Another sunrise commuting photo, on the way to the Financial District.
What I Ate: 28 Jan 2011
The flash diet doesn't require using flash, and it isn't really a diet per se, but an alternative to keeping a food diary -- photograph everything you eat. A side benefit is that it gives you an excuse to make at least a few photographs every day.
For entertainment value I've given myself a little rubric:
• Celphone only: twee "FX" apps okay
• "One bullet": c'mon, it's time to eat
• Context: ingredients, locations, companions
Here is a great thing about celphone cameras: they're not Hasselblads. They're more like a real "pencil of nature," in that a pencil has incredible range -- you can use the same pencil to jot down the grocery list or to draw a masterwork. The Hasselblad is more like oil paints -- wonderful for what it does, but too grand and technically involved for casual muddling.
A few busy weeks coming up!
On the heels of Contact, I'm heading to Madrid in a few weeks to visit See See and to scout around the shows of PHotoEspaña (suggestion of "must see" shows greatly appreciated), followed by a zip up to the much-overphotographed Guggenheim in Bilbao and whats sure to be entirely too much fantastic food.
Isaac's birthday and graduation from Middle School are also approaching, even earlier -- and then as soon as I'm back from Spain, he's in for three weeks of rock n' roll camp while we also deal with Siggraph, California Extreme, Oshkosh (maybe), Gamefest, and yeah, the girl on the far right of the photo above is carrying an NVISION bag, where I'll be speaking about the future of real-time character animation and rendering (with special guests -- some incredible NVIDIA partners).
Okay, I suck. Not a single post since my return from China. Of course, I have tons of excuses, including the fact that I was back in the office for less than one hour before hustling off to the airport for yet another business trip; or that GDC came in the middle of this period; or that I was sick in bed for weeks; or that it's beta time and much software needs writing; or that I keep catching myself putting my web energy into (giant sucking sound....) Facebook; or that a large slice of the remaining time has been happily spent on family and wonderfulness. All true.
Almost time to say goodbye to China, now that I'm back in Beijing. Also time to say goodbye to:
If I can just keep my laptop and 5D working for two more days....
(Followup: I remind myself, a bit, of my old second (third) cousin who raced motorcycles and cars and kept soldiering on through the many hospitalizations as just part of the passion....)
Which doesn't begin to compare to what happened to Michael :(
Rebecca brought home a new cat the other day. And by "brought home" I mean "dropped off" -- I awoke that morning to find (with my naked feet) bits of loose kitty litter scattered in the hallway near her room, and Isaac hiding inside with a little cute varmint. Rebecca, meanwile, was nowhere to be seen, having opted to go out with her friends and leave the kitten-caring to me.
I love all pets but we already have a cat: Sparx. Sparx is incredibly upset now, and won't even come in the house when she suspects the kitten is around. When told about this, Rebecca just shrugs and heads off to the coffee shop.
I have to say I really resent it when people assume that they can abuse my kind nature. Rebecca knows that I would never deliberately let the kitten come to harm, or be neglected -- so she just neglects it knowing that I won't, while assuming that she can enjoy "her" kitten whenever it suits her.
Wrong. It's exactly because I love animals and care about their welfare that I know that this cat deserves a better environment. A kitten is not just a toy, a machine for generating cuteness on demand. She -- and her cuteness, her affection, her (inadvertent) humor -- deserves better. This kitten has got to go, sweet and funny though she is.
If you're in the bay area & interested in cute and litter-trained critters, please drop a line -- we'll be happy to supply her with toys and even some cat furniture.
Side trip within a side trip within a holiday.... New York in Lego
...day between Siggraph and XNA Gamefest. Happily it's tournament day for Arsenal, Isaac's team, first-seeded in the Redline League. The snap was from this morning's game, the final comes up later in the afternoon.
(Afternoon postscript, yes, won & "Arsenal" were declared league 2007 champions!)
Today I'm being lazy and rehashing something I posted on the APUG forums, in response to a midlife-crisis photographer's "Photographers' Block."
I have recently come to the conclusion that I am suffering from a photographer's block. I used to find inspiration in the places I was in or in the people I was with. Just lately I keep drawing a blank.
Does anyone else suffer with this problem or is it just me? Does anyone have any suggestions for getting through it? Do I just need to drink more beer?
N, don't worry about repeating past successes. The most satisfying photographs you can make are those you haven't yet made.
Such moments of "blockage" give you an excuse to re-assess (without getting mired in nostalgia or frustration), and most importantly, give you a little breather to try different sorts of things, to look at those Paths Not Taken. Imagine yourself as what you might have been now imagine that alternative you, imagining the you that you actually are and consider: what is the real core YOU that is shared by both versions? And what sorts of photos and ideas are central to THAT guy?
With that in mind, consider that whatever your work has been in the past, it has come about as the product of your entire person at that time your surroundings, the people, your schedule, and how you felt about them at that time (and only peripherally, your level of photo-technical expertise).
In what ways have they changed, in what ways have your attitudes changed simply due to age, to fatigue, to arrivals and departures, or simply to outgrowing your previous levels of understanding? Which direction interests you today, in your life? Ignoring the camera, what sorts of pictures might you imagine making? What sorts of things interest you, your eye, your heart?
Okay, now pick up the camera again and remember that it is an explorer's tool, just like a compass, or a pickaxe. Like a pickaxe it can give you purchase on jagged circumstances, and can reveal things that were hidden, bringing light to the surface. Like a compass it can let you align both the world and yourself.
Let us know how it goes.
Yesterday I received a Fedex envelope from Mexico, and within it was a bright yellow giftwrap containing a shrinkwrap containing Mark Alor Powell's book V.I.P. (Mark is also known as "locaburg" on flickr). It's only March but I'm considering it a Best of 2007 already.
At least I managed to pull-open the shrinkwrap! Far too often in 2006, I compulsively purchased books that never had much of a life past the point of purchase. This is especially true of art books that I purchased while traveling. I like the idea of buying local-artist books, but when it comes to taking the time to dig into them.... they often get the short shrift.
Part of this may be that when I'm heading home they get buried in my luggage, then once home they go straight to the bookshelves where they're forgotten. But I'm making excuses. A lot of them sit out in plain sight for a long while.
Here are some of the books that I bought in 2006 that I was sure I wanted to read but still haven't done so. Most I probably paged through for two minutes... some, sadly, are still in the bag.
I won't even start on the stack of unplayed video games....
Maybe someone can tell me what I've missed.
The Second Job doesn't come with a second paycheck. Ah well.
Besides working on GPU Gems III (the quality of the submissions just keeps rising with each successive edition! Far more fantastic work than we even can squeeze into one large book... choosing the most-appropriate from so many good choices is tough); prepping for the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco; creating proposals and abstracts for conferences in the months after that; working on developer tools and ongoing work in helping 3D artists expand their abilities to create great-looking GPU-savvy games... I'm also busy dealing with lots of MMO and Virtual-World developers and researchers.
I guess it was my inevitable destiny: the origins of the name for this very site, Botzilla, come from the now-slumbering BotBot program, designed to create customized avatar scripts for the mid-90's virtual world The Palace.
It would certainly be useful to have a second me around, mostly to do errands while the FirstMe was busy with... well, you know, stuff.
Stuff like keeping track of the household, making sure people get fed, homework completed, DVDs and library books returned, Tivo watched, pictures occasionally taken or printed, books read, scuba gear used, friends acknowledged and seen, or keeping up with my RSS feeds, which I set up in theory to make it easier to keep up with blog pages and the like. Unless I'm insanely diligent they just keep falling behind, behind, behind... all the labor-saving technology is a powerful mechanism for giving me too much to do. Rather than being thrilled that, say, Alec Soth has posted 58 entries over the past month or so, entries I know I will enjoy reading should I get the chance, I just end up feeling guilty that I haven't had the chance for a settled time to read them :/
And then there are the games... I'm still lingering in the late second act of Final Fantasy XII, interupted by two weeks of computer-less and console-less holiday break, and looking in the immediate future my hope of playing any of my existing consolers gets increasingly slim under the encroaching shadows of Wii and PS3 or any of the many great PC titles that are stacking up next to "Lolo," my game-and-itunes machine.
Just the same: if you do wander into SecondLife, give an IM holler to "Shashinka Komparu" or just seek out (and join!) the "NVIDIOTS" group.
So I come all the way to Iceland, swing by Sirkus in search of elves Sigur Ros & Björk only to discover: who's playing Reykjavik tonight? San Francisco band Brian Jonestown Massacre, and just around the corner from my hotel. So Remo & I hike back down the hill to Club Nasa to pick up the beginning of their set. Playing warmup were local bands Singapore Sling and Jakobinarina we meet Sikka from Sirkus & then Bibi from Jakobarina she assures us they were even better. Maybe next time....
Not bad for a Wednesday night in the dark and relatively touristless "quiet" season.