Friday, November 30, 2007

Uh-oh. People seem to be creeping into my photographs. Have you noticed? Most of my pictures look like they were taken in a city depopulated by some virus - everything inanimate is intact, but there's nothing alive. But, lately...

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

I know, I know - you're thinking, "Gees, could this guy boost the saturation any further?!?". Well, I didn't boost it at all. This is exactly how it is. Which makes me wonder - is my town just unusual? Are the crappy parts of other cities really gray and dingy? 'Cause they sure aren't around here. You want colour? Go to the downtown eastside. Want drab? Follow the money.

Maybe it's just that most people who photograph in areas like this seem to have a preference for shooting in black and white. Preferably with lots of grain. Maybe "gray" just says "poverty" better?

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

And, just as there's no real shadow behind this light pole, ever noticed how there's nothing behind a lot of on-line services? Say, Blogger, for instance? Got a problem? Too bad. There's no one behind the curtain. At least Dorothy could expose the huckster behind the Wizard. Although, given that it's free, what can one expect?

I have to admit, I did manage to get in touch with Michael Dell a couple of years back when I was having trouble with his sales people.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Heading home from a hard day at work.

Speaking of which, this Sunday I get to play Santa Claus. Uh-oh.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Went to see "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" on the weekend. If you like movies that show a bad train wreck in excruciatingly slow motion, you'll want to see it. Philip Seymour Hoffman is, as usual, brilliant. His character is the embodiment of the self-centred creep. He's totally screwed up his life, and the movie is, basically, all about him taking everyone else he's ever been "close" to - parents, brother, wife - down with him. Things start out badly (more or less) and just grind slowly downhill from there. It was great!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

That the Republican Party is morally and intellectually bankrupt has been known for rather a long time now. That the party that says to the poor, "Yer on yer own," to the homeless, "Yer on yer own," and, to those unable to buy their health from the Friends of the Republicans, "Yer on yer own," is now saying to its own candidates, "Yer on yer own," is, um, surprising? Not surprising? Typical? Just? A great source of joy to those of us who hate these scum-sucking vipers with every fibre of our being?

Democracy - if you can't buy it, what's the point?

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hmmmm, a new home for Smirkin' Steve? He's really shown that Canada is a major player on the world stage, that's for sure. Yep, our government, along with the Bush administration, is a major leader in the fight to avoid facing the reality of climate change. We were leading the way with Bush and John Howard's Australia, but, well, the Australians gave Mr. Howard the boot, along with his policies. As you might imagine, my fingers are crossed that my fellow Canadians will show the Smirk the door, too, when given the opportunity.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Phew! Managed to retrieve the original format.

As to the photo - well, the food supplies may have been sunny, but the day wasn't. From the looks of things, Sunny Food Supply Ltd. wasn't all that sunny in the end either.

But, moving on to politics....Our Fearsome Leader, Smirkin' Stevie Harper is doing us proud over in Bali. Yep, anything he can do to block any kind of change for the better, he's your man.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

While our pals to the south are enjoying Thanksgiving, our mighty, Conservative government is, once again, displaying its "Musharrafian" ("Opposition? I see no opposition) tendencies. And doing its utmost to delay any meaningful moves on the climate disaster.

And, while we're on the subject of some things never changing, there's this review from the New York Times of a recent Sly and the Family Stone concert. I went to one of their concerts in (oh, golly) 1969? and it was exactly the same. Wait, wait, wait some more, wait, here they come, they're coming, wait, wait, wait, yes!, no, yes!, 3 songs, gone. You've got to admire consistency. And the music. Of course, if you plan on admiring the music, you're probably best to admire it on CD.

On the other hand, some things do - and for the worse. Sorry, folks, but I made the grievous error of updating my template. "It's new! It's fun! It's easy!", quoth the Boneheads of Blogger. It ain't. You'll notice the layout's now completely screwed up. Now, were I at all interested in learning HTML (or whatever Blogger uses), I'm sure I could fix it all up in almost no time (depending on your notion of what constitutes "no time"), but I'm not. The old template worked the way computers are supposed to work for most of us - "Yeah, that's what I want - click." And, looking for help on Blogger's pointless, too. Can you say, "opaque"? Oh, well. We'll all adjust, won't we?

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

O.K., it doesn't exactly scream "Thanksgiving", but, nevertheless, Happy Thanksgiving, Yanqui pals! Enjoy the Murkey (i.e. mock turkey). And, well, if you're on call (or waiting for someone who's on call), hey, be thankful that it'll end. Eventually.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

This might be stretching the concept of "regal" just a bit. Although, the pigeon seems to be giving it some thought.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Just a rare personal appearance. One of the drawbacks (or, honestly, strengths) of being the one with the camera is that you never actually appear in photographs. But, through the miracle of low, hard sunlight, here I am. Zowee, huh?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Here in the Far North, the light's gone weird. The sun is so low in the southern sky that, even when it's sunny, the light is cold. Although I'll take "sunny" over "rain" any day. Like I would have yesterday. Ah, well. Life on the Wet Coast.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Spent the day walking the beach (in a non-stop, drizzling rain - it's Vancouver, after all), then taking in an exhibit of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings (with photographs of her by Alfred Stieglitz as a bonus) at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I've never been all that thrilled with O'Keefe's work, but figured that it was always possible that seeing the actual paintings might change my mind. Well, not really, although there were a few paintings that I did like. You can keep all the flower paintings, and a lot of her landscapes, but she did do some very simple paintings of pueblos. Very geometric, very plain. Of course, if you've been paying any attention at all to the photos I've been posting, you might have guessed that those would be the ones I'd like. And, forget about looking for them on Google's image search - they ain't there. She's flowers and skulls, as far as popular art history goes.

And, of course, sex. A lot has been made of the resemblance of various paintings of hers to various portions of the female anatomy. The fact that such interpretations were mainly the idea of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, seems to have been pretty much forgotten. O'Keefe herself saw them, according to her, as just flowers. Close up, to be sure, but, if you've ever photographed (or painted) flowers, you know that that's where the interesting shapes and colours are.

Frankly, my favourite part of the show was the photographs of her that Stieglitz took. For the most part, these were pretty straight-ahead portraits of her, some even simple candids. They were interesting for two reasons. In the first place, she was a striking woman, and Stieglitz was obviously fascinated with her. In the photos, it's clear that he was the "photographer" and she was the "model". Which is not to say that Stieglitz was manipulating her for any nefarious purpose. He seems to have found her beautiful and to have wanted to bring out that beauty. They are photographs of a woman whom the photographer loves. Which brings me to the "in the second place" - a later set of photos of her, taken by another photographer, long after Stieglitz had died, that were also part of the exhibit. In these photos, she is clearly the one in control of the pictures, and they are clearly designed to enhance her commercial image. In these she is shown in "interesting" situations and poses - leaning in what is obviously an uncomfortable position against a rock, reading a book while a shirtless young man approaches her from behind. Stirring a pot of soup, one hand on her hip, staring at the photographer. And so on. PR photos, every one.

A fun day, all in all.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Somewhere, "out there", there are probably some very confused Irish ghosts.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Depressed, decrepit, abandoned, crumbling, impoverished.....but it sure is colourful, ain't it?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hmmmm, seems we're on a bleak streak here, doesn't it? Imagine the streak the residents are on.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's morons like this who ensure that people and places like this don't change. Unless, of course, there's big real estate money to be made.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

A Vancouver landmark. Kinda down on its luck, but... And, while I was taking this picture, Blue Stone Woman came by for a chat. It's a darn interesting part of town.

Despite the "Blah" someone's expressed so artistically, today was a swell day. Spent much of it drifting around downtown, taking pictures, as usual. I'm getting a lot more comfortable wandering around down on East Hastings - not the most "upscale" neighbourhood. Met a nice woman there named Blue Stone Woman with Eagle Spirit. As you might guess, she's Indian (First Nations, to you, pal). Like I said, very nice. Fairly well damaged by alcohol and, I'm guessing, prostitution, and maybe some drugs, too, but very nice. Which, of course, is what most people forget. And, by the way, no, I didn't photograph her. If she'd asked me to, I would have, but, otherwise I figure she (and her pals, a couple of whom I also met briefly) have enough trouble without some rich dickhead sticking a fancy camera in their faces.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Won't it be great when we all have homes in the sky, serviced by majestic monorails? Just say, "Yes, it will. Golly. It'll be wonderful."

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Well, I finished "Absurdistan". Sort of. Much skimming was done. Pages were, um, omitted. With no loss to the narrative. Nor to the entertainment value.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So, I'm fighting my way through Gary Sheynart's novel, "Absurdistan". Though all the cover blurbs bill it as being a brilliant piece of satire, witty, biting, etc., um, it's not. Gary's not a particularly good, or insightful, writer, unfortunately. There are, I'll grant you, attempts at humour and social commentary, but nothing the average eight-year-old couldn't have come up with. Oh, well - it's what I get for grabbing a book in a hurry to read on the bus.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And speaking of being in a corner of decrepitude......did you notice that Rockin' Rudy Giuliani has been endorsed by Pat Robertson? And, believe it or not, Rudy actually wanted Pat's endorsement. Of course, this is the same Rockin' Rudy who figures Bouncin' Bernie Kerik's an O.K. guy. Evidently Rudy's former colleagues, the Feds, aren't as convinced of Bernie's charms. Vote Rudy - he's the friend of religious loons/bigots and soon-to-be-convicted felons! Yessirree - true Presidential material in the great Bush tradition.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Have I mentioned how much I like my nifty new Tokina 12-24mm lens? I do! I like it a lot!

Add PTLens, from ePaperPress, and you're sailing.

And, nope, neither of these folks is sending me any money for praising their products. I just like what they do.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Isn't it nice when "run down" can at least be colourful?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yep, back to my favourite - scenes of urban decay. There's a lot of it going around.

On a more "growth-oriented" front: Happy anniversary, Stacy & Keith! Seven years already?!? Zowee! Time really does fly when you're having fun.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Yep, just another business facade. Successful? You got me.

On the other hand, "Talk to Me", was a successful movie. From my perspective, that is. I have the sneaking suspicion that it did less than boffo box office. Don Cheadle is one of the best actors America has going. Go rent it. For those of us who were growing up then, oh man, it brings back memories. Bad - mostly - memories. Not to mention depressing memories. That skin colour could make such a difference. Worse, that it still does in a lot of places.

The only thing that sort of makes up for it is seeing two of my students - a tall, skinny, pasty-faced, really nice white guy and a short, smiley-faced, energetic young black woman - totally infatuated with each other, totally oblivious to the difference in their skin tones. It will be great when people like me, people who notice the difference, are gone. Relics from an era when stupidity reigned even more supreme than it does now.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Well, folks have to live somewhere, after all.

Just watched Gus Van Sant's "Elephant". O.K., so I 'm a little slow - I don't have HBO, O.K.? Goooood movie. Almost nothing happens. And then...... If you haven't seen it, you really ought to.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Another proud day for Canada under the leadership of Smirkin' Steve and the fabulously intellectually-challenged Stockwell Dumb.

Don't get me started on the idiotic tax cuts. Just don't.

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