Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I have the Flu.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

There's a moment I think back to every now and again... it was just a little under two years ago on a bitterly cold day. An instructor at school had taken a group of us out on a photo field trip to the Oregon District in downtown Dayton. I was walking around with a classmate whom I'd recently befriended, and as I stood on a planter and aimed my camera at something, she told me to stand still. She was taking a picture of my silhouette reflected in a storefront window. I was actively becoming the substance of someone else's creativity. An artist was holding me in enough regard to integrate me into their body of work. Standing there frozen with my camera's viewfinder to eye, my heart leaped at the honor!

It was a feeling that, in retrospect, I almost compare to when Dark Haired Girl would look at me with... you know, that look. Try as I might to deny it to myself, I knew I was being adored.

To be looked upon as a worthy subject by a fine artist is, in my mind, nearly the same sensation as to be admired by a lover.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Wendell Baker Story

Before you do anything else... I don't care if you have planned for this weekend an outrageous orgy chock-a-buck full of nubile young men and voluptuous yet lithe women, cancel it to rent this DVD: 2005's "The Wendell Baker Story".

See, I'm not a film critic. I just know what I like, and what I don't like. What I don't like is a movie that starts strong, but has a second act that draaaaaggggsssss onnnnnnn foreeeeevvvvverrrrrr to resolve the plot, by the end of which you're saying "Thank God!".


I'm a simple chap, raised from infancy into the smalltown community theatre. I may not grasp the complex purpose of the three act structure of a stage play. I'm sure I could Google it and learn in a matter of seconds, but I'd rather figure it out for myself. What I do know is the simple two act play, with an intermission bursting with dollar store cookies and beverage based on 7-Up and Hawaiian Punch. These translate well into good movies.

What I've learned... Act One: establish the characters, plot, and conflict. Act Two: Protagonist gains courage, turns the proverbial tables, faces one final (seemingly insurmountable) struggle against the antagonist, puts foot to ass, and perseveres to eliminate the conflict and win the girl.

Savour the ensuing curtain call bow to as thunderous an ovation as a 250-member audience can muster. Shake hands, give hugs, cold creme off the stage makeup, and don't over-do it at the cast party. Stories of such drunken antics can carry on for decades. This I know this from indirect experience.


Anyhoo, "The Story of Wendell Baker" is about as perfect a movie as I can think of. The conflict is not too strong as to induce anxiety. The leading lady (Eva Mendez) is smoking hot yet easy to relate to as a normal human. The progagonist and antagonist are Luke and Owen Wilson (respectively), and the movie is directed by the unknown ugly duckling third Wilson brother, Andrew, who is an expert storyteller who brings the movie to a swift and satisfying conclusion. Not a single moment or line of dialogue was wasted. I could call the singular fade-out from one scene and fade-in to the other that marked the intermission break between Acts One and Two. What a director!

...funny we should bear the same first name. We ugly ducklings have to stick together, you know. I've got your back, Andrew Wilson.

Not since "The Darjeeling Limited" have I enjoyed a movie so thoroughly.


Speaking of the flesh-meltingly hot Eva Mendez... she reminds me a lot of Dark Haired Girl. With DHG's Blackfoot Native American blood, she's got the dark hair, eyes, and olive complection.... YUMMY! :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Chasing Waterfalls

I'm going insane with anxiety awaiting word from the state highway patrol. Been on a regular course of Zantac 150 for a week now.


I figured with all the sub-freezing days we've had in a row, I'd take the afternoon and visit some of the local waterfalls. Bundled up in several layers and lugging my 4x5 view camera along for the ride, I paid a visit to Charleston Falls. It's a relatively short walk (about five or six minutes) from the parking lot down trails to the falls. They hadn't quite frozen from top to bottom, and the result was akin to the stalactites and stalagmites found in caves. Enormous hollow jagged icicles through which water still fell, and through which passing light produced an eerie green glow, hung precariously over what looked like a series of ten foot tall anthills. Here are a few of the shots I got with the Canon:

Unfortunately, the knob controlling front standard's rise/fall popped off my view camera. It's an easy repair with an allen wrench, but still made using the 4x5 a pain in the butt, so after exposing two pieces of film I decided not to go to the other waterfalls until I paid the local hardware store a visit. Instead, I popped by the L&V to visit with Ruben (daytime bartender, zen master, and all around swell guy) and grab a bite to eat.

Hey, my trigger finger was still itchy. :-)

Monday, January 21, 2008


I have drank WAAAAY too much caffeine for the day, and now it's 11:37pm on a work night and I'm wide awake. It'll be a fitful night of sleep (whenever I get around to falling asleep), and it's going to be murder dragging my ass out of bed at 5am tomorrow morning...


Dark Haired Girl has been gone all weekend visiting family in Michigan. I talked to her last night, but still miss her terribly. She was supposed to come home tonight, but I haven't had the chance to call and make sure she made it back all right.


The interview friday went off like a grand slam home run, in my humble opinion. I did end up cutting my hair. Yeah, I know.... * sigh * but I had to. This is my first chance at a real career, and I wanted to eliminate every risk. This is a law enforcement agency, the culture of which is most decidedly of the military flavor, and I was dreading those all-too-important two words: first impression. Didn't want to look like a hippie, however razor-sharp dressed I was. (damn, I clean up well)

But the interview itself could not have gone any better. Keeping this blog for the last three years helped big-time because I'm used to letting thoughts flow. I anticipated the common questions and generated some vague ideas for answers, but left it at that so that when asked, my responses wouldn't sound rehearsed. It worked. My responses were quick, intelligent, to the point, without faltering or hemhawing, and never tapdancing around any questions. Even the ones I didn't anticipate, I had direct answers to. I made the guys laugh at times, I was dead serious at others. I never answered yes/no questions with just a yes or no. I always qualified my answers with "Yes, because..."

And on top of it, they're just a great group of people. I had a lot of fun talking with them, and was kind of sad when it had to end. When it did, I let them know that I wanted the job so bad I could taste it. It'll take a real rockstar of an applicant to top my interview.

I hear back by the end of the week, next monday at the very latest. Keep your fingers crossed and don't let go till then, ok? I want to move to the "big city" of Columbus and begin my grown-up life.


It's 12:08am now. Time to try to quiet the mind and get some sleep.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slices of life

The interview is tomorrow. I'm so excited that I kept cheesing and jumping up and down today at work. It's ok... the girls there are used to me acting like that by now. :-)


If I were king for a day, my first order of business would be to make punishable by firing squad the grievous offense of creating and airing tv commercials longer than 30 seconds. Enough with these three minute mini-infomercials every single goddamned break.

Bowflex, I'm talkin' to you.


I was hanging out at my usual midday hang out spot yesterday. It was a quiet day and I had my camera on hand, so I decided to pop off a few shots. There's the most gorgeous directional ambient light bouncing around in there with a rainbow of colliding color temperatures.

There's something about that last one... I don't know. I spent a few minutes staring at it in photoshop after I finished working on it. It's just got that certain oomph, for lack of a more technical explanation.
I think if I am going to enter anything into the local photo contest, it'll be that last one.


Drove over to Angela's house the other night. She was the passenger in a severe car wreck about a month ago, and is cooped up in her parents' rural home unable to drive. Decided I'd take her out for a bite at the Waffle House to get her out of her home and to chat about life for a bit. She's still on painkillers, so her conversation was understandably disjointed and in circles, but she said something that made so much sense. She said, "Andy, if you do end up having to move to Columbus [for the patrol job], you can't buy that camera lens. You'll need that money to move."

I thought, damn, she's right.


