Friday, December 30, 2005

Photo Friday Entry: Best of 2005


BoatAtNightNo4, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Not much to say about this one. This was the boat that was "two bridges down and to the left" of the hotel where I was staying in Venice.

It's not my all time favorite shot but I like the lights and what the water does at night.

Happy New Year, everybody. May 2006 bring lots of happy pictures.

Until next *year,* this time...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

No Fire's a Good Fire


StreetLampR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Just a quick note to say that I hope everybody had a happy, safe, healthy holiday and that, despite what you may have heard on the news, we're not up in flames (yet) here in Austin.

In Cedar Park, it remains dry, windy, and conditions are ripe for wildfires but family, friends, and property remain all safe from the flames (so far.)

(It's burning up near Arlington, which is a suburb of Dallas. We do have some friends out that way but, so far, eveybody's safe and accounted for. Texas is a big, big state, we're quite far away from Arlington, although the entire state is under a burn ban and, so far, four people have been killed due to the fires. It's getting a bit scary but we're holding out ok. Like the old joke, "it's been so dry in these parts, the trees started whistling at the dogs.")

In the "got a light? Nevermind, sorry I asked" department, there's a wack-o ranch hand living along FM 1431 who, in his infinte wisdom was about to set some brush fires off yesterday (that's how they clear unwanted brush in these parts.) Lucky for us, he stopped short of torching the actual brush, but it's still sitting, nicely piled, awaiting a match.

Ranch hands in these parts have something in common with Hugh Hefner when he argues with one of his bunny girls...striking a match rounds these parts, in a dry spell (wild fire season) like this is akin to, ahem, "burning you bush at both ends."

(Yeah, sorry, I know. Bad joke.)

Until next time...

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Few of My Favorite Things


SanAntonioReflection, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I guess it's no secret that I've been blogging for a while now. You can probably tell, if you happen to scan over the archives section, that this weblog dates back to 2002 or so. That's over 500 posts, for those in the know (blogger tells me I'm up to about 514 or so.)

It occurred to me the other day that, since a lot of folks have been dropping in unexpectedly to this weblog, which now serves as a photo repository, I don't personally know each and every one of you. Some of you, in fact, don't know all the goings on in my sordid past-you just merely click through to look at the pictures. That's fine, I suppose, but I really didn't want to leave anybody out, render anybody too clueless, leaving here wondering, scratching heads, furrowing brows, touching face and all. (Not to mention the fact that, about every year or so, I like to take stock of what I've been yapping about.)

And so, this brings me to my now, I guess, semi-regular "introduction" to Carol's Little World. (I hope you enjoy it.)

My world is full of interesting events and milestones. I once attended Craig's bowling sendoff, which you can read about here.

There's the first photograph I ever posted to this website here. (I still think it's pretty, even after all this time.)

The mother of all prank phone calls is described here, (whereby a group of DJ's from Miami crank called none other than Fidel Castro himself. The title of this one comes from the "classic" prank call, "Is your refrigerator running? Yes? Good, well go catch it.")

I witnessed possibly the last (first? only?) known foot pursuit by the Cedar Park Police (keystone cops, anyone?) and documented it here.

There was also the great ipod engraving contest (check out the finalists here. I ended up going with "Pod, Pod Piddle, Click Me in the Middle" because it made me smile. Still does, actually, still does.)

In case you are wondering when the last snowfall was in Cedar Park, where I live, yon can read about that here.

Carol's Little World has an odd cast of characters. There's me, of course (I won't give you a link, it would just link to the whole damned site and you're already there.)

I once introduced Paul and Marty's arm wrestling here.

There's Steve of the cursed TiVo fame. (You can read about the start of the TiVo hexs and the beginnings of the strange TiVo goings on at that link, as well as this one.)

You can also read about Steve's jury duty here. (I'll save you the click, he didn't have to serve.)

And don't forget the Evil Baked Goods People. (They started out just "Baking" and turned "Evil" when they keep baking, each time adding more and more chocolate.)

Ted, Ken, and horny caribou in Alaska are described here.

Ted's chihuahua and large screen TV once met a horrible, horrible fate, explained for you here.

This weblog has been home to some entries that are just funny, possibly ranting/raving mad, but uniquely "me," like my "dream car" which is detailed here.

The contents of my purse described in (somewhat) detail here.

And, my finally (and I do mean "finally") seeing ("for the first time" :~) a Nicholas Cage movie. (warning: don't click on that link if you're overly superstitious or afraid of frogs.)

Then we have my rant to Arab insurgents prone to kidnapping American's they deem worthy of ransom here.

And, of course, my 200th blog entry. (you might need the help of a mirror since it was, in fact, backwards.)

London, it appears, has played setting to more than it's fair share of web log entries. You can read about the story of the funny London "tubes" here. (I'm still afraid of toothpaste when I travel, really I am, although, in Venice, it appeared to be Chap Stick and not toothpaste that was giving me grief.)

