punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Photo Memories of Being Kidnapped to a Party

I suck at taking pictures. I have said that before. I'm not doing this to be all martyr-like and self-deprecating to be cool, it is a statement of fact I have to repeat so I remind myself that I have to do something about it. It is starting to pay off. Not that I have cool pictures yet, but I have started to at least realize if I want to STOP sucking at taking pictures, I have to actually do something about it. Like analyze why I think I suck, try and get some outsider opinion, and fix what I might be doing wrong. I got that chance last night.

Like I have said before, my life has twists and turns. Constantly. Jan 31st was a type of day I like to think of like Biorhythm Triple-Zero Crossovers: just everything converges on one day (those of you who studied New Age in the late 70s know what I am talking about). I was invited to three separate parties (two of them birthday parties), but I also had a lot of home tasks to do, including getting my hair cut, shopping for badly needed supplies (including a new microwave oven), get the car emissions inspected, and other mundane home stuff that have fallen by the wayside due to sheer neglect. When faced with so many decisions, my family always comes first, so I had decided to do all my home tasks, and not attend any parties. I sent my regrets to my friends, and set a rough plan for Saturday.


Christine and I set out for a busy day of work. I got my hair cut (and I feel SO much better; I hate long hair), but while we were eating lunch at Appleby's, Christine got very sick. We don't think it was the restaurant, because she felt sick before we ate, and she's been having bad problems with her new sinus medicine (she's had a chronic infection since... oh, 1989), but this was the worst bout of sickness she had in a while, and we were forced to go home. I didn't mind, since I felt really tired, and there was all kinds of stuff to do at home anyway.

Then Sean IM'd me. He was going to Kris Trader's party, and REALLY wanted us to come. Christine said she wasn't feeling well, but said CR and I could go. So, less than an hour later, CR and I were packed in Sean's Beetle, along with Sean and his daughter Scarlet, and driving to nowheresville, MD. Some place north of Gaithersburg. At someone's house I barely knew. Just an hour earlier, I thought I'd be doing finances, laundry, and cleaning the kitchen and now I was playing Lunch Money with Bruce, Sean, and Sean's 9-year old daughter, Chance.

The house was at "Brad and Colleen's," a couple I had met maybe once briefly before. The house was HUGE (I'd say 1.5 times my house), and NICE, not like "fandom nice" but like "antique dealer with a hint of fandom nice." Apparently, the house was custom built, but the former owners got busted in a drug charge, and so someone else bought it, refurbished it, and resold it to Brad and Colleen. The house was probably only a few years old, and had some typical "new-home" smell about it. Nice floors, nice furnishings, drop-dead gorgeous kitchen, vaulted ceilings, and more modern appliances than your average model home. Very nice. I felt very outclassed by the house. "Wow..." I heard someone say, "ADULTS live here!" Heh.

Brad's parents used to deal in antiques, apparently, and so did he for a while. He had a lot of swords, shields, and medieval weapons scattered about. He also had this... impressive hand-carved throne. I say impressive because I have personally seen the throne Mary, Queen of Scots, had used, and it wasn't nearly as nice. There was also a huge metal sculpture of a gryphon in one corner, and two 1700s/1800s Quack medical devices that used the modern marvel, "electricity" to cure all ills. One was the size of your average stereo system. That house had a lot to look at.

The party had a few people I knew, but not very many. People I knew were Sean and his family, Kris Trader, Bruce, Cheryl, Mark Mandolia, an a ton of people who used to be in Prune Bran: Chris Ross, Gadams, Allon Stern (who taught me my first Unix), and all of their various wives, fiancees, or girlfriends. Allon and his wife had a CUTE baby! But apart from that, I spent half the time alone, or trying to be part of other people's conversations, and no fitting in too well. Not that I got snubbed in any way, everyone was very nice, but it was kind of weird.

Louann left with Kieran (their 2-year old son) around 9, and left Sean, Scarlet, Chance, CR, and me at the house. I played a little Soul Calibur II on the X-Box, read some Dilbert, had a few random conversations, drank some fruity drinks that Cheryl had made, and then we had the birthday cake candle blowout thing.

Which leads me back to the photography thing. See, instead of having the camera in my jacket, where it wouldn't get used, I carried it with me, which was annoying. Eventually, I strapped the case onto my belt, which added even more gadgets to my hip along with my Leatherman and cell phone. But I did get at least four pictures (one which Sean took of me and Kieran), and one of them was Kris blowing out her cake. I haven't seen how that turned out, but I am proud I at least remembered to have the camera out for an action shot.

The problem with this digital camera, however, is that it is a battery vampire (goes through 4 AA batteries every 40 pictures, or every 25 if you use rechargeables), and when it gets near the end of its battery life, the response time is very slow. It also takes terrible pictures in low light, where everything comes out orangish-umber, sometimes blurred with a slight look of a double exposure. It gets worse if the flash doesn't go off. It also doesn't go off instantaneously; there's like a 1-second delay from pressing the button to the actual picture taking. This makes action shots even harder.

But I got one!

Pictures I wish I had gotten:
- Cheryl making fruity drinks
- Kids playing Soul Calibur II
- The *huge* Apples to Apples game
- Allon's baby
- Brad's marvelous antiques

We left around 1am, but had to wait a long time in the car for the windows to defrost. Apparently, Sean's VR6 has some problems, and he's going to try and get a new car once he gets a stable job and holds it for a while (he's probably going to have one in a few weeks, he's been accepted, and is now awaiting clearance; yay!).

I wish I was able to get to Pocky's Birthday Party, which was one the same date. I had already told him that I was unable to make it, but now I feel guilty that I went to Kris', but not Pocky's as well (Mark had gone, he said it was fun, too). Oh well.

This morning, I woke up with a HORRIBLE sinus headache. This lasted all day, and I had to do what errands I could (including shopping for a new microwave) with this throbbing torture. I can't take sinus medication because of my high blood pressure, so I have to drink warm fluids to alleviate the sinus pressure. Ugh.

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000374.html
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