Monday, November 8, 2010

Tilt-Shifted San Diego

Note: the following post will look a little weird until I redesign the blog. I haven't changed the dimensions since 2007 and evidently time has passed and technology has changed (I know, it came as a surprise to me, too) and I can't post the pictures in the (large) size that I want without making some changes to the template. I can't guarantee when this will happen though, since posting this will inevitably count as my productivity for the week (month?) and I probably won't surface again until Christmas.


The cold, rainy weather lately has left me with a lot of free time on my hands. Last weekend I attended the Greater UK Model Making Symposium/Conference 2010 (twitter #GUKMMSC2010) and had a really fantastic time networking with my fellow model-makers while eating teeny tiny sausages and workshopping topics like "Let's Go GREEN: Maintaining the Craft in the 21st Century and Beyond", "Social Networking: Bringing Model-Making to a New Generation" and "Peak Oil: The Rising Price of Tiny Plastic Figures".  Once I got home I was so jazzed I decided to put my new-found model-making skillz to work on some beautiful scenes of sunny San Diego to take my mind off the dreary weather.

That, or I tried to teach myself to make tilt-shift fakes in Photoshop. You decide. Click to view full size. 

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
El Prado and the House of Hospitality
A wider view of the same. I couldn't decide which I liked better.
Wider again! Can you tell I know how to crop? Oh yes, just enough to be dangerous.
Alcazar Gardens and the House of Charm
San Diego Museum of Art, a bit of the Old Globe, and a hint of the Botanical Building
This isn't Balboa Park, but I still like it. The Notorious Seals.
This didn't actually work that well because I wasn't high enough, ergo there isn't a background to blur.
But I figured I would post it anyway since it ain't my bandwidth.
Pretty cool, huh?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ramping up

Well, well, hello again.

For those of you who know me (that would be anyone reading this) you probably know that my absence from this blog coincided with my sojourn into the mythical "real world" with one of those elusive "9 to 5", "real person"-type jobs. However, in a premature midlife crisis (coupled with other extenuating circumstances, naturally) I rashly chucked it all in to continue my wanderings.

It needs to be said that I was incredibly lucky to be offered such a tremendous opportunity in the first place and incredibly blessed to have had such a positive experience, spending my days with wonderful, genuine people and hopefully contributing a small bit of myself to a worthy cause with worthy people in a worthy city.

But. Well, I suppose it's complicated. Like most of my peers, I have no idea what I'm doing. I certainly have no room to complain, but working full time is exhausting. Before I knew it, a year of my life had zipped right by and I didn't feel as though I had very much to show for it. Working in order to pay bills in order to work. It's a cruel cycle. And on top of it, not exactly a raging social life, since all of my peers were unemployed and/or working part time in bars.

Although it's nice to be busy, it distracts you from life's little existential crises, I don't want to merely be busy. At least not yet. I'm still naive enough to believe I can find something to do that challenges me, pushes me out of my comfort zone occasionally, and, most importantly, comes from within. I was good at that job, but hardly irreplaceable. And I suspect that I have plenty of time to go to an office every day for the rest of my life (and thanks to modern medicine and the lack of social security, that could extend well into my 80s).

Now that I've slipped back into a comfortable, mostly unemployed, somewhat nomadic lifestyle (this was actually a surprisingly easy regression for me), I hope to be posting on this blog more regularly. More importantly, I hope to be starting a new blog that won't focus purely on me and my activities but will hopefully allow me to contribute something, hopelessly minuscule, to The Internet. Although this may come as a surprise (or not), there is only so much I have to say about myself.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A ticket to history?

'Twas the night before Inauguration, and all through D.C,
Not a staffer was stirring, despite the debris;

Our purple tickets were shoved in our pockets with glee,
In hopes that Obama would soon have the key;

The unemployed were sprawled snug on the floor,
While visions of E-day started to soar;

And Katie in her 'kerchief and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a brief winter's nap;

When out in the hall there arose such a bluster,
I staggered from my bed with all I could muster;

Away to the capitol we trudged in the dark,
No matter the hour it was time to embark;

The crush of the crowds despite the cold winter chill,
Gave us all a historical thrill;

When, what to my wandering feet should appear,
But a huge sea of dems and a looooooong tunnel quite near;

With a line of ticket holders, stretched back a click.
I knew in a moment this wouldn't be quick;

More slowly than sludge that line did move,
And we wrapped up in blankets and thought of ways to improve.

"Mmm, coffee! Mmm, warmth! Mmm beds and breakfast!
Oh, movement! Oh, bama! No cutting right past!

To the Starbucks! To the front of the line!
Now push forward! Push forward! Push forward you swine!"

As the dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the purple gate we pushed at half noon,
All with our tickets in hand, a giant platoon.

And then, in a panic, I heard a word like death,
While pushing and struggling for each little breath;

The purple gate was closed, some were turning around,
We moved toward the gate with weary frowns;

We were dressed in dirty blankets, from our heads to our feet,
And our spirits were tarnished with cold and defeat;

A wave of unrest rippled over the crowd,
"Selling purple tickets for cheap!" they hollered aloud.

