Thursday, April 30, 2009

Moving right along...

1000 CAME TODAY!!!!

I haven't set it up yet, and I still need to get a Red Light, but I checked everything out and I am reading the manual. I still have to procure the clear rubber feet I will use to separate the panes of glass. I intend to stack the sheets and line up the clear rubber feet as I stack them.

36 pieces of glass may not be enough!


"See past my surface. See what is valuable. See me."

I hang with Theologians and PHDs. I am secure in my identity and have enough self-esteem to take a joke. Even when its a mean spirited and derogatory put-down. I consider the source. I've been through a lot in my life and witnessed enough, observed enough, and had enough of human nature to know how the petty dynamics of unhappy people can become group-think.

Rumors and gossip hurt the perpetrators as much as the perpetrated. A jokes a joke until someone gets hurt. If I deluded myself into thinking that people don't talk behind my back, or that when they do it actually reflects what I am under the surface, I would hide in my room for the rest of my life. Human nature sucks most of the time.

For the most part I consciously choose not to participate. Sometimes though, even the basest of my humanness surfaces and I find myself condoning by silence. Sometimes out of some inmost frustration I chime in with my own two cents. Difference is, (I fool myself into thinking) that I am mostly penitent upon reflection afterwards and will more than likely be moved to apologize depending on the egregiousness of my transgression. Even when the person to whom I have felt such feelings is unaware.

The healthy way for all concerned leads me to apologize to my God; rather than cause hurt by making the instrument of gossip conscious of the offense they were unaware of. Would that others felt this way as well.

I do what I do for a living because it affords me luxuries that most people do not consider luxuries. I have a roof over my head, people I love, and intellectual and spiritual fulfillment. That is what I require to get up in the morning and go to work. I don't measure myself by my toys.

When someone who doesn't comprehend the big picture the way I do states what they perceive to be a truism about me to build their own self esteem I normally don't give a rats-arse. I can take it.

I know that at this point in my life if I want to be a jerk I can. I try not to be but if thats how people perceive me I don't care. Life goes on. If being a jerk is what is required of me to protect the ones I love; my priorities are always with the ones I love and not with other peoples opinions.

When someone I love gets upset because I am being made fun of or put-down, I guess I have to do something about it. Not for me but for them.

You know who you are. You have to live with you. I can live with myself because I know whats under my hat. I also know what is under yours.

Take a good look at the photograph in this post. That hat is your size....



Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"When you're finished here, you can come over to my place..."

I can't count the number of times, when a woman has seen me pushing a broom or a vacuum at the store and jokingly said: "When you're finished here you can come over to my place and do my house too..."

It happens alltha-time...

At this point I normally stutter something unintelligible and smile. Later, I find myself mumbling under my breath about another wasted opportunity gone awry.

Lately, the new me (Post Ireland) has been attempting a solution. When the situation arises, (...and it does frequently because most people think it is original and witty...) I now reply with: "Well, perhaps if you take me to dinner and a movie first; maybe we can work something out..."

The older women (mostly my little 'ol lady fan club from Church) giggle and grab my arm as if they're making for the door right then and there!

Women at or near my age smile and flirt back; but as yet no-one has taken me up on the offer....

They can't really complain obviously because they initiate the conversation in the first place. Even married women. I just love turning things back to them the most. It puts them on their heals and if they have any moral character at all they back peddle at light speed.

No worries here of course, because I do have moral character and would never agree to a situation like that going any further. I'm sure I could save us both by stuttering myself out of it with a blush at any rate.

The guys in the back room are going to start a pool to see which happens first: Someone makes a date with me; or someone slaps me. The odds seem to be in favor of me getting slapped.

Hopefully, the right woman will walk in someday and I'll take on another cleaning job gratis.

Until then I'm working on getting my kids to let me date again. Oh Yeah, didn't I tell you? I'm on probation. It seems I'm easier to live with, when I'm not in one of the emotion-sucking-vortexes which I tend to tumble into.

Remember those black and white spinning circles at the beginning of the twilight zone? I don't, honest I don't. I'm just doin' my job here. Pushin' my broom. Vacuumin' this here rug.

When I'm finished here....


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Poetry for Brunch. Mmmmm!

