Photography 2006

Do you see what I see...

At work yesterday, the graphic designer (GD) and I were checking out a photo collage. We were trying to figure out who from a particular group was missing and if we had any photos in our archives we could use to fill in the blanks.

We found one photo for a guy that piqued our curiosity.

Robert Murray

GD: Gah! Kevin, you have to come check this out.

Me: What?

GD: It looks like there is another person in this photo with him.

Me: Oh cool! Yeah, there's his eye and his nose.

GD: That's just creepy.

Me: I'm going to darken it and increase the contrast in Photoshop to see if that makes it any clearer.

Murraycloseup By the time I finish, another coworker has joined our examination of the photo. I'll call him B&B.

B&B: That's pretty sweet. I wonder if he's being haunted? Maybe we should send the photo to CSI.

Me: I think Cold Case might be a better fit.

GD: Look at that spot on the ghost's head. Bullet wound?

Me: Totally.

B&B: Suicide.

Me: Nah, not fun enough.

GD: And there's even a mottled spot on the main guy's collar that you can see if you look closely.

Me: I think that's a blood stain from when he murdered this other guy by shooting him in the head and then tried to wash it out.

B&B: Oooh a duel!

Me: Yeah, like Hamilton and Burr. He's a rival or something. So he snuffed him out.

B&B: We need a third person in this story line.

Me: His wife. The ghost guy was sleeping with the main guy's wife so he murdered him in a vengeful fury. Assassination all the way!

GD: And now he's haunted by his spirit forever. I wonder if any other photos of him have this ghost behind him.

Me: Damn I wish we had more photos to look at. This is so cool.

B&B: You two have way too overactive an imagination. You're actually enjoying this.

Me: Yeah, this coming from you. You're having just as much fun as we are. So can you blame us?

B&B: No, not really.

To the family of the guy in the photo... this is just us having fun. No, we do not really think your ancestor murdered someone or that his wife was screwing around on him or that he was haunted by a spirit.

Unless you have evidence to the contrary, of course.


Pieces, pieces, pieces of me...

Not quite my traditional mystery photo ID game, but still something interesting all the same.

The following photo shows (pick one)…

A. A visual representation of James Frey’s profits and future earnings potential after Oprah had her way with him and his book A Million Little Pieces.

B. A new strain of melanoma contracted by metallic surfaces.

C. The drain in our kitchen sink after two nights of making Christmas cookies.

Drainage

If you answered “A,” you would be correct.

Nah, it’s actually “C.” Yeah, we’ve spent the last two nights rolling out and baking four different types of Christmas cookies. Of course, Katie did a vast majority of the work. But I tried to help. Dunno how much help I really was, but I tried. And that’s all that truly matters, right?

Right?


I can cheat you blind...

Dispenser A little more than two months ago, new hand sanitizer dispensers were installed in each and every office at work.

The dispensers resemble spheres that are approximately seven inches in diameter (I think). The bottom half is opaque plastic while the top half is transparent plastic. Inside the sphere is a transparent plastic pouch in which the sanitizer is held. Basically, you just put your hands under the dispenser and it automatically outputs a predetermined amount of sanitizer.

At first, people were pretty weirded out by them.

For one, they tend to drip a little on the floor underneath where they're installed. The fear was that this could either result in slick spots on smooth floors or discolored carpeting.

Then, of course, there was the fact that the pouches in the sphere look like a saline breast implant. Yeah, I've watched Nip/Tuck, I know what they look like. However, people were even able to get over that.

Now, people have adapted to them. Some have even gone so far as to give them some personality by customizing them. They do this by popping off the upper dome and taping images inside them as though it were some twisted little picture frame.

At first, I thought it was pretty stupid. People were doing some odd, and incredibly unfunny, things to them.

Then I heard from someone in one department that they had put in a picture of the northern hemisphere of Earth. When I heard this, I became inspired. I had to compete and come up with something cooler.

But, being me, it had to have a little touch of, well, "me." This, of course, translates to "creepy" or otherwise "odd." Hence why I came up with...

Look into my eye...

I can't wait to hear my coworkers' responses.


Thy leaves are so unchanging...

Well, let's just say if these "leaves" do change, there's something very wrong happening in my townhouse because this is a fake tree.

