This is my second recipe for a blue Hubbard squash smoothie. I cook squash and freeze it into smoothie serving sizes. All I have to do is take it out of the freezer the night before and it is ready for the blender.
We both stay busy with our art and other projects that seem to consume our time in a most constructive and lucrative way. The time we allow for leisure is spent chilling with friends and reading or watching a movie or getting lost in a VR game.
We are big fans of foreign films, film noir, documentaries, and daily newspapers. I seldom read fiction books unless they border on the lines of Truman Capote, John Steinbeck, or my favorite - Jack Kerouac . I like my words real. I do enjoy poetry. Hubby likes a good war novel, natural for a Vietnam Marine door gunner.
I am a student of the Great Depression and the early Wobbly unions. My hubby and I both enjoy live theater and musicals. Death of a Salesman and Miss Saigon are examples. We both hate reality TV, news TV (if you want to call CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC news) anything with commercials, and so-called 'entertainment' shows.
Our TV viewing is restricted to Game of Thrones (it will be missed), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and PBS specials, including shows like Frontline. We do indulge in PBS shows like Miranda and reruns of Keeping up Appearances. We have Netflix on our Roku if we want to watch a movie or documentary. Netflix has some great docs and foreign films. And of course, we watch TPB.
Hubby enjoys college football. Thankfully he can Tivo a game, begin watching 45 minutes into it, push through the commercials and watch the live ending. Oh, and call me insane but I Tivo SNL. It is a forty-one year habit I can't break. I think I keep hoping the ghosts of the likes of Chase, Aykroyd, Belushi' and Radner will be resurrected. I am always disappointed, though their openers are usually spot-on in mimicking current affairs. Thankfully, I can watch the opener and fast-forward to the skits that look funny and trash the rest without loosing valuable time.
I seem to be making excuses here for the above photo. Why would two picky people who can't wait for Hamilton to play in Atlanta go see the Trailer Park Boys? Our fondness for the TPB is something I can't explain, really.
Sometimes in 2005, our son, a sci-fi fan and computer geek, and another picky person when it comes to his TV shows, told us to watch Trailer Park Boys on BBCA. Even though we had a Tivo at the time, commercials made us reluctant to tune in. I can't emphasize how much we hate commercials.
"Just watch the show," our son appealed to us. We did.
The 'show' consisted of re-runs of the popular Canadian show that had won comedy awards. At first, it was hard to watch because every other word was bleeped out and we came in on the middle of the run, but "the boys" soon won us over. It was sad to see them leave BBC but in 2009 or 2010 Direct TV ran the entire series without the bleeps. Again, we came in on the middle of the run but we enjoyed the boys just as much as we had the first time. They left us once more but were born again with Netflix not only giving them several more seasons, but running the entire series.
At first, TPB may seems like it appeals to the pot smoking, binge drinking, youth of the world. And maybe they do, but we found something not too many people see, and if they do, they don't realize it - I like to think of it as simplicity, so rare in today's living.
Each season has the boys going about doing petty crime, growing and smoking pot, getting drunk, eating chicken fingers, and trying to avoid the alcoholic trailer park supervisor and his shirtless big-bellied assistant, who it turns out, are gay. We both get a kick out of watching Supervisor Lahey perform his 'drunk' act. Few people know he is a trained Shakespearean actor. At the end of each series, the boys end up going back to jail for petty crimes, enjoying jail, but vowing to change their lives when they get out. It is kind of like watching the movie Groundhog Day.
In fairness, I have to say, the first few seasons were the best. The old trailer park scenes were classic, nothing seemed rushed, and no one was in a hurry. It seems that fame has projected a try-too-hard atmosphere on the newer shows. Some of the characters we loved have either died or moved on, but the boys are still the boys and Mr. Lahey and Randy are still out to get them.
The boys may have reached too far in too short a time with their own channel Swearnet and a movie that broke the Guinness Book of World Records for the most swear words (not fans of that because the boys were out of character) and of course, they are now touring and even have a new show running on Netflix - Out of the Park (not fans of that because they are outta the park, but in character, so still funny to those of us who know them).
Anyone tuning into TPB on Netflix should start with the early shows and not get discouraged if the first few episodes seem a little strange. It is a mockumentary. Bubbles does not really catch on well until the second season, and by season 3, if you are still around, you will be hooked, so hooked, in fact, when you finish all the seasons, you may feel compelled to start over. Sometimes, at the end of a busy day, when we don't want to invest time in a movie, or don't feel like reading, it is nice to turn on Netflix and catch the next episode of TPB for a good twenty-something minute laugh. Just listening to Ricky 'pur-nounce' his words is a hoot; and just how does Julian keep that glass of rum, always in his hand, from spilling, even when they topple in a vehicle?
Once you get to season 8, you start seeing the trying-too-hard, but by then, you are hooked and just look for the familiar in the characters. By season 10, you only want it to be over, so you can go back to the way things were. Tom Arnold? Really?
So, for the sake of the viewers and long-time fans, I hope the boys get back to the basics of doing the little things that made us laugh and love them. We don't need tacos or senior citizens (of which I am one), or new park supervisors, or even motels out of the park.
The park, boys. Fixing carts, ganking groceries, keeping the 'rakens' out of the weed, drinking salad dressing, playing street hockey, carting a lifeless Ricky on the back of the go-cart. That's why we love you. And bring back Conky. I think Bubbles said it best in an early episode, "If it ain't broke..."
And please, give us another Christmas special.
I was taking photos, a long time ago with another photographer. It was one of those weekend photo trips we often did when not shooting our little fingers off for the newspaper. We whizzed by an abandoned country store, slammed on the brakes, and spilled out of the car, gear in tow, with all the excitement of school kids when they reach the beach.
We split up and began shooting everything we could find. There was no one on the site but the two of us. There wasn't a home or person in sight, just the cars that sped up and down the ambling Georgia road, taking no notice of us.
I developed the film about a week later. As the print was coming to life in the tray I began to see the face of a man in the window pane. It was clear to see, when the print was dry, that the man had a beard and was wearing sunglasses and a hat. Closer inspection revealed a white shirt and possibly a dark overcoat.
We all marveled at the photo for awhile; everyone had their own opinion of what it was, or who, and of course, how the image came to be on the photo. After the new wore off, the photo ended up in my huge collection of b/w photos, mostly forgotten except when I ran across it while looking for something else. The last time that happened it I pulled it and placed it inside my desk, telling myself I would locate the negative and have an expert ghost hunter look at it.
Since it is Halloween, I thought I would post, and get some viewer opinions. I swear, this photo was never altered to include a ghost. I remember it was a cloudy day but very warm so even if someone had happened to walk up from behind me out of nowhere he would not have been wearing a winter coat. And as a photographer, I am always aware of my surroundings so sneaking up to be a reflection and disappearing with no trace, would have been impossible.
The photo is un-retouched, even the dust specks and scratches on the negative can clearly be seen. I ran it through the scanner so some clarity is lost. Do you see the man in the leaning window pane?
If anyone wants to eyeball the negative, I will be happy to locate it. This has been a mystery to me for many years and I would love to know who the man was - in his living life. So, Ghost Hunters, let's solved this mystery and find out who the ghost could be.
I know a lot of good photographers who never take photos of people because they are afraid to approach strangers. To that I say, "Never pass up a photo you want." These photos are to show you that if I can take photos like these, you can take a photo of people doing everyday things. Never be afraid.
The above photo, along with those shown at the end of this article (all scanned from silver gelatin prints), were taken while on assignments. I didn't have to take these photos but I knew they would make good material. Getting them was easy as asking. I can only remember a few occasions over thirty years where people did not want their photos taken. Some people are camera shy but it is always worth a try to approach people. I have found that most people are open to having their photos taken with a 'real' camera even, if like the people in these photos, they know they will never see themselves in print. The iPhone is another sort of animal. People may think you are up to no good.
I love street photography and have taken my share - thousands of photos are hiding in un-scanned negatives and slides and on my computer, waiting to be discovered. One day, they will all be sorted and posted. I hope.
If you are interested in photography, don't neglect life. That flower will be there for awhile, the deer will always return, and the mountain...well, the mountain ain't going nowhere. Record life as it happens and you will make for a much better photographer and won't bore people with your people-less photos. Just kidding. I love your vacation photos of waterfalls and buildings.
I can't emphasis the importance of evacuating before a hurricane hits your area. I have been in several hurricanes, dating back to Gloria in 1985. It was only a category 1, but it was enough for me to learn to respect the power of nature.
It was always one of my assignments to photograph weather-related events. News photographers are expected to cover blizzards, flooding, high winds, extreme heat and cold, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Newspapers call them 'weather shots.'
In getting those shots, I have photographed from my own vehicles, rode in the backs of pick-ups, hitched rides with law officials and the National Guard, and sometimes used my own 2 feet to walk a weather related event. Newspapers want the entire story, from people shuttering windows, emptying grocery store shelves to the after-effects of the storm. They also want those up-close and personal photos of the weather, and that can be challenging when it comes to hurricanes. Knowing when to leave an area is a skill you gain with experience.
With the explosion in cell phones, I have seen people doing some dangerous things to get photos to send to their local newspapers and TV stations. Don't. There is no 'safe' when you are at the mercy of the weather and an inexperienced person could be risking their lives in certain situations. Hurricanes are the worst because of downed power lines that could electrocute you and flooding that could trap you in your car.
If you don't adhere to warnings and decide not to leave your home, and are in a truly safe place, go ahead and take photos, but know that the window you're standing at could be blown apart at any time. The same goes for a tornado.
I hope people are heeding the warnings about evacuations. If you have nowhere to go, call the Red Cross or your local law enforcement office, or check with a nearby church.
Many times, during a hurricane, I have had to pack up my cameras and head home or to the nearest 'safe' location. You need to remember that if you decide to stay and the weather worsens no one will come for you. Even the National Guard will leave a dangerous area if the weather dictates. There will no EMS, no fire personal, and no law officials until conditions are safe.
As for photographing a hurricane, the media pays people to do that job. Don't put yourself in danger for 2 seconds worth of fame.
I always enjoyed taking voting photos for newspapers but early deadlines meant I had to shoot and scoot, so I usually went for something generic like the above photo.
The 2016 election is an oddball, to say the least, but it is important that everyone vote. I am going to step out of a photographer's role here (we aren't allowed to have opinions) and say that I don't believe the voting process is fair. I believe the actual mechanical process is fair (aside from the hacking aspect), but I have had to shoot a lot of re-counts, something the general public usually doesn't get to witness, with the exception of hanging chads in Florida, but how can it be fair if some states give ample days for voting and some only allow one-day voting? The weather, especially up north, can play havoc with turnout.
In states like Georgia, you have no excuse not to vote. Look at all the days you have to choose from. States with one-day voting laws are doing no service to its citizens or, in the case of an important election year, the country. We all suffer when states get to make their own voting rules in presidential elections. And don't get me started on delegates and super-delegates. Why not one person = one vote?
Reporters have made the top of the 'Worst Jobs in America' list 3 years in a row. The pest control man who brings us poison ranks better than the newspaper reporter who gives us our daily dose of knowledge. There is some humor to be found in that statement but I will move on.
I wondered how photojournalists faired on the 'worst jobs' list and could only find a study from 2013 that said photojournalists ranked 188, right below dishwasher. Um? Well, better than being next to the bug man.
It is only fair to say that the decline in newspapers has caused the layoff of thousands of employees, and reporters have sometimes been stuck with the job of taking photos. Most reporters only have point and shoot skills and newspapers know that only a photographer can spot a bad photograph, so newspaper writers sometimes have to do the job of 2 people. I was lucky that I retired before my newspaper started layoffs.
Still, I loved my job. My only complaints were deadlines (the nemeses of both reporters and photographers), dealing with people who were ill-prepared for my arrival, and the weather (my last hurricane assignment took out my Nikon strobe).
When it came to weather, I think I hated the heat most of all. While on 2 separate assignments I turned my camera to my fellow photographers who were trying to keep themselves and their cameras cool. The heat index on both occasion was well above 100.
It's been a hot summer. Atlanta has registered 90 days of 90+ degree temps so far. It will be 90 again today, the last day of summer.
