Friday, September 30, 2005

Bus Stop on Dumaine

BusStoponDumaine, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Happy Friday!

This one was taken at night in New Orleans. It's actually what I call a "hidden" photo.

Sometimes, when you have a lot of work, you start to pick out the ones that you think are the "keepers" from the bunch. Sometimes, you go through and you grab all the obvious choices from a set. You grab the tourist-y shots, the "pretty" shots, the ones where you just know you nailed it, and you leave the rest.

But, lurking back in the deep, dark shadows are the "hidden" shots. The ones you didn't see the first time you sorted your slides or visually scanned your File Browser. These are the "hidden keepers." Sometimes, actually make that usually, you find gold in those "keepers." There's always work in there that's better than the obvious "first cut" shots, but you just didn't notice it at the time. In your haste to pan, select, and edit quickly, in your excitement about getting some images "out there," in the thrill of finding the "pretty" you passed over the "good." It's kind of like how somebody can be hungry, reach for a bag of cheetos, and pass over a filet mignone in an effort to grab something "quick."

This is one of those shots.

This is one of those shots I didn't really look at the first time I passed through my images. Not the second time, not the third-I became so task oriented, I would go into that File Browser looking for this or that while, the whole time, hidden beneath my nose, were shots like this.

It makes you stop and wonder about what else is hidden "in plain sight" right in front of your face, that maybe you pass on by each and every day.

All that and I just love the night trails left behind but captured by the digital cameras. It's like painting with light only standing still all the time.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

An Elephant Wearing Clogs Dances/Whining about Wine

EleWRedBlanket, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I heard a joke the other day on the radio, "I could sleep through an elephant wearing clogs dancing through my bedroom at night." That's pretty true for me as well, so I thought that I would post an elephant in honor of this distinguished occassion. (Clog dancing, anyone?)

Speaking of distinguished occassions, tonight is my art show. In an attempt at getting some slightly potent potable, I went to the store and attempted to purchase some bubbly. (Notice I said, "attempted to purchase" and not actually "bought." I bought something, I'm just not quite sure that it's "bubbly" or really, in fact, what it is at all.)

I don't know what it is about buying wine. I don't know how a basically well-educated intelligent person like myself could walk into a store that sells wine and find themselves completely zapped of any and all knowledge. It's like, as soon as I walk in the door, I turn into a bumbling idiot. I mean, "in real life" I know how to read, write, drive a car, speak a few words in a few different languages, not to mention get around with a map, a compass, a sextant, and a GPS locator. Crap, I even once learned trigonometry and I know how to buy tequila. (Shouldn't wine be easier to buy than tequila, since it's less potent?) I even know "who shot JR" and how to properly configure a UNIX workstation. Doesn't that count for something?

Why is that, as soon as I walk into a store that sells wine, I turn into a complete moron? My IQ drops by about 80 points and, needless to say, I don't exactly have a spare 80 points lying around that I can part with.

In the end, I purchased some bubbly that looked pretty good, Italian, with "a hint of raspberry." Don't ask me what this means, I've never actually tasted a "hint" before, and can't really comprehend the concept. (I'm guessing, again this is just a hunt from somebody with less than 100 IQ points left, that it doesn't taste quite as "full bodied" as raspberry jell-o and that it's sorta red if you hold it up to the light just right.)

Sometimes, if you get "lucky" in the wine aisle, they have these little cards that detail what the wine magazines have to say about your potential beverage of choice. If you are even more "lucky" they actually hand out grades. You'll see "marks" on there like "92" which, from what I can tell anyway, is a pretty good score. I think my "bubbly" was 89 or so, which was the highest I could find without gonig "into the case." They keep the really good stuff locked up in a case and, to get that, you have to grovel over to some "wine stewart" type of person, who actually knows what he's talking about, and makes you lose even more IQ points in the process. (Usually, I end up leaving with something outside "the case" anyway, so I know enough to just not go near there for starters.)

Frequently, due to my complete lack of knowledge and IQ points, I buy wines based upon how pretty I think the label is. If I happen to see a "score" somewhere near the bottle, I look for the highest mark. This usually works better than going for "label pretty" although not all that much better.

Last night, I ended up purchasing (I swear I'm not making this up) a wine from Australia. It was a Pinot Gregio which is some kind of wine that's difficult to pronounce, so (again I'm guessing here) it must be good.

It features a nice, pretty picture of a kangaroo on the label. That scares me. I'm afraid of wine that hops. Somethings tells me, and I'm going out on a limb here, that this isn't going to be very good wine at all.

I really hope that kangaroos like raspberry, otherwise, I could be in really deep trouble tonight.

Until next hop...

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Jackson Square New Orleans

JacksonSquare, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This image was shot almost exactly where the President stood when he addressed the nation regarding Hurricane Katrina. It's a manipulated Polaroid print taken from a still photo I had taken while visiting, obviously before the flood.

