Monday, October 7, 2013

A Story Unfinished, and Other Minutiae

The blog lives, it's simply in hibernation. A story worth telling is a story worth waiting for. And this story is unfinished. It is also now officially in the realm of the unbelievable. The bizarre and beyond. What came before has been surpassed in spectacularly undignified fashion.

When it's finished cooking, I'll share it.

Until then, some bits (the minutiae):

Busy? Me? Oh, do you have an hour for me to tell you? Wish I even had time to read blogs, let alone write in mine.

Bad stuff: Friends, acquaintances, coworkers dying (by their own hands, by accident, or disease).

Good stuff: Family healthy, work successful, photography selling and being shown more in galleries. Reconciliation with sibling.

But the above is also just known as 'Life', so no complaints.

Books worth peeking at again: A.C. Clarke's "2001" (and beyond) quatrain; Dan Simmons' "Drood", "The Terror", and the ever-awesome Jerome K. Jerome's "Three Men in a Boat"

Time to start the annual Halloween series of reading and films:

- Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (and, yes, the Disney cartoon version too)
- Howard Hawks, The Thing From Another World
- Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (funny AND scary)
- Don Knotts, in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (take my word for it, kids love this)
- The Rifftrax version of The Screaming Skull
- The Haunting, from 1963, directed by Robert Wise, NOT the 1999 slop. Black and white, and you'll never believe how much just the sounds can scare you.

Feel free to share your favorite Halloween treats in the comments.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Self-Promotion (shameless style - I have no shame)

It's photo blog time!

I was recently asked to place some of my photography in an art gallery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For those who aren't aware of this little city, it is in the heart of Lancaster County and contains a thriving Arts community. So for me, this offer was a great honor, and I'm happy to share it here, since I have nothing better to say anyway.

Introductions out of the way; here are a few of the pieces I have hanging on the walls of the Arctic Sun Gallerie:

My bio and head shot.
Almost famous!

Alligator and Dragonfly

The Astronomical Clock, Prague

Gothic Cathedral, Prague

Great Egret, Myakka River, Florida

Great Egret, Venice, Florida

Ruby Throated Hummingbird,
Lititz, Pennsylvania

Roseate Spoonbill, Myakka River, Florida

100+ Year Old Carriage, Lancaster
County Pennsylvania -Taken
inside the Star Barn, an historic landmark.
Note that this is a 25 second exposure,
as it was dark inside the barn.

Roseate Spoonbill at dawn,
Myakka River, Florida

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Prodigies, Knuckleheads, and Dealing With Your Deluded Plans For Them

Ok, all you mommy and daddy bloggers! Time to dig in and discover your delusions. What's that? You say you have none? Au contraire, mes amis! Read on!

Those three of you familiar with the Marshmallows will understand the impetus behind this entry. For those not so familiar, here it is in brief:

Me, the Defiant Marshmallow + Lady Marshmallow + Unrestrained "Alone Time" = Four Little Marshmallows (now big Marshmallows).

Here's the part where I have to be gentle and kind, as all of them read this blog from time to time - when I beg them to. Because I'm desperate for approval that way (aren't all bloggers?)

When you've accomplished the above mathematical formula, you know that you develop plans for the sum. In my case, I developed plans, despite already being aware of the fact that I haven't been able to control the plans made for myself over these many years. Raise your hand if you've done the same thing. I thought so.

See? We do it. We assign aspirations/titles/jobs/entire life stories to our offspring, knowing full well we have absolutely zero control of the situation. Now, back to the title of this entry.

Knuckleheads. It may not be what you think I mean. To me, it's an endearing term for your normal, hormone-infused male offspring, who, despite your best efforts to prevent it, end up an awful lot like you. Some more than others, with some aspects of personality traits showing up more prominently.

I have four Knuckleheads. Lady Marshmallow has five, because I have to be counted as one. It's cool, we're all good guys. We're just, you know, guys. The roster:

Me: 'nuff said.

Offspring the first (Ferdinand Magellan Marshmallow): Independent, wandering type. Late bloomer. Good heart. Not exactly proactive. Pretty much the opposite. Roaming about constantly, looking for landfall somewhere. Cancer survivor.

Offspring the second (Leonardo da Marshmallow): yeah, new nickname. Fits him better. All artist, with flecks of humanist, inventor, creativity out the wazoo.

Offspring the third (Frank Lloyd Marshmallow): Architect. Energy to spare. Nuclear, in fact. Will still be bouncing off furniture after the universe has disappeared. Can describe him as "Ready! Fire! Aim!". Most like the Defiant Marshmallow in that regard.

Offspring the last (Wolfgang Amadeus Marshmallow): Much has been written about him here. Prodigy? In my mind, yes (perhaps more like Prodigy-Knucklehead-ADD Poster Child). Compared to his namesake, no. But then, the number of people who could be compared to his namesake can be counted using the total number of teeth contained in all of Honey Boo Boo's extended family.