We live in the foothills of the mountains and it should have been cooler here; the heat and humidity have been so unbearable we have had to entertain indoors instead of on the deck. This summer will not be missed.
What has your summer been like?
I once asked someone high up in the computer world how they went about interviewing perspective employees. What did they look for?
Behind the scenes...Sharon Stone gets ready for honorary degree and a few 'after' photos. It was always a pleasure to photograph camera-friendly celebrities. Photographers know what I'm talking about. Sharon was a dream. Tell us about your favorite celebrity shoots.
Copyrighted material - not for sharing or download.
I ran across some photos of Jason Crabb and thought I would share a few from a past assignment. He was kind enough to let me follow him around town before the concert. He put on a toe-tapping and hand clapping show, and was very gracious both before and after the show.. Thanks for the access.
Two notes on these photos:
1. In the 'toast' restaurant photo, they are toasting with on-the-house non-alcoholic drinks. He was adamant about me adding that to the info when photos ran in the newspaper, so I will extend his wish here.
2. These photos are copyrighted, meaning enjoy them and move on; they are not for personal or commercial use, and are not to be downloaded.
This looks like one of my cameras and neck straps, but I stole the photo from Nikon; I'm sure they will forgive me. I could have taken my own photo but why should I have to get up from my desk, drag out my gear, compose, adjust settings for light, dump photo into computer, and crop, just to take a photo of something I can grab off the Internet?
Unfortunately, a lot of people do just that with professional photographer's works. I recently found one of my photos being used to sell commercial flooring and, once, I gave an "organization" free reign to use my photos in promoting their city in exchange for credits. I barked at them continually concerning their neglect in credits and finally had to send them my version of a 'cease' letter.
Finding your work spread over the Internet is disparaging and it can be a full time job tracking down the source of theft. I am one of those photographers who freely shared, with the promise of credits, but these days I limit my sharing to organizations and companies that respect artistic rights.
I tried large copyrights on photos (makes photos look terrible) but eventually settled on a small copyright after a TV station contacted me about using a still photo they found on the Internet. The photo in question had a huge copyright spread across the entire photo. I was not at home at the time they emailed me and I said I would send them a clean photo when I got home. They said I didn't have to go to the trouble as they could remove the copyright. So that ended my days of defacing beautiful photos.
But this post is really about my high regard for NPS. I have been a member since 1985, the year I bought my first FE-2 and started shooting for a newspaper. When I became a member I had to provide newspaper tear-sheets and be recommended by another photographer, and of course, had to own Nikon gear. I think the rules have expanded and changed over the years. I heard that wealthy people who buy thousands and thousands of dollars of gear for pleasure shooting can somehow get membership, but that is just hearsay. Giving wealthy people access to something hard-working photographers have earned just doesn't sound right, but maybe that's the way the world is today.
True or not, I have nothing but praise for NPS. They have repaired my cameras and returned them to me within the expected time, and they have provided me with loaners at my request. I've never needed a camera or lens repair when I was abroad but I traveled with the assurance that if something broke and I needed a replacement, or if I needed extra lenses or cameras, NPS would next-day-air whatever I needed.
So Nikon, thank you for being there for me all those years. It's nice to know you always had my back.
Although I am officially retired (photojournalist never retire - they just don't have deadlines) I still shoot when I feel the urge, and I look forward to being a member of NPS for many more years.
What has your experience with NPS been like?
Photo source: Nikon
I love my Honda Element, a car I bought new in Maryland, and have had no problems with, but I can't enjoy it these days due to the Takata airbag inflator issue and just plan bad customer service. Fear of death fits in there somewhere.
When I first heard about the inflator issue, over a year ago, I called my Honda Dealer and, after waiting for some time, finally got the driver side inflator replaced. I asked why I had to read about the dangers on the Internet instead of being notified by my dealer. They said notices were sent to owners and that I must have thrown mine away or that it was lost in the mail.
At the time of the replacement, I asked about the passenger side air bag and they said it was safe. In early July, I pulled up the CNN web page and the header read, " NHTSA Says Stop Driving Hondas Now," or something like that. It was a menacing headline. Evidently the passenger side airbag was just as much a danger as the driver side. How long had my dealer known?
I called my dealer again and they said I would get a letter. "Yeah," I thought and asked them when they could fix the passenger side. They said, "No time soon," because the parts had not been made.
After a small amount of complaining, the serviceman said he would put my name at the top of the list. The same man called me 2 hours later and said my part had come in. Success! I figured my growling had produced results. The serviceman made an appointment and the next week I sent hubby down to the dealer and they went, "Duh!"
Evidently, the serviceman who called from their direct line with the good news was a ghost. They reiterated the, "No parts," story but I think they had the part and gave it to let's say, a more aggressive customer. After quarreling with them over ghost-callers, they told me to call Honda, and they gave me an 800 number.
I called and immediately got a service rep who told me to ride in the backseat of my Honda until my dealer received my part. I told her my husband had a beautiful Toyota truck but I did not fancy it for vacations and long trips, and added that we were going on vacation. "Ride in the back seat," she parroted. Would I have to be more aggressive?
Since then, I have called my Honda dealer at least once a week, and they still say they have no parts, so I have either been riding in the back seat of my Honda, or in my husband's truck, since the first week in July.
So Honda, I can't do this anymore...
And I can no longer travel with a passenger...who will carry my gear?
Update: a few days after posting this I made my weekly call. My part was in! I guess the airbag-part fairy dropped in at the exact time I called. Perhaps they read my blog. Still, Honda, you owe me one vacation ride.
Not the Thunderbirds, nor will they appear in Warner Robins show; just a reminder to photograph the special effects. I took this before my lens went on strike.
I love popcorn but hate the calories. I don't eat the poison that comes with salt and butter nor do I buy popcorn in those dangerous self-popping bags. Since we became vegetarians eons ago, we stray from butter and salt. You haven't tasted broccoli until you've eaten lightly steamed naked broccoli. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but once you know how things really taste you can never go back to salt, fat, and butter-laden foods.
I usually buy loose popcorn from specialty markets in bags or jars and use brown paper bags to cook them in the microwave. I use bags that are the roughly the size of a Panera sandwich bag. The bag needs to be small enough to go round in microwave but large enough to pop enough for 2 to 4 people. I put a layer of popcorn in the bottom of bag, pinch the top up just enough to keep the kernels from escaping, shake until I think the layer is even and set microwave for 4 minutes. DO NOT LEAVE POPPING CORN. Sometimes it take 3 minutes, or a little more, for kernels to slow down. When I hear them starting to fizzle out, I turn oven off.
I have tried all varieties of popcorn and recently stumbled on White Cat popcorn. It is the best I have ever had. It is big and fluffy and seldom gets stuck in your teeth. It has an amazing flavor that I love. You have to try it! Yes, you can add some salt and butter but you won't know what you are missing.
Freeze leftover lettuce and spinach or just buy a big container and stuff into baggie and throw in freezer. Hitting baggie lightly on counter a few times will break it up.
Freeze bananas in baggies for smoothies - one banana to a bag. They break up easily.
Freeze grapes and other fruits (oranges, grapefruits) that you think could go bad in a few days - this will keep you from wasting food. It is cheaper to buy fruits and veggies on sale and freeze, if you have room, than buying the pre-frozen packages at store.
Make a fruit cocktail in a baggie and it will be ready to throw in blender. Sometimes I add a bag with oranges, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, and bananas. Just add your choice of protein flavoring and almond milk. We always use almond or coconut milk because we are vegetarians.
Don't overlook veggies like left over broccoli and asparagus - freeze them. They go great in sweet smoothies; kids will never know if you don't tell.
Take frozen squash or other congealed veggies and fruits out of freezer the night before and let them sit in frig. They will still be icy cold the next day.
Sometimes hubby is not ready for a smoothie when I am and sometimes, in an experimental stage, I keep adding ingredients until I have enough for 3 or 4 people so I put the extra in a Yetti cup. Most of the time the smoothie still has ice crystals the next day. They make great leftovers for a breakfast. Do drink within 24 hours of making and always stir before serving.
More tips next time. If you need some suggestions for your next smoothie, email me.