Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Apparently, Drinking is Bad for You

Look, I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade or anything, but I think drinking might be bad for you.

And I'm not talking about your liver shutting down or operating heavy machinery and losing limbs or thinking that jumping off a bridge into ditch water under the railroad tracks is a good idea or anything.  

OK, maybe all that stuff, too.  But mostly I am talking about things like:

Thinking this looks like food:

They're called "Monkey Balls", and near as I can tell, they are little balls of SPAM, deep fried and covered in an amazingly addictive sweet and sour like sauce.  They can only classify as food in your imagination.

I didn't plan on getting sloshed.

I was going to the Colorado Brewer's Festival for craft beer and liquid joy.

I planned on discreetly sipping on amazing experimental and interesting beers from some of Colorado's most amazing craft breweries.  I planned on talking to the brewers, who were, in fact, present to talk to their adoring and level-headed fans.  I expected to have intelligent conversations with people who get to brew beer for a living.

Instead, I ran into a couple of brewers at various points and the conversations were something like this:

Me:  "Dude!"

Brewer #1: "This is awesome!"

Brewer #2:  "What's your favorite beer?"

Me: "Uh... besides yours?  I would have to say this crazy double Fat Tire with the saison yeast.  The Crabtree Cezanne Saison is pretty good, too.  It tasted like oranges."

Brewer #1: "I'll have to try that."

Brewer #2: "I love doing this for a living.  You know what I'm doing right now?  I'm working."  He held up his taster and grinned.

Me:  "Shit yeah."

You know you're switching from "beer connoisseur" to "frickin' drunk" when you decide you're going to wait in line to use the pink bathroom because it's PINK, yo.  Pink.  And then you find out that bitch FLUSHES and has a SINK inside, and you have to tell EVERYONE YOU MEET about this AMAZING DAMN TECHNOLOGY.  I even took a picture.  So it would last longer.

Funny thing here?  I hate pink.  Also?  It's a port-o-potty.

Ran into another brewer a while later.  This one I actually saw in a bar fight one time, so I was not surprised to see him down a taster of beer and hold out his cup for some more.  Because, dude.  It was his damned booth.

Mostly I was jealous.

You know what else seems like a good idea?  Smoking a cigar when you quit smoking a month and a half ago.  And wearing a cowboy hat and a Hawaiian shirt.  Yes.  I know I picked out my outfit before we started drinking.  Shut up.

After we left the brewfest, we headed to a friend's house to sober up before driving home.

This would have been a good idea if:
  1. We didn't stop at the liquor store on the way there to get more booze and 
  2. We didn't keep drinking heavily.

Somehow, another cigar showed up.  

So now you know.  Drinking can be bad for you and lead to some interesting judgement calls.


Now... where did I set my beer?

Monday, June 27, 2011

There are RULES People!

So, over the last couple weeks, I not only drove, but I biked, and I walked places.  Between near death and near deadly experiences the entire time, I thought I would share some things I have learned.  Just, you know, maybe keep myself from crossing the line from "caustic sarcastic bitch" to "homicidal maniac".  Maybe.

When I am driving:
  • Bicycle Riders: Pay attention to where you are going, and do not dart through intersections while drinking a FourLoco and completely ignoring the squealing screaming driver while riding to the liquor store.  If you've had one FourLoco, you honestly have no business buying more booze anyway.
  • Pedestrians: Please realize that people in cars might have things to do other than wait for your teenage ass to mosey across the damned road half a block from the nearest intersection. Also, don't think I'm not tempted.
  • Bicycle Riders: Do NOT outnumber the cars on Highway 7 when I am driving to the Park to go for a hike.  I know you've worked hard to be in the awesometacular shape that you're in, but I can't help but feel like you are judging me for driving, and maybe showing off a bit.  It's awesome that you are in such good shape, bicyclist.  Awesome.  You're still not pedaling 45 miles per hour (the speed limit) going uphill.  This means you shouldn't try to pass a marginally slower biker on a blind corner.  Jerk.
  • Pedestrians: The huge "NO PEDESTRIANS ON BRIDGE" sign is there for a reason.  Get off the fucking bridge.
  • Other cars:  No, you already know what you've done.

