Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory End of Year Movie Post

Managed to get through a few of our Holiday favorites:

(some were just in the background when we were wrapping presents or making candy, but I'm counting them anyway)

A Christmas Story (1983) dir. by Bob Clark

Christmas Vacation (1989) dir. by Jeremiah S. Chechik

Miracle on 34th Street (1947) dir. by George Seaton

The Polar Express (2004) dir. by Robert Zemeckis

And...since I missed the year-end round-up at the end of 2008, the following is a list of films watched during the years 2008 & 2009:

A Christmas Story (1983)
Christmas Vacation (1989)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Polar Express (2004)
Gaslight (1944)
Léon (1994)
Man on Wire (2008)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
Revolutionary Road (2008)
Rushmore (1998)
Same Time, Next Year (1978)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The Big Chill (1983)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
The Iron Giant (1999)
Public Enemies (2009)
Up (2009)
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Atonement (2007)
Babel (2006)
Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004)
Cars (2006)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Cloverfield (2008)
The Dark Knight (2008)
The Five Obstructions (2003)
Death Proof (2007)
The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)
Evan Almighty (2007)
Even Pigeons Go to Heaven (2007)
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008)
Gran Torino (2008)
Heroes (2006)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Iron Man (2008)
Juno (2007)
King Kong (2005)
The Lake House (2006)
Amélie (2001)
The Little Mermaid (1989)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Miami Vice (2006)
Most (2003)
Moulin Rouge! (2001)
At Night (2007)
Rambo (2008)
Ratatouille (2007)
Star Wars (1977)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Transformers (2007)
Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
WALL·E (2008)
Wings of Desire (1987)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Le Samouraï (1967)
Babette's Feast (1987)
Apocalypto (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Casino Royale (2006)
Blood Diamond (2006)
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Happy Feet (2006)
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
The Queen (2006)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #4



Don't miss another new post directly below about Harrison's third anniversary of the day on which he was born.


Just a few days before we officially celebrate the birth of the most important baby that's ever been born on this planet, we celebrated the birth of another one of my favorite baby boys here today.

Harrison turned three today!

Christy had over a few of the families for whom she babysits and a few other local families and Harrison had a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday party.

Harrison was convinced that he wouldn't actually turn three until he had eaten his Thomas birthday cake. He never budged, either. When he woke up this morning, I asked him how old he was and two fingers popped up. "This many," he said.

Just before he was about to eat his Thomas cake (which was after 10:22am, his official birth minute -- for those of you keeping track) -- he was asked again -- still two, said he.

While he was eating his cake, the question came again. Finally, that third finger popped up. He is three!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Photo Friday - 'Best of 2009'

It's hard to look back at a year's worth of photos and say, "this is my best of the year." I'm not big about "best" or "favorite" anything, so my task is doubly difficult.

What I've chosen here generated some buzz (for me, at least) on Flickr when I posted it and I am quite happy with how it turned out, plus, I don't think I've posted it here previously.

Freak Out and Ferris Wheel

This was taken on the Midway at the Indiana State Fair. It was a case where a bit of patience definitely paid off -- and a bit of serendipity didn't hurt either!

I was experimenting with some long exposures on the moving rides. I think I was shooting an angle on the ferris wheel when I noticed this ride had gotten into my frame accidentally. I noticed the cool pattern given off by this ride's dual motion. This ride, named "Freak Out," both swings occupants in a pendulum fashion and spins them, simultaneously, producing this pattern using a long exposure.

I went around to the other side of the ride and found a spot that I could put my tripod that was mostly out of the way of foot traffic and had some compositional elements that I found pleasing, as well.

The problem was the lights on the passenger seats didn't stay on all the time. They seemed to turn on and off intermittently and each ride only had one or two full-height swings, so it took a few tries to get one with which I was happy.

