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:: Saturday, December 31, 2005 ::

Have a safe and happy New Year everyone!

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 17:41 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Friday, December 30, 2005 ::
Myspace site
blogging: OK, like I need another site. I already have this one, Flickr, a lame one on MSN spaces, and now one on myspace.com. I created the Myspace so I can interact with bands and musicians. Myspace is a closed community when it comes to commenting on content and posting messages. The owner of the site has to "Add" you before you can interact with the site other than just read. A good deal of bands have a presence on Myspace (as well as their own websites) and since I am making a go of doing some band photography it was a logical choice. Now if I can only figure out how to edit the colour and background of the lame default page without doing so much HTML. I can change the blog portion, but not the main part with my profile. and Sherry, you thought I was talking about the MSN spaces site, right? :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:39 [+] :: 2 comments
:: Thursday, December 29, 2005 ::
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch... you must first create the universe. -- Carl Sagan.
Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 22:58 [+] :: 0 comments
does it come in a giant egg?
cool stuff: I read this post over at the Official Google Blog about one of the Googlers who ordered some Silly Putty. A whole lot of silly putty. Imagine having 250lbs of it sitting on your desk? :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 13:41 [+] :: 0 comments

I know a whole week.
blogging: I know it has been a whole week since I posted. my bad. But in fairness I have been working the whole time with the exception of Christmas Eve.

I drove to Toronto on the 24th in the afternoon and had dinner with my brother's family. First time in a while I have had a family Christmas dinner. And first time ever with two children under the age of 4. I found it entertaining being the uncle and such and visiting for the day. I had wanted to take some pics of my neice and nephew, but only Jillian, pictured above, was in a cooperative mood. I was showing my brother how my camera works, and turns out he has a Canon Powershot, 3.2MP I think. I was explaining how you can change ISO, and shutter speeds and so on and my brother was clicking and pressing buttons on his camera and taking test pics. And when it came to us taking a pic of the kids under the tree the Powershot wouldn't take pics anymore. :) I reset it as much as I could, but didn't see a restore to factory defaults button. It took pics after that, but I thought I was in the dog house for encouraging him to do that. heheh.

After the kids were finally in bed - that part I recall from Morgan's kids on Christmas eve - we were able to chat and such without constant interuptions of one sort or another. Murray's long time friend Dave and his girlfriend were over at that point and we chatted and snacked on some excellent President's Choice hors d'oeuvres until around 1130 or so. Most of that time me in an Ikea chair with a cat named Ohio on my lap.

Driving home there were no weather issues. But on the QEW near Missisauga line, I saw two cars and then a third shoot past me in the outside lane and then weave in and out of the traffic across three or four lanes easily doing 160. Flow of traffic was the usual 120 or so and they were out of sight in seconds. I called 911 and spoke to the OPP dispatch and told them what I had observed. I doubt they were caught as they could have been off any one of a half dozen exits even before I gave the description. There is speeding and then there is speeding. And this would have been like one of those Worst Police Chases videos you see on tv for all of it's danger. And none had a red nose and none were sleighs. :)

I was still on the 403 when it turned into Christmas morning and I said a brief 'hey' to my mom who passed away Christmas morning of '98. This time of year I think of her and my dad frequently. Now they are not around, and not having a family I prefer to not do the Christmas thing. I went into the whole thing last year in depth and so I won't do it again, but Christmas is just another day to work for me.

I spent some non work time time editing pictures of the Scarlet Sins and the whole lot are on Flickr now. Over the two shows, I have 26 good pics. And finally some really good ones of Karli - the drummer.

I also watched a couple of really good CBC News programs. The Queen's Castle - about Winsdor Castle - which I had seen parts of before. I could spend days there shooting pics when there are events on, or even when there are not. And a Passionate Eye on war/combat phototographers which was intense. It was interviews with at least a dozen photogs from Reuters, AP, VII and a bunch of others who have seen some of the worst humality has to offer and lived (sometimes only just) to tell about it. Some of the photos were insane in their power to move. I am pretty sure I wouldn't want to go to Chechnia and be shot at by direct Russian tank fire, or watch rebels in central Africa use a prisoner's decapitated head as a soccer ball, or see babies mutated by agent orange usage in south East Asia, but the images they pass on to us and the stories they tell are important ones.

