Friday, August 31, 2007

Photographic Musing

Wolf and I browse Art Wolfe's collection of photos in Alaska.

"Some of these shots are amazing," he confides, "but some are just kinda nice. Not like Jim Brandenburg, where all the shots are incredible."

I'm thinking the exact same thing. "Mmm," I agree. "Art Wolfe shows the way things appear. Brandenburg shows the way they really are. Their true selves. Their secret selves."

What makes that distinction? Its the same difference as the description of someone in their alumni profile vs. a story their best friend would share about them. I'm reminded of Robert Pirsig's pursuit of "Quality" in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

That's my relentless quest when I woo the world through my lens. I want to know the world the way I want to be known. I want that lover's intimate understanding of the heart and spirit at stake, and the skill to translate that onto paper and pass it on.

A photograph-- however beautiful, however technically brilliant-- is silent without its secret story to make it sing.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Creative Blogger

Mark over at The Green Fingered Photographer just honored this Most Noble and Honourable Gypsy the Splendid of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch with the Creative Blogger Award. *SWOON!* It's PURPLE!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark, a green-hearted photographer, has given his business the greatest name: Dragons and Damsels Wildlife Photography. He has great shots, in particular, of dragonflies and damselflies.

So now the fun part (rubbing hands together). This round of Creative Blogger Awards goes to:

The Film Geek
, who directs me with surety through a cinematographic wilderness, slams me with eloquent truth when I least expect it, and understands that I wasn't STALKING John Cusack that day in NYC...

DC Comictician on Star Trekiology. Elvis and I dance on opposite theological extremes--I'm on fire for Jesus, he's an atheist (I assume)-- but we agree, the religious right has twisted Christianity into a poisonous political pawn (and a big fat hairy lie), and he's extremely creative expressing it.

The Wandering Wolf
. His blog is sparse (and here's hoping that'll change) but his photography website is rich. And when tells you he's not creative, pull out the salt shaker.

The Cy Blog
. While I prefer the old title, "Blogging for Burgers," Cy still serves up the same hilarity, good sense, investment wisdom and construction tips well-seasoned with insanity. Cy, I hope you are surviving the gigantic man-eating bears that can only be killed with advanced weaponry. Come back soon!

Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog. Chaucer and his posse don't write often but their posts are worth the wait.
I hope Thomas scrounged up the "moneyes to buye a newe blakberrie (for his hath been y-swiped by the Frensshe)"

Your Latent Nobility

Are you convinced of your own nobility? Need credibility to convince the rest of the universe?

click here. And tell us the results!
Posted by Her Imperial Majesty Gypsy the Mirthful of Old Yarkhillshire.

Is It That Time Already?!!!

Tiny Pretty Things: Locust

how do you do it

locust? grasshopper now... and
now a butterfly!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Brought to you by Deepest Space

I play around tonight taking the tutorial and test at Galaxy Zoo. Too COOL! Scientist recognize that humans are far more adept identifying patterns than computers (go figure). They are enlisting mere mortals such as you and I to map out the universe. After a short interactive introduction, you take a fun test. If you've paid attention, you'll pass. You're then qualified to help ID unknown galaxies far far away.

On another note, whoever created this video has time on his hands-- and a great sense of humor. I guess we need UFO debunkers along with galaxy identifiers, so the real UFOs don't lose credibility. Enjoy!

Me, I'm off to
to check Area 51 Cam....

Glacier's Echo: Tiny Pretty Things

glacier's deep echo
pebble, in boulder's embrace
"you've got your mom's eyes!"

Photo Upload Update, Pageant Reflecting

Now live:
Sunday Kiddie Tractor Pull
Miss Jefferson County Pageant

This Gypsy's no fan of beauty pageants. But one of my most diligent horsemanship students enters the Pageant this year, with no training or experience.

"I'm tired of not doing things because they're different, or they make me nervous," she confides.

Way to go, kiddo. THAT'S reason enough for anything.

