May 22, 2013
A more than un-momentous event
This evening marks the completion of my 46th lap around the sun. God willing, I will awake tomorrow to greet my 47th year.
Honestly, I can’t say I’m very enthused. 47 is like the ‘84 Chevy Citation of the birthday world… It ain’t sexy, it’s seriously underpowered, the paint is fading, no one will trade you for it, and the spare tire seems to be the only compelling feature! Yeah… see what I mean?
As a few of you lurkers have probably noticed, my prose has once again taken a significant hiatus around these here parts. No, it’s not because blogging has become blasé or outta trend, hell I still wear Levi 505’s for Gods sake, trendiness really isn’t a concern of mine… but as I explained to my boss the other day, I’ve refrained from writing simply because I’m tired of the politics of life. And if I voice my opinion here, no matter how well supported or written, I continue to find myself engulfed in the quagmire of Right-v-Left “Talking Points” as if no one can ever formulate their own values, beliefs or opinions without being told what to think, for fear they may say something logical that violates the position of their political leanings. Oh the horror!
And… that has worn me out like that ‘84 Citation!
I used to find writing cathartic, in a job where I have very little “Office Bantor” communication I am left with the lunacy of the internet, everything from Facebook, to News Outlets that no longer believe in “Just the facts, Ma’am” to the Blood Pressure increasing Drudge Report. I felt my writing provided nothing more than another voice to the cacophony of ill-informed moon howlers. All a derivation of some narcissistic need to be heard, read, appreciated. … Sad really.
Do I vow to change that? No… I may visit these pages a little more often depositing various sundries of indulgent wit, and maybe a photo or two… but nah, I’m in no mood to commit to anything that I may find myself failing at… again…
That’s all… nothing momentous… nothing earth shattering… nothing compelling… but then again, I’ve been conditioned somehow to give too much of a shit what others think of me… my thoughts, my work, my arts. I need to not. Sorry folks but the only person I need to appreciate and seek the approval of… is me. Well… and maybe my wife… and family… and my friends… and my clients… and my bosses… Ah to hell with it…!
Bourbon… That’s what I need. Here’s to the end of 46 of em! Let’s see what 47 brings with it!
January 03, 2013
Nope, not an Oscar preview post… I am referring to a photo I took this past Christmas at Casa De Carmichael (Actual) back in Jacksonville. I took a number of images varying in subjects from birds (a Great White Heron and a Wood Stork) to a pair of 8 week old Schnoodle (1/2 Schnauzer and 1/2 Poodle) puppies my Mom and Dad received for Christmas, to a shot of Jacksonville Beach highlighted in a waxing near full moon’s glow. All fun shots to take… but one I am most proud of is this one of Mom!
I have posted on these pages before how frustrated I have been in my efforts to photograph Mom. First off as a photographer I always want to catch a person in their most flattering light (meaning capturing their personality). Mom, as most of you know is a wonderful, fun, bright thoughtful and warm woman full of Southern Charm. And it’s not as if she’s not photogenic, she is! I’ve always wanted to capture that. But Mom always seems to have other intentions. She constantly challenges me in my efforts to capture a “Good” image. Yes, this is on purpose. I think its payback for all the grief I put her though growing up!
Every time she sees that lens pointed her direction, her expression changes, her eyes dart to anything other than my lens, she’ll frown, she’ll talk, she’ll do whatever I don’t want her to do. As photographers I’m sure we all have experienced this challenge before. Photographing people is not one of my specialties… landscapes? Wildlife? Airplanes? Structures? Sure, bagged good shots of each over the years. But people? Notsomuch. And candids I am even worse! BUT NOT THIS TIME!
Victory is Mine! And as a result yours too! This image is easily one of the best I have ever taken of my Mom! And I am thrilled!
Oh, and by the way, I captured a pretty good one of Hoagy too!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!
October 11, 2012
Back from Vacation…
Certainly with less money than I departed with… Vegas will do that to you… but with great memories of fun with friends!
A few items…
- The Cosmopolitan Hotel is the BOMB!
- I am glad Colorado does not have an “In and Out Burger” else, I would be fat… wait what?
- Don’t sit Karyn near the light switches in an Italian Restaurant…
- KA is good… Mystere and Love are still better, in my book
- Emeril’s place at MGM is still some of the best food around!
- Blackjack Dealers sure have a knack of having a 7 hole card when they have a 4 showing!
- Downtown has really gone downhill! Not that it was ever too Up Hill…
- Hugos has lost its mojo… Time to find a new, hidden gem in Vegas
- Play the Red Rocks Arroyo Course… Pass on the Sienna Course… But no matter what, playing golf in Vegas is probably the best spent $100.00… it certainly lasts the longest!
