empty storefront

Today I shot film in Petersburg with Jake, and this evening I developed my first roll of medium format at home. It's some kinda great rush you feel when you realize that what kinda control comes with this setup. I posted the top three pics from the roll on my photostream...

Flip it and reverse it.

upside-down shopping cart

Having Aperture has caused me to take another look at many of my older photos. I thought this was a fitting frame for the end of the major retail shopping season.

Christmas Awesomeness

Okay, so I know the point of Christmas is a celebration of God's Son coming to us, but I can't help spilling some sweet details of Christmas gift giving between Val and I.

First, Valerie gave me Aperture 2, Apple's professional photo-editing software. I'm only scratching the surface so far, but I plan to learn a lot more over the coming week as time permits.

Second...well, it's not so much what the gift IS that I gave Valerie as how I obtained it. I managed to procure a Wii Fit, but I initially had the hardest time finding one that wasn't jacked up to almost 200% of the retail price. Then I discovered that on Amazon you can enter your cell phone number to receive a text message when the item is available. Sure enough, three weeks ago I received a text message informing me that they had some inventory and I was able to land the item with no markup and Amazon's sweet Super Saving Shipping. Score another point for innovation!


Just in case I'm not blogging tomorrow on, oh, CHRISTMAS DAY, I figured I'd take a moment to wish a very merry Christmas to all who do and might read my website. Travel safely, if that's what you're doing, and God bless everybody.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
- John 1:14, ESV


defocused christmas tree

Cheap trick, yes, but I still dig it :-)

Useless Pop Quiz #2

Your life will end in 5 minutes but you're the only person who can know that. Who do you kiss good-bye - your pet hamster, or Ernest Borgnine? THERE ARE NO OTHER CHOICES.

Mountain-Grown Silver Halide Crystals, or, The best part of waking up is developer in your cup.

So it turns out you can make your own B&W film developer using coffee, sodium carbonate (soda ash or washing soda), and water. I don't know that I'm up for trying this out just yet, but it sure seems like a good idea in a pinch, and would likely work out much cheaper than a packet of Dektol.

There's even a group on Flickr dedicated to homemade film chemistry with enough solid results to make this look viable.

Useless Pop Quiz #1

Quick! You're building your dream house. Gambrel roof or Mansard?

Ode to Beaker

If this doesn't make you smile I don't want to know what does:


Shine a Light

I just finished skimming through the first 50 minutes of Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light and had to turn it off. Netflix delivered this DVD to my place nearly three months ago and I'm finally sending it back tomorrow morning, incompletely viewed.

Don't get me wrong - the direction was great, the camera work was what I expected, and the interstitial footage was fantastic. But this film is about 80% concert documentary, and I underestimated just how much I'd have to be a Stones fan to actually enjoy footage of the performances. I've never really been a Stones fan, and I remain thus after my partial viewing.

There was one serious problem I had with the concert footage though, too. As a musician and an appreciator of music I was put off by the boosted audio level of any instrument/musician on whom the camera focused. If the Charlie Watts was the main subject of a shot, for example, his drum levels were pumped up in the mix. For my taste this would have ruined the balance of music I love, let alone music I was merely tolerating for the sake of its filming.

Sorry Marty, but this one gets a 2/5 from me.

On a roll...

I would have written a more interesting blog post today, but blah blah blah...good annual review...blah blah blah...busy...blah blah blah...amazing rare-breed pork chop for dinner with the best mashed potatoes I've ever made...blah blah blah...

But really, I've been preoccupied playing Rolando.

The Care and Handling of Butter

The New York Times has a great article that fusses a little obsessively and in great detail over that most magical of ingredients, butter. There's a great mix of low-level science and advice tucked into what is ostensibly a discussion of Christmas cookies.

Movie Listage

The A.V. Club is one of very few movie review sites which I read, so while I'm sure it's contentious, I'm pleased to see their list of the best films of 2008. There are movies on this list of which I've never heard but, with their (as usual) solid commentary, I may just have to investigate a few of these further.

Time Around

clock cylinder

This clock over at the MoMA Store has me drooling...

