Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Over The River And Through The Woods
Monday, December 26, 2005
Another Christmas has come and gone and it was a treat to be able to spend time with family. Susan and I spent Christmas Eve with my parents, three sisters, and neices and nephews. Christmas Day was very calm as it was a nice quiet time spent with my Mom and Dad whom I don't get to visit often enough. Today culminated our holiday with a trip to the home of my sister Janet. I am always telling her that she doesn't visit me often enough and this weekend I finally had to admit that it had been 5 1/2 years since I had been to her house. The large open fields that used to run up to the back of the house have been planted in pines. When I saw them it made me sad to think that I had not taken the time to visit more often. I know that pine trees grow relatively faster than most trees but Janet now has a nice ten acre forest to roam and many of the trees are eight to ten feet tall. The picture above is of the bridge that must be crossed just before reaching the house. I enhanced the colors and saturation a bit before adding some colored pencil effects with PhotoShop.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
My Illustration Friday project IMAGINE. A variation on my photo for the Photo Friday project DEPTH OF FIELD.
This is a copy of my Depth Of Field picture with background removed, main subject duplicated, and various "brush stroke" elements added.
Monday, December 19, 2005
Depth of Field
DEPTH OF FIELD
My Photo Friday entry for
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Asdfii mnbs TTjjoo !!!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Fun With PhotoShop
Today it's been cold and damp so Susan and I have just stayed indoors and played on the computers all morning. I've spent several hours playing with photoshop again. Susan bought me a new book that promises to teach me all I'll need to know about it in 24 hours. Being the impatient sort that I am I just skipped over ost of it and went right to the sections that are the most fun to me, mainly manipulating and editing pictures. The shot in the middle is the result of my combining a trip to the Parthenon in Nashville, Tn with the small pile of rocks in the back yard. That pile of rocks is just barely 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall but creative angles and PhotoShop helped me to make it look much larger. This has been tough but I'm quite pleased with effort. Now if I could just make the Blooger pages format the way that I want them!
Thursday, December 15, 2005
One more photo
This is a riveting sculpture. The catcher and umpire frozen there for all of time. There's a pitcher and a batter there also but they're not as intriguing as these two characters which just seem to draw me in and hold my attention. I've actually crouched down and moved around this piece slowly studying it from every angle. I know the catcher is just a hunk of bronze but if you look at the eyes you'd swear that there was a presence there, seeing all but unable to move or speak. Fascinating! I have to learn more about this.
Another obligatory posting
Almost a week and still no inspiration. This past Sunday my wife Susan and I strolled downtown just to get out a bit. I had hoped to find a huge chunk of ice surrounding the new fountain at Ross's Landing which I was certain would make a great photo subject but alas the city had shut the water off as soon as the temp dropped below freezing. We did wander around the Market street bridge and I shot a few pictures there. The bridge is being slowly chiselled away by a demolition crew and will be remodelled. I just hope that the city replaces it with one that has as much character as this one.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Vinyl mining, obscure music, and noteworthy blogs
I like to check in to a site called Record Brother from time to time and I will on occassion follow some of the links from there. From Record Brother I followed a link to a great blog called Music You Won't (possibly) Hear Anywhere Else. The blog belongs to a guy named Lee Hartsfield who calls himself a Vinyl Miner. Lee apparently goes to great lengths to find and post obscure, outdated music. The interesting thing here is that this is realy great stuff. This week he's posted links to some 50's and 60's Christmas (yes Christmas, NOT holiday) music! I've spent quite a few hours this weekend and last weekend listening to things like Santa's North pole Band (1957), Swingin' Them Jingle Bells, Fats Waller and His Rhythm (1936), and Santa Claus is Watching You by Ray Stevens (1962). Lee also has a blog called Vintage Lounge with links to some great swing music and big band music.
I have to mention also that Record Brother has some great "Rat Pack" era music from a movie called Johnny Cool. I'd never heard of it and was surprised to see Elizabeth Montgomery in a co-starring role as Dare Guinness, the sultry love interest of Johnny Cool (played by henry Silva). The soundtrack is very 60's hip and I listened to every song. There are tunes by Billy May and even a few songs sung by Sammy Davis, Jr. Even though I wasn't even a teenager when this movie was released (and I have never seen it) the soundtrack is definitely worth a listen.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Photo Friday: WEIGHT
Photo Friday: Weight
My subject for the Photo Friday challenge "Weight". This proved to be a tough one for me, nothing immediately came to mind. I've pondered on the pile of rocks in my yard (the ones from one of my many unfinished projects ie: stacked stone wall) or the rusting stack of unused weights from an old weight-lifting set (yet another un-finished project ie: me getting in shape). Welllll......after putting in a few hours at the office, picking up the PowerBall tickets (another un-fulfilled project ie: Winning the lottery) I couldn't help but notice the big pile of rocks again. The sunlight just seemed so right at that moment. Oh I know, not exactly prize winning stuff here but I thought the lighting was quite good for a cold, gloomy winters day and the sunlight almost makes you think of springtime right around the corner. Have a toasty Saturday night all.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
Very Important People here!
Janet, I know that you told me that any pictures that i posted of you had to be at least 20 years old or more. I had to cheat just little for the shot of you and Zack.
Saturday, December 03, 2005
Then and Now
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Baby It's Cold Outside
On a more personal note, the water heater was out this morning. I re-lit it and now sit writing this blog entry while waiting for the water to get hot. Why do these things always happen at this time of year? Seems like bad luck seems to hang out just outside my door. Hope that I can put off calling the plumber of visiting the water heater department at Home Depot until after Christmas!
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. My wife and I went to Alabama for our Thanksgiving celebration. It was a time to visit with family, share a great meal, and just enjoy each others' company. We were surrounded by people we love and got spend time with my parents, my three sisters, three brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren. Now we're back home and we've broken out the Christmas decorations and will slowly decorate the house over the next few days.
I'm going to try to be a better, more cheerful person this year. I'm going to try to think better of my fellow man. I'm going to try to look for the good in people. To most that know me I am the consummate scrooge always worrying about money and dreading the time of year when society has turned one of the most significant religious celebrations for the Christian faith into a time of wanton greed and commercialism. I'm going to watch one of my favorite movies of all time and try not to let my wife see the tear that I always shed when Clarence gets his wings and I'm going to yearn for those days when I too was an eager child trying to be good so that Santa would surely visit me.
Merry Christmas Bedford Falls!
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Photo Friday: YELLOW
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Where In The World??
Okay, as of the time of this posting over 550 people have at least looked at this blog. I know that two of them were my sisters and one was my daughter. Since I apparently post NOTHING worthy of comments from the other 547 views I will not post any commentary today, only the three photos above.
I'll throw in a big thumbs up to the person who guesses the locations of these pictures. The only hints that I have to offer are that two of them are in the same state and the other is within a hundred miles of a famous architects' home.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I got an e-mail from a dear friend and former co-worker today. She wrote to tell me that she had taken a leave of absence from work to help with claims from the victims of hurricane Wilma in Florida. That got me to thinking of when I was involved with the disaster assistance effort following hurricane Andrew in 1992. The pictures on this post are from that time period in September 1992 and I was stationed in Miami as a Construction Analyst with the Small Business Administration. I spent quite a few months there working 12 to 14 hours a day and 7 days a week. It was hard and tiring work but was personally very rewarding. I met a great many fine people and developed a keen appreciation for the little things in life. It will change you forever to see family after family who have lost virtually everything that they own in one night. I met one father who watched as his wife and two of his three sons drown as their waterfront home was swept away. These experiences affect you and mold you in ways you cannot imagine. I say this to make one simple point. I have a deep appreciation for people who sacrifice their time and money to help disaster victims. It takes people with a strong resolve to help their fellow man by volunteering to work with organizations such the American Red Cross, Carpenters for Christ, The Menonites, and many, many more.
Biding My Time
It's almost time. Time for the release of the Todd Rundgren Liars Live DVD. Release is scheduled for November 29 by Sanctuary Records and I can't wait. This will be Todds first live DVD of recent concert footage in quite a number of years and it promises to be a good one. In my youth I followed Rundgren religiously, attending concerts and collecting every record album that I could get my hands on. I stopped following Todd for a number of years when the responsibilities of adulthood took over but had chance to see this show in May 2004 with my wife Susan, Sister Lisa, and Brother-In-Law Bart. My wife had never seen Todd live before and I know she had a great time. She seemed to particularly rock during the heavy riffs by bassist Kasim Sultan. That show sparked a flame in me and I'm once more a serious TR fan. I highly recommend this DVD for any serious rock music afficionado.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
A Personal History (abridged)
Everything you never wanted to know about me in less than two minutes (the early years)!
I was born in 1955 in Leeds, Alabama. I was born in a little building that was called Davis Clinic and at the time of my birth it was in the process of being converted into a dentists' office. I believe that I was the last baby delivered in Davis Clinic.
I had a very happy childhood. When I was about 4 we moved from Alabama to St. Augustine, Florida for a little while. I was too young to remember much about it except that I do barely remember a Hurricane that flooded our yard up to the bottom of porch. That was a lot of water because our house was about 4 feet off the ground.
Later, we moved back to Leeds and then when I was five we moved to Midland City, Alabama for a little over 6 months. My father worked for Hayes Aircraft and they sent him to different places to work on airplanes. After we move back to Alabama again I started the first grade. After I got older I can remember my dad always telling me that I had to study and do well in school. I always thought he was the smartest person that I ever knew because he was so good at math and could always figure out how to make just about anything. One of the things that I remember best when I got to go with my dad to work once. he was on a crew that built the first two stages of the Saturn V rockets that were used by NASA to sent astronauts into space. I got to see the huge rockets and a model of the whole rocket in my dad's office. I believe that he still has blueprints of that rocket to this day.
