Okay, friends! Thanks to the fantastic efforts of Jennette, my very own personal web fairy from Make My Blog Pretty, the Snerkology juggernaut is ready to re-launch! All of the archives from the original .com site, the Blogger site, AND this WordPress site have been combined, and the blog will be relaunched as Snerkology.com at 11:00 p.m. EST (not PST) tonight. World Famous Nosh, Snerkology Media, and Photos by Tiffany will soon follow, though since they already have their own domains you won’t see much of a change – they’re all just going to live on Dreamhost where they can be safe and backed up in case of an alien attack. Or zombie apocalypse.

That means as of tomorrow morning (or even 11:01 tonight, if you’re so inclined) you can start at the VERY FIRST SNERKOLOGY ENTRY of 9/15/2000, and click “next” through ten and a half years of my blatherings. Does that sound like a good time or what?

What that also means is that you need to update your links and feed readers to point to snerkology.com. I’m pretty sure you’ll be redirected anyway, but just to be on the safe side, I recommend updating the links. You wouldn’t want to miss a SINGLE PITHY MOMENT, would you?

See ya on the flip!

** Updated 7:30 p.m. – New blog is going live at 11:00 p.m. EST, not PST.

Say Hellew, Please!

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Blogthings, Friends, Pimp

It’s that time of year again! It’s National Delurking Day!

Who are you? Why are you here? How did you find me? Will you be my friend? Will you tell me a story?

Will you leave a comment? Show me some love up in da club!

(Badge blatantly stolen from Loralee.)


Posted: January 13, 2011 in Memory Lane

Linking to a post I wrote before, because I wrote it well enough then and I still feel that way now. So why write it again? Ain’t broke, not fixing.

February 7, 2003 – All Around

(p.s. – Beware the “Laura” and “Calvin” thing. Ah, those were the days.)

Life and the monetary support of such got in the way of me doing what I really wanted to do today, and that was to write about the ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC weekend that Bill and I just had. We had a Jeep Wrangler for the whole weekend and we USED THE HELL OUTTA IT. So. Consider this a taste of the gloriousness to come:

Roosevelt Lake from the apex of Four Peaks Road.

Roosevelt Lake from the apex of Four Peaks Road.

My boss put a word in with a manager of an AcronymCo group over in Massachusetts, letting him know that I was interested in making the move back East, and to keep me in mind for any forthcoming openings. It barely registers as a preliminary step in our goal to move closer to my home state, but the thought of it generated in me a little bit of excitement nonetheless. I immediately hopped onto the internet and started researching towns close to the campus. Bedford caught my eye, but I pretty much immediately ruled it out entirely as a candidate for our future home. Holy hell, is that one exclusive little town. According to its Citi-Data, the median income for a family is $112,000, in a population of 13,800. The median family income for the town we live in now is $68,000, and we’ve got a population of 255,000.

Housing prices drop dramatically over the New Hampshire border (not to mention the non-existence of sales tax), and certain towns in and around Nashua are within a 50-minute drive to the AcronymCo plant, and a two-hour drive to Portland Maine/J’s Oysters/the Old Port/every place I hold dear in this life/HOMEHOMEHOME.

The upshot of all of this being that if I can’t actually be IN Maine, I’ll settle for being CLOSE TO Maine. 120 miles away beats 2,771 miles away, HANDS DOWN. Transferring to the Massachusetts AcronymCo has the added benefit of, you know, not having to JOB HUNT. Hello, tenure. Hello, sabbatical #3 in 2016.

Ih, we’ll see. It’s a long-ish shot. But stranger things, and longer shots, have happened.


Bill and I are working on resurrecting our MojoVation (that’s mojo and motivation). Gradually over the last few years, we’ve let the upkeep of our home slide a little. And as that upkeep slid, so did our positive attitude about, well, pretty much everything. We’re always happier when we’re busy, when we’re productive, when we have projects that we can work on together. So in 2011 we’re going to address ALL THE THINGS. Painting things and drywall things and fixing things and maintenance things and whatnot things. Which will make us happier. Which will, in turn, motivate us. Which will, in turn, inspire us to do MORE WITH THE THINGS.

The upshot of all of that being that when we’re ready to make the Big Move, the house will be in good order to sell, or rent, or sit idle. And if the Big Move doesn’t happen (but OH it will!), we’ll still have a house that we’re happy with. And people can come over and we won’t relegate them to just a few rooms. And we’ll have a guest room in which to put up the people that we really like.

Like you.


