Dec 30, 2007

The Sunday Vagapocalypse

You know, I don't know if I'm even allowed to use that title, since it's been blatantly stolen from The Soup, but The People (that's you!) have Spoken, and by a margin of 2 votes "The Sunday Vagapocalypse" it is! That is until E!'s producers call me up and issue me with a cease and desist, at which time we'll host another poll. *G*


Be sure and join Vulgar Wizard and my august self this New Year's Day, Tuesday the 1st at 10am CST for the inaugural broadcast! Looking forward to hearing from you, and Happy Gnu Year to each and all!

Dec 23, 2007

Rankin & Bass Present: Irrelephant - An Xmas Story

If you're of a certain age you grew up with Rankin & Bass movies.

They're called "classics" now, and they're usually sold on the checkout counter of most retailers priced at a tasty $5.95 or so. And not to put too fine a point on it, compared to modern TV specials they're crappy. Face it, the animation was atrocious, a sort of creepy stop animation that makes Ray Harryhausen spin in his grave. But kids didn't care. We were after the story, not the production quality.

I remember the first time I saw The Little Drummer Boy. It was right before Christmas time because the tree was up in the den, a massive seven-foot tall tree that my brother and I were finally old enough to help assemble. A few presents were already under it, gifts from friends and family; Santa hadn't made his run just yet. The coloured lights were all strung up through it, the bulbs blinking through the branches making the den (with the overhead lights turned off) a whole different world, an ever-changing red and green and blue place.

I don't recall how old I was at the time, but I wasn't too old. I had just learned what a wonderful thing scale models were, those plastic jigsaw puzzles that came in boxes, some assembly required. At the time I had graduated (barely) to liquid cement glue but I was still wondering why the models I finished invariably looked nothing like the photos on the boxes, but I knew I could get there some day.

At some point earlier in the year my parents had bought me a scale model of a Klingon cruiser from the original Star Trek. I remember the smooth plastic, molded in a dove grey, and how the chrome parts gleamed against that pale colour. The flat deck at the front with it's sort of bulging top and it's round bottom always reminded me, oddly enough, of a dog wearing a sort of tophat, the thin stem leading back to the wide wing-shaped body seemed graceful and powerful. I loved that ship, loved to see it materialise in front of the Enterprise because I knew it foretold a mighty battle.

I must have been young because I fit pretty comfortably under the tree lying down. I had room to sail and swoop that Klingon cruiser back and forth, fighting imaginary space battles under the spreading green branches, and that was what I was doing that night. Sailing through the limitless expanse of space, coloured all sorts of strange, alien colours, commanding my ship. Doing battle with enemies in my own head. I was often lost in the worlds in my head; as a kid I wasn't good at making friends, and school was a frightening and alien place, so I hid in my own head most of the time. I was angry and didn't know it. I was having a hard time adjusting to the larger world around me, and as I was afraid to ask questions or speak up I found myself angry at it, hating it.

The TV that sat in our den was an old Zenith console model. It's case was solid wood, it's remote control had five buttons and was just a little bit smaller than a telephone receiver. It was a massive, brooding thing, it's several hundred pounds resting on casters that seemed barely able to help it's bulk roll around. A solid, dark wooden cabinet surrounded the screen, with wood and cloth-covered faux curtains hiding the speakers. I could just see it from my outer space battleground under the tree, and I was watching it with half an eye when The Little Drummer Boy came on one of the three channels we could pick up.

I remember being drawn into it as inexorably as Captain Kirk and his brave crew drew me into their world. This world, of sand and dancing animals and scary, commanding adults was different, though. It was more familiar, and the aliens all wore people's faces and clothes. I knew how the boy felt, too; angry, alone, scared and unsure. I didn't know who Jose' Ferer was but I knew that voice--an adult's voice, frightening, commanding, wanting to use the little drummer for his own sinister purposes.

When the boy's camel was taken from him I felt his pain, his frustration at being unable to do anything at all about it. I knew that feeling of powerlessness from my own life, and my own inability to do anything when an adult made a decision about my life. When the chariot struck the little sheep I knew his pain--I had lost more than one pet even at that young age to the careless drivers in the street in front of our house.

