Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Two!

There I was, chugging away on Wordle. I got it in 3 today, in about 5 minutes, which is excellent for me. Linda was just getting started as I headed into the kitchen to make breakfast. I'd barely got the cutlery out of the drawer when there was a triumphant cry of TWO! 

She went from having one letter in the right place to having all of them. And she wonders why all her friends think she knows all, and they all know she has a competitive streak. You should have seen her playing cards with her mom and sisters. What a bloodbath! Good thing I was just watching. And then there's the train game we play with friends. Linda wins most of the time. We live in fear of the "Doot-de-doo!" of triumph, which means she's landed a big contract or has just won. 

That apple didn't fall far from the tree. Her mom played the train game just once, needed help to get started, and she totally kicked our butts. Normally, one person wins, the next person would have won if got to their turn, and most of the rest of the players are within a few turns of winning. Not that time, nobody was even remotely close. 


The heat wave is still happening here. I took the cover off the barbecue yesterday to grill some duck breast for lunch, and the thermometer said 225 F, before I turned it on. Let's just say it didn't take long to warm up to cooking temperature. 

The heat is good for the dahlias, though. Linda over-wintered a bunch of them as an experiment. Then the spring was cold and snowy, so they got planted late. She wasn't even sure they would bloom, but here you are.


There are a few other buds, but we've no idea what will happen. We could have this heat wave till the end of August, then a day later a big snowstorm or cold snap. We had that happen one year, it snowed about a foot during the Labour Day weekend, and never really stopped. One of our neighbours had just finished getting their house siding re-done, with the crew working frantically late into the evening to finish up. They said they'd come back the next day to take away all the scaffolding. Except it snowed, and kept on snowing. Several weeks later they sent a crew with shovels to dig up the yard to get their gear.

Or, we could have a long lovely Calgary fall, with the days being sunny and a nice temperature, and the nights gradually getting cooler, until well into November. In one sense, Linda loves this, since her garden keeps going with a bit of help covering the more vulnerable plants. Except that it makes it hard to know when to draw the line and tuck the garden to bed for the winter.

Summer reading.

Doom, The Politics of Catastrophe by Niall Fergusson
An interesting, if somewhat long read. The idea is that we're getting worse at dealing with catastrophes as our social systems get more complex. By we, he means governments of all stripes, Chinese, American, capitalist, communist, whatever. And even though we can bring to bear impressive computer modelling to bear, we often don't ask the right questions, or believe the results. Cassandra strikes again, and again, and again.

He tries to look at catastrophe response in terms of systems, not just a political leader, or political system. The perspective shift brings new thinking to bear, looking at a wider, more complicated world. And if there was one word to describe our world, it's complicated.

I think the book would have been more focussed if he had dropped the COVID-19 pandemic chapters out. Much of it was written early in the pandemic, when it wasn't remotely clear how the various responses would play out. A similar book written once we got some perspective on it might be really interesting. 

I remain convinced that we're still going to see a wave of excess mortality from all the people who were managing a condition through regular medical care, and had their treatment disrupted by COVID, and in Alberta, the UCP war on the medical system to enrich their buddies through privatization. There are people dying in Canada because the ambulances are tied up waiting for hospitals to accept the patients.  Don't get me started.

Of the Day
Driftwood
But first an evening serendipity from 2017.



Flower

Peony


Lily

Landscape
One of the last examples of "elevator row" still standing.


Green Fools
But first a serendipity. I can't believe this hasn't been blogged, from the 2017 Yukon trip. Can't wait to head back there in a couple weeks. 


The innocent looking start to The Great Chicken War.

Film
But first a double serendipity. A post-frost rose from 2017.


A happy day lily from 2017.


The actual film photo, from Voitier's Flats during a walk with Sean, using the GW690 and Ektar 100. I was pleased to see the rays of light showing up in the trees, and of course, the nice reflection. A tricky exposure, with the bright morning sky, and the deeply shaded river.

Monday, August 15, 2022

The half trip wasn't so bad

For the people wondering how the half trip turned out. The race was at the Rocky Ridge YWCA, which I had never heard of and had no real idea where it was. It turns out to not being in Rocky Ridge at all. The map apps are your friend. I got there and back far quicker than I thought possible, though the intersection of Sarcee and the Trans-Canada still bewilders me. You really have to pay attention there, though the same is true for most of the new ring road. The intersections are not what I'd call intuitive. Paying attention to the signs and which lane you're in is important.

