Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Good mood; bad lunch news

So I've been in a fairly good mood all day and even had a good night last night. Work's going well, today was payday. Heck, everything's looking up. I head out to lunch with two of my boys and we decide to nosh in our favorite Mexican diner (Amigos). To our dismay the menus have changed for the worse. The food costs more. The service was deplorable and when we finally got ready to go it took about 15 minutes to get a ticket to the cashier so that we could pay and leave. ARRGGHHH! Their hallmark, their fast service at lunch time is even gone. Well, nothing to do for it but to look around for the nearest Taco Bell. Still an enjoyable day but just bad news for the lunch crowd here at work. Too much to pay to get the same ol' service.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Communication Crap

Whew! What a day!?!

First off trying to live with someone and communicate can be a righteous pain in the ass (PITA). It can also be fulfilling and make for a bunch of metaphoric pegs upon which you can hang shared experiences and mutually fulfilling decisions. Today started out as one of the former type days. PITA. To the hilt. Doesn't appear to be ending up that way but what a draining way to start the day.

Now on to other connectivity issues. I got to work today and the network decided to just up and die. It crapped itself but GOOD. Couldn't log in, couldn't get e-mail, couldn't get to any network resource. Dudes (and dudettes) it was hosed. Our team decided it was time for a team-building exercise so we hit the local Japanese hibachi grill and whiled away a good hour and fifteen minute lunch. The network had finally been righted and was walking the straight and narrow when we wheeled back into the office and everyone spent a productive afternoon . . . uhhh . . . yeah, that's the ticket. Apparently we had a switch die early this morning and what with all our self-healing, monitor laden hardware that switch was rapidly replaced in less than 4 or 5 hours. Hmmmm, mmmmm. Now that's good uptime. OK. I'm being an ass and I know this'll come back to haunt me on my next project where some extraneous little bit of data knocks my app out for a day or two but its fun to get a free lunch on someone else's dime once every couple of years.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 24, 2004

Economic Nausea

Well, its been rumored for some time here at my workplace that layoffs were in the offing. Today apparently was the day. I don't know how many people or who they were adn I probably couldn't comment if I did know. I can say that I'm concerned for those people and their families. I know I'd be hit pretty hard if it was me (or based on industry trends, when it becomes me).

In a totally unrelated vein,

Q. How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Two - One to hold the giraffe and one to dump a bag of brightly colored tools into the porcelain bathtub.

Q. How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A. Just two but I don't know how they got in there.

Hope that gives you something to smile about.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Sick baby

Yeah, it really is 2:00 in the morning. I just put our daughter to back bed. When she's sick its such a pain; not 'cause you have to take care of her but because she feels bad. This could easily just be her body reacting to some back baby teeth rupturing into her mouth (I am just loath to call them "molars" although that may be what they are). Then again, it could be a virus. Her temp is 101 so we gave her some Children's Strength Tylenol which can help her break the fever and which alleviates some of the symptoms associated but that's all we're doing is reacting to the symptoms.

It's easy to take for granted that once you've established a health pattern doctors can routinely judge common ailments but that takes years. When your body is still developing it can be a tossup whether you'll develop allergies, asthma or other troubling conditions.

Ah well, back to sleep for another few hours and we'll check again later.


Monday, June 21, 2004

Giant, blue-assed monkeys are swinging from my ears!!!


OK. So I signed up with CNN's online video service so that I could watch short little news clips anytime I wanted. It worked fine for a few months. Suddenly one day they decided that they needed more control or something so they changed their service. I had to use RealNetwork's RealOne client or some such horseshit. So I download yet another client/interface. Now from that time to this I haven't been able to login and watch anything. I couldn't watch clips of events in Iraq or domestic TV shots or anything. I finally got an e-mail reminding me that I have the service which I, a computer programmer who writes web applications, cannot figure out how to use on my home computer or my work computer (and no, none of the ports are blocked and yes I'd know it if they were). I remember while I'm at work and their Customer Support is still open and not completely inundated. I go online to have the services cancelled. About 10 screens later and 3 different times of having to enter my e-mail address and I finally get a screen that says some shit like "If you really, REALLY want to cancel our supremo service that no one should ever have to do without then call . . . ." Yeah, I wanna cancel the damned service. I call up and get some help desk geek that wants to help me configure my software or check my router settings!!!! HOLY BULLSHIT!!! I want to CANCEL my damned service. Stop charging me. Now for those of you who know me, I actually kept my voice under control and never let on that I was annoyed by anything. I just said that I'd like to cancel it but inside I was screaming CANCEL THE DAMNED ACCOUNT!!!!!!!!!

Finally, he realized that he couldn't goad me into anything nor could he dissuade me and several minutes after this ordeal began, I'm no longer a customer of CNN or RealNetwork's newspass crap.


Honesly, I've cancelled porn subscriptions faster and more easily. Why doesn't Congress regulate these "nice and safe" industries so that they can't make it any more of a pain in the ass to cancel a subscription than to say "Big Ol'"?

Thanks for reading,


Photography, CoH, father's day and family

Well, this last weekend included Father's Day and I think we celebrated. Sadly I actually played City of Heroes most of the weekend. I spent a little time with the family and that was fun. We took our daughter up to play in the pool and she seemed to enjoy it for the most part (her cousins pinching her toes underwater where she couldn't see them for the floating device she was in induced tears but other than that she seemed fine). Perhaps on a brighter note I leveled from 1 up to 9 over a period of about 4 or 5 days. Oh yeah, with 2 characters. Now that can be fun in that you get to have some dialog with your friends. I assume its like the guys my Dad's age going to the golf course or playing poker and watching the football game on TV and just talking shit to each other. Frankly there isn't much time to really discuss anything major as we're always running and power leveling. We don't discuss belief systems, families, politics, life goals or finances. Sometimes we'll talk about the merits of nerfing a particular AT's primary power but how much more geeky can you get?

We went with Cindee's parents to the Choo-Choo for brunch on Father's Day and that was pretty cool. I could definitely see doing a shoot down there someday. It'd take the right outfit and setup but I think it could come off looking good.

