29.12.07

greetings from the void...

Hello.

It snowed again yesterday. Nothing really significant - maybe four inches int he worst places. But the rate of snowfall was enough to make the roads tough to drive on for those of us with shitty little pickup trucks. I was sliding all over the place until I got back into my driveway and loaded that 200 or so lbs of chopped wood into the back of the truck. Strapped together, this load will serve as enough ballast to give me at least minimal traction until warmer weather rolls around.

When not running a quarter ton of crap to the landfill or doing dishes (to be honest, I love doing house-husband type work on my days off) I was lucky enough to get some lunch with my friend Cindy yesterday.

It was nice to see her after so many months - being an old married guy now I spend most the time in the house or at work. She lent me an ear which allowed me to get something off my chest that had been irking me for a bit. And that's why I have effectively stopped doing photography.

Screw it - time to get ready for work.

22.12.07

further demonstrations of my marketing panache...

I am an unrecognized advertising genius. The deep well of my marketing ability will someday be tapped by one lucky agency or another. Here are my latest examples of reframing the marketing landscape*.



Wake and Bake Barbie, featuring 80% more dialation.



Hidden Camel-Toe Barbie. Comes with her own carefully placed floral camoflage.


Brazilian Bikini Wax Barbie, with no further explanation necessary.

The Kaplan Thaler Group need only click here to email me their opening offer. Manhattan's Gain will be Kenosha's loss.


*Please pardon the shitty pictures, but you can only expect so much out of a camera phone. It seems when you go to a chain store and start taking pictures of the shelves security is inevitably called. Then they commandeer your camera and send you home sans $300 in electronica and that gets a tad too expensive after a while - or at least that's been my experience.

15.12.07

the miracles of photoshop...

Have been posting way too many movies recently, but that's because I haven't had a damned thing to say.

While this short is a plug for a corporate event, I think it is a nice corporate event. And besides, it's a message I can get behind. Enjoy!

14.12.07

one from the hard...

err, make that "heart."

morning time waster...

Well, have been having some YouTube fun (as the last post demonstrates) and have finally set up my new phone for video linkup with YT. Am busy uploading different small videos, seeing if/how they work and taking them down as fast. Might have to get my wifey a bigger memory card for her phone and one for mine so we can both do this.

Merry Fuckin' Christmas...



and Happy Goddammed New Year from the corporation...

10.12.07

7.12.07

time to take a dump...

I had plans to get some things done today or yesterday, two of my days off. Luckily, however, shit of both other people's making and my own helped assure only one minor thing was ticked off my list.

I'm depressed. Not suicidally so, but I have come to a point that low-level mental health workers might recognize as having "flat affect." I sort of want to feel things about the whole load of not getting anything done but can't quite marshal the emotion to actually give a fucking damn about things.

The last two days have been marked by intense fighting, not with my coworkers, bosses, friends or even my wife. Rather I have been fighting with my wife's 9 year old boy about his homework. He has come up with what amount to elaborate schemes to not have to address getting it done. I keep pointing out to him that a) he always gets caught and b) he always has to do it anyway. But neither of these things seem to impress him.

For example, yesterday we had planned for him to get his homework done at the school's homework club (the equivalent of "study hall" in high school). If, we had told him, his homework was all done by the time he was picked up we'd be going straight to the hill and spending about an hour and a half sledding till he had to come with me to a meeting.

His scheme for getting out of this was as intricate as it was futile. He opted to not write his homework assignments in his assignment notebook (if we don't see it after all, we can't know it exists). Problem was he wrote one obscure line about page 108 in there and that note let us know something was due even though we had no clue as to what it was or when it was due.

He lies to us almost every time we talk to him about homework. Hence, when he told us that there was nothing due till Monday we automatically did not believe him. To complete the evening's stupidity we went to a neighbor girl's home and discovered there was math due in the morning. He had mentioned the math assignment but said he had completed it at homework club. He said he'd left it at school because it was finished and did not need to be checked.

(An aside - was I wrong to not trust him? You might say yes, but I believe my belief was well-founded based on his track record. And today my wife received an email via the boy's teacher from the teacher at homework club. She was contacting the teacher to see if there were any incompletes from him. Seems he spends the period talking to other children and drawing and not doing any homework. She believes that he is blowing it all off at school and spending time at home doing it. I applaud her for seeing that. But back to the evening of woe.)

I hand copied his math assignment and made him do it over the course of the evening. Of course he had no clue how to do it (that he has done some of the very same types of assignments before lets me know he is either confused or lying) and wailed that I was most unreasonable.

There was fighting, crying and general nonsense for quite a long while during this it seemed.

The evening ended really well though the middle section was very rough. He came with me to my meeting (though these shenanigans made me 20 minutes late in getting there). And while he wailed and refused at the beginning of the assignment he did do it completely and successfully with minimal help from me (another of his schemes involves him trying to get either his mother or me to give him the answers. I try and counter this by constructing another problem in identical form on a worksheet and walking him through it).

The worst part about this is that I am not a good instructor, especially when my student is constantly trying it play me. So he gets frustrated, I get angry and his mother and I fight.

All this would be so much fucking easier if he would just honestly attempt to do his work. I could accept that.

28.11.07

blarg, I say...

blarg.

Have been feeling low key (Loki?) and way down lately. Ever since that wedding I photographed went wrong I have wanted to do little more than just say "fuck it." And that is what I have been doing.

Still have two photo assignments that have been sitting in the bucket for the last three months or so and I have absolutely no desire to finish them off. One, a head shot, I will be kicking back to the opera singer who wanted it done along with her refund. I simply do not want to do it. And as for the KSO pictures... well I have been looking at them and doing initial resizings but that is about all. Shit, I don't even want to touch them.

Photography is just very draining right now. I don't really want to do it - at least not for anyone else. When the only person you want to please is you, you are in for a rough time. But when you have to please yourself and someone else then you are really tee-totally screwed.

Have been thinking about what I want to do with pictures, and it isn't much. The only thought I have now is to clear everything off my plate and then just take the occasional black and white photo. Right now the most attractive model for this is the local coal burning power plant. I want to photo it on a cloudy day, a billowy cloudy day. A black and white of that would just exhale bleakness and that is just fine with me right now.

20.11.07

I live for moments like this...



If there is one thing I love it's watching examples of the upstanding being like the lowlifes they condemn.

And here they are, all collected in one place for easy viewing!

Visit these guys for more.

Well, ain' that a bitch part II...

Hmmmm... my plan for some quality dentist time has hit a snag. Seems my dentist is out of her office till at least Monday.

I guess I can understand why a person who makes good money as a dentist would take a whole week off for a national holiday. This does leave me a little confused though. She's from India. While I am glad she celebrates the thankfulness theme I wish she could do it the All-American way with a four day weekend instead of taking an imperialist 9 day weekend.

Tis time to check the PPO and see if there is another dentist who can handle this.

Dental-Hell

Well, this is certainly unpleasant... Which is why I share it with you :)

Guess it's off to the dentist after work for some emergency work.

11.11.07

this wasn't my day...

but it sure as fuck could have been...

Shannon's Funeral...

Linda and I went to Shannon's funeral yesterday. Perhaps what surprised me most was the lack of people from "the old days" that were there. Of the entire My Place crowd (the coffee house when meeting Shannon as a customer about 10 years ago) only three were in attendance - Mandy, Sharon and Jonathon. We had some disagreement over whether Joey had come. I thought I saw him on left side of the room but the others said he couldn't have been there. Oh, wait, Sarah had come also, but sat in another row.

