Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fashion doesn't agree with me... #16

woah, no.

It's like Canada, on my face.  Eh?

Gettin' my Hawaii party on.

I had to open my mouth so my face looked a little bigger so these glasses weren't covering 75% of my face.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sister, Sister.

VBS art.
Last Thursday, Teh Sister arrived for another visit.  I always enjoy having visitors, so I was glad when she arrived...  Even though within minutes of her arrival I almost had a mental break down because I had lost my cell phone.  Lost to the point of, going back to church that night to look in the grass (where I was during VBS) to see if it was there and trying to get in the church while Teh Sister called it, hoping to hear it.  Nothing.  Defeated, we came back home and I called Verizon to ask for suggestions.  I wanted to see if anyone would return the phone, so I didn't want to suspend the account until late Friday.  I also complained about how shitty my phone is in general and they foreshadowed a complete factory reset in it's future (if it could be found).  Since it was late, Teh Sister and I decided to call it a night and we headed upstairs to bed.
Teh Sister goes in the guest room and says, "I have something for you."  Which usually means she has clothes or other general presents she wants to give me.  When I turned around, she was handing me my phone!  She had found it laying in the guest room on the bed side table.  Exactly where I laid it down when I came home and was prepping the guest room for visitors.  Teh Megan fail.

Due to sequester's lack of people on base, Friday's at VX-1 are now "training days" and what used to commonly be a "short day" (yay!) is now a work-all-day-day (boo!).  This meant being at work for later than I (used to) schedule for, which made less time between evening events.  I had planned on going to VBS for a little bit before the River Series Concert, but I turned out to be the designated taxi, which meant that getting to VBS late would have meant there was no one at the concert to get good seats for the group.  Even if I had went to VBS, picking everyone up would have meant that I would have had to leave pretty much right after I got there, so I just didn't even bother going to VBS.  I was a little disappointed in myself, especially after not being able to go on Wednesday due to a meeting in Norfolk.

Dear Sun, please go down faster.
The dude with the white hair and red shirt in the front left, we'll talk about him.

We always sit in the serious listening section.

Sweet dreams, Sun.

Despite a headache and some wicked PMS rage (no one was exempt), we all made it to the concert.  Teh FL Greyhound Husband and Mr. Kilt joined us as well.  Spaghetti was served thanks to Teh FL Greyhound Wife.  While we were waiting on the concert to start, I was chatting with a couple sitting near us.  The man had turned 18 crossing the Suez Canal in 1942.  He was a coach for something at a college in Maryland.  He was even telling me that when NC State first joined the ACC for basketball they were the shiznit (not his exact words).  He talked about a Coach Yow who had left University of MD in lots of debt and came to NC State to coach, at which point I got confused because apparently there were 2.  He didn't mean the women's basketball coach who died of breast cancer, but he knew who that was too.  I wanted him to tell me stories from 1942.  It was humbling to even be chatting with someone like him period.  Someone that you know served and is still kicking to tell about it.  I need more cognizant old people in my life.

Jazz night with singer Sara Gray

I was extremely disappointed that my ice cream cone pooped on me.
I had eaten spaghetti with no mess, but an ice cream cone defeated me.

The concert was Jazz night and it was awesome, despite the headache that didn't go away with any of the medications.  Those trumpet solos made me want some earplugs, but I've always felt that way.  Also, it was almost chilly at the concert, it was heaven!  Since last week we endured the 95°+ sitting in the direct sun for almost an hour, this week's 80's were just flabbergasting.  Seriously, everyone kept making comments about how great it felt.  It was a great end to the series for this summer.  I'm definitely looking forward to next summer!

After the concert, Teh Sister and I headed home, while everyone else went their separate ways.  It didn't take long for bedtime to arrive.

Saturday morning, Phil decided we needed to be up around 0630.  He's a jerk.  He was whining relentlessly, so I finally just sucked it up and got up.  I let him out for business and fed him.  I had decided to head back up to bed when I looked out the patio door and saw the hummingbirds at the feeder, which was empty.  I decided to fill it for them.  As soon as it was filled, they came right back and I decided it to ignore the urge to go back to bed and set up my camera and tripod to take photos instead.  Best idea I've had in a while.  Expect a hummingbirds photo post in the near future.

Teh Sister got up and made pancakes for breakfast so we could enjoy our homemade NY maple syrup we acquired while we were in NY last month.  I finally went back to bed for a nap.  I woke back up at 11 when Teh Bear messaged me.  I chatted with Teh Bear until it was time to go to the meet and greet with the pups.

