Saturday, December 30

Some youtube films I watched today

Andy McKee, Drifting
Amateur - Lasse Gjertsen
LINKIN PARK-Numb
Free Hugs Campaign (this one had me smiling and grinning like mad)
NIRVANA - smells like teen spirit
Dan Cook (standup comediant)
Ryan vs. Dorkman (lightsaber battle)
Diet Coke + Mentos(101 bottles of coke and 523 menthos pills)

I guess this is a way of bookmarking as good as any.

Friday, December 29

behind the counter

I've heard all the
Wal-Mart is evil!
sayings out there, with (or without) all kinds of arguments, and I have no idea if they're true or not: I've never been to a Wal-Mart.

This morning however, I found Behind the Counter, a blog published by a Wal-Mart employee.

It's quite insightful as blogs go, even if it's not about Wal-Mart as an entity: the guy works at the refunds / exchanges / complaints department.

Either way, it's a fresh view, and quite entertaining to read.

From the blog:
Even though there are labels all over the things that say "NOT ACTIVE UNTIL SOLD" and "SCAN AT REGISTER FOR ACTIVATION" people steal the things all the time. I guess you have to have a phone — even if it doesn't work — to look "street."

So these three toughs walk in with a kid in tow and they have the kid do the talking. The story is that "grandma" bought the kid the pre-paid cell phone "for Christmas" but that "someone" forgot to activate the phone at the register, so could we please activate the phone so the poor boy could use his Christmas present that grandma got him? And of course because it is a gift from the mysterious but oh-so-generous "grandma," they don't have a receipt.

Grandma doesn't exist. The phone was never legally sold in the first place. There is no way that phone ever got onto a receipt without being activated. No way, no how. You cannot scan the barcode and not scan the activation code. But still, can you call them liars? What can I do?

I have to return the phone as a return without a receipt, so I get a drivers license on at least one of the toughs, and then re-sell the phone, activating it.

I hope that phone give those guys brain cancer.

some hilights from Christmas

Presents ... err ... Christmas tree!
presents!

I., washing dishes
I., washing dishes

deer me! (again)
me

Santa family
Santa family

I & C after lunch
on the couch

E, mixing a salad
E, mixing a salad

M&G
M & G

The rest of them are here.

Thursday, December 28

post-Christmas update

So ... yeah ... it's about three AM and I'm ready to turn in for the night.

I've been down with fever for the last two days (wasn't much fun, but it was a cure of watching Discovery Channel, reading, drinking tea and sleeping that got me through).

Christmas was fun (except the cold, that is) and I left my bike at S's place (tomorrow morning I'll have to be there at 8:30 AM to pick it up :( ).

Anyway, as a side note (I found this on Bruce Schneier's blog) check this genius out: he contacted some hackers (without knowing who's behind their website), whom he wanted to change his college notes for his political carrier.

The guys gave it to him in style: asked him about carrier pigeons on campus, then squirrels, then told him how they'd apply all the moves hackers used in movies "only better", then published all the email conversation.
The whole romance ends with them being busted over usage of rot-26 (nice touch guys!)


Anyway, I'm off to the kitchen for some cold-pills before bed.

Tuesday, December 19

vacation feeling

Some of my friends, some of the people I interact with on a daily basis, are on holiday; one or two of them usually are, but now being close to Christmas, more people are missing than usual.

As such, I'm stuck with the same "holiday feeling" (or being offset) from last year; The office is mostly empty, tension and urgency are missing (they weren't much to begin with in the first place, but still ...) and it's just ... I'm not sure what it is actually.

Saturday, December 16

interesting email

I received an interesting email on my gmail address. It was about a banned website - hey, yes, google, yahoo and others really DO censor/ban websites (in google's case only from AdWords apparently).

I haven't read through most of the weblog (haven't had time for that yet) but it's controversy seems big-enough for me to want to give it a larger audience (as long as it provokes thought, why not?)


Anyway, here's the email I got:
Hi. My name is John Doe[I changed the name]. Perhaps we have met online, but more probably you don't know me from Adam. I monitor blogs for SamsonBlinded, and came across your post.

I'd like to welcome you to look at Obadiah Shoher's blog. Obadiah - an anonymous Israeli politician - writes extremely controversial articles about Israel, the Middle East politics, and terrorism.
Shoher is equally critical of Jewish and Muslim myths, and advocates political rationalism instead of moralizing.
Google banned our site from the AdWords, Yahoo blocked most pages, and Amazon deleted all reviews of Obadiah's book, Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict.
Nevertheless, 170,000 people from 78 countries read the book.

Various Internet providers ban us periodically, but you can look up the site on search engines. The mirror www.terrorismisrael.net/blog currently works.

Please help us spread Obadiah's message, and mention the blog in one of your posts, or link to us from utnapistim.blogspot.com. I would greatly appreciate your comments.

Best wishes,
John Doe

my bike

Yamaha Dragstar XVS400 (2)

Friday, December 15

three more

Here are three more pictures I took when we went for Greek meze (last weekend I believe):

colorful bells

autumn is here

decoration

I'm terrible

Hey, check this out:

It's been approximately two weeks (give or take) since I started going on my bike, and just yesterday, I rambled on and on, about how it rocks and I relax and everything is, more or less, vanilla flavored and pink ... err ... or something.


What happened in the meantime is, I had another motorbike lesson. The teacher asked me to follow him on my bike through traffic, then told me
Well ... you're terrible mate


Apparently, I don't enter the lanes correctly, cut corners when I shouldn't, don't have enough control when taking curves, and am not used to look over my shoulder before lane changes.

But practicing these is fun, so I sort-of have something to do over the weekend.

Thursday, December 14

about relaxation

In the last day or two, I started to relax when going on my bike, and D was right: once you do, everything changes.

I'd just keep on going, and going, for hours.


Wish I didn't have to be in office right now.

Monday, December 11

a separate post

I wanted to dedicate a separate post to a special picture I took yesterday, because it's ... well ... special, in a way.

I have been (more or less) asked and begged and threatened and supplied to not give this to anyone, not publish it, delete it, hide it and so on.

Anyway, this morning the temptation was ...

Well ... what can I say?

I can resist everything but temptation, so here it is, in all it's ... beauty?
(beauty is such a strong word!)
I., making faces

after three years in Cyprus

Yesterday we went to a restaurant in ... I have no idea what the place is called (some village on top of a hill, relatively north from Limassol).

As such, I found out I didn't know lots of things ... like ... for example that Cyprus coffee CAN taste great (whatever they did to it); or that Greek meze is a completely different dish than Cyprus meze.

Anyway, here are some pictures (and I'll try to find out how the village is called):

little C, sleeping
little C, sleeping

E., I. and G.
E., I. and G.

at the table
at the table (1)

at the table (2)

G.
G.

S.
S.

at the table (3)

dead leaves, new leaves
dead leaves, new leaves

glazed pear
glazed pear

C. with the camera
C. with the camera

by the entrance (1)
by the entrance (1)

by the entrance (2)
by the entrance (2)

looking down
looking down

on a side alley
on a side alley

rusty door knocker
rusty door knocker

"I played with these when we were kids"
I played with these when we were kids

E. on the edge
E. on the edge

on the edge
on the edge

E. on the edge (2)
E. on the edge (2)

towards sunset
towards sunset

and a mirror on the edge
mirror on the edge

Saturday, December 9

tasting for salt

I made some potatoes stew (brew? food?) this evening, and while tasting it for salt I saw the steam contrasting my reflection in the kitchen window and thought "what the hell?! this might make a half-decent picture"

steaming

(except I don't actually think in English)

Wednesday, December 6

past composition guidelines

I remember having a chat a while ago, with a friend.

We were talking about photography as he was looking over some of my photos.


He kept asking me what I had been trying to say with this or that picture, and while I understood what he meant with the question, it was annoying:
I hadn't been trying to say anything as I had taken those shots.


Now, it's different; I guess in a way, my focus started shifting from following composition guidelines to the story in front of the camera.

I'm not trying to say that all of a sudden, I'm "photographing stories" or something like that.

If anything, I'm trying to focus on compositions having something to say: elements coming together or contrasting in some way, pictures of something happening - be it a story, description of a mood or something different.


Back then, when composing my shots (as much as I can say I did), I kept looking for obeying what I considered "the technical rules" (rule of thirds, golden ratio, diagonal lines and all that jazz).

Then I read somewhere that "there's no such things as rules in photography", so I tried seeing them more as guidelines.

I often obeyed them (and tried deliberately breaking them), but my shots still had nothing much to say.


It's not that all of a sudden, my shots are very expressive; More like ... lately this is what I keep looking for.

I'm more interested nowadays in - for example - creating a relationship between subject and it's environment than in following any established composition guidelines.


And my pictures keep getting better ...

... err ... I think.

MS Paint God

This hurts my brain.

Seriously!

yesterday evening

This is yet another random update (since I haven't done one of those in a while).

Yesterday, after office and the Aikido lesson (I managed to get home before that so I thankfully got something to eat), I went to Woodman's again.

I was to meet the gang who made the whole party come together, for a few drinks.

It was a strange experience for me to mind for alcohol (by the way, I started riding through the traffic :D), so I had only alcohol-free stuff to contend with.

... and I took some pictures (surprising, I know).
dsc_3423

dsc_3307

dsc_3299

dsc_3281

Tuesday, December 5

Monday, December 4

some pictures from the party

On Friday evening we had the "Mioritza Party" and although I had my doubts it came out well (ok, it came out much better than I expected).

I didn't stay long, as I wasn't feeling very well ... but I stayed long enough to take some pictures.

Some highlights:

party decoration

at the party (35)

at the party (34)

at the party (16)