Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Skeletons out of the closet or beard of moving

Skeletons out of the closet or beard of moving
Originally uploaded by Theorris

You know you love to move. You know you do. You do you do you do.

I painted that skeleton pirate when I was 9, by the way. Sure he is paint by numbers, but I am still very proud of him.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What nature tells me in no particular order and things you learn from house hunting OR watching a whirlwind

  1. It is amazing how much lower you can set your thermostat and still be comfortable when the temperature outside is hovering around zero Fahrenheit.
  2. The accumulation of pointless scraps of paper seems to be the human condition.
  3. Pointless scraps of paper may have information that could lead to your economic demise, so you should shred them.
  4. Shredders have built-in-obsolescence.
  5. Finding a new place to live has much more to do with gut feeling than with the intellect.
  6. When your gut tells you that a new place to live is right, produce your checkbook instantly.
  7. Ignore that other place you saw that is for less money and has potential, but your gut tells you is wrong, even though, intellectually, it is probably the better deal.
  8. Play close attention to potential neighbors who cause you to worry.
  9. Enjoy the future.
  10. Worry about the present.
  11. Forget about the past.
  12. Never rent from an octogenarian who lets her 50-something son take a crap in your potential bathroom while you are looking at the house.
  13. Do not rent a duplex where the college students from Idaho in the other side take it upon themselves to park in your driveway just because they know it is vacant and slam doors incessantly while your are assessing the place.
  14. Put a black mark to landlords who don't even have the decency to return your call.
  15. Amuse yourself at landlords who ask you for advice about their rental houses, and realize that you must project some amount of authority to even be asked.
  16. Note that college-age kids, while full of vim and vigor, often are quite unmindful of appropriate attire for arctic temperatures.
  17. Be mindful yourself of how sharp your tongue can be to previously mentioned college students and landlords.
  18. Understand that feeling like you are in a wind tunnel is an acceptable feeling given the circumstances.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

"Who's a good kitty?"

"Who's a good kitty?"
Originally uploaded by Theorris

After a long day of wiping out rebel scum, TRS-80 is greeted by THX-1138 (that's what he named the cat.)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The mighty Arkansas.

The mighty Arkansas.
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Didn't take my camera
Barely made my plane
Enjoyed watching dysfunction
That wasn't our own

Across the wide river
Someone found peace

Remembered to revise

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

To the left! Cha! To the right! Cha!

If I weren't traveling this year for Hallowe'en (again) I'd definitely go as Rick Astley's dance moves.

It is kind of a reverse River Dance, don't you think? What he lacks downstairs he certainly makes up for with those damn flashy hand movements.

To the left! Cha! To the right! Cha! Palms down with side to side movement for "never gonna desert you!"


As my old Irish friend Elaine said when this video came out way back when I and the world was young: "Pooooor Rick Asslay!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ghost Spotting

Ghost Spotting
Originally uploaded by Theorris

On Saturday Christine & Eric, (at Awen Blog and a couple of other folks went ghost spotting at the Fort Douglas Cemetery in Salt Lake City.

I'm not sure, but I think I see something in the left middle of this picture. More information about the phenomenon can be found in this YouTube video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yu_moia-oVI

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Will Love Me

You Will Love Me
Originally uploaded by Theorris

How self-centered flowers are. What egotists!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

365 Day Project : I'm Out of here! or Don't Let That Door Smack You in the Ass

365/365: I'm Out of here!
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I intimated previously on flickr that my last picture for the accursed 365 day project wouldn't be anything special or any more thought out than any of the other ones. My impetus for thinking or plotting these 365 day pictures flagged within the first week or so. It was much less stressful and actually more fun just to snap a picture from a moment's inspiration. That's why, as well, there are mostly camera phone shots. It seems like a huge waste of time to gussy these 365 things up.

Anyway--it was sort of fun and I will never do anything like this again. You will also not see a self portrait of me for some freaking time.

I spent my commute in this morning thinking of what new photo projects I want to take on, now that this beast is behind me. I am still thinking about using the Shipler collection housed by the Utah Historical Society. The Shipler family took photos around SLC from the late 19th century until the mid-20th century. My idea is to figure out wherever the photographer took them from and re-image them to show what's happened. I've tinkered with it a bit in flicker in the past, but nothing spectacular emerged. (I took pictures of the 11th East corner before the nimrod tore it down, and compared it to the Shipler photos.)

Or I might just go for a 730 Day self portrait project!

Yeah right.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Evening Drive

Evening Drive
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Driving by Sugar House park in Salt Lake City is pure pleasure. Too bad most people don't even notice it in their steel cocoons.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interview project

David Lynch is sponsoring The Interview Project which appears to be filmed by his son (among others). It is stunningly good.

When I first saw the project I assumed they were just going to go around mocking "weird America," given its connection to David Lynch. I was surprised that the depiction is not only not mocking even in the slightest, but treats its subjects with respect, no matter how wacky or mundane. These are more than interviews--they are long photographs.

The interview with Brenda Wray was one of the hardest ones to watch. The interview with Clara, despite its seeming mundaneness, is one of the most inspiring.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

This modern life

This modern life
Originally uploaded by Theorris

The amount of fruit that goes un-harvested in my neighborhood is scandalous. Not far from where I took this shot there is a wonderfully endowed pear tree, heavy-laden with the fruit of a fine summer. Most of it too has fallen to the ground, unpreserved, only later to be scooped up by shovels and thrown into the trash.