Louise at work brought in for me a coffee table book called John Lennon: The New York Years by photog John Gruen. It is made up of shots of John and Yoko taken in their New York neighbourhood in the 1970s. Incredible access. There are some awesome photos in this book. Even if you just want to learn how to photograph couples and just people casually doing their thing, this is a good study book. And the fact that it has an interesting subject matter makes it all the better. I might pick it up one of these days.

Lastly, I have been trying to figure out how I can get to do some more band photography. Access is the key and I am hoping I can get a breakthrough. Snowball's chance stuff, but who knows. I have found that 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained' is as good a saying as Carpe Diem. And the photos of the Scarlet Sins sure make nice calling cards.

Edit: Oh and one last thing. Turns out I have New Year's day off as well and NY Eve. I didn't recall booking it off, so now I have four in a row. Longest time off since my Newfoundland trip. And since I didn't recall that, I have no plans. Could have done something with it, but a little last minute and no one to do it with either. ah well. Time off is still time off. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 12:27 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Friday, December 23, 2005 ::
Sins city.

Photos: I started to look at the images I shot in Cambridge on Thursday. Some good ones and some better ones. This is an early image of Karli playing behind her drum kit. It is cluttered with the tools of the trade. Not a clear image of her for sure, but I really like it. I'll post some more to flickr over the next couple of days.

Fiddler's Green is a big bar in a small town. One of the places where everyone hangs it seems. The stage was in the back overlooking the river and a much better set up. And the crowd was different than in Toronto. Where there they were crowding the stage at the Bovine, in Cambridge they were spaced at least ten or more feet from it across the dance floor. I had lots of room to work from both sides of the stage. And also from the wings on stage left which was where their gear was. In retrospect I knew this was going to happen and there is only so much post production you can do to counter it, but I need a flash diffuser. I will have to order one as they don't seem to be available around here. Some of the shots were blown out. I did shoot at at ISO 800 which made for grainy shots and they worked best in black and white for the most part.

I also found that the 420EX eats batteries. I had 4 fresh Duracells in there. I took well over 100 images spaced out over however long they were on stage, and with a few exceptions they all used the flash. When they were done their set, and while debating whether I would stay for the next band (I didn't), I thought I would change batteries for fresh ones as the recycle lag was increasing a little bit. I popped the batteries out and they were hot. Not warm from being in a pocket sort of temp, but really hot. I wasn't going to burn the fingers on them but I knew they had been put through a serious workout so they had to go. Insane. I am going to get a recharger. Even Costco bulk batteries wouldn't be cheap at this rate. :)

Cris let me know of a photo shoot concept they are working on for the end of January that they would like me to do. Too damn cold outside for this so they are going to have to procure a location. While talking about this I found myself passing on photo advice to someone who was also shooting pics and had seen my shots from the Bovine, and also impressed someone else who was jealous of my access. I gave him a card and he was blown away that he could see some of the pics I shot. Told his friend excitedly as he showed him the card. :)

I also found that while I was waiting and chatting with Cris as they signed CDs that I had struck a pose that I saw Karl Grobl (a photojournalist) doing in a Sandisk ad seen currently in a few photo mags. I was doing it unconsciously and I think that it was pretty funny. But that is how you naturally hold a camera with arm crossed when you are leaning on something. And yeah I use the same Sandisk UltraII cards and Canon gear. Though 350D Canon isn't like his pro one. :)

Heading to Toronto tomorrow. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 23:42 [+] :: 0 comments

Leanne and Hannah
photos: I put up on Flickr a couple of BW shots from Leanne's family portrait session. Turned out OK I think. One of my tests appear to be whether a pic turns up as an MSN icon. Passed that test. :)

For some reason, I had no Leanne set, so there is one now.

Thanks for the Christmas present too, Leanne! :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 13:25 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Thursday, December 22, 2005 ::
Off for three days
life: I am off for three days and go back to work on Christmas morning. I didn't request it off. Wouldn't have been doing anything anyways. No big deal. Better I don't take up a time off slot of someone who has a family and doesn't get to visit with them if that is important to them. Anyhow. Going to shoot some pics of Leanne today and then going down to Cambridge for the Scarlet Sins show. Have not really explored Cambridge before so I think it could be good to go in the afternoon when it is light and then go to the show around 930 at the Fiddler's Green at 12 1/2 Water Street.

Not much planned for Friday - though checking out the 24 hour Walmart sounds interesting. Mandy did that last night after seeing it on the news. Good idea. Though I can see the staff not liking it. Saturday, I am going up to Toronto to have Christmas eve dinner with my brother's family. So expect all sorts of pics in the next few days.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:58 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Wednesday, December 21, 2005 ::
The Apprentice: L.A.?
entertainment: The next season of The Apprentice will be set in LA. while this is better than a spin off ( a la Martha) I wonder if this is the death knell of the series. The formula and New York scenery works well. And Trump is New York. He is a New York realestate tycoon (do people still use 'tycoon'?) and not an LA one. Though I know he has properties there as well. Not quite a jump the shark moment. Yet. Apply here.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:42 [+] :: 0 comments

John Spencer died last week
entertainment: John Spencer, one of the anchors of the ensemble cast of The West Wing died of a heart attack on the 16th of December. I didn't even know. Shows how much I have detached myself from keeping up with current events.

He was on The West Wing from the first day as the fictional President's tough as nails chief of staff Leo McGarry and played that role though the better part of six seasons. More recently, in a strange parallel to his actual life, his character suffered a heart attack and had to scale back his work. His role was downgraded to occasional appearances and then built back up. He returned as a central character towards the end of last season as the democratic party's vice presidential candidate (opposite Jimmy Smits). He portrayed a really intense, believable character and was a passionate actor.

It should be interesting to see what the writers do to turn this around. But regardless, I am sure he will be missed. And when the characters look pained the next time when this is woven into the plot, they won't be acting.

That really sucks.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:11 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 ::
Narnia Rap
video: This hilarious video was on SNL on the weekend. This was probably the funniest thing the SNL thing they have done in years. Two white guys rapping about The Chronicles of Narnia. Excellent.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:44 [+] :: 0 comments
1 Billion customers served
net life: The internet has over 1 billion users. 1 Billion. That is a crazy amount. 1/6th of the world's population uses the internet. Not bad growth for something that didn't exist outside of the military/ ivory towers in a mainstream way 12 years ago.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:41 [+] :: 0 comments
Yahoo! podcasts
podcasting: Yahoo! recently introduced a podcasting page. Check it out here.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:27 [+] :: 0 comments
extreme egg peeling
video: hate peeling hard boiled eggs? Check out this video. What I would like to know is how he came up with the idea?

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:22 [+] :: 0 comments
Detroit Funk
photoblog: The Detroit Funk photoblog has some interesting shots of abandoned buildings and decay in the Detroit area along with some other cool shots and descriptions of the city. The only time decay and destruction and abandonement is cool is in photos I think.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 10:43 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Monday, December 19, 2005 ::

the balance tipped
Blogging: Sometime yesterday afternoon, the number of stream views on Flickr crossed 29500. And that meant that it had exceeded the number of views on my blog here which at that point was at 29419. It took Blogger 33 months to get to the point that Flickr took ten months. Perhaps it is Flickr's ability to cross post images to other photo groups and is an easier means of exposure of my work - no pun really intended. I am by no means one of the big posters with huge traffic on Flickr, but it is not unusual to have 100 views a day or more depending on what I post. And sometimes many more hits on the individual pictures.

Been a fun ride so far and I am certainly liking both, though as anyone can tell that my output here has diminished due to the photography. I am trying to balance both, as I started this blog out of the frustration of not being able to be a published writer in other media. But of course now I can punctuate my words with great pictures - now and then. Which is a perfect way to illustrate a story.

Keep warm everyone. Especially if taking photos like the one above. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 10:44 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Saturday, December 17, 2005 ::
Ted Rogers: Unwitting accompice to terrorism.
tech: Ted Rogers, the CEO of the Rogers cable/cellular/internet etc company, has apparently had his cell phone cloned by middle eastern terrorists and used to make tens of thousands dollars worth of call. It wasn't stopped by Rogers' security because they were reluctant to turn off his or any of the senior VP's numbers due to inconvenience factors. More from this Globe and Mail piece.

