Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Super-Duper Mega-Extreme Announcement: 30 Days of Photographs II Starts April 1st!!!

Have you heard of a Canon EOS 5D Mark II?


Well I have. It's a terribly complicated camera that can screw up even the simplest smile-at-the-camera shot. It comes with an iron-clad guarantee that if you get the tiniest, most insignificant setting wrong, you'll end up with nothing but a big mess and nothing to post. I own this camera, and have owned it for about a week now. A week is NOT long enough to get everything including the tiniest, most insignificant settings, down.

Michael, on the other hand, owns a wonderful, great, safe camera, that he knows like the back of his hand. He can get any shot, at any time, even while half-asleep. I should’ve considered this more carefully when I recently invited him to participate in 30 Days of Photographs II, a sequel to the photo challenge that nearly killed both of us last year. Mike could take award-winning photos with a broken ballpoint pen and carbon paper, whereas my new camera gizmo just scares me.

And even though Mike and I have spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to tell people how much it is going to suck to try to post 30 half-decent photos, 30 days in a row, people don't quite seem to get it. This year we're joined in our quest by some wonderful bloggers who are willing to suffer with us during this photo extravaganza.

Joining us are: MikeWJ, Nicky and Mike, Mo, Meleah, John, aka nonamedufus, Bryan, aka Unfinished Person, Mariann, Malisa, Nora, LaughingMom, Tanya, Elizabeth A., 00dozo, Cheryl, Kristen, Pam and Katherine.

If I forgot anyone, or you are only just now tuning in and are craving some punishment, leave me a comment and I'll be sure to include you on the list.

Please keep in mind that this isn’t a competition. There’s no winner, no reward, and you will most likely lose whatever scraps of sanity you had left. If, however, you feel like making it into a competition, it is perfectly acceptable to try to compete with Michael at any time, because he will secretly be considering himself the winner no matter what, even though this is NOT A COMPETITION, Michael! Now, if you still want to play, there are some rules. These rules are set in stone, and you will be expected to wed them, bed them and make them your one true love. Cheating is encouraged only if you're good enough to get away with it, and if you aren't, you better make up a really good story to get out of the tarring and feathering.

The rules:

1) The challenge begins April 1st and ends April 30th.

2) You must post a single photo—one per blogger per blog, not two or three or 10—that has something to do with the day’s theme, even if, or perhaps especially if, it’s a photo of a cat, and therefore the unofficial winner of the day. If you miss a day, you can’t make it up later.

3) Post your day’s photo at 15:00 Eastern European Summer Time. Now, Michael was very rude about this on his own blog, and told you that if you can't figure out what time that is in your own time zone, you are a worthless sack of shit who will never make it in the real world. Michael is clearly a grumpy old man who can't do math. I will help you, all you have to do is ask.

4) Any photo taken since March 1st, 2012 qualifies for the challenge. When we say any photo, we mean any photo whatsoever as long as you took the photo yourself and it fits the day’s theme in some way, any way. Cropping, editing, color adjusting and photoshopping in a big mouse in a glass of wine are all acceptable things to do to make your photo more presentable.

5) All photos—especially the bad ones—may be accompanied by a witty, meaningful or utterly incoherent post of up to 250 words. Or no post at all, we don’t care. Michael has promised me to obey this rule, and if he can keep it to 250 words, so can you. We know most of you actually have a life, as opposed to Michael and I, and this rule is meant keep the posts relatively short in order to make it possible for everyone to visit as many of the blogs and possible, as often as possible.

And finally, the list:

Day 1: Silence
Day 2: Architecture
Day 3: From An Ant’s Perspective
Day 4: The experiment
Day 5: Power
Day 6: Tragedy
Day 7: Mirror
Day 8: A stranger
Day 9: Something I hate
Day 10: Waiting
Day 11: Wheels
Day 12: Fear
Day 13: Pleasure
Day 14: Forty-two
Day 15: Wood
Day 16: Ordinary matters
Day 17: Time
Day 18: Fire
Day 19: White
Day 20: Bird
Day 21: Moon
Day 22: Portrait
Day 23: Fish tales
Day 24: Crowd
Day 25: The future
Day 26: My toothbrush
Day 27: Nude
Day 28: Outlier
Day 29: Lines
Day 30: The Devil

And that's about it. If you have any questions, please ask Michael, and tell him I sent you.

I will see you all on April 1st! *

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Masochistic Behavior

Last July, Michael Whiteman-Jones and I participated in a horribly stressful photo challenge that involved taking thirty photos in thirty days, based on some very vague daily prompts. This project consumed our every waking (and sleeping) moment for an entire month, and left us feeling mentally, emotionally and physically drained by the time we were done. I would not wish that feeling on anyone.

That said, who wants to join us if we do it again?

See, we've been thinking.. And maybe it wasn't so bad after all? If, and I stress the "if" here, we do it, we'd need a little help from you, dear readers. Which is why I'm now presenting you with a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to

1) Say "Oh God no, please, not this crap again. Don't do it!!"

or to

2) Have a say in what the daily prompts would be this time around.

I'll list the themes we did last time for you, day by day. And for your reading and viewing pleasure, I've made them into links to the pictures I posted at the time and enclosed a helpful note so you'll know if it's worth the click or not.

1. A member of my family (Don't click, it's a picture of a cat.)
2. A favorite object (Not worth looking at, it's a picture of a stuffed toy.)
3. My addiction (I like this one, definitely worth the click.)
4. My hobby (Piano, decent picture, nothing special. Wouldn't click it if I were you.)
5. Evil (This one was kind of fun, but if you're only going to click one link, don't click this one.)
6. Green (*click click*)
7. Happiness (A tribute to my sister, click for gorgeous woman and maximum sappiness.)
8. Music (A tribute to my brother, not quite as sappy, and the photo isn't as good.)
9. Death (Wouldn't click it, not worth your time.)
10. Desire (I like this photo, it was the one of the apple.)
11. Monday (Do not click this link.)
12. Light (These are not for everyone, but I liked them.)
13. Pain (A candle and a note about the massacre in Norway last summer. No need to click, you'll only be depressed.)
14. A winter picture (It was summer. I'm not even going to include the link on this one. Worthless piece of shit photo.)
15. Love (Beautiful photo, click it!)
16. Old (The photo is nothing special, but the memories are priceless.)
17. A moment (Sunset reflected in the water. Pretty basic. Don't click.)
18. Tears (My friend's gorgeous baby boy, wondering why no one's fed him yet.)
19. Black (Nothing but a commercial for salmiakki.)
20. Different (These photos are definitely different, please click for huge colorful people-swallowing vagina.)
21. When I was young (Photo is not worth mentioning, but the story means a lot to me.)
22. Self portrait (Once again, not including a link for this one. Nothing but crap.)
23. A summer picture (Cute post about what summer is like in Finland. Very forgettable photo.)
24. Wet (Rain on the windscreen. Click if you're into that sort of thing.)
25. Dinner (Really not worth the click.)
26. Chocolate (A little chocolatey yin and yang action going on here. A decent photo.)
27. Two, a pair (Lovely photo, please do the clicking thing.)
28. Weather (Ominous-looking cloud. Nice enough, I guess.)
29. Night (Beautiful sunset. Definitely click on this one.)
30. God (Click on this one, too. Then click on the picture to make it bigger to get the full effect.)

Now, if you made it this far, please keep scrolling down just a little bit until you find the comment section. There, you can leave me a nice little comment with your suggestions for the new themes. Oh, and also let me know if you want to join in on the fun. I promise, you'll regret it. *

Friday, March 9, 2012

And That's When The Axe Murderer Knocked On My Door

”That mole is far too big for the jar,” I thought as I stared at the offending body part on my desk.

The mole filled the entire jar, the sides pressing against the clear plastic. My knowledge of mole anatomy isn’t what it used to be, but I’m almost certain this thing was mooning me. The doctor told me it came from the backside of a man who was very nice, which is pretty obvious since he’d have to be pretty damn nice to be kind enough to let his unformed twin live on his backside for half a century.

It was bigger than this one. Way bigger.
The thing had its own moon.
Alas, the twin was gone now, sitting on my desk, waiting for me to ship it off to a pathological laboratory where someone would cut it up, probably to find perfectly formed teeth and hair and the stray dog it had for dinner before unceremoniously being chopped off, dumped into a jar and dropped off at my desk.

I was debating using my lunch to bribe the mole into jumping into the padded envelope on its own without me actually having to touch the jar when I heard it.

The silence.

My office is situated in a very long hallway used by people to get from one part of the healthcare center to the other. All day long people walk past, using varying degrees of vocal restraint and stomping volume. But now, grave-like silence settled over my forgotten hallway.

And then, the footsteps. Slow, shuffling footsteps. Someone was making their way toward my office, one agonizingly slow step at a time. And then I heard the grunts. Whoever was in that hallway was slowly limping and grunting their way to my door and I thought about the Walking Dead episode I saw last night. The only difference between the sound the walkers on the show made and the sound this person was making was the surround system. I was fairly sure I hadn’t seen any zombies walking around when I got to work, but I was still pretty much asleep at that point.

I was pretty sure it was this guy coming for a visit.
The steps came closer, and stopped outside my door. As if in slow motion, someone grabbed the handle and rattled it, no doubt trying to get in to eat me. And not in a good way, either. I grabbed the closest weapon I could find, and stapler in hand, I opened the door.

It wasn’t a zombie. It was worse.

In the hallway stood one of the patients from the mental ward in the other end of the building. This particular patient killed his parents with an axe when he was just a little boy, and is at the mental level of a 4-year old. He can’t walk very well and wears a helmet 24/7. He’s allowed to walk around in the healthcare center as long as he doesn’t stop to harass anyone. Like, with an axe, or something. I sternly told him to go back, and the look he gave me couldn’t have killed anyone because looks don’t kill, but it was not a nice look.

Next time, I hope it’s a zombie.  *

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Spring Fever

By Finnish standards it’s officially spring when the temperature has been above 0 degrees Celcius (that is roughly 17 pounds in imperial units) for seven days in a row. It’s not yet spring. In fact, this weekend we’ll have temperatures of -12 degrees Celcius (381 liquid ounces for those of you of the American persuasion).

But I can feel it.


It’s coming. The sun burns my eyes, the fresh air clogs up my pores. The morning is still blessedly dark when I wake up, but even before I get to work the sun is up, melting the snow. In beautiful shades of orange and pinks it rises over the sparkling white snow, giving me a headache while I’m driving to work. We’re down to only a foot of snow now. A few more days of sunshine and warmth and we’ll be down to... well, just under a foot of snow. Soon pesky little flowers will start popping up everywhere and people will start smiling.


Luckily, in this picture the flowers on my kitchen table were
already dying and the sun was setting.

And the birds, don’t get me started on the birds and the singing. I haven’t heard a single quack all winter long, but now, the little birdies are up and squawking away already at 7 in the morning. Luckily I can blast music in the car and drown out the sound of the little fuckers getting their flirt on.

Living in Finland means six months of almost no sun at all, but conversely the other six months are spent cursing whomever left the light on. I need a little darkness to go with my Pepsi Max, and I need it soon, before I accidentally start smiling.