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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Well folks what can I say.  DW's family came down, had a nice day.  Got to use my new pro camera and got a few keeper pics that I've uploaded to the web.  My D-I-L was so gracious to let me be silly and get a few impromptu photo's of her, she is such a sweetie.

While not disappointed at one of wifes daughters not showing (she's a tosser) it did keep wife from seeing her grandchildren (one she raised because DCS took him away from the daughter) and of course this is how she is repaid.  I think the tiger should have eaten that one.

We all had fun on the Wii and it was a noisy, fun time.......then everyone had to leave to travel back to their respective homes and just as quick as a clap of thunder they were gone.  Just now getting over the "it's so quiet now" feeling.

Wife's Father was not in attendance this year.  He has new wife and she wanted to do a Thanksgiving for her side of the family.  Totally understandable unless your the eldest daughter....then I think it's a feeling of subtle abandonment.  I watch but can only offer a smile to ease the discomfort.

I took my rightful place as MC of the Thanksgiving kickoff and shared a few thoughts that I had researched the night before and had written down.  Thought provoking was my intent and I think the message got through to one or two.  God bless her Son, you see he is a young man filled with the Spirit and a Youth Minister at his church and is a very traditional long winded Baptist.  At the conclusion of the "Thanksgiving" prayer everyone in attendance holds hands and says what they are thankful for.  A fine tradition!  I concluded my thoughts on the Thanksgiving holiday (and actually learned how it came to be in my research) and concluded with a poem by Emerson that I turned into a prayer by ending with "Amen".  It was simple and to the point.  Everyone in turn said a brief thanksgiving then we got to the young preacher...Oh the vitality of youth!  At the conclusion he said "aren't we going to bless the food" to which my wife said, "what do you think he just did"?  He looked stunned as it was so short and succinct that it couldn't have been a prayer.  We all smiled and had a chuckle and it was FEAST ON!

It was a good day that ended well with all that were in attendance arriving back to their homes safely.  There will be some that don't this Thanksgiving.

Wife found out second hand of her fathers intent with the old home place and was hurt by not hearing it from him.  I asked a few questions and she was rather curt and snippy, not at me mind you but at the situation.  Personally I think she needs to "pitch a bitch" to get some of these heavy feelings off her heart.  Alas this is not her way and I am not sure what is because she does not like conflict of any kind even though conflict is a part of life and inevitable, even in it's mildest form.  It's going to happen.

I think I could call her father, mention a few things to him that would sharpen his awareness.  I've done it before and he took the hint.  I'm just not sure if I should.  I think she needs to do this one but it's a biggie and it will surely overwhelm her.  What she doesn't realize is that he is just as afraid of conflict because he has got so much of his own right now and probably will forever.  He is afraid he won't be forgiven (although it's not forgiveness he needs) for marrying another woman so quickly after his wife of 50 years passed away.  What my wife is almost at the precipice of understanding but can't communicate to him is that she doesn't care he married "what's her name", it's that he doesn't know how to play the two family game and he's not doing it very well to satisfy his wife.  All he would have to do is just remember her, even the tiniest bit and here is a good example.  On a recent trip to Flordia from North Carolina (you have to pass through our town) to see his son from the woman that is now his wife (they had a child very young, she put him up for adoption and they went their separate ways.  He married my wifes mother and was with her until she passed away) he did not even make a gesture to stop in even if only for the briefest moment, much less make a phone call to say "hey we are passing through, tight schedule and can't stop but wanted to holler as we went by".  Now to make all this so much worse is the wife finds out they are visiting his "other" child via Facebook.  She was PISSED and I don't blame her.  It's like he is sneaking past her, not giving her what she is used to and rightfully so, to make up time with this other offspring.

Now this other fella is a really nice guy.  I like him and his wife a lot.  They are just good people and we had a cabin next to them on our honeymoon.  Wife and I were just beat down from the wedding and Ceilidh afterwards and they would bring us coffee for a couple of mornings.  Good people they are and not trying to "suck up", they are just good people.  They are just just like me in all of this, ready to be nice and amicable but ain't gonna put up with no shit either...LOL.  I've had my say about somethings already myself about her brother and sister and their "holier than thou" attitudes.  It's her father that is perpetuating this feeling of abandonment, trying to keep things separate that are anything but separate.  He just doesn't know that all he has to do is do like he always did with her (my wife) and her brothers and sisters when it came to showing attention and just fold the "other" sibling into the mix and it'll all work out.  It's really just that simple.  Odd how the simple things are what escape us most often and I of course am NO exception.

