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The Raven

Five Foot Eight and Fallout
The Obsession and the Understanding
Dimensional Passion and the Raven
The Cave and the Period
The Wind, the Windows and the Wires
The Two Women, the Fringe and the Frying Pan
The Slipper, the Brunette and the Bubble
The Salton Sea and the Heartbreak

[03/06/2016 08:37 pst]

With fifteen gone, the thought of sixten has become frightening for the staff. Admin is reckless and dangerous and combined with the changing of the year we are skeptical of her remaining in control. The last several months have shown us that the site's future is uncertain. The turning of sights from one season to the next is wrought with problems. We need to keep things streamlined and in good order lest the year get away from us in the worst way.

Our editing will soon be mobile. Admin has expressed interest in the ability to move around should the need arise. We will break out the laptops and roll down the road of the unknown. Scary, yet necessary. Mobile editing is costly and the site is self-supported with absolutely no assistance from any direction nor outside source. We own this space and it must remain as it now appears due to legacy-related issues. So, mobility is coming.


Five Foot Eight and Fallout

She was right over there... twelve feet from us yet half a billion miles of thick, dense air between our position and hers. Half a billion fucking miles. And she was there sitting in a space all her own. Breathable air all her own. Breathable air.

And that was moments ago. The memory is chemically welded.

This marks three in as many months (aside from Her, of course) and such a number is both improbable and unreasonable. Historically we have not been prepared for so much information and difficulty without the proper space for noting details. The essays are exhaustive and obscenely detailed and as such demand a tremendous effort. The details are paramount to the effectiveness of description and without them the whole of the writing is shit. We must record as much as possible in an extremely short duration.

We have seen her before, spoken with her, gazed upon her thin frame. She is pleasant and personable. That only adds to the allure of her wonderful look. And the numbers we imagined began to inject discomfort into our mind. We carried a conversation for several moments and during that short period our ability to remain calm began to falter. She stood there in three-inch heels looking like a blonde statue with a smile and we attempted to keep our distance from the scent of her long hair. That was nearly impossible. Her features changed the room dynamic to a dramatic degree. There was additional tension which stemmed from her appearance and demeanor. Others attempted to stare but held back.


She was very tall and her height was accentuated by a very thin yet curvy frame. Her hips were disproportionally wide and sat below an extremely narrow waist which pushed her into the territory of so many jean models. The main difference was the fact that we spoke to her. Of course, we have gone on at length about such rare beauty, and this occasion represents something related yet quite different at its core.

Since losing Her, we have attempted to distance ourselves -- both physically and mentally -- from any such likeness. The difficulty in gazing, longing, and dreaming has become tougher than we could have imagined. When She allowed us in, the situation was so uplifting that now we have headed in the opposite direction... down. This latest of discoveries also pushed us down. We can look but knowing there can never be any furtherance of our needs is hurtful. Simply turning away is tough. We constantly are reminded of Her and despite the slim possibility that such a wonder may happen again we must avoid contact. This is part of the fucking fallout.

Very close...

The effective dumping this past summer is right there... still. Every single female which even remotely resembles Her becomes a serious problem. We do not understand the loss -- even after all of these months -- and the hole deepens. Our recent sightings in both SF and Vegas have catapulted our senses and feelings up and into a place beyond help. We are doomed, goddamnit. Of course, the fallout actually relates to many other things within this life. We are into sixteen which represents yet another fucking line in the sand and that is bad. Just all bad. Work, play, weather, time... all come crashing immediately after the wondrous holiday season. Winter pushes along and we are merely weeks into it, however winter in this place is nothing more than a glorified fall season with a different date. Even the media must admit that the colder weather is lacking. We receive threats of storms and they fail to impress, always. Over and over others worry about the impending patterns within the Pacific but in the end we are disappointed. (We shall continue to drink the weather away.) The forest calls but we remain mired in the fallout and confining situation over which we have no control. Drastic measures may win out soon. With Her gone, there is one less reason to be static as we have remained for so many years. That fact drives our dire feeling and wretched state more than the endless assholes and wastes of space around us.

Mired within and living without. Period.

The only saving grace we currently enjoy is the streamlining of our existence here. The more compact we endeavor to make ourselves, the easier a departure can be. In the past we have referred to this as flight mode but somehow the feeling is different -- more dire and less appealing than the early dreams of escape. 'Flight', however, is something which is always tempting -- no matter the circumstances. We have gone back and forth at length and for many years about flight mode and the simple fact remains this: Whenever we are in a place for what begins to seem like too long, the road calls. Aspects of daily life which have become difficult and/or dissatisfying point us in such a direction and they are many. In fact, we most nearly took to the road with Her at one point. She was as reckless and uncaring as we and the combination brewed into a narrow focus. Narrow and dark and dangerous. We were blinded by the Beauty and did not attempt to see elsewhere nor other souls. That moment -- one night last year -- has cemented itself into our psyche and helped to burn away everything but the fallout.

Breasts which bring disparity

For the time being, we shall sit here and continue to wallow. Despite all of the positives apparent within the Master season, we can no longer visualize a lift as the coming year moves in to the same territory. Her birthday will force a drop, the anniversary of the loss of Her will cause a further drop, and the end of each year will shorten as it has throughout the past decade. We see no improvement at all and that fact perpetuates the fallout. Not only are we held within an ever-expanding vortex of shit, the spin increases with each passing day. We are logarithmic.

Much disparity...

Having completely lost faith in society and the possibility of improvement, the difficulty in losing Her yet still being exposed to similar visions has become the central preoccupation of life. Every single example of form reminds us of the visions we saw last year. Additionally, they fall short. The fucking prime material plane was made of Her and Her alone. Part of this miserable fallout is said material permeating each aspect of life and subsequently ruining our chances of finding joy in anything.

For years and years we sat in front of this editor and lamented many aspects of life -- from the people to the roads to the weather. Each day started with a bit of hope and ended without. These latest of days ae similar yet with one massive hole from which there is seemingly no escape. Each view of social media and others interacting within it have pushed us further than in years passed. No one seems to see the direction nor the narrowing of daily life into one rolled up pastry empty of meaning. They sit and share the same crap over and over -- visual and audiovisual trash with no end. With every passing second the trash expands until there is nothing aside from stupidity and apathy. No one thinks, no one wishes to think, and no one sees what society has become. The entire world can be described as sad but the truth is not such. There is no sadness to this fucking shit. The simple fact is that we do not care and there is no sadness attached. Others avoid meaning by drowning within what they believe will lift themselves above their fellow human beings and feel larger.

This is impossible... just as any possibility of change. We hate everyone."

Ilial crests like Hers


I wish someone would tell me exactly why I am still residing in California. This place is becoming unacceptable in so many ways that the thought of being here is absolutely nauseating. Each day the weather and people proceed to push me into a fucking hole from which there is no escape whatsoever. Fuck this place.

Oh sure, there is all that culture and beauty, but it is buried beneath so many stressful and difficult aspects of daily life that the uphill walk from one day to the next has become more than any sane person should be required to plow. Since there are seemingly no sane fucks left except myself, the solution has become clear: just fucking leave it all behind.

Don't I wish.

Bodique 1
If she was in my mouth I could stay in this craphole

Oh yeah bring her to me and I will do whatever it takes to live in this fuckface-laden society. She would make everything easier because I would not be able to see anything in front of me. Her breasts would cover my face! Yes!

One of these days soon I will take that left turn to... somewhere. I know not where nor do I give a shit about what ends up in the rear view mirror. I will simply head to a higher place, both figuratively and literally. 'Standing on Higher Ground' by The Alan Parsons Project will be on the CD player the whole time at stratospheric volume. Drive and drive and drive into the elevation and bitter cold. There are few people up there and that does not change often. People do not enjoy the cold. They flock to the warm weather just like cockroaches.

Bodique 2
Good gawd what a slender vision

I. Am. Roasted.

Grilled and well done. For crying out loud I went from the flame to the sea yet still the climate is unacceptable. Far too much sun and high temperatures. This place has such proximity to the vast ocean and that does serve to bring the same type of wonder as in years passed, however the short distance between me and the water does not seem to bring the lovely fog enough to satiate my desire for cool.

Heat is death. The Flame of Hell follows the sun and burns all in view. I have wasted valuable years in said heat and will never get them back nor live them in any way. Without further change I am completely fucked and relegated to a life in the flame with the fucking asshats and degenerate wastes of life which inhabit this area. Worse? They have licenses to drive. Shit.

Bodique 3
All sharp elbows and knees... beware

[08/07/2016 09:57 pdt]

Well now. We have not been in the office much throughout the past few months and the toll on the site is apparent. A few trips abroad combined with a busy schedule during this major transfer to mobile editing have left the staff in disarray. We have taken steps to maintain this system of bells and whistles during such turmoil, and so far things are smooth. The only downside is the lack of updating here.

The business of Dimensional Passion has been pushed up in order to secure cards and other advertising material. We are attempting to build the site concurrently, however such a process is lengthy and wrought with issues. Things are progressing slowly and we are hoping to have a splash for the index soon.

The business side of DP will doubtless be a tough road. This is discussed below, but from an operational standpoint, the logistics of keeping the information flowing for both sites may force us out of the office.

Also, Reiko will be unavailable for comment until further notice. We will miss her as she searches for herself.


The Obsession and the Understanding

"The current social and political climate on Facebook is helping to create an easy path for our direction lately. Between the Wolves and the weather outside the office windows, we are actually doing reasonably well for such a small group and considering our identity. The past few days have shown us that early spring can be calming despite our sour location. The clouds and rain make for a dim and shadowy atmosphere which in turn allows us to focus upon that which is most important... the obsession.


Due to the recent passing of Her unrealized birthday, we are once again falling through the floor. We knew this would happen. We knew the day would come and go and result in yet another drop. Somehow and for whatever reason, the situation is different today. Her image is always there burning within and without, yet this day brings a new crisis -- need. Yes, the blade has yet again cut into us and the unrelenting pressure to fulfill the dream is now forcing us into a fetal position and providing the least comfortable mental state in months. We know not what to do, yet sitting in front of this infernal editor has become more compelling than ever. We have been left here among this shit society with nothing more than words, images and memories. What this means above all things is we are mired within the obsession.


Considering the sheer number of descriptive essays and shining paragraphs devoted to Her over the past year, another is far from necessary to convey our depth of feeling. Still, such things feel necessary beyond drawing breath. We have placed many images among these pages in order to attempt piecing together Her features, each providing a small segment of Her overall appearance. Unfortunately, this is ridiculous and impossible. Only we have knowlege of Her look and the images convey nothing to the working public (that is, if anyone is seeing).

The opportunity to photograph Her passed us by last year and the result is the crippling feeling that we will never recover. Even if another example of such dark beauty flows into our lives, this type of exploration may not be possible. Others view what we need and feel as odd, compulsive, perverted, and/or wrong somehow. In this day and age of so much endless shit flowing across the oft-useless internet we are still strange, according to the mass of sludge inhabiting this suffering world. Why? Because others who may feel the same do not speak nor write of such things in a similar manner. They are generally holed up in a private space and remain obsessed alone. Is that the healthy process we should embrace? Or is our interest scientific and passionate enough to seem harmless? Who the fuck knows. She left us here -- needing, wanting, yearning -- and this will simply remain another issue which will force us into the fucking shadows. Whatever the result, we are accustomed already.

The curves which started it all...

With the number of difficulties which have arisen since summer last, we are actually surprised to be above ground at all. Each day without the vision pushes and pushes... each thought swirls through the fog and leaves us daydreaming. Eventually the dreaming will not stop and we will withdraw from society completely. This process will not be difficult and even feels welcomed on some levels -- desired, wanted. The above statement regarding social media (antisocial media) is a catalyst. The last few years have seen dramatic increases in apathy as well as decreases in sensitivity between individuals. This is unacceptable and no one sees the damage to society as a whole. There are already so many reasons to withdraw, however people are number one.

Our dissatisfaction is beginning to come to a point... the type of which tends to send people either straight to quieter, less populated areas, or into some sort of depressive and maniacal state involving crime and severe withdrawal. Either of these is acceptable (as stated here in spades throughout the past decade). We would prefer to remain here and eliminate the dregs, but alas withdrawal and escape is much simpler. As such, we must make revolutions in that direction lest we begin setting fire to it all. The anger toward others has been building over a very large amount of time and losing Her last year has enraged us to no end. Yes, on a daily basis we are civil and personable. Underneath it all is a very different story. The need to be unsociable has brewed within for too long. That state of mind is emerging like lava from a cracked tectonic plate. We must go, and soon. We are on fire and leaving will not only save us but others as well.

She could have kept us here, however She is gone.

