Saturday, May 13, 2006

Off To The Rodeo

"Never be the first to arrive at a part or the last to go home, and never, ever be both."

-David Brown

We had chili for dinner last night (Friday). Six different kinds of chili to be exact, you see, we had dinner at the annual Castro Valley Rotary Club's chili cook-off. The chili cook-off is the official beginning for the weekend festivities that celebrate another year of the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, held in Castro Valley. Today (Saturday) there will be a parade on Castro Valley boulevard, with school bands, floats, and of course a few local celebrities and politicians. In past years we saw among others, a current Miss California, Jennifer Glover, who was once a resident of Castro Valley. For a sleepy little town, with only two exits off the freeway, they sure can party. :) As for our choice for the best chili of the cook-off, we chose the Sterlent Credit Union's entry...yummmmmmmm! See you tomorrow with scenes from a parade! :)

Rowell Ranch Rodeo Schedule

"Chili Cook-off"
May 11, 2006
Early Evening

Friday, May 12, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #111: Two Out Of Three

"All truth is that not doubly a lie?"

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Weekend Assignment: Present three "facts" about yourself: Two of the facts true, and one of the facts false. Let people guess which "fact" is the fake one. Reveal the fake fact on Monday. You don't want to give away the fake fact too early, so be sure to make it sound plausible, next to the other two real facts.

Extra Credit: Can you lie with a straight face? Really?

John Scalzi (By The Way...)

Tee Hee. Ok, well some of you have been reading me for almost three years, so you already know a good bit about me. It was a little difficult to come up with some facts that might stump even my oldest friends here in the land. The whole prospect made me do some thinking, which can be dangerous for someone like me, but when all was said and done, it turns out there are still a few things I haven't shared. Let's see if you can spot the lie...

1. I once peed on a CHP officer who pulled me over.

True! I was on my way to the Alameda County Fair, and it was a very HOT June day! I have never been someone who could take the heat of summer, even when I was 2 1/2 years old. So, when the VW bus I was riding in, with my brother, sister and some other assorted hippies, decided to get a flat tire, I was "put out" to say the least. To my reckoning I should have a tall Orange Julius in front of me, and a tree over my head for shade. LOL. As our friend Jack fixed the tire, along came a CHP officer to give us a hand. He was familiar to me in that he had pulled my father over on the same stretch on Interstate 580 a few days earlier. The policeman remembered me, and was being very nice to me, as he and I engaged in a sort game of game of TWHIRL. I began to laugh, and the rest is history! LOL. He laughed, and to this day I still remember what he said, "When you've got to go, you've got to go." How cool was he? :)

2. I once drove around town in my car, with NO clothes on. What? It was hot!

Lie! Sort of. I didn't drive around town with NO clothes on, I had on shoes. Here's what happened. A few days before my wedding, I had simply reached my breaking point of nervous tension. Everything had went wrong, including the fact that the seamstress of altered my dress had somehow managed to cut 4 ft off of a 7 ft train, and hemmed it lopsided, and turned the sleeve point so that it no longer rested on my hand. A girl dreams her whole life of the gown she will wear on her wedding day...I was so hurt to see my gown ruined.

It was a HOT October day in 1990, and I decided to take a skinny dip in my pool. It helped clear my head, so I pretty much stayed in my back yard most of the day, and in fact fell asleep by the pool. I woke up to a phone call about 10:30 PM from my maid-of-honor who wanted to let me know that she couldn't take me to the church on my wedding day, because a mutual friend needed a ride!!! Hello? If I don't get there, there would be no wedding. That was my BrideZilla moment. I slammed down the phone, before I said something I shouldn't, I marched to the back yard for a swim. Well, I knew Half way there that a swim wasn't going to do it. So I grabbed my robe, my keys and got into my car.

I live in the hills, there is very little traffic up here. As I drove I felt like that robe was going to strangle me, so I pulled over...took it off...and drove around till I felt better, and less constricted by life. I did drive through the downtown area, but it was well after midnight. There wasn't anyone around, and if a car would have pulled up, the robe was sitting right next to me and I could have covered up quickly enough. I hope this story doesn't disappoint anyone I know...I have a slightly wild streak to me, and I go with it in certain circumstances. That's who I am. So, I hope this truth won't send you running from my journal, but I won't lie to you about who I am, because I am so much more then someone with a wacky sense of humor. Enough said.

3. I was married by a minister, who was not considered legally competent.

True! My Bridezilla moment had past, but the wackiness continued. Among the, now too funny moments of my wedding day, it tuned out that the minister who performed our ceremony was ill with a temperature of over 104 degrees. He says he didn't remember much about how everything went. It has been strongly suggested to me that technically he wasn't legally competent to have married us, because of that fever. Balderdash! Everything may have gone wrong that could, but it never once occurred to me to not marry Alan. We beat a lot of badness to get to the alter...I wasn't going to let go of our day that easily. :) legalities can step off! :)

Can you spot the lie? ;) I'm so wicked. (Insert wicked laugh here)

Extra Credit: Nah... ;)

See you Monday with the reveal.

"Two For Paradise"
San Mateo, California
May 11, 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Soapy Blogs

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living."

-Dr. Seuss

The other day I was doing a little research online, and came across a blog that had absolutely nothing to do with what I had been originally looking for, but it was a nifty little find all the same. It is called, "Split Reflections," and it is being written by a young mother living in Llanview, Pennsylvania, who's name is Jessica Buchanan...or Tess see...she has a complicated life to say the least. It seems, she is suffering from D.I.D (Disociative Idenity Disorder) so while life can be hectic and confusing, she is facing her trials with strength and courage and the two hunky men who are madly in love with her, Antonio and Nash. Sound a bit outrageous? Think this couldn't possibly be real...well're right! LOL. Jess/Tess Buchanan is actually a character, played to perfection, by actress Bree Williamson, on the ABC daytime drama, "One Life To Live."

I have been a fan of daytime dramas most of my life. I remember watching "All My Children" on the day it debuted, and even before that, there was General Hospital which had my mother hopelessly hooked. Now my sister preferred something a bit more off beat, so she would hurry home from school each day to watch "Dark Shadows." Lots of folks were hooked on that one, which is why today it is still enjoying a healthy fan base through it's conventions and fan sites. That show scared the Downey Flakes right out of me as a child, but I still showed up in front of the TV, Jiffy Pop in hand every afternoon, right alongside my sister to see what new adventure would visit the residents of Collinsport, Maine. The beautiful witch, Angelique (Lara Parker), was my favorite character. How spooky was she?

I was thinking the other day, about how cool it was to be able to interact with either Jess or Tess and how far things have come for the fan. Each entry into Jess/Tess's blog is a short recap of recent events in the characters life, with enough seemingly genuine bloggy style thrown in to make it interesting for the reader. As an example, Tess/Jess has recently given birth to a baby girl, and is not sure what she should name her child. OK, I thought...I'll play along, and so I left a suggestion or two as if I were reading a blog by the average blog author one would encounter on the Internet. It was a fun thought to ponder, stepping even for just a moment, into the town of Llanview, and the life of a character I have watched grow up. I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to have read the blog of vampire Barnabas Collins, of Dark Shadows, as he went through so many changes and situations. Things were tough for a vampire.

I guess the thought intrigues me so much because of the close encounter I had some years back with Tom Eplin, who at the time was playing HUNK-O-LUSCIOUS Jake McKinnon on the NBC soap, "Another World." Why did fate have to make it such a surreal moment? There I was, at the salon, with my head upside down in a bowl of warm water, having my hair washed, when he walked in...and stood over me, chatting with the person doing my hair. For a moment...just a moment...I was somehow transported to the fictional town of Bay City, and Jake was there, and he was just another customer. Weird...very weird.

So, I decided I would have a closer look at the ABC web site for other shows, and what I found out was that several shows on the ABC network which now have characters with blogs, like Dr. Robin Scorpio (Kimberly McCullough) resident of Port Charles and physician at "General Hospital." And there are a few nighttime shows with blogs as well, such as "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy." So tell me, would you visit these blogs and leave your thoughts, good wishes, advice, support and care for fictional characters, same as if they were real folks you meet through Blog/Journal Land? Would you step inside the fantasy, or would you simply address the blogs author by saying you enjoy the show? Is it a good idea to have blogs that look like the real thing, and don't really indicate too readily that it is intended as a site for fans of a certain show to visit? Tell me what you think.

PS: If you visit the blog of Robin Scorpio, don't tell her that her mother Anna Devane is on her way back to Port's a secret! :)

Berkeley, California
May 10, 2006
Late Evening

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Free

"There are many ways to be FREE. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do."

-Anais Nin

I love apple juice. There is nothing better on a warm autumn day, then to sit out in my yard, with a tall glass of ice-cold apple juice. At least twice a year I have to take a drive 260 miles south, down HWY 101 to San Luis Obispo, California, to the Apple Farm. Honestly, they make a special apple juice right there on the premises, that is so good it curls my toes. Sitting here right now, I can almost taste that juice, flowing down the back of my throat, it's crisp, spicy flavor tickling my palate. A glass of that apple juice is like taking a sensuous bite out of autumn itself. It is an experience which shouldn't be missed in this lifetime. Truly, you would be amazed at how good just one sip will make you feel. Yes, it's worth the drive, over 500 miles round trip for that apple juice.

The Apple Farm is a very special place for many reasons, it's not just the juice that makes it a favorite place of mine. They also treat their customers like old friends...even if they have just met you. As one example, down in the Mill House, where the juice is produced and sold, there is always FREE popcorn, freshly popped, waiting for whoever comes by. The corn is popped in an old fashioned kettle popper that fills the room, and the air just outside the Mill House with the comforting aroma of warm, buttery popcorn. It is an amazing companion to the chilled juice. The Apple Farm is a place I love, not just for the amazing food and drink that you find there, but for the way they go out of their way to make you feel like you are home. Yeah, safe and home. :) Hopefully, I will be able to take a trip down to SLO next month for my birthday...ahhhh...I can almost taste the juice and popcorn now. :) It's the little things in life...that makes it all so sweet.

This Round Robin was chosen by Phinney, author of the journal, "Paragon." Thank you Phinney, for reminding me of one of my favorite places on earth. For all the information on the Round Robin Challenges, pay a visit to the official RR journal. To see the entries by our other Robins, simply click on the links below. You'll be glad you did!

"Popcorn For The Road"
San Luis Obispo, California
June 29th, 2005
Late Morning

Apple Farm

Linking List

Phinney... Paragon POSTED!
Karen... Outpost Mavarin POSTED!
Carly... Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly POSTED !
Tammy... The Daily Warrior POSTED!
Sara... Animated Seasons
Connie... Connie's Photo Pages
Erika... Photographs of my Soul POSTED!
Nancy... Nancy Luvs Pix POSTED!
T J... Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story POSTED!
Suzanne... Suzanne R's Life POSTED!
Valorie... Retrospect USA POSTED!
Mary... Alphawoman's Blog
Sassy/Deb... Sassy's EYE (AOL) A Sassy Blog (Blogspot)POSTED!
Steven... (sometimes) photoblog POSTED!
Julie... Julie's Web Journal POSTED!
Tess... First Digital Photos POSTED!
Derek... Through My Eyes POSTED!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Art About Town: San Francisco

"Art does not lie down on the bed that is made for it; it runs away as soon as one says it's name; it loves to be incognito. It's best moments are when it forgets what it is called."

-Jean DuBuffet

I love this sculpture. It's called, "La Chiffoniere," and it stands at Justin Herman Plaza, on the Embarcadero, in San Francisco. Created for the city by French Pop artist, Jean DuBuffet, it stands just a across the plaza from the controversial, Vaillancount Fountain, but commands ones attention just as much. I took this photo on April 18th, while the celebration of the 100 anniversary of the 1906 quake, was happening across the street at the Ferry Building. The lights from the celebration, bounced off the scultpture making it seem to glow like a fine opal. Sigh. I could have stood there all night...just taking it in.

It was nice today to see Governor Schwarzenegger, and California legislators, working in a bi-partisan effort to put aside their differences long enough to campaign together for the $37.3 billion bond measure which will appear on the November ballot, and will, among other things, allow for the growth of art programs in public schools. That is so important, how many studies does it have to take, before it is more widely realized how important the arts are to our nations youth? Statistics show, that children who are exposed to the arts at a young age, were less likely to lose their way. I know art, and the fact that I was encouraged by my teachers in the appreciation of it, completely saved my life when I was a little girl. Sometimes, it still does. :) Tell has an appreciation for the arts changed your life. Share with us. :)

Click here to read more information about Jean DuBuffet (Artcyclopedia)

"La Chiffoniere"
Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero
San Francisco, California
April 18, 2006
Late Evening

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Boyish Charm Of George Bush

"I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 lb largemouth bass in my lake."

- George Bush, on his best moment while serving as President of the United States.

-Blid am Sonntag , May 7, 2005 (Bush's Best Moment In Office? It's A Fish Story)

And let's not forget how 2001 treated our great leader...

"But all in all, it's been a fabulous year for Laura and me."

-George W. Bush, December 20, 2001, Washington D.C.

It's good to be him!

Bodega Bay, California
Summer, 2005

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Grab Bag!

"Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air..."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Grab Bag! Show off any picture you want, as long as it's really cool. That's right you make the call...all I want is to look at it and say "Whoa! What a neat picture." And remember, just because it's called the Monday Photo Shoot doesn't mean you can't post a picture on Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday morning for consideration on the Thursday spotlight entry.

-John Scalzi

Recently, I took a little time off to go and see what I could find with my camera. To my delight, I found some awesome light everywhere I went, with awesome life living inside it. And all was well...

"Walking On Sunshine"
San Mateo County, California
April, 2006
Early Afternoon

Taking Photos

"I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost...that is important."

-Jacques-Henri Lartique

Sometimes I wonder what I would do, if I didn't have my camera. I can just be having the worst day, but if I can just focus for a few minutes with my third eye, I will eventually calm down and relax. Lately I have been needing those moments more and more.

Recently, I started posting photos on Flickr again. That's been really fun. I spent this weekend looking through old files from last year, to maybe give a second look to some photos which I may have dismissed as not good enough. My needs are a lot different this year, I have had to slow down a bit when it comes to taking photos. It has made me a little more forgiving of my own mistakes with the camera. As a result, I have several candidates in mind for a painting I would like to do later this summer.

I know for sure it will be one of my florals, so now I will have to make up my mind on what colors have been catching my eye the most. Last year i was seeing a lot of blue everywhere. The above photo is a good example of that. It has not been touched up in any way, the natural lighting combined with the season and colors immediately found in and around Berkeley all came together naturally for this photo. It is one of many that had that blue casting to it. Blue was definitely last years color.

This year I seem to be finding more of a balance, but still I seem to be noticing a lot of red in my travels. Signs, flowers, clothes, in the sunsets. I don't know, I used to go through my monochromatic phases, but then for a long period of time, I took very little notice of the colors and just concentrated on lighting. Hmmm. Do you have a certain element that is always a part of your creative process? When you take photos, do you find your eye is drawn to a certain color or theme?

I have a collection of photos posted over at Flickr that is a pretty good representation of my photo journeys with both my digital and my non-digital cameras. I could use some feedback. Go have a look see and tell me what you think. My photo taking changed dramatically after I switched to mostly digital photography. I would be curious to know your thoughts. In some ways I think I relaxed more after I switched to the more economical process, somehow not worrying about the cost of processing film has made everything a lot more comfortable. Just click on the Flickr badge on my sidebar to visit my pages.

Alan started a Flickr page this weekend as well, it's going to be an alternative to posting on his Blogspot blog for a while. After the AOL Exile of last year, it was difficult for him to find the time to learn the new way of posting over here. Between the yuckiness of the whole situation and his schedule at all seemed pretty bleak that he would find the groove again. Flickr has him interested in sharing his creativity again...that's kinda fun. :) You can find his page here.

There are some awesome photographers signed up to play along with the Round Robin Challenge coming up next Wednesday. The subject will be "Free," which was chosen by Phinney. There is still plenty of time to sign-up, just visit the official Round Robin journal and follow the easy-to-follow instructions. It's a great way to make new friends and gain new readers, and just have a good time sharing your love of photography. Recently we had a new Robin joins us, Connie, and we will have another new Robin coming along for our challenge this time as well. Be sure to drop by and welcome Suzanne. She is a lovely lady I met just a couple weeks ago. She takes some really impressive photos, so I know it will be great fun to have her join us.

"The Wicked"
Berkeley, California
Spring, 2005
Late Afternoon

Sunday, May 07, 2006


"Our addiction to oil is a matter of national security concern."

-George W. Bush (April 24, 2006)

Here is the result of the Poll I ran here on Ellipsis this past week. I think the results, while few in number, is still a fairly accurate representation of how we all feel about what the true cause of the current oil price inflation. I guess the next question is, how we will deal with the prices as they are now, and how the will be in the future?

More and more it has become clear that the Bush administration plans to do very little to ease prices at the pumps. Oh they have a plan alright, in fact according to the White House, Mr. Bush has a 4 point plan...

1. Make sure consumers and taxpayers (voters) are treated fairly.

2. Promote greater fuel efficiency.

3. Boost U.S. gasoline supply by delaying summer deposits to the national reserve. (Most experts agree this will do very little to help)

4. Invest aggressively in gasoline alternatives.

And lets not forget the plan to rollback E.P.A. standards for the processing of oil products.

So, while prices per barrel have actually come down in the last week or so, we, the consumer, will see very little relief at the pumps. According to a recent AP-Ipsos poll, most Americans have already pitched in to do their part, by taking fewer vacations, cutting back on heating and air-conditioning and yet the prices continue to rise.

This is a situation that doesn't just affect whether or not we will be able to take an extended vacation, this problem affects every industry that relies on gasoline for any part of it's supply and demand. A stark example of this terrible state of affairs came when I decided to order an ice-cream pie recently from a nationally known ice-cream shop. I had purchased one about a year ago from the same place and paid approximately $11.00. Last week when I visited the same store, and was preparing to purchase the same pie, I found it would now cost me $18.00. YIKES! It's roughly half-a-gallon of softened ice-cream poured into a graham cracker crust.

While it might be nice to be able to have it made out of some wonderfully, gooey, special flavor...frankly I can make it myself. So, instead of a pie made out of white chocolate raspberry ice-cream, it was made out of homemade cantaloupe honey ice-cream. It was quite good and I had fun coming up with the recipe...but the over all thought is still rather disturbing. The thought that most families in America, can no longer afford simple luxury of a trip to the ice-cream parlor. We in America are working harder, and harder, and getting less and less for it...yet we demand nothing of our representatives...why is that? I don't know about you, but in November I will remember which one of my representatives did what, I have no more patience with politicians who let Bush and company get away with anything and everything, but who display nothing but their CONTINUED outrage at his souless and condescending ways. Bush, the president who keeps and pregnant.