As stated over on Flickr, it's taken us two weeks, but the damn thing is finally done! YAY!!!! Now we can stuff all the storage containers back in the attic... only to have to take them back down in a couple more weeks.

*uncontrollable sobbing ensues*

Well, enjoy it anyway...

Christmas Tree

In case you're interested, about halfway up the picture, to the left of the white bear in the red vest and just above the small green knitted wreath is our Bananas For You ornament. Right smack dab in the center of the tree where it belongs!

Oh, and a big ol' "thank you" to Dustin who bought me Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD for my birthday. I am sooooo looking forward to watching the rest of this series. And, yes, I do know and love the theme song very much. Damn fine one. Been a part-time earworm for some months now.


Little ditty 'bout Dave and Diane...

Dealing with traffic on I-88 east: absolute hell.

Putting up with the Hillside Strangler on 290 east: even more hell.

Coping with no traffic flow whatsoever on 90 west: the worst kind of hell.

Being able to meet up with Dave and Diane at Chicago's Pizza and Pasta and then having drinks at two bars afterward: friggin' priceless!

Me, Diane, and Dave

I've raved about meeting Dave before (opportunity #1 and #2) and having a chance to meet up with him again was great. But Diane is a new blogger buddy of mine and far too cool for words. If you have a chance to meet either, do so. By all means.

Oh, and the redeye could be a combination of the flash and the drinking. Who's to say for sure?

I also need to give a big thanks to another blogger buddy of mine, Hilly, who sent me a belated birthday gift. My gift to her was late as well so she need not feel guilty. Plus she fed my craving for all things David Sedaris by gifting me with Holidays on Ice and Live at Carnegie Hall. Sweet!


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

While, technically, our first snow of the season came well over a month ago, we got our first real "snowstorm" the night before last. And it made my commute to work yesterday absolute hell.

I find it funny because I woke up yesterday morning and looked outside at 5:15 a.m. expecting several inches. What I saw only really amounted to about an inch. And nothing else was coming down. As per typical, our weathercasters misjudged it. So I showered, got dressed, and went downstairs to plant my lazy butt in front of the iMac to blog and check e-mail. I even told Kim we only got an inch.

At about 7:50, I got my stuff together to go to work. When I opened the garage, I saw about five inches with more rapidly pouring down.

And, of course, our association had yet to plow.

So I broke out a shovel and began to dig my way out of our driveway.

45 minutes later, I was on the road.

By 9:00 a.m., I finally made it to work, the roads were that bad. My 45-minute commute took an hour and a half. At a few instances during the drive, I questioned whether or not I'd even make it to work. Hell, I even called a coworker to warn him I may not be in.

Here's how bad it was, photographically. This first shot was taken on Thursday afternoon from a building near where I work.

Before the snow

This second one was taken from nearly the same vantage point the next day.

After the snow

Some random shots from my commute and a walk I took during my lunch hour are in the extended post.

Continue reading "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..." »


You can take a picture of something you've seen...

I'm just in a photography kind of mood lately. So here are some teaser photos from three new photo sets I have up on Flickr. In case you haven't already been to my flickr site and seen them, you can click through to view the rest of the photos in each set using the link in the captions.

I hope you enjoy...

sunset weather vane
A trip to Kuiper's Farm in Maple Park, IL, that Katie and I took with my brother and his fiancee on October 8.

Neighbor's House 2
Halloween shots for the season. Check back on this one as it may be updated as the month progresses. These few were taken on the way to work on October 12.

campus snowflurry
And the start of the winter season apparently occurred in upper Illinois this year less than a month after fall began. We had our first snow on Thursday, October 12. Freaky. This one may also be updated with more snow shots as the season goes on.


Darkness falls across the land...

And yesterday started out so beautiful. A cool start to the fall. Bright and shiny.

And then it all went to hell.

About a half hour before work was to end, I got a call from my father-in-law that the western edge of the suburb where I work all the way north to where Katie works was under a tornado warning.

Of course, being me, I left work instead of seeking cover. It was still decent enough out so I hightailed it to my truck and got my cameras ready.