And there is Her narrow waist

Speaking of withdrawal, we recently spent ten days on a cruise to Alaska and the stark contrast between that beautiful place and this shithole glows more than ever. We have dreamt for years of escaping to a cooler and less populated locale, and the glimpse simply puts us further outside present society. More people equals more issues. In a town of less than eight thousand, those issues are minimal to say the least.

Of course, seeing such a quiet and isolated city with eyes groomed within a huge metropolitan area produces a skewed vision. Keeping this in mind at all times is tough and serves to make every detail shine. We understand this fully and the thought of separating from the machine helps to maintain clarity. We know this.

Her tapered upper arms

The combination of our dissatisfaction with the direction of society and losing such a wondrous and beautiful soul which was connected to us is pressing like nothing before. Small steps toward large changes are necessary to keep us sane and relatively grounded. The alternative is not pleasant. Currently the only path is attempting to enjoy the day-to-day essentials of living and processing those items necessary for continued forward motion. The occasional sightings of form are difficult with which to live, honestly. We see and we fall a bit further. This is to be expected considering Her absence. We had it all and now we have little more than the tiniest periods of happiness. Understanding the depressing situation She caused last year is just not available and we are even more obsessed with the form She displayed naturally. Coupled with Her incredible softness of thought and soulful caring, that form has all but ruined us now.

We shall see what develops and what we can attempt to do in order to stay sane.

Compound radii

Organization, patient planning, and comfort are the three aspects of these days which we cannot lose. If such a thing takes place, we are dead and in the ground for good. Fuck."

[09/03/2016 07:00 pdt]

We have begun the process of splitting Coma in half in order to create space for Dimensional Passion. Until the funds are available for web space encompassing only the new site, DP must begin as a part of Coma. We would love to have everything immediately, but this is difficult for a self-supported domain. As such, the main index will display a double splash through which visitors may select one site or the other. No other information will be shared on the index.

Dimensional Passion will likely begin slowly, and will follow the default index with its initial design: title block, two-columns, left dynamic menu, body, footer. Hopefully, if the research develops in a positive manner, we can expand DP into its own frontier. If it were to become a business, that pathway has even more options for supporting itself.

On the downside, we must keep in mind the possibility of finding nothing aside from complete rejection by prospective clients. This type of venture is on the fringe of what others believe to be 'normal' thinking. Attempting to begin any kind of research is going to require open mindedness unlike any other. The right personality = positivity.

The Clodmaster section has been updated to include recent electronics advancements. Page 29 now displays newer images of the main PC board and further information on the development of systems. Mechanical work continues as we type and will be added when available. The master for that section of the site is undergoing many backend updates so the content date may not change until work is complete and we push it into the production environment. Content sections are still dated as they travel. The page indexing for the Clodmaster is lacking better navigation. Due to the basic layout hanging on after all these years, the page remains fairly static. We are going to change the navigation one of these days, but with all of the other issues it may take a while.

Speaking of the layout (as discussed above regarding the upcoming rollout of DP), recent readers have grumbled about the two-column design and subsequent off-center appearance of the footer links and logo. Well, this is something admin has been stolid about for years and there are only two options for improvement which we can see: move the footer inside the right column, or move the logo to align with the left column and place the footer to its right. Either would be acceptable and perhaps we can build a sample page and allow feedback to decide. Give us a bit of time on that.

Also, the galleries are all fucked up for some reason. We are attempting to locate the issue.


Dimensional Passion and the Raven

"We have sat in these chairs pondering the idea of the studies of a lifetime (at least what we consider as such) and have attempted to find wording, imagery, and a pathway to roll into it. She was the catalyst for most of the push toward actually operating and soliciting clients (subjects). Unfortunately, that wondrous example left us before bearing fruit.

She was to be the first subject (and nearly was had we been prepared that evening), and was dedicated to assisting with the process of getting things up and running. She had ideas, contacts, and visions which would have eased the subjects into the study. There can be no understating the importance of making them feel comfortable and She had the personality and skills to make it happen.

Honestly, as one of the most striking and poetic examples of dark beauty we have seen in all our years of searching, She became the bridge, if you will, between our ideas and the process of pushing us into reality. Her loss continues to impact our every move and each day. The images on the current index display a few of Her features, as closely as they are able. The reason for the continually rotating images is the fact that She is constantly in our heads like nothing else. We have been told more than once that to obsess over another human is as unhealthy as all of the other aspects related to Dimensional Passion. Yes, these things are unhealthy, but what change will bring peace? The search and the obsession and the drive leave us in a bit of negative space. Like a hole, a vacuum. This can be damaging beyond belief and can also push us to make severe decisions. Well, this negative space also keeps us alive -- the possibility cannot be denied and as such will remain the driving force behind four of the six domains which we own. This is also the primary reason we are still drawing breath. There is a finite duration for such, however, and when the time arrives when we feel the possibility no longer exists, there will be a step taken. Plans are in place, letters written, and business dealings are in process for when this date arrives.

Live with it.

Her upper and inner thigh disparity

From this point forward, we need to attempt putting aside the arduous journey of passing Her memory and driving toward the goal of operating. Seeking subjects was to be a task we performed together, and now the thought of approaching anyone has become more complex. We have amassed images for many years and the computer does assist in measurement as well as visualization as to the whole of the female form we seek (basically, Her), but such has proven tedious and unfulfilling to say the least, and the time required to attain the goal of actually learning of the numbers, ratios, and radii compared to a living, breathing soul is tremendous.

First and foremost will be manufacturing the business cards which will represent initial contact. From that beginning, the control is lost to actual human beings. Any information gained will no longer be up to the organization, but people. Trust will be an absolute and once again such a situation is not ours to dictate. We must connect to souls even during the most fleeting of moments or chance encounters and drop a pebble which will hopefully cause a sidestep. Then begins the waiting.

Tapering to the most personal of curves

Although we have already been waiting years, the recent connection with Her has caused the passage of time to multiply negatively like never before. Just this past year feels as a decade or more. Even at this very moment blasting 'La Ou Naissent Les Couleurs' into our eardrums reminds us of the days passed in which we stood in Her presence and in awe of Her forgiving, loving, caring, and open-hearted nature. The resulting physical and mental comfort catapulted us to a place unequaled before and since.

This place remains as the sole paradise which we can inhabit. Daily 'regular' life is no longer satisfying upon any level and proceeds to force us into a mental fetal position in which only the dizzying effects of overpowering audio and alcohol can keep us above ground and operating as human. Everything else has faded just like decent weather in the mid-spring.

The compulsion to continue along with the difficulties inherent in proceeding through daily life without knowing She is out there are pressing us into a mold void of identification. Even sitting at the editor is far from satisfying. We have remained in this space for so long that the urge to get up and do something -- anything -- disappears quickly. These late days are filled with discomfort and ambiguity. And then the alcohol flows as it once did during the most arduous times in Vegas. Of course, every now and then a small burst takes place in which we are able to move around and become distracted by the draws of living.

In recent years, and while we have attempted to stay afloat during brief periods, the few thoughts which drove us toward appearing as human were those which caused the slides into oblivion. We are in such a place now... a place void of desire for anything which others seem to covet and for which they hope. During that short and very blurry segment while we resided in the cave, forward motion was achieved by streamlining and organizing material possessions and pointing ourselves in a simpler direction. That type of effort goes through ebb and flow just like any other, and at this moment we are again mired. We must find the track and do our best to return life to that of the portable. The necessities have become a short list and the idea of once again living in such a way has become very enticing. We need portability and we need it badly. We shall arrive there only after tremendous effort but the resulting comfort will doubtless be more than worth the trials.

The body of this essay has lost the way of the title. Whatever.

Today may be the beginning once again due to the fact that we are talking ourselves into progressing toward anything which represents improvement. We just fucking need the ability to dictate our course. She did this... She placed her heart where it needed to be and pushed Herself down the road of the unknown by cutting the detritus off and shedding the unnecessary. We simply MUST do the same. The alternative is dirt.

This is another facet of the obsession.

Nearly a match to Her


The beginning of the obsession (as discussed earlier), the reason for the drive, and the face which became the very definition of undeniable beauty was Her. Wondrous form, darkness of soul, brightness of eyes. Passionate, selfless love, caring and support. Endless fascination. There will never be another soul of equal. Never. A large portion of our present discomfort is the simple fact that each of us is unique and by extension She was unique. There were many aspects of Her form and personality which aligned with our needs, desires, and dreams. Attempting to find someone similar (even regarding the physical) is daunting to say the least. The tallest of orders, however, is to recreate feeling of being near Her. Yes, we realize this should not be happening because such a pursuit is unhealthy to say the least, however the drive will not cease. She was more than we can describe here or anywhere and the idea of feeling at that level again is simply far too wonderful to shut off.

That was a place of perpetual joy, but also one of haphazard damage. While in the company of each other -- be it alone or among others -- the tendency was that of recklessness and short sight. Past writings have described the outings in more detail, so we will avoid retreading. Suffice to say, the difference between the close and far moments was as a vast chasm, impassable by either soul. Distance apart created inner tension and discomfort for both, and the upside of this terrible feeling was the sense of floating which followed the closeness. There are a few magnificent songs which bring a similar mood from the depths all the way up to the pinnacle of feeling.

We are all over the fucking map with the thoughts these days.

Close to Her incredible form

Her darkness of eyes and hair along with the vulture-like nature and predatory manner in which She interacted with others combined to create quite a savage personality.

She was and will forever remain the Raven -- haunting, beautiful, compelling, and disturbing."

[09/10/2016 07:22 pdt]

This week shows the Clodmaster section of the site up to 30 pages and streamlined right back to the master. We love seeing progress on this front so any advancement is wonderful. The truck continues as we have always hoped.

Also, the entire site has been stripped of baggage which slows load times. At this point we are seeing ~200mS loads from servers as far away as Australia. Very nice.

DP is stagnant at the request of admin. He does not wish any expansion to be anything less than his 'perfect' ideal, so we have been asked to forego any further work in that direction. On the upside, the staff has secured two more top-level domains in order to further the vision and as such they have been aligned with the same. We shall continue the search for any relevant scraps. One day soon, the metropolis will see light.


The Cave and the Period

"Walls covered with black murals. Bedroom furniture as a workshop. Memories and memorials hanging in every segment of sheetrock. 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy flowing from the speakers and across the monitor. Fog hanging outside the balcony. Windows perpetually covered to keep out prying eyes and the world. The aroma of bourbon in the air. Multi-colored lighting creating a surreal atmosphere within.

This was our space for many months.

We still miss it after more than four years. We found some sort of detachment and comfort in that cave which brought out creativity in a damaging and isolating manner. We roamed and worked on various projects both mechanical and artistic and all the while there was stress over the decisions which brought us to the coast. That small rental became our entire world and cradled us as it destroyed us. We wrote for hours, days, weeks, months... all the while wondering if anything could happen to keep us above ground. We connected -- not to living, breathing souls -- but to others across the planet who knew nothing of our detachment and destruction. We worked through Clodmaster electronics issues and made absolutely no progress in any direction. All was simply filling time to avoid the worry. We drank heavily and ate anything which distracted our being from reality. We hid in there and ventured past the door only to replenish the alcohol and other supplies which enabled us to remain in a bubble void of societal noise.

We relished the darkness and sat within it, alone.

The very idea of being around others became alien to us very quickly. Once drapes and lighting were in place, and a few necessary furnishings allowed us to relax, the door to the remaining world was closed and locked. Fuck them, all of them. Leave us alone.

[The images displayed within this entry have been here before, however the need has arisen to link the visual past to our thoughts yet again.]

Apartment 1
Looking out toward oblivion

In the beginning, we strove to create an atmosphere which brought some semblance of comfort. The effort all paid off over time, as the glowing LED lighting and strong messages on the walls separated us from the past brightness and clarity. The darkness we felt inside flowed into the cave like a river of needs born of negativity. Familiar media was available at any moment and that is something with which we have identified since childhood. Going through daily activities with said media keeping us company became unbelievably important. The aforementioned familiarity and a sense of one-sided company eventually formed our only friend -- a friend that would never leave, irritate, disappoint, or disagree. That friend was isolated, just like us, and closed up within our space. We were in total control during a time when everything else in our lives stayed most decidely out of control.

The Shield (which will be explored in detail at a later date) was on the wall in hopes of protection from the haphazard nature of living. We were frightened of anyone impeding our way of life and terrified of others within our cave. The backing on draperies was that of hotel blackout, and the result of such thick, dense coverings was yet another type of control -- light. We have always felt at home in the dark, and the days of Winter have always been the least taxing on our sensitive eyes. With the drapes spanning the glass wall which was the west end of the apartment, we could close out the light and the world, effectively eliminating anyone from glimpsing our activities. Also, RGB lighting inside meant the glow could be adjusted to our variable moods to better follow suit.