When I am biking:

The lake has flooded the trail... which makes riding a bit more interesting.  Yeah, I didn't want dry socks.

  • Hey, other bike riders!  A little warning if you are going to pass me on the bike trail would be nice!  Not just a "On your left" when you are already there that makes me jump out of my skin and swerve into you.  This is why God invented the damned bike bell.  Use it.
  • Pedestrians: When someone is ringing their bike bell like madness and shouting, "ON YOUR LEFT!" and you slowly turn around while standing in such a way that NO ONE could ever pass you while letting your dog whip around you like a yo-yo and using up not only the entire bike path but 5 feet around it pretty much just makes you an ass.  Just an FYI.
  • Runners:  OK, I am trying to not be jealous that you can run almost as fast as my comfortable bike pace, and I get that you are grooving to your tunes and lost in some inner-landscape of joy and cookies, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look both ways before crossing an intersection.
  • Cars:  Look, I didn't MEAN to go this way, it's only a few blocks, but there is a dropoff on the side of the road, the white line is crumbling away, there's a hill, railroad tracks, and even a guardrail that you could easily squish me against like a bug.  Please, please, consider crossing the double yellow when there are no cars coming the other way so I am not brushed by your side mirrors.  It's... disconcerting.  I promise not to ride this way again, OK?  I'm going to die, aren't I...?

When I am walking or hiking:

  • Cars:  Did you REALLY just speed up when you saw me start to cross the street?
  • Other Hikers:  Yo.  I think it's wonderful that you took your husband, neighbor, cousin, grandmother, and that guy from work with you for a nice day in the park.  It's also wonderful that you all brought your kids.  Please realize that I don't consider their shouts and screams endearing, especially when you won't let me pass you.  Seriously.  Step aside.
  • Trail Runners:  Maybe I DO want to be like you someday.  But when I am wheezing along at 1 mile an hour, I pretty much want to strangle you as you sprint up the trail.  I know, it's not you.  It's me.  It's my fault for not hearing you coming over my labored breathing.  Maybe you could consider calling out or something.  Also?  If I can hear the music playing in your earbuds, it's too loud.  Why bother going out into the woods if you are going to drown out all other noises?
  • Mountain Bikers:  Share the trail does not mean "leave bike tracks down my back after running me over as you cruise down the single track trail going Mach 10.
Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park last week.

To summarize:  If I am walking, I bikes and cars suck.  If I am biking, other bikes, cars, and pedestrians suck.  When I am driving... yeah.  Everyone who isn't me sucks.

These are the rules, kids.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Gonna Happen, Yo.

I have decided to write a novel.

I know, I know, I shouldn't TALK about it, I should just DO it, right?

But seriously, I can't think of any better career (other than maybe "Famous (and Overpriced) Artist").  Sitting around at home all day... (WORKING FROM HOME), maybe never getting dressed, just hanging out in my underwear all the time... no showers, no fluorescent lighting, no boss, no RULES.  I could seriously be drunk by 10AM EVERY. DAY.

I've been thinking about it for a while.

At first, I was intimidated.  I mean, there are a few good writers out there, you know?  It's hard to be motivated when you're going to be compared with someone like Stephen King or William Shakespeare or something.  And what if I end up some sad old maid living in an attic whose never published in her lifetime and whose fame is postmortem?  What if I go insane?  What if my massive wealth goes to my head and I "sell out"?

I decided I would need some moral support, so last night I told my boyfriend.

Me: "Hey.  I think I'm going to write a novel."

Him:  "Sounds good."

Me: "Tonight."

Him: (looking at his computer) "..."

Me:  "I can totally do it."

Him:  "OK."

