Friday, September 28, 2007

Bald Eagle

I added two new photos to the On Focus Photo store tonight. The first one is a bald eagle in front of the Space Needle:

The second is a shot of some pretty red fall leaves. If you go to the store, click on "Newest Photos" to view them.

Besides a photogenic day, it's business as usual. Although without getting into any detail, my boss is leaving for an incredible opportunity. As a result, there will be some changes in my work-related future. Some unknowns. I don't have a clear idea of what those changes will entail, but I don't foresee anything really bad. (always knock on wood) But now you know that's going on.

Jer's night shift has been extended indefinitely, which is a bummer. The upsides are I have lots of time to work on my photos and Jer gets paid a wee bit more to work these hours -- the downside is I only see him one entire day per week. But it won't last forever. And hopefully we're disciplined enough to put the extra pay towards our house downpayment.

Speaking of disciplined spending, today I bought a yogurt maker. I am going to make my own yogurt. This is either the best idea I've ever had, or I am going to give myself salmonella. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jer and I went to see They Might Be Giants last night at the Moore Theatre. It was great, awesome, best concert ever. Full of energy (although now I am not). Bright lights, fast songs, close seats, good. Can I go back to sleep now? I'll be your best friend...

Quick aside: both this and the last concert of theirs I went to featured a fellow concert-goer with wiltingly bad body odor. Why???

I love They Might Be Giants. Their songs make me happy. It is worth the sleep deprivation. The end.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Tonight? I experienced poutine? And it? Was an experience! Thank you, Canada. For all the fulfillment.

And plus? I love you gravy, french fries, and cheese curds. I heart your heart squeezing goodness. You complete me.

And thank you, Courtney. For all the new places. Courtney is a pal (which I just spelled pla, and I wish I could think of a good acronym for.) She took me out and showed me the town. And poutine. Mmmm. I wish it was acceptable to order gravy in a pint and drink it down. A pox on the world that it is not.

Also, I was accused of being from Vancouver, which is not so bad. In my secret heart sometimes I wish I was more like Kids in the Hall.

Today, unexpected things happened, as they do. And I will either adapt or I will not. Life is funny. But hey. I have my job, I have my health, and I have friends, which is more than I can say for where I was two years ago. Two years ago and two days, back when I was unemployed. Things happen and you deal. That is my philosophy.

There is pizza and pajamas in my future. And maybe silly drinks. The end. Also, good night.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Your standard update

As predicted, my weekend involved a lot of keywording the images you can see on Alamy's site. I was able to finish over half of the images, so there's about 39 left.

On Saturday, Jer and I went to the Greek Festival. We split the moussaka, pasticho, souvlaki, spanakopita, Greek coffee, and loukamathes. (I am not looking up the spelling so don't give me a hard time if I screwed up.) We also bought a couple of desserts to take home. Very tasty. We avoided the gyro line since it was incredibly long and we can get those pretty much any time.

And on Sunday I drank wine and keyworded some more. We watched "Vertigo," and that's about it. Oh, and I don't think I've mentioned, but I have collarbones again, or rather, I've lost enough weight now that they're showing through my skin. Before the Greek Festival I'd lost 4 pounds in the last month, but then I went and ate all that tasty food. But shhh. Here is my secret: it was worth every calorie.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

For the ladies

I added a list of personal finance blogs I read regularly to the sidebar. They're all pretty good; check them out if you have any interest.

On Thursday I went to Macy's for my first bra fitting. This is one of those female things that has always intimidated me, but seemed like it'd be a good idea. And since I've lost almost 25 pounds, I decided it was a good time to take my top off.

Turns out it was a great experience. A woman representing Vanity Fair took my measurements, and she, along with the person she was training, spent a half hour bringing me different bras to try on. They fit well, looked nice, and were only a slightly different size than what I've been wearing for roughly 17 years - and not that different in price. It was such an epiphany I didn't want to wear my old bra again after trying on ones that actually fit.

They also gave me a free candle, so maybe I'm biased because of the free stuff.

Anyway, if you've never been to a bra fitting - and you think it might help - I say give it a try. It's free at Macy's, you can make an appointment, and they're having a special bra fitting event through next week.

Never fear. I'll get back to non-bra subjects such as photography, exercise, finance, science-fiction, or booze in the next entry.

Friday, September 21, 2007


After 1 month of waiting, all 90 photos I submitted to Alamy just passed the quality control stage. That means I can keyword and post them for sale world-wide! Yay, seems too insignificant. Hooray? Tally-ho? Cool beans?

When I'm not at the Greek Festival eating honey and phyllo and nuts this weekend you can bet your sweet ass I'll be keywording. And then I'll hop back on the rollercoaster and get the next batch ready for submission.

Happy days.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ING interest rate

So ... anybody else notice ING quietly changed their interest rates yesterday from 4.50% APY to 4.30% APY?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

my personal best

What I appreciate most about working with a personal trainer are the moments when I'm struggling to lift some weight or move my body in an alien way, and he gets me to keep going. And I find that I can do these incredible things, things that if I think too much about them, I'd convince myself straight away that I'm not the sort of person who would ever do that.

Here I am, me, on the vertical chest press. Or shoulders on the ball doing 30 reps per arm with a 12 pound weight and then another 30, and another, and... Sweat everywhere. Slightly light-headed. I finish and he's telling me the next impossible move and I ignore the negative thoughts and nod, "Okay. I'll try." Because I trust him. And finally, after years of avoiding the gym and exercise, I trust myself.

My body is changing and has changed so that I hardly recognize parts of it. I catch a glimpse of my arm and there's muscle in there! You can see it defined through the skin. I press a hand into my abs, because hey, I feel muscle in there too, like tough little knots. And it's so strange. I'm a bookworm. Sometimes I take pictures. I get winded from climbing a couple flights of stairs... Or I did.

I get bogged down in labels because it's easier to live on auto-pilot and let the labels define me. What's hard is facing that trainer twice a week and fighting against inertia. To cinch my pants and hop on the treadmill. To climb stairs that lead nowhere as I watch a passerby eat ice cream and remind myself that it's not about what that person is doing, it's about what I'm doing. And what I've done.

Above all, it's about truly understanding that the words "personal best" mean everything. At the end of the day, it's just me comparing myself to me. And I hope that no matter what challenges I face in my life, I'll remember what I learned from my trainer -- no matter how impossible it seems, just nod and say, "Okay. I'll try."

Of course if Yoda were my trainer he would strongly disagree. But then if Yoda were my trainer I'd probably be doing lunges in a swamp somewhere, own a light saber, and spend most of my time trying to move objects with my mind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"but son it's only tuesday"

Jer had to extend his night shift for one last week so here I am again. I just finished getting some photos together for shipping tomorrow -- fancy moisture resistant photo mailers and packing slips, hooray! And now I think I'd like to read some more of Your Money or Your Life, except that so far it manages to both empower and enverate at the same time. This is one of those books with big ideas. The kind you have to read slowly.

There's a cat in my lap DEMANDING attention. It is almost the extent of my social interaction today, this cat and her purring. Although I did have a conversation about sci-fi books on the water taxi, which was very pleasant. But still, the cat comes in a close second on the social meter. Is that sad? Maybe it's sad.

Have you checked out the new photos I added to the store yet? The salmon is one of my favorites. I took it at the Ballard Locks a little over a week ago. I'm also partial to this shot, which I took off the top of the Space Needle with my fish-eye lens. Beautiful day.

I'm about to call it an early night and fall asleep reading. Sounds like a solid plan. Sweet dreams.

Monday, September 17, 2007

things that rub me the wrong way for $1000

This morning the dental hygienist referred to me as a "young adult." I know you're supposed to be flattered when someone says that, but I wanted to grab her and say, "Just adult. Drop the young. No patronizing."

But then you really shouldn't grab the person who is chiseling at your molars with a sharp metal pick. So I kept my mouth shut, so to speak.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

slow but steady

I added some new photos to my store at

16 are from the Seattle 3-Day Walk last Sunday -- portraits of the Warming Hut Hotties -- and 12 are brand new general photos. I'll be adding more general pix in the coming weeks.

As always, thanks for looking.

We're off to the Celtic Swell for a late breakfast. I must needs flee this damned computer; the rain is calling.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

no news is good news, right?

I returned the scanner this morning, and I'd like to thank our Garmin Nuvi GPS for making the experience so pleasant. I love that thing.

I scanned slides and negatives for about 6 hours last night. I didn't watch anything in particular -- old episodes of the Celebrity Paranormal Project, Top Chef, and Fat March. I am so happy to be done with the scanning phase of the project. Although at least I could sit in the living room and look out the window. Now I'm stuck at my desk in the office with some mp3s that I'm afraid to listen to, in case I miss my mom's call. I like to listen loud.

