Truckulence

Now for something completely different.  (Click on the pictures to view them large.)

Let’s just get an old truck and paint it ourselves! Genius. Then we save money for a Mercedes.

As I mentioned in my Flickr series featuring these pictures, Geoffrey woke up one day after Christmas and announced it was time to get two new vehicles. Finally! After 15 years. I was really looking forward to it, even though we buy cars to last. I always get either a Mercedes or a Volvo.  At one point I tried Mitsubishi Monteros — loved them and then for a couple of years drove a Chrysler Town & Country minivan — liked it a lot. But for longevity and safety, I am a Volvo fan.

Yup. Here’s my car, parked in San Diego while we went to a fair recently. No hesitation. Seats 7 and rides like a dream. Comfy seats. I love it!

So, I had been eyeing an XC90 SUV for a few years and didn’t even have to think twice. I ran right out and found one I loved, with sparkling dark gray metallic, just like my older one. Done and done!

I am not a Beemer fan per se, but how about a convertible with a sparkling roof?

Geoffrey was a different story. We already had, between us, five vehicles. He had two trucks and a car, I had two cars: my vintage Mercedes totally maintained and restored and my 2002 Volvo sedan. Both in the same silver grey.  Geoffrey had his two trucks, one with an extended bed (are you sleepy yet?) and his black 2002 Volvo station wagon.

Or a cool little job with glowing hubs and an iridescent “butterfly wing” finish? Works for me!

Naturally, I thought he was going to get a sedan. But no, he decided he simply had to have another truck. One that he could take to all the fancy clients when he needed to look professional and ready to work, but also upscale and sophisticated. Ugh. How does that work? Another truck? And, where would be put it?

Maybe a custom Jeep? Looks roomy.

Resistance!!

This is probably what he imagines, with me emerging from a massive metal monster looking fierce. I might be forced to get tattoos!

We have three garages at our house. One of them has my Merc, one has his Volvo, and the other one is full of junk. We can squeeze three vehicles in the driveway and he keeps one truck in front of the house on our street and another one at his building in Downtown LA. Now we would have my new XC90 and his truck? We can’t hog the street, so I was really getting upset.

Well, my favorite color right now is purple. How about this? Like, glow-in-the-dark, right?

Also, I don’t want to drive around in another ole truck when he is driving. What’s the fun of new wheels then? I wanted something really snazzy and snappy and cool. Not a clunky truck.

Or … mother-of-pearl!

So, the only resolution was to let me pick it out. Aha!!! Dangerous.

Copper and Dayglo pink?

These pictures reflect my ideas as I let my imagination do the shopping.

Uh, this is what a full extended bed and king cab look like! I just tweaked it a bit. Manly, huh?

I know, right?

Something spooky for Halloween …

Wait for it — right down at the bottom is the one we finally chose. We could agree on it because it has a regular bed and a totally tricked out luxurious “cab”.

Or eerie … for the coming apocalypse. Just sayin’ …

OK, so it’s not a Mercedes, but I scored a victory by getting one that matches my car and can fit, amazingly enough, both in the driveway and in front of our house (with his other truck sent packing to his building to join the first one).

Prrrrrrrrrr …

Got all that? Anyway, that’s one of the many things taking up our time as the summer draws to a close.

Thought you might enjoy seeing these “confections” that sprang full grown from my head.

Images: Chez BeBe assets/Santa Clarita, California

‘Tis the season

No, not the season of joy, love and giving.

The hunting season.

This post is for anyone who has the link.

Please do not friend, follow, “like” me or comment on any of my social media sites, if you are a hunter.

As far as I am concerned, in the 21st century, it is the cowardly and brutal act of a weak and emotionally handicapped individual.

I am not in the thrall of any organization. I have held this position my entire life.

The NRA has infiltrated every sector of American society with lies about the need for hunting. Many people call it a sport. Both would be laughable, if they were not so serious.

Hunters, the NRA are pathetic.

One hundred thousand years ago, certain tribes may have needed to hunt animals on a small, low-tech (naturally) scale for survival. There are virtually no tribes like these left. Certainly not the overweight, flaccid American men who like to hunt with computerized automatic missiles from high-speed vehicles in “preserves” where animals are cornered for the enjoyment of these sick people.

Don’t lecture me about overpopulation of deer. I am an expert on this subject. Don’t tell me you eat what you kill, that’s just as bad.

If you are a meat eater, I can understand somewhat because the animal concentration camps where the carcasses you consume are kept and tortured, are hidden and manned by immigrants desperate for work. Hunters confront their victims head on. They have no excuse.

When they wake up or get treatment, we might re-establish our relationship. Until then, I want nothing to do with hunters.

To my regular friends here on WP, I am sorry, but this is the best place to post this note. A regular post is imminent.

Tickling ivories

“Back up you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women. But you can’t intimidate me. Back. Up!”  I love that line. Wish she had said it during that debate. More on this in a minute.

August flew by, didn’t it? It is my birthday month (yay) and I would always stretch out every minute to enjoy it, but these days August brings the dog days of heat and humidity.

Back when I first moved to Los Angeles, it was dry and there were cold winters, hot arid summers, with a bit of rain in winter and spring and very warm but breezy autumns. That is changing fast. It is warmish all year long, rarely dipping below 50F. Sigh.

Still, the cusp of September brings memories of crisp, cold, sunny New York City days, when I was growing up. And the thought of the icy, bright beauty of Ithaca, where I went to school. New outfits — lots of them tailored wool. Snug thigh-high boots shuffling through a crackly carpet of muted red, gold and violet maple leaves on bumpy Upstate sidewalks. I miss the Northeast most in Fall.

Would it surprise you to know that I am somewhat heartened by the obvious developments of the current political scene? The man has lost his mind and is now so disinhibited, his true ugly inner self has emerged in all its pathology. He was in Arizona last night, which always brings out the worst in him (and worst for him is pretty damn bad). There, he made sure he praised a racist criminal, convicted felon and trashed a war hero with brain cancer. We, the sane here, just keep shaking our heads, but anticipate his marginalization imminently. Small comfort, but at least the pain is over. Mrs. Clinton, a virtual hug of support goes out to you, once again.

But, I am rambling.  What have we here? My latest Flickr series.

I finally ventured into monochrome photography. It’s a subject so vast and well covered elsewhere by serious photographers that I don’t feel the need to amplify it further. I am always looking for the next creative experiment and this was the one for August. Something completely different coming up in September.

We are heading down to our house in SD next week and will be there for at least two weeks. It means hauling more furniture, which is always tedious but beats buying new stuff. Our current house in Los Angeles is half the size of the previous one, so we have had furniture packed to the rafters in the garage. Might as well use it. Geoffrey has been busy refinishing some of it and he is so good at this, it looks brand new. Good to have a handy husband!  Well, it’s his hobby anyway. We should always face in the direction the horse is traveling.

The ‘ivories’ reference points to my preference for warm whites in black and white photographs. I tried in each one of these to process the final jpeg with varying shades from eggshell to egg cream. See what you think. I also concentrated on human subjects — something that always makes me nervous, but, for this set I used long lenses and cropped the interim TIFs close.

Some I really liked. Some I felt were so-so.

The full set of 30 shots is on Flickr right now.  What I find intriguing is that pictures I thought were mediocre sometimes garner the most attention and others that I found astonishingly good considering I am not a photographer, people yawn at. Ah well. I have no ego in this!

In fact, the Romanovs occupying the WH right now have sucked all the ego out of America for the moment. So feel free to react to them however you like. I promise you I will not be offended.

Hugs, everyone. I hope to be around to see you all, while we pack up the cargo van.

Images: Chez Bebe assets/Southern California

 

Soft spots

I recently took an online class with Geo Rittenmyer on photography for stock sales.

His portfolio was impressive but even more intriguing were the tips he gave us about taking photographs that might be sold for thousands of dollars.

It is not what you would think.

The trend is not to use expensive cameras and lenses and studio equipment, and years of experience.

Instead he reported that the agencies who purchase stock photos are snapping up cell phone or film and toy camera shots with lots of grain.

There are two key elements: bring the viewer into the shot.

And keep it fresh.

That’s it. Those agencies are looking for new and emotional images of every kind.

At the same time I took that class, I decided my next series would be experimenting with soft glowing details and avoiding saturation.

Even though California has bright light all year long, and many areas reflect that by decorating exteriors in bright colors (especially Downtown San Diego where primary red, blue and yellow are evident everywhere in modern architecture) I was determined to make a whole series of subdued photos.

Then, the third element appeared. Topaz has a new suite called Studio that provides an array of precision tools for post-processing.

Et Voilà! These shots were among the results.

They are a mix of pictures. Some new, some old and reprocessed, some with my cell phone camera, some with the D800 and D610.

I don’t plan to be a Stock photographer (I am not in that league yet), but Rittenmyer convinced us that even a newbie can produce a shot that brings in years of residuals. Hmmm …

Stay tuned!

 

georittenmyer.com/portfolio/

Images: Chez BeBe assets/NoCal and SoCal

East of eatin’

Summer is finally upon us and it roared into Santa Clarita with a vengeance. It has been hovering around 100F for over a week. This is the time I begin dreaming of snow and even the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July seems like a high point, LOL!

We’ve been back and forth to San Diego. I was supposed to go on the family pilgrimage to Plum Island next week but I am just too busy.

The Houstapo (our local HOA) has been making the rounds dreaming up expensive improvements to all our properties, so Geoffrey and I have planned to stay put until the middle of August, working on the house and yard.

But, I did spend the latter part of May and the first half of June down south, so I have lots of pictures. Some of them are in this post.

Might as well explain them right now. This is another of the five quarters, called East Village, which is just, well, east of the Gaslamp quarter with all its restaurants and shops.

East Village is undergoing a building renaissance with new lofts springing up in glass-clad towers and old warehouses being refurbished as office buildings, eateries and clubs. It is also home to the Petco Stadium that hosts the Padres baseball team. San Diegans are fiercely proud of the Padres and you can see it all over East Village.

We stumbled on this part of Downtown when we were seeking out SD’s best bagelry, which turns out to be Brooklyn Bagel & Bialy. We suddenly realized it was the ideal place to buy an investment property so we have been back scouring each street.

There is also a stunning library there.  And a homeless Veteran population that has no where else to go and seems to be tolerated, if not welcomed.

Nonetheless, the quarter seems quietly industrious and clean. I can see an Air BnB making a steady income in the last affordable part of a major coastal city.

Since downtown San Diego is right on the ocean, you can feel and smell the sea from East Village, like no other part of Downtown. That is a nice perk and added incentive to invest there.

Not much else to report. Just waiting for the three years and six months to be up until we can hopefully go back to having civilization in this country. It has gradually sunk in that being civilized, like being adult, is harder than being barbarian and juvenile. Lately life just seems to rotate around the calendar with complete regularity. Just when I have gotten used to cool weather, the summer slams into us. The older I get, the more my life just seems like one big wheel, whirling faster and faster.

I guess America needed an infantile regression because the pain of facing adult, advanced responsibilities has finally caught up with the 35% of the voting population that made this choice — at the behest of the billionaire rulers — in a futile dream that somehow those billionaires would make life easy and safe for them again.

It would be tempting to fill this blog with inspirational fantasies of positivity or to simply indulge in weekly rants about selfishness and stupidity. But, I am just not into either. So, I will share my trivia and my photos until something changes. Until I see clear signs that the major blunder of last November is about to be corrected.

There are lots of things to be grateful for, and I am. Not the least of which is you, my WP community. Much love to you all.

Images: Chez BeBe assets: East Village, Downtown San Diego

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/wheel/