And the Ikea "Killer Nesting Instinct" incident here (which, as it happens, is also probably one of my favorites from the entire site. Sorry but I'm easily amused and can't help but laugh at the notion of low flying Swedish meatballs along London's upper-crusty High Street.)

If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be my rant about the good folks at Art Calendar magazine and what it's like living life as an exhibiting artist, which you can read about here. (If you must know, I hold nothing against Art Calendar and actually got a headache after writing that, despite the fact that I still find it more than a bit amusing, if not brutally honest, almost a full year after having first penned it.)

I think those would be the best of the best, if I had to pick 'em, even though I strive to make each and every day "memorable" in it's own little way.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Odds, Ends, and Dog Food


WhiteHousewWindowR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Reuters pictures of the year are in. To have a look click here. I'm not a fan of sports and sports photography in general but, even I must admit, that shot of the guy with the soccer ball embedded in his face is amazing.

Yesterday, I had to get dog food for Charlie, so I headed over to my local Petsmart, where I could fill my prescription (yes, in the "whacked but true" department, Charlie is on a special prescription diet. It's what keeps him so young at fresh at the tender age of 18.)

So, as I'm walking into the joint, with my prescription card in tow, I notice this great looking guy over by the dog food aisle, picking up his very own kibble (all 20 pounds of it-with one hand, mind you.) About 6 feet 1 or 2, with a mop top of curly dark hair and a great smile, he really picked up my attention. I smiled at him and, as I was walking out of the store, couldn't help but think, "damn, wish I were his bitch." (That's one lucky bitch if you ask me.)

Now I just have to figure out how big a dog he might have so I can go back and meet him again when the kibble dries up.

Until next time...

PS Don't forget to vote. It's a dead heat between more Compact Flash and the Nick Cage DVD but it's early yet so anything goes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Two Faces Face Off/Photo Friday Entry: Depth of Field


TwoFacesTwo, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Once again, I struggled with this week’s entry: Depth of Field. Being a photographer, I would almost expect to see a lot of “landscape-y” images in this week’s challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a mixed bag.

When I started taking pictures, I used to be ‘little Miss F-16.’ I was happy being hyperfocal all the time-I was corner to corner, edge to edge, crispy sharp focusing girl (well, sans the red cape, I guess.) As a precaution, to protect myself from the wolves of the big bad blur, I used to wander around with a tape measure.

Those days are long gone. Most folks who know my work now would have a hard time believing that I was once that person (yes, I do still remember how to use a hyperfocal focusing chart, if you must know.) I guess you could say that now I tend to shoot more with my heart and gut and less with my eyes.

I think I had such a difficult time with this challenge because I never really shot landscapes and I like to blur things up so much. My modern work (well, recent stuff) is all blurred up, mixed up, messed up, manipulated, and whatnot. It makes for interesting shots but not very “Depth of Field-y.” I suppose I could have opted for selecting a deliberately shallow Depth of Field image, but I didn’t think that would have fit with the theme, really. (I took it to mean the traditional 'F-16’ Depth of Field, you know, like the old landscapes and the “stopped down” school of thought.)

In the end, I selected this image because I had been playing with the depth of field when I shot this. I did a few different takes-one with the face in front out of focus, one with soft focus on the face in back, and finally, this one. I opted for this selection-oddly enough the most “hyperfocal” of the bunch-with both faces in clearer view-because I thought that the two faces play off each other better here. I like the contrast between the two faces and the “stopped down” f-16-y kind of a look emphasizes that.

This was shot in a store window in Venice.

Until next time…

Monday, December 19, 2005

Vote, Boat, It All Sounds the Same to Me


BoatonBuranoR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This was taken on the island of Burano, home to multi-colored houses, wine bars, and lots of reflections everywhere. (and, um, not to mention, boats galore.)

And, speaking of Burano, Italy and the like, I have gotten word today that I have placed first in the monthly competition from the Venice School of Photography. This first place showing comes complete with a gift certificate from Amazon.com. I'm very grateful and surprised (I didn't even vote for myself, frankly, I thought Helen should have taken the prize.) Since the nice folks at the school have given me this unexpected honor, I thought that I would share it with you, in my own little way, of course.

So, I've narrowed the selection down to a few choices and I'm asking you, my loyal (yeah, right, you click through like everybody else. Who am I kidding?) readers to vote for your favorite from the list. In keeping with the spirit of this blog (now there's a scary thought) I've narrowed your selections down to a few I thought fitting:

or maybe

  • A Nicolas Cage DVD(I'll just have to hope my TiVo/DVD player doesn't eat it before I have time to watch.)


So, there you have them. In true Chicago style voting, once again, I'm requesting that you all "vote early and vote often."

You can vote by posting comments here (yes, you can do it anonymously if you so choose) or emailing me by clicking here.

Until next vote...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunday Seven


ManWalkingR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I have received email asking me to complete the following seven items so, rather than plop on the couch (or rather before I plop on the couch) here are my answers.

(PS I have also been requested to answer the following question, "what were you like as a kid in high school?" I shall do this in time, my friends, in time.)

