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Epistulae Ciceronis
A Perfectly Squiffy Jag

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25.07.08 Friday
10:05 am - Stereotypes: European, Italian, American Tourists...
Since I've now spent a week in Rome it's unsurprising that I am now an expert on all things Italian. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I'm an expert in all things European. It's one of the benefits of having a supreme intellect: in less than seven days of embedding myself amongst tourists, I can confirm and refute the collective consciousness of millions and millions of people before me: travelers, citizens, politicians, philosophers, academics - what would they know?

To participate, simply reply with stereotypes regarding Europe, Italy and American Tourists. These don't have to be stereotypes you hold true, they just need to be popular opinions. In response, I will (once and for all, with absolute certainty) confirm or refute these ideas into the bastions of Myth or Fact with my shocking clarity of mind and insight into culture.

Ready? Go.


location: Rome, Italy

{int i; i=18; i++}

23.07.08 Wednesday
06:15 am - Rome.



Piazza del Popolo, built in 1818 by Giuseppe Valadier.


Arco di Settimio Severo from the third century.


I crashed a wedding at the basilica of Santa Maria del Miracoli.


So many statues, so many churches - not sure which one this was in.

[+89]

Considering that we did zero planning, Rome is treating us exceptionally well. While Katie's been at her conference, I've walked pretty much everywhere in central Rome at least twice (I've put an easy 125 miles on my shoes). At this point, I feel like I've gotten a very solid feel for the city.

AccommodationsCollapse ).
AcclimatingCollapse ).
TourismCollapse ).
Food and cultureCollapse ).
The night lifeCollapse ).
MoneyCollapse ).

This set includes everything you'd expect: ancient Roman ruins, gothic cathedrals, Renaissance palaces, a variety of statues covering two-thousand years of history, Etruscan art, fountains, piazzas, ceiling frescos, etc, etc. The only notable item it doesn't include (yet) is Saint Peter's basilica and other sights from the Vatican City - that'll happen in the next couple days.




location: Rome, Italy

{int i; i=21; i++}

17.07.08 Thursday
05:22 pm - Munich+






[+16 | Slideshow]

I haven't taken many photos in the last year. I thought it might be because I had bumped up against the technical limitations of my equipment, so I went out and bought a Canon 40D. I really like it; much more professional and better built than the Rebel line; certainly worth the extra weight and size. I've realized, though, that the problem wasn't my equipment so much as I've come to prefer being engaged in the moment; hiding behind a camera creates a buffer with the world that I used to appreciate, but which also interferes with the now. Anyway, regardless, it'll probably take me a few days to get back into the habit of taking photographs - especially while learning a new language as I go.

I flew into Munich a few days ago to visit my friend Heather. Now we're in Rome; Katie is giving a presenation on "Stability of Periodic Solutions to Euler's Equations for Surface Gravity Waves" at a mathematics conference. While she's doing that I'm going to brave the pickpockets, humidity, price-gouging and, most notably, the legions of tourists by wandering around the historical district. If anyone wants a souvenir let me know. I plan on taking some bricks from the Colloseum to use as patio pavers, and I promised Ashley I would grab her Pauline Bonaparte's marble nipple while I'm at Galleria Borghese.




{int i; i=23; i++}

11.06.08 Wednesday
03:29 pm - Industrial Design Ethics Committee



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24.05.08 Saturday
04:51 pm - Life.
Sometimes I take plants for granted. Othertimes I think of them as self-replicating, self-healing (and sometimes edible!) machines that dominate the earth. And then the world is fascinating all over again.

Tags:

{int i; i=3; i++}

20.05.08 Tuesday
11:40 am - The Kennedys
Katie:  Did you hear about Senator Kennedy? He has a brain tumor. It's really sad.
Me:All of the Kennedys die in strange and unusual ways. Like skiing accidents.
Katie: That was Sonny Bono. You're thinking of an airplane crash.
Me:No, that was a different Kennedy. Anyway, I always assumed it was the CIA trying to finish the job.
Katie: Next it will be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Me:That makes no sense at all.
Katie: He's married to a Kennedy.
Me:Yeah - but have you seen The Terminator. I mean, the CIA can't even take out Castro.



{int i; i=2; i++}

23.04.08 Wednesday
08:51 am - Drink Till She's Cute
I want to create a site that is basically like Hot or Not, but instead of rating people on some abstract numeric scale you'll simply indicate the number of beers it would take.


