Friday, October 31, 2008

IT'S A THRILLER!

These are our decorations for tonight. I'll post the night-time version tomorrow. Have a safe and fun Halloween.






Thursday, October 30, 2008

CUT ME DOC, I WANNA RUN

OK, I stole that title from one of Scott Tinley's columns, but it applies to me.

I went to see the orthopedic surgeon today. Once he explained my MRI (see a previous post) they are actually easy to read. Apparently, along with my torn ACL, I have a torn meniscus and that's what's been causing me problems.

So next Wednesday I'm off to Kona Community Hospital for arthoscopic knee surgery. Supposedly because the doc isn't repairing the meniscus but removing it, recovery will be much quicker. A day on crutches (compared to six months the last time when I had the meniscus repaired) 10 days out of the water and 3 weeks no running. Not sure about biking yet.

And that actually works out kinda nice. I'll have approximately a month off to recover from the past year since I really haven't taken any training time off since I started a year ago, then I can start up my new season with a clean knee (no cartilage floating around) and fresh arms and legs.

Now if it only turns out that way.

The doc will only be removing damaged cartilage and WILL NOT be repairing my ACL (seems they have a new procedure for that and he's not up to speed on it.) He said that since I've managed this long with no ACL that I probably don't need to fix it now. He said to just wait and see how my knee is after this.

I could get them both fixed — the cartilage and the ACL — at once if I wanted to wait and have another doc do it, but he said with the cartilage moving around it could cause damage that they wouldn't be able to fix. So I'm satisfied with that — for now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

First off, I skipped the Peaman. I tried running last night and my knee hurt pretty bad so I figured I wouldn't chance it yet. There is a Team Mango next Sunday — One year ago it was the first triathlon I ever did, so hopefully my knee will be well enough to celebrate my first anniversary of tri-ing.
....................
The other day Rebecca and I were coming home from the store when an Ambulance came up behind us, siren blaring. Rebecca was looking around and wondering why I was pulling over. Just as the ambulance came up behind us, Rebecca turned around and spotted it. (remember, Rebecca is deaf). As the ambulance passed, Rebecca said that she didn't like the sound they make.

I asked her if she could hear it and she said "no, I can feel it." Then she said she didn't know what an ambulance sounds like. So I tried my best to describe sound to someone who doesn't hear sound. She seemed satisfied with my description, but it made me start thinking about what things are like for someone who is deaf.

So Rebecca and I decided to write on her blog what it is like for her as a deaf person. If you are interested, you can go to her blog and read it here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

MRI FRIDAY



I finally got the MRI on my knee Friday. I've never had an MRI before. I didn't realize what a long process it is. It took 45 minutes of not being able to move, not even wiggle a toe, while lying in a long, noisy, tight machine (a claustrophobic's nightmare). Fortunately, I went in feet first and not head first.

I was allowed to wiggle my toes or scratch my nose for a few seconds every four to six minutes, in between image sessions.

When someone tells me not to move I always come down with an instant case of ADD and can't stop moving. The same when they told me if my nose itched I'd have to wait until that session of images was finished before I could scratch. My nose was the furthest thing from my mind until they said that, then all I could think about was how much my nose itched.

It wasn't all bad, however. There was no pain involved and I got to listen to jazz over the headphones they let me wear because the machine is so noisy. I nearly fell asleep once or twice.

So I got my images and have ann appointment with the orthopedic surgeon late next week to see what he thinks should be done. In the mean time, there's a Peaman race tomorrow (Sunday) that I'm going to try and do. I ran nearly two and a half miles on the tready the other day with not too much pain in my knee. So I'm going to attempt the Peaman (a one-third mile swim and two mile run). I may push Rebecca in her wheelchair on the run just to have something to hang on to, but we'll see.

These images are part of my MRI although I can't make heads or tails out of them.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A MUSICAL INTERLUDE


For my beautiful wife, Karen, who felt like doing cartwheels in the middle of the store the other day but didn't have the nerve and who comes home from work nearly everyday with a new bruise. I love you!
Bruises - Chairlift

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING



In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. — Psalm 5:3


What a great morning this morning. I was at Masters 101 when the sun broke over Hualalai volcano. Not very much vog today so the sun was bright and warm. After Masters 101 I was out on the bike on Queen K and the mountains looked awesome. Hualalai, Mauna Kea, the Kohala mountains and even Maui were visible. It was great and such a change from the usual voggy days we've been having. For those who don't know, vog is volcanic fog and since the volcano had its "other" eruption last year we've been inundated with vog nearly everyday.


Maui looms in the distance. When are they going to build a bridge from here to there???


Mauna Kea is the highest point in the state at 13,796 feet. It's also the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the base to the summit, since its base is located on the sea floor about 19,000 feet beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean, bringing its total height to about 33,000 feet. — wikipedia

Monday, October 20, 2008

F-8 AND BE THERE

There's an old phrase in the news photography business "f-8 and be there." It's been attributed to Weegee (Arthur Fellig) in the late 1940's. Others have said the great Robert Capa said it. When I was a photojournalist, my boss would just say "be there."

Awe, the life of a news photographer. It's exciting — and boring; dangerous — and repetitive; happy times — and heart breaking at times. It's recording life — and death — for real. It's an art and it's a job. But mostly it's always observing, never participating.

And that is why I left it all behind a few years back. I became so detached from events by hiding behind a camera that even on my days off and at our own family events I could not bring myself to become involved in the activities. And now, for some dumb reason, I'm considering getting back into the biz and I'm not even sure why. I'm not even sure I still have the passion or the eye to be a photojournalist ...

... But once upon a time, my photos appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. Chances are, if you looked at a newspaper or magazine in the 1990s you may have seen one of my photographs. More particular, a newspaper in the larger cities, such as Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Dallas, Miami or even USA Today. Floods, fires, murders and even two-headed snakes where my subjects. I specialized in disasters, but preferred fun, slice of life photos. But newspapers love disaster and that's what they assigned.

Below are just a few of my favorite photos I took over the years. These all have stories behind them. Some I make comments on, some speak for themselves. Some of my best photos, however, I no longer have copies of. They live only in my memories and in some morgue of some newspaper. Anyhow, here are the photos. These are actually photos of the photos — taken with a simple point-n-shoot — so the sharpness doesn't reflect the original images.

A two-headed snake found on a sidewalk downtown next to a gas station. After this image appeared in USA Today, Ripley's Believe It, Or Not! offered the guy a large sum of money for the snake, but the snake died before a deal could be worked out. At least that was the word we got at the paper.

What started out being a simple protest over a new fast-food restaurant quickly became physical between vegans and ranchers. I was using a very wide-angle lens so that punch was just inches away from hitting me.

Senior Olympics. This image is in focus in the original image, I used a hand-held point-n-shoot and a slow shutter speed to copyit for the blog.

The missing photos are the ones that have the best stories of course. Such as the time I was covering a hostage situation where a man claimed to have a bomb while holding his girlfriend and her child hostage in a house. Us newsies spent one cold October day and night watching police move in to our small community with armored vehicles and guns everywhere. We were all praying for the chance to get close enough to the house to get a photo of the action. After freezing all night standing around waiting, just before dawn, a cop came up to us photogs and said that the subject was willing to give himself up, but only if the media was present.

The cop warned us, however, that it could be a trap and that the subject might detonate "the bomb" once the media was outside the house. But we excitedly raced down to the house, lined up behind a rope strung out by the cops just outside the house and had our cameras cocked and ready. The TV guys turned on their camera lights to light up the scene. It was surreal to say the least.

The cops were all tucked in behind their riot shields and all of us journalists were standing there hiding behind our cameras. A hundred guns and 10 or so cameras all pointed at the little house in what was a quiet neighborhood just a few hours earlier.

We waited. Nothing. Minutes went by. One of the TV guys lost his nerve and decided to leave. We all chuckled as he ran off, but in reality he probably had more nerve (and a lot more common sense) than we did. Finally, the cop in charge used a megaphone and called out that the media was present. Nothing. We waited. And waited. The door opened and the woman, caring the child, ran out of the house. CLICK, CLICK CLICK ... the cameras fired. The cops tackled her and the kid and dragged them off to safety.

A few minutes passed but it seemed like an hour. The sun was starting to rise. I remember I was shaking so much I could hardly see through the camera. To this day I'm still not sure if it was from the cold or from nerves.

Then the door opened and the man stepped out onto the porch. The cameras fired again ... CLICK, CLICK CLICK ... the cameras' motor drives whined. He was holding something in one hand and a shotgun in the other. The police screamed at him to drop everything. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK ... He obeyed. They told him to get on the ground. He did. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK. Several cops ran over, jumped on him, hand-cuffed him, stood him up and led him away. CLICK, CLICK CLICK! And just like that, it was over.

After more than 16 hours of standing around, freezing, sleepy and hungry, we had gotten our shot. No bomb was found. We congratulated ourselves on job well done, but secretly knowing it could have gone bad real fast.

A slow news day and a relaxing Saturday morning.

The annual Pear Blossom Run in downtown Medford, Ore.

I never really liked this image and almost didn't turn it in to the sports department. But the sports reporter saw it and talked me into it. It eventually won an award for best sports photo. The reason I didn't like it was because you can't tell if they won or lost the championship. Are they happy or sad?


And then there was the time I was in the sights of a suicidal sniper and ended up being trapped in a state park with a dozen park visitors.

I had heard the call on my police scanner about a man with a rifle pointing it at passersby and possibly may be suicidal. I was in the area already so I headed to the state park where he was reported to be. I turned into the state park and smack in front of me was the dude sitting in his pick-up truck.

The only thing I could do was to keep driving and hope he didn't shoot. So I drove right past him and on into the park. After parking my car out of his sight I hiked back up to where I could see him from behind. I snapped off a couple of shots but then a park ranger came up and ordered me, along with everyone in the park to leave. Since the only way in or out was where the sniper was, we all had to leave our vehicles and hike out over a mountain to avoid possibly being shot. But at least I got photos from an angle that no other photog did. Sometimes my stupidity (and my luck) astounds me.

Probably one of my most published photos. It has run in numerous newspapers and magazines over the past dozen years and is still being used. It was recently used in Newsweek to illustrate nutrition for kids.





The firefighter in the background just exited the motor home seconds before it blew up. In the full photo the fire ball goes way up into the sky.


Shortly after taking this image we were nearly trapped by the forest fire and barely made it out. The next day a firefighter died in the same area after being trapped.

Sometimes we just tried to make art out of disaster.

Other times we just tried to capture the moment.



Why'd the chicken cross the road? Now you know.

Sometimes magic just happens.

Sometimes it breaks your heart.

So why do I want to get back into photojournalism? Being able to create an image that moves people. That brings out an emotion — laughter, tears, shock, or concern. Or to just brighten someones day with a warm fuzzy slice of life photo. That's an awesome feeling. I guess that might be one reason. Maybe I'm just an adrenaline junkie. Or, maybe, I'm just plain nuts ...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE KNEES

For me it's been all about my knees lately. With surgery possibly looming in the near future on my right knee, I've been pretty nervous about what's going to happen. So here's a song that makes me smile every time I hear it. At least it helps me relieve a little bit of tension thinking about surgery. It's an old English ditty from way, way back. This is the best video I could find on YouTube, however.


Knees up Mother Brown!
Knees up Mother Brown!
Under the table you must go
Ee-i-ee-i-ee-i-oh!
If I catch you bending,
I'll saw your legs right off,
Knees up! Knees Up!
Don't get the breeze up,
Knees up Mother Brown!

Oh My! What a rotten song!
What a rotten song!
Oh, What a rotten song!
Oh My! What a rotten song!
What a rotten singer too!

