Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Robins Are Back! "Super Model"...A Round Robin Promotion

"Beauty comes in all ages, colors, shapes, and forms. God never makes junk."

-Kathy Ireland

"Super Model" chosen by Becky, author of, "
Where Life Takes You.."

Super Models. What do you think of when you think of, "Super Models?" The runways of Milan, Paris and New York? Victoria's Secret catalog pages? How about the pages of Glamour and Vogue? Yeah...Perhaps. Are the men and women featured in those magazines, and on the catwalks, always perfect looking? Well, like beauty, isn't perfect in the eye of the beholder? Yes, it is! I happen to be drawn to the imperfect, probably because I am so aware of my own imperfections. I don't know...I just find the beauty in the everyday. That's not to say that I don't enjoy looking in the pages of fashion magazines to see how the newest clothes coming out of the major fashion houses are supposed to lie on the body.

I also enjoy fashion publications because of how much I enjoy photography. My time taking photographs has taught me a lot about lighting, and shadows. I have learned a little about using natural lighting filters such as the sun through the limbs of a tree, to catch just the right look on a subject. For me, I read Vogue and Glamour as much for the way a photograph is taken as for what the subject is. That's why I am thrilled to have a chance to stretch my photography wings a bit with the this Round Robin subject.

There is so much that can be done with this topic. It doesn't have to be limited to perfect physiques, indeed, the term "Super Model" is merely applied to someone who has found great success and popularity in a certain area of fashion. There are many areas to be had when it comes to fashion. Here are some ideas I thought of when I found out what our subject would be...

Thinking as a Super Model...

1. There is High Fashion for pets.

2. There is the time when most women and men shine the brightest...Wedding day photos.

3. There is the traditional model found in the pages of Vogue.

4. There is picking one, "must have" fashion accessory of the season and modeling it.

5. With my love of shoes, I could put on all 184 pairs in my closet (one pair at a time) and model them for the challenge.

Now thinking as a Photographer...

1. I could take my camera to the park or the mall, and ask a smartly dresses stranger if they would let me photograph them for my challenge. I would absolutely do that...worst thing that happens...they say, "No! You weird WOMAN! HELP!" Best thing that happens...I have a new reader.

2. I could photograph myself or a loved one in mysterious lighting, and maybe learn a little something about lighting.

3. I could be playful with my super model quest and make it a broad interpretation. Can a well dressed Barbie doll be a true "Super Model?" Of are only limited by your own imagination. Right?

4. I have a tripod...maybe I could photograph myself from behind while wearing my favorite fashion accessory this season, the "Newsboy" hat. I have 8 for this season.

5. How about reaching all the way back into the far reaches of your closet and getting that one piece of fashion that may have been seen on a Super Model in years gone by. Items that come to mind include, , silk shirts, ankle boots, many of these are making a comeback! Remember leg warmers? They're baaaccckkkk! LOL.

The thing that is so great about these challenges is that they are challenging! They encourage us to think outside the box when it comes to our photography. i find that I begin to look at a lot of things differently. I am excited about this challenge because of the possibilities. Another idea would be to take a "high fashion" photograph of an untapped market. Could your car be a super model? How about taking a photograph of what you might imagine a super model might eat for dinner.

Ok, this challenge will take place on Wednesday, January 18th. As always you can post your entry anytime between the midnights, but please do not post your entry before the challenge date. To play along, simply pay a visit to the official Round Robin journal and leave your name and the name of your journal, plus your journal's complete URL. Please take a moment to also read the *Welcome Entry And Rules Of Play* since we have tweaked some things a bit since we made the big move. Ok...go be photographers!

Round Robin Challenges

"Carly, The Paper Hospital Gown Model"
Kiaser Hospital
Union City, California
Spring 2005

Steven's Feline Friday

"I love cats because I enjoy my house, and little by little, they become it's visual soul."

-Jean Cocteau

Each week my pal Steven, sets aside Friday to honor our feline friends. A cat makes a home doesn't it? This week, Steven asks the question..."How did your cat get it's name." LOL. My kitty Elvis was born with his name, LOL, I know this because I was there when he made his grand entrance into the world. He was born at 4:30 PM on April 27th, 1997. I knew in an instant that he was special. Out of a littler of six kittens, he was the only black and white one to be born. :) And while he was very tiny, his markings were such that we could tell right off that he kinda looked a little like Elvis Presley. LOL.

In the days and weeks that followed, he did silly little kitten things that made it even more apparent, such as the fact that while all the other kittens were all lying about, Elvis was always up and moving and shaking his hips. LOL. When he walked he had a funny little way of shaking his hips. Next we noticed what a little charmer he was. I have seen folks meet him for the first time and then fall in love with him. He is a charmer. Now when it comes to food...well...we won't discuss that! LOL. Above is a picture of him in the sweater he got for Christmas. He is cuddling up with me to enjoy a nice Cheese Fondue I made in bed the other night. He is fun try new recipes out on! ROFL. :)

If you want to come along and play Steven's Feline Friday, all you have to do is write and entry and post a photo of your kitty then drop by Steven's blog and leave him a link. The question for the week is, "How did your cat get it's name?"

"Cheese Fondue And New Sweaters"
December 30th, 2005
Late Evening

Friday, January 06, 2006

Art About Town- Berkeley-The Poetry Plates

"Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls."


The weather here in the East Bay has been moody lately. We have had a record year so far for rainfall, and we are having more thunderstorms then we usually have. I love a good thunderstorm, and in fact I used to go swimming when we would have them because I really enjoyed the way the air feels when it is all full of energy. Everything is different. The air smells different, it is usually quiet except for the rumbling across the sky. It excites me. Lately however, I haven't been able to enjoy the rain as much as in previous years. The damp weather now makes the joints in my hands swell, and sometimes it hurts too much to type. It's ok, I am adjusting to the new changes my body is dictating. On days when I can't write the way I want to...I read. I have always been an avid reader, but as I began to write my book and do more photography I found myself putting off reading some of the books I had been wanting to explore. Like a book of poetry I had purchased a while back and then promptly forgot about. It has been enjoyable to read the lovely prose, and relaxing to imagine the romantic thoughts they tend to inspire.

Well, this past week, we have been given a reprieve from the weatherman and so we are now enjoying some lovely winter days filled with bright sun and some nearly 70 degree heat. Good weather for writing, but it is also good weather for sitting the back yard with my kitty at my feet, my favorite chenille sweater around my shoulders, and a good book in my hand. It has been nice, but I am finding that I sometimes I just have to get out and do a little walking. Just short trips to satisfy the vagabond in me. I decided this past Wednesday to take a short walk around the downtown area here in Berkeley, in the arts and commerce section. There is a street here I have been meaning to take a look at. It is a street of poetry.

In October of 2003, the city of Berkeley, began installing cast iron poetry panels along the edge of the curb on Addison Street, between Shattuck Avenue and Milvia Street. Engraved on each panel is a poem chosen for the project by, former poet laureate, Robert Hass. Mr Hass chose each poem for the walk, based on each authors personal inspiration and passion for the town of Berkeley and the Bay Area. There are poems by authors such as Robert Duncan, Thorton Wilder, Lyn Hejinian, Alice Walker, Gertrude Stein, Jack London and Allen Ginsberg, who wrote the poem "Howl" while visiting, The Greek Theater, here in Berkeley.

Last Wednesday as I walked along the street, just drinking in the sweet, warm winter air, and enjoying the poetry, I felt good. Really good. I love going out and experiencing art as it lives and breathes around me. Art is a lifeform like no other. Poetry is important to calms my nerves and inspires me. It makes me feel less lonely and alone. It inspires my daydreams and provokes my emotions. As much as I enjoy sculptures and paintings, poetry is at times, the only way to cure a case of the wearies from my soul. I only took a few pictures the other day, but I think I will be coming back downtown to photograph more of the poetry plates and bring the walk to my journal as part of my continuing series, "Art About Town." The following is one of the poems I read the other day which really spoke to would understand if you have ever visited Mendocino County, located in Northern California. It is beauty defined.

Mendocino Memory
By June Jordan

Half moon
cold and low above the poplar tree
and sweet pea petals
pink and white/ what
on this personal best night
for casual stars
and silky constellations
streaming brilliant
through the far
forgetful darkness
of the sky

I found the other half
above the pillow
where you lay
face to one side
with nothing in the world
or the next
to hide.

Art About Town
"Poetry Walk"
Berkeley, California
January 4th, 2005

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Well, Ok, But Can You Use It In A Sentence?

"Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that he sometimes has to eat them."

- Adlai Stevenson

Each year, Merriam Webster announces it's list of the Top 10 words that were researched the most through it's online dictionary web sites. The number 1 word for 2005 is the word Integrity. What an interesting word to choose, considering the complete lack of which has been displayed this past year. In more then just politics I might add. Well, on the other hand if I inspired folks to look up the literal translation to see if they either needed some, wanted to know if they had it, or wanted to see if they were correct in their assessment of it's absence, it is still a good thing to know that folks still turn to a dictionary once in a while. I like the list for 2005, some of my very favorite words made the Top 10, so , I thought it might be nice if I took each word and used it in a sentence...

1. Integrity: Firm adherence to a code, especially moral or artistic values; incorruptibility.

I think it showed a stunning lack of integrity for George Bush to appoint someone, as unqualified as Michael Brown, to the position of the head of FEMA.

2. Refugee: One that flees; especially a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution.

On November 15th, 2005, I became a journal refugee, to Blogpsot, rather then have my journal used as a billboard for advertising on AOL.

3. Contempt: Willful disobedience to or open disrespect of a court, judge or legislative body.

Judith Miller, of the New York Times, was held in contempt of court for refusing to divulge the source that she interviewed in connection with the CIA leak case.

4. Filibuster: The use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action, especially in a legislative assembly.

Oh, wouldn't a nice long filibuster just about hit the spot?

5. Insipid: Lacking in qualities that interest, stimulate or challenge; dull, flat.

Last night I dreamed that I went on a date with George Bush. Alas ,the date did not go well, it seems he had such an insipid wit that I mistook him for a bowling ball.

6. Tsunami: A great sea wave produced especially by submarine earth movement or volcanic eruption.

Sometimes, during the tide and flux of leaving AOL, my sidebar seemed as if it had been hit by a tsunami .

7. Pandemic: Occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population.

Considering how many could be affected should a pandemic occur, I wonder why we are still so unprepared?

8. Conclave: A private meeting or secret assembly, especially a meeting secluded while continuously while choosing a pope.

A conclave isn't just for choosing popes, they work for grand juries too.

9. Levee: An embankment for preventing flooding; a continuous dike or ridge ( as of earth) for the irrigation areas of land to be flooded.

"I drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry." -From American Pie

10. Inept: Generally incompetent, bungling.

It is my opinion that George Bush isn't just insipid...he's also inept. :)

If you want to play along, leave your "Used in a sentence" examples of these words in the comment section for this entry or post it on your blog and come back here and leave me a link. I would love to see what you come up with.

What words do you think will make it on the list for 2006? I predict "Indictment, Plea, and Ooopsy." :)

"Yellow, Red And Blue" By Kandinsky

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Year Of Living Duh-ly

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

-Alvin Toffler

If you could nickname 2005 any name at all...what name would you choose? Personally, I think 2005 should be known now and forever as the, "Duh" year. At every turn there seemed to be one, "duh," moment after another especially when it came to Washington politics. From the ridiculous to the downright dangerous, the mentality of our elected officials reached record lows for their conduct, while in office. Do you remember a year quite like 2005?

With the words, "I plead guilty your honor," Washington lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, accepted a plea bargain and admitted his guilt in what may just prove to be the farthest reaching political scandal to hit congress in our nation's history. How far will it reach? We will certainly be finding out in the coming days. How dirty will it get? Plenty dirty. Will it be one political party feeling the ill winds of this scandal...certainly not. As I was sitting here reading the story about Abramoff's day in court, I couldn't help but wonder who I admire at this moment, will be among those caught in the fallout.

We already know one of the people who will more then likely be on the list is Tom Delay. Good. The more they can find on him the better. I know I seem to be a bit harsh, but am I really? He knows what his responsibility is and what the consequences are for his actions. What has he done since being indicted last autumn? His first move was to seek to have the judge assigned to his case removed. See, the judge was a Democrat and therefore may not take to kindly to him. He would rather have a Republican judge handle his case. What does that say for corruption within the Republican party? It seems like some twisted logic to me. After all aren't most Republican judges thought to be much more harsh on the accused then Liberal Democratic judges? At least in theory. Personally speaking...I think it is a case by case thing, but in the case of Tom Delay, I find it hard to tap into my usual liberal compassionate nature.

Because he is a Republican gone bad...nope. I think I would feel the same if I watched a member of any political party trying their best to get by with illegal activities. Which is not to say I am completely without compassion for the likes of Delay and Abramoff. I feel sorry for anyone staring down prison time because they had a personal agenda that was more important then the trust of honest working people who believed in them. The names haven't been released yet, but I will say it now before it happens..."SHAME ON YOU, IF YOU ARE ON THE LIST."

So far the only name appearing on a list of the guilty, at least in speculation,is Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio. He apparently accepted a golfing trip to Scotland in 2002, knowing that the trip was being paid for by the lobbyist's Indian gaming clients. While Nay's name is not directly mentioned, his idenity is implied from the description of his committee chairmanship. Before it is all said and done, there could be at least two dozen members of congress implicated.

I think the quote of the day belongs to White House spokesman, Scott McClellen, "What he is reportedly acknowledging doing is unacceptable and outrageous. If laws were broken, he must be held to account for what he did." McClellen had no answer as to whether or not President Bush had ever met Abramoff. I guess time, and Jack Abramoff will tell.

So, I am going to refer to 2005 as the "Duh" year, but Alan had a different idea for what to call it. "I think it should be known as ,2000 of 2005, for the loss of the 2000th soldier in Iraq." Wow! Brings it all into focus doesn't it? Sigh. So tell me, what would you dub the official nickname of the year 2005?

"Elvis Looking On"
Virginia City, Nevada
October 24th, 2005

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Mutterings...Week 152

"The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous."

-Margot Fonteyn

I don't know if I enjoy photographing this lighthouse more on rainy days or on clear days. No matter which type of day, it always gives me a sweet, warm feeling to just be near it. It is the newest of the California lighthouses, and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful. This particular lighthouse has a youthfulness to it, maybe because it sits in the harbor of the youthful town of, Santa Cruz, California. The harbor itself is a part of the northern tip of the Monterey Peninsula.

unconsious Mutterings... (From LunaNina)

I did the Free Association posting last week, since it was the end of the year, so I thought I would do it again this week for the first week of the New Year. I found this week's words more difficult. Shrug. Oh well, here goes...

"Free association is described as a "psychoanalytic procedure in which a person is encouraged to rein in his or her thoughts and feelings, verbalizing whatever comes into the mind without monitoring it's content." Over time, the technique is supposed to help bring forth repressed thoughts and feelings that the person can them work through to gain a better sense of self.

That's a admirable goal, but for the purposes of this exercise, we're just hoping to have a little fun with the technique. Each week, I'' post ten words to which you can respond to with the first thing that comes to mind.

Rules are, there are now rules. There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head. And you don't have to have your words up on Sunday, take all week if you want."

1. Celebrate: Birthday
2. Resolve: Decide
3. I need to: Sleep
4. Call: My Aunt Amanda
5. Token: Arcade
6. Brand: Label
7. Compassion: Care
8. Far Away: Lover
9. Artful: Dodger
10: Fantastic: Voyage

You can get your own words at the website, so you can play along also! :)

"Walton Lighthouse"
Santa Cruz, California
Late Autumn

Monday, January 02, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: First Photo Of 2006

"Weather forecast for tonight: dark."

-George Carlin

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Display the first photo you took in 2006.

-John Scalzi

We here in Northern California have been experiencing some pretty severe weather in the last couple weeks, and especially in the last few days. Especially hard hit was the far north bay towns of Guerneville, Napa and Santa Rosa. I live in the East Bay hills and we have done pretty well, although there was a mudslide in Oakland on Skyline at Broadway Terrace. The road there will be closed for a few more days. Sigh. A minor inconvenience compared to what other folks are going through. Governor Schwarzenegger declared 7 of the 9 Bay Area counties disaster areas today. Alameda County, where I live, was spared the roughest of the weather, and the only damage near me was to my lovely back yard umbrella. I don't know, I kinda like it's new look. I don't think I have the heart to throw it's been through too much! LOL. I always loved that quote by Mark Twain about the weather in my neck of the woods,"The coldest winter I ever spent, was a summer I spent in San Francisco." I wonder what he would have thought about an actual winter day here? :)

"Weather Watcher"
Berkeley, California
January 1st, 2006
Early Morning

Limits To Freedom

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."

-George W. Bush
Greece, New York., May 24th/o5

Where does this man's responsibility begin and end? How many lies does he have to tell, before he is finally held accountable for his actions? Does the president have the authority to do anything he wants, even acts outside the law, as long as he says it was in our best interests? There is so much this man could do both domestically and on foreign ground to help make this country safer. Safer from terrorists, safer from natural disasters, safer from societies ills. He does nothing to promote mental health issues, nothing to encourage education and as for crime, well, after allowing the assault weapons ban to expire, how can anyone feel safer...unless you have an Uzi in your closet.

Now, there is the issue of the illegal wire taps. He sluffs off his responsibility with his usual smugness, "The NSA program is one that listens to a few numbers called from outside the United States...there's an enemy out there." Yes, there is an enemy out there, Osama Bin Laden...remember that guy? Why is he still roaming the hills a free man? I have been asking this question for what seems like 4 years...oh yeah, it HAS been four years! It is outrageous that he is still out there somewhere as we continue this made-up action in Iraq. Start to finish George Bush has been little more then an irrational embarrassment to this country, well that's not entirely accurate...he has been a dangerous, irrational embarrassment to this country. "'re doing a fine job." I like his response when asked about his possible misleading answer, in 2004, regarding wiretapping, while promoting the Patriot Act. At that time he stated that any wiretapping required a court order and that nothing had changed. Now he says..."I was talking about roving wiretaps, I believe, involving the Patriot Act." Sigh! "I believe?" Doesn't he know for sure? Nice save George, but we now know it wasn't a few numbers, it was a large amount of communications. What a way to start the new year. Can we believe anything this man says? So tell me, what do you think? Do you trust George Bush?


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ring Out The False, Ring In The True

"Ring out the old, ring in the new
Ring, happy bells, across the snow
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the old, ring in the new."

-Alfred Lord Tennyson

2005 was a fun year for photos. I visited a lot of places I had never been to before, and saw a lot of things. It was difficult to narrow down my 10 best photographs of the year, in that I took an embarrassing amount of photos. The ones above didn't make it into the collection that I have displayed on my photoblog, Ellipsis...Vignettes legeres d' Ambiant. Next Year, I think I might display my year end photos the way Steven did on his journal, sometimes photoblog, by the ones most commented on each month. If you haven't seen his collection, hop on over and take a look. Many will absolutely take your breath away!

"The Almost collection"