Monday, October 31, 2005

Celibate Gate


GD-CoolGateNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Happy Halloween. Boo!

I call this one "celibate gate" because, well, with a gate that creepy, the little girls in the neighborhood will not stop for their evening/goodnight kisses. Would you want to neck under a tree by a gate like that? I didn't think so. I guess, on the whole, it makes it oh so much easier for the teenie boppers to make curfew.

I'm going to keep it short today, since there are some heavy storms in my area. How does that old saying go, "it was a dark and stormy night..." Check that. It's strange light today, the sun is fighting to come from beneath heavy rain clouds, especially welcomed on account of the fact that it's Halloween. (They say we might have hail up to 2 inches in diameter. Nevermind trick or treat candy, golf ball anyone?)

Wednesday is Dia de Los Muertos and tomorrow is All Saint's Day. An interesting time of year to be a hobgoblin, don't you think? If all these holidays weren't intertwined one might actually suspect there was some bad ass mojo going down at this time of year. But, alas, it's just our pagan Christian past catching up with us and making us pay for the sins of our fathers, sons, holy ghosts, and all.

I've been hearing the new song by James McMurtry, Childish Things, a lot lately in the car. Apart from the fact that he picked one of my favorite album titles in recent memory for his last album ("Where'd you hide the body?") there's a line in his new song that's especially fitting for a day like today, "I don't believe in Heaven but I do believe in ghosts."

And hobgoblins as well, I suppose.

Until next fright...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Helping Nick Cage Get Out of My TiVo


GD-HelpHouseNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, I finally had a meal over at Hyde Park Bar and Grill. I went yesterday with Chricel, Adolfo, and Steve. We had a blast, the food was really good, and I got to see some of my artwork hanging up (I got to see my own show...finally!) I always hate it when I never get to see any of my own work. Sometimes, I ship my crap-on-a-stick artwork off to places like Peoria and Timbuktu without ever getting to see it myself. My last recollections are bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, and wrapping cartons (mirror cartons, when cut down, work well for shipping photography, by the way. Oh, and, you always want the bubbles from the bubble wrap to be on the OUTSIDE, least they leave little "bubble marks" on the glass. Ah, the useless information I'm filled with these days. What would you do without me? Nevermind, don't answer that...)

The first thing Steve said to me at lunch was, "what in the Hell did you thumb up this time? Were you watching South Park again?" referring to my murderous TiVo. (His is still cursed and there's hope I may, one day, be able to re-program mine, "so there," Steve.)

I also heard horror stories about folks recording nothing but gay TV ("Queer as TiVo," anyone?) and this one poor sap who set up TiVo to record something but, unknowingly, set it on a mission to record nothing but pornography. He brought a date home (first date too, mind you) only to have her "boop" on the TV and get totally grossed out ("Debbie Does TiVo" just doesn't have the same ring to it now, does it?) Needless to say, he didn't get a second date.

I guess, in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty lucky, seeing as I have a TiVo that just likes to murder people in it's spare time (and, well, I suppose, doesn't like Nick Cage all that much-whoever he is.) Perhaps, I shall try to record a movie featuring Johnny Depp, but then, I've no idea what TiVo would do to him, and frankly, I'm afraid to even speculate after hearing all these nice horror stories. (Ah, technology, doesn't it bring us so much joy? Can't you just feel the love? Nevermind, TiVo's within earshot.)

This is a house I started calling "Help House" because, well, the sign out front (hidding in the bushes-no actually growing in them) says "Our Lady Brother of something something HELP." I can't read it very well, thanks to the blur but, hey, what you see is what you get (isn't that the motto of photography anyway?) If you can make it out, or know what it says, please email or IM me with the details (and, like, I'll give you a nod and a "boop" if I can.)

I don't know who lives here and it's probably safe to say "not Nick Cage" because, well, he's safely trapped in my TiVo (along with, quite possibly, Johnny Depp, Cartman from Southpark, Jeffrey Dahmer, Charles Manson and, um, maybe like one lone episode of Law and Order because I tried. I honestly tried.)

At least it's not a gay porn murder mystery, right?