The lighting also conveyed the atmosphere outside the cave during the night. As we had become partially nocturnal, during the evening and early morning hours the drapes remained open and the dim reds and oranges showed the others that ours was a space not to be disturbed. Sometimes blood red and other times burnt orange... eyes were drawn to the look of exotic coloring, but the nature of the lighting kept anyone from inquiring as to our lives. The mood inside was rarely positive. The occasional knock at the door was unrealized and resulted in an increase of media volume. Stay away and let us wallow, please. Ignore the colors. Fuck off.

Apartment 2
Symbolism everywhere

Nails over the bed in the living room.

Just as the previous decade, the Nails assisted with keeping us in mind of the option of death (the inside of the safe was walled with rounds for the .44 and .357 just in case things became dire). This does not mean he led us there... he simply put things into terms which aligned with our way of thinking. That was the first painted wall covering in the cave and it led us to create more symbols to assist in separating us from the fucking herd outside. His words have inspired us to think freely, uniquely, and clearly, and pushed us to live apart from the mentality of the sheep. We never would have been able to live this long -- nor this focused -- without the compositions represented on that wall. Over a period of years beginning in fateful 1994, he became the unrequited and nearly unrealized love of our lives. He became all that we needed on a daily basis and a force we could not withstand. He pushed and we attempted to push back, but soon we knew he was to be a muse of sorts. Once we accepted this, the path became clear. We are still on that path. Along with Maynard, he helped us like none other.


Yes, we nailed the door shut from inside that cave, and those nails eventually found their way to the outside as well. No problem. Nail us in. Tape, screws, glue, whatever. Seal us in. We wish we were there now. Fuck.

Whilst nailed within the cave, we wrote. We also worked on electronics, photography, drawing, and other interests, but the writing was a cathartic process just as in years earlier. The idea of creating something significant from our minds was magical, even inspiring. We attempted to be third-person, but ended up drafting woes and pain (just as this black hole of a blog). The beginnings of the stories which took their shape over many moons have not seen completion. The ideas and outlines became too great to detail. Other writings, however, became poignant. And further, they are out there among the active server pages of the electronic world. The essays (and those as of yet unpublished) are safe -- backed up all over the office and the planet. The archive here is evidence of the backward yet somehow still creative nature of our minds. We have found much importance in maintaining every stitch of our work no matter the circumstances within life. We need to keep everything as it was written during all times, good or bad. The cave was all bad until we attempted to lift ourselves out of the sludge and move forward. That typically resulted in a fall of sorts. Sometimes a very bad fall. We always recovered, though, and from that point seemed to be enhanced and more relaxed. And as such the writing continued and continues. We still love it.

This site did not benefit greatly from the experience of living within the cave, unfortunately. Most of the work was in the Clodmaster direction and did not add to the personal nature of Coma. In fact, the site was not even named Coma at that time, nor was the domain. That information must remain under wraps and is a part of the archive, in a manner of speaking. We simply cannot have certain aspects of the site's history brought into the open (hence the '02 archive on permanent hiatus). The word control has permeated this entry and for good reason -- we need it like nothing else.

Apartment 3
Massive paintings representing isolation

All of that writing -- be it paper and pencil or keyboard -- helped to keep us distracted from the outside (and from them), and served to mold us into what we are today. The sound of the keyboard and the endless availability of information has provided comfort on some odd level and a link to the past. During the early years of administrating this site we found the idea of editing and coding had become a visceral need along with other aspects of life. We closed ourselves in to a small area and let the words flow out to the world. This is still the feeling even today. While in the cave, it became not only a similar need but a method for communicating our feelings in such a way so as to avoid any direct backlash from others. We were anonymous, cut off from the herd, and free to broadcast. On more than a few occasions, unfortunately, we bled the words onto the billboard that is FB. This was bad and forced us even further into hiding and led us to speak more pointedly. Lashing, burning, screaming at the sheep around us and pursuing further isolation placed others who actually knew us into a defensive posture. The entire affair became a tug-of-war which we had no intention of losing. Our ground had to be maintained and we did whatever was required to keep others both at arm's length and in their place. Ouch. We are still capable of such scathing material, but the need has diminished slightly. Hence exploration of the form prominently displayed on these pages since the beginning of fifteen.

We wished to explore further, and since roughly 2007 the thought of expanding work here into such a discipline seemed enticing. The interest and subsequent obsession remained behind locked doors due to fear of being inappropriate. Now? Fuck it... we no longer give half a flaming shit who reads nor reacts. Bring it and suffer.

The current incarnation of our web presence has become even more of an outlet than in the past. We have total control over the entire domain, several other domains through which we can expand and file our subjects, and enough storage in three different directions to hold everything we've ever written more than ten thousand times over. The domain ownership cannot possibly be overstated in this day and age. It represents a segment of the electronic frontier against which no one can push. The domain and related space is immune to sanctions of any kind and enjoys the largest freedom of creativity in history. On top of all of this, it is global and top-level in the parlance of the now.

Why do we go into this and how does it relate to the title? Well, this is an extension of what we enjoyed while cooped up in the cave. We had the space and freedom, but did not fully realize the implications. Now, we do. And the result is a feeling which has become a combination of the cave and the ability to keep it in amber. And holy fuck do we need to remember. Everything.

Apartment 4
The universe we inhabited alone

Late ten, all of eleven, and the beginning of twelve have formed a period of time unequaled in our history. There were many things which we still found the ability to enjoy, and they were chafing against so many memories and trials that the comparison from one to the other is that of exponentials. Even now we sit and type these words during yet another period -- one of equal uncertainty and difficulty. The troubles of that period remain and are carried every single day, and now combine with the vast differences of the current times. Steady workload brings income which allows us daily comforts such as food and a warm place to sleep. We have found that throughout the past many years, and no matter the location of life, we can sink into the evenings with the things we need in order to find solace. To this day we do the same. We sink into the night and separate ourselves from the outside and the others by creating our own world. It works, and it works well enough to keep us alive despite the demanding and often overwhelming need to escape. Vegas is always there... waiting, welcoming, and invisible, as it were.

During the end of eleven we were still with NASA. The routines of that career were absolute and filled with habits which were carried from those of decades earlier. While in the cave, working at NASA became a comfort all its own, and daily life there extended into our little realm with similar routines -- scheduling, buildings which welcomed us as a part of their history, and a comfort born of others whom shared the same. We were a crew which worked as one. We all enjoyed the benefits of such a unique place of work, and for the other two-thirds of that small group the activities were just as important. Extremely similar goals, moment by moment, and they carried us through the days.

The manner in which this helped while in the cave is important. We could count on certain aspects of our lives as being under our total control. The workplace was the same. When the time came to head home after a given day, we did not necessarily yearn for the cave because the comfort of work helped to keep us grounded while away. Once home, we adjusted the atmosphere to align with our mood and sunk right into that which we needed most. The simple truth is this: Work was not so detached from home. The period of time between leaving home and returning home was somehow 'ok' and satisfying.

Still, without the cave to keep us upright, we have one hell of a time remaining in the light. Many aspects of life have become reminders of the near and far past and we cannot seem to escape them no matter the effort."

[09/18/2016 09:04 pdt]

The site is in flux, even at this late date. Fourteen plus years of administrating and coding have sent all of the staff through the wringer in more ways than one. Admin is not the easiest with which to work, but we still plod along as instructed.

The mobile platform has been put on hold for a short period due to funding. This site (and the others) is self-supported and we have yet to solicit serious donations, and this means we need to be frugal. Getting everything into the cloud is a wonderful thing and means when the time arrives, all will be available anywhere. The staff is able to work from literally anywhere, but the home base is still just that -- stuck. Once the cash is in place, we will enable admin's freedom. Recent data has shown us bounce rates dropping below 70% and increasing numbers from odd parts of the world, and the inspiration to continue, streamline and expand is flowing. The mobile platform, while difficult to attain, will help to diversify our efforts and keep the four sites moving along with more outside influence. This is a good thing.

Another positive is the fact that we are now valid. All of the coding and bullshit throughout the past four years has finally been passed through the validator. This may not seem like a big deal to readers, but to create an expansive site and work to make it 'valid' means our syntax and coding efforts are recognized by the consortium as correct in every way. The master now displays their logo at the footer.

Also, the Maltese Cross footer has been changed to blood red to match the 'reverse' arrow on the title image. We feel this brings a sense of balance and completion to the layout. The preponderance of deep blue all over the columns was commanding too much attention and the updated coloring breaks things up a bit. The fact that the cross represents a perpetual mourning means it should stand out more than the previous.


The Wind, the Windows and the Wires

"Two of the three phobias relate to our day to day life. The wind is one and hydrogen is the other. Let us describe the wind and its pull upon us as well as the manner in which it affects.

During the decade of the zeros, we spent much time within the confines of the Test Section of the HFFF doing various tasks related to the testing of flow. This section of the ballistic range was integral to nearly every atmospheric reentry vehicle designed in this country -- many of which were in service from the 1950s until today. The Test Section (TS) is an octagonal tapered tunnel through which a ballistic model spacecraft (or other form) is propelled and shadowgraphed. Other measurements are taken during testing such as pressure, ablation points, recombination dimensions, heating, gas cap development, moment of inertia, etc. Any aspect of thermal flow, aerodynamics and thermodynamics can be measured at extremely high speed. The shadowgraphs are in an orthogonal orientation and the process of capturing these images is attained through windows and Kerr technology which was developed in the 1960s. As such, the cleanliness of the TS is paramount to quality and usable film. As the TS was positioned immediately after the expansion tank of a two-stage light gas gun, such cleanliness was difficult to attain and maintain.

We were the sole proprieter of that domain for more than a decade and have spent countless hours inside the tunnel.

test section 1
Compressed image of the test section

The range was made up of several long, narrow rooms, three of which comprised the HFFF and were laid out end-to-end. The gun and shock tunnel passed through all three of these rooms and were roughly four hundred feet long when fully assembled. The three rooms are the gun room, test section, and combustion room. The components of the entire system pass through the blast walls. Each room has several supply and exhaust fans across the roof for ventilating before, during and after testing. In a single room, the fans are capable of completely flushing the volume of air in less than one minute. This is necessary due to the hazardous nature of the combustion and test gases -- most notably, hydrogen. The only points of entry to the entire range are a few blast doors which share a single key, of which we had complete control.

This entire description is simply to describe our ability to move air in any direction and at extremely high rates. The single upstairs entry door to the gun room became the air inlet, and the combustion room several hundred feet away was the outlet. The rooms became a large wind tunnel.

At the extreme east end of the test section is an access door. This is the upstream end of the test section and the sabot separation tank (dump tank) is between the gun barrel and test section. We had a method of operating the roof fans in order to keep fresh air flowing through the range and out the west end of the building. There are no windows and very limited access to the rooms in the ballistic ranges, and the necessity for maintaining control of such a dangerous area is obvious.

During business hours, a stream of air was kept flowing through the test section for cleaning and test setup. With the massive capacity of the roof fans, keeping a breeze in the test section and other areas was simply a matter of directional control. The door into the dump tank was far enough upstream to facilitate using a portable fan to force fresh air into the test section and out the test cabin. With all of the fans in operation, the air flow was strong and consistent. Throughout many years of working inside the test section, the use of fresh air to overcome such a stale tunnel became a necessity. The inside walls and other surfaces have been coated with the by-products of burning hydrogen, helium, and other gases, as well as the remnants of various solid materials which have been ablated throughout the decades. The atmosphere inside is surreal, confining, and very stale. As a result, air movement is necessary both for the comfort of the occupant and maintaining proper oxygen levels for life safety. With the fans forcing air through the range and through the test section, comfort was rarely an issue. The flow and sound of the fans allowed us to forget the confining and tiring nature of the metal surrounding us. We were able to find a routine and become so accustomed to the interior that it eventually became like a second home. Days, weeks, months, years... that routine was like no other. We grew to know it, and know it very well.

Throughout years of spending many hours per calendar week inside the test section, we began to develop a need to feel the air moving. Enough time had passed that such a need worked its way into other parts of life. Driving home... air flowing. Arriving home... wind through the windows. Spending time in campgrounds, malls, anywhere... wind. Life became an endless desire for the feeling of the air moving around us. We needed it.

And we need it, still.

test section 2
The view from the inside, looking downstream

We no longer spend time within the mighty test section of the HFFF. We now inhabit the remainder of the world with the others. We sit at the desk, we stand in the bar, and we drive the vehicle. All the while we need the air moving or we become extremely uncomfortable. Even in the office with the staff just outside the glass walls, we are fearful of residing where the air is stagnant. Out of doors the feeling is worsened by the sun. Warmth without wind has become the lion's share of our concerns. The sun burns and sends its incredible radiation like arrows into our eyes and skin. The wind can cool us -- ever so slightly -- and the discomfort of the heat subsides. Without the motion however, we sit in fear of smoldering like a leaf beneath the magnifying glass of the world.