The others were curious about what happened to him - some of us had speculations, but no one actually knew. Being the crass one it was up to me to ask the question of someone who knew. So I approached the two non-family members who had taken the podium and asked them what had happened.

Seems that Shannon had been in real pain over the last several months (at least). To help control it doctors had implanted a device to release morphine into his system. Later, Shannon started experiencing chest tightness. After a few weeks to a month of this he went to see his doctor. Turns out he had pneumonia. From what was said, I get the idea that somehow the pneumonia and the morphine device were related.

Doctors elected to open him up again and put in some second device/replace the original device. It was while on the operating table for this second operation that he died due to cardiac arrest.

The two non0family members who spoke at his funeral were friends of his from the Root River Poets, a group he has joined in the last year. For along time while I knew him he carried a notebook and was always writing something in it. That something turned to poetry, or maybe always was. I'm just glad that he found a way to get his thoughts from page to people.

There was a poem he wrote on the memorial that was available at the funeral. It's not down here with me to quote from, but damn it was good. If time permits later it'll find its way onto the page here.

Time for work - gotta go.

7.11.07

R.I.P.

Shannon Sondergaard, age 34. Funeral this Saturday in Racine, Nov. 6, St. Mary's Medical Center, Maresh-Meredith and Acklam Funeral Home, Racine. The time I believe is 2 pm. but you'll need to check that yourselves. See you there.

4.11.07

Mukasey Is (Much) Worse Than Gonzales

Caught this link from an op-ed piece in The Nation today. The title of the article is the title of this entry. Here's a sample bit -
Consider the nominee's suggestion that the president can ignore any law, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, if he and his lawyers determine that the law impinges on his authority as commander in chief during wartime.

Groovy... we didn't need that Constitution/Bill of Rights/Rule of Law anyhow. Way to parse things down!

3.11.07

I do not plan on voting for Hillary

Looking back on the prosperity of the nineties it seems to me much of it was uncovered in the beginning of the Bush era as merely shoddy accounting by the Enrons and World Coms. How much real growth there was seems suspect to me. Plus there was that whole Clinton promise one thing/deliver something much different thing that drove me to the Greens in '96 and '00.

I like Edwards for at least two reasons - first he seems to actually be concerned with the plight of the working class.

The second reason I like him is due to negative campaign ads like this -


2.11.07

DIY/DIFY (do it yourself/do it for yourself)

It has been a most trying month and a half, but it is almost over. At least the work part. As for the other stuff, well so it goes and goes and goes...

This last wedding I photographed is the first one of the seven or so I've done where things just all fell apart. The shortest version of why may also be the most forgiving version for everyone's collective part. suffice it to say that I bride and I weren't compatible.

Ultimately though it was a combination of hubris and loosing touch with my inner asshole that did me in. I felt I could do everything at once, and even worse, I felt i could do it on their terms. I should have stuck to my normal wedding photography routine and simply refused to do the wedding the first two times they asked. On the third my normal response is to say "OK, but we do it my way." That is perhaps the one and only way to get paid for what I do best, which is being myself.

As it sets, I have to edit about 6 more pictures, put them on disk and ship them out with the prints I have already had printed up. From there the bride will be sending a letter letting me know how much of a refund she thinks she is due. Then we see what happens from there.

My mentor has told me to give her a token refund and let her swallow the rest (those are my words not his, and I may be misunderstanding), but this is a friend's new sister-in-law so that will not do.

At this point it is appropriate to ask what I have learned from this fiasco. Well, for one thing I have learned to tell people "No" when they offer money (a lessons my parents tried to teach me concerning strangers and candy) no matter how much ego may be involved. The bitterness in my heart at this point begs that I add it is also appropriate to spit on and laugh at them at the same time.

From here I have to finish the symphony pictures, the hafla pictures and cancel out on the nude art show. Me thinks that the anarchist's artist lifestyle may just be for me.

30.10.07

Workers of the world unite...

to settle in and enjoy this most truthful video.

Tootles.

25.10.07

The answer is apples...

My ass hurts. Big time hurts. Having a hemorrhoid and sitting on a buckleburr hurts. And the reason is people - the keep complicating my photography.

The wedding I did recently is the first one I've received complaints on. The first of the 7 or so. I won't repeat the complaints here, but must plead guilty. Everything the bride is unhappy with I am guilty of - I did not comply with instructions. I got too wrapped up in running around taking pictures and did not consult the shot list to make sure all the required shots were done.

So I will be spending another couple of weeks sorting through this and helping her get the best we can out of what was taken. On top of it she will be receiving a hefty refund. And while it hurts (my pride and the extra work, not the refund) it is only fair and I do want her to be as happy as possible.

On top of this I am looking at a series of nudes that have to be shown next month, and only one series of pictures have been shot for the show. And it doesn't look like anymore will be shot soon. I'm not having any luck at all lining up models. People make appointments then space out, I make appointments and then space out. I quit.

This simply isn't working.

Hence, I will be contacting my fellow artist later today to let him know I am out. I simply can't be ready in time.

Anyhow, here's my answer to the photo problems - apples. I will now shoot nothing but pictures of apples. They're affordable, available and most of all are less complicated than people.

Working with people sucks. Working with apples is nutritious.

I will only work with apples.

11.10.07

Yet another imbedded video...

Found this by accident while checking you tube and editing wedding photos. It's no "Death Star" by Arab League, but it is worth a listen.

Enjoy -

5.10.07

My co-workers don't know what's worse...

The fact that I actually tell my customers "The concept that the customer is always right is a lie told to consumers to make them weak, stupid, compliant buyers who shell out cash for any piece of worthless crap imported from China" or the fact that I actually believe it.

It could be that I've watched Fight Club too often, but actually I suspect I have something here...

That's "Mr. Customer Service," Asshole...

This past week was horrible - everyone who came through the diner was an asshole. Rude, self-centered, unreasonable... we had'em all. but at least there was one bright moment worth remembering.

We have this semi-regular customer that we have a bit of a hard time with. She's this crazy old lady (80 y.o. +/-) who can be very nice, but a lot of the time is just so damned impatient when she orta know better. This past Tues. she showed up half an hour before close. We'd had an awful time with the customer base and anticipated she would be the cherry on top of the shit sundae that Karma was serving us.

Oddly though she was quiet, polite and patient.

As she was hobbling out the front door after everyone else had left she started talking to me about our customer base. "Do you get any Geeks in here?" she asked.

"Yeah, some," I replied, "but their nice and usually tip well."

"Do you get any students?"

"Here and there."

With that she stopped to maneuver her walker out the door. Over her shoulder she smiled and asked "Do you get any crazy old ladies?"

I looked up from my sanitizing and smiled - "Just one that I know of."

She tossed out her last two words as the door closed behind her - "You dick."

4.10.07

Crap...

Haven't has much to say lately so what'cher gettin is a load of viddies and drawings from across the web. Enjoy.

Shades of Ian Fleming...

Shades of "The General's Daughter." Enjoy this clip -

Initially the Pentagon reported that part of a finance unit deployed to Afghanistan in November 2006, had been killed in action, but then revised its statement to read she had died of injuries "suffered from a non-combat related incident" at Bagram Airfield. The statement had no specifics and said the circumstances are under investigation.

[skips a few paragraphs]

Canavan told the Quincy, Mass. Patriot Ledger on Wednesday that when her sister was home three weeks ago, she told her about something she had come across that raised some concern with her: "She was in the finance unit and she said, 'I discovered some things I don’t like and I made some enemies because of it.'"

