Time Warp

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I had no intention of being absent from this place for an extra day. I have no shortage of ideas for posts and writing seems to be more than usually good for me these days. However, the power situation in Madang for the last few days has been absolutely miserable. On Thursday my UPS died a hideous death. I went to get a new one, hating to spend the money, but unwilling to risk my computer. On getting it home I was disheartened to discover that it did not appear to work. So, I spent the entire weekend without the web. I felt as if I’d had a lobotomy.

As it turned out, the new UPS worked fine. I took it back to the dealer today. It was pointed out to me that I had the connections wrong. Sigh . . . Yet another stupid mistake. How many does it take?

None of that has anything at all to do with what I want to write about today.

I can remember at times near the end of the year, such as now, when I would think to myself – for example – “Where did 1992 go? Time is whizzing by so fast! I’ll soon be dead.” This is what happens when you’re having fun. When life is sweet it flashes past so quickly that it seems unfair. You feel cheated. The inevitable close of the show seems to be approaching in too much of a hurry.

And then something happens. Suddenly life is not such a joy ride. Nobody escapes these seasons. Winters come to us all. Winters seem to last forever, eh?

Remembering that I once thought where did the year go, it seems so awfully opposite now to look at the calendar and note, as it has been creeping up on me day-by-day, that it has been only two months today since Eunie died. Amazing! It feels like a year. It feels like forever. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I’ve had plenty of time to think about it – centuries. I found it an odd coincidence (is there really such a thing?) that I met Nancy Sullivan today, who is an old friend I seldom see, and practically the first thing that she said to me upon reflecting that it had been only two months was, “It seems like forever, eh?” My case rests.

I pondered mightily concerning what images I might use for this post. Dali’s The Persistence of Memory kept wafting around the corners of my mind. Finally I decided that I needed timepieces. No worries. Eunie and I both had a small collection of what we called our “Seven Dollar Watches.” We collected them from Wal*Mart:

I looked for the better part of an hour for Eunie’s watches. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried for a while when I couldn’t find them. It’s that kind of day. I put mine on a sly grinning cat which Eunie applied to a bedspread, along with frisky puppies, well over two or three decades ago. It’s a very durable bedspread. It will outlive me. I hope some child enjoys it.

I can hear the watches ticking. Too fast? Too slow? I can’t tell.

Then, unbidden today, but always on my mind otherwise, came the thought of solitary creatures as I looked through the images of my dive on The Green Dragon B-25 bomber on Saturday. Solitary creatures . . . I don’t intend to stay that way forever, not if I have anything to say about it. Eunie will be my cheerleader.

Here is a solitary Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion percula):

That’s right. It’s Nemo come to cheer us up. Good luck, buddy.

I wonder if time will speed up again in a year or so. Of course then, when I’m having some fun again, I’ll moan that it’s going too fast. I’m never satisfied.

Here’s a critter that seems to prefer solitude, a Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita):

Weird, eh? But pretty.

Now with my brain churning so furiously that it has set my hair on fire I run across this image which I took at the end of the dive. It seems to fit here:

It’s good old Faded Glory. She’s a lot like me. She’s beat up and corroded, but she’s still afloat. She’s still a bit pretty in a sort of efficient, functional way. She’s still got a lot of love and good times to give. Just like me. I’m certain that someday this will be my favourite image of her.

I’ll wrap this up with a magic trick. See . . . nothing up my sleeves.

Stuck in the sand near the rapidly deteriorating corpse of the war machine in which good men died I found this bit of the Perspex windscreen, which was smashed to smithereens when the bomber ditched near Wongat Island. Geneviève hovers like a pixy ghost in the near distance:

This shard of plastic has been resting alone in the warm sea since about the time I was born. It had never been disturbed before. I came along on Saturday and dug it out of the sand. I resurrected it.

I carried it back to the wreckage and dropped it into the pilot’s seat.

Home at last.