Friday, October 02, 2009

And so it begins

Originally uploaded by Theorris

Well it is that time of year again: the start of basketball season. Utah played Denver and waxed the floor with them--108 to 87 last night. Preseason, of course means nothing, but it is good to see the Jazz off to this kind of start.

It is going to take a great deal of work, of course, for the Jazz to get back to the height of the Stockton/Malone era. Perhaps the statues out front of the Meltdown Center will finally work some magic after years of some pretty mundane play.

With Collins gone, I'm not sure I'm going to have an Ostertag to bitch about this year, other than aiming that at the poor besotted Boozer.

In a weird, pre-season bit of coincidence, former Running Ute Pace Manion, who is currently a rather stiff Utah Jazz commentator along with the non-stiff Thurl Bailey, was in the Apple Genius Bar line in front of me yesterday. I was just working out that it was him when the Genius approached and said "Pace? What's your problem?"

I left it at that.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thoughts on solipsism--an appreciation

So there is a moment in Kaufman's Synendoche, New York
That the hero's alter-ego throws himself off the top stage
And dies a horrible death, face down in the fake concrete
Skull crushed to oblivion for nothing more than the love
Of the box office.

Or is it the girl whose name is on your breath?
Or is it the woman whose house burns continually
And kills her, eventually, or the wife whose shower
Runs continually, who is never there for you to clean
But you clean, anyway, and sleep in the walk in
Hoping to avoid the disaster that is imminent

He cries, before he takes his deadly doppleganger plunge
"You don't see other people! You only care about yourself!"
Or something like that.

Where does that take us? What are we to say to such
A suicide plunge?

How do you feel about yourself these days?
Have your noticed skin lesions? Strange moles?
How are your bowel movements?

But it is all fine, because the hero survies
The hero moves on in his existence of me and me
And just a little bit of you
Until the little voice in his ear says

So you will die, earpiece in place,
And worms won't even consume
The last little bit of you sealed up
In some steel coffin.

Your pills will take care of the

You remain, just as you are
Just as empty
Just as tiny
Just as

Friday, September 25, 2009

Musing on Fairs of States

Butter Cows
Originally uploaded by ribizlifozelek

How could I miss the State Fair for 10 years in a row now? I used to like going to the fair--particularly visiting the animal stables, and admiring how their owners had preened and spiffed up beyond recognition their cows or sheep or pigs. Further on, the chicken house was always unbelievably noisy, given that chickens are perhaps the noisiest bird known to man (save perhaps the previously-mentioned magpie) and not only cackle, but crow, and guffaw, and screech through most of the day. I also quite enjoyed going to look at the prize vegetables and wondered how in the hell they could get them to last not just through a county fair but through a state fair as well. It was a wonder of modern agriculture to me. Of course I never considered that they put in different vegetables to replace their county fair winning entries, but that would take the magic out of it. Then, of course, there are the oddities of the State Fair--the butter cows and the two headed pigs and, yes, the bearded ladies. Top that off with a heaping portion of fried food of every kind (yes they do make fried Twinkies) and you are set for one memorable experience.

After ten years, it eludes me how I could miss 3 whole weekends of State Fair. Why was I not drawn by the buttery goodness of the butter cows? Why did the cackling of the chickens not call me home?

(Photo courtesy of ribizlifozelek.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I failed to expalin
That signigyingnothing
Is one long poem

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We are the land

331/365: I claim this land for everyone
Originally uploaded by Theorris

One of the best things about the Western United States are the vast tracts of public land. Those who live or have lived in other parts of the United States or other countries where public land is rare certainly can understand the crushing limitations when most of the land is privately held. While there may be arguments about its use, one would hope that the principal of public land and the freedom it represents will be continued in the West.

Public land, such as shown here up Big Cottonwood canyon near Salt Lake City at Solitude Ski Resort, can be put to multiple use. Not only is it a forest with a plethora of plants and animals, but it can support a ski resort and my beloved disc golf course. Of course, such multiple use of land use must be in moderation and conservation should be kept in mind, lest we lose this precious commodity. I do not use the term "commodity" lightly. One should be careful in talking about the spiritual qualities of land, given that the spiritual can be so easily discounted or refuted. To talk of value of the land (and perhaps spirituality) in economic terms is essential. The land does have intrinsic value beyond the minerals, the trees, or the recreational value it represents. It is difficult, however, to put that value in terms that don't sound hokey or hair-brained, but I attempt to.

We need such open space and non-owned land. It is a part of a full human life to wander the wild (or not so wild in my case.) My point is that we can conserve our natural resources and our open land and make use of it too.

As for the picture above, yes it is a joke, but I really do believe that this land belongs to us all. As Frost said, "The land was ours before we belonged to the land." In other words, we may think we posses the land, but it will, in time, posses us all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A sad commentary on our times

328/365: Brightness of literacy
Originally uploaded by

The Philadelphia Free Public Library is closing (hopefully just temporarily): libwww.freelibrary.org/closing/ . SLC's Library System seems to be in fine shape, however.

Monday, September 07, 2009

And a Merry Labor Day Eve to Everyone!

318/365: Labor Day Eve!
Originally uploaded by Theorris

This is the eve that all good workers get a lump of coal for the upcoming winter from the Ghost of Samuel Gompers.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Inconsistency of folk schmolk or how Punk has failed us horribly

A friend of mine really hates "singer/songwriters."

My questions to you, oh reader, is

1) what exactly is a singer/song writer?


2) do you agree?

Is it just the solo act guy who stands up there on his own, exposed to the world, and strums or strokes his musical instrument for all the world to judge without the collaboration of other musicians that my friend objects to?

Is that really where we are in music these days? Is it the solo person who makes the difference?

