Oct. 18th, 2017 07:05 pm
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I made my Brazilian friend laugh tonight...Usually, when I want to say 'how cool!', I say 'how legal!' -- 'que legal!' But I've been doing my Portuguese lessons, so I said a different word -- maneiro!, which means 'light' -- like 'not weighing much'.

He didn't know I knew the word, so it made him laugh. And he confirmed that I used it correctly. But he also gave me additional phrases to use...meaning I think the others would have been a better fit.

But it was good practice, and I like making him laugh with new words I learn!

Hanging Out

Oct. 7th, 2017 10:54 am
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Had lunch with some friends last Sunday, but then I have gone through a stretch of not doing much this week -- no social life, not much work around the house or anything!

Part of it is that I haven't felt well. I have a long term recurring 'costo-chondritis' condition -- where the cartilage around my ribs swells -- for me, it is along the V that your breastbone makes where the discomfort is. I had a flare up this week, so I haven't felt like doing much.

Last night, I did hang out with Nh, and we walked down to see the fire spinners downtown. I always like doing that, and it was a great night for walking and talking!

Fire Spinners @ Gallery5

Fire Spinners @ Gallery5

Fire Spinners @ Gallery5

Fire Spinners @ Gallery5

Sometimes, I like taking pictures of the crowd watching an event --
Fire Spinners @ Gallery5
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Fun day with H today having lunch and seeing an art exhibit! What better thing to do on a sunny, but cool Fall day, but to have lunch and walk to an art exhibit in an old train station with a friend?!

Found a recipe that uses an ingredient in my bar that I don't often use -- Elderberry Flower Liqueur. I found a recipe online that looked good, so I made it tonight. Not too bad at all! The sweet elderberry is counteracted by the bitter pomegranate juice, with the vodka providing a punch, and the wine sort of smoothing it all out...

On a different topic, "Do Not Disturb" while driving came to iOS with the last update. There are various settings, but basically when the phone is connected to Bluetooth and you're moving fast enough, the phone goes into 'Do Not Disturb' mode to block distractions while you're driving.

Make sense. It sends 2 messages: 1 to say that I'm driving, and 1 to tell the other user how to override my setting (by replying with 'urgent'). Although 2 messages struck me as as 1 too many, and the messages are wordy, they basically do the job.

You know I use my devices in Portuguese so the messages are in Portuguese, so the messages defaulted to Portuguese. I found that I can edit the 1st message -- the one that tells the other person that I'm driving and will look at the message later. But I also found that I can't edit the 2nd message.

I decided to edit the 1st message since most of the people receiving the message are English speakers.

The effect on my phone is that the 1st message comes out in English and the 2nd in Portuguese!

"Tio" Bart

Sep. 26th, 2017 09:24 pm
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I like being called Uncle Bart, whether in English or, in this case, Portuguese. I gave my Brazilian friends some tomatoes from my garden.

This is a post that says on the right "Macaroni with a fresh tomato sauce. Puree of sweet potato, Boiled egg and cherry tomatoes from the kitchen garden of Uncle Bart."

Their 1 year old evidently loves tomatoes from my garden!
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I will miss warm weather! I did get a lot done this Summer, but I also feel like I have't been to the river as much as I normally would..and I never biked again after my Bisti trip!

I also realized it's September, so I need to get down to the river and look for some Pawpaws! UPDATE: I went to the river today -- sadly the Pawpaw season is past! I usually get down mid August....and nearly October is too late. No more pawpaws :(

Had ice cream and walked around with Nh tonight -- I have decided to stop calling him the '21 year old' because 1) he will get older and 2) It's not important. I enjoy our conversations (both in person and via text), and I enjoyed hanging out with him tonight :)

A former couch surfer had another stay here with me this past week. I enjoyed hosting him. One thing I realized - I like living alone, and I'm used to it. But I also like having someone to talk to, so after the guest left, I realized the house was empty again.

My car has been in the shop for 2 weeks getting body work done, after the I hit that fence post...the rental was getting expensive, so I'm glad they finished it! And it's nice to have my own car back!

