2009/09/10

PROMPTuesday #72 – We’ve Achieved Time Travel!

DaGoddess @ 01:17

The Prompt shifted to Wednesday in some places and in others, it mysteriously appeared on Thursday. Weird, huh? Crazy! Fun!! All sorts of wacky shenanigans happen when you’re creative, stuck in P.T., dealing with hives of unknown origin, and when there’s homework.

This week, we’ve been challenged to include the words: folder, folder (yes, it must be used twice or you lose mega points and you’ll make Toots cry. NOBODY GETS TO MAKE TOOTS CRY BECAUSE I WILL HUNT THEM DOWN AND MAKE THEM CRY TOO!), ice, pet, money, stick. Are you ready? Set? Go!!!!!

On a rather hot day this week, I noticed something amiss in the folder in which I normally keep my list of tasks to be done. This is not the be confused with my folder in which I keep my list of things that someone else needs to do things. Yes, there’s a lot to be done, but it takes two folders to keep everything organized. My “to do” folder is a pretty pink with brown and green dots. The other “to do” folder is brown with blue and green stripes. I keep both those folders in a large mint green file folder. You know, to be all tidy and stuff. Also in the big file folder, I have several more folders for various items. One holds signed model releases. One holds orders. One holds receipts for everything related to orders, shipping, and supplies. One holds an envelope with money for when we’re out at events. Another holds a small stick which was brought to me by someone’s pet monkey which was eating ice cream on said stick when I encountered them in the park one day. About the only thing missing from the big ol’ folder is a photograph of the ice cream eating monkey. I do possess such a photograph, though, and it’s very special because the photo of the person’s pet monkey eating ice cream won me money in a contest. I do, however, carry the certificate of my award in the main folder and a copy of the check, as well as a copy of the actual money in another folder.

I think I need to find these people again because I think they have the photo of their pet monkey, which is the item missing from my folder. I guess I better give them a call. Maybe we can meet for chocolate dipped ice cream bars on sticks on the day we make the exchange. Hopefully, they’ll bring their pet again, too. I’m hiding my folder, especially the part of the folder with the money in it.

And there you have it. My brain on a blog after P.T. (which I started again yesterday).

P.S. Can someone send me an email or comment and remind me about Jimmy Mack, please?

2009/09/09

Little Green Creature

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Green Creature

Green cutie

Friendly invasion

I don’t know what it is about Rendezvous time, but we always end up with cool bugs this time of year. This katydid was hanging out by the mailboxes along with a mantis (which was not photographed because it was too high up and when I finally got it down to photo level on a stick, it flew off). Katy wandered around, sometimes closer to us, sometimes further away. Finally, I had to rescue “her” from a spider web (sorry, Charlotte) and she happily went back to posing for me.

2009/09/08

Meandering

DaGoddess @ 23:19

Today was an extremely long day. Had an appt. with the doctor who does my rating for the insurance company. The appointment should have taken an hour. It took lots longer than that.

Bottom line: he says I’ll need lifetime medical with my settlement. That was sort of a shocker. As was the news that there may already be some degeneration above my cervical fusion. That was cause for pause. It shouldn’t be happening.

Had a long talk with my dad today (he was the one who drove me to my appointment). Interesting. Don’t know that it got me anywhere, but his input was greatly appreciated and it was nice to spend time with him.

In other news, my hair is way too long, I’ve decided. It seems like it grew three inches overnight. Don’t know how that happened, but it’s bothersome.

Hmm, what else? Oh yeah, Shawne Merriman was placed under citizen’s arrest by fame whore Tila Tequila. Normally I wouldn’t comment on this, but it did make me stop to think a bit. So here’s the thing:

Shawne, you’re supposed to be one of the good guys. No matter what, you NEVER EVER touch a woman or try to restrain her, even if it’s supposedly for her benefit. If she’s drunk and trying to drive, do yourself a favor and call the cops. Also, don’t date trashy women looking for fame. You’re young, handsome, and have a million options…you could do better. Maybe you thought a reality “star” could raise your profile a la Hank and Kendra, but you picked the wrong woman.