Canavan revealed that Durkin said if anything happened to her, to make sure it was investigated.

"At the time we thought it was said more as a joke," Canavan told the paper.


This will prove interesting in the end as we discover that someone somewhere in the military was laundering anti-terrorism money and sending to a Swiss account.

My condolences to the soldier's family.

2.10.07

This was described as...

annoying, but cute... or some such thing.

Looking at this from the other side (finally) at age 50 I tend to agree with the sentiments of the mother who sang it. Enjoy -


1.10.07

Oh shit!


I forgot to show you this one!

I trust you've seen this one on the web today...

If not, here you go/if so enjoy again!


28.9.07

Closeted Gay Republicans...

First Brokeback Mountain, now Brokeback Hilltop.

I hate friggin' sequels.

Indy Documetary....

I am a nerd... but not the type that makes money (that would be a geek). No, I am the type of nerd who likes documentaries. And here's a clip from one that I am looking forward to checking out once it hits DVD.




Here's a link or two about "The Shock Doctrine."

Enjoy... or something

And how bout a fresh hot cup of fuck you with that???

After making the last post I opted to go looking for other examples of Blackwater employee relations. What I found was the following, an ABC evening news interview and video from a Blackwater truck driver who filmed an ambush of his convoy, the ambush widely reported on the news a few years back -



For me three things stick out in the video -
that the Virginia National Guard Unit abandoned the trucks when they were hit;
that the surviving truck driver was fired by the Blackwater subsidiary for having been injured in Iraq;
that real violence seems so *yawn* after all the video games and Bruce Willis movies I've gone through.

My guess is it's not so yawn when you are in the middle of it.

You know what pisses me off...

shit like the following -

The report comes as Blackwater -- the State Department's prime security force -- faces new scrutiny for its role this month in the killing of at least 11 Iraqis. Citing e-mails, fresh interviews and previously undisclosed incident reports, the report by the majority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform provides details about how cost considerations appeared to shape Blackwater's decisions that led to the brutal deaths of its employees at the hands of insurgents on March 31, 2004.


It took this long for these morons to figure this shit out? I saw this crap in one of those lefty movies in a university hall six months back. I guess cutting back on costs by sending your employees into a war zone equipped with "soft skin cars" instead of the needed armor isn't news when someone dies but only when the congress decides to get around to calling it atrocious.

Well, on the bright side, at least the brass at Blackwater saved enough money so their worthless kids (the ones who have never gone to Iraq) could get some jet skis and a holiday weekend to use them on.

And isn't that what really matters?

27.9.07

I love cruising other people's blogs...

You can rip off neat stuff like this -




A tip of the hat to Jesus' General, a manly man and blog well worth noting.

Haven't thought about this one in a while...

And I am willing to bet you haven't either.



Enjoy. Or not.

21.9.07

And about that Jena 6 March...

This morning I settled into my first cup of coffee when my wife started telling about our local AM radio dj's take on the Jena 6. Cranky as usual, I started ranting about her take on it, accusing her of being not just misinformed, but mal-informed.

So in the interest of maintaining my righteous superiority or information I went in search of a Jena 6 timeline. What I found was rather interesting - at least to a wonk like me.

Enjoy this Jena Six timeline as published by Jena's local paper.

While a long read if you would really like to know how everything came down read it. It's amusing to see how the left and the right wing media cherry-picked what they would tell - not that the locals didn't give them lots of lunacy to work with.

Ultimately, the timeline did change my thoughts about this media debacle.

18.9.07

The DC protest pictures are up...


Just a note to let any interested parties know that the DC protest pictures have been posted. You can get to them by simply clicking here.

There are 35 photos there and I made sure to load them in a low-resolution format so no one would have problems seeing them on their computer. If you have any further questions about the pictures, the rally or would simply like to express your opinions concerning the situation please feel free to drop a comment.


As always, while visiting this site I'd appreciate if you'd click on one of the ads along the sidebar. The crazy folks at Google actually do pay per click and each click helps me keep the lights on.


Thanks and enjoy!

About those DC protest pictures...

Well, the ride to DC went the way that so many little adventures do - you spend 28 hours developing leather-butt on a bus just for the privilege of 5 hours of taking photos.

The protest was smaller than I'd anticipated, but it was still a good time with some decent photos coming out of it. I had them posted, but due to some technical difficulties had to yank the pictures just a few minutes ago. Pity, really. I'd received five or six good comments on them, which is remarkable considering I sent out no notice of the photos and all comments were from people who did not know me.

Anyhow, the photos will be back up on line tonight and I will send out a general note to everyone on my mailing list to let them know.

I love when things work...

11.9.07

See you in DC

For the first time in five years I'll be going to DC for a protest. That's the march on the 15th that the new sidebar talks about.

I love going to DC for marches, having done three (or was it four??) while in college. There's something invigorating about marching alongside between 100,000 and 750,000 people, even if you're merely taking their pictures for a paper.

For this event I'll be getting a press pass from a newspaper I was an assistant editor at in the early 90's. This should get me backstage for some of the media only stuff. With any luck I'll be able to get on stage and get some crowd shots from behind the speaker. That angle really helps communicate to the audience how large the crowd is.

Rumor from friends is that this event promises some level of police or government violence -crowd tear gassing, baton beating, mass arrests, all that fun stuff. Friends are already sending information about how to "decontaminate" oneself after tear gas as well as promising the use of a respirator.

7.9.07

You may be finished with the past...

but that does not mean the past if finished with you.

Am at the studio today handling customers while Larry is away. Three people were scheduled to pick up photos today. One of them was a woman with a strange last name, but one which I remember from an old friend back in high school (circa 1974).

When I asked if she was related to my old H.S. friend she replied "Yes... he was my late husband." She then pulled his old h.s. picture from her wallet. "Look familiar?" she asked.

Yep, it was him.

We chatted for a bit about him. I couldn't really get sad as all my old memories of him were good. He was into kung fu and meditation and shared what he knew freely. He had a subtle and dry sense of humor. He died of a rare, slow-moving form of pancreatic cancer.

She had come to pick up her son's senior pictures. She invited me to look at one of them with her. "Does he look like Jon?" she asked. "See," she said with a smile, pointing to her son's forehead. "Same uni-brow."

Apparently Jon's sense of humor lives on.

4.9.07

And then, something clicked...

Not sure how this happened, but all of a sudden my weekend suddenly filled with photo-events. I'll be working on things Fri, Sat. and Sun. Hell, I'll even be making some money at it. Might even pay a bill.

I think I like it.

3.9.07

Stupid computer user who?...

That would be the setup line right before the punchline of the joke about my recent computer problems. All I need is a good punchline and I'm set.

The problem was solved not by a third or forth virus/malware scan and disinfection, but by my wife, littleone, going through the add/remove program section of windows with me. Her simple comment ("What about erasing that program?") accompanied by a simple point of the finger was enough to end three days worth of intense frustration. Thanks baby!

Oh well, on to the next thing.

1.9.07

One last try for disinfecting my machine...

I gave up running the antivirus program earlier today after it hit 538,000+ files checked. The pop ups were still coming and that bogged the machine down. So I killed it, put it in safe mode and started the test again. This evening while it checks out I'll be taking down the names of all the programs I want to run on it and downloading all the free ones onto a flash drive. Then, if the machine is still infected after this last go round I'll simply recover the whole thing instead of trying to restore it (that had yet to work).