Not much photography in the last few days -- I did post a pic of Deege at the wine festival last weekend. Actually, it's a picture of a humongous pile of freshly fried chips that we shared, with him in the background!
Pile of chips with a friend


Sep. 18th, 2017 08:02 pm
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Nice weekend...Wine with 1 at a friend's with a visit to a wine tasting festival....found a thrift store clown to take (hopefully) creepy pics of...what more could I ask?

And I have a previous couch surfer staying again for a few days.




Sep. 16th, 2017 11:07 am
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My Flickr feed is turning into the bug and hummingbird show...I need to get out and take some different stuff!

I believe this is a hickory tussock moth (Lophocampa caryae) -- it is outside eating my geraniums :) I think the hair is intended to irritate your skin if you handle it, but otherwise harmless. As long as he doesn't completely strip my geraniums, I don't care if he eats!
White Hickory Tussock Moth Caterpillar

In other news, couch surfer #2 is coming back this week for another visit, as he makes his way around the US -- an extended move that will end up on the west coast. I don't know where he's planning to land, but I know he visited Portland a while back, and I can totally see him living in Portland -- he already has that vibe to him.
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I enjoyed my Brazilian friends' 1 year old's birthday party least at the end.

I am an American. We are generally pontual. Brazilians? Nope...not so much -- not pontual -- nope, not at all! The invite said it started at I got there when? At 4 of course, lol!

But that is NOT when it actually started!

As a side note -- my Portuguese is probably only level A2 in the European Common Language Level. Meaning, I cannot understand full speed Portuguese!

When I got there -- early by Brazilian standards -- my friend had to LEAVE and he didn't come back for like an hour, lol! So, I sat there, by myself, texting friends on my phone -- I didn't know anyone and didn't speak the language! People were all around me...talking...laughing...and then there is poor me, by myself, lol!

Anyways after he returned, I enjoyed myself...but it was pretty darned uncomfortable for an hour or so!

Needless to say, I am tired...but I'm glad that I can put myself in uncomfortable situations!

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A couple weeks ago, my grandmother's lemon tree turned over in a strong gust of wind. The pot broke, and I noticed how root bound it had become! I believe it has been in this same clay pot since the year 2003, when a hurricane knocked it over and broke the clay pot it was in then.

I had trouble handling the tree because it is so big! I had to break the rest of the pot to get it out.

And I needed to cut the root bound roots to make them grow outwards, but I was afraid the whole rootball would break down, so I put it in the new pot before I cut the roots -- but I couldn't do as good a job of breaking up the root bound roots as I would like to have because I could not get my hand and exacto knife down into the crack.

I bought a new bigger plastic pot, which unfortunately has made the tree pretty hard to handle! I think this is the last pot she will be in -- I have rooted several new plants, and will continue to root.

And by the way, I think that it's pretty cool to have a lemon tree that my grandmother grew from a seed, and here it is 18 years after she died, and I still have her tree and I'm rooting new plants!


Sep. 9th, 2017 01:53 pm
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I haven't posted much because I have been busy!

Very nice dinner 2 nights ago with friends, fun birthday dinner with friends last night, dinner tonight with friends from undergraduate...a cupcake birthday party for my Brazilian friends' 1 year old tomorrow...

Discussing Lycanthropy with the 21 year old....doing some gardening....all in all a pretty nice time, but busy.

One of the previous couch surfers is supposed to stay here in a week, so that gives me an excuse to have to clean the house!
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A couple of friends bought a beach house as a 2nd house during this past year. I went up to visit them and see the house yesterday.

Fun day -- eating, visiting a winery, etc. I love how close their house is to the beach -- like just across the street!

At the end of the day as we were sitting on the beach, I took a few shots of the river --
Visiting friends at the river!

Visiting friends at the river!

Visiting friends at the river!

Visiting friends at the river!

Here's a selfie with Deege --

Rainy Day

Aug. 29th, 2017 08:01 pm
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Feeling a little under the weather today, so I worked from home again. It's been raining all day -- and we need the rain for sure -- I was taking some shots of raindrops as they hit the water on the deck --

Today, I've been missing that friend that I used to hang out with -- where it just seemed we stopped hanging out with each other. By the way, his birthday present is still sitting in the house! I can't quite bring myself to take it out of the bag and use it myself yet...I don't let go of emotional attachments very quickly!

