Sunday, February 7, 2016

the hermit strategy

Another day of sneezing and aching. I'm just sick enough to feel cranky and pathetic, but not sick enough to keep me out of the park in the morning. I did skip a Superbowl invitation in the interest of sleep and avoiding junk food. It's amazing how much I crave it when I'm sick, but that's exactly the time I shouldn't eat it. So I stayed home with that snoring dog of ours to eat my lentils and squash while watching Friday Night Lights, and when I'm done writing this, I'm going to go to bed at an unreasonably early time. For now, here's today's exercise about that silly dog, written from his point of view:

wistfully sniffing
at greasy, crumpled bags, wait!
I need that squirrel!

top picture: a happy dog rolling in the park (little hard to see, but it's the black blob in the middle), Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, today, iPhone 5

bottom picture: the squirrel hunter sniffing around the picnic area where the giant trees live, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY, today, iPhone 5

Saturday, February 6, 2016

the fruits of tedium

The other day I mentioned getting a new film camera, and today I reveal said camera: a Leica M6 TTL with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 c-Biogon (c for compact, and that it is). Quite the mouthful and boy did I spend a lot of time on the internet trying to make this decision. Poor charrow could hardly bear the tedium I put her through trying to decide between eBay sellers for the camera body. I've been squirreling away money and Adorama gift cards for a fancy film camera for years. About 5 to be exact. My original intentions were to get a Hasselblad, but lately I've developed a hankering for a Leica, and with our upcoming trip to the world of epic landscapes, why not just go for it? Some day (in like 9 years when I'm done saving for it), I will get back to the Hasselblad.

I had high hopes of getting the film I shot last weekend processed so I could write this post with a picture from the camera. Alas, I did what it seems many people do when loading the Leica M6: failed to properly load the film onto the winding spool. I picked up two rolls of film on Tuesday: one containing hiking and botanic pictures and the other containing absolutely nothing. In my defense, it's really different from my other film camera and a quick search on the internet results in a crap ton of people whining about the film spool. I think I've got the hang of it now, but only time will tell. Should have a couple of rolls shot by Monday and negatives back by Wednesday. I have to make sure I know how to use the darn thing or else I will have an expensive pile of mediocre negatives when we get home. It's the first rangefinder camera I've ever used (explanation of what that means here because I'm terrible at describing it). I didn't think it was possible to be any slower taking photographs, but I have succeeded! Which means between now and March 1, I'm going to be the dummy walking around Brooklyn taking pictures of piles of trash and fence posts in order to master this split-image business. I tried to take pictures in the park this morning, but the light meter went haywire in the cold temperatures (apparently a function of how fresh the batteries are). I can handle manual settings, but I cannot even begin to guess shutter speeds and f stops without a light meter. Anyway, enough geeking out. Here's today's short version:

head craning this way
and that to capture the best
angle for the shot

picture: Leica M6 with Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 c-Biogon, last week, digital 

Friday, February 5, 2016

where's that off button

Brain turning off in 3...2...never. But it was worth a shot. I am so happy this week is over. There's no way to say whether next week will be any better or worse, but for now it's nothing and it's Friday night and I'm about to string together 4 sentences because that's how much energy I don't have to punctuate properly. To add insult to injury, we got a dusting of snow this morning during prime commuting time. I almost skipped swimming because I couldn't bear the thought of a) walking through slush to get there and b) getting into a cold pool after having walked through slush. But I am compulsive and stubborn (as evidenced by this funny little streak I have going here), and it seemed like a bad idea to skip an opportunity for the only other form of exercise I can do right now. So I went. And damned if it wasn't beautiful on campus with the clock tower and the massive trees whose names I don't know all covered in snow (sorry no pictures). I tried to be grumpy about the snow, but it was just too pretty, so I gave in. And now for today's other exercise (about that silly dog again because he takes up a lot of space):

he sprawls in my lap  
after dinner, dream twitching
and farting away

picture: selfie with aforementioned dog in aforementioned position, today, iPhone 5

Thursday, February 4, 2016


bob ross adaptation

I feel a little self conscious about how grumpy and whiny my posts have been lately, but this is the state of things and what's the point of putting on a happy face everywhere? Can the internet be the place where I get to put up a fuss and not feel sorry about it? We shall see if I drive my reader(s) away! So what I intended to say before freezing up is that yesterday's stress has bled into today and will continue for at least part of tomorrow. I've also managed to score a nagging sore throat/sneezing duo, which I blame on not being able to run OR, more likely, the coughing dental assistant who stood over me for 30 minutes. Although I still contend that not running has something to do with it because over the holidays we were around my niece who has been a vector for a series of terrible colds, and I didn't get sick. Oh, theories. Anyway, it's haiku time, after which I plan to shove tissue up my nose (for that lovely simultaneously stuffy and drippy situation that I can feel coming on) and go to sleep. 