Until next "Help!"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Trent Reznor's Birthday House


TrentReznorsHouseNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The events of the past few days have been really newsworthy. Rosa Parks, a great pioneer for underdogs everywhere, passed away, Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination for the Supreme Court, Hurricane Wilma has crossed southern Florida, leaving a wake of destruction in it's path.

And, so, what do I decide to talk about today? You guessed it-none of that. Today is a special day. Today is my day. Today, you see, is my birthday. Yes, it's horrible but true, I'm now, officially, that "age," you know the one, that age that women always lie about and say they are when they are actually like 43 (or, gasp, even older, like, 54.) I'm 39 years old today, having been born 27-October, 1966. (Don't believe me? Do the math yourself! BTW, I was born at 7:28 at night, eastern standard time, so like, officially, I'm 38 for another six more hours or so.)

I would like to say that this means I'm going to talk about whatever I want, but I do that every other day so, today is going to be special in a different way. Today I'm going to try to talk about what you want me to talk about. (Well, ok, not SEX but maybe something better.)

This is Trent Reznor's house (I think) from New Orleans. I don't think that he lives there anymore because, well, this was shot on one of those "walking tours" through the Garden District. The lady guiding us through the tour told us that he sold it to some actor (I thought she said "Nick Cage" [of TiVo fame] but I could be wrong, she was twirling this red umbrella the entire time she was talking-very distracting for us photographers. Throughout the entire talk, I wanted to rip that umbrella from her hands, run away, and photograph it in the cemetery, like some demonic Mary Poppins.)

When I was younger, I thought that Trent Reznor was the hottest rock star that ever lived. I almost died when I heard him writhe in leather singing (no SCREAMING) "I want to f#$% you like an animal!" That was hotter than hot.

If I lived here, no, I wouldn't opt for orgies in the den with Trent, his snake, and his leather pants, no actually, you'd have a hard time getting me away from that cemetery. This house is, you see, horribly close to the best damn cemetery in New Orleans (Lafayette.) I would have a hard time getting past that. I'd wake up in the morning, camp out on their lawn, by their gate, until they let me in to photograph. Then poor Trent would have to pry my worn, Compact Flash eating camera out from my cold hands at the end of the day. It's probably safe to say that I would indeed shoot up the place. It's that good for photographing.

Sorry but, even on my birthday, the leather pants would have to wait.

Now, isn't that what you really wanted to know? Something that's better than sex? (And, to think, all this time you didn't think it existed.)

Until next birthday...

PS I have some tasty Kim Phung tofu for lunch and am going to settle in for an afternoon power nap to make up for all the hard work I don't do the rest of the year either.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Come to My Window


BalconyAtNight, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

You've got bits!

Ok, maybe I do but here's a tidbit from the recent email I've been getting from this site:

John from Texas writes: "Did you know that you could get ink jet supplies here..." and sends me a URL. Thanks, John, but I really do have all of my inkjet supplies covered for the next few years or so. If I ever need toner for a printer that I don't have, I'll be sure to check out your site, first thing, ok, dude?

Angelina from Milwaukee writes: "Click here now to meet lots of elgible single women in your area..." Thanks, Angelina, but I've met just about all the "elgible single women" I want to meet in one liftime and then some, ok?

I'm not going to refinance my house, buy a fake Rolex, or get cheap Viagra either, but you probably could have guessed that without me spelling it out for you. (And, in case you're wondering, yes, my penis is big enough, thank you. I don't need or want it 'enlarged' overnight-that sounds downright painfull, especially considering I'm female, but you already knew that.)

Ahem, it goes without saying, really, that my readers are "smater than average" even if they maybe have already seen a Nick Cage movie, which, as you probably already know, is more than I can say for myself, thanks in part to my murderous TiVo. (I don't even know what the guy looks like other than that lame imdb photo I keep linking to which is probably 14 years old by now and is very busy being spammed with it's own offers from the likes of Tom and Angelina. Nick, if you ever need inkjet supplies, I'm guessing that Tom really isn't you man, but, like, don't take my word on it, ok?)

