Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Shootout - Textures

This one should be easy!  I love abstracts and details and close-ups.   So I skip merrily into the Bagman and Butler Studio.  I also need something to get over my dream of Thursday morning since it makes no sense to be in love with a figment of my subconsious. 

I'm also happy because I've taken some new shots and won't have to rely completely on my archive.  "How about this one to start," I say, plopping one down.

BAGMAN: "Dry, stupid, colorless and boring!"

"But I wanted to focus on texture and not get distracted with depth or color,"  I protest.

BUTLER:  "But this is not even texture, my good man.  This illustrates patterns.  Shadows, pine straw -- patterns, not texture.  Although patterns and texture are related. 

"Wait a minute!" I protest.  "All patterns have surfaces so they must also have texture."

BUTLER:  "But the idea is to focus on texture, not pattern.

BAGMAN:  "This gobbledygook is more boring and stupid than the picture!"

BUTLER:  "Well, that purple petal certainly has a texture.  But I'm not sure about the fluffy plant above. It is kind of texture only in a 3-Dimensional sense.  More tactile than visual.

BAGMAN: "I like tactile!"

BUTLER:  "Now you are getting it."

BAGMAN:  "I like tactile."

My daughter's hair.   I look over at Bagman ans warn, "No comments, Bagman.  My daughter." 

And this is a texture that needs to be explored with the tongue! 

BAGMAN:  "My kind of texture!"

BUTLER: "As I recall, Karen didn't think it was so funny when her cake fell apart and I'm not sure that you running and grabbing the camera was the most supportive action!

BAGMAN:  "Has anyone ever noticed that when you explore something with your tongue it seems much larger than if you explore it with you fingers?"

BUTLER: "You are talkng about cavities, I assume."

Bagman does have a point.  It has often seemed to me that the irregularities of my teeth always seem huge when I run my tongue over them and smaller when I put my fingers in my mouth.  Not that I put my fingers in my mouth very often! 

How about this?

BUTLER: "That's more of a reflection, or a refraction of light in oil."

"But it is the smooth texture of the oil that makes that happen?  Yes?"
BUTLER: "Inferred texture is not texture." 

BAGMAN:  "And I wasn't necessarily talking about cavities.  So there!"

So, once again, growing tired of another debate in the halls of Bagman and Butler, I decide to post my last pictures -- Because sometime texture can refer to the entire feeling of life from day to day.   And these days I am enjoying exploring the "texture of retirement."

Standing in the back yard, holding the camera out and pointing it back at my new and at least temporarily more hairy self.  

I've also cleaned out 2/3 of my dress shirts, ties, and jackets, keeping only enough for some unanticipated need.  T-shirts, shorts and bare feet!  Whoo hoo.  If I keep the beard, I may have to change my header someday -- or just photoshop in some hair. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some dreams are difficult to leave...

One morning, when my grandmother was in her early eighties, she said, "Sometimes when I first wake up, before I remember, I think I'm fifteen."

I don't remember my response to her, or if I even made one.  But I remember her comment.

For some reason, last night, everyone in the house was up and down all night and I ended up in the livingroom in the recliner with Conner on my lap watching some movie about a dog in Australia.  Eventually he went back to his bed -- Conner, not the dog -- and I drifted off and...

I was walking to history class with a couple of girl who were obsessing about the "all or nothing" quiz we were going to have to take this morning.  The class had been doing poorly and the teacher had become fed up.  She had warned us that today's quiz would only have five questions but that anyone who failed it would fail for the entire year. 

"Oh my God," said one of the girls.  "If I miss more than one question, I won't be able to go to Penn State in the Fall!"  

I smiled at her in a fatherly way -- even in my dreams some part of me knows that I'm 65.   "There's an advantage to having your career behind you instead of ahead of you."  

She stuck out her tongue at me.  "Maybe not that much of an advantage," I agreed. "But at least I'm not sweating the test."

We arrived and the teacher was handing out individual test to each of us by name and she handed me a single piece of paper and a pencil.  I recognized it as the same test we had taken a week before.  She had written her comments in red in the margins.   "Just redo the questions you got wrong the last time," she instructed.

I found a place to sit near a window off to the left of her and began to read her general comments at the top of the page.  I really wanted to do well for her.  The red pencil marks were small and hard to read but my eyes were glued to them.  "Pretty good but you can do better.  Don't rush.  I really want you to pass because I can't stand the thought of you leaving the class.  I still remember the moment you walked in..."

I looked up.  The way she turned her head back to a conversation she was having with a fellow teacher was so smooth I could hardly be sure she had been watching me.  She had short auburn hair and was wearing a thin summer dress. 

I began to make corrections but it was so hard to concentrate.  Question number 3 was a short essay about a Greek and Roman war.  I had flubbed it before.  Her comment in the margin was:  "You really need to put in more facts, dates, names.  It doesn't matter that I love you, you still need to show you understand the material." 

And then I woke up, still sitting in the recliner.   The television was still on and I was staring at Spongebob Squarepants.  My heart was aching.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Friday Shoot-out: EARTH DAY!!

"Hooray for Earth Day!" I scream loudly, walking into the Bagman and Butler studio.

BAGMAN:  "This is going to be political, isn't it?  You're going to tell me I can't eat meat or something."

BUTLER: "Cool it, Baggie.  Mark just wants our beautiful planet to be available for his grandchildren.  What's political about that?"

BAGMAN: "As long as we don't get into some long discussion about saving the whales."

"But they are rather nice," I protest, posting a picture from my archives from off the coast of Boston.

BUTLER:  "Do you have any new ones?  Or is this going to be all old archive stuff."

"But I really was a better photographer back then...poorer equiptment but more energy."

BAGMAN:  "As long as it doesn't get political."

"Eureka!"  I shout.  "I found a picture I took on the very first Earth Day." 
It was more political then.

And not so fashionable.

BUTLER:  "And you should have had someone else develop your negatives because yours are all pretty thin."

BAGMAN:  "Hey!  We had a darkroom then and we always had a gallon of Tavola Red Wine to give us inspiration!"

BUTLER:  "Yes, that would explain the thin negatives and lousy focus."

"But don't you think we've made progress over the years in saving the Earth?"

BUTLER: "At least you stopped drinking!  But don't you have any recent shots from this week?  Or are you going to rely on archives for the rest of your life?"

"This is fairly new," I protest.

BUTLER: "You posted it over a year ago!"

BAGMAN:  "Hey!  Polution can be beautiful!"

"This is only a few months old.  And it shows the harvest of the sea!"

BUTLER:  "But you told us you were going to try and shoot something new each week."

"Okay," I acquiesce. 

BAGMAN: "What kind of a pseudo intellectual uses 'acquiesce' ?"

Ignoring the jibe, I decide to post a few things that almost fit with the theme.  Because I want the Earth to be around so my grandchildren can teach their grandchildren how to fish and there will still be fish to be caught.

Uncle Barclay teaches Conner to fish


Caught one!  Annabelle wants it badly!

Conner is not quite sure if he wants to touch it.

But finally risks it.

And, yes, we released it back to it's home environment which we hope will be safe from pollution and global warming...

BAGMAN:  "Politics!!!!"

...for years to come.  So it can eventually teach it's fishy grandchildren how to be caught and touched by children learning to fish.  

And we will miss Uncle Barclay terribly!!  He has been living with us for several months while he finished up medical school at MUSC.  But will be leaving in June to begin his 7-year residency in emergency surgery at a hospital in Seattle Washington.

I've mentioned Barclay before.  The son of my wife's best friend, I watched him grow up and now am in complete awe of him.  Not content with the mere challenges of medical school, he has been doing voluntary treatment in Nepal and research in Kenya and the Sudan to help eradicate disease -- and he is a great supporter (yes, Bagman, politically) of the Earth and everything that lives on it.

A fond farewell kiss for the fish before sending it home.

BAGMAN: "Maybe he just thought it might turn into a beautiful princess."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How the Civil War really began -- Re-enacting

Last week was the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War -- the bombardment of Fort Sumter!

Having worked in and around state and local government in Charleston, South Carolina for the past 13 years, I have gained a gut understanding of why the "War of Aggression" began in South Carolina and, more specifically, Charleston.   South Carolina politicians know more about everything than anyone else in the world -- including each other.  

There has been a lot of rancor in the editorial pages locally about so much hoopla around Fort Sumter.  Fuel has been added to the fire about whether the South seceded over slavery or the state's right to make its own decisions. Re-enactors mostly argue it was over State's Rights.  I tend to agree.  Of course it was over the State's Right to own slaves!  It would be nice if there is just as much hoopla and celebration over the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War!

BAGMAN:  "Can you get off the soapbox and show the re-enactment!"

BUTLER:  "And educate us all about what really happened?"

Certainly.  I was just making some commentary so I didn't feel guilty about not boycotting the Fort Sumter thing.  But re-enactors had brought in cannons from all over the Unites States and they were making big booming noises and I wanted to take pictures of something this week. 

So anyhow.  Here is the real story.  Re-enactors don't lie because they like to do everything the way it was done back then.  They sleep in tents on straw mats in between collecting money from tourists.  The die hard re-enactors, they tell me, actually wear woolen underwear under their uniforms.

First of all the Civil War would have started months earlier but the politicians could't come to agreement over what they wanted to call themselves.  Were they going to be a confederacy, a republic, a renegade band, or a utopia.   Many wanted to call themselves a Union but that name was already taken.  Of course that didn't stop the labor movement from using it many years later. 

Discussing whether they should shoot at Yankees today or tomorrow and arguing over the best laundry detergent for woolen underpants.  They are also arguing over whether uniforms should be red or grey. 

Which brings up one question I've never understood.  If war hadn't been declared yet and the Confederacy wasn't a Confederacy yet -- where did the first uniforms come from?   Did they sew really fast so they would look good?  Or had they been making uniforms for years on the off chance that their might be a war sometime.  

But eventually they pitched their artillary battery camps on high bluffs overlooking Charleston Harbor and the historic Fort Sumter -- although it wasn't historic yet.   It is also very difficult to find high bluffs anywhere around here, so any small hill had to suffice.

Unlike later battles, the strategy was not rocket science.  This was handy since rockets had not yet become really popular.  They lined their cannons up and from what I could see at the re-enactment they spent a lot of time fiddling around with them and admiring them.

The head guy in charge stood back way from the cannon fiddling in order to keep a broad perspective and appear aloof and special, thinking about strategy and where he might find a better tailor. 

The Confederacy survived not on grits as historians have thought, but on Kellogs Corn Pops and bottled water.  Either that or the re-enactor that lived in this tent was not one of those who had woolen underwear.

Eventually they fired the cannons.  (Butler wanted me to note that the re-enactors actually fired the first shot at 6:45 in the morning to maintain historical accuracy.  But I did not get up that early.  I also don't own any woolen underwear.)

Another fact is that not a single Union soldier died at Fort Sumter during the bombardment, although one was killed during the surrender when the Confederacy allowed the Union troops to fire a salute and his gun exploded.   The Fort suffered damage but no-one was killed.  This always seemed strange until I attended the re-enactment and noticed two little known facts.

First, despite much fiddling and the broad perspective of the guy in charge, their aim seemed to pull slightly to the right.

Secondly, if you look carefully you will see that the Union Troops had protected Fort Sumter by arranging to have a large container ship, containing cheap plastic toys from China, pull in front of the Fort to shield it from the cannons.

Another little known fact is that, shortly after the bombardment began, the Mount Pleasant Police Department arrived. 

"We're not doing anything, officer.  Just having a little fun."

"Besides!  They started it with all that emancipation stuff!"

But after some more political wrangling and debate over the town's noise ordinance...

...the Confederacy moved it's cannons to an area that was zoned for loud noises. 

And that is how the Civil War actually began. 

(My apologies, in advance -- or maybe after the fact -- to Civil War re-enactors who might feel I am making fun of a very serious subject or to History buffs who may not feel my account is accurate.  But I've been told that re-enactors are very true to history and these were my observations and my own interpretations of what I saw.)  


Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Shootout - Places of worship

This will be a short entry.  I'm using my blog time to do a tongue-in-cheek blog on Charelston's 150th anniversary celebration of the firing on Fort Sumter...

I've got some archive cathedral shots but I think I've posted the best ones already. 

Thinking about my own places of worship, there is one that stands out. 

For years, Karen and I have had a daily ritual -- mostly on weekdays -- in the mornings.  Whoever leaves first, will call the other one and we share a short daily reading over the cellphone and then take turns praying.  My prayers are usually pretty short and based on a suggestion from Alcoholics Anonymous that we pray "only for knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out."

I don't go to church a lot and have to process a little bit of guilt about that, particularly in the Southern U.S. bible belt.   When I do go to church, I enjoy the prayer, the praise, the music, the environment -- but I usually have difficulty with sermons or sunday school lessons.  

This is because that, while I have an unshakeable belief in God and a sense of God's presence in my life, I have real difficulty with people who can define God and teach God's truth...this is good, this is bad...God likes this, God doesn't like that...

In fact, I even have difficulty with myself when I think too hard about what God is and what God isn't.  It seems to me that if God is really God -- the God of the whole Universe and not just the God of America, apple pie, and football teams -- then trying too hard to understand Him (Her, It, They) is a bit futile. 

I tend to think that the mosquito that lands on my arm and gets some sustainance from my blood is capable of understanding everything about me as about as much as I am capable of understanding everything about God.  So I pray a lot, meditate some, and have a consistent sense of a relationship beyond myself, but I try not to define it.  

And I try to avoid theological debates. 

But since this is actually a photoshoot, I will take one shot that I know I've used before but I rather like it so will risk repeating it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Diggy and Conner at the Doctor's Office

Subtitle:  Nana would have remembered to bring a spare diaper

Since I now have the dubious distinction of being the only person in the house without a job, I am learning many new skills.   And as schedules of the employed intertwined like kudzu, I found myself picking up Conner from daycare and taking him for a doctor's visit.  

Being a capable fellow, my self-confidence doesn't begin to fail me until I pull into the parking lot where I realize that I don't remember Conner's birthday.  The medical profession is obsessed with birthdays.  The first question healthcare professionals learn to ask in medical school is "When were you (he/she) born?" 

OMG!  What will Karen (Melody/Brian) think of me?!!  But in my defense, I don't remember anybody's birthday.  It's one of my genetic defects.  

And since this is a new doctor, the first thing I am given is a clipboard with papers that I need to fill out.  The first question after name and address of patient is date of birth.  My heart sinks as I write:  "Approximately two an a half years ago."

Conner and I are in the children's waiting room where I am sitting on a tiny chair which only supports 45% of my butt.  Conner is happily exploring a variety of broken toys when he looks up and makes that half-smiling scrunchy face that we all recognize instantly as...well, you know.  

At which point my self-confidence further declines with the realization that I failed to bring an extra diaper.  I finish writing down emergency contact numbers on the form and wondering if I should call them,  Odor fills the room and I'm glad we are alone.  Conner smiles at me blithely assuming that I have the solution.

I carry him gingerly to the front desk and ask if they might have a spare diaper.  They don't, of course, but they smile weakly at me with a mixture of sympathy and condescension..  Poor old grandpa.  One of the nurses appears to be silently wondering if the needed diaper is for Conner or me. 

I go back to the children's waiting room and wonder if we can just wait it out while I continue filling out the form:

Does he use tobacco or drink alcohol?   Not as far as I know.

Is he allergic to anything?    Bedtime and vegetables.

Has he ever had surgery?  His umbilical cord was cut.

Does he suffer from insomnia?  No, he does not appear to suffer although the rest of us in the house do.

Constipation?  OBVIOUSLY NOT! 

Which brings me back to the current dilemma.  Conner has now stopped playing and is standing in front of me with wide wondering eyes.  Waiting for me to do something. 

Plan B.   So I carry him even more gingerly than before to the unisex bathroom where I find a changing station hanging on the wall.   I open it up and lay him down on it.  I am really really hoping that he has delivered one of those nice solid little poopies that I might remove and somehow salvage the diaper.

No such luck!  (Editor's note:  Long, nnauseating description of catastrophic diaper has been deleted.) 

So after using an entire role of toilet paper in the unisex bathroom, I returned to the reception desk to report that I now had a relatively clean patient but that he no longer had a diaper under his shorts. 

Here is where I learned a wonderful strategy for increased efficiency which I will pass along to any reader who would like to take advantage of it.   If you are in a doctor's office with a toddler who has no diaper, you get incredibly fast service!   No more waiting room.  They even accepted my incomplete questionnaire! 

We were out of there in less than ten minutes!   VIP Service!  (Very incontinent person).

All that remained for me to do was go home and beg for mercy.

"I can't believe you forgot to take an extra diaper!"

"I can't believe you didn't remember your own grandson's birthday!"

I sit and smile.  Across the room I notice that Conner's face is turning red and he is making that scrunchy smile again.   I quietly get up and go walk the dogs.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I think I've mentioned this sometime in some earlier post....

BAGMAN:  "After a certain point, you can't remember everything you've said."

BUTLER: "You could go back and look it up."

BAGMAN:  "Why?"

