Tag: photography

Setting Moonshine on Fire

moonshine 1

I am in the middle of writing a post about the many uses of moonshine in an apocalyptic situation and so I took some pictures of a bottle of moonshine and realized immediately how lame a bottle of moonshine is as a photographic subject, as you can see for yourself above.

The only exciting part of this bottle is the dire warning about the flammability of this liquid.  So immediately I thought that what I really should do is light some of it on fire and take a picture of that.  Naturally the next thing I thought of was that Max needs to be in on the fun.  I only paused two seconds to consider that I might be setting a bad example.  The kid is scared enough of fire to not be at risk of becoming a pyromaniac (thanks to our house burning which he still remembers) but is still attracted to the excitement of flames, explosions, and scientific experiments.

So I asked him if he wanted to light some moonshine on fire for me so I can photograph it.  “Are you kidding me?!!” he said incredulously.  Because – duh – !  Max is ALL in!  I told him about my project and explained my goals.  We discussed safety issues (such as: don’t try this experiment inside – that was his advice to me) and then he contributed to my content by coming up with Molotov cocktails as a use for Moonshine during an apocalypse.

He commented that this is what he considers a real “Mother and son bonding activity”.

This, my friends, is how come even though I’m fat as hell and middle aged I’m still cool in my kid’s opinion.

Cool or stupid?

We’ll know the answer to that in about an hour.

Also – no matter how it turns out – no one can say of me that I don’t go all the way for my photography and my writing!

Photo Nerdery


It’s been a week since my sister left.  I miss her.  She’s up in the mountains having a little meditation and alone time which she both needs and deserves.  My mom is doing pretty well here at home.  I think Max is still thriving up in his eyrie but I should probably check on him today.  For the last four days I have been researching a company I want to work for that’s hiring.  This weekend I need to clean my house and prepare the spare bed for a visit from my friend Kathy.  I’m pretty excited to see her and she’s going to help me with a few things like some  bulk cooking for freezing.

This week I’ve finally been playing with my camera phone and phone apps.  I may be the ONLY camera nerd who hasn’t been playing with them for years already.  There are legitimate reasons for this and they are:

  • Until smart phones came along I had no use for cell phones.
  • When smart phones finally came along I couldn’t afford them.
  • I continued to not be able to afford them for years.  Plus I had a really great Canon p&s.*
  • Without a smartphone phone apps weren’t all that useful to me.
  • I have been jealous of Instagrammers for years now.  It’s literally the only thing that made me want a cell phone.
  • Then a friend gave us his old Android.
  • Then I discovered that I could have a cell phone on the deaf person’s plan so no one could call me on it and suddenly smartphones are actually attractive to ME.
  • But – Instagram isn’t for Androids.  Boooooooooo.
  • But wait!  Now they make it for Androids too!  But meanwhile I discovered the Vignette app.  Which is pretty awesome!  So I have both.  I love the major sharing ease of Instagram but I like the effects of Vignette better.  (Don’t throw your tomatoes at me!!)
  • Now I have reached a new level of photo nerdery.  The whole world is my eggplant!**  But now I want an actual iPhone because I think they take better pictures.  But maybe I just need an upgraded Android.  And since Max will need a cell phone soon he could have my old Android.
  • And the world just keeps spinning round and round.
  • Until the sun explodes.
  • The end.

*Which I still love best.  Phoneography is really cool but I still love my point and shoot pictures best.  I also like my DSLR but not as much as my S95.  And then, of course, when we aren’t so strapped for money I really want to get a G series point and shoot.

**I would have said “oyster” but, dudes, nasty!

Angry Predatory Owl in a Knitted Cozy

Copy of IMG_3998

Teddy bears, heart balloons, hookas, and sex.  It takes all kinds.  Hearts and flowers and porn stars – nothing like it!

In my disturbing dream there were many things but the last thing before I woke up was that I saw a predatory owl in a knitted cozy swoop down to a group of kids to steal their crusts and crumbs and it saw me and tried to keep me from photographing him.  I gave chase.  He flew low and scrambled towards another group and got distracted by more food to grab but I finally cornered him against a food truck where he suddenly turned into a young blond boy with a black eye, dirt covered face, and enormous breasts squished up in his knitted vest.


Other features of the dream:

I was just trying to get ready to catch a bus to go to work.  I was hungry but didn’t have time.  I decided to eat my lunch of scalloped potatoes (which I was hurriedly stuffing into a plastic container and making a mess of it) because it would be faster than making eggs.  I was digging for enough dollar bills for the bus and realized that my mom’s cow was eating all the cords in the apartment.  I started collecting the various items with cords and attempted to shove them out of the cow’s reach but she kept getting at them.  When my mom showed up I explained in great exasperation that her cow was getting into things again and could she PLEASE DEAL WITH IT?

I put some water on outside for some reason.  I think to water the lawn growing at the curb all the way down the street.  Within seconds the entire street was flooded several feet deep and everyone started talking about the flood.  I knew there was no way I could have caused a flood with the amount of water I had used.  Then there was a manhunt on for the culprit with posters tacked to poles with the number of my apartment on them and my apartment building super finally called me with the water company and started interrogating me and I said I’d heard that thousands of gallons of water were wasted and there was no way I could afford to pay for it.  I was practically in tears when they said they knew it wasn’t me.  That someone had used my key to the water to let out a flood.

There were some other things but they are already vaporized in my head and I can’t catch them and give them words.  They now belong to the part of my head where such forgotten bits of dreams collect like flotsom in a crevice of rock just out of reach of the mean surface of the sea.

I lost 8 month’s worth of photographs.  I did back everything up two months ago.  I had to have done something really weird to have only lost my photos between May 2012 and December 2012.  I was really bummed.  But then I let go.  I keep taking more pictures and everywhere I go there are interesting store windows and sidewalk scum and graffiti and views.  I absolutely love taking digital photographs.  I usually use my favorites for blog posts or put them on flickr so I never lose all of my pictures no matter how many times I have to learn not to trust my technology or myself.

Owl in a cozy.  That’s ultimately going to be the most interesting thing in my day.  The thing in my dream.

Also – I think we might be watching Shaun of the Dead this evening for family movie night.  I never thought I’d get the whole Zombie thing.  I totally get it.  It’s a favorite family past time to plot out how we’re going to survive a zombie apocalypse.  One of the best movies ever made is Zombieland and one of the best shows ever made is The Walking Dead.  I didn’t expect to like either and resisted watching both of them and only gave in to Max’s never-ending requests that I watch them with him.  Zombieland is his favorite movie.  Now it’s one of mine.  I hope Shaun of the Dead doesn’t disappoint.

One last thing – last night I watched the romantic comedy “The Decoy Bride” and it was fabulous!  It stars Kelly MacDonald who is quite possibly the most beautiful woman in the world and David Tennant.  If you haven’t seen it and like romantic comedies that aren’t completely stupid – give it a try.

I am so inconsistent with how I write titles.  Sometimes in quotations and sometimes not.  I need to look into that.

Happy Sunday to you all!

Lost Shots and Hammer Punch

(There are two things I never want to live without: coffee and cameras.  These are two things I’ve made my fictional characters live without.  They say you have to make your characters suffer.  I think I could almost get away with not having them get shot at and tortured after forcing them to drink only herb and root teas and depriving them of the pleasures of I-phones.)

I can’t believe how important cameras have become to me.  I say that and immediately remember hours spent lugging my barbie dolls around Lithia park to find great spots to set them up for photo shoots with my barely more than a paper box Vivitar camera.  I think I won the camera in a drawing or something.  It was cheap and crappy and I loved it.  Then I upgraded at some point to a slightly sturdier version (maybe a Pentax or something?) and took photo shoots of myself and my friends dressing up.  I still have, and get pleasure from, all these early photographic efforts.  Then in high school my dad gave me his Canon camera, the one he lugged with him to Thailand and India when he was 18 years old.  The kind you need a light meter to use well.  I never did use it very well.  I took a photography class with that one and did lots of dark room time.

(I just deleted a huge chunk of distressingly boring text all about the agonizing two days I’ve spent trying to decide which point and shoot to buy to replace my beloved SD850.  If you want all those details, please tell me, I’ll write up a separate post just for you and we can discuss it!)

Learning to use a new camera is like starting a new love affair.

I just bought the S95 camera and immediately spent 24 hours freaking out because I thought I might have made a terrible mistake.  (I haven’t).  I am amazed, even after years of informative personal experience that ought to have crushed such amazement, at the level of obsessiveness my mind can reach over the smallest things in life like the question of exactly what I need from my cameras, the perfect number of cameras to have (two), and how I can (without cessation) read the technical specs of almost every single camera on the market just to make sure I have the best option.

I’m all worn out from the mental efforts.  I didn’t even start my shift last night until 6pm.  All because I couldn’t think about anything else until I was sure I didn’t need to return the S95 (I don’t).  My child never got out of his clothes.  I think it’s safe to say that the writing was on the wall back when I dressed brunette Darci up in her negligee and posed her against the fancy dry concrete fountain with sad Ken and conducted a very serious photo shoot without caring about the baldly staring passersby.  I remember feeling brilliant when I moved the shoot to the little waterfall near the stairs that lead up to the Shakespearean theatre.  There were swans.  There was the verdant spread of cool green.  There was the pounding summer sun reaching into the shadows.  My bicycle must have been tossed to the side nearby.  Unless I walked with my plastic entourage through the streets of softened asphalt to do my shoot.

I took some great photographs yesterday and something malfunctioned in the transfer from the camera to the computer.  I erased them from the camera immediately, because although I’m a slob in my housekeeping, I’m tidy in my digital life.  I can’t get those pictures back.  I can try to recreate them.  Lost pictures are like lost words, it’s best to let them go and do something fresh and new.  You can never completely recreate that great poem you thought of while waiting in line at Winco witnessing the circus life there.  You can never go back and shouldn’t spend much time mourning.

My obsessive nature is almost as uncomfortable for me as it is for my family.  Yesterday was pissy.  My head wouldn’t let go of the digital bone it was shaking around and by the end I was ready to tear heads off of bodies, throw things through windows, and other dramatic expressions of a head too full and a life spinning away from my control.

Single parenting for a week exacerbates any extant rage or frustrations.  Once again, may I salute all you phenomenal single parents out there?  I am a spectacular parenting wimp.

What saved me from bursting into flames yesterday was taking another private Kung Fu forms lesson.  When I sell my novel and it’s made into a movie and the royalties start paying off I will spend my wild riches on private lessons every week.  I know three full forms now: Wushu basic stance, 8 chain punch, and The Hammer.  I just started learning Yet Yi which requires me to do a power yell.  Yell hell.  I’m not comfortable yelling out loud.  Once you start yelling like that, what’s to say I’ll ever be able to stop?*

I hope my knees don’t fall off my legs before I finish learning Yet Yi.

(I just deleted self deprecatory comment because it has no place in my forms journey.)

On my way to the Kung Fu school I was over-full of stress.  My head was in a severe mess.  Then for one hour I didn’t think about my life for a single second.  I didn’t think about what I can’t do, what I can’t be, what I don’t know, or what I’m afraid to know.  For one hour my Sifu said “do this” and I did what he told me to do.  I did a power yell.  I did the fancy-ass jump/slide thing that seems an improbable move for a fat 41 year old to do- I did it.  For one hour I tried to remember to breath.  For one hour I imagined how The Hammer form could be used in real combat.  Everything else slipped away.

That’s meditation.  I find it very hard to achieve that here at home.  Which is why if I can ever afford it that will be my big extravagance.  It’s worth it.  That’s the kind of meditation you can’t achieve with writing or photography or medication or therapy or cake.  I have some serious ground to cover to reach some personal goals I won’t let go of in spite of how impossible they are appearing at the moment.  I don’t truly believe in impossibilities.  I have some serious personal problems to overcome.  I’m getting at it in my own way, my own time.  So I keep asking myself to be patient and every day try again.  Try again.  And practice forms.  Dig holes in the garden.  Talk fierce walks.  Ride my bicycle.  No efforts we make for our own well being and the well being of others is ever wasted.

When I came home from the forms lesson I was much more relaxed.  Walked right into chaos and the need to clean the kitchen and cook some food and feed my kid and start my entire work shift and put the camera question to rest.  Life doesn’t change because you meditate.  Life doesn’t stop being challenging or getting in your face and up in your rage.

But let me tell you something, if you can do 8 chain punch for an hour, you can handle anything.


*Just saw a Simpson episode in which Homer starts yelling and can’t stop, so obviously this fear is completely rational.