Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

ColoredHighTopsDia, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Look carefully at those high tops-they have hearts and guns on them. I love that. It's like hearts, bones, souls, and guns all in the same shop window. Wouldn't you just love to stop in there and ask if they have any tote bags? Heck, I know I would. (It's like Jeremy Clarkson's nightmare-a beetle with a big flower on it.) It's halloween, NaBloPoMo, day of the innocents, day of the dead, all soul's day, all saints' day, and, oh yeah, November too, so like the rent is due. That's a lot to cram into one weekend, isn't it? Gosh, I'm getting tired just thinking about it (and it hasn't even started yet.)

The Blurb book is still eating my brain. I've ordered more moo cards (yay moo!) and I got a screen. What's this about a screen? You might be asking. And, I'd be here to tell you. Yes, snowflakes, I got a screen. A screen so that I can do my projections a bit easier. Does that mean that I'm going to do more projections? That I'm going to do something like that big ole' tribal project? Heck yeah it does and I will, just you wait and see. Yes, yes, there are more projections in the works for the days and weeks ahead (all mixed in with the new book, the portfolio party, all of the holiday parties, and a show I have yet to tell you about. Phew! Life is busy.)

Finally, in a bit of Halloween news, I hate to admit now, before it starts, but I have yet to get all of my candy. Yes, it's true, snowflakes, I did not yet run to the grocers and get all of my treats for this evening. I'm hoping I can zip out on the way home and pick some up before I start to hand them out. I've a few bags, but not really enough to last me through the night. It would be really great if I had some more (so, you know, I have something to eat this weekend, I mean, um, I can hand out lots to the kiddies, yeah, yeah, that's it.) The best part about waiting 'till the last minute is that it gets extra cheap today. Extra cheap, but all of the good brands are gone. I'm going to be left handing out some random odd form of mars bars that nobody really wants. Oh well, maybe next year I'll shop early.

Then again, you know, not at this place.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tastes Great, Looks Like...

SkelGroomNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Is it me, or does this calaca look a bit too much like David Tennant? Now, I suppose I should not be saying that, as there's probably already a "Doctor Who/Day of the Dead" Internet movement, complete with elephants, balloons, and face painting for the kids, but I swear, I can spot the resemblance. (Yeah, yeah, I know, they probably already sell T-shirts with a picture of the tardis surrounded by marigolds and calaveras/sugar skulls in Oaxaca. Go figure.)

Speaking of that dia, this weekend is Halloween on Friday, Dia de los Inocentes on Saturday, and Dia de los Muertos on Sunday. Phew. That's a lot of drinking, partying, and shaking skeletons for one weekend, if you ask me. All that and there are giant spiders on the lawn in my neighborhood. (It goes without saying really, but, I hope it's safe where you live.)

In other, not entirely unrelated but yet somehow related to British television news nonetheless, a fellow I work with, Peter, was kind enough to loan me a white racing helmet, so that I can complete my Halloween costume. When he told me it might look, "a bit like The Stig," I thought that it might be a bit close, but probably require a lot of photoshopping. Boy, was I wrong about that. It's like I've got a dead Stig in the closet. It's so spot on, I was afraid to touch it yesterday, for fear that my boyfriend will think I'm cheating on him. Odd skeletons, giant spiders on the lawn, dead Stigs, it must be Halloween, even on British television. It's just that time of year, isn't it?

In completely unrelated news (or maybe not, but you'll just have to wait and see) it's been very quiet on the Intertubes. Everybody, it would appear, is "saving it up" for Friday night-for that's not only the day we shake the old bones and give out the candy, it's also the start of NaBloPoMo. Yes, you read that right. It's that time of year again when everybody is "saving up all the good blogs" for November 1. When the clock strikes midnight, the blogs will flow, you can count on it.

Me? I've been a bit quiet, in part because of all these goings on, but also because I'm working on my next book. Fighting with Blurb, wanting to kill outright people at Adobe, wondering why I can't use glue, duct tape, and a computer screen all at the same time, hey, these things take time, and that's been keeping me busy. It's, you know, kept me off the streets and away from the intertubes a bit, at least up until this point anyway.

Well, not too busy to yap a little about shaking bones, giant spiders, dead Stigs, and marigolds that smell a bit sweeter about this time of year.

