Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Will the Real Mechanic Please Stand Up?

got cool new spark plugs in the car today - here's a photo of me sweating it out - plugging those little babies right in....

Ok... So here's the real plugger... Thanks David!

Competitive Eating

I’m not kidding. The Alka Seltzer Open of Competitive Eating is the actual name of an actual competition in something that has been touted as an actual SPORT. I’m also not kidding when I tell you I saw this on ESPN - not ESPN2, mind you. The original ESPN - the one that brings you baseball and football - and the things I always thought of as traditional sport... There's even a governing organization of competitive eating...

The Alka Seltzer Open was actually followed on-air by the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. I guess I should preface this to say - that at last, there is a sport that men and women of all ages and nationalities can compete together... as peers.

The Nathan’s competition was held at Coney Island - and was the traditional food eating contest you might see at the Warren County Fair, the Great Allentown Fair, The Famous Bloomsburg Fair - or my personal favorite, the Newfoundland Fair... You know - the one held between the Pie-eating contest and the chili cook off... It consisted of a long line of men and women - competing for the Nathan’s title. In front of each contestant was a plate of hot dogs and a choice of three beverages: Water, iced tea, and lemonade. (It was explained on-air that the water was good to start off on - just to aid getting food down. The tea would take the edge off of particularly flavorful foods (which are a hindrance to competitive eaters, I’m told) - and the acidic lemonade can do the same thing - which is why, I suppose, some of the competitors were dipping their hot dogs in it...

I’m guessing it’s a brilliant strategy that saves the stoppage of eating for lubing.... yikes!

The most ironic thing about this competition were the announcers. They performed their entire play-by-play and color commentaries without a snide remark - without a stifled giggle - or without a metabolism or gastrointestinal joke. Incredible... They described the “athletes” thusly: “Here’s a man who sweats gravy!” as if it were an honorable comment. Try putting that little phrase on and see how many comments it gets!

On to the athletes. The winner was an Asian man named Tokeru Kobiashi. Kobiashi isn’t fat - he looks fairly normal. He just happens to have the dubious honor of holding the world record of eating 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. This year, at Nathan’s, he won the competition, but managed to ingest only 48 dogs in the same amount of time. His closest contender is a tiny itty bitty woman named Sonia Thomas. She ate 37 dogs... In previous competitions, she allegedly ate an astounding 46 dozen oysters in short order.

Here are a few of the amusing comments during the broadcast of the hot dog contest as well as the Alka Seltzer Open of Competitive Eating (held in Las Vegas... So much for “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.... ESPN blabbed this contest to all of America - if not around the world!)

“Kobiashi just didn’t get into the same zone as last year...”

Joey Chestnut is the best rookie I’ve ever seen, and the REAL story in this contest of competitive eating.” (Joey blew it, so to speak, in the Vegas contest...)

“The Alka Seltzer Open is a single elimination tournament. Five rounds. Some rounds will not allow utensils or immersing food.” (BTW, the five rounds were: cheese fries, Pasta something-or-other, Chopped salad - a real challenge in competitive eating, Potato skins, and finally, the combo platter: buffalo chicken, chili, swedish meatballs, and a few french things I don’t know how to spell)

One of the athletes said, “I train for the speed.” “I use water to stretch my stomach.”

“You think of certain words when you think of certain athletes... Serena Williams makes me think of Speed... When we think of Kobiashi, the word is CAPACITY.”

About Dale Boone, a particularly obnoxious competitor who is actually related to Daniel Boone: “He’s loud, his estimation of his skills is widely overestimated, I don’t see how he can make it in this sport!”

Paul Page, announcer, said this of Carlene LeFever, the oldest competitor in the Vegas event: “She once ate a gallon of chili in five minutes!” As she was eating cheese fries, Paul noted, “She doesn’t seem concerned about messing up her makeup! She’s an attractive woman, despite the cheese on her nose!” (She ate 3lbs, 3oz in just five minutes!)

“Ed “Cookie” Jarvis is an eating machine with no off switch!” He had to quit the competition for a few months because he gained too much weight.

