Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pickpockets -- three stories in two parts (Part 1 or 2)

NanU over at Have Genes, Will Travel, one of our favorite friends at the Butler and Bagman Clubhouse except that Bagman spells her blog "Have Jeans, Will Travel"...he likes Jeans.   Where was I? 

Oh yes, her recent excellent travelogue mentioned pickpockets and reminded me of the three times I had encounters, sort of, with them.   Of course, as a teenager, I loved magic and for some reason thought it would be great if I could be a pick-pocket.  I don't know now why I connected the two.   I don't think I wanted to rob people; I just wanted to really deftly fingered. 

BAGMAN: "Well, I should add that mmphmhppmh"  (Butler silenced him before he could go off on any kind of deftly fingered tangent.   Where was I?


The first time I came in contact with a pickpocket, not counting bad stock investments, was in Baranguilla, Colombia during Carnival in 1972.  They must have been very clumsy pickpockets because this was before I found A.A. and was certainly quite drunk at the time.   I was dancing down the street with other revelers.

And suddenly two men came barging through the crowd banging into people.  One of them pushed the other hard into me.  "Hey, watch out!"  I yelled.  They both began apologizing profusely although I hadn't taught myself any Spanish yet so they might been calling me names.  But they were loud and physical and one was offering me a drink from his rum bottle.  I almost took it when I felt someone fooling around with my butt, more toward my back pocket where my wallet was kept.  I spun around and grabbed for him.  But he was gone.  When I turned around the other two were gone too.   Darn!  And I never even got to swig from the proffered bottle.  But my wallet was still intact.  The advantage of wearing tight jeans.

The second time was in 1997 in Paris.

By then I was sober and had wanted to go to an A.A. meeting.  So Karen agreed to accompany me and we were trying to find our way through the underground at rush hour.  Waiting for the train, I noticed a poor little girl of eight or nine who looked lost.  I kept looking around for her mother and wondering if she had lost her daughter in the crowd.  But I could see no-one.  And the train came into the station, stopped, the doors opened and the crowd rushed it.

I pushed Karen in first, squeezed back against her, figuring I was the last person on the car, when the little girl tried to get in too.  I was afraid for her and was looking desparately around for her mother.  I spoke a little French from back when I got a D+ in high school but looked down to try and ask the girl where her mother was.

And, of course, the little girl was busy trying to rummage through my fanny pack.  I have since learned that fanny packs are giant billboards that proclaim to the world: "I am a tourist!  I am an idiot!  Rob me!"   But she also got nothing and once again, my grasp was too late and she slipped back into the waiting crowd in the station to look for more fanny packs.  Her mother, I now guessed was back at the house counting money.

But two pickpockets in 40 years isn't bad.  So I still maintain a good feeling and trust about 99.9% of the human race.  But when I'm in a crowd I never wear a fanny pack and almost always keep my wallet in my front pocket.   Although I sometimes think it would be fun to walk around in a big urban crowd with a fanny pack filled with spiders. 

Oh yes...there was a third pickpocket...sort of. 

But I'll talk about him tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Hometown Shootout -- LOOKING UP AND LOOKING DOWN


All week long people have been telling how agreeable I seem.  Then I realized that I've been trying to find shots for today's post -- looking up, looking down, looking up, looking down -- and people just think I'm just nodding in agreement with everything they say. 

This morning, my wife took advantage of it.

"I didn't get to the bank yesteday," she said.

(hmm...that wallpaper is kind of interesting...)

Do you have any cash in your wallet that I could borrow?"

(Kind of goes with the shell motif...)

"Thanks for agreeing.  I'll leave you a couple of ones."

So as Karen gets ready to go out with all my money, I wonder how to spend my morning before going to work and look out the back door and am further discouraged by the sticky balls all over the grass.

I hate these balls that fall off the sticky-ball tree (I'm sure the tree has an actual name but I hate it too much to research it).  If I am forgetful enough to walk out barefoot, I pay the price.  If I wear shoes, I stomp them into the ground where they are harder to rake up.  But it rained last night so I hope that finally they have all come down and maybe this is the end of them -- I've already raked up three bags full over the last week!  I look up hoping to see that the end is near.

Only ten million to go!  Drat!

"I was going to help you rake the balls but you seem so agreeable and happy about it, I'll just go on to work," she says.  

"Huh?  Oh yes."  I nod.

