Monday, October 31, 2022

Halloween 2022


Here are this year's Halloween pictures. They are... okay, made in a variety of complicated ways. So complicated I've sort of lost track of how I made them. As I write this I have just a few pictures, but I'll add pictures in as I can.

They are meant to be sort of spooky.


Sunday, October 30, 2022

On the downside of AI


I promise you that an AI cannot write this content:

We here at clerkmanifesto are in the midst of some explorations of artificially created photos. Yesterday's pictures of cats by Matisse in Nice are examples of how well it works, but over the next couple of days we'll see some rougher and rougher examples. I think that what people regularly fail to address in discussions of emerging and bewilderingly powerful AI technologies is their narrowness. And while we create these technologies, like self driving cars as a simple example,  according to the wide open futuristic dream we had or have of them, we always, always, find that their capabilities can be astonishing to the point of magic, but that simultaneously they are conditional, particular, and that they work in some ways and don't work in others, and as their parameters form, we design what we can do around their limitations. A self driving car plopped on the streets of my city as is will probably always be garbage, and never as good or wise or beneficial as a transit system based on trains and trams and pedestrianization, but if we redesign the city for their growing capabilities, little by little and at insane cost, they may be part of a life that is nearly all we can imagine. 

Or not, you never know.

This happens in something that is often a sometimes organic process, but also, as we live in a proscribed system, a capitalistic process. So even the Internet today, which we largely accept as de facto, is both a wonder, and a hideous failure of the kind of communication tool and creative dream that was once in our fevered minds for it. It is not the World Wide Internet so much as a series of highly curated, often for pay, Corporate spaces. And we form ourselves to what these spaces can do increasingly more than they form themselves to us using them.

But this is the kind of thoughtful, nuanced analysis that I don't have time for. 

I have 20 blogposts to write in the next few days so that I am free of the Internet (mostly) while I am on vacation. 

If only there were some kind of auto text generator I could use.

There is! But, see my notes above.


Here are some pictures of my latest experiments. I have taken an AI that generates pictures from one's description, but allows one to use one's own photograph as an influence on the final product. So here I have a picture of Shadow Creek, and then fed the computer a description of the picture for a final product, as you'll see:

Here is one more, self explanatory, as I left the framing device from the ai on. I'm not really thinking these are making my argument above. Let's just say those are comments that these processes have caused me to start thinking:

And finally, a last pairing, though I am only 90 percent sure I got the source picture I used correct for this. It should be noted that I did not use my best pictures as source materials, rather my more mundane ones, unworked and unaltered:

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Cat belonging to robot overlords in Nice


I was at work looking at pictures of an apartment we're staying at when we go to Nice. My co-worker Dan said something about Matisse, the very famous Nice painter, and I said the window picture of our apartment looked a lot like many Matisse paintings. 

We looked up pictures of Matisse paintings and amazingly one of them


I don't have pictures of either of those things, but I used a powerful AI to generate images of a cat by Matisse on a window ledge in Nice.

This is my version of turning my blog over to our robot overlords. 

They do a pretty nice job of it!

Thank you robot overlord. 

Say hi to your cat.

Friday, October 28, 2022

The deer from Pike Island


I had been planning to visit the deer on Pike Island for a week or two, but as it is something of an expedition I did not manage to go there until today.

I reminded myself, well aware of a long ago trip to Vancouver Island (another island!) to see Killer Whales that never showed up, to not get too caught up in my desire to see the deer. I reminded myself to be there for everything else.

My reminder worked! I was having a good time!

I was walking down one of the grassy paths that ran through the center of the island, a path I think of as "The Deer Path", because that is where I mostly see the deer.

I didn't see any deer, but that was okay. I was taking pictures of a lot of trees. And then something moved in the brush! 

It was too small and close to be a deer. 

Isn't it funny how one can see movement in the wild, hear it, feel the presence, but not see anything of the thing that actually moves? This is what happened to me. I climbed over some fallen logs. I followed the movement into the weeds and grasses. I stood for a moment, very still and quiet among the tangled wood. Whatever moved was gone, or hidden from me forever.

I wondered what it was. I still do.

And then I looked through the trees to my right, and there were the deer.

Funny how I hadn't noticed them before.

I communed with them for a bit. They, as you will see, looked at me carefully. Mostly I bugged them with my picture taking until they wandered away.

Thank you deer.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

A childlike sense of wonder

Today, on my birthday, if you will indulge me, I am going to talk about my childlike sense of wonder.


When I was a very young man, maybe even a teenager, there was a book that captivated me. It was called The Tracker, because it was about a guy who was good at tracking things, in the wilderness. 

I'll just say here that it was sort of non fiction.

Isn't everything?

The World itself is sort of non fiction! If you ask me, which you did. Although your asking me was sort of non fiction.

Well, and so was this book.

And one of the things that stuck with me from The Tracker was the author talking about tracking lost kids in the woods, and their difference from adults. Adults, according to the tracker, just sort of plod on. Their path is full of straight lines. They go from point A to point B, even if they don't know where they're going. But kids are full of curiosity. They wander off the trail. They go investigate a tree stump. They climb down and they climb back up. Their paths are full of exploration and whim and interest.

When I read this, and it was very clearly in favor of how kids are, and sad and critical of how adults are, I wished I could be in the author's defined "good" group, curious kids, rather than in his sad group, uninspired adults. But I did my fair share of walking in the wilds back then, and I grimly knew how I walked, like an adult. 

I don't think this would get to me now, but way back then, it was... disappointing.

Now let us rotate the Earth around the Sun, one, two, maybe 30 or 40 times. And there I am walking in the great Autumn Woods of Minnesota. I have one big camera that I love, slung over my neck. I have another camera in my pocket, sleek and odd, technically a phone, that I use even more often. I am walking, but it is hard for me to get anywhere.

This day I would like to make it into Mendota, the place where my walk let off a couple weeks earlier, when I came at it from the opposite end, but I am delayed. Every ditch, every strange tree, every bird is an attraction to me. I thrash off into the grasses at the least provocation. I climb up on fallen trees. I follow any stream as far as I can. I thrash down the embankment and tiptoe into an island in the middle of the water. I cross. I stare at the water. I circle back to where I was. I take pictures.

And it comes to me in a moment of understanding.

Thirty-five years later, I walk like a child.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The height of my science fiction photography


I just hit the height of my Science Fiction photography! 

I won't hold back, I'll show you it right away and then, like in a book group where only one person does any talking, we can discuss it.

Here it is:

When I squeezed this fantastical picture out of my phone, while sitting at the front desk of the library, I was so excited I had to show my front desk partner. My front desk partner was a person who shares with me a keen interest in a particular slice of YA Science Fiction and Fantasy. They are also studying to be a librarian. 

So they liked this picture.

I said "This is just the sort of picture that would be on the cover of a book I'd be super interested to read!"

We talked about that briefly and looked at the picture. This made me ruminate and add:

"But the book would probably be sort of disappointing."

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Tribute to my library


Perhaps, and I don't want to be held to this, I am feeling okay about my library these days.

Oh, I have my complaints. Boy do I have my complaints. Boy oh boy do I have my complaints! But if you'll just look at these pictures below that I've been laboring over, there is an unmistakable suggestion of pride, maybe, as well?

One of these pictures is posted out at the front desk of my library. A regular patron has become fond of my photographic work and insists that I should do this professionally! After they said I should have my own space dedicated, in the library, just for my works alone, I told him he should tell this to the branch manager, who was standing twenty or thirty feet away, talking to a librarian.

The patron did go over and talk to the branch manager!

A minute later I discretely followed after this patron and approached the branch manager and librarian.

"I am beloved." I announced.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Barrage of blogposts finally comes to an end!


Well, if any regular readers survived all that, whew!

As you may know I have been posting a new picture every three or four hours for at least a week. Sometimes, snuck in among those pictures are my commentaries on...


But now I have had enough with the constant barrage of blog posts! 

It is so disorderly to have posts going up constantly!

Did you find it disorderly? 

It seemed like a great idea to just post a picture every few hours and then type in commentary anytime I felt like it, but in the end I couldn't really find anything I did, and there was so much of it, and it was all so surprisingly laborious to add things, and I still ended up making more new pictures on my phone than I could actually manage to post out here on clerkmanifesto!

So now we'll go back to normal.

Could someone point me to what's normal again?

The great working you were looking for is now resting


The Universe is where the large can become small forever


Sunday, October 23, 2022

In the Autumn of our lives we find wisdom



It is something of a tradition on Grape's birthday, Grape being an old and dear friend of mine, and his birthday being the day of the year he was born, which, coincidentally, is today, to write, in honor of this Grape person, a story of an escapade from our youth.

But we are old now, and I have forgotten them all.


We are enlightened and live purely in the present.


I've been doing this so long I've used up all the good escapades.


I remember lying on the floor of his room, or some room, anyone's room anywhere, with Grape, listening to music, like it was a thing two 17 year old's could actually do. Just... listening to music.




As happens in all these vast decades that Grape and I have lived far away form each other, a few months went by where I did not hear from Grape.  No word. No email. No note. 

And fairly speaking, he did not hear from me. 

And just as this state of affairs was starting to worry me unavoidably, I put a picture on my blog (my blog is where you are now) of a bee.

Grape commented on this picture. 

He said something like "I like this picture of a bee."

It made me so happy every part of me momentarily untensed and floated.

And I was enlightened and lived in the present.

Which I hope Grape is doing today, on his birthday.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

At the moment of the test you cannot fail


The color range of wild hawks


Clean living against the darkness


For readers who enjoy their clerkmanifesto straightforward, dropping every 24 hours with cleanly written accounts of library life, this might not be clerkmanifesto's golden era. Full of mystical, sometime inscrutable pictures, occasionally barely hinged to their sources, with quasi poetic titles and either no text at all, or, sometimes, without warning, inscrutable late night ruminations will appear that might be spiritual, but how is a person supposed to tell?

This, this is super spiritual right now!

If I wrote a spiritual self help book that might be a good title for it.


Well, you know best. You're the reader.

So you want to hear about the library then? 


There is a man who likes to come tell me jokes at the desk when I see him. When old, battered, falling apart guys limp to the desk of a library to tell you a joke the fear is that it will be offensive. 

His aren't. 

I like to think any small virtue beyond that is just gravy.