When I was about 10 years old, my mother bought me a pass to the Skamania County Fair.  I love the fair, not so much for rides (which I tend to get bored with) but the food.  However, when I was 10, I lived for the rides -- well, most of them.  I was petrified of The Zipper.  If you're not familiar, let me enlighten you.  The Zipper was a modified hamster wheel attached to a larger spinning wheel, which rotates at light-speed.  Remember Wesley and Buttercup tumbling down that ridiculous hill on their way to The Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride?  It's like that.  I was petrified of this experience, but an older kid from school convinced me it was a great idea.  He was tougher than me, took karate lessons and had been sent to detention a number of times.  I figured he'd look out for me.  As the safety bar locked down in front of me, I gripped it tight.  Really tight.  A little like I squeezing the last bit toothpaste out of a crowbar.  I looked over at him.  He was sitting straight up with his hands behind his head.  The guy was a few fries short of a Happy Meal but I figured he knew what he was doing.  That's when things...started to break down. He explained that because of insanely strong abs, he would be able to maintain this posture (hands behind his freakin' head, people!) throughout the entire ride.  I had to see this.  The dirty carney, pulled the lever and started the death-trap.  We moved forward a few feet, then the ride lifted us up a little further.  The cage swung forward rapidly and within a half-second my partner folded like a lawn chair.  Not only did his posture fall apart, but he slammed his face (more accurately, his nose) right into the safety bar in our lap.  Blood followed.  It's one thing to have a bloody nose, it's entirely another to be seated next to someone with a bloody nose while spinning like a plate.  We screamed to get off the ride, but I'm pretty sure the carney's Walkman was playing Gun's and Roses at full volume and while he tripped on mushrooms (which was probably more enjoyable then what I was dealing with).  I was begging for my feet to feel solid ground again.

The last two weeks have felt a lot like that excruciating and interminable Zipper ride.  The house is moving along despite some insane hiccups.  In fact, assuming nothing falls apart in the next twelve hours, the demolition crew should be on-site.  At that point, I think we can stop fixating on what was, and start looking ahead to what will be.  I'll try and have some photos up tomorrow.

On an unrelated note, we packed the car and headed to The Dalles Ranch on Saturday for a wedding.  Let's make something very clear: The Dalles Ranch is NOT in The Dalles.  When there are eight extra directions that end up covering your car in four inches of dust and dirt, and it takes you an hour to drive the 20 miles...well...you should really put that in the invitation (along with a coupon for a free car wash).  In fact, everyone was so late -- including the DJ -- that everyone just started drinking before the wedding.  It may have been the only wedding I've ever attended where there was literally a reception before the wedding and then another one after the ceremony.  This isn't to say the experience was bad.

First off, The Dalles Ranch is incredible: phenomenal setting, great staff, amazing amenities and what is the most inspring home theater I've ever seen.

Secondly, as some of you know, I'm shooting my first wedding in a little over a month.  This gave me a) a great setting to practice and b) a terrific opportunity to watch a pro.  While my gear isn't nearly as sexy as his, I reminded myself that the couple who has hired me has done so based on the work they've seen.  I keep thinking I need to go out and buy new lenses and lights, and while I'd like to, I really don't need to (but don't tell my Mrs.).  It's not my gear that makes my photos, but rather my vision and creativity.  That's a tough concept to remember in this hobby/profession.  With that, here's a few of the hundreds of photos I took on Saturday.

And as crazy as this ride has been over the last couple weeks, it's going to be a footnote in my life when all is said and done.  And the blood, the detours, the dust, the asbestos, wedding bells and the tenpenny nails will just be memories on The Zipper ride that is life.

Hold on to your wigs and keys.


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