Other memories I have are going to my grandparents often. I would stay with them for weeks at a time in the summer. My grandfather worked at a sawmill and we would alway play in the big piles of sawdust. Me and my oldest sister would also climb all over the equipment when the mill wasn't running. My grandfather would have been mad if he saw us on that equipment but we were never scared and like to play around all of the big machines that cut the lumber from trees and planed it smooth.
When I was twelve I got disease called Huntington's Chorea which attacks your central nervous system. I could no longer do simple things like tie my own shoes or write clearly. I spent three whole months in the hospital and when I got out my dad bought me a Vox guitar like one that John Lennon used to play. He thought that if I learned to play guitar then I would get the coordination back in my hands. I never did learn to play that guitar but I did eventually take up drums and think that I am decent at it. I was in the marching band in high school and three different little rock bands. I was once the drummer in group rom my church called the New Life Seekers and we toured all over the south one summer. That was a lot of fun and I met a lot of really nice people doing that.
I graduated from Leeds High School in May of 1973 and went to work right away. I left home and went to Atlanta, Georgia where I got a job in factory that made Coca Cola cans. I did this for three months and finally got homesick and moved back to Alabama. I started to work in a factory that made steel doors and frames where I welded door frames and loaded trucks. I really wanted to move up in the company and after 3 years in the factory I started working as a draftsman in the engineering office. I really like this a lot better than the factory work. I really regret not going to college and wish that I had gotten a degree. I missed so many opportunities to advance because I didn't have a degree although I still have to say that I have been lucky because I have always had a good job.
I have lived many in many interesting places such as Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Augustine, and Chattanooga as well as Leeds Alabama and Lexington South Carolina.
I like to read adventure novels and science fiction novels. My favorite authors are Ray Bradbury and Clive Cussler. I also like photography and art. Some of my favorite artists are Victor Vasarely, Salvador Dali, Picasso, Juan Miro, and Brian Halsey.
My family includes my wife Susan, son Michael, and daughter Tiffiny. I have two grandsons Blake and Braxton and one grandaughter, Micah.
My father is LeRoy Howard and my mother is Ola Lynette (Stone) Howard.
My three sisters are Janet , Lisa , and Dana.
My Grandparents were John Washington Howard, Mamie Roxanne Howard, Oliver Stone, and Hattie Mae Stone.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Old Man Winter Returns
Oh well, I'll try to warm up a little and get a bit more creative over the next few days. I have to post a blog entry about my eldest grandson Blake but I have to try to sneak a few up-to-date photos.
Tommorrow is a new day for Photo Friday...maybe they'll post a subject that will get me out of this funk and get the creative processes jump started. Weekend's almost here. Almost time to relax and unwind a bit.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Braxton, Fiction, Salt, Pepper, and Shoes
My wife collects all sorts of knick-knacks such as glass shoes, salt & pepper shakers, costume jewelry, and decorative odds and ends. We've gotten several funny and unique ones on E-Bay. Most are either cute, colorful, or unique and the kids always can't resist playing with them........Oh look! There's Braxton and Thing 2 right in the middle of a bunch of bric-a-brac now. For an 8 year old he's quite a story teller. A couple of years ago he started telling us how he would go on long walks on the mountain or down by the Tennessee River with his "uncle" Jack Daniel. He would describe the most amazing adventures that he and "uncle" Jack had. Someone suggested that it might not be too wise for such a young boy to spend too much time with someone known for making whiskey and before you could say "Big Brother Blake" three times "uncle" Jack went away. It was about that time that he started spending time riding on a big green tractor with his new uncle John Deere. I've never met uncle John but while he was around he and Braxton had several adventures. I've not heard mention of uncle John in a while so I don't press......perhaps he's gone back to where ever those odd uncles come from in the first place.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Harder Than I Imagined
Below are some links to a few of my favorite websites. These are not for everyone but I find them quite interesting with loads of interesting stuff.
Pictures, music, art, and lots of interesting links here
My favorite musician is Todd Rundgren. Following is a link to one of the best Todd Rundgren fan sites with loads of pictures, videos, games, and music.
The following site is a great place to find obscure and out of print music. Don't expect the latest and greatest. This stuff is 60's and 70's disco, spoken word recordings, and foreign language pop music. Lots of interesting listening here
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Happy Birthday Mom
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER!
This is my first posting for PHOTO FRIDAY. As soon as I saw the subject I immediately thought of this old pair of sneakers. I've had them for several years and always wear them when I mow the lawn. Like an old, old friend they're worn but comfortable.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Ghost Riders In The Sky
The link below is to a site with almost every version of that song ever recorded available for download. The Lorne Greene and Duane Eddy versions are partularly good also.