April 30, 2005

Thanks for nothing!

There's one thing I noticed in releasing some software that's rather bothersome: some publishers don't see fit to let you know they've reviewed your product. I only knew my software had been reviewed twice because users wrote to let me know they heard about it from a publication's review of it.

In one case, the magazine in question was in Australia, so I'd certainly never have been aware if it had someone not mentioned it to me (and still, I have no idea what exactly the review said).

Certainly reviews of products can serve the readers, but at the same time it would be wonderful if the product's vendor is made aware that such a review even exists. If the review was inaccurate, I completely missed the opportunity to offer corrections. If the review was spot-on, I don't know what shortcomings and areas for improvement the writer discussed. I can sit here and critique Ford or Apple or Bank One all day, but it's not doing them or me any good for a resolution if I don't let them know what my problem is.

Posted by Colin at 4:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 21, 2005

Belly Laugh

Oh man.

I hadn't laughed out loud in a couple weeks now. Thanks to the evening news -- and one man in particular -- I broke that unsatisfying streak this evening.

So thank you, Fife Symington, for making me laugh out loud in front of the TV.

If you haven't already heard, the illustrious Former Governor Symington of Arizona intends to vie for the Republican bid for governor in the next state election.

Mind you, this is the same Fife Symington that was overwhelmingly impeached by Arizona voters and widely known for his, uh, less-than-spectacular business dealings.

That said, given the choice between Mr. Blowhard Pompous Ass himself -- J.D. Hayworth -- and Symington, the decision wouldn't be hard. Impeachy McBankrupt all the way!

If nothing else, Fife's got moxie. I'm not sure how many other politicians would be so insane as to run for the very office they were removed from via impeachment.

Posted by Colin at 10:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Screen Printing Ahoy!

I've been meaning to pick up screen printing for some time now. It's always fascinated me, but I could never quite convince myself to part with the (rather hefty) cash to get started, not knowing for certain how difficult or easy it is.

I had the opportunity to do some screen printing today, and that was the end of that. I tore apart the Sunday paper, found the Michaels ad, and drove off with my 40% coupon in tow. "You saved twenty-two dollars," the cashier cheerfully told me as I checked out. Cheat Commandos Os, rock rock on!

Bastard children of photography and screen printing are sure to follow, as are a limitless supply of one-off t-shirts.

Posted by Colin at 11:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 19, 2005

Tastes like... sugar?

Not only are the Splenda commercials downright creepy, but they're also full of poo. Having tried several things made with Splenda, I can say without reservation that Splenda does not taste like sugar. While it does taste better than Nutrasweet, it still tastes like crap, and not like sugar.

Nothing is more disappointing than walking past a free sample lady at the grocery store and finding she's hawking something made with Splenda. Ick. Free food should taste good!

Posted by Colin at 12:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 12, 2005

Bleed Like Me

Garbage's latest album, Bleed Like Me, was released in the US today.

Haven't had time to snag a copy (I'll be buying a CD instead of downloading it from the iTunes Music Store), but the previews on the iTMS sound great. It's about time they put out some new stuff.

This one is classic Garbage, more like Garbage (the self-titled debut album) and Push It than the more dance-and pop-inspired Beautiful Garbage of 2001.

Yum.

Posted by Colin at 10:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Roots

With my move to digital, images no longer come straight out of the camera in black-and-white. This is a good thing (since you have much more control over how a black-and-white image will look), but at the same time it signaled a shift in my tastes. Newfound ability to take my own color images discovered, I began rarely taking the time to consider a photograph in shades of grey. Color was new and intriguing to me, as I'd not been in a position to consider it artistically.

But lately I've had a hankering for my photographic roots. While I'm not about to start shooting Ilford FP4+ again (my darkroom access is limited at the moment, for one), I have started playing with black and white images.

If I needed any reminder of how beautiful monochromes can be, your waitress photos took care of it.

Posted by Colin at 1:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 10, 2005

Baaa!

I'm fascinated by the oddity of this: every weekend now, a truck full of sheep drives through my neighborhood. I have no idea why, and it just started out of the blue a few months ago. Initially I figured maybe someone had a petting zoo for a birthday party or something, but since the end of February the sheep truck has rolled on through every weekend -- and nobody has birthdays that often.

