Monday, May 31, 2004

Futurballa Photography Update

There are a couple of new images available at the Futurballa Store and can be viewed in the Galleries. The first is a shot of the Narrows at Zion and the second is a black and white piece of the Mormon Tabernacle. Also there are now larger prints available at Futurballa (approximately 10"x13" framed and matted to a 16x20 frame).

Friday, May 28, 2004

Springfield, USA

Well it's about time. At last some fan with too much time on his hands has done us all the service of mapping Springfield, home to the Simpsons.

From the Springfield Badlands to East Springfield, from Camp Krusty to the Springfiled Tire Yard Fire, it's all here.

Explore the Guide to Springfield USA.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

For the Potter Fans Among You

J.K. Rowling has relaunched her personal site. It is a fun site with lots of news and information. She also puts a bunch of rumors to rest. Sorry guys, no Star Wars endings; Voldemort is definitely not Harry's father.

Visit J.K.Rowling Official Site.
Talk about an expensive hobby

Via DPReview we see this article about Pretec coming out with a 12 GB Compact Flash Card.

And the price, you ask?

Why a measly $14,900.

Now asides from the astronomical price, would you want to trust 14gb worth of images to a single memory card? Not I.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

What we're (watching, reading, hearing)

Just finished Tom Robbins' last book, Villa Incognito. If you don't like Robbins, it's more of the same psycho babble, wrapped in overly hip jargon. If you like Robbins, it's a return to form, funny and literate. Robbins writes women and men who love women like no one else. If you hadn't guessed, I like Tom Robbins.

Currently reading another Spenser novel. These things are like salty peanuts. Great fun.

Consuming a TIVOed La Dolce Vita in half hour increments. Actually not a bad way to watch Fellini.

Coming from Netflix for Memorial Day Weekend viewing... Tim Burton's Big Fish, and Errol Morris' Fog of War.
Good Times

Most days I'm just curling up in a fetal position in front of CNN.

But then there are days like yesterday...

Lakers took a 2-1 lead against the TWolves, and Barry hit his first ding since April in the Giants fourth straight win.

Sometimes things just seem right in the world.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Mandom Rusings

I wonder if I mangled my syntax along the line or a glaring Spoonerism had found its way into a posting, because the Google ad banner on my blog this morning was linking to a site about dyslexia.

Giving in to consumerism once again, I've succumbed to the sirens' call of an iPod. Every time we take a driving vacation, which is my preferred sort of holiday, I struggle putting together just the right mix of CDs. Books on tape, country music for driving through Bakersfield, Cecilia Bartoli for those majestic vistas, Pink Floyd as I cruise down a lonesome highway, Chris Isaak rolling along PCH. It is a major challenge, and by the time I've returned home I find that I've missed the perfect CD for some bit of scenery, and more than half of what I've packed have never even found its way into the CD player.

Finally the temptation of having, virtually, my entire CD collection on a single device was too great, and when the Wife asked what I wanted for father's day, I said, "iPod, please."

And then there was one... Sad to see that Friedrich von Blowhard is taking an extended hiatus from blogging, and leaving Michael to do all of the heavy lifting. Hurry back.

Monday, May 24, 2004

God's Country

I don't often use that sort of expression, but if any place I've been deserves that title, then Southern Utah should be it. Here are a few pictures to get your proverbial juices flowing. If you want to see more I've put together a small web gallery (haven't had time to do too much retouching or correction). These were all snapshots taken with the Canon s400. The more serious work has to be processed and scanned, but I will share the best of those at a later date, either here or at

The wife and I drove from San Jose to Reno to see family on day one and then drove on to Salt Lake City.

Temple Square

Not much to do there on a Sunday, but we had a nice dinner and a pleasant walk around downtown and Temple Square.

From there we drove through Provo and rural Utah to Torrey. A charming town with a couple of restaurants that would be at home in any major city. I'd especially recommend the Diablo Cafe, which I'd categorize as Southwest Fusion. We stayed at a charming lodge overlooking Capitol Reef.

This was our view

Mule Deer abounded

Capitol Reef is named as such because it reminded the early settlers of a reef in the ocean that blocked the way, and the dome of the major feature was reminiscent of the Capitol Dome in Washington.

Early morning

We drove over the Escalante

A stop at Kodachrome National Park. And yes, it did have nice bright colors.

Kodachrome (actually shot with Ektachrome)

Then on to Bryce Canyon. The canyon itself is a breathtaking site. Rugged red rock, awe inspiring vistas, stomach churning ravines, and geological formations called Hoodoos. Sadly, the lodgings in Bryce were not up to snuff.

Hoodoo, you do

More hoodoos at the aptly named Fairyland Canyon

We spent our last two days in the town of Springdale, just outside Zion National Park. The Driftwood Lodge, where we stayed, sports a fine Photographic Gallery, featuring the work of David Pettit, of which I purchased a small print.

View from our porch

Zion and Springdale offer free shuttles through the town and park, which limits traffic and are very efficient, running about every 10 minutes. Springdale has a hip vibe and we found a couple of excellent restaurants. The Bit and Spur offers upscale Mexican and Southwest cuisine, and Pentimento (located at the Driftwood) had a pretty nice rack of lamb that I tried.

I also recommend the River Walk that runs an easy mile along (of all things) the Virgin River and ends at the entrance to the Narrows.

The Narrows

From there we headed home, which was a fairly gruelling day, driving through such garden spots as Barstow and Bakersfield.

Zion National Park
I'm Baaaack

And I promise you, as soon as I've sorted some pictures out and caught up on email, I'll have a complete trip report with pictures. Check back.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Busman's Holiday

I'll be taking a short hiatus next week for a bit of well deserved vacation. Promise to come back with a refreshed perspective, a sunny attitude and lots of pictures. In the interim, may I direct you to the blogrolls on my right, where you can find the best in culture and politics that the blogosphere has to offer.

Be seeing you!

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Breakfast of Champions

Writing in In These Times, the iconic author, Kurt Vonnegut shares 81 years worth of wisdom in a wide ranging essay on the state of America and the world. In his curmudgeonly voice Vonnegut talks the kind of sense that is all too often lacking in political discourse.

Read Cold Turkey.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

All Your Digital Photography Needs

Why do you come to Futurballa?

The answer for that is usually I searched for something totally unrelated to Futurballa Blog and stumbled on to this pointless blog. I was checking my referrer logs and this guy linked to me. Or, I went to college with Rick and feel obligated to look in once a day.

But, if you are the one who stops in here for my perceptive takes on photography, to see my photo blog postings, to link through to my other site, or to find out what is hot and new in the world of digital photography. Have I got the links for you.

These are the stops I make every week to get the latest news, learn about techniques, read the forums, and generally waste some valuable time.

Digital Photography Review - DPReview is the best site to keep up on news and reviews if you are looking for gear.

Steve's Digicams - Steve is the next stop after DPReview. Also a great resource.

Rob Galbraith - Rob's site is a great place for more in depth info and analysis.

The Luminous Landscape - A fantastic stop for techniques.

Norman Koren - Norman has the best tutorials around on scanning and color management.

That should keep you busy for a while.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Political Animal

Kevin Drum has a few very good posts on Bush and on Abu Ghraib and links to some interesting commentary.

One of the writers he links to is Senator Lindsey Graham. I saw Graham on yesterday's Meet the Press, and was a bit of surprised. You may remember that Graham, while still a congressman, was a major player in the impeachment hearings and was a hard line Clinton antagonist. While still doing his best to be a good Republican soldier, Graham obviously hackled at Cheney's assertion that people should "get off of Rumsfeld's back", and seemed sincerely disturbed by the treatment of Iraqi prisoners.

All I could think watching this was, if Bush is losing the full support of this guy, things are going south really fast.
Coincidence, I think not...

Crooked Timber's Chris also saw Wender's Wings of Desire for the first time recently. His one word review, splendid. He doesn't want to give too much away in terms of the story, but he sums up the movie's theme with a wonderful quote from Dennis Potter.
I can celebrate life. Below my window there's an apple tree in blossom. It's white. And looking at it - instead of saying, 'Oh, that's a nice blossom' - now, looking at it through the window, I see the whitest, frothiest, blossomest blossom that there ever could be. The nowness of everything is absolutely wondrous. If you see the present tense - boy, do you see it. And boy, do you celebrate it.
My original post can be found here.
The Cathode Ray Mission

Friday, May 07, 2004

A New Look at Copyright

I spent a part of the morning today listening to a presentation by Stanford Law Professor and blogger, Lawrence Lessig. Mr. Lessig was promoting his Creative Commons Project, which is a new way to look at copyright and licensing of artistic product. Of course, as someone involved in both software used by creative professionals and as a photographer, I was very interested in what he had to say.

If I may attempt to summarize his thesis, and I hope do it a bit of justice... Lessig makes the point that copyright law derives from 18th century technology, and as written, causes a lot of problems with 21st century technology. Since the 1980s it has been assumed that copyright is granted upon time of creation. I.e., hit SAVE and it is your property. The onus is on the person seeking to use your material to seek permission from the artist. But what if the artist would like to share their works, but set reasonable limits. Copyright law does not provide for a method for the artist to do that up front.

That is where Creative Commons comes in. The artist simply goes to and makes some choices on a web form. Such as, does he want attribution, is he sharing for non-commercial purposes only, are derivative works to be bound by the same contract? And voila, 3 documents are generated. A human readable license agreement, one in legalese, and a machine readable document.

The goal is that at some point using metadata that digital creations will be able to link back to the license, and creative persons will be able to see to what extent they can use or repurpose artwork created by other artists.

"All creativity is based on the past," says Lessig. And he hopes to remove the intermediary where no intermediary is necessary between creative individuals, and hopefully foster an explosion of creativity.

He doesn't seek to replace copyright, but instead to offer a method to "opt in" to a more open system. I'd be interested to hear from those of you who are creative types yourself, and from my creatively legal friends as well.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Stuff an Nonsense

This is a very disturbing use of Flash. [via Lileks]

Hi, I'm Rick and I'm a noisaoholic. Pretty much the whole day in my office, either KFOG, Air America Radio, or iTunes is playing. In the car it's KFOG (again), a Giants game, NPR or I'll surf talk radio to get pissed off.

What I'm reading: Neil Gaimon's Stardust
A grownup fairy tale about a boy looking for a fallen star.

On the shelf: The Triplets of Belleville just arrived from Netflix and is slated for this weekend's viewing.

If you haven't been over to Futurballa Photography lately, be sure to check out the new look.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Today's Suggested Viewing

The German film director Wim Wenders can be a pretty frustrating guy as an artist. Some of his work is borderline schlock, and he has had his flirtations with Hollywood fame, but at his best he is a visual poet. In his best films, Wenders has a slow, languid style of filmmaking. He concentrates on the visual, on the rhythms of the scene. Plot takes a back seat, but he manages not to be boring.

Arguably his finest work was 1987's Wings of Desire. This movie works on so many levels, a love story (That was unfortunately remade with Nick Cage), as an essay on Berlin before the fall of the wall, as a meditation on the secret lives of ordinary people, and as an allegorical tale about an Angel longing to touch and be touched.

Oh, and watch for Peter Falk. I often forget what a fine actor he is.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Point Counterpoint

If you are looking for a remedy to RNC spinpoints and the So Called Liberal Media, former conservative hitman David Brock has started a site for just that purpose. You might call it "Fox in the henhouse watch".

Media Matters for America

Monday, May 03, 2004

I'll be your mirror

There has been a major revamp of Futurballa Photography. It's a whole new look. Check it out.