I was complimented recently on my writing, it came via someone with a tenuous Facebook connection. It’s the first time anyone who wasn’t a friend or blood relative (and therefore obligated to like my writing or at least lie to me and say they do) told me they found my writing funny. (But funny in a good way.)
It made me feel, just for a nano-second, what it must be like when famous people get recognized. It was awesome and I thanked him…and then felt like a total fraud because I haven’t given two thoughts to my blog in months!
Memory is the golden shore where summer waters lap. Where sanded children shriek like gulls, And mothers shade their eyes and search The ever distant beach for tears or missing faces in the surf.
There the castles build and fall, where triumph tragedy becomes. And sticky mouths suck greedy gulps of sugar-saturated pops— Rainbow colors melting down.
See criss-crossed marks burned into skin which will no permanent memory make To keep from repeating the mistake of measuring the sun by an SPF span. Boiled-lobster faces whine and belated zinc is applied in futile effort to rewind time.
Gritted bodies, tired, worn but happy with a day’s respite, Ride the chariot once more toward the sinking orb Which threatens little from its perch on the lip of the world, Leaving a flip flop token of remembrance behind.
You’ll find no ribboned concourse marking childhood’s end. It is fleeting, passing, and no trumpet heralds its demise. So, measure well those steps you take on burning sands They will the hourglass wind down and scorch tender flesh In haste to reach Lethe’s waters.
“This siege is going on longer than I would have imagined. Supplies are running low. I may have to eat the squirrels in the yard. Hope I can get better with the slingshot, just in case survivalists storm the brigade.”
I attend the Meijer Garden’s Orchid show every year, if I can. This year I was exceptionally lucky in more ways than one–in having child care and in running into the nicest couple who helped me take even better pictures (with much less swearing at my camera) than usual.
To Vicki and Lou, many thanks! You may take credit for any of the flower images that follow!
It is hard to narrow down my choices to just a few special interest pictures. I took over 350 shots and did stop to tweak a few digitally. (Which sounds much worse than it actually is.)
You’ll notice that there is a yellowish cast to many of the photos. I blame the lighting that is intended to enhance the floral display, but plays havoc with getting a true color capture.
Sometimes it is hard to capture an image for more reasons than lighting. (Operator incompetence springs to mind, for example.) So cropping is the next best thing to actually getting a good shot the first time.
I was struggling mightily with my Canon EOS (I can only assume EOS stands for Exceptionally Obstinant System) when Lou offered a few hints. And then, when I still couldn’t manage to get my camera to ‘point and shoot’ for me, he fiddled with about a half-dozen settings until he figured out the problem. Honestly, I can’t tell you what he changed, but it was like he put the fear of Kodak into the thing, because it stopped hiccuping afterward. Yay Lou!
I tend to prefer a nice crisp image. I liked centered shots, but sometimes, the size or arrangement of the flowers made this nigh impossible.
How do you center on a flowering bush, for example? I chose to close crop the surroundings so that you could ‘feel the profusion’ of the yellow flowering orchid with about the longest name I’ve ever seen.
The next image, I only snapped one photo. Fortunately, I got most of the massive bloom in focus. But shooting from a distance and trying to avoid all the other glamorous contenders makes photographing them a challenge.
I particularly liked the name of the next flower–though I took about 8 shots, none really captured the drama of the beauty which was a cross of a Victorian Bride and a Speciosum.
I aimed for the mystery implied by the name, instead, my picture is more of a question unanswered. It was like photographing a herd of children–each face looking in a different direction.
How can you not love the pinkness of the Vanda Princess Mikasa? There should totally be a Japanese Anime character in a frilly pink frock to go with this.
The next flower I had to finesse the shot from an angle, because taken head-on, you got a lot of background noise in the way of giant tags dangling from other flowers. You could try to move the pesky things, but then you ran the risk of damaging someone’s priceless petals. I am many things, but a bud abuser is not one of them.
How many pictures is too many? I suspect you will judge for yourself. Perhaps you glide past them in quick processional to get them over with? (As if you see things like this every day!) Maybe you do.
I, however, get a two hours span once a year. That means every single flower deserves its moment in the digital sun.
The orchid show runs through Sunday, January 26, so I am racing to get these online in time to lure you down the garden path to orchid indulgences.
How can you not when such tongue-twisting temptations abound? A quick search on the internet will tell you some of their secrets.
The unpronounceable Phragmipedium Kovachii below, for example, is particularly tricky to produce. It can take 8 years of growth from seed before this shy flower blooms. That does tend to increase one’s appreciation knowing how rare these pink petals are.
Sometimes it can be hard for a particular lovely to stand out in a crowd.
But it’s worth it to single out the bloom, or blooms, that catch your eye. Even if you have to crawl around getting the perfect angle.
How the displays are set up can make a huge difference. One of my favorite arrangements was actually incredibly hard to shoot–due to the small size of the dangling flowers and the driftwood base that was their platform. It was phenomenally crafted, but annoying to photograph.
Petals so fragile and delicate could be easily overlooked:
In fact, if I hadn’t run into Lou and Vicki, I might have missed the tiny sparkler that was easily overshadowed by its surroundings.
Other arrangements were difficult to capture because of the number of branches or direction of growth. Such was the case with the Oncidium Cheirophorum.
It was a beautiful plant–but with blooms so far apart as to appear a bit drunken and in danger of falling over–unless you cropped the focus to one spray of blossoms.
Such as here:
It just goes to show, you don’t always see the whole picture no matter how well a subject is photographed!
I’ve always loved looking at the world through a lens. I don’t know why. I just do. Maybe it is because I can crop out the messy bits that just don’t fit; I can focus on what I find beautiful and take it home with me.
I’ll throw in a few more favorites before toddling off to bed. I can’t show them all, you’d never stand for that sort of nonsense, but I’ve tried to capture the essence of the show.
The confused blooms that seem made up of many colors and patterns:
Some I could not put a name to–either because my snapshot was blurry or the flower was an orphan without parentage delineated.
There are vendors providing all sorts of sales regarding orchid paraphernalia, but one stood out as an artistic eyeful:
I want to tell you about some incredible people I met at the Veteran’s Administration office building in Wyoming, MI a few weeks ago. Two nice gentleman had set up a table and were hoping to reach out to the community to invite members to join the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard through Operation Honor Guard U.S.
To be honest, I wasn’t drawn to the table by a strong desire to re-connect with my military past. No. There were other motivating factors…
I have always wanted to be a smart person. Or, at least, to feel like I was a smart person.
I have also been suffering lately from the certainty that I am not getting any smarter. In fact, there is evidence to suggest I may be regressing and losing my faculties altogether.
In other words, I am getting dumber.
How do I know this? I tried recently to be clever and failed.
I attempted to write a post. I wanted to be witty and erudite, to create a mathematical equation quantifying the values of parenting–like something you might see on a white board on The Big Bang Theory set. I wrote for hours. I struggled. I waffled. I flailed in my efforts to write what my brain kept telling me what should be a funny post.
At the same time, I have been trying to research what kind of cell phone or carrier to switch before my iPhone dies for good. The more I read on the topic, the less sure I am that I am capable of making a rational, informed decision.
To stave off complete digital death, I switched off as many features of my ‘smart’ phone so as to conserve the battery life past a nano-second. I turned off so many functions, my phone stopped receiving voicemails and texts. As a result, my ‘smart’ phone is now a dumb phone which is holding my information hostage until I turn my data back on.
Didn’t phones used to just work before ‘data’ was invented?*
Why is a phone designed to use data to send a message anyway?**
*shouts into the abyss*
In my efforts to keep my phone running while not plugged into a recharger, I even deleted Facebook from my apps.
The entire next day I learned exactly how often I have been checking Facebook. Like, every fricking time I had a break…or had to wait in line…or stopped at a red light for more than two seconds. I wish I were kidding.
So, I’ve learned two things this week: I am not getting smarter and my phone is possibly making me dumber.
In my research for ‘smart’ terminology, I found a physics term that I feel describes my mental state:
a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
Apparently I am suffering from a terminal case of entropy.***
Let’s just hope it’s not stupidly fatal.
Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:
*C’mon conspiracy theory junkies, give me your best explanation for why phones cost ten times as much to do half as well for less years than you’d like. And then tell me why we fall for it?
**GROUP BREAK-OUT SESSION: What exactly is DATA and why is it the new gold standard for the inequalities between the haves and the have-nots? Discuss.
***Additional proof of my stupidification is denoted by the fact that I have to use the second definition of Entropy to understand the meaning of the word.
The Image Stolen for this header comes from a site that did a much better job of actually explaining entropy–in case any of you are smarter and want to read up on it.