This is one of the three phobias we live with on a daily basis.

We have spent the last several years with the fear clinging just as it did in the beginning of the test section work. The wind which is a natural result of uneven heating of the Earth's crust has become a necessity of living each day, no matter our locale. Mexico, Alaska, Japan, Hawaii... all of these places each have their own unique climate and weather patterns, and during the times we spent there the wind was the one factor which allowed us to be even remotely comfortable. Wind from differing directions, and with differing temperatures. The wind which influenced cloud patterns, rain patterns, and sea spray. The wind which came unexpectedly and when forecasted. The wind which brought us to the pinnacle of comfort so far from home. The wind of life and living.

We have grown to love the movement of air, be it an extreme vacuum-based flow or a simple breeze through the canopy of trees. The absence of such is the epitomy of discomfort and fear.

And then there are the windows and the wires.

test section 3
The optics pit

Through the windows we saw history -- the significant accomplishments of the engineering and aerospace pioneers of decades passed. We saw the images of the HFFF shadowgraph system, the prints of huge photographic and shadowgraphic negatives from the Pressurized Ballistic Range which was demolished not long ago. We gazed through those BK7 and quartz panes which upheld their optical flatness and clarity throughout years of supersonic and hypersonic abuse... thousands of experiments gone both good and bad, often resulting in the most violent impacts and ablations conceivable. Hours spent longing to be outside, and typically unappreciative of the sacrifices and incredible breakthroughs which enabled the pinnacle of manned and unmanned spaceflight throughout history. Upon the exterior concrete walls were lists of velocity records, impacts of note, and the names of those involved. The ISS, Pioneer, original X-15 and fantastic Apollo missions were outlined in specification and image. More, even. Many more. We stared for years at the wondrous history within which we were so folded.

Those windows are the center of the testing process. Aside from impact work -- such as for the ISS shield materials -- the research is dependent upon the shadowgraphs. Older-than-dirt high voltage spark gaps provide super-fast lighting through parabolic mirrors on the walls, in the optics pit and on the ceiling, and onto the film planes in photo boxes. The 'shutter' also operates via high voltage and contains a birefringent liquid which depolarizes when hit with 30kV [Yes, the shutter system is a liquid-based medium. There is no mechanical means for exposing film as quickly. The exposure time for the typical Kerr cell is roughly 40nS -- that is 40 billionths or .00000004 seconds.] The result is a pair 8x10 negatives displaying the position of the model in two dimensions (orthogonally). This happens across sixteen photo stations along the test section which are separated by five foot intervals.

On the outside of each North window (along the bottom) is the 'run' number, or LGG shot number, as recorded from the beginning of the range construction. This is written with a China marker and after the shot it appears in the negative. We believe our last work there was in the neighborhood of shot number 2390.

Fiducial and catenary wires on the outside length of the test section provide reference lines necessary for measurement of pitch angle, moment of inertia, etc. The wires stretch along the windows from end to end on the octagon. The catenary wires sag a bit on the bottom of the test section, but this does not detract from the north-south alignment and/or parallelism. The fiducial wires are another story. They are wrapped around cylindrical steel sleeves which are mounted upon a lateral rod above the side windows. This rod is as long as the test section and looks as if it has been in place since the dawn of man -- it is rusted and bent in various places along its length. Despite the condition of the mounting rod, the cylinders which hold each vertical pair of wires are unaffected with the passage of time. They hang from the mounting rod above each window and down to a set of buckets below. The fiducial wires are also attached to weights and hang in oil to maintain plumb as well as avoid the violent movements of the range during a shot.

These wires are immediately visible through the windows and gave us a vision of uprightedness while inside. We derived our position and were able to remain 'grounded' despite such odd circumstances.

We soon learned to love the vision of the wires and the windows through which we spent so much time staring. The outside world made sense because of the ever-perfect and ever-present horizontal and vertical monofilament lines. Odd, unique, and perfect, always.

test section 4
Caution, you will be inhaled

We saw others through those windows, as well. Technicians preparing for the tests, researchers setting up their equipment, and the occasional visit from someone outside our group (usually a safety engineer). From the inside, everyone looks the same -- silent, moving lips and wondrous eyes. 'That cannot be comfortable'. No, it was not. And over the years slowly became more difficult, yet somehow more rewarding. Each day and each test allowed us the time to think of anything and everything. Throughout our entire tenure occupying that sooty domain, we viewed many faces outside peering in at us. In the beginning the feeling was a bit disconcerting, as our position was that of the lowest echelon. As the years passed, however, we began to feel as if we were doing something important -- critical, even -- to the future of spaceflight and other research. We remained inside one of the most unique places in this sordid world and worked to maintain and set up test fixtures the likes of which others cannot fathom.

Describing the view from inside is nearly impossible (unless, of course, a person has ridden the submarine ride while still in operation at Disneyland), and our efforts in such a direction will very likely go unnoticed. In a similar way, the view of others looking in is equally arduous. We eventually gazed back at them with pride in our situation, position, and work. We stared out at them as if we were in a position of power of some sort. As odd as it may sound, from the inside of the monster we controlled it. To a further extent, we owned it outright. Even now, years later and sitting before the editor, we hold the lingering feeling that a part of us remains within the test section. Some part we did not know was attached, and something we had never conceived.

We are in there, somewhere, for every test.

The last several years living without that place have slowly become less tolerable and the resulting feelings of loss have multiplied like nothing else (except, perhaps... Her).

[09/26/2016 06:26 pdt]

The throwback title from 2003 is being displayed at the bottom of the main index at admin's request. That was an era of excess symbolism and the logo reflected such in spades. Back then, even the left column displayed vertical symbols, messages and the occasional PSA. Despite all of the images and various distractions, the index never really looked cluttered thanks to the subdued coloration which entered after the dark period of late 2003 and early 2004. The site carried the basic layout seen here now, and the two-column idea was used in order to keep navigation tidy and compact. There was a floating menu for a short time, too, but the left column had to remain clean in order for the menu to be accessible. This did not work well enough to expand upon so the dynamic menu was born and the column was simplified. Other items from the early days of 2004 will work their way into this space with the stipulation that the index does not become loaded down.

One interesting fact about the old title image is the original site URL. Displayed in the upper left in a fading configuration, it represents the earliest incarnation of our web space. Other site names are referenced in various places on the image but none so promenently as the first. To follow historical suit, we may alter the main title image on the master to animate part of the 'reverse, pause, forward' symbol on the left. We have thought of this from the beginning because of the still nature of the indexes, but admin did not approve. Now that we have a tad more creative control we just might make it happen -- and we will ensure it is done tastefully with no flashiness.

The left column has been lightened due to our attempt to maintain a separation between the two halves of the page layout. The footer needs to stay outside of the 'box' created by the blue delineators in order for it to look centered without the illusion of the main body text being off center within the table. Yes, this is a lot of crap to describe, but the staff spends many hours staring and eventually things look strange. We believe the dark gray background completes the table better than black and the footer appears even. So it shall remain.

And the galleries are still fucked up. We may remove them entirely if a solution is not forthcoming.


The Two Women, the Fringe and the Frying Pan

"She strolled by us smiling. We smiled back, and at that moment we realized she was uncommon. Her gait and stride were amazing, and that was merely the beginning.

Her jeans allowed clear view of a stallion's legs beneath. She walked by several times and the world rotated in reverse during those moments. Dark hair, dark eyes, and the flowing symmetrical gait of a goddess painted from the sum history of beauty. The heels were three-inches high which placed her roughly even with our height. Eye to eye was the result and her gaze created a disturbance within us which still remains to this moment, next to the memory. It is a cyclone of sorts, one which may have no end. Her slender beauty and flowing movements somewhat matched the Raven. The resulting feelings drove us insane. We are still there at this moment. The memory and vision of Her will not leave us at all. We cannot shake them. The difficulty inherent in thinking of Her permeates every aspect of life -- a minute or two each day finds distraction, however the feelings return, and quickly. Once in there, She becomes everything.

One more pass and time stopped briefly while our lives took a breath. And then She smiled again. And the world flattened, collapsed upon itself, and burned. The decay left behind is us... remembering. Here we are, again. This place created by us, for us, and for all time. Mired within memory, floating near the mass and hiding in plain sight. Buried in the detritus left behind and in constant need of reasons unfound and unavailable. We are far gone but somehow still here. Where? We do not know and no one knows. They are already dead with just a slight delay to the soil. We can only wish to be as blind as them. Those fucking people. Them... and their endless bliss. The fridge is full and the heads are empty. There is no longer the potential upside as in passed years. We close everything off and attempt to drown within the available noise, however the noise cannot overpower inner violence. There continues to be a different method and the result is the same. Dirt. The dirt awaits. We will continue to smash ourselves against the ignorant norm and try to build the noise level into the goddamned stratosphere. At some point a part of the decrepit machine will fail and explode, and the remaining shards will cover us with no respite. As we build, the noise will rise just as the feelings soar out of our failing control. The woman who walked near that day reminded us of Her. This is a problem of a magnitude we cannot comprehend. Fuck.

We no longer have hope in the direction of the form.

The Raven left us more than a year ago and the feelings continue to slide downward. There seems to be only temporary relief and distraction from our current state, and afterward the drop resumes. Our twice-yearly venture to the mountains does hold wonder even after following the same path throughout these many trips. We get there and sink into comforts and excess similar to that of the Promised Land (albeit cheaper). The atmosphere up there helps as much as it is able. We can actually lose thought for a short time due to the resort and associated outings. Copious amounts of alcohol are also involved just as in days passed. Strolling, drinking, eating, gambling, and gazing in the direction of others who may share simiarities to the original. Naturally, each sighting causes stirred thoughts and pounding heart, but the benefit seems to outweigh the pitfalls. We are there among the sex of society and for whatever reason the understanding exists that what we are seeing is a universe away. She was right next to us, among us, inside us, but nowhere else has this been possible.

So the fucking fallout continues undeterred... heart destroyed beyond repair... and we are living out on the fringe.

Emily has Her shoulders

The falls occasionally take place and just days ago was yet another example. This was a woman with whom we have occasional contact, and she was at a local bar after work. Just short of the moment we saw her, we were doing ok. The day was a Friday and many gather at the bar for an afternoon drink to begin the weekend. We noticed her as she walked to the restroom and were reminded of working with one of her relatives. She strode, we gazed. We stared, amazed. She stopped to say hello and the shit began to cloud our heads like nothing else. Some conversation and a hug later, we were finished. The thoughts of Her flowed into our consciousness due to this woman's chiseled features and dark eyes. The Raven, illustrated to a point. The fucking situation became crippling very quickly, and we cannot simply push these thoughts aside, no matter the circumstances. We cannot, and that is the end of it. Others have attempted to help, persuade, assist, advise -- all for naught. Nothing comes of it. We are still in that gulag which began at 10am last July 29th. This fact is in stone like nothing else. And we reside there, on the fringe, despite the efforts of others. And the woman in question has no idea. And things will remain as such. There is no reason to push, pull, disrupt, annoy, or upfuck anything. This is our issue and will stay that way. Eventually, we will have no need to concern others as they will not be there. We will just bury the entirety of it so deeply that no one will find it. Except us.

We are out here, alone among the mass of others, and watching everyone, everything, everywhere... constantly searching and seeking that which eludes us. The outside... the in-between... the fucking fringe of society. Alone.

This feels similar to the cave yet without the security. Even the office cannot match that. The fringe we know well. We know it by rote. We are intimately close and related on a deep level. A low level, really. This is a place within which we resided for decades, however in these late days the experience has changed somehow. It is different likely due to the realization of the most compelling dream. The Raven brought us to the heights of emotion and detached passion the likes of which cannot be duplicated. Now, and due to the cloudy warmth within which She enveloped our souls, the fringe has become a place of deep depression and exploration.

And the darkest of negatives.

This is like a lateral shift through the blacks and grays. Drifting alone yet mired within the sheep around us. We float there... hanging between tangibility and thick gaseous thought. Everything seems to swirl around us and remain at arm's length for some reason. We cannot reach out and find purpose, nor can we cling to anything in the positive. The fog is within and all around. This is the ether we have created.

The climate outside does not help, either. It is crap.

Diana, displaying a few aspects of the Raven

The weather is heading uphill again due to the fucked up location of the pre-fall jetstream. We are at this moment sweltering, although the temperature outside is not over eighty. The wind moving in the wrong direction forces these changes upon the planet and the result is very uncomfortable. Near the ocean there is no real need for central air. Some homes have it due to their location up the hill where the sun is even more prominent, however the climate in this area is quite cool when compared to the interior valleys and flatlands. Still, the warmth creeps in and forces us to sit near the fans. We should be in Ketchikan for fuck's sake.

