Thursday, March 30, 2006

Passion and Aplomb


EricAndChair, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

In case you did not know, today is Eric Clapton's 65th birthday. To borrow a line from one of his songs, "Hello, old friend, it's really good to see you once again..."

I first heard Eric's music when I was a young girl. My sister had one of the early Cream albums, and I can remember hearing SWLABR for the first time ("but the rainbow has a beard.") I couldn't fathom what I was hearing. It was odd. It was art. It was Dada. It was a bit crazy. It was the 60's. In a lot of little ways, it was what I've been trying to become, as an artist myself, ever since I first heard that song.

I ran into an architect friend today. I was talking with another fellow about architecture, and we really started to get into it. We were discussing mid century mod, case studies, the entire lot of people like Frank Lloyd Wright, and such. We were into it, deeply discussing architectural visions of the great masters.

My architect friend then joined in on the conversation. I realized that he was rather bored with all of our talk. He was not really "into" architecture, probably because, well, he lives it, day in and day out. It's hard to be passionate about what's clear in front of your face each and every day, isn't it? (I suppose, I'm the same way about computers or photos of sunsets, flowers, people's kids, and the like. After a while, we're all just "ho hum" about things-even our passions.)

At it's very essence, art is passion. All the best artists, independent of medium, all tend to be passionate. Artists are souls capable of throwing caution to the wind, taking risks, making bold choices, daring to bear their feelings and creative vision out on a "canvas" (of some kind anyway) for all the world to see and enjoy.

Sure, there are probably better guitar players out there. I'm sure you could hunt high, low, and probably even not too far to find somebody who's more technically proficient at playing the guitar than Mr. Clapton here. But, let's see you try to drum up one who plays which such emotion, such passion, and such aplomb. I think that, with all of his experience and emotion, you'd be hard pressed to find an axe grinder quite like that.

So, next time you find yourself thinking that you're old, or feeling down, for whatever reason, stop and say to yourself, "play it once more...with feeling" and see where that gets you.

Who knows? You just might end up in the "white room" yourself.

Until next birthday greeting...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting Around Austin


WhiteHouseInTheWoods, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

For the longest time I never posted any pictures taken in Austin or "my own backyard" as Barbara used to call it. I was Rolodexing, I was penciling in exotic locales, jaunting off to far points of the globe (as if the globe really had "points") and I was just so busy running around, I never actually used a camera while situated at home. It was always laundry, more Compact Flash, catch up on the TiVo, maybe pay a few bills, get a quick haircut, book the next flight, and then, BAM, off again, in search of the "exotic" (whatever that might be.)

This was taken in Hyde Park, one of Austin's oldest neighborhoods. It's very typical of the houses you might find there. Actually, it's a very "architectural" shot, even for me (and I do tend to have an architectural leaning, in case you could not tell from peeking.)

I guess, because I live here, it's not very "exotic" to me but, if you really stop to look at it, it's the kind of house that makes Austin so special. It's the reason I moved here and, I suppose, it's the reason I keep coming back, despite booking flights to far away Italy, funky New Orleans, or southwestern places like Santa Fe.

No matter where you go, the return flight, drive, caravan, or milky way hop always takes you home eventually, right?

At least, we all hope it does, even if you do have to change planes in Chicago.

Until next far away locale...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Autograph

Recently, I was poking around a bookstore and happened upon a signed Michael Kenna book.

I'm not a big fan of autographs, in fact, I've always thought that they were kind of silly. I mean, if I had an autograph from somebody especially famous, say somebody like Michael Jackson, what would that prove really? That I once spoke with him? That I touched his elbow (or maybe, more accurately, his pen?) That I furiously out-bid other Michael Jackson fanatics on ebay? If I were really a fan of him and his music, the autograph would be meaningless to me-it's the music or art itself, that really would matter most, right? Why would his signature even mean anything to me at all?

Don't get me wrong, I have, in the past, enjoyed some slight brushes with greatness. Once, I got Bob Dylan's autograph, but not as you might imagine (and not, surprisingly, because I asked for it. He volunteered it and I politely accepted.)

I have a friend who collects radio tubes, you know the kind they sometimes use in guitar amps and frequently used in radios back before the days of the transistor. He also collects specifications for radios, including some old German ones, particularly those made during World War II. What does this have to do with autographs, you ask? Well, back in those days, government, especially German government, wasn't very democratic. All specifications had to be signed by the man at the top and, for World War II era Germany anyway, that translated into Adolf Hitler. So I've seen his John Hancock more than once. It's safe to say I'm not a fan of Hitler's work despite his historical significance, but I've at least seen his signature (for better or worse.)

An interesting thing about the Michael Kenna book and signature itself is that he signed his name quite big. Not just big, but really really freaking HUGE is how I would describe it actually. (We're talking like inches here.) He took up some serious literary real estate, wielding a signature that large. He's a nice guy, I guess he figured that, if somebody's a big enough fan to shell out their hard earned dough on a signed copy of his book, he should at least be kind enough to give them a big enough signature.

I telephoned my Mom, describing his signature and she said, "of course, he has a big signature. You should have one too. You should be proud of your photos."

Proud? Maybe. But, I don't want to ruin them with the chicken scratch I pass off as "handwriting" so, for now, I'm keeping my signature small.

Ah, that's life as we know it, living "small" in Carol's Little World.

Until next pointless personalized pen stroke...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Crazy Suzy


ColorUtilityNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My friend Rose has a new SUV. It's one of those SUV's that comes with all those newfangled gizmos, you know, it's got things like a DVD player that flops down from above, a moon roof that you can open with a remote, automatically folding back seats, and the like. Rose was kind enough to offer us a ride in her fancy new truck.

Buried almost underneath the dash is a particularly interesting gizmo she named Suzy (after the Chinese restaurant.) Suzy, you see, is actually one of those talking navigational systems.

These wonderful (and I use that term loosely, after my TiVo experience and all) new gizmos work by allowing the user (that would be us, the lost photographers, in case you weren't paying attention) to "punch in" an address or locale of choice and then sit back and listen to the pleasantly timbered simulated human voice guide us along the proper route to our destination of choice. (Ha! Yeah right, like this was going to work. Not with me in the back seat, anyway.)

Rose warned us about Suzy. "She's kind of chatty," she said, as we were piling into the back of the shiny new buggy, "sometimes she talks too much but, once you get going, she tends to quiet down."

From the start, I had visions of some talking TiVo, saying things like, "No, other LEFT, you morons," while steering us right up to some crime scene tape. I really pictured some demonic talking freak of a GPS, driving us straight up to the gates of Hell (but then I knew from the start really that we were going to Houston, right?)

I also had all kinds of questions. Would it get mad if we made a wrong turn? ("No, you stupid humans, I said LEFT!") Would it be able to handle Houston traffic without snapping? ("Damn pickup truck. Go back to Katy, you rube!") What would happen if we were to run out of gas or get totally lost? ("Sure, don't feed me you bozos! Now we're really screwed! I told you clowns to take a left and just look at what you've done. How am I supposed to get us out of this mess?")

As it turned out, if you were to make a wrong turn, Suzy would prominately display the word "Recalculating," take a bit of time, and then generate additional directions. Sometimes, she would guide you in a complete circle, right around the block. Sometimes, she would adjust and take you a different route.

A funny thing about computers-you either trust them or you don't. Even if you don't, you probably stop to listen to them when they talk. The world is just not all that full (yet) of the "chatty" variety of CPU.

At one point in our drive, I can remember we were all feeling quite helplessly lost. We pulled up to a fork in the road, were collectively faced with the classic right vs. left decision, and all leaned into see what Suzy was going to do. It seemed like the world stopped. Everything came to a stand still. The car behind us stopped, the car in front, long gone, the traffic light didn't blink, nobody in the car spoke a word, and we all sort of leaned in to wait for Suzy to yap out her deterministic choice. It was as if the entire universe and galaxy as we know it were in a sudden state of limbo, eagerly awaiting Suzy's "left" or "right" response and we all sat there mesmerized by the "Recalculating" delay. (It was almost like waiting for a shoe to drop really.)

Parts of Houston (I-10, and the rest of Texas really) were under construction. They recently added a lane to the right of I-10 which we used during our return trip. During this time, Suzy kept urging us, "slight left. Merge onto the highway" probably because we were driving on the newly constructed portion of the road, and she didn't yet know that it was available. (She was fooled by those dreaded satellites into thinking we were still on the access road.)

She seemed a bit curt and even sometimes "snippy" when we didn't listen to her suggestions (but then, what do you expect? She's not human after all.)

After we stopped for gas, she seemed particularly upbeat, at which point, somebody in the car remarked, "well, of course, we fed her."

I have to admit that Suzy was quite entertaining. She made the trip kind of fun, helped with the directions, and we never really did have to pull out those old standbys: the maps. We did drive around the block a few times but, as the evening sun set on the Houston skyline, I kind of enjoyed the warm, comfortable, blue glow coming from under the dash.

If I had to have a GPS in my car I don't think I would mind it really. Life with Suzy would never be dull, although, I have to admit, you'd probably always know where you were going, wouldn't be able to drive along new highways, and would get more than a little sick of hearing the phrase, "slight left. Merge onto the highway."

It beats going crazy trying to find a map, that's for sure.

Until next "chatty" CPU...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More Power To Ya


ColorUtilityNo5, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is a utility box. Boring, dull, uninteresting. It's the place where all that stored up energy comes into your home, office, building, yurt, or what have you. It's the place where all the wires meet. Think of it as a singles bar for electrons.

Most of us having boring utility boxes. Some of us have poles. Some of us live like lemmings and drive to work in shiny metal boxes everyday thinking that we're the greatest thing since sliced bread. And, I suppose, some of us paint our utility boxes. So they won't be so boring. So they won't be so dull. So those electrons feel mighty special when then come on in, out of the cold, to meet up with those protons and other nuclear friends.

When (if?) I ever grow up, I want to live in a place like this. A place where my electrons feel free-totally free-so free they can let their microscopic electronic freak flags fly like the wind. Go electrons go. Go give us power.

But, where in the rules does it say we have to be dull about it?

Until next time...

Saturday, March 25, 2006

There's Only One Way to Play it


PresHallTrumpClose, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Smooth

Jazz should be smooth. Hot, sometimes, crazy, ok, maybe lively, sometimes sexy, but *always* smooth.

This was taken in New Orleans, at Preservation Hall. I was lucky enough to visit that great jazz hovel just before the storm hit and all Hell broke loose.

Somebody since asked me, "is jazz dead now that New Orleans flooded?"

"Dead, no way," I replied, "it'll never be dead. It just smells funny."

Until next time...

Wearing a Coat Like an Arctic Monkey


ShadowWalksByGrandCanal, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Everybody's talking about the Arctic Monkeys. They played South by Southwest, practically didn't bother to show up for their own gig, and still got tons of press coverage. All over the papers, all around town, it's all you hear about these days. Even damned Jay Leno is talking about them. Everywhere you go, it's Arctic Monkeys this, Arctic Monkeys that, here an Arctic Monkey, there an Arctic Monkey. Crap, I'm so sick of hearing *about* them, while not actually hearing them. (I have yet to hear them play a note, really. Despite the fact that they appear all over my TV, radio, and local newspaper.)

They're a band, for pete's sake. They should be singing, playing, maybe even trashing hotel rooms, a la Trail of the Dead, not running around town pontificating. (I guess you could sum them up by saying we collectively need a little less arctic talk and a lot more monkey action.)

Well, damn, now I guess I just spoke about them too, didn't I?

Until next frozen baboon...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Good Lord, What Was That?


WeirdStoreWindowNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My friend Steve once went to see the movie Star Wars. He went on the day it opened, when it was playing in a crowded, sold out theater. Before the movie, before any movie actually, they play trailers, you know, they play tidbits and short commercial-like features from other, soon to be released movies, particularly for movies that they are promoting, for whatever reason, that week.

On this particular day, in this particular theater, at this particular movie, they played the trailer for that Dukes of Hazard re-make, staring that big, bubbly, bleached blonde, Jessica Simpson.

Picture this. A crowded, but quiet, theater, packed to the rafters with people eagerly awaiting Star Wars, forced to sit and eat overpriced popcorn, when Jessica Simpson comes on, wearing those short shorts, cowboy boots, and whatnot, and starts twirling around like some semi-human Barbie doll.

The theater stays quiet. Eager Star Wars fans sit there in wonder, mouths agape, touching face, collectively gazing at the big screen, expecting Luke Skywalker but instead finding themselves staring at that celluloid (her fake body parts? That film? Who knows?) and wonder what in the Hell they are really looking at.

From the back of this crowded, quiet theater, one fellow, oblivious to the lot, looks up and loudly asks, "Good Lord, what was that?" Everybody laughs. The entire, previously quiet theater, enjoys a burst of laughter before Star Wars rolls into space.

After FofoFest, I was reminded of something that I knew all along.

Some people want you to look at their images and say, "that's pretty." Some people want you to look at snapshots of their family bulldog and say, "wow, he's ugly." Some people want you to look at their sunsets and think, "wish I were there right now. Look at those colors." Some people want you to look at their work, see injustice and human suffering, stand up, and shout, "I'm going to change the world!"

Me? I want you, like the guy in the theater, to look up from your oblivion and, while everybody else is in quiet contemplation, be the only one to stand up and ask, "What in the Hell am I looking at?"

That, my friends, is really what photography is about to me. You can keep your artists' statements, your pompous gallery reviews, you booze at the openings (well, ok, maybe not the booze. I'd like some of that too.)

All that other stuff? It's just meaningless noise to me-fodder for some great artist's statement I'll probably never write.

I've been quite busy, haven't had much time to write, but I'll try to continue with more reviews from FotoFest, as well as a proper introduction to "Suzy" when I can.

Until next rhetorical question...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It's a Festival of Photos


MissionHouseInDrought, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

For your viewing pleasure (well, actually, mine) this weekend, I attended Fotofest in Houston, TX.

The FotoFest headquarters are in the warehouse district in Houston, housed in a two story warehouse with a creaky wooden floor in a part of town you might not call "nice" but, nevertheless, may want to visit someday. The theme for this FotoFest (they have themes) are violence and the earth.

The headquarters were filled with "violence." I bought a guide book and viewed several exhibitions related to the theme: The Earth-Artists Respond to Violence.

There was an exhibit at headquarters called "Surface" or rather large colored prints-images that looked sort of "normal" maybe like a closeup of some dirt from your own backyard-until you read the accompanying descriptions. They were samples of earth taken from Vietnam-taken from places that bore a significance during the Vietnam war. I thought these very powerful because they served to remind us that people fought and died over simple handfuls of soil. It was an artistic "ashes to ashes/dust to dust" statement that really shouted in a whisper (well, actually, a brightly colored print on the wall, but you get the idea.)

Another installation involved mannequins that were used as sort of "crash test dummies" in Germany so soldiers could prepare for war.

The next exhibition was an elongated fold out book from City #65, so called because it was a "hidden" city-hidden in Russia during the cold war. A city that's home to radiation studies and blood work for people who have grown up in a fall out zone.

"Unfathomable Humanity" was a series of collages featuring common victim/torture themes, along with pictures of the heads of state or leaders responsible for the torture, in an artistic "he done it" attribution of violence.

There wasn't one single real "stand out" image for me but rather the entire body of work presented itself as fragments of a whole-each piece spoke to a common central theme.

While probably not for the flippant and possibly not for the faint of heart, the show was a powerful, thought provoking visual presentation. It was somber but it made us think. It was real, yet it seemed unfathomable. It was exotic, yet it was the sort of violence propagated by our very own government, in our very own backyard.

It was so much more than flowers and sunsets, that's for certain.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Technology


CityLights, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Are these city lights?

Nope, actually electronic LED's taken in a computer server room.

What kind of data is traveling through those machines?

I don't know. I do know that, everytime one of the little blue lights (seen to the left) blinks, some data is traveling somewhere. Maybe it's an email to your wife to tell her you still love her but won't make it home for dinner on time, maybe it's that memo your boss requested, maybe it's google search or photofriday shoveling more bits this way and that. Whatever it is, where ever it's going, those 1's and 0's hurl through space and make the lights blink blue just for one second. Just a split second for the light to blink, the machine to churn, the data to fly, and then, if you're lucky, it all happens again from the beginning. The emails go, the memos are left unread, the google page pops up, the images appear.

Technology, like photography, works at the speed of light.

Until next time...

Road Trip


UnderTheOverPassNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This one is a bit more "out there" than the other "Drive By" images, but I like it, because it has a certain motion about it. Everything's just a bit more jagged and it kind of fits with the feeling I'm trying to convey a bit better. I like the lights in the blue sky, looking a bit like psychotic birds of some kind. Magical "squiggles" in the night really.

Speaking of motion, things moving, and driving, this weekend I attended the bi-annual celebration of photography in Houston, TX known as FotoFest. FotoFest is held in galleries, hotels, bank lobbies, museums, and various other venues all around the city. I traveled to Houston, TX by car yesterday to attend the event

Sorry, I didn't drag along the camera, so there will be no "Drive By" images from this trip. I will, however, have a lot to say about it over the course of the next few days.

It's even hard to put into words highlights from the trip, although "Suzy" might be able to articulate it much better than I can when she says, "slight left...turn now." Yeah, you got that right, lady, "slight left...turn now..." turn towards insanity and immersion without stopping for "middle ground" (which is really what you see here, in this "Drive By" image, don't you think?)

Hmmm. Who's Suzy you might ask?

Ah, my friends, that would be telling.

Until next automation...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Living with TiVo Can Be Murder


UnderTheOverPassNo4, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, lately I've been addicted to all things American Idol. I'm following the competition very closely this year, perhaps because it started while I was on vacation and I had gobs of time to just check out the preliminaries, perhaps because I'm just fascinated by the musical selections and the talent this time around. For whatever reason, however I've gotten to this point, I now find myself totally addicted. I watch every outfit (those gaucho pants! What blogger fodder there!) I listen intently to every "pitchy" note. Heck, I even checkout the official (and not so official-check out Television without Pity if you want some dish) websites.

So, it should be no surprise that, last night, I came home just after seven, saw the happy little red TiVo light glowing in my otherwise darkened home, and merrily assumed that my now sort of working (unless you count the various
Nicolas Cage incidents I've since learned to forgive-well, forgive but wash my hands about,) TiVo was, in fact, recording the latest in chart topping wannabe contestants. Sure, it had to be recording American Idol for me, right? I mean, what else could possibly be on at 8 pm?

*Sigh* I should know better than to trust that thing. I should know by now that it's been plotting it's perfect little murder for months now and, in fact, just occasionally listens to me, just long enough to throw me off it's happy, little, red light, killing trail. It's learned how to take the heat off and lay low like some Usama Bin TiVo, hiding in the mountains of my living room long enough to get me off it's scent. (Frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't already killed somebody and fingered the 'fridge for it. But, this just makes me suspect it's all that much more sinister.)

No, my friends, I missed American Idol last night because there was a re-run episode of Law and Order on and TiVo thinks I just can't get enough murder and mayhem in my life.

Now, I know I shouldn't really complain about this. I know I should just shut up and put up already, especially considering I bought the damned TiVo only so I could record Law and Order and, heck, after months of Nicolas Cage movies featuring improper hygiene, it finally worked, right?

Yes, my friends, I *should* be happy about this. But, instead, I'm crushed.

Last night, I didn't get to see who got voted off and I missed my favorite of favorites, that "helpful hardware man" himself, Ace.

Damn. Somebody please pass me the remote.

Until next TiVo...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Vision


SunglassStoreKodak, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The entry guidelines for this week suggest the following:

Windows, Mirror, Eyes, Printed Matter, Glasses, Sunglasses, Monocle, Camera, Microscope, Telescope.

Let's see how I did...

Windows-check, mirror-check, eyes-check, printed matter-nope, glasses-big check, sunglasses-big check, monocole-nope, camera-well, I got a film sign, microscope-sorry, didn't have one handy, telescope-like I could fit one of those into my suitcase. Ha!

5 and a half out of 10 is still doing better than half, right?

I'm still really fascinated by the opposite of sight as a topic for photography but this will have to do for this week's vision theme.

This was taken in November in Venice where, I guess, the eyes had it.

Until next spectacle...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Driving


DriveByAndUnknownExit, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, I'm driving downtown today. There are tons of cars on the road but the traffic's really moving. It's just booking along, clocking at a nice even pace, as I make all the lights all the way up 360, my mind starts to drift. The traffic has a tempo all it's own and it lulls over me. I drift away, thinking about rolling hills, as music pulsates from my stereo speakers. The red tail lights in front of me and the endless stream of white lights from the approaching cars blur into one single beam of consciousness, until I'm totally lost in it all. I'm sitting there, facing that dash, but I've actually completely checked out. I'm in the zone.

Have you ever driven downtown, late at night? Noticed how the buildings all sort of whirl together into one single blend of blur that just swirls by your head as you move? Notice how you don't seem to care where your exit is anymore?

Sometimes, you just feel like getting in the car and driving-driving for miles, maybe down a long country road or along a busy interstate that's moving. Maybe it's the 4-0-5 or I-10 or maybe it's county road number 22. Whatever it is, wherever you are, it washes over you. You find yourself miles away as you just take in all the motion, all the moving parts and pieces blend into one. You get overwhelmed with a sense of wonder and magic about it all. The world may not be a better place but, at least you have an escape hatch, right?

It's been really nice and sunny in Austin and, with spring break, traffic's been at record lows. Everybody, it seems, has left town for the coast or points afar.

It's a combination that makes for really nice driving.

Until next stick shift...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Unknown Destination


UnderTheOverPassNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Well, not really. I do believe this is somewhere near the 35th Street overpass and I was going home. (It's definitely I-35 for you. It's got I-35 written all over it's face, that's for certain. I-35's all about that upper deck.)

Ah, north Austin. Land of the forgotten highway overpass. Can't you just smell them from here?

This was taken in Austin, TX. I was following a red jeep and a pickup truck. (Yes, we really do drive pickup trucks in Texas. Don't believe me? Check out the blur to the right and you'll see.)

This is my entry for the "Unknown Destination" monthly challenge. It is one from a "mini-series" I'm currently calling "Drive By" which is my tribute to traffic snarls and highway overpasses, even those outside of North Austin. It's a little like Uta Barth gone mobile.

Big question for you...what would you get if you mated a highway overpass with a pickup truck?

Until next overpass...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pine Needles


PineNeedlesNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Don't you just *hate* these things? I mean, they get all over the yard, and they stick to everything. They're so messy, these pine needles are.

But, they are part of nature as well and, since you asked for it, this is my entry for the "nature" challenge. Very natural, despite the fact that they accumulate in the yard faster than snow does (sometimes.)

Until next time...

Red Boats


RedBoats, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I thought it a bit odd that these fellows parked their red boats right next to each other.

Odd for "boatmanship" but it makes for interesting pictures, don't you think?

Until next time...

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm No Hero

The other night, I just absolutely could not sleep. So, I'm tossing and turning, like a rat in a cage, fluffing all the pillows, staring at the ceiling for hours on end, mentally running about, an imaginary gerbil ball in my own mind, when I decide to get up and put on the television. I flipped through a bunch of channels and happened upon a very late night showing of the movie Hero.

Not being able to sleep, I totally got engrossed in the movie. I was following all the characters and the plot and loved the special effects of it all. The movie, in case you don't know (or haven't seen it yourself) is very Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon-like-it's a Chinese epic fantasy/drama about sword fighting that's got stunning visual effects and some great martial arts in the mix.

So, picture this, the hero and villains are hurling through space, grandly "whacking" each other with swords, and I'm so into it all, while propped up in bed. They try to off the emperor but, in order to do this, they have to get within 10 paces of him, so they try to out-smart him by pretending to take out one of his adversaries, but they don't, and he's isn't fooled by this fiendish plot, and then the swords grandly fly about even more. Then, the arrows come. The army marches. The plot's twisting and turning and I'm following along despite the fact that it's 3 am and I haven't slept a wink. My house is dark, I'm propped up in bed at 3 am totally into this movie.

And, what happens to end this grand epic, you might ask? Damn, I feel asleep.

I feel asleep right in the middle of the sword whacking, rain falling, arrow hurling, special effects driven movie where the emperor almost gets offed by the malcontents from the Chinese prairie and now I'll never know how it ends, who was the good guy, who was the (really) bad guy, what happened to Sky and Broken Sword and the whole lot of them all.

Damn.

And, the worst part? What could be worse than missing half a movie you were really into, you might ask? Well, crap, I haven't been able to sleep since.

Yes, my friends, I've got horrible insomnia and haven't been sleeping well and I've no earthly clue as to how the good movie ends.

So, to sum up my past few days, I haven't gotten much sleep, have had way too much coffee, am way behind in all of my photography-related tasks, don't have any clean laundry, and I don't even know who the real "Hero" even is.

Crap, I hope you're having a better week. And, it goes without saying really but, if you should happen to bump into me, please, please, please (for the love of God, money, and great Sikorsky flying machines) please do NOT tell me how the movie Hero ends, should you happen to be in the know.

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

All Worked Up


UnderTheOverpass, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

One of the popular misconceptions about photography is that photographers are lazy slackers at heart. (This must be "break the myth" week at blogger or something.) People tend to think photography degenerates into clicking a few buttons, maybe "pufting" a model's hair a bit, or adjusting a fan in front of a half-naked lady just long enough so we can generate a few "snaps."

Today, I had to meet with a client, go downtown to run an errand, try to ready some prints needed for a layout next week, make a 1 pm film drop (yes, I said "film." I have been, ahem, "reduced" to using film because I need slides ASAP so this necessitates me actually touching some real live "film" for a change-not to mention the fact that I need it now, so I've been reduced to groveling at some underpaid over-glorified technician at my "local" photo lab, begging for them to remember to run it E-6 and not screw it up, as usual so I don't end up with green people or, um, in this case, really, really *late* green people.) I'm almost completely out of Compact Flash (again!) because I haven't had any time to really sift through the (personal) crap I've been shooting and I'm supposed to curate a body of work before next week as well, not to mention the fact that I've got an exhibition print I need to ready and, like, um, that laundry pile in the bedroom isn't getting any smaller, ok?

