Dec 21, 2007

New Rules 2008


New Rules 2008

If you call my house, you must reveal your name in the first 5.6 seconds. If Oswald can get off 3 shots, surely you can extend me the courtesy most 4-year-olds possess.

No more asking me if I have my Optima/AirMiles/IrrelevantExpress Card. If I’m too stupid not to claim the immense riches offered by these world-class philanthropists, I obviously don’t deserve them.

If you send out a Christmas newsletter, you are hereby obliged to include three negative details about your year. I don’t care that Kaitlin went to the Royal Canadian Mint with her class. I care that your husband got so drunk on St Patrick’s Day he shat in the dishwasher.

New rule... anybody who drinks bottled water, wears Crocs, or watches Access Hollywood is no longer allowed to comment on George Bush’s intelligence.

If you are inside Home Depot and you are wearing an orange apron, stop ignoring me like I'm a leprous amputee panhandler.

If you’re a non-leprous, non-amputee panhandler, get a job; Home Depot seems to have a pretty open-door policy.

Canada no longer has a claim on the North Pole, okay. This is like Woody Allen having a claim to the gold medal in welterweight judo. Also, Canada is not allowed to claim Hans Island from Denmark with a straight face. Hans Island... does not belong to Denmark? We're not even trying. At least say it's actual name is Kuumonnashotpot or something.

Mark's Work Warehouse - no more asking me my postal code. If you want to compile consumer data, you can pay me. Otherwise, BuZ OfF.

Reality check... ‘Your mother’s maiden name?’ is not a security question. At best, it’s a thinly-veiled crack at feminists. What? Internet thieves are savvy enough to hack into your account, but they can't Google your Mom's bio?

Any new supermarket that puts the milk at the front-left rather than the back-right gets all my business from here on in, no questions asked.

Quit telling me to watch ‘House’ and ‘Boston Legal’. My crap schedule is brimming as is. Yes, I know Shatner is funny. Where were you when he took a stab at ‘Rocket Man’?

Okay, this shouldn't even have to be said... you may wear a toque or a scarf indoors if you're cold. You may wear a t-shirt if you're warm. You may not do both, Mr. Twenty-something dorkwad. Yes, I understand you saw this look on The OC or something, but you have just negated every day at high school that you did not get beat up. This "look" makes me want to go back in time, take shop, work out, and beat you up myself.

Quit making me scroll through every country on earth every time I buy something online. If Google knows I’m looking for “barely legal slut-dwarves” when I type in “ba…”, surely the web can take an educated guess as to what fucking country I live in.

Pass this along to 10 friends in the next 5 minutes and your wish will come true – so long as your wish is, “I want 10 people to think I am a sheep.”

Dec 18, 2007

New Yawk

NYC-1778
In case you are so inclined, here are the New Jack City photos.

Fun Fact: You don't wait "in" line in NYC, you wait "on" line.
Who knew?

Mmmmmm... steamed hobo (gurgle)


Yeah, I know... but at least I didn't photograph the guy then get paid for it.

Dec 17, 2007

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Blues.


In the future, we will all have enough spare time to think of, and create, funny shit like this.

Dec 12, 2007

Photography 001


The planets have aligned in such a way as to make people ask me a lot of photo advice this past month... mostly people at work, which makes me worry for my job a little.

Here is a smorgasbord of what I know about photography. Note: there is a heaping tray of stolen advice at this buffet.

First off... you must own a Nikon. All other cameras are forged from steel that was recovered from Hiroshima, Oklahoma City and Mount Doom. The plastic is coagulated artery plaque from the Mayo Clinic and the glass is made of evil.

1) Seriously, it doesn't matter what camera you own. Ken Rockwell explains. Ken is one of those 'love him or hate him' guys. One thing for sure, this guy has no time for armchair photographers.

2) There is no excuse to not experiment with your digital camera. It's f*cking free, man! Don't Google... Shoot!

3) The secret to great photographs is this: unusual light. I don't mean weird, I mean not usual. There's a reason back-lit portraits and dusty light beams coming through a stained glass window look cool. It's because you normally never see this. Contrasty is eye-catching and eye-catching is interesting. Flat is flat.

4) Good outdoor photographs are not shot between 10AM and 3PM. Refer to above. Everybody takes photos between 10 and 3. That's why you shouldn't. They call it magic hour for a reason.

5) Never buy what you can rent (or borrow). If you've rented it 3 times, then maybe it's time to think about buying. I always wanted to own a 300mm f2.8; then I rented one. Fuggedaboudit. $20 spent; $700 saved. If you rent from Vistek, that's okay by me, but you are going to Hell. And by Hell, I mean Vistek.

6) If you see something old/vintage/run-down that is begging to be shot, shoot it soon, otherwise it will be torn down or renovated - I guarantee it. There are about a dozen personal examples I could cite.

7) There is no shame in setting your $1000 camera to "Auto-Everything". I say this only because I used to do this all the time, and it makes me feel better. Eventually, I was dragged kicking and screaming back to manual. But if you're shooting kids, 'M' will make you want to kill your children, and that's no good. New cameras are smarter than most of us when it comes to exposure.

8) The "Rule of Thirds" is a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason. Use it.

9) Bonus: "photographers" in a photo scrum on TV are extras who have no idea what they're doing. They are not taking photos, they are triggering the flash with their left hand. Also, in old movies, there is usually no film in the camera (or tape in the recorder). Note: if you're bored enough to consciously look for this, then the movie you are watching sucks.

10) Back up your photos, or your wife will eventually flay your arm with a carrot peeler when you lose them. NEVER delete anything, even completely black pictures. Your skin is worth it.

11) Move in close. The worst thing you can do is take family photos where you can't see faces. Nobody cares that your aunt is wearing Manolo Blahniks. (If your fat uncle is wearing Crocs, you might want to save that.)

12) It doesn't matter if the lighting's better, never make people squint into the damn sun, especially kids. You will be marked for death and I will help.

13) If you take a photo of a sunset, it better have a UFO, the Ark of the Covenant and the Grassy Knoll sniper in it, otherwise you're wasting your time. Know any famous sunset photos? Me neither.

14) Nobody. Nobody. Nobody... gives a shit about your pet. Even you. Take the shot, if you must, but don't show me.

15) New rule: no more posed social photos. John and I can only surreptitiously give you the finger so many times.

16) Alter your photos after the fact. How much? 'Til they look cool, that's how much. You want to be a purist? Work for the New York Times. Whoops! Never mind.

17) When the camera store weenie says you need a UV filter for your new lens, this is the only time they are not bullshitting you, and it has nothing to do with UV light. A cracked filter beats a cracked lens. Then buy online - it's way cheaper.

I guess that's about it. I'm starting to get ranty.

-JS

Dec 11, 2007

Weapons-grade heckler repellant.


One of the benefits of George Carlin getting old and crusty is the way he now handles hecklers.

(NSFA, where "A" is "Anywhere".)

Dec 10, 2007

Coolest. Invention. Ever.


The perfect gift for paranoiacs everywhere. Turns a solid wall into a faux-window. The twisty-stick controls the brightness!

Dec 5, 2007

JFFK

In case you're curious, here's the director's cut of the Series Finale promo for Across the River to Motor City:

video

Schpeed Bump


Germans... always over-reacting.
Link

Guacamolito Sauce.


Because I have nothing original to add to the world today, I offer someone else's labours.

Gentlemen, I give you Taco Town.

Update: this is no longer on YouTube, but it can be tracked down.

Nov 28, 2007

Videos

Just so they're accessible, I decided to upload videos directly to where they are needed... and not attacked by YouTube trolls.

Bachelor Finale Fall 2007
video

Hells Kitchen Finale Summer 2007

Nov 26, 2007

Parenting 101


Nobody told me this stuff before, so I thought I'd shout it out to the "Cavern of Crickets and Tumbleweed", otherwise known as my blog.

Rule #1
When you have the kids to yourself for the weekend, they will independently get up at 6:15 (subtract 7 minutes for each beer you consumed the previous evening). On Monday they will sleep in. Isn’t that nice?

Rule #2
If you remember to bring diapers, soothers, parkas, snow-pants, a bottle of chilled milk, Kleenex, raisins, stuffed animals, a bib, chocolate cookies, hats, mitts, scarves, Thomas trains and Robeez on a vehicular excursion, you will - by virtue of Newton's 4th law - forget wipes. Then your daughter will poo; the viscosity being proportional to the income of the people you are visiting.

Rule #3
If you let them “burn off some steam” by themselves, children will run into something that leaves a bruise shaped like an adult fist. When asked about this by their mother, they mysteriously won’t remember the cause. However, when others ask, injured children will say something like, “Daddy has a penis.” The older one will corroborate.

Rule #4
When serving children their 3 most favorite foods in the universe – food that their mother would strike you for even entertaining - you will not have the ingredients for chocolate milk. This will negate all fun that you have had in the previous 48 hours. Chocolate milk administered in the next hour will only make it worse.

Rule #5
Children sleeping in a moving car are subjected to an Einsteinian phenomenon known as “REM acceleration”, which stipulates that as one approaches the speed of light, time is sped up while mass increases. Thus, a 2-hour nap is completed in 15 minutes with a measurable increase in diaper mass. Sucks to be you.

Rule #6
PVRs are programmed to cut off the last, crucial seconds of all Dora and Diego stories. Revealing how the story ends is of little avail. Chocolate milk should be administered.

Nov 22, 2007

Ones and zeros, and lots of 'em.


(Sound of Homer drooling)

I'm a pretty big fan of the PC game. That's why I don't generally buy them - family responsibilities and all. But have a gander at this.

Iridium flares.


Here's something I first heard about this summer. As you know, there are satellites up there - you can see them at night and have arguments with whomever you're camping with as to whether or not they're planes.

Some of them have big solar arrays. The most notable are the Iridium satellites that service Iridium satellite phones (so named because they are really valuable, rare, and brittle).

Every now and then - at predictable times - they reflect light from the Sun to us, often at a brightness more impressive than Venus (magnitude -4.4). This "flare" lasts just a couple of seconds. Heavens Above tells you when to see one in your area, and where to look. What they do not tell you is that it is always cloudy at that time.

Nov 20, 2007

Passport Update.


Michelle and I just completed a pretty user-fiendly friendly on-line passport application. We're on track for a quick turnaround, but I have this nagging feeling that I accidentally clicked Cape Verde instead of Canada.

Mission Accomplished.


Hey, I'm no fan of crap TV that is going to get canceled in 4 days, but this guy does the best Dubya I've ever seen. (Click on the audio button for "Frank TV" on the main Onion page). Not a bad Dr. Phil, either.

I've seen this guy before, and I have a strong sense that this guy is being SNL'd into way more than he can handle. I really hope I'm wrong.

Nov 16, 2007

Media whores (with hearts of gold).


Anyone interested in the commoditization of modern art might want to watch this interview with Harlan Ellison.

It's a great (and blessedly brief) alternate viewpoint to the uber-capitalist ethic of most mainstream art - strangely enough, by a man demanding more money for little work. It also makes a very timely point, considering the writers' strike in Hollywood.

In my dealings with the world of microstock photography, there are two huge camps of people: those who feel that amateurs are "racing to the bottom" in their drive to achieve micro-fame and pico-money... and those who feel that getting some money for their art is better than not getting any. I am pretty firmly in the latter camp, but I can certainly see their point.

See this thread for a glimpse into the world of micro-haters. My (hard-earned) 2 cents is on display near the end. Note, also, that there are far more involved discussions within Flickr on this subject.

Nov 15, 2007

Second "Life"


From the makers of bottled water...

There is a game out there where (700,000) people just walk around and interact with other agoraphobic avatars. You can get a job, buy sh*t, go to strip clubs.

Is it just me, or does this makes "phone sex" seem quaint?

Among other things that would make you think you were being had, there is a woman who has amassed a (real) fortune by speculating on (virtual) real estate! Beat that, Tripp!

There is also someone who is collecting major dollars by stocking up virtual stores with her virtual clothing line!

I have a feeling I'm 16 months off the curve here, but this is pretty psycho. (On the bright side, playing D&D in the 80's is starting to look like joining the Peace Corps.)

Wiki article.

Who Dirty?


Another classic. It must have been the sight of Lieutenants Matisko and Thibault that brought back my craving for this duo.

(Boy, this ripping people off thing is tiring work.)

Nov 14, 2007

Put your junk in that box.


By popular demand - which is to say, one person mentioned this in passing the other day - here is the number one gift request for Christmas. (Just when you wanted to dismiss Justin Timberlake for the rest of your life).

Nov 13, 2007

Please stand by...


When technical errors go perfectly right.

Fun stuff.

This video shows that not all stupid ideas end badly. Even when they should.

...

All this space hijinx is funny and all, but the question still remains: Has anyone done it.

...

An oldie, but a goodie... push button, receive bacon.

...

If you've ever wondered what the rules are at the Soup Nazi's.

Movie (ahem) physics.


This site is a nitpicker's paradise; made for anyone who has ever had a little chuckle over Hollywood's inability to adhere to reality. Movies are even rated for how preposterous they are.
(Extra-special consideration given to the thesis-worthy 'Revenge of the Shit Sith'.)

Nov 12, 2007

CSI: Etobicoke

This was shot around sundown this past Saturday. Robert Byron Pyke supplied the cool-ass 10-20mm lens and the second flash, behind Mike.

Gord and Mike supplied their jaded mugs for this gritty spin-off.

(No word yet on the whereabouts of the 'Locomotive Lopper', as the police are calling him.) The rest of the shots are here.

Nov 9, 2007

Area couple drinks Kool-Aid.


The digital duo on Glenlake have just added their gear to the Big Nikon List.
No word on anybody else (looking at you, Mike and Widge).

Ken Murray. Genius.


If you dig seeing your friends reap the rewards they deserve, have a peek at Ken's award-winning fiction.

If, on the other hand, you like seeing the worst photo possible of said friend.

Thanks for the invite to the only best reading I have ever attended.

(Ken, you and I have a date with a cool location and some strobes.)

Jet Blue for cheap-o flights.

These guys got us a return flight for 2 to NYC for $357 US return. The catch is, you have to go out of Buffalo. As you might imagine, Pearson and Air Gouge Canada was significantly more dear.

Something to consider for XYNYX.

Nov 8, 2007

New Nikon Pool Update


M. Pyke has added his 2 cents, which is to say, his 2 grand.
See below.

Coolest. Ring light. Ever.



You may or may not know that Strobist geeks enthusiasts are obsessed with the fabrication of a cheap ring light. This guy wins, in my book:

The "ring light look" is a hot button at flickr, mostly because the pros who have exploited ring-lights for 30 years now say the look is "over".

This new design reminds of something even geekier.

Nov 7, 2007

Please submit your Nikon catalog.


Thanks to smarter people than me, we now have a group Nikon pool.
I have the following gear, available for borrowing almost anytime.
(Please respond with your gear inventory)

Jack's:

D70s
Battery grip
IR remote
SB-600 flash (with Sto-Fen Omni-bounce and gels)
Stock wide zoom (18-60mm)
f2.8 Macro/portrait lens (60mm) (90mm equiv.)

Non-nikon (not that it matters):
2 Pocket Wizards
Tripod
Lightstand
Clamp
Lens hood

Pyke's:

Nikon
D200 w/kung fu grip
SB-800 flash and 1m cable
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6
Sigma 18-50mm F2.8
Nikon 28-200mm F4-5.6
Sigma 170-500mm F5-6.3
circular polazizer and 81A (red) filters
Film stuff: F90X and SB-28
Misc. Stuff
Manfrotto awesome tri-pod + couple of crap tripods
disc reflector
large black canvas sheet for backdrop

Wenderson Additions:

D40x
AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 G IF-ED Lens with Nikon Neutral Colour Filter

Matisko

Nikon D70s camera
Vivitar 19mm f3.8
Tamron 28 - 300mm (both lenses predate digital so focal lengths are longer with digital body)
Cokin filter system - nice clearspot filter
small gorillapod (coolio tripod)
regular tripod
Vivitar 285 flash (so old it's groovy again)
off camera flash cable

Nov 6, 2007

27th Annual Juried Art Show

If you only do ONE thing this month that supports the arts in north-west Etobicoke...

this is it!

I have a photo in the show. Enjoy.

First (past the) Post

This is a blog. You don't care. I'm good with that.