Sunday, February 27, 2011


This is Ollie.

Periodically we get conversations like this:
Me: Hey, Ollie. Can you come over here?
Me: Ollie? Come here, please.
Ollie: I'm Buzz.
Me: Oh. Hey, Buzz?
Ollie: (Excited) Yes?
Me: Can you come here, Buzz?
Ollie: Yes! I'm Buzz Lightyear! To infinity and beyond!

He has even mastered the Buzz Lightyear/superhero hands-on-hip stance.

But perhaps the most endearing development is the laser. ("It's not a laser; it's a little lightbulb that blinks!") Said laser is activated by pointing a finger at a target, and using the other hand to push the laser button on the pointing hand.

I should also mention that Buzz likes to be tickled. And his preferred mode of defense when attacked my the Tickling Mummy Monster is to activate his laser with shooting laser noises. Yes, my son is so deep in character that he believes his superhero toy powers are real. It is fantastic.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week 7 & 8/52

Oh my. Busy. In one week I have the penultimate draft of my senior thesis paper due. La-di-da. Guess who hasn't started writing yet? Yeah... That would be me. Research: yes. Writing: a resounding 'no'. Also, I have made my topic ultra challenging for myself by exploring an extremely narrow area that I have no expertise in. Because my life isn't crazy enough. Pauvre moi.

In other news, I am ready for spring. It is tantalizingly close. Some days it is pleasantly warm, and I get my hopes up, and my early bulbs begin to sprout. And then I wake up to snow and freezing temperatures, and all my hopes are dashed (along with my bulbs). It is getting old. Please, Spring, come quickly.

But as much as I am whining about winter, for the last two Project 52 assignments, winter is exactly what I have photographed. 

Week 7's theme was 'Open Your Heart'. It was pretty much dragging out the valentine's theme. (What is with that? Am I the only person who thinks valentine's day is lame? Do you know what pagan ritual it actually stemmed from??) Needless to say, I avoided photographing hearts for a second week. Success! I decided to 'open my heart' to finding beauty in winter. As lame as another valentine's theme? Why, yes, yes it is.

Next up, Week 8. The theme was 'View from Here'. I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be construed as THE view from here, or an instruction to view from *here*. I decided against the latter, and  spent the week wondering what on earth I could photograph. Apart from the mountains, everything around here is pretty flat. Now that I look at that sentence it seems kind of dumb. We'll try that again. Utah Valley is surrounded by mountain that seem to spring up out of plains. No gradual build-up. Just *boom* and they're there. Getting to a high enough vantage point at this time of year presents a problem in a non-4x4 car, too. I did not like the thought of our car hitting some black ice on the way up Squaw Peak and careening off the side of the mountain. Well how about a window view? Power lines. (And dirty windows.) Kid's view? Dog's view? Bug's view? All of them tempting, and especially since they allowed me to stay inside our house where it is nice and warm. But I actually ventured out into the snow, to an orchard nearby. And found some deer. 

Same spot, different focal length. (Uhh... I want need a telephoto lens.) This was late Friday morning. We woke up to about 5 or 6 inches of snow. By the time I took this most of it was melting, and by the late afternoon it was all gone. Maybe I like this kind of snow... deep enough to make the effort clearing the car off worth it, and to give everything that nice 'snow blanket' look, but it doesn't stick around long enough to make driving/functioning a pain in the a**. Plus it was warm enough for me to venture out without a coat. Bonus.

And, Spring? Yeah, I wasn't kidding earlier. You are welcome to come. Anytime you feel like it. Just so long as it's... now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week 6/52

Week 6/52
Theme: Words
This week I found myself getting wrapped up in philosophy and semiotics (thank you, New Art History). I also found myself gagging at some of the cutesy submissions for the Project 52 group. As Valentine's is on Monday, I suppose this is to be expected, but I swear people... 'Love' is just ONE word and there are plenty more to chose from! And hearts are officially overrated: I never want to look at another one of those sweetheart candies again. Ick.

Anyway, back to philosophy and semiotics. The old adage of 'a picture is worth a thousand words' got me thinking. Aren't words just pictures, images, and shapes that we arbitrarily assign meaning to? Saussure defined words as signifiers, than enable meaning to be found if one is able to decode with the appropriate sign-system conventions. Although meaning itself is something entirely different and debatable, as cat, for example, means something entirely different from one person to the next. I am sure that everyone is aware of the fake study attributed to Cambridge University about the way we read words, but I think there is a certain element of truth to some of the things that are said: 'function words' enable better comprehension, but also that we do, to a certain extent, read and recognize words as a whole rather than letter by letter. This idea is largely corroborated by studies like this one emphasizing that we read through 'Bouma shapes'; the overall shape of a collection of letters rather than each individual letter itself. And if that doesn't make words pictures then I don't know what does.

So, in the manner of pictures I decided I would find graffiti to photograph. Great idea. Except that our city upped an anti-graffiti ordinance a few years ago, and hooligans and vagabonds are hard to come by in our neck of the woods. No matter. Enter trains that pass through lots of other cities with plenty of unsavory, artistic folk who like to decorate rusty carriages. Perfect. All it took was a trip down to the industrial (read: scary) part of town, with maybe or maybe not some trespassing, and a pair of bribed toddlers, and we get this:

Yay, graffiti. This was the picture I submitted to the group. Although it was a tough call between that and this:

And now you get to look through the other ones that I took, because I had fun, and I can't understand why you wouldn't want to see them.

Now that I look at them all together they look kind of grungy and tilt-y and sun-flare-y. Maybe it's my mood...

In other news, Evan had a very exciting day and got some big news. We are very happy. School is going great. And kids are (mostly) wonderful and growing-up-too-quickly, too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 5/52

Week 5/52
Theme: Muse

The theme for this week kind of stumped me a bit. I thought that my kids as muses would be too much fo a cop out, but I realized yesterday (the last day to submit something) that there wasn't anything that inspired me more than my children. And not just for photography either. So, I submitted a picture of my offspring, like about 60% of the people in the group. This is my original muse, musing.