Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm basically a bah humbug person. Since I don't really have much of a personal life and am a loner, I don't really enjoy the holiday season. I go to my family's celebration on Xmas eve, but that hasn't been enjoyable since I had more money so I could give presents and also had someone to bring along with me.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't miss the Christmas days at the boyfriend's family. That's just because I felt lost in the crowd. 8 kids, 8 signifigant others, most with 1+ kids, but the couple I was in. So that's about 32 people. Talk about chaos.

But the thing I miss most about Xmas past is my parents. Without them a family doesn't seem like a family anymore. My dad for the last few years of his life became the "Book Santa". He carefully picked a book for each person in the family that matched their interests. My mom and I were close. I feel pretty much like an outsider at my sister's house, even after living there for a year and a half.

So holiday time is kind of my own time. I go to a movie on Christmas day. For a couple of years it seemed to be "go to a Bill Murray movie on Christmas day". I don't think I have too much that I'd want to see this year. I think this year I'll go to the Mariemont and see "The Reader", because nothing like a Nazi war crime story about an older woman with a young man love affair to bring me some holiday cheer.

The Reindog parade is about as exciting as the season gets for me. And what a letdown it was this year. Same dogs from previous year's in the same costumes. I did get some good photos, but am I photographing the same thing as I did last year?

Each year I would like to send out a card. I never get around to it. I have put comments with a photo I've taken on some of my friends myspace pages. This one is a crappy photo, but it's got both of my dogs in it, so I like it. I'll post that one below along with a couple more years of photos.

I guess what I'm looking forward to most this year is the time off of work. 5 days in a row is the longest I've had off since starting this new job. Maybe I'll get some chores done like laundry & cleaning. Or maybe I'll start catching up on editing photos. While going through my photos looking for a good one to print for a present, I realized I have been putting off editing my Oktoberfest photos and I owe those folks photos more than anyone.

And of course I wish I was volunteering this season. I still have some life stuff to work out before I feel I can do that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Getting ready for the Mt. Adams 18th annual Reindog parade

Each year for the past 17 years the Mt. Adams Reindog Parade has been taking place. For pretty many years it has benefitted SPCA Cincinnati (even though there are no fees involved). The parade is a long one around the very hilly Mt. Adams

I have been going to the Reindog Parade for so many years I can’t even tell you how many. The first year I went was soon after I got my dog Cosmo, an Italian Greyhound. What better dog to make into a reindeer than one that already looked like a little tiny deer? I know I had some kind of coat on him, as he’d freeze otherwise. I made antlers out of brown pipe cleaners. They didn’t stay on his head very well, but they looked great. Cosmo made the newspaper that year.

I skipped a few years after that, but picked up again. Cosmo was the little deer some years, then an elf, a toy soldier and maybe a different elf the last time I took him. When I had more dogs I would take Cosmo, Ozzie, my Greyhound mix (even more of a deer-looking dog than Cosmo, who could wear the human headbands with antlers) and my Chihuahua-Pug with one eye (Andy). Cosmo & Andy were elves, and Ozzie was the Reindog. Put in link to Mary’s website with Ozzie & Cosmo Here’s a link to 2002 photos of Cosmo and Ozzie from photographer Mary Strubbe’s website: Ozzie and Cosmo

After I started getting more interested in photography and had my big Canon camera, I came to the parade without dogs (there were too many years of my dogs not being able to handle the cold). I almost had as much fun and I definitely came home with better photos. Here are a few I took last year:

and here are even more in my fotki albums

So this year, it will most likely be without my dogs, though the weather might be OK to take them. If I bring few camera extras I might be able to handle both. But it’s always been a plan of mine to photograph as many dogs as possible, so that will be difficult with two dogs in tow. This is where I really miss having a partner to help me out.

I will never win the costume contests, unless I could find several people with me who would also dress up. They used to have contests for senior dogs and when I had two 16 year old dogs who were dressed up it was the year that they discontinued the senior contest.

One might ask why people do this kind of thing? I can only tell you it is such a joy to see so many dog loving people in one location. And the dogs look so good. Many dogs get excited to be in the parade. My dogs would come to me excitedly to get their costumes put on. That is, they loved it all except for anything that went on their heads. They hated hats.

Last year I took photos for the SPCA. It took many long hours to edit and get the photos to them. Not one photo was used from it. So this year the photos are all mine. I can do whatever I want. I’ve been getting pretty sour about the SPCA and might want to stop volunteering for them soon. Same might go for other endeavors for animal rescue. It’s a shame I am losing interest in this type of thing, but I just feel it’s getting nowhere.

Speaking of getting nowhere, I completed a week as a vegetarian. I think I screwed up yesterday because I got a soup (Broccoli & Cheddar) that I’m sure they used chicken stock in. It’s not that it’s so hard to keep this diet up; I just think it’s kind of futile. One person can’t save all those animals from becoming slaughtered. I find that I do miss pepperoni, bacon & my Chicken Tikka Masala (which I will cheat and have at least one more time soon).

And yesterday I was thinking about buying a house sometime (it’s just that peer envy as my coworker is buying a house). I like where I live and there are a few for sale around there. But now Northside seems tempting. I lived there before and wasn’t real happy about it, but now that I’m spending more weekend time there it would be convenient. But how long have I wanted to live in NKY? A pretty long time. It’s close to downtown, with both a city and small town feeling. Maybe if I lived within walking distance to Hofbrau I’d be more satisfied. But I also like living so close to the river. That nice little beach park in Bellevue is the perfect place to walk the dogs. I know I’d be close to the dog park if I lived in Northside, but there are not many places I’d like to walk a dog. And I’m not sure if I’d want to live alone in Northside either.

Tonight I’m going to Hofbrau for a drink. I like to go there on Wednesday evenings because my hairdresser has a standing reservation and he’s so fun to talk to. I think of it as my midweek counseling session. But I also feel this Christmas Bier they have now is ruining my taste for other beer. Wish it would stop me from drinking anywhere else. It doesn’t, I’m just not as happy about it. Oh well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Even though I think I took some good photos tonight I still feel kind of empty. The bands that were there were good. But not really what I like lately. Maybe that's it. Or it is that I don't like taking photos in the parlour of Southgate House.? Am I getting picky where I take them now?

I think I am getting picky. I like taking photos in the Ballroom of Southgate House and am having better luck in the back room of Northside Tavern. But places I need a flash I don't feel like I'm getting the best photos. I'm pretty satisfied with the flash shots I got at the Gypsy Hut of Eat Sugar. That's a band that almost needs a flash most of the time. I don't even know if I can get them on the Ballroom of Southgate without flash. I might try in a week or so, if I go see the Faint. But other bands at the Gypsy Hut I don't feel like photographing at all.

But the best shots are definite without flash. I'm hoping to get another low light lens in the future, with a wider range. Of course it doesn't have the image stabilizer that my Canon lenses have.

Just a little rant, I'd rather be doing so many other things besides this, but I'm a bit tipsy and this seems like an innocent thing to rant about.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Editing Photos

I have a very random way of choosing the order of what photos I edit. I am a procrastinator by nature. But I’ve been trying to edit photos of bands that I will see again in the near future (as opposed to ones that aren’t playing out, or in some cases have broken up). Now you might realize that as I am writing this I could be editing instead. That is pretty true. I do keep my editing software (Photoshop CS2 and Ulead Photo Impact) open so I can work on a few photos at a time and do other stuff when I get distracted. And actually I’m writing some of this while I’m at work. It’s not something I usually do, but when I feel like writing I’d best go with it (besides work is a bit slow and boring lately).

The longest part of editing photos is deciding which photos to edit. I shoot bands with a rapid fire method. So I can come home with 600-1000 photos in a night. (how many I take can depend on how much motivation to photograph the band), usually on the first time I don’t shoot many, unless I already know what I’m looking to do). After looking at each photo, I can usually narrow the total to about 250 photos. Those will be photos that are in focus and aren’t totally horrible. Then I go through those photos and decide what is truly worth editing. I try to of course find flattering photos of everyone, but I will include some strange facial expressions as well. Even after that there will be photo after photo where nothing has changed except maybe a mouth movement, eyes, and hands.

Here are a couple of photos shot of Willy from Daughters & Sons that were shot in rapid succession:

So which do I use? (I tell D&S I have an obscene amount of photos of Willy. I could paper an entire room with them. All those photos to get just a few shots I really want to use.)

I usually will edit the whole group I have narrowed down. Then I might decide to crop one of the photos different than another. Make it vertical instead of horizontal. Clone out equipment or parts of another person. Crop a photo with several people and make it just of one.

