[ always tell stories ]

A 'Carefully Orchestrated' Look At Artistry

ARTvision-5 is in full swing! Make sure to check it out... We’ve got Julia Murney’s photography, new artists Delia Cochran and Jason Maynard - and the list goes on! The below post is from one of my pieces, available now. Here is the related post:

Bullying in schools is on the rise. More and more soldiers return with PTSD from Iraq and Afghanistan. A number of inexplicable flashes of violence have soiled our social landscape - most of them random and bloody, tearing apart families and communities alike.

Here’s another shade to add to 2010’s dark side: the spate of youth suicides this year within the gay and lesbian community.

So what’s actually going on?

There are myriad reasons for this and the other, aforementioned issues - not the least of which is
understanding, or lack thereof. Put simply: we do too much shouting and not enough listening. Without bearing true witness - to our surroundings, our family, coworkers, our environment, our internal balance, to name a few - our understanding becomes deeply diminished. Extinguished, in some cases, like a flame in a harsh wind.

And it’s to our societal detriment, for sure, this penchant for applause lines to an enamored audience; or a deaf ear to different opinions. Do we hear each other, even in disagreement, or do we just passively and disconnectedly tolerate each other when mystery or unfamiliarity arises? (
Check out Frank Rich’s piece on the Smithsonian’s capitulation to just such a power.) Contrarianism is on the rise, and yet it’s not giving us the spark of change that the effort seeks.

Holding your nose while someone else opines just cuts off your breathing - and you forfeit the chance for greater learning.

The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” one of my pieces for ARTvision-5 this year, was created as a message to persuade those who might choose to bully, to invade privacy, to deny rights, or just simply be an asshole to stand down and rethink their actions. (It’s a reminder to me, too, to stay on the path I’m on, and to constantly improve.) People are not “haters” because they disagree with something you’re doing or saying; in the same way, someone isn’t likely to incite violence just because they own a gun.

”The Carefully Orchestrated Revival of Joy and Hope,” by Will Pollock

“Carefully Orchestrated” was shot in Augusta, Ga., while on location at St. John United Methodist Church. While Jason’s orchestra was rehearsing for Westobou Festival, I listened to the gorgeous acoustics of the church and photographed a stained-glass window to capture the emergent glow behind the beautiful colors - and its understated illumination spoke volumes. It was at that moment that I realized how important it is to actively observe as a means to develop understanding.

This isn’t about political correctness. No, it’s about
putting the English language to its best use. “Tolerate,” my friends, is a dead, nefarious and empty word when used this way. We should discard it like the ratty, used hanky that it is.

What should be in its place? “Acceptance.”

tolerates chemotherapy - you do not tolerate someone’s lifestyle, someone’s opinions, someone’s soul. Some politicians and pundits proudly say “tolerance” is part of how they deal with differences as if it were badge of honor, and that’s a whole steaming pile of horseshit. And they know it, yet they keep using that word as if it were Gandhi-esque.

Even when well-intended, “tolerance” feels hollow and strange. We should retire it in favor of acceptance. Along the lines of: “I accept you. You are a child of the universe, and deserve to be here just like anyone else. I can disagree in quiet, direct ways without hurting you or others around you. I understand.”

Young men like
Tyler Clementi, the promising musician and student at Rutgers, could have used that sort of understanding, that type of care with actions and words, but he didn’t get it. So, this piece is dedicated to him and other gay youth who should know and have been reminded this year that life does, in fact, get better when you take the time to live and speak with dignity and understanding.

Just making the effort will speak volumes.
- WP

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Sometimes Beauty Is 'Strewn' All Over Our Lives. We Just Have To Look For It

”Strewn” heads up wp.com for August... And it struck me as unusually bleak and yet beautiful all in one.

I was at a wedding in Maryland with Jason and this was the moment there were three photographers shooting the moments following the ceremony - moments that were truly special. The feet in the picture are of the photographer of record, standing and switching the settings of her camera.

The color of the yellow rose petals against the grain of the dock was truly a sight to see. hope you enjoy.