I picked up Olive and Miley from Teh Greyhound Neighbors and with Teh Sister and 3 greyhounds in the back of Yurtle (max capacity), we headed to Leonardtown to hang out with other greyhounds for a few hours.  We had the most greyhounds I'd ever seen at a meet and greet!  It was awesome!!  Teh Sister and I had lunch from McKay's, a grocery store next to the pet shop.  I'd never been in it before, but their deli had a salad bar, soup bar, and hot items as well.  I was impressed.  I also had my first Dr. Brown's soda (black cherry), which was delicious.  Teh FL Greyhound-ers were amazed I'd never had it before, then we figured out, "It's because you're not Jewish," which we all got a laugh about.

Olive, Miley, and Phil

Miss Megan, where we going?  Cans you goes faster?

Olive, Miley, and Phil when I stopped to get gas.

After returning Miley and Olive home, we came home for some relaxin' time.  Teh Sister kept saying she was bored and she finally decided she wanted to go to Kohl's to return her shoes.  I talked her into waiting until after Phil's dinner time, then I'd go with her.  We stopped by Kohl's where she got a $200 comforter for less than $78 (since she purchased other stuff too) and I acquired some sunglasses photos (of course), then went to base to go to the commissary for limes for beverages (which was closed), and finally stopped by RedBox to rent a movie.  We went to Food Lion since the commissary is closed more than it is open (which is almost true now, due to sequester and it's normal early closing times).  We came home and made pizza for dinner and watched This is 40, which was an awesome movie, imo.

Sunday morning, Teh Sister and I went to church and returned home to finalize some details before heading up to DC.  I still had a LivingSocial deal for the cherry blossom harbor cruise that Teh Bear and I never went on, which was valid until Aug. 2nd, so we decided to finally cash that in.  We also planned to get lunch while we were in Georgetown, so I looked for any other Groupon/LivingSocial deals in the Georgetown area.  I found one for a place called Tackle Box, a seafood place.  We made it to DC and stopped for lunch after finding parking.

The Tackle Box was pretty good, definitely worth what we spent.  After lunch, we walked to the harbor to look for the ticket stand.  Not able to find one, we decided to just try getting on a boat, which worked.  The tour was about 45 minutes, which was perfect.  It was about 85°F outside, which for a July day isn't bad.  Being on the water meant there was a breeze, which made it almost perfect.  I failed at bringing a real camera, so all I was able to get was crappy cell phone pics.  Boo.  There were lots, so I'm saving those for another post.

We had considered going to Georgetown Cupcakes, but since you have to make orders 24 hours in advance or wait in line for "a long time", I opted for Serendipity 3 instead.. WOOT!  I had Serendipity 3 when I went to NYC with Mr. Voices and Mrs. Boomkin back in 2009 before I left for the Navy.  I had a migraine and I couldn't even finish my frozen hot chocolate.  I had all the sads.  We walked to Serendipity 3 from the harbor and there was no wait and even empty tables!  The customer service was good, our server was friendly and quick.  Our order took longer than I really thought it should have, as we only ordered 2 desserts.  The frozen hot chocolate with peanut butter was DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEElightful.  Teh Sister's Forbidden Broadway Sundae wasn't as good as she was anticipating.  She wasn't a big fan of my dessert since she's not a huge peanut butter fan... which is pretty much a prerequisite to live with me.  Phil totally gets it.

Frozen hot chocolate with PB was definitely what the doctor ordered.

Serendipity 3 dessert/beverage menu.

A really big clock.

Desserts.  NOMNOMNOM.

Serendipity 3


After dessert, we finally headed back to S.MD since it was going to be right at Phil's dinner time when we arrived back home.  After feeding the dogs, we sat down to watch Lincoln which I enjoyed very much.  I enjoyed seeing the different perspective than you get in history class, seeing a bit of personality to the person who changed history.  Watching it also made me want to finish reading the Harry Potter series so I can move on to the Jeff Shaara books I started as a suggestion from a FB friend who was reading the Civil War based series around the date the Gettysburg Address was given.  I'm starting from the beginning during the Revolutionary War and will work my way forward in history.  I feel like, given the length of the books, this is a reading project that could definitely take me a few years.  I always find historically based books highly interesting, especially if they are based on the notes and diaries of the historical figures they are based on.

Yay sister time!

still being [molly]

Friday, July 26, 2013

Five on Friday #1

So I was waiting on Finish the Sentence... but that didn't look like it was going down this week (utterly disappointing).. but I found another Friday linkup which I've seen enough people do to finally just tag along.  It's what I do now.

So 5 on Friday.. we're gonna talk about 5 things.  I think I can do that.

This week has been a roller coaster.  Truly.  I've been out of my gourd busy.  When I get home, I feed Phil and leave again to go to vacation bible school.  On Wednesday, Teh Monopoly and I and drove to Norfolk (4 hours) for a 2 hour meeting, then drove back to S.MD (4 more hours PLUS bridge/tunnel traffic.  /wrist).  We did also manage to squeeze in some peeps time.  We had lunch with some of her people and Miss Reflective and her mom joined us at Cookout for an evening milkshake date.  As much as I seem to be complaining about this.  I'm not.  I actually love being busy, it keeps me sane.  Driving 8 hours in one day, not so much when I have to be at work at 8 the next morning...  but whatevs.  Organizing a detailed schedule floats my boat.

