So….

So….

Here I am, it’s the middle of the night and I’m here in Chandler, AZ.  I’ve been neglecting this blog for so long it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist anymore.  I know I’ve said before that I’d try to do better and post more stuff and then I suppose life happened and I didn’t make it back on here until now.

Just a quick update, I got kicked out of the Navy.  Ok, not kicked out, let’s say I ended up getting involuntarily separated due to force manning restrictions.  Well basically, I got fired, laid off, or downsized however you want to slice it I don’t work for the Navy anymore.  It has affected my life so much, I still get up in the morning to go to work and as soon as I step out the front door remember that I am missing my hat/cover.

Anyway…short version, I got  a job in Chandler Arizona at the Intel manufacturing plant.  We are living here now, we’ve moved into a furnished apartment and our stuff is still in storage in San Diego.  I like it…ok, ya it is a serious pay cut but I get to be home EVERY night with my family and I NEVER have to leave them for time that is counted in months.  Pretty sweet.

Couple of things I’ve been thinking about, I’m still/back in school and I’d like to share with family and friends how I am doing and show off some of my work and I am going to do that here.  I was also going to try and add some ERB(that’s me getting fired) stuff here as it comes up, 14½ years is a long time and I still get emotional about it.  My walk with God has also taken some GIGANTIC steps…toward Him and I’d like to share that journey here with you as well.  That should give me plenty of stuff to write about.

Also, please, if you have any questions or comments, you want to get in touch with me or you just have an idea about photography, being laid off, life or God e-mail me or leave me a comment.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring some really great pictures here and some “art” projects I’ve had to work on from school.  In parting let me leave you with this….

Camping in AZ with the Fritzs(?)

 

Love ya,

Brent

Advertisements

Date With Jake

So,

Just like Quinn kept asking me out on a date, Jake, the quiet one, didn’t.  He is a bit more shy than Quinn and sometimes it takes a bit more to get him to say something or tell me something that he wants to do.  Anyway, since I went out with Quinn for lunch I needed to take Jake out as well.  Now Jake has been riding, like actually riding, bikes for a bit longer than Quinn.  He is quite good at it, before I get into that however, let me tell you from the beginning.

Jake and I have been on vacation for  a while now.  Jake’s is his school’s Christmas break, and mine is Christmas stand down, both breaks were needed and will be a bummer when they end.  Anyway, when he went on his break I decided to take him out to lunch, lunch for us was at Burger King, which is an old favorite from Okinawa.  I’d take the boys in the stroller and Skuut and we’d walk down to Burger King and have some lunch.  Ahhhhhhh, good times.

So lunch.  Well when I went on the date with Quinn I told Jake to think of something for us to do.  I went bike riding with Quinn and because they are brothers and not to be out done, well and it’s just good fun, Jake and I went to ride bikes as well.  Now understand my bike, a Kona Stinky-Dee, hasn’t been worked on or ridden in several years and I don’t ride it because it needs some lovin’.  Anyway, when I say we went bike riding, it really isn’t me riding at all, it’s one or both of the boys riding and me either walking along with, or taking pictures or both.  This one was a picture taking trip. and since Jake has been riding for so much longer than Quinn it wasn’t quite as fun or exciting and he just really did well.

Jake Ridin'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact he was doing so well he thought he’d catch a quick look at me to make sure I was taking pictures of him.

Jake posing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to get some pictures of Jake posing with his bike but he wasn’t as natural with doing the posing and there ended up being a lot of cheese.

Jake still posing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the sun was out and it was quite bright.  Both my boys, and I have this crazy squinty eye thing in bright sun, or even in not quite as bright sun…and it’s not because we’re Asian either.hehe

Look at that, and don't let it fool you, those little bikes are heavy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He did want to show me how strong he was by picking up his bike and carrying it to the back of the car.  And it’s not a very well advertised fact but those little bikes, the frames are made out of lead and so they are quite heavy.  I think they do that so the kids can build up the strength in their legs to pedal the bigger bikes.

Anyway, he got tired of riding and the posing wasn’t working out so I decided to change tactics and get him into a situation where he could more easily be himself.

So this is Jake not posing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So we were in the parking lot next to the YMCA, which also had a ball field and we put the bike up and went inside the fence.  After I gave him the ring pop…ya, right, I totally remember those also…he totally loosened up and the cheese in his face was gone and we got to some real smiles and his personality came out.

