Monday, August 31, 2009

Manuel, Manuel Manuel.....

Saturday night my buds and I had a bachelor party to go to. It was a super fun night and there was, of course, alcohol involved. I ended up having to leave my car at the house and have someone drop me off at home, but then again, nothing wrong with being responsible! Other than that, pictures are better than words....

Chillin' when I first arrived

I started off by drinking soda

Taking a picture of my friend Nate. He can't wait for the, uh, entertainment to arrive.

After the party with some of the girls there to pic us up. Lot of alcohol on that table!

I was so drunk by this time, but I was NOT kissing another girl here!

So, it was about this time that I got a ride home. We had to stop at a gas station and I apparently took that opportunity to get out of the car and start dancing. What is it with me, drinking, and dancing?!?! The aftermath is below...

August 31, 2009

August 31, 2009
Originally uploaded by pokermanuel
I'll tell you what Bub, it's hotter than sin out in these fields today!

I hope you aren't getting bored with these Mighty Muggs pictures. I personally count them as some of my favorites just because they seem to have such great personalities and character.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August 30, 2009 - Day 94 I wonder if this is considered a violation of the stated law? You may need to see this large to know what I am talking about.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29th, 2009 - Day 93

Anyone else think is a pretty crappy place to have a birthday party? Whoever planned this party should be fired! Nothing screams birthday joy like dry grass and green creek water!

I know the picture isn't anything special, but it was so random, I had to take a picture of it. Below is the up close view of the balloon. More interesting to look at, but then you don't really get the weirdness of where the balloon was found...


August 28, 2009 - Day 92

Mjolnir, only to the worthy

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August 26th, 2009 - Day 90

This is a plant outside, but I took it mostly because I thought it looked like a sparkler when seen in large size.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It seems like there is a lot of hostility going on right now. Today I read two stories that involved fighting. In one story, in the town of Land o' Lakes, Florida (which is a funny story all on its own with that name), a domestic dispute is under investigation where a woman came at her husband with a samurai sword. Of course, domestic violence is no laughing matter and the details of the argument are a he said, she said incident, but she came at him with a friggin' samurai sword! That is awesome.

In the other story, two teenage girls got in a fight and one girl, who claims she was just defending herself from the attacks, went Mike Tyson on the other girl and bit her ear. I would say this surprises me, but I must admit, when I was in high school, the girl fights on campus were almost always better than the guy fights. There was so much more rage and aggression! I wonder if the bite ended this particular fight instantaneously.

Then, while looking at my usual soccer news, I came across a story about a fight in a Bolivian soccer league game. I went right to YouTube to try to find it and thankfully found it. The video below starts off by showing how the hostility started; the usual pushing, cheap punches, etc. But halfway through the video, dude goes NINJA!

Wow, a flying kick! That dude meant serious business. Funniest part of this was when I showed this to a friend of mine and he said, "Dude had no clue it was coming. You never expect the other dude to go Mortal Kombat on you!"

There was even a little hostility on the home front today! Today I was in the backyard taking my daily picture and after I was done, I decided to snap a few quick photos of the dogs who were with me. Leia was on the ground when Orko walked up to smell her. The following ensued out of nowhere as I was about to snap an otherwise pleasant picture!


They normally get along really well and play all the time so I am not sure where this came from other than the fact that Leia can be a real bitch sometimes. I mean, as I type this they are playing, but I guess she went crazy for a brief second. You can almost see the "Holy Shit!" in Orko's eyes and little jump. We all go a little mad sometimes....

August 25th, 2009 - Day 89

Intruders! These boys are creeping on to my land! I had a hard time deciding what picture to use today. I ended up going with this one as I liked the details of the leaves and fence up close. Of course, you really have to click on it and see it large to appreciate that. The thumbnail doesn't do it justice. Below is the other angle/focal point that I ended up not using, but I think it's a pretty good alternate and although it is basically the same picture, it has a totally different feel.

Vine intruders

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 24th, 2009 - Day 88

First of all, I don't have two moons where I love; just some kind of weird reflection. You would swear I live on Tattooine!

I love that the illuminated moon is so bright, and yet, you can still see the outline of the full moon. Pretty cool how that turned out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Manuel on Movies #14

Only five movies this time, but I don't want to let it get too out of hand. Actually been kind of slow with movies this past month. I feel like I have watched more, but apparently not. Maybe Jess will think of something I may have missed when she reads this.

Twilight - This is the movie adaptation of the first book in the Twilight series. First off, I had been avoiding reading these as even though they involved vampires, they just didn't sound like something I would enjoy. But, I would eventually give in to peer pressure and read them. And they weren't bad. I thought the first wasn't bad, the second was a little better, the third was great, and well, the fourth ended up being a big letdown for me to end the series. I would watch the movie adaptation a week or so after I had read the book version.

And I didn't like it. The old saying goes, "But the movie is never as good as the book!" I don't necessarily believe that saying. Sure, the book is USUALLY better, but not always. This was one case where the saying remained true. I just didn't think the book translated well to the screen. Maybe because of choice of actors, maybe because of directorial decisions, or maybe because it just didn't work on screen, the movie was a huge letdown. In fact, some scenes, when translated from words to film looked downright silly and I almost laughed out loud at fairly serious points in the movie. If you haven't read the book, it is probably an ok movie, but for me, it just didn't work. It seemed like it was made by the Sci-Fi, oh excuse me, The SyFy network. 5 out of 10.

GI Joe - I will admit, I liked GI Joe as a kid, but nowhere near as much as Transformers or He-Man. I knew most of the characters and had a handful of the toys, but it came in a distant third in childhood cartoon favorites. Still, when I first heard that they were making a GI Joe movie, I was fairly excited. Then I saw the first trailer and my hopes were dashed. It looked downright silly and future trailers didn't change my view. But then I heard reports that early screenings were giving the movie fairly positive reviews. I had a glimmer of hope and decided to give it a shot.

It wasn't bad. It wasn't good by any means, but it wasn't bad. For a movie based on a cartoon, they stayed pretty faithful to the cartoon aspect of it. This really was a cartoon that just happened to have human actors. People jumped around, cars were driven, and dialogue was spoken as if straight from a cartoon on Saturday morning. The majority of acting was pretty bad and some of the special effects were downright laughable. That being all said, I enjoyed it. Why? Because I took the movie for what it was; a movie based on a cartoon. More than any other movie, you have to dispel all thoughts of believability and simply enjoy it for what it is. There are bad guys who want to blow up the world. There are good guys who need to stop them. Various special effects-laden battles across the globe ensue. Rinse. Repeat. 6.5 out of 10

Watchmen - I will first come out and say that I never read the Watchmen graphic novel. Perhaps I should have beforehand, but I just never got around to it. I never got around to seeing this movie in theaters either so when I recently rented it, I got the extended version. Now, as I never saw the original version, I don't know what was added, but the movie did feel long to me. This movie really had me torn. On one hand, there were parts that were simply breathtaking: beautiful from a visual standpoint, a soundtrack that fit perfectly, well acted, and paced wonderfully. From a storytelling standpoint, it really didn't get any better than what I saw. But then there were other parts that just dragged unnecessarily and to me, served no purpose. Perhaps, these scenes were added to simply be faithful to the source material. I can commend that. But from a simple movie standpoint, some things just didn't work for me and I became bored. By the end of the movie, despite the fact that I had seen some of the most impressive film making I had ever seen, I was ready for the film to end. Now, perhaps, I can go back and watch the shorter version and I will like it better. Perhaps the shorter version WILL feel like things are left out. Who knows? When it comes down to it, I liked the movie, but didn't love it. 7 out of 10

Street Kings - First of all, Keanu Reeves is the main star so don't expect world class acting(and I like Keanu Reeves). With that out of the way, Keanu plays a cop in L.A. who works for a unit who that makes some questionable choices. When a former partner is killed, an investigation begins that opens up the seedy side of the police force. What follows is a series of investigations, undercover ops, quadruple crossing, and death. It was pretty decent and if you like police action/dramas where someone has to get to the bottom of it all, even though it is predictable as all get out, you'll enjoy this movie. It is nothing special and certainly not memorable days later, but it is good for two hours of enjoyment. 7 out of 10.

Dan In Real Life - This is romantic comedy trying to disguise itself as an independent film. Steve Carell plays a man at a family reunion who falls in love with someone he shouldn't be falling for. At first, this movie does seem like it is going to be another quirky independent movie that seems to be really popular of later. The dialogue, the directing, everything seems to point in that direction. But by the middle of the movie, a lot of this charm seems to disappear and it becomes yet another romantic comedy. Now, it is not as cliche a romantic comedy as one starring Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Sandra Bullock, or whoever else keeps making the same formulaic movie over and over again. It rises above these, but in the end, it is more a romantic comedy than anything else. That doesn't automatically make it a bad movie, but from seeing previews and enjoying how the movie started, I expected a little more. 7 out of 10.

August 23, 2009 - Day 87

I had another idea for a picture today, but then I saw this bowl of veggies Jess had out and thought to take a picture of it while everything still had such vivid color. Taking a picture is about as close as I will get to these. Well, unless that tomato is processed into sauce and put on a pizza.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 22, 2009 - Day 86

Sick today and feeling pretty uninspired so here is what you would see if you looked down upon me while I am playing drums on Rock Band. I always play barefoot.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21st, 2009 - Day 85

Hanzo Steel!

My very own Hattori Hanzo sword. I bet you didn't know that I was a ninja in my spare time!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19th, 2009 - Day 83

The Bride leading the horror icons in a battle of wits

The only thing I regret about this picture is that I didn't frame it perfectly. I don't know how I didn't see the background distractions until post, but I am overall happy with it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Famous!

Ok, I am not super famous, but it's a start! Today, August 17th, 2009 is quite a monumental day for me. My photography "career" jumped up to the next level today as one of my photos now resides on the wall of someone other than a loving family member. About a month ago Alien commented on one of my photos that it would look great in his basement and inquired on how to get a copy. I told him if he paid for the printing price, it was his as I am not in the money making business yet. Not only did he want one of my photographs to grace his wall, but he wanted it to grace his wall in 16x20 glory. I was a little worried as I hadn't printed anything that big and wasn't quite sure how it would turn out, but I went ahead and ordered the print and had it sent to his house.

Today, I got the pictures.....

He told me he was pleased with it and from the pictures alone, I would have to agree. I can't describe the feeling I have seeing a picture I took, framed, on somebody's wall. It is an honor and I am sure that I am getting more joy out of this than Alien is. This is truly an exciting day for me!

August 17, 2009 - Day 81

Have a Seat

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

August 15th, 2009 - Day 79

See you guys on my table in a little over three months!

I apologize for the slight blurriness. I had to use my telephoto lens for this and I didn't have the tripod to steady myself. Oh well, they can't all be as crisp as I want them.

August 14, 2009 - Day 78

You HAVE to see this one large!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12th, 2009 - Day 76

Potpourri - This is another picture that really needs to be seen in large size to fully appreciate it

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Testosterone...

If you are a reader of the blog, you know how excited I am for The Expendables, Stallone's upcoming mindless action extravaganza! Go here if you need to refresh your memory.

Well, there is another movie that might rival it for pure awesomeness. Machete is officially a reality and I have been waiting on this one for some time. What is Machete? Well, a couple of years ago, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez collaborated to make two films that were an homage to grindhouse style films of yesteryear. They each made their own film, but when it was released in theaters, the two were shown together as a double feature and it was aptly named Grindhouse. To make it even more realistic, they got the help of some guest directors to film some fake trailers that were shown before each film. One of the fake trailers, Machete, was made by Rodriguez himself and starred the awesome Danny Trejo. Watch it below, but a warning, there is some T&A and language if you are watching at work. It is worth a look though...

Pretty kick ass, right? Well, apparently, I wasn't the only one who thought so and the fake Machete character became maybe more popular than the real films it preceded. So, rumors of making it into a real movie began with Rodriguez leading the rumors himself. Well, last week, production was finally started and even though a few rumors of who else would be in it had leaked, the final cast list was more than I could have hoped!

So who is in it? Well, of course, Danny Trejo has to be in it. He's Machete himself. Cheech Marin and Jeff Fahey are also returning to reprise their trailer roles. But we can't stop there. How about they add Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Segal, Lindsey Lohan, and Don Johnson!?!? Wow, where did they all come from? First, De Niro....if you can get him for your movie, you've already done something right. I mean, it's De Niro. Adding the hot Jessica Alba and the kick ass Michelle Rodriguez brings some much needed females to the testosterone filled movie. Steven Segal? Hell, why not? As one of the few 80s action stars not in The Expendables, it will be good to see him back in a movie that isn't a straight to DVD movie that only a few people will see. Lindsey Lohan? Really, what else is she doing and maybe this can be another career start for her. That mess of a human could surprise us and summon her Mean Girls days when she was actually good. And Don Johnson; well, has he made any movies since Tin Cup in the late 90s? I don't think I have seen him since and well, he was pretty likable as a prick in that movie. I mean, this could really work. I don't think it quite reaches the level of Expendables badass-edness, but it looks like it could be close...

August 11th, 2009 - Day 75

A house and a rising sun. Sunrise this morning...

Sunday, August 09, 2009

August 9th, 2009 - Day 73

I went the unconventional route on this one. I saw this two-colored habanero pepper and thought it looked really cool. However, I didn't like the idea of just doing a regular photograph with the pepper of course being right smack in the center of the picture. Too normal I guess. I lucked out that the rope was right above it. So, I focused on the rope, kept the pepper slightly off centered and not really in focus, and I came up with this. I think it actually makes much more of a dramatic statement that way.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

August 8th, 2009 - Day 72

Day 72 - August 8th, 2009

This is one of those rare ones that actually looks better the bigger you make it. I have it as my new wallpaper and it looks great! Hard to get the clarity of that top focal point without size.

Friday, August 07, 2009

August 7th, 2009 - Day 71

I was walking in the field by my house when I came across about 10 pounds of dog food someone had just dumped there. I thought it looked colorful and went with it. What a waste, but a gain for me.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Battered, brusied, but not broken

I finally went to the doctor today for the ankle I twisted about 10 days ago while playing basketball. This was what it looked like the day after for you non Facebook people...

It would actually look worse the day after this was taken. Anyway, the swelling and bruising is mostly gone, but it still feels like crap. As a result, I hit the doctor's office. As soon as he felt around and I told him where it hurt, he gave me a funny look and told me he was going to send me right down for an x ray. I went back up after the x rays were taken, and luckily, there is no break. He thinks it is just a bad sprain, but I could have possibly torn some ligaments. Anyways, all I can do is rest it, which really sucks, because I haven't exercised for 2 weeks now and I am actually missing it. I want to start doing some running after the 5k I did, but that is on hold. Anyway, he said to come back if it is not better in 2 weeks. We shall see.

Not much else is going on in my life. Just doing the whole daily picture thing and loving every minute of it. I hope you are too. Jess gets to go to Newport Beach and stay at a resort/spa on Sunday for a few days, but I'll talk about that while she is gone.

Til then, check out some crackers that have the munchies....

August 4th, 2009 - Day 68

My first attempt at doing some softening of a picture. Jess smelling a giant Dahlia in my dad's garden.

Monday, August 03, 2009

August 3rd, 2009 - Day 67

Sunset in my backyard. Would have been cooler if the flowers weren't dying, but I could also say I planned it that way - the sun going down on the flowers that are on their last legs. That's

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August 1, 2009 - Day 65

August 1, 2009 - Day 65
Originally uploaded by pokermanuel
Birth of a Branch

July 31st, 2009 - Day 64

I pretty much got the shot I wanted here: I wanted the net to be the focal point with some action in the background. I would have liked to get closer to the net, but didn't want to disrupt the game. I got a funny bonus though upon developing this. I love that Jason is leaning towards the side to hit the ball, but if you look closely, his beer stays completely upright. That is dedication!