Well "Black Friday" is just a few hours away and I may or may not participate.  If I do it will to watch all the silliness.

Slainte` - G23

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner. ~Author Unknown

Today is the beginning of what my blog was really meant for.  I know that I "vented" about a few things that needed to be said/heard.  My blog will still be about what I think, see and feel but I now am taking it to the direction it was intended all along....I just didn't know it yet.

I truly had this blog Idea way before I even knew what a computer was much less what a "blog" was.  My idea was to share with others what I saw through the lens of my camera.  I, like many others, have seen some pretty amazing things through my camera lens.  Sometimes not even knowing what was really there until it was pointed out by others and what they saw.  Just like the photo below.  I took the photo but I didn't see the "ghost rider" until it was pointed out to me by others.
Ghost Rider
I began my interest in photography as a result of having had a "tough break" early on but later channeled it into the acquisition of a pretty nice (at that time) 35mm SLR...a Nikkormat FTN.  I was in my mind on the same playing field now as the big boys that published their photo's in LIFE, NatGeo, SI and so on.  I wasn't a photographer, just a "baby" Nikon owner.

I acquired some basic darkroom equipment, B&W, and I just did my thing.  I captured some really great moments/events on film and I suppose they still exist somewhere although I don't know where.  The remembrance of them still exists in my mind, therefore the imagination to see things a little differently still exists.

I recently seem to see animals heads and faces in rock formations.  The one pictured below is another example of how I took the photo but it wasn't until later when cropping to print it that I saw....well what do you see?

Some I see straightaway like the one below on a trip to the Cherokee Foothills recently.  I just had to get away from all the Flatland, Sand and Pine Trees.  I needed, my soul needed, to see some real grass, real trees and some autumn/fall color.  The color wasn't what I had hoped for but my wife and I never tire of seeing mountains.  Do you see a face?  Somewhat abstract like some paintings I've seen, however I saw the face just a easily as I see yours if I look at you.
Stone Face
While on the way home "from the hills" I began to think, where am I going to come up with all the great photo's that others seem to find in their travels.  The one person that comes to mind is Shona McMillan Celtic Reflections.

As I am writing my blog today it occurs to me that I am doing it, I just hadn't realized it yet.  So I'll end this entry with a bit of food for thought......

I never question what to do, it tells me what to do.  The photographs make themselves with my help.  ~Ruth Bernhard

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apples and Oranges, Oil and Water, Matches and Gasoline - Somethings just don't mix well....

My wifes son is a music minister in his church.  He is a young man, a young married man with a wonderful wife (this is how I see it) and as such is full of vigor in his church place.  He recently posted online a "half thought".  Only he knew what it fully meant but to a few I suspect even though we know him, it had a brackish taste to it and I made a comment to him that fully brought out what he was meaning to say....which was my intent all along but I had to help him see how it might sound to others.

He very eloquently filled in the details and all who cared to read his musings were enlightened.  Oh to have the vim and vigor of a "Man on Fire" such as he is return.  Is it only in youth that we have our most often misunderstood moments because we have not yet learned that communication in full is required to have our passions and thoughts understood?  No I think not.  It is something that plaques us all our lives and the older we get, the more set in our ways we are...for better or worse.

I for one know more of the worse than the better.  This is my choice.

A few days later, this same young man posted another thought for the day and was more complete in posting his thoughts.  As I read his posting and doing some online research on it one place led to another and I wound up reading a passage in the KJV, Matthew 7:3.  Now this really hit me pretty hard as it was so in tune with some recent events that had occurred with my wife, myself and her/our family.  My interpretation of that scripture was basically this, If you are going to stand in judgement (which GOD tells us is a NO-NO) of someone or take issue with them (what, who, how they are) one must first do a lot of self inspection and make sure your laundry is clean before you start telling others that their laundry is not.  Make sure your own self is up to scratch (not what you think it should be but what GOD truly wants it to be) before you take issue with how someone else is or even more importantly, what you perceive them to be before you've even taken the real time to get to know someone.

