Sunday, January 29, 2006

A learning experience

Woke up at 4 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep...I just laid around waiting for M's alarm to go off at 5:30 and then I got up and made us egg sandwiches. It's warm and windy and rainy outside. I have all the windows open (just a little, so the wind doesn't blow the rain in). Not bad for January.

Last night I thought I'd give some night shots a try with my new camera. I drove over to Winton Lake and set up my tripod. Here are a few:
I took this one while standing on a walking-path bridge that goes over the lake. I like the balance of orange and blue. I exposed the shot for three seconds at f/4.5, at 200 ISO. You can see the rest of the settings here if you're interested. I was taking a lot of shots and didn't bother to use the eyepiece cover. It isn't a big deal in this shot, but in later shots I can definitely tell, like this one:
See those vertical lines right in the middle that kind of go over where the path is? They're light haze from the reflections...I also learned that it's a good idea to take off the UV filter when shooting lights reflecting in water like this at night. If you look at the big version, you can see the kind of double-halos around the lights.

Here's one I ran through PhotoShop:
I've discovered that the best way to focus in low-light situations is to move the camera so that it focuses on something bright, like one of the lights, and either put on the AF lock or switch it to manual focus so that it doesn't try to refocus when you hit the shutter. I'm also remote-less at this point so I'm using the timer for all my shots. I'm reading a book about night and low-light photography and apparently I should be using the lens hood at night too--I assumed it was only for sunlit conditions, but according to this book it does wonders for all your shots, not just sunlit ones.

It's great to have this going on. This photography thing. I feel like I've found the right art medium, after all those fumbling attempts at writing and drawing and making music. This one is it. This is the one I love best. Every morning when I wake up, I think, what will I take pictures of today?

Which is neat.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Welcome to...Lincoln's left nostril!

You know those random days you have? Yeah.

I got nothing but lol from the utter weirdness of this Honda commercial. (Thanks Hu.) Worth checking out.

So, dogs, oy. Having four dogs in the house is not that much different than having three dogs in the house, except somehow the amount of FUR everywhere seems to have multiplied itself by a factor of eight. I don't know how this is possible. Ruby is not that fuzzy. But when M vacuumed on Saturday, he had to empty the dirt-holder twice because it was so full of fur that it couldn't suck anything else up. And it's not like we vacuum infrequently, either. I mean, we have DOGS EVERYWHERE. This necessitates lots of vacuuming.

I took Ruby to an adoptathon last Saturday, but nobody was interested. I'm taking her to another one this Saturday. It is going to be hard to give her up if someone wants her. She sleeps on the floor right next to my bed and before she'll lay down she whimpers for me to pet her. Oh how my little dog-lovin' heart goes pitter-pat when she needs me!

But it is not going to be hard to give up all this extra FUR

I emailed the chick who owns the coffeeshop where my photos have been on display for a couple months now to tell her I was thinking about coming to pick them up (so I can display them in my living room, where I can actually look at them and enjoy them), but she said some stuff is selling (freakin' finally!) and she'd like to keep my work up through the end of February. So, hey, that was kinda cool. I wish she would have told me a while ago that my stuff was selling though; I've been sitting here thinking nothing was.

I am also getting this gig where I'm doing photos for a local business calendar (an unpaid gig, sadly) that's going to be distributed to 30,000 households in Cincinnasty. 30,000 households is a lot of households! And the dude says he will put my contact info along with info about how to buy my photos on there.


I mean, you know, I guess there's the chance that will fall through and all, but wouldn't that be cool?

I've also started attempting to get my images listed in stock-photo sites. It's a time-consuming process. You have to go through each photo and clean it up as best you can, make it look like a million bucks, then upload it and hope it will get approved, then make sure you have good, relevant tags on it, then hope somebody *might* buy it. Seems like it's a lot of hoops to jump through for relatively low pay-out, but I've got to start somewhere. As mentioned a few posts ago, I've decided to quit beating around the effin' bush and try to do something with my photos. With the end-goal in mind of actually making a (meager) living with them.

I mean shit, who wants to work in advertising forever.

Oh, I booked a trip here for a couple weekends from now. Me, M, and my bro (not the one I am all irked at, the other one) will be drinkin' it up and skiin' it down. Hopefully I will not dislocate my shoulder this year like I did last year attempting to do some tricky fancy-schmancy backward shit. (It was cool too until I fell)

I am pretending to be full of joy in order to get through this annoying day. I have a feeling my luck is about to run out.