As an aside, my first apartment in Calgary was in Varsity, and I lived for a while in Dalhousie, which is the next neighbourhood over. At the time, Ranchlands, bordered by Nose Hill Drive and John Laurie Drive were the end of the world. Nose Hill park was open to the world at the north end. Now the great Calgary blight continues, endless suburbia spreading in all directions. 

We moved into a house built at what was then the very south west end of Calgary, in Woodbine. To go south was 37th St, at the time a two lane road, with a one lane bride over Fish Creek. It was just a little hairy at night during the winter, and the 90 degree bends at each end of the bridge didn't help. The great blight continued southward as well. Now we are considered just outside the ring of inner city. At least I know several ways through the great blight of Somevergreenwoodnessy. 

During the late 90's, I was on a road trip for work. We were coming back from Whitecourt. Being the junior guy, they made me drive. My colleagues all lived in the NW, and they navigated me, late at night, through streets I'd never heard of, to their homes. I couldn't have recreated the route the next day if you paid me. Arbour Lake, Hamptons, and Hidden Valley all looked exactly the same to me. At least the last one was near an exit onto a road I'd been on, and knew it connected to Deerfoot, and thus to home. 

If you draw an east west line across Calgary about the top of Nose Hill park, and west of Deerfoot, everything in that area is a great mystery to me. While looking up the Rocky Ridge YWCA, I was reminded that there is a Sarcee Trail in the NW. It used to be a short chunk of road between Crowchild and John Laurie, and thus not terribly useful. Now it is, and goes way north, connecting a bunch of neighbourhoods. Just don't get on it thinking it connects to the major roadway called Sarcee Trail in the southwest. That would be a big mistake. There's a number streets in Calgary with the same name that are not connected to each other. I used that as the basis for fake ID in some of my writing.

The race site is on the far end of all that, and along the way I saw all sorts of things for the first time. I was amused by the new Calgary Farmer's market. As you head west, it is extremely prominent on the right. However, it's too late to drive there anymore. All the roads to get at it are behind you, and a U turn doesn't look easy, given all the construction in the area. Once they finish the ring road, this will be much closer to us. It might even be closer than the one on Blackfoot. I'm still rebuilding my maps to include the ring road near us.

So if you want to see lots of race photos, the links are here.  

Now I get to think about the next thing, which I think is the Gobalfest fireworks shows in NE Calgary. Getting there takes some planning. We tried the shuttle bus system the last couple years, and that seems to work well. There have been two pickup locations, downtown and Marlborough Mall. Each have their advantages and disadvantages. I'll have to think about it.

I was out chasing bees the other day. Still getting warmed up.


Summer reading.


Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert
I'm not sure what I think of this. Yes, there's lots of doom and gloom and species going extinct or rogue. Yes there's some hopeful prospects, like CO2 capture and storage, which is more advanced than I thought it was, to various forms of geo-engineering. 

But there's a line in there somewhere, something like, we have  become gods and we're running out of time to get good at it. I'm pretty sure the context was genetic manipulation. So far our efforts there have unintended side effects.

There's lots of bits looking at all kinds of different areas, but nothing really seems to be holding it all together but the idea that if we don't start doing something dramatic about climate, we're fucked, and the climate will get even more dramatic about doing something to us. Which pretty well everybody but idiots already know.

Of the Day
Driftwood

Flower

Peony

Lily

Landscape

Green Fools
Clown Funeral

Film (GW690 Ektar 100)

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Two and a half camera trips

I'm getting excited! I've got two and a half camera trips coming up, and that makes me think about packing camera gear. I can hear you asking, how is there such a thing as half a trip?

Let me explain. There's the big 10 day trip to Yukon in September that will require lots of careful planning and packing. Last time I took two digital cameras and the appropriate lenses, the idea being that when doing night sessions the cameras can be set up to capture different parts of the sky. This time I want to take the big film camera, and need to think about the second digital. Only so much will go into the carry on bag, and the big film camera is an awkward shape. As well, camera gear is very heavy for the volume it takes up. I can easily put 30 pounds of gear into my main bag, which is slightly under airplane carry on size. The idea is to NOT subject expensive delicate gear to the tender mercies of baggage handlers...

