Sunday, August 31, 2008

Photos from Ted Nugent Concert in Animoto Digital Video...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Nuge

It was 20 years ago...that I first started shooting concerts locally for WIZN. I was 18 and thrilled for free concerts, and cool photos. No pay - but it didn't matter it made me happy. One of the first major bands I got to work with was Bad Company, and their opening act - Damn Yankees. Once Bad Company actually told me the name of some songs they recorded, I at least knew I knew who they were. And that they were okay and fun. The other band? The main players were Tommy Shaw of Styx and Michael Cartalone of Knight Ranger. At least in my mind. (Only from the mind of Minolta).

There was this other guy though who seemed to strike fear into my parents hearts at first. Ted Nugent. "The Nuge." I had fun over the course of 2 years catching up with these two bands and shooting whenever and wherever I could. Even at one show earned my stripes and got an All Access Pass for the two bands - in case I could make it to New Orleans. I was 20 and in college. The show in New Orleans was right after school started - but hell, yeah, I was on the road and going.

The final stop of their worldwide tour, these two bands were in New Orleans to play (literally) and play and have some fun. My view of New Orleans will forever be seen through the eyes of these two bands, and a few Banana Banshees.

These were some amazing memories from that tour - but my two favorites were from Middletown, NY where I managed to get a kid who was at the concert through Make-A-Wish backstage to meet Ted. He'd gotten amazing tickets, but not been granted permission to go backstage. Bully on that! It was a great thing to be able to see happen.

The other was much more personal. The morning after the last show in New Orleans, I called home and talked to Mom and Dad, and found out Nana Visco was not doing well. Not expected to make it through the week. I still had a few more days left on the trip, but knew I wanted to get back to New York to see her. Ted and Tommy got up after 3 hours of sleep, helped me pack, rearrange travel plans and got me a limo to the airport.

You know they put on their pants the same way you and I do - one leg at a time.

So, when 20 years later, Ted's coming to town - I had to take pictures. Had to. No real reason why - just for the sheer fun of it. The memory of what was. Well - he didn't let me down. With a single email request I had my photo access, and Geoff and I ended up with seats in the 6th row center. SWEET. First three, no flash. Same rules as always. Only now, the audience is allowed cameras, just not video or "professional cameras."

There I am, side by side with Alison Redlich from the local daily and the newly hired Communications Director for the Fair. And loving it. 20 years later I know that I am THAT good. That my pictures are that good. That I have every right to be up here with these people. And we talked cameras, favorite shows, and why I do it.

Why - because it makes me feel alive. I have an adrenaline rush a high that is almost unexplainable. To Ted fans - it's the thrill of the hunt - for the perfect picture combining good photography, sense of the music, the persona and a glimpse of the real person. It's my relationship with the person I am shooting.

So all said and done - I had a ball. Got some great photos and made a couple of new acquaintances. Maybe 20 years down the road I be looking back at this night and realizing what came from it, just as I look back to 1990 and New Orleans.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

So about 5 weeks ago I started my 8930728934th diet. Oh, that's right. It's NOT a diet. It's a lifestyle program. Whatever you call it, it's still a diet. A losing battle. As someone who has been oversized and undertall her whole life, losing weight sometimes seems like a battle that can't be one. Each time I have managed to lose some weight, I gain it alllllll back and then some. And I'll admit it - I love my breads, pastas, and twizzlers!

No surprise to most who have ever been overweight, I grew up in a house where food was love. You gave someone food if you loved them. You ate everything you were served if you loved them. You fought over who got which leftovers from Thanksgiving, because whomever got Aunt Marie's stuffing (or the largest amount of it) - you were LOVED.

I know the process of journaling every calorie eaten, of tracking how much exercise I do (walking counts), of tracking fats, carbs, proteins, steps...the list goes on. Intellectually, I KNOW this. But the mind block comes in - I'd rather stay in bed than walk. Watch the Olympics table tennis than work out. I make really good healthy vegetarian chili that I love, and so does my husband. BUt it's in the fridge a week later, forsaken for the weekly trip to Hoagies, dinner with mom, lunch at Ponderosa...

I struggle how to get from where I am, to where I want to be. It's a long road, and hard to see the end point. I know that even 10% of body weight lost can make a difference, but when according to everything I've got 56% of my body to lose, it seems insurmountable.

Perhaps if I was nearly as comfortable in my own skin as my friend Kat (in the photo above), this wouldn't be as obnoxiously painful. But, I'm not comfortable this way. Let's face it - I don't want to be seen in a bathing suit, shorts, dresses that require nylons. I hate that I have to order my bras online as there is no place locally to get them my size. I hate that I can't keep up with my husband and go for a walk with him - between his long legs and stride, and better fitness level, I just can't keep up. I want to be doing taekwondo again, hell, I want to make it to the gym for water aerobics. But again that short-circuit is in effect and I am struggling.

It's not over till the fat lady sings, goes the statement. I hear no divas singing in my neck of the woods yet!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Forever Family!

Ah - family. No word can bring up more intense emotions. Like 'em, love'em, hate'em, or never knew 'em - there is no one that hasn't been affected in some manner by their family.

And then there are the chosen families. I'm blessed in that I have two chosen families. For decades (Egads!) I've called Geoff's mom "Mom." Okay - so has pretty much everyone who is important in geoff's world. But we've all adopted her as our own. I'm lucky in that now, by nature of marriage, she actually is mine!

And then there are the Perry's. Bruce and Sue (pink and blue shirts) were the best man and woman at our wedding. They hid the ring for Geoff. It was with their family present that he proposed. Sue is like the big sister I never had, and Shanna (middle, back row) is like the younger sister I never had!

There is nothing that I can't imagine doing for them - even sending my husband forth to take care of 20+ chickens for a few days. He HATES chickens as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes. The little guy in front is their a daughter/step-daughter from a previous marriage and life. As of today, he is their child. They officially adopted him into their family - legally, permanently, forever.

The kids have always know Geoff and I as Aunt and Uncle, and I count that as an honor and a privilege not to be taken lightly! Knowing what it is to be family, to be invited in and welcomed as a part of the clan is a gift.

Isiaha understands that through the eyes of a 7 year-old right now. It feels nice, there's lots of attention, and people love him. But it won't be for years that he understands the choices that were involved. Shanna's basically no longer an only child. Bruce and Sue have years more parenting ahead of them that were not in the plans. Geoff and I will be there as much as we can for all of them - to help with homework, listen to tears, go on joyrides and apple picking.

I'm proud of my Shanna (okay, she's not mine, but I claim her anyways in this!) - she's handling all the changes remarkably well for a young lady in the prime time of chaos - teenage years, transitioning to high school and generally trying to figure out exactly who she is. She's someone with spunk, pride, joy and a spirit that shines through - despite the fact that some days are really trying. Having to share Mom and Dad...her space...her world. It's been hard adjusting to having another little guy around at all times- but she's done it as gracefully as I believe could have been done. Sure, again, some days - it's still hard, and I'm sure she longs to be "the only one" again - but, inside I know this holds truer and stronger - she knows that Isiaha will have a good and stable home, with people (herself included) who love him enough to set rules, say no, and oh yeah - have a good time too!

It'll be tough for all of them - emotionally, financially, physically - but they will be there through it all for each other. The temper tantrums that are bound to happen, and the first love. The first car accident and the first date.

Bruce, Sue, and Shanna have made room in their house and hearts for a little guy who can be by turns stubborn, clingy, adorably cute, clever, and downright fun. It won't be for years that he sees that while they have taken him in (he is family) - that this isn't always a given. Sometimes there isn't a safe, loving space that this can happen. Sometimes the other family members aren't available - be they in another state, unknown, or unable to take care of a child.

Isiaha's birthday is in 3 days, and it may be years before he gets the gift that Bruce, Sue, Shanna and all those who love them have given. Until then, through pain, tears and laughter, they are family, and they are part of our family as well. And when that day comes, it will be wonderful to sit down with an older, wiser Isiaha and remember this day.

When his forever family chose him.

Monique (DCF) and George (Isiaha's Guardian Ad Litem) with Isiaha after the adoption in North Hero.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Animoto is Awesome!

And Sinead O'Connor still is AMAZING!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

TVP and me

It's days like these that I feel like I have actually made some progress around the house that make me wish that I was better about doing it more consistently. Kind of the same for eating well. I've had my yogurts. I'm making TVP chili (and thinking of Tara, the first to introduce me to Textured Vegetable Protein). It is an amazingly tasty and nutrient filled. It's 11 AM, and there is already a lovely aroma of fresh made chili hanging in the air.

WHo's hungry?

Saturday, August 16, 2008


So here it is...two weeks before the end of the summer, and it has finally turned nice. While it's been raining all along, I haven't much missed having a week's worth of days with little calling my name but knitting, reading and napping. Soon Geoff starts his internship where he'll be working more than a full time job, taking classes and prepping for both jobs. It'll be a hectic crazy ten months, but then it's all done - he'll be graduated and have a Masters in Counseling. YIPEE!

I'm thinking about a couple of day run to Phoenix between November an February, as there will be a desert Chihuly exhibit there. I'm still not sure I can justify the amount of money it would be to do it though.

Until next summer, given the crazy scheduling, I have a feeling that it will feel a bit like a marathon at our house. Not so much the sprint speed, but the long, grueling race requiring focus, dedication and commitment. I know we're both in for the long haul, but know that there will be some long months ahead. I know we're not the first to have this experience either, but it's still a lot to prepare for.

That's why the timing was perfect to sign up for the VTrim weight loss program that started the end of July and rns through sometimein January. Time to focus on good, healthy food. On me. On us. Time to work on getting to the gym. Time to get the proverbial and literal house in order.

Next June, Geoff turns 40 - and it's Vegas-time baby. Celebrating graduation, turning 40 and life in general - we'r sending him off for some well-deserved time in Vegas, perhaps his favorite play spot of all.

Watch out world!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Small Towns, Big Hearts

Today was the fifth or sixth time I've headed off to IBM for the annual back-to-school backpack and supply drive.

It was the first time for Lund Family Center, and I am grateful that they could include us this year.

Photo Opp:
John Allen from IBM stands with a "bus" full of Lund Family Center's supplies to deliver. Seth Gallant loads the HowardCenter - Child Youth and Family Services into Deb Sullivan's car.

It's been a rough year economically for just about everybody, and certainly locally for any family involved with IBM. Between the layoffs and the 12-hour shift premium reduction, it's been a hard year for the staff and families there particularly. I was certainly afraid that a backpack and supply drive might not do as well this year.

But my worries were for naught. In the space of 5-6 weeks, IBM Essex gathered over 1500 backpacks, and supplies to go with them all. Perhaps because it has been such a hard year economically these people opened their hearts to others who are not as fortunate as they are.

I'm psyched. Last night it was 70+ pairs of new shoes for the kids for the start of the school year from Maple Tree Place and their shoppers. Today it was school supplies from IBM staff. It's really nice to live in a small town where people still have big hearts and are connected to the whole community and truly care.

And for the kids connected to Lund - I'm most psyched of all. Nothing is more exciting than starting a new school year with new stuff with which to create new memories. Gotta love that!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Egads, I'm a GEEK!

This morning I did a presentation to several managers on proposed changes in look, structure and philosophy for the website for my agency.

As I did that, I reflected back on some key dates in my technological life:
1970: Born

early 70s: I had Pong and Skeet for my TV! I was COOL!

1977: First computer programming courses - Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Basic Programming.
(Okay - I learned Basic "BASIC" programming. But I learned how to teach a computer my name, to draw pictures using asterisks, tell jokes, etc...but it was my first real introduction to computing. The computer console was about the size of my current desk at work, and the computers were larger than I was!)

Got my own Atari! Breakout rocks, Asteroids...leading to Pac-Man and all the other fun games.

Got my first modem...1200 Baud dial up. Now I was really cool. I was in one town, working on a computer located at another town and maintaining membership and databases. I was a teenager and I had a DOS based computer and was dialing two towns over to enter data. Wicked cool.

Got to college, PS/2 in hand and discovered the VAX system. Was soon using VAX to talk with people in Rio. Sao Paolo, Ireland, etc. Became an operator on the IRC Relay. Now I was cutting edge. I was crossing continents and time zones. How cool was that.

Was an early homesteader on GeoPages, later becoming GeoCities. Built my first website using HTML. There was no easy HTML editor or WYSIWYG was all coding and programming.

Fast forward 13 years...
I'm drooling at the thought of being able to work on a website that is not "mine." Sold a couple of domains that I had started to other users. Created several online presences that continue beyond me. And still...I am loving the idea of starting over again with another site, another direction.

I am geekette!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Owned" Phenomenon

Recently, I've found myself hanging out online more and more, and doing less and less. Sure, I've been playing Mob Wars. Sure, I was a multi-millionaire on the Facebook game "Owned." But really - what does this all mean?

In Owned I'd spend hours and minutes clicking frantically through bad photos taken on cell phone cameras, a few really nice and obviously personal photos - but a vast majority were nothing more than images pulled from other websites of buxom women, hot young men, and funny moments. I'd spend hours buying and selling people. Making split second reactions on attractiveness (and occasionally on geekitude!) and deciding what could make me more money. What was that? Images of women in tight clothes, bikinis, often in provocative poses.

In Mob Wars, I ran around with my Mob as Mob Boss GangStaGwen. I had a few restuarants, villas and a city block and apartment. Made my money by jewelry heists, bootlegging, taking out people on the "Hit List," muggings and carjacking.

I've spent the past few days slowly passing off my online fortune, gallery of images and really looking forward to seeing the computer more as ally and tool. More writing, more photography, and not that there can't be fun in here -but I'm going to look at games that involve more thought and challenge, like Scrabulous did.

The main lesson here - I was served a not-so-subtle reminder that I do indeed have an addictive personality, and that the internet can take the place of carbs, startches, sweets as it might for an alcoholic, gambler, or other type of addict.

My second lesson/reflection - what exactly was I modelling to some of the kids I love (not that they are all online yet): violence is a way to succeed, being attractive makes you more valuable, being hot makes you extremely valuable, and mindlessly being a consumer of media is okay.

So let's start at the start - back to using talents and time more wisely. Remembering that there is a world that exists that does not include plasma, LCD or tubes. And most of all - that there are things far more worthy of addictive dedication - health, relationships, and creativity being just a few.