Seven

1. Seven things to do before I die:

  • To take the most fabulous picture even taken and recognize it when I do.
  • To live someplace exotic and not find it so.
  • To travel the world.
  • Get married and, if I feel like it, settle down and start a family.
  • Be sent flowers, chocolates, perfume or some such meaningless gifts from a romantic admirer who remains anonymous.
  • To write a great novel (again.)
  • To get a winter coat that's really really warm and take a long walk on a cold, dark, and cloudy day.

2. Seven things I cannot do:

  • Fall asleep on a moving bus (or plane)
  • Fly
  • Wake up and not think "damn, I wish I had 10 more minutes of sleep"
  • Swim in deep waters.
  • Anything related to biology-especially botany
  • Think about death without crying or at least thinking about crying.
  • Dance very well

3. Seven things that attract me to the opposite sex:

  • Independence
  • Gentleness, attention, and respect
  • Looks, of course
  • When they aren't just shallow or just serious
  • When they're culturally aware but beyond or ahead of fads
  • Inner peace and a sense of knowing who they are
  • Good taste that manifests itself as artistic flair

4. Seven things I say most often:

  • Um
  • I suppose
  • Ok
  • Awe Maaan
  • Yeah right
  • Crap
  • Hmmm

5. Seven books I love:

  • JD Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye"
  • Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • Susan Sontag's "On Photography"
  • "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
  • "The Tibetan Book of the Dead"
  • Dicken's "A Tale of Two Cities"
  • Carroll's "Adventures of Alice in Wonderland"

6. Seven memories I cherish:

  • The day I got my first dog, Sandy
  • My first real romance in college
  • Celebrating Christmas as a kid
  • The first snowfall of winter (especially if school was cut out)
  • The first day of summer vacation
  • The first time I flew to Europe
  • Traveling to California on my own as a young adult

7. This question is now a statement: you may do this if you wish.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Last Picture Show


WhiteBldgBalconyR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Here's the last one from my list...

1. The Wizard of Oz-yes, it's true, I know what's behind the curtain, I've seen the magical wizard, the yellow brick road, the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man, and I know that many of you lament over the fact that I'm just mad because a house fell on my sister. Whatever. Now you know all the movies that I've seen, you little munchkins so take your flying monkeys and go off and be prettys somewhere else, ok?

What, were you expecting more? Maybe if I could stop roasting toadies in my cauldron, I'd actually have time to go to a movie theater again. (Look out for low flying popcorn and, it goes without saying, monkeys everwhere.)

Until next flick...

PS Maybe, for my next trick, I'll present a list of my favorite photographers-ah, now there's a topic I actually know something about.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Numbing Movie Madness


ChimneyTopR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

In honor of my great movie blog entries, in Austin last week they held the now annual "butt numb-a-thon" (well, ok, they didn't really hold it in my honor, but they could have, right? And I might have attended if only I could have managed to wrestle my own numb butt off my numb couch and drag it over to the oh so numbing home of numb butts galore, the Alamo Drafthouse, right?)

The butt numb a thon is an annual showcase of more movies than an ordinary butt can handle, brought to you in stereo sound, complete with "moo-ing cows," pizza, beer, bathroom breaks, and celebrity guests. (I'm not making this up, I swear.) Someday, I may actually attend one. It really goes without saying but, I mean, come on, you just know I have a butt that's cut out for this type of work, don't I? (Please, don't answer that.)

Numb butts the world over be damned, here's more movies from the list of movies I have actually seen...

5. Moonstruck-"boil, boil, toil, and trouble..." now just where did I leave those little roasted Texas toadies? Can I have a lock of your hair, please?

4. Memento-I tried to actually start watching movies a few months back, because I felt so "out of it" (insert your favorite "well, you do live under a rock" comment here.) This was one of my attempts at changing all that. I didn't hate the movie, didn't love it, but was rather intrigued. An interesting spin of a movie that took a little too long to start off but gained some momentum as it rolled along. Hey, at least it wasn't one of those, "please remain seated until this movie grinds to a complete halt" flicks. Damn, I hate those. They bore my brain and numb my butt all at the same time, which I didn't think was humanly possible. (It's a little like burning a candle at both ends, I suppose.)

3. Napoleon Dynamite-Second in my "that's it, I'm going to get a life" attempt, I also got this DVD. Not a bad movie, made me reminisce about my own childhood (I won't admit to being a "geek" in real life but can now safely proclaim that I've got strong "Napoleon-like tendencies" which sounds a lot better in mixed company. Really. Not like I'd know because, well, I'm almost never really in mixed company but...) Not to mention that I felt oh so Napoleon-like in Venice because, well, I forgot to pack Chap Stick.

2. Little Buddha-A "pretty" film-I loved the quality of the light at the end, when they were sailing in the sound. It was shot in that "golden" light-that mystical orangy light that happens early morning or at the end of the day which I've always loved. You could film a war movie in that kind of magical light and I'd still be enamored by it. This film made me want to go to Seattle and Tibet, it was that pretty. Keith Carter really has no "poetic foo" over Bernardo Bertolucci-really, he doesn't, it's just all poetry manifesting itself as film. (And, just because I know Keith and don't want to piss him off, I really need to compare what Bernardo can do in b&w, not color.)