A lot of folks are talking now about FEMA, the flood, the hurricanes, and the heat. I think it's a good thing that people are coming together to try to do something about the issues that were raised, and maybe try to actually fix some of the underlying problems (like poverty and tensions between the races) that lead to the disaster and poor response for Katrina. I read in the news yesterday that the head of police for the City of New Orleans had resigned recently. Maybe the corruption and graft can finally be addressed as well as some of the poverty and race issues.

Let's face it, we share one world-there's only one planet we can live on (so far.) It pays if we all try to get along. There will always be those who steal or try to declare themselves king of something. We need to stand firm, remind ourselves that these folks are, in fact, our neighbors, and that, if for nothig more than selfish reasons, the next big natural disaster could hit us, leaving us stranded, surviving thanks only to help from a neighbor. How does that old saying go "there but for the grace of God go I." Let's do something now to fix things, make things right, so that, in the future, we don't have to suffer.

I got word yesterday that there is a restaurant in town looking for "photographs of New Orleans" for an art show, with procedes benefiting the Red Cross.

Honestly, I don't know where I'd get any of those now, do I? (:~)

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Balcony with Sky

BalconyWSky, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is an interesting image. It's interesting to me because I made a mistake when it first came out, and was able to "fix" it in Photoshop. You'd never know it but the sky is severely "clone stamped" in this image. I think I did a good job. You can hardly see my band-aid, clone stamp, and Gaussian blur touch-ups. Well, it just looks like a regular ole' "mushed" Polaroid to me now. (It makes me happy that you cannot really tell where I flubbed it up and how I fixed it up.)

I also think it's really interesting how the digital realm is making me want to do Polaroids more. You would think that I would completely abandon the land of film but, somehow, the Polaroids aren't easy to walk away from. The digital universe makes them even more appealing to me, since I am able to "touch up" what, before Photoshop anyway, would have been lost. This "second life" of the Polaroid makes me want to shoot them even more. I owe a lot to Kathy as well, who gave me the remarkably simple yet brilliant idea of taking my digital images, printing them cheaply (non-archivally) and then taking Polaroids of the pictures. It works like a charm. It means too that I don't have to lug around my Polaroid camera and film-that I can go out into the world with only one camera, shoot until my heart's content, and then come back and "do" Polaroids while held up in my house because of the heat. (It's been 108 degrees in Austin lately-almost even too hot to do Polaroids indoors.)

It's a funny thing too how I seem to keep reliving my trip to New Orleans. In actuality, I was there for only about 5 days but, between the hurricane and the Polaroids, I feel like I've never left.

I can only imagine what Venice is going to be like. Best part, if it's half as fun as New Orleans, and my Polaroid scheme "works," I'll be able to re-live it well into next summer (at the rate I do Polaroids, anyway.)

Now, isn't that grand?

Until next time...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Tripping at the Fandango

FanBalcony, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This weekend was an interesting weekend. For starters, instead of getting hurricane force winds, rain, Texas twisters, and the like, it was 107 in the shade, very hot and dry. The sun was brutal.

Next up, I scanned in some of my Polaroids and found out that I had set my scanner to "color correct," which is not what I wanted it to do. Now that I've got that little box unchecked, things are working a whole lot better. Phew. I was starting to wonder how I got on such an acid trip without any acid, now I know (watch out for those "color correction" check boxes, man, they are rough.)

Next up, I tried to do some new Polaroids, to finish off my series, and I didn't have any luck at all. I got a bad role of film, but managed to pull off one good shot (which I will scan in sometime after Thursday) and I got one good shot on Saturday morning but, yesterday anyway, was a wash. I didn't get anything that I liked at all, and ended up just stopping, since I wasn't happy with any of the results. Sometimes, this happens. Sometimes, it's better to just put the camera away, walk away, and take up knitting or something to pass the time until the great Gods of Polaroid decide to bestow you with their instamatic gifts of bounty. Whatever. It kind of sucked that I didn't get any good Polaroids but I chalked it up to experience and moved on with my life.

This Thursday is my opening reception and now everybody's abuzz with what to bring, what to wear, what time to go, who's going, who's playing, and the like.

Today, I found out that they are charging admission to this shindig. Yes, it's true, for only $5 you can see one of my Polaroids this Thursday night. Oh and you'd get to listen to Troy Campbell while doing it.

Hey, I'm going to be there. What more do you want?

Polaroids: they are like instant gratification, only more expensive and painful.

Until next time...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rita-less Weekend

Just a quick note to say that family, friends, and all have survived hurricane Rita. In fact, it did not pass anywhere NEAR us and now I'm quite bummed that I shall have to put back on my automatic sprinkler. It's been 104 today and quite hot. We could have used some of that rain. Ok, maybe not ALL that Rita had with it, but, damn, could you spare just a *little* water, New Orleans? We should could use some in these parts.

