Friday, November 23, 2007

Sometimes a Bad Day is Just That

As the title suggests, sometimes a bad day is just a bad day, and you left your brain at home, or at least it sure felt that way when you downloaded the images and started viewing them. There were a lot of reasons, only some of which included leaving my brain at home or not having it fully plugged in. It was the annual Seattle Macy's Day parade the Friday after Thanksgiving Day.

I've photographed this parade over the years, but always shot the parade itself usually from some good spot along the route through downtown Seattle. I've never photographed the staging area which is my preference as there are fewer people and no one minds someone aimlessly walking around with a camera. And as I've discovered, most freelance and press photographers do the same to get those initimate shots you see in the newspapers and publications.

And so after parking I walked to the "staging" area only to find it's not the normal staging area. Rather than layout the parade along streets blocked off for this purpose, this parade is staged as a just in time staging. There are only four block long streets barracaded and the entries assemble according to a specific time to arrive there. This includes the high school bands, the floats, and the other types of entries.

Well, that kinda' killed a lot of planning to wander around getting candid shots. On top of that a lot of people come to this parade when the weather is really good, like this time when it was sunny and only a little cold. Perfect winter parade weather and all the families were there. When the parade actually started they were 4-6 deep along the entire route and up into the staging area. So much for wandering around when you get in people's way.

Then I shot many of the images trying to get maximum depth of field (f5.6-f8) and found the shutter speed too slow. Handholding the camera just didn't work. And the parade is through the area of tall(er) buildings, similar to shooting in a deep canyon where the light sneaks through or reflects. In short, it didn't help the metering at all with lots of contrast. So adjustinig the metering to spot metering improved some images, but lost the surrounding image.

And even when I could get something interesting, there was always some little flaw or two. The reality of taking candid shots. Add to that the overwhelming police presence, at least 2-3 officers every block along the route who watched the crowd and wouldn't let you wander into the street as they did in past years, and you find yourself standing there wondering what in the world are you doing.

I noticed many of the press photographers were simply absent along the route working near the official viewing stand where the television cameras were and they were allowed to taking their photos. But without a pass, you were tapped on the shoulder by the cops and asked to get behind the line. And all the cafes had lines out the door for coffee too.

So, in the end I wandered a block off the parade route into a small cafe and watched all the cars and shoppers go by until the crowd thinned to drive home. Do you actually think I'd try to get some shopping in too?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Streamgaging and photography

Ok, it's a "Huh?" Well, not really, and you can insert any profession or endeavor for streamgaging and relate it to photography. Just for me though, it's streamgaging. I spent 13-plus years streamgaging in Oregon, Arizona and Washington. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and although many days weren't so enjoyable then that's the reality of it and my history.

I wouldn't change or trade it, which, if you can say that, is one of the few great things in one's life. To get to the end and realize it was worthwhile and fun. When I started I had the great fortune to learn from two senior technicians whom each handed me their different generation of knowledge and experience. I have always been grateful to them for my first years of learning the basics and finding the enjoyment of streamgaging.

One of the technicians was from the 1950's generation. He started in the Bureau of roads surveying in several of the highways in western Oregon before transferring to the USGS. He was hired when techicians did the basic job of maintaining river and lake gages and do the field work servicing them. They later taught them to produce and review streamflow data. I can't begin to recount the field work we shared.

The other one was from the 1960's generation and the one who really taught me streamgaging. He started in the northern California office when the Redwoods Park controversy was raging. He taught me about consistency of your field work, and meticulousness of your field notes. Both of these you don't realize the value for several years when you've found they're embedded into your work psyche. And you see the value, not just to streamgaging, but many other things in work and life.

Which is? Streamgages, or even lake gages, are small houses with one or more stage sensors attached to one to four recorders, which in later years are attached to various telemetry equipment. There is a proceedure you go through the minute you drive up to the gage, from the initial outside work, the work inside the gage house, any discharge measurement, any necessary repairs, and the last review before leaving.

This is where being consistent, methodical, and precise is necessary. You have to service the gage(s) in the same way you do every gage, from the time you unlock the gagehouse door to the time you lock it. It's that mundane routineness that frees you to focus on the other things and think through problems you encounter while still working on the gages. On one plane you're working instinctively and the other thoughtfully.

It's the simple idea of what I always termed being awake and aware when you're standing in the gage house. And when you were done and all the paperwork completed, you had the complete satisfaction and trust you did your best and didn't leave anything undone. Your whole world for that short time was that gage house and that discharge measurement. Nothing less and nothing more.

When I was reading about large format photography, I was overwhelmed with the equipment, the process, the field work, the films and on and on. But when I got the camera in the field, I realized my training as a streamgager and focusing on the basics of the camera and lenses, the exposure and metering, the thought process of the images, and the whole thing together, it turned out far easier than I had imagined.

First, I knew the basics of photography from over 30 years as a hobby, such as light, metering, etc. so it's was a matter of sorting it out for that the image and exposure. Second, the camera and lens, even being totally different, was something to learn and work with consistently, methodically and precise. Something I did for 13-plus years. And third, the thought process is simply focusing on the work and being in the moment at that time and place.

When I got done with my first few days with the system and then when I got the film back, I discovered I wasn't as bad as I feared, but then, I could have done better, which is the reason to do it some more. And more after that. The joy of being there and photographing what I see. Thanks to Duane and Mike.

JMO - When a war isn't a war

No one doubts the travesty that happened on September 11, 2001 when 19 hijackers crashed four airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania. It was one of the worst acts committed by terrorists in history and the worst in US history when roughly 3,000 people from about 80 countries died in the attacks and the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. Let's not forget it was an act of international terrorism.

And no doubts it was planned and excuted by Al Qaeada, then with a base of operations in the Taliban controlled country of Afghanistan. It was one of about a thousand terrorist acts in 2001 and each subsequent year. Terrorism is as old as man, and especially modern history when nations attack, invade, and occupy other nations or oppress or kill people in their own nation. We forget it takes two sides for terrorism to spawn, flourish and act.

But the fight against terrorists is not a war. A war is described as a conflict between two nations, such as the World Wars and the Korean conflict, or groups within a nation, such as the former Yugoslavia, today's Iraq, and some African nations. The definition has not been extended to cover international terrorist organizations against one or more nations. Terrorism is the ever-present problem of many nations in recent history, but the fight is not a war.

