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Walt Disney World Is Turning 50

Posted on May 14th, 2021

Dave!This October Walt Disney World will celebrate its 50th anniversary. I know this because I saw an article about it after I woke up this morning. I almost feel obligated to go since I was there for their 25th anniversary. Back in the late Fall of 1997 I was in Orlando for training. My mom asked if she could tag along and so she went too. It was our first time traveling together by ourselves... but wouldn't be our last. Not by a longshot.

I had training for two days. While I was in class, mom would sit by the pool at the Buena Vista Palace and read a book. On the third day we moved to Disney's Wilderness Lodge for the remainder of the week. At the time there were only three parks... Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney MGM Studios (eventualy named "Disney Studios"). Animal Kingdom wouldn't open for another year yet. I had been to Disney World once before, but mom never had, so it was a lot of fun.

The iconic symbol of the entire 25th anniversary celebration was turning Cinderella Castle into a massive, heinous, pink birthday cake (NOTE: All these photos are old scans from a cheap APS camera, so they don't look great... sorry)...

The hideous Cinderella Castle Birthday Cake all gaudy in pink and yellow.
This was supposed to be an APS "tall print" but got printed regular,
so it's chopped off... my mom is still there though!

You could see the ugly thing from afar...

The hideous Cinderella Castle Birthday Cake all gaudy in pink and yellow.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge is my favorite of all the on-property resorts. It's pretty much an attraction unto itself. There was all kinds of things to see and do... including renting tiny little speedboats. Despite being in the Navy, mom was afraid of water since nearly drowning as a kid. Even so, she was a trooper and had a great time as we went buzzing around Bay Lake...

Mom in a mini speedboat.

Mom in a mini speedboat.

It's definitely the best vantage point to look back at the Wilderness Lodge...

Disney's Wilderness Lodge as seen from the waters of Bay Lake.

Interesting to note that DisneyQuest... a kind of advanced arcade... was being built at the time I was there, though it wouldn't open until the following Summer. It would close in 2016 once Downtown Disney was transformed into Disney Springs..

The DisneyQuest Building at Downtown Disney, which is now known as Disney Springs.

The following week was spent driving over to Kennedy Space Center... then onward to Disney's Vero Beach Resort for a couple nights... then driving down the coast to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami... then finishing our trip in Key West...

The Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center

Ft. Lauderdale Beach Sign

Key West Southmost Point in the Continental USA Buoy.

Downtown Key West.

Sooooo... yeah... that was 1997, 24-some-odd frickin' years ago when I was young, handsome, and had the world at my feet. Not like now where I'm old, grizzled, and have been buried by the weight of the world.

I do have a much better camera now, however, so there's that.

   

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Posted on November 13th, 2020

Dave!Back when my iPhone was mostly used as a phone, I didn't care so much about upgrading. But now that my iPhone is used mostly as a camera, getting the latest model has become increasingly important to me. The better my camera-phone gets, the less I have to lug around my "real" DSLR camera. And thanks to the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program I can actually afford to upgrade. This year, getting the best camera came with an added surprise... it's not available on the "Pro" model, it's only on the "Pro MAX" model. AKA Apple's "HUGE F#$!%@ PHONE" model. Knowing Apple has a two-week return policy, I decided to see if the MAX was something I could live with because I want that phone.

And today it arrived.

Let's just go straight to the elephant in the room... or, to be more accurate, the elephant in my hand. This phone is ridiculously huge. Almost bordering on comically impractically huge. And heavy. From a usability standpoint, Apple seriously should not have gone this large. Because there's simply no getting around the fact that this is a two-handed device. Even when Apple has features like a slim "side keyboard" for typing one-handed, you will still have way too many controls out of reach and end up using a second hand. Even when you have fairly large hands like I do.

But we'll get to that. We'll get to all of that
   

Packaging and Contents

The packaging for my new iPhone is a classy, minimalistic affair. Apple kindly has pull-tabs on everything so it's easy to unwrap and open...

The iPhone 12 Pro Max sitting in its box.

I bought the Pacific Blue color, which is very nice... though difficult to photograph. As has been widely reported, Apple does not include a charger or headphones. All you get is a cable. Apple says that this is because there are too many charger bricks out there already, but it's an absurd stance to take. The vast, vast majority of chargers are USB-A. Furthermore, even if you have a USB-C charger, it's very likely not the 20 watt brick which means you won't get fast charging. The brick I got with the 11 Pro is only 18 watt, so even last year's model isn't good enough. I guess I'm not too mad about it... my phone charges overnight so it can be slow... but it's still more than a little bit infuriating.
   

Stylings & Construction

My favorite iPhone of all time is the iPhone 4. Absolutely stunning construction with that classy metal band holding everything together like a glass sandwich. They more-or-less carried over the design to the iPhone 5, but the 4 remained my favorite. Everything that followed was a step down... until Apple decided to resurrect the design for the iPhone 12 Pro. And, let me tell you, it's gorgeous. The band is now tinted stainless steel and looks amazing...

The iPhone 12 Pro Max stainless steel band.

