Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Batter Up

Got my contributor's copies last week of The Evansville Review. My story "Batter Up" appears in the latest issue. Woo-hoo! And get this: my story follows one from Margaret Atwood! How cool is that?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strawberry Full Moon

It's been soooo long since I've pulled out my camera and played around with it, but last night as I was walking into the bedroom to get something, I saw the gloriously full moon peeking over the treetops in the neighbor's yard. It stopped me in my tracks! What is it about the moon that gives it such power, such pull? Does it do that to you? I'm betting it does, even if you won't admit it out loud. Imagine if we had TWO moons, or if we were on the moon and could look up and see Earth in our night sky! But that's for another post - ha.

So I quickly dropped what I was doing and went in search of my camera. I've gotten better about leaving the clip attached that allows the camera to fasten onto the tripod (it takes forever to screw on!), but as I grabbed my gear, I was frantically wracking my brain, trying to remember what settings to use to shoot the moon. I had to be quick: opportunity for the best shots is fleeting as the moon continues to inch upward.

I did remember to use the "bulb" setting, but the f-stop and shutter speed were a little trickier. I clicked off several before I found my groove. The first picture in the series below is a rather bland shot - the moon appears as nothing more than a seemingly smooth, white orb - but I'm posting it because it shows just how much setting changes the shot. Old hat to those of you who are experts at photography, but an interesting reminder to the rest of us!

Focal length = 170mm
f-stop = 5.6
shutter speed = 1/5

Focal length = 300 mm
f-stop = 22
shutter speed = 1/4

Focal length = 300mm
f-stop = 16
shutter speed = 1/25

Focal length = 300mm
f-stop = 36
shutter speed = 1/10

Aren't the differences amazing? Love the detail that comes through on the last three... I was trying to draw a correlation between f-stop and shutter speed (as it relates to the detail), but I can't - the values are all over the map: long, short, fast, faster. I think the 3rd on the list, here, is my favorite. Which do you like better?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Great read:

I've just finished reading Ellen Meister's The Other Life and I loved it. LOVED it! I couldn't put it down. It's got everything a great story is supposed to have: conflict, characters you care about, tension, an engaging plot line. And the premise is simply outstanding: a portal exists (several, in fact) that allows Quinn to cross timelines and pop out on the other side and into an alternate life, the one that continued on even though she chose B instead of A. Like a parallel universe. The sci-fi slant is simply delicious, my kind of sci-fi, where it's creative and different and possible without being totally over-the-top ridiculous. I cried a couple of times and, nope, I'm not ashamed to admit it! It moved me - just as great fiction is supposed to.

I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

James Durbin - American Idol

I know a lot of folks roll their eyes at the machine that has become American Idol, but I watch it, initially, for the funny/awkward/just-plain-bad auditions and then, later, as the season progresses, to see new and awesome talent. I get such joy out of listening to these kids hit notes I can only dream of, and there’s nothing better than listening to something and getting goose bumps. I’m not really discriminatory: if you can sing, and sing well, I’m a fan. But I also really dig artistry – making a song your own, reworking it, being genuine. The way David Cook did it. And Adam Lambert. I’ve taken a fair amount of grief over my love of Adam Lambert, season 8 runner up. Some people think he’s too showy, too “out there.” But that’s part of who he is, part of what makes him great. And there’s NO denying that guy can sing! Holy cow, when I re-watch some of his performances from season 8 (yes, I purchased them from iTunes), they leave me feeling gloriously alive – exactly how/what good music and great vocals are supposed to do.

And now this with James Durbin. This guy is so awesomely talented, so comfortable and genuine on stage, it blows my mind that he’s been voted off. So many kinds of wrong. The only thing I can think of is that everyone thought he was safe and so didn’t vote. I mean, really. Scotty is a nice guy, but he’s no American Idol. James Durbin can sing circles around him! The silver lining in this is that James Durbin is now free to do his own thing and won’t be bound to sing those ridiculously sappy-lyric pop songs they make the winner sing.

The American Idol season is done for me.

Rock on James Durbin.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Stargate Universe

I tuned in to watch the season finale last night of Stargate Universe... did you see it? It was GREAT. Loved it, love the show. I look forward to seeing it every week. So, today, as my withdrawals kicked it, I went online to see how long I'd have to wait for my next fix and learned that what I enjoyed last night wasn't the season finale but the SERIES finale!! Yep, that's right. Finished. Done for. Kaput. I am stunned. And heartbroken, and devastated and, well, pissed. Who made this decision? Why is the better question. There are so many crappy, crappy shows on TV that it seems truly unfair when a creative, engaging one gets shelved.

I have been with the Stargate series from the beginning. There is, of course, the original Stargate movie (which I don't think is nearly as good as any of the series, but the spark of greatness has to begin somewhere). From the movie came Stargate SG-1. LOVED this show. How could you not love Richard Dean Anderson?? Loved the show so much that my kids bought me one of the seasons on DVD (which is saying something because I don't like to watch/read anything twice). SG-1 ran for 10 seasons.

Then came Stargate Atlantis. Another great show. Not quite as good as SG-1, initially (to be fair, SG-1 had had my attention for 10 years... big shoes to fill!), but I grew to love the characters and the issues they had to deal with as much as the SG-1 crew. Good, too, that they had characters from SG-1 on the Atlantis show every now and again. This series ran 5 years.

Then came Stargate Universe. Perhaps the best yet. Such an awesome premise, so creative. Similar in concept, yet evolved. LOVED it. Killed it after only 2 seasons.

There's nothing left worth watching on the sci-fi channel. Truly a shame.

I'm in mourning.