Both Tila and Shawne were tweeting up a storm after the incident. Enough! Shawne, you want to clear your name? Let the attorneys do it. Tila? You’ve had more than your fair share of that 15 minutes. Go away.

Tila claims she doesn’t drink because she’s allergic to alcohol and that the name “Tequila” is supposed to be ironic. I don’t call that ironic. Nothing about you is ironic. Cheap and pathetic, yeah. But not ironic. While she claims she wasn’t drinking, the sheriff said she had been. And there seems to be some sort of recorded history of her drinking. Huh, ya think her MTV show might come back and bite her in the ass on that one?

I once forbid all my friends from appearing on reality TV…Tila is a prime example of why you should all want to stay away from anything “reality” based. And this incident is just one more event in a string of increasingly disturbing events (think the reality show contestant who murdered his wife and then killed himself) involving reality “stars”.

You know, you get involved with bad people, shit happens, and your reputation might not ever recover. Did Merriman use poor judgment? Was there an actual assault? We can’t know for certain. We may never know. It’s suddenly a case of he said, she said and there’s no way for Shawne to walk away from this looking good. His date…poor choice. His actions, even if they weren’t intended to be violent, they still come off as aggressive. And if this was a case of violence, then for shame and there better be consequences…but we’ll never know for sure. How do you separate fact from fiction when you’re dealing with someone whose life seems to revolve around that which is superficial and meant solely to create publicity?

If there’s any moral to this last bit, I guess it’s that you should choose your company carefully and always err on the side of caution. And especially from a woman’s perspective, you should never drink so much that you aren’t in full control of your faculties. Always keep your wits about you. And if you have been drinking, call a cab.

As for what I personally think, hmm, she was drunk and she had no injuries according to the sheriff…enough of the fame whore drama already.

Look, I’ve seen women, children, and even men who have been choked, beaten, held and assaulted, etc. I don’t condone violence of any kind. But if this turns out to be a figment of some publicity-seeking idiot, it hurts every other case for those who really have been attacked. I have a hard time believing much of what this woman says, not because Merriman is a pro athlete (quite the contrary). No, I have a hard time believing her because of her antics on TV and off. It’s hard to sort fact from fiction when you’re dealing with someone who lives in a public fishbowl and does whatever it takes to get their name in the papers or on TV. Which means, if the story is true, it becomes an even stickier wicket. I’ve seen women who lived hard lives who were raped and beaten. Their cases are always much more difficult to prove because of the way they lived. Is that right? No. But it’s how it often goes. And there are those who file false charges, further mucking up the system and that makes it harder for those who truly have suffered.

I don’t think this is making sense the way I wish it did. All I know is that were there a shred of evidence that this story were true (either the sheriff noting bruising or some sort of evidence of physical harm, of which there was none), I’d be calling for some serious consequences for Merriman. But for now, there’s little more than some fame junkie making accusations that look pretty damn flimsy.

For true victims, I have the deepest sympathy. Somehow I don’t see this as being such a case. And yet, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth because…it so easily could be.

2009/09/07

Hooked on Hawks

DaGoddess @ 04:00

The tomahawk handle split with a resounding crack, much like the way a bat sounds as it makes contact with the perfect pitch. It wasn’t intentional. For an instant, I felt terrible. And then I was strangely proud because it had been my arm hurling it toward the tree stump and it had been the force of my throw that had caused the wood to splinter. The couple working with me shrugged off the break and encouraged me to keep trying. So I did.

There was no pride in the number of times the hawk had glanced off the wood, nor was there any shame. I just wanted a solid hit. It took more throws than I had thought it would before the blade cleaved the stump, but it finally did happen. I didn’t jump up and down or squeal with delight. Instead, it was more of a deep sense of satisfaction that radiated outward when I saw the handle hanging down and the axe buried within the wood.

Ever since I saw the young girl throwing tomahawks last year, I wanted to try it. Now I have and I want to do it again. There’s a certain thrill you get from doing it and I gotta tell ya, I’m hooked.

More than 12 hours after leaving home yesterday morning, LD and I arrived safely home, covered in at least four solid inches of dirt, exhausted, and somehow refreshed from a day in the mountains.

I haven’t taken a photo of the handle I split yet, but I will. I have a lot of other photos to sort through first.

2009/09/06

Sandy Eggo

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Sandy Lion

Sandy Track

Sandy Rhino

Sandy Sand

2009/09/05

Kelp Me! Kelp Me!

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Kelp on the Beach

For The Fat Guy. “Pop!”

2009/09/04

It Makes Me Feel Left Out

DaGoddess @ 22:02

Really. About halfway through.

iHeartFaces – Fix-It Friday #27

DaGoddess @ 11:38

Original cutie patootie:

Original

Step one: in Paint Shop Pro X2 I created a new mask layer and adjusted levels (face, shirt, hands only as I didn’t want to blow out the background)

First edit

Next step: in Photoscape, I chose “region out of focus”, opting to put the focus on the eyes, naturally, with size @ 50%, feathering 90%. Then I applied a film effect: Cinema, Low

Second Edit

Followed by: in Photoscape, I undid the last film effect and tried Cinema, Medium. It’s different and I liked it.

Cinema Med

And finally, I undid the Medium effect and went in to try Agfa, Low, just to see what it looked like.

Agfa Low

And that concludes my edits for Fix-it Friday #27. There are a lot of other great fixes over at iHeartFaces, so go check ’em out!

Still

DaGoddess @ 00:01

Over the years, I’ve written about the impact Steve Irwin had on the lives of my family. I’ll never forget the year LD turned two and on Christmas morning he went crazy when he saw one of his presents was a three or four foot plastic crocodile. He immediately jumped it, covered its eyes, called for Terri (his sister given a co-starring role in his funny little world of Croc Hunterdom) to get his shirt off and wrap it around the croc’s head. Yes, LD was two and had absorbed enough Irwinisms to run his own fake rescue and relocation in our living room.

Dressed in his regular uniform of khakis (the boy wanted what he wanted), we headed over to my sister’s house for more Christmas activities. The croc came along. Anyone speaking to LD that day had to address him as Steve. To this day, there are probably a few people who were dating relatives or friends of my sister and brother-in-law who really believe this is my son’s name. We probably should have considered it, but for the simple fact that the ex’s brother carries the same name and they weren’t on speaking terms at that point. Still, my little 2 year old had made his stand about the name and his goals for the day: he would be Steve and he would be on croc patrol. No cats, people, or food would go missing if he could help it! (Okay, maybe a little food, but that was only if it was near enough to a chair he could climb up to get at it.)

And he did it all with an Australian accent. My American born baby boy sported a fair dinkum Aussie accent. Because that’s how his hero spoke.

This was how it went for two and half years, give or take. Halloween costumes were, naturally, khaki and sported fabric paint representations of Australia Zoo’s logo, with the name Steve below that. We’d attached frogs, lizards, and snakes to his shirt (all plastic, of course…our collection was immense…still is) and his shorts or pants, and his hat, although the hat was from the Norwich Gators (close as we could get at the time). Our pumpkins were carved with crocs and “Steve” and occasionally a panda or regular jack o’lantern pattern. But they still represented The Man.

When the news broke during the early hours on Sept. 4, 2006, I was awake and editing for Blogcritics.org at the time. I heard it. And everything stopped. Then I started flipping channels and it was everywhere. It didn’t seem real. Finally, I emailed my friend Pat who lived at the zoo and received the sad confirmation that it was, indeed, tragically true — Steve Irwin was gone.