Me: "It's going to be about vampires.  Or maybe zombies."

Him: (snickering over something on reddit)

Me: "And it's going to be violent.  Gory even."

Him: "Hmmm."

Me:  "And funny."

Him:  "Huh." (to be fair, I am not sure he was responding to me here, or something on the computer).

Me:  "And I'm going to avoid all those things that annoy me with the serial vampire novelists.  I won't spend three pages describing an outfit.  I mean, who gives a shit?  And I'll have implied sex and I will never have any lines like, 'his pulsing manhood' or anything like that."

Him: "Yeah, annoying."

Me:  "Just action and violence and humor.  I am going to be a millionaire."

Him: "That's good."

So, I will be starting any time now.  I didn't end up writing my novel last night.  I got distracted by dinner, then hanging out, then watching Doctor Who.

I did open Open Office and save a document titled, "Awesome Million Dollar Novel".  And I typed, "The day was..." because everyone starts with the NIGHT was, and I'm different, see?


Pretty soon I'll be writing.

As soon as I get done with this post.  And maybe, you know, after work tonight.  If I'm not too busy.

Gonna be awesome.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rocky Mountain Sunburn

Dear Rocky Mountain National Park,

You are beautiful and awesome, and I love spending time with you.  However... Please tell your buddy The Snow to go home already.  It's frickin' JUNE, dude.  June.

I can see he's making an effort.  The rivers are all swollen and flooded and raging like they SHOULD this time of year.  But as far as I can tell, he hasn't actually gotten his ass in gear, and it's time for The Snow to go.

Wasn't actually planning to cross this particular river... When I got to the bridge, I was all, WTF? I don't recognize this bridge...

Yeah.  Went the wrong way on a trail that I've been on about a million times.  Just goes to show you that you really really should never have me lead an expedition, and you can pretty much count on me being wrong EVERY time I guess a direction.

The Snow turns into a furnace when it's all sunny and June weathery out.  How does that even work?  If I'm sweating (I mean "glowing") like  a pig, how does the snow not melt immediately?  It was probably in the 70's, and your couch surfer friend was STILL sticking around.

And can you say reflected light?

So, just so you know, I am pretty damned white.

I have the kind of skin that will bleach out like a vampire if I hide from the sun for a couple of years, so white you can see blue veins underneath.

Contrary to common belief, though, I can actually tan very well.  If I do it right.  If I let myself burn, it just peels and then pasty white comes out again in a few weeks.  If I put on SPF5000 every time I am in the sun, I will brown up like a perfectly roasted marshmallow in a month or two.

Trick is remembering to apply said sunblock.

Which I forgot.

I know, I know, it isn't YOUR fault, but I could feel my skin getting ready to curl after about 10 minutes on The Snow.

It was easy to see why I went the wrong way, right?  We were headed towards Loch Vale, but we were on the Glacier Gorge trail, which is different from the Bear Lake trail.  SO, when I looked at this sign, I thought, "Bear Lake is the WRONG way," and then I saw the word "Glacier" on the bottom one and was too damned lazy to read the whole thing.

One day I am going to be stranded in the wilderness and end up eating my arms to survive.

Luckily, some random hikers who passed us and we passed and passed us several times took pity and let us borrow some sunblock.  But it was totally not cool for The Sun and The Snow to gang up on me like that.

And do you know how hard it is to WALK on semi-firm/slushy/ha-ha-just-kidding-there's-a-stream-under-there snow?

Well, it's hard.

I brought trekking poles because I am not a COMPLETE dumbass, but it's really difficult to use trekking poles and have easy access to your camera at the same time. And I wanted to take pictures.

I am a little enamored with my BRAND SPANKING NEW CAMERA.


I compromised.  I used one pole.

That way, I would lack the stability of two, and it would still be inconvenient to use the camera.  Brilliant.  And again, not your fault, I know.

But if it hadn't been for The Snow, I might have just gone without.

See how optimistic I look?  I look like a GIRL ON THE GO.  I even have some fancy new hiking duds this year.  And Alberta Falls in the background there is REALLY impressive this time of year, if you are into that natural beauty stuff.

What you can't see from this picture is that about 15 feet in front of me, the trail becomes a slushy, muddy, snow-drift covered adventure.

Boyfriend and I were VERY CAREFUL to follow the signs the rest of the day.  But look at this picture.  Look at the so-called trail, here, RMNP.

Yeah.  Your buddy, The Snow again.  About four feet deep.

The ranger told us that Mills lake was inaccessible right now because a bridge was out.

We got to the Loch an I was all, "Gee, uh."

I usually go to this lake because the surface is like a mirror more often than  not.  It is not unusual to get a stunning photo of the mountains reflecting in the water.

But your buddy was in the way.

I don't know why I was surprised that the lake was still partially frozen.  That extra 500 feet from the trailhead must make a difference.  Who knew?

What is this, Alaska?  Look at that frickin' snow!  It's like a glacier or something.

We had lunch and sat there for a while, more exhausted after three miles than I would like to admit.

Please, Rocky, please.  Tell The Snow to go home.  Up North somewhere, whatever. That way we can hang out more.


I guess the lake is OK.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What? What's Happening? I Don't Understand!

So, I have a bit of a hard time in the morning.

Nothing makes sense.  Burnt toast might make me cry. I hate everything.  Including air.

Normally, it takes about 30 minutes before I can speak properly, and anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half before I would consider myself "functional".  At least functional enough to drive a car or operate a vending machine.

I jump to all kinds of strange conclusions early in the day.

Take today, for example.  Wednesday.  Hump day.

I got up.  I don't hit the snooze, I just get up while I am still asleep.

The coffee was already on because  my alarm goes off at the same time that my mom leaves the house to go to work (about 6:30.  AM.  In the morning.  For crying out loud), so she leaves the pot on.

I fixed my coffee and put some raisin bread into the toaster, remembering for once to turn down the dial so that it wouldn't turn my breakfast into a pair meteorites.  It still scorched the edges.  Within minutes I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee, eating toast, and reading a book.  Books are about my favorite thing in the morning because they help my brain remember what words are, without any response expected from me.

Today, I must have been extra tired.  Instead of reading for 15 or 20 minutes, I ended up reading for about 30 or 40 minutes.  7:15 is on the border of being too late to take a shower because I need to leave the house by 7:30, but I really wanted one, so I thought I might be able to squeeze one in (OK, this whole paragraph is basically a lie.  I wait until 7 or 7:15 almost every day because I read and can't stop reading once I start, but can't NOT read at breakfast, it's like some kind of sickness, then I have to rush around for the next 15 minutes so I can leave my house by 7:30, which never actually happens, so I am late to work pretty much every day.  This is why I am lucky to have a boss in another state).

I know there are some magical people out there (mostly men) who can take a shower and get cleaned up and clothed in 5 minutes flat.


I have Hair. That. Touches. My. Ass.  And since I can't STAND going without washing my hair, I wash it pretty much every day.  So.  My showers take a while.  10 minutes at minimum (plus 5-10 to get most of the tangles out of my luxurious tresses and loop them up into a bun on the back of my head).  I don't even wear makeup or use a hair dryer, but that't 20 minutes already.

Anyway.  I was in a hurry, so I tried to go fast.

Being a bit slow in the brain, though, I didn't catch on that something was wrong.

I kept needing to turn up the hot water, to the point that I had it going full blast with no cold.  And what did I think?  I thought, "Huh... Mom must have taken a REALLY long hot shower this morning."

Never mind that that was over an hour before and the hot water heater should have warmed up again by now.

But even with the hot going full blast, the water was still getting tepid.  Since my hair was rinsed, and even though I hadn't finished shaving my legs, I decided it was time to get out.  Impossible to shave when you have goose bumps, anyway.  Or at least, really stupid.

