Matt Brundage

Archive for the 'photography' category

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Robert Gaudin Greene, June 23, 1924–September 27, 2016

Robert Gaudin Greene

From the beginning, there were strands that once anchored me to my childhood. In government, it was President Ronald Reagan. In faith, Pope John Paul II (now Saint John Paul the Great). In sports, baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. In music, Brian Wilson. And in family, it was my late grandfather, Robert Gaudin Greene. It’s hard to explain, but their continued presence in my life served as a sort of willful suspension of time. In a way, I could keep telling myself, “Time isn’t really passing …” or “The world is just as it was …” as long as my childhood heroes — my strands — were still alive and thriving. As long as Papa was around, I was still but a child, an adolescent. But on Tuesday morning, another strand came loose, as my grandfather passed into eternal life.

His obituary:

On September 27, 2016 Robert Morgan Gaudin Greene, age 92, peacefully passed away in Rockville, MD. He was born on June 23, 1924 in Waco, TX, the 6th of 7 children, the fourth of five sons — the Martlet — of James Floyd Greene and Mary Louise Dupre. At the age of five, his family settled in Birmingham, AL where he attended Lakeview Elementary School, Ramsay High School, Birmingham Southern College, and Howard College (now Samford University). He enlisted in the US Navy in World War II, advancing to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. He served on the destroyer U.S.S. Hall, the hospital ship U.S.S. Consolation, and the gasoline tanker U.S.S. Patapsco. After the War, he settled in the Washington D.C. area and received a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Catholic University of America. He married the former Ellen Rowena Deckelman on November 8, 1952.

Robert Gaudin Greene weds Ellen Rowena Deckelman on November 8, 1952

Mr. Greene had a varied career starting as a Mechanical Engineer for the Bureau of Ships Model Basin and then to the U.S. Army Biological Laboratories at Fort Detrick. He served as the Patent Security Officer of the U.S. Army from 1973 until 1980. After 26 years of Army employment, he retired in 1980 as a General Engineer from Headquarters US Army Material Command. He was a life-long Catholic with membership in the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary and Holy Name Society and was a founding member of St Elizabeth Parish in Rockville, MD. He attended Gaithersburg Community Bible Study for several years. Among his hobbies were fishing, crossword puzzles, Scrabble, antique clock repair, traveling, and being among family. He leaves behind his beloved wife Ellen, and 3 children: Theresa M. Brundage (Geoffrey) of Olney, MD, Paul V. of Rockville, MD and Kevin M. (Amy) of Elmira, NY, 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He was pre-deceased by 1 grandchild in 1998. He is survived by a brother, Edward A. Greene of Chevy Chase, MD.

There’s an old saying that goes something like, “You never have to ask someone if they’re a veteran, because they’ll just tell you. And then they’ll keep reminding you again and again.” However, this saying in no way applied to my grandfather. Very rarely did I hear about his service in the Navy during World War II, or of his employment as a mechanical engineer with the Army during Korea and Vietnam. Papa was always perfectly modest about it, even considering the degree of reverence that society typically bestows upon WWII veterans — the quintessential members of the Greatest Generation.

My only recollection of his time in the Navy comes from his naval enlistment photograph, framed and still hanging in the hallway of his home. I’d pass by that faded photograph from time to time, pausing for just a moment to meditate on the man in the picture. I saw it again recently and it was like peering into a mirror.

Robert Gaudin Greene joins the Navy

From my earliest memories, I witnessed his seemingly unbounded intelligence and curiosity. For instance, he knew the binomial nomenclature of scores of flora and fauna. He restored old clocks and household appliances. For years, he kept his mind sharp by finishing the Washington Post crossword puzzle before breakfast. His copies of the dictionary and the Scrabble players dictionary are ragged and lined with his frequent notes and addenda. Yes, he edited the dictionary!

He retired at age 56, the year I was born. He lived a humble, mostly quiet life in retirement. Even though his lifestyle was never lavish, I still managed to get the impression that he never had to worry about money. As a child, having sleepovers at Grandma and Papa’s house was always a special time, always a calming experience. Papa was, in every sense of the word, a model grandfather.

Deep in my heart — that’s where the knot comes loose.

Robert Gaudin Greene

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Antisocial media

Tanya, being a babyBefore Tanya was born, Annie and I agreed that we wouldn’t be the kind of new parents who posted on social media every time their newborn did something cute or, say, had a particularly interesting bowel event.

While we’ve had no trouble keeping that informal agreement, our enthusiasm for Tanya (and burgeoning media collection) needed a proper outlet. To that end, this site now hosts more baby photos than you’ll know what to do with. And in June, I had the pleasure of coding a videos section, which — for now at least — is exclusively Tanya-centric.

I will admit that no one gets more enjoyment out of all this media than Annie and me. The videos section was developed mostly so that Annie could have an accessible way of viewing our growing collection. Otherwise, the files would have just languished somewhere on a hard drive, deep in hard-to-reach directory trees.

