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Ruby Tuesday – Non-Thematic Edition! September 14, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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Tonight, a Meme Without a Theme.

OK, maybe it has a theme, but if so, it’s a mystery to me.  Despite prior protestations to the contrary, I’m whoring out a jumble of photos whose only commonality is that they have something red in them.  It’s not my best work, either as a blogger or as a photographer, but it’s RED, DAMMIT!

🙂   I like red.


Flowers on the Bridge of Flowers:

Bridge of Flowers

You have to look at this view every time I have to go to Shelburne Falls to do my laundry.  Call it “shared sacrifice.”

Another returning subject, on accounta I work in that area on a semi-regular basis, The Thompson Memorial Chapel in Williamstown:

Ruby Chapel

While the Japanese maple in the lower corner allows me to claim this as a “ruby” photo, it’s really a Fun With Elliot photo.  Elliot’s my new toy, a funky lens which allows for perspective adjustments, e.g. the elimination of the vanishing point which ought to apply to this tower.  The result feels to me like a visceral sense of the structure’s mass.

I know, that’s TMI for a Ruby Tuesday post.  Time to shut up and show you the rubys.

American amaranth on a farm in southern Vermont:

American amaranth

…along with a bajillion othe kinds of flowers in shades of red ruby, and the odd pumpkin.

Closer to home, (!) sphagnum moss getting in touch with its Inner Rubys:

moss with rubys

Rubiliciously lush!

And at the risk of being labeled a One Trick Moose, here’s another moose loose on the streets of Bennington, VT:

Ruby Moose

Unlike most of the moose-art on display thereabouts, this one was unlabeled, so I call it Self Portrait with Moose.

The nerve, eh?

Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for this fun meme, and go visit if you haven’t, there are lots of ruby things to see every Tuesday!  😉

Dinner With TCR! September 13, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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Saw some organic black figs at the local coop and my brain spun out of control, pairing pinwheels of possible flavors with the sweet grainyness of the fleshy figs.

I settled on a combination of figs and fetta, with caramelized onions, celery and fresh basil:


folded into a quesadilla:

fig and feta Quesadilla

…and served with a salsa verde for dipping.

The feta/basil crumble on top sent it over the line into decadence.

Fig and Feta Quesadillas, coutesy of me.


And So It Begins. September 13, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.

Autumn, my favorite time of year.  Born of September, giving birth to November, a quarter year of mind blowing changes, from verdancy to indeterminacy to this:

ruby foliage

That’s pretty determinant.

We’ve entered Nirvana for as long as Nature grants us.

There are other places in the world to live, some much grander, some wilder, some so, so much more cultured.  But I’m a product of this, and this is what I love.

So if I ply you with the same shots week after week it’s because that’s where I am, and that’s what I’m diggin’, and that’s what I have to share.

Especially this time of year, when it all goes magical and unlikely.

It’s Game On for Autumn.  Stay tuned.

I Cried. September 11, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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I was sitting in the hallway of our county courthouse when I heard the news, a murmured phrase from a passing legal clerk.  It wasn’t directed toward me, but as passing snippets go, it was hard to ignore: the United States of America was under attack, with major damage having already been inflicted on New York City.

For a long while that was all I had to work with, sitting there among the tattooed masses shuffling their feet, wanting their next cigarette almost as much as I wanted to duck out of my role as a witness in a crazy driving incident which had resulted in considerable damage.

I stayed, gradually gathering details as the buzz intensified, and was eventually shuffled into a waiting room where fifty of us were read our instructions, then parked in front of a television to wait for our names to be called.

That’s when I first saw them, the images of planes piercing sky scrapers like fiery  javelins, of columns of thick black smoke rising skyward, of pin-striped flecks peppering the air in a pixelated confusion of motion and intention and regret.

And I cried.  Publicly, silently, without concern for or even awareness of the people on my left and right, or even for the lives lost for I-knew-not-why, but rather for the Words Unspoken, the spouses left sleeping in the work-a-day pre-dawn departures, the children on school buses who would never see their Mommy or their Daddy again, the engagement rings sitting in dresser drawers which would never find their place on the unasked finger.

And as the hours passed and the towers collapsed with horrifying predictability, I cried for the True Heroes who willingly went into that maelstrom of destruction, hoping against hope to save a life, praying as they climbed the stairs that they could keep their promises to their spouses and partners and children, Yes, Daddy will be fine, Mommy will be fine, it’s an important job and I need to go do it, I’ll see you tonight my sweeties.

But not all stories have happy endings.

Eight years ago today, nearly three thousand innocents lost their lives to Fundamentalist Fervor, some incinerated in lung searing agony, some transformed in a crushing millisecond into unrecognizable stains of white and red, some following office chairs out 90th floor windows, choosing the flight of dreams when finally the consequences of such a choice were rendered moot by the actions of a dozen and a half misguided souls, their mortal bodies preceding their ties and coat-tails Earthward, their eyes filled with incongruous beauty, their ears deafened by the white noise and fury of their final act.

And then, amidst the flames and the fumes and the plumes of black smoke, three thousand souls rising, rising toward The Mystery, impervious to the toxic dust clouds, insensate to the blinding heat, the Mothers, the Fathers, the Brothers, the Sisters, the Sons and Daughters, the CEOs and the Janitors and the Hijackers rising together, relieved of all that was, freed from the fear of dying and about to have their ultimate questions answered.

