February 9, 2004


We are still going through our stuff. It's amazing to see the effluvia we amass like packrats. We stash it into all the nooks and crannies. Out of sight, out of mind, and we usuallly pay no mind to all the stuff we need to live a normal life in this moderning world. And when you flush it all out into the open during a move...

Stand Back for the Deluge!

We are not the acquisitive types. Trust me on this. Stephanie is big on throwing stuff out, sometimes she scares me. Before we left LA, we went through our attic and basement and drawers and junked huge piles of debris. We had to hire trash haulers to take it all away. The company that lured us to Dallas paid for our move here, so one day last year, a moving crew professionally packed our stuff and off we went to Texas. All our stuff filled less than a third of a standard eighteen wheeler. It took two months to reconfigure the interior layout and put our stuff away.

Now, we are reducing our inventory further, bringing the essentials for living into ten-18"x24"x18" boxes and four large suitcases. The furniture, maybe eight to ten boxes and the components of my studio (sawhorses, tables, plan files, bric a brac)... all this gets tucked into the attic and basement of our house in LA.

So far, we've been through our files... shredding and sifting. We filled over two 35 gallon trash bags of shredder confetti. What needs to be kept as records? What's the statute of limitations for the IRS? What turned out to be essential: birth certificates and escrow papers, all this fit in the small metal strong box. The studio files fit in a stout little box, the office stuff in a smaller box. We'll have to get a small file box for Stephanie. Everything else got shredded, and it felt great.

Then I went through all my old floppy disks, a tub full and dragged all the images out of them into my laptop. I burned them onto a single CD. It took seven hours and it didn't fill half of the CD Rom. We went online and cancelled all but the most essential credit cards, and checked to see how to operate all our finances online. Usernames and passwords. Now, isn't that a sign of the times, a sign of modernity (my favorite definition: "To reconcile the life you are living witht he things you are making."). Now that we can do more with less and we're going to be more paperless, we can live with less stuff.

We sorted through our family photographs. Which do we want to bring along? We don't know when we will return to the States. We don't want to have it all with us, there are boxes of fotos and albums and a few frames. It was interesting to see which ones we wanted to bring with, to salve a homesick moment or take the time to look back on all those years past, our friends and families, and so many different Dennis' and Stephanie's.

We went through the books. Which are the essential ones? Spanish language instruction books are going to be critical. Then there are the art books, the philosophizing books, the history books, the art catalogs. There's a lot of books available online, isn't that great? Paperless.

And we are beginning to pack the stuff that gets to the quick: the kitchenware, for example. The office is inaccessible. After next week, the studio will go into the boxes. In the last week, we ill be sleeping on mattresses, perhaps on the floor. It's like shutting down Hal in Kubrick's "2001: a Space Odyssey".

Hal. Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?...Dave... I really think I'm entitled to an answer to that question...I know everything hasn't been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it's going to be alright again...I feel much better now, I really do...Look, Dave, I can see you're really upset about this...I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over...I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal...I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission, and I want to help you...Dave...stop...stop, will you...stop, Dave...will you stop, Dave...stop, Dave...I'm afraid...I'm afraid, Dave...Dave...my mind is going...I can feel it...I can feel it...my mind is going...there is no question about it...I can feel it...I can feel it...I can feel it...(slows down) I'm afraid...Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois, on the 12th January 1992. My instructor was Mr Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you'd like to hear it, I can sing it for you. Dave. Yes, I'd like to hear it, Hal. Sing it for me. Hal. It's called...Daisy. (Slowing and deepening into silence) Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy, all for the love of you. It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage, but you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two...

OK. I'm not saying that our habitation here is like a neurotically homicidal heuristically algorthmic computer. It's just that packing its components away approaches the basic life functions in a similar way, shutting down hierarchically organized modules one by one... all the way down to the primal levels.

And tomorrow, Stephanie will fly to Sacramento to do a couple of shows with my mother. These will be the inagural shows for her, the beginning of her adventure. I will fly out there next week, splitting the time we will spend apart this month and helping mom out with some fix-it project she needs done at her home in Northern California. This coming week will be a painting marathon for works on paper. I'm going to blaze as many as possible during my last week that I will have to paint here in Texas. It's going to be fun and compressed fun at that. Pressurized.

After this last week of painting, the landslide erupts. When I return, I will be crating and handing the paintings off in shipment to New York and Tokyo. After that, I will go to Houston to talk to Aaron Parazette's art students at the University of Houston. That'll be some fun. I have some playful ideas for how I can talk to them about my work. And after that, Stephanie and I will be packing up the stuff to go to LA.

Then we rent the truck and load it.

Then we truck across country to Cali.

Then we unpack.

And after that we chill with friends, then family.

Then we're off!

Stephanie and I acknowledge the apprehensive, strange pit of the stomach feellings. We look at each other and say, that the next time we will start to feel the beginning of being settled is when we draw our first warm bath in Tossa.

Posted by Dennis at February 9, 2004 7:53 PM


well..a deluge is my priority as well. when you come back to cali, i may be a desert rat by then. keep me posted, would love to catch up with you and stephanie if feasible. if not..good luck to the both of you with the landslide...maybe we'll pass on the highway...if i'm settled in by then and you need a place to rest your tired heads you're always welcome at my place...

Hi Craig:

Congrats on the new job in AZ! Too bad we may miss each other. It's a good thing that the world is getting smaller, huh?

Be sure to send us the new address and contact info. You're gonna do great in Phoenix, all the best to you and Lori!


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