Thursday, December 23, 2010

Loading this page on a Google CR-48 tells me it's too media heavy

Dateline: Tweetyville Well, maybe this isn't coming from Tweetyville so much? I've been busy working on longer projects lately, mostly trying to finish work on two scripts, Violetta's Dream and the play I presently call A Stranger Here Myself, for lack of a better title.

Violetta's Dream is more or less ready to be staged, or at least dramaturgified to death, or so several strangers have told me, people with little to gain from blowing smoke up my whatsis. And I've made progress on what used to be the Paula Play, at least in my mind... but again feel I'm stalling out on the scope of the piece.

Maybe I just need to post it to Triggerstreet and see the reactions, but, though I've managed to pare it down by a dozen pages, my feeling is still that there's a lot of bloat left, and also some areas that need to be explored further.

Right now I'm thinking of pulling Spinoza into it... the piece as it stands reflects so much of my own Mormon upbringing, an upbringing that in many ways operates as thought the Enlightenment never happened, that I realize most of the characters are doing the same, when for so many people religious dogma has never really been relevant, except when it's someone else's dogma. And then mostly those whose dogma is counterpointed with assault rifles and high explosives.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Questioning the ADHD "Epidemic"

Dateline: FORA.tvland

The ADHD "epidemic" and public education reform. Just why does this epidemic have such an orderly mapping to it? And how did Delaware get so filled with distractions?

Friday, October 1, 2010

David Brin on how religious literacy is greatest among outsiders

Sort of like how the more you know about sex, the scarier it is and the less you're likely to engage in it without thinking first.

in reference to:

"A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths."
- Daily Kos: I tweat? More Science! And a Rally for Adulthood. (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Old School - Nosferatu In Love

Dateline: Nosferatu in 2010

This is all the more stunning when you go to Vimeo and read how it was done. I confess I just don't have that kind of patience, or maybe it's the planning skills needed to make something like this work. It's magic.

Nosferatu on an Off Night from deniz berkin on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Remind me again, why do I waste time with YouTube?

Dateline: My Vimeo Home

Stunning and something YouTube might support in another 4 years, if bogus 4K doesn't do it for them. The video below is not mine, mainly because I've been spending far too much time self-destructing. Now that my eyesight is probably going, maybe it's time for a change?

Moving Portraits from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

I think the answer to the original question, "Wny do I waste time with YouTube?" must be similar to the motives of rubber-neckers on the highway and other forms of schadenfreude, which certainly doesn't leave me feeling any better about myself, but then, what can you do?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Growing tired of ambiguity?

This might be the cure. Or the curse.

in reference to:

"but when asked precise questions from physicists Steve Carlip and John Baez regarding mathematical details in the papers, failed to convince any other participants that these papers had any real scientific value. New York Times reporter George Johnson described reading through the debate as "like watching someone trying to nail Jell-O to a wall", for the Bogdanovs had "developed their own private language, one that impinges on the vocabulary of science only at the edges."[4]"
- Bogdanov Affair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (view on Google Sidewiki)

How Technology Alters Art


I'm looking back at this video over a year since I released it to see what I've learned, or what observations I can draw that have some chance of being anything but trite and obvious.

If you choose to view the video, please watch it in HD. You may want to seek out the mirrored version that probably works better in Vimeo, and which also contains more direct links to the discussion that led to making it. I'm not really sure what species of self-sabotage inspires me to embed the YouTube version, aside from some fairly pointless technical curiosity.

Resisting the temptation to speculate, it seems to me one of the main lessons about this work, and its practical invisibility, is that, whereas James Benning (whose long form films were a source of inspiration) would only show his films under controlled conditions, usually in a loft or artist space where distractions could be kept to a minimum, this video is only available online, except to myself. One other reason for revisiting this one is that it was my submission recently for the Guggenheim Biennial, though I suspect, having heard nothing back they too had no patience for something this indirect and coy.

One benefit of following the video to YouTube would be that the related videos there include at least some of James Benning's work, though many would likely argue that you can't really view them on YouTube and fairly comprehend or appreciate them. But if you're open-minded and interested in the issues they seem to address, you can at least get a rough sense of them that way.

My goals with this piece were mainly to see how and whether viewers would respond to something meant to elicit a degree of free form association and questioning, rather than elicit a more specific and manipulated response, as is the usual pattern for most commercial works, and perhaps even more so, the pressure that exists for most artists (and practical people too) who make online streaming videos that must fight instantly and aggressively for a viewer's attention, often in the face of many, many distractions.

It seems clear to me that a video like this has very little chance of having the desired effect in the context of daily, ordinary levels of distraction and bombardment by multiple sources of noise and spectacle. I'm not saying this is a surprise. It seems to confirm many of the things I'd suspected at the time I was talking about Benning with other art film makers, though I still wonder whether my lack of any serious promotional effort was not also a form of self-fulfilling prophesy?

