Sunday, 28 September 2014

Week Forty-Two: Idea Flight

Hard to come up with an intro for this week. So hard I didn't even do it when I first posted this thing. But as I am being overrun at the moment by a cat who talks in his sleep (who knew cats were dreamers?) and who thinks I am his personal bean bag, I figured I'd go back and do it right. Or at least as right as one can with subject matter that so defies categorisation. So consider this week introduced.

Day 1 (288): 22nd of September
Have you ever waited for a thing for a long time, and wanted that thing, and then one day realised that thing had long gone out of reach? You build it up in your mind for what seems like ages, then find that Life did whatever it had always intended to do. What is that about Life happening whilst we make plans? I think it prefers to just ram through those plans, squealing with laughter. Or so I think. My plans usually consist of "if I had my druthers..." and little else. Big scary fence. At night. Kind of slanty.

Scary wavy weed trees. At night. Not too bad an execution on this one. Didn't even use the tripod. Just my thick skull propped against the wall. It's almost October, so I guess the Dark and Stormy thing works.

Day 2 (289): 23rd of September
Today was angry music Tuesday. Just needed to hear a little shouting on the music box, so out came Halestorm radio. While it occasionally hits the odd christian metal song, there's only a rare need to hit the down thumb. Have you ever noticed that the only time things get really clear is when we are dreaming? Makes sense, then, that we can never really clearly remember our dreams; the only thing that is easy to grasp is that maybe things made sense for a minute. Jabba the Hutt makes no sense. Neither does this photo that was poorly captured and more poorly edited. Not terribly clear at all. Too dark.

Day 3 (290): 24th of September
An old friend of mine recently suffered one of the worst tragedies that a person can experience. His 23-year-old son was killed in an accident. As someone who has no kids and likely never will, I was left speechless (rare for this gobby, opinionated, somethingorother). Now it is taking up rather a lot of real estate in my brain. Wish I could do more for them. Really, knowing what to say to people who've been clobbered like that has never been my strength. All I know to do is to be there and hope I keep my foot out of my mouth long enough to be of a tiny bit of help. I only kind of knew the boy, but he was such a good kid, and had just gotten into the groove of following in his old man's naval footsteps. Golly. Any rate, following the theme from yesterday, got a better pic of a conversation no one ever thought happened.

And then got this sunset. Didn't even tweak more than the exposure a little bit. All but the sun itself came out alright.

Day 4 (291): 25th of September
What's the cure for a brain out of whack? I really wish I knew. Knowing the things need done, but finding it nearly impossible to dig in and bloody well do them. Stayed far too late at the office today because I stuck around to get homework done and forgot to put the "CLOSED" sign out on the door (and was dumb enough to answer my phone when it rang). Real highlight though was getting home to find the internet finally functioning. Thank the Wee Man. Realising as I post this that the following picture is a bit serial killer-esque. But no matter. Playing around with an old lens for this one.

Another killer sunset that needed no editing at all. Makes my work easier.

Another rose. What can I say. They are not my favourite flower (not my least, either), but they are everywhere, so I photograph them. If there were lilies out here, they'd be featured far more. Who doesn't love lilies?

Day 5 (292): 26th of September
End to a dragging on week. Brain still feels like someone is jangling keys somewhere just out of sight, which is incessantly distracting. Temporary ADD, I think. brought on by madness in the surrounds and an uncertain future. By the time one is thirty, these things ought not be issues any longer. The ubiquitous "they" say directionlessness is a thing for twentysomethings. Liars.

Day 6 (293): 27th of September
One can be in a strange mood all day (week?) and never know the cause. There are a great many Things Needing Done, but only a rather small number will see the light of completion. Not because there's no time, but rather because there is no inclination. I watched a cat get in an epic battle with a blue Beanie penguin wearing a santa hat (the penguin wore the hat). Then later, to get out of my funk, I threw Under the Table and Dreaming into the car CD player and got so lost in the perfect that I drove nearly three miles past my exit before I realised I was going in completely the wrong direction. Came home to find that it is the 20th anniversary of that very album. In honour of spending far too much time with a fool feline, here he is in classic repose. Gosh I need a dog.

Pretty scenery, though. If you squint, you can just see the islands.

Day 7 (294): 28th of September
Got to do the school. The midterm, any rate. Gave myself a few hours for fannying about this morning, but now it's time for Important Things. To do with this. There is currently a ginger feline form lolling about on it, decidedly not helping. Gosh I need a dog.

