Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Guard Dogs That Point out the Valuables


GuardDogAndTrafficCone, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

So, I went to my gallery opening, over at the Watson Studio Gallery in Johnson City this past Saturday. An interesting thing about these small Texas towns is that, many of them have a sort of a "square" near the center of town, with lots of small shops and commercial sites, restaurants and things-plenty of shopping but no real "shopping malls" in sight (which, if I had my druthers, I'd prefer, believe me.) Many of the "locals" go to these sorts of things, and, as it turns out, many of the "locals" also own dogs. It's customary to find dogs tied up to polls, lapping bowls of water as you walk through some of the small towns. (And, once again, I'm happy with this. I like to see dogs become part of society, rather than just the typical "outcasts" as I've found them before, in place like the Humane Society or the pound, helpless waiting to be adopted.) It's always interesting to me though, to walk around and pet the doggies, and I always get a kick out of seeing them "guard" the shops, which, of course, they don't really do. (Point out the silverware is more like it for most of these pampered pooches.)

The show itself was neat. I got an "honorable mention" which was great and Jane got first place, which was fantastic. (Her work was outstanding-she really deserved it.) There was some really fly pinhole color infrared work from Pisa, Italy that was just fantastic too. I could hardly belive that stuff, all pink and blue-it was like a fantasy land come to life. I got to show the photographer from Hungary my lensbaby, in turn, doing the world a service, since he's now going to mail order one for himself. (That lensbaby is really spreading around, let me tell you.)

Speaking of the baby, the show is called "Menage a Trois" and highlights works in groups of three. All three of my images were lensbabies I had done while visiting Big Island in Hawaii. (Happy Kona to you!) So, yeah, it brough back memories. (That baby can bend it with the rest of them when it steps up to the plate, belive me.)

I was kind of dreading going out there though, because I thought I had to drive all the way through Austin when, as it turns out, there's a bit of a "back door" to Johnson City from where I live. You can actually drive through Marble Falls, Texas and take highway 281 due south, to Johnson City. It's a much nicer ride, let me tell you, with no city traffic, though, going out that way, I made the mistake of taking Highway 1431 instead of highway 29. What a twisty, turny, oh-my-God we can't even do 35 in these bends, road that is, once you get out into the country. But, the show was great, the gallery fantastic, and I even snuck in a few random shots from Johnson City which I promise to upload...well...sometime soon now.

Sometime that guard dog will let me out, that is.

Until next time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Nothing in Particular and Everything in Between


FountainPlumeExtract, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Just yesterday morning, I got word that a blogger I know is up for a bloggie award. I was talking with a friend of mine and I said something along the lines of, "well, they'll never give ME an award." And, it's true, they won't.

I'm not bitter about getting passed over for these type of awards. I realize that my blog is probably just as good as some of them and, frankly, some of them really blow mine away. I don't think "quality" is really too much a factor in awards for blogs-I think it's more of a popularity contest and, frankly, I'm just not all too eager to go out and pimp my site or get along and nominate myself for this and that all over the web. (Deep down inside, I do this for fun and don't really care who sees it-though it's nice to know some folks, like the folks in the armed forces, enjoy it. That really makes my day.)

I think part of the reason I don't get any recognition for my blog is that, well, this is really a blog about nothing. I'm like the Seinfeld of blogs-I yap freely about what I want when I want to yap. I kind of view this site as an ultra exclusive "yap and snap" club, a place where I talk about what's bothering me, photography, American Idol, or the price of tea in China. If my Tivo picks up something weird, categories be damned, you're going to hear about it. If I went on a crappy shoot and didn't get any pictures, you're going to hear about that too. I don't fit into any of their nice "categories," you know, stuff like "Best Canadian Blogger" or "Best Teen Photoblog." I'm not any of that. I'm just one person, with a camera and a pen. Crap, I'm probably the lowest form of blogger on the planet-the only low tech one around. Everybody else has a laptop, a camera phone, and runs me off the information superhighway. But, I just don't care. I putter along in my jalopy, enjoying the scenery and the breeze as others blow on past.

So, yeah, this is a blog about nothing. Don't look at it. Nope, nothing to see here, move right along. There are no clowns, parades of elephants, marching bands, or party balloons. No face painting for the kids. Just me and my shit pen, my worn camera, and a whole lot of snark.

If they ever gave out an award for "Snarky Most Seinfeld-ian Blog That's Really About Nothing in Particular and Everything in Between" why, I'd be all over *that* one, I'm sure.

Until next time...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Question for the Day

I have one of those "question of the day" boards where I work. I also keep a candy jar at my desk. The idea being that, if you answer the question, you get to take a candy. (Most people, believe it or not, actually do answer the question.) Sometimes, I ask some pretty strange questions.

The process started a while back when I was challenged to "come up with some questions that hadn't been asked." As you can imagine, this was pretty easy for me. I can think of some really oddball questions, believe me ("What song would you hum if you were trapped in an elevator with a Sumo wrestler and an eleven year old girl?" for example.)

The very first, "my God, I've never been asked that before!" question was directed at Slash, from Guns and Roses fame, and it was, "when you perform in France, do people call you Monsieur Slash?" Oddball question to ask Slash, I know, but there you have it. It's since deteriorated to asking some really, really oddball questions, even for me (which is really saying something.)

The other day somebody posed to Flickr a question about "if you found a roll of film in a thrift store camera, would you develop it?" I immediately thought, "yeah, why not?" but then I realized that not everybody would. Then, I thought of my question of the day.

"If you found a roll of film in a thrift store camera, and you were to develop it, what would be the strangest picture you might expect to find?"

Chew on that the next time you're scoping out an old Brownie.

Until next time...

PS It might actually make for an interesting project. "Shoot the strangest thing you would expect to find in a roll of film left behind in a thrift store camera." The Scret Life of Thrift Stores has kind of nice ring to it, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hard Drives and Winter Doldrums


TreeandColoredHouses, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

I finally got a new hard drive. I'm excited about this because it means that I can not only backup my stuff, but now I can go out and shoot more. It's been very cold and rainy around Austin lately, though we've had some fantastic fog. The fog's been so good, it's making me want to go out and shoot, though (as you probably could have guessed) I'm completely out of Compact Flash again. Time to back some up, free some up, and go shooting again.

I haven't made much progress on the house but the "digital backload" is starting to move. I've actually started going through a few of my old shots from Italy-revisiting some of which I had passed over before. It's kind of strange to go back and re-visit stuff years later. It sometimes gives you a fresh look at some of the old stuff. Even some of my crappier shots from Italy are better than what I have done recently and some of that stuff was really interesting work. I did some blurry out-of-focus stuff, lots of reflections, and even some crispy sharp-focused stuff (which you can see here.) Actually, this image feels quite timely to me-it almost reads "winter" with no leaves on that tree and, though the houses are brightly colored, the sky is just sort of there. Add in a little fog and it could be Austin, I tell you. It just feels like Austin right now.

It's an odd sort of season and an odd sort of place to be. Lots of upcoming shows to enter, I'm on the verge of starting lots of new work, and attending a rocking workshop, yet I feel like I'm a jogger and I can't quite make the finish line. It's a strange condition. I feel like I'm about to start a race I know I must win, and I'm standing around at the starting line mumbling, "ok, enough already. Let's get this thing started...."

American Idol feels sort of like that too, doesn't it? Like we've had enough of the train wreck auditions (to last a lifetime!) and we just want to get to "the good stuff." Yeah, that's it, man. Show me some "good stuff." I'm in dire need of "some good stuff." Even though the trees are thinking about budding, there's just not enough "good stuff" to get me through the winter.

If you have any to spare, why, please, drop me a line, won't you?

