January 31, 2009

Ice Storm Picture

This one is processed a little. All I did was change the light/dark values to make this more "wintry." I really like the outcome. Hit the big version to see the the ice details more clearly.


January 28, 2009

Ice Storm

They looked like jewels. Like garnets.

People complain about weather problems, and I'm guilty of doing the same. But I try to appreciate the beauty that comes with the problems too. This morning, for a brief moment, the world was frozen. It was quiet. I couldn't hear the hum of the rush-hour traffic on a nearby six-lane highway. Everything was encased in crystal. I did hear a certain dog huffing and rumbling in pleasure as he broke through a layer of ice into the snow though. For a few minutes while Apollo and I wandered around, it felt like we were truly in a small town, as opposed to the suburbs of a city.

And that brings me to the "big news" I've been hinting at for awhile. Most of my friends and family know about it - if you're one of the few that don't, my apologies! I haven't been able to talk to some of you in person for awhile.

In about two months, I will be moving out west, to somewhere along the mountains. I haven't decided where exactly, but right now Colorado Springs is a top contender. Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Fort Collins (north of Denver) are the other contenders.

Some answers to questions I think I'll be hearing in next few weeks...

What will I do for money?
I have money saved, so I should be okay for several months. I'll look for a parttime gig to help stretch out the dollars and start freelance copywriting full time. It's actually an excellent time to start freelancing because companies are outsourcing projects instead of hiring people.

What about photography?
As much as I'd like to make money photographing, I don't think I have sufficient experience yet to pursue it seriously. This'll continue to be a hobby for awhile.

How long will I be out west?
I don't know. I fantasize about living in a town for a few months, then moving on to the next. I'd love to hit Alaska for a year so that I can experience the full cycle of the weathers up there and photograph it. One good thing about this is freelancing will give me the freedom to move around the country.

Will I move back East?
Again, I don't know. It depends on the opportunities and what's going on in my life. I would not mind temporarily living in upstate NY or northern New England though.

Have I told my bosses yet?
Hell no. I'm waiting until after I fly out to visit my sister's family and to scope out the Colorado towns in Feb. I have an idea I'm going to pitch to them, but am waiting as long as possible. Just in case they say, "STFU, don't let the door hit your ass on your way out." In which case, I'd be out of a job a lot sooner than I expected. I have heard from my coworkers that they took on that attitude with some former employees.

For godsake, why?! D.C. is fabulous!
D.C. is fabulous - if you enjoy that lifestyle. I don't regret taking this job nor the time here, but I've known for quite some time that I'm not a city person. At best, I'm a "big town girl." The towns that I listed fall into those categories.

Every chance I get, I head out somewhere outdoors, as opposed to taking advantage of D.C. lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I've gone clubbing, to comedy clubs, art galleries, etc. But they don't give me the same satisfaction I get after a good outing. Of course, my opinion changes when it's 100% humid out. Which is another reason I don't like D.C. - it's literally built on a swamp.


And an ice picture...

I did not have time to do much work with them, so it's as-shot. More later!


Ice delay...

We had an ice storm overnight and my district had two hours delay or were closed. Which means if I want to, I can just stay home and not use PTO. Hurrah. I'll probably go in, though.

I used the time this morning to find a different blog template. I like this one better, and don't worry - I will be adding a bit more color. I chose the header (the picture) because now that we've had our "big snow" - a whopping 2 and half inches under the ice - I'm definitely ready for spring!


January 27, 2009

Possible new layout

I'm not really happy with this one, and probably will look for a different template to use. Edited to add: The blog template I tried last night is now gone. Scroll down to see the screenshots.

Problems are many, as you can see. If photos aren't 400 pixels wide - like the vertical ones in the posts below - then the text of the post gets all screwy and it also somehow screws up the subsequent posts. I don't like that and I have no clue how to fix that.

Unless the creator of the template fixes them...I'm moving on.

I was searching for a different template that let me display my pictures a bit more creatively. I liked the polaroid in the header, it's cute. And for a personal blog, it's ok to be a little cutsey. That's the only reason I went with this one.

For posterity, I made a screenshot of this, so after I change the template yet again, this post still makes a bit sense.


January 25, 2009

Metro guy



OK, I got a little carried away. I couldn't decide what to do to "fix" the guy. So, inspired by his faux fur collar, I decided to play around a bit with colors and tried to make him into "early 90s punk-meets-metrosexual man." The hard part was, because his hair is tousled, I couldn't tint it without it looking artificial. If you look at the large version, you should be able to spot my shoddy job of tinting his hair a bit more easily. He obviously got lipstick and eyeliner as well, I think that looks pretty realistic. I also tweaked the tones so he isn't so yellow and got rid of his stubbles. I tried to whiten the whites of his eyes, but something went weird, so it looks pretty fake to me, I think. Oh well!


January 24, 2009

Metro girl



What I did: Tweaked the tones so the chick wasn't so yellow, got rid of errant flyaway hair, smoothed her hair so that it looked a little more groomed/styled and got rid of skin discolorations. That's all. Didn't put a lot of work into this.

I wonder what she was thinking.


January 23, 2009

Seen on the Metro This Morning

A guy reading a chess book.

Think about it. A guy...reading...a chess book. At 8 AM.

Seriously, who reads those things? No less, at 8 o'clock in the morning? Serious nerd.


January 22, 2009

Operating under a misconception

It seems I've been, as the title says, operating under a misconception. My memory of the legalities of photographing, taught in a high school class, were wrong. I thought that if a person were clearly recognizable in a photo, even if it were taken in public, it could not be displayed on a public media forum without permission. Recently, I decided to check on that, and found that I'm wrong. There are certain exceptions, but as long as the people are in public, "anyone can be photographed without consent except when they have secluded themselves in places where they have reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms..."

So, expect to see a few more "people pictures" here, and I hope you will give me feedbacks on them. Incidentally, if you happen to photograph an incriminating event in public, the police have NO legal right to take your camera. It's up to you if you want to argue that with them, though.

Today, I was reading a photog's blog detailing his battle with the court over his right to photograph police that were in a public place, and he has a short article about police attempting to confiscate cameras. Blog here: http://carlosmiller.com/ It's really an interesting read, so even if you're not into photography, take a gander.


January 20, 2009

Yes we can!

Today is an exciting day for Obama and his family. Historical, certainly. He is our first mixed-race president, after all. Think about it - it's been barely 40 years since segregation legally ended (1968). This is the guy who, as a child, had to drink from a separate fountain from the whites. And now he's our President. A lot of people are saying that we've made great strides as a society since then.

I don't really agree. Yes, we've made some progress toward true equality. But race inequality still exist. Actually, that's a topic I'd like to explore another time. Back on topic at hand.

People are also saying that today marks a change in our trend. I do agree that most people, on the whole, are more optimistic. This is a guy whose whole personality and set of values and mores are so vastly different from what we're used to. Not necessarily better. Just different. It's...refreshing.

Am I excited? A little. Optimistic? Not yet. I'm reserved. After I hear and see with my own eyes what Obama does in not just his first 100 days but also his first 100 minutes, I'll let myself feel excited. Obama is so pro-green, so pro-biofuels, in support of women's rights, etc. I truly hope that he achieves what he said he would. I want to believe that he will. We'll see.

President Bush, though well meaning, did some damage, unfortunately. He banned stem-cell research, supported turning over Roe vs. Wade (hasn't been yet) - and appointed the Supreme Court Judges that would support his views. He also supported drilling for oil along our coasts and in Alaska. He also fought each and every request to declare an animal endangered - why? Because it would've cost his supporters money to comply with the regulations to preserve the endangered critters' environment. Those are just a few examples of what Bush did or supported that goes wholly against my views.

And there was the no-child-left-behind act. This is a good example of a good intention gone awry. A lot of people supported this without fully realizing the consequences. I don't fault Bush for this, but his name is on the bill. The program needs further fine-tuning.

In the first 100 minutes - yes, minutes - Obama is expected to revert several rulings that Bush made. A full report probably will be made tomorrow (Jan 21); I haven't heard anything on the news yet regarding this.

In short...this is a post about nothing.


January 17, 2009

Library of Congress...

I discovered my phone has a "panorama" mode, so I fiddled with that while waiting on some people. Onmy phone, basically how it works is I take 3 pictures, and the phone tries to "sew" them together. Here're the horrible results...

Not so bad...Outside the Capitol
In Library of Congress
I feel like I'm in a bad abstract picture
Whoa. Psychledic. Phone on LSD?
Not bad!
Normal camera mode
The Gutenberg Bible, which I was not supposed to photograph.
The actual library, which I was not supposed to photograph - this was in a movie scene with what'shisname, the ugly dude. National Treasure #2.
Another...Stunning ceiling.
I had to be all sneaky and hide my phone behind my coat flap to take the above three pictures. The restriction is presumably to prevent people from using flash on their camera to avoid damaging documents. Mine does not have one, so I felt comfortable taking a couple pictures, and would've argued that. But noone saw - I think.

Nonsneaky picture
I'll have to come back here with my camera. On a warmer day.


January 16, 2009

In between

dealing with this nutty cold, winter rain, family issues (all is well now!), roommates (all is well now!), landlord issues, prepping for my big news (more on that later), blah blah, I haven't had much downtime.

Things, in general, are going well.

Next week is the inauguration, and it's really interesting to see the changes that D.C. is going through just for one day. Frankly, I think it's a bit of an overreaction. D.C. pulled in about 5 thousand cops from other counties/towns/wherever for extra manpower. It also pulled the National Guards from wherever, and I believe we have some extra Coast Guards too, for the Potomac River. Roads are being or have already been shut. Bridges are being shut this weekend. I think this will create a major bottleneck at the remaining bridges that are open. Various other entrances to the city are also being closed or restricted.

I don't remember hearing about the city going to this extreme four or eight years ago. Do you? But then again, I didn't pay much attention the last time.

We just got notice at work that: My office building must be vacant by 2 P.M. Monday (we're off Tuesday), and that those of us who do come in Monday, myself included, may need to show work ID to get in because our street is close to the parade route.

The city is also under State of Emergency, which allows it to tap the Federal funds instead of paying for all this by itself. As far as I know, Prez. Bush did not declare a suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus...boiled down, a suspension of this writ means the police can arrest you, whether legally or not...however, I would not be surprised to hear about arrests being made over frivolous or trumped-up (aka false) charges. It's extreme, but i think it'll depend on how well-behaved the sheep are and how touchy the cops are.

What am I doing? I'm staying home, unless it seems like it's not super crowded. If that's the case, I might head over and snap a few pictures.


January 6, 2009

Juju request and a picture

As some of you know, I've been looking for a new job. I recently found two jobs that sound like a perfect fit. It's about my level, and most of the job description fits what I already do. I applied, of course, and am hoping that one of them works out. Or that more positions will open in the next few weeks.

There are a number of other jobs I'm going to try for, but most of them aren't as good of a fit as the two I found today. So. knock on wood, cross my fingers and toes, toss some salt over my shoulder...

This isn't a stellar picture, but I like it for some reason. The colors are soothing, and the details, at first, are plain...then the little stuff starts to catch my eye and I keep looking at it. Something in this picture works.


January 5, 2009

Cathedral Pictures

I'm not particularly religious - and thus, will refrain from commenting on my philosophy. That said, I did enjoy my experience at the National Cathedral. I went there on a school trip when I was young, and I only vaguely remember it. And trips when you're a kid are very different from when you're an adult.

I remember being shushed a lot (not me in specific - us kids), the stained glass windows, the ginormous organ pipes and being herded from one room to the next. That's about all I remember.

Saturday...I did not get shushed once. And was able to wander around as I liked, though the locked doors proved to be a pest. I wanted to be like a character in Dan Brown's DaVinci Code (an entertaining read) and find secret doors and stuff. But alas...


January 4, 2009

Answer: National Cathedral in DC



I'm amused that he has a bellybutton.


January 3, 2009

Where did I go today?

Here's a hint...


January 1, 2009

Bliss is...

spending a cold winter afternoon curled up a hairy dog for warmth and a good book.


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Happy New Year!

Mine was pretty uneventful. I think I fell asleep about 10 minutes after the clock hit 12. And why did they change the ball drop in NYC again? It should start descending when there's 10 seconds left, not when there's an hour left. at 11:59:50, the ball was already near the bottom. Anticlimactic.

That's a good word for today. Anticlimactic. In the past years, I always had poignant, deep feelings on New Year's Eve. It was a time when I made decisions about what I would do in the new year. But this year...Not so much. I think it's because I already made my decisions months ago. Anticlimactic.


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