Within about five minutes, everything around me was covered in swirling grey clouds. Occasionally, I experience a fast-moving scud cloud of pure white whipping in front of the more ominous clouds above. By the time I got home, the rain was coming down in sheets and tornado sirens were blaring everywhere. Katie was hearing sirens up by her and was also getting hail during her ride home.

We both made it home okay. Obviously.

But, damn if it didn't make for great photo ops. Unfortunately, my digital camera only took one good shot. The rest, I hope, are on my Minolta. I'll have to wait and have those processed to see how they turned out.

For now, though, check out how Batavia and Geneva, IL, looked at about 5:00 p.m. last night...

Storm clouds
Click for a larger view.


Crazy, just like me...

I finally got 44 of the 215 photos I took of the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour posted on Flickr. Yes, it was Chicago and I had a camera in hand, would you expect any less of me? I'm just happy I bought a 1 GB card out in California or I would've risked running out of space. I hate when that happens.

Suffice it to say, we had a blast and I highly recommend this cruise to anyone who lives in or just visits this great city. You learn a lot about the city's history and the sights are second to none. And at about $25 per person for a little over an hour (there are options for more expensive cruises), it's very reasonable. That, alone, shocked the hell out of me.

Flags
Flags on the bridge crossing the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue

Wyland defaced
I wanted to bring attention to the fact that some asshole developer decided to build a parking structure that would eventually completely cover this beautiful humpback whale mural by the famed painter Wyland. Just not right.

Continue reading "Crazy, just like me..." »


Maybe you're crazy...

I'm not going to give you a full-blown post just now as we are still in the recovery phase of our evening. We've been in downtown Chicago with Brian and Jen just spending the day doing a lot of nothing and enjoying every minute. So I will leave you with some photos to tide you over until I can get them all posted on Flickr with descriptions (if I can remember what the hell they all are).

The uploading will take a while considering I took more than 200 photos just on my camera. Katie probably took about 50 on hers. We won't upload them all, of course, but we do need to weed through them all.

Dsc02572   Dsc02621

Dsc02740   Dsc02715_1


We are the Bears Shufflin' Crew...

Hey, I finally had a relatively decent eBay experience buying a jersey.

A couple weeks ago, I decided on a jersey I wanted to represent my favorite football team on Earth... the Chicago Bears. And that representative jersey would be Mike Singletary. "Samurai Mike" is da man and, shockingly, despite the love for him that Chicagoans have, you don't see that many people donning the famed #50. So I got one from some guy in South Korea, which, I'm sure, means it was mass produced in a sweatshop. But, c'est la vie.

A week ago, I got the jersey in the mail. Well, it should have been the jersey. Instead, I got an Oakland Raiders jersey for Otis Sistrunk. Wha??? I e-mailed the seller and told him of the mistake. Then, since the package actually contained the packing slip for the person who really ordered the Sistrunk jersey, I tracked her down and gave her a call.

The eBay seller told me that he had, in fact, made a mistake and would send me out a new one. In the meantime, the actual buyer of this jersey called me and told me she would like it if I sent it to her as it was intended as a gift for her husband for his birthday yesterday. So, this past Tuesday, I did just that. Although we both figured she would probably receive my jersey, she had not gotten it yet to know for sure.

On Wednesday, she called to confirm that she did get my jersey in the mail. She also said she'd put it in the mail to me on Thursday. That day, I also got an e-mail from the seller in South Korea telling me to keep the jersey he had mistakenly sent me as it would cost him too much to pay shipping to have me send it back.

And, on Thursday, I got the replacement jersey from the seller in South Korea (much quicker about this shipment than the original; he must really want a positive review on eBay).

So, in summation, I'm receiving two Mike Singletary jerseys for the price of one. How sweet is that? This almost makes up for the Mark Grace debacle last year.

Here is Mike Singletary back in the day...

Singletary

And here I am doing my level best to look like Samurai Mike. However, I really look more constipated than anything...

Kapgar Singletary

But, hey, it's a damn nice jersey!


Oh that's what dreams are made of...

First off, happy Blog Appreciation Day! If you want to check out the photos I made for others as well as the ones that were taken for me, check out the Flickr album I dedicated to the cause. I really loved doing this and can't wait til next year to do it again. I want to officially thank Neil for coming up with it.