If this last step fails it may be time to go to to Linux. I have never tried it before, but am now busy downloading it just in case.

In the mean time I am down loading pictures from the Squirrels gig to my laptop. Will edit them while watching tube till littleone gets back from the hafla.

520,938 files later...

and my computer is still infected wit that idiot virus. And lord only knows how many more files it had to go through - avast counts the files, but not the percentage of progress.

I grew tired of waiting for the virus scan to do its thing so I opted to do a system restore and see what happened. With any luck things will be hunky dory by the time I have to start editing photos tomorrow.

Hrmmm.. restore just kicked out my first restore request and told me to select a different date. Am trying again.

Note to self -
  1. Go to open source system. First, see about getting a free copy of Linux and going that route. Should be able to mount all the open source stuff on that.
  2. next time buy a Mac.

31.8.07

11:19 and counting...

That's how long it will be before my lightscribe disk is done writing. That will make me about one and a half hours late for the hafla. And that pisses me off.

I'd like to blame it on my tardy nature, but that is simply not the case today. Nope, rather it's due to my downloading nature. I downloaded a new codec for my media player. It was a codec from someplace like "Bob's Friendly Codecs." And it had a Trojan in it. The rumor is the Trojan will attach itself to my emails and annoy friends. That would be a problem if the virus were on my laptop instead of my workhorse. We don't do email on the workhorse.

Nope, that computer merely does all the photo work... or at least did until the virus fouled up the works. I've run both Search and Destroy and Avast on it. Both found the virus, but neither has popped it yet. I'm going to try one more time tomorrow and if it is still lame then I'll be retreating to an old restore point and hoping I don't lose anything important on the way.

Heather's First Hafla...




Finally got the pictures from Heather's hafla done and posted. Pity was it had to be a quick edit job so I am not the happiest at how they turned out. Still, considering they were shot in a bar with a flash it could have been worse!


So anyhow, here they are. And prepare for another onslaught - I am sorting through and posting another lot of 150+ from Shimmyfest tomorrow!

28.8.07

subprime nation

just go here and read this

And then for nostalgia's sake (or to inflame your sense of deja vu) rent this.

Oh for the love of Peter, Paul and Mary...

Well, it took me till now, but I finally finished weeding through all the pictures from opening night of Chicago's Shimmyfest. The first day of elemental editing I went through about 650 of the 983 photos (+/-5%). Oy, but that was a day that ended with some severe eyestrain!

There was a lot of heartbreak in the sorting session. Due to the low lighting and prohibition of flash at the event I had to set my ISO high and my f/stop at 2.8 (or lower). That meant a lot of the pictures were flat out rejected due to crappy focus. Sad, but that was the way the ball bounced.

Anyhow, I expect to finish up the editing on them tomorrow night about midnight (I don't work on Thursday and can set some of my own hours at the studio). At that point I'll post them in my photo blog. And I'll link that to this blog.

Once that is done I plan to go through the 176 photos from friend Heather's belly dance gig at Tango in Racine. Those will be posted likely by Friday night.

Oh, and there's a bonus on that one - three men got up out from the bar and started hitting on the belly dancers. The guys were pretty lit. They had to be to let the dancers talk them into putting on hip scarves and practicing shimmies. At one point the leader of the trio walked up to me and started telling me how he would appreciate it if his photos did not appear on the web as he was an officer in the Air Force and didn't want said pictures to embarrass him later in his career.

So naturally I'll be posting those too :)

25.8.07

Oh and by the way...

Last night littleone and I went to see a belly dance performance by one of her friends at a new bar in Racine. I'll post pictures of that as soon as I can.

be careful what you wish for...

you just might get it.

For my part, I got it when I quit the junk job. Fortuna smiled upon me - or at least seemed to - when I found a not only free time but a mentor upon who to spend it. Currently the work schedule it Sun-Wed. Thurs and sometimes Fri are spent helping my mentor in his studio.

Often he asks "Are you getting anything out of this?" He asks it because my work is done for free - there is not a penny of cash involved. That, by the way, was my decision not his. But when he asks this my answer is a quick "Yes, I am learning much," or some variation of this.

So what am I learning? Well, more than the technical side of photography he is teaching me how to run the business and how to package the product. This knowledge is good for both the artist and the businessman, though the artiste sees it as below him. Those of us who have lost work spaces or even living spaces treasure it though.

As to what I have learned in specific, well, just yesterday I finished putting together two wedding albums, correcting print orders, assembling a mat order, and laying everything out. And what is this good for? Well, these albums should retail for approximately $2K each, so the knowledge is worthwhile in my book.

That I now have the software package rep's name is worth even more.

So what's the problem? Well, I am now at the point of trying to shoot and edit every damned thing I can find. And what's bugging me is rotten conditions the shoots occur in. For instance, two days ago I attended the opening night of this event. My wife's belly dance teacher wrangled it so I could take pictures of the opening show, a simple affair with over half a dozen acts designed to whet the viewer's appetite for tonight's main event.

Unfortunately the bad conditions left many of the shots out of focus (due to shooting in f/2.5 or faster), grainy (shooting below 800ISO was simply not an option, and with weird light balance (the lighting was the usual fluorescent/mercury vapor the area uses). Oh, and then there was the "no flash" rule.

These problems make me feel bad first because the results of this shoot will help them decide if they want me to shoot their October event and secondly because I know the dancers play to photographers and the least the photographers can do is get the best shots possible.

A lot of potentially good shots bit the dust the other night. I figure that out of the 983 (+/-2%) taken about 75 might be presentable. Anything that comes out will be posted in my photo blog and I'll link to it here.

Oh, and thanks for the bitch time - I can get back to photo editing now.

21.8.07

"Fuck Me!" said the flea...

I got the most unexpected email today. It was a simple one-line query from asking first if I knew the sender and if so, to respond.

It was signed from my old best friend in high school and through my early 20's. My guess is that one of the old friends I have been corresponding with off and on in Colorado let him know I'd been asking questions about him.

My response was brief, but I hope not terse. We'll see what happens from there.

So the saying from the movie proved right -

a fan-fucking-tastic movie. if you ever get the chance to see it do!

20.8.07

one down two to go...

Paid off Best Buy today. Now to pay down and off the other two. Need to split my extra catering and bar money between paying cc bills and doing some online investing - yes, the recent stock market dive had nothing to do with the sub prime mess. It happened simply because I started investing via sharebuilder.com.

Pat, you were right.

16.8.07

Lovely to see you again my friends

Amazing. I work at a shitty job that takes all my time and I always find time to write and things to grouse about. But quit there and take a job I like and begin planning my life and living it and all of a sudden there is no time to say a thing.

So let me say a couple of things -

tonight I am serving at a $150 a plate wine tasting. It promises to be lucrative as long as I keep my P's and Q's in line. Best guesses are that I will walk away from the evening's work with an extra $200. Hopefully I will impress and this will be a ticket to doing more of these yuppie gourmet grub events.

The money I make will be diverted to two places - my wife's birthday present (HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!!!!) and a month's worth of studio rent so I can start shooting nudes for October's show.

My wife is getting a sword for her birthday. Yes, I will remember to cherish her, respect her and not turn my back on her.

When I get the studio, I will also be buying a new light set. The two will set me back about $700. Pray for me Argentina. With a little luck, this will be offset by photo sales at the show.