head full of static 
clinging to outcomes I can't 
control or predict 

picture: a happy little tree taken at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden before I figured out how to really use my old german camera, July 2011, film, Agfa Optima (I wish portrait pictures looked better on blogger)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

somebody get a towel

storm's coming

It's been a rough day. Unfortunately, I can't discuss it (work, confidentiality, etc.), so I'm going to leave it at that cryptic comment and go straight for the short version today. Not much left to give to the internets, and I will be better served by getting to bed at a decent time rather than trying to force this (more than I already am!). 

jeans heavy with rain 
as i tromped through the city 
soggy brains to boot 

picture: storm clouds gathering as my mom lets her horse graze, California, MD, July 2011, film, Canon Tlb 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

under pressure

going up

Well I have emerged from the dentist with most of my mental faculties in tact. I lost a few during the numbing procedure and then a few more while the chunks of old filling were flying around as the drill jackhammered into my tooth. The dentist described the numbing process as this amazing thing that I should love because it would be even more localized than the traditional method, but he said the words "place the need in the hole between your tooth and gum" and my elbows started sweating. The verdict? I'd rather not be able to feel half of my face than have that kind of injection again. Well really it was 3 "injections" that lasted over the course of 4 minutes rather than the quick one or two usual jabs that render your entire check numb. I suppose this holey method might be more effective because I usually have trouble with the numbing agent not working very well, and there was very little physical discomfort during the actual procedure. Just all that mental horror as the instruments went over my face from the assistant to the dentist and then into my mouth for who knows what purpose. I can never decide whether it's better to close my eyes the whole time or to see the tool and try to guess its purpose in order to steel myself against whatever it might feel like. And the pressure. Dear god the pressure and the drilling noise make me sick to my stomach. While I was waiting for the doctor, I actually worked out a puking plan in the event that I lost my shit (use the paper bib because there was no sink within reach). I don't know why I did this because I'm not a puker, but it passed the time.

I'm sure if you asked the dentist about my anxiety level he would have said 3 or 4 out of 10 because that's about how I seem most of the time. In reality it hovered around an 8. I'm basing this guess on the fact that he was poised with drill in hand without having asked me if I wanted the laughing gas or noise-cancelling headphones we spoke about the week before. So I had to ask about them myself, which required him to take out the bits of cotton he had put in my mouth and leave the room to get the necessary supplies. I ended up not getting the laughing gas, partially because I felt like too much of a weenie to ask for it. My default "don't let them see you sweat" setting overrode the whole reason I went to this dentist in the first place: the drugs. Maybe next time. Now for the short version:

felt like a toolbox
sticking out of my mouth while
my knuckles turned white


fought the urge to slap
his hands away from my mouth
and head for the hills

picture: where I would rather have been this afternoon - the Blue Ridge Parkway, somewhere between Boone, NC and the Virginia border (I think), July 2014, film, Canon Tlb 

Monday, February 1, 2016

past my prime

no cream or sugar please

Not much time left for this today because we went over our tv allowance watching the rest of "St. Vincent" with Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, and Naomi Watts. A predictable but highly amusing movie about a detestable train wreck of a man who is revealed to be a lovable (and detestable) train wreck of a man whose loan shark money problems magically go away (not a spoiler). At any rate, it's past prime writing hour, and I'm trying really hard to get the proper amount of sleep while my tailbone continues to heal. Sleep is a goal all the time, but when there's actually something wrong with my body, it becomes a bit easier to say No for the sake of self care. So here's the short version of my breakfast this morning, which charrow and I refer to as "breakfastcoffee" (said in a rushed one word fashion).

warm black coffee to
my right, a book in my lap
pew! pew! goes the bird

A bird outside our window sounded like the caricature of a laser gun. The birds were very active this morning! I remember thinking at the beginning of last spring how amazing it was to hear birds again after the misery of last winter, but I've noticed them almost every day this winter. This makes me wonder if I was in too deep of a stress fugue last year (final semester of graduate school) to hear them.

picture: AZ the coffee drinking wonder dog (sadly he has since passed away), Bluemont, VA, January 2009, digital