Saturday, August 30, 2008

Interesting Photography Sites

I'm going back through blog posts I've added as favorites over the last few weeks. There have been several interesting photography related entries.

The first went viral pretty fast. The writer of the Morbid Anatomy blog, Joanna Ebenstein, put together a collection of photos taken of items in public museum collections. You can look at the results here -- click on Gallery. It's a wonderful body (no pun intended) of work! Joanna is now looking to extend the project to include photos of items in private collections.

Speaking of photographing items in science museums, Meera Sethi, a member of the Utata group, has an excellent post about photographing items in museums. You can read the post here.

If conventional light photography is too mundane, go out and get a few x-ray machines and make some photos that way like Nick Veasey. Wired Magazine had an interesting article on Nick and his use of x-rays. I liked some of the composite images where he has stitched together radiographs of separate objects to make a scene that appears to have been x-rayed all at one time. Check out the images in the article.

Finally, I'm always a sucker for high speed photography. Flickr user Nebarnix has an amazing set of high speed photographs in his Flickr photostream. They are worth a look. The photo below of an egg getting blasted is one of Nebarnix's shots. This is a favorite from Nebarnix's collection.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beautiful Katamari

Several years ago Dianne bought a video game for our Sony Playstation 2 called Katamari Damacy. The basic idea of the game is that you control a prince (a paper version pictured to the right) or one of his cousins that is using a magical, sticky ball to collect object as the ball rolls over them. The bigger the ball gets, the bigger the items are that can be collected by the ball. The prince and his cousins all have this characteristic cylindrically shaped head.

When Dianne first described the game play, I thought it sounded like the lamest idea ever for a game. After watching her play a few rounds, I decided to try it. Once you get the hang of controlling the ball, there is something very pleasing about rolling up everything from little bits of candy to buildings to mountains and clouds. I was addicted. Many items you roll up make sounds and that adds to the fun. The music is cute too and Dianne even bought a CD of one of the soundtracks. We now have a few different versions of the game that have different worlds with a variety of objectives. If you've never tried it, give it a shot sometime.

Just the other day Dianne found a good deal on an Xbox 360 version of the game called Beautiful Katamari. It's the same idea, just some different worlds to explore. I've been playing that a bit.

Given my like for the game, it's not surprising that a post about a Katamari hat on the Craft Magazine blog caught my eye. The writer of the itchy stichy blog wrote a post about how to make a Katamari prince hat for a baby. Doesn't that just win the cutest hat ever award for a baby? I could see Kyra wearing one of these. Compare the baby costume to the paper character above -- pretty good match!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dayton Dragons Baseball Game

It was a busy weekend of activities for us. In addition to roller derby on Saturday night, we went to watch the Dayton Dragons take on the Great Lakes Loons from Midland, Michigan in a minor league baseball game on Sunday evening. I’m not entirely convinced the Loons thought through their team name and branding, but they ended up beating the Dragons 9 to 8. It was a beautiful night for a baseball game.

Me With GemBefore the game, Dianne and I were looking around outside the stadium a bit. She took a photo of me next to the oversized baseball and bat sculptures that line the pedestrian area. I also got to meet Gem, the female dragon mascot of the team. She wasn’t too talkative, but she was very expressive. Most of the little kids loved her, although Gem did freak out one boy that started crying when his parents tried to get him to stand next to her. I couldn’t resist having Dianne get a photo of me with Gem (I guess named because Dayton is the Gem City). It is similar to my rollergirl photo collection. The person inside the costume was really good and earning their pay.

The best part of the evening, thanks to Carla, was that we had free Sky Box tickets. Actually this was our second visit to the box. I didn’t blog about the first game a few weeks ago. Suite at 5/3 StadiumThe photo at the right is a fisheye lens shot of the Sky Box suite. There is an air conditioned lounge area with a TV so you can watch the game or a host of other cable channels. If you go straight out the glass door on the left there is a private, 10 seat stadium seating area where you can sit and watch the game. That is a fantastic way to take in a baseball game! If it is hot you can come in, cool off, and not miss any of the action.

