Saturday, February 28, 2009

Corner of 53rd and Justine

53rd and Justine

Justine and 53rd, Chicago. The police box on the pole has some function regarding locating the origin of gun shots I believe.

I've Been Interviewed!

Me at the Beach

Like an actual famous person. I once was on TV, on PBS, but this is cooler. Thanks to Chris of A Free Man for the opportunity and to my interviewer, Rob, author of the blog Drinking Ales, for the thought provoking questions.

1. You are a great photographer! My Dad was a photographer too. How old were you when you got your first camera? What kind was it? And what kind of camera are you using now?

Gee thanks for the compliment. Actually my father gave me my first (and second and third and fourth) cameras. I vaguely remember we used to have a darkroom in the house when I was a little kid. He’s no pro but he encouraged my interest and took me places that were wonderful to photograph.
I have no clue what my first camera was—some kind of Kodak point and shoot I think. I remember I had a Yashica one year too.
Right now I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT. It is my first SLR type camera and I am loving it so much I want to upgrade.

2. What's your favorite place you've ever visited?
I have so many favorite places. The Olympic beaches in Washington state are my favorite relaxed place and, at the risk of being trite, Paris is my favorite city. I had the privilege of living for six months in Paris while I was in college and am truly in love with the city.

3. What's the most photographic city/state in your opinion?
In the U.S.? Of course it depends on what you are looking for. I obviously love Chicago but I wouldn’t claim it is the best. In a way it might be California for the diversity of natural wonders—Yosemite, the ocean, Sequoia, and so on—and urban beauties such as San Francisco. But I could go with Colorado, Washington, or Wyoming too. I think I would have to pick a western state.

4. What book are you currently reading?
The Sum of Our Days by Isabel Allende. I’d only give it 3 stars out of 5. Probably not her best work to start with. Ms. Allende sure is a character.

5. Name one famous (or not) person you'd love to sell your photographs to.
Whoa! You mean someone would buy my photos?
Barack Obama. His Chicago home is only a mile from me and I think he would share my love of the seedier side of Chicago.

6. Beer or wine?

7. You were in a production of the Nutcracker. If you could play any part in the remake of any movie, what role would you choose?
You have got to be kidding. Me act? I’d pick an oldie, one with Katherine Hepburn, I think. I’d like to play a feisty broad who didn’t play the game by the rules. No cigarettes allowed, though.

8, Wouldn't it be cool to have a voodoo doll?? ( One that really worked)?
I know exactly who I’d use it on too.

9. You're hiking in the mountains taking pictures when a blizzard suddenly sets in. You're too far from the base to hike down, thankfully you come across a small cabin. Lucky! You open the door and sitting on a cot, to your chagrin; is Paris Hilton. Do you a.) Stay and ride out the storm, trying to carry on a conversation with her? b.) Try and wedge Paris into the wood-stove? C.) Run screaming from the cabin and take your chances in the storm?
a) I’m a psychiatrist. I’d spend the long hours holed up in the cabin trying to figure out what makes her tick. With my luck we’d be stuck there for weeks with her using me for free therapy.

10. Are Irish people the most charming and wittiest folks you know?
Some of my best friends are Irish. Actually I only just met you, so I can't say yet.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Blue Skies and Time to Wash

Time to Wash

Is spring fever almost here? I don't know--heavy rain and 50's yesterday and light snow and 20's today.
Last week's blue skies were sponsored by Skywatch Friday.

Postcards on Friday

Express Rates are High

Just posting a vintage postcard because I can.
I can't read the date on this card but it was sent with a two cent stamp. No zip code was necessary to mail it. Now we use Zip plus 4. Times change.
The inscription says--Hope you won't fly in the ditch with that new car. Come over some time soon. All of you.
Sent from Frankfort to Joliet, IL.

Bookshelves: Part 2

Little Journeys

Book 7: The Great Gatsby. I read another book that referred to Gatsby so often I decided I had to finally read this. It is an American classic that some how managed to slip by me as a student. I’m not sure how many other “classic” American authors I’ve managed to avoid reading in my 40 something years. Probably not many. I enjoyed this book. Of course, bought used. Thank heaven my neighborhood is blessed with great used bookstores.
Book 8: Into the Wild. I loved this book. I spoke about it a bit in an earlier post but I’d recommend the book, the movie and the soundtrack. That is a lot of recommendations in one for me.
Book 9: Les Fleurs du Mal. Great poems. Very dark. Baudelaire is one of my favorite poets. I took this out of hiding to post about it but never did. This is a very old edition that I think I bought when I lived in France in the early 80’s.
Book 10: Beautiful Boy. A beautiful book but a heartbreaker. A man writes about his son’s struggle with Methamphetamine addiction. This memoir is painful to read and makes me intensely grateful there isn’t much Meth abuse in Chicago. I have enough on my hands without that!
Book 11: Where the Bluebird Sings, etc. Bought on one of my travels west. I tend to buy books that pertain to my travels but sometimes don’t follow up by actually reading them! It is supposed to be a classic of western writing. I have to get to it one of these days.
Book 12: Anil’s Ghost. I read something by Ondaatje for the writing class I took in Iowa last summer. That was more of a film criticism book but it made me want to know the author better. I didn’t love this book. It is more like Book 1, Disgrace, in that it made me think but still made me feel a bit as if I was reading it out of academic duty not sheer pleasure. I learned a lot about Sri Lanka from it though.

So, do you know a bit more about me now? Probably. See how much one’s shelves reveal?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Looking through bookshelves

Book shelf

When I visit someone’s house I always wind up looking at their bookshelves. I try to be unobtrusive about it but my eyes inevitably gravitate there. In part, I cannot help myself. Books are my addiction. In part, I’m honestly nosy. I learn so much about people from what they read.
I have some good friends whose bookshelves are nearly empty. I can tell you that their books are the same few that they’ve had for 20 years. On the other hand they have an amazing DVD collection and I generally like their taste in movies. Sometimes I wonder what I have in common with people who have such vacant bookshelves. But of course, who needs to have something in common with their friends? Besides 20 years of shared history. These people are like family in their way. They are good people and I need them in my life. So we don’t need books in common!
I was thinking about what my shelves reflect of me besides an obsession with printed matter. So I took a random picture of the most accessible shelf. Now I’ll tell you what is there and why. This might take two posts, by the way.

Book 1: Disgrace. I know someone who knows Coetzee and the book was on the $1 shelf at a used bookstore. I read it recently on vacation and the book bothered me. It is about the scandal of a professor who sleeps with a student. To me this is one of those taboos, almost like incest. It made me feel creepy by association. I also didn’t like the main character. The book made me think so much that I know it was good anyway.

DVD 1: Oliver. My son played a pickpocket in the school version of Oliver and I got the DVD for him. This isn’t the musical version I remember seeing as a kid which gave me nightmares. I was very scared by the scene of Bill Sykes hanging. I still hum some of the tunes, though.

DVD 2: Nutcracker 2006. The first year my son performed in it. I wasn’t in that year’s version.

Book 2: Windows on the World. Actually in French despite the title. I planned on reading it but haven’t gotten to it due to laziness. It takes more work for me to read in French so I need to feel energized. It is about the last day of the twin towers.

Book 3: I’m not mad, etc. Parenting book. I heard Roni Cohen-Sandler talk a few years ago and thought she was quite interesting. I don’t have daughters and haven’t read it even though it has utility for my work. I bought it used. It is definitely on my TBR list.

Book 4: The Family Tree. Picked up used. I haven’t read it but I’ve liked some of Tepper’s novels. Sci-fi/Fantasy genre.

Book 5: How to Stay Alive in the Woods. Survival classic. I’m using as a reference for my first novel about the kid who runs away and lives in the woods. I’m pretty sure I read bits of this book as a kid when I had my own running away fantasies. Bought used.

Book 6: Junior Classics. Old book I rescued from my in-laws’ place. I haven’t read it although I went through a phase in my school days when I read every fairy tale I could get my hands on, including the not-prettied up Grimm tales and so forth. I’m in love with vintage children’s books.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Huge Cubes

High Cube

Red enough for you? I wish the snow had been deeper to add contrast. Maybe next year!
Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spray Park

Mt Rainier

My own photos are boring me so I'm posting an old postcard. Mt. Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington State and one of the tallest in the U.S. It is easily seen from Seattle, where I grew up. It is a dormant volcano and would easily destroy Seattle if it ever decided to erupt. Not a nice thought since I still have family there.
As a kid I hiked many times on the mountain but my favorite place had to be Spray Park. It is an alpine meadow with many small pools of water and broad swaths of wild flowers. Every summer we would shoulder our backpacks,hike in to some wonderful mountain location and camp. In the old days we trampled at will across the meadows and camped wherever we pleased. I have a feeling, given the fragility of meadow regions that now everything is roped off, museum fashion. This is as it should be but still it is a loss.
On one of our jaunts to the park, I was fishing around in the ponds and found a polliwog. Being a budding biologist, I captured one and took it home. The polliwog later turned into a salamander I creatively named Sally, not that we had a clue what gender it was. Sally was an attractive glossy black with a broad yellow stripe down her back. I'm guessing from memory she was less than two inches long. I checked salamander photos on Flickr just now and I think she was a long toed salamander.
I learned to catch bugs for Sally which I would wave in front of her using a pair of tweasers. It sure helped cure me of any bug phobia I might have had although I still don't like spiders. Sally would sleep under her water pond and come up for food and air periodically. One day she declined to reappear and that was the last we saw of her. She lived for a couple of years which was better than most of the frogs and toads I had previously caught.
Last time I saw my younger brother, he was unsurprised I now had a turtle. His comment was I always had interesting pets as a kid. Oh.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Seeing Red

My World is Red

If I have the time, I'm going to revisit this little tree. It snowed today and the contrast would be wonderful.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

General Growth

General Growth

I haven't been posting much. Somehow I've been distracted from words and pictures. I'll be back when the whim or whimsy hits me. In the meantime, here's a picture I took a couple of weeks ago. It was painfully cold that day. I think I would have worked harder on the composition if my fingers weren't turning blue.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy V-Day

Vintage Valentine

Card postmarked 1908.
This is as romantic as I'm going to get.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Having one of those days?

One of Those Days

There is always someone worse off! This is a photo of a sculpture of King Lear by J. Seward Johnson.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bad Hair Day

Self portrait in Dressing Room Mirror

No, not the day I took the above picture. That is of me in full costume prior to a Nutcracker performance. I probably had about a pound of hair spray in my hair to hold it in place and about the same weight in make-up on my face.
So, as anyone with short hair knows there are three stages to a haircut.
1) Just cut--a bit too short and raw to be at its best.
2) A few weeks later--just right. It has grown out just enough. This phase is the shortest of the three.
3) Waited too long to get it cut again--it is looking shaggy and flies in the eyes at inconvenient times.

I'm at stage 3. I'm resorting to hair spray, hair gel, various bobby pins and clips to keep it out of my eyes and off my face. My secretary tells me it looks good but I doubt it. Then yesterday, I get told: "Your hair looks like granny hair." Nothing like the honesty of a disinhibited 12 year old. I pretended to be crushed but actually thought it was funny. Getting unsolicited, honest opinions about one's appearance is an occupational hazard. It pays to have a sense of humor.
My hair is what it is and you can't hurt my feelings by mocking it. It doesn't hold a style because it is straight and fine. This is good by me because I can't be bothered to take the time to style it. I generally let it drip dry. In a Chicago winter, sometimes it freezes before it dries.
The one perm I ever had (in my misbegotten youth) required two rounds to "take" and returned to straight by the next day. My hair comes in three styles: short, medium and long. Oh, and then there was the day I walked into a Supercuts while I was in college and said I wanted it short. I walked out with a one inch cut. I looked very punk for a couple of weeks and then it grew out. It also grows fast. My hairdresser has long given up on offering me tints, waves and other adornments. He'll probably give me a hard time when I show up for my next overdue cut. In the meantime there will be lots of bad hair days.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

RIP--Circuit City


For a not-so-Wordless-Wednesday.
Too many closures, too many layoffs. Circuit City was in no way special to me but the people who worked there were special to themselves and their families. When will it end?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lost/Found Cameras

Here is a great site if you have every lost a camera or camera card. It is called Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures. What a great idea. Too bad the camera I lost/was stolen in California last year didn't turn up. I also checked for one my stepmother lost at the beach last year. Hers wasn't there either. I think the Pacific Ocean ate that one! Thanks to Photojojo, a handy photography site for the link.

For the Love of Pizza

For the Love of Pizza

Pizza and religion go together like. . . .

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Fame and Fortune?

Not quite, but someone requested this photo taken at a 2007 fire scene for a website about Chicago area fire fighters.
I am more than happy to share the photo but it suddenly dawned on me. I didn't take the photo! I felt awkward stalking the fire scene with my camera and my son was really excited so I let him wander around taking photos. He was only 9 at the time and still had trouble with the notion you cannot move the camera while shooting but he and I both enjoyed it. Everyone in my family feels that he has the makings of a good photographer but it is hard to get him to pick up his camera.
So here is the issue--do we try to keep his name off the internet? Or do we let him take full and just credit for his work? In all due paranoia, where is the harm? And maybe it will encourage him to take more photos.
Any thoughts?

The President on the Picket Line

President on the Picket Line

I wonder if Obama regrets throwing his support in to this strike given how much mileage the strikers have made of it. Do you say things when you are just a lowly senator that you regret when you are president? I say things I regret often enough but they don't wind up plastered on posters all over Chicago.
This one's for J. Kirlin who once asked me about finding a flyer from this strike.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Intriguing Church

Lodebar Church and Ministries

I'm late getting out of the house but at 5 degrees outside (that's Fahrenheit, unfortunately) my motivation is less than ideal.
This church is located in an 1889 building that looks like it came from Normandy. I can't think, though, what the significance of its name is, Lodebar? Sounds like something out of a western mining town.
Stay warm, except for you Aussies who are probably still roasting Down Under.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Shopping Cart

Shopping Cart on State

Well, the shopping cart photo I posted a few days ago was accepted for a photo show at a camera store downtown. I'm a bit frustrated because I only found out about the show a day or two before I needed to have a framed copy (due tomorrow morning) and I couldn't find a rapid printer that would make the photo to my specifications. It turns out that turning my shot from a standard 4 by 6 to an 8 by 10 crops out much of the depth. I tried to order an 8 by 12 but it still is in the shop and I'm not sure I'd have time to get the right size frame by tomorrow morning. So I have a fair, framed 8 by 10 but it isn't even up to my amateur standards. Still, it is a first for me so I'm trying not to complain or make excuses.
While I was working on this over the weekend I happened to pass this shopping cart (see above) and couldn't resist circling the block to take a photo. I like the coincidence.
My series of small churches has grown considerably. I traveled to a new part of town (west, not south) and found a couple of main streets that are jam-packed with little churches. I'm working on processing and posting some of them but have to get to work. Shame how working gets in the way of hobbies.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Neath the Halo of a Street Lamp

Neath the Halo of a Street Lamp

Lyrics from Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkle)

For See It Sunday--Lamp