Matthew Dallman latest record of music is released.

Now available: A Bird In The World

Check it out, today! Plus, see my "5 Question Interview" with Matthew here.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70
Exposure: 0.04 sec (1/25)
Aperture: f/22
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV


Be Nice

What happened to the Christians? Read this: Book of Matthew. Now that is Christianity (including Jesus). Not sure if you noticed this but Jesus the "Christ" has been missing in Christianity as of late. I am no preacher but let me stand on my soap box and rant.

Why not let the Humanists or Atheists run the world? They seem nice. There has never been a war, killing, or genocide in the name of an Atheist. No propaganda, guilt, miss-guided donation done in the name of a Humanist. Let's turn over all political control to the Humanist/Atheist while we're at it. I'll bet you healthcare would be universal and free then.

Why does religion have to be right? Going back to the Book of Matthew
, Jesus simply says be nice. Why/when did nice become hard? I guess writing these words are not really nice of me? Possibly we were not created to be nice? There goes being created in the image of God, right out the window. Perhaps God is not nice. That would certainly answer a lot of questions about the state of the world.

I believe that God is love. Why? Because it feels nice. Jesus' words are nice. This means we have the innate ability to be nice. Right?



Let's talk about you today "the reader", the person who daily right clicks their way to this blog. How are you? Glad you stopped by. How is the family doing? Did I tell you that I love you? I do. Can you feel it? The nice type of love: pure, clean, innocent. Since this is a communal blog for the pure of heart. Let’s share...

Today I would like to invite you to partake in a blog-open-house: I want to know about you (yes, you) the person reading these words right now. What fascinates, motivates, inspires you about life and this very moment of existence?



Current Reading: A Man Without A Country by Kurt Vonnegut
Current Music: The Miles by Bill Deasy
Mood: Tired
Sounds: Complete silence
Smells: Tea
Sights: Homeward bound
Temperature: Currently: 68°F Cloudy
Thoughts: Is the planet trying to get rid of us?


5 Question Interview Series with Glenn Kurtz

Glenn Kurtz is the author of “Practicing - A Musician’s Return to Music”.

Kurtz is a graduate of the New England Conservatory-Tufts University double degree program. He also holds a PhD from Stanford University in German Studies and Comparative Literature. His writing has been published in ZYZZYVA, Artweek, Tema Celeste, and elsewhere, and he has taught at Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and California College of the Arts.

Glenn Kurtz graciously agreed to take part in my on going “5 Question Interview Series”.

1) My only complaint about the book is that it made me want to put the book down and go practice my guitar. Did the same urge happen to you while writing the book?

I have a fantasy that the book will inspire a nationwide resurgence in art-making by all sorts of former artists, musicians, painters, etc. So many people have spoken or written to me about wanting to pick up their instrument or their craft again after reading the book. It's very gratifying. For me, while writing "Practicing," I was constantly picking up the guitar; putting it down to write; picking it up again. Playing was research, as well as practice. I tried to capture the rhythm of a practice session in the writing, along with what it felt like to play.

2) The physical act of playing the guitar seems like a meditation practice for you. Do you have a personal mediation that you practice in your daily life?

Not really. When I was a performing musician, I used to do an idiosyncratic form of breathing work, which I suppose you could call meditation. But I haven't done it in a long time. These days, I find that practicing itself is my best practice, whether music or writing.

3) Bach is a major motivator for your inspiration. Are there any current/contemporary musicians that give you Bach-like inspiration?

I get inspiration from so many different kinds of music that it's hard to keep track! When I was younger, I think I was pretty snobbish about the kinds of music I listened to: Bach and Mozart were at the top of my list, along with classic jazz--say, Miles Davis, Wes Montgomery, Django, and Charlie Parker. I also listened to a lot of classical guitar players: Pepe Romero, John Williams, and the Davids: Leisner, Tanenbaum, and Russell. But I didn't really listen to much else. These days, my ears have opened up much more. In any given day, I'll run the gamut from Bach to John Cage (I love the "Music for Prepared Piano"); from The Beatles to Death Cab for Cutie; from Gnawa music of Morocco to Javanese Gamelan. For some reason, I've been in an Anton von Webern phase lately, listening to his string quartets. Any music that takes me into its own time, its own temporality, and shapes my experience there inspires me.

4) In one of your essays, “Who cares about Classical Music”, you write about public response to a master violinist. Do you foresee the public schooling system (or even media) placing greater emphasis on the arts?