Hold on tight, we're almost at the bottom of the list. All that and I still haven't seen "White Men Can't Jump" (well, not really.)

Until next buttery popcorn tub and overpriced soda...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What's Pulling my Puppet Strings


MarionetteSadness, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Remember what I said about images having emotional baggage all their own? About how, just like wounded people and warriors of the heart, images can sometimes have mighty strong emotions lurking beneath their surfaces.

Today I went over to Hyde Park Bar and Grill to drop off what appeared to be the last sale from the November show.

I once helped out with a website for a local (Austin, TX-based) guitar player. Being more than a competent guitar player and a nice fellow, he would always stop to field questions, amiably enough despite, I'm certain, fans intruding at inappropriate times or places. "What kind of guitar do you play," "what kind of amp do you use?" you know, all the typical questions, which he handled gracefully, time and time again. An interesting tidbit about him though, when asked the question, "what type of strings do you use?" he would almost always respond, "same as you-puppet strings."

The piece that I sold today out at Hyde Park was not my favorite from the show. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it to bits either. I thought, when first approached about selling that piece, "odd that somebody would choose that one from the lot." Today I discovered the rationale behind the choice. Seems the fellow who purchased the piece did so for his girlfriend. She recognized the location where the image was taken, so much so, because she had a picture of her taken there with her brother, standing in the very same location, taken when she was a child. It was one of her most cherished possessions, now forever lost due to Hurricane Katrina. Her brother, I was told, passed away last year and we all know the fate of many of the worldly possessions residing in New Orleans at the time of the storm.

When I started out as a photographer, I strived to master my camera and all its workings. I tried really hard to control everything-the settings, the light, the film, my darkroom chemistry, everything about my environment, thinking that I could make better pictures; I could will them along, if only I had control. In the fifteen years or so that I've been a "professional" photographer, I've matured a lot and approach it differently now.

We all live in a great cosmos, a vast time-space continuum that spins by our heads, blindingly fast and, as it does, images clock by us. Images, like a great "visual stream of consciousness," whirl past and, if we're blessed, or lucky, we snag one off the flying queue, to label it as our own. In actuality, we don't take or make pictures any more than we really just fish them out of that great visual stream of consciousness, despite that fact that we collectively like to credit ourselves for possessing the creative hand in the grand scheme of things. We all like to blame the cosmos for our mistakes but credit ourselves for the good stuff-it's just part of being human, I suppose.

We delude ourselves into thinking that we have any sort of control over anything. Shakespeare once said that "all the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players." When I was young, I held that sentiment near. Now I prefer to leave the acting to folks like Cher and Nick Cage, but do believe that we are all, in fact, marionettes, in the grand puppet show of life, even if we try to hide the strings from sight. We don't have control over space, time, the sun, the earth, or, much less where we're standing when the camera goes off, despite our grand delusions and our best attempts, although we try to turn a blind eye to those puppet strings and just hope that nobody will notice or peek behind the curtain.

Today's events have rendered me curious as to what tomorrow's "catch of the day" will bring and, frankly, I really don't mind my puppet strings. They're as much a part of my work as the film, compact flash, paper, or chemistry that I use.

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Photo Friday Entry: Weight


WeightOfWorld, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I had a hard time trying to find a shot that fit this week's theme: weight. I kept thinking about putting up a close up shot of some great tasting gelato that I ate but that just seemed too cheesy (excuse the pun.)

Then, I was thinking about putting up a close up shot of a gondola's ferro which, for those who aren't familiar with gondolas, serves as the counterbalance to the weight of the gondolier (it's the shiny, black, metal thing on the front of the gondola that's, in fact, a weight disguised as an ornamentation, placed to help hold the front of the boat down and keep it from lifting out of the water.)

I ended up selecting this little fellow because, well, I like him, he's cute and all, and he's really got more than his fair share of weight on his shoulders, don't you think?

This was taken in Venice, Italy, near the Staircase of Giants in the Doge's Palace. It marks the entrance to the golden staircase which leads up to the former residence of the Venetian Doge. It's a wonderful place that I recommend all who go to Venice check out.

Until next time...

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Think That Nicolas Cage Should Just SNAP OUT OF IT


PeachHouseGreenShuttersR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Here's my latest screenplay. I hope that you like it.

Carol konks down on the couch, "Ok, I'm really tired so, like, maybe I'll konk out on the couch and watch whatever murder TiVo has in store for me this week. What's this? No Jeffrey Dahmer. Well, we're off to a promising start. Ok, this calls for a celebration. Maybe I'll get a beer. HORRAY BEER" (Carol rifles through 'fridge and pulls out a cold beer, pops the top, and konks back down on the couch. Faint TiVo "boop"-ing noise is heard over cold beer swilling.)

