I’ve had about ten different tabs open in my browser for the past week, which usually means they contain something interesting and it’s probably time to share them. Here goes:
Here’s an article about why mirrorless cameras are better than DSLRs; I haven’t actually been shooting much in the last eight months, but it’s always good to refresh my memory. The big takeaway here is about using focus peaking in the viewfinder, something you can’t do on a DSLR unless you’re using Live View.
We saw Soul on Friday night. It was good—as usual, Pete Docter (writer/director of Wall-E, Up and Inside Out) takes a big, adult concept and makes a warm, human-centered movie out of it. My only complaint is that it felt rushed compared to other Pixar movies—a lot happens and they speed through it all quickly. It could have benefited from a little more time throughout to breathe and let the character beats settle. Still—recommended. Here’s the song Just Us, which ran over the credits, but which I really loved:
Finally, we saw the movie Uncle Frank on Saturday evening: a gay man in New York returns to South Carolina for his father’s funeral in 1973; along with him for the ride are his niece and boyfriend. Finley needs more gay uncles like these.
I was with sadness this morning that I read of the death of Grant Imahara, one of the hosts of Mythbusters, a show I watched as much as I could during its run from 2003–2016. There were several elements of the show I found annoying, mainly the narration, but I always enjoyed the format, the enthusiasm of the hosts, and the subject matter. Imahara was one of the best parts of the show—all science, and no attempt to be an outsized personality.
In 2013, he destroyed bee hives placed just outside of the mansion’s northern wall by the neighboring Jewish Central Reform Congregation and left a note saying he did it, and if the mess wasn’t cleaned up quickly he would seek a restraining order and attorneys fees.
This is the guy who gets a law degree just to make the rest of the world miserable. I was happy to see the cops showed up and confiscated their guns, especially after seeing how fucking stupid Karen was with her trigger finger.
But while I would risk my own safety to protect a statue of his from harm, I’ll fight to my last breath to defend every American’s freedom to have his or her own opinion about Washington’s flawed history. What some on the other side don’t seem to understand is that we can honor our founders while acknowledging their serious faults, including the undeniable fact that many of them enslaved Black Americans.
Because while we have never been a perfect union, we have always sought to be a more perfect union — and in order to do so, we cannot whitewash our missteps and mistakes. We must learn from them instead.
To hear Carlson, a privileged frat bro who was turned down by the CIA, question the patriotism of a woman who served in her country’s military, learned to fly rotary-wing aircraft, and who lost her legs in combat, just boggles my mind. The fact that the red states elected the guy who called John McCain a “loser” for being shot down in Vietnam illustrates the mental gymnastics these idiots—who claim daily they “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS”—have to do to convince themselves they’re right.
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Seat Time Cars is a search engine which finds cars with a manual transmission for sale under $5,000 in any geographic area you desire. There are a lot of cheap Miatas on there that I’d wager have been thrashed to within an inch of their lives, but they sure look like fun…
Retrobatch is a small app that does batch processing of image files without all of the overhead of Photoshop. It’s fully scriptable and there are workflows that can be built and saved into standalone droplets. I haven’t worked out the kinks yet but I’m building one to convert iPhone HEIC image files to high-quality JPGs.
I’m coming back up for air after a busy couple of weeks. Hopefully I can finish up some long-standing projects at work (one of which gobbled up my entire Super Bowl weekend) so that I can focus on other things. Things like:
Moving idiotking to a different hosting platform. I’ve been talking about doing this for years but have never gotten around to it, and my hosting bill at the current provider comes due on my birthday. It’s time to put the wheels in motion.
Organizing a snowboarding trip with Finn and Zachary. There are two issues here that I haven’t figured out yet: it hasn’t snowed at all this year, so I need to find someplace that has been making decent amounts of fresh snow, and getting Zachary over the Bay early enough that we don’t pull in to the ski resort at 3 in the afternoon. It might be that we do an overnight at our house and get an early start the next morning, or we meet Karean over the bridge at the crack of dawn. TBD.
Getting some wood filler strips ordered for the bathroom, and scheduling someone to come out and measure for the countertops. With Hazel’s condition being what it is—and no end in sight there—I haven’t touched the bathroom in over a month. I’d really like to pick that back up and make some progress.
Brewing some beer. I have a kit in the basement that’s been waiting since last summer, and I’m tired of waiting around for my brewing friends to get their act together. This means I’ll have to brew inside, which always makes Jen really happy. While we were in Orlando I tried a chocolate stout that was delicious—flavorful and satisfying, but light in finish. I think that will be the next one I try, with an eye towards bottling and conditioning over the summer months for a fall unveiling.
