Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On the Brighter Side

On the brighter side of procrastination we find antique automobiles in mint condition because someone never got around to making room in their garage for something else.
On the brighter side of incompetence we are still here because several people with ambition to destroy whole nations lack the ability.
On the brighter side of a tool-braking temper tantrum we find my friend purchasing a new drill and in that manner spurring our local economy.
On the brighter side of the darkest sunset is another day.
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 29, 2013

Love, Mechanically. Love, Electrically. Love, Otherwise.

Love, mechanically, is a gearbox that transforms one gentle circle of motion into enough power to lift a whole mountain.
Love, electrically, is a transformer that converts a single spark into the energy to cross a thousand miles of wire and illuminate the darkest corner in the darkest room.
Love, otherwise, is a hand within another hand or a single hand left open.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 28, 2013

One Moment

Every so often I have one of those moments.  I had one yesterday morning.  While sitting on my sofa drinking a cup of coffee and writing an exposition about the safe use of digital multimeters on live electrical circuits, a memory suddenly ruptured all of my intense concentration.  At once, I vividly recalled opening the door for my wife as we entered the wood-front Dewey Bar in Dewey, Montana many years ago.
My wife was laughing just then.  The June grass across the highway shone bright green in the sun.  I watched my wife enter the wood-smelling tavern, leaning only a little against her golden cane, still laughing.  Her dark hair became reflective as she entered a wash of light inside.
Then all memory vanished again save the sound of laughter resounding in my ears.
Yes, we can smile.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Montana is also this

Today I am posting the link to a video made the students of Beaverhead County High School in Dillon, Montana.  Montana is tall mountains and wide river valleys.  Montana is also this:

If the link fails to launch when you click on it, please copy and paste the link into your browser address bar and go to the site to watch this video.  The video is very heartwarming.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

An Adventure

My friend once traveled to a foreign country where palm trees lean out against an ocean that is so blue the sea birds sit on the nearby jetty crying because they cannot fly right through the waves.  The people living by the sea there are quite poor.  My friend sometimes handed money to the begging children.  He bought whole chickens for some families.
One night my friend went to a local tavern that was mostly an open pole hut near the fine sand beach.  A partial moon bathed its long silver light in the ocean which had become a kind of indigo mirror.  He spent most of that night buying fancy drinks for two hookers sitting at the bar.
“They were black,” he said of the hookers, “and they were beautiful.”
Somewhere in the night one of the hookers said to my friend: “You can do anything you want with us.”
“I just want to look at you,” he said.  “You are beautiful.”
--Mitchell Hegman       

Monday, November 25, 2013


History repeats itself and each time it comes back around it is packing a larger firearm.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This Hunting Season

For the last few weeks, the hills around my home have been scoured by deer hunters.  Occasionally, I see one or two of the hunters—suspiciously bright orange dots slowly drifting down a far incline or atop a long rise.  I have heard rifle shots echoing through the juniper breaks.  Late each evening, though, I see collections of mule deer that have survived this far though hunting season calmly crossing the wide expanse of sun-washed grass in front of my house on their way to bed down for the night.
I cannot quite explain the feeling of ancient kinship I have for the deer, not the hunters.
--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 23, 2013

From the North, Part II

Today I am posting photos I captured yesterday morning.  Yesterday, for the second day in a row, thick frost encased the tall grasses and the trees around my home.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Friday, November 22, 2013

From the North

We are presently experiencing our first cold weather impulse from the north.  I do mean cold.  The temperature dropped from short-sleeve to mittens in a matter of only a few hours.
That’s Montana for you.
This morning brought sunshine on thick hoar frost.  Wearing only slippers, sweats, a heavy jacket and with my hair all sticky-uppy I ran out and snapped a few pictures.  Today, I am posting two of those.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Some Days are a Slow Crash against a Concrete Wall

I wake from a bad dream about my car not starting only to discover a housecat sprawled across my neck and feeling like a noose tightening.  When I look for breakfast I find only two gala apples in my refrigerator and a half-empty bag of corn chips in the cupboard.
The chips are stale.
News.  Barely surviving in the Philippines.  Tornadoes purpling across the Midwest and dismantling whole towns in seconds.  Something about somebody that shot somebody else.  Talk about healthcare is making me sick.  
I drive to town for a meeting.
By lunchtime I have missed three important phone calls, somebody shot somebody else somewhere, wind and snow are raking across the valley and the temperature has plummeted into the teens.
In the late afternoon I retrieve mail at my remote mailbox—finding three advertisements and a mailer meant for my long-gone wife.  One of the advertisement flyers slips from my hand.  By the time the flyer hits the ground, the wind has brought the fucking thing alive.  The flyer leaps away, bounds across the road, somehow clears the fence, and then trots off to join some horses huddled together like a dark shadow at the far end of the pasture.
At home again, I have one apple left.
And the stale chips.
--Mitchell Hegman       (Note to Gayle: We can’t slay dragons every day…but we try)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Electrical Trick

My blog entry yesterday triggered me to think about my own craft.  As an electrician, I am part of a collection of folks known for being somewhat persnickety.  Most electricians register on a on a scale of behavior that starts at finicky and ranges up (maybe that is down) to extremely difficult.  One of the electricians that I worked for during my time as an apprentice, a certain Mr. X, had peaked at the top of the difficult scale.  The question often asked about him by people from other trades who were trying to cooperatively work with him was this: “So, does someone kick him in the nuts the minute he gets out of bed every morning or what?”
No, I did not think so.
He was a very capable electrician.  Everyone concede that.
One particular behavior, if exhibited by coworkers or customers, annoyed Mr. X more than all other infractions combined.  He did not tolerate a know-it-all looking over his shoulders and telling him how he might wish to perform a given task.  
“Really,” he might say as someone suggested he should try this or that.  At this point, if Mr. X happened to be working on a live outlet or perhaps a live switch, he would perform a very interesting electrical trick.  He purposely shorted-out the wires.
Mr. X thought this a pretty good trick.  “They will usually stop bothering me after that,” he suggested.
Yes, we all imagined that did stop them.
At other times, Mr. X simply stopped his work, handed over his tools, and said: “Here.  You do this.  You obviously don’t need me.”
Such behavior clearly does not work well in our newer business models and within our safety-conscious workplaces.  Actually, it was not a great fit then, either.  On more than one occasion, customers called into our shop insisting that someone other than Mr. X be sent out if they ever called for service again.  Naturally, that pleased Mr. X.
Later I will tell you about a neat driving trick Mr. X negotiated in our shop trucks and how he sometimes forgot that the shops name and phone number was painted on the side of the truck.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Questions to Ask Your Contractor before Work Begins

—Have you ever mistakenly used flooring material on the ceiling?
— Has any law enforcement agency ever looked under your concrete pads in a search for human remains?
—Do you measure in eighths and quarters or do you measure by little marks and medium-sized following the numbers?
—Have you ever, in a fit of rage, air-nailed a coworker to the framing of a wall?
—Between all of the workers on your crew, do you have enough fingers left to count to ten?
— Has any law enforcement agency discovered human remains under any of your freshly poured concrete pads?
—Oh, yes, and did you mistakenly add an extra zero to the end of your estimate? 
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Week

Sunday is a plaid blanket and the end of one season or another.
Monday is an anvil.
Tuesday is an old newspaper with only half of an article that you want to read.
Wednesday is a used car that still runs pretty well.
Thursday is a lap-cat, purring.
Friday is a tie-die shirt and a martini with a twist.
Saturday is a coin flashing while flipping through the air.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nothing Better Than This

I am posting a copy of a letter I received in the mail a couple days ago.  The letter is from the daughters of my nephew.  They live in Wyoming.  I am guessing that the girls are just now learning to use a computer.
You can live to be one-hundred, travel the world, gather incredible wealth, and still see nothing better than this:

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Last Love Song

Z Z Ward acoustic performance on Slacker Radio.
If the video does not launch please click on this link:
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 15, 2013

