Friday, August 29, 2008

Some book reviews

So I finally finished reading Unweaving the Rainbow about a month ago. Why did it take forever? A couple reasons.

1. Richard Dawkins is a pompous a-hole, who constantly points out the idiocy of the human affliction while simultaneously holding himself up as the gold standard of logical thinking.

Okay that might be a bit on the rough side, but that sure is the vibe I got throughout the book.

This means that I spent a whole lot of the book trying to convince myself to find reasons why he was wrong, even if I knew he wasn't. Just to show that SOB (in my own mind of course, where I always win) who was really the idiot.


2. He covers a LOT of topics VERY quickly. Everything from actually discussing rainbows and the ice crystals that form them to DNA testing, psychics, genetic evolution, trait favoring, world perspective, random chance statistics, and more. Yes, even more, and all within 352 pages.


My brain has trouble keeping up with an entirely new topic every chapter, so there was some serious re-reading occuring.


3. I really wasn't all that interested in the book to begin with. A co-worker sang its praises as a book for smart people and practically gift-wrapped it so I would read it.


I can say with some surety that I will not be picking up another Richard Dawkins book. :)



I also recently read a few other books. Like Random Acts of Senseless Violence. This work of fiction is based in apocalyptic New York in the near future. It is written in the form of a diary. The reason I bought this book is for the linguistics within it. The main character begins as a sweet private-school girl who eventually turns into a thuggish, gang-banging, murdering street hoodlum. This in and of itself does not a good novel make, but throughout the whole book her verbiage changes from what you would expect of a private schooled girl to an entirely foreign dialect. And you understand it throughout the whole book as she makes the changes.


The book was all-right. The linguistic aspect of it was pretty entertaining, but I wouldn't buy the book for any reason other than that.


Also reading The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain (author of acclaimed Kitchen Confidential which I loved). This is a collection of short writing which Tony has done for various local publications, schools, corporate meetings, blah blah blah.


Great book for filling in the gaps between appointments. The shortness of the stories allows you to get a whole helping of literary sarcasm in about 5-10 minutes. Kept it in my car and picked it up whenever I had a few minutes and am now nearly done.


Next book is Confessor, which my roomate checked out from the library. The final book in a series that I have been reading for a good long time. Totally psyched to get this series over with and onto something new.

Pic of the day

Having fun bugging Luke and DaNece early in the morning before coffee. He just happened to look up right as I snapped the shutter.


Say hello to my roomie:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pic of the day

Another snap from the monsoon sunset on tuesday:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Part of this quote is heard in the movie Equilibrium (awesome movie!), and it always strikes me when I hear it.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

- W.B. Yeats

Photoshop not necessary

Artists create camaflouged people without using photoshop.


Liu Bolin paints his posers.



Desiree Palmen paints a suit which she then has a poser wear.



Emma Hack strips down pretty ladies and paints directly on their bodies.

*technically NSFW, because if you look close you can see boobies.*



Also see:

Veruschka (warning: a few boobies here too) See portfolios III and IV

Pic of the day

Apache Plume, taken while on the photowalk:

Photography Buzz

Nikon has announced its new advanced amateur camera, the D90.

Chase Jarvis has an interesting video (found here) of testing the D90, though they don't show a lot of actual pictures. (via)

Seems like a pretty sweet deal at $1,300 for the body and a 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens!


Canon has announced its new advanced amateur camera, the 50D.

A bit higher in price at $1,700 with 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens.

15 megapixels seems like a bit too much for a APS-C sized sensor, but it does allow recording RAW at full resolution as well as @ 7MP, and 3MP which is AWESOME!! 7MP RAW would be just about perfect.


Hmmm.... maybe now the price will drop on the D80 and I can finally go DSLR! But probably not, cuz this white boy is still real poor. :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The View

For those non-locals. Standing in the driveway this evening we got a full show as a monsoon storm moved in from the east right as the sun was setting. Colorful clouds all around.


Here is the panoramic looking east to west (click to see large).


For those with big resolutions or who don't mind scrolling, see the full-sized version.

Pic of the day

An early 70's Datsun 510:


3 exposure HDR with some additional post-processing thrown in. I really like how it turned out. :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Farmer Builds his own Cathedral

Justo Gallego Martinez is building a cathedral. He doesn't have any qualifications to do so, but that doesn't seem to be stopping him.


Story found here with lots of pictures.


Oh yeah, there were strangers there too!

Got 3 more portraits for my 100 Strangers project during the photowalk as well!!


Local photographer Brandy Young was one of the walk participants:


A group of bikers, proudly displaying their heritage badges:


And Sara, one of the violinists, who was proudly holding a cicada:


Four down, ninety six more to go!

A photowalk affair

Saturday was the photowalk, and a grand ol' time was had by all. I was thoroughly surprised by the turnout. Something to the tune of 40 photographers all met up to putz around our little town. It was a menagerie of lenses, and gear bags. Talk of bodies and f-stops abounded.



We started out at the Sharlot Hall Museum, and then mosied our way down Gurley street to the Whiskey Row Alley, and then around to the Row itself, and over to the town square.



There were musicians and bikers on the square, and soon the crowd of photographers had dispersed to the four corners of the downtown area. All following whatever their particular fancies for subject matter were. Personally, I was really enjoying the free music!



We ended up at the Pangaea Bakery for some food and drink, got to converse with all sorts of people, eat some good blueberry/apple pie, and drink a smoothie out of the biggest straw I've ever seen.



All-in-all a great morning of photographing and conversing. I got to meet some other bloggers for the first time. GrannyJ, Dagny, Dina; it was great to finally meet all of you in person!



All of my photos.

The group pool of photos from the walk.

Pic of the day

A shot in the parking garage. From the Photowalk on Saturday. More to come on that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jazz Hands!

Walking around downtown on my lunch hour and I heard music coming from the courthouse. Stopped over and got a nice show. The Prescott Jazz Festival is going on, which means all sorts of music goodness.

Definitely not a bad way to spend a lunch hour:

I even went so far as to use the video function on the G9 for the first time to record this shaky ass video:


*EDIT* I'd be interested if anybody has problems playing the video. It is my first try embedding from flickr, and so far I am less than impressed. :)

What catches my eye?

So, I was going through my morning routine of reading all my RSS feeds (only 130 new items this morning!), and came upon this post. Nothing earth-shattering, just a guy (TIMM KÖLLN) who takes portraits of bicycle racers right after they cross the finish line, capturing all the emotion of the race while it is fresh on their face.


The photos really are great, and the choice of toned black and white was a good one. But what really caught my eye was his website layout.


It's horizontal. Yeah, freakin horizontal.


And it is great! His menu is nestled in the bottom left of your window, and you have to scroll to the right to continue 'down' his page. At first it freaked me out a little.

I mean, I NEVER have to use that horizonal scroll bar (thanks to 1900x1200 resolution), so all of a sudden I was like 'wait.... how do I see more pictures?', and then I was like 'Ooo, that is nicer than I thought it would be.'

It seems like it might be a problem on lower resolutions (below 1280x1024), but it sure is pretty for me.

Pic of the day

Mi Hermana, who was in town the other day. We had a bit of a picnic at Granite Creek park. Olive bread, avocado, tomato, mozzarella, and some lime. Good eats, and good company!


Playing with a new technique. This is a psuedo-HDR. It was created with just one RAW file. Better than I expected for my first test. :)

Original photo seen here.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pic of the day



3 exposure handheld HDR

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Want to feel smart?

Then go browse through Yahoo! Answers. I have seriously never seen such a gamut of stupid questions and even stupider answers.



If the egg is from the chicken then why doesn't a egg taste like chicken?


Best Answer:

I'm gonna say its because the egg isn't ripe yet. Just like a watermelon. If you eat it when its not ripe it will taste bitter, but if you eat it when its ripe it will be sweet. If you just let that egg ripen for a while it will taste like chicken eventually.


Wait.....what? Are you effin serious? That is the best answer?  Personally, I liked this better:

ask the chicken the chicken might have been fooling around



Or how about:

I am now on day 36 of my cycle.this is the longest I have been since getting off the pill.My only son is 14.should I [take a pregnancy]test now or wait?


Is this something that you really want to depend on the masses of the internet to answer for you? How about a doctor, you know the people who actually go to school for this? But no, let's take the advice of whoever decides to answer, which is just as likely to be a 14 year old boy as anybody else.... GOOD IDEA!

It's me!

But all cartoonish:


made at FaceYourManga

Hamburger-Ball love

DaNece made dinner while I mended a fence. I tell you that girl makes a mean meal, and she does it no time flat!!


