Dave's Journal, May 2013

Someday, the New Yorker is going to come take all their cartoons back . . .


Hey, your license is expired.

Is not.

Is too.

Is not.

Is too.

And so . . . an unhappy Dave spent two (2) hours at the RMV yesterday, getting his expired license renewed. Actually, he simply waited for 2 hours (sitting on a bench with the mass of people who were causing him to wait by getting there before he did - "Don't they know who I am?", he kept thinking) for a clerk to spend 2 minutes stamping things and handing him his new license.

A reporter shoved a microphone in his face as he walked to his car . . .

Anything to say about this, Dave?

Shut up.

Web pages & Android Tablets

I am learning, because, M&C gave me a 7" android tablet, that I am hooked on, and I want my journal pages to look good on mobile screens (so that the millions of my readers can read my journal notes on their cell phones while driving). But it is not as easy as it should be. Computer (netbooks, laptops desktops) like your HTML code to specify pixels for the size of pictures, divisions and other things. Androids hate hate hate pixels so much that they ignore your HTML pixel code and make up their own minds about the size of things on your web page. Androids like things specified in "% of page width" (which is absurd because I don't know how large the tablet is people are looking at ! ! ). In fact, you will notice a dramatic change in text size as you read (on a tablet) a page written in HTML that specifies pixels (for a computer). It's actually more complicated than that, but let's leave it here: web pages that look good and behave well on a computer mostly look weird and inconsistent on a mobile device.

This is a pain in the a$$, as I learn the workarounds to get what I want on the page.

Well, the boards and frames came in, so it's time to pick the two pictures I am submitting to the local art museum for their annual exhibit (Art Exhibit). I had 6 contenders in my mind, and ultimately I put aside the edgy stuff and picked the two most conventional, hoping to get one of them selected. If I get in there this year, next year, I'll try some bolder stuff and see what happens. The 2 that I chose are below. The first one (Oct, 2012) shows the Paris rooftops, from our apartment window. The second one (2011) is at the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. I printed them 12X18, then matted and framed. The 2nd matte is slightly "off-white".



Partying at the Pradellas'

The stars and planets fell into line this weekened and everyone on the Uncle Joe & Aunt Jean branch of the family tree was in one place at the same time ! (Debbie and I crashed the party, claiming that we are just down the road and I could take their group picture and wouldn't that be worth feeding us ? Huh? . . . wouldn't it ? . . . wouldn't it ?)

It really was a fabulous day; I am not a party person, but this was just great and we enjoyed every minute. The wonderful food and family chatter went on and on!


[ More pictures ]

Lucia & Maria HS Graduation
(a clip from Dad's 8mm movies)

Here is a screen capture from a bad copy of dad's movies. It is on the "stoop" at 538 18th St. (Grandma Leo's house). I need a new movie projector, because the digital copy flutters due to projector speed vs. digital video frame rate. I need a projector with a variable frame rate. The good frames ain't all that bad, but the video flutter drives me nuts to watch it.


Poor Rebekah ! . . . tomorrow is her birthday, and what happened to her today? . . . they took her to the hospital and removed her appendix.

Baby girl . . . cutest in the whole wide world . . . I hope you get better very fast!

Hugs and Love, from Grandpa Dave

Boston today on the Charles River

Looking across to Cambridge


Looking back at Boston
(that's a Duck Tour boat)

Coast Guard helicopter landing at Mass General Hospital

The Great Gatsby - what's the problem ?

The Great Gatsby is generally regarded to be the finest American novel. Period. It is, really, the best piece of literature I ever read. I love it. It is poetic, very mysterious, lovely, dramatic. A perfectly written narration (there is very little dialog in the book) and enjoyable. It's finest feature is its wonderful, poetic narration.

There have been 4 (I think) movie versions, though one (a silent version that Zelda Fitzgerald - F. Scott's wife - called "rotten") has been lost. The other 3 versions (which include the current release) are graded "dull", "without soul" and "overcooked" respectively.

What's the problem? Why can't someone make a great Gatsby movie?

Because it is what it is - a wonderful, poetic narration with very little dialog. Screenwriters actually have to make up a script of dialog to make a movie of it; then the newly-written script becomes the "The Great Gatsby", which means that it is no longer the novel that F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in the first place.

Some things are better left alone. It's a book - let it be a book - read it (and slowly, and maybe twice)!

Footnote #1: By the way, his actual name is not "Gatsby", it's Gatz. It's one of his mysteries as to why it changed to Gatsby in the telling of it.

Footnote #2: I think what really bugs me is using the title "The Great Gatsby" (or "Les Miserables") for a movie that really does not represent the original work. I would probably like these movies if they simply changed the name ("The Love of Daisy", storyline based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby").

Hello Everybody, and Welcome to

"Finish My Sentence"

You know the rules. Someone asks me a question, and I start to answer it, but you think that you can finish my answer better than I can, so you hit the "talk buzzer" and . . . you guessed it . . . you finish my sentence for me. Okay, let's start.

Question: How are you?
Me: I'm * * * BUZZER #1 * * *
Contestant #1: . . . fine, but my back hurts.

Question: Is it still raining outside?
Me: It is * * * BUZZER #3 * * *
Contestant #3: . . . but it should clear up soon.

Question: Can I get you a beer?
Me: That would be * * * BUZZER #6 * * *
Contestant #6: . . . great if you have * * * BUZZER #4 * * *.
Contestant #4: . . . Killian's Irish Red.

Yes #4 you buzzed the first buzzer and get an extra prize ! (audience claps)

Question: Did you see * * * BUZZER #7* * *
Contestant #7 . . . the Nascar race on TV?

Sorry #7 no buzzing the question. You lose a turn (audience moans).

Question: Are you enjoying the show?
Me: * * * BUZZER #3 * * * * * * BUZZER #8 * * * * * * BUZZER #11 * * * * * * BUZZER #2 * * * . . . . .

Oh my gosh, buzzer overload buzzer overload (audience moans). That means you all must actually shut up and listen to the person answer without interrupting (audience boos, throws things, one guy jumps on the stage and punches me, audience chants "Finish his sentence. Finish his sentence. Finish his sentence.").

Loading the Question

Well, I'm still on the topic of conversational things that piss me off, so here's another one: people who load their "questions" (note the quotes) with the answer they want to hear, or with their opinion (just to put you on track before you respond !). Here're a few examples:

Legitimate question: How do you honestly feel about gun registration?
Loaded question: You're not one of these gun nuts, are you ?

Legitimate question: What do you honestly think about gay marriage rights and how we should move on this topic?
Loaded question: These gay people make me sick, getting married and kissing each other. What do you thing of sh#t like that? Don't you think that's disgusting?

Legitimate question: Would you consider yourself a very religious person?
Loaded question #1: You don't believe this science bullsh#t they try to teach in schools, do you?
Loaded question #2: You're not one of these religious nuts, are you?
Loaded question #3: You believe in the Bible, of course you do, don't you?
Loaded question #4: What do you think about these fanatics who think that God wrote the Quran?

Legitimate question: What should we do about immigration, the path to citizenship, the right to work in the US ?
Loaded question: These $#%ing immigrants are taking all the good jobs - they should ship them back to Mexico and send all these goody-2-shoes liberals with them. What do you think?

Legitimate question: Did you enjoy reading that book?
Loaded question: I got through the first 50 pages and thought, 'you have to be a #$%@&% moron to read #%#@* like this'. What did you think of it?

Little (Soft) Flowers


More experimenting with soft pictures. Some filters and sometimes the computer make pictures too too soft for my liking. But the Fuji, shot at f2.0 with the in-camera sharpening turned off, makes a nice image right out of the camera.

I usually shoot at f4.0 or f5.6, but f2.0 is looking attractive for this effect, with some subjects.


Today I killed weeds with a bottle sprayer, after failing to fix my pump sprayer; installed the new (very lame) pond sprinkler, and put "twighlight blue" die in the pond that is now The Black Lagoon since apparently I put in too much, then disassembled and cleaned the rotor tiller, but my back still hurts so I can't test start it. Removed and sharpened the lawn mower blades (with a file - you can now shave with them they are so sharp).

A Pinhole Photograph

I've been meaning to try this forever. No lens ! Just a body cap with a 0.2mm hole drilled in it, mounted on the D5100. Pinhole images are very soft, but they have an infinite depth of field, so everything in the picture is equally in (actually, out of) focus.



