Neural Flatus: Marbury v. Madison

More days than not some word pops up in my head and floats around until I look it up. It’s usually something I heard or learned about long enough ago to forget what it means, but I always find it satisfying to learn it all over again. I’ve re-learned the difference between parsimonious (stingy with money) and pusillanimous (timid) at least 3 times.

Today I had “Marbury v. Madison” poking me in the brain right out of bed. What the hell is that? I was pretty sure it was one of those Supreme Court of the United States cases that I learned about in high school government class, and 2 seconds of research confirmed it.

According to the SCOTUS-centric law resource, Oyez, Marbury v. Madison established the concept of judicial review. This means, basically, that the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional.

Okay! That’s out of my head. Maybe now I can focus on getting some work done before the weekend…

Metric Waste of Time

Perhaps the most depressing thing I learned working on a graduate business degree was the extent to which businesses worship metrics. Numerical measurements of whatever. And I get it – running a business carries risk, managers want certainty, and qualitative study doesn’t give you the information you can extrapolate into projections for the next quarter.

But in the years during and since my studies, I’ve become increasingly aware of the ways in which quantitative measures seem to trump any other reason for determining success. This isn’t always bad, but the preference for a number seems to lead to reductive conclusions about otherwise subjective experiences or results. I wish people would prod further and dig into subjective and qualitative findings rather than trying to convert everything to a number that can be charted and tracked by trendiness and measures of central tendency.

That Good Ol’ July Mish-mash

Lately it’s been difficult to think about posting sentimental family photos and random stuff to the internet in the face of unrelenting tragedy and political horrors. But what the hell. I’m stuck at home, you (if you’re American and responsible) are stuck at home. And I need an outlet. So here’s just a random assortment of a few things that made me happy from the past month.

I did, of course, make it down to what citizens have reclaimed as Marcus-David Peters Circle to see the fresh context all over the Lee statue’s pedestal. I love what Richmonder’s have done with the space to make it more welcoming and inclusive than the Commonwealth has ever done.
My son Wilson stuck an adhesive foam star over his eye and ran into the room declaring, “I’m a rock star, Daddy!”
And this is, well…this is just a frog warming up on the side of my mother-in-law’s house in Leland, NC. I don’t know what kind of frog, but my kids discovered it, and I managed to get waaaaaay up close to get a mug shot.

That’s really all I have for now. A scattershot summary of the past month by way of a reductive collection of smartphone pics.

Late Crapitalism

It never takes long for white folks and business to squeeze themselves in the middle of black suffering and response, whether it’s to co-opt the tone-direction of demonstrations, or to cash in on public sentiment.

But to see photos of Nationwide and State Farm setting up tents by the Lee Monument today? That’s surely one of the most crass displays of corporate opportunism I’ve seen in years.

Big ol’ Slides

Never not going to love shooting Fuji Provia 100F in medium format. As much as Fujifilm has reduced its film portfolio in the last decade or so, I’m continually surprised to see this one stick around.

I’m beguiled by the contrast, and the way the color rendition seems to be at once lifelike and saturated. It’s no Kodachrome (RIP), but it sure is a beaut.

I’m still working on putting some Kodak E100 mileage on my RZ67, and I like how it looks so far. But for the time being Provia remains at the top of my color film list.

ISO 400 Party

I learned about FP4 Party from Jess Hobbs’ YouTube channel, and some friends of mine and I started talking about it. Not all of us had FP4 on hand, and March had already just started. But we reworked it to suit our circumstances and decided to make it about whatever ISO 400 black & white film we each had in our respective inventories.

First week was shooting as much film as we could, second week was for processing, and the rest of the month for reviewing our results. I got my 3 process rolls of medium format film in the mail yesterday and got to scanning. These are the first results!

All of my 3 rolls were 10-year-expired Fujifilm Neopan 400 in 120 format, shot on my Mamiya RZ67. When Fuji discontinued the film stock, I bought a ton of rolls to keep in the freezer so I could extend the magic a little longer. I am SHOCKED at how beautiful this film looks after so many years. It reminds me why I loved it so much in the first place. I can’t wait to scan the rest of the film and see what I got!

Herb Alpert for my hooligans in Brooklyn

I was spacing out in my dentist’s office lobby the other day unconsciously bobbing my head to the quiet assortment of songs playing over the sound system when a very familiar minor 7th chord shook me out of my reverie:

Jump to around 3:09-ish if the video doesn’t start there.

Yeah, that’s right, turns out this is the famous bit sampled (and pitched down) in Biggie’s “Hypnotize”. Maybe I’m one of like, 5 people who didn’t know that, but it was fun connecting the sampling dots between a jazzy hit from the 70s and a modern hip hop classic.