I can see that. Not to get all pornographic on your asses, but that does seem like, at least, watching a Tijuana sideshow or, in the macro a modern-day bard who should have remained in the safety of his or her coffee shop.


But to retain the pornography, all that solo singing and songwriting is about getting laid now, isn't it?


Maybe that is the ultimate objection to "singer/songwriter" music. It is either self-indulgent or just about seducing whomever you want to seduce.


That is all fine and whatnot, but why do we really want to listen to such music? Isn't it really, oh reader, wish fulfillment at best?

Sadly, it isn't even that, because most solo love songs are about longing or the seduction itself. That last previous one I gave you a link to, for example. Catchy yes, and, like the Apple-esque cell phone hawker, I would be hard pressed not to used it as an excellent way to get laid or for people to buy the latest sweet sweet iPod-like cell phone devicenik.

Like the sweet November rain?

Isn't it all one in the same?




Perhaps it is just my friend's attitude (you remember him, right?) is just a bow shot on the whole of dreadful notion of folk music. (Now don't get me wrong--I have a very eclectic sense of music and don't really hate folk music, but I do feel that I should represent the expressions of my friend here and note that, as Cracker said, "we need another folk singer like we need another whole in our head.")


I can appreciate that.

La la la la la la la la la.

The greyhound was good, I thought. A smooth move to put a dog in a video. Dogs are universally loved and hated.


The wholesomeness that supposedly comes from being a "folk singer" seems weak. It seems to be appealing, overtly, to some political banter or some idealism that is entirely unattainable and yet representational of the system, and is, no doubt, why Bob Dylan decided to drop "the folk" like a bogarted bong.

One can believe in social justice and change, but is music particularly about that subject really going to work? Isn't it about integrating the ideal into the song and not making it overt?


Don't worry, reader, the irony of Woody Guthrie's son singing "This Land is Your Land" to the effete Boston crowd is not lost on me, particularly when Arlo was such a folk rebel himself.


See, my problem is with the whole idea that the individual singer can say a god damned thing.

We privilege the individual ad infinitum. We make the one man (and it usually a man, although in our more "enlightened age" the one woman ) the "voice of a generation," the "leader," "the chosen one."

Folk music was supposed to be about the collective force or people, singing about their travails and their triumphs. Instead it has been made into the "singer/songwriter" and how to make a buck.

Not to condemn poor Arlo and all of his hippie generation, but I think you goofed.

Not to condemn poor us, but I think we goofed.

It is not the "one" the "guy" or "gal" who makes it special.

It is us.

Can you give it up to us? Can we move forward and realize we can be individual beings and yet we are a part of the whole?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Car sharing

Just when I was seriously thinking about rejoining the (car)rat race, it looks like Salt Lake City and Utah Transit Authority (UTA) in league with U Haul are joining up to introduce car sharing to Utah. I think I will hold off a few more months and see what gives with the program. The only drawback that I see so far is that the cars will most likely be located in the central corridor at TRAX stations. The article does mention that vehicles will also be at the University of Utah, so here's hoping that the program will have more convenient locations for most folks. One would hope that they will realize that the cars should be placed near where people live, rather than where they pass through or work at. These cars, after all, will mostly be used by consumers who don't want to lug goods from stores to their homes on public transit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I've been often silent

I've been often silent
Originally uploaded by Theorris

The blur of the road. The smoke of the fires. Some much road ahead. So much road behind.

Kolob Canyon

Kolob Canyon
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blood Sucking Fiend

Blood Sucking Fiend 4
Originally uploaded by karmking1111

Friend Nathan took this in Korea. I don't believe they are much different here in the U.S.A.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Vacation tomato

Vacation tomato
Originally uploaded by Theorris

My porch tomatoes are doing extraordinarily well this year.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Robin update

The robin chicks have all fledged. One was seen hopping about on the busy street out front, and some neighborhood girls rescued it. I am uncertain if the parent robins continued to feed it, however, given the human scent I'm sure it carried. One would hope that birds would not be so snobby.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Robin nest: leery

Originally uploaded by Theorris

There is a robin nest in the tree in front of my house. I first spotted it two weeks ago when there was a hatched egg on the sidewalk. Since then, the parent robins have been making many feeding trips to the nest. What a busy life they lead. This is the father robin (noted by his flashy red breast less prominent in the mother robin). He is quite leery of me sitting under the tree.

Robin nest: feeding time

Feeding time
Originally uploaded by Theorris

The father robin overcame his suspicion of me and flew to the nest. As far as I can tell there are at least 2 chicks. There may be 3. You can see the head of one in the typical feeding posture obscured by the leaf right in front of the adult.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Days of 47 Disc Golf Classic!

274/365: Days of 47 Disc Golf Classic!
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Catinlap and I were sadly the only entrants in the D47GC, but it was a good day anyway. Cat won by 5 strokes, but I put in a very good showing for my first opportunity of the season with an 81. Don't ask what par is. I'll smack you.

This is also the only 365 day self-portrait I have that contains another person.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Running though the sprinklers

273/365: Running though the sprinklers
Originally uploaded by Theorris

It is probably just a Western US thing, but it is every child's god given right to run through the sprinklers when it is this freaking hot. Especially on Pieneer Day Eve!

Days of 47 Samba

And what do you know? Another Pioneer Day is upon us!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spoonbridge and Cherry

Spoonbridge and Cherry
Originally uploaded by Theorris

This sculpture is extraordinarily popular.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Weisman Art Museum

Weisman Art Museum
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I was in Minneapolis for a conference. Other than my first night and last day it was overcast and cold. Here we have the Weisman Art Museum, a Frank Gehry building. It was not far from the hotel.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Originally uploaded by Theorris

For Counterintuitive.

