Woke up with a faux hawk this morning…

Not a really, really faux hawk. It’s just that while sleeping part of my bangs somehow got smooshed (it’s a word) and is now pointing straight up. I keep looking where it’s pointing, but so far, I’ve not seen anything of merit. I’m not saying that this means anything (at least not straight out), but I do find it interesting. It got me to thinking (and you know how dangerous that can be) about a bunch of articles I’ve read recently about what makes a “successful” person. Does a “successful” person wake up with an unintentional faux hawk? The world may never know or at least, I may never know.

Instead of discombobulating myself with thoughts of whether or not I'm a successful person, I decided to doodle. Believe it or not, this is actually progress for me. Hah!

Ms. Swirly-Shell Lady, so damn successful that she just says balls to the faux and goes for the full on mohawk. 


Grayscale – Part I

Desaturation: To remove color from an image. 100% desaturation results in a grayscale image. Notice that it's a "grayscale image" even though we call it Black and White, which is odd considering that "grayscale" is quicker to say and type. I'm not saying that we shouldn't call it “B&W,” I'm just saying that it's odd that we don't say “grayscale.” Another oddity to add to my collection (which is massive…just saying). 

As a lot of photographers will agree there is something very special about black and white photos. Black and white are the essence of photography. When all color except for black and white (and gray, let's not forget the all-important gray) are eliminated, it is never more clear that photography is the art of Shadows and Light

Don't get me wrong, I absodamnlutely love color. Every color. Color is awesome. Stunning. Brilliant. Sensing a "but" is on its way? You got it. Here's the "but:" color is distracting. Yeah. Color adds dimension, but color can also detract from whatever it is you happen to be perceiving. There are small details in shapes that can be missed because color gets in the way. Weird, but true. And this is true of any shape: fruit, flowers, blades of grass, animals, and people. Especially people. There is nothing quite like a black and white portrait. In a strange way, I believe color doesn't really do the human form justice. 

Maybe it's because most of us see in color and we're accustomed to missing the finer details of shapes and when color is eliminated it's astonishing to see what we've missed. I suppose the perception of people who are color blind must be completely different the color sighted. An interesting thought. 

And how flipping fantastic are digital cameras? I used to have to buy black and white film, take the photos, and then hope everything would come out all right in the darkroom. Now, I can set my little camera to “B&W,” which essentially desaturates my view and I can actually see everything in black and white (and gray). How awesome is that? Not to mention the fact that I don't have to go through the hassle of developing the film, making the prints etc. 

How different the world is when seen through a desaturated filter...grayscale is pretty cool. But we all know that it’s the contrast that makes for a great B&W image, not the grays. Too many grays and everything just blends, the image becomes “muddy” and nothing stands out. Not enough contrast and your image is flat, and basically uninteresting. Too much contrast and you can’t see a damn thing. The lights are too bright and shadows too dark.

It’s all about balance, isn’t it? Photography and Life have a lot in common.

Morning light on bedroom wall. I know it's grainy, but I still like it. 

Weird, eh? This bulletin was just laying on the sidewalk. There are signs everywhere.

Me and my husband's feet lazing about on Saturday morning. A bit muddy, but I like the intimacy of this image. I have no idea what's on the TV.

Flowers work in grayscale or color. Nature always works.

P.S. Whether in conversation or writing, it's not like me to blurt things out (except, of course, expletives)...and grayscale doesn't blurt out. Grayscale saunters, meanders, works its way up to whatever. Nice.


Cront Ardead…RIP Edgar Allen Poe

Being that he died in 1849 it could be a bit late for a Eulogy, but then you know the saying, right?

I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.”

I am a woman with a classical bent. Or just bent. Probably both (you can almost hear the snare drum during one of my posts, eh?). In the past, I’ve mentioned a few of my favorite classic literature titles and authors on my blog and will continue to do so in the future. Just try and stop me. Hah!

An old love of mine is getting some recent press due to the film The Raven, starring John Cusack. I fell in love with Mr. Poe at the ripe age of eleven. Yeah, I had weird taste at eleven. In case you haven’t noticed, my taste is even weirder now. While most eleven year old girls were swooning over Donny Osmond, I was devouring Mr. Poe. Gruesome, no?

Years later I became aware of a modern day Goth movement in both music and art…and make-up. People (myself included, for a brief period) who find an odd solace in donning a wardrobe of primarily black, along with heavy black eyeliner, lipstick, and fingernail polish…and I wondered if they knew the man who truly lived Goth (and to my knowledge without the heavy black eyeliner, lipstick, and fingernail polish).

“…All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

How beautiful is A Dream Within a Dream? Achingly so. And here I am not alone, this poem cleaves the heart (notice my use of nineteenth century phrasing?). His hero was Lord Byron and Poe’s earliest writings were indeed poetry. So, a romantic dreamer was Mr. Poe? Uh, well sort of…

Literary critic, Cryptologist, and Cosmologist, he also put his own unique spin on Gothic writing, leaving us with what flavors the genre today.  I think what makes his horror tales so absolutely horrific is that he did not write them as horror…but perhaps more as cautionary tales. Don’t let how someone else views the world upset your applecart to the point that you smoother him in his sleep, cut him up into pieces, and hide the parts under the floorboards. You’ll only end up hearing the incessant beating of your victim’s heart and it will drive you up the wall. If you’re abusive to a cat and then kill your wife, don’t bother to brick up her body in the basement. The cat will only tattle on you. In case you ever wondered what would happen if you do these things, Mr. Poe tells us.

Horror fan or not, regardless of which side of the fence you sit (and even if you didn’t know that there was a fence) you must admit Mr. Poe has an enviable style, as well as a flair for evoking strong reactions. Mundane he was not. Otherworldly? Most certainly, yes.

I think some (if not all) of the original intent of the horror genre has been lost in a sea of gore and oh-boy-look-what-we-can-do-with-make-up-and-special-effects. Mr. Poe knew what it was about. No matter how smart or rich or angry you are, perform evil deeds and you will never truly escape the consequences.

Since he wrote about madmen, alcoholics, and murderers, and made it all so creepily believable, it’s no wonder that most of us still think of Mr. Poe as some sort of coked-out, drunken, necrophiliac freak. And all of this is thanks to a bogus obituary written by a man who hated him.
Personally, I believe that Mr. Poe was simply comfortable on the darker side of life. The scars of one’s childhood run deep and quite often will shadow our entire lives. Poe experienced the heavy loss of loved ones at a very early age, compounded by further losses later in life. Grief changes us forever. For a rare few, loss leaves them with a willingness to explore the shadow that causes so many others to shudder and look the other way.

And certainly, as his tales attest, though he may have shuddered he did not look the other way. He chose instead to become a master of his craft, an artist true, squeezing out every drop of sadness, terror, beauty, darkness, and ugliness with each word he penned. I cannot help but tip my imaginary hat to him and give him a very real and hearty nod of appreciation.

“They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

Whatever dreams you may be dreaming in daylight, keep dreaming them with the certain knowledge that they are what sets you apart from the weak and weary and oh-so-dreary mundane.

Wondering about “Cront Ardead?” I’ll tell you, anyway. As far as I know, it means nothing. You know those prove-that-you’re-not-a-robot thingies? Yeah, everyone hates them and most of the time I too, find them unnecessarily annoying; however, sometimes I’ve discovered interesting inspiration and a bit of amusement from the not-words that the characters spell out. “Cront Ardead” seemed appropriate for a post about the late Mr. Poe.