Girl asks notorious photoshopper to make her look ‘skinny’ and ‘pretty.’ His response goes viral

What a boost to my day!

phicklephilly

Photoshop wizard James Fridman is known for using his incredible graphic design talents to brilliantly troll the people who request his services. It’s not that he doesn’t follow their directions—in fact, he often follows them quite literally. But the end result is rarely exactly what the requester had in mind.

Exhibit A:

James Fridman

Exhibit B:

James Fridman

Exhibit C:

James Fridman

But though Fridman’s end results are often hilarious, he ultimately likes to use his powers for good and to teach people a lesson about a larger social issue. Recently, he received a request from a girl who has struggled with her weight for years. The request reads:

Hey James! Love your work! Your hilarious! And knowing you, you probably won’t do this and I know you get this message A LOT but here goes. Ok. So I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I was like…what 7? I’ve…

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My Sister – I love You

diana at the Art at the Barn faire

My sister was found to have a mass on her brain, (yesterday). She goes back in today for an MRI with contrast.

I am so sick about it.

She’d been losing her sight and it all came on within the past few months. I suspected something wrong because she was tired a lot.  More so of late. picnic

She is my baby sister.  She was the one who left her job and came out to Alabama to help me take care of our parents.  It was hard at first and we at times fought.  If you can picture 50-60 year old’s fighting.

She is/was a massage therapist and into natural remedies which is why she only went to her acupuncturist and chiropractor, seeking a “natural”solution to whatever was ailing her.  Now, that I think back on it, she has complained for some time that she had not been feeling well. She thought it was a mold issue. (She lives in Florida) She complained and yes, there was mold in her air conditioning and her landlord took care of it.Yellow Mushrooms

Even so, she’d been complaining about an overall not feeling well and we’d make jokes about how it sucks getting old.  I still kept insisting she see a doctor.  I told her that I understood her wanting to go natural, but sometimes it’s valuable to find out what is for sure going on and if there’s a natural course of attack, then she can make that decision.  She “said” she agreed with my reasoning, but she kept putting it off.

What was interesting and I mentioned this to her, if her cats got sick she’d take them to the doctor and spend whatever necessary.  She always came second.Closet Diva (1)

For a time, I talked to her less out of sheer frustration.  I didn’t want to hear about the acupuncturist and chiropractor.  Please understand, I have nothing against them, but I just suspected more.  I wonder too, if they had not recommended the same, because many do and will, but she wouldn’t say.

She finally said she had gone to the doctor.  I discover yesterday that she went to a Lenscrafter optician. When she told me about her visit, she made a joke about, “Hey, you know the big letters on the eye chart?  Well, I can’t even see those!  My eyes are really bad.”  He did recommend she see a specialist but then she said well, I haven’t heard back from him with the referral he would recommend.  I suggest she call him.  She never did. She said, no $$. She is on Medicare, but had not gotten the supplemental insurance and she was no longer working.  If you know anything about massage therapists, they are independent contractors with no benefits whatsoever, so of course no retirement income.  She said she had put some money away, but says, she doesn’t know where it went to. She wanted me to come out.  She asked me often. I wanted to but wouldn’t go.

These are my reasons.  If I’d gone out, it might have resulted in a vacation and that would have been her reasoning. Excuses. I’m not an awful sister, but… I knew if I did, my time would be limited and I knew I’d be spinning my wheels, not knowing the area and trying to find what was available. I don’t know people, services or doctors there and at the end of the day, nothing would have been accomplished.

The Tree Tea Party

I kept insisting she call her “boys” and let them know what was going on but she wanted me to come out.  I dug in my heels.  She kept saying they had busy lives and her daughter in law had just lost her dad and a few years before, her mother.  No, she didn’t want to put that on them.  Her boys are busy, with sports and raising kids.  One, has a girl in college on a sports scholarship, I think she said,  another in high school.  The college student would come on occasion and help her with things. The other son has little ones.  Both “boys” are busy.  Well guess what?  She broke down and told them and they aren’t too busy to help their mom and they are the reason she is getting help.  They know the right doctors. They got the referrals and are taking care of business… and in short order.

Blue Pumpkins

Because she couldn’t see, she had possibly mismanaged her bank accounts and they’ve had to step in to help with that. Everyone is getting involved.

The daughter in law said they’d seen her not that long ago but she behaved “normally” so they were unaware. She is not a complainer, so she never said a word to them. Even when she spoke to me, she didn’t actually complain. So when she finally did let them know the extent of her vision loss, they immediately got her help. Their doctor, did not order the tests right away because she had been taking so many herbs and potions, he said they would cloud the tests and he wanted to wait until they were out of her system before doing blood work. Now, I wait for more.

Before the MRI, the “kids” asked for our family history.  I sent that to them. Before the MRI, they said the doctor had indicated she was depressed and they thought she had begun to be forgetful.  Depression can do that too.  Just in the last couple of weeks, I had noticed a turn.  She was sleeping more and I reasoned that perhaps that was why she was losing time. She would forget things. She kept talking about how I was going to be there in a few days after I had explained I would come in October. She forgot.  THAT IS NOT HER. She was once a bookkeeper at Disney World.  She knows computation.

The doctor gave her simple equations and she could not compute them. She got angry with him for asking her to “think”. Multi Color Pots

I am writing this because for the last few days I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster and I don’t know what to do.

I lashed out at hubby. I hugged hubby. So glad I have hubby.

