Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photography Exhibition and Sale at Vane's



We will be holding our fourth Photography Exhibition and Sale hosted by my lovely niece Vanesa Romero. There's always high hopes and good expectations when we do this exhibitions that some frames will find a home in some body's wall, but even if they don't we still get the chance to get together as a family and have a great time.

Do wish us luck as we know money is tight and everyone is holding on to it like dear life, but still so far we have made a few sales and so far they have all been profitable. I continue to learn and to explore different ways to market our frames. Sooner or later we'll come out of this bad economy and customers will come knocking for some cool original photographic art... OK, that is just some wishful thinking, but hey there's nothing wrong with that.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Both


It takes two, to tango
Or so the saying goes
But to really make it work
The tango needs the best from both

Dancing, life, and other things
Need your commitment and love
Synchronize your every move
And fuse until both are one

Then together plan your future
And together, feed your soul
Let the thoughts the two of you garnish
Born, mature, and then grow old

There's a certain satisfaction
That comes from from seeing what both
Created in such togetherness
And in knowing you are not alone

Life is hard. It's just it's nature
But not unconquerable at all
By oneself it could be impossible
But with both not so much so.

So tell her that "You complete me"
Tell him "You had me at hello"
Yes these words come from a movie
Does it matter where they're from?

So build what you can, and do it together
Limit yourself, know where to go
Then enjoy and share those those memories
That can only come from both.

If I sound like a romantic
Know that it's not me alone
With the love mi chica gives me
It's the work in progress of both


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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Diego's Idea...


Diego's idea, I may put a patent on it.

Diego: Where are you going grandpa?
Me: Out
Diego: Can I come?
Me: Sure!
Diego: Grandpa it's hot.
Me: You better don't complain, you could have stayed home where it's nice and cool.
Diego: I'm not complaining, it's just that it's too hot.
Me: We'll stop and get something to drink.
Diego: Wouldn't it be awesome to put AC in the weather.
Me: Wow! Now there's an idea.
Diego: Yeah! If we put AC in the weather we can lower it when it gets too hot.

Now, there is a mind that is already working at age six.


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Top Eight

It doesn't matter who leaves tomorrow I am still going to hate it. No, not the show, but the fact that two of these very talented dancers will be going home. The truth is that as much as the judges tried to set some apart from the rest it was really hard to come up and say anything negative about the performances. If one said something bad, the other would totally go against his/her point of view.

This season has not developed favorites, I honestly think that people have been voting purely based on their performances, this has not come across as a popularity contest but as a dance competition that has been equally fair to all.

With the exception of Caitlin all my favorites are still in the competition, and my absolute favorite continues to get rave reviews and comments.

The addition of a guest "jidge" namely Ellen DeGeneres was a clever idea. She brought life and humor to the show at a time when understandably so the participants have to be pretty stressed out, not to mention tired from the daily rigors of their schedules. She was very funny without sounding stupid or pretending she was a bona fide dance judge.

Well, tomorrow is the 100th show and they are planning something big to celebrate. Definitely one that should not be missed. Good luck to all dancers, all eight are absolutely awesome.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Ummm Ceviche!

My niece invited us to dinner on Friday and she surprised us with a huge bowl of ceviche. I had not eaten ceviche for quite a while so I was up to the task. To go with it she had a green salsa that was nothing but raw peppers, may I add it was delicious.

Ceviche is better served in tostadas so that's how we ate it. I had three tostadas and was pretty much stuffed by the end of the third one. A glass of red wine somehow complemented the tostadas really good and to top it all off they offered us some fresh baked brownies and a bowl of watermelon.

It was a nice afternoon complete with some pretty good conversation. It was the first time we went to their new place and we were pleasantly surprised to find out they are practically our neighbours. They are only about 5 minutes away from us.

Thanks guys for having us and treating us to such wonderful afternoon.

And this is how an empty ceviche bowl looks like after being attacked by hungry tostada eaters.


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Time



It is Friday once again
The days go by too fast
I sometimes regret the days wasted
And wonder of the ones to come.
Why is time so darn important
After all we are not being charged
Because time is a hot commodity
That once gone it won't come back
So waste your time on trivial things
Or make you time a petty life
Or use it to your best advantage
And always use it as if it the last
For time is the equalizer
Time is what makes you wise
Time is what you think you have a lot of
And then realize it's not enough
So now we reach another weekend
I will make it a good time
Time to be spent with my family
A family that grows with time
Think of time as the great companion
Because time will not leave you behind
Hand in hand into the future
A future that will come in time.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday Tidbits

Ah, to be young. My daughter Nikki and I are Harry Potter fans, we have read all the books and therefore watched all the movies and when they come out on DVD I buy them too. It is safe to say I've seen each movie more than once. Well we've been waiting for the new movie to come out for a year now as you may or may not know it was delayed. My daughter and I were supposed to go on opening day but for the second time she dumps me and takes her husband and my niece to watch it on the midnight showing. I called her to say hi at about seven and she told me they were in line at the theater to get in.

Crazy I say. I called her again at about 9:30 pm and they were already inside and have gotten good seats. My other niece and her friends joined them too. And the movie is still about two hours and a half away. Did I say I think that's crazy?

I have not talked to her this morning but I know she is going to be draggin'. Harry Potter movies usually run over two hours long so I'm thinking they finally got home close to 3:00 am. Oh, and when I go see it this or next weekend, they'll probably come again too. They always do, sort of a tradition of ours.

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My niece Becca is visiting from Calfornia and I have yet to see her. Tuesday is my day to stay with my mom so I won't be home until tonight. Becca can drive and has her own car but she rather rode the Greyhound than drive by herself. She'll be here until Saturday morning and then off she goes. Welcome to Arizona Becca, I hope you have fun here... What am I saying, I know you will, you guys probably already started having fun as soon as you got here.

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For those of you that watch So You Think You Can Dance (not you SeƱor Manuel) tonight the top 10 take the stage and will have to spill all their guts on it. Out of the ten there is no weak dancer. Evan and Randi will or will not create a disadvantage due to being shorter than the rest but in dancing you never know what will happen. All I can say is I can't wait to see tonight's performances.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top Ten


And then there were 10. This is just such a great group of dancers that each week it doesn't matter who goes out it is not a happy ending. I miss them all. I am happy to say my favorites are still in there. OK, maybe not all my favorites as last week Caitlin one of my favorites since the auditions finally got the boot, so to speak because along with Phillip they were the bottom dancers and the two to go home.

Oh but not so fast, Phillip and his unique hip hop style and Caitlin beautiful dancing charmed the judges and the producers so much that for the first time they are taking the top six couples on the road. What a great surprise, specially for Caitlin whom seem sad to be so close and be eliminated.

The next few shows will really showcase the dancer's abilities and their versatility as they will be getting a different partner from now on. Kayla should be already used to this as she has had different partners already. I kindda worry about Evan and Randi only because everybody else is much taller than they are. It shouldn't be that much of a problem for Randi as it will be for Evan, but again all ten remaining dancers are very talented and I really don't have any predictions as to who is going out. Funny because I am usually accurate on my predictions. This season I am just taking it in as it comes.

On the curiosity side, I want to see what happens to Brandon and Janette. Together they had been the strongest couple now they go their separate ways just like everybody else. Janette the Salsa dancer had been good at everything she has danced so far and I doubt she'll get to dance Salsa in this show. Brandon is just good at everything, he'll be just fine, I'm even thinking he'll be top 2 and eventually will be crowned this seasons champion. Oops, I thought I was not going to do predictions.

I am so looking forward to Wednesday's performance, and can't wait for the fall season to start and this one isn't even over yet.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Last Game of the Season

We're number one.


Well Ducky's last game happened last week. This is all good because playing anything outside when it's 115 degrees cannot be too good. I was invited by my daughter to go see the last game of the season and as always it was a blast. Watching these tiny little kids play is just too funny.

"Why do they always do that to me?" was Ducky's question while being thrown out at first twice. Of course he would get frustrated and obviously a little tantrum was in order but nothing that the little treats they get at the end of the game can't fix.


Ducky!


We got there late so the other team beat us to the good side of the field, we were left with the side that faces the sun, so not only were we fighting the extreme heat but also the nasty reflection in our eyes. Can you say fun? The things parents and grandparents have to endure. It's all worth it, in the end the kids will have the memories and experiences learned. Some will want more while others will not. Our Ducky didn't say yei or nei so we figure we'll force another season on him.

Eventually he'll probably let us know if he wants to play soccer or learn karate, or something like that for now we lead him.

Here are some more pictures of him and his team.


A duck and his mommy duck.


Top of the world, top of the world.


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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Third Exhibit and Sale


And so we continue to learn while we also collect feedback. We got to my sister's at around 4:30 pm and started to set up the frames. Michelle and I arranged the as best as possible and we even got three existing nails on the wall that we could use for the bigger frames.

At the same time, mu chica and my sister did all the finger foods, mi chica had taken a salsa from home and my sister did a second salsa. How two green salsas can taste so different is beyond me, but they did. Mi chica decided to use orange in her salsa (Did any of you that tried it know that?). My sister Elena is known for her great salsas among other things then she went one step further and made "rajas con cebolla y crema" and used the blender to puree them creating a great tasting chilli dip. Mmmm it was awesome, or should I say, "Que rico"!


Finger foods and chips and salsa, delicious!


Two of my sisters friends showed up and it was fun explaining to them about the images in those frames. One of the two told me where each picture was taken before I even told her. She is just that knowledgeable about places in Arizona. They also told me we should be displaying these works at the fairs and street bazaars, something I am interested in doing except my average of 17 to 20 frames is not enough for that, we really need to have at least 50 pieces in order to offer variety.

We will also be offering prints only. Prints by themselves can make a good profit but would have to sell a lot of them to see the difference, I believe that for many the hard part is getting a frame that compliments the image and put it together. I have already heard the "I have some very nice pictures at home and want to see them framed but don't know how to go about it" line. Some people rather pay to have their keepsakes framed.


Luckily my sister has a huge table and with the two extra additions it was more than enough.


So far we have made it a habit to come up with a frame to offer our host or hostess. From day one, my sister fell in love with this piece and really wanted it, except she had bought other pieces already so it was our pleasure to present her with it. I know she was really happy to receive it and it will be a great addition to her growing collection.

Thank you Elena, not only have you supported us from the beginning but your comments and your input is greatly appreciated. I am lucky to have you as a sister and you must know I love you a lot.

Maybe the 115 degree heat we are having here these days made some people stay home. I for one don't blame them but after all was said and done I did sell three frames for a total of $105.00 and some bowed to buy one later. The overall consensus is that they all love the frames, they like the images in them, and we continue to receive motivation to keep going.

The next show God providing will be late August or early September in California. My sister Chely tells me she is already working on advertising it as she will be my next host. Obviously traveling to California will have to double as vacation time so I am really looking forward to that one.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Exhibition at Elena's


I am proud to announce that this coming Saturday will be our third Photo Exhibition and sale. This time my sister Elena has graciously accepted to be the host.

So far it's been a good experience to put our work out there on display for our friends to see. I always enjoy taking pictures but really didn't know what to do with them. For three years I've been displaying them in my "Arizona... But it's a dry heat" blog and have received hundreds of good comments.

Now by selecting some of those images and putting them on frames, it's a good way to share them with all of you. What a rewarding feeling to see some of our frames finding their place on your walls.

For Saturday's exhibit we chose a Mexican motif. Why my daughter chose "mortys" for the invitation is beyond me but I liked it. Wish us luck, I'll let you all know how things went on a future post.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Arizona... But it's a dry heat

MY PHOTO BLOG "ARIZONA... BUT IT'S A DRY HEAT!" TURNED 3 YEARS OLD!

My photo blog turned three years old.


Who would have thought on that July 6 of 2006 night that three years later my photo blog would still pretty much active. Well, it's been that long, three years of publishing a photo per day. I have tried give you my five viewers a variety of photos. From buildings, to bikes, to fountains, to scenery, and maybe once in a blue moon I post a person. So far it's been fun, most of the images I have posted here have been so well received that I finally started framing some of them and have been selling them. (melo-duckworth originalz)

So far I have 640 posts, tons of comments and some 35,699 hits. If for some reason you didn't know I had a photo blog and have never been there I urge you to visit and become a follower. Just CLICK HERE! and you'll be there in no time.

We now have social networks that pretty much grab every body's time so I don't know how much longer this blogging community will remain active before they give it up to stay current with FaceBook and the like but for now I remain here and probably wont be going away anytime soon. Blogs allow a person to express feelings and emotions in a way that the social networks never will so here is to my fourth year, I hope to keep finding exciting images to keep my photo blog going, and you coming back for more.

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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Flying With The Pope

This is a friend of ours that spent many years flying for a well known Mexican airline as a flying attendant. It was in one of his many flights that the Pope and his court happened to be the passengers. Obviously he was not going to pass up the opportunity to take a picture with the Pope. This image, definitely one worth displaying. I really enjoyed putting this one together.


My sister took a picture of believe it or not another picture that was already in a frame, she had the jpeg for a while and really didn't know what to do with it. She wanted to get it cleaned a little to maybe have a print done so she could keep it. When she mentioned this to me I asked her to email me the image and that I would have my associates take a look at it and to perhaps have something done to it.

I sent the jpeg to Nikki and asked her if she could clean it up. She looked at it and told me that since the resolution wasn't the best there was only so much she could do with it but since she was about to graduate I would have to wait.

Well, she now has graduated and as promised as soon as she had a chance she got to work on it. She cropped it to completely eliminate the pieces of frame showing, then she brighten it a little but the real magic was in the way she almost made the flash glare disappear. If you look where the hands are touching that's the only reflection left of the flash. The final result is the illusion of electricity being passed from one hand to the other. After all he was the Pope and him possibly a pauper.

I called her and told her the picture was ready so I took it down for her to see, then I asked her if she wanted to keep it she could, she said to please finish it up by putting it in a frame. I was up to the challenge so off I went to our local arts and crafts store after a few minutes I found the perfect frame for it and after trying every mat color in the racks I decided for the one you see here. I think the final result is outstanding, possibly one of the best frames I've done to date.

I have a friend at work that after seeing the frames has asked me if I can frame a picture for her too. And so the services we provide expand. I am just thrilled to see that what we are doing is so well received.

This is the final product. The frame and mat I think worked perfect with the image.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

July 2nd -- Bike Night at Westgate

Welcome to Westgate City Center in Glendale Arizona, home of the Coyotes Arena and the Cardinals Stadium, and tonight the stage for hundreds of bikes.


And so on very humid 110 degree afternoon hundreds of bikers packed Coyote Blvd. at Westgate City Center on Thursday, July the 2nd. It was hot, it was muggy, and it was awesome, any time so many bikes are in one place it's a sight to be seen. I got there at around 7;00 pm, out on a different parking lot the Patriot Guard Riders known to escort and keep guard at soldiers funerals rode in escorted by a couple of Glendale's finest. The Patriot Riders are regular bikers with a particular passion for riding and a deep respect for the military. Their bikes are equipped with multi color lights resembling the lights on a regular police bike. Seeing the bikes ride through the crowded street, carrying the American flags while the speakers played I'm Proud to be an American was emotional to say the least.

A motorcycle cop rides ahead of the pack as he opens the way for the motorcade.


Patriot Guard Riders riding through Coyote Blvd.


Thousands of bikers and spectators were enjoying the sights and sounds of the event. The big screen TV played clips recorded earlier in the day. The loud speakers played patriotic music in honor of the upcoming Independence Day. And no empty sits in or out of all the restaurants in the complex, and trust me there are many of those there. Being that today was the last bike night the restaurants and bars are going to miss bike night. Bikers are not shy at spending money and are usually very giving individuals.

As you can see the desert heat did not discourage us from packing Westgate tight.


Can we all get along? Yes we can. Gone are the days where "bikers" would give "rice burner" riders a hard time. The hardcore biker image is pretty much gone, now we are bikers but above all we are riders and we have learned to co-exist and to share the space equally. I personally think that it's awesome to have the mixture and to respect each others riding choices and philosophies.

Here is a big group of Japanese bikes.


This one here is totally my style. Awesome color, great rims, and I really dig the white wall tires.


This one here is an old pan head beautifully restored. The two tone paint job is awesome and it sports a suicide shifter.


This is a replica of what could possibly be the most famous bike in the world. "Captain America" the infamous chopper riden by Peter Fonda in the now classic "Easy Rider".


Another sweet ride complete with black paint job, white wall tires, and beach cruiser handlebars.


That is enough for this edition of cruising Westgate City Center with Joe Cool. Next time I will show you some of the not so regular bikes there. Today I concentrated on showing you the ones that are within my riding style. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed photographing them.

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SYTYCD Top Fourteen

So, four more have left since my last post. Because this season they are all so good it is hard to see anybody leave, so far there has not been the "I am mad because such contestant left" syndrome. I did hate to see Max go as I thought they let him go too soon but still someone had to go.

Two weeks ago we said goodbye to Max and Ashley, of the two I was bummed Max was cut but I predicted it and not necessarily because he was bad, I just knew knew he would be the one and I wan not wrong. But as I mentioned before this is the best top ten couples I have seen in all five seasons and I have not missed one yet so any one contestant leaving is sort of sad.

Last week it was Jonathan's and Asuka's turn. In Jonathan's case it didn't come as a big surprise, I thought he should have left the prior week and not Max but I also knew his days in SYTYCD were numbered. Asuka on the other hand had a great performance and I felt she should have stuck around instead of Karla. But again, competition is so tight this year that it doesn't really matter. At least all of my favorites are still in the competition.

Last night's show was without a doubt one of the most exciting shows in it five year history. To start things off Brandon and Janette opened up with and I agree with Nigel the best cha-cha to date. Being first is really not a good thing but in this couple's case it didn't make a difference, they came out and performed setting the bar so high for the remaining six couples that I don't think anybody that loves dance and loves the show will forget that performance anytime soon.

Brandon was harshly criticised by Mia during the last days in Vegas stating that he wasn't "all that" and that she just didn't "see it". Last night probably against her will but recognizing the obvious she paid him an apology of sorts that inevitably drew tears to Brandon's eyes. This couple in my opinion has been very consistent, and to think that Janette was supposed to be good only as a Salsa dancer.

Kupono and Kayla did very, very good too. Kayla is such a strong dancer that I have no doubt will make it far. She certainly has the potential to go all the way. Kupono is good but will leave eventually, he may out dance Jayson though and Evan.

Evan and Randi, I really enjoy this couple but they probably don't have the strongest fan base. There are other couples that are already hugging most of the votes. I think their Broadway routine last night was really good and I enjoyed it. As expected they didn't get the best reviews and were even criticised for being short, ouch! I am short too so that kindda hurt.

Jason and Caitlin, I have liked this couple since their Bollywood routine but they continue to find themselves in the bottom three and probably will be there again tonight. I think Caitlin is a fantastic dancer and Jason is good but I get the feeling they are in danger, mostly Jason whom stated last night that he barely squeaked by last week.

Phillip and Jeanine don't have to worry. He probably has the biggest fan base and she is just that good. Not my favorites at all but apparently everybody elses.

Ade and Melissa, definitely one of my favorite couples. She is the oldest contestant but you wouldn't know that by the way she looks and moves. Their Pas De Deux to Romeo and Juliet was just awesome.

And last but not least, Vitolo and Karla the definite underdogs in this competition the ones that pretty much were supposed to crash and burned last night delivered a great quick step routine. The whole thing was fun and I think they really delivered. Their costumes were awesome and Karla surprised us when in just one second she changed from what I thought was the worse costume for their routine into a wonderful ballroom outfit. They most likely will be bottom three again but I wouldn't count them out just yet.

So there you have it seven awesome routines 14 great dancers. It will definitely go down to popularity and my prediction is that Vitolo and Karla, Evan and Randi, and Jason and Caitlin will once again be dancing for their lives tonight.

Should be interesting but I don't expect to be too surprised.

This week's top fourteen.

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