Another Candle.

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.” (Prufrock)

Fuck that. I don’t wear trousers. And if I roll the bottom of my fustanella any higher you’ll see the boys even when it’s cold out.

But yeah, another year under the ever expanding belt. I took today and tomorrow off from work, because if past birthdays are any indication NewWifey(tm) will see to it that I need at least 24 hours to recover from whatever she’s planning. Wish me luck.

Regarding NewWifey(tm)….

I’m starting to become nostalgic for the old days, back when the most pressing health concern for NewWifey(tm) was an exploding ovary or two. Anyone remember that? When her lady plumbing burst while we were on holiday in Nashville? Ah, the good ol’ days….

Since our last exciting episode, NewWifey(tm) has been to:

A neck doctor.

A brain doctor.

A leg doctor.

A shaman.

A heart doctor.

Another heart doctor.

An ear, nose, and throat doctor.

Dr. Seuss.

The liquor store.

Wait, Danger, are you saying this is all because she was wearing wool socks?

Well, yes and no. When she hit the deck she wrenched her knee and hit her head. But when we went to the Knee Wrench Doctor and the Head Hit Doctor, upon examination they each found additional things for NewWifey(tm) to lose sleep over. So they sent us to other doctors. Who sent us to other doctors.

I’ll spare you a recitation of all the medical jargon we’ve been subjected to the last couple of weeks. But basically, open your copy of Grey’s Anatomy to a random page, jab your finger blindly at it, and wherever it lands they found something wrong with it.

There was one bright spot. The neck doctor told NewWifey(tm) that her bulging discs, loss of cervical curve, and impressive levels of arthritis, will all be easy to address. Turns out bulging discs are fairly normal in people over 30 and not much concern if they’re not herniated. And the other two should respond well to a few rounds of physical therapy. “Just don’t give any head for a couple of weeks” the doctor said. (Wellllll…that’s what I heard she was saying, in my mind. But then, I always do fret about the worst case scenario.)

At the other end of the malady spectrum is our new “Adventures in Cardiology!” adventure. One of the more alarming side effects of NewWifey(tm)’s fall has been her inability to stand up without falling over again. If she gets up quickly from the recliner – say, because I accidentally lit the curtains on fire again – I better be there to catch her on the way down when she blacks out or she’ll put another dent in her skull. And our floor.

The initial diagnosis was an imbalance of pressure in the blood vessels on the sides of NewWifey(tm)’s neck, and the slight rise in pressure when she stands up amplifies that difference, causing her brain to get confused and just shut down in frustration. Kinda like when a Meek Mill song pops up in your “WHITE POWER DEATH METAL!!” Pandora mix.

So off we went to the cardiologist to see if we could get NewWifey(tm)’s inner playlist fixed. The cardiologist did some tests and took some readings, gave her a carotid artery massage (which was not as restful as it sounds), and…told her to come back for more tests and readings, but this time at a medical center where they had some specialized equipment.

The “specialized equipment” turned out to be a table with all sorts of strappy restraints sprouting out of it like a leather kelp forest. The restraints were there to keep you from sliding off, because once you were on, the table was gonna be tilted into all sorts of positions rather suddenly. “Look honey, it’s just like our wedding night!” I said. The cardiologist laughed. NewWifey(tm) grimaced. That’s a painful memory.

The cardiologist called in another cardiologist to observe and advise, and once the team was assembled the festivities began. The nurse strapped NewWifey(tm) in and applied a bunch of wires (ignoring my advice to add a ball gag) and said, “We’re going to see how the blood pressure going to your brain changes as we move the table around. You may get a little lightheaded at times, but it’s nothing to worry about. Just relax and enjoy the ride.” She smiled and hit the button.

With that the table began to tilt, sending NewWifey(tm)’s feet towards the floor and her head to the ceiling.

“See, it’s not so bad!” the nurse chirped. “Now, if you feel at all uncomfor…hey, are you ok? Miss? Miss?

NewWifey(tm) had passed out. As I knew she would. Not even 5 seconds had elapsed – a new record, I found out later.

The cardiologists poured over the results.

I kid you not, this happened next:

Cardiologist #1: “Oh no. The pressure drop differential indicates a future of pain and bland foods for her. Frankly she’d be better off dead.” *

Cardiologist #2: “Eh, she’s just dehydrated. Give her a Coke and tell her to pick up a case of Poland Spring on the way home. Later, losers.” **

*Not literal.

**Literal.

So…what do we do? Is it GoFundMe time, or do I just have to stick a garden hose in NewWifey(tm) til she moistens up? Both doctors shrugged when I asked. They did agree on one thing though: more test$ are needed. Stay tuned….

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks instead of blogging. But as today is my birthday and I’ve already had a breakfast Pousse Café (or 3) and a Prunella Mandorlata, I’m gonna do what I want, dammit.

Speaking of which…

The doctor said I shouldn’t give head until after my physical therapy. Sorry.”

