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The Art of Photography While Driving and How it Pertains to Politics

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment

roadway091716A great low-res pic of the roadway in from my car.

As you can see, my fancy new windshield wipers are working flawlessly.

… or maybe you can’t see.  It’s taken with my fancy $10 Vivitar key chain camera bought at Rite Aide 5 years ago. Beats my $2400 Fuji Pro2 any day 🙂

So why post a really bad photo from a camera where it’s in high debate that it actually has a lens in it?

Well, a bit of nostalgia …..it really capture images like those very crappy film camera you bought in the gum ball machines in the 70s and 80s – a really distorted, although recognizable view of what’s really there.

BTW …. before we go further, a little clarification for the thin-minded: I really didn’t take this while I was driving the car, I was stopped in a legal area to do so with someone behind me for safety. Why do I have to clarify that? … Well, because I’ve been around long enough to know if enough people read this, some of the more dim-witted will buy a few key chain cams and start taking pics around the ‘burgh in their cars while forgetting to actually drive their cars. I would feel bad about any accidents(well, not that bad … they’re the stupid idiots taking pics while driving their cars), considering I’d already have to deal with dumb questions like “how do I get the pics off the cam, it doesn’t have a screen”. I get the same question from people that buy modern day film cameras, failing to realize they bought a film camera (you can’t make that one up).

Ok … now past the incoherent babble, what does this even have to do with modern day politics??

Well, it’s exactly the same thing … a view that looks like what our founding fathers created, blurred a bit so you can’t see the details, but cheap enough you’ll but it anyway (when I did an art project with keychain cams I sold some of the pics at shows for $30 a piece … more than I ever sold with shots taken with my pro camera).

It’s sort of like reality shows (I’m REALLY hoping you don’t think any part of those shows are real), which our elections are starting to get like – well produced marketing with enough blur so you think you are really getting what you ordered until you actually open the box and find a really crappy picture of a road taking with a camera that cost three times less that what you just paid for the picture.

The art of photography and how it pertains to politics … it’s really an unsafe stupid way to get a really crappy blurry image of reality.

Realize what’s around you, look at what’s around you, make informed decisions, don’t let modern day marketing make the decisions for you.

This is our political contribution to the 2016 reality show (ooops … I mean election).

-SWB

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The big screen from the past taking on an 8mm cast.

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

sewickley-theaterSo, the predictions of the big screen being gone due to the lcd bigs screens blowing them away seems to be much less of a valid vision in modern times.

The pic on the left is a new theater in a small community (Sewickley) being built from scratch containing a community room (for about 145), a 160 seat theater, and a 90 seat theater. along with that many communities like Lawrenceville, and Zelienople, etc have remodeled old theaters, or old buildings refitting them for theaters realizing that dinner and a movie in your own community is still better than dinner with a two hour wait at a corporate restaurant, moving to park again, and a thirty minute line for the movie, along with waiting in traffic to get our of the theater parking lot.

In other words spending a whole days with friends, dinner, and a movie is still loved a bit more than jockeying your car around to get to the dinner and a movie – spending most of the time complaining with your friends how long it took.

So, this is cool. With losing many traditions for families and friends, seeing one brought back (other than sports, drinking, sports, drinking, sports, drinking) is great. Even movie directors and film geeks are following suite in their own way … with a what was though to be dying along with the local theaters, the Kodak Super 8 film camera.

How so?

super_8_lcd_white_v1Well Kodak, thought to be a dying company is catering to the wishes of a current batch of film makers and directors that want to shoot with the inspiration of 8mm film, just like their mentors from the past did. Sort of like current artists producing vinyl, because they came to the senses and realized digital takes away from natural sound(unless you have a small super-computer the size that most medium level governments can’t afford). The pic to the left is (c) Kodak and a shot of their new hybrid super 8mm camera. You get a digital copy of the film from the film after it is developed. If you still shoot still film, you understand as a photographer that light passed through actual film differently than an lcd and images on paper differently than a paper producing more natural shading and color tones. The way an image is projected onto a screen is also affected by this. Surprisingly, even the newest of film makers have to be given credit for realizing this.

cluelesstrophyBut a clueless award has to be given to the movie industry as a whole to forced small theaters to invest 60k or more in refitting completely to digital …

 

but kudos to those theaters that decided to keep some of their old analog projection gearswbkudos2 in place – and even one or two new theaters are rebuilding and placing some of the older projection equipment to accommodate film makers truly wanting to use and project on film.