It really is too hot for words and we didn't even really feel as much as a breeze from the dreaded Rita hurricane. I don't really want to wish for "maybe next hurricane" because, well, then we'd probably get blown away. All I'm going to say is that we're happy, healthy, and glad that Rita took a left, missed some of the more populated areas of Texas, and feel for the folks off to the East, who thought that they were out of harm's way. If only Rita knew how to steer, right?

We still cannot go shopping, for most stores are either packed or virtually out of supplies. The national guard is bringing in trucks of gasoline and the mass exodus back to the coast has already begun.

I was watching Geraldo on the news today and he was talking about how they should have exacuated the "hilly areas" outside of Houston last. He clearly demonstrated how little he knows about hurricanes and, for that matter, about the Texas coast. There are no hilly areas near the coast. The Texas coast is, in fact, flatter than a pancake after being run over by a freight train. Not to mention the fact that this storm was really big (across) and, because of that, we couldn't predict where exactly, she would hit. Methinks it's better, under these circumstances, to evacuate lots of folks and have to put up with a traffic jam, rather that have to worry about the body count.

But, then, what do I know? I'm not smart enough to be a reporter, right?

Until next time...
(pictures will resume tomorrow, for those curious.)

Friday, September 23, 2005

It's Friday

GearsNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's Friday! Yippie! We have survived another week. Long live Fridays.

This weekend, I'm going to, once again, try to finish off my Polaroid series. If the power doesn't go out on account of the storm, I'll hopefully be able to scan in the batch from last week. I'm almost done with my series from New Orleans. I would also like to post process the cemetary stuff from New Orleans, which I have yet to touch.

Every time I look at it, I end up giving up, since there's just so much there. This happened to me when I went out to Santa Fe and shot 80 rolls of film in a week or less. There was just so much there, I never ended up going through it. I was just crazy shooting, and not really getting anything out of it. I will try to process the cemetery stuff and get some of it out on the web this weekend, in an attempt at "breaking the spell" and actually looking at the work.

I've jerry-rigged my Tivo to record Nick Cage movies. It's been working out quite well for me. Last night, I couldn't sleep, so I woke up at 4 am and watch Nick Cage and John Travolta in Face Off. It was way better than watching an infomercial, and I'm downright insane thanks to all the hurricane coverage, that's all I can say.

I would also like to extend a special thank you to Vee Sawyer, who has graciously agreed to drop off my artwork, for the upcoming AVAA show, at the gallery. She's going to have one of her magnificant magnolia series prints in the show as well, and I can hardly wait to see it. You can checkout some of her work here.

There's still time to get your FREE BEER so plan to come on down on Thursday (if you're in Austin and you are so inclined.) That is, if we all survive the RITAs on Saturday.

Latest track has it veering more towards the East which would spare Austin the brunt of the storm. They are still talking of "wide bands of rain" (silly me-I thought it came only in drops) and heavy winds, although we can't quite clarify just how "heavy" the heavy winds are expected to be. Not to mention the fact that nobody's quite sure when, where, or how powerful the inevitable tornadoes will pop up, spawned by the new, lovely, Cat 5-like storm in the Gulf.

Getting home tonight's going to be a challenge, to say the least. Parts of the Texas coast are completely dry (sans gasoline.) I'm lucky enough to have a full tank but my home is within 4 miles of about 5 different shelters, housing "gobs" of displaced Houston residents. There are signs on the way home that route the hurricane refugees to the nearest (open) shelters. By now, most of the shelters in Austin are full, and they are routing folks to Leander, which is out Highway 183, past my home. (I'll be sure to wave to the poor folks as I putter on past them.) Once Leander fills, I honestly don't know where they are going to end up, if they can even make it to the greater Austin area without any gasoline. (It's hard enough to make it from Houston to Austin on a good day, let alone doing it in a hurricane without gasoline, ok?)

Hotels in Austin are booking rooms according to the hurricane you fled. "Rita? Are you here because of Rita? Or Katrina?" they ask you upon check-in. I think they even have special rooms for folks who can legitmately respond, "BOTH, but not in that order." Go figure.

I'll try to post after the storm passes to let all the European folks (and friends and family) know that we're ok.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's RITA without the MARGA

WiresNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, hurricane Rita has taken a bit of a turn in the Gulf and is now headed more towards Houston and Corpus than originally planned. Current forecasts have it making landfall in Galveston Bay sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning. (That's about 180 miles from here as the birdies fly.)