I feel ANGER. I am so angry. Angry at her for not going to the doctor when I suggested and how so like dad that was.  Stubborn and rebellious. How could she do that to us?  I am the eldest and yes, I can be so bossy! I know that, but it doesn’t make me wrong.  Why didn’t you go?  I CAN’T LOSE MY BABY SISTER!!!!

Then there’s the GUILT.  Why didn’t I just go over her head and enlist her boys whether she liked it or not?  I know why.  I just never guessed it was that bad and I  am feeling guilty for not having known. I want to scream!!!

And, SAD.  I am so sad.  What if it’s not a slam dunk remedy?

PAIN.  It hurts so bad. My emotions are all over the board.

Flying Carpet

Last night, I kept remembering all the good times she and I shared in our misery taking care of our parents.  Our parents had been difficult our whole lives. We marveled at how well we had all turned out despite the abuses.  She is a beautiful person and an artist and I know she’s not dead, but with the my back log of clues, the evidence may have been there longer than we knew… I don’t know.  I know as we grow older, it is inevitable we lose people we love. It’s all part of life.

I call the family on this side of the country to let them know.  I called my son in Texas only to learn he lost one of his best friends this past week of a brain tumor.  He was 38.  I guess age doesn’t matter.

Can I be royally pissed? Certainly, but I forgive her. She is sweet and loving and probably never imagined it was that bad. I sometimes wonder if children of a hypochondriac parent put off things for fear they may be parroting them?

Spread throughout this blog are pictures my sister has drawn, using crayon.  It is Crayon Art which she has won awards for. I love them.

Shooting The Short

I just finished filming a “short”, (an under 30 minute film).

What a challenge.  The worst of it was seeing me from all angles.  Ugh! I thought I looked ginormous.

Because I did the camera set up and would have to run and take my place, I saw,  a view of my backside, way too often.  I felt like the girl in the new film, Brittany Runs a Marathon . Not huge, but she thought so. Help! fix me!!!

Still in the editing “room” ( my son’s iMac), it (the caliber of the film) appears to be less than I’d hoped for. I don’t know why I thought I could turn out a Steven Spielberg or Tarantino my first time out but… Seriously, no I knew better, but one can only  hope… hehe.  It was my first film wearing all hats. It was so much harder than I expected than when you have a pro film crew.  My camera of choice was my iPhone mounted on a Moza Mini MI Gimbal stabilizer and a standard tripod. The Moza Mini has features I thought would be great for a one man show, but for some reason, I was doing good to get it to “stabilize”.  I watched several YouTube videos to learn it’s application, then discovered that it worked best on my son’s iPhone 6 than it did on my iPhone 7Plus.  On his phone, he was able to get it to follow the subject.  The only downside is that when we used the clapper, after setting it to our subject, it got confused and the camera decided to follow the clapper instead. So, that obviously wasn’t working, so for expediency sake, we called out the scenes and takes.

My son was instrumental in figuring some of it out, but since he didn’t have time to really work the bugs out, we did what we could.

Afterglow 4

Any professional reading this is probably saying to him/herself, humorously of course, “Idiots”.  I’m not ashamed.  Everyone has to start somewhere. (If anyone reading this knows what I may have done wrong, please tell me.)

To say the least it was a bit rough going. Then as an added bonus, my phone’s storage filled up and we lost a good deal of footage that we had to re-shoot.   Sometimes, it was at the cost of losing an exceptional take.  After that and before resuming, we of course, transferred what we had to the iMac editing program.  We are using Final Cut Pro. I have friends in the business who have all the skills, but I was determined to do this on my own, so I didn’t call them. I may rethink that in the future.  After all, why have friends in the business you can’t call?  Plus, they have all the good pro equipment, not a measly iPhone.  I know films have been shot using various phone camera’s, that’s why I wanted to try it.  Plus, I figured, it would be less gear for me to haul up to SLC, where most of it was shot.   Other obstacles were weather. The weather did not cooperate, as we got thunderstorms and high winds, which made shooting trialsome. What’s more, they were not in the forecast when I looked. I did check.

Then there were the microphones.  I didn’t have booms, but I got some lavalieres for clearer sound, but didn’t remember to use them until the end.  Duh.  I’m not sure they made that big of a difference when I used them for close in dialogue.  My actor daughter, in GA, said she had a small mic and boom for iPhone, which she used for audition tapes, but we didn’t find it until the last day. I wasn’t gonna start all over for that.  Most of the sound was decent anyway.

My crew was made up of family, who all had day jobs.  That was tough. The “actors were also family plus my actor daughter’s boyfriend.  We used his law office as one of our sets. He stood in for my daughter who had a full schedule as an RN and couldn’t do the part I’d written for her.  Here we grownups are goofing off.

Afterglow 1

My little grand daughter and grandson were absolutely amazing.   When I directed my grand daughter to play dead, she did.  She is only 7 and no matter how I shook and called out to her she kept in character and didn’t break, lying there all distorted like a wet noodle. Of course, that was on the second take, because on the first take, she did get the giggles, until I clarified her part. When I yelled “cut” and praised her, she was exhilarated and I was so proud.

.Afterglow 2

Something I need to say on this account.  When you talk to a child, especially one on an autistic spectrum, remember to tell them it is only pretend.  When I first arrived, I made the mistake of telling her we were making a movie and she would die.  The first couple of days after my arrival, she stayed clear of me and was terribly moody. Generally, this little bit of sunshine is all over me, so I suspected something was up. Then it dawned on me why, so we had “the talk”. She was great after that.