For reference, here is a shot with a real lens, focused on the little cup.


jpgWell, I finally met Iuri ! Mike dropped in today with Iuri, a friend who enjoys Fuji, Nikon and Leica cameras as much as I do. In fact, it was Mike's reports about Iuri's Fuji X100 that pushed me to buy one.

We talked cameras on the porch over bottles of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Birra Moretti, and I'm pretty sure, he'll buy a Nikon 105mm/f2.5 lens that he was playing around with, and I will buy a Luigi case for my X100 that I was playing around with.

I personally hate Flickr ("non-intuitive" is a good description), but won't hold it against Iuri for using it (dig the hat !) : Iuri's Flickr Stream .

Scentific Sex


jpg jpg

Tablet vs e-book reader

On the left is my 7" android tablet that does everything (really) that any connected person needs to do - Godzilla movies, Christina Aguleira videos, 1940's Jazz music, news from Sri Lanka and Iceland, surf the internet, read magazines, books, send text messages, get email, play games . . . . and does it all in color and in low light (typical LCD screen).

On the right is my (black and white) Nook e-book reader. It does one thing - it reads text, that is - it reads books and text versions of magazines (no pictures).

For the last month, I have been enthralled by the color tablet. I'm embarrassed to say how much time I spend on it every day; and I have not booted up the Nook e-book reader in all that time, but I did boot it up today, to re-read The Great Gatsby (which is stored on the Nook).

There is no question about it, for reading books, the Nook reader is a much more enjoyable experience than the color tablet. Reading text on the Nook is a much more intimate experience. I feel connected with the writer, maybe because there is nothing in the world at the moment but the words that I am reading. The Nook's e-ink screen is much more pleasant to look at than the tablet's LCD screen. Plus - in a book, there are no popup windows, no ads, no sidebars, no click-for-video buttons, no streaming notes across the bottom, no links to other places.

All of those diversions on the tablet screen are saying to me "Hey, look at all this other stuff you should pay attention to. You're not actually still here reading what's on this screen are you? You are missing out on so much by not clicking out of here and over to that other stuff you need to see! " Those things make me think that what I am reading at the moment on the screen was only written to get me to click over to those other places !! Every magazine page, internet website and TV program, everything ! - other than text in a book - tries to divert you to some other place!

That's why I feel that the Nook e-book reading experience is more intimate than the do-it-all tablet experience.

Well . . . how do like them apples !

Okay everybody, we want to take a group picture.
Please don't move, look right at the camera and smile.


A few days back, I complained about turning my pond black with too much pond dye. Well, I guess I fixed that today, when I poured a cup of clorox in the pond to kill any bad microbes in there. The water went immediately back to clear. Which was good luck so I could fish out the sprinkler head that fell in there last week. These little coincidences are ligning up for me I think, but now I have to put more dye in (once the chlorine evaporates in a day or so).

Good that there are no fish this year.

Debbie has millions of little niknaks around the house, and some of these stick in my mind to "take it's picture some day", so here is one of them I made today because it is pouring buckets outside.


This particular image was my need today for punchy punchy colors in a picture, because I have Cafe Brazil (in Dallas) on my mind, and they love bright colors on their walls. (I painted the background - it's an 8X10" piece of plywood - the vase is 2½" tall, and I used a 30 year old Nikon 55mm micro lens to shoot this.)

Well, this morning, I am in a more conservative mood, and reshot the little vase, as follows . . .


Now I'd best go find something useful to do !

May 27 - Happy Birthday Catherine ! !


Household Electric Generators -
(they're not just for Winter anymore !)


NOAA predicts active 2013 Atlantic hurricane season

Era of high activity for Atlantic hurricanes continues
May 23, 2013

That's hurricane Sandy in the picture up there, as seen from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012. In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

For the six-month hurricane season, which begins June 1, NOAA's Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook says there is a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).

These ranges are well above the seasonal average of 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes.

So . . . aside from the sump pumps in your basement, be sure that your generator is ready for a few emergencies this Summer !

The Backyard on May.28.2013


The World's Finest Keg of Rootbeer

The Next Owner

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