"Are you nodding because you're okay with raking by yourself or are you looking for another picture to take?"  Karen asks.

I nod.  I don't really know why I am nodding by now.  She leaves.  I look up for a picture.  I look down for a picture.  I never see her in the horizontal plane where she is blowing me a kiss.

But, at least it is a nice day.  The dawn is pretty when I look up.

And pretty when I look down.

I'm glad Karen has left because she's already a little bothered about why I take so many pictures of the neighbors' house across the pond.  I don't even know the family.  But their house is where the reflections are.  She thinks they must suspect that I am spying on them. 

But soon, I head off for work across the Ravenel Bridge, a recent Charleston landmark.  Of course, bobble-heading, I look down.

Then I look up

Then I look further up

Then I look really uppity up...

And almost sideswipe a man in a Blue Altima


Somewhat shook, I decide that I should watch the road, stop shooting, and just think about some archive shots.  I was trying this week to avoid archive shots and shoot more, but while I'm driving it is safer to use the archive...and the shape of the bridge reminds me of

which reminds me of looking up at the St. Louis Arch in 1985

Except I guess I was looking confusing....

No confusion here.  Vertigo, but no confusion.

But enough of archives.  I've arrived at work.  I look up and see my window with my cactus.


 I look up and wave at it.

It looks down and waves back

I eschew the elevator and take the stairs feeling proud of myself because for the first time in my life I've actually used the word "eschew" in a sentence.   Twice, in the same sentence.

I go up the stairs.  I turn around and...

...go down the stairs.  Very short work day.  Wish I was at the beach.

Driving home, I avoid accidents again and think about the beach and succomb to more archives from last summer.

When my daughter visited (you have to look close)

Rediscovering her roots.


OMG!   The sound rips me from my revery and despite my decision to keep my eyes on the road, I can't help looking up.   One of the C-130's from our airbase is heading for Haiti.  Or Afganistan  Or Irag   Or maybe they are just training.  Or going for pizza.   I don't know...only that it is LOUD!!!  I stare up at it, put my fingers in my ears, and


...Honk! Screech! Honk! Honk! "Hey, Jerkface! Look where you're going!"


In my rear view mirror, I see a blue Altima skidding into the grass median.  A man is waving his fist but I can't hear him too well with the plane flying over.  He must have been yelling at somebody else. 

But this second close encounter causes me to slow way down while driving home. 

Not really.   But I need to say that in order to assist the reader with what I learned in one of my college creative writing courses.  I think it was called the "suspension of disbelief."   According to the professor, this was what the writer had to create in the reader.  So when something unbelieveable happens in a book, the reader will believe it anyway.  I could never understand why they just didn't call it the "establishment of belief" instead of making up some fancy double negative term for it, but I did get it right on the final exam and, remarkably, still remember it.  So by telling you that I drove very very slowly, I am hoping to get you to suspend your disbelief when I tell you that it was already dark when I got home. 

BUTLER:  "What thinking person would ever believe that?  All you did at work was walk upstairs and downstairs.  By the time the plane flew over, it couldn't have been more than 10:00 a.m.!   To make it dark by the time you get home, you would have had to drive 5 miles per hour on the Interstate!"

BAGMAN: "Suspend your freaking disbelief!  If he says it was dark when he got home, it was dark!"

Anyhow, having driven slowly -- and stopped for gas (does that help?) -- it was dark by the time I finally got home.   And I was able to play with a great application on my new fancy Droid phone.   It's called Google Sky. 


This is an amazing little gadget that uses GPS to figure out where I am.  It knows the time and date so it can orient itself .  When I point it at the sky, it will display and name whatever constellations or planets I'm looking at.   Of course, normally, when I am looking at this screen, I am looking up.  But I had to use a time exposure to shoot it so I had to use a tripod and put it on the ground.  

So it is looking down.  And WOW!  It even knows it is looking down and tells me it is pointing to the Nadir.   Brilliant little Droid.  It tells me that I would be enjoying the sight of  the constellations Ankaa and Diphda except the entire planet Earth is blocking my view.   I've never seen Ankaa or Diphda but those of you in the Southern Hemisphere might know them. 

I'm used to Orion and Gemini, so I take Droidman, the amazing brain extender, and look up to find them.

Darn.  Too cloudy to look at stars tonight.

BUTLER: "Excuse me, Mark, but where did the clouds come from?  There were hardly any clouds when the plane flew over."

BAGMAN: "Can't you suspend anything?!!  Weather changes!  He drove slow!  He stopped for gas!"

So, as Bagman and Butler argue, I am walking around in the dark, looking for a break in the clouds so I can use the Droid to find the Pliades.   Looking up, I step on some sticky balls, lose my balance, and stagger flailingly into the street.

"Honk! Screech! Honk! Honk!  Hey, Jerkface! Look where you're going!  Oh no!  Not you again!"


Thursday, January 28, 2010

At home in the world of sleep

I enjoying my days...most of them, anyway.  But I also love to sleep.  Mostly because of dreaming. 

Ever since I made peace with dinosaurs, bears, evil soldiers and other characters that used to create nightmares when I was an adolescent, my dreams have mostly been interesting, with only enough anxiety to keep the plots moving.

I haven't done it for a year or so but for periods in my life I even kept a computerized database of dreams with verious fields for keywords, names, places, object so that I could cross reference them and see how images in my dreams related over long periods of time.

Yes.  I'm a geek.

I've never tried to interpret dreams because I have a gut feeling that the real purpose of dreams is to interpret me, not vice versa.   So I just watch them.  Kind of like Louis and Clark exploring an unknown land. 

Having gone to sleep now for approximately 23,239 nights (plus an unknown number of naps and minus a handfull of all-nighters), I've identified several common threads --

My deams often involve
  1.  exploring strange wilderness places
  2.  driving various vehicles
  3.  flying
  4.  discovering, in public places, that I've forgotten to put on my pants
  5. hanging out with famous people
  6. and, of course, lots of romance and sex
One thing that has amazed me is the number of ways that water shows up in my dreams.  I can be drinking it, swimming in it, walking around puddles.  It can be ice, snow, rain.  I would say that some form of water appears in almost 80% of my dreams.

And there are a batch of locales that show up enough so that as soon as I see them, I'm right at home.  There is a long forest path (sometimes a road, sometimes on a mountain).   And there is an old apartment building that is very interesting, inhabited by lots of wonderful women.  Sometimes, however, it is on fire and sometimes it is made of cardboard or molding wood that makes walking around a challenge.  And finally there is a fascinating museum or antigue store -- often associated with underground passages.  

During the last few years, I seem to have become part of a big, extended family.  They seem to be of a Slavic ancestery.   They love me a lot and I'm usually in love with or planning to marry one or more of a wide assortment of women of all ages. 

And finally in almost all of my dreams there are three main characters -- myself, a kind of masculine shadow self, and a woman.  Sometimes I will begin the dream as myself and suddenly shift into the other male character, interacting back with myself. 

I suppose with all this accumulated dream experience, I could breeze through psychiatric analysis.  But I'd rather just enjoy them.   Sometimes I feel very lucky that I'm experience all 24 hours of each day, both awake and asleep. 

Yes, I'm probably crazy. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Checking in

Just thought I'd say hello. 

I kept meaning to post something in the mornings but then I'd fiddle some more with the Friday shootout thing.   And with all this looking up and looking down, my neck is pretty sore. 

Maybe a good theme for the Friday Hometown Shootout would be..."My hometown as seen from the couch." 

Anyway...just thought I'd check in.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ding ding rattle buzz and now we'll sing our ABC's

Our grandson, Conner, who turned one last month, has transformed Karen into a Yard Sale Dervish. 

I could pretend to complain about being dragged out at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, but I came home with three beautiful frames for a dollar apiece so I need to be silent.  But this blog isn't about yard sales.  It's about sound.

With one exception, all of the toys in this picture contain little chips and batteries and they sing and talk and make noises.   The exception is the old wooden chest.  But it is full of even more hollow pieces of bright plastic that contain minature sound boards.  

I remember when Brian was a bit older than Conner and we were doing Santa Claus at one 'o'clock in the morning and I was trying to assemble a Big Wheel tricycle and wondering if the instructions would make more sense in the Spanish version.  I came to Step 123.f.3 which read: "Using screw C attach motor sound clapper H1 to Wheel K12."   Just before I began to attach it, I thought to myself, "You idiot!  You don't actually have to do EVERYTHING the instructions say.   It could be a quieter tricycle. 

Today the sounds are built in.  In fact there are two of Conner's toys that are touch activated.  These are the ones I always brush against when I get up to retreive the TV remote which Conner has put under the couch. 

Last week, I was telling Brian about my Christmas Eve sabotage of his Big Wheel.  He laughed and said he really understood.  Then he said, "But, you know, my friends had these things and I always just thought mine was broken."  

Santa Claus appropriately apologized, and walking into the kitchen for a soda, brushed against the magic shopping cart thingamabob (not pictured above) which responded by saying, "Let's sing a song!!"  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Daisy's breathtaking rescue from the the terrible stick

It began like any other morning walk. 

I got her leash, one of those spring operated expandable leashes which give her much more room to run.  Daisy is getting a little less exciteable, nervous, hyper, crazy every day she stays with us and it won't be long before we can let her run, trusting her to come when we call. 

Once she sees that I have the leash, she is happy and enthusiastic and immediately runs to Karen.  She just comes to me if Karen is out but when Karen is in the house, Daisy does nothing without checking with Karen first.  Daisy and I are friends, but Daisy and Karen are bonded with super-glue.  Once Karen sent her back in my direction, we went out around the house where she did what she was suppose to do and then she caught distant sight of a squirrel in the neighbors yard.  

Off she went, tearing in circles while I held on to the leash like a fisherman reeling in a rainbow trout, assuming the trout had hair and looked like an opposum.   As she splashed through leaves, however, her trailing leash caught the crook of a stick, which bounced off the ground into the air.  Catching sight of it, she bounced off the ground and into the air and tripled her speed. 

And somehow, the stick -- instead of snapping -- got caught in her leash and went with her. 

Looking backward at the bouncing wooden devil, she broke the sound barrier while I took off running to see if I could grab the stick and break it free.   I no longer run like I used to.  It is more of a fast bungle. 
Nobody was looking where they were going.  Daisy was looking back at it and running away from it.  I was looking at it and trying to catch it.  But since we were all on the same line, nobody was making any progress and the bouncing, dancing stick seemed to be having all the fun. 

Since we weren't looking where we were going, we just missed one tree and went completely through one small bush before the geometric realization came to me that I had to change the distance between me and the stick by shortening the leash and I pulled back.

Daisy, of course, interpreted this to mean that I was siding with the stick and was making her stop so it could catch her.   She let out a blood curdling yelp that I swear sounded like, "Kaaaarrren!"  

But I tackled the stick which still refused to give up its ride until I broke it into sections and freed the leash.  Seeing that I was breaking the stick gave her a bit more confidence but as soon as we were inside, she immediately went to Karen and lay down at her feet, periodically shooting me evil looks. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hooray for the new paperless society

Computers were going to make us all paperless.   I've been blogging away, paperlessly for just over a year.   But...

Well, just in case someone in the future might want to read what has turned out to be a pretty weird but autobiographical journal of 2009...

I went ahead and pasted, copied, downloaded and printed it...

Dang!  A little over two reams of paper later...

Maybe I should blog alot less this year.

Or maybe I should just print next years journal in 6 point type.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday Hometown Shootout -- Sounds

(Both subtle cornyness and blatant cornyness)

Tough assignment, although the blind hike idea sounded great.  Butler, however, had already decided he didn't want to participate in sound photography.  And Bagman was angry at me because he had gone to great lengths to dress up like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music and I thought he was Debbie Reynolds.  So I had to go alone.  

Afterwards, sitting on my porch, bruised from head to toe from walking around in a blindfold, I looked at my backyard.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  But it was totally quiet.

But I began to concentrate less on what I saw...

...than what I heard.

Although it is winter, I heard a few birds chirping in various trees.

Then, from the house across the pond, I heard my neighbor's leaf blower.

A gust of wind came up and leaves rustled in trees and the wind chime rang.

I jumped up with excitement!  This is great!  I need to run downtown and see what Charleston sounds like!   I asked Bagman to come but he was listening to "The Sounds of Silence" on his iPod.  I gave him the thumbs up and said, "Sonny and Cher?"  

BAGMAN (Glaring back):  "Simon and Garfinkle, you idiot!"

Ignoring him, I headed downtown.

and I didn't even have to close my eyes

I'm sorry...I can't go on.  By the time I had wasted so much time going down this slapstick road, there was no turning back.  I was buried in photoshop layers and didn't know how to get out.

But as I was looking for stuff, I did find one old photo that did seem to personify a picture of sound...not city sound...just sound. 

So here it is...and I'm going back to bed.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Being excessively corny

I just finished by post for tomorrow's Hometown Photo Shootout on Sound. 

