[This is my dad holding me and feeding my baby brother, now that’s multitasking!]

The Cuckoo's Nest


Here’s my dad multitasking. I recovered this image from an old box of negatives my mom gave me after my dad passed away. One of the negatives was severely overexposed but I scanned it and took the image into Photoshop and MAGIC! This image appeared. It is very unlikely my parents ever saw this photo.

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Snow Garden

My photoblog is here if you haven’t seen it yet.

The Cuckoo's Nest

snow in june

I went to an outdoor wedding today at the Umlauf Gardens in Austin and as soon as we walked into the garden I was mesmerized by the cottonwood blossoms. It looked exactly like falling snow. It was also as difficult to photograph as snow. On the ground, it collected in crevices and along the edges of the paths but looked less like snow and more like the aftermath of a pillow fight.
It was one of the most fascinating and beautiful things I have ever seen.

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The Story Beyond The Still: The Cabbie

A friend of mine shared a short video on Vimeo that he found. I think he sent it to me because I have a similar camera to the one this was shot on. I do think it is amazing that anyone with talent (and a few acting friends) can grab a camera these days and make a movie with very little money.

The video is the first chapter that is part of an HD video contest, The Story Beyond the Still sponsored by Canon. Director/photographer Vincent Laforet was asked to interpret a still which is of a teddy bear lying on a sidewalk at nighttime, and to make a video short of it. His short also ends with a still, and that is where the contest begins. Anyone with an HD camera can interpret it, make a video of that interpretation and enter to win the next chapter. There will be seven chapters in all.

Grrr. I can’t embed Vimeo, but please click here to see the short:

The Story Beyond The Still: The Cabbie from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

Official rules are :::here:::

One shot

One shot

Originally uploaded by cinemagypsy

I am on a quick trip to South Louisiana to bring my mother home and
pick up blane’s mom.
I’m in my Rv and I’m blogging from my phone. I only have one day here.
Guess how I spent it?

I did what any self respecting Cajun would do, visited with my family
for a little while then hit the butcher shops for tasso, sausage, and
boudin. Another store for some spices and roux and I’m set with my
Cajun blood booster for a few months. Also bought myself a Saints shirt.
I can only upload one photo from my phone with a blog post and today
was a rainy grey day so it has to be this, tomorrow I’ll post
something pretty or interesting from around here or from the road.

Such a Coward…

I’m feeling crappy today because of a dream I had last night that I just can’t shake. It’s one of my best dreams, cinematically. Character is what I have a problem with.

It starts out with me climbing hundreds of steps up a mountain. It’s a setting that looks like a mashup of The Temple of Doom and the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. Rope footbridges overlooking lush jungle growth around a marble cliffside. Beneath the foilage, five stories of heiroglyphs stamped into white marble.

There are other people like me with their cameras, but no one I know. It must be some sort of remote tourist attraction because there is a stand selling bottled water on the flat and dry mountaintop.

So I go up there for some water and while waiting in line, I spot this colossal vortex on the horizon. It appears as if half the world has folded into it already and it heads straight for us. Everyone scrams for cover except for me. I gotta get some video of this. The wind around me strengthens and I decide to go for cover. I run and run and look for a ditch but find an overpass looking thing. I hide until I hear the earth tremble and no longer feel safe.

More running.

I keep running until I get to a parked SUV. I open the door and get in with a car load of strangers. My heart is pounding, the tornado is almost upon us now, I feel safe, and the car starts when the driver turns the key.

I’ve saved myself AND I have some of the best storm footage ever recorded.

And then…

A little boy comes to the window and asks to come in. I’m about to let him in when, behind him, a crowd of people rush up, all wanting to get in. The others warn if I open the door they’ll mob handle the car and we will all die.

I can see it so clearly right now, my finger pushing down the lock of that door. Through the window I see the boy’s face pressed against the glass. I tell myself he is dead already.

Our car speeds off to safety.

Through the back window, I see the tornado suck up everything. First the boy and the people behind him, then the overpass, the wall of heiroglyphs, the water stand…

When the storm is gone and the sun is back out, we drive back to the scene which now looks like a landfill. News crews begin to pour in and one of the reporters asks if anyone has video of the tornado. I say I do, click some buttons on my camera, and guess what?

No tornado footage. Just video of people waiting in line for water.

Anticlimactic, yes?

I have dreams like this all the time where some big catastrophic event is coming. If there is an ending, I’m always the hero. But not this time. What a nightmare and I feel like such a coward even though it is just a dream.

The Swine

Blane says I’m going to be murdering a whole bunch of innocent people because I’ll be giving out H1N1 flu shots the first week of November.


I don’t know how he got into reading all these paranoia spreading conspiracy theory sites, he’s a liberal, sometimes a bit more than I am. Apparently the idea that this flu shot is unsafe is widespread. But hell, if the government is going to wholesale kill people, the first in line would not be children, pregnant women and health care workers.

I’ve spent enough time in after-school detention to know that those two groups are on the priority list to get into the life raft.

It’s your granny Obama wants dead, correct? There aren’t enough shots to go around and those over 65 aren’t on The List (they have been exposed to something similar in their childhood, so they are less likely to contract H1N1).

Maybe we’re being immunized with some top secret serum for the germ warfare they are going to release after all the desirables get their shots?

I hope you know I’m just kidding, I believe the H1N1 flu shot is safe and I’ll be getting mine as soon as we open the shipment. If I don’t return by Thanksgiving, run for the border, the goverment is going to kill every last one of us.

Test your H1N1 knowledge with these ten easy questions.

For more information on the safety of the H1N1 vaccine and other facts about the flu, the CDCs website is :::here:::

Off Road Guide to Holidailies

This is my favorite time of year to blog. It’s not that I enjoy the holidays, it’s because of the community writing project, Holidailies. Today is Day One and hopefully there will be a new post here every day until January 6th.

I find I write better during this time, not sure if it is because I’m writing every day or if it’s because I know more people are reading and the participation level is high. Probably both.

Holidailies is a great tool for new bloggers to build a blog. That is how mine took off. The bump in traffic is amazing. The first year I averaged thirty hits per day from there. I don’t know how the other blog platforms operate, but with WordPress, it seems once they see all this action going on, your blog post ends up being one of their top posts, so you get tons more traffic from there.

Even if you have an established blog, it is a wonderful way to keep your readership levels up due to blogger attrition.

It’s always extra special to have a post make it to the “Best of Holidailies” list. I have no idea who judges those and how they do it, but I had two make it on there last year.

What I know about those two posts is the titles were catchy and the summaries were screaming, “you have to read this.” Example: “You’re Standing in Quicksand – But Wait, Let Me Get a Picture of This.”

To make the most of your Holidailies experience, here’s my advice:

Go visit other blogs and leave comments.

Answer people who take the time to leave comments on your blog. A lot of times people keep coming back to see if you’ve answered. Ignore them, and they may never read you again.

Here are things people like to read: conflict, anything about kitchen gadgets, travel tales, how to do something well (recipes- dude, those are hot), How to screw something up (make it funny), and anything artistic.

Posts that go up in the evening when everyone is blogging is a great time to put yours up there. Over a hundred people are fighting for attention. If you post at 3AM like I usually do, your post will end up at the bottom of the stack.

If you have a camera, post some photos of what you’re writing about. For instance, if you got in a wreck, show the damage. I love that sort of stuff when I’m reading other blogs. Photos evidence. If your words don’t match the photo, no big deal, it only means you have a great imagination. I’ll be back to your blog.

Speaking of imagination. If you have a daydream or fantasy? Share that. Those are the best posts, ever.

Wishing you all a happy and successful Holidailies. I look forward to “meeting” every one of you.

Stereotypical sundown at the beach shot

Stereotypical sundown at the beach shot

Originally uploaded by cinemagypsy

How about a palm tree and a sunset?

We went out on a boat today and went to queen beds island which is
completely covered with birds. It was unbelievable. Lots of pelicans
and other giant birds, it had the feel of prehistoric times. Just

Then we almost got stuck in a storm that crept upon us. We tried to
outrun it, bit that dark cloud just kept following us, so we stopped
at a friend’s camp for it to pass. A guy near the camp where we’re
staying got struck by lightening. He survived to tell is the story.

We head home on Sunday, hope you all have enjoyed a dose of Louisiana.
We sure did. The dogs too, they came with us. Mireille had a fight
with a one armed crab today. It was hilarious.



Originally uploaded by cinemagypsy

I really can’t think of a better word right now for the city of new Orleans.

We are at a friend’s place in grand isle which is like a continuation of bourbon street because of the tarpon rodeo this weekend.

This is the first time in my life seeing a limo on the island. That’s trippy.

Scary bridges and poles

Scary bridges and poles

Originally uploaded by cinemagypsy

This bridge in baton rouge used to give me a heart attack when I was
little. There was a scarier narrower one in krotz springs but that one
must have been replaced because we crossed there a couple of days ago
and it didn’t look the same.

Anyway, we’ve made it to New Orleans and visited with my cousin and
his family. We went over to the neighbor’s to feed their dogs and
there was this crazy football memorabilia all over the house. They
told me the guy’s name, but I don’t know pro footballers by name.
Anyway, after we left Spanky whispers, “whoa, did you see that strip
pole in there?”

I had missed that. I know man, how do you miss a strip pole? With a

And how does Spanky know what a strip pole is?

Slurpee Day

Did you go to 7 Eleven yesterday?

That is one day every kid has marked on the calendar. If they have one. July 11th (7/11) is free Slurpee Day. We piled in the car, all of us and headed out there. We heard earlier that Little Blane already had eight free Slurpees, the green Hulk flavor. He also claimed his pee had turned green.

The first place we went claimed their machine was broken. Yeah, right. Second place claimed they were out of the free cups. Uh huh. They offered all other cup loads of Slurpee for 25 cents. Okay.

This kid was prepared:

Little fucker drained the cherry Slurpee machine.

But that’s okay. We wanted the Monster Black Ice flavor.

Because you can’t beat having a black tongue.

Here’s something fun if you missed out on the free Slurpee Day. A pissed off Amy Winehouse beating on a fan while she sings:

As drunk/high/busy as she was, she didn’t miss a lyric. Man that’s funny.

Mireille Teaches Scrappy to Levitate

Besides flying, Mireille is quite skilled at levitating.

And Scrappy is learning how to do it from the very best.

Now don’t go telling the government about this because they might just try to draft my dog into the CIA.

Oh, you don’t believe there are spy dogs?

There was a man selling what he claimed was a talking dog. A guy goes to buy that dog and of course he doesn’t believe the dog speaks, but he goes with it, asks to see him, then asks the dog if it’s true he could talk.

The dog replies, “Of course it’s true. I used to work for the CIA, and I speak seven languages.”

The buyer pulls out his wallet and asks the owner, “How much?”

“Five bucks.”

“But Mister, that’s a talking dog, why so cheap?”

The seller responds, “He lies.”

Flying Dog

I took the dogs down to the creek over the weekend and let them run full blast and swim.

They were so excited they kept running back and forth along the sides, running so fast, leaping into the air, flying.

I told you my dog could fly.

I got Blane to swing on a Tarzan vine after promising not to put it on my blog.

But that’s too cool to keep from the internet.

Oh, the swimming dogs. Check it out.

And what happens to these dogs after a full day of fun down by the creek? A good bath. They know it’s coming. They go straight for the hose when we get home and wait for it.

How to Take Clandestine Cathedral Pictures in 10 Steps

Photo by

I was browsing Flickr today and found this dude’s Flickr page. His photos are out of this world amazing. His blog posts about them are also amazing and entertaining. Here’s an excerpt of the post on the above photo. (Go on, the guy has character.)

My method for getting tripods into cathedrals and shooting is this:

1) Go in the exit and act like you are lost if someone asks

2) Wear a long matrix-coat and stuff your tripod up inside like a shotgun. Try not to walk with a limp.

3) Stride confidently through the crowds like you are in a hurry on a photo assignment.

4) Work your way into the pews and have a seat. You can even pretend to be Catholic and say a few Latin words as you sit down. I suggest “Pater Noster (My Father) or Quid Pro Quo (Rub Beads and go to Heaven)”

5) Slide out the tripod and assemble along the ground, When other parishioners look at you suspiciously, give them the sign of the cross.

6) Watch for old people in the main aisle, because they have trouble getting around tripods. Jump out, take your long exposures at 100 ISO, then sit back down.

7) If securty comes to get you, blame Stuck In Customs and that will confuse them long enough so you can make a getaway.

8) Don’t worry about getting caught. The church is much more leniant than they were during the Inquisition. Most big cathedrals do have crypts, but they are full of dead saints and they have never put a photographer in there.

9) If you see a tourist with a tiny camera taking a picture with the flash on, please tell them to stop. The flash does nothing in that situation. It’s just embarassing for them, really.

10) If you want some post-processing techniques, check out my tutorial at


What a personality.

Here are some quotes I like from his post about post-processing techniques/.

Regarding Photomatix:

Now it is time to fire up Photomatix and get crunk in the HDR house. Okay that was stupid.

Regarding tripods:

You gotta have a solid tripod. What? You don’t want to carry around a tripod? Comon… if you are going out to shoot beautiful pictures, you better get serious. Also, if you have it over your shoulder or carry it in an aggressive way, it makes an effective weapon. As you can see, I go all over the world, often into sketchy areas, and a big tripod is often an effective deterrent. I carry it so much, I am very good at flipping it around and whipping it around my body like ninja nunchaku.

Regarding Photoshop:

What? You are not good at Photoshop? First you tell me you don’t like carrying tripods, and then you tell me you don’t like using Photoshop. How about this… Let’s get you a little bit out of your comfort zone, eh? That’s what good friends do right… push you to make yourself better. If you keep doing things you are comfortable with, then you are never going to improve and experience new things, right?

Amazing, huh? Check out his website, he has some bad-ass night city photos. And travel photos, and, and, and, just go see.

Blue-eyed Horse and Other Oddities

Have you ever seen a blue eyed horse? I didn’t know they existed until I saw one today.

I think she’s pretty.

I was listening to Fall Out Boy’s cover of Micheal Jackson’s “Beat It” today (go see, it’s worthy) and thought about something from a long time ago. My Board of Nursing exams.

This test was either a full day or two full days, I can’t remember exactly, but it was quite stressful and took an incredible amount of concentration. We were all in this giant room, hundreds of us applicants from all over the state, seated at long tables. Anyway, not too far from me was a major distraction.

A Micheal Jackson look-alike sitting for his Board exam. He had the Gerri curl, the tight pants, the red zippers-all-over jacket, the shoes, and that one glove. It was stunning, as Jackson was quite popular at the time.

First thing to happen was this massive download of Jackson’s songs into my needed more than ever brain. Oh my. Then I kept looking over at him thinking what it might be like if that dude was my nurse. Moonwalking into my hospital room. Followed by the Thriller zombies. The floor tiles lighting up as he stepped on each one.

Along the lines of oddity, here’s another one of my all time favorite videos. It is Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice. It is flat out bizarrrrrrre. He even flies at the end.

Okay, the video won’t post, :::click here::: to see it.

I can’t watch it without laughing.

Where Are They?

I looked high. I looked low. Those ducks are nowhere to be found.

Talk about an empty nest.

They took off a couple of days ago, snuck out while I wasn’t home. We walked the neighborhood looking for them, but no ducks. They are a noisy crowd, so if they were in any of the yards near here I would have heard them.

Maybe they went to the pond by the library where the mother probably came from. There they can dive for minnows.

Water Ghost

I took the camera and tripod out today to work on photographing water. My aim was to work past the reflections and get a shot of a flower in the pool or something. 

I changed my mind when I saw the reflections and decided to work with them.

This is what I got on the first shot:

Is that wicked or what?

I didn’t use any filters or change any of the colors but PhotoShopped out a few bugs that were on the water’s surface. 

In an ideal world, the reflection of the trees wouldn’t be in there. If you like this photo, I’ve got another similar one on the photoblog.

Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet, I’m using WordPress’ new monotone photoblogger theme on there which is cool so far.  The matting color around the photos changes with each new photo posted.

Anyway, this has been a great opportunity for me to finally get to know my digital slr. I’m finally learning how to use it manually instead of always shooting on automatic. I’m also learning the limitations of my camera, lenses, and the built in flash (that thing is harsh).