The B&W Photo Challenge [Ally Bean Rules] + What I Learned

The Introduction

I saw this challenge floating around the blogosphere and I liked it because lately I’ve been looking for + doing different things here on my blog.  I’m not a daily blogger, so I modified the rules creating a way in which I could participate.

THE “OFFICIAL” RULES*

  • Seven days.
  • Seven black and white photos of your life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation.
  • Challenge someone new each day.

THE “ALLY BEAN” RULES**

  • One day.
  • Seven black and white photos from your ordinary life.
  • No people.
  • No explanation of photos.
  • Suggest that someone else might want to do this, too.

The Black & White Photographs

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What I Learned

  1. I LOOKED FOR objects that I see in my daily life. I excluded nature, signs, & anything having to do with beverages. This limited my options dramatically.
  2. FINDING OBJECTS TO photograph with no people in the frame was more difficult to do than I realized it’d be.
  3. FINDING A WAY to take a photo of an object that I see daily was not alway possible because getting perspective on things took some doing.  If I was in a car in traffic or walking on a busy street with people, I couldn’t do it.
  4. B&W PHOTOGRAPHY IS a whole different animal than color photography.  Many of the photos that I thought would be great turned out to be duds.

* Hat tip to Embeecee at sparksfromacombustiblemind for being the first person to make me aware of this challenge.

** These are not so much rules as guidelines.

It’s Halloween, Betwixt And Between, If You Know What I Mean

How in the world could it be the last day of October already?

Like witches, time flies, eh?

It’s been a busy weird month here at Chez Bean, but we did manage to turn three basic pumpkins into festive Jack-o-Lanterns, one of which is featured below.

And I have plenty of candy* + plastic bloody eyeballs on hand for tonight’s trick-or-treaters**.

So all is well here as I wait… wait… wait… for darkness to fall, when little ghosts and goblins at the front door will call.

Happy Halloween!

* I usually hand out Snickers, but [get this] yesterday when I went to buy Snickers at Kroger it was sold out, so I opted for Twix & Skittles & Starburst.

** We get anywhere from 125 to 225 kids here.  The number fluctuates depending on Halloween Day weather and the day of the week.

The Tale Of The Confused Dude Going Further In The Ford Pickup Truck

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Here’s what made me laugh way too much the other day.

I was on a two-lane curvy township road, stopped in construction traffic in a single file lane with about 20 other vehicles, waiting, when…

This young dude in a huge new Ford F-150 pickup truck in front of me started revving his badass engine, bouncing his truck on its bloated large tires, impatient, as he waited for the opportunity to be allowed to drive on the one lane that the construction crew had us using.

But apparently Mr. Pickup Truck zoned out during the minutes he was forced to sit still so that when the flagger gave the go ahead to drive forward, Mr. Pickup Truck drove his vehicle on the wrong side of the road: the side of the road that the flagger was not pointing to.

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Continuing on with this story I will attempt to tell it in a non-mocking mature way.

Meanwhile, while we [the other drivers and I] watched, the flagger dropped the STOP/SLOW sign he was holding and started yelling “NO!”as he ran down the middle of the road around the curve after Mr. Pickup Truck.

Mr. Pickup Truck, however, was oblivious to what he’d done wrong and vroom-vroom-vroomed around the curve in the road where we could see that he had to stop, abruptly, behind a backhoe– that was now blocked by Mr. Pickup Truck’s F-150.

The man on the backhoe did not appear to be happy about this development, and seemed to have a few words to say to Mr. Pickup Truck.  I was too far away to hear the actual conversation, but from body language I’m going to surmise that the backhoe operator used words not suitable for a PG-13 blog such as this one.

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Not wanting to seem unkind here, but this was darned funny on both a slapstick level and on an existential level.

First of all, I got to see this young guy do something really dumb in which no one was hurt.  Plus, it was humorous for me to drive, in the proper lane, by Mr. Pickup Truck who looked astonished that he was trapped on the wrong side of the road, unable to move in any direction until the flagger took pity on him.

But this didn’t happen immediately because the flagger was a person who believed that stupid actions had consequences. Thus he allowed the rest of us alert drivers to go on our way before [presumably] letting Mr. Pickup Truck drive in reverse around the curve back to where Mr. Pickup Truck needed to be so that he could drive in the lane that was open.

At the same time, on a more meta level, I got giggling because Ford’s ad campaign is: “Go Further.”  Little did they know that their slogan needed to be tweaked;  that is, apparently Ford needs to clarify to their truck buyers that the drivers should go further in the correct lane. 🙄

The Last Roses Of The Season With A Hint Of Shakespeare

“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

~ Romeo and Juliet

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The other morning I gave the shrub roses their last trim of the season.  Even though the calendar says it’s fall, these bushes are officially ready for winter.

Most of the roses were faded and falling apart, but a few flowers were still buds or starting to bloom.

I saved the healthy stragglers, putting them together in a casual bouquet in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Later I noticed that the sun, shining through the window, made the water sparkle and the colors pop, leaving me with one last glimpse of summer’s beauty, while waiting for winter to arrive.

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“Light, seeking light, doth light of light beguile;
So ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.”

~ Love’s Labor’s Lost

No Conundrums. No Chaos. No Calamities.

The title of this post explains it.

BUTTERFLY BLUR

Most of the time when I write here I have something specific to *blah, blah, blah* about, but today all is well.

BUTTERFLY IN ACTION

So instead of manufacturing a faux problem to blog about I’ll share a few photos of a pretty butterfly flitting about, with purpose and intent, on our butterfly bush.

BUTTERFLY CLOSE-UP

I believe that sometimes it all comes together and the best thing to do is to appreciate it.  Like I’m doing today.

When A Bee Gets Buzzed, What Does It Mean?

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MY WEEK THUS FAR HAS BEEN A DOOZY, filled with broken things, unreliable people, and inconveniently rainy weather.  Nothing, despite my best efforts, has gone smoothly.

Exhausted after a trying day, I was sitting on our deck last night.  I had a glass of pinot noir on the table beside me, and was minding me own beeswax, so to speak.

A bee, like the one in the photo above, came out of nowhere and flew directly, seemingly intentionally, into my glass of wine, then proceeded to do the backstroke in the wine in the glass.

As much as this sounds like I’m making up this story, I’m being literal: a large, healthy bee, managed to ruin my glass of red wine, while having himself the best swim ever.

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IT WAS HILARIOUS TO WATCH HIM going around in circles inside the glass, of course.  However, at the same time, it was damned annoying because the wine wasn’t a cheap bottle of plonk– and I had to toss the contents of the glass, bee and all, over the side of the deck onto the grass below.

Zen-Den, gracious human being that he is, brought me another glass of wine from the bottle in the kitchen… and he handed me a paper cocktail napkin to use to cover the top of the glass while I continued to sit on the deck.

But me being me, an English major educated and encouraged to find the meaning in all things, I got lost in my head trying to figure out what it meant that a bee got buzzed, in a most dramatic way, right when I was trying to mellow out.

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THE BEST EXPLANATION I COULD COME UP WITH, based on Occam’s Razor‘s idea of simplicity + obviousness, was that the bee represented me this week, busy doing things, but not in ways that make me happy.

And that following the bee’s lead, I needed to speed up my wine consumption if I was to have as much fun and relaxation as this uninvited bee was having in my wine glass.

So, not being one to argue with Scientific Logic, or the Serendipitous Nature of the Universe, I drank my first glass of wine. Then sipped another one. And suddenly, as if it was all meant to be, everything seemed right within my world. 

A Refreshing Conversation With An Older Gentleman Who Takes Life In Stride

“Sometimes you’re the windshield, Sometimes you’re the bug…” 

I was listening to an older acquaintance chuckle as he told me about a scam he’d gotten caught up in.  He understood what had happened and how it’d happened.

After some research and many phone calls, he’d extracted himself from the scam and was a few hundred dollars poorer because of it.

He told me that in retrospect he realized that the whole mess was less about him being stupid, than about the scam being slick and sophisticated, taking advantage of his trusting nature + his unfamiliarity with certain details.

No surprise there, eh?

But what struck me about this conversation, that was more like a monologue, was that this older gentleman telling me this story wasn’t bitter about what had happened.  There was not one ounce of “I’m a victim” or “I blame _____” going on with this guy.

Instead, he was telling his story as a cautionary tale.  All he needed was for someone to listen and understand his predicament– and for someone to tell him that he “done good” solving the problem himself.

All of which got me thinking…

When was the last time you were part of a conversation like this one?  SERIOUSLY, when did you last listen to someone who had been taken advantage of– and who wasn’t whining and emoting about the unfairness of it all?

Someone who was behaving like an adult who grasped the fact that in the rhythm of life not everything works out as planned– and that’s ok, too, because if you’re smart, you learn from it and move on.

Like this older gentleman did, in his quiet self-deprecating way.