For the first time in many months, I’m behind in my work. My large-ish assignment was due yesterday evening, but when I awoke from my deep slumber, it was 41 degrees in my house. I could almost see my breath. I huddled under my (Egyptian cotton) flannel sheets, like I was in a tee-pee, and texted my professor on my cell phone. There’s no way I can work in those conditions. She’s amazingly supportive, so she afforded me as much time as I’d like.
I had a good run for a while without my 3 day migraines. There were times when I didn’t get one for months in a row. But recently, they’ve been visiting me more often. And when I say visiting, I mean like a drunken husband that grabs you by the throat and slings you around mercilessly for 72 hours, incessantly. Now try to imagine that, truly, and now try to imagine eating a sandwich while that’s going on…or sleeping at all. Right.
Last week, I could feel some very unusual hairline fracture pain, coursing through my cranium. It feels like it’s the diameter of a hair. So tiny and thin, but so brutal in nature. It’s savage. One minute, all is well, calm, and peaceful. The next moment, I’m gripped in electrifying pain that quite literally takes my breath immediately. All I can do is squeeze my eyes tightly together, and cringe, as I wait for the moment to pass. This is nothing like my usual migraines. I’m used to a specific course of actions. This is all new territory.
Luke Perry just died from a massive stroke. No warning of any kind. That’s terrifying! He complained of head pain, and was taken in to the E.R. He was heavily sedated so the physicians could try and get the attack under control. For several days he lay there, sedated, surrounded by his loved ones. And then he slipped away- never to return again.
When I think about that, and then I think about just how many 3 day migraines I’ve endured, which is accompanied by blurred vision and slurred speech, and tingling in my left hand and arm, I wonder just how much time is left on my clock. I can’t help but think about death. When you feel like you’re living on borrowed breath, believe me, you think about death just as much, if not more, than you think about life.
People are ridiculous. They think they have all the time in the world, and they carry grudges and choose to not forgive others. All of that anger means absolutely nothing in the end! It’s all wasted energy. Useless. It serves the ego only. There’s no reward there. And it’s a fool’s meal and they eat it up with every angry chomp!
It’s sad, really. And it’s funny how, some people would rather stop talking to you altogether than simply say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” And that’s a tragedy.
As for me, there’s no one person in the world who I wouldn’t feed or clothe or hug tightly if they showed up on my doorstep. I’ve been tried already in the fires of hell itself. It wasn’t always easy, but I chose to forgive. I forgave every single person who ever wronged, hurt, or abused me. Not only did I forgive them, I chose to love them too. I CAN back up my words with a long history of action. Unfortunately, the ones who’ve turned their backs on me cannot say the same. They have no idea how to swallow their pride and choose love over anger. I pray that God will find them in the Way before it’s too late. because we all are only given so much time, and then we don’t get any more time to try and make things better.
Today one of the greatest things happened to me. I was called to my son and daughter-in-law’s house as they had some news they wanted to share with me. When Josh and I got there, my son’s sweet little gal showed me her pregnancy test, and it was positive! I’m going to finally be a grandmother! Oh happy day! I’ve had to sit silently in the shadows of all of my friends, as they post pics of themselves with their grandkids. I’ve always felt like Queen Elizabeth, but not in a royal way. She was known as the “Virgin Queen” (and that’s a total farce, because she was a trifling ho, actually, who even had her lover’s wife murdered so she could have him- Robert Dudley- all to herself. That’s how big her ego was.) But no, I always felt like the “Virgin Grandma”. But no longer! 🙂
And so after some thought, Josh had a good laugh and suggested “Gam Gam” for my royal title, and then Gabbie chuckled too and sanctioned it, officially. So, yes, I will soon be known as Gam Gam. I love it. 🙂
It feels good to be editing again. I edited a pic of my son, brian, and his gal, Gabbie, from our trip to the Smoky Mountains, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Thanksgiving of last year. It was shot in colour, but I did some work on it- cleaned it up in Photoshop- as well as did some contrast and gamma adjustments and mixed the exposure- midtones/shadows/and highlights. I added some grain (which I adore) and hit it with a gaussian blur + selective unsharp mask and mastered the overall RGB curves, then each channel individually, aaaaaand mixed the colour balance channels, individually- shadows, midtones, and highlights there as well.
You may think when you see a pic of mine that I hit one or two tabs to edit it in post processing- like most everybody does these days on their phones- ha. If you only knew. Many of my photos are usually a combination of 15+ channels, mixed, blended, erased, flattened (wash, rinse, repeat 5 or 10 more times) so by the end, it’s entirely mastered in practically every area. I make it look easy, but I’ve had a good 15 years at this now.
Brian & Gabbie- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 vintage film lens/Canon Rebel t3i
Pics taken manually with the Super Tak film lens + Digital Rebel XSI. Natural sunlight- some SOOTC/straight out of the camera/Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana 9/8/14 (“Painting with Light” my interpretation– start out with total blackness. Bring in the light subtly via ISO/sh. sp./ & ap.)
SOOTC/straight out of the camera- cropped only
I’m sitting at McDonald’s with an overheating car and Peppermint Mocha, and, free internet. God Bless Micky Dees!
The inevitable has happened: my internet, cable and phone has been axed. My bill is $426, which I’ll pay in January- there were just too many things piling up at once, particularly the car, which has been overheating for several weeks now. Let me tell you, you really haven’t lived yet until your car, internet, cable, Netflix, and phone all go down at the same time.
The upside is, my house is spotless, and I’ve lost several pounds from cleaning and caring for 4 cats and a dog.
To all of you guys who have written, emailed (sent smoke signals, etc.) please know that I’ll return your emails as soon as I’m back up and online. (Two more weeks.) Bipolar Barbie, I’ll return your 6 emails then. I promise! ;0)
In other news, I’m absolutely ecstatic to be a single woman again. I just realized today that I’m fairly smoking hot at 44 still.
Taken today/12.16.13- Helios film lens
My butt is the size of Montana, which explains why I “look thin” yet weigh 160 lbs. I’m pretty sure about 25 lbs. is the junk going on back there; not that I have any plans on doing anything with it other than carting it around to do more laundry, shopping, and kitty poo duty.
Just finished reading Nikki Sixx’s The Heroin Diaries. Wow, he was total trash back in the 80’s! (I may have been as well…the whole world was stoned throughout the hair band days, including me. Or is that hair band daze?)
As much as I’d love to hang out here at McDonald’s discussing my rear , house chores and Nikki Sixx, I should probably get going as I’m on a tight schedule! Merry Christmas to all of you guys! I’ll pop in in a few more days for another sprint through blog-land.
Oh, and I made a sale at Redbubble. To the mystery buyer of my print The Longest Dream, thank you so much! I do hope you enjoy it, and if you bought it as a Christmas gift for someone else, I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed shooting it. (Shot in the rain at Perrin Park on a cold winter’s day.)
Email from today:
You’ve Made A Sale – 3045208
You’ve just made a sale on Redbubble! Your work was so brilliant that someone showed their appreciation with their wallet. Unfortunately we have to mark this event with a very boring email but it is full of Useful Facts (TM) about the sale.
‘But when will I get this money?’ we hear you cry, and rightfully so. Well you can find out here: http://support.redbubble.com/faqs/top20/when-do-i-get-paid
Thanks for being who you are and doing what you do, we love having you around Redbubble.
Mr Baxter – Chief Officer of Sending You Good News
1x Canvas Print of “”The Longest Dream””
Size: Large (24.0″ x 4.6″)
Your Margin: US$57.00
The sale details:
Retail Price: US$157.00
Manufacturing fee: US$100.00
Total Margin: US$57.00
You’ll receive: US$57.00
Jellies at the Aquarium of the Smokies- Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Canon G3/manual)
Today is my birthday; I’m 44!
I have a roaring migraine.
But, given the circumstances, it’s not surprising. I could write a book on the (mis) adventures of our vacation in the Smokies, but my head won’t let me and I have to start on homework soon. Right- on my birthday-with a migraine. I’ll keep things short.
As we were leaving Maggie Valley in North Carolina on the 15th (Sunday), putting along down the interstate, my Mom’s car died. On the interstate. We pulled over off the highway and sat on the roadside. (It was 3:00 p.m. or so.) Numerous calls were made to AAA- hours went by- my daughter, Heidi, was violently ill and my Mom, who is almost 70, was exhausted. People needed to pee and we were making very little progress with AAA. More time passed. More calls were made. (More waiting. More calls.)