I'm going to chase a rabbit here for a moment.  I don't "preach" so I don't really have to practice anything.  I just take things at face value for the most part and either I like it or I don't.  This produces the outcome of either I will take every good opportunity to engage and further a relationship or I will just let it be enough to be polite but remain aloof and/or indifferent.  I am more of a "how do you treat me" type of person.  I, and like everyone else have (whether they admit it or not, and most of the time don't even know it) a sign on their chest that only others can see that says "make me feel important and valued".  I know I have one even though I pretend it's not there and yet I do expect it, as does everyone else.  If you are one of the many that says "I do not, I don't need anyone's approval" then you not only don't have a clue, you don't even suspect!  Do I judge?  Of course I do but only to the extent of did this or that person treat me like I would like.  If my needs are not met then I just move on down the line with no ill will, I just don't waste my time and energy on that individual.

To coin a phrase from Forrest Gump, I may not be a smart man but I do know enough to be a productive part of conversations and interactions with others from just about any walk of life.  I truly don't care WHAT YOU DO, WHERE YOU ARE FROM, WHO YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU HAVE.  What I do care about is HOW DO YOU TREAT ME.  End of story.  Meet this requirement and all is well.  You see I'm already trying to do this with you because I know it's what you need.  Am I 100% good at doing this...NO, however I hit the 90's mark more than I miss it.

Ok done chasing rabbits.

There is a group of folks that I have tried to "get to know" but I have been held a bay because I am....well I truly don't know and after my most frequent attempts that were once again shunned don't feel the need to pursue it any longer.  They are who they are, I am who I am and maybe, just maybe these things just won't mix.  This is the only option of thought I have.  I am not mad (frustrated yes), I am not hurt (to be hurt you have to have had an expectation of an outcome) however I am done with it.  Will I ever consider a re-encounter?  Possible but not probable.  It's not that I am unforgiving, just unwilling.  There is a difference and all to many morally righteous people don't understand the difference and they use this as a tool/weapon to elevate themselves and condemn others.  I call shenanigans!  If you don't understand this concept, crawl back in your cave and keep making the grunting, guttural sounds of a raw red meat'll never find fire.

My dearest friend, my wife, told me this past weekends events were an eyeopener for her and she conveyed how to me, and I understood.  What I also understood is that if her blood family treats her this way, I will never stand an ice cubes chance in hell.  I don't think she has gotten to the point where she can accept this yet as she is dealing with her own "demons".  It is what it is and although I'm not overly fond of this being the way it is, I can accept it, and have.

What really put me over the top was this simple.  My wifes youngest daughter, whom I think the world of and would do most anything for (why?  because of how she treats me, and has accepted me into her life not as a step-dad but as a friend and her mothers husband and all of the honors and privileges that go along with it) were discussing movies and I mentioned one I had in the car and she really expressed an interest in seeing.  I asked of HER were there any DVD players in the cabins and just as quick as a bolt of lightning was told by one of my wifes brothers "We don't watch TV when we are up here.  I was staying in the same cabin as he and I suspect he was enforcing a "his cabin" rule.  The other wifes brother would watch TV for sports scores in the other cabin and report back but that was Okay...and was fuel for sports conversation.  HOW freakin rude is that.  Not only was he not paying for the cabins, he wasn't even part of my conversation but decided on his own to intrude without being invited.  That's just rude.  There was a better way to do this I am sure.  Time passed and all adjourned in the cabin for the evening to play cards or whatever when one of HIS nephews turned on the TV to watch sports and not a DAMN word was said.  Is this not a bitch slap in the face or what?  I would have preferred just being told to my face that I don't count and have no voice or rights.  Hells Bells, even black folk and women are allowed vote now!  Are you starting to see a pattern here?

I said nothing.  I knew in doing so would only call attention to me as the outsider and label me a trouble maker.  Ok fine, I'm a trouble maker but isn't sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander?  Blood is thicker than water and this isn't the first time I have experienced it and the last time I did the outcome was less than desirable and it was from the same type of self-proclaimed morally righteous types.  Will this time be any different.  Possible but not probable.   I for one will not be waiting by the phone.  It is what it is.

I made up my mind right then, as an adult, that I have a choice to remain in this environment where I'm very uncomfortable and would have spoken out and this would have made a scene, or just leave and make that scene.  The latter being the better part of discretion even though I would be labeled/judged but at least I would be gone and not have to suffer the indignation.  I choose the latter.

My poor wife is so emotionally traumatized by all of these events, no not traumatized...devastated, trashed is more like it that I do not recognize her as the same women that went up there to the Labor Day weekend at Fontana Resort that her family has done for years.  This was my first Fontana event but I have been a presence around this family for neigh on two years so I am not a stranger by any means.  Oops...yes I am, my bad.  What the hell was I thinking when I typed that LOL.

I have since deleted all social network contacts of those family members on social networks and deleted the phone numbers of the relatives I have in my phone.  I never really hear from them anyway and their contact info was only as a courtesy ICE ya know.  I know they don't have my contact details stored because there was a family emergency a while back and I was never contacted, so that speaks to what I have already been talking about.  Well of course I told my wife I had deleted this stuff because she should hear it from me rather than a "why has your husband"........from someone else.  Now I am the bad guy again, making her feel like she has to choose.  Not my intent.  Only those that show no interest in me are affected, as they do not have my contact details either and never have so what's the harm (as her husband I should be afforded those honors and privileges).  None.  If  I am to be called out for deleting, they are to be called out for not having mine stored.  Sauce for the Goose!

Ok all my blathering just boils down to this...all men may have been created equal in Gods sight, however we as men have very poor eyesight!  Don't try to pull a splinter out of me when you have a lumber yard in you!

We as persons, have our foil-ables and just like oil and water some of us just don't mix.  That's ok and I can live with it...just be nice about it.


Friday, August 27, 2010

What I See - Random Images of Nature that Look Like Animals

For a while it seemed that every time I would take some photo's I would later see an animal image depending on how I cropped it (REAL photographers don't use PhotoShop, we use our raw image and resize or do the effect with lense filters ON THE SPOT, not on a computer).

Here is one example up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Parkway in fact, at a very well known spot.  See if you can name the location?

What do you see?
If you don't see anything but rock and tree's then I'd have to classify you as a person that thinks that "gettin and workin and workin and gettin" is what life is all about...WRONG!!!!
And you probably work for my ex-employer, or one just like him (he thinks you have to work 12-14hr days EVERY DAY or you ain't making money).

While not actually a part of my "picture" series, here is a little bit of advice for you job seekers.  If your employer went to college, ask them how much "partying they did" while in school or if they were in a Fraternity and what that organization did for the community.  If he/she says "oh yeah I partied my a$$ off, steer clear of them because they are most likely the kind of person that is having to work triple hard now to make up for what they should have already done in college.  You don't want to work for that kind of person.  They don't understand what life and family are about even though they say they are "all about family".  It's a cover up and a LIE!  I like Joe Wilson's "YOU LIE".  Ask them what's the predominant thought on their mind as they head off to work every day.  If they say anything but, "can't wait to get back home to my family", look elsewhere for employment.  They will suck the life out of you and brand you as not being a team player since you don't subscribe to their ideals.  As a side note, the USA is one of the few, if not the only, country that has a 40+ work hour work week as a general rule.

Ok back to my blogging.  The next photo is local, Cayce Riverwalk on the West Side, in the Capital City.  I originally took the photo of two young girls just sitting on a large river boulder.  They were just sitting there holding hands, as girlfriends are apt to do (you know way back when, when young girls out together were JUST BEST FRIENDS) and after a few shot's I noticed something else as I was zooming/cropping the frame.

What do you see?  If you don't see anything but a rock and some water.  That's ok that you you have no imagination!