Delicious ring pop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And he got to do some goofy stuff.

I can't decide if this one is my favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or if it's this one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those last two pictures, I can’t decide which one is my favorite, they are both a little silly, they both have pretty good smiles and they both are showing off the ring pop…I know, that’s what I said….

Well, we had a good time, and I’m really glad I was able to get him out of his posing for pictures mode and into a more fun and real mode so we could get some better pictures.

It Brought a Tear to My Eye

So,

I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned in such a public forum that my wife and I have decided to buy a house.  Now this is a really big decision, especially since the housing industry hasn’t been doing very good for a little while now.  We were, of course, going to move to WA and try for a posting at Whidbey Island.  However, since then Jake has started school and we really like the school he is in.  He will be fluent in Mandrin and have a good grasp on Spanish and of course be fluent in English as well.  The teachers seem nice, and Jake likes the school.  Anyway, the point is we are staying in SD.

So the one thing I think that is cool about moving is you get to get rid of a bunch of stuff that you don’t need.  Well, we’ve just moved but we have also had to bring together two different shipments from two different places.  When we left England to go to Okinawa we were only allowed to take ¼ of our belongings.  This ended up being nice for us since we had to get some new stuff for our house and it really helped us to not have all the clutter around.  The bummer thing is when we moved back to the states we had to combine all the stuff we acquired in Okinawa with all the stuff we left behind in England.

Well, we just finally went through the garage to find some stuff for a yard sale we think we might have this upcoming weekend…MAN, this is turning out to be a long back story….  Anyway, we need to eat dinner right.  A couple of weeks ago my Mom and Dad came down for a visit and my Dad, who is the proud owner of a Traegar.  This is a pellet smoker/grill type of thing that is really neat…anyway!!!!!!!!  He made some tri-tip and brought it down, smoked it for 5 hours.  Ya, that’s right, SMOKED…TRI-TIP…5…FIVE…hours.  Anyway, I just got one of those out last night.

On the grill to heat up and finish cooking

That is it…a huge piece of meat on the grill, sorry it’s such a bad picture, I did it on a whim and with my iPhone, I put it on there so it could get that crust and warm up as well as finish cooking.  And….

The finished product

And this is what I ended up with.  Would you please note the pink around the edge…Ya, you got it, that’s the smoke ring or flavorfulness.  It was so good, it brought a tear to my eye.  Now I love food and the food they serve on the ship…well not to talk bad about the cooks on the ship but it isn’t the best.  A good steak on the ship…well, let’s say it doesn’t exist.  Now enter this smokey wonder…the last time a meal made me tear up was when Jo and I went to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  I remember I had the Fillet, it was so good I cried, this was so good….

Anyway, just wanted to share how good my dinner was last night and say a super big “THANKS” to my Dad for the wonderful smokey experience.  How does it do on Turkey?  Thanks-giving is right ’round the corner.  Oh and Chirstmas, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I’m a Worrier….

So…

One of the things I got, if you believe things like this get passed on, from my mother is that I’m a worrier.  When I was growing up, the bus my brother and I were riding on broke down and we got home late.  Since my mom was a teacher she also got home late but that day she beat us home.  We walked in to her crying and worried sick something had happened to us.  We were fine and really thought is was silly for her to be so worried that the bus broke down and she beat us home.  I mean how crazy is that, buses break down all the time, right?

Today, I was cleaning up some of Moka’s poop in the boys room.  Ya, she doesn’t whine at us when she needs to go out like wonderful Nala did.  Anyway, my phone rang.  Now on my phone I had an alarm sound for the ringtone, I just changed it and gave that one to my wife so I’d know when it rang it was her.  I answered the phone and said hello, a little bit disgusted because I was cleaning up poop. (Mad might be a better word)  Jo was crying and said she was just in a pretty bad accident but she was ok.  Now, I’m typically a slow thinker, sometimes it takes me days to come up with a good response to an argument I had 2 days ago, but when I get calls like this my mind starts  racing super fast.

I mean so fast that by the time she says she’s had the accident I’ve already thought about both the good and the bad.  After she says she’s ok, she starts saying “I killed them all, they’re all dead”.  Ok, bad accident, calling me so she’s ok but everyone else is…what…dead?!?  I try to get out of her  if the kids are ok and it’s like pulling teeth.  I’m about to freak out.  I mean get in my car and drive way to fast up there, calling my mom and having her drive way to fast to get down there, meanwhile I’ve got to call the in-laws and tell them…what?  And while I’m driving.

She, I think, finally heard the panic in my voice and told me they are all ok and the police just got there and she’d call me back when she knew more.

At this point I still didn’t know about the people in the other car, and to be completely honest it’d suck if they had been killed but my concern right then was my family.  I start calling people and when they answered the phone I gave all the pertinent details before I said hello, “Jo was in an accident and is ok, the kids are ok, they’re all ok.”

I made it through about 2 phone calls before I lost it, unfortunately I lost it at Pop’s secretary.  She took it in stride and when I called back I apologized and understood.

They’re all ok, the car is dented pretty good in the back driver’s side by the trunk and the other car ended up getting pretty smashed up.

I’ve been going around the house crying because I could totally have lost my entire family today.  Some things just never get thought of and now I know why…they’re just too horrible to have to think about.  As I’ve been walking through the house I’ve been thinking about being alone again.  And you know what?  I am absolutately terrified of the prospect.  That woman makes this house run, my credit score is 750, or something like that, because of her, we are almost out of debt because of her, I eat good food because of her, I’m back in college because of her, I love photography because of her, I have three wonderful children living with me because of her, she is why I have a relationship with God, she makes my world go ’round and I have no idea what life would be like without her.  Hopefully, and God willing, I will never have to find that out.

Dear Jesus, thank-you for my wife and my family.

Onward and Upward

So…

That third class I wrote about, you know, that one where I get to show you what I’ve been doing for homework. Well, I finished it this week and I’m not going to tell you I did horribly bad.  I am also not going to tell you I did horribly good either.  Horribly good?  Really?  What does that even mean?  Let’s just say I didn’t do as well as in this class as I did in my first two classes.

It all happened on the last assignment, I was hovering around 93% – 94% ish for the last several weeks and I thought it was ok, an A or A- won’t be the end of the world, my last assignment was worth 300 points and I figured I’d get most of them and keep the A’s going.  My final was a photographic narrative  on the Marriage of culture between the United States and Okinawa.  Pretty neat idea since I live here and it is distinctly Japanese but yet American also.  Anyway, these are some of my images:

The Flags

And

The Shoes

I really like this one.

What a great sign, right?

Jake and one of his good friends, who is Japanese, at their “graduation” from C-san to B-san.

Best Friends

Anyway, there are 16 others that made the final cut, I can show you more if you want.  Maybe I can download to flickr or something like that, hmmmmmmm.  I got a 222/300 on my final.  He just didn’t see the cultures mixing in my pictures.  Of course I completely disagree if he read my write up you can totally see it in my pictures.  His comment on this last picture was that this could be from any school in America.  Really?  I mean seriously!!!!  Any school in America where the kids wear Japanese name tags on their uniforms?  Where are these schools?  My wife is DYING to get Jake in to a Yochien in San Diego but with the pay cut we’re taking it’ll be impossible.

There are two others:

Quinn at the seawall

and…

Kira at the seawall

He said these could be at any beach in California, or maybe it was any beach…regardless he thought they could have been taken anywhere.  Ok, the first one is Nemo, with Dory’s tail with Bruce and the Hammerhead in the back, and way back there is Sponge Bob, overcast day, beach, ok…I’m not going to totally disagree with it, but in my artist statement I do say something about American influence on food, drink and cartoons.  With Quinn being in the pictures I think it kind of makes it a Japanese picture and it should be in the narrative.  The next one with Anpanman or the bread faced guy, is a Japanese cartoon character and I think superhero.  With his bread face saves people from starving by letting them eat his face…What can I say…It’s Japanese.

Anyway, I don’t think he liked me very  much, I can only hope to avoid him in the future.  Kinda like the first time at PUC where you’d hear don’t take ____’s class he’s a jerk, take it from ____ he is much better/easier.

So thanks for letting me rant, I’m sure after I get over this I’ll be a better photographer at least I’ll be one who can shoot pictures of a California coast while in Okinawa.

