Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Cell Phone...

Okay here we go...

What kind of society have we become that we can't get by without our precious smart phones for an hour or two? In shooting a wedding yesterday I spent more time trying to get the attention of the shootee's away from their phones. During the hair and makeup time the bridesmaids all had cute matching t-shirts, mimosa's, 4 hair and makeup stylists, fun music playing, pretty dresses ready to be worn and what are they all doing, sitting on the bed with their heads buried in their phones.
A bit later the groomsmen were all standing around with their heads buried and I actually leaned into one of them and asked what we would do if we didn't have smart phones... "I dunno, maybe talk to each other?" then went back to his phone.
Then comes the FABULOUS cameras we all carry now. I was hired to shoot an event that Matt Forte of the Bears was going to walk around and take pics with people.
I was supposed to shoot the meet and greet shots BUT!!!! everyone getting their picture with Matt wanted it on their phone so they could instantly communicate with the world who they were standing with. The majority of the pics I took that night were of the group smiling for a cell phone then dispersing leaving me with no shot. Trust me I was making myself known, I'm hard to miss.
   When shooting weddings I always have to let who ever is there with a phone get the shot first. The people getting their pictures taken always know the cell phone holder better than me so of course they are going to pose for them first. So after 3 or 4 cell phone people, I can then try and get their attention back to me. I can't even tell you how much shooting time cell phones have cost me. Then comes the ceremony. People have no shame in standing in front of you to get their shot and because your screen is the viewfinder you have to hold it up for all to see to get that pulitzer winner. How many concerts have we been to lately that is just a sea of bluish glowing 4 inch screens. Forget the lighter, the cell phone is now our beacon of support. Now one area of a wedding I think is kind of fun for cell phone is the exit from the church. I actually like seeing a bunch of phones out capturing the bubbles or bird seed being launched at the new couple I'll admit, pretty fun.
    How about dinners, here's where I have point the finger at myself. I am guilty of food pics. I am also guilty of checking email looking for the next job. All too often when I am in a restaurant, I see couples more interested in Face Book than the person sitting across from them and not just a quick check, a full blown absorbed session. I heard once of a game. Everyone at dinner has to put their cell phone in the middle of the table in a stack and the first person to check the internet has to pay for dinner.

Cell phone tip from a photographer.
If you feel the need to take a picture and absolutely have to, your heart will just break of you don't get the shot, do it. Do it fast and do your best not to disturb anyone around you BUT FIRST!!!
look behind you and see if you are getting in the shot of the pro, wait 30 seconds and they will have moved on.  Be as discreet as humanly possible.

Bottom line, cell phones are not going away anytime soon. Don't let em control your life.
Words I am going to do my best to live by.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The beauty of shooting portraits with a 200mm lens is if you stand about 8 feet from the subject, the world becomes your backdrop.
The following pictures were all shot in the same location with us just turning towards a different wall.

Doug White Photography for more information.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A surreal twist at the WI St. Fair...

    I made it quite known that I just had ZERO desire to work for the Cudahy Bacon Day at the Wisconsin St. Fair. We have to be on site by 5:30am, put in a long day in the Sun to have rude people grab bacon samples out of other peoples hands. Last year I vowed I wouldn't do it again.
I soon realized I just am not at a point in my life that I can turn down work so I agreed to do it.
This year was different because I was to stage manage for the bacon cooking demos and the live band. Much better assignment than the previous year, things were looking up.
I then find out that Ralph Covert was the act. I met Ralph years ago when his band The Bad Examples were playing in the 90's. He then came up with a brilliant music angle of presenting family oriented rock geared towards kids. That quickly caught the eyes of Disney and you can see Ralph's World on the Disney Channel here and there. Playing Bass for him is an old friend of mine Brian.
Here's why I'm talking about these guys. I know my Dad went to Ralph's studio a few times to help him with some French accordion consulting. I re introduce myself to Ralph and talked about a few of the same people we know and by the way,  I'm Don White's son. His eyes lit up and he declared that he loved Don White. I told him of his passing a few weeks ago and he was so moved that he hugged me and didn't let go. We talk about Dad for a while and I was amazed at the impact Dad had.
    The band goes on stage and they are just kill'n it. Kids and parents dancing and really having a great time. Ralph then asks "Who likes a polka???", the crowd cheers. He then says we sure could use an accordion on this tune, This one goes out for one of the best, Don White.
I'm trying to be all professional out in the crowd and I just welled up and was trying to clear my eyes throughout the whole tune. Head here and listen to Peggy's Pie Parlor Polka.
The day was very enjoyable and I'd do it again and thanks to Ralph for making it unexpectedly amazing.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A special Sunday morning...