If you don't have technical difficulties that is. Today I had glitches. I got zapped when I plugged in. All of my settings were changed. The new settings were incompatible with Tom's projector. We messed around for quite a while and then the Reference Librarian came to the rescue! She hooked us up with a Library Laptop and plugged us into the built-in projection system on site. Very Cool! Next time, I'll show up a few days ahead of time and practice with the system. It was a little weird moving around on a giant screen 20ft away and at an extreme side angle.

I played the "Yeats/Gonne" VideO'em but I still feel it is unfinished so I will save posting it for when it's "Ready."

Last night I sat up working on this one. Until 3 a.m. I also made it to work on-time at 7a.m. The things I won't do for my Art....

I feel it approaches most closely where I want to go with this form. Low-High-Tech. Short. Painterly.

I am very happy with it!


Friday, April 24, 2009

GREAT NEWS!!! I'm selfish with my Germs!

I decided that my germs were too awesome to share last night. I just had to be selfish and keep them to myself! I stayed home and rented a romantic comedy and vegged on the couch. It was quirky, independent and YEAH, I admit it. I loved it. I'm gonna make someone a great girlfriend someday. I'm a real man and I even like quiche. Well, sometimes. (...the sensitive type don't you know....)

I decided to go with what I have come up with for the Brunch tomorrow as far as my latest VidO'em. Nothing a little tweaking can't fix. Debut at the Brunch, I'll Post it here sometime in the future.

I couldn't stand to stay home from work for one more day so I did go to work. (Covered my hands with rubber gloves at all times and Alcohol wipes every time I touched something.) S.O.P. anyway.

I am really glad I went to work actually, I love the first few warm days of the summer when all of the BEAUTIFUL Women come into the store in their almost clothes. ( know what mean.)


I have yet to find my voice again, but I'm on the trail.

HEY! GUESS WHAT! The Taxes POPPED! I JUST ORDERED MY GLASS ETCHING EQUIPMENT! It should be here the beginning of next week! I am SO PSYCHED!

Special kudos to all my "The Pneumatic Thoughtforms Future's Project" subscribers. YOU'RE THE BESTIST! (See the Top of the sidebar>) Updates, documentation of the creation of works and the results to appear here SOON.

If things turn out even half as cool as they are in my head this should be ground breaking and maybe even profitable. Whoe! ...Making money from my Art without selling out! What a concept....


Thursday, April 23, 2009

My mouth fell off!

I've been sick for the past few days. I lost my voice on Tuesday. I still haven't found it yet. I don't know where it went to but I can't narrate my latest video without it. Maybe its trying to tell me something. An Irishman without his voice is certainly lost.

I've decided I'll make a silent film then. Based on the relationship between Yeats and Maud Gonne. The poem is in the works but needs some tweaking. I can type without speaking I think...

(...insert joke here about the Irishman who cant drive and talk at the same time... Go ahead, I dare you!)

If I'm lucky it will be done by the Poetry Brunch at the Library this Saturday. Hopefully my Poetry Bums can help me find my voice again tonight.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

"The Holy Fool" takes a vacation part one....

I separated my vacation by my passions. The first part was devoted to Art. Viewing, absorbing, creating, and preforming. I drove over the Taconic Mountians to Massachusetts along Rte 2 out of Troy N.Y. into Williamstown via the scenic.

As I went I stopped when I felt like it, climbed when I felt like it, and I took pictures everywhere. I listened to "The Boss" most of the time "Working on a Dream" and sometimes I just listened to the radio.

It turns out the "Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris" show at the Clark was not the reason to visit Williamstown though. There is always something unique and and at times disturbing at the Williams Collage Museum. Disturbing was a photographic documentary of the ordinary and absurd.

I was relieved and elated when I entered the next room to find short, minimalistic videos. Videos that told small poignant story's. I was enwrapped and raptured! By the time I got to the Travelodge I had words and pictures running through my mind at Warp-speed. I never even got into my sleeping bag until 3 a.m.

What follows is what sprang from the mind. I still haven't fully comprehended the portent of how "less is more" will work in my overall Artist Vision but I am REALLY EXCITED!

(I am Irish after all and I know my "Less is more" can be hard to control...)

Also availabe for viewing on my Youtube Channel: Videobeedude!

It bothers me that Youtube doesn't offer more choices and controls over the thumbnails that end up being displayed on the videos. The one on this one is not what I would have preferred. The other two choices gave away to much so I was forced to settle for what you see here. Maybe I will splurge and by a Mac with my Tax-money.

I do however find the unpolished quality of the videos to be more painterly, less slick and more characterized by the color rather than line, shapes and structure. This should get interesting....


I gathered a ton of Genealogical data on the O'Brien's during the second half of my visit. Not enough to nail things to the floor, but enough to get some dirt between my fingernails. "The Holy Fool" walked through some closed doors with a smile and knocked on some he probably shouldn't have, but thats a story for the next post....

(...Maps and documents included...)


Friday, April 17, 2009

3 Virtual Posts for the price of 1 !!!

Looking back towards N.Y. State
from the Taconic Mountains.

I woke up to find this greeting in my In-box! I was on-line in Pittsfield Mass., on Friday morning; checking my mail:

MICHAEL BURKE 6:32 AM (2 hours ago)

Good day from China, Obeedude.

Just think, someone is reading your very fine Blog in Shanghai...
Where is Clark Museum? Sounds interesting, as does MASSMOCA...
I used to work there when it was Sprague Electric.
Maybe we can get a little road trip up if you haven't gone before I get back.

See ya for the Poetry Brunch.


(What didn't Mike do during his youth?)

I send this Virtual Post from Mike wedged in between two from me!

The Fields behind the Clark Museum 15/apr/09

(Found the locations I was looking for and I will write about my adventures when I return home.) the the National Archives next...

See you all soon....


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What I meant to do this week....

The Taxes were done yesterday.

I meant to get up this morning and GO GO GO!

I meant to grab my gear, get in the car, head for Massachusetts for a couple of days to visit some stuff... (National Archives, Clark Museum, Williams College Museum and MASSMOCA.)

I really want to see the "Toulouse-Lautrec and Paris" show at the Clark. It will be my present to myself.


I planned to track down my Father's cousins. I know that they are his cousins (I have stories and proof to some degree) but I cant make the connection through Census data. I have managed to build a complete family tree back to 1870 but I can't connect them in this country. Its that whole Famine thing mixed up with less specific data the farther you go back.

I know where they lived so I can at least take some pictures and visit the Saint Josephs Cemetery gravestones. Maybe I'll even get a phone book and try making some phone calls if I feel brave.


Any way...

I overslept.

I couldn't find my sleeping bag 'cause it was in Devin's truck.

(There are no Campgrounds open yet and I won't sleep on a Hotel Bed since I saw that "Dateline" thing with the infrared pictures of Body-fluids and the Bedbugs...)

Instead, I got up late and read a book on the couch.

It's my vacation after all.

Then I realized that I was meant to spend the day hanging out with my daughter.

Everything else can wait until tomorrow...



Sunday, April 12, 2009

The year the Easter Bunny learned Manners...

When Devin and Sarah were young; I was working late at Grand Union. A customer came in at the last minute in a rush and bought a box of Baking Soda.

"Oh thank God!" she said, "I'm so glad I caught you before you closed, I use this Baking Soda to make Bunny Tracks for my kids so they can find their way to their Easter Baskets...."

"What a great I idea!" I said, and that year I began the tradition of waiting for the kids to go to sleep before "Making Bunny-Tracks!"

I would dip my thumb in a bowl of water, press it into another bowl filled with baking soda and press tracks around the house; leaving trails for my kids to follow in the morning. After breakfast we vacuumed up the baking soda, freshening the carpet and the vacuum at the same time!

I made tracks everywhere... tracks to nests... tracks to baskets... even tracks to dead ends... Sarah always says Devin found everything and she found the dead ends. I don't remember it quite that way, but I was the grown-up I think....

Then one year I came home after a double shift and I was too tired to be enthused about "making Bunny Tracks!"

"It's your tradition" said my ex-wife "I'm going to bed..."

So there I sat. Staring at the baskets, baking soda and water. "ugh." I said to myself. "What am I going to do?!!!" "I'm just to beat to beat the carpet this year..."

Then, I had an epiphany! I knew what I had to do, so I did it and went upstairs to bed.