The Experiment Was A Success

So,

I saw this really cool thing in Popular Photography Magazine (thanks Pop and Grandma Judi) this guy did with different colored lights, flashlight, colored LEDs, penlights, that kind of thing.  Something that is easy to turn on and off and that emits light.  A long exposure, several seconds.  And some sort of prop, a table, chair, loose wires.  Anyway, since I saw that I’ve been thinking about trying it out.  I just want to see

A.  If I can do it.

2.  How long it takes to do it.

D.  What can I do with it creatively

Ok, so that’s the background, something I want to try….  Now for the set up…  For the last couple of weeks I’ve been learning about Shutter Speed and Aperture as priorities in my shooting.  What effects each has on a picture, how to convey movement to the viewer, how to isolate a subject from the background objects, that kind of stuff.  At first I was like…I already know this kind of stuff, let’s move on already.  I mean this is the second week of the same thing, it’s getting a little boring taking pictures like:

Narrow Depth of Field

And this

Slow Shutter Speed

What I really want to take is that shot of the freeway going into the city at night with all the lights blurred so you just see a streak of red or white coming from the city.  Or lightning that would be super sweet.  Oh ya, we get lightning here but it seems every time I see it, I’m on my way to from or at work without my camera and with very little time.  Anyway, on with the story.  I had to post several pictures, using the Aperture as a priority, and several more using Shutter Speed as a priority, while being creative blah blah blah.  I did that stuff last week, GIVE ME SOMETHING NEW!!!!!!!!!

I came up with the shots, I had Jake’s help, our neighbor D came out and his sister A.  I got a couple of snaps of them but I didn’t want to use them because I get to be a little leary of taking pictures of other peoples kids and posting them online and not knowing to much about both the legality and security of that…so I stuck with my own son.  Huge helper that he is, “Hey Jake, I need you to ride your bike so I can take a picture of you.” and the son replies “Ok Dad.”  “Hey Dad take a picture or me”, says the son several minutes later, after I’ve already gotten what I need…he likes to have his picture taken and then look at the LCD to see how he did.  Maybe it is how I did taking the picture.Hmmmmm

Ok, now don’t let me get to sidetracked.  I ended up with plenty of pictures showing different depth of fields from really deep, meaning the front stuff is in focus and so is the stuff in the back.  To really shallow, meaning only what I want you to focus on is in focus, unless there is something else that happens to be on the same focal plane…yaddah yaddah yaddah…technical stuff which I would be happy to explain but I won’t  put everyone through it.  You can comment or e-mail me if you need me to explain it, heck you can even call, just remember for the next month or two I’m still in Japan.  That is in the +9 India time zone, which means I’ve already started my day and have been in it for 9 hours when Greenwich, the one in England hits midnight.  Ok so maybe don’t call….

I ended up a little short on the amount of shutter speed shots I needed to turn in.  Those can get a little boring, because he wants us to use a tripod and have the movement blurred while the camera stays still…to me this is boring…I mean who cares about the background?  It’s the BACKGROUND.  The thing that’s moving, that’s the interesting thing.  Every time Jake rides by on his bike I want to pan (technical stuff).  Every time I see someone pictures from class with all the movement I want to pan.  It’s difficult to master this technique, and right now I’m hit and miss, but when I hit…WHOOOOOOA DADDY!!!!…It’s AWESOME.  Wait…sorry…ya…I was short on shots showing shutter speed and I decided right then and there I needed to take a chance and try this new thing….

So, that’s the story.  I’ve got a neat thing I want to try and shutter speed.  Here is what I came up with.

Cursive

if you look closely you can see the time on the stove clock….  And this…

Print

And this…

Print and my mug

And finally I had Joelle help me with a little more light, she was able to “paint” my face into the picture.

It's the last one.

It was pretty cool, and fun to watch the way I got to move around and actually have create my own thing with this effect.  My shutter speeds ranged from 10 to 30 seconds, although 30 seconds was a little long.  I moved around and the shutter was open for so long I mostly didn’t get caught until I wanted to.  I did have to practice writing my name a couple of times.  I wrote it backwards so I wouldn’t have an arm in the way of the light, and besides that way the light would be shining straight into the camera.  I did use a tripod, and my camera remote(Thanks Dad).  If I can find some, I know they exist, I’d like to try some different colored LEDs, maybe even try to figure out some slow sync flash and some sort of prop or scenery.  Anyway, when I get that stuff figured out I’ll be putting it here so you who are interested can check it out.

I’ve Narrowed It Down

So…

I know I keep writing about what God’s voice sounds like to me, I’ve done it here and also here.  Ok, so the title is a bit off, I’m not actually getting anything narrowed down I just wanted to have different title.  I didn’t want it to be the boring 3rd part in a trilogy, the ever so boring title “God’s Voice, part III”.  I mean, really?  Who’d want to read that?  The new one is much more mysterious, more exciting.  Don’t you think it’s like “ohhhhhhh, what did Brent do now?”  Maybe?

Anyway, let’s get to it.  So just to recap, God’s voice sounds like the TV or TV shows…ummmm…detailer…and just as an added emphasis possibly a website.

Wow that was quick, whatever who cares it’s a recap, it’s supposed to be quick.  Now for the real story.  So, the other day…I was putting the boys to bed and I usually get a request from one or both of “Dad will you lay down with me for  a couple of minutes”, or “Dat, nay doun me”, I think there may be more words in that last one but Quinn’s enunciation is not quite up to Jake’s level, but then again, I don’t think I’m at Jakes level either.  So I lay down with Quinn first, it’s part of a strategy, if I start out with Quinn, when I lay down with Jake I will still be in the room with Quinn and maybe he won’t need me to lay down some more with him when I get up to go down stairs, does that make any sense?  So, this night, by the time I get to lay down with Jake, it’s more than a few minutes later, I MIGHT, have dozed off.  Jake is pretty much asleep and stirs a bit when I get into bed with him, he rolls over, gives me a big hug and says…”It’s ok dad, Sandy Eggo is better than Whidbey Island anyway.”

I said “Thanks buddy” and gave him a big hug and a kiss lay there for 30 seconds and ran downstairs to tell Jo what had just happened.  Of course she is amazed and we were both like…well…WOW (which of course should not be confused with WoW or World of Warcraft)  How amazing is that?  …Ok, but that’s not all…

So the other night we’re watching the Olympics on the TV.  Of course we were since we can’t actually be THERE watching them it has to be on TV.   Duh.  Anyway, this commercial comes on…Ok, we need a little bit of back ground…Jo and I have been thinking about buying a house.  We want someplace close to base but not that close, we want some place safe, we want someplace where there are things to do for the kids but not so far away that it makes a trip into town an impossibility.  We’ve fou…ok, ok, Jo has found a couple of places that fit the bill.  One such place is called Jamul, and it is almost directly east of Sandy Eggo, 8 acres, nice house.  The other one, and Jo’s favorite is in a place called Santee, the house is cheaper, it is near a chain of stocked lakes with trout and something else for fishing, there are some kids nature classes and more all within an easy walk from the house.  We’ve prayed about what to do because it is such a huge step and we don’t know what the plan is.  With Whidbey Island we knew we were going to stay there, with Sandy Eggo we are sure we aren’t but aren’t that sure.  Back to the story…I…we, were doing our usual watching of TV during the commercial, not paying any attention because it’s AFN(Armed Forces Network), not the best commercials.  So you can understand, I either skip the Superbowl all together or I watch the Superbowl not for the commercials but because I am hoping to see an amazing game.  All of a sudden I look up and I am watching all these people scroll across the TV from left to right…I can see their name tapes…Smith…Jones…Fredrickson…Santee…Phil…wait a minute…I look over at Jo and just simply ask “did you see that” she actually missed all the other name and just looked up in time to see Santee.

At this point there has not been any more discussion about Sandy Eggo, I think at this point we are both shocked and amazed.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS A REAL PERSONS NAME.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS POPULAR ENOUGH TO PUT IN A COMMERCIAL.

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW SANTEE WAS A REAL THING.

Until a week or so ago I didn’t even know Santee was a place, never heard of it before.  Now it’s on a guys uniform?  And I’m sure it’s not just because we are thinking about buying a house there, that I am “tuned” into the word.  I tend to see people names on their uniforms in the military just because it’s their name and I want to see if they are out of uniform.

At this point, I think we’ve surrendered to God’s will.  We are waiting for orders, we are waiting to find out for sure where we are going and what we are doing, where He want’s to send us, to do what He want’s us to do.  We’ve stopped looking on the internet for houses, we’ve only been preparing for a move.  Selling some stuff, straightening up some rooms for easy packing.  And what a great feeling, to know that we are in such loving hands, such powerful hands.