Nature is naturally amazing!

March 31, 2014

These two images (below) I found over at TYWKIWDBI. I could post almost everything I discover at Minnesotastan’s blog. But these two were not to miss.

The first is this one:

orchid mantis

As Minnesotastan wrote:

I’ll bet you didn’t see the mantis on the orchid. … Neither did the fly.

The next image is fascinating as well.

It’s a group of ants squirting formic acid into the air after they felt threatened. What an amazing group protection plan.


ants spray


Read more about it here.

Pay all the attention to the woman in front of the curtain

March 28, 2014


The last two weeks have been tough. We’ve been incredibly busy, which is a good thing. But it’s taxing.

There’s no better person to have by my side than Tina. I know, I write about her a lot.

She is my everything.

Sometimes I wonder if I work with her to build our business because I am passionate about my art, or passionate about keeping her by my side no matter what.

I love what I do, but I love what I do more because Tina is with me.

We had a 14-hour day on Wednesday, and at the end of the day we were photographing an award ceremony. Tina doesn’t shoot for those kinds of things. She can kill it with a room of people getting posed, smily shots. But her forte isn’t rifling through a verity of lighting situations and lens choices to cover the range of needs in a range of scenarios.

It was the 10th hour of a long two days, and she was sitting in another room waiting for me to shoot.

“You could grab a cab home,” I told her. “There’s no reason for you to stay.”

“No, I’m staying. I want to be here with you.”

She melts my heart and she doesn’t even know it.

The morning had started with a bang. Both days, we started with setting up location-based photo studio to shoot head shots of anyone in the company who needed one. Tuesday was a bit slow. We did about 20 shots over 3 hours. No big deal.

On Wednesday, we were setting up thinking that it would be as slow as the day before. At 10:40, a woman walked over before our lights were setup. The stands were out. My camera was still in my bag.

“Are you guys setup for head shots yet?” She barked from about 10 yards away.

“Um,” I looked around. The backdrop wasn’t even up. “No, not quite yet.”

“Lauren said you were going to be setup by 10:45. I have appointments (she tapped her watch), and I need to get my shot and go.”

“I thought we started at 11,” I asked. Tina confirmed that the woman was right. We were to be setup in 5 minutes.

Then the woman said, “And another thing … and you can keep working while I talk …” I stopped and looked at her. “I need to talk to you about Photoshop.” That brought me to a full stop, and I walked over to stand in front of her to devote my full attention.

“You can’t multitask?” She asks.

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You can talk and keep setting up.”

“You just asked for my attention, and I wanted to give it to you.” I said. “By the way, we do a professional retouch on all the photos we take,” I assured her. We get that question a lot.

“But I need a lot of work,” she assured me, still standing in front of her. “But you should keep working. What are you? A typical man who won’t ask for directions, can’t multitask.”

My face was burning red. “Ma’am, you just asked for my attention on something you found serious. Now you’re offending me.”

“Really? You’re just the typical man. I’m joking with you. You can’t multitask. That’s typical. I’m joking with you. You can’t take a joke either? That’s typical.”

“No, I find it disrespectful,” I said.

Tina couldn’t believe I told her any of that. She didn’t tell me to shush, but Tina has a way of alleviating the tension that can enter a room with the swoosh of her magic wand called charm.

I wanted to tell that jerk to fuck off. She just hovered there, in the way, watching us setup like a vulture waiting for its turn to eat from the carcass.

I wanted to ask her if people stand over her while she’s working and ask her questions. Does she think setting up lights is some menial, mindless task? What I’m doing is going to make her look either really good or really bad.

And if I do it wrong, it can suck.

Instead of saying anything more, I said nothing and continued to work … only a bit slower. I wasn’t going to let her destroy my setup and taint how the photos looked for the rest of the day.

Another group of people were starting to line up behind her. When we finished, Tina asked if she should stand in to make sure the light is good or have the first person get the first shot.

“You stand in, Tina,” I said. I snapped two shots and looked at my monitor to make sure it looked okay. Fortunately it did and I could move forward.

I looked up at the clock on my computer screen. “10:45″ it read.

We invited the first woman over, that jerk. I wanted to point out what time it was, but I didn’t. I took a deep breath, and completed her session with professionalism and poise. But I wanted to kick her in the teeth.

Later, Tina and I talked about it, and she applauded me for how I handled the situation. “You told her what you thought. That’s important.”

“Yeah, but if you weren’t there, it was going to go downhill quickly.”

We high-fived that we’re a fucking great team. We rode out that long 14 hours together. We’ll ride out the rest of the jobs together.

Working together, living together, being together is a dream. And I’m living in it.

Pootin? I thought you’re a peein’!

March 25, 2014

The arrested developed side of me gets a little coo coo sometimes.

Our office culture consists of Tina, Talulah, Zoe, and me. So when we hear a reference to Putin one hundred and twelve thousand times a day, you can imagine the silly, 13-year-old jokes that start up.

We joke about anything and everything that is reoccurring. Especially when the traffic reports come on. We have about six different ways we say, “Wolf in”. I have a way of saying “Dan Ryan” that mimics the way the character Marcie in the movie Magnolia says to John C. Reilly’s character in the scene where he finds the body in the closet, “That ain’t mine!

Tina’s common response to newscasts repeating Putin every 5 minutes is, “If you’re not peein’, you’re pootin’.”

We’re appalled by what’s going on over there, but feel a little like our hands our tied since nobody’s going to listen to Tina and I on foreign affairs. They’re definitely not going to listen to us now that we’re throwing out these awful jokes about it.


Vaccinations win again! India beats the odds, beats polio

March 25, 2014

CNN reports:

Howrah District, India (CNN) — Rukhsar Khatoon is too young to fully grasp the significance of her life: that she is a last in a country of 1.2 billion people.

She has become the greatest symbol of India’s valiant — and successful — effort to rid itself of a crippling and potentially deadly disease. Rukhsar, 4, is the final documented case of polio in India.

Her face has appeared in newspapers and on television. She’s been invited to national events by Rotary International, the organization that led the effort to rid India of polio. She is a literal poster child, an inspiration, a symbol of a feat that no doctor or health official thought possible even a few years ago.

Apart from the publicity, though, Rukhsar’s life has hardly changed, her future still a question mark.

Read on: 

Them Tweeters are provocative!

March 25, 2014


John Fugelsang tweeted:

Only in America can you be Pro-Preemptive War, Pro-Death Penalty, Pro-Drones, Pro-Torture, & still call yourself ‘Pro-life.’


Exploring sources of competition and the motivation that pushes me

March 24, 2014



I am friends on Facebook with my high school girlfriend’s younger sister. Let’s call this sister Farty. Let’s call my ex-girlfriend “Asshole.”

Just kidding.

Let’s call her nothing at all. She’s not a HUGE part of this story.

Farty, though, lives somewhere in North Carolina with her husband and three kids. My ex lives somewhere on the east coast. I’m not sure where.

Farty has a bun in the oven, and I think she’s a stay-at-home, homeschooling parent. I’m almost certain she keeps an elaborate shrine to Martha Stewart somewhere in her home. It features constantly burning candles, fluffy flowers, lacy decor and shabby chic tabletops. I’m also quite sure she prays to Martha Stewart 5 to 6 times a day. She also prays to the Christian God, whom I think she confuses with Martha Stewart.

How do I know this? I don’t really. It’s an educated guess based on the holiday and birthday pictures she posts on Instagram and Facebook.

Farty arts-and-crafts all the decorations and food in a way that only Stewart, and her embarrassing number of followers, would swoon over. Then Farty holds editorial style photo shoots of all her hard work and shares those images with the world. Her twenty-liking fans gush and adore the décor. Then, I imagine, she kneels and prays to Martha for inspiration for the next holiday.

Easter is coming up, so I expect Jesus emerging from multicolored and elaborately painted eggs and woven baskets created in Madagascar and sold at Hobby Lobby.

On Valentine’s Day, Farty made large, bible verse laden valentines with hearts and cupids. She plastered them all over her house. They were in Martha Stewart style. She photographed them and plastered them on her Facebook wall in a neat photo album called, “Jesus’s Love Fills our Home.”

This is the way Farty chooses to live her life. She chooses to think it’s adorable to teach kids to sing “Amazing Grace,” because nothing is more psychologically sound than teaching adorable, upper/middle class children that they are wretched pile of vomit.

Recently she posted a picture of her kids playing with my ex-girlfriend’s kids. I know this from her wall of family pictures. They were all at Farty’s house. By the end of the weekend, there was another photo posted. This one was of my exgirlfriend in running gear, crossing a finish line of what appeared to be a marathon. There was a title: “My sister crossing the finish line of her first marathon.” There was a hashtag: “#sisterlove”.

In the background, there was a clock that read 3:44:00. My ex ran a fucking marathon in three hours and forty four minutes. That’s approximately 8.5 miles per hour … for all of 26.2 miles.

I’ve seen my ex in pictures since we broke up a few times. It used to be a bit startling. And that immediate response has since subdued. But what threw me off about this image was that my ex crossed a marathon finish line in 3:44.


I can barely do a 5K on the treadmill doing 8 minute miles.

From pictures, my ex appears to have sixty five children. While skinny as all get out, I remember running with her in high school and smoking her slow ass.

Have the tables turned? Is she in better shape than I?

Oh no she din’in!

So in my embarrassment, shame and anger — and because it was too cold to run outside — I ran three miles on the treadmill at a pace a little faster than 8.5 mph.

Take that ex-girlfriend with 65 kids!

I only have 23+ miles to go in order to prove my point!

Speaking of Farty McFarty and her Martha Stewart underpants, do you ever have those experiences where if you hear yourself talk, or you look at your actions from the outside, you’d almost mistaken yourself for one of your parents?

For instance, when I express a lack of compassion when Tina’s not feeling well, it’s a direct result of how my mom treated me when sick as a kid. She grew up with Type 1 Diabetes, and in turn, there weren’t many people’s sicknesses that warranted compassion in her mind. I don’t believe she did it on purpose, but it was tough.

We were rarely allowed a sick day. If we could wiggle our toes, we were school bound, no matter how feverish and laden with boils and rashes we were.

More than once, I had colds as a kid and would be coughing up a lung while lying in bed. She’d stand at my door and say, “Stop coughing! Turn on your side and STOP coughing!”

I’m not sure if you’ve ever been sick — I’m betting you have. The one thing you can’t do is “stop coughing”. It’s a proven fact that over half the time you’re sick with a cough, you cough. Even when you’re sleeping, you’re coughing. It’s one of those things the scientists like to call, “Un-con-fucking-trollable”.

I blame this lack of compassion while Tina’s sick on this behavioral handmedown, aka a memetic virus.

Another instance of behavioral handmedown surprised even little old me. This one comes to me from my pops.

A few weeks ago, we were photographing interiors at O’Hare Airport. We had been there since 6 a.m., and my regular movement — if you will — happens soon after I get up between 8 and 9 a.m.

As if right on time, the spirit moved me. It may have moved others around me as well.

“Whelp, Tina,” I said. “I gotta drop some kids at the pool.”

And off I went in the direction of the men’s room. As I walked, I was passing a little bookstore, and near the front of the store, there was a young woman stacking books on a display. I saw her from the corner of my eye, but didn’t think much of it.

The urge to let go of some wind overcame me and I thought, “No worries. Just let it go.”

And I did.

Do you know the sound a truck makes when it blows its horn?

This is the closest equivalent of what emitted from my ass. Startled, I felt the young bookstore clerk raise her head. I gathered all the strength and elderly-apathy I could muster — tried my damnedest not to laugh — and kept walking … at the same speed toward the mens room.

This abrupt, loud, flutter of flatulence I blame on my dad. This is a guy who — when we were growing up — would let off ground-rattling farts without a care in the world. There was no warning. Instead of unannounced, frequent earthquakes of the west coast, we got dad’s farts in mind altering, decibel laden hellfire.

The funniest was when I’ve traveled with him on airplanes. We wouldn’t be sitting together, but I would hear — and I’m not kidding — a fart erupt from his direction.

It was as if holding it in was completely impossible and pushing out with as much sphincter force was imperative to the health and wellbeing of the known universe.

Dad may not have saved starving children in Africa, but many an angel got its wings from the land mines my dad laid out of his butt.

Or something.

So when you are motivated to either run 8.5 mph or machine-gun fart … consider that possibility that it was passed down to you, like a genetic trait, or it was some distant ghost with the ability to stir your innermost competitive idiosyncrasy.

Regardless, the past has a way of influencing your present.


Newsworthy: Germans Intercept Cocaine-Filled Condoms Destined For Vatican

March 24, 2014

From this TPM article:

If someone within Vatican City was trying to smuggle a shipment of cocaine into the Catholic mini-state, they’re certainly not coming forward to claim it now.

German customs officials at Leipzig airport intercepted a shipment in January that contained 340 grams of cocaine packed into 14 condoms inside a package of cushions from South America, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported Sunday.

Read on

Hey! That looks like sautéed zucchini

March 24, 2014


Yesterday I was running through some images and stumbled on these two guys.

I must have been grabbing shots while cooking one night.

That little Leica we have features some stunning images.


Holy CRAP!!! This is not just a train derailment | blue line plowed off the tracks

March 24, 2014


In the background, we listen to NPR most of the day.

They keep talking about a train derailment, which happens somewhat frequently.

I googled what happened, and this picture came up on Chicago Tribune.

This train had to be moving fast. It’s so far from the tracks. This is a lot of freaking damage. If you’ve ever flown out of O’Hare and seen this train station, you know just how awful this accident is.

Or you can just look at this photo. Oh my gosh.



You didn’t know you were a knoller did you?

March 21, 2014

knolling-90-degrees-andrew-kimWhenever you shoot photos and purposefully arrange things in 90 degree angles, which is the way I try to shoot most things, you are doing something called, “Knolling.”

More info here.

Photo above is an example of it.

Via Kottke.



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