Monday, December 14, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #3 -- Photo Friday - 'Clothing'


And now it's time for 'Silly Stories with Jeremy', the part of the show where Jeremy comes out and tells a Silly Story:

Feel free to skip down to the photo, as I anticipate that the following story will be a massive letdown for anybody crazy enough to read the entire account hoping for some kind of payoff that would make reading it worthwhile.

Still here?


You may or may not know that I sing in my church choir. We're not exactly making records, but we manage to get our music learned and polished so that we usually enhance worship instead of distracting from it.

As many church choirs do, I suppose, we prepared some special numbers for this past Sunday morning where the choir was featured.


Rewind to this time, last year, when the choir did something very similar around Christmastime. Last year, the dress code for the guys was black slacks, white button-up shirt, and a black or red necktie. Simple enough, right?

I'm happy to say that all the guys complied with the requested dress code, but as the dozen (or so) of us began to show up for rehearsal that morning, we quickly began to notice a trend which held even once all the guys had arrived: the tenor voices were all wearing black neckties and all the bass voices were wearing red ties. This had not been planned.


Back to this year -- the same dress code was announced and many of us remembered last year's accidental color grouping by voice. Some decided that, this year, we would adhere to the trend that appeared accidentally, last year. This left me with a couple of dilemmas.

You see, "I go both ways." At least, that's what we say in the context of whether I sing tenor or bass. My voice is better suited to the baritone range, but we don't usually sing music that is written with a baritone part.

My other dilemma is that I do not own a necktie that is predominantly red or black. Last year, I borrowed a tie from a friend, to whom I explained the requisite tie color options. He brought me a lovely black tie which I happily wore, which turned out perfectly since I was singing with the tenors to help them out last year.

This year, I primarily sang with the basses, but occasionally switched over to tenor if the part needed some extra emphasis.

So, at rehearsal on Saturday morning, we were joking that I should wear a red and black striped tie.

Anybody regretting beginning reading this, yet??? :-)

Another thing you need to know is that my intention was to borrow the same black tie from the same friend from whom I had borrowed it last year. We both forgot all about it last Friday, though. It didn't occur to either of us until sometime Friday evening, which was too late.

So -- after our Saturday morning rehearsal, I knew that I needed a red or black necktie for Sunday morning. I stopped at a Sears department store, which is directly on my way home and headed toward the men's clothing department, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a red and black striped tie and on CLEARANCE, no less!

It was a Festivus miracle!!

So I bought it; and I wore it.


The end.

Monday, December 07, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #2


As you can see, I'm still having trouble moving on from 'tiny words.' Instead of getting smaller, my words are getting bigger! Somebody STOP me!

As much as I am enjoying seeing the group pool fill up with glorious 'Red,' I'm always up for some visual juxtaposition, so I wanted to do a shot that officially fit the theme, but contained little or no actual red color. It's a shame that the brick wall that I found is 'red' brick.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Good Night or Good Luck?

"Good Night or Good Luck?"

That's it.

That's the final poll over at This or That, the online poll site with the tagline: "Two Choices. Zero Context. Infinite Fun."

Well, the infinite fun lasted three years, and while not "infinite" in the strictest sense of the word, it was a pretty good run.

A buddy of mine from college started the site and it attracted quite the eclectic community, well beyond the group of college friends who knew about it from the beginning. Over these three years, it has been fun to get to know one another. Some (who only knew each other from ToT) have even arranged to meet in person!

Many of us are on Facebook and will continue contact that way. There is a Google Group that is intended to continue with daily polls.

Nonetheless, an era is coming to an end.

Good night, and good luck!

Films Recently Watched:

Gaslight (1944) dir. by George Cukor
Watched this on the recommendation of a friend. A decent psychological thriller along the lines of many films directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Worth seeing for Ingrid Bergman's performance, alone. Also note the appearance of a very young Angela Lansbury.

Léon (1994) dir. by Luc Besson
Reviewing a favorite.