*** I published this earlier today by mistake to my Blogger test blog I created a long time ago to experiment with other templates. ooops. sorted it out now... :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 23:12 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Friday, December 16, 2005 ::
No CRV group on Flickr. till now
photography: I was quite surprised there was no Honda CRV group on flickr. Lots of groups that have Honda in the description but not one for the CRV. So I created the Honda CRV group. I did a bit of advertizing and searched the tags on Flickr for "CRV" and commented on a few pics of CRVs people had posted and suggested they join the group. Right now it's just me, one other member and eight photos (all mine), but you have to start somewhere. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 18:59 [+] :: 0 comments

misc: So I went for a drive and ended up in a ditch. How you ask? Well, I went north on Adelaide out of the city looking for a spot where I could take pictures. I had a location in mind in the fall and wanted to see how it looked with snow. It was pretty windy out, and some of snow sculpted mounds on the side of the road and fields were having fine mists of snow coming off them horizontally. I thought it would be cool to take a couple of pics of one particular snow feature. With the intention of turning around to go back to one, I made a right off Adelaide St. North onto eight Mile Road. It was slippy going into the intersection and I took the turn wide on the empty country road.

I went down about 50m looking for a good spot to turn around and do a three point turn. Well, as I slowed to make the turn, I really didn't slow and went into wheel well deep snow. It looked solid but I was right over the edge of the drainage ditch on the south side of the road. I tried to rock back and forth out and only had the front left wheel with any purchase. I was bottomed out. I had a sip of my still hot Tim Horton's coffee, and went out to survey the scene.

The CRV had a good roll angle to it - too much to keep the driver's door open Rear right was in the deepest snow. I got my shovel out of the cargo area and dug out all around the deepest side and as much of what I could front and back, but I was pretty bottomed out.

I got back in and my maneuvering only buried myself deeper in the ditch - illustrated above. I was now at least two feet further off the road sideways and the front right was deepest in. I gave up. I went around and took a few pictures - of course. If I had gone much further it was mid thigh deep judging from my walkabout shooting pics. I sat inside for a few minutes drinking my coffee and mulled my options. CAA could show but it could also be hours. I thought I would call Leanne and hope Chris and his Jeep were still at home. They were.

Several SUVs and pick ups turned off Adelaide and came to see if I was OK. And - much to my chagrin when I told them I was fine ,they made perfect 3 point turns and left without incident!

Chris had already pulled one person out today and I was his second. He showed up in his Jeep about 20 mins after I called Leanne initially. He pulled me out with no problem what-so-ever. Much appreciative. This was the first time in the nearly 5 years I have driven CRVs that I managed to ditch myself. I don't think any damage was done. Lots of snow on the undercarriage and wheel wells. But that should be melted off tomorrow after I park in the underground at work all day.

Not how I intended to spend my afternoon. But what the hey. It's all good when you have friends with big ass jeeps. Thanks Chris!

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 17:58 [+] :: 1 comments
:: Thursday, December 15, 2005 ::
sportsshooter.com submissions
photos: I spent part of the evening working on the photographs I wanted to use for the sports shooter.com submission. I have to select five or more images that are representative of what a sports photographer would shoot. I have some good shots from UWO, from the Boler Mountain cycling, Delaware Speedway, and a few others. Dave Chidley made some suggestions on my portfolio images as I mentioned last week, and I tried to incorporate some of this into my selections. Some members of the site don't have purely sports images so I might include a couple of portraits too.

SportsShooter.com is an online community and resource for sports photographers and other working photojournalists. - from the sportsshooter.com site description. And every aspiring photog or aspiring sports journalist, seems to know about this site and use it as a club or community, and peer information exchange venue. There are some fantastic folks on the site - some who are college sports photographers like Kirk Irwin.

Just need to hear back from them so I can get in and pick the brains and get the critiques and tips and well you get the idea.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 22:51 [+] :: 0 comments

old school.
Photos: this is me when I was a Trooper in 1 Troop, B Squadron, of the Queen's York Rangers. The reserve armoured reconaissance regiment was and is based out of Ft. York Armouries on the Toronto waterfront near the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. With A Squadron based out of the Aurora Armouries north of Toronto.

At the time this image was taken in August of 1992 or 1993, we were doing annual summer training excercises near Meaford and Owen Sound in Central Ontario. I think we were doing roadblock duty on a rural road waiting to stop vehicles who were potentially OpFor (opposition forces). Wasn't much of that going on so it was good opportunity to brew up some tea and snap some pics.

I always had my camera with me. At the time it was a black Olympus stylus point and shoot 35mm camera. It fit perfectly in the chest pocket of my combats and took a lot of abuse.