“Joey Chestnut is out of the Krystal Hamburger Circuit...” Page went on to note Chestnut’s good solid stance. Despite all, Chestnut lost in the cheese fry round because he overstuffed his mouth. It was a big win for Sam Vise...

“Cheese will help facilitate the swallowing...”

At one point, the announcer exclaimed, about one of the rounds’ victors, “That is the triumph of the human spirit!” I found, however, that I couldn’t stomach the next round... so MY commentary ends here...

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!

Friday, July 29, 2005

My Favorite photo of Jason

I'm so excited - I finally managed to post a photo!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sinn Faint...

I’m going to say something political: I do not believe the Irish Republican Army is actually giving up violence… I mean – how can they? For over 300 years, the IRA worked hard to kill a lot of people… Even now, Gerry Adams says that all that violence was justified.

Political Party? Terrorists? Who’s to say? Here’s straight from the Sinn Fein Website:

"Sinn Féin is the oldest political movement in Ireland. It takes its name from the Irish Gaelic expression for ``We Ourselves''. Since being founded in 1905, Irish Republicans have worked for the right of Irish people as a whole to attain national self-determination."

I’m ok with everything here… Ireland shouldn’t be enslaved to Mother England – any more than the United States should have been – but the IRA simply never managed to seal the deal in any way that didn’t lead to a lot of unnecessary bloodshed… Now, somehow taking a lesson from Dr. King (and Pete Seeger?) they’re allegedly going to give peace a chance.

Sinn Féin seeks the establishment of a new Ireland based on sustainable social and economic development; genuine democracy, participation, equality and justice at all levels of the economy and society; and a lasting and meaningful peace with unity of purpose and action.

Gerry Adams, of Sinn Fein, formally asked all of the paramilitary organizations within the IRA to disarm and chuck their weapons, although he notes that the IRA will not formally disband. (Today’s Washington Post). I question the validity of that... What’s an army without weapons? (answer: Even More Dissatisfied…)

So I’m glad they’ve hiked to Washington to make this announcement – I’m wondering if this will get Gerry his seat in Parliament – and finally, if the cease fire/disarmament will stick.

Whatever it takes. Go in peace, boys – make it work.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fortress of Solitude: Breached

OK. You guys know I don’t really like to talk about my job on the blog – but I have to tell you one thing – that has less to do with my job than the fact that it happened to me while I was in the office – and happened because of people I work with…

Months ago, the owner of my company asked where the office manager was. I had just been to the other side of the building. She was neither there nor at her desk. I suggested she might be in the ladies’ room. “Well – go check. Is the light on in there?” I told him I refused to follow her into the bathroom. In fact, my immediate boss and I laughed about that exchange fairly frequently.

About a week or so ago, I attended a conference with my immediate boss. We took a bus to New York City. When we arrived at Port Authority, I told her I had to use the restroom. “You can wait! I've been in Port Authority bathrooms and they're not pretty!” she said. Incredulous, I muttered, “Ok, MOM.” Off to the conference… I kept thinking how odd it was that someone would so forcefully dictate my biological necessity to purge… I also have to note here that I normally get along just fine with my boss… So I blew it off, and eventually got a minute of privacy I needed at the conference center.

Skip to this afternoon:

I was asked to attend a meeting at two. I was on a call with a client until 2:05. When I got off the phone, I stuck my head into the conference room. It was full of my co-workers. “Is this the meeting?” “No,” replied my immediate boss. I had walked into a different co-worker meeting… “I’ll call you when we’re ready for you.”

Fine. I had time to take a needed restroom break. As soon as I sat on the throne, however, my immediate boss almost immediately breached my fortress of solitude -.

“Kelly – are you in here?” “Yes,” I answered, incredulous. She continued, “We’re ready for you now.”

I guess if my employers are going to pay me for 8 hours of work, I should let them fiddle with my potty breaks – but I’m so … um… unnerved by the whole thing, I’m not sure what to think. Is it too much to ask for 3 minutes to take care of business? Do I need WebMD to back me up here - and explain that women can get serious UTI's from "holding it" for too long? Should I limit my bathroom time (which isn’t out of hand) to legally approved breaks – lunch, for example?

