Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Shootout - Things that Remind me of Barry

It has been a busy week and I did not think I would get to post anything this Friday.  But that was an excuse.  I really didn't know how I could handle "Things that Remind me of Barry."   It has astounded me to discover how much grief I can feel over someone that I have only met on the Internet. 

But I stopped this afternoon and looked at other posts.  Some photos, but mostly thoughts.  And I had to add something.  But what. 

I remembered that back in November, Barry wrote a post about getting his affairs in order.  That was hard to read.   And I then wrote an open letter to Barry.  I was nervous about it because although I knew he was going to be around for awhile longer, I wanted to but my emotional affairs in order too.  It was a kind of goodbye letter...premature, of course, and I was afraid he'd take it wrongly.  But, of course, he didn't.  He loved it.  And now, I am glad I wrote it then.  Because it would be too late to write it now. 

I'll post a link to it - Letter to Barry .   But of course he doesn't need human electronic links any more. 

God, I miss him!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday Shootout -- Feet (A Two-Part Blog)

Prior to putting this blog together, Bagman, Butler, and I stopped our usual banter and stood in a small circle for a moment of silence in memory of Barry Frasier.  At the end of that time, I rang a small bell.  He will be greatly missed around the world. 

Then, because he would probably be irritated if we stayed out of character too long, we got to work on the Friday shootout.  And when I wasn't looking, Bagman hit me on the back of the head with a wadded up piece of paper. 

On the wadded up piece of paper was a poem I had written five or six years ago that seemed appropriate for today's shootout:

On Feet

Empirical feet measure progress
with steel-toed shoes and sensible soles,
plodding and dragging heels in the center
of sidewalks, crossing at lights,
to the courthouse where they stand parallel
and exactly six inches apart, to edit
typos in prosecutorial briefs.

Faithful feet go bare, slam-dancing
on blazing coals and whirling in the smoke,
splayed or pigeon-toed, without destinations
tickling each other as courtroom doors
open around them, running on their balls
with whatever riff-raff appears.


BAGMAN:  "You're not going to use that are you?   This is a photo blog.  Although since you aren't around much any more, you might not remember that!"
BUTLER:  "Leave him alone, Baggie.  He's been busy.  Work has been frustrating and he doesn't want to sound negative about work because you never if somebody from his job might be reading it..."

BAGMAN:  "Bull Dookey!   Nobody from his stupid job is reading his stupid blog!  And you know why I know?   Because he ain't freaking writing his precious blog!!!"

BUTLER:  "Of course.  His point exactly."

Actually it wasn't my point because while they are arguing I was finding some pictures of feet...

...although they don't look exactly like feet...

BAGMAN: "At least he didn't make any kind of comment about feeling washed up..."

BUTLER:  "Although he can probably count the years until he retires on the toes of one foot."

BAGMAN:  "And then he'll just monkey around...oh yes, he does that alot at home already."

However, taking a positive spin on things...
...feet can be used to score points in the soccer game of life.

Steel-toed boots can gird you for budget battles in a tight economy

...can give you a new perspective to face each day...


Up until yesterday, I thought that was the end of the blog and I didn't have any snappy ending and I was missing Barry anyway and wishing I could still make him laugh.  Who knows.  Maybe he's laughing all the time now. 

But then last night, we were watching the grandchildren.  Noah is still and infant mostly eats and sleeps.  But Conner was running around and suddenly, without even knowing the theme of today's shootout, he  suddenly became obsessed with the shoes in the closet.  I didn't have much time.  I rushed up to grab the camera and started shooting.  As you will see, it is not easy to get good angles when standing in a small closet.  Or to focus.  Or to get the lighting right.

BAGMAN:  "Excuses!  Excuses!  You're just lazy and out of practice!!" 

Anyhow (from Conner's point of view):

Wow! It's a shoe store on the floor!  Just for me!
This one is kind of my style.

I wonder if they have one in a size 1/2

Maybe this one is a bit more masculine.
Gosh, my Diggy has big shoes to fill!

Okay!  I'll take this one. 

There is no caption for this last picture, only the sound of Mark quickly setting down the camera and lunging.  Because just as this picture was being snapped, Conner suddenly had a brainstorm idea, spun to the right, ran through the door to his right and threw the shoe... the toilet. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Today I ring a bell for Barry

It is just amazing how close we become in this world of blogging to people we have never actually seen in person.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Self Portrait Internet Cafe

I took lots of pictures in Murphy, North Carolina, and realized, even as I was doing them, that I have grown sloppy -- which is to say that mostly I was oriented to family snapshots without much thought behind anything.  But for some reason, I kind of liked this one, odd as it is.  And I wasn't even looking through the viewfinder, just walking past and shooting, literally, from the hip.  A little posterization added. 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I know the Water was Last week's theme but...

And despite my long absences, I remember that photos we post are supposed to be our own work.   And none of the photos that follow were taken by me...which is obvious since I'm in them.  Or, to be precise, Bagman is in them...but despite my long absenece, some of you may remember that Bagman, Butler, and I all share the same body. 

And because my camera was, thankfully, left behind before Bagman and I got in the raft.

First -- and introduction of the charactors.

From left to right:  1. Don, whose knickname from the Navy was Nelly.  I had never met him before that morning on the Nantahala River so there was no reason for me to try to kill him.  2. Zack, Nellie's son, who I also tried to kill.   3. Leslie, Nellie's wife.  4. Bagman expressing his Bagmanishness. 5. Justin, an extreme sports adrenalin junkie who guides whitewater rafts in the summer.  6. My beloved wife, Karen, now recovering from psychological trauma.  7. My daughter, Jean who has been down from Boston all week and went with us, renting a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina.

Now, all of these pictures were taken at one spot near the end of the rafting trip.  Therefore there was no photographic evidence of Bagman's psychotic break.  At this point, Bagman had been forgiven and you can see by the way Nelly and I are leaning toward each other that much male bonding has occurred sometime during the past two hours on the river.

Did I mention that the water temperature was 46 degrees?  

46 degrees Fahrenheit. 
The important part of this picture is the expressions.  As you can see, Justin is being serious, as a good whitewater guide should be, particularly realizing that this is where photographs are taken and his boss might see them.  Nelly and I are happy again.  Karen is absolutely ecstatic...or maybe in shock from the water.  You do know that the water was 46 degrees and at only 14 degrees less, it turns to ice.  And Jean, of course, is looking (as she often did) at Justin. 

And now, in the words of Paul Harvey, the rest of the story:

The mystery (and the cause of Justin's serious expression) can be deduced by counting the number paddles.  Five.  And the number of people.  Seven.   Where did two of the paddles go?  Aha.

We were halfway into the trip.  Only a class 3 rapid which is supposedly pretty tame, according to Justin.  But he wanted us to have fun.   We did several tricks along the way.  One of them came up  as we approached a large, upward slanting rock.   He told us about it.  We were game.  The idea was to slide the boat up onto the rock and then let is slide back down to catch the next wave.

I'll give him credit that he did suggest that the people on the right side of the boat should hang on.  I'm not sure why he did not add that the people on the left side might want to hang on too.  Being overly self-confident and on the left side of the boat, I was just smiling and laughing when we approached the rock.  And I do really wish I had a photo because everyone says my expression was classic when I was suddenly catapulted upward, like I was shot out of a cannon.

And I came down directly on top of Nelly and partly on Zack.  Zack hung on -- or maybe Leslie hung on to him.   But I took Nelly cleanly over the side and into the raging water.  The boat slid back down on top of me and, of course, Nelly was underneath both of us.  But, hey!  He was a navy man.  

It is hard to describe how disoriented I was.   The lifejackets, of course, popped both of us to the surface as soon as the boat passed over us.  I guess that's why they call them life jackets.  But I was looking at the sky and convinced the boat was long gone and I was trying to remember about keeping my feet up and how to body surf rapids.  Although I did forget the part about holding on to the paddle.  

But in addition to being an adrenalin junkie, Justin is also a damn good guide.  The reason I couldn't see the boat was because he had managed to stay close and despite the fact he looks small and I'm 235 pounds, he pulled me into the boat like a large tuna.  And Nellie, no lightweight himself, was soon on top of me in the boat.  

I know it was inappropriate because both Leslie and Karen were screaming our names and asking us over and over if we were all right and I know they were scared stiff -- or maybe the stiffness was due to cold -- but, inappropriate as it might have been, I couldn't stop laughing.   Maybe I can blame it on the adrenalin.

It was the most fun I've had in ages.   At least once I realised that none of us had drowned.

But we did lose two paddles....three actually, although Justin managed to retreive on of them.

So forgive me for doing last week's theme a week late, but water is still my favorite thing today.