Ahhh, the 70’s

Check out just how truly awesome this photo I scanned for a customer at work is:

The polka dot drapes color coordinated with the striped wallpaper coordinated with the flowered wallpaper. The 70’s at it’s finest. The picture doesn’t show the plaid carpet.

But the awesome doesn’t stop there. If you’ve been to my in-laws cabin you may be thinking to yourself, “Hey, that wallpaper looks strangely familiar…”

Yup! The cabin’s bathroom wallpaper is the same design, but in pink!

Such a trip to see the infamous wallpaper somewhere else. When I told the customer that the wallpaper still existed “out in the wild” she couldn’t believe it. Luckily I’d taken a picture for Twitter so when she picked up the photos she was having me scan I was able to give her a copy of the photo. She said her family is gonna love it. Also, I asked her if I could put a copy w/the people blurred out here. I’m so glad she said yes because otherwise who would believe that such fabulousness existed!

 

World traveler!

It’s been a while since I’ve hijacked the blog from Sharon, but I have a good excuse. I was getting ready for my latest expedition! Sharon’s friend Becky was going on vacation to China and she said I could come with her!

Me & Becky on the Great Wall of China.

This was more than just a cool vacation for me. This was my 7th continent! Yes, I now declare myself the World’s Most Adventurous Moose!

I’m not sure I even remember all the places I’ve been, but I’ll try to list them.
I’ve been to a ton of places here in America from a Space Shuttle launch down in Florida to a fancy soiree with James Marsters on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. A road trip from Minneapolis to Toronto, and another from Minneapolis to Phoenix. I’ve also lounged on the beaches of Mexico with Jeanine, and cruised the Caribbean with her. Europe was my second continent. I’ve been to Italy with Sandy & Jason, England and Wales with Melissa & Chris, Paris with Mike & Chris and Croatia with Will. Amazingly enough, Antarctica was my third continent. I flew to McMurdo Base with a little help from the USPS, and while Andre was taking care of me we went to both the West Antarctic Ice Shelf and the actual South Pole! A visit to Ecuador on the way to the Galapagos Islands with Melissa made South America continent number four. Then Michelle was going to Australia to visit her fiance, so she brought me with her. I got to travel to Africa with Pete, Paula & Michael when they went to Ethiopia to adopt their son Sid.

After all that I was just waiting for the perfect person to get me to my seventh continent. Becky was an awesome traveling companion and she took great care of me!

I saw the Great Wall of China, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and so much more!

Now I have to start figuring out what kind of an adventure to have next. I’d love to go to the North Pole, since I’ve been to both the South Pole and the Equator. I’d also love to meet President Barak Obama some day. Sharon really wants to go to Iceland, so if she ever does I’ll go with her.

 

Depression lies.

Depression is a fucking rat-bastard asshole who lies. He tells you there is no hope, but he is wrong!

Two different people who are better writers than me, and way more internet-famous than I’ll ever be just wrote about this.
Read Jenny, The Bloggess‘s post HERE.
Read Geek King Wil Wheaton‘s post HERE.

One of the things that jumped out at me in Wil’s post was this:

I haven’t ever felt suicidal, but I do have Depression and Anxiety.

For many people, they assume that all depressed people are suicidal and if you’re not suicidal then you must not be depressed. This is not true! I have been depressed most of my life, if not all of it. I have never considered suicide. Have I wished I was dead at times? Yes. I was a teenager for seven years, after all. But even at the worst of my depression it never moved past “Things would be better if I just died.” to “I’d be better off dead and I’m going to do something about it.” or even “This thing I’m doing is stupid and dangerous, but I don’t care if I die.”

If depression was so straight forward it would be easy. Oh, I’m suddenly contemplating suicide? I’m depressed. I’m not contemplating suicide? I must be fine. But it’s not. There are a lot of symptoms and a lot of levels of severity.

I was diagnosed when I was 22 or 23. That was 20 years ago. I still have it. But now I own my life, not depression. I wish I could say it’s easy now, but it’s not. It is easier though, and some days that’s enough.

About three years ago the sneaky bastard crawled out of the ground, grabbed me, and dragged me down. For a year my world was getting darker and faded so gradually I didn’t see it. That’s the god damn sucky evil thing about depression. It’s sneaky. You think you’re fine, then it creeps in and slowly takes away the fine. And it’s gradual. You don’t know it’s there. Then one day you are talking to your therapist and realize that you’re depressed.

And it’s not just a little depression. Oh no. You’re stuck deep. Deeper than you’ve been in years. Worse than you’ve been in more than a fucking decade.

I had changed medications before it hit and things seemed to be a little better after the change, but now I think that may have been the combo of the new meds plus the old meds still in my system. By the end of the year, when I realized what was happening, I think I might as well have been completely unmedicated for all the little help my meds were. Two years ago I switched to a new medication, and things got better.

I spent some time kicking myself for being too dumb to realize that things were getting bad and that I was depressed. But that’s the bitch of depression. It’s just not easy. It was over the course of a year that I had been sinking into a pit of darkness and hopelessness and despair and didn’t even know it.

This post isn’t about pitying me for my depression. It’s about awareness, and hope. If you think you might possibly maybe be a tiny bit depressed, talk to your doctor. If you think you’re really severely depressed, talk to your doctor. They will talk to you and evaluate you. They can help, or refer you to someone who can help. If you are truly suffering from depression you need to know that things can be better, even though it doesn’t seem possible. One in four adults in the US suffers from a diagnosable mental illness. You are not alone.

 

 

What happens in Vegas…

… is AWESOME!

This is where I was lurking in Las Vegas last night after dark:

Behind the Motel 8

Behind the Motel 8

It’s not quite as sketchy as it looks. It is on the strip, literally across the street from Mandalay Bay. It is also where a friend I made at Photoshop World, Sandra, was staying. We were behind it because there was a nice big concrete pad tucked away back there. You see, Sandra’s not just a Photoshop Junkie like me, but she’s an incredible performer. She goes by SaFire, and is a circus & fire performer. So me, Sandra & Robert (another new friend from PSW) were there to see what kind of photos we could get. Robert had a nice new Canon 5D Mark III, tripod, flash, reflectors, and knowledge of how to use those things. I just had my 40D with a couple different lenses, but no tripod or anything else. While Robert shot nicely exposed photos where you could actually see Sandra pretty well I was shooting long exposures (minimum 1 second) hand held just hoping to get some cool abstract stuff.

After shooting Sandra swinging LED lit poi balls and spinning LED lit hula hoops with no one disturbing us or telling us we couldn’t be there we were ready to move on to the main event.

RingOfFire

Just one flaming hoop.

This one was hand held at 2.5 seconds. With as much as she was moving I don’t imagine it would have been too much sharper if I’d had a tripod. We’d picked up some fuel at WalMart after dinner and she had 3 fire hoops with her. First, she spun just one and we took pictures. No one came to tell us to stop, so after cooling down she lit up again but two hoops this time. Unbelievably, no one was around. So, another cool down and then she lit up and twirled all three. It was soooooooo cool! She was moving and dancing and spinning the flaming hoops. Even though I knew I wouldn’t get ANY tack sharp photos I did get a lot of pretty cool ones.

After our success at three separate fire sessions we were ready to call it a night but Robert had the idea to change up the background a little. So Sandra lit up all three hoops again and we shot from different angles. You see, the shots we were getting were cool, but there was no sense of location. This one, you can tell where we are:

Mandalay Bay and Fire

Fire dancing behind the Motel 8 with Mandalay Bay nearby.

Yes, I know it’s not sharp. Handheld, remember? This one was a 1.3 second exposure. They say you shouldn’t handhold anything slower than 1/60 second, and I was so much slower than that. I’m impressed that it is as clear as it is!

Anyway, as Sandra finished up spinning these 3 hoops and was blowing the flames out a little golf cart with “Security” printed on the front came zooming on up. They told her she couldn’t do that here, it was too dangerous, and so we said ok and started packing up. You know, like we were about to do anyway. We’re not sure where the security cart even came from. The Motel 8 is far too small to necessitate security, let alone mobile security! We speculated that the smaller motels probably contract out the security to an independent security company and that we just got away with the fire for as long as we did because it took them a while to respond.

Even with as unprepared as I was for a night shoot, it was pretty spectacular. Definitely one of the memories from Photoshop World that I will hang on to!