Archive for January, 2014

Knock knock

Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 5:12 pm

A priest walks into a rather seedy bar and sits at a table and starts perusing the menu.  One of the local ladies who worked the bar was curious, so she went over to the priest.  “Say, we don’t get many priests at this bar.”  He looked up and replied, “No, and with these prices, you’re not going to get many more.”

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That reflects my current financial status about as well as anything.  I’ve got things to do and not enough funds to accomplish them.

B5

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 5:49 am

The (usually) annual Babylon 5 marathon is in progress, starting season 3.  However, I don’t think that I’m going to be able to finish it before I head to Austin for refills on my meds.  That will be on Monday.  I need to call ahead and make arrangements for the hypertension night clinic.

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It’s been cold this last week.  So I haven’t been too ambitious about much.  I need to do laundry before heading west, stuff like that, but I have three days.  It is warming, though.  Funds have been depleted, and the lack of grocery runs is starting to be felt.  I’m not going hungry, it’s just that favorites are starting to vanish.

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Been sleeping a lot.  I’m getting up to ten hours sleep a day, though in three or four shifts.  Still, it’s more than usual.  Sitting under blankets has a tendency of making me sleepy for a few hours.

Grumble, grumble

Posted on Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 9:09 am

Sleet on the ground outside.  It’s on the steps, too.  (Not that I’m going outside.)  Grumble, grumble….

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Took me over 24 hours and 16 tries to download one file.  Grumble, grumble….

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WordPress introduced automatic updating, and I had to insert code for it not to do it again.  Grumble, grumble….

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There’s more, but I’ll stop there.  Grumble, grumble….

Fixed

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

New fan belt on the pickup.  Took less than a half gallon of antifreeze.  Glad I only bought one gallon.  I am once again mobile.  Check engine light came back on, though.  The disconnect battery cure didn’t work.  I need to get out on the road and blow it out, see if that cures it like before.  It was only showing when the engine was cold, so not too worried.  Could be air filter being dirty when the electronic “choke” is engaged.

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Now a run to the store.  I can see if they have compression socks.  Had first batch of jambalaya last night and today.  Lifted my spirits considerably.  Need bread and a dozen other things.  I could wait until tomorrow when it’s not a holiday.  (MLK)  Avoid the crowd.  I have libations and more than enough food.  I just want cookies….  Argh!  I’m tough.  I can hold out.  I have Rolos.

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It’s 78°F right now.  Ahhhhhh…….  Don’t want to do anything but enjoy the warmth. Doors are open, light draft through the house.  Absolutely perfect.

Bouncy week

Posted on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Ups and downs peppered the week like a drunken duck hunter.

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Bad news:  Hard drive (catch all/system backup boot) took a dive, 155G of data that wasn’t backed up.  Good news: I repaired it without loss of data.

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Bad news: Got ticked off at the sketch site and pulled my images.  Good news: I still have full access, and it was an interesting entrance into base amateur artists in the electronic age.  There is so much conceptual conflict between the purism of the graphite and the digitalization of it, especially in regard to other digital art forms.  Young snobbery at its rawest.  I don’t need that again.  I already know what that is all about.

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Good news: Got my deposit back at storage after six months of timely bill paying.  With the fan belt expenses, it’s money well needed.

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Bad news:  I’ve been ignored all week.  And I need help getting mobile again. My feet hurt too much to hike to an affordable store.  And the edema is affecting my lungs.  I get heavily winded from normal walking for a block or so.

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Bad news:  Hypertension is still hanging moderately high.  I get normal as the cholidine kicks in, but within a couple of hours, it’s going back up to the 140’s and 150’s.  At least it’s not extreme as it was before.  And the edema is full.  Grrrr.  I need compression socks.

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Haven’t played guitar in a week.  I’m not surprised.  Haven’t done any serious 3D either.

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Glad to say goodbye to this week.

