Saturday, August 30, 2008

Scott's End Dogs

I am thoroughly enjoying some downtime at Scott's End in Cape Cod tonight. I am here with my parents and extended "family". Some who are literally family and others who are basically family because I grew up with them and every holiday we celebrated from my childhood included them.

Right now I am comfy in my room. Next to my bed, Oliver lies on his side drowsy with exhaustion from his hectic day. My parents' dog Bootsie's such a good girl, and so excited to have a "playmate". Really, Oliver's not much of one. He's not used to being around other dogs and even if he decides to run around with her a bit, he'll chase her for a while then suddenly run straight when she takes a turn, as though he just remembered an errand he had to run.

Now here in my bedroom, Bootsie keeps coming into our room and visiting. She paces my small room, sniffing around, and Oliver doesn't aknowledge her, as though thinking "Maybe if I lie really still, she won't notice I'm in here". Looking over at him, I can see him still like a statue but looking up at her, watching her as she wanders the small space. His eyeballs following her. She sniffs at his face and he growls at her, still without moving a muscle.

"Bootsie, go on," I say to her, implying she should go to my parents room (or really, it's our parents' room, isn't it?) to go to bed. After I say this to her, she wanders away, trying to fake me out, "OK, well, I guess I'll go now... I'm leaving!... See you! ...Goodnight!" while attempting to create the effect of someone walking off. But, she doesn't leave. She just hides behind my bed. She is now lying on the foot of my bed.

It's actually kind of adorable; the grumpy old man and the bubbly, friendly, naive girl who's come into his life to drive him crazy but open him up to the wonderful things this world has to offer; "Let's frolic in the water! See how fun this is!?"
"No. It's salty and wet and I'll be stinky later."
"Look at my toys! Aren't they great?!"
"No, the have your slobber on them."
"Oh boy! Oh boy! A ride in the car! Isn't this super?!"
"You're crowding me and I have no view from where I'm sitting. So, no, not super."
"I'm gonna put my 'arm' over your shoulders 'cause that's what good friends we'll be!"
"Get you're paws off me."
"Let's run around in the yard and then I'll shove you and you'll think it's cute and sporty!"
"That's sweet but no."
"Oh! There's people at the door! Let's bark are heads off at them!"
"OK, that sounds good."

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Well, I am continuing cleaning my room to make a place for myself. It's quite a project and my old items alone have kept me very busy. I have found all sorts of things from really bad poetry written by me years ago, to funny notes passed to friends in high school. Letters from my late-grandmothers, old clothes that I would not be caught dead in today even if I could fit in them.

...and then there are items like this beauty. Who wouldn't want a heavy piece of personalized slate with an angry teddy bear holding balloons on it?

One of my favorite finds was a photo taken of a notebook in high school. Not my notebook. Below the "I (heart) John" was an equation which read....

+ 4-eva

Love it.

I took Oliver to the Petco to buy some dog food and get him a new ID tag with my new number on it. There was a sample of a blanket one could order. You bring in a picture of your pet and a blanket with the image on it is made. Oliver didn't care for it apparently because he peed on it. "Are you kidding me right now?" I yelled at him. "No way!"

I sent him to the car and when I told dad he laughed. I teased Dad back saying, "You're just thinking 'ha, your dog isn't so perfect.'" Poor Bootsie has been having a few accidents around the house. A little overwhelmed and maybe a bit irritated at the new dog in the house.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Getting to Know You...

Boston of Bust, Day Four

I arrived in Wakefield, my final destination, yesterday, with no problems. I was welcomed into Massachusetts by the toll worker with a "How ahhh ya?" as she gave me my ticket. My late lunch was a slice of Papa Gino's pizza. I don't know how far their franchise goes, but they don't go to Florida, and it was a perfect slice of pizza.

I arrived home to happy parents and their curious puppy and we laughed while we watched the two get acquainted; Oliver the tired and somewhat old grump and Bootsie, the jumpy poky little ball of c'mon let's play! I wanna Plaaaaaaayyyyyy!