Why make the distinction? Because I think it's been misused in the wake of 9/11 for political rhetoric and to manipulate the American people into being afraid and selling you the appearance of security, and wanting to hate other nations or ethnic groups as many in the US have expressed about Muslims or people from the Middle East. It's not right, fair or just. We are a better nation and people than that, and we should realize it.

No one doubts the fight agaist terrorists won't end soon. But they're not out to attack our country, our way of life or our values. They simply want their homeland and they want the US to stop meddling in the internal affairs of other nations when it's politically expedient for our own national, corporate or other interests. The attack on 9/11 was a statement about international economic and corporate control, and not an attack like Pearl Harbor.

Al Qaeada doesn't want to take over America. But more imporantly, we have forgotten they don't exist without a host nation. They are not a nation or even a group within a nation. The Taliban may be in some respects, but not Al Qaeada. They're simply a small terrorist groups with a lot of money and global connections. And they have generated a lot of smaller terrorist groups with unsubstantiated claims or identified affliations with Al Qaeada.

And no doubts it will take the best efforts of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But make no mistake, which we seem to be doing, is that Americans are not the terrorists! Almost all the laws, security measure and intelligence gathering efforts have been directed at American citizens, and not in the work to identify terrorists. Those agencies have us living in fear against ourselves.

When polled most Americans would rather have security over freedom. That, unfortunately, is the road away from democracy to a police state. Where do we draw the line or do we simply accept more and more "security", meaning fewer and fewer freedoms, rights and liberties to protect us from an imaginary enemy that isn't us. So why on us? And why are we accepting it? And when will we wake up to realize we've lost our nation of, for and by the people?

We need some perspective to see what this is, a long fight against terrorists. Our law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies had all the laws they needed on September 10, 2001. They failed us, so why are they blaming us for their failures? And why are they identifying all of us as suspects in the fight? It's time we started asking the questions and demanding the real answers, and not political rhetoric about an imaginary enemy.

It's not a war we're in, but a fight over our freedom. We should show the world we prize that over anything and everything else. Not fear of terrorists or our own government.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Things You Learn

I'm one of those hands on learners, where you learn by doing and by making lots of mistakes. In many things, mistakes are mostly innocuous, a mess here or there, something not quite right, a few sheets of paper trashed, and so on. You simply start over, and in the process grab the manual or book and start looking to see what's behind what you want to do.

I'm also a researcher reader, meaning most of the books I've read were for research and I rarely read them cover to cover, but read chapters or selections as part of the background to what I was doing. I did this through graduate school and for my thesis. I have a small library of books and articles as testiment to it. I always copied or bought the publications so I didn't have to spend the time sitting in a library taking lots of notes I wouldn't understand later.

I also used it for work in hydrology, data management, real-time system, or whatever the topic. I would buy a book for a critical chapter or two so I didn't have to write notes. I could simply look it up. I'm one of those who believes that knowing where information can be found is more important than knowing the information. You need both in life, but most of the time, immediate recall isn't all that important as knowing how and where to find it.

And this applies to my photography? As the saying goes, "You betcha!" I have several small libraries of books. One for Web design and my Mac G5. One for all the photo processing, production and printing software. One for my Web-based photo guide for Mt. Rainier NP. And one for photography, on the many aspects of it, including large format photography, photography ideas and essays, and various types of photography, landscape, black&white, etc.

Well, when you put this together, or rather expressed as me, it results in a person who sits down with PhotoShop with an imported image(s) and learns by wandering and seeing. Looking at what's there and what happens when I do this or that. This means my work gets better in increments as I find new tools and methods. And it's always non-linear, often backtracking or sideways. And then find the book and/or manual and read a little more.

But it's who I am and how I learn. One of these days you'd think I would learn to find a way to learn better. Not. And while much of my photography is a do over, in the flow of things, sometimes I get it right the first time. Or the second time and so on. But it's the road to knowing I wander. For instance?

Well, for the life of me I was trying to scan an image I took of the Black River near Fort Apache. The slide looked fine, very good exposure (something to be said for Minolta's old metering system), but I just couldn't get the scan to replicate the slide. And after about a dozen scan and tinkering with the right setting, it worked as best you can from the scan.

This allowed me to import it into Photoshop and produce the Web image with almost no retouching in Photoshop. It's still not perfect, but then I'm not one who likes to tinker with an image until sunrise. I know I should, and some images I have spent days, but most are to almost there or close enough I can see where improvements are better or just personal choice. It's where I get to the point my brain is fried and just can't think what's better or worse.

I once worked with a self-taught computer specialist. And while he would take manuals home and read them cover to cover - you know those 400-600 page ones - and could make software stand up and dance, he didn't have much of a sense of humor or a sense of Web design. He would criticize me for not knowing and having to read something again and again, but I didn't care. It's who he was and who I am.

He would criticize me for doing a lot of work by hand because I found it easier and faster than developing some new tool or program to do some global thing. He like automating everything and I like keep it personal. While he would develop several versions of something, comparing them, I would simply work on one, going forward, backward and sideways until I was happy with it. I would only keep a copy of the original to start over if the working one failed miserably.

He taught me, despite all his criticism, that my way for best for me. The curious thing was that for a lot of the work, we were about the same on productivity, using different methods to get to the same result at about the same time. And while his had advantages of easy global fixes, my worked better when we needed to develop something, iterations or individualized changes than developing new tools to go over and over everything with global changes.

Anyway, I learned that learning is unique to each of us and I am also how I learn.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I posted my view of the recent incident at the world bridge championship in China and the response of the US Bridge Federation. I also sent an e-mail to the Board of the US Bridge Federation and got some excellent responses from one of the members of the board. Sadly, however, I think the USBF made a number of mistakes which clearly blew the incident out of proporation and out of their control.

When I exchanged e-mails, the Board member stayed with the issue of the flagrant violation by the the women but didn't fully celebrate that simple fact they won the tournament. They continue to stand by the position the act was wrong and action should and would be taken against the women and possibly members in any future incident. But they failed to see some over-riding issues.

First, the women did not break any specific rule of the USBF, they just embarrassed the USBF and impuned their reputation at an international tournament, which they noted was in China, who sponsored the event. They also implied this action could result in losses of corporate support. And that's what the real issue was, not the act or the words, but the impact of an act of free speech on their international reputation and corporate sponsorship.

