Monday, July 21, 2008

the oppressive local summer has set in- dry, searing heat, over a hundred, grass crackling under your feet, and car too hot almost no matter where you park it, or how much you crack the window. walking or riding almost out of the question, except early in the morning- i've been doing that, but now, even by eight, it's pretty hot out there. weekends we stay in- it's too hot even to go to the lake- and that makes little ones a little edgy, bouncing off walls in our small house that has about half unusable due to construction, and searing heat slowly but surely leaking into it from duct-taped plastic tarps meant to seal off the construction zone. i can feel the work the air-con has to do to keep it reasonable, and it's not restful; let alone what happens to the earth when all the people like me crank it all day long. it's not natural; it's not right. yet there's no way i could live without it.

on the pop front i've found the posterizer, the pencil sketcher, and the neon, and the fact that all of them exist in gradations; some of my work is below. this i do in the minutes before class; i grade until late at night, but sometimes do pop after that. saturday made some pop quakers, but my son wanted his little brother in pop so i did that also. it's definitely time to learn more about andy warhol, and what he meant with his marilyn silkscreen, and whether others felt the same way; he was definitely in the right place at the right time. today in the copy room i was also; another class had seen and been tested on a movie on a.w. himself. i will try to get that movie. i make variations on the four-cornered icon, but based on my own feeling of how to play off of it. i'm what you might call rustic, untutored, or primitive graphic artist- i have yet to be really educated in the genre. but i have a number of questions, besides what a.w. thought of marilyn, and what others did. what was up with che, and mao? does this other stuff- posterize, grainy, soft-colored, still qualify as pop?

today, went through my 240 minute slog of teaching, plus grading, bad grammar, marking in books, preparing exercises for tomorrow's class, etc. late tonight i'm still grading; having given away a pile of 15 midterms, received the beginnings of a new pile, at least ten hours long, that will take evenings of much of this week; no way i can do it at the office. in exhaustion, at my desk, i do pop art, after i've entered a stack in my book, for example. and there's still: enter them into a grading program; make mid-term reports; make eot schedule...there's got to be an easier life. i basically like what i do, but when there's so much of it, one loses the sense of fun; it's all just piled way over the head. students, also, are nodding off, no matter how much i dance; they have what, 29 hours? on one level, it's almost absurd, except that i myself take it seriously; i'm almost unable to just relax, smile and stop giving homework, as the others do.

pop is my passion, now, pop & link haiku; a long, huge project where i can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, as i've practically organized, and got one for most states; almost one for each season, each state. it's possible, anyway, and so is organizing the links so they're stable, mine, all working. haiku is like pop- brief, it can be put into a five-minute break, an escape, one can put everything into seventeen syllables, capture a moment, give a picture, and, a little vagueness won't hurt, a little blurring of the edges, fade! sharpen! posterize! these are my new mottos.

had a little trouble, i'll admit, doing pop on the little guy. it wasn't as if he had a choice. i showed it to him, but he had just woken up; he didn't know what to think. the pink hair; the blue face, the grainy, etc.- it sat a little uneasily at the bottom of my soul; he is, after all, not marilyn monroe, though i guess we all are icons, at some point or another. maybe i don't need to be that point for him; i'm not sure. had more fun making pop on the older boy, who had actually sat at the camera, made a few faces, and gave me something to work with, participated to some degree. similarly the rank theivery of various pictures; i've lost track, to some degree, where some are even from, and though i've been told that it's ok- i am, after all, putting my own artistic bent into them- still, i'd be happier if i'd carried my own camera out and took the angle myself. and, i will, i'm sure- at least for the next calendar, which may be more professionally done, than the previous ones.

and that's all there is- grading; bad grammar; kind, patient students, somewhat confused, and more burnt out than even i; workers in the kamakura, weeding out the bamboo, understanding perhaps less than i, what it means; workers here at home, sweltering in the heat; surviving. they call aug. aug, i told my son, because aug is the best word for the kind of weather we have around here. the pool- definitely the coolest place, but leaves a kind of insidious skin problem on my feet. the threshold adjustment syndrome- thirty to forty degree difference between every airconditioned space or car, and the outdoors, that the adjustment of body temperature is like fainting. good weather for pop- what else would one do, go for a stroll? take care, god bless, and stay out of ebay...

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