In any case, I have always loved lightening.  My grandmother told me that my mother was terrified of lightening and didn't want me to have the same fear.   So according to my grandmother, when I was a baby and there were thunderstorms, my mother would take me to the window and tell me how beautiful the sky was when it lit up.  

We get lots of afternoon thunderstorms in South Carolina...and I love them.   Sometimes I'll go out and stand in the back yard...unless Karen catches me...just feeling the power. 

Over the weekend, a fairly typical thunderstorm blew through early in the morning before dawn.   Counting the seconds between flash and thunder, the nearest strikes several miles away and fading.  Karen, Noah, and I were in the livingroom and she was trying to get his attention to watch the sky light up.  He wasn't much interested.


Then there was a huge simultaneous Flash-Boom that made us all jump (even a lightening lover such as myself). 

"Wow!" I said.

"That was close!" Karen said.

"Nnnnn oooo fooble," Noah said.

Oddly, our neighbors, five houses down, never heard it!  They told me they have double insulated windows and slept through the whole thing.  I think they must sleep deeply enough to qualify for the Guiness Book of World Records. 

The flash-bang could not have been simultaneous.  I figured it out.  They live about 675 feet away.  At 1,126 feet per second, there must have been a .599 second gap between the flash and the boom from where we were. 

Karen reminded me that .599 seconds is still not enough time for me duck if I was wandering about outside. 

I'm sorry for the neighbor's tree, but I still love lightening.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Shootout - Shapes

Well, I'm excited about this one!  I've been looking through pictures and discovering shapes in them!  So many great shapes that it is impossible to choose.  Obviously, I need the help of Bagman and Butler who are now speaking to me again. 

I bound into the office and spew 100 images across the floor with a flourish.  "Which ones should I use?"

BAGMAN:  "Too early!  I can't cope with someone who bounds and spews before coffee."

BUTLER (Eyeing me seriously over his reading glasses):  "You can't use any of them."

"Huh?" I reply articulately.

BUTLER: "It's not a shootout.  It's a scavenger hunt and they were very specific about the rules."

The word "rules" is a more powerful stimulant for Bagman than coffee and he bounds from his chair and begins spewing invectives.

BAGMAN (Spewing in an accent that is halfway between Jack Nicholson and Cheech and Chong): "RULES!  WE DON'T NEED NO BLEEPING RULES!"

BUTLER:  "First of all, you can't speak in an accent that is halfway between three people."

BAGMAN:  "Okay...Nicholson and Chong then.   But when have we ever followed rules?!"

BUTLER:  "Rules can be our friends.  Let's do it right for once.  Straight from the camera.  One picture for each shape and/or one picture showing all three shapes.  And taken somewhere near where we live. 

"Isn't the archive near where we live?" I protest feebly.

BAGMAN (whining in an accent that is halfway between Fran Dreiser and any unhappy child under ten):  "Okay, have it your way, you rigid geek.  Here!  Use this one and be done with it!"

BUTLER:  "It's from the archives!  Secondly, it is obvious that Mark did not even take it!  Thirdly it is a star!  We're supposed to find a triangle, a square, and circle!"

"Hey!  I remember that shot!"  I say.  "I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard in L.A. and found a star that said 'Mark and Brian' although it is hard to see the 'Mark' because of the glare."

BAGMAN:  "Mark and Brian?  Never heard of them.  Present company excepted."

BUTLER:  "They've been doing a comedy radio show on KLOS-FM since 1985 although I'm not sure why they deserve a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.   In any case, I'm disqualifying the photo because a star isn't on the scavenger hunt list."

BAGMAN:  "But there's a circle in the middle!"

Meanwhile, I've decided that this banter has been going on far too long and we haven't even posted a picture, so I post the only one that fits.

"How about this?  It's from the circus on Sunday in Ladsen which is pretty close to where we live.  I think it has all the shapes.  I took is specifically for the scavenger hunt.  Does this qualify?"

BUTLER (pondering):  "Is it straight from the camera?   You didn't photoshop it?"

I hesitate, trying to remember. Defensively, I reply, "Well, I might have adjusted the exposure and sharpness a little but you have to do that when shooting in RAW because it I was shooting in JPG, the camera itself would have made some adjustments.  So I was just doing what the camera would have done so it's almost like it was straight from the camera."

BUTLER (cross-examining in an accent halfway between Matlock and Perry Mason -- I know, I know, I have no idea what that would sound like either):  "And....?"

Staring guiltily at my feet, I respond in a whisper, "I might have cropped it a little."

BUTLER:  "Busted!!!  A little?!!!   You cropped it so much that you changed it from a horizontal picture to a vertical picture!  I have the original evidence!"

I hang my head in shame and throw myself on the mercy of the court.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Circus was FUN -- sort of, maybe...

But the circus was in town.  And Conner and Noah had never been. 

Charleston does not get the Ringling Brothers 3-Ring Extravaganza under the Big Top (at least not this time).  We get the Cole Brothers, 2-Ring Moderatevaganza under the Medium Top. 

The Cole Brother's Circus -- Since 1882 -- Bringing new and exotic ways of parting parents from their money!

We didn't let the pickets from PETA with boycott signs stop us.  Although I did feel appropriately guilty.  But I pushed the thoughts away and wondered whether I might find some circles or triangles or squares for Friday.

Maybe the elephant's toenails were kind of circular...

But are these normal cuticles or signs of mistreatment.  Feeling guilty again.
(But I did find a circle nearby -- but will hold it for Friday)

Picture with the tall clown --
Karen is still smiling in this one.

For the price of a prime time first run movie, Conner got to ride a pony because everyone else was getting to ride a pony.  For 2 minutes.  

...and he doesn't even look that happy to be doing it!
Perhaps because...

On his first trip around the circle he saw kids riding a camel
and wanted to trade up.   Excitement to frustration in 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, I was trying to shoot circles and triangles and squares...

I'll throw this one in here...and save the better one for Friday.

Meanwhile, the devious circus vendors convinced Conner to force his grandparents to shell out more outrageous money...

...because the kid in the seat behind us had one.
(I'm just grateful that circus people don't have control over gas prices.)

And we misjudged Noah, of course.  He has grown out of babyhood just enough to know that he wants what Conner has!  Consequently a running tug-of-war began that went on for the duration of the circus.

Noah's death grip!
Karen is no longer smiling...pleading but not smiling.

I should really not give the wrong idea.  When the circus actually started, the boys were mesmerized.  I couldn't take any pictures, however, because Conner was standing up on my lap and waving his hands, clapping, yelling encouragement and literally shaking with excitement at the lions, the dogs in pink tutu's, the horses and...well, not so much when the camels came in because he was struggling to get off my lap to run down and get the ride he had been deprived of. 

He really did have a wonderful time jumping up and down on my thighs -- which stull ache.  It must have been a good show although most of what I saw was the back of his shirt. 

Oh yes...and...

...Bagman got to take a shot.

BAGMAN:  Hot stuff!

BUTLER:  Cool down, Baggie.  It's just a circle!

Monday, April 4, 2011

And then came the clean-up

Karen's friend Mary came over Sunday for their weekly morning walk and brought her new puppy, Jasmine.  Afterwards we were all sitting on the porch.  I was just snapping pictures left and right without paying much attention to focus. 

BUTLER:  You've forgotten how the camera works anyhow...

BAGMAN:  But you can rationalize that there is a certain lifelike action affect...

BUTLER:  Sure.  You can rationalize anything.

Anyhow, Jasmine was bored.

Surely there must be something to do.
Wait a minute -- what is that clicking thing.

Lick the camera!  Can I lick the camera?

Jasmine:  Okay!  I'll just drink from the waterbowl.
Conner:  That water is too plain.  It needs something.  I've seen Mark wash seashells in that bowl.
                      I'll goahead and fill it with seashells and maybe some dirt.
Karen:    Oh no!  We need to get some fresh water for the dogs.  They can't drink that.

At this point, the decision that changed the future was made.  The water bowl was picked up and placed on the white bench until it could be refreshed.  Conner, of course, immediately found something else to do.

Get the stick!!! 

Run away with the stick!

Jasmine is catching up...door is closed...I'm trapped!

Oh boy!  Stick!  I'm gonna get the stick!

I've almost got the stick!

(Editors note: Follow the red arrows and you will see a patch of yellow.  It may remind you of the yellow water bowl filled with water, shells and dirt.)

And what you can't see in this picture is a gallon of muddy water which is, at this moment, pouring under Conner and Jasmine...and then came the clean-up.

Conner thought it was hilarious.  He loves water in all shapes and forms.  In fact, he may have done this on purpose. 

And Jasmine never got the stick.