Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best wishes for a happy 2009 from Eyeball Central!

A Review of 2008



And hands?


And, most importantly, eyeballs?


Data demonstrate that 2008 was a most excellent year for the loyal readers of Eyeball Central. I'm so happy for all of you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

nestled leaves

Sometimes you just can't improve upon nature.

Well I did change one little thing about the leaves when I took this shot. I'm sure you can guess what I did. Because it's what makes the shot, I think.


Andy D. asked in the last photo response whether that photo was metaphorical, and I nearly responded by saying that none of my photos are metaphorical. But then it occurred to me that virtually all my photographs are metaphorical. And then I fainted from the confusion.

I'll explain in a future post why I had such contrary impulses to his comment.

I will also tell you in the next post what this photo makes me think of. (I'll wait because I personally like to look at photos/art for the first time unfiltered by commentary or explanation.

God, Buddha, Adam, Michelangelo and my little ol' camera

KeriLeigh, the hand on the right is yours. TS's is on the left. I love this pose, and I'm so glad you let me take it. JT had her chance to do the hand modeling thing, and she blew it! The Buddha I saw in a shop in Savannah, GA.

Well then, there it is.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Cool, eh?

I formed him by merging two photos.


Speaking of merging stuff, I think that for this year I'm going to merge two activities and thereby improve both of them. I am forever making and breaking New Year's resolutions, and it's also my habit to note (though not to state) how people are slipping into (or are fully stuck in) an unfortunate state of pod-personhood.

So this year, I thought that rather than making my own New Year's resolutions, I'll make them for others. You know. For their good. I briefly considered doing this with proper names and everything, but I thought better against it. So I'll go generic and non-specific.

Let's start.

1. Don't pretend to be Swedish when you're not.

There. That feels better already. A good general rule, and aimed at no one in particular.

It's too late for me to list more suggestions, but I hereby resolve to add more resolutions. In the meantime, feel free to contribute any resolution you would have others follow in the upcoming year.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Family that Makes Cookies Together....

is regrettably pretty WASP-y, I imagine.

But our family is the big-time exception. Especially me, since I am, as you all know, as un-waspy as it gets. (Other than being W.A.S. and sorta P.)

My wife's ethnic origin is Swedish, or so she claims. In truth, Swedishness accounts for only 25% of her ethnic identity, but it's the part she claims as her own.

This leads to more arguments between us than you might imagine.

She's also 25% English, 25% Irish, and 25% Norwegian. In other words, 75% NON-Swedish. But for her she's 100% Swedish 24/7/365.

(Side note: She has picked up this pro-Swedish propensity from a certain matriarchal figure in her life, who is about as Swedish as she is--maybe less so, actually. A certain grandfather on her patriarchal side did, in fact, come from Sweden. So in fairness I must concede that he's as Swedish as it get--except for the fact his parents rejected Sweden. Ironically, however, my wife doesn't have her Swedishness reinforced by the one father figure with a claim to reinforce it. It's definitely the female line of the family that sustains the Swedishness of the family. A Swedishness that includes but is not limited to (i.e. completely limited to) putting cinnamon sugar on pancakes. That's cool. And yummy. But don't you think that that element Swedishness is completely negated by the fact that they also also put yogurt on their pancakes?! Gross!)

But as I was saying, her claim to be Swedish means that I can be the Italian-Jewish-African American man that I was born to be.

So there.

But back to the cookies.

We had a really nice time. My wife made the cookies, and my daughters decorated them. I decorated just one. It's shown on this blog below, but I'll let you guess which one I did.

My job wasn't to decorate but to photograph stuff. That and, consistent with my blog poll, to:

Charm them (okay, me mostly)


Entertain them (all of them)


Annoy them (all of them, though certainly some more than others)


Drive them bat-sh*t crazy (my wife only).

That's how I do.

But how can I help it: the Swedish are famously angry.

That's how they do.

Since this is Christmas time, it's important to keep our priorties straight. So I should point out that all of the above is meant to be good-hearted, and the truth is our family time was lovely because it resulted in the thing that matters most:


Drippy Interlude!

There are so many shots that are hard to get on a spur-of-the-moment basis. I'm sure these would have been easy to take in a studio designed for capturing dripping frosting. But from our kitchen island (located in the universe--see below), I couldn't take this photo without including an unwanted wall hanging or light fixture. you get what I give you.

I'm so so so very sorry. and fun quasi-cannibalism!!!

And it's legal, too!!!

Here are some safe and fun and legal results of our sweet family time.

My kids are getting adept at pointing out anything missing an eye for me to photograph.

They're such good kids. But not good enough (yet) for them to actually read my blog. It's intended for the mature and thoughtful and mature and thoughtful and mature audience.

Like y'all. Thoughtful and mature.

A few of my earlier comments on anthropomorphism.

My very special Eyeball Central Christmas gift to you!!

Eyeball Central wishes you a most Merry Christmas!!!

I love you!!!


unrelated side note. featured lyric of the week:

"baby girl you da sh*t/
that makes you my equivalent."

--"When I Get You Alone" by Thicke

Monday, December 22, 2008


This is what you're doing to me.

Enjoying it, are you?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

People? Hello?

'Tis better to give than to receive. Don't you remember me saying that? That it's better to give than to receive? Remember?

My wife takes the occasional photo, true, but her photos are limited to work-related activities and chronicling events in our family--trips, kids performances and the like.

Like that matters.

To my knowledge, she's never pulled off the road to take a picture of a beautiful pile of rubble. So really does she need a camera?

It can go either way. I know.

So wasn't it surprising that her 4th grade class (or the parents of those kids, anyway) all chipped in to buy her the camera shown above?


If she gets a camera as a lovely gift, don't you think that, ahem, other even more deserving folks deserve one, too.

And wouldn't you know that December is a great time to give gifts?

Christmas is the holiday I happen to celebrate, but I'm not at all fussy. Orthodox Christians will be celebrating Christmas this year on January 7th. That works for me, too.

Hanukkah is quite the holiday, and I celebrate it (vicariously) along with all other light-loving people. I'm crazy for any people who win about 40% of all Nobel Prizes. Brains are good.

And you know that deep-down I'm all about Kwanzaa. This is a holiday that speaks to the real me, the wannabe me.

My pagan friends celebrate Mother Night, the beginning of Yule and a celebration of Thor. It's the beginning of the Pagan New Year, and who am I to poo-poo a good party? Plus, if we had had boys, I would have insisted they be named Thor, Thor II, and Thor III.

'Eid is an Islamic winter holiday. I don't know anything about it, but I saw it on a post office stamp. It's a terrific Holiday--I do know that--and a great occasion for gift giving.

I'm just saying.

P.S. The New Year is also a great time for gift-giving.



"Formerstudent," a very helpful respondent, offered y'all this suggestion. I'm going to paraphrase his/her point, but you can trust me I've conveyed the tone of it adequately.

S/he said, have them buy you "A NIKON D90 ALREADY!! is by the by the far the best camera for the money and takes excellent pictures. I bought one before my trip to Africa and could not be more pleased. So, for the love"......Have them buy you "A NIKON D90 ALREADY!"

Excellent advice, I'd say.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

quiz time!

Not the quiz: What does this look like to you?

Quiz: What did I take a photo of to create this image?

Whoever answers correctly first gets a great big sloppy shout out from me. (Except for anonymous1, a.k.a. A1)


Steven Taylor is a winner. Sloppy hugs to him!!!!

(Even though, frankly, I'm mad at him for getting it so quickly.)

The original shot below. I flipped it over, punched up the colors by 4,519% (or a lot) and put a bright star-like thingy in the corner. Oh, but that's not enough to cloak it from ol' cloven-hooved Mr. Omniscient over there in AL.


Anyway, congrats Steven. (You just ruin everything, don't you? As I was saying, congratulations.)

all-time all-white team

NBA rosters nowadays hold fifteen players, twelve of which can suit up for a game. If I were to fill out a roster with the best white NBA players of all time, here’s how I’d do it. Since this is fantasy, I permit myself to choose players at their peak performance.

Point guard—John Stockton
Subs: Steve (not John) Nash, Mark Price

Shooting guard—Jerry West
Subs: Pete Maravich, Christ Mullin

Small forward—Larry Bird
Subs: Rick Barry, John Havlicek

Power forward—Dirk Nowitzki
Subs: Kevin McHale, Jack Sikma

Center—Bill Walton
Subs: Dave Cowens, Bob Pettit

A few words about these players. Neither Larry nor Jerry need any explanation or rationale. There’s not a team in the history of the NBA that Larry Bird wouldn’t be a starter, and the same holds true for West. Stockton is the all-time leading assist guy. He was pretty good. Nowitzki. Well, he’s fine I guess. And I love Bill Walton.

A couple of thoughts. My assumption is that great players from older eras would be great—or at least very good—in the contemporary era. This is impossible to prove, of course, but it’s not a stretch to imagine. Take Petitt. Petitt performed admirably in an era that included Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Slouches none. Chamberlain played competitively with Kareem, and Kareem’s career overlapped with Hakeem Olajuwon, who won the MVP in Shaq’s second year in the NBA. No recent generation of incoming players has embarrassed the established era.

My sense is that on balance the players are a bit better than they once were—they’re certainly better athletes. They arguably play better defense and are better shooters as well. But the point is that, contrary to what young people believe, basketball was not invented, and perfected, in the past few years.

I haven’t seen a million NBA games live, but once upon a time I saw a fair number. I’ve seen Elvin Hayes, Artis Gilmore, Pete Maravich, Bill Walton, Moses Malone, Dr. J., Magic Johnson (my all-time favorite player), Phil Ford, Adrian Dantley and bunch of other guys play live. The best performance of the bunch by far was Larry Bird. Larry had come off a game in which his opponents had snapped his long streak of double-digit scoring. I remember two things about the game. First, the dude was ubiquitous man. Every time there was a loose ball, he got it, and he always seemed to be in the thick of the action. Second, the range on the guy’s shot seemed to have no limit. He routinely took shots three or four feet from behind the three-point line, and the ball was in the air so long you could go out and purchase a coke and come back just as it was swishing the net. Our poor hapless Kings had no idea how to contain the guy. If they stepped out at that range, he’d beat you inside.

One of the other outstanding performances I saw live was by Bill Walton, who didn’t score much yet somehow seemed to dictate the flow and feel of the game through his defense and fabulous passing.

How would this all-white perform today? I think it would be competitive—very competitive—against any team in the NBA today. But maybe that’s not saying much since no team in the NBA is filled with all-time greats. The problem wouldn’t be with the starters—these white starters would be perfectly competitive with the best players of any era--but the problem would begin with substitutions. It would be unquestionably crushed by a comparable list of all-time all-African-American roster, which might look like this:

Point guard—Magic Johnson

Shooting guard—Michael Jordan

Small forward—Elgin Baylor

Power forward—Karl Malone

Center—Wilt Chamberlain

Now consider who didn’t make the list: Kobe. Bill Russell. Shaq. Barkley. Dr. J.Elvin Hayes. The Big O. Tim Duncan. The Admiral. Kareem. Kevin Garnett. LeBron. Isaiah. The Iceman. Iverson. Earl the Pearl. Moses Malone. Patrick Ewing.

You could go 4th string and still have a ridiculously good team—competitive with the all-white 1st team.


What do the photos have to do with the commentary? Only this:


Big-time profound whiteness.

I was constrained by my own blog code which says that (a) every post must contain a photo; (b) the photo should be one of my own; and (c) when possible the photo and commentary must be related, at least tangentially (defined by me, not you).

That put me in a bind. So I decided to post photos of two of the whitest persons I know. One is a grad school friend, and one is a father-in-law that I know. (Mine.)

I want to emphasize that I do not mean anything insulting by saying that these two gentlemen are white. (Though it is insulting.) Because frankly there’s nothing wrong about being white.

(There is.)

I love these guys like brothers.

(But not like bruthas.)


On an unrelated note, you need to listen to Brandi Carlile’s live version of Radiohead’s Creep. If you’re anything like me, it will make you cry like a baby.

(Not that I cry at music. That would be sissy-ish. Which I’m not. I’m very manly. And not white-manly, either. Cool manly.)


I had my last school-related meeting of the semester yesterday. I’m on break. Can you tell?

Still, I couldn’t sleep last night and thus the early morning post.

(Not that I’m bragging about not sleeping. That would be wrong.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

study of visual contrasts


I was biking on a trail with my "true blue friend" (see 2-3 posts below), when I saw some interesting and beautiful mud. Nice swirls and patterns. Tire marks and gully marks. Really lovely. So I took some photos but none of them turned out as nicely as what I saw. See why it's important to be able to work the camera? My eye is just fine--I constantly see images I want to capture. It's the knowing how to do it that baffles me. Once again I will blame my camera.

People, it's Christmas time. Let's get with the program. Don't make me come out and say it. Please.

(Buy me a nice camera. Really. Do it. I promise you I won't be sorry that you do.)

In any event, the one interesting feature of these mud photos (and I'll show plenty more if you demand me to do so), is that to me they look like the kinds of satellite images shown by Colin Powell at his UN presentation putatively proving the existence Iraqi WMD. (No, I don't know whether I used "putatively" correctly; I'll leave it to you to look it up.)

Surely you remember moving comments like these:

"In this image what you see is a hole in the ground next to a truck. And here's an image of the same location the next day. As is evident, the hole is filled and the truck is gone. This is but one piece of mounting information irrefutably pointing to the Hussein regime's intent to acquire and stock WMDs. We believe that this worldwide body must respond to that threat immediately, or the results will be dire to all peace-loving nations."

(Those weren't his exact words per se, but they're close enough.)

This photo differs from those satellite images in that it was taken eighteen inches above the ground, not eighteen miles. It is similar to them in that it shows the same number of WMDs.

Below is a striking contrast to the muddy mud mud above. What you got here is frosting for Christmas cookies. Happy Happy.

Here's the thing. Some people were born with the disposition like the one you see above. The world is muddy mud mud. And others were born with the disposition you see below. Happy primary colors of Christmas cookie frosting.

Why this is is a mystery.

I believe that one of those views is truer, and one is happier. (I'm talking degrees, folks. Life is a mixture of both, obviously.) You can guess for yourself which ones I'm respectively referring to.

On a completely different note, I must say I am just really really p*ssed. (No, not ptssed.) One of my favorite songs is "Here Comes the Sun." I have described it before (though perhaps not here on this blog) as the "perfect" song. It cannot be ruined. It can NOT be ruined.

Oh, but I forgot about James Taylor and his ability to ruin anything musical.


If you missed it, you can read my opinion about him here on my other blog:

I love Yo-Yo Ma, and not just for his name. Or because of the man-crush I have for him. I downloaded an album of his just minutes ago ("Songs of Joy & Peace"), and I am listening to it as I write this post. And guess what just came on? You got it. "Here Comes the Sun." A duet of Mr. Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor. And wouldn't you know it, but that s.o.b. James Taylor just friggin ruined one of my faves.

The impossible is not only possible, it's a reality.


Only James Taylor! Only HE could do that, the bastard.


I do hope you have a lovely holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

you keep your hand in that water!!!!

i don't care if the fish are biting!!! i'm not done with the shoot.



this is not the conversation i had with my daughter. in reality she was thrilled that the fish mistook her hand for a bucket of chum.

i thought it was weird. her. not the fish. they was just doin' their fish thang.

but the girl. a strange child.

creepy house

or so it struck me when i snapped the shot. but the shot didn't turn out that creepy at all. so i fooled around with the image until i semi-captured the feeling i was seeking/remembering. mostly it just kind of blows.

below is the original decidedly non-creepy shot.

so so blue

I'm just saying.....


(Should have included this photo in the 9.5.08 set. Better now than never.)

Another accidental Pollock

Cookie decoration drippings on wax paper.

On our kitchen island.

In our kitchen. (Natch)

In our house.


Planet earth

Milky Way Galaxy

Known Universe

Reality (imaginary or otherwise)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

blame their mother

i take my daughters and two of their friends to ballet (and swimming) once a week. we were all at my office before it was time to leave, and i stepped out of the office for a bit. my oldest daughter decided to set up her jacket and gloves to make it look like a person typing at the computer. they filled the fingers of the gloves with markers and did who knows what all with the rest of it. the point is that when i returned i shrieked like a little girly boy when i saw the....thing at my computer.

needless to say, there was a lot of triumphant laughter on their part.

a LOT.

but isn't that weird of my daughter? i blame her mother.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

hanging candle and stain-glass

i gather from the poll to the right that there is an overwhelming desire for me to continue to write with no caps from time.


btw, i should have probably let you have known up front that i take "generally annoyed" to mean "altogether pleased with."


Paul's profile in shadow