Magpies are one of my favorite birds. Sure I like eagles and robins and pine finches and whatnot, but the western magpie is an awesomely cool native bird*. Unlike others, I like their interesting sounds and their propensity to dive-bomb any threat to their nest--cat--dog--human--volkswagen.

I once had a colleague decry the horrible nature of magpies (not you Counterintuitive). I had to restrain myself from laying into her and her rather parochial views of nature.

Apparently you can train magpies to talk, if you are heartless enough to remove them from the wild (which is our suburban/urban/rural environment.)

*The western magpie differs from the eastern magpie (or European magpie, I think.) I am not completely sure that they are native to the western North American continent, but I think they are.

Update: The American Magpie (Pica hudsonia) is indeed an American native. It has been in the West of the United States for around 18,000 years. Somehow two-bits a head seems an awfully weak price for such an ancient and stately bird.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Being there

Twenty-nine years ago this morning at 6 am I was awakened by my mother telling my brother that my father was dead.

"Larry, your dad's dead." Her tone was plaintive and quiet. I don't know how long she had been at my father's bedside before she decided to tell her children. I do know why she called out to my brother, however. In the fog of finding her husband had finally succumbed to the cancer that had been slowly consuming him until he was literally nothing but skin and bones, she called out to my brother because she had always identified the same qualities of patience, fearlessness, and strength in my brother that my father had.

My brother was 5 years old than me and aside from working a full-time job, also ran the farm now, since my father had been far too ill. I'd just finished my freshman year in high school and was spending my summer vacation at my typewriter writing about people who lost things at a terrible price and avoiding my father.

I lay in bed that morning trapped under the covers by fear while my brother went to my parents bedroom to do whatever it was that he could do. I was afraid of the dead man in the room next door, as I'd been afraid of the dying man for the last 9 months. Since school had let out a month before, I'd been trapped in my room at my typewriter by fear of his dying. All I wanted was for the pain of watching someone waste away in agony to go away.

It took me a good hour to unstick myself from my bed. My parent's bedroom was quiet when I peeked in through the doorway. My father was lying in bed his arm cradled over the top of his head in his usual manner, and in the manner that I and my brother share when we sleep. I could only look at him for a moment, as my eyes caught his cold, dark, unblinking eyes. All I wanted to do was run.

And I did run: out of the house, across the farmyard, out behind the haystack. I sat there, hunched against sweet-smelling bales and cried. Even then I knew I was crying more for myself than I was for his pain and suffering. I was feeling adrift--but a relieved adrift. My father's illness that had been slung around my family like sacks of wheat, had suddenly fallen way. All his pain and watching him suffer was gone. Now there was nothing left but the unmoving shell of the man. Now there was nothing left but my pain and suffering and guilt.

I climbed the haystack to watch the undertaker come and haul my father's body away. I started to realize then, but wouldn't really learn until years later that taking the body away would not remove the guilt and emptiness. No coffin would seal that up for eternity. No amount of earth would keep it quiet beneath the ground.

I awoke this morning at 6:00 am, as usual, still a bit tired from the long holiday weekend, and caught myself wondering, yet again, what my life would have been like if he'd never had gotten sick. Some losses do come at a terrible price, I fear.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Summer Rain

In honor of the wet summer SLC is having, I give you this tribute:

The sound of the storm is supposed to overwhelm the music. It is meant to be that way. Did I ever tell you I nearly majored in music and am a big fan of musique concrete? I didn't? Interesting.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

50/365: Stop Requested

50/365: Stop Requested
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Clear the Air!

I've already achieved 60 car-free trips. How about you?

It's Summertime

It's Summertime
Originally uploaded by Theorris


Friday, June 26, 2009

I regreted this moment

I regreted this moment
Originally uploaded by Theorris

When I heard the learned astronomer

A poem by Walt Whitman criticizing science, of all things. Imagine that, poetry not getting along with science:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pio Nono

Here is a poem of moral turpitude by 19th century American poet Julia Ward Howe read, dramatically I might add, by yours truly:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hard Times in the Heartland

Work took me to the midwest this weekend. I was in the middle of Illinois. The corn in Illinois was barely an inch out of the ground. When I commented how strange that seemed, the driver taking me from the airport to the hotel scoffed. "It has been so wet and cold here I'm surprised it is up at all." The farmers, it would seem, are worried. They are uncertain that they will get much of a crop this year. Compound this with the economic decline, and you can imagine that people's spirits are as low as their corn seedlings.

It was overcast and while not exactly cold, it wasn't exactly warm my entire time in Illinois. Like much of the country, there is a great deal of concern about where the country is going economically. The housing market is in the tank, and even farms are being effected badly. If you don't know, many farmers run their businesses off big seed loans (literally) from banks. The bank loans the farmer enough money to plant a crop, and the farmer harvests the crop and pays the bank back with interest. Since the banking crisis, the money is in short supply, and banks are worried that the Federal Government (which has been in the business of subsidizing crop insurance to farmers since the Great Depression) will not be in that business much longer.

The people I spoke to in various places, however, seemed to be optomistic. "We've been through this before and survived. We'll do it again," was the response from the old woman at the airport curb when I asked her how things were in Illinois. She took a long drag on her cigarette and added with a phlegmy laugh: "they've been telling me that cigarettes were going to kill me for a long time now, and that hasn't happened yet either."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A couple of very quiet attempts

Editor's note:  this post was originally uploaded by Snyder to a now defunct "Silence Project."  I keep it here for archive purposes.