Oh hey, SJ created a Blog Appreciation Day user pool. Cool! Now we can all share!


And now for the meat of the post...

Talk about your childhood flashbacks. I was checking out Karl's site yesterday and he posted about being a child and taking advantage of his first girl-given set of digits by calling her early one Saturday morning.

No, I was not reminded about calling a girl. I usually just went to their house, but at a more human hour. I was not a phone sort of person then and I still hate them with a passion now. What sparked my memory bank was his talk about being a child who is awake really friggin' early on Saturdays.

I was the same way.

While I may have hated waking up early during the week because of the whole "time to go to school" aspect of it all, I was more than willing to dash any hope of sleeping late on Saturdays in lieu of my cartoon schedule.

I woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to make sure I didn't miss any of it. To be honest with you, I cannot even really remember what shows I watched on a regular basis. I only recall the desire -- nay, the need -- to get up early so as not to miss any of it. There is nothing more shameful or sinful than being a child who missed one of the hallowed Saturday morning animated gems, and then have your friends find out.

The kicker was that I never set an alarm clock to wake me up. I don't even think I owned an alarm clock at that age. If I needed to get up, say, for school, my parents were expected to wake me. Back then, there was no way you could possibly expect me to willingly get up for something I didn't want to do.

Saturday morning was something else altogether, though, for despite my lack of a physical alarm clock, I had the oddest internal alarm clock. And I remember him vividly. Yes, my internal alarm clock was a he. Not an "it," not a "she," but a "he."

No matter what I was dreaming about during my slumber from Friday night to Saturday morning, my internal alarm clock would show up at exactly the right time.

WoodytoystoryHe was a cartoon looking guy with a big toothy grin and wide brown eyes. Oddly enough, thinking about it now, he looked an awful lot like Woody from Toy Story. Sans the ten-gallon hat, boots, vest, badge, plaid shirt, and jeans. No, he was not naked. I was not a perverted child despite how I may be now.

Anyway, he would slide in from what amounted to stage left of my dream and he would be wearing a bad 70s/80s brown sportcoat with shirt and tie like so many other reporters or news readers of the day (don't ask me about pants as I only ever saw him above the waist) and he would have one of those ceiling-hanging microphones much like the announcers in boxing matches. And, while my dream was still happening behind him, he would look at me and say, "Kevin, it's time to wake up for cartoons!"

But his voice was so real, unlike anything else in my dream.

I've found that dream-based audio has a sort of faraway feel to it. It's muted and a bit ethereal. This voice, however, was booming and in-your-face. Almost as though it was a person speaking to me in real life to wake me up. But this was never the case because nobody else in my house was ever awake at this time of day.

Until my alarm clock awoke me, that is. My eyes would shoot open and my body would bolt upright in bed. Then I'd run downstairs in my pajamas, grab a bowl and spoon, pour some cereal and milk, and plop my ass down in front of the TV for my four-hour cartoon marathon.

It was childhood heaven and I have my dreamscaped alarm clock to thank for not allowing me to miss a second of it.


Tell me darlin', can you picture this...

Just when I thought I had actually discovered the end of the Internets, or at least the end of the useful Internets, SJ sends me this little doozy. It is fd's Flickr Toys.

The site allows you to apply different cool effects such as borders, speech bubbles, templates, etc. to existing photos. And, as the name would imply, it plays quite nicely with Flickr. However, despite being able to directly upload the results of my fd fun to my Flickr site, I really don't want to give them my username and password. I'll upload manually.

Oh the hours of joy that can be had here.

Here are a couple of the images that SJ made with my photos (my lawyer will be contacting you regarding the copyright infringments... heh) to introduce me to the site...

Frame Within a Frame Within a Stamp
This would be my frame within a frame now within a stamp out on Hawk Hill.

Golden Gate Bridge stampified
Here we have a Golden Gate Bridge shot stampified.

Continue reading "Tell me darlin', can you picture this..." »


Mr. Jones and me, we're gonna be big stars...

God it's been a long time since I've visited the Jones Soda Web site.