The mobile platform will open doors, but still there are many variables in such a situation. As nice as it might feel to reside in a cooler climate, we do need accessibility -- now more than ever. The glass between us and the outside world will have to be good enough for the time being. At least inside this little cocoon the temperature does not travel too far beyond our comfort level. The calendar now indicates fall, but as regular readers already know, there is no 'fall' here, really. The weather simply tapers off from summer and then remains warm until late October. Just crap. There is no line from one part of the year to the next. We railed on about this (so did Reiko) back during the days of the park -- as well as 1236 and the valley -- and our conclusions then were similar: stick it the fuck out. Yes, the weather is warm most of the time and the whole thing sucks, but at least we traveled toward the sea which is a drop in the average. Other places have so much appeal at times, right? Of course they do. However they are far away and difficult with which to enmesh. The forest has been there for us all the way back to the pre-NASA days and that quickly became the pinnacle of destinations during that period. We sat and splayed our feelings across the internet due to the undending need to travel into that forest and find the past. It was out there -- probably still is there in many ways -- and the weather is agreeable as well. We just never made the trip. Oh, we threatened to leave constantly, but the actual adventure never materialized in the slighteest. The hope then was to separate ourselves from the herd and maintain a relationship with a simpler, more natural time on this planet. Also, the weather there reflects a connection with the history, and this means our comfort would not only align with the locale due to the ancient aspects of the area, but also with the cool nature of the lattitude. The extreme end of this area being further North was never really a possibility.

More recently the desire for a cooler climate has been driven by our need to escape the 'everyday' and seek solitude, and the extreme necessity of finding a place where we can be immersed in the memory of the Raven. She fulfilled parts of life we did not know existed and to live here in these late days has become an exercise in futility. Each part of life has become a wait for... something. Yes, there is the hope that another like Her is out there wandering and this leaves us in a very uncomfortable place. The possibility cannot be denied, yet the simple fact is that we may never know at all. This planet is covered with souls of all types but we are unable to search in any effective way. Thus, moving ourselves to another locale may at least help to alleviate the loss in one way -- we will no longer be in areas which remind us of actually being near Her. They are haunted in the worst way.

The clavicle recesses

The Raven is missed so deeply that we very nearly cannot function. Society did not deserve to hold such a gorgeous, caring soul, and now that She is gone all that remains is endless thought and disdain. Life is a void, just as the beautiful shoulders above. We have written words to such an effect for more than a year now and we see no change in the foreseeable future. There is just no reason and very little possibility. We needed and need Her like nothing else in this sordid, stinking world. She was the fulfillment of everything, and to replace that in any way is the tallest of orders. Others suggest we push forward with the good memories and remember all of the positives She represented. Of course, they should be correct (and they are in some ways), however we do not operate in such a manner. We will remember and loathe the present because all that is left behind is shit. As wonderful as the time with Her was, there is the slimmest of chances that we can ever enjoy anything remotely close. No one can understand the visceral and emotional need. We cannot expect them to understand. And that is the most accepting we can be toward others' feelings and wishes. Fuck them anyway.

In fact, we ARE pushing forward at this moment. We are above ground and the revolver sits idle. There is always an exit (as stated in both words and images on this site for many years). We have avoided that exit due to the possibility of distraction and comfort. Both arrive unexpectedly and at those moments we realize the need. When things are at their worst, we still seem able to cling to those moments and lift ourselves slightly -- generally just enough elevation to maintain air (remember The Air?). Hopefully, one of these long hellish days will bring us to the realization that we CAN get to where we need... that place the Raven provided but now is more elusive than a calm reality. Perhaps we will find it, and perhaps we will not. Who the fuck knows. Until then, we shall dream, long, mire, and plod.

And, write."


[10/03/2016 22:51 pdt]

Considering all of the bullshit this site has endured, all of the staff and logistical changes, and the many format and theme changes throughout the past fourteen years, a bounce rate of ~63% is not terrible. We would love to see the visitor and bounce numbers to both be in the stratosphere, but for a tiny organization like RSE the figures are decent. Readership is at an all-time high (which is really not saying much at all) and new visitors continue to pop up. Hmm.

The staff has recently expanded by one member, and this is something which does not happen often. Not only are we very restrictive with regard to who we allow in the office, but the very idea of bringing in another technician from the outside is very difficult. The words which appear on these many pages are held tightly by both us and admin, but underneath is a vast storehouse of information, decades old. We protect this with our very lives and are dedicated to admin's vision and property in a manner which defies definition. All of us are connected on a deep level and to open this organization to another is a complex process.

Throughout the past several months we have agonized, scrutinized, and streamlined this person for the reasons stated above, and we can now call them a member of the Coma family.

Welcome. Just don't piss him off.

On the Clodmaster front, more critical parts are being manufactured as we type and the result should be a nice expansion to the section. The previous update included the new 60-page indexing and further backend work to support what we hope will finally be the vehicle on wheels. This step has been a long process and we are happy to see it happen.


The Slipper, the Brunette and the Bubble

"Just across the console was a vision, and she slouched down into the seat like a hand into a black leather glove. The diminutive amber lamp above the shifter illuminated one side of her beautiful face, and it was enough to see the glow in her eye -- and the devilish curves of her eyebrow. Squinting slightly, smiling, and staring back at us... she was the very definition of a dangerous escape. There was simply no end to the fantastically dark beauty within that seat. We were together within the dim confines of one of the representative creations which still defines us... the glass slipper. This was the beginning.

The car was sitting outside one of NASA's ballistic ranges on a cool October evening. We had strolled along the length of the HF3 and then toured around the Vertical Gun only to end up back at the car as the sun dropped below the coast range. The tint on the car windows subtracted enough outside light to create a dark mood among the black trim. Even the glass roof was tinted. The passenger compartment was somewhat confining but we sat there comfortably despite the very narrow wells and high thresholds. She slid down in the curved seat far enough to force her slender knees up to the dash. She placed her hand on her mouth and smiled with the smile of Satan awaiting a kill. Her large eyes spoke sentences and we were simultaneously frightened and enamored. She had a calculating look about her, and sitting in that black seat with the gentle lighting appeared surreal somehow, and our mind found difficulty in grounding itself. We could only stare and be amazed at the combination of sights before us. The entire picture of her wearing leather and sitting in leather was enthralling. She controlled us immediately with her eyes. The car enveloped her and she enveloped us in a way difficult to describe. The leather and glass became a world in and of itself... daily life melted into her eyes and their wondrous appearance. And right now we can state that the day in question became one of only two occasions when her gorgeous self was within the gorgeous vehicle. Although we can envision each moment in stark, colorful detail, the time was already short.

Rachel displays wicked similarities to the Brunette

We remained in the car for quite a while, and discussed aspects of the ranges as well as the fire which was developing between ourselves. That subject took the lead and as the evening rolled on we found that it was important enough to warrant backing off the flames until we could understand the feelings. She slumped even further toward the dash and looked right at home inside that car. We offered to leave and take the conversation elsewhere but she stated that the seat was cozy and there was no reason to move at all. We also agreed that the only thing missing was a bit of alcohol. On government property, however, consuming alcohol is not a good idea so we waited.

Her striking beauty was enough to force us to consider what we may have thrown into the wind in order to be near her and see it every day. We took every single opportunity to stare at her from the driver's seat and attempt to absorb each detail. Her tapered fingers played with her hair and occasionally grazed her lips as they curved slightly downward at the edges. As we looked upon her while she spoke we realized that the danger was not only her beauty, but the resulting damage we were more than able to incur just to be in a position to appreciate all that she was. Thoughts, opinion, the fact that she felt displaced within society (just as ourselves), and her savage feelings toward others drew us absolutely. We were feeling desire beyond belief and this pushed us into the realm of unclear thinking. That would be another beginning, and the period to which we refer is still happening. We are in it, all the way. Because of our past reckless behavior, the thought of heading in such a direction yet again helped us to consider her beauty as something from which we should learn, and at a pace we could follow.

Unfortunately, the clarity did not last nor did we attempt to regain our direction.

That afternoon and evening within the confines of the glass slipper became a holy memory and one we wished to repeat over and over. To such an end, we told her in no uncertain terms that she was the car's twin -- in a manner of speaking -- and we desired the combination like nothing else on earth. She was taken aback, but then took us in hand with her amazing eyes staring all the while. We proceeded to drive out the gate and into a terrible situation. We say that because after that day our decision-making process suffered badly. The entirety of our lives took a sharp turn and we descended into a pit of passionate misdirection. She began to become everything -- just as the car a few months earlier -- and there was little we would avoid to be with her. We needed the beauty near us and all other aspects of life took a back seat. Other writings have mentioned the fallout and to this moment it continues. She was the beginning of all of it.

The look of her eyes, eyebrows and mouth is difficult to describe. She had somewhat of a combination between Annabella Sciorra's eyebrows and eyes, along with the downward-curving lips of Lorraine Bracco. When she smiled, holy shit did the feelings flow. We longed to stare at her face forever. Just stare, endlessly. While in the slipper she was easily another decoration along with the wondrous layout of the interior -- the best decoration.

The glass slipper

The car represented so many things at that time. We dreamed of it year after year and as far back as the first few sightings, which were somewhere around 1991. Early confusion brought more sightings than were even possible but we later learned that they were few and far between, even then. Various opportunities throughout the years allowed us to understand more about what GM did in the beginning to ensure an ambiguous separation between models. We will avoid going into extreme detail, but suffice to say the model was quite different from the standard Corvette of the same year. The small exterior changes which were made to facilitate a more powerful engine and wider rear tires pushed the appearance into the territory of dreams. For whatever reason, we absolutely fell in love upon first learning of this model and as the years flew by we sighted them from time to time and dreamed. The entire rear of the car was wider by three inches and the third brake light was moved from between the taillights to the roof. This gave the lights and rear fascia a much wider appearance, and the tires beneath lended to this. Overall, the comparison of this option package to the standard package pushed us into the stratosphere with regard to our desire.

With other vehicles in our past, the interior was always equal to the exterior. That was the place within which we relaxed while driving. Others may go on at length about the importance of the outer look regarding status, financial position, etc., but the inside of the car is where the time is spent. The entire purpose of a motor vehicle is to get from place to place either as quickly as possible, or simply quicker than transportation modes of yesteryear. Style, of course, is a foundation of the industry and seeing a car which brings a smile is certainly important to some. The inside design of the slipper was apparent for us years earlier during the road races in Nevada. Many of those cars were entered yearly, and due to aquaintances of ours we were able to sit and gaze at their machines. Those early views of the car's interior, controls, instrumentation, and overall layout brought us wonder like never before. Even now we can feel the comfort of driving that black beauty to work the first morning, in the dark, and enjoying the glow. There was -- and is -- nothing comparable in this world.

Aside from seeing the ZR-1 from time to time on the roadways, there was an occasion in which we decided to head to a dealer in hopes of seeing the model closely. A bright red example was sitting quietly in the showroom and we were all over it. The salesman approached and proceeded to give us an overview of the differences both apparent and hidden. Aside from the exterior described briefly above, there were many small additions to the car which pushed it into being vastly upgraded from the standard L98 model. We will not go into detail for fear of readers' eyes glazing over, however suffice to say it quickly aligned to our loves and desires within the automobile industry. From specialized manufacturing locations to subtle details within the passenger compartment, we were all in -- there had been no other vehicle on earth which seemed to hold our interest as strongly. All of these years later and we feel the same. Sightings are fewer, and our love is greater, but possibilities are nonexistent. The loss of such a vehicle was a tremendous blow to our quality of life, and during the past several years since it disappeared we have dropped even further. And we drop still.

1990 ZR-1 next to the L98

The brunette and the Corvette matched perfectly -- from being exotic, dangerous, and beautful, to representing complexity, adventure, and escape.

Within the confines of the car we were hidden for all intents and purposes. The windows were quite dark due to the previous owner's tastes, and we sunk into the seat as per the design. Corvettes are known for being low and sleek, and the fourth generation body style enjoyed a longer, more raked windshield and lower floorboard. The thresholds were high and wide (they were a part of the structural integrity) and coupled with the low floor created a 'well' in which the driver and passenger sunk while seated. At night this layout was amplified by the darkness and amber lighting and provided a cocoon-like atmosphere within. Every aspect of the interior and passenger positioning combined for a driving experience which aligned with our needs like none other.

