Category Archives: Rant

My Tamron Lens Broke!

My Tamron 17-35 recently screwed up majorly. I have no idea what went on inside, but I went out on a full day (which seemed to be going perfectly), framed up a shot, hit the focus button – it would NOT focus. For some reason the area that the focus ring was supposed to be at was PAST infinity. I took a closer look, and my aperture ring was off-track.

So, doing what any insane photographer that wants his lens to work would do, I opened the lens up, thinking that the worst case scenario would leave me $300 down and since my job involves photography, that wouldn’t be too bad.

Turns out, for some reason, the track that my aperture ring sits on was cracked and the ball bearing had become lodged into some evil area. No idea how this happened, since I have it tacked at 22 and let the camera control the f-stop.

So, I had to choose whether I should glue it, or discard the cracked fragment. I just tossed it out. Unfortunately, in the process of getting everything to work, the tiny, tiny ball bearing slipped out of my grip and flew to the floor. Not even a strong magnet could find it.

So, now I had no way to lock my aperture ring in place. It sucked, but I could live since I just keep it tacked stuck to 22. I replaced everything, closed it up, put the screws in, and fastened the aperture ring to 22 with some electrical tape (it has a tiny spring mechanism, so without the ball bearing, it doesn’t stick).

Works fine now, but I figured I’d share my pain.

Why Lomography Bothers Me

I couldn’t have said this better myself:

“…the basic Lomographic principles of “talent not required” and “it’s art because I say it is” has developed a cult following amongst people who would otherwise be forced to read books and improve their mediocre photography, but who find acceptance of their talentless shite amongst others who got suckered into the same boat. They use “technological throw-backs” because it requires more effort to take a truly horrendous photograph with a modern autofocus, autoexposure camera.”

What is with the current trend of “no-skill-required” photography? I’m all for experimentation. Lomo a bit, pinhole a bit, use a Brownie for a while, shoot some Polaroids – but for god’s sake don’t make technically inferior photography with no composition or skill in mind your main forte.

I have nothing against Lomo in general or even people who use it to take a break from their normal photography and mess around a bit, but to those who think of Lomography as “a way of life” – you need to get a real camera and learn how to properly take photos instead of relying on gimmicky flaws. While the rest of the members of their lomograpic society might love seeing crappy, blurry, badly composed photos of the top of your head, the fact that your plastic camera makes your photos look “artsy” does not make you an artist.

Yes, any random idiot can make an “interesting” photo with a lomo. The colors have that “wow” effect and the vignette and aberrations might make for an interesting photo, but why are we putting so much of an emphasis on the medium in which we communicate our photography and so little on the actual content? It’s like praising someone who just picked up a vintage guitar and started strumming because the sound is “warm and inviting”, but not critiquing the fact that he can’t play for crap.

Good on the marketing department though, for convincing a bunch of clueless “artsy” types that a toy camera is worth $100 just because the photos that come out are over-saturated, vignetted, and badly focused.

If you’re thinking of buying a Lomo – please, please reconsider. Pick up a used film SLR from ebay for less than half the price and pick up a prime lens with the other half. Experimenting with composition and subject is 80% of the fun of photography – you’re skipping most of that when you pick up a lomo.

As always, comments of all sorts are welcomed and accepted. If you love Lomo, state your position, if you hate it, do the same.

Deja Vu?

Hey. Remember this guy?


Yup. That’s Jack Thompson. Remember the last time he came around? Virginia Tech. Where did he go? Oh yeah, he lost interest in the VT after it was found that the shooter had played little or no video games. Well, guess what folks, in the wake of the NIU shootings, He’s back. To Jack, a new high-profile tragedy involving college kids is another chance to capitalize on other people’s loss.

Here’s what he recently faxed to NIU, typos and all (This lawyer don’t need no spell checkin’)

Pursuant to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request production of copies of all documents that reveal Steven Kazmierczak’s play of violent video games, including but not limited to the use of his computer to play Counter-Strike, which he apparently, according to the New York Post, used to rehearse for his Valentine’s Day Massacre at NIU.

The killers in the two worst school massacres in history—in Erfurt, Germanay, and at Virginia Tech University—similarly trained on Counter-Strike to rehearse for their killing sprees.

If I am not provided with this information, I shall bring a civil action to secure these documents.

So basically, to this man, a horrible tragedy caused by an obviously deranged guy can be boiled down to a single. freaking. videogame. Not the intricacies of human nature, not obvious mental imbalance, not society, not bad parenting, but a video game. Not to mention a video game that millions of people play daily with no bad side effects at all. Hilarious (and sad) how he literally lost all interest in the VT shootings as soon as it was revealed that the shooter rarely or never played video games.

On another note, Jack obviously knows nothing about gaming. Counter Strike? You mean the 6 year old squad based game where everyone runs at 20 miles per hour and can jump 5 feet in the air? Realistic my ass.

Thus ends a disjointed and badly written rant on one small aspect of the wide reach of this man’s arrogance and idiocy. Way to capitalize on other people’s loss, jerk.

My Tire Blew Up AGAIN!

I have no idea what type of luck I have. It’s just bad. I was on my way back home to get ready for another job and I hear a low rumbling in the back of my car. I worry about it for a few seconds, thinking it might be a developing flat, but then I shrug it off pretty quickly. Bad idea. A minute later BLAM – the back right side of my car lowers suddenly and I pull off into an almost nonexistant shoulder.


Yup. My tire exploded. I felt a bit unnerved by the short distance between me and many of the oncoming cars (some feet away) so I called “Hoosier Helpers” to give me a hand. Unfortunately, I’d lost my wheel lock, so the guy works at it for an hour and finally gives up. Keep in mind how bitter cold it was out there…probably in the negatives with wind chill. Finally I have to call a tow truck, pay him $150, and get a lift to some local used tire store run by the only “Southern Folk” in Gary, Indiana apparently. A few seconds of work and my lock was off (turns out it just needed a few gentle turns to finally come loose). At least they gave me a good price on a tire (and they were pretty nice to boot).

I guess the day turned out ok because I only missed one of four jobs and have had stuff flowing in for the last few days. I just can’t believe how crazy it was.

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Smokey’s gone.

After only a short month with the best cat ever, we took him to the vet where he was diagnosed with some sort of growth and swelling in his Kidneys that would ultimately end in a painful death. We had to put him to sleep today. I already miss him.

Will Ron Paul Change Digg Opinions?

(Whitney Martin/The Battalion) Senator Ron Paul adresses a group of students about his political views Tuesday evening in Rudder Tower.  In his speech, Ron Paul speaks about the proper role of the constitution within the government. I’ve been following this Ron Paul phenomena for a while. One one side of the issue it’s amazing to see someone so radically for the upholding of the constitution command such an army of followers, on the other, it’s a bit weird to see a majority of people who are so for some of the things that Ron Paul is against, I’m trying to figure out if they’re ignoring the negatives of Paul for the greater good or if they’re just not sure what he stands for as a whole.

Using as a general guideline for the candidates (specifically Ron Paul), I noticed a few things. One was that Kucinich seemed to agree far more with the Digg majority when it comes to his stances on important (and somewhat unimportant) issues. On the other hand, Digg favorite Ron Paul had a surprising amount of incongruent ideas when compared with the majority of what I’ve seen on Digg.

Here are some examples:

  • Environment
    • For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling
    • Against the Kyoto Protocol
  • Immigration
    • Against Citizenship path for Illegals
    • For a nationwide border fence
  • Money/Government Programs
    • Against Minimum wage increase
    • Against Universal Healthcare
  • Moral/Religious issues
    • Against embryonic Stem Cell research
    • Against same sex marriage
    • Not sure on position with same sex civil union
  • Internet/Technology
    • Against Net Neutrality.

Some of these are more or less unimportant to the Digg community, but many of them I’ve seen brought up time and time again on the front page on Digg and in political arguments. I can say that Digg is pretty much steadfastly for Net Neutrality. I can also say with confidence that Digg users have almost unanimously bashed any candidate without the environment in mind, but Paul’s stance on the Kyoto Protocol and drilling in Alaska flies in the face of that majority opinion. What gives?

Now I’m not sure if this chart is really the most trustworthy resource. Maybe it’s not updated. Maybe I should do more research – but what is going to happen if these are completely true? Does one man have the power to completely change the Digg community, or will the members of Digg ignore these small discrepancies and support Paul based on his more sweeping ideas?

Today’s freewrite/quick rant

windowslivewritertodaysfreewrite-1133e232867-2.jpg I can’t get over the fact that people care so much about labels on their clothes. I’m fine getting the cheapest pair of jeans ever. When they start to wear out noticeably, I shrug, toss them in the “use if I’m going to get messy” drawer, and move on. I can’t even imagine how much financial pain I’d be in if I fell on my face and tore a pair of $500 jeans. Really though, is the label so important? A designer freak might argue that the quality of their clothes is much higher than that of mine, but quality only goes so far in explaining the load of cash they spent on woven cotton with some fake paint stripes across the ass. Are they stain resistant? Is there some sort of electromechanical barrier shielding your legs from sudden impact? Do robot arms erupt out of the pockets in times of need to save the day? No? Oh. The name? You’re paying for the name? Awesome. And they’re still made in China.

It upsets me hearing people talking about getting these expensive handbags that do exactly what their cheaper counterparts do – hold their crap. I know it’s all part of the American dream or whatever, but I could see that money being used in so many more things that are better than showing other people that you’re so rich that you want to be ripped off. Even if they didn’t want to donate it to starving children and pick up a cheaper alternative, they could at least spend it on an object that’s more than a shallow status symbol.

Luckily, my girlfriend isn’t into that crap, so I’m a happy man.

Random, tiny gripe.

I really hate when I’m trapped in a class with a rabidly sick person. There is a woman behind me right now, from what I remember a nursing student with the most disgusting, constant cough that I’ve heard in a long time. Now. As a nursing student, this woman should know that going to class when very sick just to avoid an absence is not only selfish, but dangerous to others. I had trouble breathing in that tiny box of a room because with every inhalation I was thinking about how much of her airborne snot particles I was taking in.

What makes it worse is right before class she said something about pneumonia while talking on the cell phone, followed by a comment about her diarrhea. Ew.

I hate parking cops in general.

Stupid parking ticketOk, flash a week back. I’m nonchalantly walking back home from my day at school, excited about the week to come which was full of relaxation and no classes…wait…what’s that….a parking ticket? But why? I have an official Bloomington parking sticker which I had to pay $15 for to park on the street in front of my own rental house…so…what gives?

Apparently, they didn’t like the fact that I had to change my license plate. They have all of my info including my VIN which is prominently displayed on the dashboard of my car – not to mention the fact that the parking permit is permanently affixed on the inside of the back of my car – they cited me for “parking permit mismatch” which apparently is considered tampering and costs me $20. I contest it, write an explanation, and tell them that I’m a bit pissed about the situation and that I’ll be displaying my old license plate in my back window from now on.

End of story? Not at all.

Flash a week forward. The bastards have the audacity to give me another of the same type of ticket. My license plate is sitting happily in the back window next to the permit, yet I still get a ticket. The asses at city hall actually expect me to pay for another parking pass and I’m going to be moving back home in three days! What the hell is wrong with these people? Do they have souls? Can they take a little bit of pity on this broke college student with only a few days left in the city, or are they looking to ticket me as much as possible before I leave?

The Digg Cycle

DiggOk, everyone who even pays half attention to Digg saw what happened today. Some guys in charge of the HD-DVD key screwed up and posted it, people started freaking out and digging any news available that mentioned it resulting in Digg trying to cover their asses by banning a few people and deleting a few stories.

But this post isn’t as much about a certain event, but rather, a cycle that only the most popular of Digg trends go through (Including, but not limited to: Chuck Norris, Will it Blend, this…is…SPARTA!!):

  1. Immense popularity (3 days to a week) – anyone who uses the phrase or alludes to the event will be showered in a veritable orgy of approval, no matter the content, intelligence, or sanity of the comment. Digg submitters rush to scour the web for any mention of it and opportunists blog about it and submit.
  2. Winding down (1-2 weeks) – Every once and a while when the phrase is used in a manner that makes sense to the conversation, the comment will be dugg up. Other comments on the formerly trendy phrase/subject are ignored or buried.
  3. Total Digg Destruction (2 weeks on) – Mention of the phrase in any form results in the comment being dugg into oblivion. Other Digg users throw in some scathing replies for good measure.

I find two things odd about the last trend. One is that the same people using it without warrant when it becomes popular on Digg are often the same that destroy the latecomers and the second is the fact that even months after a popular phrase passing, there are still people that, as if they were stuck in some sort of Digg time capsule, come out and use it.

Just to straighten things out, I believe there are a few Digg trends that stay at position one for quite a long time. Although the last few years’ “Nintendo sucks”/”Nintendo is for kids” was boomingly popular, the success of the Wii has secured just about any positive comment about the Wii a thumbs  up.

So am I insane or does this make sense?