Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or....Fish?

PelicanBeak_1744, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's raining today in River City. I mean, not just like raining but heavy rains with potential flooding. It's really coming down out there. And, as luck would have it, today also happens to be Halloween.

Now, I thought about what potential this combination has to offer. For starters, there might be a few less kiddies out tonight. In the past, I've always purchased six bags of candy, this year being no exception but, this time, the bags have gotten a bit smaller. Now, this might work out in the end, since I might actually just have enough candy to go around, we'll have to see about that. I'm seriously thinking about handing out fish, since it's so wet out there. Think the kiddies would notice? (Why, yes I'm sure they would, actually.)

In other news, the Elfa stuff has been installed. I survived the great Elfa migration into my house and now have some serious shelving to show off. The biggest news here, and it's something I was not prepared for, was the boxes. When I say "boxes" I mean, actually, BOXES. There were boxes everywhere! It was like I was barricaded in my home. Euf! Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box box. I managed to get most of them either tucked away or stuffed into my recycling bin but now the recycling day cannot come soon enough.

Still though it beats getting a fish for Halloween, doesn't it?

Until next time...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lady, You Can Drive My Car

Abstract view of a black Aston Marton Virage at the Texas All British Car Day, Round Rock, Texas
BlackVirage_8020, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
In Texas, where I live, your driver's license expires on your birthday. This is actually true in many states. They do this for a reason, I guess, it makes you more likely to remember to renew it or some such thing. This year, as luck would have it, my license was set to expire tomorrow, which is my birthday.

Now, Texas has this nice little system where you can renew by mail if you haven't renewed by mail the last time you were up for renewal (or some such thing.) Don't get me wrong, the renewal process is actually pretty easy. It's about $24 to renew your license. They send you a pre-printed form, which you just sign and mail in, along with your check. Easy as pie, actually, this entire process is. You can actually also go down in person, to the Department of Public Safety (we call it the "DPS" around these parts) and renew in person and I think you can even renew your license on the web now. They really are working to make this renewal process as easy as possible.

Of course, me being lazy and the way I am, I could not decide if I wanted to renew by mail or if I wanted to go in and do it in person. The form also said you had to mail it 20 days in before your birthday and, of course, I got lazy and forgot to send in the form. Then I felt that time was running out, and I might not make it to renewal in time for my birthday so maybe I should go down in person and yada yada. Of course, I never make anything easy and this too, the way I would do it, required a certain amount of mental gymnastics. Eh, me being me, what else would you expect, right? I *finally* decided to mail it in but, since I did this at the last possible minute and the post office is known for being slow, not to mention there was some kind of government shutdown and all, I half expected it to not show up on or before my birthday.

As luck would have it, my new license came in the mail today. Yes, indeed, as I got the mail today, there was the big, splashy "" return address and, tucked neatly inside, was my new license. I already have it in my wallet, tucked nicely away. Yes, I'm street legal once again, new license and all. Good for another seven years, or so they tell me. I'm here to tell you that today, on October 26th, the great state of Texas has in fact issued me a driver's license, good for another seven years. This license, as you would imagine, allows me to drive on roads public and private, across all of Texas, as well as being honored in other States across the US. In fact, thanks to this new license, I can drive anywhere in the United States. Back and forth, up and down, there and back, on roads public and private, provided I obey the posted speed limits, follow any directives from the police, pay the involved tolls, and whatnot.

Meanwhile, off in Saudi Arabia, there were women driving today as well. These women were, in fact, breaking the law. Saudi law, you see, doesn't allow women to drive. They (these women) aren't allowed the opportunity to drive back and forth, up and down, there and back. Even if they follow posted speed limits, pay parking fees, tolls and all, they are still illegally driving. Nope, not allowed to drive, no matter what. Just because they are women. No driving for women, nope, not allowed in Saudi Arabia it would appear.

The irony of this was not lost on me. Here I sit, half a world away, too lazy to actually just renew my license. Even though I drive past the DPS office each and every day, I just couldn't be bothered to pop on in there and renew my license. Nope. Too much of a hassle. I had better things to do. Maybe I'm just too lazy. Meanwhile, half a world away, these women, no matter what they did, were not allowed to drive. Imagine what they would give to be able to walk into a DPS office and come out with a piece of paper (actually a little laminated card) giving them permission to drive? Imagine how far they would be willing to go for the privilege of driving? The thing I sit here and take for granted, why, they just don't have and cannot get, simply because they are female.

Today, on this day, October 26th, 2013, those Saudi women did something they weren't supposed to do. They got in their cars and drove anyway. They did that and they filmed themselves doing it. There was a movement on YouTube and Twitter and all of the social media places. We saw hash tags and things like #DriveOct26 and #Women2Drive. There were videos posted of women in burkas driving through the street of Saudi Arabia, an offense which carries a stiff penalty. One woman was jailed for more than a week in 2011 for driving. Another women, just today, was attempting to drive to the grocery store and back. Armed with freshly purchased groceries, she was stopped by police and forced to wait until a male from her family was available to come and drive her home. (She was given a warning not to drive again.)

I think back on all of the times I'm too lazy to go and get groceries. I just can't be bothered. The grocery store just "feels too far away." (Whatever that means.) I think back on all of the places I've driven. Dirt roads in New Mexico, the streets of New York, down California's coastal highways, to the Texas shore and back, heck even across parts of Canada. I drove in Hawaii on some lava rocks (that was fun!) and drove the turquoise trail, tracing steps of Ansel Adams down the back country of Santa Fe. I drove King's Highway, Route 66, I10, Interstate 95 between Maine and Florida. I drove on the beach, I drove to the lake, I drove to the ocean. I've driven up mountains, across deserts, towards the sea. I've had passengers. I've driven alone. I've driven at night on back roads and highways. I've driven through parts of Mexico and once even right up to the country's capitol building. Heck, I once even honked my horn and waved at the Texas governor (who also happened to be a women at the time and also happened to be driving. I saw Governor Anne Richards driving her convertible Cadillac in Austin and honked at her and waved once.) Women honking at women and waving to each other? Out in the open like that and not breaking any laws? Amazing really.

As I said, the irony of today's events is not lost on me. Maybe the next time I feel I'm "too lazy" to drive to the grocery store or "I just can't be bothered" driving over there, I'm going to think about this. At least I live where I am free and I can drive if I so choose to do so. I wish the women of Saudi Arabia had the same privileges.

So today, this day, October 26th, 2013, I say to them, "Go, ladies, go!" Drive you cars. Drive back and forth, there and back, across roads and bridges. Get your groceries, do your shopping, and live your lives as best you can. The women of tomorrow are counting on you to make this right and somebody has got to take a stand. There's no reason, in this day and age, women should be denied the privilege of driving.

Ladies, you can drive my car anytime. Drive on, please, drive on. Go, ladies, go. May the women of Saudi Arabia drive to see another day.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Odds and Ends

EarlySanta_1729, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
It's too early for Santa, really it is. Bansky is loose in New York doing things, well, Bansky style things. So far, he sold some of his artwork for $60 in Central Park, he delivered an entire truckload of stuffed animals to a slaughterhouse in Brooklyn and he almost got arrested impersonating Ronald McDonald. (Seriously. I'm not making this up.) All I can say about that is that, well, I hope he gets arrested, simply because Riker's Island could use some better graffiti (and let's leave it at that, OK?)

It's autumn here in River City. Been actually kind of nice out, even a little bit rainy. I haven't seen my friend Linda in a while. I wonder how she's been. Art Wolfe went up to Iceland. He's having a great time there and getting some great shots. Did I mention Bansky is loose in New York? Thought I did. They just sold an original Klimt painting at auction for a bucket load of money. I'm still clearing out my house, getting ready for the new Elfa shelves. I just ate some pizza and I'm blogging now.

I think that the world series has started but I'm really not too sure. I've never been much interested in sports. They should have a world series of art, then maybe I would watch. I feel like painting but it's late now and I'm tired and I really should be cleaning, getting ready for the Elfa stuff. This is a Santa from Salado. I was surprised (but maybe not so much) to see a Santa out this early. Can't they at least wait until after Halloween? Scott Kelby says that, in five years or less, there will be no noise in digital cameras, none at all. Abolished. Gone the way of the do do bird. (Seriously.) Can you believe that? I guess it's true though, I mean, they have come a long way in terms of getting rid of it. I'm not doing the East Austin Studio Tour this year. Instead, I'm going to focus on doing some of my own work. I might go out shooting instead. Enjoy myself for a change. I really just want to have some fun and take it lightly. I'm not feeling like doing a lot of shows right now, just feel like shooting, going out, exploring, and having a good time.

I guess that's enough odds and ends for one night. I'm sure there was something I was supposed to tell you but now I forgot. I know it will come back to me as soon as I push POST. Isn't that how it always works?

Odds and ends.....ends and odds. Oddly ending now.