But I welcome any comments you might have, especially those who for some reason manage to view the entire 8 minutes 20 seconds without turning to something more "gripping." Also of interest would be comments from those who found it too hard to watch in its entirety, though I'm fairly sure that's most of those who may have watched it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting the Most from YouTube Help When Your Video Fails

How to get specific help when a video goes bad.

The first thing you may want to do is look at (and possibly share) a MediaInfo report on the file you uploaded. 

The MediaInfo utility is free, open source and, once installed can offer a concise but detailed technical overview of your uploaded video.  It can also provide details about other types of media files, such as your source video, digital photos, audio recordings, and other multimedia files you might have used in your work.  

MediaInfo reports can reveal useful, detailed information when applied to source video, and reveal conflicts between source video and what you rendered and uploaded.  

Such conflicts are often at the center of many technical issues with YouTube videos.  

You can find the downloadable installer (and the source code) for MediaInfo at  It does need to be installed, but it's a small utility and takes little space or time to install.

MediaInfo Capture
This is what the text-only view looks like for a MediaInfo report.

If you think one of the source videos or other media files are involved with the problems you're having, you may want to offer details about those files too. If you're fairly experienced with editing and rendering, the report may give you clues to the problem all by itself. But if you're fairly new to video, or just not technically-minded, others are likely to be able to offer far more pointed advice if you share this information up front. 

Vague questions generate vague answers, and sometimes lead to burn-out from those trying to be helpful.

Be sure to cut and paste the text-only version of the report.  The Text format is selectable from the View tab of the report.  

Others formats make the reports hard to read, or may not cut & paste at all.  The image shown (click it to see a larger, full-size, readable version) and the text below both show what a typical MediaInfo report should look like.  

If yours looks like it is repeating lines or is otherwise hugely redundant, check under the Debug tab to see that Advanced is not checked and that Debug-0 is checked:

Complete name : D:\YourVid\Awesome\ThisMovieShouldBeWorking.mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42
File size : 97.2 MiB
Duration : 1mn 20s
Overall bit rate : 10.2 Mbps
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

ID : 2
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Baseline@L4.0
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Muxing mode : Container profile=Baseline@0.0
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 1mn 20s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 9 978 Kbps
Width : 1 280 pixels
Height : 720 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16/9
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 119.880 fps
Original frame rate : 59.940 fps
Resolution : 24 bits
Colorimetry : 4:2:0
Scan type : Interlaced
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.090
Stream size : 95.3 MiB (98%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

ID : 1
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Format settings, SBR : No
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 1mn 20s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 192 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : L R
Sampling rate : 44.1 KHz
Resolution : 16 bits
Stream size : 1.83 MiB (2%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38
Tagged date : UTC 2010-07-28 07:11:38

Depending on the container, codecs and other details it may looks somewhat different.  This particular report is for an HD (720p) MP4 video container, generated from Sony Vegas Pro 9.0.  But the overall structure of the report will usually contain three blocks of text:  General, Video and Audio.  

If your report is missing one, or has multiples, that in itself may suggest a problem.  YouTube has a nasty habit of expecting just one video stream and one audio stream, preferably of exactly the same running time.

Keep in mind that most of the people likely to respond to a question on the forum are users like yourself, and those who are actually trying to help are usually those with the least free time to spend back and forth pulling out the various details that are basic to making any kind of informed suggestions or identifying your problem as a emerging, widespread issue.  You'll find people are much more generous with their time if they see that you're already prepared and are willing to share enough details to make their efforts worthwhile and not just an exercise in frustration on both sides.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is it true? History of the Saxophone... now!

Just read the biography of Adolphe Sax... definitely Belgian, not so sure about the "imperialist" part, but it might be true. No wonder Belgian jazz is such a controversial subject. Not to mention all the things he developed that turned into the modern marching band much, much later.
in reference to:
"(The Communists frowned on the bass and the electric guitar, but they severely disapproved of the saxophone because they said it was invented by a Belgian imperialist.)"
- Op-Ed Contributor - The Rolling Stones concert that set Prague free from Communism. - (view on Google Sidewiki)

There's much more to this story, but Adolphe Sax is definitely not someone I would have found without reading this piece in the Times from Eduard Freisler about the Stones more than the Sax.  Don't be surprised if you hear both somewhere in my set tonight.  Anything to stir me out of my current funk, largely the by product of my fellow Americans trying to outdo one another at grand stupidity.  You'd think they gave out prizes for it.  And maybe, to paraphrase Mark Twain on our Congress, maybe they do grant prizes?

I can't recommend the book listed below, at least not at that price.  It might be great, or it might be really, really boring.  Maybe you should buy it just to stimulate the economy?  I can't see how that's going to work out, though... anyway the bio is Adolphe Sax, 1814-94: His Life and Legacy by Wally Horwood. I list it only because it's the only bio I know of, aside from the Wikipedia entry, which may have been invented by clever imperialists.  Then again, what do I really know about Wally Horwood?

For what it's worth, the first link is a little iffy on the Peter Brötzmann Trio -- just a typical Amazon inability to handle the umlaut.  The tribute to Sax, though, should take care of a nice chunk of the set I've been worrying about just a little too much.The others below?  Well, let's just say the inkling of a set is beginning to percolate, or fester, or something.

Set should be starting at the usual time, on the usual stream.


Get some cojones, America

It's too depressing for words, seeing the US backing away from actual freedom of religion. Maureen Dowd is right this time... the terrorists seem to have won.
in reference to:
"Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero. Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood."
- Op-Ed Columnist - Our Mosque Madness - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, August 9, 2010

It all depends on how you look at it

Dateline: Moscow burning

What a difference editorial prejudice can make.  Both of these pictures are associated with stories on the record death rate in Moscow, thanks to summer heat and wildfire smog.

Unhappy news.  This pic appears with the 
Huffington Post rendition of the standard AP story.
Happy news.  This pastoral image nicely 
crops out the sky and accompanies a Terence
Neilan story that may be a rewrite of AP
on behalf of AOL.

I'm thinking there needs to be a song.  it could just be that the Philly Folk Festival is happening in less than two weeks and I'm wondering why I hadn't gone at all in the years I lived closer.

Oh, I remember now.  Someone couldn't let me out of their sight and wanted me around all the time while most of their time was spent working with clever, interesting people and mine was spent in isolation waiting for the scraps.

But this is definitely not about me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Conflict and Duality, or Boys Finding Sex Distasteful

 I realize life is conflict but sometimes it's so funny and seemingly pointless that you either start to cry or the lure of mysticism starts to take over, tempting you to forsake the rational and just wallow in the mystical and the strange.

It's funny how two people, one deeply critical of Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī (aka Al-Ghazali) and the other nearly worshipful, wind up saying much the same thing at certain points in their otherwise very different presentations.

Oddly enough, where they intersect, saying something like the same thing, is when each of them speak of how human sexuality works, and where it's located.  The rationalist denigrates the engineering of the human genitourinary system while the mystic points out that its "low nature" is a sign of why we should not seek pleasure or happiness based in the here and now, or in the material world.

I'll let you be the judge if there's something here or not, as if I had any other choice in the matter.

The part about the combination sewage treatment and entertainment center actually comes later in this video, at 34:25, towards the end of this 39 minute video. The entire video is worth watching though, maybe more than once?

Then, there is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf's glorification of Al-Ghazali, and what's interesting here is that Yusuf apparently seems to be a leading, present-day voice for bringing at least some aspects of the Age of Enlightenment back to the Muslim world, from which the West largely stole, adopted, adapted or inherited it, depending on your interpretation of history.  He is someone looking to resolve some of the conflicts between the "faithful" and materialist "non-believers" that seems to be at the heart of the resistance and conflict between the materially dominant oligarchies of the West, and the post-Communist world of resource-rich, industrially-lagging cultures outside the "developed" world.

It's not clear, at least not to me, how much headway Yusuf is making, though, as he seems to be demonized as a heretic of sorts himself, or even as a shill for the West, at least if some of his apparent critics have much sway with the masses of believers who have every material reason to resist continuing development and evolutions of capitalism and its mutant offshoots.

I must confess, at least for now, my own abundant ignorance of much of the late medieval history of the Islamic world that leaves me ill-equipped to determine in great detail just what is going on here.  My interest in all this, was triggered mainly by Neil deGrasse Tyson's comments, laying the blame for the collapse of the Islamic Golden Age mainly at Al-Ghazali's feet.

The point of common insight comes here within the larger video below, at 2 min. 25 seconds and onward, though I suggest watching all three videos for the full context.

Perhaps my own sense of present despair comes from knowing how attractive mysticism was, at least when I was younger? Do I truly expect people to forsake that pleasure, transitory as it may be, when the alternatives are rarely as enjoyable or (non-materially) rewarding?

The rewards of being a booster for the scientific-industrial complex, if you will, seem to come mainly if you manage to find yourself in a privileged position as a guru or leader of the committed on that side of the conflict.  Then again, isn't that also true for the spokesmen for faith and mysticism, in many cases?  Perhaps that is an aspect of this that deserves more attention?

The rewards seem to me no better, at least in basic, visceral terms, than the joys of being a well-regarded pundit on the other side of the coin.  Both dress well, and appear to live comfortably.  Someone is going to take those jobs in any still functioning society.  Society, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  Perhaps one day we will have a fully fleshed out "ecology" of social conflicts and the niches they create, that someone inevitably has to fill?