{int i; i=8; i++}

19.04.08 Saturday
12:16 pm - Louisiana Trip







[+33 | Slideshow]

When we were in Louisiana for Christmas, we drove around the rural areas in the southern part of the state checking out the swamps, plantations, churches and villages. I didn't take too many photos and of the photos I took I don't think it's that interesting of a set - which is unfortunate because it was an interesting trip.

This was also the first time I tried out my half neutral density filter which I bought like three years ago but never got around to using. A lot of these photos show an obvious abuse of the filter; lesson learned. Others, however, did effectively compensate for a blown-out sky - which is exactly what the filter is intended for.

Highlights from the set: me with a baby alligator, nappy headed angels, my spider friend.



{int i; i=9; i++}

12.04.08 Saturday
09:59 am - Supporting the Troops = Supporting the War
The "support the troops, not the war" fad bothers me on several fronts. Of course, being a fad, this is an unpopular position. But that's never stopped me from getting up on my soapbox before. In fact, if anything it's probably my biggest motivator to speak up. And it's rants like this where my conservative sensibilities start to shine throughCollapse )


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28.03.08 Friday
01:49 am - Steven and Emilie's Wedding











[+92 | Slideshow]


{int i; i=11; i++}

23.03.08 Sunday
07:05 pm - When in Rome
This weekend, we went to Vancouver with goldfischegirl and uncelestial. Since Vancouver is known for good dim sum we made a point of getting lunch at a highly-rated Chinese restaraunt in Richmond on the way back. And, since half the fun of dim sum is trying new things...

    Waiter #1: Are you sure you understand what you're getting...?
    Waiter #2: You ordered duck tongue...? [Sticks her tongue out].
    Waiter #3: No, I wouldn't eat that. I guess my parents' might have...?
So we told them that just because they were willing to forsake their culture didn't mean that we were. Based on this, John and I are happy to announce the formation of the first chapter of "Gweilos for the Preservation of Chink Culture".

{int i; i=8; i++}

20.01.08 Sunday
10:53 pm - Ashley's Birthday Party









[+22 | Slideshow]

Last night at goldfischegirl's birthday, where it was rediscovered just how much fun one can have with whipped cream. Unfortunately, no one got photos of sarevilo as she was pretty damned hot - and she vetoed the three I took of her.


{int i; i=1; i++}

16.12.07 Sunday
05:47 pm - WIFI Networks
The other day caseyplusplus pointed out that one of his neighbors had a wireless network called CrotchRaiders "CrotchCapers". This resulted in speculation as to which neighbor owned the network.

What is your wireless network called? What about your neighbors?
  • BeeBug Link

  • dsus4dsus2

  • Ithaeland (mine)

  • Khalsa

  • madden net

  • NETGEAR

  • magnisonu

  • TUX


{int i; i=20; i++}

01.12.07 Saturday
06:07 pm - Apple Upgrades, Quality vs. Cost.
It's remarkable just how much Apple marks up their upgrades. Many people respect Apple for the simplicity of their product offerings and they really capitalize upon that in their accessories: both hard drives and memory are priced on a linear scale, despite the fact that the industry standard hardware is priced on a non-linear distribution. The base cost of their computers aren't bad at all (if you factor in the base quality of their components), but if you upgrade with Apple you are getting robbed.

Memory PricesCollapse ). The Bell Curve: Ego and IgnoranceCollapse ). Quality vs. PriceCollapse ).


{int i; i=12; i++}

12:44 pm - Hardware performance, system bloat and why you should uninstall McAfee.
I'm fascinated by how many people I know upgrade their computers every couple years - even though what we do with them hasn't changed all that much.

That made sense in the 80s and 90s when the limits of the technology were obvious when we bought them - for instance, not having enough memory to have Word and Photoshop open simultaneously or it taking 20 seconds to perform basic operations on large photographs. Unless you're working with videos or doing heavy computations (e.g., Katie's math stuff), though, computers that are several years old should more than meet today's needs - at least, one would think.

A RantCollapse ). Relating this to OSS and OOPCollapse ). And Moore's LawCollapse ). Building The CubeCollapse ).

I could go on but this is already the longest blog post I've ever written and one that will likely only interest two-three people who actually read what I write. Plus it's snowing and despite the fact that I live in a lifeless slice of middle-class suburbia where every house is a clone of its neighbor, it is actually remarkably beautiful when it snows here. Meaning I'm distracted and the last thing I want to do is spend the day typing at the machine.


