June 29, 2012

Grade 8 Graduation is a Big Fucking Deal.

Wait until you see the post Madison has brewing.
Yeah, she’s going to do the big post herself.
But I took the pictures, which I’m editing right now.

Posted at 7:02 am in: Kids , Madison , Summer , Sunnyland
June 26, 2012

This is what we’re watching right now.

http://www.mariomarathon.com/

Me & Wes
We donated $5.25.
It’s for Child’s Play.
We think it’s pretty cool, so maybe you will too!

Posted at 5:55 pm in: Charity , Internet , Kids , Money , Summer , Video Games , webcams , Wes

I don’t have a title. So sorry to disappoint.

June 26th: Madison’s graduation
June 28th: Scary IV radioactive kidney scan for Dr. Ray
June 29th: Staff meeting
July 5th: Appointment with (potential) new caseworker, named Rick
July 7th: Anniversary Party
July 11th: Dr. Hanrahan to plan surgery based on all these test results
July 12th: Dr. Ray follow up to discuss scary radioactive kidney CT scan

Yeah so basically I’m shitting bricks about all of the above. No amount of reassurance or soft talking or logical thinking is making any of that okay.

Madison’s graduation. Crowds. Public, communal food. Kids. Wes being bored out of his skull. But mostly it’s the beforehand stuff that has me concerned. Jen’s going to be here around 11am so that means I have to go right to bed when my shift ends and get up when she gets here. Then hang out with her (which is fine, she’s my friend obviously and I’m sort of looking forward to that, I just wish we could do it later in the day), have her cut Wes’ hair, then do Madison’s hair and then potentially my hair if there’s time (I think I want to cut most of the bottom off because it’s so scraggly from when I lost a lot of my hair in the fall). Then my mom should be here because she wants to see Madison get in the limo…yes, you heard me: a limo for a grade 8 graduation. I told you it was a big, hairy deal where we live! A bunch of the girls in Madison’s class all put their money together and they rented a limo for the evening. Not sure if it’s black or white, but Madison’s pretty stoked about it.

But it gets even more ridiculous: so after the graduation ceremony probably my mom and I have to come back to the house to help Madison into her SECOND grad dress, the one she can actually dance in. See her ceremony dress is an evening gown (a really gorgeous one, I might add) that’s really long, even with heels, so she can’t dance in it. Hence the second dress. Don’t even ask me how many pairs of shoes she ended up with because I’m not even sure. Charlie kept finding a pair he liked better AFTER already sending us the first pair to go with the second dress and of course it’s all for keepsies so she now has all these shoes that are all really really nice but really really not practical for anything. But that’s okay. It doesn’t hurt anything and they’re just shoes and she can really walk in them (the heels), like she could walk a runway no problem (not that I think she should be a model or anything, I just didn’t know how else to demonstrate how she walks in them, of course she could be a model if she wanted to be one, but blah blah blah) and if she likes them then good!  Everyone should have stuff that makes them feel good!

I’m going to be wearing sandals (fuck..I’m going to have to paint my toenails, I really really don’t want to do that, it’s so hard to do with this belly), jeans and my Free People uh layery, sheer, black with blue trim, babydoll tank top dress type of thing which is my standard uniform for “functions” right now because it hides my giant belly or at least minimizes it because the rest of me is pretty thin, like my arms and legs and stuff it just looks like it’s the shape of the top. Anyway, that’s what I’m wearing. That and my little black crocheted purse, an aquamarine Glitz Glitter necklace and my Digital Rebel. I’m not going to bring the camera bag. I can put the polarizing filter (for outside shots) in my purse along with the lens cap and I’m good. I’m used to not bumping that region of my body on things, I think I can keep it safe. The issue I’m going to have to talk to Blake about is light, like should I bring his flash and bounce it off the ceiling for the shots inside the gym. I dunno, I just saw someone do that once and I’ve been learning about bouncing light from this lady the last little while so I thought maybe it would be something I should do.

Anyway, that’s what I’m wearing/bringing and then after the ceremony, we’re bringing Madison back to the house to get into her other dress, which is a corseted dress, and that means I have the GREAT HONOUR of threading her royal highness, princess Madison of Sunnyland, in. Yippy!

And then it’s back to the school and the gym for the dance, which I wish we could stay for but parentals are absolutely not allowed on the premises for that so I’m going to ideally take some pictures of her in that dress in the school hall, which I’m sure will be lit better than outside.

We didn’t get official school graduation pictures with the gown and everything because they were cheesy and awful and Madison really didn’t like them (I thought they were fine for what they were) so we’re going to take a pic from her actual grad and have that printed and circulated to the family members not in attendance and that will be her “official” grad picture. All these free prints came with my camera, so we might as well use them! That’s what I reckon, anyway.

So that’s grad. Oh also, our grad present to Madison is going to be her first pair of Doc Martens. They are going to be knee high, black, identical to mine (except bigger because Madison doesn’t have feet, she has canoes) and she’s REALLY hoping she can get them by tomorrow (haha) to wear with her grad/party dress. I wish her and her dad the best of luck but I am not optimistic. Also her corsage is a wrist one and it’s going to be a white rose. Fancy schmancy.

Thursday I’m back at the hospital for that scary IV radioactive kidney scan. That’s all I know about it, that it’s radioactive, there’s an IV involved and they take pictures of your kidneys all lit up. I’m getting a little worried about all the radioactive crap they’ve been putting in my body lately and then adding radioactive scans on top of it all. In a 6 week span, I’ll have had 2 CAT scans and now this kidney scan. In the past year I’ve had at least 6 more that I REMEMBER + maybe 8 x-rays of my chest because of all the fluid building up that they continuously had to monitor and drain with a giant needle and god knows how many scans and x-rays when I was at St. Mike’s. I do not remember St. Mike’s *at all* and I was there for a month. I was the sickest person in their ICU, I’m assuming they did a lot of scans to keep an eye on things. Oh and ultrasounds, but as far as I know, those are only sound waves (?) and aren’t harmful at all. I mean, they do them on pregnant women so I’m assuming they’re pretty much a-okay.

