Saturday, February 08, 2014

Round Robin Challenge: Rear View

"The past is never where you think you left it."

~Chuck Palahniuk

RRC: The Rear View

Time for a new Round Robin Photo Challenge, and this time the subject is one I suggested to Karen recently, The Rear View. The idea is simple, take a picture of something behind you. I suggested this subject because with the new year freshly upon us, I find myself leaving a lot of old thoughts and actions behind me. I am feeling much more positive this year, as I have learned to let go of the things bothering me the most. Anyway, enough of that, on with the photography...

A Tree Behind Me...

The Rear View Of Some Well Dressed Mannequins...

Empty Seats Behind Me At The Theater...

And Now For Something A Littler More Literal...

(The Rear View Image Of A Late Autumn Tree, Out Of My Beloved Old Car 2005)

The Rear View Of A Pair Of Teddy Bear Pals...

The first photo was taken a couple weeks ago, in Pleasanton, California. It looks more like a side photo, and it kinda was, but in order to get that angle I had to contort in a very uncomfortable position in order to capture any of the reflection in that beautiful window. So, I think it counts. Hopefully. 

Now that you have seen my contribution, be sure to pay a visit to all the Robins participating in this round. Simply click the link at the top of the page to be redirected to the official Round Robin Photo Blog. There you will find the participation link, and all the information you need to join in the challenge!

Mood: Happy

~Me :)

Friday, February 07, 2014

Ugly Beautiful

"Imagine if we were capable of a form of empathy that lets us know one another by savoring the aura we leave on the things we have touched. We would go to a dump to get drunk on one another's souls."

~Robin Nagle, Picking Up: On The Streets And Behind The Trucks With The Sanitation Workers Of New York City


The other day, while out with my cameras, going from A to B, I spotted this pile of shopping carts, from different area stores, and for whatever reason they caught my eye. Interesting, colorful, and strange. They were just haphazardly arranged in some mud and refuse. Not at all something that would ordinarily catch my eye, but for whatever reason the other day they did. That is what I love about my cameras, without them I think I would live a much sadder life, a life uninspired. But when I have my cameras with me, suddenly the world becomes a much more open space. Angles, colors, smiles, frowns, light, dark, it all comes together in my brain, and fills me up! 

There is nothing like finding classic beauty, in classic ugly.

Mood: Inspired

~Me :)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Out Of The Blue

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera."

~Dorothea Lange

I had a good day yesterday. A long drive up the San Mateo coast, into San Francisco, and then up to the Headlands, in Marin County. This was my favorite photo of the day, although as photo jaunts go, I was pretty happy with most of what I was able to accomplish. The only snag came when I found that a small access road just off Cozlemen road ridge, had been eliminated. That was the only road that looked directly downward on Point Bonita Lighthouse. 

That lighthouse has proven quite difficult to photograph, especially in that I am not up to the long steep walk it takes to reach it, and the distance it sits on the cliffs from most vantage points. Okay, so, I will keep looking for the way, perhaps I will try climbing on some of the old ruins of the old Nike Missile site, there might be a good point of view from there. I will have to wait for warmer weather to attempt that, which is fine, summer is not too far away!

Mood: Inspired

~Me :)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Love Sure Has Changed Since I Was A Child

"Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none."

~William Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well

How weird is this? Duck Dynasty valentines? Duck Dynasty? Who gives someone they love, Duck Dynasty valentines? What about these people... says... love? Don't get me wrong, I am sure as a family they have a strong love for each other, and I am sure they love their true fans, but beyond that... what?


Mood: Inquisitive

~Me :)

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

My Memories Of Philip Seymour Hoffman

"One lives in the hope of becoming a memory."

~Antonia Porchia

Let me say upfront, my first hand memories of Philip Seymour Hoffman are but 30 seconds long... if that. But in that 30 seconds I formed an opinion of him that will last my lifetime. It was a good memory, and it is what I thought about immediately after learning the sad news Sunday afternoon of his passing. To my surprise, that brief encounter is still amazingly vivid to me.

In the summer of 2010, a casting call came out for extras to appear in a new movie being filmed at the Oakland Coliseum. I jumped at the chance, I mean I had been an extra in the film Angels In The Outfield, back in the 1990's, and therefore I was a serious, experienced actress! LOL. Nah, not so much, but it did sound like fun because I am one of those geeks who likes all the behind the scenes action, almost as much as the films themselves. The movie magic being made was the film Moneyball.

Anyway, in case you don't know, being on a set, waiting to film, is a lot like waiting for paint dry, especially when your big scene involves pretending to feel both awed and appalled at grown men hitting a ball. LOL. Both experiences as an extra were long days... 11 hours and 9 hours respectively. LOL. That makes for a long day, when filming 20 seconds worth of actual film time. The food we were promised, turned out to be bags of Chex Mix and mixed assorted candies. To keep us hydrated, we got our very own bottle of super cold water, and fruit punch! Damn, what more could a girl ask for?

It was a long day, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I had fun that day with a lot of different experiences, from the gorgeous setting sun, to the amazing people you meet who show up the participate in a little movie magic. I remember one man, a nice man don't get me wrong, who insisted on sitting next to me... right next to me... despite the availability of about 50 seats on either side of me. LOL. I felt claustrophobic at the time, but now as I sit here now, again, I wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

Around 10:30 in the evening, I was finally tired, and the novelty was wearing off, and the coliseum was cold, but I promised to stay, and I was determined to suck it up and find something positive to focus on, and then there it was, a reason to stay... Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, on the field, doing what I think were nighttime camera spots. I watched them for about 30 or 40 minutes or so, then I saw two black SUVs drive onto the field at the far back of the field. One for Brad Pitt and one for Mr. Hoffman. 

The crowd went crazy. We had been there all day, doing what was expected of us, and finally we got to see the stars. Brad Pitt turned and waved for a couple seconds, he had a big smile on his face, then Philip Seymour Hoffman did. He smiled the biggest smile, took his official Oakland A's hat off in a small salute toward us, paused for a moment with that smile, bowed slightly, then got in the SUV and left the field. 

I was impressed. Not all celebrities take the time. They did. Brad Pitt and Phillip Seymour Hoffman did. I imagine they were tired. They're day was much more grueling than mine had been, but they still took the time to stop and say hello. I knew Brad Pitt's smile would be incredible, but I had no idea how warm and friendly Mr. Hoffman's would be. It was his smile that left the impression. I was cold, really cold, it gets that way in the Bay Area on summer evenings, but Mr. Hoffman's smile warmed me up inside. It was nice. 

I hadn't thought about that memory in a while, but on Sunday afternoon it all came flowing back, and with it, a deep sadness. I am sad because I will never have the chance to see that smile in person, ever again. Ever. That warm smile is gone. That hurts me more than I can say. I will also never be able to go to any more of his movies, or see him win an Oscar, or be able to appreciate any aspect of his immense talent. Ever. Again.

I hate Ever Again.

I really hate addiction. But I understand it. My life has been touched by addiction. Two close family members have battled that demon, and watching their struggle was painful. Unfortunately you can't take the battle over for them, they alone have face the demon. Some make it out alive... some don't. Phillip Seymour Hoffman didn't. I am selfishly angry at him. He had the world in the palm of his hand, a lovely family, a career a lot of young actors would love to have, friends, a comfortable roof over his head, but somehow he needed something else. Just one more thing. The drug.

I make no judgements here, I am just sad. That's all. Just sad. I will miss his talent. I will miss his smile. His kindness. I will miss him. But I am not alone. Broadway, film, television every corner of creativity will miss him. I was in the same space as he was, one evening in 2010, and I will always be warm inside, when I think of him, just because he smiled.


Mood: Reflective

~Me :)

Monday, February 03, 2014

Art About Town: Pleasanton, California "Special Friends"

"Special Friends" By Artist, Carol Dunford-Jackman
Pleasanton, California
January 29th 2014

"One eye sees, the other feels."

~Paul Klee


Yesterday, Sunday, was a bad day. When I chose the subject of, Art About Town, for today's blog post I thought my mood would be embracing all things creative and fun. It was not to be. I had a nightmare, one which allowed me to oversleep by 4 hours. Talk about a double edged sword. I got some much needed sleep, but my oversleeping meant Joey didn't come out to play until very late. In case you are new here, Joey is my new kitten. I can't let him out with the other cats I own full time, until his integration into the family is complete.

Anyway. The nightmare was silly and I have let go of it. But before I got out of bed, I found out actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away. I was going to say tragically, but I think I am too pissed off to do so right now. Heroin... really? You have the world in the palm of your hand, three beautiful children, and a comfortable place to call home, and that isn't enough? Really? I suppose it is the anger stage of grief talking, but I feel like my admiration of him was seriously misplaced, because clearly he didn't find much to admire about himself.

We won't talk about the Super Bowl. 

On the other hand, as I sit here bitching away about how bad my day was, I am keenly aware of how lucky I am to have heard the pounding rain on the roof as I woke up. I woke up. I saw yesterday. I will see today. I will be able to touch someones life for the better... if I want to. Words of encouragement take the same amount of time that words of discouragement do. I want to be that person.  I want to be the person who sees that hard work in another person's labor. Especially the artist.

I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy Public Art so much. An artist sits down, considers a concept and works with their hands, sometimes for years, to bring it to existence. Then I, the viewer, gets to gaze upon that work and feel inspired to see the beauty in a sunset, or in a child's face. It's life affirming! Art creates a joyful noise in the soul, and inspires us to pass it along. Suddenly one doesn't feel so empty inside. Life is so short. Whether it is of our own making it so or not. I think I will focus on all the beauty, and be grateful for all the days, and remember to not take time, love or appreciation for granted.

Coda Gallery
Carol Dunford-Jackman

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone."

~Pablo Picasso


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Life Is Good Here

"I think small towns are the closest to heaven you can get on earth."

~Diana Palmer

I grew up in a small town, not this small town, but a similar small town, and I have to say I had many different feelings over the years about the virtues of growing up there... and the pitfalls. Sometimes a small town can seem big. Big in the sense that you can develop a certain amount of pride for whatever reason. It can feel really good to find out a celebrity, who you actually admire, was born and raised in the same little town you grew up in. But sometimes, living in a small town, one can feel so claustrophobic that you think all the air in and around the town has been suddenly sucked up through some invisible vacuum.

As I said, I didn't grow up in this particular small town, but one in the East Bay, so we had that in common. Over the years I have seen Pleasanton change little by little. When I was a small child, and my family would drive to the Alameda County fair, it was just a hop and a skip from downtown Pleasanton. That short ride to the fair was beautiful. Lovely green hillsides, and space. Lots of trees and space. Now there is so much development in and around the town, it can hardly been called a small town anymore, but in an odd way, it has that small town feel.

I think I might spend some time getting back in touch with my love of the Bay Area and all the little towns that comprise it. Public Art displays are popping up all over the 9 Bay Area counties, so it will be a nice adventure to get back in touch with what I love about living here. The people. The natural beauty. The community spirit. I love all the little festivals and celebrations unique to each town, and yes, the quirkiness. Like the small town in Contra Costa county, that boasts the smallest post office in California! Or the Old Niles area of Fremont, where Charlie Chaplin made most of his films. Life is good here. Really good. I love the Bay Area!

Mood: Inspired

~Me :)

Note: Tomorrow will be all about the art! "Art About Town: Pleasanton!"