Man on Wire (2008) dir. by James Marsh
Fascinating documentary about French tightrope performer, Philippe Petit's quest to walk on a wire suspended between the two towers of the newly constructed (in 1974) World Trade Center. On the documentary, Petit's mannerisms and delivery got a bit over the top at times, but it was worth it for the story he was telling. Such an incredible achievement mostly for the sake of the beauty of the thing. Time Magazine called the stunt the "Artistic Crime of the Century." And rightly so.

Moulin Rouge! (2001) dir. by Baz Luhrmann
It's funny the things that can prompt me to watch a film. This time, one of my 'This or That' friends on Facebook simply mentioned a song from Moulin Rouge, so I put in the DVD to hear that performance. Ended up watching the whole thing.

Revolutionary Road (2008) dir. by Sam Mendes
Hardly the "feel good" movie of the year, but wonderfully directed and acted. Amazing sets and natural lighting throughout.

Rushmore (1998) dir. by Wes Anderson
I'd seen it before, but I borrowed this from a friend to watch again. Quirky and fun.

Same Time, Next Year (1978) dir. by Robert Mulligan
Recommended by a friend. The brief description made me think that maybe it would be similar to Brief Encounter. It isn't. At all. Strangers meet on a weekend retreat and proceed to carry on an adulterous affair annually. It's interesting to see the passage of time (about 25 years; mid-fifties through late seventies), and there are moments where the writing is solid, but something makes be believe this story works better on stage (for which it was written) than on film.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008) dir. by Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan
Interesting story. Not sure it was worthy of the 'Best Picture' Oscar it was awarded, though.

The Big Chill (1983) dir. by Lawrence Kasdan
Recommended by a friend, same friend who recommended "Same Time, Next Year." :-)

This one didn't do anything for me. Quite the ensemble cast (Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Jeff Goldblum, Tom Berenger, Glenn Close), some good moments, but again, I think that this might work better on stage than on film.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) dir. by David Fincher
Another Interesting story. Also nominated for 'Best Picture' Oscar by the Academy. Solid CG work.

The Iron Giant (1999) dir. by Brad Bird
Once again, a Facebook posting forced me to watch a movie, too late at night. Another fan of The Iron Giant mentioned that it was the 10th Anniversary of the day on which it opened in theaters. So I watched it in celebration.

Monday, November 30, 2009

SPC - 'Red' - #1

December's challenge theme is a repeat from December, 2006 (can't believe it's been three years ago!)



Well, I wasn't quite ready to give up on 'tiny words' yet, so here's my transition shot.

The mug was a gift -- purchased second-hand by a friend. Clearly, it was intended for a school teacher, but it's quirky and it keeps my coffee warm at work.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SPC - 'tiny words' - #4


This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the U.S., I can't help thinking about family. Both Christy and I have been blessed with generations of strong, healthy, God-fearing families. Over this holiday weekend, we will celebrate with not only our parents and siblings, but many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins, as well. They love us and we love them.

Of all things, this is something I should not take for granted, but all too often, I do.

Beyond the parades; beyond the football and certainly beyond the inevitable preparations for "Black Friday" -- may we remember to celebrate the bounty that we experience all around us everyday. Yes, a bounty of food, to be sure, but also a bounty of family and friends; a bounty of wealth; a bounty of freedom; a bounty in all of God's many blessings.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

--Psalm 23


Alternate Photo:

Monday, November 16, 2009

SPC - 'tiny words' - #3

For Self Portrait Challenge -- 'tiny words'

It occurred to me that any large word or group of words could be reduced to a small font size and be considered a "tiny word," but what about tiny words that aren't tiny because of their font, but rather because of their length?

"Yo" was the word that popped into my mind and yo-yoing happens to be another old hobby of mine.


It took a few tries (ahem), but I am quite happy with how this one turned out, and it is very nearly straight out of the camera -- uncropped -- untouched. The only problem was where would I put my 'tiny word?' The background was a little busy and I couldn't find a location with which I was pleased. I finally decided to remove the Duncan - Mosquito emblem and put it right on the yo-yo.

The subtle yin-yang pattern began to appear on the yo-yo face without my realizing it in the emblem-removal process, but once I realized it, I went with it. A nice little touch, I thought. :-)

Here's the actual Straight Out of the Camera shot:


Monday, November 02, 2009

SPC - 'tiny words' - #1

For the month of November, Self Portrait Challenge is borrowing the concept of the Flickr group, tiny words.

Beyond that, the theme is nearly a free-for-all. I'm looking forward to a wide variety of ideas from this creative bunch of folks!

They Were All Yellow

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween 2009

Hannah scooping out her pumpkinHarrison scooping out his pumpkinJack-o'-lanterns
Hannah's is on the left -- Harrison's is on the right.

Hannah drew her face on the pumpkin and I didn't follow the drawing. The eyes and nose are in the right places, but increased in size slightly. You might be able to see her Sharpie mark for the mouth between the carved mouth and nose. I have been admonished by Hannah for stretching it out a bit and adding teeth. The teeth have since been removed.

Harrison did not draw on his pumpkin as his drawings still lean towards the abstract which is difficult to carve into a pumpkin. He said he wanted his pumpkin to be "grumpy." We have all agreed that my render of "grumpy" leans a bit too far into "angry" territory. Nonetheless, I have not been admonished by the Boy, so I'm calling it a victory! :-)

Halloween Costumes
"May we help you?"

Halloween Fireman
Fireman Harrison

Halloween Nurse
Nurse Hannah

Three Service Professionals
We had a 'Trunk or Treat' event at our church last Sunday night and Hannah and Harrison's cousin, Katherine, came too. She was a veterinarian, so we had three service-oriented little people in our family this year!

Monday, October 26, 2009

SPC - 'Hats' - #4


This is the Jack O'Lantern I carved for Harrison. He said he wanted it to be "grumpy." I wasn't sure how to pull off "grumpy" so this is what I did. He says it's "angry" and he's probably right. Oh well.

More Jack O'Lantern and Halloween photos later this week (hopefully!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Photo Friday - 'Autumn 2009'

Since they only accept one, this top one was my pick for Photo Friday this week:

Since it's my blog and I can do whatever I want to, here are a few more photos from Autumn 2009:

Still reaching

Big Autumn Tree

Golden Forest

Shadyside Park

Friday, October 16, 2009

Photo Friday - ' in the details'

A mysterious theme over at Photo Friday: ' in the details'

Not sure what they were going for, but it looks like they're getting a lot of macro shots.

Here's mine:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

SPC - 'Hats' - #1

The challenge theme for October over at Self Portrait Challenge is: 'Hats."

So, you may ask yourself, why am I not wearing a hat in this photo?

Don't They Make My Brown Eyes Blue?

Well, the theme is a little broader than just hats. Wigs/Masks are allowed in honor of the Halloween holiday coming up. I'm counting this as a "mask" of sorts.

This is going to be a tough challenge for me as I think I only own one hat. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Photo Friday - 'Fast Food'

Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits

How does this relate to 'Fast Food?' Well, that's a fair question.

This is a building detail from a fast food restaurant (Popeyes Chicken) here in Anderson. I was attracted to the color and pattern.

Monday, September 21, 2009

SPC - 'Portals' - #4

The 'Portals' challenge continues at Self Portrait Challenge.

This is a recreation of another "The Far Side" cartoon.

Slightly less faithful to the original cartoon this time, but still crediting Larson for the inspiration.

Decided to stick with a similar 'comic book' visual style like last week.


Here's the original edit:

...and here's the original Larson frame:

I considered trying to add the Satan character in, but Christy wouldn't cooperate, that little devil! :-)

Monday, September 14, 2009

SPC - 'Portals' - #3

This is a recreation of one of my favorite "The Far Side" panels.

Decided to go for that 'comic book' visual style, considering the inspiration.

I'm really happy with how this one turned out:

Midvale School for the Gifted

Here's my shot, straight out of the camera:

As you can see, the paper box there in the bottom left was just a place-holder for what would later become the sign.

...and here's the original Larson frame: