Category Archives: Photography

Cat Butt

Pickles gives Mommy her daily ration of “cat butt”.

Note: Pickles is back from a two-week solitary confinement at the vet while we had the interior of the house painted. He and his brother Sir Edmund Hillary got shaved while there to remove matting. Pickles is particularly needy now. Lest you think me heartless, I did visit them once a day at the vet.

Please … STOP BLOGGING

 

I … can’t … keep … up

Seriously, stop blogging. Just for a day or two. 

Please …

How did it get this bad?

It started simply enough. I decided to automatically follow anyone who liked or commented on any one of my posts. Then to make sure that I read them, I went to “Blogs I Follow” and made sure I got an email notification for every new post. I figured that anyone who liked or commented on one of my posts was a like-minded spirit and would be interesting to follow. More or less this turned out to be a correct assumption.

Others turned out not so much. Some had long, rambling (boring) tl;dr posts that I just couldn’t wade through. Some posted every minute of every day and flooded my email with posts. Some posted on topics that were of absolutely no interest to me. So for these I went back to “Blogs I Follow” and turned off email notification.

Now I was down to the blogs that were interesting. Your blogs. Your stories. Your cats. Your photos. Your news. Your ideas. Your humor. Your successes. Your fears. Your emotions. All of it good. All of it interesting.

  

Even as I write this, the email counter ratchets upward. Notifications are coming in faster than I can delete them. But I can’t just delete them. I have to look at them in order to delete them and then I read them and then I click on the link and go to the post and then I read the comments and by the time I’m done more notifications have come in. Even worse I may decide to reblog one. By the time I’m done, yet more notifications are in my mailbox.

  

I originally started this blog a few years ago as a venue for writing Fiction and autobiographical history. Then I started adding cat photos. Then reblogs of interesting posts and videos. Now I can’t even keep up with the blogs I follow.

 

 
(help…)
  

(please …)

  

Eduardo sighted in the Bahamas

Eduardo, that suave and sophisticated Company Man, has been spied (excuse the pun) in the Bahamas

What has he been doing since he was last being seen frequenting a New Mexico brothel … who can say? What brings him to the haunt of that other famous Company Man whose name must be withheld for security reasons Bond, James Bond … business or pleasure?

When interviewed for this story, a local barkeep admitted to serving a patron fitting Eduardo’s description, but said he did not catch his name. “He was cool, that one. Cold blooded. Bit of a spook if you ask me. Wanted his martini shaken, not stirred, with a twist of cricket. His eyes kept darting around as if he was expecting trouble, then without as much as a by your leave, he flicked out his tongue and caught a fly in mid-air. Threw up up a bit in my mouth, I did. Not much of a talker. Left me a good tip though. He’s  welcome back any time.”

  
Photo Credit Tom von Kapherr
http://catsatthebar.org/2015/12/04/birds-turtles-and-a-geko/

The Martian 3D

I just saw The Martian in 3D on the wide screen.

Excellent. Seriously excellent. The cinematography was superb. So was the acting. Although there was scrupulous attention paid to the scientific and technological aspects, it did not in any way overshadow the human drama. There was humor. There was frustration. There was elation. Aspects of Apollo 13 and Castaway were strong. There were even reminisces of 2001 A Space Odyssey (without the monolith, monkey men, or crazed computer). I would see this again in the theater.

I previously posted that I had listened to the unabridged audio book. The movie was true to the book, somehow condensing 10hr 53min down to 2hr 21min without loosing anything. Yes, yes the book goes into much more detail on the underlying science and isolation of Mark Watney, but you can read the book later.

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D


  


  

  

GO SEE THIS MOVIE IN 3D

  

  

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-martian

My God, it’s Full of STARS…

This is absolutely amazing. Everyone should see this. If you like it please, please reblog this on your site too …

Late to the Theater

What if every club in the cinematic multiverse intersected at one, single point?

BEHOLD. The greatest action/sci-fi/crime thriller/horror film mashup in the history of EVER!

Seriously, I could not stop laughing and clapping and grooving. Every time a new face popped up I was like ‘NO WAY BUT YES!’

Made by this genius: ANTONIO MARIA DA SILVA AMDSFILMS

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Happy Aniversary

To me …

  

The Race – Backstory

This is the story behind The Race

 The Race (Radio Edit) 

 RML

RMLV 

 Christmas 2003, “Number One Son” gave me the very first Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1, that he had picked up while studying abroad in Japan. It had not yet been released in the states.


Image courtesy of Steves Digicams 

The specs were impressive for the day: 5 mega-pixel, 3.6″w x 2.4″h x 0.8″d (91mm x 60mm x 21mm), 6.3 oz. / 180g. Click on the camera image for a review and detailed specs. My cell phone in 2004 was the standard flip phone. I don’t even recall if it had camera. If it did, it was worthless.

This was the first camera I could carry in my pocket. I could take it everywhere. With the USB cable I could relatively easily transfer pictures from it to my computer. I had QuickTime Pro on my computer and realized that if the pictures were numbered sequentially QuickTime could turn them into a movie. I began to experiment with stop action animation and time lapse photography. The Race is one of my best.

I had to build a holder for the camera in order to mount it to a tripod. The actors were my sons’ Warhammer figures, Russian toy cars I had collected in the 90s while working there, other toy vehicles, a cat toy, and a robotic spider.

The entire video at 6fps (frames per second) is only 30 seconds long. I filmed the actual race first on the 19th of June and then decided to film the starting line sequence the next day to extend the length. I initially used the Beatles Birthday as the soundtrack. The final 30 second cut lived on my work computer for over a decade, copied over with all of my files each time I got a newer PC.

Last week I decided to try to get it onto my iPhone. I guess I could have done a USB iTunes to iPhone transfer, but that would have meant upgrading the decades old iTunes that I never use at work. So I emailed it to myself via Gmail.

It opened fine on my iPhone, but the sound would not play. I opened it in iMovie and then managed to add Birthday to the soundtrack. Here I digress. For reasons unknown iMovie would only recognize recently purchased songs on my iPhone. Here I digress again, I just discovered that you don’t get the iCloud download icon in Music if WiFi is turned off. I can’t find the setting in 8.1.2 to make it visible. Back up one digression, so I repurchased Birthday and used it.

However, when I attempted to save it back to my camera roll I got an error. After many hours of frustration I decided to look for video format converters on the Apple App Store. I ended up buying two: 

The Video Converter – Convert videos to and from file formats! by SmoothMobile, LLC https://appsto.re/us/rD2p1.i

MConverter Medias Converter by bill santiago  https://appsto.re/us/59UVL.i

I am not endorsing either of these … and there are many others to choose from.

The original version of The Race was in MOV format and needed to be converted to MP4 format. Once done, I could export it to the camera roll. Then I decided that Born To Be Wild would be a better fit. So I redid the 30s clip again.

Now to upload to Vimeo.



All for 30 seconds of audio. How do others get away with uploading entire songs, albums, music videos, movies?

Alas it is what it is. So I searched iTunes for Royalty Free Music, found 

Instrumentals for TV Productions, Podcasts, Movies, and Jingles by Royalty Free Music https://itun.es/us/MZVNv

and chose the first recording for the soundtrack. It was 99 cents.

I liked the song enough that I created the looped versions in order to be able to play the entire song

I don’t know anything about DRM (Digital Rights Management), but I have to assume that that 30s clip of  Born To Be Wild had a DRM tag that immediately told Vimeo “NO NO NO”. I suppose it could have checked a Shazam-like audio database, but how does that explain all the other entries the are longer and more blatant. I assume there is a way to strip off the DRM tag. I need to investigate this.

There has got to be an affordable way for individuals to license mainstream audio at an affordable price for use in homemade videos posted to the web. See my rant https://contrafactual.com/2014/12/14/21st-century-i-p-2/

Anyway back to the making of The Race. It was old-school “arrange the figures, take a photo, move the figures, take a photo, repeat” … 181 times. I couldn’t walk the next day – my thighs were in agony. 

Speaking of old-school, if you haven’t seen it check out the 1979 Wizard of Speed and Time by Mike Jittlov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoLhLn9hVkE

http://www.wizworld.com

I’ll (click)

be (click)

seeing (click)

you (click)



21st Century I.P.

IMG_3672
This in response to a 30 second clip of Steppenwolf’s Born to Be Wild as the sound track to The Race.

How do other folks manage to upload entires albums, movies, etc. to YouTube and Vimeo?

I have reblogged an earlier rant below.

More on The Race in my next post. Stay tuned …

Contrafactual

RANT

Hey Googstapos … To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie, “You’ve got at lot of damn gall to come after folks who include copyrighted music in their YouTube videos when you collect and store FOREVER every damn bit of personal information you can about us to be used against us to try to sell us crap we don’t need!”

OK … That about sums up the rest of this post. This is an incoherent rant. Deal with it.

Weggieboy’s comments on my JOSIV5 post hit a nerve.

Now I am not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV, so I have no legal insight here. But consider the following: let’s say

    I invite you to my house to listen to my LP record of C. W. McCall’s Convoy
    I invite you to my house to listen to my 8-track of C. W. McCall’s Convoy
    I invite you to my…

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The view from my lap

Foreground to background: Patches, Hillary, Pickles

… minutes later

Foreground to background: Pickles, Hillary

Note the toy mouse in front. It is a poor substitute for the real mouse that Pickles caught hiding under the refrigerator earlier this week. With the colder weather it must have snuck in to get warm. Hillary and Pickles doubled-teamed that poor mouse until it died most likely of cardiac arrest. Sometime later Pickles and Hillary presented their lifeless treasure to the Mrs. as she sat on the potty. They were soooo proud of themselves!