In all fairness, it's not as though I was ever much of a frequent visitor, but it is a fun site. They have all kinds of kitschy little interactive bits and pieces such as a fortune cookie reader, customizable music player, full nutritional content labels for every single one of their hundreds of drinks, magnetic words game, etc.

LauralabelI first discovered the site a couple years ago when I was at a Panera Bread and picked up my first Jones Soda and saw the cool photo on the label. Turns out that they ran a contest with Panera Bread where photos taken by PB employees were selected to appear on the labels.

I thought it was pretty cool and checked out the site to find out more information about the promotion.

Soon after, I discovered that an old college friend of mine, Laura, was one who had her photo on a label. It's the label at right, save for the fact that mine came on a bottle of root beer, not diet black cherry soda.

Actually, after conducting a search on Jones' photo gallery just now, it turns out she has more than a dozen photos posted in all. And they're all really nice. I'm not sure, however, how many actually made the cut for labels. I know of two offhand.

I was thinking how cool a thing this would be to try out. But I want some input from all of you.

You've seen the many photos that I've posted here on the site and over on my Flickr site. So, if you have a moment, check them out again and let me know in the comments or via e-mail which ones you think I should submit. It doesn't appear that there is a limit to the number I can upload to the gallery.

Oh yeah, and they make some pretty killer drinks, too.


Lady in red...

Just one quick thing for you today... something I haven't done in a while and I miss terribly.

... my first Mystery Photo Contest in months!

Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure several of you weren't even readers of kapgar the last time I did one of these.

So tell me, what is this?

Mystery Photo

Okay, have a good rest of your weekend.

I told you it was a quickie. Please don't feel used and disregarded. I'll be back for lengthier and more meaningful fun tomorrow.

Promise.


Don't make me cry for a piece of the pie...

DaveCago 2006 was a rousing success!

While one person (Chanakin) was unable to attend at the last minute, we had two late additions to our motley crew (Steve and Susan).

The entire attendee list includes Ariana, Dave, Gary, Jenny, Kelly, RW and his wife, Steve, Susan, Katie, Brian, Jen, and I.

Katie, Brian, Jen, and I headed downtown after running a couple errands and grabbing some lunch. Then we did a bit of shopping in the area and hit a great T-shirt shop called T-shirt Deli (recommended by Jenny) where we each got a shirt for Brian and Jen's wedding next June in Vegas. I also picked up a vintage remake (a bit oxymoronic, eh?) of a Donkey Kong shirt. Very nice. I wore it that day. Dave met up with us after we finished with our T shirt order.

Piecepizza The evening officially started at Piece and people slowly trickled in over the course of a couple hours. It got to the point that we had to steal a couple extra tables to add to the end of our already long table. The crew at Piece put up a bit of a stink about it as they had a reservation for a birthday party at those tables for a set time. However, these people didn't show up for their party until well over an hour later. Pissed us off considering how snotty they were being about it.

But, the pizza at Piece was incredible! Jenny did a great job picking out the place. I would've helped more, but, to be honest, I've never been to Wicker Park/Bucktown and had no idea what was there. But Jenny did great!

Afterwards, we headed out to a tequila bar called Salud. Unfortunately, Katie, Brian, Jen, and I had to head out shortly after we arrived at Salud. But, from the sound of things, they had a good time with multiple mojitos.

But we all had a lot of fun while we were together and I hope to meet up with a bunch of them again in the near future.

Oh, and I do have some photos...

Jenny, Ariana, and Kelly
Jenny, Ariana, and Kelly.

Katie and I
Katie, her tongue, and I.

Continue reading " Don't make me cry for a piece of the pie..." »


You've been thunderstruck...

Can anyone explain to me why it is when you're sitting inside, alcohol has a much more decisive effect on you than when you're sitting outside in the heat?

The other night, I had three beers at a bar, and it hit me pretty nicely. Yesterday, however, I had three beers and three mixed drinks at a cookout at my friend's house and felt nothing. Of course, it was 90-something degrees out at 99% humidity and I could barely feel my skin let alone the alcohol attempting to soak into my bloodstream.

The weather was absolutely horrendous yesterday. Those temperatures are no exaggeration whatsoever. Then, in a matter of 10 minutes, it dropped about 15 degrees when the clouds finally added that final degree of humidity necessary and opened up to pour out cats and dogs. Possibly literally in some areas.

