Today in My History

2000:  The Dreaded Christmas Letter
2001:  The Free Ride's Over
2002: 
Typhoid Mary
2003: 
Caroling, Caroling, Caroling
2004: 
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth
2005
Reality Sucks

2006 At the Mercy of the Elements, 2


My 2007 Holiday Letter


IN MY OPINION
The Starry Messenger

Books Read in 2007
 
Updated: 11/17
"Second Chances"



 


FUNNY THE VLOG

YouTube

Mefeedia Video Archive


My Favorite Video Blogs
Desert Nut
Missbehavens
(for others, see Links page)

Look at these videos!
A Jib Jab Life
Mrs. Hughes
Automatic Confession
Killer Tortoise
Whole Grain Bread
Republican Call Girls
 

Family Stories Vlog
(updated 10/2/07)


New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

The Peanuts House, 2007

Input desired:  at some gawdawful time this morning I caught an infomercial about the Shark Steam Mop, which looked like just exactly what I'd like to get for our Pergo.  I called up some reviews and found that there are several brands out there and the Shark had mixed reviews.   I searched Amazon for a "Steamboy," which seemed to have higher ratings, but there were several people who hated it (and several who gave it top marks).  I'm wondering if anybody reading this has used a steam mop for laminate floors--and what you'd recommend (or not), and why.  Given that my standards aren't exactly high and that anything that cleans anything and doesn't leave me with a puddle to contend with, I suspect that I am not nearly as discerning as most of the reviewers of either product!

A BUNCH OF ROCKS

17 December 2007

This is the photo that started it all.

I can still remember so clearly when I took it.  I don't know how old I was.  I hadn't graduated from grammar school yet and had been taken by some neighbors to Lake Tahoe to babysit for their kids while they went out gambling at night (that's a whole 'nother story!)

I got my Kodak Brownie box camera for Christmas when I was 10, and this was one of the earliest photos I took with it, but I didn't carry a camera with me everywhere in those days either, so I might have had it for a couple of years before I took this photo. 

In those days, color film was much more expensive (so was color processing!), so mostly I took black and white film, saving color for special occasions.

The family had rented a cabin that was, I gather from this photo, walking distance from the lake.  I remember the cabin (and the battles I did with the giant June bugs that attacked us one night...I beat one of those suckers with a fireplace poker until it didn't move, then I threw it in the blazing fire.  In the morning, the damn thing crawled out of the fireplace again.  I swear it was a Japanese mutant!)

Anyway, I was walking down the hill on a path that led to the lake with the parents and the two kids and my trusty Brownie box camera.  I looked out at the lake, with the trees and stones in the foreground and it just took my breath away, young as I was, and I stopped to snap a picture, to capture that incredible moment. 

The father laughed at me.  He couldn't understand why I wanted to take a picture a "bunch of rocks" without any people in it.

I couldn't explain to him why, but every time I see this photo, I am reminded of how I felt the day I took it.  (The photo, of course, did not recreate how breathtakingly beautiful I found the scene at the time, since it was only a point-and-shoot camera and could not capture the kind of detail that made it so beautiful for me.)

I have gone on to take so many photos throughout my life that it's almost a joke among our friends and family.  I remember the day I was standing on a sandy hill overlooking the kids and some of the other adults playing in the ocean when the undertow of a wave knocked David off his feet and started to pull him out.  He was a toddler at the time and Walt was right there to pick him up, but Char laughed that I would end up taking pictures of our children's deaths some day.

How oddly appropriate that seems, in retrospect.  And no, I didn't take pictures of either David's or Paul's deaths, but just about every other moment of their lives, and the lives of all of our kids and friends, has been recorded.

But it's not the "snapshots" that intrigue me, though most of my photos are, indeed, "snapshots."  I'm still always looking for that picturesque "bunch of rocks."

It's hard to explain, but wherever I go and whatever I'm doing, I'm always in some corner of my brain thinking of how to compose it into a photo.  I cannot tell you how many rides I've made to my mother's, where you cross a long 2-lane stretch of road through a wildlife sanctuary just replete with birds that are begging to be photographed, and nowhere to pull off to take their pictures.

I also miss a lot of wonderful shots now because I can't kneel any more.  My knees hurt to kneel on and then I can't get up again if I do get down, so all of those "puppy's eye" photos never get taken, and that explains why so many photos of the puppies are taken looking down at them.

You'll never see me doing this....

...which is why I miss so many really spectacular shots.  It's not that I don't want to...but my body said "no way" long ago.

If I had been smarter when I was younger, I would have taken some photography classes and really learned what I was doing.  I'm still pretty much basically a point-and-shoot photographer.  Sometimes I get lucky and get very good results.  Sometimes I get mediocre results that I can help along with Photo Shop.  And most of the time I get very ordinary, very boring photos.

But my brain longs to know enough that I can make a stab at getting photos like Ansel Adams, know what to do to try to capture those dramatic lights and shadows and to get more of the good results than boring photos.

From the years I've been on Flickr, I've learned that you can make something astonishingly beautiful out of anything, if you get the right angle, the right lighting, the right background.  Maybe some day I will find a way to record a really spectacular photo of another "bunch of rocks."
 

PHOTO OF THE DAY

...in the meantime, this is still pretty darn cute

 

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