I'm feeling like this is barely scratching the surface, and that my own ignorance, especially of Islamic history from Al-Ghazali's era, is hampering my insights here, but rather than wait until I can write a better comment on that part of the subject, I'd like to open this up in the hope there might be some comments on what I feel has just scratched the surface of some intriguing aspects of human society and the various forms of what we imperfectly label as knowledge and belief.  So here are my undeveloped thoughts for now, as well as I can express them at the moment.

Finding conflict as distasteful as I do, it's times like these that usually lead me back to wanting to just read the Story of the Stone.

Readings that may be related to this article:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Wasp Waists

Dateline: dropdeadcute

~dropdeadcute~ Wasp Waists Intro4

Embrace your pixellation. This dress design takes advantage of the new alpha layers to create an impossibly tight wasp waist... so tight in fact that strain and dancing may sever the spine, but in a hypnotizing manner.

In addition to the necessary alpha top and bottom layers (one integrated layer), and prims for implausible corsetry, a series of camisole designs are provided in copy/mod form, for infinite variations. Basic designs include:

- Chienblau (matching pattern for the underlying violet-blue dress and corset);
- Double Rainbow (because who can resist the trope of the summer?)
- Iridescence
- Greenworld
- Mauve
- Soft ivory silk

Can also be seen at dropdeadcute in SL or, on the Marketplace

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Drawing on the Messy Side of the Brain

Dateline: Dr. Sketchy's

Bored of ho-hum life-drawing courses? Here's the obvious intermeshing of neo-burlesque and art instruction, though I wasn't clear about the instruction part. Still, if you follow the link to the site, it begins to become clear, though doing this in Second Life, particularly when the grid seems to be falling to pieces does make me wonder why I'm not taking a train into the City a little bit more. Maybe it's that intensive shyness?

How would my life have been different if I had taken my 8th Grade Art teacher's advice and gone into commercial art as an artist and not as a writer? The following are pieces done in moments... trust me, I can do a lot better when I'm taking my time.

Pirate Mermaid Booty (Mixed Media 4)

Pirate Mermaid Booty (Mixed Media)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes the nightmares just have to come out

Dateline: BioShocksville

Thinking about expanding into the land of nightmares. Here's something that might be a source of inspiration, or at least a cause of disturbing dreams. Things are moving more and more retro every day.

And then there are the MadMen Barbies, also available from the same site.

Not really disturbing in quite the same way, but you may get an idea where my brain is going, if you can call it a brain.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Storm brewing: Wikileaks and the Afghan War Diary

This will be the story to watch in the coming days and weeks. Of course, the fact that the US is quickly going broke over the costs of its adventures could well be the deciding factor that finally brings this particular disaster to a close, or at least to the beginning of the end.

in reference to:

"Already being compared to the Pentagon Papers, which blew the lid off the conspiracy of secrecy and misinformation surrounding the Vietnam war, the Afghan War Diary — as Wikileaks has titled the collection of reports — could well be a game-changer in the long and frustrating Afghan experiment."
- Afghanistan War | Wikileaks (view on Google Sidewiki)

Virginia, There IS a Fair Use Doctrine After All

Who'da thunk, but the Library of Congress, in its oversight of the Copyright Office, has concluded that Steve Jobs can't be your nanny after all, though apparently he can still be a total jerk -- it's one of those things guaranteed in the Constitution.

In other news, documentary filmmakers and teachers (and presumably others protected by "fair use" doctrine) can legally break DVD copy-protection schemes in order to excerpt permissible snippets of video as long as they fall under "fair use" exceptions. (The article in question, though, focuses entirely on the smack-down against Apple's inane opposition to "jailbreaking" the iPhone.

I have a better idea. Just say no to iPhones until they're open sourced. Or only buy the used and jail-broken.

in reference to:

"The decision to allow the practice commonly known as "jailbreaking" is one of a handful of new exemptions from a 1998 federal law that prohibits people from bypassing technical measures that companies put on their products to prevent unauthorized use of copyright-protected material."
- iPhone 'Jailbreaking' Legal Under New Government Rules (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Minty nostalgia

Dateline: Huineng, SecondLife -- New items arriving; part of the "Plaidness Collection." Now available via SecondLife Marketplace and XStreet, as well as in-world from dropdeadcute.

dropdeadcute ~ Plaidness "Minty Nostalgia"

A flirty summer dress in a classic, breezy style. Introducing the Plaidness Collection, this particular item appears in a color palette reminiscent of those hard chalky mints that grandmother kept in the candy dish.

Check out our vendors in world to explore the newest additions to our collections. Bodice and glitch bloomers are available to wear at several layers, to allow for maximum coordination and additions of accessories or custom modifications. Also in this collection (not shown): a pair of modifiable plaid dungarees, a sweet addition for the 60's style gardener, casual homemaker or retro fan. Also in this set, two choices of tattoo layer renditions of the bodice, and the bodice + dungarees.

Your imagination is the only limit.

