Sunday, 26 October 2014

Week Forty-Six: Fall into Things

This week brought to you by Autumn. Because it is finally here. And while I don't necessarily look forward to the onslaught of rain that is an Italian Winter, I'm so ready for a change. And for Warm Clothes Weather. Sweats and hoodies and jeans and coats.

Day 1 (316): 20th of October
Gosh I love not having anywhere in particular to be. At least not in anything like an early fashion. There is something blessedly nice about being able to meander about in the most literal sense of the word. Work will wait. Alright. Really, work will go on, but it won't be me doing it, and that is just fine. I love what I do, and most days am good with the place where I do it. The simple truth is that I know I do a good job, and those who work for me do so as well; there is no need to be there 24/7/365. Doesn't change that I'm a bit masochistic about my work, but I can be zen about things happening in my absence. Time off is not a bad thing (when timed appropriately). I seem to have a thing for patterny building facades.

Today I stood on a corner taking pictures of many things. Such as this.

And in black and white.

And this. So v London.

All so that I could sneakily photograph this without looking too fansessive. But honestly.

Final shot looks rather like one from last week. Probably because it was taken from the same vantage at the same train platform (Blackfriars). Just a different time of day.

Day 2 (317): 21st of October
Rather a strange day. Some people in Life are rather skilled at putting everyone around them in a strange mood. Particularly when all parties are forced to spend their time in close proximity. The Dark Side is strong with them. Thus the odd photos. Not sure at all about this.

Not sure about this, either.

Day 3 (318): 22nd of October
Wednesdays are lovely. Work actually tends to get done, thanks to the generally uninterrupted time spent in the presence of said Work. Found some rather entertaining entries on one of the few Tumblr things I read. A Political Science student at Tulane summarised his or her thesis as "Democrats and Republicans agree that they hate each other, disagree on everything else." Could not have put it better myself. Gets to the heart of why I dislike all political parties. Today I give you My Gertie. Mostly I give you my repair jobs on Gertie. The passenger window is busted and I've not taken the time to take apart the door and fix it, so gaffer's tape is the answer. As it is to much of Life.

Life's other great tool is electrical tape. Useful for holding closed glove compartments that no longer close themselves. How classy am I?

Here. This is a bit less unsettling.

Day 4 (319): 23rd of October
Who does this? Going from Sticky Hot all the time to really Rather Chilly at night is a desert move. Not to be confused with a night move. Italy isn't so much Fan Central for the Silver Bullet Band. All that said, when I walked out of the building today I got really rather excited, because it finally smells like fall. There is a smell (you probably know it) that is difficult to describe, but is just so autumn it makes me smile. This is Vesuvius in Autumn Light.

This is the worst airline in Europe. To be avoided at all costs.

Day 5 (320): 24th of October
A few more entries on that silly Tumblr I mentioned before. From another PoliSci student, this time at American University submits, "Literally every single study done in this field is held together by spit and the prayer that nobody looks too deeply into their methods." And in a similar theme: "Global network infrastructures are held together by duct tape, spit, and prayers," says a Computer Science student at Harvard. Got to hear the song "St. Elmo's Fire" on the way home. God I love the 80s. Also love days where the photos need zero editing (except a bit of a crop in this case).

No edits needed here at all. Autumn sunsets.

Honestly. I love it.

Day 6 (321): 25th of October
Bless the soul who invented Whiskey Fudge. Dawn is lovely. One of the perks of getting up in the early hours.

Like yesterday's shot. This time taken early in the day.

Day 7 (322): 26th of October
Final to take today. Must do that. Will take many hours. Morning shots again, in order to get this done before tucking in to schoolwork.

Morning dandy, but with no dew.

Closing with more entertaining summaries of thesis work. So glad I don't have to write a thesis.
Socrates is bad at inducing moral growth and I don't want him or any characters from The Tempest at my birthday party. -Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago
Twilight was a really bad book. -English Literature, University of York.
Plato was a bad influence. -Epistemology and clinical psych, Hampshire College.
What if, like, adding one hair to a bald man's dome could make him immediately not bald, but we could just never know? -Philosophy, Vassar College

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Week Forty-Five: Curry Favours

Do you know what is delicious? Thai Green Curry. Do you know when it is even better? When I don't have to make it. Do you know what makes it better still? When it is not out of a cardboard box. These are the things that keep a person sane. Good food made with love by someone else. Which in my case is always a good thing. I've heard they are thinking of outlawing the phenomenon of me cooking. Because while I beg to differ, I've been informed that nuking things is not cooking.

Day 1 (309): 13th of October
Somehow this being a short week (again) makes things more stressful. For example, finding oneself at work on a day off, attempting to do something useful to get ahead of things, is enough to make one wonder how Life went so wrong. Probably just me - after all, I was that girl as a kid. You know, the one who did all her homework, read lots of non-assigned books for fun, and lived for extra credit. Being the grown-up (sic) who feels compelled to go in on a free Monday for several hours to help people sort out something she knew would confuse them, is just the way these Things end up. Damn them. The Things. Can't I just spend the day on the sofa re-watching Gilmore Girls or The Blacklist? Or get someone else to do Things? Oh, wait. I'm much too stubborn to not do Things myself.

Looking down from the roof where I took the above photo.

Day 2 (310): 14th of October
Another Tuesday pretending to be a Monday. Oh, and Naples didn't get the message that it is OCTOBER. We had nice and cool(ish) all summer. Last year I broke down and turned on the A/C one night when it was just too painfully hot to sleep. This year hasn't come close. But now that we are in what ought to be the cool down (and too soggy) start to fall and winter, the heat has to turn on. Way to be late to the party. First, this happened.

Then, this happened. Whatever might happen next?

Looks like we won't find out. Here is a flower.

Day 3 (311): 15th of October
You know what is nice? Hot tea with milk in the morning. Even better if it comes with Hobnobs (or the generic equivalent, they are really almost as good, flavour-wise). Better still if I don't forget it by the kettle so it steeps for half an hour and then gets cold. Smoky hazy day today. Every word in that ended in "y." Hmmm. Webby yellow flower weed. Those words all had "w" in them.

My focus on this one was all over the place. But the light was neat.

Day 4 (312): 16th of October
Have I mentioned I hate Thursdays? If not, I hate Thursdays. This one had dental evil, earthquake drills, increased force protection measures, multiple meetings, homework, and late night airplane travel. Actually, that last bit was rather nice. Mostly because it took me First Class British Airways the hell out of Naples. Buh Bye.

And hello to my cheap and cheerful (but not dodgy) little hotel "room." Vague resemblances to Depression-era lodger spaces are totally accurate. But it's nice enough and close to where I need to be.

Day 5 (313): 17th of October
Traipsing about London is grand. Busy, as it is rather a large city (in case that comes as a surprise). Talking to artists is usually grand, except when they are snobby, or the not-listeny kind of people. Then it is rather less grand. But Chinatown is fun. Bad place to go when one is hungry and has eaten nothing but a sausage roll all day.

OK. That one was silly. This is better. So is finishing the day with lovely family who are splendidly kind and fun to be around (and feed me beer and curry). Really don't know how my cousin does it. She really is Super Mum. Anyone who can raise three young humans and keep all their myriad lives in order truly is a hero. Why do you think I don't do it?

Day 6 (314): 18th of October
So many walks of shame. But not really, I guess, as there seemed no shame in any of it. I felt bad at making my poor cousin-in-law (is that a thing?) get up at ungodly hours to take me back to the train station after I drank all the family beer, ate all their food, crashed in the guest room, and probably filled the children's' heads with horribly corrupt American cheeky inappropriate something. They are so nice. Wish I could see them more often. But my walk / train / tube of shame yielded a great morning shot over the Thames. Wait, did I just say tube of shame? That sounds rather scandalous...

This one came out a bit nicer (the light worked a bit too hard in the first shot).

And a day spent amongst other shame(less) walkers, many of whom were dressed as any number of things, characters, and allsorts (not the gross licorice sweets), yielded a lovely time. Got to meet and chat with the chap who played Boba Fett, and had another nice chat with the guy who was inside Darth Vader. Oh, and to complete the Star Wars w/end, got my photo with Carrie Fisher, and met her brilliant dog. And then I---Look! Pretty! I want one!

This place was so civilised they even had a full bar with relatively not insanely expensive drinks prices (all relative to the level of need, you see). So the day started with tea and sausage rolls, middled with pints of Carlsberg (only one of which I bought myself), and ended with some insane curry lentil bacon soup thing I wanted to marry and live in forever. Here is a spider. It is the size of my horse thumb and on the biggest web I've ever seen, just outside my hotel room door. So cool.

Day 7 (315): 19th of October
Another day, another round at the NerdFest. Met another fellow who played the Doctor (Colin Baker this time). Such a kind gent. We chatted about all sorts of things. He's another person fascinated with Idaho (only as he's not ever been, but who has, really). So nice to just have a nice chat with a genuinely nice person. Also a treat is the gal who played the sister in Jurassic Park. She's an artist now (check her out here) and does really, really great portraits.

Same thing in Black & White. Leave off. I have homework to do.

