Before & Happily Ever After – Volume One

I’ve always enjoyed photography.  Over the years, I’ve estimated that I’ve taken more than a hundred thousand photographs.  Some of them turned out nice, but most of them leave a lot to be desired, especially the rolls of film I took when I first started getting into photography.  I was left wondering what to do with the stacks of old photographs.

After a drunken night serenaded by the depressing sounds of Morrissey and leafing through old photo albums containing all whopping two of my ex-girlfriends from 20 years of dating eligibility, I came up with a solution of what to do with all my old, crappy photographs.  I figured I could improve them, make them more exciting by Photoshopping things in the background, like explosions and fireworks and Kate Upton jumping up and down on a trampoline.  Yeah, that’s it.  Spruce them up a little.   And so the idea for the Before & Happily Ever After series was born on that drunken, self-loathing night.

*   *   *   *   *   *

1.  Romeo + Juliet001 Christmas Function Original

This photo was taken back in college at a Christmas function in December of1998.  The pretty girl sitting on my lap being awkwardly touched on the inner thigh by my left hand was and still is a good friend of mine.  We never dated for one reason or another.  I think it’s because she’s from Ohio.

The pretty girl went on to get married, and has a lovely family made up of her husband and children.  Instead of daydreaming of what could’ve been between her and I, I decided to daydream of what it would be like to go to the Christmas function with Claire Danes.   I used to have the biggest celebrity crush on the blond-haired, beauty after watching the film Romeo + Juliet.   Claire Danes.  Photoshop, do your thang.  Sprout some angel wings and make me a Juliet.

Juliet Before And After

2.  Tornado WatchTornado Watch Original

This is a photo I took of my brother and sister-in-law back in May of 1995.  I have no idea what my brother is pointing at.  He had this whole pointing at the sky phase that lasted like a year.  I have at least a dozen photos of him doing this same exact pose.

The photo has potential.  The random pay phone in the middle of the wood paneled hallway is nice, but the composition overall is poor and the background is boring.  I decided to jazz up the photo and give my brother something to really stare at.  Him and his second hand thrift store T-shirt are gonna need more than a second chance when I get through with him.

Tornado Watch Before And After

3.  General LeeGeneral Lee Original

Just a typical evening back in June of 1995, hanging out with some friends, taking turns kicking back in a wheel chair.  That’s another brother sprawled out on the car roof like he’s Tyra Banks gearing up for a swimsuit photo shoot for Sports Illustrated or something.  All he needs is a pristine beach and a crystal clear ocean in the background, but I’m not going to give him the satisfaction.  Instead, I decided to get rid of my friend’s clunky Oldsmobile parked in the driveway, and replace it with the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.  It adds just the right amount of flair the original photo was lacking.

General Lee Before and After

4.  This Room Is Rated RRated R Original

Like most college kids, I was poor and had to be resourceful.  And by being resourceful, I  mean that I stole sugar and creamer from the cafeteria for my coffee because I couldn’t afford to buy them from Wal-Mart.  But in this case, being resourceful meant that I asked my graphic design professor if I could have a bunch of old posters that were laying around  so that I could liven up my 10 x 10, concrete block prison cell of a dorm room.  He was kind enough to oblige.  However, instead of scoring a Kurt Cobain poster or a scantily clad Jennifer Love Hewitt poster, the posters he gave me were mostly of puppy dogs and kitty cats.

Beggars can’t be choosers, so I decorated the ceiling with the puppy posters, and turned my dorm room into a glorified petting zoo.  It wasn’t nearly the hip and cool look I was going for, especially with the poster pictured front and center that read “This room is rated R.  No adults allowed without kid’s OK!”  Being poor sucks ass, but Photoshop can make you feel like a wealthy king.  Time for a little dormitory makeover, Photoshop CS3 edition.  Goodbye puppy dogs and hello Ashley Jugs.

Rated R Before And After

5.  Severe Tornado WatchSevere Tornado Warning Original

I don’t even know where to begin with this monstrosity of a photo.  I guess I should begin with my brother.  There he is pointing again.  See, I told you.  I’ve got a whole year’s worth of photographs of him pointing upwards towards the sky.  It musta been the happiest year of his life to just go around pointing at nothing all day.  I’d love to live in that world for even one day.

I have no clue what’s going on in this photo really.  All I know is that my brother-in-law on the far left asked us to come take a tour of the factory he worked at.  The factory makes garden hoses or something like that, and so being that I can’t pass up an educational tour of how garden hoses are made, I agreed to attend the tour.  That was before I knew we had to wear safety glasses.  I have a small head, and of course they handed me the biggest pair of safety glasses in the entire place.   Well, whatever.  I rocked those safety glasses and the garden hose tour was everything I had hoped for and more.