It’s not so much for them that I cried that day in the courthouse, and on many subsequent days, and in particular today, as it takes me two hours and a box of tissues to write this.

I cried then, as I cry now, for those of us left behind, for family and friends and children and acquaintances and complete strangers, of which I am one, who didn’t learn, didn’t get it, didn’t see how our narrow vision of life and love and justice contributed to this unspeakable moment in time, fueled the fires of divisiveness and hatred and greed, allowed us to dismiss the lives of others as somehow less valuable than our own, begged God to send us a message which we couldn’t ignore, then ignored it.

And as our new President implores us to Hope for resumed growth, we go forward seemingly oblivious to the perils of environmental usury, taking mercilessly from whoever is weak enough to give it up, shooting holes in the stern of the colossal vessel whose bow we so smugly occupy, ignoring the interconnectedness of our pillage of other peoples’ resources and their seemingly indiscriminate  attacks on us, unwilling to assume one iota of responsibility for the condition of the world in which we all live.

It’s eight years later, and I’m still crying.

Dinner With TCR – Mushrooms, Part 1. September 10, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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My fridge is bursting with ‘shrooms!  They’re being crushed beneath each others’ weight, forcing the half-and-half to sweat and fade on the counter, keeping me up late at night, challenging my imagination and culinary stamina.

What to do with a basketfull of Black Trumpets?

black trumpets

…or a bag’s worth of Eastern chanterelles?


Perhaps a breakfast omelet of local duck eggs, chanterelles, caramelized onions and cheddar:

chanterelle omelet

…and a dinner of black trumpets and chants with garlic, white wine, basil and a crumble of Gorgonzola, served over fresh lobster raviolis:

trumpets over raviolis

… prime examples of my Hundred Yard Diet, being largely from my garden and the nearby woods.

If anyone has a pickling recipe for a shopping bag’s worth of Oyster mushrooms, I’d be more than happy to entertain it, as my half-and-half needs a place to stay…

Pontoosuc Lake September 10, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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A couple of views looking from Pittsfield into Lanesborough, with Mount Greylock (our State’s highest peak) in the background.

A tilt/shift view of the marina, getting pretty good depth of field despite my slow crawl up the learning curve:


A small sailboat waits for a gentle wind:

red boat

I’m having fun with Elliot, my new tool!


Ruby Tuesday, Goofy Edition! September 8, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Ruby Tuesday!.
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Driving around my part of the world this past week, I was reminded of the John Prine song, “Big Old Goofy World.”

And as a lot of the goofiness was, um, Ruby,  I thought I’d share it with you!

What passes for “art” in nearby Bennington, VT:

mystical moose

This guy, “Mystical Moose,” is one of fifty-something meese gracing the streets of The Ben as some kind of Vermont promotional deal.

They were all pretty cool, but this one went beyond cool into rubiliciousness!

And while we’re in “goofy mode,” here’s an eight foot rooster hanging out at a Lanesborough farm:

ruby rooster!

I mean, What The Baawwwk???

And my favorite “big dude,” the decidedly P.U.* mascot of the Big Indian (tacky) Gift Shop in my own home town:


Yep, twinty feet o’ honkin’ Redman.  We locals call him the B.F.I.

[*that be politically UNcorrect.   Which is, of course, uncorrect.]

Anyway, that’s about all the goofiness I can handle in one sitting.  Thanks to Mary over at Work of the Poet for this fun meme!

Reflections, Continued. September 7, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I’m working with a new lens, which purportedly delivers sharp images over a greater depth of field than I can access with my other lenses.  So forgive me if some of these shots are less than artistic; I’m really trying to see what my new tool will do.

Here are the previously promised reflections.

At the Quabbin, a local reservoir which supplies Boston with much of its water:

Quab reflection A1

In this case the “tilt” function of this lens afforded me sharp focus from the foreground to the back.

Here’s a sky reflection, which utilized less of the “tilt” function of this new lens and more of the “shift” function:

McLeod reflection

I liked what happened there.  I got shifted out of the photo, though an observer might never know.

Here’s one with me left in, a “self portrait” if you will:

McLeod shaddow

I expect that this will become my most interesting (and most challenging!) lens, a twin in utility to my 16-35mm L series.

Sorry to get technical on you there, but I’m pretty jazzed.

Random Shots. September 5, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Life is ever changing, and I’m feeling myself swept up in currents which aren’t necessarily about blogging.  If I’m scarce for a while, it might be that I’m busy consolidating my life, moving to a new place and diggin’ my favorite time of year.

I’m prejudiced, of course, being a Child of Autumn.

Here are a few shots from this past week.

Mount Negus on a typical morning, with the river rising up its flanks:


A Purple-flowering raspberry with Goldenrod and Spotted jewelweed:

raspberry, etc

Laurels at lakeside, taken earlier in the year:


A bear running from an unwitting pic-nicker:

running bear

…do you see the guy behind the tree?  He just walked up from the river and surprised this yearling bear.

And lastly, a carpet of White wood asters surround a pic-nic table at Mohawk State Forest:

white wood asters

Gotta run – I have mountains of wild mushrooms to dispatch.  I’ll let you know how that goes.


Self Portrait. September 2, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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On a Summer’s eve, with a fog rising from the fields:

sunset in fog