As I type this, I have just pulled my hair into a pony tail for the first time since the "big cut" last winter. It's one of those little samurai-looking pony tails that sticks up off the back of the scalp, but it's the first time I've been able to do this and hold all my hair without my bangs falling back in my face. And to think, if I get this job, I'll most likely have to cut it off again. Such is life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The plot for I, your friend and humble narrator, thickens. Right before Christmas I applied via the state job website for a digital photo lab technician spot that had opened up with the Highway Patrol. Yesterday I got a message from their photo lab. Today I called back. Interview is Friday afternoon in Columbus. I have a shot at finally becoming a productive member of society.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, and don't let go till friday evening, okay?

Monday, January 14, 2008

I used to think that David Dye and his music program "The World Cafe" on NPR was a great way to hear new just-beneath-mainstream talent. I've come to realize after he's just another tool for the record companies, right up there with as much spontaneity as MTV and Clear Channel radio stations. There is no resource for hearing new music anymore.


Graduation ceremony was friday afternoon at the Dayton Convention Center. I'd been taking pictures all day and kept the camera around my neck when I went up on stage. What a nerd.

Afterward, Mom, Chuck, and I walked a drizzly windy downtown Dayton block to the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner. They got soup since they'd eaten already, but I'd been busy all day and harldy eaten, so I devoured a plate of spaghetti and meatballs. God, I love that place.

That, and they gave me a card with $200 in it... this soon after Christmas. Even though that's not exactly a small fortune or anything, they own a small "mom 'n pop" design and print business which doesn't make a whole lotta money. I was floored.

School had also cut me a check earlier that day for the remainder of my student loan balance that they didn't use. Suddenly, in one day, my dream lens became attainable... just one paycheck away. I can brush it with my fingertips:

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L USM. Just plain sexy, isn't it? Look at the sideline of any football game. You'll see this lens alongside its more telephoto cousins. There isn't a professional photojournalist without it. Sure, I could save up the extra $500 for the one with image stabilization, but that doesn't help when shooting action, and is just one more thing that can break.


Shutterbug... you make a valid point, and the job is perfect for people who want to pursue more of a sales/managerial career. Several people I went to school got jobs at Moto Photo and the like, thinking that they were getting photography jobs. Their stories were all the same: hands off the equipment. They felt more like babysitters than anything else. Work with sports photographer Boss Man is more like 25% photography and the rest, related post production with some sales.

But, yeah, I am being a bit of a job snob. Mea culpa.


Speaking of jobs... it looks like Tim Hortons will soon be in my past. A friend is moving away, and wants me to replace her at her job. She works for a company doing sales statistics. Basically, she goes to certain stores and gas stations with a scanner and audits products to see what's selling, and what's on endcap displays. No schedule... complete flexibility. Just a work list on monday that's due by friday. She's the only one I know who raves about her job rather than bitching about it like the rest of us. Talked to her boss on the phone, and he seemed really enthusiastic about hiring me.

Let's recap the perks: 1)Complete flexibility to start working more with Boss Man. He has some "irons in the fire", and more work coming my way. 2)Pays $3 per hour more than what I'm making now. 3)No more getting up at 5AM. Hence, I may actually have a social life again.

Sign me up.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You know, it's not the rejections that are getting me down. I expect them. I'd be shocked as hell if I didn't get them. No biggie. No... what really burns me is that a McPortrait studio like JC-freakin-Penny wants mid-career portrait photographers with 2+ years professional experience.

To press a button? Seriously? You never touch the camera or the lights. You just usher people in, pose them, take the picture, and shout "NEXT!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Slapshot, 1977

I just rented the 1977 Paul Newman film "Slap Shot". One thing that struck me: There were at least three leading ladies, Paul Newman's wife, a teammate's wife, and one topless scene in bed with Paul Newman and an opposing team's goalie' wife (who imdb.com reveals to be Ralphie's Mom) What struck me was that these ladies were not today's standard of sexy, by any stretch of the imagination. The teammate's wife was maybe cute at best, but she was real. And in real life, she'd be a very pretty girl. Ralphie's Mom's boobs weren't perfectly spherical silicone inflated balloons, but rather sloping, like real womens' breasts. Very refreshing, and far prettier than any contemporary "botox babe" with body and face that's been re-sculpted by a medical doctor.

I guess what I'm saying is that there wasn't any artificial beauty in this movie. The romantic elements were raw and organic. The women were real women like you'd meet in a blue collar bar, not a bunch of today's Hollywood plastic surgically altered Barbie dolls. That made all the difference, and they were so much more beautiful for it. Now, I know the movie was set in a steel mill town, so that might account for the movie makers' non-use of starlets, but they also made a sequel in 2002. Guess what: eye candy.


I'd choose spending one single night with the very real, organic, and voluptuous Dark Haired Girl over a lifetime of nights with cookie-cutter starlets like Jessica Alba.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The truly important issue this election year...

Last night I was watching a Republican candidate debate, and every now and again the camera would cut to their wives in the audience. Anybody who's read this blog for a while knows of my penchant for mature women. No, not grannies, you perv. You know, the milf type. It all goes back to watching the movie "The Secret of My Success" when I was a kid in the 80's...

* anyhoo *

As I was watching the debate, I noticed that these Republican guys are married to some seriously hot cougars:

Cindy McCain

Ann Romney

Judith Giuliani

Jeri Thompson


I mean, look at Jeri Thompson! Holy frijole, Batman!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Dude, Return of the King is five freaking years old now. Damn.

Well, so far I have my resumé and other info profiled on Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, USAJobs.com, GetAPhotographyJob.com, and (one I just found this morning) JournalismJobs.com. Today alone I applied to at least five new positions. Now that the new year has passed, I've burst out of the starting gate. No resting on my laurels for little ol' Andy. I will find a real job, and quickly, dammit.

Ok, ok, ok.... so I'm resting exactly on my laurels as I surf these sites and apply by clicking the "Apply To This Job" or "Submit your resumé" button, but you catch my drift. :-P


I've realized something. Having typed that post about Dark Haired Girl, I've come to realize that my main stressor at this point is simply the anticipation of the inevitable. It's like Pippin said in Return of the King: "I don't want to be in a battle. But waiting on the edge of one I can't escape is even worse."

Ok, new readers, I used to write a fair bit about sex. Yeah, I know, not really fun to hear from a chubby guy, but that's me. That's why I never use Dark Haired Girl's real name or show you any pictures of her. I even took a great snapshot of her two nights ago as she was heading out to her New Year's Eve festivities and looking H-O-T. I've a very wide-open liberal (but always gentlemanly) attitude toward sex. Anyway, last night Dark Haired Girl and I had brain-melting sex that was the proverbial "so good the neighbors had a cigarette afterward." It was so intense that for a brief moment she and I rippled the curvature of space and time.

Even back when I was with Sophie last year (well, two years ago now), as much as I really did like her, I compared every act of love we made to my previous fling Dark Haired Girl. Not even close to the passion Dark Haired Girl and I share.

I'll never find anybody like her again. She knows me and my twists and turns better than I know myself... and instead of running screaming or trying to gently "correct" my quirks, she loves me for them. She'll tell me about my little idiosyncrasies, and I'm like "Fuck, I never realized that." If I don't find a job nearby, it's going to be over when I have to move to Iowa or Timbuktu or B.F.E., and I just fucking feel like Atlas with the weight of that impending doom resting square on my shoulders. It's killing me.


On a lighter note, I was talking to my cat tonight. She was laying on my bed, and as usual, looked up at me in a panic when I walked in the room. After more than two years of me living in this house, she's still convinced that I'm going to try to eat her or something if she lets her guard down. So I say to her, "Jesus, Cat, it's not like I'm going to... " I realized that I couldn't think of a verb form of the word 'predator'.

I mean, a collector collects things and a regulator regulates things, but a predator doesn't predate things. I call those grandma and grandpa.

Come to think of predating, an ancestor doesn't 'ancest' either. That's not even a real word, but it doesn't it sound dirty? Fun with the English language, kids!

Anyhoo, I assured Kizzy the cat that I wasn't really trying to kill her. She didn't believe me. Neurotic little cat.