Saturday, August 09, 2008

Coke Olympics Commercial

I can't decide who I like more: the older gentleman with Down syndrome who is crying as he holds up his medal, or the younger man at the end who holds his arms up in victory (which is what Patrick would do.)

I think it's...odd...that Paralympians don't appear to be included (that I could see), though, and it's also...odd...that the only Special Olympians are people with Down syndrome, but whatever.  Exposure is good -- particularly exposure in a nice, matter-of-fact way.

(In other words, it's an Olympics commercial, not a Special Olympics commercial.)

This is just furthering my desire to write the "About Disability Fiction" post that I've been thinking of for a while, and which Amie's comment a while back reminded me of.

(Yee-ouch, that's lousy grammar.  Sorry.)

However, the music confuses me.  Unless I am vastly, horribly mistaken (unlikely; although I am more or less tone deaf in that I can't even tell a major key from a minor key (used to drive my piano teacher insane), I am usually very good at recognizing phrases of music), that is the intro to "Breathe Me," the lyrics of which don't...quite...match the intent here.
I did, however, once see a very good Battlestar Galactica vid to that song where Starbuck smashing her leg on that red planet happens right when the song says "ouch!"


I often jokingly say "D'oh!"

But this one deserves a real d'oh.

Hee hee.

More Pictures

Mostly the Oregon coast here.

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I did say "mostly."  This is the Washington coast, and I made it black and white to disguise the haze.  I'm still not 100% happy with it, but I do think it has kind of a nifty Hitchcock-type feeling to it.

I loved the pattern on the wood in this one.  I have a full-color and sepia-toned version, too, but for some reason, I like the B&W version the best.

I like stone wall on the side of this one, and the lighting from the clouds was...well, better than anything on the Washington coast.  Fortunately, they get better from here.  :-)

I can't explain what I like about this one, but I like it.

I think this would have worked better with a clearer sky, but...what can you do?

More of those white flowers.

The best way I could think of to deal with the haze in this one was to intentionally blur the background and focus on something closer that wasn't hazy.

Amazing what blue sky and good lighting does to a photo, even if you can't see the sky.  :-)

So, to get to this beach, you turned off the highway at a "view point" (a "vista point" in CA), then went down this tiny, tiny road, turned right, and went down like 1/4 a mile past seaside rental houses down to an unpaved...area.

Then you climbed through sand drifts populated with fire ants...but the beach was gorgeous, and the next few pictures come from it.

There was a lot of driftwood, and I took the opportunity to really focus on the lines and patterns -- something I have been trying to do lately after Aide T pointed out that many of Patrick's pictures catch lines and patterns that I hadn't even noticed.

I have absolutely no idea who this dog belonged to, but he was having so much fun that I just had to grab a couple of quick shots.

These, too, are from the beach pictured above.

Oooh, a pretty tree.  :-)

While this is not a technically spectacular photograph, I included it here for Patrick because its name is Herbie.

The whole gallery is available here.

Now, one more Olympics comment.  I came across this blog once when I was (I think) browsing the Livejournal filk community, and bookmarked the RSS feed.  She summed up beautifully how I felt about the Opening Ceremony (more or less live-blogged below), though I didn't cry.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Opening Ceremony Comment #9

The cauldron lighting.

Holy cow.


First utterly freaking terrifying., he was even "running" to the rhythm of the music.

And the way the flame spiraled up?  How awesome.  Gorgeous.

Just wow.


You don't build a 4,000 mile long wall by thinking small, and whatever you think of Chinese politics, you have to acknowledge that they dream big, and they deliver.

That was freaking awesome.

(Also, Yao Ming holding the little boy up so he could see?  Very cute...and probably just as planned as everything else, but whatever.)

ETA:  Um.  Wow.  I wonder how much NBC had to pay Fox to use the David Cook song at the end?

(Yes, I know who David Cook is, and, yes, I recognize (and like) the song, and just shut up, kay?)

(I feel like such a sell-out.)

(I might maybe own some Daughtry and some Kelly Clarkson...but in my defense, I liked the song before I knew who she was.)

Opening Ceremony Comment #8

That little boy walking with Yao Ming looks like he's about 3 years old; hard to believe he's nine.

And, of course, who knows how much of his story is propaganda, but assuming it's true...what a story.  Good for him.

Opening Ceremony Comment #7

The peoples' footsteps adding to the painting is just too cool.  Very symbolic.

Opening Ceremony Comment #6

As a word nerd, can I just say that I am very ecstatic to learn that the Chinese version of alphabetical order is to count how many strokes it takes to make the characters that go in the word?


Opening Ceremony Comment #5

The globe...and the stars....

So, so cool!

Opening Ceremony Comment #4

The little girl with the piano player is adorable.

Also, I like that the kids are just average kids plucked from Beijing schools.  

While it might not be true in practice, it's a lovely nod to the (supposedly) egalitarian nature of Chinese communist society.  (I've always said that communism is a nice theory; the problem is that it goes hand in hand with totalitarian governments.)

Or, it could be a nod to China's egalitarian past, when anyone could advance, say, to bureaucracy through education.

Opening Ceremony Comment #3

The music and the lighting is awesome.

But all those people up in the nosebleed section with their flashes going are driving me nuts.

Opening Ceremony Comment #2

Okay, the moving moveable type thing?

Oh.  My.  God.

(Say what you want about the Chinese government, but these guys dream big.  I feel bad for the sweating guy amidst the Confucius dancers they keep showing, though.  I don't know a lot of Chinese, and I don't read lips very well, but I'm pretty sure he's desperately counting to the beat.)

ETA:  There were people in there?  How cool is that?

Opening Ceremony Comment #1

That scroll is freaking awesome.

Olympics Opening Ceremony

Wow...the pictures are awesome.

Without getting into a political debate, I just have to say that the pageantry is gorgeous.  But, a thousands-of-years-old society has had lots of time to practice.

ETA:  About one of the pictures above.  I don't even watch Avatar, though being in fandom, it's hard to avoid it.  So why, oh why, do I look at these guys and see only...uh...(quick google search) Aang?  I mean...what the heck, brain?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Vacation Photos, Days 1 - 3

This is just the beginning, of course, because it wasn't until day 4 that we hit the coast at all.  So, these are photos up the 5 to Portland and then to Seattle, then inland through Seattle towards the coast.

The overcast sky made things difficult, but there are some good ones here.  These are the five-star images.

You can see the whole gallery here; I linked to all of the pictures from the gallery itself, but it does provide for easier browsing, I think.  If I remember right, Apple requires Firefox or Internet Explorer 7 (if you're on Windows) to view the gallery.

(I linked to the files from the web gallery; Aperture resizes it as it sees fit, so if you want to see the images in a larger version, I recommend the gallery, if it works for you.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This one is during a drive to the east of Portland.  Eventually, you wind through the hills to a large waterfall.  I just liked the fence.  :-)

I'm fairly certain this one was at the same "view point" stop along the drive.

Also from the same lookout.  There was horrible haze in the I made it black and white. ;-)

I'm fairly certain I didn't upload this one before...but if I did, oh well.

(I must point out, however, that Patrick's shirt drives me absolutely insane, because, on the front, it says, "She thinks my tractors sexy."  Given that the intent here is "She thinks my tractor is sexy," there should be an apostrophe, so that it reads, "She thinks my tractor's sexy.")

Another Patrick one.  Yay for zoom lenses.  He had no idea I was taking his picture -- I was a good fifty feet away.  :-)

About this time, he figured out what I was doing.
At which point, he decided to get some revenge.
Now, some flower pictures.  Just 'cause they're pretty.
I really like the yellow flowers in this one, but I think I might fiddle with it in Photoshop -- maybe desaturate everything but the flower that's in focus.
After I caught this shot, I tried to zoom in and get the bug on top of the flower in this one, but I couldn't switch fast enough to macro mode, and couldn't focus on it tight enough (even manually).
This was the best I could do.
The road goes ever on and on, down to the door where it began....  (Actually, I just liked the shadows, but I spent the next fifteen shots or so trying to highlight the path.)
I'm not sure this one will stay 5-star, but for now it is.  I like the way the tree line leads your eye to the waterfall, but...something just doesn't feel right to me.
I realize it's blurred slightly, but I like the bridge and people showing the scale of the massive waterfall.
Darn sky...but I like the way the slight distortion caused by the wide angle lens actually gives it a bit of a surreal feel.
The leaning tower of...nah, never mind.  Actually, I just think it's weird and cool.
This one is kind of experimental...I was experimenting with different effects to mitigate the haze that made everything but the first five or ten feet away from me just...well, hazy.
A cool tree.  AND BLUE SKY!
Clouds on the water.  This was a very, very large lake in inland Washington.
Another angle.  I think I like the first better overall (which is why I say that some images might not stay 5-star as I continue refining them).
I realize geography class was a while ago, but I'm pretty sure the green hill is a volcano.
I deliberately underexposed this one a bit because I wanted the clouds to be just right, since the purpose of the picture is to show them rolling over the hills.
Ooooh, pretty.  :-)
I desaturated this one because there was no way to get the trees right and account for the haze as I tried to make the haze work and create a semi-surreal picture where the haze permeated everything.
I think this is actually my favorite picture of all, so far.
And another pretty flower.
The next set should be the Washington coast.  That's a fairly small one, because it rained more or less non-stop from 11:00ish in the morning that we started from Port Angeles.  I got a few cloudy shots before it started, but after that, just kept driving.

