A Conundrum of Contradictions

The musings of one born in the wrong decade

>Unwanted Guests October 28, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 7:02 am

>Note: I apologize for the lack of cool pics – Honey is up to his eyes in other (apparently more important) photo stuff and I haven’t learned how to resize my own stuff yet (hello, not a photographer), so bear with me on that…

Since we haven’t been on the road in awhile, I’ll expound on a subject that’s currently eating me: house guests. The problem with unwanted guests…is they’re unwanted, and usually blatantly unaware of that fact or more blatantly exploiting it. They stay when you’d rather they leave; they’re awake when you need to sleep. The sanctity of your bathroom or kitchen (or both) is invaded and very little regard, if any, is given for your boundaries on sharing. The dilemma of the situation: how to get them to leave expeditiously without being out-and-out rude or encouraging them to come back (you know you do it in the name of being a gracious host, but secretly you never want them to darken your doorway again!). If you don’t mind being out-and-out rude, this post isn’t for you so just carry on and be nasty until they leave. If not, please continue reading.
So, we’ve devised a few not-so-subtle methods of house guest warfare that we are currently applying (oh yes, we have the epitome of the horrible squatter) or will be applying shortly to make said guest’s stay as uncomfortable as possible. First, if like us, you have the main living room TV that is never available for your viewing pleasure after a long day of work because your guest is letting her monster-brat children watch cartoons – hide the remote. When you are ready and your guest is out of sight, feel free to fire up the tele and take over your favorite couch. Second, if like me, you awaken each morning looking forward to and expecting to have a bowl of your favorite cereal only to discover it has been completely devoured by your locust-like guests – also hide it, if possible out of reach without the use of a step ladder after you’ve smuggled it into the house from the grocery store. Third, and this requires a door knob equipped with a lock on it, you can stash/safeguard any personal effects such as purse and keys, cell phone (personal story on this in a moment) expensive facial products, make-up, medications, loufas, etc in your bedroom each night. I personally have issue with sharing my loufa – for me its like sharing a toothbrush: disgusting and unsanitary unless you’ve been married to that person for three years or more.
The cell phone story: we’ve had the unfortunate experience of this guest sneaking into a sleeping person’s room to “borrow” their cellphone (we have no house phone) to call all their buddies during the night, effectively burning through someone else’s valuable minutes. Our particular guest, when asked about her possible possession of the phone, claimed the owner had “lost” it. Don’t fall victim to this – lock your door at night, and if possible, during the day. You can also do laundry while your guest showers to steal all the hot water, cook with food items they despise, watch movies or shows you know they hate (if you’re sharing the TV at all), and generally be oblivious to any of their special needs. Be pleasant while being unpleasant. Once you get started you’ll be surprised by the joy it brings. I support the hippie credo- you all know that, but peace, love, and happiness do not apply in this situation. Try watching the movie “Monster-in-law” to draw inspiration. Depending on how desperate things get and how long the forecasted stay, you can always resort to paying them to leave – I know, that’s insane but sanity is relative: paying someone to leave or living with them in your house which makes you crazy. Your choice.


>Office Musings October 21, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 3:56 pm

>October 17-
It’s 8:20am. I’m sitting at my office desk, which I haven’t seen in several weeks, reading the biography of Marvin Gaye and feeling decidedly like I’m not suited for a desk job. It’s ironic really, because 6 years ago while painting apartments for a living and scraping by on less than $300 a week, I wished for something more stable just like this desk job. As adaptive as I am however, anyone can tell I’m not a good fit for an office environment filled with pettiness and not-so-subtle comparisons of who has the best new Beamer. All this and I have only been here an hour and a half. I haven’t even had my PB&J for breakfast yet and I’m annoyed by the vibe in this office – and worse still, people are just starting to arrive.

In other news, we attended the first of five guitar performances at the Las Vegas Acadamy last night. I’m sorry to say it was neither what I expected nor particularly moving. In my mind, ‘guitar performance’ meant a solo or several solos of rocking out, not an orchestra of guitar players all picking the same notes. Sitting in the front row, I remembered how bad ass the marching band had been during my high school years, when Mr. Mack was in charge and they played Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” for a home game, sounding so much more polished and having way more fun. From a photographic standpoint, it wasn’t the low lighting we were originally told either. When we arrived, the organizer informed us there was a paid photog for the school present and we would have to work around him for position. (Said photog was later reported to be drooling over everyone else’s equipment). My first question was “then why did you invite, no insist, on having four other photographers pay to attend this event?” Anyway, each photog is only allowed to attend one performance as a participating photographer, so I guess it all works out.