{int i; i=5; i++}

21.11.07 Wednesday
01:03 pm - Wick.
A few weeks ago a spider showed up on my monitor. I don't like spiders, but he seemed small and harmless so I let him be. A few minutes later I found him on my keyboard - as I was typing. Later on, while on a conference call, he crawled up onto the speaker phone. Very peculiar.

Over the next few days I grew fond of this spider. Most spiders are stationary and just hang out on their web acting creepy. This spider is nomadic and curious; he's constantly walking around checking out what's on my desk. I guess he's probably just hunting for food, but it seems inquisitive.

One day, he jumped from the top of my monitor to the top of a bottle of scotch that I keep on my desk. He's a jumping spider! It was really amazing to watch. I guess I knew some spiders can jump but it was really exciting to see it. Once he learned how to jump he started exploring the entire office - his world just got larger.

Then he disappeared. I was really worried that one of my cats had eaten him or, worse, I had accidentally crushed him. I've never felt concerned about crushing bugs, but this was different. The idea that he had been killed really upset me. But then he showed up again, on my keyboard, as though he's always been there.

A few days ago I went to the bathroom and was washing my hands when, in the mirror, I noticed him on my collar. It was both endearing and frightening. For the first time he made me nervous. I began to slowly take off my shirt, but he started crawling toward my neck. I panicked and took my shirt off quickly and in the process he fell to the ground. I felt terrible! So I held out a tissue which he crawled up on and I brought him back to my office. For a few minutes he watched me carefully and would get defensive anytime I moved - I think I really scared him. I was afraid I'd ruined things with my new friend.

After half an hour he seemed to warm up to me again, though, and came back to the keyboard where he spend the better part of the afternoon. Later on Shinji (my cat) came and lay across my arms (which makes typing really hard!) and the spider tried to crawl up onto him - although he seemed to have trouble navigating the maze of fur, so I'm not sure if he succeeded.

On Friday, I went to shut the door and noticed a different (bigger) spider caught in the doorway. His leg had been crushed, but he was still alive. Normally I'd have just crushed him, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I picked him up and moved him to the floor. He limped off. On another occassion I saw an earwig on the banister and flicked it without thinking; I smashed half of it and the other half was writhing. I killed him so he would stop suffering. I felt really terrible.

Katie doesn't get it. She think he looks creepy. I guess he does. He has these furry white pedipalps which I think look like a beard, but I suppose are pretty daunting.

As an aside, I think the spiders we kept running into in Guatemala were a variety of Nephila (known as "golden silk orb-weavers"). The variety found in Central America are, apparently, only mildly poisonous but fairly painful due to their size.


{int i; i=23; i++}

11.11.07 Sunday
02:37 pm - Dead Baby Jokes


Stolen from uncelestial. I was mildly amused up until the third frame, at which point I honestly couldn't stop laughing.


{int i; i=2; i++}

13.10.07 Saturday
01:37 pm - What is black?
In all of the excitement and hype of Hispanic Awareness Year, our friends of darker skin colors have been largely neglected. In an effort to bring attention to the diversity of flavors that minorities come in, I'd like to address an important issue: what is black?

Recently, NSBE Magazine voted Microsoft the best place for black engineers to work. The cover of the magazine shows two (undoubtebly) black boxers with an audience of (allegedly) black corporate-types in the background. Now, as a black American* I find this wildly offensive.

Up front, this magazine promotes the stereotypical association of blacks as athletes, and particularly boxers, which detracts from other socially equalizing images such as the black politician, the black diplomat, or the black actor (yes, these jobs now all come in black).

Additionally, and more importantly, the group of (allegedly) black corporate-types are much lighter than the boxers - in some cases, so much so that it's only clear that they're black because of the context. This supports two other stereotypes that really get under my skin.

First, successful black people are light skinned. Everyone knows that. Look at Michael Jackson and Halle Berry. Clearly, the darker skinned people belong in the ring, where as the light skin people belong in the office.

Second, that One Drop of African blood makes you black. Essentially, white means 100% white; everything else is black. I'm roughly 10% Native American, but no one would identify my as a red skin. Admittedly, stereotypically black traits are often genetically dominant (e.g., black hair) but how is it that someone who is a majority non-African be considered black? (Let's disregard for a minute that blacks aren't exclusive to Africans).

To help illustrate this, I've developed a Scientifically Foolproof measure of Blackness, and applied it to the photos on this page. Note that the Authentic Black® (source) is 66% black. The boxers are around 50%. The corporate engineers? 40% - a full 20% less black than the Authentic Black®.

Kola Boof's extremely racially offensive and politically incorrect article "The PROOF: Authentic Blackness" pretty much sums up my opinion on the matter. She observes the trend, particularly in America, for beauty and success amongst blacks (particularly black women) to be associated with lighter and lighter skin. She argues that most African Americans are not Authentic Blacks and, in fact, that their actions and breeding patterns show a resentment of their African heritage. She argues that a shared heritage, cultural background or cause does not make you black - only blood. "We are not so worthless...that just anybody can be us." (I recommend reading the full article; it's full of memorable quotes such as referencing the BET as "white supremacist minstrel network.. (aka 'the mulatto follies')".

* OK, so I'm not a black American. In fact, according to my Scientifically Foolproof measure of blackness, I'm only 9%. I did make it all the way through a broadcast of the Tavis Smiley show once, though. Do you think it'd give me a chance with this hottie??

Current Friend-Of Count: 322.


{int i; i=17; i++}

05.09.07 Wednesday
02:14 pm - Pre-Order Brides
MarryYourDaughter.com. Brilliant.


{int i; i=30; i++}

13.08.07 Monday
10:53 am - Dog and Crab Wedding









[+70 | Slideshow]

I'm sure the legend of hotcrab and Ryan's wedding is now old news to most of you, but for those who weren't able to make it here are some photos to give you a taste of the debauchery.

The short of it: caseyplusplus, sidspencer, herbaliser and velvet and I stole a Mercedes, loaded it up with various forms of entertainment and headed straight for San Francisco. Three sleepless nights, scores of friends, a handful of crack whores, two inappropriately placed manikins, a ruined swimming pool, a marching band, a marriage, a few hazy moments and countless photographs best forgotten later we returned home.

Edit: Oh, and courtesy of xotiffany, here's one of me right after fierceflawless pulled me into the pool. This was back when you could still see the bottom of the pool, which didn't last long.


{int i; i=8; i++}

11.08.07 Saturday
10:33 am - "I'd love to tug those rings just a little with my teeth."
In response to a photo I posted, thaumata asks:
    so, i am curious about something: as a woman, every time i post any kind of even slightly risque photo, i can expect sleazy comments from strangers that i've never even heard of. i mean, i can post an empty shoe and get six comments from the foot guys, and there are obviously tons of men trolling for boobies on flickr, which entertains me to no end. (they are called lives... look into it...)

    but as a girl, i'm really used to this. i expect it. but i always wonder what, as a guy posting photos of women, you think about comments like this, and what it makes you think about the other people who share your gender.

    thoughts?

    ps - someone should tell that guy that beautiful has a U.
My response: People like sex.Collapse )

Which is why I'm officially announcing my decision to become a erotic porn photographer. Who's my first subject? Besides Sid?


{int i; i=25; i++}

09.08.07 Thursday
11:33 am - Write my Epitath.
Various recent events have reminded me that, counter to popular belief, I may not be immortal. With that in mind, I'd like to be prepared with an epitath. What would you write on my tombstone? Anonymous comments enabled, of course.


{int i; i=21; i++}

08.08.07 Wednesday
02:33 pm - Tom and Carrie's Wedding








[+102 | Slideshow]

A few weeks ago, Katie and I went up to Vancouver to shoot a friend-of-a-friend's wedding. This is the first wedding we've shot together since discussing starting a wedding photography business and so Katie took the lead and I assisted; while it was all-around a learning experience, she did a great job organizing the group shots and keeping track of the schedule, which are the parts I'm terrible at.

On the downside, very few of our ceremonial shots turned out. In the future we'll be taking a more active hand in coordinating the location and placement to make sure it's photographer-friendly. Also, I was a bit overambitious with my depth of field and so many of my photos are fuzzy - that's always a risk, but on hindsight I should have played it safer. There were also some technical difficulties with flash, batteries, memory cards, etc; if we do this professionally we'll be doubling up on equipment to help safeguard against that.