Cleaning up the basement. It’s a disaster down there, and there are a lot of long-standing organizational issues that need to be resolved. We’ve been out of shelf space for years, so there are boxes on the floor in random places, and there are piles of things that need to go to goodwill that have been sitting for months. It needs a brutal culling and then some re-organization. And I need to build more shelves in the ice room.
A dump run. There are 12 casement windows leaning up against the back porch, two garbage cans full of debris, 1 ton of lead window weights, and a pile of other crap that have been waiting to leave since September. Done!
Oh, yeah, there’s the other small matter of my sabbatical, which is now 6 months overdue, and for which there is no current plan. We can now start shopping around for airfare, as we’re within the purchasing window of opportunity. I happened to chat with an old work friend through Instagram while we were in Orlando, and I recalled that she runs a side gig planning trips to Japan. That got some wheels turning, and I asked her if we could discuss the rough outline of a trip for the family. More on that possibility later…
I don’t know what else I can write about 2016 that hasn’t been covered elsewhere; from my humble perspective everything in the world that I know seems to have gone completely sideways. We elected a narcissistic clown for president, we lost Prince, Bowie, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Abe motherfucking Vigoda. Closer to home, the plumbing crapped out, the boiler blew a gasket, we had to trade two trees in our backyard for a summer vacation, and on that vacation we had to deal with head lice.
On the positive side, the Lockardugans did what we could to make progress in 2016. Finley entered the Second Grade and tested in the 90th percentile for both math and english. She learned how to snowboard and ride a bike. We had fun at the beach and in Philadelphia for our vacation. I was lucky enough to travel to Mexico and London and work in some sightseeing time. We refinanced our house and set the wheels in motion to start working on it again.
Miles of copy has already been written about the possibilities and perils of the next four years. Personally, I’m terrified; I didn’t predict the election results, but I tried to get us as prepared financially as I could–we already know that interest rates are going up, and I’m betting that our new president’s inability to censor himself will cause gigantic ripples in the economy that he won’t feel. Beyond that, he’s surrounded himself with a bunch of supply-side economists, big business apologists, and frightening throwbacks to Jim Crow America. They will start making decisions that will have lasting effects on my family’s well-being for decades. Our balance on the knife edge of the Middle Class has never felt more precarious.
And yet, I’m still hanging on to optimism. I work for an organization that is gearing itself up to fight for sustainable environmental policies. My family is healthy, and my daughter is thriving. We will teach her to fight for the truth, think independently, make smart decisions for herself, and to be a compassionate and socially conscious woman. Because I think those qualities in that gender are exactly what this country needs.
Well, that’s it. All of the old hand-coded log is now here in WordPress. After I-don’t-know-how-many-years, I finished migrating it the other night, so everything from 2001 is included here.
Meanwhile, poking around my other site, I came across a bunch of stuff I’d forgotten about. From 2002-2005 (pre-Flickr) I used to use a small script to generate galleries of photos and then post them to my website, but there’s never been any real good list of links to the whole cache. Here’s a master list, in date-correct order:
6/7/02 – Backyard pictures from my old house in Canton 6/11/02 – More backyard progress shots 6/22/02 – Assorted pictures, Jen’s apartment kitchen 7/6/02 – Fourth of July weekend and some more backyard pictures 7/15/02 – Model T Club meetup in Ellicot City 7/30/02 – July vacation in Aurora 9/1/02 – Labor Day in Aurora 9/14/02 – Matt comes in from San Francisco, and our group of friends meets at Rob & Karean’s house in Canton 3/18/03 – Snowfall in Canton 3/17/03 – St. Patrick’s Day weekend 3/29/03 – Checking out a old building on River Road in Ellicott City bimini_photos – Bimini pictures divelog – Bimini trip writeup with pictures 5/27/2003 – Engagement trip to Savannah, GA 5/10/03 wedding – Tim & Betty’s wedding in DC 5/24/03 – Engagement trip to Aurora 6/7/03 – Lockard reunion in Orlando 7/4/03 – Fourth of July 2003, up in Aurora 7/25/03 Stas & Vicki’s wedding in NY 9/8/03 – New Catonsville house pictures 12/21/03 – Christmas dinner on Tyndale Ave. 4/4/20 – Spring flowers Wedding – Wedding pictures Rome – Honeymoon trip to Rome with writeup 4/10/9 – Matt & Sophie’s wedding in San Francisco 4/11/26 – B&O Railroad Museum Baby – Finn’s progression in Jen’s belly House – Shots from the first day we looked at the house House_photos – A few pictures from the house inspection House_progress – Semi-updated gallery of house renovation pictures
Oklahoma – Pictures of the crazy roadside signs in Oklahoma, 1992
Panoramics – Test panoramics (needs a Java applet, which I don’t have a link for)
At some point, I’d like to upload all of these to Flickr, but I don’t know of a way to backdate them so that they list in sequence. I’ll have to look into that some more.
Our weekend was full and fun. Saturday we started out with a soccer game under bright blue skies. Finn claimed she was nervous on the ride over, but as she got onto the field and comfortable, she guarded the goal well.
On one play toward the second half of the game, she collected the ball in front of her own goal and drove it all the way down the field to the other side–and past the opposing team’s goal. She’s come so far in a couple of weeks!
In the afternoon she hung out with me while I got a bunch of boring house chores done:
Hauled brush to the dump
Brought in the AC units
Closed the storm windows
Cleaned off the front porch
Cleaned up and closed up the attic
Closed up the cracks in our foundation with hydraulic cement
Then we walked over to the neighbors’ and grilled on their deck. As the sun set we built a fire in the firepit, enjoyed adult conversation, and let the kids play until long after bedtime.
I’m wrapping up a lot of small projects here today:
I’ve got a sick iMac on my desk waiting for a fresh install of Snow Leopard. The hard drive died on it last week so I had R&K drop it off to let me do a little surgery. I put a new 1TB drive in it and got it back up and running. Now I have to find out what OS it tops out at and attempt a rebuild from their backup.
I’ve had another sick MacBook Pro come in and out of the office, the victim of an overstuffed email database and general malaise.
I’ve got a web project for Finn’s old pre-K school that’s going pretty well. It’s a church site I built in WordPress with some nice calendar functionality and some other custom features, and I’m waiting for them to start adding content so that I can style it and fill out the pages.
I’ve got another client who’s going through a move and needed two MailChimp templates for a pair of email blasts, as well as an updated address to all the pages on their site.
We’ve got a friend who’s been looking to get a personal WordPress site off the ground for a while, and has a renewed focus on making that happen.
I was able to wrap up a lot of small things this afternoon, which feels good and should open my weeknights back up. Last week I was bouncing from one thing to the next but not making a lot of headway, so an afternoon’s full attention made all the difference. I like having paying work, and I’d like to solicit some more, just as long as it’s not overwhelming–as it has in the past.
I keep meaning to post a link to Open Culture, but I get sidetracked by watching/reading/exploring hours of links of video footage–lectures, documentaries, photo archives, and other great stuff. This site should have a Roku channel of its own.
The Colts have officially cut Peyton Manning, which makes about as much sense as cancelling the moon program while your guys are still in space. Seriously, what the hell are they thinking? Even on a bad day the guy is worth four quarterbacks. They’ve spent more than ten years building a team around him; they were 2-14 last year without him. It’s going to be a long couple of years in Indianapolis.
Apple announced another iPad I probably won’t buy (not because I don’t want one) but did update the AppleTV to 1080p, added AirPlay and iCloud support, which means there will be one in our immediate future once the new TV mount is finished.
I wrote a quick piece for a car blog I frequent about the repossession business, inspired by pictures I took as a 14-year-old of the coolest cars to come through the lot. The Lotus was hard to beat, but I wish I had that shiny gold Porsche now.
This is something to keep an eye on: a $400 digitizer for 8mm film, licensed through the Kodak brand name. From what it says, it will take film and output 1080p mp4 files, but I don't see how you might focus or sharpen what's going through the machine. I spent about $15 per reel to digitize a bunch of our family film earlier this year, and if I had boxes of 8mm film I might seriously consider this—but I think I'll wait.
For me, and probably for many of Lev’s customers, being able to keep using equipment that we’ve been using for decades, that has our own little victory images psychically imprinted in them is not just an exercise in stubbornness and nostalgia (though that is surely part of it!)
Rodgers complained that the “cancel culture” was coming for him, but his own words cancel him as a liar and a bad thinker. If he had a principled objection to the vaccine, he could have chosen not to play, like Kyrie Irving, who at least is honest. What really sacked his whining stance was his refusal to wear a mask during interviews to protect others from sickness and death.
Jen and I have been talking for years about how we can't understand the white evangelical embrace of the Great Pumpkin and his predecessors. A new book goes into the history of evangelicalism and traces its roots back to the beginning of the previous century, and the racism, misogyny and intolerance at its foundation.
Instead of theological criteria, what comes to define evangelicalism is instead your stance on issues of gender and sexuality, the embrace of patriarchal authority, belief in female submission. That’s how you determine who is in and out of the fold.