I feel (about tomorrow's post) the same way I sometimes do when I am in a business meeting and my compulsion to make a stupid, smartass comment starts working its way up my larynx like a verbal fart.  I know I shouldn't say it but the pressure is like gas pain and before you know it I've blurted out something.

In my own defense, it is never totally inappropriate and sometimes even clever.  But sometimes it is really just corny and dumb.  But it doesn't need to be said in a room full of people in coats and ties who are trying to be serious.  

Often it is just really corny.  Like tomorrow's shoot. 

People around the table stare blankly at me.  Sometimes they laugh.  Sometimes they just titter politely, particularly if I happen to be the senior manager in the room. 

I know that I am a humorous guy.  But I also know that it is more than that.  Being funny is not a bad addiction but it is an addiction.  When I think about it, it stems -- like many things -- from my mother's death when I was six.  From that early age onward, I found humor as a way of distancing myself.  There is a control aspect to it.  

I don't know if that makes sense.  

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I don't know what I'm going to say

I've gone completely dry.  Devoid of ideas.  Hopefully temporary.  It usually is.  

I seem to keep waking up around 5 a.m., well before the alarm goes off.    I guess I trained myself to do that so I could come up into the studio for some creative time before the regular day begins.  But the last couple of days I come up to the studio and sit in the chair like Rodin's Thinker...pretending to be pensive and thoughtful but actually possessing a brain of marble.  And I probably weigh more.  Maybe not.  The Thinker is stone, after all.  But I probably look like I weigh more. 

But I've got nothing to say.  No pictures to print.  No snap in the synapses.

So maybe I should take my own advice.  I'm pretty good at giving advice, maybe I might practice what I preach.  (Sometimes I dislike overused phrases like the plague.)  Or walk the walk.  Walk the talk?  Walk on a balk.  What, exactly is a balk anyway?   Maybe my mind is balking at being harnessed this morning.  But, I mean in baseball...I've never figured out exactly what the pitcher does or doesn't do that suddenly makes umpires run out waving baserunners around and coaches streaming out to scream at the umps.   It's a hesitation of some kind (or lack of hesitation) and has something to do with planting the foot.  That's all right, I also get confused by illegal formations in football.  And I don't understand cricket or rugby at all.  

Where was I.   Oh yes...following my own advice about writer's block.  Which is, "Just sit down and write anything.."    It is kind of like jump starting a car.   Fingers move on keyboard creating a kind of external energy and words appear on the screen and my mind, despite its balkiness, looks at the words and is forced to try and make sense of them. 

And sometimes I try and wake up Butler and Bagman because they help me think. 

BUTLER (softly from a dark corner):  I've been awake since 2. 

"Why didn't you say something?"

BUTLER:  "You didn't ask.   I did think of correcting you because you said you came up to the studio when you know very well that our office is "down."   You sleep on the top three floors of the old Victorian mansion, Bagman and I have our bedrooms off the dark hallway on the first floor, and the office is a plush library with a fireplace and three desks next to the waiting room where we entertain visitors by surprising them with the trap door to the swimming pool. 

"I was referring to my actual office that used to be Brian's room until he got married and I converted the ping pong table to a matte-cutting table."

BUTLER: "I'm sorry, sir. I didn't realize which reality you were in."

And now I am distracted and can't remember what I was going to say.  Which is far different from when I started and didn't know what I was going to say.  Not remembering infers that there was actually something to say in the first place.   Damn.  Stuck again. 

Although I have been thinking about a subject which is near and dear to my heart...maybe not so "dear".  It has to do with the origins of creativity and energy in my life.  How my sense of myself has changed over time.  But I'm not sure I'm quite ready to talk about it on blogspot even though advertisements on television talk about it all the time...erectile dysfu..."

WHAM!   Bagman explodes out of nowhere, his huge, hairy, smelly bulk slamming me backwards off my chair and onto the plush carpet.  My head bangs painfully against a fireplace poker.  Butler is screaming, "Illegal formation!"  I feel like I am about to swoon, which surprises me because I always thought that swooning was confined to the female of the species.  Just before I black out, I hear Bagman's voice, loud at first then fading away...