I deeply regret having to put a case on the thing because it's just so pretty, but I have to keep it in flawless condition for the Apple iPhone Upgrade Program. Oh well. When it comes to construction, the iPhone 12 Pro Max sure feels substantial and solid. The glass back is etched for grippability, but still feels a little slickery. The thickness seems the same as my old 11 Pro... with the exception of the camera bump which pokes out quite a bit more. So much more that the phone doesn't lay flat when you put a case on it and set it on a table. That's annoying, but it's the price you pay for the camera you get.
   

Jacked

I'm going to break this out in it's own space because it' just so idiotic... the iPhone 12 line still doesn't use a USB-C jack for charging or connectivity! They finally moved iPad and Macs to USB-C, but iPhone is still tied to Apple's proprietary "Lightning" connector. This is just inexcusably stupid. Apple says they keep it because there's so many Lightning devices out there, but that's a laughably weak argument to make considering they've abandoned absolutely everything in their recent history. You are trying to tell us that there were not a lot of USB-A devices out there? Go sell that crap somewhere else. Just move to USB-C and get it over with.
   

Setup

A hallmark of Apple products is their ease of setup and use. But that's not always the case, and it seems that setup complications keep getting more and more severe while happening more and more often. Sadly, my iPhone 12 Pro MAX experience was far from ideal. The concept is that you set your old phone next to your new phone when you turn it on and everything transfers over. That part was fairly smooth. My activation and settings magically popped up with no problem. Mostly. Some apps, like Amazon Alexa and Schlage, required a login to get started. Other apps, like Smart Life and Hue, were ready to go immediately. No big deal. What was a big deal was when I got to my Apple Watch. You are not allowed to just click on the Watch app and have everything working. Nope! First you have to unpair with the old phone. Which would be fine. Except I couldn't make it happen because nothing... and I mean nothing I tried work. Either nothing happened or I couldn't get verified by the Apple ID Server...

Verification Failed.

After trying over and over and over to get past this, I finally Googled to see if I could do it another way. Turns out I could unpair by remotely wiping it from iCloud. Jeez. That was a mess with a lot of trial-and-error that took 20 minutes of my time, but eventually it happened. But that was only the beginning. THEN I got this...

Reset your Apple ID message.

Which sucks because now I'm going to have to change the password on all my Apple devices. It's just so phenomenally stupid. YOU HAVE TO LOGIN WITH YOUR CURRENT PASSWORD TO CHANGE THE PASSWORD. IF SOMEBODY WASN'T ABLE TO GET IN TO BEGIN WITH, WHAT DOES THIS SOLVE?!? As it turns out, nothing. Because THEN I got this...

Pairing Failed message.

And this is exactly what I was talking about. Apple's ease of setup is only good when it works. When it doesn't work, the entire system is a massive barrier to getting anywhere. After nearly an hour-and-a-half of work, I finally got my watch to unpair, erase, pair and restore. But holy crap what a stupid ordeal. Do better, Apple. This is Microsoft-Windows-level pathetic.
   

Battery

My iPhone arrived this morning at 11:15am at about 75% full. It's now 10:00pm and it's down to 50% full. My guess is that it only dropped that much because of all the setup and playing around I've been doing. It seems likely that I won't ever have to worry about battery life seeing as how I charge it every night and never once had my iPhone X or iPhone 11 Pro run out of power. I expect that it will continue not being a problem with the 12 Pro MAX. The MagSafe charging puck I ordered hasn't arrived yet, so I can't comment how it works or how fast it is with my 18 watt charger instead of the brand new 20 watt charger you're supposed to buy in order to get fast charging. The phone is so huge that it's tough to position on my Qi wireless charger and I'm assuming the MagSafe puck will be easier. It better be for $30.
   

Display

The OLED Super Retina display is definitely pretty. It's bright and saturated and anything you put on it looks great, just like it did on my old iPhone 11 Pro. However... after having seen the new "ProMotion" display on my iPad Pro which refreshes at 120 Hz, the poky 60 Hz refresh rate on this phone seems almost primitive. Other manufacturers have gone to 120 Hz, so I don't know what the deal is with Apple. My guess would be battery life, but it seems weird that they haven't been able to figure it out so that the user can choose whether display or battery is important to them. I barely use 25% of my battery each day, so I'd absolutely click the preference for ProMotion. Because once you've seen the buttery-smooth optics of a high refresh rate, going backwards is really quite jarring. For Apple's sake, I hope iPhone 13 Pro has ProMotion, because anything less is pretty embarrassing.
   

Sound

For some reason I thought that massive size of the MAX would have better sound than the "standard" size iPhone Pro. This doesn't seem to be the case. Out of their respective cases, the sound is not noticeably different between my old phone and new phone. Not that this is disappointing... far from it. I still cannot fathom how Apple manages to get such phenomenal sound out of a frickin phone that's so thin. No, it's never going to rival what you can get out of a dedicated speaker, but what you do get is better than I ever expect.
   

Size

And so here we are. Remember how I was talking about how the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 were my favorite iPhone designs of all time? One of the things I loved about them was how beautifully compact they were. When I made the jump from iPhone 8 to the iPhone X, the size increase was tough to take. Jumping up again to the MAX is beyond tough to take. Just look at the iPhone 5 next to my new iPhone 12 Pro MAX...

The tiny iPhone 5 next to my new iPhone 12 Pro MAX.

The MAX is what's considered a "phablet," which is a hybrid phone/tablet. I never thought I would own one. Who wants a massive phone to lug around? The jump from 11 Pro to 12 Pro MAX looks like this...

The tiny iPhone 5 next to my new iPhone 12 Pro MAX.

After spending the day with it, I'm still not sure how I feel about the size. I really hate not being able to operate it one-handed. With practice I might be able to get some functionality back, but way too many controls are always out of reach. It's hugely frustrating. On the plus side, the other size-related drawbacks that I thought would be a problem ended up not being a problem at all. It fits in my pockets just fine (shirts, pants, jeans, and jackets). I can shoot with the camera one-handed. It's not uncomfortable to hold or use as a phone. And it doesn't seem to get in my way like I imagined it would.

When it comes to what I like about the size? That large screen is phenomenal for looking at photos. This cannot be overstated. The difference is not subtle. It may not seem like a massive change on paper, but the MAX feels more like looking at a photograph. I absolutely love that. I think back to all the times I've shown people images from my phone and how they have to squint and put their face up to it... and it's hard to imagine going back. And then there's gaming. Slow 60 Hz refresh rate aside, the larger size is SO much nicer for playing games. And watching movies. And reading. And just looking at... well... everything. The larger size allows for things to display a touch larger as well, so if you have aging eyes like mine it offers a slightly better experience to boot.

My guess is that I will be keeping the MAX rather than returning it for the "regular" 12 Pro. Even setting the superior camera aside, there are too many nice things about the large screen I'm enjoying which offset the inconvenience of having to use two hands sometimes.
   

Camera

The initial hot take from reviewers who got an advanced phone sent to them was that the photography difference between the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone Pro 12 MAX was not quite the leap everybody was expecting. The larger sensor does have slightly less noisy images in low-light... but it's nothing mind-blowing. You get more detail in the shadows... but not so vast that most people will notice. There's extra length on the telephoto at 2.5x vs. 2x... but it's not going to make a massive difference in the long run (so to speak). The sensor-shift optical stabilization reduces shake a bit... but not so much that you'll be able to get radically sharper photos while moving. It's all subtle degrees of change instead of some kind of revolution. And yet... I will take whatever advantage I can get, no matter how small. Most all I care about when it comes to my iPhone is the photos I can take. If the MAX is what it takes to get the best, then that's what I want.

Though the difference between 12 Pro and 12 Pro MAX cameras may not be huge, the difference between them and my 11 Pro very much is. The first photo I took was of Jake when he plopped down next to me after I got home. It was starting to get dark, so it wasn't especially bright. First I shot it with the 11 Pro, which dropped into 1-second Night Mode and got me this image (cropped to about 70%)...

Jake next to my on the iPhone 11 Pro.

Then the 12 Pro Max, which did not drop into Night Mode, got me this image (cropped to about 70%)...

Jake next to my on the iPhone 12 Pro MAX.

Now, I don't mind saying that I was a little disappointed. They both look similar, don't they? The 12 Pro MAX is a little bit more clear, but that's just because it didn't have to expose the scene for a full second. Then I zoomed in further and saw just how much more clear the 12 Pro MAX is. Here's the 11 Pro...

Jake next to my on the iPhone 11 Pro (close-up).

And here's the 12 Pro MAX...

Jake next to my on the iPhone 12 Pro MAX (close-up).

And... there it is. This is why I'm so grateful that Apple has an iPhone Upgrade Program which allows me to afford to upgrade every year. This is not a small difference. This is huge. The 12 Pro MAX has superior imaging which will allow me to zoom in tighter... print larger... and do more... with every shot I take. And this is just the first photo I took! I can't fathom what I'm going to see when I goof around with the camera over the weekend. I'm guessing I'm going to be blown away. I expect to be blown away.

One thing I'm dying to experiment with is Apple's new ProRAW photo image format. The file size is around 25 MB... each... but there's more information with less artifacts and a higher dynamic range. And the raw data you capture isn't touched as you adjust it in the Photos app, so the image doesn't degrade. You can always go back to exactly what you captured at any time. I won't be shooting ProRAW for casual shots, but I'm very excited at having it available when I'm shooting serious shots. Vacation scenery shots, portraits, photos for work... any time the bigger file is worth it. Alas, ProRAW isn't coming until iOS 14.3 which hasn't come out yet, so something to look forward to.

I'm sure early next week sometime I'll be posting photos I've been taking.
   

Accessories

I ordered the (PRODUCT)RED version of the silicone case along with my iPhone like I always do. The red color makes it easy to spot, it will look all Captain America with my blue phone, and the Apple-branded cases have always been quality. The fact that some of the profits go towards fighting AIDS in Africa is just icing on the cake. Now Apple has a new "iPhone Studio" tool where you can see what your iPhone will look like when paired up with various color cases and MagSafe wallets...

Apple iPhone Studio Options.

Apple iPhone Studio Options.

The new MagSafe that intelligently (and magnetically) attaches things to the back of your phone actually is pretty cool. My case is red, so when I pop it on the phone it is able to recognize that and give you a cool special effect that pulses across your display...

Apple iPhone Studio Options.

Had my case been green, the effect would be green, and so on. A nice touch.
   

Conclusion

Nice as the iPhone 12 Pro MAX is, it's not a foregone conclusion that I'm keeping this phone. There are times that I am not bothered by the massive size... there are times that it's just so overwhelming that I don't know if I can live with it. Maybe after a week it will seem "normal" but it sure doesn't now. I hate that it's so bad for working with one-handed. Part of that is just not being able to grip something so big. But a chunk of that is also Apple and 3rd party developers not doing a good job of adapting their apps to function well on a huge display like this.

But then...

...I pick up my old iPhone 11 Pro and it feels like a toy (I pick up my old iPhone 5 and it feels like it's fake). I love that bigger display so much that any time I drop back to a phone without it the thing feels wrong somehow.

I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Once thing I do know is that I can't wait to see what kind of photos I can get out of it.

   

A Cold Day in Berlin

Posted on November 10th, 2020

Dave!I am fortunate that my home is fairly energy efficient. It must have pretty good insulation to keep the heat out, because I barely have to run my air conditioning in the Summer. The Winter is a different story. It gets so cold where I live that the heat has to run often just to maintain a temperature of 72º F when I'm home. My smart thermostat drops to 70º F while I'm at work and 66º F when I'm sleeping. The cats don't seem to be much bothered, but they have heating pads to sleep on if things are too chilly for them. As for me? I wear wool socks and extra layers... and I have a heated throw for my couch and a heated blanket for my bed. It's not ideal, but it aves me a lot of money on my energy bill. And it works.

Except when it doesn't.

At around 2:30am I woke up with terrible leg cramps. And I was freezing.

Apparently the heated blanket on my bed has died.

The coldest I've ever been was not Antarctica. Not even close. The coldest I've ever been was at a Berlin train station in the middle of Winter. It was so cold that I couldn't feel my legs... and my fingers and toes (once I managed to heat them back up) were tingly for days. The second-coldest I've ever been was on top of Cadillac Mountain in Maine waiting for the sun to rise. That one was on me. I just had to get photos from the first place to see sunrise in the United States. Worth it though...

Sunrise from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia

This morning was nothing that bad. But it sure felt like it. And so I guess I need to order a new hot blankey. This is a no-brainer purchase because the money saved on my power bill will pay for a new blanket in just one month. I toyed with the idea of trying to repair it, but I think an electric blanket is one of those rare cases where that isn't an option. It's just my luck I would screw something up in the electrical system and the blanket would burst into flames in the middle of the night.

Slightly worse than waking up cold, I think.

A shame it couldn't have failed closer to Black Friday though.

That's also just my luck.

   

Life of a Chinstrap Penguin

Posted on November 6th, 2020

Dave!There's a feature in iOS 14 where you can have a "photo widget" on your home screen. It pulls photos from my phone that I see every time I wake it up. Most of the pictures displayed are of my cats because most of the photos on my phone are of my cats. But there are occasional photos of my travels... or my friends... or my mom and my family... or scenery I thought interesting enough to capture. Every once in a while it pops up with a photo I transferred from my "real" DSLR camera to my phone.

This morning when I woke up it was a penguin from my epedition to Antarctica...

A penguin looking at me in Antarctica.

I remember taking this shot with perfect clarity.

You are instructed not to approach within a certain distance of any wildlife... like six feet or something. But it's okay if wildlife approach you. It's not like if a penguin walks up that you have to turn tail and run away or anything like that. This happened to me a couple times. The first time was at Hydrurga Rocks where the above photo was taken. The penguin was bobbing along as penguins do when I dropped down to take a photo of him. He stopped, looked my way, then hopped over within a couple feet...

Penguin checking me out.

Penguin coming over to me.

Penguin navigating rocks to come see me.

Penguin come to see me.

I would have offered him a fish if I had one on me, but I did not, so he gave me a once-over then wandered away...

Penguin hopping away.

Penguin looking back as he wanders off.

And so I found myself thinking about this penguin for a good chunk of my morning. What's going on with him? Is he still around? Still healthy? Hasn't been eaten by a seal or something? How long does a penguin live anyway? What's the life of a chinstrap penguin?

Turns out the Chinstrap Penguin AKA Pygoscelis Antarcticus can live for up to 20 years.

So maybe he's still around. Swimming in ice-cold waters. Hunting for fish. Sunning himself on rocks. Doing whatever other penguin stuff that penguins do.

That would be nice.

I know thanks to climate change things are getting tough for arctic and antarctic wildlife, so it's nice to think that he's doing okay.

Or she's doing okay? Males and females look exactly the same and the only way I could ever tell was if they were next to each other since males are larger than females. Which is probably why they are the ones who end up fighting over pebbles to build nests? I should probably look into that one of these days. Maybe the next time a penguin pops up on my iPhone home screen.

Wouldn't want to misattribute penguin outrage.

In Washington State, so long as your ballot is postmarked by Election Day, it will still be counted even if it arrives at the polling station up to 20 days after Election Day. Obviously we are not a battleground state... WA is about as blue as blue can get thanks to the massive progressive voting block on the Seattle-side of the mountains... but, technically, our election is not over until November 23. So when I hear people in Washington going on a tirade because votes are still being counted in other states... it takes all my willpower to keep from telling them to take a seat. If we were a battleground state deciding the election and the vote was close, WE would be potentially delaying things for weeks. But it's all good. The Office of the President doesn't transfer until noon on January 20th.

Save your human outrage for something else.

   

Bullet Sunday 671

Posted on July 19th, 2020

Dave!The USA may be leading the world in COVID-19 infections, but that's not the worst news you'll hear today... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Psych... Again! NBC's new streaming network, Peacock, launched this week. To entice people to subscribe to yet another service, they are making some content free for a while. Including Psych 2: Lassie Come Home...

I had forgotten how much I love this show. The one-liners are as fast and funny as ever and the story is actually pretty darn good! It features the return of Timothy Omundson (Carlton Lassiter) after his stroke, and he is wonderful. Everybody is. I tell you, bringing back Psych would be a sure-fire way to get me to subscribe to the network, that's for sure.

   
• Coming 2! Heaven help me, it might actually be worth getting infected just to go see this...

With the exception of all the Marvel Studios movies waiting to be released, this is what I most want to see.

   
• Leibovitz? In my work I've seen this many, many times. Photographers shooting Persons of Color the way they shoot white people because they cannot be bothered to learn how to create a shoot for darker skin. And apparently it can be a challenge for even the best photographers. Annie Leibovitz is a true artist, but she completely and totally failed in her shoot of Simone Biles. The Vogue shots are dim, murky, and poorly adjusted...

Simone Biles and her family looking murky and green in a shot for Vogue Magazine.

My guess is that Leibovitz is of a caliber that she can dictate nobody modify her photos, which is a shame because Simone Biles is a beautiful young woman who deserves far better (as does her family). Any pro photographer worth their salt will be able to get stunning shots regardless of skin tone because that's their job. Or, you know, Vogue could hire Black photographers who have a lifetime of experience shooting Persons of Color... just sayin'.

   
• Viola! Case in point? Meanwhile over at Vanity Fair where they hired the first Black photographer in the history of the magazine to shoot a cover story of Viola Davis...

Viola Davis looking amazing shot from the back looking off to the left.

Viola Davis dressed in black shot in front of a gold background looking gorgeous as she looks upward.

Viola Davis would probably look amazing even if she was murky and tinted green... but, boy, this is phenomenal work by Dario Calmese.

   
• STOP! I've seen demos of SawStop technology before. It still takes my breath away to see it in action, and here it is in slow motion...

I use a table saw as an absolute last resort because I am well aware of how dangerous they are. No matter how careful you may be, accidents do happen. SawStop is a pretty brilliant way of keeping the damage to a minimum.

   
• Hobbes and Me! As a massively huge Calvin and Hobbes fan, I can't believe that I missed these shorts when they were released back in 2014...


You can see the entire series right here. You're welcome!

   
And that's a wrap. Enjoy your pandemic, everybody.

   

NEOWISE… But Not for Me

Posted on July 15th, 2020

Dave!It always seems as though I miss out on all the cool celestial events. Usually the problem is that it's overcast (in Winter) or the sky is filled with smoke (in Summer). So many times I've gotten excited because there's a meteor shower or comet or an eclipse happening... then I can't see a dang thing. I thought my luck was changing because I got to see the eclipse back in 2017.

But... apparently not.

When it comes tothe NEOWISE comet, I thought I was golden because "in the Northwestern sky" is what's dicrectly outside my bedroom window!

My bedroom window at dusk.

But when I looked the past couple nights I could find it. Last night I loaded up the Star Walk app on my iPhone to find out why that is. Turns out that my elevation coupled with the surrounding hills is why...

The comet is too low on the horizon for me to see from my house. So... no NEOWISE for me then. Typical.

I was really hoping to photograph the thing because it seemed like a fun challenge. But oh well. There are so many awesome photos floating around that mine would be redundant (at best) or really bad by comparison (at worst). Guess I'll take more photos of flowers or my cats instead.

   

Icons of The Bible

Posted on June 25th, 2020

Dave!There has been an abundance of research and speculation as to what Jesus and the persons mentioned in The Bible might look like. It's most likely that they were not white.

This topic has come up many times in my Bible study group, and the most cited scientific assessment is that Jesus had brown eyes, black hair, and olive skin. His hair and beard were also likely short, as that was the style most accepted by Jewish men at that time. He just got whitewashed by European artists and the churches who sponsored them so that He would have an appearance which predominantly white Christians there could relate to. And so... depicting Him as Black so that Black Christians can relate to Him better should not be at all controversial. In fact, since Jesus is meant to be The Way and The Light for ALL humanity and ALL things to ALL people, these gorgeous photographs by James Lewis could be seen as endorsed by the tenants of Christianity. As for me personally? I just think they're absolutely stunning works of art. I've posted a few samples below, but you can see the entire series (and find a link to buy prints) on the James Lewis Pinterest.

Black Jesus with long dreadlocks holding a wood branch as a staff with a halo behind his head as photographed by James Lewis.
Jesus Christ, The Only Begotten Son of the Living God ©James Lewis

Apostle Paul with a halo behind his head as photographed by James Lewis..
Apostle Paul of Tarsus, Disciple of Jesus Christ ©James Lewis

Apostle Matthew with a halo behind his head as photographed by James Lewis..
Apostle Matthew, Disciple of Jesus Christ ©James Lewis

The Prophet Daniel with a halo behind his head as photographed by James Lewis..
Daniel The Prophet ©James Lewis

Apostle Moses with a halo behind his head, holding a wooden branch as a staff as photographed by James Lewis..
Moses, Prophet & Deliver of Israel ©James Lewis

A pregnant Mary stands with a halo behind her head as Joseph lovingly touches her belly as photographed by James Lewis..
Mary & Joseph, The Parents of Jesus Christ ©James Lewis

Cain about to hit his brother Abel over the head with a rock as photographed by James Lewis..
Cain & Abel, Sons of Adam & Eve ©James Lewis

There's a lot of characters depicted... and even some abstract concepts, like The Holy Trinity...

A depiction of The Holy Trinity as a body wrapped with white gossamar and a bright light instead of a head as photographed by James Lewis..
The Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Ghost ©James Lewis

I suspect some characters got included just because they're incredibly hot...

Queez Jezebel, looking amazing... and a bit shifty... as photographed by James Lewis.
Queen Jezebel, Evil Wife of King Ahab ©James Lewis

Prince Absalom, looking brutally hot as photographed by James Lewis.
Prince Absalom Third Son of King David ©James Lewis

   
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me. — John 10:14

When I was a kid, there was a show called Gimme a Break! which starred Nell Carter as a Black housekeeper for a white man with his two white daughters (and later, Joey Lawrence?)... in one episode Nell dropped by her family's home with the younger daughter. On the wall was a photo of Black Jesus. The little girl said "I think something happened to your Jesus at the Photomat!" — queue laughter — And that's when I found myself wondering... "How do we know WHAT Jesus looked like?" Since I left the Catholic Church fairly early in life (they did not like me asking questions about stuff they were teaching that I couldn't find in The Bible... like Purgatory) I never got much further than that. But over the past several years that I've been participating in a "Bible Study for Non-Christians" group, it always comes up.

I don't know why these photos would be considered any more "controversial" than all the blonde-hair blue-eyed Jesus depictions, but my guess is that they will be. There's an awful lot of hate and ignorance masking as "Christianity" out there.

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Bullet Sunday 656

Posted on March 29th, 2020

Dave!The news has been anything but cheerful lately, but hang in there... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• U-S-A! U-S-A-! U-S-A-! But before we get started... this video is two minutes long. I encourage you to take a hard look at every second of it. This is what happens when you call the coronavirus a "Democrat hoax" and don't take things seriously early on. And, for us here in the USA, we're not even at peak coronavirus yet because there are still states which are refusing to do anything because "We don't have many cases here." Well, yes, you dumb-fucks, the whole point is to KEEP IT THAT WAY...

Stay healthy everybody. You could end up breaking a hip or having a heart attack or chopping off a finger only to find that you can't be seen at a hospital because it's been overrun with coronavirus patients. You may consider yourself able to survive COVID-19... and that's great. But your actions could infect others who end up taking up hospital space you might need for other emergencies. It's in everybody's self interest to keep hospitals from piling up. Let's all pray it's not too late already.

   
• Trump Is Risen! Thank heavens that President Trump actually listened to people who know shit and reevaluated his plan to cancel quarantine by Easter. But before that happened, there was this, and if you close your eyes...

And if you think this parody is an exaggeration, Cheeto Jesus has been Tweeting about how big the ratings are for his Coronavirus Press Briefings, despite the fact that more and more people are dying due to the snowball effect of his initial inaction. Holy shit what a narcissistic asshole. And he just keeps getting so much worse every damn day.

   
• Warz! If you don't know who Max Brooks is, you really should. His book World War Z is sublime apocalyptic zombie-fiction which reads so realistically because his research into pandemics was brutally extensive. He's so well-studied and important to the field of disaster preparedness that he has lectured at the U.S. Navy War College, for heaven's sake. Which is why his viewpoint on current events is worth noting: 'All Of This Panic Could Have Been Prevented': Author Max Brooks On COVID-19. This is some scary shit, and goes to show just how buffoonish the Trump Administration's handling of a crisis of this magnitude has really screwed us.

   
• ACCESS! Just in case you aren't watching Star Trek: Picard... and you absolutely should be... here's your chance to do so for free. I did not like Star Trek: Next Generation that much, but am loving Picard. I loved Star Trek: Discovery even more (especially the first season), and this freebie unlocks all of CBS All Access, so you can take a look at that one as well!

   
• Live! There was a meme running through Facebook where you are asked if you can name a band you've seen live for every letter of the alphabet and one that starts with a number. I did pretty good...

  • # - (The) 1975
  • A - a-ha
  • B - B-52's
  • C - Cheap Trick
  • D - Depeche Mode
  • E - Erasure
  • F - Foster the People
  • G - Green River
  • H - Heart
  • I - Idol, Billy
  • J - James, Etta
  • K - Ke$ha
  • L - (The) Local Strangers
  • M - Matt & Kim
  • N - Nirvana
  • O - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
  • P - Pet Shop Boys
  • Q - Queens of the Stone Age
  • R - Rogers, Nile (and Chic)
  • S - (The) Shore
  • T - Thompson Twins
  • U - Ure, Midge
  • V - (The) Vapors
  • W - Wrabel
  • X -
  • Y - Yanni
  • Z - ZZ Top

Many of these letters could have had multiple answers. I'm fairly certain I saw at least one band with a name starting with "X"... especially some of those indy bands that were playing during the whole "grunge" movement in Seattle when I was hitting the clubs... I just can't think of any.

   
• Museum Project! People are getting way creative in finding ways to spend their quarantine time. One of my absolute favorites are those who are recreating famous paintings. Some of them are absolute gold, and there's a terrific Instagram feed where they showcase some of the best ones...

A dog reclining like a portrait of a nude woman.

A young boy recreates a self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh.

A woman recreates the painting by Diego Rivera called The Flower Bearer.

A lot of creative use of toilet paper in that Insty-feed!

And there have also been some professional reimaginings that are absolutely sublime. My favorites by a wide margin are those that popped up by Dutch photographer Jenny Boot. Here is Pearl inspired by Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (housed at Museum Mauritshuis in The Hague)...

A Black woman reinacting the famous Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.
©2019 Jenny Boot Photography

The original Vermeer...

The famous Vermeer painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.
© Museum Mauritshuis

Here is de Kus, inspired by Vermeer's The Kiss (housed at Museum Belvedere in Vienna, which I was lucky enough to see in person)...

A Black couple reinacting the famous Klimt painting The Kiss.
©2019 Jenny Boot Photography

The original Klimt...

The famous Klimt painting The Kiss.
© Museum Belvedere

And here is Davinci's Cat inspired by Lady with an Ermine (housed at Muzeum Czartoryski in Krakow)...

A Black couple reinacting the famous Klimt painting The Kiss.
©2019 Jenny Boot Photography

The original Da Vinci...

The famous Klimt painting The Kiss.
© Muzeum Czartoryski

For more of her insanely gorgeous Jenny Boot photography, you can visit their Instagram and website.

   
• Disneyland-ish? It's not just fine art which is being recreated while people are in quarantine... people are recreating Disneyland and Walt Disney World rides at home! Some of them are just beyond cool...

I guess if you can't visit in person, this is the next best thing? Kudos to those who are using their alone-time to be so creative!

   
And now we resume our self-imposed exile.

   

Dave19

Posted on December 31st, 2019

Dave!For those who only read one of my posts each year... or anybody wanting a recap of the past year here at Blogography... this post is for you! As customary, I've jettisoned loads of the usual junk so this entry is "mostly crap" instead of the "total crap" they usually are.

Last year losing my mom was the worst year of my life. This year couldn't help but be better by comparison. But I lost one of my oldest, dearest friends right off the bat, so now I'm horrified at what 2020 may have in store. I guess I've reached the stage of my life where it's all tragedy and loss from here on out? Lord, I hope not.


JANUARY

• Took a look at Schitt's Creek, one of the best TV shows ever...

Schitt's Creek

Took a look at the Seattle Tunnel... and the horrible design of the new spaces it will allow.

   
• Built a magnificent photo wall in my stairwell...

Stairwell Photo Wall Image

   
• Experienced Poster Raising with the Amish...

Swiffer Handle Poster Raising


FEBRUARY

• Converted another batch more DVDs and Blu-Rays to digital... and explained how you can do it too.

   
• Wished Jarrod Saltalamacchia, one of my favorite ball players, a happy retirement...

Saltalamacchia Davetoon with Lil' Dave in a Red Sox jersey.

   
Dedicated a post to Mufasa, Jake's toy lion, his favorite thing in the universe...

Jake and Mufasa

   
• Lamented the fact that SeaTac International Airport is still a shitpile of fail, even when they build something new.


MARCH

Said good bye to one of my oldest and dearest friends...

Selfie

   
• Watched as my home keeps getting invaded by trash pandas.

   
• Spent my 101st Caturday taking inventory of the cats in my neighborhood...

Jake!


APRIL

• Watched the funniest stand-up of the year with Nate Bargatze's The Tennessee Kid (highest possible recommendation if you have Netflix)...

   
Took Jake back to the vet after he ended up sick again. Still amazed that the little guy can't meow ever... EXCEPT when he is in distress...

   
• Found out the reason Jake was sick was because he fell off the stairwell banister. Absolutely heartbreaking (and more than a little scary), but he recovered like a champ...

Jenny On the Banister

   
Built a bannister ledge tray to keep my cats from falling down the stairwell again...

Stairwell


MAY

Laser Prince, baby.

   
• Talked about the series of travel books I made for my mom to commemorate each of the trips we took together...

Mom Travel Book!

   
• Shared my thoughts on the fucking disaster that was the Game of Thrones final season...

Drogon Goes Postal!


JUNE

• Once again shared a video on how tax brackets work because I am sick and tired of people believing the bullshit lies that are being propagated. I honestly don't know if this is the best way, but if we're going to discuss tax brackets let's at least be informed as to what they are. And with that in mind, here we go again...

   
Said goodbye to Grant, an internet friend who will be sorely missed.

   
• A visit to the Chihuly Garden of Glass, a magical place crafted by one of my favorite living artists...

Chihuly Gardens Seattle

   
One year on without my mom...


JULY

• Spent my lazy summer days floating down a river...

Floating Down the River

   
Haunted by The Light.

Mom Asleep with Spanky the Cat

   
The Consequence of Filler.

   
Finally cut the cord and got rid of the toxic mess that my satellite television had become.

   
Ooh... Upgrades (a process that is ongoing, by the way!).


AUGUST

My new motto for living...

I'll never be mad at someone else living their best life at zero cost to me. For anyone feeling ostracized and belittled by the nonsense of those who think they have any say at all in how you identify, dust the haters off, and be free. Now that's 'Merica.

   
• I have opinions. And they get me in trouble by all sides.

   
• Back in Vegas for the third? Fourth? time in 2019 and decided to take stock of my one-time Planet Hollywood obsession...

Planet Hollywood Orlando

   
• Got to see Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty...

Janet Jackson in concert at The Park Theater in Las Vegas with lights ablazin'

   
• Discovered the total magic of my favorite new thing... THE IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER at Burger King...

A Burger King Impossible Whopper hamburger.

   
• Got myself an Apple Card... an interesting beast to be sure.

   
• My obligatory Apple Card unboxing entry...

Opening the Apple-embossed folio reveals the Apple card in a holder filled with colors.

   
• Total outrage that Hallmark can't seem to ever get the details right.

   
• Jake and Jenny's cat personality analysis...

Jake smiling and happy while sleeping.


SEPTEMBER

Jenny's perpetually adorable resting cranky face...

Kitten Jenny with her sour face.

   
• Hell of a Day, Isn’t It? Talked about what happens when you lose that person you share an inside joke with.

   
• Impressed the internet when I joined in on the SHOW US A PHOTO OF YOUR KITCHEN CABINET meme...

A photo of my cupboard with boxes, cans, and pouches all neatly arranged and organized so I can find things easily.

   
• Shared my brief attempt at being a home designer.

House floor plan.


OCTOBER

• Put my iPhone 11 Pro through it's paces... and shared my thoughts in it's incredible camera capabilities...

A beautiful shot of the Ray's Boathouse neon sign glowing while intense colors of sundown light up the sky behind it.

   
• Took my iPhone 11 Pro camera for a spin in my favorite American city.

Another shot of St. Louis Cathedral at dusk with a lovely green glow on the sides of the building.

   
Tears at the A&W Drive-In.

A photo of an old A&W drive-in at dusk showing parking spots with the car-hop menu boards sticking out and a sign saying ALL YOU CAN EAT SHRIMP DINNER $849 FRIDAY ONLY on an illuminated billboard attached to the road-sign.

   
Your Heart Disease, Courtesy of Big Beef.


NOVEMBER

• Ranting against changing the clocks because it fucks up my cats like nothing else... and the quail are back...

Jake has joined Jenny out in the catio to stalk the quail.

   
• Flew to Minneapolis so I could experience Avengers: Damage Control in real-live kinda virtual reality...

Your VR self holding up their hands and blasting Ultron robots.

   
• Caring for somebody with dementia involves telling lies and making decisions.

   
• Disney+ finally debuted with a slew of watchable stuff to occupy time I don't have.

   
Thirty Dollars for Fish Entertainment...

A clown fish snuggling into some living coral.

   
• Get Angry, Then Laugh... same as it ever was... same as it ever was.

   
SHUT. THE FUCK. UP.


DECEMBER

Happy Birthday, Jake and Jenny!

Jenny & Jake

   
• And, oh yeah, I joined the Instant Pot cult!

   
• Finally replaced my dying MacBook Pro... with a MacBook Pro...

   
• Let's take a Very Special edition of Caturday to talk about how technology helps Fake Jake survives the winter!

Fake Jake as seen from the roof camera, all snuggled up in his cat shelter with his paws over his nose.

   
It's the little things which happen day-today that keep destroying me...

Mom and I standing under a gorgeous African sunset with the savannah in the background.

And there you have it... my 2019 year in review.

Thanks once again to my cats, family, and friends for making life bearable through even the worst of times.

Here's to a good 2020, everybody.

   

Second Verse, Worse Than the First

Posted on December 19th, 2019

Dave!I woke up this morning, grabbed my laptop to start my work day, noticed the date, then had the wind completely knocked out of me. Maybe one day I won't feel completely and utterly crushed on my mom's birthday, but it's not today. The second birthday without her is no easier than the first.

After feeding the cats I thumbed through a few of the travel books I made for her, then felt a little better. I'm so overwhelmingly grateful for the time we had and the many, many amazing memories from our trips together that it seems selfish to stay sad.

And yet...

...it's the little things which happen day-today that keep destroying me.

Running across a note with her handwriting in the glovebox.

Finding small wooden elephant she bought in Laos while looking for a paperclip.

Seeing a potholder she bought from Disney World while baking bread.

Getting a Christmas card addressed to her in my mailbox.

Having somebody ask how she's doing while buying groceries.

The list goes on and on and on. Every day. All the time. In places where I'm least expecting it.

But then...

Mom and I standing under a gorgeous African sunset with the savannah in the background.

Happiest of birthdays to you, mom. I love and miss you every day.

   

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