Carol (no not me, although I do talk to myself, from time to time) from San Antonio writes: "Cool site. Love the new graphics. Gen X photos for the masses!" Thanks, Carol. All that and your Mom had great taste in names too. :~)

Tom from Norfolk writes: "Are you like ever going to post that picture you have of Trent Reznor's house? Are you one of those sick Nick Cage stalkers? Do you like hang out by these people's houses and go through their garbage or something?"

Well, Tom, it's kind of hard for me to be a stalker if I don't even know what the guy looks like but, yeah, I guess you could call me one if you must. I really do intend to stalk him until my TiVo gives up and lets me watch a movie that doesn't portray Jeffrey Dahmer as a hero. Now, I'm more determined than ever, thanks in part to your email. (There you go, feeding the sick masses all over again. Bad, Tom, BAD!)

Now, if you don't mind, I've got to go outside and follow Nick Cage to the mailbox to get my mail and then follow him to the grocery store because, well, I need some milk. And then, we'll be off to the post office for some stamps. Maybe by the time we get back, I'll have a better idea of what he looks like, but, like, don't count on it because I've got this TiVo you see and it appears to have "unbooped" him so, despite the fact that I've no earthly clue what he even looks like, people are accusing me of stalking him and going through his garbage which, I suppose, is better than the alternative of buying a cheap fake Rolex watch, along with inkjet supplies, and a side of Viagra, all the time refinancing my home seventeen times in several different states using only the invention Al Gore gave to the masses.

Isn't email grand?

You do like to read, don't you? Hey, it beats seeing a movie (not that I would know, mind you.)

Until next time...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Hats off to TiVo and Nick Cage


HatShopWithMirror, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My murderous TiVo has done it again.

It's now taped "The Life and Times of Charles Manson" for my viewing pleasure. I thought that it was recording some movie with Nick Cage (because, well, I've never seen one) but, no, it thought it better for me to watch something with a much higher body count. (Nick, if you're reading this, go kill more people so I can see one of your movies, ok?)

For those of you who don't know, I have a TiVo. (I've been getting a lot of new people dropping in lately, for some unknown reason, to this web site. I hope you don't like Nick Cage as much as I do. Or something like that.)

When I first got my TiVo, I thought that it was the greatest thing in the world. I like to watch Law and Order re-runs (you know, the ones where Jerry Orbach was a toddler and caught his mother chopping off his father's head when he was only two and a half? Yeah, those re-runs.) Anyway, I setup TiVo in some kind of "reconnaissance" mode, where it would pick-up anything and everything related to Law and Order.

At first, it was great. I watched Law and Order when it was showing at like 2 am without commercial interruptions. (Well, except for that guy who does those annoying adds for the government, while covered entirely with question marks.)

But then, something strange happened. TiVo started making suggestions. It didn't just start making suggestions, it started making weird suggestions.

Don't get me wrong, at first, I liked the suggestions it would make. It would tape random, odd episodes of CSI, and I was completely ok with that. I'd come home after work, "boop" on the TiVo and watch some autopsey of some dude who surfed too much or something on CSI Miami, all the time that happy little "thumbs up" TiVo guy was smiling back at me. It made for nice dinner-time entertainment (well, except for that one night I made spaghetti and that poor woman died because she was infested with maggots. That was not too appetizing but, at the time, I thought it was just a random coincidence.)

Now, it tapes nothing but shows like "Jeffrey Dahmer: Friend or Foe" It doesn't even listen to my suggestions anymore. I've been convinced, for quite some time now, that it is, in fact, plotting the perfect murder. Perhaps somebody has hacked into my TiVo and is setting me up to take the fall, who knows? I just know that it's up to something and that "something" is really no good (and that, well, it doesn't, for some reason, really like Nick Cage all that much because it appears to keep "unbooping" his movies.)

Just picture it. I get home one day, "boop" on the TiVo, and there's ole Jeffrey Dahmer, smiling back at me like always (ok, maybe it's Charlie Manson, if it's like Tuesday or something.) The police ring the bell. "We have a warrant! Come out with your hands up!"

"Honest, officer, I didn't stab him in the kitchen with a spork. No really, I didn't. I didn't even know you could use a spork for that."

They'll haul me off to the station, run my prints, put me in some little room with a bright light where I will, in a failed attempt at mercy, try to convince them my TiVo's been hacked or is somehow up to no good. Maybe I'll even use the "but I was at home, alone, watching TV" defense, at which point, they'll see my TV, see what's on the TiVo, check out that happy little "thumbs up" dude merrily showing off my Jeffrey Dahmer video collection, and instantly convict me.

"She even tried to hack her TiVo to cover her tracks," the ambitious deputy would say, "look, she tried to "unboop" it to record a Nick Cage movie. Like we would fall for that! And she tried to convince us she didn't know how to use a plastic spork. HA!"

Perhaps, I should try to hack TiVo and make it start recording only the cooking channel-so that I can bake a cake with a file in it. (Where are those damned Baked Goods People when you really need them?)

It's death row for me. Maybe, for my last meal, I'll eat a McDonald's Veggie burger with a choclate shake, and they'll let me watch a Nick Cage movie before dragging me off in chains.

That is, provided they don't have TiVo in prison.

Until next time...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cemetery Tours


CemeteryTours, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is where you want to go, in New Orleans, to catch the latest in cemetery tours and information. I guess they also sell lottery tickets. Go figure.

I'm dog sitting today-Mom's dog, Austin, has come by. He's a holy terror but we love him so. Right now, he is attempting to eat TREE in the back yard. I think that TREE is bigger and there's really no contest. Still, he'll get his teeth cleaned on the bark, which, I suppose, is a good thing. Crazy people deserve crazy dogs, like him, I suppose.

I think that I am going to keep this short so that I can let him back into the house again. He'll want to chew something inside, for a change.

Kathy is leaving for the Smoky Mountains soon. That should be a great trip. There's some kind of field trip this weekend to someplace close as well. I might just get out of town for a spell. It would be good if the weather holds and this damn blasted light gives up a bit.

I hate shooting in bright sun. It doesn't nothing for me. Lately, that's all we've been getting in Texas.

Maggie Taylor is going to have a show soon in Austin. I'm excited about that as well. She does wonderful work, and I can go and get my book signed.

Of course, I'm hoping the gallery doesn't look like this, or sell lottery tickets, when I go and do it.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cafe Du Monde The Original and now Re-Opened


CafeDuMondeTheOriginal, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, today there was this story, with two pictures in the paper, about how Cafe Du Monde re-opened and is once again serving up beignets in the French Quarter. One of the ladies pictured in the paper was the waitress while we were there, she took our table. I almost felt like waving, except that, somehow, I knew the newsprint would just not wave back, no matter how hard I tried.

Even so, I just could not resist including this in today's blogger, as a tribute to the folks who are hard at work, restoring some sense of "normal" to the French Quarter. Well, I suppose, as much as the French Quarter could be "normal." (It's nowhere near "normal" on a good day, ok?)

Cafe Du Monde is an interesting place. Sure, it's mostly a tourist trap but, isn't that why we travel anyway? I mean, don't we all have these collective check lists that we mentally mark off, "New Orleans. Check been there. Had a beignet at Cafe du Monde. Double check. Carriage ride in Jackson Square...check-a-roo..."

The way we travel in modern times, we hardly get to experience anything more than the tourist ghettos, but it's ok because, well, there's still something to be said for getting out and getting to see the tourist traps of the world. It beats sitting in your Barcalounger and cussing at the evening news anyday, right?

When I was younger, I wanted to get an education. I thought that, if I could only get those magical "pieces of paper" that told the world I was smart-that I meant something, my life would be complete. Now that I have a master's degree, I'm older and wiser, I think that my only form of education is really travel. I'd too damn old and crotchety to sit in a classroom anymore. (Those days are long gone. Beignet, anyone?)

Travel is what expands our horizons. Travel is how we learn. Travel is how we get to see new things, meet new people, taste new foods. We're collectively so busy with our routines, our everyday lives chip away at us, until there's nothing left but an appetite for travel, which we quench with the occassional (bi-yearly if we're lucky) jaunt to a tourist trap off in another city. (And those folks, if they are lucky, come here maybe.)

I suppose folks from New Orleans enjoyed, in some small way, coming to Austin to see our tourist traps too. It's just what we do and who we are these days.