They were driven by fear than by pride. And that's where they went wrong. I wrote that all they had to do was three easy and simple things.

First, take the women aside and privately discuss what had happened. Listen to their side as well as express the USBF's displeasure. Aside from that, since no rule was broken, leave it to history.

Second, publically issue a statement stating the women were expressing their personal opinon(s) and not the opinion of the USBF. The USBF supports its member and the riigh of free speech as an American value. And that's all, a simple neutral diplomatic statement.

Third, consider bringing the issue of incidents like this to the rules committee for discussion and possible change in member agreements about act of a similar nature at future international tournament. Ensure the rule is neutral in the act and content of the act (signs, buttons, etc.) and not engage in partisan politics.

It's clear to me the USBF errored badly in their reaction and made the women representatives of American value of free speech and themselves the curmudgeons against it. And while people can argue the words on the sign, no one could argue anything different should have or would have changed the act itself. Whether you agreed with them or not, they did what every American has the right to do, express their opinion.

I applaud their bravery. And while you can be angry with their act and words, consider one thing. Do you remember John Carlos and Tommie Smith in the 1968 Olympics? If you did, what's the difference? Nothing. Both were personal acts and public expressions of conscience.

Does anyone remember the noise from it or what happened to them? No? Because you only remember the act itself. The simple act of expressing oneself as an American. I doubt the women of the USBF will suffer the same fate at Mr. Carlos and Mr. Smith in their life. But you still have to applaud their courage to stand by their beliefs and values.

And if you disagree, what are you saying about America and American values? It's only your values that matter? Or your America that's important? And if you find yourself in a minority or committing an act others don't like, how will you react to their outrage?

Don't we all stand for freedom of speech?

NPR - Life happens

I wrote about my walking and the not so original observation while on my latest walk. Well, maybe another not so original one. Life happens.

We all know the saying, life happens while we're busy going through or getting on with our life, and experience is the result of that. We all know we have a past and a future. And some say we have a present. Well, in some respects maybe we do, but in some respects we don't. Can you define the present?

It isn't always some time frame each of us use to define our present, from minutes to days or even weeks? To a physicist maybe the present is a very small slice of time that exist only for the one small slice of time, and proceeds to the next small slice of time. Meaning the present really doesn't exist, it's simply the small space in time between the past and the future.

And that's the present in reality? Not really, but yes really. When I walk, there is no present, and only the briefest moment I'm observant of the world around me. But behind, the steps I've taken, is the past, and ahead, the road I see, is the future. I'm always walking between the two and the present is simply the moving moment on the walk.

Time doesn't seem to exist for me on walks. I only know walking and observing. It's always the way I've felt hiking. I could then, and getting back in to shape to be there again, walk forever when I was hiking. I would get in a flow and just walk. I often hated finishing the hike, and especially hated driving home. That feeling hasn't returned yet, but it's getting closer and hopefully through the winter I'll get my hiking legs back with the same spirit of time and the moment.

Until then I'm enjoying just walking and observing and feeling time be something else. To exist in one moment to another, past to future.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

NPR - Life goes on

Wednesdays are usually a free day for me now, in retirement and working on a new career. I usually schedule stuff earlier and later in the week so I can have Wednesday to do whatever happens or strikes the synapse to do. And of course, the weather. Even living in paradise, we have fall and winter weather, which arrived last week and is settling in with great comfort, including a good early windstorm recently which sent trees a swaying and limbs a flying. Great stuff to watch.

And so today I had to renew my prescriptions and do some small errands about town. It's a nice 9 mile walk, which I wrote about recently. I started about 8:00 am and arrived back home about noon, in time for lunch, reading the newspapers I picked up along the way and taking a nap which is one of the joys of retirement, err, being the CEO of your own personal business.

Well, today was five stops in those 9 miles, and just enough, with the rain jacket, to fit into my really old Hine Snowbridge backpack, which is really more of a large top-loading day pack which carries about a grocery bag of stuff in it. That's about the amount I can carry 6-9 miles these days. Anyway, while walking the last 2 miles home over the only route there is, a rural road, I got to listening, watching and thinking.

And if you haven't guessed, that's dangerous for me, because besides not paying attention, I wander in the universe of mental thought were space is just that, the size of the universe, as far as I can think and mentally wander. And what, prey tell did I have a revelation that isn't new except to me at that moment? Remember, I'm a Taoist.

Ok, with all the people going around in the cars, all sorts of commercial trucks and vans going by about their work, people living in their homes along the walk and all the people working in shops, stores and restaurants and cafes, it doesn't really matter about my existence at that moment. I'm just the guy walking alongside the road on his way home. And the world goes on. And the only difference is that I'm there then being aware of a small corner of the world with a small selection of people.

And wondering about that moment around the whole world. All 6-plus billion people living and doing in their small world. And everyone else obilvious to everyone else except the people in their immediate thought and interest. I wondered how many people really think about that, the whole time and place of the moment. Everything happening at once in a moment, and then a new moment. And again and again, onward with each step and each moment.

It amazed me that everything just happens and life and the world goes on. This isn't new or really enlightening, just curious on a walk home one cold fall day.

JMO - When free speech isn't

I read an article today about the recent win by the American bridge team at the world bridge championship in Shanghai, China. During the dinner ceremony one of the team members held up a small sign which read, "We did not vote for Bush." That's it, nothing outragous or political, just a simple statement about who they voted for in the recent presidential elections. Well, it created a firestorm of e-mails in opposition to the team members.

Three of the members later issued statements expressing regret if the statement offended anyone. And the US Bridge Federation (USBF) has disciplined them for expressing inappropriate speech which included sanctions and community service in support of bridge activities. While many members and others have expressed support for the team members, many have expressed outrage.

Now I don't know about the USBF but I don't see this as political except whom they voted for. They didn't express anything against Bush, the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, or Bush's record as President. Simpy said they didn't vote for him. And while many member sported buttons against Bush or the war, they weren't on the winners podium to be seen. And the team members didn't say anything other than the sign.

My question to the USBF is this. If the sign had be pro-Bush or pro-war, or anti-terrorists/terrorism, and so on, would you still have sanctioned them? Or is, as someone suggested, that Bush has turned patriotism into only free speech in favor or or for the President, and anything different is unpatriotic or anti-American? And so it also raises a question.

If the USBF didn't have any rules against what they did, how can they impose disciplinary actions against the retroactively and without the rule to back it? Even if they are a non-profit organization and members sign an agreement with their membership, if there aren't rules on conduct or political statements, where is the justice and fairness?

And what happened to free speech? While they were in China, the team members aren't Chinese citizens. They're Americans. We're all Americans and we're all entitled to free speech. It's not against the law to express our opinions. And while it's not generally prudent to do so at ceremonial events, it's not against the law.

These women didn't do anything wrong, and the USBF should apologize to them for the treatment they got from you and the membership who seemed offended. America is about dissent and free speech, or don't you understand that? It's our right and our right of free speech, not just what you like, but also what may offend you.

Remember, they won! Celebrate that. Americans win the Venice Cup of the World Bridge Championship. What's not to like about that?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Off the deep end

The latest issue of LensWork has an article by Brooks Jensen about traditional darkroom prints, used to print one-off or a limited number of special edition prints, and new highend lithographic prints, used for photographic book and magazine production. Well, among the fine art and large format photographers, this has created a small firestorm, or to some a small burning bush in the desert - see discussion on LF forum, either something worthy of thought, a mere noting the obvious, or a waste of time and paper.

Ok, I'm an ordinary photographer, and while I've started learning and doing large format photography, I clearly will not get into the realm and world of fine art photography, or at least until I spend a lot more time at the computer and printer. But then all my production is focused on digital printing, and most of that is for photo cards with individually printed 4x6 prints. Definitely not fine art.

I long since abandoned the darkroom. When I was learning photography in the early 1970's I worked after hours at a photo lab on base. I was paid in film to help with the lab, and they let me produce some of my on prints for photo classes I was taking at a local community college. After just over a year I kept working at the lab but decided I hate being in the darkroom. I love taking photo than producing them.

And while since retiring I've learned to enjoy producing prints, it's still not what I like the most with and in photography. It's still being out there with the camera. All too often I view the slides, negatives or (digital) images, say, "Ok.", and plan my next photo trip. That's changing to sit in front of the computer and with the printer more as I learn that people like my cards, and follow my simple rule - use them or give them away to people who will, but don't let them collect dust.

Anyway, I can understand the idea of comparing a traditional darkroom print with a digital or lithographic print, and even understand the thought against it. They're different methods and all the technical analysis won't change the issue that it's about personal choice and content (film photograph or digital image). The rest is production and presentation, and totally within the control of the photographer. The beauty of being one today with all the choices and technology at hand.

And my point? Well, reading some of the comments, and as some forum posts get, some either misunderstood the article, decided to discuss another topic, or just wandered off in another direction. But the point that bothered me the most is the perspective and tone of some of the posts. Granted I highly respect and admire the craft and work to produce fine art prints, some of them are missing one issue.

They're standing at the one yard line of one end of the field forgetting the rest of the photography world is playing in the other 99 yards, and for the most part, really don't care about fine art prints - not being collectors - or about the opinion of fine art photographers. They may admire the work in galleries on occasion, but 99+% of their viewing of photography is done through computers, magazine or books.

Standing in front of a traditional print is awesome, and I really advise folks to view them at galleries, cafes, or wherever they're presented or displaying. But it's just another way to present photographs today, and it's not the pinnacle for many people anymore. Some think it stil is. It is in a small world of photography, but not the mainstream photographers or people viewing photographs.

No one disputes the value and importance of fine art prints. And I really like LensWork magazine. The issues aren't about the equipment, it's about the photographer and their endeavor to produce a breath taking portfolio. If I ever strive to learn enough to produce one (portfolio) to submit, I'll be happy, which is about 100 to 1 submitted to accepted as I understand it. In the meantime I'll stick with my simple production and standards.

And while I like listening to the wisdom and experience of fine art photographers, I'll keep my feet in the real world of my photography.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

JMO - Boycott Eagles new CD

That's a big statement coming from a longtime fan of the Eagles. I have their albums, you know those big round vinyl, groovy things, and their CD's. But the decision to only market their CD in the United States through Walmart stores is a really dumb and stupid decision for a band who have prided themselves as environmentally friendly (like a rock band can?), and who should pride themselves in supporting fair wages and American enterprise.

With this decision they're robbing all the small and larger music distribution, marketing and sales companies and businesses, especially the small ones I shop at in Seattle, Silver Platters, who busts their butts to stay ahead of the market and support a vibrant music community and the consumer. They've been robbed by a corporate giant at the hands of a popular rock band. That's unconscionable.

I'm sorry about this decision, but the Eagles owe their longtime fans more and better choices, and allow us to follow our ethics if we decide we don't like Walmart. When a corporate monopy like Walmart becomes the sole source in the US for someone's music, they're extending their power and control over the consumer. The Eagles should know better. What you don't listen to Lou Dobbs on CNN and other folks articulating a voice of criticism against Walmart? You haven't seen the documentaries? You haven't read the books or articles?

What the fuck were they thinking? I'm personally disgusted a rock band of my generation would contribute to the monoply of a corporate giant, and especially Walmart. And so I, as a consumer, also make a decision. If it's about the money, yours, well I have an answer about mine.

You don't get my money!

NPR - Life in the middle of change

While pondering the day in the darkness on my deck at 4:00 am with a cup of coffee - it's cold, windy and infrequently rainy - I was thinking about the end of my second year in retirement, approaching in December. After retiring I've been in the middle of several major changes in my life, and I realized it's extremely difficult to assess anything beyond what you have done so far and what you want to do in the future. In short, being in the middle isn't the place to think too much.

And the changes? Well for one, retirement. To go from a government agency to your own personal endeaver, business to follow, is a big change. From being a mid-level senior technical manager, and former section chief and supervisor, to a one person operation. I set myself a timeframe of 3-5 years to have a foundation of what I would do with the rest of my life as well as achieved some things in the other areas of my life.

For another, my photography. In two ways. First, getting and learning two new camera systems, a large format and a full-frame digital is a leap from my long used Minolta manual focus system. I can't say enough about the fun it is with the cameras and the challenge to capture images. Second, is the print production, something I've always left to labs, but with the next change, I'm moving to complete in-house production except for film processing and large print (16x20 or larger).

For another, my Website and other plans, like writing, travelling, etc. This meant getting and working with a new computer. I've had computers at work - even managed and operated several in a series of satellite downlinks and data processing and dissemination software and databases. But getting a Mac G5 with several photographic and media production software was a big step into sitting in front of your own computer.

The plans for writing, which for now is several blogs and Web pages, will hopefully be expanded into chapters and later a book, but realistically way down the road. The travel plans are still there, but for the next few years I'm staying close to home. It's mostly a financially issue to ensure I don't lose track of the rest of my life plans and find myself in debt. There's a lot around here to photograph.

For another, being older. The last ten years has been the biggest change physically, where the reality of aging is beginning and the struggle to stay fit gets harder. When I was 48 I ran 20+ miles a week and went hiking 2-3 weekends a month during the spring-fall hiking season. Now I run 8-10 miles in a good week or walk 16-24 miles instead as I learned feet transporation isn't so bad. I still weight train, but less often as I find it's harder and the recovery longer.

As for my health, well, everyone has their diatribes about this or that trouble. Two years ago my physician had me go through the battery of test you're supposed to get after 50, ok, at 56, but better late than never. I took it as an adventure to understand where I was at physically, and the prospects of maintaining some level of health and fitness for my plans. The outlook is good, but it didn't defer the aging part.

For another, Mt. Rainier National Park. I first hiked in Mt. Rainier NP in 1977, but left for a career. I returned in 1987 and haven't stopped hiking as much as time, life and my body will allow, albeit less in recent years. In the mid-1990's I discovered there hadn't been a photo guide published in about 40 years. There are three overview ones now, so I decided to spend my retirement working on my own photo guide, and let it take me where it does.

For another, get back into being a student of the Tao. I "discovered" the Tao in Alan Watts book, "Tao, The Watercourse Way" when I was studying hydrology and water resources. I've always had an innnate connection with rivers, and partly why I joined the USGS as a hydrologic technician and later hydrologist, and became an infrequent fly-fisherman. Over the years life interceded and I wandered away from my study of the Tao, and now I'm going back, or forward anew.

For another, reviewing what I have (own) and want to keep. It was my goal to go through everything in my life, all the stuff we've collected and hauled around, and shrink it to what's in my place, no storage except the garage-type stuff and personal stuff I've had since childhood. Unfortunately this is one of those really major chores in life, and it's always easier to procastinate this into the to do list.

For another, something else. This is an on-going one that relates to my whole life. And I won't say more until it's clearer how the future will look. It's not about what but how it goes and what happens. This is one change it's done as you live. That's all you can do, and adjust on the way. Everything else are hopes and wishes.

In the end, it's the simple notion that pondering the universe at 4:00 am on a late fall morning is fine, pondering your life isn't. So, I'll drink the coffee and watch and listen to the early morning darkness.

Friday, November 9, 2007

JMO - Values and our humanity

While listening and reading about the debate over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), I was struck by some thoughts on humna nature and personal values everyone uses to guide themselves and make decisions in their life. It struck me that the worst of those who preach are more than likely the least who really understand the issue, the reality of the issue and the consequences in people's life. They hold to what they describe as their personal values and won't waver from them in the face of what they call the enemy which is simply reality.

The first thought was the saying, "The truth of someone's value is not what or who they include, it's who or what they exclude." That was evident when many who support the pro-LGBT cause decided to remove the inclusion of transpeople, or gender identity, expression or presentation, and felt transpeople were ballast to a sinking bill when faced with the conservative or religious right's view about these people, rights and marriage. And so they jettisoned transpeople from the bill and in their reality.

The exception was Representative Tammy Baldwin. She gave a short, magnificant and magnanimous speech about the failures of Representative Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi and all the representatives who were for the non-inclusive bill. She, and I suspect a few others, decided inclusion was the only answer, and exclusion was not the answer, but merely the politically expedient ones others used to make a show and get votes in next year's election.

The second thought was the saying, "Any principle or belief followed outside of reality is hollow." This is what I consistently heard from the conservative and religious representatives, citing reasons or excuses for voting against the bill, but in reality all those reasons and excuses were falsehoods. They had nothing to do with the actual bill but with their idealistic view of who is acceptable to discriminate against, namely homosexual and transgender people.

The bill including language palatable to the religious community, to allow them to discriminate against anyone they don't want to accept in the church or commercial interests, and to those advocating the "protection" of marriage by exempting any connection between non-discrimination and existing marriage statutes or laws, like the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The writers of the bill simply caved in to protect their political ass(ets) for next year's election.

The third thought was the saying, "In the practice of our beliefs, we make concessions and draw lines between who or what we accept and don't accept." As noted some people's line are imaginary in the real world, some people's lines are drawn for personal reasons for their political survival, and some people's lines are relative to the situation. But then some people's lines are so far out there, it's rare any issue gets even close.

This is a point, how big of a frame of acceptance do we make with our beliefs to establish values and allow humanity into the picture of our life, leaving everyone else outside of our reality? And that's the real issue. It's not about our principles or beliefs, but the frame of our life and view of reality. Everything else are the tools we use to build the frame. After all, like everyone else, we put our frame on the wall of humanity and reality.

So, how big is your frame? How large your humanity?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

JMO - Why new ENDA is wrong

The House of Representatives yesterday passed an update to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) by a majority but not enough of one once the Senate passes its version and the compromise goes to the President for George Bush to simply veto it. It was, for the most part, an exercise of political wills and power, and a show of public and political rhetoric about sexual orientation and gender identity. It was an excercise in futility, not uncommon for Congress of recent sessions.

While 350 of the top 500 Fortune companies and over 300 human rigthts and LGBT organizations support an all-inclusive ENDA, Congress, the respective leader on these issues in the House, Representatives Barney Franks, decided to jettision gender identity, meaning transpeople, from the bill. In short, they decided adding another few to the many at the expense of another few was politicially expedient and their version of American values.

The saving grace in the process was Representative Tammy Baldwin whose speech on the floor was magnificent and magnanimous in the face of Reprsentatives Barney Franks and Nancy Pelosi's decision not to include transpeople in the ENDA. It was a political decision of the face of it, but in reality it was a cave-in to the religious and conservative Republicans who don't think all Americans are really Americans and worthy of equal rights and protections.

If this version of the bill is passed, and for some odd reason President Bush has a lapse of memory and his own conscience and signs it, it will mean the formerly oppressed will join the ranks of the oppressors. A gay or lesbian manager will have the right to fire a transperson without cause but they can not be similarly fired. The latter is discrimination and the former is simply business as usual. A fired gay or lesbian will have rights, but a transperson is simply unemployed, often again.