Note to Self

Dear me,

Next time you are in Powell's and see volumes 3 and 4 of the series of books you've brought to bring along on your trip sitting on the shelf...remember what it was like to go from Borders to Borders on a futile hunt for number 3, okay?

No love,

For the record, I have an interesting relationships with Stephen Baxter's books.  I was first introduced to him while reading a collaboration he did with the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and quickly sought out more.  I read The Time Ships in...oh, within a day and a half or so (having not yet read The Time Machine, to which it is the only authorized sequel).

I now own the majority of his books.

(Also, can I just say that I love the way that page is laid out?  Separated by series, with the books' covers shown in series order below?  Awesome, Mr. Baxter or webmaster.)

The funny thing is, I often have to start a book two or three times to be sucked in.  Once I am, I'm left devouring whole books in a matter of hours -- but that doesn't always happen on the first attempt.

That's what happened with book 1 of the series I referenced above.  I'd read part of Emperor but stopped -- which is funny, because I've currently been on the look-out for good alternate history fiction.

Note "good."  That's, apparently, more difficult than it seems.

Anyway, on the trip, I started reading Emperor one night when we stopped kind of early.  By the end of the trip, I was two third of the way through book 2, and began to look for book 3.

Yeah, every store I went to had book 4...but no book three.

It's now been ordered from Amazon, but still...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Small Continuum Spoilers

Back in my X-Files days, when 'shipper was a new term, 'shippers and "noromos" argued over whether Mulder and Scully were in love (and, if they were, if they should do anything about it), and whether romance of any sort fit within the XF genre.

For the record, my stance is: it's the X-Files.  No, they shouldn't get all goo-goo eyed and gushy...but I firmly believe that they were together by the season before Scully became pregnant.

Believe it or not, that's actually relevant to the Continuum spoilers.

Because in the X-Files days, scenes were analyzed bit by bit.  (Given the communities I was in, so were John/Delenn and Marcus/Susan scenes from Babylon 5, but that's another show.)


Scene by scene.

Look by look.

I seem to recall, in the early days of free Geocities websites, people listing proof and screen captures to prove their point.

I mostly gave that up.  I've had a few 'ships since then -- John/Aeryn being the one that caught my attention the most -- but by the time I came into Farscape, the show was over and it was there was no looking for "proof."

But I felt that part of me stir during a scene I randomly clicked to while checking the file I totally didn't rip from the DVD to make sure the subtitles burned in correctly.

Just one look.

Just the look Cam shot a teary Carter.

Jack/Sam?  Blech.  I'm a Cam/Sam 'shipper -- in the original sense of the term -- all the way.

(Also?  What the heck is with the Cam/Vala people?  For one thing -- Vala likes Daniel.  For another...just because Ben Browder and Claudia Black played different characters who were in love doesn't mean their new characters have to be too.  It's called acting, remember?

I mean, you think Bester would cuddle a tribble?

Or, more to the point, do you seriously think Chekov would, you know, mind-wipe people, plant spies, kill people...all with that quiet, sociopathic grin?)

Oh, and my inner canon freak (that is, the part of me that insists on internal continuity in my shows) was delighted at Cam actually referencing his injuries and the titanium holding him together.  Yay continuity.  :-)

Budding Photographer

You do what you need to in order to get the shot you want. :-)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

We're Back

I miss Washington already.  It was chilly.  Actually chilly.  In late August.  Only problem was, it made it very hard to take pictures of the coast until we got down to Oregon, where the weather cooperated for a day and promptly turned chilly again.

I loved it.

Patrick and I each took about 2,000 pictures.  This will take a long time to go through.  The up side is that I'm digging the "stacks" feature in Aperture, as I often took several exposures of a different picture (especially when the fog rolled in and I was dealing with convincing my camera that the sky wasn't just a mass of white).

Here are a couple of pictures of Patrick, though.  Just for fun.  The one on the bottom is one of Patrick's famous self-portraits.

Patrick is wearing his new glasses, by the way, that were supposed to be transitions lenses, but clearly aren't.  His past attempts at glasses have never lasted long, but we'll see.