The beignets are really good at Cafe Du Monde. The Cafe does provide a "normal" anchor in an otherwise crazy place. Cafe du Monde is open all night and always filled with people getting their fill-be it local folks or people from Peoria, stopping to rest after seeing the French Quarter for the first time. You can sit by the water, in an open air Cafe, eat your beignet, while watching the horse-drawn carriages clomp down Decatur Street at night, carrying more tourists, mentally checking off more items on their "must see before I die" lists. It's a vicious cycle but, hey, at least the food's good.

I suppose you'd never really know that unless you'd been there.

Until next beignet...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Madonna and Roses


CoolWindowNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Sometimes, when you take pictures, in order to really evaluate them, you cannot let sentimentality get in the way. Sure, we all love grandkids but that doesn't mean your baby snaps should be hanging in the Louvre. But, you love them because they are yours, you took them, you were "there," and so they hold a special place in your heart (as do, it goes without saying really, your babies.)

When I look at this picture, I don't actually see a Madonna, a cupcake plate, and a bunch of hanging roses (what's with the cupcake plate anyway? Pfft. Only in New Orleans.) No, what I see is sometime entirely different because, well, I was there and it was there when I took the picture so, in my mind anyway, they are intrinsically related, forever juxtaposed in my psyche (or something like that.)

When I look at this picture, I think back to where I was standing when I took it. I envision, not fantasies of Church-going heathens, tender fragrent mercies from roses, or even delicious cupcakes on a pretty silver tray.

No, when I took this picture, I was almost run over by a truck.

I was standing in the middle of the street, you see, because I wanted to get this shot. Off in the distance, I heard the familiar "rumble rumble" of an oncoming vehicle but I choose to ignore it, instead inching closer and closer to the window, snapping my shutter continuously as I moved my tripod closer to the safety of the sidewalk. It wasn't until I reached the curb that I looked back over my right shoulder to see the big truck about to "rumble rumble" and run me right over.

Now, this is one image that everybody seems to like. It wasn't first on my list, but it's growing on me. Everytime I look at it, I see less and less of "truck" and more and more of Madonna with Roses. Hopefully, one day, I'll just forget the truck completely but probably not.

Images have baggage just like people. They just aren't always as obvious about it. (Anything that comes from imagination can really lead you into darkness if you let it, I suppose.)

And what is up with those roses anyway? Roses, cupcakes, and a madonna? Hocus pocus, what do you think is out of place in this picture?

Until next truck...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Yellow House with Green Doors No 2


YellowHouseGreenDoorNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is from, where else, but the French Quarter. I really like the way this one prints, so I'll probably include it in the New Orleans series. It actually prints really nicely, since I can easily hike the contrast and the saturation. It was shot in very low, morning light and the lack of shadows helps a lot with that.

I just saw that Craig has returned from London. Well, maybe not returned but has started posting images from there, so I'm going to try to keep it short so that I can go check out his work. I've been waiting for him to take this trip for a while, because I know that the stuff you can do in England will fit nicely in with the style of work that he does. I can't explain it but, somehow, I feel like this trip will either be a shinning success or a total train wreck. If he were more of a "newbie" photographer, I would bet on the wreck but, since he's so accomplished, good money would go for the shine. He really is a great photographer, so I'm really looking forward to what he's going to do there, just in part because I know the nature of the work that you can do there and I can see how it might fit into what he does. That and I just can't wait to see what he's going to do with it.

Sometimes, when you are just starting out as a photographer, you think that you want to take all these trips-to go see stuff-get out and photograph and all. That's a great idea, and it works in theory, but the problem is that, sometimes anyway, you need to get some experience as a shooter under your belt, before you can really go out and make something with a travel location. It's not as easy as it looks on TV-you can't always just trot out to Tripoli, snappy new camera in tow, and hope to come home with gobs and gobs of great shots-all "keepers" one after the next. There's a lot of work that can go into taking (and, really making) a shot that happens sort of behind the scenes. It gets into your head. Photography is as much a mental journey as it is a physical one.

Sometimes, for me anyway, it's actually harder to shoot afar then it is right in my own backyard.

