Thursday, December 14, 2017

Whisky & Science Fiction

An independent bottling of Glen Garioch (pronounced glen ghee-ree because Scotch apparently) and an off-the-beaten-track Simak novel, The Werewolf Principle are what I've got paired up today.

The Glen Garioch 23-year-old from Berry's is all about honey, stewed fruits, peppermint and leather. The 1967 Simak novel is all about the issues of the day - genetic modification , how much is a good thing, how to legislate it and what becomes of the GMOs themselves, all against the backdrop of a post-scarcity society...with flying houses and holographic wallpaper thrown in for good measure. Mind-blowing, especially considering when it was written! Simak is the consummate storyteller, a veritable "Willa Cather of Science Fiction" and Glen Garioch, with the benefit of a decade or so of extra aging, make a perfect pairing.

I can heartily recommend them individually or together because the best thing with a good book is a good dram!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Up And Down Wall Street

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Wall Street. If you want to make any real money for retirement or even just quality of life, you have to engage with The Market. You can do so without a ton of risk if you choose your investments wisely. When politics adversely affect The Market, I want to pull my hair out!

Stocks took a big dump today because Conservative investors are worried that if Trump can't get his Healthcare Bill rammed through, a lot of his pro-business agenda will be DOA as well. By "pro-business", they of course mean "deregulation" which, in the long run, is *bad* for business and consumers. The other part of his "pro-business agenda" is infrastructure spending...the day Trump proposes any *real* spending on honest-to-goodness Infrastructure, you'll find me stacking snowballs in Hades.

Another thing Wall Street is ignoring is the bill Trump is pushing will be devastating to many his white working-class voters who believed Trump when he promised *everyone* would be covered under his replacement plan. The Congressional Budget Office says 24 million will lose coverage -- and they won't be the rich or the upper middle class, but Trump's biggest base of support. The only way the bill can pass is to continue to lie about Obamacare (that it's in a death spiral) and about its replacement being much better for white working class voters (which is also not true).

What the Right forgets about the ACA is of course that "Obamacare" is in reality a conservative plan proposed long ago by conservatives like Mitt Romney who wanted a market-based alternative to single-payer. But since it was passed by Democrats without a single GOP vote it must be repealed. That's been the true goal of the GOP all along regardless of its effects on the working class and poor. Medicaid also gets a hatchet job in the bill. The trick now is to not let this base know he's betraying them, but they're obviously not paying close attention.

Interesting times...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Computer Archaeology 101

Today I was trying to find an old DAW file which had some musical bits I wanted to transfer into a newer song. Looked everywhere on all my current hard drives, including backups, couldn't find it. Then, to my horror, I realized it was on an ancient Maxtor network attached storage device.
Found the Maxtor NAS device in my storage closet and went online looking for software allowing me to connect through its CAT5 interface...Maxtor has gone the way of the dodo and Seagate bought all their assets and intillectual property some years ago, so off to the Seagate site. They had the connection software...but the last version was for Win XP! Tried it in Win 10 just in case. No go. :(

So, hacksaw and screwdriver in hand, after about 15 minutes of *reasonably careful* work, I managed to free the drive from the plastic case and it's minimal support electronics. Thank goodness it was a standard SATA drive! :)

Popped the drive in to my computer and...nothing! Of course it was formatted in a proprietary Linux file system. :(

After some searching, I found a freeware application ( ) that allowed me to mount the drive in Windows 10. Yep, it was EXT3, should have known! The software allowed me to convert and copy it's contents (excruciatingly slowly) to a good old FAT32 disk. Two hours later, I now have the audio file I was looking for! The bonus is a ton of photos I thought I had lost forever. :)

What a roller coaster!

I now have *profound* respect for folks dealing with archiving of important old computer files, not only because of the myriad formats of variable longevity but because of all the diverse hardware one must deal with, somehow making the outright incompatible finally compatible. Saving data is a insane "moving target" and sometimes even a couple years is all it takes to make something completely inaccessible! O_o.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Making Hay while The Sun Shines

The last few months have seen a huge transition in my life but there's still time for important things like art.

Friday, December 4, 2015

First Leica S2 Photos

Here are a few shots from the lovely Leica S2. The first image is from the 35mm Summarit and the rest are from the 70mm Summarit.
(Click images for a larger image.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Picnic Point

When testing a new camera or lens and there's no time for a road trip, our local beach, "Picnic Point" is always ready to oblige. Over the weekend I traded in my Sony A7 and all my Sony lenses to help fund a Leica SL and 24-90 lens. The camera is superb and the lens is stunning. Stopped by Picnic Point on the way home to take some test shots.

As always, click for larger images:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Peak

70mm Summarit-S, f/2.5, 1/60 Sec.