*** If you have any film that you don't want to spend a fortune on converting to digital, go to Walmart and get it put on to CD. I had 100+pics done for under $5 CDN. And in an hour. Which is about a 1/10th Henry's would have charged. And Henry's will only put 20 pics on each CD and charge steep for the media. Now, if were talking quality super high res film scans with multi MB file sizes, then sure go to a pro, but to put some old pics up on the net that was a super bargain. Expect more pics sometime soon. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 18:08 [+] :: 1 comments
New Asimo
tech: check out these videos of the new Asimo robot from Honda. The way Honda geeks are going, this thing will be supersized and wearing missiles and chain guns and battle armour in a few years. Requires Flash plugin player for your browser, but it's worth it.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 13:02 [+] :: 0 comments
Is it a bad sign when...
life: you are asleep and dreaming about being in the America's Top Model house during a photoshoot?Of course my 'house' was a fairly large Victorian mansion and not a loft. For me, dreams are influenced a lot by what is on my mind right before bed. Since someone mentioned I watch it on their blog... I stay up late usually and ANTM is on the Life channel or something right before I crash. In one episode of cycle 5 (yeah I know too much about this show now) Tyra herself took some black and white portrait shots of the girls and they were very good. They were intense and the tinting and post production was awesome. I would like to try that, I thought. So of course I emailed Tyra at her bankable productions web site and asked her/them for info on those shots. I figure I have no statistical likleyhood of hearing back from her/them, but what the heck. I was curious. And I can also find no copies of those particular pics online anywhere on that series' site. And what is with UPN using Realplayer for its videos? Who uses that anymore?

Oh, I also got word from two of the members of the Pariahs that they liked the shots I posted and they would likely include them on their site when a redesign was done, and said I could get comp'd in if I want to shoot them again. Nice.

Just got to get the ugly rockers off my front page and get some more pretty girls to model for me. :)

Damn I hate winter.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 12:04 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Monday, December 12, 2005 ::

Last of the Sins show posted
photos: I put up the last of the Scarlet Sins show pics in their own set on Flickr. And the Sins are using the group shot currently on their Myspace.com site.

I think that these were the best of the lot. I chose the sepia tone colouring for most of them because I tend to like the effect for portraits. It adds something. And some of the backdrop and such was washed out or kinda crap looking and I wanted to make sure the girls really stood out. Which they do anyway. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 02:41 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Sunday, December 11, 2005 ::

Back from Toronto
photos: I got back from Toronto late this evening (Saturday night). It was a successful trip. Got to see Darren; and my brother Murray, my sis-in-law Nancy and my cool niece and nephew; Steph & Luke; Dawn; Mandy (she is everywhere!); and of course the Scarlet Sins.

I drove down mid day on Friday and checked into the hotel. I was supposed to meet Darren for dinner but he was under the weather (I met him for a coffee Saturday afternoon instead). I had a couple of drinks in The Traders bar and watched some flat screen before changing to go to the Bovine. I showed up around ten PM after cab-ing it. Sound checks were done and only a few folks were inside. Small venue, long narrow and rectangular with the stage up front and the bar running down one side (from directly infront of stage right. Front of the stage was a narrow space about six feet wide, and blocked with speakers and steps. Steph and Luke were already there and she intro'd me to the girls. I wanted to get some shots as a group before they went on, and I liked the above one taken near the patio doors in the back. Nice colour shifted sepia toned one.

Going Left to Right in the above image is Yvonne (Bass, Back up vocals), Karli (Drums, Back up vocals), Cris (Guitar, Back up vocals), and Sylvia (vocals). They are very cool and really rock. The location wasn't the best for a shot like this, but I made do. And later on Saturday while driving around, I found a great area to shoot more pics of them and or Repair at another time.

There were two other bands on before them, Hostile Takeover, The Pariahs. I wasn't set up for the first group, but I asked Loaf - the guitarist of The Pariahs, if I could shoot some shots- and he was cool with that.

I used the time to get used to the venue but there was a drawback to this which I will explain shortly. The Pariahs lead singer Mikey was a really animated guy who vaguely reminded me of a guy I knew in the army way back when. And he punctuated the end of some of his songs by dropping vertically a semi full beer into the steps gap between the floor speakers and the monitors. Nice.

When The Scarlet Sins were up, I tried a couple of stage right (crowd left) shots but there was a pole in the way. So I ended up (it was really packed in the Bovine by this point) going into the aforementioned steps area in front of the speakers. The crowd behind. I felt privileged, but it was ballsy. And I knew I was blocking the other point and shooters now and then despite being crouched down. So I had a good view. Though it was restrictive in it's own way. Sylvia is tall ( in a very attractive sort of way), but with me below stage level, I ended up getting some shots like this which only accentuated her long lines. I was effectively trapped in an envyous location and wasn't going to give up my primo spot to maybe get an angle elsewhere.

Back to the drawback. Shooting The Pariahs, I used up some battery power for the 420EX flash. It was taking longer than I would have liked to cycle and get ready when shooting the Sins. This was the longest repeated flash use I had put it through, and with cheap WalMart bought Rayovak batteries, they were toast in no time. And my bag with the replacements was tucked away no where near me. I have Energizers in the flash now, and I also have some Duracells to try out. But this was annoying ( and totally my fault). I won't make this oversite again. End result was I probably only got half as many pics of the girls I would have liked when they were performing. And no matter where I was up front, I couldn't get any good unobstructed shots of Karli - who I found quite photogenic and would definitely try to get some shots of again performing or otherwise.

And was it loud? Yes. Good loud, but loud. You try being between speakers for about 30+ mins (with or without earplugs)... ringing ears.

I had the Sins sign one of their EP CDs they were releasing (one of only 500). When I got back to London, I gave it to Nadine who couldn't go to the show. I told her when I dropped it off that the only catch was that she couldn't play the five tracks on it in a continuous loop when her mom was around. :)

The Sins are playing again in Cambridge on the 22nd and I have that as one of my normal days off. Not sure if I will go again, but hey I might.

Only three Sins pics posted so far, and none of The Pariahs. Yet.


Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 01:03 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Thursday, December 08, 2005 ::
Interesting conversation
photos: This evening, I met up with Dave Chidley, the Staff Photographer for the London Free Press. We had a coffee and talked shop. He offered me some good advice on the business, and gave me some solid feedback on the photos in my portfolio. It was interesting seeing what the trained eye comes up with that my amateur one didn't even after looking at several images dozens and dozens of times. While his opinion of the shots were only one opinion, I tend to agree that they could be improved even still. Cropping and composition. Need to work on that. Shooting the not so obvious. He was very forthcoming and let me know I could pick his brains. I like that. Seems like a good solid guy. I look forward to meeting up with him again.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 23:54 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Wednesday, December 07, 2005 ::
OK. enough for now.
blogging: OK. I thought I had a few more posts in me, but I have finished watching the ATM: where are they now show, the news, the Victoria Secret behind the scenes show, and an episode of Over There.

I love the PVR.

Later today is my Friday. And then three days off. Can't wait.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 02:03 [+] :: 0 comments
London Ontario Flickr Group
photos: Did I ever mention that there is a London, Ontario Flickr Group? I created it in the beginning of August and since then it has expanded to 20 members (which ain't much. where are all you Londoners with digicams?)

After a while, I found that the group was a little restrictive in it's geography (mainly I wanted to post pics from outside the city) so I expanded it to allow pics from anywhere in South West Ontario that doesn't already have a group. There is an Ontario: your's to Discover group, and a small rural Ontario group, but nothing for down this way that seems to capture what the area has to offer. I seem to post the most, but it is interesting how others capture the city and region that I now call home.

And in a side note, I belong to a rediculous 206 groups on Flickr. Which means I can post relevent images to those groups I choose to share my work with. Initially I didn't do that and didn't cross post or anything, so the older images didn't get too many views. I have gone back and posted older images to groups and got some nice comments. I have found I seem to really get a kick out of the comments. It is encouraging and so far relatively positive. I have met online some really good photographers, and I know my friends that model for me enjoy the feedback too. Luckily I have only deleted a couple of instances of spam and nonsense.

And in a second side note, sometime this month - perhaps in the next ten days or so, the stream views (which are separate from individual image views) on my Flickr will surpass the hits on this blog. It took two years and nine months to get to nearly 30,000 hits here, and since February of this year, my Flickr has had nearly 27,000 views. And recently it has been averaging about 1000 views every 10 days or less. Small on some people's scales, but I like those numbers. :)

Thanks to everyone who has come by and visited one, or the other, or both! :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 01:29 [+] :: 0 comments
Naked Conversations
blogging: Robert Scoble's book is out in Jan of 06 and it is called Naked Conversations. It is about blogging. A good and positive review is over at Guerrilla Consulting:

The book itself is like a blog on steroids, but with a natural thread through the topics that leads the reader easily from one subject to the next. It’s more of a conversation than a traditional book.