This "right turn" means that Austin will feel it's impact a bit less, although full "storm mode" has already set it. Friends have been telling me that you cannot buy botted water anywhere near the city and that Home Depot is almost sold out of plywood. Folks have been making the trek from points south, buying plywood and supplies, and then going back to board up. I topped off my gas tank this morning and had to wait in line for fuel. I was the third car in line. Usually, when I get gas at that very station, at that very same time, I'm the only car in the lot of about 8 pumps. Today, I had to wait my turn and each of the pumps were 3 people deep, filling 'er up before the big storm. It's to early to say what it will do to gas prices (and supply) once it hits. (Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? They are already high and they are only going to go higher.)

Before my folks moved to Austin, my mother asked me, "well, what about hurricanes? Does Austin get hurricanes?" I told her, "well, Austin's pretty much safe, since it's inland, unless, like, some FREAK category 5 comes right into Corpus Bay and, even then, we'd probably be ok, but we'd also probably feel it some."

Enter the FREAK category 5 show from Gulf Coast east. (You'll just have to imagine a hurricane wearing a top hat and tails dancing in from the right with a cane and a pretty young tornado on it's arm.)

Today's shot was one taken in Austin Parmer Auditorium just before they started to tear it down. I hope that RITA won't do this to the Gulf Coast but I'm half expecting it.

But, what I really want to know know how they always seem to have some video of some idiot out surfing just before the hurricane hits? They always show, on TV, some newscaster, on the beach, wearing a slicker (for the rain) with like some lone idiot out surfing in the high tidewaters that hit just before the big storms. You can always see him out on the coast, screaming "Cow-a-bunga-Dude" as he makes his way over the breakers and back to land.

Ok, so, like, where's the dude? I want my cow-a-bunga dude. Ivan had fake video, North Carolina (Ophelia) had surfers for days, how come we don't have a cow-a-bunga dude out there? I'm starting to lose faith in all the idiots out there. Come on, people. Don't you want to surf?

Damn. Surf's UP today. Now THAT'S what I call a HIGH tide, cow-a-bunga dude.

Hurrican Rita, gnarly, isn't it?

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Last Great Preservation

PresHallWhiteCat, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is the last of the images from Preservation Hall. While we were photographing the building across the street, this little white cat came along. I was lucky enough to snag a shot of the cat, in front of the old Preservation Hall building, before it scooted away from the facade.

I don't know if Preservation Hall survived hurricane Katrina. Now we're not even sure if, what was left of it after Katrina, will be able to survive Rita.

As I type this, Rita is the newest category 4 (I believe) storm in the Gulf. Residents of the Gulf States (of which I am one, since Texas is, in fact, a Gulf state) are not taking this storm lightly thanks, in part, to Katrina's wake up call (many residents in New Orleans decided to try to ride it out, since Ivan missed the mark and veered East at the last minute.)

Many of these folks are fleeing to Austin. Earlier today, I was in a meeting with some co-workers, and cell phones kept going off, mostly from folks en route to Austin from Galveston, Corpus, or general points south. It's a crazy situation. Everybody usually goes to the Gulf, for vacation, to enjoy the water, or check out the beach. Now, instead, everybody is in flight mode, running as far away as they can get from the "dreaded high seas." The beaches of the Gulf will most certainly be empty, or scattered with only a hint of brave surfers and CNN newsmen, as the storm gets closer, the waves break the shoreline, and the Gulf Coast, once again, gets battered and bruised.

Austin is not entirely out of harm's way. The majority of the damage from hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere occurs to the North and to the East of the location where the eye of the storm hits. Even if the storm tracks West of us, they are anticipating 70-80 mph winds and possible tornadoes set off by the force of the storm. If the storm tracks over Corpus, we could be in for a big, albeit indirect, hit.

My family and I are going to ride it out, being situated further north and away from the sea. It's anticiapted to impact our local weather on Saturday, sometime in the evening. If I'm one of the lucky Gulf State residents, I'll be able to sleep through it. But, if that's the case, and I do get to sleep through the second major storm to cross the Gulf this year, I will definately count my blessings afterwards.

I realize so many of my friends and neighbors won't be as fortunate.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

PresHallJazzBand, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is probably my favorite from the series. I think this looks closest to the painterly look I was going for, not to mention the entire band is in the image. That and I just love having the power to blur people, almost beyond recognition.

Speaking of powers, I'm sure I'm probably the last person in the universe to come across this website: Flying Spaghett Monster

I guess some guy wrote a letter to the Kansas School Board asking that they teach, in addition to creationism and Intelligent Design (evolution) the theory that the universe was create by a flying spaghetti monster.

As taken from their website, "you may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking number of Pirates since the 1800's." He then backs this up with a chart showing the global average temperature vs. the number of Pirates.

This news made Slashdot yesterday, so now I'm probably officially the last person in the universe to know about the great Flying Spaghetti Monster. Well, me and my Dad, who gets all his email from me.