And last but certainly not Least, I come to the most intriguing photo I think I have ever taken.  I and the wife (she's with me at all these locations, I couldn't imagine her not being with me anywhere.  After all she's my best friend, my best girl.  She's my bfbgbb!) were attending a civil war re-enactment and the Blue Coats were advancing on the good ole boys in Gray and it was a helluva battle, Musket fire, Cannon Fire, noise and explosions, whoops and hollers of the wounded and the about to be wounded and dead.  I was just rippin off frame after frame trying to catch some of the plumes of smoke being ejected from the black powder cannons. I did pretty good I thought.  Later that night my wife was uploading our pictorial event to her facebook page when she got a message from a cousin of hers that just blew me away.  I had not seen the image in the smoke...but her cousin did.  Once I was looking for it there it was just as plain as the nose on your face.

This photo has since been named, Ghost Rider.  I suspect it was Wade Hampton, but I could be mistaken.  You decide.

Well there you have it!  This is just a sampling of  What I See.  Sometimes I see it straightaway, sometimes others see it first...but tis there regardless and it only takes a bit of clearing your mind, forgetting everything you were taught up to this point in life and just looking with an open mind.  Being ready to accept a new concept, a shift of paradigm's, thinking out of the box.

One last final note on my blog today.  After my first entry, as I was on my way to run errands, I was listening to a new CD I made with some of my favourite songs and I heard one that really stopped me cold.  It seemed as though it had a lot do with what I had just posted.  I saw this performer live back in the 1970's and this was just one song on their latest album but it struck a chord with me way back then and if it don't hold true to this day, well then Grits ain't Groceries.

Leon Russell and the Shelter People - "Stranger In a Strange Land" (Russell, Don Preston)
Here is an excerpt that just seemed to fit in so well with my first blog entry:
Well, I don't exactly know

What's going on in the world today

Don't know what there is to say
About the way the people are treating
Each other, not like brothers

Leaders take us far away from ecology
With mythology and astrology
Has got some words to say
About the way we live today
Why can't we learn to love each other
It's time to turn a new face
To the whole world wide human race

Stop the money chase
Lay back, relax
Get back on the human track
Stop racing towards oblivion
Oh, such a sad, sad state we're in
And that's a thing

Do you recognize the bells of truth
When you hear them ring
Won't you stop and listen
To the children sing


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We Can Agree to Disagree - Tolerance of the Ignorant and Naive, It's a Two Way Street

My hope is to provide some day to day viewpoints, some of which will no doubt be radical and while not intended to "Flame" most likely will.  My thoughts are my own as are yours.  When I say "This is What I Think, This is What I Feel, This is What I See, you can't argue with how "I" feel or think....

It's how "I" feel about something and how I see it and how I feel about it.....Period.

When you say, This is How You Feel, Think, See things....I can't argue with it or say you are wrong

It's how  "YOU"  feel about something and how YOU see it and how  YOU feel about it.....Period.

Another way to put it is.....respect of others opinions without agreeing with them (or pulling some ghetto stunt).

I don't have to "like" your viewpoint(s), or even like you for that matter and I most likely won't, but I would like to think that in a fully developed civilized society which we have yet to achieve but would like others to believe we have and to subscribe to our Golden Ideals of respectfulness which we preach but don't practice.

Learning to "get along" and just be polite dammit!  Is that so hard to do or comprehend?  It must be because the older I get the less I see of the common everyday courtesies that I grew up with and was told was mandatory!

Here are a few examples:
1.  I have a slight disability with my knee and most days I need to use a brace and/or walking cane to keep the pressure off my knee.  I go to the same convenience store every other day and have for the past couple of years so it would be safe to assume that a few folks recognize me, as I do them.  Now I come to my point, with my knee brace and walking cane, 100% of  people will go out of their way to hold the door for me, ask me if  I need help.  Black, Brown, White, Yellow (haven't had a little green one yet but would expect better results as they are touted to be a more advanced civilization) it doesn't matter skin color.  It matters that I have what they perceive to be a "NEED" of their courtesy.  Odd thing is I have that same need without it as I would extend to the person behind me, carrying a package or a child, or can sense someone is in a greater hurry than I.

Now to my second point of this above example, some days I have the need to take pain medication and while medicated it doesn't hurt as bad and so for that short walk into the store (where my Wife has driven me because I do not drive while on pain medication) I don't have on a brace or the walking cane and 90% of the same people don't even give me a second look.  What is the difference in the courtesies being extended or denied?  Sorry if you were looking for the answer to that as I do not have it.  You will need to do some research on your own to identify personality compatibility and idiosyncrasy.