Knees up Mother Brown!
Knees up Mother Brown!
Under the table you must go
Ee-i-ee-i-ee-i-oh!
If I catch you bending,
I'll saw your legs right off,
Knees up! Knees Up!
Don't get the breeze up,
Knees - up - Mother - Brown!

Ow's yer farver? All right!

Friday, October 17, 2008

MRI UPDATE

"It is part of the cure to wish to be cured." - Seneca


Finally, the hospital called to schedule my MRI. It's not until next Friday, but at least it's on the calendar.

(Photo is an MRI of a knee, just not my knee.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

A TRIP TO THE DOC

“I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away." -- George Carlin

After nearly eight years of living with a torn ACL in my right knee, I finally went to an orthopedic surgeon. Having a torn ACL isn't that bad, you just have to watch where you step and avoid any lateral movement. But because I have a torn ACL it caused some other problems and I finally got so frustrated with that I wound up in the doctor's office today.

I feel like I have cartilage floating around in my knee that causes it to dislocate or explode or any number of things that all lead to immense pain. That started just before the Kona Marathon in June and then it did it again just a month ago and I am still limping. So I went to the doctor.

(The X-ray of my right knee)
He tugged and pulled, twisted and turned my knee. He had me walk so he could see how I walk. He said I was a little loose (a bad thing) on the anterior part of the knee. But it was pretty tight (a good thing) everywhere else. He also said it didn't look as beat up as he would have expected.

I was warned by a friend who is a physical therapist that orthopedic surgeons nowadays are against running, so to expect the doc to say not to run any more. But this doc told me he has a friend who's a triathlete and was up and running on a treadmill after a couple of days following surgery. He said most triathletes don't even go to a doc until their leg is abut to fall off (and mine is just hanging on). So he was a pretty cool doc.

He took a couple of X-rays but couldn't see any floaty thingies, so he wants me to get an MRI, which should show what's going on in there. So now I'm waiting for the MRI place to give me a call so I can make an appointment. Then it'll be back to the surgeon to see what he thinks.

The thought of surgery used to scare me, but I am so frustrated with my knee that I am almost looking forward to it. I'm figuring at the least he'll go in and clean things out in my knee joint and at the most he'll repair my ACL and clean things out in my knee joint.

I may end up missing Lavaman on March 29, but I should be back in time for Hawaii 70.3 a few months later. And hopefully I can qualify for Ironman next October. But that's all a long way down the road. I'm a wimp when it comes to my knee and pain, so I'll have to see how it all plays out.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE
“The doctor must have put my pacemaker in wrong. Every time my husband kisses me, the garage door goes up.” -- MINNIE PEARL

"I was so ugly when I was born, the doctor slapped my mother." -- Rodney Dangerfield

"Doctor, my leg hurts. What can I do?" The doctor says "Limp!” -- Benny Young

“A doctor says to a man "You want to improve your love life? You need to get some exercise. Run ten miles a day." Two weeks later, the man called the doctor. The doctor says "How is your love life since you have been running?" "I don't know," the man says. "I'm 140 miles away!"”

Sunday, October 12, 2008

IRONMAN FROM START TO FINISH

THE SWIM
The swim start for the age groupers: 7 a.m.



Our day started at 4:30 a.m. For the Athletes I'm sure it started much earlier. The sea wall was already crowded when we arrived at around 5 a.m.

THE BIKE



Ariel Henbest, the youngest female to compete in the event and a great athlete.


Seeing good friends having fun cheering on the competitors.

THE RUN


Harry on target for a great finish.

Pro triathlete Matt Lieto, from Bend, Oregon.

All sizes and abilities on the same playing field.

THE FINISH
The ultimate goal: THE FINISHLINE!!!


But for the fans, it's all about the swag — the free stuff they throw. Shirts, hats, noisemakers, watches. It's all good.

For the athlete's it's all about seeing family after a long, long day and realize a dream a lifetime in the making.

But, in the end, it's all about being with the one you love.

SCRIBBLING AND DOODLING

A little scribbling while watching TV. I guess it's good practice to help loosen up my sketching. And, as you know, I can use all ...