Tag Archive for little bird

A Little Bird Valentine

Little Bird is more metal than you.

This is my daughter, the Little Bird. This photo is a few years old, but she’s still pretty bad ass.

Today she brought home the Valentine she created for me at school. Pretty standard, hand-written stuff. Heart on the front.

Then I opened it and read it.

One note before you get to feel the love:

She has a friend who has a goldfish. Little Bird came home after visiting said friend one day last week and asked if she could have one, too. Why not, right? What’s it cost, like ten bucks at Wally World to get her all set up? It’s a no-brainer for her next birthday present this Spring.

There. Now here’s the card:

Dear Dad,

You are the best dad ever. I like beating you at Candyland. It is fun beating you at every single game. It is nice of you to let me have a fish. You are the best dad ever when I beat you at games.

Love,
[Little Bird]

Translation:

You’re cool because I can beat your ass at games and you buy me stuff.

Maybe I should buy her a piranha.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Crazy Hair Day

Little Bird had Crazy Hair Day for Spirit Week at school, so she became an easy subject for this week.

Crazy Hair Day

I’d say she and her mom did a good job

The trick to this one was killing our ugly-ass green walls while preserving her color rather than resorting to black and white again. I’m reasonably happy. The sparkly bow made it tough. (This project is always about learning, not perfection.)

I just now noticed Photo Friday dominates the blog for the month. Not cool. I’ve got a lot to share, but little time to do so. Even now I’m about to wrap up rewrites on a script before I can get some sleep.

I like being busy, but not being behind. I plan to be even by month’s end. Wish me luck.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Expressive Triptych

One of these weeks I’ll post on time. It’s been crazy again.

This time around, I shot a few random shots of my kids while I had the camera sitting in the car. We were at the gas station, and I started clicking away. I didn’t expect to use them for Photo Friday, as I planned on getting some photos at my karate dojo’s picnic. Instead Little Bird’s expressions won me over, and with a little tweaking I was happy with the results.

Snarl

Careful! She’ll cut you!

Sometimes she enjoys having her picture taken and loves to make faces. Other times, she’ll hide her face until I walk away.

Smile

And she’ll enjoy watching you bleed out.

I did a few color tweaks to the photos. The camera really flattened things out this time. I don’t know if it’s my camera’s chip or the RAW format shooting, but I’m glad I was able to give her at least a little life-like color in Lightroom.

Pout

But then she’ll remember she doesn’t know how to order pizza on her own.

I do wish, though, my 18-5mm lens were a little better at focusing. Sometimes it’s dead on, others it’s way off. I blame the kit lens because my 50mm prime is rarely this bad. Time to start breeding some pennies and hoping I can pull together enough to  buy a new lens.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: The Lookout

I wasn’t happy with the graduation photos I shot on Friday, so I used a photo from our family trip to Tower Park in Peoria Heights on Saturday.

The Lookout

"Some day, this will all be mine."

The Wife and I had been there before, so this time we took the kids to enjoy the view. The Tower is a functioning water tower with a half million gallons inside. An elevator carries visitors to a three-level observation deck two hundred feet up. Little Bird went up on her tiptoes to see over the edge, and I snapped this photo.

I managed to get a fun photo of the family, too, as I was coming down the spiral staircase after them.

The Family

"I'm crushing your head!"

The kids really enjoyed it, and given it was only $7.75 for all of us, it’s not a bad deal. The kids already want to go back.

As a bonus, there are plaques all around the perimeter of the observation deck. Most of them are arrows pointing to cities and their distances, ranging from local cities to more distant places like Los Angeles, Sydney, and even Polaris (the North Star). There are also a few plaques with famous quotations.

Immortality

Writing books counts, right?

I went up light, just carrying my kit lens. Sometime I would love to get a hold of a really good telephoto lens and see what kinds of things I can spot. Until I’m rich, though, the kit lens will have to do.

More photos from the set here, and the full Photo Friday set for 2012 is here.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Mom’s Little Bird

What mom wouldn’t swoon at a photo like this?

Tball Bird

Little Bird after her t-ball opening game

It’s funny how I shoot several photos during the game for Photo Friday, yet it’s the quick candid on the way home that makes the grade. I suspect it’s because I’m just not trying too hard.

I’m also a bit disappointed in the performance of my Canon 55-250mm lens. It’s not bad, especially given its an entry-level lens, but I’ve noticed it just doesn’t get very sharp photos of subjects at longer distances. Granted I need to work on my sharpening skills in Photoshop and Lightroom, but I feel like I should be getting better results straight off the camera. If I start saving some bucks now, maybe I’ll have enough for a real lens by the time the rugrats get into high school sports.

Bonus photo: while one rugrat was playing baseball, another tried to sneak up and take me out.

Assassin

He tried to shoot me in the back!

He didn’t count on my keen powers of observation as he crept from tree to tree behind the bleachers, and my shutter finger beat his trigger finger. To his credit, though, none of the other families on the bleachers noticed. Solid Snake would be proud.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Corona Ritas and the Scare Bear

Never did get around to posting last week’s Photo Friday entry, so I’ll tack it on to this week’s.

First up, an example of how the real writing work gets done:

Corona Rita

Yes, both glasses are mine. Why do you ask?

This is an improved shot from the night Cullen Bunn and I got together to chat about the writing biz and do some brainstorming. There in the foreground you can see my trusty Moleskine notebook. Nothing fuels a night of brainstorming like a few drinks, a belly full of tacos, and pencil in hand.

The Cerveza Rita, aka Corona Rita, is mighty tasty, by the way. Mix up a margarita, upend a bottle of beer in it, and drink up. As the level of the margarita drops, the beer starts to pour in. It mixes for a bit, until pretty soon you’re just drinking the last of the beer. If you’re the type of person who likes a lime in your Corona, I would suggest asking the bartender to drop it in the bottle before upending the bottle into the margarita glass.

This, by the way, was the small Cerveza Rita. (Hey, we’d just polished off a pitcher of the regular stuff.) They make a regular size with a regular bottle of Corona, and they make a large which is big enough for two bottles of Corona. Drink up!

This week’s photo is once again off the smartphone:

Scare Bear

Scare Bear attack!

Little Bird is so bad ass, she chases bears up tress!

We’ve seen this a statue a few times before, but this is the first I came up with this idea. Once again I’m reminded to carry my Digital Rebel with me more often. Sometime I’ll go back and re-shoot this with the Rebel, but we had fun with this oen and for now it stays in the set.

In other news, another hellacious work week has come to an end. I think I’m finally through the worst of it and I can get some real work (otherwise known as writing) done for a change.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: My Ladies

It’s been an insane week at work. Spare moments were spent wrestling with viruses and server headaches. As such, no camera time.

Friday, however, I had things mostly locked down and I took the family out for pizza (before returning yet again to work to follow up on a few things, and then spend a little more time at home logged in to a web server to wrap up—argh). While there, I snapped this photo of the Wife and Little Bird.

My Ladies

This is what makes it all worth while.

I first shot the photo with Instagram, the service which recently made the news thanks to a billion-dollar acquisition by Facebook. I’d been waiting for Instagram on Android for a while, and the Instagram version of this photo has a subtle filter applied.

I’m mixed on Instagram. For the social aspect, Instagram is far more active than picplz and Lightbox. From the first day I saw more activity on Instagram than any photo on the other services, despite all three of them having the ability to post photos to Twitter and Facebook.

Lightbox seems to have made improvements since I last used it a year ago, but I haven’t done more than play with it a little. picplz has better filter handling than Instagram in terms of seeing what a filter might do before the user clicks on it, though it has fewer filters available (the second half of picplz’s filters are the same as the first half, only with borders removed). That’s not a complaint, mind, as it cuts down on confusion and overuse.

I also don’t like that Instagram doesn’t post to Flickr. They seem to want photos to stay on Instagram and be shared from there, driving all traffic through their site. Yes, that’s how business works, but neither Lightbox nor picplz seem to have a problem with granting me ownership of my own photos. In fact, picplz even allows me to upload my photos directly to my Dropbox account.

So I’m torn. Instagram nails the social aspect, but it sucks having to repost photos to other services. Maybe Facebook will force some stupid changes on Instagram and make my decision for me.

In the meantime, people, lay off with the filters. Yes, some of the filters can make some photos look great. However, slapping a burned-out red filter over a shite photo of nothing doesn’t make it look old and kitschy, it makes it look like an even bigger pile of shite. There’s a reason the photography world has moved on.