Available via XStreet, the Beta Marketplace and in-world at dropdeadcute's main store.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plaidness parfait [new]

Dateline: Huineng, SecondLife

dropdeadcute ~ Plaidness Parfait (dress)

Getting back into it... hopefully, there will be even more new items coming in the near future.

Now available via Marketplace, from dropdeadcute.

Flirty summer dress in a classic, breezy style. Introducing, the Plaidness Collection, this item carries the happy color combinations of a favorite multi-layered dessert, the creamy parfait.

Check out our vendors in world to explore the newest additions to our collections. Bodice and glitch bloomers are available to wear at several layers, to allow for maximum coordination and additions of accessories or custom modifications. Also in this collection (not shown): a pair of modifiable plaid dungarees, a sweet addition for the 60's style gardener, casual homemaker or retro fan.

Your imagination is the limit.

Available via XStreet, the Beta Marketplace and in-world at dropdeadcute's main store.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Folk Process is Messy....

... but then so is the Gulf. Songs (and recordings) about oil, dinosaurs and how we got from Earth Day to Dearth Day. Some of it may be funny, but I could also be losing perspective.

As always, things you've probably heard and others I'm almost sure you haven't.

Aza - 6 to 8 SLT (That's 9pm-11pm Eastern time).

Available in SecondLife at The Velvet or by Shoutcast.

The Well Might Be Capped But the Damage Goes On

Here's a music video that follows in the best folk tradition. I'm thinking tonight's show at the Velvet will be a collection of songs and folk responses to the disaster in the Gulf.

in reference to:

"The disaster in the gulf is destroying the oceans, killing off the ecosystem and threatens humans as well. In this song, a just response to the disaster results in people tossing the big oil puppet government aside, because . . . all the fish are dead."
- YouTube - Fishermens Revolt (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Woodhenge Found

Maybe there was also a Icehenge and an Airhenge? I think we've found M. Night Shaymalan's next script or at least its inspiration.

in reference to:

"Like Stonehenge itself, the structure's precise purpose remains a mystery. But it's one of an expanding number of discoveries being made around the site – something experts say is helping to show that Stonehenge was once much more than just a cluster of sandstone blocks standing in an empty field."
- Stonehenge Discovery: Wooden Monument Found Near Stone Ciricle (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Intriguing Musings on the Nature of Second Life

Is it navel gazing or is it crucial to understanding how some people become addicted to the platform known as Second Life.

More comment when I've had time to read this in a more rested state.
in reference to:
"Second Life is a world Second Life is a platform.The first embraces the complexities of human behavior and experience - including culture - implicitly; the second focuses on human considerations only as prescribed by law or business/technical advantage."
- Phasing Grace | Social Architecture and Virtual Worlds: The Virtual Wave Particle Duality of Second Life (view on Google Sidewiki)

YouTube "clarifies" something about Music Publishing Rights, Right?

Sadly, it's still not all that clear. And it seems to reinforce a sense that (generic) music publishing rights collecting societies will try to collect a pound of flesh wherever they can find one undefended.

Then again, we live in a really imperfect world, and the alternative might be worse. Keep telling yourself that and maybe your grandchildren will be the ones who finally have to take the action needed to make copyright law remotely address the realities of current technologies.

in reference to:

"We apologize for the confusion regarding recent claims labeled as "CS." We have now changed "CS" to "Music Publishing Rights Collecting Society" to better describe the nature of the claim. These are claims to musical compositions made on behalf of  Collecting Societies which represent music publishers in certain territories."
- Content owner, who is CS??? - YouTube Help (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Report Playback Issues on YouTube

For a long time, and with good cause, people have been complaining there's no way to contact YouTube about issues with video playback.

It's a bit too early to say just how well this one will work, but in recent weeks they did add several items, from diagnostic tools to a link for reporting playback issue to the 'face' of videos themselves. I know I'm hoping these will work, or at least work a bit better than what has been in place so far.

Gradually, Google is coming to realize that they are not operating in a vacuum, so hopefully this is just one sign of additional options to come? Don't expect miracles, though.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A test of a funny video, with no video

This is the part with the funny embedded video, that should have no embedded video.

Please don't judge too harshly. Publishing this for a friend. The audio is sort of creepy, and you can probably figure this trick out if you just look at the page source code. The key seems to be the width and height.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

As if you didn't have enough to worry about

Yesterday we discussed AI at Socrates' Cafe. It did not go well with accusations back and forth about our robot kinsmen. But at least now you can get insurance for that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Can anyone force a meme?

I know you really can't expect to, and definitely not from a blog that almost nobody reads, but I so want to see this one become more popular than lolcats, at least at the moment. Maybe the "feral shoes" tag will catch on, though?

Original photo by Björn Lindström aka bkhl on Flickr.

Don't tread on me!

I don't think there's really much more I can say about this, other than go out there and shoot some "feral shoes" or "feral boots."

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Late Bloomers in Hard Times

This is my bit of camera prOn, for the day. I really should be blogging these a lot more if I had much sense. At this point it seems like my Flickr descriptions are becoming my blog. In the interest of efficiency, I'll adapt today's blather from what I've already said today over there.

Dressing it up

@dailyshoot #ds228. Construction seems to be perpetual: streets, sidewalks, buildings. Make a photo of something under construction today.

@dailyshoot is a Twitter-based project for sharing photos done to match a daily assignment, as a way to kick free the mental cobwebs, and push photographers, some serious, some fascinated newcomers, to explore ways of shooting, and aspects of photography that they might not come to on their own.  And especially on Flickr it seems to be turning into a community of similarly obsessive photo nuts of all kinds.  Usually one is more or less expected to shoot and process images on the day of the project.  But some projects don't really seem well suited to that, and not every day can be dedicated to a project that, so far, has not generated any income to compensate for the costs involved in photography (something I really need to be keeping in mind, at least for myself at this point).  I probably  need desperately to be doing a lot more self-promotion at this point, here and with some of the writing projects that I've been working on in some cases for years.  With many of the major studios in financial free-fall, though, it is hard to generate enthusiasm.  Perhaps I just need to be on drugs so that tilting at windmills will seem more like a rational plan of action?
Anyway, here's what I said about this image on Flickr, and it's still true almost 45 minutes later:

In the interest of the environment (and the fact that I'll be driving for at least 5 hours tomorrow) I've taken the liberty of adapting a RAW image from January that I'm pretty sure I've never made public, rather than spend what may be hours scouting for an interesting construction job, or risking shooting while driving, if I were to find some surprise road construction (which is almost a certainty if I drive long enough).

This is the faux HDR version. Photomatix was used for tonemapping from a RAW image.

I might find an actual today shot if plans work out, but that depends on a lot of random.

Sidenote to camera nuts, this was taken the first day I had this lens (a Canon EF 28-300mm 1:3.5-5.6 L IS USM). And after looking at this image and processing it a few different ways, I found a new source of extreme camera pr0n from the wonderful people at Creative Cow.  Go there only if you, like me, wish you'd figured out much earlier in life how to get trained and hired as a cinematographer/director of photography for major motion pictures or indie masterpieces.

Source file: IMG_6405_tmFhdr.jpg 
There's really not that much more to say. Some days I wish I'd saved myself from installing this particular bit of code, since most of the time I don't really need to generate a "next page", do I?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Six Hours in the Woods

I'm about ready to start my recovery. Saturday from 6pm to nearly 10pm I was invited to shoot a live action roleplay game, sponsored by the Wayfinder Experience... a summer camp that my daughters fell in love with last summer, and which my eldest begins staff training for in less than a week.

Here are some selected images from the event, though I feel like I do need to take some extra care with many of these... it's not my usual habit to make this many photos publicly viewable, and I'm hoping it wasn't a mistake to do so.

None of these (with one exception) have been heavily edited. Some heavy processing was done for atmosphere, especially to many of the otherwise useless shots once the light was all but gone and my eyes and technology made focus a hit-or-miss experience. I expect some more laborious cropping and processing on an individual basis might make at least some of these outstanding, rather than glorified snapshots. Click any photo to follow through to the Flickr account where there are many (many) more.

Pensive _MG_3733wfw619 _MG_3731wfw619 _MG_3862wfw619 _MG_4002wfw619 _MG_4207wfw619 _MG_4013wfw619

A few more shots appear on the next page too.

I had to shoot as a participant to keep the role-playing live, especially for those at the event for whom this was a first-time experience. And so you will find tags for "ghost photographer" and such, as I played the role of uncommunicative observing spirit from the nether realms. It was an interesting way to shoot, one I wish I could do in more situations, as it might allow me to do more candid portrait work with less of the inevitable "looking at the camera" that tends to spoil about 80% of all shots that contain people.
_MG_3713wfw619 _MG_4049wfw619 _MG_3913wfw619 _MG_4031wfw619 _MG_4251wfw619 _MG_4131wfw619 _MG_3994wfw619

(I really want to do a photomanipulation of one or two of the "self portraits" I managed to do while players were off in rooms that I didn't want to shoot. Those may come later. One fairly raw image does appear in the long collection of pics that are now up, mainly for comment, feedback and sharing, as many are not what I'd call finished images.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Something about Human Hope (or Delusional Thinking)

This image was shot as a response to a DailyShoot assignment about "unfinished" things. It seemed appropriate at the time.

Unfinished Business

You might need to view it a bit smaller on some screens? The 'net is giving me headaches. I was thinking about writing some big essay on this, but now that I've started, it seems pretentious and unnecessary.

Please keep in mind, this image is from a memorial theatre, built to commemorate the sacrifices of the Great War (World War I) -- the mentality predates Gandhi by a bit, I expect.

Peace: The Words and Inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi (Me-We)

On Gandhi's Path: Bob Swann's Work for Peace and Community Economics

Think about it.

Silly trick, but I liked it

For some reason, maybe a lack of readers, maybe fatalism, maybe the repredeprerecession, I've really fallen off from posting new entries here, even though I've been doing a lot of new stuff.

This one may be lame, but it was fun.

Green "i"

In any case, I've been self-censoring too much lately, and dedicating more time than makes sense to debugging one of the biggest, buggiest sites out there. It's well past time for a change.

There's not much more to say about this, is there?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eel vs. Gusher

Eel plays peekaboo with the oil gusher.

That's my take right now. Just in case someone thinks the following picture might be in poor taste.

Purdy Slick

A little more below the fold.

My DailyShoot for the day.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This photo is starting to haunt me

There's something terrible about digital, both in general and specific. I think for the very first time I actually looked at this one in full scale. You probably won't notice the haunting artifacts unless you look very closely, or you're one of those permitted to see the full scale image. Anyway...

Capture the Flag, No. 1

That's it. I'm procrastinating and pushing myself to a strange exhaustion, probably because I'll be seeing my parents a little later today, for the first time in over a year, and I'm conflicted about that, guilty, trapped, pummeled... You can pick your term and I've probably felt it sometime recently.

I'm going to add in a book that's helped me resolve at least some of my photography issues, if not my persistent feelings of ineptitude and such. Also, if I don't do this soon, Amazon might shoot me, or cut off my Associate "privileges." Anyway, I'm in love with Freeman's books, and even though this one is probably the hardest to read, it's also the one that has probably helped me the most over the past year or so, even though I didn't do so badly with exposure issues before I started reading it. And now I have someplace to point to when I talk to people about exposure.

Let's see how that worked.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This is a test - YouTube's Unlisted Videos...

Can they or can't they be embedded? This post is an attempt to test whether such videos can be embedded.

This second video is embedded from a different channel, one that is no longer tied into the Google account that handles this blog. I'm starting to suspect that problems with embedding may be related to the settings that the owner might have chosen. After all, the YouTube EDIT pages include separate modules for Privacy (where the Unlisted option appears) and another section for "Embedding."

I may leave this at that, unless something else comes up to contradict my first impressions.

YouTube users should probably still exercise caution when embedding Unlisted videos, since they're likely to become more visible if the embedding happens on any site or blog (unlike this one) where traffic is high. In fact, if you are concerned about keeping Unlisted videos at least somewhat hard to find, disabling embedding is probably not a bad idea.

Here will be my comments on whether this worked or not. Some YouTube users are reporting that these videos cannot be embedded, which is probably a good thing and an intended feature. I just don't want to make a statement about it in the Help Forum without checking things out.

There's another question about embedding, but I think it refers to links... testing it three ways here:

Where I am, only that last link is faulty. If it worked in the past I wasn't aware of it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chinese hope US remains in Fog over Green Tech

Stunning insight into the US's continuing blindness when it comes to graduating from an Oil drenched economy to something with a future.

in reference to:

""They then went on: "The right is correct – it’s all about money – but they could not be more incorrect in their interpretation of the money." "I asked "What do you mean?" They continued: "Make no mistake about it, the world is going green. Nothing would make people like us in China happier than America continuing this debate for the next 10 or 15 years. Because in 15 years, when you guys come out of the fog, China will own the revenue stream of the green revolution."
- Daily Kos: When conservatives are right (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Adventure Game: a video.

Hoping to make some kind of Wayfinder video this summer. This was the preview of a very low-intensity version based solely on stills from a LARP activity that was part of ECRS Winter Workshop for 2009-2010. Please note that I consider this one, if it's not already obvious, a poorly edited version, done far too quickly.

I'm doing this in part to test embedding and some new YouTube features, so there's not much more to be said about this video right now.
Maybe I'll do a more detailed comment on this later on, invoving Wayfinder and others involved in such role play, adventure game activities.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Remembering Cassia Whiteside Jevremov

This is one of those incidents where something happened over 30 years ago, and the punch line only comes now. I wouldn't be writing this for the public eye normally, but in this case, the death of Cassia is something that has had resonance throughout the plus-thirty years that followed. In many ways it has been central to my attitudes, especially regarding art and painting -- but also has extended to other forms of expression, writing included.

Though I never met her, her death had, first of all an enormous impact on her father, who was my professor for a painting class at Oberlin, and his grief, and the way he coped with grief in the days, weeks and months that followed, those insights had an enormous impact on my understanding -- to whatever degree understanding is possible -- of my approach to painting, art and life.

It led to a rather circuitous path, and may even have had some effect the next year on my decision to enlist in the Army, particularly my plan to study Chinese, to gather a better understanding of principles that Prof. Whiteside (and others at Oberlin) had impressed on me at the time. Prof. Whiteside's contribution to that was, in particular, some comments that might well have been offhand, but which have had a continuing resonance for me, particular in working to counter what I think he called an obsession with "draftsmanship." There were also some comments about "redundancy" that left a profound impression.