His eyes - how they must have twinkled! His smile how sparkly, I hear.
His flag pin surely gleamed, his speech may have inspired, even from way in the rear.

Our little group scattered like dandelion spores,
And we gave up on the purple ticket wars;

With tiny radios we broadcast the speech,
And all gathered around to hear it complete;

He stood but a few feet away,
and despite our disappointment we still wouldn't stray;

He was dignified, his manner refined, at home with himself,
And I smiled when I heard him, in spite of myself;

A wave of his hand and a nod of his head,
Now I knew I had nothing to dread;

At the end of the speech we looked around,
And were filled with happiness, despite problems profound;

Pulling our jackets tight against the wind,
We were finally free of the crowds in which we'd been pinned;

We raced back to our beds, to turn on our TVs,
Not wanting to miss the cable banshees,

And I heard him proclaim, through the media review
"All this we can do, and all this we will do!"

The End (thank God)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A recap

Now that it's been two months (two whole months! I'm really slacking here) since the inauguration of the Obamessiah I suppose it's time to finally post something about that... memorable experience.

So here's a timeline of my journey with the President:
October 19 - Depart California for Colorado. Drive 15 hours straight. Give up and spend the night in beautiful Las Vegas, New Mexico.
October 20 - Arrive in Pueblo.
November 4 - Single-handedly win election.
November 5-12 - Loiter around in Colorado, feel lost and directionless.
November 13-14 - Return to California. Don't even attempt to make it in one day. If I had any money left, I might consider sightseeing a bit. But I don't. Spend the night in beautiful Utah. Become angry that you can't buy alcohol in Utah. Or corkscrews. Eventually arrive in California.
November 14-November 27 - Aimless existence back home, punctuated mostly by commiserating with people from Pueblo about how awesome our lives used to be and are no longer
November 28 - Stop pretending like I have a desire to do anything other than relive the glory days. Spend all my money on a plane ticket (as I tend to do). Depart for Washington, D.C., for reunion, Jim Martin style.
December 2 - Lose miserably to Saxby Chambliss. Witness an authentic concession speech, like only a southern democrat can deliver.
December 3-17 - Loiter around in D.C. and New York. Unemployed life sure is hard.
January 16 - After returning home for the holidays, I return to D.C. to see the fruits of my labor first hand. It is 8 degrees when I land. Discover that 8 degrees is really, really, really cold.

That brings us up to date! Stay tuned for the thrilling finale!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where was I?

Ah, yes. So I was in Colorado. Here is a photo of our office that I borrowed from TheFacebook. In fact, all of these photos were borrowed. So, um, thanks anonymous photographers.
The nerve center of Change in Pueblo
Here we have beautiful Union Depot. It's a very democratic town.
The line to see the Obamessiah the weekend before E-day.
Not long after reluctantly returning to the west coast, I decided to rejoin Team Pueblo on their newest adventure - Operation Martin for Senate Runoff Election Edition! (photographic record: obliterated. I don't want to talk about it.)
Our days were spent canvassing (although I happen to know that certain other volunteers spent the time they should have been canvassing out at local soul food breakfast buffet Big Daddy's) and eating at Chick-Fil-A and our nights were spent with a very charitable but also very strange local volunteer. Our lovely stay in beautiful Jonesboro, Georgia, faced only a minor setback when it became quite clear that we didn't actually even come close to winning. Some political analysts tried to use this crushing defeat as an example of the inefficacy of the Obama for America model of community mobilization.

From our perspective, though, it was a long shot from the beginning. Georgia is a very red state and it's hard to compete with Sarah Palin riling up the base about the dangers of giving Obama a "blank check". Plus, poor Jim had barely any cash. Look at how tiny his bus was. You can't credibly RV for Change in something that size.

Plus, this is the kind of excitement Jim Martin inspired everywhere he went.

The trip was far from a bust, though, especially considering the amount of BBQ we managed to eat on the drive back to D.C. Then (after stopping there for a few days to catch my breath) I headed up to New York to visit my long lost Kate for her birthday. Good times were had, but sadly, yes, the photos are gone. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Epic Fail

So I was planning a really great entry for today. I was going to tell you all about my time in Colorado and it was going to be really great because I was going to illustrate it with some of the hundreds of photos I took while I was there. I was going to show you the office(s) where I spent 20 hours a day, the people who I met, the cookies that I ate. I had pictures of Joe Biden and Barack Obama and the beautiful Pueblo scenery. Amazing, once-in-a-lifetime memories. Pictures from election night, pictures of a place and people I'll probably never see again, pictures that for some reason I didn't copy onto my computer back in November.

Unfortunately, I have lost the memory card with those precious photos on it, probably forever, and I've been so distraught about that that I haven't had the time or the energy to write that post and have instead been spending my time unpacking and repacking my possessions, in the desperate hope that one of these times that little thumbnail of plastic containing some of my most precious memories will fall from the folds of one of my 10 t-shirts or 3 pairs of pants. I really don't have that many possessions and lately it's become much more difficult to delude myself into believing that if I just look in my suitcase one more time I will find something I've overlooked the last 5 or 6 times.

No, it's now become abundantly clear that my pictures are gone forever. And I. Am. Not. Happy.