On Sunday morning July 13th, my Dad passed away.
After 89 years of an amazing life he spent less than a week in Hospice care in our home.
Not having any medical experience, I was not sure what was going to happen or how so I didn't know what to expect and I have to say, I was pretty scared.
Hospice comes in with a few drugs for us to have on hand in case of breathing difficulties or anxiety and it wasn't
until Saturday evening we noticed his breathing was, for lack of a better term, controlled panting. The nurse suggested we give him a .25mg dose of morphine to calm that down. We did so but I wasn't sure if it made a difference. We stayed up with him for as long as we could before we fell asleep. I woke around 7:30, put on some music for Dad and he was in the same state but now 100% unresponsive or unable to squeeze my hand when asked to. Around 8:15, his breathing became more labored so I gave him .5mg of the morphine and within 10 minutes his breathing calmed, it was shallow but calm. Kim was working with Mom to get her ready for the day and as she brought her out she wheeled her over to see Dad. As she touched his arm I could notice his breathing was slowing to every 5 seconds or so, then 10 seconds, then...nothing. He just stopped breathing. No gasp, no twitch, he just ceased. Kim was on the phone with the Hospice nurse and I checked his neck for a pulse, it was over.  I had not experienced anything like this. Was honored yet a little....uhhhhh, what do I do now?
Was there divine intervention for him to wait until Mom was by his side? I don't know but sure was amazing timing.
Siblings were all called, tears were shed. An amazing peace for all of us. 

All four of his kids were able to see him before he

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tiki Failure...

If you know me, you know if I have a cocktail, it's about having the best one I can because I'm not having many to get  inebriated. I am completely fascinated by the history and culture of different liquors and how they are used. Enter the kitschy realm of the Tiki Bar.
The Tiki line of cocktails that you can find in many Asian restaurants has been taken to the next level by many people out there trying to use classic ingredients from the 30's and 40's.
Usually Rum based with a bunch of sugar in them you do not want to imbibe too much for sugar and alcohol are the classic ingredient for a hang over, not good. One great Tiki drink with an Asian food dish is delightful, except tonight.
Tong's Tiki Hut has been around my area for twenty or thirty years. I decided to have dinner there tonight. I ordered a classic Mai Tai. Not being a snob or anything but I know my way around a cocktail or two having made thousands as a bar tender. My drink arrives and I sip to find my Mai Tai was simply rum and pineapple juice. Fail.
Dark rum, light rum, Orange Curacao or Triple Sec and the secrect ingredient...Orgeat syrup which is made with almonds, sugar, rose water and oranges. Granted I have yet to find a bar that has Orgeat in their rail. A fine substitute? Amaretto. It works just fine. PLUS people with nut allergies can have Amaretto.
I push my drink aside and the server asked if I didn't like it. I told her it was just rum and pineapple juice. She replied "right, that not Mai Tai?" No, that's not a Mai Tai. "you want Zombie?"
No, I'll just stick with the hot tea.

The food? More than good...

Mai Tai Fail...

Not traditional but a fine substitute...
In a Boston shaker with ice.
1 oz dark rum
1 oz light rum
1/2 oz Amaretto
1/2 oz triple sec
2oz of OJ and a splash of grenadine.
Shake and pour in a waiting, iced pint glass. Only thing missing would be the trade winds blowing through your hair...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Events from tonights gig...

What an odd odd evening...

I was hired to run the technology for a high end fund raiser just outside of Milwaukee tonight.
There were about 250 people for a sit down dinner in a room meant for around 200. It was very crowded with no room to sit to operate the gear for the presentation. My position was behind the bar.
I will just start listing the weird things that happened.