Yes, 10 minutes was all the time that elapsed between blue and cloudy skies and an impenetrable grey blanket saturated with rain.

But the storm certainly made for a nice photo op.

Clouds roll in

Lightning

Continue reading "You've been thunderstruck..." »


Pictures of the friends you used to know...

As much as I like digital photography and the convenience factor of being able to carry around our little Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P92 point and shoot, there's just something about using my good, old fashioned Minolta Maxxum 400si 35mm SLR camera that still appeals to me.

And it's been quite some time since I've used it. The poor boy has been sitting on the shelf in our closet since the summer of 2003 when I last used it on our cruise.

A couple weeks ago, I broke the 400si out of the bag, popped in a fresh battery and a roll of hi-res film, and started snapping.

Can I tell you how good it felt to use that monster again? For a camera that's nearing 15 years old, it still runs like it's fresh out of the box. I was alternating between both the 35-70mm lens and the 70-210 mm lens and just hoping for the best. I have no formal photographic training and, taking that into consideration, digital photography really is the best option for me as I can delete what doesn't turn out. But damn if that big ol' SLR camera body doesn't feel good in my hands. It just fits.

I really need a digital SLR. But that's a purchase planned for down the road a bit.

Here are some of the resulting shots.

James Street
The corner of James and 3rd Streets in downtown Geneva, IL.

The clouds
Driving down a street near our house in Geneva.

In an attempt to save my homepage from being too long vertically, I've put some more photos in an extended post...

Continue reading "Pictures of the friends you used to know..." »


Oh, oh, oh, oh, sweet child o' mine...

Here's one I'll bet many of you never thought you'd see...

Kevin and Sean

Okay, no. That's not my kid as the photo and the title may imply... nor is it Katie's by some other father... and we did not go on a childnapping spree at the local NICU... or whatever other twisted thought you may be harboring right now.

Say hello to Sean. He's the newborn son of our friends, Jen and Brian. He was born at some ridiculous hour like 5:30 in the morning or some such on April Fool's Day. Kid must've been thinking, "Hey mom! Bet you thought I was gonna stay up in here until that April 12th date we originally discussed. APRIL FOOL'S!!! And I'm wakin' you up reeeaallll early! HA!"

But, seriously, he's a cute kid and he seems to dig me in that he's one of the first babies to not immediately start crying in my presence. I must have that effect. Oh well.

This is also the first baby I ever remember holding. I may have held my brother when he was born. But I was only three years old at the time; you can't really expect me to actually remember that, can you?

Here's a picture of Sean and his real dad, Brian.

Brian and Sean


It was a graveyard smash...

I have always been fascinated with graveyards. In fact, they have never, that I know of, been a source of fright for me. I live for the serenity, the beauty, the photography. I even like visiting them at night.

I think my brother knows of my love for cemeteries and, therefore, has been trying for years to freak me out regarding them. This has led to him suggesting a few times over the years that we visit so-called "haunted" cemeteries in the area.

The concept of a haunted cemetery amuses me a bit. While I believe in spirits and ghosts, I'm not sure I actually believe that there is such a thing as a haunted cemetery. I mean, why haunt a place that most people fear visiting anyway? Don't ghosts want to make their presence known? Isn't the primary theory behind hauntings that a ghost has unfinished business on Earth? Well, if they have unfinished business, I somehow doubt that it's getting done hanging out in a cemetery (unless they were gravediggers when they were alive).

However, haunted cemeteries make for great stories and some that I'm more than willing to share with friends and family. So, of course, I've been up for going along on my brother's jaunts through Chicago haunting lore to see if I could come up with a couple stories of my own that I could share.

Thus far, we have visited Benedictine University's cemetery once (supposedly, some blue orb will appear in the cemetery) and Bachelor's Grove Cemetery twice. Bachelor's Grove is considered one of the top 10 most haunted cemeteries in the U.S. although I don't know who develops the criteria for rating them.

The results? Decidedly negative. Not "negative" in an evil way; more a "nothing happened" sort of negative.

But we did get some pretty cool photos from our (Katie, Brian, Jen, and me) most recent trip to Bachelor's Grove a couple weekends ago...

The Gate
The gate to Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Grave 1
I think the freakiest thing about the cemetery is the fact that almost every tree is barkless. Why? I don't get that. Am I wrong for thinking it's weird?

Grave 3
Some of the photos are a bit blurry, but that's due to the sheer lack of lighting. It does add to the effect, though. And this headstone was just too beautiful to not shoot.

A fallen branch
Not entirely barkless, but toppled. The first time at Bachelor's Grove, we encountered a ton of overgrowth and damaged trees. It seems the Parks Department must've cleaned up quite a bit because the ground were pretty wide open save for the occasional fallen limb like this one.

Grave 5
Okay, I take that back, the freakiest thing about the visit was this yarn doll. Creepy. And it would practically glow while everything else was nearly pitch black.

Litter
Gotta love the litter. Sad, but eerie as well. Makes you start to wonder what was going on here.

Grave 7
Jen examining another naked and toppled tree that actually knocked over a really large headstone.

Grave 7.2
A close up of the toppled headstone.

I really should start scanning some of my old day-time cemetery photos that I've taken over the years and maybe try to get out some more with my camera. There was a time when I was taking cemetery photos on a very regular basis. Of course, that could also have to do with the fact that my master's thesis was about cemeteries.


Sometimes I feel like the lucky one...

Happy St. Stitch's DayFirst, what better way to chime in the holiday than with an uber-celebratory Stitch?

So from me to all of you... a happy St. Patrick's Day! This is the first one that Katie and I have ever really been able to spend together without having work or classes interfere. And damn if we're not going out to enjoy it!

On the topic of luck, have you ever had an article of clothing that you considered lucky? Or maybe it's just that perfect piece of clothing?

I have a sweatshirt like that. It's a hoodie that's about six years old. I have no idea where I got it, but it's the first pullover hoodie that I ever owned. I don't think Katie bought it for me, per se, but I'm sure we bought it together, just don't ask me where. It's dark blue a band across the chest comprised of a yellow, white, and light blue stripes. This thing feels almost like fleece it's that soft.

Yet, recently, this sweatshirt almost wound up in a pile of clothes going to Goodwill.

It was intentional at the time. It had been a couple years since I'd worn the hoodie and I had gotten some kind of stain on the stripes that I couldn't seem to get out.

When Katie saw the hoodie on the pile, she looked at me with one of those "are you nuts?" sorts of looks.

"You can't get rid of that," she said. "It was your first hoodie!"

"But I never wear it any more."

"So? You will. Trust me. You always return to the clothes you feel comfortable in."

"We'll see."

Sure enough. I've worn it about three times in the last couple weeks. Yes, it was washed and we even got the stain out of it. I kick myself for nearly getting rid of it. What the hell was I thinking?

Now, I'm convinced I wouldn't be complete unless I'm buried in this hoodie.

We're off for some beers. Well, in about seven or so hours, that is.

Have a happy one!


Is there a letter in your bag for me?

A few weeks ago, I mentioned in a meme that I was completing that one of the great things about blogging is the people that you meet.

So many bloggers have become friends as a result of this wonderful blogosphere (yeah, yeah, stop cringing at my use of an overexposed, cliched catchphrase) and you read about these meetings rather regularly.

For example, last November, Katie and I met Dave for a Depeche Mode concert.

This past weekend, Alissa flew out to San Francisco to meet up with Sandra, Jacynth, and Elliott and also met Sizzle.

There are many others. But these are just off the top of my head.

I'm hoping to meet some more of the people whose blogs I frequent sometime in the near future as well. There are several that I know Katie and I would have a good time with.

What I'm trying to say is that we, as bloggers, become part of a community. If you are genuine in your caring of these other people, they care about you as well. It may sound sappy, but I've met a really great group of people and I meet more of them every day.

We're a bit like a family that rarely ever physically sees each other. So, you make up for it by taking care of each other in different ways. You comment on their blogs, you e-mail each other, etc.

But, one of the bloggers who reads my site really went the extra mile for me recently.

Remember my post about loving black licorice a couple weeks ago? Well, my currently Roma-bound blogger pal, Kilax, who is also a black licorice fan, offered to send me some true Italian licorice. Just out of the clear blue. I didn't prompt it in any way, shape, or form.

There was no way I was going to let her fork over cash to send a package of food overseas to me. But she insisted and, today, I get a call at work from Katie.

Katie - "So I'm upstairs getting ready for work when the doorbell rings."

Me - "Okay."

"It was the mailman and he had a package. I thought there was no way my replacement PajamaGram could possibly be here." 

Misccandybox

(note: I had purchased Katie a PajamaGram for Valentine's Day, but bought the wrong size, so we're currently awaiting an exchange from them).

Me - "What was it?"

Katie - "Well, it was a pretty beat up box with some other language on it that I didn't understand."

"And....?"

"Inside was a bunch of candy. It looks like a lot of black licorice along with some chocolate and lemon cookies and pasta."

Misccandy

Me - "KIM!"

Katie - "There was also a note inside. Hold on, I'll read it for you..."

"Dear Kevin & Katie -

I hope you enjoy these treats! Watch out - the black licorice is a bit... strong.

I threw in my favorite kind of cookie here - hope you like lemon. I also added some funny 'Italian architecture' pasta - I expect you to name all the shapes to me!

Take care!

Kim Ilax --> Kilax"

Rock!

To Kim, I know you said I don't owe you anything, but I will find some way to repay you for this. I don't take this kind of generosity for granted. Believe you me.

Maybe when you hop back to our side of the pond and finalize your move in with Steven here in the 'burbs, the four of us can go out for dinner or whatnot. Oh, and it won't be Italian food as I'm sure nothing you can possibly eat here will ever compare to what you're eating now.

How's that sound?


Lay your hands on me...

Though it admittedly took me longer than I had hoped to finish it, I don't want you to think I'm the sort of person that doesn't complete the jobs he starts.  To that end I present...

The finished book shelf photos!!

(...and there was much rejoicing.  Yay.)

The finished bookshelf
This is the finished book shelf, all stained and assembled.

The bookshelf...
The shelf in place in our hallway complete with books and a couple stray VHS tapes.  Ironic considering we don't have a VCR hooked up anymore.

The bookshelf in place
I somehow managed to make it the perfect height to be flush with the railing boards in our hallway.  That was the plan, but not the expectation.  Yet, sometimes, things do work out as planned.  Rare, but they do.


Candy, candy, candy, I can't let you go...

My parents recently purchased a big tub of soft mint candies known as Bob's Sweet Stripes for me to bring in to my office to share with everyone.  Each candy in the tub is individually packaged in its own plastic wrapper.

A few days ago, while picking out a couple to snack on, I found this little oddity.  I really have no idea how this one slipped by quality control.

Or, perhaps, candy is capable of asexual reproduction.  I really don't know.  (Sorry the photo is a bit blurry... bad lighting and little to no experience with how to use macro settings.)

Asexual Reproduction


Did you hear what I said; come into the white...

I am going to usher you into the weekend with another new mystery photo contest

I figure if I want to get as many people involved in this little game as possible, I should try to do it semi-regularly.  And, since I'm only doing one photo at a time, being able to develop some sort of regular schedule shouldn't be that difficult.

This contest will close on Monday, January 9, 2006, at some point in the evening when I find myself able to check in.  So keep those guesses coming until that time.  Maybe I should pull a Tonya and say that you can only enter once per four-hour period to give other people a chance.

What am I?



Episodes Elapsed: 24 (season 1 complete)
Episodes Remaining: 72
Season 5 Premiere: Jan. 15 (8 days)
Official 24 Web site


Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Yes folks, after being inspired by something I saw this morning, I felt it was time for another Kapgar.com Mystery Picture ID Contest!

*random clapping and hoots and hollers erupt around the blogosphere*

Tell me if you can figure out what this random mess is.  Of course, as always, there is no guarantee of a prize.  Just the ability to say "Hey! I'm smart and have keen visual acuity" or some such.  You can word it however you like and I'll sign off on it.

And I have just one quick final thing I'd like to say... "Blue, you're my boy!"



Episodes Elapsed: 13
Episodes Remaining: 83
Season 5 Premiere: Jan. 15 (12 days)
Official 24 Web site