Michael.A.LaCombe@gmail.com (313)402-5385

Uncategorized

Dear Chase Bank…

greedy-banks

I know it’s not a lot of money to you, but it is to me…

Wait. Let me back things up a second. I need to explain.

As you all probably saw in my previous post, my father died nearly 3 months ago. He didn’t have much, but the little bit he did have would of course pass down to me, my brother, and/or my mother. After months of filing paperwork, faxing documents, and jumping through numerous hoops, my mother finally got the life insurance money that she was entitled to through their divorce. It wasn’t much, but our plan was to split it three ways. Since they are both members of the same credit union, my mother easily just transferred my brother’s portion into his account. She wrote me a check, which I then deposited into a Chase bank ATM.

Big mistake.

I deposited the check some time last week … let’s say Thursday. Today (Tuesday) the check had processed in my account, but the funds were inexplicably not available. I called Chase and was told that they had placed a hold on the funds and needed to call the credit union the check was written on in order to verify the funds. I wasn’t too mad at this point. I figured they’d call the credit union, verify the funds, and release the hold. Unfortunately, the credit union was not open at that time, so they were unable to verify.

I called back at about 10am when I was certain that the credit union would be open. After being on the phone for over half an hour, the customer service rep told me that the credit union would not verify the funds over the phone. They then added that I had two options at that point. I could have the person who wrote the check (my mother) put them in touch with a banker at the credit union to verify the funds, or I could take my mother into a Chase branch and have her log in to her bank account and show them that the funds were processed. If neither of these conditions were met, the funds would be automatically released on March 11th – nearly two weeks after I initially deposited the check.

Now, is it me, or does this seem a little excessive in order to release a hold on a couple thousand dollars? I had, and still have, many questions.

Why was my deposit flagged in the first place?

Why am I being made to jump through so many hoops in order to release a fairly low amount of money?

Why is Chase so insistent upon maintaining their kung fu grip on my dead father’s insurance money?

Why is Chase ignoring my tweets? Their only response so far is that my “case” has been “escalated” and I’d be contacted when a decision was made. This leads me to my final question(s)…

Why am I on trial? My “case”? Once a decision is made? Why is my piddling amount of money on trial, and why has Chase made themselves the judge and jury?

All of these questions lead me to one answer: Class discrimination.

I’m not a rich person. I wouldn’t even deem myself middle class. I live check to check, barely making enough money to get by and feed my son. I’ve taken out numerous pay-day loans in the recent past, and made many intentional overdrafts (not with Chase though) because I needed the money “now” and knew that once I got paid I’d be able to cover the fee.

Side note: In 2012, bank customers paid $32 BILLION dollars in overdraft fees. In other words, greedy ass banks took $32 billion EXTRA dollars out of the pockets of people who already didn’t have money. Classy, isn’t it?

Anyway, the point is that I’m not very well off. My guess is that Chase saw that a guy who routinely has a low balance in his bank account was making what was, by comparison, a large deposit and decided, “Naaaah, something’s fishy here. FLAG HIM!”

So to be perfectly clear, my meaningless transaction was cause enough to raise a red flag in the eyes of Chase – a company who has robbed lower class citizens in order to line their own pockets for years. I guess only “valued customers” who maintain a high balance are entitled to receive their dead parent’s life insurance money in a timely fashion.

As the day wore on, and Chase continued to do nothing other than cling to my dead father’s money like Linus clings to his blanket, I only became angrier.

Chase has done nothing but only confirm my suspicions of favoritism. While I’ve continued to pointlessly tweet my frustrations and request they release the hold, Chase has gone out of their way to help the executive producer of The Big Bang Theory. After all, his money IS more valuable than mine, right?

It’s been nearly 12 hours since I initially called Chase, and there has yet to be a single stitch of progress. The crazy thing about this is that they’re the ones making this so complicated. Just release the hold. What’s the big deal? I’ve been harassing them all day, getting tons of retweets, and now I’m about to send this blog entry to every major news publication that pops into my mind … and for what? So Chase can be sure that couple thousand dollars actually belongs to me? So that they can then turn around and dig their greedy slimy palms into the pockets of other unassuming lower class citizens and extract MILLIONS? Then turn BACK around and raise an eyebrow at me as if I’M the one out here executing shady and prejudiced business practices?

