Friday, January 30, 2009

25 things you may not know

Note: This stems from a Facebook meme that's circulating... not sure why I did this one, but figured I might as well get double duty out of it here.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1) I never do this kind of survey or tag exercise. Not sure why I'm doing it now.

2) I used to work for a big bank, and if I'd stayed there, I'd probably be a rich mofo by now. But would I be happy? Quite possibly.

3) Even though I've not tried it since college, I think I could still spool film onto the wire reels in total darkness to process film. I can still "feel" it in my hands when I think about it.

4) I can't tell if I don't know what I want because I'm stressed, or I'm stressed because I don't know what I want.

5) I avoid telling people when my birthday is, but then I'm disappointed when nobody remembers it or sends a card, except my stepgrandmother who always seems to remember.

6) Speaking of stepgrandmother, before he married her, my grandfather always used to send birthday and Christmas cards with a few bucks in them. She put a stop to that.

7) I've never had a broken bone, but once broke my two front teeth flying over the handlebars of my bike when I was about 10.

8) I feel I totally fucked up my college experience and would like a do-over, please.

9) I tend to have "useless" luck -- I'll win door prizes and drawings all the time for trivial junk, like a new shower head, but I'll never win the lottery.

10) I did win $100 from a Captain Crunch contest. I think I was 23 at the time.

11) I spend entirely too much time procrastinating on the internets... but you knew that, didn't you?

12) I'm a packrat in that I can't seem to part with books, magazines or "important" papers, or potentially useful items, or clothes I might someday possibly wear again. Or boxes... must have boxes! I need to stop doing that.

13) I'm certain I have more books, movies and music than I could read, watch or listen to if that's all I did from now until the day I died.

14) I talk a good game.

15) I used to follow sports avidly, but when I went to a small rural college, I was so cut off from news and TV that I lost interest, and never really regained it. I enjoy going to a ballgame once in a while, but I'd have a hard time naming more than a few of the current major league sports players.

16) I climbed the pyramid at Chichen Itza, but had to go down sitting on my butt because the steps are so narrow and there's no handrail and it's probably an hour from the nearest hospital.

17) My computer has hot pink speakers that look like flowers because they sound great and the pink ones were half the price of the cool black ones... I ended up getting the pink ones for free, thanks to UPS.

18) I'm never going to make it to 25 things because I hate talking about myself.

19) I used to meet bands after shows to get albums signed... The Pixies, Lou Reed, and Elvis Costello were probably the biggest names. I think I may have been the first person to show Lou Reed a compact disk because when I handed one to him, he said "woah, what the hell is this?"

20) Speaking of the Pixies, Kim Deal used to live a couple blocks from me, and I once invited her to a friend's wedding. This was before the Pixies broke up the first time. She said no.

21) I'm starting to envy commercial and portrait photographers who make big money and seem to do it effortlessly.

22) I'd really love a Zagnut bar right about now. Hell, even a Zero bar.

23) In high school, I had a crush on one of a pair of fraternal twins, but she had no interest. But I think the other one might have been interested, except I was fixated on the wrong one.

24) I still say fancy food is wasted on me... I prefer a nice hot pizza over just about anything.

25) Despite my seeming lack of confidence (#18), I can usually finish what I start.

There's still a few things left, so maybe you should Get To Know Me!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Corn Porn

Just read this report that 9 out of 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury. Mercury. Yet another reason the HFCS is a major health hazard and should probably be outlawed or extremely restricted. I paid a visit to my friend Steve who's originally from England, and he mentioned that HFCS is banned in England for food products... this was relevant because he offered me a bottle of Coca-Cola from Mexico, made with real sugar the way it used to be here, and the way it's made in most of the world. Hard to believe we've reached the point where a sugar-filled soda is considered the HEALTHY alternative.

But why do we use HFCS so much here in the US? Because way too much of the economy is tied up in corn, and the corn lobbyists seem to have a death grip on the government. Corn growers are subsidized and price supported and now for some reason we're using corn to make ethanol (instead of using something more efficient, like sugar beets). Is it just so Presidential aspirants have the favor of corn growers when the Iowa caucuses roll around every 4 years? Why corn? Are American farmers too stupid to grow something else? Our corn industry is even causing problems in other countries, like Mexico, where local farmers can't compete with the prices of imported subsidized US corn, spreading poverty and hunger there, too.

Corn has its place, but for some reason, it's everywhere. Most livestock are fed corn in massive quantities, rather than grass or other feeds that their digestive systems are designed for. So, corn is even messing with meat products, and by extension, humans who eat meat (or other products with HFCS). And humans aren't designed to digest so much corn either. HFCS is the cheapest sweetener, so it's now in everything from breads to snacks to sauces to ketchup. A huge percentage of processed or semi-prepared foods, especially inexpensive foods that more and more people are resorting to as the economy collapses.

