Wednesday, March 11, 2009

patio, photography/videography, etc.

Time for another snippety post, I think.

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Patio Update

(In the distance, faintly: "What? You mean to say that thing's still not finished?!")

Well, at least we're working on it again. This weekend we finished painting all the lumber we need to complete the top part. Now it's just a matter of putting them up there and attaching the shade cloth. Most of the rest of the project is for appearance's sake rather than functionality-- and after the shade cloth's up, we'll have a shadier spot to work on them. ;o)

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Stop-Motion Photography

You may have noticed from my Vimeo sidebar widget that I've taken an interest in stop-motion photography. In a moment of serendipity, last night I came across a link on a (seemingly unrelated) web page-- a suggestion that readers go watch the stop-motion videos at the "Home of the Twisted Films of PES". Apparently, one of his shorts won Honorable Mention at the Sundance Film Festival, and TIME Magazine voted it the #2 Viral Film of the Year-- but I'd never heard of him, so maybe some of you haven't, either.

A word of warning: I haven't watched all the films, but of those I have, a couple have been slightly "twisted", or at least maybe not quite the thing you want to watch with your children. So far, it seems that you can mostly tell which ones might be questionable by the titles-- "Pee-Nut" and the next one on the list of shorts-- but still, if you're concerned, you might want to preview them before sharing. Also the second "making of" film ends with a charming image of some guy using marijuana. I imagine Mr. PES thought it was very clever, but personally, I wasn't impressed. Yeah, I'm such a prude. (shrug)

Those things aside, some of these videos are very impressive, with their creative use of commonplace items for unexpected purposes. I definitely recommend watching the first three "shorts", if nothing else.

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Spy Lens

Hee hee. This "spy lens" thing looks like fun. It's a "lens" that attaches to the end of your regular lens. There's a cut-out in the side and a mirror so that you can point your camera at something harmless (a tree in the distance, for example) when you're actually taking a photo of someone to your left or right (or above or below you). Pretty neat! The only problem is that if people look at you (and your camera) very closely, I think they might begin to wonder why there's a hole in the lens. ;o) Still, at a distance that wouldn't be as much of an issue-- nor for kids or other people who aren't that familiar with lenses.

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Rag Quilting

I've been working on my second denim/flannel rag quilt for a while, now. I've worked on it for an hour here or there, then left it alone for a week at a time, which tends to make the process drag on forever. (I've read about people who whip up simple rag quilts in a day. Personally, I think that'd take all the enjoyment out of it, but it needn't take this long.) I thought I was finally getting close to finishing it, yesterday afternoon. Then I decided to give the back one more look before sewing the two halves together.

Hmph! Somehow I'd managed to mess things up, back there. I thought I'd finally gotten it all laid out perfectly, but no. I'd turned some things "wrong way 'round", and now I've had to rip out several seams. (The ripping of a seam is such an insulting sound...)

It's not the end of the world, of course. I could've even left it as it was-- the blanket would've worked just as well, and it probably wouldn't have been noticeable to most people-- but I decided it was worth a little more effort to get it just the way I'd originally intended.

I think this will be the only "on point" rag quilt I'll make, though, or at least the only one where I try to make the back patterned instead of random. For whatever reason, I've had a lot of trouble with this one.