Saturday, December 27, 2014

Alien Aversion

I have spent a lot of time with aliens lately. As a result of this blog post, I have spent most of the Christmas season TV-bingeing on Dr. Who. With two seasons left of eight, I am coming in on the home stretch. I have enjoyed some seasons more than others, some episodes more than others, and some doctors more than others. That being said, on the whole, it's a great show, and unless things go really sideways, I intend to keep current.

While discovering a new TV series and watching one's way through is not a significant event in and of itself, it becomes more interesting when I clarify that sci-fi is not my thing--fantasy doesn't generally tend to be my thing, either. I don't do Star Wars or Star Trek, and while I have seen Lord of the Rings, I can't say I particularly cared for them. I also couldn't hack the Chronicles of Narnia. 

On the other hand, I quite like Superman (mostly Lois & Clark, Smallville, and the original movies), I thoroughly enjoyed Firefly, and I love Harry Potter. And it looks as if we can add Dr. Who to the list.

So as a general rule, I tend to avoid aliens, talking animals, and non-human creatures, but clearly there are exceptions. I have always thought it must have something to do with how much of the story line exists on earth, and how many humans are involved. I have noticed that the Dr. Who episodes I like most, for instance, are the ones that involve a personal struggle for the main characters, not so much the ones where aliens are being shot with lasers. As the alien-to-human ratio of this show generally teeters on the borderline of what I can handle, I have been thinking about this affinity (or lack thereof) to aliens and sci-fi a lot over the last several weeks.

Aside from running counter to the realistic, down-to-earth mindset with which I tend to view the world, I often just find aliens creepy. Remember that old show, Unsolved Mysteries? Yeah, I could never watch that. Admittedly, there have been a couple Dr. Who episodes where I've had to look away from the screen when the aliens came out. I have also been turning on more lights lately (and not just cuz the sun still goes down at 4:30).

The creepy aliens (Dr. Who or otherwise) never look human, never sound human, and they are rarely portrayed as having positive intent. They often have powers unseen, which makes them unpredictable.

Fear of the unknown, I guess. And a couple weeks ago, I discovered something new about this fear. While browsing Sesame Street for work, I remembered this video.


I remember being completely scared by these two Martians. I would leave the room or cover my ears and eyes if this clip (and I think the telephone one) came on during the show. I did not like their creepy voices, the way they moved, and I did not like the fact that they could travel through walls.

I was maybe five years old.

I'd all but forgotten about these creatures until a couple of weeks ago. And this, along with my other recent extraterrestrial reflections, leaves me wondering: is it the very core of my being that has me uncomfortable with the idea of aliens, or was this Sesame Street clip where the alien aversion started? I may never know.

I think I'm just glad that, as far as we know to date, the key word in science-fiction is fiction.

Now, if you'll excuse me the Doctor is about to save the planet (again).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Light

In the waning winter sky
the earth passes
around
the far corner of the sun

And
the darkness
creeping in

Retreats 





  - GB

Sunday, December 7, 2014

SOTC 135/365

An Evening Walk on Game Night (SOTC 135/365)
An Evening Walk on Game Night, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can We Quit Losing Our $#!*& Over Holiday Greetings?!

GloriaI'm Christian. So I celebrate Christmas. If you ask me for the definition of Christmas, I will tell you that it's a celebration of the day Jesus Christ was born into this world.1 I will tell you it's an important day for me and other believers, because we believe that Jesus was born into this world as our Lord and Saviour. I believe Jesus is God, born in human form. To a virgin. In a barn. Fully human and fully divine. That's my faith. And so I celebrate Christmas. And therefore often greet others with, "Merry Christmas!"

To be honest, I do wonder a bit at the masses of people who choose to say they celebrate Christmas when they don't believe any part of its definition. I mean, if you don't believe in Jesus, and therefore have no reason to honour his birthday, then why do you say you celebrate Christmas? I do wish people would be accurate in defining the holiday they believe in and celebrate.

But outside of that semantic detail, I actually have no issue with whatever holiday that is.

I'm not offended if you tell me Happy Hannukah.
I'm not offended if you wish me Happy Diwali.
I'm not offended with a Happy Solstice.
Or Happy Kwanzaa.
And I'm not offended if you greet me with Happy Holidays.

Luminaria III A lot of different celebrations happen at this time of year. I don't know the origins of all winter celebrations, but good grief--Jesus' birthday isn't even in December; we just piggy-backed the timing on a pagan solstice holiday that already existed3. So who am I to get all up in your celebrations?!

As near as I can tell, all these winter celebrations are about peace.

All these celebrations embrace light.


All these celebrations encourage giving.


All these celebrations mean joy!


And lastly, all these celebrations come from a practice of love.

So if we4 are getting our tinsel in such a tangle over what celebration others are sharing with us, that we can't see the intention behind their greeting, then we've missed the point entirely. And worse, we become hypocrites of our own faith. It IS possible to have a strong faith--live it, breathe it, maybe even preach it--without passing judgement on the faiths of others.

In the office small-talk, in the checkout line at the supermarket, or in the parking lot at the mall, I can't tell, just by looking, what you celebrate, any more than you can tell what I celebrate. That being said, when you wish me Happy Holidays, know that I'm not one of those people who will then try and correct your greeting by explaining what 'one' faith this time of year is 'really' about. December is not the time for theological debate. From me, your greeting can be guaranteed a response of, "thanks, you too!"

And all I ask is the same in return.





1 As supported by the following:
dictionary.com - the festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus.
merriam-webster.com - a Christian holiday that is celebrated on December 25 in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ
thefreedictionary.com - A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus.
wikipedia.com - annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

2 Which, to be fair, means I should really decorate a palm tree each year, because it would be a more accurate reflection of a true "Christmas" tree. Decorating an evergreen is more in line with celebrating the Solstice.


3 Hear that, fellow Christians? Jesus is not the original reason for the season. He's just the reason for ours.


4 Not 'we' as Christians, but 'we' as society--all faiths are guilty of slamming other faiths at this time of year.

SOTC 134/365

A bit of tropical reprieve on a cold winter day in Edmonton.

Lillies Spilling (SOTC 134/365)
Lillies Spilling, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Like

On August 16, a post weaved its way through my Facebook feed on the effects of a social experiment one individual undertook. Essentially, she decided not to 'like' things on Facebook and see what happened.

She noticed two big changes that affected how she used Facebook. #1, she got more relevant ads and recommendations in her feed. #2, she was able to connect with people better because she was actually saying something in the comments instead of simply giving "the wordless nod of support in a loud room."

I was intrigued.

I decided to take the same challenge.

Four months later, I have still not 'liked' a single post.

I have no idea how this has affected Facebook's advertising on my feed, because I downloaded a nifty little app called AdBlock, so I don't see much advertising anymore.

From a social perspective, however, it has noticeably altered my Facebook interactions. As mentioned in the original post, the 'like' has become the equivalent of the head nod of agreement we would give someone if we'd heard the comment or story in person. Because a screen separates us physically in our Facebook interactions, the 'like' lets others know we are paying attention. It also lets us know we are getting attention. It surprises me how, despite being more intentional about how I respond to other's posts, I still crave a high number of 'likes' on my own.

Choosing not to 'like' has forced me to sit back and reflect on what I really want to say to a person. Sometimes, I do have something meaningful to say, and I will post a comment. Other times, mind you, the head nod or smile stops at the screen. Sometimes it's a tricky decision--sometimes my reaction to someone's post really is just an enthusiastic head nod of, "nice!" So, I have to consider, if I've refused to just 'like' the post, is it worth creating a comment for one word? And if I choose not to comment, then how will she know I enjoyed what she shared?

But why do we need to know? I think this is the overarching question. Why do I still need to know how many likes (and sometimes by whom) my posts receive? And how come I need to make my awareness or approval of a post known to the one who posted it?

If I was interacting with someone in person, not responding to something they said or presented would be socially offensive. If we like what others say or do, we tell them, we smile, we nod, we have an interested look in our eyes. If we don't like what they're doing, we make a statement, we frown, we roll our eyes, we raise an eyebrow. We respond somehow.

So is that all that's going on here?

Is my need to know and be known just the tension that comes from living on one side of the screen?

Or is it more than that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SOTC 133/365

Notre Dame Basilica, Side Right (133/365)
Notre Dame Basilica, Side Right, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 132/365

A Bright and Yellow (132/365)

A Bright and Yellow, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SOTC 131/365

From the top Branches (SOTC 131/365)


For those of you who think I'm dangling precariously in the top branches of this tree, you're wrong. I love climbing trees, but my position is 10ft away on the lawn.

Gorilla pod + remote shooting app = awesome.