I can't remember if I ever posted this's starts with the Biblical plagues in Exodus but then explores ancient Egyptian afterlife themes...I love the music (who doesn't like Death singing a jazzy song?)...and I think the flat graphic imagery totally matches flat Egyptian hieroglyphics.

And a little queer, Brazilian music --

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I had a nice weekend -- hung out with the 21 year old friend Friday night, when we walked around the river and then had Ethiopian food for dinner. And another night, dinner with a couple of friends from undergrad - pizza and ice cream!

One thing that happened lately surprised me...I think some of my friends had "assumed" that the 21 year old and I were aiming towards something's still at university! And the difference in our ages is more than his age, lol!

I try not to judge someone else who might be in that sort of relationship, but for me there's WAY too much age difference in our ages for me to date him! Basically, when he and I get around each other, I go into "uncle mode", and we jabber about our lives for hours, and we text a lot. But romance? Not in the plan...

I was actually thinking about why - and I think it's because he is not on his own yet - he's still a student, and he has to decide what his life will be, so I would be interfering with that. I think he's planning to stay in town...and I do hope he and I keep in touch, but I don't think a physical relationship would qualify as "right action" (read "right action" as "ethical conduct"), in the Buddhist sense, lol

But I like hanging out with him....and I'm gonna keep doing it, as long as he wants to! Young gay men need older role models -- the AIDS epidemic took a whole generation of folks my age and older, so I think some younger gay men have never interacted with a stable older gay man. Not suggesting I'm hanging out with the 21 year old because of altruism -- I really do like him...but I also like being "Uncle Bart"...or "Pops" as he called me the other day, lol!

....Another thought about when something similar happened -- I remember when I tried my hand at nude photography back during my last Sabbatical, where the model was like 27 or something. It was a totally professional, legit thing.

But at least one guy I knew totally assumed that the model and I had had sex -- even when I explained that it was just a modeling session, I could tell he didn't believe me. And I don't know why -- because if the model and I had played around, I would have said so!

Fast forward to the other end of the age spectrum, and my book club (the one I attended a few weeks ago for the 1st time) is coming up again, and I still have to read the book! In this club, I am the young one, where everyone else is about 10+ years older than me!

I haven't been out too much with the camera -- mostly sticking close to home. Here's a photo of a dragonfly in the garden. I took it with a 70-200mm lens with a 1.4x extender. And I cropped the result

Basically, I did a macro shot with a zoom lens -- it's not like dragonflies want you getting up in their face with a macro lens!

Blue Dasher in the garden.

I like how the yellow Coreopsis flowers show up in the bokeh blur in the background. I like how blue his eyes are (he's a "Blue Dasher"). I like that I can see detail in his wings, and also patterns in his eyes! And I like seeing the hairs on his legs, lol!

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Wow...such a social week...dinner with friends (Ethiopian!) and great dessert afterwards! Festival...Korean 'Chipotle'....

Really, I'd like to spread my social life out more -- I had stuff to do every night this past week!

Took some quick shots of a friend one night -- this one was interesting to me. I think it is the 'proud' pose he took for the pic. It was on the grounds of the museum here --
Hanging out with a friend tonight.
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Had sorvete / ice cream with my Brazilian friend tonight -- it was has been several weeks since we had seen each other!

Got fairly close to a Goldfinch in the garden tonight...I think I could've gotten even closer if someone hadn't walked by on the sidewalk and scared him away!

Goldfinch eating Coneflower seeds in front yard


Aug. 3rd, 2017 09:07 pm
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I hung out again with the 21 year old guy tonight -- he paid for my gelato. It was fun -- he really is a sweetheart!

Sometimes, when you re-start your social life, more and more social life happens. I have plans tomorrow night, next Friday, and suddenly 2 people texted me tonight to try to schedule something with me. One of them is my Brazilian friend, whom I haven't seen in several weeks. And the other is a guy from my English as a Second Language class, whom I haven't seen in a few months!

So, I wondered if Portuguese had a different word for ice cream, and gelato...and maybe not -- Google Translate gives the same word -- sorvete -- which already looked like 'sorbet' to me anyway!

Some Vanessa da Mata tonight -- "Don't Leave Me Alone" --


Jul. 30th, 2017 09:07 pm
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It was a really nice dinner with friends the other night this past week...the restaurant had a great vegetarian option -- that's unusual for burger place -- and just really nice conversation.


