An Old Story

So I’ve been going through some old files lately and I stumbled upon a short story that I never finished. I don’t know if I hate it or love it, but I am tempted to complete it. Here it is:

Ercamus the Warrior King Turns 30

Ercamus had traveled long on this journey. The going was arduous and he had slain many foes. He had dispatched orcs, zombies, ghouls, giants, ogres, werewolves, vampires, goblins, trolls, spiders, wraiths, skeletons, spiders, and basilisks to name only a few. His adventure was coming to an end. There were only a couple of tasks undone. It had been a year since the Dark Minotaur Mage Hermonius had enchanted his kingdom, but the dark reign would soon end. Ercamus needed only to defeat the Magenta Dragon and retrieve the Minotaur’s key. Once he was in possession of the key he could enter Hermonius’ lair and defeat him. Then he could return to his kingdom and to Decorah the woman he loved. Then he could rule his kingdom in peace and tranquility for all his remaining days.

But, first things first, Ercamus needed to defeat the Magenta Dragon. He believed this to be an easy task because he had the Blue Sword of Zanbia. It was this sword that his ancestors had used to slay dragons in the time before time. This sword was known to cause damage to dragons that lesser blades wouldn’t even scratch. To further augment his confidence, Ercamus also stocked up on wyvern’s wing at the last village. If he was nearing the end of his life force, Ercamus could use the potion to heal his wounds and continue his fight.

Ercamus entered the Magenta Dragon’s chamber and set down his torch. He reached for the hilt of the Blue Sword of Zanbia and approached his foe.

The dragon spoke, “It is you, Ercamus of Rousselot, descendant of Balzine. You should flee now. Or I shall dine on your charred remains.”

Ercamus returned in kind. “It is I Ercamus of Rousselot, descendant of Balzine. I will defeat you. I will have the Minotaur’s key.”

“Then it is time,” responded the dragon.

Ercamus chose to attack at this time. He spun and slashed at the dragon’s flank. There was a spray of blood as “Old Bluey” cut into the dragon. The Magenta Dragon swiped at Ercamus. The dragon’s claws stuck with tremendous force, but Ercamus’ titanium armor withstood the blow. Ercamus struck back. It was only a glancing blow. The dragon sustained a mere 15 hit points of damage. The dragon pulled back and belted out an intense stream of fire that caused 35 hit points of damage to Ercamus.

It was Ercamus’ turn. He decided to use a spell, as he was fully loaded with magic points. He thought that an ice spell that he had learned in the village of Ferox would do the trick. In his experience it had been quite destructive to green and goldenrod dragons. Often killing them with only one incantation. He hoped that all dragons would be susceptible to the spell regardless of their place on the color spectrum.

Ercamus bowed down and began chanting the spell, but before its conclusion all the light in his world went out. In an instant he feared that he was dead. In the next instant there was no fear. His world no longer existed.

“Shit!” Ray screamed at the television. He was angry. He contemplated flipping off the television, but as that thought crossed his mind another one darted from the other side and his anger was replaced with fear. What if he had to start back from the village of Skoa? He hadn’t saved the game since he visited the Inn of Skoa well over an hour ago. He had lost a full hour of Minotaurquest VII! Sure he could play the game over, but this was his chance to defeat the game before his friend Black Knight had. Last time he chatted with Black Knight his warrior was only to the 25th level and just found the emerald armor. If he could complete the game first it would be the first time he had beat Black Knight since Minotaurquest III. He would be the warrior king of the chat room again.

It was then that it occurred to Ray that he had lost power. Perhaps, it was only that a circuit breaker had been blown. He knew he was running quite a few electronics on one breaker, but to really enjoy Minotaurquest you need to have the stereo running so you could slice and dice wraiths in surround sound. Perhaps, the stereo sending power to his sub was just too much for the house’s electrical system.

Ray pulled himself up out of his gaming chair and walked across the family room towards the utility room where the circuit box was housed. Ray muttered his way across the two rooms, grabbing a flashlight off a shelf in mid stride. A move that wouldn’t have impressed most people, but Ray took a second from his frustration to admire his hand eye coordination.

It was really wishful thinking on Ray’s part. It was mid-February in the Midwest and an ice storm had been soaking Ray’s town for a couple hours. A downed power line half a mile a way had disabled power for the south side of town. Ray didn’t know that, but he did know that none of the circuits were broken as he slammed the door shut.

Ray was near a panic now. Black Knight lived in California. He surely had power. He could be slaying the Magenta Dragon right now. Ray knew that this was bullshit. Exquisite bullshit! It was his dad’s fault. Ray knew this one fact. If the old man had bought a power generator then he could make his way to the garage this instant and fire it up. This was the exact reason why people had power generators. What was he going to do now?

At this exact moment it struck Ray. What was he going to do now? He couldn’t play Minotaurquest. He couldn’t watch television. He couldn’t watch a DVD. He couldn’t watch a video. He couldn’t listen to music. He couldn’t surf the Internet. There didn’t seem to be many options. He didn’t want to read by flashlight. That might hurt his eyes. He could light candles, but if he spilt wax on one of his novels, then their value would be down the toilet. He could go upstairs and try to talk to somebody in his family, but his younger sister was at college and he couldn’t stomach talking to his dad. It was his idea to move where the weather was so bad. That old man didn’t even consider getting a generator.

Truth be known, Ray never considered getting a backup generator before his quest was ended so abruptly. However, he made a mental note that when he got his own place, there would be a backup power supply. This would not happen to him again.

Ray slouched back into his gaming chair. He noticed there was a tear on the bottom side of the cup holder. He made another note. Buy new camping chair. Ray shut off the flashlight and sat in the darkness with a smile on his face. Camping chair? Why would anybody go camping? Nothing to do out there. Then he realized he was in the same predicament as campers. He had nothing to do. The smug look disappeared in the darkness.

Ray decided to light candles. His mother had decorated the family room with scented candles in seemingly every nook and cranny. It took only moments and the room was illuminated a small bit. Ray sat back down.

Now what? Boredom. It was his nemesis again. He thought briefly about masturbating. It was something he enjoyed and it would fill up some time. Maybe the power would come back on while he was finishing up. However, he didn’t seem to be in the mood even though it had been a couple days since he had given himself a tug. If he wasn’t in the mood he just couldn’t make himself be in the mood. Besides all his best pornography was locked up inside his computer. Access denied. His thoughts glanced to the lingerie catalog, but then he remembered that his sister had taken it to college with her. It occurred to him that once when he was in a bind like this he had used a Wal-Mart ad. Julie, associate; had done the trick for him on that night. It didn’t matter. Julie wouldn’t help him tonight. He wasn’t in the mood.

He looked down at himself. “Sorry love, I got a headache tonight,” he said to nobody in particular. Then he chuckled at his cleverness.

Then his thoughts escaped his control. He thought about his girlfriend. She wasn’t his current girlfriend. She was the only girlfriend he had ever had. So he was still correct to think of her as his girlfriend, damn the tenses.

Her name was Samantha. He wished she were with him tonight. Strangely enough, not just because of the sex stuff. He just kind of wished she were hanging around. He had realized awhile back that he had probably been to blame for things going wrong.

There relationship had been going well. They were having sex regularly, so it was going well in Ray’s eyes. Then one night she asked him about sexual fantasies. He said that he had always wanted to “make it” with a nurse.

The next night his parents were out of town she came over. She let herself into the guest bathroom. Ray continued watching some anime program. When she came out of the bathroom, she tried to get Ray’s attention. His gaze was glued to the television. She strutted back and forth behind the couch. Ray never moved. Finally she smacked the back of his head.

Ray was instantly annoyed by this gesture. His sisters had done this to him several times during their childhood. He turned in anger and then his jaw dropped open.

“Do you like?” Samantha asked.

“What are you doing?” was the answer.

“You said you always wanted to make it with a nurse.”

“I said I wanted to fuck a nurse, not fuck you dressed like a nurse.”

Where did she get such a crazy idea? It was beyond him. He turned back to his program. She walked back into the bathroom, gathered her belongings and left. She never returned. Ray didn’t follow her. The television was too good.

His mom wanted her back. She was privately concerned that Ray would never marry. She also knew that most 27 year olds living in their parents’ basement didn’t attract to many girls. She advised Ray to try to make amends for whatever he had done wrong. Ray assured her that he had done nothing wrong.

Ray did consider doing the flowers, apology, and groveling bit, but that weekend there was a sci-fi convention in town. Then on that Monday he had to reorganize his comics. On Tuesday new movies and music came out. By Wednesday he lost his steam. It was the curse of living such a full life.

THAT IS ALL THAT EXISTS TO DATE. MOST LIKELY IT IS ALL THAT WILL EVER EXIST.

Breaking Some Earth

I’ve been thinking about a place to put some of my more private images. There is good news. I have officially broken ground on a new section of the website. It will be called “The Fan Club”, but I have zero delusions that there are any actual fans out there. I have figured out how to password protect content n the website. Now that I have this new knowledge, I am going to setup some password protected content. Subsribers to my MySpace blog will get the new password automatically mailed to them. Other people will have to request the password. I will consider their request and then decide if they are worthy of joining the Photography 139 Fan Club.

Employees will also get the password automatically.

The ground has been broken, but it will probably be a couple more weeks before it emerges from hiding.

The New Galleries

Well the new galleries looks are finally finalized. I’m pretty sure that this is the way they are going to look going forward. The music might change. I am currently waiting for final approval on some of the music. These galleries are alot more dynamic and are alot easier to add pictures too. So stay tuned to the galleries because I will keep adding pictures almost every day while I get them up to a respectable number of images.

Other Projects

A note to let you know that I haven’t forgotten about the Artist’s Notebook. In fact I have so many things to write about that I don’t know where to begin. There was the trip to Minnesota to see the Foo Fighters, there was Rebecca’s senior picture shoot, and Halloween of course. I might even write a little bit about the Iowa State Football season, but right now I’m just going to go to bed.

A Good Day at Work

This will be just a brief little thing. I just wanted to take time to mention that yesterday at work I finally got a picture of one of the ground hogs that lives out behind my place of employment. I have wanted this picture ever since I first saw one six months ago.

The ironic thing about this groundhog picture is that the groundhog was found climbing in a tree by Steve. Just earlier in the day on my fresh air break we had discussed our love of watching wildlife in the wooded area behind where we work.

Two hours later he came inside from his smoke break to grab me and tell me that there was a groundhog in a tree. I grabbed my camera and took the picture below.


Groundhog Steve

A Cyclone Victory

Much has transpired since the last time that I took keyboard in hand and banged down a few thoughts for the World Wide Web. I won’t discuss many of those matters at this time. I’m only going to bang out some thoughts about the UNI-ISU football game on last Saturday. I don’t have a “Snapshot” page of pictures from that game quite put together at this time, but it will burst into existence in the next couple of days. It will definitely be up before we manhandle Nebraska on Saturday.

My observations:

1. Jon Davis is our best receiver. For all the hoopla that Todd Blythe gets, he has become a ball dropping machine. That is ironic since Jon Davis has the reputation for having bad hands. Even Blythe’s touchdown was a catch that he missed the first time and got lucky that the ball came back to him. Forget the fact Davis has been the most consistent receiver on the team. Forget the fact that he is the only receiver not to have dropped a ball this year. Consider only these facts: 1. He leads to team in receiving yards with 304. 2. He is second on the team in receptions with 21. 3. He has the longest reception of the year at 44 yards. 4. He leads the team in yards per reception at 14.5 YPR. Other Cyclone fans can call sports radio shows and complain that we aren’t throwing the ball to Blythe enough. I will wonder why we aren’t throwing the ball to Davis enough.

2. We might be 3-2, but we could very easily be 0-5. To break it down, our 3 wins are thanks to a dropped pass in the end zone, an overthrown ball in the end zone, and a field goal that floated barely wide right. All three plays were the last play in the game. Football truly is a game of inches. Although dominating performances against inferior opponents would have been nice, I get a certain amount of morbid joy from seeing us on the right end of those inches for once. How many times have we lost by that same small increment? I can think of 9 just off the top of my head: Alabama in 2001, Florida State and Texas in 2002, Colorado and Missouri in 2004, and Nebraska, Baylor, Missouri, and Kansas in 2005.

3. We almost lost to UNI at home. That would have been incredibly embarrassing, but I have had season tickets since 1983. It wouldn’t have been the worst thing I’ve ever seen in Jack Trice Stadium. I’ve seen ISU lose to UNI two other times already. I’ve seen us lose to Baylor. I’ve seen us lose to Connecticut. I’ve seen us lose to Western Michigan. The icing on the cake is seeing us lose to Drake the year before they completely dropped football. I don’t think anything will ever be as embarrassing as that 20-17 loss to the Bulldogs in 1985. I think the modicum of success that we have achieved in the last few years has spoiled Cyclone fans to the point that we now treat unimpressive victories like losses. I’m not sure if that is because we have arrived as a midlevel power conference program or just a statement on how quickly we forget.

4. When UNI kicked a field goal to take a 27-21 lead the two people to our right and the two people to our left got up and departed. I understand if these people would have left because this put UNI up by 10 points or 17 points or even 9 points. It didn’t, it put UNI up by under 7 points while giving our offense the ball with 2 and half minutes left to get into the end zone. At this point in the game our offense was moving the ball at will. The only thing separating us from putting this game away much earlier was a pair of fumbles. One by Austin Flynn as he was trying to power his way across the goal line and another that simply bounced off Ryan Baum’s helmet as he misjudged the trajectory of a Panther punt. There is no good excuse for the thousands of Cyclone “supporters” that streamed out of the stadium after that field goal. I think Jamie Pollard should take the money he flushed down the toilet for that stupid inflatable toy the players use to enter the field, and station ushers by the gates to take pictures of people who leave the game under these circumstances. Obviously we don’t want to ban them from coming to future games. However, establishig a Wall of Shame for such people would be a good deterrent and remind “fans” to support their team to the bitter end. The Cyclones have broken my heart on many an occasion. I don’t use it as an excuse to quit on them in the future. I put my heart back together and remember that next week might be the game where the other team misses a field goal at the buzzer to lose the game.

5. Although I have yet to find anybody to sign on to my theory, I think UNI made a huge mistake by laying up and going for the field goal that gave them a 27-21 lead. Not only do I disagree with the 3 straight runs they called in the red zone, but I think they should have manned up and went for it on 4th down. The worst case scenario was that they don’t get the 1st down and ISU gets the ball on the 15. They still have to go 85 yards to get a touchdown. True ISU could kick a field goal and head into overtime during such a scenario, but I don’t think I have to remind anybody about the Cyclones’ history of missing pressure field goals. Conversely, if the Panthers make the 1st down, the game is essentially over. ISU is out of timeouts. UNI could run out the clock or at worst leave just a handful of ticks left for the Cyclones offense. Now laying up was the prudent decision, but I think you only make prudent decisions when you are playing either your equals or your inferiors. Division 1-AA teams only get so many opportunities to upset 1-A schools. You have to be willing to take some risks to do it. UNI should have taken that risk.

6. Never thought I would write the following tidbit: I want to see more Stevie Hicks. The guy is averaging over 5 yards a carry and he is getting less than 10 carries a game. I understand that ISU has fallen behind in their last 2 contests, but I don’t think that means you abandon the run completely. Not when it is working to the tune of 5 yards a tote. That being said, I think I have finally figured out what is stopping Hicks from being a great back. He is definitely nothing more than an average D1 back, but that is good enough considering how bad our running game has been since Haywood graduated. However, Hicks shows the speed and power to be more than just an average back. There are times when I thought he was just way too indecisive. He seemed to stand in the backfield motionless after getting the ball and then he would get tackled for a two yard loss. I think his poor decision making comes from a lack of vision. I don’t think that Hicks sees the field very well. That explains to me his occasional indecisiveness and his lack of big plays. The play in the UNI game that leads me to this conclusion was late in the 1st Half. UNI was leading 21-7. ISU decided to roll the dice on 4th and 2. The call went to Hicks. There was a cavernous hole to his left. Rather than cutting to the left and perhaps taking it to the house, Hicks followed Koch straight up the middle. The problem with that decision was that Koch didn’t make it past the line of scrimmage. There was no hole where Koch had gone. There was at least a ton wall of cardinal, purple, and gold humanity. Hicks tried to move the pile. I’m sure Hicks is a strong guy. He certainly is an impressive looking human being. However, I don’t think on his best day he could move a ton of human bodies two yards. On Saturday he didn’t move it 2 inches.

7. Jason Scales. I like seeing him getting more playing time. I would like it even more if we could see more plays with him in open space. The screen play was a nice setup for Scales to use his talent. He is quicker and has more moves than Hicks. I think running him between the tackles isn’t the best use of his talent. I’d like to see more options and more sweeps with Scales.