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Inexplicable Cult-like Behavior

MailboxAndDaisies, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

The other day, I posted about how I thought David Tennant looked like a weasel. A cute Doctor Who time traveling weasel, but a weasel none the less. Then I got this email, from somewhere in rural England, telling me, "Oh, so you've gone on the David Tennant looks too much like a weasel to play Doctor Who bandwagon too, eh?" And, I thought, "bandwagon?" What? What is this about a "bandwagon?" So, I googled.
Apparently the good Doctor was once despondent because somebody, some mean, cruel person (*rolls eyes*) wrote on a message board how he looked too much like a weasel to play the good Doctor. No, no it wasn't me, mind you, I was too busy eating stale popcorn to post to a message board (though, I can assure you, the David Tennant message board will be a post for another day-blogger fodder alert here!) Message board or not, even I must admit, he does bear a striking resemblance. The man, cute as he is, really could pass for some serious rodentia if you ask me. But, I swear, I never knew there was like an entire internet phenomenon related to the weasel resemblance, honest. I mean, it's like an entire movement out there-an entire subculture of people who label random Doctor Who stars weasels and go on to post this factoid in public Internet forums and chat rooms all about the intertubes. How was I supposed to know there was an entire "David Tennant is a weasel" movement out there, complete with parades, elephants, balloons, and face painting for the kids? I'm just a "lone blogger" I swear. (Right about now, I bet you're thinking, "oh right....and that's just what Lee Harvey Oswald said before he was assassinated on live television.")

In other, "inexplicable cult-like behavior" news, this weekend marks the start of National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo for short. Should I do it again this year? Will I have enough to "yap and snap" about? Can I really hit that little blue [Post Now] button so many times in so many days or will my thumb cramp up? Can I really post thirty times in as many days without losing what little there is left of my sanity? Or will I be forced to talk of "rabid weasels, raging kitchen fires and raw eggs" for twenty eight and a half days in a row?

Oh the humanity! A mob is ugly.

Until next time...

Monday, October 27, 2008

You Say It's...

SageNo2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Yes, yes, it's, ahem, "that day" again. Actually, it's not...I'm not quite older until 7:23 pm this evening (eastern standard time.) Seriously though, this time of year, I'm getting older by the minute.

In other news, I got absolutely nothing done this weekend. Zero, zip, nada, nothing, I didn't even sleep too much. That really sucks because, well, despite it being my birthday and all, it's still Monday and I hate Mondays, especially when I'm tired. It already feels like it's going to be an absolute beast of a day and,man, I just hate that.

I'll keep this short, since it's already after 1 o'clock in the morning and I need some sleep. I hope everybody is doing well and taking care. We're expecting a cold front here in Austin today-it's already quite windy out there. Phew! Time to bust out the old jacket. I don't feel older, nor wiser, just, you know, same old same old. It's really just another day here in River City. I plan on buying myself a new lensbaby lens, eating Kim Phung for dinner tonight (Chinese take out. Yum!) and watching old Top Gear re-runs. Gosh, life is so boring, yet somehow good all at the same time. I guess, just like that lensbaby, it's all in the way you bend it, eh?

Anybody got a cake?

Until next time...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Giant Spider Alert

SideOfHouseNo3, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I'm not going to give you a "real" post today, but I thought that I would drop in and issue an alert. Since Halloween is at the end of the week, and I had to drive past it this morning, I can now safely say that the giant spider is once again up this year. He's not stuck to the side of the house (like he was in this picture) but he's on the lawn. On the lawn, sitting next to his new little buddy, a smaller, same color purple spider. And, the best part? Both of the guys are lit up this year. Yay!

(I may have to go lug out the tripod and a giant can of bug spray just to mark the occasion.)

Until next 8 legged creature that ate my neighborhood....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Unreasonable Mr. Tennant

HighRoadToTaosNo1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ok, so you know all about my Top Gear addiction and you know that, despite the fact I think he more than slightly resembles a weasel, I have a new found thing for David Tennant. What you might not know is that, while seemingly unrelated, these two things are not entirely separate. The Stig, it would appear, once helped Doctor Who 'round the track in the reasonably priced car. Yes, snowflakes, it's true. queen flake was able to rip from the clutches of TiVo the episode of Top Gear where none other than the good Doctor appeared as a special guest. And, "clutches" would actually be a good word because, despite being coached by the man, the myth, the legend, The Stig himself, the good Doctor saw fit to, ahem, "damage" the reasonably priced car. Somehow, the weasel, a man who can travel through time and space, couldn't see fit to find third gear when it was actually right underneath his long pointy nose.

Yes, you read that right but, in case you missed it, I'll say it again (this time with feeling.)

That damned weasel, David Tennant, broke the reasonably priced car.

There. Got it out of my system. Actually, I didn't. (You should know by now that "my system" is quite snarky and I have to rant way more than that for even the slightest of catharsis. Really, I do.)

You know what they say about people who break the reasonably priced car, don't you? Let's see, for starters, the wrath of the ancients will fall upon their heads. Their shoelaces will not stay tied, rabid squirrels will invade their homes. Food in their regrigerators will mysteriously spoil. Their own (personal) vehicles will start making that expensive knocking sound again and no-one will talk to them at parties. Broke the reasonably priced car. Who ever heard of such a thing? Geesh.

Well, in the weasel's defense, I guess it's entirely more "reasonably priced" now that he drove it.