It's bizarre to be in a city and hear a sheep bleating. I thought I was going nuts the first time, until I looked out the window and just caught the pickup driving by with a black sheep in the back.

Sheep look vaguely evil, as well, like some sort of fluffy outer space creature. Maybe they're colonizing the suburbs.

Posted by Colin at 5:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 9, 2005

Think of the children!

We certainly shouldn't let smut exist under the pretense of art.

I certainly didn't see anything filthy about this image (work safe, honest), but if I did, I'd certainly want to keep it out of schools. ;)

Georgia O'Keeffe, eat your heart out.

Posted by Colin at 4:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 8, 2005

Now on sale!

I love Amazon, and they often have great deals. Then I was looking for shoes (I'm a problematic shoe shopper, so the easier the better) and ran across the classic Chucks:

chucks.jpg

List price $39.99? No way, pay only our amazing reduced Amazon price of... $39.99! Nothing's more enticing than zero dollars in savings.

On the subject of Chuck Taylors, I was at Famous Footwear today and briefly looked at them, as I haven't owned any since probably the third grade (my first pair having been an awesome paint-spatter pair, complete with glow-in-the-dark paint, in kindergarten; the second and last having been the classic black hi-tops). They started at a men's four (obviously to cater to women, since nothing else in the men's section is below a 6), but didn't stock anything above a 9. As someone wearing a men's fifteen, that was just a tiny bit smaller than what I'd need.

Back on the topic of shoe prices, I'm convinced "sales" on shoes are all a sham. Every time I go to Famous Footwear or anywhere else that isn't An Expensive One-Brand Shoe Store, everything is mysteriously "on sale" for $50 or less despite price tags in the $60 - $90 range. Hmm. Coincidence? I think not.

Posted by Colin at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The stuff writes itself

The debates between evolution and creation (and now "Intelligent Design") have always fascinated me, but I never knew even the creationists didn't believe themselves. Then I read Clack's blog, where he linked to [an AFP article about Pennsylvania](http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/afp/20050327/lf_afp/uspoliticsreligion_050327225409) containing this gem: >"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture," he said, adding that the school board's declaration is just a first step. Wow. Do scientists really need to argue against blind devotion to creationism when the creationists are doing it themselves? (Via [Clack](http://clack.jethrotech.com/archives/2005/03/29/index.html#a000817))
Posted by Colin at 9:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ANTHONY GOICOLEA: Photographs, Videos and Drawings

If you enjoy art, you're in the Valley -- particularly EV -- and you haven't been to the ASU art museum recently, consider heading on down there before June 4th. The exhibition currently on the third floor is ANTHONY GOICOLEA: Photographs, Videos and Drawings. In a nutshell, he's a photographer who has assembled basically his entire oeuvre around self-portraiture. He appears in his pictures, generally multiple times, and the effect is more than just a little creepy.

I had to fight back inappropriate laughter while viewing the exhibit today, as one of the images screamed "mass cult suicide!" to me. Which brings up another point about his work -- much of it is purposefully ambiguous. Male or female? Restraint or abuse? Fleeing from or running toward? Your own twisted psyche as the viewer plays some part in what you get out of it (beyond "holy shit, this is kind of creepy," anyway).

It wasn't until I was in a gallery of Goicolea's work that I found it disturbing. Some of his works were touched upon in a photo history class I took ("Blizzard" being perhaps one of his better-known pieces), and two or three of them in a book aren't all that disarming. In person, though, his stuff is much more massive than most photographs. Some are easily 6 feet tall. Even the smaller works on exhibit are on the order of 30 inches square.

Another neato, and less unnerving, exhibition currently running (now through August) is Rampa: Signaling New Latin American Art Initiatives. A lot of cool stuff. I was particularly fond of the gold-leafed film positives. Neat effect.

Admission to the ASU Art Museum is free. If you get lucky, parking is also free (reserved spaces; sign in at the front desk to avoid being towed or cited). Otherwise park off campus (campus meters are capped at an hour, not to mention you'll be waiting for a space forever) and walk. Open Tuesday through Saturday; closed Sunday, Monday, and major holidays.

Posted by Colin at 3:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 6, 2005

The English Language as She is Written

If there's one thing the internet is good for other than porn, it's illustrating how few people still know proper English. To that end, here is a handy cheat sheet.

Its is the possessive of it -- For example, "Its hair was a mile long."
It's is the contraction "it is" -- For example, "It's raining men, hallelujah."

Woman is the singular of women. For example, "I like women, but I only have a woman in my freezer."

To make most words plural, add an s, and only an s. An apostrophe is never used to make a word plural.
To make most word possessive, add an apostrophe and an s.
Examples:
"That woman's dog humped my leg" means "The dog of that woman humped my leg."
"That womans bike time humped my leg" means "I do not know how to make woman plural."

The -iest suffix is used to indicate that something ending in y is the most (where -est would be used otherwise). For example, horniest, ugliest, skankiest. People with these attributes would be the most horny, the most ugly, and the most skanky.

The -est (or -iest) suffix is not used to indicate membership. To indicate membership in most cases, simply add the "-ist" suffix.

Right: Hobbyist [one who does something as a hobby], lobbyist [one who bribes crooked politicians], cereal rapist [one who molests breakfast foods]
Wrong: Hobbiest [the most hobby], lobbiest [the most lobby]

"I seen" is not English, but Hick. The word you're looking for is "saw", or perhaps the helper verb "have" -- for example, "I saw Billy doin' up Joleen" or "I have seen Billy stickin' a hog."

"U" and "R" are not words. They are letters. Should you wish them to express some idea, place "R" between "A" and "E" to get "are," or "U" after "Y" and "O" to get "you."

Wrong: u r hott!!11111one a/s/l?
Right: You are hott!!11111one a/s/l?

Hopefully this document has been enlightening as to the basic skills of the english language as she is written. Should you require additional assistance, please visit your fourth-grade teacher for more information.

Posted by Colin at 10:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 1, 2005

Wells Fargo: Year-Round Fools

I positively love the way Wells Fargo pretends you only have one account with them. There's no way to link accounts so they draw from each other, resulting in lovely things like what I had to deal with just now.

If you have a savings account and don't keep WF's minimum balance (which I don't, because I've moved my money to a bank that actually -- gasp! -- pays interest), they charge you $3 for that month. Of course, they don't tell you when this is going to happen, unlike most companies that see fit to bill you.

I logged into their online banking site this afternoon and voila, I'm 2 dollars and change in the hole on my unused savings account. Meanwhile, my checking account had plenty of money to cover the service fee.

I had the reverse happen once a couple years ago when eBay messed up and charged me by electronic funds transfer instead of card. eBay billed my empty checking account, Wells Fargo charged me an overdraft fee and was kind enough to cover it for me (their words) since it was a fifty cent overdraft. Nevermind savings would have covered it many times over at that point.

Wells Fargo used to offer a service where your checking account could always be kept at a certain balance (which is stupid but would have solved my eBay problem), but the last time I even asked about that, they don't offer it anymore.

Which leads me to the obvious question: When did banks forget they're supposed to serve the customer, and when did we start letting them forget it? Banks are built on our money. When my money isn't stuffed under my mattress, the bank gets to go out and invest or sell loans with it, making massive returns on the money I let them borrow. And then they go and smack me with a $35 overdraft fee for fifty cents while simultaneously paying only 1% of 1% interest on my savings account? Yeehaw, cowboy!

My mother wasn't terribly pleased when the teller asked if she wanted to add overdraft protection to her account for free as an established customer, she said yes, and a Wells Fargo credit card mysteriously showed up the next week, either.

Or when a teller told my kid brother he wasn't allowed to cash checks.

Or when a month was spent getting the runaround when WF screwed up.

If there was a bank that wasn't run by total assholes, I'd probably have closed my accounts and opened them elsewhere by now. (That said, if anyone's found a better bank here in Arizona, feel free to tell me.) There's no reason I -- or anyone else -- should have to put up with the money-grubbing tactics of the modern banking industry.

Posted by Colin at 5:30 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hell Frozen Over!

I've recommitted myself to actually updating my photoblog once in a while, and there's even a new image up today. Astounding!

Posted by Colin at 4:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack