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I got a message from my Brazilian friend that he had a bad night tonight. He said that sometimes he speaks English very well, and sometimes the words don't come to his mind.

I told him I had the same problem, and that it meant that we were both humans! And I told him it made me feel good that he had bad days because his English is SO MUCH better than my Portuguese that it made me feel better, lol!

I need to find a model that will tolerate me taking lots of pictures, lol! Right now, my model is me!

There's a guy who was in my ESL class, and I mentioned to him that I'd like to take some headshots of him if he wants to....He didn't say one way or the other, but I really like his sharp facial lines!
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...camera backpack!

I know that all photographers search for 'the one' -- and by 'the one', I'm talking about a backpack that serves the photog's needs!

Is it too much to ask for these?
  • Holds my 7D Mark II with a battery grip.
  • Holds a couple of other lenses.
  • WATER BOTTLE HOLDER, omg...why is this so hard to add to a bag? Seriously?
  • Holds my small Macbook Air.
  • Has space for underwear, socks, toothbrush, medicine -- all the stuff you take 'on the plane'
  • Has a place to put a tripod on the outside of the bag.
  • Holds all the extra stuff -- memory cards, lens wipes, extra batteries, etc.
  • Has a waist strap (a sternum strap might suffice).
  • Space for a sandwich and at least a couple liters of water.
  • Space to roll up my fleece jacket (or at least a rain jacket).
  • Is as light as possible.

Maybe I'm asking too much. I have typically taken my old 'bookbag' -- because I can put hand towels in it to cushion the camera and lenses, while also having space for everything else, including a small laptop. I just kinda wish it had a specially made space made for the camera and lenses.

That 1 bookbag has been around the world with me! Thailand, Europe, Brazil, the US, lots of places! And it is showing its age now.


Mar. 21st, 2017 08:13 pm
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I'm feeling better tonight than in a couple weeks! Damned flu seems to finally be lifting! I planted some stuff outside...and drank some wine...and took some selfies, lol!

This photo reminded me of words from that recent video -- 'your eyes drown me' -- so I labeled it so on Flickr (Seus olhos me afogam).
Seus olhos me afogam

Evening sunlight throught window blinds
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I get so much vocabulary from his songs!

"Give me this night to say goodbye." -->
"Give me this night to dismiss myself."

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I enjoyed a birthday dinner for a friend last night! Nice to get out again, and to chat with friends!

I slept in late this morning - like very late! Here's brunch -- eggs and mushrooms. I have been craving eggs (and almonds and orange juice) a lot lately!

The tomato seeds I planted are doing nicely. I've been thinning them out, but it appears I have to still thin some more!

The only thing on the agenda today is to start prepping the hale bales. I've mentioned before that I use them as planters, and there is a specific 2 week process to go through to get them to start composting, so that they become useful for planting.


Mar. 18th, 2017 05:46 pm
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The local photo meetup group had an outing inside the Byrd Park Pumphouse today. It's not normally open, so I took advantage of the event.

In some places, it was as wet and dank as you might expect --
Wet, dank

The trusses made for some nice geometry --


The ballroom upstairs had these almost life-sized, standing cutouts. Not sure the purpose --
She looks sad!


It was a good outing, and I'm glad I went. It's also an indication that this illness is almost gone! Although I have to say, I came home and took a nap after the outing -- this on top of 8 hours of sleep last night. So I'm still recovering!


Mar. 16th, 2017 06:04 pm
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I put my money where my mouth is today and subscribed to the digital edition of the WaPo. I had been mooching on the free articles for a long time, switching to other browsers when I ran out of my free allotment.

I feel more adult now, lol!


Mar. 14th, 2017 02:44 pm
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If you asked me now to rate my happiness on a scale of 1 - 10, I think I would pick 6 right now. Being sick lately means I have been self-segregating from friends and co-workers, so they don't catch it, and also not feeling like getting out of the house leading to me feeling kinda lonely sometimes!

But on a normal day, yes I might select 7. But why not 10? Why am I 'generally' happy, but a little bit unhappy -- meaning, why would I select 7?

This fascinated psychologists. Nobody is fully happy all the time. But similarly, nobody is fully unhappy all the time either. It seems that humans, regardless of our external circumstances, live in a constant state of mild-but-not-fully-satisfying happiness. Put another way, things are pretty much always fine. But they could also always be better.

But this constant ‘seven’ that we’re all more or less always coming back to, it plays a little trick on us. And it’s a trick that we all fall for over and over again.

The trick is that our brain tells us, “You know, if I could just have a little bit more, I’d finally get to 10 and stay there.”

Most of us live most of our lives this way. Constantly chasing our imagined 10.

You think to be happier, you need to get a new job, so you get a new job. And then a few months later, you feel like you’d be happier if you had a new house. So you get a new house. And then a few months later, it’s an awesome beach vacation, so you go on an awesome beach vacation, and while you’re on the awesome beach on your awesome beach vacation,

The takewaway for me here might be that I need to be happy with what I have! A couple years ago, I started a daily practice of writing down what I was thankful for -- what was good in my life. But I only did that for a few days before I fell off the wagon.

