HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY AFTER

All my friends who posted on Facebook indicated they 1. had a great time on Thanksgiving Day, and 2. They were all thankful for the multitude of blessing that they enjoy.  I must second what they said.  I had a great day and I am thankful for a host of blessings.

I set up a small still life last night.  Here are a couple of shots I want to share with the readers, the faithful 11.  Same pictures in color and black and white.

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FLAT TIRES, ZOMBIES, AND TRIPLE A

There is never a convenient time for a flat tire.  Not even when you come out to the garage and find a tire flat.  A flat can turn one’s life instantaneously into an adventure.

RUMORS OF MY DEATH …

I remember the first flat I ever had to change.  It was the summer of ’68.  My dad let me borrow his truck, a 1951 GMC pickup nicknamed “The Rainbow Bomb” because it had a grey body, white fenders, red doors, a blue sun visor and an orange tailgate.  Me and a buddy were heading to the Saturday night dance at the National Guard Armory up in Prescott at about 10:00 pm when one of the tires goes flat.  So I pulled off the main drag and began to change the tire.  Now to get to the jack and the lug wrench, the bench seat of the truck needed to be pulled out of it.  I put the bench out on the grass.  There were no streetlights on that corner, but I did have a flashlight to work by.  In the meantime, my parents happened to be going home from the movies, drove by the truck, saw the seat on the ground.  Because of the distance and the darkness, and the fact I was hidden from their sight by the truck, they thought that the seat on the ground was a body, specifically my body.  Of course upon seeing me they realized that I was very much still alive and all was well, and after my parents’ panic subsided, we all had a laugh over the situation.

THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

But that was not the last experience I had of jacking up a truck and removing a tire during that summer.  I was working at the Eagle Drug Store, and one Saturday night after it was closed, the owner, me and a couple of other employees stayed around to do some much needed remodeling.  About midnight, I drew the short straw and had to take a pickup load of trash out to the county dump.  So I drive out to the dump, which is out in the middle of nowhere, just me and a load of trash and my boss’s pickup.

The dump had no lights at night.  The only light available was from the headlights of the truck.  Now I am going to be totally honest here.  When I was a kid, monsters lived in my closet and under my bed, and if they could live there, I was pretty much convinced that monsters could live out in the dump. I pretty much didn’t want to spend a lot of time out there.  I drove as close as I possibly could to the huge mound of trash and unloaded that truck in record time, jumped back into the cab and started back to Eagle Drug.  I may have gotten about 10 yards when I heard this awful metal on metal screeching coming from underneath the truck and it started to ride really rough.  Ah, man!  What is that!  By now it was about 1:00 in the morning, I am 5 or so miles from town, and let me remind you, boys and girls, there ain’t no cell phones in ’68.  If I don’t figure out what is wrong with the truck and fix it, I am going to have to walk to the main highway to find a payphone.  With zombies and such lurking just out of sight ready to suck my brains out.  (I feared the walking dead before fearomg the walking dead was cool.)

Got a flashlight and checked underneath the truck.  Wrapped around the right front wheel and the front axle was barbed wire.  How in the world was I going to get that barbed wire off the axle?  (especially before the zombie apocalypse)  I tried unwinding it off the axle but was having no luck in getting the wire off.  It finally dawned on me that if I took off the tire, I could slide the wire off of the axle.  Needless to say, that worked.  I finally got back to the drugstore at about 2:00.  I don’t think the owner bought the story that barbed wire wrapped around the axle of his truck and that is why I was gone for 2 hours.  Plus, I go home and my parents are mad because they don’t think I have been at work until two in the morning.  It’s like nobody cared that I was able to get the truck working  by sheer genius and ingenuity and that I totally avoided any contact with whatever junkyard zombies might have been lurking out in the dark.  Pretty much the way it is when one is 17.

I KNEW I NEEDED NEW TIRES…

Present day.  The latest Timmy adventure with a flat tire.  I had gone out to Mesa last night to attend a PAC meetup on the business of photography.  It took me forever to get there because of 2 traffic accidents.  I was on the exit and overpass from the 101 to US 60 for about 20 minutes, it was that backed up.  When I finally saw the crash warning sign it told me that the 2 left lanes and 1 right lane were blocked.  That meant the freeway funneled into 1 lane.  Yikes!  Other than the drive, the meetup was great.  Headed home at about 9:30.

Getting close to my exit, I pulled over to the right hand lane.  All of a sudden I hear the noise and feel the thumping.  My first thought is I should try to get off the freeway, but having had flats occur on the freeway at 65 miles an hour before, I knew this one felt really bad.  Using all the tricks of driving I had learned from watching endless hours of the Rockford Files, I kept the truck under control and pulled off of the freeway and on to the shoulder.  Fortunately there was additional room so I could pull entirely off of the paved shoulder and onto crushed gravel.  And  unlike ’68, cellphones have been invented.  I called home, and then called AAA for a tow.  I just wasn’t in the mood to be changing a tire in the dark on the side of the freeway at 10:00 at night.

Because I was on the freeway, AAA viewed my situation as a matter of safety and put me on the rotation for the first available driver.  They also gave me the number for the Highway Patrol, just in case.  I took advantage of AAA  text message service in which they text  you the ETA of the truck.  While waiting, a Highway Patrolman pulled up behind me and came over to check out the situation.  We both concluded that as bad as the tire was, there had been a possibility  that the situation could have been much worse.  He was willing to stick around until the tow truck came, but it was 10 minutes out so I said I would be alright and he went on his way.  Right after he left, the tow truck pulled in.  Tim, the driver, said he could change the tire or tow me home.  I said tow me home.

Although this was a pain and time consuming, I always try to reflect on the situation and examine how much worse things could have been.  The tire could have blown out on the ramp from 10 to 17.  I could have been in the far left lane when it blew.  It could have been possible for me to lose control and careen into another car.  As much as I didn’t want a flat tire, it happened at a perfect place on the freeway, a place I could get off the road easily and quickly and pull over far enough to not be in danger from the freeway traffic.  Got to be thinking the guardian angel was working a bit of overtime last night.

I also want to give a shout out to Triple A, their driver, and the patrol officer.  I know they were just doing their jobs, but they were polite and helpful and did their jobs well.  Thanks, guys.

WHAT IS THAT SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD?

BUTTER BOY

Have you ever had a song that you remember that turns out to not be the song you remember?  There was a song back in 1975 by an all girl band.  All I remember is this little refrain from the song  “go baby go, get it on boy, show what ya know” plus the word “butter boy” was mentioned somewhere in the song.  Every once in awhile, over the years, that particular riff would pop into my head.  Being a very, VERY, slow learner, just last night, after hearing that song in my head radio, I says to myself, “self, you DO have the Internet.”   So I decided to research the song.  I knew one of the Quatro sisters played on the song, but after fruitlessly searching Suzi Quatro, I figured my memory was not serving me well.  Using my Sherlock Holmes logic and wits (just got done watching Elementary)  I Googled the term “butter boy”  Success!  The song is titled, naturally, Butter Boy and it is performed  by Fanny.  Off to Wikipedia.  Fanny was the first all girl group to be given a music contract by a major studio.  The song Butter Boy was the groups biggest hit, charting at #29.  The band broke up after that.  And the Quatro sister in the band was Patti Quatro, so I give myself partial credit for remembering a Quatro played in the band.  Since it was only #29 and the lyrics, by 1975 standards, were a little edgy and naughty, the song didn’t get a lot of air time on the radio.  I then proceeded to YouTube to listen to the song I hadn’t heard in full in 37 years.

The song starts out with this tinkling piano riff and a little do-wop vocals and I am thinking, “I don’t remember this song, this isn’t it!”  But then the song hit that memorable riff and I sit back and say, “Oh  yeah, that’s it.”  To me, it is still a great song, and maybe even a little ahead of its time.  In a way, it settles my mind to hear the song in full and not be wondering every time that little bit comes into my head “what is that song?”

And thanks to the magic of YouTube, I found Fanny does a great cover of Cream’s Badge.  Considering the original had two of the world’s best guitarists playing on the song, Eric Clapton and George Harrison, the girls did an outstanding job and the song holds its own against the original.

