We are living in a digital world and I am a digital boy.
Oh crap. Now I'm going to have Madonna running through my head all day.
Anyway, the truth of the matter is that I am a digital boy. I love living in a digital world where I can take my entire music collection with me on my PowerBook. I love being able to take a photo on my digital camera and then digitally send it to my digital photo software and digitally do whatever the heck I want to digitally do to it.
But that's not really a digital world at all, is it? I want an actual digital world to live in... like The Matrix or something...
Flying around, blowing shit up, kicking asses with kung-fu... how friggin' sweet would that be? Plug me in!
In the meanwhile, I just have to be content with what's available now.
But when it comes to photographs, this kind of sucks because everything I have before 2001 is on film. Boxes and boxes and boxes of film. Transferring my CDs into iTunes was a pain in the ass, but I managed it. Transferring my film into iPhoto is another matter entirely. It would take days of sitting in front of my computer with an expensive scanner, and I just don't have that kind of time.
Enter a company called "DigMyPics" who will handle the drudgery of scanning your film for you.
For a price.
A pretty big price. I sent in a test batch of 920 photos to be scanned and ended up paying a cool $600 for the privilege. Was it worth it? Well, for those of you who are interested in this stuff, I've put the answer in an extended entry.
For those of you who are not interested, come back tomorrow when Bad Monkey will be making an appearance. Because everybody just loves a monkey.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I finally got around to finishing up the last hour of VH1's I Love Toys show and have to say I am monumentally disappointed. THE HULA-HOOP IS THE #1 TOY OF ALL TIME?!? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of. The Hula-Hoop was a fad... not a great toy at all.
But the show was great fun, and did remind me of my favorite toys from over the years. With nothing better to do, I decided to come up with my own list of top ten best...
Speaking of toys... Boing Boing had a link a while back as to how you can make photos look like tiny little models. I gave it a try and ended up with this shot of Toy Shanghai...
Yesterday I made the mistake of visiting Brookstone and trying out one of those magical computerized "massage chairs". You sit down and press buttons that makes the chair come alive and give you a massage. There are a variety of modes to choose from... you can get a Swedish massage, a Shiatsu massage, or anything in-between. You can get a hard massage or a soft massage. You can have a heated massage or a vibrating massage. You can even have the chair massage your ass.
I turned on everything.
It was actually painful. But in a good way.
It was SO good, that I had to resist the urge to touch myself inappropriately...
By the time it was over, I was ready to buy. But there were three problems...
After goofing around the East-side this afternoon, I said goodbye to my friends there and headed Seattle-side.
Since our Cabo San Lucas plans were scuttled, my friend and I decided to stay downtown so she could take me out for birthday dinner and we could wander around the Market in the morning. We would have taken a look tonight, but everything was closing just as we arrived. The sunset was nice though...
Our room overlooks the new Seattle Public Library. This freaky building seems interesting, and sure photographs nicely from a distance...
Unfortunately, it looks like total crap from street level. Kind of like they took six really cool buildings, then smashed them all together at unpleasant angles or something. Not a pretty picture to me, but it does have its fans.
And now, if you'll excuse me, it's ice cream time.
ICE CREEEEAM!! ICE CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAM!!
Oh yeah... thanks to everybody who was kind enough to send their birthday wishes... I feel much loved. :-)
It's 11:00am and I haven't gotten out of bed yet. Well, I did get up to go to the bathroom, but that was only because I had to. I simply must invest in adult diapers for Sunday mornings (and to think I was embarrassed to buy toilet paper).
Last night my trusty photo scanner broke. It was old and slow, so I suppose I should be okay with the situation... but it was a bummer to have to spend all morning trying to decide on a new one. I think I have it narrowed down to a cheap-ass Epson, because I couldn't find what I really want, which is a tabloid (11" X 17") scanner.
The entire ordeal started when I went to sort through my photo negatives so I can get another batched scanned by DigMyPics. Eventually I realized that a large number of film negatives are missing. This means that a huge chunk of my life exists only on paper photos that are going to fade and fall apart. This is not okay.
If the pictures are gone, how can I see what I looked like 20 years ago at Expo 86?
Or remember how beautiful a Maui beach is at sunset back when it wasn't jammed with people?
Sure photo scans are not as good as having the film negatives scanned directly, but I guess I have the memories to go with them, so it's better than nothing. I wish I could go back in time and hand myself a digital camera.
Okay, time to eat a Pop-Tart for breakfast...
Today is the Memorial Day holiday, which isn't much of a holiday at all when you have to work.
The drive back from Seattle-side was uneventful because I headed out early before there was any traffic on the roads. It was still overcast and drizzling in the city when I left, then poured rain all the way over Stevens Pass. Once I was over the pass, however, everything changed. The skies opened up to a glorious blue and, by the time I made it home, there wasn't a cloud in the sky (really!).
This was nice for the Memorial Day services going on at our local cemetery because they display hundreds of flags (one for each veteran killed in service, I think). If it rains, they can't hang the flags since they have nowhere to dry so many of them. And if the ceremony was cancelled, I'd miss this beautiful site...
With apologies to R.W. (who is wanting a new flag design), I must say that the "Stars and Stripes" sure looks great against that flawless blue sky! If you look closely at the second photo, you can see how they mark each pennant that goes up with somebody's name.
I am not a big fan of the cemetery. For one thing, a good chunk of my family (not to mention my best friend) are buried there, and it's kind of depressing to be reminded that they have gone. When I picture them in my head, I see them as if they're still alive... but here in the cemetery it's hard to see them as anything but dead. I suppose that's why I don't visit very often.
One thing I do find interesting is the mystical symbols that are carved on various tombstones. In particular, the inverted pentagram seems to be a popular choice. I always thought this was a sign of heavy metal music or satan worshipers, and yet here it is all over the place, and always on lady's headstones...
Since heavy metal wasn't around back when these people were alive, I am guessing it means that they are satan worshipers. That woman in the middle must be hard-core, because she's got a hammer on hers as well! But when I look at the names of the people buried under the markers and see "Mae" and "Betty" and "Eleanor" and "Mabel"... well, those don't seem much like the names of satan worshipers does it?
I guess that means they were heavy metal fans after all... just really, really ahead of their time.
Work was in Tacoma today, which is about an hour south of Seattle and the "TAC" in SeaTac International Airport. It's a noteworthy city to me because of one man: Dale Chihuly. I am a huge, huge fan of his stunning glass artwork, and Tacoma is a showcase for some of the best of it (probably because it's his home town).
Surprisingly, even though Chihuly is a huge backer of The Museum of Glass, his work in not a major part of the museum's relatively small gallery floor (you need to go to the Tacoma Museum of Art to see a permanent Chichuly exhibit). But you do get to see live glassblowing here and a few beautiful pieces of Chihuly art in the "Hot Spot" balcony...
From the museum, you can walk across the "Bridge of Glass" and see even more Chihuly, including a glass ceiling that is breathtaking when the sun is shining through it...
Once across the bridge, you can enter Union Station and see five amazing Chihuly installations in glorious open spaces...
Who could have ever guessed that Tacoma, Washington would end up being the "Venice of the West"?? I just consider myself lucky that such an amazing display is only three hours away from my home.
Anyway, then it was back to the airport so I could catch a quick 50-minute flight to Spokane (which is about 4-1/2 to 5 hours by car). My flight was delayed (what else is new) but I managed to catch an earlier plane. Once I arrived and picked up my rental car, I discovered something surprising with my Subaru Legacy... can somebody tell me when they started making semi-automatic cars?
I call it "semi-automatic" because, while there's no clutch, you'll note that there is a "+" and "-" on the gear-box which allows you to change gears, just like a manual transmission. It's a very odd driving experience, but not bad once you get used to it.
First stop in Spokane was, of course, to eat THE BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD at David's Pizza. I debated going out for a movie, but I've seen Pirates and Superman already, so there's not much else I want to see until Clerks II hits this weekend. Oh well. You won't hear me complaining about calling it a night and getting a few extra hours sleep.
By the time I get off work here in Seattle, all the cool shops are closing up for the day. This really blows since I'm just across the street from one of my favorite comic book stores.
Because of this, I have two things I can do at night that don't involve something illegal or deeply frowned upon by the local authorities... eat and drink. So this evening I decided to go have some yummy Cappellacci di Zucca from Il Fornaio. And the only thing better than the food tonight was the view, because there was a really cute girl at the table next to mine. Seriously cute. I totally started falling in love with her as I was eating my breadsticks. At least I was falling in love with her until she opened her mouth to have a bite of her pasta... and never closed it again.
GACK!! SHE CHEWS WITH HER MOUTH OPEN!!
Gross! First I was happy that she was there, but then I was disgusted that she was there... nobody wants to see some bitch smackin' away on their dinner like that while they try to eat.
Oh well. Despite the rain, it's actually kind of a nice evening out. As I looked out over the deck, a ferry boat was passing by...
One more day. Cannot... keep... eyes... open... must... have... sleep...
The refrigerator in my room makes noise that keeps me up at night, so I unplugged it and decided to leave my leftover pizza in the car. I expected that the pizza would stay cool... I did not expect that it would be frozen solid. The good news is that I was able to reheat my pizza for breakfast by setting the box on the dashboard of my rental car and turning the defroster on. 23 minutes on high thaws out and warms up a couple slices of Pizza Hut "Thin-n-Crispy" quite nicely. Breadsticks are thicker, and required 35 minutes. Breakfast is served.
In-between jobs, I decided to take out my new Canon
Time to visit the beautiful Milwaukee Museum of Art.
I haven't been there since they remodeled years ago, and this was just the excuse I needed.
The review that follows is in-depth but not exhaustive. I've put the full text in an extended entry in the event that people find photos of art and camera talk to be boring.
However, if you are looking for info on a pretty darn good compact camera, then by all means read onward...→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
I love panoramic photography, but the cameras required to take good panorama shots are really expensive... $3500 minimum. About the only affordable option open to me is to take a bunch of pictures and then stitch them together using Photoshop or some other utility. The problem is that the results are never that great. Things never quite match up and you end up with Frankenstein-type collages that won't fool anybody...
Even worse, every time you want to make a pano in Photoshop, you have to fire up the "Bridge" application which sucks ass. And even with "advance blending" and all the other stuff turned on, you still end up with a composite that has mismatched buildings and poor blending (which is kind of hard to see when I shrink it down)...
The new Photoshop CS3 Beta has an incredible new panorama stitcher that does an amazing job without the need to fire up Bridge. Not only does it warp and stretch to get really accurate edge matches, but it also shifts the color to make everything blend beautifully (even when viewed at full-resolution). It has me going through all my old photos to see how they stitch up...
Chicago Skyline, Illinois
Harbor in Reykjavik, Iceland
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Goblin Valley, Utah
Goblin Valley, Utah
In fact, the stitching abilities built into Photoshop CS3 are so mind-boggling cool and easy that I find myself looking at the world as a series of panoramas. I can't wait to take more of them.
New Photoshop is fun.
In totally unrelated "new" news... I received an email alerting me to new DVD releases that had The NEW Adventures of He-Man on the list. This puzzled me greatly, because I never knew that there were any NEW adventures of He-Man. After some serious Google investigation, I discovered that there was indeed a second series way back in 1990.
But look what they did to the poor bastard...
What the f#@% happened to his tan?
You can't be having no pasty-ass He-Man!
Despite the totally butch name and kick-ass physique, He-Man has never been a particularly macho dude. Maybe it was the little pageboy haircut or something. But he was tan. Now they've taken that away from him. And it's not like a ponytail and hot-pants did anything to up the testosterone quotient. He-Man looks like he's starring in a gay pirate movie.
This is just sad.
Not that there's anything wrong with gay pirate movies. It's just that He-Man shouldn't be starring in them.
Unless He-Man actually is gay, in which case I feel I owe him an apology or something. Maybe new He-Man is just being who he really is? He's out, he's proud, AND he's got the Sword of Power?
Just don't tell me that he's f#@%ing Skeletor, because that I could not take.
I've just turned on the television. The Sound of Music is playing and Julie Andrews is singing about how once a woman is married she becomes her husband's property. This movie must have been filmed back in the good old days when you could own a woman outright. Given most of the women I know today, this is a pretty funny concept.
A foot of snow was unexpectedly dumped on us overnight. I only realized it when I heard a snowplow scraping by at the utterly ridiculous hour of 7:00am. But, by the time I left at 10:00, the sun was shining through a brilliant blue sky...
Sure, the snow makes driving a total disaster, but it sure looks pretty.