Sunday, 31 August 2014

Week Thirty-Eight: Fenestration and Circumvolution

This week features a trip to Ireland, but first the Internet offers up a word each day. Not because there is a vocabulary drought, but rather because words are so lovable. My brain files have so many collected in the great halls of Stuff I've Learned, but accessing just the word at just the right time sometimes proves difficult. Aren't words just gorgeous? The ubiquitous They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it really isn't that simple. My pictures are worth 500 at the outside, and sometimes just the right choice of word can paint the perfect picture far better than any camera or canvas.

Day 1 (260): 25th of August
Bloviate i.v. To speak or write at length in a pompous or boastful manner.
How appropriate that the first word in a personal blithering blog is all about being wordy. Granted, the intent is that this particular blog not really be pompous or boastful. All there really is to boast about is the level of self-deprecation. Or perhaps the extent to which things only just don't get screwed up too badly. Windows are lovely and can really make for nice photos when captured the right way.

Sometimes the right way is hard to execute. Does one go fully centered? Slightly angled?

How much monkeying about in post is too much?

Day 2 (261): 26th of August
Rhetorical adj. Of or relating to rhetoric. Characterized by language that is elaborate, pretentious, insincere, or intellectually vacuous.
What, then is rhetoric? Many things, it turns out. It is everything from the undue use of exaggeration or display, to the study of effective use of language, to the art of prose in general as opposed to verse. We all know about rhetorical questions; we use them every day. The entry for yesterday used a couple. But the rhetorical behaviours that fall into the "pretentious" and "intellectually vacuous" are the ones that really cause great personal frustration. I've not time or tolerance for pretense. Nor indeed do I give time to the vacuous. It is not worth it. Here are a couple more windows. They have some other windows framed within.

Yes, these are only more loosely windows, but they came out rather well.

Here you go. Proper windows. A bit overdone in post, but it doesn't look too terribly bad.

Day 3 (262): 27th of August
Transitory adj. 1. Not lasting, enduring, permanent, or eternal. 2. Lasting only a short time; brief; short-lived; temporary.
Some things are best left in a transitory state. Other things are sadly brief or temporary. Still more hardly make it out of the intellectual and into the realm of the actual. When one lives an unsettled, ever-shifting life, one comes to terms with the transitory aspects of the universe, but one is still acutely aware of those things one wishes to pin down just a tiny bit longer. This is yet another window. A funny one, and one that I see every day.

Day 4 (263): 28th of August
Obstreperous adj. Noisy or rough, esp in resisting restraint or control.
As often as I've been accused of being stroppy, the term has been taken in as part of the essence of Rodeo. Thankfully, while stroppy is a colloquialism based on the word of today, it does not mean precisely the same thing. I may indeed resist restraint or control, and am bloody-minded about most things, but I don't always do so roughly or noisily. In fact, such resistance and bloody-mindedness generally manifests in the opposite manner. What is not quiet, but is also not rough, is Indy. She finally got her long overdue ride. It hurt the old spine a tiny bit, but it was worth it. She was grateful as well. 

Can't you just see the contented smile on her face? It's just there.

Day 5 (264): 29th of August
Degust t.v. To taste or savor appreciatively.
Just the thing to do in Dublin. Be it the food or the booze or the environs, one can appreciate every bit of the place. This being a first ever trip to Ireland, it has made an impact. Somehow every time I travel to places like the UK and Ireland, I just feel at home. Like returning to the Mothership. Must be all the Celtic and Gaelic blood.

Dublin is a lovely place. Did I say that already?

This guy is pretty great. He is outside Trinity College. What a gorgeous set of buildings.

Day 6 (265): 30th of August
Prescience n. foreknowledge of events; divine omniscience; human anticipation of the course of events. How good of you, Dear Internet. You have offered up the perfect word for today (maybe for the week). There are so many times we think we know how something will pan out. Some of those times, we turn out to be correct - such as those times when the athletic team we support wins the game we've come a long way to see (despite it not being a team we may normally care about... sports are just fun).

Other times things just don't pan out as planned and / or expected and / or hoped. If only one had true prescience, one might be able to avoid the more disastrous moments in life. Those are the times meant to be avoided; experiencing them doesn't help anything or build character or teach us lessons (most have been learned already).

If only the behaviour of friends and perfect strangers could be predicted. At least some of the time. The rest can be left up to chance. That keeps it a little interesting.

Day 7 (266): 31st of August
Pulchritudinous adj. physically beautiful; comely.
Another perfect word from the Internet of Good Choices (as opposed to the Other One). Weather went all pulchritudinous today; it was downright warm and nary a cloud in the sky. Lovely weather always helps to set one's mind and mood a bit more to rights. Doesn't really heal bumps and bruises (that's why they made ice), but it can help make them not such a distraction. Night People may rather suck, but Day People and Fall Weather certainly do not.

Probably should have not gone and made Saint Patrick's Cathedral monochrome, as it loses the impact of the really blue sky, but I like it better this way.

The garden by the cathedral was even nicer. I love little details like these.

This little guy certainly agreed. He was the focus of attention for about ten minutes. Amazing how therapeutic staring at a little bee can be.

At least I didn't have to change months in the middle of the week. So there's something. 

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Week Thirty-Seven: The Life Curmudgeonly

A long week, for being a short one. I had one tasker that became a massive goat rope and then after all the work, I got a call from the source of the tasker (in D.C.) who basically said "thanks but that was not what we were looking for. Your command didn't really have equity in this at all." Never a dull day. I recently introduced one of my sailors to the term curmudgeon (by telling him he was one), and after consulting a dictionary, he happily agreed he fits the bill (at 25 years old). Bless. Though for whatever reason I was rather that way myself all week. A more normal girl might blame hormones, but I prefer to blame my brain and my blood sugar and sleep levels.

Day 1 (253): 18th of August
Watching loads of So You Think You Can Dance again (to catch up, you see), made sure my crap mood from earlier (stress-related from ship offload and having to go in to work for a couple hours) was greatly relieved. Nothing like thinking about dancing to make me less cross, though it does make me miss the days when I was rather not terrible at dancing. This is a silly photo of some dancing shoes (if one is mad enough to dance in shoes like these). I couldn't get the light right on the watch face, but really I'd not dance in these any rate.

Let's be honest; these are more my speed for dancing. And pretty much anything else that requires shoes.

Day 2 (254): 19th of August
Yesterday was about dancing shoes, which put me in mind of other articles of clothing associated with cliches. Thus we have the thinking cap. This one is for thinking about v naval things. Or really just thinking about when I can not have to be wearing it any longer. If I'm wearing this it can only mean I'm in one of the more wrinkle-able and rather tedious uniforms. I don't care that they look all fancy and cool; they are a nightmare to care for and to wear and to not stain with sundry food and drink.

Again, we have a thinking cap more my speed. In this I shall think about not-naval things.

Ahhhh. The ultimate salve for a crabby girl. Beautiful sunsets. Can't even remember why I was so cross earlier....

Day 3 (255): 20th of August
A Wednesday that behaves like a Monday - totally unacceptable. I suppose that is what I get for having only a sort of work-y day Monday and a liberty day yesterday. Though in the middle of that day my phone indicated I had a voicemail from work, but all that was in the message was silence and the phone didn't show a missed call. When I called to inquire, no one knew who had called, so I spent the next several hours trying not to worry that it was something bad. I v nearly gave up and went in to work regardless, but my bloody mindedness kicked in and I decided not to let anyone ruin my much deserved day off. So there. Laaaaaaaaaahhh light through the clouds.....

Day 4 (256): 21st of August
Department picnic / hail and bail for new and departing people. At least this time someone brought beer. Almost had to miss it because I am the local "she'll do it" girl, and my rank sometimes distracts people from the realities of my position. Trying to say "if you can't find anyone else, I'll do it" when your brain is trying to direct your mouth to say "bugger off!" is an interesting experience. Wooo Saaah. Just look at the nice clouds, Rodeo, and stop being such a grump.

Not sure about this picture. A BBQ grill without the grill bit. Meh.