Until next hard drive packed with "good stuff..."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

View from the Floor


ViewFromTheFloor, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

A couple of "quick hits" for this, late Sunday afternoon.

For starters, the Library of Congress (yes, that library. Yes, that Congress) is now making a new push to go on-line with some old photographic gems. Some of the old archives are now being placed on-line, in odd hovels and newfangled websites (such as flickr.) Yes, it's true, my snowflakes, in a "strange but true" turn of events, I have recently added the Library of Congress as a flickr contact. God, I love the web. Ah, Flickr, let me count the ways.

In other news, this is a (rather crappy) shot of my new floors. I thought it only fair, since, well, since you couldn't really tell what they looked like from the last shot (Hey, if Uta Barth did flooring, why, I'd be all over it.) Of course, in true Carol fashion, you really can't tell what they look like from this shot either but, hey, we're getting closer, right? Maybe sometime next week, I show you a floor you can actually look at (and, of course, by then, you'll be so bored and will have lost interest but, hey, it's my blog and I'll ramble on if I want to.)

The Austin strobist group had a meet up this weekend. It's going to be interesting to see some of the work falling out of that mayhem. Speaking of mayhem, they used model mayhem to summon up a few extras and, I'm sure, I'll hit it over there too, at some point (when I'm more set up and ready to do it.) I am not really a big fan of the whole "strobist" look but it has it's time and place (certainly makes for easy travel. You try stuffing a gigantic soft box in a carry on.)

And, lastly, speaking of a carry on, if you really want to "one up" your friends, you could sign yourself up for this bad boy. Yes, it's true my snowflakes, you could "travel completely around the world in less than 12 days" taking pictures along the way, so long as you have a valid passport and promise not to come down with the worst cast of jetlag known to mankind. According to the website, the tour will be stopping in New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Paris, and "two other fantastic international cities two continents apart." Don't forget to pack toothpaste.

Until next time zone...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Staring Down the Dream


Down the Six, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

American Idol has started! American Idol has started!

And, what a contest it's shaping up to be. So far, we've had a few "soon to be favorites" (a lot of country singers this year) and a few "how'd they make it onto TV" (the tour guide turned singer still cracks me up) and the contest is only a few days underway. I still can't stop laughing at the oh so low rendition of Go Down Moses ("Let My People Go") and, you know, it's Idol, so something, somewhere is bound to break. Maybe we'll drop a judge, maybe one city will turn in nothing but a bunch of nutcases (Seattle last year, anyone?) maybe Paula will finally stand up and smack Simon but, somehow, some way, somewhere, you just know it's going to be a wild ride.

And, speaking of wild rides, I have gotten some serious hardware recently. I'm setting up to undertake two major new photography-related projects and the hardware has finally started to arrive. I can hardly wait for eithre of these, believe me.

The house is starting to get back into order too. I've got a long way to go but I've made some progress, so I'm happy about that. I was just thinking that I'll move some more stuff tonight and probably put another dent into it this weekend.

The exhibition schedule is shaping up to be a busy one as well. I've gotten a ton of call-for-entries and the like recently-so many that I may have to pass on a lot of (otherwise) good entries, simply because I cannot keep up. I've got two new projects underway, not to mention my workshop to prepare for, but a few other things I want to work on. Makes it hard to keep sending stuff out.

All of that and Chase really needs a haircut. Man, he's looking like a furby these days. I kind of don't want to cut it because it's been a little chilly outside and I really don't want to shave him when it's 30 degrees but, the hair, it's got to go. Maybe next week I'll take him in for a grooming.

I hope your little world is going well.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nesting/Quick Hits


WindowWallandFloor, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Today's photo is one of the first to show the making of my new "nest." I'm calling it a "photographer's nest." I'm setting up a nice little corner with a comfortable chair, a good lamp, and a small bookcase full of photo books. It's starting to take shape and I just can't wait to curl up. (Chase even likes the footstool that came with the chair, though he just fits on it.)

In other news, I found out this weekend that I am going to participate in a group show called "Menage a Trois" at the Watson Studio Gallery in Johnson City, Texas. The show will run through April of this year and I've had three pieces selected by the juror, Carol Watson (she does infrared work that I absolutely love. You can see some of her work if you follow the link.)

Last night was photo group meeting. Not much going on this time of year but it is shaping up to be a big year, with Photofest, several trips lined up, the winery project, the Heart Gallery, the portfolio review, and a few other things going down.

Tonight is American Idol night too. Get ready to hear them belt it out.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Harumph


GargNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

You would think that I would be in a good mood today. I'm getting a new chair, it's almost the start of American Idol, it's been unseasonably warm around Austin the past few days. You would think that I would be happy and singing and carefree, but I'm not. And, I don't know why I'm not. I'm just not.

It's not like I set out to be mean. It's not like I wake up and say, "that's it! Today I'm going to be resident grouch. Bah Humbug!" Nope, doesn't work that way. I've even had some coffee, in a feeble attempt at perking myself up. Didn't work. Nope, not me. "Stand back! She's grouchy today."

On the plus side, there's always hope for tomorrow and, well, here's a gargoyle you can look at which will remind you of me while I'm away. That is, if you can stand to look at anything at all today.

Until next, ah screw it, I'm grouchy...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Reaching Out to Idolize


Brown Leaf Bokeh, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

It's almost time. It's almost time for us to give up our Tuesday nights. It's almost time for us to cheer, to cry, to rejoice, to sing. Yes, my friends, it's almost American Idol time. (As other, more wiser, folks have pointed out, once that thing starts up again, we hardly have a life left to live, so enjoy this last week while you can.)

Warning: the rest of this post contains some serious spoilers.

Since I'm an impatient one, I decided that I couldn't wait until next week, so I started to dig up some gossip from the show. Turns out, you don't have to dig very far. (There are a lot of people out there, it would appear, who are very gifted at digging up dirt on myspace and youtube, squirreling it away, and waiting for the Idol masters to "do their thing" as it were.)

Here's a "quick hit" at some of the gossip going round....

Irish singing lass Carly Hennessy is going to make an appearance. Many Idol fans are brewing about this, as she's already had a failed album in the US and the rumors are starting to circulate that, after last year's Sanjaya, this season is going to turn into "the year of the plant." (You have been warned.) Spanish singing sensation Lorena Pinot will also make an appearance, along the same lines.

This year the contestants will be allowed to play instruments, not just sing, which might make things interesting. It was always kind of silly that they had to sort of "hide" the fact that they played an instrument before, though now it seems like a bit of an unfair advantage. We'll see how this one works itself out, I guess.

Brian Miller and John Edward Carey are returning from prior seasons and make Hollywood week. There are a few "pretty girl/big boobs/who cares if she can sing" contestants, one in particular named Danielle Calato who makes it to Hollywood week, along with (I swear I'm not making this up) a woman from Dallas who goes into labor while auditioning and actually refused to be rushed to the hospital until she got her "golden ticket." Good to see some of the old skool silliness is back and, speaking of big boobs, the mother of all things "big boob" related, none oter than Dolly Parton herself, will make an appearance as a mentor. She said she didn't want to "be mean" and be a judge but she's going to work backstage with the finalists. Go Dolly (No boobs about it, we love Dolly.)

This season is shaping up to be "sibling season" in kind of a bad way. Look for Jon Sligh (Chris' bro) and Ricco Barrino, Fantasia's bro to make appearances. Also, twin daughters of hockey great Igor Laniovar both make it to Hollywood.

In perhaps the most surprising move yet, group performance are out this year, replaced with duets. Rumor has it too that there will be "fast pass" tickets issued to certain contestants to get them through to the end of the week.

There is plenty more gossip out there, but this should tide you over for a few days.

Until next time...

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's a Book for the Phone


SilverRoseNo1, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Ring! Ring!

No, it's not Avon calling (though they can be equally annoying.) A little known fact about this time of year...it's actually phonebook season! Yes, you read that right-phonebook season.

Where I live (in Texas) we seem to be hounded by phonebooks. Not just hounded, more like physically assaulted, not even assaulted is the right word-it's more like physically marauded. Like the phone companies have waged some kind of war on their helpless uninformed victims and they set out covering the terrain, filling in the gaps, sealing up their turf. One day, you're innocently walking down the street and the next? Clubbed in the back of the head by some street punk wannabe hurling phonebooks at random people's doorsteps. Really, it happens in Texas. Not too often but especially a lot during phonebook season. (For some reason, the celestial telephonal "powers that be" seem to like the beginning of the year.)

We get phonebooks that are specialized (anybody want an "only southern Williamson County" phonebook? I have a spare.) We get large, gigantic phonebooks (County Yellow Pages are living pretty large this year. Cut back on the BBQ, ok, guys?) We get ginormous gigantic living large let's help five year olds skip the high-chair and reach the steering wheel and the top shelf phonebooks (Austin White Pages at your service!) It's like a never-ending stream of tiny printed poorly glued coupon infested pile of useless information destined to be set aside and recycled next year but still must be delivered in early January for our convenience. Oh the Humanity!

If that weren't bad enough, they've started to show up in the middle of the night.

Picture this. You're half asleep. It's morning. You really don't want to wake up. You haven't had coffee yet (this is fiction, work with me.) With your bleary eyes, you fumble to open the door and let the dog out, only to find yourself tripping over yet another pile of soon-to-be recycled "phone foo" that has landed oh-so-conveniently at your doorstep. Oh the horror of it all. I just can't wait for phonebook season to end. I'm tired of tripping over my own doormat.

The worst part of all of this is that, the tin can and string-less powers that be confuse us all into thinking that there's is "the real" phonebook. Like, there's one "out there" in the great beyond that's "real" and it's theirs and we all need to seize it and grab it and never let it go. It's gotten so hard to tell them apart anymore, what with like no less than 50 of them arriving at my doorstep each day, each one claiming to be "real" and legit. I'm confused. I'm six inches taller. My back hurts from so many trips to the recycle bin. Somebody, please, make it stop.

If that weren't bad enough, all of my friends have unlisted numbers. It makes me look at this pile of soon to be rubbish and ask myself, "who are these people?" I mean, who exactly, is listed in a phonebook anymore? And, if you were listed, would you need this pile of "phone foo" to find yourself? (Gosh, I hope not-for your sake.)

The only bright spot on this horizon is that fact that, well, they've delivered so many phonebooks to my door already, there couldn't possible be anymore lurking out there in the bushes now, right? (Please say, "yes." Please, for the love of God, money, and great American muscle cars built before 1973, say, "yes," now.)

Until next "oh please let this be the last of it..."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year


Angel in Swirls of Light, originally uploaded by carolWorldLeader.

Happy 2008 everybody!

I hope you had a great new year and are enjoying the start of 2008. I had a quiet celebration at home but, this year anyway, it's how I really wanted it.

The floors are done, I'm slated to go back to work tomorrow (after about 10 days in a row off. Phew!) and normal blogging should resume now that it's the new year and all. Expect more good things to come now that I'm back in the saddle, as it were.

This one is from a last-minute though totally fabulous photo shoot KathyV and I did over the weekend. We went out on Sunday night in search of some last-minute, "please, please, please don't pull the plug just yet" decorations and found a few, normally good houses already dark but a few gems leftover. We both loved this little angel and I could not resist doing a paint with light with her. So, there you go-my Happy New Year image from me to you.

May 2008 find you surrounded in swirls of colorful lights no matter where you are.

Until next time...