This show will be different. No more 2X4 pictures, tiny but cute. Nope, this time I am going for size. The man I am doing studio assistance for says bigger may not be better, but it is more lucrative. So 20X30 here I come.

Oh, speaking of the man I am doing photo assistance for, did I mention I am doing photo assistance for someone? Thought not. Right now I am learning some software and putting together two wedding albums (at $2000 a crack, +/-). I've also done some pictures at a wedding with him and held reflectors on the beach.

When I said $2000 a crack I meant for his business, not me. This is strictly apprentice, which is strictly free. The arrangement is from some stuff I heard on a Kiyosaki CD - work for free, he recommends. Frankly,it is working for me. The money does not get in the way of the learning. Tomorrow, I hope to get two albums now in progress finished. This will work.

Finally, I decided to start investing in stocks via Sharebuilder.com. Leave it to me to do this right before a world stock meltdown. Oh well, it's only $200 at this point and I have only lost about $10 of it. But I'll sit tight and learn something yet.

Sorry no links or tags. Gotta run and buy some pants for tonight yet. Time is short.

We gone, bye bye!

23.7.07

You know your war support has eroded when...

The man who wrote and sang "Okie from Muskogee" back in the 60's is writing Get out of Iraq songs.

I remain hopeful as hell that the Bushwacker and his cadre will end up tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity come 2016 or so. You think I am mean or vindictive or whatever, but please think of me as a visionary instead. Attitudes and views shift over time. And over the next 9 years I can see it happening.

Remember, there is a very fine line separating the visionary from the crazy but I ain't crossed it yet.

20.7.07

Bob Heinson is dead

The news came to me yesterday when dropping off clothes at St. Vincent De Paul thrift in Kenosha. Bob worked there some 5 or so years ago. Working at St. Vinney's is not a sign of getting ahead in life. Generally, people who are in the midst of some personal or legal problems work there. My guess is - and it is only a guess - that Bob had both.

Bob was no one anybody but one, maybe two casual readers (and old friends) should remember. We grew up in the same neighborhood, about a block and a half from each other. He was a tall stoner who was exactly one year and a day younger than I.

We used to pall around together. After I got off work at the Pizza place in Waukegan (it was my first job as a 15 year old) Bob would meet me in the dining area and we would walk in the black of Friday night to the Sunset Bowl. There we would take the our money and waste it one quarter at a time on pinball (one game for a dime, three for that quarter).

There we'd play till close (2:30a.m.) before crossing the street with our remaining dollar and get a cup of coffee each and sip and talk till 4.

When I last saw Bob at the thrift he was stocking shelves and collecting incoming thrift. We talked and he told me he was big into l.a.r.p. and was a skilled competitive dungeon master. He was quite proud of it. At that age - 45 or so - that seemed an odd boast for most. People that age are proud when they run for congress, make their third million, get a Pulitzer in literature.

But Bob was one who listened to that different drummer. He did not take the path less traveled because paths were for pussies. He cut through the underbrush with machete or chew through it with his teeth if need be. He was that way - never violent or aggressive, but always he did what he had to do.

There was an older guy - a couple years older than I - who was friends with Bob through work there. He priced the bike I was looking at. While chatting I asked him what Bobby was up to.

"You didn't hear?" was how it began.

Seems Bobby had taken up truck driving. That was the job that got him away from the thrift. He didn't really have a lot of detail on what happened, just that some time back he o.d.'ed. He couldn't even say which drug it was (though I suspect it was either a cocaine variant - for fun - or a speedy drug to help him drive longer).

In any case, Bob is gone, dead and gone. I'm thinking of giving his sister a call (they still live in the area I believe)just to find out where he's buried. Giving last respects. If anyone knew Bob and would like it, I'd pass on their respects too. Just drop a line and let me know.

19.7.07

Clock Tower Art Show

This past Friday the Thirteenth, 16 of my photographs* were featured in an art show with four other artists at Clock Tower Art in Racine, Wisconsin.



It didn't strike me till the middle of the show but this was the fourth show my work has been featured in. That made me smile - I felt like something was being accomplished.

The show was different than the first three - the first three hours were designed to display art to potential buyers. The last 8 hours or so was beer, wine and band time, with a lot of socializing and partying going on.

It was a fun time. If you showed up, you know what I mean. If you didn't, hey, your loss...




Consider yourself invited to check out the pictures from the show - just click on the above picture of the Milwaukee Art Museum and you'll be taken to the pictures. Wanna see a slide show of the pictures? Then click on the shot of Joan Jett.


*Originally there were 17 pictures. One was a beautiful black and white nude which the model requested not be shown on the Internet. I have, of course, followed her wishes.

16.7.07

Viva la (software) Revolucion...

Can't speak for you, but I find paying for the software packages you need to run everyday impossible to buy. The price on the box is just too prohibitive. As a result I go looking for Freebies.

While I couldn't tell you what Gnu stands for I do know that they (if Gnu is a they) rock! You can get all the software packages you need for free*. Anyhow, here's a list of the programs I use along with links -

Open Office - the equivalent of Microsoft Office but not friggin' $149 for the student package.

Mozilla Firefox - an independent web browser, not affiliated with I.E or Netscape.

Thunderbird - a great email client.

Mozilla Sunbird - a calander application to help you schedule shit.

Scribus - this application does some captivating desktop publishing and according to rumor some of its features are comparable to Quark or Pagemaker.

The GIMP - photo editing software that has power. With imagination and practise you can really edit your photos into great shape with this freebie.

Inkscape - a graphics program that is supposed to do what Illustrator does.

A few more freebies were listed, but as they did things I did not wish to do myself (and therefore did not understand) they are not listed here. Of the above I frequently use Open Office and Thunderbird with mucho satisfaction.

The GIMP and Firefox I have used before and was happy with. I just went back to using Photoshop elements because I understood it better and I.E. because it was already on this computer when bought.

All the others I downloaded today and have plans to use in the near future.

As for other freebies, try 7 ZIP for a good WinZip equivalent and Filezilla if you need a solid FTP program.

15.7.07

On my bike ride today...

I stopped near this really pretty, albeit tiny, wetland area exactly on the Wisconsin/Illinois border. I stopped to call A just to let him know that I was in a pretty area he would remember and had indeed quit my Junk Job.

Briefly put, he sounded shocked. "But you were corporate. You had life insurance, health insurance."

To me, being corporate is not a good thing at all. All its subjective connotations speak of greed, short-sightedness, and a tragic lack of loyalty to staff. This last one stands as most egregious. A, obviously, has a much different view. He sees the stability and the way in which his corporation has his back in the things which really matter to him.

From what my wife tells me, my old company was the opposite of hers. Hers had been around for the last hundred years (+/-). It was settled, stable, mature. Mine had only been around for the last decade. The people running it had a real hard-on for becoming a billion $$ corporation. As such, they are insane and have no fucking idea comcerning loyalty at all.

The company's philosophy and mine were different, too different. We had to part.

After all, what good is it to be able to buy a bike you had no time to ride, to own a house you have no time to enjoy, to marry a woman you have no time to spend time with? And I mean this as a real question you should answer for yourself. This is no rhetoric. What good is it?

11.7.07

Fucking boneheads

Well, it took them three days past my quit date, but the junk company finally cut off my email. The neat thing is that I received one last good email before they pulled the plug. Seems that the company had an emergency meeting yesterday to let people know there would be a firing going on. The letter seemed to indicate there would be a number of the newly unemployed - after all, why would you send out a letter to announce a mere firing or two?

This is especially sad considering that they hired a lot of people at the home office last year anticipating continued wild growth. My thoughts go out to the couple of people I knew at the main office (Aaron, Antonia, Sara and a few more) who work - or maybe "worked" - the phones at the help desk. Here's to hoping they don't get dorked in what may turn out to be a mess.

As for their goal of becoming a Billion$$$$ company by 2012 (or was it 2010?) I leave this link. They can review some Taoist thoughts on dangers of unbridled growth and the personal discontent and unbalance that it indicates.

10.7.07

There's no such thing as bad publicty...

Who said that - P.T. Barnum?

Anyhow, if you happen to hear a story on the wires about how a politician in southern Wisconsin, USA, emphasized his education platform by having parents bring their TVs to a farm field to have them shot from a catapult, well you now know where the idea came from.

Was discussing politics yesterday with my friend who is running for office. He said parents should take control of their kids' education by limiting their time in front of TV, mass media and video games. Insteadm parents should help channel their time into study. That is when I suggested the catapult idea.

9.7.07

On the first day of summer vacation I...

Officially unemployed... at least from corporate junkdom. As a result I finally got to do some things I'd not been able to do for a bit -



See Pat -



Pat and I have been friends since 1975 around the time she was dating my best friend in h.s. She's been asking me to help get the fan on her computer fixed for a long bit now and I've been putting her off and off and off. When you leave for work at about 6:15 and don't get home till around or after 7:00 the rest of the day is a washout.



But there was no 6:15 yesterday. We got together for brekky at around 9 and chatted the morning away. Her father has recently been landed in the hospital and then a nursing home. At age 92 you have to expect there will be problems, but it is never easy to become your parent's parent so-to-speak. An you always hate to see them in decline.



We visited him at the nursing home. She was going to ask me if I would visit him a few times a week to make sure he's good as gold and not lacking in anything. Before she could ask, I offered. This is not because I'm a great guy, but rather because Bill represents something that's fading from this world. And that something (the WWII vet, Depression survivor, German POW) with it's attendant way of thinking and world view is something I miss desperately.



Sure, I'll be glad to see him.



Maria - Finally dropped the pictures of Bloomin' Days off with Maria. I'd put her off (it was a time thing) but was finally able to square her away. Hope they all set well with her. Altogether she received about 125 photos. There were not as many good ones as I'd hoped, but I am sure she got some stuff to use in next year's brochure.



This entire shoot gave me a new definition of my level of ability in photography. I am an enthusiastic hobby-ist.



Shit, gotta go. Time to shower for work.

5.7.07

Paradise with an ocean view...

Well, make that "paradise with a view of the bakery window."

I'm at the local Panera bakery wasting time on this, the third from last day of my employment. So far I have joined an on-line stock trading site, contacted a broker I know for advice ("Wait for a correction - if you see the market hit 12 and a half then go ahead and buy. When you buy, consider international investments, not just the domestic offerings.")

I like talking to brokers. They sound like they know what they're doing.

My goal is to hit the refresh button on the company scheduling page every so often to make sure I don't miss anything important and to keep leading my life.

Likely I will dump one of the company trucks today and then go to the hospital to pay an old copay (would have been nice had they sent me a bill). Maybe a nap on the company couch is in order.

The day is pregnant with possibility and I shall seek to squander it with all the vigor and imagination I can muster.

Fun tee-shirt site for one and all...


Found these guys' link on a different page I was visiting. Have incorporated "browsing their tee-shirt line for at least 30 minutes" into my last week on the job ritual.

Let me encourage you to do the same.

4.7.07

todays' tasks...

  • this morning, sort and edit one or two pictures from the Joan Jett concert for the art show.
  • this afternoon take pictures and video of Larry at the parade for his campaign.
  • size older pictures for the web sight version of the coming show.

3.7.07

and today...

is near to the last day of my junk employment. To celebrate I have dedicated this day to not getting anything done. After violating this pledge by doing a small job earlier today I tried to make up for it by visiting the Jewel Osco and sitting down in their display unit of lawn furniture and having a snack. Luckily my coworker is all up for goofing off today too.

As a dedication to this day I have tried posting a You Tube viddy which will pretty much tell ab out my day.

We have one large job to do then I think it might be time to call it quits. What can they do... fire me?

30.6.07

I remember back in the day...

when MTV was new and music videos were too.

Enjoy (if you can dela with the shitty nusic and video quality).

And while you're at it, enjoy the new Video du Jour too.

28.6.07

Eulogy for Carl

One of the worst things about leaving my old job at the diner was losing all connections to K-town. That meant that a lot of things happened to a lot of people and I just wasn't aware, wasn't in the loop anymore.


Marriages, births, deaths... they all went on.


Carl was perhaps my favorite old veteran customer. I confess to a weakness for WWII vets - after all, Dad was one. And so was Carl.


He lived at the Dayton Hotel in downtown Kenosha. That link shows the Dayton at it's height, back in the 30's or 40's. Now it's much much different.


Gone are the days of walks to fancy restaurants, doing evenings at the local play houses and high-rise elegance.


Now it's home to men who are mostly forgotten - and often somewhat crazy - vets. You'll see them hanging out on corners, sometimes panhandling, often smoking cheap cigarettes and occasionally playing instruments (with varying success - Gods forbid) for tips.


The new dwellers - the gentry that are being pulled in to the townhouses and the "up scaling" neighborhoods around the downtown fear them. Or find them unsightly, a nuisance that needs to be removed to a hidden place - maybe a set of houses in the Lincoln or Columbus Parks areas. But those of us who dwelt street ourselves at one time know they are just guys trying to make it by, maybe ugly, maybe smelly, but part of the downtown.

When you're poor and in a home your basic needs are met, but the routine must be maddening. Nothing new, no family around. Like a gallon of 2 per on the shelf at the convenience mart you are just waiting to expire.

And the only way to beat this game is to raise some money yourself.


Carl didn't panhandle... at least not generally. He hung on the corner between the diner and the Walgreen's smoking shitty cigarettes, smiling that big toothless smile at passersby and trying to sell faux jewelry. When he scared up a sale (and those were mostly the result of pity, not a wiley customer seeing a good deal) he'd come into the diner for coffee or a slight meal.


"Hi buddy," he'd say to me with a smile. Sometimes he'd say more, but with no teeth, a southern drawl and speech made lazy from lack of use the "Hey buddy" part was about all I could understand. Still, with minimal conversation we were able to make a friendly relationship.


I met Carl's daughter last year. She came in to the diner from down south - I think it was Alabama - to visit him. She did this yearly. When I found out who she was I asked some personal questions about Carl, a couple of things I really wanted to know.


She could have told me to "Go to hell, it's none of your damned business," but she must have understood the curiosity. So, she told me a little about her dad.


Carl was in the Army in WWII. He was attached to a Navy ship in the Pacific theater. His job was combat-related, but dwelt on what might well have been the darker side of combat. Carl was charged with watching the ocean roll by and fishing dead and dying vets from it.


It was shortly after that he became disabled, being diagnosed schizophrenic.


As for the picture, I took it for an online photo site that was holding a portrait contest. Carl's' face seemed perfect. While a young person sees beauty in the line less, uncreased face (one which is blandly like anime) I found it in faces like Carl's - creased and furrowed and full of the past.


He tried smiling for me at first, but that didn't work. It was too posed. So I just told him to sit and ignore me and just do what he wanted and the pictures would just happen. This isn't the perfect picture, but it is the one I liked best. It was the one that showed Carl at his most Carlesque.