The Ikon Passes Into Memory

I still love my Zeiss Ikon ZI.
I think now that Cosina has recently stopped making Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders altogether, we may never see it's like is fading. :/

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Leica Q - First Test Shots

My X2 and a couple M lenses are now on the chopping block to pay for the Leica Q. Superb little camera and an excellent successor to the X series.

I've only had the Q for a day now. Here's a selection of my first few shots around the house and office.

Click to enlarge:


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


This kind of looks like the kitchen in my first solo apartment...except mine was more run down and my fridge was a lot smaller. I was in my 20s and I managed as best I could...I had a futon, a TV, a VCR and a couple of pressboard bookshelves filled with paperback books.

That dingy place ate most of my blue collar paycheck I earned as a signmaker at the time and left just a little for food, basics, a little beer and some spending money.

Thank goodness I still visited my folks a lot in those days...they were always giving me canned foods to take home to add to the ramen, lentils and beans in my larder. Most of my neighbors didn't have that luxury.

It was a rather rough, very ungentrified neighborhood...I would occasionally hear gunfire at night. My only "extravagance" was a couple of second-hand synthesizers bought on layaway over many months from pawn shops (the aforementioned spending money) as well as a four-track cassette recorder, A-frame keyboard stand and a little mixer I had received as birthday gifts. My music kept me happy and sane - it still does!

I doubt most conservative lawmakers ever lived like I did...and if they did, it seems they didn't learn a damn thing about what it means to be poor, to live from paycheck-to-paycheck, to be a hard worker but still fall short!

My life in this place and my interactions with my neighbors shaped a lot of my opinions and attitudes today. Things like what "a living wage" means and what the effects of poverty are on people's lives. I never saw any "welfare queens" or "people scamming the system", I saw people doing the best they could with what they had and what they could get.

Chance, circumstance and luck have been *very* good to me since then and I'm doing very well for myself now but I will never forget or ignore all the things I learned those many years ago.

Friday, May 29, 2015

And now, some color treatments.

Abusing Nik's Color Efex Pro this evening. ;)

As always, click the photos to enlarge:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Black & White Treatments

Still really enjoying Nik's Silver Efex Pro! I've been stuck inside for a while recovering from surgery and have been going through some photos, looking for some good candidates for B&W conversion and processing a handful.

Here are a few. As always, click for a better image:

The Magnificent Welles

So wonderful! I just re-watched this yesterday after not having seen it for a couple of years and I just can't recommend it enough. What an absolute tour de force of writing and acting!

For anyone who is a fan of Orson Welles, this is a definite must! It's an astounding one-man-show, written and acted by Marcus Wolland.

This is an incisive peek into the complex character of an iconoclastic genius, not fully understood or appreciated in his time. Set during the time of Welles' "The Magnificent Ambersons" and how the studio basically rejiggered and 'destroyed' the movie while he was out of the country.

I originally found my copy here on Amazon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Return to Shadow

My album "Shadow" can be listened to online in its entirety absolutely free at this link.

A complete gearlist-per-track is available here if you're curious about the synths used.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter in North Bend - Mount Si

A beautiful winter tableau of Mt. Si shot with the Sony A7 and the Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f/4.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

YES! A local Leica store!

Finally, there's a Leica store in our area! Just opened in Bellevue Square least until they get their own digs.

Finally the PNW has a local place to go for all-things-Leica. How jazzed am I? :)

Got to talk with the local rep today and I also had a look at the lust-worthy Leica 50mm Summicron Apo-chromatic lens. I'd trade my Summilux ASPH in a heartbeat! We're talking about love-at-first-sight here! ^_^

Leica Store, Bellevue
221 Bellevue Square
Bellevue, Washington
(425) 451-4060

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dead Stars

I keep seeing these memes about how all the stars we see in the night sky are dead.

 *****THIS IS WRONG*****

Most visible main sequence stars in the night sky are still burning strong with plenty of life left.

The light reaching us from stars so far away (and so long ago) that they *are* actually dead, is too dim to see with the naked eye.

...and remember there's *new* stars in those distant regions whose light hasn't even reached us yet.

Bro, do you even science? ;)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

That time of year...

"It was the Yuletide, that men call Christmas, though they know in their hearts it is older than Bethlehem and Babylon, older than Memphis and Mankind."
— H.P. Lovecraft, 'The Festival'

Sunday, November 9, 2014

More Leica T Black And White Shots...

Went for brunch at the Fall City Roadhouse for their excellent "Ugly Breakfast" and "Maker’s Mark Bacon Bourbon Fondue". YUM!
Snagged a few new pictures in between downpours. These were all shot with the Leica T with the Leica 35mm Summarit f/2.5 lens. Loving this combo for high-contrast black-and-white images!

Click to enlarge: