Elementary penguin singing Hare Khrishna

There’s something about Beetle that compels me to shoot them in black and white. You can always see them in color each Thursday night at the Houston Continental Club during happy hour from 7-10pm.

I’m really enjoying the fast wide angle lens.

Beetle
Sony Alpha 100
Lens: Sigma 20mm f/1.8

Beetle
click for larger image

Beetle
click for larger image

Give a monkey a brain and he’ll swear he’s the center of the universe.

Robert Anton Wilson has passed away

From http://robertantonwilson.blogspot.com/2007/01/raw-essence.html

Robert Anton Wilson Defies Medical Experts and leaves his body @4:50 AM on binary date 01/11.

Cosmic Trigger was one of the most memorable and influental books I read as a young man.

Without RAW I would never have come to know Bob and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, Radiodrome, Radio-X and Technology Bytes would probably never have existed.

All Hail Eris!
All Hail Discordia!

In honor of Robert Anton Wilson I offer this link to the most comprehensive Discordia quotes I know of. Click ME!

Fair and Balanced

Got an e-mail last night from Ned Hibbard over at the local Fox affiliate. They were doing a piece on the discovery of the Quicktime vulnerability that’s getting a little “buzz” as we kick of the Month of Apple Bugs.

He wanted to know if he could send a camera guy over to the radio station during my show. The idea was to record us on air in hopes of getting a sound bite to use in a story they were putting together for the evening news about the vulnerability.

Not being one who turns down a chance for free publicity, I agreed.

They did end up using several seconds of video they shot. It wasn’t an Emmy award winning performance by any means. Still, it’s good promo for the show. Especially since they got the name of the show right, unlike the previous story I did for the NBC affiliate last August.

Quilt – Toile de Jouy

This is the quilt Cynthia made for her sister, Carol, in Michigan as a Christmas gift this year.

It’s a traditional pattern made up of various toile (pronounced “twoll”) fabric swatches.

Carol LOVES toile, and from all accounts has her entire house decorated in the stuff.

One last thing

Prior to Christmas, I was talking with my boss (who happens to be Korean) and the subject of the Chinese characters for “giraffe” came up. As it turns out, his father’s name contains these characters.

In Chinese, the word “giraffe” is rendered using the characters for “˜long-necked deer.’

I was struck by the idea that some type of artistic rendering of these characters would make an excellent gift for Cynthia as an addition to the giraffe room.

So it was off to the Intarwebs in search of some way to execute this plan before the holidays.

I found three separate web sites that advertised custom Chinese calligraphy and sent them my request. Only one responded. That was Oriental Outpost. They responded in less than 24 hours with the results of their research and provided me with several options in the form of scrolls/wall hangings.

After selecting the one I thought would be best suited, I placed my order. Sadly there was no way to have the item in hand in time fro Christmas as it was a hand made, one of a kind from China. Still, I was pretty excited and I knew that even if it was to arrive after the actual holiday, it would be more than worth the wait.

It showed up just a few days after Christmas and it is AWESOME!

It’s hanging in a place of honor right next to Cynthia’s sculpture

The hero of 3700 Main

In my time I have saved the computer at the Continental Club on a few occasions and bailed out Thomas over at Sig’s Lagoon. It’s my contribution to the “scene”, I suppose.

This week I got a call from the proprietress of Taco’s-A-Go-Go. Seems their PC was misbehaving and needed some tender loving nerd care. I was surprised to get the call since I had never given them my number. I assume it was acquired via my friend Nick or someone else who had access to my digits. I said I would have a look the next time I was in the area.

With the new 9/80 schedule I had this Friday off and felt I could afford the lack of sleep and headed off to go see Beetle perform their usual Thursday night happy hour gig at the Continental. Since Taco’s-A-Go-Go is right next door I popped in to have a look at their ailing PC. Turns out the wireless adapter driver was in need of a re-install. I had it up and running in about 10-15 minutes. No big deal.

Enjoyed the Beetle show, as always. After they were done playing I was talking to Jim and he suggested heading over to a party at “Bongo” Jane’s place.

I was of a mixed mind about the whole thing. I know Jane and I knew I would know some of the people there and Jim was just so darn insistent about it I headed on over. Glad I did. I saw some old friends I had not seen in over 15 or so years and just enjoyed hanging out.

Jane’s place is quite interesting. She has the best entertainment center you can imagine. It’s a sound stage right in the main living room. Jane has a lot of musician friends and they were coming and going from the stage all night.

?
click for full size

Sorry to say, I don’t know this singer’s name. She was performing with Steve Candelari on the drums and Aaron Loesch of Jug O’ Lighnin fame on guitar.

The geek who saved Christmas

Over 120 comments thanking me for the solution I provided in my Helpline blog item “My screen is sideways”. The closest runner up is “Double-click opens search instead of folder” with 60+ comments.

This comment received from a reader in the UK tickled me to death:

Daughter aged 11 hit unknown key combination turning screen sideways. Thought had virus, after an hour and much upset, decided to google. You saved our xmas as pressies depend on the computer working.

Wide and fast

Since I have begun to dangle off the deep in when it comes to photography, I have found myself frequenting the camera stores more and more.

Always on the prowl for the right accessory and taking every opportunity to pic the brains of other photographers so I can better educate myself and improve my technique.

It’s very reminiscent of when I first took a sincere interest in computers. Who knows, maybe I will have the same success if I am lucky. I have already started to ponder working in a segment on digital photography into the radio show. The idea is quite nascent but I am pondering it sincerely.

As I was poking around the Camera Exchange and talking with Charlie the subject of used lenses came up. One of the things that did not occur to me when determining which camera to buy was the second hand market. It’s obvious now that I think of it. The two most popular brands of digital SLR cameras are Nikon and Canon. Regardless of whether they are superior or inferior to any other brand is not the point. The point is that since there are so many on the market there tends to be more used lenses for these cameras than any of the others.

What this means to me is that there are practically NO used Sony lenses and relatively few used Minolta or Minolta mount third party lenses available. This is something I would encourage anyone looking to purchase a camera to consider. Being able to buy a used lens can save you a bit of money when you want something maybe a bit more specialized and you don’t want to plunk down the full price for it.

Of course I can buy anything I need brand new and heaven knows there are some damn fine lenses available for this platform. I hungrily lust for the just released Sony Carl Zeiss® Sonnar® T* 135mm f/1.8 Telephoto Lens and when and if I can ever justify the $1500 price tag I’ll just run down to the camera store and pick one up. Then I’ll show you all! Muahahahahaha!

Ahem, but I digress.

As I was saying, second hand lenses. Not many interesting lenses to be had on the second hand market (yet). None at the Camera Co-Op and a very limited number at The Houston Camera Exchange, and the ones they had were not terribly exciting with the exception of one that caught my eye. It was the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX ASP DG RF prime lens. What I found interesting was the high speed and the wide angle.

The Sony 50mm 1.4 has been my go-to lens and my favorite by far of any of my lenses. That being said, the limitations of the 50mm lens really reveal themselves in a small space or when trying to get a good group shot of a band or similar.

The idea of having a fast wide angle lens was very appealing and the price of this one used was way more affordable than buying it new in the box so after contemplating it for a week I went back and purchased it.

I’ve not taken the definitive photo yet. Most of the pics from the last few blog entries are using that lens and I did take it to the Big Top for the Light Rock Express show and the debut of Disco Expressions. If you’ve ever been to the Big Top you’ll know what a photographer is up against in this space. Very dim lighting and what lighting there is tends to be red. Thank heaven for good custom white balance settings.

Light Rock Express

Just add horns and voila! Disco!

I like it. I can get up close and personal and still capture a lot of what is going on. And not having to use a flash makes me far less irritating to the performers.

Of course now it’s going to be a more difficult decision when I trying to determine which lenses I will travel with to any given destination.