Monday, January 30, 2012

Greatest Muzak Song Ever?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

By the way... (Passport Fun)

This is going to play out right here on C.B.S., step by step.  It's news-worthy to a degree.

I recently applied for a passport.  I have no privacy whatsoever and various occurrences in my life over the past few years make it abundantly clear that there is nothing the United States federal government doesn't know about me.  I applied with an official copy of my Ohio Birth Certificate and a California Driver's License a Post Office Clerk made a photocopy of.  Nevertheless, I received this reply:

I should have used a flash, but you can read it.  This came with it:

The mailing also included a 5-page "Supplemental Worksheet" asking for every place I've ever lived, worked, or gone to school, and for my immediate family memebers' names.  I already started filling it out, so I'm not going to post it.  When I got it, I called the number provided and the kid who answered acted like he wasn't familiar with the letter and asked me to read it aloud to him.  I did.  Obviously, they record these calls and can use that recording as proof that I received the letter should the need to do so arise.  Why else would he ask me to read it?  Somehow, the friendly folks at the U.S. government got my name wrong, too.  Of course, it's easy to see how a C can be mistaken for a G, but I think the name was on the application 4 or 5 times including my parents' names in addition to being very clearly printed out on the birth certificate and the driver's license.  And, of course, I know damn well they know my name.  Maybe this is all quite normal, but the day before I got it, some  guy lookin' all sharp and acting slightly nervous (He must be new.) walked by me and made the comment, "Sorry to cut you off."  Once in a while, people stand behind me somewhere and make comments about how great my life could be and of course, occasionally threaten to prevent me from obtaining employment.  Fascinating.  Just fascinating.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gung Hei Fat Choi!

May Prosperity be with You

I see a number of different spellings on line, so I can't tell you for sure if that one's right, but what it is, is a standard Chinese Happy New Year greeting.  I heard someone say it means to wish the person a "big" year.  Apparently, the most direct translation is "May prosperity be with you."  The first time I heard it was at the yearly press conference announcing the Lunar (Chinese) New Year celebration here in San Francisco.  Lunar New Year's Day is this coming Monday, January 23rd.  By coincidence, I happened to be near the main gate to Chinatown at the just the right time when they were setting up for the announcement and questions.  I thought, "What the hell--I've got nothing else to do, so I'll play photojournalist with my phone."  I had to use the zoom, so the pics are really, really poor in image quality, but it was a great exercise nonetheless:

As the opening remarks were made, the scene was in full sun.  By the time the last person was done speaking, the entire scene was in shade.  It's all about not catching anyone making a funny face.  I think it's mostly taking a lot of shots and hoping for the best, but I get the feeling veterans actually know how to catch the right moments.  Ideally, you want to catch the speaker gesturing without a funny face.  I also noticed that, in general, women gesture more often and more emphatically than men do.  And, of course, the pics should be cropped properly.  Then you've got look-space and head-space and all that really basic stuff.  I took 32 pictures and these 4 are the only ones I'd let see the light of day.  That doesn't mean they're good:

Mayor Ed Lee

I think that first shot is a typically acceptable zoom and angle and decent overall for the most part, but there are still some distracting things in it, such as the reflection of the sun in the badge, the big grin, and the guy looking to the left, all of which I've marked here:

Neat how I put those arrows in there, huh?

Well, I got a new camera:

I sure hope it doesn't take long to learn how to use it.

(May prosperity be with me.)


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CaChaVa Art Blog

The other day wasn't the first time I've noticed someone sketching me at a cafe.  It's an epidemic in this town.  This time I got a look at the product:

Not a bad likeness, particularly for a 10-minute job.  That's the artist, Caitlin Van Arsdale peeking around the back of her sketch pad.  See more developed samples of her art on her blog, Cachava: Drawings and Other Things...

Good luck, Caitlin.