Monday, April 30, 2007

Top 10-Kona, Hawaii



BlackSandBeachNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.
Ok, Ok, I've been back for a few days. I've washed the sand off my shoes, put up the laundry, got some fresh groceries (oh, the leftover milk was a scent you don't want to visit, believe me) and now I'm ready. Ready for what? You might ask. Well, ready for nothing other than my top 10 list. So, my snowflakes, without further ado, here's my top 10 list from Kona.

These are the top 10 things I've learned about Kona, Hawaii:

10. They have giant sea turtles there. Somebody told me they were big, I was thinking "palm sized" not gigantic, as they actually are. Wow. They have big, giant sea turtles, who bob their heads and stretch out on the beach for you to photograph. Smile, Mr. Turtle Dude. Said turtles are excellent swimmers in the water but look rather awkward (actually, I think they are kind of cute) once beached.

9. Black sand beaches are fun, except that you still get sand in your.... Legend has it that Pele (the god of fire) will impart his wrath on you if you "steal" any black sand from the black sand beach (Then again, Kathleen tells me she heard this "factoid" was made up by a bus driver, sick of cleaning out the back of his bus. Only Pele, and, um, the bus driver I guess, know for certain.)

8. They actually do have Kona coffee on Kona, although most folks drink Starbucks. Of course, Starbucks might actually sell Kona coffee, repackaged as "Starbucks" since it tastes differently from Starbucks on the mainland, but, then again, that could be just me.

7. They have mannequins with smiling faces. Even more than smiling faces-they look sort of manic and scary. They have the same old standby "female-ish looking, let's put a wig on her and pass her off as a girl" mannequins in the lingerie shops, however. The surf shops and sun glass huts? Now that's where the manic mannequins hang out.

6. They have a painted church. It's much like the ones in Texas except that, for the scenery, they painted palm trees (inside of the church.) I guess they just looked out the window and painted what they saw. Still doesn't explain why the ones in Texas don't have cows inside of them but, technically speaking, they do have painted churches in Kona. And, they are pretty.

5. The surf tried to swallow me, not once but several times. Watch out, man. It'll get you. (The expression, "Dude, Surf's up!" is actually a warning!) They had pounding, angry, violent surf in one part of Kona-it was the strongest surf I believe I've ever seen (and I grew up near the water.) It drenched me from the "observation deck" (hate to think what it would have done if I was out there on a long board. Phew!)

4. Dolphins swim about three times as fast as an (human) Olympic swimmer. They like to hang out in pods (schools) which are small groups. They are very social and can play with people, especially if the people have a leaf under the water (they like to do that, actually, even though they lack "hands" they can still pickup a leaf with their flippers. Trust me-it just sort of sticks to where their fingers would be, if they had fingers, that is.) Dolphins have several types of sonar, short term, mid-range, and long range. The short term is the high pitch "squeaking clicking soud" we associated with them, the mid- and long- range sonars are different sounds. They seemed to like to circle our boat. We saw between 200 and 300 dolphins on our trip. (That would be what scientists call "a big pod" if you're paying attention.)

3. You can dry a Polaroid transfer, on Kathleen Carr's clothesline, in about four hours, provided you have a clothespin handy. (Nothing drys fast in the tropics.)

2. Almost everything comes with an "ocean view." The best restaurants in Kailua (Kona Inn, Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company) all offer seating "on the water" where you actually sit out and enjoy the pounding surf as you dine. If it's late enough, they also throw in a free sunset. (Beware, however, of #5. That surf had it out for me.) The food at both the Kona Inn and Bubba Gump's was to die for. Excellent grub, really, really tasty treats.

1. Tiki Gods are "way cool." There are Tiki gods at the place of refuge and also at the botanical garden. I love to photograph Tiki gods, they make for such interesting pictures. (Then again, my photographing the Tiki Gods might go a long way towards explaining #5. But, you know, you pay your money and you take your chances, as they say.)

Aloha! Look for pictures in the coming days (weeks? months?) Once the Tiki Gods let me have the Compact Flash back, that is.

Until next time...

PS Here's some black sand...watch out for that bus driver!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Country Roots

There's nothing quite as country as a white horse, don't you think?

It sure ain't rock and roll, that's for sure.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Impetuous Self


Homage: The Crow, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

(or why only priests and monks should take photos of birds)

OK, I admit it. I'm a hurried sort. I rush, I run, I ramble, Hell, I was even born in New York City. What do you expect? (They say the slow folks are from Staten Island but, like, I would never know. I was too busy running around to notice.) I'm just an "out of my way! Move! Beep! Beep!" kind of a girl in a fast-paced, MTV, in-your-face kind of a world. I'm like that old song, "everything all the time" in overdrive, "faster! Faster! Faster!" I'm not the kind of girl who likes to sit around and wait, ok?

Sometimes, it's hard for me to admit that I suffer from a complete lack of patience. It's hard for me to realize that nothing is instant in this world, except for maybe instant mashed potatoes, and even they take about 90 seconds in the microwave (I know. Believe me, I know. I've tapped my foot and twiddled my fingers for that long, waiting.) You would think that, based on this personality trait alone, well, photography would be a living Hell for me (and, sometimes, I guess, it is.)

Photography is a lot about patience. Waiting for just the right light. Waiting for the sun to move, waiting for the waves to crash. With all that waiting, well, you learn patience after a while. If you aren't a patient sort from the beginning, all of that "waiting for the sun to move" will teach it to you eventually. Even somebody like me. I've become, as much as I hate to admit it, a little more patient-especially since I've gotten older (still, not really "patient" by any stretch of the imagination, just, well, maybe a little bit "less impetuous" as it were.) I've learned to wait for buses, trains, cars, even that big ball of orange lighted goodness in the sky, the sun, to move. I've learned to breathe while people walked into and out of my shot (again and again.) I've learned to relax (a bit) and started to gain comfort in knowing that, if I wait long enough, the shot will come. "All good things come to those who wait," respect the timing and the order of the universe, you know, that sort of thing.

But, there's one type of photography I just don't do. Call me crazy, call me impetuous, call me a hasty pudding treat, call me what you will. Go ahead, laugh. Find humor in my complete lack of patience, I don't care.

I don't take pictures of birds.

For those of you who don't know, in order to take pictures of birds (and I mean "good pictures" not the sort of snapshotty, "look! If you squint, I think that's a hawk!" kind of shots) you have to get up at some un-Godly hour (picture 3 a.m.) go out into the freezing woods, setup a camera, tripod, and all of your gear (especially a looong lens. You need a really long lens to shoot birds) and wait for hours-waiting for a little birdie to flap his (or her) wing. It's cold, it's annoying, it's, well, it's just plain HARD for people like me, ok? It's not even HARD, it's, actually, it's impossible. Take somebody like me, put her in the woods at 3a.m., set me up waiting for a little birdie to twitch in a few hours and, well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's just not going to happen in my lifetime, ok? It's not that I don't like birds (I do.) It's not that I couldn't take good pictures of birds if plunked into that situation (I could) it's just that I can't tolerate the waiting game. I just can't wait for the birds to chirp, flap their little wings, and gaze at the breaking dawn. It would kill me. It's just much too much waiting for one impetuous person to take. It would (literally) drive me over the edge.

Which brings me to my next assertion. Only priests and monks should photograph birds.