Then the wondrous happened--two adults accepted him. Accepted his gift, and welcomed it. And the child there in the manger accepted him and his simple gift, the greatest of children (to my own childlike mind a person equivalent or greater than even Santa.) The idea that it was possible to be accepted, to be welcomed by adults and a child seemed to be the most eye-opening, surprising thing I could have ever imagined--an adult other than my parents being givers of love and welcome? A stranger who welcomed me? Impossible, but there it was, happening before my eyes, all shaded red and green and blue by the lights and the ornaments and the magic that filled the very air at Christmas time.

I haven't built a model in a long time, but I do still have a closet half-filled with them, awaiting only time and patient efforts with glue, Xacto blade, airbrush and skills honed over many introspective years. The models I built just a few years ago look a lot more like the cover photos now, and sometimes I think I even exceed them. The Rankin & Bass special still plays too, around this time, and I still watch it. It hasn't changed at all, not on the surface. The same skitterish, cheap animation, the same wooden actions, the same beginning and middle and end. Now, though, I can see the lesson there, painted with a very large brush. I can appreciate the strength of Jose' Ferer's powerful voice, and I can see just how small the budget really was. It still touches me, though. It still touches the confused, frightened and sometimes powerless little boy who even now lies under the Christmas tree, flying his Klingon cruiser around, ready to do battle.

Acceptance. Acceptance even if you think you don't have anything to give but a simple skill. Is there no greater gift?

Very Happy Christmas to you, one and all, my beloved friends.

Dec 20, 2007

Vox Populi

The people are speaking! As of right now, The Sunday Vagapocalypse is leading the pack with three votes. Holy jeebus you people. *lol*

Amusing put her hair up in a bun, slipped into a severe white blouse and a black business suit and asked, in her guise as Genius Marketing Woman:

"...even though I voted, I have all sorts of questions like, what the hell is the focus of the "show" and is it the sound of one voice talking, or other stuff too, and &tc.

Ask and it shall be answered unto thee, even if your use of the 'ampersand plus tc.' is a little questionable. *g*

What is the focus of the show. Wow. Okay, let's move on.

Is it one voice talking? For the most part it'll just be me, but I think I'm going to start out with Vulgar Wizard co-hosting with me so she can keep the airways full while I'm fiddling with learning how to actually DO this thing. It will be just like 'real' radio in that listeners are able and fully expected to call in and interact, and there's also a nifty chat feature at the bottom of the screen when you're listening so those of you who are too shy to speak with me (but want to speak about me) can do so in the chat box, which I'll be able to see and respond to. So with all that in mind I think I can safely say that it'll be rather like Blog Plus--all the foolishness you've come to expect from Q: What's Large, Grey, and Doesn't Matter with the added bonus of increased interactivity.

And hopefully that answers the second question, too. *s* The focus will be where it lands, what topic I might have had pop into my smoke-filled head, or, much more likely I'll be heterodyning off whatever is going on with you guys. As I get more accustomed and comfortable with the layout and the actual FUNCTION of being an internet radio host guy I'm hoping to get some interviews set up with YOU GUYS. I think that'd be the most interesting thing in the long run--deep, incisive questions about your blogs, your lives, your frilly underthings.

So. Be sure and tune in, I'm going right now to see if I can install the show links here, and if you haven't, be sure to vote!

post scriptum - Seems I've managed. The radio over there will, after I've made a broadcast, allow you access to the last show I've recorded, which I haven't done yet so it's showing "undefined." Gonna go install a button to lead you guys right to the broadcast page and schedule (I think) and we'll be set up!

post post scriptum - Roight! Gotcha now, my ducky. The grey button will lead you to the show's homepage, which will also allow you to link in when the show is on. The radio will be the link to the last archived show. Rock and/or roll, kids!

Dec 19, 2007

The People Have Spoken

And I have listened.

I've even put together a nifty poll for you guys to answer. Multiple answers allowed, but only one vote (yes, Santa is watching you.) This also saves me the trouble of having to tax my already over-worked brain on being creative. I think I burned out my creative gland back in grade school on that seventh grade Social Studies project, Rube Goldberg vs Isaac Newton In Jell-O.

So. Vote me do!

