Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Don't you wish life came with subtitles?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nice that you can go on in, have a meal, and browse the latest paper, isn't it? If you're brave enough, that is.

Monday, October 29, 2007

This is the world's emptiest mall. Huge retail spaces, empty. A food court, empty. The only things active in the whole place are a Mac's Milk (teeny convenience store), the world's smallest McDonald's, and the movie theatre. Otherwise, cavernous retail spaces, empty. Why? Well, as the saying goes, "Location, location, location". If you want to get into this mall, you pretty much have to drive by, step over, or otherwise ignore the junkies and hookers in whose neighbourhood the thing sits smack (pardon the expression) in the middle of. Evidently, most folks aren't up to that.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ah, a warm, sunny day in Vancouver. Yep, about 3 months ago. It's fall in Vancouver now, and that means days like this are darn rare. On the other hand, if you've got an umbrella fetish, you're in Fat City just now.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Good fiction often comes down to how well it tricks you into suspending your disbelief. Later, maybe, you go, "But...wait a second...that'd never....", but not during the story. "Gone, Baby, Gone" does it nicely. Yep, sitting here a couple of hours later, questions come up, but during the movie? I was willing to buy the story (o.k., with a couple of "buts", but...). Definitely worth seeing. Ben Affleck should probably forget his career in front of the camera, and go with directing. Casey Affleck can keep right on acting. Michelle Monaghan, who plays Casey's close personal associate, doesn't fare very well, but that's mostly the part's fault, not hers. On the other hand, Amy Ryan is great. Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman, well, what do you think?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bet you wish you lived in this deeeeluxe apartment building, huh?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Yep, a cheesy "fall" photograph. Sue me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yep. Back in the alley again. Which is sort of appropriate given that Dumbya's back in "threatening mode" again. Now it's Cuba. Will this dimwitted clown never shut up and go away? Can we not hope for a fatal snack? Just one wrong Dorito? (Gees - imagine the P.R. quandary that'd put Frito-Lay into. Proud that one of their snack foods killed one of the world's biggest mass murderers, or embarrassed to have killed the king of the world's former most-powerful nation? Tough call.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Somebody shoot me! I just of.......them! Yes. A.....a......a cell phone. Oh, the horror! Sure, it's only "Pay as you play", but still......a cell phone! The ultimate in 21st century evil! (O.K., next to Dick Cheney)

My excuse? I decided I wanted my own personal phone booth. Just in case.

Oh, it's hideous. And now it's sitting here, blinking at me. A little red light saying, "I'm on, I'm on...Go ahead - phone somebody. Come on. You know you want to." Oh, the horror.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wandering home from the Vancouver Writer's Festival in the middle of the night. How much busier can an empty store get? Anyone who actually stopped to read all the advertising outside this joint would never actually get inside.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Long ago, on a planet far away (in time, at least), I worked in a camera store. Working in a camera store gives you ample opportunity to try out virtually every camera and lens and accessory made. You get to know what's good and what isn't. In those days, off-brand stuff - Vivitar, Tokina, Sigma, Tamron - was definitely in the latter category. The lenses were poorly made and optical nightmares, particularly the zooms (as if anybody in their right might would even consider using a zoom in those days!). Just the mention of one of these manufacturers tended to send shivers down my spine. Well, imagine my trepidation, then, when I recently found myself considering buying a lens from one of them. I read reviews. I read "personal experience" stories. The lens I was considering, the Tokina 12-24 f4, kept getting comments like, "Fantastic!", "Well made!", and "Sharp!". "No way," thought I. But, I really like ultra-wide angle lenses. When I had my FM, my favourite lens was the 24/2.8. Well, you can't get that kind of width here in the digital age for less than a thousand dollars from Nikon. In fact, a lot more than a thousand. And I haven't got that kind of dough, sooooo......... I bought the Tokina. I'm really liking this lens! It's got less distortion than my Nikkor 18-200 (which cost me almost twice what this one did). In fact, I'm amazed. Need a nice wide angle? Go buy this lens. Really. You'll like it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Went to a presentation of the Vancouver Writer's Festival last night. Had a grand old time - mainly thanks to the company I was with. But, on an odd note, I got told by one of the writers, a poet named Benjamin Zephaniah, that I look like Andy Warhol. Um - I don't. Well, other than having white hair, that is. We got to talking - briefly, as I was actually busy being sort of rude, photographing him with a friend who happens to be a big fan of his work - and his next remark was that Andy had fake hair. Thanks, Ben. My hair looks fake. Oh, that's just great! O.K. - laughed. Mr. Zephaniah was a very nice guy. It would have been interesting to wander across to the bar nearby and talk, but, the obligations of fame called. To him, not me. Just in case you were wondering.

On the other hand, I'm a huge fan of Warhol, so being told I look like him (no credit to me - wait long enough and your hair'll be white, too) was sort of oddly flattering. Now, if only I had one one thousandth of Andy's talent.

I have the sneaking suspicion I may have posted this shot before, but I can't remember. With any luck, neither can you. Besides, I like it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good to see that Dumbya's pick for "America's Lawyer in Chief" is unafraid to admit that Dumbya is, in fact, above the law. I especially like these bits:

"He suggested that both the administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, including waterboarding, might be acceptable under the Constitution even if they went beyond what the law technically allowed. Mr. Mukasey said the president’s authority as commander in chief might allow him to supersede laws written by Congress. "

"In the case of the eavesdropping program, Mr. Mukasey suggested that the president might have acted appropriately under his constitutional powers in ordering the surveillance without court approval even if federal law would appear to require a warrant. "

Yep, so, even if it's against the law, it isn't as long as Dumbya's the one committing the crime.

But, you know?, Dumbya's going to finish out his term. He's going to go into retirement with no price to pay, where to begin? Impeach? Ha! Fat chance. Arrest him once he's out of office? Riiiiigghhhht.

Well, at least O.J.'s number seems finally to be up.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A bulletin from the "How Can Such a Smart Guy Be So Dumb?" department. The answer, of course, is, "Easy". Unfortunately.

Meanwhile, on the "How Can So Many People Be So Stupid?" front. Our mighty Canadian government has a huge budget surplus, so, what do they plan to do? Boost education spending? Nope. How about health care, which is in big trouble? Nope. They plan to do what responsible governments everywhere do - bribe the populace with promises of tax cuts! Yep, nothing appeals to the average moron more than being told that he/she will soon be the recipient, through the government's brilliant planning and largesse, of an extra $500.00 (tops) next year. Whoopee! Paaaarty! That their kids' education will likely mean a lifetime's debt for said kid is irrelevant. That their own medical expenses will very likely prove pretty close to crippling in not too many years is also irrelevant. Tax cut! Tax cut! Tax cut!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

O.K., I'm getting very confused. First the U.S. decides to maybe take a valid moral stand and suggest that the Turks maybe shouldn't'a oughta murdered all those Armenian folks so long ago - presumably with the intent that the Turks might actually apologise for their historic error, and maybe even stop killing Turkish citizens who express similar ideas. The Turks had made it pretty plain that they'd be peeved about this, but the States might go ahead and do it anyhow. Yay! And now Dumbya meets with the Dalai Lama?!? Despite the rather strongly expressed objections of America's owners, the People's Republic of China? To use a text-messaging acronym, WTF?!? Do you think maybe he thought he was meeting a furry quadruped?

But, wait! This just in! The spines in Washington are beginning to soften! Whew! Just when I was beginning to think politicians might actually be capable of moral fortitude. And, as usual, note the Party working behind the scenes to take the stiffening out of those spines. Republicans - the party of morality. Not for morality, mind you.

And, the Darwin Awards come to modern communications. Is there a text-messaging short form for "S-T-U-P-I-D"?

Monday, October 15, 2007

I think this guy was suffering from buyer's remorse. He had bags full of "President's Choice" (i.e. "generic") groceries on the seat beside him. Always buy name brand. Gees.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The walls, whether they have ears or not, do have machines.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

My kind of cell phone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

In filing this picture, I decided to name it "October Transitions" - for no particularly good reason other than the obvious. But, as it turns out, tomorrow (as I write this, that is - otherwise, Saturday) marks a day of transition for a certain up-and-coming surgeon/friend-of-the-famous pal of mine. So, as we say in Canada, "Happy Birthday, Eh?"!

(And, of course, I trust you noticed the "doggy" connection.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Will somebody please toddle on down to Washington and toss some cold water in these guys' faces? "Come on, fellas! Snap out of it! You don't actually rule the world."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some of my friends think I'm a tad cynical, and they're probably right. But, honestly, it's just a survival strategy. How else to deal with one bunch of mass murderers (albeit almost a hundred years ago, but...) threatening to be mean to the world's current number one mass murderer for acknowledging the former mass murderer's nastiness? In 1915, Turkey slaughters roughly a million-and-a-half Armenians, and still refuses to acknowledge the fact (and we won't even begin to consider the number of dissident writers murdered over the intervening years). In 2007, America murders a few hundred thousand Iraqis (and is currently on track to hit that magic 1.5 million mark), but still refuses to acknowledge it (or, at least, to arrest the folks responsible, or even their henchmen at Blackwater) - how much more humour can one person stand?