SOTC 130/365

Autumn Afternoon Bike Ride (SOTC 130/365)


I bought





So.
Much.
Fun.


SOTC 129/365

Autumn at the Bird Mansion (SOTC 129/365)
Autumn at the Bird Mansion, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 128/365

Off (SOTC 128/365)
Off, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank


"Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves."

- Humbert Wolfe

At the Market (SOTC 127/365)

Pottery Display (SOTC 127/365)
Pottery Display, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 126/365

Rose Study III (SOTC 126/365)

Rose Study III, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Monday, October 27, 2014

Everything Old is [Kinda] New Again

I am recognizing more and more that trends from my own generation or slightly before are coming back around full circle for the younger generation--I also recognize that this fact means I am getting old experienced nostalgic ...cultured?

I had another one of those mixed moments of timey-wimey nostalgia today. I saw this ad on TV, and was raising half an eyebrow at the techno-zombie piece of it, until right at the very end, where I was thrown straight back to the late 80's, and a toy I had of my own.

What I saw today:



Are you a child of the 80's? Did you get thrown back to the same place as I?

HINT:



...I thought the throwbacks were for Thursdays...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bragging on my Workplace

I have often mentioned my work--my job, my passion--here on this blog. We have made the news a few times in recent years, usually in conjunction with a fundraiser event. This morning, CTV beautifully portrayed who GRIT is, and what we are all about. I'd love to share it with you.

The Essence of GRIT

Friday, October 10, 2014

SOTC 125/365

Transition (SOTC 125/365)
Transition, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Thursday, October 9, 2014

SOTC 124/365

On An Autumn Morning (SOTC 124/365)
On an Autumn Morning, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Saturday, October 4, 2014

SOTC 123/365

Chance Encounter with a Ladybug (SOTC 123/365)
Chance Encounter with a Ladybug, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Soul Expands (SOTC 122/365)

Last Sunset of Summer (SOTC 122/365)






"When I admire the wonder of a sunset ... my soul expands in worship of the Creator."


-- Mahatma Gandhi















Last Sunset of Summer, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 121/365

Towards Telus (SOTC 121/365)

Towards Telus, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Saturday, September 20, 2014

SOTC 120/365

A hint of the Urban at Sunset (SOTC 120/365)
A Hint of the Urban at Sunset, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SOTC 119/365

Acorn (SOTC 119/365)
Acorn, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Thursday, September 11, 2014

SOTC 118/365

Autumn Soon Arrives in Edmonton (SOTC 118/365)
Autumn Soon Arrives in Edmonton, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Sunday, September 7, 2014

SOTC 117/365

Fall Florals (SOTC 117/365)
Fall Florals, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Friday, September 5, 2014

SOTC 116/365

The Trail Invites You Down
The Trail Invites You Down, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Sunday, August 17, 2014

SOTC 115/365

Flying into the Evening (SOTC 115/365)

Fly into the Evening, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Monday, August 11, 2014

SOTC 114/365

The Old Barn Door (SOTC 114/365)

The Old Barn Door, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sunset in a Flower (SOTC 113/365)

Sunset in a Flower (SOTC 112/365)
Sunset in a Flower, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

SOTC 112/365

Slender Buds of Green (SOTC 111/365)

Slender Buds of Green, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

SOTC 111/365

Bold (SOTC 110/365)

Bold, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Monday, July 28, 2014

SOTC 110/365

Poppy Head (SOTC 110/365)

Poppy Head, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

SOTC 109/365

You Almost Can't Tell He's Eating (SOTC 109/365)
You Almost Can't Tell He's Eating, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

A Year With Tom

Dear Tom,

It's been an interesting year, hasn't it? We didn't exactly choose each other, did we. We were matched a bit more through necessity than choice, and it's been an interesting year getting to know you.

When you arrived, I was still grieving a vehicle who had given me so many good years and memories. I had been treated poorly by the ones who made you, the ones who released you to me, and other vehicles similar to yourself. So by the time we met, I was both relieved to finally have you and yet wary of you at the same time. For a long time, all I could think was,

You are not Aubergine.

You are noisier than she was.
You are just a bit slower to get everything going in the morning.
Sometimes you're glitchy, and it's annoying.
Your oil changes are more expensive.
And your mileage isn't all that much better.

So I made you prove yourself to me. Over the course of the year, I've put you through the paces a bit to show you how we do things around here, and to see if you could keep up. I've filled your trunk with all manner of things needing to go all manner of places. I've plunked a variety of small, unpredictable people into your back seat. I left you at the airport for five days. I've dragged you all over the city at all times of day. Together, you and I have traipsed through prairies, foothills, mountains. Sunshine, rain, and snow. Keep up; and, you did.

I still find myself thinking,

You are not Aubergine.

Because I can finally listen to my iPod and iPhone through your speakers.
And all your speakers work.
And because your wheels may have had a hard time this winter, but you certainly did not.
You still have a bit of that new car smell.
You have six gears--totally fun.
You have cruise control!

...You're actually a pretty decent little car.

There are still parts of you that are unpredictable. And noisy. But we are starting to create some memories, you and I. And I think I find myself enjoying you.

Friday, July 18, 2014

On the Validation of my Being by Facebook

This summer has me working my way through both the reading list stacked by my bed, as well as a reading list of websites saved in my browser. Recently, I spent quite a bit of time exploring one particular site--an interactive article on The Guardian about The Seven Digital Deadly Sins. Same seven sins you're likely familiar with, dropped into the 21st century. Those interviewed, in the videos especially, made some very thought-provoking remarks.

It has been interesting to consider how social media has changed since it started to become popular several years ago.

I know that my social media practices have evolved over time too. I am connected to several social media platforms, all with slightly different purposes. Nevertheless, the biggest one still remains to be Facebook. As I reflect back, I know that I have changed the way I use Facebook since I joined in 2007. For example, if I don't know you overly well, I've altered my settings such that there is limited material you can see on my profile. And while admittedly, it feels wrong to 'unfriend' people whose behaviour hasn't warranted it, I've stopped 'following' the feed of many acquaintances that I wouldn't normally keep track of outside of Facebook. I say "Happy Birthday!" to less people because there's a cohort of individuals to whom I'm close enough that I'd rather text or e-mail directly; and another cohort that I haven't talked to since I wished them a happy birthday last year, so I'm guessing they probably won't miss me. I update my status less, because it bugs me when people write pointless statuses, so I'd better follow my own example (what constitutes 'pointless' is subjective, I know). I post less pictures of what I'm doing, partly because I'm too busy enjoying whatever it is I'm doing to take pictures and partly because some things get redundant. And, less of my Flickr photos are shared in my Facebook albums, because anyone can download those images (even if they are compressed within an inch of their life).

The reason I have enjoyed Facebook is because, as an introvert, it gives me a low-energy platform in which to socialize. I can read and post on my time, in my own way. It reduces the need to engage in meaningless small talk the next time I see someone in real life--I can ditch the, "lovely weather this morning, hey?" for a, "looks like you got the fire pit up and running last night!", which is probably a topic my conversation partner and I both care much more about.

As much as I utilize Facebook, mind you, I feel like I have been scrolling through more chaff than wheat sometimes as I review the newsfeed. I have become increasingly annoyed with the way that Facebook has become a breeding ground for a): Useless stuff, b): proving oneself and c): feeding any insecurity anyone might have about anything.

Exhibit A:



Okay, admittedly, I am guilty of doing some of these quizzes--heck, I used to do them all the time in magazines. But since I got a degree in [actual] psychology and said goodbye to my 20's, the frequency has gone down to once-in-a-blue-moon-because-that's-how-often-I-get-THAT-bored. I mean occasionally, they can be a little bit fun. That being said, it strikes me as odd how frequently they pop up in certain peoples' FB feeds. My first thought is, "how can ten questions reliably tell you anything about yourself that you didn't already know!?" Also… if I could be associated with a certain font, celebrity, fictional character, etc., do I want Buzzfeed to be the one to determine that for me? Or would I rather a friend tell me, "hey, you totally remind me of..."? Not because that would be any less weird, but because what they say has meaning. Buzzfeed, not so much.

The same goes for the less-frequent-but-still-seen-with-too-much-regularity personality quizzes. The ones that ask you to answer fifty questions about yourself and then tag ten people to do the same. I used to think these were fun, and--as an introvert--a great way to share a little bit about myself in a fun way. But when I started thinking about it, I realized I was giving the internet a fair bit of personal details about my life that could probably be horribly misused by some computer hacker or sociopath. YES, I know the chances of having my identity hacked are low, and YES, my Facebook security levels are high, but hackers know how to get around that stuff. I have pulled back on how much personal information is readily accessible on FB, in the off chance that it could be used inappropriately.

And I understand that someone may perceive my hilarious video of animals to be Facebook fodder. But I would argue that there's still a purpose behind posts like that. I have started to watch many videos, only to realize that I don't find it as funny as the person who posted it did, but I don't consider it a useless post. Why? Because it's meant to make people laugh. Laughter is good for us--science would even tell us as much. But when it comes to quizzes... like I said... what can ten questions answer for you that you didn't really already know?

Exhibit B:


Now, I believe wholeheartedly with the first two sentences. But images like these bug me. Especially when they finish off with, "let's see who cares enough to repost," or, "post this for at least an hour," or something along those lines. I have the same reaction as I do when I'm at a concert, and the lead singer asks people to stand up or start clapping or waving their hands around. It makes me want to do the exact opposite. Not because I'm not enjoying myself, but because now you're making me do it your way, and it becomes artificial. I don't have to defend my preference to take in the music sitting down. I get the same feeling with these kinds of images. It's not that I don't care about autism, Jesus, world hunger, or global warming. But don't make me share how I feel about those things so artificially. I don't have to defend my beliefs and expressions of such to Facebook. And why should you?

By all means, share what you're passionate about on social media--there is a diversity of thought out there, and it can be so rich. But consider, which speaks more loudly to your audience? Sharing the above graphic? Or sharing a photo of you and an individual with special needs doing something fun together? I would argue that if you truly believe in something, or care about something, you won't have to justify it with a graphic like this. It will come out in the educational articles you share; it will come out in the real-event photos that were taken; it will come out in TED talk you posted so excitedly. Your passions shouldn't be spread along like a chain letter.

Exhibit C:


We all use the internet to glean advice and resources. If we're researching a topic, we will likely start with the World Wide Web. But it seems that over the last couple of years, we have taken this advice, and flung it at each other the way monkeys do with their faeces. The parent who lets their child co-sleep with them flings out a blog post about the evils of letting your child sleep alone or cry it out. The parent who lets their child cry it out posts an article on the [perceived] lack of independence in the child who co-sleeps. The vegetarian flings out an article on all the reasons red meat is bad for your health. And then the farmer flings back his retort about the dying out of farms because people won't eat meat.

Good grief.

Co-sleeping is not wrong. Cry it out is not wrong. Vegetarianism is not wrong. Eating meat is not wrong. And even when we are throwing out ethical articles and resources that touch on values with actual significant moral and social consequences--we are still just flinging faeces. We can't change people by instilling fear in them. Or ramming morals down their throats. Or claiming I'm-right-you're-wrong by the way we post or the tone of the article. Social media, best used, is a place to start a conversation. And when there is actual solid evidence for a given practice--parenting, education, lifestyle, or otherwise--there are still tactful, respectful ways to share that information. Yes, I would LOVE to know why you've chosen a gluten-free diet for your family. I just don't want to feel like I have to do the same because you are, or that I am lesser than because I use whole grain bread for my sandwiches.

There's so much information out there. I'm starting to understand what Thomas Edison meant when he said, "we don't know a millionth of one percent about anything." And this declaration was made well before we had access to the World Wide Web in our back pocket.

I will admit, too, it is easy to get sucked into shouting my opinions out as gospel truth for the world to hear; or defending my values when they feel threatened, even by people in my Facebook feed that I hardly ever talk to. Sometimes I have to pause, and consciously move on up my newsfeed while resisting the urge to fight back against some article that someone's posted that makes my eyes roll. And every now and then, I get fed up. I rant, I get sarcastic. I'm not claiming that I have immunity against using poor social media etiquette on occasion. 

And sometimes it takes me effort to remember that I don't have to validate who I am through Facebook. That's not what social media is for. It will be interesting to see how social media continues to evolve. I keep hoping for increased intentionality in what people post, but some days...

As I mentioned previously, I can't change anyone's beliefs by ramming words down their throats. So what is your reason for using social media? What trips you up? What makes you roll your eyes? And do the answers to those questions guide your own posts online?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

SOTC 108/365

Sun (SOTC 108/365)







"...the sunset, His signature."

-- Unknown

Sunday, July 13, 2014

SOTC 107/365

Thistle Bud (SOTC 107/365)
Thistle Bud, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Friday, July 11, 2014

SOTC 106/365

"Quack."