Monday, January 23, 2006


That ex of mine that I spent so much time bitching about over the summer when I was doing that book index for her called me today and asked me to be the executor of her will. I've never been the executor of somebody's will before. It makes me feel all grown-up and like I should be much more mature than I am. But I told her I would be honored. She has a very strange (bad) family situation and the person who was previously executor of her will won't even talk to her anymore, so she said she was updating it and needed someone she could trust and who knew her well and would know what she wanted, and that I was that person. It is strange to think that I've known her for about ten years now and that the relationship we have to one another has evolved through such strange, strange channels to lead to this. I mean, a will, you know, it's the essence of what you don't want to think about. But what you really must think about.

It also made me think about the plight of those less fortunate than I am in terms of family. I try my damndest not to take what I have for granted, but sometimes I forget. Today made me remember not to forget. Even though I am mad at my brother, I still love his guts and would lay down my life for him, and I know the reverse is true too. And I am so lucky to have that. So lucky that I'm getting a little teary writing this.

On the note of family, my mom and her three remaining brothers are meeting on Wednesday to talk about what to do about my grandmother, whose health continues to decline. I didn't realize that my mom was sick this weekend, even though I saw her twice, and I feel terrible about it. She looked okay both times I saw her but she mentioned in an email today that she'd spent five hours on Saturday dealing with my grandmother's issues (taking her to the chiropractor, making her lunch, pushing her around the grocery store in a wheelchair, getting her prescriptions, etc.) and that she thought that was what had made her feel run-down. My grandmother is less than five feet tall and weighs more than 250 pounds. She also doesn't have a lot in the way of content filters on what comes out her mouth. She also is not, God love her, the sharpest tool in the shed. My mother is a complete saint for doing all she does for her mother and I am continuously overwhelmed and awed by my mother's devotion to her mother and to doing right by her mother, even though her mother is a cranky ol' overweight biddy who doesn't always see the strain she puts on those around her and is very, very adept at the guilt game. I know that if my mother becomes old and decrepit and needs in-home care that I will take her into my home in an instant and care for her until the day she dies or needs help beyond what I can do for her, but the thing is, it's so incredibly easy to love my mother. She is so loving and thoughtful and compassionate and has such a good heart. The fact that she does the things I would do for her, for this crazy old lady who is her mother, is so moving to me. My mother makes me know that if there's a God up there, God is surely a woman.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Meme number one: List five idiosyncrasies of your character, from Deputy's Wife:

1) I have a serious aversion to certain single-digit numbers. Like, I won't get out of bed if they're on the clock, I won't breathe in while thinking of them, if I have to drive under a sign with that number of letters on it I feel all weird, etc. I'm not even going to say what the numbers are. It's just lame.

2) I actually enjoy eating health food and more or less eat nothing but. It all tastes good to me. It's a rare occasion that I'll eat junk. The last time I ate an entire candy bar was probably a good fifteen years ago. I also never drink soda.

3) I hate a dirty bathroom, but I'm pretty lazy about cleaning ours. Who wants to have a bath in the same tub the dogs are washed in? I usually just take showers. But I would *love* it if I got my act together enough to clean that sucker ceiling to floor about twice a week.

4) eh...lawd, this is tough. Um, let's see. Oh yes: Even when a solution to a problem is apparent to me, I sometimes stubbornly persist in doing things the way I am used to doing them. Then when I decide that I'll go ahead and change to the better way of doing things, I wonder why I was such an idiot as to hold out so long. Lol, I am so dumb.

5) I frequently think the universe is conspiring against me, when it's really that I just need to get a grip and deal with things as they are instead of as I expect them to be.

Aaaaaand, for meme number two, from Elemmaciltur: List five guilty pleasures. This one doesn't ask for one for each sense, but hey, I've got five senses, this asks for five...what the hay.

1) Listening: Such new-wave 80's hits as "Take on Me," "Tainted Love," "Always Something There," etc. Yes, I dance around like an idiot.

2) Looking: well, reading counts as looking, and I just love to read Young Adult fiction. It is SO LAME! But books aimed at teenagers just crack me up. Go ahead. Make fun. It's nothing I haven't heard before.