My photography teacher, Barbara, always used to say, "People have these notions that they have to go out and shoot someplace exotic. You can make great images right in your own backyard. If you have a tree and a wall and a shadow, and you are good enough, you can make a career." That's very true, despite the fact that it's still fun to travel.

There's something about going someplace *else* to shoot-seeing something new, tasting new foods, maybe hearing a different language, seeing different sights, that can really inspire. But, even given the right inspiration, we're still shooters trapped inside of ourselves-we only bring with us to a location shoot as much "camera fu" as we came in with-no more, no less. We're only as good as we are good and yet we expect our vacation pictures to be so much more.

Sometimes we get lucky, I guess. And sometimes, we have folks waiting back at home to check out what we dragged back that didn't fit into the suitcase.

Tickets, anyone?

Until next time...

Monday, October 17, 2005

StPhilipAndRoyal


StPhilipAndRoyal, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This shot was taken on the corner of St. Philip and Royal Streets, hence the name. I like sneaking signs into my shots-it makes for easier captioning later on.

I don't like the cropping, but I can live with it. The sky is a little dull, although I like the "point" up on top of the building. I do like the flags and the tree along the left edge.

This is one of the shots that made it into the Hyde Park show although, in hindsight, I really don't like it. It probably won't exhibit along with any of the other New Orleans work anymore. Unless I just clone stamp the death out of that sky and do something about the point along the bottom edge.

Actually, framing it did help the "point" go away. I was able to crop out a bit more to make it look deliberate, not "chopped" as it looks more in this shot.

You would think that I would be better at getting shots like this. That I wouldn't "miss" but I do. After so many years, you would think that I would be able to remember to leave the bottom of the building in and not crop like this but, sigh, I guess some things you just never learn.

It was kind of hard to shoot the architecture in New Orleans. It's fun to look at, and especially to walk among, but it can be difficult to shoot. The buildings are tall (most are three stories) and the streets are narrow. A lot of times stuff is just "in front" of you and you don't know what to do with it. A wide angle helps a bit, but then there's debris and other stuff you want to take out in the way.

I think I had the best luck going for unusual angles and the like. Kind of like some of the still from the Preservation Hall series-the ones where the horizon is not level. Usually I don't take images like that but I tried a few experiments and they seemed to work in New Orleans, because of the "tight" nature of the place.

Well, maybe how "tight" it used to be. Don't know now if any of this is even still standing but, here's hoping.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Grey Shutters


GreyShutters, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This was an early morning shot, taken in the French Quarter, before the flood.

I've decided that my New Orleans, "straight" series will be titled "Before the Flood" because I was lucky enough to be able to see the city, in all it's glory, before the hurricane hit, the flood waters rose, and all Hell broke loose.

The Hyde Park Bar and Grill show went up this Sunday. It wasn't too eventful, other than Kathy and I each got 7 pieces in the show. We ended up getting "our own room" since our work goes really well together. She gave us a night, light, bright room that I think really showcases the work quite well, so I'm quite happy about it all. It was very tiring to get all that work together in such a short time though. Even one of the other artists in the show commented that, "we didn't have much time from the time she called us, until the time we had to drop off and hang the work." You got that right.

The show features some folks who are refugees from New Orleans, as well as some folks that produce artwork "inspirted" by the City. One of the refugees had to borrow framing material to be in the show.

It's hard enough selecting pieces, printing, matting and framing for a show. I could hardly imagine having to do that with no home, in a strange city, without the proper materials. I really feel for those folks.

I also feel like I'm the one who really "won out" on that deal, since I get to see the resulting work, and enjoy it. It's really great for me to see the work of somebody from New Orleans who might not have done a show in Austin, if it weren't for the storm. I know that sounds selfish but, frankly, I'm very happy that I got to experience the work.

It's almost like traveling somewhere, only getting to stay put. I don't have to move, yet this wonderful artwork was brought here, to me, for me to enjoy.

Maybe next time the high water will spare the frames too.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Pink and Green in New Orleans


PinkAndGreenBuilding, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This building looks so pretty to me, with the soft colors and the crumbling facade of a pink wall. This is one of the few balconies that I look at and think, "wow, I could sit right there and really enjoy watching the world go by." Folks, now *this* is what I call a porch.