In the morning, Devin and Sarah came out of their rooms, and in unison they chimed: "Hey! Theres no Bunny Tracks!" "The Easter Bunny didn't come this year!"

"What?" I said in disbelieving tones... "...are you sure? I don't think he would skip our house, he's too nice to do that to two good kids like you... Lets have a look around..."

We walked around the room until we came to the Front Door. Then, as sincerely as I could muster without a giggle I said: "LOOK! The Easter Bunny wiped his feet on the mat before he came into the house! What a good Easter Bunny!"

...they looked at me in disbelief. I don't think they bought it. I don't think he ceased to exist that year, but I know he wasn't as cool as he was before. Its just a guess mind you, but an "Easter Bunny with manners" lost mad props that day!

All I know is, it was a stroke of genius that gave me a good nights rest!



Friday, April 10, 2009

More Post Cards from my Great Aunt Anne Gilmour; and "A little Easter Story"...

Sometimes we just know when something is right. We can feel it. Even when others are not convinced, we hear an inner voice and know its just a matter of time until our dreams and goals will be realized. It may not happen overnight, it may take years, but somehow we have faith.

The time thing is the hard part. It has taken most of my life to understand the meaning of the word "Patience". Sometimes it may even take 99 years like these Post Cards, and guess what... They were just as right 99 years ago as they are now.

Sometimes we see things and know that they were meant to happen; as you see them happen. Last night at our Upper-room Service, Pastor Brian began the Service by lighting the Christ-Candle in the center of a formation of tables arranged to form a cross. He then moved it to an empty seat and indicated that this was to signify that Christ was seated here in the room with us.

A little while later, a friend of mine showed up 5 mins late and sat where the Christ-Candle had been placed. Afterwards she said to me: "Gosh, why didn't someone say something to me..." I responded: "Thats all right, don't worry about it, was meant to be." I just knew it was right as I watched it happen.

Call it providence, call it what ever you like, here is my take on it: We never know when we will come to the table and unknowingly be seated as Christ.

Of anyone I have known in my life, who would be capable of sitting in Christ's seat and embodying his essence, it would be her.

"...and those who were ready went into the banquet..."

Happy Easter!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Maundy Thursday"; ...time for a few good cries...

Joyce Roe, friend and mentor died yesterday. She was the wife of my mentor in Boy Scouts and Youth Ministry: Tom Roe. (I've written about him here before.)

Joyce was always there for me and my kids. (She was always there or everyone...) Nothing made her happier than to have you sit down in her kitchen and let her whip something up for you. She made us homemade treats like fresh applesauce created right before our very eyes!

She never failed to send a card with a note for every holiday. When I found out yesterday I had to sit down where I was. (That happened to be in a chair at the coffee bar at work.) Joyce died of complications due to pneumonia. Her heart failed. (particularly poignant for me as Mom has suffered from both...) Cry number one.

I've been reading "Lion of Ireland" and as it happens, Brian (according to Llewellyn's account) died on Holy Friday. I had just finished reading about his death and having cry number two when Sarah brought in the mail. Todays mail contained an Easter Card with a letter and an invitation from Joyce to come and visit. I have next week off and had already planned to stop in as a surprise.... Cry number three.

Tonight I went to "Maundy Thursday" service. Every year (Cheryl H.) a former member of the Youth Ministries Team sings "Were you there?" at the end of the Upper-room Service and we leave in silence.

...after crying mind you. Cheryl gets me every time. A good cry! ...number four.

We will miss you Joyce. Save us a spot at the kitchen table. We promise we'll have a seat and "bring our healthy appetites" along with us!



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Incurable romantic and eternal optimist; thats me!

bRAINdrop bOOkbENDERs goes way back. Back to the early 80s when I made my first chapbook on a copier at collage. Before I ever heard of pagination even though I had been doing it for some time. Before "Desk-Top-Publishing" had a desktop.

Since we were our own publishers we figured we needed a name. Friends began using "Zirlinson" an amalgamation of their three names. I printed up Biz cards and we were legit. People sent us stuff in the mail like we were bigtime. (...little did they know...)

Then we all got Macs and the rest mystery....

My own Logo has served its propose over the years, and it was fun to do the "Python" treatment on it, but I feel its not quite appropriate for some of the Videoms I am currently working on.