Until next third gear gone bad...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Now That's Cool

GlowBalls, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Though you don't quite know what it is, I bet you are inclined to agree with me when I say, "that's cool." And, I'm here to tell you, tonight especially, you'd be right.

You see it's cool here in River City. It's a balmy 59 degrees or something outside. Almost need a jacket kind of cool out there it is. And, I'm here to say, I love it. I love the cool, I love the fact that the heat broke and that the weather is turning. Bring it on, Mr. Autumn, we missed you and, it goes without saying really but, you're cool. Cool is good. It's a good thing to be cool, isn't it?

In other news, the moo cards have arrived and they look great. A big shout out to the good folks in London who moo until the cows come home. Great stuff, that is. Blurb has also announced that we can now have heavier paper. I love heavy paper, really I do, especially since the original Blurb paper was a bit too thin for my liking. Heavy paper, wonderful moo, and great weather. Damn, life is good.

All that and I've got big plans in the works for the coming days and time ahead. Sure, there's the portfolio review, but there's so much more going down, happening all at once, but it's great. I like it. I love it when things start to come together, things happen, and it just feels like the world is swirling by you at ten thousand miles an hour. I kind of missed that feeling, what with the heat of summer and the general slow down of things. But, you know, it's back now, and it's good. It's autumn and we're enjoying it.

Now, that's really cool, isn't it?

Until next time...

It's Like We Had a Crystal Ball or Something

5Buckets, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Scientists this week announced that they are having a bit of trouble with the super collider. Yes, yes it's true, the good folks who once brought us all of those "it's the end of the world" parties with death threats thrown in for fun, are now saying that they are having a bit of trouble with the pesky large hadron collider and that they, in fact, don't know what to do with it.

Well, gee now, it's not like we here at Carol's Little World could offer up any suggestions now, could we?

Death threats and end of the world aside, it's just almost a shame that poor Marvin the Martian didn't get his KABOOM! don't you think?

Until next time...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging

FarmOfSomeKind, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Seven years come January. That's how long I have been blogging. Hard to believe, isn't it?

I saw some discourse on the web the other day where somebody was talking about blogging, about how they blog, about what blogging means to them. There's even a meme about this going around. The interesting thing to me though is, well, I've been blogging for so long now, it's almost hard to answer those kind of things. I mean, what am I supposed to say when somebody asks me something like, "How did you come up with the name for your blog?" (What? Like it's not obvious that I live in my own little world?)

If I had any advice for beginners, it would be to have fun with it. Blogging is a fun medium-enjoy it. Learn to grow with it. Accept that it will change over time and just have fun with it. Too many people start out and expect great things. The great American novel wasn't written overnight. Give your blog some growing room-let it take flight over time. Don't stifle it. Don't try to be something you are not. Don't fight with templates or technology, just write from the heart and, eventually, maybe people will respond.

Blogging has introduced me to so many new friends. It's allowed me to keep in contact with folks from all over-everybody from somebody I knew in high school to people I've never met. They all come through the blog. It can be a great communication tool. It allows me to document my travels as well as the more mundane aspects of my life. You all know all about my favorite TV shows, my favorite foods, how much I love green olives, the car I drive, and the people I see. You've lived through hurricane watches and TiVo mishaps. It's all played out, here, in black and white (and, now, I guess, color photos too.)

If there's anything negative about blogging, it can be unruly. Sometimes, at its worst, it feels like a monkey on your back. If it ever gets to the point where, each and every day, it feels like a chore to post, I'll probably give it up. I don't see that happening to me though-I've enjoyed my time at the "blank white 'Compose Your Blog Entry' box" as much as the next guy. For some folks though, it can turn into a chore pretty quickly. If that's the case, give it up or change it. Make it into something that's easier for you to handle. Don't force yourself to write, just because your friends are doing it. If it feels like a chore, go do something that's fun for you.

Starting a blog can be a blast if you approach it the right way. For me, it's always been a journal of sorts. Even though I know some of my friends read it (*waves*) I kind of treat it as that. I post as if nobody is watching, and that makes it easier on me. I just assume that you are all too interested to really bother with the little tidbits of my life and so I plunk them down here, get them out of my system, and move onto the next thing. I don't overanalyze my postings. They come out, as they come out, I put them down, and move onto the next. I'm not afraid to take tangents, nor am I afraid of slow growth over time. I like to think my writing has improved over all these years, but maybe it hasn't. Either way, blogging has always been a sort of "daily exercise" for me. Just the way some people keep in shape by jogging every so often, so too do I blog. It keeps my wits sharp, my mind engaged, and it allows me to clear my thoughts. That's one of the reasons I enjoy it so much. 

I've never really wanted my blog to be anything more than a blog. I've no secret desire to rule the world. I don't care if editors in New York are "impressed" with me, or if rock stars routinely check in here to see what I think of their latest albums. I've always run it the same way. It's just my thoughts and musings, poured out, over time, as a sort of release. My blog has never been very diplomatic-it's always been Carol's Little World, because, well, that's what it is. It's my self-indulgence. Sure, you're welcome to read along if you like but, at the end of the day, it's all for me and all for fun. Self-expression is a big part of what I do, from painting to photography to, I guess, writing and even blog posting. If you like it, great, stop back in again. If not, well, that's great too, thanks for stopping by.

I've always been the kind of writer who has a hard time pulling together a great big work. Sit me down and tell me to write 20 blog postings on the price of tea in China and, hey, no problem. Try to get me to come up with a novel that has a central theme and a protagonist everybody can relate to? There's your trouble. I can't do it. It's just not my thing. I'm not as organized as some writers out there. The blog format actually kind of fits my writing style better than anything else (well, with the possible exception of the short fiction format, since I think in terms of five pages or less.) Blogging is easier because the characters are a bit more "real" to me (they aren't always real, by the way. Some are made up completely and some are, shall we say, a bit "embellished" just for you.)

Since I started blogging, the "blogosphere" has changed dramatically. I tend to pay that no mind. I'm not in it for the fame, the fortune, the guys. I do it for the writing and the self-expression that it allows me. I've no desire to convert you to a particular political agenda or sell you any major appliances. It's just me, talking to you, eight days a well (well, ok, maybe just five or, you know, whenever the mood strikes me.)

I've never made a wholehearted attempt at directing a significant amount of web traffic to this site. It's not about the numbers, or the traffic, or the "hit count" though sometimes I do look at that. I've always maintained that my blog would be best served if it were less popular but more devoted. I'd rather have a bit of a deeper perspective then to try and drum up numbers (and "quick hits") by using gimmicks. If I'm not the most popular blog out there, so be it. I enjoy what I do, post when I can, and make the most of the blog I have.

So, as I approach my seven year mark, I just have to stop and thing about these things. I mean, seven years is longer than most marriages last. There must be something drawing me back in, time and time again, right? Maybe it's all just the thrill of clicking that little "Post Now" button. I don't know. I can say that I've enjoyed my time behind the post and I've tried to have some fun with it. At the end of the day I think really that's all that matters to me.

I really do hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy snarking it together for you.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Celebrity Crush

MachineInTheHall, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's time for a celebrity crush. You know celebrity crush, don't you? It's the sort of orange bottle, third one from the left (in the machine, silly.)

Ah yes, my latest celebrity crush. There are two right now. I'm (still) in love with The Stig from Top Gear, though he's quite hard to catch. I'd propose marriage but I really can't drive fast enough. Meh, it'd be hard taking pictures with a helmet on anyway, so I guess, "Mrs. Stig" is out of the question for me (that doesn't mean I can't romance him from afar though, just you wait and see. We're all about unrequited love here at Carol's Little World. Well, unrequited love, cheap beer, silly TiVo happenings, and trips to odd places, but "unrequited love" really is on the list....somewhere.) And then there's my second celebrity crush-time to tell you about that one.

I used to hate David Tennant. When I first saw him, I didn't like him at all. He's too thin, tall and gangly, with a pointed nose that makes him look like a weasel. I hate weasels. (Ok, maybe not so much a weasel, more like a demented squirrel but, like, either way, we're talking serious rodentia here.)

But then something happened. I started watching Doctor Who re-runs. Even I must admit, stale popcorn be damned, the man plays a mean Doctor Who. Damn. He's good. So, he sort of started to grow on me. You know, he kind of slowly won me over. Now, I look at him and I can't help but think, "ok, maybe I was wrong about him. Maybe he isn't so gangly and gnarly looking. In fact, he's kind of cute for a weasel." And, there you have it. He's now won me over and he's my latest (second) celebrity crush.

I'm really kind of stuck though, if you think about it. I mean, one of my celebrity crushes drives 10,000 miles an hour-he goes 'round the track so fast I can't catch him, so he's out of the question. And the other? Well, while he's a bit slower and entirely more weasel-like (what without the helmet and all) he's got a freaking time machine. Ah, there's no hope for me. Forever destined to remain single. (Why, oh why, can't I get a crush on somebody more normal? You know, somebody like David Letterman? He'd be easy to catch, wouldn't he? I mean I could just hide in the bushes waiting for an autograph, and I wouldn't have to drive 10,000 miles an hour or traipse though time and space in a little blue box to catch him. Sigh. Life could be so easy if only that were the case.)

So, there you have it. The latest in celebrity crush, mixed just for you. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Will Not End Well

YouDontSay, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

There's something you might not know about TiVo. When you go to delete something, any program or video actually, the happy little thumbs up "booping" man pops up and asks, "Are you sure you want to delete *THIS* It's all about..." and proceeds to give you a brief description of the show you are about to delete. For my current, ahem, "least favorite" show about serial killers, Snapped, it pops up a woman's name (apparently the murderer in question.) This has had the slightly negative side effect in that, well, now I know all the female serial killers out there. Yes, it's true. I know my Pamela Smarts from the Cynthia George's. It's frightening really.

In other scary news, this is a shot of the No Pity Cafe in Madrid, New Mexico-closed, of course. What? Like you were expecting service in a place like this?

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's Almost That Dia

GhostLady2, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Ah yes, how I love this time of year. Actually, this was taken back in March, in Santa Fe, a place where, I'd have to guess, they celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, as you can tell by the photo. But, yes, yes, it is that time of year again. The skeletons have come out of the closet and have started to hang in the 'hood. No word yet on the giant spider and, frankly, I don't know that I'll have time to go wandering around downtown on the hunt for some creepy decor this year. Still, I just love this time of year. The heat has broken, we can walk around outside again, if we had any leaves, why, they'd be turning red, and we get odd decor, like this lady. What's not to like about that?

October is a wonderful time of year. It gives us Indian Summer, the last blast of warm weather before the snow and cold of winter hits, and, the best part? It's also my birthday month. Yes, I have always loved October, even though now, I guess, it means I'm getting older.

What's your favorite part of autumn? Do you like the pumpkins, the spice, the fall colors, the odd decor, or just the break from the heat?

I still have much to do over the portfolio party, but, hey, at least I can enjoy the weather, right?

Until next time...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

That Incredible Sucking Sound? It's Flying Money

What's that incredible sucking sound I hear? Off in the distance? Why, it's money flying from my wallet, that's what! Like a bird, like a plane, off it goes, into the wild blue yonder.

In the upcoming weeks ahead, I have to (or should really) buy the following items: supplies from AtLex (so I can print again,) supplies from Light Impressions (so I can frame again,) a couple of Blurb or Apple iPhoto books, a couple of portfolio cases, a screen for my projector, more Compact Flash (tell me, when do I not need that) and, to make matters worse, the good folks at lensbabies have just introduced a new lens complete with new optics kit (great, there goes another $300.) All this, plus I really need eyeglasses (but I'm too afraid of the eye doctor to go-I don't want to have my eyeballs "exploded" in what can best be described as a "simple test for glaucoma.") So, there you have it. I'm going broke. Money is just being sucked right out of my wallet and all I can do is hope that I can still afford beer when the steady stream winds back down to a slow trickle.

Sometimes, it seems like I can really just coast along-like all the photo-related expenses just sort of take care of themselves. And then, wham! just when you least expect it, they start to stack up like, well, crap, I don't know what really stacks up anymore, but, like, you get the idea.

Money, money, money, money, money. It's all about money these days. The big financial meltdown, the housing market, the credit crunch, the lack of channels on my TV. Everybody either wants more of my money, needs more of my money, wants me to give them more money, or is just griping about money-including now, it seems, even me.

Damn, there are so many people in my pocket and I'm just not so excited about all of these people congregating in my pants. Can't you all leave just a little bit left or do you have to grab ever last cent and even the lint from the bottom of my old blue jeans?

Until next dime...

A New Day at Midnight

PlantsonWall, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's just about Sunday now, where I am, so g'morning to you (or perhaps you are enjoying a late Saturday evening? Either way, time for me to check in and say hello.)

Some quick hits for this Sunday...I have started work on my upcoming portfolio review. Today, I ordered moo cards to be used in my packets. It was kind of fun, though I hope they come out ok. I ordered the business cards to start, but I intend on making a set of mini cards as well. They come in handy and are quite cute, those little things.

As you can see from the photo, I'm still uploading "foo" from Santa Fe. This was one of the many adobe walls they have out there. Very pretty stuff, that desert is.

NaBloPoMo is coming up pretty soon this year, and I've been mulling over what to post and even if I should post again this year. With scheduled postings, that might make things a bit easier on me. I might just bring you an epic saga of "romancing The Stig" or perhaps "Chasing after Doctor Who in my dreams." There's a bit of time left, so I'll figure something out before the cutoff date (November 1st for those not in the know.)

Current musical tastes are running towards: One Republic-though their song "Apologize" is now off the charts, "Stop and Stare" has taken its place. Good stuff that is. O.A.R. "Love and Memories" is another great song from a band I admire and I just can't see to get Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" out of my head. It's a great driving song, that one is. Then there's "A-Punk" from Vampire Weekend, that never seems to grow old, even though they suffer from a collective extreme dislike of the Oxford comma (those bastards!)

There's also been a lot of Austin music news as of late. James McMurtry has released Just us Kids, his new album for fall and another Austin favorite, Reckless Kelly has just put out Bulletproof to a lot of buzz (and, you know, my liking too.)

All this talk of music has me wanting to go listen to some so time for me to jolt off and seize the ipod before I snooze.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Sparrow in the Hall

StackedTrunks, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I came upon an interesting quote the other day. It's a bit long, but worthy of sharing with you:

"When we compare the present life of man on earth to that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like the swift flight of a single sparrow through the banqueting hall where you are sitting at dinner on a winter's day with your thanes and counsellors. In the midst there is a comforting fire to warm the hall; outside, the storms of winter rain or snow are raging. This sparrow flies swiftly in through one door of the hall, and out through another. While he is inside, he is safe from the winter storms; but after a few moments of comfort, he vanishes from sight into the wintry world from which he came. Even so, man appears on earth for a little while; but of what went before this life or of what follows, we know nothing."

(Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book II, Chapter 13)

People sometimes ask me where I get ideas for images. This quote immediately conjured up an image of a long hall with a window at the end of it-it's not a window I've seen before but, I suspect, one I'm going to happen upon someday. Around the window, delicate curtains hang while outside birds (sparrows actually) gather on a nearby tree. I envision seeing the window clearly but outside not so much-maybe a window bokeh if you will. A soft focus view into the outside world.

The interesting thing about this window is that it's trapped now. It's trapped in my imagination and it can't get out. Like something inside an old box or one of these old trunks, it just won't come until it's time.

So, while "getting crazy ideas" for images might be a bit of a gift, it's also maddening because you have to live with the idea, live with the image in your head, until you can actually bring it to life-to get it out, get it on paper and be done with it. Someday, perhaps, I will take that picture of that window with that softness surrounding it, and I will think of that sparrow and that hallway, but, until then, it will haunt me. Forever trapped in the shackles of my imagination yearning to fly free, that sparrow is. I guess this calls for the old adage "be careful what you wish for," right?

Just like that sparrow in in the hall, the connection is brief but the image and memory lives on forever.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Doctor Who Episodes That Weren't


Did you ever come up with a story for a program that you watch? Ever stop to think to yourself, "hey, it'd be really great if they did..." and made up your own plot for your own little movie or TV show? I do that all the time, and some of them are kind of funny actually. Silly ideas, which I don't usually share, but you know, they make me laugh, so they can't be all bad.

Since they are bringing Doctor Who, the tardis, the strange aliens, the production crew, etc. over to the 'States, and picking up an American assistant on the way, I thought it might be a good idea to help out and provide a few typically American story ideas for the upcoming Doctor Who "American Expedition" (as I like to call it.) Think of these are sort of Doctor Who episodes that weren't (and probably never will be.)

For starters, I could really see a "Wild West" themed Doctor Who. I mean, couldn't you just imagine the tardis buried out in the wilds of the great American desert, neatly tucked in between two hoodoos? Maybe the good Doctor could be mistaken for somebody like Brigadier General George Crook on his way to the Battle of Bighorn, but trapped en route in the Southwestern territories? This would go a long way towards explaining his English accent, as the 7th Cavalry actually had a sizable number of recruits from Ireland, England, and Prussia. I think Custer's Last Stand would make for a great Doctor Who actually, and it's typically "American" what with the cowboys, Indians, and the like. Not to mention, I really would love to see David Tennant nearly escape an arrow by ducking into the tardis, so that would get my vote as an episode that they should do. (Could you even imagine the good Doctor sitting down with Sitting Bull? Now, that would be a trip back in time.)

Next up we have, the city that inspires so many "odd happenings" it would have to, and I mean just have to, be included in a stop by the good Doctor as part of his American tour. Could you imagine the good Doctor being called in, to stop some sort of "alien creature," a woman who speaks in tongues, chants, dances with snakes, uses strange incense, burns odd things, and collects the feet of local chickens? The locals all think she's crazy, suspect she's some kind of alien being and call in the good Doctor who arrives in the tardis only to discover that she's actually just practicing voodoo. Yes, yes, with hoodoos of another kind, I could just so envision a Doctor Who episode called something like "Strange Gods, Strange Altars" set it one of our favorite, uniquely American cities, New Orleans. Doesn't all that voodoo just scream out for a Doctor Who episode?

So, come on, quit going to New York-that place is so boring. Treat yourself to something a bit more authentic. Get out and see the 'States, not just the silly big city on the coast. There's so much more to the 'States than Gotham that the good Doctor could explore.

Oh, and, in case you think I'd leave you hanging with just two story ideas, think of the good Doctor getting caught up in the California gold rush. Now, there's a whole 'nother episode in the making right there.

Ok, we're finished. We can turn it off now. What's that you say? The Doctor does Hawaii and meets the Tiki Gods? How about Doctor Who in White Sands? It already looks like an alien planet. Yeah, yeah, that too....

