Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page


In Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm

A few months back, we decided to have a family portrait taken at the Sears studio in Fargo. We had done this once before and we were determined not to have a stressful experience this time around. Determination isn’t everything.

The shoot itself went well, but our photographer was stressed and it showed. She spoke of how tight their schedule was and how overbooked they were, so I expected that after the photos were taken we could choose a package and be on our way.

We wandered the appliance and electronics areas of the West Acres Sears for some time, then returned for our speedy checkout. I took off with the boy while Nelly and baby endured an endless cross-selling spiel that ignored our carefully planned budget. Nelly held the line, but the tantrum clock was ticking just a few hundred yards away as Dylan’s demands took on a dangerous creativity. “I need the snack with the baseball dinosaur!”

It was too late for a clean getaway. He boxed my ears, our brisk pace and urgent siren parted the shoppers as I carried him toward the photographer’s. Nelly met me with a sympathetic look and the car keys and we were soon safe in the parking lot. “What took so long?” I demanded when the ladies finally showed up.

Our saleswoman/photographer would not take no for an answer and had the nerve to tell my wife that any rating less than an “8” on her satisfaction survey wouldn’t count. We will not be going back to Sears portrait studio.

A few weeks later a professional photographer that Janelle knows socially asked if Julia could be her baby model and a beautiful shoot took place at the Plains Art Museum in downtown Fargo with none of the time and economic pressure of the Sears experience. Please click this link for the pictures.

I used to think it would be silly to pay an independent professional photographer when coupons for Sears come in the mail every few months advertising a cheap and easy experience. Now I know better. When someone looks great in the medium of photography she is photogenic, as the image exceeds the reality. Next time I will seek the unphotogenic. Maybe you should too.

Busk A Move

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2010 at 9:01 am

Here’s the deal: busking (sidewalk entertaining for money) is protected as a form of free speech unless a local ordinance restricts that right.  In the downtown zone of Fargo, an ordinance exists and a permit is required if one intends to collect tips.

I have exactly one hour of experience busking for cash, and half the time I was wearing a mask.  The restrictions on sidewalk entertaining were lifted several years ago for a Downtowner event, so I juggled for an hour near Dempsey’s Pub.  I made exactly ten dollars, enjoyed myself for the most part, and maybe even made a little girl’s day.  Hey, $10 an hour is not bad when doing something you love.

Now that summer is nearly upon us, the urge to go pro as a juggler is overwhelming.  I sent a few emails, made a few calls, and ended up at City Hall paying a fee to obtain my Downtown Sidewalk Entertainer’s Permit.  My contact cheerfully marched me around the building from cubicle to cubicle, crossing every “t” and dotting each “i”.  After sitting for a smiling mug shot, my badge was printed and I was offered a tasty treat, “Sucker?” asked my host. The lolly was accepted and I was off on my bicycle to practice in Island Park.

So now I’ve got to actually get out there and do it.  Scary.  Although I practice my contact juggling in parks and have performed several times for small groups, I suspect that sidewalk performance is a horse of a different color.  Wish me luck!