Maybe I should start that practice again? I don't think I can commit to it daily. But maybe I can commit to writing at least 50 items?

So...#1: In my 50s, I have been able to learn (partially) another language, and I now have a new non-native English speaker as a friend from this!

I'll tag these as '#thankful'.

Long Week!

Mar. 9th, 2017 05:14 pm
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I posted about being sick and how I was feeling better...well, that was premature! It was a 1 - 2 punch...first punch: fever and diarrhea. Get a little better, then 2nd punch: chest and head cold.

I have been sick or teleworking for 4 fricken days! I finally went back to the office today.


Everyone at work commented on how deep my voice is, lol! I actually miss the full range of my gay voice, lol ;)
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I felt better today, and I needed to get out of the house! Headed downtown just to walk around a little, drink a bit of coffee.

Still looking for Superman :)

Still looking for Superman :)
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I've been sicker yesterday and today than I have been in a long time! I guess some sort of virus -- woke up middle of the night Friday morning with fever and diarrhea.

I actually got a friend to take me to a clinic Friday to get tested for the flu - thankfully negative for both types. But the fever, soreness, general feeling bad, diarrhea -- all felt like flu! And a woman at work's child recently had both types of flu in just a few weeks. If it had been this, I wanted to get Tamiflu as quickly as possible.

Today, I'm better though. Still sore all over, but my appetite has returned. Slept over 12 hours last night, and then lay around all day today...so not feeling sleepy yet tonight (also a good sign that I am recovering).

So..nothing much going on in the Dragonfly household this weekend except lying around!
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I mean, we suspected that there were Russian connections with Jabba...but even though there were the suspicions, you didn't really want to believe it...

What's a poor, gay, Buddhist guy to think? It's pretty amazing, deeply disturbing, and almost admirable that Russia was able to infiltrate the US government so deeply!
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One thing I hate more than anything is lying bullshit. This is such bullshit..."welcoming" -- gimme a fuckin' break, mac!


Welcoming like when a woman was arrested right after she had a court date to get a restraining order? And I read it was the abuser who called ICE on her.

Welcoming like when a 70+ year old Austrailian children's author was detained and reduced to tears, saying she would not be visiting the US again?

Welcoming as when the woman with a brain tumor was taken from the hospital?

So fucking welcoming....I can barely contain my feelings of goodwill...
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Me deixa água na boca

I like to learn a new Portuguese phrase at least every few days. This line from a song -- Me deixa água na boca -- means "It makes my mouth water" ("It leaves me with water in the mouth")

The biggest problem is that many times, the phrase doesn't stick with me.  It takes a few repetitions over a length of time (the "Pimsleur method") for it to really stick.

Não recomendado a sociedade

This is another phrase that came up this week.  It means "Not recommended for Society".  It is used for movies and novels, and means no one under 18.  So it more or less means our NC-17 (no children under 17). The song below is describing that he has a tag on his head/body 'Not Recommended for Society' --

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I always thought I would submit something to the Washington Post's annual Peep Diorama contest. These 2 photos are sort of a 'sophomore effort' for me...just playing around to see what I might do.

Peep Farmers of the Great Depression

It was hard for Peeps in the Depression....


Feb. 26th, 2017 08:37 pm
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So...I watched this movie tonight because it was about gay people, had a happy ending, and had a Portuguese angle...it switched back and forth between Spanish and Portuguese.

The only problem is that the Portuguese was limited to the conflicted guy's interaction with his wife (girlfriend?)...the boys (as children) and men (as adults) spoke Spanish...and the wife and he spoke Spanish in public settings because this was set in Argentina. So I heard some Portuguese, but mostly it was Spanish.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but happy ending -- boy falls in love with boy as child...they find each other again as adults. I liked how the movie went back and forth between adults and children, sometimes repeating the very same scene as the adults find their way back to each other.

The title is 'Tidelands' -- which in Virginia we would call 'Tidewater' -- meaning the estuaries where the boys grew up.

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Spring has arrived! I always look forward to the plum trees in the neighborhood blooming --
Neighborhood Plums

Spring Jonquils --
Spring Jonquils

And such warm temperatures in February mean storms...yesterday, we got a pretty bad hailstorm!

Today, I bought the hay bales that I use for planters. I tried this technique for the first time last year.

As it turns out I found out that I used straw bales last year, even though I wanted hay. I know this because when I asked about hay bales at the nursery, they said they only have straw...meaning last year I used straw. Anyways, I went to a local farm that sells hay bales as feed and bought them there.

The only reason I wanted hay is because that was what the instructions I used said...very specifically to use hay instead of straw. Hay is harvested as live plants before it is baled -- it's used as feed. Straw is harvested after the fact, from the dead plants parts left after harvest. It is used more for keeping animals warm. I think the hay will compost faster and be more nutritious -- meaning, it will be a better 'planting medium'.

In any event, hay is not as 'good' as soil, and has to be fertilized more. But last year, I found that the rabbits didn't eat what I planted -- maybe because it is higher than they are, and they don't realize it's there??? It was nice to have some tomatoes!
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I'll be heading back to New Mexico on vacation in a few months...Albuquerque has always held some sort of fascination for me...maybe because Bugs Bunny was always taking a wrong turn there?