A Bit About Me

My photo
Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

30 April 2012

Day 30: The Devil

This is the last day of our adventure into photography with Ziva and her friends.  I have had a lot of fun playing (altho I took it seriously) and I had a lot of respect for what each person managed to muddle thru each and every day.  Now, before I get mushy...please look at my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

Day 30 --  The Devil:

Allow me to quote a couple lines from one of my favourite films:

Pete: I've always wondered, what's the devil look like?

Ulysses Everett McGill: Well, there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork.

Tommy Johnson: Oh, no. No, sir. He's white, as white as Mariann's dolls, with empty eyes and a big hollow head.

Okay, I took a little liberty with that last line up there from "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" But I only did it to prove a point.

Look for yourself if you don't believe me:

Notice the white area around the one doll on the left with the wonky eye.  I took about three sets of six or seven photos each (damn camera battery)...and that was the only photo which showed that little whispy emanation...all the others were clear as a bell.  Yes, be afraid...be very afraid.

A little back story. Long ago when I was growing up, my mother had this little hard plastic doll which never had any clothes on. She would keep it in her bureau which had nine drawers...three rows of three. When I would go into her bedroom, usually only when I was mad in order to "un-pom-pom" one of the hundreds of tiny white pom-poms on her bedspread (always in an inconspicuous space - I thought), I would sneak a peek inside that middle top drawer...and "it" was always in there staring back at me. It creeped the hell out of me. This same scenario went on for more years than I remember. Then one day I was rummaging in the kitchen drawers and there "it" was!

Well, that sealed the deal there...I was never the same again. Years later, when I asked my mother about the doll, she believed it was from some U.S. effort to help support the Korean War. The doll did have short straight black hair...I don't think it was like real hair...it was like a plastic cap...the same material as the rest of the body.

I always thought there was a soul associated with that doll. It always gave me the same image in my little girl head as I was growing up. Someone died...someone's soul was trapped inside - and now it was "living" in a drawer in my house - apparently making the rounds from room to room.  I have no clue what happened to that doll - but, to this day, from time to time I think of "her" and wonder where "she" ended up.

Now, I was a Barbie girl - I loved Barbie and I still do. But larger dolls...no way.

Just like the little shiny hard plastic Korean doll...the larger Victorian era dolls...scare me. They always have. I'm certain they always will.

My mother bought me those two dolls (above) from an antique store years ago. I could not touch them. Moving them tonite to take their photos...was, to anyone not aware of my "issue", an act of comedy I'm sure. The kids don't like them, either...but that didn't stop my son from turning the lights out when I was taking their photos and asking me why I put them in the hallway behind me. I also would not be left alone when I took the photographs...and when I was done, my daughter asked me to remove them from her room as quickly as possible.

My son speculated that I've never gotten rid of them because they are "going to know" and "revenge me somehow for getting rid of them" - and you know what? He's absolutely right. I can't do it. They will "get mad". You don't want to get dolls mad which are home to little demons. As long as the little demons stay inside the dolls...it's okay I guess. But you are never to get the devil dolls mad...that's when they will show their true faces: red and scaly...and with a bifurcated tail.

(Lastly, I had such a blast doing this for the past 30 days...and I want to thank each and every one of you...especially Ziva and Mike...for inviting me to participate.  Thank you all...so much.)

29 April 2012

Day 29: Lines

On top of my piano is some sort of sailor or rescuer - a bronze statue with the lights where the flowers are done by Emile Bruchon. I found out what he was called one day - but I have long forgot.

The only reason he fits into this theme is because he is carrying a line attached to a life-saving ring. You can't see if very well...one is in one hand...the other is - in the other.  In fact...he doesn't even look like a statue - more like a painting - but again, I can assure you he is all statue.

I liked this shot because somehow he got all surreal and was lit up with colours that are not on the statue. He is bronze, after all. But there's all shades of colours - and trust me...they aren't there. In fact, he is rather a dark colour - but he looks very pale in this shot.  Because of that - we left him stay in all his technicolour majesty.

So, that's my photo for "lines"...the oddest thing I could think of - and I know I'm running late. It was the camera's fault - it would not let me take more than one photo at a time. Very frustrating.

Day 29 -- Lines

(The metronone serves no purpose in this shot - I took it away in subsequent shots but those didn't have him all peacock-shaded.)

Please also check out the work of my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

28 April 2012

Day 28: Outlier

I have to admit I am a total dolt. You see, I am probably the only one participating in this non-contest who had no clue what an "outlier" was. I knew I was in trouble when both my kids knew what it was - and knew how to pronounce it...I still want to pronounce it like you would "uglier"...and not "liar".

When I looked it up - I still had no clue - that's now clueless I was. All those years of doing "It Pays to Increase Your Word Power" in Reader's Digest...and the ONLY word they apparently left off - was this one. Then I had an idea: I'll do up a SCRABBLE game - and use up a bunch of words (or variants) which we've done here at Ziva's photofest. So, I did it - and I put OUTLIER off to the side, all by itself, but attached to another word. My kids came over and mocked me.

THEM: "It can't be connected...it's an outlier - it has to be separate."
ME: "It has to be connected...it's SCRABBLE...the words have to be connected."
THEM: "You just don't get it, do you?"
ME: "Apparently not...explain it to me again."
THEM: "For example - if you have a bunch of kids..."
ME: "Where am I going to get a bunch of kids? I have to make up something with the stuff IN my house."
THEM: "Ugh!"
ME: "Ugh!"

Then my son suggested I get the plastic pull tabs of all the orange juices and other juices that we've been saving up for the past year - saving for no reason whatsoever...altho someone started to put happy faces on them...and to put happy faces on all of them - except for one with an unhappy face drawn on instead...and that one shall remain far isolated from the others.

I thought that idea was stupid. I wanted to do my SCRABBLE one - I friggen put all the words in there without cheating one damn time.

So...I Google'd. Right on the first image page is a bunch of happy faces...except for one, which was off by itself, with an unhappy face on it. They looked remarkably similar to the juice pull tabs.

Now I don't know about you - but that's just plain bizarre. What are the odds, right? I mean, seriously, what do they have to be??

So...I'm going to be different in a way...I'm going to remain with my first idea...even if I did acquiesce (yeah, THAT word was in Reader's Digest) and not connect OUTLIER (which I still think is stupid as all get out). So, in a way, I'm being an outlier? Right?


Forget it - I still don't get it.

Day 28 -- Outlier:

Two items I must point out:  1) We did not have to remain in/around our house as part of the rules -- I did because I either took the photo or did the write-up after ingesting Ambien (it was my "experiment").  2) The word "pill" here refers only to me (see above).

Please don't forget to look at everyone else's photographs:

27 April 2012

Day 27: Nude

Well, I know everyone has been waiting for "Nude" Day...and it's finally here. I, too, have been waiting for "Nude" Day - but much longer than anyone else. More after the introductions of my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

Day 27 -- Nude:

Back in August of 2009 the powers that be which reside on the Alabama Alcohol Committee got their panties in a wad...over the lack of panties. A French bicycle ad from the 1800s was a tad too racy to slap on a product which is only sold to people over 21. And the thing is, as you can plainly see...it's not in a suggestive, full-on, horny-porny pose. It's just a drawing of a naked nymph...but, Alabama stated that children would see these wine bottles in stores (so, keep your kid away when you buy your alcohol) and their little brains could not handle a side-view of a stylized art depiction of a nude lady. What you are seeing here is a tiny button of a nipple and a somewhat Rubenesque tushie. Yeah...too much for the people at the Legislature and Alabama's Board of Alcohol Commission to wrap its dirty little heads around - so they banned it so we wouldn't be able to wrap our dirty little hands around any bottle in the state of Alabama...ever.

But...as you see...I have one! I bought it in Atlanta - and it's probably illegal for me to own it in my state...but that's just the rebel...or actually, the yankee...that I am. I am keeping my nude nymph'd bottle and giggle like a displaced New Jersian schoolgirl each time I look at it and think back about how this controversy was blown completely out of proportion and more than a tad too insane in this day and age. After all, heaven forbid someone drink a bottle of wine without a naked chick on the label and they end up butt naked; at least with this bottle -- there was truth in advertising, right?  "If you drink this wine you might get as naked as this labelled lady...don't say we didn't warn you!"

But I guess it's easier to walk around with your eyes totally open but your mind totally shut when you make the rules in this state.


26 April 2012

Day 26: My Toothbrush

Believe it or not I've actually been looking forward to the "My Toothbrush" theme and you'll see why in a minute.

Until then, please peruse the photography participants:

MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

Day 26 --  My Toothbrush:

As you can probably tell...my toothbrush (the pink one) is in the bathroom trash can. In there is also my son's toothbrush. We threw them away as WE AREN'T SICK ANYMORE! Woohoooo! If you don't know you are supposed to toss your toothbrush after a cold or flu...you do now. Face it, you wouldn't keep reusing the same tissue over and over again - brushing your teeth with the same germy toothbrush you had been using while you were sick - is pretty much like swallowing a big cup of saved phlegm -- only, well, not as gross.

On that happy note...there you have it - and now you know why I've been so looking forward to photographing my toothbrush. :)

25 April 2012

Day 25: The Future

I was going to slap some sunglasses on, snap a few...and then talk about that "My future's so bright...I gotta wear shades" song. But that idea, while holding some merit in my head, was pretty stupid.  That being said, someone here probably used that idea and now I just stuck my foot in my mouth...and I'm not that nimble anymore, so you damn well better be impressed.

I also don't take photos of my kids and put them on the Internet, so the future as being my kids...was right out.

But first, let's get to Ziva's "30 Days of Photographs II" non-contest and all the other people who have been devoted or crazy enough to go thru this process every day. A sense of photographical (is that a word) accomplishment has been made by these fine, alibeit insane, people:

MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

Day 25 --  The Future:

Now, the only other thing I thought about were those 1950s sci-fi films...and this flashlight-like thingy that I bought a couple years ago. Each time I look at it, it reminds me of "The War of the Words" (the original version -- don't even make go there...there is no remake...there's only the one). Specifically speaking, it reminds me of the all-seeing scary "eye on a stalk" alien drone which was in the movie. So, I did my best to set it up all nicely and took a few photos, hoping one would convey a nostalgic futuristic slant on things.

So, there you have it...my retro-futuristic flashlight. I think even HG Wells himself might like it -- especially if it were dark.

24 April 2012

Day 24: Crowd

The theme today didn't go as I planned.  For some reason my camera refused to work at my daughter's "National Honor Society Induction Ceremony: last nite...and all the photos came out as little X's.  Nice keepsakes, nonetheless, I am sure.  So, I had to improvise this morning...but first...

...go look at my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

Day 24:  Crowd

It's that time of year again - when we drain the pool because we are too lazy to keep it clean during the off season. It's also cheaper to just drain it and put new water in it - and more sanitary, because this is what gets into your pool at the end of the season if you let it accumulate and rot.

There are also about fifty frogs crowded in there which all jump into the murky depths once they see anything approaching. There's probably also about a zillion frog eggs in there by now, too...and those water boatmen...you can bet there's a whole crowd of those things in there just waiting to shear off your skin if you are stupid enough to pick one up and put it in your hand because it "swims cute".

The leaves and pinestraw go without saying...you can definitely see there's enough crowded in there to make a fine smelly paste of waste debris. Ahhh...take a deep breath...nothing smells like Spring like the bottom of a vase of flowers left too long in the water; magnify that intense pervasive "perfume" and you might get a partial idea of what must be decomposting their little body parts away, en masse, to ensure a place in that last foot of precious water. And right about tomorrow...the mosquito larvae will decide to take up residence (if they haven't already)...and speaking of crowds...there'll be millions of their little wiggly selves pushing thru the waterworld to enter the airy world...and nothing can dispel a human crowd so quickly as a whole swarm of hungry mosquitoes in search of that first blood feed.

Yep...just to look at that photo and think there's nothing in there...is pretty ludicrous. By square inch, it has more useable real estate than any one of Donald Trump's properties...and many, many, many more squatters.

23 April 2012

Day 23: Fish Tales

Today's theme, "Fish Tales", left me with an absolute nothing for an idea...and that nothing of an idea stayed with me until one dawned on me as "the photography group" (the participants here) sent around an email mentioning that today was not "Crowd" day -- but "Fish Tales" day.  I was responding to that email last nite when I had an epiphany of sorts...so I got dressed and asked my son to drive me to town in case there would be monsters and criminals waiting near the woods for me...it was right about midnite, after all. 

The strange thing was...he agreed.

More after...but first the introductions of our participants and their page links: 


Day 23:  Fish Tales...

They say...that if a person is brave, or foolish enough, to climb onto the Bibb-Graves Bridge shortly after midnite when the whole town is still...and snap a photo...good luck will follow them home and everywhere after that. I knew of a person once who had so much good luck after doing just that...only he snapped a whole lot of moving pictures instead - that a film of theirs was nominated for a bunch of film awards...from the soundtrack right on down to make-up. Can you imagine that? They must not have done it at midnite, tho, because they didn't win a one of 'em. But, still, you can't deny the fact that just being nominated was pretty darn near as close to winning as you can get. And almost winning a whole bunch of awards is about as lucky as one man can get.

So, one day, if you want good luck to follow you home...do as I...and Tim Burton did...and head on over to Wetumpka, Alabama, where they filmed a goodly portion of that "Big Fish" movie. And while it is a big fish tale in one way, in a whole other way...it ain't.

22 April 2012

Day 22: Portrait

Welcome to Day 22 of Ziva's "30 Days of Photographs II" non-contest.Today's theme was "Portrait".  Since I already did a "Tissue and Pills" portrait the other day for "White" -- I felt redoing it and making the unhappy face a little happier just wasn't going to cut it.

I had a great idea of taking a photo of a photo of the King of Belgium which was given to my grandfather by the King himself (apparently they knew each other) but my daughter made the determination that a portrait is more of a close up facial thing...and good old Albert or Leopold or whoever it was sitting at his desk from 20 paces away wasn't going to constitute portraiture.  I still debated this in my head back and forth as I thought it would be kinda nifty.

The only other option I really had was a charcoal pencil drawing of my grandmother whom I was always told I resembled (but I didn't want to do the split face thing again)...so that's the one I went with. But first off, please check with these fine people to visit their even finer blogs...with handsome photographs you will undoubtedly automatically be smitten with...then check mine out after the list:

Day 22 --  Portrait:

This is a portrait of my grandmother, Albertina Maria Van Marsenille, drawn by either a brother or an uncle named Emile Van Marsenille.  As the drawing was done in 1909, I am not certain if she was still a maiden lady or now a Mrs. Van Haute.  As my mother was born in 1918 (the exact day the Romanovs were all executed), and she had older and younger siblings...I'm not sure where exactly 1909 falls in that timeline.  I would believe my grandmother would be in her very early 20s at the very most in that portrait.

I then spent the next couple hours rummaging thru many old photos and paperwork written in Flemish to try to determine various other information.  It was, to me, fascinating.  I've tried going on those geneology sites before - but all leads to Belgium never seem to pan out to anything.  Yes, if you had American relatives, no problem; ones from Belgium and Czechoslovakia...good luck.  If you know how to delve into those records...please, if you wouldn't mind, clue me in...I've never had anything of value pop up.  I am sure I could possibly contact my relatives in Belgium...but I'm not sure if any of my mother's siblings are even still alive.  Unfortunately, death has a way of rendering you permanently silent.  It would be great to get more information firsthand...maybe one day.

Anyway, I enjoyed my time-travelling very much thanks to Ziva's little non-contest here.  :)

21 April 2012

Day 21: Moon

I have a friend who is a photographer and I asked him a couple weeks ago when the best time of day it was to get a photo. He told me it was between 5:00-6:00 a.m. So, the other day I'm going out to get the previous day's mail (I sleep strange hours) and I noticed the moon was out and it was between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. I went back inside the house and took my allotted five to seven photos before my camera battery loses its charge and I walked back inside satisfied one of them might be in focus.
I wanted to show the moon against a background of antiquated ugliness...i.e., the power lines that stretch across what would otherwise be a really nice view of the moon. Sure, I could move a foot or two over and the lines wouldn't be in the photo - but then again I wouldn't be able to show how friggen ugly my obstructed view of the sky was.
But, before I get any further along in my story and max out my 250 word limit (ssssh...I only count the stuff BELOW the photo in my word count)...go on over to these "30 Days of Photography II" participants and see what they came up with for todays theme (ugh...because Blogger.com screwed up formatting today and auto-upgraded me...I cannot get the "auto-linker" to link without doing them all manually again, and honestly, I'm still sick...so, please go here to see a list/link to each person:  Ziva's Inferno

Day 21:  Moon...

