Bozeman Bits

In the Men’s room at The Cannery there is a mirror over the urinal. On the wall behind is a sign, positioned so it is right over your head in the mirror, that says. “ENOLA GNIVAEL ER’UOY REDNOW ON”

I spent my last evening at the Ale Works tonight. I invited Kristen out on the road with me, but she turned down the offer. Just as well; If I ditched Winnebaggo there would be room for her, but she didn’t look like the kind of girl to travel light. I could be wrong about that. I think she wanted to give me a hug when I said goodbye but I got all stiff and awkward before she could even think about it much.

Right now I’m back at John’s, and Sal is on a beer run. Sal is short for Salvatore Vaspolli, and he has a book out called Montana. It’s a photo book, and it’s funny now how many of the images on those pages made me say, “I tried to take that picture!” But the images he has captured are really friggin incredible. He drives around, trying to sell his posters to retailers, and scouting new photos.

What I really want to do is show him my shots, and get his critique. I want to learn from him. Instead I chipped in for the next beer run. He doesn’t want to see my amateur shit. John gave him the opening – “Jerry’s taken some really nice pictures.” Sal did not say “Really? Let’s see.” And seriously, can you blame him for that? The dude’s trying to relax and enjoy a ballgame.

Tomorrow I go. I’ve had a great time here, but the road is out there, a jilted lover jealous of my straying ways. Or staying ways. She wants me back. She calls to me with a whisper that no one else can hear, an enticing sound that promises that I am the only one. I will be the only one once I get out there. My seductive mistress is a fiction that comes from inside my own head, and her promises are emptiness. Sweet emptiness.

So tomorrow I return to the road, to the simplicity that implies, and to my life of solitude. I leave behind a place where I had become a regular, and perhaps even a borderline fly. I was a known stranger. I had not been around enough to lose my exotic veneer (telling a bartender that your bar crawl has gone over 6,000 miles gets you points), but long enough to allow my simple charms to begin to work. It’s a sweet spot that, like the perfect buzz, cannot be sustained. Eventually I have to move on. At this moment in Bozeman, I’m all promise, all potential. I can dance out now and leave a good aftertaste.

8 thoughts on “Bozeman Bits

  1. Jer, you write:

    “I had not been around enough to lose my exotic veneer, but long enough to allow my simple charms to begin to work. It’s a sweet spot that, like the perfect buzz, cannot be sustained. Eventually I have to move on. At this moment in Bozeman, I’m all promise, all potential. I can dance out now and leave a good aftertaste.”

    Thats where the rubber of philosophy meets the road of writing. Good stuff.

  2. Indeed, a nicely mixed (shaken, not stirred) metaphor.

    My favorite recent entry was the second paragraph of brown eyes. After a dozen readings, I believe I have finally interpretted it correctly.

    My first interpretation was that you were anthropomorphizing the beer dispensing mechanism as a woman. But that, as clever as it was, didn’t make sense in conjunction with the third paragraph.

    So then I thought he’s metaphorically describing her breasts as beer taps. Damn that Jerry’s a good writer.

    Now I see that you were describing an optical situation where your entire vision is blocked by the beer taps.

    If I can get all that–and enjoy it–out of one (apparently not so simple) paragraph, sign me up for the first printing of the Monster Within.

  3. Woo-hoo! I am site visitor 2000! See time and date below. Shall we guess how long until site visitor 3000 shows up? 10,000?

    PS: I did cheat a little: when I noticed I was visitor 1999, I shut down my browser and surfed again to get the coveted appelation.

    PPS: I’m visiting mutliple times a day, cursing when Jerry is actually driving and not posting. I’m in danger of moving from “regular” status to “fly.”

  4. Jerry, I would have looked at your photography, but you sounded like you really didn’t want to see them. So here’s my critique of my favorite- Jellystone: Best of Show- Logs at Roaring Mountain. Good choice of B&W. Very good overall composition. Suggestions, move in closer with your foreground subjects and less sky.

    Honerable Mentions-

    Bleached Log #2

    Sunlit Tree

    Hot Spring #1

    Blue Mist

    Remember Elk doe is what Bull elk pay to have sex with them, otherwise they’re call, Cows! hehehe!

    Best of journeys!


  5. Thanks for your feedback! I think the b&w logs could use some better cropping, and I bet there was a lens in John’s bag that would have gotten me closer. I’ll have to go back and check which bleached log 2 is. Sunlit tree was pure luck.

    I went into a poster store in jackson and asked if they had your work. They might have, but the clerk was clueless. I hope I conveyed the appropriate level of dismay when she could not lead me straight to your work.

    It seemed like a good idea at the time, anyway.

  6. I dunno about this new camera. On my screen the photos are quite dark; with the old camera the photos were vibrant and bright. Could this have something to do with my machine? In the new yellowstone album, pictures 48 and 49 are essentially the same: a bison grazing in front of geyser. However, picture 48 is much brighter and clearer than 49, which is dark and indistinct. How does it look on your screen?

  7. It looks OK on my screen, however the posterization from the JPEG compression is quite obvious in both.

    BTW, all of the shots in the Yellowstone collection were taken with my camera, not Jer’s new one. However, he has to at least run Adobe Gamma on his monitor so that he can adjust the midtones properly. The photos would be better if shot in JPEG rather than RAW mode, but JPEG causes loss of some of the original data which can be recovered if you shoot in RAW.

  8. The difference between the two pictures is the sun. Clouds were passing overhead periodically. I kept the darker one because I liked the highlights on the bison where it had been rolling in the dust – I thought it gave the picture a Remembrandty feel. I intend to go back and work with the framing more. There were people’s heads in the way, though, so my options for shooting were limited.

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