Every day is an opportunity at a fresh start. The chance to live a good life, regardless of the day before.
Another sunrise shot from Watson Lake. This time from water level. :)
3 Exposure handheld HDR.
A still moment. They are rare. All the more so when you try to capture them. They seem to sense your intent and go fluttering into the ether.
Sometimes though, you get lucky. You catch one of those moments unawares:
Scrappy-Doo, during a rare moment of stillness.
I’ve been trying to learn to jog. I figure it is a good way to start the day, and gets both Scrappy and I some much-needed cardio. It has been hard though, as my joints end up hurting after a mile. Shin-splints, knee pain, a hip that has been aching for the three weeks I’ve stubbornly been trying at this.
To say I was disheartened about this would be an understatement. Eventually the thought occurred to me that problem wasn’t with my body, but instead with the shoes I was attaching to it. A rockin’ $10 pair of wal-mart tennis shoes that I’ve had for four years. Yeah, that might be the problem.
So I meandered to Swift Feet, the only specialized running store in town. I told the proprietor what I was looking for, the problems I was having, where I wanted to go.
He had me jog on a treadmill as he watched my ankles, looking for pronation. He gave me a basic run down of why my joints hurt when I ran, told me the type of shoe I needed to buy, and then had me try on a million different pairs.
By a million, I mean about ten, which meant a whole heapin’ lot of shoe-tying on my part. But I appreciated it, and eventually whittled down the list to a single pair.
Last year’s model of the Aisics GEL Kayano. On sale for $100.
Yesterday I finally had the chance to try out my new duds, and I have to say: I am seriously impressed. I headed to the Peavine trail early in the morning with Scrappy. I warmed up and started down the path. Half an hour later we turned around and started jogging back to the truck. All told we covered around six miles.
And my legs HURT like the dickens. But not my hip. Not my knee. Not my shins. Not my ankles. My MUSCLES hurt, just like they should when a new guy tries jogging too much. It feels great! Finally I can start pushing myself without feeling like a cripple afterwards.
So for anybody out there trying to get into jogging; do yourself a favor and get some decent shoes. They’ll make a world of difference.
And if you are in town, swing by Swift Feet. You will pay a little more, but you will get a pair of shoes that you know will work with your foot!
The weekend was a blur. A fantastically entertaining blur. Here is a long review of a part of that blur:
Saturday started off with a drive. To be more specific, a drive to the Wet Beaver Creek area with Chris, Shayla, Huey, and Scrappy. This is a place I’ve been to before. Once we arrived, we grabbed our packs and hiked up the trail four miles to bell crossing. Once there, we setup camp, got into our skivvies, and went for a swim in the creek. The water was COLD, but absolutely awesome.
After a while we got out of the water, dried off for a while, then each of us did our own thing. While Chris and Shayla went fishing, I went hiking and looking for firewood. I found a dead tree, broke it down, and hiked it back to camp. Chris caught a few fish, one of which was a nice bass keeper who we began referring to as Larry.
Chores completed, and we were all being eaten alive by no-see-ums (a.k.a. sandflies), so decided to go for another swim before getting crackin’ on a fire, and prepping dinner. And this is where it all went a bit sideways. The swim was great, the fire was happily burning away, Larry was discombobulated gutted and set in the fire to cook, and it was shaping up to be a great evening.
Then we heard thunder. Then it started to sprinkle. Then the wind picked up and started taking Chris’ tent off the rocks. Then it started raining big fat drops of water. And then? Then it starting HAILING. It started off as small pea-sized hail, but soon turned into vicious marble-sized bits of ice. It went from sprinkle to hail in under five minutes. It was crazy.
Eventually Shayla had the bright idea to just sit in the tent which seemed vastly more comfortable than hanging onto it from the outside, so we all piled into their tent to wait out the storm. How we managed to get three hikers, and two wet dogs into a two man tent, I’m not sure. It wasn’t comfy but it was definitely better than the alternative.
And there we waited for twenty minutes for the hail to stop, occasionally peeking outside to see a river running through where our fire had been. Larry? Nowhere to be seen. Washed back to the creek he had been pulled from an hour before. Wet gear sat in puddles throughout camp.
Since it was going to be a while before the rain would calm down we decided to fire up the cook stove and make the awesome dinner I had brought. Chicken Saigon had never tasted so good!
Eventually the rain abated enough that I could go check on my tent. My spot was in surprisingly good shape. A missing guy-out on the fly, but nothing else. Still in one spot, still dry on the inside. Life is good.
Then we decided to try to get the fire going again. Chris was still hungry, and since Larry was MIA, he wanted to cook up the steak he had brought. So he dredged out the fire pit, and set about the task of rebuilding.
I was doubtful. Hell, I was about 100% sure that there would be no fire with the pile of now-wet wood we had sitting next to the puddle of a fire pit. But Chris is a persistent devil, and persistence does have its advantages. I half-heartedly tried to help for a few minutes, but quickly gave up. I was much more inclined to get out of my wet clothes and into a warm, dry sleeping bag. Me and scrappy curled up, and promptly passed out after hanging the wet articles all around the interior of the tent.