Teh Sister arrived yesterday evening.  I'm not sure how long she is staying this time, but I'm excited to she's here!  Adventures are already in the plans.  Final River Series Concert of the summer is tonight, tomorrow is a meet and greet (yay puppies!), and we're also considering doing the harbor cruise that I purchased back in March for Teh Bear and I to go see the cherry blossoms that were like, "I'm coming!  Nevermind.  I'm coming!  Nevermind."  It's a LivingSocial deal that expires in August, so yeah.. I should get on that.  Really though, Teh Bear and I just need to get better about actually going to DC instead of just talking about it.

After last week when it was a mabillion degrees outside with 99.9% humidity, this week's threatening rain clouds and breeze and slightly cooler temps at 99.9% humidity have been very much appreciated.  I've actually felt guilty about not running Thursday morning and this morning because the temps have been so cool (driving 8 hours in one day really wiped me out ya'll).  It almost felt like fall was coming Thursday morning.  A girl can dream.

I've opened Blogger so many times this week to write posts and nothing comes out.  It's incredibly frustrating for me.  It's also quite amusing to me that I can often schedule posts (ya know, so I don't actually forget to post them after they've been written) a week or so in advance (except for the Wednesday post which I could probably make last a year or so) and then I'll finally run out of posts and have a quiet week or so and then I get right back in the swing of things.  I think part of it is a lack of words, but not for lack of things to talk about, but an inability to put so many thoughts into words that aren't hateful (it's been that kind of week) and are logical.  This too shall pass.

You know someone is calling you with important news if you just got off Skype with them and they call you before you can even get halfway back to work.  That happened on Thursday.  I'm not allowed to go public with it (YET), but it's absolutely killing me to not be able to tell the world.  KILLING ME.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fashion doesn't agree with me... #15

Miss Reflective is way more stylish than me.


Hi 1950s.  Yes, I'm from the 80's.  Sorry about this.

Duck lips prob go better with duck glasses..
I do what I wawnt.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer days.

By mid-week I knew that this weekend was going to be jam-packed with activities.  I was actually looking forward to it.

Friday night: River Concert Series at St. Mary's College
Saturday day: Summerstock production of Hairspray which Teh Singing Cat Lady and Teh Guitar Playing Podcaster were part of
Saturday evening: Baby shower for Teh Flying Metal Mouth and Teh Korean
Sunday morning: Work the soundboard at church
Sunday day: Watch Monsters University
Sunday evening: be lazy

The concert friday was AMAZING.  Friday evening was a baroque theme, and although Watercolors lasted an incredibly long time, it was definitely enjoyable.. even in the shade at 90°F.  I'll definitely be going to next week's jazz themed big band concert, as it's the last concert of the season.

How to properly enjoy classical music.

Chesapeake Orchestra

Saturday morning started out with a little bit of Netflix.   Herk-u-lees!  Herk-u-lees!

No chance, no way, I won't sayyyy it... -Megra

After a chat with Teh Bear, it was time to head to see:

I'm not gonna lie, I'm not a big fan of the Hairspray story.  I know it's all no more segregation, but I'm just not a fan of how everything is about how fat Tracy is.  I also find it weird that a dude still plays Tracy's Mom.  I know it's a tribute, blah blah blah.  It's freakin' weird.  For a show that advocates change, I think that's a simple thing to change about the show that could make it a more enjoyable experience.

But the performance was OUTSTANDING.  Those kids were singing and dancing their hearts out and it was an impeccable show.  I heard there were some issues, but I didn't notice.  It could have also been that I was freezing, which was slightly distracting.

Later that evening was the baby shower for Teh Flying Metal Mouth and Teh Korean.  They cooked out and there were some trivia cards, where I proved my nursery rhyme knowledge (with a bit of help) and won a prize, which I shared.  Teh Monopoly and Mr. Kilt came over to meet Phil, and we hung out for a while until it was way past all our bedtimes.

Sunday morning, I got up early so I could make it to church in time to learn how to operate the soundboard.  I consider TV Production class in college initiation to all types of "boards" and I knew it wasn't going to be overly difficult.  I had 2 different teachers and both wanted to test my patience.  I finally told the guy who supervised/"helped" during the service that he needed to stop doing things and tell me what to do so I could learn.  I'm a bossy learner...  mostly when I feel like my intelligence is being undervalued.  I made it through the service with no crazy mix ups.  I'm not sure if it was harder or easier with 2 people trying to run the board at the same time.

What I really learned is this: everyone has their own way of doing things.. and I do as well, which I couldn't really do with someone else beside me trying to do it their way.  Next time, I'm kicking out the other alphas and letting the chill guy advise me when I'm doing it wrong.