“Does she know we still have that immobilizing table from our wedding night?”

Hey, that’s right! Well then, Happy Birthday baby!

So if you’ll excuse me….

(BTW, I got The Card again. But this time I remembered. Eventually.)

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Picture This

I mentioned I’ve been cranking my photography game up to 11 lately, right? Ok, my results might not be at 11 yet, but my enthusiasm is. As part of this mania, I joined an only Nikon owners forum when my main purpose (according to them) seems to be to annoy the other members with pointless and nonsensical comments. Big surprise.

The group hosts a weekly challenge in addition to all the typical forum chatter. Every Wednesday the moderators announce a subject or theme, and we all then have a week to submit a photo which complies with it. The photo has to be taken that week, no archived stuff from your “Better Than Ansel Adams!” folder. Fellow photogs give likes, and the top three like getters at the end of the week then move to the finals, and everyone votes for their favorite. Top vote getter is proclaimed the winner, and he/she gets to determine the next subject or theme. It’s just for fun, there’s no money or glory in it, and I’d kill my mother to win some weeks.

Last week’s theme was “Still Life with Fruit”, and I took what I would have bet a kidney (although not my own) it would be the winning entry:

Still Life With Fruit RESIZE

I love Old Masters chiaroscuro stuff, so this was my little homage. It took a bit of doing too, aside from the obvious composition you see in the finished shot. There was plenty of tweaking of camera settings, and I had to get the right light. I wanted natural sunlight, but we were cursed with an unnatural stretch of bright, cloudless days which is death to the chiaroscuro artist (cloudy skies give softer, more even light). Finally we got a cloudy afternoon near the end of the deadline and I was able to get ‘er done.

Here’s the setup. An open window for key light, with a white reflector on the opposite side to fill in some shadows, and a black bed sheet for backdrop. The hardest part was getting the reflector angle and distance right:

Still LifeSetup RESIZE

Yes, we still have our Christmas wreath up. And our tree. Shut up, McScrooges.

I honestly thought this was gonna be a winning combo and I’d get to pick next week’s challenge: “Tapirs! Tapirs! Tapirs!” (Since they don’t hate me enough already)

But no. I ended up in a 3-way tie for second (there were 4 finalists this week). Getting as many votes as me was some guy who did a satirical take on the theme (which I grudgingly respect), and a picture of an apple with a ragged spiral cut – also not a still life. The winning shot was at least a still life, but NOT AS GENIUS A STILL LIFE AS MINE! IT ISN’T, IT REALLY ISN’T I SAY! WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!

Here, look for yourself.

Poop. Nobody appreciates the Old Masters anymore. And I want that kidney back.

Ciao!

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34 thoughts on “Another Candle.

  1. I cannot hit the like button. I can barely write. I am mad at the universe, frustrated at the feeling of being unable to do anything, to wave that magic wand and make all this disappear and NewWifey be back to her healthy self.

    I honeslty don’t know what to say. I hug you and I cry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My god, what is this? Actual sincere sentiment?? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH SALLY, YOU EVIL IMPOSTER!

      Aww, but thanks, kid. That was very sweet. I’ll take the hug (and a cheap feel), but there’s no need for tears. We’re gonna get a handle on this thing and be back to boinking with carefree abandon in no time, you can be sure. Do you think I’d be writing this sort of risible drivel if I thought otherwise?

      Now go on. Bake me a birthday cake and mail it out. You don’t have much time left. (Battenberg, please.)

      🙂

      Like

  2. Happy birthday, to you … sounds like you started off the day pretty liquered up. (Aside: Ah, the pousse cafe … B-52’s were my weakness in the days of layered cocktails.)

    And now for the more … err JUST as important as your b’day matters. I hope your wife’s health issues get better soon. Poor woman. Sounds like she’s gone through the wringer in terms of bodily woes.

    As to the photography contest … you waz ROBBED! The satirical shot was nice but the winner had no ‘oomph’ to it. No pizzaz. It was as meh as could be. I couldn’t be less excited if I was on heavy sedatives.

    PS: Any chance of seeing a shot of you in your fustanella? You can leave it as long as possible cause no one needs to see a wrinkled old codger’s ‘boys’. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. YOURS WAS BETTER. Your still life had some interesting thought behind it. The other one was okay and all but it was kinda saturated and didn’t evoke a cool old oil painting. Though the one of the guy with the apple on his head was funny.

    Happy birthday, and I hope your gift is a properly moistened wife.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy belated birthday! I’m sure you’re still celebrating!

    Hope NewWifey(tm) is back to her familiar routine of night jarring! 🙂 I need to remind myself not to read your blog when I’m in a public place. The belly laugh startles others, and me!

    And, by the way, you were robbed. Your photograph is awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I figured out why you were robbed in the photography competition. You don’t have a watermark. I gotta make one for you, then try and tell you how to make it work. (That’s the only possible explanation, by the way. The other entries couldn’t hold a candle – or an umbrella light – to yours.)

    Tell Wifey to get better. That’s an order. Even tough midwestern ladies (and non-ladies) can be miserable and in pain (including the non-consensual kind), and that’s not acceptable. Hopefully, after all the test$, they’ll find a solution and you can ultimately resume your bedroom gymnastics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will NOT sully my artistic endeavors with a watermark. I am adamently opposed to them, and sneer with derision at fotogs who delude themselves into thinking their pitiful attempts warrant one. Until the ghost of Ansel Adams returns and retrofits a watermark to “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”, it ain’t happening. If it wasn’t good enough for him, it ain’t good enough for the legion of wanna-be’s who think obscuring a part of their picture with some artistic rendering of their name improves it. I have spoken.

      And thanks for your wishes for NewWifey(tm). She’s hoping for the same thing 🙂

      Like

      1. in other words, you don’t wanna buy and learn to use Photoshop. I gotcha 😉 (Though there are free and cheaper alternatives which can create comparable effects.)

        I genuinely do hope Wifey feels better soon. I know how miserable it is to already be hurting, then you get jerked around by a few dozen doctors, half of whom want to dismiss a broken arm as “all in your head,” and the other half who only see dollar signs for more and more tests.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh ye of little updates. I have PhotoShop. It came bundled with my Adobe Lightroom subscription, which I’ve had for several months now. Of course I can’t make heads or tails of it…but I have it. (And even if I was a PS Pro, I still wouldn’t debase my pictures by scrawling some egomaniacal graffiti on them. I can masturbate other ways, thankyouverymuch.)

          And thanks again for the well wishes!

          Liked by 1 person

            1. You have no idea how many questions I have about PS. Unless you’re willing to spend the next several lifetimes corresponding with me, I’d withdraw that offer.

              On the other hand, I’m actually getting fairly proficient at Lightroom. My biggest headache is the cataloging system – I can never find my pictures after I edit them! But the editing itself is actually going pretty swimmingly.

              I’m not going to devote a blog post to it, but I’ve had one ongoing issue with my photography that I finally managed to figure out after THREE FREAKIN’ YEARS. I’ll tell it to you, since you’re probably very familiar with this issue as both a tech geek and a designer.

              Basically, you know I bought the camera because NewWifey(tm) needs high quality macro pictures of her products printed onto packaging and other paper promotional material, right? Well for some reason the colors have never printed right, and colors are of paramount importance in her products. If the little old ladies who buy her charts and designs end up with a different colored piece than the one shown on the packaging, they throw their soiled Depends at her at the next show.

              NewWifey(tm) and I both have been increasingly frustrated by this. She because her business depends on it, me because it’s giving her the impression that I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing despite all my show ribbons and assurances that I can fix this. We first purchased new printers – Canon, Brother, Epson, HP – thinking that must be it. Then I spent weeks learning about in-camera color protocols, Adobe RGB vs. SRGB, etc., thinking it had to be a software issue. I even last year purchased a fancy photographer’s monitor because the only thing left I could fathom it must be was that I wasn’t seeing the colors correctly on the screen in the first place.

              Nope. It turned out to be something that commercial printers have been doing for years: proofing. I actually stumbled on this by accident when I saw the option for “Soft Proofing” in Lightroom when I was exporting some photos, and didn’t know what it was. One minute into the first YouTube video I watched, I was hit by the thunderbolt of revelation.

              Soft proofing is/was the answer. I had everything right in the camera, on my PC, and with the printer(s). I just wasn’t telling Lightroom which printer I had, and what brand of paper I was using. Without that info it just defaulted to a generic, and that made all the colors appear different than what I was seeing on screen.

              This epiphany happened only a few weeks ago, and I haven’t had to do a product shoot for NewWifey(tm) since learning it. But she told me yesterday that she’s gonna need some shortly, so now I’ve gotta bone up on how to actually find the printer and paper info, then set Lightroom to account for it. This is the part I hate most, and the part I’m horrible at. So wish me luck!

              🙂

              Like

              1. Since you’re ONLY using Photoshop and its tools for simple photography (vs marrying several dozen images and text into a single file, like with a book cover), it wouldn’t be quite as complex as some of the things I’ve learned.

                Rule #1 when using photoshop. Always save your image twice, because you will mess up. Trust me.

                Rule #2 with Photoshop, learn how to create duplicate layers. Then do it with every single image you’re working on. The same principle as rule #1, only on steroids.

                Learning how to use curves is a huge one – https://youtu.be/3JpN3Pnaxi8. It’s a little more advanced, and ideally, you’ll be working with layers; but if you watch the first 15 seconds of the video you’ll get a feel for how handy it can be.

                Blending modes are basically special effects. If/when you’re ready, lemme know and I’ll show you the basics of how to find them, and how to use them.

                Liked by 1 person

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