Why edit some people ask? If I shot it right in the first place I wouldn’t have to. Well that’s true in a sense. I could never hand my memory card directly to a newspaper for them to print photos. I like to clean up what I can. After editing I go back to decide which ones to use. Out of about 250, I might pass on 25-60 to the band (But those I copy and make smaller files of). I’ll narrow that down to under 10 best to put up on my website. I might put the whole group that I have given to the band on my fotki site.

Bands have taken over my photography. I have many other types of photos to edit. I photograph some of the local German American Society events; which I’m behind on editing. I love to photograph dogs and have many Dog Park and photos of friends’ dogs (as well as my own) to edit. I have several ideas to work on for presents this year and have photos to get ready for that. My collections of Cincinnati and nature photos sit untouched on my computer. I wouldn’t mind getting some of those printed for myself. And then there are the experimental shots that I have been doing for awhile would be great to work on.

But sometimes I get on a roll though and will go through photo after photo until done.

I have two notebooks I’m working on to keep ideas in. One is for poses. This might have stolen shots from websites to give me ideas. The other is a location notebook. Photos of places I want to shoot at. Not always taken with my Canon, sometimes just with my P&S as I see the place. I keep a smaller notebook with lighting notes, things I want to photograph, times of day, etc.

Writing it all out now is helping me schedule what I need to get done

Bands that I am planning to photograph again in the near future: The Sweep and The Chauncers (to get better photos of); Cash Flagg (because I know what I want to capture with each person in the band);The Long Gones, and Wonky Tonk (saw both of these recently without camera and want to definitely photograph soon). And then there are bands that I want to photograph again and again. Daughters & Sons definitely is my favorite to photograph. The Sailing and Eat Sugar also on my tops to shoot list.

And still left to edit (no links for these, just too many of them):
500 Miles to Memphis
Boss Monkey
The Breeders
Captain of Industry
The Chauncers
Cincinnati Suds
Daughters & Sons (more shows and more from a photoshoot)
Harvey Quast
Jonathan Richman
The Lions Rampant
The Lollipop Factory
Lovely Crash
The Maladroits
Man Halen
Mayan Ruins
The National
The Newbies
The Sailing
The Silver Slipper
The Swarthy Band
Trojan Rabbit
Turnbull ACs
And a few others I haven’t sorted out yet

So that's a brief look at the editing I need to do. And why it takes awhile for me to edit.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Reading Robyn's lyrics

So it's been a long time once again since I've written here. I just don't seem to know what to write. I'll think of something I'd want to write about, then realize that too many people would see it. The old blog, which is now long gone, was very much a confession of the good and bad in me. Anyway, I brainstormed today at work and came up with some topics I can work with. I still work with a stream of consciousness writing; it seems to be my style.

I used to be a very quiet person, hanging out with people without saying a word. I don't know if it's been years of public service or if it's just chatting with strangers when I go out alone (something I kind of like doing) that makes talk on and on now. How did I become the opposite person? I sometimes think it's nervousness and I don't let others talk. It's a very bad habit, that I'd like to work to get rid of. Maybe some combo from my silent self and the talkative one would be best. Wow, that has been a stupid rant.

I've been putting my old Robyn Hitchcock and Softboys CDs on my Itunes lately. It's really great to listen to them again. I couldn't even begin to pick my favorite songs but I've been listening to "Sandra's having her Brain Out", "Brenda's Iron Sledge" and "Insanely Jealous". The lyrics are great in those. "Sandra's" got the most politically incorrect line about women in it: "you don't really need a brain if you're a girl; it's like tonsils, they're more trouble than they're worth" Never-the-less a good song. And I keep making up lyrics to Insanely Jealous like it's a game where one person will start a rhyme, such as "I'm insanely jealous of the hairs on your head" then the next person says "I'm insanely jealous of sheets on your bed", and the game would go on until someone would stump me with "I'm insanely jealous of your love for the color orange"

I have found a database of song lyrics and performance dates (though it's missing some of the early Cincinnati shows that I had been to-wish I was anal enough to have kept a set list back then). Here's a link to that database: http://www.jh3.com/robyn/base/default.asp

And then I google Robyn to look for videos. So many videos, but I was looking for old ones. I found this concert from Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians from 1988. This is much like the shows where I first saw them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5tS2T8oSy0 "Uncorrected Personality Traits" is a great song to see live, though it's not the best quality here.

So that was a little post about Robyn. His shows are the best shows I've ever seen. The sound quality at them is so meticulously set that every word can be heard. I feel sad that I didn't photograph the last time he was in this area. Not many people were there and I wonder if he'll ever tour here again.