Tonight I'm attempting to pre-post a bunch of images to my photoblog because I ran out as of yesterday. So really, nothing new. I did manage to take out the recyclables, vacuum the kitchen, and make a batch of brown rice this afternoon, but other than that it's all about the photos.

Jer is at work. Cats are asleep somewhere. And I am craving chocolate cake like you wouldn't believe. I tried to satisfy the urge with a snack pack of pudding, but my body isn't having it. I may have to skip straight to the scotch. That'll shut it up.

It occurred to me today that it's almost fall, which means pumpkin beer! Pumpkin beer makes everything okay.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A night at the movies, or three

As I've been scanning slides these many evenings (found a new setting, whee!), I've watched several of my favorite DVDs as a soundtrack. Tuesday night I watched, "My Dinner with Andre." Wednesday night I watched, "Lost in Translation," and tonight I watched the Disney version of "Hunchback of Notre Dame," which I will now refer to as HoND.

Have you seen HoND? I submit to you that it is a fine, fine film. One of the greats. It is the opposite of light-hearted. It is dark and kind of terrifying and mostly about how ugly people have tomatoes thrown at them, and gypsies are murdered by cruel tyrants... Ah, but the music is brilliant. (And the book it's based on ain't too shabby either.) Yes, I also own the soundtrack. One song called Hellfire has a chorus of Mea culpa, Mea culpa as the creepy Frollo sings about his lust for the gypsy Esmerelda -- after he smells her hair and then steals her scarf so he can smell that too -- with lines like:

  • It's not my fault, if in God's plan, He made the devil so much stronger than a man!
  • Like fire
    This fire in my skin
    This burning
    Is turning me to sin
  • She will be mine or she will burn

Oh, Stephen Schwartz. First you gave me Pippin. Now you give me HoND. How can I ever thank you?

Also? In that song, the animators draw a seductive woman out of flames and she beckons the sweaty Frollo to have unholy thoughts. Old man moaning is involved. Go, Disney! Or the song about hanging? Superb. And thank you, thank you, thank you to Tom Hulce for his wonderful voice. Just gives me shivers.

Last but not least. Today Jer and I applied and received our marriage license. We're thinking we'll make it official on Oct 10, because 10-10 is easy to remember, especially because it is where the hands fall on every clock in every commercial to show that the clock's face is happy. Did you notice? I bet you did.

I really thought it'd be more difficult to get the license. You just hand over $60, show a driver's license, and fill out a form or two. At least in this state. I walked away thinking, "Geez, they'll give these things to anybody... well, as long as one of you has an obvious penis and the other an obvious vagina." I wonder if you look androgynous how they handle that. Do they make you prove it?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Things I Put In My Mouth Today for $500, Alex

Hi internet. It's a blog cliche to write about what you eat. So why not comply? Today I've eaten (in no particular order):
  • sliced apples
  • 12oz black coffee
  • 2 fig newtons
  • Accelerade (sports drink)
  • a 5.5oz can of V8
  • 3oz steak and 4oz brown rice bowl (with a little toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and low sodium soy sauce)
  • banana
  • nectarine
  • light string cheese
  • about 5 liters of water

I worked out for 45 minutes. 30 minutes intense weight/strength training, and 15 minutes on the treadmill. I feel good today. I wish I had more days like this, where I do things more or less correctly. So today's post is entirely self-congratulatory, which I know is pompous and all, but it keeps me accountable. Later I will probably regale you with tales of the tasty cheeseburger and seasoned fries I enjoyed minutes after posting this entry... complete with side order of shame.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A very fine Sunday

I have an entry I planned to write but then I wanted to insert some photos (currently very far away from me) and I am tired of making excuses so here's my update without photos.

Pretty much I've been scanning slides and negatives. About 130 done so far. But on Sunday -- well Sunday was beautiful. I left the house and did things. I walked slowly to Alki Beach and enjoyed the lovely sunrise light, then perched on a stone pedestal for a couple of hours and cheered on 3-Day walkers. At that point in the course they were 5 of 15 miles into their last day. I was near the watermelon table, where they kept cheering, "Melons for your melons!"

