Monday, December 22, 2008

The First Day of Winter

Yesterday was officially the first day of Winter. Living where I have most of my life that season’s meaning is somewhat lost on me. It gets in the 40’s (Fahrenheit) and we throw on our coats to ward off the unbearable cold. Then disaster strikes and we get a little bit of rain. Oh no, it might rain for an entire day.

According to some weather reports from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [weather dudes]), wind chill in the Midwest puts temperatures at -30°F or lower today. Now that is winter, not this wimpy, “oh let me grab a light jacket stuff” we have here.

I know that water freezes at 32°F, but I wonder what temperature below zero is has to be to hit the ground as ice. Jack London wrote about it in his short story To Build a Fire, and said -50°F; as the character has his spit freeze on his face and beard. You will not find me in a situation to test that out any time soon. The thought of a human snowman does not sound too appealing.

Mowing the lawn can be a pain, but this sure does not look like a lot of fun.

These photos above are courtesy of some severely frozen people. I took a quick look at my photos and found one where people look like they are absolutely freezing. A little different, but if you look you will notice some actually have sweatshirts on.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Cremation of Sam McGee

Every year my sister reads The Cremation of Sam McGee to her class at school. I am not sure when she will read it this year, but in honor of the cold of winter I bring you the poem written by Robert Service. The poem originally published in 1907 was a hit, published again by Ted Harrison in 1986 and read in Canadian elementary schools.

Another person I knew would sing it, and quite well at that. Though I have not my sister’s voice to play for you, I found a copy read by the author Robert Service. Unfortunately, the reading was cut short and the end is not there. Instead, I found another video read well. The YouTube video is not embedded so I do not freak out anybody's browsers, but the link is below:

Although it is quite long, if you want to read along here is the full text of the poem.

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that he'd "sooner live in hell".

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead — it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May".
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here", said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked";. . . then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Story on FictionPress

I have a page on a website called FictionPress. FictionPress is somewhat like a writer’s forum where users can upload works of fiction they have written and where anyone can read those written by others. The link to my FictionPress profile is on the sidebar to the right as well as here. The page includes everything from short stories, poems, vignettes, and a few others. Many entries are very old so some are kinda silly. But I uploaded a new short story titled The Day I Die and I encourage you to take a look if you like. It’s pretty short and I hope you enjoy it. You can also make comments and reviews on FictionPress. If you are a fan of fiction, take a look around and you may enjoy some of the other things offered on the site. Let me know what you think and enjoy.

Monday, December 8, 2008

From The Coffee Shop to Your Screen

Inspired by an idea from an employee at a local coffee shop I worked up a new 55 Fiction. A 35-word story was shown to me and I rewrote it with a different storyline, which is surprisingly hard to do with a 55-word max.

With this one, as with the previous Passage and The Duel stories let your imagination fill in the blanks. Reread the previous two with your imagination if not your eyes if you want. Forget the sparse words and let your mind live it, nightmares optional.


Shadows crawled the carts.
His fearless face framed by silver moonlight.
High noon in a Tibetan market drenched in black,
Mockery of merchants that chanted their goods above the crowd.
Faceless dark lunged for fearless light.
Shiv carved from the other fears split darkness,
Headless it crawled back to the shadows.

© 2008, all rights reserved

Friday, December 5, 2008

55 Fiction

You have heard of short stories no doubt, but I was introduced to a type that goes a little more to the extreme. The local newspaper ran an annual contest for submissions to what they called 55 Fiction. Turns out it is quite popular and surprisingly it was the same paper that started the writing contest in 1987. The main idea is to create an entire story in 55 words or less.

That may sound rather simple until you see the criteria. The story must be 55 words or less, have a setting, one or more characters, a conflict, and then a resolution. The paper receives thousands of entries every year and publishes the ones they think are the best in their weekly paper a week or two after the submission deadline.