I look forward to having a read when it is out.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 00:32 [+] :: 0 comments
sci fi: tk421 was the 'trooper in star wars with the radio problem on the Death Star's hangar bay. But you knew that didn't you? Well over at tk421.net you can find out what sci fi character you would be.

Apparently I am... James Freaking Tiberius Kirk! How cool is that!

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

From the description of Kirk on the site: "An impassioned commander with more respect for individuals than for authority, you have a no-holds-barred approach to life and its obstacles." and his quote: " I don't believe in the no-win scenario."

The Kobayashi Maru, indeed.

Who are you?

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 00:12 [+] :: 1 comments
Brit Museum online.
History:Check this out. I found it on Wil in Exile. It is a series of excerpts of ancient books in the collection of the British Museum in London, England. I went there once about 18 years ago and the place is staggering. This online version has cool stuff with narration as well. I spent some time looking through The First Atlas of Europe drawn by Mercator. They open via javascript popups and require Flash. But it is worth it if you are into cool historical things.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 00:05 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Tuesday, December 06, 2005 ::
WWdN fubar'd
blogging: OK. As an illustration in how much I have simply been sucked into Flickr and not going to check out other people's blogs, I just noticed that Wil Wheaton's WWdN site has been on hold due to technical problems since Sept 29! He created a site called WWdN: In Exile in typepad instead for the past two months. I guess I didn't get the memo or it didn't have the TPS cover sheets on it. :)

Updating the links on the left for the new Wil. And in case anyone noticed, I went through the links and deleted some and added others. I am going to put more photography related stuff on there at some point. Perhaps this weekend.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:25 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Monday, December 05, 2005 ::
Going to Toronto Friday
photos: It's confirmed. I am heading up the 401 to Toronto on Friday at some point and shooting pics of the Reborn CD release show that the Scarlet Sins are having at the Bovine at 542 Queen Street West. Needless to say that conflicts with the xmas party at work, but this could be fun. Work-like, but fun. From what I have heard and what Steph has told me, these girls rock out.

Steph facilitated it and I am appreciative. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 22:45 [+] :: 0 comments

music: Went to see Dawn and Repair perform on Saturday night at the Alex P Keaton pub here in town. Small venue. It was great to see Dawn and I showed her my book - she hadn't seen her printed pics in it -only on screen to this point. She was quite pleased and liked the pics of Mandy and Kelly too amongst others. I met her brother and his girlfriend too (she is going to Fanshawe next year for photography). I brought the camera and took a couple of pics. Wasn't a huge ton as it would have been annoying to the people watching in the pub and I was self conscious of that. Came up with a couple that were ok. One of which is above.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:38 [+] :: 2 comments
:: Sunday, December 04, 2005 ::
Christmas program on CBC
seasons: I was listening to the annual Christmas contest program on the Vinyl Cafe on CBC Radio One earlier today. I started to listen to the CBC, and specifically the Sunday noon Vinyl Cafe a lot when I came to live in London in the end of 1998. For those of you who don't know the program, Stewart tells some great stories and has some good musical guests and travels from town to town all over Canada and does the show live in front of an audience. The Christmas contest program has two elements.

First is playing the "Dave cooks the turkey" story from quite a few years ago. I heard this story before and despite knowing the whole thing it is a good listen. And is so funny. For those of you who have not heard it, it involved one of his story characters forgetting to get a turkey for christmas for his family and how he needed to get it cooked before he got in trouble. Twists and turns.

The second part - and is certainly live given the challenges at times, is where he attempts to get in touch with the winner of the postcard mail in where the mother corp will fly the winner from their home town to one of the live Christmas shows they put on. In the past it has been tough and no one is home, gets voicemail and so on. This time, the winner was a guy who used to live in Canada and now teaches on Hainan island in the South China Sea. The communications via the satellite bounce was crystal clear and flawless. Better than some phone calls across the city on a cell phone. And the winner was blown away. He could come home for Christmas and make it easier to bring presents to his friends and family. Pretty cool. Kind of a tradition for me this time of year. Don't have many - and that's fine with me - as I usually skip most of the xmas stuff.

Anyhow. I had today off. I thought it might be the work Christmas party and booked it off well in advance of knowing the specific date, but it is on another day instead of Sunday. And it turns out I might not go anyway as I might be in Toronto.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 12:55 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Saturday, December 03, 2005 ::
A quick tale of shopping caution
shopping: Thomas Hawk, who has a blog and is one of the better photogs on Flickr posted about an experience he had trying to purchase a camera body online from an outfit called PriceRitePhoto - which I won't link to. It was pretty bad. Tried to screw him over in a big way. And the camera was an expensive Canon 5D. And when you have a wide readership or viewers word gets around. Within a couple of days it was one of the top stories on /. His two pic posts on Flickr are here and here, and have a read of his Flickrnation blog post too. Might be a story in it for you Carmi.

What it boils down to is that you should do some serious research before doing a big purchase online. And take the reviews with a grain of salt.

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:05 [+] :: 0 comments
:: Thursday, December 01, 2005 ::
the teeth of the matter
stuff: Have an issue with my teeth. One in particular. A rear right lower molar. I mentioned this last Friday. I went and spoke to the DDS who poked and x-ray'd and such and she said that she could extract or possibly do a root canal but it was going to be pretty messy and so she was referring me to an oral surgeon. If the tooth needed extracting, the roots were curled and would be a tough job. And as there was a slice missing from the tooth it was indicative of problems so it could shatter. I did the "stop talking now" gesture and she said she would see what we could do for an appointment. I received a call on Monday saying my appointment would be tomorrow, Dec 2. I thought it was going to be the consult but the surgeon wants to extract it. And I want to be knocked out for it. (I am going to see if they could take a pic of me unconscious as that would be interesting but I don't know if they will go for it).

Anyhow. Long story short. A timeframe for a consult was not a good time frame for a procedure as I had no one available to stay with me and take me home as per their guidelines. I called them back and after a bit of back and forth where they said they don't do afternoon procedures, I found they do in fact do them. And so Tuesday Dec 13th will be the day now. This will mean taking the day off work and likely the day after. No real pain at the moment, just discomfort and gingerly eating of foods. A nuisance too.

Morgan helped me snap out if my fear of dentists while going through this. And has helped me get centred on "Now" instead of obsessing over what could happen and such. And recommended an interesting book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which I picked up from Chapters and started to read a couple of days ago. The excercises in the first couple of chapter he describes to block out all the 'noise' and stray thoughts are standard meditation stuff, but he writes very conversationally and it is easy to understand. And not so difficult to put into practice. I look forward to finishing the book over the next while.

I found it curious - there are no coincidences after all - that as I was reading it, my eyes fell on the century old greenish black bronze Buddha that sits prominently on a large side table I have. Not sure how many of these particular figures are out there, but it came from Kobe Japan and was cast from a mold that was destroyed in an early 20th century earthquake there. It is about 16 inches tall, weighs just over 10 lbs, and I belieive it is modelled after the Great Buddha of Kamakura though I am not completly certain. Perhaps taking some pictures of this particular Buddha are in order.

It came into my posession via my mom's side of the family. I had always known this Buddha as one of the objects belonging to my grandmother, and later after she passed away it sat rather dusty on a shelf in my parents house for years. When I got into my family history a few years back I found out that my grandparents lived in Japan in the interwar period. That was where my mom and two uncles were born. My grandfather worked for the British Steel industry there. And as any good and loyal british subject would do was reporting intelligence on Japanese steel usage and warship building back to MI-6 in the UK.

They evacuated to England before the commencement of hostilities at the end of the 1930s, but took with them a great deal of fine porcelain and other items they had accumulated after living there for many years. Some of these items, "the family china" for instance, I have now. When I began to research the plates and saucers and such at my father's request before he passed away, I realized that some of them were in fact even then close to a century old - some much older. And each piece sometimes worth a considerable amount. We used them on occasion as childen to eat off and I found that staggering. And Cool.

Only once as an adult, at a holiday dinner than Morgan and I hosted, did we use a great deal of the Arita style blue and white china plates (similar to this), and the imari covered bowls (which are I believe are Meiji (1868-1912)period and look similar to this. Every place setting probably had a considerable value of china mixed and matched together. It was very cool to think that these settings had been used in all likelyhood in three distinct centuries - the 19th, 20th and 21st.

OK. Enough history for now. :)

Carpe Diem

:: Mike Wood 11:49 [+] :: 3 comments

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