After church I came home to chat with Teh Bear for a little while, then it was time for a quick nap before Monsters U.  I was refreshed after 25 minutes, and headed to base to meet Teh Greyhound Neighbors.  The movie was cute and better than I anticipated.  It wasn't Boo and Sully, but it was definitely a good movie.  After the movie, I joined Teh Greyhound Neighbors for dinner at one of the mexican places in town.  Our service was... lacking.  I'm starting to think it's me.

After coming home from dinner, I perused the internet while watching Act of Valor, which I had wanted to see for a while.  I also want to see Zero Dark Thirty, but that's not out on Netflix yet..  Yeah, I'm cheap.  What?  Teh Greyhound Neighbors actually got 5 Red Box codes for me for watching Miley and Olive, so that's definitely on the Red Box list of things to watch, along with several other movies.  Yeah, I'm behind.  What?

Despite the high level of activity, it was an immensely enjoyable weekend.  I'm telling myself to enjoy all the days before August 5th to the max.  I fear that once class starts I'll be doing homework in all my former free time.  This upcoming week holds vacation bible school, a visit from Teh Sister, dog sitting for Teh Sister, a return visit from Teh Sister, and the River Concert on Friday.  Woooo activities!

Sami's Shenanigans

Sunday, July 21, 2013

It's real.

I filled out some forms (applications).
I paid some money ($50, which was a waste).
I posted a blog.
I messaged a former NCSU advisor on Facebook.
I decided that schools with redundant names were unacceptable (lookin' at you, University of Maryland University College).
I filled out a Veteran Affairs (VA) form online.
I spoke with someone from the Navy College Office (NCO) about Tuition Assistance (TA).
I emailed a lady at the NCO about TA.
I went to see the lady at the NCO about TA.
I called a VA rep.
I scheduled a meeting with a VA rep.
I looked at the available classes for the August session.
I went to to compare the 2 instructors (one was good, one was very, very bad).
I had a panic attack because the bad teacher was teaching the class I needed.
I reconsidered redundant name school.
I sent an email to my AMU admissions advisor.
I filled out more forms.
I almost paid more money (but I needed more information before I could).
I received an email from an AMU admissions rep who said that the class with the good professor filled the same requirement as the class with the bad teacher.
I gave a large sigh of relief.
I waited over an hour and a half past my appointment time to meet with the VA rep.
I felt confident I'd be properly initiated into the VA process.
I made the VA rep do his paperwork twice.
I got what I wanted from the VA office (to not waste my GI Bill).
I got an email which notified me my command approved my TA application.
I paid NC State $12.25 (not $10) to electronically send my BA transcripts to AMU to prove I have my Bachelor's.
I sent an email to AMU to prove I was in the military (since apparently applying for TA doesn't provide sufficient proof).
I went to my AMU site and clicked on almost all the links on my home page (which I learned very little by doing).
I signed up for the class with the good teacher.
I paid the remaining dollas that TA wouldn't cover.
I (annoyingly) wished it was August already so I could just start my class already.

So officially...  I'm a master's student.
Woah, ya'll, woah.
That's a HUGE deal.
I'm not gonna lie, I like telling people... but I like it better when other's share the good news for me... it feels like their bragging on me.  :)

The final (eventual) diagnosis is:
Master's Degree in Intelligence Management...

I got this.

It won't let me enter the classroom since it's not even available yet.  BOO!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Conversations with Teh Bear

It's hard being a band nerd.

Finish the Sentence #1

I found this link from Kristen who found it from Holly, whose blog I plan to further investigate this weekend.  She seems to have a knack for humor.

I'm also joining in on her finish the sentence linkup, cause it seems fun and cause I needed an excuse to go to bed when I should....  judge me.


If I had one extra hour in the day...  This would probably come more in handy after August 5th when I've started my classes....  Although it wouldn't really make a difference to me since I usually have everything set in military time.

I wish my name... was more towards the middle or beginning of the alphabet.  I was always at the end of the line and one might say that was saving greatness for last, but sometimes, a girl just wants to get her lunch before everyone else!

I think anything chevron is...  icky.  But only because I'm in the military and chevrons to me mean rank, not household decorations..

My last nightmare...  included Teh Sister dying , a GEGR meet and greet, free stuff, a walk in the woods, and Teh Mom acting particularly nonchalant about Teh Sister's death.

Sometimes...  I blare Call Me Maybe in the car and sing at the top of my lung while driving home so I can erase a bad mood.

My last meal on earth would be... Teh Mom's pork spare ribs with her homemade mac and cheese with broccoli or brussel sprouts on the side.

I would much rather...  weed eat the yard in 100°F temps than clean the bathrooms.

Mayonnaise...  gotta go with Duke's... or Miracle Whip, depending on what you're putting it on.

10 years ago, I didn't think...  I'd EVER be in the military.

Selfishly...  I am enjoying the lack of responsibility at work and appreciating the SIGNIFICANT decrease of stress in the office.