I'm honestly not sure - but aside from this post – I’m going to do my best to forget any of this ever happened.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Spent the weekend photographing a wedding in Baltimore... It's Tuesday and my feet still hurt - Which is very likely because my shoes were killing me - and then I had a salsa dance lesson - so we took the lesson out on the brick porch - and I danced with no shoes on... So I guess I've earned my foot issues.

Because of the state of awake I found myself in, I drove three hours home at 3AM - and got back to my house at around 6 AM. I don't know if I'd choose to do this again, but I can now salsa with the mediocre Salsa Dancers of Baltimore (I was too intimidated to dance with the fabulous Salsa Dancers... )

Spent yesterday in NYC in the humid humidity.

Today it was catchup in the office... Do you want fries with that?

Just Because Someone Asked

I got asked the following questions by a blogger - so here are my answers:

Answers to questions:

1) if you had to lose a limb (arm or leg) which one would it be? why? and how would your life change?

Does an eye count as a limb? If not, I'd choose my right arm

2) you have a chance to meet God and hang out for the day. what do you do and what do you talk about?

Oh, God and I hang out anyway. I find that God never really answers my questions the way I think they should be answered, so I guess I'd leave the scheduling up to God.

3) screw, date, marry. justin timberlake, brad pitt, jake gyllenhaal.

I know this is a cop out - but none of these fine fine gentlemen are my type - so the answer is date, date, and date, followed by "Thank you for a lovely evening." Were you to ask me about Hugh Jackman, Willem Dafoe, and Bruce Cockburn, the answers might be different.

4) if you were to get married (i don't know you so let's assume that you're not for this question), would you:

1)keep your own name
2)take your partner's name
3)hyphenate your name
4)have both of you hyphenate your names

I'm not married - and I'd always assumed I'd change my name unless the guy's last name is "Green," for which I think I'd hyphenate, lest I be known as Kelly Green for the rest of my life... It's not easy being Green!

As to why - Ease, I guess. I feel like it's good to show a united front as a family. I have no real issue with others who change or hyphenate, btw. I leave all such matters to the individual.

5) who is the hottest cartoon character ever?

That would have to be Wolverine, followed by Superman, Mr. Incredible, and of course, Duck Dodgers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On A Scale From One To Ten

Months ago, I met Dave in the Emergency Room. He had a bad case of pneumonia (this story in and of itself is well worth telling... but I should really ask Dave's permission first...) I had been shooting a wedding, so I got there as soon as I could - and saw Dave in more pain than I thought was possible. Every time he moved, he winced. Sitting up was just as painful as lying down... So needless to say, I was a little surprised when a nurse came in and asked him to rate his pain, on a scale of one to ten (one was a mosquito bite; ten was torture-induced capital P-A-I-N)

"Two," he said. The nurse left.

Ok. The doctor came in shortly afterwards. He asked Dave to sit up. (wince) The doctor listened to his heart and asked questions. He ordered morphine. Dave winced again as he gingerly laid down. Minutes passed. When the nurse returned, she again asked about the pain.

"Two," he said. The nurse left.

After she walked out of the room, I was incredulous. "Two?" I asked. "What are you talking about? It's seven. The answer is always seven!" I stormed out of the room and told the nurse that Dave was ready for his morphine.
The other day I did something incredibly annoying to Dave (I can't remember what. I say so many annoying things). "Am I a pain?" I asked. "Yes," teased Dave. "So. On a scale from one to ten, how big a pain am I?"

"Two," he said.

"So," I asked, "Does that mean seven?"

Immediately knowing the hospital reference, Dave just winced and sat down.

I guess there are questions I just shouldn't ask!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ikea Shatters and Smokes

Last night was inconceivable. I own(ed) a coffee caraffe that I purchased from Ikea for under 5 dollars. As I was washing the glass core, I must've tapped it on the sink at just the right place. It not only broke - it shattered. I can't fathom or explain just how small the shards were and how far they flew. Fortunately, I was wearing shoes, or I'd still be standing at my sink for fear of getting a glass foot (I've done this before - I broke a Pyrex dish melting butter on the burner. Don't ask.) I was so shocked by the explosion, I didn't notice my bleeding thumb... It wasn't a large cut, but because my hand was wet, it looked really gross...

