February 25, 2012

Some Favorite Photos.

I spent one day last weekend backing up a lot of my photos from last year.  Historically I'm really anal about my photos and I usually back them up onto a disc as I go along, but somewhere along the line a big case of the lazies set in and I got way behind.  I'll never do that again.  First off, it sucks to sit for hours at a time making back-up discs.  Second, living in constant fear of having my computer crash and losing said photos sucked ass.  I'm not sure why I put myself through that. 

Anyway, I ran across some photos I hadn't seen in a while.  I thought I'd share.

What you see above is either Lewis or Clark drowning in the Mississippi during some flooding in 2008.  I lucked out on the timing of this.

I ran across the following cactus while hiking in California.  I love irony.

I ran across the dead fish above while hiking in Phoenix.  My prim and proper sister called me a weirdo for taking a photo of a dead fish.  She couldn't understand it.  I found beauty in it.  The texture is one of the main reasons I like this photo.  Well, that and I'm obsessed with death.

I love how that leaf is wrapped around the Xmas light.  Small things make me happy.

What you see above is a bubble, mid float.  And if you look closely to left center, you can see the reflection of a person who was standing behind me.  The flash reflection is also visible, and it illuminated the bubble in a weird way.  It almost looks like there was a bubble within the bubble, although there wasn't.

Forgive me if you've seen this photo before, but it's probably my favorite of all time and I had to include it.  This was shot in Joshua Tree National Park, and although I did make a conscious effort to orchestrate this photo to be what it is, I have to admit a good portion of it was complete luck, as I was in a car moving 40mph.  The unbelievable color of the sunset, the luscious background with the mountains and the Joshua tree blurred in all the right places to show movement, the perfect image in the mirror at the moment I snapped the shutter...well, I guess maybe it was mostly luck.  But good for me for being prepared in the right place at the right time.  There's even a little dead bug splattered on the upper center of the mirror.

This picture always makes me laugh, because every time my friend wears this damn hat I laugh.  A year ago, a friend traveled to Taiwan for several months.  When he came back, he had a bunch of random souvenirs for people.  Prior to his departure, I was the only person who specifically asked for a souvenir, which was some sort of little Buddha.  Specifically, a fat laughing one.  I didn't care how cheap, how tiny, I just wanted a Buddha from Buddha land to add to my small collection.  So what does my friend do?  He comes back with no Buddha and a highly ridiculous claim that he couldn't find any.  Whatever friend, just say you forgot it.  I have known you for approximately 14 years and I know your memory sucks.  But don't play me for an idiot.  You cannot tell me you couldn't find one goddamn Buddha in Taiwan, Myanmar, or Laos.  No, he couldn't find a Buddha, but he did somehow manage to find a redneck trucker's hat that says "give you fuck" accompanied by hand-painted artwork of a skellie-type hand flipping the bird.  No Buddhas, but he had a whole bag of stuff like this with bad "Engrish".  My friend you see above was given his pick of souvenirs, and immediately snagged this gem of a hat without even looking at the other options.  And if you knew this guy, it's absolutely perfect for him.  What's even better is that he wears it out A LOT.  We have since adopted the phrase "I give you fuck" to replace "fuck you".  I've discovered it's a good anger management tool, because it's impossible to say that without at least smiling on the inside. 

February 12, 2012

Sad Sunday.

Last night I was out with a bunch of friends celebrating a dear friend of ours who passed away 4 years ago yesterday.  He was only 41 and dropped dead of a heart attack.  Every year around the anniversary of his death we all get together for the sole purpose of celebrating and remembering him.  Even 4 years later, the masses come out for this night.  It's good to see.

Due to the killer hangover I'm nursing I can't help but reflect on the evening, and I'm realizing how the gathering has changed and evolved over the years.  The first year there were still a lot of tears.  People brought old pictures, told stories, and made toast after toast to our friend all night long.  Each year since then there is less and less of that.   I did my share and told a few funny stories, and I overheard a few others doing the same, but they were few and far between.  There was one toast, not 25, and it was done quickly and quietly at a random point later in the evening.  So discreet, in fact, that some people in our group standing 8 feet away didn't even know it was happening.  That first year, whomever gave a toast would do so standing on a chair in the bar demanding the attention of everyone in it.  My how things have changed. 

It's not that we're forgetting our friend and the reason we are getting together.  But it's 4 years later and we have moved forward in life without him, and I think these gatherings reflect that.  We realize what we've lost, and as a result these gatherings have turned into an evening of appreciating each other.  The good that came out of that loss is that we've all become more expressive with that appreciation over the past 4 years, but what I like about this annual outing is that it's so blatant.  Most of us typically hug when we see each other, but on these annual nights the hugs are bigger, stronger, longer, more meaningful.  We say "I love you" to one another with reckless abandon.  We have conversations with our arms around each other like pals should do once in a while.  We could no longer live in the past, so we learned to embrace the present.

In as much as last night felt awesome, today is a buzzkill.  Too much booze and not enough sleep does tend to make me rather emotional the next day, so perhaps that is to blame.  Or maybe it's just the Sunday blahs.  Is it weird that I'm teary-eyed as I read about Whitney Houston's death?  I wasn't even a huge fan of her music, yet it makes me sad.  Sad for her, sad for her daughter who has to live the rest of her live without a mother, which I can attest sucks ass.  Sad because she was too young, just like my friend.  Yesterday I embraced the present but today, for whatever reason, I am sucked back into the past dwelling on who isn't here.  Grief is a weird, interesting thing.  I think it's pretty much a guarantee that I'll cry at some point during the Grammys tonight. 

February 5, 2012

Sunday Rant.

I don't have much of substance to share right now, so I'm going to let off a little steam and rant about a few things on the ol' noodle today. 

1.  Winter.  As I've mentioned several times, I'm a big fan of winter.  I love everything about it (as long as I'm prepared, which I usually am because that's how I roll).  I  love how the cold, crisp air makes me feel so alive when I first step outside and breathe it in.  I love how said air feels so light, fresh and clean compared to heavy, thick, nasty summer air.  I love how the sky is more blue in the winter.  I love how dry the air is, and that it allows for several good hair days in a row.  But most of all, I love snow.  It is one of the great loves of my life.  When there is snow in the forecast, I revert to my childhood tendency of peeking out the window incessantly, waiting for it.  I get an excited feeling in my gut.  If it's expected overnight, I don't even get out of bed the next morning before looking out the window first.  I still check the school closings, even though they don't affect me (I do have friends who are teachers though, so I get excited for them).  When other cities get massive snowstorms, I like to go online and find live camera shots of it so I can feel like I'm there.  I know, it's weird.  And speaking of snow, my favorite part of it, other than the obvious beauty, is the serenity it brings.  That odd silence that occurs during and just after a snowstorm is so awesome.  It makes you realize just how noisy our world is.  I love getting bundled up and walking around the neighborhood during that time to soak it all in.  Speaking of which, I love the squeaky noise snow makes when you walk on it. 

So what's the problem, you ask?  The problem is that we've had ZERO snow where I live this winter.  Well, that's exaggerating.  We've had 3 minor incidences, all which melted immediately, and altogether produced a whopping total of just under 4".  It's freakin' February and we've had 4" of snow for the entire winter.  That's bullshit, man.  Not only have we had no snow (let me exaggerate, will you?), but the temps overall have been reminiscent of spring.  Other than a few brief cold spells, this winter has pretty much been a pattern of 40's, followed by a few days in the 50's, followed by a few days in the goddamn 60's, and then back to the 40's where the pattern starts over.  Sometimes a freakish day in the 30's is thrown in just to confuse us all.  Trees have buds on them here.  I heard a radio caller say her daffodils started blooming.  Geese don't know if they're coming or going.  It's a state of confusion.  And I'm pissed as hell, because I just suffered through the absolute worst summer of my lifetime but did so with minimal complaining, which was not an easy task, and now my reward is a big SCREW YOU from Mother Nature.  I don't think I'm asking for much here, I just want a little winter weather during winter.  I'm sick of all the pompous summer-lovers bragging about how "great" of a winter we're having.  They can go to hell.  And now I'm starting to get into panic mode, because we're nearing mid-February and there is no snow or winter weather in the forecast for the foreseeable future.  Next thing you know it's freakin' March and the chances of snow die down significantly.  I realize there's still plenty of time, but it's actually possible this winter could pass without a significant snow.  It's very upsetting.  And I feel like I got the shaft (insert bad joke here). 

2.  Superbowl.  I have nothing to say here other than I don't think I have ever cared less about a Superbowl in my lifetime.  And that seems be the consensus from what I can tell, at least in my neck of the woods.  I loathe both teams and therefore cannot root for either, but since someone has to win I hope the Giants take the trophy.  Eli Manning seems like a decent kid who hasn't gone all NY on us yet, but more importantly I just want to see the Patriots, and Tom Brady, lose.  Regardless, this year I'll probably pay more attention to the snacks, commercials, and halftime more than I will the game.  I also plan on going home after halftime and watching the rest in my pjs on my own couch.  Never have I done such a thing.  And it's not because I'm getting old and lame, it's because that's how little I care. 

3.  Alcatraz.  This is actually a rave and not a rant, but it is on my mind so I am mentioning it.  Is anyone watching this show?  I'm totally sucked into it.  It's a JJ Abrams show and is similar to Lost in that you never quite know what the hell is going on, but I'm actually digging it more than Lost.  They're only about 4 episodes into the series, so if you aren't already doing so, catch up online and start watching it.  I need people to theorize with.

That is all.  Carry on.