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san diego california usa artlung.com is the personal website of joe crawford

June 2002 Forty-two posts

Summertime, and the living’s…

…well, not easy, but good. Had a good day yesterday. Work good. Progress being made vis-a-vis “understanding the separation.” Great racquetball. Danged if the shoeshine I mentioned doesn’t still look good. My clothes are fitting better, as I continue to lose weight at a rapid pace (the secret? not eating very much, and walking). In other physical news, I shaved my goatee. Actually, I shaved it in early May. A new Joe. Or perhaps the return of an older one?

I’ll settle for a WISER Joe.

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Shoe Photoshop

Yesterday I got up very early. I went to a continental breakfast thing about learning to deal with the media. It was mostly for Public Relations people, but I deal with the press rather often these days, and knowing how to approach and not approach them is a valuable skill. So anyway, that was productive.

Work, thankfully, was good. I had a pleasant day.

After one o’clock I decided I’d get a shoeshine. I had worn my black shoes – my Doc Martens, which I’ve had for about 8 years now. They looked really shabby. Along the front ridge of the shoes was wear and tear, and what was once black, had faded to gray. I’d never thought — no, that’s not true — I’d wanted to do something about it, but just didn’t care that much. A kind of “shoe apathy” set in. I have been ignoring my outward appearance for so long, that I just don’t give a damn about such things. But for some reason, that early morning networking event made me want to improve my shoes.

So I thought Horton Plaza or the train station (recommended by Sassy would have a shoeshine stand. I remember from my childhood there being one of those stands with the 2 chairs on a riser, and a fellow or two shining a businessman’s shoes – but I walked to Horton Plaza, then to Santa Fe Depot – and no go. I did find one out in front of the Wyndham Emerald Plaza. The proprietor was very nice. I asked him how much, ($5) and got on up on the stand.

The guy – maybe in his 50s – grey hair, quiet, I think he was an immigrant but he didn’t speak enough for me to place the accent. Watching him work, and the people walking by, was a delight. Having your point of view at about 10 feet above the city street as people walk by is really great. People look up at you a little, but you can peoplewatch with impunity! I remember one women, perhaps late 30s, blond. She was wearing a flimsy skirt, which was blowing in the wind down Broadway. She was compensating for it by holding her left hand behind her back and checking that the skirt stayed down. I’m sure I’ve noticed women doing this before, but I found this fascinating. Not so much because she was attractive, but maybe because it was like I was seeing this issue (women need to be cognizant of skirts not doing the Marilyn thing when they don’t want them to) and I was fascinated. As much as I’m becoming more aware of how I look, I’m glad I don’t have all the expectations that American culture puts on women. That’s like an order of magnitude mode baggage!

I digress. The shoeshine man was really an artist. With his brushes and polish and lots of elaborate motions he worked through the roughed leather and put down new coats of black stuff (varnish?) . He spent about 35 minutes applying 2 coats of the stuff, with the rough brushes, and soft brushes in between. At the end he took what looked like a denim rag and buffed both shoes, at times there was an audible “snap!” across the shoes. This was an impressive audio-visual spectacle for me. I mean, what do I know from shoeshines. I had never gotten one! But I began to think of his work as not so different from my working in Photoshop. Applying layer after layer, carefully massaging each layer, until an image emerges that is the one that the Photoshopper wants.

And yes, I’m aware that I can slip into grandiosity.

Yesterday was a good day. And I think there are more good days to come. I’m feeling good more of the time. I’m learning a lot about myself (it’s not all just shoeshines and La Jolla Cove) – and I hope to continue this process of learning just who this Joe Crawford character is.



Yesterday was cool, but I didn’t blog about it. Well, I’m blogging about it now. Hrm. I’ll sum it up by saying that secret plans; making macaroni salad; seeing friends; grilled salmon; krab; and the will edwards band are all cool.

Today, I’m thinking about a cowgirl.

And I got contacted by two reporters today, one was about my Lindows piece, and another about something else. That was kind of neat. Yeah, I can be a good resource sometimes.

I also bought some cheap sunglasses at a surplus store, hair goop from the body shop; and lunch at Pat & Oscars.

If you think this is a lame post, you’re right. Sorry.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (all half dozen of you), you may find it a relief to have banal stuff as opposed to the drama that’s been showcased here for the past 7 weeks.

A Beautiful Day

Today was entirely productive, and entirely pleasant. I woke up early, as usual. I dropped off the rent check (post-dated for July 1), and mailed some bills. Then I took the latest load of stray-stuff-I-have-decided-someone-else-can-use at Goodwill. Then I went to the local Whole Foods and bought some celery, green onions, tiger’s milk bars, and some other stray items for around the house.

Then, off to racquetball. The problem was, where we play was closed, so after twenty minutes of hemming and hawing, no racquetball. Instead I came home and chilled out for a while. Some more cleaning (always cleaning), and put up some older pictures. I also put up my Respiratory Care diplomas and awards. They’ve been sitting in a box for a long time, and I think I want them up. They serve as a nice reminder that I can be successful in things even when it seems like I might not succeed.

And then, the ocean.

I went down to La Jolla Cove. I was able to park quickly, despite the heavy tourist presence. I walked down to the cove, checked the lifeguard station for the water temperature (65 degrees Fahrenheit), and ambled down. Then I plopped my things down, stripped down to my swimsuit, got my snorkel and mask on, and dove in. I swam out to the perimeter of the swimming area. I think there used to be a quarter mile marker, but there is not one now. But I swam out what I think was about a quarter mile, rested, and returned. Visibility was okay, maybe 10-15 feet. I saw many Garibaldi fish; their orange bodies glowing against the somewhat murky waters.

After the cove, I drove to a movie theater and saw The Bourne Identity, which was quite good. No plot to speak of, but the chase of it was marvelous. And I thought Matt Damon did well considering he was playing an amnesiac.

And lastly, I went to Tower Records and picked up some music. The latest Bryan Ferry, a record by Norah Jones, and Ben Folds. I really like the Norah Jones record. She’s got a great voice. It matches my melancholy/joy these days nicely.

Melancholy/Joy. That’d be a good name for a blog.

And now, I will boil macaroni.

To those few of you who read this blog, I wish you a lovely weekend.


The term for the day last Wednesday was dry run.

Mixtape Moment

So I’m listening to one of my mix tapes from 1990, and LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl” comes on. One of the lyrics is “Want to eat you like a cookie when I see you walk” — only I had taped it from MTV, and the word “eat” is not there, it’s audio-photoshopped so you can’t tell what the verb is. Twelve years later, 2002, and every 15 minutes something more suggestive than “want to eat you like a cookie” is played on MTV. Is that irony? Progress?

Or maybe it’s just that times change.

(And props to LL Cool J for the line: “she’s sweet as brown sugar with the candied yams” — that’s pretty sweet).

Quote of the Day

“Vision without execution is Hallucination”
-Steve Case


So I’m continuing to go through all the posessions here. Getting rid of books and posters and decades of accumulated stuff. Some of it I’m so glad I kept. I was going through old sketches and drawings and found some gems. I listened to some old tapes tonight which had been locked in boxes. I used to love mix tapes – making them – sending them to friends. Some of the ones I’ve found are pretty good. Music is such a powerful emotional trigger, and a memory trigger as well. I’ve been making mix-tapes since 1983 (I was 13 years old), and I still have all of them. What a nutty packrat I am. No, maybe I’m an archivist.

At any rate, I don’t lack for things to conduct archaeology on. Heh.

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