Archive for October, 2010
In my series of oft eccentric post, this one’s up there. I attempt to eat 20 of Wingstop’s hottest Atomic wings in less than 20 minutes. And here we have it all edited on film for your viewing enjoyment.
And here’s the film:
What’s the hottest thing you’ve ever eaten? Do you like it hot?
Shot in Miami on location at Beber Silverstein & Partners.
Edited by Mitch Koch, ACE
You see when I was growing up, our neighbor was a gorilla keeper at The Bronx Zoo. And every night Mrs. Gillespie would bring home Julia, a 27 pound lowland gorilla to bond as her surrogate mother. She explained that baby gorillas don’t survive without their mother’s constant body contact. And so we had a baby gorilla as our neighbor.
We could not tell anyone there was a gorilla living next door because they feared a kidnapping as they were very valuable. That was kind of a tough secret to keep as a kid. And I’ve never told anyone until today.
Weekends were special when Julia spent the day at home. We would go over and play with her in the back yard, not the front yard so she wouldn’t be seen. And for 27 pounds, she was amazingly strong. One time she pinched me and I was black and blue for a week or two but we made up and moved on. So since I knew Julia and Julia knew me I was asked to gorilla sit one night. She was about this size at the time, perhaps a little bit bigger.
I went with Mrs. Gillespie into the bedroom and put Julia to sleep in a pen that was an old style wooden baby crib with a plywood board fashioned on top to keep her in.
There I was gorilla sitting, reading the charts they kept about Julia at the kitchen table. The notes were incredibly detailed and there was an entry about every hour. Her mood, activities, what she ate, favorite snacks and how her stool came out. About an hour later I started to hear some whining. It started out soft then it got to be full-on jungle whining. And you’re smart enough to know what I did next. I went in the room to check on her.
I calmed her down and was real proud of myself. Then the whining started again. So I went into the kitchen to get what I read was her favorite snack, grapes. I opened the door and Julia went silent. I fed her grapes through the bars and we were having a special private moment together and the she went back to sleep.
As I was walking out of the room Julia started shaking the cage, pushing on the top and bending the plywood. Then a loud snap. The top flew off and Julia ran around the room on walls alone! I ran out of the room, slammed the door, ran out of the house, slammed the front door, ran into our house and slammed our front door. I called Mrs. Gillespie and told her Julia got out. And that’s my gorilla babysitting story.
I called the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society to get an update on Julia. A spokesman would not comment other than to say that “their facility is state-of-the-art and that no animals leave the zoo at any time.”
Gorilla photo credit: Caters News Agency
I’ve never seen a bad picture of my son. And I bet you’ve never seen a bad picture of your son, daughter, niece, nephew or your dog. But the truth is some pictures are just better than others. Here’s some advice how to take great photos of kids.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear frustrated parents talk about how they can’t get great pictures of their kids. So I thought I might give a little “how to.” It’s a lotta work, but it’s worth it.
Kids move fast. Point and shoots don’t. Get yourself any DSLR. I’m a Nikon shooter so I’ll recommend the cheapest Nikon kit to start you off: the D3000 SLR with 18-55mm lens. Really, you would would be better off using an iPhone than a point and shoot as the shutter release is more predictable. Please, I don’t want to get into the Canon/Nikon fight here. Thanks.
You don’t really have to huck your point and shoot, but it’s not the best way to get great shots of kids. Use it for scenics, vacations, landscapes and drunken parties.
2) Take a lot of pictures.
I learned this one from my pop. Way back before their was anything digital in photography, he told me he took pictures without any film in the camera, just for practice. It’s like going jogging with a basketball. You just get better at running and dribbling. If you shoot on a regular basis, you will get better at “anticipating the moment.”
Perhaps you want to take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. To quote him, “the decisive moment, it is the the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.” Pretty deep. Let me translate that for you: With practice, you’ll learn to press the button at the right time.
3) Let your camera do some of the work.
Camera’s today aren’t just cameras–they’re little information processors that capture images. It’s a computer and can “compute” many things like light readings and focusing better and faster than us mere mortals. PLEASE read your manual. I can’t tell you how many people ask me this or that about their camera before reading the manual. The more complex cameras get, the more important it is to do so. But having a capable camera is no replacement for #4.
4) Learn the basics or your toast.
Photography is photography is photography. It’s actually so simple, I taught myself and you can too. Start with a book by John Hedgecoe like John Hedgecoe’s Photography Basics.
5) There are three people in every picture.
There’s the subject, the viewer and the photographer. Yes, I’ve heard stories of the great kids photographers who are screamers on set, but they are the exception. So I guess you could say here are some pictures of me…
6) Farts and pink elephants.
Some final advice to help you get your shot. Approximately 6 hours before your photo session, stuff yourself with the spiciest chili you can handle. And bring your most ridiculous thoughts too. If you young’uns are giving you a hard time, tell them not to think about pink elephants and shoot away. And if all else fails, let one rip and sit on your motor drive. You’ll get your shot.
There you have it! Now it’s your turn. Have any questions? Comments? What works for you? Any way I can help, let me know.
I think we officially made it. No more feeling like we’re walking through hot yogurt. We’re in the 60’s at night. What a weekend! Here is an unretouched picture of the sky yesterday from my Blackberry:
It’s a day when blue was only surpassed by pink when 21,000 people participated at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure downtown. It was a day for the top down. A beautiful day for a birthday party at The Venetian Pool. And a beautiful day to take pictures. Even pictures taken in the shade looked nicer! Here are a few snapshots of this beautiful day:
Now if we could only Xerox this weather for about 6 months. I’m getting away from this computer and heading out. What’s your favorite part of having weather like this? Congratulations everyone!
A proposed ban on leaf blowers because they make too much noise and pollute. Not to mention how they spread mold spores and pesticides. But under this proposition, there’s a beacon of light for the homeowners: they can use electric leaf blowers. Apparently, by some miracle of physics, electric leaf blowers don’t spread mold spores and pesticides.
I can somewhat understand having approved colors for home exteriors. There are over 200 approved colors to choose from. I can understand trash cans being put out the night before pickup. But I don’t understand having to hide your pickup truck like it’s some eyesore. It seems like Coral Gables wants to be like Ralph Lauren Country- “The City Beautiful.” Well, here’s what Ralph Lauren Country looks like. Oh no, a pickup truck!
You want to stop pollution in Coral Gables? Make every home’s car fleet have an average of 30 mpg or more. Coral Gables, what’s next? Washing roofs with toothbrushes? Or mowing lawns with scissors?
What do you think?
It feels like the night in 1969 when my parents woke me up to watch man land on the moon. I sit here now as a sat there then hoping all will go right.
They’ve been underground since August 5th. Before they were located 2,257 feet underground they stretched a 2 days supply of food for 17 days. Two spoonfuls of tuna, a sip of milk, a bite of crackers and a morsel of peaches. Every other day.
Hopefully, they will be soon be hoisted one by one to the surface. If all goes right, it will take 15 minutes per man and it will be the longest 15 minutes of each of their lives. I’ve written on Coal Miners before in a post called “Where will you be at 3:30 today?” I hope to write a completely different story than that one soon.
I’d like to keep this one light, so pray for 33 miracles like this:
The most amazing thing to me: each man wants to be hoisted up last. What’s the most amazing thing to you?
Over the years, I have found him sleeping with so many things that somehow magically appear after I have left his room. I’ve found him in the strangest of pretzeled positions. And sometimes I just pull up a chair and watch him sleep.
Happy birthday my son. I hope all your dreams come true.