How long are we going to allow banks to brazenly steal from the lower and middle class? How long are we going to validate their sense of entitlement to our money by continuing to allow them to take it without facing any repercussions? I think it’s time we said that enough is enough. We rely too heavily on banks, and they take advantage of it. Chase currently has a stranglehold on my dead father’s life insurance money and feels SO entitled to it that they won’t even provide me an explanation as to why they want it so badly and why it apparently belongs to them until they decide I can have it. We have to draw the line somewhere, and I think this should be it.

Advertisements

A Son’s Perspective On The Loss Of His Father

MeAndPop

I’ve never experienced a feeling quite like I experienced on the night of Friday, December 5th, 2014. I received a phone call from my father’s girlfriend telling me that he had passed away approximately 45 minutes earlier, so I knew what to expect when I entered the hospital room that night, yet I was suddenly overcome with emotion upon seeing him.

Feelings. Feelings are a strange thing to me. I don’t feel them often, so they can sneak up on me unexpectedly, as they did that night. I had seen him in essentially the same condition for about a week and a half, but when I walked into the room that night and saw him, I gasped for breath, put my hand over my mouth, and immediately burst into tears. This is that strange feeling that I mentioned in the first sentence: to simultaneously feel like a grown man and a small vulnerable child in a single instant.

For three weeks, I had been the consummate adult. Before I get into that, though, let me give you a brief background story for context. Approximately 2 years ago, my father and I had fallen out of touch – 100% by his doing. He was in the beginning stages of a divorce with my mother, and I assumed he wanted to distance himself from me because he thought I’d be judging him or thought less of him. To a degree, that was true. However, as I chose to express to him in writing, his problems with my mother were just that: HIS problems. Not mine. I told him I was an adult and a father, and I had my own life to manage. I was perfectly clear when I told him that I didn’t want his problems with my mother to affect our relationship or his relationship with my son.

He never responded.

I wrote him a few more times, with each message being a bit angrier than the last. Ultimately, I ended up calling him a coward, as well as various other names that, in this moment, are pretty irrelevant. The point is, I was pissed off and firing on all cylinders. He was going to feel my wrath. There were f-bombs peppered all throughout that final message, and make no mistake, even though it’s water under the bridge right now, he deserved every last one of those demeaning slurs.

He never responded.

To this day, I still don’t know why he chose to banish me from his life. One day, I may choose to ask. I was never really THAT mad about his treatment toward me, though. Again, I’m an adult and a father with my own life to run. I was more offended at his disinterest in seeing his grandson. I know it was never a “fuck that kid” sort of thing, but that’s how I treated it, and an attack toward Michael would be met with my full wrath – no matter the offending party. So when I found out he was in the hospital, that’s where we were at.

This is the part where I become the consummate adult.

MeAndPop2

I found out he was in the hospital when my uncle contacted me on Facebook. This was a huge event in and of itself because (and I’m guessing here) I had not seen or heard from my uncle in AT LEAST 20 years. At this moment, it was unknown just how serious my father’s condition was, so I was faced with a decision: Continue to hold my firm grasp on my anger toward him and not visit him, or put on my grown man pants, let the shit go, and visit the man who did an exceptional job of raising me. I chose the latter.

When I arrived at the hospital, he was in pretty bad shape. His speech was heavily slurred and he could barely move. 80% of what he said was unintelligible, and the remaining 20% was when he expressed frustration with his inability to communicate during the other 80%. I didn’t really know what to say, and I could tell he was embarrassed and ashamed. So rather than putting issues on the table and asking all the hard questions, I chose to just reintroduce him to his grandson, tell him about my new fiancee, and update him on our lives in general. This was the routine for the next few days.

