Archives For May 2014

loud noises bother me

May 26, 2014

tucked in

Scary times for little cats. We’re headed into another summer thunderstorm season in central Florida. When the skies rumble loud and low enough to feel it in the house, the animals hunker down. Lucy was heads up looking around until the thunderclap arrived, and then she wiggled down into the cushions on my deep leather chair, wrapping her tail up under her chin.

It’s coming up on six years since she walked in through our front door. But I don’t think she’ll ever forget being turned out by her former owner to fend for herself. I don’t think it’s anthropomorphism on my part to express this for her.

tabloid politics

May 25, 2014

tabloid politicsThere are three absolutes in this world: death, taxes, and the complete and total lack of journalistic integrity with grocery store tabloids. Case in point is this hatchet job published [sic] by the Globe out of Boca Raton, Florida, which I just happened to see tonight at a local Publix grocery store checkout.

This is the same lie first puked out by Carl Rove in early May and reported by that bastion of northern journalistic integrity the N.Y. Post. This was Carl Rove and the Republican establishment attempting to keep alive the Benghazi lies and misinformation by any means possible. The key event is then Secretary of State Clinton’s admission to a hospital for three days for health reasons right in the middle of the initial Republican Benghazi witch hunt. The Republicans took this as a personal affront, and Karl Rove hit upon the brilliant, if twisted, lie of accusing Ms. Clinton of brain damage and a 30 day stay in the hospital.

This is the start of the 2016 presidential silly season (even if it is 2014). This is the Republican’s efforts by any means possible to discredit through lies, like they tried with Obama’s birth certificate and the resulting birther controversy. This is also Rove’s attempt to get back into the good graces of the right after his meltdown during the 2012 election reporting of Ohio presidential results, where he tried to keep Fox News of all people from calling Ohio for Obama. Who’s acting like they’re suffering from brain damage?

What makes this sickening for me personally: I have no desire to try and support either Obama or Clinton. But the behavior of Rove and Co. makes them the worst of the two sides. I won’t put up with lies from anyone, and in Rove’s particular case, his means never justify any of his ends.

Update 1

The Republican we all love to hate, Sarah Palin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwzKrIJI40g

17mm

May 25, 2014

olympus 1.8/17mm

I’ve been threatening to formally review the Olympus 17mm f/1.8 for a while now, but I’ve just not gotten around to it. It’s a superb optic with a subtlety that too many fail to appreciate. Our digital cameras and lenses have reached a point of sufficiency that is so far beyond 35mm film as to be almost unbelievable, and yet we still complain for more; more sharpness, more “micro contrast,” better bokeh, etc, etc, etc. The 1.8/17mm unfortunately falls into that category.

I love this lens not only because of its image quality, but also its physical quality: all-metal construction, subtly etched finishing, and compact size. It’s silent enough in operation as to be totally silent. It’s rattlesnake quick when focusing, even in low light on the E-M5. And f/1.8 is more than fast enough on an E-M5 or Panasonic GX1. I would have been quite satisfied with an f/2 maximum aperture on this lens if it would have resulted in even smaller size, but then, it would have been dinged by self-proclaimed experts for being too slow.

It’s a Goldilocks lens, just right.

When I have a better and wider selection worth posting, I’ll put up a proper review and a proper selection of photos to go with it on thewsreviews. Until then I’ll take my time savoring the use of this lens.

bell pepper tonal study
infant angel
red over the missouri

more theme tinkering

May 25, 2014

Firefox 29.0.1 on Samsung Series 7 Chronos and Windows 8.1

Not content to leave well enough alone, I went rummaging through the WordPress theme catalog, looking for something more appealing than my last minimal theme. The one characteristic of the minimal theme I found most annoying was the use of the dashed line as space demarcation. Depending on the device rendering the page, the effect was barely tolerable on a notebook to plain horrible on my Galaxy S4. And even though the theme will attempt to show you how it will look across multiple screen architectures, I’ve come to realize it’s an approximation at best. I’m now going to the trouble of setting the theme and then testing it across at least three devices; my notebook, a Nexus 7 running Android 4.4.2, and a Galaxy S4 running Android 4.4.2. It’s more convoluted and takes more time, but in the end it’s more accurate by far.