Along similar lines of thinking, while we were with her we felt as if there was a sort of 'bubble' floating through society, within which the two of us resided. From place to place, we moved throughout streets and people but all the while we were in a space no one else could inhabit. We remained in that bubble for as long as possible. It brought each of us comfort and security, and provided a sort of separation between us and the sheep all around. Often we agreed that space was critical for the time and considering the difficulties we were each enduring plus those which we created. The place we needed to be, and the place no one else was allowed... it was our world. Just us. There was a sort of 'knowing' we shared while out in public. For whatever reason, thoughts of the others around us seemed to align and our feelings toward all of them were very similar. Also, neither of us wished to be near young people and typically drove ourselves into places advertising an adult-type of atmosphere. No matter where we went, the ideas were aligned. This is something we still do not fully understand, and the same type of combination took place while in the company of the Raven.

Once trip in particular comes to mind... the winter of ten brought us to the Salton Sea together for the purpose of escaping daily life coupled with our love for photography. Of course, a few of these subjects have been explored in past essays here, while still more are in the pipeline. [Also, one single piece devoted to the entire trip will soon be displayed.] While hundreds of miles from home, the bubble did follow. It kept us comfortable in the strangest and most off-path locations while we traveled. Even in the tiny town of Salton Sea Beach, the one restaurant/bar was a bit on the rough side but we felt just fine walking in and spending lunch there. We were within that space that did not exist when we were apart. Despite how the area appeared at first glance, we were confident spending time there. That place was all ours, no matter the circumstances.

The fucking bubble is gone, just as the slipper. While we had both... bliss. When the first was taken away... sadness. And the loss of the second? Well, the pain and daily remembrances are still there. Now we sit with the staff and attempt to hold ourselves up just as anyone in charge of a group. Considering last year's loss, the fact that we are above ground at all is a fucking miracle. That was a devastation we cannot easily describe. The slipper and the bubble are very different from that hellish period last year, but still they are difficult reminders of where we were for a time. Those were wonderful places, and that is a gross understatement. We seem to be three for three, as it were. Not good.

The bubble
The sphere we inhabited

So here we are after all this time, writing about it at length. Why? There is nothing else during these late days. The writing has become all.

We were enveloped, encapsulated, within these things and now the feeling is nakedness. In public? Worse. The past efforts we took in order to find cover in any situation (cover, as the military calls it, is any way of blending while remaining hidden from view) had tapered off during the time spent either within the bubble, the slipper, or even in the company of the Raven, and we now are bare in the world of the others. The only hiding place seems to be the cocooned office. Yes, there is glass all around in this office. The open nature of the staff dictates a group feeling as a necessity. The need for cover has returned, no matter where we are. At this point in the year, the days are shortening which means more night. This is another form of cover which we have always found comfort within, and yet another reason for our endless ranting about spring and summer. Back in the 2003 archive is a bit of a description of finding comfort within the open atmosphere of a restaurant. That feeling has also returned. We need to be hidden due to the lack of all that we had during those recent periods.

The belief now -- in order to continue moving in a forward direction -- is to spend time away from the office and the home. Rare has become the time when we are not in one of those two locations, and we need to get away from everything familiar for a period in order to maintain some sort of structure within the realm of reading and writing. Yes, we can write anywhere, but the staff's support on a daily basis need not become a crutch. We should be able to venture into the mountains or overseas and continue for a time without incident. All of the fears and trepidations inherent in our memories and how they relate to the outside world may fade for a bit if we branch into something else. Also, the possibility of a different type of 'bubble' -- or better yet another type of Raven -- cannot be denied even if the odds are astronomical (and they are, for fuck's sake)."

[11/13/2016 07:23 pst]

Admin has recently brought up the staggering thought of leaving the site news section of the index off in the future. We will miss being seen up here at the top of each of his entries, but the greater good must be served (not to mention the fact that he holds the pink slip to the entire shitaree). This will be discussed at length during the next staff meeting. We wait with open ears and open minds.

In other news, admin has secured a print subscription to a newspaper from southern California in order to keep up with affairs related to the area discussed below. We do hope that the insight will draw more information about the legendary trip which still stirs both he and us. That time is years passed but still holds wonder like no other period in our history. And it may represent the end of the early history of this site. We will go where pointed, and as long as the archive maintains footing, we shall endeavor to assist in the future.


The Salton Sea and the Heartbreak

"The trip was the longest continuous period of time we had spent together. Every meal, every cup of coffee, and every smoke break... together -- not to mention hour after hour in her vehicle. The situation was wonderful, but at the same time it had caused each of us some difficulty due to the lack of time for ourselves. She told me it was ok, but still I worried. I worried for her mental stability, her future, and the pain which brought her to the coast in the first place. On the other hand, she feared for my safety -- being left alone -- and that I may not still be there if and when she returned. We had spent almost the entire prior month exclusively together and within her apartment, and we both felt that the trip would help to strengthen us as individuals and provide neutral territory, if you will. This required an enormous amount of patient conversation, which concluded with equal fear that we may never see each other again if the separation for that week had taken place. That may create the idea that there was excessive tension between us and instability, but the truth is we needed each other badly due to problems we had created for ourselves. The combination of the two of us in the state of mind we shared, coupled with our reckless, drunken and suicidal nature was very dangerous. Neither of us could be trusted alone. Thus, she agreed and we planned for the exploration of the Salton Sea.

Initially the idea was for me to book the resort to assist her in making the trip alone, but there was no way remaining behind would have helped anyone, least of all me. We had each taken leave from work for unrelated reasons, and the need arose for her to get out of town for a while. This seemed a good idea at the outset, but within moments of seeing my welling eyes, she agreed to make the drive together. This was likely in concert with her knowledge that my therapy was not progressing at all. She knew I was extremely unstable and prone to disastrous thought. Despite her need to be alone for days, she knew in her heart that the draw upon me would be too difficult, and the resulting loss would push me outside the limits of living. To this day I appreciate the fact that she recognized my situation and felt enough love toward me to allow me along for the ride. So, to southern California we went and to one of the most desolate and desperate places in the country.

We took off three days later in her car and headed south. It was a cool Monday morning at 3am and the feeling of leaving when others were soon going to be headed to work was wonderful. The car was dark and quiet, and we made the occasional stop for coffee and snacks. Indio is more than five hundred miles from her cave, and such a distance leaves much time for conversation. We spoke at length about everything, and as the car ventured closer to our destination the subject at hand quickly moved to the Salton Sea and surrounding areas. We did not stop at any point throughout the drive to break out the cameras and explore. The focus was the Sea, and our schedule (at least early in the week) dictated that we arrive there quickly to maximize our time. I find it interesting that throughout all of the time I had spent with her galavanting around SF and other places, the cameras were constantly at the ready. To drive all that way through unfamiliar territory and pass obvious photo locations without a stop is very telling of our determination. The drive was calming to a degree, and the time in the car became a vacation all its own. That was nearly nine days of traveling all over areas south of Palm Springs and Indio and then the route home on the coast. Her car became a haven of sorts for both of us.

Early morning drive
On our way

Our relationship leading up to the trip was shaky at best. We had periods of difficulty like nothing else in life. The drive provided an isolated forum for discussion and the exotic locales allowed us to remain objective and calm regarding our differences and individual issues. Combined with such unfamiliar scenery, we were both able to to expand our viewpoints and identify with the others' needs. This was important due to the confined nature of our early relationship. The drive became therapeutic on many levels, and the timeshare also provided a somewhat isolated haven for us to be ourselves. The resort was just outside Indio near one of the many golf courses, and as such remained off the beaten path. We were on the outer edge of town which suited our situation perfectly. While in the room, we were able to cook and relax on the balcony, and the resort's landscaping and pool area were quite serene. Overall, the location was ideal in that we could be near others if we wished, and hidden when we did not. Naturally, we acted recklessly at times due to our differences and the issues which were a large part of the reason we were so far from home. Seven nights and eight days at the timeshare, coupled with the two of us spending hour after hour in the car was not ideal considering some of the troubles were related to our time cooped up in her apartment, but we were able to make the best of the sitution as it unfolded.

Upon reaching the timeshare in Indio, we were able to sprawl out and relax. Living life through the lenses became an extension of this feeling and several days behind the cameras assisted us in being separate yet remaining somehow together. From time to time we wandered far from each other partly due to the feeling of being 'inside' the cameras -- sometimes for more than an hour -- so the eventual physical closeness once again brought some comfort to each of us, thus allowing the exploration to progress without issue. In fact, when our eyes met after becoming intimate with the landscape for long periods, there was an understanding that we needed to be together. That was an extremely peaceful and deeply satisfying feeling. During our second visit to Bombay Beach, for example, I lost sight of her for quite a long while. There are levees and some abandoned structures near the beach which serve to create a divide between the town and the water. We spent so much time in those areas that reaching back to each other required half an hour or more. We were into the area and the function of capturing, all the way. Breaking out of that mindset takes effort, and it happened at times -- bringing us back into each other's arms for a short bit. The most wonderful look in her eyes, the warmth of knowing she needed me, and the satisfaction born of our mutually difficult situations instilled the knowledge that we loved each other, and that fact burned deeply while holding hands or meeting eyes. That had been the most wonderful of feelings. Nothing else would compare to knowing that she desired my company as much as I desired hers. During those moments, my life was defined and in order. All else faded away.

Leftover from parties of yesteryear

The look of each area around the Sea was unique, although they did share some similarities. There was an overpowering feeling of loss and abandonment within those small towns. Poverty was not the first term to come to mind, however, and the people still living there seemed content. The picture was more as an area which had been left behind in the near and far past. The buildings and trailers left there to the weather and salt were laden with graffiti and most windows were either missing or broken. We peered inside many structures and photgraphed what we could. Some were quite colorful in their history while others were simply wrecked. We discovered some of the writings both inside and outside a few of the damaged buildings, and they conveyed the feeling that 'hope had left', while others referred to the 'end of the world', among other fatalistic views due to the nature of the area. Young people apparently did not hesitate to voice their opinions wherever they felt there was space. Reason must have been available in abundance.

Everything near the Sea itself was coated in salt. In some places the salt was so thick that it had become somewhat petrified. Even walking upon those surfaces did not disturb the crust. The beaches were covered from end to end with various discarded items -- tires, fencing, old shoes and sandals, broken glass, and a multitude of dead tilapia (see this essay). Forgotten dredging machinery from before the military used the Sea for aircraft touch-and-goes could also be found, especially in Bombay Beach which was south of the SRA. Yes, a luxury club on the shores of the Salton. Unbelievable. Decades ago, efforts were made to beautify and upgrade the east shore of the Sea and bring it back to the glory days when movie stars and celebrities used the area as a vacation haven. This effort is long dead and the remnants are all over the beaches. The entire situation is quite sad and some residents still recall the past with fondness.

We visited the four largest communities on three sides of the Sea, along with the south shore's wildlife refuge. From a certain perspective, the Salton Sea is very beautiful, but one must look through jaded eyes. The area is not for every traveler, to be sure. The shores smell of dead fish and stale water, and that fact alone is enough to drive anyone away quickly. The tilapia are pervasive, and the resulting smell is enough to drive any casual tourist away and into more pleasant surroundings. Our visit was in mid-December while the air was cool and that made all the difference. Of course the scent and sadness were impossible to ignore, however we knew of this upon leaving home. The importance of seeing the Sea pushed any discomfort aside and allowed us to focus our lenses on history. And there was no end to it -- in any direction was something of note, and we found every step to be fascinating. From sinking homes to discarded outhouses to vast, sprawling beds of bleached sea shells which made up the beaches, everything went into the cameras at high speed. Not that the numbers would help, but in six days we exhausted some ten-thousand exposures with two cameras. The combination of the remoteness and beauty forced us to make use of every photo opportunity. And we did this in excess.

My memories of that place and all of the decay apparent are exhausting. Even the post-processing of so many images became an exercise in sadness and despair. There were abandoned trailers still in their broken and crooked garages and carports, cars left to rust in front of homes which became havens for wildlife and targets for reckless damage, and the look of hopelessness everywhere. The images cannot begin to capture such devastation. Within such a surreal atmosphere, we found it difficult to pick a direction, even from the very beginning. She had watched a documentary on the Sea weeks earlier and that was the catalyst for the entire trip. The main focus of that film was Bombay Beach, the largest community on the east shore. This became our starting point and from there we ended up circling the entire body of water over the next several days. Upon arriving at each stop we decided to simply park and begin wandering the streets and always ended up on the shore. Each area held its own fascinating bits of scenery and history. We spoke with the caretakers of a museum at the yacht club and noticed that they had many brochures -- both from the past and present -- available for tourists and journalists (in fact, they thought we were journalists just as the cashier in the small market in Bombay) which we snapped up for reasons of learning all we could. Eventually it was decided we would travel all the way around the Sea and pick a few choice stops on the way. We ended up at the three major towns plus Niland, which was just southeast of the Sea. From there we discovered a wildlife refuge, Salvation Mountain, and Slab City. Coming back up the west shore was Salton City and Salton Sea Beach, the last of which had billboards advertising very inexpensive plots of land to build a 'dream' home. Yes, the signs were very old, but still standing. Nothing changes in those areas, and if it does, the change takes place over an extremely long period of time. Very interesting, to say the least.

