Saturday, July 01, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #118: July 4th Memories

"As mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."

-George Washington

Weekend Assignment 118: Share some favorite memories of July 4th. You can do it by telling a story or showing some of your favorite pictures of the day...or both! Pretty simple, because, after all, all of us here in the US have lots of July 4th memories.

For those of you in Canada, your favorite July 1st memories will do just fine.

Extra Credit: Note your other favorite historical event that happened on July, 4th. Birthdays, deaths, of notable people count as well.

-John Scalzi

Last July 4th, Alan and decided to go to the vista point on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge, to photograph the fireworks that were being set off from the Embarcadero in San Francisco. As we set up the tripods, and got things ready to go, we noticed a very loving young couple standing about 10 feet down the side of the rock wall where we set our equipment up. As the vista became more and more filled with families and couples waiting to see the fireworks, the couple moved a little closer to us. Right after the fireworks began, the young man pulled out of his pocket a small box, and presented his lady with a ring. "Will you marry me?" he said. "Yes." she replied. I was torn between photographing the fireworks and watching the cute couple. They were so in love. That's the fun thing about San Francisco, all the romance that one sees here and there throughout the city. It has some magnificent views, and it can be inspiring for those with a romantic soul. :)

My second favorite memory had to do with the first time Alan and I went into the city to see the fireworks. We decided late in the day to make the trek across the bridge, and thought we might head to Pier 39, to watch the fireworks from that area of the Embarcadero. Well, by the time we picked up some Chinese food from our favorite restaurant and made it over the bridge the Embarcadero was more like one big parking lot then anything else. Which worked out great, because it gave us an awesome view of the excitement. The fireworks were literally right in front of us. It was gorgeous, and also a little magical. For a spur of the moment idea, we did everything just right, time wise, to be in the right spot at the right time to see the fantastic fireworks display. :) It was a lot of fun. :)

Extra Credit: I have more then one favorite event, so here goes...

1865: Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland," and it's sequels. On July 4th, 1865, "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland," was published.

1927: Neil Simon, my favorite playwright, was born. I have spent more afternoons reading his plays. He is a genius. :) Sometime, maybe on the 4th of July, treat yourself, and read his play, "The Star-Spangled Girl." It's fantastic. :)

1965- President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act into United States Law. The law went into effect the following year.

"Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one."

-Benjamin Franklin

"July 4th, 2005"
Vista Point
Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge
Sausalito, California

Friday, June 30, 2006

Real Me

"Nobody grows older merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."

-Samuel Ullman

I had a good birthday. The ride down to Santa Barbara was a lot of fun, and along the way my camera and I saw some wonderful sights, not the least of which was my beloved Pacific ocean. The water off the central coast is the color of a fine sapphire, with sparkles of light, provided my the sun, dancing off it. Yesterday, you could see all the way to the Channel Islands. It was amazing to eat lunch at my favorite park, Shorline Park, while enjoying the view of the islands, wind surfers, and small crafts enjoying a day in the perfect California sun. The wind provided a coolness to the hot June day. It all came together well.

In my adventures yesterday, I found a nifty new lighthouse to share with you, bought some OMG delicious chocolate at my favorite Danish chocolate shop in Solvang, enjoyed an awesome sunrise and sunset, witnessed a roadside fire! YIKES! We had some adventure when the plastic fender, that sits underneath the actual fender, fell off the car and made a horrible noise. LOL. Scared the Whoopity-doo out of me! LOL. It was a thankfully easy fix. :) We had a fabulous breakfast, bought some apple juice at the Apple Farm, grabbed some popcorn and headed on down the road. :)

When I came home, I was met with a wonderful surprise! Well done Robins! Wednesday's Round Robin was a fabulous success, and we also gained some new members! A big WELCOME goes out to John, Julia, Janet and Pamela! It's so nice to meet all of you and to have you join our photography challenge group! I think that is the most new members we have had join us for a single challenge since Karen and I began the Round Robins. :) Cool! Kudos large, goes out to my co-founder Karen, for the awesome job she did yesterday all on her own. That was a hectic day for her, and she really did an awesome job of covering everything alone. Karen, if I have said it once, I've said it a thousand times...YOU ROCK!

Turning 44 is wonderful! I love being my age. I have earned respect, and I am treated so much better now then when I was in my 20's. I appreciate things more now, then earlier in my life. I find my passions are much deeper now then ever. All my passions. ;) I feel more sexy now then ever before, because I think I am more comfortable now then ever before. Self-confidence is a good thing, and while I will always try to improve myself, I know I can trust myself more this time in life. No more second guessing everything. There is a big difference between being thoughtful about decisions, and ruminating over the "what-ifs and the coulda, shoulda, wouldas."

Fibromyalgia kicked me in the patooty, I have a few more aches and pains then I used to, I have to really plan when it comes to big outings like the drive to Santa Barbara, my brown hair is now dotted with gray, I have some laugh lines caused by my weird sense of humor, but the mermaid who lives inside me is content, and happy with who she is. I am in the autumn of life, and y'all know how much I enjoy a colorful, brisk autumn day. I shot the above self-portrait while I was in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday.Yep, that's me. The only thing you can't really see is my long hair. It is over 5 feet now. :) Someday, I should really get it cut. LOL.

Thanks everyone for the birthday wishes and cards you sent me. Life is good!

Age is opportunity no less, than youth itself
though in another dress, and as the evening
twilight fades away, the sky is filled with stars
invisible by day.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Real Me"
San Luis Obispo, California
June 28, 2006
Late Afternoon

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Flower Power

"Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and different; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock."

-Henry Ward Beecher

When I saw the theme for this edition of the Round Robin Challenges was, "Flower Power,"I couldn't help but think about what is was like to be a little girl, living in the Bay Area, during the peak of the "Flower Power" counter-culture movement. The summer of 1967 saw the exodus of more then 75,000 young people coming to San Francisco and Berkeley to experience the hippie movement. Some stayed in the Bay Area at the end of the summer, but some returned home, and brought with them, new styles, ideas and ideals, and behaviors that were embraced during that summertime. Earlier in the year, and what may have actually kicked-off the philosophy of "Make Love Not War" was the Human Be-In, which was held in Golden Gate Park in January of 1967. To wear a flower was a symbolic statement of peace and love.

I was 5 years old that summer, but I was well aware of what was going on around me. My brother was half-way around the world in Vietnam, my sister was in high school, and she and her friends all wore flowers in their hair. One particular memory that stands out, was when she and a her friend painted different types of flowers on my face and arms, then made me a flower crown. I was thrilled to be a part of something that, at least in theory, was about cherishing life filled with beauty, not destruction, understanding not intolerance, peace, not war. While I may not have understood for a few more years that the counter-culture movement also had a darker side to it, I knew I wanted my brother home. When I look back, I think I learned during that summer to not take things, places, people, or flowers for granted. :)

Be sure to pay a visit to all the Round Robins, to see their interpretations of this challenge. Just click on the links below. Thank you Renee, this was a lot of fun. :)

Renee - TCS2
Karen- Outpost Mavarin
Carly- Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly
Valorie- Retrospect USA
Sara- Animated Seasons
Julie- Julie's Web Journal
Patrick- Patrick's Portfolio
John- Personal effects***Welcome New Member***
Dorn- Through The Eyes Of The Beholder
Deslily- Here, There and Everywhere 2nd Edition
Nancy- Nancy Luvs Pix
Robin- Search The Sea
Suzanne- New Suzanne R's Life
Tammy- The Daily Warrior
Julia- The Bohemian Eye***Welcome New Member***
Janet- Fond Of Snape ***Welcome New Member***
Phinney- Paragon
Pamela- Times of My Life, One Nurses Story***Welcome New Member***
Amy- My Life And Pictures

NOTE: I will be out of town until Saturday. My Birthday is Thursday, so I will be taking a few days off to have a little fun-in-the-sun in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, where apple juice awaits ;) I promise to update my blog to add any additional links that come in late, and pay all of you a visit when I return. See you soon!

Always, Carly

"Flower Power"
Berkeley, California
June 28, 2006

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Patterns And Textures

"Color is my day-long obsession, joy and torment."

-Claude Monet

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Find an interesting patter or texture somewhere in your home. Take a picture of it.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

One day I was out window shopping, I was just wanting to be out in the sun, when I passed by the window of a small women's specialty store, and there in the window was a beautiful pink floral scarf. The pattern was so beautiful, just pink roses contrasted with a lovely shade of green for the stems and leaves of the roses. Being a girly-girl I couldn't pass it up. I rarely wear scarves, unless it is on a really cool night, and then it depends on the outfit I am wearing, so I use the scarf as throw for a small table I keep in my bedroom. On top of the scarf is a pretty art-deco vase, with a pink silk rose, and some rose scented potpourri in it. The day I bought the scarf, I couldn't take my eyes off it's pretty pattern, and even now, all these years later, it still makes me feel happy and calm just by looking at it. :)

"The Rose Scarf"
June 26, 2006
Berkeley, California

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Omen (2006) A Movie Review

"From the eternal sea he rises. Creating armies on either shore. Turning man against his brother. Until man exists no more."

-Poem from The Omen

I have come to believe that perhaps Hollywood has just simply run out of new ideas. many movie remakes have we had in the past few years? Gone In 60 Seconds, The Poseidon Adventure, The Fog, and so on, but let's also count the remakes of almost every primetime program that the late Aaron Spelling ever produced, such as Charlie's Angels, and Starsky & Hutch. Not that Aaron Spelling wasn't a genius, but truly, enough already. In my opinion going to the movies has gotten so dull, that it makes one want to crack open a book. LOL. Not a bad idea, considering the prices at the concessions stand.

So, while there really hasn't been too much making me all excited about going to the movies lately, we were given free movie tickets as a promotional perk, and a night out, especially when the weather is hotter then...well you know just what the psychiatrist ordered, so why not make the best of it and go see the remake of the month?Even if this month's official remake is of the 1976 horror classic,The Omen.

I have to say, it wasn't bad as remakes go. Unlike the original however, there were one or two maybe three moments that provided some clearly unintentional humor. Such as when Robert Thorn is driving through London, at night, in a torrential rainstorm, and as he turns a corner onto a very dark, narrow street, right there, clear as day, is a large Kentucky Fried Chicken sign. LOL. Still I suppose that if I ever have to save the world from evil, literally, it will be a comfort to know that, assuming I am successful, I can always drop in and pick up an order of popcorn chicken. LOL. There were also some obvious editing errors throughout the film, but nothing that really took away from the plot, if you can overlook the occasional boom microphone.

The thing is, it stuck to the original David Seltzer screenplay. Always a plus when I consider a film remake. The characters played out true, if only a little understated at times, and it was nifty to see Mia Farrow in the role of Damien's evil nanny, Mrs. Baylock. Julia Stiles was very good as Katherine Thorn, but I found Liev Schreiber's performance,as Damien's skeptical father, Robert Thorn, a bit still and unemotional. Of course Schreiber was filling the shoes of Gregory Peck, who portrayed Ambassador Thorn in the original film, that couldn't have been easy.

When it came to Damien himself, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick did a fair job in the part of Satan's son, but again, how do you surpass the performance of the original Damien, Harvey Stephens. That evil little grin at the end of the 1976 movie, was an absolutely perfect, chilling moment, that left one with a good case of the wiggins, which is what a spooky movie is supposed to do. In the remake Davey-Fitzpatrick simply doesn't pull it off with the same sinister emotion, not even close. Pouty yes, evil not so much. Still, putting my pet peeves aside, it was a good movie, but if you are looking for the same chills of the first film, you simply won't find them here. I give it 2 1/2 out of 5 kernels of popcorn.

Note: Harvey Stephens, who portrayed the original Damien, has a cameo in the 2006 version as a tabloid reporter.

"United Artists Shattuck"
Berkeley, California
June 22, 2006
Late Afternoon

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Steven's Feline Friday: Elvis Tends Garden

"Who among us hasn't envied a cat's ability to ignore the cares of daily life, and relax completely?"

-Karen Brademeyer

I set the timer, I had everything all set to go, there was a plan. LOL. Famous last words. Tee Hee. This was going to be a portrait of Elvis and me, but an attack of the sneezes occurred just as the timer went off. When thing happened not once, not twice, but three times in a row I gave up. Besides as understanding as my kitty Elvis is, having me sneeze on him is not one of the activities he enjoys doing with me the most. Lately, his favorite thing to do is gardening. That consists of me picking out the flowers and vegetables, planting them, watering them, and his job of checking on them every day, by walking around the fencing that surrounds the garden, and touching each plant gently with his paw. I watch him every morning as he repeats his responsibility with great care, as to not damage the flowers and vegetables. :) And oh yeah, he also makes sure that our garden Godzilla's are always upright...but if one falls...he always lets me know. :) I love this cat. :)

Be sure to play along with Feline Friday, over at my friend Steven's blog, "(sometimes) photoblog." Friday's are for Felines. :)

"Elvis & Me"
Berkeley, California
June 22, 2006