So I bandaged my hand, carefully swept the floor, and then got to the painstaking task of removing glass shards from the drain of my sink (how so much glass got down there, I cannot tell you.) My father suggested I vacuum it up. (Yes. I still call my parents in times of crisis, don't you?!!)

When cleanup was acheived, I noticed how hungry I was. I set out to bake some chicken I had thawed earlier. I heated the oven. I spiced the chicken. I grabbed the potholder - (in retrospect, I suppose I should've skipped this step.) I need to note that the potholder was also from Ikea... I dropped it directly on the hot oven coils... It burst into flame. I yanked it out of the oven (wasn't looking forward to polyfil-smoked chicken...) and wondered what I would do with the smoldering potholder. I couldn't douse it in the sink because the drain was drying so I could vacuum shards... I hauled it quickly to the upstairs bathroom and extinguished the sparky, smelly potholder. Then I went to bed.

So, I apologize to Ikea for ruining two of their items yesterday... Again, I'll quote Dave. Some days the best way to end the day is to end it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Oh - I'm recommending a new musician to you. Antje Duvekot, singer/songwrinter extraordinaire. You can find her at, or at

In her latest CD, Boys, Flowers, Miles, she tells a story about being in college and finding a quiet place to practice her guitar under a staircase in her dorm. After time, she made it cozy with rugs, pillows, and a guestbook - so people could sign in if they happened to stumble under the staircase. She reported, "The only one to ever sign my guestbook was a janitor, who told me to remove my belongings because they were a fire hazzard.

tee hee

A Bride's Guide To Putting One's Foot Down

Last night, during band practice, we were discussing Sunday's gig - it's a pig roast. The image of the luckless pig prompted my bass player's wife to comment, "Scott wanted a pig roast for our reception... I refused to celebrate my wedding over a dead carcass. I had to put my foot down."

It made me laugh - because in my tenure as a wedding photographer, I've seen many things happen where I wished the bride would've put her foot down. Note I'm leaving the groom out of this. Even though he's the one getting married, I've noticed that typically, men only want to get married and have a party. They have no real need to work the details.

So I'm offering my set of suggestions and observations so brides everywhere will be inspired to put their feet down when necessary.

1) Wear comfortable shoes: Look. If you're paying to have your gown altered anyway, why in the world would you need to take the extraneous steps of packing Isotoner slippers and making sure the wedding coordinator places them under your reception table? Then, as you dance all night, your gown drags. Why not opt for the flats for the entire day? If your gown is floor length, I guarantee no one's looking at your shoes anyway.

2) If your friends aren't classy, and you know this - don't give them a showcase to de-classify your wedding. Three stories:

Years ago, I photographed a bride who was larger than average. Her "best friend" was a man who was clearly in love with her, yet had too much pride to date a larger than average woman. I suspect the bride may have always known this, yet somehow decided to allow him the opportunity to propose a toast. (I'll change the names to protect the sadder-but-wiser): "What would Alan (groom) be without Christine? Well, a lot richer, first of all!!!" He proceeded to ask me, the photographer, to dance with him *during the toast...* After, he hit on Christine's sister for the remainder of the night, ruining the day for two siblings.

Recently, a larger-than-average woman caught the bouquet. The gooom slingshot the garter into the air. It hit the floor (I swear it made a thud as it hit the lovely parquet floor...). The entire entorage of single men walked away. Just like that. It was probably the worst moment I've ever seen...

One groom's stepdad astounded the crowd at the reception by hiring a stripping gorilla. Look, I guess this is all contingent on knowing your guests, but I find it a little curious how someone could hire a lewd act when little kids were present... The first thing the gorilla did was fashion a penis-hat out of a balloon. It was kind of odd watching kids wear that after the strip-tease segment was over...

3) Don't get so drunk at your wedding that you forget to pay your photographer.