Speaking of worldly knowledge and all, did you know that Charles Manson and the Manson family "clan" killed not only the actress Sharon Tate but the daughter of the Folger's Coffee clan?

It's true. I guess all I can really say about this is that there are advantages to having a murderous TiVo. Ask me, I know. (Like I've said before, "if it involves death, bloodshed, dismemberment, anarchy or other mayhem, my TiVo's all over it." Thanks to my preference for Law and Order reruns and the like, it now has a mind of it's own and is, somehow, plotting the perfect murder, seemingly without my knowledge or assistance.)

Speaking of TiVo, in a possibly foolish attempt at re-programming mine, I've set it up to start recording only movies that star Nicolas Cage. Don't ask me why, I can't really explain it, I just thought that it would be a nice change of pace. He does have some movies with murder in the plot so, lucky for me, TiVo's there when I need it, and I now have a few things to watch this weekend.

That is, if I could finally get off my duff and finish matting and framing all the artwork I need to have finished before Sunday. I did two and a "half" pieces last night. (The half was that I actually cut a mat and did not finish assembling the frame for a piece.)

And, finally, to tie all of this in together, I believe that Nicolas Cage actually lives in New Orleans or, perhaps, did at one point. When we were taking the "home and garden" tour, the nice lady told us that he purchased a home from Trent Reznor (maybe it was Nicolas Cage, I really don't remember the name-it was hot that day and the nice lady had a red umbrella, which was really distracting me, because I so wanted to take a damn picture of it. What is it about umbrellas that make them so photogenic?)

I actually got a rather nice, although spooky looking, shot of the home in question despite not knowing for sure who ownes it, having purchased it from "rock star hunkerly dude man himself," Trent Reznor. (I sooo used to have the hots for "my man" Trent, before my friend Debbie told me that he's addicted to smack, is about five feet two in heels, and stinks to high heavens, since he doesn't bath regularly on account of his heroin habit. That and, he used to have regular run-ins with the, ahem, "good" folks at the Travis County Sherif's office, possibly on account of the smack and all. Go figure.)

Maybe Nicolas Cage has some really interesting shelves beneath his sinks and hidden along his baseboards?

(Nicolas, or whoever you are, if you're reading this, out in wala wala internet land, go check and report back to me ok? I promise I'll take only half the profits from the smack re-sale and, if you want, we can donate them to hurricane relief efforts. It would be easier, methinks, than matting and framing seven pictures before Sunday. Oh and, don't worry. None of them are pictures of your house.)

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

You Love it Now, you'll Cherish it Later


BalconyAbstracts, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This one is pretty obvious. It's the French Quarter in it's French Quarterly way of looking so French (and, I suppose, 'quarterly,' whatever that may be.)

Makes you almost wonder what the other three look like, doesn't it?

I've sent email to Kathy tell her that, officially, I'm in LOVE with Ilford Pearl paper. I have tried a few different types of paper and played around a little bit but Ilford really has me captured. I'm printing almost exclusively on that now. (Well, for the time being. Until my fleeting heart latches onto some other paper and my addication turns to that instead. I just have these nightmarish visions of myself off hunting some rare breed of paper in the wilderness now.)

When I first went into the darkroom and tried Ilford Pearl paper, many years ago, there was some "issue" with my darkroom setup and my prints came out all muddy. I remember pulling the first print, looking at it oddly and thinking, "This is the 'great paper' that everybody goes 'ga ga' over? Hmmmm. Perhaps I don't really like Ilford..." Perhaps, I should have checked my developer BEFORE I ran the first print, right? Changing it up seemed to work wonders and I soon fell for the wiles of that paper.

Fast forward to the current digital darkroom setup. My printer was, unknowlingly, in need of a head cleaning. I put the Ilford Pearl paper, made especially for the digital ink jet printers in my printer, clicked the print button and waited. Behold, what did my eyes see? A horrible print. A mess. It looked like something a little kid could improve upon with a crayon.

So, I think, once again for the first time, "This is the paper everybody's been going 'ga ga' over? It does't look like much."