Day one brought us to the timeshare for check-in, and after dropping some of our things in the room we she was anxious to get to the Sea. We had some daylight left, so we drove south to the nearest town on the west shore. It was a short distance from the modern and picturesque Indio, and as soon as we turned off 86 the contrast was stark. Desert Shores, years ago, was to be a resort town for people to relax and enjoy the water and weather. In 2010, however, it was all but dead. Few residents remained despite so many homes and businesses still standing. The pungent air took over our senses of smell and sight, and we made our way -- somewhat uncomfortably -- to the levee against the shore. From the very beginning, I was saddened to see all of the fish and other wildlife dead on the beach. We spoke to a resident briefly and walked along the water to take in what we could not believe was so close to luxury and light. The Sea appeared as calm as one could imagine and the mountains visible on the opposite shore were hazy, distorted, and full of deep browns. In between us and the other side were multitudes of seagulls perusing the water. Here and there were salt-covered pilings and the remains of fencing jutting out of the Sea, their reflections clear and sharp due to the calmness. The beach was harsh, with the scent of the fish unrelenting. All around us the air was still and very quiet, save for the occasional aircraft flying over at great altitude. The sky in all its glory was reflected everywhere along with wisps of clouds and contrails, and the water appeared many different colors due to the conditions. Up close, the bottom of the Sea was visible and showed us more fish in various stages of decay. The entire picture before us was staggering and unreal.

After a short period of my becoming more familiar with the camera and shooting as much as possible in the waning light, we returned to the city.

Words born of despair

Day two was full... we began in Bombay Beach in front of 7am, and made several stops all the way around the Sea. Bombay was unbelievable, and upon arriving we immediately parked and ventured to the shore. That area looked like some other forgotten planet, with discarded items strewn across the beach and abandoned buildings everywhere. Our cameras did not stop for more than a few seconds at a time. We availed ourselves of the opportunity to capture as much as possible. This was the first long outing in which we drifted apart in order to follow wherever our eyes led. From across the salt I could see her, focusing and shooting at the ground, buildings, details, and the odd bits which she turned into art. The early morning haze and dim lighting created a silhouette of her and the camera bag riding upon her back. I felt the need to run to her several times but kept my distance to allow her to explore uninterrupted. This proceeded to bring both joy and trepidation to my long walks. Initially the troubling thoughts of us held me back from the relaxation necessary for objectivity. After a while, however, I found the ability to seek out my own compositions and eventually bring the morning into my lens.

On the map, Bombay Beach is a strict square grid of streets, and many of the small homes which were still occupied appeared well cared for. In between these were tired, broken and neglected structures, some of which barely managed to resemble houses. All had tremendous character despite their condition. Once heading from the shore and into town, we again separated for a period and looked around in wonder, cameras never quieting. After a time in the small community, we headed into the local market for something to drink. The store was -- like many other businesses still in operation -- surreal. The cashier was pleasant and fairly surprised to see us walk in. Apparently, we did not resemble residents in any way and she knew immediately that we were from a far off place. We refrained from engaging her in coversation for fear of creating any discomfort, however. We simply completed our transaction and left, peacefully. From there we decided to leave Bombay and drive south and search for something else. Walking back to the car was peaceful and we joined hands for a bit. The feeling was warm and wonderful, albeit the underlying emotion remained unstable, to say the least.

Two stops on the west side of Highway 111 brought us into even more odd and abandoned structures. We shot, again, for a while at each and then drove further south straight through Niland. There was pleasant conversation about all that we had seen, and still excitement over what lay ahead. After cruising through that small town we stopped at the wildlife refuge along the south shore. Seeing some green for a while was nice, and the conversation between us again was pleasant. Despite this, the underlying difficulty was flowing within me. I knew she was dealing with it as well, and the thought of creating discomfort within her was driving me into a bit of paranoia over what may take place upon reaching home some days later. Still, I maintained composure and we looked around the shoreline. Our lenses retained their focus, as they had during each stop. My focus, however was split in two, literally, and avoiding bringing emotional issues up to her while in those places was not easy. We again took to the highway and soon met up with 86 on the west shore. North to two more communities and endless devastating visions -- the most devastating of which was within my head. Fuck.

We stopped for lunch at the Marina in Salton City near the beach, and upon first glance the place looked a bit tired and rough around the edges. Despite this, we walked in and took a seat at the bar. To our astonishment, the restaurant was in full swing and the staff pleasant. This seemed to be the sole establishment within a town which had been deprived of tourism for years. The look was very dated yet we felt comfortable remaining for a light meal and a couple of beers. We sat and talked, and after so much driving the opportunity to gaze was once again available. She sat next to us admiring the decor and marveling at the fact that such a place remained alive after years of abuse and neglect. The town was amazing to see after so many aspects of it had gone by the wayside, and to sit in one of the sole remaining businesses was unreal. We loved it and strived to absorb as much history as possible. Still, the feeling conveyed by the staff was one of sadness and loss. Once finished with our lunch, the beach awaited and was directly behind the building, so we vacated with cameras in tow.

Salton City's beach still held the gazebos and other recreational symbols of its long past. The picnic tables were weathered and neglected, just as many other aspects of the Sea. Behind the bar's back door there were bocce courses and horseshoe pits which were still in use. Beyond these, the shell-laden beach was covered with remnants of parties and gatherings, most of which showed their age in spades. We photographed as much as possible, and all the while the sun was moving ever closer to setting behind the palm farms and creating a hazy glow across the Sea. Even on a clear winter day the air was heavy and thick with moisture and the combination provided an off-worldy feeling. Blues, oranges, and browns dictated the color scheme, no matter the foreground details. I sat at one of the weathered tables and gazed at her off in the distance. Troubling thoughts were intermixed with bits of desire and appreciation for all that she was. The sprawling, open feeling of that shore allowed me to take in everything... from the driftwood and fallen telephone poles to the discarded whiskey bottles and litter. And then in the distance, a beauty like no other. I longed to be inside her heart and feel what she was feeling. Soon after, and with the sun at a threatening angle, we exited Salton City and rolled toward Indio once again. As of this moment, years later, I cannot overstate the beauty of seagulls drifting across the low sky and providing contrast to the alien landscape we viewed. The memory of sitting among the history of such a devastating and enigmatic place is still there, along with the knot which remains, perpetually cemented within my midsection. Fuck.

A colorful representation of abandoned places

The only outing during that long trip which was outside the shore of the Sea found us on the third day wandering into Joshua Tree National Park. We eased into the south gate off Interstate 10 and proceeded up to White Tank campground to capture some images. Along the way we stopped and viewed the Cholla fields and Ocotillo groves, and the infamous Fried Liver Wash. It was there that we enjoyed a bit of lightheartedness which caught me off guard completely. I wished to photograph the identifying sign (in lovely brown and white, as all signs appear in National Parks), and she proceeded to reenter the car and take off quickly. I was initially taken by surprise at her actions, and when I saw her big, beautiful eyes squinting in their devilish manner, I realized that her mood was far above what I had sensed prior to leaving for the park. For a short time the hope for us flowed through my heart and I felt as if we would survive this trip and maintain our romance. The day was peaceful, except for the tremendous instability within my head and heart. The park is gorgeous, from end to end, and provided an enormous contrast to the Salton Sea and small communities therein. We spent part of the day photographing the landscape in all of its glory, and again wandered far apart. There was no possibility of sighting her from wherever we headed due to the many rock formations and varying elevations of the park. Still, no matter the beautiful sights nor my desire to embed myself within and retain them, thoughts of her took over my mind.

I experimented with some of the plants and attempted to use extremely narrow depth of field for creating a point of focus and disparity of color which would push the viewer into tiny places, but still... my heart was with her. The distraction of the sights was not enough to jar myself out of the deep need to be close to her. I did manage to work alone for a period, but upon seeing her from a distance all of my technical focus faded and blurred into thoughts of her eyes. The rocks and plants provided plenty of material subjects to explore, and for hours we did just that. This was our third day spent at the resort in Indio and it represented a short break from the down and saddened nature of the communities and landscape around the Salton Sea. The idea of spending time within such a beautiful park felt like a lift above the eroding landscape and dying fish which became prevalent in our travels. Of course, the day still remained as a drop within me due to the turmoil. We stayed at White Tank until the afternoon light left our cameras, and then meandered back west to the resort.

That evening she wished to cook so we ventured to a market for a few Italian staples. Upon returning, dinner was quiet, and we again sat quietly and separately into the night. All the while I flip-flopped between the thought that I was intruding into a trip she had planned to take alone, and the knowledge that she was enjoying spending time with me, both out in the field and at the timeshare. I could not discuss the subject with her because I had no wish to pry into whatever she may have been feeling. Still, I longed to know... anything. Aside from her eyes while out shooting, I had little evidence of what may take place upon reaching home. Throughout the first few days, however, those eyes expressed love.

Statements defying the conditions

On the fourth day we slept longer, and agreed to a break from traveling away from the city. Instead, we left the resort in search of a comfortable bar or restaurant (or both) to sit and remain off our feet for a while. We found a dim and dramatic-looking bar not far from Interstate 10 and sunk in for part of the early afternoon. The venue had lots of patio seating, served food, and we found ourselves two of very few patrons. The conversation began slowly, but once the Irish coffees began to enter our veins we switched gears and discussed how our connection had resembled the crumbling landscape through which we trudged during the previous three days. I could see in her eyes that the feelings I was unable to shake free were also occupying her thoughts while we photographed. She stated that the sprawling shores were a godsend in that they enabled us to become individuals and seek out what each of us found interesting. She also confirmed that when we wandered back toward each other her heart soared similar to mine. All of this had begun to tire her -- the back-and-forth of intimacy and disparity -- and at times she had wished to leave and go home. Of course, that thought sent me spiraling into depression yet again, and I had voiced this to her. We both knew that the two of us together could be toxic at times, yet tender and loving during others. There simply was no stable center. I had sought the in-between for months, however we continued to demonstrate that it did not exist. Such a realization during the long trip was devastating to me, although I still felt hope due to my needy and selfish nature. Another aspect which did not help either of us was the guilt we shared over events which took place prior to the trip, including my reasoning for moving into her apartment. Everything which was the beginning of our relationship seemed to be lying there... splayed out on the sun-bleached fields of shells and dead fish. All was in the open and dying, slowly. Or dead. I knew not which. I felt that from the start, but pushed it away like a child's nightmare.

We stayed on the patio of that bar for what seemed an eternity. As the afternoon wore on, others began to seat around us and there we were... in the center... loaded, emotional, and reckless once again. That seemed to be our middle ground: drunk and full of discussion and depression, yet merged with moments of caressing and flirting. We were in a storm cycle of sorts, and we knew it. Whenever we were in a similar situation in SF or other places, I somehow never worried over how we may have appeared to others around us. We were in a bubble no matter the location, and could do as we wished while inside (see this essay about said bubble). That was our world, and I was quite certain it appeared very odd from a distance. We stayed longer, smoked more, drank more, and had a bit to eat before returning to the resort. That day away was nearly as difficult as walking the shores of the Sea.

The night brought us to an understanding (at least temporarily), and we each sat alone to read and relax. Few words were spoken due to the knowledge that each needed the silence. The evening was long, cool, and peaceful. The time was available to empty the camera into my laptop and prepare for another day of filling it with sadness. I also steeled myself for another day of longing. She was wonderful, and becoming everything to me. The trip could not end well due to my being as unhealthy and emotionally out of balance as could be imagined.

Real estate sign
Time to relocate to the sun and salt

Five days into the trip, and at the point when I believe we felt the furthest apart, she drove us to Salvation Mountain, and just beyond that colorful landmark, Slab City (within which resided droves of people who had already 'escaped' the confines of a society with which they disagreed). The mountain was just that... a huge religious landmark built almost solely by one man who felt an overwhelming need to display his belief and spread his love for all to see. We spoke with him at length and wondered what could drive a person to go to such an effort. The mountain became a tourist attraction of sorts and visitors dropped donations to support his continued work. This was one of the areas where we wandered far from each other. Sadness, and in the midst of so much love. The whole of the mountain, the slabs, and the water tanks between them was a vast, desolate area within which we hardly spoke. The cameras did all of the talking and we simply went with it... we dove in. So far from home, the idea of leaving a mark there for the future was not something which interested us, however we wished to bring as much with us as humanly possible. Who the fuck knew when we would ever be within something so other-worldly and wonderful. Shutters flying, steps quietly taken so as to leave that place undisturbed, and us... nearly silent and drifting among the sand. Again, it was a metaphor somehow -- floating around a forsaken area in the wind, and us floating between being together and falling apart. Heartbreaking, all of it, and yet the photos show only a fraction.

