He Is Risen

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Happy Easter!

All is quiet at the Cole house, aside from the rumble of my husband’s snoring in his recliner. He worked most of the night on a water line break, unwilling to resist a chance for overtime now that he’s emerged from his post-shoulder-surgery convalescence. My daughter slept through most of the morning. She had been up late into the night alternating between typing on her Chromebook and reading Ray Bradbury.

Today is a low-key day. We aren’t having a traditional holiday meal, aside from my small ambition to replicate my mom’s baked beans. We will consume “fun” food like hot dogs and chicken strips. I bought a hot dog toaster for the occasion. Have you ever tried this oddball small appliance? You can toast two hot dogs and buns at a time, and they turn out about as well as a freshly roll-cooked carnival hot dog.

Although I attended Catholic school for eight years of my youth due to my mom’s conversion to that faith halfway through my childhood, I seldom attend church. I pray every day and reflect on God, but I don’t feel like I belong when I walk into a church. I just can’t process the intersection between worship and social class. I don’t want to dress up for church (I rarely do so for any occasion). God has seen and loved me when I looked my worst, even when I weighed 260 pounds and grocery shopped in Stewie lounge pants. My faith is strong, but I haven’t encountered a congregation that feels like home.

On Easter, I reflect on God’s infinite mercy. There is no better proof of human imperfection than our failures of mercy. Think of the most odious person you’ve ever encountered in real life or through the media. Christ died for that person’s sins, too. He died for your chance at salvation and Nikolas Cruz’s as well. Forgiveness and redemption are available for everyone you love and anyone you may hate in the past, present, or future.

On Easter, I try to see people through God’s eyes, even though I, like all people, see through a glass darkly in this life.

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Fall Photo Walk, October 22

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As I mentioned in my preview for this post, I took more than 300 photos during this morning’s photo walk. Lots of these shots were second takes of favorable scenes. I’m in the habit of taking multiple shots of the same things in the event the first shot is blurry, underexposed, etc. With that aside, I still had a hard time choosing which shots to post today because I like so many of them. This is certainly a better scenario than coming home to discover that very few of the images prove to be pleasing to the eye. Does anyone else suffer from the occasional “bad hair day” of photography? In all honesty, sometimes this happens to me more often than not.

We’ve had plenty of direct sunlight today, and this bumped up the saturation of fall color a bit compared to yesterday when the light was a bit more elusive.

I can only hope we have a couple more sunny weekends favorable for fall photo walks.

Car Show and First Vlog

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My various body parts that are in revolt were subdued during today’s odyssey that included a car show and making my very first video clip that features yours truly actually speaking:

This evening I discovered that creating video is a far more labor-intensive process than I anticipated. I applaud the folks who can produce cooking segments and action clips. I fear my computer would explode from the effort of editing such huge chunks of data.

Creating this clip was a comedy of technical errors. The first time I shot it, I spoke impeccably but forgot that I’d turned off the video sound on my camera. The second time, I noticed in reviewing the clip that the combo of backlighting and low angle conspired to make me look like a bloated version of Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap.

It’s not an easy thing to see yourself on video for the first time. All sorts of magic can be done with selfies to create an ideal image of yourself. I don’t think this is possible with video unless you are an editing whiz and have a tripod on stilts to shoot at a flattering angle.

Earlier in the day, my husband and I meandered about town and finished our journey with the Rebel Run Car Show at the Allen County Fairgrounds. There were over a hundred classic cars clear-coated and waxed to a shine that begs for sunglasses.

I wish I’d taken a picture of the man who had a bowl cut mullet. He mastered this tricky fusion of bygone hairstyles. He looked like the kind of guy who worked enough hours in high school to buy himself a Camaro before he graduated.

Magic of the Moment

This week I’ve been trying to build my video skills. Hearkening to the title of this blog, there’s been plenty of intensity without mastery along the way. My interest in video is to capture more of the magic of the sort of moments I’m drawn to photograph.

I love watching the flowers in my garden flutter in the breeze. Here’s a little YouTube clip of my fuschia basket holding its own against this blustery September day:


I am excited at the prospect of filming clips of the fall leaves. I need to find a way to steady my camera for a walk through my favorite forest trail while the sugar maples are ablaze.

Pizza Buffet

Last year I endured a minor tragedy in electronics that lead to my owning a smart phone with an awful camera. My Samsung S5 tanked just days after the manufacturer’s warranty expired, and my cell phone insurance did not cover loss in the event of failure due to a restart cycle so relentless the phone could eventually reach a blacksmith range temperature. Since I am batty, I am imagining a cell phone glowing with enough heat to fashion horse shoes.

Back to the phone topic, I bought a cheap replacement phone, the LG V8, which retailed for just $144 when it was still available. This phone is adequate in every way except for its camera. In low light, the pictures have so much noise that the raw pictures look like time travelling back to the dawn of digital photography.

This evening we enjoyed a pizza buffet at a local bowling alley. We stopped in the parking lot because it hosted a donation drive for Hurricane Harvey relief, and we ventured into the bowling alley for the buffet.

I tried taking some shots of dinner, but this is the best I could do:

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Why the frame? It distracts from the noise in the picture, and it so happens that we had such a good time at dinner that the moment seemed worthy of such polish.