3) Smelling: My dogs' feet. Especially after they've been running around in the yard. That smell of earth and crushed grass and dog, all rolled into one, is a heady mix of yum to me. I know, smelling another mammal's feet, how weird. But don't knock it 'till you try it.

4) Tasting: hrm. Tough. See number 2 above. But, I would say, sour cream, probably. I put it on *everything.* I mean, I even put it on Chinese food. I dip my grilled cheese in it. It just makes everything taste more like what it is! It's so delicious! I can't stop myself!

5) Feeling: Well, this is going to sound mighty doopid, but I did just purchase a set of satin sheets to put on our bed in the summer (they were cheap). I mean, satin sheets! Lol!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A recent photo.

I am so proud of this one, y'all:

...even though I have no right to be, because I literally shot it from the hip while I was rushing to cross the street. No composition whatsoever. And it turned out *so freakin' cool.*

Lol, I guess I can only be cool when I am not trying.

Anyway--I have been tagged for two memes, which I intend to complete tomorrow. One asks me to list five eccentricities of my character (ha, like I have any of those!) and one asks me to list five guilty pleasures (also will be a struggle) (kidding). Should be more fun than fishing a porcupine out of a barrel of apples! Ha ha!

(That was exceptionally lame, especially considering I just finished reading this book and really ought to have better material.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bah, I guess I still love 'em.

Even though they are a bunch of stinkers.

The damage to the blinds was apparently done when the big bad scary DHL delivery-man was delivering my new iPod. I was pleased with Apple's quick service--I sent the busted one in and three days later I had one that looks brand-spankin' new and works a whole lot better than my old one did. Flippin' thweet.

All at the cost of two sets of blinds, though.

Darlings. Really.

I've been a reading fool lately. I've read six novels since January 1st, plus about half of three other books. I've also decided I'm tired of being afraid of failure, and I'm going to start more seriously pursuing my dream of being a real live photographer, who makes a living at it (as opposed to a fake dead one who doesn't make money, I guess...har har). This decision has been precipitated by some work stress and the realization that I am just not happy doing the 8:30-5 (plus unpredictable and unpaid overtime) grind. It's kind of hard, and I don't really want to talk about it much because I feel up in the air about a lot of things still. Changes are in the works, but on the off chance that I'll get Dooced, I'm not gonna blather about my job here. It's hard not to, though, when it takes up so much of me from time to time. And not just while I'm there, physically at my desk. It takes me up at home, too.

Oh, before I forget. M sent me a link to this site, and I just about peed myself laughing. I don't imagine it will strike everyone's funny bone with as sharp a roundhouse kick as it struck mine, but god DANG did I laugh like an epileptic platypus when I read it.

Today I participated in a survey for the animal-rescue group I do stuff for. (Ruby is still with us, btw, and the vet gave her a clean bill of health, woo hoo!--and here is Steve giving her the what-for.) Basically, we contract ourselves out to do surveys at places and in exchange for our valuable input, they give us money for vet bills for the animals in our care. So to earn $40 for this group, I went and sniffed smells for a food-flavorings company and rated the smells as to how much I liked them.

I don't know if any of you have ever done this, but I recommend against it.

We were originally told we'd be sniffing chicken flavorings, which I was a little iffy about (being a vegetarian) but since it was for a good cause (vet bills for death-row dogs) I decided to do it. Then we were told it would be fruit flavorings, instead.

But when I got there, the smells I sniffed were more along the lines of, let's say,
  • old leaky batteries left on the dash of a car parked in an Arizona parking lot for three days in August with the windows left up
  • burning mold
  • that effervescent farty smell that leaks up from the drain in my grandma's basement floor
  • the smell in a room after someone tries to clean vomit off a tile floor with Clorox get the idea. Everything I've eaten today has had a patina of these smells about it. The smells got into my coat. I think they stuck in my craw. If I have one.

So, the moral of the story is,


like, chemicals stink, and you should eat natural foods that don't have godawful "flavor smells" added to them.

It's cold.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Four formerly loved doggies are now VERY HIGH on my poopie list. >=(

On the big, custom-made expensive blinds, too!