And putting all of this up on Facebook didn’t seem right, somehow — as if I wouldn’t fully own it anymore. Facebook (or whatever site) can change their privacy policies or terms of service whenever they feel like it, and we’re all seemingly at their mercy. That’s not for me. Especially not for something this important.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Tanya Alexa Brundage

Tanya Alexa Brundage I am in love.

Tanya greeted the world on March 5, 2013 at 8:17pm. She clocked in at 9 pounds, 11.3 ounces (or 0.004403 metric tons!) and a length of 20.5 inches.

Tanya comes home with us on Friday to begin her life as a full-time baby.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The bunny diet

Matt with Munch A couple days ago, I was attempting to feed our rabbits something delicious: I believe it was a grape.

“That’s so unhealthy for them!”, Annie interjected.

Our rabbits tend to subsist primarily on hay, hay/alfalfa pellets, leafy greens (kale, lettuce), and carrot pieces. Sugary treats such as dried mango, raisins, and plump red grapes are apparently out of the question now, as we want our sniff machines to live as long as possible.

Then it dawned on me: kale — by far the healthiest food in our fridge — was more or less reserved for two eight-pound Holland Lops. So that’s when I decided to start eating raw kale. It’s actually quite tasty. And healthy as all get-out.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Sniff and Munch: What a Bunch!

To the right: Sniff and Munch enjoy a summer morning in the front yard. They’re usually house bunnies, but if the weather is just right, Annie will take them out for a little while.

Below: Annie writes about the rabbits.

It’s interesting to see how these two bunnies have been developing their unique personalities and bonding with us since we’ve adopted them. They make us laugh and smile and are a lot of fun to have around.

Sniff is still a mamma’s boy. He likes to hop over to me and either nudge me or lick my feet or slippers, which is his way of asking for a petting. Sometime he gets so into it that he doesn’t even realized that I have taken off my slippers and walked away to do something else. I have used my slipper as a “pacifier” until I can come back and give him a proper petting. Sometimes, he wants a petting so bad that he won’t even take his favorite treat. When I hand him a piece of pear, he would put his head down for a petting rather than gobble it up. That’s when I know he wants love and attention. I’m training him to get on his hind legs and give me a kiss for a treat. He’s starting to make the association and starts to get on his hind legs and stick up his nose whenever I make a kissing sound. It only works when I have treats and when he’s hungry though. Most of the time, he just looks at me like “dream on, lady!”

Munch, the little guy, is a little more independent. We keep calling Munch “the little guy” but he has now outgrown Sniff. Munch is the fun and active one. He likes to do corkscrew hops and dash across the room which scares Sniff half to death. One time, he was dashing around in the living room then he jumped onto the hardwood floor in the foyer which sent him slipping and sliding everywhere before he could recover. Matt and I were on the floor laughing at him. It was like watching Bambi ice skating for the first time. Munch also loves to run upstairs to our bedroom as soon as I open the kitchen gate and burrow under the bed. He doesn’t seek out pettings or treats like Sniff but will come running if he sees me giving Sniff a petting.

I like having them run around upstairs while I work. They occasionally run into the office for a petting.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

The Grand Canyon and Sedona

Annie sitting pretty Eariler this month, Annie, two of her three sisters, and I went out to Arizona for a week.

I have to admit: I was a bad tourist. I did virtually no preparation before the trip — I didn’t even look at a map of the general area, the hotel, amenities, et cetera. I couldn’t have even given you a ballpark estimate of how far away we would be staying from the canyon rim. I hadn’t planned a thing. Perhaps my inactivity was due to my general feeling of apathy toward the whole trip. Until we touched down in Flagstaff, I approached the trip as just another situation to slog through — just something that I had to do. Naturally, my expectations weren’t very high. Even Annie admitted that she didn’t expect us to fill up the whole week with touring and exploring.

How wrong we were. Our six-day stay turned out to be the perfect amount of time. Every day was eventful and we remained active. So active, in fact, that we were usually sound asleep by 9 or 10pm. And we’d wake up before the alarm — usually around 6am. Ideal. Arizona was good for our circadian rhythms.

Matt looking out Arriving in Flagstaff on the first day, I made a spur-of-the-moment good decision — one that I was frequently grateful of as the week progressed. I was torn between hiring a taxi or renting a car. In another “bad tourist” move, I had failed to reserve a rental car ahead of time. I simply walked up to the counter at the airport and asked what types of cars they had. I probably paid a premium for this, but as I found out later, it was worth it. I drove that Chevrolet Malibu (The car you can’t ignore) everywhere; we even took a day trip to Sedona. I must tell you, every mile of that trip was scenic. (It would have been ideal to have some John Denver or Glen Campbell CDs with me, but I digress…) The car came in handy at the Grand Canyon as well, as our hotel was a good five or more miles from the canyon rim. Yeah, not renting a car would have been a serious mistake.

Hiking was very gratifying and enjoyable, even with the prospect that, in the event of a false step, I could be instantly impaled, maimed, or suffer blunt force trauma. I spent a good ten hours (spread out over two days) hiking the winding trails down into the canyon. Obviously, the views were beautiful and serene, but it was also unexpectedly quiet. The silence enveloped me. It was akin to being underwater — the sheer vastness and stillness of it all almost seemed to press in on me. It was very surreal – especially when the only sound I’d hear would be the wings of a huge raven, hovering and soaring overhead; or the occasional whisper of wind funneling itself up the canyon walls; or the clip-clomp of a line of pack mules, laboring their way down the trail.

Photos from the trip

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Munch Dallas Brundage

Annie writes about Munch:

Munch, July 2008 Meet the youngest member of our family, Munch Dallas Brundage. We adopted Munch, formerly known as Dallas, from a family in Taneytown, MD last Friday. Munch is a playful nine-week-old Holland lop. He looks nearly identical to Sniff, but is currently a third of his size.

They both live rent-free in the storage room adjacent to the kitchen :-) Their spaces are divided by a wire barrier and they both have free run of the kitchen. They can see and sniff each other but do not have full contact unless they are being supervised in the living room/dining room.

On Munch’s first day home, the two weren’t formally introduced until after nine hours of curiously sniffing each other through the wire barrier. Most of the time, Sniff ignores Munch unless Munch tries to snuggle his belly. Sniff — not having had any contact with other bunnies (except for wild bunnies from afar) and is normally afraid of things such as falling leaves — probably gets scared and attacks. Although Munch is only a third of his size, he doesn’t always let Sniffie win. He’s a little fireball! Munch takes every opportunity to snuggle up to Sniffie, however, with the same results.

The only time that they don’t fight is when Sniff snuggles up to my feet for a petting. Munch follows suit and snuggles up next to him to get a simultaneous petting. I turn their noses toward each other and continue petting them. This always goes well and is a good sign.

Most of the time, Munch — being true to his name — munches away on various veggies and goodies. He has an extremely healthy appetite for such a little guy. He’s very curious, playful, and friendly. He’s also a “lap lop.” Even Matt, who could never once hold Sniffie is his lap, manages to snuggle with Munch. This one is definitely Daddy’s little boy.

-Annie Brundage

FYI, Munch is named in honor of the rabbit belonging to Firefox evangelist Asa Dotzler.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Fleet Foxes at the Black Cat

Fleet Foxes at the Black Cat, July 7, 2008 The hype surrounding Seattle new-comers Fleet Foxes is altogether warranted. After receiving excellent reviews for their self-titled debut album (released June 3), they suddenly became the band to see.

Their performance last night at the Black Cat did not disappoint, although the band was not in full form. Lead vocalist and songwriter Robin Pecknold excused his singing with tales of a cold that has lasted for weeks; he even claimed that those in attendance were being “half-conned” out of their money. To the contrary, his vocals were more or less spot-on, save for a time or two when I could detect some cracking. I was hoping that it would hold up during the a capella numbers, and thankfully, it did. I recall thinking that, “presently, I’ve forgotten what all other voices sound like, and frankly, I don’t care.” They have that good of a blend — Robin’s voice in particular. Their harmonies are tight, high, and wispy, with no apparent bass sound. At times, it sounded as if Pecknold were singing two or three parts simultaneously.

The set started off quiet and subdued. The sold-out crowd became hushed, and no one dared flash their camera. For a while, the audience failed to clap between songs — I’m guessing that we were just awestruck. It’s as if we were about to applaud in church after a particularly eloquent Latin chorale piece. It not something that one does without serious contemplation. Eventually, the mood lightened a bit and the audience was as enthusiastic as ever.

Come down from the mountain; you have been gone too long
The spring is upon us; follow my only song
Settle down with me by the fire of my young love…

The only sour note was the exclusion of quite possibly their most accomplished piece, “Ragged Wood”, a song that evokes a “woodsy” sound — a style recently employed by My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, and Midlake, among others. I kept waiting for it, but it never came (contrary to what NPR claims). At the encore, I had one last glimmer of hope, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

As some may know, Josh Tillman is now Fleet Foxes’ drummer, having joined the group in early 2008. I knew Josh back when we were in our teens. We attended the same high school for a few years; he was a grade below me. I told him after the show that I had never set out to find him or his music — his music simply found me over the normal course of events. I started listening to his solo albums and EPs a few years ago; I have a feeling that I’d still be a fan even if we had never had that personal connection back in high school. Seeing him drum for Fleet Foxes was almost surreal, and he has a fine voice as well. I have a feeling that even better things are in store for him and his band.

NPR has a write-up and streaming audio of the show.

Friday, 16 May 2008

An open letter to Trader Joe’s regarding their Chocolate Nonfat Yogurt

Trader Joe's chocolate yogurt I have a comment about the design of the yogurt container. There is no mention that the yogurt must be stirred. I ate about 3/4 of a yogurt before I realized that there was a huge dollop of chocolate at the bottom. Before I discovered the chocolate, I was thinking, “..my, what a bland yogurt!” Perhaps I was just having an off-day.

My suggestion would be to replace the text on the front (“With Imported Cocoa”) with “Chocolate on the bottom”, “Please stir”, or something to that effect.

Furthermore, calling it “imported cocoa” isn’t necessary, as the US doesn’t even grow the cocoa bean. The phrase borders on deception, as some consumers do not know this and assume that “imported” cocoa is a luxury.