Sadly, no. I don't see much chance of the public school system or the mainstream media placing much--indeed, any--emphasis on art or arts education in the near future. Schools, especially, are still staggering under the profoundly misguided "Standards" movement, which has swallowed most "non-essential" subjects like art, music, and drama. It's pretty discouraging. But I have to say I'm of two minds on this subject. When most people speak of "arts education," they tend to mean things like music appreciation classes, in which students are taught that Beethoven was great. I'm definitely of the camp that believes Beethoven is great. Yet I'm also of the camp that believes it may be more important to teach students to play an instrument--any instrument, in any style--rather than perpetuate a veneration for the past. For this reason, my essays for The Huffington Post, "Who Cares About Classical Music?" have been interesting. I'm just as despondent about the loss of interest among the general public in classical music (and "great literature") as anyone. But I think it would be far more valuable to get students interested in making music or creating literature than to sit them down and tell them how great Beethoven (or
Charlotte Brontë) was. It's a pedagogical difference. --But a moot one, I fear. Neither is going to happen soon.

5) What’s next for you? New book, additional essays?

Both. I'm working on a novel now, set in the closing days of World War II. And I'll keep writing shorter pieces--on music and art, primarily--because there's a lot to be said for keeping things brief!


Little unknown to me, today I would sit down at this keyboard to write “brilliance”. Not surprising to me that the word brilliance has already been created, so what is this “it” of brilliance that I am currently writing on this keyboard? Typing in no specific direction of brilliance these next words came out of me, in reality they were finger strikes to the keyboard but nonetheless keystrokes of eminent “brilliance”. What happened after that came as even greater genius then the original “brilliance” that I have been writing about. Damn the phone rang. Deep pause of silence, ok I am back to the “brilliance”. Please disregard all previous text regarding greater genius. It was short-lived genius but nonetheless “brilliant”.

What happened after that was stranger than fiction…


Have You Noticed

Have you noticed the lack of bugs this year? The bees are dying off, the mosquitos are not biting and I haven't even had an ant problem. Not even one ant running across the kitchen floor. What is up with that? End times? Maybe? Not sure, but it's weird. The other thing that keeps showing itself to me is fog. Fog is something that pops up early morning or after a storm but not daily. I have been seeing fog all over the place. So, no bugs, lots of fog, odd times for sure. It could be that Pittsburgh has gone back in time to a medieval Shakespearean ecosphere sort of thing. Nevertheless probably not, Steelers training camp is just days away. Thank God for normalcy.


Tech Issues-

My compact flash card reader crapped out on me, URGG, more tech issues. Hopefully, it's the card reader for that is the easiest thing to fix. It could be the fire wire port, compact flash cards themselves or software/hardware but who knows. I will replace the card reader first because it the most obvious choice and the card reader is also 3 years old and spends most of it's down time bungled up in a laptop bag.

Here is the problem: When importing into the commuter, the first card reads fine but then the second card shows that there are no images to import. After ejecting the card the computer freezes (URGG) then after a hard reboot the following cards read fine. Has this happened to anyone else??????

Notes from the Mat

During my mediation this morning I had a hard time quitting my mind. I decide to accept the thought that were racing through my mind (checking out a new book that was recommended to me). Then I counted my breaths for the next ten minutes. I find counting breaths to be a very centering exercise.



Current Reading: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (still, but loving it)
Current Music: Memory Almost Full by Paul McCartney
Mood: Clear, happy, but tired
Sounds: Background conversations
Smells: Coffee - Market District
Sights: Memorial Tree of Life
Temperature: Currently: 76°F Partly Cloudy
Thoughts: A macrobiotic diet is good


The Miracle of the “I”

The miracle of the “I” is that it created a “WE” to share it with.


7-15-07 Update

I have spent the last week of my life in a state of upward change. Photographed two jobs with my mentor(s) of fifteen years. Moved into a new home, played with my daughter more in the last 10 days than in the last three months. Daughters are little angels to fathers. Unconditional love wrapped up in a pink hat and a diaper. Booked a commission nature photo job. I get to shoot the four seasons. Very excited about that…I get to hike, meditate, photograph and get paid. Back to normal life: I have a couple of great interviews lined up and a new flickr project in the works. Hope everybody is well...


Time Off

Blogging will be light this week. Life, work, life, work...


5 Question Interview Series with Dominic Smith

The Beautiful Miscellaneous is the sophomore effort by Dominic Smith. His writing awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize. In 2006, his debut novel "The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre" was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great News Writers Program. It also received the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters.

