Monday, December 19, 2005

Merry Whatever



One last post for 2005. Happy Holidays!

Hopefully, when we can get past this stuff and back to the new season of Battlestar Galactica, all will be right with the world.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas Lights



This picture was taken at a location now only known to us as "The Deer Park House". This is a house in Deer Park, NY, where the process of decorating the house for Christmas starts some time after Valentine's Day. Unlike a lot of other houses, where it looks like a store full of Christmas lights and decorations vomited on the front lawn, this house actually has some fun things to look at. There are rows of wooden soldiers, nine life-like reindeer, and Mickey Mouse and his friends ice-skating in the front yard. I am happy to look at other people's Christmas displays because I have no intention of putting on one of my own. The next time my son asks me why we don't have any Christmas lights, I am going to tell him that if everybody had Christmas lights, he wouldn't enjoy them as much. One must know dark before one can appreciate the light.

See some other folks who enjoy keeping the power company in business.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Deer Park, NY

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Pretty Drinks Redux



Okay, okay. Last one (for now).

Camera: Nikon D2H
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Pretty Drinks



These pictures of fancy bar drinks are starting to be a "thing" with me. For The Martini and Martini Reloaded, I actually asked the bartender a "pretty drink". I wasn't sure if there was a better way to get an aesthetically pleasing drink while still retaining my macho persona. Maybe I should have just sauntered up to the bartender and in my best Brooklyn wiseguy accent said, "How you doin' doll? How's about a Cosmopolitan or maybe a Pink Lady?"

(More Pretty Drink pictures coming soon...)

Camera: Nikon D2H
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tiptoe Through the Tulips



Speaking of tulips, I don't remember much about Tiny Tim, seeing as how his popularity peaked in the 60's and I was busy being born about then. However, I do remember a vague feeling of uneasiness when watching him perform. There was just something unsettling about a very large man with a very small ukulele singing in a very high, quivery voice. Everything you ever wanted to know about Tiny Tim (including some very scary photographs) can be found at www.tinytim.org.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Heckscher Park, Huntington, NY

Monday, November 14, 2005

Baking is Serious Business



We will have none of this "smile for the camera while pretending to stir the ingredients so I can take a cute picture" stuff. Not in my kitchen. I like my helpers to be as serious about making the food as they are about eating it.

Michael does look really cute in that chef's outfit, but that's just a fringe benefit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, the all-new 1962 Corvette



A lot of people (mostly male-type people) spend a lot of time involved in the details of cars and their engines. Everything I know about cars I learned from the Beach Boys and Bruce Springsteen. I know that Bruce has a '69 Chevy with a 396, Fuelie heads and Hurst on the floor, but I couldn't begin to tell you what any of that means. Oh well, at least it's purty to look at.

Camera: Nikon D2H

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Halloween



If you didn't get to see my boys in person, here they are in their Halloween costumes -- Darth Midget and The Red Power Ranger. Darth Vader was the most popular costume this year, as you can see from this photo (none of those kids is Michael, by the way). There were no fewer than a dozen Evil Lords of the Sith at the Halloween parade at Michael's school. (There were probably a lot more than a dozen; I lost count.) It's just too easy now to run out and buy some crummy costume that will look more authentic than anything you can make at home.

Back in the olden days, I don't remember running to the store to buy a new costume every year. (That doesn't mean it didn't happen, but I have a very bad memory, so I'm just assuming here.) I remember being a clown for a few years and a pumpkin for a few years after that. One of the few "home made" costumes I saw yesterday was one kid who was wearing a big square box. He was dressed up as a television. That was one of the best costumes I saw all day. I'm sure the kid was mumbling something about "stupid parents" and "why can't I be a Power Ranger like all the other kids" while he was trick-or-treating, but I certainly enjoyed his costume.

Next up on the iPont rant, how today's Halloween candy sucks.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Proud as a... well, you know



NBC uses a multicolored peacock in its logo. I also recall their "Proud as a Peacock" advertising campaign which I thought had been used for years and years, but according to Wikipedia, it was used only between 1979 and 1981. This was when they were trying to save face for being the worst network on Earth (well, at least the worst of the three at the time) and trying to make up for spending a ton of money broadcasting the 1980 Olympic Games which were boycotted by the United States. Ah, the history of pop culture.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, Florida

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Day at the Lake



This is probably as close as my boy is going to get to "hanging out at the lake" (unless someone else's father wants to take him, that is). I won't go into another exploration of my oneness with nature (or lack thereof).

Special contest for Jackie -- what's wrong with this picture?

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Heckscher Park, New York

Monday, October 10, 2005

Martini Reloaded



I really loved the bar at a recent visit to a Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. The bartender, well she was kind of snotty, but the bar itself was nice and a lot of the liquor bottles were lined up against an orange backlit wall. The whole bar took on this warm glow. This is my apple martini taking center stage in front of that wall.

More martini wisdom:

  • I loves me some apple martini -- iPont Shuffle

  • Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another -- W. Somerset Maugham

  • Shaking can bruise the gin and change the flavor of the cocktail -- www.answers.com

Camera: Nikon D70
Location: Los Angeles, California

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Martini



Shaken, not stirred.

Actually, I have been informed recently that no serious martini drinker would have their cocktail shaken (sorry Mr. Bond). Not being a serious martini drinker, I really don't care how the various potable components are combined. In fact, I am such an un-serious martini drinker that I have never had a "real" martini -- you know, the kind that is made with only gin and vermouth (and maybe an olive). What you are seeing here is an apple martini -- the drink of choice for those who want to drink out of a fancy martini glass, and also for those who want to drink something that won't make their mouths pucker up so badly that they would have to drink the remainder through a straw.

Camera: Nikon D70
Location: Los Angeles, California

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Pout



By all rights, this should be an award-winning (or at least money-making) photograph. People in advertising would kill for this kind of expression on a baby. You know, in the kind of ad where they want to show you what happens when a baby eats Beechnut strained goo instead of Gerber strained goo. How could any mother look at that face and continue to feed their babies Beechnut strained goo?

I am happy to say that Luke rarely makes this face at the ripe old age of 3 years. (He was about 7 months old in this picture.) In the old days, you could see this face coming a mile away. It would start with a pout. Then, his face would turn red (starting with his eyebrows, of course). Then, the all-out bawling would begin. Nowadays, he doesn't cry quite so frequently (he is actually a very happy kid), but when he does, he usually skips the preliminaries and goes straight to the bawling part.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Eagle Eye



The biggest thing that bothers me about this picture is the chain-link fence behind the bird. It doesn't bother me that there is a chain-link fence, just that it is in the picture. I am not exactly a nature lover. I have never been camping (and don't want to go), I would probably lose my mind if a raccoon decided to take up residence in my garage, and I have reluctantly accepted the role of spider dispatcher only because there is nobody else in my house who will do it. I have no desire to go on a safari or a bird-watching expedition. I would undoubtedly get better pictures on one of those outings, but it's not worth the mental trauma.

I have no problem with zoos and cages and fences. I just wish they wouldn't show up in my photos.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach, Florida

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Lite Brite



Remember the jingle from the old Lite Brite TV commercials? I'll sing it for you now (just read the words and imagine that there is catchy tune accompanying them):

Lite Brite, makin' things with light.
Outtasite, makin' things with Lite Brite

I guess any that "outtasite" reference pretty much pegs it as an early-seventies ad campaign. Brilliant lyricists they had, rhyming "Brite" with both "Light" and "Lite". But I digress...

The above is a misshapen heart drawn by Michael with a sparkler leftover from July 4th. I think this somewhat typifies my son's artistic ability at the moment (which I am proud to say he received from his dear old dad). Maybe we'll stick with reading and math, and not worry so much about art class.

Camera: Nikon D70

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tokyo at Dusk



Ah, Tokyo. I can taste the Sukiyaki now. Mmmmm, sukiyaki. And Japanese beer is pretty good, too. Mmmmm, beer. That big lump in the upper right blotting out the sun is Mount Fuji. Mmmmm, Fuji.

(This is a wide picture, so you may have to scroll to the right to see the whole thing.)

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 950
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Monday, August 22, 2005

Beaters to Lick



The boys and I just made cupcakes for Luke's birthday party. Some observers in the house were wondering if it was worth the effort of making cupcakes and icing from scratch for a bunch of three-year-olds who most probably wouldn't notice the difference. Well, that was a good point because I am sure that none of the kids at the party did notice the difference. But for my kids, making the cupcakes was a lot more fun than buying them because there were ingredients to spill, strange kitchen equiment to play with, and most importantly, beaters to lick.

(This picture is actually from a different dessert-making session, where Michael and I were making brownies. Mmmmm, brownie batter.)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Light and Shadow



I am imagining this picture appearing on some documentary, and the rich deep voice of the announcer saying something about the "complex interplay of light and shadow". Aach. I just knows what I likes.

Can anybody read Japanese? I would be very disappointed if it turned out that this says "Keep off the grass".

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 995
Location: Narita-san Shrine, Narita, Japan

Monday, August 08, 2005

Looking Back at the Pumpkins



With Thing Two's birthday coming up, you might wonder how much has changed in three years. This picture was taken when he was about three months old. I remember not liking him very much at that point in his life. He didn't do much more than eat, poop, and cry, with a lot of emphasis on the crying. We didn't become friends until many more months had passed, but now I can't imagine a day without seeing his smile or hearing his laugh. One of the jokes in Bill Cosby's stand-up routine was something like, "My friend asked me why I had four children. I said it was because I did not want five." The older I (and my kids) get, the funnier Bill Cosby's old routines become.

If anybody didn't get that "Thing Two" reference, Thing One and Thing Two are two troublemakers from Dr. Suess' The Cat in the Hat. They excel in turning a house into a shambles in mere minutes. I can't help but wonder about the similarities between them and my own two Things.

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 995

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Art of Kicking and Punching



My boy earned his yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do last week. The belt tests were fun to watch and he was very proud of himself when all was said and done (and deservedly so). As the final part of the tests, each student had to break a piece of wood using a technique appropriate to their skill level. Michael's breaking technique, The Running and Flying Side Kick, was the most impressive sounding, even though it is the technique used by white belts. It conjures up images of Bruce Lee sailing through the air. (I know, I know. Bruce Lee is a karate master and I'm mixing up my martial arts. Just go with the imagery for a moment.)

Above is a blue belt using a back kick. Okay, they're not breaking 2x4's, but it's still impressive (especially when you are six years old).

Camera: Nikon D70

Monday, July 25, 2005

Just Like Me



I am afraid that my boy has been bitten by the antisocial bug. Back in his salad days, he could often be seen canoodling with some pretty lass. But recently, unless the girl (or boy, for that matter) is carrying a photo signed by Darth Vader himself, he can't be bothered to even carry on a conversation. My mother wished it on me -- I have a child who is just like me. And that is not a good thing.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Sands Point Preserve, Sands Point, NY

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hershey and the Chocolate Factory



I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this weekend. I'm not much good for movie reviews because my brain has a roughly fifteen-minute time limit. This means that by the time the end of the movie arrives, I have probably forgotten a good portion of the beginning of the movie. This movie was a little easier to analyze, though, because I'm very familiar with this story's last big-screen incarnation, Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

Despite all of the new whiz-bang special effects that make the new Willie Wonka into such a magician, I have to say that I enjoyed Gene Wilder's Willie Wonka much more. His portrayal of Willie Wonka was much less creepy and the accompanying cast of obnoxious kids was better at being, for lack of a better term, "naturally obnoxious". The kids in the 1971 movie seemed more believable, even as they were being supremely annoying and self-centered. They were fun to watch and it was fun watching them get their just deserts. The kids in the new movie were just stereotypically annoying, and not in an entertaining way. My reaction after the last of them was dispensed with was something along the lines of, "Oh good, now we can move on with the rest of the movie." One thing that I found strange was how much some of the kids in the new movie looked like their counterparts from the older version. Specifically Veruca Salt (old new), Mike Teevee (old new), and Augustus Gloop (old new). I assume that both versions of the movie were cast based on the book by Roald Dahl, but the resemblances were still uncanny.

Two parts of the movie that I could have done without were the Oompa Loompa production numbers and the squirrel attack. The Oompa Loompas in the 1971 version were a little too preachy, but in the 2005 version, I was almost as eager to get rid of the Oompa Loompas as I was to get rid of Charlie's competitors. The squirrel attack, well, I guess that's my own fault. I was worried that my three-year-old son who loves animals was going to have some kind of mental trauma after watching a bunch of cute, cuddly squirrels hoist a girl on their collective shoulders and throw her down the garbage chute. I guess that's what you get for taking a three-year-old to a PG movie. I didn't properly Parentally Guide.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Hershey, PA

Monday, July 11, 2005

Giraffic Park



It's always nice to have help around the house. Even when it's a giraffe.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Fire Bird



Sunrise is really an amazing time of day. It's too bad that I sleep through almost every single one of them.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Lake George, NY

Monday, June 27, 2005

Unhappy Birthday



Alice in Wonderland went to a Happy Un-birthday party. I wonder if Amanda above caught the irony.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Round and Round



I always wondered how photographers got those really cool shots of [insert favorite subject here] totally undisturbed by people. My experience has been that if I go to a lake at sunrise to get a picture of the reflections in the water, some guy with a speed boat has already been there to upset the water. The picture above also falls into that category. I have seen other pictures of carnivals, where the photographer gets some interesting light effects, but there are never any people in those shots. I know there has to be sombody there because otherwise the carnival wouldn't be lit up and running. Maybe it's just my city-raised nature. Maybe I subconsciously avoid any area that doesn't have any people because, as far as my brain is concerned, people are everywhere. In other words, a place with nothing but nature is somehow unnatural.