1. Being behind the bar and wearing a black tech operators shirt, I got asked to make drinks over a dozen times.
2. A bartender dropped off a very over poured glass of Bourbon to a lady then walked away. The lady tried to get her attention but to no avail. I asked if there was something I could do. She wanted her drink split with ice in both glasses. Everyone else was busy so I just grabbed two rocks glasses, iced them and split the drinks for her then went back to my sound board (2 feet away) no tip.
3. A woman dropped a glass out on the deck and a shard cut her foot, again being the only person behind the bar not doing anything she got my attention and asked for a bandage. I saw a med kit and grabbed a bandage. Her dress didn't lend itself for her to treat herself so I had her put her foot on a chair and slapped it on, again no tip.
4. A woman standing at the bar with two of her girlfriends grabbed two handfuls of her own bosom, snarled and declared, "well now they're too firm!"
5. A man at the bar talking to his buddies " What the "F"?? My handicap is now like an "f"ing" 23 or something...."F!!" His wife standing next to him must have been so proud. Oh the problems of the arrogant rich.
6. During dinner, I did not have a place to sit so I went out on the deck and found a chair. About 5 minutes later 3 guys came out, pointed towards me and said "now THIS guy's got the right idea", came over and introduced themselves thinking I was one of "them". After 5 minutes of private school woes, import car repair expense costs, they looked at me and all I could say was, "you guys know I'm poor right?" I explained I was just a hired support guy for them. "You know what Doug? you're ALRIGHT!" Their wives then came out,  joined in and eventually asked me to take a picture with them.
Drunk rich folks like me, go figure.
7. Again, while standing behind the bar, a woman comes up and asks me if I can turn the volume down. Now normally, that wouldn't be a problem for me, I always mean to please but I didn't have any audio playing. She was talking about the noise from all the people talking and cackling. Her request was valid.
8. The car I'm driving now has the best quirk. The left headlight won't come on unless you open the hood and slam it, poof, it comes on. Well I get out to perform the required maintenance and sure enough, one of the guys I was joking with was in some number of BMW. He sees me slam my hood with the light coming on and all I could do was give him the "how you doin'" head nod, get in and drive away. I told him I was poor.

crazy job.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Manhattan & Drunken Cherries...

My stint as a bartender had me searching for a better alternative to the standard restaurant Manhattan.
The original Manhattan was Rye, sweet vermouth and bitters. Most everywhere the Manhattan has become some sort of Whiskey, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters drink garnished with a candied maraschino cherry, often the same cherry you would find on ice cream. People have been drinking these for years and I served hundreds of them. Most every restaurant uses something like Martini & Rossi sweet vermouth which I have to say is just horrible. It might be passible for the first day it's opened but it's a wine based product and oxidizes very fast and "turns" making a very funky cocktail.
There are other options in the sweet vermouth world. Many fine products from Italy and such but I have found the proverbial Holy Grail of Vermouths. Vya vermouth is a California product that is fantastic. Keep it cold and a bottle will last you a good month or so. It's around 21 dollars.
    Whiskey, where to begin. Personal preference, I enjoy a more spicy Whiskey. My Manhattans are made with Rye. A bourbon Manhattan is absolutely fine and I would never turn one down, Rye is just my personal preference. Blended Whiskeys like Canadian Club or something like that, in my opinion   don't stand up to bitters and vermouth and get sort of lost. I'm only going to have one cocktail so it's going to be a good one.
    Bitters, yet another hotly debated issue so again I will give my personal preference.
Angostura bitters can be found in most every restaurant out there. If you take a drop on your finger, give it a taste. It will remind you of Jagermeister. It has very similar properties.
I have found bitters from Fee Bros and my favorite are their old fashion bitters. What a great combination of clove and anise. They make many different flavors and are fun to play with.

On to the cherries...
Frustrated by candied cherries, I set out to try and make my own. My first batch was 4 quarts of pitted cherries in a bath of Bourbon, Triple sec, cherry brandy, simple syrup and Vya.
I then added a star anise and a cinnamon stick to each quart jar. A little goes a long way. In my future batches, the cherries will sit on the star anise and cinnamon for only a few weeks then get pulled.
Let them "Pickle" for a couple of months and you're ready to make drinks with them. I gave some of the cherries to a bartender in Green Bay who said he liked them but they were very "boozy" and was looking for something a little sweeter. I could see his point and it made me re think my process.
Right now I have 3qts sitting on half simple syrup and half triple sec. I am going to let those sit for 2 months and replace the liquid with my bourbon/cherry brandy mixtures and see how that works.