The photo isn’t necessarily a bad photo.  The composition is alright, but I don’t know who those Amish looking people are hiding behind the handicapped sign like we wouldn’t notice that they snuck in to be part of our garden hose tour.  Whoever they are, they have to go.  My brother likes pointing to the sky and second chances, well here you go, big bro.  Here’s your second chance at being caught in the eye of a tornado storm.Severe Tornado Warning Before And After

I hope you enjoyed the first volume of the Before & Happily Ever After series.  If you did, you have Steven Patrick Morrissey’s gloomy, depressing music and a fifth of Maker’s Mark whiskey to thank for that.  Join me next time, as I retouch some old photos and add alien abductions, shark infested waters, and Hulk Hogan wrestling a chubby guy at a local wrestling match at the Moose Lodge.  May you all live happily ever after until the next time.

124 thoughts on “Before & Happily Ever After – Volume One

  1. For real, Dimmy, I would kill a puppy (somebody I didn’t know’s puppy) to be able to Photoshop pictures like this! Nice dorm room, pal. I guess it’s a good think you weren’t bringing girls there to bang, they’d have a lot of questions in the morning when they sobered up.

    • Ha! Well my brutha from another mutha, maybe we’ll work out a Photoshop deal. I’ll come over and teach you, you provide the booze. I could turn you into a PS wizz in about a month. Either that, or we’d just sit around and get drunk. Both sound like a good deal to me.

  2. That college room is so damn funny. I had something really silly on my wall: a list of one hundred or so things I would do in life. Whatever, I haven’t met Bruce Willis yet. He’s the outboard motor on my telepathy boat, the wind between my legs. I should mail him a puff of appreciation.

    • Thanks! I’m only teasing. I like to give Ohio, New Jersey, and West Virginia a tough time because they’re my neighbors. I’m a Pennsylvania resident. Don’t get me started on Texas though! Ah shoot, I mostly just like to give everyone a hard time, but all in good fun.

  3. “We never dated for one reason or another. I think it’s because she’s from Ohio.”

    Yes, it is the land of the obviously-awkward-friendship-because-someone-wants-more relationship. Been there, done that, and have the nicotine fingers to prove it.

    • Ha, yes I have quite a few of those awkward friendships. I’m the guy that girls call up to share their feelings or go to events that their boyfriends refuse to go to. The surrogate boyfriend. It’s cool though, because sometimes I’ll get invited to cookie exchange parties or something like that, and I end up having a great time.

      • My pet name for it is being an emotional janitor. I put in my resignation on that job a while back. Some men enjoy that role, and more power to them. I’m not so thrilled with the experience. All work and no play makes Jack a bitter boy.

        • sorry for butt in but cant help my self. why would ladies us you as stand in and not date a good guy that dos care. iv dated guys that pretended to be emotional janitor up grade boyfriend version. big let down but have my two amazing sons. here there are lack of nice guys( more so nice guys that are into sifi but that’s more my want then most others) but dont be used by women your worth more then just back up guy. unless of course thats what you wish.

          • I don’t know why they like the extra shoulder to cry on, and at this point in my life I’m not interested in finding out. I get the impression it’s a moving target and pinning something down is futile anyway. However, if someone attached is coming around for a drama session after drama session they can either take it to their current beau or a family member. I’ve got my own bag of worries, and I’m done with that noise.

  4. God I love what you do with photoshop. Whoops done it again, I’ve come through (says she sounding like the dead) on the other one (sounds more spooky)
    I’m going to beg steal or borrow photoshop and follow all your tits, I mean tips…

  5. Are you sure you weren’t drinking Wild Turkey and photoshopped Maker’s Mark on the bottle? Whiskey just makes me a wild drunk. But apparently, it makes you creative. How’d you get so lucky?

    • Some guys have all the luck. Not me, but I did get lucky because generally speaking, I’m a happy drunk. Whiskey and I (or is it whiskey and me?) are a match made in heaven. Can’t wait to go back to work so we can be reunited :)

  6. Bravo! I would give Bill Clinton’s (the add that appears now on my screen) right arm to have your photoshop abilities. I guess you must have been fooling around real quickly but you have achieved glorious results. I like the General Lee transformation, best and my choice would have been the last one, but I prefer it in its original unaltered state. I do believe that the handicap parking should have stayed. Thanks for the best moment of my day (and it is a quarter to midnight so unless Claire drops by in the next minutes…)

    • Claire better not be dropping by! She’s supposed to be meeting me for dinner and I’ve been sitting here for an hour waiting. Glad you liked the Photoshop madness. I have tons more photos in the archives, but yeah, some of the originals are a riot. I have a strange family and strange friends, so there’s not one serious pose in the hundred thousand photos that I’ve taken. It’s good stuff.

  7. LOL I’m reminded of Bill Murray’s character in “Scrooged” getting confused between his own life and what he watched on TV. Continue with this concept and you could create an entire series of comical lives. Great stuff, hilarious :)

    • Thanks! That’s a good analogy for my life. I have no idea what’s reality and what world I’m living in half the time. Today I woke up at 7, and had no idea what day it was and if it was 7PM or 7AM. I’m a real mess, but it makes for an interesting life. Cheers!

  8. When I was growing up and used to do things I was amused by my mum used to say, “little amuses the simple minded!”. I am reminded of her words as I enjoy looking at what you have done!

