A Conundrum of Contradictions

The musings of one born in the wrong decade

>First Solo Trip August 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 5:44 pm

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Well, Honey got to go to Antelope Canyon in Arizona without me this past week. I keep telling him he shouldn’t miss out on opportunities to see amazing stuff just cuz I have to work, but…it sucked to be left home. Here are some of the shots from that trip.


I didn’t get a whole lot of details; the trip was basically eat, photo, sleep, repeat. As I understand it, Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope are across the highway from each other and belong to two different Indian tribes. The Lower ones are much friendlier than the Upper ones.

The next trip we’re hoping for is to San Diego Zoo. I said it had to be a weekend trip so I can go. I’m missing all the fun staying at home, regardless that I’m working towards our dreams.

Met up with a friend I worked with in Portland last night. She’s now home-basing in Minnesota in her home town, but came to Vegas for a concert and to see friends. We took her to the coveted local taco place and for frozen custard; both were a big hit. Took the ceremonial drive up the Strip back to her hotel; the smoke from California fires are killing our skyline right now, but the lights still look good. Hope to see her again soon.

 

>Long Trip – Not Long Enough August 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:30 pm

>I’ve been stalling off writing this post a little bit. I think my head is still in the mountain-fresh air, lazing in a camp chair, watching the Milky Way and random satellites wheeling by. Going to work the following morning was a bitch.

So we didn’t fish on this “fishing trip”. Anyone who’s ever traveled with a photographer will tell you that every trip, regardless of original purpose, becomes a photo trip. I just traveled with two of them. The near-cliché of “have camera, will travel” is practically the photographer’s motto [ section deleted by author ].

Anyway.


Panguitch was beautiful as always. The folks at Bear Paw Lakeview Resort remember us and are expecting their first child together in October, hopefully right after they shut down for the season and not before (Congratulations, Nikki and Adrien!). We docked the boat but never used it. There was just enough wind to make the lake choppy with little white caps, and if you’ve ever been on a boat, even one with a flat bottom that’s stable in the water like ours, choppy water is basically no fun and the fishing will be lousy. We went to Bryce Canyon National Park a day ahead of plan. On the way, we stopped at The Paunsaugunt Wildlife Museum (aka The Bryce Museum). I’ve driven by it twice now on previous trips and decided to stop. I hugely underestimated – it was amazing. 800 animals on display in life-like scenes, all the way down to the lizards and toads, with real preserved plants and backgrounds painted by a wildlife artist. 1600 butterflies from around the world. Not to mention trophy game fish, beetles and bugs to give you nightmares, a rhino skull (already deceased – they’re endangered you know), an ocean shell collection like I’ve never seen…a lot of visitors just wrote “WOW” in the guest book. There were also a herd of live fallow deer outside you could feed corn; there was a lot of begging and slobbering involved. Absolutely worth stopping if you’re going that way.

On to Bryce. Somewhere in the region there was a wild fire going and unfortunately it made the horizon a bit hazy. We did every stop on the scenic route through Bryce (with the exception of Inspiration Point and Paria View), saving the best for last (Bryce Point, aka The Amphitheater). Darryl was with us on this trip and as far as I’m concerned, he can go on every trip. The guy is great to road trip with – never complains, always enthusiastic, laughs easy – just make sure you have your own tent cuz he snores like a grizzly bear. On our way back to camp we stopped at the worst steak house I think I’ve ever been too; even Darryl couldn’t find anything nice to say. At the Family Steakhouse outside of Bryce but before Red Canyon it took 30 minutes for us to be acknowledged with water. I saw one waiter for probably 40 tables and only one table of people chewing. Everyone else was just sitting there fiddling with their menus and looking around with that hungry stare and probably contemplating biting someone. Honey seasoned his own steak and slathered it in the equivalent to A-1 sauce to make it edible. I had a Rueben to be on the safe side but the main filler was sauerkraut instead of roast beef. The iced tea nearly put hair on my chest so I sent it back; when we finally left we ask the cashier to take the tea off the bill, and I swear she looks at Darryl (who was gracious enough to buy dinner that night) and says “Is that the $1.95?” Enough said.

The following day the skies cleared a bit. The guys decided if I wouldn’t kill them for asking, they’d really like to go back to Bryce to get better horizons and improve on a few not-as-spectacular-as-it-could-be photos. We agreed on the four main stops only, had a hearty breakfast that almost put us back in our sleeping bags, and decided we’d make it back to the café for a buffalo burger even if it meant leaving early. The guys get all starry-eyed and start drooling when you mention the buffalo burger. At first, I wasn’t impressed cuz it didn’t look like much: bun, burger, bbq sauce, and an onion ring. Where’s the stuffing – you know lettuce, tomato, pickle? But it didn’t need anything else. We each had it twice in the three days we were there.

So we returned to Bryce. Darryl had purchased the Annual National Parks pass, which paid for itself entirely on this trip. It’s $25 a car to get into both Bryce and Zion. This time around we did Inspiration Point and Paria View (which has been closed all trips previous), and Bryce Point. Paria View is under-publicized as far as I can tell. It’s not on the list of “if you only have a short time in Bryce, see this” list, but it should be. It’s the view that gets you closest to the landscape and gives you a slight feeling of vertigo as it shows you the depth of the canyons, plus you can see for miles. We skipped Sunrise and Sunset Points because the views we were seeing were better, and the buffalo burger was calling us. We’d been discussing shooting the sunset at Cedar Breaks National Monument, which is actually an overlook platform on the edge of a cliff. But I believe it was Darryl who said first, and was quickly supported by my hubby, that if the burger would be rushed, we weren’t going. That got compromised too. Adrien, the owner of Bear Paw, gave us directions to see Cedar Breaks from the side, thus putting the sun off the shoulder instead of in the face. On the way we were slightly sidetracked of course – by skidding off the road to photograph the fire suppression helicopter while it sucked up 700-1000 gallons of water from a reservoir. Darryl’s big lens got some great shots on both cameras and we still made it in time to see the sunset.


Third day we pulled the boat out of the water since we weren’t going to fish. It basically acted as a gear-hauling trailer this trip, and a good one. We slept in, packed up, ate hearty (the order of those last two is very important), and headed for Zion, via Panguitch for gas and a ridiculously thick milkshake, which I later managed to drip all over my lap whilst driving highway speed and trying to kill a spider on my leg simultaneously. By the time we got to Zion I think we were all just worn out. We found parking at the visitors’ center in an RV space; even though the sign said the lot was full (it always says that). We took the shuttle to the last stop and walked to the river bank to take some photos, and get my feet wet. This was not to be the trip where we spontaneously decided to hike the Narrows for several hours. We got back on the shuttle, back to the visitors center, back to the car, and into town for our traditional dinner at Oscar’s Café. I know I’ve linked their menu here before, and as always it was awesome. We all got chili verde pork burritos, plus a pesto quesadilla. Nobody had room for dessert and we had to walk it off for awhile before even considering the drive home. We went across the street to David Pettit’s photo gallery. The guy uses 4×5 large format (huge!) and has some breathtaking images of Antelope Canyon. There was also some cool pottery by a local artist I wasn’t allowed to touch. The guys started chatting techno-speak so I went next door to the book shop. Unfortunately, I found the same photo book I’d found the guys at the visitor’s center – only half price. Oops.

Another amazing and memorable trip for the books – or blog, as it were. The ‘service engine soon’ light came on the night before we left, stayed on the entire trip, and went out as we were pulling out of Springdale for the drive home. Either it realized we were completely ignoring it or it just got tired – it hasn’t been on since.

Don’t know when the next trip will be, but I’m dreaming about it already.

 

>Another Re-Arrangement of your Typical Week August 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:16 pm

>Today is actually my Thursday. We’re leaving Friday for four days of sunshine, cool temps, fishing, sight-seeing of the highest caliber, amazing food (a trip essential), and camaraderie. So tomorrow is my Friday before the actual Friday when we leave bright and early. The main reason I’m keeping this job, as opposed to applying for others offering twice the money in my original field (aside from the possibility of a complete fallout like Portland), is these guys don’t hassle me at all about wanting time off for trivial [to some] activities like fishing. For the record, fishing is not trivial.