My favorite from the site is how there are now suddenly all these people who claim that they have been "touched by his noodly appendage." I'm not even going to go into the meatballs-that's just too weird.

Brian, a friend from work, went down to the Apple store to checkout the new Nanos. I told him that I was expecting a full report including, on a scale from 1 to 10, the "coolness factor" of the new baby podling line.

"Coolness, you know, like how CUTE it is, like how cool the wheelie thing is, like how it feels so ultra light in your hands," was what I told him as he huffed out the door.

"I just want a flash MP3 player that fits in my pocket," was his response.

We'll see if I get a 1 or a 10 coming back from this one.

Until next noodle...

Monday, September 19, 2005

It's Getting Hot in Here

PresHallJazzBand4, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's getting hot in here and, like, I'm not Nelly so I'm not willing to take off all my clothes.

This weekend, I came into work on Saturday, to finish up some stuff I was working on. Then, I went home and was talking on the phone to a friend, when I noticed that it was getting kind of hot in my house. Sure enough, when I looked at the thermostat, it was a wopping 86 degrees in my house. My a/c blew up at home and, Saturday night anyway, I had to sleep without. The guy came to fix yesterday, from Fox Service Company and, lucky for me, it was a quick fix. I really like the folks at Fox Service, they are much better than the place I used to use. So, now it's working again and, last night anyway, I had a cool breeze to lull me off to sleep.

I also found out that Austin's own Troy Campbell will be playing at my art opening. It's going to be kind of cool. They have a website for the show which features (I swear I'm not making this up) a circus tent. Yes, it's true, my name is under the 3-ring and the site even has a tiger balancing on a ball for you to enjoy: AVAA

Ok, so maybe it's not a liger but, hey, you can't have everything.

Until next circus...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bring on the Blur

PresHallJazzBand5, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

No, this isn't the Oasis-clone British band, Blur, but they might as well call themselves that, right?

I used to hate taking live band shots, since it was always difficult to get good lighting. Now I love them, since it's easier to get blurry stuff. Lately, it seems, I'm all about the blur.

I love blurry people, blurry flowers, blurry trains, blurry taxi cabs, dirty blurry swing sets that little kids put their feet all over, and anything else that doesn't quite find itself standing still all that much. If it's as stationary as a flag pole, I'm just not interested in it anymore but, if it's blowing in the wind, I'm all over it.

Who knew I would end up this way? I used to be so f-16 before I "saw the light."

Isn't it funny how, now anyway, I've become so "converted" that I have even started looking at other blurry photographs. Like mine aren't blurry enough. No, I want more. I want to barely be able to make out a nose, or a foot, or look at a squiggle made in the dark and wonder in amazement as to what could have left such a mark.

Yes, it's true, I'm all about the blurry, abstract stuff now. If it's crisp, clean, solid, f-16, there in your face, it's probably pretty good...good for somebody else to look at, right?

Bring on the blur, bring on the noise, bring on the funk.

Until next squiggle...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Once again...Same as it Ever Was

PresHallPlayers2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This image looks quite like yesterday's, except that, in this one, the banjo player has his head tilted up and looks a bit cheerier. I think this makes for a better image, despite the fact that nothing much about the past few days has been "cheery."

For starters, yesterday, around 3 pm, we got word that one of my co-workers was killed in a motorcycle accident, on his way to work. He had purchased a new BMW motorcycle about a week ago. The police say that, around 6:30 in the morning, in far south Austin, he lost control of the bike, crashed, was thrown, and that the bike caught fire. He is survived by a wife and two adopted children.

I will remember him as a very happy, helpful fellow who always had a smile on his face. He was a bit older than the "high-tech" norm (of, say 32 and a half, which is the age, approximately, at which computer programmers "peak" if I had to guess) but he was in good shape, used to enjoy hiking, biking, photography, and a bunch of other activities. He was active, vibrant, and happy and will, most certainly, be missed around the hallways of the building.

I finally managed to go grocery shopping last night to get some butter. It seems rather pointless to mention this now, doesn't it?

Like, in the grand scheme of things, does the damn butter really matter all that much?

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What are you Ho Ho Ho-ing about already

PresHallPlayers, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Would somebody please try to explain to me how, when I look at the calendar, it appears to be September yet, somehow, through the magic of snail mail, I have started receiving Christmas catalogs already? Who knew that September 11th was the start of the Christmas shopping season? Doesn't anybody celebrate Halloween anymore? Have we just blown straight through Thanksgiving (that turkey you thought you ate was just a bad memory from last year) and into the Santa realm? Geesh. Somebody ought to tell the merchants to slow down, we can't spend that fast (and we won't.) Well, we can but, I guess, we shouldn't. And now we have to put up with three entire months filled with, "Mommy, I want *this* for Christmas."

