Category Archives: Self-Portrait

2009-01-02 & 2009-01-03

The pictures from the folders 2009-01-02 and 2009-01-03 involved a trip to ACTORS theater in Ames. Plus a trip to Ottumwa to work on the house that Jen inherited. Plus there are some pictures of when I had winnowed down what house I would purchase down to two similar ranch style houses.

The house that I would ultimately purchase was the lucky winner mainly because it had the better yard. It had the better yard times a million. The intention was always to get a golden retriever when I was back up on my own feet and living on my own again.

As I look at the pictures of the runner-up, I assure you Naima would not have been happy with that yard. I also wouldn’t have been happy with such a small yard too. I mean, if you’re going to care about my happiness.

Here are the pictures:


ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

ACTORS

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

Ottumwa House

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

The Great House Hunt

I do confess though, I could have has some pretty great parties with that carpeted bar.

By adding these images to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Blitz

Intermission

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 2: Initial Look

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 4 – A Closer Examination

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve saying goodbye to an old cinematic friend and a winter storm.

Shaving Says A Lot About A Man, Like, “I’m Not One”

Immediately after the beautiful beard go its final photo shoot Jay and I trudged from the Photography 139 Basement Studio to the kitchen where the unpleasantness was set to be done. “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana playing through my head.

I still had time to back down. It was now spring and the weather was starting to heat up and I was well past time for a shearing, there was no reason to do it now. It could wait a few days. Maybe even a week. Maybe there was no reason to shave at all? Despite the naysayers, the beard had a near cult like following. There were beard fanatics out there and didn’t I have a certain obligation to them?

I shook all these thoughts out of my head as we reached the kitchen. I sat down in the chair. Jay got out his clippers. The following pictures document what transpired:


Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

Shearing

It was then that the battery on Jay’s clippers died. I spent the rest of the night with that cheeseball mustache. When I woke up in the morning I shaved down to full dirty naked face.

Thanks to Jesse for document the horror of it all.

Who’s Afraid of Thomas Wolfe?

My Mom moved out of my boyhood home 20 years ago. I loved that house and to some degree it will always be home to me.

While one can debate whether or not the 20 years that have passed have been kind to me, there is no doubt that it has not been kind to that boyhood home. If that house were an animal, the owners would be prosecuted for neglect.

There was a time when I would even avoid driving down the street where that house sits. Just the look of it falling deeper and deeper into a decrepit state would cause waves of anger to come crashing to the surface.

Then a couple years back, I heard through the grapevine that the house had been condemned. Anger turned to sadness. While I still avoid that street, it is a different emotion that cause the boycott.

The grapevine wasn’t 100% accurate though. While the house feels like it is a good blast of wind away from falling over, it isn’t exactly condemned. It isn’t fit for living, but it isn’t condemned either. In fact, it recently was put back on the market with an asking price of $15,000.

I recently toured the house with my Aunt Linda and took a few pictures of what it has become:


Boyhood Home
The upstairs bathroom.

Boyhood Home
My old bedroom.

Boyhood Home
I would still gladly take this tub off their hands.

Boyhood Home
Carla’s old bedroom.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
The den.

Boyhood Home
The living room.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
The old darkroom.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Basement shower.

Boyhood Home
My model railroad track used to sit there.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Living room.

Boyhood Home
I believe Grandpa Bennett put up that thermometer.

Boyhood Home

Boyhood Home
Garage is cleaner than the inside of the house.

Boyhood Home
No window though.

Boyhood Home
That poor owl thermometer.

Boyhood Home
I wish I could say that my old hoop was about to fall over because of my numerous thundering dunks.

Boyhood Home

Carla, Teresa, and Mom had all toured the old stomping grounds at some point, but this was my first time in the place. I was shocked to see that all the carpet and paint was the same as when Mom moved out. Okay, shocked might be overstating it.

I’m glad that the old place isn’t being torn down, but at the same time, I won’t be driving down that street anytime soon.

Lazarus Come Out!

A few weeks back Rodan139 took a tremendous tumble from the sky. According to the flight log, Rodan139 fell out of the sky from 190 feet. It was going 40.3 MPH when it hit sweet, round, Mother Earth.

Rodan139 was a hurting unit when I got to it. A couple arms were broken off, the camera was barely hanging on, and most of the body was considerably damaged.

To be brutally honest, it sucked. However, Rodan139 is just a machine. So I picked up his pieces and threw them in the Sir Pixalotmobile and Jason and I drove to Luther to have a tasty lunch.


Whatcha Smoking Tenderloin

Let me tell you, nothing mends the cracks in an emotional broken heart while at the same time clogs up the plumbing of a physical heart like a tasty, tasty tenderloin*.

After lunch I went home and did some research on the level of fiscal pain this accident was going to cause me. I knew it wasn’t going to be cheap, but the worst case scenario was that I was going to have to push off the purchase of the Sony RX0 that I have been coveting for a few months now (but that is another dilemma for another time).

I contacted DJI Repair and they sent me a UPS Label to send Rodan139 into them. I boxed it up and sent it off and waited. What happened next surprised me.

They covered the whole thing. All the parts. All the labor. All the shipping. Covered. And what was covered wasn’t cheap.

Here is a list of everything they covered and what it would have cost:

Item List

Gimbal Axis Arm Module (Pro)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 160.00

Total Price: 160.00

Upper Cover Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 11.00

Total Price: 11.00

Middle Frame Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 13.00

Total Price: 13.00

Core Board Module

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 320.00

Total Price: 320.00

Vibration Absorbing Board (Upper)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 2.00

Total Price: 2.00

Rear Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 21.00

Total Price: 21.00

Front Arm Module (Left)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Front Arm Module (Right)

Quantity: 1

Net Price : 24.00

Total Price: 24.00

Repair Service Fee

Quantity: 2

Net Price : 65.00

Total Price: 130.00

Tax

0.00

Shipping Cost

0.00

Total Amount

705.00

Discount

705.00

Total Payment (USD$)

0.00

You read that right. It could have cost me $705.00, but it cost me nada. Zilch. The big goose egg. Hmmmm…. I wonder what also costs about $705? That is a discussion for another time though.

What is not a discussion for another time is how amazing DJI’s Customer Service is. I was very impressed and I was glad that I decided to go with DJI when I decided to take a stab at aerial photography.

Yesterday at approximately 4:05 PM I was reunited with Rodan139. Now that I am complete again, I feel I can share a couple of pictures taken from that last fateful flight that ended in carnage of twisted wire and broken plastic.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Yesterday it was a little windy, so I took Rodan139 out for another very shorty maiden voyage.


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

The last picture I took in my backyard as I wanted to test a night photography setting.

I definitely was the most nervous I have ever been on one of these little flights. In particular, there was a moment when I was out at the Harrier Marsh when Rodan139 was surrounded by a flock of birds. Visions of a bird smashing it to it and it tumbling to the ground danced in my head. I quickly rose above the birds, but I was shocked out how close they came to it. A mental note was made for future trips out to Harrier.

The weather on Saturday and Sunday does look promising. Although Saturday, Baby Got Rack might be doing a little research project. Oh… I’ve said too much.

*At this time, there will not be a review of the tenderloin. While I have very good perspective on what is actual tragedy and what is just “well that sucks”, I still wasn’t in the proper state of mind to properly assess the tenderloin.

12December2008

Sometime in late 2008 my organizational process of my photos went all FUBAR. The result is that it appears that I have actually lost several images from late 2008 and early 2009.

None of the lost pictures are of much consequence, but it is annoying nonetheless.

Part of this breakdown in the system was that it seems that rather than breaking images into folders by date, I just dumped a ton of pictures into the December folder.

Fortunately for you, I don’t usually take a ton of pictures in December. However, this still potentially might be one long journal entry.

There are pictures from Iowa State at night, Toys for Tots, an American Legion event in Roland, Iowa State basketball, Shannon dressed nice for once, a night with the Daniels, and crayfish that took home from a Chinese buffet.

Here we go:


Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

Iowa State at Night

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

The Daniel Household

Thelma & Louise

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Toys for Tots - 2008

Panther Candy

UNI Hat

The Great Wager

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Iowa State vs. Oregon State - 2008

Looking at those pictures something that struck me is that I had forgotten how badly Greg McDermott had destroyed Iowa State’s basketball program. Thank you Creighton for taking him off of our hands! It is a debt that can never be repaid!

All those pictures added to the Photography 139 Gallery enabled me to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” journal entries to their original glory:

Thelma and Louise

Boone Taxi Driver

Saturday Night

Toys for Tots

Burying the Lead

Muskrat Carcass

Beavers

Plus Five

Roland, Iowa

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve hanging around the ACTORS Studio.

Moments Before

I never meant for this to go so far. At a certain point, it felt like things got out of control and I was powerless to do anything about it. What started as laziness had grown to a point where it had a life of its own. I was supposed to be in control, but now I was a passenger. Then on March 15, I grabbed the wheel back. I empowered myself. Took control of the situation.

It wasn’t easy to say goodbye to a close friend. We had become inseparable. It was a relationship that had started in June, possibly May of 2018. It is hard to pinpoint a date, but I know the whole affair started before leaving for the mission trip in Vidor, Texas.

There was no plan. Nothing was building towards anything. There were many times I felt like just cutting things off and walking away. There were times I looked in the mirror and told myself that I can’t do this any more. But I would cave and walk away.

Initially I was going to say goodbye on January 1. New year, new beginnings. Even though the stinging encounter with a parade Santa had left a wound that had just days before been ripped open by a little girl at the Chinese buffet, I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger. I needed some documentation. Proof of what I had become. I was going to take some pictures before finally walking out on this toxic relationship.

Then, the weather changed. A polar vortex ripped through the area. Some days the wind chill factor was below -40. Some days it was below -20 without the wind chill factor. The temperature stayed below freezing for six straight weeks.

Rather than committing to the change that needed to be made, I used the cold as an excuse. As a crutch. As a reason to hold on.

But the cold weather receded and my resolve strengthened. A new date for a new me arrived in March. The first day of spring. New life. New beginnings. Time to say goodbye. Place this friend aside and walk away.

I still needed the pictures. If I ever saw that old friend again I could remember the pictures and remind them, we were good together, but even the best things come to an end.

Moments before my beard got shaved off, I sat down for a photo shoot. Jay took the following pictures:


Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments Before

Moments later, I would look like a corporate sellout. My old friend wanted to punch me in the face, but there were quite a few moments between the glory of the beard and the shame of being a dirty nakedface.

President Quest 2020 – Cory Booker

It has been awhile since I made some progress in my personal quest to meet, photograph, or at least see in person the politician that will take office as the next President of the United States in 2021.

Way back in January I saw New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the Livery Deli. Since then I failed to see anybody else. This was partially a product of the weather. Partially the product of the college basketball season. Partially the product of politicians coming to Boone while I was at work. Partially because many of the big names were visiting other parts of the state.

However, I made it out last Sunday to the Prairie Moon Winery with Angie to see Cory Booker speak.

Here is a little information on Cory Booker from the super reliable Wikipedia:

Cory Anthony Booker (born April 27, 1969) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from New Jersey since 2013 and a member of the Democratic Party. The first African-American U.S. Senator from New Jersey, he was previously the 36th Mayor of Newark from 2006 to 2013. Before that, Booker served on the Municipal Council of Newark for the Central Ward from 1998 to 2002. On February 1, 2019, he announced his campaign to run for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 United States presidential election.

As senator, his voting record was measured as the third most liberal.[1] Considered a social liberal, Booker supports women’s rights, affirmative action, same-sex marriage and single-payer healthcare. During his five years in office, Booker co-sponsored and voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (2013), tougher sanctions against Iran, sponsored the Bipartisan Budget Act (2013), voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (2014), co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act (2014) and led the push to pass the First Step Act (2018). In 2017, he became the first sitting senator to testify against another when he testified against Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing. In April 2018, following the FBI raid on the offices of Michael Cohen–U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney–Booker together with Chris Coons, Lindsey Graham, and Thom Tillis, introduced the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act to limit the executive powers of Trump.

Cory Booker is easily the best orator that will run for President in 2020. His speeches eloquently intertwine quotes from The Bible and poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou and historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr.

He often uses this line in his speeches:

The lines that divide us are nowhere near as strong as the ties that bind us. When we join together and work together — we will rise together.

At the event was also J.D. Scholten and the founder of Working Hero Action Joe Sanberg.

Here are some pictures from the day:


Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Cory Booker

I badly underestimated how many people would be there to see Cory Booker because he isn’t doing all that well in the polls. However, there was a standing room only crowd there. Since I got there kind of late, I had to sit in the last row. I only got that seat because Angie got there before I did and saved me that seat. So I the pictures of Cory Booker are what they are.

He was able to intertwine “Still I Rise” into his speech:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

He was also able to intertwine “There Is A Dream In The Land” into his speech:

There is a dream in the land
With its back against the wall
By muddled names and strange
Sometimes the dream is called.

There are those who claim
This dream for theirs alone–
A sin for which we know
They must atone.

Unless shared in common
Like sunlight and like air,
The dream will die for lack
Of substance anywhere.

The dream knows no frontier or tongue,
The dream, no class or race.
The dream cannot be kept secure
In any one locked place.

This dream today embattled,
With its back against the wall–
To save the dream for one
It must be saved for all.

When you hear Cory Booker speak, it will not surprise you to learn that he almost went to divinity school instead of law school.

Cory Booker stayed after his speech and took pictures with and recorded videos with everybody that wanted some of his time.

I’m not sure what presidential hopeful I will see next, but I have my ear to the ground.

Blue Steel Redux

Cleaning up some of the May 2018 backlog brings us to even more “reimaginings” of classic Photography 139 image “Blue Steel”.

These pictures were taken when I was playing with extension tubes. Extension tubes are fun for the whole family. The family that loves super macro photography. And what family doesn’t? No family that is worth know, that is who!

Have a quick peek:


Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

I’m thinking of adding a Blue Steel Redux picture to The Canvas Project, but I already have the original “Blue Steel” hanging up in my hallway. That might just be too much Blue Steel for one house.

Who am I kidding? You can never have enough Blue Steel.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Triplets

After doing our “horns down” gesture, we loaded back into the car and headed north. Hoping to get deep into the heart of Oklahoma before bedding down for the night.

Leaving Austin we made a stop at Buc-ee’s. If you ever make it to Texas, I can’t strongly recommend stopping at a Buc-ee’s enough. Without mincing words, it is the best gas station in the world. I’m not just saying that because they have a beaver for a mascot.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Buc-ee’s is almost as big as Wal-Mart, but you can shop there without feeling that you are supporting an evil organization. They have just about everything you want, from a fudge shop to a barbecue shop. Do you need more than barbecue and fudge? You really have to experience it. Words don’t do it justice.

While I was Buc-ee’s I had an interesting encounter in the bathroom. Most men live by a rule that when you are at the urinal, you don’t speak to anybody around you. I don’t necessarily live by this rule, but I’m guessing 95% of men do.

While I was about my business a Washington State fan got my attention. I was thinking, “Great, I want to hear some dirty Cougar gloat about their victory while I’m in the most magical place on earth. (Buc-ee’s, for the record, not the men’s room.)

But he didn’t gloat though. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “The refs screwed you guys.”

I wasn’t looking to make a beautiful connection with another human being over gas station urinals, but here we were. I looked him back dead in the eyes and said:

“I know.”

Leaving Buc-ee’s I figured that we could unright a wrong that I didn’t even know I had committed. On the way through Waco we could stop at Magnolia and pick up the cupcake that I had apparently agreed to buy my Mom but had forgotten.

Because we knew the trick of the bakery food truck, I dropped Jesse off and scooped the loop of the silos district of Waco. I stopped and took a few pictures of an interesting looking burger joint and a church:


Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

Waco

While scooping the loop I discovered something about Magnolia that we didn’t realize the first time we were there. They have a parking lot. If you ever find yourself visiting Magnolia, don’t fall for all the parking lots charging you $10 to park there. They have a free parking lot. Go there first.

I parked our trusty steed and headed into Magnolia. Right next to the bakery truck was the infamous Alabama Sweet Tea truck. This time it was open. Hallelujah!! I was going to be able to have even more sweet tea!

I got in line, but I was greeted by an extremely prejudiced menu:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Once again, the bigotry of southerners was thrown in my face. I almost decided to skip the sweet tea, but I persisted:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

After securing the sweet tea and the cupcakes, Jesse and I got back on Interstate 35 and efforted to make good time. We wanted to get as far north as we could to make the last day of our road trip as short as possible.

We did stop at the Texas-Oklahoma border to take our picture with the iconic Texas sign:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

I also saw this in the rest stop bathroom and I documented it because I didn’t know what to make of it. I still don’t know what to make of it:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

We stopped for supper at a Taco Casa in Ardmore, Oklahoma.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

I’m not going to say it was delicious, but it was cheap and there was lots of it and sometimes when you are on the open road, that is enough.

We left Taco Casa and gassed up at a Valero. At the pump next to us were a boyfriend-girlfriend or brother-sister combo, being in the south, possibly both, gassing up their truck. They were clearly loaded. I’m not an expert on Ardmore, Oklahoma, but if I had to take a guess at their controlled substance of choice, that guess would be meth.

Regardless of what they were on, they were clearly staring at me. It made me a little nervous because our car being a rental, I wasn’t packing the car knife that always resides in the Sir Pixalotmobile. If trouble was going to go down, all I had to rely on was my dashing good looks. Fortunately, that was all I needed.

Finally, the guy spoke to me.

“Sir, how tall are you?”

At least he got my name right.

“Six foot three or six foot four.”

His girlfriend/sister said, “You’re sure a tall $&#@er. What do they feed you?”

While I should have said “Meth heads.” What I really said was, “Taco Casa most recently.”

I finished gassing up the rental and we hit the road north looking to put distance between us and this unfortunate part of Oklahoma.

We drove for a couple more hours and bedded for the night at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Perry, Oklahoma. After spending about 15 minutes watching the Oklahoma-Alabama game with an Oklahoma State fan that turned out to be a hotel employee eating what looked like tapioca pudding out of about a one gallon bucket (my man) we were in our rooms and snoring the night away.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

We got up in the morning and enjoyed the continental breakfast that the Holiday Inn Express & Suites had to offer. They didn’t have a fancy pants omelette guy. But they did have conveyor belt pancakes and I can’t ever say a bad word about conveyor belt pancakes.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

But the real show stopper was this mango juice that they had on tap. It wasn’t straight mango juice, but it was still delicious. I knocked down something like 5 cups of it and then filled up my empty Alabama Sweet Tea mason jar with more of it for the road:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

It really hit the spot and I was melancholy when I finally knocked down the last few drops as we approached Manhattan, Kansas to visit Nate and Laura and the triplets.

There isn’t much to say about this visit other than TRIPLETS!!!


Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

Triplets

The triplets were doing great. Nate and Laura were doing great for being so tired. The triplets slept the whole time we were there, so maybe triplets is easy? Either way, it was a great visit.

We said goodbye to the Millers and hit the road. There was a stop for lunch in Topeka and another stop for gas. However, it wasn’t long before we were back home in Boone, Iowa. The #1 Affordable Small Town Where You’d Actually Want to Live as ranked by realtor.com.

Selfie Project – February

Seems like a good time to check in with the progress on THE SELFIE PROJECT.

I don’t think that February was my best work. Apparently I need to get out more and see more people because it seems like I didn’t leave my house much in February from these pictures.

But looks can be deceiving. Nothing deceiving about that bear though.


February 1, 2019
February 1

February 3, 2019
February 3

February 5, 2019
February 5

February 6, 2019
February 6

February 7, 2019
February 7

February 8, 2019
February 8

February 10, 2019
February 10

February 13, 2019
February 13

February 15, 2019
February 15

February 18, 2019
February 18

February 20, 2019
February 20

February 21, 2019
February 21

February 24, 2019
February 24

February 25, 2019
February 25

February 26, 2019
February 26

February 27, 2019
February 27

February 28, 2019
February 28

I’ll try to be more interesting in March.