Then there's a couple days trip at the end of August to the Great Sand Hills in Saskatchewan. That will be fun, capturing the sand dunes and sky at all hours of the day and night. I've been there at high noon, and that was tough because there were no shadows. Sunset on another trip was much nicer, and full dark with no moon is going to be awesome! Pretty sure I'll take the film camera for that.

I'm going to have to think about managing film canisters as well, and develop a system. Normally I fill up a roll and drop it off. If I'm really in the groove I might use up another roll while the first is being developed, and I save myself a trip to Marda Loop. But during the Yukon trip I'm going to take lots of film, and will need a system to manage exposed rolls.

And this weekend there's a triathlon I'm doing for a buddy. I call this half a trip. The camera gear is pretty straightforward, 2 cameras, 2 lenses, batteries for both, and some extra SD cards. I have to be sure the car is full of gas, and get up at half past ungodly (as my mom likes to say) to get there in time for the racers to arrive. Half asleep people shambling around trying to juggle coffee and race equipment makes for great photos. The race location is out near Springbank airport, which isn't that far, all things considered, but it's still actually out of town, and thus qualifies as a trip, sort of, in my mind.

In all these trips packing clothing is the least of my concerns. Right this moment someone could burst in the door, tell me I've won a trip of x many days if we leave now, and how long to pack? The answer is about 10 minutes for everything outside camera gear. It might take longer to get confirmation that someone would take care of Celina. Or even quicker is to forego the luggage. All I really need to do is grab my wallet, phone, (maybe the passport), and put on shoes. Zoom.

You know the saying, when the only tool you have is a hammer, all the problems look like nails. When all you have on hand is a basic suite of tools, it's typically really easy to choose the best one for the task at hand. It might not be the best tool that exists, and you might even own the correct tool, but if it isn't with you at the time it's needed, you make do.

Photographers make this choice all the time. If I'm out in the garden it's only the work of a moment to change lenses if necessary, and typically the light doesn't change that fast. Except when it does. If I'm out for a walk, I don't want to be carrying a bunch of lenses just in case. Typically I'll pick one, and usually I'll only 'see' scenes I can capture with it. And yes, there's times I've been stuck with the wrong lens. But on a long trip like going to Yukon, I want all the lenses, because I know darned well I'm likely to find scenes that cry out for a particular lens. Most of the time, the extra lenses are in the van, and I can go back if necessary; it's not like I have to carry them on an all day hike.

In some ways life gets harder when there's lots of choice about tools. You have to think about the task at hand in more detail in order to decide which exact tool to use. Then find it. Suddenly there are other considerations, like the right tool needing to be cleaned, or adjusted before use. Maybe if you change the work slightly, it changes the choice of a tool to a more efficient one. Maybe the choice of tools drives the order the work is being done. Maybe you have to share the tool, or borrow it. More isn't always better.

Linda is home from Ontario, after having a great time visiting her sisters. I think there's been more chat from Celina since then, than during the entire week she was gone. She is busy getting caught up on mail and seeing what her garden has been up to.


Summer reading.
The Bomber Mafia  by Malcolm Gladwell


This is not what I thought it would be. I thought it would be about Bomber Harris and the fire-bombing of Dresdin or General LeMay and the fire bombing of Tokyo. It is, sort of, but not quite. It's about the mindset that produced those results, with detours behind the scenes to the Norden bombsight and other innovations. There's some insight into the people involved and the systems they were working within. If you like other Gladwell books, you'll probably like this one.

More and more I'm thinking about the systems that people are working within. Which is a tie in to the current read, but we'll get there later. Leaders don't exist in a vacuum. In spite of the Great Man theory, the overall system is more interesting, and requires more thought to tease out the various elements, but is much more likely to deliver a correct result.

Of the Day
Driftwood

Flower


Peony


Lily

Landscape
Still waiting for moonrise.

Green Fools
Clown wedding

Stay tuned for film, I'm waiting for a roll to come back from the lab.



