Monday, May 25, 2009

Hoorah for freeviewing...

Being a pretty big fan of stereo photographs, I've been thinking for a while about trying to take some myself. Last night I took a few snap shots of things on our coffee table to try and get a feel for what would be the correct angle and distance between the two shots in order to make a stereo. Another trick is to size and level the two shots beside one another just right. To my surprise and delight, after one or two tries I got a couple of good ones!
Today I was looking at some of the pictures I took while on a garden tour with my grandfather, and I came across three pictures of a purple iris that I took, two of which were very similar, with just a tiny bit of angle difference, so I tried aligning them, and voila, three dimensions! I am pretty delighted with the way this turned out.

If you'd like some pointers on freeviewing a stereo or how to take a stereo picture, I suggest reading: (where I got my information for trying this.) I also find it a little easier to freeview when the photo is a bit larger, so clicking on the picture to blow it up might help. If you'd like to see more stereo pictures, I would suggest going to and browsing back through his Soapbox archives to see some of the ones he's posted. They're pretty awesome.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reviewin' stuff is painless...

I just recently purchased Journey's newly released album and finally put it on today to give it a good listen while I was straightening up. I was definitely fully prepared to be obnoxiously critical and overtly dissatisfied with the entire project, either because I felt the band was ruined by some strange new sound, or that Arnel Pineda was at best a rough imitator of Steve Perry. So what's the verdict on 'Revelation'?
I love it. I have not been so completely pleased with an album for a very long time. I'm blown away with the songwriting, instrumental work, and not least of all, Mr. Pineda's singing. Yes, you could probably convince someone who didn't know any better that it is Steve Perry singing; his timber and range are extremely similar, but I think that there is enough subtle difference there that he definitely has his own voice. Regardless, he his a very strong vocalist.
Being a person that has not heard any of Schon's guitar work that is younger than a couple of decades, I was pleased no end with the caliber of sound that he brings to this album. Really great, complex solos and backing, not to mention that he is at least a contributor, if not the primary writer on just about all of the new material. I feel like he brought new talent and technique to these songs without completely changing his old playing style. Just excellent all around. Fantastic work as well from Cain, Castronova, and Valory on keyboard, drums, and bass respectively.
In short, this album is pure gold. And that's just the first disk. Also included is a concert DVD and a second CD with the current band playing some of the old Journey classics. If I had to choose favorites I might say that "Never Walk Away", "Wildest Dream", and "Where Did I Lose Your Love" are at the top of the list, but that's a hard call to make.
To sum up: Yes, yes, yes.
This makes me that much more excited to be seeing them in concert in August. And I was already set to rock.
Again, delighted with this album. Way to go Journey.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A gasp in the night
Never claustrophobic before
Pressing darkness
Try to hold it back
Mind against an army of feeling
Thought to distract
Not very good at it
Replay the day
Analyze the moment
Make it stop
Will sleep never come

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Things of note...

As some of you may be aware, I flew to Washington, DC for part of my spring break. A trip that was facilitated mightily by the generosity of my friend Paul. Thanks Paul. How did the bird spikes work out? (On the Monday or Tuesday of my trip there may or may not have been a "fire" in one of the "bunkers" in the "complex" where "Paul" works. It was all very exciting.)
One of the high points for me was giving a lady directions in the subway. She wanted to know how to get to the Red Line, and by gosh, I could tell her. Even though I like fitting in almost as much as the next guy, I still think that I couldn't have looked more like a tourist if I'd worn an Hawaiian shirt and a fanny pack that said "I Heart New York" on it. But maybe I'm wrong.
I went to all kinds of places, learned interesting things, and silently observed several instances of misinformation. It was great. My favorite places, if I had to put them in some sort of order, would probably be: Arlington Cemetery, US Botanic Garden, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Castle, Smithsonian Air ampersand Space Museum, and the National Mall, to name a few. Favorite monument: Most likely a tie between the Vietnam and WWII memorials.
Near as I can figure, the only problem with DC is the high ratio of 7th and 8th graders that harried teacher chaperones are valiantly and vainly trying to mind bash a sense of significance into. "This is historic, damn it!"
Thanks to Paul I experienced bonafide Maryland crab cake. But they're just plain crab cakes there. I didn't see the President, but I did see the door to the Speaker o' the House's office. I didn't expect to enjoy my tour of the Capitol as much as I did, and the "water feature" outside of the Native American Museum was amazing. I was just wondering to myself the other night why I didn't take pictures of it, and I think perhaps my camera was dead by then. Either that or I forgot I had a camera strapped to my side.
I like the movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou'.
The semester is over now and I guess that I am satisfied with my grades overall. They were pretty much what I expected I suppose. No big surprises, which is good. Right now I am faced with some huge academic decisions, but I'll save that for another post, as this one is already edging towards the cliffs of Quite Long Enough.
Shiloh and I went to see 'Monsters vs. Aliens' and we thought it was pretty dang good. We laughed and ate nachos. I'm expecting great things out of 'Up'; I can't wait until that comes out. If it's as good as the previews I'll be delighted. If it's not as good as the previews then what the deuce Pixar?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

This is new...

Well this morning I showed up for my PSY 484 final, but as it got close to 10:20 there was no professor, so we waited. And then the TA came along and told us to hang in there and she'd see what was going on. After another ten minutes she came back.
"The good news is," she said. "You don't have to take a 484 final. You're grade will be caculated using your papers, presentation, and other exams."
So yeah, first time that's happened to me.