The last time I tried to do this, their server was down or something. Or it could have been that I'm blogging from exile. Don't worry, I've been taking notes so I'll be able to accurately update you. Because I know you're DYING to know what happened.

First: I realized after I logged off last Wednesday that I forgot to tell you about the Smack/Lala bonding that happened. It was during our picnic and pre-Bec/Lars bomb dropping. (I'm still trying to figure out when to use our "mundane" names and when to use our Society names. Let me know if it gets confusing.)

We were sitting on the blanket, eating our yummy treats and discussing things like how fabulous we all looked and how great my new cane is and how great it is that Kaiser was out of bed and moving around and Hazmat/Madi points out that she still hadn't seen the latest group of shots I got with the fish eye lens. I told her I was still editing them and they mostly bad in a way that only hardcore photographers can create. Smack offered to have a look on her editing program if I liked.

"What makes your Photoshop better than her Photoshop?" Kaiser/Bec asked.
"I hacked it." Was the very smooth answer. We all paused for a minute because, well, that's what Hazmat does. The hacking. Hence the name. After a slightly too-long silence and several long looks she continued: "I have no technical skill with a camera. I can't tell the f-stop from the aperture and basically I'm useless. What I can do is edit it. And when I discovered that my lame parents sprang for the oldest possible photo-editing program they could find I got together with a friend of mine in Hawaii and hacked it. It's like Photoshop....if Photoshop were psychic."
"Didn't you want to be a photo editor for the paper?" Kaiser ventured...bravely, too, since it was based purely on hearsay.
"Yes. I was in Hawaii."
"You can't. Not if your photo skills are as crappy as you say they are." This from Hazmat. Thus far, my mouth had been closed since Smack entered the conversation.
"Why not?"
"Because in order to be an editor you have to have a commanding skill of every position below you. You'll need to get your photo skills up to snuff and even then the best you can hope for Junior year is a staff photog/layout position." I added this. With some authority and a small dose of sympathy. I knew this was the case because when I made the newspaper scene my freshman year it was the only thing I accomplished. Our editors were there because they were pets, not because they were talented. We had staff doing everyone's job and not getting credit. I staged a coup. I'm not modest about it because I'm very proud of it. Madi, Bec, and Lars backed me up, along with some very frustrated juniors. So when the year wrapped and decisions for the next year were being made everyone had to turn in actual WORK. Submit inches and photos to a TEAM of people for consideration. Well, I say team and that year it was the entire newspaper/yearbook staff. We voted as a collective (all 15 of us) and the best were chosen. And given our experience and the fact that we NEVER slack off (notice how it's summer and we're still working on this stuff?) our positions are practically locked until we graduate. It's only up from here.

The look on Mackenzie's face crushes me. So I sip my soda and regroup.
"We'll spend the rest of the summer and all of next year teaching you what you need to know. How are you in the dark room?" She looked at me as though I were speaking Greek. "We shoot a few rolls a month so that we don't lose the art of it. Mostly for yearbook. Don't worry - someone will help you there, too. Think of it as honing your skills and strengthening your talent. It will only make your college applications that much stronger." She nodded. And then Bec dropped her Lars bomb.

Dropped it and shut up about it.
And then Madi's mom called. And then Mackenzie's mom called. So we got back in the car and headed back home.

And then I blogged and when I woke up on Wednesday mom decided that the best way to spend Independence Day was Out Of The Country.

We packed.
We boarded a plane.
And we came to spend out weak dollars in the country that helped us throw off the shackles of oppression and unfair taxes.

That's right. I'm in France. Luckily we're in the South of France and there's at least a beach. Who even knows how much longer we're here. It's not crappy - don't get me wrong - but it's not great. Who wants to loll around on the beach in a bikini when there's a fresh bullet wound scar in her leg? And do you have any idea how easy it is to walk with a cane on the beach? Not easy at all. And finally - I'm here with my parents. Who may or may not be spending an inordinate amount of time drinking lots of wine and then locking themselves in their suite. Which is how I'm able to blog now.

Mom had one strict instruction when we packed: no computers. No cell phones. Nothing. So I really don't have much to report but I'm going to call Bec tomorrow and find out everything. I hate being so far away when there's such a good reason to be home. My friend needs me and I'm a million miles away. She's getting cheese. And wine. And maybe a cute boy in a beret...if I can find one.

Speaking of being found: Mom just found me. She's saying things like "this is family time" and "who are you talking to anyway?" I told her I didn't think I was included in the family time she was having with dad and she rolled her eyes, pointed to the monitor and said "Wrap. It. Up. It's the middle of the night and we've got a lot to do tomorrow." She was not pleased when I told her it was actually early morning and none of us had slept and whatever her huge plans are...mine include napping. On the beach.

Happy Freedom Day.

oh - PS - I did bring my camera. And since there were packing edicts to be adhered to, I just brought my prime lens. We'll see how these shots turn out. Clearly the computer in the lobby is not the place to upload them.

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