What unfolded after that was beyond anything most anyone anywhere would have ever expected. Despite the popularity of the Crocodile Hunter series and other spin off shows, no one could have predicted just how widespread this man’s infectious enthusiasm reached. Straight out admiration, parodies, and even a handful of naysayers…the man, his mission, had stretched around the globe and back a million times. He made the scariest animals important, even lovable (except leeches and I’m afraid I’ll never laugh as he did about them), he made us care about the animals he encountered, taught us why they were special, why we should want them around. His plans were grand and he was making great strides in realizing many of his dreams, which ruffled a few feathers and caused some backlash, but Steve did it all for one reason: to protect the land and the animals, and give our children more than just picture books filled with photos and drawings of animals and trees we once encountered on land. Careful management could and can preserve habitats and healthy populations of animals if we can find a way to work together — from land management, husbandry, careful community planning, caring individuals, and sensible care plans from government agencies to help keep nature a viable and valuable part of our heritage.

It’s a message I was taught by Marlin Perkins, local Native Americans, and even by my parents (except snakes, but that’s a cause I took up on my own). To me, what was the point of keeping the forest if there were no animals? What was the point of loving the animals if they had no home? I learned it early and have always carried this with me. My conservationist roots run deep and likely always will. I guess my kids came by it honestly.

And then one day, Steve and Terri Irwin showed up and echoed what I’d grown up hearing. They even went far beyond what I’d learned and gave me new ideas, a new means of understanding, new hope! It spread quickly. I wasn’t the only one looking for a way to learn. It became part of our watercooler conversations.

Then we got that punch in the ol’ solar plexus we never wanted to hear. Yes, Steve Irwin was a celebrity and we often roll our eyes when a celebrity dies. But this seemed to run a bit deeper. Here was a young man actively, passionately chasing the dream of educating the world about our natural resources. He wasn’t famous for kicking a soccer ball or wearing the latest styles or releasing a record of music he had little to do with. He was out getting dirty and conducting research that continues to this day to enlighten us on the habits and lives of creatures we previously understood little about. He gave us tools to learn and set us upon a course of caring.

It’s been three years and it still hurts. Thankfully, there are people everywhere who have picked up the mantle and carry on.

It may mean nothing to you, but it continues to mean a great deal to this family. Each of us, in our own manner, have found a way to carry on educating friends and strangers about the animals we encounter, the land upon which we live, the land that surrounds us, and how important it is for all of us to work together to keep it working.

Steve Irwin may be gone, but plenty of people in this world are carrying out his work, sharing the knowledge, spreading the word.

We miss you, Stevo.

Gone But Not Forgotten

2009/09/03

For Pam

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Ha! It helps if I actually post the photo, huh?

The Snail for Pam

Note the date. Yep. 2004. Still one of my favorite photos. And I don’t normally like snails. I just happened to like this snail on this plant. Sigh. Taken back when my little P&S didn’t have a filthy sensor, when I didn’t crave new lenses and a special flash. Well, kind of. Five minutes after I bought my point and shoot, I wanted something newer, bigger, better! Tis the nature of the shutterbug to always think “upgrade”. Even when I was a little girl and first started hanging out with that magical plastic and metal box with film and a world of possibilities, I knew then that there was MORE waiting for me.

Anyhow, this post really isn’t about me. It’s about Pam and her happy snail photos from the other day. Like me, I think Pam’s been bitten by the bug and one of these days, she and I will get together and go shoot…just because we can. Ooh, and together, we can sneak up on Mr. Sweetsop.

2009/09/02

I’m Not Disturbed

DaGoddess @ 04:00

But Scott Meyer is.

My only way out of a very bad mood (and a massive meltdown) is to stare at my wallpaper.

Basic Instructions

Besides, that’s nowhere near disturbing as half the commercials they show for the latest movies anymore. Seriously, the amount of gore and outright scare tactics they employ trump what’s on my desktop.