Camera: Nikon D1X
Location: Deer Park Fireman's Fair, Deer Park, NY

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Big Cheese



Lest anyone should forget about those two smiling faces, here's a reminder. We actually caught a moment when the boys were not fighting over toy airplanes, not yelling at each other over who was singing whose song (boy does that bring back memories!), and not refusing to smile just for the sheer thrill of seeing their parents' faces turn purple.

Camera: Nikon D100
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Lion Around



I have become something of a camera snob of late. I have a point-and-shoot which can fit in my shirt pocket, but I always use my D70 SLR for the "serious stuff". That being said, I can't take my SLR everywhere I go because it's just too darn big. It's not just the camera (which by itself is pretty big -- it's at least ten times the size and weight of the point-and-shoot), but taking the SLR means that I also have to take a separate flash unit, a second lens, some extra batteries for the flash, some extra memory cards in case I have a busy picture-taking day, and other various little odds and ends. If I am taking the camera out for more than a day or two, I will probably also bring my laptop computer so I can transfer pictures from the camera and review them during the trip (and now, post them on my blog while I am traveling). All told, using my SLR can be a huge pain in the -- shoulder. Therefore, despite all my newfound snobiness and the fact that I am a control freak, sometimes it actually does come to pass that it is just too much trouble to try to take my SLR somewhere. On those trips, I have to remind myself that sometimes a point-and-shoot ain't so bad. This picture is a good reminder.

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5200
Location: L├╝beck, Germany

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Golfer



Walking to the 19th hole for a cold chocolate milk after a long day on the links.

Camera: Nikon D1H
Location: Newtown, PA (or thereabouts)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Junior Jedi



In honor of the recent release of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, I offer this tribute featuring my son Michael, his friend Matthew, and some amateur rotoscoping by yours truly. You might think that it is irresponsible of me to allow the boys to play with live light sabers in the house, but not to worry -- these were set in "practice mode", so they would only get a shock if contact was made, instead of having a limb cut off. Those Jedi think of everything. In case you are wondering how light sabers work, you can find out here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Koala



Whatever happened to those TV commercials for Qantas Airlines that used to be shown in the US? You can easily recognize successful advertising campaigns by the fact that you can remember both the ad and (more importantly from the perspective of the advertiser) the name of the product being sold many years later.

Camera: Nikon D70
Location: San Diego Zoo in San Diego, CA

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sunset Pelican



This is a pelican swooping in for a quick meal. At least I think it's a pelican. I'm not exactly a budding ornithologist, but this bird did remind me of Nigel from Disney's Finding Nemo. Now that I think of it, the book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten could probably be retitled "All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Finding Nemo". There are valuable life lessons, excellent motivational strategies ("Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming"), and a great introduction to the world under the ocean. I can now pick out a clown fish at twenty paces and speak several dialects of whale.

Camera: Nikon D70
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL

Luke the Pirate



He ransacked.
He pillaged.
He sang bawdy songs and told off-color jokes.
The only time he was happier was when he found a secret cache of lollipops.

The Stratosphere



This is the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. And yes, it is bigger than a tree. If you look closely at the top of the tower, you can see some stuff hanging off the top at the 11:00 and 5:00 positions. These are thrill rides where thrill-seeking people are thrilled by being thrillingly dangled over the edge of a very tall structure. For me -- not so thrilling. I am perfectly thrilled by standing on the ground and looking up.

For an opposite perspective, check out this link to Google Maps.

My picture is from the perspective of a guy on the ground shooting up at the sky. This one is from the perspective of a guy (satellite, guy, what's the difference?) shooting down. This gives you what could be the world's largest sun dial. Google Maps rocks!

Camera: Nikon Coolpix 5200
Location: Las Vegas, NV

The Family



I figured that I would start off my blog with a picture of the whole family. Michael, Jackie, Steve, and Luke, left-to-right. This was taken on Mother's Day, 2005. This may be the last picture you see of me since I am usually behind the camera.

It seems like everybody's getting into this blogging thing lately. For me, I don't write so much but I do take a lot of pictures, so a photo blog makes more sense. (Hey, wouldn't that make this a phlog? I can say things like, "Can't talk right now. I`m busy phlogging." Hmmm. Maybe not.)