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Lessons Of Improvements And How They Make A House A Home

(ATLANTA :: 10 June 2008) As I embark on this active journey to refashion the house on Myrtle, I’ve come to know my home on a deeper level - and, as it turns out, I have sharpened my home-improvement priorities even further.

As a writer/blogger, I see it as an obligation to write about my experiences - to show that eco-friendly practices, home updates and renovation need not break the bank. In fact, they can end up saving money in the long run.

And let’s not forget, as we update our homes we are suiting our own priorities in addition to writing the next chapters for those who live in the house after us.

What have I learned? Here’s a primer:

GeoDeck. I now have this pastic-sludge derived product abutting the front door of my historic, Midtown Atlanta home. The “driftwood” color reminds me of the grey shingles you’d find on a Cape Cod home on Nantucket - except it’s virtually indestructible. Don’t try to install it by yourself - even someone like Steve Thomas had issues trying to lay it correctly at the house. (We had to order another batch because of the error.)

Brac Greywater system. This product has its faults, including leaving rings on toilets and needing filter maintenance. But when you’re in a drought-prone area like I am, this system will come in handy. It’s in place for the future of the house once I put on the addition and more water can feed into it.

Rinnai tankless water heater. The advantage here is that, once your H20 is hot, it stays that way. In standard water heaters, you keep a set amount of water hot for use at all times - and use energy to keep it that way. With a tankless, you turn your home into an on-demand consumption zone and save energy.

My improvement pursuits have also spurred a story idea - one that has been accepted by
The Sunday Paper. Through an extended title search during the renovation I learned that my home was quite likely the first owned by a woman in the state of Georgia. (For more, watch the HGTV episode.) Her family, the Cannons, owned the property for roughly 50 years. So, I thought, what a great idea to name the house after them.

I’m now on a mission to find this family and include them on the renaming - and also create a commemorative plaque for the house’s façade. Watch for that soon.

Meantime, here’s my final message and lesson learned: always embark on your home-improvement journey ready to learn more. About your home, its history, and your own priorities.

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Green Building Should Be One Of Our Top Priorities

At long last... the three-video playlist of the HGTV episode of “Ground Breakers.”

Even a stodgy old girl like mine in midtown can get a successful boob job.

Without further ‘do, enjoy.


Strength In Numbers: Help Tip The Scales For A Better Future

(BOSTON :: 14 March 2009) - A tipping point is fast approaching.

Great change is always preceded by intense turmoil, and I believe we are at just the beginning of a vast reinvention of our global society. With the book proposal done (the book speaks directly to the “change factor” that we, ourselves, control) and the book-agent search officially on, I thought this Web site popped up at just the right time.

Take a look at
Worldwide Tipping Point, and how you can send energy to this cause. Quoting the site:

“Thomas Paine wrote during the time of the American Revolution, ‘we have it in our power to begin the world over again,’ and that is exactly what people living on this planet right here, right now have the opportunity to do!”

The Web site founder:

Log on and help tip the scales today. More to follow on this topic... Thanks to Brenda for passing it along.


Warning: Contents Have Shifted During Turbulence

(ATLANTA :: 24 February 2009) To all those sour, whiny bitches who think liberal-minded folks are reflexively following Obama because he’s a messiah, or that his recovery plan is a Robin Hood giveaway to the poor, or that we are blind sheep getting herded to slaughter, here’s my message.

Get the fuck over yourselves. Seriously.

I was asked to give Bush a chance in 2000. I did that. He failed. The most notable failure, of course, is his ridiculous invasion of Iraq and mismanagement of Afghanistan - two shitstorm doozies that continue to throw dookie on a fan that was submerged in it years ago. Where was the financial outrage then?

And then there’s Bush’s presiding over deregulation of the financial system, continuing the themes from the Clinton, Bush I and Reagan eras. We got the rich richer. The Bush’s nominations, minions and underlings were a particular source of twirling. Many of them in Justice came from Bible-chucking Liberty University, drawing from a pool of people he actually derided in secret meetings. Just ask
David Kuo, who did an exclusive book treatment in Time magazine.