Finally, after being stranded on the interstate for 7+ hours, our guy pulls up in a (very) small tow truck. He then tells us that he can’t tow more than two people and we were basically screwed. I was able to pull a few strings and he called his buddy (unbeknownst to AAA) who owned a double cab who promised to come and tow us to a hotel and auto body shop.
More time passed. It was now pitch dark and we were on the side of the highway in a black car and a dead cell phone. Nice.
Finally, after much cussing and praying, our 2nd guy pulls up and tows us to safety and a Comfort Inn in Ashville, N.C. After hanging out on a small hill the following day, among the sweet smelling pines for several hours, we were told that the mechanics had found the problem and we would be on our way soon.
By this point, I had incredibly bad “highway hair” and could feel my head slowly cracking; I just wanted to prevent “the migraine”.
After returning home that evening, I was informed that our dog, Chance, had run out when Brianna left that morning. Naturally, I couldn’t receive text messages on the road because my cell phone had died hours before. After I was told that he had run outside 10 hours earlier, I was crushed. Josh and I spent the next few hours combing the city; whistling, calling…we didn’t find him. I was devastated. I couldn’t blame Brianna, of course. Chance no doubt wanted to be with us and might have run out to try and find us, but really, he’s a “bolter”. He loves to get out and run- full blast!
I didn’t get much sleep that night and cried, so much. Chance is my baby. I’ve trained him to fetch things, to give me a kiss, and he’ll chew on Josh’s beard, as if to groom him; it’s totally adorable. He’s been our baby for 10 months now, which makes it especially weird when I received an email from his former owner’s girlfriend, telling me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up (when we were broken down in N.C.) and at first, I was glad to see her email, as we have stayed in contact with each other, remotely. She has written me several times asking for updates on “Willy” (his previous name). I had felt a bit uncomfortable with her wanting to stay in contact with us (regarding Chance), but didn’t see any reason not to send her a few shots of Josh and Chance out at parks, etc. and share some information on how he’s doing. (Big mistake.)
After spending the night searching for Chance, crying- exhausted from being stranded on the highway and just exhausted in general from not eating and sleeping properly because of the whole chaotic “stranded situation”, I continued reading her email, and quickly became outraged. She had the audacity to tell me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up, and that she and her boyfriend were going to go and get him on Thursday (tomorrow), and that, “We are going to pick Willy up from LHS thursday and he will not be given back to your custody.”
After keeping her updated on his well-being and even sending her cute little pics of him? What the hell is wrong with people? They’ve lost their decency and ability to exhibit a smidgeon of compassion anymore it seems. She had no idea we were stranded, or that we’d all just been through 2 days of highway hell. (Yeah, and his name is not “Willy” lady! It’s Chance. Get it straight!)
When Josh and I got Chance from her and her boyfriend (also named Josh), they failed to mention that we would need to register Chance’s microchip with us. They gave us no information on it at all. It’s not absolutely mandatory and it has no bearing overall on actual and legal “ownership”. It’s a good idea for new owners to do that, but if the new owners choose not to, that doesn’t mean that the dog still belongs to the previous owners simply because his microchip number still bears their contact information. She could have chosen to contact us in a civil manner rather than outright threatening us. Not the best idea.
After researching microchip ownership and conferring with an attorney, I discovered that many animal shelters refuse to let a new owner register the animal’s microchip in his or her name, because often, the animal will wind up right back in the shelter and the shelter gets tired of having to (re) register the new contact information over and over again.
I would have been completely willing to continue to apprise the former owner of Chance’s well being and maybe even share a few more pics, but certainly not now. I believe she’s a bit unstable and out of touch with reality. Who would give you a dog and then tell you almost a year later that your dog is still named what they named him?
Things are slowly returning back to normal now; Josh is in the living room playing the guitar and singing, our feline and canine family are lounging around enjoying the music, and Bob is at the table with me- he wanted to come and see me for my birthday- it’s a treat. :0)
In other news, Carl is losing his fight against feline AIDS and although he’s still eating voraciously, the food is just going through him so quickly- like water- he’s wasting away. Brianna has made the executive decision to have him put to sleep tomorrow; she doesn’t want him to suffer further. She’s being incredibly strong right now and I’m so very proud of her.
Even with the migraine, the crazy mishaps in the mountains of North Carolina, and the psycho- former owner of my dog threatening to “dognap” him, I can say that all is well still: I’m alive and still carry a smile.
(selfie in the Smokies)
I awoke yesterday morning to this beautiful sight: shadows on my tent wall. I can’t describe my semi-obsession with shadows, even still- after years of photographing and studying them. When I’m surrounded by them, or even in their presence, I feel as if I’m with friends. They move and change and shift and breathe and swell and grow; so many times I’ve been too full of words to say anything and I’ve sat silently among them- as still as a stone- and they moved for me.
They tell stories. They have seen thousands of years and they speak- but not with words. In pictures.
Lately, I’ve been battling this inner identity war: the artist vs. the academic. My mind tells me that I must finish my degree and then pursue a second one in Criminology and Law. It’s my destiny: I’m going to help people. I’m going to stack up a few more certificates along the way (perhaps) and continue to strive in my work so that I can be of some value to others. But the academic is murdering the artist. The artist is now anorexic and throwing fits and lashing out- and really, do I really want to wait until I’m in my 50’s before I do gallery showings and such? Probably 80% of my closest friends have had numerous juried-in showings, publishings, and commercial successes. I want to work on my “Habitat” series and future showing, probably in New York, but I won’t ever do that as long as I’m in school. I simply cannot do both. I’m the first person to go to college in my family- at least on this side of Texas- and then there is only one who has beside me. I come from a family of women who believe that their roles
do not cannot extend further than the bedroom and the kitchen, and then those roles are still firmly instilled into them by a man, or, patriarch.
My free-thinking, wild, Bohemian daughter (Heidi) opened my eyes to exactly how medieval that all is, and she is my strongest influence and inspiration over the years. She’s had her brow and septum pierced, sports a rather large tattoo on her left shoulder, has died her hair pink, green, yellow and blue (was blue in there too?) and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I know that I’ll probably be in school for another three years at least, and then what? Will I be fulfilled as a parole officer? A probation officer? My “artist self” is throwing a fit. I want to take pictures! I want to edit. I want to write poetry again- something I haven’t done in almost two decades. The artist isn’t dying, only sleeping, but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. I want to record my songs and produce again- so many things I want to do that will simply have to wait.
And so I will.
Sometimes, when I don’t have the words of comfort that I’m looking for, I take pictures instead. This is for you, Y, and your friend. I wanted to take pictures of flowers for you, and I changed my mind at the last minute. I took a few pics of the riverside instead.
I hope you like them. xo
Unknown couple, sharing an intimate moment
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
Josh existing my mother’s house after dropping off his homemade burgers
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
Second Street bridge- joining Indiana and Kentucky
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained …”
“You’re seriously not going to go out there like that, right?” I asked my daughter, Brianna.
“Of course,” she said.
“Um…with that…Illuminati symbol? Seriously?”
She smiled. I laughed. And then I left her alone.
This is Southern Indiana; it may as well be the deep South. Rednecks and hillbillies are thick around here. I quickly put things into proper perspective: she has every right to wear whatever she wants on her face, head, or any other body part. The fact that I disagree is really not the point: I need to respect her choices.
So we headed out to the Home Depot, and short of being lynched, publicly, it went well! There are lots of pot-bellied guys in suspenders there- “good ole boys” who like traditional things and people that just don’t push envelopes or stretch boundaries. Ha. My little family is exceptionally good at that and I’m so proud of my kids.
The looks she got by “the good ole boys” at the Home Depot were shocking (and, hilarious). Brianna walked straight forward with a dedicated gait and didn’t flinch. She didn’t look to see what others thought or if they even looked at her. I gained a new respect for her that day. I still don’t like the Illumnati symbol (at all) but certainly appreciate a person who stands his or her ground and challenges others to bend their perspectives- to break out of their stagnant mindsets and breathe new air- even if that air is foreign and seemingly “threatening”.
