We used to call them self portraits.

September 19th, 2015

My bathroom mirror

Front phone cameras were invented specifically to stop people from taking pictures of their bathroom mirrors. It is the lesser of two evils. But the lesser of two evils is still evil!

Cell phone cameras have been improving by leaps and bounds over the years. But I think front cameras have only gotten worse! They have low quality, low resolution, and unflattering wide angle lenses. It seems that every picture taken with a front camera either has an arm in it or comes out looking like something from the Blair Witch Project. I sometimes wish all of those pictures could go completely away from the Internet in the same way that I sometimes wish all the songs that rhyme maybe and baby could be banished from the radio.


My hairy arm

It’s great to have your picture with a friend or in a special place. But we had self portraits a long time before they started appearing with a bathroom mirror and or an arm protruding from the edge of the picture.


Blair Witch selfie

Here’s a suggestion. Next time you want to take a selfie to upload to one of your virtual social websites, find someone to give your camera to and ask them to take the picture for you. They will use the correct camera and give you a much better shot than you could by yourself. And by talking to someone you have been actually social!


Handed a kind stranger my camera

It’s a win-win situation.

Burning Man, 3 a.m.

September 9th, 2015
Trey Ratcliff took this picture. His site is: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

Trey Ratcliff took this picture. His site is: http://www.stuckincustoms.com/

I don’t know if this is just me or if its everybody , but I think there are conversations you can have at 3 a.m. that you cannot have it noon. If you’re still up and talking with someone at that time of night, you let go of your defenses and you get very deep and philosophical. You admit the things that no one ever could have found out about you on their own. You discuss everything from your shoe size to the dragons that pursue your nightmares, none of which have anything to do with your job or your grocery shopping or anything else about your normal public self. The deepest and most emotional connections I’ve ever made happened during 3 a.m. conversations, because I can say things at 3 a.m. that are somehow made embarrassing by the light of day. I don’t know why. I don’t even know what to call this 3 a.m. brain zone. I’m writing this at 3 a.m., and I hope I don’t say anything that I will be embarrassed about tomorrow. That has happened with several 3 a.m. poems.

I started hearing about Burning Man a few years ago, and I’ve been a little curious. No one really explains anything about it. It just seems to have its own mysticism and you’re just supposed to know all about it already. I had almost given up on figuring it out when I heard Trey Ratcliff talking about it. He’s there right now! He made me curious enough to really dig into videos and blog posts and pictures and try to find out what it’s all about and whether I’d like to go and what I might do if I did. I think I figured it out.

I don’t know if I can explain it very well. Or any better than I explained to the 3 a.m. thing. The conclusion that I have come to is that at Burning Man it’s always 3 a.m. . I think if I was there, my brain would stay in that altered, open state for an entire week, and there’s no telling what I might find out about myself or anyone else during that time. I decided to write this down because just tonight, just 40 minutes ago, I realized that I really would like to go. And now I know what I will do when I get there.

I know you’re curious, but I can’t tell you right now. Ask me in person some night at 3 a.m.

Workday, a text adventure (Warning: reality, sarcasm, blood)

June 4th, 2015

You are finally awake! Good morning. Good evening. Good afternoon. So hard to tell what time it is when you’re locked in a tiny room with artificial light.


You are carrying: A loaf of bread, a battleaxe, armor, and night vision goggles, and a ladder. Your dolls are sure to want all this stuff back when you get home. Sorry… “Action Figures”

>real inv

You are actually carrying: Car keys, debit card, pocket knife, and an electric unicycle.

>look around

You are in your office. The clock on the wall reads 10:30am. Your computer has a lot of windows open and your browser has a lot of tabs, yet you don’t appear to be working on anything. You skipped breakfast or simply don’t remember it. You are hungry.


Eat what? There is a bottle of Tabasco sauce in your desk drawer. You have nothing to put under it. And before you ask, drinking it neat will cause problems for both you and future you. Let it go.

>screw it, then

You are screwed. Your leg begins to itch.

>scratch leg

You casually reach down without looking and gently touch the itchy spot on your leg. Two things happen instantaneously: You realize there is a small scab here from where you scraped your leg yesterday, and the scab explodes. The resulting mess looks like Baron Harkonnen just pulled out your heart plug, but on your leg.

>examine mess

You almost didn’t get your shoe and sock off in time. A steady red stream has gone all the way down and around your foot. You packed an entire box of tissues on to it one at a time, but dropped them on the floor and each one got soaked. It was a pretty good amount already, but you are really spreading it out! You don’t even feel any of this but it looks horrible. You are finally able to stop the bleeding by holding a large pad of tissues on with one hand.

>use other hand to send IM to your buddy two offices down to bring a bandage and some wet paper towers STAT

Fifteen minutes lapse. Nothing happens.

>send IM again

Two minutes later, your buddy walks in to what appears to be a reenactment of the scene where Gregory House does his own surgery. He asks what’s up. You read him his IMs through clenched teeth. He hurries out of the room. Good to see he finally understands the urgency of the situation! Fifteen minutes later, he returns with a bottle of alcohol. You make some muted grumbling noises and read him the IMs again. He leaves again and returns in only five minutes with the wet paper towels. He says there are no bandages.

>clean mess

You mop up as much as you can from your skin before going after the plastic mat under your chair. Now you’re eyeballing that bottle of alcohol.

>use alcohol

You pick up the bottle and begin to loosen the lid when you realize this is not alcohol from a first aid kit. This is the solvent they use to clean the magnetic ink out of the giant shredder downstairs. You begin doing a quick risk/benefit analysis in your mind.

>put the bottle down and cover the wound

You put the lid back on the alcohol and creatively bandage the site with tissues and packing tape. You are tired. You are hungry.

>go to lunch

But it’s not lunch time!

>sudo go to lunch

Logging out… You head downstairs. Should you take the car or the unicycle?


You are very brave. After a few false starts, you cruise down to the stop sign at the end of the block. You are doing quite well until you realize you won’t be able to carry your food this way. The trip back to the car seems much longer and you let the unicycle fall twice. You are tired. You are hungry. You are sweating.

>get in car

You sit in the driver’s seat of your 2010 Dodge Oven and start the engine. You nearly jump out of your skin when the radio comes on at full volume. You turn it down and plug your phone in to the aux cable. The phone is terribly quiet when you plug it in this way, so you turn the radio and the phone all the way back up, thus resetting the trap. Your heart is beating rapidly. You are hungry. You are sweating like a pork-beast in a high pressure suit.

>drive to a restaurant

Where do you want to go?

>I don’t know. Where do you want to go?

I don’t know. Where do… NO! STOP THAT! You just lost half of your lunch hour. PICK A PLACE NOW!

>save and quit

Saving game. Put a floppy disk in drive A:

>you’re kidding, right?

Yes. つづく

Wide angle flower pictures

May 13th, 2015

(These are just the jpgs. I haven’t edited the raw files yet. I’ll replace them here and remove this message when I do!)

I just got a new 14mm lens and I wandered out into the desert to try it out on the cactuses and wildflowers. It was such a wide angle, that I kept catching sky and land that I didn’t really want.


I had to get above it all and shoot down.  This is as far down as I could angle it with only hand holding:


That was better. Then I got an idea for how to get even higher and shoot straight down! I used my screw-off monopod from my 3LT Brian and did this:

I focused the lens all the way in, and held it right over the plants, almost touching them.

I focused the lens all the way in, hit the timer, and held it right over the plants, almost touching them.

I wouldn’t recommend this for every camera and lens setup, but weight wasn’t a big deal with my Sony a7s.
Here is what I got:


I entertained myself with shots like that for a while, but then I decided to try putting it underneath to get an angle I never thought of before.

Next time I'll fashion some sort of protection for the camera body. It came back up with a lot of sand.

And that got my favorite photo of the day!


Because I would not stop for Death — with apologies to Emily Dickinson

April 8th, 2015

Because I would not stop for Death —
He shot me in the knee —
From nearly half a mile away —
With Barrett Nine-Eight-B.

He soon caught up — He did his thing
His Scythe ’round Him revolved —
Then hauled me off in Carriage black,
‘Twere also fines involved —

I pouted and looked out the glass
And huffed with my arms crossed —
I couldn’t stand the fact that in
the end, my race was lost —

He left me in my holding cell —
And there he says I’ll stay —
He’s lucky that my leg won’t heal —
Or else I’d run away —

So many days have passed, but I —
Think that one was the worst —
If I could do it all again —
I’d try to shoot him first —

The most spectacular moon ever!

April 4th, 2015


I went to the Alamo today.

December 21st, 2014


I have driven from west Texas back home to Houston many times, and I always pass the signs that lead to the Alamo as I go through San Antonio and remember the only time I had ever been there. I was only a child then. I keep saying that I will stop in and take a look again one of these times, but it never happens.
I still didn’t have time to go in and look around, but at least today I pulled over long enough to set up my camera and tripod. It was very difficult to navigate the one way streets with all the pedestrians without being turned in a direction you didn’t want to go for running someone down. But I managed to find the Alamo itself and then a $10 parking spots a couple of blocks away. I was only going to be there for a couple of minutes, but I paid the money and walked to the Alamo.
It took me a little while to set up my camera to where it needed to be pointed, and focus where it needed to be focused. Having done so I looked all around to find someone I could trust to take the picture while I walked away from a multi thousand dollar piece of equipment. I always told my children that if you keep safety, find a policeman. If you cannot find a policeman, find a mother with children. It’s usually a good bet.
I found a whole family! And the mother who was pushing a stroller had a Canon DSLR around her neck. She not only seemed trustworthy, but she seemed like she might know what she was doing with the camera.
I walked over to the Alamo I stood in my position and she took five pictures of me instead of just one. She really did know what she was doing because when I got back I realized the first one was completely out of focus. I asked her if I could return the favor. We traded cameras I put hers on my tripod and took a few pictures of her family. She seemed very pleased with the results.
It’s true that you can’t trust everyone but I really think you can trust most people. I could talk to a lot more strangers and make a lot more friends if there was only a reliable way to tell.

Minetest – Deep hole drop

October 22nd, 2014

I just want to see how well my site will host videos. Sometimes they are too small to bother with youtube.
Big Drop


October 21st, 2014

“That’s a lot of fire, isn’t it?” – Toph

We could see the flare from the highway. I had always wanted to see one up close, and this one looked particularly bright. My daughter and I decided to hunt it down. I mean, how far away could it be? TWENTY FIVE MILES! It was in another county! We arrived in a small town that was completely illuminated by this golden light. Even though it was the dead of night, everything was bright (and hot!) as noon. We took as many pictures and as much video as we dared and left before we got sunburns. This video was allowed down from 60 fps. Quite a while later, when I finally got the opportunity to return with a camera that could do 120fps, it was gone! Just a tiny candle is a flame where a sun had once stood. I may never know why this happened. But as least I got this video!


October 8th, 2014

This is the first time I ever wished I has a super wide angle lens.