RSWL: Puns

Hi.  I’m Amanda and I’m an adult pun-lover.  Actually, I think our whole team at The Transmogrifier can be accused of being adult pun-lovers.   I’m fairly certain we are okay with that.

So what is it about puns that can turn my day around?  It is definite that puns aren’t for everyone.   When I hear a pun, I double over in laughter and slap my knee repeatedly in awkward jubilation.   Seriously, I look like a grade-schooler.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  There may even be snorting.  When others I associate with hear a pun, they roll their eyes and shake their heads in disdain.   Actually, I may have to reconsider WHY I associate with those ones.

I was running this weekend in a San Francisco half marathon that was, to say the least, my most memorable run (*look for future blog entries!).   The views and scenery were fantastic and lovely.  Other runners were encouraging and fun.   One man, in particular, was just plain great.  He made my race.   I had just crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and was heading under it for the return trip and second half of the race when he came up alongside me to announce he had adopted me for my great pacing skills.   Gee thanks…not my speed, not my form, not my focus, nor my understated wit… but my pace.  Anyway, we talked a moment, and then he said, “I can’t remember the last time I ran a race this beautiful and thrilling.  I’ve been trying to jog my memory all morning.”   Whether he intended it or not, it was brilliant.    I laughed and snorted …and then apologized to the runner next to me for the over spray.   As the funny, gracious runner and I parted ways, I smiled and thanked him for making my morning.

So, just to share the love, here are some of our favorite puns.   Happy laughing.  You’re welcome.

  • Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off?  He’s all right now.
  • I’m reading a book about anti-gravity.  It’s impossible to put down.
  • I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger.  Then it hit me.
  • I didn’t like my beard at first.  Then it grew on me.
  • I’m glad I know sign language, it’s pretty handy.
  • Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and I’ll show you A-flat minor.
  • There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn’t control his pupils.
  • When William joined the army he disliked the phrase ‘fire at will‘.
  • I was going to look for my missing watch, but I could never find the time.
  • What did the grape say when it got stepped on? Nothing – but it let out a little whine.

Okay, okay.  I’ll stop at 10…this time.   I was going to throw in some puns on photography, thinking it would be a snap to find them.  I even tried to develop some of my own, but I lost my focus.  Besides, most of them are overexposed.

Enhanced by Zemanta

RSWL: A New Discovery

Since we observed Columbus Day on this Monday, I thought it fitting to share one of my new discoveries.   It is hardly as life changing as World Exploration, BUT, I found it an inspiration source.  Maybe you will too.  This will be a short entry- I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Lately I’ve been in a funk.  Call it dwindling daylight hours, exhaustion, lack of balance, or even frustration that I’m not taking the pictures I want to be taking, both quality and quantity.  Whatever the case, it is a funk of which I’ve been working to rid myself.   I did a little Google searching the other day (because I had no other focus) and found a great website-

Photography Blogger’s tagline is: “A Source of Photography Inspiration”.  Hmmm… I thought it wouldn’t hurt to explore and search that inspiration…so I did.   The site is basically a photojournal featuring tips, reviews, ideas and, of course, photography for…well, photographers.   It is a creative site.  It is a straightforward site.  It is a site that makes you look at the game of pool, or a squirrel, or even a mango in a different perspective.  

For someone who works most days looking for hidden beauty, searching for a different perspective, highlighting unknown details, uncovering forgotten and untold stories, and writing about it all, I was humbled to discover I’d lost sight of that inspiration, even if only for a short time.  Yet, I was immediately thankful I had accidentally discovered a great source of inspiration when I needed it so much.

You don’t have to be in a funk like me to appreciate Photography Blogger’s site.  Take some time and see what you can discover in the photo collections.   Here’s to new discoveries!  

Enhanced by Zemanta

RSWL: Repurposing and Upcycling

This IS a random entry, but you were warned (RSWL- Random Stuff We Like). It is entirely possible it is the 3.75 full, unbroken hours of sleep each night I get causing this randomness. Maybe it is the voices in my head or the overexposure to spray paint. Whatever the cause, this afternoon, while working with my husband and mother on repurposing items, a connection was made between our projects and the pictures we take. It makes sense to me, so I’ll try to make sense.

My husband and I like to “pick” and find treasures at flea markets and local dumps. Honestly, I didn’t like this at all for the years my husband would leave on his form of field adventures. Then, I figured I couldn’t beat him (not like THAT), so I’d join him. Now, our 2 year old son asks when we are going to “fee mawkets” and “yawd sales”. He actually thinks his super hero dad works at the “fee mawket”. We enjoy the hunt and the projects so much that we started reselling our finds…which just leads to more picking adventures.

