Category Archives: WPC

RWPE #7 – Out of Focus

Daily Reminder

Don’t forget to update your links, bookmarks and RSS Feeds to the new URL:

Last week’s theme was OUT OF FOCUS. I’m very excited to have Monica Henning as a first time contributor. Monica was so excited that she submitted four photos. She did violate the one and only rule of RWPE and that is that the picture has to be taken during the week of the theme, but I will let it slide.

Monica Henning A (Don’t Take Me for a Loop)

Monica Henning B

Monica Henning C

Monica Henning D

Dawn Krause

Christopher D. Bennett

Michael Vest

Dawn’s Poem of the Week

Out of Focus

The future’s a blur
and rather hazy
Energy gone
and feeling lazy

The edge is gone
turned to soft gray
Watching the hours
pass away the day

Next week’s theme is:


I hope there are plenty of first time contributors next Monday. After all, almost everybody owns a camera and everybody has a “self”!

RWPE #6 – Adventure

Daily Reminder

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The theme for last week was ADVENTURE:

Jesse Howard

Michael Vest

Christopher D. Bennett

It is my custom not to explain much about my RWPE photos and I will not break with that tradition, but I will at least state that there is a small back story as to why I took a picture of me scrubbing the toilet for the theme ADVENTURE. This picture was not out of laziness. It exists for a reason.

Dawn’s Weekly Poem


Let’s skip a stone on the pond
And run the forest wild
Have a sword fight in the woods
And fight the king so viled

Build a clubhouse in the tree
And mighty dragons slay
Lay in the meadow to watch the clouds
And pass away our day

Let’s push the limits of our minds
And spill our hearts desire
Play in the spirit of our youth
And pray we never tire

This week’s theme is:

Out of Focus

Hopefully some fun can be had with that!

Amazing Weekend

Daily Reminder

Don’t forget to update your links, bookmarks and RSS Feeds to the new URL:

I did have a couple of late submissions for RWPE. Here are a couple of bonus FRAMING pictures.

Julie Johnson

Michael Vest

I had an amazing weekend. I would just like to share a few of the highlights. In no particular order, besides chronological:

  • I ate supper on Friday night at Jeff’s Pizza with Teresa and Jesse. I love their pepperoni rolls.
  • I got to watch Jesus Christ Superstar at Stephens with Mom, Jesse and Teresa. It was an awesome production, with the exception of the geriatric Ted Neeley, who has continued to suck it up into his 60s. I firmly believe that the only acceptable definition of Hell is “separation from God”. But if I were to believe in a personal punishment vision of Hell, it might be that I get up to what I think is Heaven because Jesus is there. But then he opens his mouth and sounds like Ted Neeley. I would have to pump my fist and scream, “You win this round vengeful God! You win this round!” Sorry Shannon, but that is the way it is.
  • I got to chauffeur Jim out of the Cyclone State for only the 2nd time since 1987. It was the first time he has left the state for an “extended” period of time since 1987 when he took Nate to see a St. Louis Cardinals game. I think he might have enjoyed it as he is considering leaving the state again this Summer to see the Twins play the Braves on June 12 & 13.
  • I got to see Bethany’s new house. It is pretty sweet. They have managed to put down a new wood floor, new tile in the kitchen and new carpet in the rest of the house. Her new fridge is the coolest fridge I’ve ever seen. They painted all the rooms and they got the paint for free because they bought it on Christmas Eve and the Sherwin Williams employee just gave it to them as a Christmas Present because they were the only customers he had that day.
  • I got to try my first (and won’t be the last) Jucy Lucy. Yes, there is no “i” in Jucy. There are two restaurants that lay claim to having invented the Twin City curiosity. We went to Matt’s Bar based on the recommendation of Becca’s boyfriend Gelli. He insisted that they have the superior Jucy Lucy. A Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts. The end result is a hamburger with a molten core of cheese. The sandwich is both incredibly tasty and slightly dangerous. You have to be careful with the first bite because if you bite into it too aggressively you are rewarded with an explosion of boiling cheese. This cheese explosion is both tasty and painful. A rare combination. The two restaurants that claim to have invented the burger are only a few blocks apart. Matt’s Bar does not use the “i” in juicy. The 5-8 Club does use the “i”. They both have used this spelling in their marketing. Matt’s Bar boasts “if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place.” The 5-8 club boasts “if it’s spelled right, it’s done right”. In a future trip to Minnesota, I will give the 5-8 Club a try. I might also venture into St. Paul to try the Cajun Lucy served at the Groveland Tap.
  • Stopped at a quaint little store called Tom’s Popcorn Shop. I picked up 4 types of popcorn. A chocolate popcorn that ended up being terrible. Jill compared it to Cocoa Puffs and that was a very accurate assessment. A double caramel and mixed nuts variety ended up being very tasty. A caramel and peanuts variety was tasty. The banana popcorn I am munching on right now isn’t too bad.
  • I got to see the bank where Bethany works and pick up two new pairs of shoes at a nearby Burlington Coat Factory. My injured foot is already starting to feel better since I switched shoes.
  • I made Sara’s dream come true by wandering around IKEA with Bethany and Jim. Okay, mostly with Bethany. I think Jim was ready to go 5 minutes after stepping in the door. I didn’t get to see all of IKEA, but I did get to see a group of girls acting out the scene from (500) Days of Summer (have I told you lately how much I love that movie!) that is set in IKEA. That warmed my heart a bit. I also fell in love with their collection of butcher block tables and I have decided to get rid of my kitchen table and replace it with a small butcher block table. To create both some space and so I have a food prep area if I ever decide to cook. Or the more likely scenario, for the next time somebody comes over and cooks for me.
  • I got to see Jill’s apartment. It was disgustingly clean. Meaning if I spent now until my birthday party cleaning my house it still wouldn’t be half as clean as Jill’s apartment. But it is a well-known fact that the Gorshes are cleaners. Anybody that ever worked a closing shift at the Boone outpost of the Evil Clown Empire with Derrick can tell you stories about the cleanliness of the grill area when he was done. They can also tell you other stories, but I’m concentrating on how much that guy liked to clean for now. I got to meet her cat. I don’t think it is a major surprise that her can’t didn’t like me, but the theory is that this was just laying the groundwork. The next time I visit, the cat will think I’m swell. It is similar to my theory that the next time Jupiter gets together with Jackson and Bailey they will get along swell because of the groundwork I did on Dog Playdate when I was borrowing Jupiter for Sara’s trip to Florida. I also got to ride in Indy for the first time since I got to drive her several months back. We ate at this sweet restaurant called Jade 88 Chinese Cuisine. We were the only people in the restaurant. Literally. My favorite aspects of this restaurant were that they called crab rangoons – cream cheese powder puffs, they had a chair sitting in the women’s bathroom stall (Jill reported this fact, I did not go into the women’s bathroom) and they had the largest collection of cleaning supplies I’ve ever seen sitting on top of the toilet in the men’s room. That isn’t to say the food wasn’t good, because it was great, but to know me is to know what type of weird things tickle my fancy. After the meal, Jill returned my copy of the 2 Disc Special Edition of A Clockwork Orange that she had borrowed a few weeks back. My Stanley Kubrick boxed set is complete once again! I was also able to loan her The Departed and give her the final piece of Halloween candy. A piece of candy that almost ended up in Willy’s stomach.
  • I had lunch with Jim, Becca and Nate at one of Becca’s favorite restaurants Quang. It is a Vietnamese restaurant that reminds me of one of Sara’s favorite restaurants, A Dong. (Yes, immature people, that is really the name of the restaurant. Stop giggling. I know who you are.) While we waited for a table, Becca and I checked out an Asian grocery store across the street. Now just going to a normal grocery store is kind of an adventure for me. (If you don’t believe me, ask Jay) But going to this grocery store was a special kind of adventure for me. I actually didn’t take my camera out of my backpack on the whole trip. Even though I thought about doing my FRAMING picture for RWPE up there, but in the end I admittedly just kind of phoned that project in. However, at the bottom of this list, you might just find a few low quality images I captured with my phone in this market. The food at Quang lived up to Becca’s hype. We had some kind of fried yam things called Banh Tom Chien. They called crab rangoons cream cheese wontons. Tasty, but not as cute as cream cheese powder puffs.
  • After Quang, I allowed Becca to drive my car (without a small amount of consternation on my part) to give us a tour of Uptown Minneapolis. I really liked Uptown. We got to drive by Gelli’s parents’ restaurant “It’s All Greek to Me…” (a place I will no doubt try in the future) and hear Becca’s sermonizing on how much she doesn’t like hipsters. Nate liked to point out that Becca is a borderline hipster, but she doesn’t see the similarities. Even though she does want to drive a Prius, she is not a hipster she insists. Mostly because she doesn’t ride a bike. But perhaps the most exciting part of the Uptown tour was driving by the Uptown Theater. Although I had missed it, they clearly proclaimed on their marquee that they had a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange. Jill is going to look into this phenomenon and hopefully a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange is in our future.
  • After the Uptown tour we stopped at a grocery store so Nate could buy the ingredients for gumbo. On the surface that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but in fact it is like watching Van Gogh buy paintbrushes or Eric Clapton buy a guitar.
  • Becca made a Coastal Seafood Salad that included shrimp, squid and roughie. It was incredible. Nate made gumbo (no need to point out how phenomenal the gumbo was) and we settled down to watch the Super Bowl. I would have to say that my favorite Super Bowl commercial this year was the commercial with the beaver playing the violin. Like Jen, I’m partial to beavers. The team I was rooting for also won. That was a surprising bonus. Nate also tried to convince me that Metallica had redeemed themselves with their most recent album. I’ve never been much of a Metallica fan, but at some point I will be giving their new album a listen in order to make my own assessment.
  • I pulled into my driveway at 1:30 in the morning. It had been a successful weekend on many levels.

Here are a few low quality pictures from my phone:

Mmmm… Pork brains. But you can’t prepare that without edible beef blood!

Fresh clams!

Lobster. I wanted a picture of the crabs, but the water in their tank wasn’t clear enough to get a good picture.

Of course I also wanted to share today’s love letter from The Writer’s Almanac:

Franz Kafka wrote stories about human beings transformed into vermin; unsettling legal battles over unspecified crimes; and a father who sentences his son to death by drowning. Kafka is often thought of as neurotic, and rarely as romantic, but he wrote a great many love letters — many of the anguished, helpless variety — to a Berlin woman to whom he was engaged for five years. Their relationship was carried out almost entirely by letters.

In the autumn of 1912, he wrote to Felice Bauer about how much she had become inseparable from his composition process, and also how anticipation of her writing kept him awake at night. He wrote:

“Lately I have found to my amazement how intimately you have now become associated with my writing, although until recently I believe that the only time I did not think about you at all was while I was writing.

In one short paragraph I had written, there were, among others, the following references to you and your letters: someone was give a bar of chocolate. There was talk of small diversions someone had during working hours. Then there was a telephone call. And finally somebody urged someone to go to bed, and threatened to take him straight to his room if he did not obey, which was certainly prompted by the recollection of your mother’s annoyance when you stayed so late at the office. — Such passages are especially dear to me; in them I take hold of you, without your feeling it, and therefore without your having to resist.

… [It takes] every imaginable effort to get to sleep — i.e., to achieve the impossible, for one cannot sleep and at the same time be thinking about one’s work and trying to solve with certainty the one question that certainly is insoluble, namely, whether there will be a letter from you the next day, and at what time. The night consists of two parts: one wakeful, the other sleepless, and if I were to tell you about it at length and you were prepared to listen, I should never finish.

Eleven days later, Kafka wrote to her:
“Fraulein Felice!
I am now going to ask you a favour which sounds quite crazy, and which I should regard as such, were I the one to receive the letter. It is also the very greatest test that even the kindest person could be put to. Well this is it:
Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday — for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them.
For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you.
I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don’t want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that’s why I don’t want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?”

And a week after that, he wrote to her:

“Dearest, what have I done that makes you torment me so? No letter again today, neither by the first mail nor the second. You do make me suffer! While one written word from you could make me happy! … If I am to go on living at all, I cannot go on vainly waiting for news of you, as I have done these last few interminable days …

I think the thing I’ve liked about these letters is their common theme of thinking constantly about the woman they love and how that gets in the way of their work.

RWPE #5 – Framing

Basic housekeeping:

This page will be moving at the end of February. Don’t forget to update your links, bookmarks and RSS Feeds to the new URL:

Astute and technically savvy subscriber Angie did remind me that Blogger Dashboard is just an RSS Feed reader and anybody that follows An Artist’s Notebook on Blogger Dashboard will still be able to follow it through Blogger Dashboard by simply updating the URL.

Dawn and Angie both raised concerns that they would not get email alerts when responses to their comments are left on the blog. I am currently looking into coming up with a fix for that and I will let you know when I come up with a solution.

This week’s submissions for Random Weekly Photo Experiment:

Christopher D. Bennett

Dawn Krause

Michael Vest

Shannon Bardole’s Art Appreciation Picks of the Week:

Dawn Krause’s Weekly Poetry Entry:

Dawn went for the “psychological concept of Framing” with her poem.


A social theory of interpretation
It helps us along in communication

Reference points making up our lives
Fitting together till every piece jives

Outline of who we believe we are
Continually makes us raise our bar

Compare our lives to what we know
Fitting our frames to friend and foe

This must have been a tougher concept to tackle as the fewest people contributed, but hopefully more people will be able to tackle this week’s theme:


As many of you know, I am a huge fan of The Writer’s Almanac. It is my favorite thing on the radio. I wanted to share a little tidbit from today’s Writer’s Almanac as it is rapidly approaching Valentine’s Day. In fact, The Writer’s Almanac is celebrating this week with love letters.

Poet John Keats (books by this author) lived to be just 25 years old, but in that time he wrote some of the most exquisite love letters in the English language. The letters were to Fanny Brawne to whom he became engaged.

He was 23 years old, recently back from a walking tour of Scotland, England, and Ireland (during which time he’d probably caught the tuberculosis that would soon kill him), and had moved back to a grassy area of London, where he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne. During this time, he composed a number of his great poems, including Ode to a Nightingale. And one Wednesday in the autumn, he wrote this letter, considered by many the most beautiful in the English language:

My dearest Girl,
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my soul I can think of nothing else. The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you against the unpromising morning of my Life. My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you. I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again — my Life seems to stop there — I see no further. You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving — I should exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love … I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder’d at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my religion — love is my religion — I could die for that. I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet. You have ravish’d me away by a Power I cannot resist; and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavored often “to reason against the reasons of my Love.” I can do that no more — the pain would be too great. My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.

Yours for ever
John Keats

The following spring, Keats wrote: “My dear Girl, I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known you the more I have lov’d. … You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest. When you pass’d my window home yesterday, I was filled with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time.”

Keats and Brawne became engaged. He wanted to earn some money for them before they got married. But then he began coughing up blood. When he saw it, he said: “I know the color of that blood; it is arterial blood. I cannot be deceived in that color. That drop of blood is my death warrant. I must die.” He wrote to tell her that she was free to break off their engagement since he would likely not survive. But she would not, and he was hugely relieved. But he died before they married.

RWPE #3 – People

Last weeks Random Weekly Photo Experiment Theme was PEOPLE. Here are the submissions:

Christopher D. Bennett

Michael Vest

Jesse Howard

Becky Perkovich

There were also a couple of different types of submissions. The first of the different types of submissions came from Shannon Bardole. Her submission breaks the one and only rule of the Random Weekly Photo Experiment. That rule is that the picture has to be taken the week of the theme.

However, I’m going to allow her submission because her take on this experiment is art appreciation and not creating new art. The picture she submitted I actually took.

Shannon Bardole

Dawn Krause also had an interesting take on this RWPE. She has elected to participate this week via her medium of choice – poetry.

The world wants lovers never pain
To dance in sunshine without rain
Our very nature will cause a rift
Away from Eden we slowly drift

Human nature a cunning score
Breaks the heart whom we adore
For want of love unconditioned
Search the world for our rendition

Young love will often never last
For inner tensions we are cast
Still we search for a kindred soul
A companionship to make us whole

Dawn Krause

I hope at least a few people are in suspense about the theme for RWPE this week. The Random Generator spit out the following theme:


That should be interesting considering most of the vegetation is covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice, but I have faith that a few people will be able to come up with something of interest.

RPotW #2: Soothing

The photo assignment for last week was “Soothing”.

Dawn Krause

Michael Vest

Christopher D. Bennett

Vest has yet to submit his photo to me, but when he does I will post it.

The subject for this week is “PEOPLE“.

That is a fairly easy subject so hopefully a couple more people choose to participate.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

I’ve often heard that the saddest thing in the world is unrequited love. Unsolicited love on the other hand…

I’ve never been a Christmas card person. My thoughts on cards is that when somebody sends you a card, what they are really saying (with apologies to Mitch Hedberg) is: “here, throw this away for me.”*

Apparently my bah humbuggery has gotten around and this year I think I hit a new low for Christmas cards received.

However, even though I don’t participate in the tradition I took Christmas card photos for 4 sets of people. That made me think that maybe I should get into the act.

But I don’t know how far I want to take it. I could certainly send a picture card of me that says, “Merry Christmas! Please, throw this away for me.” But I began to wonder if I have it in me to write the perfunctory Christmas letter.

You know, the whitewashed version of people’s lives that some people put in their cards. I didn’t think I was capable of this level of lying, but then I opened the theme Christmas letter from Geri D.

It was inspiring in its creativity. Maybe inspiring enough that some of you might just get something in the mail from me in December of 2010.

Since I have already covered the Christmas card photo shoot for the Howards, I am going to spend the next few days covering the other 3 photo shoots.

The other thing I want to cover today is a new photo project I am entering into with Mike Vest of Waxen Media. (Jesse Howard has also agreed to participate, but did not submit a photo for this week.) It is the type of photo project that I hope some of you choose to also participate in.

We came up with 52 photo “subjects” and entered them into a random generator. Every week on Monday we will randomly be given a new subject to photograph.

On Mondays I will post the previous week’s photos and that week’s subject. Anybody that would like to participate can. You can participate as many or as few weeks as you want. The photos don’t have to be taken with a fancy camera or have to be high art. Pictures with a camera phone are perfectly acceptable. The only rule is that the picture has to be taken that week.

Just email me your picture before noon each Monday.

Last week’s subject was “Use of Space”. Here are our pictures:

Christopher D. Bennett

Michael Vest

The subject for next week is “SOOTHING”. I know this to be short notice, but snap something off and email it to me at

This weekly random photo subject should NOT be confused with my ongoing Personal Photo Project of the Week that is one of my goals for 2010. I should hopefully start publishing some of that work next week. After I cover the other 3 Christmas Card Photo Shoots.

Of course there is one last subject that needs to be covered. It has been exactly 1 week since my old friend college football left me until next September.

The Gridiron Bowl Prophets made many wild predictions and this time, Yours Truly came out as the Champ.

Gridiron Bowl Prophets Final Standings:

  1. Christopher D. Bennett – The Insight – 23 of 34 – 429 Points
  2. Corey Faust – In It To Beat Bennett – 20 of 34 – 393 Points
  3. Jason Baier – Hokies – 21 of 34 – 367 Points
  4. Jesse Howard – Bowl Prophet – 20 of 34 – 341 Points
  5. Toby Sebring – I Love Lamp – 17 of 34 – 323 Points
  6. Lowell Davis – AC000000 – 0 of 34 – 0 Points

It is only my incredible modesty that prevents me from pointing out the thorough dominance of my performance.

*Despite my bravado, I don’t really throw anything away. If I’m ever on Hoarders, it will be because of the boxes and boxes of cards I have in my basement.