As  soon as I turned the water off, I heard it.

Running water.

Weirdly, my first thought was that for some reason my boyfriend had gone outside and turned on the sprinkler.  Of course.  Because he makes a habbit of getting up at the butt crack of dawn to sprinkle the lawn?  I opened the window and looked outside.  Nope.  Pretty duh.

I wrapped my towel around me and checked my bedroom.  Boyfriend was still asleep.  Jazz the cat meowed from his position on Boyfriend's head.  Everything was normal.

The water being on outside wouldn't explain why the hot water was gone, anyway.

My dad was out of town, Mom at work, Boyfriend sleeping, cats don't have opposable thumbs, so they couldn't be using the water...


I dressed quickly and pulled my hair into a towel turban to see if I could track down the running water noise.

No one in the kitchen.  I could hear it in there, but the sink wasn't on.  It was louder in the bathroom.  All three cats started following me.

Maybe Dad drove through the night and was downstairs taking a shower?  I mean, it's possible, right?

I almost fell down the stairs as I started down, and had to sit.  My bare foot had slipped on the third step down, and while I didn't actually land on my butt, I pulled the banister off the support, and had to push it back into place.  It kinda hurt my shoulder, and I had to decide if I was hurt.  I couldn't tell.

I stood up. "Dad?" I said, and then I felt stupid.  Why would he be home?  And he would know not to take a shower when I was already in the upstairs one...  

What if it was some kind of crazy murderer taking a shower to clean off the blood?


I crept down the stairs into the creepy haunted basement.  It's a mostly finished basement, but it's still haunted.

The bathroom door was open, lights off.

What the hell?

I walked over, my foot squishing slightly on the carpet.  The basement hallway was dark, and I hoped like hell that the carpet was wet with water and not blood.  It was cold, anyway.  I hoped it wasn't sewerage on my bare feet.

I flipped on the bathroom light.

Bonnie the dog was sitting next to the shower on the floor mat, crouched and scared.

I followed her gaze, but I could already hear that I'd found the source of the running water.


Hot water heater looked like the Bellagio fountain.


I stared blankly and realized I had no idea whatsoever how to turn the water off.  Bonnie Dog whimpered.

So yeah.  Lots of running around, waking Boyfriend, calling dad to figure out how to shut of the water in the house because the one on the heater was rusted shut, pulling up carpet, breaking eardrums with the shop vac, moving things, lifting water, going to the store to buy a fan, remembering the gas for the hot water heater should be shut off, and being REALLY late for work.

The point is this:

OK, I have two points:
  1. Why did I think that my boyfriend would get up at seven in the frickin' morning to water the lawn?
  2. Why would ANYONE assume that a burglar would do their dishes, especially when the DISHES WERE ALREADY DONE?
  3. (OK, I have three points) If there were a murderer in the downstairs bathroom cleaning up, why would I walk TOWARDS them?  Am I nothing more than a horror movie extra?
  4. And yes.  I live with my parents.   Stop judging me.


So yeah.

Mornings suck.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Ran the Bolder-Boulder... Very... Very... Slowly...

I ran 6 miles and no one was chasing me.

It was Memorial Day.  I'd been tagged, marked, stamped, and branded.  A tiny little RFID chip was attached to my shoe to record my every movement.  No, I had not been placed under house arrest.  I was running a race.

It didn't matter that I was not going to win, or that I had a random elbow injury that made it impossible to bend my arm or lift more than a pound and a half with my left hand.  It didn't matter that I had my doubts about making it to the finish line at a pace any faster than a brisk walk.

What mattered was that I was wearing incredibly tacky clothing in public, had a slightly upset stomach which lead to a conviction that I was going to shit myself in the middle of the race, and had a huge grin on my face.

I realized later that I was the one with the camera and no one had taken a picture of my ridiculous outfit.  That's teal shoes with bright yellowish green edging, teal shorts with that same color strip on the side, and a matching tank top.  So sexy.  Also, I am chubbier than I imagined, now I'm embarrassed.