If you had to listen to a radio show, which name would most interest you?
Sunny Sunday Chatline
The Sundae Special
The Sunday Scoop
Sound-Off Sunday
The Sunday Serenade
Sunday Shinedown
Sunday Sermon
Sunday Schizzle
Sunday Scatter
Sunday Scavenge
Sunday Scatology
Sunday Scenario
Sunday Scathing
Snark Sunday
Manic Monday Eve
Stupor Sunday
The Sunday Vajapocalypse
Free polls from

Dec 16, 2007

Talkies Tuesday

You know, I'm already having fits with scheduling radio segments, but it seems like as of right now the inaugural broadcast of Talkies Tuesday will be Tuesday, January 1, 10am CST.

And I officially Need Your Help: It seems that according to the radio host people that host this here infant (infantile?) radio show of mine that has yet to be birthed that ANY weekday from 7am until midnight is prime time, and since I have a JOB that takes up most of my time and I shan't be able to stay up until midnight thirty just to host a radio show I think this is going to become a Sunday 10am (Central Standard) show. And since Sunday is no more Tuesday than a bat is a bicycle, I need to rename Talkies Tuesday to something equally catchy; something clever, something easy to say and maybe with a little alliteration to make it the cat's pajamas, and all involving Sunday.

So. Any suggestions will be aired and duly run up the flagpole to see who salutes. I'll also take any suggestions as to an image/icon/whatnot to go with said name.

Thank you, won't you?

Dec 15, 2007

One Of These Days, One Of Those Nights

I don't know about you guys, having never slept with any of you, but I know that if there's nothing else I can do well it's fall asleep at night.

Ordinarily I lie down and within a few minutes I'm blissfully asleep. That wasn't always the case, though. When I was a little kid I used to have the most inordinate troubles sleeping--I'd see things in the patterns on the wallpaper or the curtains, I'd worry about 'how' to fall asleep, I was leery of the dark; you name it, I had it as a sleep trouble. As a result, my bedtimes as a little boy were always filled with sturm und drang, trials and tribulations. I don't know how my parents kept from strangling me.

Sometime in late grade school all that changed. Perhaps I was coming home more tired, perhaps I was less inclined to see things in the wallpaper patterns or maybe I was just learning to control my extravagant imagination. Either which way, I was sleeping better. As I got older I began to be interested in the eastern philosophies, discovered meditation, and soon found myself able to further enhance my ability to fall asleep by auto-hypnosis: by telling myself over and over that I always fell asleep promptly and without problems my body began to do just that. One of my small triumphs over my mind.

This is not to say that I don't sleep well constantly. No, such isn't the case. I'm still a dreamer, still have the occasional nightmare so vivid that it starts me straight up in bed at night. Earlier in the year I had the most vivid nightmare that there were poisonous snakes in the bed, and so REAL was the thought that there was genuine danger in the bed (never mind HOW snakes got into the bed, they were simply there!) that I sort of fell out of bed, whipped the covers and blanket off my sleeping spouse and started demanding that she get out of bed, that she was in grave danger of being bitten. It wasn't for a long, terror-filled minute or so that I finally gained my faculties and realised that it was just a dream.

Needless to say I slept alone the next few nights, and stopped eating that brand of cheese dip.

The other downside to my nightmare behaviour (other than trying to protect my bed partner from imaginary serpents) is that I'm very physically active when I dream vividly. I thrash, I sweat; I make noises, my hands clench, my legs jerk and I have even been known to clench and unclench my jaws and grind my teeth as though I were eating. When I dream I wake up physically exhausted, like I've been through a wringer or run a marathon. As an added bonus I seem to almost always carry the dream images around with me. Not always, fortunately, but mostly, and the mood seems to stay with me all day if not longer.

Last night was another memorable one for nightmares. We went out with family friends to a local grill and thence to see Will Smith's "I Am Legend." A decent bar-n-grill meal, an excellent movie, and a late arrival at home--I'm not a late night person anymore so needless to say I was tired out and hit the sack immediately.

I guess it was a combination of the horrific creatures from the movie and a generous dollop of french fries mixed with hamburger grease that set my mind to dreaming, vividly. I won't bore you with specifics, it was mostly the "being chased through quicksand by something very dangerous" type. No matter the subject, they were truly bad dreams. I rose from sleep to that almost-awake point several times during the night but never quite managed to wake up all the way. I do know that I was doing a fair amount of thrashing and moving: I'd come almost awake each time with the sheets wadded around me or Mrs. I would be elbowing me to make me move back to my side, and at one point I remember her waking enough to tell me to stop gnashing my teeth. It was BAD, ladies and gents.

This morning, bleary and loggy from lack of sleep and a very physical, restless night I surveyed the damage--the top blanket was on the floor on my side, the big comforter all shoved (kicked, I guess) down around the foot of the bed. The sheets on my side were clammy with sweat, one pillow was on the floor with the light blanket and the other one, my feather-filled 'main' pillow was damp with saliva and was actually torn open at one corner. The stuffing had come out during the night's exercise, making one hell of a mess; there were tiny feathers all over the bed and me, stuck tight with dried sweat. Proof positive (like I needed it) that I had suffered a horrific nightmare--I had somehow quite literally chewed a fist-sized hole in my nice feather pillow while enduring the nightmares.

Needless to say all day I've felt a little down in the mouth.

post scriptum: The trick to telling a really masterful lie interesting story is to pepper it with the truth. Therefore, a few elements of this (very) shaggy dog story are true: I'll leave it up to you, dear Reader, to figure out which are real and which are fluff (*snort*) from my overheated and yes, sleep-deprived brain.

Dec 12, 2007

Double You Tee Eff?

Have you ever used the "Next Blog" button on the top of your favourite Blogspot blog? The button that takes you randomly to some exciting new venue, some as-yet-unexplored vista of powerful writing, images to take your breath away, and undreamed realms of penis enlargement using only naturally occurring vitamins?

Yah, I made that mistake this evening. I make that mistake about once every four months or so, when I really need to be reminded what a massive traffic jam this new-fangled Information Superhighway actually can be the moment you decide to take an off-ramp into the City of Blog, population ever-expanding.

I've found it fairly safe going, following blog links off the blogs I usually read. This is sane and reasonable, and almost always guarantees me intelligent reading. I know, for instance, that if I happen to follow a link on Stucco's blogroll I'll find someone who writes with intelligence and humour, much like Hisself. There may be an unseemly amount of phlegm mentioned, or a whole post on underleg noises, but at least it'll be well written. I like to think that the same thing happens on my blogroll. The intelligence, not the underleg noises, tho there are a few grey areas out there. Follow any of those links and you'll find what I like to read--intelligence, humour, and talented writers.

But nooooo, I had to go and follow the "Next Blog" arrow with it's allure of something New! Unique! Interesting!

What I got was porn, politics, advertisements, more porn, some adverts for all-natural cleaning agents and an astounding number of foreign language blogs, some of which can be quite surreal when you see the photos and you begin to make up stories in your head to go with the photos, but that's just me.

Wow. A poo contest. Hold. Me. Back. Quality content free of charge.

Oh me. Is this world such a sad place that ninety five out of one hundred bloggers feel the need to sell something, and one of that hundred needs to show me photos of someone's poo? What happened to the bright shining promise of these internets? Where are the sites filled with wonders, sites that open one's eyes to the infinite possibilities of the human spirit? Is there actually a whole planet-full of computer-savy people out there who only want to show me something I don't really want to see in the first place?

And why would I possibly want to pay someone to show me how to put the business end of a shop vac on my manhood?

Dec 11, 2007

Is this thing On?

Has grown up.

Listen to Irrelephant on internet talk radio

Launching soon as I can figure out how to turn my mic on...

"I Believe You Have My Stapler..."

A box of Swingline #35108 Standard Chisel Point staples holds 5000 staples. In my employment here as an office drone (they call me "Two of Three" in the collective) I have used up two full boxes of staples in the performance of my duties. That means I've used a stapler (a black Stanley Bostitch full-strip if you're curious) over 10,000 times now.

Why does that thought sicken me?

Dec 8, 2007

Everybody Loves A Parade

Especially in Louisiana. In Louisiana a parade means floats, agricultural devices (antique tractors mainly,) a bunch of marching bands, a lot of dance teachers showing off their classes, and...well...I'll let the photos tell most of this story.

These were taken at the local Xmas parade last night. Now--a few things to keep in mind about parades in LA:

  • People are gonna throw things at you.

  • In Louisiana the spirit of Mardi Gras runs DEEP, so every parade float that passes will be throwing such diverse items as candy, beads, foam footballs, small stuffed toys and packs of Marlboros. On most floats will be small children throwing these items, and since their range is limited these items will be coming at you on a rather flat trajectory. If you're at the beginning of the parade route they'll be coming at you with all the might these little tykes can muster, which can be rather formidable.

  • It's going to be hot.

  • And by hot I don't mean there'll be scantily clad women, though there will be--these are trailer/scooter trash and will be looking for a good time or a husband or a cheap hit of meth and should be avoided. What I mean is that it will be in excess of 70 degrees no matter what month you're in.

  • There will be Shriners. LOTS of them.

  • I don't know what it is about this area but we produce more Shriners per capita than any other state in the union, which means there'll be large old men stuffed into odd costumes who are then themselves stuffed into very small, go-kart-like vehicles. They will be speeding around all over the parade route, so mind your toes, your children, and your vaulables: how else do you think all those Shriners can buy all those tiny go-kart Corvettes, choppers, diesel tractor rigs and pickup trucks.

Without further ado, the photos:

This little pair was too cute not to photograph. We were near the staging area for the local bands so we were treated to music the entire time, and the young playa there spent most of his night dancing his little heart out: moonwalking, pop and locking, the works, all accompanied by very drum and brass-heavy marching music. John Phillips Sousa would have been proud. Here he's working his game on an unsuspecting young lady.

If you're lucky you'll see some Cruisers: people who spend way too much time and money fixing up a crappy bicycle with reflectors, sound systems and ape-hanger handle bars. If you're really lucky you'll see boots like these.

And what Christmas parade would be complete without--a racing lawnmower.

Yes, you read right. A racing lawnmower. Here one of the proud NASCAR wannabes fiddles with his fuel petcock (I couldn't resist the rooster joke) while puffing on a Doral. I love how he was resplendently dressed in his Christmas finest. Last week's black t-shirt, meshback cap and a nearly new pair of Dickies. (Yeah, again with the rooster jokes.) I wish you could have smelled the funk coming off this entry in the parade--I wasn't sure if it was the drivers or the exhaust.

I wasn't sure WHAT to think about this poor unfortunate, so I took his photo. Someone already seems to have taken his fashion sense. Most of the band leaders in the parade wore sparkly tuxedos or were dressed in slightly more eye-catching versions of the band's uniforms, but this young fellow looks like he either wants to be one of Vader's Stormtroopers or Lawrence of Arabia when he grows up. Or maybe both.

Louisiana being "The Sportsman's Paradise" it's only expected that at least one float will be about forest products and killing the wildlife that live within said forest. It goes without saying then that a deer head wearing a festive red and white hat should be a major focal point on the side of your float.

And honestly, what parade in the Deep South would be complete without the "The South Will Rise Again" branch of the Prefessional Reenactors Of The War Of Northern Aggression. I'm almost glad the fellow furthest away from the camera can't be seen because he was dressed in a melange' of uniforms; a cross of WWI Doughboy, Confederate foot soldier (he had the grey hat right,) Mussolini Blackshirt Flagbearer and to top the ensemble off he wore a lovely loose pair of pre-owned Wrangler's Relaxed Fit jeans, purchased on sale at GoodWill earlier in the week and held up by a piece of hemp rope.

Merry Christmas, ya'll.

Dec 6, 2007

What Do You See In The Clouds?

The clouds are one of the mind's greatest toys.

The human mind as you well know, being an owner of one yourself, is a prime finder of patterns and shapes in things. Our brains are geared from our hunter ancestors to pattern recognition, so now when we gaze up at the clouds we can see sailing ships, an ocean, and maybe even some of those big-titted mermaids doing some of that lesbian ...wait, sorry, that was Jay in Mallrats.

We can also see clouds doing some really interesting things overall. A few days ago I took a few photos of aircraft contrails that were both eerily intact and very prolific. This morning at 7:30, cold and clear out, I hopped on Betty, idled to the end of the driveway and start driving to work. I made it about one block before I had to park and get the camera out.

(Everyone can see these photos in the Atmospherics set on my Flickr account in full size. This is a clickable link for anyone, whether you have a Yahoo/Flickr account or not, so help yourself. I'm going to upload two of them here in a more manageable size, but you can see the full size and all four as well as other sky photos of mine on Flickr.)

This one I took from my road.

Clouds With Red Barn

This one is taken from my office parking lot not five minutes later, and no more than four miles as the crow flies from the first shooting point. Same lighting conditions, same camera settings, same filters and same angle to within perhaps a single degree. The only differences are the horizontal/vertical of me holding the camera, a slight variation in the shape and dispersal of the cloudlings, and the buildings I included to give the sky some scale. I have not altered them digitally in any way except to resize these to make them more viewable.

Clouds With Silos

The rational part of me knows that those things are nothing more than water vapor that's too light to fall as rain, suspended in very cold air. The primal part of me can FEEL them racing across the sky. It's impossible to tell from the photos, since I don't have a lens with THAT wide an angle but the span ran from horizon to horizon and took up a good third of the sky. It was impossibly big, startlingly humbling.*

What interests me is that the two photos of the same thing seem, to me at least, to tell two VERY different stories, to have two very different feelings. And what I want you to do is tell me what YOU feel when you look at them. After everyone who wants to has had a chance to comment I'm going to come back and tell you what I feel when I look at them. And which one I'm thinking about having blown up to 24" x 36" and framed. *G*

* Post scriptum: The entire show, all those gorgeous clouds, that awe-inspiring shape and form it had was gone half an hour after I took the last photographs from my office parking lot. The sky was perfectly clear, not a single fragment left when I brought the mail out to get another glimpse of it. Damned but life is fleeting.

Dec 5, 2007

Partying With Your Rooster On The Loose

Some days it's just messed up at work. More so than usual.

One of my favourite pastimes is to gripe about how our medical supply company packs my orders. But you see, they DESERVE it. I think the warehouse must be next door to an appliance factory because for three days in a row I got my daily shipment packed in a microwave oven box. Scuba Steve our UPS guy asked me on the third day why we needed three identical microwaves.

Last September I got a smallish box wrapped all about with green plastic tape that had white xmas trees and snowmen all over it, and a carefully written note in Sharpie marker that said "Don't ask me, it's all we had." Merry Xmas, sorry it's late! Here's your suture removal kits and that 18Fr catheter insertion tray (with 2000ml leak proof urine drain bag) you ordered! Ho ho ho!

For a while there the shippers were playing around with the idea of taking two boxes that ALMOST fit, then shoving one over the other so it'd make a slightly larger, much shabbier and weaker box and then taping them together with about half a mile of industrial strength packing tape, all with the intent of giving an extra six cubic inches of storage. That was always fun because I had to use a chainsaw to rip through the mummy layers of packing tape just to get into the thing, and by that time the supplies would be expired so I'd have to order more.

On days it's not that or an appliance box then they've packed four small items in the biggest box they could find, like something slightly smaller than a side-by-side fridge box, then filled the airspace with a Sunday edition New York Times worth of blank newsprint paper. The past few days they must have changed their eco-friendly processes because the last week's worth of shipments I've gotten have been packed with clear plastic airbags in strings of three or four, like football-sized sausages. Mother Nature loves the one thing She can't make for Herself--plastic bags.

So with this in mind I opened a box the other day expecting the worst. Was it going to be the wrong shipment entirely? Had I, by accident, received a case of coude catheters destined for some nursing home in Guam? Or was there going to be enough pale cream newsprint paper in there to wrap all the fish in the Pike's Peak Fish Market? No. Something better. Something wondrous.

I was astounded. It was packed perfectly. There was NO airspace, no extra tape, not even anything crushed to make everything fit right. I think whoever packed that box must be a PRO at Tetris. Either that or so profoundly anal retentive that they have their house alphabetized.

Speaking of work, here's one more ringer for you. We get a lot of periodicals sent to us by various medical industry folks. We get Ostomy Monthly (with all sorts of grotesque centerfolds,) Ambulance Chasing For Fun And Profit Quarterly, and a whole hospital bed full of local magazines, all wanting to sell us advert space. And in the midst of all that, we get Caring magazine.

Now, I've perused a few issues while on the throne, in between games of Jewel Quest on my cellular phone, and it's not a bad read. It's all happy sappy tales of how people in the health care industry have made Big Bucks and how you can too, and it's always got a feel-good story or two about someone surviving a bear mauling or an unplanned meeting with a grain thresher, but the December issue caught me right from the front cover.