Because Why Not

I often train my camera on subjects that I find around my house.  A while back, as example, I thought that the tomatoes I had just sliced were pretty.  I dragged out my camera and captured a few images on them.  Not so long after that, I took a series of photographs of a really cool storm-ball that my friend Kevin gave me.
I am actually glad the storm-ball was not around me during the 1970s.  I suspect that the storm-ball might have retarded my intellectual and emotional growth because I would have hung around it all the time—poking my finger at it and watching the electricity dance around.
“Oh…wow!” I would have said.  Maybe only, “wow!”
At any rate, today I thought I would post a composition I made with my tomatoes and the storm-ball put together.  This makes no sense, of course.

--Mitchell Hegman   

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kevin Trudeau Annoys Me

I have tried to live my life by seeking and standing only amid the bright washes of light provided for me.  I have tried not to allow other people to influence me with negative inputs.   I try not to speak poorly of others.  But I must admit, Kevin Trudeau has always annoyed me.
He has annoyed me more than anyone in the world, actually.  He has even annoyed me more than Richard Simmons (who is overly-nice) and the Kramer character on Seinfeld (who I wanted to strike with a blunt object).
Kevin is too slick…and pyramid-schemey…and ever so faux-concerned.
Certainly you know Kevin, the ubiquitous hawker of books and super-wonder remedies.  How about this one:  Free Money “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.  If that one does not strike a memory maybe Debt Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About will do the trick.  If not that, maybe you need Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About as a reminder.

I am not sure who the “they” in “they” are but “they” have certainly made Kevin a prolific purveyor of, well, himself.  He has filled bookshelves, seminar venues, and dominated the infomercial scene.
He is famous.

Sadly enough, a few days ago, a jury in Chicago found Kevin Trudeau guilty of criminal contempt for making false claims about his latest best-seller, entitled The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About.  A related civil case recently saw a $37 million judgment levied against Mr. Trudeau.  Regarding that, Kevin Trudeau claims that he is broke and cannot possibly pay.  Apparently, he has not read his own book about all the free money out there.  Given that, he may wish to now read his book on debt cures.
While Mr. Trudeau certainly ruffles my feathers by simply being insufferable to watch, I do not see a need to jail him.  He is merely guilty of being annoying.  I don’t know the details of the monetary judgment brought against him.
Finally, I see that Kevin Trudeau launched a defense fund website.  Just for fun, I went there to look around.  I even went to the associated Facebook page.  The Facebook page was “liked” 125 times at the time of my visit.  Apparently—judging by some of the postings—his defense is all about our freedom and protection of the American way of life as we know it.  Surely some smart fella could find the makings of a good book in all of this.  There must be something “they” don’t what you to know about funding the lawyers needed for such a high profile case.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thinking (a Woman’s Point of View)

The only substitute for a good man is all of David Beckham or Denzel Washington’s voice.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Sonnet in the Snowstorm

Yesterday, I drove up to my cabin to work on a few ongoing carpentry projects.  Early in the morning, snow began dropping against the mountains, through the tall green pines and into the willow thickets. 
Not letter snowflakes.  Not merely word snowflakes.
Bigger collections of snow. 
Whole soft sentences softly descended through the forest of trees.  Perfectly white couplets.   Entire paragraphs floating down near my cabin window.  From inside my cabin I watched English sonnets and free verse elegies scrolling from sky to earth—each collecting with the previous layer of snow on the forest floor.
My woodstove steadily ticked with heat.  And to Shakespeare the wandering mind:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
            Thou art more lovely and more temperate…

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

Abnormal American

I think I might be an abnormal American.  For one thing, I don’t watch football.  Also, I keep forgetting why I am supposed to pay attention to what Kim Kardashian is doing.
--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thanks for the Cardboard Box!

Cats are finicky eaters, largely unruly, totally self-absorbed and on occasion they gack-up some pretty gruesome hairballs—stuff that might be capable of running away on its own if equipped with legs.  Just the same, they can be charming and entertaining.  Not a lot of other animals can make big fun out of a shoelace or a paperclip.
My 40 pounds of cat (2 x 20) can be pretty good company.  We sometimes sit in the sun together.  They like to help me scatter papers and pens.  The frightening noises they generate in the middle of the night are also helpful in our relationship.  Mostly, I like my cats for something I refer to as “thanks-for-the-cardboard-box” behavior.
My cats love a cardboard box.  Their affection for and reaction to a cardboard box is wholly dependent on the size of the box.  If I bring home a box that is anything more than twice as large as a single cat, they tend to shy away at first.  Eventually they will warm-up to the box.  They will slowly walk around—assessing and sniffing.  If the box is full and closed they will jump on top and see what if feels like to sit on it.  Soon enough they will sleep on it.  If the box is open and empty they will jump in and hang out for a while.  A few swipes at the flaps are also in order.
Smaller boxes spark much more interesting behavior.  The cats will immediately approach a box smaller than them, sniffing.  They will rub against it.  Often they will sit and stare at one side or another.  Splash, my biggest cat will do something I call “forward biasing.”
Yes, forward biasing is the electrical term used in describing the point where polarity and voltage applied to a solid state component cause the component to switch from a non-conductive state to a conductive state.
In forward biasing, Splash puts his nose against the box and pushes it around on the floor a bit.  Sometimes Splash will forward bias a box all over the place.
Funny stuff.
Inevitably, at some point—no matter how small the box is—the cats will attempt to get inside any size box if it is empty and open.  Today I am posting a photo of Splash sitting in a Bunny box.
You are welcome, Splash.
--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Capturing is Killing

Orcas, more commonly known as killer whales, are found in oceans throughout the world.  They are thought to be the most widely disbursed animal on earth following humans.  A killer whale is no daisy to be twirled through your fingers, mind you.  As the name indicates, these brutes are predators.  They are big, highly intelligent and often use the same pack hunting strategies that wolves use.  Male Orcas average well over 20 feet in length.  A bull orca might easily weigh more than 12,000 pounds.  They are plenty fast, too.  They can reach speeds above 25 miles-per-hour.  They cooperate in living, loving, and killing.
Killer whales have a wide range of eating habits.  Some pods (groups of them) tend to specialize, perhaps eating more salmon than anything.  Others, as demonstrated in Argentina, have learned to charge the shore and beach themselves so that they can catch seals and sea lions on land.  The Orca is the largest predator of warm-blooded animals on the planet.  They will prey on sea birds, fish, seals, great white sharks, sea lions, the calves of larger whales and on rare occasion a hapless moose caught swimming in the open.
Interestingly, not a single human death has been attributed to a killer whale in the wild.  Documented attacks in the wild are exceedingly rare—less than you can count on one hand.  Most involved a bit of bumping and splashing.  Of those “attacks,” only one recorded a killer whale actually biting a person.  That attack involved a surfer off the coast of California in 1972.   Likely, the incident was a case of mistaken identity; the killer whale thinking the surfer might be a tasty snack.  We humans have, by means of our preference in both hairstyles and television shows, proven that we have disturbingly poor taste.  Apparently we don’t taste all that great either.  The killer whale immediately spit the surfer back into the ocean.  The surfer survived the attack.
Orcas in captivity are something else.
They are killers of humans.
Since the 1960s over 100 acts of aggression against humans (by orcas in captivity) have been recorded.  The aggression ranges from tugging or bumping humans to outright mauling and murder.  Four people have been killed by Orcas held captive in pools.  Three of the people were killed by the same Orca—a bull named Tilikum.
Tilikum is still “performing” at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida.  He is a known killer, but there is yet a great deal of money involved.  For one thing, Tilikum cost a great deal to train and keep for this long.  He also brought in big crowds.  More importantly, Tilikum is a prolific sperm donor.  By both natural means and artificial insemination, Tilikum has sired 21 offspring.
Ultimately, the whole murderous history of Orcas in captivity is about nothing more than money.  Killer whale performances draw big crowds.  On occasion, a successful movie starring one of these creatures is made.  Little consideration is given to how the orcas feel.  And the orcas—though many trainers deeply care for them and love them—are miserable in their pens.  You need see no more than the collapsed dorsal fins of the males to see this.  Virtually all bull killer whales in captivity display this—though in nature the phenomenon is rare.
Killer whales are very social and communicative.  They interact with clicks and squeals and whistles.  In captivity, they are often seem to be wailing their pools.  They are altenately aggressive and frustrated and then suddenly listless.  Today, Tilikum is lonely and adrift.  He is often off in his own pool, sulking.  The trainers are not allowed to share the pool with him—not that I am suggesting they should do so.
I do not blame the killer whales for any of their aggression while in captivity.  We really should know better by now.  We crave our freedom, too.  Finally, the life span of an Orca in captivity is now understood to be far less than the span of their kin in the oceans.
Same for the trainers working with them. 
If interested in more information, please watch Blackfish, the documentary about the plight of killer whales in captivity.
--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We are not Mushrooms

