Friday, May 25, 2018

My Yahoo Commentary!!!

I like reading Yahoo News comments; people ask me why I bother, truth is, I find it relaxingly therapeutic, particularly when they involve a certain dotard- ya know, the guy who said, "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters." It's a free and easy pathway towards understanding my fellow citizens- think of it as the poor man's Twitter!

I also enjoy leaving the occasional comment. I try to get a general feel for those participating, and then try to respond in kind. For instance, recently there was an article on how the Trump admin is lifting regulations which now restrict the ways and conditions of how one can legally hunt wild animals. And I couldn't help but mirror the infectious enthusiasm...

Yeah- let's slaughter everything in sight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MORE GUNS, More Bullets, More Blood, More Death!!! Super MAGA!!!!! NRA FOREVER- TRUMP is GOD made Flesh!!!!!!!!!! 

PS- Hint: For those first starting out- more CAPS and PUNCTUATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! make one appear both more knowledgeable, and sincere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Fujifilm vs. Windows 10 Update

Tried to upload files from my XT-1 to Windows Picture Viewer (or whatever it's called) as per usual on my desktop hard drive and they wouldn't open due to... lack of "permission!" HUH!?!? I have to ask permission from my computer, connected to my camera, using my memory card, holding my pictures, that I took!?!?!? Is that how this goes? Really???

This never happened before- but did happen immediately after uploading the latest Windows 10 Update. Managed to get a Windows tech rep on the phone, who went at it for around an hour, and allowed file access only upon my removal and replacement in a card reader. So naturally (as I predicted)... the camera got the blame. Had him replace previous Windows version (after unloading on him mercilessly for all the grief caused), and now things are back to the way they were prior to update- which seems I will have to do without, whatever wondrous, modern wonder of wonders I am now denied. Hopefully, none of you out there will suffer a similar, said fate.

AddendumFujifilm says they have no knowledge of this problem- which is odd, considering if you go online, you can see quite a few links concerning connection problems between various Fujifilm cameras and Windows 10 since the latter's debut in 2015...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Westward Ho!

Native New Yorker that I am, I always fantasized about the American Southwest; and truth be told, twas one of the major reasons I moved to San Francisco- to have it that much more accessible. And disappoint in large part, it has not! Although gentrifying like every other goddang thing in this world, it still retains much of it's inherent character, from: its  rugged terrain and landscape, to the individual idiosyncrasies of its often sparse but ever growing population. 

Photo: © Ingeborg Gerdes

Ann Jastrab has curated a timely group show called Westward on just that particular parcel of Americana with an impressive array of female photographers. Of these, Ingeborg Gerdes was my personal fave, concentrating on the inherent humor and irony found in many of the most isolated of desert environs- and her B&W silver based prints are things of beauty and nuance (not so evident online) well worth seeing in person. Greta Pratt's work also embraces humor, as well as more serious tones in her portraits of a diversified West that varies in its customs and peoples. Both of these photographers, as well as several others, offer insightful  views into an ethos both well earned and misconstrued...

Photo: © Greta Pratt

Addendum: In the the crowd and hubbub of opening night, the true nature of Donna J. Wan's work completely escaped my notice- and important work it is... Fortunately, I always make a point of returning to shows I really like to prevent just such omissions both large and small- and you got plenty of time to catch this one at San Francisco City Hall, 5/11/18-5/10/19.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Dissolution of Good Into Evil

It's both sad and infuriating to see what Aung San Suu Kyi has allowed herself to become, basically- yet another, lying, self promoting politician turning a blind eye to the multitude of atrocities being committed by her military (on the Rohingya people). Women being mutilated, raped and slaughtered; children being thrown into burning homes and then pushed back in should they try to save their own lives. This once, would be heroine of peace and justice is now a most active apologist to the most horrendous crimes against humanity possible...

Monday, May 7, 2018

For The Most Part...

 
A Bunch of Unposed People © Stan Banos

I like to think I'm a fairly competent photographer at most things: portraiture, street photography, landscape... In other words, I'm a generalist. Then there are those things, like artificial/studio lighting, that I don't necessarily excel at. I'd get considerably better if I simply bothered to practice its technical aspects; I just don't have the burning desire to do so.

But there is one thing, one thing I really, really suck at... REALLY! And that would be... group shots, as in photos in which you are required to individually pose a numerous amount of people. One person, no problemo- it might take me some time, but I'll figure it out. Increase the number (and sometimes even just by one) and the wires simply short out on cue! I mean, I may just get lucky- if I'm really, really... miraculously LUCKY! Otherwise, I'm absolutely clueless! It's both a compositional and human relations endeavor that I am just flat out useless in even contemplating, let alone executing. Fortunately, not being a pro- it's something I really don't have to worry about! And yet, every once in a great while, I feel like somehow the day of reckoning will no doubt arrive and the ugly truth will have out- exposed, humiliated and banished for being the group photo failure that I truly am...