“Evangelicals may share Bush's faith, but they would protect themselves--and their interests--better if they looked at him through the same coldly political lens with which he views them,” he writes. Barely anyone knows how sociopathic and opportunistic the Bush White House was with this particular group of people who elected him. Who helped put him in power, twice.

Now that we know “compassionate conservatism” is a sham, a farcical pretense, we need
serious answers to serious issues, and we need someone competent - with usage of complete sentences and a sense of reverence for the job - to oversee this enormous task we have ahead of us. And I trust Obama FAR more than I trust his predecessor, but more than that, the people out in the field who will be executing his orders.

Not all of Obama’s decisions have pleased me - far from it. Look for a post on civil liberties soon... it will surprise you. Even people on his team piss me off, and will continue to do so I’m sure over the next four years.

But this idea that Obama is the left’s “second coming” is just absolute horseshit. It is a waste of time my friends... Why not focus effort on holding the current government accountable rather than using labels to marginalize? We need to spend less effort deriding the
relief people feel (with approval of Obama running between 60 and 70 percent, although softening lately) and focus on solving our country’s woes. We’ll be better off. Seriously.

And make no mistake: Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Hannity and Rush’s perverted version of conservatism is what created the craving, the need frankly, for strong, authentic leadership. So, you are now witnessing the intense feelings of liberation that we, yes, finally have someone responsible at the helm. And it’s about goddamned time.

If our country is the overhead bin on an airplane long suffering in turbulence, we are now seeing the after effects of the shifting contents falling out. And it’ll take time to gather our belongings and deplane.

(Image borrowed from Steve Morris/AirTeamImages)

Canines Unite Against Another Four Years Of GOP Imperalism

I'm not trying to influence her vote, but Triscuit is an Obama supporter.

And as evidenced by the video, she's part of the "Women Against Palin" movement. I concur.

For your consideration:


Cheers To Radial Cafe For Going Green... Article To Follow

Check out this piece on WSB-TV that features Radial Cafe! If you haven't yet visited this Atlanta landmark, you should do so ASAP.

Similar article forthcoming from yours truly in Atlanta Intown newspaper. Radial is using biodegradable to-go materials (pictured here) and is exploring the idea of composting egg shells and coffee grounds.

For more, visit
Radial's MySpace page.

Here's My 'Postsecret': Byron Has Definitely Fallen Hard

I was doing my green duty riding Marta to the airport the other day and stumbled across this note... it was initially hidden from my view, but when a passenger got up I spotted it.

There was a nice gal seated to the left of the note, across from me, who thought I was nuts taking this picture -- but I wanted to capture it. All the Marta riders around me cocked their heads to figure out what I was doing.

In the spirit of "Postsecret," a collection of secrets from anonymous sources (thanks to Wayne and Ed for showing it to me), I've helped give Byron one last chance to reach the girl of his dreams.

This made riding Marta that day totally worth it.

I also gave the gal who tolerated me shooting this picture my info, so I hope she gets back. If so, give me a shout! Thanks to her for putting up with me.

So... Here is an example of honest and spontaneous affection that seems to have not found its recipient... So I'm putting this out there to keep his hopes alive.

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Update: I did hear from my gal pal on Marta! Thanks to Marina for dropping me a line. See the comments section for more.

Jill Hazelbaker Is A Biased, Partisan Hack. Period.

McCain's spokeswoman is nice to look at, articulate, pedigreed, whatever.

But it's her comments about Gen. Wesley Clark that have caused Twirl Factor 10 in the Pollock household this morning.

Will someone please tell me when Clark joined the Obama campaign? Oh that's right... NEVER. Clark's opinion that getting shot down in open warfare doesn't qualify someone to be commander in chief has been contorted by Hazelbaker. Partial clip from RedLasso:

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Quoting directly from American Morning: "This is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. Let's drop the pretense that Barrack Obama is going to raise the dialogue and elevate the debate in this election. If Barrack Obama really wanted to do that, he would get Wesley Clark off the airwaves attacking John McCain's long record of and legacy of service to the American people."

Even though John Roberts meekly tried to explain to this hack that Clark wasn't impugning McCain's integrity, she replied (this portion is not in the clip because the interview rolled over the top of the hour):

"John, let's be clear, this is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. He talks about changing this country and yet his surrogates are attacking John McCain on a daily basis. This is a pattern of going at John McCain's strength which is his military service and his long legacy of leadership in this country. And if Barrack Obama wants to really let us believe that there is truth behind his words he would stop his surrogates from attacking John McCain."

So let's
US be clear: Gen. Clark is not an Obama spokesman. He is on his own. He speaks from his own experience. He may be vying for a VP spot, but Obama has no control over what he says, nor should he try to exert any. This is a concerted attempt by the McCain campaign to redirect and spin political gold out of a nothing quote, a nothing event -- on behalf of a candidate that looks desperate to surf a false tide of negativity against his opponent.

Most of all, I wish Roberts would have reiterated the fact that Clark is not -- despite the frequent use of this pejorative word -- a "surrogate" of Obama's campaign.

Hey Jill, dude: stick to the issues. Our country is in the crapper and we need to focus on how to move forward.


Possible Veep? Good Speaker, Good Chemistry. Could Happen

Kathleen Sebelius endorses Barrack Obama... and makes a good case for herself as VP.

This speech was back in January, but it underscores the depth of talent from which he can draw.

What do you think?


Stellar Cellar: The AJC Runs Great Piece On The Myrtle Basement

Adaptive re-users... unite! The coverage of the house renovation continues... Sick of it yet?

Thanks to Frank at WicksteadWorks for making this happen, and for being my adaptive re-use partner in crime.

Here's a link to the photo gallery, and then also, a jump to the full story by Helen Caulley.

Operational coal returns, recycled antique doors, a Japanese Zen garden. Who woulda thought?? All I can say is that I had a lot of help and that there is everything to be said for collaboration.


Of course, this post would be incomplete without
a photo show of my own. ARTvision 2008 has an official new home for artwork display!

No Embedding? Fine... I'll Go To The Concert And Do It Myself

This is a sequel post from yesterday. Mission accomplished.

I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing
Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.

Enjoy the clip below. More to follow on my
YouTube channel.

Colbie Caillat's vocals were strong and the audience seemed chill and engaged. A rare combination. Kudos to her for sticking with small venues.


Corporate America Sucks Ass

I'm going to see Colbie Caillat tonight at Variety Playhouse. I'd like to embed one of her videos from YouTube, but I can't because Universal Music has disabled that function.

The company obviously believes that being purveyors of creative property translates into being proprietary assholes.

So, instead of posting her video -- in fact, as a protest to NBC Universal's refusal to play in the sandbox like the rest of us -- here's a montage from a stalwart

This little nugget has about 800K views... Hits that the greedy bastards at the record company would have benefited from.


Put Your Heart On A Treadmill... For Longevity, Prosperity

In remembering Tim Russert last week, NBC Nightly News ran a segment about the work that Russert did for kids, specifically the Boys & Girls Club of Washington, D.C.

He donated proceeds from his speeches and advocated for youth advancement all the time -- many qualities people didn't know about him.

The piece concluded with one of Russert's favorite sayings:

"No exercise is better for the human heart than reaching down to lift up another person."


'Lead Or Leave': Thomas Friedman Nails Bush's Energy Failure

In today's Times, Thomas Friedman deserves some sort of medal.

His op-ed, in the plainest terms yet, details why our sorry president deserves a failing grade in energy policy.

I was reporting and writing for MarketWatch.com when Bush took office - and when Cheney was crafting energy policy with a board that consisted of a who's who in Corporate Oil.

Since that time,
his failure to act has been widely reported by MSM and blogs, Web sites, focus groups - you name it. The corporatization of energy policy had begun.

Today, Bush is heckling Congress that if they don't act before recess, they've got the blood of $4 per gallon gas on their hands without domestic drilling. Without a formal plan for alternative energy, he's just trying to make his fat-cat buddies even fatter than they were before.

Bush is incompetent. He's an elitist scumbag who thinks he's God's gift (literally, figuratively...), which, as evidenced by the below video, is definitely not true.