Crazy. But that's how it goes...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Week Forty-One: Where Lies the Rain

In Spain, that would be mainly in the plain, or at least that is what I'm led to believe. This week was a crap sandwich, or at least crap bread around delightful filling and condiments. I love Madrid. That place is a lovely crazy place full of lovely people and a language that makes my ears happy.

Day 1 (281): 15th of September
Finally arrived in Madrid this morning. Had to stay overnight in Rome in a lousy excuse for a Holiday Inn. Thank you, Air France and Alitalia for making everything harder. One little pilot strike and the ripple effect means I get 250 euro (eventually) as compensation, two free meals, and a whole load of hassle. All told, I spent nearly eight hours in the Naples airport being jerked around. So really, I could have gone to my Wish I Was Here screening in the end, had I known all this would happen. Then I'd have just stayed overnight in Rome and left on the 0800 flight they gave me. Meant I missed the first bit of instruction, but the Spanish MoD folks were nicely understanding and really helped me out. After work, we went out to explore and have some cañas y tapas. Good Lord, I love cañas. Little bits of cerveza and some free tapas to go with. And all for maybe a couple euro. 

After much indulging in el Mercado San Miguel (ohhhhh so gooood), we wandered and found Plaza Mayor.

Such a gorgeous place. Love the details.

Got the backside of this poor guy. Was too lazy to walk all the way round to get the front view.

Also got the backside of this caballero. Not sure what else to say.

Day 2 (282): 16th of September
Madrid has such unique architecture. It is an amazing combination of old style Spanish, Cold War dictator chic, and modern sleek business. And it does my ears so much good to hear a language I understand. Spanish is so much more pleasant on the brain than Italian, which just grates on the ears. More post-class cañas y tapas and una exploracion de la ciudad. Got down to the touristy area and saw the palace. At least I got this guy's front. Wrong lens to shoot the whole building. 

Both of these poor blokes are just being shat upon. And sat upon. Asi es. These things happen.

This catedral is almost as big as el palacio right across from it. And check out el cielo. Las nubes bonitas.

A skyline from over a wooden wall. Que hermosa cuidad.

A monument to Quixote. Could have gotten a bot more centered, I know.

Day 3 (283): 17th of September
I love an Air Force style Military Hotel. We're in a place that defies my preconceptions of military digs, as the US Navy has never been known for its splendour. The Spanish know how to set things up, and even though the meals are not included, the huge breakfast spread cost me all of 3 euro for a huge amount of food. This city is proof that things do not have to cost an exorbitant amount (Naples, I'm talking to you). Love the little details at streetside bars.

La Policia out in force outside the US Embassy (across the street from the hotel). Not great for a night shot. Must work on that.

Day 4 (284): 18th of September
Not much to say today. Had a huge amount of homework to do and it was a long day of teaching. I really do love the clean streets and gorgeous buildings and wonder how it has taken so long to visit here.

A bit of rain in the skies, but that didn't put a damper on the amazing dinner of seafood done every which way. And great wine to go with.

Day 5 (285): 19th of September
Half day, as the test only takes the morning. Got a few hours to kill before my flight, so a wander was in order. Here, at the Plaza de Colon, another backside shot of a famous person's statue (in this case, Cristobal Colon), because I didn't want to go all the way round the roundabout to get the front shot.

There is no scale on this, but the flag pictured is at least 50 feet on the long side. Probably more, but I have a poor concept of size. All I know for certain is that it is bloody huge. And it did not want to flap just the way I needed.

Another bench (I seem to take a lot of pictures of benches when I travel). This was along a nice park-ish median near the center of town. Also near the Hard Rock where I ate for the first time in over a decade, and had the best bacon burger I've had in ages. Don't judge me. It was fantastic.

Day 6 (286): 20th of September
So the trip back was a bloody nightmare. Both flights (Alitalia) got delayed and were full of turbulence and screaming children, so my ill-timed back spasm in Madrid was slow to get better. Then a rush in Rome to another delayed flight meant another ill-timed spasm. And more turbulence put me in the most crap mood ever. So I didn't get my JFC Oktoberfest visit and was too cranky to even try to make it to my buddie's wetting down (so no beer for Rodeo... sad). Only bed and STILL NO INTERNET. EFF. I have the most useless landlords ever. So a bunch of hours in the NEX food court today for me... Madness makes the edits go crazier.

But the extra smoky sky made the sun go all neat.