Here is one from a few days ago recorded late at night. Nice little bit of wind, then a car ruined it. So it goes.

Here is another from tonight's rain and thunder. I do have to say, Theorris' thunder/rain contribution from earlier tonight is far more epic. Still, here you go.

Silence of the Rain

Well there is no silence: several cars swooshed by. The thunder is still good, however:

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Silence of the Walk or Clear the Air

I commute via mass transit and walk daily to the bus stop. The following recording is just 30 seconds of a 5 minute walk:

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


221/365: Self-portait
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I just got a Carson zPix 200. While I'm sure it is not the greatest microscope by any means, it is still interesting to mess around with.

This is my eye close up. Do not try this at home.

Western Soundscapes

The following link is not a recording, but I suppose this blog's mission could be expanded to discuss all aspects of sound pollution and natural soundscapes: Western Soundscapes Archive.

Monday, June 01, 2009

I tried.

Editor's note:  this entry was originally published by Snyder on a now defunct "Silence Project" blog.  I post it here for archival purposes.

Here are two failed attempts.

Bah, car ruined it.

Bah, Birds.

It is hard to escape noise.

So I gave up for today, I'll try again later.


As long as I've given up for the day, here is some of tonight's rain.

That is all.

Diptych of Spring: One Can Only Hope

Diptych of Spring: One Can Only Hope
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Diptych of Spring: It is easy to forget

Diptych of Spring: It is easy to forget
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Friday, May 29, 2009

The rest is silence

Think you know silence? Come prove it at The Silence Project!

The Silence Project

I was listening to a Sierra Club podcast today on a very noisy bus about One Square Inch of Silence. It is about a man's quest to preserve non-manmade noise from one square inch of the Olympic National Park in Washington state (U.S.A.) The podcast made me consider how noisy the world is. The mission, therefore, of this blog, is to present audio files of what we think is silence. Perhaps we may find some. Perhaps it is impossible. I don't know.

If you want to join, email me at gardnecl@gmail.com. Put "The Silence Project" in the subject line of your email. You'll have to have a blogger.com account.

The rules are simple: record less than 20 seconds of what you think is silence, post it to whatever file service you choose (I suggest the Internet Archive), and sit back and enjoy the silence.

In any case, here is my first prototype for The Silence Project:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Magic is Lost

Remember the magic of getting a new Yellow Pages? I recall as a kid when this device of great potential would show up on our door step. Nearly as good as a new J.C. Penney catalog for fantasizing about exotic (but of course very mundane things), the new Yellow Pages offered insight into the stores and services in exotic parts of Salt Lake City that our family never or rarely ventured to. After perusing the book for hours, I would ask my mother if we could visit a certain toy store, for example, usually to be shot down with "there's no reason to drive all the way over there!" We'd then end up at K-Mart, and as everyone knows there is precious-little magic in K-Mart (aside from the blue light, that is.)

There was only one time when my cajoling my mother to go to a toy store found in the Yellow Pages actually worked, and that was for a store that used to be in Salt Lake's Trolley Square. I'm not sure why my mother agreed to go--perhaps she just wanted to get off the farm for an afternoon. In any case, the toy store lived up to my expectations--all sorts of exotic toys and games. I believe I bought a wooden yo yo, but it may have been something else.

The magic of Yellow Pages now Yellow Book, is long gone, however, and one must wonder why it even exists with the ubiquity of the Internet. When Yellow Book arrived last week on my door step I was just annoyed as I tripped over it. It went right into the recycling bin.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Originally uploaded by Theorris

It seems to be about circles lately.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

To the mayor of a small village in Chihuahua

Dear Mayor,

Signifying nothing can indeed help you with your problem of marauding banditos terrorizing your once-idyllic village! Believe it or not, it is rather common for villages and small towns all over the Old West to be regularly raided by bands of ne'er-do-wells and ruffians. They regularly rob banks, start saloon fights, gun down unsuspecting and innocent farmers, and dare to impinge upon the sacred honor of womenfolk.

Rest assured, my dear Mayor, the experts from Hollywood, California have long been working on this problem and have come up with a solution! Mr. Mayor, your only salvation is to go out and find a lone gunman, who, while seeming to be despondent and angry on the outside, is willing to take on the bad guys preferably in a single-minded showdown where he will expertly pick every single one of them off until he gets to the leader who will die a suitable and often ironic death. This lone gunman must necessarily have his wife and small children killed off by either an Indian raid, or even more effectively, by similar banditos to the ones pestering your village. It is an added bonus if they are the same banditos, given that revenge is even more sweet for him and for you. This rarely happens, however, as the banditos and outlaws tend to lead short, although exciting lives, and are, apparently, a dime-a-dozen.

Once your hero has cleaned up the town (and hopefully not burnt it to the ground) do not, under any circumstances, expect him to stick around and become a regular citizen. Although the remorse for his dead wife or fiance or children or brother will be exorcized, he will still feel the need to wander off into the desert, never to be seen or heard from again.

Besides, you wouldn't want a violent son-of-a-bitch like that sticking around your idyllic village now would you? I mean look what happened to Big Whisky when Gene Hackman outstayed his welcome. They had to bring in Clint Eastwood to clean up that mess.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Where the wild things are

This is City Living
Originally uploaded by Douglas Roesch

Flickr contact Douglas Roesch indicates that Pittsburgh is being overrun by turkeys. I can find no relevant news stories by googling "pittsburgh turkey invasion" but apparently Pittsburgh has an annual Turkey Trot sponsored by the YMCA. I doubt this is the type of trot they are referring to.