BAGMAN (pinning my typing fingers to the floor):  "NEVER!  NO!  Not that...not... that..."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Next week's shootout

Bagman, Butler and I are sitting in the B&B office scratching out heads and trying to figure out how to shoot next Friday's theme, so creatively picked by Nan -- "The Sounds of My Town."    Butler has already given up because he is a rather concrete thinker and has simply declared it an impossible theme.  Bagman is trying to get into the spirit by wearing a Debbie Reynolds wig, a bright dress, and spinning around singing, "The hills are alive with the sound of music." 

I'm just mulling. 

We could shoot the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.  If they were playing this week.  I went for a walk earlier and I saw things and I heard things...but they weren't the same things.  

I could just shoot anything that makes sound and post it and get off easy.  But I appreciate Nan's creativity and intelligence too much not to try and figure out something of interest.  

And, on top of that, I've recently made a semi-promise to myself to try and shoot more things and spend less time pouring through my archives.  


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday shootout addendum - how could I forget Alice?


When we were living in Roanoke, Virginia, sometime in the early 90's, we put up a bird feeder on the ledge right outside the kitchen window.   The house was on a hill and had an odd design so the kitchen window was about the level of a normal second story window so that squirrels could not get to the birdfood.

Just a feeder.  And most birds were leery of it because it was right next to a window behind which we large pale mammals kept looking out.   But some came. 

Then one morning, walking into the kitchen we were met with an amazing sight.  A morning dove had not only come to the feeder...but had comandeered it for a nest!  We name her Alice.   After the first few times of terrified flight when we sat down at the table separated from her by a pane of glass and less than 24 inches, she settled down and hardly gave us a glance.  We tried to fill the feeder only when she was away.

Alice was a great companion and soon our hopes were answered and two small eggs appeared in her nest.   We watched.

There was one extraordinary and violent event.  I was in an adjoining room when I heard feathers flapping furiously against the window.  I ran in and saw a large gray squirrel that had somehow managed to drop from the roof onto the ledge in hope of an egg dinner.  Alice was standing her ground, pecking, flapping, squaking and the squirrel was snapping and scratching her.   I ran over and threw open the window and discovered that I was not as terrifying as I thought.  Both animals noted me but continued battle with each other.   I reached out and, without thinking, swatted the squirrel, sending him spiralling down to the ground below but doing him no damage, he scampered off.   Alice didn't actually thank me.  In fact, she shot a peck in the direction of my hand.  That's alright.  She was a mother bird in protective mode.  I shut the window.

To make a long story a little shorter, we watched...and we watched.  One of the eggs hatched.  The other did not, probably damaged during the battle. 

Then we started an even more intense watch since we really wanted to see the first attempts at flight.  Unfortunately it was during a period when I was not photographing a lot.  So I only have the one picture above.  But I was really looking forward to watching the process of learning to fly.  

Weeks passed.

Then came a Saturday morning when we saw Alice was in a nearby tree and her chick was calling to her, flapping its wings, and getting nearer and nearer to the edge of the nest.  We waited.  She waited.  The chick flapped and chirped.  We waited some more.

Suddenly it looked as if the chick had tripped and fallen out, but within a couple of falling feet, its wings caught air and it zoomed toward the tree.  

...then past the tree. 

Alice followed.

We stood waiting for it to come back and try again so it would get better at it.  But neither of them never returned.  It had never crossed my mind that unlike teaching a boy to ride a bicycle, this was a one shot deal.  The nest was only for the eggs.  Once flight was achieved the world opened up.  They were gone.  It happened so fast. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Hometown Shootout - Birds

Trying to keep from posting too many photographs will be difficult.  Because I really love birds.   When I consider things such as omens or signs, I think of birds.  I may have blogged about this once, but can't remember.  Particularly cardinals.

Karen and I have always liked cardinals but many years ago, at one particularly difficult moment in our relationship, where we were actually having that awful discussion about whether or not to continue as a couple -- we noticed movement and looked over and a male and female cardinal were sitting close together on our window ledge staring in at us.  The discussion was ended right then and we never had to have it again.  So naturally, we have lots of cardinals around our house.   

But moving on from cardinals and happy marriages -- although it would probably be fine if I stopped right here.    But I need to choose pictures?  For once, all of the shots were actually from my hometown, Charleston - many quite near the house....I think the birds around Charleston just assume that if they come near my house they will hear clicking. 

Anhinga, the witchy huntress

Small and fast



Ugly Ugly Ugly





I think I'll end here.  If you have made it this far, it's time for you to fly off to the next member of FSO....

Bye -- from Halloween, 1993