Priests, monks, religious persons of this nature have a lot of patience. They have to, if you think about it. I mean, crap, they've sacrificed all that's good in this life, gambling on the next one, right? Try telling somebody like me to give up food, clothing, sex, and all that other "instant" sort of goodness because, well, I'll be rewarded in the afterlife. I can't wait that long. Somebody who can wait an entire lifetime to wear stylish clothing, eat what they want when they want to, and have sex, well, if you ask me, there's somebody who can go photograph a bird. It's not that I don't respect priests, I do. It's just that, well, they're good at that waiting game. They're ready, willing, and able, to sacrifice everything in this life and wait until the afterlife for their reward. They are willing to wait a lifetime, hoping that, once they get up to the pearly gates, they'll be able to eat a steak on Friday. If they can do that, why, heck, getting them out of bed at 3a.m., dragging them off into the woods, and having them wait a measly few hours for a little birdie to flap it's wing, why, that's a walk in the park, right?

Chirp on that next time you try to photograph a little birdie.

Until next wing and a prayer...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gone Troppo


PalmTreesNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Well, here I am in the tropics. The mosquitoes are horrible (they carry you away) and the palm trees have all got snow on them. Actually, I take that back, it isn't snow-this is a digital infrared shot. I got out shooting today with a digital infrared point and shoot camera. It doesn't let you blow up images to a whopping 16x20 or anything, but, on the plus side, it does give you pink palm trees. Everybody loves pink palm trees, right? (Well, even if you don't, here they are.)

Tomorrow we go on the boat ride and into town and then, hard to believe but Sunday is my last day here. I've learned a lot actually. I did some Polaroid transfers-three to be exact. They came out well. I learned about digital inkjet transfers, which actually seem like more fun-no muss, less fuss, and no film required. I shot some digital IR, shot some Canon "normal" stuff, shot a 11mm at the black sand beach, shot some tiki gods, got attacked by some badass pounding surf, had some local coffee, had macademia nut pesto (gotta love the pesto!) and saw the ocean. On the whole, even though my trip is coming to an end, I've done a lot.

Aloha, I'll be back in Austin on Tuesday although no word when I'll resume "normal" blogging. Wireless is spotty and I'm in and out of the tiki hut so count on me to return emails sometime early next week.

Until next pink palm tree in the sun...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aloha Part II


BambooALaUta, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

The abstract years...Today in Hawaii I did nudes (figurative work) by the pool. I also got out in the morning (early) and did some flora. I tried to do some fauna, in the form of chasing a rooster off our property, or maybe getting a picture of it flying down the driveway. The rooster, it seems doesn't seem to know day from night. He starts to crow at 11 o'clock at night and keeps us awake. He has an odd sounding crow too, like he's sick, but he's not. He's just annoying. We, in turn, want to kill him. So far, the rooster is winning. So far, that is. We have a BB Gun, we're sleep deprived, and very pissed off at the rooster. Methinks his days are numbered.

The only question I have-is it true that roasted rooster is too tough to eat? (Gosh, I hope not.)

(Our vegan cook says he won't grill it but I have plans for that too. We're seriously contemplating putting a dorsal fin on it and passing it off as a rare breed of shark. Think our cook will notice?)

PETA be damned, I'm killing that thing.

Until next cock-a-doodle-DON'T...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Aloha from Hawaii


TikiHutNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Greetings from Hawaii. I realized that I had forgotten to post an image to remind you that I would be in Hawaii this week. Ooops. My bad. Sorry.

Well, here's a tiki hut to hold you over until I get back. This was taken at the Tiki palace just down the street from where I'm staying. We got there at sunset and had loads of fun.

I also made three Polaroid transfers today. They all came out. I feel blessed. Must be my newfound close proxmity to the tiki huts. May the Gods of tiki smile upon you and may all your sunsets be blessed.

Until next Aloha!

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Blues


ECAndBB1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I know this isn't what most people think of when they think of "the Blues" but these two pretty much *are* blues music these days. I was lucky enough to witness three blues greats: Eric Clapton, BB King, and Bonnie Raitt perform together in London.

It's kind of interesting to me that blues music has become almost academic. People study it now. Like it's a lesson in school, relegated to a dusty textbook, not a lifestyle or a state of mind. The average blues music fan is a white female who holds an advanced college degree. (Odd, when you consider that this breed of music was made famous by black men, barely educated, decades ago.) It's more than universal appeal, it crosses all kind of demographic lines and bleeds into other forms of art in so many different ways.

Blues is the feeling that somebody done you wrong. It's that sinking feeling you get when you know your alone, when she up and left you, when you know there's no looking back. It's what remains when passion melts. It's music for the lonely, hungry, bored, lost souls in the universe. (The happy chaps, I suppose, prefer jazz, although that too is not without it's quirks.) Blues is what happens when you take the darkest of the dark, turn it inside out, and shed it some light.

Much like photography itself, I reckon.

Until next time...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Austin Humor-A Flake of Undetermined Being


RailCrossingSign, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

This just in, from the "overhead in the mail room" department, the other day two friends were talking about the recent snow in Austin and the spring-winter-oops, spring again-take that back it's cold-ah, screw it, I really want to wear flip flops, state of termperture this time of year.

One guy says to the other, "so I was driving and these little white flakes started falling onto my windshield. At first I thought it was pollen but then I realized it was snow..."

The other guy says, "How do you know it wasn't both?"

Only in Austin is the snow over-pollinated in the spring time. Hey, I can't complain, at the least the bluebonnets are kickin' it this year.

Until next flake of undetermined being...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Austin Animal Attraction


DogChasesBall, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Looks like the Austin Animal Attraction show will be going up April 24th at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. From the looks of things, I'll have two images in the show, although I don't know where they'll be hung or if both my images will be used (for now. More on this later.)

I got a really nice guide book for my trip. I saw pictures of the green sand beach, which really intrigues me. In Hawaii, I'm told, they have black sand, green sand, tan (or sand-colored, I guess) sand, and white sand. And they are all different. Go figure.

I still have not done my taxes or ripped enough Compact Flash but, you know, if it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done. Tonight I'll try making a dent in the CF but, even if I don't, I'm not worried. For the first time in a few trips, I feel like (probably because of the laptop) I'm not going to fret about backing up my stuff. Freedom will be mine, I'm going to seize it by the horns (or, um, the card reader, as it were.)

Of course, now that I've said that, some wayward shark is probably going to eat my camera on the first day of my trip but, you know, that's just life, isn't it?

(The more I take pictures, the less I think I actually take them-the more I think they are given to me, and that I, in fact, only get the ones I'm supposed to get. Funny how life is like that sometimes, isn't it?)

Camera, sharks, Compact Flash or not, I'm still going to have a ball.

Until next time...

Monday, April 09, 2007

In the Middle of It All Chewbacca Yowled


DottyBody, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, my TODO list has started to shrink a bit. I'm starting to feel like I have a lot to do but that's I just might be able to get it all done before my trip.

I got my haircut, got my car inspected (more on this later,) got some watercolor paper, got my prints ready for the show (I'm all finished with that,) cleared off some papers, didn't get my computer back (it's not done yet) and did a few other things. I still have to do my taxes, attend photo group tonight, finished getting my car repaired, and lots more.

And, I did all of this in the snow. Yes, I said snow. It actually freaking snowed on Saturday. Even in the snow, I got my car inspected, put new tires on it, got my haircut, went to Jerry's Art-o-rama to get watercolor paper, got some shorts and jeans that fit (!) and did a few other things. Saturday, I was super-woman. Today, I feel like I'm going to collapse. We did have a happy Easter though, the food was fantastic. Roasted chicken with veggies and all the trimmings. (Even some of Little Richard's "CRANBERRY SAUCE!" God, I love that commercial.)

Sometime last Thursday, my car started making this weird noise. Hard to describe other than to say "weird." So, I took it to be inspected and the guy said (after a multi-hour long wait) that it failed because I needed new tires and that the rear brakes were bad. So, they put new tires on, and told me I had to go back Saturday to get them. Then, when I was there Saturday, he said that they "dusted off the brakes and they seemed ok," so they passed me on the inspection. The noise, however, persists. (And, one really has to wonder, can you "dust off" brakes? But, then again, I really don't want to know at this point.)