Until next time...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Peace, Love, and Elfa

YellowPeaceCat_1783, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
What's Elfa? You might ask and, why, I'd be here to tell you. I have just purchased some spiffy new shelving/desk setup for my home studio. It's from the Container Store (God, I *love* that place) and it's called "Elfa." Elfa is configurable. It's shelving. It's a desk. It's a desk with a hutch. It's all of that and more. It's the bee's knees and everything good under the sun.

Actually, it's this kind of convertible system that allows you to install wire frames which can then hold shelves, racks, hampers, baskets, all kinds of wonderful things Elfa. (And, believe me, Elfa is really quite wonderful.) I have purchased something called "Elfa freestanding" which is a freestanding system (as the name implies) that does not require you to drill into the wall to install it. My system will be six feet wide (it's a double-wide! With two desks, side by side) and about seven feet tall. I'm going to have lots and lots of shelving to store photo books, magazines I collect, and all kinds of photo related props.

If that were not bad enough (or good enough really) this wonderful Elfa unit (God, I hate that word!) has no sides to speak of (think "floating shelves" and you are, pretty much, there) so I am going to get some lighting, like maybe a small soft box and light this from the side. I'm going to actually use the desk top surface (well, one of them, since I am getting two side-by-side and all) as a table top mini studio of sorts. I plan to setup a soft box and do some small studio setups and still life type shots on my new Elfa system (in addition to it housing my print storage archive, my Lenswork and Aperture magazine collections, and bunches more.)

In case you could not tell, I'm over the moon excited about my new Elfa system. For me, it's the best in studio furniture and I feel like it will not only provide tons of storage but will provide me with a nice (and much needed!) working surface. I've been trying to get organized for a while now and just can't seem to fit everything I have into every space I need. This new Elfa system will allow me to go vertical a bit and actually make the most of some (now) little used floor space. It's going to get installed into one of my spare bedrooms on October 28th.

Sure, this sounds all well and good but now this puts me in a panic, since I have to clean things out, move things around and get myself all tidy and ready for the new Elfa installation. To put it bluntly, I have a lot to do between now and the 28th. Oh, wish me luck for I am going to need it. (Oh! The boxes I have to clear. The dust bunnies I have to round up. The thing in the 'fridge. Heavens to Betsy, I don't even want to know what things are in the 'fridge these days. Oh joy!)

So, now you know what I'm up to in case, you know, in case you were wondering and all (not like you'd do that but, just in case....just in case.)

Peace, love, and Elfa for all!

Until next time...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Notes From the Road - Salado

GodLight_1720, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.
Today I went up to Salado, Texas for a brief afternoon shoot. We've had a lot of rain in Austin this week so I was not sure if the weather would hold or not, but I went up on the chance that the clouds would be good if the raindrops stayed at bay. I was right in that the clouds and light really were very good. Of course, I did not count on it being what can best be described as "muggy and buggy." I swear, there were flocks of mosquitoes so big up there, at one point I honestly thought I was going to get carried away like the flying nun or something. And muggy? Oh yeah. Check on that, as we were all sweating and dripping. It was...shall we say...moist, and let's just leave it at that.

The rain didn't stay away for too long. Right around sunset it started as a light mist and then, by the time I checked in with friends at the local BBQ joint it was coming down in "cats and dogs" as they say around those parts. It was really heavy at times and really coming down in buckets. I'm lucky I made it back home again, what with the roads being so wet, the Interstate being filled with long distance truckers, the fog and empty night sky and all. As I left driving back down the Interstate headed towards Austin (and home) I honestly felt like I didn't get a single shot. Not one single shot came out and I seriously felt like the entire trip had been a waste. Sure, there was God light, I did happen upon some weird looking mannequins, there was an odd-looking (but rather cute!) early Santa and I did happen upon a deer wearing sunglasses but I totally felt like the entire shoot had been a wash.

Once home, I found myself editing and, to my surprise, did indeed manage to pull out a couple of gems. I need to keep reminding myself that I'm the queen of quirk and I happen upon it lots. Sure, there was God light (in case it's not clear, this image is what I consider God light. Actually, I believe this is called Crepuscular rays, but it also has several other names. God light, however, is much easier to spell) but there was a lot of other quirky stuff too and that's really the money shots for me. OK, so maybe I didn't get what you might expect me to pull out of Salado but I did manage a few oddball items, here and there so, I guess, not a total waste of a camera exposure. The peach cobbler was really good too (as you might expect in a BBQ joint.)

So, bottom line? Look for some quirk coming from Salado in the coming posts. OK, so maybe I didn't get what I was expecting to find up in Salado, but it wasn't a totally whiff either.

Until next time...