Tuesday, August 9, 2022

They say it's expensive

If you've been following along you know that I've been interested in exploring film photography, medium format in particular. To get you caught up, the 35mm film that most people are familiar with creates negatives that are about 2.5 cm high and 3.5 cm wide. Medium format is 6cm high, and depending on the camera, can produce negatives in a variety of widths.

To that end, I've been reading reviews about cameras, film, and the related processes. Inevitably, people mention costs, and that's where I'm going to start today. I've ranted about money several times, but the particular jumping off point for today is here, talking about the prices of things.

One of the things that pisses me off in reviews is them saying something is expensive. When iPhone apps were new they were typically only a few dollars, and yet, people complained about them being too expensive. How can an item costing less than a cup of coffee be considered expensive? Plus, expensive is in the eye of the beholder.

So during the reviews they kept saying film was expensive. That my camera in particular was really expensive, because it gets only 8 photos on a roll, and other cameras would get 12 or 15, and typically 35mm film is 36 photos. The roll is essentially the same cost to buy and develop. I just think the per shot basis is a poor way to think about it. After all, while each shot costs about 4 times more, the negative size is about 5.5 times more. If you do everything right, you get a better result. Typically better results are worth more money.

The comparison that really pisses me off is saying that digital is free. Not so! Let's look at this, assuming you've been taking photos with your phone, and admiring those great photos you see photographers taking. You want to get a 'real' camera. You've got an open mind about digital or film, and you don't have a rich relative that can give you a camera system. Although if you ask around, you can probably find a friend of a friend that can give you smoking hot deal on a camera and related gear.

Let's start with the digital photography world outside of mobile phones. Which, as an aside, appears to be a diminishing ecosystem. For most people, for most subjects, in most lighting conditions, mobile phones are the perfect camera. It's always in your pocket or purse. If you hold it still and point it in the right direction, you're likely to get a technically good photo, that is, properly exposed. From there it's the work of a few seconds to share it with your chosen audience, whether it's your best buddy or a million Instagram followers.

Back to the quest for a 'real' camera. There are any number of cameras to buy, used or new, from a few hundred dollars up to many tens of thousands. I blogged a bit about it here. Often a lens will come with it, or you can buy them separately, used or new, and spend very little to tens of thousands of dollars. You'll need to buy a few other odds and ends like SD cards, batteries and charger, and software to edit the images. You might need to get a more capable computer if you're doing a lot of images, or you get a camera that creates big files. Yes, you could buy a camera that costs $60,000 American. Google Phase One XT if you don't believe me. The question you need to answer for yourself is, does that camera produce an image that is more than 10 times better than ordinary enthusiast cameras?

In summary, the digital cost is up front to buy the equipment, however little or much that turns out to be, and then it doesn't matter if you take one photo or a thousand, your cost doesn't change. Budget a couple thousand dollars and you're in the game with lots of choices. If you get Lightroom, there's a monthly subscription cost, but again, it doesn't matter how many photos you run through it. This is all good till you want to buy a better camera, or better lenses. The digital camera world has changed quickly, with better cameras coming out every year. There are many people trying to persuade you that all you need to do to get better photographs is buy this new piece of gear. Do that enough and you are in the new computer market as well. This in fact drove the camera choice for a friend. One camera he looked at would have required the replacement of his entire computer system. He didn't buy that one.

Now lets think about the film world. There are any number of cameras you could buy, many used, and some new. They range in price from a few dozen dollars to many tens of thousands. Generally though, you can pick up a used film camera, even one that was the top of the line for professionals of the day, for much less than a digital camera, and they usually come with really good lenses. There are times when simpler is better. 

It's fair to add that a used camera (digital or film) might be completely non-functional and impossible to repair, which makes it a display item. Budget a few hundred dollars for a film camera, choose carefully, and you're in the game. Some of them might need servicing, which isn't surprising for a device that might be 40 years old. Some are much older and still function perfectly well. Once bought there is typically no need to replace it. (This is quite general, and there are exceptions.)