Wine with a friend tonight, who has bought a full frame sensor camera -- and wow, it worked really nicely with my fisheye lens! It really is tempting me to trade up from my crop sensor to a full frame!


I met a guy for coffee today...I knew he was young...but OMG -- so young, lol! I immediately went into 'uncle mode' because he is so young -- he's 21...There's more difference in our ages than he is old! I can totally hang out with him -- and give him some support as he 'grows up' as a gay man. He was pretty painfully shy -- which brought out my Uncle mode even more!


I was taking pictures of a Goldfinch munching on my Coneflowers today...I never realized that birds would 'squat' before they took a dump, lol! But this finch totally did a wing and leg thing and took 2 dumps -- I didn't catch the actual dumping in my photo, but you can see the pose he took, lol!
Goldfinch, ahem, having a private moment after a large breakfast


Speaking of Uncle of my great nephews sent me a text today...he's 8. So I texted a few things...and sent him some pictures. He seemed to like the picture of Milkweed Bugs on my Swamp Milkweed plant --
Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)


Jul. 25th, 2017 03:10 pm
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Had a very nice time with a friend at a wine bar last night. I was tipsier than I expected -- one of the wines was (do I remember the server correctly...) 14% alcohol?

Dinner with some other friends later this week. Should be fun!

I'm trying to re-start my social life a bit. A dear friend has been more and more unavailable to me for the last few months. He and I have always been sort of an 'odd couple'...but somehow we (maybe it was just me that..?) made it work for several years. But it has made me sad...And now I have to decide what the f**k to do with the small birthday present I bought him, which is sitting on a chair in my house!

Even when I don't get the words...I still listen to Brazilian music -- I figure if nothing else, it 'trains' my ear to the sound. And in this song, I looked up the lyrics..and there are a lot of words about Carnival that I don't really get...nor do I get the storyline. But it's pleasant music.

Headed over to the the fine art museum here to snap a few pics of Chloe -- the gigantic head outside of the museum. She's pretty eye catching! And flat from head on!
Chloe @ VMFA

Chloe @ VMFA
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I am being very lazy on this long holiday weekend! A friend and I headed downtown to walk along the river yesterday --
The Cathedral Under the Bridge

Pic of a friend on the Canal Walk


And I got a few more Bisti images processed. This first one is a very short time-lapse. It takes A LOT of stills to make a time-lapse, and about 1/2 through, I kicked the I had few photos than I needed.

I think you'll have to click on this to open it in Flickr before you can see the play arrow.
Bisti Shadows at Moonrise

This one is quite phallic, lol!

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Some of my friends know that I have a house rule about drinking -- if it's 5 o'clock in Paris, then it's okay for me to start my wine :)

Well, I have added a few more rules.

Rule #1: If it's 5pm in Paris, okay to pour a glass.
Rule #2: If #1 is not applicable, then if it's brunch, alcohol is totally acceptable!

And I added #3 today:
Rule #3: If you have a 6AM flight, and your intent is to wake up at 3:15 to have a leisurely breakfast before driving to the airport....but instead you oversleep and wake up at 4:30...and you rush to get a shower and then drive to the airport and barely make the flight...only to have to deplane an hour later because of mechanical issues..and the mechanical issues last 4 hours, causing you to miss your connection....and the only other option is to stay at the airport for 9 fricken' hours waiting for the next connection...then alcohol is totally acceptable!

Siri, Siri, Siri...I told her to "Acorde-me às três" (Wake me up at 3), and she answered "Configurando o alarme pra às três" (Configuring the alarm for 3).

But I remember seeing the screen say "15:00" -- as in 3 PM, when I needed 3 AM! I just didn't think it through that 15:00 was not what I wanted!

Also, I set a backup alarm on my alarm clock...but I FORGOT TO TURN THE SWITCH ON!

So, I woke up at 4:30AM on my own without any alarm...blinking disbelievingly at the time shown on the clock!

But I felt great about showering and making it to the airport in under an hour & 1/2...only to have the mechanical issue with the plane!

So here I sit, applying rule #3 at Dallas Fort Worth airport.



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"O seguro morreu de velho, mas o desconfiado ainda está vivo." -- "The safe one died of old age, but the suspicious one is still living."