Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Still Here, Just Quiet.

Haven't done a lot of photography lately, just haven't had the spirit. Ironically, PhotoShelter's been gone almost two weeks now and I got an email from somebody wanting to license two of my pictures that not only did she first see on PhotoShelter, but that I took at Shoot the Day. Ah, life. They're for a textbook which is a biography of a poet, can't say who, which is kinda hard to assign a value to. I took my best shot, we'll see if her editor approves the license fee. In other news...

I did sort out the first pass on the images I want to submit to the B&W photo contest, which was a big step. Now I have to bring it down to eight to twelve images, and then fine-tune them.

In other other news, we replaced our living-room couch with a treadmill, which also seems very ironic in the proper context. We pulled the couch out and I took it to Goodwill, then we brought the treadmill (which I brought home in my truck last week) in and set it up. Good. Lord. That sucker was heavy. In the box, it was probably close to 250# and unwieldy as Hell. It's all set up now, though. Fortunately I have a furniture dolly. Well, actually it's a mechanic's rollaway (those things mechanics lie on to roll under cars) but it was purposefully built to be heavy enough to hold machinery and furniture. It's pretty nifty, really.

Who knew treadmills were so fancy now? This one has both an iPod dock (with speakers, it also charges the iPod) and a flash memory slot for something called "iFit workout cards," which you can buy in various configurations with custom progressive workouts on them. These include audio narration by a human trainer! I think I'll mostly just walk. On the other hand, it has a little fan, which is genius. Exercise is much more livable with a little air moving over you.

This is the one we got:

Nordic Track C2155

It was on closeout, it's been replaced by some slightly fancier doodad. It was 40% off, which was nice too. It's not as good for running as for walking, but my wife has iffy knees and I run only when chased, so walking will be fine.

More after the jump - click here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Fun-Filled Morning

I went in to get my teeth cleaned and to have a little spot where food was catching patched up.

Of course, it's never that easy.

Three hours later, I'd had a root canal and two crowns. The emergency root canal was necessary because the tooth was badly infected, even though I was experiencing no symptoms whatsoever. (Other than a general malaise, but I just figured that was because I'm me.) Anyway, at least I can add a tally to another life list of mine, "Times doctors have said to me, 'I don't understand how you're even conscious, let alone not screaming in agony.'" I think this makes three.

I have to go back in five weeks and get the permanent crowns put on. Oh, and get my teeth cleaned. We kinda never got around to that.

On the plus side, my dentist got a totally cool digital dental photography setup with a twin macro lite. It's nifty. And he's a really, really excellent dentist.

More after the jump - click here!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

M. Moldbug Does It Again.

Best. Quote. About banking. Ever.

The Misesian explanation of the bank crisis

A banking system is like a nuclear reactor: a complicated piece of engineering. If it's engineered right, it works 100% of the time. If it's engineered wrong, it works 99.99% of the time, and the other 0.01% it coats the entire tri-state area in radioactive strontium.

More after the jump - click here!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

So the Editor of a Magazine Just Called.

Unfortunately, he doesn't want to hire me to shoot a massive spread for a $20K day rate. Nor have I just won a digital Hasselblad. However...

I did just win second prize in my category in an international photo competition.

Not allowed to say what magazine until it's published, but it's a Real Magazine. (I have a subscription to it, and you can buy it in any bookstore. Paid circulation is over 200K.) The editor made a point to say how this particular photograph was one of his personal favorites. I mean, sure, he could have said that about all of them, but I'm willing to bet it was very, very different from most of the entries in my category, so even if it wasn't the jury's overall pick, I can see where it might really appeal to someone. :)

The prize isn't huge, but it's more than a "photo credit." Every little bit helps: since I write off my camera gear, I need some income to show for it!

This isn't the first contest I've had success in, but it's the largest by a country mile. Now maybe I'll have enough gumption to put together a portfolio for that B&W contest I wanted to enter.

More after the jump - click here!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

They Said It...

Dr. Ian Malcom: "Boy, do I hate being right all the time."

(In response to being told, "It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.")

Jane Craig: "No. It's awful."

Finch: ... I felt like I could see everything that happened, and everything that is going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me. And I realised we're all part of it, and all trapped by it.
Dominic: So do you know what's gonna happen?
Finch: No, it was a feeling. But I can guess.

I have spent the last several years telling anyone who would listen without walking away that our economic model was unsustainable. If a trend can't go on forever, it won't. Well, no trend can go on forever, except maybe dE = TdS - pdV, but the trends we were on were a lot less sustainable than that.

Now I am reminded of another story within a story I once read, that of an eminent toxicologist who one day accidentally ingested a small amount of a slow-acting but incredibly toxic substance. He looked up the substance in his own classic toxicology book, and saw that he'd had a lethal dose. He looked it up in his chief rival's equally eminent book, and found that by his calculations the dose would almost certainly not kill him. So there he sat, hoping he'd been wrong.

I know this isn't very photo-oriented, but I needed to get it out a little bit. My optimistic hope is that we'll use this as the mother of all resets, and go on our way sadder but wiser. My not so optimistic fear is that a lot of "post-apocalyptic fiction" is about to start looking more like documentary work.

Oh, well. All one can do is all one can do. We went to the store today and stocked up, and I bought a load of firewood a few days ago. I keep a big can of gas in the garage - enough to get around on for a while if there is a disruption like they're having in the Southeast right now. Temporary dislocations cannot overly dismay us, and with any luck at all any dislocations will be temporary. I commend the same course of action to anyone who reads this. No harm being prepared - having what you don't need is usually preferable to the reverse.

In fact, it's somewhat reassuring, really it is. I feel much better now. Plus, we discovered a delightful little Polish butcher shop not far from our house. The meat is comparably priced to that at big-box grocery stores, but the quality and selection, not to mention the service, are far superior. We got a big brown grocery bag of all kinds of really delicious looking stuff, including stuffed chicken breasts and a Polish meatloaf, for sixty dollars. No way would you get out of Jewel or Dominick's with that much stuff for that price!

And by a funny chance both Ziploc and Reynolds just introduced do-it-yourself vacuum seal freezer bags. Ziploc's pump is a hand syringe and Reynolds' is a battery-powered pump. We got the Ziploc sort on the grounds that battery-powered doodads are inherently less reliable, plus the Ziploc pump comes completely apart for cleaning. But I'm sure either would work fine.

More after the jump - click here!