Monday, December 31, 2007

Let's face it - where else would you rather have breakfast on the first day of a new year? Now, if only I could get myself up and in motion early enough. Oh, well.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

This is beautiful Hamilton, the city of my birth. Just in case anyone was wondering why I moved to Vancouver.

An interesting thing happened while I was back there for Christmas. I ran into an old high school/university buddy. Ever read "The Picture of Dorian Gray"? Well, it's real. I looked at him, trying to figure out who the hell he was. He introduced himself. This old coot I was staring at was my old partner-in-hallucinogenics?!? Do I look that old?!? Holy (as the saying goes) crap!

When you hang out with the same people year after year, everyone knows time is passing and no one looks "young" anymore, but the day-to-day changes are small and go unnoticed. Let me tell you, there's nothing like being smacked in the face with 30 years of aging all at once. Eeyikes!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Want to join up? Sound like a fun bunch of guys (and only guys). I especially like the bit about the firm belief in a Supreme Being.

And, after that brief Christmas interlude, we're back. Did everybody have fun?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

That's it for me for a week - I'm heading for the Frigid East.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's a short door, isn't it? Wine trolls? Who knows?

But, hey, us Canadians aren't as dumb as you might think, as this story attests. Of course, it does rather beg the question as to who in their right mind would ever vote for this sack of slime and his oily associates in the first place. And yet, there he is, our Leader. So, O.K., hands up - who voted for him?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Where'd they get that paint?!?

Meanwhile, over on the "Current Conservative Corruption Crises" page, this from our very own Canadian Allian..., er, Reform.....ah, that is, Conservative party. Which do you think is more important - political payoffs or medical care for a couple of hundred thousand people? Guess which one Smirkin' Steve and his pals picked.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hmmmmm, a photograph of fall leaves stuck in a fence probably isn't the most appropriate image, but....HOORAY FOR NEW JERSEY! JON CORZINE FOR PRESIDENT! And all that kind of thing. Civilization takes another small step forward.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

It'd just be so hard to decide, wouldn't it?

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Don't ask me, but the sign on the door says, "Birdie Num Num". Peter Sellers fans, perhaps?

Yep, it's Sunny Food Supply again, further down the block. It's also 2:20 a.m., so there's no pithy comment associated. Oh, well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas is less than two weeks away?!? How'd that happen? I'll be winging my way East a week from tomorrow, into the deep freeze known as "Ontario" (more specifically, Hamilton). I'm not sure I'm up to the temperatures that's going to involve. I've been living on the Wet Coast too long. A parka will be packed!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Real estate like this - on ground at least a hundred feet above sea level, is looking better and better as a future beach-front investment.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ah, some days it's embarrassing to be Canadian. Siding with the U.S. and Japan (Two of the least ecologically-aware nations on the planet) on blocking even the slightest attempt at doing anything about global warming?

Monday, December 10, 2007

So, if you get the chance, go rent "Sex and Lucia". Yes, sex figures pretty big in the movie, but the story is fantastic.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

One more exam to give and mark, and the term's over! How much excitement can one guy stand?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ever felt the need for a whole new circle of friends? Local friends, that is. Distant friends are just fine, thanks very much. Other than that they're distant, that is.

Friday, December 07, 2007

It's a photography-oriented post, folks! Isn't that exciting?

A while back I mentioned that the M8 was my dream camera. Underline, highlight and italicize "dream", 'cause, sadly, I ain't got the cash. So, what to do, what to do, what to do? Easy. Buy a Nikon D40x with a 35mm f2 lens. Or a 24/2.8 if you prefer wider.