- D-Bott is hilarious at broken escalators, and very photogenic!
- 5 and a half days is not too long in Vegas… so long as you play two rounds of golf, and catch a show!
Now time for the pics… you didn’t think I went without my camera did you?
To begin, this is the view Ginger and I had from our “Wrap Around Suite” at the Cosmopolitan… Stunning!
The inside was none too shabby either…
But as night fell upon “The Strip”… it got better!
And of course there was the Bellagio Fountains to watch!
Now a few of our fellow travelers!
On “Day One” coincidentally our buddy and pool teammate, John Neuhalfen was in Vegas (for a Grateful Dead Concert) so we joined up at Mon Ami Gabi at the base of the Eifel Tower for a Anniversary Lunch. It was the first time John has ever tried Escargot! I think he is hooked now… and is seriously contemplating becoming a Snail Rancher!
D-Bott, the character!
Karyn and Bob, liv’n and laughing it up at Hugos!
And Pam and Cliff enjoying the spectacle!
There was a lot of laughter this trip. Actually how all vacations should be in my mind!
The scenes from the trip were a photographer’s playground…
And finally, the trip was made all that much better by enjoying my and Ginger’s 5th Anniversary! She’s more beautiful to me now than ever!
And there you have it… Now, GET BACK TO WORK!
October 01, 2012
When September Ends…
You’d think I’d lost the keys to Carmichael’s Position with the scarcity of posts…
Actually it is simply a function of having been exceptionally busy these past few weeks. September was a blur!
NYC- Early in September, I was back in Manhattan (Brooklyn, Queens, Newburg, Staten Island, Poughkeepsie, and White Plains) New York for my customary business meetings. I happened to be there September 11. So I took the opportunity to head down to Jersey City, directly across the Hudson from the Manhattan “Financial District” to snap a few images of the “Missing Towers” commemorative lights. It was quite impactful.
Looking north, I was afforded a spectacular view of Mid-Town as well.
I spent a couple of hours along the walkway just absorbing the enormity of what took place eleven years ago, and what has transpired since.
The next day I had a couple of meetings on Staten Island, and while usually I drive to the island, this day’s schedule precluded any chance of that. So I had to take the Staten Island Ferry. Fortunately, unlike my last adventure with the Ferry, this day was beautiful, and… there was not a herd of
misunderstood youth thugs boisterously bragging about their female conquests, and pugilistic accomplishments. (I was thankful). The views afforded of New York Harbor were spectacular.
I recommend, if you find yourself in Manhattan with a couple of hours to spare, head down to the southern tip of the island and jump a ferry ride. It’s FREE!!! By the way! Seriously it is easily the best ticket in town for views of the harbor. (On a clear day… that is…).
The Oven - Upon my return to Casa de Carmichael, I was treated to a new oven! Ya see whist I was off in NYC doing my part to Bring Home the Bacon… my lovely bride was doing her part to insure we could cook the bacon! Our (came with the house) nearly 20 year old oven decided to give up the ghost! So Ginger went and acquired a fancy-schmancy stainless steel glass top job. Hey, as long as it gets used… I ‘m good with it. And considering, Ginger cooks an average of 5 nights a week, it’s getting a workout.
Golf League - The weekend of my return from NYC, we also played in our Golf League’s year end tournament. I played poorly in the tourney, BUT!… I did come in first in the league. What was a little awkward was we had a side competition in the league where each player submitted an entry stating who you thought would win the league and what you thought that person’s final cumulative score would be… Eh…er… uhm… I won that too… Very fun tourney and banquet never the less, and a great group of people! I am already looking forward to next May when we crank it up again.
Airshow - And finally, the weekend of the 21-23 I found myself in Grand Junction, Colorado for the (not often enough) Grand Junction Airshow and Tailhook get-together. More on that in the next article… It’s a bit involved…
August 13, 2012
“I’ve Seen it Raining Fire in the Sky!”
This line is from the John Denver hit song “Rocky Mountain High” and was reportedly inspired when he and some friends spent the evening in the high Colorado Rocky Mountains (above tree line) staring at the clear night sky, and were captivated by the intensity of shooting stars during the Perseid Meteor Shower.
This weekend my bride Ginger, a couple of buddies of ours, and I went camping and fishing up near Steamboat CO. One thing I was looking forward to (in addition to ‘getting away from life’s daily small stuff’) was having opportunity to cross off one of my Photography ‘Bucket-List’ entries. Taking a good star field photo, to include the Milky Way if possible. I had forgotten, until Friday that the annual Perseid Meteor shower was this weekend!
We arrived at our campsite Friday evening about 7:30, greeted by a low cloud deck and notification that the local ‘Fire Ban’ had been re-initiated that very day… Meaning no campfires! Ok, that’s like going to a movie and finding out there’s no popcorn! But what option do we have, we’ve journeyed 3 hours to get here, its not like we’re gunna flip a uhey and head back home. We’ll tough it out… and do what I did before during a ‘Fire Ban Camping Trip’… put one of our electric lanterns in the pit and gather around the warmth of a glowing LED!
Fortunately gas stoves were not affected by the ban, Beer Brats (and Saturday night’s chicken) were tasty!
The serendipitous advantage of the fire ban was a great reduction in nighttime ambient light… Looking up, as the clouds began to yield to the black, stars began to appear. And once the lantern was extinguished, our canopy was a cathedral of light! The Milky Way directly overhead…
We were still pretty close to the Steamboat City Limits so every cloud reflected the red-orange glow from the town, still made for some interesting images.
The next evening promised clearer skies, so Dan (my fellow photography hobbyist) and I planned for greater opportunity to photograph the star fields arrayed above us. Late Saturday afternoon, we had gone fly fishing on the Elk River, and on our trek to the fishing grounds, we reconnoitered locations for good dark conditions for our expedition. The best we could find (within 20 minutes of our campsite) was a rancher’s field a few miles north.
That night, the mostly clear skies materialized! And off to our spot we went, Nikons and tripods in hand! Always good when the directions to our spot included the sentence, “Ok, turn left here and proceed up the dirt road for about a mile!”
We set up our rigs, set our cameras with the proper parameters necessary for capturing the stars (there’s a lot of technical considerations when doing this by the way), did our best at focusing (not an easy task in low light conditions mind you…) and fired away. Within a couple of minutes of our arrival in the field, the show really began… Intense, long trail, brilliant streaks of light began to sprint across the heavens. The Perseids! Some burned across half the sky! Others dashed like a stone skipping across a pond, it was a sight to behold! and… photograph! If I could!
In this first image below, you can see a few (3 actually) streaks just above the ridgeline. Two of these streaks are actually aircraft, the long exposure allowing their anti-collision strobes to form trails in the sky, the third (highest one in the image) is one of the meteors.
In another shot, a slightly different angle of that same telephone pole, you can see another couple of meteors (one crossing left to right just above the transmission lines, and the other paralleling the Milky Way just below the transmission lines). The clouds are reflecting the lights of Steamboat Springs to our southeast.
And then finally a shot looking at the Southern sky… The lit-up trees are what I presume to be the Rancher’s residence, and the glow off to the right is once again light pollution from nearby Steamboat Springs.
And there you have it…
February 08, 2012
I just learned that Ginger’s Mom’s surgery has been postponed… The family had gathered at the Michigan hospital at the assigned 6:00am muster for her mom’s scheduled 9:00am mastectomy. Alas it was not to be…
In a pre-op examination, a swelling was noticed where they wanted to operate that could indicate an exiting slight infection. Definitely do not want to operate if that is present. After running more tests, the decision was made to postpone today’s surgery until a day next week.
This is a serious let down for the family. First it is always difficult to have to step back from the precipice that you have been conditioning yourself to accept the necessity of, then proceed to re-condition yourself for the coming groundhog day of doing it all over again. Second, Ginger will not be able to be there for the rescheduled date, she is chief nurse at her own Oncology Clinic here in Denver after all… and in the battle of competing priorities in our lives circumstances simply will not allow for either an extended stay in Lansing, or an immediate return trip next week.
Hopefully having Ginger there for the next couple of days will help her mom re-condition for the soon to be rescheduled procedure. I know Ginger acknowledges the reality of the situation, she doesn’t like it, but knows what is possible. I know where her heart will be, even if she cannot be there physically.
Thank you all again for your well wishes, warm thoughts and concerned prayers, they are all welcomed, and will be welcomed again when we go through this again.
February 07, 2012
Ginger is flying to Lansing MI this evening to be with her mom, Betty, as she comes to terms with her Breast Cancer.
Yep, tomorrow Betty is scheduled to undergo a mastectomy at a nearby hospital. Ginger is flying out to be with her mom during this difficult and concerning time, to obviously provide comfort to her mom, but to also provide understanding to the rest of her family.
As our family’s instances of medical need have increased in recent years I am more and more thankful for Ginger’s knowledge in all things medical, and especially oncology! She has been a godsend to both my family in my mom’s battle with her Neuroendricrine islet cell cancer, and now with her mom’s bout with breast cancer.
Ginger has certainly felt the weight of her knowledge and our dependence on her during these times, I feel for her. But also adore her willingness to play the role of both, concerned… Daughter, Daughter-in-law, Wife and… knowledgeable, skilled, respected Oncology Nurse. She is a trooper!
As I type this I am listening to Grand Rapids Airport Tower communications, her airbus just crossed the numbers landing on “Runway 8 Right” I am glad she is back on the ground, and will soon be with the folks who need her most right now, her family.
My thoughts and prayers are obviously going to be focused toward Central Michigan for the next few days. I pray for a successful surgery and speedy recovery for Betty, knowing full well this is only Act 1 of new chapter in her life and there will be many more trials to work through in the coming months as her cancer treatment progresses, but I want her to know I (and many others) will be thinking of her, and praying for her as she goes though it. I feel better knowing she’ll have her daughter Ginger by her side for this first step! I can think of no one better to have there.
January 27, 2012
Good News from Tampa Today!
I just got the call… Today was the 3 month follow up Cat Scan for my mom. She has been on a Chemo Sabbatical of sorts for the past 3 months. The tests in October (at the conclusion of her 3rd 3 month period of oral chemotherapy) indicated no real change in cell size or count from the conclusion of the 2nd period. Thus the decision was made to allow mom a 3 month term without having to take any medications to treat her cancer.
Today was a huge day, certainly we have been hopeful that the CT today would show no significant progression of the cells, in hopes of allowing Mom even more time away from a treatment that, as many of you know, is fatiguing at best.
Kelly, my sister, once again took it upon herself to assist Mom and Dad in their journey from Jacksonville down to Tampa (Moffitt Cancer Center). She called me a few minutes ago, with cheer in her voice, a good start! She immediately passed the phone to Mom to deliver the news.
Scan results indicate:
- NO New Cells!
- NO increase in any of the existing cells!
- SOME Reduction in size of some of the existing cells!
All tremendous news!!!
And to celebrate, Mom, Dad and Kelly are headed to the nearest Baskin Robbins for a scoop of Cherries Jubilee!
We all want to thank you again for all the well wishes, warm thoughts and prayers during this time! This is truly the best we news we could hope for today.
January 04, 2012
Paucity of Posts
Visitors to this space may not help but notice the growing rarity of literary wit or prose on these here virtual pages. I could obviously cite any number of convenient excuses, much in the same way I can concoct reasons for not dragging my growing figure to the gym. But the reason lies more in frustration than apathy or inconvenience.
In the case of Carmichael’s Position I don’t really attribute the growing dearth of cognitive essays, to laziness but more to lack of motivation. It is this motivation I intend to change. Of late I have been more reticent to express my opinion, choosing to hold my tongue (or fingers in the case of CP) in a misinterpreted impression I was being more balanced, or understanding. The proverbial “Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence". I find without outlet, my mind stirs with each absurdity our world seems to generate in the way a nauseated goose creates flatulent fertilizer!
My trouble lies in my lack of self assuredness. I know, to many who know me personally describing me as anything remotely close to insecure would be like accusing Obama of being humble! No, follow me here, I have been reading excellent prose from spectacular writers and thinkers, ranging from George Will, Peggy Noonan, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Sun Tzu, Stockdale and his motivative mentor Epictetus. When I compare my composition, or syllogistic methods I come up painfully short. Who wouldn’t? I know. It would be like me comparing my photographic works to the likes of Ansel Adams, or Charlie Waite. Which is what got me to thinking… Like in my photography, I use the works of these paragons to better challenge my own quality. I know I will never be Ansel Adams… but then again the world has already had one. So I can simply be John Carmichael, aspiring photographer, writer, commentator. Maybe my words will raise the discourse, or maybe not, they may just land like the feces of the sick goose… but they will be my words and thoughts, and once again… CARMICHAEL’s POSITION! My words may not “Improve the Silence” but they certainly cannot harm the din!
More to come… fortunately it’s an election year, and I suspect there will be no shortage of idiots regurgitating bromides and platitudes in an effort to sway an electorate!
I will not sit on the sidelines any more.
Not to worry there will be a continuing smattering of my more tame, artistic impressions on these pages as well, just because I plan to expand one facet does not mean I plan to curtail the other… besides I am going to the gym again too! … new leaf and all that…
December 30, 2011
Damn… Cancer part two!
Not Mom, Not Dad… but Ginger’s Mom! Learned yesterday that a lump Ginger’s mom noticed a few weeks ago tested positive for cancer. We haven’t yet received all the details, a full diagnosis is pending more tests to determine such things that my wife is far more versed in than I.
But suffice to say, all prayers, well wishes, and good thoughts directed toward Betty will be greatly appreciated. A prayer for strength for the rest of the family couldn’t hurt none neither…
I know where my prayers are focused.