Scrap yards, local recycling lots, and dumps are the best places to find these items long forgotten and discarded by others. Others see rust and deterioration; we see beauty and industrial décor jackpot. We see stories. We actually prefer to know the stories behind objects we buy. As I scrubbed a large, dilapidated, wooden marching band drum that we’ll convert into a coffee table, I wondered what songs had been drummed on the instrument. How many hands had entertained with the steady beat? How many smiles and proud moments had accompanied the drum? And so it goes with the many finds that come and go in our garage.

It isn’t that different from the way photography can make you look at things in another way. When our Transmogrifier Team takes pictures for the texture website we look for rust patterns, wood grain, tree bark, and peeling paint. The small details, the beauty disguised in decay…well, it takes your breath away when you really “see” it. The abandoned objects and places we photograph for the imagery website all have stories left and covered in dust. A shipwreck weathering in the water is captured by our camera lens, enlarged, printed out and now hangs as art behind a desk. Fire hydrants and 55-gallon drums all appear different after you see our images and read descriptive background on these objects. Really? Large metal drums helped win the Battle of Guadalcanal in the first U.S. offensive in the South Pacific Theater?? Leaves that first burst in the spring become a must-take shot for the fall months and you find yourself watching the tree grow and change through the seasons.
Does that make sense?

Repurposing and upcycling, just like photography, can breathe new life into objects and change the way you look at those objects and places. The opportunity is there, all around us. The stories are there, waiting to be discovered. The beauty is bursting, if we look. Next time you pass a yard sale sign, stop and look. Next time you go to take an old, Aladdin heater to the scrap yard, step back, picture it with glass on top, and just maybe you have a side table. Next time you see someone taking a picture, notice what it is they are trying to capture and you may be blessed with a new perspective. Go ahead- look. It’s a shame not to.

RSWL: Stories

Stories.  We listen to them, we read them, and we tell them.  They tease us, inform us, distract us, and entertain us.   A good story gives us something to think about.  Stories capture us almost as soon as they begin. Each of our lives is a story of failures, successes, sadness and joys.  We can even tell ourselves stories about our lives that don’t agree with the reality of our lives.  But we tell the stories anyway.

We, as people, love stories.  They surely are one of the oldest forms of art in history.  Stories transcend cultures, classes, and time.  They live from one era to another until they are so deeply rooted in our identities.   They teach future generations.

July 14 2011 sony 001We, as The Transmogrifier Team, love stories.   We love looking for untold stories in the objects and places we photograph.   We love hearing stories when we are out on our field adventures.   We welcome chance encounters with people on location.  Why is that building there?   How did this mine get here?   When did the cemetery begin?   We search for stories about objects.   And in that searching, in those encounters, we learn and grow.   We share.  We share those stories with you when we provide extra information for each image.  We share those stories in our various blog posts.

We also take our pictures to try and tell a story, perhaps one not yet told.   Our team members photograph to preserve.   If you haven’t checked our galleries lately, visit one or two and you just may read some stories.  Even if you don’t find those stories in writing, you just may see them as you flip through the images.   That’s our story…and we’re sticking to it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

RSWL: Another Keri Smith Book

You may have noticed we tend to write about creativity, exploration, and  inspiration as recurring themes.   It’s only because our team at The Transmogrifier believes in these ideas so profoundly, we seek both out daily ourselves.  A few months ago, Tim introduced you to the Canadian author, Keri Smith and her wonderful book How To Be An Explorer of the World.

Well, I found another fun and inspiring book by her I want to share.  It is called  Living Out Loud: Activities to Fuel a Creative Life.  As Keri Smith writes in her introduction,  “my favorite books are those that make me burst with energy and inspire me to drop everything and get down onto the floor and fearlessly create for hours.  Living Out Loud is a “to do” book, not a “how to” book.  I hope it will encourage you to play, and to face the fears that hold you back.”

Just like How To Be An Explorer of the World, this book gives activities to encourage you to play, do and create.  The activities are easy and inexpensive.  A lot of them are free.

Here is an example with also embodies how our Transmogrifier Team hopes people will look around them, really LOOK, and SEE things from a different perspective.  This idea actually feels a bit like looking through a camera lens…

It’s called The Finder.

“Charles and Ray Eames praised the use of a finder in their teachings.  A finder is a small piece of cardboard (about three-by-four inches) with a one-inch-square hole cut out of the middle.  Viewing the world through this hole forces you to lose context and content, and to greatly shift your perception.  The finder allows you to focus on small sections and negative space.  It also singles out color and isolates pattern.

The Finder

[Photo credit: from Living Out Loud by Keri Smith]

“Make a finder and place it on a stack of magazines.  Cut through as many layers as you can with an X-Acto knife.  Sort through the pieces, picking out the ones you like.  Look at the shapes you’ve created by accident.  Use the cut-out squares as reference for other projects or to create new ideas, concepts, and compositions.

“Take the finder with you on a walk.  Look at familiar places with a new eye.  In your sketchbook, sketch out what you see.  What do you notice that you didn’t see before?”

I love any suggestion that changes the way you look at something and ignites a spark.  And this activity is not the only one like it.  Smith’s book is packed with games, suggestions and ideas to encourage you to tap into the enthusiasm, joy for life and playful spirit that some may have left in childhood.  The book also leads to a lot of self observation, which I’m always ready for.  I might not like what I observe, and that kicks me into a growing movement…never a bad thing!

Add this book to your list and dare to live out loud!   

Enhanced by Zemanta

RSWL: Knowledge

To some of you, this may seem like an odd choice for this blog entry – but, I believe that the life-long (and yes – it should be a life long journey) pursuit of knowledge is as much about exploration (a common theme of ours) as is exploration of the physical world around us.

Knowledge, and the accumulation of it in books, in computers or even in our own memory, can be (huge understatement warning!) the key to many, many things.  Knowledge is powerful.  When we share our knowledge with others and they share as well, there are very few limits to what we can accomplish together.  Our collective knowledge is built on the knowledge of those that came before us just as ours will be passed on for future generations to use.

I taught at the university level for almost twenty years and one of the things I tried the hardest to install in my students was the desire to learn.  The specific information and skills that came with taking the class were important of course, but to me, that was secondary. The real priority was to instill in them a strong, never-ending desire to learn and an eagerness to continue that process long after they were out of school and out into the “real world”.

One of the best compliments I ever got from a student was when they told me that the best thing they appreciated about taking my classes was that I taught them how to learn.  I still have a 1″x6″ by three foot long piece of wood above my office door that was painted for me by a student of mine during scenic painting class.  It is a speckled gray color with pink lettering that reads “What do you think? – Tim”.  She made it and gave it to me because that was what I was known for saying often, in response to their questions.  I know that it bugged most (if not all) of them for a while because they wanted me to solve the problem for them so they could move on.  I felt it was more important that they knew how to solve problems like that than to use my knowledge and experience as an immediate fix.  Which is why I would answer their question with the question “What do you think?”  I wanted them to reason through the problem and a majority of the time, they were eventually able to answer their own question.

If you look at our Imagery site you will see that one of the things that sets us apart from all of the other sites that provide stock images, is that we have included information that we believe, provides context to the image.  Each of our images has some information about the image that will tell you things like:  where it is, when it was created, a short story behind its creation, interesting facts about the subject, etc.

For instance, if you looked at images on our site you would learn things like:

  • The San Francisco Zoo has a bald eagle that they named after comedian Stephen Colbert.
  • The man who is credited with having the patent for the modern fire hydrant, cannot prove it as the patent office in Washington DC burned down and his records were destroyed.
  •  The 55 gallon drum was credited with helping to win the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific during World War II.
  • The Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was the beginning of the idea of the traveling carnival.

There are many, many more bits of information like these that we have taken the time to include with our images.  We believe that this information helps to give you more of a connection to what you are looking at.

Take a look randomly at images on the site and read some of the information.  Do not be surprised when you find yourself saying, “Huh – I didn’t realize that!”  At that point you will have learned something…

…You’re welcome…


RSWL: Virtual Travel

This week’s Random Stuff We Like entry is about traveling around the country and world without ever leaving home!   Our Transmogrifier team loves to travel.  We all have that spirit of adventure, that need to discover and learn.   My thirst to travel and explore has been fostered since before I can remember!    My grandpa traveled the world in his later years, always bringing us postcards, books, coins (eh-hem…Tim), and many many stories from each country.  My parents showed us the states on numerous summer road trips.

Our team at The Transmogrifier doesn’t travel to the same places or at the same time.  So when one journey ends that isn’t mine, I eagerly await the pictures on the website, ready to “visit” places I’ve never been to before.   When silence finally comes in my house, I have been known to grab a beer and some popcorn and begin perusing the images, immersing myself in the adventures I see and imagine.

This is most easily done in the Cities Gallery on the Imagery website.   Here I can dream of being on the Amalfi coast in Italy, wander among the castles of Scotland, walk in history from Jacksonville, Oregon to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Georgetown, Washington DC; I can explore the beauty of Hanoi, Vietnam and the rising power of Dubai, UAE; I can discover Albania; I can walk through Pisa, Florence and Rome;  Get the picture?  (Ha ha).

I encourage you- no, I challenge you to visit one of the places in our Cities Gallery.  See what there is to discover.  Learn about the destination.   And do it all from your home.  Virtual travel: explore the world.  We love it and you will too!

*Note:  Check back often because we are constantly adding new images, cities and countries to this gallery!

RSWL: Cats! (and Squirrels, Bunnies, etc…)

I was getting ready to write my entry for the blog for this week when I found this on my desk:

Note from two large and apparently hungry Akitas

Note from two large and apparently hungry Akitas

It would appear that Taicho and Suki (my two Akitas) have decided it is time for them to make their opinions known.  While I certainly do not endorse their tactics, I have to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, and appreciate their desire to help!

You can help us in many ways.  Pass our name on to everyone you can think of – you never know who might be able to use our sites.  If you enjoy reading our blog – share it with your friends on Facebook.  Please – if there is anyway that you can think of to help us out with this effort, we would greatly appreciate it.


Now I better go see what those two are up to now…

RSWL: National Parks

Okay, the past few RSWL entries have admittedly been related to my recent road trip…and this one is no different!  I still have some residual fuel from that adventure!  If you read Nate’s Notes, you may remember we stopped at a few National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites on our journey to and from Minnesota.  We LOVE, not just like, National Parks.

It’s August! You may wonder what August has to do with National Parks.  Well, it just so happens the National Park Service turns 97 on August 25th!  Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their National Parks.  That’s 97 years of protecting land, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.  Together with volunteers and park partners, the National Park Service safeguards more than 400 places to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. 

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Since we here at The Transmogrifier are kind of number obsessed (i.e. how many photos can we take, how many photos can we upload in a day, how many brick textures can we amass…), I thought I’d break down the National Park Service by some numbers.

11,700,000,000 visitors
121,603,193 objects in museum collections
97,417,260 volunteer hours
84,000,000 acres of land
4,502,644 acres of oceans, lakes, reservoirs
2,482,104 volunteers
85,049 miles of perennial rivers and streams
68,561 archeological sites
43,162 miles of shoreline
27,000 historic structures
2,461 national historic landmarks
582 national natural landmarks
400 endangered species
401 national parks
49 national heritage areas
1 mission: The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

Preserving history, protecting nature, and creating opportunities for people of all ages to learn isn’t just some “Random Stuff We Like”.  It’s something we are extremely passionate about.   It’s something we support on every level.  Seriously.  That’s why our team decided to offer our images for free to National Parks, as well as State Parks, Non-Profit Museums and any other Non-Profit Organization whose purpose is to educate people about history or nature and preserve it.  That’s how much we believe in supporting these organizations. Seriously.

Have you checked out our Gallery of National Park images?  We have 16 of the 401 represented so far.   Never fear, we aren’t even close to done visiting, photographing and uploading our Nation’s parks and landmarks.  

So, bet you can’t guess where I’ll be with my family on August 25th!  Any guesses?  I’ll give you a hint:  It starts with “National” and ends in “Park”…and sounds like “Yosemite”.  **Big Smile** 


Sources: &

Enhanced by Zemanta

RSWL: Crowdfunding

Crowd what…?  According to crowdfunding can be defined as: “Crowdfunding (alternately crowd financingequity crowdfundingcrowd-sourced fundraising) is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”

So, why am I talking about this for this week’s entry to Random Stuff We Like…?  Well, it just so happens that we are working on a crowdfunding campaign where our goal is to raise money for additional help on the sites, and more importantly – raise money to use for marketing our sites.  There are several companies out there that will help you put your crowdfunding program together (for a fee of course) and we have chosen to go with a company called  We have been working with them for about a month now, and within the next month – we will launch our campaign.

Here is how it works. sets up an online profile for us that anyone who has access to the internet can look at and contribute to.  We set a goal for how much money we want to raise and explain who we are, why we deserve the money, and what we intend to do with the money.  In exchange for money from people, we offer rewards.  For instance, if you give us $25.00 we will give you a permanent listing on our site as a contributing member, a decal (for your car, Vespa, bike, go-cart or skateboard, motor home, etc.) a water bottle, and 5 credits to be used on the site to “purchase” images you like.  Just the credits alone are a $75.00 value!

The list for rewards, of course,  goes up the more you contribute.

If you have been following us for the last year or so, you will know that we have been hard at work building a unique, creative tool that we believe will have real impact on how artists are able to create and imagine.  We have received positive feedback from friends and family as well as professionals in many of the industries we intend to target with our marketing.  In short – we have built it – now they will come (with marketing, financial support, moral support and a lot more hard work of course…)

We are very excited about this campaign and will be telling you more about it in the next few weeks.  Please keep an eye out for our e-mails announcing the start of the campaign and we greatly appreciate any help you can provide!

Stay tuned…