The movers arrived one hour after I did and I was mortified to discover that there was ONE guy moving all my shit. This will take forever, I thought. And it did. But, he was a nice guy who aside from letting my sewing machine drop from a six foot high shelf, roll and bit and fall from the two foot high ledge the shelf was on, everything went OK. I did have some pieces of furniture I'd hoped to get upstairs into my room, but there was no way I was going to have this guy attempt to get the dresser my grandfather made up the stairs on his own. I can just see it crashing down the stairs either on top of him or behind him.

So aside from being in a far too cluttered bedroom at the moment, all is well. Oliver is cozied-up on his own bed in the corner and I have daydreams of taking on the overwhelming task of reorganizing this room which I have no idea how long I will be staying in.

I do hope I will be able to shut my mildly stressed brain down for a bit to enjoy some tennis (with Buffy? That kind of sounded pretentious) and biking and visiting with friends. Basically I hope I can have a bit of a vacation before I start really freaking out about being unemployed.

Unemployed. Crap. WTF am I gonna do about that?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boston or Bust, Day Three

I woke this morning to Susan letting me know that I'd already missed the quote of the day, coming from her son, Elliott. "Elliott said he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, then Lillia said she wants to be a bead artist, then Elliot added, 'Or maybe Ill be a vegetarian' " she reported to me.
During breakfast Elliot put the pointer from a touch screen video game up his nose. His Mom stopped him, "No way, that's not funny or cute. Do you know what's behind your nose?" she asked him.
He looked at her, thinking, then, "Snot?"

My third day of travel has gone well. I'm psyched to be hanging out with my good friend Naomi, and her fiance Jeff. We had a delish Italian dinner and are now watching the DNC broadcasting.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Boston or Bust, Day Two

Me and my co-pilot, (yes, I'm watching the road).

Oliver and I are now resting comfy in the home of fellow Scott's just outside Richmond. Our day started slowly after I took a wrong turn and got us lost in Savannah. I was grateful for it simply for the great views of the spanish-moss infested tress over the city's residential streets. I hadn't seen that from our oh-so-beautiful La Quinta hotel.

It was a long day of driving with one stop for lunch and another for a nap. I didn't really get the nap because we pulled over in some small North Carolina town and the parked in the shade for a bit. As I tried to get a few quick winks, I could hear Oliver in the back seat, trembling in his little hairy boots while he watched all the country squirrels mock him front a safe distance. Neener neener neener.

I enjoyed some catch-up time with my grandmother, Dorothy, and had a great dinner of crab-cakes by Susan. Good stuff! Susan's kids, twins Elliot and Lillia, are a trip. At the end of the meal, and I don't remember the context, Elliot turned to his mom and said, "It doesn't work that way, baby."

Did I mention they're four?

Other great quotes of the evening included, "Man, it must be great to be Jackie Chan right now," which Susan said while watching him singing in the closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. I was a bit confused considering all we'd done for the past twenty minutes is make fun of the ridiculous colorful crazy acid trippy mayhem that was the closing ceremony. But, she went on to talk about some fun TV show that Chan now does. And then there was Dorothy who mentioned at another time how much she hated it when people remade movies that were perfectly great to begin with. To that, she said, "That's just corn off the cob is you ask me". Awesome.

Susan, Grandma Dorothy and I chatted over the TV and Susan and I both mentioned aloud during the commercials how Tivo has spoiled us. An promo ad for "Ice Road Truckers" came on and Susan was appalled. There's actually a show for that?! "Oh, yeah," piped-in Dorothy "That's a great show!" Susan was surprised to hear her mom watched it. "Well, where do you think I get all my information?" Dorothy added.

Super helpful co-pilot. Or not.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Boston or Bust, Day One

Oliver and I have made it to our first destination, Savannah, just fine. It took less time than I had anticipated, especially considering we stopped several times. I woke much earlier than planned and when I couldn't fall back asleep, I figured we'd just get on with it already. So, a nap became necessary in the mid-morning. Then, a pee break and a little walk for Oliver. It was during that walk that I discovered Oliver had at some point pooped out what from the looks of it may as well have been a Grey Poupon-filled firecracker. This had gone unnoticed until this second pit-stop just south of Jacksonville.

I was literally wet-wiping my kid's butt at the rest stop. I thought I would have human one's before I would start doing that.

Oliver handled this drive differently than I had expected. Normally, when I drive him around, the minute I slow down or change speed in any way, he stands up all curious with an Are we there? anxious quiver in his little skinny legs. Perhaps he took one look at the little bowl of dog food I'd put in the back seat for him along with a small dish of water that clued him in. We were not just going to a dog park.

We pulled over again so I could get myself a sub at Publix and then again in the afternoon for another nap. For my second nap, I parked in the shade near a restaurant. I was fast asleep when someone came along to throw something out in a nearby dumpster. Oliver scared the crap out of my by barking at them with much enthusiasm, "Hey! Keep it down, my Mom's sleepin'!"

We hit traffic only when we got off the highway to go to our hotel. Our hotel where my first order of business was to give my poor dog's butt a bath.


But at least we have clean bums now.

Stuck in traffic. The only time he got to stick his head out the window.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Katie Makes Us Giggle

Still chillin' here in WPB. I was going to leave tomorrow but now it seems that Fay is hanging out in northern FL through Friday, too. So, it's looking like I will be heading north on Saturday. I'd say I'll go come hell or high water, but I think the high water is actually what will keep me form traveling safely.

Other than traveling issues, I found this clip form a Dr. Suess movie Shannon and I went to see together. This was one of our favorite moments. Katie's a weirdo and we love her for it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Much Like Life, Fay's a Bitch

Well, I am feeling a bit more myself after a small afternoon air mattress nap. I have been dragging so much over the past few days with the packing and the more packing. And then there was the packing. The movers came this morning bright and early and gasped at the never-ending amount of boxes. The driver told me inventory normally takes up about one and a half pages. Mine took seven.

Good thing my parents have a carriage house rather than a run of the mill garage.

I wanted to apologize to the movers for having so much stuff, then I remembered that it's costing me the down-payment on a small car to have them move the shit. Then, I didn't feel so bad. I cleaned out the fridge and met friends for lunch who promptly convinced me that leaving tomorrow would be super bad. I would drive right into Fay. Even if it was just a rain storm, it would make getting the dog out of the car for an occassional stretch a real pain in the ass.

And poor Oliver. I had to put him in the bathroom to keep him out of the way of the movers. He was good about it but I can imagine his confusion when he was let out and found that there was nothing in the apartment anymore. He kind of wandered around with this "Dude, where's my stuff?!" expression.

I did have video of the storm as it came through on Tuesday morning but it's not on the computer and thus cannot be uploaded and shared. I know, don't cry. Here's a picture Dad sent me which Mom took on Cape Cod this past week-end. They called the photo "Waiting for Oliver". I can't figure out how she managed to get up on the darn thing!

Monday, August 18, 2008


I woke up at the crappy hour of 5:30 today. I got out of bed and six and focused on not panicking. Between the massive storm that's headed our way, me running out of boxes despite my most anal retentive efforts, and my apartment hemorrhaging items needing to be packed into the dwindling boxes, it's hard not to hyperventilate.

By 7:30 I had packed a few more boxes and headed out the door for a trip to the grocery store. I thought I would go from there to go (gasp) buy boxes, but when I got to Publix (the grocery store), they were restocking in the fruit department and like the freak I have become, I asked if I could have the boxes. In the check-out line, I saw empty wine boxes piled up and the clerk encouraged me to take them.

Loading my car up in the parking lot, a man walked by and asked if he could have my now empty cart. He added, "You're either moving..."
"Or I'm really thirsty" I laughed.
"Or, an alcoholic" he added.

My mood was horrid at first today but with more empty and available boxes cluttering my abode of stress, somehow I am feeling less stressed.

PS. "Yay!" to SS and AH, both of whom are pregnant and expecting at the exact same time in February. June was a horny month, apparently. Hey you two, "Cydney" is an excellent name! :)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Last Day

Yes, my last day was last week but I just recently got these pictures from when I was doing inventory and turning in my gear. G Lovett took the pictures. I'm glad he did.

cleaning out my desk

Looks like evidence!

Very sad to let it all go!

Going Away Party and Phelps, too.