I was startled awake a short time later by Chris, who by some manner of magic had managed to get a fire going. I’m still not sure I believe it, but I gladly stood by the fire warming up, and drying some of my garments. He tossed his steak in the coals, and I eventually went to bed. As I started drifting into unconsciousness I heard the pitter-patter of rain drops begin anew on the tent. I was happy to be inside.
A solid eight hours later I woke up with numb arm and a dog who was way too playful for that early in the morning. We wrastled for a little while before I finally put my semi-dry clothes on and got out of the tent. Blue skies above, and the smell of wet earth. It was early yet (maybe 6:00), so I kept noise to a minimum while my camp mates slept. I packed up my part of camp and sat staring at the creek, enjoying the morning.
Once they got up, we all remarked on the crazy ass storm, the millions of bug bites that we suffered, and the general displeasure we all derived from packing away wet and muddy gear. We got it over with and hit the trail, looking forward to breakfast.
An hour and a half later we were at the truck, and on our way to Camp Verde for a meal.
As all of the bug bites come into their great itching glory, all I can think is that this is definitely a camping trip I won’t soon forget.
I pull the truck over to the side of the road. It’s 11:30 at night, and I’m somewhere between Bagdad and Kirkland, pointing homewards. I turn off the engine, but leave the stereo quietly playing. I get out of the truck and stand on the tailgate. The sky is open above and the stars are magnificent. As I look I see three shooting stars in succession.
The sad guitar drifts up to me from a Counting Crows song, and as I stand there all the anger leaves my body. I laugh and cry all at once. The world is no longer tinged red, it is beautiful again.
I sit for ten minute sin the dark marveling at the sky and the music. Not one car goes by, the moment is unbroken.
I get back in the truck, start the engine, and pull back onto the road. I’m still two hours from home, and now I am very tired.
So Catalyst did this questionnaire, and I had so much fun reading it I figured I would do my own. :)
1. What are your current obsessions?
Quantum mechanics, and learning to jog.
2. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
Probably my sister. We don’t get together nearly as often as we should.
3. Last dream you had?
Haven’t had a memorable dream in weeks. The last one I DO remember was running forever through a maze.
4. Last thing you bought?
Coffee. Hopefully some new running shoes tonight!
5. What are you listening to?
6. If you were a god/goddess, who would you be?
Any goddess will do. As long as I can stare at my new-found naked boobies in the mirror… :-)
7. Favorite holiday spots?
The forest, the beach, cafes
9. Four words to describe yourself?
Smiling, stubborn, lost, geeky
10. Guilty pleasure?
Eating McDonalds. Stupid, I know, but a Big Mac always feels so forbidden.
11. Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak?
My roommate does a pretty good job of crackin’ me up. I pretty much laugh all day long though, so… the world?
12. Favorite odd thing to do?
Drive without a plan, end up somewhere unexpected.
13. Planning to travel to next?
This weekend will probably be either the forest, or a long drive up to Utah or Colorado. Don’t know yet.
14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
Spicy hamachi roll from Esoji
15. When did you last get tipsy?
Saturday night. I got drunk for the first time in my life! :)
16. Favorite ever film?
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
17. Care to share some wisdom?
Smile. Laugh. Repeat.
18. What item could you not live without?
… can’t think of any thing that I COULDN’T live without. Lots of things I wouldn’t want to live without, but that is a different story.
19. Thing you are looking forward to?
Making others smile
20. What's your favorite smell?
walking outside during rain
21. What food makes you heave?
Another one that I have no answer for. The thought of eating a whole eyeball, or rocky mountain oyster, puts my gag-reflex in a ready state. But I’ve never tried either, so can’t say for sure.
22. How many REAL regrets have you got in your life?
None. I have a few lessons that I’ve learned, but those were all necessary and I wouldn’t change them.
So there you go. If you feel like it, post your own answers. :)
Sometimes you just don’t want to deal with all the settings and buttons and who-zi-whats-its on a fancy digital camera.
That was me this weekend. So I decided to cut the clutter for a week or so. I bought a disposable camera. It has an amazingly simple TWO buttons, and one turney dial to advance the film.
There is no zoom. There is no choosing the depth of field. There is nothing at all advanced about it. When I take photos I don’t get to look at them and decide if I need another or not. I only have 27 exposure by which to express myself.
And for some reason this is all very freeing in a way. It’s not that I don’t love all my digital gear, but sometimes it all just gets a little… cumbersome I suppose would be the word. Once my 27 exposure run out I will pick the D90 back up and continue on the digital front, but I’m in no rush to get there.
For all the other Photogs in the area, get over to that page and sign up, spots will probably move pretty fast. :)
Morning time finds me exploring my new surroundings. Climbing the hills near my house, exploring the valleys. I wake up and race the sun to be the first one into the world.
I win the race, but I always lose the beauty contest. How could I not?
Some shots from the car show.
A Ford F100 pickup:
Like many owners, this man wanted to make sure his car was meticulously clean:
An HDR of a hot Chevy (me thinks it’s a Chevy anyway):
Leather straps for keeping the engine covers on?:
One cool paint job. This one really needs to be seen large:
Mildly modified coupe:
A detail shot of a Plymouth dash, with aftermarket tach:
It wasn’t all cars though, there was a guy showing off his painting skills. Check out this sweet surf board. Yeah, I’d totally ride that (in the ocean):
To see all the shots, check out the flickr set.