On a brighter note, as Tia mentioned on her blog, I received the prints that I'll have for sale at Dirty Show, and I was quite pleased with how they turned out. Doubly pleased in that it means that my monitor appears to be properly calibrated to my lab, so I'll be able to relax a bit that I'm on the right track now at least as far as that's concerned.

So, if you're planning to be at Dirty Show, be sure to stop by the "museum store" and look for my prints (including the lovely Spilt Sugar here) to see how spiffy they turned out. Feel free to buy a few, too.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blessed Benefits

Had a political rant here that is probably better left unsaid... let's just leave it at I'm amused* at the many ways the right is flip-flopping now that President Obama is in the hot seat. Crying crocodile tears for those they recently vilified, and expecting overnight solutions to problems it took years to create. If you're given a prescription for antibiotics, if you take all 40 pills at once, you're going to get sicker, not better...

Here's Vanessa with a definite example of faded glory...

*by "amused," I mean "apalled."

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Sorry for the lack of postings hereabouts... day job activity and other real-lifeness have largely kept the camera out of my hands, and me from the blogging track. Have been preparing work for the Dirty $how and their "museum store" where I'll have a wide variety of new images available, including some not yet seen elsewhere. If you're planning to go, advance tickets are probably a good idea...

Congrats to Dave Levingston for again getting a shot in the "Grand Concours" issue of French Photo... have asked my sister in Swizzerland to find a copy of the issue to see if I have an image in there, but I'm not holding my breath. Evidently I overlooked their strong bias towards color images... I'm learning lots of interesting stuff about these contests and shows and such...

And yes, I took a ride on the bandwagon like everyone else... watched the inauguration the other day, and was amazed to hear that despite attendance of around 2 million people, there wasn't a single arrest. Not sure if that means nothing happened or just that nobody got caught, but the population of Dayton is around 170,000 and there are dozens of people arrested every day. Was sorry to see that Aretha Franklin has been watching too much American Idol... saw someone post on a message board that they should get Ray Charles to perform for the inauguration, which would be a great idea if he'd not had the nerve to die a few years ago. But I'm sure Brother Ray would have been proud to be there...

Was also chagrined that Bush's boy chief justice John Roberts managed to botch administering the oath of office... guess 2 million people watching justifies a little stage fright, but come on. Sucks to think Roberts, Alito, and Thomas could all be on the court another 25 or 30 years... maybe when Obama gets to do his appointments, he'll choose some 24-year-old ACLU lawyers to hold sway for another 60 years.

The shot at top is the lovely Natasha Fatale... looking forward to shooting her again before long. :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something hot

It's just too damn cold here to think straight, let alone provide much insight. Here's a little something to warm things up...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Prints...

Click that link and get 400 free 4x6 print credits and a Free 8x8-inch photo book, just for signing up. So it says.

Also says that I get prints, too, if my friends sign up for free. Doesn't say you have to actually buy anything.

So, go ahead and sign up, friend. What do we have to lose?

At left is Alison, looking a bit skeptical...

P.S. On edit, true enough, you get credits for machine prints of several sizes, mousepads, buttons, whatnot... doled out over the course of the next three years. Several offers are available immediately, others you have to come back for in a couple months, then a couple months after that, etc. So, it's a pretty clever marketing plan to get you to revisit the site and claim your free stuff, knowing you're likely to buy other items along the way. So, the link works still, or refer your friends to get even more freebies. Woot!

On edit again, the majority of the offers for the odds and ends are available immediately upon joining, with 50 5x7s and 50 4x6s, and 10 4-up wallet prints made available each month for 12 months. I haven't tried to see what the postage charges are yet (possibly offsetting the savings) though.

Postscript again: turns out they seem to be making up for the "free" stuff to a great extent with somewhat pricey shipping & handling. I tried making a small book, two copies (free except for $3 upcharge for added pages) and the S&H was about $15. Had tried earlier adding 4 "free" mousepads and 10 "free" badges, and the S&H shot up to $45. So, caveat emptor, y'all.

Black Hula

There I go, embedding video again. This is a gem that I saw on "Liquid Television" back in the day, searched for it for years, and through the magic of YouTube, it's available now... you can read what you want into it. Civilization?

Here's Spilt Sugar from a studio shoot a while back... hope to work with her again sooner rather than later, if she's not too busy kicking ass as a photographer.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Here are four more semi-random shots from the "recovered" hard drive. While I was proud of the recovery success, I guess that's the sort of personal victory that everyone else sort of shrugs their shoulders at. Oh well. That's Nia in the tree, Kate between the sheets, and a bodyscape of Jacquie.

Have my first shoot for the year scheduled tomorrow with a model I've not shot for going on 2 years. That's her bum at the top of this entry. Hard to believe time has flown like that. Hopefully we won't get too much nasty "wintry mix" as the weatherfolk like to call it these days... although she's already volunteered to do nude snow angels, so who knows?

Nearly caught up on editing the trade shoot images I owe models, so will be picking up the camera some in the next few weeks. But also need to go back through the "non-trade" shoots from last year and edit those images as well.

Part of the plan in the new year is to be somewhat more selective so as not to "swamp my boat" again with editing. It's tricky to find a balance between getting ahead of myself, and getting out of practice. Been in the new studio over a month now and have barely managed to do any shooting in it. Guess I'll need to get busy and remedy that situation.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Parlez quoi?

Entered 12 shots into the annual French PHOTO Magazine "Concours Photo 2008", and this year they've put all the entered photos online in a searchable database. If you want to see what I entered, search for "Mitchell" and my images will show up. If you feel like voting to "rate" the images, visit this page to sign up for a free forum account, which will let you vote and comment on the images in the contest. I'm not sure if that has any bearing on what they'll actually publish (the issue should be at the printer by now) but it could be très amusant.

Happy Birthday Elvis...

Sentiments from Gary Busey, in his prime, in D.C. Cab.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Recovery is sometimes easier than expected

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a hard drive stop working, which included raw images and edits from a number of shoots from 2006. The missing files had backups elsewhere, but those were scattered over a variety of DVDs and online and would have to be reconstructed by process of elimination, a daunting task, especially considering the files were older and might not actually be required anytime soon. So, I looked into various methods for recovering the files, cleanroom recovery services with prices ranging from a couple hundred dollars (and rumored to be bait-and-switch operations) to several thousand dollars. I dragged my feet at the prospect of spending that kind of money to recover files of questionable value, and tried a couple of "home remedies" touted on websites. (Including putting the drive in a freezer, which is rumored to sometimes give a last spasm of life, enough to recover the files -- further reading seems to indicate that this is something of a myth, more likely to make the problem worse.)

I stopped to think back to the timeframe when the drive stopped working, it seemed roughly coincidental with my "upgrade" to Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard" (aka "Leper"), so I did some more research, and it turns out that the upgrade caused certain models of external hard drives (including mine, the Maxtor OneTouch II) to stop mounting, so they appeared dead -- and for all practical purposes WERE dead. Several software fixes were offered on Maxtor's site, but none of them seemed to work. But it gave me an idea. I purchased an inexpensive hard drive enclosure which arrived this morning. It took about three minutes to pull the actual hard drive from the Maxtor enclosure and put it into the new generic one, and fire it up. Immediately, the drive (and my files) appeared on my desktop, evidently as good as new, no cleanroom required, total cost about $18. Boy, is THAT a good feeling. :)

Full of win.

So, about 300GB worth of images of Abigail, Alicia, Amanda, Amber, Amie, Annessia, Autumn, Beth, Breena, Brittany, etc. have been rescued from extinction and are currently being backed up to another hard drive. (That's Jacquie at right.) Despite it functioning at the moment, since I did freeze the drive and subjected it to various other abuses attempting to revive it, I'm not going to take any chances. And as part of New Year's promises to oneself, I'm going to work on redundant backups of all my files, including offsite.

And any of you photographers who are reading this, a reminder that you might want to make sure you're doing all you need to do in case the unthinkable happens.

At top are a couple images from my shoot with Claudine in her beautifully spartan apartment overlooking downtown Chicago.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Innovation, thy name is Apple

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

This "news story" does a good job of how I feel about some recent innovations in computers and software. Being an Apple guy from way back, I'm expecting them to do weird inexplicable stuff all the time. For instance, I had an old keyboard that was starting to get kind of cruddy, so I picked up Apple's new "flat" keyboard that mimics the new format of their laptop keyboard. The good news is, typing (or "keyboarding" as the kids call it these days) is a breeze, and it feels nice and solid and is quieter than a regular keyboard. The bad news is, they decided to rearrange the function keys and those dedicated "bonus" keys that control the computer volume, eject discs, launch things, control iTunes, etc. So now, I have to choose one or the other. It doesn't have any fewer keys than my old one or take less space, but I guess the idea was to try to mimic a laptop keyboard. As a result, I have to change the system preference each time I switch from photo editing (where I use F-keys all the time) to regular tasks like web surfing and e-mail and stuff. I could go back to the crummy old one, or buy another in the same style as the crummy old one, but I already bought this one and like some things about it. I know... bitch bitch bitch.

On the bright side, here's Waternight from my semi-recent Chicago trip... more to come from that trip soon.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A new year...

...and I still can't seem to complete a blog entry.

Happy New Year everyone!