And as usual Congress caved into the minority of groups who have mispresented transpeople and this bill to the public, and especially their constituents. It's ok for a Congressional Representative or Senator to be gay or lesbian. And it's ok for anyone of them to be straight with hidden homosexual tendencies. But it's not ok for a person to be transgender and make the life-changing decision to be who they are, and have any hope they will be granted the same rights and privileges as the rest of Americans in the workplace.

Martin Luther King spoke those immortal words, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Those words apply equally to one's gender. We have long abolished discrimination against one's race, ethnicity, religion, sex, and disabilities, and now ENDA add sexual orientation. But not gender identity.

There are thousands of transpeople, many who have finished their transistion to be physically and legal their new sex and gender, living ordinary lives alongside the rest of Americans, and few if anyone outside family and friends are the wiser. There are tens of thousands of transpeople trying to live as the rest of Americans. But they are discriminated against routinely in their life, and often the victim of violence. The Hate Crime Act prohibits some of this discrimination and the ENDA would prohibit the rest.

But alas, transpeople aren't in ENDA. Since I expect it will see a Presidential veto and not be overridden by Congress, it would be nice to say express some hatred to the LGB groups that wanted to become the many and the oppressor. But I can't and won't. I do hope that the LGB community follows up on their promise to the T-community to help and support their inclusion in ENDA in 2009. But I'm not holding my breath because deep down I feel the same will happen again.

Deja Vu all over, again, and transpeople will again be political fodder, lost in the shuffle and race to join the many. And they'll be handed an IOU saying, "We appreciate your help in the effort for gay and lesbian rights, and we will reciprocate for you sometime in the future when it's politicially expedient to do without political fallout of our own efforts." That is, of course, unless the real Democrats stand up and say they are for every American. As will the President.

But, as the old saying goes, I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Capture versus Create

I love looking at images people produce, and while some of them are ones, in the back of your mind I ask myself, "What were they thinking?", I always try to find something to see and learn. And all photographers are far more self-critical than critics of others' work, it always pays to examine your own more critically to find the mistakes in your vision, effort and work while being more open with others' work.

In looking at the work of others I tend to ask myself was the image captured or created. It's obvious all images are created in that they are moments in time and place discerned and discriminated by the photograher. They create the image they saw. But the difference I use is if the image was already there and they found a piece of life and reality in it or if the image created in the studio or similar situation.

Ok, it's a statement of the obvious. All studio, commercial and product photography, and almost all porttrait, wedding and similar people photography is created. It didn't happen until the photographer created the environment for the images. It's a type of photography I like looking at because it reminds me of the diversity of vision and imagination photographers have, something find difficult.

Which leads to looking at captured photography. The diversity of vision in being and seeing the world is fascinating. We all could walk down a country road for a mile and all of us would come home with different images. It's simply how each of us looks and sees. This is where I learn to expand my own mind outside the box I limit myself. It doesn't mean I'm good or a even do much beyond what I already do, but sometimes it reminds me to step outside the mental box.

In end all images are created. Every photographer sits down in front of their computer to process and produce their images, either in print or on the Web. So all images are really created, I just focus on the original image, was it in the world or in someone's mind. It's why I call myself an ordinary photographer, simply walking around, looking and seeing, and then photographing what pleases me, and why I like to produce images of what I saw, nothing enchanced or created, just was then and is now.

Or so, it's why I'm a photographer. I focus on the captured image and enjoy those who produce either.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

TAO - Photo Student of the Tao

I was browsing in a bookstore recently and wandered into the religion section for another reason but ended up looking at books on Eastern religions, namely Taoism, which I've been a student of since 1975 when I read Alan Watt's book "Tao, The Watercourse Way".

Then I was a student in geography and hydrology, not of Taoism or other religions or philosophies. I was preoccupied with getting my bachelors and masters degrees in geography specializing in water resources. Life is like that, it consumes your attention, energy, focus and resources, and when you think you're busy enough something hits you from a direction and with a force you're not ready or prepared. The ole' mental thump on the forehead.

Well, I really didn't understand much of the book except the basic ideas and one visual image that's never left me about life. In the book he describes our being a hollow tube floating on a river. You're not interferring with the flow but moving with the flow. You can't effect the flow but you reflect the flow. You're simply being with the flow and the flow with you. And he writes, if you can understand it, then you can't describe it, and if you can describe it, then you don't understand it.

And so obviously I don't understand it. And thus, like many, I'm simply a simple student of it. And over the years I've understood it also applies to photography. It's not about you, the camera and the subject. It's about you and the flow of life, and you're holding the camera to capture instances in the flow. And the same rule applies, but to this you can add that when you capture it you're simply capturing a moment in time and place.

And in the moment, it's about being in the moment of life and the moment of photography. Bringing you and your camera into, as they say, harmony with life and the flow of life. Kinda' sounds esoteric, don't it? Well, it is philosophical and religious in one sense and on one plane of life when it's really about working. But it's also as the saying goes, it's about "being in the moment" and that moment is the Tao and Tao of photography.

And so, like many other writers on the subject (geez, do a Google search on "Tao of Photography" and you get a ton of links), I'll explore the Tao as it relates to my understanding of the Tao and of life and photography. It's all just personal and a personal exploration to finally reread all the chapters in the "Tao Teh Ching", using Henry Wei's "The Guiding Light of Lao Tzu" and Philippe Gross and S.I. Shapiro's Tao of Photography.

So it's all relative to those books and me. The rest are my wanderings in throught and images.

LensWork Magazine

I got the latest issue of LensWork photography magazine yesterday. I want to encourage everyone to find a copy at a bookstore or magazine stand or order it on-line. If there is a magazine that demonstrates the value of being a human being and the importance of photographers in presenting our humanity, LensWork is the magazine and the latest issue (Number 73, Nov-Dec. 2007) is a great example. Why?

First, the columns by Brook Jensen and Bill Jay are always worthwhile to read and to ponder the thoughts. And the interviews are always good to understand the diversity of serious photographers and their craft. But most importantly, this issue has four tremendous portfolios, the "People of Ethopia" by Robert Waddingham, "Endangered Species: The Point Judith Fishermen" by Markham Starr, the "Portraits of Time" by Beth Moon about ancient trees, and "Cage Call" by Louie Palu about underground miners and mining.

