Monday, June 30, 2008

Impala Americana

Impala Americana
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

And this is why I carry my camera with me as much as possible...

I really have to say that it's so worth going through hours of all of the bad shots as long as I come up with a few hidden gems such as this one. Some I have the struggle with in Photoshop to bring out anything good, but the composition and lighting was already stunning on this one. I just took it to another level using my flashy new HDR plug-in... :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Goodguys 3rd Nashville Nationals Cruises Into the Music City

Hot Rod
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

The Goodguys 3rd Nashville Nationals cruised into the Music City this weekend, with the event being held at LP Field by the riverwalk. The weekend brought in over 2,000 of the south’s hottest rods and coolest customs to Nashville. I spent several hours enjoying the sights and sounds of the auto show. Nothing like the smell of exhaust on a Sunday afternoon...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Cook Family

The Cook Family
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Just a few photos that I snapped during our short visit with Adam, Elaine and their baby girl, Evelyn Riley.

Friday, June 27, 2008

10-Year High School Reunion Recap

I guess I've delayed this long enough, so here it goes...

So, last weekend was my 10-year Troup High School Reunion back in my hometown of LaGrange, Georgia. I already knew most of the people I actually keep in touch with from those glorious years were not going to be attending, which was fine I guess since I do understand their reasonings. However, I couldn't really justify enough of an excuse because I was honestly interested in catching up with people that I hadn't seen since graduation day 10 years ago.

Now there were a couple of things on my mind before attending this event. The first was, of course, who's really going to show up to this thing anyway? With a graduating class of over 300, I knew not everyone was going to make it. Although a lot of my former classmates still call West Georgia home, there are plenty that I know live far away from our small town. I've managed to move to Nashville, but it's still in the South and within a 5 hour drive of LaGrange. I know, yada yada yada...

Second, and this is just the semi-competitive side of me, but how successful has others been in their careers and life in general? I've got differing reasons for wanting to know this based on how friendly these people were to me during high school. For those who were friends of mine or at least worth hanging our with occasionally, I really hoped they had done well for themselves. I wanted to hear how the last 10 years had been great for them in both their careers and families. Now for those who chose to look down on others from atop their high school pedestal, I was weirdly interested in hearing how the past decade had treated them. I think it's those people that motivated me to not only be a more "common" person instead of a snobbish, high & mighty individual, but to also do more with my career and life so a way...I could prove their perceptions of me wrong. Now don't get me wrong, deep down I still wish everyone the best in life and would never wish them harm no matter how they treated me in the past. It's just not my nature, because I was raised better than that and my faith gives me compassion for others. (Doesn't mean I'm not human and sometimes stumble in that path...)

I say all of this to get down to the event itself, which was overall okay for what it was. I managed to misunderstand where the location of the reunion was going to be and we showed up 45 minutes late to a place that ended up literally being 5 minutes from my parents' house. Um, I don't live here anymore, so a map would've been nice. Regardless, we showed up with the "cocktails hour" in full swing and everyone catching up after all those years. I ran into a few people that I sometimes see when I come into town to see my family...ran into former baseball teammates...ran into my college roommate...and even my high school sweetheart. No worries, though, cause Jill and I were glowing since we were sharing the news of our little one growing inside Jill's tummy. I was a little surprised how so many people knew we were in Nashville, but MySpace and my parents still being in town could explain that.

The beer...sucked. The food...minimal. The location...a golf clubhouse that couldn't have held anymore people if it tried. I did wonder a bit about what the $85 fee Jill and me paid was supposed to have covered, but that's water over the dam now so I'll let that go. Anyways, it was funny seeing some of the same "clicks" that existed back in the day were still attaching themselves to each other. The preppy/popular(?) bunch were hanging out sharing stories of their glory days in one area while other smaller groups were scattered around. There were awards for those who traveled the furthest (Julianna from DC), longest married (no idea), most recent married (Amy), most tattoos (Russell). And then there were the Amy Bloodworth awards (she made a clean sweep) of most marriages (3, going on 4) and most children (4, going on 5). Kudos to her...

Overall, I guess the face I was the happiest to see was Julianna. She and I spent our entire educational years together from kindergarten to 12th grade, so you could say that we've got some history together. Haha! I still remember those last days of school when she would join Matt Cagle and I on the tailgate of my truck and wait for the last class period to finish up and for that bell to ring. The last time we actually saw each other was when Jill and I attended her wedding a few years back. Since then we've bounced around a lot ending up in Nashville, while Julianna and her husband (Fleming) made the move to Washington, D.C.

As fast as the party seemed to get going, it also came to a somewhat quick ending once the awards were all passed out and the DJ started playing late 90's party music. Since finger food isn't really dinner and Jill needed some baby fuel, we invited Jules and Fleming to join us at the Waffle House. There we continued to swap stories over coffee, waffles, bacon and hashbrowns covered with cheese. It was a nice wind down after the reunion.

Alright, so basically the event itself was cool I guess. I still question whether I will make as much effort to get to the next reunion, but I think I have some time to decide that. When it came to the people, I was a bit disappointed to hear stories of people divorcing over cheating, lack of career aspirations after so much potential, and even people leaving their spouses home while they attended the reunion (um, that's just weird). And to see the "popular" people still struggling to have a working marriage and career, and to not be able to leave our little town behind is interesting to say the least. Isn't that the group everyone was supposed to look up to? It's really a shame when you consider how much potential many of them had during and even after high school. Of course, it's only been 10 years and there's still plenty of living left for all of us.

To end this, I will say that it seems that I've done well over the last decade when compared to others, especially when it comes to career and marriage, but at the same time I was glad to see many others in a similar point as Jill and I are. I still have goals that I want to reach in life, and those 4 years at Troup will continue to be an influence as I go along.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thirsty Thursday @ Yazoo

Yazoo Courtyard
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Well, we've made it to Thursday...possibly my favorite day of the work week. I still haven't gotten around to blogging about this past weekend's events, but that's no reason to stop my Thursday routine @ Yazoo. Since I was busy playing softball on my birthday we're planning on celebrating a bit more with friends tonight. Nothing too crazy, but a few HOP Project pints would work just fine.

Also, Jill has her 14th week appointment today @ 1:50, so we'll probably get to hear the baby's heartbeat again. Our little wonder is growing (peach size Jill says), and so is Jill's belly. You know, as fast as these days have been flying by lately I really think that December due date will arrive much sooner than I expect.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Weezer - Pork & Beans

Here's the video of one of my favorite new songs. Very catchy! Funny video, too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

28 Years Later...The Birthday

Griffin Employee #2457
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Yep, today I'm celebrating my 28th work. But hey, I get to play a triple-header in softball tonight, so that should be fun (as long as I don't hurt myself too bad).

You know, birthdays are fun, as they should be since it's the one day that everyone calls, emails or says Happy Birthday to you! And for one day a year you're brought to the realization that growing old is inevitable. However, I'm looking forward to my 28th year since our first child will be born in about 6 months from now, which means birthdays take a whole other meaning when it's actually your child's.

Anyways, have a great day, and I will do the same. :-)

No Time to Blog?

Horses Out to Pasture
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Alright, so I was pretty sure it would be hard to find the time to blog often before I even started this crazy thing a few weeks ago...but whoa. I honestly find myself wanting sleep instead of staying up til midnight to blog about our weekend. All I can say is I got some great photos Saturday in the Georgia countryside while killing time, and this one I titled "Horses Out to Pasture" was taken while I was driving down the road. Hey, it was a country road with no person or car within miles, so it was cool.

Anyways, tomorrow is Softball Tuesday, which means it will be possibly Wednesday before I get to the true blogging. Oh, and just wait until you see the photos I took of Adam & Elaine's baby daughter, Miss Evelyn Riley Cook. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back From Georgia

Red Beauty
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

We made it back home late last night from our weekend in Georgia, but since I'm at work right now I will have to blog about everything later. I did go to a car show, though, and this is one of the remodeled beauties I came across.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beer Thursday @ Yazoo

Yazoo - Beer & Cheese
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Well, Jill and I are leaving tomorrow for our weekend in Georgia, but me thinks I'll be sticking to the weekly routing and going to Yazoo after work today. As great as the weather has been all week, I could use a lazy evening in the Yazoo Courtyard with a tasty HOP Project in hand.

As for this weekend, we're heading to Georgia mainly for my 10 year high school reunion, which is Saturday. Of course, we've been planning around this for a while now so that we could also have our annual "birthday weekend" get together since my sister (6/14), mom (6/30) and I (6/24) all celebrate our birthdays this month. With Jill showing a bit more and more as the baby continues to grow (peach size at this stage), it should be fun to see everyone for a few hours and catch up. As for the blogging about my 10 year, I'll save that for after because I really have no idea what to expect at this point.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tennessee Central Railway

Tennessee Central Railway
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

I visited the Tennessee Central Railway Museum today with a coworker in order to scope out a place to shoot lifestyle photos for an upcoming product. This is one of the passenger cars that can be found there. By the way, I know I'm new to Nashville, but I really think this is a hidden gem in our city. The museum is a non-profit organization of locals who cherish the locomotive history of Middle Tennessee.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Photos Land on the TV

Okay, so I was just goofing around with a silly Photobucket slideshow, but it's still pretty cool, right!

East of Downtown

East of Downtown
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

So, I was driving around with the camera shooting random stuff after dropping off some baby fuel (Wendy's) to Jill at work. Made a drive through the industrial area just east of downtown and noticed this view of the skyline. Sure, this isn't what my eyes actually saw, but I knew there was potential. The yellow tones sort of gives it an apocalyptic feel, but my eyes are drawn more to the power lines and tracks.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy 25th Birthday, Valerie!!

Today, June 14th is my "baby" sister's 25th birthday, and since I've decided to stay up into the wee hours of the night to work on photos and my blog, I figured I should go ahead and post this now. She's had a rough couple of years battling Crohn's Disease, but after a successful surgery a few months back, she's on her way to living a little more comfortable. Happy Birthday, Val! Love you!
Valerie and Jaxson

Friday, June 13, 2008

Griffin Employee 30 Seconds!

Griffin Technology
A few weeks back our staff photographer was tasked with photographing all of the Griffin Technology employees for the soon-to-be-developed "Griffin Directory". Each of us got a chance to be somewhat serious in some photos, while goofing off in the rest. Here is the short 30-second video showing a majority of the people who participated. And look for two of my photos to show up around the 19-second mark. Enjoy!

Weekend Forecast: Rain, Humidity & Lots of Heat

Rain Drops II
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

It's Friday shortly after noon, and the rain is pouring down here in Nashville. Lord knows we need it, so no complaints from me, although those attending Bonnaroo several miles down the road may think otherwise. Of course, what's a weekend music fest in a field without some rain and mud parties. Party on!

Friday: My Photo of Nashville Reaches Milestone

December Night in Nashville
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Alright, it's early still (9:45am is early to me), so I am starting the morning off with a simple blog to congratulate my photo, "December Night in Nashville" for becoming the first to reach 1000 views on my Flickr site. Woohoo!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Happy Bokeh Wednesday!

Hart's Bullet Stap
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

The day is almost over, but I couldn't say goodnight without wishing everyone a Happy Bokeh Wednesday!! Each week I gather up a few of my amateur shots that include that "bokeh" effect (one focal point surrounded by background and sometimes foreground blur), and post them into this fun Flickr pool. It reminds of "Hey Day" at Auburn, except everyone in the group wishes you "Happy Bokeh Wednesday" instead. Fun, fun. Have a great night.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday: Recovery Day

Bleeding for Photography
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

Today, like many other Wednesday over the last couple of weeks, has been my recovery day. You see, I spend my Tuesday evenings reliving my old ballgame glory days by playing softball for 3+ hours for the company team. It all begins with 2 very competitive back to back men's games, followed by a 3rd coed game. By the end of the night I'm not only worn out, but I usually have plenty of scrapes and bruises to show off since I still think sliding and diving is easy to do. My mind says go, but my body definitely reminds me that I'm approaching 30 instead of 20, and even Jill likes to put her 2 cents in about my age. Not that 28 (soon to be) is really old at all, but my body does have a harder time recovering from the Tuesday night punishment I dish out. It's all in fun, though, so I will probably keep this up at least until the season ends in 5 weeks.

BTW, this photo is actually of another incident not involving softball, but in a way it all fits in with my ability to live up to the "Crash" nickname. Later.


I forgot to mention that I wasn't the only Barnes injured in the softball-palooza yesterday. I actually managed to hit Jill (accidentally, of course) with a softball that I threw from left field. After over-throwing our 3rd baseman, it somehow managed to sneak through the gate and tag Jill on the right leg close to her knee while she was sitting down keeping our score sheet. So, make sure to wish her the best in her recovery when you get a chance because I'll be hearing about it for at least the next 6 months. :-)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's just sit back and relax.

Relaxation...Toby Style
Originally uploaded by crashmattb

It's going to be a long hot week, so here's a photo that'll cheer anyone up from those summer heat blues.

First Blog...Here We Go!!

Yes, it's official. I'm actually making an effort to create a blog. I've posted somewhere around 49 blogs on MySpace, and it's done alright, but I'm thinking this version on Blogger will be much easier to share. And since I'm only a few months away from becoming a father for the first time I think this will be a great way to post updates, photos and such. So, stay tuned...all 2 or 3 of you. Wish me luck!