February 2004 Archives

iVida Loca


[This entry was written on a plane and posted as of the date written]

This morning I was watching a long-running tracking shot. I found myself captivated by the atmosphere of it. It felt like something out of Lost in Translation or one of the Cohen Brothers unapologetically sentimental stories. The soundtrack (Massive Attack) sync'ed perfectly with the movement of both the camera, and everyone in it (but not in that VW commecial way)

The reason that this this is worth noting at all is that I was walking up the causeway into the terminal at SFO from the train to the rental cars. The "soundtrack" was being provided by my iPod & new headphones (which do a remarkable job of filtering external noise)

Feeling like an spectator in my own life is hardly an unusual phenomenon, but the detachment in this case was nearly complete. The other oddity was that I was enjoying the sensation immensely. I think I'm starting to see what iSteve is beaming about when he talks about living the iLife.

And yet, I can't help think of Chuck Palahniuk's observation in Lulabye (I'm paraphrasing a master, so trust me that he conveys the idea much more effectively than I ever could) that George Orwell's Big Brother has come true, except that instead of a tyranical govenment monitoring the thoughts of the citizens, it's a multi-national capitalistic juggernaut that beams images and sound into our heads in such a ubiquitous deluge that we end up with a society of "consumers" uncomfortable to be left in silence with their own thoughts (a much more effective solution to mass-control than the panopticon of ubiquitous surveillence (which we're making great strides toward every day, but I digress, that is another story for another entry.))

RIP Elanor Nazzaro (1916 - 2004)


[This entry was written on a plane and posted as of the date written]

There's no easy way to say this, and I'm not even sure why I'm addressing this matter in a public forum. My grandmother died Friday. She had a massive stroke on Thursday morning, and died quietly this afternoon. Firey and independent until the end, she was surrounded by family, yet waited until everyone had stepped out for a moment to actually pass.

There is a great sadness within me, yet also a bit of relief. She had been failing for some time, and had lost my grandfather just a few months before. I wasn't there to see her degrade day after day, and I can't even begin to imagine how my cousins, aunt, uncle and mother coped with it. (to say nothing of my grandfather, who watched the woman he'd loved for 60+ years slip away.) Much of my relief is for them.

For the past few years, she told everyone that she had lived a full life. She had much to be proud of. She had beautiful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and these were a source of some of the greatest joys in her life. She left us with a great legacy of memories, admonishments, and guidance. I find myself being caught up in those memories lately.

Fuck me RAW!


Well, well. I feel like a horse's ass. A few years ago I bought a Canon D30. My G3 had committed seppuku a few months previous, and that left me with a Linux box as a workstation for image manipulation. Much to my chagrin (but not surprise), there were no utilities available for Linux for manipulating RAW (lossless) camera images. I was forced to use the camera's JPEG compression, and I've never really been satisfied with the image quality.

Fast-forward 3 years. I'm still shooting JPEG, and I'm still futzing with the images a lot trying to improve the image quality, never being satisfied with them. Matt (who I learned has the same camera I have) and I were recently talking and he told me that there ARE free RAW file manipulators available for Linux, and specifically pointed me at dcraw, which has existed in one form or another since I started looking (though it didn't handle my camera until after my last search.)

So now I'm itching to try it out. Unfortunately, my camera's still in Chicago (so Yoj could take pictures of paintings).

To make matters worse (or more embarrassing) Matt also talked about EXIF information, which only rang a small bell. I wasn't aware that my camera supported it. D'OH! Fortunately for me, although GIMP (somewhat understandably) obliterates this information when it saves an image, ImageMagick's mogrify keeps it. I'm lucky that I'm a programmer, and would rather automate a solution to a problem (In this case, rotating a bunch of images back to portrait mode as they were shot)

Recently, Arshad showed me Gallery. I'm intrigued, since it uses some of the EXIF data. In general, it seems a LOT more interesting than my current solution (not the least of which because the author never responded to my patch, which makes me wonder if he's still working on it)

It's all very humbling. And yet, exciting!

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