Monday, February 27, 2006

So I'm checking out some of the search engine referrals, and the searches people performed to get to my blog. Most dealt with people named grover, and phrases including 'rarest' and 'Yellow Springs'. There was one that got me chuckling, though:
russian womens curling team photos nude

Wishful thinking, buddy. Wishful thinking.


Hey, you up in Grand Forks! Don't be thinking I haven't noticed your dedicated readership. I appreciate it, thank you. You don't have to say anything if you don't want. Just know I see you. :-)

Well, ok, I can't actually see you (that'd be weird)... just the record of your visits. ;-)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

We've all heard it: "It'll happen when you'll least expect it.", "You'll find it when you stop looking." Well, I must say that thursday was about the most intense emotional rollercoaster ride I think I've ever taken. Starting well, progressing into an emotional 1-2 punch, and then giving me an additional swift kick to the nuts as if I weren't hurting enough, I was then elevated to a level which left me wondering after I woke up today whether it was all just a dream. This ends beautifully, bear with me (despite the omission of certain details, or this post would be seventy five pages long):

So I go to work, and the weather is beautiful. Andy is all smiles, wracked with a massive case of spring fever. Marcus asks me if I got laid or something. I replied of course not.

At Joe Muggs after work, in talking with one of Coffee Girl's friends, it was revealed that she is unhappy with her current boyfriend and is wanting to look for someone better. Guess I wasn't any better than the rotten boyfriend.

Flashforward to class... I finish my book cover project well in advance of everybody else. My instructor tries to get me to talk to Singleness Lamenting Girl, but it doesn't work. She's a student aid and is supervising the Mac lab across the hall, so she comes over infrequently to look at our work and BS with the instructor. I've taken my image down and am just chitchatting, but she immediately beelines over to Nick and starts fawning and gushing all over him and his project. It looks good, no doubt, but she's talking about how he needs to go and print it on watercolor paper, it's so good. Mine is better, dammit! But of course I just sit there quietly and watch, breaking my heart over another girl. Remember, Nick is also one of the three of us, Amy and I as well, who went and shot photos that fateful afternoon in Yellow Springs, and who paired off with Amy, downgrading my status to third wheel that day. I have a huge crush on Amy, and now they're just the fastest of friends. Now he's stolen Singleness Lamenting Girl.

That boy is the bane of my existance, but he's so damned likeable, I just can't dislike him. :-)

Anyway, having been excused early from class, I drove back to Troy to drink my sorrows away at D's, where I knew I was socially neutral. Driving back up I-75 so hurt by S.L. Girl's obvious attraction to Nick, I swore off any further efforts whatsoever. I declared a moratorium on paying attention to women. I gave up utterly.

D's is packed (as it's karaoke night), and there is only one small two-person table empty in the back against the wall, the perfect place to sink into my little world. I'm not going to sing a goddamned song tonight, I'm in far too bad a mood. People are dancing and singing and after a pitcher, I have to get up and pee. I am stopped by a lady whom I recognize as the lady I danced with last time, when I had my rockstar moment. She introduces me to her friend and requests that I sing Copacabana. I tell her I don't know it. Of course, everybody sings "Copa... copacabana!", but I'm pretty sure there's more to the song than those seven notes, and I say again that I don't know it. I'd be happy to sing for them anything else that I know. She says, looking at me disappointedly, that she thought I was a great singer. I tell her I'm just a guy who makes burritos. They didn't believe me last time. They did this time, and looked almost heart broken themselves.

The fall from grace. Even after the 1-2 punch of Coffee Girl and S.L. Girl, I guess the gods deemed I didn't feel quite horrible enough already.

I sit at my table with my spirits flying high enough to laugh and sing along to songs, but my heart broken to pieces and now so horribly embarrassed I wanted to die. I've been there for three and a half hours, and I decide it's time to go. Coming back from the bathroom, a blonde lady with her friend start talking to me. They wonder if I'm going to sing anything, and I tell them I'm just too pissed, but I appreciate the recognition. We get to talking and they buy a round of shots.

They invite me to go to The B with them, and the blond girl drives with another guy while I ride over in her dark haired friend's minivan. For the few minutes it takes to drive there, her friend and I talk nonstop. Once inside, we get to dancing, which gets progressively closer and more intimate until we begin to kiss. We all leave upon last call, and as I'm the most sober one there, we hop into Dark Haired Girl's Mazda minivan and I drive Blonde girl home. She crashes curling up in her living room chair, and we tuck her in.

