Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photographer's Bane

I read a blog recently that brought something very important to my attention. I wrote this blog weeks ago, but shelved it temporarily to write about Gary.

Roni Loren, the woman behind BlogHer wrote an article based on her experiences being sued by a photographer for using his images on her blog without permission.,1

Ouch. The unfortunate part is, even though Ms. Loren was apologetic and didn't mean to do anything wrong. Her actions were looked upon as a kind of piracy.

At first I thought "That's crazy! It's just a photo for her blog! It's not like she's raking in money using his work."

When I run it through my head I realize photographers have the same issues with piracy as writers and musicians do. They work hard to create their art as well, spending hours perfecting their craft and investing thousands of dollars in equipment. Why should they be any different?

We get mad when piracy sites sell our books for their own gain, but what do you do when random people from all over the world pluck your work off the internet without even a clue that they're stealing from you?
I've been  sticking  primarily to one site-- and haven't had any problems. You can use their photos for free if you acknowledge them, but certain rules apply. If you look at my past posts, you will see that at the bottom of each page I acknowledge the artist and or I use the HTML link they provide, such as the case below.

But Roni Loren has me nervous. I can't afford to get sued either. I have a feeling I'll be using my own camera a hell of a lot more.

Photo by: <p>Image: <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I finally get it...I attended my first memorial EVER and I finally understand.

 I haven't been to a funeral of any sort for 30 years. I was ten when my grandmother died, and apparently the sight of my deceased grandma in her casket was too much for me and my sister. I remember the hysterical confusion and the torrential tears. We never attended another one. My mother decided that it was better to remember loved ones as they were when they were alive, not as the husk that held their essence.

I used to believe in that wholeheartedly, even while I watched my mother simmer in pain and anger years after she lost her brother and refused to go to his service. She claimed no regrets for that decision.

So I'm glad I went for a friend. We all gathered our resources. We brought flowers, candles, and a ton of food. Gary's buddy, Reverend Lee Thompson presided over the service, obviously having a great deal of experience comforting a gathering of grieving people. We sat under a grove of trees in a public park and traded stories about Gary. I wasn't surprised to hear others speak of his sweetness and innocence--his love of Deep Purple and animals.

I was able to tell others of what Gary was like at Nait. Sherri spoke of bonding with Gary over obscure albums. Little Andreas broke our hearts when he said "I'm going to miss him." before bursting into tears. His former paranormal group was there too.

We celebrated his life and laughed until dark. We wished he was there to enjoy the Timbits and joked about his incredible capacity to eat. I hope Gary, where ever he is, saw how much he was loved and the profound impact he had on our lives.

And I can get on with my life and stop obsessing over death. With all the good memories flooding back, I feel like I can capture his goodness in the character I promised...Rest assured, I'll include his favorite 'Fart App'.

Side Note: Today the world lost Mrs. Kory Haynes of Fox Creek, Alberta to terminal illness. My heart and my sympathies go out to my friend Sharie Haynes-McGinty and her family. Been a summer of loss it seems.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gone but Won't be Forgotten

Gary Larsen March 13,1964-August 12,2012
This is a hard post to write. I don't know where to begin.

I got a phone call Monday morning that shocked me straight to the soft spot in my heart, the one reserved for people like Gary Larsen.

Gary Larsen (Photo at left by Julia Ackerman) was a Paranormal Investigator for Edmonton Paranormal. He had a gentle soul, a massive sweet tooth and a hollow leg. He was 48 years old.

He will be remembered as a quiet person and a  great listener. He loved animals--especially birds, classic rock, and Timbits.

He loved ghosthunting, and the team is suffering a terrible loss.

I actually met Gary at Nait twelve years ago when we both took the Meatcutting course. Everybody there liked him too.

When I was there,  had a dream about him once where I asked him to guard my lunch. (What was I thinking?) When I came back and inquired as to what happened to my sandwich, Gary wiped his mouth with the back of his sleeve and muttered "I mon't moh." around a mouthful of turkey and cheese. I still chuckle when I think about it.

The saying "Only the good die young" applies here. It feels so unfair. Why him? Why this shining example of what people SHOULD be? Do people like Gary spend so much of their personal warmth on others that they don't leave enough for themselves? Is their sole purpose for being here to teach us not to take the people you love for granted? Maybe he reached that pinnacle where there was nothing left for him to learn here--Lessons complete. Time to go home.

Months ago, when I announced I was working on 'Chasing Monsters', Gary asked if he could be in it. I was happy to oblige. It's a promise that gives me as much trepidation as it does comfort.

On the one hand, I worry if I'll get it right. He'll never be able to say "I don't talk like that." or "That doesn't sound like something I would do." I won't ever really know if I nailed his character and he'll never have the chance to read it.

On the other hand, I'm in a unique position to preserve his memory. When I told him he was definitely a character in the novel, I think it made him feel special. Now I can show people all around the world that he really WAS special.

That in itself is a little inspiring. I'm going to listen to Ehren, Linda, Julia and Cathy and write his role with my heart. Someday when I meet him on the other side, he can tell me how he liked it.

In the meantime, Rest in Peace, Gary. We already miss you. Feel free to visit. <3

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm Baaaaaack!

An unexpected thing happened last week. After three weeks away from my blog, I decided I should come out and tell people why I didn't feel like writing. A writer never leads her readers with loose ends, right? I felt like I had to be honest.

That wasn't the unexpected part. The surprise came the next day when I wrote my first 1K since summer began. And then I did again the next day. And I wrote more the day after that--not only on 'Chasing Monsters' but on the erotica as well.
And it feels really good to be back

 I didn't really admit it in my last post, but my friend's depression had affected me to the point that I couldn't write. I didn't admit that even to my friends. They knew I was sad, and that I had a few things going on in my life. I talked to them about it, but I hated doing it. Felt like 'TMI'. I felt like I didn't have the right to hurt. It wasn't my depression, it was his. What was I crying about?

So coming out and telling  EVERYONE was even bigger and scarier. Apparently it was a good and necessary thing because my mojo is back. I feel liberated. Once again I'm doing the things I love, like writing and gardening. See my veggies? (pictured above)

Thanks to all my friends and acquaintances for your support and kind words from this blog, Twitter, Facebook, text, etc.

Thanks to you, everybody's stuck with me. Love to you all.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Depression bites

No, not mine-but someone very close to me has it. And in case you haven't noticed I don't feel like writing much as a result. It's been three weeks since my last post. I just didn't feel like sharing with anyone.

I admit, I haven't been the greatest friend in regards to my loved one's illness. In the last year I have sighed, rolled my eyes and resisted the constant urge to tell him to 'snap out of it'. (That comment usually gets me 'snapped at'. If it were that easy, don't you think they'd do it?)

As time rolls on, I've watched him get progressively worse.  My funny, sweet, gentle friend has become withdrawn, sullen and quick to rage. Now he's Mr. Hyde. It's hard to watch.

So difficult, in fact, that one day I was the one to shut down. I woke up feeling hopeless and sad. I couldn't do anything. I just lay on my couch and cried. It went like that for two days. No matter how I tried to get up and get on with it, it wasn't happening. Karma's a bitch but I'm glad for the experience.  I gained a lot more empathy. If this is what he feels everyday, I see how hellish it must be.

It's not over. It's still pretty rough. I'm trying to be supportive, because this is not something a person can 'just get over'. It's an illness, and I know that now. This isn't a case of whining or a need for attention. He needs my support, not my exasperation.

He's getting the help he needs, and I'm going to walk beside him while he does it. Wish us luck. We're going to need it.