Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Three stories: Hermes vs. my photography career

In the dark days, during my divorce, feeling more bad for longer than ever before, I decided to try and send a few photos to a visual contest. I chose six of the most suitable ones, pasted them neatly to posh carton, made a good envelope and went to the post office with money I borrowed from family. There I learned - even though the address was of a local PO Box and for all intents and purposes I could touch the damn thing - I learned then that all mail has to travel to a distribution center and then comes back over night. I found this to be ridiculous, so I asked the man behind the counter to simply stamp it and push it into the PO Box two meters to the left. 
                Time went by and no word from the committee - not only I did not win but they didn't even send me a catalogue, meaning I didn't even come up to the best 400. Finally seeing the exhibition, I got so incredibly sad, so fiercely disappointed (just seeing the sort of shots that won was bad enough to literally want to make me kill myself, as I needed little encouragement on the subject at the time.), my mum and dad said they knew I didn't qualify months ago, but didn't want to tell me. All of that mess falling onto me, I survived only by luck of the draw. And then some more luck. 
               March came and I hadn't touched my camera in the while. I did, however, begin to feel the benevolent lure of a spring season and around then a postman rode his moped pass where I was sitting. He seemed so cheerful and having a good time, delivering bills and newspapers and picturesque spam... It suddenly felt like something one, whose brain is switched off for self-preservation reasons, might try to do for a little while. I walked into the main post office and asked if I can do that and - obviously someone upstairs thinking it's a good idea - I was hired faster than most people in history. It took me less than a week to do all the medical exams, read Going Postal and decide how fiercely to bullshit about my moped skills. (It was a blunt prerogative, yet I've never even seen one up close before.) Needless to repeat that the first person I met, being given my moped and asked to drive it right then and there, was the General (so large and so good looking in that business suit I temporarily forgot I was supposed to feel all alone in the world.)
              For half a year I felt incredibly good most of the time: I was a mail maid and as silly and basic as it was, my existence was getting stabilized. I began seeing a guy that turned out to be pretty amazing, I started photographing again, I started getting emotional about things that had nothing to do with history. More importantly, however, Hermes - patron God of my hitchhiking - let me in on a little secret: about that portfolio nobody cared about?... It came back to me, some day, with a short note saying: "Hello, this envelope was mistakenly put into my PO Box some time ago.." 
              That guy, trying to do me a favor, put into the PO Box beneath the one that was for the competition.

Three short stories: how I got over the fabric-of-reality-ripping pain of divorce

Perhaps the most dangerous part of loss is underestimating the brain's will to stop working. Never mind the heart - heart is a hungry vampire, it only needs a drop of blood to stay alive - but the brain hates the heart and the it makes every other part of the body wage war on the red hot muscle. Lucky for me I really suck at suicide. That much about my brain.
             Having loved profoundly - and basically planned to love until I died (that part was, ironically, pretty to the point) - my mind still works by association - not because I'd think, but because I'd remember. Being the creature of stories, a powerful love affair fed me stories to last me decades. I didn't plan on having to deal with them. It was impossible to shake them in a hurry - the best ones still nag sometimes. I did, however, trick the brain into not giving up on the heart while those were rotting in my skull.
             At some point I was passionate about watching Cowboy Bebop - passionate enough to play on-line chess and gamble to get in debt (and not even just because it had a sociopath white-haired villain) - but nearing the end, I began to realize unlike the Champloo magic, this one isn't going to end so well. I read upon it and I was proved right: the damn idiots actually manage to kill each-other. I couldn't watch it - somehow, because of all that was happening to me, that just depressed me into ran-over grapes.
             So, in the brain, I created a  hatch bypass. So that I wouldn't think about divorce - and I thought about it all the time - so much so that even my parents took turns in trying to cheer me up for a couple of weeks - I would instead of the ex, instantly start thinking about the death of Vicious and Spike.  It took a little practice and that was all I had. To me at the time that was equally tragic - but every time the next moment, the brain would go: wait a minute. Why the fuck are you crying over a cartoon??... and so, brain being brain, it steered clear of it a little. Just a little. A micro inch. Every time. Slowly but surely. Towards the end, a few years later, I look back upon the three - Spike, Vicious and the ex and see an old story that didn't end well. And now the brain has new problems and the heart is free to roam :p

Three short stories: my first Starbucks coffee

After 6 months in Africa, Europe proved to be clean, lonely and expensive. Hitchhiking was a bitch and so was taking photos - simply exotic no longer cut it, I'd actually have to clean my lens for a change. I did, however, get published and by the time I reached Madrid, I already had something like a 100 euros on my card. I decided to invest into few things precious: first I mailed all the excess baggage back to then-husband, but prohibiting him to open the parcel as it contained prezzies. The postage left me with a little more than a ticket to the Prado museum. Prado's artifacts exhibited were so incredibly beautiful, that after all the strain to find some sign of culture in the desert, I stood in the first basement room, staring at the Roman statues, weeping like a 5-year old without an ice-cream. 

               Towards the end of the day I was really tired and very hungry. Getting food in Europe isn't exactly as willingly offered affair as it is in the old continent. Not to mention an ice coffee would cost me the better sum of my remaining five euros. 
               Up until then, I have only heard of Starbucks and bar McDonald's, I didn't know anything about it except that it is a large corporation, American and very pishy-poshy. Half a litre of their frappuccino seemed obscenely costly... but it was hot, I needed caramel and I had so much tea in the past half-year, I was seriously considering coffee as a rude change in life. So I bought the damn thing, sat down in the middle of the magnificent Madrid and started slurping.
               It was the beginning of a life-long love affair..

Friday, 25 June 2010

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Mushroom hunting with ze famili

In the forest...

barky's forest day

The morning spent in the forest. We pioneered, the others followed (after we piked all the wee fungies :p)

Lyra was...
                       ....fast as lightning! :D
.... also her flying has greatly improved..
... as did her sniffing skills...
... her conquering of trees...
... and blending in with the environment.
... Not to mention identifying mushrooms.

All in all an excellent training day :P
                     tiny tiny paws :D

Monday, 21 June 2010

It's been a slow morning - so slow I felt like watching The Lovely Bones again just to feel better. The dog's been crazy, probably because I didn't take her for a walk (it's been raining simply too bleakly to care) and I haven't slept well; too cold and too lazy to get another blanket...... But not all was awful  - my baby spooned and kept me warm and just not to start hating the day entirely, I took a shower, made myself some extra special tea and then set to make him pancakes, for when he returns home with a toothache. (He likes them as noodles in a soup.) I wouldn't go out, but if I don't, the weekend plans fall through. I want to go looking for mushrooms again on Wednesday.
            There's a tea I like, because I first tried it in Africa as a countermeasure and then stole or bought a few in Starbucks when we had to cot on an airport for a day... The tazo tea :) On the bag it says: "True passion is intoxicating and invigorating, soothing and sensuous, mysterious and magical. We just thought you should know what you're in for." 
            What a difference a spice makes, eh?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Tranquility of the hunt...

Some people are after the *thrill* of the hunt. I'm guessing mostly men. Or, women, when men are concerned. I, personally, can't get enough of the tranquility of it. Sitting quietly, carefully, for hours, hidden and alert, watching, feeling the wind, but mostly listening. You can tell the minutes of the evening by the chirping of the birds - and among that chatter chaos you can hear the random anomalies of birds sounding distress: presence of foxes and ermines and other, bigger birds chirping otherwise soundlessly through the forest. 
           We have a good spot under an open hay shack in the middle or a remote meadow, surrounded by forest on all sides. It's good as both hiding and looking place. The meadow rises up the eastern slope and the upper right side are the tall grasses. Starbark was so cute in the grass, only her straight white tail giving her away when she tried to keep up. It was her test-drive, and she was wonderful. Too tiny to really know how to do anything, really, her most useful occupation was sleeping on my knees, keeping me warm.  We didn't really go there to shoot much, so the General observed things though his optics and I though mine :) The pictures were taken in dusk, so the quality is such as it is. Luckily the deer tend to freeze often, sensing a presence, which was perfect as posing goes :)

(Barki's contribution :p ) 
It got chilly towards the night, so I was not complaining. Only occasionally did she start to snore or bark in her dreams :))
Mother deer came though the tall grasses, scouting the meadow and then vanished, eventually sounding thin wheezing calls - like a kid using a primrose for a trumpet. She returned with a baby deer in tow, late born and quite small for this time of year, but a little too brave for his own good. We watched them for half an hour as she fed and he explored.
General made a tour around the rim of the meadow, at which time two males came running through the forest above us. I though they were playing, but as the binoculars turned out, the first one was so tired his tongue was hanging out - and was also very young with button-like antlers; whereas the second - the one chasing -  was older and more powerful and was chasing his competition off the territory. Although the younger one would qualify for our prey, he had enough problems and wasn't stopping. 
The elder eventually returned to see who we were - and proved his arrogant youth by crossing the meadow barking like a bear with a sinus tickle. 

All in all a phenomenal evening out. The animals seem healthy and rare, so there is no need to mark any for death so far, the hunters acking on behalf of extinct wolves as natural selection. This is by far my favorite part of being a hunter - sitting, secretly, observing the life on the rim.

'Barki in her den....

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Random tv update ... .p

These are some of the things I've seen lately and, personally, I quite liked them. Not so much because I'd be some uiber sophisticated intellectual that only ever watches things like, dunno, old French movies, or Mad Men or something, but because more often than not I simply like things to be entertaining. For super good stuff that's not quite so entertaining, I watch Lie to me or Luther or Da Vinci's Inquest, whereas just to get my popcorn money's worth, there's stuff like..

Prince of Persia - which I liked because there was finally NO blood all over the screen, which is a first in a while; because the city was pretty and because Jake makes for a curiously honest action hero. I am glad he said he's tired of watching himself be so serious all the time :D

I gave it a shot: The Tudors. Knowing what I know of history, I'd say they got it pretty right- mostly they're just fucking one another or fucking one another over. What else is court if not sex and politics - and how is that different today?... Chicks have less clothes on today. I have to say I feel weird about the girls of history - they really were just pushed here and there while their fathers, husbands and /or sons were being promoted or beheaded... Not saying some didn't have good fun, but... Funny why anyone would want a life like that? Guess it's a job like any other. 

Worth watching just for the costumes, if nothing else (historical drama leaves little in a sense of spoilers), and I kind of like they took the 'Memoirs of Geisha' step away from being a documentary and the designer took some liberties. Otherwise, what would be the point?

 Always liked this lady, Katherine of Aragon...She doesn't disappoint here either.

Also tried watching some 'women' shows, like Weeds (gave up after one minute - sorry, but the cast is not so easy to watch with those women with drooping faces and knowing there's Breaking Bad out there....), and sort of got drawn to The Starter Wife (initially because of the cast and later because it's kind of witty). Actually saw the whole pilot episode. Am putting it aside for when I'm feeling particularly female. 

And last but not least, I really liked Going Postal. Finally, FINALLY a Pratchett screening worth the bother (after a couple of ghastly attempts beforehand.) Casting is brilliant (Brits FDW!.. Oh, Jeffrey..), acting is cute (good job, Claire Foy), the whole story makes sense, not much is left out of the spike and if only they've learned something, we may get the witches on the telly during my lifetime, too... *fingers crossed*
LOVE the golden suit :D

.....Oh, and True Blood is back. At last, Godsdamn it!