Saturday, May 28, 2011

A test

So, heres a test post from my new tablet. It doesn't help much for the photography in general, but it is cool.



Monday, May 16, 2011

Photorepair Basics: Where do I start?

There sure are a lot of old pictures that I have inherited... and I spend a lot of time repairing them... and I thought "Hey, other people must do this as well!" and I went looking and they do... but some people don't know what to do with the really badly mangled ones. Or worse, they have really bad practices... So... I thought "Hey, I should do a photorepair blog!" Then I thought "Where do I start?!?"

I came to the conclusion that I should start with "Where do I start?"

I've been using Photoshop almost every single day of my life since 1992 (I have achieved the infamous "10,000 hour" line). So I guess the first thing I should say is "You have to have Photoshop". I wish I could help you with Gimp or some of the other really good programs out there, but I just simply have been lucky enough to have had Photoshop in my life since Version 2.0. Some of these techniques are good for any editing project, but I really know Photoshop, and not so much when it comes to other programs.


Rule 1) Always work on the largest version of the picture you can. If you are scanning the picture in, always scan so the picture is at least 3,000 pixels across. I have a TON of little pictures from my grandmother's little box-camera. They are probably 2 inches tall and an inch and a half high... really, really tiny! I always scan them in at 600dpi, always.

Remember you can always make a picture smaller, but you can never recover data once it's gone, so you can never enlarge a picture in the computer.

Really, what you want to do is be able to see the grain of the photograph before you see the pixels in Photoshop. If you can't see the grain, then you need to re-scan/reacquire the photo.

Rule 2) Never work on the original. Open the scan and then use "Save As" to save it as something else, be it "001-1.jpg" or "Mom and I playing piano at the Worlds Fair in San Diego-01.jpg" always keep an original copy somewhere.

Rule 3) Never destroy data on the picture. No matter what, that can't be undone. For example, if you adjust levels on a picture, never clip past the start of the data. Adjust the gray slider instead. (I'll talk more about this in "How to get your colors right" which will be my next post).

So, that said... I'll be off.

(I'll talk about these two pictures in later blog posts, too...)



A New Direction

So, it seems that there are folks out there who want to read a photography/photo editing blog. :D So I'm going to reorganize the blog from this point forward to be more to just that! :D I'll do political stuff elsewhere :)

SO, from this post up is all photo stuff, this post and older is undecided! :D Venture at your own risk


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To catch a snowflake

Finally! After a very abnormally warm September AND October we finally get a little snow!

I wanted to catch a single snowflake falling with my Canon D50. I had to have the shutter at 1/500 to actually CATCH the snowflakes... but it was so dark that I had to set the ISO for 3600 (!)
But I did catch a single snowflake falling on the railing...


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Long time no... wait...

So, I've recently been informed by folks that there are still people who read my blog out there...

Rather than being absent without warning. :D I'm going to post here for folks who want to read about the exploits of Kai the Great and perhaps Luna the Fuzzy and the other small people in my world :D


Saturday, April 03, 2010

What an awful thing...

There is a lot of controversey about a Japanese game called "Rapelay" which, among other things, allows the player to rape and molest theoretical women in the game.

Now, before I go any further in this line, I don't want anyone to even THINK I condone this kind of behavior, nor do I want to see or touch this game.

What I want to address actually isn't the game at all, it's our culture.

It worries me that people want to villify Japanese for this game... No one villifies people for shooting virtual people, no one villifies people for stealing virtual cars (Okay, Grand Theft Auto got some heat... but it was never really bad until they had a SEX scene!)...

Sometimes a fantasy is just a fantasy...

Why is it that when a person fantasizes about raping a woman, it's instantly deviant behavior and everyone KNOWS that they WILL rape a woman at some point...

But when a person fantasizes about a new car no one expects them to actually STEAL one...

Is it because "normal" people don't have drives to hurt women?

That might actually be so; Though I have never entertained even the smallest notion of hurting a woman, I HAVE entertained the notion of hitting someone with a long stick...

And, really, hitting someone with a Japanese long staff... or even worse (And I have done this), shooting someone with an arrow from my Kyudo bow (Yeah, very un-zen of me...), this doesn't make a single person worry that I really WILL hurt someone with my bow...

In fact, people would probably laugh, pat me on the back, and say "Yeah he/she IS a real jerk!" As if they understand...

But, people, I am still (Technically) fantisizing about killing someone, which is still a fantasy just as morally corrupt as fantasizing about rape... isn't it?

Again, I certainly won't kill anyone with my bow (It's VERY uncool... and not so good for the other guy), I will resolve my issues with him/her in a normal professional way, only imagining about the arrow piercing various organs.

So, what is it about rape that makes this fantasy so much worse?

Is it the fact that the fantisizer is imagining hurting a person? Or is it hurting a woman?

As opposed to my fantasy which only involves the targets' life oozing away? (Actually, in this hurty fantasies, I end up being such a wus, the targets of my agression never actually hurt or die... they just go "Gee I wish I had known you were so awesome with a bow... I'll let you do your project now..." I usually am so cool, the arrow does this wicked Robin Hood thing and pins their clothes to a tree... But for the sake of this argument, pretend that it's actually violent and bloody...)

What about fantasies that do NOT involve rape, but involve something "perverse", like public nudity (Has any male out there NOT watched a tv show and seen some gorgeous starlet on the red carpet and mentally undressed her, leaving her exposed?)... if you worried that every man who had that fantasy was going to jump over the ropes and strip some poor actress naked... you'd just lock all men away...

So, is it a combination of violence AND perversion? Public nudity is pretty perverse, and shooting someone with an arrow is pretty violent...

Well, here's a test: what if I made a game where people shoot naked women with arrows?

(Okay... Actually, that sounds awful!)

Either way I think the point is: most people fantasize about all kinds of things, and they never, ever do them... only a very small percentage fantasize about doing things and they actually DO them... And honestly, that percentage doesn't need help acting out their terrible fantasies...

I think that just because I envision some cute girl without her clothes on ( I AM male)- I think you can still safely sit near me if you are female...

And perhaps, just perhaps, this goes for those who fantasize about nastier things (Naked women and arrows!)

-Me (No really, I'm imagining arrows sinking into that persons.... *sigh* okay, left sleeve... )


Friday, March 26, 2010


So, here's the final talley:

Our doctor sent a bill for $657.50, which, we discovered, was originally $3,420.40, but our insurance covered it...

Then we found out why:

The Hospital obviously got to the insurance company first; charging $3,650 for our stay. Insurance hit the cap at some point and paid $800 of it, but we still have $2,700 in bills to pay.

So, we will pay $3,000 out of pocket for this.

Let me note something: total, having a baby in America cost us $5,500 out of pocket for 9 months, or about $620 a month (All things considered). We paid $320 a month for insurance that stopped it from being $1,230 a month... but you add that back in and it was still an (Average) of $950 a month to have a healthy, normal child.

When the health care package goes through, we would have gotten a payment of $5,300 from the government to cover any costs above our bills.

Which means that now, in a recession, when one of us can't work (Because she's taking care of the baby), and I'm worried about losing my job, we wouldn't have to worry about this baby costing us every spare penny we have...

Which, by the way, is exactly what we ARE worried about; I simply don't make enough money to cover all of these bills... so we are going to have to take from our savings.

So... okay, people HATE this bill... Why? For 100 years we left it in the hands of the "private sector" and they have made it impossible for the average joe to get any help... 100 years.... how long do we have to wait?!? 1,000?!? 10,000 years? I mean, really! There comes a time where someone has to do something. Waiting another 50 years won't change anything, except more of the working class will die of needless things...

People, we need to stop. The bill is through; it won't kill babies, it give us middle class people a chance to survive. We can fix the rest of it...

But guys, worrying about petty politics is not worth my life or my child's life...

And without this, I won't ever get medical attention if I need it... and I'm worried I do need it (But I can't be sure, because I can't afford to be sick)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Well, it passed

That major health care bill passed...

And for the life of me, I can't tell what that means.

