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Entries in photo galleries (3)


Into the Valley of Death, redux

Ubehebe Crater

I have no idea what I will do with the 900+ pix that I shot on the trip Kelli and I just took for the entire Thanksgiving weekend. I hope I can get them into a gallery here, but I like to do some color correction and stuff. So it will take some whittling down before I even attempt that. And you can forget about captions. Last year's trip to Death Valley resulted in about 750 pix and I think I pruned about 250 outright.

This year we took an extra day since Kelli didn't have to work, so we bailed town on Wednesday night and returned late on Sunday. Sandwiched in between was a night in Bakersfield that set us up for a Sequoia/Sierra drive that got diverted due to ice, but was nice nonetheless. It had its surprises as we drove toward Lone Pine via Lake Isabella. A night in Lone Pine on Thanksgiving was a quiet one that set us up for a drive part way up the Whitney Portal. (the closed roads led us to want to call our tour the "Road Closed Tour" but later on with the wild swings in elevation, we called it the "Up and Down Tour.") Then we headed eastward into Death Valley for a bit of late afternoon sights on the way to Beatty, Nevada where we stayed two nights and made our base for a couple days. Saturday was a day full of new adventures as we drove the magnificent Titus Canyon and then saw Scotty's castle and the Ubehebe crater. Sunday was a pass by Rhyolite, a ghost town in Nevada near the border, and then a reprise of our favorite spots from last year: Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Artist's Drive.

The White Donkey at the threshold of the Titus Canyon drive's intense sectionWe really like Death Valley. This time around as we were combing the map for points we might get to, we realized how much there is, particularly off the paved roads. My truck is fit for some of it, but we're already anticipating the right way to see this is to rent a 4x4 truck for a trip and get into it. We were hoping to get to the Racetrack, the totally mysterious place where rocks seem to glide across the lakebed over time, and no science so far has been able to really explain exactly what is happening. Various voices encouraged the drive in my truck, and others not, so we erred on the side of caution and instead took the stellar and challenging Titus Canyon drive—a sometimes harrowing, usually washboarded serpentine drive that is 24 miles long and has just one lane going in one direction. I let Kelli drive some of it but all the way was fearing my street tires were not up to the job of this drive. But we got through. It was amazing.



The Curator

a few of my plastic tubs with archival boxes, courtesy of the DHL company that  used to stock the office I worked at.I keep my junk rather well classified and orderlyThe long unemployed days need to be filled with something once the hard work of job searching is over. This has been one of the longest unemployed periods yet, now just passing six months. Lee Van Ham has been on vacation, so there has been a lull in work for JEM for a few weeks. Add to those the fact that my high school reunion happened a week ago and all this has conspired to drive me to the personal archive boxes in recent weeks and months to find stuff to scan and transcribe for this site.

I have three giant tubs from Ikea, and a few older tubs that have not yet been replaced. They all contain photo albums, boxes of stuff classified by year (since 1992, first full year after graduating and getting off the school year), or by school year (high school mainly), or by groups of school years (everything before high school). I have all six yearbooks from middle and high school. Also stashed in the tubs are various documents, calendars, tape archives, journals, and so on. Over the years I have tended to make things easy on myself, periodically pruning stuff that doesn't hold lasting value. A lot of it is sill there: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

There is stuff that makes me cringe now. I've transcribed a handful of journals from high school that are usually just horribly written, and the typewritten text is often no help because it was so bad due to these very documents being about as much practice as I ever got at a keyboard. My voice on these papers was trying to be funny, but it comes off as completely ridiculous and juvenile. I often carried on a conversation with my intended reader, and the amount of asides and parenthetical remarks just makes me cringe. Nonetheless, every now and then something worthwhile was written. Some of these things have been posted here already and dated so that they fall in actual chronological history according to their original dates of writing. Obviously, I was not blogging in 1989!

Ever since I moved my site onto Squarespace in January, I've found it appealing to use the flexible Lego-like options for building a site rich with content of various types. I've been writing for the web since 2002, and with at least a decade of journals before that, I've been telling a story of my life and times for two decades now. (And more if you count those lame high school era things!) Now that Squarespace is so easy to configure for the range of content I have, it has been fun adding things up and seeing a larger period of my life in one frame, so to speak. I've been feeding the galleries with new travel pictures, have been adding the proto-TAPKAE journals, and have also uploaded many of my key recording projects. Because I like to chat about stuff, most of it is pretty well documented.

It also helps that I've emotionally come to grips with a lot more stuff that is referenced in the archival boxes, and that now I see it important to tell a more complete story, warts and all. The current TAPKAE.com gives me a chance to integrate things, and to tell a more unified story than I ever have. Being able to post images with captions, or blog posts with pictures, or all the linking opportunities back and forth has made me see things with an eye to dismantling prior compartments of life. It has been an exercise in reclaiming previously disowned parts of me. As time allows, there will be more of that.

The thing is, most of my life was lived in the pre-digital age. I have lots of photo albums and plenty of photos in boxes that still want to be seen, but jeeze, a scanner is a miserable thing to deal with, even with newer hardware. One document at a time, three pictures at a time? Recoloring and cropping? Saving and uploading? Commenting? It takes time, and it is far from my intention to ever get it all up. So for now, the most interesting things are going up. Maybe another wave will come, maybe when life's twists and turns bring a person to mind, and all of a sudden the heart gets pulled in the direction of telling stories related to them. Who knows?


More Afternoon In America Pix

I just want to call attention to one of the galleries here on TAPKAE.com. I call it Afternoon In America. This gallery has a running commentary on life in this once-great nation. All my galleries have generous captions and in some cases, captions are different than the posts where some of these images first appear. The galleries are sort of blogs unto themselves, so be sure to check them out. Don't miss the ones that are music related and fall under the Music and Studio menu.

Here are a few of the newly posted images that have gathered up in recent months. See more (with captions and commentary, all in a spiffy lightbox presentation) at Afternoon In America.