Saturday, August 30, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Survivorman!

For those of you who haven't been following along, Jeff, one of the coolest motherfucking geeks on the planet, is on a limited arctic expedition in Iceland. I've been lurking around his Flickr photostream while he posts pictures of his insanity, and I have to say, I've been enjoying the hell out of his shots.

Iceland is one of those places I've always wanted to go to if, for no other reason, than to just wander around the ice and the volcanoes to maybe find some sort of somber inspiration in a land of such maddening extremes. It seems like a great place to go.

As for Jeff, well... He looks like he's having fun eating Iceland. Of course, I don't think you'd find me gnawing on a glacier (sensitive teeth, ya know).

Putting that glacier in a bucket of gin?




Anyway, I hope your Saturday is going well and wild. If you find yourselves sitting around sweating on these hot, but dwindling days of summer, think of Jeff here, and give his pictures of glacial living a gander, and hopefully that can cool you off.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/30/2008 01:24:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Damndamndamn!

Wanna go fishing?
Well, I can't make it to the biker fest going on downtown.

Not only do things hurt like crazy, my Jeep's in the shop until Tuesday (I took it in to get one simple thing fixed, and, as it turns out, a whole shitload of things need repair), and, well... it would be a long, long walk just to see bikers.

So, I'm staying put to watch football in my air-conditioned hovel! YAY!

Anyway, those of you expecting to see pictures of this mad, little event, well... sorry.

Now, that said, I'm off to take some opiates and mope.

Peace out, Gangstas!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/30/2008 12:26:00 PM

Thursday, August 28, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's winter in summer...

Now, as some of you know,a while back, I got an infrared filter which I wasn't entirely happy with. So, I ordered a replacement from Hoya, and I can honestly say that has made a huge, huge difference.

The picture you see here is an example of that filter. Of course, I still have to dial in the white balance, but as you can see, even without it set to any IR channel, the results are pretty good.

Other than that, the day has been busy.

Anyway, I hope you all like the picture.



Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/28/2008 06:59:00 PM

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] The Last One (for now).


The more I stare at this simple shot, the more I like it. It's got a sort of airplane propeller effect from my flash going off just before the shutter closed. In other words, aside from tweaking the levels in Photoshop, no other things were done to this shot.

I took this with the new lens that came today. It's a fun lens. It's a good lens, and I expect you're going to be seeing a lot of pictures taken with it in the coming days and weeks.

It's the Sigma 10-20mm, and oh my freakin' god! It is wide! In fact, aside from some really abstract Olympus product, it's the widest non-fisheye lens out there. So, yeah. I'm going to be having a blast with it. In fact, if it was any wider, I'd pretty much start time traveling.

Aside from that, it was a nutty day on this end. My hands have once again been screechy and painful and not a whole hell of a lot of fun to use. But, it was nice to get a new toy spend some time figuring it out. After all, this lens isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world for a dummy like me to use. I mean, I slapped it on my camera, and the world stretched out before me in this massive, massive field of view.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to heading downtown to snap some shots of the bikerfest going on. Unfortunately, it's supposed to rain the next couple of days, so we're just going to have to see.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/27/2008 09:31:00 PM

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's Hard to Say, Really...


Here's today's picture...

I kind of like it; however, in trying to come up with a good way of describing it, I couldn't decide if I wanted to go with some sort of bee/flower/funnel thing, or if I wanted to describe it in terms of a Millennium Falcon/Death Star/ Tractor Beam point of view.

It's really a coin toss when you think about it, but if you do take the Star Wars route, do yourselves a favor and don't forget to make that whirring/droning alarm sound when the ship was being pulled into the hungry bowels of the original Death Star. 'cause, you know, if you don't, you're just cheating yourselves.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/26/2008 11:19:00 AM

Monday, August 25, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] They're Coming!

Watch for motorcycles.  300,000 coming.
They're on their way...

Fetch the whiskey. Hide the women. And, maybe... well... burn some massive hunk of meat because the bikers are coming to Milwaukee. And, according to this sign that was being dragged across the sky like a surly child through a grocery store yesterday, lots of bikers are coming.

Three-hundred thousand...

That's a lot of freakin' bikes.

And, not just any bikes. These are window rattling, jar-your-fillings-from-your-head, Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Why can't Milwaukee be the home of Vespa scooters?

Trek bicycles? (Actually, those are built a skip West of here)

Pet Rocks?

Anyway, the two things Milwaukee is most known for, coincidentally, belong quite snugly into the Biker Motif: Loud, grumbling Harleys, and beer. And, according to that banner in the sky, we're heading for a perfect storm of alcohol and motor vehicles. It's not only going to be a fun time. It's going to be a dangerous time. Yeeehaa!

Now, as aloof as I may seem to the whole idea of a city packed full of sweaty, beer-swilling bikers, I'm actually kind of looking forward to the insanity. After all, it's an event. It's a big event. And, this city has gotten somewhat stale in its tedium of leaping from one festival to the next with nothing to really separate one from the other aside from the myriad of ethnic heritages that make up this city. So, in light of that, we need the bikers. We need the noise rattling down our streets driving our dogs howling, barking mad.

