Nate’s Notes: Exposed Aggregate- #73 on the List of NOT GOOD Playground Topics

It was hard enough to say, let alone understand what Momma was talking about when she talked about exposed aggregate.  Then again, she does mumble…and she does ramble.  I was afraid to know who was running around exposed without diapers.  So I went to Daddy for an easier explanation.  After all, I had to start understanding what these things were that Momma just randomly blurts out, Daddy stops the car for, and they BOTH go running through fields, parking lots, cemeteries and abandoned houses to take pictures of!!

Well, once Daddy explained that the little stones and rocks come up and sit on top of concrete like they are taking a nap there, it was a tiny bit easier to understand.  And then, Momma actually made sense and said that Papa and Gram’s driveway was exposed aggregate.  OOOOHHhhhhh, I GET IT!!!  Light bulb!!!

Rocks napping on top of concrete

Rocks napping on top of concrete

I was pretty excited to tell Papa and Gram what their driveway was made from.  THAT went over like flinging my food and licking the carpet does.  Not well.  Not well at all.  I pointed. I gestured. I growled.  I tapped the slider window leading out to the driveway.  I pointed and said, “eh-po eh-po eh-po” some more.   I growled some more.  Gram didn’t get it.  She just smiled at me,  called me a character and asked if I needed a butt change. *Sigh*  Papa just assumed I wanted to go outside and play.  So when I tapped on the driveway with my feet and pointed they both just smiled and told me they love me and I entertain them.  Oh bananas.

Putting that failure behind me, I tried to show some kids at the park when I noticed the exposed aggregate on the walkway AND on the water fountain that everyone insists on drinking.  Ewe.  And you judge me for eating dirt???!!  I think I was getting somewhere because the little boy threw a little rock at me, clearly showing his interest in the rocks I was telling him about.  So I brought them over to the walkway where they obviously needed to look closer at the stones to appreciate all those little rocks just napping on top of the concrete!  It was so cool.   That’s why I gently pushed their heads down close to the ground.  And that’s when their moms came running, and my Momma had a horrified look on her face.    Raised voice and tears followed, but not from me!    Man, it’s tough being one.  Don’t even get me started on the teething…

Enhanced by Zemanta

TMG Philosophy: “What Is It YOU Do?”

Ah, the question of so many first introductions; the question that fills awkward silence amongst strangers at social gatherings.   And it always seems to have that inflection on “you”, as if a challenge is being issued.  I was asked this recently by a friend of a friend…of a friend.   I briefly explained what I work on, the current website and some of the pictures I take.  She waited for what seemed an eternity, obviously processing my answer, before responding, “So you’re a photographer…of, like, things, not even people?!  It was a statement, not a question.  Before I could get out a clarifying answer, she continued with, “…not exactly life changing is it?!”.

Wait, WHAT did she just say?   I carefully removed my eyebrows from my hairline, unflared my nostrils, cleared my throat, pasted on a smile (maybe it was a smirk), and prepared to launch into a sarcastic spew that I felt would surely show her “life-changing”.  Something stopped me…what on earth, I’m still not sure.  In an uncharacteristically composed tone, I answered her.  “I get to discover hidden beauty and details.  Patterns, shapes, reflections and colors collide above, beneath, beside and on us.   I get to dance with light and shadows.  I get to sing with the wind on a hillside bursting with wildflowers.  I get to hear my heartbeat as I hold my breath for that perfectly still shot.  I think about all this, talk about all this, and write about all this.  Even better, I get to capture this beauty in a way that words and memories can fall short.  Life changing?  In the last 6 months, I’ve cried more with gratefulness and a deeper sense of appreciation for my life and the beauty surrounding me than at any other point in my life.

On the Job with My Field Assistant

On the Job with My Field Assistant

In the last 6 months, I’ve shared this with my 1 -year old son, hopeful that he’ll glean just a microscopic love for life’s canvas.  In the last 6 months, I’ve interacted with friends, family and strangers who have thanked me for opening their eyes and changing their perspective.  That makes me blessed.  That changes my life.”

 I paused mostly out of shock that I had calmly yet passionately articulated this with complete eye contact and not in a mumble.  Then I asked, “What is it YOU do?”


(Editor’s note:  See the responses for the answer to what her job was…)

Nate’s Notes: Plastic Texture

I’m back!  Whew…I was in trouble for snooping in Momma’s journal, so I didn’t have access to writing.  Again, I’d like to point out she continuously leaves her journal WELL within my reach.  I’m a one-year old boy who needs to practice my developing skills.  I’m exploring…is that a CRIME?  She thinks it is, though we are still discussing my point.

Anyway… I like to help Momma around the house.  We wash the floors together in the kitchen and bathrooms (someone needs to get her a mop though because she looks like Cinderella on her hands and knees).  Mostly we have to clean the kitchen floor so much because I throw half of my food on the floor.  I’m trying to feed the dogs because they look at me like I’ll be the most coolest super kid if I share my food.  So I do.  And so Momma says I have to help clean my mess.  That’s how come I know what linoleum is.  As far as I can tell, this linoleum stuff is just on the floors, not walls, or furniture, or outside.  At least it is softer to fall on than the hardwood at Papa and Gram’s house.

I also like to help Momma rearrange drawers of clothes and dishes.  What can I say, I’m a big helper! Momma has a different name for it.   Today I’ll just tell you about the dishes…the plastic ones.  For some reason, she won’t let me help with the glass dishes.  So NOT fun.   Where is her sense of adventure?  Jeez.   So, the plastic ones come in many many many shapes, so many sizes, and so many colors.  Did you know the plastic-maker people can do all that with the stuff?   And apparently many of my toys are plastic?!  But they all look so different!

IMG_9473_edited-1This is A-MAZ-ING.  Seriously…legos, blocks, bath toys, balls, even some dog toys…all plastic. My tricycle thingy…plastic.  My bottles…plastic.  My sippy cup…plastic.  And it doesn’t end there folks.  Wow…I gotta take a minute and sit down… on my plastic chair!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Random Stuff We Like: Textures Can Get You Killed…!

So, the other night I was taking a break from my real life responsibilities and decided to play a game on my PC.  This is a hobby of mine and I have found is the best way for me to  escape the real world and be distracted for a while.

I was playing Medal of Honor, which, for those of you that do not know, is what is called a “first person shooter.”  That means that the game world is seen from the perspective of your character with the currently equipped weapon in the lower center of the screen.  The idea is that it feels like you are there, in person, in the game world.  As a result of this mechanic, the developers of games like this have gotten very good at creating worlds with ever increasing realism.  The more realistic the world of the game, the more you are drawn into it. (Take a look at some of the screenshots on the site and you will see what I mean.  Not too bad for a game that is two years old…)


In Medal of Honor, you play an elite soldier as part of a small team that has a fairly straight forward mission.  Rescue a hostage.  Find and kill the main bad guy.  Find a bomb and defuse it, etc.  This particular mission was at night in a village in Afghanistan in what is basically reflective of current events and the war there.  Again, the game world is very realistic.  This realism serves to heighten the tension.

In the first mission I am in an alley at night with soft moon light coming down from above, dim, warm interior lighting coming from a few shuttered windows and open doors, and many dark corners and places for the enemy to hide .  There are voices of the militia we are there to “neutralize” everywhere.  Gunfire, small explosions, and flashes of light down and around corners is constant.

I am completely into the game.  My other three team members are calling out “tangos” on roof tops and at locations identified by positions on a clock with frightening efficiency and regularity.  We are a well oiled machine and the “tangos” are falling left and right.

About 15 minutes into the game and reality starts to creep in.  I notice a particularly good rusty metal texture on an old car.  Then I notice the pock-marked stone walls and the variety and quality of those textures.  Being a 3D modeler myself and having worked on a video game before, I find that I am no longer focused on the “mission”, but, have instead wandered down an alley to look at more textures.  “Look at the detail on those old wood doors!  Look at those tires.  Nice.  Hey – that looks just like one of our concrete textures.  Nice aging on that…”

Suddenly, I hear the sound of dull thuds as my screen shudders a bit, wobbles, then turns blurry and drops to the ground and to the side all the while as a red color like clotted blood appears around the edges and spreads to the center.

I am dead.  I got more interested in looking at the textures than spotting bad guys.

Textures can get you killed…


TMG Philosophy: Photography – Fun For the Whole Family!

So, New Year’s Day we were out taking pictures of new textures and objects (yeah – we are just that dedicated and crazy to do it on New Year’s Day).  It was a beautiful, sunny day in the mid-sixties, slight breeze with perfectly white, puffy clouds lazily drifting about the sky.  We were in an older part of this small town, near the historic train station (which is now a museum) when a guy from a cross the street yells over at me.

I cast a quick glance at him and see that he is standing near a few backpacks and an odd bag or two, notice his clothing, and guess that he is probably homeless.  He yells out again and this time mentions something about the camera I am holding.

I smile and wave and say something as equally unintelligible as his comment, but with a tone that says, “Yeah, yeah – I am sure that is really interesting and all, but I am good over here.  No need to share anything more…  Thanks!”

I move on and about half an hour later, the three of us (me and the other two photographers I was with) all pass by the same guy and he calls out again, “Hey!  I can see that you guys appreciate fine photography.  Take a look at these babies!”  He walks across the street towards us with a small book in his hand.  We all continue absent-mindedly taking a few shots in hopes that if we look busy, he will just turn around and walk away.

He comes up to me with a big grin and repeats his earlier comment while holding out a small photo album with a sense of pride.  “Take a look at these! Here is one that shows the whole thing.  You don’t see photos like this anymore.  Look at that color…”  and on and on.  The first thing I notice is the alcohol on his breath and the second thing I notice are the photos.  One by one, shot by shot, different angle by different angle, they are all photos of someone’s pot-growing enterprise in what looks like a suburban backyard.  Hundreds of nice green healthy plants, all organized, about 5 to 6 feet tall, and well cared for.

Judging by the look of the photos, they are probably 10 to 15 years old and my guess is that he found them in the trash or something.  As we look at his treasures, trying not to smirk at what he was sharing with us, he tells us how you just can’t do this kind of thing anymore, “They have satellites y’know and they can see all of this… all of US… all the time.  Ever since 911 y’know…!”   He twitches a bit and looks up and over his shoulder as if he can feel the cold stare of a distant satellite.

We agreed they were nice photos and slowly moved on, adding a few “uh-huh, mmmmm…”,  and “oh yeah – that makes sense,” comments to his on-going description of the photos as we walked on.  Once out of earshot of him we shared a few grins, laughs and comments about the subject of the photos and remarked that it is nice that anyone can appreciate photography…