make new pages, if I can figure out how.
Here are some links to even more super fun/useful/nice pages: tomh, choire, meg, maureen, tim, donohoe, adam, fireland and matthew baldwin. Anthony made a great primer to help newbies get started, it is here. There are many more playful and sweet things here I have to collect links for. For a list of recently updated tilde pages you can click here.
October 8, 2014
Many of the signs found on the road are ads for the common human vices -
Some are inducements for travelers -
Many are inadvertently funny -
Some are sweet -
October 7, 2014
One of my favorite things to photograph is handpainted, old or unusually charming signs, especially if I'm shooting with a Polaroid camera. After so many years, I've exhausted the possibilities in my own small town, so frequently when I'm traveling I find myself pulling off the highway to explore new places.
Just as Polaroid film began to disappear a few years ago, handpainted signs are fading away too, replaced by cheaper, flimsier, quickly made vinyl signs.
Two trips this summer, one to Colorado and one to Southern California, made it starkly clear to me how fast the world is changing. For the first time I can recall, it was hard to find signs to photograph with my old cameras.
Things change, that's nature, I accept it. Nostalgia is a tricky thing with photography, you can focus on the past so much you miss the present. I dont want to do that, the world is a very interesting place. But, especially in the West, we have a way of bulldozing the recent past and obliterating history of place unless we can put it in a park or turn it into a moneymaking amusement.
I drive around and look at things and take pictures, hoping to catch ghosts along the way.
Salton City, CA
October 3, 2014
How to begin? Yesterday I looked at every single homepage at tilde.club. I wish I had thought to log links! So many clever, funny or relatable pages. It was fascinating and inspiring and intimidating. It made me think about what I should do. I don't quite know! I'm so out of my depth it's a bit ridiculous. All of this reminds me of the early days of the internet. In fact I can almost hear the dial up sound of a modem connecting as I type this.
My very first experience with anything resembling the internet was in 1992, when I used FTP from an MSDOS machine with 2 mb of ram and 85 mb of drive space. I still have that computer in a box in my garage. I saw it this morning as I went out to collect clothes from the dryer. Instant nostalgia.
In 1991 I'd graduated from college and was freelancing for a newspaper covering a murder trial. I used a little program to send my stories to them. At the time, newspapers had no presence on the internet. Actually, to be more precise, I'm not sure there was an internet. As far as I could see there were only modems and they could connect to other machines, if you knew how. There wasn't even a clear understanding of why you might want to do that. So anyway. I ftp'd my story and the next day, there it was on the front page of the Redding Record-Searchlight. A brand new journalism grad, who had never heard a whisper about the thing which was even then turning journalism upside down.
A few years later, like a flashlight in a dark room, came Netscape Navigator. After that everything seemed to happen faster and faster. Anyone could and did say anything to anyone. It was a wild, strange, goofy and overwhelming era. I wandered around, looking for my people, and somehow found Heather Champ's photo blog. Eventually that led me to Flickr, where I made a little home. Most of the groups I participated in before 2004 are gone.
I remember the wonderful feeling of making connections to others that I felt in the early days. How you could fall in love with someone who loved the same books and bands, could quote the same movies. Those moments seem rarer these days. The internet is all real names now. There are consequences for mis-steps. Sometimes it feels a little exhausting. Having a presence on many platforms - Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr - is like running in circles. I leave my amazing phone on silent because it's literally ONE MORE THING.
And here I am now, typing this! What I am doing here. All I can tell you is it's fun, and it feels different, and it's a huge challenge, and the only terms of service are no drama.
So now I will try to build a little page. I dont know what I'll put on it. I will figure that out as I go. The only way I know how to do things is by looking at page source and google so please forgive me if I mess up. I hope you don't mind if I peek at some pages now and try to figure out how to create margins and a layout that is not so hard on the eyes.