4) Please, please, please don't forget to put a basket of necessities in the restrooms. For women, the basket should contain hairspray, mints, clear nail polish (to stop running hose), safety pins, feminine product, bobby pins, bandaids (for blisters from horrid new shoes), allergy pills, aspirin, spray deodorant, and lotion. Men's baskets should include the meds, bandaids, mints, deodorants, hair gel, and safety pins. It's just a nice way to let your guests know you care.

5) If you forget something, please be considerate to your guests. If it won't change the outcome of the wedding, maybe you can do without it. I guess the overriding lesson is to make a list, cement it to the vehicle you're travelling in and make sure you have everything you need...

My sister, at her wedding, for example, forgot her veil. The wedding was delayed an entire hour. The bridesmaids' feet fell off due to poor shoe selection, the young gooomsman got cold feet and decided not to escort my mother to light the candles, and one knight in shining armor ran to my sister's home to retrieve the veil... Which is lovely except he returned the first time with a crochetted shawl and asked, "Is this it?" and had to go back a second time.

Another bride forgot her flowers. I'm not sure how this is possible - but I forget things all the time, so whatcha gonna do? She returned for the flowers, got stuck behind an accident/construction zone, and again, the guests waited a long long time - Which may not have been horrible... but the wedding was held in an underground cave, which was a chilly 55-degrees.

6) Schedule time between the wedding and reception to take your photos and relax just a little. I was recently with a couple who left little time between events and missed some really wonderful photo opportunities because of it.

7) Don't lose control. It's your wedding... even if your high-maintenance relatives try to take over.

8) This one is for guests: I'm not a prude, and certainly not opposed to having a few drinks - but some of the drunken behavior I've seen at weddings is so unnecessary I don't know where to begin. I'm too embarassed to even tell you about it.

9) I just got a call from a bride who has a tendency to freak out. Lately she's been asking a lot of technical questions about equipment I use. I finally - gently - suggested she leave that to me. I thought she'd be upset, but thankfully she seemed to appreciate my advice. I guess the overriding thought is to let the professionals do their job. They're more well-versed in weddings than you know.

10) Request that if your videographer wants to include a comments from the guests section of the video, he set up an area for an hour of the reception. Have the DJ announce that if someone wants to say something nice to the bride and groom, go to the videographer.

When I was young and unexperienced, I volunteered to videotape a wedding. I stuck the microphone in people's face and asked for messages. The poor bride and groom were subjected to the following wisdom from crotchety relatives: "Marriage is hard work" "Don't expect too much the first night!" and the kicker, delivered by the divorced father of the groom: "I hope you do better than your mother and me!" No kidding! Yikes!

11) And finally, my biggest wedding pet peeve: The Bouquet/Garter Tradition... I know. It's tradition, but most of the time this just ends up being a tacky and lackluster activity - second to the DJ making guests pass the salt shaker for the centerpiece. Here are my words of wisdom regarding the toss...

Keep control of your DJ. If, like at many weddings, a young girl catches the bouquet, and a 20-something horn toad catches the garter - PLEASE - Make sure the DJ knows to instruct the guy to put the garter on the little girl's arm and not her leg. You would not believe how many mortifying moments I've seen - Embarassed girls, freaky men, shocked mothers and fathers who roll up their sleeves and wait to step in if necessary.

Better yet, if a minor minor (ie under 16) catches the bouquet, seriously consider wether you want to deal with the garter-up-the-leg tradition anyway.... Ladies, please! Consider the number of kids at your wedding! Don't think it won't happen. All the kids go up front - and brides in strapless dresses can't possibly throw very well anyway.

While I'm no the subject, I believe bouquets & garter participation should be voluntary. I remember being called out by a DJ at a wedding I was a guest at - and had just experienced a particularly difficult breakup.

Look, I'll tell you right off, I think the whole bouquet garter tradition is really tasteless anyway - but I'd never tell anyone not to participate if they wanted to. The turth of the matter is that little girls like to catch the bouquet. 20-somethings like the attention. 30-something single women have enough trouble being single without having it featured in front of their loved ones. So please, please, please make sure your DJ understands that this is a voluntary event.

I've seen some classy alternatives. If the bride is older and doesn't have many single friends, she's given the bouquet to either a grandmother, or the couple who introduced her to the groom. So there are options!!!