Friday, May 4, 2018

Kodachrome


Warning- Spoiler alert...

Photojournalist has days to live, invites estranged son for one last road trip, hilarity ensues... well, not quite. I honestly didn't know what to expect here, most all depictions of photographers on screen have been sadly lacking to say the least. This story line however is not as concerned with depicting a photographer, as it is the life long separation between father and son; and on the latter, it is to be commended. The movie does descend into a classic tearjerker, if only in its closing moments- but to be fair, there's really no other way to go down this road. 

The actual journey leaves little doubt that our aging, dying photographer (on his way to Kansas to personally hand deliver his last rolls of Kodachrome to the very last photo finishing lab that will develop them on their very last day) is not just a little rough and gruff around the edges- the guy's a full fledged, self admitted dick, and goes all out outta his way to prove he's a full fledged dick at that!

It's an uneven film to be sure, where on one hand you can get a rather brief but insightful, "impromptu" speech about the value of analog and photography as a whole, followed by that character's very credible breakdown and deathbed confession- only to have that almost undone by an eye roll inducing scene where fellow photographers/fans of Ed Harris's fictional PJ do their own version of a 21 gun salute by lining up as his body rolls past and pointing their cameras skyward while clicking their shutters- whoever thought up that painfully mawkish scenario should be banned from screen, film and human contact for the remainder of their natural lives... and then some. It made the fictional photographer's nod to... Steve McCurry (of all people), or the limitations of unexposed Kodachrome for that matter, seem inconsequential.

Ohhh... Almost forgot- props for not including the song (yeah, that one).

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Monday, April 30, 2018

1945

 

Two Jews come into town with two crates that allows them to decimate an entire village! The latest in Uzi tech with unlimited ammo from Netanyahu's Israel? Not quite...as the title suggests, it's 1945 and these two Jews brandish crates full of perfume and cosmetics- or so they say. The destruction comes from the townspeople themselves- and the guilt and shame they've each justified and buried like a badge of deep rooted honor. 

Two closing thoughts: a) I couldn't help think how the whole scenario played out like a typical sitcom sketch straight outta Mayberry (except with decidedly more serious subject matter), and b) the timing and setting with present day Hungary couldn't be more apropos...

Friday, April 27, 2018

Today's Health Tip!

Along with the increasing variety of everyday aches and pains, getting older also brings new and wondrous ways of experiencing excruciating levels of pain never before imagined: kidney stones, Shingles and lately... Charlie Horses! I had heard these were caused primarily because of dehydration, so I drank more water before retiring for the evening, and woke up and pissed more for my trouble! And yet, and yet- Charlie and his horses continued to frequent my calves! 

If you've never had one- they are rather unremarkable, but truly memorable events in one's personal life of woe. If you're blessed (as am I), they awake you in the dead of sleep with a very distinct signature- this sudden tightening of your calf muscle. It's a definite discomfort, but it's just the warning shot for the inevitable shark bite deluxe that is about to clamp down and overtake you for around 10 or 15 seconds that will truly expand your concept of time. It's almost comical since the second you feel that preliminary tightening, you know the wave of PAIN is coming fast and there's not-a-damn-thing you can do about it* in... 1, 2, AAAGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

Who ever thought that a simple muscle cramp could be so utterly, devastatingly... PAINFUL! Anyway, if you do get them, it also means you're deficient in Magnesium- 80% of the American public is. And the most important thing to all this- some heart attacks can also be construed as... muscle cramps!!! So... take your damn Magnesium...

Monday, April 23, 2018

Poisoning For Profit

Photo: Mathieu Asselin

Just after the previous cursory post concerning "serious photography," I came upon the very epitome of what that looks like, namely: Mathieu Asselin: A Photographic Investigation. Good lord, you can't possibly get anymore dead serious than this- direct, factual, timely. Citizens world over, especially in the US, should be up in arms about it, demanding accountability for lifetimes of pain, death and suffering. And yet nothing is admitted, nothing is done, and naturally- nothing prevents it from happening again, and again... and again. We the people continue to be treated as the pawns of industry, necessary collateral damage not in the march of progress, but in the unconscionable march for profit. Our lives are expendable, our health and livelihoods- experiments in the offing.

The evil that is Monsanto has operated and proliferated under numerous Presidents and administrations, Democratic and Republican alike. They have poisoned the constituents of either party (and beyond) with equal effect, and with equal lack of remorse- while both parties profit from their largesse. Meanwhile, the very government agency (EPA) meant to examine, prevent and hold such mass purveyors of wanton death and destruction accountable has been effectively gutted by the Trump admin and made a willing tool for the very enablement of their crimes...

And unfortunately, Monsanto is not the only mass killer we subsidize and support. "Serious" photography can only help point the way, only a serious electorate can make the change that will prevent what, right now, are the inevitable catastrophes ahead...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Are You Serious?

