Saturday, October 04, 2008

Round Robin Challenge: The End Of Summer

"The summer night is like a perfection of thought."

-Wallace Stevens

Ahhh... the end of summer. Some years I can't wait to see summer go, and other years it is so mild and sweet, that I almost mourn it's passing. I think the summer that just ended will fall somewhere in the middle. It wasn't very hot, which was a very good thing, especially for my boy Elvis, who, like his mommy, doesn't do well when it is too hot outside. Poor little fella nearly melted in the early part of the summer of 2006, when, during a two week heatwave, it reached 108 degrees in the Bay Area. I thought I might possibly lose him that year. I was worried for him this past spring when he was diagnosed with cancer, that the weather might play into how long he would survive, but the summer was quite kind to us. He did well, and so did I.

I like summers that are cool enough for me to wear my favorite sweater. I enjoyed the evenings, with the light breezes and the amazing sunsets. I took very few photos this summer, certainly a lot less then in previous years. I don't know why, but I have been struggling a bit lately with things. It's difficult to know I will be losing my best friend in the world soon. Elvis is my little kitty soul mate, and he loves me, so to know I will be losing that is sometimes more then I can take. On the other hand, he is such a joy every single day, and I will always be grateful that we had this past summer together, and that it was a mild one.

I took this series of photos at one of my favorite places on earth, Point Montara Lighthouse. If you ever make it to the Bay Area, you must stop by this gorgeous lighthouse and see it for yourself. I don't come close to doing it's beauty justice. I love this place, and its gentle ambiance. I feel at peace there. I took these photos in the evening, of the last Wednesday, of the summer of 2008. Enjoy.

Oh, the summer night
Has a smile of light
And she sits on a sapphire throne

-Barry Cornwall

I enjoyed this challenge, so thanks goes to Janet, who authors the blog, Fond of Snape. She submitted it our suggestion pool a while back, so be sure to pay her a visit and all the participating Robins, to see how they wanted to say goodbye to summer. By the way, we are always looking for new topics, so feel free to send your ideas to Steven, Karen and myself. Who knows, your idea could be our next challenge! Be sure to check the official Round Robin blog tomorrow, to find out what our next challenge will be!

1. Janet... Fond Of Snape

2. Karen... Outpost Mavarin

3. Wammy... The Ellis Family Cincinnati

4. Ellen B. ... The Happy Wanderer **Welcome New Member**

5. Carly... Ellipsis

6. Connie... Far Side Of Fifty

7. Erin... Life Of A College Student

8. Gattina... Keyhole Pictures

9. Nancy... Nancy Luvs Pix

10. Kiva... The Eclectic Granny

11. Valerie... Soulfully Blond

12. Sandra... Strong Chemistry

13. Mary... Work of the Poet

14. Jill... South Bay Soliloquy


16. Jennifer Robin... Robin's Woods

17. Teena... It's All About Me!

18. Arti... Ripple Effects **Welcome New Member**

19. Mary... Just A Hippie Gypsy

20. Chrissie... Chris-seas Corner

21. Abby... {Hello}

"The End Of Summer In Montara"
Point Montara Lighthouse
Point Montara, California
Summer, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Joe v Sarah

"Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river."

-Nikita Khrushchev

Ok, I can admit it, last night's debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin wasn't the laugh out loud laugh fest event I had envisioned it would be, in fact, I have to admit I found it, at times, fascinating. Yes, fascinating. Sarah Paling was well rehearsed and on her game, while Joe Biden was restrained and personable. Sarah Palin displayed the kind of folksy humor and everyday appeal that turned republicans on to George Bush in 2000. Joe Biden is a sharp individual, who has 35 years experience in all the areas, that Sarah Palin is just learning about. And that was evident last night too.

As a democrat/liberal/woman there probably wasn't much that could have been said to change my mind at this point about who I will be voting for in November. I don't happen to think last night's debate will do much to change most people's opinions, in that nothing new was said. Last night's debate accomplished one thing. We got a better look at Sarah Palin. She came off extremely competent in the debate, but in that she was rehearsed, did we really get to see who she is on any given day? I would like to see more of her in interviews, as opposed to on a stage. Was she merely tired or uncomfortable when she was interviewed by Katie Couric and Charles Gibson? Or is she still somewhat lost without a script? She certainly showed last night that with the right amount of coaching, she can do very well, but what happens when she has to think on her feet? Will she know what to do?

As personable and folksy as she was last night, I found myself thinking about George Bush, and his every day guy persona. Honestly, he and Karl Rove managed to make Al Gore's accomplishments sound boorish and elitist. And it happened again with John Kerry, although Kerry, in my opinion lost a good bit of support by not fighting back against the lies and attacks. Fear was the theme for most of the Bush administration's time in the White House. If George Bush wasn't trying to scare us, he was patting us on the back and telling us everything will be ok. Which of course as we all know now, everything wasn't ok.

Granted, Sarah Palin isn't running for president, she will be the vice president, but she will be only a heartbeat away from the presidency, and I don't happen to think she is ready for that. It might be that her time hasn't quite come yet. Maybe she needs to consider a run for the senate when her governorship is up, but I just can't see her serving as vice president with any kind of real leadership. Joe Biden on the other hand is no push over. I don't think he would be as open to Washington manipulation quite the way Palin might. And before you call me sexist, think about what I am saying. Sometimes lack of Washington experience is a good thing, but sometimes it lends to being more pliable to the inner politics. The not so nice side of things.

To a certain degree that is what I think happened with George Bush. Looking back over the last 8 years, there are times when he seemed more like a wind up doll, rather then a real leader. Dick Cheney seems to be the one running the show. He didn't make a run for the presidency, because he has been the president for the last 8 years! A lot will be blamed on George Bush, and it should, but no real responsibility will ever happen. I am not interested in seeing that dynamic repeat.

So, when Sarah Palin, said last night, "Say it isn't so Joe, you are always looking back, we have to start looking forward," I wished I could say to her, "Sarah, we have to look back until we learn from those failures." Ignoring the past won't change the damage that has been done. The republican party wants to forget the failures that have taken place, and move on so that they can repair the damage done to the party, but along with it accountability gets lost, and to them, that might just be the sweetest part of their selective amnesia.

Opinions, opinions. Tell me, what did you think of last night's debate? Do you think more positively toward Sarah Palin then you did before the debate? Have you made a final decision as to who you will be voting for? Tell me everything.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Weekend Assignmnet #235: Button Up

"It's not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something."

-Leo Buscaglia

Weekend Assignment #236: Design a button ( a badge, a pin...). It can say anything you like as long as it's clean and not defamatory. Or maybe you prefer a photo button. You can just describe it if you like, or tell us what it says - or you can actually create the complete design.

Extra Credit: Have you ever designed a button or other apparel before now?

-Karen Funk Blocher, of the blog, Outpost Mavarin

Two things that mean a lot to me are coming up very soon, so I kinda got excited about this Weekend Assignment. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and of course with the election in November, it's a good time to remind folks to get out and vote on election day. Although, given the recent events with the on again, off again, she says bailout, he says relief package machinations, I think folks will be going to the polls in great numbers this election to make their feelings known. Oh well, I made the effort anyway. I never really know if my little voice is heard, but at least I know I put it out there, so I can feel good about that.

It disturbs me that we spend so little on cancer research, and yet money can always be found to fund this idiotic war in Iraq. Cancer is a very real threat to us, attacking someone new every day, and yet very little is being accomplished to get a comprehensive health care package together so that more folks will be able to afford the tests that can save their lives. Diabetes is on the rise, to an alarming rate, and because there are so few subtle symptoms to it, people are walking around not even realizing they have diabetes. So, here are the buttons I would distribute if I could, they are messages that ask folks to take some personal interest in the world, themselves, and those they love.

Extra Credit: Nope, I haven't designed any badges or buttons before, but I do design some graphics for my sidebar from time to time. Especially to bring awareness to certain causes and charities I feel particularly passionate about.

"October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


"A conclusion is simply a place where someone got tired of thinking."


Before the official AOL email arrived in my inbox yesterday, the word had already gotten around. AOL Journals is closing it's doors on October 31st of this year. You know, I wasn't terribly surprised. AOL announced over the summer, July actually, that they were doing away with AOL Pictures and so it crossed my mind that the Journals community probably wouldn't be far behind. It was just common sense in that it would make it more difficult to be creative with the journals. Still, when I heard the news yesterday, I felt sad to a degree. Not for me, but for all the folks who have shown such fervent loyalty to AOL over the years. A lot has happened, and I think that AOL has once again that they are dead last in terms of customer loyalty.

When the mad Exodus To Blogger happened, on November 15th 2005, some things changed. Pardon what I am about to say, but AOL (the corporation) displayed a FUCK YOU attitude toward their customers, and for many of us it was the last straw. A Journal or Blog is a very personal thing for most folks. It represents an important part of a person, and to not be given a choice in something as important as to who is advertising on one's blog, or even if someone is advertising on a blog is also a very important thing. To some folks it wasn't a big deal, but to others it represented selling of one's creativity to the highest bidder. AOL never got that. It was merely another place to sell advertisements. Period. Money, it seems, will always... always be the bottom line.

How AOL (the corporation) felt didn't make any difference to me, but how AOL (the people who made up the Journals Community) did. I was saddened by all the hard feelings that were expressed. I never stopped loving the community, but I didn't love AOL and somehow, at times, I felt like... well... I was some kind of turncoat for doing nothing more then changing my journal address. I stopped letting it hurt my feelings that some folks decided not to follow me over here. Folks were always welcome to come and visit, or join in the Round Robins any time they wanted. And eventually some of my dear friends did comeback to me. I am hoping when folks make the next big exodus, they will look me up, or send me their new links. There is a good chance we can repair whatever damage was done, by doing nothing more then extending our hands to each other and saying "Welcome Back Into My Life Old Friend, It's As If No Time Has Passed." At least that is my hope.

I imagine that most folks over on AOL are a bit shell shocked today. I know how they feel. It can't be easy to find out that you are being evicted, and you have 30 days to gather up your memories and get out! For some it will mean 5 years of memories. The part that makes me just heartsick, it the loss of Pam's journal, and Frank's journal. I loved those two people very much, and even after their deaths I would visit from time to time just to be close them. To read the words they wrote. At the end of the month, it will be like they never existed on AOL at all. I wish there was some way of bringing them along, but there isn't. And it probably wouldn't be right to. Sigh. I still miss Slomo It's going to be hard knowing that I will probably never hear from her again.

It's a very sad situation. However, it doesn't have to stay a sad situation. If you are about to become a new AOL refugee, please know how very welcome you are over here on Blogger. Please know you are more then invited to join us for the Round Robin Challenges, and the Monday Photo Shoot. It is the very same project John Scalzi ran for years, and as always, everyone is invited to play. I would like to see some wounds heal, and I am here to help in that. If you are going to be new to Blogger, and need some help, send me an email and I will do my best to help out. The neighborhood might be different, but the community is what's important... right?


Monday, September 29, 2008

Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot #5: Still Life Photography: Fruit

"As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it."

-Sam Abell


EMPS #5: Still Life Photography: Fruit.
I think it will be fun to do some Still Life Photography from time to time as an EMPS, and now seems like a great time to get started! I love doing Still Life photography, because it opens all kinds of possibilities, and gives me much more creative control. I can play with lighting, and props, and get really excited about taking what I can imagine, and transforming it into art. So, let's give it a try this week using Fruit.

You have until next Sunday evening at, 9:00 PM Eastern time, to post your photo entry, and come back here with the direct link to your post. Please remember, I need the direct link to your EMPS entry, NOT your main blog or journal address.

Linking List for EMPS #4: Welcome To Autumn (9/22/08)

Now Closed!

Karen shows us autumn in Tucson, complete with time, temperature and sunset.

Greg reached into his archives to bring us the color.

Marie shows us some pumpkins, gourds and flowers.

Connie took a walk on an autumn lane, and found some Aster in bloom, with some colorful leaves around it.

Laura posted an early autumn recipe. YUM!

Vicki and Nancy share with us the autumn sights around their new homes.

Martha found a gorgeous red and yellow flower in the first week of autumn.

Wammy photographed a beautiful old barn, framed by a tree just beginning to transition into autumn.

Kiva's Wisteria plant has an autumny yellow glow to it.

Everyone did beautifully this week. It was a lovely way to welcome autumn for 2008!

Ok, you have your assignment, now, GO BE PHOTOGRAPHERS! GET THE PICTURE! I will see you in one week with a new assignment and your Linking List for this week. :)


Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Plays The Thing

"Neither a borrower, nor a lender be, do not forget, stay out of debt. Think twice and take this good advice from me, guard that old solvency. There's just one other thing, you aught to do, to thy own self be true."

-Skipper Jonas Grumby (Alan Hale Jr.) Gilligan's Island

Tee Hee. My sense of humor has kicked in this afternoon. I know this to be true because just as the "Breaking News" about the new deal that was reached in Washington D.C., to bail out Wall Street was announced, I suddenly had the soundtrack from episode #72 of Gilligan's Island, in which the castaways produced and starred in their rendition of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. They set it to music, and one of the songs, sung by the Skipper, seems particularly timely right now. Have a watch and see if you agree with me. Go ahead... it's just fun!

So tell me, what to do think of the new deal to bailout Wall Street, and supposedly Main Street? Good idea? Bad idea? Tell me what you think.

Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008


The Blues They Send To Meet Me Won't Defeat Me...

"Everytime I get a script it's a matter of knowing what I can do with it. I see colors, imagry. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love, you can't give a reason why."

-Paul Newman

I couldn't let the weekend come to a close, without mentioning the passing of one of my favorite actors, Paul Newman. He was a wonderful man, on and off the screen. His acting touched so many, and his charity work even more. I had so many favorite Paul Newman movies, but out of all those films, my favorite scene comes from the 1969 film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I think the scene where he and Etta Place ride a bicycle together, in the early morning sun, is one of the sexiest moments in film... EVER! I loved it, and I loved them. When I watched for the first time, I was mesmerized. And the extraordinary thing was, there hadn't been a spoken word between the two. No dialog was needed. It was amazing eye sex! Watch the above YouTube clip, and see for yourself.

Thank You Paul Newman (1925 - 2008)

"...The blues the send to meet me, won't defeat me. It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me."

-Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head