Archive for February, 2010

The Cynglish Beat: Reasonable Assumption of Risk

Posted in Cynical Poetry with tags , , , , , on February 26, 2010 by tgmreynolds

Excerpted from upcoming The Cynglish Beat by Tim Reynolds from Cometcatcher Press.

REASONABLE ASSUMPTION of RISK

Woke up,

fell out of bed,

tripped on my shoes

and hit my head.

Now I’m suing negligent NIKE, culpable Sleep Country and

Bob, the guy who installed my bedroom broadloom.

Laughing all the way to the bank and back. Funny as a heart attack.

I got hurt, living my life my way, and someone else deserves to pay.

My cousin, Martha, met a man online at PrisonLove.com.

When he got out,

He broke her heart,

He broke her TV,

And he broke her left arm.

Now Martha is lividly suing her infernal internet service misprovider

and Corrections Canada and her brother…

Because he sent her the URL as a “here’s your next date” joke.

She took it seriously,

but she won’t accept

any responsibility.

Reasonable Assumption of Risk is gone gone gone.

Gone so long it doesn’t seem wrong.

Wrong to freely litigate when you slowly masticate on a broken piece of plate

that you negligently dropped in your salad.

Buy a can of Coke, open it up,

hop on your bike,

bounce it all over ‘til it sprays in your face,

then hit a signpost, take seven stitches

and sue Coca Cola for putting too many bubbles in the can.

Take ownership,

Take a pill,

Take some damned

Responsibility.

~

Ciao for now,

Tim.

Stand-Up Comedy & Life: Theft

Posted in Stand-Up Comedy & Life with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by tgmreynolds

Excerpted from Stand Up & Succeed by Timothy G.M. Reynolds from Cometcatcher Press.

“Don’t entertain with other people’s jokes.”

~Kevin Stobo~

“Thou shalt not steal.”

Tim Reynolds at Comedy Monday Night

Tim Reynolds at Comedy Monday Night

~God, in an email to Moses~

It doesn’t get more basic than that, and nothing I can add will clarify or expand upon it.

See also:

Reputation, Integrity, Honesty, Wrath of God and Chapter # 42 in my mother’s ‘Modern Guide to Parenting’.

Shooting for Success: Reflecting on the Image

Posted in Photography How to... with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by tgmreynolds

I wanted to talk about good light and bad light in terms of sunlight but every time I went to take a midday shot this week the sky was a nice solid blue and I didn’t see the washed out light I wanted to use as a bad example. But I’ll keep trying, and will go through some of my old images to see what I can find.

Lake Oesa Reflection

Lake Oesa, Yoho National Park. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

In the meantime, lets look at reflections. Like all photography, it’s all about the light. Some reflections are perfect mirror reflections and sometimes the details don’t need to be reflected in order for the image to work.

In this first image the reflection in Lake Oesa is simply of darks and lights, leading the eye up to the tree silhouette which leads up to the mountains themselves.

Vancouver Reflection

Vancouver at Night. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

In the next one, of Vancouver from Stanley Park, because of the wind on the surface of the water, the reflection is reduced to streaks of light and colour pointing straight up to the nighttime lights and details of the city.

The next shot is the reflection of Rundle Mountain which I entered in the National Geographic Traveler photo contest and although it didn’t win, they asked if they could use it in their calendar.

Mt. Rundle & Vermilion Lakes

Mt. Rundle & Vermilion Lakes. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

This is a near mirror reflection. so there’s no leading of the eye through the use of the light, but the compositional lines of the snow-covered Mount Rundle certainly leads the eye to the full moon.

MGM Grand Las Vegas Reflection

MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

For a mirror-like reflection, small areas of water are best. This next shot is from the Theme Park at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the pond is much smaller than any of the lakes or the harbour in the other images.

Now, the last shot is one of my all time favourite images because of how the clouds, the light, the shadows and the colours all come together in the reflection and the reality. The only thing I would change is the use of a graduated neutral density filter.

Cokin ND Filter 120

Cokin ND Filter 120

The use of the filter would allow the sky to be a slightly darker, to match the richness of the reflection. If you look at the last three reflections, you’ll notice that the reflection is slightly darker that the source. Water acts as a natural filter for some of the light. If you want a balanced image, the graduated neutral density filter is a great tool.

Herbert Lake Reflection

Herbert Lake, Banff National Park. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

So, whether you’re capturing reflected details, the highlights and shadows or simply the colours and shapes, reflections can be some of your most stunning images. Day or night, urban or rural, keep your eyes open for reflective opportunities.Yes, even in Las Vegas.

And enjoy.

Cheers,

Tim.

