June 24, 2009

I am more then a little surprised to see that there has been a constant, if tiny, stream of people viewing the site in the… wow, more then a year since my last post. I am considering picking this up again, if for no other reaosn then to have a place to rant occassionally. Not sure if that appeals to anyone but we shall see.

More to come!


Blast Lab: High On Budget, Low On Science

March 20, 2008

Long time no write! I had to chime in on this, though. I’ve watched a couple episodes of Discovery Channel’s new show “Blast Lab”. The premise is that the four team members attempt to solve an engineering problem. Their problem, as the series’ name implies, almost always involved something exploding (or burning, crashing, etc.). Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Mythbusters, but a few things about this show bothered me.

They have too much money. I’ve hardly seen the crew do anything. Almost every experiment requires outside experts. They have a seemingly endless budget, which means all the attention is diverted to flashy explosions and not to the problems at hand.

There is too little science. I know a lot of people are critical of the science in Mythbusters, and thats good. It’s part of the scientific method. However, Smash Lab seems to more or less ignore the science all together. There’s hardly any quantitative data taken. If they repeat tests, or run controls, we never see it. On a recent episode, they tested Rhino Lining (a truck bed liner) as a way to bomb proof a building. It seemed able to maintain the structural integrity of the building during a nearby explosion, but no effort was taken to test the human element. On Mythbusters, I feel certain we would have had ballistics gel dummies and/or force sensors inside. In short, for all the cost and danger of the show, little to no usable data comes out of it.

They’re addressing problems that don’t exist or that they have no business addressing. Not sure how else to say that. Do we need rocket brakes for trailers? It doesn’t seem that way to me. Maybe just, you know, disk breaks like on every other vehicle?

Lets not forget, too, that the dialog is stilted and  that the cast has about as much personality and the chair I’m sitting on.

I still love you Kari Byron.


February 26, 2008

Well that’s interesting. I feel bad about not practicing a little with my guitar today. I’d say… yeah. Thats a good sign. ^^

On Photography

February 25, 2008

If you were, say, an evil mastermind, and wanted to develop a course of study to cause people to become bitter, shriveled husks of their former selves, you very well may develop photography. Let me explain why.

First, you spend hours of almost every day in a nearly pitch black (for developing paper) or absolutely pitch black (for developing film) room. Take away the photo work and close the door, and you’ve created a pretty nasty solitary confinement cell. Some scientists think it is bad for people not to get a certain amount of sun, so what a dark room’s safe lights do to you is beyond me.

Add to this the way the system causes you to wish your life away in 2, 3, 5, 8 minutes increments (because, truly, not even the Buddha himself could find peace or fulfillment in agitating a tray of developing solution for 2 minutes) and you’ve found a way to teach your students how not to appreciate the moment.

Finally, for good measure, throw in a little anti-Pavlovian torture to make it really stick. Pavlov, as you may already know, trained dogs to associate an external stimulus (a bell) with food, to the point that ringing the bell would cause them to drool. However, the opposite can be done; randomly administer shocks to an animal, and they will, in their confusion, sink into a deep depression. Photo is similar; each teacher has a long list of very specific procedures, which would be ok, except that every teacher’s list is different, and many are contradictory.

Ironically, though, I’m not writing this because I am frustrated with photography. Actually, I’m really excited about the next project, and I still get a lot of joy out of it. I was just wondering lately why it is that all the senior photo majors seem to be bitter, withered husks of their former selves. So I guess now I know. Oh well.

On Money, Stuff, And Frustration

February 21, 2008

I don’t know what’s more alarming about this year so far: The amount of money I’ve spent, or that I’m poised to spend more.

Why have I spent so much? Photo supplies, for one, which was unavoidable. A wacom tablet, secondly, which hopefully will equal more cash in the future (through design work). If that were all, I’d be okay with myself. I’m down a lot of money but doing okay, and the investments make sense. Now my current frustration.

I want to buy a guitar.

This isn’t surprising. My friends and family are no doubt thinking, “Again?” I’ve wanted a guitar many times before, and come very close to actually buying one. However, I never have, for two reasons: I’m not musically inclined at all, and I’m not sure I’ll have the determination to learn. However, I can’t get past the feeling of wanting one, and I have never tried to learn an instrument before, so who knows, maybe I will love it.

I’m starting to feel like it’s something I just need to buy and then only notice when it’s time to move to a new house. There are lots of things like that when you’re trying to be a little frugal: things that you need to buy to teach yourself a lesson. Maybe a guitar is one of those for me (but an expensive one at that). Or maybe not. Maybe it’s a good thing waiting to happen.

Currently, the force most compelling me towards it is the memory of the first (and only) time I held a guitar. Without even knowing what I was doing, I picked it up, strummed it, and it was generous enough to make a beautiful note, perhaps the first one I’ve ever been responsible. That was a good feeling.

So does anyone have thoughts?

-The art student desperately seeking a guitar.

Feeling Good

February 20, 2008

Times are tough. Lots of pressure coming up (two midterms and a project due on top of normal homework). But I feel good. Not for any particular reason, just because. I suppose I got tired of thinking about how stressed I am all the time.

Hope you find the same!

“Do you do well to be angry?” 

Keeping Up With The Blog

February 17, 2008

One week into my blog, and I have discovered something. Moderate improvements in the quality and purpose of blog posts produces big changes in terms of the time commitment necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying writing Step Lightly, and am optimistic about it. But I am falling behind! Yes, already.

I have five posts planned for this week though, and hopefully next weekend can build up my buffer a little.


February 14, 2008

So far so good I suppose, huh? Step Lightly received about 9 visitors the first day, 18 the second, and yesterday we topped 37. I think part of it is the tags (wordpress provides a link to the newest posts on it’s service when other bloggers log on, but things tagged with major subjects [ie. morality, government, happiness] get more time and attention), but hopefully it’s just a sign of the good that taking this job more seriously (like, omg, editing, and, like, not using like or omg) can do.

Ha ha, sorry, just in a pretty good mood today.


Wacom (And Printers)

February 13, 2008

So, I’ve been feeling a temptation to buy a Wacom tablet lately. I think it would be a great investment in a lot of ways: it would give me lots of new artistic avenues to pursue, could benefit my graphic design work, and maybe even serve as an aid in learning to draw.

The downside is, it will cost at least $300, maybe more, depending on the model I buy. That’s a substantial chunk of change, and I’m, not surprisingly, cautious about it.

Any thoughts?

(Also, anyone have any idea my my printer, which is relatively good, would have trouble with a thicker [but still quite thin] paper stock? It seems to start printing fine, and then it starts bunching up the text more and more until it has printed over the same spot a bunch of times and jams with the paper about 4/5 of the way through the machine. Thanks)

Shoot ‘Em Up

February 12, 2008

Clive Owen is awesome. Shoot ‘Em Up is awesome too, as long as you can completely shut down your brain. It doesn’t make sense, but it is violent and goofy and awesome.

Watch it. I know I’m late, but I’m flexing my Netflix muscles.