It’s January of the calendar, which means that I have begun considering vacation destinations for this year. August’s trip to MotoGP in Indianapolis is already arranged but for the flights, but that only covers a few days and I have a full 21 days to schedule. THAT is a happy lunchtime occupation, let me tell you. That we’re going to Maine is a given – I was going to try to go for my cousin’s baby shower, but my aunt just called me two days ago to say it was being held the last Sunday of THIS month, which is too short of a notice to give my boss. So! Bill and I are probably going to go in the first part of June, when the weather is nice but the tourists aren’t overwhelming and we can meet the baby in person. I have made it clear to my uncle that he has to sit down with me for a couple of solid days, while I scan all of our old family photographs. Someone has to be there to tell me who the hell all the people in them are.

And then I got to thinking… it’s only a five hour drive from Portland to Montreal, and Montreal has this little race that’s held in the first couple of weeks of June every year. You might have heard of it… Formula One? So I thought, how COOL would it be to fly into Portland, hang there for a day or two, drive up to Canada for three or four days for the race, then back down to Maine to finish our vacation? Fast on the heels of that tentative plan was a G-chat message to my good (and handily-located) friend Sherry, who not only LIVES in the Montreal area, but has also been to that F1 race and has all the inside deets!

I swear to God, I don’t know how any of us got anything done, let alone had any FRIENDS, before the Internet.

Anyway, no plans are set in stone yet, but usually once we have a thought like this, for a vacation that we can get very enthusiastic about, we tend to run with it. Case in point.


So! I get to wrap this day up by going over to Discount Tire to get the two rear tires replaced on the truck. Bill had to rescue me from the AcronymCo parking lot a couple of days ago, when I discovered upon trying to leave for the day that the rear driver’s side tire was flat. I called him, he did his Man Thing involving jacks and cursing and whatnot, and I was on my way again in a little more than half an hour. Beat THAT, AAA! We took the tire to Discount Tire, where it was discovered that the hunk of metal was embedded to close to the sidewall to be able to fix. They placed an order for new tires, which came in today, and that’s what I’m doing after work instead of drinking BEER. THEN we have to drop the truck off early tomorrow morning at the dealership for some scheduled maintenance, which may interfere with our plans to go up to Prescott for the day. Though if we can secure a rental car we might be okay.

Ain’t it grand to be a grown-up? $450 bucks that we didn’t anticipate having to spend and there goes my new flash. Thanks a lot, LIFE.

So, you guys have any grandiose plans for the weekend? Dish!


Posted: January 3, 2011 in Headspace
Tags: ,

Don’t be afraid to get lost. It’s a precursor to knowing exactly where you are.

Peace and chaos are self-created.

Sing. A lot. Out loud. It loosens things up in your insides that probably need loosening.

If you only ever keep your temper, try losing it. If you only ever lose your temper, try keeping it. There is liberation in both.

Take one single long, deep breath. Then let it all the way out. Chances are, you haven’t done that in a while.

Silence is an indulgence, and is hard to find. When you find it, be patient and still in it. Revel in it.

Homesickness is a gift. It means that you once lived in a place, and at a time, that was precious.

Grief is a gift. It means that you loved, and were loved. It means that a part of them became a part of you. The feeling you have in your heart isn’t a hollowing out, but a filling in.

Feel what you feel, with no excuses, no inhibitions, no guilt.

Hold close to you the things that make you whole, and let go of the things that don’t reflect light upon your soul.

There is strength in vulnerability, every grief and hurt and sadness builds upon that strength, and happiness is more accessible than it sometimes may seem.


Now it’s your turn. Start up an entry, grab a notebook. What are YOUR truths? What are the things that you know, that you REALLY, deep down in your heart, know? Write it down. We all need reminding every now and then, even if we are only reminding ourselves.

Sig Sauer 556

Image courtesy of http://www.sigsauer.com. Click to embiggen.

This is the latest purchase in our armament against the Zombie Apocalypse. This is a Sig Sauer 556 Classic SWAT and we picked it up last week as a kind of Christmas present that Bill gave himself. However, it came with a rather flimsy magazine. So Bill bought a dual mag with a mag clip to fix that little issue. Hopefully we’re going shooting today and I’ll post about how much we enjoyed it, because I’m sure we will. Well, I mean, watch:

As a public service note, and unrelated to our purchase of the Sig Sauer5 556, if you too are arming yourself against the zombie apocalypse and you’ve purchased a Saiga 12 shotgun (which I wrote about here), be aware that the magazines provided by Surefire, specifically the SGM mags, WILL NOT FEED PROPERLY. So far only the stock five-round magazine will feed properly without gun smithing involved. The Surefire SGM’s are angled incorrectly even when used in tandem with a mag well, so the first round will not even load properly, and subsequent rounds if you do get the thing working will stovepipe and immediately jam. You can probably fix this if you modify the gun, but keep in mind that if you do that you will no longer be able to use stock magazines.

We can’t speak to any other Surefire products, just these particular magazines which seem to have prevalent issues.

I would like to point out that I linked to Carolina Shooters Supply several times in this entry, and we cannot say enough positive things about them. Their customer service and level of expertise have been fantastic and we will continue to purchase from them in the future. So even though the Surefire stuff didn’t work out, that was certainly not their fault and they have provided excellent customer support throughout.

These are the sorts of topics for which Bill really needs to start his own blog, don’t you think? You do realize that he TOTALLY dictated this entire entry to me, don’t you? I mean, come on. He could become the Resident Internet Expert on the Zombie Apocalypse! He even has the handbook, given to him by the kids as a Christmas present:

Written by the author, completely without irony. It's... fantastic.

Aaaaand… before I can hit publish on this thing, Bill wants me to let you all know that the DSA SA58 is up next. Well, I published my wish list yesterday, so I guess it’s only fair that his gets airtime, too. You guys, if we weren’t on some sort of a government watch list before, we sure as hell are now.

Hello, friends! Happy New Year!

A non-zero number of you have asked about my writing schedule for 2011. I think this was spurred by the fact that you (they) saw less of me over at UpTake and Beyond Megapixels in November and December. The special project I was working on at UpTake occupied my writing quota – if you follow me on Facebook you may have seen the “playlists” I was publishing for a while (like this one). Now that the project is wrapped up, I’ll be going back to my regular posting schedule of two vacation blog posts per week. As for Beyond Megapixels, I’ve decreased my writing quota over there a bit (7 per month at the moment, plus the contributions of a very excellent guest writer), but we’re hoping that will pick back up in the new year (oh, and I know I pimped it on Twitter and Facebook, but if you haven’t read my latest article, you should! I’m proud of it, and it’s been getting really positive feedback! Which was the point.). Finally, I’m still writing for Demand Studios, to the tune of about three or four articles a week.

It strikes me, as I peruse the job boards for more freelance work, that I’m much more optimistic about being able to one day support our family on my writing income. It also strikes me that, as much as I love photography, it is to my writing that I continue to turn to pursue my ambitions. I guess one’s first love is always one’s strongest love. Plus, of course, it’s easier to freelance in writing when one has a full-time job – I can write at night and on weekends and only have to contend with my own schedule. It’s harder to line up photography gigs around a full-time job.

Not that I plan on backing off on my photography goals. Quite the opposite is true – I am now a card carrying member of NAPP and I bought a subscription to Kelby Training just last week (both tax write-offs!). I’ve only watched a few training videos so far, but the very first one, a photo walk of New York City with Jay Maisel, was worth EVERY PENNY of that subscription. If you’re serious about learning photography, and you’re looking for a great alternative to formal education, consider signing up for Kelby Training! It’s a truly excellent resource. And I’m totally plugging them for free – I seriously doubt that anyone at Kelby Media Group even knows that I exist.

Bill continues to encourage me on the photography front – he got some overtime over the holidays and wants me to spend it on gear. That was a supremely generous gesture, wasn’t it? So I’m looking at a 580 EXII Speedlite. Further along on the gear-purchasing front, I still have plans to turn Amanda’s bedroom into a small studio eventually, and now that I have Kelby’s “10 Essential Studio Techniques Every Photographer Needs to Know” training under my belt, I know exactly what I need. A wide roll of white paper on a rod and stand to serve as a simple yet effective background, this Elinchrom strobe kit, this Elinchrom softbox, and this Westcott strip bank. For $1600 and an understanding of how lighting works, I can do professional work that rivals, well, the professionals! So, that’s my next big purchase to be worked for over the coming months.

Then I’m going to get this 70-300 telephoto (there’s a much more expensive L-series of the same focal range and speed, but I’m not convinced the extra GRAND is worth it, and reviewers agree with me). This macro lens and this wide angle lens will wrap up all the lens purchases I wish to make. I hold no expectation that I’ll be able to purchase all of these within the next year, or even within the next two years. A wish list is named thus for a reason.

When I worked with my friend Karen’s daughter and her friends back in October, I found that I really enjoyed the experience. I think my niche just might be that sort of assignment. I like going to client’s homes or working on location (as my work with Sandstone attests to). My friends have asked my why I don’t want to be a wedding photographer – to which I respond that I don’t want that kind responsibility. I don’t want the responsibility of capturing the details of the most important day of a person’s life. I work much better in a less formal atmosphere. Hence wanting to develop my own studio, and enjoying location work that doesn’t involve gowns and cake and nerves. I would much rather attend a wedding and gift the bride and groom with the shots that I took as a guest.

I also like shooting a variety of subjects – people, sure, but also products and architecture and landscapes and food and sports. I guess I liken it to being a General Practitioner, rather than specializing in a particular service. One of my goals for this year is to further formalize my portfolio, which demonstrates examples of all of these types of photography. I have a portfolio on my media site, but it needs to be updated and re-vamped. Plus, it provides access to ALL of my photos on Flickr, and, well, many of them are NOT portfolio-worthy.

Finally, there will be a total overhaul of Snerkology, its domain, and its off-shoots. Snerkology (including the original site), World Famous Nosh, Snerkology Media, and Photos by Tiffany will all finally be under one roof, and hosted on Dreamhost. I am very excited about this in particular, as the site redesign has been a long time coming. Details are just about finalized (yes, I’m hiring someone, and she comes highly recommended), so rest assured you guys will be receiving regular updates. For now, I’ve just finished my own About.me page which helps to summarize my Internet domination. I think it needs a better picture on it still, but for now that one will do.

I think that’s quite enough ambition for one year, don’t you? AcronymCo continues to find me employable for some unfathomable reason, we have a trip to Maine and a trip to Indy planned this year, I have grand plans for debt payoff and eventual solvency (mostly), tax season is upon us so I have to get all of THAT crap together in the next few weeks, I have a workout schedule that I think finally jives with my level of ambition (snort) and my schedule… and I don’t understand what it is within myself that disallows even one SECOND of laziness.

I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs on the subject of the coming year, so I know I’m not alone.

BRING IT, 2011!

But I mean, well, GOD! Look at that, would you? We had that for our Christmas dinner and everybody FELL ON THE FLOOR DEAD, it was that good. And the gravy? That was supposed to be au jus but I thickened it? Was the BEST DAMNED GRAVY I have EVER made. I would totally take a bath in that gravy. And lick it all off when I got out.

(Head’s up, this is where the swearing and the all caps starts.)

Oh, ha. Speaking of gravy. Did I ever tell you guys this story? Back when Bill and I first got together – like, the first MONTH we were together, we were making fried chicken for dinner. He asked me if I knew how to make gravy. At that time, I did not. Because:

1. My ex didn’t like gravy (I KNOW, RIGHT);
2. My Grandmother had never taught me because she was the Gravy Maker Extraordinare and Get Thee Hence From My Kitchen You Amateur;
3. I usually stuck with buffalo wings and plates of asparagus when I was single;
4. I was 23 years old. How many 23-year-olds do you know that know how to make gravy from scratch, I ask you?

So. We’re in the kitchen, puzzling until our puzzlers were sore. He looked at me, looked at the drippings, looked at the phone, and visibly came to a decision. As I watched in growing HORROR, he picked up the phone, DIALED HIS EX-WIFE (who wasn’t actually officially “ex” yet, at the time) and ASKED HER HOW TO MAKE GRAVY. I could hear her incredulous, “You’re kidding, right?” from across the kitchen. But, here’s the thing. She told him, step by step, and didn’t include such waylaying ingredients as, oh, say, HEMLOCK. Which was nice. BUT, she told him in a mocking manner that was all, “Oh HO, you’re new pretty little plaything doesn’t know how to do EVERYTHING that makes you happy, does she?” Which was NOT nice. I don’t blame her, but still. Hey now.

(Of course, if I have to teach Bill’s next little chippie how to make my meatloaf, I’m gonna be all, “… and then you add a half-cup of chopped pickled herring… yes really! Trust me…”)

Anyway. He hung up, I beat him about the head and shoulders, and we made a passable gravy. And then, OH AND THEN, BY GOD, I learned how to make fucking gravy. BETTER gravy. Absolutely fucking AWESOME goddamn motherfucking gravy.

(End swearing/all caps zone.)


New Year’s Eve is upon us. We are foregoing the partying, but probably not foregoing the hangover. Just gonna hang at home and watch movies, and feed whoever shows up. Here’s the planned nosh, in case you need some inspiration for your own festivities:

Bruchetta with toast points
Buffalo Chicken Dip, with tortilla chips and celery
Cheese Enchilada Chowder
– Finger sandwiches (chicken salad, ham, whatnot)
Four Bean Salad
– Chips and pretzels and whatnot

Of course, if you happen to be in the area, you can drop on by! Pajamas are encouraged. Pants are optional.


Posted: December 27, 2010 in insomnia, Memory Lane
Tags: ,

It’s 2:30 in the ay-em, and I’ve been awake since 1:15. I don’t think anyone ever greets bouts of insomnia with enthusiasm. So, dammit.

I’ve suffered with insomnia off and on for my entire life. I distinctly recall weekends spent at my aunt and uncle’s home – they lived the next town over and took me for the weekend at least once a month, from the time I was about two or three, until my teenage years. My aunt would make up the living room couch for me, and everyone in the household went to bed at 9:00. The lights would switch off, goodnight’s would be called, and in very short order I’d hear my uncle’s distinct snore rumbling from down the hall. I’d try to settle my mind to sleeping, and was just never able to manage it. I’d listen to the clock tick, stare out the window at the streetlight, and wait and wait and wait. Sometimes I would cry in frustration – sleeplessness is, after all, an entirely lonely, solitary, frustrating occupation.

Sometimes I would get up and sit in the kitchen with a glass of water, and my aunt would find me just sitting there, blinking, in the dim light coming from the stove lamp. She’d fix me a cup of chamomile tea, sit at the counter while I sipped at it, then usher me back into the living room and tuck me back in. And there I’d lay, blinking at the lightening horizon, until I heard my uncle’s alarm go off and everyone would roll out to start the day. Every time I stayed with them, I walked into the visit with the knowledge that I would get exactly zero sleep – or, any sleep I managed to grab was during afternoon naps laying across the foot of my aunt’s bed, on her folded wedding ring quilt.

I never could explain – to them or to myself – why I could never sleep when I visited them. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that the worst news I’d ever received in my young life – that of my mother’s passing, and that of Brad’s passing – occurred at that house, while I was visiting them. That I was there at the time of my mother’s passing was intentional – I was left in my aunt and uncle’s safekeeping while the family dealt with my mother’s hospital stay, surgery, and eventual passing. That I was there when Brad died was just an unhappy coincidence – his accident just happened to occur on one of my weekends with them.

I was also never able to sleep at my friend Elizabeth’s house. As is often the case for kids living in the sticks, weekend sleepovers were common. I’d stay at her place on Friday night, right “off the bus” from school. Then her mom would drive us to Grandma’s in the early afternoon, and she’d stay at my house on Saturday night. Grandma would haul our butts to church on Sunday (this was before she became a Witness and we were attending a Baptist church), and Elizabeth would be dropped back off at home after the service. On the nights I stayed with Elizabeth, more often than not it was my asthma that kept me awake. Back in those days inhalers were little more effective than Primatine Mist, and since she had an abundance of pets AND her home was heated primarily with a wood stove, I was never really able to breathe well. I could handle it for the most part during the day, when our adventures took us outside, and when I was upright.

But at night, laying down, things quickly escalated to the point of near panic. So I would sit outside in the middle of the night, on their front steps in the weak light of their porch lamp, brace my arms behind me and shoulders climbing to my ears to help expand my lungs. I’d do the breathing exercises my doctor taught me, listen to the crickets if it was summer or shiver my ass off if it was winter, and wait and wait and wait. Many times Elizabeth’s mother caught me creeping in or out, and her cure for what ailed me was a hot cup of chamomile. She’d sit me down in the kitchen, or she’d bring it to me out on the steps, she’d pat my head and tell me not to wander around in the middle of the night, and she’d go back to sleep. Leaving me to sip, and stare, and breathe.

Sleeplessness happened less often at my own home, but when it did it wasn’t nearly the exercise in loneliness and frustration that it seemed to be elsewhere. I would simply switch on my bedside lamp, choose a book from my bookshelf, and wile away the hours. Or I’d quietly let myself out the back door and into the screen house in the back yard, where I would sit and breathe and listen to the night sounds. Occasionally my Grandmother, who was a light sleeper, would discover my awake state, and she’d fix me a mug of chamomile tea. We’d sit together in the screen house, or at the kitchen table, and she’d stay up and talk with me until I finished every drop. She’d ask me if I was sleepy, and if I was she’d tuck me back in, kiss my forehead, turn off my light, and leave my bedroom door open a crack. If I wasn’t sleepy she’d tell me to “keep my butt inside the house”, then tuck me in with my book and a glass of water, hunt up the cat and deposit him on the foot of my bed, kiss my forehead, and leave my bedroom door open a crack.

Tonight – this morning – I’m awake yet again. The routine hasn’t changed all that much, I just address my sleepless state with a great deal less frustration than I used to. It’s an opportunity for me to read, or surf the web, or watch something I DVR’ed. Tonight, I have a warm ball of purring cat at my side, an itch to write, and a hot mug of chamomile tea. Funny thing is, I don’t particularly like the taste of chamomile. Some things are just ingrained, I guess.