Saturday, November 3 2012
Gretchen had plans to go down into the city for some swanky animal rights fundraiser, but she was feeling weak and sniffly after having somehow contracted the common cold. She found our house miserably cold, which, though not perhaps at a fully-suburbanized level of warmth, it really wasn't. First she tried to take a hot bath, and since we haven't had sun for days (though it was finally sunny today), she had to rely on the seven kilowatt just-in-time electric water heater. But for some reason it was misbehaving for the first time since I installed it six years ago and only producing luke-warm water. The only way to heat water without it was to turn on the boiler. So I fired it up for the first time this season. Unfortunately, as always seems to happen when the boiler has been off for seven or eight months, there was a problem. Actually, there were problems. Though the valve for the hot water tank zone was opening, the circulator pump to drive water through it wasn't turning on. And the zone up to the bedroom upstairs seemed to be stuck in the on position, where it would have gladly proceeded to heat it to 120 degrees had I not interceded by disconnecting some cables. I was able to heat the hot water by forcing closed a relay in the boiler's hydrostat, but obviously I was going to need to investigate further.
Unfortunately, I was running out of time for what was looking like an hours-long diagnostic. Gretchen wanted to attend the today's opening at KMOCA that would include some of my art, but to do so we would have to get there early, since she had to catch a 6:05 bus at the New Paltz Park & Ride to get to Manhattan in time for her do-gooder event.
KMOCA isn't a particularly fun venue in the early phase before the opening actually begins. Deborah and Michæl are running around cleaning the place, putting up the numbered push-pins that serve as foreign keys to items in a printed-out manifest of the artwork. When I wasn't trying to do what little I could do to help out, I was mostly just in the way. Everybody was busy, and Gretchen seemed to think it an ideal time to catch up with Carrie (Michæl's wife) on whatever it is she's been up to. As for the art, my stuff looked pretty good, though I would have liked to spend more time on both "Searching for Dragons" and "Panspermia," which were now looking a little rushed. I should mention, by the way, that I got the sense that neither Deborah nor Michæl actually like my paintings very much and had been hoping I would come up with more goofy stuff like the fake science fair project about my brownhouse. Actually, I got the sense that they're sick of paintings in general. Fair enough.
Gretchen headed off to New Paltz and then Nancy and Sarah the Vegan arrived, and I mostly just hung out with them for the rest of the evening. The crowd eventually swelled to a respectable size despite the cold weather and the fact that only two of the four artists were in attendance (and I hadn't exactly reached out to my local network, which is identical to Gretchen's local network). I should mention, by the way, that this show marked the first time I'd publicly hung more than one of my paintings since a July 23rd, 2000 show at Dr. Susan Block's gallery/sexposition-space in Los Angeles. Strangely, I felt more disconnected and bored at this opening than I've felt at any other, perhaps because my art was making me feel exposed. I didn't want to talk to anyone other than friends because on some level I didn't want to have to talk about my art. But then at some point Michæl pointed Lynn Woods, a local journalist, at me, and she interrogated me for ten or fifteen minutes about my paintings (and not about my swing lamp or faux science fair project). I've been asked a lot of dumb questions by reporters over the years, but Woods asked really good questions and had insights about my paintings that hadn't even occurred to me. Then later, the K&D (the Seed Library guys) came up to me and asked if maybe I'd want to do a seed packet painting for them. That's actually a great honor, and it marked the first time I'd gotten completely unsolicited positive feedback for any of my recent paintings (people "liking" photographs of them on Facebook does not count).
Eventually the opening wound down, and the usual suspects found ourselves hanging out in the gallery wondering what to do next. The plan for some of them was to go down to Rosendale and see a friend's band playing at Market-Market. Nancy and Sarah the Vegan were game to go down there just for the dining phase of the evening (and I would have to be going with them, as otherwise I didn't have a ride). But then gradually the knowledged bubbled up from our collective neural database that Market-Market is a less-than-ideal dining experience. So the plan changed to eating at another double-named restaurant (the much-closer Mexican restaurant Mole-Mole), after which some of us (Deborah, Michæl, and Carrie) would go on to Rosendale, while Nancy, Sarah, and I would head home. And so that was what happened. I should mention, by the way, that the Mole-Mole Guacamole Burrito, gotten without any of its usual dairy, is about as good of a vegan burrito as one can get in the Hudson Valley. I made mine even yummier by spicing it up with some homegrown peppers I'd been carrying in my pocket. For some reason dinner conversation kept coming back around to the subject of anal bleaching, which is always good for a belly laugh or two.
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