My favorite show on TV right now...  Grey's Anatomy, which is really a default answer because I don't watch actual TV, only Netflix and Amazon Prime.  Teh Megan = too cheap to pay for cable.  Side note:  my favorite TV show period:  How I Met Your Mother, pretty sure it even beats out Grey's.

And, George Zimmerman...  meh, not from Florida, don't keep up with the news, don't care.  (PS.  Please don't lecture me on why I should, if I was interested, I'd let you know).

Mmmm that was fun.. almost like FitBF, but better!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hot or Not?

You remember that website a few years ago where you could rate if people were "Hot or Not?"  Yeah, well, how fortunate for you, this post isn't about that.  Also, do people even still go to that site?  Does it still exist? Obviously I didn't go to check.

I have a serious thing to talk about though.
It's serious.

Gentle Readers, I physically CAN NOT eat spicy foods.
I try.  I put in a genuine effort to try and be like all the cool kids who are like, "It's not that spicy!  Watch!  I can drink this whole bottle of hot sauce!"
It's not that I won't.  I have!  I tried!  And by try, I mean I'll dip a tiny edge of a chip into the salsa and if its too much, I'll immediately down my beverage and continue eating just chips.
It's that when I eat spicy foods, my mouth starts to burn, my throat starts to burn, I end up with heartburn/indigestion within 20 minutes, I have to eat Tums when I leave the restaurant and before I go to bed (so yeah, my calcium levels are the shiznit)... but nothing about the experience is pleasant.

All my friends know that Teh Megan doesn't eat spicy foods.  Not even mildly spicy.  As in, not even too much table pepper, ya'll.  I didn't start eating green peppers until a few years ago and most of the time, I pick those out too (cause I think they taste funky).  Don't come near me with those Papa John's banana peppers, and anything that has chili seeds in it isn't going into my body.  Oh, you love jalapeno pepper poppers?  That's nice.  You can have my portion as well, because that's not going in my body.

Due to my situation, one of the most loathsome conversations I have is this one:
Teh Megan: Ok, I tried that, it's too hot for me.  You can have it.  I need a drink now.
Random Person:  It's not that spicy!  I just ate half the bowl!

It happens every.single.time.
And the last time it happened, I finally lost it and said, "Right, it's too spicy for me.  I wouldn't have said that if I was lying."

I felt kind of awful about losing it like that.  Truly.  I felt like it was a pretty rude thing to say, mostly due to the way I said it, but I meant it.  It was like that person took the hit for all the people that have ever told me something isn't as spicy as it was to me.  But, it was true.

In the same way I wouldn't belittle your feelings about your need to "calm down" after someone wronged you, don't try to tell me how something should taste!

I've considered this situation for a long time and the easiest thing is just to not partake of potentially spicy foods.  I've considered why my body accept spicy foods and some folks have suggested it's because I haven't practiced eating very much spicy foods.

Ok.  Maybe.  But when it's a literal painful experience, WHY would I?

And then I thought to myself about a barely-related situation that happened YEARS ago when I was a freshman in high school.

My lower back was hurting because of marching band practice and my baritone being as big as me and I had my boyfriend at the time put some muscle rub on my back.  Within 30-60 seconds of him starting to rub it on, I was screaming, "GET IT OFF!  IT BURNS!!!  GET IT OFF!!!  I'M ON FIRE!!!"  Teh Mom comes running in like he's raping me, and he's just staring at me crying and screaming and dancing around trying to fan my shirt on my back (which was making it infinitely worse btw), and they are both trying to get me to calm down enough to figure out what the heck I'm saying.

Again, I scream through my sobs, "GET IT OFF OF ME!!!!!"
Teh Mom looks at the guy and he finally gets it (he was a really nice guy, but sooo slow when it came to common sense sometimes) and remembers he was putting muscle rub on my back a moment before I started screaming.  Teh Mom ran to the bathroom and gets a cool washcloth to wipe off my back, but by then it was too late.  The rub had already soaked in.  Teh Mom wiped and wiped and the burning was not stopping.  Even when she just laid the washcloth on my back, it still felt like there were literal flames coming from my lower back.  My skin was bright red for hours.

That boyfriend's mom was a nurse, so I asked her if she'd ever heard of anyone not being able to use muscle rub.  She said, "Yes, actually.  There are some rubs that have a certain pepper as the ingredient to make them 'warm up' and some people are allergic to that pepper."  I reported this to Teh Mom who said, "I've always wondered if you were allergic to Ben-Gay because you always complained how hot it would get if you'd put it on."  I explained that I thought it was supposed to get warm, and Teh Mom explained that it wasn't supposed to burn.  I've not used muscle rub since, because it's nothing something I've grown out of.  I've tried.  Trust me, I've tried.

I give up.