NEXT WEEK: Something to do with light and cameras and images I expect. Possibly simplicity. Yes, that sounds good. Simplicity it is.

All images here copyright Tim Reynolds, except filter image, copyright Cokin Inc.

The Cynglish Beat: Subversive Sub-Urbia

Posted in Cynical Poetry with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2010 by tgmreynolds

Excerpted from upcoming The Cynglish Beat by Tim Reynolds from Cometcatcher Press.

SUBVERSIVE SUB-URBIA


Look at it six ways to Sunday

and the final end result is one and the same:

There is nothing avant garde or subversive

in the substantial, subdermal suburbs.

Subversive Sub-Urbia Stroll

Subversive Sub-Urbia Strollby Tim Reynolds

No cultural, political, gastro-intestinal movements

to shake or bake the foundation of the World.

It’s just cats and dogs and yards and fences.

Dandelions and wading pools and carports.

Rebels move out, they don’t move in.

The sub-urban beat is the staccato rhythm of the sprinkler,

The rat-a-tat-tat of the Girl Guide Cookie seller at the door.

The sub-urban spice of life is no more seductively serious

than soy-diluted wasabi on Tuesday sushi night when father works late

or bottled chunky salsa on chips during an evening of tritely trivial pursuits.

Soul-deep discoveries in the sub-urban zone surface in the

blanc mange form

of tax evasion and infidelity.

Not the stuff of life but

instead the stuffing of death.

Death by boredom.

Death by Weedwacker.

Death by leaf-filled gutters,

by scrubbed-clean propane barbeques,

by a finicky garage door opener.

Death by dog parks

and flower beds

and hedge-trimming

and weekends at the lake.

Death by Hanna Montana lunch boxes,

drive-thrus,

family outings to Hooters, group sing-alongs of Puff the Magic Dragon,

raking leaves,

yard sales,

Walmart Superstores.

It’s all Stepford beige.

It’s all criminal boredom.

It’s all so damned bland and yet, it’s perfect…

Perfect for a marijuana grow-op.

~

That’s it, that’s all.

Ciao for now,

Tim.

Stand-Up Comedy & Life: Mistakes

Posted in Stand-Up Comedy & Life with tags , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by tgmreynolds

Excerpted from Stand Up & Succeed by Timothy G.M. Reynolds from Cometcatcher Press.

“If a joke doesn’t work — fix it or dump it.”

~Dan Quinn~

Who Gives A @#$%^?

Tim Reynolds asks: "Who Gives A @#$%^?"

See your mistakes, acknowledge your mistakes & fix your mistakes. Oh, and don’t repeat your mistakes — at least not in the same way.

You have to be able to tell when something’s not working, for whatever reason. Part of it is the need to step back and evaluate the situation with an objective eye, and part of it is the strength to say “This is broken and I either need to get help to fi x it or I need to say ‘enough is enough’ and walk away.” This is ESPECIALLY important in relationships, personal and professional alike.

