And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?
as usual our family has enjoyed an eventful year, and we’d like to share our news with you all.
As some of you already know, our house was repossessed earlier in the year, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding with the tax authorities. Happily we’ve found the perfect little family home, and we’re currently parked just 3 miles up the North Road. Grant attached it to a power line with his usual technical skill. Later in the year he was fired from his job, but not before he got hold of some choice bits of information on several members of the board. We are looking forward to a comfortable retirement in the near future.
Our pride and joy Sharon failed the entrance exam to the new school, but with her usual courage she’s decided to soldier on and try again next year. Her charming new boyfriend Dwight is very successful in the pharmaceutical line, so let us know if you need anything. Our dear son Steven was arrested (his first time!!!), but we’re confident he will get off on a technicality.
After our move, Rover went missing, though we believe he may still be in the area. We have heard of a number of chickens disappearing, and he always did love chicken. Ginger on the other hand is thriving – and providing us with regular fresh meat: the local butcher has a cat-flap.
As for me, I’ve got my little flask, and am fine as always.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and an equally successful 2013.
In the past weeks, I’ve seen many beautiful photos of trees in blazing red or gold and I was the tiniest bit envious, as the autumn colours here didn’t seem half as glorious. But suddenly I realised: our trees are pointillists!
Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics.
I can assure you mine are still greater.
– Albert Einstein
Olaf joined me on an I.T. project in Stockholm as MSE, or moral support elk. The photo shows him hard at work. He doesn’t come from Sweden, but enjoyed working there immensely. The people, the culture, the climate: he felt right at home. He even started looking out for a position with the local office.
On-site in October, he suddenly realised they turn the lights out in winter, and decided to retire to the South.
Below you see Olaf studying Swedish, as he still loves Sweden, and hopes to go there on holiday soon – in the summer, of course. He feels quite protective of all things Swedish: even if he’s not really from there, he feels being an “Älg” makes him belong!
Olaf says Hi to everyone, especially those afflicted with I.T. projects, and of course: Hälsningar!
I was approached by young Bertie – ablogdog, which as he kindly explains is not his name, but his you-are-well. Whether this denotes his breed or his profession I cannot say, or perhaps it is a passphrase to some secret domain? Anyway, I was invited to spread my metaphorical wings and broadcast my opinions in this new arena, the blogosphere. B-logo-sphere, a second domain of rationality it seems, or of discourse at any rate. Ever ready to try a new way of giving others the benefit of my superior, I fastened my seat-belt and climbed in the roller coaster of bloggings and twitterings – well, possibly in reverse order.
The new birdsongs are truly delightful, one can only deplore that they come too late. What would the scholar not give to read Archimedes’ “I’m in the bath.”, Newton’s “Would you believe it, an apple just hit me on the head!”, and Edison’s laconic “Making tea.” Whether my new young friends’ “I’m on the train” will prove equally valuable, is not for me to say.
On the blogging front, I am sadly forced to confess failure. I feel entitled to plead attenuating circumstances as I was distracted by the hand of fate. It transported me with a simple click, as if by magic, into the domain of a man named Ted. A loquacious chap, the unanimous verdict on whom seems to be “Ted talks”, otherwise I believe him to be a perfectly fluffy fellow with a catalogue of highly entertaining and enlightening expositions.
Ted’s genius is demonstrated by the fact that all the gems in his collection are brief; one even bespeaks the ability to present any idea in only six words. What progress could humanity make, or the humanities at any rate, if books and essays were strictly proscribed from exceeding a six word limit? One could easily do a whole term’s marking in a leisured forenoon, and take the rest of term off. I would suddenly have enough shelf space for my collection of stuffed owls, though, admittedly, it might be hard to convince publishers you were extensively revising word three.
The following abridgments alone will make space for the espresso machine I intend to buy with today’s profits.
Hilarious guide to a wide variety of creative ways to botch your photos. For every way, and various combinations, the author provides examples from his family album, as well as detailed instructions on how to create each particular effect. As a bonus he delivers an artistic critique of each type of photo.
