new camera

i am a proud new owner of an Olympus Pen, a micro 4/3 (i don't really know what that all means...i'm a self-taught photographer so the terminology is lost on me, i'm afraid). here's a few experimental shots i've taken as i'm learning. i'm still trying to discover how to take the best shots possible and how to create interesting images or effects using just my camera (minimal editing). is this being too idealistic? i don't know. i feel like i've been stuck in a bit of a rut for a while, relying on my limited knowledge and a well-worn copy of National Geographic's Field Guide to Photography. i want to learn some new techniques. so, photographer friends out there: tips? suggestions? do you have any favored techniques that you've found to be tried and true? please share!!

tried to go downtown to snap a few shots but frozen fingers do not create good photos (cold = impatient photographer).

visit to Burlington to spend time with kirk's family for christmas:

wind farms in southwest kansas (taken from the car, while moving, on the way to my grandmother's house in dodge city...yee haw!): used the pin hole or grainy setting on the camera, bit of fun. notice the "mistake" when kirk slammed on the brakes...instead of a picture of the wind turbines on the horizon i accidentally snapped while my camera was tilting up toward the telephone lines...haha! i rather like it though!


when the dog bites...

it was a dog-biting kind of day yesterday at school. a beat down. so, i'm taking this moment to simply remember my favorite things in an attempt to drown out the angry mendy. atop the list of best things of late:
1. best cure for bad day of work: weekend
2. best book in a long, long while: The Help by Katheryn Stockett - one of the most important books i've read since I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or Kaffir Boy and destined to land on my all-time favorites list. you should read it. today.
3. best food indulgence: homemade chicken pot pie with sweet potatoes, curry, and whatever other veggies i need to clear out of the fridge before they spoil...definitely a comfort food. mmmmm.
4. best way to get arrested: dressed as a bagel. true story: my activist sis recently got herself jailed for the day for participating in protests of Bloomberg's AIDS Awareness Bagel Breakfasts. the reason for protest: it's all a lot of pomp and circumstance. smoke and mirrors. bells and whistles. much ado about nothing. a lot of talk and no action. while breakfasting with important muckety-mucks, Bloomberg continues to raise the rent on properties where NYC's housing works (my sister's employer) tries to provide housing to low-income AIDS patients and cut funding to programs that benefit AIDS patients. so, they protested the ill-spent time and money for bagel breakfasts dressed as bagels. well done, sis.
5. best lighting to hide the extra holiday squidge around one's middle (resulting from "best" #3 chicken pot pie): my vintage globe purchase from etsy. as you can see, it is still quite dark even with this delightful little orb all aglow, thus it is this season's best tummy-trimmer. they say black is slimming...darkness is more slimming!
don't worry, friends, i'm not actually that worried about holiday squidge, i just wanted to use the nonsense-word squidge! and now i've said it 3 times!
6. best way to drown out the noise of an angry mendy (or best thing since Boys II Men, take your pick): The Sing Off (see previous 2 posts) or blasting Christmas music (did Boys II Men ever do a Christmas album??? if so, that would be the ultimate best way to drown out noisy angry mendy! kirk has informed me that yes, not only does Boys II Men indeed have a Christmas album, but we also own it. how this escaped my notice, i cannot say. short term memory perhaps?).
7. best way to cope with clutter and cleverly disguise dust bunnies without actually cleaning: Christmas decorations!
(please do not think to mock our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree...it is the only tree that our cats will not attempt to climb! i have no desire to come home from work to find my mercury glass ornaments shattered on the floor because cecil and percy were playing jungle cats in my living room.)


another great performance

don't worry, friends. NBC's "The Sing Off" is only a 3-week long show, so you'll only have to hear/read my obsessive posts for 3 weeks! promise! of course, after this show ends, my little blogger self will return to writing obsessive posts about other subjects, like sports, or things i don't like, or some other thing that only i feel strongly about that would go completely unobserved by any other normal adult human...but you'll read on because you're my friend or because you're related to me and you feel you have to indulge me out of obligation.

oh, anyway. i forgot i was typing for a minute. ha! ok, so the POINT is, Committed delivered forth another incredible performance on last night's episode of "The Sing Off." i'll admit i was nervous for round two because i didn't think they could possibly achieve what they achieved in the first round. but, they were charming as ever, forcing the audience and the other competitors to their feet, arms in the air, judges silenced, ben folds stumbling over words, shawn stockman drooling, and if you press play below you'll hear why:

i would suggest watching full episodes on NBC's website, because you really miss something by not being able to hear how, incredibly, Committed outshines the competition, who are also very talented and entertaining singing groups, and yet...they just don't come close.


sounds worth hearing

if you haven't already, you should definitely start watching "The Sing Off" on NBC...it's a voices-only competition for singing groups and it's delightful! if you were ever in a choir, or like a cappella, or sing in your shower, or like music at all, or have ears, you should watch this show! it's only 3 weeks long so don't act like you are just too busy or important to listen to good music! favorite group of the night: Committed, a gospel group that does not normally sing pop music and they just killed it. destroyed. they had shawn stockman (of Boys II Men...another favorite!) tripping over himself, speechless. the other groups, the competition, were unable to stay in their seats, they could not resist, they just had to celebrate with the awesomeness that was happening on the stage. remember this is a live show, with no instruments, lots of potential for awful-pitchy-ashley-simpson-on-saturday-night-live moments... but this was just pure...heaven. take a listen.


this is where i spend my days...

...Washington High in KCK. our school was featured this week on the local news station, KCTV5, and awarded the "Cool School" award. here's a few links to SHORT video clips showcasing the school that i wanted to share with you so you can see a little window into my world! i'm very partial to our band, they sure do make our pep rallies way more exciting than any school i've been part of! the drum line is pretty awesome, unfortunately this little bitty clip just doesn't do them justice (but you can take my word for it because i'm DEFINITELY a music snob and refuse to throw out empty compliments!). i love this school, the staff, my principal, the students and am so glad for this job...even when it's really tough. so, check it out:

spanish club and choir