Wednesday, April 25, 2007

On Turning 28: Perspective

This week I turned 28. I had a very small celebration, entirely because my wife planned it, got others involved and did it for me. If it were up to me, I am through with birthdays. Which I think has worked out for me. My daughter was born on my birthday, which I happily spent in the hospital with my hand being squeezed in my wife's as I shouted out encouragements about her breathing and pushing. At any rate, I believe I have effectively solved my problem of ever celebrating my birthday again.

I did, however, buy myself a birthday present. An expensive piece of electronics. I exhibit only a few of the classic Machismo behaviors, I don't use profanity, ESPN bores me, and I think beer-drinking is laughably stupid. But one man-trait I exhibit shamelessly is a passion for the electronic. I love technology. Tying in my birthday and the birth of our daughter created the necessary justification to indulge my inner hombre and I bought a video camera.

But that does not do it justice. What I bought is a Panasonic GS-320 Mini-DV Camcorder, and yes, that is another man-mannerism, it made me feel powerful and cocky to type out all those numbers and dashes. That's why girl items have soothing names, like Easyglide and Pearlmax, but boy items have Part Numbers and Product Codes, because men love numbers. And complications.

So now I have begun video taping things. And I find this fulfilling. There is a part of me that feels very satisfied when I am holding the camera and the red light is flashing. Something primal is comforted knowing that these moments; the words, inflections, miniscule motions of face and body are being captured and retained. It is a sense of reassurance that passing time IS something important. That it SHOULD be valued and held on to. It is sad that early man ( i.e.- man before the invention of the camcorder) was unable to experience this satisfaction. So it goes...

Perspective Part 2

Before Digital, cameras worked very differently. One could not see what he was recording on a 2" Liquid Crystal Display. There was no instant replay or rewind. Taking a picture was a supreme act of faith and an exercise in commitment. The image was captured, handed down from the eye of the camera and pressed resolutely and inalterably into the film. With Digital, every picture can be reviewed for approval, and without film being wasted, there is no sense of consequence. There is no metaphor in digital imaging. There is no "Cause and Effect," no "Reap What You Sew" moral lesson to be learned.

With film cameras, we still had the element of chance. There was an aspect of danger in photography. You could come out of that photo shoot with literally anything. There was no such thing as a perfect picture. This is much more akin to life=

Sometimes you can do everything exactly right. Fill up a whole roll of film. Drop it off at the store, come back in a week to pick it up, and find twenty-four images of fuzz and darkness. Like you were photographing Big Foot. With the film crew from "Blair Witch."

Life is like a film camera. I can set up the model, check the lighting, check my camera and do everything exactly the way I think it is supposed to work. Then Click. The picture is captured just as it was, whatever combination of light, distance, shutter speed, movement, etc. that occured at that moment has been compiled onto the rolling celluloid of the film canister and there's nothing I can do about it except just keep going. Aiming my camera, pointing and clicking. Some shots are arranged, like fruit in a bowl or a family portrait, while others are candids, a flashbulb halting the scene in the midst of the action and holding it still.

When the roll is filled, it has to be developed. I won't know what the pictures look like until I've gained some time perspective. When the photos are developed, I can see that "oh, I wasn't smiling" or "her eyes were closed" or "wow, there was a rainbow right behind us," but by then, the scene is set and inalterable. The moment has been through the stop bath and rinsed in hypo. As I proceed in life, I have no way of knowing what is coming next. But I have a ready camera, a half exposed roll of film, and stacks of albums filled with the things that have gone right and wrong in the past. Entire books of the things we call "Life Lessons" that can be pulled out and shared with others with a story beginning "Here is something I did wrong..." or "Here's one that went right..."

Monday, April 9, 2007

Toy-tiger... ToyGrrr... Toyger

Finally! Mankind is Putting our Science to Work on Something Worthwhile: Making "House Pet" Sized Carnivorous Jungle Cats! This is where we were meant to take our unprecedented advances in genetic engineering and stem cell research. Why on earth did they waste so much time cloning stupid sheep? We have millions of sheep, more than enough, look at the population of New Zealand. But what we don't have enough of is genetically engineered tiny pet tigers. Until now. Here are some pics:

Okay, the 1st image is actually just a normal cat, but it's good for comparison.

If you're loving these beasts like I am, here is a link for more info. And also, watch the video above! It is a hilarious example of Video Slideshow Technology in the hands of crazed cat fans.

"But Remember, Kids, we can Genetically Alter their Size, but Nothing can Alter their Savage Primordial Rage©" --I put it on the internet first, folks. When the big box companies come looking for their tagline, you are my witnesses that I had it first (and I put the "circle-C" so it's legal)!

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