JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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ARRRRGH!!! • AAAAH!!! • E. I. SCREEN SAVER • RECENT READS

Monday, March 19, 2018

ARRRRGH!!! – I have a selection of my Havre de Grace Street shots on display at a local coffee shop, across from the Gallery. Along with the framed images I hung a framed POSTER explaining that they were on sale to anyone who is interested for the cost of the frame – and since I got these at a discount just for this showing, that price is only $20. So, if you see yourself you can have it on the cheap. I thought that this was a cool, fun idea.

Well, it has gotten back to me, in the form of complaints that there are no prices on the images AND offers to put price tags on them, that NOBODY READS.

My first offer was to but a very large sign over the exhibit that says something like: For Those Who Won't Read the Poster – Everything is $20. When I was informed that this would just "alienate" people, I askes if that isn't what I tend to do best. I just have too little patience for this kind of thing.

In the end, I left it up to a friend to do "whatever" she "wants" to solve the problem, while I went home to bang my head against the kitchen table.

AAAAAAH!!!AAAAAAH!!!

Nan found me a Canon 500mm F8, FD mount mirror lens in E+ condition on eBay and ordered it for my Birthday. Weeeee!. That will be a 750mm on my Fuji. All I needed to get was a $23 adapter. Sure, it will be manual focus, but wow, this will be something to play with this summer. Old film camera lenses, and some of them are phenomenal pieces of glass, work wonders when attached to a mirrorless camera via an adapter – lots of pointers on line. The same isn't true in most cases for digital DSLRs – due to the location of the mirror in front of the sensor.

One small sacrifice does need to be made – after mounting the lens you have to go into the menu and set the camera on "Shoot W/O Lens – odd phrasing but who cares. Until this is done the shutter will not fire. Everythng except focus and auto-aperture works great. This thing turned out to be in mint condition, as advertised. Cool. Now, can I hold my breath for 8 weeks?


EASTER ISLAND SCREEN SAVER

I just had a request for my Island Screen Saver from 2012 – for Windows 7. That jarred me into realizing that blog entry links from that far back for downloads just "might" not be working – duh. And it's not tricky because screen savers are essentially just a folder full of the right size images now. The one issue is that computer screens are so much larger and higher resolution now.

The images are 1600 X 2560, pretty good for 2012. I tried them on my 2880 X 5120 machine and, well, they come up more than a little a little lacking. I'm re-posting the folder on my Downloads page anyway in case they are large enough for anyone.

Mayve I'll get an opportunity while working on my upcoming Easter Island talks to do this up right (yes, yes, yes, in color), and use it with Rapanui music added as a run-in before the talk, hmmmm.


GOOD INSTRUCTION VIDEOS FOR IMOVIE AND FINAL CUT PRO from David Cox

I just noticed these two free videos on YouTube and downloaded them via MacX YouTube Downloader (also a free app) – or they can be watched right on YouTube. They are clear and easy to follow. iMovie is free so that makes that video that much more of a benefit – I did not realize how much more they are building into iMovie these days. It is amazing how much one can improve one's videos simply by watching this and running videos through it before showing them to anyone, withoug having to be a geek. Check it out. iMovie 2018 class:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc6H881T0_k

As far as the Final Cut video – some amazing tips:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPbBDs67aCY


RECENT READS – all on a reader of course…

Just finished reading a number of books – I tend to enjoy reading anywhere from two to four at a time as long as no more than one is fiction. It actually helps rather than hinders getting into them all. Nice weather should slow this down a bit. I list these in spite of the fact that from my experience, people simply do not read (any more), often unless it's tripe-fiction.

Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O'neil

I put this one first becaues it is by far the more important volume in this grouping – and that's saying a lot because I learned so much from all of these, expecially A Universe from Nothing and Thanks Obama: Why: My Hopey, Changey White House Years. In fact the first three here should be required reading for anyone who wants to have a clue as to what the hell is going on out there. This book is a warning to all as to how our lives, just in the last few years, have come to be governed by an industry of statistics, and the resultant destruction. The financial crisis, adversing, college ranking, justice, job searching, insurance, etc. All are effected. If nothing else, it hjelps to know what we are up against, and have enough information to avoid swallowing the kool-aid.

A Universe From Nothing: Why: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing by Lawrence M Krauss

Wow, this was a great book to reasd shortly after Now: The Physics of Time by Richard Muller. While Krauss hardly touches on the "time" aspect of the picture, it helped to have something of a grasp on that part going in. The latest advances in astronomy and physics are somewhat counterintuitive and tricky to grasp but exciting. Kraus pointedly avoids calling the probable dark-energy nature of empty space as the "ether" as some others do, possibly because this would bring too many preconceptions into the discussion. I love the exercise of redefining what "nothing" is. Instead of simply recommending A Universe from Nothing, I strongly push the two books as a one-two punch introduction to what the heck just might be going on, and some discussion of the ultimate (for now) question of what about "before" the Big Bang.

Thanks Obama: Why: My Hopey, Changey White House Years (a speechwriter's memoir) by David Litt

The second in a series of books I have on my list about the Obama years from the inside. This one is from the perspective of one of the more minor speech writers. You find out what a speechwriter really does, how and why. Very instructive – so many speeches are given by so many in the administration and the administration needs to not only keep tabs on what everyone is officially saying, they need a staff to handle what is essentially an advanced editiong job so everyone isn't spending 100% of their time writing their speeches. I could not put this one down – beside, Litt was the source of a number of jokes that eventually made their way into Obama speeches so he can be funny.

The Karamozov Brothers by Dostoevsky

Note the reversal of the "traditional" word order for English Translations. This was a long time coming for me, especially as someone who has read and loved everything else Dostoevsky wrote. My first effort came when I was much younger, getting about a quarter of the way througn the, then pretty standard, Garnett translation and having to quit to avoid catatonia – the same resonse from me as when I first tried to read Dante's Purgatorio and Paradiso, the second two parts to The Divine Comedy, in the old stilted translations.

With the experience behind me of finding a translation of Dante (Birk and Sanders) that not only allowed me to enoy and finish those two volumes but increased considerably what I got out of Inferno, I subsequently looked for a different translation of The Brothers.

First I settled on the highly touted Pevear and Volokhonsky translation, what a blow to my hopes. I got about a third eay through and again, in an act of self defense, quit. Recently I tried again, this time with the Oxford Classics Avsey translation – it was the Dante thing all over again, a great experience.

That being said, and in spite of the fact that the work is obviously Dostoyevski's grand effort to collect all of his questions and observations about life, love, hate, God and family into one volume, it's hardly my favorite. Perhaps that's simply because most of those grand, unanswerable issues don't really reverberate with me that much – having come to the conslusion a long time ago that in the end too much concentraton on coming up with answers to the "big" questions leads people and groups of people into believing that they have found the answers, usually with dangerous consequences. That all too often great evil is hatched from seeds planted with expectations of nothing but good. A simple philosophy of "fiat justitia ruat caelum" keeps me from a lot of self-inflicted stress (essentially not bothering oneself with complicated worries about what is best or most wanted, just keep to what's the right thing to do and let the shit (or skies) fall where it may).

Anyway, this is a great, great translation, the translator making the point in his short introduction that wording of the title into English that is correctly non-formal signals the path he took in translation.

The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks

Sacks' last book, and one I enoyed emensely. Like with many of his previous works, Sacks brings seemingly disparate themes/chapters together to form a whole that makes his point. Not a long read, but like adding a little piece to the igsaw puzzle that is life that brings part of the image into focus.

The Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Not bad, not bad at all. The odd construction actually helped keep me interested. The type of murder mystery one recommends to friends – only slightly demanding but lots of fun, layered and a little surprising. When I was younger I read a number of British murder mysteries – but this is the one genre I've actually found where they often make for better TV dramas (when they stick to the books) than reads. Especially so when, like with the presently airing Strike series, the author is involved with the production. Magpie strikes me as an exception to that observation. I'm highly recommending it to Nan to put on her iPad.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco

A very personal, honest, even self-deprecating account from the White House Deputy Chief of Staff under Obama. Targeting young women who might aspire to a career in politics – as anything but the candidate – it is, sometimes brutally, frank. This is the kind of read from which one gets a picture of the real people behind the proected images we usually see. The one negative to reading this is that I now miss this great bunch of people, especially Obama, even more than before. Great timeing for this book too, one can't resist overlaying what one sees here with what one knows is happening in the White House today and get a sinking feeling in one's gut.