What else has this to do with curry? Or with favours? Not sure. Two days involved curry. All days should involve curry. On the fence about favours. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes not. Favourite things are good, though. As are party favours. And being in someone's favour. What do I know. I'm just here. 

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Week Forty-Four: Keep it Simple

When things get excessively complicated and seem to be ready to take over, I often find it is easiest to merely force a simplification of matters. Sometimes that means sliding out of the picture and into the shadows, and sometimes it means just going at things one small chunk at a time. Like a wee bird who has a lovely kind mum chopping up his food into easily consumable bites. Though how she holds the knife I'm not sure. The paper due at the close of this week might have been better handled if such a philosophy had been applied. The small chunks of things, not the chopped up bird food. No matter. Things get done by hook or by crook. And photos get taken. I opted to feature one object against one piece of construction paper, and then give each the shadow treatment.

Day 1 (302): 6th of October
Another Manic Monday. Don't really wish it were Sunday. Sunday's just the day before Monday. And lately that means Homework Day. Also Blog Day, but that's hardly a chore. Right. To the photos. Or rather the photo. Can it be plural if I use two versions of the same photo? I do like the yellow on purple combination, but didn't really get the angle I wanted on the light. Probably could have gotten an external light to balance it, but wanted to use natural light this time, and it was evening when I was shooting.

Went rather dark on this, and I really like it. Makes the Pac-Man look all horror film-ish.

Day 2 (303): 7th of October
Another evening light shot, this time a candle on yellow paper. One of these days I'll sort out the lighting of white things. Always goes a bit shiny when I have a lot of light. Probably a simple solution. Must look into it.

Surprisingly, the light colour on light colour went black and white rather nicely. Except for the excess shiny on the candle.

Day 3 (304): 8th of October
Not sure about today. Went home via the dodgier route, and randomly decided to throw in the Black Hawk Down soundtrack (have been in a throwback music mode lately). Was cranking it as I blew around a curve by a bunch of local Somalis, and as I looked back at them I felt a tiny bit odd. Not that they had anything to do with those events; these kids are maybe 25. But I've no idea what the foreign language songs on that CD are saying, so I just hope it wasn't anything obscene. So this is a knife I recently added to the collection. Dragon Cycle!

Kind of an odd black and white here. Probably went too heavy on the vignette. And the TiltShift. Ah well.

Day 4 (305): 9th of October
Whatever will the future bring. Will this thing I have to do happen the way it should? Will I finish my paper in time? It is due Sunday and I've done little more than research for it. Magic Eight Ball says "Most Likely." I'll take that as a yes. Must photoshop out the sticky residue from the label I affixed that reads "Do Not Shake Me." Why do people always shake the Eight Ball?

Really like the way this one went greyscale. Less heavy on the vignette this time.

Day 5 (306): 10th of October
A blessed Day Off. And after last night, all I can say is Thank Goodness for odd holidays based on controversial historical figures. Spending most of this w/end doing homework and writing a paper I've procrastinated too much. Means I don't get to go to Stockholm with my friends. I suck at things. Like getting the wind to not blow at inopportune moments whilst I photograph things. This mask was a gift from by best friend in elementary school. She gave it to me in the fourth grade (or thereabouts). We're no longer really friends, but the mask is lovely and has some nice memories associated with it. Funny how that happens with friends.

Again in the black and white / greyscale. And again with the vignette. Not too heavy with this one.

Day 6 (307): 11th of October
Another day. Another go at the homework. Tried to go in to the office to get it done, but after taking the wrong way / long way (thanks, autopilot) I got out of my car and halfway up to the office before realising I'd left my access badge. Well done, Rodeo. Decided to sit in the car and read for a bit before getting back on the road. Brain Death is a grand thing. So is my Mars necklace on black paper.

Let the barest hint of red come through the black and white and I think it gives it a neat look.

Day 7 (308): 12th of October
The fact that this is listed as day 300 makes me think I've mis-numbered a few times along the way and am now all wrong. Seems between now and 9th December there are fewer than 65 days, but short going back through each day and fixing it, there is little to be done at this juncture. So I give you my regression to grade school and my attempt to safely use scissors and freestyle cut out zeroes. Thought about using the halves of my morning bagel as the zeroes, but my stomach had other ideas. Thus is the small butter smear on the top of the three. You'd probably not have noticed it had I not said anything, but there we are.

Went a bit mad with the vignette level, but the whole photo looks a bit less insane in greyscale.  

And because I am incapable of just leaving well enough alone and letting a thing be a thing, I give you a strangely composed, hastily shot, oddly edited photo of a blossom on the lemon tree.

Bit of a round-ish theme again this week, but done in rather a more useful (photographically speaking) manner.