At 8:37AM the gun went off.

We moved at a reasonable crawl to the start line, behind the other 700 people in our wave, somewhere around the 500th such group that morning.  There are so many people at the beginning, so tightly packed together, all bouncing and getting ready to run that it felt a little bit like being inside an air-pop popcorn maker.  I was jostled by a man in lederhosen and tripped over by a woman in a tutu.  It was the starting point for the Bolder-Boulder 10K.

For anyone who doesn't know, a 10K is 10 kilometers, which is 10,000 meters, or 6.2 miles.  By no means comparable to a marathon, it is still a pretty sweet event... the Bolder Boulder is surrounded by bands, fans, guys with waterguns, hoses, sprinklers, slip-'n-slides, banjos, belly dancers, people handing out cupcakes, marshmallows, and radio stations blasting music.  The competitors range from the ridiculous gorilla suits to the ultra-thonner elite runners of the world.  While it claims to be 6.2 miles, it comes in closer to 7 with the constant zig zagging across the street while darting in and out of the crowd.

I don't usually enjoy people, let alone crowds, but for some reason, this one day, I kind of love the flood of humanity.

So here it is... the race report you have been dying to read.

Mile 1:  11 minutes and 57 seconds.  Yeah, yeah, I know this SEEMS slow... something around 5 miles per hour, or a really fast walking pace, but I assure you I was JOGGING.  Seriously, y'all, don't judge.

Mile 2:  12 minutes, 7 seconds: There was a hill!  I swear!  I am not this huge a wimp!  I'll have you know I was impressed that I was still jogging, and not clutching my chest as I died of a heart attack on the side of the course!  And there were people!  In the way!

Mile 3: 14 minutes, 19 seconds:  OK, seriously.  I stopped to use the bathroom.  I was convinced that even though I didn't need to go, I was going to somehow shit my pants at an inopportune moment, and I wanted to avoid it.  But there was a line at the port-o-potty, and... well, these things take time.

Mile 4: 11 minutes and 35 seconds:  Around mile 4 I suddenly realized that I was 2/3rds of the way through the race.  My knees didn't hurt, and I felt pretty good.  I also passed the "summit" of the course, and the entire thing would lean generally downhill the rest of the way... except for that one huge hill at the end.

Mile 5:  11 minutes and 18 seconds: Don't laugh!  This is pretty fast for me, considering I couldn't run a mile back in March.  Or even more than a minute in a row.

Mile 6: 12 minutes and 44 seconds.  I know, I know, I should have finished with a bang and just taken off, but... meh.  The sun came out.  It was hot.  The friend that I was running with had sprained her ankle two days before and couldn't take it anymore (what a badass for getting that far, really and also a bit humbling for me that she was as fast injured as I was healthy).

We walked together for a few minutes before I decided I wanted to run the last bit into the stadium, and I took off and a really, really slow jog again.  I had to walk a minute later because there's this hill at the end to get into the stadium, but I ran that last lap like I had wings on my feet.

So, without any home pictures, I thought I would wait for the website posted photos.  I thought, I would pay a few bucks for a picture taken by a professional of my race.  Except.  EXCEPT.  It wasn't a couple dollars.  It was $20.  For one crappy photo of me sweating.

Yeah.  I didn't pay.

Now I am crippled with guilt, and terrified of the copyright police.  I may have to perform seppuku now.  Crap.

Overal ranking:
Total Time: 01:16:32.13
Pace: 12:19 miles
Overall Place: 30,256
Gender Place: 14,253 out of 26,860 women who ran the race.
Division: Of the 627 35 year old women who ran, I was in 416th place.

Yep.  I'm a champion.

But seriously, better than LAST YEAR, and much more fun.  And this year, we all stuck around longer and watched the elite runners, which is always a joy.  Sure, I feel a bit like a slug compared to them, but there is something incredibly beautiful about those graceful people who can run well.

View of the stadium from my seat.  I actually took this picture myself with the panorama setting on my FRICKIN' AWESOME CAMERA.
On the way home, I got lost on the way to the bus stop, and took of in the exact wrong direction.  After about 30 or 40 minutes of wandering the streets of Boulder, I did eventually find my way.  Thank goodness I didn't get lost while running the race (a very real fear of mine).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photo Envy (or Stuffed Animal Hoarder)

I got a new camera.  Yeah, I know I already talked about this, but you know, it's kind of a big deal for me to spend half of my monthly take-home wages on what is, essentially, a toy.

New camera sitting next to the pancake lens.  TWO lenses.  TWO.  (Photo taken with the old camera.  Talk about adding insult to injury.)

When I was a little kid I was obsessed with toys.  Mostly, it was stuffed animals, but there were quite a few dolls thrown in as well.  It wasn't that I was greedy, exactly, but I would rate my desire to rescue every single toy I ever came in contact with against my ability to acquire it, and how likely it would be able to follow me home if I abandoned it.

I didn't love them.

I pitied them.

And that pity was mixed with fear.

I looked around for some of my old toys, and was surprised to find them.  They were hidden in corners and stuffed in closets at random.  This is Kanga, with Roo in her belly pocket.  I think this belonged to my older brother originally.

I'm not sure when or how it happened, but at some point in my childhood, I stopped being worried that one of my stuffed animals would be sad if I left them off the bed at night, and more worried about the resentment they would feel for being slighted.

And what they would do with that resentment.

OK, this is a new one.  It belongs to the dog.  And it hates me for giving it to her.

I could not show favoritism, even if I had a favorite.  If I did, the toy would get revenge. Even if that meant I'd smother under 50lbs of plush dread, I could not leave anyone on the floor.  The one I left out of my protective circle on the bed would end up being the one that snapped.

If I woke up in the morning and had accidentally kicked my stuffed hippopotamus on to the floor while I slept, I would live in terror of closing my eyes the next night, because it might decide it had had enough, and eat me in my sleep.

I mostly blame my older brother, who would wake me up in the middle of the night when we were small and tell me about how the toys were moving my themselves, and how he saw a shadow of a girl jumping rope (just the shadow, no girl) in the hall so we couldn't get Mom and Dad.  We were trapped.  And then he would tell me about how the ghosts would torment the toys all night when I was asleep.

Coupled my own imagination, and I did not hesitate to continue down the path of insane dread of inanimate objects that he had started, I lived in a wonderland of terror (this may be why I still need a night light to sleep).

I created a complicated rotation of toys at some point, telling them to look out for each other and fight off the ghosts.  I was hesitant with this one, but I really couldn't fit any more stuffed animals on my bed

I created a complicated rotation of toys at some point, telling them to look out for each other and fight off the ghosts.  I was hesitant with this one, but I really couldn't fit any more stuffed animals on my bed


New camera.  Gets lots of attention.

I think my old Canon is getting jealous.

It was a good little camera.  And while I hesitate to say it was not good enough, I did want more.  It's trustworthy.  I know where it is good at it's job, and I know where it fails.  And now I just abandon it?  To something sleeker and younger?

The Nex is pretty sexy, though...

The Canon and I had some good times.  It's not my fault that technology changed, and it was showing its age.  I'm not an ogre.  We can still hang out sometimes, if it wants.  If I have time.  But mostly it's time to move on.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Camera Will NOT Steal Your Soul... Unless I Tell It To.

I got me a brand new camera for my birthday.

OK, I mean, I bought it myself.  But I had help.

This year, everyone got me what I asked for, which was a Best Buy gift card.  Why Best Buy?  Because I knew that they had the camera I wanted, and I wouldn't be tempted to use birthday money to pay bills, buy groceries, or squander it on something trivial like gas for my car.

I have been overwhelmed lately with feelings of inadequacy.  I'm 35 freaking years old, and I live in the spare bedroom at my parents' house.  Contrary to what I imagined when I was 18, I am not a professional artist, I have not written a book, let alone a best seller, I am not an architect, a physicist, an astronaut, or even self-sustaining.  I haven't run a marathon, climbed Kilimanjaro, been to Antarctica, or learned a second language.  I never even finished college.

So I was thinking... what I really needed was a better camera.  Obvious, really.  A new camera will fix my life.

I thought, "I can still be successful.  I can be a photographer.  I can make money doing fun things like backpacking and stuff.  Everything will change and my life will be better."

But I had an old camera.  I needed a new camera.

I needed a better camera for a better life.

Once I found the right camera, my whole life would change.  The only thing holding me back was technology.

This camera would not only save my life, it would save my SOUL.

Don't you find it annoying when people who take pictures of their cats? I mean, seriously.  There are so many subjects out there that are poignant, deep, moving, amazing, artistic, thought provoking, tantalizing, offensive, historically significant, or otherwise important, but what do people do?  They take picture after picture of their cats.

This is George, by the way.

For a long time, I didn't think my dream camera existed.  I thought my camera was imaginary.  I had this image in my head as to what this camera would be, and it didn't exist yet.

This camera would be able take pictures in the dark without a flash, zoom in to a pore on your face or a fly on a wall.  This camera would be able to tell if you are smiling, or frowning, and read your mind.  This camera would be able to stop time, ease world hunger and pause wars.  This camera would make everything better.

My boyfriend's cat, Thais.  It's not like I really thought, "Gee, I should take a bunch of pictures of cats with my new camera", but he's so frickin' cute...

And then I found it.

It was THE camera.

The only problem with THE camera, was that it was REALLY EXPENSIVE. Expensive for me, anyway.

So I didn't buy it.

For a YEAR.

I had to get my teeth worked on.  I had to get a catalytic converter for my car.  I had buy gas to go to work, and I had to get new music to listen to at work and books for my Kindle... and, you know, eat, and stuff.

But I wanted it.  Oh, how I wanted it.  A compact interchangeable lens camera with a full sized sensor and stuffed to the brim with magic.

I would go to photography review websites and read and reread their in-depth, hands-on reviews.  I would compare various websites and knew which one listed the thing at a penny more and when.

It was one of those small obsessions that even though you know there is no reasonable explanation, you can't quite give up.  Everything wrong with my life was because I didn't own this camera.  EVERYTHING.

Not having this camera is the reason I gained weight, the reason I got a pimple, and the reason my car didn't pass emissions the first time through.  Not having this camera was the reason I couldn't run as fast as I imagined that I should be able to.  Not having this camera was the reason I was grumpy in the morning, and why I had bad breath. Everything wrong with my life could be traced to a little gadget.

My cat, Theta.  Such a sweetie when she isn't trying to maul you.  After a while, everyone around me ducks and hides because they are sick of the camera going SNAP SNAP SNAP whenever I enter a room.  But Theta still loves me, in a pointy, scratching, bitey, way.  

I made bargains with the tech gods that I would treat this camera right, that every picture I took would be important.  I would have the camera with me constantly and document my entire life in photographs. I would make an impact on humanity by sharing my view of the world.

People would marvel at my artistic integrity, and would stand in awe of my vision.  I would take pictures that were so amazing, people would stare at them and never be able to look away.  They would starve to death if no one saved them from my art, and go mad when the vision of my work was taken away.

OK, look.  This was just funny.  How could I not take another picture of cats? Two overweight cats stuffing themselves into a tiny little cat carrier.  Jazz and Blues are A-DORABLE.  How are my cuddly little fluffs NOT important enough to photograph?  How is this NOT art?

And today, it is a reality.

In my possession, as I write this, is my very own Sony Nex-5.  Silver.  I even have two lenses.  It's like I am a professional already.

Been taking a lot of pictures of my cats.