I remember well what one of my best friends (of 8 or so years) said to me once over the IM. I’m a Christian- he’s an Athiest- and we were alright to “go there” with each other. Not always- but we didn’t shy away from the subject ever. We liked to know what made the other tick and why we chose to believe what we did, so we often prodded and poked, respectfully.
“Well, you, being an unbeliever…da da da…” I said, foolishly.
“I’m not an unbeliever,” he said. “I just don’t believe the same things you do.”
To this day, that’s one of the most riveting things anybody has ever said to me. Profound even. For six years or so, he and I were so very close. I think of him often and love him dearly. He remains an Athiest and I remain a Christian- but we had a unique understanding and respect for one another. He remains one of my favourite people ever.
It’s too late to be rambling on about the Illuminati and Home Depot and rednecks and stuff. I have to be up early in the morning. I need to go
do loads of schoolwork watch Dual Survivor while I eat roasted chicken.
Today has been a pretty wild day. I’m still perturbed that Allstate wanted to give me a measly $2,100 for pretty much wrecking my life- temporarily. My conversation with the rep went something like this,
“Mrs. Lindsey, we’re able to offer you $1,700,” said the rep.
“Did you say one, or ten?”
[Rep snickers lightly]
“Are you serious? Considering that I had to drop two of my classes last semester- with a doctor’s note excusing me from those two classes, had to repair my GPA-”
“Well Mrs. Lindsey, you didn’t actually have something from your doctor saying that the car accident caused you to have to drop out of school,” he said.
“Um, [rep’s name omitted for confidentiality’s sake], the doctor wrote the statement on a prescription pad. It clearly said MVA (motor vehicle accident) along with the names of the two classes right on there. Any lawyer or jury would absolutely agree that that’s legit.”
“Yeah but, we feel that it wasn’t actually the accident that made you have to quit school,” he said.
“Ok,” said I. “First of all, I didn’t ‘quit school’. I simply dropped out of my two most demanding classes due to the pain and stress caused by your client splitting my bumper. Secondly, I haven’t had to drop a class in years. Not even when my house was flooded and cracked in half a year and a half ago and my kids and I were put up in a hotel by the Red Cross. We had nowhere to go, and I had to ask my art friends in Australia for help. They pulled together $650 in an hour and a half, and we were in an apartment days later- and [rep’s name]…I was carrying four classes during that time and STILL didn’t drop any classes.” [And for the record, made all A’s and B’s.]
“Well…Mrs. Lindsey….” [insert more BS here]
I was able to talk him up to $2,100, and what a disgrace. As mentioned before, and somewhere else- you are NOT in good hands with ALLSTATE. No siree….
To the rep’s credit, he expedited things to the best of his ability and Fed Exed the check. I thought long and hard about settling for pennies practically, but, I was able to give my friend Jean (the homeless woman currently residing in an abandoned train car) $100 cash todayand a new cell phone with 750 minutes + text and internet. That in itself made it worth it to me.
I wanted to get my guitar out of the pawn shop and when I got there, I was told that I was a few days too late. The (very cool) guy behind the counter saw my disappointment and told me that he would see what he could do for me. He certainly did. He clicked around on the computer and said that it was still in the backroom, but he wasn’t able to return it. Nevertheless, he checked with his supervisor and was able, by the skin of his teeth, to pull some strings for me. (Um, no pun intended.)
A few minutes later, he came out with my beautiful, green Oscar Schmidt- acoustic electric:
I twisted up a $20 and handed it to the (cool) counter guy.
“Man, you didn’t have to do that. Here,” I said.
“I can’t take that,” he said, making funny faces in the direction of his boss.
I shoved it under the massive day planner on the counter and said, “The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. Here. Take it.”
And smiled and walked out.
I wasted no time in giving the guitar to Josh as a gift. ♥
I also gave each of my kids $50 for some spending money. We were in a grocery store parking lot and saw a man asking for change. Naturally, he hit me up.
“Hey, weren’t you at the Haven house?” I asked, shaking his hand.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, returning the smile.
I dug through my purse and gave him the equivalency of $3.00. I can’t help thinking that he was going to go straight to the liquor store and I really didn’t care. It’s a tough world out there.
