Archives For General

hiatus

March 5, 2017

dumpsterfire2It’s been a few weeks since I’ve bothered to write; the fire in the belly to write anything has pretty much gone out. That’s because the raging dumpster fire of a presidency is pretty much sucking the oxygen out of just about everything else around it.

I’ve a lot on my plate as it is for the next few months, and I have to prioritize how I spend my time. Spending it here writing is unfortunately not the best use of my limited time, so blog writing goes to the absolute bottom of the stack of tasks for me to do.

That doesn’t mean I’m not engaged with the world or I don’t care. Believe me, I am and I do. If, for whatever reason you feel the need to follow my pearls of wisdom, then you can look for me on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter (@wbeebe4). But if you don’t, well, I certainly understand.

If you’d like to follow someone a lot more interesting and who consistently publishes, you can follow the science fiction author John Scalzi on his blog, http://whatever.scalzi.com.

OrlandoHealthIn the middle of putting the house back together from the lightening strike, my poor wife had to make a trip to the hospital Tuesday afternoon due to atypical pneumonia. Which turned out to be, after a culture from some infected sputum she coughed up that first night at the hospital, a MRSA infection in her lungs. I brought her home three days later that Friday afternoon. She’s home now taking a very powerful antibiotic that works against MRSA.

She’s recovering, if slowly.

another day, another year

January 1, 2014

No photos with this post, just verbiage. A marker between the end of 2013 and 2014.
Update: But I did find a suitable Dilbert.

Dilbert

It’s somehow fitting that my first blog post for 2014 was about a trip to a Japanese camera store at the end of 2013. It was inadvertently posted to today because I’d stayed up to watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV, a tradition my wife and I have observed since we started dating over 30 years ago. I watched it drop, tuning out the talking heads as I always do. My wife and I shared a glass of wine and a kiss, and then I went back to finishing the post about my trip into Yodobashi Camera.

What about 2014? Well, what about 2014? I have my goals for any given year, both short-term and long-term. They’re grouped into themes, such as home repair or travel or personal improvement. Specific goals are more or less wishes. I’m not so pedantic and narrow, and thus I avoid the disappointments that come when inflexible and generally unreasonable goals aren’t met. Themes can span multiple years and allow specific, more-easily met milestones to be accomplished. Your milestones can slide to the right without any undo personal anxiety. You accomplish what you can when you can and get to the rest, time and circumstances permitting. A single goal is inflexible and you may discover that the goal isn’t something you really wanted when it’s finally reached. A theme with smaller milestones gives you flexibility to change any ultimate goals, or even to abandon an ultimate goal if you discover along the way it’s not what you thought it was when you first started out.

If this sounds like engineering management, you’re absolutely right. No plan, no goal, no matter how carefully contrived, ever survived contact with reality and the shifting priorities of life.

The Year(s) that Preceeded

2013 was one of my more turbulent years and underscores just how little you can anticipate. I was laid off in May, after having gone through a left knee replacement in November 2012 and the subsequent physical therapy. I’d spent 2012 in increasing pain because of my left knee injury I’d received the year before that in November 2011. So the #1 theme for all those years was just to get back to a reasonably good walking state. Along the span of those years I’d traveled north on a two-week road trip to Toronto in 2012, and this year I traveled south (twice) to Key West in much shorter weekly sessions. While the trip up north was generally planned, it happened when it did when the date presented itself, not because we’d inflexibly decided to go at that exact time. The same with the lighter trips down to the Keys.

Fortunately I was out of work about a month. The new job is satisfying and presents many opportunities for personal travel in 2014, both within the US as well as overseas.

This year marks the 30th year I moved to Orlando. I’ve lived here too long, perhaps, considering I moved from Atlanta, my birthplace, when I was 30. Familiarity may not breed contempt, but it does lead to a sense of boredom. That’s why travel is so important at times; there’s nothing like looking on new lands with eyes of innocence.

2014 marks the 60th year of my existence. The theme going forward is helping the country and the world I live in. That seems like such a daunting theme, so overwhelming. But that’s about the only way to really approach all the problems we face. I’ll look for opportunities to satisfy that theme, a theme that I intent to stretch forward until the day I die. I was born late in the Boomer wave, which gives me enough perspective to know that retiring with money into one of God’s waiting rooms (retirement communities) is no way to help nor repay the generations coming after you. Selfish retirement as practiced by the early Boomers is not for me. This old world has demanded, and will always demand, a giving and constructive engagement. That is, after all, how you got to be where you are, by the selfless giving of earlier generations. You don’t stop unless and until the mind and flesh fail.

Here’s to interesting times in the new year, and in many more years to come. May we all find satisfaction in some form.

arcane – Secret or mysterious, known or understood by only a few people.

The title of my new blog is a gentle poke at another site written by an Austin, Texas-based professional photographer that covers all aspects of photography, from the technical to the artistic to the necessary business side of the profession.

I am not that photographer and this is not that kind of blog.

While I certainly believe I know how to use my camera, that in no way makes me a photographer, professional or otherwise. I am what the camera vendors like to refer to as “an enthusiast”, which translates into an amateur with more money than sense, lustfully desirous of achieving the same levels of notoriety that professional photographers have supposedly achieved, through periodic application of  liberal amounts of cash to purchase unnecessary photographic equipment.

Never mind that all the well known photographers have considerable talent and have devoted their time and energy developing that talent.

The camera makers love us, as we enthusiasts provide a sizable bulk of their income.

To add insult to injury as it were, we enthusiasts buy our gear, then use it as a blunt instrument in many photographic fora in fruitless folly, attempting to prove by every means possible, arcane or otherwise, why our selection of gear makes our work (and by association, ourselves) superior to every other camera toting enthusiast on the planet.

The sad irony being that if we spent as much time practicing the art of photography as we did fruitlessly defending our superior position we might be as good as we’d like to think we are.

Having turned 60 this December, I have over a half century of photography experience stretching back to when I got my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic 104, when I was but a mere lad of seven. Since that time I’ve been a devoté of photography, using a number of film cameras (35mm and 120/220) over the ensuing decades (Minolta, Mamiya, Nikon, and Olympus), going so far as to have been a darkroom rat in both black and white and color darkrooms. In 2006, when it came time to pick a brand for digital photography, I chose Olympus, and purchased an E-300 two lens kit on sale at Newegg. Since that watershed moment I’ve pretty much stuck with Olympus, only straying twice, once to purchase a Sony NEX 5N when it was heavily discounted, and then to purchase a Panasonic GX1 when it, too, was heavily discounted. Therein lies a personal trend.

The photo above (a “selfie”) was taken with an Olympus E-PL2 μFT (Micro Four Thirds) camera and a Panasonic 25mm lens. That body was purchased, on sale, for a fraction of its original MSRP. That’s not to say I haven’t paid full price for a digital camera, I have. But I’ve watched, over time, as the price of my camera bodies have plummeted in short order. It’s tough to drop over a grand on a camera when it’s first released, only to watch it slowly drop to around $200 eighteen months later. Cameras help make good photographs no matter what, and continue to operate just fine no matter at what point in time you purchase them. I’ve taken the position of waiting for them to reach end-of-shelf-life and are sitting in the discount area of the various stores. I’ve learned to wait, and to spend my time waiting on using what I have.

As time goes along I’ll write about my photographic experiences, along with all my other life experiences. I’ll try to write clearly and professionally enough, knowing that I have a number of readers looking over my virtual shoulders. I developed something of a reputation in the past as a ranter (especially about Linux). That part of my on-line personality will be toned down. As they say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” a rather useless idiom, as the only thing that really attracts flies is dead meat. But I digress…

I write far afield from photography. My interests are broad, and I look on my cameras as tools, a means to an end, not an end unto themselves (although I will admit that there’s nothing more enjoyable than a well designed and well-built camera in your hands). There’s a reason why the blog’s tag line is “commentaries, computers, cameras, and more.” Not just the regular subjects you might read about on other sites, but the arcana of such subjects as well. Stick around, and you’ll discover what I mean by that.

Thanks for dropping by.

Shameless Promotion

My Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wbeebe/

and so it begins anew

December 23, 2013

hallway in saporo

After considerable procrastination I finally decided to move from my old haunt (blogbeebe on Blogger) to something a little more “upscale”, such as WordPress. I’ve been meaning to do this for a very long time, but a very large anchor of posts has kept me from moving over. As of today I’ve been on Blogger for nearly ten years, and I have over 1,500 posts on the old blog.

The biggest reason for moving on from Blogger is that Google, the owner of Blogger, is ignoring it. It has barely changed over the years, and what has changed has been rather minor and towards integration into Google+.

Unlike Google+, Blogger is showing increasing signs of benign neglect. And considering the history of Google’s propensity to buy and then abandon properties (the latest being RSS Reader) that don’t fit into Google’s walled garden, I figured I’d better get while the gittin’ was good.

And so I wound up on WordPress.

I did ask some folks on the web about their experience with WordPress (such as atmtx, an Austin, Texas-based urban photographer) and everywhere I asked, the responses were very positive. That backed up my experiences with reading their WordPress powered blogs.

Right now I’ve signed up for the simplest free WordPress blog until I get some experience with posting to a WordPress powered blog. When I get my “blog legs” under me, then I’ll think about adding (and paying) for more features. But for the time being, simple is good.

I also hope that the move to WordPress will spark something of a creative renaissance. My posting on the old Blogger site has fallen quite a bit over the past year. I doubt I’ll reach the frenetic pace of a post/day that I was following in 2011, but I do want to get back to a steady productive pace, and one that has a reasonably high quality level. I want to write because I want to, not because I feel obligated.

For all of my readers, both old and new, welcome. And thanks for stopping by.