2009/03/31

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

DaGoddess @ 23:59

You will, won’t you? I mean, I’m going to be gone for six days. Six whole days without me posting photos of something I found on my walk. Six days without me tell you about the latest thing happening with Little Dude. Whatever will you do?

No worries. I’ve already written posts for your reading pleasure. I know, I know, I’m good. That pretty much goes without saying.

But seriously, folks, I’m going to miss you and I hope you’ll miss me, too.

PROMPTuesday #49 – What’s in Your Wallet?

DaGoddess @ 12:47

I don’t know how she does it, but Deb so frequently knows what I’m about to write and she makes it into a PROMPTuesday assignment that I’m beginning to wonder if she can guess what I’m thinking…right now. Or now. (Oh, I hope she didn’t catch the following thought…) It’d be spooky if it weren’t so great. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I should be flattered or if I should file a restraining order.

First, let me explain a bit. See, I’ve written a few posts for while I’m away, right? Don’t want the blog to languish or anything in my absence. And, while I was writing one entry, I started thinking of a “what’s in your wallet” post as well. (You’ll totally get this when you read that post.) Then Debbie comes along and makes it a PROMPT! That lady is just too into my brain. Either that or she completely possesses what little I have left. Either way, here we are.

Now the second thing you must understand about why this particular PROMPT is special to me is because…I graduated to big girl purses recently. Yes, indeedy. I sure as shit went ahead and got myself a real purse. (For those of you who haven’t heard me go on and on about micro purses and the lack thereof, well, consider yourselves lucky.)

About a month ago, I was out with Little Dude and some friends of ours. I had to return my spare camera battery (because I totally found the one I thought I’d lost, but which was hiding in plain sight, of course. Which reminds me, in addition to Deadliest Catch coming back [is Phil back? Who's captain if he's not? Will the boys spend money foolishly while he's not around? Who are the new captains? What's with the new boats? Will I ever visit Alaska?] on April 14 on Discovery, In Plain Sight will be returning on April 19 on USA [Is Mary going to chill out? Will her sister stop being such a wild child? Will their mother ever grow up?]. Just sayin’.). Anyhow, I found my extra battery and was returning the other one, right? Okay. As I was getting the receipt out of my ratty smallish black purse, I had a revelation. If I’m going to look successful, I should have a purse that reflects that attitude and goal. Thankfully my girlfriends were also in the market for purses and that’s where we headed. (Poor LD, you’d think he’d have learned to call in sick on days like this.)

We began discussing the merits of size in relation to handbags, purses, pocketbooks, or whatever other term you choose. I jumped in and said, “Stacy and Clinton say that a small purse makes a heavier woman look even bigger. I’m going to get a freakin’ HUGE purse so I look tiny.” I’m not sure that’s exactly what they meant, but I was running with it anyway. I did not go for the largest purse in the world, thankyouverymuch. However, I did manage to find one of reasonable size and yet it still feels smaller. It has, get this, a cute giraffe print to it. What? Shhh! Let me finish the story, okay?

Where was I? Oh yeah, giraffe print. Laughing Rhino…wild theme…giraffe print purse…that makes sense. A cute giraffe print with red trim. It’s much cuter than it sounds. Seriously. (Ask Cheri! She’s seen it. It’s cute, isn’t it?) Of course, this meant that I’d have to do something about all the loose stuff I’d normally just tuck into a pocket in my smaller purse. So I started looking for a wallet. I had my hand on a zebra patterned wallet and LD protested. “Get the giraffe print wallet, Mom. Trust me on this.” Yeah, I know, I’m taking accessory advice from a 12 year old boy. What can I say? He’s never steered me wrong! And yes, he’s very much all boy. He just knows what goes together. Anyhow, I then had to decide whether I should get the giraffe print wallet with the red trim (like my purse) or the one with the brown trim. LD pointed out that the red on the wallet was different from the red on the purse and to make a long story only slightly shorter, I got the brown trimmed giraffe print wallet.

Whew.