On the drive back to my car, Dark Haired Girl reveals someting to me beyond my wildest dream. She tells me that she and her friends have all been watching me since I started going to D's last September (remember the post when I sat down next to the talent scout guy?) I tell her I thought I was invisible. She says all her friends think I'm amazing. As she's talking, she's saying every last thing I've ever needed to hear, and by the time we get back and park next to my car, tears are streaming down my face.

Instead of getting out, we sit in her van and talk while kissing and holding hands, leaning against each other. She says things to me that I would swear she was reading this blog, she seems to know me better than I know myself. It was like the words to Killing Me Softly...

Strumming my pain with his fingers,
Singing my life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song,
Killing me softly with his song,
Telling my whole life with his words,
Killing me softly with his song ...

He sang as if he knew me in all my dark despair.

I don't know how long we sat there talking, but it seemed like hours, and I felt comfort, serenity, and blessed relief in her musical voice, and the feel of her touch. Every trouble I may have had melted away completely, and for the first time since I can remember, my heart felt lifted, not weighing heavily in me. We drive back to her apartment, and I tell her about this blog, if she wants to get a good feel for who I am. After giving it a quick look, she turns toward me, our chairs facing each other with her legs between mine, and we continue talking in each others' arms for still what felt like a heavenly forever. The petting becomes more intense, and discretion sparing detail, we make beautiful glorious love. By the time I get home, it's 6:30am. I have spent all day thinking about her. Not what happened so much physically, but the sound of her voice.

Her whispers echo in my ears still.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pulp Andy

Our latest Photoshop project was to create a book cover with three photos we've taken and three scanned images. The variety of styles was amazing through the class, and I chose the whole pulp/crime/noir-ish kinda thing with a nice tacky paperback feel. Here's what I came up with...

So tonight as school I was in the print lab waiting for a computer with a scanner to open up. There was a girl from another class wretching over their projects, which dealt with couples. She kept jokingly saying things like "Oh, I hate couples.", "I'm so anti-couple", and "You people make me sick." Out of nowhere I blurted "Why?" She said something about Valentine's Day, and I said "Lemme guess... Valentine's Day is the lemon juice on your paper cuts." She says yeah. I say "Me too." I don't think she heard me.

Later on that night, I heard her lamenting her singleness again as her classmates ribbed her about it. My brain was screaming "Say something jackass!!", but for the life of me I couldn't generate a single word. Every doubt I've ever had came flooding to the forefront. As I was leaving for the night, she was talking with some other people and a few instructors, critiquing a print, the gaggle blocking the hall. I stopped to listen to their conversation, and at one point said something to her I thought was funny.

They all go silent, and two people turn to me with "Who the fuck are you?" expressions. I hurry out and run to the car, so embarrassed I want to die.

So I head over to L&V to unwind over coffee before going home. Some people have brought in instruments and are jamming incoherently. At one point, a strikingly attractive girl with an absolutely angelic voice picked up the guitar and started playing and singing Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me". The dude with the bass obviously had no idea how the song goes, and kept playing seemingly random notes at a random beat, and threw her off horribly to the point where she flubbed and had to stop and restart twice. When she finished, nobody clapped except me, quitely. She didn't hear me, nor did she look up to see me applauding her.

In the bar's silence, she grabs her coat and hurries out the door, looking so obviously embarrassed that she'd rather die. She'll always think back to that moment when nobody clapped. She'll never know that somebody enjoyed and appreciated her, and applauded her, if only she would've looked up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One of the members of the US Olympic Women's Hockey Team, Kristin King, is from Piqua, the next town north of here. Dayton's nbc affiliate, Channel 2, threw a big wingding at the Piqua High School gym with a huge projector screen to show the bronze medal US vs. Finland game. Andy smells photo op, so I go and take quite a few good photos, my favorite being the crowd in the gym pumping their fists and waving their little flags after Kristin scored, and she's up on screen giving a teammate a hug.

Now, I thought hockey was broken into four quarters, not three periods, so after the second part...thingy... whatever, I went out to grab a sandwich. When I came back, the game was over. Shit! At least Channel 2 did a victory live feed cheer, and I sauntered behind the video guy to snap shots of the cheering crowd, the live image projected onto the huge screen behind.

They're going to be pitching another homecoming wingding for the hometown hero next week, complete with a parade. What I'd like to do is print out and frame the photo of the crowd cheering with her on screen, title it "Hometown Hero", and burn the other images of her day to CD so she can reproduce them as she wishes. Hopefully I can somehow give them to her. Wouldn't that be cool?

And yes she's a babe. By uncanny coincidence I just happen to have a fetish for Olympic bronze medal winning chicks from Piqua who play hockey and whose initials match. What are the odds? :-)

(But that's not why I want to give her the photos)


Here's some of the photos from my latest project "Color Composition". They aren't all there becase I'm hungry and want to eat lunch. Also, a bunch of them are boring shots just to get the technical aspect in. But here's a few of my favorites, including a few from when I ran around with Elizabeth. Enjoy!
Waco (rhymes with "taco") Field here in Troy. Note the dark spot in the sky caused by the polarizer.
Just for the halibut... using my polarizing filter to darken the sky.
Complimentary contrast
Contrast of hue... secondary color triad: orange, violet, green. Sure, there's red, yellow, and blue everywhere, but try finding the secondary colors! :-)
Contrast of intensity and value
Shadow form
Size contrast, cool/warm contrast
Shadow forms
Shadow form, strong directional light.
Size Contrast, Cool/warm contrast.
Cool/warm contrast
Color change determined by time of day.
Color shift due to artificial light source. (camera left in daylight white balance)
Cool/warm contrast.
Color shift due to artificial light source. (camera left in daylight white balance)
Strong directional light
Color shift due to artificial light source. (camera left in daylight white balance) This is The Winds Cafe in Yellow Springs, last Valentine's Day. I looked up and thought it was so sweet to see a couple sharing a romantic dinner, so I went paparrazi and took this. :-)
Color shift due to artificial light source. (camera left in daylight white balance)
Color shift due to artificial light source. (camera left in daylight white balance)
Desmond. Yes, he dresses like that, but he's the softest spoken nicest guy, without a bad thing to say about anybody. But damn that boy can play pool.
Chad, with Desmond half-visible in the background.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I have a confession to make: I have high self esteem.

Hear me out... the idea has been presented to me by several independant sources that I have low or no self esteem. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I think I'm just about the coolest person around. I think I'm beautiful. I mean, come on... how many photos of myself do I post? I like to joke that I'm damn near narcissistic. Case in point:

So while I was shooting for the sorrow project, I was futzing with my camera settings and inadvertantly hit the shutter. Note the look of intense concentration as I'm worrying about proper exposure. Now I've taken hundreds of megabytes of new photos since this, but I'm taking the time to post a now-old one of myself, out of plain old vanity.

Problem is, this little voice in my head tells me that nobody else thinks the way I do. It tells me that nobody finds me attractive, and anybody who says otherwise is just being polite. I know this isn't true, but I can't help but feel it. I'd love to run that one past a psychologist.

Confession #2: I need to lay off the sauce. It makes me post weird shit like this.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Hi! Not much going on lately. Ran around friday afternoon with Elizabeth from school, helping her shoot her color composition project and shooting for my slide page. Found a great location that I would never have known existed, all done up with some of the most brilliant graffiti I've ever seen. Went to work and started to feel progressively worse that by the end of the night, my muscles were stiff and sore from head to toe, and I was getting abdominal cramps from hell which indirectly made my stomach a little queasy. I wasn't feeling nauseous or anything, just achey.

By class today I damn near called off, my entire body hurt so damned bad. Unfortunately, today was midterm exam, and anyway when you've got an 8-hour class that meets once a week, you don't want to miss a single one. I was eating Pepto chewable tablets like candy in case I was getting the flu, but I thankfully didn't have the urge at all to regurgitate. I just hurt. It lasted all day today, and I'm still not feeling very well.

Thinking it's not a bug, but my body telling me to chill the fuck out and relax... so I cancelled some plans I had and treated myself to a DVD rental and movie snacks. Rented "The Girl in the Cafe" Very good movie, and I'm now totally in love with Kelly MacDonald. She reminds me a lot of Coffee Girl, who was working friday afternoon and I stopped by and said hi to before going to work.


Photoshopped a project wednesday that still boggles me, even though I did it with my own two hands. We were given an image of the Oregon District. Our project: Remove everything modern from it, clean up the dust, and sepia tone it. Here's the original:

And here's what I turned in:

Yeah, I'm bragging. :-) Camera Skills instructor complimented me on the Sorrow project, and I passed the midterm exam.


The other morning I flipped on the tv and the US and Russian women's curling teams were in hot competition. I was riveted, mostly by the grace and deadly concentration with which they cast the stones, but also by (you guessed it) the women themselves. Case in point, hotness from the American team who had regrettably (tantalizingly?) little camera time:

And the Russian team's absolute centerfold member:

I will never diss this sport again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hi all! I've taken today some of the most brilliant photos I have ever snapped. It's valentine's day, of course (or it was an hour ago), but try as I might, I can't seem to think myself into a bad mood, having given birth to so many great shots. Is photography greater than sex that I can feel this way?


No, I don't think so. I'd much, much, much rather be fucking right now. But that's because I'm somewhat (bot not ridiculously) drunk. And yet, I'm not all emotional and weirded out. I'm in the best goddamned mood I've been in for ages, up to the point of appointing myself Troy, Ohio's "Ambassador Of Love" for the night, carting around a pink balloon with a red heart.

I'll explain later. For now, i'll leave you with one of the greatest photos I've ever taken. This is Chad (Leaf regular, and all around swell guy) breaking at pool in a little redneck dive called Jesters, just on the outskirts of town:

Monday, February 13, 2006

So I'm in a bit of a down swing now. (shocker) I think it's because tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and although I try to be all jaded and cynical, telling myself that it's just an overblown greeting card industry day, I can't believe it. At heart I'm a sentimental (and admittedly gullible) schmuck, this time of year is the lemon juice to my paper cuts.

So Tuesday I pop by the Leaf to complete some homework over coffee and then maybe get a warm glow on afterward. Tuesdays being $2 for any beer night, I decide to try something new. I order this beer called Golden Monkey, and it's delicious. I have work in the morning, and don't want to get too far-gone, so I figure I'll drink about three or four bottles and get my buzz on. What I wasn't aware of is that Golden Monkey has a 9.5% alcohol content.

Five bottles later, I've melted into one of the big comfy leather chairs on the small upstairs section, trashed beyond rational thought. I'm so drunk I'm sitting up there bawling things like "I lovvvvve you Angelaaaaaa! You're my motherfucker!!", and "Why can't I be closer to Tricia?? Whyyyy??"

Not fun the next morning at work. Golden Monkey is pure liquid evil.


On Wednesdays and Thursdays, I have class at 6:30, so they usually work me until 4pm and I kill the time studying at the Books & Co. coffee shop. There's this girl there... I've had a huge crush on her for ages. Well, after chatting off and on with her, as I'm leaving, I ask her out. She says yes. Stunned nearly silent, I somehow manage to communicate that I'm open the next afternoon between work and school, and she gives me her number. I spend all night in class nearly hyperventilating, and giggling randomly. The class and my instructor find this very amusing.

So Thursday I work the longest day I think I've ever worked, and after calling her, we meet at a nearby Starbucks. She looks absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so nervous I'm having trouble acting like I'm not completely drunk. I mention something about "first date". She says she has a boyfriend.

Oh. Please excuse me while I go stab myself in the heart.

I'm sitting there so completely embarrassed, but we have the best conversation I can recall having with anybody in the longest time. We agree to be "movie buddies". :-) But all along, she's sitting there radiant in all her bookish, slightly awkward artsy nerdy perfection, making weird faces as she's about to sneeze and asking me if she's got a booger in her nose. And I'm sitting there desperately trying not to shatter into pieces and wishing the moment would never end.

If ever I've felt a "click" with somebody, it's her. If ever I've felt parallel to somebody instead of the usual perpendicular to the rest of humanity, it's her. I know, I know. It's too early to want to be with somebody. It's too soon after the divorce to look at other people. I need to learn to be 100% secure, content, self-sufficient, more fully developed as a person, and unneeding of human contact before I go looking for it.

But I'm starting to call bullshit on that. Seriously. Is it such a bad thing for a man's weak spot to be love? Is it so horrible to resent my isolation from the world around me? Still, I know it's immature to go breaking my own heart over every woman that crosses my path.

But the idea was once presented to me that I love like a woman loves (true), and women don't want another woman, they want a man. They want to be loved in a manly way. I understand about the women wanting a man and not another woman, but "manly way"? What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

I guess it all boils down to this... it feels like there's something I'm not getting. Like there's this truth that I'm just not grasping. Like there's something other people know that I don't, and until I do, I'm going to be stumbling around cluelessly, admonished for my ignorance.