Yesterday also turned out to be a day off for me. The powers that be decided to clear the job site mid-morning so I was instructed to return to the office. In retrospect, I should have just gone home. No one here knew I was coming or what to do with me once I arrived – I’m in the field because there’s nothing for me to do here. Anyway, it was cleared through the highest of channels for me to have the day off since I’ve been working so much overtime and to come back tomorrow (that being today) for a regular 8-hr shift. So here I sit without the promised list of tasks to perform, reading a book on a severely paranoid and insecure individual, waiting for someone to notice that I’m not doing a bloody thing and give me hell about it. So far so good, but it makes for a very long day. I’ve taken to amusing myself with random dreams of our backpacking adventure (set to take off sometime next year) or the book I’m planning on writing, filled with mischief and magic.


>Renfair and other devious activities October 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 9:14 am


October 13-
Not all days are meant to be work-yourself-to-death days. Today…is a day to play hooky, enjoy the glorious sunrise, and do something for myself – even if it means cleaning out my closet so I have room to reach my bed, which at present, I can’t do without acrobatic skills. You try being acrobatic at 4am in the dark, and you’ll understand my predicament. So the field thinks I’m at the office; the office thinks I’m at the field. And if you haven’t figured this out yet, I’m neither. I’m home, writing to you good people, about my redirection of work ethic and how I don’t feel the least bit guilty, since my employer is trying to kill me and pay me as little as possible while doing so.

The weekend was far too short but very entertaining nonetheless. We went to the Renaissance Festival on Saturday, the coldest day of the season so far. There was a huge line to get in with half the people bundled in jackets and hoodies, the other half blissfully unaware of the cold (or pretending not to notice) while wearing very little for the sake of period garb accuracy. Security didn’t check our backpack hardly at all – we probably could have smuggled anything we wanted under the bottled water. Recognized a fair number of regulars: the Village Blacksmith, War Horse Productions, the Parrot Pirate show, even a couple vendors: the ear cuff guy (who wears his own stuff and is a little strange), the portly jewelry maker who has very nice Celtic stuff but doesn’t hand out business cards on the premise that if you don’t buy it now, you won’t buy it later, and of course, Sir Rodney’s Legs, who still has excellent turkey legs but is getting more expensive each year. There was a new place, which, I am now addicted to called Drizzler. They sell cheesecake or strawberries with marshmallows on a stick all drizzled with white and dark chocolate right before your eyes. And it’s cheap, so you know it appeals to me on all levels. Also there was the man who offers to flog your friend for a dollar; he’s quite a character. Honey said he didn’t have a dollar; I said Honey wasn’t my friend at which point he offered to flog my enemy for a dollar. The barbarian horde was out in full force this year. We got some good pics of a gentleman wearing a loincloth and a buffalo skin and not much else (he had very nice legs, too), as well as two of the biggest barbarians I’ve ever seen. I told them to show me their “Arr!” faces for one of the photos. We also caught the fire show put on by the Hand of Fatima belly dancers. This year they were working in conjunction with the Romans, who had a miniature coliseum erected, the ringmaster of which proclaimed himself Obnoxious Maximus. It was a good time but by the end we were frozen solid. Honey dropped his camera with numb fingers but caught it before it hit anything, thank God.

Sunday was planned to be a chill-out day, but it didn’t really happen. I imagine chilling as lounging in my pajamas, not combing my hair, watching movies, ordering in, and sleeping should the urge possess me. Instead, we did a Wal-Mart run, got gas, and took our friend, Terrell to the movies with us. We watched Miracle at St. Anna, which I liked very much. It’s based on a true story – I think the true stuff is always stranger than what our minds come up with. I smuggled a ridiculous amount of candy in my purse after hitting the Halloween sale and we picked up pizza afterwards. It was a good day. I think we all needed to forget our troubles for a little while.

As a last note, I’d like to mention that I’m back on my beanie-making kick, so if anyone wants to send me $15 bucks and color choices, I’ll make you a hand-knit beanie. I’m working on setting it up thru the blog, so any generous hearts can donate money to help support our fishing-, photography-, and beanie-making habits. That’s coming soon. Remember what I said about tithing!!


>Downtown – Uptown October 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 5:50 pm


October 6-
It’s Monday and one of the hardest Mondays I’ve had in quite awhile. It involved problems at work with ‘mold’, only we’re not allowed to call it mold because apparently we’re not qualified to do so; hiking a lot of stairs: down 38 flights, up 45, and then down 63 (ouch!), and no one taking responsibility for anything or getting anything done. Since Monday sucked so bad, I’m going to talk about last Friday instead, which was significantly better just by virtue of being Friday.

We also went to First Friday that night and boy has it changed. Not only do they charge a $2 dollar entry fee, but they’ve got lots of booths selling hand-made wares, two real music stages with multiple bands, and an art gallery I don’t remember being there. There’s also the usual galleries inside the Arts Factory, which seems to change artists every five minutes, and even included a budding architect this round. It was a good time this month due to the cooler temps, and the entry fee seemed to keep out or at least suppress the misfits misbehaving.

October 9-
Tonight was the monthly meeting of the LVPS (Las Vegas Photographic Society) downtown at Hennessey’s. I went straight from work to the dentist to home (long enough to change my shoes) and then with the right side of my face numb, to the meeting. Eating a pastrami burger has never been so hard, although it was a mute point – I was very sick at 3am and it left me. After the meeting, we walked downtown for a little while observing (for me) and photographing (for him) the local wildlife. I always giggle at the Chippendale booth – don’t get me wrong; they’re nice to look at. There’s a lot of gym hours and devotion to hair products there, but when asked what they do for a living all they can say is “I’m beefcake”.

There was nearly a fight – I believe over dance styles – a band that could actually sing (see the guitarist at left), a saxophone player named Carl “Safe Sax” Ferris who made my chest ache when he played, and several interesting people including this guy in the hairy blue coat. To sum it up in a single phrase: Downtown is where the interesting people are.

Just a side note (done in the middle of this long post): this weekend is bursting with activities for anyone looking for interesting stuff to shoot and a challenge. The Pure Aloha Festival at the Cannery (West) is tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. Anyone working on low lighting will get plenty of opportunities to practice. Also the Renaissance Festival (officially known as The Age of Chivalry) is at Sunset Park all three days. Lots of action shots, interesting/strange people in period garb. We highly recommend Sir Rodney’s Legs if you like turkey and eating with your hands (who doesn’t?).

October 10-
I’m sitting in the big window of a two-story suite at a soon-to-be 5-star hotel on the Strip, listening to James Blunt sing “You’re Beautiful”, and thinking of…nearly nothing. What I’m working on, aside from wording this post, is a mind-numbing exercise of relative futility. I’m completely alone in this suite, and since no one else needs my skills at the moment, I’m absorbing the momentary peace and hoping no one official looking shows up. It’s Friday – probably won’t be by the time I get this posted but it might – and the last day of a very rough week. They’re all sort of blending together, these weeks. Usually I’ve anticipated Renfair for more than a month; I think I realized it’s this weekend sometime yesterday.

I’ve been feeling this a lot lately…we’ve been in town since Labor Day; I don’t know how many weekends at home that is, but it’s far too many. Fishing, combined with a complete disconnect from everything, has been my saving grace. Only we haven’t been able to go. I need it like other people (fill in whichever people you like or dislike) need Starbucks. Because without it, I’ve very similar to a space monkey who’s been in the capsule too long without bananas: not a pretty sight or friendly encounter unless you have said bananas. So tonight I’ll be placating with the only remedies I have available: a foot soak, hot shower, this blog post, and sleep, not necessarily in that order, all after I drop Honey at the Pure Aloha Festival for tonight’s concert. I went last year, read a book from a lawn chair, and marveled at the volume of music and clouds of pot smoke. Tonight I’m not missing much. You might be if you’re into that sort of thing.


>The Passion of Flamenco October 3, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:23 pm

> September 29-
It’s after 9PM and I should be going to bed, but we just got home from another amazing free event at the Flamingo Library and I need to share…so much so that I’m writing to you from my mother-in-law’s POS computer that’s usually reserved for games of solitaire and stashed in the spare room. Tonight’s event was the history of Flamenco and the host was an amazing woman by the name of Margo Torea, a dance instructor at UNLV and a life long performer and devotee to the art of Spanish dance. Her energy moved me; her passion inspired me. She played the castenettes and I felt an overwhelming urge to travel and explore and to chase every dream I’ve ever had, no matter how crazy or farfetched. I felt in that moment if I didn’t pursue living and art that my life would be wasted.
For those of you having trouble with the hippie sentiment, bare with me. Something’s come over me lately, slowly at first and then with gathering speed, and my whole outlook on life has dramatically changed. I want to do and see and live, really live, and the rest of the mess be damned. I no longer want a career, or even a job for that matter, that will interfere with my pursuit of my personal happiness, which doesn’t include any of the things that make most people happy. I want memories, loads of them, of every exotic place, every amazing food, and due to my passionate support of my husband’s dream, every picture I can possibly get. This woman we saw tonight reminds me of all those things. The way she speaks, with passion and joy, that sucks you in, sucked me in, and had me feeling things that a simple discussion on dance didn’t seem capable of. So now, when I shouldn’t be, I’m wide awake, daydreaming of the possibilities rather than the limitations or logistics.