It's sad that impeachment is summarily off the table basically because we're so close to him leaving. Just on energy policy alone, his grade is "F".

Of course that's just one reason for our fatigue... Embodied brilliantly by Skeeter and Jimmy Bob, watching from the sidelines, who
could give a rat's ass about Bush's arrival:


House To Air On 'Renovation Nation' Next Week

Discovery Channel's "Planet Green" -- a brand-new, all-green channel with requisite tree-hugger programming -- will feature the house renovation next week. Check your local listings, but on my Comcast DVR it's slated for Wednesday night at 6 p.m., on "Renovation Nation."

As you check your local listings, watch out for the "Renovation Nation" that focuses on the Atlanta area.

Here's a preview of the channel itself:

And a
preview of the show:

In addition to green products,
Charley's deserts and my big gut will be featured. Don't miss it.

I'm gonna go eat my celery sticks now...

Doing My Best Not To Drool. Really.

Coming to Will's driveway in May 2009...


Happy Day To All Of Our Fathers

Don't send a lame Father's Day eCard.
Try JibJab Sendables!

What Superhero Are You?

The Green Lantern is pretty cool, I gotta say.

You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...


'Teal Treasure' Heads Up WP.com for June (Tirol, Costa Rica)

This capture was shot at a retreat in Costa Rica... the door struck me because of how perfectly weathered the paint was... almost like it was intentionally distressed.

And since I'm obsessed with texture in photos - like tree bark, rusted metal, etc. - this capture really got to me.

Make sure to click through the link and vote! (Image flipped for the header banner, fyi.)


'Mic And The City': Lowering The Boom On A Blockbuster

(ATLANTA - 31 May 2008) :: OK, so I did my gay duty and went to see Sex And The City movie on its premiere night. Thanks to Thom for coming with.

The film was uproarious, vivid, full of couture, acted and written exceedingly well, and all expectations were surpassed... save for the hideous exception of a visible boom mic.

And not just in one scene - multiple times, and in such an overt way that you think some local loon is standing over the screen on a ladder, holding the long-arm mic, taunting you, teasing you for no apparent reason.

In an otherwise stellar display of cinematic joy, this was perplexing to say the least. The
boards are abuzz about this "gaff"; even Perez Hilton has posted about it. There is even an early YouTube review that pokes fun:

Please, New Line & WB, do us all a favor and fix this in post production somehow. Blame for this error stretches across multiple roles in this film, resting not only with the boom operator... but with the production crew, as well as the actors and director, for not catching it in the film's dailies.

Despite the rarity of this type of mistake, it
appears to have precedent in the TV-series run.

Even so, this movie is so good that it'll wipe out this weekend's competition despite "the long arm of the sound" stepping in front of its cast. The film stays so true to the original series - in fact, elevates it so elegantly - that the mistakes turn out to be just, quite literally, blips on the screen.

And believe me when I tell you - this boom-mic story is intended as fair warning, not as spoiler. I wish I had been warned ahead of time myself.

Here's the trailer!


Another Star Wars Spoof, With Jennifer Saunders At The Helm


'Up With Grups': Call Me When 40 Actually Means Something

In my search for next-decade perspective - and, more importantly, to ease the stress of entering an esteemed group of elder statespersons - I found more than a few pearls of wisdom.

New York magazine reports that an "
ascendant breed of grown-ups" are reshaping perceptions of today's adulthood. Click through the link for the cool image and story.

Am I in denial? Clinging to days past by always giggling and staying in touch with youthful exuberance? Or am I really onto something here?

I will *always* prefer to wear vintage t-shirts, ripped shorts, trucker hats... all the while listening to my iPod and blogging on my laptop.

I'll probably be doing the same thing into the next decade, too.

Also, more importantly, I needed a lift today... and was combing the Internet for relief. I found this:

I don't feel much like dancing today, so I'll let this guy do it for me.

Thanks to everyone for all the well-wishes. Let this be a lesson to everyone turning 40 this year or any year - be proud, live strong, be young.