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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

December 2003

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Mon, Dec. 1, 2003 - Main Street Rainbow

Main Street Rainbow

Well last month wasn't very stellar as far as my reporting went. Only 5 pictures! Seemed the second half of the month I was either in bed with the flu or it was raining so I just didn't get out to take many pictures. Today I got a call from Mary, my barber, to go look outside at the rainbow. I grabbed the camera and quickly snapped this picture, then set off for a better location, but before I got down the street it disappeared. Later in the day another rainbow was reported, but again before I could get to where I wanted to take the picture, it disappeared. Those Kodak moments can sure be fleeting. Hopefully with all the Christmas events Ferndale hosts, I'll have more to share this month.

Tue, Dec. 2, 2003 - Darrian


This is 7 month old Darrian, who came in recently with her family for a portrait. After we finished the group shots I started taking individual shots of the kids. I started with Darrian's 4 year old brother, then Darrian. Unfortunately, Darrian's twin sister fell asleep before it was her turn. But this photo of Darrian was a favorite from the session. All dressed up in her Christmas clothes, she looked like a little porcelain doll.

Wed, Dec. 3, 2003 - A Man in Uniform

A Man in Uniform

I'm going to be taking pictures of the Ferndale Fire Department members for the web site. So today I started on my own. It's hard doing a self portrait, checking for focus and making sure you're sitting in the frame of the picture. but I think it turned out well. Speaking of the fire department, last night I started Firefighter I Academy, to learn more about the fire fighting side of what we do. I found out that OSHA requires you to be clean shaven where an SCBA mask meets your face, so I guess for the duration of the class, I'm going to have to shave the beard completely off. Glad I can keep the mustache, because I've had that since I could grow one, and it would really be weird looking in the mirror each morning and not seeing it.

Thu, Dec. 4, 2003 - This Year's Christmas Tree

This Year's Christmas Tree

Today the kids came by and decorated our Christmas tree on Main Street. They were already in progress when we got to work, so I quickly ran in and grabbed the camera. This year I got smart and wired the top of the tree to the awning. Our windiest parts of the year is the stretch between when the trees are put up and when they come down.

Fri, Dec. 5, 2003 - The New Rescue Rig

The New Rescue Rig

Today our eagerly awaited replacement for our rescue rig finally arrived. It still needs radios and other equipment installed, but we did get our first look at it. Other than the red wheels, I really like it. It has a crew cab that seats 5, and way more storage space in the back. The cabinets are well organized and many have pull out shelves. It also has doors that slide up, making it easier to open in tight spaces. Many new features show just how much has evolved since the 70s, which is when the old R4 was made.

Sat, Dec. 6, 2003 - Tour Engine 2

Tour Engine 2

Engine 2 is the next engine that will be replaced, as it is almost 30 years old. Company 2 is currently in the process of designing the specs for the replacement and they wanted pictures of the current rig on the web page so that vendors could see what they currently have. I put together a tour of the engine on the site which is fun to look at. You'll find a tour of the left and right sides of the engine at the bottom of the page linked above.

Sun, Dec. 7, 2003 - Lighting the Christmas Tree

Lighting the Christmas Tree

This morning, before the sun even rose, the Ferndale Fire Department was busy hanging lights on our town Christmas Tree. Two climbers made there way to a permanent platform 130 feet up, and then using ropes and pulleys, the strands of lights are pulled up to the top of the tree. The rain let up most of the time, and in fact for a few minutes it looked like we might get a real nice day. But then the clouds came back in and it started raining once again. Hopefully it won't rain during the concert and tree lighting ceremony tonight. If it isn't pouring tonight, I'll have pictures of that tomorrow.

Mon, Dec. 8, 2003 - Moon Over the Emporium

Moon Over the Emporium

As we were walking down to the Ferndale Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, I snapped this picture of the moon rising over Ferndale's Main Street. I was really overjoyed that it wasn't raining, and I was hopeful to get some good pictures of the ceremony. There was a great turnout of people to watch the lighting. The ceremony started with a speech from the mayor, and about two minutes into the speech, you could hear fire department pagers going off throughout the crowd, followed shortly by the siren. Call came in as structure fire, with explosions reported.

Tue, Dec. 9, 2003 - Sunday's Fire

Sunday's Fire

After last years Christmas time fire and the way the call came over, I was expecting the worst. Fortunately the fire was in the rear of an outbuilding at the back of the property, and while it was burning pretty good when the department arrived, it was knocked down fairly quickly. Mop up and getting hose re-racked took a couple of hours, so by the time I got home I had missed not only the lighting ceremony, which includes free cookies and hot chocolate :-(, but also the linguisa dinner that follows it. Feeling pretty tired, I decided to go to bed early, to be awoken about an hour later with a medical call. After a couple of quiet weeks, the department has been pretty busy the last few days. It seems to do that quite frequently, we'll for two weeks with no calls and then get 5 calls in one weekend.

It's back to being stormy today with very strong winds blowing. Hopefully we'll get another break in the weather soon so I can get some Christmas Tree photos.

Wed, Dec. 10, 2003 - Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Earlier this year, Natalya came up to Ferndale to get her picture taken, and we discovered we had the same birthday, only 13 years apart. When she heard we were traveling down to the Bay Area, she wanted to get together again, and I suggested that we plan a shoot on our joint birthday. That was the fun part of my birthday. The bad part was discovering our truck's brakes were smoking in South San Francisco. After calling AAA we waited for 30 minutes for the tow truck to arrive. Then once we knew where it was going to be towed, we tried calling people to pick us up. No one answered their phone and running out of quarters, we decided to go eat and try again later. We finally got ahold of Jasna and bless her heart she not only came and got us in the pouring rain, she brought hot chocolate too! Thanks, Jasna. We finally made it back to Mom & Dad's around 10:30 or 11:00, making for a very long day. We originally stopped in South San Francisco to eat at El Torrito's but we found out they closed the chain two years ago. Anybody know where you can get deep fried ice cream? I was really looking forward to it.

Thu, Dec. 11, 2003 - A Boy & His Kitty

A Boy & His Kitty

Today was mostly spent dropping off the truck, waiting for it to be fixed and picking up the truck. Then Mom and Dad took us out to Outback for a belated birthday dinner. Lot's of great food, great service, and nice company made for a most excellent dinner. Thank's Mom and Dad, it was the highlight of the trip. Instead of showing you pictures of us eating, I have another picture from yesterday. This is Natalya's son and his kitty, who both kept us entertained while we were setting up.

Fri, Dec. 12, 2003 - Overweight Families

Overweight Families

Obesity in America is hitting epidemic proportions. Too many families are eating out, stuffing themselves with deep fried foods, huge portions of meats, and then topping it all of with some decadent desert like chocolate cake. Wait, that's what I had last night. But this trend toward super sizing everything includes mannequins. No longer are mannequins shaped like Barbie and Ken. Now you can find them in realistic, although less ideal sizes too. This family of dress forms is actually a picture for Lori's upcoming book, and I don't think I'm revealing any plot by showing it. Our trip down to the Bay Area was to visit West Valley College to take photos for her book that we needed a class room setting for.

Sat, Dec. 13, 2003 - Kitty


Just in case you didn't think the first one was cute enough, here's another one. Today we had our first hands on training session for the Fire Academy class I'm taking. After a short classroom session we proceeded to a warehouse where they had set up a maze. We had to wear full turnouts, including mask and SCBAs. (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus - Think SCUBA but without the underwater part) They then blindfolded us and led us down on our knees into a little tunnel. We went through the maze in teams of two, and I lead my team. I quickly found myself on my stomach, trying to get through a tangle of wires. Then it was a very tight 180 degree turn, feeling the right wall all the way. That opened into the biggest room where I could get back up on my knees again. The only way out of that area was to squeeze between the studs on one wall that was open. I'm glad I'm still pretty skinny. Part of the excercise was to get comfortable with sliding the airpack around or removing it completely in the dark, to navigate real tight spaces. Other obstacles included a tunnel that was so tight I had to slither on my belly and turn my head sideways so the helmet wouldn't wedge between the floor and ceiling. We had to crawl across a simulation of attic rafters, and then avoid falling off the roof. The final exit was a window that by the time I got to it I was so exhausted I could barely lift myself out of it. The whole way everything was pitch black and I had to feel for each possible way out. It was pretty tough and several times I had to just stop and calm myself down so I could get my breathing relaxed and think through it. Before starting it, I kept telling myself it's just a drill, but it still was very tough mentally as well as physically. The whole thing reminded me a bit of learning to scuba dive, only the view wasn't as pretty. After the class I went back to the office for December's Open Easel night, but it was pretty much a bust. Then Lori and I went to the fire department's Christmas party. Got home to find our front yard flooded once again.

Sun, Dec. 14, 2003 - Ferndale's Tractor Parade

Ferndale's Tractor Parade

For the first time since we've moved here, Ferndale's Tractor Parade was a dry event. After last night's rain and wind it didn't look hopeful, but the rain stopped earlier in the day, and it only drizzled for a few minutes during the parade. It was nice to be able to take pictures of the parade without having raindrops spotting the lens. As usual, the star of the show was the Leonardi's tractor, which was the one that was featured on the magazine cover. Even better, we didn't have a major fire after this year's parade, so after looking at the pictures I went home and went to bed.

Mon, Dec. 15, 2003 - The Ferndale Christmas Tree

The Ferndale Christmas Tree

I owed you all a picture of the Ferndale Christmas Tree, since the fire interupted the tree lighting ceremony when I planned to take it. Since it didn't rain at all today (yeah!) I thought I better get one taken while I had the chance. The tree is about 150 feet tall, and the platform where the star is located is about 130 ft up. If you want to complain that the star belongs on the top of the tree, then we'll assume that you're volunteering to climb up to the very tippy top next year to handle the installation.

Tue, Dec. 16, 2003 - Main St. Glow

Main St. Glow

Caught this sunset scene on Main Street in between showers.

Wed, Dec. 17, 2003 - Big Clouds

Big Clouds

Lori came back from running errands and said I should look outside. The sky was pretty clear, but there was one big cloud lit up north of town.

Thu, Dec. 18, 2003 - Package Delivery

Package Delivery

Another of our favorite floats from the tractor parade this year was Brian Morrison's entry. His tractor was pulling several packages that had kids popping their head out of. Two of the packages were recycled at our studio. If you pay attention you'll see them later.

Fri, Dec. 19, 2003 - Dump the Grinch

Dump the Grinch

Some entries in the tractor parade get quite long, and are hard to photograph, even with an extreme wide angle lense. Such was the case with the Bansen's entry. (The Bansen's own the farm where Lauren got to visit.) Their entry this year had a tractor pulling a dump truck with the Grinch in the back, which in turn pulled a trailer decorated with lights and two trees, plus some kids playing Christmas music.

Sat, Dec. 20, 2003 - Look what Santa brought

Look what Santa brought

Two large packages arrived at out studio today, and since we weren't going to be here for Christmas, I opened them up early. Good thing too, since I don't think Kate would have wanted to spend the holidays in a box.

Sun, Dec. 21, 2003 - Naughty or Nice

Naughty or Nice

The list says it all.

Mon, Dec. 22, 2003 - Harley Raffle

Harley Raffle

Company 4 of the Ferndale Fire Dept. is going to be raffling off a brand new Harley Davidson Fat Boy so today I went up to Redwood Harley Davidson to photograph the bike that is going to be raffled. After an extensive redo in Photoshop, here is what it looks like. In actuality, the bike was photographed in one of the service bays. $35 will buy you a chance to own this bike.

Tue, Dec. 23, 2003 - Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

In case you ever want to take up patternmaking, here are the tools you'll need to purchase. This is one of the last photo's taken for Lori's textbook, and she's almost done with the text. Yeah! Lori is so thorough, that even though the photographs in the book are going to be black and white, she carefully arranged her colored pencils in the correct order of the spectrum.

Wed, Dec. 24, 2003 - I'm Stuck on You

I'm Stuck on You

On our way out to our car to begin our trip down to the Bay Area for Christmas, Lori let out a "Yuck". After looking closer at the cause of her exclamation, she realized it wasn't what she thought it was, but was merely two worms in an unusual pose. I figured the two worms were either:

  1. Exchanging early Christmas presents
  2. Sharing their body warmth on a chilly morning
  3. Having earthworm sex
Since I have no idea how earthworms have sex, (and for once, I'm not that interested in something that has to do with sex) I'm going with answer A.

Thu, Dec. 25, 2003 - Happy Boy

Happy Boy

There's nothing that makes the eyes of a youngster light up more than opening a package on Christmas. It still works pretty good, even when you're an old fart. Speaking of farts, did you know that whoopee cushions make excellent stocking stuffers?

Mon, Dec. 29, 2003 - Third Time's A Charm

Third Time's A Charm

These are the Gomes children, Ben, Emma & Anna. We were scheduled to photograph them and their parents last month, but a broken arm sidelined one of the girls. We rescheduled for when the cast would come off, and then the mom got the flu, so we rescheduled again. It took some doing getting them here, but the results the third time were fantastic. Once again Lori and I were thinking kids are awfully cute to have around.