For librals and Democrats, it means we are all going to get health insurance, we can all go to the doctor whenever we want, it'll be cheaper (Not free just yet, but soon), and by 2014 all will be fine.

For Conservatives and Republicans, we just flushed the whole mess down the tubes and not only will people suffer, but we will suffer with great sufferyness. No one will benefit, it is simply a trillion dollar boondoggle that is going to have to be paid for by Kai...

So, I really still don't know what any of this means...

So, I decided to look into it.

1) This is simply Obama trying to look good: True, we've been working on public health care since Roosevelt was president... TEDDY Roosevelt (1915, people? World War ONE?). Is that the reason he did it? Maybe, but that's not a reason NOT to do it. This argument is misinformation and trying to grasp at straws.

2) This bill does not address problems with Malpractice Insurance: Also True. The bill allots only $50 mill to this issue, and that was a compromise for the Democrats. Originally, it did not address it at all.

But, and this is the very, very important points here: You can't put an ammendment on something that doesn't exist. You need a law in place in order to add stuff to it. And, the biggest problem in our health care system today is that the insurance agencies are making a killing (literally) on us. Those Agencies don't have anything to do with malpractice insurance (Though those agencies are also making a killing... ). If you compare the number of doctors that are being taken for a ride by malpractice insurance, then compare it to the number of Americans that are being taken by insurance agencies (Indeed and the number of people who are not insured at all because of this), then it does seem disproportionate. I looked it up, and there are some 900,000 doctors in the United States (Does that seem low to you?), let's just say 1 million doctors in the US. there are 309 million people in the US. 75% are working class or middle class, so about 230 million people are being taken for a ride by insurance. This means that though it is a problem, it is 0.5% the SCALE of the bigger issue.

3) This does not address the problem with a dwindling medical work force, and Doctors will be payed less: True. It has no provision for the fact that it is more lucrative to go into private practice here in America than go into General Practice and work for the public health.

But... that's capitalism. And it's like saying "This bill does not address terrorism issues", no, it doesn't... but that's a whole different problem that needs another bill passed through congress.

3) This isn't what the people wanted: False. It's been a war of soundbites on this issue, no one wants to read the 2,000 page bill, and to be honest, I don't even think the lawmakers read the 2,000 page bill... "Death Squads" anyone? Really, I think if I actually believed that this bill meant my father would be denied coverage because he's old, I'd be against it, too... of course, that's not even in the bill... nor is there anything LIKE that in the bill...but there were people who said that was in the bill...

People wanted health care. It's started. That's the key point.

4)We are going to pay more in taxes: True, where else would you think the money comes from? In the end, however, I think we'll actually pay less. Our taxes are much more than Japan, and they have completely socialized Health Care. Our Tax boondoggle isn't health care, it's defense (That's not to say we don't NEED defense, just put the blame where it belongs).

One of the Conservitives spat out in disgust that by 2014 19 Million Americans will only get $6,000 in subsidies to help with health insurance...

Did anyone notice that our deductable was $5,000? I don't know if this fits or not, but if the government gave us $6,000 per year to subsidize that, we could wipe out our deductable and cover $2000 worth of medical bills (They pay 50% after the deductable)!... Then we could go to the doctor anytime we wanted and it would cost us $375 a month! I would happily pay that! Happily! That's all we really need to make this family healthy.

This would put an end to people like my mother dying because she couldn't afford to go to the doctor. This would put an end to "We can't afford to be sick" (A mantra I grew up with)...

The last big thing I heard was that before (Since Teddy Roosevelt) Health Care had a far greater approval rating than it did this time , Thus, it stands to reason that we aren't doing the right thing:... well, I'll pose this as well: Maybe the reason was because it never went this far... It got killed early every other time because of politics looong before anyone could vote on it.

Here's what I do know: it will cost America's corporations, they will have to cover their employees or pay a VERY stiff fine.

So... whose interests are we REALLY worried about?

Perfect? If America EVER makes perfect legislation, then someone has drugged the Congress and House... we aren't designed to make perfect legislation.

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