"Hmmm. Moonstruck." (Carol pauses TiVo. Another faint TiVo "boop"-ing noise is heard.) "Wasn't that with like Cher or something? Yeah, she was pretty good in that. Even though I've seen it before, I think I'll watch it again. I mean, it's this or more Charles Manson documentaries, right?" (TiVo "boop"-ing noise grows louder as movie music starts playing and credits roll.)

My screenplay ends there. Do you like it?

Yeah, now I know it's not much of a story but, ahem, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MONEY, AND GREAT AMERICAN MUSCLE CARS PRODUCED BEFORE 1969, WHY DIDN'T ONE OF YOU PHUCKERS TELL ME THAT NICOLAS CAGE STARRED AS CHER'S LEFT HANDED BREAD BAKING BOYFRIEND IN MOONSTRUCK?!?!?!?!?

Damn you. I've actually SEEN Moonstruck. I saw it years ago, when it first came out. Damn you. I curse you all.

This whole entire time, I've been trying to "unboop" a Nicolas Cage movie, trying to save it from the clutches of my murderous TiVo, just so I could see one little scrap of a one-I was begging, pleading, and wrestling my damned TiVo to bits, trying to get it to throw me a bone, just one little movie, shit, even a trailer. I thumbed up, I thumbed down, I tried everything. Crap, I even read the TiVo manual from cover to cover. And nobody, not one of you bastards, bothered to tell me that he played with Cher in Moonstruck? Moon phucking struck, a movie that I saw years ago, when it first came out.

Damn you. I curse you all.

I hope you all get moonstruck. I hope you burn up in space. I hope you get smacked with a wooden left-handed (Ok, maybe he was right handed. I really don't remember. I was too busy fuming) prosthetic bread baking hand in the face, all the time it's flipping you the bird. I hope you die in a hotel fire. In fact, right now, I'm having little happy visions of you ALL trapped on the eighty second floor, gasping for air, as the credits roll and that annoying song comes on the hotel TV ("when the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore....")

Amore, my ass. Screw you all and may you all burn in Hell for all eternity. May the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your deodorant's armpits. May you be forced to watch nothing but Pauly Shore movies and bad Guiding Light re-runs on your broken TiVo's for the rest of your natural born lives. May all your ipods suddenly burst into choruses of "She's having my baby," "99 bottles of beer on the wall," or bad ABBA remakes (complete with feigned Swedish accents) done by crappy Russian bands the world over ("Dankzing Qveen" anyone?) May you be dressed forever in clashing madras plaid, silly hats, wooly socks that itch, and boots that are too tight. May Netflicks screw up and send you only European encoded DVD's in the mail (and may the all be movies you actually want to see.) I hope you like pizza with anchovies, sour banana peppers, and smelly goat cheese. May all your milk spoil before the expiration date. May you be forced to pay you local library over twenty seven fines, all for books you didn't finish reading before the due date, and, beer money be damned, may you pull out nothing but old sticky pennies when you reach down into that crevice in your couch.

I CURSE YOU ALL.

BASTARDS. RAT BASTARDS.

"Oh didn't you see like 'Gone in 60 Seconds' or 'Con Air?' What, do you like live under a rock? Of course you know who Nick Cage is? I mean, he's played in yada, yada, yada" Didn't mention MOONSTRUCK, did you? You people rattled off a whole FREAKING list of FREAKING movies he was FREAKING in but not one of you thought to mention FREAKING Moon FREAKING struck, did you?

BASTARDS. RAT BASTARDS.

I CURSE YOU ALL.

(Nick, if you're reading this, I thought that you were really good in Moonstruck. I wish I could see more of your work, really I do but, right now anyway, I've got toads boiling in my cauldron and evil incantations I've just got to get to before the clock strikes twelve. If my cauldron doesn't explode and I can duck out of here before the flying frogs whack me in the head, I might actually get to a movie theater to see one of your flicks on the big screen. That is, unless there's another one out there that I've already seen but my cruel, cruel friends forgot to tell me about.)

Alright, I've seen a Nick Cage movie, now if only I could just SNAP OUT OF IT.

Until next lame fourteen year old IMDB photo...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Movie Reflections


YellowAndBlueBldgR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, time for some more movies...

8. Saturday Night Fever-Travolta and his chest hair at it's finest. This movie holds a special significance for me because it was the first "R" rated movie my parents would let me see. They were afraid of the "f" word back in those days, but let me see it because they heard that the dancing was so good it would probably make me forget the obscene "Tony" vernacular. Now that I'm an adult, I can honestly say, "Phuck, that was some really good dancing and I'm phucking happy I learned a new phucking word when I was only 12."

7. And the sorta "sequel" to that-Grease-yes, it's true. Been there, seen that. I was too young to understand the "he got it whacked in the car door" scene at the time but did see the entire movie, start to finish. Now I know that it was some kind of a tail spin head whack (well, ok, maybe "little" head whack, if you must be particular about it.) After seeing this movie, I knew that I didn't want to grow up to be Sandy and I didn't want to turn all Rizzo on you either. Life's hard when you are eternally trapped between slut and goodie two shoes, but it's ok because we can all just dance under the bleachers at sunset to make our own little happy endings, right?