Day 7 (287): 21st of September
Lovely (sticky) day, but STILL NO INTERNET. Back to the NEX to get things (i.e. this and homework) done. I love having time to read, but not being able to do the simple stuff is rather irritating. Trying to enjoy a nice morning in the garden with a book and a cuppa. Woo Saahh. Just a little tweaking of light balance, and this came out rather ok.

Roses are starting to come back. Must be getting to be autumn time again. I have a hard time with the reds on this rosebush. Not sure why, but they always come out strange.

Loveliness sandwiched by crap. Like rain on a perfectly good parade. Or really I'd compare it to hail on a parade, because a little rain (unless it is Neapolitan Poison Rain) never hurt anyone. Now taking bets on how long I go without internet in my house...

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Week Forty: Take a Moment

I recently received the fruits of a Kickstarter I backed. Got two Moment lenses for the iPhone, one a tele and the other a wide lens. To keep things simple (much homework and teaching a class all week), I figured I'd just experiment with my new toys and post the results.

Day 1 (274): 7th of September
Busy week ahead, as it is never simple to simultaneously run a class and do a day job. Apparently someone (OK, someones, and I was one of them), dropped a ball on reporting something Friday. Not that the world ended, but everyone got a new orifice added to their person as punishment. Brings some things to light, however., besides the fact that we need to Do Better. One is that what I and mine do has a marked similarity to an important bridge; we keep things supported all the time and generally no one notices, but the one time things go awry and the bridge is less bridge-y, the spotlight shines oh so bright and we become the Biggest Failures on Earth. A second is that no one really has a clue what our hours are; I am personally in the office from 0530 until 1600 on most days (much later on others), but because things went a little bit wrong, the fingers wag about leaving early on Fridays (I wish). Right, enough whinging. Here is Photo #1 with the Moment Tele lens.

Yup, that was the cat again. Here is not the cat - Photo #2 with Moment Tele lens.

Here's another with the Tele.

Day 2 (275): 8th of September
Decent weather today demanded a little workward jaunt for Indy. Still not a grand treatment of the spine, but we are getting better, so there we are. The Tele lens does such a nice job.

Gets such great detail. Far better than the old iPhone alone.

Even makes the battery holder look cool.

Day 3 (276): 9th of September
Not even sure what to say about today. Generally Wednesday-ful in that it is a Wednesday. And random, so that was the motivation behind these Moment Tele shots. Will tackle the Wide lens soon.

Yeah. Tree trunk.

Day 4 (277): 10th of September
Gosh I love teaching. Wish I could just do this all the time. But becoming a public school teacher only sounds good in theory. And in the Navy, one cannot stay in instructor land too long, or woe be to one's chances of promotion. Soggy day, though, so soggy shots. This is the first go with the Moment Wide lens. Not quite right, I know.

Also this. Still not quite right. I may get this sorted eventually.

Back to the Tele lens for this. Look! Drips!

Day 5 (278): 11th of September
Am so very losing track of things that I did not realise it was today till well into today when someone mentioned a remembrance / memorial ceremony for 11 September 2001. How silly. Of course I knew it was today. It has always to be today. No other choice. Wouldn't it be funny if it were tomorrow at some point. Would certainly make choosing weather appropriate clothes a bit easier. Ah well. No such chance. Not in this dimension, any rate. Got some good sunset shots (back with the Wide lens...). This one I cropped rather severely.

This one, too, but I like the way the clouds came out.

And a Tele shot of bright sun and a tree.

Day 6 (279): 12th of September
Largely soggy weather this week broke into a gorgeous morning. As I loafed in bed reading, I looked out the window and had to capture the cake-decoration looking cloud sitting on the horizon. Still think I've not solved the wide lens, but no matter; there's plenty of time for that. Also, when I was uploading these at the NEX (power outage broke my internet again), I heard some woman wearing an odd white wig beckon her son with the name "Atreyu." Ahhh, the people of My Generation. What can one say.

Another of the same cloud. Such crazy morning colours.

Day 7 (280): 13th of September
On the way to Madrid today (got another class to teach) despite Air France's best efforts. Means I'm missing out on a Backer-only screening of Wish I Was Here with a follow on Q&A, all in Rome (which they kept saying would be in October/November). Also means airports, so to keep things simpler still, here is a look at the lenses that have been doing all the work this week. First, the ever reliable Tele.

And the Wide. These guys are going to give me some fun.

So here we end this week's installment of Most Boring Girl on the Internet. Hope you had fun and we'll see you again next week, this time with some photos of Madrid. Might possibly be a little more interesting.