Our dinner conversations are typically full of tangents. My daughter is taking German this year in school, and she let me know that she found four different words in translation for the word dewlap, which is the double chin found on some female rabbits and male guinea pigs. She also reminded me that people get dewlaps as well . . . and my early turkey neck qualifies as a starter dewlap.

Before we left the subject of dewlaps, she informed us that she found a German Men’s Health article about a double-chin-slimming workout (Gesichtsgymnastick: Das Anti-Doppelkinn-Training).

Some horse race from Saratoga was playing on the TV in the bowling alley, so my husband and I mused about the average size of the horse jockeys. What could their maximum height and weight be? 5’3″ and 100 pounds was my guess. I also remembered how my mom told me in the midst of the Monkees resurgence of the 80’s that Davy Jones had been a horse jockey before his stint in the Pre-Fab Four. My husband recalled this bit of trivia from his youth, too (btw, he was in grade school when “Daydream Believer” was a hit).

The pizza itself was unremarkable aside from its abundance and price. The sauce had bright flavor and well carmelized cheese, but the crust was average. Given the cost of this dinner, I can’t expect anything approaching perfection. All three of us dined to the border of gluttony for a little less than $20.

This was yet another pit stop in my attempt to lose my post-surgery weight, but the family bonding we had at this dinner made this falling-off-the-wagon totally worth it.

Adding on 9/2/17:

I forgot to mention that our dinner conversation included the topic of Manifest Destiny because my daughter noticed that one of the horses on the Saratoga race on TV had that name. Of course I had to mention that glorious scene in Family Guy wherein Stewie proclaims “Manifest Destiny!” in reference to their road trip from Rhode Island to San Francisco . . . which brings me to one of my favorite moments from that series. Stewie has stolen a camper during part of that transcontinental trip, and he insists that he can keep on driving straight to San Francisco because he’d taken some pills that a trucker had nicknamed West Coast Turnaround. There are so many transgressive things about that scene, and it all collides in a delightful way.

2017 Allen County Fair, Part 2

Dancing Puppets

My family had a great time yesterday during our yearly visit to the Allen County Fair. This trip is our last bit of summer revelry before the school year begins. This year’s fair was replete with the vibrant colors and irresistible smells of food trucks:

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I believe that a carnival is no place for calorie counting, so I indulged in two abominations of nutrition, deep-fried dill pickles . . .

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. . . and deep fried cookie dough:

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Both were extremely tasty, but I preferred the pickles. The doughnut-tender coating on the cookie dough was exquisite, but the filling was too molten hot for me. The tray in which it was served couldn’t be carried about long enough at the fair to let this dessert cool for long.

The domestic competitions in cooking, quilting, and the like are a vital part of the fair. This year’s entries included a whimsical dog quilt:

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Along with hundreds of jellies and pickles:

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And this intriguing layer cake:

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I’m not sure if political booths are a conventional part of county fairs, but they are present every year at our fair:

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The difference in those two pictures reflects the reality of politics in Allen County. Republicans definitely have the majority here. Many people here vote a straight Republican ticket with little reflection and no irony, kind of like the guy who wore a Johnny Bench jersey to the fair. When I think of Johnny Bench, the first and only thing that comes to mind is that 70’s commercial he did for Preparation H that featured him sliding into home base with his rear dragging the ground.

Back to the topic of our evening at the fair . . . five hours slipped away before I stopped long enough to wonder what time it was. By eleven o’clock, the lines for carnival rides had grown thin, and the food trucks were shutting down for the night. As we walked back to our car in the dark, I suggested that we visit another county fair or two before fair season ends in late September. I hope we will discover that a fair is just as delightful when it’s wedged into the school year.

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2017 Allen County Fair, Part 1

Yesterday my husband, my daughter and I spent a delightful evening at the Allen County Fair. I will devote this post to a surreal aspect of this year’s trip. Allen County, Ohio, is almost equally split between industry and agriculture. This mix sometimes creates some odd shows and activities at our fair.

Halfway through our evening, we stumbled upon a wrestling exhibition that looked like a hot mess. After we returned home, I did some brief searching about the troupe we watched. They are called Wrestling and Respect, or WAR, and they have a substantial local following. I am uncertain about much serious wrestling this troupe does, but the show we watched last night was pure camp.

Each of the wrestlers donned costumes from different variants or genres of the sport, including high school, 70’s, and luche libre:

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It’s too bad I am still fumbling through the video setting on my camera, for if I were more confident with it, I’d be sharing a clip of these wrestlers dancing to “U Can’t Touch This.”

The wrestler who was sporting a 70’s style costume had the letters DDT affixed to his rear end. These letters could stand for his initials. If I were in charge of this troupe, it would signify that his persona is inspired in part by the outlawed pesticide DDT. I’d also advise him to bleach his hair platinum to conform better to his 70’s wrestling look.

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Overall, this campy match was a lot of fun, even for the uninitiated (such as myself). For those of you who are familiar with the world of anime, I’d say that WAR match was like the Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo of wrestling.

My daughter couldn’t completely hide her delight in all the wrestling chaos:

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