Weird and Wonderful for the New Year

Kickass Giraffe

It’s January, and for me that means a couple of things. First, the annual trip to the mall in search of bigger jeans, and second it’s the perfect time for some housecleaning. And by housecleaning I mean not only our domicile but also our digital homestead.

And one of the rooms in our virtual house that always seems to need cleaning is the iPhoto library.

Digitial photography is a wonderful thing, but the reality is that I have 10 photos of a scene which usually means about 3 keepers. Tons of photos get tossed and the rest get backed up. It’s a tedious process, but one side benefit is rediscovering photos that have been forgotten. As I started pulling out some of these photos, a theme emerged: “Weird and Wonderful.” So for the next couple of weeks, we’ll be posting some interesting, offbeat topics and hope that you’ll follow along.

Happy Trails

P.S. And if you’re wondering about the origin of the wacky quote, you’ve got filmmaker John Carpenter to thank. In his 1988 cult classic They Live he penned the words that ended up here on the side of a building in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland – of all places! Check out the film clip and the explanation. The full quote is:

“I’ve come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass … and I’m all out of bubblegum!”

Kickass Giraffe on building


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

43 thoughts

  1. I think I’ll follow your good example and purge my photo files. That’ll keep me out of mischief for a while.

    I look forward to your “W and W” posts. Cheers and happy hunting for those jeans.

    1. Try as I might Yvonne, I can’t seem to keep up with purging files. It’s sooo much easier to do it as I go along, but that’s easier said than done, and I never manage to pull it off. It always feels good when I finish the project though. All best in 2015. ~James

  2. Try as I might, I can never keep up with deleting. What I really need is someone to go through them for me. I’ll shoot a scene for 6 different angle and then not be able to decide which one I like best. As a result, I have close to 15,000 images on several external hard drives. It’s out of control! Happy New Year’s. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for weird and wonderful!

    1. We have the same problem Laura, and it’s even worse when we travel, because we take 100-150 photos every day. With the low cost of memory these days it’s just easier to buy another hard drive, but this is like owning a house that’s bigger than you need. The more space you have, the more stuff you accumulate. Our policy is to keep all originals on the SDHC card, and we don’t purge these files (just buy more cards). But the we try keep the iPhoto library purged and well organized so we know what we have, and can find it when we want it. That’s the plan anyway. ~James

    1. I love the challenge of writing a photo-inspired post Gina. Generally, it forces me to do a bit of research and do some head-scratching to pull the post together and make it interesting. Watch this space. Happy New Year! ~James

  3. That deleting process never seems to end. Right now I’m in a birders paradise and using the burst mode which means LOTS of photos that need deleting. Let the process begin! Wishing you two an adventure filled New Year 🙂

    1. I don’t use burst mode often Ingrid, but bird photos are the perfect place to use it. My first experience using it was at the beach shooting a flock of pelicans lifting off. I got a few interesting shots, but my oh my, I got a lot of junk as well. Good luck with keeping up with your deletions. Happy New Year! ~James

  4. I look forward to seeing the pics! This first one is great! Thanks for the explanation as I was wondering! Happy New Year to you and your family!

    1. Thanks for the commment Lia, and for dropping by the blog. I love the clip of the movie, and had no clue until this morning where the quote came from. Pretty funny. All the best for the New Year. ~James

  5. I’ve never heard that quote before and the it made me laugh … that’s exactly how I feel today – out of bubblegum!

    Looking forward to the weird and wonderful finds you produce over the dull January days ahead 🙂

    1. We’ve had this photo for a few years Joanne, and it took a bit of online research to figure out what it actually meant. I love the clip, and I still wonder how on earth it ended up on a wall in Reykjavik. ~James

    1. You’re right LuAnn, it has to be done. I don’t really mind having lots of photos, but the most frustrating thing for me is not knowing what I have and not being able to locate the photo I want. I’m sure that they teach an entire course on file management in photography school. ~James

  6. You’ve just hit on one of my 2014 goals James, oh yeah, and 2013, and 2012, and— you get the picture, so to speak. Nice Giraffe. I never get enough of weird… 🙂 –Curt

    1. As you can probably tell Curt, I enjoy these weird, offbeat post topics. To whet you appetite, the title of the first post in the series is: A Sex Change and a Missing Person: A Funeral on the Cheap in Ancient Greece. Watch this space. ~James

  7. Great photo and quote and does everyone speak English in Iceland? Hmm – maybe I could look for a course on how to tidy up my library too…surely there must be a way of developing a system to stay on top of it?! Look forward to following your blog in 2015.

    1. There’s quite a lot of English there, but we were still amazed that this English grafftti was displayed so prominently on one of downtown’s main streets. As to a system, we haven’t discovered one except to just try and do it routinely, but try as we might, we never seem to pull it off, and the doggy photos just build up. Let me know if you come up with a system. ~James

    1. Marie, I don’t know how many photos we have, but that’s probably best. Otherwise, I might not even start the project. But 53,000 sounds like a lot. Best of luck with that, and all the best for the New Year. ~James

    1. It’s tedious Nicole, but actually it is fun. It provides an opportunity to re-live some old experiences. It’s the perfect project for a cold Sunday afternoon with a warm cup of tea. All the best in the New Year. ~James

  8. Very admirable. I also put up my hand (I’ll raise both actually) for needing to rationalise my photos. But I can’t see that happening for a while, hence I’ll continue to compound the problem! Happy sorting and Happy New Year.

    1. It’s the constant digital photographer’s dilemma Hayley. When we travel, we make it an end of the day routine. Otherwise, when we get home, we have thousands of photos to sift through. But somehow, when we’re at home, these good habits get forgotten, and the photos just build up. All the best to you in the New Year. ~James

  9. Just getting caught up on your posts, Terri and James. First, all the best for 2015! Second, I look forward to your weird and wonderful series! House-cleaning can be fun!!

    1. As I said before, it’s a tedious chore Martha, but it’s fun looking back at old memories from places we’ve visited. And I’ve turned up some pretty interesting pix. Watch this space. All the best to you for the New Year. ~James

  10. Nice! We’ll be looking for ward for those “weird and wonderful” photos. That will give us ideas on how to make “weird and wonderful” travel photos for our blog too. We’re just really point-and-shoot photographers, and we are just amateurs in photography.

    We hope you don’t mind us making your photos as our guides and inspiration.

    Happy new year!

    1. Thanks for the comment and for dropping by the blog Gian and Sheila. Given all the traveling that you’ve done, I’m sure that you already have a good supply of “weird and wonderful” photos to entertain your readers. The good thing about this category, is that just about anything can fit into it. Best of luck in 2015. ~James

  11. Ohhh that’s the sort of cleanup that I need to do and have been procrastinating… may be you could do a post on tips and tricks, once you’ve completed your virtual room cleaning. Cool photo, and looking forward to more weird and wonderful finds. Wish you a wonderful 2015!

  12. Thank goodness for 64 G memory cards, huh? Although bigger isn’t always better. The slacks I bought were a size larger than I wanted to be wearing at this time. 🙂

    I always look forward to your photos. Keep ’em coming! – Mike

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