Most of all, though, we learned a lot about our process. There were mixups w/ uploading cards during the ceremony causing duplicates. Also, in trying to share the processing between two machines we discovered some really bizarre behavior (likely bugs) in Adobe Lightroom which we have yet to isolate and work-around - this resulted in us having to process the photos twice due to lost metadata.

That all said, I'm satisfied with the photos that turned out. I experimented more with exposure than I usually do and I think the results were nice. Also, apparently the wedding party felt really comfortable with us which was good to hear. I don't think anyone who reads this blog knows anyone in the photos, but they might be fun to skim; it was a good wedding.

{int i; i=3; i++}

27.06.07 Wednesday
04:11 pm - Eddie


I'm at Trabant. The University District just isn't the same without all of the cute freshmen girls in their short skirts and tight shirts. Eddie just came in and sat next to me. He smells like gasoline. It reminds me of that scene in The Reflecting Skin. You know what scene I'm talking about. I preferred it when he smelled like body odor. There is something divine about body odor, in that Walt Whitman sense. There is nothing divine about gasoline. Has anyone reading this ever huffed gasoline? I've done a lot of stupid stuff in my life, but that's beyond even me; the motive behind it is a total mystery to me.

{int i; i=20; i++}

18.06.07 Monday
01:32 pm - Tagging this blog is a felony



I actually took this photo a long time ago, but I think I forgot to post it. This sign found near goldfischegirl's house on an abandoned factory.



{int i; i=4; i++}

11.06.07 Monday
12:33 pm - Cooper: Age One









[+43 | Slideshow]

Cooper's about to have his first birthday, so we returned to Bothell Landing (where we took prego-photos last year) to photograph the occassion.

Katie also photographed her department's graduation on Saturday and so she rented the 85mm f/1.2 lens from Glazers for the weekend. This is the lens I'm contemplating buying, but wasn't sure if it was worth the $2,000 sticker price. The optical quality of the lens is amazing; the photos posted here have no adjustment to contrast, curves or saturation - it's really impressive how much of a difference good quality glass can make. My only concern about the lens is that the autofocus performance is really poor (which is a popular complaint); I really didn't think this would bother me as it's mostly a portrait lens and thus better used with manual focus, but it made shots where the subject is moving toward the camera really difficult (like this one, of Cooper chasing a dog).


{int i; i=5; i++}

07.06.07 Thursday
07:10 pm - Those Crazy Mormons.
My dad loaned us Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer on audio CD, and Katie has been listening to it pretty much non-stop for the last few days. I haven't been listening too closely to it, but this particular clip caught my ear...

"During pretrial hearings, Ron's behavior in the courtroom served to underscore his lawyers' contention that he was mentally incompetent. He appeared with a cloth sign attached to the seat of his prison jumpsuit that read, EXIT ONLY; his attorneys explained that he wore the sign to ward off the Mormon angel Moroni, who Ron believed was an evil homosexual spirit trying to invade his body through his anus. He believed that this same sodomizing spirit had already taken possession of Judge Hansen's body, which is why Ron made a point of shouting profanities at the judge and addressing him with such epithets as 'Punky Brewster' and 'fucking punk.'"


{int i; i=23; i++}

14.04.07 Saturday
12:18 pm - My new nerd blog.
For those of you tired of me geeking out here, you'll be relieved to know that I've started a separate blog off my company's website for technology, development and management topics. For the couple of you who actually read that stuff, you can find the new blog at blogs.ignia.com (RSS: Feedburner, jeremycaneydev). Note that I won't be monitoring the local LJ feed for comments.

It's probably not that exciting unless you're a developer. Or a really dedicated stalker.


{int i; i=9; i++}

26.02.07 Monday
07:18 pm - Isla Mujeres, Mexico (Cont)




[+30 | Slideshow]

One more from the Mexico set (the links are to the same set as the previous post). This was the beach outside our hotel which was really a perfect spot. Katie and I spent a couple days snorkeling and ended up getting sun burns - oops.


{int i; i=1; i++}

07:13 pm - Isla Mujeres, Mexico






[+30 | Slideshow]

Katie and I headed down to Isla Mujeres, Mexico with Reg and Laural last week for a quick break from the cold. It was a fun trip, although it verified that I'm definitely not the beach-vacation type; it's fine for a few days, but after that I was getting pretty restless for some tromping through the jungle. I mean, it's just not Central America without swarms of mosquitoes, giant spiders and poisonous snakes you know?


{int i; i=5; i++}

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