I bought a new macro lens last week and it’s pretty exciting! I haven’t really produced any photos yet that I’m particularly excited about, I’m still trying to learn how to use it properly, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be fun. One thing that it made clear is that I need to get the sensor on my D7000 cleaned though.
I am in the process of getting my new photography site going, I’m hoping this spring and summer in particular are going to be very productive. I’ve been playing around with some new techniques and hope to have some new photos up soon.
For now, I’ve been curating my old photos and getting things organized.
A while back I joined the World of Warships alpha test. Unfortunately part of the deal is that I can’t say anything about the testing prior the the beta phase that recently started, but now that the NDA is lifted, I just wanted to say that it’s been pretty fun so far. The game itself seems to be in fairly good shape considering that it’s still under heavy development.
One of the best things about closed testing games is that the community tends to be much more pleasant than the average players in most online games these days.
I’m not as much of a gamer as I once was, but these semi-realistic shooters (Wargaming also makes the popular World of Tanks game as well as the sadly less popular Warplanes game as well) are good fun and a pretty decent mix of realism and playability. This means there are plenty of departures from historical accuracy, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a certain sense of immersion that you get. The last time I had this much fun in a naval game was probably during one of the first few Silent Hunter games.
So far there are ships from the Japanese and US navies implemented in the game and eventually all of the major WWII navies are supposed to be implemented. Maybe I’ll see you in-game!
I figured I’d take a quick moment to share some of the music I’ve been listening to lately. Back in October I spent a couple of days in the Eastern Townships on union business. Because it’s so close to the US border and CBC Radio 1 reception can be sketchy I usually find myself tuning into NPR Vermont and while I was driving back to Montréal on Sunday afternoon to catch my train back to Toronto I happened to catch a programme covering modern folk music. I immediately recognized Stan and Garnet Rogers when I turned the radio on, but jammed between them there was a Stan Rogers song I didn’t recognize. I thought that was odd because as far as I know I own everything he ever recorded and the recording certainly didn’t sound like a bootleg. As soon as the host came on after the set he explained my confusion by crediting Stan’s son Nathan for the middle song in the set: “Jewel of Paris”.
To say that he sounds eerily similar to his father is quite an understatement. I’ve done a bit of reading on his background and accomplishments as well as the requisite crawling through Youtube and Google to catch clips of my performing live. I’m sure he’s trying to carve out his own niche, among other talents he is an accomplished throat singer who has studied with indigenous groups in Mongolia and Nunavut, but releasing a first album, “The Gauntlet”, that is reminiscent of his father is not a bad way to start.
I can’t find an online version of Jewel of Paris but here’s a live cover on Youtube of Stan’s famous “Northwest Passage” which is a good sample of his voice. Happy Winter Solstice!
I came across a link to Pioneer One last week and I downloaded it over the weekend. I finally got around to watching it this evening and I have to say that for a $6000 budget it’s not that bad, in fact I’m sure hoping that it continues, I’m pretty curious about the plot. Anyway I won’t bother repeating stuff you can just read on the site itself, but the idea of micro funded entertainment is really neat. I’ll be following this closely.
I’m still plugging away at the Aubrey-Maturin series and I’m still enjoying it, about halfway through HMS Surprise. I mentioned it to a friend recently about the series and I agreed with her that it’s probably a bit of an acquired taste but if you’re in to sailing and/or military or historical fiction you should check it out.
Also, you should check out PBS Video if you haven’t recently. Although some of the content is geofenced (and there are ways around that if you’re creative) there’s a lot of good stuff there for the watching. Lately I’ve been enjoying American Experience in particular, oh how I wish we had PBS in Canada.
I’ve started reading Master & Commander by Patrick O’Brian. I’ve long been a fan of Napoleonic War era historical fiction but for some reason I’ve never quite gotten around to the Aubrey-Maturin series. Though it’s premature to give a real review, I can appreciate why the books were so well received critically. I’ve got Post Captain and HMS Sapphire on my bookshelf and I’m looking forward to some serious reading!
I just got home from the late show of There Will Be Blood and I must say I don’t think I enjoyed the movie. In fact it’s the first movie I’ve seen since The Passion of The Christ that I didn’t really feel good about sitting through. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as The Thirteenth Floor or anything, but it really didn’t make me feel good. Daniel Day-Lewis’ character Plainview is simply too dark for my tastes, he’s a genuine psychopath (probably in the clinical sense) and the acting is a bit too convincing for my taste.
That being said, the acting was excellent and the film, at least as a piece of art in the abstract sense, was quite impressive. I haven’t read Oil!, though from what I gather Paul Thomas Anderson only borrowed loosely from Upton Sinclair’s book so even if I had it might not have prepared me for the tone of the film. I’m a definite fan of Anderson and while I enjoyed his lighter fare (e.g.: Boogie Nights or Magnolia) much more than this film it has done nothing to lower my view of him as a screenwriter or director. I don’t think I’d give it a recommendation but I certainly wouldn’t discourage anybody from seeing it either. A+ in cinema, C for entertainment.