Saturday, October 29, 2011

Damentions Stats

I am often surprised when I really look at the numbers in my stats.
I am surprised that:
Macintosh Classic
51% of the all the page views were done on a Mac

(I am and have always been a Mac user; always a minority.  If Mac use continues to grow, I may need to drop out and join a back to nature commune, again.)

96 page views from non-English speaking countries
38 Germany   ich nie nicht wissen 
17 Netherlands
14 Russia  я никогда не знать
8 Singapore
7 India
6 France   je jamais ne pas savoir
1 Saudi Arabia
(I cannot speak another language [although I studied Russian for two years in HS] and here are people from non-English speaking countries reading my posts.  Of course, now, there is Google Reader.)

Goldminer with tools
There are other nuggets in the stats.  I need to go back into the mines.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Repeat After Me: Do Your Best!

I was never a Cub Scout.  My parents told me it cost too much money to be a Cub Scout.  Besides, I wasn't comfortable with the "... Do My Duty to God ..." thing.  I did become an assistant den leader when my son, Alex, joined as a Bobcat.  I enjoyed the experience.  Both my sons were Cub Scouts though they never went on to become Boy Scouts.  

The most important value I learned from my short time as a scout leader is this: DO YOUR BEST.  No one is asking you to perform to perfection.  No one can be perfect.  Just do your best.  Give it your maximum effort.

I can only dream of the condition of this country and the world, for that matter, if everyone did their best while following the Golden Rule.

Do your best and be compassionate.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Golden Grail

I had a goal to be rich before I was sixteen years old and famous soon after.  Another of my goals was to be a great photographer.  If all else failed I set a goal to win the lottery.  Crap, I wasn't setting goals!  I wasn't planning!  I was wishing!

In the mean time I have been living.  My life has been revealed to me as a poem; each stanza a surprise.  It has been an adventure.  You might call me Odysseus or Percival or Skywalker but I don't think I would answer you, if you did.
Skywalker about to start his adventure

As things turned out, I wasn't rich when I turned sixteen.  Nor was I famous soon after.  I stopped playing the lottery.  I still have a goal of becoming a great photographer.  I'm not sure how that will fit into my life before the last line is written.  

As for now, I am off to London for 10 days to visit my eldest princess and her new prince.  A grand adventure.  I've planned to bring my camera.  I wish I could stay longer to look for the golden grail.   My goal is to slay my dragon "Thou-shalt" with the spirit of my lion "I will."

I wonder if I am more the Don Quixote type?

Don Quijote de la Mancha Joaquin Garcia Donaire  in Philadelphia

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learn to Pose: Hands

It is very difficult to grab a good candid portrait of someone.  The process of creating a good photographic portrait involves visual composition and posing.  One of the fine details in posing are the hands.  Placement of the hands and each finger can put the icing on the cake.
Source:Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers
I recommend visiting a site with a lesson on hand posing, an excerpt from the book Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers provided courtesy of Amherst Media.

Learning to pose will increase the quality of you images.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Damyon's List of Nevers

I was inspired by a blog I read recently to assemble a list of experiences I have never had in all my 60 and 1/3 years.  I don't know how many years I have remaining but, I better get cracking if I want to stop writing lists like the one below.

I have never:
Photo by Ace Cuervo
• been to Oklahoma to visit a real cattle ranch owned by a red headed mother of four
Product Details
Stolzle 1 Liter Dimpled Glass Beer Stein
• needed glasses as long as I have mugs

Lepre Con La Zucca
• eaten a rabbit; that I know of

The Midwest
• been to the Midwest
Bungee Jumping
• felt the desire to bungee jump
Not me
• consumed alcohol while asleep
Steel Magnolias
• seen as many movies as Pioneer Woman
Boston Marathon
• felt the desire to run
Texas Medevac Crash
• flown in a chopper
Norman Rockwell Tattoo Parlor and Sailor
Norman Rockwell
• been to a tattoo parlor
©Damyon T. Verbo
• baked beans in Boston
Baked Alaska
• Baked Alaska
Snow Capped Northern Idaho
• felt an urge to visit Idaho
Magnificent Desolation
• walked on the moon
Play Myst Online
• figured out Myst
Fractured Tibia and Fibula (Broken Lower Leg Bones) with Fixation Surgery
Fractured Tibia
• been aware of breaking more than my right Tibia.  Although X-rays tell me otherwise
Well Equipped
• gone scuba diving

• grasped algebra
Quadratic Equations
Portly Penguin
Portly Penguin
• worn portly
George Politico
• tanned on purpose
Naked Rambler
• walked naked in public

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Public Polite to Colorblind Photographer

I first realized I was color blind just before my double digit years.  It was when our family traveled from South Philly over to my paternal sister's home in Magnolia, New Jersey, a Philadelphia suburb, to enjoy the sunny day and celebrate my younger cousin's birthday.  The whole party was spread out on the lawn; playing games, sitting on multicolored lawn chairs, shooting the breeze and taking in the suburban South Jersey lifestyle.

As the day progressed, my father, who never really talked much, remarked about all the apples in the tree across the road.  I looked up, liking apples, and queried, "Which tree?"  He looked at me as if I might be joking and a backhanded smack might be in order.  He pointed definitively at a tree and said, "That tree with all the red apples!"  I touched my left cheek to his short sleeve and looked down his right arm and off his pointed stogie stained index finger to the tree.  I figured the closer I stayed to his hand the less it would sting when it hit.  I couldn't see any apples from a distance of 200'.  I jumped up from my chair, quickly putting distance between my cheek and his hand, and walked towards the tree.  The closer I got to the tree, the better I could discern the red apples from the green leaves and it was only after the relative size of the apples was large compared to the mass of leaves.  I guess parents don't need to be polite to their children.  Children need to learn to be polite to their parents.
In high school, I had a chemistry workbook that contained printed colorblind tests (PseudoIsochromatic Plate Ishihara Compatible).  Hidden in the graphics were either numbers like 25 or a word like onion, most of which I could not see.  Needless to say, my fellow Central High School students, as smart as they were, didn't need to be polite.  They fell to the floor, holding their sides, laughing at my deficiency.

Within the last 15 - 20 years, I needed to be tested every two years for a commercial driver's license.  Every time, I failed the color blind tests.  At that point each doctor would realize they had found a jewel that needed to be mined.  Doc would gather all the staff to witness my inability to see the numbers hidden in the graphics.  I felt like a curiosity, a freak, some three legged chicken or a two headed calf in a bottle of formaldehyde.  Does knowledge override politeness? 

If you see a 2 you have Red-Green color deficiency.  I see a 2.
There was one other time that was really embarrassing.  I purchased a skirt and top as a Christmas present for my soon to be wife.  I was trying to impress her with my fashion sense.  I believed I bought a grey skirt and mauve top.  When the presents were reveled they were actually a mauve top and a green skirt, which didn't go together as a set.  My betrothed was very polite.  Needless to say, I stopped buying coordinating clothing for others from that day forward.  I sometimes wonder about my own clothing.

I've lived with the knowledge of my color perception deficiency for some 50 years.  I've called myself a photographer for the last 40 odd years.  I guess I figured out how to get around my handicap.  Either that or there really are some polite people in the world. 


©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photographer Tells All

I decided to tell all of you a little more about myself.  Letting down my guard, as it were.

source:Pacific Rim Camera

I have been exposing photo-sensitive surfaces via cameras for some 50+ years.  I started with my parents twin lens reflex Kodak Brownie.  Initially, I was most fascinated with the ability to use the camera to tell lies, make visual illusions.  There was a problem of twin lens paralax that got in the way of creating those illusions.  Once in the darkroom, I was smitten.  Watching the latent image slowly appear on the photographic paper under the developer was magical.

As a high school graduation gift I received my very own 35mm camera.  A Mamiya 1000TL single lens reflex with an internal match needle spot metering exposure system.  The SLR solved the paralax problem in the Brownie.  In the mean time I found Edward Weston.  I photographed several weddings and was awarded a few ribbons with that camera.  
Mamiya 645 1000
I moved up to a Mamiya 645 1000 about 1980 using it to photograph several more weddings and many family, individual, school and business portraits.

In 1995 tragedy struck my family when we lost our 15 year old son to a brain tumor.  I stopped photographing.  The last day of 1995 I had a discussion with a friend that sparked my desire to pick up my camera again.  However, the cost of silver based film, its development and proofing skyrocketed which kept me from practicing my beloved craft.

The last day of 1996 I purchased a Nikon D70s digital camera and have not used film since.  I produced several personal photographic projects over the last six years.  I also do commercial work through North American Dispatch Photographers Networka network of fast response photographers throughout North American.  I use my photographs in greeting card designs on sale at Greeting Card Universe.  I believe that unless I go blind, I will ever stop creating photographs.

Please follow me here or join me at Google+.  There is still more to tell.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Friday, October 7, 2011

Movie Star Enraged by Hanger

Sometimes I feel like the movie star portrayed in the movie Mommy Dearest.   I, too, get enraged by wire hangers.  You can keep all those free wire hangers that come home with the dry cleaning.  I have a hanger preference and I prefer not to use wire.  
18" Shirt Hanger 14.5 ga
18" Caped Hanger 14.5 ga
16" Strut Hanger 14.5 ga
Let me explain why I dislike wire hangers.  The main reason is they overlap each other on the closet rod.  That makes them difficult to singularly extract from the closet rod.  I can't remember the number of times three and four garments fell on the floor when I tried to remove one garment hung on a wire hanger (Of course when you suffer from CRS*, not being able to remember is expected).  Wire hangers are easily misshapen, multiplying the effect of the above problem.  Wire hangers rust and leave difficult to remove stains.  On the bright side, wire hangers are useful for purposes other than as hanging clothing, such as; to fish wires in a wall, unlock car doors through slightly open windows, unclog vacuum cleaner hoses, clean drains and get wax out of my ears.

Other free hangers are those that cashiers in department and discount stores put into your bag on which your newly purchased garments were just hanging.  These could be either flexible flat plastic hangers or the combination flat clear brittle plastic hangers with wire (though heavier than the hangers mentioned above) hooks that hang on the closet rod.  
17" Plastic Dress/Top Hanger

17 inch Plastic Dress/Top Hanger 

A positive point is that the hooks on these flat hangers pivot and can be easily rotated to hang newly ironed shirts on the top of a breakfront, mantle or ceiling fan light fixture (although if you can figure out how to hang them on the moving fan blades you will get your garments dry quickly).  But they still overlap other wire hangers on the closet rod.  Plus they are brittle and tend to break, more so as they age.
Basic Wood Suit Hanger
Wooden hangers are available for purchase.  These are almost identical to the hangers mentioned above except they aren't brittle but do burn when enough heat is applied.  They weigh more than either the wire or plastic hangers.  Which means less time at the gym with the dumbbells.  Wooden hangers have a clear finish coating.  It may be varnish, lacquer or shellac.  All these coatings wear off.  Once the finish is gone the wood can absorb stains or get moldy or mildew.  Any of those conditions could stain your garments.
Suit Hanger with Locking Bar Maple
Some wooden and plastic hangers are curved to keep the structure of a jacket in the correct shape.  These suit hangers also have another part to drape trousers/pants over and usually have another member to lock the trousers in place on the hanger.  I find the curve of these hangers annoying in my closet.  The wire hooks are kind of off-center and do not fit well with the straight hangers.  If all the hangers in my closet were curved they would fit well but a few mess things up.
Soft Touch Skirt/Slack Hangers
Skirt and trouser/pant hangers with clamping actions in either plastic or wood also have wire hooks.  These specialized hangers have their place but again the wire hooks tend to overlap on the closet rod.

That leaves my favorite clothing hanger, non-curved all plastic.  Much thicker than even the heaviest wire hooks these hangers, if thick enough, will not overlap on the closet rod.  Don't buy thin plastic hangers.  Some are not as rigid or as thick as others.  Hollow plastic tubes tend to bend under heavy loads.  Hard and brittle plastic hangers will break under heavy loads.  You need to compare the hangers in local stores.

86g Super Heavyweight Hangers - White

I don't know what that hook is for under the hanging hook

There are at least two kinds of these plastic hangers, one for men and the other for women.  The difference is that the women's hangers have slots or hooks.  These extras are generally for tops, dresses with thin straps and skirts with sewn in hooks.  They help the garments stay on the hangers.  I don't like them because these extras obstruct my garments from easily slipping from the hangers.

Plastic Hanger with Hooks

Extra Large Hangers
Well, I am finished my rant.  So much for my hanger preferences.  

As for me and movie stars?  Upon the birth of our first child we needed to choose a name.  I am of some Russian heritage, my wife some Irish.  So in searching for a name we narrowed the search to names within those two ethnic groups.  I liked Grainne, Maeve, Morrigan and Una.  After some hair pulling and nights of sleeping in separate rooms, our daughter was named Natalie, after the movie star Natalie Wood.
Natalie Wood
This past May our daughter was married.  Her name is now Natalie Woods.

• Natalie Woods •

I wonder if she unconsciously chose her husband because of his surname.  I also wonder if the name choosing process has anything to do with the lack of hair on my head.  You just never know.

*CRS - Can't Remember (hmmm?) Stuff

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Overwintering Birds

Now that the gold finch are gone for the winter, I miss the sight of birds near my breakfast room window.  Since the equinox, early mornings have been close to silent; no songbirds singing.  Most of the songbirds have migrated south.  I still hear the calls of cardinals, cat birds, blue jays, and the occasional kveer of a Northern Flicker, but I don't hear singing.  The windows will be closed for the winter and I won't be able to hear much of the birds anyway.  I will be delighted enough to see the colors and antics of the overwintering birds through my closed windows.
Available at Lowe's item #335583

  In order to attract the overwintering birds to my window, I'm thinking I will purchase a new feeder.  A feeder that will dispense hulled sunflower seeds.  I don't like to use the whole sunflower seeds because I end up tracking the hulls indoors.  Sunflower seeds will feed chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, jays, titmice, woodpeckers and other birds that stay the winter.  It goes without saying, the design of the feeder and its suspension system will need to be squirrel proof.  They are a challenge.  Squirrels are smart and tenacious as seen here on YouTube.

I thought of making such a feeder.  Upon deeper thinking, I decided to buy one.  

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved