Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From the New Cool Cloud Vault


CloudForm9786, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Here's one more from the cloud "experience" I had over the weekend.

Once again, the skies are about to open up on my head. And, once again, I'm thinking about going outside, with the camera, to take some pictures. I just could not believe how pretty the clouds were tonight. I just don't know what's wrong with me either. I mean, on the one hand, I've been suffering from a complete lack of photographic inspiration-not wanting to shoot anything, anytime, anywhere. On the other? Clouds. Lots and lots of clouds. All I see, clouds everywhere. And they're pretty too. Pretty, pretty clouds. Just begging me to take their picture.

I entered a photo competition the other day. I thought about it and was first like, "no, I shouldn't." But, then, I did. I guess I just felt like I sort of had to, despite the fact that I know I'll never get in. Even if I do get in, it won't mean a thing to me. I mean, so I'll send another photo off to another gallery in another state and I'll put another line on my photographic resume and maybe I'll sell something and maybe I won't and, in 30 days, the picture will come back to me, or maybe it won't but the world won't change. There won't be peace in the middle east or fewer people starving in Africa or anything right? So why even bother doing it? It's not even fun to enter these things for me anymore, knowing that I won't get in or thinking it some kind of a freak accident if I should happen to get into something somewhere and some snobby gallery wants to hang up my crap-on-a-stick. I mean, that's not fun, I mean like, really fun, is it? Does that sound like fun to you? Is that your idea of fun, because, maybe I've just been doing it for too long but, it doesn't sound like a lot of fun to me.

It's nowhere near as fun as shooting clouds, that's for sure.

Until next nebula in the nighttime...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Storms of Freedom


CloudForm9740, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

We had this weird freaky storm blow through Texas on Saturday. The TV warned of rain, hail, tornados, and skies opening up with water upon our heads. Ok, so, in the end, it wasn't that bad.

What did I do in the middle of this big, bad storm? Did I hide in the closet? Nope. Did I curl up in bed at watch TV or read a good book? Wrong again. Did I play with Chase? Not exactly.

I went out photographing in it. Yes, you read that right. I went outside, to my patio area and shot some clouds.

My friend, Manzoor, has been shooting clouds and I love his. Laura, another friend, shot some in Morocco. I keep seeing them pop up and so I decided it was finally time to try some of my own. So I went outside and I shot. And, I guess, I shot and I shot and I shot. I kept shooting clouds until the sun went down. The storm came, the storm blew out, the clouds moved, the skies changed from sunny to stormy to sunny again. And there I was, in the middle of it all, shooting like a wild woman.

I can remember the "good" old days, way back when (two years ago actually) we shot film. I used to buy film in "long" roles, which came down to 36 exposures in a pop. On a good day, I might shoot 10 rolls of film, and that was only if I were busy, really into the groove, and shooting wildly away. That boiled down to, about 360 shots (for those mathematically challenged) on a good day, shooting from dusk until dawn, and really firing away at life and the scenery as we see it.

Well, yesterday, I shot an entire 2G of compact flash full of nothing but clouds. That's about 300 or so odd pictures. In half a day. Half the time it used to take me to shoot 300 or so odd shots. It's safe to say that going digital has really sparked my imagination.

Now, since I have all this imagination to spare, I just have to beg the question, what do you see up in those clouds?

Until next time...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Girl

What is it like being a girl?

We display only half a face because, well, everybody knows we have only half a clue, right? And we're supposed to act like little birds-fragile and delicate on a gentle wing. Walk two steps behind, speak only when spoken to, all prim and proper, that's what makes us girls, right? It's in the way we cross our legs, it's in the way we tie our hair, it's in the way we walk and talk and dress.

We're sugar and spice and everything nice, right? Isn't that our very essence? Aren't we all just collectively defined by that?

Have some lingerie, it's going to be a loooong night.

Until next time...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Chinese Muzzy


ChinaManNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I got a catalog the other day in the mail, offering, for sale, a Chinese Muzzy. Now, I know what you're thinking, this sounds like some kind of Asian prostitute or, perhaps, some kind of Oriental torture device, one that I might place over Chase's head to keep him from biting the neighbor's kid, but, alas, you'd be wrong.

But, first let me also tell you that I've finished cleaning off the table by my front door. The table where I keep my mail. The table where I place my mail order catalogs, as I get them, the table where I stop to take off my shoes and put down my keys. It's clean. Spotless really. Totally empty.

What does this have to do with an Asian prostitute, you ask? Nothing really. Except that, a Chinese Muzzy is actually a...device. A device that assists you...a device that assists you in learning a foreign language. Yes, my snowflakes, a Chinese Muzzy appears to be some kind of blue-ish fluffy doll that yaps in Mandarin. And they have a catalog for this. A whole, entire mail order catalog devoted to all things Muzzy. Not just Muzzy, but Chinese Muzzy. (They probably have another one for Italian Muzzy and French Muzzy and, well, you get the idea. But, somehow, I got the catalog for the Chinese Muzzy in the mail.)

Designed for children, ages 1-12, it's true, my snowflakes, young children all over the world appear to be happily snuggling up to their collective muzzys. Muzzy was even featured in the Wall Street Journal. Imagine that. Who knew that, in the world today, you could mail order a Chinese Muzzy from the Wall Street Journal? (Wow. The things you learn on the internet these days.)

So, now that you know about as much as I do about all things Chinese Muzzy, you're probably still wondering what this Muzzy would have to do with my table.

It's September my snowflakes. September brings cooler nights, rain soaked days, autumn moons, colored leaves gently rustling in the trees and, most importantly, Christmas catalogs in the mail. Yes, it's true, my snowflakes, it's officially Christmas catalog season.

It's Christmas catalog season and I'm ready for it. I say, "Bring it on!" I've cleared off my table (well, except for the Muzzy brochure which, in case you couldn't guess, holds a "special" place in my heart) I've packed off all the old catalogs into the recycle bin, I'm ready and waiting for the new load to appear. Bring it on you ruthless mail order merchants. Show me what you got. Send me you're, "there's still time!'s" and you're "Don't Pay Until January!'s" Bring on your cheap Ginsu knives and your warm fluffy slippers. I'm ready for you. Unleash the worst of your pulp fury. Go for it!

This year, I'm going to count. I'm going to count how many catalogs I get in the mail this Christmas. I'm going to count and I'm going to post the count to my website. In fact, I think that I'm going to call this count my "Muzzy Count" in honor of, well, you know (that fluffy little blue doll who yaps in Chinese, in case you have not had your coffee yet.)

That's right, my snowflakes. My "Muzzy Count" is now, officially set at 1 (since I received the LL Bean Christmas catalog the other day in the mail. And we all know, for some reason, they are always first.) I'm going to count and count and count and keep counting until it's January. And I'm going to do my best to keep my table, the one where I place my mail order catalogs, take off my shoes, and put my keys down onto, that table, yes, I'm going to do my best to keep my table clear. Clear of Christmas catalogs, clear of keys, and, well, it probably goes without saying but, clear of Chinese Muzzys.

So, now that you know about all things Muzzy, it's probably safe to say that, the next time somebody offers you up a "Chinese Muzzy" you probably won't get too excited but you'll start humming "Jingle Bells."

And, like, watch out for those catalogs, man, they'll bury you.

Until next Muzzy...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My House


ShuttersALaLensbaby, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

My house is made of brick and wood. It protects me from the harms of the world and warms me on a cold winters night.

Last night's episode of House got me thinking. What if the whole world were like House? What if we were all a bunch of pill popping, cantankerous crotchety old doctors? Imagine the place the world would be.

  • Nobody would be sick or, at least, mis-diagnosed.
  • The word "grouch" would lose its meaning really. We'd all be one. Redundantly useless drivel but then, you'd say that about everything because, well, you'd be, like House, a "grouch."
  • Vicodin, vitamin, they all sound the same to me!
  • We'd all sleep with our bosses, work with our ex-wives, bang our assistants but still not "get enough."
  • Valentine's Day would see us replace red roses with black ones. Better to match our cold, small, black hearts, right?
  • A Gentleman's "third leg" would be, well, his cane.
  • We'd all have clusters of boot licking lackey bitches to slap around silly when we're not busy sleeping with them (see above.)
Wouldn't that be a great place? A magical place? A happy place? A place where grouchy black-hearted folk roam free in pastures of malcontent.

It would make me happier than a field of unicorns, that's for sure. (Not to mention the fact that I wouldn't have to worry about stepping in any of that pesky unicorn poo you find in pastures where they roam.)

Oh yeah, and, while I'm at it, don't let me be the last one to tell you not to eat any spinach. Man, that stuff'll kill ya. Go have a burger quick, before it's too late and they make heath food healthy again.

Until next Bah Humbug...

PS The Heart Gallery Opening is this Thursday. Check out their website for details or just smile and wave and me when you get there.

Monday, September 18, 2006

It's Only Natural


WhiteGator, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today's image is uploaded in honor of the great Crocodile Hunter himself, Mr. Steve Irwin. It was taken in New Orleans at the aquarium of the Americas, before hurricane Katrina. It features a rare white gator, not actually albino but white, with blue eyes.

I was very sad to learn about the passing of the Crocodile Hunter. He was a happy fellow who loved nature, family, and the outdoors. A man who entertained many and did his part to protect all creatures, great and small, he championed the environment and brought many smiles to many faces. He will be missed.

I remember the scandal over the Crocodile Hunter just after he had his son-he put the tyke into a pit with a live crocodile and a lot of people were upset, calling him the, "next Michael Jackson." I always thought that was, excuse the pun, such a crock, because, if you look carefully at the video, you can see that the kid was never in harm's way. He always stood between the crocodile and the kid and he never dangled the kid in the "jaws of death," as some of the reporters gloriously described it. That video was very revealing though, because you could see how much he cared for both the kid and the crocs. (Michael Jackson just sorta threw his son off a balcony, which was, well, just plain stupid.)

I'll miss the Crocodile Hunter. He was always happy and showed us a great deal about the animal kingdom. He will be missed.

In other news, I saw Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip tonight. I actually rather liked it, despite the fact that it has Matthew Perry in it and, as far as actors go, he's about as animated as a cardboard cut-out. Even with Matthew Perry, it was an interesting show if not narcissistically Hollywood. I do now wish that Matthew Perry would escape, run off, and team up with Owen Wilson. It would be like two cardboard cutouts mating. (You do remember Owen Wilson, right? He's the guy who ruined an otherwise perfectly good Jackie Chan movie. I mean, come on? Jackie Chan? You'd have to work to be stiff co-starring with that guy. All you have to do to be entertaining with Jackie Chan is stand next to him and like duck every once in a while, so you don't get killed.) Matthew Perry and Owen Wilson, together again, like two cardboard peas in a cardboard cutout of a pod.

Oh, God, please. Save me from that. I'd rather be fed to the gators or like, be forced to "play" with Michael Jackson.

Until next time...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Death of a Governess


RanchWithCarAndTree, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ann Richards died on Wednesday. It's always strange when a head of state dies. There's just something about it. All the other heads, or wannabe "heads" gather around and sing the praises of the recently departed. Some politicians use the death of a former head of state as a spring board-a soapbox for them to get up and spew more politics. Some just prefer to attend the funerals and functions without saying much, but giving us a slight "queen's wave" as they see fit. We'll know on Monday into which category each shall fall. Her memorial service will be held on Monday at the Frank Erwin Center (the same place, actually, where I saw Guns and Roses perform live once.)

Ann Richards was governor of Texas when I moved here. She has a special connection to Austin, since she was and had been an Austin resident for a long time. She drove a big red caddy car, often with the top down, you could sometimes catch a glimpse of her white hair popping out from the top of the red stretch caddy as she navigated the narrow streets of Clarksville. I used to like seeing her in the neighborhood. She always had a friendly face and a smile. If you waved or otherwise recognized her, she would sometimes toot her horn and wave back.

She gained national attention when she spoke those now famous words, "[George Bush] was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Like her politics or not, she was always full of colorful Texas-style expressions. She was a southern gal, a schoolteacher, and a mother as well as being a famous politician. She was the first "real" woman to hold the office of governor in Texas, having been the first woman to win the seat on her own accord (not taking over for a dead husband sort of a thing) and she once posed on a Harley for Texas Monthly magazine. It was a white Harley, to match her hair.

She meant a lot of different things to a lot of different Texans. If it wasn't obvious from the recent re-districting (gerrymandering, actually) scandal, let me be the first to tell you, Texas politics is crazy. I live in a crazy state with crazy politicians that do crazy things. And Ann Richards? Well, she was crazier.

That's exactly what we liked about her.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Colors of the Pod


ColoredStonesNo3, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Sometime today (or maybe yesterday) Apple announced the new ipods. The nano now comes in colors.

I'm so happy they brought back the colors. That black and white "thing" was just not doing it for me. Now, I know I wimped out and got a silver ipod but, I swear, there's just something about the colors that I love. I guess I just like having them around. They make me think the world is a bit brighter, happier place, all because somebody somewhere is listening to a candy apple green ipod. Yes, yes, I know. Doesn't make any sense to me either.

The other coolness about the new ipods? The new shuffle. Gone are the Wrigley's spearment shuffle days, my snowflakes. Apple has ushered in an era of clip on, square, silvery goodness, that holds a wopping 250 songs and retails for $79. Yes, I know what you're thinking. 250 songs, that's like 42 in "Apple years." But, still, it's better than the "old school" 100 that the Wrigley's shuffle gave us. And that was more money too.

All that and, oh yeah, there's video now too. Got TV? (Chile today, hot to poddie.)

Until next crazyass new podling...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weekend Warrior


ColoredStonesNo2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I got my haircut this weekend. Finally. It was getting long and scruffy looking, and it was driving me nuts. I could not roll over in my sleep without pulling my own hair.

Speaking of driving, and um, "nuts," Paris Hilton, the famed heiress of doing nothing, got herself a DUI. Poor, poor Paris. Don't you just feel so sorry for her? Not. She's the ugliest scion since Prince Charles and at least he had the decency to go hunting, or otherwise make himself useful by filling a stint in the royal navy. Paris is completely useless. Ugly, useless, and good for nothing, what a wonderful combination. If she weren't rich, she'd be a complete waste.

"I see London, I see France, I see Paris doesn't wear underpants..."

Until next rich, ugly, beaver pimping a sex tape, heiress named after a hotel chain...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm on Fire


TreesNo4-1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Fresh in from the "nature can kill you" department, the other day I sat down to work at my computer but felt something on my foot. I looked down to see what was crawling on me when I was bitten by a fire ant.

For those of you who don't know (I realize that may be many of you, since fire ants frequent only tropical and arid areas of the globe) "fire" ants (Texan for "army" ants really) are a kind of really, really nasty ant that bites. They are pure evil. They cover turf aggressively, infest their prey, release a chemical for all the little buggers to sniff, and then sting their prey all at once, thereby inflicting the greatest pain. When they bite humans, it stings. I'm told it's a bite like a bee sting (I've never been stung by a bee or wasp of any kind) and then, a few days later, we get welts that swell up and itch for a few days, much like a bite from the dreaded mosquito (the state bird of New Jersey, ah yes, I know him well.)

I was introduced to the concept of the "fire" ant when I was a kid growing up in New York. I used to squish ants at playtime, always liked to disrupt the nest and watch them scatter-I guess I should have gotten an ant farm but never did.

One day, a girl named Amy moved in to my neighborhood from Dallas. They told me to play with her because, well, she was new, being from out of town and all and, I guess, nobody would play with me either, so they stuck us together on the swings or something. I quickly grew bored and started disrupting ant nests, as she tried to stop me, telling me about ants that sting.

"They're called fire ants," she said, "and, when they bite, it hurts."

"Don't be silly!" I replied, "who ever heard about ants that bite? What a stupid thing. A little ant biting a big kid like me? Ha!"

Back to the "what's under my desk" department, I looked down, under my desk-the nice, comfy desk in my house, my nice, comfy home-to find a small colony of fire ants. Oh the buggers! How I hate them so! I hope you never find out firsthand what a fire ant is because, well, we don't call them "lukewarm" ants, ok. No, they earned the name "fire" ant and, judging from the way they like to bite, intend to keep it, one annoying sting at a time.

After fighting with the fire ants by leaving them some bait (regular Raid doesn't work on these buggers, no, you have to force feed them Amdro birth control/ant bait and hope they don't like to mate like wild bunnies.) I went in to watch some TV.

Picture this. I'm lying awake in bed at night, unable to sleep because I'm having visions-nightmares really-of these little buggers taking over, invading, infesting my home. It's hot. I can't sleep and I've got the TV on to try and lull me out. My feet sting from the ant bites, and thoughts of Amy laughing are racing through my memory, when what comes on the TV?

Nicolas Cage has a new movie out called Ant Bully about some kid who shrinks down to ant size and tangles with a formiculus. Nicolas Cage play the evil ant king-some kind of evil shrunken king who smacks down the Ant Bully. I know this because, as I'm lying there awake, on comes the commercial for this, ahem, lovely movie.

So, I'm lying awake and the commercial comes on and I hear Nicolas Cage's voice say something like, "let's study him first...then we'll kill him and eat him" and I'm convinced that my house, my humble little home, is being overrun with a colony of fire ants-a colony that has it out for me. And I think about Amy, about how I was mean to her, about how I teased her for thinking that ants could bite, and about how every ant, each and every little one, in that damned little colony, is going to sting me just because I was mean and Nicolas Cage's voice comes on again, saying something mean and, crap, it's like 2 am and there's no way in Hell I'm going to sleep tonight and screw the picnic, I want Lunesta. God, damn it, where's the Amdro? And I wish I could just scream at the freaking little ants, "I didn't really laugh at her," and Nicolas Cage won't shut up and Chase is now trying to eat ant bait, which is toxic to dogs and...

Crap, why didn't I get a pet aardvark when I had the chance?

Until next picnic...

Monday, September 04, 2006

No Work Today


DrivingDown360No2, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today is a holiday in the US. It is Labor Day.

I don't know much about the Labors but, I guess, we celebrate their heritage every year, come early September. They were a hard-working lot, I'm sure, who settled here in the days of the early pioneers. They hunted, they gathered, they shopped (Lord knows, we know they shopped) and they built houses, and boats, and trains and cars and traveled around until they all scattered to the wind, settling in Labor camps around the globe.

What's that you say? There were no Labors? Ha! That's right, there were no Labors. At least, not today. For today is the day, we, well, WE HAVE A FREAKING DAY OFF.

Yay! Woot Woot! Horrah!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for putting my feet up in a nice, comfortable chair. And, if there's Labors around, well, I ain't looking at 'em.

Until next time...