Quack (SOTC 106/365)

Quack, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Her Morning Walk

I'd almost forgotten about her. On a route I don't often take anymore, and a little later in the morning than I travel most of the year, our paths just don't cross. But there she was again. Just like last summer.

If I leave on time so that I pass along the avenue at 8:45 a.m., it's pretty much a guarantee she'll be there. She walks with the wide, semi-shuffling gait of the elderly, and yet, she walks with purpose; marching along in her floral blouse and floppy hat.

As I sail past her on my morning commute, I look at her and wonder:

Where do you come from?

How far do you go?

When did you start walking?

Do you walk year-round?

I wonder if any of the other drivers notice her. Does she notice us? Do any of the 'regular' vehicles stand out to her, as she stands out to me?

I respect this routine she's established for herself. I admire her commitment. I have never been one to stick to a consistent physical activity routine. My physical activity is more sprinkled throughout my week, and often disguised as other activities (i.e. gardening). And especially when it comes to mornings, the only thing I'm intentional about is my coffee.

But there has always been something I've respected about these elderly--the mall walkers, the aquasizers, the summer strollers. Moving regularly in whatever way they can. Keeping their bodies and their brains active. I can only presume that they have realized that if they are still on this earth, they have a purpose, and it likely does not involve sitting around on a couch somewhere watching daytime TV.

So I raise my travel mug and nod to the lady in the floppy hat.

It's good to see you again this morning.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Alberta Lovely (SOTC 105/365)

Alberta Lovely (SOTC 105/365)
Alberta Lovely, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

SOTC 104/365

Heart of the Peony
Heart of the Peony, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

She's Classy Like That (SOTC 103/365)

Timing is everything.

She's Classy Like That (SOTC 102/365)
She's Classy Like That, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Saturday, May 31, 2014

SOTC 102/365

Bug on a Button I (SOTC 102/365)
Bug on a a Button, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SOTC 101/365

Fiddle in the Evening Sun (SOTC 101/365)
Fiddle in the Evening Sun, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 100/365

"A flower's appeal is in its contradictions — so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance, so small in size yet big in beauty, so short in life yet long on effect."


-- Terri Guillemets

Hyacinth and Tulip Blend (SOTC 100/365)

SOTC 99/365

The Old Window (SOTC 99/365)
The Old Window, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 98/365

Under the Hammock III (SOTC 98/365)
Under the Hammock, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

SOTC 97/365

Pretty Little Trio (SOTC 97/365)
Pretty Little Trio, a photo on Flickr by Gina Blank

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Cameras Don't Bounce

It was in my hands; then it was on the ground.

I couldn't even tell you exactly what happened, it was so quick. I had removed it from around my shoulders so that I could get a low-down shot of a pink-and-yellow tulip I particularly admired (a shot that never worked out, by the way). When I stood up--maybe I stepped on the edge of the dangling strap. Maybe someone else did. Maybe I bumped into something.

The next thing that registers in my brain is the simultaneous whack of camera against concrete, and the crunch of breaking glass. There is a split-second where a few people in the immediate area turn towards the noise, and join my friend and I as we, quite audibly, gasp. In the next split-second, the crowd has assessed the irrelevance of the event to their own lives, and has turned its attention back to previous affairs, while I have scooped the camera up off the ground and am moving to a less crowded area so I can assess the damage.

I turn the camera off and on; it still works. Miraculously--I don't remember doing this--the live-view screen has been folded inwards, so it is completely intact. I gently shake the camera back and forth. It seems there are no rattling pieces inside; a good sign.*

I inspect my 18-135mm IS lens. Certainly not my most expensive, but not my cheapest either. And currently my favourite. The UV filter I place on all my lenses to protect them is completely broken. I carefully remove the few broken bits of glass from around the edges. The metal ring that screws into the lens itself is bent, and therefore jammed. I cannot pry it off the lens, nor can I attach anything to it (other filters, the lens cap). The plastic rim of the lens is chipped in a couple small places. But as I twist the lens to zoom in, out, and take a couple test shots, it looks as if that may be the worst of it.




My camera works. The lens works. Neither are broken (nor likely even compromised, what with a little work once I get home to pry the ring off the lens).

"Oh, my God, thank You!" I literally shout towards the sky.

Suddenly, I am in awe of much more than the tulips I came for in the first place.







* that being said, some tiny part rattled around inside my old dSLR for years without compromising its function.