All this while managing to eat not much more than half of a burnt English muffin on the run and wondering how I'm going to possibly get everything done in time, before some great impending deadline eats what's left of my brain.

At the risk of reinforcing the slacker stereotype, I did manage to sneak away for a few minutes today and duck off to JJill, my favorite clothing store, where I tried on and purchased a new pair of pants and a lovely silk shirt (requires dry cleaning, but, damn, it's soft!) I love JJill. If I ever die and make it to heaven, and somebody up there makes a mistake and actually lets me past those blessed pearly gates, I'm fairly certain that all the best shopping places in the joint will totally have JJill stores in them. (All that and comfortable shoes. Lots and lots of comfortable shoes.)

[If you ever wonder what sort of clothing I wear, well, wonder no more. Just click on the JJill link and you can figure it out from there.]

If that weren't reward enough, I got to listen to Bruce Cockburn's Pacing the Cage in the car on the way home.

Ah, JJill and Bruce's Pacing the Cage in the same day. It was an island of serenity in an otherwise deep sea of one hectic day.

Until next time...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Golden Child


PaintedMaskWithGold, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ok, so I caved and ended up watching the Academy Awards tonight. As always, I thought I would have some fun by giving you my unfiltered view.

Early on in the show, I was reminded of an old joke about Jack Nicholson. Some comedian (David Letterman, perhaps?) once said, "these new clubs have V-I-P rooms within V-I-P rooms until, finally, you open a door and there's Jack Nicholson sitting there in a small room by himself, wearing sunglasses while slurping down a drink." Jack Nicholson always appeared to be in the middle of the audience and the cameras kept panning to him over and over again, while he just sat there, wearing sunglasses at night.

What was that *thing* Charlize Theron was wearing on her shoulder? She should have stuck to accessorizing with a pet chihuahua a la Paris Hilton-it would have been much sexier.

Highlights of the evening came early, with the film noir tribute and Dolly Parton singing-she was a high point in the show and it wasn't just her push up bra.

George Clooney is annoying and has way overstayed his hardly-earned 15 minutes of fame. You've won your award, now go shoo.

Jon Stewart can be funny, although we know he's Jewish, (those jokes were getting old two seconds after he kept telling them) the Bjork/Cheney joke was spot on.

Samuel L. Jackson really needs an Oscar. Why doesn't he have one already? What's up with that? Just how long are we going to have to run around saying things like, "Academy Award nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson..." His names too long and he's too good of an actor to be without, so please fix this. Somebody? Anybody? ("Get my agent on the phone...")

What's the deal with King Kong? He's really just a big monkey, right?

War of the Worlds? You mean Tom Cruise gave up couch jumping and insulting Brooke Shields long enough to put out a movie this year? Wow. Who knew? Who noticed? Who cares?

What was Jennifer Aniston even doing there? Has she ever been in a movie anybody's actually seen? Did Brad Pitt dumping her leave her so desperate she's resorted to doing Oscar presentations solely for the purpose of getting those free overstuffed doggie bags? Jennifer, honey, in another two weeks, you won't even be able to get another TV gig, ok? So you'd better enjoy those free "spa days" while they last and like make the most of them, you annoying twit.

Somebody (I forgot who) almost tripped over her dress but recovered. She's my hero, since she made a funny joke out of an uncomfortable moment and I'm a klutz just like her. It's a wonder George Clooney didn't trip over his own swollen ego, it was that large.

Speaking of tripping, what was with all those dresses with trains? Didn't anybody ever tell these women you can stop at your ankles when donning black tie attire? Must your dress go one for five days past your spiked heels?

Larry McMurtry thanked son, James, and "books" which was cool, even though most folks still probably don't recognize either literary talent.

The Oscar's are becoming more like the Superbowl ever year. Testament to this, in the "put the TiVo remote down" department, the Coke commercials were better than most of the program, as was the totally fab commercial featuring M. Night Shyamalan for American Express. If I didn't already have such messy hair and such a penchant for Brink's Trucks, I'd want one of those newfangled Cadillac convertibles as well.

The Three 6 mafia was entertaining but Dolly should have won for breast, I mean, um, "best" song.

Reese Witherspoon is cute as a button and that little gold dude matched her dress. You go girl.

Jack Nicholson stunned the world in one word. We were so expecting "Brokeback" and got him to "Crash" instead.

Too bad those sunglasses didn't break in the wreckage along with the gay cowboys.

