Comedy at On the Rise bakery, 08/29/09

Some quick images from a "Fiestavus Comedy Tour" performance at On the Rise Bakery in Richmond, a fun event to go to on a cool rainy night. Vermont might be a crummy place to make a living, but there's always something going on, a quick glance at the calendar section of the paper will point out something to go to at some local venue: There's another comedy festival coming to Waterbury over Labor Day, for example.

Nathan Hartswick, organizer of the event

Martha Tormey

John Lyons

Tracie Spencer

Camera geekery: Manual focus lens set at f/2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/13 sec (so pardon any motion blur) and ISO 1600 and no flash. Same camera setup as for these images from a Boxcutter Cabaret performance at this venue in 2008.

I downloaded the G'MIC plugin package for Gimp which I used for noise reduction, and I'm quite impressed with this software so far, it does noise reduction and lots more.


The 2009 GMSR approaches

There are some annual signs of autumn's approach in Central Vermont: days start getting shorter, fog in the mornings, touches of color on trees, and preparations for the Green Mountain Stage Race, held over Labor Day weekend, start building up.

It looks like the bad economy hasn't had too much of an impact on preregistration numbers (though attendance is down from it's peak) and it is very positive that the Criterium in downtown Burlington picked up a new race sponsor in the form of local tech company Dealer.com.

I have hundreds of megabytes of images from previous editions of this race and I don't really have much of a digital workflow image system (files just get tossed in folders by date without tags) so it's hard to sort through things and find the better images, but here are a few from the finish at the the top of Appalachian Gap last year.

Women's cycling phenom Evelyn Stevens -- described as "America’s Next Great Female Cyclist" by the Wall Street Journal, raced in the women's beginner category and crushed the field. This year she has been racing with much success at the elite level, it would be great if she returned to the GSMR this year, but this seems pretty unlikely.

KOM leader from the Juniors (I think).

Pro men's road race winner. Teams come and go, and this outfit (kind of a dodgy setup) is no more.

The race leader suffers on the steep grade. It's been a wet cool summer in Vermont, here's hoping that the race weekend will be warm and sunny.

GMSR coverage in the archives.

General "Cycling" coverage.


North Carolina dragonflies

Some images from a very quick trip to Wilmington, North Carolina this past week. These were taken around a murky drainage pond in a subdivision where some condominium units have lost c. 30% of their value in the past two years: a distinctly end of nature, end of the boom (although new houses, surprisingly, keep getting built) environment.

Go Tar Heels: A dragonfly in Carolina blue.

Clouds of various species of dragonflies were buzzing around the holding pond, hunting smaller insects.

I never managed to get a photo of the largest species at the pond, because they never paused to rest like their smaller brethren.

Green on green.

Where these images were taken: Leland, North Carolina. A few years ago this would have been an impenetrable overgrown thicket but now the landscape has been quite dramatically reshaped.


Wilmington sunset, Leland twilight

I'm down south again, it's surprisingly easy to fly from Burlington to Wilmington. Tomorrow I head back to Vermont -- a long, hot, boring drive.

Sunset over the USS North Carolina memorial, from the Wilmington waterfront.

Twilight in Leland, I've been wanting to try and capture this with a camera ever since I first saw the scene almost exactly year ago. Missing from this image are three other fast food joints: Taco Bell (I took this in the parking lot), Bojangles and Hardees. Once this town was a sleeply southern crossroads -- a whole lot of nothing -- but now it is in a very desirable location in the fastest growing county in North Carolina; sprawl and development is everywhere, under the not so benign shadow of the Golden Arches.


Nothing new under the sun, continued

Things seem to go in circles, or to play out like a small scale version of the movie Groundhog Day:

This was one of the first images I took shortly after I moved to Waterbury from Burlington in August 2006. I purchased a new camera as a small reward for myself for coping with the aggravation of moving.

I took this today using a different camera but the location is the same brier patch on an sunny hillside bordering the condo complex. I think I prefer the older image, so much for the DSLR (granted the photo was taken with a very inexpensive telephoto lens with a faux-macro capability).

A couple of other images from today, it was a clear, sunny but surprisingly cool day that whispered of the imminent changing of the seasons -- it actually felt like September:

Honeybee (a very threatened species) on goldenrod.

A monarch: From the way it was sunning itself, I think that it may have emerged from a chrysalis today -- it looked new to the world.


A new beginning

I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could
I surely would -- Paul Simon, El Condor Pasa

July 2009 unemployment figures will be announced tomorrow, there should be another almost 400k jobs gone, 2009 has been a pretty dismal year. Even if mid-2009 is the bottom of the recession, climbing out of this deep hole will be long, slow, halting and painful, as it seems to be commonly accepted, that the current 'Great Recession' is the most severe and significant economic event of the post-war era.

In this environment, which has made it difficult to see the proverbial glass as half (or even one quarter) full, I managed to go out and find a new position. There's a long commute and a probable relocation in my future and a little bit of the down the up escalator effect (grim story about downward mobility here, I shouldn't complain) but there are some very real upsides to the new opportunity. Most of the last twelve months have been very slow for me, professionally, and I need to slough off the torpor and inactivity, stop dwelling on the negative -- though I'm still far from optimistic about the economic future -- and start moving forward again.