Last night I came up with something I think is fitting with the new direction and with the exception of certain things that bRAINdrop bOOkENDERs would be suited to I will be henceforth using the following clip at the end of all my Videoms.

So this is the Roll-out. The Premier! Dut-tah-da-da!

(...I posted straight to Blogger so it won't show on my Youtube channel.
You will have to use the controls at the bottom of this player to get it to work . It may be only 14 seconds long but it was a lot of work.
Thats how we learn after all...)

I know I should have searched the net to see if someone already has the name but the Artwork/photo of my Grandmother Sarah Gilmour O'Brien is definatly mine and mine alone I'm sure. There is a website name available for sale and it might even be copyrighted already but HEY! ...If thats a problem I'll just have to create a new one.

I spent much of the last night dubbing and overdubbing my voice and I like the results. I almost sound like I could sing if I hadn't smoked during the formative years of my voice.

...well... I looked and this may be the only time I get to use this so enjoy it while you can for what its worth.

...Guess I'll just have to be more creative!

"I can do that!"


Monday, April 6, 2009

Then the adrenaline wore off...

When I got home from my walk the sun came out. I opened up the curtains and sat down on the couch. Then the adrenaline wore off... WHOMP! ...the next thing I knew it was dark out....

The O'Brien Crest.
(My older brother's made this shield for a Cub Scout project in the 50's)

Before I feel asleep I was reading "Lion of Ireland" by Morgan Llewellyn. I drifted off when "Brien Boru" was involved in a conversation with his Spear Carrier Padriac:

"...I have no kingdom to give my heirs, so I must give them something else; something of more value, perhaps."

" that my children will remember me, not only as their sire, but as a source of pride to be handed down to their children's children."

"...The books I study, the lessons I set for myself to learn--they are part of something I am building piece by piece. Each bit of it must fit perfectly with the others."

"How will you know when it does?" Padraic asked.

"...In the same way a singer knows he has sung the right note, or a harper knows to touch the strings that create a chord that feeds his soul. I know thats all."

Yeah, that struck a chord all right! Brian was talking about an empire of course; I didn't take it that way. Nevertheless, it went straight to my creative soul! ...and It made for some crazy creative building dreams!

I love it when that happens!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

...every incline and decline...

I was tired. Wiped out. I was thinking I was not in the good shape I thought I was at first. I took the BIG SPEED WALK around the Ville. Its one I laid out a few years ago, incorporating every incline and decline I could fit in, within close proximity to the house. The object being to get the heartbeats up and work my legs as much as possible. I try to climb hills at the same pace I do flats. Fortunately the adrenaline-rush kicks in just as I reach the steepest hill. Like I said I was tired and wiped out.

But I have recovered well and I am now experiencing the rush of a good workout. I should be able to add weight to my back soon.

I feel so good I'm going to take a shower and go for a nap!

(...after all, I have to rest up to couch-potato the NCCA Championship on Monday night...)

speedwalkin' dúid~

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pratt's Rocks: "A little Mountain Top Experience."

The Schoharie River from the lower Pratts Rock Trail.

I was originally going to post this yesterday on the 2nd, but I had to watch the final episode of "ER". (...Its dated the 2nd in the header but believe me today is the 3rd. Honest!)

I just had to see if "Carter" was going sort things out with his women or continue to tread water... As I have always identified with Carter of all the characters on the show, the fact that he was left still rudderless and unresolved, when all was said and done, does not look good for your's truly...


It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday and the forecast for the next few days was, and still is: for rain. One of the things I noticed was the brown all about me even if it was sunny. We need it to rain, if it's ever going to get green!

So I took advantage of the day! Here is what I wrote yesterday:


The thing about having Thursdays off is sometimes there is no-one around to do things with. It was SO NICE today I just couldn't stay home so I went for a drive through the "Irish Catskills". Durham, Cairo, and the vicinity.... I wandered through Conesville, Gilboa and even did a pass through "Potter Hallow".

I'm not really averse to going on Hiking trips alone but my kids are strongly disinclined. We compromise by my telling them when I do go, and leaving a printed Google Map on the Comp. before I leave.

My eventual sorta destination was Prattsville and Pratt's Rock.

Pratt's Rock and Prattsville has a very interesting history which you can read about by checking out the above link. Prattsville is also connected to the 20th NY State- Ulster Guard .

I don't want to get into a detailed trip log here so I am only going to put up a few of my best Pics. I took more than 100 shots and there are only 30 here so this is considerably winnowed down.

One of the reasons my kids would rather I don't hike by myself is they know me very well. Another reason is Devo has to deal with hikers like me on a regular basis. I do go prepared. I bring food, extra clothing and a first-aid kit most of the time. (sometimes I just forget 'cause I'm old...)

...Then theres that other thing I sometimes do....

Pratt's Rocks:

Picnic area from the Parking Lot.

This is a monument at the trail head in memory of the
Horses and Dogs who died during the creation of the carvings

The first Carved Bench with a Tree carved into it.

The Trail up to the Rocks.
At the first switchback.

Bench at the first Switchback.

An unintentional self portrait along the trail.

Looking up towards Pratt's Rocks.

Second Switchback.

Getting closer!

Third Switchback, almost there...

There! ...and another Stone Bench!

One of the famous carvings painted white
to protect them from the elements.

The 20th NY State- Ulster Guard emblem.
"This Hand is for My Country."

Pratt's Profile.

The Moon came out!


Oh yeah, that other thing:

I never made it to Pratt's Tomb...
...because I noticed this above the Carvings.

Rock strata as I climbed.

Part way up the climb.
(this is where my kids would begin to worry...)

More strata.

A close-up.

And another.

Are you worried yet?

A convenient place to build a nest.

A more convenient place apparently.

At the top looking back down.

"Take it from the top"
(650 ft. up from the base of the trail)

There is carved Graffiti everywhere,
some dating back a hundred years or more.
This one is along the edge at the top.

This is why I do it!

The best shot of the day!
(The Schoharie River Valley looking towards Catskill State Park.)


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's all a matter of perception...

You don't know me. No really, you don't. We may have been friends for a number of years, but you don't know me.

My co-worker Colin and I at work 01/apr/09

If you really knew me, you would have noticed what was wrong in the above photo. Were you even looking closely the first time?

O.K., let me give you a closer look:

Now you see it right?

We have been friends for so long that you come to our relationship with a preconceived picture of me in your mind as well as preconceived notions about who I am. When was the last time you looked at me? When was the last time I looked at you? You have baggage with me and I have baggage with you too.

When was the last time we actually talked and heard each other? The last time I remember running into you, you gave me a sound bite in the hallway and I threw one back at you as we went on our way....

How come we never went out for a beer on Saturday night and just talked?


This all started out as an "April Fools Joke", then it became something more. I learned something from you today. I learned that sometimes we all have to be prompted to look past what we think each other looks and feels like before we begin to understand each other. I'm as guilty as you are.

After all, I sent that sound-bite right back at you didn't I?

"Mia culpa."


When Colin and I decided to do this yesterday, I had no idea it would have this affect on people. I had no idea how it would affect me. I was standing there in front of the mirror thinking to myself:

"I am taking a chance here I might not want to take; what if something goes wrong? What if my feelings get hurt?"

Of the 500 or so people I came into contact with during the course of my day, only 7 people noticed without being prompted. 3 of them had been warned the day before, 2 were Colin and I , and only 2 people actually noticed on their own!!! Several people were warned the day before and completely missed it! If you read my "New Years Resolutions I could live with." and forgot -- missed it double !!!!

At one point, one of the department managers walked up to Colin and asked him: " long did it took you to notice that Mark O'Brien had only half a mustache...?" Colin just smiled and waited... I was standing on the other side of the stockroom. After a ten-count, the manager burst into laughter, pointed at him and said: "You were in on it too!!!!" It was beautiful! (I wish I had it on video!!!)


So what have I learned today? What have I learned this "April Fools Day" during Lent just a week before Easter? Have I learned anything I can drag along with me through the dust on my walk to Calvary?

I learned that I have been neglecting to really pay attention to you. I learned that I need to try to hear you and feel what you are saying to me.

Who knows... I could be your favorite flavor of Gummy Bear and you might be my Lindt Lindor Truffle with white chocolate shell, cocoa pieces and smooth white filling!

How would we ever know? How will we ever find out?

We need to put down the baggage and try to get to know each other, or we may miss each other completely....