I don't know the exact recipe, but it goes something like this:


Mix up some hamburger (I think this was 90/10) with some salt/pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and whatever else floats your boat.


Coat the suckers in flower, throw them in a super-hot pan until browned on all sides. Place over white rice (with a bit o' butter in it), add a can of green beans to the side, and if you are a fancy son of a gun (like me) throw in some mushrooms cooked in butter and wine.


Some will add ketchup for dipping the meatballs, personally I needed no such sauce.


Oh My Freakin God was this tasty! Apparently she used to get this as a kid, one of her dad's favorite dishes. Hooray dad, for having good taste, and passing it on down the genetic line!

Pic of the day

Lunch. A spider eats a fly:


Best viewed large.

Some Randomness


This was me yesterday. The UPS man delivered my now-working G9. MY PRECIOUS!!

A local blog. MiliGirl Art - by local artist Melanie Banayat.


Beautiful photos of death in the insect world



Your gas money, hard at work:


The Burj Dubai Skyscraper, a.k.a. the world's tallest building (800m tall!) almost three times taller than the Eiffel Tower.


Awesome packaging

To Sadira - I would totally keep this packaging:


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dancing with a ladder

Sounds odd, looks cool:


Pic of the day

"I'll try to finde the answers to all the qustions they ask"

Underneath the White Spar / Granite Creek overpass:

Interesting HDR

This guy takes HDR way into artistic. Very cool, and many of them are from a single RAW file!

Oh that Itchy Irony

So, did you know that the first time you get poison oak it can take anywhere from 2-15 days to break out in a blistery rash?

Neither did I.


In retrospect perhaps I shouldn't have made those comments to my hiking partner that it sucks to be him and I must be immune to poison oak because I didn't have any itchy rashes...

Yep, a little egg on my face.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pic of the day

An older one. Felony tresspassing:


Got the confirmation from Canon Repair today. My camera has shipped, and should be arriving tomorrow. HOORAYYY!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pic of the day

A bench. Yep, that's it, just a bench:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Soon, they will take over

Engineers have created a robot with a biological brain.


We might as well start bowing down to the future overlords right now. :)


Pic of the day

A street lamp, attempting to light up an overcast day:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The difference a processing can make

How very interesting what an extra 1/2 hour in Photoshop, and a new plugin can do to an image.


Original Raw File:


1st Processing (posted yesterday). Almost all done in Lightroom, with a little cloning in PS to get rid of the telephone wires:


After playing with LucisArt and PS for a little while:


Over the top, but kind of fun. Nothing super special, other than the LucisArt Exposure adjustment (luminosity masked, to prevent too much craziness) which helps pull interest to all the chrome. And lots of little adjustment layers. :)

Pic of the day

Morning sun silhouetting a tree. Shot this morning with the SD800is. Not too shabby for 55MPH. :)

One Garden Gnomes travels.


One garden gnome's seven-month adventure around the world - via kwout


Somebody stole a stranger's Garden Gnome, takes it around the world, and delivers it back with a photo album of the travels? FREAKING AWESOME!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Anybody wanna trade?

What I have: Netgear WGR614 v6 Wireless Router

What I want: Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router, preferably a V1-4.

Why: The v6 version of my router is incompatible with DD-WRT which I am totally jonesing to play with. The V1-4 Linksys routers are also compatible with Tomato Firmware, which I'm also interested in. Sadly finances are tight, so going out and busting $50 on a router which might very well get bricked isn't such a great prospect.


So, anybody in the area have a Linksys box they wouldn't mind trading for?

Pic of the day

A few other pictures were on the G9 memory card. Today I finally got some time to edit them. So here is the pic of the day. Another old Ford for sale, from a wider angle, which a few people requested:


Didn't want to go two whole days without posting, so here is the Sunday Secret that I liked the most.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

And something a little lighter

To offset the camera carnage.

The Dark Knight trailer, as done by children:

Sara Sue said that the video wasn't working, so here is a link to it.

Canon G9, I would like you to meet Cliff.

Have you ever dropped something important, and watched it roll towards the edge of precipice? You know there is nothing you can do to stop it, but you still have that instinctual drive to dive after it?


Yeah, that TOTALLY happened to me yesterday. Me and Chris went for an early morning hike at Wet Beaver creek. We arrived at the trailhead at 5:00am, and hiked in getting great morning views like this:



About 4 miles in, we found a nice outcropping, looking out over the canyon. We decided to take a rest, and Chris did some posing:


When we got ready to hit the trail again it happened. My (apparently) poorly secured camera slipped off of the strap holding it to the backpack. It hit the ground about a foot from the edge of our little outcropping. And I thought "If I hurry, I could grab that." And then that little part of me that my mom tried to cultivate during my youth spoke up and said "Ummm... ARE YOU STUPID!?!?!" So I watched my prized Canon G9 camera roll and disappear over the edge. My heart dropped with it, and I'm sure a few expletives escaped my lips.


We looked over the edge, and saw no sign of my beloved. I was determined to find it. I climbed my way as far down as I could, looking at any little shelf or outcropping for the black case that I had held a few minutes before. Eventually, at about half-way down I got to a point where I could go no further. There was a dirt path another 200 or so feet below me, and after beating my way back up to Chris, we decided to find our way down to the creekside. We meandered down the trail until we spotted a place with no major cliffs, and after some cactus-filled bushwhacking, we finally made our way down the water. And after some further creek-side bushwhacking through non-dog-friendly terrain, we found our way below that fateful outcropping.


Surprisingly enough, Chris found the camera within about 5 minutes. I expected the worst, but also surprisingly the camera had no visible blemishes. Apparently my case is better at padding falls than I had thought. When I turned it on though, the damage became clear. The LCD was cracked, and gave off only a faint glow. After some testing it was clear that it was capable of taking pictures, but was unable to display them.


Here is the test shot to prove it. You see that little bit of vegetation in the center? Right above that is the outcropping whence the camera came. All told, probably about 300 feet from trail to landing:


Now comes the fun part of finding either a replacement screen, or somebody who can repair the damage without costing me more than the camera is worth.


What a day!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Holy Effin Scary

I bet the operator of this window washing rig had some stains to clean up in his pants:


Pic of the day

A cheezy self portrait at the square, taken with the SD-800. Scrappy often uses me as his personal chair:

Flash on, to get some exposure in the background.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Chicken Parmesan

Been a while since I've done a food post, so here is dinner from last night:

Nothing terribly fancy.

- Just tenderized some chicken breasts, gave them an egg bath and coated them in a mixture of bread crumbs, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

- Throw them in a hot pan with a bit of EVOO for a few minutes on each side until you get a nice crust.

- Top them with sauce, cheese, and some roasted garlic

- Throw them in a 375 degree oven until they are cooked through (i think mine were in there about 15 minutes). You should start to see some nice color developing on the outside edges.

- Toss over pasta and devour.

Pic of the day

Soldier statue on the square:


Other views:



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Photo Bookage!

I got a package the other day. It was from blurb. It made me happy.

Yes, my photo book has arrived, all 108 glorious pages of it! I greedily tore through the packaging, and cracked open the covers.

After going through it for a full day, handing it to every co-worker who walked by, and letting my Editor-In-Chief give it a stern looking through. Everybody seems to really like it, and a few people are telling me they want a copy. COOL!


The soft covers are glossy. Very glossy, and pickup fingerprints like they are going out of style:


I'm not terribly thrilled with the binding on the softback version, but I guess you get what you pay for in this regard:


The pages are thick enough so that you don't get any see-through bits, but not quite as thick as normal book-store photobooks.

Black and whites look pretty dang good, with little to no color cast:



The color images look pretty good as well:


Detail of the photos is pretty good overall. There are definite printing 'spots' when you look close, but are mostly unnoticeable when viewing from normal distance:


Any subtle gradations (read: skies) have a little bit of chopping, but there isn't much to be done about it.  Overall it looks pretty darn good. Most of the photos are a little darker than they appeared on screen, and the saturation didn't seem to be as high as my screen, but I'm guessing that is a problem on my screen's side. Either way it isn't a big enough problem for me to go through and try to correct them.


I did have some minor issues with the bleeds (where they cut the pages around the edges), but nothing horrible, and is hopefully resolved now.


So I went ahead and ordered a hardcover version as my personal copy, and set the book as public so that anybody can purchase a copy. It is available in three different cover choices, Softcover for $29.95+s/h, Hardcover with Dust Jacket for $41.95+s/h, and Hardcover with ImageWrap (no dust jacket) for $44.95+s/h. This is at-cost, as I have no intention of making a profit on this little guy.


If you are interested check out the link below, where you can also preview the first 15 pages. :)