I made an appointment to take it to the dealer, to check out the odd noise. I brought it in this morning, and start telling the guy about the noise. I was like, "it's some kind of a weird noise." He asked if I could drive the car around until it made the noise again.

My first thought? Great, now it's not going to make the noise. But, my fears were unfounded, it did make the noise. The guy from the dealer looked at me and said, "it sounds like you've got Chewbacca in there." That's actually the best description of the noise I've heard. It's a Chewbacca yowl.

So, now I'm running around like a mad woman, trying to get all this crap done before I go to Hawaii with Chewbacca yowling in the trunk of my car. (Well, at least it's not Nicolas Cage trapped in the TiVo anymore. Man, that was brutal and I don't even want to think about what kind of yowl that would make.)

Speaking of yowl's, Mr. Cage, and all, tomorrow's American Idol. I wonder if the good (!) Mr. Cage will sign up for the big AI special and, if so, what THAT would do to my TiVo while I'm on vacation? It would be like a giant black hole exploding in space and I don't even want to suggest the yowl that Sanjaya would emit. (Somebody, save me!)

Chewbacca, hate to say it buddy but, I always liked R2-D2 better. Now, go away! Don't you have some cute Wookiee to go off and mate with already? Leave my poor car alone!

Until next time...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Dog Fight


DogFightNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Did I mention that Steve got a new TiVo?

Yeah, well, he did. And, he even made me promise not to stick pins into a voodoo doll shaped like this one. It's a fancy, snazzy new HD $700 one too. Wow. Go Steve!

He said that his has been recording home improvement shows non-stop, since he got it. All day long, it's Bob Villa this and Trading Spaces that. So far, it's "virtually" put in a new sink, fixed the plumbing, gave him a new roof, and, um, landed him a hunkerly carpenter dude as a roommate. (And, um, if you believe that, I have some beach-front property in Arizona to sell to you-real cheap!)

All I can say is that he better freaking hope that Nicolas Cage doesn't pickup a hammer.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Can't Help Myself


SpatterBerries, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Spring has sprung and I want to keep posting pictures of flowers. Does that make me bad? Or just very boring?

In the "Oh the Humanity!" department, my TODO list for Hawaii is one big huge, um, "friend" (yeah, that's the word) I have to: Get my car inspected, pack, get a haircut (why do I always seem to need a haircut just before I go someplace?) Do my taxes, clear out some papers, finish some mail-in rebates, clean my house so it's presentable when I get back, order film and get watercolor paper, get my laptop working and get Photoshop onto it, pickup my computer from the Apple store once it's repaired, clear off my TiVo, clear gobs of Compact Flash, go shopping for shorts and a swimwear (Oh the humanity!) Get a new pair of flip flops (hey, I'm hitting the beach) get some prints ready, get a guide book for Hawaii, finish matting and framing some work for a show, and, um, not collapse from all of this.

I'm sure there's a few things I'm forgetting but I'm feeling very fried and frazzled at this point in time.

Ugh! Wish me luck!

Until next time...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Awake


TexasRedBudNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's five am and I cannot sleep so I thought, "why not blog?"

I am actually blogging from my laptop. I decided to give it a whirl, since it came back from the repair place. Wanted to make sure it was all happy and humming along again.

I also got the computers hooked up today, after the flood. Well, not all of them, just really the router, which is important, since it controls TiVo. Without TiVo, well, let's just say that, if I were to miss American Idol, there'd be one super snarky queen flake roaming about and we can't have that now, can we?

Router appears to be working, TiVo was able to connect. Dunno about the laptop. It appears ok but it gave me a little trouble out of the box. I think that it needed to be re-set. I'm going to try it again tomorrow to see how it holds up. It does appear to work fine once it's going, so that's a plus. Just seems to have a hard time getting going when it first dawns awake.

Much like me in a few hours, I suspect.

Until next time...