Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Magnificent Balloon

The Magnificent Balloon by hbmike2000
The Magnificent Balloon, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

So, my Steam Ship crashed and burst into flames ruining my perfectly good dinner of Beans and Weiners. Luckily I had this Magnificent Victorian balloon (oddly enough, shaped like Mickey Mouse) to escape in. Just wish I had grabbed my Beans and Weiners before hand. Why are you snickering? Stop it. Anyway, the smoke is filling the blue sky and it's getting hard to breath. I hope the wind picks up and blows me away from all this. In the meantime, anyone have a ciggy?

View on black or I'll crash my balloon into your house

Our Daily Challenge: Blue

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Engine

The Engine by hbmike2000
The Engine, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

What adventure could begin without an engine? The Commandant found this old steam engine at the back of the ancient flying machine. Unfortunatly, he saw a spider next to it and ran off. Luckily his engineer is aboard. He'll send her down to fix the machine ... and of course kill the spider. Ick.

View on black or get blasted with steam!

Our Daily Challenge: No Really ... You Shouldn't Have ... But I'm Glad You Did. :)


This is one of the Six Vinylmation Characters in the Steam Park Limited Edition Set. Yes I'm 5. Yes, I love it. :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

I Have Santa's Head

I Have Santa's Head by hbmike2000
I Have Santa's Head, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

Stop Already. Santa is magical. I didn't kill him, I just took his head. Don't worry, it will go back on. Trust me. Anyway, I'm pretty sure this does NOT help me get off the naughty list this year so if you all buy me presents I will put his head back on him and he can go on his merry way to delivering YOUR gifts.

I suggest you stop staring and get busy shopping, there's only TWO days left till Christmas.

View on Black but make it snappy! You have my gifts to get still.

Our Daily Challenge: Steal Santa's Head. Huh? Thats not the challenge? The challenge was "Busy"? Well, I'm too busy to change it now so it will have to stay.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be Honest, You Know It's Really A Sippy Cup

For years, Pirates had a horrible time waking up after a long night of pilfering. They would fill up their mugs with coffee and rum (well, mostly rum) and spill it all over the poop deck before they could even get a drop down their gullets. (I may be 45 but I still snicker at "poop deck"). Unable to drink coffee, they were tired and useless. One day, a captain by the name of Kangaroo came up with a brillaint idea. Snatching his young sons sippy cup, he filled it with coffee and gave it to his Fifth mate. (He accidentally killed his first through fourth mate the night before). The Fifth mate looking down at the sippy cup cried "Aye, I'm not drinking from no dang childs sippy cup!", so the captain killed him. As the fifth mate fell to the ground with sippy cup in hand, not one drop of coffee spilt. He renamed it "traveller mug" and passed them around the next morning. Not one Pirate would drink from it, calling it a sippy cup. The captain killed them all!

And this is why we have traveller mugs today and no pirates.

View on Black or I will send Captain Kangaroo to your house

Our Daily Topic: Transportation

Little Green Men Part 5: They Have Bad Gas

Finding the The Little Green Man hanging from my Peach Tree, I assumed he was dead. Turns out, thats just how they sleep cause their ship is cramped for space. I asked him what he was gonna do next and he pointed to the sky and said, E.T. go home. (Please don't sue me Spielberg). I drove him back to his space craft and he stood there, staring up at it. I asked what was wrong. He looked down, kicked a rock and told me they couldn't leave. When I asked why, he told me they had bad gas and crashed here. No problem, I told him, I could fix this easy. So I sent him to his ship, fixed the problem, banged on the side and told them they were ready for lift off.

As I look up into the sky and watch there Rocket just float there in space, drifting, I realize that maybe drilling holes in there ship for ventilation wasn't the best of ideas.

View on black or I will send you to space in a well ventilated rocket

Our Daily Challenge: Transportation

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Close Encounters Of The Whatever Kind

Little Green Men Part 1:  Encounters Of The First KindLittle Green Men Part 2:  They Came In PeaceLittle Green Men Part 3:  The Truth Is Out ThereLittle Green Men Part 4:  It Will Leave You Hanging

Little Green Men Part 4: It Will Leave You Hanging

Waking up with the worlds worst hangover, the Little Green Man woke up, belched, smelled his arm pit and put on the same clothes he had on the night before. Feeling shamed for finding out what mass producing yourself cheaply and selling yourself all over the world did NOT mean taking over the world, the Little Green Man walked over to the door, pulled a thread out of my carpet and left with his head hung low. I found him two hours later hanging from a Peach tree. I checked for a pulse and found none. I decided to leave him there to scare away the birds who keep eating my peaches before I could pick them. As I turned to leave, I swear I saw one of his three eyes blink.

View on black or I'll send the birds over to eat your peaches.

Our Daily Challenge: Rope

Little Green Men Part 3: The Truth Is Out There

I know the Little Green Man said they came in peace but I was still not convinced. Something in his center eye was shifty. Partying all night long, I kept giving him Duff beer. As soon as he was finished with one, I made sure he had another. I figured getting him drunk, I would at last find out for sure what his plans were. Smashed and looking more like a Weeble Wobble in an earthquake, I asked him what his plans were. With all three eyes looking in different directions and barely able to stand, he told me the truth. They planned on mass producing themselves cheaply and were going to sell themselves all over the world at high prices. I stared at him blankly for a minute confused and finally said to him, "soooooo, are you taking over the world or are you just hookers"? He stared up, each eye blinking seperatly and said, "oh @#$%", threw up on my floor and face planted, passed out. All I could think of was, when did he eat oatmeal and man, that was gonna leave a stain on the tile.

View on black or you can clean up the mess

Our Daily Challenge: Stain

Little Green Men Part 2: They Came In Peace

After picking up the alien hithhiking on the side of the road, we drove back to my place and I asked him what he wanted from us. He told me they came in peace and were just looking for a new Vacation Home. I looked at him with an untrusting eye and he said Really, we come in Peace, let's shake on it. So he raised his tiny little arm towards me and we shook on it. Then he raised all three eyes upto me and said, "Lets Party Dude!" Who am I to deny a Little Green Man, so we did.

View on black. Nothing bad will happen if you don't. Really. Let's shake on it.

Our Daily Challenge: Arms

Little Green Men Part 1: Encounters Of The First Kind

Driving along in my automobile, I glanced at my side mirror. My jaw dropped as I saw this Little Green Man hitchhiking on the side of the road. I pulled over and asked him where he was going and he said, "Take me to your leader". I told him he was in luck, that I WAS my leader. (He really wasn't specific and technically I AM my own leader). He hopped in and we drove back to my place.

View on black. This is an alien invasion after all.

Our Daily Challenge: Through The Looking Glass

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Defining Defects

Defining Defects by hbmike2000
Defining Defects, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

It may be ugly to some but it is cool to me. Every spot and scratch tells a story like the time I sternly yelled at it for blinding me with the reflection of the sun as I was parking or when I refused to clean it for a year because I saw it decided to be a home for a spider. Most of the paint has come off and it lost that vibrant red luster it once had but it has a new beauty to it that can't be denied.

View on Black you old fart!

Our Daily Challenge: Hollow

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Um, Surprise!

Um, Surprise! by hbmike2000
Um, Surprise!, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

Um, Surprise!

We plan and plot for hours or even days to find that perfect gift to surprise our loved ones at Christmas. What to get, how to get it and where to hide it for the big surprise come the morning of December 25th. We finally come up with a perfect plan for the perfect surprise when what to our wondering eye should appear, SURPISE!, just not quite the way we planned it.

It was a warm winter morning in December when a brilliant idea came to me. Having just moved in together, our furnishings were bare. I called up a friend and told him what I had planned for a Christmas gift for my happy little family and asked for his help. Thinking it would be a wonderful surprise, he was more than happy to oblige. He drove over to my place to pick me up in his Jeep Wrangler and we headed off to the store.

On the way, we debated whether or not everything would fit in his Jeep. Suggesting we could make two trips if it didn't, we continued, content there would be no problems.

At the store, we headed off to the electronics section and there they were, displayed proudly, hundreds of screen all glowing with the same images. With each glorious display I visited, the T.V.'s got bigger and grandeur and my friend got more nervous about it fitting into his Jeep. I assured him it would fit and continued on. My eyes fell upon the last display, a massive 36" Sony Trinitron with surround sound, a DVD player and a DirecTV box. My eyes glazed over, this was the 90's, it was go big or go home. A salesman approached me as I wiped the drool from the side of my mouth and my friend leaned in to me from behind and whispered that I should try and see if they would lower the price if I purchased everything.

The salesman started in on his speech and I quickly cut him off with the wave of my hand, "I'll take it all!" I exclaimed as my friend groaned behind me. The salesman, afraid I may change my mind, frantically wrote up the ticket and had me in front of a register to pay within 30 seconds. He informed us where we could pick up the purchase and gave us the pick up ticket.

In the parking lot on the way to his Jeep, we debated again whether everything would fit. We both agreed it was going to take two trips and drove the Jeep over to the pick-up area. As we got out of the Jeep, a store employee came out with two massive carts, one had a huge box that must have been close to five feet wide, and asked if they were for us. No, I say to him, we got the 36" T.V. Laughing, he tells us that's what is in the huge box. My friend and I look at each other and I know exactly what he is thinking, it's not going to fit, period.

"It'll fit" I say determined. I give him the 'what if we' speech and he grudgingly agrees it might work. Off come the doors, the roof, the gas can, the spare tire and yes, the back seat. The salesman, no longer laughing with us but at us, knows exactly what I'm going to ask next and nicely suggest we put what turns out to be, most of my friends Jeep right inside the door of the pick-up area and he will watch it for us. We manage to fit the T.V. into the Jeep but nothing else. We head off to his place to hide the T.V. in his garage until Christmas Eve. Three trips later and the day exhausted, everything is in his garage and his Jeep is reassembled.
Cleaner I might add.

The gifts all wrapped and hidden safely, Christmas Eve finally arrives. My friend and his other half come over and we have a wonderful dinner. Afterwards, as per plan, I state we need more beer and ask my friend to come with me to the store. I use the excuse to borrow the Chevy Blazer because I'm out of gas. Off to his house we sped.

With the two of us straining to pick up the huge T.V. we fit it into the Blazer with a ¼ of an inch to spare on either side, being mindful not to rip the wrapping paper. Everything else sits on my no longer smiling friend in the passenger seat.

Back at my place, I enter the front door and grab the cats. With everything we are bringing in, the front door is going to be left open so I lock the cats in the bedroom. They hate it. We head out the door to start bringing in the gifts and I can hear someone yelling after me, "where is the beer?" I yell back," there is plenty at the back of the fridge, look behind the vegetables!" Thirty minutes later, everything is in and you can no longer see the Christmas tree behind all the massive boxes all wrapped pretty. I could see the wonder in the eyes I love and I think to myself, this was a lot of work but tomorrow morning, the look of surprise on that cute little face will be worth it.

Everyone settles down, and I head down the hallway to let the cats out. I get the bedroom door open just a crack when the door is flung from my hands as two furry blurs go tearing past me, pieces of carpet flying up behind them. I tear off down the hall after the terrible two, knowing whatever they are going to do, will not be good. Just inches behind them, we fly out to the living room passed the startled guests, they leap over the coffee table and head straight for the massive boxes all wrapped pretty. Stuck on the wrong side of the coffee table that I can't leap over, all I could do was watch in horror as both cats in unison reached up to the biggest massive box all wrapped pretty and with one swipe, rip the wrapping paper. That's all they did, one swipe and there the massive box all wrapped pretty stood with a big gash in the paper, framing the word Sony, practically blinking like a neon sign from Vegas.

A quiet hush fell across the room. I stood there, horrified that all my work for the big Christmas surprise just got flushed down the toilet. I threw out my arms as if revealing the word in Wheel of Fortune and in my best Vanna White impersonation, said to the still stunned crowd, "Um, surprise".

View on Black or I will "surprise" you

Our Daily Challenge: Silver and Gold

The Wild Reindeer Of Sunny California (A Christmas Story)

The Wild Reindeer Of Sunny California

In the middle of the cotton and polyester blend field of snow stood the majestic wild reindeer of sunny California, unmoving, its fur thick and black as night, its eyes unblinking. I slowly crept up to the beast striving not to startle it. I reached out softly and stroked its back gently as I whispered into its ear. It seemed to calm it for it sat down, momentarily relaxing. It reached up with its hind leg and vigorously scratched its ear, ridding it of whatever unwanted thing or creature was in there. The little gold bells on its grandiose antlers jingled as it scratched, distracting the wild reindeer momentarily. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Its eyes wide, it searched the horizon for the mysterious sound. In the distance, on the edge of the field near the square caves of white, it spotted another of its kind lying down, facing it with a pursuant look. It stared back.

It was strange seeing another of its kind, being as rare as they are, but against all odds there it was across the field at the edge of the world. It glanced away from the new arrival to scout other areas for just a moment. Seeing nothing else, it turned back, the new arrival seemed minutely closer. It cocked its head slightly to the left wondering was it really closer, when the mysterious jingling came back. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Madly, it looked around for the source of the sound. Not able to locate the sound he turned back to the new arrival. It was closer, almost half the distance it was before. It was still lying down, facing it, its eyes staring unwaveringly.

Its eyes glared at the new arrival as it dropped its own body down to the ground in quick motion. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Frantically, its head swinging in all directions, the sound getting louder and stronger, it searched to no avail for that horrible sound. It turned its attention back to the new arrival, it was gone. With a quick jerk to the left it saw nothing. Jingle Jingle Jingle. A quick jerk to the right, it was too late, all he could see was black fur flying at his face at supersonic speed.

The new arrival attacked from the right, flying through the air like a bad walnut chucked out of a hole in a tree by a really mad squirrel. It could feel the front legs of its attacker wrap around the back of its head, teeth bared, biting into its antlers. Jingle Jingle Jingle. The sound drove the wild reindeer insane, he fought back. Bringing its hind legs in and under the new arrival, it pushed with all its might and flung the brute over its head and onto its back. Jingle Jingle Jingle. Its mind foaming from the horrible sound, it leapt and attacked back. A swipe with its hoof connected directly to its attackers antlers. Jingle Jingle Jingle. The wild reindeer's ears pricked up, the sound, the maddening sound, it was the new arrivals antlers. With a new ferocity it attacked, with its site on stopping the horrible sound.

Arms entangled, legs flaying, bodies rolling as one, they fought, each going for the majestic antlers of the others. They rolled and fought across the great field, crashing and bumping. Jingle Jingle Jingle. I dove out of the way, escaping being crushed, or worse yet, scratched. They crashed into the square caves of white so strong it created a great avalanche. Little bits of antlers flew from the big ball of fur rolling across the field. Jingle jingle jingle. I could not believe my eyes. I stared in wonder, watching in awe as these great and rare creatures…

Suddenly and unexpectedly, I was dragged out of my hypnotic state as I watched the majestic creatures do battle. The earth shook and the heavens above opened up as a big booming voice emanated,

"Oh good gawd, take those damn antlers off the cats before they kill themselves!"

View on Black or I'll put Antlers on you too!

Our Daily Challenge: Red White and Blue

It's Alive! ... but it ain't a worm

With the rain, everything is wet around here. So with camera in hand, I ventured outside to find some unsuspecting snail or worm in a puddle. I found a cool worm and took a bunch of shots. Yes, I know thats not a worm. I ran back in, went to the computer and started processing my shot of the worm. I know, it's not a photo of a worm you are looking at, hang onto your horses there. I got the photo processed just right, logged onto Flickr, selected the shot of the worm and went to hit upload. Thank you for pointing out thats not a worm again, I know. Anyway, something was wrong with the photo, so I went back and looked at it again but closer. Stupid thing wasn't worm. It was some long skinny plant twig or leaf or something. So I went outside stepped on the fake worm and found this ugly sucker to shoot.

View on Black or I'll step on you

Our Daily Challenge: It's Alive

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Child's View

A Child's View by hbmike2000
A Child's View, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

Little Marvin and his (drunk) Goat decided to go on a hike through the hills. Little Marvin brought his frisbee (yes, I know it's a boomerang but he don't) to play some catch. Little Marvin threw his frisbee (again, I know it's not a frisbee) into the air and it soared high and wide before circling back. Little Marvin was glad his Frisbee (Get over it) came back because his (Drunk) Goat just sat there and went poop.

View on black or I'll send the (Drunk) goat to YOUR house

Our Daily Challenge: A (warped) Child's View


It's CHRISTMAS! by hbmike2000
It's CHRISTMAS!, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

When I was a child, every Christmas morning my two younger sisters and I would wake up in the middle of the night. It was the same every year. I would wake up and tip toe to the door to peek out, then make a quick u-turn in to my sisters' room. They would be awake already, both sitting on one or the others bed, giggling quietly to themselves. I would speed across the room and leap onto the bed bouncing them both to the ground. We would sit there quietly laughing, asking each for the millionth time, "Do you think they're up yet?" Eventually our minds would wonder to what lay down the hall and to the left, under the huge Christmas tree that we knew was lit so Santa could find it easily. It was now 2:00am

As we softly guessed about the great gifts Santa might have brought, my middle sister's eyes would grow wide, not with wonder, but with the realization she was about to be sick. She'd jump off the bed, one hand holding her nightgown above her knees so she could run and the other hand slapped tightly across her mouth, she'd fly off to the bathroom with her robe flapping in the wind behind her. My youngest sister and I, abandoned on the bed, would look at each other first in shock, then in realization. IT'S CHRISTMAS! It was now 2:30am

Our parents, having gone through this ritual for years, dragged themselves out of bed at hearing the commotion. Mom went to the bathroom to calm my middle sister down and Dad went to the bedroom where my other sister and I were dancing on the bed caroling, IT'S CHRISTMAS! They'd calm the three of us down and tuck us back in to bed with promises that Christmas would soon be here. It was now 3:00 am.

It wasn't long before I was back up and around the corner to my sisters' room again where we quietly giggled and asked each other, "Do you think they're up yet?" for the billionth time. Our parents hearing the commotion and looking more like zombies then elves would drag themselves out of bed, come in to the room and announce that yes, Santa had been here. We would run out and sit in our perspective spots by the tree and its mounds of gifts while mom and dad would find spots in the back to sit and watch. It was now 4:00am.

With the gift giving done and a good breakfast ate, the three of us would sit in the middle of the carnage we created and start a day long play fest while Mom laid on the couch snoring and Dad slept on the recliner with his head tilted back and a little stream of drool sneaking out of the corner of his mouth. It was 6:00am.

For a long time, I had forgotten about those wonderful if not weird Christmas mornings until one year I was reminded of them in a not so subtle way.

It was Christmas Eve and we were tired from visiting all the relatives from both sides of the family all day. We arrived home weary and ready for bed. I turned on the lights to the tree so Santa could find it easily in the dark, then headed for bed.

I was awakened by the sound of rustling coming from the living room, a quiet, hushed rustling but enough to wake me. I began to toss and turn. A muffled sound escaped the pillow next to me, "what's the matter?" I reply with my suspicions that the cats are playing among the gifts under the tree. I'm told not to worry about it and go back to sleep. It's now 2:00 am.

I'm again awakened a short time later by a hacking sound. I roll out of bed and grab my robe. The pillow next to me mumbles again, "What's wrong now?" I reply with my suspicions of a cat having a hairball under the tree. I stumble into the living room and find the hacking cat. I calm him down and drag him and his brother to the foot of the bed and lay them down. It's now 2:30am.

A half hour later, I feel the cats restless at the end of the bed. I hear them jump down to the floor, knowing there headed back out to the tree. Tiny rustling keeps me up, I toss and turn. It's now 3:00am.

Finally, without warning, all sounds cease. I relax and begin the search for the slumber I long for.


We both fly out of the bed holding are chest as the extremely loud train sound came crashing in from the living room. Somehow, the cats found the tiny little "on" button to the train that encircled the tree. I threw down the covers I dragged with me when I jumped up in my terror, put on my robe, and exclaimed, "Get up, It's Christmas gawd dammit!" It's now 4:00 am.

We dragged ourselves out to the living room looking more like zombies than elves and found the cats sitting in front of the tree watching the train go around in circles.

We opened our presents and the cats played in the carnage of wrapping paper and empty boxes while we ate our breakfast of frozen waffles. As I sat myself down in the armchair I heard a muffled sound come from the couch, "I'm beat" followed soon by the sound rolling thunder. It was the last thing I heard as I felt my lids become heavy and shut. It was 6:00am.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Ancient Temple In The Middle Of A Rainforest

So I had to do a photo walk shot. Fine. I went to the local rainforest, hiked for days, got lost, found this temple, took a shot of it, got stepped on by some kid with Mickey Ears on his head, bought an ice cream cone, dropped my ice cream cone, said some bad words, got glared at by Mickey Ears's Mom, hiked out, went home, loaded picture, now your reading it.

View on Black or I'll send some Pirana after you

Our Daily Challenge: A Photo Walk Shot

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Typical Photo Walk Day

A Typical Photo Walk Day by hbmike2000
A Typical Photo Walk Day, a photo by hbmike2000 on Flickr.

November 23. A Wendseday

12:45am (technically it's thursday morning at this point) Get off work
1:15am Get home, go to bed

November 24. A Thursday

5:30am Wake up after four hours asleep.
5:31am Cry
6:00am Leave to Mother -in-Laws house
6:05am Spouse asks if I want to stop somewhere on way to take photos. I grunt, coffee.
6:15am Stop for coffee
6:40am Spouse asks again if I want to stop to take photos. I grunt, more coffee
6:45am Stop for more coffee
7:00am I hear Photos? from beside me. My spouse hears Coffee? from me
7:15am Stop for coffee yet again.
7:16am While in the parking lot of Star Bucks, spouse asks if I want to stop to take photos. I get of car, take two steps, take a photo of this sign in a pond, get back in car, say done, burn tongue on hot coffee.
8:30am Arrive at destination. Mother-in-Law (who knows I have had no sleeps) asks if I want to go to spare room to nap. I grunt.
8:40am Get up to go pee
8:50am Get up to go pee
9:00am Get up to go pee
9:15am Get up to go pee
9:30am Get up
9:30am to 5 pm have a great time, a great meal and lots of coffee.
8:00pm Arrive home, go to bed
8:05pm Can't sleep
11:00pm I think I fell asleep

November 25 A Friday

2:00am Wake up after 3 hours of sleep to go to work
2:01am Cry

View on black or I'll smack you with the sign

Our Daily Topic: A Photo Walk Shot