Today Dominic Smith graciously agreed to take part in my on going “5 Question Interview Series”.

1) Is this book autobiographical in nature? The book is not directly autobiographical, but like everything I write I use details and stories from my own life. I don't have an overbearing scientific father or an old world mother, but the characters are compilations of people I've known and heard about.

2) If it is proper to ask, may I ask what your relationship is like with your father? I have a good relationship with my father. He lives in Australia, where I grew up, so we don't see each other all that often. He has always been very supportive of my writing.

3) Photography, meditation, and hiking are listed as interests to you on your My Space page. Can you explain how they influence your writing style? That's an interesting question. Photography definitely makes you see things in a different way. You look at objects and the way they interact with light. Taking pictures makes me better at describing things. Meditation keeps me grounded and reduces the stress and white noise in my life. I write immediately after meditating and I like to think it makes me focused when I go in to face the blank page. Hiking is something I like but not something I do very often. Being in nature helps me get clarity about my life and my work.

4) Will you tell us about your style of meditation, and how long you have been practicing meditation? I have been practicing Transcendental Meditation for ten years. It's a really important part of my life and something I'm very grateful for.

5) Since this blog is mainly a photography blog (your 1st novel is about a photographer going mad)any advice for the photographer (to keep us all sane)?
Not sure I have a whole lot of practical advice for photographers. I think that photography is a lot like writing in that you have to find your own "voice." We each have a sensibility and learning to trust and hone that is an important part of our development as artists. I remember hearing George Saunders says that he learned to write stories that only he could write and this was a huge turning point for him. The same applies to all art. Find a terrain and a style that feels organic to whom you are. That's your strength.



Last night I discovered Monterey John California Photography, great photos that focus on the beauty of San Francisco, CA. Also check out his on-line store. On that same note: Cycling Platypus has a very cool on-line store also. Go give it a visit…

Lastly on my recommendations before I take off to enjoy this patriotic holiday. Just finished reading "The Beautiful Miscellaneous by Dominic Smith" great book I even wrote a Amazon review.

See you all on Monday, be good to each other...


Ambient Art -

I have become fascinated with the term “Ambient Art”. Ambient art is defined as: “representations of complex environmental and user information that reflect their surroundings as well as simply being displayed in them”. I define ambient art as not as uncomplicated as pop art or as complex as transcendental intellectual significances that classical art will have you realize. Other than art that makes you feel comfortable and inspired in your environment without the subject of the work of art being the center of attention. Art that places purpose in a purposeless setting, the experience of experiencing the setting in itself.

I am setting out on a new project to try to craft an ambient multimedia photography art project. The first couple of questions that come to mind are: Can ambient photography be produced and be meaningful? What would be the purpose of the photograph? Why, and for who?

Let me start out by answering what I know: I want to make photographs that have longevity, transparency and evolve for the environment that they’re placed in. Photographs that place a feeling of no beginning or end, experience instead of a journey, subject matter that is encompassing not narrative to the viewer and the room.

The impetus and meaningfulness of this project is directed from the idea that photographs can be an antidote to the noise of a TV. In the age of large screen TVs, the TVs have become the center point of most rooms and are more of a sonic/visual narrative of our background to life as oppose to achieving a sonic/visual landscape within our environment. TV draws in our attention numerous times when we are not even paying attention to the programming. The antidote would be to create a multimedia DVD photo slide show with original atmospheric music that would play on a loop. Brian Eno’s current work of 77 Million Paintings would be a large scale example of what I am trying to create for the living space.

Ambient art can generate a “long now” sensation that the here and now is not only what is being directed at you but in a grander part of what is being intended for life around you. An example of a “long now” could be: noticing the stillness in nature and awareness of life in a single instant. In the end the accomplishment of ambient art will be to create and preserve a long now moment.

Next, moving onto the ‘why”: For the reason that I enjoy my environment. When I sit down to read a book, drink a glass of wine or to have a conversation with my wife I like to enjoy the atmosphere that I have surrounded myself with. The color, texture, sounds and aroma of my environment are important to me. I am not trying to create a trance hypnotic décor but enhance the ambient of my environment with art.

This project will not see its fruition until January ‘08 when I will start posting short multimedia photo slide shows. I have a back catalog of music and photography that I will edit together along with creating some new compositions and photo projects. I hope you stay along with me on this journey of ambient art.

Photo of the Week

View and/or purchase at the on-line store.