Category Archives: Just Weird

Gallery

SuperMoon 2013

This gallery contains 6 photos.

When I learned of the Supermoon celestial event this year, I had to try to capture it. I decided to find something iconic for the foreground and took a short trip to the Rancho Secco Nuclear Plant in the nearby … Continue reading

I do NOT wear a pocket protector

Alright, I have been known to be, how you say, less than a fashion conscious person over the years.  In jr. high school my wardrobe consisted of giant bell bottom jeans and tee shirts with iron-on decals depicting motocross bikes, trucks, or that infamous green monster flipping the bird.  Yes, I actually wore that to school.  What can I say?  My dad was frugal and he let my brother and I wear pretty much whatever we wanted, and, my brother was better at this than I was, but I would even get a hair cut every couple of years.

Now, I’d like to think that my fashion sense has, for the most part, anyway, improved somewhat over the years and when it comes to work, there is as certain standard that is required of me.  Business, or business casual is the norm for most employees in my office, but I will be the first to admit that I exhibit some slight geek tendencies in that I typically carry a 4″X6″ note pad in my shirt pocket along with a pen.  I also, as many of my peers with which I share the first digit of my age will attest, now find it necessary to use reading glasses in order to focus on small print, and because of this, I keep a pair of readers in my shirt pocket along with my aforementioned essentials.

A couple of co-workers (who will remain nameless, but you know who you are) have been getting on my case about the conglomeration of stuff that I pack into my shirt pocket at work and have dubbed my eyeglass case as a pocket protector.  I deny this misinterpretation with fervor and I attest that I do NOT wear a pocket protector.  It is an eyeglass case that is occupying the same space as my writing tablet and pen; items that one might place into a pocket protector if they were so inclined to wear one, which, I am not.

One day, one of these two co-workers, who claims that he is only looking out for my best interests, stopped by my workstation under the guise of speaking to me on some work related topic or another and, unbeknownst to me, he snapped a photo of me and my overloaded pocket reflecting in the mirror by my desk.

I was oblivious to this assault, as this particular co-worker is never without his phone.  He can be seen throughout the day with his I-Phone grasped in a death grip in his hand, his head craned at a near perfect 30 degree angle as he traverses the corridors of our office blindly, guided through doorways and stairwells apparently by some hidden eye or video GPS device affixed to the top of his head.  Ya got an app for that? 

So, anyway, I thought nothing of it when he was standing at my workstation addressing his concerns about the malfunctioning copier upstairs with his phone in his hand. 

The efforts by this employee to get me to abandon my practice of cramming all this stuff in my shirt pocket has not been in vain.  I have now limited my use of my reading glasses.  I have since realized that I just don’t need them nearly as much as I previously thought.  The battle over my notepad and pen, however, goes on.  I will continue to keep a notepad and pen in my pocket because I use it for various personal and professional purposes.  I write.  I take notes on writing prompts or other subject matter that I deem valuable to a future story idea.  I am also a photographer.  When I see spy an intesting subject that I would like to photograph within the 40 square blocks of Downtown Sacramento, the area that I typically walk going to and from the bus, and my daily errands, Ill jot it down and revisit it later.

Maybe I’ll adopt the suggestion of this concerned citizen, who proclaims to only have my best interests in mind, and carry these items in my pants pocket instead, keeping my geeky note-taking habits hidden from the world at large.  But then, what would I do with all the junk I keep in those pockets? 

Whatever the final result of this issue that has recently been brought to my attention, I stand my ground in saying:  That is NOT a pocket protector.

When Metal was Fun

Remember when stuff was made out of metal.  Not just the things that we’re accustomed to being made out of metal like shovels, automobiles, grandma’s sewing machine, or dad’s wheelbarrow, but kids stuff.  Remember when toys were built to last more than a few months of rough-and-tumble play time and would still be fairly functional after tossing them off of the neighborhood bridge and into the dry creek bed below?  Remember that?  Well, at the risk of dating myself, I must admit that I do.

Coming into the world in the 1960’s was an experience on so many levels that it would fill volumes, and that colorful time in American history has already been thoroughly documented by countless others.  But, I don’t want to talk about the drugs, or the free love movement that the 60’s were infamous for.  I want to talk about kids stuff.  More specifically metal kids stuff.  In the mid 1960’s, the era into which I was born, society was only a couple of decades out of the Second World War and the manufacturing mind-set was still concentrated on durability.  Even with the war behind us, people still wanted things to last, and as such, they had to be built to last.  What better way to make a product that lasts than to make it entirely out of good old American Steel.

My brother and I were raised in a frugal household.  In 1967 I was three years old my dad was still in college.  We didn’t have much.  But my dad, a farm-boy by rearing, was raised by a father who would just as soon build something himself than waste hard earned money buying it so, dad was very in-tune with the need to have things that were made to last a while.

On Christmas morning of that same year, brother and me woke up early and snuck out to take a look at what “Santa” had brought us.  There were the stockings hung by the fireplace spilling over with tiny packages and the regular boxes with bows and ribbons under the tree.  But, in addition to those seasonal sights, and traditional geometrically shaped packages adorned in bright wrapping paper and bows, over by the dining room table sat two abnormally large and oddly shaped packages.  The tag on the one with rounded edges had my brother’s name on it and the other more rectangle shaped package adorned with a large red bow tied on top was for me.  Once these huge packages were identified as ours, we forgot about the other gifts, the stockings and all, and ran to the dining room where we proceeded to tear through the wrapping paper.  After the flurry of brightly colored paper and bows sailing through the air had settled, we discovered that that each of us had a brand new pedal car. 

Not just any pedal cars, my brother’s was a race car and mine was a fire truck and each was constructed out of heavy gauge sheet metal.  Ah yes, spot welded, pop-riveted American Steel; the stuff that dreams were made of; structurally sound, long lasting stuff.  Fun stuff.  Kids stuff.  Metal stuff.

It’s a good thing that these pedal cars were made so well, because we drove them hard, bumping into fire hydrants, launching off of curbs, but through all of our abuse, they remained structurally sound.  The only sign of our rough treatment was a little paint missing here and there.

Brother and I drove these cars for probably a year before we grew weary of them, but they still had many good years in them.  Why?  You guessed it, because they were made of metal. 

My father, in an effort to reignite our interest in the pedal cars and maximize his investment, he decided to give them a new life by painting them.  My brothers race car became a taxi cab, complete with checkered door panels and a recycled mail box flag that my brother could drop when he picked up a fare.  Usually the neighbor’s cat fit this bill just fine, although, at times participating quite unwillingly.  My car was transformed from a now fading red fire engine to a police car.  The ladders on the sides were removed and with the addition of a red plastic drinking cup affixed upside-down to the hood with construction adhesive and the traditional black and white paint job complete with a big star on each door, I was now able to fulfill my second favorite childhood career aspiration; a policeman.

  Oh what fun we had those couple of years with our metal mobile machines.  Ultimately, we finally outgrew them and they were handed down to younger kids in the neighborhood.  I can only imaging the years of fun that the new owners had with them and the owners after that.  My only regret was not having the foresight when I was 4 years old to insist that my father keep the original paint job and the packaging because those old metal pedal cars are worth hundreds of dollars today.  Some models can now fetch thousands of dollars at auction.  Who knew, huh?

Have you ever had a metal pedal car of that or a similar era?  Tell me about it.

New Year Resolutions 2011

A new year is upon us and with the new year comes more resolutions that, lets face it, most of us, while making a valiant effort to keep seem to fall short or are all too eager to abandon altogether.  A guy I know at work I think said it best when he said that for him there will be no resolutions for the new year, just results. 

I have to admit that I have never been one to make New Year resolutions because it seems that once one voices their aspirations of positive changes in their lives and obligate themselves to initiate this change on a specific date they are doomed to failure.  With that said, I am taking a proactive role in making positive changes in my life, and yes, I am embarking on my quest for enlightenment on the first day of 2011 (today).  This blog post is part of that venture which will include more of the same.  I am keeping it simple though.  No major hurdles.  Just keeping a firm grasp on personal passions and wellness.  It’s all about me and what keeps me being me.

I know, my blog posts are supposed to include some photography to associate to the topic, but I didn’t get out last night to photograph any New Years festivities or fireworks, so you’ll have to settle for these photos depicting what I did last summer.  And you say I never take you anywhere. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wishing us all a New Year full of Health, Happiness and new opportunities!

Full Lunar Eclipse 2010

Did you see it?  I did, and let me tell you, it was pretty cool!  I have wanted to capture a lunar eclipse since I bought my first DSLR and tonight I was not disappointed.  Granted, I did only document the penumbra state through when the last of the moon entered the umbra at the point that the total eclipse began at around midnight.  By that time it was 47 degrees in my backyard and I had been craning my neck peering through my tripod mounted camera and 500mm lens at nearly a vertical angle for an hour and a half on a work night. 

It was a wonder that the clouds parted for this event as the skies for most of the day were dark with much of the day fully engulfed in scattered rain showers.  I figured that the clouds parted for a reason and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity to document the only full lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice in my lifetime.  The last one to occur on this date was on December 21, 1638.  The next one is not due until December 21, 2094 according to NASA.

Alright, enough suspense.  Here is a slide-show with 8 of the 112 photos that I took between 10:33 and 12:00 midnight on December 20, 2010.  Post a comment and let me know your experience with this or a past eclipse event or just give me some feedback.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ghosts in a Stockton Cemetery (do you see what I see?)

Do you believe in ghosts?  Well, who doesn’t, to a certain degree, right?  OK, maybe not everybody has had an otherworldly “experience”, and you’re probably thinking; “hey, this guy is nuts.  I thought his blogs were about photography and junk like that”. Well, they are, and before you get your panties in a bunch, just let me explain.  I, for one, have never really had a strong belief in ghosts, goblins goulies, or whatever, or, for that matter, nor have I ever had an experience that I could, or would remotely call a “ghostly” experience.  That is, until one day in 2004 when I bought my first digital SLR camera and decided to field test it in a cemetery near my home.  “ooohhwiiiooo”  (that’s my feeble attempt at phonetically typing out the eerie spaceship sound that we have all heard in cheesy black and white movies, you know, like on that one episode of The Brady Bunch where Peter plays a trick on his siblings by projecting a space ship onto a sheet strung between two trees in his back yard and makes that eerie sound by blowing into that phony whistle contraption)  Or was it Greg.  I know, I know , Who gives a flyin poo, poo, right? 

Anyway, back to why I sat down and began pounding away on my laptop so late on a work night.  Back in 2004 I was testing my new camera in the Stockton Rural Cemetery and fired off a couple hundred photos before heading home to download them to my computer.  They all came out pretty good and I didn’t think much of them again until about a year later when my wife’s cousin’s daughter (does that make her my neice-in-law?)  I know, your right; WTF, who gives a crap!  Get back to the story, would ya!  I promise there are gonna be some photos, OK?  Keep your pants on. 

So, anyway, Julie (Sup, Julie!  Holla, Whoop, Whoop!) tells me about this Web site called ghoststudy.com.  Ghoststudy is a site where people can upload photos that they have taken of everyday stuff which at the time the photos were taken, they saw nothing out of the ordinary in them, but upon closer inspection, people noticed weird shit that they didn’t see before like faces peering through doorways, or transparent figures walking around, you know, ghostly stuff.  If the powers-that-be at Ghoststudy deem the photos authentic and creepy enough, they will post them on theire site for all to see.  So, I got the idea to take a closer look at all those cemetery pictures I took, and since they were high-resolution digital images I was able to zoom into each one really close to inspect every inch of them.  It took hours to go through them all, but when I was done, I had a couple of them that TOTALLY gave me the creeps.  Now, I promised photos, and they are coming up, but first let me explain that I am not going to point out what I think that I see in these images so that I do not taint this little project or prompt anyone to see what Ithought that I saw.  Although I confess to being quite proficiant in PhotoShop, all kidding aside, I did NOT alter these images in any way what-so-ever, nor did I fabricate anything in the photos.  With that said, take a look for yourself and if you see something wierd in either of these two sets of pictures, please leave me a comment on my blog and let me know what you think you see. 

The first image is the one that took my breath away once I zoomed into it.  It’s an overgrown family plot that caught my attention because it was old, very overgrown and kind of sad that no one was around to keep the weeds down and maintain the plot.  I am going to post the original image and then the second image where I zoomed in to an area behind the plot.  You can click on the images to make them larger, but I don’t think that you’ll need to before you notice something a little freaky.  Do you see anything in the zoomed in image?

 

The next images are of an old Victorian mansion located near that same cemetery and is at the site where the old Stockton Insane Asylum once stood in the 1800’s.  (Now the site of the U.C. Stanislaus Campus)  This site has been in the news not once but twice when construction workers who were digging on the property doing renovations, unearthed a mass unmarked grave, each time yeilding about thrity sets of human remains.  The thought is that these were patients of the old asylum that had no family so when they died, they were taken out behind the buildings and just burried.  one of those mass graves was discovered only a couple of years after I took these photos.  The Victorian house is where the superintendent of the asylum lived.  The day that I took these photos I spoke at length to the head of security at this UC Stanislaus campus who had many ghost stories to tell, and even stated that she refused to go into some of the buildings on her patrol after reports of her staff experienceing cold spots, lights turning on and off on their own and even one guard who said that he was pushed after walking through a doorway that lead to the old mourgue.

The first photo is a wide shot of the house and in the second one I zoomed in on one of the windows.  It was said that the superintendent of the asylum, and as was the style of many of the men living in the mid 1800’s, had a thick black mustashe.  It must also be understood that at the time that these photos were taken, and even to this day, this house is empty.  It is not now, nor was it then occupied by anyone and while it was being restored around this time, no workers were inside the house when I took these photos.  I’m just sayin…  Look at the second photo and tell me… do you see what I see?

So, the next time that you are out taking photographs of historic buildings, cemeteries, ghost towns or other places that may have a tragic history, take a closer look at your photos.  You just might discover something in them that you did not see before.  Now,  back to my photos, I ask you; do you see what I see?  and if you do, then WHAT THE #@&*^! IS THAT!