8. Marquis Hamilton caught a huge ball during the game winning touchdown drive. I hope they keep enlarging his role in the offense. Especially with a Nebraska team that has proven an inability to cover tall receivers coming to town this Saturday.

9. Here is a riddle: The ISU defensive line has gotten penetration. What just happened? The other team called a screen play. I know they are young. I know they are small. We need to find a way to put pressure on the QB. Blitzing isn’t the answer unless we stop playing this soft zone garbage. When the opponent is throwing 5 yard passes because your corners are 15 yards off the ball, a blitzing linebacker isn’t going to get there fast enough. Not even close.

10. The other thing that concerns me about our defense is that we are missing an awful lot of tackles. On 3rd and 7 in the 4th quarter, Eric Sanders (who nobody will mistake for Michael Vick, Seneca Wallace, or even Todd Doxson) made Curvey miss in the backfield and then not 1 but 2 other Cyclones miss him as he trekked down the sideline for one of the most pathetic first downs you are ever going to see. I love Alvin Bowen. He is fast and hits like a bulldozer. That being said, I don’t know if he still leads the country in tackles, but I would lay money down that he leads the nation in missed tackles.

Those are my observations. I am still predicting another Cyclone victory on Saturday. Nebraska is a paper tiger. I believe the real Cyclones will show up this week. They have to right? We’re quickly running out of Saturdays.

Potential New Cub for 2026

Lowell and Leah welcomed a new person into this world this past week, so if you see them wandering the streets, tell them congratulations. The important statistical information is as follows:

Holden Ryne Davis
Born September 27, 2006
7:17 p.m.
8 lbs 7 oz.
20.5 inches long

The new picture of the week is up. I intend on making that a Friday tradition, so if you only have time to check this website once a week, Friday might just be your day.

The new picture is “Blue Steel”. It is a self portrait. I would like to say that it is somebody else in the picture, but quite frankly none of my friend’s goatees can match mine for its pure ferocity. This picture is not anywhere near as easy to make as it appears. Think about holding a picture pointed towards yourself at about 3 inches. That is what it took to make this picture.

The day I made this picture I took in excess of 50 pictures. I tried the picture with a toothpick and while eating a Star Bar and finally settled for this pose with water leaking out of my mouth ever so slightly to make my lips glisten.

Whatever else you can say about this picture, it almost immediately draws a strong reaction upon the viewer. Some people instantly see the humor. Some people can’t handle the visceral sexual heat that this image gives off. Some people have problems figuring out the picture’s subject. I won’t tell you what some people thought it was at an initial glance. All I can tell you is that some people are sick and twisted individuals. Sick and twisted.

The name “Blue Steel” comes from the pose Ben Stiller’s character uses in “Zoolander“. If you have seen that movie you will appreciate this fact. I almost attempted to duplicate “Magnum” instead of “Blue Steel”, but I don’t quite have that pose perfected yet. Soon though, it will be mine.

Blue Steel Plans Halted

I failed in my quest to get “Building 429” properly framed for display last night. I also learned that my attempts to get “Blue Steel” placed prominently in Salon 908 will not result in anything tangible. However, “Earth’s Laughter Series – #04” might get a spot on their walls. Jesse will attempt to negotiate this deal with Kelly in the near future.

The “10 Second Movie” feature will not be added to this Notebook quite yet. This week was fairly hectic at work and Jesse and I could never quite get aligned for our tribute to “On the Waterfront”. Perhaps that will occur in the near future. It might even happen next Tuesday if everything breaks just right. Of course, there is a small chance that a tribute to something else could surface this weekend if everything breaks just right during Friday Night Supper Club.

Outburst of the Soul” has been the Picture of the Week this week. The name comes from a quote by English composer Frederick Delius who said: “Music is an outburst of the soul”. When I took this picture I had no larger ambitions than having a birthday present for the subject of the picture Derrick. I don’t want to get too far into the meaning of the image because I think that explaining the purpose of a piece of artwork begins to take away the meaning of that artwork. I believe that artwork should stand on its own. I also agree with Oscar Wilde when he said: “The moment you think you understand a great work of art, it’s dead for you.”

I don’t think there are many mysteries about the meaning of “Outburst of the Soul”. My worry is that it is too blunt. I’ll just give you a little bit of the back story of this image. I contacted Derrick about meeting him during my lunch break to take a couple of pictures of him and his guitar. He agreed.

The first time we had a little bit of trouble hooking up. So a second time was arranged. On the second trip I ran into Nader in downtown Ames, where Derrick worked. When I got to Derrick’s place of employment he wasn’t back from his lunch break. So I waited in the back alley with Nader for Derrick to show up.

I was also supposed to meet Jesse for lunch. After about 5 minutes in the alley, Jesse showed up. We all talked for about 15 minutes before the man of the hour showed up. He went inside and came back out with his guitar.

I took about 40 pictures with about 4 different poses. I settled on this one finally because Derrick effectively blocks out the Bud Light truck that had parked in the other end of the alley during the middle of this shoot. When I downloaded the images to my computer I was worried that the image’s harsh contrast between the shadow and the bright light of the alley would ruin the image, but Monica argues that it adds to the picture. I can’t remember her exact words, but it was something about music leading Derrick from darkness into the light. I won’t lie, that wasn’t the intent. If that was the intent I would have had Derrick meet me at a tunnel. It does serve as a reminder to me that to some degree, art is only worth what the viewer brings to it. Every piece of art has a different value to every viewer.

Regardless of that little treatise, the image was put through Photoshop and I took all of the color out of the image except for the color of Derrick’s guitar. After a little tweaking here and a little tweaking there, Derrick’s birthday present was ready for him and ready for the world.

I should also point out that in my current capacity with the company that employs me; I do not have an office. What I do have are lots and lots and lots of walls. I have taken to covering these walls with 8.5 x 11 copies of some of my assorted works. There aren’t many people that walk by my walls. The people who do walk by pretty much never stop to look at anything I have posted on my walls. That is perfectly fine. I post the pictures for me. I need some color on my walls or the dreariness of the gray wallpaper would surely drive me to madness. Yet, when I first put up “Outburst of the Soul”, several people did stop to admire that picture. A few even came back to see it a second time.

I state earlier that I failed to get a copy of “Building 429” framed last night. I should make more of a concerted effort tonight. I painted the frame black and then added craquelure over the top of the black paint. The first coat of craquelure failed to give me the desired result. In fact, I got hardly any cracking at all. So I gave the frame a very liberal amount of craquelure via a second coating. The result was not what I was striving to create, but I can’t say that I’m not pleased with the result. I think the frame looks awesome. I am ready to boldly proclaim it as one of my best frames to date. I just need to get everything put together. It will be something for me to do while I’m waiting for “The Office” to bless my television screen this evening.

The reason for my failure to finish this project last night was I attending dinner with Monica and Cory Ungs last night. Cory has been in poor health over the last few months and it has caused more than a few moments of consternation for me. There was a time when it was thought that he might have to have heart surgery. Finally, they have diagnosed Cory with Type II Diabetes. Not the best diagnosis, but at least he can now begin to manage his health and he seems to be doing a very good job at it. He is exercising and managing his eating schedule very well.

After dinner we went to see “Hollywoodland”. Cory wouldn’t go to the movie. He would not respond to my constant barbs such as: “Come on nerd, it’s a Superman movie.” Or the classic, “Nerd, nerd, nerd, nerd.” The short version of the story is that “Hollywoodland” is a good but not a great movie. Adrien Brody and Diane Lane gave their usual great performances. The shocker of the movie is that Ben Affleck did not stink the joint up as he has consistently done since “Good Will Hunting”. He was actually very good as George Reeves. A man whose aspirations for greatness were constantly out of his reach and was pigeonholed after playing a role he despised. One of the saddest sequences in the movie was when his part in “From Here to Eternity” was cut from the movie because the first audiences couldn’t see him as anything other than Superman. What was going to be one of his greatest professional triumphs was taken from him by the thing he hated the most. Although the acting was great, the movie itself started to wander near the end of the 2nd act. It also didn’t end very strongly. I didn’t completely dislike the ending, but it wasn’t real strong.

Other than working and eating and watching the Padres blow a lead in the 8th inning to the Cardinals (thank you very much Scott Linebrink) I have been reading Thomas Merton lately. I came across something he wrote in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. He wrote something about businesses that struck me as poignant. Particularly as I can related his point to a company that previously employed me because the people in that company really drank the Kool-Aid that they were making. They were in denial about everything dealing with their company to such a degree that I never understood it. They certainly had no place for dissension or even intelligent thought in their business plan. Then I read these words by Thomas Merton and I suddenly understood these people. I still feel sadness for them, but at least I understand why they are incapable of understanding why all of their ideas are bad and were surprised when they failed. Where they worked had become a religion to them. They are incapable of question the dogma when it comes down from the CEO? They view it as “Gospel Truth”.

Businesses are, in reality, quasi-religious sects. When you go to work in one you embrace a new faith. And if they are really big businesses, you progress from faith to a kind of mystique. Belief in the product, preaching the product, in the end the product becomes the focus of a transcendental experience. Through ‘the product’ one communes with the vast forces of life, nature, and history that are expressed in business. Why not face it? Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments.

It helps me understand why so much corporatespeak feels like attempted brainwashing. It helps me understand why when I went to corporate meetings it felt like I was going to a revival meeting for a religion that I didn’t believe in. I was going to a revival meeting for a religion I didn’t believe in.

Kelly’s Christmas Present

This weekend was the annual “Howard Family Christmas Card Photo Shoot”. I think it went well this year. Hopefully they find a picture or two that they like enough to use for their Christmas card.

As a result of that photo shoot I found out one more little tidbit about the Pufferbilly Day Photo Contest. Apparently Kelly went down to the exhibit with her two co-workers. Or perhaps they are technically employees. They did not like “Blue Steel”. Not even a little bit. In fact, not at all. Perhaps they just don’t play enough softball. At least now I know what Kelly gets for a Christmas present this year.

I have really been spending more time lately painting frames than taking pictures. I think I have come close to master the technique that will result in the “finished products” of all Photography 139 artwork. I have a completed framed picture of: “Earth’s Laughter Series – #04”, “Grizzly McAlpine”, “Blue Steel”, and hopefully by the end of the night I will have ““Building 429”” completed.

I also should note that I have decided to expedite the naming process for my flower pictures. In the future they will all fall under the series title “Earth’s Laughter” and be given a number. The name is derived from a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote: “The Earth laughs in flowers.” I enjoy using parts of quotations as photo titles. This series is currently only numbered up to four. I should note that there are times when a number and a subtitle will be used. An example would be: “Earth’s Laughter Series – #03: My Giverny”. You get the idea.

I have a new complaint about the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. When I got my pictures back the one’s that did not receive awards had my name and the name of the picture taped to the front of them. When I removed that label, the tape ripped and destroyed my mats. 1 step forward turned into 1 step back. My resolve to win the color division of this contest has been weakened.

Last week’s picture of the week was Building 429. The inspiration for this picture comes from the band Building 429. Building 429 took their name from is one of my favorite Bible verses: Ephesians 4:29. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”. Building 429 has a special place in my heart as they recorded one of the most important songs of my life: “No One Else Knows”. Jen and Derrick’s band covered that song for me at Songs for Olivia earlier this year. Below is a copy of the lyrics from that song:

No One Else Knows

My world is closing in
On the inside But I’m not showing it
When all I am is crying outI
hold it in and fake a smile
Still I’m broken
I’m broken
Only one can understand
And only one can hold the hand
Of the broken
Of the broken

When no one else knows how I feel
Your love for me is proven real
When no one else cares where I’ve been
You run to me with outstretched hands
And You hold me in your arms Again

I need no explanation of why meI just need confirmation
Only You could understand the emptiness inside my head
I am fallingI am falling
I’m falling down upon my knees
To find the one who gives me peaceI am flying
Lord I am flying
When no one else knows how I feel
Your love for me is proven real
When no one else cares where I’ve been
You run to me with outstretched hands
And You hold me in Your arms
Again

I have come to you in search of faith
Cause I can’t see beyond this place
Oh You are God and I am man
So I’ll leave it in Your hands

“Building 429” is a picture of a pocket cross laid on top of Olivia’s NIV Bible open to Ephesians 4:29. It is a macro photography. The intent is to make the image bigger than life, show how beat up the cross has become, and make the cross shine. I think it makes for an emotionally powerful image.