Saturday, October 31, 2009

Randy's Birthday Dinner

Randy's Birthday Dinner
Halloween is a special to me not only because I like playing dress up, but because it’s Randy’s birthday.

Before heading off to the Miller Halloween party tonight my sister made Randy a special birthday dinner consisting of squid larb, BBQ ribs, and som tum, all quite yummy. Thank you again sis!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Making the Costume


This year I’ve decided to be a BEER BELLY DANCER for Halloween (I would have been just a regular belly dancer, but I don’t quite have the figure for that, so I figured I would just work with the beer belly I’ve got). It was also the perfect compliment to Randy’s sheik costume.



My sister has been making my Halloween costumes for me since I was a little kid. No, none of that store bought stuff for me. Tonight she’s putting on the final touches to the skirt. I drove to her house for a final fitting after a frantic phone call from her saying that she might have measured me wrong for the skirt, “It’s so big! I think I measure you wrong.”

It turns out that she didn’t measure me incorrectly, I am just that big – 39 inch waist. I like my food, but don’t like exercise quite as much.

My sister is wonderful, not only did she make the costume for me (and insinuate that I was fat) she also made sure that I had something to eat. I love you sis! I really do.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gone too Soon

This morning I awoke to a voice mail from Ron. He didn’t say much, only for me to call him back. There was something about the way he said it, something in his voice. I knew something had happened to someone close to us… but what? and who? A few scenarios flashed in mind as I dialed Ron’s number, preparing to hear the worst.

It was Damon. “What?!?!” I was already sitting down, but I’m sure I would have fallen over if I wasn’t. Was it a heart attack? Did he slip in the shower? No. His death was suspicious was all they said. There was a flood of phone calls for the rest of the morning and early afternoon as I called people to find out what happened and other people called me. I found myself glued to the social networks hoping to find any news on what had happened.

A few hours later I got a phone call from Paula, the person who was responsible for introducing Damon and I in the first place all those years ago. She was frantic. The police were calling it a homicide. A coworker had found him at his home in Laguna Beach after he didn't show up for work on Friday. More phone calls.

By the afternoon I was physically and mentally exhausted. I was still dealing with the loss of Jerry, and now another wonderful member of our photo family is gone, and both too soon.

For more information please read this article by Rachanee Srisavasdi and Deepa Bharth at The Orange County Register.

***Update from Paula Martin (10/24/09 @ 10:07pm): I talked with the LB Police. They found Damon around 12 noon on Friday. The window of the last known contact with anyone was Thrs evening/early Friday am. Anyone knowing or has any information please contact the Laguna Beach Police at 949-497-0371/Detective Kelso. Any information no matter how small it may seem to you will help them. I spoke to the investigator Tim Kleiser at LBPD who said pass on this information to anyone who can help them. Damon was so special.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Krista's Beard


This semester Krista is taking a Stage Makeup class at Cypress College taught by Barbara Meyer. Each week she’s been working on various makeup techniques such as making someone look old or blocking eyebrows. This week she had to put on a fake beard.

I asked her to come back to the Photography Department with the beard on so that I could see it and needless to say it was HILARIOUS! She said that as she walked back people would look at her strangely - looking at the beard, then at her breast, then back at the beard. Even in person the fake beard looks pretty convincing so I can understand how people would get confused.

Krista made a joke about how she’s now “part of the club.” As I looked around, everyone in the stockroom at the moment did have some sort of facial hair. Naturally, it was time for a group photo. I feel a little left out, but I’m perfectly happy without facial hair. I’m sure Randy is too.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Jerry Burchfield

i stood with my feet in the pacific ocean and watched the sun drift below the horizon as i said my silent thank you and farewell to jerry.

jerry burchfield died september 11, 2009. since his passing i’ve read numerous articles describing him as an artist, educator, and a dedicated family man. they also listed his many accolades, the projects he worked on, and the multitudes of books he authored. to me he was a friend, colleague, mentor, and a member of my extended family.

i took my first class with jerry in the spring of 1998. it was his conceptual photography class at cypress college. i was just beginning my photographic education at that point and was pretty proficient in the technical aspects, but had no clue about developing concepts and executing them. i struggled with that class. heck, i only got a “d” the first time i took it. it took me years to figure out what he was trying to teach.

jerry was an artist and i had no desire to be one. his methods were more abstract than i was comfortable with. he pushed me to develop my photographic style and learn how to use my photography to communicate a specific message. what style? i had no style. he told me that if i kept taking enough pictures a pattern would emerge and sure enough one did.

i was a slacker in school. i would do projects at the last minute. after a few classes with jerry i had learned what kind of pictures to turn in. i would bullshit my way through it after my friend mick told me the key was to say, “i meant to do that.” one year i decided to not do that anymore, not to put off projects until the last minute and really work on something meaningful to me. i turned this project into jerry and for the first time, he didn’t like what i did. i was frustrated. wtf? i can half-ass a project and he loves it and when i work on something really hard he doesn’t? i stopped taking pictures for nearly 4 years after that. i focused on my job, on the postproduction side of photography. i resented jerry and photography for those years. i finally told him how i felt and he just said that perhaps working on things at last minute forced me to work more instinctively and for me to trust my instincts. i did just that and my photography been better ever since.

jerry worked on these grand projects that i’m still not sure how me managed to pull off: creating “the tell”, photographing the entire length of laguna canyon road with an elaborate lighting rig, and taking part in creating the world’s largest photograph to name a few, all the while finding the time to raise a family, teach, write books, and produce art. it was through watching him that i learn that the things i once thought were impossible were possible especially with the help of friends who are just as crazy and enthusiastic and a little bit of tenacity.

he had more patience than anyone i knew. he took the time to help those who other people might have gotten frustrated with and given up on with the same care and attention he would give his dearest friends and loved ones.

i was stressed one day at work and it brought me to tears. he had been diagnosed with cancer by then. my problem was miniscule by comparison, but he still took the time to take me out to lunch and talk about it. he still took the time to care for me when he bigger things going in his own life.

jerry worked hard to expose his students to experiences that would enrich their lives. he would have his students learn how to publish their own books, be part of real exhibits, make clothing out photographs, visit galleries and museums to see the work of others – maybe they would inspire us in our own work, get access to photograph an abandoned air force base, and get them involved with projects that called for mass participation.

i can see him sitting at his desk and eating his lunch. he would offer me bites of his food if he thought i would enjoy it. he would do silly things like stand in front of class with a gag holding a sign that read “will work for art”. his performance pieces were strange yet somehow entertaining. he spit chewed up leaves at me for one. he did manhole rubbings with his “man hole” for another. it’s the little moments that i remember most.

these experiences and more i’ve had a chance to have because of jerry. his influence has shaped part of my life, my outlook on life, and the possibilities that exist. for these things i’ll always be grateful.

his friends stood on the patio of the hotel laguna and watched the sunset with me. i know he touched their lives the same way he did mine.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Flickr War

okay, so i'm a little late with this flickr war post. john is still ahead, but i still think i can overtake him - nay, i KNOW i can overtake him. i have mad skills. just watch.