I submitted two, and unfortunately, neither was chosen to be published in the paper, but it was truly a blast to create something so short. Every word has to be considered, can one word be used in place of two? I admit I am in no means a master of this style, but I encourage you to try it out. Try writing a story in 55 words or less and see how it goes.

Here are the first two I wrote. I have some others that I learned to be more word conservative with, but as first tries they were fun. I think the first two originally were a little too vague and left a reader with a possibility of not understanding the plot, but I will let you decide that for yourself. Passage is 53 words and The Duel is 49. Enjoy.


They go in. They don’t come out.
Watching from the hall two went in. None came out.
Menacing doors swallowed them all.
An emptying hall, all go through the gaping hole.
I couldn’t help myself. I had to see, slipping through the closing doors.
Fellow prey stood to my side, “Level two please.”

The Duel

Stoic statues faced each other in a dusty street.
Windows boarded up for a storm under blue skies.
A thundering roar heralds a pinnacle’s crumble to dry earth.
It was over, and the other moved away.
A glint of light from a forsaken sheriff’s badge discarded in the dirt.

© 2008, all rights reserved

Monday, December 1, 2008

As Heard from the Roommates IV

I recently moved out of my old apartment with my more than crazy roommates. I still had plenty of items to place on my As Heard from the Roommates series, so I figured I would include some of the best ones left and move on. The two people and dog I am living with now can be plenty strange, so we shall see if the craziness continues.

Not sure when I will be moving into a new apartment, but I sure hope it is soon. The living arrangement now is not the best. I will continue the Crazy Signs series with plenty of pictures that frankly make no sense at all. Now without further adieu, the madness of apartment 502.

"I’m too lazy to inhale, been holding my breath for three months now."
Upon being asked why he did not do his laundry, which was now rather ripe.

"It’s a special seeing eye rat."
If only I knew why this was one of his pets of choice.

"Blast, I need more plutonium."
"If only we had a cow."
Which is of course the natural reactions to any problem that may arise.

"All hail spoon."
He was rather excited to find one not in the dishwasher.

"That better not land on my pizza."
Pizza was one roommate's food of choice with ice cream a close second for dinner. Objects being thrown around the living room bothered him for some reason.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanks to Zirretta

I have a severe dilemma at the moment. Not counting the winged hamsters pounding on my window with burning torches I realized there are no more books I have to read on my list. I started rereading a favorite of mine, but I seek advice from those that might accidentally stumble onto this site or visit it.

My sister has a great book called Book Lust and it's companion More Book Lust which is more or less a book of literary recommendations for all sorts of genres and interests.

Though I plan to ask her tomorrow if there are any specific recommendations I send my question into the Internet and it's series of tubes, since it's not a dump truck. (Series of tubes full quote [2 minutes long])

From dusty literary classics to sun bleached westerns, pew pew science fiction, "Look upon the land and behold it's power" epics, "Maus"ey graphic novels, steamy romance novels, well maybe not romance novels or any with Fabio as the main character.

Anything you want, those you have read a dozen times or those you have had recommended to you.

With Christmas coming up our family always does a gift exchange with each cousin getting another to give a gift to. Maybe I could write down one of your recommendations. Either way I will be giving the bookstore a Christmas gift of sales this coming month.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Darkness on Black Friday

Note: I wrote this post with breaking news as a source of information. Those familiar with breaking news know that some of it is exaggerated or false. The original post mentioned two women that were killed at a Toys R Us. As the day went forward, it was said by police that two men shot each other inside the store, and there are no other suspects. The post has been updated and currently coincides with news reports. Though things may change as more facts are learned this has still been a dark Black Friday. The original post with changes made is below.

I do not want this blog to become too serious in any way, but I believe some things have gotten out of hand on Black Friday. Black Friday received its name for the enormous amount of sales made the day after Thanksgiving.

Though Black Friday initially received it's name due to a comparison to the chaos that took place during Black Tuesday, the day of the 1929 stock market crash, it now is seen as the day businesses go from no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the profits (the black) in accounting.

Businesses open very early in the morning, with some offering "door buster" sales around 4 to 5 a.m. A door buster sale turned deadly in New York.

Black Friday has taken on new meaning for me, associated now with sadness and heartache. A 34-year-old male employee at a Wal-Mart in New York's Long Island was killed when the store opened at 5 a.m. A door buster sale actually became one when about 2000 people gathered outside broke down the doors and trampled the employee. Several other employees and shoppers were hurt or taken to the hospital, all because people could not wait to buy the latest piece of junk. The store couldn't even keep it's doors closed and reopened it’s doors only a few hours after blood was spilled next to DVDs of The Incredible Hulk for 9 dollars. I never knew the price of a human life could be bought for such a great deal.

Emergency teams trying to save the man’s life were even pushed around by shoppers trying to grab that last on sale item while the paramedics were trying to save him. Not one person has been charged with any crime; after all, it was a door buster sale. The running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain sounds calmer than this madness. Fourteen people have died since the first running of the bulls in 1910, and as sad as that is, at least they knew what they were getting into and not simply doing their job.

Black Friday was even further stained with the red blood of innocents when two men shot and killed each other shot at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert California. There are no concrete facts yet, but no other suspects are sought and no others were shot. This is just sick. A Tickle-Me-Elmo is never worth a payment of blood.

Toy guns are fine with me, but when someone brings a tool of death into a store designed to fill the dreams of children and kills two people I feel like taking one of those Elmo’s and beating the despicable gunmen and throwing them into Oscar the Grouch's trash can. I am no fan of personal violence, but Black Friday got darker for me today.

Even as I sit here at a Peet's Coffee Shop in a relatively small shopping center I have seen over a dozen police officers wearing bullet proof vests walking around just in case. Two are standing in the Best Buy electronics store and checking bags of shoppers for weapons.

I apologize for the somber post; I wish that I never feel the need to write one again with all my heart. May the families of victims this Black Friday be comforted as we use coupons clipped on Thanksgiving, when we sit down together to enjoy the countless things we are thankful for, knowing that there will be an empty chair this Christmas for some when we pass out presents stained with blood.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pixels and Yarn

I know it is quite late but I figured I would link some photos I took at the Harvest Carnival on Halloween since I said I would.

I had a great time taking them, unfortunately, I have a very poor flash right now so when it hit nighttime so did many of my photos. I am planning on picking up a Vivitar 285 to use as an external unit. Would have been useful when I caught our dinner running around before we fired up the BBQ.

Sure there are newer and possibly better TTL (Through the lens) flash units out there, but it is hard to beat the 285 or it’s smaller sibling the 283. The 285 has been around since 1972 and I would wager many photographers still carry this workhorse with them. Further, some of the cheapest TTL flash units are more than 200 dollars, and to be honest you need to spend several hundred more for a good one.

A brand new 285hv, which is a rerelease of the original only runs about 80 dollars as well. After 36 years of service Vivitar made only one change worth noting, which is lowering the voltage of the flash so as not to hurt digital cameras.

To make things sweeter the 285 and 283 are manual, and I think most photographers are a whole lot smarter than a tiny little chip inside a TTL flash.

In other news, my sister will be happy to hear that I am getting better at knitting. It feels like I have two left hands, no thumbs, and 8 fingers on each hand some days, but I am nearing the completion of my first piece, considering completion as it being square. If only I was this talented.

Thanks a lot GidgeFlibbit, another one addicted.

One more thing, what set of photos is complete without an angel?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Harvest Carnival

With Halloween around the corner, I will be taking photos at the Harvest Carnival tonight in town. The carnival is designed mainly for kids with everything you would expect to find at a fair. There will be a bungee jump, tons of carnival games, and those cute little trains with the miniature cars for the kids to sit in.

Last year there were many of those inflatable bounce houses with everything from races while you have a bungee cord pulling you back, slides, and Velcro walls that they have you jump into while wearing a matching Velcro suit. And of course, a petting zoo with all those wonderful smelling animals. Last year there was a really tall ferries wheel but I do not know if they have one this year too.

The American Gladiator jousting has always been a favorite of mine. People get really competitive when they are allowed to bash each other with huge foam sticks.

I will be climbing up on top of the climbing walls and take photos as people come up as well. Those usually turn out pretty good.

The people that run the carnival usually have some official photographers, but a friend and I are bringing all our photo gear as well, then giving them copies of all the photo RAWS. I will have copies as well, so I can post up any good ones I get. It is always frustrating taking photos at night though. I do not have a good off-camera flash yet so I have to rely on shutter speed and aperture.

I wonder how many pounds of cotton candy everyone will gobble down tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm Back!

Believe it or not, I’m back. Sorry for the extended absence for the past couple months. I realize the only person that reads this is maybe my sister or a few people that accidently come here, but there’s always the hope someone may enjoy it. I have since graduated from college and am looking at a possible job as a civilian journalist with the military.

Staying with earlier posts, I will continue to post photos. I am also rewriting a story I have been playing around with for a while with the help of a friend. When I finish a part that seems decent enough not to be laughed at I’ll put it up here.

In other news, the economy is really swell right now, and unfortunately, it has not been kind to my sister’s attempt to own a house. After living in an apartment they were only meant to be in for a few months they have been under that roof for more than a year. If you read her blog, and you should since it’s great, then you would probably understand her frustration a little. I think Tony the Cat is sabotaging the house purchase. That cat has murder in his eyes, as seen by the scratch marks that his owner is always sporting.

Fear the Tabby

More to come soon, in the meantime here’s a picture of a Howler Monkey.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

High key shoot

I was finally able to get back into the studio to do some more photo shoots. Did a high key shot with my neighbor for this one. It was a fun setup for the shoot because I used a giant boom to suspend a light dome over her. The light dome was the biggest one I had in the studio, at about 5 feet wide. That’s when you want to make sure it is firmly attached to the boom. It would probably make my model a little unhappy if a giant light dome fell on her in the middle of the shoot. Working with the lighting packs always worries me during setup. I usually work with a 2000 watt lighting pack and as I am plugging lights into the pack, I always hope I didn’t screw up anywhere. A 2000 watt electrocution probably would hurt a bit. I’ve had the pleasure of getting shocked pretty bad once before and that was an interesting experience. I was welding and arced 30 amps through my hand. I was wearing lambskin gauntlet gloves and lit them on fire. I’ll pass on any more of that. Here’s one of the photos that I took.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Late night noises

We have a new security company at my apartment complex to keep the peace on weekends or any other party time. There are several security companies in town and they picked one of the best ones, so my next-door neighbors might be having parties that end at night and not with the rising sun. Speaking of my neighbors I don’t know how a group of people can party that much. I would say from Thursday to Sunday it’s a party. Beer flows like water, or maybe a river, make that a waterfall, did someone say Niagara?

Thankfully, I can go next door and tell the guys that my room is shaking apart from their speakers and the volume drops for about one minute before someone turns it back up again. Music isn’t that big of a deal but when you are not sure if it’s an earthquake or the bass from the latest copy of a copy of rap music it can be annoying. Over on our side we have weapons of our own.

My roommate recently acquired a trombone. There is only one small problem, he plays the cello, not the trombone. So when it’s really loud he decides to practice the trombone, or at least that’s what we call it. He produces his brass weapon from a case that is so broken and abused you can only imagine how bad the instrument is. Then you see the trombone, and it’s just as bad. Sorry roommate, clean that thing. He brings the trombone to his lips and belts out the worst sounding thing imaginable. Imagine a horn section at an orchestra trying to describe the sound of pain, and there you go. They might be able to reproduce his solo born against the midnight breeze.

I’ve been next door and asked the guys, so, did you hear that noise last night? Yah they say, what in the world are you people doing up there?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Keep away from the sharks

This sign is posted as part of several warnings including rip tides and not turning your back to waves. Somehow, it doesn't seem right though. I can understand playing with some wildlife, but gosh, playing with the sharks sounds flat out dangerous. I don't think people have much say in the matter though. If a shark is out there about to nibble on you, I don’t think it’s going to ask you first. Yum, human drumsticks, high in fat, lacking vitamins though.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fishing at the pier

I have always liked going out and shooting photos at the beach, and especially on piers. With many people walking up and down there are so many different things going on to shoot. I have posted several photos from piers nearby already but I went out and shot a few more this week at a different pier. I will post one for now. I always like to wonder what the person’s story is that I am taking a photo of. This girl was struggling to fish with the big pole. Casting seemed to be hard because of the guardrail. Climbing up it was probably not the safest either.

Monday, April 7, 2008

War of the pollen

There has been a new front in the war of the pine tree pollen. Not only is the outside of my car covered, as well as my room because I had my window open for a little while last week before I realized it was coming in, but now something new. While the yellow pollen is settling on my car, it has found a wonderful way of attacking me, through the air vents. I started my car this afternoon and the cabin was suddenly filled with billows of yellow pine pollen dust. It was horrible. I even had the pleasure of watching the pollen flowing out of the vents, gosh, when will it end? I wish I could just go up to the trees, shake them hard enough, and get it all over with.

Friday, April 4, 2008

As Heard from the Roommates Part III

Time for another episode of As Heard from the Roommates. Things are starting to get strange around here.

It was a calculated risk when I released the mongoose.

The field has gone feral.

No there’s not a body in it.

Moo! Send in the Cowvalry!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Pollen dust

Pine pollen dust has taken over my apartment. There are many pine trees surrounding the complex and they are all spreading fine yellow pollen all over everything. Cars, sidewalks, windows, even the top of a lamp outside my window is covered with yellow dust. My car is completely covered with the pollen, and this must be an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Under a microscope, pollen even looks menacing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New macro lens

I got a "new" used macro lens for my camera so you will be seeing some more close up shots in the near future. It’s a 100mm f/2.8 Canon macro lens. I’ve previously been shooting macros with another lens that has made life difficult. I will be able to do life size magnification with the new lens.

Macros are always fun to do. Most of the ones I have posted have been shot in the studio. It has been closed for a little bit but I will probably be able to get back in some shooting time next week. Here’s a macro of a disc I did with another lens.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Crazy signs part I

One of the many signs around the city that makes no sense. So we are supposed to stop, yet right above the stop sign is another that reads there is no stopping any time, I’m confused. To make matters worse our crazy cops would probably give us a ticket no matter what.

Monday, March 24, 2008


If anybody has heard of it I have a site at It is basically a writers’ forum where anybody can create an account and post their original stories or poems or any type of work. I have been writing and posting on that site for many years. It says I joined December of 2001, scary. The most current things I am working on are some vignettes and a story called Black Skies. Black Skies is in progress. It is kind of a fun side project story. I just added a short poem for those that are interested called Ordinary. The fun thing with it is I increased the words in each line by one in each line. For example, the first line has one word, second line has two words, etc. Once it gets to the climax of the poem it decreases by one word the same way. Check it out if you like. You can find the link in the “My other sites" box to the right or by clicking this link. The two newest entries will be at the top. Enjoy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Barrel of monkeys

New photos from the studio. I was playing with a light table and some toys this time. And is there anything more fun than a barrel of monkeys? Since the light table is shaped like a steep slide I taped the barrel to the back and then taped two monkeys inside the barrel and let the others hang from those. I like how it turned out. I have a Gumby toy I am going to shoot next time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

At the beach

I was at the beach a little while ago taking some photos so I thought I would pass on a couple beach shots. Beautiful outside despite the storms we had the previous days including hail. It was quite surprising when I was sitting in my room and it started hailing outside. Not that big of hail, about pea sized, but it was still something you don’t see everyday around here.