But! Things could be a whole lot worse, and I'm thankful they aren't. I recognize I'm being overly sensitive and kinda drama-queeny. I didn't mention Thursday night and Saturday, and between the Coffee Girl and somebody I befriended thursday, I've two wonderful new acquaintances. School is going well, and I'm gaining notoriety in my camera skills class. I'm gonna post this, take a shower, and hit Dayton to shoot for my next project before going to work tonight. Be sure to catch the new photos which round out my sorrow project below. :-)
Me trying to look sad. I'm really not too fond of this one, but I was desperate for photos before heading to work friday night (as class and the turn-in deadline is saturday morning). Some of you may remember from last fall my photos of the lady in the distance walking by the river... this is the same location. (note the building visible just beond the bridge).
One of sorrow's traits is that it is beyond one's control. Often, much like holistic medicine, the best way to counter that is to expose oneself to something so far much greater and out of one's control than the sorrow (as the flow of an ancient glacial river like the Great Miami), so as to put it into perspective and maybe find a moment's peace.
Looking over, the steps ended against an angled wall creating these perfectly sized nooks where I envisioned somebody curling up and hiding from the world for a while. In the same idea as the laundromat self-portrait, I intentionally wanted myself to be only a small little part of the big picture, so as almost not to be seen at first, but surprised by upon closer inspection.
And going on the same "body image" theme as the shot of Angela looking wistfully down at the unrealistically glamorous model, within the same magazine she was looking at was this underwear ad. I figure, men are just as weirded-out about their body image as women are, and if anybody has a figure to be sorrowful about, it's my fat ass. :-) I went through about for or five boring poses until I thought to cock my head slightly to the side, which gave it just that missing oomph.
I had taken another photo of this last summer with my Canon, and I liked it so much I thought I'd recreate it. Well, there were cars parked in the way, and at first I was bummed, but then I realized I could use them. It's as though there's this cryptic phrase which in my imagination is somebody's epitaph, and the world just keeps on keepin' on around it.
And on the tombstone there was this metal medallion, which lifted up to reveal a picture of the deceased wife. This was the most tragically sweet thing I think I've ever seen.
After class, I was a few photos short, so I drove down Dixie Dr. to a huge cemetery to complete the project. I figured I'd get a few more trite and cliche headstone shots, but what I came across was pure sorrow... I almost felt guilty taking the pictures, but I kept telling myself I was beautifying and preserving the memorials.
She died the year I was born. Twenty seven years ago... I wonder if she is still as sorely missed.
I wish I could've gotten the entire "till we meet again.", but there was too much clutter compositionally to make it a good photo. :-( I had such an emotional reaction to this, as the husband is still living. I could only picture some elderly man coming by every once in a while to kneel down by the headstone and lift the cover off from over the photo of his beloved wife for a few moments.
And on my way out, I passed this tiny simple little cross all by itself on a hillside. I was struck by it's age and loneliness.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Saying goodbye to my former self, casting away my wedding ring, and thus the weight of the past on my shoulders.
Carrying my memories of the past away on the wind, freeing me.
... and away.
It's five o'clock somewhere in the world.
and farther...
and higher...
The loneliness of the daytime bartender.
So after shooting the balloons floating away, I had the strange whim to go to Lowe's and say hi to everyone I used to work with. Wouldn't you know, when I got there they said Yvonne (of whom I spoke extensively when I worked there) had her baby only hours earlier. What a coincidence! Anyway, I talk to everybody there for a while and then buy some more time up in Piqua visiting Michelle where she works before heading over to the hospital in the late afternoon. I got a bunch of pictures for her, but this one really stood out as having emotional punch. "What is sorrowful about this?' I hear you say... my manager at Chipotle described sorrow as a state of transitioning not only from happiness to sadness, but vice versa. What is greater a state of flux than having a new little girl, only hours old?
If only...
Ok, I know cemeteries are a bit cliche... but I'm running out of ideas, and it's hitting crunch time. So I stop by on my way home from the hospital, just as late afternoon is transitioning to dusk.
More than anything, I like the faint hint of color just on the horizon. Adds depth, I think.
As I was walking back to the car, I came across this street name, and it's unlikely setting.