This is without a doubt the best photography magazine in the world. Others are flashy, talk about equipment and the photographic processes, present brillantly printed images, offer tons of long-known advice, and on and on. LensWorks brings you simple humanity through the eyes of outstanding photographers to show their passion and love for a subject. Their photography isn't the showcase that the rest of the magazines are about, with LensWork, the images, stories and information are. And that's the difference.

It's about the content. Others sell content and through all the ads you eventually find useful nuggets or even articles, or find interesting photos. LensWork is all content (ok, ads for itself but no more). You can read something beginning to end by turning pages, not searching to find where the it ends near the end of the issue. You can view portfolios in sequence as the photographer and editor wanted, not being distracted by the ads on the pages. The images consume the page and they consume your attention. Right there in front of you, without pretense or distractions.

So I encourage you to expand your understanding of the world than merely scanning a magazine for the interesting stuff. LensWork, and this issue, will stay in your memory as you read and reread it, and it will be one you will save to read again to renew your connection to humanity. It's not overblown in the world of hype today to say that, even if you think it is. Find the issue and then tell me I'm wrong.

NPR - God and free will

I was thinking about religion recently and about the conundrum it creates when we're asking to give up our free will to believe in something free will would require serious inquiry into its validity. And when, where and how did this thought happen, when it wasn't out of the blue? Well, sort of. I was watching the movie "Bruce Almighty" again. And in the movie when given the power of God, Bruce was given two rules.

The first was he could't tell anyone he was God, like anyone would believe him anyway. The second was, "You can't mess with free will." I thought this was intriguing because it's the one thing we give up when we believe in God. And raises the questions. If God gave us free will, why would God ask us to give it up? Seems contradictory to me. God made us human for thinking and the ability to exercise personal action, namely to think, be and do as we freely choose, at least within the frame work our society and culture allow.

So why would any religion ask us to abdicate this gift from God as part of our being human and being an individual? Why would God instruct any religion to abandon individual and group free will to follow him without doubt or question? Why would any religious leader tell the congregation to believe this so far as telling them he's the voice of God to believe in him and his word without a moment of hesitation or wonder? Why would we be given a book, the Bible, so say it's all we need to know and follow?

It simply escapes me, but then again, being a student of Taoism, I accept the idea we are perceiving and thinking beings. I've always gone through the world to accept the right to think and decide and to accept the consequences of my decisions and actions. To be a human being as much as I am and can be. I've accepted and believe that, so that I know God is within me, and through observing the world, examining what I see, learning from what I see and experience, and be a better person as I go through life.

I know I am not asking God the meaning of my life but God is asking me the meaning of my life. I am and know it's up to me, who I am and what I do.

Monday, November 5, 2007

NPR - Hiking and walking

Why this photo about hiking and walking? Ok, I'll explain. First, I've hiked in Mt. Rainier NP on and off since 1977 - photo of Mazama Ridge Trail, one of my personal favorites. And for a number of reasons, but mostly getting older and saving miles on my VW Syncro for short trips - ok, to stay fit too, I began walking around the area I live to the various places such as the small commerical center and downtown Gig Harbor. It's a 6-9 mile round trip walk to each, respectively.

When I do hike in Mt. Rainier NP I usually hike 4-6 miles but have hiked 8-12 on occasion to get to a destination to photograph. All of these trails usually involved 1-3,000 feet of elevation gain (and loss on the return hike), while my walks are usually about 400 feet of elevation gain (and loss). And my walks have a destination, like the Starbucks above with their great staff. The coffee is ok, but I like the smaller coffee importers and roasters. Starbucks is the largest of the Arabica coffee importers and they roast their coffee darker than many for the mixed drinks.

So there's a difference between hiking and walking then? Well, like Duh? To me anyway. Ok, it's still one foot in front of the other, but they're different. For one, the shoes are different, if you're smart anyway. But then I've seen some really dumb tourists hiking with the worst shoes miles from the trailhead. Hiking takes good boots for foot and ankle support and for durability and ruggedness in all terrain. Walking can be done with a variety of shoes from athletic shoes to lightweight boots.

Other differences? Hiking is endless. You start with the goal to hike. Nothing more than simply going somewhere alone (for me anyway being a solo hiker) with no idea of what or where, just follow the trail - I don't have good directional senses off trail as I talk about in my nickname. I usually have a turnaround location, but often my photography guides the time and distance.

Walking isn't endless. It has goals, to go and do something or be somewhere. The Starbucks above is 3-4 miles, depending on the route, from and a place for newspapers and a doppio con panna, a double espresso with a dollop of whipped cream - a coffee lover's dream drink. It's also in a small shopping center with other stores I can get other stuff and a short walk to two other larger shopping centers. So it's take the backpack and a list. Just remember to buy only what you can fit into the pack and carry home.

Downtown Gig Harbor is a 4-5 mile walk with its small shops and stores, all different than the centers near the highway. And I get the nice walk all along the way there and back, the rural roads once I get away from the commericial areas. It's always amazing what you see along side a road people miss while driving, some may you stand there and wonder how and why, like all the trash people jetison from cars, the tire tracks going off the highway into the brush destroying a telephone box and some signs, or like a headless dog carcess.

Personally I'll take hiking any day, but it's an hour or two drive to Mt. Rainier NP and $50 in gas these days, so I have to plan the trips accordingly, meaning within the budget and bills. And being retired on a fixed annuity, that's important, but doable some months. The plan is to work on walking and exercises this winter to resume hiking trips next spring and summer, along with some trips to places on the West Coast or Pacific Northwest.

Anyway, that's the thought, just one synapse in front of the other. Mental hiking about the body moving in the world under its own power and control. Something evolution gave us a long time ago. But we have Starbucks now.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

JMO - What level of risk is acceptable

All the while during George Bush's administration after September 11, 2001 and especially the attack, invasion and occupation of Iraq, and really a good bit of it is Dick Cheney's administration, I keep hearing about 100% protection from terrorists. And through all this I hear from the specialist who say this isn't achieveable, let alone realistic or even reasonable. It's about what level of risk we're willing to accept in the world versus keeping our civil liberities and human rights.

And that is the issue. Every thing in our life has risk, it's the reality of being alive and living in today's world. The statisticians can provide you all the numbers of your chances with anything and everything. You simply and almost unconsciously decide to go through life with the risk. Starting with where you live, and also where you work, the transportation you take, the places you go, the food you eat, the products you use, and on and on in your life.

It's simply what we do. So why not just accept the level of risk with terrorists? We do that too, but we haven't given it much thought. Did those people who worked in the federal building in Oklahoma City think about the risk of a bomb exploding outside the front killing and injuring all those people? We know they didn't even know about terrorism from one of our own citizens. And there have been other acts of violence throughout our history that could easily be called terrorism.

And we all know the risk of flying. We all read about plane crashes. Yet we still fly. We still plan our trips around flying. We go through the long and stupid airport and airline security procedures to sit and wait, and then we board the airplane to fly somewhere we want to go (ok, our luggage goes elsewhere). We don't think about the risk of airplanes with weather and other conditions which could cause the plane to crash.

So why would we not accept the risk of terrorists? Because we know the risk is so small as to be the last think we think about. And we know it's not about all the FBI's work finding terrorists' plans and threats, about the airport and airline security, or about any other aspect of the aftermath of 9/11. Simply put, we know it's small because we accept it. We want the freedom to travel and the freedom of how we get there.

So why is our government demanding more and more "tools", meaning laws, which take our civil liberties and rights in the name of perfection for protection from terrorists when we all know it's not doable. In the struggle against terrorists, it's the back and forth effort with them, and in the work, people will die or be injured in attacks, whether it's a bomb somewhere or an airplance hijacked. So why can't our government be truthful with us and also accept the realization, as we already know, it's part of the risk of life today?

If I had to vote on it, I would vote for the restoration of civil liberties and rights from what we lost and vote against giving our government anymore. We know in hindsight, the FBI had all the information they needed to hinder if not stop 9/11, but they simply didn't have the communications to get it done. It was a problem of laws or technology, where new "tools" wouldn't help, but of simply human beings. They had and could still have all the tools they need, they just need to use them.

More is not better, risk is real, so live with it.

JMO - Why it is time to end this war

I have heard and know all the arguments about the war in Iraq, about it being a global war on terrorism, a war against Al Qeada, a war to prevent a civil war, a war against insurgents, a war for the people of Iraq to build a democracy and a nation, a war for America's future, a war against Jihadists, a war to protect America, and on and on.

And I have heard and know all the arguments about the line, "It's about supporting the troops." And we all heard then Secretary of Defense Rumfeldt's response to a soldier's question about body armor and Humvee safety, "You go to war with the Army you have, and not the Army you want." Well, he was wrong, for over 3,000 dead and 10,000's permanent injured reasons wrong. The Secretary's job is to have the Army the nation wants and needs. You don't go to war with less.

In the end, all the arugments don't hold a candle when you hear the story on NPR's Saturday Morning Edition about the very soldiers. It's time to bring the troops home to keep the Army of this nation in tack and really ready to protect Amerians abroad, protect America's global interest (notice "protect" than promote), fight terrorists who attack Americans, American soldiers, and American facilities.

And nothing more. No preemptive strikes or war against imagnary threats from soverign nations. No covert actions against soverign nations to put a non-democratic dictator in power over the power of the people of that nation and their elected government and leader. No overt threats against soverign nations to imidate them into submission to follow our global view and policies. No political rhetoric about the power of America simply to win an election.

It's about supporting the troops, and it's about ensuring they have a life too. We don't need to be in Iraq for their safety and security. Their nation is over 3,000 years old and they know what they have to do and will do it without us. While they may need our money to rebuild their infrastructure we so ablely destroyed, they don't need us to make the decision and control the progress of their new government. They need what we have, freedom to be and be on their own.

It's about supporting the troops. And that means ending the war and bringing the troops home to their families. It's about restoring the military as we need in the new global situation, and not wearing it out in endless, unwinnable wars in lands we didn't understand when we invading and occupied. It's about being a partner with the United Nations to preserve human rights and civil liberties around the world. It's about being a real partner in nuclear disarmament and the establishment of international standards for nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

It's about support the troops. Nothing less and a lot more for them, like complete and fully funded medical help for active duty and veterans, legal rights to reclaim former jobs or help finding new jobs, family support to renew marriages, and about renewing the importance of being an American soldier. And it's about fullfilling the promises of the American people to say thanks to the soldiers and the loved ones of those who didn't come home alive.

In the end, it's always about the troops, so let's not forget that.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

NPR - Random thoughts

While writing something else I had a thought. Ok, that's not so rare with me, I like writing one sentence thoughts down - otherwise they'd be lost in synapse history. The forever, "Damn, what was that thought." Anyway here are a few of late.

The truth of someone's values, when it comes down to the real decisions, isn't what or who they include but what or who they exclude.

The voice of reason drowns in a shouting crowd.

Images of war don't change, only the background changes.

Sanity is overrated, insanity is more interesting, and often more sane than reality.

It's not the why of our life, it's the how that is important.

Is believing giving up our free will to think?

I'm in a constant conflict between what was and what is.

I didn't control my birth and I can't control my death. Sometimes I wonder if I can even control my life.

Small steps are harder than big leaps. The margin for error is greater.

Food isn't my problem, eating is.

My van isn't slow. It sits in traffic as fast as any car.

We are who we are, something we rarely see.

Everything has options, but we rarely see the choices.

Never eat a whole bag of greasy potato chips. Your taste buds may love you but your digestive system won't.

Sitting in the darkness at 4:00 am. What a world we live in. It is what it is.

I don't have an answer. All I have is a reason go to bed.

I want an answer, even if it's not the answer I want.

Intention is what keeps motivation going, and passion is the fuel.

We can't do or live because of fear of the alternative, to simply keep going for that reason alone without thinking or exploring the alternatives.

That's a little better than knowing nothing at all.

Not a thought but book display signs in a bookstore, "Nautical Automotive" and "Aviation Trains." - Ok, what kind of books are these?

Some randoms quotes I heard recently.

"I kept looking in the mirror, and the buggers were still there." - Sir Stirling Moss, winning the 1961 Monaco GP against the faster Ferraris.

"People (cars) didn't drive to make good time, they drove to have a good time." - from the movie "Cars"

"You can't redesign the airplane while you're flying it." - Anti-terrorist expert on fighting them

"We all do what we can, when we can, how we can. The rest just is."

"I wanted to rescue little songs from riding up and down in elevators." - Linda Ronstadt on her new CD

More of my quotes and thoughts. Ok, I'm also reading a really cool book by James Geary, "Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists."