Monday, September 28, 2009


Daron is subject that found me through one of my local Craigslist ads.

That site can be extremely hit or miss. Get loads & loads of inquiries, even descending into the kicking around ideas stage. However for every 10 people that approach me, I consider myself lucky if I get 1 shoot to materialize. The ratio is pretty consistant across the board, regardless of where the inquiries are coming. It just is what it is, y'know?

Anyway, Daron was one of those ten percenters & we set something up in my local area. I distinctly remember having a Plan A but I just wasn't feeling it. This happens periodically because of my intuitive shooting style. After that we went to a local park & got some good stuff there. Finally headed to another local venue down by the river.

Though the previous ones were good, this one I feel was the keeper & torpedoes all the others out of the water. I just like how everything just kinda fell into place.


Feel free to comment, opine, suggest, whatever...just keep it civil.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Twilight Review

I've been observing the Twilight craze w/ curiousity & decided to read the book in the hopes of seeing what the buzz is about.

I'm not going to lie, its definately a mixed bag. I'm trying to analyze the novel as a stand alone (as opposed to comparing it to some other similiar book) but if I fail, please don't hold it against me.

1. Ms Meyer's does a decent job when she's describing her narrator's thought process. Its complete drudgery when describing what her characters are physically doing as well as when describing a setting. I also enjoyed the ambiguity about Edward's big mystery in the first 1/3 of the novel.

2. On her website, Ms Meyer describes her writing approach:

I wrote out whichever scenes I was interested in, rather than starting at the beginning and working through to the end. I wrote most of the books in scenes, and then went back later and tied the scenes together. It cut out a lot of writer's block to write whatever part I was most interested in at the time. And it makes it easy to finish. By the time you get around to writing the less exciting transitions, expositions, and descriptions, you already have so much done!

Though I think it can be useful, it becomes problematic in other ways that will be address later.

3. Because the author is so character centric, I really think it suffers by having a disjointed plot. They're like "Oh BTW, this important plot point happens & is the cause of of X, Y, Z". I use the transition into the 3rd Act as an example. The big problem in the later third of the book, never really gives us the reader that the person in question's life is in danger. Also the big connection between the menace & the Cullen family is cheaply thrown in there at the end. Had it not been mentioned, it'd have zero consequence in terms of the rest of the story. The main character's actions in the 3rd Act are so abrupt it forces you to reread parts of the novel because you're convinced you've missed something when you haven't.

Because the author's writing style has the scenes individually written & THEN linked together later, it creates a disjointed story. I really think having a better editor may help her in this respect. The same w/ how Ms Meyer's overuses the "I did this, then I did that, that I walk to the kitchen to do this, & he just sat their smiling at me" approach. There are other ways that the canvas can be illustrated while still achieveing the intended effect.

4. It was interesting in how there were shades of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice in Twilight, (you can thank my copy's discussion notes for that tipoff). I also can see glimmers of J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye w/n the rebelliously, independent Bella & all the trouble she gets into.

In conclusion, I am clearly not the demographic that Ms Meyer is aiming for. However it really does say something about the enthusiasm school age children react to this novel. If it gets them to turn off the Xbox for a few hours a day & get them to read stuff they enjoy, I'm all for it.

All in all, I give Twilight a 3 out of 5 stars. If you're looking for a light, quick read, this may be up your alley. If you're looking for something w/ a little more teeth & w/ rich detail, you'll want to pass.


In keeping w/ the theme of love & relationships, I'm showing you an oldie I shot w/ Elysie & her boyfriend.


Feel free to comment, opine, whatever any part of this, so long as its civil.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Political Irony & Jeanette

As I look at the self-proclaimed Tea-Baggers of the right protesting the policies of the current Obama administration, I really have to scratch my head.

They're fearful of losing their individual freedoms. Ok, I get that. But like where were they when AT&T, Verizon, & other major phone carriers in collusion w/ the Federal Government were listening in on your phone conversations w/o a court order? Or when torture, extraordinary rendition, & Gitmo were going on?