Day 5 (257): 22nd of August
I've decided that if anyplace can be a market for the discerning tastes of sophisticated land sharks, that place is the autostrada in Italy. I've heard that the left forearm of the human male is a delicacy, and any land shark with an interest in such things would have a lovely time on the roads here in the summer. Male left arms just hanging in the breeze out car windows, as far as the eye can see. I think the richness comes from the dedication to paying attention to the road. Really adds to the bouquet of the arm. Do pardon the attitude. It does seem to be the thing this week. Between maddening taskers and maddening locals and maddening brains, it really is nearly enough to drive one to drink. If only these grapes were already wine, but they certainly aren't in any hurry, now are they?

Wait, I think I may just possibly have one or two or several bottles in the house... Take your time, grapes. Take your time.

Day 6 (258): 23rd of August
As I was driving today, I heard an odd little thwack just beside my head.  Turns out a fly had been sucked in the passenger window and splatted on the passenger headrest. Quite a thing, that. Poor little bugger had been going about his day getting a little thrill out of flying across traffic on the strada statale. A bit of a thrill seeking fly, he thought he had it down and had avoided getting the windscreen treatment. Cut it a little too close, however, and the little crack of an opening just sucked him in and introduced him to the headrest. He's still there, by the way. I keep thinking the wind will blow away the remains, but no such bloody luck. Makes you think. Or maybe it doesn't. One or the other. On second thought, all this thinking or not thinking makes me just want to curl up with the bunny slippers and a good book I've been needing to finish.

As an interesting aside, I recently received the below in the mail as a thank you for my contribution to an Omaze charity for Make a Wish. I'd already received a t-shirt signed by Mark Hamil, two original Star Wars passports, and a Star Wars Fan Club poster from the '80s. This is a 3D MakerBot of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber hilt signed by John Dykstra, visual effects guru for the films. Pretty neat, no?

Day 7 (259): 24th of August
Sorry about that. I get a little excited about my nerd things. Do try to hide your surprise. There is a technique of photography that attempts to split a shot in half diagonally, creating a unique perspective and composition. I've experimented with it in the past, with mixed results. When I stepped outside this morning to have a go with the camera and a chat with the chat, I was greeted by a sight that is so familiar, yet in this instance demanding of capturing. I attempted to make the diagonal split, and while it was not a perfect split, it is a shot of a perfectly lazy feline.

Upon further venturing into the garden (where I've not taken as many photos of late), I realised a) that my landlord cut down / ripped out one of my favourite trees that makes flowers that smell like citrus (but no fruit) and attract loads of bees, and b) that my lemon tree has recently gone bananas (if you'll pardon the expression). For the past two years, this fool tree has had one giant grandpa lemon hanging on one branch, but little else to prove its viability. Apparently the beast awakens and now is simply covered in little bunches like this one.

Been a while since the last garden flower boring photo, and if I'm honest there are not many flowers left to photograph. Found this little guy all alone on his plant.

And this one as well, not far away. I love the little spots in the middle. Like a tiny person dropped tiny dollops of tiny paint in a nice little tiny circle.

So it turns out the crankiness / curmudgeonly behaviour that so characterised the early days of the week just needed time to settle. I probably managed to not burn down too many bridges along the way. All part of my charm, I suppose. A visit from the Doctor (yes, that Doctor) certainly didn't hurt, I am certain. Such AMAZING Doctor Who, too. Really, properly good. So refreshing to see a Scottish actor being a Scottish Doctor. And maybe a little curmudgeonly himself. Just a little. 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Week Thirty-six: Nauti, Nauti Girl

This week will be rather naval in nature. But being on a big metal floaty thing will do that. Big floaty things don't have great connectivity (rather small bandwidth on a good day), so the upload left much to be desired. But the experiences were fantastic and the photos were too many to choose just a few. Still left some out (like the ones of me in uniform - didn't take them myself, you see, and no one needs to see it), but some of the really neat ones from France and a special WWII naval ceremony are below. 

Day 1 (246): 11th of August
Not going to have the strongest opening this week (again). Only really got photos from the bus as we drove (in the worst beach traffic imaginable) up to Gaeta. So needless to say they all came out neither good nor terribly interesting. But that is life I suppose. We never got up to much of a speed, but when we were properly stopped, it was not near anything all that demanding of being photographed. Just a vineyard or two.

And maybe an olive tree.

Even Gaeta itself was all hazy and gross so I didn't bother with a majestic shot of the Mighty Mount Whitney (that was only slightly said with a smirk). Just the generic "coming up on Gaeta" shot.

Day 2 (247): 12th of August
Woke to hear that Robin Williams had died. I well know that many comedians struggle with depression, but it is still sad to see the passing of someone who had such an impact on my youth. As a compulsive people-pleaser, I have a natural love for those who bring joy to others, even if at their own expense, or perhaps more accurately to make things not seem so bad. Rather a glum note, and rather glum photos, as I was busy and only had time for a couple in the old stateroom. Like the odd phone base still on the wall (we have a newer one right beside it). Gosh it's a bit blurry, eh?

And the big art piece identifying the room and frame and all that jazz. 

Day 3 (248): 13th of August
Woke to hear Lauren Bacall had died. She taught Bogey how to whistle. She was a force of awesome. What a lady. Seems a bit appropriate that for our time in Theoule Sur Mer (on the French Riviera), we popped over (via mad expensive taxi) to Cannes. Yes, that Cannes. Such an amazing place. Someone really ought to think about putting on a film festival of some sort. Great food. Had duck with apricot rosemary sauce... mmmmm. Also, so many amazing brilliant cars. This is not Cannes. It is just the whole bay. In the rain. 

Looks rather better in the sun.

Like riding away from the mighty ship, the weather makes things seem nicer. 

This is Cannes. So many amazing boats. 

And this one that is less amazing posh-wise, but still looks great in slightly altered colour. 

Day 4 (249): 14th of August
Second day in Theoule Sur Mer. While on the shuttle that took us to the beach I was totally distracted by this amazing British boat in the harbour. It needed the frame. Such a beauty.

Long ass day. My meetings got pushed back several hours in the day, so the liberty plan of being lazy in the afternoon on the beach became being lazy in a beachside bar. 

Then it became being piggy over some veal piccata and creme brulee that made me want to cry. I don't do food porn photos, so the scene is the name of the game. 

As is this part of the scene. 

Day 5 (250): 15th of August
Basically today was all about ceremony. after a day of rather rocky travel about the sea off the French Riviera, we were a part of a parade of ships and then a pass in review (look it up; I'm not explaining it) before the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle. During the mad wind and choppy seas, I went out and got a few nice shots. Like the coast near Toulon. 

And here are the ships in formation. 

And again. The wider shot. 

Such a gorgeous day at sea. A tough job have I sometimes...

Later, we got to put on our glad rags to go man the rails during the pass in review. Despite the pain it caused my back and the mess the wind made of my hair (it happens), the experience was incredible. Took so many photos today it was nearly impossible to only choose a few. The French carrier looked quite posh all manned and covered in important people. Had to sneak this shot with the iPhone because we were supposed to still be at parade rest. 

We even busted out the battle ensign (not to be confused with busting on embattled Ensigns - Navy people will get it). So majestic and things. 

Day 6 (251): 16th of August
Back to Theoule. On a Saturday. Felt like a cross between late on a Friday and a Tuesday, what with the "some work but not really but yes a bit" manner of the day. But we got out and had more time in France. Not that we wanted to go much of anywhere. Just found a nice beach and brought books and grub. Nice view.

Nice water. See how we try to make a little bitty wave look like a proper big wave?

And some rather artistic beverage containers (my overpriced adult bevvie is off camera).

Day 7 (252): 17th of August
Last day. Thank the great Water Gods. 
This is a placeholder in the event of an inability to get the Sunday shots up (a good chance of that happening). It is a passageway (or hall if you prefer) within the Mount Whitney. My room is just up a few frames and on the left (or aft and to the starboard...)

Another placeholder. Another passage/hall. This time looking forward. My office is just up a few frames and on the left (or forward and to port... you get the drill).

Not the easiest week for upload purposes (and not great for the sleeping). But the shots came out alright, and the Big Grey boat trip was not as bad as it might have been (if it was in the end a trifle tedious at times). Lessons learned and all that.