I recall a few years back we had the year of the raccoon in SLC. The blackeyed critters were everywhere. This year may be the year of the Mormon Cricket, given the wet spring weather we are experiencing, and that wee beasties proclivity to procreate under such conditions. An invasion of cougars would be cool, but I fear too many of the concealed weapon carries of Utah would take vengeance on the big cats.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

1000 Miles in 1000 hours! (Fascinating Fact #8)

Awesome! Robert Barclay Allardice.

Family lore suggests that my ancestors had similar ambitions as Laird Barclay. Perhaps, these feats of strength and endurance are or were just a Scottish thing. My illustrious Scots ancestor had many reputed hikes and walks and jumping over broomsticks.

I can still jump a broomstick at 3 feet standing still (as could he of polygamous fame) and can hike mountains.

Scotland! We are a hearty people. I guess it makes sense.

Fascinating fact #8: "Pedestrian" used to just mean a racer who was on foot, as "equestrian" was a racer who raced on horseback. Fascinating!

While I was on the bus and reading about Captain Barclay in The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson, I had a brief fantasy of just taking off on foot for a vacation and see where I ended up. Could be fun. It fits my heritage.

Perhaps I will jump over a broomstick or two on my way.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The next one that gets me in trouble or 49 Days and Counting

What did Jesus do
The day after Easter?
I mean the Gospels
Aren't so clear on that

After a busy weekend of
Dying an excruciating
Death: scourged, crucified,
Stabbed in the side for
Blood and water to fall
To mother Earth
And give salvation to
Mankind (all that on
Friday, mind you)

Then, according to
Catholic magesterium,
Harrowing Hell of all
The righteous prior to
His ministry on Earth
All day Saturday
(The reception line on
That one must have taken
Most of the afternoon)

Then rising in
A flash, leaving only
The imprint of His
Humanity on a disputed

What did Jesus do
That fine Monday morning?

I prefer to think
He took a vacation
In Tahiti or Samoa
Lounging on the beach
Not worrying about
A single thing
But loving and living
Life eternal and blessing
All the little sea
Birds that flitted
By his beach chair.

Becoming God Almighty,
Afterall, is no easy
Task. He deserved
Some time off.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

We lucky few

We are lucky they employ us at all
In our eccentric clothes
And disheveled hair

"What do you have to offer?"
They ask with slavering lips
Mindful of the last bit of beef
They ate, now stuck in their

"What do you have to offer?"

"Uncommon sense and a liking
For clouds that rim blueberry
Against a cold sky."

A stupid answer but it seems to

In the meantime they find a

No problem problem

Dear caller,

Signifying nothing can indeed help you with your problem of having no problems! Believe it or not, it is rather common for people not to have problems. Many people lead perfectly ordinary (if not somewhat boring) lives one hundred percent problem free! As you can imagine, this situation is quite problematic.

Researchers are committed to solving the problem of problem-free lives. They currently are testing rats to maximize their failure rate at finding tasty bits of cheese in mazes with the eventual hope of extrapolating their findings to human beings, given that we all know that cheese is the most problem-free food.

The government has for many decades now taken the lead in finding ways to distribute problems equally amongst the populace. With the recent change in the federal administration, however, the direction of those efforts has changed significantly.

Take heart, caller, you are not the only one with no problems. Support groups for the problemless can easily be located in swim-up bars at tropical resorts, and beautiful sandy beaches on Hawaii or Tahiti.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Having a problem?

Having a problem? Signifying nothing will help you out!*

SigNo now has a help line-- call 206-888-4379 and leave a message. You can even FAX an item, if that is your druthers.

Another fine service brought to you by Signifying nothing. Who says I don't do anything for you?

*Answers will be posted on signifyingnothing.com whenever I get around to it. All submissions are subject to being posted here. Beware. Be very aware.

I enjoy this picture

163/365: another fancy hotel lobby
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Monday, April 06, 2009

Pull the trigger

This song interferes with their
Ability to love

Wait a minute, that's not how
It is supposed to be

Songs are supposed to seduce
Songs are supposed to kiss

You know the song of songs?
Are you the hart or are you the doe?
Do you kiss with the kisses of
Your mouth?

It takes a minute to recover from that
A soul ticking minute.

Friday, April 03, 2009

And you wonder why

It is a contest: guess what this map of consumption is defining.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Each night we baptize
Spoons and cups and dishes
Washing them clean of filth
Readying them for another day
Of sin

Sunday, March 29, 2009

How does it feel when your heart grows cold?

How does it feel when your heart grows cold?
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Latest storm brings high winds and low visibility

A truck lies by the road
Like a wounded deer
Slammed by an automobile
Into next week.

It is the wind, however
The wind with a certain
Gift of force lifted twelve
Tons of steel off the road

And slammed it hard
Into the unforgiving berm
Suddenly it is next week
For the hospitalized driver

And he, unlike a deer,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take that one if you've got it

And the whistle here--
A time out and a foul
We wait

We wait awash in choice
And value and five lunch items
Live healthy, we're told

And if your current choice of
Energy drink is not enough
Move on to cosmetics
Products created free of
Known carcinogens

Or perhaps another steak?
Come on, one more!
Live healthy

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thinking about Elstin

It used to be that parents would
Pop children out of the oven
Like sweet smelling bread
Salty and full of goodness

Nowadays, they bury them
Deep underground
Fermenting them into
Bright and sparkling

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sartor resartused

Number of sport coats packed and worn on my six day trip to San Francisco: 2.

