Archive for June, 2007

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Busy weekend

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

In the last two days I’ve gotten a nice auxiliary input installed into my car, taken Skype to the vet (which unfortunately will result in a follow up visit and some minor surgery on Tuesday), had an automatic shutoff value on a gas pump fail and spray almost a gallon of gas all over me and my car, thrown my back out sneezing from allergies, and celebrated not one but two birthdays – Brien and Dom (its a little creepy that they share the same birthday.

How’s that for one lightspeed run-on sentence?

Update: I managed to get roughly 14 hours of sleep starting Sunday late afternoon and ending Monday morning at my usual time. It made all the difference and helped my back out quite a bit. Big week at work here I come!

Forza 2

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Last night was driver-racing-tastic! Mike picked me up a copy of Forza 2 and the Microsoft Wireless Racing Wheel for the Xbox 360 and boy is it fun! Forza 2 is not a racing game, but rather a racing simulator. Rather than focusing on being a fun game to play and tossing physics out the window it focuses on accurate physics simulation, and really creates a highly immersive and realistic racing experience. Forza 2 makes every effort to correctly calculate all the forces taking effect on your engine, car, and tires and calculates their interaction with various road surfaces and the laws of inertia to make your in game car handle identically to a real world car with the same conditions and engine tuning. The difference makes it much more difficult to control your car and takes the fun out of the game for people who just want to go fast and crash hard – but bumps up the fun factor for geeks like me!

The Wireless racing wheel only helps in this endeavor: the force feedback and ‘intuitive’ interface make for a drastic improvement in game play. I’ve never really gotten into racing simulations before – a few ‘racing’ games like Burnout Revenge caught my attention for moments here and there, but the true sims were rather boring without a steering wheel, paddle shifters, and gas/brake pedals. Being able to feel understeer and oversteer make all the difference in understanding the laws of physics and their effect on my car, and gives the driver a much stronger connection with their virtual car.

The icing on the cake? They have over 300 cars to choose from including the 2003 RS6, which is close enough to my real-life car to give me the chills. Obviously a single night into my Forza career I haven’t earned nearly enough in-game currency (credits) to buy the RS6 but the mere thought of buying, tweaking, tuning, and painting the car of my dreams keeps me coming back for more! Until I manage to come up with the 100,000 odd Forza dollars I’ll have to be happy with my starter car: a 1995 Volkswagon Corrado VR6 – a decent track car, and one that brings back fond memories of when my friend Eric used to have (and tinker with) a Corrado.

The experience of art

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Three way cross bw

In thinking about my photography I often muse on how to exhibit my art. A proper exhibition is something I’ve never actually done, but may be doing at some point in the future.

I think of what kind of control I would like over the environment, the speed at which people moved through it, the lighting, the music, and so on. Obviously having this level of control allows an artist to complete his message, to really forge an experience out of it.

On the other hand most of my art gets displayed on people’s computer screens. It gets displayed in the manner which my viewer wants, on their schedule, their location – they control the experience. As the artist loses control over his (or her) artistic experience the viewer gains it.

Tools like Flickr and Youtube have opened up the viewer centric experience allowing almost any artist to throw their creations up on the net, available for anyone to experience on their own terms, and do with what they please. Our technological society has even created Creative Commons usage licenses to grant and communicate rights from the artist to the viewer.

Strange thing is I’m not entirely sure which one prefer. Part of me thinks that people can enjoy art more if they are in the right mindset – and when I control the environment and experience I’m more likely to help them into that mindset. Part of me thinks people would enjoy art more on their terms, in their favorite coffee shop with their laptop, or at home in the den on the big screen.

Which do you prefer? Does it really matter? Is it the work of art itself that matters more than the setting, or are both the design and the viewing experience combined required to make ‘art’?

Like father like son

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Jim at 13

My father at age 13 – He really does look eerily like I do age for age. For comparison here are some shots of me when I was 10 and 15 years older. We both have the same mischievous smile, elephantine nose, and horrid comb-over of a haircut!

Jim at 13” by sparktography

Form and color

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Red Yellow Junko Blue walker rivets

Last night some experimentation with color and form has ensued. I explored through iPhoto looking for untouched shots that I liked for either their colors, or their form, but without care for other compositional details. I then dived into Photoshop to bring out what I considered to be the best parts of the photo, while reducing the worst. It was a somewhat successful experiment (I like the Blue walker rivets results a lot more) that I learned a lot from.

The Red Yellow Junko I selected only for it’s bright colors. I always liked the idea of giving that corner market the Lensbaby treatment but never really found an exact implementation I liked. A little bit of cropping makes this one decent, but it’s the colors that I love in the end.

Blue walker rivets was last week on my photo shoot with Rob of the Red Walker sculpture, but obviously heavily color processed. The curves all arcing to the center of the photo reminds me of something far more organic than a bunch of metal held together with rivets; more of an octopus or bird arcing into flight.

Is it really Monday already? The weekend seemed far too short, and I have way too much on my agenda for this week. I meant to go out shooting this weekend and get some new material to work with, but never seemed to have the chance between getting all my personal to-do’s checked off from the last couple of weeks. Such the sorrows of a successful life.

Red Yellow Junko” by sparktography
Blue walker rivets” by sparktography

Parallels rocks!

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Months after having been given a key to activate Parallels I finally decided to give it a shot. I acquired a copy of Vista and installed it on Marbles, my macbook. I have to say right out of the gate I’m rather impressed! Vista runs decently well in a virtual machine, and I can run Outlook 2007 in coherence mode (where the Vista desktop slides away leaving your Windows applications on OS X desktop alongside the rest of my mac apps) – it’s a very zen experience and will make doing email from home a much more pleasant experience.

Bravo Parallels for the most polished and full feature emulation package I’ve ever seen – from installing Vista automatically for me from the DVD to providing slick OS X to Windows integration and hardware sharing features I’m impressed end to end.

Red vs. White

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Red ripples white

And old shot I found on my hard drive. It’s an extreme crop of ripples of a red and white boat shot at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, WA. I like the bright reds and whites undulating together. I remember feeling entranced by the ripples the day I took the shot – spending quite a bit of time just staring at the water admiring chaos in all its beauty.

Red ripples white” by sparktography

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