6. Buckaroo Banzai-I saw it enough to know that this movie is actually called "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th dimension." (Don't believe me? IMDB in your face.) This is a movie that should have been a book-filled with great quotations that, for those who know me, I've long since used on my telephone answering machine ("remember, wherever you're calling from, that's where you are") How could you not like a surgeon/rock star/space explorer/planet saver who's as hunkerly Buckerly as Banzai?

It's getting hot in here. Must be my Buckerly quotient is overflowing, excuse me while I go empty it or something.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

We're Off to the Movies, I Think


RedBldgWPathR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, so I'm going to try to hurry it along and get to the huge, infinite list (about 12) of movies that I have actually seen in my lifetime.

Note that, I denote "seen" here in the true sense of the word. Just as I don't count "having visited" a city as going merely to the airport, train station, or bus stop, I don't count "seeing a movie" as one that I watch 15 minutes of before I fell asleep (my TV does, in fact, have a sleep timer, and I find Hollywood so frighteningly boring, but I'm eternally grateful, since I'm also a chronic insomniac. Lunesta deprived chronic insomniacs the world over be damned, I'm thankful that I've got Hollywood fodder to lull me into dreamland-it sometimes actually works when warm milk and soft music fail me.)

Seeing a movie to me is akin to visiting a place where you actually get off the bus, out of the airport, leave the corporate meetings behind, and go take in the sights.

To give you a concrete example, I once saw The X Files movie, but I didn't include it on my list, because, well, I was 30,000 feet up in the air, watching it on one of those little airplane TV's (in the seat in front of me) the whole time flying through a most turbulent patch of atmosphere. When the plane jumped, I never knew if the mother ship was really landing or which form of flying transport just went from merrily hurling through the space-time continuum to crashing out of control in ten seconds or less. (My plane landed safely although I still don't really know what happened to Mulder's sister, so I guess there's your answer to that one.) I don't count this 3 inch "bumpy" LCD viewpoint as "seeing" the X Files anymore than I count my 900 visits to O'Hare as really "visiting Chicago."

(I also once "saw" White Men Can't Jump on a bus near Mexico City in black and white with Spanish subtitles. And this, alas, did not make the list either although, as you might guess, it will probably make for a most excellent "blogger fodder" at some point in the future.)

So, without further ado, here are some more entries for the list:

10. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes-some say this is the worst movie ever made. I'd hardly know, since I've yet to see them all. Still, I've actually seen this B Movie Feast of Badness more than once. I can recall watching it on cable at 3 am ("And now, back to 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes' starring a bunch of people who never heard of you either...") Long live bad B movies (well, long enough for me to get a legitimate prescription for Lunesta, that is.)

9. American History X-remember what I was saying about "visual poetry?" I could not believe the visuals in this movie. I'm not a big fan of the entire "neo Natzi" storyline but, damn, the gunshot scene at the end left me staring at my hands wondering how somebody could do that with film (well, not to mention, the gun.) Excellent framing and visual composition-so good it had me riveted (and, believe me, after being a photographer and seeing what people can do with film over and over again, that's not exactly easy anymore.)

So, there's two more you can write home about, or add to your Netflix list of malcontents, misfits, and odd buckets of cruft otherwise left out in the cold.

Hey, they just might show up in the mail someday, right?

Until next flick...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Two Movies and a Frosty


RedAndWhiteDiagR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's bitter cold today in River City. It's been a balmy high of about 30 degrees. We've had a frost over the entire city and, lately anyway, it seems like winter's here to stay.

This year, we kind of got "robbed" in the seasons department. It was autumn for a grand total of two entire days-having moved from the heat of summer directly into the dead of winter, without so much as a fleece wearing, hot cocoa sipping, chill of a day, sans the ice and white stuff (sn*w.) What happened to my 50 degree playtime, Santa? Did it go the way of the do do bird, just so you could make room for your friend, Jack Frost? Gee, thanks, Jack, but, if I'd really wanted to see you, I would have moved to Minnesota, where they can legitimately say things like, "dude, it's COLD outside" all year round.

The other day, I was watching Law and Order re-runs-a particular episode where the feds moved in on the SVU office, completely obliterating any evidence of a recent sex-related case. Ice-T, the rapper turned hardcore actor, came back into the squad room and said something along the lines of, "who do we call when we get raped?"

Best advice would be, "don't blame Minnesota, dude. My hunch is that they don't want any either."

In today's movie list, I bring you the bottom two (not that they appear in any significant order, mind you, these are the two that just happen to be at the bottom:)

12. South Park, The Movie-Been there, seen that, blamed Canada, and came out chanting "phuck you, uncle phucker." My favorite scene was when they offed Bill Gates. Man, I could watch that over and over again, blue screen be damned.

11. Office Space-A horrific docudrama about working for IBM, this movie scared me to the core. I still shake in fear at the sight of a red stapler or the mention of a TPS memo, honest, I do. A chilling, demonic, horror flick of a movie, I still have nightmares about it.

What? Were you really expecting another comedy?

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Reflections of My Cinematic Tastes


RedAndWhiteBlueSkyR, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today's image is first in a work-in-progress series of images from Venice, entitled Reflections of Venice. These are all images shot while looking down, into the water. Sorry but, I haven't had time to finish post-processing much more from Venice and, as luck would have it, there are 20 of these, so you'll be seeing these in all the old familiar places for the next few days (weeks, maybe?)

Good or bad, I'd have to see that these images are, uniquely, "me" (whatever that means, right?)

And in other news...

Those of you who know me (as opposed to those who just happen to flip on by or come here because your mother named you Carol or something) will know that, if you ever start a sentence with the phrase, "Did you see that new movie about..." or "Have you seen the one with..." my answer will, almost always, be a resounding, "no."

I never go to the movies. I never watch movies on TV. I have cable, but I don't watch it. I think that TV is something like "white noise" that I can conveniently listen to while Photoshopping, coding, or doing whatever else it is that I do in my daily routine. My TV habits are not very habitual to say the least. (I do own a TV, so, I suppose, I'm a bit better off than some folks I know, but, really, it's a stretch.) I don't know why-maybe I just prefer live theather or maybe it's because I just can't sit for three damn hours on end watching some crap on a giant screen while eating overpriced popcorn. I don't want to see the world blow up, eat oysters, or fall in love with Meg Ryan, ok. (I've got better things to do with myself, like try to figure out how to "unboop" all the murders on my TiVo, or clone stamp in a better sky, for example.)

Don't get me wrong, I do watch the occassional Law and Order episode but, as far as entertainment goes, I'm all music or nothing but 'net (I do sometimes surf the web-it's a side effect of being a professional computer programmer.) I flickr, I yahoo!, crap, I even GOOGLE, but, please, for the love of God, don't call me a TV or movie junkie. It just ain't gonna fly. I'd rather be listening to Friends of Dean Martinez or Mouse on Mars (and I can probably safely say that *you* need a life because you probably really don't know who they are.)

Sure, I'll go for the occassional "pretty" movie. It's no secret that I'm a still photographer and, frankly, it's not that far of a "hop" from still photos to film. I've always been a sucker for good visuals-for people who's work elevates our visual sense to something more than just fine imagry-for visual poetry in any form, weather it's Man Ray or Bernardo Bertolucci. Visual imagry that's good, that's stunning, that's just so damn good, it knocks you for a loop and takes your breath away, well, it's hard for me to get enough of it. Not that I don't mind good characters and a plot mind you (I did start out as a writer of sorts) but I expect all that and damn good visuals from a movie. (It's not impossible, not with the technology we have these days-it's just that people in LA are lazy and don't bother even trying anymore. Their "target demographics" want to see the world blow up and they stick to what passes and pays the bills.)

Now, I know some folks have websites, where they talk about all the great movies they've seen, been to on a date, want to see, wished they hadn't seen, etc. and I thought it fitting that I share this side of my life with you because, well, crap, I share everything else, right?

Rather than listing the movies I want to see or talk about the ones I've just seen, I thought it best if I just list all the movies I've seen. I mean, it's a lot easier than trying to dig up ghosts from the future, right? (Loitering cable and TiVo hangers-on need not apply.)

I'll let you decide how crazy I am after reading this. I'll let you decide if I really do live under a rock and need to get to my local cinaplex more. I'll let you decide if I really need to go out and rent a Nick Cage movie (or a Johnny Depp movie, or TiVo a...crap, nevermind, just read the list.)

Anyway, the list, of movies that I have actually seen, will be coming over the next few days, in no particular order.

You can say what you want about it. You can tell me I live under a rock and need to get out more. You can tell me I'm evil incarnate for not having seen *insert your favorite movie here.* (Whatever)

The coming list will be, much like these reflections, uniquely "me" whatever that may bring you. I hope you enjoy it but, please, take it for what it's worth. It's just a collection of crap that I happened upon, which kept me awake and engaged long enough to pay attention to, instead of doing my usual.

Fantasy really is for those who can't handle a good reality, right?

Until next flick...

Monday, December 05, 2005

Getting Desperate on You


ManSmokesAtFlorian, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Last night, for the first time, I saw an episode of Desperate Housewives-my friend, Steve, invited me over to watch it with his neighbors, as they do every Sunday evening.

When I was in Italy, a few people asked me about the show. Apparently, it's quite the talk of the town all over Europe, which made me joke about the "great" American contributions to the free world as we know them: McDonald's, Starbucks, Desperate Housewives, I Love Lucy, Law and Order reruns, and Coca Cola. Truthfully, I think that Lucy is really the only "great" contribution-the rest are guilty pleasures at best or perhaps items for which Americans should truly be sorry and apologize, but that's a debate best left to pundits who can pontificate the benefits of mediocre TV, marginal coffee, and soft drinks capable of stripping paint off automobiles. I just wanted to check out the TV program.