It brought back memories of my daughter, Tina, at age 4.  My husband had decided he wanted to adopt her.  At the time, we were unable to locate her birth father and I knew those two had bonded beautifully and he’d been a part of her life since she was two. When we asked her how she felt about that, she sounded very agreeable. Two weeks later,  she broke down and cried and told us she didn’t want to be adopted.  She cried and said she adamantly told us she didn’t want to live with anyone else but us.  We cried with her and tearfully explained to her what we meant and reassured her she was going nowhere else to live, but would stay with us forever. How could we be so stupid?  What’s worse is she stewed about it internally for two weeks!!

So my advice, is when you work with little ones, please be sure they totally understand what is going on.  As I said, once Ally understood, she was great and did her part.

My 9 year old grandson, on the other hand, took to the whole thing like a pro.

Afterglow 3

When we got done shooting a scene, he wanted to see what it looked like, then he would say, “No, no, let’s do that again”.  “I (him) need to be doing …” this or that or put the camera here or there. He already has plans to do his own YouTube videos.  I think he’ll do well. These kids are so clever.

All in all, we had to do more retakes for me,  than anyone else. Acting is something I haven’t done in a long time and I couldn’t believe how stilted I’d become.

You may ask why I did this. Two reasons.

One: I have a friend in the business, who a couple of years ago, told me, the best way to test out my writing, is to film it, so I did. My friend was so spot on correct.  I’ve got a long way to go yet and seeing what I crafted on video was eye opening.  It really taught me a great deal. I found myself re-writing so much of what I’d originally written for something that would sound more natural, more believable.  You can see the scribbles on my script!  Is that normal?thumbnail_IMG_4216

Two: I need a reel, both for myself as an actor and as a writer. I have friends that are always wanting me to submit for parts and I have nothing. I thought I’d aged out, but from what they say, older women parts are being created and well, we could all work together.  Ya think?  They might think otherwise after seeing this. lol

Finally we will need music. Oyvey!

In the end, I’ve decided to ask my friend if I can hang out with his film crew and see how they do get the shots I so sorrily attempted to do.

As film viewers and armchair critics, it’s not as easy as you’d think. Trust me.

Oh yeah, while I was there we did the SLC FanX Com.  Here’s some pictures from that.

Ah yes and for ally’s birthday I did a repeat of my Grandma Tala, which the kids absolutely loved.

teamLab Borderless

This is so visually stimulating, I can’t resist sharing.

kirilson photography

Venue: Odaiba, Tokyo

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4 & Samsung S10 camera & Huawei P20 camera

Music: Kraftwerk – Electric café (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBjhHq6qp-k)

Earlier the same day when we visited Mr. Kikuchi and his Kaiseki restaurant from my previous post, we also went to the artificial island of Odaiba to visit teamLab Borderless. Probably it can be most correctly described as a collection of immersive interactive digital art installations flowing freely from one to another. But I think in this case the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words fits perfectly, and I’ll let you explore the place via the pictures instead of trying to explain it.

20190320-DSC_0261 The first installation we ended up in (there are several paths that randomly lead to different places, so literally we happened to end up at this place, while other visitors might start elsewhere) had many many moving flowers and butterflies and relaxing…

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Comic-Con’s 50 years, Grandma Tala and the thought of growing old!

Well, what can I say?  I did it again,  I went to Comic-Con for another year, but it was their 50th, so how could I pass it up?.  I guess we are all getting old and this time, I was half naked.

What?  Well, not exactly, but I felt like it!.

If you recall, in times past, I explained how often my sister would wear the skimpiest outfits she could manage to muster up.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m too self conscious of my middle and age, but I’ve trimmed down a bit, so I thought that for the 50th anniversary I’d see what I could do and this is what I got.  But…. Before I show you what I did, let’s quickly review my past ventures.  In general, I try to pick characters that are age appropriate though there aren’t many.

So here is the chronology of past Comic-Con’s

My first was in 2015 or was it 2014?  No, it was 2015.

Comicon 2015-3 - Copy

I went as Rosita of “The Walking Dead” and believe it or not there are critics!   One guy told me my hair wasn’t dark enough,  and I shoulda’ been wearing short shorts. Well, dag nabbit, she wore long pants too!  My sister was the green lady, better known as an Orion Slave Girl from Star Trek and her son was a character from some video game. And… it took me over a couple of hours to paint her green.  Aren’t I a nice sister?

 

2017 – Year Two:  I went as The Queen of Hearts – my grand daughter was Alice and I don’t recall what my sister did.  Oh yeah, she was a minuscule clad Spider Woman.  For some reason, I didn’t get that pic.  ooops!Comicon 2016-1 - CopyComicon 2016-2 - Copy

 

2017 Year Three:  I went as Queen Hippolyta of Wonder Woman – my sister was Wonder Woman and my grand daughter made a beautiful Storm (see below)- I made all their costumes, which my sis revamped to suit her. Even though Queen Hippolyta,  looks young,  she is Wonder Woman’s mother, so I went with that.

Comicon 2017-3 - Copy

2018 Year four:  I went as Edna Mode from The Incredibles, my daughter wore my Queen Hippolyta costume and made it look great!  My grand daughter did some steampunk thing, and my grandson did a Dastraquil thing.  We never met up with my sister that year, because I was beat and we couldn’t find each other.Comicon 2018-3 - Copy

I was fortunate to meet up  with The Incredible clan for the above picture.

 

2019 – Year Five was this year.  Ugh!  Talk about feeling old.  I went as several things and I had energy to spare on the first day, but for the next two days I lacked the heart to do all I had hoped.

My second and third day I went as Jasmine or some facsimile from Aladdin. At least this young man called me Jasmine to his Aladdin.  Comicon 2019-12

It was my compromise to my sister, but as you can see, I added a veil across my tummy in the above photo. My idea was to accommodate my sister’s known desire to be provocative. She thought it would be fun.   I thought I’d be bold enough to do so, but as you can see,  I chickened out. Comicon 2019-9 - Copy

Since, I make all my costumes, this was a good compromise.  I didn’t feel like making hers again and or another as detailed as my previous three. As I may have mentioned on other posts, taking up belly dancing was something my other sister, Di and I had done many years earlier in order to relieve stress from caring for mother.

Jo 1

My sister Di is on the back left and I on the back right.  Well hidden. However, it is obvious my sisters like to dance and I go along for the ride.

Sherene, as you all know from my burlesque post is a dancer and loves to show skin.  She also belly dances and she’s dang good at it.  She’s considerably younger than I.  The point is,  between the two of us, we already had a slew of costumes to fit the bill, so it relieved me from making costumes to from scratch.

So for two days I was a harem girl, which there were plenty of in Aladdin, but surprisingly enough not many at Comic-Con and no one seemed to care.  Generally, people are lined up to take pictures of her in her scanty attire, but not this year.  I guess we’re all getting old.

Photo of Day three:  Not sure who the dudes are, but someone thought we should get our pictures taken together.

Comicon 2019-11

Okay, so I’m not half naked, but did you notice, I skipped Day One ?

For good reason.

Because of Day one, I felt so insecure about Days two and three.

Things that clouded my brain were, why in the hell am I doing this?

Act your age!  Stop trying to look young! Your time has passed. I – AM – OLD.  I should act my age!  All because of … my Day One.

MY DAY ONE:

I was Grandma Tala of the film Moana. Comicon2019-3

It was absolutely amazing.  I looked and felt my age. The only reason I felt my age was that Grandma Tala is slightly bent and carries a cane and… aside from me tripping people up with it, which I did several times, it was hard work. It hurts to be hunched over. I normally stand extremely erect. Otherwise, it was gratifying playing this lovely old lady.

BUT,  what got me is how people love her.  I actually couldn’t figure out if people love old people or was it just because Grandma Tala who is so beloved and all their love for her was transferred over to me?  Day two and three were so anti-climactic because I wanted to stay her.  I almost forfeited my plans for Jasmine to be her again.

Initially, when I looked in the mirror after making myself old, I questioned my sanity wondering, Why would I even go there?  I didn’t and don’t like seeing me old, but I couldn’t help it. I enjoyed being this free, loving spirit that her character embodied.   I was through most of the day before I thought to take pictures of those taking pictures of me, so the pictures that follow don’t come close to what there was. One young couple from the Netherlands were the most excited, so I had to get one of them as well but then a beautiful young lady dressed as Moana came running toward me shouting “Grandma Tala”. Here are a series of pictures of some of these folks and their photos taken with me

Comicon 2019-2 - Copy

As Grandma Tala, the public loved me!!  What surprised me was how many young men from teens through thirties got excited at Grandma Tala!   My costume was complete with the temporary tattoo that Grandma Tala was noted for, a manta ray! I even memorized her lines from the movie, but never got to use them.

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And, even though I’m somewhat tawny, the splotchy-ness comes from  hubby slathering on my “tan”.  Covergirl came out with a makeup that doesn’t wash off, but it is hard to smooth on evenly and especially so if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Unfortunately, or maybe I should say fortunately, hubby isn’t in the habit of putting makeup on and I don’t think he was much into getting his hands into it.  LOL

It was amazing, but I couldn’t walk more than a couple of feet and people were stopping me, taking pictures and praising me. Telling me I was the best Grandma Tala they’d ever seen and I’m guessing I was the only Grandma Tala out there.

 

People from across the way were mouthing, “You are beautiful”. Thumbs up and shouting “You are amazing!” and it went on like that all day!

So what was it?  I kept asking myself rhetorical questions as to the why she or I was so popular, posing several questions to myself about what it means.

Is it that there are few grandma’s that even look like grandma’s?  I was looking at a scene the other day, of a friend doing a part opposite Jane Fonda and well, look at Jane Fonda. She’s still gorgeous and absolutely doesn’t look like a cuddly grandma, regardless of her 80 plus years and her grandma state of being.

I don’t look like a cuddly grandma, even though I’m not as old, though you’d be hard pressed to believe that from the above photos.  If you ask my grand daughter, I am her cuddly grandma and she has on occasion complained that her mom isn’t and my daughter would admit to that as well, even though she loves her grand kids immensely.  Funny how that works, looks don’t impair cuddles. Are there not enough grandma’s that look like grandma’s and possibly part of why everyone fell in love with Grandma Tala?

My ex, posted a comment that he liked my hair. What did he mean?  Did he like seeing me grey and looking old or just grey? He’s not mean spirited, so I’m guessing he just meant grey.

My mom had beautiful gray hair, so if I had more of it maybe I’d feel differently about having it.  The reality is, I have very little gray hair, but aside from that, even pretending to be old made me feel old.   I was hurting in places that generally don’t hurt and my mind wanted to fog up.  I loved it and hated it all at the same time.  How does one grow old gracefully?

For me, part of my energy level comes from NOT looking old or catering to my age, but then there is this thing that tells me “why not??” Yes, sometimes I wish to give in to it.

