Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Star Sightings

Featuring Julianne Moore and Michael Phelps. Caption: "Where another world is just a wish away"

The Walt Disney Company has commissioned Annie Leibovitz (Photographer of the stars) to do a series* where famous people are portrayed as disney characters as part of the Disney Year of a Million Dreams. While they are advertisements, I don't think the artistic value of the shots can be easily discounted.

Some argue that photos should be natural, or "candid"; but Leibovitz' gift lies in another realm. She has the ability to create a shot. She studies her subjects and their photographs and plans the perfect setting for them. In the above shot, I think my favorite part is that she took the picture underwater. One thing that is really interesting about her portraits is she tries to make them as seemingly "natural" as possible, perhaps to counter the staged effect that can occur in a planned photo. Natural in this case referring to au naturel. She is the artist behind infamous photos such as Lennon and Ono on the cover of Rolling Stone, Pregnant Demi Moore, and most recently the spread of Miley Cyrus in Vogue. She has also been responsible for timeless portraits, like for the Queen of England.

I think her greatest ability is in the use of light. She uses it to both focus the viewing of the portrait, and to add emphasis. All of her shots are designed to be dramatic, a little bit epic, and breath-taking.

In other news, I still haven't seen a single star while I've been in Alaska. And it can't be because I sleep through the stars, because I'm not asleep for that long every night. It's sort of weird for me. Stars have always been comforting for me. They give constancy and stability. They are the anchor of the night. Which is sort of ironic considering they give the appearance of moving. But for some reason, when I look out at night and see the stars beaming brightly back at me I think of how small they are compared to vast ocean of space. And they don't get discouraged as they fight against the darkness, they just keep doing their own little bit to combat it. But that little bit makes all the difference, because the light always wins. So I'm looking forward to seeing my old friend Orion again soon.

*Find the other parts of the Disney series go here or here; my favorites are Prince Phillip, and Peter Pan

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's electric!

So, according to my mother when I get excited I have a "certain spark" in my voice. And apparently it's the same spark if I'm telling her about fishing or talking about a boy... so I don't know exactly what that says about me, but it is what it is. In honor of this spark, we're going to talk about things that electrify.

The fourth was a blast of a weekend. It started with a five hour drive to Homer, and you know how I love a good road trip. I can literally be completely entertained by looking out the window for hours on end--everything is just so beautiful! Even in Wyoming. I spent most of the day on a halibut charter, I caught the limit, including the biggest one any of us caught that day! So now I have a freezer full of halibut. In the mean time I got to hang out with the majority of my favorite alaska people--basically an amazing weekend. Someone had a friend on the show wipeout, so we had to watch and cheer them on while we ate halibut--the friend won. I'm not gonna lie, that show is way entertaining. Especially when you have someone to cheer for.

Now my "wildlife sightings in Alaska" count is thus:

>15 bald eagles
8 moose
2 whales
1 gold eagle
1 loon
1 Porcupine
1 lynx
1 Puffin
I also saw Mt Redoubt smoking it's top off... which isn't technically wildlife, but it is nature

... still no bears, wolves, or mountain goats but I'm keeping a sharp eye on the horizon.

"All of my favorite hot famous men are either old or dead."  So I have said many times. This last week I decided I was in the mood for nostalgia and so I watched The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and really wanted to watch something with Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Paul Newman, or Robert Redford. Just in case anyone is wondering, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid will be on AMC on the 24th. I'm totally watching it. I had to have a moment of silence the other day when I realized that the redford is 73. Don't get me wrong, he's a very attract 73, but he's no Gatsby anymore if you know what I mean.

This past weekend was YSA regional conference. I guess it was electric. We did the electric slide. And I danced with a boy... or the boy as it were. Boys are often electric :) And after game night last night we've decided we're friends. Which is good. I like starting as friends.

A few weeks ago it was my friends birthday so J and I made her a dragon cake. It was basically amazing. I think my contributions were showing him how to grease the pan, frosting, and creative consultant :) Dragon cakes shoot off tons of sparks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Take me out to the ball game

What's this? Two posts in the same week?! Le gasp!

Have you ever noticed that when someone mentions a ball game or a ball park, they are only ever talking about baseball? Weird no? Why is that when there are all kinds of sports that use a ball. Like football, or basketball, or... futbol...

(These borders are real for seven months a year. From opening day to the World Series. The majority of people of each country pledge their allegiance to the team shown regardless of placement in the standings, questionable trades, draft picks, pitching rotations, uniform redesigns, or mascot behavior; and these lines will stay true until the citizens of each country vote to redraw the borders for next season.)

Anyway, I love the Fourth of July. It's like the ultimate American holiday. Not only is there that whole freedom thing (which I admit I kind of love a lot despite the jazzy line I throw out), but you can celebrate with a veritable cornucopia of summer related all-American activites that are best enjoyed on this day of all days.

Backyard Barbecues
Basically the best way to have dinner. With some it's steak and asparagus, others fried chicken and potato salad, some have hamburgers and chips, or fish and baby reds. Either way I don't think you can go wrong. The most important element to the backyard barbecue, other than the neighborhood dog, seems to be that someone's crazy uncle is always invited. We don't know who he is, or why he is there, but somehow he always manages to show up.
(see also: garden party, clam bake, fish fry, pool party, picnic)

There's that part of the day when the sun is hot, and everyone gets quiet and still. The best thing to do then? Get a glass of pink lemonade and a good book and swing in a hammock. Whether you read it or just take a nap is optional, but it needs to be there just in case. Because is there anything more American than taking a nap?

Driving in a Pick-up
You've had a long day. What better way to end it than sitting in the middle of a pick up blasting country music on your way to the park to watch fireworks? Granted I think I have a better show just sitting on my lawn than anything else I've ever seen--the benefits of your town being next to an indian reservation.

Alternate activites--For those who want to be slightly less generic: Croquet, camping, fishing, eating, horseback riding, and watching baseball games can all be fun... and I'm hard pressed to really think of anything else that is an acceptable alternative

So enjoy the day off of delight and goodness... and... eat apple pie?