With our session done I paid Carl and he was off and running to get some cigarettes and lunch, probably at the diner.


Rest easy, Carl.

27.6.07

The last 25 years encapsulated...

While driving around in the truck today I wondered what I could say to really capture the high moments of the last 25 years or so. To be most honest, I'd have to say there have been too few high moments, but for shits and giggles here is a time line of the really important stuff -


  • 1982 through 1984 - Two years in the Army infantry. Due to my efforts to guard the country the Canadians were unable to storm over the border and take Colorado nor were the Hungarians, East Germans or Czechs able to roll through Bavaria capturing the all important heavy weizen factories.


  • 1984 - Quit drinking to excess. Because of this I can proudly say I have not urinated on anyone's radiator for over two decades!!!


  • 1986 through 1991 - Enrolled at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois where I earned several distinct honors - Phi Beta Kappa, Honor Society, and the J. Howard Atwood Award (given each year to the best Anthropology student. This has all the import of being named "The Greatest Swordsman in All Wadsworth, Illinois").

  • 1991 - Father dies in Kansas City, MO.


  • 1991 through 1995 - I begin a small and insignificant writing career which spanned working for three newspapers and freelancing at two others. At the final one (The Monmouth Daily Review Atlas Illinois' 75th smallest of 79 daily papers) I win the Illinois Press Association's "Columnist of the Year Award" 1994, Division D. Then one Monday, Approximately one month after receiving the award, before the plaque from the IPA even arrives, the paper unceremoniously fires me. This is due to a column I had written two days earlier.

  • 1992 - Discovered after incurring a $25,000 student loan bill that I should have listened to the Taoists and just been happier with the ignorance as it seems the pay scale for either education and idiocy are about the same.

  • 1995 - Diagnosed Bipolar Type II at the Veterans Administration Hospital in North Chicago. This resulted in being treated with Depakote, Lithium and finally on Tegretol. While still doubting my diagnosis I have to admit that the meds have helped take the most of the anger out of my life. Unfortunately no cocktail has been able to take the edge off my wry sense of humor and pessimism.


  • 2002 - Begin going out with a young woman who I met in the early 90's while working as a barrista (re: coffee jerk) in a local cafe. I move in with her one year later.


  • 2004 - Linda and I get engaged then promptly promise to get around to marrying each other eventually.


  • 2005 -Dan King dies of his 4th heart attack.


  • 2006 - Linda and I marry. What follows is a touching yet dramatic reenactment of the final decision to get married right then and there -


Me: Ow!!
Linda: What's wrong?
Me: My molar, the one on the bottom left side is killing me.
Linda: Take some pain killers.
Me: I've been taking them all week, but they don't touch it.
Linda: Go to the dentist.
Me: I can't afford to and the V.A. doesn't offer me dental treatment.
Linda: Well, I have dental insurance, and it kicks in right away for new spouses...

Two mothers, a living room and a Unitarian minister snatched out of church for an hour between first and second services and the deed was done.

The rest as you can guess is history.

You are invited to my coming art show...


Hello Gentle Reader,

Let me first start by saying I lied - it's not my art show. But it is a show which will feature between 5 and ten pieces of my photography.

My selections will be entitled "Somethings Old; Somethings New" and will include older items from the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra, Bulletin photos and other assorted stuff. The new works will be shots taken in the last month and a half and will include a couple of fun shots from Kenosha's Bloomin' Days Festival and some band shots featuring Local faves the Radioactive Squirrels and one of my most favorite musicians of all time Joan Jett.

So please do me the honor of attending. Here are the specifics


  • Where: Clocktower Art (link to their website)

  • Address: 2200 Northwestern Avenue in Racine, Wisconsin (Mapquest directions from Kenosha)

  • When: Friday July 13th

  • Attire: whatever you would normally wear to an event featuring over a dozen artists and a handful of bands

The evening promises to be fun, so make your best effort to be there!

it is hot and muggy as shit outside today...

and that is why I am determined to hide indoors all day at work today. It ws in the low 90's yesterday with high humidity and that simply wiped me out. Right after getting home I crashed for a nap (at about 7pm) then got up at 8 to go shopping with littleone. Right after getting home at 9 it was out to sleep on the floor in front of a movie before going to bed at 10 and sleeping till 5:30.

The worst part is that I still feel sleepy.

Went to the V.A. a while ago for a sleep study to see why I went through these periods of extreme tiredness. They did give me a reason - only dreaming 5% of the night instead of the human normal of 25% seems to leave me tired, or so they said - but other than telling me not to have caffeine after noon each day gave me no help. And there was no followup.

One of the reasons I hate the tiredness is that it bites hard into my married life. T'were I still dingle it would make no difference. Sleeping all the time would be okey dokey. In fact, it would be a joy. I love sleep. But when your mate wants and needs you awake it is really not a happy thing.

If anyone has any suggestions on what to do I would appreciate them.

25.6.07

fucking boneheads...

One of the reason I hate corporate morons is that they are all good in coming up with methods to make lots of money but without the commonsense infrastructure in place to make sure there is follow through. For example, we have two truck teams on duty but six routes - three apiece - to cover.

When jobs are scheduled for the same time the goal is for the person in the office to keep track of the schedule on the computer making sure to shut down routes as they become overbooked. This is done to both maximize profit and minimize customer dissatisfaction.

Today the GM shut down two of the routes because he would not be in the office and he did not want us to get fucked. As a backup plan I called the booking area to let them know no one would be in the office today and they needed to call each truck individually when a job booked to keep us abreast of how the schedule was going.

The agent who took the call said he noted it in our file and not to worry.

Right.

Directly after finishing our second job of the day I returned to the office to check the schedule, figuring it would still be empty and that I could send one of my guys who's hurting home. No such luck.

Four jobs had booked. The jobs were not dispatched to the proper phones for us to handle. Neither did any agent bother to call us with the news. As a result three of the jobs were called after they should have already been finished and the third was called late.

Fucking greedy boneheads.

I celebrated coming back to work today...

by submitting my two week notice yesterday.

I don't know about you, but submitting a notice always has me of two minds - on one hand, I dread doing it because I don't like confrontation and I am afraid I am screwing someone over and they'll yell at me about it. On the other hand, I want them to protest enough to let me know I was useful and needed.

In this case the boss' reaction told me they might have been planning to fire me anyhow, or at least that they saw me as stale, part of the problem and might see this as a godsend.

Ouch.

But in any case, it's done and over come July 7th. And it couldn't make me happier.

I've got bunches of photos to edit, other projects to rearrange and some other money to try and make.

Already a friend of a friend wants me to try and eBay some stuff (consignment) from her late brother's estate. The nicest thing about this coming job is it did not come through the friend. Rather, they found me on eBay registered as a trading assistant.

That gives me some leverage to try and make this a legit job and to prove myself. And that makes me happy. Working for yourself is no panacea, but it is nice not to be trussed to the corporate uberlord when trying to magically make cash appear.

Now for the magic...

23.6.07

prepping

to go over to Harborfest and grab some Joan Jett pics as well as some photos of the Twang Dragons. Hopefully that band will want to end this with some paid work, but we'll see.

Am printing out an 8 X 10 of the T.D.'s lead singer doing the National Anthem the other night before the Squirrels gig. It's to be a small gift to her BF to give to her later today.

Speaking of the Squirrels, I'll be posting a hell load of pictures of them in the next couple of days. As Fate maneuvered me into having to learn to automate some of my processes it turns out I can crank out a hell of a lot of work really fast. The batch photo processing sized and did initial color corrections on over 400 shots this morning, all without me having to worry or work.

N-i-c-e.....

I can do the quick crank stuff that way and still do the careful stuff by hand.

By careful stuff I am referring to a couple of projects I have in mind that might make me some money or at least will get me noticed in areas that might be happy to pay me. We'll see.

22.6.07

This is the final post, then I actually have to do some work today...

Just a note to say I will be turning in my two weeks at the junk shop. My plans are insane and will likely cause me nothing but grief in the short term, but I want a life back. The end of the 14 hours devoted towards work (including transit) and thinking for other people who are assumed to be grownups is near.

I'll be going back to the diner and to bartending and catering and to anything else which turns a buck.

On the bright side, I see a lot of bike riding in my future. And that's something my fat, tired ass can use.

Gods know I can use the breather. My time back at Franks should start on or around July 8th, unless they terminate me when I give my two weeks.

Final Note on pictures

Found an old friend has come back to K-Town from London. She's here working the coffee house until she goes to school in Boston come fall. Her boyfriend's new band is working the fest on Sunday. After getting out of Franks I will try and shoot over there and catch them.

The Squirrels at Harborfest

Went to Racine's Harborfest last night to get pictures of the Squirrels. It was an odd gig.

On the plus side they did a great two hour set and the crowd loved them. A lot. The records shows (at all theri gigs) that the people who see them really like them. It's just a matter of getting people to get there.

On the minus side the weatherman predicted some severe storms for showtime. That helped thin the numbers and that was just too bad - especially since no rain actually fell until over an hour after their show.

The opening night crowd was thin. Next year if the guys elect to go back (and juding on crowd response they will be invited back) a Friday night slot would serve them much much better.

Anyhow, getting in the backstage area with my camera and no pass was fun. They tried to keep the bandleader's wife and I out. Eventually our protestations of "I'm with the band, man!" worked (I just love saying that. It is so stereotypically 60's burnout).

To make a long tedious story short (but no less tedious) suffice it to say that my question to an event organizer about bringing my camera in to take pictures of Joan Jett on Saturday resulted in a media pass. And as long as I am there, it would be nice if I got pictures of a certain other band too... (That in itself would be good as I like doing band photos.)

The most fun thing for me though was that the organizer is part of a company which major sponsors Country Thunder. My thoughts are that if I can impress him with my photos and turn them over in quick fashion I might be able to get a C.T. media pass. And that could lead to my being able to do something I have wanted to do for three years - putting together an official Country Thunder Calendar.

And so my nefarious plans are laid...

and of other photos...

Had a lesson yesterday on how some folks feel made for one side of the viewfinder or the other.

A professional photographer friend of mine is running for office. He had seen my work and wanted me to do his picture. I was flattered and agreed. We did the shot in his wife's law office, which is adjacent to his studio. He had some great equipment - not the newest or most impressive, but some good solid stuff that it was refreshing to work with. So all the techie stuff was okey doke.

The problem was that my friend is very uncomfy in front of the camera. He was very worried about looking "right" and that made his task and mine just a bit harder.

We did a bit over 50 shots, none of which really thrilled me but a couple of which were workable. I'm to head back to his place soon and get some shots of him on the streets and such.

What I learned from this? 1) get some information on how to pose people. He gave me some pointers but I need to get a friggin' lot better. 2) find a way in the next year to get some of the flash heads he had. They were cordless and 800w each. They put my old corded 500w unit to shame. 3) Just do more and more.

And the wedding photos are done...

The reason I took vacation was to catch up on some photos I needed to process from the first two weekends of June, those of the wedding and of the K-town festival - a total of slightly over 1500.

At this point I've finished the 746 from the wedding and of those over 500 (+/-) were keepers. The main issue with these photos was that they were taken on a sunny day (sun was a bit too high in the sky) so there was a lot of shooting into the sun during the ceremony. Also, the reception was tented and the sides of the tent were removed. The back lighting was bad in some shots and those were lost.

However, most of the shots were OK to good and right after I posted them and sent the bride a link she reply-mailed with glowing reviews. It was a most blush-worthy moment.

If you want to see the pics, here's your link.

For those with dial up connections, you might want to use this link instead.

As a sidebar, the flickr paid account will be worth the $24.95 if it gets me even one job, wedding or otherwise. If you elect to get it, download the free upload tool. It'll be worth your while.

21.6.07

I shit rosey pickles...

Or at least I seem to do something extra-ordinary and phenomenal.

Sent the link to the wedding pic page to the bride and she wrote back, heaping praise on me for the pictures. It is hard to make me blush (gods know pink cheeks do not sit well under grey beards) but I was overwhelmed by her comments.

In other earth shattering news the axe falls tomorrow - got word from the diner on when they want me back. Seems it is ASAP on that. Later today I will tell them two weeks from Sunday and this evening will call my boss to give him the news.

This leaves me full of fear and trepidation* (let this = $10,000 pay cut per year) but let's ride this train as far and as well as we can, eh?

* this link was for my sake, not yours. I just wanted to underscore the happy dread I am sensing.

The last of the wedding photo work

Ok, it began on June 2nd with the wedding of Eric L. and Joy R. (a couple of you know them). and today, June 21st it is over. I've editing all the photos and am uploading them to my flickr account now.


I've chosen to upload the low-res images (why upload all 3.5 GB?). And rather than watermarking them they're left open for anyone who wants to simply downlaod them for their decktops or whatever. Anyone who wants one of the hi-res images can buy them from me.



Oh, and here's a hint for you -if you choose flickr to upload pics for piblic view then you ought grab their upload tool (found on this page). Rather than just loading five at a time on the upload page you can get upwards of a hundred loaded while you do other things - like blog about uploading (why yes, I am pathetic).

The pictures are all posted and the bride has been notified and given the links. As of tomorrow I will be free to post them publicly.

Finally.

the biggest flaw in Texas Justice

may be that the people from Texas are too stupid and vindictive to get it right.

Had the angry mob beat the driver of the vehicle which killed the child I wouldn't have flinched. instead they beat his friend to death.

Doofuses. They deserve to live in Texas.

20.6.07

And finally...

they are done. All that's left to do now is count em, put them on a quick disk, make of some disk faces for the final disks and deliver them to the bride and groom.

and so it goes...

the photo editing that is.

I'd taken the week off just to work on the 1500 photos =/- over the last two weekends. so far this has proven to be a more daunting task than I'd thought. Right now I have worked through the wedding and the formal reception photos. There are now about 200 dance pictures to go through.

The dance pics will be the easiest as I already know (and went into it knowing) that a lot of them would not turn out well. The dance floor was not lighted at all, thus I knew that focusing would be a bear of a task. In short, what ever works works and whatever doesn't hits the cutting room floor (so to speak).

I was very happy with a lot of the pictures and more than a little disappointed with others. The wedding party march into the tent and the best man's toast yielded the worst results. The march was done under a tent with stark sunlit greenery to the background. Focus on quick movement and excessive back lighting made a mess of some of these.

As for the toasting I am not sure what the problem was. At the same table under the same lighting the Bridesmaid's toast gave good results. As a former pagan and current Taoist I would like to blame it all on Karma or the wrath of an angry potted plant spirit.

In truth though the issue was what most issues turn out to be in photography - operator error.

Oh well, time to get back to it. Only 210 left to go, +/-. I'll post a link here to the pics when they are posted.