We moved from the Mountain and across the sand to remnants of the military's presence from years passed. The gap between the Mountain, Slab City and East Jesus was a desolate area populated by abandoned concrete structures and haphazard cholla. Upon reaching the halfway point, our cameras screamed for the graffiti upon giant water tanks. We circled both of them, and learned that there was not one square inch of empty space to be found. Artists left their stories on the entire perimeter of each, and the resulting feelings were of both surprise and fear. Statements of war, despair, murder, economic devastation, and uncontrolled reproduction were spelled out in graphic form which could not be ignored. Someone went to great lengths to get their point across and we captured all of it. Intertwined with all of the political statements and depictions of species being raped for advantage, there were small hearts, pleasant thoughts, and the random uplifting words known to bumper stickers everywhere. The radical nature of such broad and all-encompassing art was staggering, to say the least. We captured all of it, no matter the implications or distasteful manner in which it had been conveyed. Art is art, and this was an unbelievable example of just how far some went to make their point. The tanks were fantastic.

Unfortunately, that word is also used to describe something which is beyond understanding. That was the two of us. Another word? Disjointed.

The Cylinder
One of the huge water tanks left behind by the U.S. Marines

After leaving the emotional nature of the Mountain and Slabs, we made a brief stop halfway back to the tiny town of Niland. There was an abandoned guard shack next to the roadway which had been coverered in playful banter. Across the road was a Starbucks coffee traveler left to decay in the sand. We each shot around a bit before reentering the car. Just a little way further toward Niland and I asked to stop again near an uncontrolled railroad crossing. For the next forty minutes or so, I nestled myself near the rails due to their active and polished nature, and shot the trains traveling north and south. That section of railway was very busy most days due to the movement of materials to and from destinations further south. I saw mostly covered gondolas and boxcars being pulled by no less than three locomotives at a time. The interval for trains passing was roughly ten minutes which gave me lots of opportunities for shooting my favorite mode of freight transportation. The light of the day was waning, so my shutter quieted after a short period. I did not realize at the time, but this represented the first occasion during the trip which I had felt at ease. Railroads had always held a certain fascination and to be so close to trains passing over and over was very enjoyable. Upon leaving my vantage point near the rails, I again found her, and with a smile on her face. Once again my heart leaped in her direction and hope returned. She was warm and welcoming, and very happy that I shot around the railroads. Before reentering the car, we set the cameras aside and embraced for a long moment. The world melted away like snow in the sun, and the bubble became everything.

We drove back up the east shore and into town in search of alcohol and some time away from the car. She had the idea of cooking at the resort so we shopped and did just that. Afterward, the stress of our distorted relationship drove us into the sundry shop after which we exited with whiskey. The balcony off our living room was large and quite comfortable, so we drank and sat and talked. Just as the mood began to relax and when we seemed to be making headway toward an understanding, we changed clothes and strolled down to the spa. Yes, a head full of booze and hot water can be dangerous, yet nothing was as bad as the two of us -- pretty well drunk -- and discussing the history of the sexes and their respective roles during the formation of society. Eventually this led to yet another physical split and my having a disagreement with the gate and surrounding foliage. By the time I regained my stance and composure (tipsy as it was), she returned to learn why I had remained behind. Upon seeing me bruised and broken, she helped me back to the upstairs perch and we talked some more. That was another example of our reckless and hazardous nature together... alcohol and our combined brainpower. We sat there, calmly, and tried to work through the incident which had happened all too often at home, but to no avail. The fact that we were five hundred miles from her apartment meant neither of us could simply leave, though, despite any issues. We were stuck there, for all it could have been worth. Ugh.

Weather the salt
An impossible wish

The morning we checked out, the idea was to drive all the way home in one shot. Naturally, the weather did not cooperate. Upon exiting Indio, the rain began to fall lightly. I love the rain so it did not bother me at all, however she had always felt uncomfortable driving while the roads were wet, so the trip back went more slowly than heading to the Sea. In fact, she decided to make a beeline straight to the coast and we ended up extending the week by spending one more night out of town.

We made our way through to Santa Monica and when turning north on the coast highway the rain became heavier. At one point we left the highway to refuel, and the surface streets were partially flooded. We took the opportunity to smoke under the eave of the gas station and I tried to calm her a bit before driving again. Another stop on the coast at an abandoned missile base and she seemed to be feeling better. Once again, my desire was to provide her with whatever she needed, both emotionally and logistically. There was still that gap of a feeling, though, as if we could be right next to each other yet somehow miles apart. Somehow, indeed... I knew why and suspect she did as well. Further up the coast and we made our way to Solvang for a rest. I noticed that when we slid into a cozy bar she opted to have espresso rather than alcohol, as was our prior and endless drink of choice. No matter, I felt, as we could still enjoy the day regardless of the mood created by her discomfort over the rain and my need to be physically close. We strolled along the historic district streets and shopped a bit before leaving to head further north. During this time we did hold hands in a caressing manner which seemed to relax us both and was more than enough to temporarily put my mind and heart at ease. The feeling of that type of contact was out of this world, especially given our sordid history and the haphazard nature of our time around the Sea. It seemed as if much of the trip had provided each of us with the type of break we needed after being holed up for so long, and the separation we enjoyed while walking for miles on end throughout the days. Of course, there sat the lump deep inside which I could not deny. During that time, I literally would have given the remainder of my life to know what she felt, beyond the simple surface. My world was centered around her, and that is as gross an understatement as stating that the universe is diminutive. Yes, I was skewed and distorted beyond belief, but such a situation is not born of a balanced relationship -- it comes from codependence, plain and simple. We were similar. The need to be with her was a real, tangible thing, and one which took over my existence. She was everything to me, and that can never be good between two people.

After a short visit to picturesque Solvang, once again we hit the road toward home. The ride was calming, and from time to time we again joined hands which proceeded to send me into heartfelt orbit. I stared at her hand in mine and the warmth was undeniable. There were periods during that segement of the trip when I began to wish we could spin around and head back to the Sea of sadness. I needed it as I needed her, and to miss that place became painful. [Several essays have been written regarding my feelings toward the Sea -- all of which convey a feeling of extreme loss upon departing each area. The fish, salt, palms, and thick air all created a haunted house of pain within me, and nothing of what I have written can nearly do the Sea justice. That place is steeped in history, and for some reason I connected with it on a deep level and feel as if I belong there.]

She wished to visit an old family home south of Morro Bay, and then made an abrupt command decision to spend the night in that city. I had no choice as she was the sole driver, and the idea of extending the trip even further actually helped me to feel that our relationship could eventually survive. I have never been an emotionally mature person so the idea was far-fetched to say the least. Still, she seemed to be enjoying herself and our being together, so any thought of happiness developed in my head as hope for us. Simply seeing her smile brought more excitement and joy out of me than anything else I could have imagined. Her happiness meant the world to me, and in the midst of my selfish and needy desire to be with her, that speaks volumes. I was nearly as out of balance as a person can be, so my value was entirely based upon our relationship. My life was 'us' or nothing. Morro Bay helped by allowing us to remain close for another night, and unfortunately also allowed us to have dinner and drinks once again. This was not good, and in fact ended badly due to our reckless nature combined with a mistake I had made weeks earlier. When I learned of her desire to travel to the Salton Sea, I booked her into the timeshare jointly owned by me and my ex. Originally I did this solely for her, but when we decided to go on the trip together I overlooked placing the reservation in my name, and the resulting damage comes next.

The Bar
The Fuel Dock Saloon, just prior to the damage

We checked in to a small motel for the night, and then ventured to find a nice restaurant/bar for dinner. The perfect place was found after some walking, and even the bartender was our type... friendly, open, and worldly. Dinner was wonderful, and afterward -- with half a snootful -- she wanted to find an old bar from years passed. We searched around with the internet as guide but never found the place. Instead we strolled into the Fuel Dock Saloon which resembled a gas station. There was no one inside save for the bartender and she welcomed us wonderfully. Immediately I sensed that she was just our type... gorgeous, discreet, and very playful. The situation seemed that she was as happy to see us roll in as we were to be there. This was a Sunday night and very likely a slow time for the place. We bantered for a few, ordered two Guinness, two Jamesons, and requested pool cues for our hands. We laughed, shot many games, and proceeded to become a bit looser than we should have given the emotional nature of the trip. We shared many close moments during all of those games, and all the while her eyes spoke to me in volumes. I could see that she was enjoying the situation at that saloon and the two of us being in a place we loved and felt comfortable. She expressed love which filled the room and my heart. On the way back to the motel I received a message from the ex stating that she hoped my companion 'enjoyed' her stay at our resort, because she had received email from the timeshare with a survey. Oy. The nature of my ex's message was nowhere near courteous, and when I told the woman next to me... well, for all intents and purposes that was the end of the evening. I will not go into detail about one aspect of her feelings toward our relationship, but suffice to say the end was near. She was so upset that it took the night and more than a hundred miles of roadway into the next morning before we spoke more than a word. Naturally, I was in a hole myself, as my mistake had carried into her head. For this one isolated incident, she was not to blame at all. I ruined many things before we left for the Sea, and at this point one more fucked up situation became a hash mark on my neck. Sitting here now almost six years later and I can still see the emotional knife as it entered her heart. That was something I would not soon be able to think clearly about nor would it allow me to cease any hatred of myself. It was all bad. Just very bad.

Once the car arrived in Capitola, we walked in silence yet again. That would not be the last time, either. We stopped and sat in a little hole in the wall of a taqueria and spoke of the past... her past living near that city. There was joking and laughter, staring and longing, beer and tacos. Lunch became comfortable for us and allowed for some closure to the past several days away. The afternoon was in stark contrast to the previous few hours of driving, and for whatever reason it seemed that things would be ok between us. For the first time since the prior evening I felt as if she was healing at last and the issues raised by the email were perhaps not as damaging as I had feared. The feeling was wonderful and once again my heart swelled for her as Morro faded. Inside me, however, the closeness to home brought on fear of what may take place in the near future. Also in there were thoughts of how my actions had brought her discomfort in the extreme and how badly I wanted to turn back the clock. There was no need to share the message with her, and had I kept it to myself her feelings would have been spared. That thought was damaging to say the least. Even though I knew in my heart that we were destined to be apart, the thought of being the cause just pushed me into a hole. The fact that we were so much closer to home meant that I did not want the trip to end because we would quickly return to daily life and that represented the reality of splitting up. Hotels, distance and her car added up to time in which we were together out of necessity, and home was where my car and other things sat and waited... they represented her ability to ask me to leave if she wished such. That was a terrible feeling and still it is in there... somewhere. I can sit at this editor and the knife is there, still deep in my heart, and by my own hand.

In wine, truth
Time running out on us

Upon finally reaching home, we unloaded the car and proceeded upstairs. From that point forward, the turmoil within me expanded like rice in water. It was then that I decided to attempt to brace myself for the end expected and simply try avoiding guns, knives, and drugs. I wish that was meant as a joke.

Throughout the days around the Sea and outlying areas we wandered the landscape in search of representative images of life as it once was, and as it stood during our visit. We walked endlessly on the shores and inland spaces seeking out sights which would stir the psyche and bring meaning to any description of such a beautiful yet haunting place. The idea of conveying words through the lenses quickly became a focus of our time there. Within such a vein, the connection between us began to resemble the eroding landscape through which we plodded. There were symbols along the way that served to show us who we had become -- as well as where we may end -- should the feelings we shared continue unimpeded. The danger was represented every step of the way, yet we moved along through it with nary a thought for the future. Though the desire to be near each other remained, we found that following our need to get that dying place into the lenses was far more important. Symbols, reasons, hazy sunshine, and the pungent scent of the Sea all worked together to provide a backdrop to our forced sense of deep emotion and loss which began to relate to the landscape. Walking among such devastation and knowing our relationship would eventually be completely doomed was a crushing experience. The gamut of emotions flowed from one moment to the next.

The experience of that week spent on the road and in far away places is one of the hardest parts of life I have ever attempted to describe. In fact, it represented the most arduous trip I have ever taken -- but at the same time, the most rewarding. All of this text and many images later, and the description is still nowhere near enough. She and I went through highs and lows during that time away, and from this writing one may glean that they evened out in the end. This may be true, but the dageers I placed into myself both before and after the adventure say different. This is years ago and the feelings are still there -- heartache, despair, longing, bliss, intimacy, frustration, pain, and joy. The landscape was appropriate considering the storm which was furiously stirring within and between us.

Perhaps one day I will find better direction and words, and the ability to do the trip justice.

To be continued."

To 2017 Part 1

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