Ok if that didn't cause you to come up with a thousand ways to tell me I'm wrong ( you can't, it's what I think, see and feel.....remember?) here is another example.
2.  Respect of personal space.  Some people don't mind if you get "in their face" and others do.  I have a four foot space that I don't like invaded by strangers (a stranger is someone other than family and not all family are exempt).  I grew up in a fairly large town and there were certain parts of town that you didn't go to if you were not born on that street or were not related to someone that lived there and even then that didn't get you too far.  If you violated that "space" you were told you were not welcome and if you persisted you most likely got your ass kicked, you know the good ole kind of one on one type that was only intended to teach you a lesson not maim or kill.  Yes there were a few souls that didn't have a clue of what "Common Sense and the Fear of God meant and they would attempt to show out.  It didn't last long.  I respect your space and you respect mine.  After all I don't just show up at your house and come busting in 'cause I don't think I ought to have to knock on the door.  A bit of a stretch but the principle is the same.

Today's definition of  Respect/Disrespect are not the same as when I was being brought up.  An Aussie acquaintance once gave me their definition of those who have manners and those who don't as "I was brought up, not drug up", the latter being without manners.  My grandfather had a similar saying, "Po people have Po ways".

Ok back to it, now the Ghetto Style would be a few drive by shootings, gang rapings, gang stabbings, gang beatdowns on one poor soul that could only survive if they had a Dillon Aero M134.  I have witnessed a beatdown on a single person because someone didn't like them looking at them..."they were eyeballin, plottin on me.  He look like he wanna do sumpin to me".

Ok my point to #2 is simple, there are just some places and at some times that we just don't belong or need to be where we are.  If  the "offenders" innocently encroach we should "cut 'em some slack and let 'em pass".  Now this brings me to what I would suppose is my clincher.  I am a fixin to get personal so the faint of heart and those with overly sensitive sensibilities.....the exit is down the hall and to the left.  Are they gone yet?  Oh well if not they were warned.

Lets presume you know a family that just had a homosexual member die of you really think it's respectful to publicly tell any kind of "fag" joke (when I lived in Oz it was common to go outside the restaurant and drink a beer and have a fag with your mates....a smoke) .  If you can't see the harm in it then I invite you to go over to Brown Road in South Richmond County or 2160 and "show out".  I did go into 2160 once but was with a person that vouched for me.  I REALLY didn't want to go inside because I knew I didn't belong but against my better judgement and repeatedly being told  It's ok I know 'em I'll vouch for you, I went inside.  That lasted about 2 minutes and both me(Caucasian) and my 'bro (you figure it out) had to make a quick getaway while dodging a few bottles and pool cue's.  Me for even thinking about it and him for being STOOPID for bringing me in there.  I laugh now but it wasn't even a little funny then.  Oh yeah....this was in the middle 70's y'all.

If you are an American, and if you don't know what that fully entails you don't belong here....GET OUT until you are ready to be an American.  Lets presume you had a family member die as a result of ANYTHING to do with Muslim's, Islam, Sharia Law, September 11, 2001, do you find it RESPECTFUL that anything or anyone to do with Muslim's, Islam or Sharia Law would want to place a place of worship on the spot where America suffered our Nations most tragic event?  That place of worship has NOTHING to do with remorse, repentance or be a place where a common healing for all affected peoples could EVER take place?

I can accept the Muslim religion wanting to put up a Mosque, but NOT THERE!  It's not respectful of the suffering of American's be they Christian, Hebrew, Hindu, Holy Rollers, Mormon's or Muslim (if I left any religion out....TUFF STUFF.  It's my Blog and I can omit whomever I want) and I'd hazard a guess there were some people of all of those religious faiths that died in the attack on the Twin Towers that had NOTHING to do with it.  Okay, maybe no Holly Rollers as I don't think they live in the Cit-tay.  They were everyday people that were just trying to make a living and go home to their respective families.  If it were to serve a COMMON purpose for Healing, bringing about a respectful resolve to "What I think, feel, see" then that is a different story.  

It's what I think, it's how I feel