January 31, 2008

A Case of "Wants"

Lately, it seems like I keep wanting this or that item. I think it's because I'm finally at point in my life where I feel somewhat stable, financially. I'm not well-off, by any means, but compared to my previous job, where I had only one hundred dollars, on average, to spend after paying rent and bills each month...it usually went to food for me and Apollo. Well, the realization that I can afford some small luxuries is starting to sink in. And I have a major case of "I want!" right now.

God. I feel like I'm five right now.

I keep reminding myself things could be a lot worse right now.

Even though I have quite a bit laundry list of things I'd like, I'm still being careful. I'm also trying to save for a house/business/something major. I'm sitting tight, though, and waiting until I find a cheaper place and hopefully will have a decent tax refund. It'd be nice to have a new computer so I can clean up my photos and do cool stuff like make real B&W photos. And who knows - it could lead to a new career. Yeah, that's a good investment. Rationalizing is fun.

Speaking of. A few new photos. Can you guess the theme?


January 30, 2008


A friend of mine made this last night. Awesomeness!

Thanks, JC of Texas.


January 29, 2008

Fine Art...Bread

I don't have a lot of "stuff" to photograph. I'm a bit of minimalist, if you can believe it, despite the clutter I have lying around (really need to clean). No knick-knacks, little figurines, action dolls...

I did brainstorm a bit, in between proofing pages, this afternoon for new ideas with a friend's help (thanks, JC of Texas!). And I have KC's super-duper special assignment that I'm still pondering. In short, hopefully we'll have more interesting photos in the next few weeks.

Took these Sunday right after taking it out of the oven.

Doesn't that look divine!? It's already half gone! Yum yum!


I have New Pictures! Really!

I just keep forgetting to load them. I'll try to remember to do it tonight. Practicing some macro photos using flash.

In other news: Apollo's favorite toy at the moment is my fuzzy sock. I'll have to find a new pair. It's no longer fuzzy, now matted and gross.

I finally got my ass in gear and made an appointment with a doctor that covers my insurance. The receptionist was pretty frustrating to deal with though. Our phone conversation went something like this:

    Her: "Why do you need to see the doctor?"
    Me: "I'm looking for a new doctor. And I need asthma inhaler prescription."
    Her: "Ok..." Few minutes later, "I'm sorry. Why did you need to see a doctor?"
    Me: "I'm looking for a new doctor. And I need asthma inhaler prescription. Is there something wrong?"
    Her: "No no, I'm just typing this up..." Few minutes later. "Ok, one more time, why did you want to see the doctor?"
    Me: I really wanted to say something like this, "My testicle just turned green." But I didn't have the guts. So I said, yet again, word for word, "I'm looking for a new doctor. And I need asthma inhaler prescription."
She actually asked me again, for the fourth time why I wanted to see the doctor. Oy vey. Not a good sign, eh?

I also asked for the hours. Monday through Thursday, 9 until 5. OK...Oh, but wait - the doctor leaves at 12. Of course, I had to ask why the office hours were until 5, if the doctor was gone at 12.
    Her: "The doctor goes to a different office."
    Me: "Yes, but why is this office open if the doctor isn't there?"
    Her: "For the patients."
    Me: "So you have patients there when the doctor isn't in?"
    Her: "No."
    Me: "...That makes no sense."
At that point, I just gave up, confirmed the appointment time and hung up.


January 24, 2008

Little-League Apollo

Batting a .400 and stylin'!


January 22, 2008

Two Things I Observed on Metro this Morning

1. A full grown, handsome man clad in a snazzy-looking suit and overcoat, carrying a ragged-looking doll stroller.
Mr. Snazzy-Guy, I really hope it was for some weird work presentation. That'd be cool.

2. The ordinary-looking guy sitting next to me on the metro was watching...porn on his ipod.
Mr. Perv, seriously, don't watch that in public. The last thing we need at 8 AM is for you to get a hard-on on a train full of people. If that happened, I would've pointed and mocked you. Loudly.


January 20, 2008

Bubble Challenge Part 2

Let me begin by saying, this part was harder than part 1. I need a third arm to be grafted onto me. Or an assistant.

Part two entailed using the light painting technique. Which meant I had to somehow engage the camera's shutter, blow the bubbles, and wave a flashlight all at the same time.

Don't ask how I managed.

Here's a refresher on what light painting is all about.

I managed to find a real laser light!
The following ones are the best of the bunch.
(I suggest clicking on them to get the full impact)

With a regular flashlight.

You couldn't see the bubbles well,
but I found those streaks from after the bubbles popped fascinating!


January 12, 2008

A Suicide Bomber Tried to Kill Me!

Before you panic, let me reassure you. Apollo and I are both okay.

Here's what happened. Early this morning, my building was rocked by an explosion. I slept through it. And the fire alarms. Though to be fair, I had fallen asleep on my couch and was nowhere near my fire alarms which has strobe lights. Apollo woke me. Such a good boy.

My hero.

After several hours of waiting outside, we found what happened. This news article sums it up.

Authorities say six people were hurt, including three police officers, when a person trying to commit suicide sparked a three-alarm fire at a Seven Corners high-rise.

Firefighters were called to the Cavalier Club apartments in the 6200 block of Wilson Boulevard about 7:45 a.m. Saturday for a report of a suicide attempt in a second-floor apartment.

They were waiting nearby for police to arrive when there was a sudden explosion, and fire flashed out of a second-floor apartment, police said.

Police officers broke through a glass window and rescued the man, who suffered serious burns. He was flown by helicopter to Washington Hospital Center, where his condition was unknown late Saturday afternoon.

The blaze quickly went to three alarms, with more than 400 people being evacuated from the complex. It took more than 100 firefighters to douse the blaze.

The officers who rescued the suicidal man suffered smoke inhalation, police said. Two were treated at a nearby hospital and released. One remained hospitalized for observation. Two building residents suffered minor injuries fleeing the blaze.

Most residents were allowed to return to their apartments Saturday afternoon. A few families were displaced due to smoke and water damage, fire investigators said.

Fire officials said the blaze could have been much worse if they had not already been at the scene for the suicide attempt call.

**** Update: Police said the fire started in Apartment 211, and the four men who lived there were left homeless by the blaze. One of them was the seriously injured man. Fire investigators said the apartment is a total loss and the fire was intentionally set.

Scary. What the news didn't say is the rumor that UPDATE: The suicidal man deliberately set off the explosion in an attempt to not only off himself, but also to try set the entire building on fire. I'm very pissed about this. It essentially is an attempted murder/suicide. Why couldn't the guy have picked a less destructive way to go out?

Anyway. The apartment where this occurred is in a different wing from mine. Essentially, on opposite side of the building. Here's the "after" pictures. I couldn't find decent "before" pictures, sorry.

It's completely gutted inside.

Stove in question that was an unwitting tool.
This extinguished was at least 30 yards away. I don't know if it was blown there or thrown.
Around the corner, you can see the damage to the building itself.
All the way from 2nd floor (I know it looks like ground floor,
but this building is on a hill) to the top.
The stark white blinds just struck me.
Apollo is bored by all the commotion.
"Please, no paparazzi!"
"Very well! I'll pose like a hero that I am."

And here's a bad video someone shot using his phone:


January 5, 2008

Bubble Challenge - Part 1

KS challenged me to shoot bubbles in a specific condition, and I decided to take her up on it. I opted to do a practice shoot in normal light conditions first for practice, and much to my surprise, it's extraordinarily difficult to catch the bubbles. They move, they dance, float, expand, shrink as I'm blowing them up...and of course, they pop.

The bubble liquid I found, after hunting three different stores, seem to be of low quality. It pops very quickly and doesn't produce long streams of bubbles that I remember from my childhood. I think I'll try making my own later.

Without further ado, here's part one of THE BUBBLE CHALLENGE.

I have no idea what caused those streaks of lights. Very neat though.
Pop! (pity it wasn't in focus)
Almost in focus!
Got it!

Don't be fooled. I ultimately shot about blurry 75 pictures, and probably 25-50 total misses.


January 3, 2008

Póg mo thóin

A few people searched to figure out what Póg mo thóin means and how to pronounce it, and my little spy program caught the key words. So I figured it's about time I enlighten ya'all.

Póg mo thóin = Kiss my ass
P-oh-g muh ho-in
The "g" should be a hard g..."guh". A slight variation that might be easier to grapple with: Pog Mahone

I'll have a few new pictures this weekend. Someone gave me a great idea, but it requires a scavenger hunt.


January 2, 2008


In yesterday's blog, I wrote "May you have all the luck in the world!"

That reminded me of a particular time when my car, my old Audi, broke down. It happened about two years ago and probably was one of the worst breakdowns I ever had. It's a good example of what that blessing is all about. Here's what happened.

It was a cold, wet day and I'd gone down to D.C. for a job interview and to visit a friend. When I decided to leave, my car had trouble starting so my friend pulled out a portable jump-starter and we got my car going. Thinking that the problem was probably just the rain -- my car had a history of being hard to start in wet weather -- I proceeded to drive home. The engine sounded rough, but it was running. I figured I'd just try keep my foot on the gas and drive straight to the auto shop when I got home. About 45 minutes later, I ran into some traffic...there was an accident up ahead.

I remember considering briefly to pull over and wait for the traffic to clear, but decided to stick it out. The traffic slowed to a stop. I had to slow to idle...And my car died. Shit. I was at the midpoint of my trip - nowhere near home, and my friend was almost an hour behind me.

I hit the emergency light button, got out and started looking for someone with a portable jumper. Luckily someone was willing to help out, and we got my car restarted. Just then, the traffic was starting to move and I hopped back in. At this point, I knew something was very wrong with the car. I didn't think I'd make it to the next exit, but was hoping I could keep the car from dying if I could keep my foot on the gas. The technique worked until a few minutes later, when the traffic slowed again to a stop. The car died. Again.

To make matters worse, I'd forgotten the car charger for my pager, and the battery had died too (great timing), which meant I couldn't use the AIM relay to call someone.

Out of the car into the freezing rain, I ran around asking if anyone'd help me move the car off the road onto the left shoulder and call the AAA for a tow. Luckily, a good samaritian was willing to help out and we pushed the steel car onto the shoulder.

After an hour of waiting, the tow truck finally came and he tried to start my car, and declared what I already suspected: It's the battery. Off we went to Autozone, and when we arrived, much to my dismay, it was closed. I asked the guy to take me to the Pep Boys that we'd passed on the way. We arrived just before 8 o'clock, and I ran inside and asked for a battery. Eighty bucks later, I had a battery for my car. Then the cashier asked me, "Do you have the tools to install this?"

My stunned reply: "It doesn't snap in?" I really thought it was like regular battery...just pop it in, snap it in place, and lo and behold, I had a working car. No such luck. Shit. And they were closing at eight -- we were in a tiny town and apparently noone was open past eight or nine.

The cashier told me to go auto repair section and see if anyone was still there. Luckily there was one mechanic still there, cleaning up. "Please please help!"

I could see him hesitate. "Look, I'll give you twenty bucks if you help me. It's all I have in cash right now. If you don't help, I'll be stuck sleeping in the car until the store opens in the morning. I have noone near me. Everyone I know is either in Harrisburg or in DC."

"Ok ok," he grudgingly agreed. And fifteen minutes later, he had installed the battery and refused to take my money. The car started just fine and although it was still rough, it wasn't stalling and dying whenever it idled.

Looking back, I was pretty lucky. If I had passed that midpoint and the car died before I got to Harrisburg, I'd be much worse off. There's a long stretch of highway where there are very few towns or any traffic at all. It would've been long wait for help and a long, expensive tow.

Luck was on my side; I was both lucky and unlucky that day.


January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

May you have all the luck in the world!

This is a sort of an Irish blessing. It specifically doesn't say good/bad luck, just "luck." You can't have good without the bad.

Things I have learned this weekend:

  • I make a bad fake-gambler
  • It is possible to get $11,000 in debt playing Vegas solitaire. I think it's rigged.

  • Apollo likes to sleep behind the vertical blinds

  • It is possible to get sick of pizza (which works in my favor - see below).

  • When Apollo gets new balls, he goes bonkers and consequently drives me nuts because he keeps losing the balls.
  • Being a neutered male, I shouldn't be surprised that he's obsessed about his balls

  • It is possible for me to get bored enough to start making lists.
And on that note, here's a boiled down list of my resolutions - some of these are carryovers from last year:
  1. Improve photography skills
  2. Take a couple editing classes
  3. Start looking for a new job, both locally and later in the year, out West
  4. Find a couple more climbing partners in addition to the one I already climb with
  5. Climb a 5.10 route
  6. Stop dressing like I'm still in college
  7. And a classic: Get fit. Sub-goal - to run 5 miles without stopping.
  8. Eat healthier/stop relying on pre-processed food for meals
  9. Take a real vacation out of town somewhere that I actually have to pay for myself instead of being cheap and staying at home.
  10. Be happy and be strong enough to change things if I'm not happy with something
Ok, the last one isn't a really resolution, but I put it on there anyway.


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