Monday, January 04, 2010

House Keeping (or, On the time honored tradition of giving up)

I figured since I announced the start of my 365 project here, I should probably make a quick post about it one year later, even though I didn't finish it. I decided to give up on it the day my dad passed away. It had gotten increasingly harder and harder to make myself pick up the camera the sicker he got. I was starting to develop an adversarial relationship with it, which is exactly the opposite of what I set out to do. Truth is that I kept shooting for some days after, but none of it was remotely worth posting. I'm sure there might have been value in trying to express what I was feeling visually, but I was too busy feeling it to try to work how to express it.

Some people can turn their pain into great art. Others turn their pain into blurry, badly framed, so-awful-it-almost-looks-intentional photography. I'll let you guess which one I am.

(also, for those who know what I've been dealing with lately, there's a horrible pun in the title that I didn't realize until I wrote it)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

On Starting Project 365

Symbolic Acts [1/365]
Originally uploaded by skippytpe
I'm the sort of person that puts a lot of stock in symbolic acts.

Not to the point that I will take note if it's missing, but as we live in an age where the symbolism seems to have disappeared from everyday life, I'm very likely to take note when someone goes out of their way to attach meaning to their actions.

That said, I'm not sure that the disappearance of the stock sorts of symbolic flourish common in ages past is altogether a bad thing. The symbolic flourishes of society are often tied to classist and undemocratic ideas and impulses. Still, I can't help but think that in the process of stripping them away we have lost something.

For all that love of symbolism though I've never attached the least bit of personal significance or symbolism to New Years Day. I like to shoot fireworks and eat cabbage and all, but I've just never gotten all that excited about the whole idea of "starting anew with the new year" probably because I figure that if I actually have the discipline to improve some aspect of my life, it's not going to matter a tinkers cuss when I start the change. It is simply to be done.

This year is different. I decided when I read Merlin Man's "Photography, and the Tolerance for Courageous Sucking" that I was going to do Project 365 starting on New Years Day 2009. I've had second thoughts since then, and I may again, but for now it's time to put those second thoughts to rest and pick up my camera. If I'm going to improve as a photographer, I'm going to have to shoot... every day... mindfully, patiently, consistently. Not every photo will be a winner, but that's not the point.

Mindful discipline wins the day. Here's hoping it wins tomorrow.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Geekpost: #bcmem Musings on Communicative Bandwidth

So I'm sitting there listening to @willmurphy's excellent presentation on adapting to technological change here at Barcamp. He's talking about improvements in communications technology through out the twentieth century and he kinda breezes past the idea of the of the train and the automobile as communications innovations. I think there's a point to be made there that not a lot of people spend time on, especially in technology circles since the car is fairly old tech.

What the car did that no other piece of technology has been able to replicate is allow for independent channels of individual communication that support extraordinarily broad communicative bandwidth. That is to say, that the sort of communication that happens when a car transports an individual (or group of individuals) is that it takes with them the complete richness of their ability to communicate... complete verbal and non-verbal cues, responsiveness and fidelity. Communication in person is as rich as communication can ever possibly be and it seems to me that every "revolution" in communications technology since is trying to find a sweet spot between sustainability (which the car is not) and communicative bandwidth.

To those ends, I think Web 2.0 may be starting to hit if not "the" sweet spot then at least a very good sweet spot:

* Twitter offers breadth instead of depth as a replacement for loss of bandwidth.
* Youtube supports easy, short form video for increased communicative bandwitdh in easily digestible chunks.
* As blogging matures as a writing form in its own right, the ability of writers to condense while still using hypertext for depth is improving.

I'm not sure that we'll see a true replacement to the richness of the in person communicative experience (at least until holo-immersion becomes a reality), but I find that I'm enjoying more an more technologies attempts to adapt.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Random notes from the Broad Art Walk

  • I have never before tonight been to a gallery which seemed to invite me to transcend my Earthly self and become one with the Pizza god. I did not, in fact, know that there was a Pizza god. There is. He's in a gallery on Broad at the moment.

  • Tonight marked the second time that I can remember having seen a bunch of white balloons used as a "screen" for a projector. It's an effect that I like and will have to remember.

  • If anyone knows what the music playing in Material was tonight, please leave it in comments.

  • Amber was quite taken with the work of a painter by the name of Amy Hutcheson in a gallery I very much like but the name of which I can't remember. The work reminded her of home. I dig that.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Further thoughts on the Pirillo/Drupal thing (Geekpost)

Starting here, we join a conversation in my head already in progress:

I actually think the project is a great idea; I see incredible potential applications on the micro (niche) level (e.g. in the enterprise, social action networks, etc.). My problem is that some of the coverage of it I've seen and heard so far seems to spin it as "soon anyone can launch their own Facebook or Digg" which is great except that no piece of software is going to deliver you the several million eyeballs to go along with it.

That's not to say that you couldn't combine parts in a new and interesting way (I'm all about the mashups), but at least part of what make Facebook and Digg what they are is a) innovation and b) position in the market. There are literally hundreds of companies that will sell you the code to put up your own auction site but, for better or worse, there's still just one E-bay.

Delivering functionality with a minimum of fuss is fantastic; I truly believe that. I just hope the project steers towards making the core Drupal experience more user friendly rather than simply a faster way to deliver the latest Web 2.0 widget.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

@ckenp : Your top five list, sir.

Not that this has anything to do with anything I've ever written here, but I'm answering a question at twitter that's actually to long to answer there. I'm not really a car person, as such, but here goes:

5 - 1957 Ford Thunderbird (cherry red) - Unspeakable love for the Thunder-chicken. Not a vehicle owned by anyone in my family and I only road tripped in it once, but I have a soft spot for it none the less.

4 - 1974 Dodge Power Wagon (emerald green) - Thing howled on asphalt like something out of a B horror flick. Still, off road, nothing even comes close.

3 - 1995 Chevy S10 - My current ride... Loud unruly gas guzzling beast, but it's been an incredible little truck. I can't imagine I'll ever have another vehicle that will serve me this well. When I have dreams about being on the road, I'm in this truck.

2 - 1976 Plymouth Trailduster. For those unfamiliar with the Trailduster, it's a Ram Charger with a different name plate and a few alterations in the cab. My first truck... 440 with a Holly 4-barrel carburetor and high performance intake manifold. 8 gallons to the mile. I only had it for 3 years, but those years are the stuff of epic road trip legend. I could pack 10 of my closest friends in it and should we have a wreck, there was enough distance between any one of us and the dash board that we could write out our last will and testament before we hit it.

and, at the risk of being predictable:

1 - 1969 Chevy Camero Z28 (black) - First love. Seriously. 427 cubic inch block; there are few (street legal) things in all the world that equals the power or gas consumption of that vehicle. Considering I drove this thing alone out Oak Ridge Road at the age of 14, it's an absolutely bloody miracle that I'm still alive. It's probably as close as I'll ever come to knowing what a fighter pilot feels like.

Honorable mentions: My Grandfathers 1947 John Deere B Tractor and Gladys' late fourty's Chevy pickup with the three speed shifter on the column.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things to Do: Global Warming Solutions for America

Focus the Nation has organized a national teach-in Webcast to help educate America about solutions for global warming... Rhodes College is hosting a screening of the Webcast on Wednesday, January 30th at 7pm located in the Frazier Jelke Science Center- Room B. There will be refreshments and green-related Door Prizes.
[via Greening Greater Memphis]