Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's a funny thing. People like having their picture taken, in general. I like it so much that I'll go to great lengths to "poach" a photo. My kids used to be embarrassed by it, but now they are poachers too.

Some great places to poach are vacation spots, graduations, weddings, birthdays, (family holidays, as seen in the photo here with Tynan), tour stops (especially those frequented by Japanese tourists who like to pose in front of stuff for a photo.)

Thanksgiving 2008.
Tynan thinks he's all
alone at the table. I got
into a string of about
5 shots in a row here.

We went to Disneyland in October. What a great place to poach. I'm in the background of probably 50 photos that went home to wherever and are now on social network profiles around the world. The ultimate poach is where you can sneak a goofy face into the image at just the right moment.

The idea is simple really. When you see a person or a group forming up for a photo op, you merely saunter over behind them as though you're looking at the sights from an angle just behind them. Act as though they aren't even there. You are, after all in the usual poach, in public. You'll see the photographer lining up the shot. The psychology here is that you are for all intents and purposes, invisible. The subjects are preening and the photographer is looking to see if everyone is smiling. Make sure you can see the lens from where you stand. Often you'll hear, "Ok, everybody Onnnnneeeee Twoooooo Threeeee SMILE!" That's when you turn quickly toward the lens, make your wildest face ever (maybe even step up to the back row so it's like you're one of the family) and as quickly as you can after the "click" return to sauntering.

Now you will appear in the photo. When they get home and upload the family picture to Facebook, everyone goes, "who's that???"

There's also the direct photopoach. Someone asks you to take a picture of their group. Hold the camera up ... backwards ... and act like you're looking for the viewfinder, then...... "CLICK" you're on their camera, full face. As seen here:

The poach during Dusty's
Birthday party. The group
shot was next. Lou: "OK,
so I just push this button?"

Or, of course a great photopoacher is promoted to black belt if you can pull off the ultimate. A lone camera, left trustingly on the campground table. Pick it up, snap off a few and set it back down as though nothing happened. You'll be congratulated (or chastised) later for your brilliance. Observe:

My Black Belt photo.
Camping at Lake Tahoe,
This camera was left
on the picnic table.

What I don't have an example of just yet, is a picture some stranger took where I'm just there in the background. I haven't even mentioned the kind of poach that is the "forced friend" poach. I'm sure somewhere out there on the net, I appear in one of those images that the Japanese tourist didn't delete. I see a person posing, and run up to their side to pose along with them as though we've been hanging out all day. After the "click" I just walk away as though nothing ever happened. If you're cruising along the internet and you see me in some inexplanable image, dear reader, please shoot me the link. It's the one thing that would move me from Black Belt to "Exalted Master".

There is great fun to be had in the grocery store, and one of these days I'll write up the game my roommates and I invented in Spokane (Whitworth College!) for getting through the long, cold, dull winters...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A small "wrinkle"...

When Tess, the dog, left us this week, she made a small mess of our hearts. We woke up to her absence that morning. We just didn't think she would be in transition between two places.

Tesseract Lightfoot. "Tesseract" from Madeline L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time, and "Lightfoot" from the book Cold Sassy Tree. The Wrinkle is what a Tesseract is, where two pieces of time fold in on each other and at that fold, time travel happens.

That's how it is with dogs, I've decided. They connect us, in a small way, to what's important. Companionship, and relationships, loyalty, all the things that a good dog, in a small way, will provide.

Lightfoot was the young girl in Cold Sassy Tree who, though desired, couldn't be known... The boy, from whose eyes the story was told, fell in love with her and yet she couldn't be his, due to his shyness and the cultural inacceptance of her station compared to his.

Danny Blaise named Tess. We wanted names from books, and these were two faves 12 years ago. I don't think I had any idea that the dog we named after a Tesseract would lay on the shore of Wolf Creek as Melinda ran for help after my accident. My own tesseract of sorts, the wrinkle where two times touched. It was a bit ironic, carrying her up the hill from where she lay unable to move last Friday. I was very out of breath when I got her up the hill, my breath a fog in the cold morning air. She had apparently spent the night there.

So in my way, I paid her back for being near me in my duress. There it was again though. The small thing a dog showed me about what to do when a friend falls. You sit by them and don't say anything. Many people did that for me in the hospital. Now I know what it is to really visit someone. Just be. There.

Love is all about loss. I'll never get used to it. Maybe in some small way, it gets easier as time goes on. I don't know, I'm only 50. Lots of time down the road, you just never know what you might wake up to some day. Which is a good thing, after all. Where would hope be with too much knowledge?