My variation on a Manhattan.

2oz Rye.
1/2 oz of the aged cherry liquid
1/2 oz Vya vermouth
5 dashes of the Fee Bros. bitters.

Combine in a pint glass with ice and stir.
Pour into a martini glass or over ice in a rocks glass (your preference) and garnish with two of the cherries.

Drink responsibly...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A first for me...

Well this is a first for me in show biz...

Arrive to a venue with a crew and a truckload of gear to set up for a one off visiting show by a separate division of a regular local client.
Meetings, gear selection, phone conferences, yada yada the whole bit.
A car pulls up with a trailer and starts unloading gear. Not unusual at all.
What took us both by surprise is we started loading into the same ballroom. The other Project Manager and myself looked at each other with one eyebrow up.
I asked who he was loading in for, he told me. Same client.
I asked him if he was setting up for the vendor showroom. "No, we're doing the General Session"
huh, were we. We decided to have a quick game of rock, paper, scissors to see who got to do the show. I finally got ahold of my contact and questioned her about the gig. She cancelled us and hired a much cheaper DJ company from KANSAS CITY!!! who does work for them in MO.
Problem, they never told us. I explained to her that I already had a hotel room, a truck driven to WI to pick up the gear and three techs to help me build.
She apologized and told me to bill response?
"Oh, we will..."
The funny part is the show is for 240 people. The biggest screen they had was 6ft x 5ft.
Yes, I said 6 feet by 5 feet. That screen would be great for 6 people around a dining room table.
Looks like the less expensive company has to do a little sub renting...
Nice guys but, come on!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fr. John Guiney...Rebel with a clue

Today we buried a true servant...

Fr. John Guiney died this past week after a steady decline in health over the past year.
Born a stubborn Irishman, he died the same way. He was ordained in 1961 and spent the next 20 years working in a leper colony in Liberia. He also helped farmers to form co-ops to help stabilize the local rubber, coffee and cocoa industry. In the 1980's with political unrest and some health issues he was transferred back to the America but I'm sure he left kicking and muttering.
Kim met him around 24 years ago and was drawn to his servant heart and his complete love for children as evident of his knack for searching for Evan after church to always play and tease a bit with him.
    Here's where Doug enters the picture. As Kim was going through her divorce, a few well meaning Church folks questioned Kim's future relationship with the Church especially now being involved with of all things, dun dun dun...a Protestant.
She was fearful of being denied communion....until she talked to Fr. John.
Here's a very devout man frustrated by the Church's ability to turn on its own. He told her when the rubber hit the road for her to come to him and he will always give her communion. He told her "Kimmy, How do I know that your relationship with Jesus isn't better than mine?" That made my ears perk up. Just who is the rebel? This Priest who like to live by the motto for preaching...
"Be blunt, be brief, be gone..." A man who said "I'd rather have an irreverent doer than a pious non doer". Kim worked with him in taking care of an invalid woman who was the wife of a childhood friend. Kim saw all levels of humanity from this man for the old woman could push every button he had. Once he pulled Kim into the living room by the arm yelling "I'VE GOT KIM AS A WITNESS" referring to the fact he wasn't going to help her anymore because she was so, shall we say, "difficult". He never followed through. Kim and Fr. John had many talks sitting in the garage of this woman's home and his respect for the Catholic Church and his ability to side step a few rules to help people gave Kim so much strength that I hold this man in the highest regard I can. He would then ask about me and tell Kim to tell me that he's sorry that I have to deal with her (Kim), knowing all along that I was the trouble maker. I remember stories of people telling on him to the Bishop because he wouldn't soft sell anything, no matter how delicate the subject and if he didn't see you getting your hands dirty, you'd hear about it. He was also more about meeting you where you were in your faith rather than making sure you conformed to where others thought you should be...I liked this guy.

   Kim went to his bedside last week and saw him in a contorted position and he just told her to pray for him...pray for him.

The Church was full, standing room only, "more packed than Christmas" as Kim said.
Many tears and many laughs.

A packed house to send off "one of the good guys"