Friday, June 10, 2005

She said, "Yes!"

Do you really need to know anything else?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Three from the Cafe

I like having my camera around when I'm with a group of friends, because I can shrink into a corner and get some nice shots while they're interacting with each other. Lighting's a challenge indoors, because if I really want to remain invisible, I can't use flash more than once. On the other hand, I enjoy seeing how long I can keep the shutter open and still get good results without a tripod.

These three were all taken in the same place (guess the location--if you've ever been there, it should be obvious), but on two different days. There was a large window nearby, which let in a good amount of light from a certain angle, as you can see in the blown-out regions in "Cyber Girl" and "Biker Boy". As you can see, I hadn't yet learned to expose for the highlights (not that I necessarily have since then). Still, I think these are all pretty worthwhile: "Cyber Girl" has a pattern that appeals to me, "Biker Boy" has a cool mood, and "China Girl" has a little of both.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Another Week, Another Bug (Sorta)

All the insects reminded me of this shot. It's Rob's old Kawasaki ZX-9R, which, unfortunately, was stolen. Even though it only contains about 3 million pixels, this photo made quite a nice 20x30 poster, which I gave to Rob a couple of years ago. He also uses it as a desktop background, as did I, for a while. Now he has a gorgeous ZX-6RR (also in Kawasaki Green), so I need to make him a new poster.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

This Week's Photos

Sticking with the insect theme, this week (and the last--I figure 8 photos can cover two weeks) I've posted butterflies. I think this takes care of my large batches. From here on out there'll only be one or two per week.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Photo a Week

Some members of the Leica User's Group have been doing "a photo a week" since 2000--shooting and sharing one good photo online each week. The original idea was to encourage everyone involved to get out and shoot more. So I thought I'd give it a try, but my rule is simply to post one good photo a week.

My goal is slightly different from that of the Leica folks. I've already got dozens of photos that I consider good enough to share. My real goal is to get them printed and hung, but first I need a good idea of what I have, and this seems like a managable pace. It feels like cheating to post shots more than a week old, but, at the same time, I don't want to let them rot on my hard drive.

For my first post I tried to ease my conscience about cheating by posting five photos. They're all shots of praying mantises, and it would really be cheating to post one each week. So I got it out of my system by posting them all at once. Incidentally, the one you see here is my least favorite of the group, so check out the others.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Speech, Beer and Music

I realized recently that I'm cheap. Apparently I enjoy paying, say, $15 for certain items that many people happily buy for $50 or more. It logically follows that I like paying nothing for things that others would pay something for. But I'm neither a thief nor a complete miser--I demand quality and ask permission. So I was very intrigued when Wil Wheaton posted his bit about Comfort Stand Recordings (don't visit yet--you'll see the link when you're supposed to). I mean, when the Acting Ensign talks, I try to follow along. (Apologies, Wil--I actually liked Wesley Crusher, and, in my world, I'm "just a geek", which means you get to be Acting Ensign. But fair is fair, so that other guy gets to be William Fucking Shatner.)

Anyway, before I get back to Comfort Stand, go visit Magnatune and start streaming some music while you read the rest of this. I highly recommend Vito Paternoster (because Bach on the cello is cool, but Vito's last name is cooler), Lara St. John (because she's a talented young violinist who has the nerve to make classical CDs look sexy), Brad Sucks (because he doesn't, really--is that why it's considered ironic?), and Fluid (because they use the word "mercurial" in a song and their Jesus-Jones-esque sound is considered "retro"--now that's ironic). Now, go, start streaming, and come back. I'll wait.

I hope you took a moment to read a little about Magnatune while you were there, especially the "not evil" part. They're so not evil they're almost illegal, or they would be if it weren't for the majestic and superior Creative Commons license. Magnatune boldly lets you stream music for free, download it for free (if your use for it is non-commercial), or choose to pay for it. They even let you choose the price. I don't know about you, but their attitude and the quality of the recordings and artists makes me really want to pay for music that I can legally listen to for free. And that's way better than illegally listening to music for free that I should have paid for. Oh, and by the way, Magnatune's not evil to artists either--artists get 50% of each sale. That makes me want to pay more than minimum price.

OK, now that you've got something to listen to, let's talk about Comfort Stand Recordings (yes, you can go look now). They offer completely free downloads under a Creative Commons license without even hinting at payment. They also offer (free) quality artwork to download and print your own CD covers and labels. And most of it's weird. Take for example Meet You at the 7-Eleven, a selection of conversations with a guy named Dale at a 7-Eleven in Milwaukee. Better in many ways is Party Fun with Recorders, which is effectively an audio version of Found Magazine. But there's also some interesting and cool music to choose from. I say skip the Acting Ensign's recommendation of Swingin' Singles. Start at the beginning, with Two Zombies Later, especially if you have a fruity rum drink and a hawaiian idol on hand. After you've downloaded & burnt that, put it on while you fetch (in any order) Otis Fodder's Music to Drive Cross Country by, Chenard Walcker's The Lotus Opus, and Edith Frost's Demos. And, OK, go get Swingin' Singles too--it's a nice sample of Comfort Stand's artists (and it's got a nifty remix of "Rock'n Roll Boy", originally heard on Party Fun with Recorders).

So that should keep you in tunes and/or a daze for a little while. In return, I ask one small favor: do as I do and, every now and then, when you're listening to music from Comfort Stand or Magnatune, yell, "Fuck you, RIAA!" and cackle maniacally. Better yet, throw a free music party, invite me over, and we'll do it together.

Monday, December 20, 2004


One of the dumbest innovations of the web is "free registration", whch seems to be popular among news sites for some reason. Whether or not you believe that "information wants to be free", there is no rational basis for requiring users to register for unpaid access because the process is so easily circumvented (I keep a couple of fake email accounts expressly for this purpose). In the end, the content provider wastes time and money on development and maintenance of the web site and its software while simultaneously annoying (or possibly losing) its users. I can't count the number of times I've simply not read something because it was hidden behind a login form. That stopped when I finally remembered the three magic words. Bug. Me. Not.

For a quick demonstration, hop on over to BugMeNot and enter the URL of a site that bugs you with free registration. Then install the Firefox extension. (You are using Firefox, aren't you?) The next time you restart your browser, you will be officially free of free registration.

To use the extension, go to a site that requires a free account and right-click on the "user name" or "login" field. The menu that pops up should now have a "BugMeNot" entry. A few seconds after you click on that entry, the login and password fields will be filled in with suitably false information, and you can go right in. Tell Firefox to remember the login and password, and you'll never see that form again.

OK, so I bent the truth earlier. There is one legitimate use for unpaid registration: sharing a useless password with others. If BugMeNot doesn't have credentials for the site, take some time to get a free account, which you can then submit to BugMeNot. Changing the world is that easy.