Handmade Holiday Craft Show

Tomorrow from 10 - 5 is the Handmade Holiday Craft Show at the Visual Arts Center (where I took my photography course), and my buddy Phil is hawking is mighty wares. I plan to check it out, and if you're in or near Richmond tomorrow, you should, too. If you're participating in the mass consumerism around Christmas, you should at least consider supporting local artists and craftspeople.

Check out some fine examples of Phil's work on his Flickr account.

Ain't No Rudolph

fake reindeer made of christmas lights

This past Saturday I was able to get at least one decent shot of the James Center lawn decorations...

Go Jingle Something Else

We hated the snow and we needed the snow—what were we going to dash through once springtime arrived?

Jon Mehtven brings a little Christmas and economic levity with his Christmas Carols, Revised for the Recession.


graffiti on a loading dock door


clear water with a stick

Ain't No Prison

Ladies and gentlemen, the real Hanoi Hilton.
(with no disrespect to any past guest of the more notorious lodging)

AMAZING New Pizza Joint in Richmond

I was at Cupertino's yesterday with Valerie, and after I enjoyed one of the finest meatball parm subs in my life (with everything but the cheese made on premises) I had a chance to chat with the owner. He told me he'd been in Virginia now for about a year and a half, so I asked him where he liked to eat a good pizza. He'd eaten pizza from JoJo's downtown, but his recommendation was for this newish place in the middle-West End: Capriccio's.

Situated in the old Jersey Mike's slot (I think there have been a few other places since Jersey Mike's left) in the T.J. Maxx shopping center off Broad/Tuckernuck, Capriccio's pizza may be a true rival to any pizza I've yet tasted in the R-I-C, and could hold its own among the great pizza of the Northeastern US. Naturally, further research is required (lots of research), but everything about their true Neapolitan-style pie is done right. The sauce, the cheese, the crust, the balance of everything...oh my, it's delicious. The crust, particularly, the literal and figurative foundation of any good pizza, was second only to my experience in Napoli. It was as crisp as it needed to be, chewy the rest of the way through, and tasty enough to eat on its own. This place is close enough to my office that I may become a frequent lunch patron...

This is probably a good time to make another statement, though. I tried Tarrantino's a while back (I could have sworn I wrote about it, but I can't find the post...) when it was starting to receive heavy buzz around town, and I was flabbergasted by how good it was. I talked to the young tattooed fella in the kitchen and he claimed to make the sauce and pizza dough himself. It was truly amazing. So I revisited a few times, but I never saw this guy there again, and each time the pizza got progressively worse. It wasn't bad, per se, but it just wasn't good. I fault the fact that it was part of
Tarrant's Cafe (which is decent on its own, but it's not a pizzeria) and was really just an add-on in the first place.

Capriccio's, on the other hand, is a stand-alone Italian food joint that seems mostly to be a pizza parlor. The owners know what's what, and seem to be involved in the food more intimately. Let's hope it sticks around for much longer than the six weeks they've put in already. I certainly plan to support them with my money and stomach :-)


Question: What is $352,800?

Answer: The highest possible score on a single day of Jeopardy.

1. I'm using the current value of each square as of the date of this post, where they start at $200 in the first round.
2. A player would have to answer correctly for every single square, Daily Double, and Final Jeopardy.
3. The Daily Double in the first round would have to be the last square in the first round, and the last two in Double Jeopardy.
4. All three Daily Double squares would have to be the lowest denomination for each round ($200 in the first round, and $400 in Double Jeopardy).
5. The player would have to risk everything on each Daily Double square and in Final Jeopardy.

I totally think this should be a Final Jeopardy puzzle :-)


Amazon and IMDB have collaborated on a music website called SoundUnwound - and it even has some wiki-like elements allowing users to submit page edits (I've already submitted corrections for Steve Taylor's page). It's not the prettiest website around, but it does have sound clips from AmazonMP3, YouTube clips, and plenty of room for growth.

With its strong backers and potential, this site may surpass the Allmusic Guide as my primary music research tool.

Low and Slow

mugs in an alley

I have two shots up on Flickr from my first roll of Efke 25 - a super low ISO black and white film from Croatia. It's interesting so far, but I think I need to try the second one in more appropriate shooting situations or with a tripod.

The Way of the Edsel

David Friedman delivers the funny.