The only other expense is film, and this is where the expense wailers start. A roll of film is about $10 to $20. Developing is another $10 or so, depending on if you want prints or scans, and cheaper if you do it yourself. Let's just say $25 a roll all up just to keep the math easy, and multiply for however many rolls you want to shoot in a year. A $1000 gets you about 40 rolls, which could be many different kinds of film for different shooting experiences. You might get deals, and like in the digital world, there's ways to not spend as much money for much the same experience. 

So the comparison is really spending the money up front, with periodic expenses for equipment upgrades or replacement, unless you're really good at saying no, versus a smaller expense up front but with an ongoing cost directly related to how much you shoot. Depending on the assumptions you make, the numbers can come out however you want. Whenever you're reading this sort of thing, you want to know what assumptions are being made.

Whats more important than the dollars is the experience. You aren't doing this to save money, or shouldn't be. You're doing it because you enjoy looking for things you enjoy photographing, or you like the process of doing people portraits, or you enjoy the process of setting up complicated photographs, or you like hanging around with other photographers because we're neat people. Many photographers buy one camera over another because of how it feels in their hands as they use it, or some particular feature that it offers. Some are snobs and they want you to know they use a Leica or Hasselblad. 

I suppose I should say that one of my primary assumptions is that you're buying a camera to actually create photos, and not to treat it as a piece of art. Some collectors do that with cameras, especially Leica cameras. Poor things, parked on a shelf to be looked at, rather than being out in the world taking photographs which is what they were designed to do. It annoys me, driving up the price by taking perfectly good items out of circulation. 

In a wider world, nearly every review of every product mentions the price, and they almost always say it's too much. What do people expect? Nothing is free. Why do people think everything should be cheaper? Maybe things should be more expensive, and then they might value it more. I've seen functional huge LED TV's thrown out because there was a bigger one available, and the owner couldn't be bothered finding a buyer. They would rather throw it out, than resell it and thus 'lose money.' (Yes, I know, that makes no sense.) Or when new things are so cheap, the actual process of selling seems onerous, and the price difference between new and used is small so why not buy new.

Some things, it's impossible to know what the actual price is. Seats on an airplane for a particular flight, for example. I suppose you could come up with a theoretical number, assuming a specific model of airplane flying between two specific cities, on a particular date where you know what the weather will be, with no delays, every seat occupied by a person taking some average amount of luggage, and any number of other variables spelled out, any of which could change by flight time, and even during the flight itself. Then consider there are thousands of flights a day. It's no wonder computers keep track of it all, and the algorithms drive price changes almost minute by minute. In fact, the entire aviation industry as it existed before COVID was a model of human ingenuity, taking the dream of flight and turning it into a giant interlocking bus schedule. It's entirely possible that every single person in an airplane seat paid a different price for what is essentially the same experience.

Value can be a difficult thing to quantify. Consider artwork like statues, paintings, photographs, books. It's the work of a moment for any of us to look at an image of Mona Lisa. For a few dollars we can buy a copy to frame and put on our wall. I've seen a copy of Mona Lisa in a museum showing of Da Vinci's work, though I'm not sure if it was a known forgery or an authorized copy. There is a difference between that and a printed copy of a photograph, and it was worth the price of admission. I don't know what value is placed on the copy I saw. Then there is the original, which is beyond price. 

But how much did it actually cost Da Vinci to create the work, in terms of materials? How much above that did he get paid? How much did the various owners along the way get paid when the painting changed hands? I'll bet Da Vinci comes out on the short end of all that.

Think about an ordinary book on the shelf in a book store. There are fewer book stores in Calgary than there used to be, and most of them are a copy of one another. I try to buy my books at the only independent I know of off-hand (Hello Owl's Nest!). I know of only one used book store (Hello Fair's Fair!) but there might be more and me unaware of them. The writer of that book is almost certainly the one to come out on the short end of the stick when it comes to getting paid. Between the costs of printing, distribution, editing, artwork, advertising, and who knows what else all, the writer is just about the last one to get paid, and they get the smallest cut. And yet, they are the one most essential to the creation of the book. 

Is a book expensive? I have lots of books on a shelf downstairs that cost me about $2 or less. That was back in the 70's of course, when I was earning, well, I don't remember, but it probably wasn't much above minimum wage. I didn't do the calculations then, but I'm guessing the book cost me half an hour's work or so. Now paperback prices are all over the place, but the most recent book I bought was $23 plus tax. Wait, is there GST on books? I don't even know anymore. I had to find the receipt, and yes there is. Now that I'm retired and technically don't have an income (accountant fantasies aside) the book cost me more than my annual income, which is nonsense of course. As for my last working income, the book was a fraction of an hour, probably less compared to back when I was in high school. Of course, there's inflation mess things up.

I like reading the price signs in old movies. Entire meals costing what we consider small change. Some people remember those sort of prices and think that's the 'natural' price, but forget what incomes were then. I remember my dad buying a new car and wincing about the cost because it was $6000. (And keep in mind he was an airline pilot in the glamour days of aviation.) I recall paying about that much for a new car in the late 70's. Compared to cars now, both of them were inefficient deathtraps. 

And now, in a world trying to put the supply chains back together in a COVID world, we have new considerations driving expenses. We're used to a world where a few taps on a computer triggers a chain of events all around the world, resulting in some thing being delivered to your door. Or being able to put together a sequence of airplane flights, rental cars, accommodation, and event tickets for a vacation that might be months out. There is a whole new level of uncertainty there now. Rental cars are hard to find, and brutally expensive. Linda checked that out for her recent trip to Ontario, and found that the car and gas would be more than the flight, which itself was more expensive than expected. That was a bit of an eek experience. We drove to Chilliwack rather than deal with the uncertainties of flying and renting a car. Unfortunately, that doesn't work to visit Nova Scotia.

Everything is more expensive now, partly because transportation is uncertain. Partly because many businesses are understaffed. Which leads to the next bit of ranty.

I have zero sympathy for a business owner who says people don't want to work. What that means is that you are a shitty employer and people don't want to work for you. Either you don't pay enough, or working conditions suck, or the other people you employ are horrible. Lots of people have discovered during COVID that they don't need as much money to live as they thought, and that there are activities other than work that are important. To tempt these people back into the workforce to keep your shitty version of the rigged game going, you need to put those innovation skills you tout as why you're rich, and be better. Pay better. Make the job more interesting. Whatever.

Our world of exclusively focussing on the dollar cost of goods and services have driven the apparent dollar cost to below what it actually costs. Things break down. People stop playing the rigged game. We need to face up to the fact that things will cost more. Services will cost more. Suck it up. Prioritize. Accept that businesses that can't make the cut will go out of business. Think about the ones you want to stay in business, and put your money there.

From 2016, some light trails of people zooming off to spend money.


Of the Day
Driftwood

Flower

Peony

Lily

Landscape
Still waiting for moonrise.


Green Fools Clown Wedding.

Celina

Film (GW690 Kodak Gold 200) Looking to see how the begonia turned out. It can often be difficult on digital, and I'm quite pleased with it here.


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Occasionally I remember dreams

So there I was, dreaming, knowing I was dreaming, strolling through a former workplace, marvelling at the changes, with not the first clue what was going on. At least I was wearing pants and was on time. The place was the City wastewater treatment plant where I worked in the (gasp!) 1980's. Somehow, my dream self never made this clear, I'm older than I am now, and the plant is still under construction, as it had been for much of my time there, and much of the time since. Different construction, but all construction looks the same.

One area was completely new. As near as I can tell, they had added a fourth thickener tank, then put a building on top of the four to seal in the tanks and a floor above that to house a museum of pump and treatment technologies. There were lots of people in it, and a school kid tour. I made my way downstairs to the actual pump room, which was even smaller and more cramped than I remembered. In real life (IRL) I couldn't stand up straight in most of the room because of piping and cable trays attached to the ceiling.

We used to take samples periodically, think about the density of the sludge in comparison to the what the density meter (which none of us really believed anyways) and modify pump speed and interval timing as we thought best. My dream self was looking at a big glass fronted fridge somehow jammed into a space carved out of a concrete wall. There were lots of samples in there, of course, with notes documenting the time taken to the minute, and what percent the density meter said, but also lunches and drinks for the kids, a dessert tray for a function taking place later in the day, and a selection of fruit. 

IRL after taking a sample the sludge was poured into a sump and the pail was swooshed clean and poured into the sump. Then the choice was to run the pump on hand for a short time, or remember the desired changes and make them on the control room computer when you got there. I decided on that, after arguing with a catering assistant about making the changes. They (not a he or a she, and flamboyantly so) were concerned about the pump noise affecting the museum patrons, and disturbing the vibe.

I carried on. IRL the tunnel runs to number one digester pump house, built pre WWII. This sort of looked the same but gone space age. From there (IRL) a tunnel goes to number 2 digester pump house, with stairs in the middle of it to go up and over a duct that leads from the overflow of primary clarifiers to secondary treatment. In the dream the stairs had been partially replaced by a long gently sloping ramp. IRL there used to be a hatch to look at the duct flow, and shortly before I started it had been removed and replaced with concrete. The only way to tell was a slightly different texture to the floor, and a slightly different colour of paint. In the dream this had been opened up again with a large plexiglass window, sort of like what they've done at the Calgary Tower. (People are freaked out about walking on it, and one guy just about had a meltdown as I jumped up and down on it.) Kids were daring each other to jump up and down, imagining they were risking a fall into dirty duct water. There was a skylight above to bring light to the whole, which IRL isn't that big really. In the dream world it was quite a bit larger and there was a swanky party happening.

And then I was outside looking around for the pump house and the attached control room. This pump house had been built early 60's (I think) with periodic modifications. It was gone entirely, along with the 4 digesters that surrounded it. The 4 tunnels that radiated out from the pump house were still there, threaded through the construction with temporary scaffold fencing and a transparent roof. They were building what looked like a space port there. 

Further along, the next digester pump house (IRL built mid 80's while I was there, all efficient and modern) had a sign on it saying, obsolete technology, to be updated soon. There was construction dust on the sign. There was a temporary control room here, sort of wedged into an electrical room. Several people looking at various screens that made no sense to me were going through a checklist of some kind, with an intensity similar to an Apollo mission to the moon liftoff. Their end result was to start one of the thickener pumps I'd been looking at, and let it run for 3 minutes. Not 2 or 4, but 3, and yes my dream self was flashing on Monty Python. Then they all turned to look at me to sign off on the paperwork documenting this momentous decision, and ask what was next.

About then I struggled awake, looking to get going for a swim meetup with Michelle. For a while I kept notepad and pen on my bedside table, and wrote down what I remembered of my dreams as soon as I sat up. My dream brain is a very strange place. I usually remember my dreams as I get up, and if I think about them a bit they translate out of my dream brain into my day brain. Otherwise they're gone, just like that thing I was going to look up, or the thingie I was looking for.

To continue the story, we both had a great swim, and like in the days when I was teaching her to swim, we got a coffee and breakfast, and had an amazing chat. Some of her discoveries are leading me to think about things I took for granted, and that gets interesting very quickly. Something I read yesterday by another friend worked into the conversation, and it's been echoing around in my brain. Read it here.

I went a while thinking about what photo to put here. Normally I like to have the photo relate somehow to what I've written about, but I'm pretty sure I don't have any photo that relates in any coherent way to dreaming. Or rebuilding your life. Or deciding who you are. In desperation I went through the folder of photos that do not have a 'blogged' tag. There are 4984 such photos, though I'm pretty sure some have been blogged and I either forgot to tag them, or it was done before I started tagging. 

In any case, a photo of Curtis and Celina from October 2016 popped up. I still miss my big orange kitty, and though I'm pretty sure this has been blogged, I don't think I'm going to hear any complaints from my small but loyal band of readers. In lots of ways, I think the dream life cats have is more important than what we call the real world. After all, they spend so much time doing it. Even though his eyes are open, Curtis is paying little attention to me or what I'm doing. Who knows what they're thinking in those little furry brains?


Of the Day
Driftwood

Flower

Peony

Lily
Celina

Landscape
I call this waiting for moonrise.


Green Fools
The clowns doing their thing.


Film (GW690 Acros II)
Shot during the great selfie shoot by Michelle.


Friday, August 5, 2022

Clearly I'm not the favourite human

Linda is off visiting her family for a week, while I'm left with the care and feeding of the noisy mammal. Except, the odd thing is that she's not. I've had barely a dozen meows from her today, and it's mid afternoon as I write. Normally the first dozen happen before the coffee is made, sometimes before I even start making it. She actually isn't paying much attention to me, or taking the lap when it's on offer. Yes, I'm still working on summer reading.

When it comes to humans, it's clear I'm not her favourite. In fact, I'm not even sure I make the podium. We got back from our trip to BC, and all we heard from her is that she wanted to have the other human back. The one that was so good to her while we were gone. She was much better than us. (Thank you so much for house sitting!)

Even when she's sitting on the fuzzy blanket in my lap, (I am just a substrate.) as soon as Linda appears, or makes noises that she might, Celina is off. Not just walking, but actually running to worship at her toes or something. 

Even our friend Sophia, Celina is all over her during a visit. 

This morning I tried talking to Celina a bit, asking if she was lonely, and how she was holding up with only one human servant, and I got this look. Made it clear what she thinks without having to say anything. In fact, as I edit this later on, I think it's pretty safe to say this has been the quietest day of her life with us.


On Facebook there were a couple Image of the Day comments. (Thank you!) They wondered how I decided. Well, since you ask so nice. In my several image of the year blogs, I talk a bit about the selection process. Here's the flower finalists.


You'll notice that lots of these are pretty similar. I get on a roll, trying subtly different things, often on the same blossom. And these are the ones I edit, there's lots more that didn't get edited. Really, I probably show off too much of my work. If you listen to some photographers, I should only show off the very very best work. Like only one of the white peonies, though how I'd decide that I have no idea.

I keep in mind that the choices I make at the time might not be the choices I make the next day or the next week or year. Lots of people might disagree with my choice, and might even have artistic words and the education to explain why one actually better than another similar one. Plus I've got a blog to publish and I can put in similar photos. There is a small but loyal group of readers that seem to be interested in the photos I publish, and my textual dribbles.

In the end I go with what pulls my heart at the moment. I mean, I could dither forever in the choosing, but in some ways it's like editing a photo. Get'er done and move on. The vast majority of my photos do not take a long time to edit. Probably less than a minute, though it usually happens over several passes. I might take longer deciding which photo(s) to edit, than the time taken to edit. 

There are exceptions, however, and some take lots of time, either because I'm going for something complicated, or the edit is on the ragged edge or beyond my technical skills, or I'm going to print it and I want it as perfect as possible. There's times it's easier to go take another photo than to fix a problem with the existing one. That said, of course, there's times when the existing one is it, and there is no do over. It makes me pay attention in those situations.

We were talking about this on a trip once. One person said it took forever to edit photos. When I asked how long forever was, they said 30 to 60 minutes at best. I was flabbergasted. As were they when I told them how long it took me. I'm not sure what they're doing, or redoing, or if they're moving the siders by decimal numbers, when usually going to the nearest 5 or 10 is probably close enough. 

Summer reading continues. 

I'd read the first version of the book and loved it, but there were lots of times I wished I'd known a bit more about the backgrounds of the various gods mentioned. Some I knew, being familiar with Norse mythology, but there were lots that were new to me. Then there was a longer version, and that was even better. Then the TV show came along and I mostly loved it. It's hard adapting a book to a visual production, but they did pretty well. 

Then I saw the annotated version of Gaiman's long version of the book in the library. The only annoying thing was all the footnotes pointing out that a particular chunk of text didn't exist in the original text, and that used a lot of footnote numbers. But really, the could have just an "a" noting "this part didn't exist in the original." I was constantly looking over to the footnote column to discover that, and it was annoying. It might be of interest to scholars, but not to me. There were some author notes where he was essentially doodling in the margins, and I like that. I'm always thinking about better ways to arrange the words.

I think this might be one of the reasons I find it harder and harder to carry on conversations. Part of it is that I find it hard, even wearing hearing aids, to pull voices out of background noise. But part of it is that I usually think that conversation is a first draft, needing editing for clarity.

What's depressing in thinking about gods, (and this could be gods of current religions, old religions, mythology gods, or comic book characters) is that most of the time they're no better than humans, and sometimes not even as good. 

Of the Day
Driftwood
This is actually a serendipity found when looking for the Celina shot above.


Flower

Peony

Lily

Landscape

Green Fools

Film (GW690 Kodak Gold 200)