Tag Archives: thought

He-She Fragility – Halloween VII

Most of the wo-men I saw on Oak lawn at the block party wore “exagerated” women artifacts (read triple Ds) but two stood out of the crowd. They had not bothered much with fake. They seemed simply ambiguous.


Not as elegant… but strangely feminine

Up close incredibly unsettling

In all honesty, the annoyance in her face could arise from me holding her captive with my camera. I just would not let her go (think rabid dog), and she obviously had better things to do than to hang out with me. Still, no way was she going to pass me by… then she intimidated me with a VERY loud sigh and I lost her to the crowd.

Dallas Gay Pride Parade – My Boy Lollipop – (20/gazillion)

I know, I know… Not for me.

Way too young…

Dallas Gay Pride Parade – Posse – (3/gazillion)

Then the popo arrived on horses, led by Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

Lupe Valdez is the only female elected Sheriff in Texas and she is openly gay.

She generally rides a convertible in the Parade, but the horse was a nice touch.

One of her posse

Another posse member

I was not arrested during the commission of this work.

If after taking a look at these photographs, you imagine Dallas to be a McCloud type of town with all kind of minorities riding horses to rescue you from the baddies, you would be wrong. Cops in shorts riding their bikes around the lake is unfortunately as exotic as it gets.

If I may add, the other day, I was fined by two policemen in a cruiser for not wearing a helmet while riding my bike leisurely around the lake. It is nice to see that while the city is crime-ridden, it has funds to pay two cops in a cruiser under a tree to sit around all day busting people like me. A fine example of tax dollars at work.

In Dallas, it is illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet. It is also totally legal to ride a motorbike without one.

I’ve digressed, haven’t I?

Dallas Gay Pride Parade – Marshalls – (2/gazillion)

Our former City of Dallas Mayor, Laura Miller, was asked to officiate as one of two Grand Marshalls for this year’s Alan Ross Freedom Parade. The other Grand Marshall was Community Activist Mark Frazier.

The opening banner

Followed by cowboys (this is Texas folks!)

And the Rainbow Warrior

The horse appeared completely star-struck by the presence of former Mayor, Laura Miller (on the left)

I have never witnessed such big balls on a man

Big ball man seemed to have way too much fun in the course of his official duties if you ask me.

Toshogu, wat een chinese stuut!

Religion confuses me greatly. Raised in Belgium, a country where you either are catholic or not religious for the most part, I was a bit puzzled when first exposed to the myriad of different Christian denominations that exist in the US.

Japan with its mixture of Buddhism and Shinto left me confounded as well. The two co-exist in harmony and even complement each other. For example, a large number of weddings are held in Shinto style, but death being considered a source of impurity, most funerals are Buddhist ceremonies. Shinto Gods are called kami but many Buddhists view them as manifestations of Buddha.

Ross took me to Nikko to visit the Toshogu Shinto shrine (which also contains Buddhist elements – of course!) It is dedicated to the kami of Ieyasu who founded the Tokugawa Shogunate which ruled Japan from 1603 through 1867. To create a worthy shrine for the Shogun, 15,000 craftsmen worked for two years (just like for the Scottish castle!) and used 2.5 million sheets of gold leaf.

One of the telling signs you are entering a Shinto shrine and not a temple is a torii gate. This is the Ishidorii, one of the three best stone torii gates in Japan. The complex of shrines is surrounded by a magnificent forest of over 13,000 cedar trees.

The original seventeenth century five storied pagoda burned in 1815 and was rebuilt three years later. It has no floors inside, no foundations and contains a suspended pole which swings like a pendulum from the fourth floor to maintain the equilibrium of the pagoda during earthquakes.

Kikazaru, Iwazaru, and Mizaru

The Sacred Stable (Shinkyusha), is traditionally home to an Imperial white horse, a gift of New Zealand. The horse stays at the stable a few hours a day except when it rains or snows. It was raining on the day we visited so I did not get to see it.

I was wondering why so many people were standing around the empty building until I suddenly recognized the famous Three Wise Monkeys carving on the facade. The maxim originated out of a wordplay on “zaru” which means monkey, but is also an archaic negative verb conjugation.

Monkeys have been considered guardian protectors of horses since early times in Japan.

Another famous carving is that of the “Imaginary Elephant” on the Kamijinko, one of the three sacred warehouses. Why imaginary? The Chief Carver, Tanyu Kano had never seen an elephant therefore liberties were definitely taken for the representation.

While most Shinto shrines are characterized by a minimalist architecture that blends in the surroundings, Toshogu appears much more Chinese in its lavish intricate decoration, colors and representations of dragons, birds, flowers, and sages. Some are said to be repelled by its gaudiness but I found it mesmerizing. I would not want it in my living room but such splendor in the forest felt magical.

The mausoleum of Ieyasu in comparison to the pictured constructions is very simple but I took no photographs of it. You have to climb 200 very steep steps to accede his tomb and there were just way too many other things to see without exerting yourself in the process. My mother would kill me, but disown me first. I’m glad she does not read my blog.

The lanterns are very beautiful. There are more than 120, all donated by warlords.

This one has an added human element.

There were a lot of people despite the rain. Some seemed more appropriately dressed than others.

Honestly, I do not know what is happening here. It appears that the hand of a small child is rubbing the shaved cranium of one of the men. I wonder if Ross’ students try to pat his head too.

A classic!

