Time Off

July 09, 2006

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I've taken a little time off, and man, I needed it. Office holidays were for the 3rd and 4th so I took the last three days of the week of two. Nice trick to use three days of vacation for an entire week off. Of course, when I logged in a little while ago to check my email I had about 250 new messages in the inbox (some of which is spam that made it by the filter. There were an additional 150 in the spam box too.) So, tomorrow will be email day. But it's worth it. For the fun link as a welcome back, here's a very well done video edit.


Digital ICE

June 22, 2006

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I own a film scanner that I've used maybe 20 times since I got it. When I made the purchase my plan was to go through a bunch of my old negs and get them scanned in so I could play with them, or at least get a few of my favoriates into an online gallery. I just never really got a chance to get down and dig into it. I have the scanner here with me in Huntsville so that I can borrow some negatives from a friend whose wedding I shot and get some images for a sample book. I did the first few scans and started doing all the spot toning (or whatever the name of the digital equivilent is) that's required with old negs that have been printed off of several times. Then I remember that the scanner has a feature called Digital ICE that's supposed to help cut down on dust showing up in the scan. Holy Cow. It works great. Check out the before and after pics on this page. My negs aren't nearly as spotty as the example, but it does just as good a job of clearing them.  I wish this tech had been discovered and produced back in my old days when I was first transitioning to photoshop, but was still shooting everything on film. Would have saved me weeks worth of time that I spent spotting.


From a comment on the Media

June 22, 2006

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(This is the second part of a comment where I was responding to another post, but it got long enough that I decided to move it to its own post.) Truth be told though, I do try to avoid a lot of the coverage. I'm turned off by it, but not necessarily in the right way. It's the relentlessness of it that I think is getting to me. But, at the same time, I feel like it's lacking power. Instead of being engaging, most of it comes across to me as a kind of white noise. I really don't know what I'm trying to get at. There are a lot of aspects of this situation that I can't seem to get my mind around. The whole thing really is F.U.B.A.R. And when things are Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition like they are now drawing any single conclusion becomes and exercise in frustration. One of the few clear thoughts that I have is that we should not have gone into Iraq the way we did. It's absolutely not a black and white issue, but the way in which we got ourselves into Iraq has few possibilities of redeeming values. But that is past and now we are where we are and I can't really see any good outcomes among the potential near term futures. And from what I'm hearing in the media it sounds like our political and military leaders have the same problem. And, as is want to happen in our United States, instead of grouping together to try to figure shit out, we hurl political grenades at each other with the goal keeping/gaining power for whichever political party we affiliate ourselves with. It pisses me off that We, collectively, seem incapable of saying that something that The Opposing Party said is a good idea that every issues effectively becomes a choice from a binary selection. Option 1: You are with us. Option 2: You are against us. Fuck you if you want to talk and exchange ideas. Pick "1" or "2" or stay the hell out of the game. Incidentally, I'm a registered Independent, and I think more people (if not most) should be. From what I see, after people register for one of the two main parties they slide into a black and white way of thinking where any big issue, no matter how complex only has one answer. (Yes, that's a gross overgeneralization, but I'm ranting, so give me a little slack.) Anyway, I'll close with a quote: "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


Divesting of Nikon

June 21, 2006

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I'm on my way to Huntsville for a few days. I've decided that I'm going to drop off most of my Nikon gear at Southerland's to sell. On the block will be:

  • 20mm f/2.8
  • 24mm f/2.8
  • 50mm f/1.8
  • 105mm f/2.5
  • MD-4 Motordrive

I'm keeping my F3 HP body and a 35mm f/2.8 for the shelf. The F3 was my first camera and the 35 is my favoriate perspective for a general carry 35mm film camera. I've focused a lot of light through the lenses I'm getting rid of, but since I'm hanging onto a working system, I don't feel (right now) like I'm giving anything up really. That said, I'm hanging on to all my Hasselblad components at this point. I'm not ready to give any of them up yet.


Financial Data

June 21, 2006

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For all you hackers out there who are into finance, if you want a data feed of stock info, check out Yahoo Finance's stock quotes. On that page you will find a "download data" link that provides a .csv file with some basic price info. Very handy. If you browse around their site, there are other places that also have download links. Kudos to Yahoo for providing raw data.


Hippie Food

June 21, 2006

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Just walked over to Publix and picked up some Green Tea and Granola bars for a snack. The goal wasn't even to pick up healtheir food, but I like the fact that at least some of my tastes are semi healthy.


The Power of a Commercial (and some other stuff)

June 20, 2006

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Last week after 9 holes of employee golf, I went out with my group to grab a bite to eat and have a few drinks. During the round, two of them were chain smoking. Not really like either of them, though they do have the occasional cigarette. I generally give my friends a little grief whenever I see them smoking, but nothing to much. So, after a few jabs on the course, I let it drop. At the bar, after the round, a commercial came on the big screen that I had seen before and pointed out to them as soon as it started. It shows a guy who had throat cancer and had to have a hole drilled in his throat so he can breath. He also, talks with one of those robot sounding devices that he has to hold to the side of his neck. If you have seen one of these commercials, you know what I'm talking about, if not, here's a quick article on it. (Surprisingly, I can't find anywhere with the actual video posted.) Anyway, my friends handed over their smokes and made a bet with me that if they ever took another puff, they would buy the group a meal a Ruth Chris (a fairly expensive steak how, where dinner for the four of us would probably end up being $400 or so.) I hope never to collect, but the most striking thing is that I've never seen a more direct (and powerful) effect on someone from a commercial. The commercial is pretty disturbing, but it's impact was well worth any discomfort. This actually gets me thinking about how sanitized our society is now. At least when it comes to the real life. In movies, you can find amazingly gory visuals. But that's just fantasy. Back in the real world, the news is generally white-washed to avoid overly disturbing visuals. Sure, you get numbers, and sometimes descriptions that are a little rough, but even those strike me as toned down. From stories that I've heard about news broadcasts during Vietnam, there would be actual footage of combat dead. In today's always on, media rich United States, the government won't even allow images of the caskets of our fallen soldiers to be filmed coming off the plan on their final journey. For me, it's hard to wrap my mind around what's going on in Iraq. With all the images we see every day, I think not seeing some of the harder scenes from there acts as a bit of a sedative. I'm a bit conflicted about this, because I wouldn't want it to be an over produced media piece that's just trying to grab ratings. But, I think in the same way that the anti-smoking commercial shocked my friends into really thinking about smoking, making sure that we, as a society, are fully aware of what's going on would make us pay more attention to it. I don't know if any of the decisions from this point forward would change, and I'm not suggesting any course of action. I just want to make sure that while we have troops fighting in another country, we are paying attention to it. Cause, frankly, I don't think we really are. (Note, this post took one hell of a tangent. Originally, it was just going to be about the commercial itself.)


Quicksilver

June 16, 2006

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I'm reading (or trying to read) the Neal Stephenson book "Quicksilver" right now. I've read two of his other books before ("Snow Crash" and "Cryptonomicron") and enjoyed them both, but I'm about to give up on Quicksilver. It's set in the past and he seems intent of focusing more on historical details than telling a story. It's rare that I don't finish a book that I start, but I think it's about to happen. Oh well.


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