Anyhow, this is what I do to work my way out of my funk. I stare at Scott Meyer’s visage and maniacal words. Well, that and endless amounts of videos on YouTube that defy description. Oh, and I email Aaron Johnson of What the Duck. He has a book coming out that I want to read. I used to email Chris Muir, but he’s busier day by day (ooh, see how I did that? That’s talent) and I’m a nobody again. I don’t rank anywhere in the blogosphere the way I used to. N.O.B.O.D.Y. Ooooh! I’m going to start a band called N.O.B.O.D.Y. and sing that song by Sylvia “Nobody”. And I’ll do the dance we did in my “advanced dance” class in high school, because that would be one quick way for me to gain some notoriety. Not necessarily in a good way, but still! C’mon, that would be tight, huh?

The only way to prevent a tragedy like that is to buy my silence, people. Send me money, gear, plane tickets, money, books, quality music, money. I swear. I’ll shut up if you’re good.

In other news, Pam‘s husband narrowly averted disaster and had to leave town without us getting together. He may not get so lucky last time. Although, to hear The Fat Guy tell it, I’m a delight. Hahahaha!

By the way, the dance must be done in leggings and leotard and involves some interesting gyrations and prancing. NOBODY wants to see that.

And that concludes my linkiest post in about a year.

2009/09/01

PROMPTuesday #71 – Storytellers Part II

DaGoddess @ 04:32

Blah blah blah…something true…blah blah blah…Oh, look! Deb’s funny when she bowls! Blah blah blah bla…what? College? Really? Blah blah blah blah…

Nothing against Deb on this one, I’m just hot, tired, and did I mention hot? Oh, and cranky. Genuinely crankier than I normally am as I realize that my frustration builds the closer I am to deadlines, details, and disappointment. Not to mention just all the way around feeling a bit lost. Plus, as funny as Deb is when she bowls, she’s still adorable and lovable. Me? On a day like this? Not even close.

Since I’m already in that headspace, let’s latch on to one of contributors and examine his particular role in what has led us to where we are now. Some of you early early friends and readers are aware of this story, but not all of you are. You may need to glance away at the offensive language that’s sure to pop up.

After LD was born, it became obvious that the family would need something more than a copier repairman and medical assistant’s earnings to feed our family of four. Mojo’s father’s checks for child support quickly turned into invisible checks signed with invisible ink and placed in invisible envelopes, sent off to the invisible post office where invisible stamps were added just before it was all dropped into an invisible bag. We learned to deal with it and decided Mojo was probably better off with her biological father gradually fading into obscurity. Mojo loved her stepdad and he loved her and that’s all that mattered.

So, in looking into option of how I might go about improving our situation since the husband at the time was already working lots of hours at his job and serving our nation as a Marine Reservist, I looked at going back to school. I lucked into finding a nursing program that would only take two years and get me out working very quickly. Now, anyone who knows me knows that when my mind is made up, I prefer to take the shortest route to accomplish my goals. I was quickly accepted into the program (correcting their admissions exam along the way, which was kind of funny in and of itself) and I felt good about having a plan. Up until this time, I’d been working part-time and sometimes full time for my brother-in-law’s photography business and it was just fun, but not the sort of job that would allow me to branch out, do more, or earn more. So nursing school was it.

At Christmas that year (the program started in January), I heard plenty of the “oh, aren’t you taking on too much” speeches, but what really made me feel like what I was doing was right was when my younger sister handed me my present: a backpack filled with school supplies and a card telling me she believed in my dream. And so I was on my way.

My first quarter of my first semester at school, I landed on the dean’s list of high honors. The second quarter, same thing. I was working my ass off to get the best grades possible and to keep my name on that damn board. I did it, too. But it was during the first semester that I saw the strain on my marriage begin.

