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Bitter Pill

march 2006

I'm Sailing!

May 30, 2006 5:03 PM

Given my name, it is frequent that the movie "What About Bob?" is reference around me quite a bit. Well, even I have to reference it occasionally, this weekend being a perfect example: I was sailing.

Rob, a fellow coworker has a 26' sailboat on the St. Croix, and when it's 95 degrees outside and he invites you out for the day, you DO NOT say "no." We were on the water 2:30-ish and had it back on the dock in darkness. It was a full day that was REALLY breezy when we started, but we got a couple of trips up and down the river in. We fired up the grill on the boat as the wind died down later in the day, had some brats and burgers, and just had a flat-out enjoyable day. My only complaint was one I was very vocal about: How can Rob drink DARK beer when it's 95 outside? Something about that doesn't seem right. The Scot's have their quirks I guess.

Yesterday Nina and I had some friends over and fired up the grill again. I made some BBQ ribs and of course more meat and veggies were thrown on as well.

All in all, a pretty damn good weekend, aside from a shopping adventure that went awry earlier Monday.

How did y'all fare this weekend?

Punching At Your Soul

May 26, 2006 11:56 PM

I remember hearing an extremely complex and completely depressing song a few years ago. After searching (granted not very hard) for it I gave up and moved on. The song just hit me in a weird way, and I wanted to find it but just ended up being too busy to do so.

A few days ago, while sitting at work and working on remote desktop to another machine, I had Epitonic tuned in online on my regular machine. Allufa sudden, on comes this epic, complex, noisy, yet strangely beautiful track. I immediately recognized it, and it actually caused me to pause for a moment, stopping what I was doing. So much so, I popped back to my other machine and had a near movie-ending moment of my own. Everything momentarily "fit": My soundtrack, the stunning composition playing through my headphones, combined with the events unfolding in front of me. Sort of a surreal moment in life.

I can't even explain why, but it just reached in and punched me from the inside. Seriously, I can't describe it. I wish I could. It completely derailed my afternoon for reasons that are well beyond me.

Anyhoo, It's by a band named Sigur Ros from Iceland. The track I'm referring to is called "Svefn-G-Englar". If you go to their page on Epitonic, (http://www.epitonic.com/artists/sigurros.html) you can download it as well as another equally stirring, but more redeeming track.

Maybe listening to either track will reach down and hit you from the inside out.

Nokomis In The Morning

May 21, 2006 1:57 PM

Nina went running around Lake Nokomis this morning and I tagged along with my camera. I didn't take a lot of pictures, but the ones I got turned out pretty good.

Album link is on the left.

Expand Your Horizons - Go To P.A.R.T.S.

May 21, 2006 12:16 AM

It's not actually called PARTS anymore, it's now the Minnesota Center for Photographic Arts, but it's a place everyone should go. I was introduced to this gallery through an invitation for a showing of my college photography teacher. Needless to say, I have ended up going back several times, especially in the fall when they would have a silent auction of several local photographer's work. I haven't been in a few years, but the last time I was there I ended up buying two prints - One is a photo film positive of a beautiful horizon mounted in a 2 inch thick frame, and the other is one of my favorite pictures of all time, from Andy Katzung, a local MN photographer who shoots mostly black and white.

I liked it the minute I saw it, and came back the next day to get it. It's the picture you see above. Composition-wise, it's rather simple: A Silhouette of a man on a bench with a busy, bright background in front of him.

Look closely though, and you see a man tired and almost overwhelmed at the world in front of him. It reminds me a lot of the Brooks Hatlen character in Shawshank Redemption (one of my all-time favorite movies) who after YEARS in prison writes his fellow inmates his suicide letter. At the beginning of his letter he makes an observation of the new environment he is thrown into and states "The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry."

This picture hangs next to the door to our bedroom and I see it every morning and every night. Andy Katzung has a lot of good stuff, but I'd like to think I have his best print. :-)

I hope that you all see the same thing in that photo I do. To quote another line from Shawshank: "Hope is a good thing, maybe even the best of things."

The full text of Brooks Hatlen's letter in Shawshank Redemption:

Dear fellas,

I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry. The parole board got me into this halfway house called "The Brewer". And a job bagging groceries at the Foodway. It's hard work and I try to keep up but my hands hurt most of the time. I don't think the store manager likes me very much. Sometimes after work I go to the park and feed the birds. I keep thinking Jake might just show up and say hello. But he never does. I hope where ever he is he's OK and makin' new friends.

I have trouble sleepin' at night. I have bad dreams like I'm falling. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am. Maybe I should get me a gun, and rob the Foodway so they'd send me home. I could shoot the manager while I was at it, sort of like a bonus.

I guess I'm too old for that sort of nonsense anymore. I don't like it here. I'm tired of being afraid all the time. I've decided not to stay. I doubt they'll kick up any fuss. Not for an old crook like me.

Your Friend,


Looking At Life Through A Broken Lens

May 16, 2006 3:45 PM

In college I got into photography quite a bit. I used a Ricoh full-manual 35mm SLR camera with a 30-70mm zoom. I ended up buying an ancient full-manual Albinar 80-200mm telephoto lens. I LOVED the ability to get close to the action without ever having to move your feet. However, being an ignorant college student, I carried it around in my backpack which often took the brunt of some severe abuse. Predictably, the outer-most lens group is now slightly off-axis, which causes the lens to never be able to focus out to infinity. The depth-of-field of the lens focus is also RAZOR thin now too. Essentially, it's now a telephoto that's useless as a telephoto given it has a maximum focus range of about 15 feet and a DOF as thick as a saltine cracker.

Just prior to the 10D, I brought the camera into work because one of the guys here was interested in seeing what a manual body camera was like. I had a roll of B & W film in it that was about 7 years old but it had some shots left, so I pointed and started shooting. He had several flowers on his desk and with the broken lens the result was actually pretty good. The background should be his desk wall, but for some reason it came out almost completely black creating a high-contrast effect when really the flower should have blended in with the background.

Aside from the degredation of film that is 7 years old and a scanner that needs to be cleaned, I think it turned out pretty good.

I guess sometimes, even through a broken lens, there are still a lot of good things to see.

The Wahoo Moment

May 7, 2006 8:11 PM

There's a movie called Very Bad Things, which most definitely lives up to the title. It's a horrible story about a bachelor party in Vegas where something goes completely wrong, and each character ends up deteriorating to total self destruction throughout the film.

I wouldn't recommend the movie to anybody, except for one scene, which I actually wrote about in a philosophy paper in college. It's two of the main characters, on their path to complete destruction, talking (shortly after one of them "accidentally" kills his brother) and the one is trying to describe to the other an earlier life experience that ends up being a perfect life analogy. He refers to it quite simply as "The Wahoo Moment." Here's the text of it, courtesy of IMDB:

    Dad used to bring home these sparklers for me and Adam, you know? (laughs) Sparklers! We'd go out back, the three of us - and we'd hold it up to the sky and watch the explosions of light and the sparks, you know, and Dad would be all "Wait for it! Here it comes! Watch for it! Here comes the wahoo!"


    Wahoo. The sparkler would burn hot, then hotter, then even hotter, and then there'd be this one moment of pure burn when that little fucker would cook perfect, just perfect. It would only last a second, but that second was *it*. And *that's* what Dad had us looking for, man.

    The wahoo moment?

    That's exactly right. Man - burning at his absolute. All the forces coming together - burning - just perfect, perfect harmony. That's what I'm driving at. Are you with me?

    I think so.

    I have been looking for that flash. I've been looking and I've been looking, and I can't find it. What if it already happened, you know? My moment! What if it already happened and I didn't see it?

I know I've been on a philosophical kick recently. My mind has been in overdrive (partly because I've been so busy with disasters at work) and I can take a bit of comfort in the philosophical side of life. Not every question can be answered.

In closing for today, keep your eyes open so we can all hope to see our Wahoo Moment, where the world burns perfect for us, and we burn perfect for the world.

A Philosophical Quote

May 6, 2006 2:27 PM

For some reason, this struck a chord with me this week:

[M]en, though they look, fail to see what is well-being, what is the good in life.

- Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, 1216a10


This is the word barf of a guy named Bob (Ethics major turned Software Engineer) who lives in Minneapolis.

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