We humans are not mushrooms, although at one time during the late 1970s my grandfather suggested that I looked like a mushroom driving a car because of the way my long hair stuck out.  That was his way of telling me that I needed a haircut.
My resemblance to a mushroom may have not been entirely baseless.
My opening point, however, is to submit that from a physiological standpoint or perhaps more aptly a psychological standpoint we, unlike some mushrooms, need light.  While those people living at the equator may not give much thought to this matter, those folks occupying the Polar regions have plenty of long dark winter days to consider.  As example, the northernmost town in Sweden—a place called Kiruna—experiences a polar night (without so much as a sliver of the sun rising above the horizon) that lasts for 28 days straight during the deepest days of winter. 
Human behaviors change as days and days of darkness befall remote towns and isolated dwellings.   Many people settle into a dull idle.  Others begin overthinking.  Heavy drinking may become the norm.  Nerves fray.   Even here in Montana, during the short days of deepest winter, I sometimes feel as though I have been stuffed inside a box with only a crack in the top that allows sunlight for a bit of the day.
Depression may result.
The town of Rjukan, Norway suffered longer than most places—not only due proximity to the top of the world, but also due to being located deep inside a narrow mountain valley.  While not noticeably more afflicted by lunacy than any other place, the townspeople of Rjukan longed for more light.
They now have it.
Thanks to three huge mirrors on a nearby mountaintop and a sophisticated sun-tracking and aiming system, a 6,500 square-foot patch of light is reflected down onto the town square.  Prior to the installation of the mirrors, people craving sun were forced to seek the mountaintops.
Now they can dance in a patch of light beamed down upon them.
Photo: Yahoo News
--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happiness is a Target

Happiness is a target but few of us regularly practice our aim.
--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.  She is thirty-something.  I know her exact age, but the number is a bit bigger than either one of us might want to admit.
Happy birthday, Helen.
I was old when I was thirty-something.   I thought so at any rate.
Helen looks young and pretty.
Math has always been a challenge for me.
--Mitchell Hegman 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Anyone Else But You

This song found fame by landing on the soundtrack for the movie Juno.  I think the song joyous and fun.
If video does not load from here, please use this link:
--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, November 1, 2013

These to Remember, These to Dream, These to do Again

These to remember:
Kissing hollow-cheeked girls in cool basements.  Wading silver creeks under a dome of green leaves.  The sound of freight trains emerging from the blue mountains.  Lying on sidewalks under the summer sun.  Cats coming and going.  The sound of my wife laughing.
These to dream:
Rainbow trout swimming amongst the whitest autumn clouds.  Green money.  Kissing girls alongside the summer sidewalks.  The silver moon rising.  Cats chasing cats. 
These to do again:
Drive open roads while vesper sparrows bounce through the air alongside me.  Camp in the bluest mountains with a fire at my feet and white stars twisting around my face.  Take in the scent of lilacs as I bathe in the green leaves of June.  Stitch my tracks through fresh snow.  Imagine the sound of my wife laughing.
--Mitchell Hegman