Hello again, Gentle Reader(s?),
In this episode, we are going to talk about building a set. Sort of.
Actually, building a set is a lot like working a puzzle. Basically, you start out with a bunch of separate smaller seemingly unrelated pieces which just sort of sit there and say, “I dare you to try to find a way to make us look like we were meant to be together.”
Things like screws, nails, sheets of various types of wood, vinyl, metal, plastic, rubber, tape and a couple of other “secret” ingredients that I still haven’t figured out.
Once you start assembling all these materials, there’s no going back (to the hardware store to return the items that you really wish you hadn’t purchased in the first place.) So, you may just as well push forward until you get it right and make the thing work.
Once you do figure it out and complete section number one of the puzzle, the rest is actually pretty simple and the three hours you spent building section one gradually becomes about twenty minutes for the rest of the project.
And the best part is seeing the fruits of your labor for the first time…
*Music: Theme from 2001 A Space Odesy by Richard Georg Strauss
I almost got a haircut today. Really – I did. Almost.
I really need a haircut. Badly. And I actually asked for and received $20.00 cash back at the grocery store specifically for the purpose of obtaining one. Not only that, but the barber shop is located in the same shopping center as the grocery store. Only about 250 feet away, in fact.
I even told my wife that I was going to get my haircut today. And a couple of friends, too.
I really wanted to, but I didn’t.
So why didn’t I?
Well, the macro explanation is that I pride myself on being frugal (read that, “cheap”.)
The micro explanation, as one would expect, is a bit more explanatory.
Week after next, 75% of our children are showing up at our house from, literally, hundreds and thousands of miles away in different directions around the country. This, in and of itself, would normally neither cause me to visit or not visit the hairdresser, however, this particular visit is for the purpose of filming scenes in our movie project.
My hair needs to look more like this…
…And less like this…
The issue is not that my hair needs to look like it does in every other scene in the film (although it does) and in order for that to happen, I have to get it cut. And the issue is not that if I get it cut this week I will probably have to have it cut again next week, too. The issue is not that if I get it cut this week it will cost me $20.00, or if I get it cut next week it will cost me $20.00.
The issue is that if I get it cut this week and I get it cut next week, it will cost me $40.00.
Hence, no haircut today, but a haircut next week.
Because I am frugal.
One of the most important things an actor can do is to get the right facial expression to fit the storyline, character and director’s demands with the most important part being the director’s requirements. It’ especially tough when your youngest son is directing.
Steve is a tough and demanding director. I just can’t seem to get my facial expression right in this shot.
Hello Gentle Reader(s),
Welcome to the inaugural posting in my brand new blog category, Sightseeing With Bill!
Now, before you roll your eyes, sigh real big and mutter something like, “Not another travel log blog,” let me say that Sightseeing With Bill will not consist of the usual “everybody shoots pictures of that thing in that city” content.
You know how, when people go on vacation, they always take photos of all of the famous attractions for which a given location is famous? For example, when someone goes to Paris, France, you can count on seeing a deluge of shots of the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, or Inspector Clouseau’s apartment building.
Or when they go to China, you will be forced to sit through a terabyte’s worth of the Great Wall, the Yanxi River or even an adorable Panda or two. Or three. Or four.
And what about the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City in Arizona?
All wonderful things to see, to be sure. But aren’t you just a little bit bored with being inundated with same photos of the same places and the same things that you have been inundated with in the past? And if you believe in reincarnation, in past lives?
Of course you are!
And that, Gentle Reader(s) is why I have taken it upon myself to find a way to alleviate the “ho hum” factor so prevalent in the “Hey! You got a minute (translation: Hey! What are you doing for the next three or four hours?)? Let me show you my vacation pictures!” events in your life and replace them with something like “Hey! I hear you have some GREAT and UNUSUAL vacation pictures! I have three or four hours to be amazed at what you have brought back with you! Please tell me that now is a good time!”.
“So,” you may be asking, “how is he going to accomplish this seemingly impossible task?”
Well, I could go into a deeply detailed and descriptive explanation of my method of going off the beaten path (or, in some cases, into the actual middle of the beaten path) and run the risk of boring you. However, I believe that the better course will be, simply, to demonstrate my method and let you marvel along the way.