And so today is the day Honey decided to clean out the garage, which actually has nothing to do with the fishing trip as far as I can tell. But he took 6 boxes to Good Will, and bunch of stuff to storage, pushed the camping gear into the living room…I’m truly excited about this since I’ve been trying to get him motivated for the task for the last two years. He’s doing it because he’s building a studio in there. Bought the insulation so nobody dies and everything. His timing is a bit…interesting, but he’s cleaning the garage so I gave him a margarita and let him be.

I got kicked off here for awhile.

But it’s back to business now. The bra has been ditched, there’s a pudding chocolate brownie in front of me, and the boys have run off to play darts and trade jokes of a homosexual nature with the neighbors – tonight is Dart Night. Also used to be Girls Night except no one’s interested but me. Ah well. Their lost – I’m fabulous.

 

>Meet Steve August 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 9:35 pm

> Hi everyone, this is Steve. Well, this was Steve. Steve has now been reduced to several Ziploc bags in my freezer and various other refrigerators around town. He will be fondly remembered when all leftovers are gone.

The bbq was a great success. People showed up, much eating and drinking ensued, and merriment was abounded. I got to put on gloves and do horrible things to Steve under the watchful eyes of my colleague and fellow, temporary forensics specialist, Beth. I managed to get to work the next morning, though in a somewhat altered state (see previous post).

(This is actually where I left off last time…)
Last Sunday we were invited to an exhibition of roller derby, as part of RollerCon 2009 by fellow photog and podcaster, Sazzy and The Vegas Tourist. I’m not sure what I expected – ok that’s not entirely true, I expected vicious bloody combat like you see in the movies – but it actually turned out to be rather tame. I don’t know the rules of course, so I cheered when my section cheered. The people-watching was worth the drive; we stayed for less than two hours and called it quits. Sazzy had attended the two previous days in full and was exhausted.

We went to see Julia & Julie today. It had a lot of great one-liner advice, things like “Don’t be afraid; never apologize or give explanations”, “Home is wherever we are”, and “You can never have too much butter”. Honey and I spent the entire ride home discussing our dreams for the future. Crazy stuff, all of it.

The night took an unfortunate turn, however, when I discovered the toilet wouldn’t fill, and in turn Honey discovered the water main to the house had burst…again. I just returned from taking a shower at the neighbors, whose bathroom I’ve never been in before. It was a bit like college, collecting all my stuff into a little basket and walking down the hall (or in this case, across the street) in my bathrobe. Their shower head is short and the spray hits me in the chin with needle-like force, but I’m clean and can go out in public tomorrow without people giving me dirty looks or change because they think I’m a filthy bum.

 

>A Brief (Hungover) Note August 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 7:17 am

>It’s the morning after.

After too much exquisit food, drink, chocolate pudding brownies (thank you Beth), general rowdiness, and hugs that were not too friendly to my new piercings. I’ll never turn down hugs though – the piercings will just have to suck it up. I don’t think there were any incriminating photos, but there were some pics taken of a new but short lived arrival named Steve (you’ll meet him later). Don’t think I drank enough to be hung over but the usual symptoms are all here this morning and talking loudly.

At some point I’m going to put some clothes on and go to work. Blogging in the nude is nice, especially when (allegedly) hung over. A full run down of the Pig Out, as its now being affectionately called, will be available later, hopefully this afternoon.

We love you, Steve.

 

>Happy Birthday to Me!! August 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:40 pm

> I’ve been watching food porn a lot lately. I have a recipe for Turkey Mole Poblano (pronounced mol-eh. Mexicans are the only ones I know of that put chocolate in dishes that have no business having it.) It’s begging to be made despite an entire page of ingredients and the requirement of a spice grinder. I’m a sucker…bought the spice grinder on Saturday and made powdered sea salt with it yesterday (Sunday) while testing.

The drawing session went well. It was much swankier than the nude workshops Terrell throws. I was told cheese, crackers and wine. In reality, it was a cheese and meat platter with prosciutto, salami, and three kinds of olives, plus two flavors of Triscuits, hummus, a fruit platter with blueberries (which I think I ate single-handedly), three kinds of wine (which I don’t drink), a raspberry lemonade, and fancy limeade. The burger and fries I brought thinking “I can’t survive on cheese and crackers” looked very low brow, I must say. Neither one of us had been to a life drawing session before; it doesn’t jive well with Honey’s drawing style, which is meticulously detailed and slow. Each pose was held for 20 minutes and that was it. I’m more of a scribble sketcher, so though I had planned to crochet twizzles for a beanie, I joined in.

Friday night we met an out-of-towner friend for dinner. We haven’t seen each other in nearly two years and neither of us have done much since. I mean really, in this economy, the grand adventures are kinda on hold. I haven’t dashed off to go fishing but once or twice. He’s been working and fishing (toad, he has actual lakes 15 minutes from his house in Tennessee). Hasn’t really been that exciting for anyone. Dinner was good; we walked around the South Point and checked out the equestrian area (the event taking place in there ended literally as we sat down), then the movie theatre (wasn’t anything we wanted to see), saw what one of the rooms looked like and went home.

Saturday: now that was an exciting day – at least the part after work. After running two errands I went and got my ears pierced for my birthday (this coming Thursday). I’ve been carrying around this drawing in my purse since Portland, a little layout I put together of future piercings using a phone pic of my ear and some free time in AutoCAD. I put this master piece on the counter and ask the piercer “How much for this?”
He says, “All of it?”
I say, “Yeah.”
He says, “You want all of it today??”
I say, “Depending on how much…yeah.”
He’s looked at me strangely by now and gets out a calculator. Some of the jewelry I wanted, he was out of until next week, which was probably good, both for my budget and my exaggerated pain threshold. I got a total of 5 piercings that night. From top to bottom, that’s an industrial, two rooks (one each side), and two troggas (one each side). The guy gets mad kudos for making my lopsided ears match and he said my ears were “ideally shaped for the piercings I chose” – believe me, nothing is hotter to a fat chick than being called ‘ideally shaped’. He’ll be seeing me again when I have enough free money for the other four I want. The best part: no one in the “business industry” can say squat. He he he!

Happy Birthday to me!!!

 

>Robin Williams for President August 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 7:30 pm

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I got this in an email from a friend and I love it!!

The Plan!

Robin Williams, wearing a shirt that says ‘I love New York ‘ in Arabic.

You gotta love Robin Williams. Leave it to him to come up with the perfect plan. What we need now is for our UN Ambassador to stand up and repeat this message. Robin Williams’ plan…(Hard to argue with this logic!)

‘I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here’s one plan.’

1) ‘The US will apologize to the world for our ‘interference’ in their affairs, past & present. You know, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Tojo, Noriega, Milosevic, Hussein, and the rest of those ‘good ‘ole’ boys’, we will never ‘interfere’ again.

2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany , South Korea , the Middle East, and the Philippines . They don’t want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No one allowed sneaking through holes in the fence.

3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave We’ll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of whom or where they are. They’re illegal!!! France will welcome them.

4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 days unless given a special permit!!!! No one from a terrorist nation will be allowed in. If you don’t like it there, change it yourself and don’t hide here. Asylum would never be available to anyone. We don’t need any more cab drivers or 7-11 cashiers.

5) No foreign ‘students’ over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don’t attend classes, they get a ‘D’ and it’s back home baby.

6) The US will make a strong effort to become self-sufficient energy wise. This will include developing nonpolluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don’t like it, we go someplace else. They can go somewhere else to sell their production. (About a week of the wells filling up the storage sites would be enough.)

8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not ‘interfere.’ They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides most of what we give them is stolen or given to the army. The people who need it most get very little, if anything.

9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an isolated island someplace. We don’t need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, the building would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us ‘Ugly Americans’ any longer. The Language we speak is ENGLISH..learn it…or LEAVE…

Now, isn’t that a winner of a plan? ‘The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.’ She’s got a baseball bat and she’s yelling, ‘You want a piece of me!?!’ ‘