Now, what’s in my wallet? My driver’s license, photos of the kids (they finally have a real home!), my ATM card, a couple of business cards, discount cards for Von’s, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Staples, and my Kinko’s card. Oh, and $1.28. And two receipts.

In my purse, I have my pain meds. I never go anywhere without them. Sure, I sound like a walking pharmacy, but whatever. I also have (in a single small pocket within the purse) house keys on a little rhino keychain, lipstick, lip gloss (so girly, isn’t it? I know!), ChapStick, a box of wooden matches (have to take those out before I fly), and back to the main part of the purse, I have a pair of sunglasses, an envelope I really must throw away, two pens, and a business card holder that sports a leopard print (in keeping with my wild theme).

For once in my life, I have a big girl purse with lots of room and it’s kind of fun, too. It’s not some boring granny pocketbook. It’s totally…me! And somehow, I feel so much better walking around with this thing than I ever thought possible. Go figure.

Hey Deb, are you sorry you asked? Now, shh…I’m casting my votes for Fug Madness 2009.

Unchain My Heart (or At Least, My Brain)

DaGoddess @ 07:05

Locked up

You know it’s bad when you look through photos — thousands of them — and can’t remember if you’ve posted them, or worse, if you even took them. I know I took this one. But I was having a moment. Must’ve been the restorative color I applied to my head last night and all the editing I was doing. Thankfully, I can cross those items off my pre-trip list. As well, I can cross off packing. Yeppers. I’m done. I was a good girl and did it yesterday afternoon. I managed to squeeze my tripod into the suitcase by removing the head. We’ll see how heavy it is, though. If it’s too heavy, it stays home. I have enough other gear to haul and a back to protect, you know?

Now, time to get in a quick nap.

By the way, in case I forget to tell you when I get home, mark April 14 on your calendars. Deadliest Catch returns! Woo hoo!

2009/03/30

4am Project

DaGoddess @ 13:35

April 4, 2009 — 4:00 am, naturally.

The premise of the 4am Project is to capture a photo wherever you are at 4am and share it with the rest of the world.

All you need is a camera. You don’t need anything fancy. You don’t need to go out of your way to set up an elaborate shot. You just need to grab your camera and shoot. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Are you going to play along?

iHeartFaces – Week 12 – Kids (Pouting)

DaGoddess @ 03:11

Another photo that’s been blogged before, but it’s one of the few pouty photos I have of Little Dude. Fortunately, I don’t find myself around pouting children too often. It’s either because so few of them cop an attitude or because I make them happy. My guess is the former, although I have been known to be a bit of a baby/kid whisperer in my time.

For iHeartFaces’ Kids Pouting category this week, here’s LD:

Go have a visit at iHeartFaces to see all the entries.

iHeartFaces – Week 12 – Pets

DaGoddess @ 02:35

Mr. Bailey

Mr. Bailey here has graced the blog before, but it’s been a while. And since iHeartFaces is asking for kids and pets this week, Bailey gets to represent the furry faction. I’m sure his mommies won’t mind.

Don’t forget to check out all the other entries. Click on the button below.

Stay Away From The Green Bunnies

DaGoddess @ 02:28

If you don’t stay away from the green bunnies, they’ll show up for days and days after. In your poop.

Don’t say you weren’t warned.

2009/03/29

Disagreeing With Ed

DaGoddess @ 02:22

I did something radical last night: I watched Planet Green’s Living With Ed. Now, we all know Ed Begley, Jr. is an actor who’s passionate about the environment, so it makes sense that Planet Green would have a “reality” series featuring him. The first episode I caught was the one where he’s celebrating his birthday.

Most of the first eight minutes are spent with him complaining about the volume on his wife’s answering machine. Typical marital issues. Nice touch. However, here’s what I noticed about this opening scene: Ed’s reading a script of some sort and it’s printed only on one side. Considering how often scripts go through rewrites, that just seems horribly wasteful and not very green at all.

Hey, Ed, here’s a thought! Be like Matthew Modine (this was on his website at one time, but I can’t find it right now) and request that all the paperwork that comes to you (scripts, contracts, etc.), come printed on both sides. I know it’s not the way most of Hollywood does things, but you know what? Think about how many scripts are floating around out there and how many pages are in each packet. I’ll wait here while you do the math on your solar powered calculator. Back? Okay. It’s a pretty significant number, isn’t it? MAJOR! So, what’s say you put that little plan into action and save a few hundred thousand trees.

For those of us with kids, think of how many times have you said, “You only colored on a small corner of this paper, you can use it again!” I make my kid write and draw on both sides. He doesn’t get to write or draw, decide he doesn’t like it, crumple it up, and throw it away. Nope. He uses the whole piece of paper and when he’s done with it, then it gets recycled. It’s a simple act that goes a long way. If kids can get the hang of it, adults should, too.

If you’re going to be a proponent of living green, you gotta be willing to go all the way. And Begley’s been doing this long enough to know better.

Just my two cents.

Pre-Op Nerves

DaGoddess @ 00:10

My friend Kimberley is going to have surgery on Monday. She’s been in a lot of pain and the doctors have a great plan to get her back to feeling good again. She’s a little nervous. I know how that is. But I also have great faith in her surgical team and her ability to bounce back afterwards.

Please send out healing wishes, thoughts, and/or prayers for Kimberley. You can use the little prayer I sent her if you’d like: I’m saying a prayer that you find comfort in your upcoming surgery, that the surgeon and nurses are delicate in touch and generous in compassion. You will be fine. I know this. I also know it’s normal to be nervous. Just remember how good you used to feel and imagine that as your outcome. You will feel good again! And it’ll all be worth it.

I believe, my friend. You WILL be better, stronger, and happier after surgery.

2009/03/28

Big Pete

DaGoddess @ 12:00

Another one of my bluesmen from Phoenix. Big Pete Pearson is too cool. He holds court at the corner of the bar at the Rhythm Room; fans and friends gathering around to say hello or listen to a story or two. When it’s his turn to join the band, he pulls his microphone out of his pocket and casually strolls up to the stage. The first time this happened, I couldn’t figure out who was singing (I was in a dark corner by the stage) until he emerged from the crowd.

Big Pete Pearson

Big Pete Pearson at the Rhythm Room

Extra From Mad Men?

DaGoddess @ 07:44

fedora man

I’ve been meaning to post this photo for a while and I kept forgetting. This was taken during the Phoenix trip while we were at the Blues Blast in Mesa. This was guy was from the opening band, Meridith Moore & the Sugar Thieves. The band’s look reminded me so much of Mad Men, you know, that 50s/60s era look. The band was quite good and I was sorry we’d missed most of their time on stage. Later that night, they showed up at the Rhythm Room; unfortunately, right around the time we were ready to drop. Needless to say, this band is on my must-see list.

2009/03/27

iHeartFaces’ Fix-It Fridays #8 – Beautiful Blues

DaGoddess @ 19:10

iHeartFaces’s Fix-It Fridays #8

Original version

Fix-It Fridays - My Version

First photo is the original version. Second photo is my “Fix-It”. So, what did I do to the photo?

In Paint Shop Pro Photo X2 Ultimate, I did a smart fix with overall brightness at 21, shadows at -4, highlights at 21, focus at 56, and saturation at 0. At this stage I made a copy.

Then on the original, I ran the Time Machine’s Cross Process at 30%. I proceeded to Nik Color Efex 3 and applied the brilliance/warmth tool at 50%/70%. I also ran the Foliage tool at #2, 50%, followed by Old Photo #6, Grain 0%, Brightness 27%, protect Shadows and Highlights 100%.

I then cleaned up the eye area with a little dodging and I lightened the hair a bit, too. Ringing the eyes with a touch of burning, I also brightened them with dodging, and finally went in and enhanced the beautiful blues with the “Change target to” tool at 39% opacity. While here, I went in with the dodge tool (smoke brush at 28%) and lightly took out some of the “yellow” on the girl’s nose and teeth.

At this point, I applied my copy of the smart fix image to the altered image and brought the opacity down to around 42%. Once the layers were merged, I did a bit of softening around the edges. Once done, I cropped to a 5×7 size, and finally reduced the image to 450x321pixels

And that, friends, is how I took the first photo and transformed it into the second image.