We watched some Olympics during my going away party which Nirvi was kind enough to host. It was a really nice time and the last party-goers left at 2AM. I left from there to go to WalMart for my second attempts at picking up some boxes for myself. It was a success! Lots and lots of strong happy boxes. I was in bed at 3:30. Needless to say, I'm a it tired.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I haven't had much opportunity to blog these days. With no web access, it's slow going. I woke this morning at 5:30 to go t Wal-Mart to get some of their boxes from the overnight stocking crew before they were crushed at 7.

I was too late. Apparently I need to come even earlier than that to get some boxes. But, they are sturdy and free so I'm on it one of these nights.

More thrilling updates asap.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Newspaper Appreciation

I'm in Panera Bread right now because they have free wi-fi access. There's an older gentleman sitting next to me, reading the paper.

Thanks, older gentleman.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Last Day

I can't really describe this feeling with any other words than sad and strange. I left The Post at about 4 today. All of us who have taken the buy out were to leave by 5, but I couldn't stay any more. I hauled all my camera gear to the studio to log all of it. M trunk has not been so clear in six years. I don't really care for it much, but maybe the lack of weight will help with gas efficiency?
I did have an assignment this morning to photograph a cop who started a camera surveillance program in the city. It seemed fitting considering my jetta was broken into my first night in West Palm Beach!
Gathering all my things at my desk was quite a project too. My friends were quick to respond to my question of "Who wants my lamp and who wants my twinkle lights?". That was nice. The photo department is often refered to as "the lounge" because it's always so dark and each desk is lit only by whatever light each shooter has provided for themselves. I had a small lamp and a string of lights.
All week, people have been asking me how I'm feeling about things and I have not been able to really answer in a succinct way. I have felt, for the most part, together considering the situation. That all ended with my first goodbye hug with one of my coworkers. Then, it was a struggle to not make a complete blubbering ass out of myself. I managed OK.

Then, I got home and cried lots. The dog, who was sitting at my feel for a bit got up and went to the other room. Apparently my weeping offends him.

I also got a letter today from the publisher. It was a letter for subscribers and somehow, the timing was hilarious; paraphrasing, it basically said that the exceptional reporting at the paper, which is going to be smaller by the way, comes at a cost and, sorry, but your rate will go up at the end of August and have a nice day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Olympics

It's that time again. That time when you watch all the ads between the segments of Olympic coverage and find yourself tearing up at the one narrated by Morgan Freeman talking about a runner from some remote country who came in "dead last" in an Olympic marathon years ago. All those ads that invoke pride in humans. Pride in people who come in dead last but still hauled ass doing it.

The Olympics do that too, it's not just the ads.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Really Cool Technique

My friend and coworker Eliza shared this with me today. So cool. Th

I'm a Dog Chair

Last night, while slouching on my couch and waiting for friends to show up to watch the disappointing finale of our newest TV addiction, So You Think You Can Dance, Oliver hopped up onto the couch and took a seat. There was about two feet between us so I suggested aloud that he come closer to me.

Oliver likes his space. This is why I was surprised when climbed up on top of my torso, did a little turn as though he was flattening the grass, and took a seat with his boney little butt, on my breast. I never knew it was a boney little butt until he put all his weight on it, and then put it on my chest.

He just kind of sat there, facing the TV, as though a living thing was not underneath him. It wasn't long before he realized that this was not very comfortable for either involved, and hopped down from the couch.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Canon VS Nikon

I've committed to Canon, it would appear, for my gear once I leave the paper. I didn't really mean to commit to it, but I offered my highest bid on a zoom lens, 70-200mm, and actually won it on eBay. I didn't think I would win it because the things in immaculate shape, and I thought for sure someone would outbid me. But, they didn't and I got it.

I'm glad, now the decision is made..

I've been struggling with this decision for a while. When I worked in upstate NY, we used Nikons and they served me just fine. Nikons are a bit cheaper than Canon, I've noticed. I sent an email out to some people I know in the field. Some are people I've worked with and some are just friends and some are both. I got answers from certain people which I expected to get. Especially the one from BM who was an editor of mine during an internship. He basically said that what makes the image is the shooter, not the camera. I had to laugh and reply that he gave me the precise answer I expected from him. Comforting, really.

The overall vote seemed to lean more towards Canon. Since I have been shooting with canon for the past six years while here in South Florida and well, I have a lens from eBay which is canon now, I guess the decisions made!

Whah hoo!

Now I just need a camera body to go with the lens...and more lenses...and strobes..and...

Monday, August 4, 2008


I was working on the computer last night and the dog was lying near me when he started to let out a fart. It sounded like a creaking door and it just kept going and going, quietly and slowly. I looked over at him and he lifted himself up, sort-of looking back at his own butt. The pressure of lifting his own body made the fart rip the rest of the way out, and then he stood up and walked off, kind of offended by himself.

I was amused.
By my farting dog.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Post Photo Staff Picnic

Today was a nice day. The weather was good, there was a relatively cool breeze, and it was the photo department's last hurrah picnic at John Prince Park in Lake Worth. I am so grateful my coworkers organized this. It was so fun.

When I first got there it was a bit strange. I mean, we are there because soon a good handful of us won't be there anymore. There was about six of us sitting around a shaded picnic table when I said something like, "This is really fun with a slight, unacknowledged funereal feel."
TC spoke up, "I'm so glad you said that. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way!" and then he added, "I was thinking that everybody comes to the weddings and funerals...and everyone's here."

And there really were with exception to a few. Generally, with a staff of 20-some people, it's tough to get us all in one place.

It was hard to not talk about work and ask others what they will be doing next. I admit that I am a bit squeamish with that question too, like when people ask me at the family Christmas party if I'm seeing anyone and the answer is almost only no (may Boston change that for me, can I get an amen).

There was also an interesting thing in that no one seemed to really want to leave. We weren't having life-altering conversations or playing the best games of badminton ever and thus just couldn't bring ourselves to leave, but still, the party got up and going around one and I left with the last group at 6:20. That's a long time to be hanging out in the Florida heat, even if there is a nice breeze.

Perhaps no one had anywhere else to be, but I rather think that we just wanted to hang with each other.

It's amazing how difficult it is to get a decent picture of a group of photographers. It's like asking a pack of hyper monkeys to sit still!

Saturday Fun

I went snorkeling on Saturday with some friends. We had a great time exploring Phil Foster Park, thanks to the suggestion of TC, who is a diver.
I made a silly video which will not really be very understandable here, I think. In the segment where I'm talking, I'm basically saying that we should have been doing this (snorkeling regularly) all along, and now my plan is to go as many times as possible before I go. I have been snorkeling quite a few times but never so close to home. I do wish I'd known about it sooner!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Just Keep Compartmentalizing, That's All I'm Thinkin'

There was something about flipping the calendar today; it's August. The 12th of the month is my last day at my paper. I have seven more work days left. At 5:01 on Tuesday August 12, I will no longer be an employee of the Palm Beach Post.

I'd be lying if I said I don't feel panic coming on. Not to mention strong fear of the impending goodbyes.

It's so strange photographing people in this frame of mind. I can't tell them to contact me if they don't manage to get a copy of the paper their story will be in because I will not be contactable by the time their story runs.
Hanging out with a few of the guys after work today, BI started talking about how sad it was that his friends were leaving and the family was being broken up. I found that interesting because no one had used those words and I think people think them. That we are a family. A large dysfunctional one, but a family just the same. He was pissed off about the latest email from "the man" also, which said that no gear of any kind will be sold. We must hand back everything.

I'm really upset about this too and I was relieved to hear how absurd BI thought it was. I wondered if maybe I was being selfish, but really, the company is just doing nothing to help us out, and it will be no better when lay offs continue later in the summer.

We know you're losing your job and it would be helpful for you to get a good deal on some quality laptops, cameras, etc., but we just don't feel like throwing you a bone (even though there will be no employees to even use the damn stuff). Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out! Buh-bye now!

I am stressed, as many are, about my finances. We talked about camera gear and what to do about it; buy a slightly lower end one then a better one later? Buy an OK camera but get really good glass (lenses) for it? Spend a crap-load on good stuff and get two jobs to pay for them? It's just a mess.

I wonder to myself if I should even buy myself gear. Maybe my next job, even though I have no fucking clue what it will be, won't even involve shooting at all. It's such a fleeting thought, the idea of not having any camera gear. I love what I do and I can't fathom not having a good camera near me when I need one. Or when I don't need one.

I'm good at it. I need to keep being good at it.

August Masthead

Da Bears

Courtesy of J. Wall.