I left my largely unfinished paintings in an attic at Keep Coop over the summer that followed, and when I could finally return, all of them had vanished. Occasionally I fantasize about happening across one of them, hanging, probably, in a second-rate restaurant somewhere.

While I was studying Chinese in Monterey, in the spring of 1981, very near graduation, my own 16-year-old sister was fatally injured in an accident at a Utah amusement park, an event that echoed through our family for years thereafter.

I just happened upon this obituary in trying to find some material about her father's work. It is only now that I have come to realize just how many interwoven elements we shared, he and I and our families.

in reference to:

"Cassia Whiteside Jevremov, 29, daughter of Nellie and Forbes Whiteside, died Dec. 27 in the Staten Island Public Health Hospital, New York City. She had been injured in a one-car accident in Arizona on Sept. 16,"
- ohs_obits_J (view on Google Sidewiki)

Empire and Liberties by *ebbixx on deviantART

Monday, February 15, 2010

Partisan transparency: Learning from the Astroturf

Here's a first take on a remix. It's been awhile since I've done one of these, and this one is still pretty rough. Desperate times call for...

Sarapocalypse (Remix) from B Unis on Vimeo.

Let me know what you think. Looking for a different mode of political commentary, and hoping to find something that works. I might even start speaking at some point. It's been a few very strange years of this vow of virtual silence.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why is Steampunk the style of the moment?

[NOTE: this essay appears in somewhat different form at  In part it was a byproduct of working on the following image, not included as part of the Journal entry there.  Additional thumbnail images appear in the Journal entry as well.]

Vampiric Steampunk by *ebbixx on deviantART

"Realism" (I use that word ironically) has always been a bit of a challenge for me.

Those who shoot photos casually, often don't appreciate how different a photo is, by its nature, from the sort of image that we see in our eyes or our brains. The general assumption has long been that photos are real, even though there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. This has been even more clear than usual for me, in a way, since my recent injury, which did not especially affect my vision, but did have some odd effects on my hearing, and in particular for my tolerance of noise. Maybe too, it may have affected vision and I'm just not aware of the degree that it has had some effect?

Objectivity is a lot harder than we tend to imagine it being.

So, here are some of the images that have struck me in particular, during a week when browsing both watched images and those I've found by happenstance, or in connection with the galleries I've been looking at. You'll see they're all over the place. Maybe I'll separate some of them with text to describe what pulled me to look at them more closely?

Nunellina by *felina222 on deviantART

Rainbow eye by ~AleLaTriller on deviantART

Images about "women" but in most cases something here is surreal, and in some cases no actual woman was photographed. "Nunellina" in particular was so striking that I had to post my first critique/appreciation since coming back.

Then there are the creations of "mankind" (after the jump)

Will survive by *Brute-ua on deviantART

How do we look at this image? Is it simply a church, or does knowing it's among the structures that were abandoned near Chernobyl give it added meaning, and lead to some of us asking questions about human folly, arrogance and pride? And almost certainly each person who views it with that added knowledge will wind up asking very different questions, and coming to very different conclusions?

istanbul night.. by ~ziyakasapoglu on deviantART

Stone and creations made of stone, and metal. Maybe this relates to my daughter's fascination with Steampunk or maybe my own, and maybe it also has to do with seeing Sherlock Holmes in a definitely steampunk-influenced production design? Just what does that mean?

There was a lot in that movie that resonated for me, even though the things I've been collecting, with an eye towards my next journal entry, are not necessarily (or even remotely, in many cases) actively influenced by Steampunk, or by the current conflict between mysticism and technology, or by the aggressive payback or karmic feedback that some might say women are now engaged in, and about which some may be conflicted. I also just recently saw Coraline which, to my view, very much dealt with that particular web of notions, expectations, signs, symbols and attempts to force women to remain objects, regardless of their individual choices, desires or needs.

Okay, that's abstract enough. Mostly I wanted to make sure that my Journal was not implying that I was needing too much in the way of "kid glove" treatment.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

ECRS Winter Workshop: An Adventure

And I mean that in more ways than one. Here's a slideshow of a few collages from the event. More when I have the time and energy to put them together. All photos are also available in individual form. They are also, it should be obvious, available in much higher resolution and quality. Most of what's presented here is strictly based on raw, unprocessed images whereas I usually try to spend at least 10 minutes and often much longer when presenting photos in "finished" form.

Note that if you click the link to view the images below on their Picasa page, you can see these at full screen size (still not actual size, but especially on older monitors it may be the best choice available).

Video below the fold, so to speak.

The Adventure Game from B Unis on Vimeo.

If I can think of something to add to this post, that too will happen. First I need to get some feedback and ensure this is not something that others might object to.