It's either that, or we just Polka until our legs fall off.

Still... three-hundred thousand?!?



Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/25/2008 09:06:00 AM

Sunday, August 24, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Miss me?

Crazy world.  Crazy sky.
Hey folks! Sorry I've been neglecting this blog for the weekend. Things here have been somewhat nutty, but nothing terrible has happened.

The thing is, I got this new infrared filter, and, along with a few other of life's tediums, it's consumed a heap of my time as I try to figure it out. It's not been going so well, and for you non-photography people, you could probably skip vast swaths of this entry since, well... I need to complain.

Anyway, this filter is actually pretty interesting, but the results are not what I am after. The white balance is blown, and if I want something other than the garish, monochromatic results you see in today's picture, I need to grab a custom white balance off a patch of sunlit grass. After all, grass reflects a lot of infrared light, and setting the balance to the grass would render some nice, yummy, ethereal-looking, snow-white leaves and lawns and what have you.

Unfortunately, I'm having a genuine bitch of a time gathering the white balance data by shooting at a patch of grass. In fact, I've spent the better part of three days trying with different exposure settings to get the data needed. I've actually got a somewhat nasty sunburn from wandering around with the mad-dogs and Englishmen in the mid-day sun... We're talking hundreds upon hundreds of shots, and not a single one has rendered a usable result.


All I need is one.

Now, don't get me wrong, the results I am getting are nice, but the colors are so washed out, I can only process them to black and white, for the most part. And, even though black and white IR photography is nice, it's not what I'm after. What I'm getting now is really not too different from just slapping a colored hunk of glass on the front of my lens and shooting through it.

Anyway, I established that it's my filter that's making it impossible for me to gather what I need to render the shots I'm after. And, well... I can't say I'm surprised. I mean, I only paid a few bucks for this cheap piece of glass. So, I ordered a better filter, and hopefully that will set things straight.

It is unbearably annoying...

One other problem is that we seem to be entering into a drought here in Southeastern Wisconsin, and finding a patch of lush, green grass is almost impossible to begin with. Everything is just baked brown and crispy.

So, yeah... I'm just rattling off some angst here. I'm not really angry or anything. I'm just frustrated, and it's become a mission of sorts. Every day, the sun shines, and every freakin' day, I get out there and roast my brain in the hot summer sun trying in vain to get this fucking reference that should only take a couple of seconds...



Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/24/2008 01:06:00 PM

Thursday, August 21, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Ooo... Wicked.

Earlier today, I got an infrared filter in the mail, and the second I took it out of the box and slapped it on the end of my lens, the sun which was beaming down today turning my world into a baked and desolate wasteland, promptly hid behind a vast blanket of dead gray.

Normally, that wouldn't have been so bad, but this filter needs all the light it can get. It completely blackens everything in the view finder; however, thankfully, the autofocus operates before the camera's internal IR filters, so that still works. You just have to hope that what you're pointing at is what you want to shoot.

It also renders everything in this eye-twisting, putrescent pink color, but a few skips through Photoshop is more than enough to remove the pain.

Believe it or not, it's actually a lot of fun. I just hope the sun comes out one of these days so I can get some decent shots around town with it to figure out just what the hell I'm doing.

Anyway, as for today's photo, I'm not horribly impressed with it; however, if you look at the background, I think it kicks some serious ass. The trees just take on a life of their own with this filter, don't you think?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/21/2008 03:44:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] When is a loss a win?

Sorry if this is a spoiler post, but I just have to scribble something about the USA women's Olympic softball team.

USA needed to lose.

Their dominance in women's softball is perhaps the greatest reason why the game was removed from the 2012 games in London, and if they want this game back in 2016, a loss by the US women would go a long way in showing the powers that be that the game of women's softball is actually competitive and worth following.

Now, do I think they intentionally lost?

I don't know. That's stepping into tin-foil-hat-territory. It would be pretty much impossible to throw away a gold medal in any Olympic game. However, to actually save the sport by keeping it on the world stage, there's got to be some level of competition instead of just a constant, never-ending dominance by a single team. And now, as much as we can lament this loss, the people of Japan can also feel the sting of not being able to defend their Olympic gold in the games four years from now. In other words, there are now at least two nations which want to see women's softball returned to the Olympic Games in 2016.

So yeah. Instead of sitting here telling ourselves that we kicked so much ass that the world didn't want to touch us, we now are sitting here saying that, hopefully, we'll get a shot at redemption in eight years.

Still, we needed to lose. And, I'm sure the conspiracy crowd will be rattling themselves silly over this, and who knows? Maybe they're right. But, it's the Olympics, and if you are given the choice of winning gold but never seeing your sport in the Olympics again, or losing the gold, accepting silver, and maybe giving those in charge of these things a reason to keep your game alive on the world stage, which would you choose?

That's a hell of a sacrifice, and that's what the USA women face. These women love this sport, and the only time it ever has any relevancy is every four years when it pops up in the Olympic games and a whole nation of people cheer for them. That's got to be an amazing feeling. But, it's also got to be incredibly gutting to know that by being too good at a sport you love, you helped drive it into obscurity, and that nation of people who once cheered for you will now be cheering for something else altogether.