If We Weren’t All Crazy

DaGoddess @ 10:41

…we’d all go insane. That’s what Jimmy Buffet says, and I’m in complete agreement this week.

It’s been a little nutty around here. I had to get the blues calendar done, write three reviews, a blurb about an upcoming event (which I totally cheated on and copied from our website — there wasn’t anything different I could really say), and I was fighting to get people to submit gigs to me in time…or at all. I don’t get it. Every band needs an audience. Every club needs patrons. So why do they have such a hard time sending me the information that amounts to free advertising? I go through this every month and I’ll tell you, it’s worse than when I had periods. Yep, once a month I turn into this grumpy person because the very people who will benefit most from what I’m doing don’t, won’t, or can’t give me the information I need. It boggles the mind. And the few who do, well, some forget to include dates or locations or even what time the gig starts. Or they send it in a format that makes it difficult for me to use. If they send it as plain text, I can copy it and pop it into the database easily. One venue sends me a .jpg — every time…even though I ask them to send it to me as text. Sigh.

But now we’re done for another month and I’m glad it’s done. I just have to upload the data to the website and set it to auto-publish at the right time.

Okay, so there’s one bit of craziness out of the way. Now, it looks like we’re going to be subjected to another (yes, ANOTHER) day of plumbers running in and out of here to fix the leak they thought they’d already fixed. Our upstairs neighbors (the loud ones) seem to have plumbing problems that first cause the paint in the master bath to start bubbling. Then there was a straight out leak. This was the second time someone had been out to fix it since we moved it. We had one day of no problems, but now the roommate says there’s water dripping out of the ceiling fan. Oh joy.

In this past year and a half, in addition to the master bath issues, my bathroom has had to have the handle on the tap for the shower replaced twice and the sink has had both a leak and a stopper that was uncooperative.

It could be worse, though. It could be as bad as the condo we lived in before. For those who don’t remember, the old condo had some major plumbing issues the last year we were there, including the dining room light fixture that served as a sprinkler, the water heater that developed a slow leak, and then the major leak that took out the furnace along the way. And let’s not forget the landlord who didn’t want to fix it, leaving us without hot water or heat in the middle of winter for three weeks. That was fun.

At least we’re not there anymore.

So, here we are. Aside from the plumbing, we had to have someone come in yesterday and fix one smoke detector. Now, I think it’s pretty silly to have two smoke detectors that are only about twenty feet apart. And the one they had to replace is the one that has given us the most trouble. It’s situated so that if LD takes a hot shower, the steam from the shower sets it off. If we cook something like, say…a turkey, it sets it off. Now, the turkey doesn’t even have to be burning. Nope, it’s simply enough just to have the oven on at that temp. Fun, eh?

The best part about all this is that everyone comes here to work while I’m trying to get things done or trying to get a nap because I couldn’t sleep (still having sleeping issues — back pain, meds making me feel weird, and Lord knows what else). I guess it’s safe to say we haven’t had many dull moments around here of late.

I can’t wait for Death Valley. I’ll be glad to get away for a few days and take in some amazing scenery, and learn some new techniques to improve my photography! That’s the part I’m most excited about — learning. Big thanks go out to Lloyd, Pam, and Leslie for their support and encouragement. I hope I do them proud with my photos. And if you’d like to commission a photo that no one else gets, it’s not too late! Just take a gander at the sidebar and sponsor your own personal photo. Yes, each person gets a unique photo that no one else can choose! Once sponsors choose their images, those can only be shared online or printed for my own personal use. They cannot be sold to anyone else.

Not only have my sponsors/friends helped me take this trip, but their belief in my talents makes me feel as though I can achieve anything. And that ain’t nothing to sneeze at, folks. Additionally, they’re investing in my growth as a photographer, which is truly amazing. The others who will be on this journey with me are exceptional landscape/nature photographers who possess a keen eye for scenic beauty. What I’m going to be learning from them is worth its weight in gold.

Big thanks to my friends and let’s make it an even bigger thank you because of the relief it’ll bring to my addled brain. After this week, I’m more than ready to get down to business and discover some hidden talent.

(Hmm, now that I think of it, maybe I’m not so crazy after all. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me I HAVE to make this trip.)

Chasin’ Tail

DaGoddess @ 03:13

Well, now we finally have an answer to why some dogs chase their tails more than others. Maybe.

I dunno. I’m skeptical. I think it’s just dogs being silly. I think for the puppies it’s about playing and a form of self-entertainment. And maybe for some high strung dogs it’s about anxiety disorders, high cholesterol, and OCD. But I want to believe, with all my heart, that the average dog is just easily amused. That’s what I’m going with.

Free Sword Fights!

DaGoddess @ 02:44

Yesterday, after I picked up Little Dude from school, we headed over to Target to get a few items. We had gift cards from Christmas we hadn’t yet used, so it seemed like a good idea.

LD picked out some Legos (surprise, surprise — NOT!), I grabbed some groceries, two new marked down t-shirts, and a few $1 items for a couple of upcoming kid shoots (stickers, little books, that sort of thing), and even though I was far from dressed appropriately (no makeup, t-shirt, bermuda shorts), after running into the same family three or four times (and having a few conversations about kids, parenting, life, etc.), I gave the mom my card and asked her to give me a call sometime so I could photograph her beautiful family. Hey, I did the same thing in the doctor’s office the other day when I met the most adorable two month old and her mommy. It’s a sickness, I tell ya.

Anyhow, so we finished loading the cart with our purchases and walk outside where I see a bunch of high school kids with a table and a sign. One of the boys looks like a young Tom Cruise (for real, like back when he was cute, but wasn’t loony tunes with $cientology yet). The sign at the table is offering “FREE SWORD FIGHTS!” and the young Top-Gunner-look-a-like implores LD to do battle with him in his best Ren Faire King’s English. LD wouldn’t do it. But a little guy, about three years old did and he won!

In the car, I kept pestering my son to go out and take the challenge. He wouldn’t go. I even tried to guilt him into by reminding him of his resolution to try new things this year. He wouldn’t budge. I told him it was good practice for when we actually do go to the Faire this year. Still nothing. Finally, I gave up, but I did talk to him about how I thought it took guts for this high school kid to stand in front of Target and ask people to do this. I mean, at a Faire, you’re surrounded by people in costume just like you are. In a play, there are other people in the play. But standing in front of Target? That takes balls. Shocked that I said “balls”, my child replied, “I have two already, thank you very much, Mom. And are you really supposed to be talking to me like that?” I told him I was the mom and that “balls” wasn’t a bad word. And by the way, the CD we were listening to had more swearing, worse language, than “balls”. He giggled all the way home.

Oh, and before you ask, we were listening to Buck-o-Nine’s Sustain. (I can’t find the post about their CD I’d linked to previously, so you’ll just have to deal.) Do I really let my kid listen to music with foul language? Yup. I’m not saying that flippantly. I mean, I’d much rather have him listen to music that has a few bad words than music that contains lyrics about killing and other forms of violence. LD knows that people swear, he knows quite a few of those words himself, and he also knows that it’s not okay to use them in public, to hurt someone, or to casually throw them around. Our rule is this: if the situation truly calls for an expletive, he must choose the right word and use it in the proper context in the privacy of our home, in front of me…not in front of guests. Take the bogeyman out of the equation and it’s no longer an issue, right? I don’t want him to be one of those rotten little turds we run into all over the place. You know the ones — kids trying to sound grown up or tough and swearing in public, in front of old ladies and small children. My kid won’t be one of them. He can listen to the songs, understand the words, use them in the house only, and I’ll have stripped the words and my son of the power the words have.

I’ve thought this through.

But ANYWAY…back to fake sword fights, pointy slippers, and green wool tights…I mean, free sword fights. I thought that kid had guts and I wish LD had let loose a little and taken the challenge.

Oh well, he’ll get there in time. Self-consciousness is normal at this stage. Someday he’ll be doing something similar. At least, I hope he will.

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