November 30, 2005

Government Logic

The TSA wants screeners to spend more time "searching for explosives, because they are more likely to be used in suicide bomber attacks," thus we can have sharp pointy objects again.

Hmm. Bombs are more likely to be used in a suicide bomb attack than knitting needles or cuticle scissors? Who woulda thunk?

The TSA has been constantly criticized for repeatedly failing internal audits. I'm thinking these failures stem more from the organization than the screeners working under it.

The Transportation Security Administration: Protecting you from Bombs by Banning Toenail Clippers! Porkbarrel at its finest.

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November 26, 2005

South Mountain

Driving at South Mountain was much more terrifying when I was in driver's ed than it was today. Something about years of experience and doing it in my own car, I suppose.

That, and the fact there was nobody sitting in the passenger seat pointing out all the places people had wrecked off the side of the road into the valley below.

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November 21, 2005

Holgarific

My Holga 120N crappy plastic camera arrived today via FedEx. Thank you muchly, my own $33 and Freestyle Photo. Now I just need to shoot some stuff, figure out how in the heck you get Paterson reels apart, and process the film. Hopefully my Holga has some interesting quirks... it would be a shame to actually get reasonable images out of it.
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November 20, 2005

The Trouble with Translation

A new Home Depot just opened at Baseline and the 10, on the lot where the Kmart used to be. Due to the high concentration of residents who speak only Spanish—it is, after all, not even a mile from Guadalupe—Home Depot chose to print their grand opening banner in two languages. "GRAND OPENING," it proclaims in English in large orange letters. Just below that, in slightly smaller orange letters, it proclaims "GRAN APERTURA." The problem with this, of course, is that it doesn't mean grand opening. At least not in the sense Home Depot was hoping it did. In the Paris Hilton or Slut Puppies 7 sense? Yes. In the sense that the Grand Canyon is a gigantic opening in the ground? Yes. In the sense that a building has just opened its door for the first time? Not even close. For anyone who's been living under a rock for years and didn't catch the pop culture references, what it reads as in Spanish is roughly "BIG HOLE!" Not generally what one wants to portray their shiny new store as. Obviously they have (or plan to have) Spanish-speaking employees in this location, so why in the hell didn't someone think to show the banner text to them before getting it printed? This is such a chronic problem in Phoenix it's hardly believable. "We have Spanish-speaking employees, but let's print something completely unintelligible and embarrassing in mistranslated Spanish!" On the other hand, businesses love to use pretty Spanish words to sell to English audiences that would never fly if they knew the translation. Take, for instance, the absolutely gorgeous Madera, a name Knoell Homes applied to one of its elevations in the 80s. Nice name to English speakers. It's soft, it rolls off the tongue, it is at once beautiful and mysterious. Little did any of the English-speaking buyers know just how accurate the name was: It's Spanish for "lumber." Quite the twisted apropos quality to it if you ever had the opportunity to deal with Knoell Homes...
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November 17, 2005

Photo magazine: You game?

With the death of 28mm last year, I haven't found a new online photography "magazine" to scratch the same itch. It's gotten to the point I'm ready to throw caution to the wind and produce such a monstrosity myself if there are enough other people interested to provide material for the first issue. So... if you're game to shoot and submit some stuff, get in touch with me via comment here or e-mail (middle grey at g m a i l dot c o m). (Remove all the spaces, convert the usual words to characters, you know the drill.) I find the best way to produce good work is to be expected to. So if you need an excuse to go out and photograph, get on board with my crazy idea. ;) And remember Dorothea Lange: >One should really use the camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind.
Posted by Colin at 9:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 14, 2005

Still Scrawny

Back in August, I mentioned I was planning on remedying my lacking arm development. I even intelligently mentioned that I didn't know how long my dedication would last.

I'm gonna pump -- clap! -- me up.

Did I get anywhere in my quest for Tony Little-esque arms?

No. Of course not. Not that I would honestly ever want to look like Tony Little. He's one scary dude... But anyway, I announce to myself (and, via this blog, the world) that I'm going trying again after the miserable failure of the last attempt. I think I made it all of three days before my commitment fell by the wayside.

This time I'm prepared: I have an Excel spreadsheet in which to enter my daily exercises. That way when I fail miserably and enter "0" across the board, I can make myself a lovely graph that I can point and laugh at. And then continue entering zeroes across the board.

I think I'll take up biking again now that the weather's nice too. A couple miles a day would be a nice stress reliever, and a good way to get my legs back to über-sexay tone.

And no, I won't be wearing Bike shorts, Lycra, or Spandex.

Posted by Colin at 9:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 6, 2005

I've Got a Life

If you haven't heard the new single from the Eurythmics, go check it out. It's entitled I've Got a Life, and it's available now from the iTunes Music Store (and presumably elsewhere, but I haven't checked). It is epic and feels very much like the Eurythmics of the past, which is kind of comforting with the world whipped up in a frenzy of disaster lately. As a complete aside, I've noticed that lately I've been listening much more than usual to the music I grew up around. I can only assume it's a sort of unconscious attempt to bring some semblance of sanity to far-too-busy weeks and the Certain Doom of sentient hurricanes, the bird flu epidemic poised to kill every third person tomorrow, terrorists hiding behind every trash can, and the coming apocalypse. Man, I still love the voice of Annie Lennox.
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November 5, 2005

Disowned

A while back, I mentioned to a few people that a stray had had a litter in my back yard.

Among the kittens she gave birth to was an apparently-stillborn one, never released from its sac, quite dead, stuck to the concrete, and crawling with ants by the time I found it. I had commented to these people that as soon as I scraped it off the patio, I wished I had photographed it first.

One person apparently took this as some sort of morbid humor, was incredibly offended, and stopped talking to me.

But I honestly wished—and still do—that I had taken a photograph of that kitten before I disposed of its body. It would have been a beautiful image: the contrast of the slick, shiny sac against the dull concrete; the contrast of the organic forms against the regimented linearity of the patio; the ants doing their thing, that "circle of life" thing circling.

I don't feel like a bad person for considering the beauty of something dead stuck to my concrete. There's beauty all around us, in nearly everything, and if you can't see it... then that's your loss, not mine.

And I know I'm not alone in this. Countless photographers have entire portfolios built around death. Back at my high school, the art teachers collectively had a "Wall of Death" on the art office wall. If they found something interesting that was dead, they stuck it in a Ziplock bag (o bastion of sanitation!) and hung it on the wall. Flipping through an issue of Aperture, I found a whole spread that was photos of partially decomposed corpses. They were at once disturbing and fascinating and dignified. Apparently the correct response should have been to fling the magazine across the room and write an indignant letter.

I miss his company sometimes, but you've got to pick your battles and apparently this was an important one to him. I suppose it's a good thing I didn't know him when my grandfather died, as we all spent more time laughing prior to his funeral than we did crying. We were all too caught up in remembering Grandpa the way he would have wanted to been remembered to tear through boxes of Kleenex out of immense fits of crying. I'm sure that would have offended the hell out of him too.

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November 4, 2005

Fences

Inspired by Robert Frost's poem, Fences. Canon Rebel T2, kit 28-90mm EF lens, Ilford FP4+ 35mm.

Cross-posted to my photoblog. Click thumbnail to enlarge.

GFMGN-T.jpg

Posted by Colin at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 3, 2005

SGI kicks the bucket

Bye bye, SGI. It was nice knowing you, back when you were a fascinating and innovative force in the computing world. Now you're just overpriced, underperforming, and about to be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

As a shareholder, this is rather disappointing, particularly as the present value of my shares is less than the commission I pay to execute trade orders.

I can remember when SGI (as Silicon Graphics, with a much cooler logo) was on the forefront of computing technology. If you watched a Hollywood movie, inevitably SGI was in the credits somewhere because that was what you used if you wanted to do special effects. Terminator 2? Jurassic Park? Lurking in my closet is an SGI Indigo, the model that was used to do the special effects in both of those films.

Sun Microsystems was in a similar predicament to SGI a couple years ago, being completely out of tune with the rest of the market. They turned things around and are doing some awesome stuff now (like their new x64 servers that gutpunch their competitors in price, performance, service, power usage, thermal output...). SGI, meanwhile, sits around and stagnates. And gets delisted from the NYSE.

But that's what happens when your entry level product sports a poorly-accepted, poorly-performing processor, and the cheapest model you offer is $7,000.

How the hell SGI got Wells Fargo to give them a $100 million line of credit recently, I don't know. If someone walked into my office and gave me a pitch like that ("We'd like $100 million dollars so we can sell overpriced, underperforming servers to a market that basically doesn't exist!") I'd have to excuse myself to go laugh my ass off. And then cry because the moron pitching to me was representing what used to be a visionary, powerful company.

Vaya con Dios, kiddos. It's been nice knowin' ya, but I doubt you'll pull through this one.

Posted by Colin at 9:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 2, 2005

What? Actual photographs?

Got a bunch of negatives I need to scan first, but I think I'm actually going to post something to my photoblog within the next few days.

In other news, hell expected to freeze over. ;)

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