Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 311/365 - Everyday Art

I had an art-filled Saturday today. Although I didn't plan it that way, all three stops on my impromptu art tour focused on everyday rather than 'high' art and, fittingly enough, all three were free. I started things off at the Corcoran Museum, which has free admission every Saturday this month. They are currently featuring a very cool photography exhibit by William Eggleston entitled Democractic Camera. His shots aren't of celebrities or of beautiful, exotic landscapes. Instead, he shoots regular people, ordinary places, and average objects, but the way he composes his shots is what makes them artistic.

It's easy to make an eyecatching shot of an intrinsically interesting subject. It's much harder to do that with a nondescript subject. Eggleston excels at it, however. My favorite photo in this exhibit is a shot he took of the back of a woman's ornate 1960s up-do at the next booth over in a restaurant or diner, but all of his stuff is pretty striking. Next stop on my everday art tour was the National Geographic Society's Explorer's Hall, where they have an exhibit entitled Kodachrome Culture that features photographs taken by American tourists traveling in Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. These are not your average tourist summer vacation photos. They were very well done and the place in time they depicted was equally as interesting as the place in the world they highlighted.

Last stop was the all-day Mural Jam that was going on at the Rhode Island Avenue Shopping Center. There is a long concrete retaining wall that runs in back of that strip mall and an organization called Albus Cavus was sponsoring a public art project wherein several local artists were collaborating on painting a massive mural that stretched the length of the wall. A few of the artists were using brushes, but most were wielding spray cans. As you can see from the shot above, however, they weren't just the typical conception of graffiti artists. The things they were able to do with spray paint were absolutely amazing.

Never mind the bread and circuses, give the people art!

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 310/365 - Twenty Interesting Experiences

Didn't know what to shoot today, so I decided I'd go with a photo of an adventurous still life and blather on about some experiences I've had that I thought were interesting. Some of these are repeats of things I mentioned on my list of random facts about myself from Day 76, but whatever.

Twenty Interesting Experiences I've Had:

1. I've been through the Panama Canal
2. I climbed an active volcano (Mt. Pelee) in Martinique
3. I've attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans
4. I've bungee jumped
5. I've been inside a pharaoh's burial chamber in an Egyptian pyramid
6. I've been hoisted up into a helicopter that was hovering over the deck of a ship at sea
7. I've attended Carnevale in Venice
8. I went to the first ever Nationals game in Washington, DC
9. I've eaten dinner at Citronelle
10. I've skydived
11. I've been to a Broadway play
12. I've ridden a train through the Chunnel
13. I've been swimming with dolphins
14. I saw a Space Shuttle launch
15. I was a ballboy at a Kansas City Kings basketball game
16. I've been to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
17. I've been in a car that was upside down
18. I've ridden bareback on a horse that was swimming in the ocean
19. I saw Nirvana in concert
20. I've loved and lost

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day 309/365 - (Ex) Sailor

It's not Halloween, I'm not going to a costume party, I haven't reenlisted, and I haven't completely lost my mind. This is just my self-portrait for the week. I thought I'd see if I could still squeeze into my old Navy dress white uniform.

Squeeze was definitely the operative word here. Fourteen years after being discharged from the Navy, I could barely fit into the jumper. The pants didn't come close to fitting. Even the hat felt small. Oh well, I think I'm happier being fat and free.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day 308/365 - Rough Day at the Office

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology (and a cool boss) I worked from home today. Reviewing grant applications for legal sufficiency isn't the most exciting gig in the world, although occasionally some of the project proposals are fairly interesting. When you're doing it while sitting poolside, however, it's a pretty damn good job.

Now if only there were cocktail waitresses and a swim-up blackjack table.

(Taken with my iPhone)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day 307/365 - At the Dentist, Again

It was time for my six-month check-up, so I stopped by the dentist's ofice on my way to work this morning. I didn't realize that much time had already gone by since my last visit. I was a bit worried she'd tell me today that the repair job she'd done on my crumbling tooth wasn't holding and that I'd need a root canal.

Thankfully, that wasn't the case. However, she did find some new decay on the sides of two of my bottom teeth. That's them in the photo on the monitor above. My dentist's office is cool. This flat screen is attached to the patient chair and it can display a map of your mouth and it can also show photos that she takes inside your mouth with this wand camera thing. Then she points out the problem areas in the photo and you can see exactly what needs fixing.

Because the decay was on the outside of the teeth, she didn't need to do any drilling. Just a quick bit of grinding and then she spackled them over with this tooth-colored filling goop. Then I got to walk around for a while with one cheek and half my tongue numb. Made answering phone calls at work sort of interesting.

(Taken with my iPhone)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 306/365 - G.I. Joe (Doesn't Blow)

Suprisingly the GI Joe movie doesn't suck. My friend Chris and I went to see it as part of our occasional "Monday guy night at the movies." I was expecting it to be rather craptastic, but with some cool action sequences and effects. However, apart from the Paris sequence -- which was overlong, largely unnecessary, and absolutely ridiculous, it was a fairly good movie. Definitely enjoyable.

The characters, while two-dimensional (it was based on a cartoon after all), were entertaining and the story almost made sense. The action sequences, which are really the star of a movie like this, were pretty damn cool. It wasn't a particularly original piece of cinema. There was pretty heavy borrowing from Star Wars and also the Bond movies, but I didn't feel cheated after it was over.

It ain't art, and it ain't particularly smart, but it is fun. Yo Joe!

(Taken with my Nikon Coolpix S200)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Twice on Sunday Bonus Photo - Kitchen Composition

For this week's extra photo from my archives, we have this shot I took a few weeks ago of a bowl of green apples in my kitchen. I really liked the various shapes, colors, and textures.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)

Day 305/365 - Lightning in a Jar

I went down to my neighborhood park tonight to catch myself a jar full of fireflies -- or as we call them in the midwest, lightning bugs. Every time we went down to my Grandpa's cabin at the Lake of the Ozarks when I was growing up, my brother and I would go out and catch as many lightning bugs as we could.

We'd put them in a mason jar with holes poked in the lid and set the jar on the dresser in the room we shared to make ourselves a nightlight. Then when we'd wake up in the morning we'd have a jar full of dead lightning bugs. We never could figure out how to keep them alive.

I didn't have any mason jars, so tonight I had to make do with an old jelly jar instead. I caught about six or seven lightning bugs, but once I put them in the jar they refused to glow. Seems like they only lit up when they were flying and the jelly jar was too small for them to fly around in, so after a few minutes I let them go. I don't really have much use for a jar full of dead lightning bugs at this point.

When I was a kid, summertime consisted of lightning bugs, watermelon seeds, squirt guns, bicycles, hide and go seek, reruns on tv, playing army, running through sprinklers, staying out 'til dark, road trips, freeze tag, camping, sidewalk chalk, hamburgers on the hibachi, and NO SCHOOL.

We didn't have play dates, or serial summer camps, or reading assignments. We just had fun.

(Taken with my Nikon D90)