Category Archives: Photography

She’s Killing Me #7


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The Little Cake Boss Diva in her ballet class…to which she is always late to. Hell, she’s late to EVERY class.

She’s killing me, I tell ya.

My Little Cake Boss Diva.  Yes, she is.

She is an 石頭.  A rock head.  Perhaps even a boulder-sized rock.

But she didn’t get that from me.

Well, maybe just a wee bit.

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Five months ago, she asked for a new iPhone for Christmas.

“No.  You’re getting a Samsung Galaxy because I don’t understand Apple one bit…and you know, Bu-chan, that you will do something to that phone and I will have to waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to fix it.”

Well…  It was like talking to a…rock.

And yes, she got a new iPhone 5s.

I am weak.

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For several weeks, I had told her to back up her photos to flickr to get ready for her new phone.  Flickr’s free.  Besides, she is always complaining that her storage is maxed out.

…that I am going to trade in her old phone so all her selfies and pictures of her BFFs will be gone.  Poof.

So does she?  No…

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Both she and my son had concurrent science projects due for school at the same time.  Criminy.  I told forced threatened my son to do his 8th grade experiment EARLY because both their experiments – and resulting terror – fall on my shoulders.  Their mother refuses to take interest in their education.  Really.

Well, Brooke’s first experiment failed.  She wanted to see if there was an organic ant deterrent.  Trouble was, it was too cold for the ants to venture out en masse.  The ants didn’t come for the food, even when it was FREEEEEE (like the commercial).

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One attempt to get ants to munch on free food. No go.
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Another attempt to get ants to get free food. No go again.

So three weeks ago, and with her teacher’s blessing, we switched gears to see if there was any way to slow down mold from developing on her favorite berry – raspberries.

So for her experiment, I suggested pictures be taken from the beginning… so she did with her blessed iPhone.

I did, too.

“Papa!  See how you are?  You tell me to take pictures so I did.  … So don’t, okkaaay-ah?!”

“But Bu-chan, just in case… You know…”

“Nooooo-ah!  Why should I take them then?!” she mightily says in her valley girl talk.

I do as I’m told by my Little Cake Boss Diva, you know.

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Day One of her raspberry experiment.

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So she wraps up her experiment then starts to write up her results when she was with me a couple of weeks ago.  Then as she left for her mom’s for the week that Monday, I tell her to share her report with me via Google Drive so I can help her edit it during the week.  After all, the project is due the Thursday the week she comes back to me.

She reluctantly annoyingly says, “Okaaayyy-ah!”

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Next evening (Tuesday – she’s back with her mom, now.), I text her while she’s at her dance class, asking her about the report’s progress.  She was to email me a link to her document on Google Drive.

No reply.

So I thought, well, she’s busy chit-chatting girlie stuff with her friends.

Wednesday…  I text her to see if I can take her to dinner on Thursday since she has two hours between dance classes.  Same thing.  No answer.  Now my totally flat Asian nose is getting bent out of shape.

I get smart on Thursday.  I email her, too, on top of texting.  I even sent her some new flower pictures I took.  No answer!  Old Faithful is but a tea kettle compared to the steam coming out my ears.

Old Faithful. http://wyofile.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/old-faithful-yathin.jpg

I actually called her… She must have been shocked her iPhone not only texts but actually functions as a phone.  “Gee, is that my ringtone?” she must have thought.

But… NO ANSWER!  Old Faithful has become an volcanic eruption.

In a futile attempt, I email her mother telling her to have Brooke answer my texts.  The ex RARELY responds to any email or text although required by the divorce agreement.  Sure enough – no response.  Now I wish I had the twin .50 Browning machine guns Mustang_USMC has stashed away and hordes of ISIS jerks in front of me so I could take out my aggressions.

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Then… I find out my aunt pretty much admitted herself to a hospital far, far away.  It’s so far away that the Empire’s Death Star is at the halfway point.  Long story but she didn’t need the surgery; her quack doctor put it in her head that she needed it.

So my phone rings at 7:30 am on Saturday.  My aunt is calling from her hospital room and wants me to take her a dumb charger for her cell phone!  Crap.

Needless to say, it took my attention away from the Little Cake Boss Diva’s audacious behavior… and the science report.

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Monday comes.  The ex (who never answered my email, of course) is late dropping them off again but unbelievably, the Little Cake Boss Diva just smiles, gives me a hug then prances right into her room as if nothing’s wrong.  The nerve!  Old Faithful redux.

“Brooke!!  Why didn’t you answer my texts??!!!”

“Oh,” she begins with a not-my-fault smile, “the girls at dance on Tuesday figured out my password so I changed it.”

“What??!!  Why did they have your phone and what does changing a password have to do with your science project???  But why didn’t you answer my texts??!!  That’s the question!”

“Geez, you don’t have to get so mad!  So I changed the password…but couldn’t remember it…  So after I tried a number of times, it locked me out.  It’s a brick.  That’s all!”

“What?????!!!!!!!!!  That’s it??!!  Why didn’t you email me from your Galaxy Tab that I bought YOU when YOU broke your iPad and tell me???”  Accent on the caps.

“Oh…  Yeah…  I guess I should have…but I don’t know how to check my iPhone email on it because its an ANDROOOIDDD…  but can you fix my phone before I go to dance?  Please?”

OMFG.  I’m still cooking my Spaghetti al Limone.

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Some of the ingredients for my Spaghetti al Limone.

The tortoise could have made it to New York in the time it took me to figure out how to unlock it…but it had to be “set up as a new phone.”

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I pick her up at 7:30 pm after another one of her EIGHT dance classes.  Of course, she’s the last one to leave.  We get into the car.

I’m refocused now since she came back four hours ago…  “Brooke, how much more do you have on your science report?” I ask.

She’s texting like there’s no tomorrow on account she been deprived for a week.  “Well, I still have to write up my procedures, results and conclusion.  Yeah, I guess I should finish it tonight because its due tomorrow…………”

http://www.driever.nl/foto/achtergronden/JLM-NatGeo-Mount-St-Helens-1980-May-18.jpg

Mt. St. Helens has now exploded again; the top of my head is now missing.  “Tomorrow??  I thought it was Thursday???!!!!”

“Noooo-ah!  Why did you think that?”

*hit.

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After dinner then arguing for about an hour, she finishes the report but its in bits and pieces.  She had each section set up as a new document even though I sent her a template.  Criminy.

“Brooke, you need to insert your pictures of the experiment,” I said calmly.

“Umm…  Papa…  Remember YOU wiped out my phone when YOU restored it…”  Snicker.

“Didn’t you upload them to flickr like I said?”

“Noooo-ah,” she very matter-of-factly says.

OMFG…

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Luckily, I still had that ONE picture I took on Day One.  “See Brooke.  Even though you told me not to take any pictures, aren’t you glad I did?  Huh?  What do you say to that?!”

Silence.  That’s what she said to that.

She hates being wrong.

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It’s now 12:40 am…  She’s still trying to arrange her poster board display summarizing her project:

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12:40 am…

This whole thing is due in seven hours!

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Arrggghhh.

She finishes at 1:45 am…

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I took this at 7:30 am… and I stopped arguing with her about the contents because she is a rock head.  She didn’t get that from me, OK? 🙂

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Stay tuned…  Her Language Arts project is also due this Friday.  She is with her mom.  I sense a strong likelihood she will need to see me on Thursday to finish it.

Yes.  She will text me if she does… but I will reply because I have an Android phone. 🙂

Just Some Snapshots #14


I have been distracted for this and that, more so as of recent; life does get in the way as they say.

But just some recent snapshots to perhaps brighten your morning…

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Graptopetalum rusbyi, a Sedum.
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My Little Cake Boss’ shoes.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, June 28, 2010
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, June 28, 2010, part of the Smithsonian.
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Graptopetalum rusbyi, a Sedum.
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Echeveria pulidonis bloom.
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The Endeavor.
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Graptopetalum rusbyi, a Sedum.
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A kalanchoe’s new branch dazzles you in pink and orange hues.
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A WWII P-51 Mustang presented in sepia. A P-47 Razorback is in the background.
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A Scaevola – Bondi White
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Our flag and the glory days of backyard aviation.
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An English daisy.

c-10-191Have a great day!

Just Some Snapshots #12


It appears Spring has come a couple of weeks early to Southern California…  Some photos of blooms from around my home.

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Tiny buggers invade this succulent bloom.
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Clematis
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Cineraria
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Red bud blooms.
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Aloe bloom
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Shrimp plant
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An early Portulaca grandiflora blooms from my cutting
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Clematis
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Cineraria in B&W
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A real bad hair day
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Cineraria begins to bloom
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Aloe blooms
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Cineraria
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My cigar…but not my yard.

A Volcanic Week


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The Little Cake Boss doing her dance thing out in the middle of nowhere. Notice her iPhone? The Texting Princess was not too keen about having no signal.

It indeed turned out to be a volcanic week.  The end began the night before on Saturday at 10:30 pm when my son asked, “Papa, can we go to the Mojave Road tomorrow?”

Mojave Road??  In the morning??  Egads.

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The week was already in shambles… full of surprises.

My 13 year old son requested one of my apples pies so I baked one on Tuesday night…from scratch.  Crust included – never mind it looked like a clone of Shaq’s head. The pie turned out pretty darned good if you ask him.  Can you hear it sizzling as it came out of the oven?:

My 11 year old daughter has multiple dance classes every week night except Friday plus 2-1/2 hours on Saturday – right in the middle of the day.  On Thursdays, although she has a two hour window in between two classes, she chooses to stay to chat up a storm with her friends…except last week.  As I take her to her 4:30 pm class on the 4th (late again as she is never ready on time), she asks me to pick her up at 5:30 instead!  Plus, as she exits the car, she manipulatively says, “…and today’s National Cookie Day, Papa.  Can we bake some chocolate chip cookies later tonight?”  Geez.  Rushed across the street to Ralph’s to pick up more brown sugar and some walnuts then headed home…

As I was pre-mixing the dry ingredients for her cookies, Jack rushes into the kitchen at 5:15 pm all excited.  He said, “Papaaa…  I forgot to tell you but there’s an orientation night at the high school.”

“Oh…OK.  When?” I ask.

“Toooo-night…” in a shy voice…

Holy crap!!  I never got a notification of the orientation but it turns out he had taken something home to his mama; of course, she didn’t bother sharing that with me!  Then double crap!  (There’s a triple crap coming.)  I had to pick up my daughter in 15 minutes but the orientation started at 6:00!  Arrgghh!

Throw some snacks into a bag, load my son hurriedly into the car, then zip off to her dance studio.  I was a few minutes late and she was waiting outside.  I am NEVER late when it comes to the kids and especially with my little girl.  As I hand her the snacks, I tell her she has to stay because…..  😦  Boy, did she get upset at my son…from a distance!

We get to the auditorium in the nick of time.

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We transitioned to a classroom later listening to the IT department head give his presentation when… the triple darn hits.  My phone starts vibrating…  It’s 6:45 pm…  It’s my little girl calling from the dance studio.  She forgot a piece of her dance clothes for her 7:30 class.  Geez.

I couldn’t leave Jack alone so I had to pull him out of the orientation and rush back to the dance school.  I picked her up to take her home as I have NO idea what “thing” she needs.  I take her back by 7:20 only to have to pick her up at 8:30.

With all the excitement, I had forgotten how many 1/4 cups of brown sugar I had put into the cookie mix.  Criminy.  Anyways, four batches of toll house cookies emerged… And the Little Cake Boss – she’s the one who wanted to bake the cookies for National Cookie Day – didn’t help…  She said she was too tired…  Arrgghh.

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Yielded about 40 cookies.

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Ah, the volcanoes…

I had been asking Jack where he would like to go on a Sunday especially since the last two months have been Brooke’s dance, dance, dance for competitions and dance “conventions” every weekend.  Saturdays and Sundays. Get up by 5:30 am.  Criminy.  I felt bad leaving him home but I had no other choice.

So at 10:30 pm on Saturday, he brings up the Mojave Road.  He would like to go there.  I looked it up.  It was a dirt road that makes the Baja 500 look like skateboarding on a sidewalk.  Sadly, I said we couldn’t go because it’s 4 x 4 terrain; plus, the rainstorms had made some sections really rough going.

Then he says, “Papa, isn’t the Subaru 4WD?”  Gadzooks.  I had to show him photos of the road damaged by flooding and how raised monster off-road vehicles even get stuck.  Besides, the car only has cheap two-ply street tires.  He was disappointed.  I asked him to pick somewhere else…after I had said to pick a place.  He decided on “Hole-in-the-Wall” in the middle of the Mojave National Preserve.  It’s roughly 240 miles from home… One way.  Man, you should have heard my daughter moan and groan while chomping on the toll house cookies her PAPA baked for HER.  She did NOT want to go!

“Jack!!  What are you going to do when we get there! Duh!” she asked, then stormed to her room.  Oh, man.  I feel sorry for her future boy friend.  Did I write that?  Where’s the backspace…

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Believe me, I’d rather fight Godzilla rather than getting the Little Cake Boss out of bed early on a Sunday.  Braving an apocalypse, I cracked open her door at 7:30 am; I escaped with just one black eye and a broken arm.  But we all managed to get into the car by 8 am.  Drove like crazy as it gets awfully cold and DARK real quick out in the desert.  We got there a little after noon.

Hole-in-the-Wall is an area where volcanoes spewed lava over millions of years.  Geologists theorize that uneven cooling of the layers of lava aided in creating pockets of trapped gasses within.  Through the eons, time had eroded away the lava layers, exposing these “holes”.  The plateaus surrounding the area were what remains of the tops of the original lava flows millions of years ago. It has also been rumored to have been a hideout for outlaws in the days of the Wild West.  Their saddles must have had built-in GPS to have been able to come back to this forsaken place.  If it weren’t for Sparklett’s making door-to-door deliveries, they wouldn’t have had water, either.

As this story is getting too long, some snaps by my son and I from Hole-in-the-Wall:

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Avoiding cacti and other thorny stuff… as well as tarantulas that wouldn’t fit in a dog cage.
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Some petroglyphs.

I encouraged Jack to take photos as there is an art show at his school early next year:

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Me bending down is out of the question so I encouraged Jack to take a photo of this dead plant.

This is his result:

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Jack’s photograph. Pretty darn cool!

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A billion cacti meant a gadzillion thorns.
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On the three mile desert hike that nearly killed me.
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Canon, baby.
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Another one of my son’s photos.
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There must be a zillion people smarter than me as we didn’t see a single car for over 20 minutes… but then we were trying avoid potholes the size of the Meteor Crater. Taken by Jack.
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Natural cotton gin.

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A last one from my son.

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Just Some Snapshots #10


There is such a thing as luck… but it never relates to winning the lottery, it seems.

But I did hit a jackpot – a photographic one.  Its been busy trying to supplement my photographic artwork these past few weeks; being an amateur, it’s not easy.

As there’s been some dew on the flowers outside, I took to shooting them at first light.  Fortunately, Lady Luck flashed a big smile as a number of them were selected for flickr.com’s “Explore” which showcases 500 photographs each day for “interestingness”:

Aster Shimmer - EXPLORED 10/24/2014

Aster in B&W - EXPLORED 10/22/2014

Lavender Aster - EXPLORED 10/25/2014

Razzle Dazzle - EXPLORED 10/23/2014

Dew at Sunrise - EXPLORED 10/22/2014

Blooming Aster - EXPLORED 10/19/2014

Sparkly - EXPLORED 10/23/2014

Here are a few others:

Naughty and Nice

Pitter Patter

Unbelievably, there’s been over 100,000 views in the past three days, now nearing 1,000,000 views in total.

It would be nice to have that many visitors to this blog!

Will Lady Luck flash her smile here too? 🙂