For this first foray into unusual and exciting sightseeing photographic journalism, I have chosen as my subject location the beautiful and exciting city of Seattle, Washington…
And, with that, I launch…
No visit to Seattle is complete without stopping by the world famous Space Needle:
“Wait a minute,” you say, “that’s just like every other person’s vacation picture of the Space Needle!”
Well, actually, it’s not. You see, the real subject here is not the Space Needle, but the airspace above and around the Space needle. I discovered that this specific airspace is actually part of the route followed by several migratory birds, including but not limited to
Western Wood Pewee
as well as the occasional common Seagull.
What makes this photo so interesting is the complete non-presence of any of these creatures, thereby enabling the discerning eye to witness the actual route without the clutter of photo-hogging birds impeding the view.
Next on our journey, located in close proximity to the migratory route above and around the Space Needle, only several hundred feet below, are these interesting orbs located around the place. It’s hard to tell from the photo on the left just how large or small they are, so I have included the photo on the right to give some perspective.
At first glance, one wonders what these objects are. At least, this one did, so I did some investigation and found that these objects are actually petrified, prehistoric exercise balls utilized by the original inhabitants of the region, several trillion years ago.
If one closes his or her eyes, clears his or her mind of all cognitive activity for a period not to exceed three days or one week (whichever comes first), one can imagine the original inhabitants of the region in their semi-weekly exercise ball class at the local fitness center (in this case, the Seattle Center).
Next on our tour of Seattle, we see one of the original Seattle Fitness Center franchises, amazingly, still fairly intact though, apparently, with some deformation located toward the bottom of the entrance door.
Note: It is not known with certainty that this was the Entrance portal because it lacks the usual door buzzer commonly found at such entrances. However, it can be argued that the facility is several trillion years old (as stated in the previous set of photos) and the actual buzzer may not have yet been invented. It is quite possible that there was an employe who stood at the door, greeted the prospective (or returning) excercise ball buff and yelled out an announcement that someone other than a current employe of the franchise had just entered the premises.
Until confirmation one way or the other, this is the accepted explanation.
Next up, I cam across this set of leftover food storage units.
Remarkably, there is a lot of food within the Seattle city limits, and not all of it gets eaten at one sitting. This creates what are commonly referred to as “Leftovers” – food that is, well, left over when the people who are eating a meal couldn’t possibly take another bite.
I discovered that these food storage lockers contain some fine delicacies just waiting to be eaten by someone who happens to be passing by at, say, lunch time. Or in-between meal snack time.
In this locker, I found a mostly uneaten cheeseburger that was quite delicious.
Dogs have always had an affinity for the common fire hydrant, even, it seems, back in the days prior to the invention of the actual fire hydrant.
This above photo is strong evidence that the fire hydrant was anticipated long before it became a reality, as was the interest by our canine companions long before the invention.
One early manuscript states very clearly:
“We really have to find a way to keep this mutt from peeing all over the patio furniture. It’s getting really bad, and I’m afraid that the neighbors are going to notice.”
“I know, I know! But what are we going to do about it?”
“Why don’t we direct him to a fire hydrant and be done with it?”
“What’s a fire hydrant?”
“It hasn’t been invented, yet, but they think that dogs are going to love them and use them in the same manner in which Fido is currently using our patio furniture.”
“But what’s a fire hydrant?”
“Fire: Flames and heat, etc..”
“HYD: Slang for “How Ya Doin'”
“Rant: To speak or shout in a wild or impassioned way.”
“I’m guessing that it will be something to do with asking a house fire how it’s doing in a wild or impassioned manner.”
“Where can we find one?”
“We can’t. There aren’t any. What we have to do is trick the dog into thinking they have been invented and point him in the direction of one. I think we should put a sign on a tree and tell Fido where it is.”
Unfortunately, the manuscript stops there, so we can only guess what happened next. But it does appear that the attempt was made, as shown in the photo. And it is certain that dogs do, in fact, love fire hydrants.
Almost as much as they love patio furniture…
Next on my walk, I discovered this fascinating Irrigation Control Valve, an unsung and ignored hero.
This is an object quite ignored by tourists everywhere, including in Seattle. While many people will spend hours gawking at and photographing beautiful lawns and plant life, they fail to notice the thing that keeps them that way – water. And how is water applied to flora in the city? Through sprinkler systems. And who tells the sprinkler systems when and how much to water?
Why, it’s the poor, unappreciated Irrigation Control Valve.
Nobody takes the time to acknowledge the ICV.
Why? Because nobody knows it even exists, outside a few engineers and gardeners.
Why? Because people are so dazzled by the results of the work that the ICV performs and they never stop to think about who waters the garden.
Well let me tell you right here and now that I intend to put an end to the ignorance. At least in Seattle. Look at this picture. Look closely. Stare at it for a couple of hours. Take the time to read all of the writing on the cover.
You will never look at ICVs the same again…
Let’s move on to our next attraction, the local Psychic.
Something, I’m not sure what, told me not to go here. So I didn’t.
Next, I came upon Nature…
Most people make the mistake of seeking out Nature in the middle of lush forests, majestic mountains, spectacular sea vistas. Oh sure, you can find it in any natural setting, but you can also find it in places where bears don’t defecate.
I actually happened upon these magnificent specimens right in the middle of the city. To be sure, I was surprised to the point that I nearly tripped over each of these beautiful forms of plant life, but the experience taught me that you can find Nature even in the most developed of downtown areas. You just have to keep your eyes open and look for it.
Don’t miss out on the wonders of Nature just because you are surrounded by steel, concrete, glass and Starbucks.
Always expect the unexpected, even when you don’t expect it.
Remember the empty skies over and around the Space Needle?
While you may love the fact that you have a clear sightline to the route taken by migrating fowl, you may actually want to see some evidence that they actually exist, when they are not in evidence in the spaces above.
Because I was not looking for the most obvious evidence of the path taken by these migratory birds (and the occasional common Seagull), I was able to discern their exact lane of travel by looking in the opposite direction from the most common sightings.
Instead of looking up, I looked down. (To be completely honest, I thought I had, somehow, lost a sock while crossing the street and, while staring at my shoe, which was still situated solidly on my foot, and wondering how my sock had could possibly have fallen off without the shoe also leaving, I realized that I had just about used up all of my allotted commas in one sentence and quickly looked away from my ped in hopes of saving a comma or two, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but splatters of bird dung right there on the street in front of, and below me.
And then it hit me.
On the top of my head.
I looked up. I saw it, soaring majestically overhead, riding the breezy currents above the surrounding buildings and coming from the direction of the aforementioned Space Needle.
I couldn’t be sure if it was the Olive-sided Flycatcher, the Yellow-rumped Warbler, the common Seagull or Rodan, but I saw it.
And I could tell that it saw me, too, but that doesn’t matter because that’s when I knew I had made, quite possibly, my most exciting discovery of the day…
I could track the migratory movement of the birds without ever once looking to the sky above. All I had to do was follow the white stains left on the ground. And on the top of my head. But mostly the ground.
And I thought, “What further need have I for pictures?”
What further need, indeed…
Well, as it turned out, I needed at least one more because, later that night, as we were visiting with friends in their beautiful home overlooking Puget Sound, Judy decided I needed to take at least one more photo.
So here it is…
I’m guessing Judy has had about enough…
As most of you know, I am involved in the production of a motion picture. In the movie, I am required to speak with a British accent. Because I have never spoken English English before, have to practice, which is fine, except that it is driving Judy nuts.
I have found a way to make her even more crazy with the ‘practice’ sessions – I have begun narrating my life. In a British accent. Yes, I walk around describing my every move, everything I notice, my every thought. In a British accent (sort of).
As I said, it’s making Judy go bonkers.
This is fun.
It’s not very good, but I think mine’s better than Kevin Costner’s. Closer to John Lithgow in Cliffhanger.
But it is getting better. Really.
Here are three samples for your perusal…
A few months ago, we were testing some functionality on the D3300 camera. There was a guitar in the room (seven, actually, but I only have two hands, afterall). Steve and Judy decided to play along (Judy playing the part of the beatnik** in the coffee house, totally enthralled with my performance. Note the look of complete contemplation of the lyrics and the keeping of time with her foot).
In the video, we are not actually Dixie Fried (especially me). And Judy is not a shape in a drape in this case, but she is certainly everything plus.
And while this may have you interviewing your brains, and you think the performance is slated for Crashville, if you know your groceries, you will see I actually threw babies out of the balcony. Just be sure to focus your audio.
And yes, this is off the cob.
Murphy expresses his opinion at the 2:35 mark.
The whole thing is actually quite disturbing…
a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.
Progressing with green and blue screen testing this weekend…
Shawn was able to join us this weekend, and we built a frame for the screen so we can move it wherever we want. We also did some blue screen testing in the side yard – came out awesome.
And the free trial version of Adobe After-Affects expired. I guess I’m going to have to buy the thing…
More improvisation and trying to make each other laugh…
And now, Behold the 4000 Beings!
Learn how to quickly travel to the moon!
See confirmation that ‘Spicolli’ really is ‘Holy’!
Discover how many beans it takes to fill a Vegan!
Revel in the true wisdom of Scooby!
Finally know beyond the shadow of a doubt who REALLY did it, where they did it and with what it was done! (Major spoiler alert)
Relive the reason I spent two weeks in the hospital four years ago!
Become enthralled in the dramatic buildup to the final confrontation!
Beware of the consequences of underestimating the 4000 Beans!
Witness the Sad Demise of Jezebel!
Listen to, and Stare in Wonder at, my Closing Monologue!
Observe why you don’t wear a green shirt when filming in front of a green screen!
Watch me become Translucent!
And find out what Steve really thinks of this effort!
Started working more into the green screen practice. again, none of this is part of the film, it’s just practicing and figuring out how to do this stuff.
Sky Diving… How not to…
First Time In France?
Let’s Try France (Again)
My youngest son, Steven Kammerer, was up this weekend.. It’s always fun when he is here. This was sort of a working weekend for us. As one of my “newly retired” duties, I am working with Steve, Billy and Shawn on a cinematic production – we are making a movie. Should be done around mid 2017.
And this was the first attempt…
Hello again, Gentle Reader,
Today’s subject is a continuation of my new found photo addiction, this time featuring the catastrophic effects of last night’s major wind storm and my recovery efforts.
In an effort to give you an idea just how bad things were, and how great they became after my cleanup, I will display the photos in a “Before and After” format, with the “Before” shots coming before the “After” shots, and the after shots coming after the “Before” shots. (This will, hopefully, make the complicated situation a bit easier to comprehend.)
OK, let’s get started…
Patio Furniture Cushions and Umbrellas Before Repairs:
Patio Furniture Cushions and Umbrellas After Repairs:
Wheelbarrow Before Recovery:
Wheelbarrow After Recovery:
Observation Bench, Pre-Restoration:
Observation Bench, Post-Restoration:
Wayward Branch Before Massive Cleanup Effort:
Wayward Branch After Massive Cleanup Effort:
Fallen Tree Before Murphy and I Went Hiking In Yosemite:
Fallen Tree After Murphy and I Returned From Hiking In Yosemite:
Hey, it was Yosemite, OK? I’ll get to it…
Well, We all had such a great time with the “rocks” that I thought I would start photographing and naming some of the other personally owned inanimate objects in my life. This time, I have decided to go with my hats. Just one, to start with, but it’s a good one. In fact, it’s not just a good one, it’s a wonderful, wonderful one…
I was inspired by a commercial for the TV show , “Helix”. While I will probably never watch the show, there was something about the name that caught my attention. In fact, it brought me back to my childhood and made me think (warmly) about another TV show with a similar sounding name…
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
Helix the Hat
(The Wonderful, Wonderful Hat)
Or, at least, try not to fall asleep…
* Since a rock is a rock, after all, and not an animate object, it is not capable of taking its own selfie, so I did it the honor of taking it for it.
Attention! Attention! Attention!
After a brief exchange (no, we didn’t swap underwear) with my friend Judy Eckberg Robertson, I have decided that our rocks need names. And, after further brief exchanges with Judy E.R. and Judy Kammerer, I thought it might be fun to open up the naming of our rocks to you, my adoring fans, friends and family….
What do you think? You want to help us name a rock? If so, just pick one and submit your entry.
Thank you for your kind attention… That is all…