Know when to throw in the towel and when to just toss it in the wash.

~~~

Shooting For Success: Unique Self-Portraits

Posted in Photography How to... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by tgmreynolds

(All images and words here are Copyright Tim Reynolds.)

While it is possible to take a self-portrait without a tripod, suffice it to say that a tripod of some sort really does make it so much easier. I own about six (yes, I’m a freak), ranging from a 6″-long plastic one that will hold a small camera or video camera and can Velcro to posts and fences, all the way up to a steel Manfroto tripod which allows me to adjust the leg angles independently and reverse the center post so that the camera is under the tripod and closer to small immovable objects (endangered flowers you may not want to pick, or grave markers you can’t pick). The big one also allows me to fend of a black bear when I get too close to the cubs. Please do not stalk wildlife. They get nearly as angry as the Park Wardens.

I also have a heavy-duty Ziploc bag filled 3/4 with sand, for use on less-than-flat surfaces where a tripod just won’t work. And then there’s the monopod — a one-legged version of the tripod which gives you more stability than  hand-held combined with flexibility and speed of motion for events like football games. The monopod also allows you to sit in a seat, place the monopod between your legs and still get the support for the camera without interfering with anyone else’s view of the event.

Ibanez Blues

Front Step Ibanez Blues

Fedora Ibanez Front Step Blues

Fedora Samick Front Step Blues

Banjo Front Step Jam

Banjo Front Step Jam

To start with, I’ll show you three versions of a self-portrait I set up on the front steps of our house. Once I found a setting I liked (timeless leaves and concrete steps) and the lighting was just how I wanted it,  I brought out all of the props I was considering, including the instruments and the hats.

My camera happens to allow me to set the timer for it to take a picture at an interval so I could simply pose, count to ten, lift my head, change my hat, whatever it might be, and then hold for the next shot. These three images are the three best for the props I selected. The joy of digital photography is that you can shoot and shoot and shoot and then simply delete the crappy shots and reuse that memory for more shots. You also get immediate results so you can get much more done alone than you could with film.

I’m not a big fan of the stupid hold-the-camera-up-above-my-head-and-smile Facebook self-portraits, though I have taken one or two to make fun of the Facebook shots we see and hate.

For me, a self-portrait should show me doing something I enjoy. A self-action-portrait is one of the most difficult to do, but a self-timer or a cable release makes it all possible. Here are some of my favourites from over the years. For some of these I had to set a ten-second timer and then run like hell to get there in time.

Kodachrome State Park, Utah

Kodachrome State Park, Utah

The one in Kodachrome State Park was the toughest, although the distance isn’t nearly as great as it looks because I used a 20mm lens to capture all of the rock. I’m the little red speck on the left side of the base of the rock. It’s not just a photo of me, it shows the scale of this very cool natural oddity.

Now some of you make say “Hey, this jackass likes to take a lot of pictures of himself”, and they’d be right. I was a bachelor for 42 years and did almost all of my travelling alone. I’d get somewhere cool, see a great shot and take it. The big difference is that I’m not happy just handing the camera to some other tourist and asking them to take it, because they usually suck at photography so it’s all head and no setting or vice versa.

At Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

At Moraine Lake, Banff National Park

I don’t just want a picture, a record, I want a GOOD picture. One I can look at over and over and say “That was a cool day” or even sell it. The one of me in the red jacket at Moraine Lake is one I’ve sold for advertising. It’s also one of my all-time photos I’ve ever taken of anyone or anywhere. I had to ride my bike in a winding mountain road 11km to catch the lake when it was frozen, but not yet covered in snow. I’ve never been in great shape so I worked hard for that shot.

Good Night, Sun

Bidding the Sun Farewell

As for the other shots,

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

two of them show me travelling in Utah and the fourth shows me on stage.

At The Laugh Shop

Tim Reynolds at The Laugh Shop, Calgary.

Believe it or not, the stage shot is a self-portrait. I set the timer for a thirty-second interval and then I want up on stage to do my set, hoping that the camera would capture something I could use.  This is the least reliable method because it’s a candid self-portrait because you can’t be sure exactly when the shot will be taken so you might just get crap.

So, don’t be afraid to take your own picture but please, stop holding the damned camera over your head and snapping your forehead. Get a tripod or a sandbag and have some fun with it. Hell, even a t-shirt bunched up on a stone wall out in the Scottish highlands is better than the Facebook shot.

That’s it, that’s all.

Ciao for now,

Tim.

NEXT WEEK: Good light bad light.

How to Freak Out a Street-Corner Crack Dealer in Toronto

Posted in (Almost) Totally Useless How-to Guide with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2010 by tgmreynolds

CAUTION: CONTAINS EXTREMELY FOUL LANGUAGE. DO NOT READ ON IF THE WORST OF THE WORST OFFENDS YOU.

Sometimes a day doesn’t go as planned and sometimes it goes 98% down the path you’d charted but then veers a little at the end. It was on one of those days that I discovered something unexpected about crack dealers.

First off, let’s start out with my equipment list:

  1. jeans
  2. dark hooded sweatshirt
  3. hiking boots or runners
  4. well-loved baseball cap (no dumb-ass, rapper-dork stupid metallic stickers or tags!)
  5. McDonald’s drink, with straw. Coke is best. You’ll need the caffeine shortly.
  6. a vocabulary of really good curse words (George’s Carlin’s 7 will do just fine)
  7. a slightly worn book bag/back pack hiding your valuables, including expensive camera and tripod and wallet