Cool looking painter who could have come straight out of a Tintin book

Japanese tourists

Purification troughs are typically found near the entrance of a Shinto shrine. There is a precise ritual involved in cleansing yourself: you need to fill a ladle with fresh water and clean both hands, then transfer some water from your cupped hand to your mouth, rinse it, and spit the water next to the fountain. You cannot put the ladle to your mouth nor are you ever supposed to swallow the water. A lot of people skip that step all together.

Another very cool lantern.

This is a God.

This is a photograph taken by Ross of someone holding what would appear to be a heavy God.

The God of Thunder

The God of Wind

A Very Blue God

A Dragon guardian

While we visited, a dance festival was taking place in front of the five storied pagoda. At first, I attempted to photograph it holding the camera with one hand and the umbrella with the other, but I gave up because frankly the process lacked the comfort factor. At the end however, the weather improved, and poor Ross who thought we were driving back to Numata was in store for an other hour of Japanese dancing photography. Ross is a very patient man (thank you!)

Save the Cheeseleader. Save the World.

A few weeks ago, Pat Coakley from Single for a Reason wrote about seeing the world through someone else’s eyes. planetross (“I am the Cheese”) picked me as a victim and he penned a very funny post. Being ridiculously impulsive, most of the time to my detriment, I volunteered to take a peak at his cardboard world through my rather deficient eyes.

That was a typical example of being ridiculously impulsive. See?

For the next few days, nathaliewithanh I’m not; I am now cheesewithanh. Haha!

note: I do not intend to fly as high as the man himself. That would be impossible. Waist-size is probably as lofty goal as I can attain.

double note: standing up, waist level is probably where I reach him anyway.

Hey Matt You Slacker! Gotcha!

Leave an innocent comment on my blog and next thing you know… You are the story. So here is to you, Matt, just because… Ever since I added you to my blogroll, you haven’t produced a single post. You let me down. I don’t like to be let down.

Hotel Halloween
Hotel Halloween

The Shining
The Shining
Family portrait with Rosemary\'s baby
Family portrait with Rosemary’s baby

HanniMatt Lecter doll

Hannimatt Lecter Doll

Matt the Dragon Slayer, I think
Matt the Dragon Slayer, I think

Now Matt, I understand you would like to dedicate your time and grey matter to higher intellect endeavors, but come on, nothing could ever be as much fun as blogging! Whom will you taunt with your usual obnoxiousness?

One last one… For the road.

Now THESE look like tracksuits!
Now THESE look like tracksuits!

Sorry Allison! Before enrolling your help, I should have stipulated you were fair game too.

Nude is beautiful

Boudoir photography: what a delicate affair! What an awesome responsibility entrusted in my petite hands!

I like my subject nude. I believe the woman makes a statement with her body, not Victoria Secret or La Perla.

Nude 5

I like my subject nude, baring all, yet showing nothing.

Nude 2

I like my subject nude, an empty canvas for me to paint.

Nude 3

Sexy can be in the eyes,

Nude 4

Or in a bit of drama,

Nude 6

Or simple curves…

Nude 7

I think some men may prefer to see photographs of their girlfriends or wives pre-packaged in lingerie and showing cleavage or boobs, a more pin-up version of boudoir I suppose, but frankly, I suck at that. I don’t have the feel for it. I want to show beauty, art, sensuality, and in the words of Colbert, truthiness.

My dead are better than yours

Just like any restaurant, club, or bar, the popularity of a cemetery rests upon the fame of its clients. In this case, its dead people. The Pere Lachaise in Paris got off to a rough start. It was inaugurated in 1804 with the burial of Adelaide Paillard de Villeneuve, a five year old girl. Who? Exactly my point.

For years, the cemetery dwindled with an inhumation here, an inhumation there… until 1817 when in a brilliant marketing move, the Mayor of Paris relocated Moliere and Lafontaine to Pere Lachaise. Et voila! By 1830, it boasted more than 33,000 tombs.

Pere Lachaise stairs

Climbing the stairs of the entrance Boulevard de Menilmontant, I realize how American I have become. My first thought does not address the beauty of time passed, but rather crudely the need for good liability insurance.

Per Lachaise an alley

Taking a walk in Pere Lachaise constitute a wonderful reprieve from the city’s crowded parks. Peaceful and artsy. That’s the one place where you can safely shush a child who does not belong to you. Respect for the dead trumps exclusive parental rights.

Dilapidated tombs

Some tombs appear dilapidated. Some wrestle with precarious balance. It’s charming.

Pere Lachaise mausoleum

Ancient mausoleums still bear the signs of remembrance.

Tomb of frederic Chopin

Then of course, there is the mingling with the famous. Chopin in the above flowery tomb. Across from him, Laprade holding a very small bouquet in comparison. Not as well-liked I suppose.


But the numero UNO reason why Americans all over the world know about Pere Lachaise is of course… The one and only Jim Morrison. Well, not to re-ignite the fire of resentment towards the French and spark a new freedom tomb controversy, but I surmise Jim Morrison got robbed.

Jim Morrison\'s tomb

Clearly. His tomb is lodged behind a mausoleum and wedged between two tombs. And what’s the point of being buried in Pere Lachaise if you don’t even have a commemorative statue adorning your place of respose? In all fairness, there was a bust but it was stolen in 1988. I opt for a life-size rendition. Preferably circa “young lion” years. With the leather pants s’il-vous-plait.