I realize Instagram is trying to reproduce the old feel of the Polaroid instant cameras. This is why they have the square crop, too. Yet if you shot the same photo with an actual Polaroid instant camera, you’d say “Wow, this is garbage.” Why is it hip to post a digital reproduction of the same garbage to Twitter?

Stop it.

Candids are great. Shoot your food, shoot random objects on your desk, shoot nothing, knock yourself out. Part of the instant appeal is instant sharing. Just keep in mind, while not everything has to be art, not every candid needs a filter.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Double Down

I didn’t have time to post pics for Photo Friday the last couple weeks, but I did shoot the photos.

I took the first two while wandering around Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival.

The Ascent

The Ascent

I saw the staircase and shot several quick photos of it. I figured may as well go for something artsy myself while I was there.

I hate to think how long it took someone to sweep all of those stairs.

Cold Passage

Cold Passage

The other photo is some kind of trellis down in a courtyard for a hotel or condo building. The shuttle ran late due to the blizzard, and I wandered off and down a staircase to see what was at the bottom. I found this structure and snapped away while the snow and wind blew around above.

For the last photo, I snapped my daughter in her elderly garb for school:

Little Old Bird

Little Old Bird

To mark the 100th day of school, Little Bird’s kindergarten class had several counting activities and they dressed up like 100-year-old people and paraded around the school. We dusted Little Bird’s hair with baby powder to get the grey, and we borrowed an old pair of glasses from one of my wife’s coworkers.

I love how she looks like a librarian who just caught me farting among the stacks.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Little Bird Christmas

Thought I would take a Christmas-themed shot for Photo Friday this week.

Little Bird Christmas

Keep flyin', Little Bird

When I looked at the tree, I saw this picture and frame Little Bird made in school, and the bird ornament the Wife or the kids hung near it, and felt that was the shot.

The kids love Christmas. I still have flashbacks to my days in retail. Maybe if I drink enough of the good egg nog I won’t have the nightmares.

The horror… the horror…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Little Bird

The Little Bird makes another Photo Friday entry, based purely on her expression:

Again with the camera, Dad?

"Again with the camera, Dad?"

This was shot the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The other pics I took between my last Photo Friday and this weekend just weren’t up to snuff. Also, some are trapped on the camera, which is dead, and I can’t find the charger. Rather than busting my ass playing catch-up, I’ll get what I can posted when I can and then get back on track.

Meanwhile, I’m already planning out next year. I’m going to challenge myself a little harder, and I may even put photos on a separate 500px account to separate my attempts at more artistic photography from all the random snapshots and karate pics I post all the time. The creative stuff should stand out from the candids, and that’s hard to pull off right now.

I try to think visually, and it’s good exercise because I spend so much time thinking in prose and narrative. I feel pretty good about comic scripts I’ve written, but artists are always able to take what I’ve written and make it so much better. I’d like to be a little closer to their level in the future, and I didn’t inherit my old man’s skill at drawing so I’ll need to work harder at the photography.

Who knows, it may even be more helpful when it comes time to start writing movie scripts.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Metal Bird

I spent most of my free time working on Lie with the Dead, so I didn’t take the time to shoot a photograph for this week. Instead, I’m swapping in this fun little pic I took this afternoon.

Little Bird is More Metal Than You

Little bird is so metal

Yeah, I think she’s gonna be an ass-kicker and a heartbreaker when she grows up.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Photo Friday: Long Day on the Field

I’m busting tail going into a writing retreat weekend with my editor from Evileye Books, so I didn’t have the time to run out and do a dedicated Photo Friday entry. Last weekend, however, I shot pics at my daughter’s t-ball game and came away with this simple portrait.

Long Day on the Field

Work hard, play hard.

She was standing on base, waiting to run near the end of the last inning. I thought the chalk on her hat and her flushed cheeks demonstrated she’d been working hard out there.

Shot with a simple 55-250mm lens. Zoomed in, focused, snapped.

Next week may come from the retreat weekend. Depending upon how things go, it may be of me fighting off my editor’s goons as they try to break my legs for dragging ass on Lie with the Dead.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.