Sunday, July 27, 2014

Thought o' the Ding-Dong Day

Too much drinking doesn't attract the wrong people - it makes the wrong people attractive.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Beauty discovered in The Little Sister Disciples

I just learned about these beautiful women!
The Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb are a contemplative community that enables girls with Down’s syndrome to respond to a religious vocation. 
The Institute of the Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb, a contemplative vocation, offer young girls with Downs the possibilty of realising their religious vocation. This realisation is made possible only by the support of sisters without this disability, who have responded to a special call to consecrate themselves to God with their disabled sisters to form one community with them. 
Guided by the wisdom of St Benedict, we teach our little disabled sisters the manual labour necessary for their development. We live poverty in putting ourselves at their disposal. With them, we share the work of everyday life. 
The office, adoration and the praying of the rosary are adapted to their rhythm and their capacities. In a spirit of silence, our prayer feeds every day on the Eucharist and on the meditation of the Gospel.

Found an address here in the States on Reddit for them:

Community of the Lamb
36 S.Boeke Street
Kansas City, KS 66101

Telephone:  (913) 621-1727

Donation to be sent.

God bless the Bobos . . .

My husband coined a term - "bobo."  A bobo is short for "bohemian bourgeois," meaning someone who has enough discretionary income to spend on the pursuit of lookingpoor, or rather, "bohemian."  You see it in hipsters but you also see it in many upscale neighborhoods - much like my former one of Floral Park in Santa Ana - where a stay-at-home Mom will spend so much money on keeping a backyard chicken - organic feed, custom coop -  that if you did the math, each egg costs about $5.  That she lovingly prepares with a stainless steel Williams Sonoma whisk in a OOAK ceramic bowl she bought on Etsy.  She's a farmer!

But God bless bobos.  They are the support to Gwyneth Paltrow's self-esteem with her "Goop" blog.  I applaud them or spending their money and frankly, want to know what I can sell them to make my own scratch.

Evidently, the answer lies in stained t-shirts.

The gentleman in the picture above is wearing the Twombly Crew t-shirt.  According to its description, it is "hand painted; distressed/destroyed/holes."

And it sells for $132.

But while you may think that spending over $100 for a plain white t-shirt that I would bet a member of a painting crew would be willing to sell you for $5 off his back - with the authentic sweat of a working man included! - you are overlooking the artistry that went in to creating this.
Designers Katherine Theofilos & Alex William Claster create garments that are experimental in fabrication but designed to be comfortable for one's own wandering. Lightweight cottons, contemporary knits and heavy denim cultivating the layering mode; appropriately named after cities that inspired them.  Colored by hues from their travels and washed specifically for comfort and ease; it's essential knitwear built for the long road ahead. All graphics are original works of art and carry the textures from their original medium. Every garment is conceptualized, crafted and constructed in Los Angeles, California.

So, dear Housewife of Floral Park . . . or Los Feliz . . . or Williamsburg . . . or even Hardin Valley here in East Tennessee, if you yearn for a man like your gardener or pool boy, preserve both your marriage and the economy by buying Hubby one of these for Christmas.  It may just give him that rough trade look you crave but that his Dockers can't deliver.

Tattoos not included.  But they make fake ones of those, too.

Fashion!  Turn to the left!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Elmira: Builder of Men"

So in driving home from a college visit to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with my daughter, I stopped by a friend's place in upstate New York.

She drove me over to Elmira, a small town in Chemung County, that boats not one, but TWO prison facilities within a 5-mile radius of each other.  The one in Elmira proper is a maximum security prison, while the other is a super-max.  Lovely.  The "wrong side of town," it seems, is populated by prison families - these are the families of prisoners who figure better to be on welfare in a small town than in, say, Bedford -Stuyvesant.  This is the reality.  They follow their husbands/boyfriends west and account for the largest outlay of public funds in the county.  Why stay on public assistance in the projects when you can get placed on a nice, tree-lined street in a small town?  I wish it were not so, but there it is.

But my friend wanted me to see this statue that had been placed in front of this maximum security prison for men, so I could take a picture.  Here it is:

Copyright 2014 - Stephanie Richer Photography - All Rights Reserved

Alrighty then.  It is called "Elmira: Builder of Men" and I bet I could think of a better statue to put in its place.  Believe it or not, it was originally sculpted by Ernfred Anderson in 1949 as a WPA commission for the building which was then . . . a reformatory for boys.  The trustees of the reformatory did not consider it "appropriate" and it was finally put in place in 1951 after the artist added fig leaves to cover the genital area.

I kid you not.

According to my friend, it must have been moved because where it sits now was "unveiled" just a few years ago.  It even has lights so it can be seen from the street below at night - and the only people seeing it up close are the guards going to and from work and the families of inmates coming to visit.

But, capturing the photo - after my friend parked in the lot down the hill, I scrambled to the top and was about to take the picture when I heard, "Ma'am! Ma'am! Put down the camera!" I quickly took 3 shots, and then turned to see where it was coming from. A prison guard was bearing down on me. "Ma'am, you can't do that. You cannot take any photographs. Please give me the camera. This is a maximum security prison!"

Now, do I play lawyer and start yelling about constitutional rights - or do I play dumb? I chose the latter. "Oh, I am so sorry, Officer, I didn't realize. I was just so shocked by this statue! Whose idea was this?"

"Tell me, " I said, leaning in with a grin, "Is it called 'Don't Drop the Soap?'"

He bust out laughing and admitted, the last place he would put a statue of naked men is in front of the prison.
I then admired the architecture of the building, which prompted him to start giving me some factoids about it (built in 1876, originally a boys reformatory). I asked where the gun towers were and he said they are hidden, but added, "There are security cameras all around - they're filming us right now and can hear every word we're saying."

I faced one and said, "Okay, I am Stephanie Richer. Licensed attorney in both California and Tennessee. US Army veteran." That seemed to please him and I said, "Well, my friend is waiting. But before I go, may I thank you for your service? First responders and military get a lot of attention but no one remembers the prison guards, and my father used to be one at Rikers Island." He seemed a little surprised, then shook my hand and thanked me, and told me how one of his best buddies from the academy is at Rikers.

We bid each other a fond farewell.  And the images on my camera remained intact.  The fact is, this building is in clear view of a public road - I could have juts as easily taken this shot from there with a telephoto lens.  And I specifically noted that there were no signs prohibiting pictures; I daresay a number of visitors probably grab a selfie with it when coming to visit their loved one.

But hey, the guard was doing his job and he did not need the hassle of someone screaming about the Constitution.  

Frankly . . . this needs to be a postcard.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Samson at Sunset

I had to have a lens repaired and was testing it out when it came back.

That is my puppy boy, Sam.  He is 95 pounds of sweetness and love.

Except for the UPS driver.  But no one likes him anyway in the neighborhood . . .

BTW, if you need camera or lens repair, I very much recommend Peachtree Camera and Video Repair in Marietta, GA.  Seriously, it is worth shipping your stuff to them - they are miracle workers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Photoshop geekery . . .

Click photo to enlarge

I like some of the work seen from photographers who have used Corel Painter to manipulate their photos into lovely digital paintings.

But sometimes I want "just a touch" and frankly am not ready to spend the money on Painter.  So I tried this with this photo:  after retouching - and for skin softening, I use a combination of surface blur and the High Pass filter on the softened skin (h/t to Scott Kelby and a book by him that anyone should get to do retouching, Professional Portrait Retouching Techniques) - I replicated the image for my top layer and applied the Oil Paint filter to it (play with your settings, depending on how "paint-y" you want it, and set it to an overlay blending mode, then played with the opacity until I liked it.  That darkened the tones a bit, which did not look bad but I wanted it a tad lighter, so I did a curves adjustment.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bitmaps and blending modes don't play nicely . . .

Warning:  Photoshop geekery shall ensue . . .

Well, as I promised myself, I worked on an image of a model I had photographed recently and created a fictional "grind house" movie poster.

No, I am not a big fan of schlocky films, unless, of course, they are presented within Mystery Science Theater 3000.  This was more of an exercise in Photoshop because, well, it's fun and relaxing.

Although it became far less relaxing when I finally finished and for the life of me, could not get the red part you see - which was a color fill, masked, with its blending mode set to "Color" - to remain in place when I went to save the PSD as a JPG or even a PNG.  NOTHING worked and in trying to find a fix on the Internet, I noticed I was not the only person having this issue.

Here was the deal:  the underlying image had been a conversion from a bitmap.  I wanted the black-and-white image to have that cheap, halftone effect that you see in many movie posters of this genre.  I did it by using first File>Mode>Grayscale, and then did File>Mode>Bitmap, and selected a halftone pattern.  So far. so good, and I went ahead and created a new PSD, and copy-and-pasted the image onto it.  Did some other stuff and went to save it . . . and what kept happening was this:

Which actually looks cool . . . but is not what I wanted.

As it turns out, the method in which I created the halftone image was the culprit.  Or maybe it was the blending mode.  I on't know, all I know is that they did not like each other and would not play nicely.  So I recreated the black and white image by using Filter>Pixelate>Halftone, and then Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges to bump it up a bit.

And . . . it worked.  I could save it as a JPG without losing my color fill layer and its blending mode.  I kept analyzing the original layer with the black and white image, and it was RGB 8-bit color, so I can think of no reason why it would not work.  But it didn't.  Somehow, it retained something from when it started life as a bitmap and hated the color fill layer.

And why it is so?  Beats me.  Does anybody have an explanation?