Today kicks off Sandy Days–a celebration of all things Sandy Oregon. Moni and I shot photos and videos of the main street parade. I’ll upload the images tomorrow. BTW, I recently bought myself a SonyAction Cam–I’ll use it to shoot footage of the Huckleberry Half Marathon & the Boring Full Marathon. The camera is great, but not all that easy to use, especially when it comes to time lapse video. Mysteriously, Sony’s video editing software does NOT have a feature that converts the still frames that it produces into a video clip. WTF? It’s so stupid. The camera shoots time lapse videos as single jpg images, which means it’s up to you to convert them to video. It’s absolutely insane that the video editing software that Sony provides does NOT have a feature to convert the jpgs to a time lapse video clip. I had to download GOPRO’s free video editing software to make a time lapse video with my SONY camera. Really, WTF? Their engineers can make a kick-ass camera that splash under water, skid across concrete, and compensate for camera shake, but they didn’t couldn’t figure out how to convert still images into a video clip?
At any rate, I ran seven miles today. And I’m proud to report that I stuck to my target heart rate zone the entire time. On the Tickle Creek Trail, an elderly lady said I was a “Grecian Runner!” I’ve seen her and husband before. They always smile and encourage me when I run by. I like the Grecian thing, I am, after all, training for a marathon.
Hallo!!! Is Amsterdam runner friendly? Yes and No! It’s flat, fast, and furious. I ran exclusively in Vondel park. Not only was the scenery and weather lovely, but I also felt fantastic because my body, which is used to running up hills at altitude, was delighted to run on even ground at sea level. Getting to the park was, however, somewhat hazardous. On foot, I had to dash from brash motorists, tipsy cyclists, and charging trams. Escaping bone shattering collisions on my way to the grounds only revved me up. I flew across the park. As I sprinted over the bridges and footpaths, some people did stare at my paper thin running sandals and tattooed legs, but no one said anything; people were intrigued, not disdainful–Amsterdam is, after all, not known for its intolerance.
When I wasn’t running in Vondel park or touring museums, I wandered through the city in barefoot shoes with an international group of brilliant film photographers. I am blown away by the shots that the other pinhole photographers made. I can hardly believe that the photographs were taken with nothing more than a tiny hole in a light-tight box. The photographs they created are a feast of color, contrast, movement, and composition. Gazing at the images inspires me to learn more about the obscure and magical art of pinhole photography. Please visit the group’s pinhole gallery and check out the stunning pinhole photos.
To the left is my pinhole photo submission for World Pinhole Photography 2014. Here’s its story. As we winded our way through the canals and aftermath of King’s Day, we came across a gallery that featured the work of a digital photographer. He created images of cities in Africa. His process was to shoot a photo of a deserted cityscape, then he took pictures of people going about their daily tasks. After collecting enough images, he combined them to create extraordinary composite images. I enjoyed his subtly anachronistic compositions very much. Because the gallery was large and because pinhole cameras are usually good at capturing depth, I decided to take a shot. In my mind’s eye, the image was supposed to depict space. Everyone else used light meters or a cell phone app to set their exposure time; I didn’t use a light meter or a cell phone app., I used an uneducated guess. Before taking the gallery shot, I used my wife’s phone to meter a shot: it was for 3 seconds. Inside the gallery my wife’s phone was in my wife’s pocket, so I reckoned that 5 seconds would do the trick. Why? Because both 3 and 5 are odd numbers. At the time, it made perfect logical sense. Of course, my exposure was way off, but it turned out to a happy accident. Instead of capturing depth, I got this dramatic contrast, which resulted in the weird voyeuristic image above. I was absolutely shocked to discover that the bright room I was sitting in had become completely dark. Thank you pinhole gods for sparing my photo, thank you Monica for developing the negative, and thank you fantastic pinhole photographers for making our time in Amsterdam absolutely magical. I am already looking forward to next year’s World Wide Pinhole Day.
PS, Valen Longfeather’s stepbrother uploads his pinhole photos.
I’m constantly scouring the Web for weird stuff. When I came across these images, I couldn’t resist captioning them. Since no post with visuals is complete without some form of annoying mood music, here is an ear tickle.
To school, I wore a shiny red sweat suit with white stripes running down the arms and legs. Back in the day, it was the raging style. In that boisterous outfit when the lunch bell rang, I darted off to the gym, where I would bust some “fresh” break dance moves.
I could robot well, I could crab crawl, and I could even do front flips. But there was one move that I could never master. It was called the windmill. The break dancers of today still twirl it out because it’s a lovely move. The legs scissor overhead, then they swing down, and when the movement is perfect, they are shifted towards heaven so that the downward motion is transformed into a surging magical levitation, the torso pops a rotation and the cycle repeats. The magical surging levitation was the crucial part of the Windmill that I could never get right. Instead of gracefully swinging overhead, rolling down, then floating up, my knees would just bang on the hardwood floor.
Maybe it was the memory of the thrill of learning to ride a unicycle at age 35 or maybe it was the retro bubble letters I saw on a Web page, but
I had this desperate urge to conquer the dang Windmill.
First stop: YouTube. Break-dance instruction video, check. Makeshift amazon cardboard dance floor on the living room carpet: check. Silly 80s break-dance music: Doug E. Fresh on Spotify: check. Determination to succeed: double-check.
Maybe my mind had never stopped working the mystical timing problem with the windmill break-dance move. But something had changed. The decades of accumulated wisdom all kicked into action, for as soon as I attempted the move, success embraced me with her loving arms and my legs whipped around at just the right time without banging the ground and I, Mister Middle Aged Barefoot Runner, was doing the windmill like a feral teenager full of joy and hope! It was like that day my parents picked us from the last day of school and took us to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and my dad made us yellow painted skim-boards in the shape of rockets and we slide on top of the thin sheet of cool ocean water at high speeds and flipped into the oncoming foamy waves and the sun was out and everyone was happy and it all smelled like sweet Mr. Zoggs coconut surf wax. That thrill filled me as I busted out some delicious break-dance in my living room. Suddenly I was remembering moves I thought time had eaten; I was doing the bronco, back-spins, snap-twists, and of course, the freaking windmill. Someone should have filmed it; it was so beautiful and I was sweaty and barefoot at the end, but there was a smile tattooed on my face the rest of night and I slept well and dreamed of apples.
The next day, my triumphant re-entry into the fabulous world of 80s break dance turned into a dull pain on my side an inch or so from my heart. It got worse as the day rolled on. The following day, I suspected a cracked or bruised a rib or maybe the popping of delicate internal organs; deep breathing hurt as did moving my torso in any direction, but I didn’t care. I conquered the dang Windmill and it was worth it.
Leona shuffled to center of the stage with an armful of coral snake hoollahoops. She was wearing a tight bronze bedazzled leotard that showed much more of bosom than she wanted. Someone wolf whistled. It wasn’t her fault, her boobs seemed to swell and bulge by the minute. She knew all the boys in the school just by looking at the tops of their heads, but she never said, “My face is up here.” Instead she opted for, “Your worship pleases me. Go in peace my son.”
She spun the first snake around her waste; it whipped around, slithering gracefully around her curvy figure. Just as she bent to add another snake, the roof of the school theater trembled. Dust from the splintered rafters spilled down.
“Earhtquake!” someone from the back yelled. Instantly, the students darted to the exit all at once, hopelessly clogging their portal to freedom with the frantic arms, fists, and legs of teenagers in a full panic.
But the earth wasn’t moving; the ceiling was; soon after, a loud crack thundered through the auditorium. A huge black bag fell from the ceiling. If Leona hadn’t dashed from the center of the stage, the bag would have squashed her, for where she had just stood, the enormous bag punched a meteoric crater.
The auditorium was silent. Everyone was looking at the contents that had just taken center stage. The students at the crammed at the doors dispersed, mindlessly toward the stage, entranced by the mysterious bag. Their gaze fixed on the shiny, huge, silver zipper attached to what was clearly a body bag.
The ribs of the zipper had popped open, revealing the bag’s astonishing bounty. Leona reached toward the bag. With much effort she heaved out a solid gold brick. Mindlessly, she lifted it so everyone could see. The stun of silence lasted only for a moment.
….The Elephant Room….
Mr Edwards had never even taken the stage for a high school production, he had never attended a Broadway show, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a drama teacher. It wasn’t as if he hated drama. In his own way, he loved it. He just didn’t have a talent for it. His degree was in Communication Studies; it was the closest he could get to the stage. And he barely escaped university with that. His professors consistently marked him down for theatrics, Professor Poole, even wrote” histrionics”.
“This is NOT the elocutionary school,” Professor Poole said, “You’re delivering a presentation about outsourcing technical support, not Death of a Salesman. Drop the bad Chinese accent. No role playing, just the facts.”
At present, Mr. Edwards looked at his classroom; there were thirty chairs, but only seven students. The room was practically a basement. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. He could still taste some of the bowl he had smoked at lunch; his latest crop of mystic magic had pleasant way of sticking the skunky taste to his teeth. He sipped some water. His mouth was really dry.
“Extra credit for attending the talent show tonight” he said. Then he took a swig of water.
“Acting” he said in loud and over articulated voice; he enjoyed the vibrations rumbling through his chest.
What magic! he thought. Wow. I’m doing the speaking thing, the thing which makes my marshmallow lungs bellow wind and strum the wet fleshy chords of my throat. I don’t even know how I do that. It’s amazing. I’m turning an invisible mess into hard sounds that drift into the to minds of my students. Speaking is so impossibly magnificent.
He took another sip of water.
“Acting” he said again, “is a cloud floating through the sky of your mind–he could see them floating--it takes on many shapes–he watched the imaginary clouds turn into an elephant–it your job to give the shapes form–the elephant solidified into a mean gray mass of fury–to flesh them out–the elephant lowered it’s tusks and charged–to draw them convincingly into a moving three dimensional picture of emotion–the elephant slammed into Mr. Edwards brain exploding in a puff of butterflies.
It is your job,” he told his students, “to make lies true.”
“It is your job,” thought Leona, “to butcher metaphors and rip off other people’s ideas and claim them as your own.” She drew swirls in her notebook next to the coral snakes she had drawn earlier. She took care not to harm the evil devil Allan had drawn during lunch break.
Something soft and powdery brushed against her face. She stopped doodling. Leona looked up at the colorful wings flapping in front of her. There was a flurry of butterflies twirling around Mr Edwards head. But that wasn’t what kept her eyes on Mr. Edwards.
Mr. Edwards said, “Did someone turn on the heater” he felt feint, nausated, and more drunk than stoned, but also surging with a strange electrical crackle. He was sweating furiously; his breath swift, shallow, but suffcient; he had enough air, it was just coming into him in a different way; he was panting.
Leona’s mouth gaped. She blinked; she rubbed her eyes; she blinked again, but nothing changed what was happening. She watched Mr. Edwards eyes shoot around the room.
Was his skin changing color? she thought. No, it was just the heat. Heat in an air conditioned room? Just a wild flush? No,it was more than that. His skin turned into the color of blood.
Leona looked at the other students; good she thought I’m not the only one. I’m not crazy, this isn’t a hallucination But she wished it was just a hallucination because from Mr. Edward’s wispy hairline burst two twisted ivory horns.
(The stories above are from my first ever YA novel. It’s a compilation of shorts that all tie together somehow. Everyone is barefoot.)
[pullquoteleft] Sex is not the answer. Sex is the question.”Yes” is the answer. —Anonymous Man
Those who tread barefoot, shouldn’t scatter thorns. Italian Proverb
Repetition is a form of change. —Card from the Movie Slacker
Walk Hard. —Dewy Cox
[pullquoteleft]Full on Double Rainbow all the way across the sky Paul “Yosemite Bear” Vasquez
[pullquoteleft]Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.
When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him.
I created a silly dance called the “barefoot shuffle” to annoy and amuse my wife. But I also use it to loosen up and to make my neighbors roll there eyes even more. The barefoot shuffle is as simple as it is stupid. I simply kick my feet from side to side and hop around; sometimes I pump my fists from belly button to chest. The whole dance is natural; it just sort of bursts out like a peel of laughter. As it turns out, the dumb dance has some deeper truth in it.
In the video below, Alan Watts, talks about how natural running is a kind of dance:
I agree: Running should be joyous and good running form is not force of will; it flows from the spirit–from the inside to the outside, from outside to the inside; each stride as rhythmic as your pulse. Every toddler runs that way, they all do the dance and most of them aren’t running to win a race, they’re running because they’re thrilled to be alive.
It’s difficult to experience the world when there is a synthetic barrier between you and it, which is why I tread barefoot whenever possible.
And now, some Alan Watts quotes:
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
“… the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.”
“… the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.”
I am composing a list of running music. Since I like positive feel good stuff, I’m seeking good mood, “you can do it music”. Here’s a song that will be on the list. It’s by from a fun band called Ghost Mice.
Lyrics to Critical Hit :
When you’re deep in a dark dungeon
and the cleric’s down and dying
and you’ve taken all the potions you had left
and you feel like you are doomed
because the demon you set loose
is coming after you and you can smell/hear its breath.
and the door between you and it is pretty thin.
the wizard is all out of spells.
the fighters took a few too many hits.
this thing, it came from hell,
it seems like it can’t be killed.
don’t ever give up! not all fights are won by skill,
some are won by luck. don’t ever give in!
you’ve gotta keep fighting until you lose or you win.
cross your fingers roll the die.
wait with hope for the big two-oh (20).
cross your fingers roll the die.
let it go. let it roll. don’t give up yet, no, don’t ever quit.
there’s always a chance for a critical hit.
the biggest baddest beasts have easily been beat with one lucky shot.
dragons have fell and kingdoms have been saved
by people giving everything they’ve got,
by people who never gave up.
by people who know just to let the dice roll and see what comes up.
no we should never ever give up