Not to be a Negative Nancy here,  but if my next big, life altering, fucked up, oh god Universe, enough!, event is cancer from all of this fucking scanning? I am going to be SO pissed off. Beyond pissed off. And sad. Because cancer is a horrible, sad disease and I do not want to go out like that. That’s why I quit smoking, I mean, I just don’t want to die or almost die for a really really long time and I want to die of natural causes, okay? Isn’t that what everyone wants (more or less)? Cancer is not natural. Then again, living this long, in my case, isn’t either because without all those scans I would have died. So there’s that. But smoking REALLY isn’t natural so that’s another good reason to *stay* quit.

I’m getting off topic. So scary test is scary and it’s at 11am so I won’t get any sleep between work and the test which suuuucks and then the only instructions we were given was to be “well hydrated”. So what does that even mean? Full bladder? Several times over full bladders? As in, drink enough stuff, ideally water, so you can pee a few times before the test and I know you really do need to flush your kidneys after the test, especially if your kidneys have been compromised somehow so I guess they also mean that we should bring lots of water to drink afterward. That’s how I’m interpreting such little instruction anyway.  And honestly, it’s not so much the radioactive cancer stuff that freaks me out, it’s the IV because it’s a big short fat one and it hurts and anything involving veins just freaks me right the fuck out.

Not last time but the time before that? When they took the IV out, they told me to hold the cotton gauze on ground zero for a minute and sent me on my merry way, I ended up bleeding all down the hallway, all over myself and all over the gown I was wearing (thank god I was wearing that – ladies & gentlemen, stfu when they make you wear the gown, it’s for your own good). Last week, they told me specifically to hold it, hard, for at least 5 minutes. Funny that. And I’ve had enough diagnostic imaging to know the faces of the staff so I wonder if they remember me too? I dunno, but whatever, veins are fucking gross, IVs are seriously stressful especially when you add in an anxiety disorder and I’m getting sick of this shit, especially when I know there’s so much more of it coming. This is like they’re easing me into hospital life again. :o/

I also worry how they’re going to fit all of my guts back inside my body when they’re so used to being where they are. Dr. Hanrahan squishes my guts and she damn near knocks me over doing it. She makes everything fit back inside, so if she can do that while I’m standing in her office, fully clothed, I don’t see why she can’t also do it when I’m naked and laying on a bed and probably do a better job because I’m laying down.

Then the next day there’s a staff meeting, guaranteed to crush my self-worth and make me feel completely stupid.

I don’t know a single thing about this potential new case worker other than his name is Rick and we have to go meet with him at the mental health centre. I’m not totally sure what I’m going to be doing with Rick, if it’ll just be immersion therapy or if CBT is going to be part of it too. No idea. But meeting him should be interesting, I suppose. When he called last week, I couldn’t save or delete the message because I was sort of petrified with fear. Eventually Blake had to call him and set up the appointment because I just couldn’t use the phone. So that’s what happened and that’s what is happenING.

Then of course there’s the anniversary party that has me so so worried. What if it’s a flop? There’s 2 parts, the dinner and the party and I’m just so worried that one or both are going to have complications. Mostly I’m worried about the party because a lot of people who initially said they were coming aren’t (for legit reasons, no bad feelings) so it’s going to be a very intimate affair, I think. We’ll all probably hang out in my office I guess. Sucks that I can’t drink.

And of course there’s the follow ups with the doctors in July that have me really nervous.

So there ya have it. I’m a bundle of nerves and this is all why. :o/

June 21, 2012

Polaroid 300 Camera With Holga Macro Lenses

This is my (poor) attempt at there being something mildly useful if you google “how do I use macro lens holga polaroid fuji” that ISN’T a link on where to buy the camera or the lenses because if you’re googling this, clearly you have the lenses already.

Since this is going to maybe be the first in a series of posts about the various Holga lenses for the Polaroid 300 camera (which has an identical Fuji counterpart and the lenses are actually made for that) I’m going to start off with my Polaroid setup.

Admittedly it’s pretty sweet and I am not worthy of it* seeing as I’m not a professional photographer and I have no idea what I’m doing, hence why I was googling how to use the lenses.

I have: the Polaroid 300 camera, wide lens, tele lens, fisheye lens, 6 lens macro/closeup lens set and a set of different filters I could add, which I haven’t even taken out of the box yet. I believe these are all the lenses you can get for it.

So to start, Polaroid pictures are low quality and instant and distinct and that’s what makes them fun. The lenses, to me, takes Polaroid photos to the next level by making the Polaroid camera do things it wasn’t exactly intended to do. Or at least I think that’s the theory. The downside to them is that Polaroid film is expensive, over $1 per photo, so experimentation isn’t always practical. And unfortunately, with this camera and these lenses, you’re probably not going to get the results you wanted the first time.

On with the show!

This is the first photo I took with the Polaroid camera and as I wrote, I didn’t use any of the lenses and I set it to shady since we were inside and that lets in more light than cloudy or sunny. This photo was taken in my office and in my office there are 2 lamps and a window, it was NOT this dark at all. This is the main thing I think you really need to know about Polaroid or at least this camera in particular: you need a LOT of light, as much light as possible. Your pictures are going to be dark otherwise. The other thing to know is that with this camera, you cannot turn off the flash. Also? When you look through the eyepiece and think you’re setting up your shot correctly, you’re not because what you see through the eyepiece and what the lens is seeing are two completely different things. You have to shoot with this thing blindly, by positioning the lens itself whatever distance away from the subject the lens says on the front.

The subjects for exploring the closeup and macro lenses were these flowers on my porch, which I call “fire things” and also yellow petunias, in case you’re ever unsure as to what you’re looking at.

I started off with the closeup lens which says on the front of it “subject distance 250mm” so I actually got a ruler and positioned the eye of the camera 250mm away (which is 25cm btw, almost a full ruler) and this is what I got. Obviously the first time I forgot to set the lighting but the next attempt turned out okay. My beef with this lens is that it made the image curve around the edges almost giving it a fisheye feel and I really don’t like that.

Next, I put on the 120mm lens and this is the result I got. The first photo, obviously I forgot to set the light again and it was when it was sunny out (the default setting is shady) so it washed everything out. Oops! WIth the second one I’m not really sure what happened. Obviously the quality of the image is better but the light isn’t. The day was sunny with a mix of clouds and I was in the shade half the time and half the time in the sun but I’m not sure if the 2nd pic was taken when the sun was behind a cloud or what. I just don’t remember.  I do know I was 120mm away from the fire things though.

Finally the macro lenses! First I decided to use the 60mm macro lens and as it turns out, this is my favourite lens of the bunch because it gave consistent results by placing the lens exactly 60mm (6cm and a cm is about the width of the tip of your little finger) from the subject. When I took the 1st set of pics I didn’t know it would become my favourite though.

I’ll just say it: the 30mm lens is a piece of garbage and a complete waste of film. I spent so much time trying to get it to work when I could have been testing other lenses or taking pics of interesting things, but no, I just had to try and figure out why it wasn’t working, which I never successfully did and wasted way too much film. I treated it the same as I did the other lenses and at first, I had it 30mm from the subject which is how I got the above pictures. The last one of course is almost successful, but it’s too dark and warped and not at all what was intended.

This is what happens when you get in the sunshine and get closer and closer to a petunia:

Blake’s attempt was 3cm away. Mine were kissing it right up close, literally touching the lens and 3cm away. I don’t know why the lens didn’t like the fire things but took to the petunias better. The light was better for the petunias in both mine and Blake’s case but that can’t be the only difference. If it is, someone will have to explain it to me.

And finally, at the suggestion of Jeck, I did what i’ll call “Jeck’s Dime Test” where I laid out a track of dimes 1cm between each other. There were 5 of them, even though I knew all 5 wouldn’t show up in 1 picture, I wanted to make extra sure this was going to work because it’s a good idea. Then I placed the Polaroid with both the 30mm lens and the 60mm lens using their respective distances away from the first dime, as indicated by the front of each lens, and this was the result:

The light was exactly the same, I literally took the pics each like, 10 seconds apart (long enough to switch lenses). So my conclusion is that the 30mm macro lens is just FUBAR and not even worth using, but the 60mm is actually pretty good if you have the right light. I didn’t really get the purpose of the closeup lenses but maybe their usefulness will become more apparent when I play with the wide and tele lenses in the (hopefully) near future.

I mean it’s a fact that the naked, base Polaroid 300 is a total piece of garbage but it can be improved with these lenses. I just have to figure out what each lens does and how that translates to an actual photo because I’m honestly not sure. Blake says he can tell the difference between a pic shot with a wide lens and one shot with a tele lens but I don’t think I can. I played around with each lens when I first got my camera and 5 packs of film and I don’t really see what they do. I need to experiment with them some more in better light because I didn’t intend to share the pics or do tutorials or whatever the hell this post is, but it was fun. I had a good time trying to figure out the steps you have to take to finally get a successful picture with 1 set of 4 and I’ve decided that there’s no point in me taking the Polaroid to the hospital because I’ll never have enough light to take very good pictures with it.

That said…

…I plan on making this camera and these lenses my bitches between now and I dunno, Squam? So mid-September? We’ll see how it goes, I’m not exactly crazy full of money and like I said in the beginning, Polaroid film is expensive. To literally buy me film so I can do more posts like these, click here! Because that would be awesome! If you’re reading this post like, I dunno, 5 years from now and there’s no Polaroid film on that list, I’m betting there’s a tip jar link on my site that would be equally as awesome if you found this post useful in any way! (Who knows? Maybe someone might!) Or you could purchase something from my Etsy shop!

THE END

(*Blake compared my Polaroid setup as Pizza Nova in the grand scheme of pizza because he’s totally offended I’d say I’m not worthy of Pizza Nova. I’m just saying I’m not necessarily qualified to write a real tutorial…)

Edited to add: On the lenses it says something like “subject distance 30mm” and this is NOT like focal length on your typical lens, it literally means have your subject 30mm (3cm, about an inch) away.

Purple?!

This is a radar map.

Look at those purple splotches to the left that are going to hit us soon, they’re purple! Purple isn’t even on the Weather Network’s legend! WHAT THE HELL IS PURPLE? Dragons?

Posted at 3:21 pm in: Internet , Misc. , Spring , Summer , Sunnyland

A Word From My Friend John.

June 18, 2012

Googleplex

So many things on my mind these days. Surgery primarily. I am scared shitless.

Our garden is failing. The tomato plants that were doing so well on my window sill just shriveled up and died when we transplanted them to the garden. No idea why. The peas are doing good but Blake needs to stake them really soon or they’re going to grown into a tangled mess and the pea pods won’t form properly. Not sure what the carrots and onions are doing because I’m not sure why are carrots and onions and which ones are weeds. I guess we’ll see!

But yeah, veggie garden’s pretty much a bust this year, which is okay because I’ll be having surgery and can’t look after it anyway.

My hanging planter looks HORRIBLE and I dontt know why. I got Madison to deadhead it and we’ve been watering it pretty religiously so I dunno what its deal is. Maybe it’s just too windy where I have it or something, it’s definitely unhappy.

STILL haven’t planted my “fire things” and dealt with the front garden. What needs to happen is for the beds to be raked out, the irises in the front yard dug up and transplanted to the garden in the left of the front of the house, which is where I got them from (originally I was going to try and grow sunflowers in that bed, which is why I transplanted them to begin with), the “fire things” and petunias need to be planted in the front CAREFULLY as not to disturb the milkweed I’ve got growing in the front beds because the monarch caterpillars eat it. Madison’s going to be doing the planting and Blake is going to be doing the transplanting, it’s just a matter of when because we’ve been busy as hell lately and I don’t see things slowing down any time soon.

This Saturday was the Central Ontario Geocachers Spring Fling 8 and the theme was pirates. Because “pir 8”. Get it? Yeah. Arg.

So we did that and it damn near killed me but dammit WE DID IT and we got all 8 event caches and I’m still wearing my event bracelet because for some reason, I usually leave those on for a long time after the vent. I dunno why, I just do it. Like for weeks. I’m talking about those little papery-plastic bracelets they give you at events/concerts/shows. This one’s green and it has the COG logo all over it.

Spring Fling was…an experience. I don’t even know where to begin…I can’t really be truthful and nice at the same time when talking about this so it’s probably better that I gloss over a lot of what happened on Saturday. Let’s just say that these people are REALLY REALLY REALLY into geocaching and while I like geocaching and stuff, I will never be like these people. At something like Spring Fling, I can dress up and play the part and have all my trackables on me and stuff but when it’s over, I go back to my life and my other activities and whatnot, but most of these people DON’T. Geocaching IS their activity, their only one, and that’s definitely not me in any way, shape or form, so I kinda don’t get that. Like the whole “geocaching is my life” thing. I just don’t.

For example, one of the booths at the event was for a store that supplies ONLY things for night caching. You heard me. NIGHT caching. Traipsing through the woods AT NIGHT, looking for treasure using a GPS. That does not sound like a fun time to me! That sounds really really scary and not at all ideal for taking pictures of any kind! But there are enough people in the world who DO think that sounds like a good time to support an entire business dedicated to just that one thing. The people who are into night caching, generally speaking, ONLY do night caching. They’ll pick up caches during the day here and there, but they plan trips specifically to night cache the way we do to day cache.

I don’t get that. I mean, I get it, like the concept, but that being your hobby, sometimes going so far as to say that night caching could be the thing that sorta “defines” them, I don’t get that. Different strokes for different folks & all, I guess but what I specifically don’t understand is that you only have one hobby or activity that you’re into. And that it’s this super nerdy thing. Don’t get it.

That’s not to say that night cachers are BAD in any way or that I don’t like people who night cache, I’m just saying that I don’t understand only having one hobby, essentially. I try to have my fingers in as many pots as I can while still being able to give each thing enough attention to make it worthwhile.

We met a lot of interesting people at the Spring Fling though. We met Fababoo who is the person who made Wonderball, which is my favourite cache so far. He was really nice, he was dressed up as a pirate. He also gave me an orange screw on a tiny gold safety pin. Not really sure why he had that on him (he was trying to be dirty by asking me if I wanted a screw) but I pinned it to my bag. Speaking of my bag, not one single person noticed my trackable patch on my bag. :o( I pointed it out to one woman but she hasn’t logged it yet. I think maybe my bag’s pattern (damask) is too busy and people just don’t see it. I’m going to have to put it somewhere more noticeable.

Wes and Fababoo’s son got along really great all day so they invited us to sit with them for dinner. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

The actual geocaching was pretty hellacious. I didn’t see the piece of paper with all of them on it so I’m not sure what the terrain rating was on any of them but there was one where we were going up and down hills that almost did me in. It was near the end of the day so I was pretty tired to begin with but Jesus fucking christ was that ever awful. I had to keep stopping because my legs were just on fire, my head was throbbing from sunstroke and I was pretty much hyperventilating. Awful. The other caches were pretty easy though pretty far apart. I felt bad because there were some people on the COG forums asking for a ride to the event and some people offered them rides and yay everything’s happy, right? Well no, because if you didn’t have a car, there’s no way you could have done all 8 of the event caches because some were as far as 8km away in one direction and 6 km away in the other direction. You could not have done that on foot, so I felt bad for people who may have come by way of hitchhiking or whatnot and who wouldn’t have had access to a car. I don’t think that was fair. Or maybe that’s just how a Spring Fling works, I dunno, I’ve never been to one.

Blake talked to a lot of people because he’s on this Blackberry group so he knows all these people and talks to them pretty much every day etc. so he knew folks. I didn’t know anyone so I didn’t talk to anyone. Neither did the kids. Oh we talked to Paprika but that was the only person I really knew.

People camped out at the campgrounds (Paprika ran the camp) and some people stayed in hotels. In fact one of the caches was in the garden of the Comfort Inn. It was a wooden pirate ship where you lifted off the top and inside was the log and items to trade. Obviously that cache is probably not going to stay there, all exposed and out in the open like that. It would get muggled for one, but also the wood would warp and stuff. I’m not sure how they’re going to work that one.

The event seemed really disorganized to me, like I didn’t know what we were supposed to do at any given time and neither did Blake so that’s why we just did the event caches. They were all pretty cool. A few were ships, one was a cannon, one was just a big bucket with a lid in the woods full of toys and stuff. No micros that I can think of. One was glued to the bottom of a rock.

My favourite part of the day was sitting down and drinking water. Wes said it was “the best day ever!” and Blake had a good time (not sure about Madison) so that’s what matters. I have to work the next 3 Mondays to make up for taking the day off which sucks, but I’ll live. One down today so yay!

Yesterday I did absolutely nothing. It was a grey day and by the end of it we were having a thunderstorm, but Blake, the kids and Madison’s new boyfriend, Devon, went geocaching yesterday afternoon. They got first to find on both of the caches they went after, which is sort of a big deal in the caching community, especially since it was their first FTFs. They asked me if I wanted to come (I was napping when they left) but I wanted to keep sleeping so I said no. I think if I’d have known they were going after FTFs, I might have gone, but I didn’t know they were doing that so I just kept sleeping.

I didn’t do a single thing yesterday though and I hate that. For me to feel okay with the Universe, I have to do at least one  productive thing per day and on days where I don’t do anything productive, I just go to bed feeling wretched. :o( We watched 3 episodes of Doctor Who and Blake says that counts as being productive but that’s input, that’s downloading, that doesn’t count. He doesn’t even know.  Only output counts….usually. I do have “download days” where I just decide to be a sponge and follow link after link after link all day and just absorb every piece of new information that comes my way. That counts as being productive because it’ll translate to output eventually. But it has to be purposeful. You have to do it ON purpose. Just casually watching 3 episodes of Doctor Who doesn’t count. (This is Sunny Logic.)

I said this weekend that I didn’t like Amy Pond or Matt Smith’s Doctor. Both are now growing on me and I’ve decided not to give up on the show. Originally I was going to leave it be because they hurt me so badly (you know what happened…I’m trying to stay spoiler free here)  but now I think I’ll keep watching. The last episode we watched was something like “The Vampires of Venice” and it was pretty good, admittedly.

I’ve decided that I am going to TRY and do a series of posts about the Holga lenses for the Polaroid 300 camera. I am *not* a photographer. I do not understand how a photo is created or how a Polaroid camera works. All I know is that it’s basically the simplest camera you can buy and that the photo quality is only a little better than shit. I know this because I used it, I shot a few pictures of things without a lens and out of the 3 I shot, only 1 was any good and it was a total fluke. So okay, a Polaroid is like a webcam it needs a lot of light. Good to know! I would write that in my first post about the Polaroid 300 camera! Because that’s the first thing you need to know if you’re going to use these lenses. Using them indoors is pretty much the dumbest thing ever unless you’re going to only be shooting Lego men under a lamp (which could be interesting, do it!) or you have professional studio lights which…if you have those? Why are you even bothering with Polaroid? I’m sure you also have a super crazy expensive camera and lens and flash so…I dunno, I just don’t see professionally lit Polaroid shots very often. That could be pretty cool too, now that I think about it. But I would have to see a scanned in Polaroid shot with a black background. Meaning: place your Polaroid photo on your scanner, then place a large piece of black paper on top of it, kinda like a reverse-mat, a background; maybe sign the black part in white or silver or gold pen or marker(optional), scan, crop as you see fit and then…I dunno, start a blog with the best “fine art” Polaroid shots ever? As sent to you by readers? Or a Live Journal community? I bet that exists, actually. I should check that out. One with the best snapshots would be good too because I firmly believe you get at least one good shot no matter what in every pack of film and seeing those good, likely fluke, shots would be a pretty cool blog too. I’d look at that one when I was bored as well. I’d probably submit to it a lot haha I am FULL of ideas today! Take them, they’re free!

Anyway, I am going to undertake the task of there being SOMETHING useful that comes up if you google “how do I use macro lens holga polaroid fuji” that isn’t just an ad for somewhere you can buy the lenses because obviously if you’re googling that, you already have the lenses. Ideally the “something” that comes up is my present and future posts on the subject, the latter of which would be in more of a tutorial or informational format that will be boring to anyone  but me (because yay I get to *finally* play with a Polaroid camera!) or anyone who googles that. And I hope the posts will be helpful to anyone that comes across them because film is expensive and getting shots that aren’t so great really sucks, especially when you’ve invested in buying the Holga lenses.

Plus there’s also the fact that I’d be doing this with or without blogging about it, so I might as well blog about it haha and for that reason my plan is to use the 40 pictures I have here (veeeeeery frugally) for the tutorial post(s) and then buy the 9 packs of film for $99.99 deal on Amazon for the hospital (plus some left over obviously, for maybe more tutorials?) because I think that’s actually a fair price + we can’t find anywhere to buy it locally. Or I’ll just get the 4-pack for $56.40 if I don’t have very much money whenever I buy the rest of the film for the hospital. (I’d just rather pay $1.11/pic as opposed to $1.41/pic though, but what are ya gonna do?)

Unfortunately the weather for the next few days is gonna be kinda crappy so I probably won’t be able to start right away but I definitely want to start soonish. Maybe after dinner (which I’m eating right now, yay one-handed typing! woooo!) one of the children and I will take the Polaroid out and work on the macro filters because those are the ones I was trying to google originally so at least I can do the tutorial on that before I inevitably (according to Blake) get tired of the idea and go do something else.

So I suppose I should finally wrap up this post and finish my dinner! But before I do, I want to leave you with these words from Jax about Facebook and this video which is literally the most beautiful expression of joy I have ever seen in my entire life.

Peace oot!

PS! I totally forgot that everything in my Etsy shop is significantly reduced to help pay for the camera I’m taking to Squam! So check it out!

June 15, 2012

So what do you think?

As I’ve been writing about, my friend Alan hooked me up with this sweet Polaroid starter package where you got the camera and 5 packs of film. Each pack has 10 pictures or exposures so that’s 50 pictures. (I know that’s stating the obvious but I suck at math so I have to do it “out loud”.)

Well, that’s awesome right? 50 pictures! That’s so many pictures! Except it isn’t…really…because Charlie sent me all these really neat Holga lenses for it (which is also awesome!) and testing those out really cuts into my 50 pictures.

Originally I *liked* having a set amount to work with but now it’s like…a curse and I’ll tell ya why: I Googled. I Googled “how do I use macro lens holga polaroid fuji” which *should* have been sufficient enough to pull up a tutorial of some sort on these lenses, not just the macro one, but nothing came up. I Googled other variations of that and the only consistent thing I got was that weird Live Journal black market “spree” thing.

Is my Google Fu just broken today? Why can’t the almighty internet provide here? I am having a really hard time coming up with a time the internet’s failed me like this. So then the next thing is, I’ll do the tutorial! I shall provide to save other people film! Which I would totally do and stuff but that wouldn’t leave me with much film for the hospital and I really want this camera at the hospital with me. The 50 pictures was 10 pictures a day for the 4-5 days they said they would probably keep me. I was going to receive the package, confirm that there was film in there, and put it away for the hospital. But then these lenses came. Before the camera even got here. And I had to try them out. So I figured, 10 pictures should be enough right? WRONG. There are 6 lenses, but like, the macro lens is 2 lenses and the “close up” lens is I think 4.

What I wanted to know is this: if it says “30 mm” on the front of the lens, is that the distance I need to be from my subject?  Because that’s what I thought it meant and for the macro lens, all I got was blur. I don’t even recognize the colours in the 2 pictures I took.

Anyway, I could blog about this or not, it really doesn’t matter to me. If it would interest you then let me know and I’ll think about writing posts about it. The only reason I hesitate is because a post like that takes a lot of time to put together between actually taking the pictures and scanning them in and cropping them, uploading them, writing the post etc. The other reason I hesitate is because as I said before, it would really eat into my now 40 pictures. I already have to figure out a way to buy another pack of film to compensate for what I’ve used to test things out already. I think maybe you can buy it at Wal*Mart but I’m not sure. Before when I had a Polaroid, I got it and the film at Shopper’s Drug Mart so if you can get it there, you can get it at Wal*Mart too. It’s also on Amazon but I can probably get it cheaper at Wal*Mart.

If we all decide that I won’t blog about it, I’ll just play with the lenses at the hospital and use them for art journaling as opposed to nice and tidy for tutorials when I get out of the hospital.

It would be fucking amazing to get that 9-pack on my wishlist because that would compensate for the 10 I “wasted” with the lenses yesterday/today, as well as give me enough exposures to do a tutorial about the camera and the lenses because they apparently don’t exist on the internet so I figure adding information to the pile is a GOOD thing! And of course, it would leave me with a lot to use at the hospital. Even BETTER is that I’ll have figured out the lenses by the time I go to the hospital (ideally) and my hospital shots will be so much nicer.

But I’m also happy just going with the flow and having what I have and doing what I do. :o) I am SO fortunate to even have this camera and the film and the lenses are this cool bonus that I’ll figure out in time. This is exactly what I wanted to take with me to the hospital and that’s what I got. So yay!

Honestly though, I’m really surprised I couldn’t find a tutorial on how to use the lenses. Holga’s not a household name or anything but they’ve been around for a really long time and so has Polaroid and I would have thought that one of those hipster Mormon mommy blogger people would have written something up about these by now, but nope. Not that I could see.

Tomorrow is the Central Ontario Geocachers Spring Fling 8. I have a ticket but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to go to it. It’s going to be like, 700-800 people. Chaos. Mayhem. We scouted out the area yesterday and did a couple of caches (crap, I always forget to log them, I still have to do that).

This was in a lamp post in a parking lot!
(The theme is pirates.)

Despite having seen the area I’m still not okay but at the same time, I took those hours off for a reason and I’m going to have to work the next 3 Mondays to work that Saturday off so I can’t just sit around the house wondering if I made a wrong decision which is exactly what I’d do. So I have to go. I really really don’t think I can go but I have to try and if I can’t be there, Blake brings me back home and they go back, it’s only 20 minutes away and the event starts at 8am. It’s weird seeing motels with signs that say things like “Welcome Geocachers!” and hearing people talking about renting campgrounds and things like that. This is a really big deal!

Anyway, I hope I can go and I hope I don’t royally fuck it up by having to come home. I’m still not even entirely sure what we’re doing besides dinner and a seminar or workshop or whatever on HTML in cache listings and probably Geocaching 101 because why not? We’re n00bs. I can’t imagine I’d be buying anything, we already have a ridiculous amount of trackables. We’ve decided not to do any caches because it’ll be just way too crazy and we live close enough that we can do them any time. So I guess workshops and food are all we’re really doing and if you break it down like that, I can probably relax a little bit.

We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and hopefully it’s beautiful wherever you are!

PS. Do you ever wonder if you’re actually retarded and no one ever told you? Just curious.

June 12, 2012

So okay, here’s what I don’t get…?

During my surgery they will be, we assume, slicing me up the middle, jiggling around my guts a bit and stuffing them back in my body and in the process of this, removing my gallbladder and then inserting a “mesh” which I’m guessing is like a piece of material, mesh-like (imagine!), that goes over the guts and is sewn into the muscle somehow and the muscle like, “grows” on it…? Okay so I have no idea what a “mesh” is. That was just a guess! I’ll freak out later and look it up.

But what’s got me writing instead of washing my hair like I planned on doing and got distracted loading up links from e-mail in tabs to reply to/read/file/pin/whathaveyou and I saw a comment from Jessie, my pancreatitis-twin, who has had this surgery and who not at all wants me to like, use her in a post, but if you know me at all, you know I talk about her all the time IRL, so I’m just saying so you know who I’m talking about: she linked me to Wikipedia’s entry for gallbladder surgery.

I skim skim skim skim skim ooooh a bright shiny link! Open in new tab! This is fun!

Except not fun at all because the gallbladder is totally serious business and I’m no longer certain I wish to part with mine, to be perfectly honest.

Here’s what threw me:

“In 2009, it was demonstrated that the gallbladder removed from a patient expressed several pancreatic hormones including insulin.[5] This was surprising because until then, it was thought that insulin was only produced in pancreatic ?-cells. This study provides evidence that ?-like cells do occur outside the human pancreas.”

Wikipedia

Well hello? Call me crazy here (as people have been known to do), but isn’t my pancreas totally fucked up from pancreatitis last summer? Fucked up in that I can no longer drink and I can no longer have so many delicious foods or the fucking thing will become possessed by a raging monkey demon from the fiery pits of hell causing blinding pain unlike anything I, or maybe even you, have words for. The one description that sticks in my mind is my mother telling me that one of the St. Mike’s doctors told her the pain I was in last summer, which is the same pain as these “attacks” was something like a Mack truck driving around in my guts. And when we’re on our way to the hospital because of an attack, that’s what I do, I try and come up with a better description but that’s the only one that ever really *sticks* in my mind because that was the big one by the big doctor at the big hospital in the big city.

So that’s why I have these attacks – or at least the only reason I can come up with – is that my pancreas is now damaged in some way. It can no longer process alcohol, cholesterol or fat the way it could before, which, as I understand it, is its main function outside of being the insulin-maker-slash-dispensary. That’s part one.

Part two is that a while back, Jessie mentioned going on some type of pancreatic enzyme supplement which I never Googled because I actually was having a conversation with her on Live Journal while we were waiting in the ER and my phone was dying. Honestly I thought it was like an herbal thing which interests me less than extremely little so I didn’t really take it all that seriously until I read the Wikipedia page on what the gallbladder does.

It does a lot of things the body can live without but one of the things it does is makes that enzyme, which may or may not be the same enzyme I would have to supplement with and since there’s NOTHING wrong with my gallbladder anymore, no stones, the ducts have been widened for future stones, why on Earth would we just remove it? Because it’s easier? Well, not in my case, the ducts have already been widened in case of future stones, my last CAT scan said there were NO MORE stones in the gallbladder, plain as day, when I asked where they went, my doctor just said “oh, you must have just passed them” and sort of dismissed the question. Which was fine at the time because I know how one passes a gallstone, but now I’m thinking that line of questioning was maybe better because if they take out my gallbladder and it turns out I actually DO need it which will be evidenced by the suggestion of taking pancreatic enzymes when this shit is all over with, there’s no turning back. And I’m guessing, once again, guessing, that those pancreatic enzymes are OTC and not covered under our insurance and we’ll have to pay out of pocket for them. This is absolute speculation with only knowing what they’re called of course, I’m merely suggesting that just because they have me cut wide open and flayed on a table in an OR in Barrie, there’s no reason to go all scalpel-happy, is there? Because from where I’m sitting, it seems like a better idea to keep me intact.

Or am I just making stuff up in my head here? Honestly, truly, I have updated this blog with every single thing they’ve told me, often in really gross detail, you know as much as I do, can you see any reason to remove it?

My odds of a stray gallstone lodging in my pancreatic duct causing pancreatitis were pretty fricken slim, my odds of surviving that? Even smaller.The odds of it HAPPENING AGAIN? Yeah right, that is totally and completely impossible, will not ever happen again. I may get gallstones again, but no big deal, they widened the ducts. Or is it that I am SO unlucky that they’re just not going to take any chances?

I mean, I definitely think it’s funnier if the underdog fails, and I really feel like an underdog in the luck department, so if I die, I hope it’s from incredible odds, not surgerical complications from gallbladder removal.

June 11, 2012

Blah blah blah.

So it’s been a little over 2 weeks with zero alcohol (not that I ever drank before, but I think it had to be said) and zero greasy/deep-fried foods with the exceptions of: one McNugget meal at McDonald’s where I ate all 6 nuggets but only about half of the medium fries (and all of the diet Coke but we’re not even going to go there with liquid consumption because mine’s ridiculous. Always has been), one slice of pizza from the local pizza place (so not a chain & therefore hard to guesstimate calories, but not a greasy pizza at all in my opinion) and these awesome things called “Cowboy Burgers” that are super greasy but super awesome so I honestly don’t give a fuck, I went for it, came out fine with zero pancreatic pain (except for the pains that I always have because my guts are are fucked up) the entire 2 weeks. I also lost 2 lbs.

So what I’m doin’, is workin’, y’know?

I fell asleep through True Blood last night. I really really tried to make it through and due to taking my medications at 8pm and thinking they’d kick in about 2 hours later, my body was just not having it and I was a mess and I slouch-walked to bed with  Blake behind me, turning lights off. I *knew* I wouldn’t make it through Mad Men so we set the DVR accordingly, but I really wanted to see True Blood on like, “premiere night” when I can watch the Twitter comments at the same time as the show is airing. Oh well. It’ll be OnDemand and I’m pretty sure we also recorded it so I’ll have to watch it at some point before  the next episode. Although honestly, I’m kinda sick of the whole Sookie Stackhouse thing. I haven’t read the new book but I see them all on my shelf and they’re kind of like this weird “walk of shame” I have going on back there where a LOT of the books on it are series. Some I’ve read in their entirety, like Anne Rice’s vampire chronicles and Sookie Stackhouse, but others like “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series? Nah. The first one is sitting face down beside my bed, about 2/3 of the way read and it is so close to the American movie that I loved but probably wouldn’t watch again, that I just don’t care to “relive” that particular story. And I hate subtitles so I don’t even want to discuss the other version which Blake says is the same pretty much anyway.

WHICH REMINDS ME!

Remember a long time ago when Blake did interpretive dance for me to support my quitting smoking because he’s totally awesome? No? Allow me to refresh your memory!!!

Okay so Blake hates it when I say “Blake says” because he says (see I’m doing it again!) I sometimes misunderstand what he was saying or I just kinda filter it…wrong haha and so he has requested that every time you see me say “Blake says” (which is FINE, he says), filter it through his interpretive dance and you’ll probably understand what he really said. I’m going to make a page on my site with the video and an explanation and just link to it periodically because I think it’s funny as SHIT and more people need to see it.

Anyway, the shame spiral bookcase continues with the Game of Thrones books which I TRIED to read but I find them to be the densest, most boring things I’ve encountered since I read Lord of the Rings, which I LIKED, but I would never read again. I keep them because maybe the kids will want to read them one day. We have the movies and they will not see them until they’ve read the books. It’s the same with Harry Potter; I’m not sure which book Wes is on (he’s a slow reader like me) but he’s been reading the books and then watching the movies each time he completes one and he’s thoroughly enjoying himself, which, I think, is the ultimate goal right?

I’m just sick of everyone I know being all tangled up in series because then there’s nothing to talk about and none of you will ever be on the same page of a single book! Like….I would really like Madison to read Room by Emma Donoghue and I would really like Wes to read Hitchhiker’s Guide. He’s seen and loves the movie, but the books are so much weirder and better and I think he’d just love them. I think the edition we have somewhere has all of the books as one book though so I don’t know what they’re called individually. But the thing is, Wes is already reading Harry Potter and I believe Madison started reading the first Game of Thrones book. So they’ll be occupied until at least the end of next fall.

I’ve decided to bring Jenny Lawson’s/The Bloggess’ book with me to the hospital but I don’t know how much reading I’ll do. I had The Handmaid’s Tale with me last time and reading just did not happen. I don’t know if it was how I was feeling, the setting, the circumstance or the book itself, but reading did not happen.

Anyway, Cheryl’s going to be here in 5 minutes so I think it’s time to take a break….

~*CHERYL*~

Something I’m not sure I’ve written about is that when I woke up in Barrie, they had me on so many drugs that my eyes went wonky. One looked straight ahead and one looked sideways, but I don’t know which did which, all I know is that as they lowered some of the drugs, it lessened and finally my eyes like, “normalized” or whatever. (Except they didn’t, my eyes actually got jacked up from this whole pancreatic experience and I had to get new glasses because I am now mostly blind as a bat. I can see without my glasses, but it feels REALLY REALLY uncomfortable to be without them and then I feel bad for being so defective and probably making defective kids etc etc etc.)

Anyway, it was completely embarrassing, especially because I would have to cover one eye with my hand to be able to focus on and see you, and  at that point the ONLY thing I could do to entertain myself was to read The Handmaid’s Tale, which I’ve read before and while I liked it the first time because I didn’t know what was going to happen next, it was really depressing the second time around partly because I did. But like, in the ICU, all there is to entertain yourself with is whatever you bring in and they wouldn’t let me bring in my computer but the iPad was okay (except YOU try using an iPad with one hand over one of your eyes so you can even see the thing!). We are so fortunate to have the friends we do.

For this trip to the hospital, my friend Alan has set me up with a sweet Polaroid camera and 50 pieces of film (exposures?). I told him last night or the night before that knowing that the camera’s coming and will be here soon makes me feel a lot better about this whole thing.  My compulsive need to document (and anxiety when I can’t) is satiated.

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the archives of my Live Journal again and it kills me that I would make like, 6 posts in one day. That’s on TOP of obsessively writing in paper journals. Right now I’m newly pregnant with Wes and barfing my guts up every chance I get. Morning sickness or nerves shot because of the family drama between my mom, my step-dad (Ken) and my brother? Hard to say. But things are SO much better now then they were back then, that’s all I have to say.

I used to question whether or not it was “sane” or “healthy” to just cut people out of your life permanently and I think sometimes you have to in order to survive so really, the crazy thing would be to stay in the abusive circle.  Or maybe that’s just me?

~*I STOPPED AND HAD A NAP FOR A WHILE*~

So this is apparently going to be one of those posts that I start at 8am but don’t post until after everyone’s gone home from the day and there’s not so much internetting happening. I had a feeling about that when I started it this morning. Sneaky all day posts.

Crash by The Primitives just came on, which is fucking serious because whatever you’re thinking of when this song comes on, it means you have to beware that thing or you’re gonna na na na na na na na na na naaaaa craaash. I was thinking about which pens I should  bring to the hospital with me. So am I going to, by my own logic, drop my pen or die during major restorative surgery?

Not funny, I know. Like, literally not funny but also I probably gave my own mother heart failure by writing that “out loud” because she’s pretty superstitious about certain things so I’ll probably just end this thought right here and tell you something funny that happened last night. Or the night before. omg my days are SO mixed up.

Blake and I were fighting over AIM because we do that and I was a sobbing mess, then after work, he came into my office and we continued the fight verbally, which wasn’t much of a fight since it quickly turned into loving and we started (or rather, *I* brought it up) talking about my mental health and he told me I was sane for the billionth time and I don’t know if I asked how he knew or how we got onto this topic but he mentioned that I don’t move from my seat in the car until we’re in the parking lot/spot and the car is stopped. Then I get my bag, have a drink, then get out of the car. I had no idea I did any of this until Blake pointed it out and he said that that was how he would know if I was ever losing my mind, if my tics were “off”. But then I cried harder and snot was everywhere and I was like, “but who does that? who even HAS these things? am I retarded?” and he said “no, that’s just the generalized anxiety disorder”. Oh. Hmmm. That stopped me dead in my tracks. I never knew what that term meant until that moment when that one thing I do was framed in such a way it was just like, “BANG”. My official diagnosis is bipolar I with generalized anxiety disorder. I know lots about the first part but virtually nothing about the second.

So that’s on my list of things to do when I get out of the hospital, read more about that because that could be interesting.

Okay I think this post is done. I think my brain is now empty. I guess it’s back to reading old LJ posts and archiving the interesting ones. Work, working on my book and making hospital bags is all I do. Oh and watching season 1 of Community, which we started this weekend and I love. :o)

THE END.

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