“I think I’m gonna call that guy Liquor Store Lawrence,” my son said. I have a lively bunch. 🙂 It was several hours later when we were in Louisville, Ky. (minutes from the Kentucky Derby), and we saw a man on the street who was muttering to himself. He was fairly young with tattered clothes and a shabby toboggan. My daughter saw him looking through garbage cans. It made us all very sad.
“I think I’m going to give that guy some money,” Brianna said.
And moments later, while sitting at a red light in a congested intersection, she bolted from the back seat and sprinted across the street, shoving her $50 into his hand.
“Did you give him your $20?” I asked.
“No, I gave him 50,” she said softly.
“Are you serious, Sissy?!” I asked, not so softly.
“Dude, that’s probably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen you do,” my son said to her.
I was completely stunned. She became my hero, immediately. To top things off, she was wearing this:
A beautiful kimono looking lingerie gown, with sneakers. 🙂
Not that we were out looking for homeless people today, but homelessness is rampant in this area. I ponder on this Scripture: Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. (Proverbs 3:27)
We popped into the Greyhound bus station so I could use the ladies room. I couldn’t resist the lighting:
SP/ 50 MM 1.8 II/manual exposure/manual focus
I also couldn’t resist snapping these guys on the way out:
50 MM/manual focus/manual exposure
You have to be sneaky to snap pics of people without them knowing it (all while focusing the lens- I can’t stand autofocus and consider it taboo). Something tells me the guy on the right knew I was taking his pic…
It just kept getting weirder as the day drew on. The wind blew fiercely and we found ourselves facing this:
We took a detour and ended up here:
Not only can pigs fly, but pigs fly high. Literally. Look at its bloodshot eyes…
I was able to shoot a rare pic of my son outside of a music store. He dyed his hair blue today, although you can’t see it here:
I never in a million years thought I would be cool with my kid dying his hair blue. I guess I’m mellowing out as I’m growing older.
That’s not altogether a bad thing…
It’s amazing how much I want to get out and shoot, and begin the creative process almost immediately now that the semester is over. I’m beginning to realize that there are two very distinct cycles that I rotate through: the “school me”, which is the stressed out, dead-line driven, insomniac who strives to get good grades and is very, very sad- and then there’s the carefree child-like “out-of-school me”, who indeed looks up at the sky and marvels- and cries, with a big grin on my face, as I did today.
I am 43 going on 19.
I don’t ever want to lose my child-like view of the world.
And I feel complete with the simplest of things.
I think I’m falling back in love with life.
And so fast!
I remain obsessed with monochrome, mood, lighting, and manual exposure.
I can’t explain my attraction to ugly things.
In my years of rubbing elbows with many professional photographers, somewhere along the way I grew tired of perfection. “Textbook”.
It bothers me that people starting out in photography are being told that their images need to be “crystal clear”. Digital noise is considered a big-time no no. As a matter of fact, if there is grain and noise in an image, it’s even considered amateurish. But I like to go against the grain. (Pah tah bomp!)
The majority of people I know keep their cameras in “P” mode (and no folks, that does not mean “professional”). So few people shoot in manual any more!
People ask me questions about my images; they’re wanting to develop their own style. I tell them to break every rule they can.
Somewhere along the way, I fell out of love with “picture perfect” and decided to do my own thing.
I’m going to muck up my images with digital noise and a deliberate high ISO field.
Above all, I want to express mood.
For me, this means speaking with the light. (Exposure, ISO, and so on.)
Instead of “finding the light” in the frame, I study the shadows.
I begin with the darkened shadows and work the light into my photo (instead of the other way around).
Very film noir.
Such as my kitchen chair.
How do you make a kitchen chair tell a story?
How do you make it express a particular mood?
By finding the ugliness in a subject- I find its truth.
I loved the way the lighting was wrapping itself around the lines in this chair.
It makes me uncomfortable to look at this. It’s edgy. Dark. Somber.
Who would want to sit in that chair?!
But I find it terribly beautiful.
Try as I might, I can’t get away from this style.
It’s become who I am.
And I’m alright with it..
Shot in monochrome/ISO: 50/Manual exposure f/2
Sh. Sp.-1/20th sec.