Nexus 7 2012, Opera, Android 4.4.2

Opera on Nexus 7 2012 and Android 4.4.2

I’ve traded one type of visual clutter for another in The Twenty Ten Theme. It’s all heavy black on white, with blue hyperlinks. I think I can live with this a bit longer, especially with the nice use of a readable serif font and something a bit larger than 10 point. On my three test devices the test is easier to read and the hyperlinks easier to hit with your fingers, especially on the Galaxy phone.

As you can see from these screen shots, there’s little difference outside of the overall screen size on each device. All three screens are high resolution, and all three render nearly identically, as apposed to the “formatted for primitive small screens” that a lot of web sites still want to use. I haven’t seen a need for primitive screen formatting for some number of years now, but then, I tend to purchase and use (for long periods) high resolution screens.

This represents my fourth layout. Hopefully this will be my last for some time. And if you’re curious, I drifted into using Opera on my mobile devices because I couldn’t stand Chrome and Firefox just had too many issues.

Opera on Galaxy S4 and Android 4.4.2

Opera on Galaxy S4 and Android 4.4.2

elvis in orlando

As I start my seventh decade of life, I’ve been in deep discussions with my Canadian Muse about what to do with myself. It’s hard to fight time to be little more than an American Salaryman, and the young money out West want you to take your decades of experience and quietly move off somewhere invisible to finish dying. After all, when you’re young and rich, you think you’re invincible and forever beautiful. Funny how that always (without exception) is proven wrong every single generation. We all grow old and die. Or die young. But we all die, in spite of Ray Kurzweil’s most fervent hopes.

Anyway. What my Canadian Muse suggested is to pick up a personal photographic project. He wrote back to me that he thought my work on documenting my Bridge was a good example of writing and photography (thank you) and a good example of a personal project. He even used my work to start one of his own projects, here. So I’ve decided, after several false starts, to begin a new project, this one dedicated to the growing excess of tourist kitsch unique to Orlando. I don’t have enough to start a whole new blog, but it will have a unique category, Tacky Florida. I’m certainly not the first to document this bizarre side of Orlando. But perhaps, I can be unique and entertaining enough to warrant a bit of your time.

Historical note: I used to visit Tacky Fabulous religiously until the blog author stopped updating. It wasn’t just the photography that got to me, but the writing as well. Here’s hoping I can live up to that high standard in my work.

This first entry is, poetically enough, starting Elvis. A so-bad-it’s-funny bust of Elvis. The classic historical example of what happens when young money refuses to recognize the passage of time and the the way of all flesh. I can even smell the peanut butter, bananas, and bacon. My wife was down in south Florida visiting friends and I was out roaming for a place for supper when I drove past what I thought was a new Chevy’s Mexican restaurant on International. I need new glasses, because it was actually a Chuy’s (and I’m not sure how to pronounce that). I got out to walk over and check out the menu when I got sidetracked by Elvis. I just stood there in amazement and the rays of the setting sun illuminated Elvis in all their golden glory. Lucky for me my car was near by, so I was able to quickly hobble back and grab my GX1 and 20mm. I like that camera, as it looks like your old person’s point-and-shoot (everybody uses a cell phone, right?), not realizing that it’s a far better large sensor µ4:3rds camera. I grabbed a few shots before the maître d’hôtel came out the entrance where I was photographing Elvis to give me a quizzical look over. I moved on after that and ate across the street at Uno’s, my usual inexpensive sourdough grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.

chuy's

The night before all this happened I had to return an ill-fitting leather jacket my wife had picked up for me at one of the outlet stores. We had to drive across my Bridge to get there. While at that outlet mall I came across this.

if only it were

This company has a fabulous future in defense, especially in training and simulation. The fine print around the crookedly placed decal is “full motion visualization simulator.” It’s full motion in that it moves around in all directions intentional or not, it’s certainly visual, and it’s certainly simulating what a real ride would be like if you were actually on a real ride. All they need to do is paint it Army green, call it a Ground Combat Vehicle simulator, hire themselves a soon-to-be-retiring public official so they won’t loose any multi-billion-dollar contracts, and Bob will be their uncle. I wish them well.

Camera

I’m out these days with the Panasonic GX1 and 20mm pancake lens. I also have the 14mm with me as well for those wide angle shots. This marks the first time I’ve started adding my copyright to my photos. It’s a sad commentary on life, as I certainly don’t think I’ll have the world beating a path to my door for any of my photography. It’s more protection to keep from getting ripped off.