Meanwhile, I connected with my uncle on Facebook. If there is ANY good to come out of all this, it’s the fact that we seem to have established a strong relationship in dealing with the loss of my father (his brother). We seem to be very similar people. We have similar writing styles, personalities, triggers, and a seemingly identical view on life as a whole. It’s always cool to find someone who is so much like you when you have a very “unique” personality.

As we connected, he began to plan a trip to Detroit from Wisconsin to visit my father. He arrived on Thanksgiving day, and I still feel a great deal of pain for what HE was met with when he arrived. When I first went to visit my father, there was still a significant amount of “him” in there. By the time my uncle had arrived, my father was barely moving at all and no longer speaking. He was deathly thin, and seemed only moderately aware of what was going on around him.

MeAndPop3

Back to being the consummate adult. Now, I’m in a unique position. 2 weeks ago, I had no clue where my father was and I didn’t care. Now, due to his divorce from my mother and his inability to make his own decisions, I was now in charge of HIS LIFE. I wouldn’t wish the types of decisions I had to make on anyone, but to a degree, I’m grateful that it was ME who was making them. To be fair, I wasn’t making these decisions alone – though I had the “power” to do so. I took everyone’s opinion into account, and my uncle, my father’s girlfriend, and myself essentially worked as a team to make the decisions that would affect the remainder of my father’s life.

Ultimately, we decided that if he were able to speak, he would express a strong desire to no longer go on living in that condition. Considering how angry he got regarding his inability to effectively communicate when he first got in the hospital, I couldn’t imagine how frustrated he must be (if he was still in there at all) with being unable to communicate entirely. I’ve always said that if my mind stopped working, you can do away with me altogether. I felt with 100% certainty that he felt the same, so that was the decision we made. We committed him to hospice care (essentially taking him off the machines and focusing on his comfort), and he was gone 2 days later.

I’d like to say that I’ve gone through a whirlwind of emotions in the 5 days since, but that wouldn’t be true. I’ve been on “handling business” mode. Just as his medical decisions were my responsibility, so are his post-hospital decisions. I’ve been fielding numerous phone calls per day, telling people who may care about his passing, and working with my “team” to figure out how he want to handle everything from a funeral service to a newspaper death notice. I anticipated the writing of this blog as my way of processing all of this, and as I reach the end of this entry, I don’t feel any different. I feel… empty. I don’t know how I’m “supposed” to feel or what I should do. I’m just going through the emotions at this point.

I don’t even know what to say to people when they say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Why is that the thing you’re supposed to say? Why is the customary statement one with no proper response? “You going to bring him back?” Can’t say that. “You can’t do shit.” Can’t say that. “You can give me a massage, buy me a new car, pay my rent, and make me dinner.” Can’t say that. You just have to say, “thanks” as the two of you part with the full knowledge that you’ll never ask anything of them. What’s the point of asking then? But I digress…

MeAndPop4

Anyway, there are some things I do know: I know the things I’m grateful for.

I’m grateful for connecting with my uncle.

I’m grateful for everything my father’s girlfriend did for him. He probably would not have lasted as long as he did without her.

I’m grateful for learning about my father’s internet persona. That was probably the coolest aspect of all this (not that there was much to consider “cool”). It turns out that he was pretty hot shit in the online forums for Detroiters. Several of his online friends came to see him at the hospital – often laying eyes upon him for the first time. They came with great stories, kind words, and genuine emotion. It was an interesting experience to meet these people – a blog topic in and of itself – and I’m grateful for them introducing me to a side of my father that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

I’m grateful for solitude. I’m currently on a bereavement leave from work, and as an introvert, the time alone is very therapeutic for me. This is my first public mention that my father was even in the hospital, let alone having passed away. I’m not one to request attention, and I felt as if I would be requesting people’s pity if I posted something online. I don’t want or need that. I’m not going to post something just to rack up a bunch of likes or “sorry for your loss” comments, and I saw no other reason to make any public posts on social media. I needed that time alone, and I’m grateful for the ability to keep this entire situation under wraps until I was ready to release it.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for closure. I got something that a lot of people don’t get to have when their loved ones pass. Since I essentially had to make the decision that would ultimately lead to his passing, I knew it was coming. After I officially made the decision, walking back into the hospital room to see him was, at that point, the worst moment of my life. I had to walk back in and look at him knowing he was going to die soon and that I was the one who made the call. I sat down with him and, again, was flooded with emotion. He wasn’t awake and hadn’t been responsive for days. I laid my head on his shoulder next to his head and cried. I told him how I wish it hadn’t come to this and asked how he could do this to me. How could he put all this pressure on me and force me to make these decisions with his life?  I told him I loved him and that I appreciated the 30 years I did get with him. I told him that he would live on through MY son because I’ve done everything in my power to raise my son the way he raised me, and that my son is already more than a great kid, he’s a great human being. I told my father that he was responsible for that. When I pulled up and looked at him through the tears in my eyes, his eyes were wide open and he had a single tear streaming down his face.

I haven’t told anybody about that. ANYBODY. But I felt in that moment that he understood what was going on, and at the time, I was really shaken by that. In retrospect, I’m grateful. I know that he knew that, no matter what, his son was there for him to the very end and I feel as if I gave him one final reason to be proud of me. I always knew that he was proud of me. He told me. So I’m grateful I was able to close out our relationship on that high note, and I know that he was able to go peacefully knowing that everyone still cared about him. I can only hope to be so lucky myself.


Michael’s First Trip to Coldstone, Plus Photo Talk

Image

******** CLICK ON AN IMAGE TO VIEW IT IN FULL RESOLUTION!! *************

 

Well hello, people! I know. I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve decided to wipe the dust off of my trusty Nikon and get back into this photography game. CALM DOWN! I know you’re excited, but I’m going to ease my way back into this. So don’t expect a barrage of posts … at least not right away.

So, for some strange reason, I realized today that I’ve never taken my son to Coldstone before. For those of you who don’t know, Coldstone is an ice cream shop that is, well, EVERYTHING. Imagine eating the ice cream that you love the most. After eating Coldstone, that ice cream will taste like hobo underwear dipped in a garbage juice au jus. Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to take him. We could eat the ice cream outside, and I could snap some pictures. Image

Everything went very well. He enjoyed the ice cream. “Can we come back here and get the same thing again, Daddy?” BTW, we had the Apple Pie a la Coldstone. My favorite one there. I also took these photos while he was eating.

ImageSo not only is the photo above my favorite of the 3, it’s probably one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken. I love LITERALLY everything about it – the depth of field, his eyes, the ice cream on his mouth … EVERYTHING.

Finally, I’ve decided that going forward, I’m going to dedicate a paragraph or two in each blog post to talk about how I took the photos in the post. Most of what I’m going to say will probably seem like a foreign language to the vast majority of you, but for those of you still learning photography – actually, let me rephrase that – for those of you just starting to learn photography (we’re all always learning), these paragraphs could be helpful.

All of these were very simple shots. There was no work put into them as I was shooting them. These were all shot at f/2.8 on my 50mm f/1.4 prime lens. My camera was in aperture-priority mode, so I set the aperture, and the camera selected the shutter speed based on the available light in order to give me a proper exposure. My ISO was at 200, which is where I keep it unless I have to change it.

One weird thing that I’ve always noticed is that, in-camera, when pictures look like they’re properly exposed, they always look too dark when I view them on my computer. That was the case with these. When I opened them in Photoshop, I changed the exposure on all of them, increasing them about half a stop apiece, basically until they were pleasing to my eye. I sharpened them a bit, whitened his eyes, removed a blemish a two or on his face, smoothed his skin a bit, and that was it for any post production.

So that’s it for now. Feel free to leave a comment here or my Facebook fan page, and I promise I’m going to start updating this more often.

http://www.facebook.com/michaellacombephotography


#TeamJuicersNShit

#TeamJuicersNShit is a fancy, creative, and distinguished hashtag from the classy mind of Otis, aka @__Otis__ on Twitter. The tag represents a group of individuals on Twitter participating in a juice fast for the next 10-30 days: myself, Otis, @Cali_Skits, @Soulful_Life, and @MsJRS45. The fast consists of only consuming juices made from primarily fresh veggies, with fruits as well. No eating, and no juicing anything other than fresh fruits and veggies. My idea of juicing a steak and fried chicken had to be quickly dismissed. Otis recommended the documentary “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” to me, and that film is what prompted me to take this challenge. I can’t speak for anyone else in the group, but my reasons for starting the fast are many.

For starters, I have NEVER been a fruits/veggies eater. I mean AT ALL. My eating habits have always been bad, but they’re been especially poor as of late – eating bad foods in greater quantity and with a higher frequency. Because of this, I’m probably at the highest weight I’ve ever been in my life. One of my main goals in doing this fast isn’t simply for rapid weight loss. I know that I need to eat healthier, and I’m hoping that this fast will make it easier in the future for me to do so. I’m hoping that, once I resume eating, I’ll be better able to incorporate fruits and veggies into my diet. I’m also hoping that in developing a greater taste for fruits/veggies, that my strong desire for bad foods will decrease.

In addition to the obvious weight loss that I’m hoping to achieve, I also am hoping that pumping my body full of nothing but fruits and veggies will help with my energy. I’m ALWAYS tired. ALWAYS. No matter how many hours of sleep I get (and I’m actually getting sleep now, for the first time in a long time), I’m still sluggish. So I’m hoping that detoxing and rebooting will rid my body of the sluggish that (I’m assuming) comes from the garbage I eat, and give me a little more vigor.

So, yesterday was Day 1 of juicing. Everything I’ve read has said that the first 3 days are the most difficult. Not only will I struggle to cope with my desire for food, but I could suffer some physical side effects as well while my body adjusts. They recommend that you start juicing on a Saturday (since a lot of people don’t work on weekends). That way, you can keep stress at a minimum since it will already be a stressful time. Well, I work on all of the first 3 days of my fast. lol I didn’t care, though. I didn’t foresee any of this to be too much of a struggle. I was wrong.

My struggle didn’t really revolve around the juicing. I took my juice to work with me, and was able to sip on it periodically. I got hungry, and I craved food, but that was to be expected. The struggle came in two forms. 1. Time. It takes a lot of time and a lot of veggies/fruits to prepare very little juice. This is followed by a lot of cleaning (of the juicer). So you’re putting in a lot of time/work for a very small amount of juice. 2. My car. Was not eating stressful? Not really. Was consuming nothing but juice stressful? Nah. Was work difficult? No. But my car, however, resolved to make sure that yesterday was as difficult of a first day as possible. lol

On a day in which I wanted to keep stress levels low, my car decided that it wanted to go haywire on my way to work. On the stress-level scale, there are few things higher than car trouble. It didn’t help that I had gotten my brakes fixed two days earlier, and I had (and still have) every reason to believe that the people I took it to fu…screwed something up. But that’s another story for another day. So now I’m at work – hungry – worrying myself about how I’m going to get home, how I’m going to get to work the next day, the cost of repairs, and the possibility of it being beyond repair. I went out on my lunch break and drove it around and thought, “Eh, I think I can get this home. I just won’t take the freeways.” That plan went well until I got about 4 miles away from home. Then everything went to shit. By the time I finally got home, all I wanted to do was go to bed.

But I had to make juice for today. DAMN IT!

This entire situation delayed the posting of my #febphotoaday pics (which had been stockpiling), and only served to make Day 1 of juicing about as difficult as it could possibly be. On the plus side, even though the juices I’ve made have been primarily vegetable based, they still taste quite good. (They look horrendous, though.) I have yet to try any recipes (I probably will do that later today). The batch I made for today consisted of kale, celery, spinach, carrots, cucumbers, apples, 1 lemon, and a couple blueberries. All of those things, and the entire batch will be gone before the day is out. lol I would have never thought that the actual juice consumption would be the easiest part of this process considering that I never eat vegetables, but here we are. Anyway, see you guys tomorrow with tomorrow’s #febphotoaday post.


#FebPhotoADay Day 17 – Time (My 200th Blog Post)

Since there appeared to be SOME confusion about what this is (despite the presence of a flame), I will say that this is a melting candle. Hopefully I need not explain this image any further. lol Another iPhone shot, processed in Instagram.


Is Ben Wallace worthy of the Hall of the Fame?

Today, I’d like to briefly take a step away from photography and speak about something that has been on my mind for much of the night. Those of you who know me well, know of my undying adoration for my beloved Detroit Pistons. In my 24 years as a Pistons fans, I have experienced the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Right now, I’m experiencing a great deal of the latter. However, tonight, Ben Wallace set an NBA record that, prior to tonight, even I was unaware that he was approaching. He set the record for most games played by an undrafted NBA player, passing Avery Johnson.

Prior to the game, current Pistons coach Lawrence Frank was asked if Ben Wallace was worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. His response? “Without a doubt…”

This got me thinking. As a homer, Stan, and faithful Pistons fans, OF COURSE I want to say that Ben Wallace deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. As an NBA fan, though, and someone who prides himself in his ability to think soundly and logically, I owe it to myself to step outside of my fandom and truly analyze this question. Actually, there are two question to contend with here: 1. Does Ben Wallace deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? 2. Will Ben Wallace make into the Hall of Fame? Lawrence Frank was asked if Ben is worthy of consideration, and of course he is. But does he truly stand a fighting chance of making it in? Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

For starters, I think Ben’s chances of actually making it into the Hall are slim to none – not because he isn’t deserving, but simply based upon past voting. Dennis Rodman struggled to get in, and his resume FAAAAAAAAAAAR exceeds Ben’s. Far. Dennis was, to me, a no-brainer. The voters thought otherwise, and I think the main reason that The Worm got in was because of a late surge of support from both his fans and former teammates. Ben doesn’t have nearly the credentials that Dennis had, and if Dennis struggled, Ben has a long road ahead of him. That alone, I think, will be reason enough to keep Ben out. However, with this being Ben’s final season, I’d like to take some time to reflect on his time as a Piston, his effect on the team and the city (and the NBA as a whole), and why, despite popular opinion, I truly believe that Ben DOES merit consideration.

Let’s look at the state of the NBA today. The league quickly transitioned from being a league in which teams are built around a superstar, into one in which teams are built around SEVERAL superstars. It is no longer enough to draft a LeBron James, and take the time to build the right team around him. No. You have to win, and you have to win NOW. There is no time to draft a LeBron James, build a team around him, let that team mature, and THEN win a championship or championships. You have to win NOW. You have to go get LeBron, then Dwyane Wade, then Chris Bosh. You have to get Amare, then Carmelo Anthony, and Chauncey Billups. You have to dig in between the couch cushions, gather up some spare change, and then trade it along with a Kit Kat to Memphis for Pau Gasol so you can pair him with Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum. This is what the NBA has devolved into, and we have to deal with it.

Pau Gasol was traded to the Lakers in 2008, and LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat in 2010. So we can trace the start of this new era to that general time period. However, if it were not for Ben Wallace, this era could have started back in 2004. That has to count for something, right?

The Pistons were a perennial Eastern Conference favorite for a good 5-6 consecutive years. They won at least 50 games 7 years in a row. They reached 2 NBA Finals’, winning once. All of this was accomplished, not only without a superstar, but led by a player who was about as ineffective offensively as one can be.

During the Pistons rise to prominence, the NBA was already beginning to shift into its current state. In the 2004 NBA Finals, the Pistons faced a HEAVILY favored Lakers team that was not merely stacked with superstars. It was stacked with Hall of Fame players. The Lakers added aging, but still HIGHLY effective, veterans Karl Malone (the NBA’s 2nd all time leading scorer!) and Gary Payton to a team that already had one of the most formidable duos in NBA history, Kobe and Shaq. Led by defense, teamwork, defense, Ben Wallace, and more teamwork, the underdog Pistons TROUNCED the Lakers in what we here in Detroit like to call, “a 5-game sweep”.

