Regular Life

Regular Life

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Northern Oppression

Fascist pigs.

That’s a little harsh, but I’ve been oppressed.

Tuesday night, after Mr. E and I returned from dinner, I set up my camera and my trusty tripod on the hotel’s fifth-floor indoor walkway, which is merely one of an evenly-spaced stack of narrow balconies surrounding the covered courtyard.

At dusk, the huge skylight transforms the eight-story atrium into a softbox from nature photographers’ dreams. Massive philodendrons drape the railings.


I took a few pictures before a svelte 40-something man walked past and said, “You aren’t getting any pictures of that guy down there with his girlfriend, are you?” He chuckled.

“No, no, it’s all wide open. No faces in these pictures,” I said.

I captured another image and then rode the elevator to the eighth floor. I planned to take some shots that would induce vertigo. By the time I snapped the first one, a hotel security guard arrived.

“Sir, the front desk has requested that you stop taking pictures.”

“They have?” I asked.

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m not getting anybody’s face. Do you know why they want me to stop?”

“No, sir. They just asked me to come tell you.”

“Okay, I’ll wrap it up.” He didn’t request I hand over my memory card, so I headed back to my room only slightly irritated instead of downright miffed.

I can count on one hand the number of times that a law enforcement officer or any authority figure has asked me to stop doing something.

Wednesday night, I took my camera outside the hotel. I wanted to try a new piece of software that combines pictures of the same scene, taken at various exposures, to form a picture that more closely simulates what the photographer saw. The human eye is much more sensitive to light than film or digital sensors, so a photo typically shows much sharper gradients between light and dark.

Dark Trees
First Before

Bright Sky
Second Before


Photomatix and other image processing programs try to remedy that. The first picture above, I exposed for the sky. Then I metered for the trees. The resulting amalgam was generated by the freeware Photomatix Basic. The Pro version’s trial never times out, but it places watermarks on each image it tweaks. I’m anxious to use it on scenes that always have plagued me — particularly sunsets and mountains.

The trees in the picture do not grow any place I’ve ever lived. I tried, but could not positively identify them. Spruce or fir? Neither the first nor the second site I perused convinced me.


I miss my family. Ben has talked to me each day I’ve been gone. He peed in the toilet twice Tuesday, before and after his bath, but after that first day of pooping in the potty, he returned to loading up his diaper. I am glad for Shannon that he seems to be outgrowing the “terrible two’s.” Although he still has his spells, he does not test our patience as much lately. He’s become a little lazy lately, as he no longer tests our patients at all.


Canada looks like a no-go. Several employees of our Troy office told me that I should not leave the USA without my driver’s license and my birth certificate. Maybe next time I’m within 30 miles of the border, I’ll cross it. On that trip, the pilot will have to watch out for the pigs.


What have they done with the fat people? I went to Target, Best Buy and Radio Shack here in Troy, where I noticed a distinct lack of obesity. Ah, Dallas. I’ve grown accustomed to your girth.

5 Responses to Northern Oppression

  1. Those look like “blue spruce” trees to the HIGHLY inexperienced observer.

    And tell Ben to stop being so lazy. His generation has it WAY too good. Test more patients!!

    Too bad about missing Canada. Poutine will have to remain a pipe dream for the foreseeable future. Your heart thanks you.

  2. Simon – I’m sure that’s as close as any guess I had.

    Instead of poutine, I had some delicious onion rings at lunch today.

    I’m wondering if maybe… nah. Well, if my baby’s momma sweetly Fed-Exed further required documentation, and then we got out of class early Friday. See? Still dreamin’ while I’m on the pipe.

  3. Ben’s almost out of his terrible twos?
    Time for a new baby! *LOL*

    Definitely looks like a spruce tree to me.. maybe blue.

    Have fun up north bud…

  4. That fixed code looks better.

    And I thought you’d like to know that I was thinking of Ben yesterday evening. Instead of allowing me to watch the hockey game, Declan insisted that we go and play outside. Play? Outside?! But there’s a Stanley Cup Final hockey game to watch, little boy! (So we went to play outside since, you know, those memories are slightly more precious than millionnaires on ice; besides which we got our asses handed to us by Carolina, 5 – 0. Crap!)

    So anyway, Dex loves flailing around outside with whatever ball is nearest. Soccer, football, basketball… the dogs’ tennis balls. Just this week he’s started keeking them. His new favourite thing to do in the whole world is to keek his balls outside. And he keeks the same way Ben used to. He places his foot right behind the ball and then gives a mighty shove! Sometimes ends up just stepping right over top of the ball and then wondering where the heck it went, but that’s equally hilarious for me to watch.

    Good times with little boys. Dex is just starting into his twos, and the nature of his demands, like insisting we go “dide!” to play, is evidence of what’s in store the next year.

  5. And don’t they seem to light up when they play outside? Like nothing else, man. The rolling the foot over the ball is just like what Ben used to do. He still misses the ball sometimes now that he doesn’t push it, but at least he hasn’t walked past it. Takes away some of the spectating fun, but that’s okay.

    The best cure for Dex’s requests for “dide” time conflicting with sports on TV? Whether you’re on cable, Dish, whatever, get the ability to pause TV, or just easily record the remainder for later viewing (which, of course, you can start watching before the recording is over). If you don’t have it already, then it might change your life.

    Sorry to hear about the Oilers.


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