No Laughing Matter

Dear Coca-Cola,

When redesigning a product, it is wise to test said product before releasing it to the general public. Your new 20 oz. bottle design is severely lacking when it comes to one very important function.

Opening it.

The new cap design is shorter and smoother. Thus, it is very difficult to get the proper torque needed. And for those of us with handicaps (hey, I broke my wrist and it's never been the same), your new design is more than just frustrating.

It causes a Coke related emergency.

I'm not playin' around here. This is serious business.

Please don't make me do this again.


A Frustrated Coke Drinker


Oregon - Part 2

Welcome back bad photography fans!

Hmm...maybe I should re-word that. Like, "Welcome back fans of bad photography!" That would be more clear right? Otherwise you might think I was calling you both bad AND a photography fan. And I wouldn't want to be confusing.

Right. So. Alternate titles to this post anyone? How about:

"Does your camera enhance the yellow or are you shooting through lemon pie?"
"Getting the knack of catching people with strange looks on their faces."
"Can you find the focusing point?"

The terrible pictures didn't stop at the coast. I took terrible photos all through this Oregon trip. It was as if I forgot how to use my camera.

On to round 2!
I'll begin with two decent shots. These were taken inside at a wine tasting room. They're still a bit dark and yellow, but they're passable for a family photo album.

First we have my Dad and Preston.

Wait, did I say TWO decent shots? I meant ONE decent shot and another shot where we get to see how chubby Tracie is getting.
Winter = Food = Hibernation = Chubby.
Now go away.

Good God. With those cheeks you would think my brothers' names are Alvin, Simon, and Theodore.

What's that? You're surprised to see me at a wine tasting room? You're new around here aren't you...

On to my cousin's wedding rehearsal. The church LOOKED well lit at first glance...but I quickly discovered one had to be very near to a window to get any usable light.

And here is our first instance of "Find The Spot Tracie Is Focusing On". The danger of the lens I was using is when I have the aperture open all the way, the depth of field is SOOO thin. So, even though Ron is in focus (Hi Ron!) Tate is not.

Say hello to my Uncle Bob.

What's the matter Uncle Bob? You look...uncomfortable. Oh! You're just trying to figure out why I'm shooting through a lemon pie aren't you? Although, I think in this case it's a lemon raspberry pie.

Our final shot from the rehearsal is one of Julie and her Dad practicing their walk down the aisle.

It's actually kinda sweet...

And this final group of photos feature my mom and some of her friends. Let's take a look and see if you can figure out what they're doing.

Figure it out yet? No, it's not bridge. Or bingo.

This is my Mom and an old friend. Wait...not "old". A friend that's been a friend for a long time. Sorry Joel. Apparently my grammar is confusing today.

Hey Mom...what conspiracy are you cooking up here? You really should stop talking behind peoples' backs.
(is that punctuation even close to being correct??)

So have you figured it out yet? Will this help?

If you guessed anything other than square dancing...well, I can't help you.

That's right. My mother square dances. And these are a few of her friends that square dance with her.

Don't they look like they're having fun?

She'll likely kill me for posting these photos.

I don't see why though. Aren't they cute?!

Hi Mom! I'm glad you don't read this unless I tell you to!

And I'm certainly not going to tell you at least until after Christmas.

Look out! The paparazzi has been caught!

(Is paparazzi the plural form of something? Like paparaz or paparazza? Is there a singular form of the word to indicate only ONE crazed and annoying photographer?)

I had to run away at this point. Old people don't like their picture taken.

Did I just say that out loud?

Kidding Mom! (and all you crazy square dancin' folk) See why I'm not telling you about this until after Christmas? I don't want coal!

So, did I successfully distract you from how bad those pictures actually were? I tried. Though, looking at all of those yellow pictures makes me want some lemon pie now.

Stay tuned (if you dare) for Oregon - Part 3!

AKA "The only halfway decent photos from the Oregon trip so it'll be a short post cause there weren't that many."


Oregon - Part one

Alternate titles:

"How NOT to photograph the Oregon Coast."

"The worst pictures I've taken since I bought my camera."

"Clean your sensor lady!"

So remember when I told you I would be sharing photos of my trip to Oregon? The post where I said that I just had to do some minor adjustments before posting them? Well, that's only true if:

Minor Adjustment = Totally New Pictures

The only reason I'm still going to post these is so you all can see how NOT to take a photograph. My settings were so out of whack (apparently seawater affects my brain) that most of these are barely suitable for viewing on the interwebs.

But since I'm all about honesty, we'll see a few of them anyway. Just don't say I didn't warn you...

Now. Let's go exploring.

What is that? Can anyone tell? Is that a rat?

I think... I think...

This lovely seagull was probably sleeping until I started bothering it. But once I explained that I was taking its picture to illustrate our first lesson, it was more than happy to pose all pretty-like.

Lesson #1 - Fill your frame with your subject. We weren't even sure what it was in those first couple of photos. I would have liked to have gotten even closer but was afraid for my eyes.

Moving on...

At first glance that photo isn't awful right? Not great but passable. Look again. (Don't be afraid to click on them and make them bigger...makes it that much easier to see the flaws)

Lesson #2 - Keep your sensor clean. Ok ok, so you don't have to really worry about this with a handy dandy point-and-shoot. But for those of us that change lenses on a frequent basis...obviously this is a necessity.

Here. Another example.

It's kinda like a seek and find game!

Except the answers are glaringly obvious.

Woah! What is that thing! Is that a giant squid!?

No no...relax dear readers. It's just a large clump of bull kelp. I LOVE this stuff. The kelp have little "floaters" or air pockets. Once it's washed up on shore, you can step on those air pockets and they snap very satisfyingly. Kinda like giant bubble wrap.

You think I'm joking? Ask anyone that's been to the coast with me. They'll affirm the amount of child-like joy I get from the simple activity of jumping on the kelp air pockets.

Alright. Here is one where my subject is less than thrilled.

Just a side note. I love those sunglasses. (I don't care WHAT you say Larry)

What I DON'T love is this. See? That seagull shaped blur in the sky? Well, sometimes it looks like a bird. Maybe I'll just claim it's a plane.

Oh NO! Look out Preston! That giant squid is going to get you!

Heh. Sorry. I couldn't resist.

How about this picture? It's great right?


Lesson #3 - Don't be afraid to edit your images. This one would actually be pretty simple. I could easily crop that stupid smudge out of the photo and it would probably be better for it even in all around composition. Though I kinda like the expanse of sky in this one...

The following simply suffer from a lack of proper exposure. Sure, you can edit things later...but these were barely usable.

Seriously? I HATE that thing!

Lesson #4 - Learn how to use your camera!

This next one is a perfect example of our fifth and final lesson.

Lesson #5 - Mid-day = bad lighting on a beautiful sunny day. Trust me. See their faces?


Ok and this next one...

Wait a sec. How did a decent one make it through? I'm sorry, apparently we have 6 lessons today.

Lesson #6 - Even the blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. In other words, a little luck is necessary when you disregard all of the rules of photography like I did.

If you take one thing from this post I hope it's an understanding of the fact that I did no justice to the Oregon Coast in these photographs. If you take two things from this post I hope the other is that I'm in no way a professional photographer and you probably shouldn't follow my advice.

I mean, I certainly don't.

Stay tuned for Oregon - Part two!

(or "How NOT to photograph in low lighting")


I swear, it's not what you think!

Our affair began early in life.

It began slowly and unexpectedly, as many affairs do. We spent time together when I was a child. Though it was limited, you left an impression on me that never faded. As a child, my parents would limit our exposure to each other. Most often I only saw you on special occasions. Birthdays, Easter, Christmas, and maybe the odd camping trip or family outing. You weren’t necessarily considered a bad influence on me…just an influence that needed limiting. Remember those couple of times I went so far as to sneak you in? You were my own guilty little secret.

As the years progressed I changed. You also changed, though it seemed you began changing with every season. And although you looked different from time to time, you were still the same inside. I stopped looking at you as a guilty secret though I realized my parents were right in limiting our exposure. You could so easily take over me and I would be in too deep before I knew it. Hours turned to minutes and minutes to hours when I was with you. I had to keep you at a distance that was safe for me. There were times that I couldn’t have you, and then the cravings would nearly do me in. Yet, your presence is comforting to me.

And then, yesterday, we met again in Wal-Mart.

Oh Oreo, you have my heart now more than ever.


I'm not alone

Just so you don't all think I was the only one with the Google/lack of a pirate theme thing, I submit to you the following link.

Pirates Unite!

Ha! Take that Google.


Because Pirates just ARE, ok?

Ahoy Google Crew,

We be writin’ t’ let ye know how disappointed we be with the newest update t’ Gmail. Yar, it be true yer crew has provided helpful updates t’ this popular email program in the past, but we feel ye ‘ave missed yer mark this time. Aye, we be greatly distressed t’ see the inclusion o’ a Ninja theme but a lack o’ a Pirate Theme available with the other new themes. It may e’en be enough t’ make one think that the Google Crew is pro-Ninja.

As ye may be aware, the' battle between Pirates and Ninjas be still bein' waged. While we understand that thar be individuals that will pick sides, we caution ye t' be careful which side ye choose. While the question o' who be better, Pirates or Ninjas, be not easily answered, we hope that ye will understand that leavin' Pirates out o' yer theme choices be a grave business mistake.

Not only have Pirates been around longer than Ninjas (thar have been pirates since the first person built the first boat), Pirates be far more commercially successful than Ninjas. Take, for example, the recent success o' a certain group o' movin' pictures. These stories followed the' legends o' me brethren in the' Caribbean and were such a success we have had trouble with the' sheer number o' impersonators.

When was the last time thar was such a successful Ninja movin’ picture? Let alone three. Ninjas only be havin’ a few teenaged turtles that talk. In our opinion, turtles are good fer nothin’ but soup.

Yar, while Ninjas be admittedly good at hidin', a Pirate has no need t' skulk around in the shadows. We be open about our business and people fear us enough t' surrender merely upon the sight o' our flags upon the horizon. This, me buckos, be true intimidation.

We implore you t' end this discrimination immediately. The Pirates be demandin' thar own theme as well. We think we’ve made more than enough o' an argument t' prove our deservedness. We thank you in advance for your consideration and hope that when we pass you in the street we’ll be able t' give you a buckoly “Ahoy Mate!”.

The wind be always in yer sails,

(Pirates Against Ninja SupremacY)

Google has made a grave error in the new themes that they offer. They've designed a ninja theme...but no pirate theme.

That hurts Google...that really hurts.


Don't Forget to Vote!

With a title like that you're probably expecting this post to be all about the upcoming presidential election right? However, seeing as how most of us are completely sick and tired of this election season, I will not be subjecting you to any political machinations.

Instead, I intend to utilize this space for a purely selfish cause that involves voting for a completely different reason.

I meant to post earlier (like before the contest was over) about voting for Kristi's portrait. But I never got around to it. Ah well. Sorry Kristi. It's still a great pic of you!

But speaking of contests, I threw another photo in the mix for a different contest. No opinion poll this time...I just entered in one of my favorite photos. Not everyone is going to like it but hey that's art right? Heh. I have SUCH a hard time calling my snapshots 'art'. Seems so pretentious doesn't it? As if I really know what I'm doing here? I mean, what really makes art art anyway? Besides, can you even tell what it is? Heh, I love this photo but I also took it...so I know what it is. I have NO idea if it's that clear to anyone else. (and...remember how much I love motion blur? so I'm a sucker for this photo)

Since it IS election week and you're already geared up to vote, up there in the right column is a link to vote for my photo. There are a TON of really fabulous photos if you would rather just go take a look around. (I think you have to click the 'join the contest' button to see them) Go on, click the link and be amazed by some pretty talented amateur photographers. (oh...did I not mention that this contest is restricted to true amateurs? Heh...not that it gives me a better shot at winning anything)

As for me, I will continue to frequent the site and try to learn as much as I can. My photos have improved greatly just over the last couple of years. And ultimately, I just do this because I enjoy it. Not because I actually know what I'm doing. It's one of my favorite hobbies. In the next couple of days I'll share some fall pictures with you. The colors this year have been incredible. Here's a little preview.

And yes. I am fully aware that I have not yet posted the photos from Oregon. Hey, I'll get around to it.



I need your help.

*Update* - I know I do this site for my own enjoyment and don't attempt heavy traffic here, but seriously? Only 7 votes? I KNOW there have been about 5 times that many people here in the last two days. To those of you that have voted, thank you. I know you are the few that are actually here on purpose. To the rest of you that have stumbled here, whether by accident or because you were just that bored, I welcome your opinions too! Please help me out by clicking one of the options. I swear it doesn't hurt.

Alright guys. There may be a contest going on over at Photrade. And I may be thinking about entering it.

Now I know for a fact that there have been over 1000 entries since just the other day. I'm sure by the end of it there will be more than 2000. I also know that with all the other talented photographers out there that would love to get their hands on this sweet prize, my chance of winning is slim to none. I would bet for me to even get noticed my image would have to really resonate with one of the judges for some reason. But hey, I've got to start somewhere.

ANYWAY. The point of this post is not to convince myself how amateur I am. The point of this post IS to gain your help. I need to know what image appeals the most to YOU.

If you'll kindly look over there to your right, (your other right Larry) you'll find a nice little poll. You don't have to leave a comment (unless it's to tell me to get over myself and that I shouldn't be entering a photo contest)...all you have to do is click the name that corresponds with the portrait you like best.