For me, I look young because I think young.  I eat right and exercise.  I do not have a cupboard full of medication.  I take a few herbals. I do puzzles, read and write to keep the mind alert.  I’ve seen too many people give into aging and yes, a part of me wishes she could resign herself to looking her age, but I can’t and won’t.  To give in means to give up and because of that,  I want you to know I will fight, kicking and screaming to my grave.   Age is a crown of glory or so Grandma Tala has proven, but Grandma Tala died way too soon, leaving her beloved Moana without her.  There is so much telling in age, but I soak up what I’ve learned and hope I will live long enough to share my Grandma Tala wisdom to those younger than I and for years to come.

However, when I do get old, I won’t look half bad, huh?Comicon 2019 - 13

BTW, that paint was hard to get out of my hair and I think my tan rubbed off onto my PJ’s for days. What if I’d been green?  The tat is almost completely gone now.

More pictures from Comic-Con:

Comcion 2019 - 18Comcion 2019 - 17DastraquillComicon 2019-10Comicon 2019 - 16Comicon 2019 -14

 

 

Ferguson – Where Are You?

I’ve not been online for awhile.Ferg

I lost my dog.

I don’t know if the coyotes got him or perhaps the homeless that live at the bottom of the hill have him.  They admitted to seeing him, but because their camps are booby trapped and Hep A is rampant in them, not to mention that the one at the bottom of our hill is a known meth lab and heaven knows what else is there that even cops won’t go in there.

I have no way of knowing if they decided to keep him.  Soooo, I’m in a frump, majorly depressed.  My kitty won’t eat and I’m afraid she may be next. She is 17, after all.

It amazes me how something so small can get into your heart and wrench it out. Chloe, our cat,  has always behaved from Day 1 as though Ferguson was an inconvenience, an interloper and a nuisance to her.  She was here first and he was so damn needy.

She knows. She hasn’t been eating and her usual sleep all day life pattern has been disrupted and she walks around looking for him.  She goes in and out of rooms as though she thinks he will materialize from heaven knows where. I’m thinking she misses him too. Even though they generally didn’t get along, when night time came or it was cold, they’d call a truce.f13

It happened on July 2.  I was out in the yard pulling weeds and planting to prepare for our big fourth of July BBQ and Ferguson came out to lift his leg on a plant I’d just relocated. Of course.

I hadn’t realized how the day had gotten away from me, so I said to him, “Oh, I’m sorry buddy, you need your walk!”  I was working on a slope on the other side of our fence. So, I “jumped” over the fence to get his leash in the house, but turned and he was nowhere to be seen.  I figured the little guy had gone back into the house or if he’d gone down the hill, he’d be right back up.  But, he didn’t. Nothing.  Poof!  He disappeared.

I called out but he was nowhere to be found.  He’s gone down the hill before on a number of occasions but he always comes back up within minutes. Little did I realize we would have an earthquake a couple of days later and it’s a known fact, dogs flee before quakes. I waited only a few before I got worried.  I called and called, but nothing.  My husband got home from work, my brother, who was painting the fence stopped and we all went searching.  Within an half hour after my last sighting of him, the whole neighborhood was out en force to search.  Another half hour later, the neighborhood kids had created posters to put up.

Range Rovers, Pick ups and Armada’s were cruising the streets for him. I was shocked at how quickly the neighborhood was mobilized. I told them they didn’t have to but they insisted.  They said, “He’s family, we do have to!” Everyone loves Ferguson.

He was after all their favorite sidewalk sweeper. His tail was good for something.

f12

Hubby and I had joked in Alabama that everyone in town knew Ferguson’s name but I bet not a one knew ours. Everyone always asks about Ferguson and I’d bet the whole of Etowah County is praying for him.

It is now going on four days.  No Ferguson.

The first day, I went down the hill but heard screaming and profuse foul language.  That prevented me from going further. As I said, the homeless camp below is a known meth lab, and that even the police won’t go down there.  They say it’s booby trapped. It may be.  My neighbor, Val and I went over to the other side of the railroad tracks with binoculars to see if we could see movement.  We see our house clearly.  (see photo) There’s so much brush and he’s such a little guy, did we really believe we’d see anything?  We hope. We post signs along the way.  We talk to everyone, especially other dog walkers. Some we know, some we don’t.  We scan the slope for over a half hour. We later go to the cul de sac where the trail leading to those camps begin and ventured forward a little ways to get a different vantage.  Never going in so far that we couldn’t be seen, of course.  I’m guessing our husband’s would have had a coronary if they knew.  By then, it was getting dark.  We meet some people headed to the camp.  They are well dressed but tell us, they have family there and they bring food and goods to them. We tell them about Ferguson and they promise to convey the message. We are out of flyers so we have nothing to leave them. Val gives them her number. I notice they have a small child with them, so in my mind I’m questioning the danger factor.h3

That night, Hubby and I hear the coyotes howling and growling.  It was a big pack.  I hadn’t heard them like that in months.  I thought with all the homeless around that they had moved on.  The likelihood of Ferguson surviving that was nil.  I finally broke down and bawled, hubby too.  Our hopes are dashed. How can something so little break our hearts like that?

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When I took this picture in slo-mo, I found myself with two Fergs. I’d love to just get one of those back.

Day two,  I spend most of the day on all my Social Media connections,  posting pictures of Ferguson and the details of his disappearance.  I get some feedback on what to do next and how to get the most of my postings.  Friends and those in the know reassure me that as little as he is, he could easily hide and stay safe. I go to post more posters.  I’m thinking, the Sprinter Station which is below us and off to our right a little ways would be a good spot to post something, since I knew the homeless often cross over the tracks at that juncture, but there was no posting permitted.  As I turn away, a young woman saw the poster and shouted, “That’s “Woofy Boy”!  I ask her if she’d seen him (while at the same time thinking, my dog already has a nick name?) and she said, yes. He was at their camp the night before, then turned to the other two men to get their affirmation, they agree but are not as sociable.  I told her I was worried the coyotes might have gotten him and she said, “no,  he was still there in the morning”.

“Is he still there?” I ask

“I don’t know, I haven’t been there all afternoon.”  The guys were getting impatient and walk away.

“I can go check and call you, your number is right here” and she took the flyer with her.

“Call me” I shout.

She tells me to “wait there” and I do.

It was all I could do to stay rooted and wait. I waited and waited, but no call.  Finally, I get a hold of hubby and he says, “What should I do?”

“I don’t know”.  A few minutes later he’s scrambling down the hill.   A few minutes after that, I too am heading up the path, police or no police.

I stop at the first camp which is camouflaged like a military dugout. Invisible to the eye.  I only knew it was there because I heard them talking.  I shouted out.  The guy inside gruffly asks who I was and what I wanted.  I told him.h2

He responded with, “No, I haven’t seen it!”  Sweetly, I tell him I have a flyer.

He says, “Don’t come in (as if I would), I’m coming out”  A few seconds later, he appeared.  He was a big bruiser. He took the flyer and said, “Oh yeah, I did see it, but he’s gone now”  give me the poster and I’ll keep an eye out for him.”

So, I go back on the trail,  and I come across a young man swinging a golf club and all sorts of things are going through my head.  My heart is about to pop out of my chest and I’m wondering what in the hell am I doing?  Shiiiiit, Do I keep going or do I talk to him?

I talk to him, all the while watching that club, then I notice a golf ball. Both, viable weapons. He turns and walks with me and tells me how Ferguson was stationed by his tent but that he wouldn’t let him touch him.  He tells me that he didn’t push it because it was getting dark and he didn’t want him to run off and get eaten by coyotes and that Ferguson was still there in the morning.  I thanked him.

The young man and I keep walking until I finally run into my hubby who is talking to a woman other  than the one I’d seen earlier, who was also friendly and promising she’d keep an eye out.  He also never went into their actual camp. Mind you, none of these people look like your typical homeless, except for the young man with the club, maybe. We pointed out our yard above them and the young man said, “If I catch him, I’ll take him and “throw” him over the fence”.  Hubby says, “you can knock on the door, that’s okay, there’ll be a little reward”.  We thanked them for their kindness and left. There are probably six or eight camps, I could not get close enough to photograph the others.

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Day three is the fourth of July and still no word.  Hubby says, I’m gonna go down and check.  I hand him some dog food and treats.  Some time later, he comes back and says, they were not nearly as friendly today, except the lady.

Day four, I hear screaming and yelling again.  There’s a disturbance below, so we stay away.  The women swear like sailors, but this time I hear men.  Something is going down and we want no part of it.   We go to the animal shelter hoping maybe someone has turned him in.  We give them all the info and at first they frown wondering why we delayed coming to them.  I told them the above story and they understood.  They admitted they’d seen all our online postings anyway.  We explained how we had hoped “they” would have gotten hold of him and brought him to us.  The Humane Society told us they are inclined to believe the homeless will keep him as they generally do.  They tell us it happens all the time.

I start getting texts and emails from people wanting us to get a police escort and search warrants to go in there.  Hubby and I are not crazy about that idea. For one, we already know their reputation and they now know where we live.  If they are as rough as they sound or are reputed to be, there could be ramifications for anything we do aggressively.  My brother in law, in a puffed up display of ignorance says,  “you can’t let them bully you like that, holding you hostage in your own home” and going on about showing force etc.  etc.  Of course, he doesn’t live here and I wish it were that easy.  I will however talk to the police and ask them what they think is the best course of action.

Day five, I don’t know what else to do.  Folks, I live in Oceanside, California.  If anyone knows anyone out this way, let them know our situation and hopefully, we can get Ferguson back.

A part of me is angry Ferguson took off.  I mean, how could he do that to us or to himself?  He had it good here. Is he hungry, cold? Have they tied him up? He would absolutely hate that. He always slept between Hubby and I and when I crawled into bed last night I instinctively reached out to ruffle his ears and stroke his little frame. What were you thinking little buddy?  Was it because we’ve had company? Did you feel neglected with all of us busily working? Was it the earthquake? WHY?!

His Backstory:

This was our first look at this little guy.  He was sitting like this on our stoop for two days on a hot, summer day in Alabama.

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I put water and cat food in a dish and kept telling him to “go home”.

Isn’t he just the cutest?  We learned later that he’d been wandering and scavenging around town for months after a big tornado hit.  If you check the date on the photo, it’s been almost exactly 8 years we’ve been calling him our own and now he’s gone. He’s gotten gray around the face and shoulders since then.  My hubby loved it when he’d drape his head over his arm while snuggling in. See the gray?Ferg 5

Initially, he wouldn’t let us touch him, so my sister and I sat in our driveway and talked to him until he let us near enough to get him but he just rolled over and let me pick him up.  My sister is an animal whisperer so I begged her to let me have first contact because I was in love.  Even so, we did our due diligence and searched for his owners with ads in the paper for two months. We put up posters everywhere and hit the vets and shelters, trying our best to find them. His teeth were nearly rotted out, he was wormy, flea ridden and dirty.  We checked for a chip and got him his shots and dental cleaning.

When I’d get home from work or anything where I was gone no more than two hours, he’d do a crazy “happy dance” and run all over the house with his butt looking like it was going to get ahead of the rest of his body.  When he peed, he did so with his back legs up doing a handstand and the first time he found four objects he wanted to christen, he did so without ever hitting all fours, turning on his front legs only, in one full swoop. The first time he did that, I laughed so hard I thought I’d pee my pants.

How can I be soooo sad?

Because that little scamp is and can be a a little dickens, like a child, he burrowed his way into our hearts and it hurts.

Ferguson was the first dog my hubby ever had and he didn’t think he’d like him, but he bawled harder than I did at first. Even now, the tears fight their way to the surface unbidden. Who couldn’t have resisted that face?

 At his first vet visit, the vet guessed he may have been around two years old then, which I doubted because of the condition of his teeth (I’d been a human dental assistant and that didn’t make sense to me) but then he was also malnourished when we found him. He pranced like a show dog and heeled like a well trained dog. That’s another reason for believing that someone ought to be missing him.  At the time we didn’t know about the tornado websites, but a friend did and she helped check those out. Nothing.  In fact my friend was even more determined to find his owners while I’m secretly hoping she doesn’t. Yeah, he wormed his way in real good.

These are some of our memories:

This was the picture we used on the posters and ads to find his owners. It was this picture that someone saw and told us he wan’t a long hair Chihuahua, but a Papillon. The vet thought he might have Chihuahua in him but a breeder said, no.  He’s all clean here. Initially, he had a limp, but with good nourishment that went away.

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Here he is taking a breather under our car or by a tree on our hike in Colorado.  This little guy had more stamina on a long hike than my grand kids. When he got tired or cold, I’d put him in my shirt or backpack. He loved going on walks.

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Sign? What sign?

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Okay. I’m done.

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He loved our tranquil walks at Noccalula Falls in Alabama and hikes in the Sawatch Mountains of Utah and Park City.

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He loved taking over our bed, even in this cushy hotel room with lots of pillows.  You’d a thought he’d paid for it. lol

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Daddy’s tummy is just right and this hammock at grandma’s is pretty cool too.

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A special day on the beach with mommy.

Day 6 – I spend all day putting up flyers, talking to people and visiting the police department and talking to Sheriff and Code Enforcement.

The police department photocopied flyers to hand out to those officers that work that area.  They definitely do not recommend we go down there because of diseases and such, plus most of them are on drugs, tend to be erratic and other hazards related to that. They recommend I call Code Enforcement. I call Code Enforcement to get an address but end up leaving a message.

I talk to people at the Sprinter (rail station), who I know will ride by the area in question and they are awesome and say they will keep a lookout.

I go to another station and see the Sheriff congregating, so I talk to them and they take photos of my flyer and say they will gladly keep an eye out.

I leave flyers at businesses nearby and they hang them up.  They are agreeable.

Code enforcement calls back and tells me they can’t hand out flyers.  I tell the lady that’s not what I’m asking and she sounds like it would be a major inconvenience to accommodate me.  PLUS… she tells me that I could get fined for putting up all those flyers and… get this, a lady who put up flyers for her missing child was fined and not allowed to do so!!!  Welcome to California.  I talk to her a few more minutes and before I hang up she says she looks forward to seeing me.  Wow!  Maybe, I’ll be the one in jail.

Well folks, all I can say, is it’s in God’s hands now.  Ferguson wherever you are, we love you and miss you.  We hope you are safe.f1

 

Addiction Confession

For a long time, I thought I was one of those people with a non addictive personality.  Like most people, when you think of addictions you think of alcohol and drugs, right?  Who am I kidding?

An addiction is an addiction and addictions come in many colors, shapes and forms.   You may have one and not even realize it.  Yours won’t be like mine or quite possibly anyone else’s. When you discover it, you may not even think it’s an addiction and/or serious.

Some addictions can steal time, money, friends, family, or productivity.  Some are actually okay to have. But… if it serves no purpose and keeps you from being the best you can be then maybe you need to take a hard look at it.

Even if you should discover that it’s there, you may want to weigh it’s impact on your life, in which case you may want to blow it off or do something about it. If you aren’t sure,  you could ignore it and pretend it isn’t what it is or you may just give into it, wallow in it and not give a flip about it. After all, what’s the big deal if it’s not killing you or anyone else… or is it?

At some point in your life, later on in your life, you may be forced to take a harder look and begin to fight it.

That’s me. It has taken many attempts and fails to realize these habits are a form of addiction because they control me. That’s when I had to take a closer look and gain control.

Mind you, I cannot be so arrogant to think I’ve actually gotten the upper hand because I haven’t.  Recognizing you have a problem does not absolve you of it. I’m like on a see saw, up and down.

My addiction?  As harmless as they may seem to you, they are real to me.

Sweets.  Binge watching T.V. while playing games and procrastination. I might add… I have an excuse for every single one of them.

SWEETS

I’ve always known about this one and in times past it was never a problem. I could pick up a gallon of ice cream and eat the whole darn thing.  A package of Igloo’s or “drumsticks” and eat them all in one sitting.  When I was young, physically fit and active, it was no biggy.  I also didn’t do it all the time.  It only became a problem in my later years when it started affecting my weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and mood. I’m not sure when it happened because it crept up on me slowly.  Perhaps it was because as a kid, we weren’t allowed many sweets, so it became an obsession. My favorites.

It affects me the same way as my reaction to alcohol. The next day after a sugar binge, I go into a deep depression.  And then guess what? Yup, I need a sugar fix and I start looking for anything that might curb it.  Sometimes there’s nothing sweet around, but guess what?  There’s popcorn. Quick sugar conversion carb. Yup! It is.  Get a nasty carb and it quickly turns to sugar.  I don’t like bread, so it’s not my go to, but if I can’t run to the nearest 31 Flavors… I’ve been known to settle.  Oh! and guess what?  A cocktail or drink at the end of the day works too.  I may not be an alcoholic, but alcohol is loaded with sugar!!!! (BTW I rarely drink alcohol)

You may not know it, but start taking notice.  If you have an extremely cranky day or feel a deep, dark sadness after a sugar fest, or with one too many drinks with a friend, then do something about it now.  Your body is trying to tell you something.  Keep in mind, this won’t apply to everyone. We are, after all,  uniquely different.

In my case it has affected my health and my motivation.  When you’re in a downer, it’s all you can do to get out the door and do something productive.  So guess what happens? I justify to the next addiction.

T.V.

Here’s the ugly gory.  Because I write screenplays or I should say have the goal to do so and I’ve written a few, I justify sitting in front of the T.V eating my sweets or whatever.  After all, an artist must study her craft, right?  I especially binge seasonal shows, but not all shows.  My hubby, God bless him, never complains or puts me down for which I’m grateful.  BTW, I am not obese and never will be but I’m certainly unmotivated at times.

My goal is to study the formatting and seeing what people are watching and why and that’s good. BUT, I’m obsessive.  Once I start a show, it’s day in and day out until it’s over and then on to the next.  Much like the box of ice cream.  I keep going until it’s done and I seldom hop around from show to show and when I do, it’s to accommodate hubby.  He’s not much of a T.V. guy anyway.  He’s on the computer either working his eBay after his regular day job or and now thank goodness, riding his bike again.  (His truck broke down, so he started riding to work until they could figure out what was wrong with it and now that he’s back on the bike, he’s remembering how good it felt.)

The problem here is that I usually have a game going simultaneously, so how much am I really getting out of the shows I watch?  I could do so much more. So out the window go the important things.

Screenplays.

PROCRASTINATION .

Procrastination and excuses go hand in hand and is a result of all the above.  I want to write great T.V. and/or a great screenplay, but… my self confidence, for lack of a better word…sucks!

What I’ve learned from T.V. is that the shows with agenda’s seem to be the ones that get made and that is discouraging. Many of the shows these are making “moral” statements, and I use the word loosely.  They are conditioning us and our children to adopt certain lifestyles.  Everything and anything goes.  The supernatural is fostered and I admit, I’m a sucker for a good surreal experience as well.

And when I’m in my melancholy state, turning out a good script is difficult.  If I don’t feel inspired, how can I inspire? So, I’m in a downer, I put it off for when I will “feel better”, “happy” and motivated.

TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

Now it may seem like I’m plugging someone else’s blog and I guess I am, but when I was reading a blog some of you may follow as well, called bgddyjim ,  I realized that my addictions were keeping me from being and doing amazing things.  Every time I read his blog, I’m inspired by the discipline it takes to stay on task. Over coming any addiction is not easy. It takes work recovering from an addiction and he’s the proof in the pudding, you might say.

And in light of that I’m making some changes.  I have been working out in a haphazard way for some time, but am finally getting a routine that is more frequent. I wish I could go cold turkey on the sweets, but given that so many things have sugar in them, I’m eliminating the obvious ones first and learning about and adding acceptable substitutes in moderation.

First thing in the morning,  I generally turn on the news which, when I’ve heard them repeat the same thing over gain a jillion times, or when when the crap shows come on, I go over to shows on Netflix or Hulu.  Well, I am not turning the T.V. on at all. Finis. I have to do it this way because I have no self control and I know it. (By the way, this goal was short lived, so I’m starting again.)  It’ll be the hardest to control since it is important. Note to self:  I said control because I can’t very well eliminate it, but what I need to change is the game playing while watching.

I have scheduled the completion of a short film by the end of next month, which will hopefully be used to generate income for a bigger project.  Wish me luck.

And, because Jim mentioned how important his sponsor is in his last post, it dawned on me that I was in need of one.

The first group I joined was that of a group of novelists, bloggers and news reporters.  That was fine.  We’d critique each others work, but there were no screenwriters.  The problem with that is that in screenwriting, less is more.  Novelists tend to be wordy.  They have to fill the page with words.  It’s show, not tell.  We don’t have to explain or go into great detail about what is happening. Characters are not overly wordy.  “Readers”, the gatekeepers to producers, the ones your screenplay must get past first are looking for white.  White pages.  If there are too many words, it generally gets tossed without even getting looked at. Yeah, that’s how it is.  So, when people in this group read my screenplays, they kept wanting more words, more elaboration. So, I left the group.

San Diego is not a big movie making stand alone location to be, but it’s made leaps and bounds.  In the last five years, more groups and people are popping up everywhere and so, voila I found some recently.

A friend of mine, in the business, who puts on the Da Vinci International Film Festival  in Hollywood, once told me the best way to see how your work is doing is to produce your own.   Last year I helped with a film called You Are Me, which has won an award and made it to another film festival.  Blog6

Recently, I’ve connected with a group of new filmmakers, wanting to produce and act.  I will be working with them in filming The Late Bird, not my writing, but with the prospect of doing mine at a later date.  Right now we are still seeking funding through Kickstarter.  Not much has been raised yet but… if you care to help?

Since then, I found this other group and was eagerly accepted.  My new group:  SD MediaPros  Filmmakers who encourage one another by offering classes to give new filmmakers like moi the tools to succeed.  Woohoo!

Why didn’t I think of that before?