They're fearful of losing their tax dollars. Ok, I get that. But where was the outrage when federal government's spending more than doubled from what the Clinton Administration spent?

They're simply exercising their first amendment rights. Ok, I get that. But where was the empathy when Cindy Sheehan was exercising her own right to free speech?

They're worried about government incompetance about what might happen. Ok, I get that. But where was their outrage at ALL levels of government when Katrina flooded New Orleans?

They're worried about government giving away free hand-outs w/ nothing in return. But where was their outrage when the Congress from the President's own party awards defense contracts over the Sec of Defenses own recemmendations to axe systems like the Crusader artillery? Or the BS how Uncle Sam is now being a majority stakeholder in GM? Or what about the TARP bailouts pushed through in the closing days of W's administration & blessed off w/ little debate by a Democratic Congress?

They're worried about government intruding into people's personal lives, making decisions for them like "killing dear ol' Granny". But isn't that exactly what they were doing since 2002 when they ramrodded all these initiatives onto state ballots that define marriage being between a man & a woman? Isn't that also what a Republican Congress did in the Terri Schiavo case, interfering what should have been a very private family decision even after the courts ruled upon it?

Make no mistake, I completely get what's going on. The outrage is only just when its your side is the one doing it (whatever "it" is defined as). But like when the other guy is in power, you assert your rights because they're being trampled on. Don't believe me? The left is just as guilty. If it was about the war as they claimed for the last 6 years, then why did these Anti-War supporters stop protesting the Iraq War when all of a sudden their guy gets inaugurated? Or how Sen Chris Dodd (D-CT) created massive loopholes in the aforementioned TARP legislation for the applicable companies to take advantage of?

The Right say the current system needs change but the President's are to atrocious to even consider. What do they propose? I for one cannot think of a single thing because, for the life of me, I cannot remember them publicisizing a single proposal. Don't get me wrong, I know EXACTLY what they're doing. They're using the old defense attorney strategy in poking so many holes in the prosecution's case to win via "reasonable doubt." If that's the case, they're not really in favor of change at all like they claim but like the status quo. Ironic to say the least.

& people wonder why so many Americans are turned off by what passes for political discourse. Its so predictablely phoney.

Personally, I don't give to squats about one political ideology or another. My vote will go to whoever sorta are along my own beliefs system but more, for who can get the job done & bring results. If that means voting for the "other guy" or voting for a third party then so be it!

& people sometimes wonder why I'm so ornery. :-)



Outdoor location shoots are always interesting in the sense that I'm never really sure if Mother Nature is going to cooperate or not. Unless its like winter & there's some sort of snow storm on the horizon, the weather report is borderline useless, even when its 3-6 hours before start time. It just is what it is.

My shoot w/ Jeanette last Autumn was one of those days. It was partly cloudy which means the sun was jetting in & out as the clouds moved. Extremely annoying particularly when shooting in the unforgiving digital medium...but certainly not impossible.

I'm choosing the shot below for a number of reasons. I really felt everything came togther at just the right moment. Her expression, the location, the color palette, the brief gust of wind to blow her hair in front of her face.


Feel free to opine about any part of this entry if you wish to do so. Just keep it civil.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Woman in the Red Dress

Meeting J was one of those serendipitious moments in life.

She responded to an ad I posted back in November. We exchanged a couple of emails & strangely (to me at the time), communication simply stopped. I never (& still don't) think much of situations like those. People fly by the night. It sounds like a good idea at the time, then change their minds. Could be a boyfriend issue. Could be priorities w/ the family. Could be job related. Sometimes they just plain forget. The list goes on. Again, I don't hold it against people. It is what it is.

Imagine my surprise 5 months later when she replies!

In the midst of our reintroduction, the original nonresponse was simply a lack of self-confidence thing. I'm the same way (I only seem to do self-portraits when I'm bored & drunk), I can certainly relate. She also mentioned that she'd gotten into doing makeup, mostly for weddings, but was interested in building up her port in that respect. I was more than happy to oblige & immediately enlisted her aid during a shoot w/ Nancy.

Somewhere along the way, I persuaded her to be brave enough to be in front of my camera herself.

It was one of those shoots that I adore. Talk, kick around wardrobe selection (which I punt & pass to her), shoot, eat munchies, shoot, chat some more, rinse, recycle, repeat. It was one of those all day shoots where it felt like no time passed at all. I love that familarity.

I'm choosing this one as a journalistic'y shot of J making Nancy more pretty than she already is.


I'm choosing the picture below because I feel it best showcases J's own presence in front of my trusty camera.


Opinions & comments are welcome if you wish to do so. Just keep it civil (not that I've had a problem w/ that yet).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Health Care

I have some problems w/ the Universal Health Care proposal. Actually, its not w/ the actual proposals themselves, its w/ the rhetoric.

As a person who (I'd like to think) is somewhat educated, I've been trying to sift through all the plans to figure out what's what. Public option, no public option, a co-opt option, the Massachuesetts model, it can be quite dizzing and I'm actually TRYING to understand what's what. I can only imagine who confusing it is for someone who doesn't take the time to understand or leaves it for others to intrepret.

Until about a couple weeks ago, I hadn't put two & two together what the "public option" is referring to.

This begs the question in my mind. Why the hell doesn't the administration simply change the rhetoric...or at least the vocabulary. Let's assume that half of those still don't get what the public option is, because it is that complicated for them & are simply not making the Obama administration's intended connections.

Why not simply taut universal health care coverage as "expanding Medicare/Medicaid"? Everyone already knows what Medicaid/Medicare is. Instead of starting someone's knowledge base from scratch, it draws upon a known quantity. Its less time you have to spend building that foundation, just so to where you can even start explaining the nuisances.

Heck if it were phrased in that way, any Congressman/Senator would be begging to have their opposition hammer away at them whenever they were up for reelection. Just imagine the attack ads. Flashing pictures of overcrowded ER's. Picture of some mother (alla Dorthea Lange's) craddling her bundled up child. A baby coughing or crying in the background. Or another picture of ER workers at work attending to an accident victim. Then flash the words, "Senator So & So is in favor of the ordinary citizen getting sick." Maybe even have some C-Span snippet of him proudly proclaiming, "I'm against this bill." & then have some voiceover of "& he's against ordinary Americans being healthy while the fat cats line their pockets." Yes, its horriblely skewed but its not like attack ads are beacons of accuracy no matter what side its from.

This is different than auto insurance coverage (as a friend & I discussed today). Keep in mind, these are my analysis BUT driving a car is a priviledge. If I chose to drive my car, the states mandate by law that I have to have some form of auto insurance. If I disagree w/ paying auto insurance premiums, I forfeit that driving priviledge. However I can also CHOOSE to ride my bicycle or walk or ride public transportation or hitch a ride w/ a friend or pay for a cab.

Unlike my friend who viewed staying in good health a priviledge (still thinking along the auto insurance before I offered my counter-observations, I eventually pointed out his line of reasoning was contrary to the goverment's own actions, specifically citing the "Children's Health Insurance Program." In that case, they believe children should have a right to be in good health & have access to getting better if need be.

I still have a lot of questions about Universal Health Care. How're we going to pay for it, is one? How're we to speed up the beaurcracy because from personal experience, anything dealing w/ the government is mind-numbingly slow? How much of this is going to be horse-traded away & leaving us w/ what? I wonder how the President's pledge that any plan won't cover noncitizens squares w/ a doctor's ethical oath to "do no harm" as well as their standard operating procedure to treat the most critical paitent first regardless of what their background is. I also wonder how increased coverage is going to be balanced w/ the current shortage in health care professionals.

& for the record, it was extremely refreshing to talk to someone in a civil manner & understand their point of view even if I may or may not agree w/ them. In so many cases, the discourse is simply disappointing in that its like I can see the arguements coming a mile away & a person makes no attempt see another's point of view (even if they disagree w/ them). Hysteria may make for fabulous entertainment but as how Barney Frank expressed it, having a discussion w/ those kinds of people is like talking to ones dining room table.



The above is from my stay in Boston this summer. It was taken on one of the rare nice afternoons where it wasn't overcast nor rainy.

Feel free & comment away on any part of this entry. I'm an admitted feedback comment whore in that respect. LOL

Friday, September 11, 2009

America: the More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

I wasn't planning on posting another blog so soon (& even then it was going to be on a different topic) but since everyone is on this Sept 11th rememberance kick, I'm going to repost something I wrote on Sept 11, 2008. Though some of details are outdated, the crux of the matter & my opinions of such have not.

The following is a repost:

Everyone keeps saying the world totally changed that day. It some ways it has, it more ways it hasn’t.

I remember what the big stories were on September 10, 2001. Britney’s VMA performance w/ a python, the faux story of Al Gore’s beard, the Chandra Levy case. What are the big stories on September 10, 2008? Britney Spears at the VMA’s, the faux missing flag pin or “lipstick on a pig” (take your pick), the never ending pretty girl who mysteriously vanishes in an exotic location that SHOULD be nothing more than a local story.

Just goes to show you that the more things change, the more that remains the same.

Where was I September 11, 2001?

It was a sunny day in Glens Falls, NY. I’d was at ACC for the day because I had classes. As per custom, I went to the computer lab to finish my scrumpicious hot chocolate while reading the morning’s news courtesy of the NY Times website. The connection was sluggish but thought nothing of it. Same w/ the Washington Post's. I overheard one of the student workers chime that he’d heard a plane hit the WTC. Like most people, I didn’t think anything of it, planes hitting buildings in NYC though not a common occurrence was common enough that it was not unheard of.

I continue to my Political Science class & was about to get rolling when one of the classmates comes in tripping out & demanding we turn to CNN. This in itself just goes to show you that even in the age of the internet & the dearth of 24-hour news channels, when you want infotainment, you go elsewhere, when the shit REALLY hit the fan, people still turn to CNN.

The girl was escorted out & we continued w/ the class the best we could. Classes were eventually canceled & everyone was let out.

Later that day, I distinctly remember being bored & going to the gym. It was like, I didn’t really know anyone that was even remotely in the buildings not to mention there was nothing directly that I could do. Everyone was rehashing the same dang thing, no one really knew what was what & wouldn't for the next couple days.

Despite being unable to do anything, I knew the attacks were a “big” event when hearing the planes hitting the Pentagon. I incorrectly thought they had SAM’s (surface to air missiles) protecting it but apparently not. I doublely knew it was big when Foreign Secretary Colin Powell announced that NATO was activating their collective defense clause.

What would this mean for me?

I was 1 year minus 14 days from my honorable discharge anniversary, I was fearful that I’d be called back up to the Marines. It wasn’t the dying part that concerned me, it was living by their stupid f***in rules. I mean seriously, having an officer complain that my room was a little dusty (in a building that was ALREADY condemned of all places) YET dog me out for cleaning my rifle to much is absolutely beyond me. That’s a true story BTW.

Even before taking oogles of Art History classes, I was always a Grecophile & used the Salamis analogy. For the uninitiated after the Thermopylae was overrun, the Persians marched on Athens & burned it to the ground. The Athenians fled to the island of Salamis (basically across from their “port” city of Piraeus) and made their naval stand in the adjoining strait. I made the analogy that perhaps those towers coming down was the price we as Americans had to pay in order to wake up.

Think about it. Western Europe had a bad run of terrorism in the 80’s. Thatcher’s cabinet was uncerimounsouly interrupted by an IRA bombing that killed something like 2 of her ministers. She took a day off, made a speech at the Conservative Party conference where the bombing occured, & went right back to business as usual. We had Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. People forget that Oklahoma City was a case of domestic terrorism. The USS Cole bombing. & this is just w/n the last 10-15 years, if I wanted to, I could easily trace the terrorism lineage back the US Gilded Age.

Yet what is the reaction I get, “(I am) an unpatriotic traitor.” This came from a family friend that has known me all my life BTW. This is also coming from a person who has for whatever reasons has not spent a single day in uniform while I have. Do I think it makes me any better or him any less? No, but I think its important to give context. Needless to say, I didn’t talk to him for over a year because of the statement. I‘ve since forgiven him for his words but I‘m sure as hell not going to forget. Even now, I avoid talking to him…not because of any remaining ill feelings but because I know the political shctick where he’s coming from. I can see it coming a mile away & debating policy or whatever is no longer a worthwhile experience. It gives me more of a headache than anything else. Course I’ve since grown to hate any political discussion because the two parties in power are basically one & the same, they care nothing about those at the bottom rungs & only care about keeping their jobs. Nothing more.

If Americans instinctively take their lead from the head of state, I really think we blew it after 9/11. We had so much international goodwill. So much opportunity to do good. So little things that divided us as Americans. So many opportunities where we could have used the attacks to unite us that AND we were willingly would have sacrificed for the greater good.

What does our leader ask of us? Not to donate blood, not to go to your recruiting station to help w/ the coming fight, not to raise taxes or ask us to buy War Bonds to help fund the upcoming fight, not to donate to charities…but to go out (& I quote) “buy things to help sustain the economy.”

That was probably the most exasperating thing to come out of it in my mind.

It was the sign of our times. Spend now & leave it for the next guy to deal w/. God forbid, we take responsibility for our own actions. There will be no “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” There will be no Eisenhower leadership qualities. There is no recruiting of the “best & the brightest New Frontier.” Nor are their efforts to create a “Great Society” for ALL Americans. No matter how bad our day seem, there'd be no Reaganesque "its sunny day in America." Nope, only W’s tax cuts.

Yes, I made my pilgrimage down Ground Zero. Yes, it was before NYC made it into a touristy hole in the ground. Mine was 2 months to the day after the attacks. Armistice Day, ironically. It was the eeriest trip to NYC that I’ve ever experienced. The stench in downtown was quite noticeable. People outside Trinity Church were wearing breathing masks. Memorials everywhere. The street silence coming off the subway was the most astounding. Before I got above ground, I seriously questioned if I was even in the right place. Of course I brought my camera. I kept trying to think of Margaret Bourke-White’s, “My camera is my shield. When it is in my hands, I have no fear.” I was just starting out then & lost 2.5 of the three roles due to a bad reel wind job during developing but I did get a couple of keepers. As seen here (outside Trinity Church):


& here (facing north from downtown Manhattan):


Not only that, I hate how certain political leaders have whored out the September 11th date for their own political purposes. Don’t get me wrong, I fully expected that. But it still makes me sick that a certain political party intentionally wants us to forget about this terrorism fight on nonelection years. Then when it is an election years, they whip up hysteria in order to get votes. Its shades of McCarthyism all over again. I completely understand what they’re doing, Terrorism is the new Communism. The players have changed but the rhetoric remains the same.

We’ve wasted our resources in a country that had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do w/ the 9/11 attacks instead of on a country that actually did. Don't get me started on the Iraq debacle. I’ll use a football analogy. When you give up 7 turnovers in the first quarter & your opponent converts them all into touchdown (6 points each for the uninitiated), yes, its still theoretically possible to rally but the likelihood of that is…well, you’d probably have better odds of putting money on the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series than you do winning your game.

Don’t even get me started on Guantanamo Bay either. *rolls eyes* How we can have the top law enforcement official in the land say (at his confirmation hearing) state he doesn’t know whether water boarding is torture or not? This is an interrogation technique that has been used by the Spanish Inquisition. How we can have the person who’s “a heartbeat away from the Presidency” say that terrorists should not be afforded rights as per the Geneva Convention because “they don’t wear uniforms”? This is ridiculous! Is he taking a play out of the Chinese playbook for the Korean War (though they’re justification for Geneva Rights denial was that “since a declaration of war was never declared, captured prisoners have no rights.”

This is fundamentally a fight about how WE do things, not of how some “raghead, dirty terrorists who chop people’s heads off.” Yeah, there are A LOT of really bad people in this world. Let’s say you sink to their level & you do get them, yeah, giving them shock therapy in a cold tub may make you feel better. But it also opens those who are on the front line to the same exact treatment that you’re giving the “bad guy.” What does it also say about us when we give these “bad guys” to our “not-so nice friends” who asks them questions w/ technique that we can’t even do in our own country? That’s like saying someone who owes you money is going to get a meeting w/ big, burley Bruno & then you walk away saying that you’re not responsible for your money owing friend’s inability to see the sunrise or eat or whatever. It may make you feel good but at the end of the day, you still don’t have your money!