Wrong. After the head cleaning, it looks a lot better.

I'm starting to think that Ilford should come with a warning on it's label. "WARNING: If you are Carol and you really don't know what the Hell you are doing, you might want to check your setup BEFORE you judge the contents of this package." (Or something more eloquent. I'm sure the Brits could think of something a tad snappier but still get the point across to the dufus across the pond that's just a litle too quick with the trigger, in judgement of their fine paper and chemistry.)

Seriously, that paper has just such a nice sheen to it, and I love the colors it gives me. They are soft yet somehow still shaded. It's almost like the concept of a "rich pastel..." such a beast really doesn't exist and, if it did, you wouldn't know what it looked like until you saw it.

It's the gastronomical equivalent of asking somebody, "OK, so what does milk taste like?" You can't really answer, you can't really explain it, you just know that either you likey or you no likey. When it comes to Ilford, just as I did in my darkroom days, I like it now that I've managed to work the kinks out and look at it with a clear head.

How does that line from that Robbie Robertson song go, "you like it now, but you'll learn to love it later."

Yeah, ok, back to framing. (I have two down, about six more to go.)

Until next time...

Monday, October 03, 2005

Balcony And Stree tLamp


BalconyAndStreetLamp, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is a shot taken from my latest series, the "straight" New Orleans series. These are mostly lensbabies, but some "straight" photography thrown in for good measure. Don't worry, they don't get to "crisp" on you, most of this straight stuff was taken from a moving vehicle or I've otherwise managed to blur in up in the usual way.

I'm going to try to post and run each of my uploaded series in order, so that I don't lose what's left of my mind, and so that you get to see a sort of "trail of images" rather than make it more haphazzard. We'll see if this works and how long I'll be able to stick to the plan.

This weekend was very busy. I'm getting ready for an upcoming show at the Hyde Park Bar and Grill. The show is a benefit for hurricane victims and will go up this Sunday, October 9th. For those of you keeping track of this sort of thing, I have another show running at the AVAA gallery through October 27th so, yes, it's been a busy month, with a lot of artwork going up in a lot of different places. It's all good though.

The Hyde Park Bar and Grill show is expecting 6-8 framed pieces so I spent this weekend printing away. I still have a lot of matting and framing to do. I'm not as organized and efficient as some folks, and I really don't like to print at nighttime because I can't see the results quite as well and fear I'm more likely make a mistake. I got all of the stuff printed this weekend, in the daylight hours, but didn't really put a dent in the framing.

I don't usually like to frame after work, since it's a boring task but, this week anyway, I'm forced into framing mode. I still have a few days, so current plans are to do a few each day until it's finished. I don't want to kill myself doing the show, but I don't want to be crazed at the last minute either. Part of me is tempted to just put up the coffee pot tonight, stay up late, and finish them all off, just so I can be done with it.

We'll see how I feel after work, when I get home and am confronted with the option of sitting down, feet up, cold drink in hand or framing. Something tells me that I'm going to be chanting, "Iced tea, anyone?" rather than spending time in the little dark room, on my knees, with the knives and the power tools. (Call it a hunch, ok?)

I've started booking the Venice trip and am quite excited about it. We figured out this weekend that I will be gone for Thanksgiving and all surrounding weekends, but Mom's really ok with it. I think she realizes that it's a great trip, an adventure, and will be a lot of fun for me. She'd rather see me travel and do what I really want, instead of spending what she considers to be "just another day" with her. I'm sure we'll celebrate Thanksgiving in our own little way, somehow, either before or after I leave. Nobody in my family really likes turkey anyway, so it'll be ok.

Ellen has not gotten her iPod nano yet, but she's received several boxes, each with another piece of the puzzle. So far, I believe, she's gotten the dock, the cord, and the power adapter. She told me this weekend that, "this is like the gift that keeps on giving. Every day brings another box."

Who knew that iPods were like weeds of the technological grass. They keep popping up all over the place, you can't really seed them, and they sort of just fly off into the wind when you least expect it, not to mention they are cute in their own little dorky way. (And oh how we love to tug them so.)

It still beats a CD player no matter how you slice it.

Until next time...