So here's my story:  I'm allergic to peppers, which is why I don't enjoy spicy foods.  So, please be my guest, and eat all the salsa...  Have that Papa John's banana pepper, I don't want it...  Nah, I don't need the pepper, but I'll pass it along for you...  Oh you have General Tso's Chicken?  No thanks, I don't want a bite.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Degree vs Certificate...
or both?

That is the question.

Fashion doesn't agree with me... #14

Thinking glasses... I think.

Dear UK-ians,  We here in the US represent...  apparently.

Fierce glasses for a fierce face.

What?  Why?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photographering /rant

I've never made it a secret that I enjoy photography.  It's something I've had an interest in since I accidentally  took a pretty good bokah photo of a flower when I was a pre-teen.  I didn't even know what bokah was.  I just thought the flower was pretty.  So much so, that when I was doing a project in college which included scanning a mabillion photos, it got included.

Said pretty flower.

There are people that go to school to be professional photographers.
There are people that are self-taught professional photographers.
There are people that are amature photographers.
There are people that have a cell phone with a camera and like to pretend they are professional photographers.  Your iPhone isn't that good.  Trust me.
There are people that aren't photographers at all.

I feel like I fall in that amature photographer category.  I'm not a pro, but I like to practice a lot.  I have my "big" camera, an expensive tripod (which I've finally learned how to use, notwithstanding numb fingers), a big flash, a zoom lens, and the strap around my neck says "Nikon" (so that means something too, right?).

I share lots of photos on Teh Blog and on my personal Facebook page because I know lots of folks expect to see my photos.  Teh Bear would say that most people expect them with some sort of expediency, unlike my November vacation photos which I was still posting 6 months later, but whatevs, man, I do what I wawnt.

For most of my photos, I like to sometimes tweak them in Lightroom.  Make sure the white balance is right, make sure that the exposure is right, get rid of the red eyes, sometimes play with the colors making the photos brighter, adjust the sharpness, play with black and white colors.  There's lots of things you can do to alter photos and shooting the photo is no longer the hardest part of photography (in my opinion).  Granted, if you're shooting good photos, you're going to be doing less editing, but playing is half the fun when you're not under a deadline.

Since I don't consider myself a professional photographer, I don't ask people to pay me for skills, because usually the people I'm shooting for are my friends.  Not very many people understand the time and dedication it takes to shoot an event and to come home and do post-processing.  To that end, those people that always see me with the camera and have enjoyed my photos just start to expect me to always be the photographer.

Here's my problem with the expectations that your "photographer" friend will just photograph your next event:

Have you ever noticed how you rarely see the person behind the camera in photos?  Even if its that person in your group of friends who always has the point and shoot camera, they are rarely in photos other than self-shots (which, by the way, they've mastered, don't bother offering to take the photo of them when they are going to take a "selfie", instead grab someone else to take a photo of you with the photographer, means so much more).  That's because being the photographer creates a barrier between you and whatever is happening.

As the photographer, I see things through the lens.  Instead of getting caught up and enjoying all the pretty colors and excited faces, I look for "good shots."  Those kids playing and laughing?  Excellent action shot.  Those newlyweds who managed to sneak away from everyone for just a moment?  Perfect contentment.  That sunset over the Grand Canyon?  What's the best angle?  Have we already passed the "golden hour"?  Is my camera level?  There's a whole lot of cognitive processes that go on behind that camera to capture what's in front of the camera that creates a barrier between the photographer and the event/scene.  I don't suspect many people think of it that way since, now, taking a photo is as easy as raising your phone and snapping that one photo for Facebook, but it's true for me.  I don't enjoy a wedding the same way when I'm behind the camera as when I'm in front of the camera.  I feel removed from the event, in a sense.

Then, I bring an SD card full of photos home and import those photos onto the computer.  If I'm being super expedient, and I'm not trying to impress anyone (my 2013 4th of July photos, for instance), I uploaded many of those photos straight to Facebook to share with my friends.  1.  I was excited about the photos as this was my first time really getting to shoot fireworks photos.  2.  My friends knew I had taken photos and they wanted to see them.  I didn't watermark them, I didn't post-edit them.  I uploaded them straight from the camera.*

If I've photographed a wedding though (think 300-600 photos easy, the wedding party getting ready, ceremony photos, family portraits, decorations, people at the reception, traditions, dancing...), I'll take my time and import ALL those photos into Lightroom.  I'll make the adjustments to make sure the contrast is right, the white balance is good, the red-eye is gone, the fly-away hairs/bumps are magically vanished.  This process can take days due to the volume of photos one can take at a wedding.

There's a reason why wedding photographers cost so much.  It's time.  (Time is money, friend.  (My WoW playing Gentle Readers will get that.))  My eyes start to hurt and my brain starts to hurt from cropping and coloring and playing with the photos after so many hours.  But this is my skill, my gift, so I do it.  And this post is not me complaining about the time I put into my photography.