We were there with Kyle, Tresha, Trei, Kyra and some of their friends as well as three other folks. Kyle got a great photo of us when Dianne was trying to get a photo of us with her iPhone. It was a very nice group, although we missed Carla (she wasn’t feeling 100%) and her parents. Here is a photo of the group.

Besides the baseball game itself, the Dragons organization does a great job involving the crowd. After every side out, they have some type of short activity, dance, skit, etc. to keep the crowd in to the game. My favorite is the Lemonhead sponsored contest where they select three babies from the crowd and have their moms bring them out on the field in strollers and face the crowd. A video camera person is there showing the kids faces on the jumbo-sized scoreboard screen. One at a time, the moms give the kids a taste of lemon juice and the crowd cheers for their favorite sour face. I know, it seems a little cruel, but it is funny to see the expressions.

Below are a couple shots. The first is of Dianne watching the game near the start and the second is the stadium just after the sun went down. It was a fun evening. Thanks much to Carla!!

Dianne Watching Dragons and Loons

Dragons Versus Loons at Dusk

Monday, August 18, 2008

Crosstown Knockout

I’m not a basketball fan. In all our years in Cincinnati, we’ve never been to a Crosstown Shootout event where the local basketball teams from Xavier and the University of Cincinnati compete. On the other hand, a Crosstown Knockout can’t be missed. Dianne and I went to the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls’ Crosstown Knockout bout where they hosted the Silent Lambs team of the Cincinnati Rollergirls. The event was held at Sportsville in Florence.

Petal to the MetalThe BBRG team, the Moonshiners, came out strong and controlled the first few jams to hold the Silent Lambs scoreless and jump out to an early lead. It was pretty obvious from those early jams that the BBRG jammers Morgue Ann le Slayer and Petal to The Metal (in photo at right) were speedy skaters with good ability to find holes, slip through the pack, and get lead jammer status. They made the Lambs’ blockers work especially hard all evening – both when jamming and blocking. Perhaps it was early bout jitters or maybe it was getting used to the basketball court surface, but the Silent Lambs settled in after those first few jams, chipped away at the early Moonshiner lead, and ended up +18 by the end of the first period. Early on the usual Lamb jammers Dr. McDerby, Miss Print, and Cherry Choke were scoring, but several skaters including Maim E. Van Gore’n, Shirley Temptya, and Bex Pistol wore the jammer star during the match.

Candy and Some SignsAs Miss Print discussed in her pre-bout post, there are several former CRG skaters now with the BBRG. Undoubtedly that added a little tension to the match, but in general it seemed everyone skated with good faith intentions for fair blocks. Nevertheless, there were some friendly jabs being tossed about that added to the crosstown rivalry. The Moonshiners had a poster above their bench that said “Sheep – it’s what’s for dinner.” Pretty funny. Quite a few of the CRG’s Black Sheep were sitting in the suicide seats, cheering on their CRG teammates with specially made posters. The photo at the right shows CandyKICKass holding a couple of them during a break.

In the second period, the scoring was fairly even and at the end of the period the Silent Lambs were ahead by approximately the same margin as at the end of the first period. MP After a HitI’ll guess that the relatively slick surface and some fearless blocking both contributed to a lot of falls during the bout. The photo at the right shows Miss Print falling on her knees after a block. BBRG blocker Buckhead Betty was tough and gave some hard blocks, although she did receive her fair share of penalties associated with that effort.

In the third period, the Silent Lambs once again picked up the scoring pace to widen their lead. I wasn’t tracking penalties, but it seemed like the BBRG team had a few more and a couple that involved their jammer and that hurt them. The whole Lamb team was contributing to blocking and seemed especially focused on controlling the inside line at the front of the pack. The Silent Lambs ended up winning the bout by a score of 92 to 66. Congratulations to all the Silent Lambs.

Geez Louise and MeAfter the bout I had a chance to meet Geez Louise, who made several hard hits during the match to open up holes and slow the BBRG jammers. Dianne got this photo of me with Geez Louise. You can see all my photos from the event in this Flickr set. Below you'll see one of the better photos I got when Miss Print fell on her knees after taking a hit.

This was the first time for us at a BBRG event. We enjoyed the air conditioned Sportsville arena and the lighting was fantastic for a derby event! I can’t wait to see Jason and Jeff’s photos from the bout. With all those extra photons to work with, I’m sure they’ll have some especially interesting photos. As BBRG grows their league, I’m sure they’ll start drawing larger crowds and will refine their logistics to put on better and better events. They have some talented skaters and a lot of potential that will lead to some interesting Crosstown Knockouts in the future. They have one more home event on September 20th, so check them out.

I believe this was the last of the regular season bouts for the CRG teams. However, they do have some tournament battles coming up. Good luck to the Black Sheep in that effort. Check their site, Miss Print’s blog, and the Flock message board for more info on the post-season and off-season activities.

Miss Print Falls

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Our Weekend At TDI

Lots to blog about, but I haven’t been posting like I should.

Gary and MeA couple weeks ago, as our anniversary present to each other, we spent 3 days at the Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, Ohio. We took their handgun sequence I, II, and III along with three other friends from work. Dianne took this picture of me with Gary on the pistol range. We both wanted to improve our shooting technique and, as an extra bonus, the first two days fulfill the training requirements for Ohio’s concealed carry permit. I don’t know how much of a bonus that is since I doubt I’ll be doing that very much if I get the permit.

I had heard a few positive comments about TDI and read a bit about them. However, you never know exactly what to expect. When we got there, I was pleasantly surprised at how large and nice the facility was. When we walked in to the classroom, there were about 30 people there! It was a mixed group of some less experienced shooters and some experienced military and police officers. I wondered how much instruction we’d get with such a large class, but there were also about a dozen or so instructors. That student/instructor ratio was nice to both create a safe environment and give you enough time with an instructor to learn something.

The first day was mostly classroom instruction, with some shooting at the end of the day. It was a typical hot, humid Southern Ohio day so that was OK with me. The second day we spent about ¾ of the day on the range and the last day was all on the range. We got to know our new pistols very well as Dianne and I each shot over 1000 rounds for the long weekend. They showed us a lot of techniques and explain why they suggest doing things that way. I have a lot to practice! I found all the instructors knowledgeable, patient, and very good about providing constructive feedback and encouragement.

The highlight was a search exercise in one of the “live fire houses” at the end of the third day. The “house” was a framed, single floor structure with chipboard walls. The entire structure was surrounded by earth walls. The objective was to apply all the tactical techniques we learned to search a house and deal with thugs or innocent people pictured on targets placed throughout the house. You used live rounds in your pistol to handle the targets. When going through the house, an instructor was right behind you to both set up the search scenario and provide coaching and a final evaluation. We were sent to the house in pairs, but did the exercise one at a time. I went through the house first and did ok hitting the thugs and not shooting unarmed targets – except for the last target that was a hostage situation. I took three shots and got the thug in the head and neck with the first two but then I went low and hit the unarmed hostage in the head. Obviously I need some practice :^) After that, I was able to follow Dianne and the instructor through the same house -- of course not saying anything or giving anything away. Dianne did very well! Don't mess with her.

Overall we enjoyed the weekend and learned a lot. I’d highly recommend TDI for anyone interested in that type of training. All the instructors were very professional and they handled safety issues quickly and assertively. We plan to return one day and take some of their other course offerings once we’ve had a chance to practice the basic techniques we picked up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nineteen Years Ago Today

What were you doing 19 years ago? I was getting married. Happy anniversary, Dianne!

It is dinner out for us at Bella Luna to celebrate.