Most times all we see is the outside of a thing. The casing in which it is presented, and within which we can only imagine magic occurring. On rare occasions we get a look underneath the surface. We get to see where the magic is made:
Piston heads from a V6 Ford Bronco which was rolled down a hill long ago. Somebody apparently wanted the head for themselves, and so the pistons sit with nothing against which to compress and combust. They lay now forever motionless.
While Nikki and I meandered around Phoenix we found a junkyard wall covered in graffiti. How could I pass that up? The wall had a general theme of the imbalance of power between law enforcement officials and those who cross them, with a little fun poked especially at Mericopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Making off with the loot:
Piggy’s just looking for a donut:
The venerable Arpaio, looking a little crazy eyed:
Of course the artists needed to maintain their anonymity:
Only one HDR of the wall, this dead-eyed thug being processed at county:
Heck, Nikki even put up with me taking a few shots of her. :)
To see all 30 pics, check out the flickr set.
Every morning I find myself sitting in a coffee shop for an hour. Always with me is either my journal or whatever book currently catches my fancy.
When you go to the coffee shop EVERY weekday, eventually you start to notice the other regulars, give out tentative hello’s, and get to know one another. And so it was that I found myself one morning talking to a terribly interesting gentleman who has been around the block a time or two, and who had some reading recommendations for me based on what he saw me bring in with me.
One of those recommendations came with a warning that I would probably want read it on the side, put it down when it got to be too much, maybe even skip chapters if the frustration reached too high. He also mentioned that there would most likely be some cursing on my part as I tried to come to terms with the concepts of the book.
That book is The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which I bought a week later and just started reading on Monday. Cursing? HA! The only thing that has escaped my lips for the past three mornings has been giggles!
The book is a layman’s guide to Quantum Mechanics, which honestly? Sounds way brainier than it really is. The book doesn’t necessarily dumb things down but instead chooses to focus on the principles underlying this branch of science rather than the math involved. And I am LOVING it!
Granted, I’m only in chapter two so the cursing could be coming, but thus far it has nicely filled some voids in my understanding of subatomic particles. It has also provided a fair bit of philosophical fat for me to chew on, which is always nice. I have trouble putting it down in the mornings to go to work.
So, assuming the book remains true to the form of the first few chapters, I would recommend it to anybody interested in what the heck quantum mechanics really is, without actually learning quantum mechanics. :)
They are hoping to excite some radioactive hydrogen particles and get their nuclei to say hello to one another. If it happens, then they have some nuclear fusion on their hands, and could potentially create a whole lot of power with it.
Me and Nikki left Prescott at 3AM to drive to Parker for the funeral. We got there early, and didn’t feel like doing nothing for an hour, so instead decided to drive north a little ways.
We found a little hiking trail along the river, and I stuck my feet in the cold Colorado at six in the morning. The sun rose on the rust colored landscape and was beautiful:
My dress socks had sand in them when I got home that afternoon.
So where have I been? Here is some overview:
DaNece and I have ended our relationship after 6 1/2 years. It was my decision, as I am not happy with the person I am right now. I need to find out why and fix that problem before I can be happy with anybody else. We intend to remain friends. Right now I’m not sure what that means, but we will find out in the coming weeks as we redefine the rolls we play in each other's lives.
I’ve moved into town, renting a room from Chris. Me and Scrappy are slowly but surely finding a routine within our new environment. I’m learning to jog early in the morning, and my legs don’t seem to happy about this. I’ve had trouble sleeping which has left me in a bit of a trance for the last week.
Uncle Paul died after fighting bone cancer for the past few years. Mom called on the weekend to tell me he wasn’t doing well. I had to work on Monday, but took the rest of the week off to go down to Phoenix to see him in the hospital. He died a few hours before we got there. I didn’t get to say good bye, I didn’t get to tell him I loved him. I know it doesn’t really matter that I didn’t get to say these things, he knew everything I would have told him anyway. It still drags me down a bit though.
That Saturday we drove to Parker for the funeral. It was a celebration of life, which means it was an upbeat affair. I didn’t feel very upbeat about it though, I didn’t stay long after the service. I spent the next day moving my stuff.
I finally slept this weekend, my body too exhausted to have any choice in the matter. I had lunch with Mom and Nikki for mother’s day yesterday, and then went for a six hour drive which was filled with color. Both of these things helped to make me feel a little more human. I went to a car show on Saturday and clicked the shutter a bit, more from habit than anything. After downloading the photos to my desktop I realized it has lots of outdated software that needs upgrading, and so those few pictures sit dormant for now.
There is still work to do at the old house, as it will be going into foreclosure in the next few months. There is still work to do at my new house, as I try to fit the possessions of my life into a smaller box. There is still work to do on figuring out who I am, but I will now have more time to apply towards this goal.
See how this post is all jumbled up? Yeah, that’s me right now. Still getting things straightened out. Bear with me.