Saturday, 15 December 2007

Daily Photo #7

It's still bloody cold in B'ham. After battling the demons of stupidity all day I thanked god for having a wonderful wife at my side to steer me through the crowds and avoid the general detritus, flotsam and more than a little jetsom of humanity as a whole. Xmas shopping is still insane.

Anyway, my reasoning behind the pic is to just show off Linds, 'cos she's great and all (although she did get mardy with me at a few points due to my dislike of going into clothes shops and nodding yes at all the right places). So, faults aside with her love for Mika and crap Xmas tunes like the Jonah Lewie one (well, it's better than some I guess). I took this pic of her two Halloweens ago and really caught her well, I think.


Anyway, I shall take some fresh images for the stream sometime soon. The last shoot we did features here in this set but maybe it might blight the sensibilities of casual viewers, non?

If you fancy a squizzle of some of the last shoot we did, head here.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Daily Photo #6

I guess I am just a hippy at heart. I took this one during the summer at Birmingham's Botanical Gardens. (A fab place to visit if you ever get the chance). Still, I think the colour is applicable as the weather is freezing today!!!


Xmas Shopping.

It's been a funny old day really. Had half a day of annual leave to do some of the "silly season" (as Mel Gibson refers to it in the timeless Xmas classic "Lethal Weapon")

In between freezing my nads off and dodging old women with large shopping bags I managed to get most of what I needed in the temple of consumerism that is Birmingham. George A Romero would have eaten his heart out at the displays of desperation and human histrionics on display and there wasn't a zombie in sight. (At least, not of the Flesh Eating Variety).

It was a battle of wits to see who could block the aisles for the longest amount of time without resorting to withering gazes or crass stupidity. People fought over the right to be served first, proclaiming that there was no difference between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toillette. (Except for maybe £20 here and there).

The amount of tat (or crap, if you prefer) filling the shelves this year was astonishing. Three for the price of two drew shoppers in by the truckload, and yet I could still not find that one killer app, the quintessential present(s) for an awkward wife who has a birthday scant two days post Christmas. I was boned. Twice. The shelves revealed not a jot, until the joys of HMV lured me in. (Linda, if you're reading, sod off now).

Anyway, this isn't a post about my travails or frustrations at the season. It was more about the magic as for every annoying middle aged woman with bags of steel there were 10 kids with wide eyes taking in the magic of Xmas. It took me back to being four years old and wishing for an Eagle Transporter from Space 1999. And I remember all the magical shop displays right through all the Star Wars movies - each time a new movie was released a new set of magic was unleashed by the Great God Lucas. In 1980, when the heights of Empire Strikes Back merchandising hit their stride, I remember looking for what may have seen hours at a glass cased and automated display holding Palitoy (Kenner) figures in an amazing dio-rama from Lucas' second opus. I stood there bewildered, gazing at the figures lined up, mini recreations of Hoth and Dagobah stood alongside Luke vs Vader in Cloud City (or Bespin for the purist amongst you).

That Christmas I can recall vividly. I remember waking up and opening the Millenium Falcon and loads of figures (at least 2 snowtroopers too!). Looking back, they were good times when toys were toys and had great play value. The excitement was in not knowing if I had them or if santa (my parents) had delivered. But also, it seemed a less cynical time. I don't know if I'm looking back with the rose tinted specs of 20/20 hindsight. There wasn't as much merchandising back then and what there was seemed to have an air of honesty about it. Today we're surrounded by Bratz and a somewhat disenfranchised Barbie. Star Wars has come, gone, returned and left the building again but I hope those kids I saw today experience just 20% of the excitement I had waiting on Xmas eve. I guess it's all about the build up and not just the pay off. Back when I was a kid, the journey was just as important as the destination.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Daily Photo #5

Yep, it's that time again. It's been a dull day back at work. One full of pain killers, telephone calls and assessing various applications. My mind feels like candy floss under a hair dryer - brittle and prone to bursting into flame at the drop of a hat. Found my mind wandering here and there whilst trying to get back into the "beats" of trying to read various constitutions and decide what is valid information and what isn't.

Fun but taxing I guess. It helps having a job that I love to bits but given the cold weather and fragile physical post flu state I did find my mind wandering just a touch. Still, I chose today's random photo from a set taken during my birthday weekend in Manchester 2 months ago. Linda and I booked a room in a luxury hotel and made the most of it.

The space in the room was fab but the high point (apart from this amazing pillar in the centre of the room, supporting wooden beams and an almost decadent bed) was this tiled bathroom. If I had better lighting I could've shot pics in there all weekend. It was almost cathedral-esque in its size and the mirror made for some good shots.

Now, unless you may not have noticed I have this major catwoman/Emma Peel thing going on where I get Linds to dress up in the style of (when I can persuade her to, that is!).

IMG_3832 - ver 2

This was just one of my mental "wandering grounds" today and it got me through work quite nicely.

Roll on the next weekend, I need to do some more shots in this style!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Daily Photo #4

Slowly returning to normal. The cough has slowed down and my ribs no longer hurt thankfully. First proper night's sleep in almost a week too. So, getting back on my feet.

I've really wanted to get out and shoot some sunsets of late. The winter ones in B'ham are most spectacular with all the burning hues of reds, oranges and purples. Trouble is, there are few good vantage points by the time the sun sets in the city apart from Snowhill.

This brings me to the subject of the setting sun. The most romantic view I have had of this was in 2006 on a holiday in Morrocco with Linda. As we watched the sunset on our first evening on that balcony it felt so damned timeless. As the sun fell over the sea in the distance everything felt so right. We just stood there speechless and watched as the birds flew across the horizon and we could hear the locals packing up their shops and wares in the streets below.


I'm looking forward to getting some more shots like this when we hit Vegas in 2008 but Morocco was rather special. Hope to return there someday.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Daily Photo #3

I'm still gripped in the midst of some chest infection/fever and woke up barely a short time ago. It's funny but when I get sick I crave foods that are not to hand or easily available. The sunlight snuck through the curtains and woke me up. The house is fairly cold as the heating clicked off a few hours ago when Linda left for work.

First thought on my mind was liquid and lots of it. Having a congested head means I can't breathe through my nose as is the norm. So, after dreaming of American Hotdogs with Sauerkraut, catsup and mustard I really wanted a can of Fresca, a sugar free grapefuit flavoured fizzy pop which is the best soda (soft drink) known to man (and woman). I would have given so much to have one of these sitting there in the fridge, ice cold. I'd snap the can open and pour it over a bed of ice and savour every moment. The fridge did yield some crackers, cheese and diet coke which broke my fast somewhat but I needed something more.

So, hence I chose today's image of Nathan's Hot Dog stand on Coney Island. When we went to New York in April this year the weather ranged from mild to snow and back to beaming sunlight. We caught the metro over to Coney and walked around the beach. That day I ate Clam strips washed down with Fresca. Although, I bet it wasn't as cold that day as it is now.


I just loved the kitsch-ness of the decor on the store. I love NYC and it's funny how the slightest memory or recollection can send me back there.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Daily Photo #2

This is my choice for the second photo. Purely random to be honest (feeling less than great still on the cough side of things). The image was taken in a field in Stratford during Summer of 2007. The flower was left abandoned in the rubble and the image has been tweaked to play down all colours apart from the vivid red of the petals. I keep a printed copy on my desk at work.

What I was trying to portray was that there can still be life in decay and rubble, albeit it a limited one. The viewer is meant to decode that the flower is perhaps stunted/dying or even synthetic with the vivid almost "man made" hues and the uniform nature of the flower petals. It's an image of mixed messages with the viewer left to decide how they perceive the image and its meaning.


I'm off to bed again. *atchoo*

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Daily Photo #1

In an effort to get more of my work out here, I'll be posting a random pic on a daily basis. They might be taken from that day or be from my archives.

Today, I have chosen the aerobic santa claus peeps who were doing a charity run for the Acorn Children's Hospice. These people do fantastic work raising money for sick and terminally ill kids. The sight of all these santas was a bit too much but check out the guy on the right of the frame. He appears to be dancing to a different tune!


Busted/Broken....a bit under the weather.

I don't what it is but I invariably come down with something before or during Xmas. Having worked in offices for the last 6 or so years I can say, hand on heart, that they are festering little germ pits. The aircon when it does work (to this day I have *never* worked in an office where it is 100% effective) flies all those little microbes around that cause pestilence and stuff like the common cold.

Even Vic's First Defence, a wonderful invention has failed to kill this sucker in its tracks and the whole of my office has been coughing and sneezing its way to oblivion. Personally, I have been through two boxes of tissues and enough decongestant based amphetamines to kill a baby elephant and the pesky little cold has descended down my throat into my lungs.

Now, I'm not complaining as a nice side effect of all this has been medicated nirvana and the type of dreams that would drive David Lynch to a therapist. Choice moments have been riding a combine harvester around the Bullring Shopping Centre (fellow Brum Bods will know that landmark) and hunting down missing episodes of Doctor Who while being accompanied by K9 (the tin dog from Dr Who), Ewan Macgregor and Chloe O'Brien off 24. I think there was a cross over in dreams at some point where a tannoy sounded that such and such store had Nintendo Wii's in stock and Chloe told us to swing that combine harvester (I think US types call it a thresher?) which resulted in much mayhem and needless loss of life and limb. Still, it's a dream after all but was still pretty vivid.

Anyway, there must be an equation in here -

Benylin + amphetamine based decongestants - lack of good nights sleep X bad shopping day

= something akin to a video nasty.

Amusingly, my abuse of over he counter cold remedies is a highlight of the silly season and often brings with it some lurid dream here and there although it is the first time I have self medicated on Sinutab which the lady in Boots warned me about not taking before bedtime so I thought that mixing it with Benylin Cough Syrup would equal it out a little but, oh boy does it make the brain just a tad overactive.

Still, as it says on the packet it's best not to mix meds which would probably be the equivalent of going to a party and trying to drink one of every spirit, beer, cider and then chasing those with a bottle of cherry brandy. Sensible people just don't do it.

Anyway, the point of the post is trying to say that I guess when I get a cold it often mutates into something a little worse. Mainly due to inheriting a dodgy chest set up (hereditary, damn my genes) with a combination of getting older.

It's almost 9:15 am and I need more Benylin, stat.