If the poll breaks for some reason you can leave a comment. Even anonymously if you really want to. So. Some of these you have seen, and some of them you haven't. They are, in my opinion, the best portraits I've taken. Do with that what you will. On with the pictures.

In no particular order*:

1. Ben

2. Kristen

3. Kristi

4. Mia

5. Preston

6. Rico

7. Steph

Alright folks! My success fully depends on you and your choice of the entry portrait! (see how I turned that around there?)

Thank you for your input. Your opinion matters greatly to us.

*actually, I just discovered that there IS a particular order. It's called alphabetical. And I so totally meant to do that.

Yes I did.


Seriously Folks?!

This is an excerpt from one of the blogs I read on a regular basis. The author is a Canadian writer and has recently gone on a book tour. The entire post can be found here but I'm not taking anything out of context.

"I congratulate myself for not being even a little rude of violent before now, even though coffee is the link to life, and I haven't had one. (The lines are long at security and I did them coffeeless. This makes me double proud- especially when someone in airport line sees the Canadian flag on my suitcase and takes the time out of their own busy line waiting to tell me that I live in a socialist hell that is doomed to failure. I somehow managed, yay verily though I was COFFEELESS, to thank them for taking the time to share."

Reading this part of her post made me sick. As most of you know, I stick to the funny stuff on this blog...but I just can't help it. Maybe it's my own lack of coffeeness showing, (I've only had a half-cup so far and it hasn't sunk into the blood stream yet) but I HAD to post this.

I seriously can not believe that anyone in this country would point a judgmental finger at another country's government right now. AND to say that another country is doomed to failure? I guess misery loves company right?

Hello, America? I think we still have room in our hand basket...and can you guess where it's going?

A friend yesterday made the mistake of engaging me in conversation about the Presidential debate. My cynicism has really begun to show (as it does in every election year) and though he took it well he got the chance to see what I truly think of our government.

This country has become the proverbial overbearing rich uncle. You know the one. The one who shows up to every family reunion and is loud and obnoxious. The one that asks you how your job is and then proceeds to tell you that you would be more successful if you just did THIS THIS and THIS. The one who gives lavish Christmas presents to everyone just to show off how much money he has then gets his credit card denied buying a $3.00 pack of smokes. The one that gambles all his money away and then expects the rest of the family to fix the problem. The one who, without invitation, inserts himself in an argument between you and a sibling because he "knows how to fix this problem". The one that says he's going to take you to dinner then "forgets" his wallet.

And guess what. NO ONE in the family likes that uncle.

You know? My frustration isn't as much about where this country is headed. It's more about the fact that I personally can't do anything about it. That the average citizen really doesn't have a say.

And all that crap about "but your vote counts!"? Yeah THAT'S a bunch of naive crap. Besides, does it really matter when the 'Powers That Be' have narrowed down your choices to something you never really wanted anyway?

It's like saying "Here we have your two least favorite foods. This one will make you sick immediately and this one will make you sick in an hour. Pick what you want for dinner. Yes, you HAVE to pick something."

So, Canada? Can you save a place for me? I figure a "socialist hell that is doomed to failure" has got to be better than what we've got going here right now.


A conversation through text message...

These texts have been reproduced in their entirety. No embellishment was added because none was needed.

P: Morning, dear. Sleep well?

Me: Yeah just not enough of it. I'm gettin too old for this. How are you?

P: Had a weird dream that would make a funny movie.

Me: Oh yeah? I want to hear about that! :)

P: "Attack of the cannibalistic Republican spider people"

Me: Ewwwwwwww! I think I'll skip that movie!

P: Do Republicans scare you that much?

Me: Lol. Funny funny. It's the spiders and you know it! :)

P: They don't look like spiders, they just wrap their liberal prey in cocoons to eat later!

Me: Lol! You seriously had this dream!!?

P: Yeah, it was pretty scary at the time, but now I think it's funny!

Me: Hilarious! So would you mind if I blog about this particular string of texts?

P: Go ahead, and I'm going to talk to Eric W. and Scott T. about the idea!

Me: awesome! I know someone else out there has to think this convo is as hilarious as I do.

I can't make this stuff up people.


While I wait for my keys...

...you'll get a preview of the Oregon trip.

These are just a few to get you started.

I don't have access to my normal editing software so I apologize if these look a little funny. I was giving Photoshop's online software a test.

And yes. The title IS "while I wait for my keys...". You didn't read that incorrectly. My keys decided to take a bit of a detour and did not make it home with me.

More on that later. Maybe. Definitely more (and better edited) photos to come.

Stay tuned.