(The entire program did make me want to see Crash, but I'll wait until it comes out on video.)

Until next little gold man...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Black and White


CharlieNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is my entry for "black and white."

I know, it's not a monochromatic image but it is an image of a black and white dog, so it sorta qualifies.

Charlie was really "black and white" in the true sense of the word too-he had one black leg, one white leg, and two spotted legs (but then, this week's theme isn't really "spotted" now, is it?)

Until next time...

Female Flower Innards


FlowerInnardsNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This is my entry for feminine.

I think that it looks pretty feminine, in an almost obscene kind of a way (but, then I remember that it's a flower, so it's really harmless. Right?)

[Hey, they don't call it "the birds and the bees" for nothing. Pornographic tulips, anyone? :~)]

Until next time...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Trail of the...Splash!


RedHouseLightTrails, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This just in from the "laughing my...'anatomy' off while rolling on the floor clutching what's left of my spleen" department, today's entertainment section of my local newspaper had a "blurb" about none other than that favorite hotel wrecking/party barge sinking/beer banner sponsor sign ripping amalgam of music makers, Austin's own ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead (or just Trail of the Dead for short.)

"You have known them by the trail of destruction they often leave in their wake. Yet the volatile noisesmiths known as ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead will be on best behavior when they play a party at the Beauty Bar, which is opening an Austin location just in time for South by Southwest."
If you regularly read this website, you may remember that I sort of scooped this story back in January when I said that the band was, in fact, on the lookout for another, ahem, "fine establishment" to trash (or, well, at least one that would let them in the doors long enough to find out if they were "trash worthy" because, I'm guessing here, even an exiled bunch of hooligans like Trail of the Dead has standards too, right? I mean, they have to at least one TV in said locale because, well, they need *something* to float into the pool, right?)

I suppose they could have just loaded up on quarters and slept in/trashed their local laundromat (spin cycle, anyone?) but, then, hey, we wouldn't have so much fun waiting in anticipation, wondering what kind of demolition work/redecorating they were planning for this year's South by Southwest festival, would we? (Somehow, it just wouldn't be South by Southwest without some kind of Trail of the Dead incident now, would it?)

So, in the spirit of party bands who rock and TV sets that don't float, today I'm offering up some advice to my fellow Austin-based artists (despite the fact that I'm uniquely unqualified, having yet to trash a hotel room in the name of "high art.")

Trail of the Dead, if you should happen to read this, there's a new hotel in Cedar Park. It's a Holiday Inn-three stories tall with a pool. The pool is entirely within "TV hurling" distance from most of the rooms on the east side of the building.

My suggestion? Get lots of fake mustaches, even Groucho Marx style eyeglasses, you know the ones (they come with fake mustaches already attached!) and check-in with made up names-names like "Wilbur Paddington" or "Roscoe Bennington" (names that sound fancy but are really quite laughable.)

Cedar Park is *so* within driving distance to downtown and it offers up a plethora of hotel suites suitable for re-decorating, if you know what I mean.

Just please be considerate of your "neighbors to the north" and remember to call me first, so I can run over there and take pictures of the melee that's certain to ensue-I'll need at least a twenty minute head start or so-and, do remember, that's twenty minutes *before* you get kicked out by the Cedar Park Police (it's ok if it's *after* hotel security gets summoned but it must be *before* the 9-1-1 call, ok?)

In exchange, I promise to give you exclusive flickr rights and a prime spot on this blogger real estate, should I happen to get any great pictures of Groucho Marx floating a TV in a murky pool while being chased by the keystone cops.

Deal?

Until next Swimmingly Beautiful TV...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Skinny Wednesday


GlassMojoHandP, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Yesterday was Fat Tuesday and I was so busy between my projects and my juried show that I forgot to mention it. Happy (Belated) Fat Tuesday, Y'all.

So, I hope you had a great time, got lots of beads, partied down last night and all because, well, today marks the beginning of lent. Today is the day we suffer from the hang over and forget that we were supposed to give up meat until Easter (or some such thing.)

[Now is the time to repent, you sinners. Or, um, at least pretend you gave up something for lent and wipe that ear-to-ear grin off your face. We all know you're guilty of something, right? Yada yada, aren't we all?]

Today is also the day they are sweeping up the empties in New Orleans. Gosh, I hope they had a grand time in the Crescent City last night because, as we all know, once that clock strikes midnight, the entire place turns into a pumpkin and it's all over, even if the fat lady didn't get a chance to sing yet.

LAAAAAAA!!!!!

Until next time...