Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I've Done These Things

I was working on a post in the wee hours last night and Blogger ate it. Sigh. It was too late then to start over from scratch and now things are going to be busy for the next several days, so in lieu of that (sadly) unsaved post, I had this sitting around as a draft and decided to post it instead. What's a girl to do?

I got this from LeeAndra at A Mom and Her Crazy Ideas... I will answer any questions about highlighted thing's in comments. Feel free to ask or comment about anything.

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said “I love you” and meant it
9. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne

24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment

27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date

89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship

94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
99. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
100. Lost over 100 pounds
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lived in a foreign country
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read

136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Well, there you have it. A smattering of my life experiences. Any thoughts?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Camera For Sale. Some Assembly Required.

I hate my digital camera. Well, sometimes.

This past weekend, I was getting ready to take the family photos for our holiday letter and I was this close to hurling the confounded thing at the wall. To say that my husband would have been a little upset is an understatement, since he spent a pretty fair chunk of change on the stupid thing for my birthday over a year ago. However, the temptation was nearly overwhelming.

First things first, though. Let me explain the background of photography in my life. My father gave me my first single lens reflex camera when I was 14 and I loved to take pictures right from the start. After choosing and loading the film, it was easy: choose the aperture, choose the shutter speed, compose the shot, focus, shoot, advance film, repeat. Simple. Drop off the film and then pick up the pictures. I was hooked. Over the years and as my interest in photography expanded to higher-end cameras, studio lighting, and medium format photography, the equipment became more and more complicated, but there was still the option to shoot simply by overriding all the fancy features and shooting manually.

Then, my husband bought me my first digital SLR, a Nikon that we'd been thinking about for a while. Now, it's not like I'm a Luddite. I'd actually been dreaming of it for ages and thought that I'd be ecstatic. Yippee! A good digital camera! After all, we had a digital point-and-shoot that we never used because the picture quality couldn't match the film that we were shooting, but now I had the camera in my hands that would change all that. Wow!

I started shooting with it and the honeymoon was quickly over. What was once a joyous pastime became a tedious exercise in menus, submenus, white balance settings, noise reduction settings, image opimization, format options, resolution settings, focus zones, ISO choices, downloading, labelling, sorting, burning back up copies, and so on. While there might be a few good things about digital cameras, having to spend so much time at a computer just to get a picture has yet to become appealing, which is why we have over 3,000 images on our computer now and have exactly 5 printed out. It was only one print until we printed out four more yesterday on our inkjet printer, which is a waste of time. Over a whole year of photos and, in effect, nothing to show for it, all the while with the risk of the photos being lost by an errant keystroke or two accidentally sending them out into the ether. Well, that and having our computer crash or the back up copies being damaged somehow.

To take a break from all this, I've picked up my father's 25 year old film camera again and have found that I'm loving the simplicity of it all, not to mention taking some of the better pictures that I've taken in ages. Point the camera, turn two dials, focus, compose, and shoot. So beautifully simple.

So, back to this weekend and my wanting to hurl this poor, undeserving, expensive camera into the wall. Turns out (after having to go out and buy a book about the camera to replace the AWOL manual) that the feature that I was looking for was buried in a submenu that 20 minutes of searching hadn't located. *sigh*

I hate my digital camera. Sometimes.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Touching Velvet

I was in a fabric store briefly the other day to check out one of the clearance bins and couldn't resist going over and running my hands over the velvet samples hanging on the rack. I'm very tactile and I really love velvet, so I couldn't help myself and had to touch it. It struck me that the name that I assumed for blogging was more appropriate than I had previously realized. People used to touch me all the time. My clothes, my hair, shoulders, back, arms, whatever.

Before you think that this is a post about sex, it wasn't that kind of touching. It wasn't grabbing or groping (I think people knew better than to try that), but people would just come up and touch me in a fairly non-threatening way. I never knew that this wasn't the norm for everyone until I was at a bar with several friends, knocking back a few beers and having a rather spirited discussion along the lines of "dontcha hate it when that happens?"

"Dontcha hate it when people just come up and touch you?" I asked. If this had been a commercial, this is where they would have put the "needle scratching across a record" sound effect. They all stared at me. The conversation started again and it came out that, apparently, I was the only one who this happened to. Even the guy who I was seeing at the time didn't really believe me. It was a startling revelation for me, though. I never knew that this wasn't normal.

Later, while my boyfriend and I were playing pinball, I was in the middle of a good game and felt some hands running down the hair on my back.

"Who's there?" I called back, unfazed and without taking my eyes off my game. An unfamiliar female voice answered.

"I just saw your hair flowing down your back and I had to touch it. Sorry!" Alright. Whatever. I was used to it and, to be truthful, it really didn't bother me. While I respect others' personal space, I'm fairly flexible with my own. She walked off and when I finally lost my ball and stepped aside so that my boyfriend could take his turn, he just stared at me.

"What?" I asked.

"I can't believe it," he said. I shrugged my shoulders.

"Told you," was all I could think of to say.

This all stopped when I moved to a part of the country where people will barely talk to you, let alone touch you. Here, heaven forbid you talk to the stranger next to you while standing in a line because they'll look at you like you just peed on the floor. Ah, it's just as well. My husband wouldn't be all that crazy if people still came up to touch me and it's been so long that I probably wouldn't be so crazy about it either.