Seem a bit of a jump from a camera that sells for just under 6 Gs for the body to one that sells for just under $700.00, with an 18-55mm lens? It ain't. Not if you're talking function. Both are small, both are light, both produce photos that, if they're being used by someone who knows what they're doing, would be indistinguishable from each other. (And, if you think that's an overstatement, you might want to read Michael Reichmann's review of the Canon G7 - a 10 MP camera with a sensor a fraction the size of those in the M8 and D40x. Note this section: "Much as I would like to pretend otherwise, it sometimes was difficult without close examination to be certain which A3-sized print had come from which camera. Yes, a close look would almost always show the G7 files to have a slight "digital" look, while those from the M8 did not, but it was remarkable how well the G7 did. I showed mixed-together prints to several technically knowledgeable and experienced photographers and it took each of them close examination to tell the cameras apart simply from the sample prints, and even then not always. As I said, remarkable image quality (but JPG only)." (I added the italics)

The thing that brought this little post on was a question on another blog from some poor guy wondering whether he ought to buy the D80 or D200. Easy to answer - "Are you getting paid?", "Are you using the camera all day, every day?" If the answer's "No" to either of these, then neither camera is worth the money. Buy a D40x. Spend the big bucks on lenses, not bodies.

What'll you lose? Well, weight, for one thing. Depth of field preview, for another, but so what? The 3" screen on the back of the camera isn't enough d.o.f. preview for you? Multiple focus points? Oh, no! If you're helpless without these, you might consider a point-and-shoot. Fancy flash control? Yeah, right. You're about to shell out how many hundreds of dollars for the kind of set-up needed to take advantage of this?

So, obviously, my answer to that poster (and 99% of the others) - D40x with a good lens.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Urban renewal just keeps rolling along. Got the Olympics coming, you know. Big, big bucks to be made. Not by anyone who actually needs those big, big bucks, mind you. Oh, no - those people (or should that be "those" people) just need to get out of the way.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, 2011 - George Bush makes his rounds.

I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

At last I've gotten a Poverty Wizard set-up for my flashes. "Poverty Wizards", for those of you who might be mystified by the appellation, are cheap radio triggers that let you trigger off-camera flashes. The "real" things are called "PocketWizards". I think the name comes from the way they suck every dime available out of your pocket. My Poverty Wizard set-up, allowing me to trigger two Vivitar flashes - a 285HV and a 283 - cost me all of $60.00 (rounding). To accomplish the same goal with PocketWizards would have cost me just under - are you ready? - $900.00. U.S.! Excuse me? Yes, they're more reliable and have a greater range, but, um, 15x more reliability? 15x more range?

The sad thing about having this new technology at my disposal is having to learn to use it. Want to know something? Those folks who get paid big bucks for their photographic skills are worth every penny. Setting up effective, pleasing (flattering, in the case of portraits) lighting ain't easy! It's not impossible, but, it's going to take work. Darn.

Hit the "Strobist" link if you're interested in this kind of thing.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Winter came to town over the weekend. And then it left again. Which is O.K. by me. Snow on the north shore mountains is a beautiful thing to see. And even to visit. In my neighbourhood? Uh-uh. It's a cold, wet pain in the butt. Give me rain any day.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Some days, I'm amazed that this city still functions. There is no part of it that isn't under construction. This shot is from the Cambie Street bridge. I shouldn't have even been on it. Blame construction. The last bus stop before my intended destination is half a mile to the right of frame (south, for you compass-oriented folks). The last bus stop used to be right at the southern foot of the bridge, but not anymore! Which, as you might guess, I wasn't aware was of. So, I wound up on the opposite side of the bridge from my where I wanted to be and had to walk back over.

On the "up" side, I got this shot.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Finally made it to see "No Country For Old Men". There won't be an Academy Award for the Coen brothers this year (too dark for Academy tastes, among other things), but there ought to be. Fate - at least, if you have zero luck - walks through this movie in the form of Anton Chigurh. Anton is a very serious man. Mostly. He has his playful side, but, really, you'd rather not meet it. Bad odds. As you might expect with fate.

Some might see Anton as representing Death - and he does - but not purely. That is, you might meet him and still live to tell the tale. Of course, you might not.

And he gives the same response Death must when it comes for someone: "You don't have to do this." "Yes, I do."

No wonder he's nuts.

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