Now, the last thing I'd ever want to do is belittle the win by the Japanese women. They played a hell of a game, and they clearly deserved the gold. Those women are heroes in their nation now. I'm willing to accept the fact that the USA women underestimated their opponent. After all, that's got to be an easy thing to do when you essentially skated through to the gold medal game by crushing everyone in your way. How do you prepare for a team that can beat you when you're playing teams which can't even come close?

Anyway, it's sad to see this game gone. And, I hope it comes back in eight years.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/21/2008 10:52:00 AM

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Vroom...

Hi everyone.

Busy day today. I'm sorry, but I don't have a heap of time to write. So, here's a good picture of DogCat lounging around looking cool:

Loungin on the stoop.

Oh yeah. He's got his swerve goin'. Even with those huge, dirty paws, he's confident he'll get the ladies.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/19/2008 07:37:00 PM

Monday, August 18, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's Monday Already?

More Viv.
For lack of anything better to post as far as pictures are concerned, here's a shot of my new flash.

I freakin' love this thing.

It's one of the new Vivitar 285HV strobes, and not only is it nice and powerful, it's also not bogged down with no end of tedious automatic features. It's just an old-school toy with old-school charm.

Yeah. It's big and bulky, and when I throw it into my Nikon's hotshoe, it sits atop my camera like an oppressive, gaudy monument to time in photography when creating light came with no end of fire hazards and charred faces.

On the other hand, it's fun to use. And, at full power, it's pretty cool hearing that pop as the flash does its thing and lets loose a blinding explosion of light.

Other than that, well... It's Monday, and I'm just feeling kind of off and whatnots. There's probably a pretty good chance my head is still stuck in the weekend, and I'm just having a rough time wrapping my mind around Monday.

Anyway, rather than rattle on, I'm going to go watch the Olympics and veg out with my old-school toys.

See ya!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/18/2008 11:37:00 AM

Friday, August 15, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] My Work Here is Done!

Milwaukee has been named the #1 Sexiest City.
Crazy Clone.
Obviously, I can't disagree with these results since, well, let's face it. I'm a god damned sexy beast. I mean, not many men in other parts of the world can pull of my shaggy Rasputin-esque chin-mullet coupled with the unwashed, wrinkled laundry look while also being bathed in the paint-flaking funk of Hai Karate like I can.

I make Milwaukee sexy. And, if you don't think I'm sexy, trust me, in a little while, you'll be drunk enough to start calling me Brad Pitt. Beer's cheap here, people.

Now, obviously, as can be seen in the picture on the right, The Clone also shares my unabashed thrill to be a citizen of the #1 Sexiest City.

He's single ladies.

Just look at the little fellow. All those years of beating on his head with a shovel have done a lot to shape him into a well-adjusted, marginally-functional, mostly-retarded adult who's not the kind of guy to let a little chronic bed-wetting problem keep him from standing proudly on the mantle of all that is sexy right along with every other beer-swilling, cheese-eating Festival monkey.

Today, my fellow Milwaukeeans, we are sexy, sexy people, and I think we should drink ourselves silly so that we remain sexy.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/15/2008 03:59:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Get a Room... err... House in the Country.....

Well, this just cracks me up...

British Man Banned from Girlfriend's Home Due to Noisy Sex
Friday, August 15, 2008

LONDON — A British man has been banned from visiting his girlfriend's home after neighbors complained about noisy sex, a local official said Thursday.

A court barred Adam Hinton, 32, from being within 110 yards of his 29-year-old girlfriend Kerry Norris' apartment, Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman Mike Taggart said.

Residents of Norris's publicly owned home had been complaining since 2006 about thumping music, banging headboards and screamed obscenities, Taggart said.

Neighbors also complained about Norris sunbathing naked in her yard, and were upset that a 6-year-old child in the building had been "subjected to the sort of obscenities you wouldn't want a 6-year-old to hear," the spokesman said.

"She is a classic nightmare neighbor," Taggart said, insisting the case was not about sex. "It's about allowing your neighbors to have a normal decent life without being disturbed."

The court granted the city council's request for an injunction banning Hinton from the apartment because Norris had ignored a previous court order demanding that she be more quiet, Taggart said.

Norris last week was forced to pay $560 in fines and court costs for breaking the "noise abatement order," Taggart said.

Neither Norris or Hinton could be immediately located for comment. Brighton and Hove is located in southern England.

Seems like this guy could, conceivably, have a perfect relationship. I mean, now when his lady friend calls, he can just say "Sorry, babe! I can't come over tonight. Those noise violations really add up," and head down to the pub for drinks and rowdiness with his mates.

On the other hand, these folks seem like total trash, so it's hard to pick a side. I mean, yeah, it's wrong for the city to dictate what you can and can't to such an extent as this, but then again... this isn't exactly what I'd call a healthy family environment in which to raise a six-year old.

What do you think?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/15/2008 11:26:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It's Friday.

Happy Friday, everyone!

I wish I could hang around and talk and whatnots, but I've got a bit of a family emergency going on, so I'll be in and out all day.

Anyway, I wanted to post a picture and let you know that things are going to be a little flaky (or flakier) around here for a day or two. Of course, today's picture is pretty much how I look when I answer the door to the gentle rapping of the wild-eyed religious folks who drop in to discuss my so-called salvation (it still ticks me off that they won't show up in winter to use their Jesus Powerâ„¢ to shovel two or three feet of snow off my walk. Noooo... They wait for the nice, pleasant, sunny days when I'm outside eating baby kittens and working on my tan on the front porch to harass me about my afterlife).

So, I find the lighting helps.

Unfortunately, lighting like this makes my ears look pointy. But, you know, the Mephistopheles goatee and the Dr. McGillicuddy's bar-rag/t-shirt really do work for me. It's just too bad you can't see my fuzzy bunny slippers.

Well, I've got to scoot. I hope you all have a wicked, wild Friday, and if I don't see you this weekend, have a good one of those as well.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/15/2008 09:55:00 AM

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Off...

The rat race.

Hi folks.

Busy, busy day here on this end on the intertubes.

But, you know, I didn't want to leave you hanging, so here. Enjoy a wonderful sunrise with a mob of seagulls.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/13/2008 10:27:00 AM

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Are you ready?

I don't know...

Not many people can handle it.

I mean, this picture rocks.

This picture rocks pretty hard.

What you're looking at here is probably more metal than a Scorpions concert. This is not only throwing up the horns in serious metal thunder madness, nope! This is pointy, make you bleed, drive you to the middle of nowhere and get your head-banging on near a small ditch beside the railroad tracks kind of rock.

In fact, kids today would call it RAWK!!!one!

However, kids today are idiots who dance in people's yards with their so-called music pumped into their confused, adolescent heads via tinny, rattling little ear-pieces that do little more than make incoherent pseudo-music than truly rock. They'd cringe if they knew what rock truly was.

Today's picture, dear reader, is rocking so hard, it's like Lemmy pointing a shotgun at your face as he grumbles like an asthmatic, old diesel bus to get off my lawn. And, if you can't rock, you'll be consigned to the hell where people are forced to groove to Winger until they claw their eyes out with the pointy shards of Rosie O'Donnel's latest shattered toilet seat.

So, dear reader, throw up the horns and rock on! Rock on and bang your head, today, tomorrow and the rest of your lives!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/12/2008 11:49:00 AM

Sunday, August 10, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Monday's Little Helper.

Having a bad Monday?
Mmm...  Beer.
Does this help?

I mean, I know as far as beers go, it's not the best, but, trust me, I've still got a couple of cans of Natty Ice in my fridge, and well... I know what bad beer is, and this doesn't quite qualify.

In fact, one of the things I like about Rolling Rock is that it's an ideal hangover beer. There were a few mornings in my shady, dark past where I'd crawled out of bed with a bloody, head-shredding hangover to have a healthy breakfast of bacon, coffee and cigarettes (and pancakes. I love the pancakes), and when all was somewhat settled inside, the remainder of my day was spent drinking Rolling Rock and playing Risk with friends (because, we all know, the best cure for a hangover is a drunken, world-conquering rampage).

Anyway, today's picture isn't really so much about the beer, but I just wanted to show off the kick-ass lighting I managed to eke out on this shot (in fact, this is the Clone's beer. I don't really drink all that often these days since I've usually got some sort of pain-killer plowing through my system). I was surprised it turned out so good. It's almost perfect, and if it wasn't for that blown-out bit on the lower, left-edge of the bottle, we'd be looking at a beer commercial. And, well... who doesn't like beer commercials?

The thing is, I'm trying to get more involved in lighting for my shots. I really want to start doing more portrait work, and lighting is a vital ingredient. In fact, great lighting can make a cheap, crappy lens look great, and bad lighting can make the best lens look lousy. So, I ordered a few, ultra-cheap things like light-stands, another flash, an umbrella, some colored plastic pieces to put over my light source (they call them "gels" for some reason), and a few other accouterments to hopefully help me become a more versatile photographer. I'm all wound up to start fiddling.

I even got the girlfriend-ex-girlfriend signed on to be a model for me to hone my skills on. I hope she's got the patience. I'm not a natural photographer, I don't think. I'm just trying to learn the rules and stuff.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules out there, and there's a brand, spankin' new photographer out there in Tennessee who I'll be writing about later this week. She does portraits with nothing more than natural lighting, and they are incredible. So, look for that coming down the tubes.

Anyway, I've decided to see if I can find some way of making a few pennies to rub together with this whole photography thing. I mean, if I can make some beer money out of this, I'll be happy. Of course, I really don't have a damn bit of business sense, so who knows?

Well, enjoy your Mondays.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/11/2008 12:22:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Hi There.

It was here a minute a ago.

I'm having a crisis.

This is the first picture I've seen of the top of my head in a while, and well... it's clear that things have simply stopped growing above the treeline.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I don't really mind losing my hair. In fact, truth be told, it's actually kind of nice. My head stays cool in summer, and in winter.... ummm.... I have yet to think of a benefit to baldness in winter, but I'm sure there's one somewhere.