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Upon Closer Examination

SilverMirrorBits, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

Something interesting happened last week. As of Thursday (last week) around midnight, Time Warner cable dropped our local NBC station. Unbeknownst to most cable viewers, there was some agreement (contractual agreement) between Time Warner and KXAN (our local NBC station) where KXAN would provide cable content for Time Warner until a certain date for a certain fee. As the contract expiration date drew closer, the squabbling over the fee increased until, finally, the deadline passed. Time Warner pulled the plug on NBC. Yes, it's true, snowflakes, the Nation Broadcasting Company (NBC) is a little less, ahem, "national" this week, as the folks in Austin now have no channel 4 programming.

What's odd about this, what really strikes me as funny actually, is that, well, I hadn't noticed. If Time Warner had not taken out a full page ad in my Sunday paper, alerting me to the fact that KXAN were making unreasonable demands and so they let their contract expire, I would have hardly noticed.

Sure, it's true that the entire Law and Order franchise appears first on NBC but, with cable now, I actually prefer to watch the re-runs on channels like TNT or USA. They just don't produce enough new content for the Law and Order franchise and, frankly, some of the older shows were better (I miss Jerry, really, I do.)

What about the other shows on NBC? There must be something in all of that programming for me, right? Nope. Nothing there either.

30 Rock? Never seen it. America's Got Talent? Again, never seen it (Sounds like a bad American Idol rip-off if you ask me.) Chuck? I don't know what that even is. Heroes? Nope, won't watch it-annoying actors who are so self-absorbed I can't even stand the sight of their ugly faces. Deal or No Deal? I'll take "no deal" thank you very much. The Office? Sorry, folks, the British one was much better. And, don't even get me started on the news. As far as I'm concerned, NBC and the local channels have become so biased and so caught up in their own "celebrity" nobody even broadcasts news anymore.

Frankly, if a channel were to come along and offer unbiased news read by journalists with some integrity, not overly Botoxed "fake" celebrities (like Dan Blabber, who should have been FIRED over memo-gate, or Tom Lockjaw, who's so hung up on himself, never mind reading news, he should sit in front of a mirror and gaze at his own reflection all day) they would clean up. (NBC, are you listening? Oh, wait, you can't. You tried to charge us for something we don't really want and ugly Time Warner cut you off.)

So, there you have it. NBC is gone and, frankly, we don't miss it. If Time Warner weren't such a bunch of scumbags, I'd suggest we all bribe them to KEEP NBC OFF OUR TV SETS. But, then again, between the fakes, frauds, and scumbags out there, I can just sit back, read a good book, and say, "you deserve each other."

Until next turn it off, man, I've seen too much....

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fine Art Photography Part II

LinesSkyMountain, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

With the fall art season upon us, I thought it would be a good time to continue my series on fine art photography. This is the next part of that series.

In the last installment, we discussed the relationship of light to photography. This time around, we'll discuss the various types of photography and start to dip into the "well, what is fine art anyway?"

Last time, we talked about how the camera is a convenient "resting place" for our light sensitive medium. Cameras are not only convenient, they have become pervasive-almost everybody has one now and they are not very hard to come by-you can even get a disposable camera these days, and they make sort of "speciality" cameras for things like going underwater, which is, I'm told, quite fun actually.

An interesting thing about photographers though is that, just as there are many different types of cameras, there are almost as many (if not more) different types of photographers and the term "photographer" encompasses many people at many times. If it helps, think in terms of music. The lead violinist for the philharmonic orchestra is a "musician" just as Slash from Guns and Roses is a "musician" but, to the untrained ear, both might sound very different. This pluralism holds true too with photography.

If it helps, I like to think of photography as a sort of "umbrella" that hides beneath it, collects and gathers, many different types of photographers. There are wedding photographers, for example, who take your picture only when you get married, and sports photographers who go out for the action of the friday night games. There are commercial photographers, who take those great billboard images you see while driving along the highway and even forensic photographers, like those from CSI, who help solve crimes. All of these people, from beginner to advanced as well, make up the spectrum of folks we label "photographers."

Let's look at a few of these photographers a bit more in-depth to get an idea of what exactly separates "fine art" photographers from the rest of the pack.

Let's start with the photojournalist. Photojournalists are people who cover events, such as world events, wars, political conventions, and the like. Many photojournalists, or reporters actually, report on the news and many of these photojournalistic images are images that we see everyday, in places like the news and popular news magazines (Time magazine is just one example of a place you might see an image taken by a professional photojournalist.) These type of photographers are often trained in journalism school, and they "cover" events by (typically) impartially bringing truth and showcasing events to their viewers. Like the old saying "f/8 and be there" these are the folks who go out into the wild to show us what's happening in the world today.

Documentary photography is related to photojournalism in that it attempts to portray a certain truth, it's objective in nature, and it typically includes pictures of people or events that are happening as they unfold. Documentary photographers often show the perspective of the photographer and often present a sort of "study" of a subject. To give you an example, the great documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado often turns his camera towards the plight of the refugee and shows us, in the form of projects, books, gallery exhibitions, and collections, the faces of those displaced by society. 

Since I belong to the Texas Documentary Photography Group, I can also tell you that the word "documentary" has, as its root, the same word as the Latin word for "teach." Documentary photography is all about teaching-it's bringing something to somebody and presenting it in such a way as to show them something new. It should come as no surprise that, through documentary photography, you can learn a lot about certain subjects. Want to learn about post Chernobyl recovery efforts or perhaps you are interested in the plight of the American family farmer? A documentary photographer might just help you out. 

Commercial photographers, on the other hand, are all about selling. It's the gift of gab, as they say, brought out in pictures. Their goal is to present products to you in the most flattering of ways, so that you buy, buy, and buy more of it. From the Coke that we drink to the cars that we drive, they present products, clothing, services, and everything in-between, in such a way that you want to run out and own a little piece of it for yourself.

Ok, so now that we've talked about all of these different types of photographers, what then is "fine art?" Where does it fit in?

From the wiki:
"Fine art photography refers to photographs that are created to fulfill the creative vision of the artist. Fine art photography stands in contrast to photojournalism and commercial photography. Photojournalism provides visual support for stories, mainly in the print media. Commercial photography's main focus is to sell a product or service."

That's an Ok definition, but it doesn't really tell us what "fine art" photography actually is (I think it's a bit short, so I'm going to discuss it a bit more.)

If it helps, think of the fine art photography as the ultimate "lazy painter." Fine art photographers are people who, just like painters, go out into the world and use a camera as a painter would use a blank canvas and a brush. Their aim is to create artwork that hangs on your wall, appears in publications, or otherwise gets displayed. To the fine art photographer, the camera viewfinder is just like a blank canvas is to the painter. We aim to fill it up with our creative "vision," whatever that may be.

Another way to look at it is to think of the fine art photographer, not really as a "photographer" at all, but more as a "visual artist." Just as an artist would use painting, sculpture, or some other "visual art" to showcase a creative vision, so too does the fine art "photographer" use a camera. Fine art photographers often are not concerned with "the truth" (as a photojournalist would be) nor do they care so much about "the message" (that would be left to the documentary folks) but they are all over "the vision."

Maybe the best way to define some of what "fine art" photography really is, is to talk about what it's not.

Fine art photographers aren't concerned about reporting facts. We don't want to tell you what happened on this date, place, and time. We don't report news, in fact, we don't usually report anything. (We are not reporters, not by any means.) We don't tell people's stories. We don't sell product (though, sometimes, fine art photography is used for commercial purposes, we don't actually start out trying to sell goods or services.) We don't shoot events, like weddings, political happenings, or the like (many of us could care less about that.) Many fine art photographers don't shoot people at all and many others, like myself, are only interested in people as a sort of "secondary" subject.

To look at the subjects we shoot, you'd have to go to a museum or art gallery and look at the (typical) subjects a painter would paint. The political rally? Nope, not me. The still life? Oh yeah, we're al over that.

That's not to say that fine art photographers don't advance causes, speak the truth, or showcase events as they unfold, it's just that these things are more of a byproduct-it's fallout from what we actually focus on, what we really do, which is to create lasting artwork, creative compositions, and showcase a "vision" that's unique to us. Basically, fine art photographers are people who make art using cameras. 

We'll talk more about fine art photography as the series unfolds, but hopefully now you have a bit of a compare and contrast understanding of how some of the various types of photography stack up.

Until next time...

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Coming Soon: To An Internet Near You

TrunkAndTrees1, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

It's that time again! Time for me to dust off 12 images and once again prepare my annual calendar.

This year the theme will be "Surface" and the highlighted work will be abstract images from White Sands, New Mexico. The calendar this year will be, for the first time, produced with the help of the good folks at lulu. As part of making the calendar, I had to go through a bit of a "dust off" of my old lulu hovel, setup a beast they refer to as "a storefront" and get lost in an infinite array of web forms. I'm happy to say that all of that "web hell" is behind me now. So, I present to you, my lulu "storefront" with my very own 2009 calendar proudly displayed: Click here for details.

Isn't hat just ducky? Or, maybe, um, "surfacy" ??

Until next time...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Georgetown Art Hop

This is just a reminder that tomorrow night I will be making a rare Austin-area appearance. I have work included in the Georgetown Fall Art Hop, which is going to be held on the square in Georgetown, Texas. The opening reception is from 4:30-8 pm tomorrow night. There will be an Artist Reception at the Georgetown Public Library starting at 4:30, followed by the Awards Presentation starting at 5:15 and then, at 6 pm the public reception begins. There will also be a Docent Tour of the Galleries.

The event itself will be held at different galleries in and around Georgetown, including 8th Street Studio, Annarella Home, the Framer's Gallery, and the Georgetown Public Library.

On Saturday morning, there is an "Art Hop-Scotch" for children, starting at 9:30 am at the library.

The exhibition will run until October 30th.

Until next time, maybe in person this time, see you there....