Number of overcoats worn (but brought) on my six day trip to San Francisco: 0. (The weather was perfectly clear except the morning I left, when there was intermittent rain.)

Number of shoes packed for my six day trip to San Francisco (for Dr. Write): 2 pair. A pair for fancy loafers and my new Adidas regular wear trainers.

Number of shirts spilled on during my six day trip to San Francisco: 2. Do I know myself or what?

Number of spilled-on shirts worn despite soilage: 1. Meh. It was night.

Number of pairs of socks left over: 2. Hmm.

Number of slacks not worn: 2. Go green!

Number of ties worn: 2. Perfect planning.

"Outfit" that got the best reception: light blue shirt, khaki pants, and 60's whacky black coat with bold fancy red stripe tie I bought on super closeout (5 bucks regularly 50) at Macy's two years ago with the afore-mentioned loafers.

Expense of said outfit: less than 20 bucks if you don't count the shoes. And the shoes were only 30 bucks original price 95. Close out is your friend. Price not on close out or as hand-me-downs (the wicked whacky sixties jacket) over 500, I think.

Clothes that prevented me from getting a nasty San Francisco flu: 0. I have finally recovered from it. I blame the vagrants. They just don't know how to dress.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sartor resartus

Number of shirts packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 8. Never underestimate your ability to spill food upon your shirt.

Number of pairs of trousers packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 5. Congratulate yourself for the ability to keep your trousers clean.

Number of undershirts packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 6. No one in their right mind changes their under shirt more than once per day.

Number of pairs of socks packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 8. Sometimes socks need changing. Usually no more than twice in a trip--usually after a long walk.

Number of underpants packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 8. Where is my robot body?

Number of tie dye shirts packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 0. I will also not be wearing flowers in my hair. I will also not be traipsing around Haight/Ashbury. I will also not be remembering the summer of love or Ken Kesey.

Number of belts nearly forgotten but packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 1. Belts are generally important devices. I've been without one a few times. Trust me. They're necessary.

Number of umbrellas packed for 6-day trip to San Francisco: 0. Why? Because fuck the rain, that's why.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Lunatic on the Bus

The Lunatic on the Bus
Held his Arby’s bag close
As he laughed uncontrollably

The laugh turned into a cough
A hacking, phlegm-filled cough
And he smiled

It was nothing but a joke to him
And he gasped, out of breath
And began to weep

His fellow passengers sat silent
And watched the stops
Flick slowly by

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Tweet therefore I Am

I was thinking, just now as I was noticing that all the snow has disappeared from the yard, why twitter has become so appealing not just to me, but to the masses. I believe with twitter there is a strong correlation to the solitary spoken utterance. Tweeting is much like making any statement in normal conversation. You say something, usually less than the 140 character limit of twitter, but sometimes up to the limit, but rarely over it and then you may or may not wait for a suitable response from your interlocutor. The difference, of course, is that it is not a normal conversation. There is no interlocutor built in. You are making proclamations in twitter--choosing willy nilly who you want to respond to or not. Ultimately you are saying "I am here. This is what I say. Screw you."

Now with twitter, of course, as with normal conversations, sometimes your statements go unnoticed, so you either repeat them or move on with the flow. Sometimes you completely ignore any attempt at conversation and just make your statements as if you are some sort of radio commentator not expecting interaction. The key is that you are a radio host--you are the writer--you are the solo speaker who gets to say what's on your mind.

In some ways that "I can say this and you better lump it" works well for twitter. It is the ultimate in individualistic display. "I'm here and listen to me tweet" it says. Listen is the important part: it isn't about reading, it is about hearing the utterance.

Ah the utterance: the spoken moment.

Twitter allows us all just to say the one thing, much like writing lets us ignore the reader and just put it out there. Yes, yes, I know writing is all about the reader, but it is a very self-centered activity, isn't it? It is all about hearing ourselves talk (and liking it) rather than engaging in a conversation.

I am here! Hear me tweet!

I am here! Read my blog!

I am here! Read my novel!

I am here! Read my poems!

I am here! Read my tweets.

How embarrassing.

Now, of course, we have to decide if writing of any sort is anything more than a self-centered, self-deceptive act. Plato thought it was self-deceptive, now didn't he. He thought it was a lie. A fantasy, if you will. The shadows on the wall loom large with "writing." It is the playground where we can put letters together to mean what we want and give it out to the world to let them do what they want with it.

If you are waiting for some joke, I'm not going to make it. The very purpose of Signifying nothing is to explore these complexities, after all. How are we represented in text and how does that reality make us and shape us and force us to be human beings.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lunch @ Whole Paycheck!

122/365: lunch @ Whole Paycheck!
Originally uploaded by Theorris

The best part about going for lunch at Whole Foods yesterday was that I ran into Megastore! I recommended she buy a fancy cake for her Oscar party tonight. She demurred.

Why can't I run into my cool friends all the time? Instead I usually run into ex-girlfriends or people who annoy me.

Something tells me I should stop this post before I insult someone. For once I am taking my own council.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

False premises

Brandon Loomis is a rank amateur when it comes to living without a car: Seven Days Without: No car? No sweat? No way - Salt Lake Tribune. It does take time to get used to doing with out and to realize that you are going to have to take more time in order to get to where you want to go. I will say, however, that the premise that Loomis is working under is not mine: I'm not car-less because of economic reasons. I am car-less because of stubbornness and environmental reasons. I am stubborn because I can't see the use in having a car only as a luxury (and not as my main means of transportation) and my environmental reasons are pretty obvious.