In the technical part of the book we encounter such old favourites as fuzzy, over- / underexposed or ill-framed photos – including the popular road-photo, but also highlights such as the thumb-snap or the discoloured photo.
The more challenging chapters on subject matter provide insight into how to create empty, crowded or confused photos. A dedicated chapter explains how to ruin portraits. My particular favourites are the photo-triste (sad) and photo-camouflage.
While I cannot claim to be a master of the botched photo, I consider myself a gifted amateur, and humbly present my own examples for a select few of these techniques, in particular of my own specialty, the fuzzy photo. With a minimum of practice, I’m sure you too will be able to produce such results.
Of course – despite all my best efforts – I sometimes produce photos that have a discernible subject in the frame that is in focus and properly lit.
Nobody is perfect.
(Click on image for carousel view.)
Fuzzy – out of focus. This beautiful impressionistic landscape is achieved by using the “flower” macro setting to shoot a group of trees.
Fuzzy – out of focus. Focus on something in the background and shoot. As the photographer singles out a particular plant for the starring role, all the others seem to be shouting: why not me? An inimitable comment on our modern times.
Fuzzy – moving object. In this case the effect is achieved by photographing in a moving vehicle (tram). Overexposure adds to the abstract charm of the result.
Fuzzy – insufficient light. The secret to this, as many other ways of botching photos is eternal optimism that any conditions will do. Notice how the sea monsters appear to be moving, impatient with their stone prison.
Lighting – underexposed. Make sure to have objects of widely varying brightness in your frame. The result is a beautiful crispness, an almost B/W effect.
Lighting – backlit. Point camera directly at the sun.
Special cases – discolouration. My camera can do that all by itself.
Special cases – discoloration (2).
Framing – the road photo. Snap out of window of moving vehicle to produce a photo devoid of interest.
Framing – the lost photo. Shoot a distant and partially obscured object. Beautifully expresses the disorientation and bewilderment of man in our complex world.
Intervening objects – Trees. Achieved by shooting out of a train window. A tantalizing glimpse of the view we cannot see. The green stripes throw the fleetingness of the moment into relief. The castle’s essential quality – immobility – is beautifully captured.
Mood – the sad photo. Achieved here by flat lighting (overcast moment). This masterpiece exudes a profound sense of desolation.
The photo of absence. An apparently deserted world. Expresses deep fatigue at the essential meaninglessness of life.
Photo camouflage, the crowded photo. With so many things in the frame, it remains a mystery what the intended subject of the picture was. Many spots of bright colours defy any attempt to make sense of the image.
The confused photo. A photo does not need to be crowded or empty to make it unclear what the subject is. The tranquil scene and its decaying boundaries join to create a peaceful melancholy.
The confused photo (2). The rhythmic horizontals leave us to ponder what was going on in the photographer’s mind. A near-abstract masterpiece.
There was an old lady who lived in a shoe
But her sister’s tale, do you know that too?
A charming old lady she was and so free
Towards all and sundry with biscuits and tea.
You might call her eccentric: believe it or not
She so loved her tea that she lived in a pot.
But take foibles too far, and there’s danger about
When you see what it is, it is too late to shout.
For one day when the water was boiling and hot
She forgot to go out, so she stewed in the pot.
I don’t like painting eggs, I want to go home,
Said the girl with the curls to the little blue gnome.
But I need these eggs painted, the gnome wept its plea.
If they’re not done tomorrow, I’ll never be free!
There are too many eggs, there’s no way we can paint
them all by tomorrow! The gnome fell in faint.
But the girl didn’t panic, she knew just what to do,
She called to her friend, with thing one and thing two.
With little cats A – Z and the voom
Hat-cat got those eggs painted, and lifted the gloom.
Once in the vein of nonsense verse, I couldn’t resist this Dr Seussish prompt in the current round of 100wcgu.