She carries herself like a queen....

Ambushing the Eclipse

This morning
My alarm and I conspire
To ambush the Eclipse

She glimpses our shadowstalking and leaps
Through an open window into the clouds

Joining the sunrise
Waving urgently

"Goodbye! Goodbye!"

Monday, August 27, 2007

Manic Monday: Faith

The Green Man

Photo Upload Update: Saddles and Smiles

The horse show included classes for the special needs riders of Saddles and Smiles, an extremely popular local Therapeutic Riding organization. Horses spark an unfathomable alchemy deep in our primordial selves. The horses bring out new strengths and miracles in the kids. The kids bring out new strengths and miracles in the volunteers. Not a soul walks away untouched.

Photos from the classes are now online.

Photo Upload Update: Lawnmower Races

Carving through fair photos is the focus of the next few days. I just put up the pictures from the lawnmower races. Can I tell you, while I was watching I got the overwhelming urge to join in. Those babies can boogie!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Redneck Ger

As we unload the PVC lattice this afternoon, I wonder anew... can I make it into a quick-n-dirty strong-n-sturdy ger?

Striking the Fair

The alarum lets me sleep til 8 this morning and wakes me with the welcome promise of a routine day. I gaze out the window where an emerald explosion shatters the sunshine-- the same rains which wreaked such devastation resurrected my pastureland.

I mosey into the green morning towards church for the first time in a month--yippee!--pausing on the way for fast food breakfast. Coffee, Dr. Pepper, coffee, Dr. Pepper... the rising heat makes the decision for me. Beelining for the soda machine, I'm stopped by a hesitant voice, and a long-lost acquaintance. I'm impressed--its been close to 7 years, and we didn't really know each other that well to begin with. I sure wouldn't have recognized her.

Sandy blogged about thin lines recently, the thin lines connecting us all. I think of them as threads. Perhaps a thread will remain single. Even so, it will add color and texture to your life. But more often than not, that single thread entwines with others to create the epic tapestries that are our lives. I don't know why this particular thread returns to the pattern just now. Far be it from me to waste time wondering when I could be weaving. We exchange contact info and head back into the day.

Afternoon and we're at the fairgrounds for the last time, striking the booth. I take some shots before Tink arrives to remember how it looked.

Amazing how we had no plan, no attachment to outcome beyond "effective", and yet from nothing, something grew and continued growing. That something was home base for a whole week and worked better than anything we could have planned. This is the way life works, yet my astonishment and delight in that truth never cease.

In less than 2 hours the trucks are loaded. The nearly-empty building echoes with finality.
And with that, life returns to normal. Whatever that means!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Farewell Fair

Well, its over.

I am beyond exhausted. My ears still ring from tractors/ monster trucks/ lawnmowers/ antique engines/etc. I've snuck into places I shouldn't be, had conversations I should've already had, reveled in moments that will only magnify, and wished I'd jimmied open more doors to walk through. I've hung with bullriders and politicians and politicians who are bullriders. My alarum clock has thrown its hands up in disgust and walked out on the job in frustration as many times as I would've gladly thrown temper tantrums if I'd had an ounce of energy. Well over 2000 pictures patiently wait for review and uploading.

We've gone through days of chill and rain, we've pushed 100 and swum in outrageous humidity, today we pulled through the likes of a tornado.

I've been fantasizing about pitching a tent in some wilderness--the only soul for miles.

...Yet tonight there's a lump in my throat as I leave--is this ALL?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Today: The Short Version Pt. 1

I realize one thing I don't want to be when I grow up: a cow show photographer. Now, cows are beautiful and I'm a big fan of steak and ice cream, but the shows moove so udderly slowly.... Not that I blame the cows, some are so full they are leaking milk and can barely get their legs around their udders. Marching with alacrity is well outside the range of possibility.

I meander down to the Kiddie Tractor Pull, which is always a hoot. The kids ride a pedal tractor hooked to an itty-bitty stoneboat, which increases the weight as the kids forge ahead. Everyone gets really into it, and it makes for great photo fodder.

All the same, nothing much is going on tonight. I'm really dragging, and thinking the highest and best use of a slow evening is editing pictures and catching up on sleep.

As I head back to the car, the band starts up. It's a ticketed show, and I really don't feel that kind of commitment. I pull a few shots from afar, then move in closer. No one stops me, so I pull a few more, and go into the wings of the grandstand. No one stops me so I scamper into a primo spot in the covered grandstand.

The band is Poverty Neck Hillbillies, and boy, do they love their audience. The lead singer mills through the stands, working the crowd, then calls their devoted fans into the quagmire in front of the grandstand. Heck with commitment--in a heartbeat I'm down on the stage and the drummer is grinning into my camera.

Slow Morning

Slow morning, and much needed, that. I’m editing pictures and exchanging pleasantries with passers-by. Some folks are shocked into flight when I say “good morning.” Their eyes explode with that deer-in-the-headlights look and they spook towards the door. Others leap at the chance for conversation. Exhibitors I’ve befriended over the last few days pop in to say hi. The attorney general stops in to talk about future photography projects.

I have a long, excited conversation with one couple. They packed their lives into an RV for a two year trial. That was 9 years ago. I tell them they are my heroes, and they spend the next 20 minutes or so answering my nuts-and-bolts questions and mapping out my future life. It has long been a dream to pack up and hit the road, but timing is everything and I honor the Moment. However, the itch to roam has been growing over the past couple of years and the season is approaching, the Moment draws closer. Not yet imminent, but closer.

In the meantime, I'm slowly but surely getting Fair Pictures online.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Daybreak Conquering

daybreak conquering;
phoenix from blackness, born from
yesterday's sunset

daybreak conquering;
promises kept of new life
vanquish dark despair

Poetry Prompt

Fired up and muddied through from the Demolition Derby, I play hooky from fair stuff and check out this week's prompt at One Deep Breath: Daybreak

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Day Well Spent

It's a day well spent when you play with both picture frames and power tools....

Today marks the beginning of the County Fair. This year I actually decide to enter some photos in the exhibition, and then super-size that idea to having a booth. This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, so please send positive thoughts (profitable ones too ;-) and any useful suggestions! And if you're in the area, come join the hilarity.

Life being as it is (and as long-distance as it's been) I'm shooting this baby from the hip, in the 11th hour. I've mapped out the framework in my mind, we'll let the details evolve with a life of their own. It's much more interesting that way.

And life is what it's all about. When I was initially weighing the pros and cons I was clear I wanted to avoid the traditional "art show" business model both now and in the future. What lights me up about photography is reflecting the surprise, the emotion, the sheer motion of life itself: stories, relationships, beauty, adventure, awe, miracles. Or, to paraphrase Anonymous in my header,
"celebrating without cease this lively earth."

Even today, life is happening. I pick up my prints and swing by Tink's for her input on the final entries. Tink, Mouse, Grandma and I are soon working like a well-oiled machine and get the prints chosen, framed, wired, and deliver with two whole minutes to spare before the deadline. We then discover there was a typo in the email, and instead of booth space being open for setup by tomorrow at 1, they must be complete by then.

The Adventure accelerates, with laughter and lumberjack songs and a limbo contest in the aisle of Home Depot. I can't wait to see where it leads.

Mouse is our first prize winner, beating out the competition (all adults--her Uberlove Applesause Praline Cake was so amazing the judges couldn't believe it was made by an 11-year old) to clinch second place.

WAY TO GO, MOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(And thanks for sharing the leftovers ;-)

Another Thinking Blogger

I'm once again bending my self-imposed restriction and awarding Thinking Blogger status to a blog I link to already. Adventures in Capitalism is a blog I don't check out very often, but am well rewarded when I do. Contrary to the title, the theme of the posts range wildly. Even his actual comments on capitalism are honest and fresh.

Truth be told, I just relate to anyone who states "love, family, and Rick James' "Superfreak" are powerful forces for happiness."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Haiku Addict

haiku addicted
poets' playground--come join in!
these words' rampant romp

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Haiku Train

Faced with impending overwhelm, I surf around a little to derail my runaway train of thought. The Plain Fool points me to One Deep Breath, where a haiku train races on a momentum of its own.

We play back and forth. One verse grows to fit last night's sunset.

Check it out--and join in!

Security vs. Opportunity

I love Cy's quote of the day this morning:

There is no security on this earth, there is only opportunity.

General Douglas MacArthur

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sunset Haiku

Fog from splashing creek
burns to sun. Time's crucible
melts dawn to twilight

Sunset Earth

Cocktails and conversation. It matters not where we gather, in my family the world pauses for Sunset.

I snap a few pictures from the porch. "Discovery Channel has a tv show called Sunset Earth," I inform everyone. "They go around the world and film sunsets in amazing places...."

"Sounds like a tough job," Uncle Zeke comments.

"Mmmm," I agree, "but I think I could handle it!"

"So what do they do?" asks brother Mac. "Just show a half hour of the sun setting?"

"Heck if I know. I don't have TV!"

Sunset Surprise

I'm poking around the fridge when I hear a car beeping its horn up our winding dusty drive. I hear JEB bound off the porch, barking his "welcome! Where have you been all this time?!" bark. Zeke and Ashlynn are lingering on the porch. No additional family is expected 'til the morrow.

Laughing gleefully at the absolute success of their surprise, my brother and his girlfriend tumble out of the Jetta.

Animal Welcome

The animals are the most welcome home-ing-est of all. The horses all come running up, looking for love and company. They jealously try to chase each other off and steal all the attention for themselves. Princess Muffinhead and SkySong, my two homebred fillies, press their massive heads into me for long extended hugs. When I go down the road to teach, the horses linger for scratches before their lesson, and tickle me with their whiskers while we all hang out gossiping afterward. Pete, the orange cat, runs into my lap, purring, then follows me from ring to ring.

Whoever says animals can't talk must not have ears to hear.

Caravan Considerations

A popular Pennsic domicile consists of portable, enclosed canopies (the kind used in carports, or in my case, loafing sheds for the horses) painted to look like cottages. My dream to live in a gypsy caravan is rekindled, and I think how fun it would be to paint a horse-port to look like a vardo. That reminds me, the folks over at Black Dragon told me to check out their website.

To my delight, AdSense feeds me a link to plans to build a vardo-knock-off. As I babysit uploading photos, I follow its lead around the web.

Add another project to the list!

web photos Gypsy wagons caravans vardos

Catching Up?

Several weeks with little computer access. Several thousand photos to weed through, beef up and post. Several lifetimes worth of interesting people, adventures and stories to share.

And several Everest-scaled projects looming ahead, demanding consideration and completion in the immediate future.

I'll backpost stories and pictures as I can. In the name of chronological coherency, I'm posting as things actually occurred. Look for new posts around 7-15 July and 1-12 Aug. I promise completion by New Years!

In the meantime, some of the Pennsic Pictures are up on the SmugMug site at Enjoy!

Thinking Blogger: One, Again

While I'm away a new set of eyes appears around the Gypsy caravan, a new voice joins the laughter. Curious, I nose around her blog and am delighted to find a kindred spirit from an old home.

Writing in Faith is my first choice for the Thinking Blogger Award in the neither-linked-nor-yet-received category. In Sandy's own words, it is "
an eclectic blog looking at current events, arts and literature, people, and graffiti." I have yet to delve deeply, but already her depth of thought, her search for connection and meaning, and her love of creativity are apparent. I also love the graffiti shots around New Haven, which was my closest "civilization" growing up. I look forward to more!

The rules of the Thinking Blogger Award, as bestowed by Jackie Lantern, can be found here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Creative License: August Edition

And my personal favorite:

Home Yet Again

The last leg of the August Gypstravaganza rolls to its official stop in front of the house a bit before sunset this evening. Home means DSL, showers, and a real bed. Wrapping up online now, about to go revel in the shower and real bed.

It's great to be home!

Take Me Home....

My road home takes me through my old stomping grounds and within 15 minutes of the house where I spent the biggest chunk of my life. My heart aches as memories flood in and I yearn to be with all my old friends again.

Suddenly, John Denver gives voice to the deeper place in my heart:

"Country roads, take me home, to the place where I belong... West Virginia!"

Singing at the top of my lungs, I rocket out of New England and west into the hills.

AdSense Roulette


I keep AdSense around for the sheer entertainment value of AdSense Roulette. What will they put on the blog today? I've had ads for Gypsy horses, Bigfoot, tablewear, and West Virginia real estate, all in the same block of 4 ads. But I can at least get how Google came up with the relevance from the content of my posts, as far-fetched as some might be.

So where did the ad for bl@ck mag!c l0ve spe!!s come from???? I'm a Christian, I go straight to the Source to get things done. MUCH more powerful and efficient, and none of the icky side effects. Plus, most of the time I'm trying to work the OPPOSITE of a l0ve spe!!.

Google claims they have some fancy-pants uber-tech algorithm. I think its a pack of blindfolded monkeys throwing darts at random categories. Let's see what they come up with for THOSE keywords!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Pennsic Thank You

August ends up very differently than planned. Friends convince me that a few days of Pennsic is worth the trip, so Sueva and I head up well ahead of her family. She and I have diametrically opposed personalities that somehow mesh seamlessly in the face of adventure.

My "Thank You" song to Sueva hatches as we ride the spine-rattling wagon down the battlefield hill....

To the tune of "Lola"

I met her at a meeting out in Shepherdstown
Where everybody, they were talking and just hanging around
Except for Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva
She seemed really friendly and we started to talk
She introduced me to Clovis, who’s her personal stick jock
Oh my Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva

Now I'm not the world's most physical wench
But she's got me luggin' ice and now I'm diggin' a trench
For my Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva
Now I'm not dumb but I can't understand
Why she dress European but she play Mongolian
THat's my Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva

Well we drank orange seltzer and danced at noon
Under a rockin’ middle eastern tune
She’d go along with all my scheming but she told me bold,
“You’ll never catch me goin’ skyclad at the classic swimming hole!”
Well I might be the world’s most curious girl
So we crammed 2 weeks of war into a 3-day swirl
A swirl with Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva
Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva

We chased down the bus
We ate our falafel
She started feeling awful
We rode on the wagon
And I looked at her and she guzzled down her flagon

When the time came to move on I just wanted to stay
And run amuck all over Pennsic til the very last day
Amuck with Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva
Join bardic circles round the campfires blazing in the night
Chasing photos in the sunshine cause "it's all about the light!"
Camping with Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva

I'd Left home just a few days before
And I'd never ever been to Pennsic before
Sueva smiled and let me drag her around
And stuff pamphlets in her bag from all the merchants in town

Now I'm flying down the highway cause I just can't sit still
But a piece of my heart is left up there on Horde Hill
And so is Sueva Sua-Sua-Sua-Sua-Sueva

Post From Afar

Since my last post, I lived through the Most Amazing Day of my Life, went to the Pennsic War, and rocketed back to Shirley's solar powered holler in the hills of Western MA. The in-betweens involved an overflow of adventure and just enough laundry to maintain my status as socially acceptible.

This is my first attempt at blogging via email. Here at Shirley's, the homemade maple syrup runs fast and we're grateful the internet runs at all. Dealing with Blogger sends Shirley's provider into a dither. I leave tomorrow, before the session ends, to head up to Maine for a beloved cousin's wedding and on to see my dad and step-mom, but if this email posting is simple and fast, we've got solution for the future.

Prepare to launch....

Almost Heaven Horse Source