April 17, 2016
Maybe back to writing…
It’s been awhile. Amazing how many blog posts begin with that very refrain, I’m quite sure I’ve sung this tune a few times.
Excuses abound and none of them really relevant. If I wanted to find time to write, I would. It’s not like I don’t have an over abundance of time right now.
My sabbatical continues, albeit somewhat less intentional than the previous 4 months. I have bided my time by catching up on my reading, however the pile of unread tomes seems remarkably undiminished. I have found the end of the internet a couple of times now. And my two week project of remodeling my powder room is now entering its 8th two week period. I’m pretty sure I should have it complete in a week or two.
In other news:
I’ve been blessed now a couple of times with a pleasant email from an Art Consultant back east who in some quirk of fate ran across a photo of mine that fit her client’s needs. A Black and White image utilizing a seemingly creative angle of the White Plains Train Station. Supposedly it was hung in the cafeteria of a White Plains Corporate building this past weekend, I’ve been promised photos from that auspicious moment (it is my first public hanging after all) but have yet to see it. On the bright side, the same consultant approached me last week inquiring if I may be willing to sell 3 more of my images for another client of hers… “Yes, yes I will…” Always nice to have fans… especially the paying type.
Back when I first started “Carmichael’s Position” (actually it was strongly recommended I begin a Blog… it was the 2000’s after all and “Web Two Point Oh” was a more recognizable term than “Polar Vortex”… oh and I was the Director of Client Services for a Web 2.0 company, so I might’s well get with the program). I did… begrudgingly at first, I didn’t really know what to write about… nor really why I would want to write my thoughts for all the world (or the 23 interested readers) to read. I did anyway and amazingly enough found writing somewhat cathartic in an otherwise obtuse world. And I gained some loyal readers… not related to me even…
Well time passed. And the blog suffered… really it is not because I lost interest in blurting forth any random opinion that crossed my mind, but rather a certain day passed one that took the winds right out of my writing sails… I went into “Irons” (it’s a sailing term, look it up).
A fellow blogger and imminently better writer than I was tragically killed in a Naval Aviation Training Exercise in Fallon Nevada. Capt. Carroll “Neptunus Lex” LeFon would never write again… and we are all worse off for the experience. Lex was a genius at weaving a phrase, I felt I was in Pony Leagues watching a pro play ball. When Lex passed the Blog became a memory of a time more enjoyable because of the company we kept.
I’ve tried a couple of times to revitalize “Carmichael’s Position” and like kick starting a 20 year old mini-bike I got it to run only to take it around the block once or twice then put it back in the garage for another couple of years.
Let’s see if I can do better this time.
December 23, 2015
Sabbatical or a sabbatical
(from Latin: sabbaticus, from Greek: sabbatikos (σαββατικός), from Hebrew: shabbat (שבת) (i.e., Sabbath), literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work, or a break, often lasting from two months to a year. The concept of sabbatical has a source in shmita, described in several places in the Bible. For example, in Leviticus 25, there is a commandment to desist from working the fields during the seventh year. Strictly Speaking, this means a sabbatical would last one year.
I am currently engaged in the more euphemistic version of said liberty of rest and recuperation and the expectation is that it will certainly not extend 7 months!
After 8 years of eroding my proboscis on the company grind stone for remuneration, and a few too many attempts at character assassinations, and some soap operatic malfeasance among others seeking cover for their all too exposed derriere who sought deflection as their only viable option, the political climate at my previous employer became as oppressive as a summer day in South Georgia. (With the gnats).
After one particularly acerbic “NastyGram” email in which my peers and subordinates both were included on the dispatch (not the first time that happened, nor the second, and quite possibly not the eighth… one loses count of snowballs in an avalanche.) I came to the epiphany that, it is I… and I alone who dictates who I choose to be beholden to. I am no longer in the Uniformed Service of my Country after all, but that history of being so, to a degree blurs that realization with a facade of dedication and devotion that is woefully misplaced in much of today’s civilian business world. One wants the structure of respect (given and received) to be an honorable idealist operational environment. But if this is the reality you seek you stand a better chance of shoving the tooth fairy up a unicorn’s butt!