As you can see it's all about this uber-caring individual Dominic Avellani who is a volunteer teacher of some sort, and surrounding him are his, I assume, students; a mixed bag of folks. The guy in the blue t-shirt and grey pullover looks like he's learned to pose for a Sears catalog, the Russian matron at the front left looks like her babushka is too tight, and the guy just over Mr. Avellani's left shoulder is so posed I'm astounded he's real and not a store window mannequin.

What I want to draw your attention to, however, is the young feller in the white long-sleeve with the smug look on his face and the garish yellow and black meshback on his head.

He's pretty happy. He's getting his photo on the cover of a widely-read industry periodical. He's got a pretty good spot there behind his teacher, the man whom, we can only hope, is proud of his pupil and their accomplishments together as a team.

I wish I could have gotten a clearer shot of the magazine, but I can only do so much. What I CAN say, though, with certainty is that in person, the logo on the hat is readable if you look at it closely.

Rock Out
with your
Cock Out

Try as I might I couldn't find any more references to chicken farming in this issue.

Dec 2, 2007


The MeMe of Three: Having been tagged by VW


  • Things that scare me: people with road rage, making a fatal mistake with a power tool, finding out there IS a god and she's really pissed at me.
  • People who make me laugh: VW, Stephen Wright and that balding guy from the Sonic commercials.
  • Things I hate the most: Not understanding my motivations better, my being afraid of change, and not knowing how to do something accurately.
  • Things I don’t understand: How Lorenzo Lamas could slide that big fat Harley around so easily, WHY he'd want to, and why letting your pants hang around your arse is cool.
  • Things I am doing right now: Getting excited about supper (chili and cornbread!), dreading going back to work, and being aggravated that Sunday was rained out and therefore a massive waste (keep in mind I started this last week--supper tonight had no cornbread.)
  • Things I want to do before I die: Live forever, tour England extensively, and be happy with my life decisions.
  • Things I can do: Ride a motorcycle really well, tell a shaggy dog story so well you believe it right up to the punchline, and fix simple plumbing problems.
  • Ways to describe my personality: Sensitive, caring, and self-analytical to the point that it's almost a damned disease.
  • Things I can’t do: Carry a tune if it were nailed to my forehead, stay up very late past my bedtime, eat lots of fried food without paying for it.
  • Things I think you should listen to: Your heart, your bowels, and your significant other.
  • Things you should never listen to: That negative voice in your head, a professional accordion player, and a mime hitting his thumb with a hammer while building an invisible doghouse.
  • Things I’d like to learn: How to speak German like a native, how to fly a hot air balloon by myself, and how to take consistently good photographs.
  • Favorite foods: mozzarella cheese, bread pudding, and cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. Go bread!
  • Beverages I drink regularly: Hot tea, cold tea, and sort of lukewarm tea that's been on the counter but not so long as to have gone over.
  • TV shows I watched as a kid: That Sid And Marty Crofts show with H.R. Puffenstuff, Land of The Lost (try as I might I simply couldn't make myself get a crush on Holly,) and The Electric Company.

You wanna piece of this? Go with it, and tell me you went.

Dec 1, 2007

Missed It By That Much

Being a photographer of nature can be annoying.

There's always The Shot, the one you really want to capture. It's a rare opportunity, a really truly difficult thing to get just right. When the moment presents itself you'd better have your camera ready, because you're only going to get one chance at it. And there'll be a clothesline pole in the way most of the time.

There's only two shots of Borzoi that are really breathtaking--one is of them launching off, their back legs digging hard into the ground, their front ends well up, front legs reaching far out. That's the one up there, with the pole in the way.

The second is the obverse of the first photo. Borzoi have what's called a "double suspension" gallop, which is to say when they are running full tilt, at one point in the gallop all four feet are off the ground: the front two are facing backwards, the back two are reaching forward well past the front feet. That's the other cool shot. And if you do a search for Borzoi it's inevitable that you'll find them both.

This isn't quite it.

Neither is this.

You'll also find out when photographing the Borzoi hound that there's one really easy shot to get--that of them lounging:

Nothing can lounge quite like a Borzoi who is tired from crazily galloping around the back yard while carrying a stuffed chicken.

And then there's Penny, who is very photogenic and who for the most part hates cameras aimed at her and whose gallop is so short that it's impossible to see without a really good set of binoculars.