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Oh the photos

I was a picture-takin' fool this morning. More later, but here's one I particularly like:
There are days when I am tempted to say the heck with content and to focus entirely on the art of photography on this blog. This is one of those days. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Oh yeah.

I meant to post some photos of Ruby, the dog we're fostering, but it's hard to get pictures of her because she is so terribly, painfully shy, and will only come near me sometimes and M not at all. But I managed to get two decent ones this evening:
She was trying to play with me in her "I'm terrified but will you please lavish me with love because I'm starved for it" way, where she comes up to me and puts her paw out to touch me and then runs away again. She occasionally lets me touch her and pet her, and when she does, she surrenders herself completely to me, writhing around in my arms as if she's trying to get under my skin to be closer to me. Other times, she won't come near me.

S'nuff to break yer heart now 'n then.

Here is another that nicely displays her whiskers:

Lost a lot of detail on the nose there because I had a wide aperture, but the whiskers came through pretty well.

I grew frustrated today with the extra-long hours I've been working this week. It was sunny and 58 degrees out today, a rare treat in Cincinnati in January for sure. I had to return my iPod to Apple via DHL (yeah, it officially bit it), and took an escape from the office around 2 this afternoon and ran all the way over to the Convergys building where the nearest DHL drop box is. Happily, I made the discovery that the Convergys building has a gorgeous lobby with some fountains and lots of plants in it, including orchids (bliss!), which I intend to photograph next week on a lunchbreak, if I get one. The sun and the running felt so downtrodden soul perked up a bit to be outdoors. But then it was back to the gulag. Nerves are wearing thin at my place of employment this week, in more departments than just the one I work in. I kvetch about not getting home from work until 8 pm every day, but there are still people there working when I leave. I feel bad for them. Too bad we don't get paid overtime.

When the sun was setting and I was still being a busy worker bee, I took a few quick photos out my office window. Here's one:
This building faces south, and the sun was setting in the west, so there are some very interesting shadows on it. The colors are so emblematic of the transition between night and day--warm tones where the sun falls on the facade, and cooler shadows. It is not the best-composed photo in existence, but hey, I balanced it on my cubicle wall and shot it through a window in between proofing paragraphs. My brain is pretty wobbly just at the moment. It's a wonder the photo came out at all.

Only one more day to go, and I actually get to leave work early tomorrow--have an appointment with the pulmonary specialist to read the latest CT scans, and see if he can provide me some assistance in getting rid of this ridiculous cough I've developed (to the probable annoyance of my coworkers, poor them). Feels like mild bronchitis or the beginning of walking pneumonia. We'll see. I'm overdue for either of those.

It does make me slightly more able to identify with Ruby, though--when she was found and rescued, she was laying in a ditch with her three-day-old puppies, some of whom were dead, all of whom were starving because Ruby herself was so starved that she had no milk to give them. She had pneumonia and was on an IV for three days. The other night, she woke me coughing at about five a.m., so it's back to the vet with her on Saturday.

Poor lil' soul. Hard to believe an animal can be put through that much suffering in her short life and still function.


Someday, I will look back on this insane week and laugh. Maybe I'll even write a post about it. If I can stand to relive the ridiculousness enough to write it down.

That day is not today, however.

Past time for bed.


I promise I have not abandoned blogging. I am just having the doopidest week multiplied by the power of a thousand fiery suns, plus two.

I hope you all are having good weeks. Or at least weeks that are marginally less doopid than the one I am having.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Why o why o why

does all the annoying shite have to happen ALL AT ONCE? WHY?

Monday, January 09, 2006


You know how sometimes, you just have that stupid day, where nothing is going right?

This morning I got up early to catch the early bus so I could get to work on time for the meeting. I pulled up at the bus stop five minutes before the bus was due to arrive and watched it drive right past without stopping. Stood in the cold waiting for the next bus (35 minutes later). I was late for the meeting.

When I got to work I discovered that my iPod has bitten the big one. Frozen on the apple screen. Efforts to resuscitate it (soft reset, hard reset, etc.) have proven futile.

I forgot to charge my camera battery, and I'm going to a photography class tonight I'll probably need it for. Also, the autofocus on the 55-200mm lens crapped out sporadically on me yesterday, so I am a bit worried about that.

M, who is off work today, emailed and said that the dog we got this weekend for fostering is totally fear-aggressive toward him and won't get near him and is growling at him. Steve has been trying to beat the shit out of the poor thing since I brought her home yesterday. This is not working out.

Work is annoying me.

/off rant. I found this. Wish I had created it:
When I opened my email I found some funny pictures my mother had sent me. This one demonstrates how I feel today.

Oh, my unbearable first-world pain! Oh, my iPod! My camera! My cushy, heated-mattress-pad lifestyle! My comfortable couch! My angst!

Lol, somebody smack me.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Lol, I am so endlessly amused by birds in flight.
That one right in the middle is like, you ain't landin' on this branch, biznatch!


Okay, enough procrastinating, I must go clean my messy house. Just had to share. :)

Friday, January 06, 2006

Yet another new look

Just for the hell of it.

There sure is a lot of Who-Dey going on in this town right now. Today at lunch I saw three women walking together wearing orange-and-black feather boas. Lawd.

Cara is coming by again; she'll be here tomorrow and Sunday, when I'll drive her to the airport. Sunday, we're getting a new foster dog, a female mix named Ruby. I'm not sure how big she is but she looks pretty sizeable from the photos I've seen. And I hear she has a lot of energy. Yikes.

I was so freakin' tired yesterday. Don't know why. I fell asleep right after dinner. When I woke up at 8ish, M and I watched that episode of South Park that they say will never be aired because some people found it too offensive. I was disappointed. I keep forgetting how easily the religious right is offended these days. It seemed pretty tame to me, for South Park anyway. Then I took a whole bunch of pictures, experimenting with my lenses and filters and light and other shenanigans. I'll post the pics to Flickr soon...I think...if I can stay awake long enough to.

5:00, come on...

Boy, this is like, that lame post that you have

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

*slip* BAM! Fell in love.

A friend at work asked me to take a photo of a certain highway sign for the blog she's setting up, so at lunch we drove around Northern Kentucky looking for a good place to take the photo, which turned out to be the passenger seat of her car as we drove under the overpass the sign she wanted the photo of was stuck to.

I'm half-drunk; please excuse my terrible sentence construction. I am also suffering from the sinus headache that 94.7% of Cincinnati is suffering right now due to the fact that it was 55 degrees and sunny today and tomorrow it is going to be cold and snowy.

Anyway when we got back from this little photo shoot, there behind the parking lot, under the railroad that runs along the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge, where all the busted glass and trash and bent beer cans from Bengals tailgating parties winds up, there is this thing.

This thing here. It is about twenty feet long and it is about five feet tall and it is covered in this mosaic. Of these fish. See these fish? Those little mosaic tiles and pieces of glass, some of those things are the size of my thumbnail. And this thing is twenty feet long.

See, and on top of this thing, this twenty foot by five foot by five foot piece of art, are these birds.
Like this here. I don't know what they're made of, but they're covered in mosaic pieces--of rock and seashell.

This is Cincinnati. The nearest beach is like a twelve-hour drive from here.

And this thing, this piece of glorious art, is in the dregs of downtown. The edge of downtown. Beyond this sculpture there are warehouses and wastelands. Above this sculpture is train tracks. Next to it is a big-ass parking lot for a football stadium.
There, you can see the train pilings behind it. Look at that eye! Isn't that the most amazing thing? There is this concrete seabird, with a seashell for an eye, sitting on top of a twenty-foot mosaic, in downtown Cincinnati.
Look at the detail on the underside of that wing!

What is possibly the strangest thing about this sculpture is that it sprang up seemingly overnight. One day it was not there, and then today, it was there.

The second strangest thing about this art is that it has no identifying information on it. I don't know where it came from. I don't know who did it. I don't know why they did it.

It is just here.

And the third strangest thing about this sculpture is its location. If you're going to make something like this, with such attention to detail and care and emotion in it, why in the holy hell put it at the ass-end of nowhere! Why! It's beautiful! It deserves to be seen!

Which is why it's on my blog, thingie, now.

I hope it doesn't go away as mysteriously as it has sprung up.

Monday, January 02, 2006

An unbearable explosion of cuteness

Maybe it's just because I'm the puppy parent, but when the dogs are actually calm and quiet and even *gasp* snuggling on the couch I go all wooshie wooshie woo and take a godzillion pictures...

And the icing on the already sugary-sweet cake: