Friday, June 14, 2013

Dear Elton John

I dreamed the other night that you showed up at our band room to donate some of your fabulous costumes to our fabulous band, the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable. And I woke up thinking, "What a great idea! It's a natural fit." As a member of the Seed & Feed, I sometimes feel like a Rock Star. Not an Elton John caliber rock star, but a small, local bringing-joy-to-the not-quite-so-massive-masses rock star. (Though our rock star status got a big boost this week when we made the Huffington Post.) And in my band, we wear costumes—elaborate, Elton John in his best costume-wearing day costumes. Maybe you’ve seen us. We’re in Atlanta, where I know you spend some time.

So, anyway, the point of my letter. I thought maybe the dream was a sign, even a glimpse into some fabulous future where you'd show up in our band room and present me with costumery to wear and share. And figured a letter to you, one of my costumery idols, might help that future along. I’m trying to take my costumery to the next level—more feathers, more sequins, more, more, more. And oh, what a boost you could give my efforts.

So, you know, not to add to your already busy schedule, what with the young children and all, but maybe you’re cleaning out the closet one day and you realize you just don’t have anywhere to wear that sequined boa anymore.

Or if one of the feathered headdresses just doesn’t make you smile like it used to and you find yourself wondering, "Who could I donate these to? Who would enjoy wearing them? Who would use them to bring joy to the not-quite-massive masses?"

Why, members of Atlanta’s own Seed & Feed, that’s who.

I know, your costumes are worth a LOT of money, but we have a foundation, so if you made a donation, it might just be tax deductible.* And I could swear those sequins and feathers would have a good home and be well cared for and trotted out on special occasions.

So, let me know if you’re interested. I’d be glad to meet you at the bandroom--you could sit in with us at rehearsal on night--or anywhere that works for you.

Yours Sincerely,
Karen the sax player

*I’m not a tax attorney and don’t even play one on tv. But I hear tell donations are tax deductible.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fun with Camera +

I went to Greece last month, one of the most photogenic countries in the world. And would love to say I took fabulous, professional quality photos with my fabulously expensive, complicated camera. But, no. I could either afford to go to Greece or I could afford to buy the fabulously expensive, professional camera and stay home and take more pictures of the cat.

Clearly I've done enough of that.

Instead I invested a whopping 99 cents in Camera + for my iPhone and had fun with it all over Greece--taking perhaps not professional-museum quality photos of the lovely landscape, but taking decent photos, then having more fun editing/filtering/adding captions.

Take a look:

Before leaving for Greece, I practiced at Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary.

This is the original photo of the alligator.

This is it after I made it look like a cool, 1950s Florida postcard using the HDR setting to add the color and the borders to add the border--duh--and the text.

Here are some other photos I took at Noah's Ark.

Then, it was off to Greece.

Original of Mom and my nephew

Here's where I drained the color out of them. And added a border again. I love the borders.

Original of the view from the restaurant at our hotel.

Here it is after I cropped it and again used the HDR setting. I love the cartoony/old-timey postcard look it gives.

Original of the Dikteon Cave, where Zeus was born and hidden by his mother so his father Kronos wouldn't eat him. They don't tell you how a really pregnant woman might have gotten into this steep, dark cave. But I guess she was pretty motivated to keep her kid hidden.

Here's where I cropped it and hit the clarity filter, which brightened it up a lot.

So, while I still want a fabulously expensive, hard-to-use camera, I'm gonna go with Camera + for the time being. I'd rather do that than give up travel!

What are some of your favorite camera apps? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Ogres, Unicorns & Goddesses, Oh My!

The littlest nephew (who is now 6'2") and I went to the Atlanta Botanical Garden this past weekend to see the Imaginary Worlds exhibit--and all the other pretty stuff too.

What a cool exhibit! Enormous, fantastical plant-covered creatures scattered throughout the garden.

The Unicorn was one of my favorites. I loved the way the plants that make up her mane and tail waved in the wind.

The Ogre was good too. You can't tell from this picture, but he had a tunnel through his side, like he was a bridge or a hidey-hole or a playhouse.

But those two were only my favorites until I saw the Earth Goddess. At 29 tons, she is quite a woman!

More ordinary critters such as butterflies, bunnies and cobras also were fun to see, but I loved the fantasy creatures best. They weren't the only bits of beauty, however.

I longed to take home orchids from the filled-to-overwhelming orchid room, but settled for lots of pictures instead.

And what would a day in the garden be without a time-out for a word from our sponsors. I know, the Garden has to support itself and the commercial was fairly unobtrusive, but obviously it obtruded enough for me to notice. Which is the point I guess. So, we'll be back after this short commercial break. Hum the Jeopardy theme in your head if you don't want to look at the picture.

Welcome back!

And while I was taking a ton of pictures, what was the littlest nephew doing? Creating art of his own. He sketched plants and characters holding plants and people who were made of plants as if possessed by some planty-arty demon. Just before I snapped this photo, he stopped mid-step and collapsed onto the wall where he's sitting. "Aunt Karen, I gotta draw!" he said in a desperate voice as if the sketch couldn't come fast enough. I stopped walking and waited for him to finish, happy that Imaginary Worlds had sparked his imagination.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The History of Man in 45 Minutes or Less

Everybody talks about the beautiful beaches, the ancient ruins, the spectacle that is Knossos if they go to Crete, the southernmost Greek island. But, honest to the Greek gods, the most fabulous museum on that island, hands down, is the Homo Sapiens Village. This museum covers the entirety of the human (or at least male) experience in one place that you can experience from start to finish in about 45 minutes. This will leave you plenty of time of sit on a lovely Cretan beach or eat more delicious food or drink Retsina or Raki, because you’ll never need to visit another museum again.

Take a look at what you can learn at Homo Sapiens Village:

My sister, the anthropologist, says this progression is all wrong. Maybe it's the blood splashed all over it.

Shouldn't this should read “From the caves TO the moon”? Unless we evolved from caves on the moon—and I don’t think so.

Where’s the guitar or better yet, the alto sax (that’s what I play)?

From the cave on the far left--it's kinda hard to see, but trust me, it's there--to a sort of wigwamy thing to stone huts to a fancy room dedicated to the Greek gods to a Christian church to an entire section devoted to astronauts—Homo Cosmicus—they are called, the Village covers it ALL!

Is this the primordial guu?

Why can’t the Gods just watch us? They need cameras? Damn, distrusting Gods!

Jesus came ...

and landed on the ceiling of this tiny church

You thought I made that up, didn’t you?

"The First Woman" this sign is titled. And it's about Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman cosmonaut, who went into space in 1963. If there was no woman until 1963, then where did all the men come from?

This museum is some of the most fun we had in Crete. And it’s easy to get to. As the directions say, “Do not ask where you will find us! We are in the road that leads you to Lasithi's plateau, just 1 kilometer before you get there.“

Buy your tickets now. You don’t want to miss this!