For those inclined, one can find the above songs here, (Butter Boy by Fanny),  here (Badge by Cream), and here (Badge cover by Fanny)

NAME THAT TUNE

For as long as I can remember, one particular tune would ever so often pop into my head.  It was instrumental only, and very dramatic.  I could never place the tune, but I always assumed it was from an old TV show or old movie.  A few months ago, as I was firmly ensconced in my Lazy Boy for some serious “retired gentleman” TV watching, an old show came on that I hadn’t seen since 1963.  As the opening theme came on I leaped out of my chair, pulled a hamstring, scared the cats into hiding for three days, and caused the wife dialing 911, and I screamed “THAT’S IT!  THAT’S THE SONG!”  The unknown song rolling around my head all this time was the theme song from Have Gun, Will Travel.  One of the greatest TV westerns ever.  A thinking man’s western.  When not on the road as a hired gun, Paladin lived in a San Francisco hotel.  He was a ladies man, a gambler, he loved opera and Shakespeare and was into Martial Arts before Martial Arts was cool.  A true Renaissance Man that was a fast gun.  A ” knight without armor in a savage land…”  as the closing theme song suggested.  And the opening theme song from that show had wired itself deep into my gray matter to surface at any time and cause me to rack my brain to discover the origin of the melody I was hearing.

Have Gun, Will Travel  

A FACE WITH CHARACTER

I met today with a former college of mine for lunch.  John taught and coached with me.  Some of the best times I had were those years John and I coached together.  He had never coached football before, never even played football.  He was a heck of a track athlete in the throws and threw for GCC and ASU.  His shot put record at GCC stood for at least 30 years. What John had going for him was his ability and desire to learn the game and the fact that he is a great teacher.  And what is coaching except teaching and motivation.  John took to coaching football like the very act of coaching was the culmination of the American Dream.  And he made me a much better coach.     John was not part of the “coach-ocracy” that says you have to act a certain way and say certain things.  This helped me get rid of some of the bad habits I had accumulated over the years.  John is also a great motivator and was always pulling something out of history or some motivational trick to help inspire the kids to a better performance.  I remember once he gave a speech about the Zulu warriors, who would run 5 miles just to get into a battle.  The kids caught that theme and we had a great season that year.  We both look fondly back at those years.  Great times.

I brought the camera to the pub to take some head shots of John.  I am doing these sepia pictures and wanted to shoot a face with some character.  I figured John fit that perfectly.  I am a bit jealous of John, however.  When I had my hair down past my shoulders, I always wanted to have a single braid like John does.  But I got mad and cut all my hair off before I got that done.  Maybe someday.  Enjoy my day 3 pictures.

 

 

WORN OUT WEDNESDAY

Election night always wears me out, whether my candidates win or lose.  I learned all I know about election night activities from my Dad.  I was 8 years old in 1959 (to save you from getting out your calculator out, I am 61) when it was Nixon versus Kennedy.  That election went way late in the night and I remember my Dad up all night drinking tea, smoking cigarettes and pacing around the living room.  I pretty much do the same, except for the smoking and I am not inclined to pace much.

I think in the next election cycle I will start a Facebook type page strictly for all the political rants and raves so people can go on my site and post all of that stuff.  I joined Facebook because it is social media.  There was a lot of un-social stuff being posted these last few months.  Besides, I might become a billionaire like Zuckerberg.

Today through Friday the subject for the Photographers Adventure Club is to render the photographs in a sepia tone.  Trying to come up with what to shoot for this project, I concluded I wanted my subject to be kind of rustic.  Hit upon my subject matter at the store and bought a bunch of Thanksgiving related objects to set up as a still life.  Here are some of my results.  I hope the reader enjoys these.

Post script to this: it is hard to write a blog when I have a cat chewing on my toes.  And these pictures are for day three of my 365 day challenge.  That is all.

 

ELECTION DAY

I did not say this, nor do I know who to attribute it to, but this sums it all up: “today is the day that men fought and died for.  Today is the day we live for.” I urge everyone to go vote.

Heard a funny story today.  As you know, stories abound about election fraud and cheating, and that is a good thing to be concerned about.  As the following story shows, this has been happening in this country for a long time.  Story took place in the very late 1800’s.  The man I was listening to was told this story by his grandfather.  Seems grandfather had to get on a train to go to his polling place in another town. As he got off the train there was a wagon with the name of the candidate he supported ready to take anyone supporting that candidate to the polling place.  Grandfather was also given a bottle of an adult beverage to help pass the time on the trip.  It wasn’t until much later that he realized the wagon was driven by a supporter of the opponent and he was going away from town.  The grandfather was not able to get to the polls in time to vote.  Some things never change.

Day #2 of my 365 daily challenge is another day of watches.  As I set up my little composition, I was joined by my cat.  I had wanted to get a couple of pictures of Hillary to post them on Halloween.  He was extremely difficult to get to cooperate.  So know Halloween pictures.  But the minute I start taking pictures of my composition, he jumps on the table and settles himself on the table right in front of the camera, purring away.

“I am here to help.”

I am all set for next year.  Happy Halloween 2013

MONDAY MUSINGS

I am going to talk about some items that I wanted to discuss in the Bride-to- Be blog, but really couldn’t find a way to seamlessly work them into the conversation.  I guess this is like the “deleted scenes” on a movie DVD.

There has always been a potential for fraud and deceit in the business of wedding photography.  About 13 or so years ago, when film photography was king, one of the local news channels ran a story because several brides had contracted with one studio to photograph their weddings.  These brides had not received their photographs.  The TV station investigated and ended up at the office of this studio.  Inside they found about 50 envelopes of negatives and prints that had never been delivered.   Scams occur.  We all wish they didn’t but they do.  Brides, make sure you do your homework and cut down on those chances for an unhappy day when it comes to your wedding photographs.

Whenever I hear stories of people getting fooled, swindled or defrauded, I am always reminded of the following story.  It may have started out as a harmless prank, but one would think there should be someone around in an organization to say “Hey!  This isn’t a good idea.”  The story involves a Hooter’s waitress  (read here) in a Florida restaurant.  They had a big beer promotion (like they really  need a beer promotion) and the waitress that sold the most beer in the month would win a Toyota.  So the day came when the winner was announced.  Put yourself in her shoes when instead of the keys to a new Toyota, she was handed a Toy Yoda doll.  Now some people with a bit of a cruel streak may be chuckling at the cleverness of this hoax, but I assure you the waitress wasn’t.  She quit Hooters, sued and settled out of court.  She did get to pick out a new Toyota.

Starting today I am going to photograph and post a picture each day for a year.  This is the 365 day photo challenge.  It has lots of variations.  I am going to keep it simple the moment and just take and post a picture for each day.  As a starting point, I will be basing my subject matter on the monthly challenges of the Photographers Adventure Club.  The theme for the next three days clocks, watches and sundials, which is what they used to time my 40 yard dash in football.  This pocket watch is one of the first Christmas presents my wife gave me.

 

 

 

31 and DONE

Well, it’s done.  The 31 days of straight blogging for the month of October are finished.  To borrow a line from Rodney Dangerfield in  Back to School, “No more.  I feel like I just gave birth…to an accountant!”

Of course if a reader has followed this blog,  they know I have skipped a few days.  As I have explained before, I found that I have a hard time writing about subjects I have no interest in or excitement for.  Truth be told, on the days I have skipped, I have usually written a blog but sent it to the trash can.  Once I am done with a post, I always proof read before I hit publish, and if the blog is boring and pointless to me, it would certainly be boring and pointless to the reader. Move to Trash.

Here are a few observations about this 31 day venture of mine.

I started this journey into the blogosphere because all of the professional photographers say this is one of the ways to introduce myself to potential clients, to showcase my photography and to build the business.  And they, like me, have had those moments where they felt the only person reading their blog was their mother.   Blogging is recommended as one of the mandatory things to do to grow one’s business.  I am not convinced.

Since I started doing the blog, I have written 51 posts.  The most traffic I have had is 27 hits in one day.  The average is about 12.  I am pleased that one of my latest posts, a warning to brides about some of the pitfalls that happen with wedding photographers, was read by 10 people.   I am disappointed that a blog I really put all my heart and soul and writing skill into has been viewed to this date by 2.  Thank you Jessica and Ashley.

For those people that find blogging is one of the cornerstones of their photography business, I am glad it has benefited you. It hasn’t worked for me.  Not yet. As of today, I have not had a cat loving bride want to hire me because I am a cat loving photographer.

The 31 days are over, with mixed results for me.  How shall I proceed? I will continue to blog, because I like doing it.  I like writing.  I find blogging in someways to be therapeutic.  Plus I would hate to disappoint my 12 fans.

In the meantime, I am going to share a few of the pictures I took Monday night with the Photographers Adventure Club at a local haunted house.  Cue the music from The Exorcist.

The fog machine was on when I shot this.  I punched up the oranges and reds in post production to give it the “devil rising from hell” look.  I think of  Fire by Arthur Brown when I look at this photo.

I would like to someday shoot a bride willing to let me do some psychedelic effects on some of the photos.  Hey, I am a child of the 60’s.

Of course somethings are just spookier in black and white.

I kept trying to get the model to move totally out of the picture so I could get a completely ghosted image, but she would never move far enough.  Bad directions on my part.

Got the model to move a little more this time.

This haunted house had creepy music looped and this girl in a swing.   This place did a great job.

Probably my favorite picture of the night.  I love night shooting because it gives me a chance to experiment around with images.  None of these pictures were created through Photoshop, All of the images and effects were captured in the camera.  I did, however, do some cropping and editing for color, contrast etc.

Music of the Blog

The Exorcist (Tubular Bells) by Mike Oldfield

Fire by Arthur Brown

Timmy Note:  I read the book The Exorcist by William Peter Batty.  It is the scariest book I have ever read.  I had to sleep with the lights on at night for a week after I read it. I was 22 years old.  I have yet to see the movie.  No reason to scare myself to death on purpose.

“Just Started Sweeping”

It is hard for me sometimes to sit and write about the world according to Tim and offer my little ideas and talk about the little things in my life that might be bothering me at the moment when there are people with real issues and real tragedies and real sorrows going on in their life.  Of course I am talking about Hurricane Sandy.  I am sorry for those people’s troubles and their losses.  They are in my prayers.

At times like this, I reflect.  I reflect on my blessings, on how the pain in the rear problem I thought I had an hour ago is nothing compared to what other people are going though.  Let me share some of those reflections.

Now’s Your Chance

Remember the earthquake in Haiti?  Remember the massive cry for donations to help out that poor country in it’s time of distress?  Americans opened their hearts and their pocketbooks to the people suffering in that tiny country.  Then the critics (why is there always critics?) started saying it was a waste of time and money because charity should begin at home and we have starving people and poverty in America…etc.  Well critics, now’s your chance.  The people that gave during the Haiti crisis will no doubt give in the Hurricane Sandra crisis.  The charity is now in your backyard, critics.  I hope you drop a coin or two to help out your fellow Americans.

Just Doing There Jobs

Having lived with a nurse for 37 years, I am attuned to headlines about nurses.  This story here caught my eye.  Of course it was nurses, doctors, paramedics and other staff members that pulled off this miraculous evacuation.  I am sure more and more stories like this will come to light as the days pass.  It never surprises me, but it always amazes me when these trained professionals get in a crises situation and go into solution mode.

“Just Started Sweeping”

I was listening to the radio this morning and the hosts were talking about people in New Jersey coming out and helping clean out storm drains to ease the flooding.  They remarked there was a picture of someone helping using a ski pole.  This imagery reminded me of another crises situation that occurred in Los Angeles in April 1992.  This was the Los Angeles riots that occurred after the Rodney King verdict.  A few days into the riots, right before Marshall Law was to take effect, actor Edward James Olmos went out into the street with a broom and “just started sweeping”.  By the end of the day about 800 people were out sweeping  and cleaning up.  Olmos reflects on this event here.

I like to think these stories show us who Americans truly are.  Yes, things get broken in this country.  Sometimes we break things ourselves, sometimes the breaking is done by others, and many times things are broken by forces of nature.  But we always pull together after these incidents, even if it only seems like a brief time, but we pull together and help each other because at some point somebody brings out a broom and starts sweeping.

God please bless those people who are suffering with tragedy and loss and heartache because of Hurricane Sandy.  Your will be done.  Amen.