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6 Responses to “Time Warp”

  1. kristy Says:

    Sorry about your internet troubles. The pics are beautiful as always! What sort of settings do you use? Are you using longer shutter times? If so, how do you keep yourself still…or do you take a tripod? :)
    The anniversaries of Eunie’s death unfortunately will keep coming. Please know that your friends and acquaintances will be thinking of you and praying for you, especially as you go through this year of firsts without your best friend and lover.

  2. Helen Jones Says:

    Hi Jan – two months – seems much longer and as you say must seem like forever to you. You are keeping yourself occupied which is good – are your long term plans to stay in Madang as it must seem very strange there now without Eunie, who, from our memories, was the life and soul of the town! How are Hans, Audrey and Pippa doing?

  3. MadDog Says:

    Hi, Kristy. Now that I figured out how to plug in my UPS (DUH! I’m supposed to be an IT dude.) I’m back on line.

    If you have plenty of light, shutter speed is not usually a problem. It also won’t be a problem if you’re using flash. However, as in the shot of the watches I wanted to use only the light from my reading light on the bookcase at the head of my bed. With my “film speed” (an old-fashioned idea) set at ISO 80, where I usually keep it, I was getting a shutter speed, with the aperture open as wide as it could go, of only about 1/10 of a second. That’s too slow for the “anti shake” gizmo in the camera to nix any motion blur. I increased the ISO to 200 and got a barely acceptable shutter speed of about 1/30 of a second. The trade-off, as it was in the days of film, is that you get more noise in the shot. In the old days this was because the grains of silver iodide in the film had to be larger to make the film more sensitive or “faster”. Now it is because of problems with collecting photons on the sensor. The higher the ISO, the more noise. So, like everything else in photography, there’s no free lunch. To get rid of the noise I use a Photoshop filter called NoiseNinja Pro. It’s cool. When I’m shooting at low shutter speeds on purpose, such as for waterfalls (to get the silky water effect – put waterfall into the search box on my site) I use a tripod.

    I know that the eighth of the month will forever be engraved in my memory. That’s just one of those things we have to live with. However, I’ve decided that I’m also going to make it a point to celebrate on the twenty-third of each month, her birthday and mine. We were born to the day exactly six months apart. Eunie’s was in June and mine in December.

  4. MadDog Says:

    Helen, it does feel strange in Madang now. Eunie left such a big hole. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear of some problem somewhere that leaves someone wishing that Eunie was around to fix it. She was a great fixer. I’m at work every day and try to keep up with normal social activities. The nights are terrible, but there’s no help for that.

    The kids are fine, though we don’t communicate much. I don’t worry about them. They’ve been independent of me since before they were twenty. As long as I’m writing regularly they won’t worry about me. We all love each other, but we don’t feel the need to cling.

  5. Bill Spinks Says:

    MadDog, For some, life spins too fast even in just ordinary times…I have a pretty good life, but it’s just an ordinary life (how tragic to have to admit that!)…and it is just flying by. But I’m with you and NS, k, and HJ…when it’s bad, time just drags by.

    I am always “lifted” when I see your post appear in my Facebook stream, and will continue to pray for you.

    BTW, would you translate “Ples Bilong Mi”? I have searched (not exhaustively, I admit) your blog and can’t find how you picked the name of it.

    -bill

  6. MadDog Says:

    Bill, life in a far away exotic place can be pretty cool when things are going good and you have someone dear to share it with. It’s a whole other thing when hard times come and you’re alone. I always felt sad for people who came here to work alone. They are mostly not very happy people. It never occurred to me that I’d end up that way. It can be a very lonely place and the opportunities for finding companionship are zero.

    It makes me very happy to know that so many people still enjoy reading MPBM. It’s not as happy a place as it used to be. Hopefully, that will change over time. Thanks for your continuing good vibes and prayers.

    Ples Bilong Mi means, literally: village – town [possessive] me

    It can be translated, in this case, as “My home town.”