  9. Now you’ve got me thinking….. If I learn photoshop, I can insinuate Colin Farrell into all my old photos, thus expunging forever all the less than desirable exes. Brilliant.

  10. these are – GREAT! i use old photos to create collages, sort of similar but done with the actual pieces and not tech. i can appreciate your knack for putting things together in the frame that would not normally be found there. )

    • So you’re a scrapbooker. Don’t dodge around the word, Beth. Embrace it. Scrapbooking is the coolest. You just gave me an idea, and this time it didn’t require Morrissey and a fifth of whiskey. Maybe I’ll do a series on digital scrapbooking sometime. Cheers!

  11. Awesome photos…Erm I mean photoshopping skills!! I’m gonna be pointing at the sky for my next close-up.

  12. Is it just me or do your hands look unusually large in comparison to the rest of you in that first awkward photo? I feel the pain of having certain parts of your body develop quickly, poor soul.
    Bravo Dimmy, looking forward to the next one!

    • Thanks, dear! Well, I think it was the weird angle of the shot that made my hand look so big, but I do have all sorts of weird proportions going on with my body. It’s kinda like looking in the mirror at the fun house. It’s a good time!

    • Ha! Ask your professor if I can be a guest teacher for a week or something. We’ll all get drunk and Photoshop unicorns. It will be a blast and you’ll learn more in that week than an entire semester from your uptight professor. Booyah.

    • Awesome! What does win exactly when they win the internet? Hopefully some whiskey because I’m unemployed at the moment, and it’s been like 2 months since I could afford any liquor.

  13. Fun stuff man… though, I’m saddened by the original dorm room photo… I’m thinking what a lonely kid you must have been…

    Seems like with all the Dimwits following, you are making up for lost social opportunities.

    You crack me up

    • Ha! Thanks John. Well, I went to a private Christian college, and so puppy dog and kitty cat posters were more the norm. But yeah, you’re right. I didn’t really fit in, but I had a nice crew of misfits and outcasts that kept me company in college. And now I have a nice crew of dimwits. It’s nice.

    • Aw, man! You’re right. I dropped the ball on that one, so I’ll have to break out some mullets and jean shorts for the next one. I have a nice mullet myself in a few photos, so it won’t even need that much Photoshopping. Sweet.

  14. I just asked how do u handle your ex’s photos on my latest post! If only I had seen this post before publishing mine, I would have added photoshop the ex in the answer’s choices. I was once in love with Claire Danse too when she was in ‘My so-call life’ and when she refused to go back for the season 2, I was sad for a while. Although I don’t like Remeo+Juliete story, I still like the version you got a photo of Clair because it had my favorite things: Leo, Clair, Baz Luhrmann and awesome soundtrack which I honorly owned its 2 CD albums. By the way, I thinl your brother is kind of cool with his posture for photos taking. He did make people wanna know what did he point to?

    Thanks for this post, you are truly photoshop whiz!

    • Thanks my dear! Man, Claire Danes was something. Smart and sexy and cool, but not in that overdone Hollywood way. She seems like a down to earth kinda gal you could sit around the fire and drink beer and play guitar, sing songs and have a nice time with. That soundtrack is really good. It was in my car stereo on repeat for quite some time. Thanks for reading and for the enjoyable comment.

  15. These are awesome, got a dimwitted giggle out of every one of them. Btw, even I had a crush on Claire Danes after R+J. When she smiled, you knew she knew she could make doves cry.

    • Thanks, Jason. I seriously thought I was going to find a way to meet Claire Danes, and we would instantly fall in love. She has that kind of effect on people, and I guess that’s why she’s a movie star. Little did I know I’d be working on movies 10 years later, but I’ve yet to do a film with her. One day. One day. She’s totally gonna fall for the Dimwit and doves will be flying off in every direction. It’s good to dream.

    • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into sanrtitg my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  16. Can’t wait for the next series, but I will…. I want to find out what your brother is pointing at in the next few photos. Oh no, it weren’t a few… ;)

    • This is getting a bit more suetbcjive, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of neighbors will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune Social is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

    • Oh yeah. It is throwback Thursday. Wait, is it Thursday? Honest to God, I don’t remember if today is Thursday or Friday. Story of my life. I’ll get it figured out one of these days. Maybe on Friday.

    • Haha, not a fan??? I haven’t seen the film in a long time, so my tastes have probably changed since then. Kinda like when you go back and watch old movies from the 80’s and they’re not quite what you remember. For example, Pee Wee Herman. I still like the film for nostalgia reasons, but it’s really annoying otherwise.

    • And you are my new favorite commenter! Don’t tell all the others. They’ll get jealous and rip up all the photos they have of me hanging on their fridge. By the way, I have a good one coming up. Thanks for reading!

  17. just brilliant. and your photoshop techniques are right on! you should give a tutorial for the rest of us neophytes on techniques for “selections /cut out, whatever you call it, especially areas like hair and all those difficult areas.
    keep up the cool work.

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