If you have a local theater reopening or remodeling, please support it … most of the films they most likely chose will be much better than the ones the corporate clones show (and most likely make it to Netflix free within a month anyway).

A couple of theaters to check out:

Support your local theater, and keep your family memories on film!

Add any local theaters you know of via the comments!

-SWB

 

What to do about all that food (from our friends at Marty’s)

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

From home kitchens to industrial-sized farms, food waste is a constant challenge, too often ignored or unseen.  The horror of food waste can only be truly measured in response to those people throughout the world (and in the U.S.) who are categorized as food insecure.

The problem with the problem of food waste (still following?) is that we tend to compartmentalize the issues.  Food security and access are often tackled as a distinct issues.  The labor, energy, fertilizers, nutrients and compost needed to grow food that is never harvested, never brought to market or brought home are losses absorbed by farmers, and that’s ….. click here to read the article.

It’s Monday, and there’s no mourning.

September 17, 2012 1 comment

They won …. which makes for a happy Monday.  Pic by Matt Freed/Post-Gazette.

Click Here for the PG Article.

The Steelers are off to a good start, which makes SWB happy.  When they lose, we have to suffer through the Monday morning mourning. You know, after a Steeler’s loss the traffic is slower, the coffee shop patrons take longer to pay for their drinks, road-rage is times ten, etc.

Everything changes when the Steelers win in Pittsburgh.

Now, if the the Steelers could rub off on the Pirates just a tad more.

Anyway … thanks Steelers … your win means less headaches for this weasel one this beautiful Monday mourning-less morning.

-SWB

Out Of A Coma

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

We’re back …. or at least out of a coma.

Slightly after our little stint of “help” from the folks at Sophisticated Pittsburgh on upping our number of blog writers, they in fact lost many of theirs.  In other words people got real jobs, go married, or just disappeared of the face of the earth at SP.  As a result, we are coming back to our original self.

So, about our original self. The blog experimentally started in 2005, and was moved to .mac via the Apple iWeb.  We started writing around the time that PittGirl, CafeWitness, and others started and gained one of the top growing blog rankings ending up with 2000 readers per day, across 15 countries while on the .mac site.

That actually scared us, considering the amount of vomit we spewed out in those days along with the other rant blogs.  I’m not sure we’ll be as harsh these days, but we’ll try.

BTW – while we were hosting on .mac, Apple kindly asked us to move our site due to their product not being originally made for the amount of throughput we were getting.

So, around Spring of 2008 we moved to WordPress.

The Weasel is back, and we will be blowing word chunks as far as possible.

Cheers

-SWB

PowerUp Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Jobs

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Here we go again …. another program destined to make Pittsburgh great.

PowerUp Pittsburgh (click here to learn more from the Post-Gazette article), will supposedly spider out the successes of the technology and health industries in Oakland.  Some of that has already happened, but PowerUp is supposed to help fill in dying area (where businesses have moved out, etc).  We encourage you to really read the article as it explains the project much better than SWB possibly could.

We are not going to bash the program at all, but in fact we are going to thank Mayor Luke and all involved to get this ball rolling.

Why are we thanking them?  Well, it’s because they aren’t starting with a completely written-in-stone plan.

Why is this good? Because Pittsburgh residents and workers (or more likely ex-workers) still have the time to try and influence it.

So why should ‘Burghers think about trying to influence the program and why did we initially say “Here We Go Again” like we were going to blast the program? One simple reason … we’ve done this before and by the definition of those programs they’ve been wildly successful.

For example, programs to bring industries into Pittsburgh have brought companies like Google, Seagate (now gone, but they came), and other prestigious names into the area … but there is one problem with the available jobs from those companies – they require a Masters or Phd.  So basically the people in the that have lost jobs in Pittsburgh cannot re-acquire employment with the education and skills that they already have because they don’t have that new shiny piece of paper.  Keep in mind many of these people are like me and have 25 years of tech experience with up to date technologies and have massive management and professional skills gained over 25 years of employment.  What people like me don’t have is another $100k to land an entry level position for about $40k.  If you want a decent job today, you are looking at $120k to possibly $250k by the graduation time.  Do the math on that one.  If you gain a decent job (even $50k/yr starting) once you subtract your financial aid payments, you are lucky to make rent payments in a low income housing project (but you aren’t allowed to live there because you now have a good job making $50k/yr).  The chances you have of making a life event remotely close to the quality of the one your parents had is slim and next to nil. Even with the great education … that is until your schooling is paid off, around the age of 65.  So what’s left if you can’t affored the re-ed? … the $8 to $12/hr jobs that still leave you homeless, but with enough money to at least buy clothes so you don’t get arrested for lewdness when you are dumpster-diving at your local McD’s because you can’t even afford to eat there.  So let’s get to your children’s education … it ain’t gonna happen.  Even if you wanted them to go to college you’ve already blown their higher education savings for yourself so you can get back to work.  Nothing left …. sorry kid.

So why do we rant about the above …. isn’t any jobs coming in good jobs?  Yes, and don’t stop supporting the programs that get in place and attract jobs, everything helps.  What people do need to do though is remind those doing the programs that they need to remember those skills already in the area (not the skills they want to attract to the area) so that the people already losing homes, families, and hope can get back to work and recover.  It’s great when new things appear (I lived in SouthSide Words when it was being built, and then the Cork Factory) and that was a wonderful experience.  but now, like many others in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas we watch program after program that helps people come into the city, gain skills, and take them back out … but programs continually totally forget those skills already in place.

I no longer live in the new places because we all forgot to fight to keep our jobs here, and allowed greed to move them out. There is this new re-outsourcing thing.  India, Russia, and others are so overloaded with tech jobs that they no longer have enough skilled persons to do them that they are bringing the jobs back to the US … at their pay levels.  So that job you were paid $30/hr for is not at a rate of about $11 to $13 per hour.  Most of those jobs were illegal to obtain by foreigners that moved to the US, unless there were no US citizens to do them.  So we forgot about our own, and never did any of these new programs address that.

The one key thing that all these wonderful programs forget is that this city at one time was made into and international wonder simply because everyone here supported each other and didn’t forget where we came from.

We’re forgetting … and we are allowing those running programs to forget also.

Don’t let them forget why Pittsburgh was what it was and could be greater if we once again rely on that key thing … building each other up.

Why was Steve Jobs so revered?  He never forgot, and he never stopped pushing those below him to be as passionate as he was.  We need to relearn that.

-SWB

Forgetfulness and Steel – History Repeats Itself

August 9, 2011 Leave a comment

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” … I hated my high school history teacher because he made a vow to fail us all (not a challenge, mind you, an actual vow) … but the above was his favorite quote, and it’s the one critical piece of life that I learned from him.  Unfortunately our country and our government is proving that taking on this attitude about history is really one of the keys to sustainability and survival.

The situation that lead to the current financial crater that is wall street can be blamed on ignoring the “forget history and you will guarantee it will happen again” advice.  Our current situation is eerily similar to one not too long ago … the plight of the steelworker.  You had two groups, both hard working, strong, and carrying large egos.  Neither would give in, neither would compromise … both had a fight until the end attitude.  Some say that represents honor. Some say that represents stupidity.

The end result was many losing homes, life long possessions, families, and what defined them as a human …. the steel industry. A few mentioned over the years that it wasn’t that compromise would not happen that made the steel industry fade away as we know it, but how long it took to get to a point where compromise could or would happen. By the time it progressed to the point of possible compromise, other countries took advantage of the opportunity to wedge into the steel industry, and quickly separated the bulk of the US steel mills from it.

It’s not that our financial situation as a country cannot be fixed, it’s that the egos of the politicians took so long to get to any kind of initial compromise that sever damage was done, leading way to loss of everything for those just hanging on, and loss of part of what defines us as a country.  So the question is, are our politicians going to wait long enough that our country going into sheriff’s sale and gets divvied up by the other entities of the world … or will they actually defend us, instead of their egos, and restore America where the dream of raising a family is possible?

Few people realize, much of wall street is now owned by outside investors, so defending American is really not in it’s top interested …….. making the bottom line, or at least cutting losses for it’s foreign investors is.  Main Street is no longer in a position to be helped by Wall Street, because we have some of the same interests … the only protection we can gain at the wall street level is from our politicians having enough pride in their country to protect it’s residents … but it seems that if they win and are rewarded with the right to say “I was right!” it’s OK if the American Dream is reduced to finding a better dumpster to dive into for dinner tonight.

“Forget history and you guarantee it will happen again” ….

Translation: “Stupid is what stupid is”

-SWB