No… philosophical platitudes abound… “Business is tough!… “ “You got to have skin of armor sometimes… “,
Actually, no… it doesn't have to be this way. And if it is in your place of employment, get the hell out. Nothing is worse than when you are not only ‘Not” receiving the respect you deserve, as a human… but you are being purposefully disrespected by your senior management and some fellow employees looking to pad their nest in the favor of the petty.
The epiphany?- I run my life, and I get to choose with whom I associate. This especially includes with whom I choose to allow purview over me. I will not suffer insolent attitudes.
What keeps us in suppressive or oppressive regimes is the need for approval or more pragmatically, financial stability – a paycheck at the end of a month-. This is called “Leverage” and nothing is more desirable by a Autocrat, than when he has leverage over a charge, everything from moral obligation to civility are no longer requisite.
Solution? Save money! As much as you can, but at least 10% of what ever you make. Squirrel it away, the sooner you start the better, because as the nest grows, so will your confidence in self determination and no longer will you feel beholden to one who does not have your best interest at heart, one who does not deserve your trust, your faith, nor your labors. You can then choose to associate with people of sound character.
So I am on Sabbatical, to regain that which was leveraged from me, my self respect, my ambition, my sense of being better than myself. It is working… I wanted to get to a point where I was becoming bored… Boredom in me can be a dangerous thing, especially if left in the back seat of a Chevy Suburban for 3 hours…
But as in that SUV, boredom leads me to action! And I welcome the catalyst! It has been an uplifting few weeks casting off my preverbal anchor and setting sail on a new, exciting and yes unknown course of adventure. In my contemplation about what actions to take when I was slogging it through my daily routine, I came across this poem that pretty much summed it up for me:
“a petal in a poised position,
tentative in its decision
to grasp the edge
or just let go
and travel to the earth below;
the safety of all that which is
weighed against the wide abyss
the trek so great, yet so inviting;
places strange and so enticing
decision made, its hold releases
and steered by gentle autumn breezes, flutters onward
down the passage,
and exits to a life less average...”
March 19, 2015
A Writer Writes
And a procrastinator…
I’ll get back to you on that…
Words to internet paper have been rare in these here parts. Some would say for far to long, others… not long enough. So it must be the right time to begin writing again.
I plan to return to these pages on a hopefully more regular basis. I, like many others, have let my Blog posts slip as I find myself posting more on other avenues like Facebook. I still plan to post on FB, but I feel compelled to return to these pages… my pages… a place where I can share My Position on a variety of topics once again. In more detail.
With luck I may be entertaining, thought provoking, sublime or even frivolous we’ll see… and as always quality is in the eye of the beholder so if you don’t find my prose to your liking, well… then you only have yourself to blame.
Till next time…
September 18, 2014
From Ginger… About our lovable Balinese cat “Scrunch”.
September 15, 2014-- Today marks the passing of one of my best friends and one of the loves of my life. We were blessed with him for over 15 years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in May of this year. He faced it with dignity and strength. He never complained and fortunately never appeared to suffer. He just carried on but grew progressively more fatigued during the last couple of weeks. He started to fail last night and today passed at 3:00pm. John was fortunate to have spent this last day with him and he held on until I arrived home from work. Together we held and comforted one of our best friends as he passed from this life to the next. He passed quietly, quickly, and with minimal suffering. He died as he lived, with great gentleness.
Our gentle Ben, our Tater-Tot as we fondly called him has moved on to a more peaceful place. He is gone for now but we have our memories of him and his love, and will see him again some day.
Farewell for now to our beloved Scrunch. You will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered. God bless and Godspeed on your next journey.
The Rainbow Bridge
By the edge of the wood, at the foot of the hill,
Is a lush green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just that instant their eyes have met,
Together again both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from the past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then side-by-side,
They cross over....Together.
Inspired by a Norse legend
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.