I'm pretty stressed about photography right now. It's surprising how something that is supposed to be a relaxing habit has turned into something so stressful. I really just want to take pictures but I'm so driven to take something of a caliber that others find it impressive. Now that's something to pay someone $150/hour to figure out isn't it? I don't want to just carry the camera around and take good family shots; its more than that to me. I want to take shots that move people. I want to produce art. I've labored under the impression that if I shoot enough I'll eventually learn just from having pressed the shutter release so many times and seeing what does or doesn't work. Well, now I'm at the point where I think I understand some of the physics of taking a photo and I want to explore taking a "good" photo; an artistic photo. I want to start off with an image in-mind and reproduce it so that when people see it, a large percentage of them immediately experience feelings similar to what I had when I designed the shot. How to go about that? I guess by defining some shots I want to take and then setting them up. I'm a believer that a good photographer makes a photograph but I also subscribe to the idea that more money makes the shot look better. The subject can look poor but it can take a lot of money to get the shot of the poor subject. Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time knows my deepseated angst over putting in a fashion studio here in town. I spoke with Cindee this weekend about some ideas for studies (not studios) and planning for them. Then I read an interview with a photographer whose work I find impressive and suddenly I feel like I need to be more cereberal. Sure this is artwork and I want to just point a camera at something and snap off hundreds of frames and find the one or two that look good but I also want to define a style for myself. Arggghhhhh, it feels like I'm just pissing my time away. I need to decide on a couple of studies, spend the next few years working to flesh out those studies and perhaps add more or refine those and then produce something with that body of work. Oddly for either I'm not sure how to approach getting models. I guess I could look some up on OMP but I'm looking for specific body features. Oh well, guess I should get started sketching some looks I want to capture and then go find someone to fit those ideas that are in my head. Perhaps I wanted an artistic voice and now that I feel capable of some manner of expression I am frustrated 'cause I never considered what it was that I would want to say.

I get to keep our daughter tonigth while my wife goes dancing. She really is a cool person, my wife. So is our daughter but I relate to her in a whole other universe. Relating to a wife is . . . well, you probably know as you probably have a spouse of your own. It can be rewarding and all but I guess overall I just thought I'd mention that she is a cool person and its neat to see her engaging some things she finds interesting, too.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 18, 2004


I'll turn my attention back to this set of blogs again for a moment and see if I can't knock one out.

Paraphrases not literal text translations, nor are they necessarily phrase-for-phrase translations (which require some interpretation by the translators. Paraphrases are basically what someone else thinks the Bible (or any original source document) intends to say. Paraphrases are scary because they depend upon the ability of the paraphraser to understand the mentality, focus, message and nuances of the original author. In my opinion (IMO) a paraphrase of the Bible should never be used for any purpose. There are enough translations wherein the translators have been open enough to share their own biases and beliefs that governed their choices during the translation processes (you can generally read about it in the forwards of a translation or by looking up the publisher of a version of the Bible) so that a reader can reasonably understand why the translators decided to substitute a word or phrase for what was actually in the original texts (or sometimes for what was left out of the original text).

Perhaps a contrived example would serve best to demonstrate the difference between a translation and a paraphrase. I don't have a copy of the Nestle-Aland or UBS version of the Greek New Testament handy so I'll make my own sentence fragement up.

Koine Greek:

Textually accurate translation:
"I love you"
Here you should notice that the "I" and "you" are in italics. This is a mechanism by which most Bible publishers alert the user that the text they are reading was not necessarily in the original manuscripts. The reason for this is that often with language that were as intricate and mature as Greek was at the time (spoken by a majority of the world and almost all the known western world at the time of the writing of the New Testament), words could accurately be inferred to be present in conversational language usage (such as in the letters of the New Testament from Paul, Peter and the other authors). Just like in modern Spanish it is permissible to say "no soy" to mean "I don't know", you can leave out references to oneself because the voice of the verb "soy" implies that the speaker is also the subject of the sentence.

Paraphrase of the text:
"I, yes I, the Lord, love you, my people"
Now, why would all these words be added? Sometimes the person writing the paraphrase (such as the "Good News for Modern Man" felt that it might be important to point out to the readers that the Creator of all life appreciated the reader and cared for the reader. Perhaps these words might be added for some other reason. The whole point of why paraphrases are not an acceptible item to use in determining one's belief system is that the reader never knows the underlying reasons why the authors of the paraphrase chose to use a particular set of words; are these words here bacause they really are in the original languages, are they here because I can reasonably infer them from the words and tenses used in the original documents or are they here because the author of this paraphrase felt it important to emphasize something?

Paraphrases might be OK but I can't imagine a profitable reason to utilize them for anyone who is capable of understanding basic human interaction.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 17, 2004


OK. So I'm reading Discover today and ran across an article on rogue waves. In that article the author referred to a word I hadn't read before. Perhaps some of you engineers or mathematicians will be familiar with the concept: SOLITON. The definition from is "A pulselike wave that can exist in nonlinear systems, does not obey the superposition principle, and does not disperse." Cool concept if you understand sine and cosines or waves and troughs or even turbulence. I wish I had studied math more. It impresses me how elegantly mathematics can describe the physical world in which we live. From my standpoint I never learned to value studying math and so working with math becomes mundane and boring sometimes but higher mathematics in beneficial for the type of work I perform daily. Analysis, design, patterns. Oh my!

Hope you learned something from this blog today. Maybe just that water is a nonlinear system. Maybe someday I'll look up the surface information on that concept and share it with some links, too.

I really need to get back to writing my 5 part blog on Bible interpretations.

Well, thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

City of Heroes

Well, Eric (blog) talked me into buying City of Heroes yesterday. I played Everquest with him online (I won't link to it 'cause I just hate that damned game; its too involved); that games sucked. I go into City of Heroes expecting that it'll totally suck but because of my boy's generosity I was able to buy the game at a reduced price (hey, what can I say, he wanted someone to play it with him). I install it last night before the Harry Connick Jr concert and played about 2-3 hours. Hmmm, I leveled up pretty fast, the controls are easy to handle and there is absolutely not all that "You MUST Group With Someone" bullcrap that made EverQuest such a PITA (pain in the ass). I was able to take out lower level mobs/npc's and advance my character relatively quickly so that he and I will start out at basically the same level. The game itself is a marvel of configurable options for users. You custom make your hero as well as his or her powers and abilities. The universe in which the game is set is not so terribly harsh as to make me have nightmares worrying about my own family but there are enough just mean people that need an ass-whippin' in the game so my guy has a super-belt that I take off to do +2/+5 damage when I'm spankin' . . . uhh, no, that's not it. My dude's name is Cpt Justice and he's a Tanker. He stands out in front of the group and soaks up the damage that the bad guys/girls throw at him while his teammates lob nasty attacks over his shoulders onto the waiting heads of the "bad" people. All things considered its a fun way to blow a few hours online this month. I doubt that I'll keep on paying for the online connection service for this after the first free month ($14.95 per month). At least its a hoot right now.

Thanks for reading,


Harry Connick, Jr

Last night HCJr was in town at the Memorial Auditorium. Cindee and I went to see him and it was incredible. The first set lasted about 4 or 5 songs and I knew almost all of them (one or two unfamiliar ones). The orchestra figured into those first songs prominently. He then began singing and playing piano and the orchestra got more of a rest. It even tailed into him singing and accompanying himself on the piano with only the drums or even just a piano solo. He picked up the jazz tempo again when he invited Lucian (?) the band captain out onto stage. Lucian hadn't been playing any instruments up to that point as far as I could tell but he brought out his trombone and he and Harry jammed. The orchestra joined in on some of it and this devolved into a jam session between some of the best musicians I've ever seen (much less been in the same room with). These guys (all male) were fantastic. They weren't your average, run-of-the-mill musicians. They could all stomp the absolute crap outta the music and make their instruments beg to be played. It was awesome. One of the trumpet players Levi something-or-other seriously, seriously molested his trumpet when he trilled and tongued and made it whine for minutes at a time. Words fail to express the levels to which these men took jazz music last night in front of an audience. The whole middle section of the concert (about 30-40 minutes) felt like we were all getting to sit in on a jam session at someone's home studio down in New Orleans (Harry's hometown apparently). It felt like he'd just invited one or two guys over to go to the basement studio and they just had a friggin blast jamming. They were making jokes; Harry talked about how he wishes he could sing high like Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) or Freddy Mercury (Queen) and how he wants to sing those high rock songs. It was totally cool and fun. Top the whole thing off with a 5 or 6 song set from the new album and it was 2 hours of great music and a lot of laughs. He's a great performer on stage (and the orchestra was too).

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Passin' it around

Well, last week my daughter was sick with something that had her developing a diaper rash from all the frequent activity and I developed it. Both of ours lasted a few days and the actual disease wasn't terribly painful except for the intense and immediate cramps that presaged the next event. Now it appears that my wife has come down with the bug and she's home today dealing with the unpleasantries involved.

I've always seen other people pass stuff around in their families and thought "man that must suck" but I have to admit that now that we're a family with more than 2 members I kinda like having that experience. I'm sure as we add to the family and we have 2 or 3 kids passing stuff around and then Mom & Dad get it the newness will wear off and I'll be worn out and tired from dealing with it but its kinda cool right now to realize that we are at this stage in our family's life.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, June 14, 2004

My thoughts about some local jackass

A friend of mine Eric King (blog) started a user group for .NET users here in our hometown of Chattanooga. He's worked diligently to start this group, keep it going and provide the kind of speakers, seminars and books that can be utilized by anyone wanting to further their knowledge and skillset with .NET. Recently he received a reply to one of his humorous blogs wherein he mimed looked at a centerfold in a .NET Framework book. Here's the comment he received:

re: Geek Centerfold.......

What is worse than a bad comedian? Someone who thinks they are a comedian.

I implore you to quit wasting our time with useless meanderings and depictions of a framework fetish. Supply real code, real solutions, and real industry architecture solutions from individuals who do not have a Provident agenda or blinder on.

Since you are not an architect I suggest you step aside and let the real S.A.of Chattanooga lead us.

Now I know Eric doesn't mind disagreement or even criticism of his style of leadership or his decisions regarding the group. I, however, take issue with the slack-jawed, drool-dribblin', moron who posted this. It's not that he/she isn't entitled to his opinion. It is that he chose to not "sack up" and leave his name on this. What's wrong with this no-nuts? Scared that I'd make fun of him? Scared that others don't share his sacred burning love for .NET technology? I'd suggest to this sub-par socialite that he start his own group. Make it in direct competition to CHADNUG. Don't take this personally, step up to the plate. Start a group that doesn't have as much fun and that provides "real code, real solutions and real industy architecture solutions" and let's see how many people want to go to his group instead of CHADNUG. Put your money where your mouth is piss-ant. When you actually start donating your time and money to do enough for a community so that Microsoft actually pays for you to come to Tech-Ed or DevDays then maybe you'll actually be contributing something. It ought to mean something that a group of at least 50 professional programmers comes to each meeting (often as many as 80 show up for the monthly meetings). It should mean something that Microsoft made Eric an MVP because of his contributions to the local INETA group. It should mean something that INETA asked Eric to be on some of its management groups. It should mean something that the vast majority of speakers we have had are published multiple times and many are speakers for Microsoft or INETA events. It should mean something that the majority of speakers have presented their code in VB.NET rather than C# (UnumProvident uses C#, almost all other local businesses use VB.NET so we've tried to find people who intentionally provide code that you can utilize although converting isn't a problem with .NET). If you don't respect any of that then fine. We just have a difference of opinion. What I don't respect about this loser is that (A) he didn't sign his name and (B) he hasn't done anything to help or to make a useful contribution. Each meeting we hand out forms that ask for anonymous comments about what can change. That would be a non-public mechanism by which someone could offer constructive criticism or suggest some changes to the meeting format. This jackass decided to not write anything down about what could be done differently; he wanted to put his smart-ass remarks up on the CHADNUG site so he created a user ("**") just so he could put his opinion out there. Hey, limpdick, start your own group, leave CHADNUG or offer critiques in the format that has been made available since the first meeting. I've called publishers for you, I've setup authors to come in and speak to you, I've worked a helluva lot more than you have to make the meetings useful and Eric has outdone anything I've offered multiple times over. Now its your turn. Get the hell out! Help out the CHADNUG meeting by going off to your little corner of shitsville and start your own dinky little group and have what you think is technically relevant meetings and when you all surpass the members of CHADNUG with your salaries and you know how then we'll all look up to you and say, "Wow! You were right, Jackass, sir."

Until you contribute you need to understand that CHADNUG is not a democracy. It's the work of one guy with a couple of his friends trying to make the meetings fun and the topics relevant and you have been given a voice. You have had opportunity to take up your view of how relevant the material is and how technically useful the speakers are and you have not spoken up. I've seen the sheets that are turned in and the number of suggestions for what could be changed to make the meetings better can be counted with both hands and they would leave one finger left over (guess which one I'm gonna reserve to show you). If you don't like it, leave!

Quick blog 'bout money

OK. So I was sick at the end of last week. While I'm at home I decided to check out my finances online and balance my checkbook. Seemed like a decent thing to do while I was just sitting around. I pull up my account online and BLAMMO!! Someone decided to deduct a few hundred dollars from my account. Hmmm I say to myself. I say, "Self, do you know why this agency decided to deduct that amount of money from my account?!?" Myself replies, "Uhh NO!" (Myself can be quite forceful in discussions, I try to not take it personally). I think back and remember that I used to have a ROTH IRA where this exact amount was taken out of my bank account every month. "Hmmm," says I again, "That seems fishy." I call up the financial consultants that setup that account. I relayed what happened and that they had even billed me for their services and they looked into it. Thankfully the person I spoke with was very kind and understanding and went out of his way to try and restore my sense of "Boy this is a good day; I'm not getting screwed over" which had recently kinda taken a hit as I'm sure you can imagine. Long story short: the agency cut me a check for their charges and the fund is cutting a check to go straight back to my bank so that I get the money back and there will be no tax implications (since I still have my existing ROTH account with them and this has to not be a disbursement).

It appears that no one was at fault and it was simply a computer glitch or something that caused this to start back up more than a year after it had been shutdown but the person at the agency that I spoke with locally handled the situation as well as I ever could have hoped for. He was courteous and understanding and he didn't let this hang, he took care of it in an expeditious manner. I won't mention the agency or the fund but if you ever have opportunity to deal with Jim Graham either for business or personal matters I would highly recommend him as as a consumate professional.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, June 13, 2004

Another trip to the botanical gardens

Well, since we joined the Gardens as members we decided to take a nice inexpensive trip down to enjoy them again this weekend. We left Sunday after lunch and spent a few hours traveling, a few hours playing and a few hours coming back. All-in-all it was a fun little trip. We got several photos with Katie and the gardens were much less crowded that last weekend. It was also overcast so its wasn't nearly as hot. We pulled out the old reflector for a few shots and man can you tell the difference. It's a real pisser to not have someone to help out with the reflector more often. It's like having the solution for something and not having a way to administer it.

Anyway, here's a shot I took at the gardens. You can click it to go see the other 10 or so photos I worked up in a hurry and posted to my portfolio (new window will open).

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 11, 2004

Favorite Authors

OK. Hopefully this'll be my last blog for the day. I'm starting to get worn out so I think I'll go take a nice, long, scorchingly hot shower and see if I can't start feeling clean and awake again.

Just thought I'd blog a little about some of my favorite authors (I'll probably forget some but what the hey).

William Gibson - futuristic, techno-cyber writer. He coined the term cyberspace. His books are great and his short stories are even better.

Terry Pratchett - author of the DiscWorld series. He is one author that actually makes me laugh out loud. He personifies Death and Christmas (Hogswatch Father) and has a dry wit that I just love. His characters are outstanding and I'd suggest to anyone who grew up in a repressive religious background should read Small Gods. It's a fantastic look at what one deity finds out the hard way.

Madeleine L'Engle - author of the series of books about the Murray kids. Her first book in that series A Wrinkle in Time just aired recently in America as a made-for-TV movie. Some religious references appeared to have been removed or substituted with other mystical references.

Lewis Grizzard - son of the south who wrote deeply politically incorrect books based on his experiences growing up in Newnan Georgia and then going to college, getting jobs as a sports writer and columnist, moving up north (where he rightly hated it) and finally coming home, his dogs, his wives (of which there were several) and how he liked wearing slip-on leather loafers without socks. He passed away entirely too early.

Alexandre Dumas - yeah, the guy who wrote The Three Muskateers. He also wrote more about the four friends and their experiences in other books. He also authored Les Miserable. If you've never read a translation of that book I'd highly recommend at least the first few chapters until the subject has been caught and returned to the priest's home. You can see some insight into human motivation that is absent in anything I've read from modern writers.

Some other notables are:
Terry Brooks
Arthur C Clarke
Michael Stackpole
Piers Anthony
Ray Bradbury
Ernest Hemingway
and numerous other authors from whom I've only read a single book.



Holiness and Righeousness

OK. So I'm working on a series of blogs about modern day Bible texts and what some of the terms mean in regards to versions of the Bible that you can purchase.

After years of study and an undergraduate degree in Bible allow me to point out one thing:
If you're a Christian, your goal is not to know more, it is to BE HOLY!

Holiness is your calling. Not knowledge. Studying the Bible is a profitable pastime and it is something that we find many holy people in the Bible doing. There are some verses that people learn at a young age

Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.

That's all well, fine and good but anytime you get into a dry, academic study of verses or concepts or a discussion of the relative merits of whatever philosophical bent you happen to have this month, you would do your own soul well to remember that the focus should be on the Holiness of Jehovah and it would be to your betterment to seek after a holy nature.

Remember (Romans) you have already been declared Righteous. Righteousness is a positional concept (dry conversation again). You are already the "righteousness of Christ" but you are called to be holy.

Study, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling", delve into what you believe but at all times be humble to the point of knowing with a steadfast certainty that the better thing at any given time is to seek after holiness.

I say this not because I've mastered it. Truly I am as far from humility as I've ever known myself to be. I fear the submission that comes with actively seeking the presence of God in my life. However, for those of you who are interested in growth and Christian maturity, you should always be prepared to follow an opportunity to pracice holiness in your own life.

Just my $0.02.

Thanks for reading,



Well, I'm still at home sick today. I figure sitting in this chair typing about 10 feet from the bathroom is no more or less taxing than lying on the couch 10 feet from the bathroom so you all get the benefit of a little focus in an otherwise quiet household (if you will excuse the cantankerous rumblings of my intestines).

Yesterday's post, though somewhat rambling, tried to deal with translations. In the original context it was translations of the Bible but the principles hold true no matter what you're translating. I've studied French, German, Greek (Koine), Japanese (easy language) and Chinese (by far the hardest language I ever even considered). Principles of translation apply the same throughout most languages. Tense, voice, mood, etc all go into knowing what was initially said in the original source language. You don't have to completely understand what was said to make a translation. To attempt a translation with a high degree of accuracy in concepts often times requires some interpretation. The example I used yesterday was regarding a phrase "bowels and tender mercies" which in the original text appears to have meant compassion. In modern vernacular the word "bowels" generally doesn't thrust a person into a thought pattern regarding their feelings. "Bowels" more commonly today refers to the types of gastro-intestinal problems I've been having with this virus or whatever it is over the last few days. To convey a similar thought process out of 4,000 year old Hebrew to modern American English (as opposed to British English or Colonial English) one might consider a slight modification of the word "bowel" to "heart". This is no longer a strict translation; it has become invested with the understanding and belief of the translator. It has encountered an interpretation. Now, not to throw you off of reading your Bible (or any other good translated document) but these types of changes occur with some regularity in your Bible. The Bible was written conversationally (especially the New Testament) and, therefore, uses idiomatic phrases which meant one thing to the original recipients of the letters but based on word-for-word translation these phrases would be stupid and useless to modern American readers.
Modern translators have to evaluate their choices carefully. Teams of translators could translate a passage separately and then compare notes to see what they think is the best approximation of the original language. It is important to remember for those who believe the Bible to be the Holy, Inerrant, Infallible message from an all-powerful entity (Jewish Yahweh or Jehovah) that the infallibility only exists in the original texts. Translations are completely fallible. Monks throughout history have made some glaring mistakes in copying passages although many current translations utilize texts that are very close to the original documents (more on this in the 5th installment: the Canon).
When you select a version of the Bible for yourself you should understand upon what criteria the translators decided to base their choices. Did they choose "Tree of Life" or "Book of Life"? Did they choose "Lake of Fire" or "Hell" or even the original word "Gahenna" and expect you to look that up? Why did the translators make the trade-offs that would inevitably follow? Were they looking to convey the most important passages and doctrines of the Bible to the lowest common denominator of people or were they expecting to translate word-for-word concepts and allow readers to dig into the historical significance of some of the confusing passages that would surely crop up in the English?
My tendancy is to go for a more direct word-for-word translation such as the New American Standard Bible. It more closely follows the original text, leaving in some idiomatic phrases and historical euphemisms. The King James also tends more towards the original language structure. The New King James is a bastardization of a translation. It is my understanding that the work done of the New King James version did not go back to the source documents but rather modified the King James version. When translating it is imperative to get back as close as you can to the source documents otherwise you may be dealing with hearsay and erroneous text.
One current translation that tends more towards modern language is the New International Version. I know others have appeared in the last few years but I haven't purchased a new Bible in years so my knowledge of current material is stunted.
These interpretation-heavy versions are fine for reading and even for studying but it is always helpful to try getting as close to the source documents as possible. Before going out to purchase a new version of the Bible you should do a little homework and find out how the translators of each version you are considering decided to base their decisions about idiomatic phrases and euphemisms. Even literalists like myself know that some phrases in the Bible are put there for allegorical or metaphorical usage. Others passages, however, we believe they mean what they say.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, June 10, 2004

Non-Religion; translation

OK. I was posting something with some friends and I made a joke out of how much importance some people have historically placed on a particular version of a translation of the Bible. My comic reference was to how some people had such a reverence for the Scofield Reference Bible.

In writing this I spent just a few minutes looking up some things. What seems like humor can oft turn thought-provoking when one looks at facts surrounding someone or something. I will say that it is laughable how some people place such a trust into a work as opposed to the underlying truths held within that body of work.

This was supposed to be a discussion of the difference in a translation, an interpretation and a version (of a Bible) but first allow me to point to some history of two people whose names I have typed either in this blog or in another social area.

Dwight Lyman Moody was a preacher of some reknown during the late 19th century in America. While I may not share his gifts or his particular interpretation of some non-fundamental points of scripture; I do respect his dedication and he and I would probably agree on the pertinent parts of Christian tradition (namely the virgin birth, diety of Christ, His blood sacrifice, exclusivity of salvation, damnable nature of people and holiness of God hopefully among others). I don't want to live his life but I respect not only his drive to preach a message but also his pragmatism at a time when it might not have been the order of the day. He suggested people mark passages in their Bibles. At that time Bibles probably weren't as mass produced as they are today. He suggested to his listeners to use interleaved text for more room to make notes. Practical idea. A large independant Baptist church was founded in his name in Chicago, IL. It was later presided over by . . .

Cygnus I. Scofield (don't ask me to look up his middle name, it was something like Ignatius I think). He actually produced the first Scofield Reference Bible which was an early attempt at making a Bible that easily showed references between passages so that readers could more easily find links between similar ideas or between references from one person to something they were discussing in the text. Remember that for the people of the New Testament, the Old Testament were their religious documents just like they are for current day Christians and Jews. Often New Testament writers referred to a passage in their religious documents and the Scofield Reference Bible is a version that places a link to the original passage right beside the reference, hence the name.

Now, having typed all that, here we go with translations, interpretations, paraphrases and versions (yeah I added paraphrases and don't want to go back up to the top to edit it 'cause I'm feeling not completely well today and I just want to start typing in "stream of consciousness" style).

Sometimes it can be confusing (especially for someone who doesn't believe the Bible to be the inspired word of an entity) to understand why so many people have different Bibles and what they can all be used for. It can be confusing understanding why some believe one thing and others choose to believe differently.

Here's my first installment:

Translations are direct word-for-word or phrase-for-phrase changes from one language to another. The original texts of the Bible (students of the Bible call these "the original autographs") were written in one of three languages: Hebrew (the language of Israel), Aramaic (very small portion of the Bible) and Greek (Koine Greek to be specific; its a dead version of Greek and slightly different from modern day Greek). Now because most English-speaking people don't normally read Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, someone decided (King James in 1611) to commission a work where the words of the Canon (I'll write about the Canon later) were translated into English. This version was called the "King James Version" or "Authorized Version" (abbreviated "KJV" or "AV" respectively).
The goal of a translation is to convey the text in as accurate a manner as possible. I'm sure the school of translation has changed some since I studied my undergraduate work but the basics will remain the same. People who translate the Bible (or any text for that matter) don't have to contend with the comprehension of the audience in either language. In other words, it doesn't truly matter to a dedicated translator whether you understand the English version of a text any more than it matters to her if you understand the Aramaic. The translator's goal is accuracy. He or she (and I may use them interchangeably) should continually consider "Have I translated this as close to the original text as I possibly can?" Now that may make for some weird passages. Why you ask . . . well, go on, ask Why? Because, any language is living at the time it is being used and it is growing and changing and taking on new meanings. A tired example is the usage of "gay" in English. Not only are words changing their contextual meaning(s) to keep up with current usages, you also have to consider idiomatic phrases. An idiomatic phrase might be "it was a fast a greased lightning." It is a phrase in a language meant not to be taken literally but to be accepted for the metaphor that it encapsulates. Translating these phrases word-for-word leaves us with some passages like ". . . bowels and tender mercies . . . ." in the KJV. You and I in Twentieth or Twenty-First Century America wonder what the heck the author meant when he refers to feeling something with ones bowels. Now you have to include interpretation (more on this in another post) to explain this. See, historically Jewish authors used to refer to feeling with their bowels in the same manner that many western writers now refer to feeling with the heart. To them the feelings might have been more visceral rather than lofty. Perhaps as culture changes other generations will refer to feeling something differently. Sometimes already people who have strong reactions to something say things like "that's in my skin" and I assume that they mean they can't elude the feelings that they are trying to express.

It's my observation that many people don't want a book in English that is just as difficult to understand as the original languages so you have varying degrees of translation from word-for-word to phrase-for-phrase. Eventually the translators begin to become preoccupied with the understanding of the original message and you begin to get interpretations . . . but that's for another post.

I guess at this point I'll make a few installments:
the Canon (what is it and how'd we get it)

If you're interested, have some patience. It's been years since I studied and I have to admit that (A) if you're involved in the personal practice of Christianity this is easily one of the less important things. It's also (B) as a person who doesn't really enjoy practicing the Christian experience (lots o' humility and self-governing involved there) I don't really like getting into these things too much.

Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Withdrawl and the shakes


I'm addicted. I'm hooked. I haven't indulged in two weeks by the time you read this. I should be well on the way to kicking the habit but I'm not. It's in my veins. I want to shoot. I want to depress that shutter release button and feel the slap of that miniature mirror inside the body of the camera. Fourteen days. Fourteen days ago I was shooting perhaps my most consistent set ever. Fourteen days ago I was working one hellacious set with a lovely, young model and we came away with something like 1400 frames. That's about 100 frames for each day since.

I'm jonesing hard (who the hell knows where that term came from . . . unless it's a William Gibson reference to Jones the heroin addicted dolphin inside the steallar but woefully mis-screenplayed Johnny Mnemonic). Back to the current topic: I gotta shoot. I had performance anxiety for a few days after the shoot 'cause the more I edited photos the more I felt like I really couldn't attain that level of consistency without shooting in a properly lit studio ever again. Of couse, being the cool, hip, take-charge kind of dude I am I knew that it didn't matter and the photography is sadly my artistic venue for expression so I had to persevere; I had to shout out even if I'm off key and yelling about the wrong thing. I tried setting up sessions with other models and (no animosity on my part; crap happens) but every session fell through for one reason or another. And -PRESTO- -BLAMMO- it's today and I haven't shot anything artistically meaningful in 2 weeks. I photographed some kids at my nephews birthday party. They were sliding down a slide that you could use as a damned escape ramp for a 747 jet but they were still meaningless artistically. Parents might want them but zippo for doing me any artistic good.

I guess its like writers block. I mean I was home today. I have been sick since last night but I could have hauled my nasty self out into the back yard and shot some flowers or bugs or something; naw, I slept and ran to the bathroom and went to pickup some medicine for my daughter who either (God help her) gave this bug to me or (Lord bless the little angel) got this crap from me. Either way, I ended up not shooting something that I didn't want to shoot. Perhaps this is something that I need to do to break this cycle. I don't see myself as very creative artistically. My natural desire is to take a model who isn't already full of herself and photograph her so as to show just how lovely she can be. I'm not great at it and there are glaring technical faults in my work but its the only voice that I have where I truly feel like I connect with the patrons/clients/viewers and they can see some measure of success wherein I actually get close to my goal.

Ahhh, hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and stop being such a wimpy asswipe and just rip off a couple hundred frames of something. I'm not going in to work as I still have to make the occasional journey under high levels of duress (not to mention I have the days so what's one more?). Maybe you can see a photo of the inside of my mailbox in my photoblog tomorrow.

Now on to something infinitely less whiny; Wm Gibson kicks total righteous ass!! He's the man. Speaking of someone who has a vision and a voice he had it; he used it and the world is a better place because he chose to speak out. He's the author of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, Virtual Light, All Tomorrow's Parties and Burning Chrome (which in itself gave rise to almost every 'Net story or movie and even many of the common phrases we use today). Burning Chrome is a giant ass-whipping bear that you don't see when you're setting up your tent but once you camp out thinking "Aww, nothing's gonna get me." then Burning Chrome comes out and rips you a new one and eats your peanut butter that you left open 'cause your an idiot and didn't realize that bears have noses and a keen sense of smell. Try on Johnny Mnemonic 'cause as a short story its really much, much better (and for those who know me I just used two empty words to describe something; that should demonstrate how strongly I feel about this). I love Fragments of a Hologram Rose or The Belonging Kind, New Rose Hotel, The Winter Market (absofuckinglutely a fandamtastic story) or the ultimate midget-tossin', beer on the boobies pourin', flap-jack eatin', wide leather belt ass-whippin', howlin' at the moon story of all time: Burning Chrome (yes its the title of the compilation and the last short story included in the book). Now this story is like a 10 minute installment of every exciting scene out of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws, The Matrix and Reloaded with a couple of references to some pretty piece of tail thrown in for good measure. It's just a fun little story but it has colorful characters, backplot, character development, hell, from a writer's standpoint I can't imagine why someone wouldn't want to teach this as a lesson in what to put in a SHORT STORY as most feature length movies don't even have all these elements to help keep the interest of the average viewer.

Okay, Okay. I'm a little stir crazy from all the fluid loss and just sitting around home all day today the invigorating jaunt to the local mart to pickup the medicine for my daughter's diaper rash not withstanding. I'm not sure how to pigeon-hole those people who would find Gibson interesting and definitely not sure how to pick out those that, like me, think he's the nearest thing to a prophet for the terminally sci-fi'ed sect of us who like to see the techno of tomorrow. He tells stories that include the homey Americana type culture points that you might have soaked up from "Leave It To Beaver" but the culture into which he projects his readers is a fucked up entropic dynasty of multi-national corporations, of intrigue shrouding every 5th or 10th person and you don't know where to start counting. His universe is a future in which things have declined for most world citizens while others have found their star is on the metaphoric rise so that the gap between the haves and the have nots becomes techno-ized. People can exchange body parts for vat grown versions that are less flawed. By way of illustration (pun intended) for those readers who are heavy photography amatuers or more, he was writing back in the 80's about people replacing their eyes for Zeiss-Ikon lenses (some of the best glass ever made for imaging).

Anyway, you've now gotten a dose of sick Kevin (pun again intended). Sit back, take your medicine and when the doctor comes in to give you your exam, just lean over, take a deep breath and try to forget that the pretty, young nurse is standing there watching him get paid to probe you for polyps. You'll be over the disease soon enough. ;)

Thanks for reading,


Forced Vacation

Yesterday I ate a chicken sandwich. I know it isn't the culprit but whoa! Shortly after that lunch I began having stomach problems that forced me to work in shorter shifts so I could . . . make a few trips to take care of some things. (Now this is an attempt at a delicate approach to a normal human activity)

Last night at the user group meeting I actually had to leave about 30 minutes into the meeting because I had gotten much more stricken (for lack of a more visceral description). I got home to find that my baby daughter has some similar symptoms. So today (after an evening that followed the pattern) I'm staying at home. If I had some of my work here I'd actually work from home as (A) I'm at my own "facilities" and (B) I can take a shower whenever I feel the need to remove the (probably mental) feeling of just pure nastiness.

I'm sure you've had something similar occur and its not pleasant nor is it "polite conversation" but as about the only people who read my blog are some co-workers I figured I'd kinda give them the ol' heads up so that whether I came into contact with something and brought it home for my little girl to catch or I caught it from her and carried it to work, those guys wouldn't be totally shocked if they develop anything similar.

On an equally "fun" note, I got to contend with the same issues last night as I had yesterday morning adding up to make just a bunch o junk that filled yesterday. I'm not beyond believing in psychosomatic causes so perhaps my daughter and I were stricken similarly yesterday by our own psyches trying to extricate themselves from a shared situation but I totally doubt that. It's possible but not highly plausible or likely (in one case because of a blunted lack of understanding and in another a disdain for a solution that requires the individual to relinquish his own right to personal responsibility). I'm sure this is about as cryptic a passage as anyone would ever care to read to just as a word of explanation, if you read about me having a bad day yesterday (I think it was my initial blog post) then I'll just say it only got better the later in the day it got and that part had nothing to do with intestinal causes.

Ahhh, when it rains it seems that it pours. Hey, waitaminute. Didn't someone say that it never rains in California? Oh yeah, but man it pours.

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

My old alma mater and subsequent employer makes national news

Rhea County made CNN today a day after the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals (Cincinnati, OH) upheld a judgement against the county and the Board of Education for the practice of Bible classes held in the elementary schools. Having been a product of this school system and having worked in this school system allow me to say that I've yet to meet an adult who hasn't had to find some measure of closure and compensation for some odd comment or instruction that they received as a youngster. The Bible classes have been an accepted practice in that community and overwhelmingly that community support continuing the classes. I say go for it. Frankly I hold pretty liberal views but I grew up there in that environment and was able to grow beyond a "small town mentality." I still happen to believe some things that I was taught and some things that I learned. I, however, have incredibly different views of how to disseminate understanding and opinions. I figure, I've got my ideas about reality and everyone else has theirs. I am not offended when I read stories of evolution in Scientific American any more than I am when I hear people support a literal 7-day creationist viewpoint. I'm not sure which is more realistic. Logically the Bible doesn't preclude a metaphorical or poetic interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2; in fact it can be argued that those two verses are of a different literary style than the rest of the anteDeluvian passage (I think through chapter 8). I happen to be a literalist in that what the Bible affirms or denounces I believe is literal and I take the Bible at its comments. I try to not read into the comments too much but I'm sure my cultural biases find insidious paths into my evaluations and belief system.

Back to the point, while I understand that separation of church and state are important, I don't think that a community should be banned from providing a viewpoint that is espoused by its proponents as elitist. My theory is that if you give every idiot a stage, sooner or later he'll talk himself out of a job or he's going to be followed by idiots. You can't make a man (or woman) choose to be wiser; people will be as dumb as they want. Conversely, you can't hold down anyone if they choose to free their mind and explore with a sense of adventure there is nothing you can do to imprison their thoughts. Teach a kid the Bible or don't. Its the values that he learns that are beneficial as it regards this program in Rhea county. I'm not neglecting the moral or spiritual benefits that an individual may garner from Christianity (or any other religion). All I'm saying is that as long as America is free and each child can choose to grow up; define him or herself; move away and educate himself as he sees fit, then 30 minutes a week for a few years just doesn't seem like much "indoctrination" to me. I see value in other forms of religious practice and I no longer believe with rock hard certainty that mine is the only possible religious belief system. I happen to believe firmly that it is the only correct one and that it is the only way to a particular point but I'm completely able to understand that I may be incorrect. And that to me is the difference in being a fundamentalist who accepts others and doesn't one who thinks that extermination of the "unsaved" is in their own best interest. To me, the mentality that the only way to go is an extreme form of fundamentalism is the kind of thinking that leads to shooting doctors who perform abortions. My belief is that at some point aborting a fetus in the womb is ending a life and based on arbitrary English it is murder. Similarly to shooting a 105-year old who might have difficulty caring for himself or a 35-year old whose life expectancy is another 40-50 years. Now I don't think that threatening anyone or actually harming anyone is a solution. I have said I can understand the mental road some fundamentalists take to reach this conclusion; I just don't happen to share certain beliefs with them. I think that the child will enter untainted by sin into the presence of God and the mother and doctor (as well as the support staff of nurses and others) probably need some grief counseling as any loss of life is tragic even if it was a conscious decision. Do I think that Christian counsellors are the people to offer this type of help, absolutely not. Most Christians have a childish mentality to me. Give me a counsellor that may or may not be Christian and let them work with a person who is hurting because of the uncertainties involved in making such a powerful decision. Who cares if the listener is a Christian; let the listener listen. Let him comfort based on human interaction rather than pointing to some mystical pie-in-the-sky God and then once that person has exhausted their hurt and found a balance more suited to normal day-to-day existence, then if its all-fired important for you to discussion their "eternal destination", jump on it with all fours.

I guess this is just more of a commentary on how ineffectual I find religious teaching and religious practice. Teach it in the schools, teach it in religious buildings. Until people begin to practice a heartfelt pennance; until people truly understand the uttered prayer of Paul when he cries out to God in Psalm 51:16-17

"You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart--
These, O God, You will not despise."

People want to appear holy rather than seeking holiness (IMO). People want to talk about Jesus rather than talking with Jesus. Upholding Biblical principles isn't easy. It isn't fun and it isn't going to win you any popularity contests. It can be fulfilling but only if you keep your attention trained on something you can't see, taste, touch, hear, feel or understand. If you believe the Bible's assertions regarding an entity and that entity's interaction with physical beings then you can look forward to a time when you have a new existence with a new body that can be in the presence of that entity and share in that entity's direct existence. That's a difficult concept to explain to a 10-year old in a 30 minute Bible class. Those classes teach the history of the Bible; they give an opportunity for object lessons about sharing and caring for others.

I don't really see any problem with having the classes. That's just my opinion (along with about 14 pages of rambling I suppose).

Thanks for reading,


Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi or Richard Gere

Now don't these two guys look similar from this profile angle?

(Associate Press photo; linked from

Crappy day

Ever had one of those days where you started the day in a good mood but someone else that you have to interact with is in a bad mood. Maybe they've just got a screwed up outlook on life? Doesn't it just piss you off when other people cater to them and try to tell them that its not their fault that they're in a bad mood; the world is to blame or someone else is or something totally out of their control is. Man, I just get tired of hearing excuses and having people want to be "my best friend" and "help me." I just want to say "take care of yourself and I'll take care of me and maybe when you're over feeling sorry for yourself or angry at the world we can do something together."

I woke in a decent mood. My daughter was in a good mood today but apparently some people I have to work with decided that its their opportunity to slack off and have me tell them everything they should do and feel. Its too complicated to explain and I'd have to share things that people trust me with but allow me to say that today is one of those days. I learned in counseling as a teenager that no days are different from any other. Sometimes we choose to focus on bad crap that happens and sometimes we choose to focus on things we appreciate. I guess today is just another opportunity for me to share a different outlook on life with someone but it is wearing when you should be able to depend on someone only to find that they're torpedoing the context of your trust.

Well, I suppose I should refrain from sharing anything. I just wanted to express myself and for this particular problem the blog venue truly seems inadequate as its a more intimate type of communication I think I seek. Honestly its this kind of interaction I desire with another party and since that communication isn't forthcoming I suppose I supplant it with this open forum.

Thanks for the [lack of] therapy; I'll be sure to mail each of you a nice, fat check for $0.01 (please note the sarcasm and don't expect any payment from me; this was only an attempt at humor and not an admission of debt).


Sunday, June 06, 2004


Hmmm, you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and suddenly realized that your residual self-image might not be an accurate depiction of yourself. See, I always walk around knowing that I'm the sexiest, smartest, baddest sonuvabitch that I've met. Women want me and men are amazed by me. I know it and if they don't its only because they're just too damned dumb to realize that their wife is looking at me. It's true. Complete hubris (look it up); but its true. Now sometimes I see myself in a mirror or a photo (like lately) and I realize that perhaps I make it harder for the rest of the world to really notice that I'm carrying one hellacious load of sexy mo-fo in my genes as I've covered it up with just sheer laziness.

I think its time to devote some attention and focus to getting into better shape. Not so those slack-jawed, mindless idiots can see me and say, "Dang!! Who'da thought I'd be intimidated by a 5'10" programmer with interests in photography and fashion?" Naww, I think I'll devote some attention to getting into better shape 'cause my daughter truly does think that I should be able to do anything and before she wises up I'd like to perpetuate that myth for a few more years.

'Course, the sexiness isn't a myth but its something she won't notice. Just something she'll measure all those sappy, pimple-faced goobers against when they ask her to the dance and she'll think, "Damn! Now where are those cool, hip guys like I just know my Daddy was when he was in school?!?"


Tahnks for reading,


Huntsville Botanical Gardens - WaterWorks

The family and I headed down to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Sunday afternoon. I like to go shoot with models at the gardens and my wife likes the gardens, too. Today we took our daughter so she could enjoy some of the water display that the gardens has up for this summer: WaterWorks. We put her into her little swimsuit and she had a ball playing in some of the water displays. Both my wife and I had fun taking turns either playing with her or taking photos of her. She's such a wonderful little person.

Here's a shot of Daddy and Daughter right after she got out of one of the water play areas:



Saturday, June 05, 2004

New Equipment

Well, the business finally decided to buy a DVD burner tonight. OK, OK. I decided but since I'm all the business that is the business . . . well, you get the point.

I picked up the Sony DRU-530A (DVD +-RW, +-R, CD -R, CD -RW). Anyway, it'll burn about 4.7 GB of photos in around 15 minutes. For a schmuck like me who has about 250GB of photos. This might be a long process but at least I'll be able to burn almost 7 CD's worth of data in one shot. I'm feeling a little better about my backup strategy except that I heard that DVD's aren't always archivable either. Hopefully these will hold together long enough for me to select a more permenant media in the future.

Just FYI, I shot about 12-15 different days in Jan '04 (I didn't count to see; remember I'm over being anal 'bout stuff like that). For photos in about half of Jan, I completely used one DVD. 4.6 Gb of photos for January. Heck, that's even a "stay inside and shoot" kind of month. I can't imagine what I've been shooting in May and April of this year. It may take a couple or three DVD's to cover one month.

Ahh, well. C'est la vie, n'est pas?

Thanks for reading,


Friday, June 04, 2004

Focused (yes, pun sadly noted)

Ever gotten your mind wrapped around some idea, some thought, some goal you'd like to attain, something you'd like to have?

If you've noticed my recent posts you've undoubtedly seen a photo from my first studio photoshoot. I enjoyed that experience greatly and since that time I've been engaged in thinking of putting fasion/glamour studio in here in my hometown. Most people have to travel to Atlanta to find a studio that is more devoted to fashion or glamour modeling. I'm not talking about nudes but I am talking about the type of warehouse studio where you don't expect to see fleets of Volvos or BMW's outside while the kids are inside getting their senior pictures done. There's nothing wrong with shooting commodity work. I'm sure it pays the bills. I have always considered my work in photography to be an expression of something I see. I feel like I'm starting to find a voice; an expression with my work so that others who view what I produce say things and talk about feelings or emotions or appearances that I was thinking of when I took the shot. That's where I'd like to be and for the first solid year of working to develop this I've centered my work mainly around portraits. Glamour, fashion, casual portrait work. It's been great and now I find that I want to expand and offer the models not only my work in environmental portraiture but I want to be able to shoot studio work, too. I think I've grown in my environmental work regardless of the outfit style. I think that if I could put together a solid year of working in a studio with models then I could really see some improvements and I could start to share a consistent vision.

What's holding me back? Money. I don't charge models; Lord knows there are enough scam artists out there (and professional photogs, too) who will charge them $500-1000 for a portrait session even when they're just starting out. I can't see charging them to follow their dreams. It's not that only a few will make it. Heck, look at the young lady selling the minivan next time. Check out the dude trying to get you hooked on vitamin pills. These aren't Helen of Troy or Adonis. Sure a lot of people think of big breasts and ripped abs when they think of models but pretty much any model I've shot with could find him or herself getting good steady work if they put the time in and go to the model calls and make useful contacts. It's not that they can't pick up work; its sometimes that the very thing that makes a good programmer or a good electrician or a good manager is the same thing that makes a good model: focus, determination and good people skills.
Now to put a studio in with professional grade equipment I'm looking down the barrel at about $5,000-10,000 and that's without the rent factored in. That's just the equipment. A pro grade camera body will cost either $4,500 or 7,500 depending on the model I want (Canon 1DmII or 1Ds, respectively).

I just can't see putting the money into that up front and then hope to get some good contracts from magazine editors. I need to make some inroads in the community, put my work out there for editors to look through, and then when I have some idea how receptive the paying community is to my work I may take the plunge. Of course, back to the current problem, until I do finally make that kind of an investment in my current hobby I'm still gonna be FOCUSED!



Thursday, June 03, 2004

Equipment (lenses, cards, etc)


I decided when I started this hobby that if I was going to get involved with it I was going to put a high level of effort into it and not produce low quality output. In my year of photographing I've shot approximately 200 Gb (yeah, that's Gigabytes) of images. I've only backed up about 100 CD's (700 mb per CD) which I think leaves me with more than half my images unarchived.
I chose to use the highest quality glass unless an argument could be made regarding the quality of the next best glass being of equal optical quality. This has led me to buy the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, the Canon EF 17-40 f/4 USM and the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM. I plan on puchasing the Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8 L USM, the Canon EF 180mm f/2.8 L USM Macro and someday the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8 L IS. I hope to purchase the successor to the Canon 1Ds if/when it comes out and I've been able to evaluate it.
I'd also like to put a studio here in town. I don't want to shoot commodity shots with families dropping in all the time so that you make your money on volume. I'd like to develop a style so that I can command a higher rate for less work. That means I have to pay for all my own learning and equipment until I develop a style that attracts purchasers.

Well, that's all for now.


Testing images

I just want to see if I can insert images into my blogs.

This is from my first studio session.

Studio Shoot

Well, I rented a studio last week and shot my first studio session (view the first image here). It was a lot of fun and I got a ton of comments and positive reviews (I'm sure that those are due more to the model than my skills). I'm definitely interested in putting in a studio but I'm not sure what the eventual outcome of this process is. I like my career as a programmer but it would be nice to be published in some well-circulated periodicals and have some contacts in the industry. I'm looking to make some contacts and it looks like I need to go to some shows for photographers and meet some of the industry advertising and graphics layout people for periodicals I'm interested in.

Anyway, thanks for reading,