Saturday, September 22, 2007

Round Robin Challenge: Talismans

"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."

-Maya Angelou

Charms, lucky pennies, and Talismans, do I have one of those? I have to admit, this challenge, was even more of a challenge then usual. I really like it when you guys make me think. LOL. I like a good, deep challenge, and this one was especially fun. It was kind of like going on a treasure hunt, as I look around my cottage, at all the various little objects that I tend to collect. I have several miniature sock monkeys, do they bring me luck? Well, yes, see I tend to think of them as voodoo sock monkeys, for those rare times when I come across someone who makes me feel less then thrilled to be around them. LOL. At those times, I pick up my voodoo sock monkey, and wish them various degrees of mad fits of eyeball rolling. Good luck for me, bad luck for them! Tee Hee. But that's all very negative. Shame on me. Hmmm... do I have an object that brings me good luck? Yep, as it turns out I do.

That is it in the picture. It is a hair clip I bought about 12 years ago or so. I forget what about it struck my fancy, I think it was just pretty and so I decided to indulge a little and buy it. What makes it a good luck charm? Well, I am not sure of it's power, but it seems every time I make a point to wear it, I have an exceedingly good day. I just feel good. Who knows? Maybe it has no real power to it, but I know I do like the way it looks in my hair, and so maybe it is just that it gives me a tiny bit of self-confidence that at least my hair looks good on the day I wear it. :) Some days it feels like I have exactly one brain cell, and it is attached to my hair. LOL. We all have those days, right? Well, on those days, a little magic goes a long way, so why not believe in the power of positive thinking? Right? :)

"Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen."

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My friend Vicki came up with this challenge for us. Be sure to visit her blog, "Maraca" to read her entry, and then be sure to pay a visit to all the Robins who participated in this challenge. Just follow the links below. And be sure to check out the official Round Robin blog tomorrow, to find out the topic for our next challenge!

Linking List

1. boliyou... Percolation

2. Carly... Ellipsis

3. Karen... Outpost Mavarin

4. Vicki... Maraca

5. Janet... Fond Of Photography

6. Suzanne... New Suzanne R's Life

7. Nancy... Nancy Luvs Pics

8. Kerrin... A New Day

9. Steven... (sometimes) photoblog

10. Teena... It's all about me!

"Hair Charm"
Berkeley, California
September 20th, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #184: From the Top of Mount TBR

"A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy."

-Edward P. Morgan

Weekend Assignment #184: What books do you want to read - but haven't yet? These could be new books, classic books you've just not gotten around to, books you've bought but haven't cracked the spines of, or a book you want to get, but for some reason haven't. The salient characteristic is that you want to read it, but just haven't yet.

Extra Credit: Do you usually prefer the book or the movie?

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

Books, books, books. I am an avid reader, so it would be a rarity to not see a stack of books on my desk. Most of them read, and kept close either for reference, or just because I liked the particular escape it provided, but there is also usually one or two books which I will purchase, and then give myself a month or so to read before I place them away in my book closet. Right now, the book depicted in the above photo, is the only one on my desk which I haven't gotten around to reading. "Creating A Charmed Life: Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know."

It came highly recommended, so I will probably start reading it this weekend. I have had it for several months, but decided to save it for when the cold weather came back to the Bay Area. It is supposed to rain later today, and it is already pretty cold outside, so it looks like the time has come. I will more then likely be done with it in a couple weeks, and it will be time to pick up some new ones. Alan, however, will want me to put the titles on my Amazon Wish List, with Christmas being just around the corner. Which isn't a bad idea, because if you set me loose in a book store, it could be slightly frightening how many books I could purchase at one time, because there is nothing like a big TBR stack. Here are the latest titles I am interested in, and I hope appear under the Christmas tree...

1.The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World
By Alan Greenspan

2. Mere Anarchy
By Woody Allen

3. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman
By Nora Ephron

4. A Photographer's Life: 1900-2005
By Annie Leibovitz

Extra Credit: It just depends. If the author of the book writes the screenplay, it is usually pretty good. Stephen King is a good example of that, also Alice Hoffman. But if I have to choose, I think I will always prefer the book to the movie.

"A Good Book"
Berkeley, California
September 21, 2007
Late Evening

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What A Mermaid's Autumn Day Must Be Like...

"You know you're in love, when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

-Dr. Seuss

I know, I know, technically it is still summer, but honestly, it was such a beautiful day yesterday. Cold air, windy, and the sun...oh my...the sun...was the most beautiful color. It was that golden color that you only see in autumn, when it seems like gold dust has settled on everything around you, and all you want to do is smile at every turn. God how I wish there really were such things as mermaids, because I swear that on days like yesterday, I would simply swim away to some far off place, all alone, and sleep on a wave. :) Just taking a walk near the water, makes all the stuff that hurts me simply drift away. It's been such a difficult year, but autumn, and the ocean creatures, heal and renew my tired soul. Ahhhhhhhh...

Who would be a mermaid fair?
Singing alone, combing her hair
Under the sea, in a golden curl
With a comb of pearl, on a throne?
I would be a mermaid fair;
I would sing to myself the whole of the day
With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair
And still as I comb I would sing and say
"Who is it loves me? Who loves me not?"

-Lord Alfred Tennyson

The Opaline, the plentiful and strong
Yet beautiful as in the rose in June
Fresh as the trickling rainbow of July
Sea full of food, the nourisher of kinds
Purger of earth, and medicine of men
Washing out harms and griefs from memory
And, in my mathematic ebb and flow
Giving a hint of that which changes not.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Ondine's Home"
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California
Late Summer, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Personally Obsolete

"Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera."

-Yousuf Karsh

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something in your house you used to use a lot, but now hardly use at all. This could be a piece of obsolete technology, or some equipment for a hobby you no longer pursue, or just something you stopped fiddling with for no good reason at all - the basic idea is simply to highlight something that no longer has that much use for you, for whatever reason.

-John Scalzi (By The Way)

I have always been a shutterbug. For as long as I can remember anyway. Among the different types of cameras I have owned are a Brownie, a pocket 110, a Polaroid One Step, and the beauty in the above photo. That was my very first serious 35mm, a Minolta Maxxum 300si. I have all kinds of interchangeable lenses and specialty items to go along with it, and it was a pretty great camera. I thought I would use that camera forever, but Alan gave me a beautiful digital camera for Christmas 2004, and I have been in love with digital photography ever sense. I like being able to see the photo I have just taken, and know if it is a good shot or not. There's nothing worse then missing a great photo moment. Oh don't get me wrong, I haven't truly given up on the non-digital camera, I do use it from time to time, but in most ways, I prefer my digital. :)

Minolta Maxxum 300si
Berkeley, California
September 19th, 2007
Late Afternoon

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Anything But Common

"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it."


This was a fun little butterfly to photograph, she is the Common Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus). It is the most common hairstreak in North America, and while that is probably true, it seemed to me that it was anything but common in beauty and behavior. I first saw it flutter past me in a little gray shadow, just as the sun was moving behind some clouds. At first glance I thought maybe my dream of spotting a Mission Blue butterfly may have come true, but on closer inspection, I saw it was this one instead.

I should have known it wasn't the Mission Blue, as one hasn't been spotted in the East Bay, as far as I know, since the government began their efforts to try to revive the near extinct species. But this butterfly, and the Mission Blue share many of the same characteristics. Both are gossamer's, both are darkly colored, and both are small, with only about a 1 3/8 wingspan, or about the size of a nickle. The bush I found the butterfly in, had several different types of winged creatures, so I might try to revisit that place before too long, just to see if I can find some other types of gossamer's. So far this summer, I haven't made my goal of photographing the bumble bee in flight, but I have done well with finding some new butterflies to study and photograph. :) I am a happy butterfly seeker.

"Common Gray Hairstreak"
Union City, California
September 6th, 2007
Early Morning

Monday, September 17, 2007

He Had It Coming

"I'm not black, I'm O.J."

-O.J. Simpson

Well, here we go again.Well, sort of. There are some definite differences between the arrest of O.J. Simpson yesterday, and his arrest in 1994. Back then, the nation was treated to, or had to endure, a slow speed chase on a Los Angeles freeway. I have heard that was good for Domino's, if the story is true, the had their best night ever, during the hours of the coverage of the chase. On the other hand, David Hasselhoff's Pay-Per-View completely tanked from low ratings. It seems that America's attention was elsewhere. I know I was tuned into the slow speed chase. What would happen? Did he do it? Should I feel bad that someone, who felt so desperate that they would actually end their life? I could only imagine that kind of fear. It was high drama to be sure. I tried to keep an open mind, and followed the case from beginning to end. And in the end, I was sure, completely sure, O.J. was indeed GUILTY of MURDER.

I will never forget the look on Robert Kardashian's face as the verdict of acquittal was read. He looked like he couldn't believe his ears, but not because his client was just found innocent, but more like he couldn't understand why his client wasn't found guilty.I watched this all unfold on a TV at my mother's house. There was a Special Report, and then very quickly, the cameras were turned on in the courtroom.The jury's decision was in. I remember my mother, and I, sitting very quietly, neither of us looking at the other. I remember a sensation in the pit of my stomach, and feeling confused about why I felt this way. What exactly was that sick sensation all about? Was I anticipating that he would be convicted or found innocent? As the court reporter read the verdict aloud, I felt the sick feeling grow. O.J. Simpson was now free.

My opinion of him hasn't changed since then, in fact, I have only lost more and more respect for Simpson, and anyone who willingly associates with him. He is a selfish, mean spirited, self entitled man, who is a danger to society in general. I am glad no one was injured the other day, when he allegedly committed this latest crime, but if it sends him away for a long, long time, then good. It's not easy for me to write this. One of my faults is that I happen to believe that people can be saved, and that should be done to help them if it can be done, but I am not so naive as to believe that are some, who will never be saved, especially when they are their own worst enemy. It has been obvious to me, that O.J. Simpson is just that, his own worst enemy. If he is found guilty, and sent to jail for a long, long time, well, I will feel better about justice, but I think I would have felt better if it had been done in the first place. I know this, the smirk I saw on his face, as he was being arrested early Sunday, gave me no reason to believe that he either wants or needs any help from me. What can you say? I guess it sucks to be him.

O.J. Simpson Held Without Bail (ABC News)

O.J. Simpson Murder Case (Court TV)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Look Into The Improbable History Of The Future

"I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."

-George W. Bush, referring to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, published in the Sun Newspaper, June 27th, 2007

I don't know. Lately, when I hear George Bush speak, I hear the theme from the Rocky and Bullwinkle show as his background music. Odd, very odd. It all began one day, when I heard him speaking on the evening news, about how history would portray him as a good president. How history would see his motives as pure. My head began to spin, and I got all dizzy, and then, as if I had been possessed by some kind of evil, lame musical demon, I could hear, as plain as day, the theme to the Rocky and Bullwinkile show. You don't suppose George has a... gulp... wayback machine... do you?

Two things that really scare me, the fact that he could indeed have one, and if he does, he might one day hop inside it, and comeback and do this crap all over again, and two, that one day I will get my own wayback machine by way of Alzheimer's, and I will choose right now to relive. LOL. I guess the probability of either happening is pretty slim, but then again, stranger things have happened. Oh wait... is that what's happening now? God, how the mind does reel. Fret. Oh well, I'm going to take 5 with the above YouTube clip. It's the very first episode of Mr. Peabody's Improbable History. So much fun. And it doesn't contain the theme to Rocky and Bullwinkle. LOL. Enjoy!