So...I knew today was "moon day" and I went into my little camera card to fetch a photo out and I'm scrolling thru the approximately one-half million shots of kitties and ferrets and glasses of Martinis...when I ran across one which caught my eye. It was the one I took from inside my house on "From an Ant's Perspective" day.
I think there is a moon in the photo - and because I took it totally by accident, I thought it would be nifty to post it up. I didn't crop the photo or anything - because I wanted the moon to be shown in my "totally by accident" shot. You know, kind of like how they managed to get a man up on the moon...totally by accident (or, for people who totally disbelieve the whole "moon-landing" thing because I saw the space capsule they used in one of their early moon missions at NASA's Space Camp in Huntsville...and there's no way in hell -- other than in a MacGyver episode, that seven rolls of tin foil, a radio from a 1968 VW, and an Erector Set missing some key pieces -- made it all the way to the moon and back).

20 April 2012

Day 20: Bird

Since 1 April, we've all been tasked to take photos given the stipulated theme...and we've all done them relatively well; some better, some worse, some odd, some with animals, some with manipulation.

Well, since Monday, mine have taken a sinister turn in a way...mine are all versions of the theme...but the theme as it plays out when you have a flu. Today's photo was no exception.

First off, please go 'round to all the other participants of the non-contest and see what they've come up with as I'm sure you'll be inspired much more than if you only looked here. Their names and links are: MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

Day 20: Bird

This is my Alessi tea kettle I've had for at least 25 years...it sports a little bird whistle made out out of moulded plastic or high-heat resin fibers or who knows what it is...but it whistles when the kettle boils. I've been using the tea kettle a lot lately as I'm sick.

Truth be told, my son did not appreciate the angle and the staging of the kettle in my photographs and took a couple of his own. He was right. They were better. I never claimed to be artistic...he was always the artistic one. So, in a way, I believe he deserves credit here and all I deserve is the fact that I came up with the kettle/bird whistle idea. So, if I have to be moved down to the bottom of the pile...go ahead and do so -- as I already feel low enough with my sickness.

I was going to "capture a whole other bird" - but my children told me it was too juvenile to do...so I didn't...but it did indeed capture how I felt about feeling sick, that's for sure.

19 April 2012

Day 19: White

I feel so crappy still. I am sick. My temperature at this minute is 101.8. My day revolves around trying not to feel sick. But more about that later.

First off...go look at my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

Day 19: White

I knew this theme was going to be harder than the others. I was tempted to take a photo of my white cat on top of my white car with the blaring white halogen light bathing them both with an unnatural kind of glow...but I used her yesterday and I didn't want to do two cat photos in a row because Mike would be mean to me again. So, I decided to take some tissues, Ambien and Tylenol and create a little depiction of how I feel.

Yes, it sucks...but I feel so much more sucky. :(

18 April 2012

Day 18: Fire

I feel so crappy - my daughter was diagnosed with the flu on Monday - and my son and I now have it. So...no 3000 word blog this time. I know you were all hoping.

First off...go look at my fellow non-contestants...and don't forget to thank Ziva for coming up with this idea...

The theme today was "Fire" - and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has done. I was going to roast a marshmallow on the stovetop...as we probably all know how it smells and tastes...but I thought of another route altogether.

Day 18: Fire

This is my cat, Riza. She's a Flamepoint Siamese. Yeah...it might be lame...and she wouldn't "pose" for me until after the camera ran out of batteries...but she's a cat - and everyone loves looking at cat photos on the Internet.

Ugh...I really feel crappy. To show you how crappy I feel - I thought the theme today was "Flame". Ugh. Forget it - close enough. Did I mention I feel really crappy?

17 April 2012

Day 17: Time

There are a few of these "theme" ideas which made me wonder. As I like to think out of the box and I'm not a photographer in the proper sense of the word...the photographs I have put on here, while not going to win any competition, reflect an image in my head. I'm more a writer (don't laugh) and I believe, because I see things in "scenes" when I write...I think I would be a good script writer...such as for films. So, when I do a few of these themes...I do them - probably with a bit of a different mind, than say, a serious photographer would. I don't think that's horribly wrong - it's probably just making real photographers roll their eyes the way I roll my eyes when I read "so-called" journalists writing for the Huffington Post. So, if I've evoked any rolling of the eyes from you...I completely understand. I've been learning a bit here, too. I'm just not a "setter-upper" - I'm more a take the photo and make it fit the theme. Give me a photo of a blank piece of paper and I'll give you a reason why I thought it represents the pyramids. But...I think that's not how proper photographers think...so I am definitely thinking out of their realm. You have all been nice to allow me into your world and to say such nice things about what I've done. And for that - I am grateful. Very much so.

Before I start cueing in the National Anthem for tugging on heartstrings effect, let's take a minute to give a shout out to Ziva - because, without her, we all wouldn't be on this photo-mission. And another shout out to all these remarkable people -- who just so happen to be my fellow participants in this photography non-contest:
MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

Day 17: My take on "Time"...

Clocks...hourglasses...sundials, the rising and setting sun, the phases of the moon, plants growing, flowers blooming, leaves falling off trees...all legitimate ways to get your point across about time.

I wanted mine to be more personal - to show the progression of time. It's not the first time to be done and it won't be the last...but it's my time, so to speak.

Below is a split photo of me...the left side (as you look at it) was when I was 26. It was my passport photo. The right side...is me, now, at 51 years old. Because of the angle of my chin in the right half...we couldn't merge it completely right and I didn't want to Photoshop any of the lines, shadows, or droopy bits away. Basically there's much more shadow under that part of my chin - but, as you age, parts of you keep growing...like the tips of your nose and your earlobes...or they probably just get saggier as that's what the rest of our bodies seem to do. Perhaps the chin changes, too. I know the little area - known as the "jowls" - get more prominent and sag as we get older. But other more subtle things seem to change as well. You can't really tell it - but I have much more hollow cheekbones now...and I have that "Greta Garbo" eyelid look going on. I actually like that bit. My lips seem thinner and they go a bit more down-turned than they used to...and my eyes aren't as wide open as they used to be. But...I don't think I've really wrinkled up like a prune...and for that, I am glad.

So...there you have it - my face...a block of time frozen forever by a shutter click. Twenty-five long years...my face spanning a quarter of a century...one score and five years ago. Either way you say it - it's been a while. Hopefully time will be on my side...for the next 25.

(Thanks go out to my son, Alex, who basically Photoshopped my two me's together - and would have been able to do the chin better if the angle wasn't as lopsided as it was...but he was the master morpher...not me.)

16 April 2012

Day 16: Ordinary Matters

The theme this time around made me wonder if there was some erudite meaning that I just didn't get. "Ordinary Matters"...hmmm. I was going to take a photo of my toilet - but, eh, nah. I was then going to get cutesy and take a photo of a glass with some black coffee in it and then open a page in one of my science magazines talking about a brain...and put a 3-way split screen...so you had your "dark matter", your "grey matter"...and then...well, a glass of water might be really ordinary. But, I thought that was a bit too bizarre...so I thought some more.

My life is definitely ordinary. In fact, it's probably less than ordinary...so I figured I would show you pretty much the first thing I see when I open the door and step inside my home each and every day.

But first, let's recognize Ziva - for, without her, we all wouldn't be on this cerebral trek of sorts. And the "we" I speak of are my fellow participants in this photography non-contest:
MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and, last -- but definitely not least, Ziva.

The way I see it: "Ordinary Matters"...

I live a life of disorganized clutter. I can't keep things pristinely clean no matter how hard I try. For example, I don't make beds. I always thought this was a waste of time -- and if I'm going to waste time, it's going to be on something more interesting than making a bed only to unmake it later on.

My kitchen is clean (in a way) - all pots, pans, implements, silverware, glasses, plates and other things...are all extremely clean...sanitarily nearly. But, I can't, for the life of me, keep the kitchen table (which we never use to eat at anyway) clear of debris and not in a total state of disarray. When we come home - the keys get plopped on it, the bills get put on it, magazines, the rest of the mail, and all the other stuff in our hands -- get strewn onto it. When I make a recipe from a book or print one out, that gets put on it...and pretty much everything stays until it overflows. Oh, neat little piles will be made eventually...but, let's face it, they are only neat little piles of clutter really.

As all of these objects are totally ordinary...and they all matter; they are in fact, by complete definition, "ordinary matters"...therefore they fit this theme.

Whew! This one's done! :)

(This theme is probably the one I've been interested in the most...just to see what everyone comes up with.)

15 April 2012

Day 15: Wood

Well, kiddies, we are at the half-way point thru Ziva's photography experiment...which is a blog essay of sorts with themes and what a set group of individuals envision the specific theme given that day. It's been quite fun...many people have done some remarkable photographs...but, in my opinion, the rest of the month is where it's going to get really difficult to define ideas.

We shall see.

But before we step too far ahead, please check out the others at
Ziva's "30 Days of Photographs" non-contest...and then look for my photo and write-up directly below: MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and Ziva.

My inspiration for the today's theme: Wood...

Well, I have lots of things made of wood in my house and outside. I was originally determined to take a photo of my bedroom dresser as it has a face reminiscent of Edvard Munch's painting, "The Scream" -- and it looks at me when I sleep...but I thought that was too easy. I really should set a shot up but typically I just walk around the house and take a photo. That's a tad too easy in my opinion. I want to bring a little bit more "art" to the picture, so to speak.

So, I took a photo of a piece of driftwood which we picked up at West Point Lake in LaGrange, Georgia, years and years ago. We have quite a few large pieces which are gorgeous...but, as they are left outside to the elements, they are going to just rot away one day and that's a shame. I could see them actually hanging on someone's wall - or at the very least, beneath a large glass coffee table. They'd look stunningly beautiful.

One is relegated to the pool side of the fence propped up in front of an antique wagon wheel and a stack of old iron fencing...all of which sits and waits for decay. The cats use the driftwood to scratch their claws...so it is being used for something. With my "not so great" camera I am sure I didn't do this object justice; you cannot see the lovely smooth curves of the water-worn wood...or the curly lace-work which reminds me of the crests of waves about to crash into the shore.

Truly all are original pieces of art which nature itself provides...more beautiful in their simplistic intricacies than you'd ever imagine. All you need to do is take the time to stop and notice...and I hope you can notice even a sliver of that beauty in my photograph.

(Try not to notice the imperfections...like the horrid man-made chain link fence. I would have Photoshopped it out...but it contrasts perfectly in a way with the natural beauty...so I left it stay.)

14 April 2012

Todays Theme: 42

Today's word is "42". According to Douglas Adams...it's the answer to the universe and everything else...but that's so obviously passe...so, let's talk about me instead!

But, first let's see our other contestants at Ziva's photography contest before we take a look at mine (located after the list): MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Katherine, and Ziva.

My depiction of "42":

Forty-two is how old I was back in 2003...and, for purposes of this post, specifically on 13 July 2003. That's when life as I knew it changed. That's the day I became famous.

Well, actually it was supposed to lead to much better things than it did...but I'm not complaining. People were supposed to line up to interview me (well, CNN was the first of a short long string...so they did kinda line up a little), people were supposed to contact me for book deals (unless we're counting the couple emails I got from wacko strangers online, no one did), and so far no one has made a reality show about my life...altho I'm still game for all of these.

Okay, okay...truth be told I did have the time of my life when I reigned for one year as the "Worst Writer in the World". Oh, wait...did I leave that part out?

Yes, in 2003 I won the "Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest" - no small feat...and I was on thousands...we're talking several tens of thousands...of hits on the Internet. At one point, and I Googled so I know -- I had more hits than Alec Trebek but less than Mel Gibson (this was before the whole Mel Gibson fiasco, mind you). I was in newspapers from Albania to Zimbabwe (yes, I was actually in whatever the equivalent of the Zimbabwe Times is...I checked). I was even interviewed by a very nice woman, who would later be known as "the woman who was still miked when she went into the CNN bathroom and talked about George Bush and her brother's wife"), Kyra Phillips.

And, ever since that fateful day, I made a promise to Scott Rice (the English professor at San Jose University who started this contest back in 1982) that I would do my utmost to promote the contest...so, as you can plainly see, this blog really isn't about me...it's honestly about the contest. And you people have all been duly notified as of this day...because tomorrow, the 15th of April, isn't only tax day...but also the "official" last day to turn in your Bulwer-Lytton entries.

(The newspapers shown above are Alabama's "Montgomery Advertiser", the nation's "USA Today", and New Jersey's "The Star Ledger". Sorry if this post ran longer than 250 words...as evidenced by my winning entry, which was 71 words long, I tend to get a bit "verbosey".)

My 2003 winning entry aka "the best of the worst"...is as follows:

They had but one last remaining night together, so they embraced each other as tightly as that two-flavour entwined string cheese that is orange and yellowish-white, the orange probably being a bland Cheddar and the white . . . Mozzarella, although it could possibly be Provolone or just plain American, as it really doesn't taste distinctly dissimilar from the orange, yet they would have you believe it does by colouring it differently.