It was sort of interesting. It's kind of funny. Frankly, I could see how people could get addicted. It has a certain quality that would draw folks in, kind of like that old "moth to a flame" adage but only in pixilated TV format, complete with minute and a half commercials apropos for the new adult risque-TV watching set. That and, of course, the new McDonald's theme, "I'm Lovin' It" run over and over again for your viewing pleasure.

Of course, we really didn't have to wade through the commercials, as Steve has a TiVo. His, albeit it cursed, is actually capable of recording "real" TV programs and, as such, leaves me a bit jealous. (Yes, it's true, I heard the faint rumble of the TiVo "boop" and didn't get to see any Charles Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer video dioramas. But then again, he hasn't recently seen any Nick Cage movies either, so life's not all wine and roses for poor Steve, living in the land of the "cursed" TiVo and all.)

TiVo be damned, I came home afterwards, only to watch more of the "boob tube" and wade through more Compact Flash, but didn't get very far, having fallen asleep after a whopping half a Gig, waking up to find, yes it's true, a Law and Order rerun playing while I was drooling onto my keyboard.

This shot was taken at Cafe Florian, in Piazza San Marco, in the heart of Venice. This is, as you may know, home of the world's most expensive cup of coffee, as well as a place where, in the evenings, folks can go and smoke. We met this fellow who, as it turns out, was from Sri Lanka, but visiting to enjoy an evening tap off of cafe and a late night smoke. He had been sitting with the folks inside the cafe but opted to "puff" his way outside the joint, so as to not smoke up the place.

You can almost "peek" inside and see that Florian does come complete with some antique oil paintings/frescos on the walls so, at least, your 18 Euro grande cafe comes with a bit of a view.

All that and caffeine's addictive too. Who would have thunk it?

Until next time...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Photo Friday Entry: Experimental


CrazyItalianPhones, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is sort of an experimental shot-although it did not start out to be so. I started to take the picture and then realized that it was way too dark in the little corner I was standing to work without my tripod. So, I opted to open slowly the zoom lens on my camera while it was taking, figuring that, since this shot was blown anyway, I might as well play some and attempt to try and make something of an otherwise completely blown image. (Yes, I know there's a delete button but, geesh, I grew up with film and old habits die hard, don't they?)

I think, apart from the "when you get lemons, make lemonaide" aspect of this one, it does kind of work for me. It's a bit abstract but then, as you know, I've been on a big abstract kick as of late so it fits with my current body of work. It kind of goes with the subject matter as these telephones are famous (or so I've been told, I didn't actually get to use one) for working/not working/sort of working/working only during a full moon on alternate Thursdays kind of a thing.

When you get crazy Italian phones, make lemonaide but be sure to spike it. Yeah, that's it.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Gondola in the Mist No 4


GondolaIntheMistNo4, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I just finished uploading 20 (count 'em *20*) images to my flickr account which consist of nothing but reflections from my trip to Venice. No, not me thinking, with little pufts of smoke coming from my ears, actually "real live" reflections. You know, walk up to some water and look down at yer feet sort of stuff.

The masses cried, "we want to see pictures."

I kept whining, "but I have 18 G's of Compact Flash to process."

The masses kept crying, "we want to see pictures."

Today my mother, who usually doesn't bother me about such things said to me over the telephone, "Well, you don't have any pictures for me to see."

Geesh. It's a good thing I've got a superfast MAC and that like the connection to flickr was high speed today, allowing me to upload the first of the reflections series. They aren't the best, they aren't the worst, some of them need some work, some of them are just ducky "out of the shoot" but, damn it, they are UPLOADED (so there.)

My TiVo also managed to disconnect it's head from my router so, for a brief period of time, I was actually able to watch something other than murder and mayhem.

I told some of the folks on my workshop (Venice) about my TiVo and Jonathan, our fearless leader said, "it's probably redecorating your home while you are here." I was a bit afraid to put the key in the door to see what I might find, half expecting the place to be re-done, complete with dungeon garb or maybe handcuffs hanging from the ceiling. Or, maybe even worse, bad 70's plaid decor. Argh, now that would really kill me.

Instead, today, I had to re-type that damned WEP password, in hex, complete with all the little numbers and letters, using the "boop boop" remote on the TiVo and wait like 27 years for it to connect with TiVo homebase (I'm afraid to even ask where that might be. I'm guessing the decor there is really 70's with a few 'cuffs thrown in on the side but, like, don't quote me on that.)

Sure, I also missed my "golden opportunity" to actually see a movie starring somebody other than Charles Manson for like 20 minutes or so, while the TiVo uploaded the newest list of murder from it's appropriately decorated "home base." Makes you wonder, but not too long, what the TiVo makers watch on TV, doesn't it?

And makes me think about re-decorating in something bright and floral just to be safe but, like, you know I won't. I'm too afraid of flowers. Besides, everybody knows I've got craploads of Compact Flash to process and don't really have time to re-decorate the dungeon right now anyway.

Until next time...