This is one of my favorites. I was planning on taking a picture of just the three of them sitting on the bench, but just as I was about to take the shot the kid on the right turned around to look at me. I thought it added a nice touch to the shot.

I was walking on the pier and saw the banquet of Lay’s barbeque chips by this little guy. They say don’t feed the birds but the pigeons would probably tell you a different story.

When I was walking down the pier, I saw this guy leaning over the side. I spent a good amount of time on the pier, maybe 30 minutes. When I came back, he hadn’t moved. Deep in thought I guess. Background of the waves and cliffs added a nice touch to the shot.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

As Heard from the Roommates Part II

Time for the second installment of As Heard from the Roommates, with more randomness and proof I live with strange folk. As it is no explanations needed, but if you are curious about the story behind something drop a comment.

Deploy the anti-bovine weapon, we’re helpless against the cows. Real time strategy gone horribly wrong.

That would be a great shell script, hit a button, howler monkey!

Stop your train. Stop your train. Defects detected. Hotbox near axle 23 dragging equipment near Axle 0.

I’m too lazy to inhale, been holding my breath for three months now.

Toast! Buttered with awesome.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pablo Neruda

My sister over at Gidgeflibbit recently pointed me out to some poetry by Pablo Neruda, and I must say I enjoy it quite a lot. I highly suggest you take a look at it if you are a fan of poetry like me. Scroll down the page on this website until you find his work, La Muerta and Soneto 17. For the English only speakers that’s Dead Woman and Sonnet 17.

On a separate note I am right now listening to crazy neighbors yelling and sometimes yelping in pain as they are shooting each other with water balloon slingshots…genius.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Literary quotes

There are so many books that I have read over the years, and a few of them have stuck with me in particular. Some because of the content, some of them because of the teachers in the classes in which they were taught, or others because of when I read them and what may have been going on in my life. Sometimes I can find a passage of a novel that sums it up, or gives a good idea of part of the novel.

Some of my favorite books are those written by the Brontë sisters, especially Emily and her book Wuthering Heights. The passage I like the most in that book is, “I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.”

So, what are your favorites? Do any of you like anything by the Brontë sisters as well? Leave some comments with your choices. Doesn’t seem like many people visit this blog yet, but maybe soon.


I work for a morning radio show for those that don’t know. Mostly it’s a news show with interviews, traffic reports, weather, etc. I write strange news stories all the time, but this one takes the cake, well, pie. I’m not gonna paste in the story, but basically blood donors in the county and the one south of us for the next couple weeks get a free Marie Calender’s pie.

They have done promotions in the past like coupons for pizza and the like, but a free whole pie is not bad. They even faxed the promotion announcement to the station in classic press release format all professional so I got a good chuckle out of it. I had to make sure I didn’t make the story sound silly on air, but since I donate blood regularly looks like I may get myself some apple pie this week. Yum yum.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

As Heard from the Roommates

Going to be introducing a new feature for you all. I’d like to informally call it for now “As Heard from the Roommates.” A lot of craziness goes on here, and though we are one guy down as he is up north quite a lot the three of us manage to tear the apartment up anyway. I should have done this before but I never wrote down some of the incomprehensible things that come out of their strange minds. And so it begins.

I am the tuna of the devil!!

Guess we’re gonna have to put you down (in response to another roommate meowing like a cat, that roommate will remain unnamed)

And my personal favorite:

There’s so many pranks you can do with bacon grease and airport security

Friday, March 7, 2008


I was playing with some flash units in the studio and thought I would try some silhouette shots. It ended up being a lot harder than I thought since the subject in the photo didn’t cover up the lights entirely and I was getting light flare in the image. Took a while to get one where he covered up the tripod and lights. The subject is actually one of my roommates and he was doing martial arts from the Muay Thai he is involved in.

He couldn’t go, but my other roommate and I headed out to the beach around sunset to get some shots with natural backlight to make a silhouette. We had only a few minute window to take the shots so we had to make sure we were set up. There are a lot of sand dunes out there so we climbed up one.

On the way back we noticed a funny sign. I think it’s pretty obvious that I won’t be playing with that particular wildlife. It might not end too well for me.

My roommate you see in the beach shot has a collection of funny signs he has seen around the city so I will try to get a copy of them.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I read about this strange soda called Ramuné so I had to check it out. It’s a Japanese soda, but the strangest thing is the bottle that it comes in. On top it has a plastic wrapper that has a little plastic plunger looking thing. You then use that to push down a glass marble that is keeping the drink sealed.

The carbonation and gas is pushing against the glass marble from inside keeping it up against the top of the bottle until you push it down with the plunger. The actual bottle has a large cottle to keep the marble from falling down into the bottle once the marble has been pushed out of the way. It’s actually a really neat design.

If you have a market near you that sells Asian food, I highly suggest you take a look for Ramuné. If you only see the original, original is a lemon lime type flavor.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Your favorite blogs

I know not that many people visit this page, but I wanted to know your opinion on other blogs. There are a few that I read but I am curious what your favorites are. What blogs do you read on a regular basis, which do you take a peek at once in a while? Leave a comment with those that you like so I can check them out as I am curious. I’ll have some photos I took at the beach up soon for a photo shoot I did. Some of them turned out pretty good. I was racing the sun, as I had to do them as it was setting so you only have a few minute window and that made it a little difficult. But leave comments on your favorite blogs, later.

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Discarded

I was crossing the bridge by my apartment that goes over a creek and saw a bike just sitting in the middle of the rushing water. Made me wonder why someone either threw it over the side of the bridge in the first place, or why someone hadn’t gone to get it. I went down the embankment below the bridge, which was an adventure in itself because it is very steep and still wet from rain. Took a couple photos then dragged it out of the creek. It had a tag with the owners name on it and an address so I am gonna see if I can look the guy up.

I was on my way to the esurplus junk dump, as I like to call it. It’s where all the electronics that are outdated or going to be trashed are taken. There they are sold on online auctions similar to eBay. However, different from eBay an entire computer usually ends up with a final bid of 10 dollars or something silly like that. The computer we are running our web server off of at the apartment we got for 5 bucks from esurplus. They also sell monitors, chairs, cords, well, lots of stuff.

Most of the good stuff is in that warehouse in the background but some of the really old stuff is in those boxes. Unfortunately, when it rains there is nothing covering those boxes so some of it is ruined. So strange sometimes what is considered trash, and what is discarded. A perfectly good bike and a landscape of electronics.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I was driving down the road and saw these people at a park near where I live. There were around 20 of them just going nuts smacking each other. I didn’t have my camera so I went home first and came back, but the rain had reduced the number of people there quite a lot. Thankfully it had stopped raining by the time I got there as rain and cameras don’t mix all that well. I guess it is something called Amtgard. One guy that told me he was dressed as a monk explained a lot of it to me.

Some were fighting each other with weapons made of bamboo with those floater things that you see at pools wrapped around them. A few of them even had shields.

Probably one of the more interesting parts was what people were yelling out of their cars as they drove by. People in cars yelled everything from insults to various quotes from the movie 300. There was even a truck that slowed down to watch and got hit by another car, whoops. Overall, it was really fun to watch these people because they were really into it. Surprisingly no one was injured while I was there.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Under the weather

Your fearless leader has been under the weather the whole weekend so it hasn’t been the most fun the past few days. Along with the constant rain it's been a real blast. I’ll have some real fun photos for you tomorrow. I saw some people doing something pretty interesting while I was coming home from helping a DJ record at the radio station. Almost no DJs are live anymore, it’s kinda sad. Almost everything is prerecorded. The camera is in the car so I am not going to go grab it and upload the photos until tomorrow. You’ll just have to guess what craziness is going on that was enough to have an accident happen from people watching them as they were driving by. Gotta leave you with something though, so here’s some people watching some dolphins at the beach. They were just past the pier but I thought the people were a little more interesting.

This guy must be a stud though, having four girls following him around, not bad.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ipod pouch

Two posts in one day, scary, but I told my sister I would do this for her and keep forgetting. If you didn’t know, she is an excellent knitter. Some of the things she has made are just beautiful and the artisanship is superb. She has made a little bit of everything. You really need to look at some of this stuff. Can you really get much cuter than this?

She is also part of a group that exchanges Christmas ornaments every year and made quite a few of these for this past Christmas’ exchange.

Clothing too!

Anyway, I got an ipod for Christmas and my sister knit a little pouch for it. She asked me to take some photos of the pouch in action. I was going to take some shots in the studio today but some people were using it so I set up my own little shooting studio in the study area of the Dexter Building for those that know it. They have a nice red felt covering on the seats. Of course, leave it to the Dexter building to have red felt seats. I also found a white poster advertising some weird concert and used that as a white background for some high-key shots. Here’s a few, the rest I am sending to Gidgeflibbit for her knitting collection. The background isn't very white but I'm not one for spending much time in photoshop.

A little about me

Thought I would say a little about myself. I am currently pursuing a Journalism degree and will finish college at the end of this year. With work regarding my major, I have worked for newspapers and a TV station in the past, but I currently work for a radio station doing a morning news show. I write news and produce parts of the show. One of the more unique parts of working for a morning show is getting to work at five in the morning. I have been writing and taking photos for quite a long time. I started writing fiction in 5th grade and the story I wrote got chosen to be performed by the local high school as a short play. That got me going on writing and I have been doing it ever since. As far as photography, my grandma gave me the photo bug. When my sister and I were growing up she was always taking photos of us and she got the nickname Flashburn Della (Della being her name), as we supposedly had glazed over looks in our eyes from so many flashes going off. My first camera was this really funky Kodak thing. I looked for a photo of it but I don’t remember what it was called but it looked a little like this one.
For the longest time I was a total film guy and completely opposed to digital. I developed all my own shots in darkrooms on campus, which was great because you had total control over the exposure of the photo. A little while ago though I finally got a digital camera. Various reasons, but I had to take the digital plunge eventually. I’ll leave you with a shot I took of one of my roommates a few days ago in the studio. He is a relatively quiet and reserved guy so it took a little while to get him to do this shot. It is called a low-key shot if you were wondering.

Lighting used was a Dyna-lite 1000 and a 2000 connected to three soft boxes and goboed for lens flare. Unfortunately I didn’t get the gobo right and the black background is more gray than black. For non studio people gobo is a term used to mean a barrier to “go-between” the light and something else. For example, you can tell that I didn’t block the lights properly from the background or it would be much darker. Instead, you can clearly see its black paper and not a black void as it is supposed to be like in this shot taken by a friend.

Enjoy and have a good weekend all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The beginning

Welcome to the beginning of Jon de Plume. I have wanted to start this blog for quite a while but never got around to it. I have had a page at for several years, but you can’t add much more than a bio to your uploaded works. My sister has been my biggest encouragement for starting a blog. Her blog, Gidgeflibbit is quite popular. It doesn’t hurt that she is adored by many and extremely talented. I apologize that the template for my page is currently the same as hers. I like the design, but I will change it once I get the chance to play around with the colors a bit more. Like FictionPress this blog will be updated with new pieces I am working on. I will also upload photos from my studio shoots. Some are available on Flickr, but I will place photos on the blog more frequently. To start the ball rolling this is a shot I did today for a product promotion shoot.

I almost broke the eggs while stacking them. Probably should have boiled them first. I’ve never been one for eating the sugar coated Peeps, they kinda scare me. Simple lighting using a Dyna-lite 2000, a large soft box on a boom tripod, and black paper for the shot. I had the soft box hanging above me so every shot blinded me, oh well, that’s 2000 watts for yah.

Anyway, if you are visiting from FictionPress, welcome, extra reviews coming your way. I will try to update frequently and enjoy.