While Loomis may be saving money trundling about town in his own car because everything is so close, he is not helping the environment by re-joining the legion of single-drivers. He, in fact, is compounding it.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Originally uploaded by Theorris

The snow fell gently yesterday. It had none of the bluster of a January storm. Even those who hate winter could surely have liked that kind of winter day.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Live with it

Suddenly I read again that poem she wrote for me
That's been sitting framed on my shelf
Gathering dust

It was years ago, has it been years ago now?


I was left feeling the lie that is all that it was

The lie that makes you want to rip the world

But still makes sense

She thought she knew me, and she did, in so many

She caught me in that framed bit of truth

She knew the snorts or my sleep
The desperate grabs at affection
The coughing desire fulfilled

The unpolished me

She knew.

And I was angry when I read the poem
That at the time I embraced, as I embraced

I was angry reading it. I was me. I was not

But she was right

I am


I am

Even God put on the spot


I am

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Hell's very own hand bag

I recall reading some time ago that human behavior is motivated more by perceptions of what other human beings are doing rather than on any particular reality that one is facing. We humans are very intuitive creatures, who interpret situations not just intellectually, but also by environmental and social influences. For example, in a psychology experiment designed to determine how unconscious factors influence people, experimenters had test subjects handed either a warm cup of coffee or a cold cup of coffeed to a test subject before they went into an interview. On the whole the people who held the hot cup of coffee perceived the experience of the interview more positively and also performed better.

What I am getting at is that if something so simple as warmth can have an impact on us, imagine the impact of our fellow human being's behavior--subtle or not. The economic down turn has really only started hitting the middle class right now, what with the massive layoffs in January (the greatest since 1974). That didn't stop people from participating in the meme of economic collapse, however. People stopped spending the moment all the bad news started rolling in. (Most of the big losses were initially only seen by people wealthy enough to invest plummeting stock market.)

People, of course, are scared. Hell I'm even scared and I, quite honestly, don't have that much to worry about or, in fact, to lose. Sure it would suck being out of work (and the imags of bread lines do flash into my mind occasionally) but I am fairly mobile in my lifestyle and could hit the road if worse came to worst. While I think my job is fairly secure, recent events have made me and many other antsy. Thus we have the downward spiral of the meme of the bad economy.

All I know is I just need someone to hand me a warm cup of coffee before I hit the cold world tomorrow. Maybe that will make things look better.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Oh yeah, blog

My obsession with twitter and crap at work have made me a bad blogger, I fear. If it can't be said in 140 characters is it worth saying? Well, yeah, but as I treated twitter so badly for a year and a half or so, I figure I might as well be nice to it and post around 800 tweets in the last couple of weeks.

I suppose i have something more discursive to write at some point, but it sure as hell ain't now.

Lord Jeebus get me through the winter.

Shit just in writing this I thought of three really good tweets.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Growing sideburns for lisa b

Growing sideburns for lisa b
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I took this shot 2 years ago and it is suddenly getting a substantial number of hits on flickr. Why? Are sideburns in vogue (possibly) or is it my kitchen that everyone is interested in? Or is someone out there searching for everything related to Lisa B.

Why the hell was I growing sideburns for you Lisa? Do you remember because I sure as hell don't.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fascinating Fact #7: The Ireland Iceland Connection

Aside from 6 letters in the same order, Ireland and Iceland also share something else in common: mitochondrial DNA (mDNA). mDNA is the kind of DNA you get from your mother. It, in fact, is handed down daughter to daughter, generation after generation. What is interesting about Iceland is that even though it is assuredly Scandinavian, a good share of its mDNA is closely related to women who lived in Ireland thousands of years ago.

How is this possible?
you ask. Space aliens? While space aliens would be a very satisfying answer, scholars speculate that the real answer is much more earthy: rape and pillage. You see for centuries Vikings terrorized the British isles, storming in and stealing goods and women. When settling Iceland randy and wifeless Norwegians took a nip into Ireland and stole some them some wives. Ipso facto.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Featured photo!

Over there
Originally uploaded by Theorris

Woo hoo! My photo was featured today on NewWest.Net.

There were many birds in Fort Colliins, Colorado, while I was visiting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

93/365: Happy Birthday!

93/365: Happy Birthday!
Originally uploaded by Theorris

I'm going bowling, bitches!

You can check Signifying nothing to determine how many times I've gone bowling on my birthday. I'll be sure to tweet the events.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Frost at midnight

On the eve of my birth, I feel angry.
Listen to the words. Listen to the slap
Of angry metal against supple flesh.
Can you ever forgive yourself?

You will never understand, will you?
You will never be right with yourself?

But you pretend and you pray.

Prayer's got the answer, does'nt it?

Doesn't it?

Doesn't it?

Doesn't it?

I forgive you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Twitter Twit or Twitter Tweaker--you decided!

Given that my begrudging acceptance of twitter has developed into a full-blown micro-blogging love affair, it makes sense that while I was doing the dishes this morning, my mind turned to creative twitter projects I could engage in.

The first is one that I will probably start sometime within the week: "Twitter Haiku Challenge." Basically everything that one tweets must be 17 syllables and contain some natural imagery. Twitter really can't do line breaks very well, so it won't have to look like a haiku.

The next project is one, that I find, someone else has already done. Thank god for that, since I doubt that I would have the wherewithal to take on the twitter-guise of Henry David Thoreau and tweet Walden at you. I am still amused, however, at the thought of this tweet:
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. LOL"
It looks like twitter Henry David doesn't quite have my sense of humor. Not a LOL or ROTFLMAO in sight.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009