The first study session required me to seal myself up in the bedroom and spend a few hours studying on the phone with my group. We followed that quickly with more study groups in person. It was a good group, one dedicated to LEARNING OUR SHIT QUICKLY and providing a sense of stability within our quirky group by creating even quirkier visual cues to our sessions which carried into the classroom. We weren’t cheating. No. But we did find a way to create a shirt that mimicked the colors of molds in the order in which we studied them and it was the way we could all just look at each other or our own shirts and jostle our memories toward the right answer. The thing is, the husband didn’t much like that I had to put that sort of time in for studies. After dinner one night, I’d asked him to do the dishes so I could study, to which he replied, “You fucking cunt!” I think there was a dish thrown toward the sink or something, but what really shocked me was 1) that he said it and 2) that he said it in front of our kids. I took the kids into the bedroom with me, calmed them down, got them ready for bed, and then spent three hours on the phone with my friend Jan crying and talking and studying and talking and crying and studying. We made it work. But the husband was locked out of the room for the night except when I went to check on the kids in bed. How I got through the rest of that first third of the year, I don’t know.

By the second (summer) semester, we were racing into the nursing track. The pressure was even more intense and the amount of time I had to put in studying was even crazier. I’d be awake all night organizing my care plans, color coordinating meds with interventions and side effects, writing, then typing everything out, researching!, and then comparing notes with friends. Once we were dealing with real patients, we did less studying together (except for classroom tests), but we often called on each other to run ideas past each other. We’d also take field trips to book stores to look for THE book that would help us best understand our current rotations. It was info overload and we were all gurgling as we found ourselves sinking more and more in school. We gave up aiming for dean’s list and just prayed for a good enough grade on tests, care plans, papers, and practicals. At home? Oh, please. My husband was becoming more contentious and would yell more and yell louder. The whole time, I was putting in as many hours as I could on the weekends at my brother-in-law’s studio. I’d gone from working full time during the first semester to sporadically during the second. School really required that much of my focus. It wasn’t easy stuff.

While everyone else seemed to understand and see how this would benefit our family, the husband was resenting it more. At first I thought he was angry because I was putting in all that time and it was time away from home. That could have been part of it. Then I thought maybe he was worried that I was getting an education and outgrowing him. No, I was just trying to put myself into a career that would provide us with a good income so that he wouldn’t have to work quite so hard.

By the last semester, it was thoroughly obvious there were problems with our relationship. I didn’t back off my studies, not in the least. If anything, I delved deeper into them, hoping to prove it was worthwhile and beneficial to all of us, no matter what. Graduation was solemn in that I don’t recall a single smile from my husband, while the rest of my family was quite proud and hopeful. Studying for my boards was fraught with peril. I worried about everything — from the time I actually spent on the studying, whether at the prep classes or at the computer simulated modules, worrying if I’d actually pass the damn thing the first time or ever, from the long hours to the tears and fears and the “all on the line” type of scenario you get with boards. I got a little more support from the husband, but it was always seemingly done with an air of derision and sometimes even outwardly obvious hate.

The day I found out I passed my boards, I called him to let him know. He congratulated me, but there was no joy in his voice. I hung up and called thirty other people I knew who would be thrilled.

In the time between me finishing school, getting my degree, getting my license, and landing my first job, we’d filed for divorce. Or rather, I had. The “fucking cunt” comment was the tip of the iceberg. The phone through the plate glass window (once again done in front of the kids) was another sign. And it all just kept adding up. That’s not where I wanted it to go, it’s just where it went.

We went through the whole “I hate you!” phase. We went through a lot of other phases, too. None of them included a “maybe we should try again” phase, though, much to our children’s dismay. When you know it’s over, you know it’s over. And so I went from going to school as a means of improving the lives of my family to improving my life and that of my children, divorce, and eventually, all these years later, a field in which I may never work again. There will always be components of that education (both professional and personal) that will carry me forward and prove valuable. Mostly, it was learning that no one else wants my success as much as I do, nor will anyone understand the sacrifices one must make to attain a goal. Fortunately, I’ve also learned that not ever situation comes with a personal sacrifice of that magnitude.

Overall, I guess my story had the requisite hope, joy, disappointment, a couple of twists and turns…all the components that are supposed to drive a story forward. I don’t know if it made it interesting, but there it is — as close as I can get to it without becoming grumpier or hateful. For me, it’s now just another tale to tell, one I learned from, one from which I walked away alive.

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