I was back home in Toronto (from Lake Louise in the Rockies) visiting family and decided that I needed to get and do some touristy things I hadn’t done in a decade or two and now had to do because I had my camera and wanted to snap the requisite pics. Days like this are always best shared so I called up Diane, a friend from Lake Louise who now happened to work in Toronto the Royal York Hotel.

We headed off on our mostly-on-foot adventure, starting from downtown and working our way to the CN Tower for starters. Up the tower, walk around, down the tower and off to the foot of Yonge Street to catch the ferry over to Centre Island.

We wandered the island, catching a walking tour of the residents of the artistic community which remains as hold-outs on the island in Toronto’s harbour in Lake Ontario. A very cool place a hop-skip-ferry-ride from Canada’s largest city.

On Toronto's Centre Isand with Wijfam Diane Wong

On Toronto's Centre Island with Wijfam Diane Wong

It was a very cool day. We covered lots of territory, saw the usual and the unusual and by the time our day was done we had wandered unmeasured miles and ended up at McDonald’s just before midnight near what was then Ryerson Polytechnic Institute, but is now Ryerson University. Diane lived a few blocks east of the school in a not-so-nice neighbourhood. When I offered to walk her home before hopping on the subway and heading back north to Mom’s place where I was staying, Diane jumped at the chance.

I hadn’t lived in Toronto since 1979 and had in fact been living in towns of less than 5,000  for a dozen years when I did this gentlemanly thing of walking Diane home. We got about two blocks before the streets got a bit darker, being away from the brightly lit strip of Yonge Street (the longest street in the world!). Another couple blocks later and we reached Diane’s rooming house where no guests were allowed after ten and there was security at the door behind what looked like bulletproof glass. Niiiiice place.

The denizens of the street had been watching us as we strolled there, some of them on our side of the street but the scariest owning corners on the other side. I may not have lived in the urban sprawl for years, but I grew up in The Big Smoke and knew when it was time for the wolves to feed on the skinny white kid who’d wandered off the beaten path. It was now that time. While I was with Diane they just watched, some openly and some surreptitiously, not wanting to give away their interest in the prey as it wandered through the killing fields of the Gerard-Parliament area.

My hackles were up, my need to flee was strong strong strong. Diane left me in the vestibule of her building with a hug and thank you for a fun day and she retired to the safety of the secure building. Me, I turned to face the denizen’s of the night, but not before morphing into a creature of the night.

The baseball hat went on a skewed angle, the hoodie came up and over the top. The glasses went into my hoody pouch and the McDonald’s drink went into the garbage. The straw, I kept. You’ll see why in a moment.

The person who entered the building was a dorky, nervous-walking accountant-looking white guy with a pretty Asian girl beside him. The freak who left the building a couple minutes later was hunched over, clutching a bag of some sort, with hat pulled down and to the side, hood pulled up over, and squinting angrily at the world (because he’d taken off his glasses!). I also suddenly developed a mean limp and a full-body twitch. Dr. Jeckyl had become Mr. Hyde.

As I walked down the sidewalk I stumbled (intentionally) every few yards and moved in short angry steps, while chewing frantically (nervously!) on the straw and cursing and barking up a blue streak. Yes, I said barking. And instead of cowering from the predators, I challenged them, staring back hard and sharp while muttering to myself: “Fucking guy! Fucking assholes! Bark bark bark! They’re all fucking assholes. C*nts! Bastards. Fuckers! Fucking kill her! Fucking kill them all! Cocksuckers! Bark bark! C*nts! Fuckers! Fuck! Fuck! Fuckers! Shit Fuck Bastards!”

Yes, I developed a sudden case of Tourette Syndrome, and I kept it up for the whole way back to Yonge Street — a five minute gauntlet of fear, trying not to piss myself (though that would have helped the fear factor I was emanating.

So what happened? Well, the dealers and the whores and the other predators MOVED BACK and looked away. They kept watch of me out of the corner of their eye, but not because they were wondering when they could take me down, but rather now because they were wondering when I was going to snap and come after them. You see, the one thing crack dealers are afraid of is people high on their own product. They know damned well a crack addict is unpredicatable and armed and without fear.

In order to get out of there alive, I didn’t become the toughest guy on the street, I became the scariest little motherfucker they’d seen all night. I was an unknown elemental stalking their streets. A high, crazed, schizophrenic psycho who had nothing they needed and who might just leave them alone if they stay the fuck out of his way.

I don’t recommend testing this technique out. It only works if you’re a solo act, and some crack dealers I’ve seen would just as soon shoot the psycho down and strip him of his shoes rather than be terrified. And if there had been more than a low-level dealer, a whore and an underling on any of the three corners of concern that night, they might very well have puffed out their chests and tried to earn street cred by calling my bluff. It’s a good thing I can run faster scared than they can mad, but it’s a better thing that I didn’t have to try.

And, so, that’s How to Freak Out a Street-Corner Crack Dealer on the Mean Streets of Toronto.

That’s it, that’s all. Play safe, avoid bad neighbourhoods, and don’t be afraid to use George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can’t Say On Network Television if it means the difference between life and death.

Ciao for now.

Tim.

NEXT WEEK: I have no idea. I’ll have to consult the survey to see which story was voted up next. Maybe How not to drown while impressing girls with an underwater locked chains escape at a school pool party. Best attempted by non-swimmers, just for the added risk factor.