Ol’ OneEye

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014 at 6:35 am

I am getting very tired of what seems to be the new trend in self-portraits via smart phone cameras.  I’ve put up with the extended arm or reverse text on T-shirts of photos in the mirror, even the camera in the mirror shot (barely).  But the one thing that I am getting tired of seeing is the tendency toward portraits with only one eye in the frame.  I’m not talking about hair covering one eye or a side shot.  It’s only part of the head being in the frame, revealing only one eye.  And while I’m fussing, the 45° from vertical trend is another artsy idea don’t fly with me.  I’m sorry, but bad photography is bad photography, no matter how chic or cool it is to those who practice it.

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Here is a list of bad photography trends in the hip new digital phone age:

Bad lighting, no one understand how important good lighting is or even what it is.

45° angle framing, monkey see, monkey do, how cool!

One eye, like wow, how cool is that?

Cutting off the head at the eyebrows.  Phone cameras are dumb bait.

Holding the camera in the mirror.  Text on shirts backwards.  Duh!

Trashy filters, as if they are masters of image modification.

Piercings and tatoos, such conformists, boring!  Wait until they’re 50.

Shooting the bird, so original, like they understand what being bad is.  Posers!  Yawn.

Making faces.  They obviously are not comfortable with their faces, so they have to distort it to be photographed.

Pathetic expressions. Digital is cheap, shoot another.  Never learn how pick out a good image.

Bad focus.  No one even looks to see if something is in focus or not, just shoot!

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Example of both 45° and one eye.  Looks like an accidental exposure.

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1eye

Unbelted

Posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 at 4:30 am

I made a run to Hempstead yesterday to deposit a check at the nearest branch of my bank.  Doug’s truck turned 150,000 miles and promptly blew the fan belt.  The power steering pump have lost the belt on the pulley and jammed it into the axel behind it.  Two thin strips came off the belt and wrapped around the fan.  I was able to remove all signs of the belt from the engine compartment and find my way back to Brenham without damaging the engine. It took the purchase of several gallons of bottled water, but I made it back here.

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The belt is in the $30 range, and there will be antifreeze to add.  Under $50.  Add an oil change, to be sure, $80 range.  I can afford it, but that eats into my budget.  Between that and bills, it eats the check I just deposited.  But I have food here to eat, and a few bucks for Pepsi.  I need to start seeking more income sooner than expected.

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The Photoshop mania has pretty much subsided.  I feel comfortable with the plugs and extensions.  The newness has worn off.  Add to it that my work on Sktchy is being ignored by the admins, not being pencil/pen oriented.  Everyone else is getting stars for their work except me.  I still find the scene charming, even though it does tend to run a little on the young side (avoiding calling it jail bait).  It’s just not the place to show my work.  It’s a different genre, and they’re not into advanced digital graphics.  A touch of genre snobbery that is common in young artists is the attitude I’m seeing in regard to my presence.  And there is also the Draw Me crowd, those looking to be art models to boost their egos.

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I have uncovered several collections of stock photo that I haven’t seen before.  I’ve never been all that big on stock photo collections.  By and large, they pay homage to the corporate world and philosophy.  The world is a clean place, with attractive people who eat proper diets, do yoga, live in architectural wonders, shop wisely, live happily, are perfectly made up, have interesting jobs, blah, blah, blah.  The worst of money photography that the ad makers love.

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But I have discovered some talents that stand out for their innovative photography.  Not that it’s much better, as these tend toward the fashion world.  The most outstanding is Subbotina Anna.  This is an outfit, rather than a photographer, per se.  The photographer is central, but there is obvious evidence of a fashion crew, clothing, hair, make up, lighting, the models (mostly one model in the studio).  The thing I’m finding is that it’s very hush hush.  There are no personal credits, no names or office addresses, no way to contact them.  It’s totally below radar.  Photos are submitted to the brokerages, money is paid, that’s it.  No public appearances, no gallery openings, just stock photos in the catalog.  It is a profitable business, looking at the numbers.  They make tens of thousands of sales annually, which is saying something.  The work is very dramatic, the model is perfect, the lighting superb, the set and props are exacting and perfectly balanced, the fantasy make up is key.  Interesting business model based on exceptional talent, I must say.  They have one weakness, wallpaper web sites.  It’s easy to find all sorts of hi-res copies via Google.

Faint 53 year old memories

Posted on Thursday, January 9th, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Internet searches can be fruitful, if somewhat frustrating, if you only know a tiny piece of what you are seeking.  For me, it was a short comedy routine on TV in a series relating to doctors.  The comedian, whose name I couldn’t remember, was passing time with an attending nurse at a hospital, mocking a fictitious nurse getting ready for a date, an assistant aiding.

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“File!”  “File.”

“Comb!” “Comb.”

“Tissue!”  “Tissue.  Tissue?  I don’t even know you!”

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The guy was not mainstream, he landed a few TV roles, mostly he was circuit stand up.  That was the sum total of my memory.  Doing a search on the net with such limited and dated information is not easy.  I tried 50’s and 60’s comedian. Vegas, Hollywood.  The punchline.  I tried wikis, IMDb, Google by the score.  Nothing turned up.  It felt like a big shot in the dark that wasn’t even close.  I was glancing images by the thousands, couldn’t find the face I remembered.

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That was it.  I was ready to quit.  I put in the punchline one last time, and I got this weird reference to Hollywood Squares.  From that point, it all fell into order on short notice at IMDb.

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Dr. Kildare s01e05   A Million Dollar Property   1961

Jan Murray, playing next to Anne Francis.

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Odd that I didn’t remember Anne Francis, though in that part of the show in my memory, she hadn’t made her entrance yet.  Still…..  I was a skeptic at that age (10).

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Another piece of useless information made possible by the internet and a dash of perseverance.  That nagging hole from 53 years ago is gone.

Warming trend

Posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2014 at 9:07 am

Just went through two cold nights, temp in the teens for one of them.  But blessedly, it is warming again, low in the 40’s last night.  And my blood pressure is easing a bit, not drastically and not back to optimum, but still, out of the scary zone.  And I’m starting to get some tolerance for the cold weather, not greatly, but still not as cold natured.  But my hands blush a lot recently.

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The Photoshopping has also slowed.  It’s also not completely snuffed out, but only lingering.  I’ve ended up with quite a collection of images from the spurt.

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Check needs depositing, but the Check Engine light is coming on in the pickup dash.  But it goes out once the engine warms and I get it up to 45 mph.  I need to test it out on the highway a bit before I make the run to Hempstead for the bank transaction.  It seems to be running a little rich.

2014 started with… Photoshop.

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 9:49 pm

My blood pressure has been keeping me grounded, as well as the edema I’m having as a reaction to the chlonodine.  I think that I figured it out, though.  I think that I’m dehydrated from the diuretics.  So I’m laying off them, and just dealing with my feet by keeping them elevated.  And I’m in a hydration program.  Lots of water, never far from a toilet.  *Sigh*

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But I have been spending a lot of time familiarizing myself with plugins in Photoshop that I finally got installed.  That is the one area where I dragged tail all year.  My CS6 PS has been a bare bones operation, until now.  I had all those pesky little photo-manipulaton apps (Instagram cones) on the iPad and laptop to learn.  I never had time to address the Photoshop plugs.

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A lot of them won’t get shown here because of copyrights.  Some of them shine very well, demand attention.  My problem is that everyone I know is too old to photograph as a vanity.  It’s all documentation now.  So I’m stuck playing with wallpapers from Google images.  Nice photos, but not something I’d risk posting.  I’ll just say that I like mixing the new generation plugs with Hollywood faces.  The results can be most impressive.

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I guess I’ll have t dust off the camera now and go somewhere, as soon as I get my body to behave.