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    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Word of the Week PhotoChallenge: what gives?

Posted by joeabbott on June 9, 2013

The last photo challenge picture I posted was on May 9 … it’s now June 9; is this another project falling to my faltering interests? My habit of high engagement for a while, only to fumble and fall away?

Well, maybe, but I blame the bad words and the lack of inspiration they give me. They just haven’t compelled me to snap pictures. I think I’m a less visually-oriented person than others, so words don’t often spark images in my mind … they certainly invoke emotion and connections, but not always something that would translates well to a picture.

But, I took the “challenge” and I’ll continue it. Here are a few pictures for the words from the last couple weeks … expect me to start up again next week.


The word home came at the wrong time … I was just a week and a half from a vacation back to MN so I always thought I’d post, but post a bit late. Well, it got too late and I just never followed through.

Home for me I believe will always me a very modest, 3-bedroom tract house in a north Minneapolis suburb. Not the trendy sort of community built around parks or little shops with walking trails, this was the old school, just-off-an-industrial-complex-to-support-the-working-families sorta place. While I didn’t know anyone who’s family worked for “the Arsenal”, it was that industrial complex that was associated with our housing development, complete with chain link fence topped in barbed wire. Around the industrial complex, that is … our neighborhood was wide open with very few fences around the yards.

The Arsenal was to the south of our neighborhood; to the north was “the swamp”. While not a swamp in the Everglades sense, it was a tract of land that sat a bit lower than most other areas and in the rainy seasons would gather and hold water. Cat tails grew there, small streams and rivulets trickled, but mostly pools held moisture for mosquito families to propagate and give us kids things to swat at while we tramped about the place.

The house itself lacks much in the way of character and has changed only quietly in the many years it’s served as a home base for the family. Small additions like handrails at the steps, a nice planter box out front, and a Peace Pole gracing the near corner are all new but don’t detract from the emotional association I have for this place as “home”.

I look at my current house, all the work Suzanne and I have put into it, the modifications we’ve made and the character we’ve given it, and it’s still not “home” in the same sense. We’ve been here 17 years … almost as many as I had been in that small house just outside the Twin Cities … and when I go home from work I end up here, but when I go home on vacation, I end up at the little house in the picture.


This word really does nothing for me. Doesn’t evoke an image, an emotional state, or even stories.

My family background is of a few European nationalities: English and Slovak on my mother’s side, French on my father’s. It’s likely more complex than that, but my lack of strong interest in family trees, family history, and the like has held this door closed to me.

When the word came up, after getting over my immediate dislike for it (it conjured nothing for me!), I thought about taking a picture of some Norse thing, heading to the Seattle waterfront and snapping a picture of the Columbus statue, or finding another thing of such ilk. In the end, I opted to save myself time, acknowledge this word carries little weight with me, and wait out the next week.


We earlier had transportation, railroad, and geometry, all words that included a lot of architectural images in them, so I was surprised they included this word. And, once again, my fellow photochallengers took up our cameras and snapped more arching bridges, railroad trestles, and major building edifices. I was at a loss.

There’s a lot of cool architecture around Seattle and I thought to snap either the Koolhaas library or the Gehry Experience Music Project building. Both are wildly expressive buildings, with the library being all angles and edges and the EMP being a continuous amorphous curving structure. But this time my schedule conspired against me: I was heading out to vacation and just didn’t have the time to make something happen.


Like heritage this was a hard word for me to photograph. And it appears for everyone else, too! I saw a low number of submissions for this word but there were a few good ones: a girl with long hair popping out of the water and snapping her head back so the water spins out, a boy standing with his hand raised to appear to be holding up something in the background, a long-exposure picture of someone in the dark writing a word with a flashlight (in this case, the word was “cliché”), and lots of nature macro shots.

As I noted at the start of this post, I’m more of a words guy, not an images guy, so this word (along with getting back from my vacation) failed me. I didn’t have time or creative energy to summon a visual cliché to share.


The good news is that our next word is summer and Seattle is enjoying a fabulous summer this year! Our gardens are popping, the weather is warm, and we’ve seen plenty of blue skies. I am sure I’ll have a good post to share with you later this week.

As always, thanks for reading.


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