And then, too, there's the NRA's contribution to American culture. Remember, guns don't kill people - people kill people. O.K., sure, guns make it a darn sight easier, but...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Here we go again. I can't get over how every time some fool, whose world hasn't turned out quite the way they'd hoped, guns down a bunch of innocent people, the American media goes into "How could this happen?" mode. Um, how about the fact that any of these disappointed pinheads can simply walk into their local 7-11, purchase enough heavy weaponry to take out a battalion and then go and express their disappointment to friends, family, co-workers - whomever they want to blame for their sorry-ass lives - in the deadliest way possible?

And do not try telling me, "Oh, but he was a sheriff's deputy, he had access to weapons from work." Yeah, this guy might have. And he's one out of how many who didn't have the same access but managed to cope nonetheless?

Monday, October 08, 2007

I just bought Bruce Springsteen's new album, "Magic". You should too. Yep, it's only rock and roll, but it's "thinking" rock and roll. Listen to "Radio Nowhere". Not to mention "Girls in Their Summer Clothes".

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I'm shooting interiors of the new college library. Wow. Meanwhile, friends of mine are having lunch with Seymour Hersh. Yep. Seymour Hersh. Lunch with Seymour Hersh.

Did I mention Seymour Hersh? Lunch?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Yep, another empty room. Evidently, there are a lot of these in churches in the States. The answer? Bring in the young folks with games of slaughter and mayhem. Enough of that "Love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek" nonsense. Kill! Kill! Kill! That's where it's at. Gotta love pinhead christians, don't you?

Went to see "Michael Clayton" tonight. Darn good movie. Much, much better than "In the Valley of Elah", which was good but flawed. "M.C.", on the other hand, has no glaringly obvious hooks or symbolism. It's just a straightforward tale of greed, moral slippage, nemesis. Art has always got to be bigger than life. Partly this is so that our interest will be piqued. Face it, it's a tougher sell if the folks in the movie aren't facing bigger problems than yours. And, partly it's to make us all feel safer. We'd never sell out the way the protagonists in this movie do. Well, no, not on this sort of scale (murder doesn't play a role in most of our lives), but everyone - everyone - makes compromises with their better instincts. I suspect that it's a rare individual who couldn't be kept awake nights by thoughts of the accumulation of small betrayals of personal values that they've committed over their lives. The betrayals made by Clooney's character are a tad bigger, but - and this is the scary part - they're just a tad. Tilda Swinton's character, on the other hand, goes way, way over the line. And Swinton does a great job of portraying this character. So, go see the movie, O.K.?

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Will someone please introduce this man to the planet Earth?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just got two new books from Amazon today - "William Eggleston's Guide" and Stephen Shore's "Uncommon Places: The Complete Works". These are very good books.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Which is, of course, what Dumbya said to America's poor today. Well, this and, basically, "Fuck you. The health insurance industry'll pay me more in the first year of my post-presidency coffer-refilling than all of you losers could ever dream of scraping together in your combined lifetimes. Take your sickly little runts and drown 'em, for all I care."

If you get the feeling that I hate this creep with a passion, well, you're right. The fact that he's going to get away with it all just sends me up the wall.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hmmm, I was going to talk about how the Leica M8 might be my dream camera, but, well, I started on that and the tale devolved quickly into a rant about incompetent photographers. People who have no idea what a meter does. No idea that "It's the lens, stupid!" Not to mention that, in the end, it's the photographer, stupid. And, well, no one wants to read that, right?

Besides, I don't have the roughly fourteen thousand bucks it'd take to realize my dream. Life is so unfair (to quote Lyle Lovett).

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Monday, October 01, 2007

I gotta get out and get some more photographs. But, it's fall in Vancouver and that means crappy weather. And I'm a coward when it comes to cameras that rely heavily on electronics. Are D50s at all weatherproof? I don't know. Do I want to experiment on my own camera? Not on your life. Soooo.....

Meanwhile, speaking of "photographs", that's what they are, folks. They're not "captures". Fortunately, no one I know actually uses this egregious term, but still, every now and then, someone will say of one of my photographs, "Nice capture!". Please don't. Please. I'm begging you. Nothing's been "captured". Not photons. Not electrons. Not, god help us all, an "image" (which is something in your mind, not on film, or a CCD, or on a print).

See? Every once in a while I actually have something to say regarding photography. Isn't that exciting?

Tomorrow, if I remember, maybe I'll talk about my dream camera - an M8 - and why. If, that is, I remember.

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