So, in case you couldn't figure it out from my ranting and raving, I got the LL Bean Christmas catalog yesterday in the mail. It has lots of pretty sweaters, snow boots, parkas, and all kinds of fun stuff for kids. It made me really mad. I mean, not just mad about how they started Christmas in July (well pratically) but mad about the kind of stuff kids get to play with these days.

When I was a kid, little tykes didn't have MP3 players (they actually sell a parka with a pocket and a headphone loop for your MP3 player, I guess, so you can ski while listening to your iPod. It goes without saying, they didn't make skis for little tykes when I was one either.) Rug rats didn't get walkie-talkies (we had tin cans and a string though!) and the good folks at radio flyer made a wagon. Nothing fancy, just a wagon that you could pull, provided you were smart enough to avoid the crack and bumps in the sidewalk and not tip the damn thing over.

Now the little brats get this kind of a radio flyer.

Yes, it's true, the Radio Flyer people now make a "Roadster" that features (I swear I'm not making this up) "cool retro styling." How could an 4 year old think that retro is cool? Isn't "retro" to an 4 year old things that he played with when he was 3 or maybe 3 and a half? Is the world really all that much of a better place thanks to the little mini-Miata? Geesh. What have we come to?

Bah Humbug.

Until next Santa...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Last Great Trombone Player

PresHallTromb2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, this will probably be the last great trombone player from the bunch. I think that, after this one, we move onto more "group" shots. I don't know why but, somehow, my group shots came out even more blurry, which I actually realy like. There are a few anyway, that rival the "blurriness" of paintings, which I think is a good thing. They look much more impressionistic to my aging eyes, anyway.

It stopped raining today in River City and I've been able to spend some quality time in my office listening to my iPod while working away. I still do not have any butter. Last night, for dinner, I finished off the last of some pizza I had ordered over the weekend. Today for lunch, since I did not go food shopping, alas, I had pizza from the pizza dude who swings by in the pizza selling truck on Tuesdays and Thursdays (I think that's when he's here anyway.) So now I'm really sick of pizza and can probably go months without. Not to mention the fact that I probably couldn't fit the word "pizza" one more time in that last paragraph, even if I tried. (Oh wait, I guess I just did.)

Speaking of food shopping, months without, and all, I found a cheap trip to Venice, Italy over the Thanksgiving break. I'm seriously considering pulling the plug and booking the trip. I may book as early as Monday. I have to find a "baby-sitter" for my doggie first and I want to check with Mom and Dad to make sure they won't be too upset that I would be going to Venice instead of spending Thanksgiving Day eating chicken with them at their house. Sadly enough, I believe Mom's already bought a chicken to roast, so this may not be an easy sell, but I have found a really cheap/nice trip to Venice and now I really want to go.

It's a really pretty city, not to mention the fact that I bet they have some butter there. Call it a hunch.

Until next gondola...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Photo Texas

PresHalTromb1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I still don't have any butter (margarine) actually. That's ok, because I had an interesting weekend and that more than makes up for my complete lack of butter.

I went to PHOTOTexas this weekend. It was fun. I got to meet a bunch of folks from various parts of Texas, some commercial photographers, some fine art folks, some older, some younger. All in all, it was a fun weekend.

I attended two workshops, one on marketing and one on making your own photo book. The marketing one was ok, I had a lot of "common sense" type of information in it, and I got to see a lot of samples of marketing packets that other photographers had sent out. The making your own book one was really great, I got an introduction to a lot of stuff that I would have otherwise never found. I love these kinds of workshops, since they pull together a lot of information from various places, most of which I'd never be able to gather on my own, and present it to me in one fell swoop. It was informative and the guy leading it was a good teacher, so I picked up more than my share of tips and techniques.

I was talking with somebody in the hallway and he said that he spent his weekend helping folks enter data into a FEMA database in an attempt at finding shelter after the big hurricane. Interesting thing about this hurricane, in these parts anyway, everybody seems to either be impacted by it or know of somebody who is. I know of at least 5-6 people impacted by the storm at this point, some folks who are actually waiting to hear from their loved ones and others who are providing shelter, food, clothing, help, or something else. I hate to say it but it's almost interesting how such a big, horrible storm could pull us all together like this. Before this year, I had never even been to Louisana and now I feel so connected to it.

And, it goes without saying, if that thing had taken a left in the gulf, I might not be sitting here typing this. Texas is, afterall, a neighbor to LA and nobody, even with all the high tech "doppler radar" up the wazoo, is really good at predicting the weather in the Gulf.

Tonight, I'm so going to go shopping and get milk, and bread and eggs and....(I think there's something else I really need...)

Until next pat...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Odds, Ends, and a Trombone

PresHallTromb8, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, last night I was cooking dinner sometime around 10:30 when I noticed that I had run out of butter. (Yes, I ate late and yes, I had a meeting at 10:30 that's how I knew what time it was. And, for those who are particularly "anal" about things, I actually use margarine. Chew on that. :~)

How could I run out of butter? This is very strange since, usually, I don't use all that much butter and, well, it kind of goes bad, so I end up throwing it away. Then, I had gotten into this vicious cycle where I'd go to the store to pickup milk or something and they'd have butter on sale cheap, so I'd pick up a tub. Then, I had all these random odd tubs of butter clogging up the fridge, most of which I figured I'd have to eventually throw away, so I stopped buying it again. Ok, so if that's the case, how did I run out?

I think I stopped buying it sometime last year and never resumed when my supply diminished. Yeah, that's probably it.

In other news, there appears to be a wasp's nest outside my back door. They almost got me, and they looked big and mean and UGLY so, tonight, I shall spray. I'm going out there with keys to the front door, a BIG can of flying insect spray, and tennis shoes. I was really hoping that they wouldn't get poor Charlie. I think he lucked out and made it safely back into the house, without getting buzzed. (That's all the poor door needs. It's not bad enough that he's 17 and can't walk straight anymore-wasps would put him over the edge.)

This weekend is the PhotoTEXAS extravaganza put on by the Texas Photo Society. I plan on attending some of the workshops, if I survive the de-wasping of the back door and the complete lack of butter in the 'hood, that is.

I'm just really glad you don't need margarine to kill wasps, otherwise I'd REALLY be in trouble.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Marching to a Different Snare

PresHallDrummer1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Poor Charlie (my doggie) has almost run out of food. This would normally not be a big deal, except for the fact that, as you may have read or heard, I've started a running program and so, instead of running to the vet to get dog food (which, come to think of it, would whip me into shape, since it comes in 18 pound bags and the vet is about ten minutes from work by car) I should have been out running today.

This has prompted several funny responses from folks.

I responded to one person, after being asked if I was ready to run today, "I have to go get dog food."

"You really need to work on your diet," was his response, "if you're eating dog food and expecting to shed some pounds."

Somebody else resonded, "is that kind of like a 'the dog ate my homework' excuse that you are using now?"

Ha Ha! Sure, laugh at me now but, I'd hate to see your face if I were to go home tonight sans any doggie food. Charlie would *not* like that very much ok. And he's taken to biting people as of late so, like, I really don't want to risk it, ok?

I'd much rather go for the kibble and put off the run until it gets just slightly cooler. Ok, maybe just a little.

Speaking of cooler, it's almost shooting season again. It's almost time to go outside and play again, and I can hardly wait. I'm going to shoot up Georgetown like it's never been shot before, believe me.

It's either that or feed Charlie some extra kibble for dinner, right?

Until next time...

PS By the way, the little green dot in this one just drives me bonkers. It's moments like these that were made for clone stamping, I know. Band-aid anyone?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Blowing My Own Horn

PresHallTrumpet2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Speaking of music from New Orleans, I just heard on the radio, while coming back from lunch, about how the Nevil brothers have relocated to Austin because of the storm. Welcome to town, folks! It's great here and the music's really good too, I'm sure you'll like it. Look out for the Salsa, it's a bit spicier than what you're used to and shy away from our gumbo because, well, even "the good stuff" just isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

And, speaking of lunch, I *almost* went to Bear Rock Cafe for lunch again today. It is right around the corner from where I work but, alas, I opted instead to go to Subway and try their new Bourbon Chicken sandwich. It wasn't half bad. I think that I was so hungry, even a half bad sandwich would have tasted pretty good. It's been busy a lot lately and I haven't had much time to focus on "little things" like eating and sleeping. (I'm so tired, I could keel over, actually.)

On the way to lunch, I saw some friends from work sitting outside on the patio, enjoying their lunch in the shade. Yes, it's true. Since it's after Labor Day in Austin, it's starting to get a bit cooler. I noticed the other day, while putting Charlie out in the evening, that, at that time of day anyway, it was only in the 60's. Sure it was still close to the dead of night, but it was nice and cool. I wasn't used to it and almost felt a chill rounding him back into the house.

I can't wait until it gets a bit cooler in the daytime so I can go out shooting again. I want to go to Bartlett, Georgetown, and a few other places. I really want to go to Liberty Hill and Bertram again, since I really liked those towns too. I'm looking forward to going out shooting and, this time anyway, I've got some ideas in mind for what I want to do.

There's nothing like going out shooting with a mission, even if you end up getting something totally different from what you went searching for. It's the sense of urgency that can really drive you to get some good stuff.

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

For When You are Feeling Horny

PresHallTrumpClose, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, so it was a bad pun. Sorry, I just could not resist.

I had a nice three day weekend, although I didn't do too much. I did manage to clean out my office, and clear off a shelf so that I could finally order a new printer. I'm really excited about getting a new wide body printer. I'm going to get an Epson R18000. It prints glossy archival prints in like a minute and a half (for 11x14 inch.) Wow. How fun is that. And I've even got some room for it now.

I don't know why but, somehow, the topic of taking naps came up this weekend. I've so wanted a nap for a long time and, this holiday, I managed to get one. It didn't work. Now, I just want another one. Oh well. It's a vicious cycle but definately one I think I should sleep through.

I saw HIM a little bit this weekend too. HE's been keeping busy, although sick of the heat, as most folks are, and gearing up for a little bit of travel. I think he's going to Greece again in the fall. Now, that would be a nice trip for HIM, as he loves it over there. It must be nice to be able to travel all the time, like HIM, and get to see all kinds of far away places so much so that they become commonplace.

I suppose it's nice but then, when I sit down and try to book a trip, I can't manage to do it. I just can't seem to pull the trigger. I'm just not sure where I want to go, what I want to see or photograph next. Nothing is jumping out at me, and it's a very strange feeling. Usually, my wish list is like 10 or 20 places deep and I lack time, money, vacation time, or something to be able to attack any of them. Now, I'm just lacking in the imagination department, and that takes a bit of getting used to.

Kind of like it's a bit odd getting used to the fact that New Orleans is a city no longer.

Definately falls under the "strange but true" and "what's next? Are aliens actually going to come down to place Cannasta with us now?" category, doesn't it?

Until next time...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Photographer's Lunch

PresHallClari5, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, I went to lunch today with a bunch of photographers. It's kind of funny how we are when we all get together. You would think that we would talk about cameras or film or something like that, and we do to some extent, but we also talk politics, what's happening in the world, and stuff in general about our work.

Photographers are an odd lot, because we tend to travel a lot and we see the world in a different light from the way "civilians" (or "normal folk" if you prefer) look at things. We're always looking at what would make for a good or interesting image and, because of that, we tend to just see a lot. Well, we see more than the normal folks, even over the course of just living out our days. Photographers are a very perceptive bunch of folks, in general and this can make for really interesting conversation. At least it beats what's usually spewed over the water cooler at work anyway.

We went to Bear Rock Cafe, which is a new joint that opened up near the office. It wasn't a bad place, they had some nice sandwiches and such. It will be fun to go there in the winter, since it's done up to resemble a lodge. The decor kind of reminded me a bit of Potsdam, and the little cabins they used to have up there.

Of course, we all compared how much CompactFlash or film we go through, and how we were given such a hard time when passing through airports but, somehow, I think this is universal.

Mention lead-lined bags or 15G to a photographer and you will, most certainly, be met with the universal groan of discontent.

The best thing about being a photographer is that, not only do you get to go out and see the world, but you get to bring home pictures of it when you get back. It just helps to make your life all that much more interesting, don't you think?

Until next time...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

State of Misery

PresHallClari1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, the folks in New Orleans are still 20 feet under water. All that and they've started moving them to Houston. Not that there's anything wrong with Houston, mind you, just that it's going to be a little bit nuts with all the extra displaced folks. Welcome to Texas, y'all. Hopefully, the Houston Astrodome will be more comfortable than the place you were holdup before.

Speaking of misery, a few things happened at work today. For one thing, I started a running program. Notice I didn't say "I ran today" rather, I said "I started a running program." Yes, it's true, I'm so pathetically out of shape, I had to WALK almost the ENTIRE FIRST RUN of the program. I ran part of the way out of the parking lot and bonked out. I tried to do the drills as best I could, and I did manage to walk all the way around the course they had laid out but still, we're talking PATHETIC here.

I was feeling ok until I got back into work and went to a meeting. Then, I sat down. Normally, this is not a physical activity but, well, today it is. Now I'm really stiff. And all I did was walk 2 miles. Ppppft.

To add to my newfound state of misery, yesterday the hard drive on my laptop blew up. I'm now having to copy, ever so sloooowly, files from a mini drive over to another computer which, I'm not making this up, was making a strange grinding noise earlier in the day. I'm not doing too well with hard drives these days. (In fact, if you were a hard drive, I'm scream at you, "get out of my office. Now. Before I break you too.")

If that weren't enough, I'm having a really hard time adjusting to not having the laptop monitor. Usually, I have the laptop and the desktop next to each other, and I roll the monitor over, so it's like having two monitors. Today, I've been reduced to a mere 20 inches or so of real estate in the video department. I can't get use to it and I can't move windows out of the way. It's been driving me bonkers (not that I'm that far off to begin with, mind you.)

At least my view is better than the poor folks stuck in the Superdome, though, right?

Until next time...