31 August 2010

Your Daily Five Photos (Pico Blvd Edition)

Pico is one of the main east/west surface streets from downtown all the way to the beach. Through much of that course, the businesses tend to run from dilapidated, to ramshackle, to downright Third World. Doesn't mean they lack charm, though, just means keep your head up. I was sorely tempted to hit up Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles, but having had half a large pizza for lunch, topping of the evening with the artery clogging delights served there seemed imprudent. Good eats, though, and usually an entertaining crowd at the Pico location.

30 August 2010

Your Daily Five Photos (DANCE, DANCE, DANCE Edition)

Salsa music, makes you want to move. Well, it makes some people want to move. The percentage of people who listened without moving was vastly greater than the people who listened and moved, but that might have more to do with self consciousness, lack of partners, and wanting not to give up a good seat, rather than lack of desire to do some tail feather shaking.

The music was a surprise, forgot that they've been doing a Latin Sounds series all summer at LACMA on Saturdays. The last one is this Saturday if you're in the area.

Tried to take some video, but the mic on the Nikon D5000 is terrible for this sort of thing, and the 5 min limit per clip meant that none of the songs were captured in their entirety, so nothing came out worth uploading.

Have to mic stuff separately, and sync in post if I ever want to use that camera for that purpose.

Had this camera for over a year, still haven't found many good use cases for video, lack of autofocus, the rolling shutter distortions, poor mic, and limited recording time per take all conspire to make this camera a poor choice for event video.

In a studio set up, controlling for variables, you can capture some great looking stuff given the choice of lenses, but so far, I haven't had the need for that sort of thing. For shooting stills, though, this camera has amazing versatility. You can control just about every variable as carefully as you'd desire, or you can put it on auto mode and turn it into a bulky point and shoot, and the lenses available for Nikon cameras take amazing images.

Easy enough to keep a Flip Video or Kodak Zi8 type pocketcam tucked away in my camera bag, as well as my 'real' camera, though, if video was important to me, personally, for whatever reason, I've gravitated more towards stills, and haven't figured out compelling uses for video.

28 August 2010

Your Daily Five Photos (LACMA Edition)

Five shots, taken today at LACMA, enjoy.

(warning, there may be some spam, sorry)

(but there are definitely no pipes)

27 August 2010

Your Daily Five Photos (Let's Have Some Words Edition)

Words, can't get away from them, at least in a densely populated urban/suburban setting.

26 August 2010

Your Daily Five Photos (Somewhat Cliched, but Still Pleasing to Gaze Upon Setting Sun Snaps Edition)

What can I say, I guess I'm a fan of the classics.

Speaking of classics, one of these shots put me in mind of this song...

You can not resist the adorableness that was a teenage Clare Grogan, it's physically impossible...

25 August 2010

In Defense of Frequent Presidential Vacations in a Time When the Executive and Legislative Branches are Simpatico...

Seems like President Barack Obama has been receiving some undue disapprobation for his penchant in taking quite a bit of "me" time. While I disagree with just about every policy goal he has ever set or achieved in his time as our nation's chief executive, I feel compelled to defend his habit of enjoying spending time away from Washington DC.

The truth of the matter is, that given the current political situation, he's superfluous, so rather than rolling around bored at the White House, a man has to do what a man has to do, and if that means lots of golf, lots of time in a variety of resorts, and lots of unwinding, then let the man eat his shrimp.

Because of the successes at the ballot box his Democratic Party allies enjoyed in 2006 and 2008, our President finds himself in the enviable position of not having a whole lot to do. It's not like any notion that comes to his head, doesn't also come to the minds of Speaker Pelosi or Majority Leader Reid (though Reid for re-election purposes, may have to pretend for a bit not to be so in concert with the President, I'm sure Obama won't take any statements from Reid between now and November seriously). Also, because the vast bureaucratic apparatus that has grown from the astonishing proliferation of agencies directly overseen by the Executive Branch, the President can CHANGE our country at will without any pesky nuisances like bringing legislation to Congress. It's truly a glorious time to be a pro-regulation member of the elite.

Now it may seem somewhat counter intuitive that given free reign over a massive and largely unaccountable (so long as the press is compliant) bureaucracy would be a slow time for a President that so clearly embraces all the wonderful CHANGE that can be brought about by the alphabet soup of agencies. The thing you have to understand about President Obama, is that the people in charge of these agencies are his people, if it's not a crony straight out of Chicago running things, it's at least a like-minded Ivy League graduate with little to no business experience to sully the purity of their vision of how our nation must CHANGE. The end result, the bureaucracy metastasizes like an especially aggressive form of cancer without any particularly active participation from the West Wing, and does so in a manner exactly how the President would want it to. Were he to bother with all that messy and tedious micro-managing that can really take a depressing chunk of potential tee time away from an avid duffer like President Obama.

He can't do 'better' by taking a more active role (and from his perspective, better means more and more federal control of every last damn thing), and given the big majorities in both halves of Congress enjoyed by Democrats, there's really no arm twisting or legislative cajoling needed to pass any legislation he really cares about passing (which of course suggests that any bill that gets thwarted, was designed to be thwarted and was just a piece of political theatre to begin with), so what's a man surrounded by a wife, two daughters, and a mother in law under his roof expected to do?

That's right, hang out and knock back a few cold ones with your favorite golf buddies every chance you get, it's what any red blooded American male would do.

So quit expecting the President to spend more time in DC, everything is going exactly as he wants, and everyone under his command is doing exactly what he expects, but by appearing to be 'hands off', Obama slyly gives himself a bit of 'deniability' with regards to any blunders that come his way, and he can always act 'surprised' and 'disappointed' whenever some underling does something that becomes a bit too controversial. Aloof detachment is the way to go if you want to preserve the ability to throw anybody under the bus at any moment they become inconvenient from a narrative standpoint.

President Obama has redefined what it means to be President in the 21st century, rather than following in his predecessor's business-like, CEO model for organizing his White House, Obama has positioned himself as "Narrator and Chief". His job isn't to run things, so much as to explain things, and shape the trajectory of the narrative.

It's a known fact that writers require copious amounts of downtime in upscale resort areas (preferably seaside) to properly get a handle on their narrative of the moment. So let the Narrator and Chief chill out, it's what he does best (cause he's certainly proven somewhat inept at everything else)

(and as a side note, it should be obvious to any benefactor out there who may wish for my own personal power of narrative shaping to increase, they'd be wise to gift me with Obama-like trips to all expense paid trips to any number of fine resort areas in this country, or around the globe, I promise to give you a shoutout in the acknowledgements of the inevitable best sellers that would follow)

Your Daily Five Photos (Yet Again, Santa Monica Edition)

In today's edition, I present to you a very red truck, a rather blue bus, a somewhat judgemental crow, a place experiencing an existential crisis, and a bunch of shabbily displayed Old Glories.


(if you click through to Flickr, you'll see some commentary on each photo)

(I'm not saying the commentary is helpful, or insightful, but it's there for your entertainment pleasure)

24 August 2010

Mail, Daily --- I Read the British Tabs, So You Don't Have To...

Headlines I couldn't make up, even if I wanted to...

Hayden Panettiere rings in her 21st birthday with Oompa-Loompas, seven foot chickens and even some sheep!

Wow. I thought what happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas. Tiger Woods and the various women whose company he 'enjoyed', have set a terrible precedent with regards to reporting the goings on that happen in that wonderful city.

Now $5m man The Situation lands $400,000 deal to promote 'ab-building' vodka

On a side note, seriously, The Jersey Shore is being shown in the United Kingdom?!? Also, the one thing that had been missing in my life that I didn't know I needed until it finally came to market was protein infused vodka. Other Jersey Shore inspired products awaiting approval, strawberry-flavored fortified sparkling wine with your daily Valtrex medication, spray-on tan/mosquito repellant, and of course, a brand new line of Jersey Gelatto, a perfect melange of traditional Italian frozen desserts, mixed in with a juicy dose of both anabolic steroids and human growth hormone!

Stick-thin Whitney Port's sister makes a Twit of her on trip to coffee house

Here's today's dose of Daily Mail paparrazi shots taken in my humble little home town of Santa Monica. It's rare for a day to go by where this paper doesn't pick up a shot of some minor to major 'celebrity' going about their daily business. Usually it's a woman, and most of the time some sort of comment is made about their clothing, or body. The attitude in their "Femail" section regarding body types and body image are all over the map. While they often celebrate 'real' women, they also focus a absurd amount of attention on stupid non-flaws that no sane person would even consider (see, for example this recent, SHAKIRA HAS STRETCH MARKS! article, which every other place that posted the exact same picks instead focused on the, 'look at how ridiculously sexy Shakira looks' angle, rather than picking out some super-minor, nearly impossible to see, and most likely a result of sweat and running make-up rather than stretch marks, and even if they were stretch marks, who the hell cares?)

And a note to Whitney, instead of hitting the Bean, try one of the many small independent coffee houses along Broadway, the stalkerazzi seem to not bother anyone there, if you hit the shops on Montana or Main, you will get snapped, just some friendly advice next time you visit this sunny seaside town.

Your Daily Five Photos (Santa Monica Edition)

Hello Bloglandia! It's been awhile, other than playing whackamole with Chinese spammers, there hasn't been much activity hereabouts for the past couple of months. That changes today. I'm going to post five photos each day to Flickr, either taken that day, or the day previous, and post them as a slide show here. Rather than posting everything I shoot at Flickr, I'm going to pick out shots that seem interesting to me.

Also, with the NFL season approaching, I will do my usual shockingly inaccurate season preview, but rather than trying to pick the whole season, I'm going to pick against the over/under lines for season wins for each team. I'll do a post for each division, all to be posted the day after Labor Day.

Below, today's furious five photos. Taken earlier at the recently refurbished and upscale-ified Santa Monica Place. They tore the roof off the sucka! (literally). Seems like it has succeeded as a draw to the area, but the shops themselves aren't getting much in the way of customers. I think they were hoping that RECOVERY SUMMER 2010! would have been a bit more recovered by now. Most of the stores here have other branches in other close by upscale shopping districts, I just don't see the marketplace supporting them over the long run, but time will tell. The roof off gives a nice updated look, gives a better pedestrian flow to the rest of the area, and the new restaurants seem worth checking out (if a bit on the pricey side).