Anyway, that's me, and that's what I usually look like after getting off the phone with the girlfriend-ex-girlfriend as my hands scrabble around my enormous melon looking to yank a few precious locks from their perch.

Going mad is fun!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/10/2008 11:24:00 AM

Saturday, August 9, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] A Little Better.

Thanks for the feedback on the picture I posted yesterday. Some of you liked it, and some of you didn't (and Bill really didn't like it), and that's pretty much what I expected.
A black eye to hide.
Anyway, today's picture is a little off, and not my favorite. I was actually going to post something a little prettier, but I didn't want to go digging through my photostream.

The thing is, I've not really been working on my photos all that much lately, so I don't have a whole heap of things new and nifty.

In other news, I was going to head out of town today, but I put those plans on hold seeing as how I was up until four this morning. Then, when I woke up, I turned on the TV to find Women's Olympic Beach Volleyball on TV, and there goes my whole freakin' day!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/09/2008 10:06:00 AM

Friday, August 8, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Critique... Please? I'm begging ya.


So, I took this picture, and it was kind of a smidge goofed as a result of my incompetence, but I fiddled with it in Photoshop to add a whole different look to it.


Personally, I kind of like how it looks more like a painting than a photograph. Compositionally, it's kind of borked since the leg of that damned lawn chair stands out too much.

Anyway, leave a comment and tell me what you think. It's so freakin' quiet here, I'm climbing the walls.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/08/2008 08:06:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] I told you so!


Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's his evil empire...This little dude has ambitions, and I think they involve commanding a crack team of pigeons to come down and eat our faces.

Needless to say, there's a certain inescapable terror whenever I step out into my yard these days. I mean, even the ants seem a little dodgy now and then. And, it's not that I'm paranoid or anything. Things are just... I don't know.


Now, don't get me wrong, I like crazy as much as anyone. It's just that when you step outside and the birds and squirrels are looking at you as though they're sizing you up to roll you for your hard earned money, it's a smidge off-putting or unsettling.

I mean, look at the picture, people. When you see a squirrel looking at you like this, you know that sneaking up behind you is some other critter thumping a black-jack in his little critter paw. And, if you stand around a little too long, he'll thump you on the back of your head, and when you come to, don't be surprised if all your money and credit cards are missing.

Indeed... The world has become a very strange place.

Another case in point:

A while back, I bought some fabric softener and did my monthly weekly batch of laundry. I like fabric softener, and that probably goes a long way in explaining why I am single. After all, if a guy smells like fabric softener, he's either married or gay, and since I am neither, I seem to be some sort of April Fresh enigma in the world of single people.

Anyway, this fabric softener I picked up smells a little weird. At first it was a little hard to place the scent rolling off my pile of clothes, and I wandered around my day with this odd little whiff desperately trying to trigger some sort of memory hidden deep in my subconscious.

For what seemed like the longest time, it puzzled me. I just couldn't get a handle on it. It smelled like something familiar but rare. It was a scent I'd passed by as though walking through a crowd and catching a flicker of a wind of someone's perfume or cologne or shampoo or whatever.

And then it hit me.

It was June of 1993 that I was smelling. But, not just any day in June of '93. Nope. With this fabric softener, the memory it triggered was of my stepping off a plane in early June of 1993, in Brussels, Belgium at six in the freakin' morning.

For those of you who've been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's a strange mix of air freshener and carpet cleaner that fills the air. And, since the crowds are small at that unholy hour, the airport smell is not knocked into the background by the confused scent of equally confused men and women travelers on their way to and from one place to another.

So, that's what my clothes smell like now. I am walking around with the funk of an early morning Belgian airport on me.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/08/2008 11:02:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Friday! Fffffffriday!

You totally spit reading the title of this post, didn't you?
Waiting to attack
Now you've got all sorts of pretty little rainbow stars all over your computer monitor, right?

It's okay.

You can just tell people you sneezed, and now you're mesmerized by the pretty, pretty colors and everything.

Really, sneezing on your monitors is one of the best bits about personal computing.

Anyway, you folks reading this at work?

Yeah. You there... I'm talking to you.

Go home. Tell your boss that you left the stove on or something. Whatever works.

You see, as nice as it is outside, it's the the birds... The birds, PEOPLE!!!

They've gone mad.

So, get home, maybe pick up a six pack on the way, and lock the doors before they peck your brains out.

And for you people already at home?

Cheese. You're going to need cheese. Birds can't manage cheese. Oh yeah... They can kick it around and peck at it a bit, but have you ever bashed your face repeatedly into a block of cheese?

It gets old pretty quick.

Birds get bored in much the same way. At least, that is, until they manage to work out a deal with the squirrels to satisfy their insatiable blood lust. When that day comes, well... I pity humanity.

We're doomed!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/08/2008 09:33:00 AM

Thursday, August 7, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Still Fiddling...


I'm still screwing around with my image tags. It's a little dodgy and complicated since I'm posting this to not one, but two blogs, and though the html does carry over from one to the other, sometimes, some things get muddled. It's a bit annoying.

Other than that, I'm also stoned off my gourd at the moment. It's been a painful couple of days, and I'm hoping that tomorrow's shot of Humira will set things right. I don't want you to concern yourselves with my tedious gripes and whatnots, and though things are generally bad, they could be considerably worse. I know you, dear reader, wish nothing but the best for me, and I promise you, that means a lot, and I hope the day comes where I can return the favor and the kindness and the caring you've all shown me.

In other words, I'm rocked on opiates, and I love you man...

I suppose, in order to get to the heart of the matter, I should say that I do deal with a lot of depression throughout the course of a twenty-four hour day. I think it's inevitable for anyone living alone with a painful, incurable, chronic condition. There's a weight there, and it is cold and heavy. It hangs around my neck, and it is a burden to tote around. The people I meet tell me to cheer up or that I should be happy as though doing so is no more difficult than flicking a switch. And, though I know that their intentions are good and their words are spoken out of concern, it's infuriating.

Trust me. I am dealing with it, and hopefully I can once again find some thrill in something so simple as breathing. But, until then, I think things here will be mostly quiet and infrequent. After all, this funky gloom just sucks whatever ambition I may have straight out of me, and the incessant aches just pile upon my dark mood to become a tedious, needling distraction. And, most days, it's just too damn much.

On the other hand, I like this blogging thing. There's a certain cathartic quality to just prattling myself into a better day by unloading whatever morning troubles I may be trying to wrestle with. I've written millions of unposted words, after all. And, it's kind of nice throwing out that hill o' beans.

Anyway, there really is no reason for writing this other than to, yet again, upend another full bucket of bummer. Hopefully, after this, I'll be good for another couple of months.

For what it's worth, though, thanks for your jokes, your smiles and your laughter. But if things here are silent or seem half-hearted and uninspired, you should know that it's simply me and this mess that my life can sometimes be.

So, thank you for being you.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/07/2008 01:17:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Happy Thursday!

Let's see... It's a somewhat difficult day on this end. I don't know why, but lately I've just been wrestling with a mountain of annoying and tedious aches and pains. I suppose Thursdays are always rough since whatever nonsense I inject into my system on Friday tends to be running a little thin toward the end of the week.

Three's a crowd.Ah well... No sense in dwelling.

Anyway, today's picture isn't really anything fancy. It's just a shot of a few birds that were buzzing around the yard the other day as I was testing out my new lens.

The neat thing is, since the Clone got the birdseed in the divorce, he's been hooking the little robins and others up with what seems to be some high-quality avian crack as opposed to the seven dollar bag of seeds I get at the local hardware store. In fact, this morning, the birds were stacked about three deep at the feeder, and some were even sliding around on the roof of the feeder waiting for a table to open.

It's madness...


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/07/2008 09:51:00 AM

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Getting away with things...

Hiya folks!

FlutterDon't pay too much attention to this entry. I'm just trying to see how much I can get away with in terms of layout and alignment. I'd like to be able to post images and text in a much more aesthetically pleasing style.

I'm tired of centering things. It's always just so, umm... boring and it breaks up the pleasant flow of my screeching, marginally coherent scribblings.

The problem is that the way things are set up here on this blog, I don't have anywhere near the big, friendly space that AOL Journals offers. I mean, you guys don't know how lucky you are. You could park a bus in that text field. *sigh*

Anyway, for those of you who are curious, I'm using the span technique for aligning the photos. I nicked it from this blog on AOL. Hopefully it works here on Blogger, but, if not, I may just have to fall back to using the old standard of align=left or right.

Other than that, well... I need lunch. Does anyone have any suggestions?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/06/2008 02:14:00 PM

Well now...  It appears that the span settings don't transfer from Blogger to here, but if I go back in and jiggle the wires a bit, it works.  I'll have to see if I can suss that out. 

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] A little color...

Here's my nephew, a paddle, and an orange ball that's getting smacked around the yard.


Now, I'm not a parent by any stretch, but there has got to be something really damn cool about being able to give a kid a ball and a paddle and watch it occupy his entire afternoon.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/06/2008 09:58:00 AM

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Zooooom...

So, I posted a link to this video in the comments section of Barry's Waffling and Whinging blog, and I figure I may as well share it with you all here (for those of you on AOL, you can catch it here).

Bugatti Veyron On Top Gear - These bloopers are hilarious

Yeah. That's a little piece of metal moving so fast that I just can't wrap my mind around it. I've driven on the famous Autobahn back and forth across Germany years ago in an Audi A6 turbo-diesel monster, and though I did get it up to some pretty impressive speeds, what this guy's doing in his Bugatti Veyron is absolutely obscene. I mean, I was moving pretty speedily at about 210-220kph, but this lunatic is skating along about twice as fast as I've ever driven.

Yeeesh! Scary!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/05/2008 09:45:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Spooky neat?

I'm having an interesting day today. So far, since I've been awake, I've stubbed the big toe on my right foot. I also dropped a can of Coke on it. And then, to top it all off, I spilled coffee --very hot coffee-- on the same damn toe.

It's enough for me to get an axe and cut this thing off. I mean, it's clearly just getting in the way at this point.

Anyway, here's today's picture for you all to wrap your minds around:


I like it. A guy can have a lot of fun with a laser and a camera in the dark.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/05/2008 09:42:00 AM

Monday, August 4, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Oh, This is Just Freakin' Great.

Have you heard the news?

Phil Plait has been named the President of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF for you acronymically-inclined).

Now, though this is probably wonderful news for Phil and the skeptic community, he's going to be Philling some great, big shoes, and I can only assume that this spells disaster to my personal movement of shedding light on the Voyager Satellite hoax. Oh yeah... this is bad. This is very, very bad.

I would like to congratulate Phil, but I am concerned for the future of human gullibility. I mean, people need to believe in crazy shit so people like me can snicker and chortle.

I need to chortle.

Anyway, since I can't congratulate him, I suggest you all head over to Phil's place to send him your warmest regards (or icy cold acrimony).

For what it's worth, I like Phil. He's a good egghead, and he easily tops the list of people I'd most love to see absolutely hammered (Nathan Fillion, John Scalzi and This Chick are also on that very long list). But, those are just my daydreams, and I clutch them close to my chest until the revolution comes and I am in a position to force them to do my meager bidding.

Carry on citizens!


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/04/2008 02:11:00 PM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Wildlife abounds...

Well, I don't know exactly how "wild" a squirrel really is. But, I liked this little dude.


Other than that, I am suffering some hard-core keyboard dyslexia today, and I might as well just be typing with olives on my fingers and my eyes closed.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/04/2008 10:09:00 AM

Sunday, August 3, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] No Food, No Wakey!

DogCat is not afraid to get comfortable...

Umm...  Whatev...

Unfortunately, if you wake him, he expects to be fed.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/03/2008 11:26:00 AM

Saturday, August 2, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Good Morning.

Here ya go. Have a sunrise:

Solar Eclipse!

Not bad, huh?


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/02/2008 09:22:00 AM

Friday, August 1, 2008

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Weird....

Not to sound like an old person or anything, but sumthin's comin'. My arthritis 's actin' up. Think I may as well just mosey on down to th' Winn-Dixie to enjoy some of that conditioned air and have myself a ice cold Dr. Pepper. Ay-Yup.

Sorry. I'm just being silly. It's been one of those weeks, and I think silly is probably the best way to roll today...

However, since I'm here, I might as well turn your attention to this dandy little video:

It's actually a proof of concept video from Joel Hodgson (he of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame) and Jim Hodgson (brother of he of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame).

Anyway, it's called the "Jolly Filter Test Video," and it was part of a development deal that the Brothers Hodgson had with USA Networks, and essentially what it does is take a mind-numbingly boring movie (In this case, the first two minutes of the 1977 film Rollercoaster), and it puts a creative, and much more entertaining spin on the film with the aid of some remarkably talented annimation work.

Personally, I actually kind of like this, and I wonder how it would hold up for say an hour's length episode. But, I think like MST3000 it might be a little hit or miss from episode to episode, but that shouldn't mean much since, overall, MST3000 was always entertaining to some degree and easily one of the best ways to spend a hungover Saturday and/or Sunday morning while I was in college. And, to me, the Jolly Filter looks like it could just be a whole hell of a lot of fun in much the same way.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/01/2008 10:54:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] The Individually Wrapped Slice of Processed...

Now, Rupert Murdoch has gotten to be ridiculously pathetic in his attack on Barack Obama. I mean, first, there's the incessant stupidity of the witless dolts at Fox "News" who damn near trip over themselves in an attempt to see who can make a bigger imbecile out of themselves, and now, The Wall Street Journal has entered the forray of feebleness with this latest yawning mass of burning stupid:

Too Fit to Be President?
Facing an Overweight Electorate,
Barack Obama Might Find
Low Body Fat a Drawback By AMY CHOZICK
August 1, 2008; Page W1

Speaking to donors at a San Diego fund-raiser last month, Barack Obama reassured the crowd that he wouldn't give in to Republican tactics to throw his candidacy off track.

"Listen, I'm skinny but I'm tough," Sen. Obama said.

But in a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability?
(The Full Stoopid)

Amy Choznick belched it out, and The Wall Street Urinal actually printed this little tidbit of gleaming stupidity. And hey, look! It's got the typical Fox tactic of just slapping a question mark on the end of their vapid outburst, and voila! It's now a "real" concern.

Even though it goddamned well isn't a concern to anyone other than the tiny squeakings inside the mind of the article's writer and editor.

For example, I could write: Amy Choznick, a gutter-crawling, urine-soaked crack-whore? Or, Rupert Murdoch, a drug-fueled, brain-damaged, diaper-muncher?

I like it. I could get a job at Fox "Newz" or the WSJ. The thing is, I'd slit my freakin' wrists if I had to scribble out such journalistic, partisan pablum for that collection of tabloid nits. Seriously, man. I'd rather live in a refrigerator crate beneath a bridge and write cereal box copy than sell-out and work for those goobers.

The sad thing is, there are people out there who actually take the state-issued propaganda packages "talking points" broadcast on Fox and printed in the WSJ (the ones illegally issued by the Bush White House) and they believe them. Someone will actually believe that there are people out there thinking, "Well, I'm kind of fat, so it's probably best I vote for McCain. That must make sense somehow."

Gyaagh! It's mind-boggling how freakin' dumb this country is.


Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/01/2008 06:32:00 AM

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] It seems to be puzzled...

In fact, you could say it's scratching its head (thank you, Devi):


Let's see... Lot's o' stuff on my mind at the moment.

First, it's four in the morning, and I haven't slept a wink since sometime Wednesday night. It's a combination of aches, pains, and the raging angst of dealing with the ex-girlfriend who seems to be going through some sort of odd phase where she suggests spending more time together before disappearing for two weeks without a peep.

So, there's that... It's a whole bundle of crazy wrapped up in madness and set ablaze into a raging inferno of bat-shit, screeching insanity.

My guess is that she converted to Scientology.

Of course, the only proof I have of that is that sort of crazy is only attainable in Scientology, and it's probably easier for me to imagine she joined a cult as opposed to becoming so wildly unhinged. People don't usually act this way. I know this. I've seen how people act because, well... I am a people, and as a people who hasn't been shot, stabbed or excommunicated (I know. Go figure, huh?) I know how to act around others of my kind.

Next up, BUGS!

I like bugs. They're fun to shoot pictures of, and if you get close enough, they actually look kind of cool. In fact, when I'm looking through my lens while shooting bug macros, the thought that usually leaps into my mind is, "man! I am sooo glad you're not fifty feet tall."

The thing is, in their element, bugs are neat. Unfortunately, a lot of that neatness goes flying right out the window when a ridiculously tiny bug leaps from the branches and limbs above to land on me and start burrowing into the back of my neck.

Seriously, people! When would something like that not be considered a rude thing for nature to do? It's rude enough to make me want to donate to the local strip mine... If we had one. Then again, without the land raping strip mine, maybe I'll just go toss a car battery into the lake to get even with Nature for her tickish, Lyme-disease-laden ways.

Anyway, I had to carve that bastard out by myself all manly-manlike, and it went something like this:
Step one: Grab tweezers.
Step two: feel around for tick.
Step Three: squeeze tweezers to pull tick out.
Step four: Scream like a Girl Scout with skinned knees when you pull out a peach-fuzz length of hair that's so painful your cervical vertebrae get all twichy and wiggly.
Repeat Step Three.
Repeat Step Four.
Repeat Step Three....

Step Twenty Seven: admire the freshly excised tick and the amazingly smooth, fresh-plucked skin on the back of the neck.
Step Twenty Eight: Women do this to their freakin' eyebrows?!? No wonder why women are so crazy!
Step Twenty Nine: Bleed.
Step Thirty: Bleed some more.
Step Thirty-one: Find Band Aids.

Really... It's tedious. And, painful. I mean, I've taken ticks off other body parts (i.e. legs, arms, etc), but the back of the neck is just not any freakin' fun. So, Nature? I hope you choke!

Other than that, it's now five in the morning (I know... it took me a whole hour to write that little bit. But, in my defense, I did make coffee, feed the cats, and scanned the headlines of the morning newspaper).

There was a bunch of other things, but now that I think about it, I think those things are in the past, and no point in dwelling.

Still... Ticks on the back of the neck? Especially those big, drunk Wisconsin ticks?

Nasty bastards. Avoid them.

Now, it's time for The State of the Blog:

Neat how that blinks like that, don't you think?

Anyway, I've kind of been on a Lazy Summer Posting Schedule, and I've been phoning it in for the most part. And, before too long, perhaps a week or two depending on things (don't ask what things. Some things, you're just not meant to understand), I'll get back to my usual silly babble with DogCat posts, random gripes and bellowing, funny things here, serious things there, Amish porn, and, quite possibly, a retrospective on the work of Efrem Zimbalist Junior (who knows?).

Man... That blinking is getting annoying.

Nonetheless, the point is, I won't be phoning it in for much longer (unlike Prezdint G-Dub!). And, I can't tell you enough how great it was just to post pictures with tiny explanations and little thought. Really. It was nice to just spend a few seconds on posting a picture, then I could go and put my feet up or get out and snap some pictures, or walk down to the corner and throw hunks of rotten meat at the noisy, clanging bells of the Catholic Church down the street (I'm kidding! Don't send me any death threats).

Anyway, the thing is, I don't really seem to have a whole heck of a lot of ideas for things to do on this blog to keep you crazy, demanding people entertained. I mean, you're not like me. All you have to do to get me to hang out on your blogs or websites is to just post a picture of some jingling car keys or some other small, shiny objects. So, if you've got any suggestions, I'm all ears (or eyes and fingers or whatever). Send them on to me, and I'll see what I can make of it.

So, that's about it for this Friday morning. I'm going to go wake up go to bed start my day...


P.S. Unfortunately, I don't think the blinking text HTML works on the AOL Journal. So, for those of you reading this on AOL, well... if you want to see blinking text... I mean, if that sort of thing turns you on, then hop on over to my Blogger blog, and be hypnotized by the mystical blinking words... It will make you sleeeepy... sleeepy... Any when you awake, you will think you're a CHICKEN!

Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 8/01/2008 05:30:00 AM