Ben Wallace was a champion. He was the leader on a championship team, not because of his dunking ability or his long-range jump shot, but because of his DEFENSE. The game plan in the NBA at that time was not, “How do we stop the Detroit Pistons?”, it was “How do we score points against the Detroit Pistons?” Ben Wallace, an undrafted and offensively-inept player, helped to redefine the way the game was played – if only for a short period of time. While he did not completely stop the NBA from turning into what it is today, he mostly certainly helped delay it. That’s got to count for something, right?
Prior to Ben’s arrival, the Pistons had one of the most exciting players in NBA history in Grant Hill. Grant was on the cusp of turning into one of the league’s all-time great players, and we traded him… for Chucky Atkins and who? Ben Wallace? Who the hell is that? Grant went on to salvage a respectable NBA career after a multitude of ankle surgeries, but after he went to Orlando, he was never the same. Ben went on to win a title, 4 defensive player of the year awards, prove that defense truly does win championships, re-shape the game, and most importantly, bring pride, hard work, and teamwork back to the city of Detroit. That’s got to count for … well, you get the point.

In the grand scheme of things, the Ben Wallace-led Pistons era will probably be a small blip on the NBA’s radar. “Remember that brief time period in the 2000’s when defense and teamwork counted for something in the NBA?” The fact that he merely delayed the shift in style in the NBA, rather than stopping it, will probably keep him out of the Hall of Fame. Couple that with that the fact that the only stats he has on his side are defensive ones, and his chances are slim. However, Ben Wallace will go down as one of my most cherished and beloved Pistons of all time. He brought me a championship, and he did it with hard work and determination, rather than 360-degree dunks. There was a time when kids watched the NBA and were taught that rebounding, defense, hustle, hard work, and fundamentals were as important, if not more important, than how high you can jump. We have Ben Wallace to thank for that, and as a Pistons fan, I’ll forever be in his debt for the great times. He may not make it into the Hall, but his jersey certainly deserves to hang in the rafters at the Palace for all that he’s done for this franchise and this city. Congrats on your 1,055th game, Ben. We love you.


A New Photo-A-Day Challenge?!??!??!?!!

As some of you may know, a few years ago, I attempted a Project 365. This is a challenge in which you take a photo (usually a self portrait, but there are different versions) every single day for an entire year. Here is my bastardized version of one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dtownpistonsfan/sets/72157622991866423/

I got about halfway through it, and for a variety of reasons (mostly revolving around my move back to Michigan), I ended it. At first, I was comfortable with ending it. Now, I kind of regret that I didn’t push through the obstacles. I saw a story of a guy who has been doing a photo every day since 1999, and his project has survived him being stricken with cancer, several surgeries, and the loss of the use of one of his legs. You can see/hear his story here http://vimeo.com/34525164 . Warning, there are some graphic images from his surgeries, but if you can stomach those pics, his is an AMAZING STORY.

Anyway, this guy has done it for 12 years, and I quit mine because it interfered with packing and traveling back to Michigan? Yeah, not too proud of that. lol As of late, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to better market myself and my photography. I’m in a creative, mental, and physical rut. I need to find a way to get my mind stimulated again, get back to shooting more, and jump start my career. So when I saw this photo-a-day challenge for the month of February (thanks @lala9806!), I figured this would be a great way to start.

Since I ended my Project 365, I’ve become a better photographer, and a more creative thinker. I see this challenge as a great way to push my creative mind further (or farther?), and to help get some more of my work seen by my greater audience (my “social following” has expanded since the end of my Project 365 as well). I also plan to offer a different interpretation of each theme – “different” as in different from the traditional train of thought or the first place that someone would go with that idea. Feel free to do it along with me, and prepare yourself for 29 consecutive days of blog entries! Hold me accountable, comment, retweet, reblog, and I’ll do the same for you.

Here’s the challenge, and a link to the original blog post if you need more info: http://www.fatmumslim.com.au/2012/01/february-photo-day-challenge.html