Sometimes I truly think I’m living in a Bizzaro World of America. Where people cheer the presence of British troops & jeer Americans. No offense to you, Brits out there. But when the hell did that happen?!

By betraying everything we stand for, America under the present leadership has already lost this fight & we’re to blind to even see it.

Here’s to the next guy in hopes he can fix this mess, whoever they may be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

great Great War books and Nancy

For those of you who may not know, I have a morbid fascination w/ the first World War. Its so tragic in the Greek sense.

Barbara Tuchman's "Guns of August" is far & away the best book on the topic, to say nothing about discussing the Great War. It covers the July 1914 crisis to the First Battle of the Marne. I read it at least once a year since picking it up in 2002, partly because I like her prose but also in how she's managed to make a suspense thriller out of documented historical events. This is easily like 5 out of 5 stars.

I recently completed John Keegan's "the First World War". Its a fairly respectable read if one were interested in the topic. It cannot compare to Tuchman's (nor am I trying to) but if you're looking for a good overview of what the Great Powers were thinking, the problems that arose, brief glimpses at the "sideshows" away from the main fighting, this may be for you. I particularly like his discussions regarding the fighting on the Eastern Front. Its the region that was least talked about probably because of the widespread illiteracy amongst both the Russians & the Austrians. The story of oppurtunistic Romania's joining the Allies, reads like a farce as well. However if you're looking for in-depth analysis, you'll probably be disappointed. This is more closer to a 3.5 stars out of 5.


The picture below is of Nancy. Her boyfriend Nick pointed her in my direction sometime last year.

I really have to temper my enthusiasm for some people because I'm one of those single minded idiots where if one of my "Farenell Girls" called me up at 1a, bored, & wanting to do a shoot, I'd tell them to expect me in 20 minutes. Translation: unlike myself, I TRY (though admittedly, periodically fail) & remember that other people actually have a thing called "a life".

This picture was from our fourth shoot & the makeup done by J.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comedy of Errors

Recently had an entertaining conversation w/ a prospective model.

She initiates contact w/ me about working together. We discuss ideas & schedule a shoot date. Get into side conversations ranging from how old I am (apparently this matters to some people) to favorite movies to she eventually inviting to make me dinner after our shoot.

It suddenly turns on the question of me asking gas money & suddenly cancels. Apparently, the reasons for canceling were, "if you're going to ask for that, I have to wonder what else you'll want." Uh yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I guess she has a point, w/ that , speeding is a gateway crime to Murder 1.

Talk about a 180. LOL

Nevermind neglecting to ask for references. Nevermind she never asking to meet in a public place to see if I'm actually real. Nevermind actually knowing someone before you invite to make dinner for them. Nevermind that her husband was already going to be in attendance (he was going to be participating in the shoot).

I guess the bright spot in all this is that, no shoot means I do not have to muddle through the drudgery of editing.

In fairness, though I may complain about the headaches, I find it cathartic & entertaining to talk about them. In reality for every 1 headache, there are probably 6-7 prospective models that either go through w/ a shoot or decline in a civil manner. Either way, my life will go on.


In brighter note, this is Lindsay. She is kinda like the complete opposite of the aforementioned bipolar weirdo.

This particular shoot occurred in two parts. The first part was like a comedy of errors constant interruptions, a swarm of insects, wacky weather, a bleeding wound that wouldn't stop bleeding (she said she cut leg shaving & when the band-aid came off, the bleeding recommenced). We got what we could.

The second part (we both randomly found time in our schedules) & got together lickety-split at her place. That one went off w/o a hitch.

Lindsay describes herself as a "shoe fiend." The shot below was created by her picking the outfit, having her sit in the general area where she is, & I randomly tossed the shoes up in the air. Where & how they landed is what you currently see in the below photo.