I waited for Courtney's group, the Warming Hut Hotties, to appear and then walked with them back towards Seacrest Park. I snapped some photos, I listened to them chant, and enjoyed the energy. Lots of honking and bubbles and chocolate and cheers. Fantastic.

After I left them, I convinced Jer to get lunch at Skylark Cafe & Club, where I had a Monte Cristo sandwich and tater tots. From there we made our first visit to the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard -- these are the photos I wanted to share. A beautiful sunny day. Blue sky, water, locks, botanical gardens, a fish ladder, and a couple of spiders made it a perfect way to spend the afternoon. On our way back to the car we stopped for refreshments. I had a root beer float (with Sparky's root beer) and Jer had a latte. It was the best tasting, most refreshing root beer float I may have ever had.

Then we went home and I scanned some more while we watched Dr. Who and Eureka. Not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Friday, September 07, 2007

I rented the slide scanner today, and now I'm chained to it.

But on the upside, I'm finally able to do something with all these photos I snapped 5 years ago.

Yes. That consoles me. That consoles me so much.

You know what else consoles me? Sarcasm. And sleep. I think I'll go do that now. And dream of slide mounts. Sweet delicious slide mounts.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

promises, promises

I told my trainer I would do cardio for at least 45 minutes, 3 days a week, in addition to working out the 2 times we meet each week.

I don't know why I told him that.

Okay, I sort of know why. I set a weight loss target for December 1, but I didn't actually mean it. I just said it, see? He wasn't supposed to take me seriously. But then he went and wrote in down in pen, and now I'm stuck.

I should buy him a pencil. A whole barrel of pencils. And when he asks me to define a goal, he will write it in graphite so it can be eradicated by the winds of time and my accountability will depend on dust.

Last night I didn't work on my photos and made a spinach and brown rice casserole instead.

Hm. That sounds too noble, so I'll let you in on a little secret: the final ingredient was 3 cups of shredded cheese.

This weight loss thing is in the bag, baby.

Monday, September 03, 2007

How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend

I pruned and filed 34 sets of slides yesterday. About half of each set found its way to the trash, but I still managed to pull a decent amount. I used the pub table in the living room as my workstation, set up my light table, loupes, anti-static cloth, gloves, and a stack of empty plastic filing sheets (top loading with data panel!), and Jer put on the Paprika soundtrack. Something like 3-4 hours later I looked up again.

I just ordered 2 more archival binders because the 3 I have now are bulging.

In a way, it's like taking a trip down memory lane -- a trip I wasn't particularly keen on taking. And it's true, some of my photos aren't all that great, I half-assed some of my assignments but not because I didn't care. Mostly I was panicked and sleep deprived and very far out of my element. There are also some genuinely fine photos tucked in the lot, and that's what I'm doing this for, which makes this whole experience feel more like a rescue operation than reminiscing. I'm salvaging my past.

During dinner, I set up an impromptu studio behind the recliner and took some shots of my partially filled wine glass. Here's one of the shots:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

another Saturday night

The good news is: my back is better. The bad news is: I've got blisters.

Yesterday wasn't bad as far as productivity is concerned. I fed my friend's cats, called my mom, went for an hour and a half walk, and submitted another 15 photos for consideration -- bringing the total count to 80. (That's a lot for a Saturday.)

The walk felt good, and I remembered to wear my walking shoes and a pair of running socks, but at the turn around point I noticed my feet weren't too happy. Eh. So instead of power walking straight back, I found a low concrete seawall and dangled my feet into the 4 foot gap for awhile, breathing in the smell of seaweed and salt, watching a couple of kids torment the gulls. Then I eased my way back home.

Except for the bubbles on the soles of my feet, I felt energized when I got back. I dug up another 15 photos I hadn't realized existed -- some of them required extensive editing to remove labels and dust -- and Jer found a place where I may be able to rent a slide scanner. Even better, I already have a gift certificate with them. Now I need to find some uninterrupted time to organize the hundreds of slides I have (possibly thousands now that I think about it, ugh) and figure out the best way to scan them all in and retain my sanity.

First step, which is not my favorite, is pruning each set and filing them in a plastic sheet that goes in the archival box. The only fun part about that is using the loupe -- at least until my eyes fall out of my head from all the squinting.

Listen to me: bitch, bitch, bitch. I'm not actually complaining, I'm just trying to get mentally prepared for this daunting and overwhelming task I've been putting off for five years. But hey, there's no substitute for just jumping in feet first, right?

Suck it up and file.