Saturday, July 31, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 212

Taken: July 31, 2010
Location: Healdsburg, CA

My theory of life. I'm not quite all the way there yet but I'm working on it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 211

Taken: July 30, 2010
Location: Healdsburg, CA

I know I said I was going to start putting up images but I just realized that I left some of them on the hard drive on my office computer. So much for my plan. However, I'm going to be a little crazy here and skip a few days (with a promise to return and post those images later). I'm also going to stop and comment on today's image too. A little give-and-take then.

Those of you who know me will be familiar with the binding at the bottom of this stack. For those who don't, it's mine. As in the first novel I wrote,  also my first published work and the one book I've written (four penned, two published and one I hope will be published next year) that I can still read without cringing too much.

My rather large ego aside, I don't usually have one of my novels on the side table next to my bed, but I've been returning to its pages lately as a kind of research for my current book (and also as a starting point for my eventual return to the unpublished Book Three, which is a continuation of the series begun with "Zen and the Art of Murder.") I don't usually have James Joyce's "Ulysses" there either. And the juxtaposition of the two novels is not lost on me.

There is something truly wondrous about seeing a book you wrote on a bookshelf in a bookstore for the first time. I'll never forget it. It was a Barnes & Noble in West Los Angeles, just before closing on a rainy night. I stopped in to see if it was out yet, and there it was, right between between Connelly and Crais, saying "you've arrived, kid". I sat down on the floor in the Mystery Books aisle and paged through it, hoping I wouldn't catch an editing error (I probably found at least one). And then I called my mother. Naturally.

The memory may fade some with time, but it's always out there to be rekindled, like when you happen to glance at your bedside table one night and see your book under the weight of The Real Thing. Like James Joyce's "Ulysses".  Oh, you know you're not in the same league, you with your little slice of noir fiction verses the great and good literary giant, but you have the binding in common and the cover, maybe even an author photo and yes, that precious ISDN number. You are now forever in the pantheon of published works that includes the great classics, the heavyweights, the Writers Who Led You to Writerville. No, you are not in their class, but you are, at the very least, in the club. 

Now, as to why I happen to have the seemingly impenetrable "Ulysses" on my nightstand is another story.  It all began with my searching iTunes for something other than music to listen to, a vague attempt to exercise my mind. I've been longing for a little enlightenment, to strike a blow at the growing and scary anti-intellectualism movement, and so it's been off to the virtual stacks of iTunes' Podcasts and iTunes University. 

I've found a few I like. The How Stuff Works podcasts are very fun and educational and I enjoy listening to Fresh Air interviews and the Moth Radio Hour can be awesome, but it's been a relatively new podcast that has really wowed me.  It's called Re:Joyce, a title whose double-entendre (at least) fits in perfectly in a podcast that explores the seminal work of a writer who never wrote a sentence that didn't have more than one interpretation.

Part of the appeal of Re:Joyce is its host,  author and scholar Frank Delaney, who is Irish-born and fittingly quite an authority on Joyce. His task here? Beginning on Bloomsday of this year, Delaney began reading through the weighty "Ulysses" word-by-word in weekly podcasts roughly 5 minutes in length.

Full disclosure: I'm one of these people who loves a good Irish brogue and hearing Joyce's words read (expertly I might add) by a man with a fabulous one, is part of the appeal, but ah, we are but scratching the surface. Delaney isn't just reading the words, he's guiding you through them, sometimes spending whole podcasts on one paragraph, one word or idea. (I think it took him five podcasts just for the first page). 

Far from being tedious, though, his annotations are endlessly fascinating as well as illuminating, sometimes funny, coy, and always, always positively endearing. His knowledge of the work, of Joyce, of fine literature, religion, Dublin, philosophy, writing, language and languages, is immense. His kindness in sharing it with the world -- for free I might add -- is a true and priceless gift. And it's all so full of love for the text, for writing, for the whole deal, that Mr. Delaney has currently displaced George Clooney as "The Person I'd Most Like to Have Dinner With."  My low standards notwithstanding, this guy is just great. The best part? His affection for this work is positively infectious. And isn't that saying a lot for a novel of the heft and complexity of "Ulysses"? 

And I just can't understate the value of this podcast on my own writing. Immersing myself now in a great writer's work is like going back to the place where I first discovered my love of the craft. It's a fine memory to have sparked again and again.

I'm already a fan of Joyce but while I've read and re-read "Portrait" and his short stories ("The Dead" being an all-time favorite), "Ulysses" has eluded me. It is the book I know I'd love if I just took the time to get through it. But I'm not equipped to do it alone -- far too many references for the many gaps in my education.  Now, I don't have to do.

In this digital age, the fact that I have a copy of "Ulysses" now sitting, bookmarked, on my night table waiting for the weekly thrill of tackling one more page or paragraph, really warms my writer's heart. After all these years, it feels good to be back in in the world of turn-of-the-century Dublin on that long and fascinating day, a day that is finally beginning to make sense to me. 

My biggest fear about this podcast is that he will stop before the end of the book -- which for 700 pages might take literally years. This is one reason I'm mentioning it here. If you've ever wanted to read "Ulysses" or re-read it with someone who knows the text as well as he knows his own heart -- and loves it just as much -- then crack open your copy and download this podcast. 

I realize I'm gushing, but this podcast has been a true revelation for me -- as it would be for any lover of great art and literature, of words and their meanings, of language, philosophy and really, just the obvious pleasure one man has in sharing his joy. Almost every week, there's a moment in the podcast where I can almost see Delaney's wide, schoolboy grin -- and know how much fun he's having. Listen and you'll know too. Start with the introduction and work your way from there. It's a fine time to jump in and catch up as he's just getting through the first few pages. And for added fun, follow Mr. Delaney on Twitter @FDbytheword. 

Come to think of it, you can follow me on twitter too. I'm @shyonelung, naturally. Make sure you mention this blog so I know how you know me. I'll be back soon to fill in the days I've skipped. Promise.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

365 photo Project - Day 210 (From the archives)

Taken: June 26, 2009
Location: Florence, Italy

I shot this out the window of my hotel room in Florence. It was raining and I was exhausted -- more than a week into my three-week tour of Italy and I was still getting my traveling legs. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 209 (From the Archives)

Taken: June 22, 2009
Location: Florence, Italy

So you know I'm already behind on this blog, but I've also been so busy that there have been days where I have not even had time to take a photograph at all. I wish I could have kept up with my promise to get in a photo a day, but I'm going to take a bow to my crazy live and hope y'all are okay with it.  I'm also going to take the opportunity to post some of my favorites of my photos from days and years past. This is one I shot last year in Italy that I've always been proud of.  Of course, everybody who goes to Florence shoots the Ponte Vecchio but I just love the light and detail of this shot, and also the reflections of the building in the water.

I loved our trip to Italy, especially Venice where we headed after our four days in Florence. Maybe I'll have a chance to post a couple of images from there.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 208

Taken: July 27, 2010
Location: St. Helena, Ca.

I post this image because it will have significance in the near future of my life. This is one cool thing about putting up posts long after the fact.  I had this chopped salad with my friend Michael who had just become a father for the first time very early on this day. His -- and my friend Keiko's little girl -- will get some face time over the next few weeks here. And I'll get back to the salad shortly. Promise.

Monday, July 26, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 207

Taken: July 26, 2010
Location: San Francisco, Ca.

Street shot of the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Can you spot the spot? Ha.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 206

Taken: July 25, 2010, noon
Location: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA

I'm back.

This will be a furious return as I'm going to start chucking up photos as fast as I can put them up. I've got nearly 50 days to make up so I might have to skip some commentary now. Though I reserve the right to come back and add some words to the images later. Without further ado, though... here we go. To my regulars, please drop me a line to let me know you're still out there.

A Brief Delay....

It's been nearly two weeks since my last post -- life is just happening and it's all I can do to wrangle it. I have been shooting, but haven't had time to get them up here. I wanted to check and say that I should be able to get the images up by the middle of next week and that I appreciate everyone who have been in touch to ask where I've been.

By the way, the image above is from a project I did for a Photoshop class I took this summer. That's Louie, my pug of course, and the sky in the background might be familiar to some of you who have followed my 365 Photo Project here. The rest is constructed from found images and my new PS skills. It's not my usual MO with editing photos but I think a number of things I learned will help me process my photos better. We'll see -- and so will you...

The good news is I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot to say once I do get this project back on track. I promised myself I'd see it through and I will. I hope y'all will continue to have patience with me. Check back next week for my latest images.

See y'all soon.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 205

Taken: July 24, 2010, noon
Location: Geyserville, Ca.

Part of my theory of life involves cookies. Not eating cookies, baking them. I may have gotten this idea from my grandmother on my dad's side. She was one of those people that was always cooking and baking and sewing and noodling -- always prepared for company or an emergency or a surprise visit from a grandchild. My Dad is a fixer -- he is always trying to fix or figure something out -- but his Mom was a serial homemaker. And I use the word "homemaker" in the most respectful and complimentary way.

I find baking to be cathartic and I love baking with other people. At the offer of a friend, I did just that this morning. I didn't even eat any of the cookies. Just baking them was enough to satisfy my restless soul. I highly recommend it. Seriously, there's not much a bowl of flour and butter, eggs and sugar and some crunch peanut butter can't do for a person's general disposition. Try it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 204

Taken: July 23, 2010, approx. 10 a.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

Thursday, July 22, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 203

Taken: July 22, 2010, approx. 6 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca. 

I've been having trouble coming up with photos lately. I know part of this is just me worried that my images won't be good enough to put up here. I always think that even though I started this project as a way to learn more about photography and myself. I've always been hard on myself. I'm sure most of us are and I know for most of us, the really hard part is letting go, is forgiving yourself for not being perfect. You know, like everybody else. Ha.

A good friend told me to try looking at things around me differently. To try making images from the every day routine of my life. I'm trying to take that to heart. This is one of those days. The shot is of the barbells my husband has laid out in a row on the deck railing. Most of the time, we used them to keep things from flying away in the wind. Occasionally we actually use them for exercise. Sometimes even more than once a week. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 202

Taken: July 20, 2010. approx. 3:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

I'm cheating today. I didn't take this photo today -- I shot it yesterday. For the second time in two weeks, I just didn't have enough time in the day to take a damn photograph. I feel really guilty. But I snapped this one yesterday and I almost used it so, here it is. I took it at a local shop here in town.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 201

Taken: July 20, 2010
Location: Healdsburg, Ca. approx. 2 p.m.

This is an iPhone photo but I love the way it turned out. This is my friend Keiko. As long as I've known her, she's been scary great shape, even eight plus months pregnant.  She eats right, does yoga, surfs, loves life -- but if you met her mom, you'd know where her beauty comes from. She lives over in Napa and she and her mom came to town to spend an afternoon window shopping, talking and hanging out. They even bought me an Ugly Doll (which I'll have to feature down the road on this blog). I shot this photo to send to her stepdad who was stuck working in hot, hot, hot New York. Never intended it to be the photo-of-the-day but I just love it so much, I knew it had to be.

I love how she's looking down at her belly and the muscles in her arms -- she's my hero. She's also one of several of my friends who are pregnant or who have just given birth. It's such an exciting time around here. I'm looking forward to being the crazy aunt.

Monday, July 19, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 200

Taken: July 19, 2010, Sunset
Location: Healdsburg, Ca

This is my friend, Sidrah, who is one of the wonderful souls I've met up here in my little wine country town. She's now living in the city (San Francisco I mean) and comes up to visit her folks once a week or so. We met for dinner late Monday, just before sunset and there was a tractor sitting idle in the parking lot so we did a little goof shot. It was so dark, I barely got the shot in focus but I still love what it says about our neck of the woods. I love more what it says about Sidrah, who is a fine writer by the way. My hope is to one day read her fabulous words in print. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 192

Taken: January 20, 2010
Location:  Davis, Ca.

Horrors. I don't have a photo for today, July 11, 2010. I'm going to blame it on technical difficulties and the fact that I'm neck-deep in my writing and well, I could bore you with a million excuses but it is what it is.

I must say that it bothered me a lot. Enough to make me wait a few days before putting up this post at all. I thought a lot about what to do and in the end just asked my friend Susie, who is the wisest person my age that I know. She talked me off my mental bridge and suggested I just put up an old photo. I decided on this one, a shot I took back in January when I was down at UC Davis with my pug, Louie.

I had already posted my shot for the day when I drove by this greenhouse on campus just around sunset. I drove a half mile down the road before turning around and going back. I've always loved the way this came out and happy to have the chance to throw it up here.

I hate to keep apologizing, but I will one more time for my lack of prose the last two weeks. I'm trying to finish that elusive new novel and another project and well, I know that as soon as I get it done, I'll have a lot to talk about. And won't you be the lucky ones for that?

I sure hope so. See you soon and thank you to everyone who continues to come visit. I am your biggest fans. I mean that.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 190

Taken: July 9, 2010, 1 p.m.
Location: Santa Rosa, Ca.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 189

Taken: July 8, 2010, approx. 11 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

I've been seeing this image in my sleep these days. Tap, tap, tap.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 186

Taken: July 5, 2010, approx. 9 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

I'm writing this week and next. Just photos for a few days. Sorry my peeps....

Sunday, July 4, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 185

Taken: July 4, 2010, approx. 9:40 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

I got to see the Fourth of July fireworks from our porch tonight. They're nothing like the incredible shows they put on in the Nation's Capital when I lived there. I would pack a cooler with beer and munchies and spend July 4th on The Mall with thousands of other revelers watching Leontyne Price or Tony Bennett, but as fun as that was, it's nothing like watching without the crowds and in my pajamas. And no mile-walk to wherever you parked your car eight hours ago.

I set up my camera on a tripod and did my best to capture the show but I'm still learning. I took over 200 shots and haven't even gone through them all but I had to settle for the best of the bunch I edited. This here is it. Happy Fourth people.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 184

Taken: July 3, 2010, 9 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

I have a lot of things to talk about but my work, recent travel schedule and 100 other things are conspiring to wear me out by the end of the day. I will find my groove again soon I hope.

I shot this out my back door. You can barely see it, but there's a deer in the middle of the image by the fence. It was almost dark when I captured this -- really, really hard to get a clear image of the deer. Times like these I wish I had a bigger lens.

We don't see too many deer around here but they do stop by from time to time. My husband and I watched three of them leap over the fence. There's almost nothing as graceful as a deer jumping over anything. Them critters got hops.

Friday, July 2, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 183

Taken: July 2, 2010, 9 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca.

Long day of driving, heading north up the I-5 with a boatful of Fourth of July traffic. No big jams but lots of bobbing and weaving. Technology often promises more than it delivers but my iPhone's MLB At Bat app comes pretty darn close. For about $20 a season, it lets me listen to any daily baseball game on the radio. I can tune into the Mets games on the Mets hometown radio station (that's WFAN in New York) and listen to the game with the hometown broadcasters. I've said this before but the way it takes me back to my childhood days of listening to my little transistor radio under my pillow at night is remarkable. With the new iPhone 4, I was able to keep the game on during more than half of my long drive home. Bliss.

Sure made the ride shorter. And considering what and who was waiting for me when I got home, I didn't want to dawdle.  That's Louie my old man, half blind, all deaf pug, in today's image. The big question when I got there was whether I should wake him up. I'll never tell.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

365 Photo Project - Day 182

Taken: July 1, 2010, approx. 9 p.m.
Location: Pasadena, Ca.

I spent my last night in Los Angeles at my good friend Glenn's house in Pasadena. He's the one who helps me with all my photography questions and he's a wonderful person and confidant too. He also happens to be a really great cook and served these fab raviolis stuffed with meat and served with homemade tomato sauce, basil and grated parmesan. They were as good as they look. So was the company and the conversation -- basically a roomful of writers and artists (and one lawyer) talking to midnight about life in general. Good times. A nice way to say goodbye to L.A. Tomorrow: hello wine country.