There's a reason that I consider my photography a gift to folks.  Because you would pay someone hundreds of dollars to do what I'm doing for free for you.  I tell people it's my gift to them.  I don't think most people understand what that actually means.  To them it means that I spend my time clicking away on the camera then come home and burn the photos to a disk and send it to them.  They don't understand why I give them digital copies with my watermark on them (because we know that everyone wants to upload those pretty photos to Facebook to share with their friends), with a note that says, please ask me for any photos you'd like to print out and I'll happily send you originals of those files.  They don't seem to comprehend the amount of my TIME that goes into what I'm doing for them.  My skill is a gift for that reason.

Again, this post isn't me whining about how much time I spend working on photos, this post is to explain why something costs as much as it does.. and to beg my Gentle Readers to give credit where credit is due.

So the next time you find that pretty photo on Facebook from someone else's page and you download it and upload it as one of your own photos or share it even, remember to give the photographer some credit if there's no markings on it to say it's theirs.  I've seen lots of people take photos from someone else's website and give no credit and people then start complement the photo, and still NOTHING in the form of credit!!!  It doesn't matter if that photo is good or bad even, give CREDIT (or call it a warning, whatever)!!

So the next time you see Teh Megan or any other photographer for that matter taking photos of an event, take a moment to appreciate their skills, their art, because their photos will provide lasting memories to someone.  If you see photos online, give compliments and positive suggestions (or even just the simple "like"), and most definitely GIVE CREDIT IF YOU DISTRIBUTE THEIR PHOTO IN ANYWAY.

*My 4th of July photos that I posted?  One of my friends uploaded one of my photos to their Facebook page, detailing the entire scenario in the description, where we were, the event, when it was.... except that in no way did they give me credit for taking the photo.  My immediate feeling was disappointment.  Why couldn't they detail WHO took the photo as part of their description?  That's my time, my work, my focus, my practice, my art.  It wasn't fair to me.  I jokingly tried to ask who took such a great shot to see if they'd tag or mention me, but nope.  I even saw one of their friends compliment the photo and they STILL didn't give any credit to me for taking the shot.

PS.  I'd love to get paid to do photography, but it seems like everyone wants to get paid to do photography now-a-days.  For now I think I'll stick to using my skills as a gift, but definitely start breaking the expectations of my friends that I'll just be their photographer for all their events.  I mean.. unless they want to pay me of course.  Then I'm game.

PPS.  Flowers are still my favorite things to photograph.
PPPS.  And "selfies" of me in ridiculous sunglasses.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Education Motivation

I was recently talking with our new Chief who is really down to earth and not really involved in any programs at work yet to be super busy yet.  Most people who are higher ranking than you usually have some pretty standard questions they ask their sailors to get to know them better.  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  Are you from the South (to me since I still seem to talk like a hick)?  Are you working on your degree?

To the last question, I usually catch folks off-guard because I've already completed my bachelor's degree.  Then the conversation goes a different route.  1-  Why aren't you an officer?  2-  Are you working on your Master's?

1.  Well, honestly, I'm not an officer because I had a particularly shitty officer recruiter who covered the entire western side of NC.  He didn't seem to be in need of recruits, so he didn't bother with me because my graduation gpa was 2.968.  It wasn't a 3.0, so it wasn't good enough for him and he acted like even meeting me for 15 minutes was a waste of his time.  There's some other stuff that went down, but lets also add the fact that working as a server at Texas Roadhouse wasn't really covering the bills and I needed a job, uhhh yesterday, so the pressure was on.

2.  No.  When I graduated Teh Mom asked me if I was going to get my Master's.  I looked her straight in the eye and asked her if she was paying for it.  She said, "no."  To which I responded, "Me either."  Well folks, that's not a valid excuse anymore.  I have the GI Bill AND I could use Tuition Assistance ((TA) remember that program that the DoD threatened to cut and every servicemember using TA and all the dependents of the DoD got up in arms about?), the money is there.

But guess what isn't... my motivation.  I have absolutely no motivation to come home every day and do homework.  I enjoy my evenings sitting on FB and reading through Reader Feedly and getting to take Phil out for a walk and having time to do a good workout in the evenings and make dinner and be lazy.  That Chief asked me how long it had been since I graduated from college.  I had to count...  on two hands how long it had been since I graduated college (Dec 2007).

For a long time, I had a valid excuse.  I don't want to do more school work so soon after graduating (pre-Navy).  Once I joined the Navy, I was busy with bootcamp and A school and C school.  Then I went to GTMO and I already had my degree so I didn't care.  Also, the internet was barely real internet.  I wasn't worried about getting a Master's degree.  Then I was in Bahrain, working 12 hour days.  Master's homework + 12 hour days?  Ain't nobody got time for that.  Then I came to S.MD and I just wanted to enjoy being in the US again, not having the stress of 12 hour days, of not being brand new at my job (which is only partically true), and I already had my degree.

Then that Chief looked at me and said, "Every year you don't use TA, you're taking over $4,500 that the Navy is willing to give you, for free, and throwing it away.  It's the dumbest thing ever.  I've been doing random certifications since I realized what I was wasting.  Even if they aren't huge accomplishments.  They are FREE!"

So with less than 2 years left in the Navy (probably), I'm strongly considering starting my Master's.  Not only will this move make me potentially more marketable when I do (probably) get out of the Navy, but then people will stop harassing me about why I'm not working on my education.

My other options for education are to get my Enlisted Air Warfare Specialization (EAWS) pin (which I am supposedly required to get before leaving VX-1) and getting promoted to E-6.

The test to promote to E-6 happens every 6 months, and I am required to take it, so really, the focus there is just studying my pants off to actually do well on the exam and pass...  Since this exam rolls around every 6 months, I try to start studying a few months in advance.  I've already started studying for my September exam since I will be in school in DC for 2 weeks in August (woot!), which will definitely cut into my normal study time.

For my EAWS pin, I'd have to learn about an aircraft (since I'm at a squadron and all) and someone talking to me about aircraft is like me talking to someone who has never heard of WoW about guilds and raids and levels and experience points and character races and talent points and armor scores.  It is overwhelming.  I've yet to actually find someone that is willing to sit down and literally teach me the material.  They want me to read over the provided materials and regurgitate the information back to them.  Sadly, I don't learn well that way, which is really why I have no motivation to complete the program.  At least with the IDW program, there were briefs you could attend and ask questions, even if it was just someone reading a slide, I was hearing the information.  There is no training given on these subjects, so it really starts to feel like a self-taught thing.

I'm definitely not comfortable teaching myself something about which I have absolutely NO knowledge on at all.  Gentle Readers, I didn't even know what FOD was, and FOD walkdown is so important it happens everyday, first thing in the morning.  BTW, FOD stands for Foreign Object Debris.  It's the crap that could potentially get sucked into an aircraft's intake/engine and cause problems to the aircraft or potentially injure personnel.

So yeah, I'm not sure where this motivation is coming from..  but I should probably follow through on this before I lose the momentum....  Anyone know any good (online) graduate schools/programs for me?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fill in the Blanks Friday #44

1.  My favorite color is   all of them... except for pink.  I just don't do pink, but I did order my next 5k run in pink, so I'm trying to expand my horizons.  

2.  My home decor color palette includes   browns, blues, and greens in the living room.  Trees in the dining room, red/black in my bedroom and a brown/cream in the guest room (only because it was a $20 full size comforter and I found some brown paisley print sheets for $20 to go with it).

3.  Other people always tell me I look good in the color   green and yellow (despite my paleness)  

4.  The color I detest is   that baby poop green/olive color.  ICK!  

5.  If you were to look in my closet, most of the colors you'd see would be   blues, reds, blacks, white.

6.  A color that I simply not pull off no matter how hard I try is   this doesn't apply to me because I'm so awesome everything looks good on me.  

7.  The color of my favorite dress is   sea green, but it's not my favorite because of the color..  It's my favorite because it has POCKETS!!!!

I'd call this my retarded smug face...  Photo shot by Teh Sister.
PS.  This hands in pockets photo isn't Navy approved.  tehehe.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Monday, July 8, 2013

4th of July happenings (NOT from a hospital room!)

Lets just do this in photos, shall we?

Filling the pool for the doggies.
Olive decided my cactus was for eating.  But at least she did it pre-vacuuming
It's best to change the vacuum bag frequently with a sheddy dog.  Oops.  At least I cleaned!

Watching fireworks on the 4th
Crab catchin' by Teh Coast Guardian
Sunset over Solomon's Bridge from NAS Patuxent River

I decided to try to tan at the beach.
You don't fully appreciate clouds until you've lived in a place for almost a year without them.

St. Mary's College River Series Concert
Teh Humanitarian waiting on the concert to start with me.
Maggie Moo's ice cream!

Olive, my weekend roach houseguest 

Miley, my other weekend roach houseguest.
Miley is apparently an (inappropriate) boob-girl.  

Only a 4 ft long jelly fish.  There were 5 in the area they were crabbin'.

Teh Korean

Teh Korean and Teh Flying Metal Mouth

Teh Korean and Teh Flying Metal Mouth

Teh Coast Guardian and Teh Humanitarian

And now I give you FIREWORKS!!
(PS.  This was my first and second time seriously shooting fireworks.  They aren't like OMG BEST FIREWORKS EVAAARRR photos, but I'm pretty proud of myself)

Sunset from St. Mary's College

You know the conductor is a badass when he picks up his trumpet instrument and joins in on the song.

These fireworks were shot off while the Chesapeake Orchestra was playing the 1812 Overture... hello awesome.

Did you do anything fun (or not fun) for the 4th?

Sami's Shenanigans