I love movement. I love being able to capture a moment while on the go. Some of my very favorite photographs of the last decade came about by a lot of instinct, a lot of good lighting, a whole lot of luck, and most of all timing.
By Land. By Sea. By Air. By Car. By Walking.
By Sea... well, the bay anyway...
While Looking Down...
Now, be sure to go and see what the rest of the Round Robin participants are posting! Just clink the link at the top of the post to be redirected to the official Round Robin blog!
"Above all, life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference."
I took this photo while I was waiting in traffic on the Embarcadero in the city. It's another one of those photos that I ended up snapping in the last second as the scene, and my position, were about to chance. I am not really sure what it was that scene that made me, on instinct, pick up the camera and take the picture, and even now looking at it and not really sure what I like about it... I just do! If pressed, I suppose it's best feature might be the way things lined up. I am happy enough with that, but the blue cast is a bit off to me.
"I am all for curses and superstition, but there's a point at which they start getting in the way. That point had arrived."
"Curses are like chickens, they always come home to roost."
My friend Paul came by yesterday and left his opinion about what December 10th is about, for me, and in general. His opinion isn't wrong. It's true that sometimes we mortals tend to put more belief and emphasis on things that can't be proven. Faith is a lot like that. Faith can be a good thing or a bad thing, and it cane be neither one of those things. Sometimes faith just is what it is. Speaking for me, I think I take a lot of things on faith. I have faith in the chair I am sitting on right now to hold me up. I have faith in the fact that the very next thing out of Sarah Palin's mouth with be idiotic, bordering on moronic. I have faith that if I punch that punkass little shit neighbor next door I will be arrested. I have faith that God loves me. I have faith that my friends are there for me. I have faith in Alan, and that we will be married forever, regardless of any silly curse.
And along with all that specific faith in things good and bad, I have faith that next year something odd, probably financial, with occur on or very near December 10th.
Why? You ask.
Well, because tonight Alan received a call from our bank's fraud department, which called to tell us someone was trying to purchase $2 in gas from an Exxon station in North Carolina.
When you have gone to your local sheriffs department 2 years in a row, within a day or so of December 10th, after having experienced 20 some odd years of strange occurrences in and around that date, when do you give in and say... okay... it's a thing. The Curse Of December 10th is a thing.
Paul couldn't be more right about what he said. We mortals do sometimes reach into the metaphysical or the mystical to explain away everything from our character flaws, to our poor decisions. But in my own defense, I have tried over the years to change my thinking. I have laughed at the occurrences. I have ignored the occurrences. Just last year, I had asked Alan if we could just take that day off to kind of hide a bit. He laughed and reminded me that even if something did happen, his being home wouldn't stop it.
It only took a moment for me to realize he was right. What could he do?
Well, as it turns out HE WAS WRONG.
Something did happen. Someone tried to charge a great deal of money, using an ATM card in my name with my number.
And it has happened again this year.
The odds of it happening in the exact same way, exactly a year apart, kinda gives me a bit of validation don't you think?
I don't know. I know there are lots of things that humans can't explain away, and yet I always find it humorous that folks refuse to believe in science and think it borders on heresy to believe that anyone or anything other than God makes the world go round.
Without getting too far into my beliefs and my faith, I believe that science absolutely created everything, and science and the ability to use it, came from GOD. The two thoughts DO NOT have to be mutually exclusive.
But back to December 10th.
It is what it is. Whatever it is. After 20 years of odd happenings I have learned to give it a proper amount of respect, and not be surprised by it when it happens. What else can I do? But I no longer shove it to the side as a coincidence.
It's December 10th.
How many times does a person need to be hit over the head with an anvil before they say...
So Paul, it's not that you are wrong, it's just that you aren't right. But thank you nice man, it's always good to hear from you! :)
"All of us have our individual curses, something that we are uncomfortable with and something that we have to deal with, like me making horror films, perhaps."
"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans."
It Might Look Like A Walnut...
Um... ut oh. I thought this year's December 10th came and went a little too quietly. LOL. In my post the other day, I mentioned that sometimes the strange stuff didn't always happen exactly on the day itself, but that sometimes within a a few days or so something will happen that is so off as far as the circumstance or timing that one can't possibly find a better box to put it in other than that wacky curse. We had thought we had beat it this year, but once again it was a case of... WAIT NOT SO FAST! Yesterday morning the news had two really interesting stories about occurrences here in the Bay Area that at first glance seem like the have nothing to do with each other, but may in fact, have everything to do with each other, and the Curse of December 10th!
The first story is about a large number of squid beaching themselves on a beach in Aptos, which is about 70 miles or so south of San Francisco, situated on the Monterey Bay. The animal and wildlife experts have NO idea what could have caused it. They are investigating it, but it adds the Bay Area to the list of areas around the world that has seen a large number of peculiar animal die offs. Yep. Die offs. Okay, I know what you are thinking... what does that have to do with the Curse of December 10th? Glad you asked.
It's about the photo above. See the lights at the bottom of the photo that serve to illuminate the Embarcadero? Do they look a little odd to you? They did to us. As we walked along the Embarcadero last Saturday night, Alan began to laugh about how much the lights resembled... Aliens. You know little green men. Well, I take that back, I actually mean the greys. The big eyed, no mouth, deep grey, slimy skinned, Betty and Barney Hill kidnapping... aliens! Look closely at the picture... don't the lights resemble them, at least a little?
Okay, I know, I know, but then this happened!
Strange Lights Above The Mission District. Could it be a UFO? Or a series of UFO's? As far as I am concerned it could be. Funny thing, the experts have NO idea what could have caused it. There's that phrase again... the experts have NO idea what could have caused it.
Mission District UFO'S (December 8th 2012)
Squid Beach Themselves In Aptos (December 10th 2012)
Okay, yes, it's a weird funny coincidence. Okay. Let's say it is. Why did it occur any other day of the year? Or weekend of the year for that matter? It didn't. It happened the weekend of... December 10th!
As the lights in the sky were appearing over the Mission, Alan and I were joking about how the lights along the Embarcadero, lights we have seen hundreds of times over, look kinda like aliens.
Kinda spooky methinks.
Also spooky... If this hadn't been a leap year, the day of the week December 10th would have fallen on would have been... last Saturday, December 8th! Maybe aliens don't know from calendars, unless its a Mayan Calender!
"I don't just look at the thing itself or at the reality itself; I look around the edges for those little askew moments-kind of like what makes up our lives... those slightly awkward, lovely moments."
It's officially midnight, well it is at least on the East Coast, so I am calling the rest of the day December 11th! Another December 10th has come and gone, and as far as I can tell, we made it through this year without any strange goings on. Cool! Okay, steady on then...
I will be doing some photography in San Francisco and Pacifica later today. I am hoping to end the day with at least 200 all new images for the files. Wish me luck!
Here is a preview of what I will be working on...
Yin and Yang
By Robert Armeson
The second of the Egghead series, they symbolize Passiveness and Aggressiveness.
I love Yin and Yang. I find them amazingly fun and thought provoking. But that's what its all about... right?
"Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second."
Okie Doke. I think maybe I beat the curse this year... but then again I did that one year to. I guess I won't really know if I beat it until December 9th 2013. Damn that seems like a long way off! But of course next year about this time I will be asking myself.... where did the time go? LOL. I will keep you posted.
Now, on to the Curse Of December 24th! That's my favorite curse anyway! So, all I have to say is...
Jeepers, I could have sworn it was just yesterday I was sitting in the waiting room of the sheriff's department, waiting to give my report. Was that really a year ago? Yep. It was a year ago. How could it have come around again so quickly? Oh well, I know that no day on the calendar day comes any faster than any other one, and yet certain days in my life do seem to move at a different speed that others do. December 10th is mine.
Why you ask?
Well, you see, the December 10ths in my life are... ahem... CURSED!
Every year for as long as I can think of... well... at least since Alan and I got married anyway, there have been a number very strange occurrences on December 10th, no matter where we have been, or what day of the week it happens to fall on. More times than not it has centered around some financial mishap, but it's not exclusive to that. Not at all.
One year, we had a big wind storm come through the Bay Area, which didn't do a lot of damage, but did displace a few roof tiles at my parents house. Alan, good guy that he is, offered to stop on the way home from work to check things out so mom and dad didn't have to do that climbing. While Alan was on the roof, the neighbor lady next door saw the backside of him and mistakenly thought it was the creep who had been stalking her. In a panic she called the police, who came, quickly, guns drawn. It took about 30 minutes to clear things up. Blech... that was fun.
On a different year we thought that perhaps we had beat the curse, only to receive a call from Avis Rent-A-Car the following March, wanting additional information about the car accident we had been in on the December 10th. We hadn't rented a car that day... we didn't need to... we both owned cars, and there was NO need to rent one. But someone did, and used my information to do so. Blech... that was fun.
*One year our Public Storage unit was completely cleaned out by crap stealing bandits. But we gained on old brown blanket that wasn't ours. I left it in the LOST AND FOUND. Blech... that was fun.
*Then there was the year I dropped a large can of Del Monte Cling peaches in Heavy Syrup on my right foot. It still hurts to wear boots. Blech... that was fun.
*One of my least favorite December 10ths involved an apartment on the property where I live being rented by a Ne'er-do-well. He vomited regularly off his balcony and into his very own BBQ that sat on the deck below his place. He only stayed about 6 months in that apartment before the other folks on the property, including myself, requested he be kicked out. I hated it, but what can you do? He has been gone several years, but his BBQ remains. Like a ghost. No one really wants to deal with it. Sigh. Blech... that was fun.
*On a different December 10th, a different vomiting occurred. Alan and I went to Union Square to share a nice lunch and watch the ice skaters, when a lady at an adjoining table completely lost her lunch. And more than likely her breakfast. And I am pretty sure her meal from the night before. No kidding, I was almost convinced she was possessed. BLECH... THAT WAS FUN!
*A real favorite was when Alan and I decided to check out apartments in Santa Cruz. We were looking for a change it seemed like a great place to live. We purchased a local newspaper and began calling the different listings. The first three had NO idea how we got their number, but there was NO apartment available... HELL, the numbers published we to private houses! The last number we called was actually the customer service line for a business called... "Whose Your Daddy Novelties."
Blech... that was fun.
*On one particularly fun December 10th, there was a bit of odd as I witnessed the mugging of a Salvation Army bell ringer and his elf sidekick. I kid you not, I actually got to hear the phrase... "DROP THE BUCKET OR THE ELF GETS IT!" Yes, someone held the two bell ringers up, and used that cheesy line! LOL.
It's not like I said it's never fun on December 10th, but I really do wish I knew why it is so prevalent in my life! What invisible entity did I piss off? I would say I am sorry if I could, and then we can all go our own way. So strange. So random!
*Last year's December 10th turned out okay I suppose. I got a call on December 9th from my bank, asking me if I had made a last minute trip to Illinois. No. I was still in California. But it seems someone using my ATM card and password had just purchased $100 worth of jelly beans. That purchase was approved, but they placed a second purchase on hold. It was for $1700 worth of ski hats, miscellaneous magazines, 3 boxes of roofing nails... and a George Foreman grill. LOL. Oh yeah, and 2 (size small unisex thongs). It had never occurred to me that there was such a thing as unisex thongs!
Blech... just.. Blech. But also... ROTFLMFAO!
Like I said, the fraud watching folks at my bank caught it. It was odd though that it happened on the 9th, and would that count as a genuine December 10th occurrence? After I told the deputy about my weird track record on December 10th she kinda chuckled and told me that my case was more than likely part of a fraud ring that had stolen a lot of names and card numbers from different grocery stores in the Bay Area. One of the stores on the list was for... you guessed it... my very favorite stop and shop place, conveniently located a mile or so from my house. The theft ring didn't make the purchases in person, they bought stuff over the Internet, and were located in Eastern Europe, where it was already... yep... December 10th!
Okay, so now I have to worry about December 10th in different time zones? LOL!
I don't know what will happen today. But I know this much, I am staying inside, all day, and night, and I am NOT answering the phone, or the door, should someone come knocking. I might answer the phone if it is the bank calling though... sigh... I think I should take that one!
"God took the beauty of the Bay of Naples, the Valley of the Nile, the Swiss Alps, the Hudson River Valley, rolled them into one and made San Francisco Bay."
~Fiorello La Guardia
Something of a miracle... well... a miracle for me anyway, took place yesterday. You see, I have been searching for the famous feral parrots of Telegraph Hill for, I don't know, forever! Well, actually, I heard about the mysterious parrots in the late summer of 2004, and since them I have searched, and searched, and for whatever reason, I could never find them. I researched the most likely places to see them, and even did some following on Twitter of folks who would post up to the minute updates, and it always seemed that by the time I got to the locations, they were gone. I thought I had hit pay dirt late last summer when Woody Allen was in town filming his summer 2012 project. I had been following Woody sightings around town, when one Tweeter commented that they had missed Woody at Gaspare's in the Richmond district, but did happen to come upon a large number of the famous parrots feasting on some wild red berries a few blocks away. Well, by the time I saw the tweet, and got to the city, there wasn't a parrot to be found, and the tree they had reportedly been feasting on, was... well... picked clean. Not a single red berry was left on the tree.
I was so disappointed to not only have missed Woody Allen, but the parrots as well! A double bummer! LOL. I thought about my poor luck all those years. I had visited Telegraph Hill many times, and never saw a single parrot. I hung out at Justin Herman Plaza... no luck. I read about a nice population that was hanging out in Golden Gate Park... but apparently not on the days I visited. It was more than a little disappointing to read about tourists going home with all kinds of magnificent photos of the birds, sometimes with them resting on the bird watchers outstretched hands. Sigh. It was getting to me. I considered, on that hot August day last summer, the distinct possibility that I would need to give up. For whatever reason, I would not be seeing the parrots. Perhaps there was some cosmic reason. Who Knows? All I knew was, ... it wasn't going to happen!
But yesterday, that all changed. Alan and I decided to shake off the stress of the day, and head over to the city for some fun. We planned to grab a toasted cheese sandwich, and a hot beverage, and go to the Embarcadero Center to watch the ice skaters frolic about. When we turned off the bridge, we turned onto the Howard street, then headed toward the embarcadero. The lighting was wonderful, everything looked slightly blue, due to the layer of mist and fog. It's one of my favorite conditions to photograph the city in. That misty fog gives the city a cool romantic look, and it never ceases to make me smile. When I was done with shooting new subjects along the waterfront, we made our way back to the plaza, and as we turned the corner onto Washington, we heard a joyful noise... it was the sound of 40 or so of the famous parrots playing/perching/singing happily among the trees of Sue Bierman park...
Eventually we did get over to the ice rink, and I did a lot of photography there as well. Not as much as I had planned to do, but I am happy with what I got done. More than happy... ecstatic! Alan and I are going back over to the city sometime next week, and I will do more in and around Embarcadero Center. There is a lot to see and photograph. Lots of public art, and the last of the autumn in the trees, the ice skaters of course, and hopefully those magnificent parrots!
Wish me luck!
"Two days in this city is worth two months in New York."
To learn more about the parrots, visit the link below... Parrot Pages