Alright, to the point of this whole thing. We desire better lives for our offspring than we had ourselves. But we go about it the wrong way most of the time. We write their life stories in our minds and immediately dry the ink. The instant that their life paths begin to deviate from our engraved mental pages, we start losing our shit. It begins about the time they take their first breaths. They cry when we think they should be happy. Sleep cycles, poop schedules, walking, talking, saying "No!". They completely screw up our carefully constructed plans for them.

What we should do is create a big, blank canvas as a birth present. And then...

Sit back and watch them fill that canvas! And just relish it. Sure, guide them here and there. Mostly, to avoid the things that will kill or maim them. Want them to be good human beings? Don't preach to them about it, simply set the example. It's really that basic. Just set the example of doing well by doing good, live a life worthwhile, leave the world in better shape than when you came into it. In some way. Any way. Even the littlest way. They'll get it. They see more than you know. And they will build upon your example if you let them.

While you're enjoying their journey, don't forget to keep living yours.


This blog entry is dedicated to the Knuckleheads. Prodigies all, in my mind. And to Lady Marshmallow, who shall remain photographically anonymous.

Architect and Artist enjoying the Eternal City, Rome.

                                    Take a wild guess.

Magellan, cancer survivor and wanderer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, March 18, 2013

Busy, busy, busy...

Wow! To those who will actually check this blog, my apologies for the dearth of words.

On the positive side, it has been for good reason. I've been busy. Not just "busy", but busy like 24/7/365 busy. If I were pretentious and vain, I'd say I've been trying to save lives - which I have been. But to put a finer point on it (and a less dramatic one), I've been engaged in the launch of a new drug to treat an incurable cancer, Multiple Myeloma.

MM is vicious. If you are diagnosed with it, get your things in order.


There's hope.

15 years ago, you'd get 2-4 years. Maybe. And it would not be a pleasant 2-4 years. It would involve chemotherapy, pain, and despair. But since then, there have been significant and amazing advances in the treatment of MM. Now, patients (people/human beings/friends/family) are living much longer and doing so with a quality of life that was undreamed of in 1998.

Last month, after 10 years of research and development and hundreds of millions of dollars spent, another bit of hope arrived in the form of a small capsule. A blue and white pill that will give MM patients the chance to live out their lives with a diagnosis of MM, but without the pain, fear, despair, and hopelessness. No vomiting ten times a day. No hair loss. No feeling like the cure is worse than the disease.

Between this little pill and a couple of other treatments available (plus bone marrow transplant) my friends and the thousands of people I don't know have a chance to live with a disease but have it not kill them. They can possibly live normal lives, doing the things they love.

I met a man on this new drug who has run marathons in all 50 states of the USA, plus twenty more. At age 72. With Multiple Myeloma. Again, on my company's new drug.

His biggest complaint?


Absolutely nothing.

72 years old. With MM. Running marathons.

That's what I've been up to. And I feel really good about it.

Do you forgive me for not being a writer of late?


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Photo Treats

Took both of these recently:

This little fishy will always be talking about the one that got away.

And a peaceful morning near the Marshmallow residence.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dollar Shave Club - Pure Genius!

Okay, fans. Here it is: my Genius Tip of The Year.

The Dollar Shave Club.

I've looked at the economics of shaving and it's not a pretty picture. We spend way too much money on shaving and shaving related items. For years I've tried to find the cheapest way to do the world's most repetitious, boring task (folding laundry comes in second, because you can do that while watching TV, eating, having sex, playing golf, etc.).

Electric shavers, safety razors, shaving cream, lubricants for pre and post-shave. But I've whittled it down to the best bare essentials, with the help of the aforementioned shaving club. Now it's a ceramic bowl with quality shaving soap bought cheaply on line, a good brush for application (both cost less than $20), and high quality razors from the DSC.

The brush lasts forever. Shaving soap lasts far, far longer than crappy shaving cream, is way less expensive, and does wonders for sensitive skin. The bowl was free, because what household doesn't have too many bowls just taking up space?

I estimate my cost for shaving will drop by like...a lot a lot a lot. Somewhere in that range. Plus, I'm a proud member of a club. A CLUB! Woohoo! The Elite Marshmallow, baby!

Okay, the real cost:

$2/month for blades, down from about $40 - yes - $40/month!
Soap: $40/year, compared to shaving cream at $$$$$ waybuddy more.
Brush: $16 every five years or so.

Does this make me a shill for the DSC? Damn, it sure seems like it. But then, so is NPR, and a whole lot of others, some of whom are almost as reputable as me.

Best part: their ad, below. Enjoy! And if you decide to become a member, please let me know because I can win stuff if you do!