As in serious photographer. Now me, I'm mostly just out for a laugh here, a laugh there, and something kinda pretty once in a while to fill in the gaps. But for those serious folk out there (and god bless 'em)- Good Luck...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Art Bell- RIP

Not much I can say about Art Bell that hasn't already. All I can say is why I (like so many others) did enjoy him so. First, he had the ingenuity to dedicate a radio program strictly to... The Unexplained, particularly: aliens, UFO's, interdimensional and supernatural phenomena. And he certainly did not lack for sponsors, if anything- he had way too many!

It didn't matter if Art bought everyone's story that he had on, he had an an open mind and an unbound curiosity (concerning eccentric people and subject matter), but I do remember him throwing at least one guy off the show because his story sounded shaky- bottom line, even if you're story was iffy... you got the benefit of the doubt if it was Good (no matter how far fetched), and was told in an engaging manner. Mel's Hole was just such a story- about as far out a tale as a tale can be told. But DANG, what a story it was- as captivating as it was... imaginative (involving a bottomless pit with strange regenerative and supernatural powers)! And then on the very next show he could have someone as respected and respectable as Michio Kaku!

Never boring (did I mention his legendary voice), he was a leading proponent in legitimizing open discussion and investigation concerning extraterrestrial and supernatural phenomena- the voice and personality emanating from "The Kingdom of Nye" will be sorely missed, least in this dimension...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Virtual Hell!!!

Photo: © Stan Banos

It hadn't happened in a while, in fact, I was thinking about it just the other day- no major computer trauma in what... over a year!? That's a nice run of peace and sanity, so it was just bound to snap, bound to come crashing down from the very depths of hell and torment that it most surely presides over. And sure enough...

I opened a particular folder and clicked on a small photo icon in my Windows photo organizer (never, ever a problem there... ever- but then, why should there be?), instead- the next photo in line comes up, a photo that I now notice has completely disappeared from the icons altogether!?!?!?!? And yet, it appears from the ether, The same scenario with the next few icons in line, click on one- the next one shows up... What The!!! So...I rename the two or three to fix things up- but uh-uh... they see what I'm up to; and they ain't having it!

OK, so hard ball is what they want- hard ball is what they're gonna get!!! I open up Photoshop (OK, OK- it's only Elements 9)- and I'm gonna import and rename them from there and show them whose really running the show- and... my whole PS layout is completely altered! What The... X2!!!

This is when it happens- this overwhelming rage of complete and utter helplessness just engulfs and consumes me to the point where I just wanna (should I even say this?)... CRY!!! It's just so incredibly unjust and emasculating to kneecap me on the very thing I most know NOTHING about, am most helpless about!!! Computer disasters often involve that which I can't even begin to formulate the very questions needed to begin explaining, let alone solving...

So, several deep breaths (minus any tears) later, I begin to ever so slowly relearn how to reconfigure my PS layout to where it was (more or less) and then begin to import and rename the files in that folder. Ultimately, even that didn't work- so I had to delete the folder altogether and remake the dozen low res copies anew... A pain in the ass, but far from life altering.

Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything else wrong with the computer at large, and that is a major relief- as well as, yet another added note of mystery...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Not Easily Shocked, But...

Not that I'm any and certainly not all that, but at my age, having lived in The Lower East Side, worked in Harlem and Oakland, I have been around the block a few times; but... when ya tell me with a serious face that a child, an actual child (as in not even a teenager) can must represent themselves in front of a judge in an Immigration Court in the US of A... yeah, that really is (cannot be anything but) kinda all out FREAKIN'... SHOCKING!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Lull...

Photo: © Stan Banos

I suppose some would call it Spring Break... but it's nothing planned on my part. I just haven't felt compelled to rant or point out anything in particular (that I haven't already)- and that's certainly not to say that they're aren't enough things out there, right now to rant and rave about!

Fortunately, my salary for writing and maintaining this wee island of a blog remains consistent, no matter my output. No doubt, something will soon enough arouse me from my equal parts blissful/anxiety inducing catatonic state; in the meantime, I'm left to contemplate the hideousness of how modern car headlights now encased in plastic so quickly dull up and yellow, built in early warning systems to replace with this year's model (1st world problems to be sure)...

Sunday, April 1, 2018

INTERLOCK- Mark Lombardi


"You can hang the truth on the wall and no one will give a damn."  -MarkLombardi

Well, right off the bat- no question this guy, Mark Lombardi, was a genius on a number of levels. Artist, researcher, whistle blower... And talk about an artist who spoke drew truth to power- I don't think I've ever seen any artist who so blatantly exposed and called out the roots of power and evil in such a direct and abstract way... And ALL the data, info and insights that he meticulously researched and compiled on shadow world financial/political associations and networks came from readily available public resources!



Is there any question that the powers that be did not want this guy around!?!? So when he shows up dead of an apparent suicide- yeah, ya kinda start to ask questions...


Patricia Goldstone and Mark Van Proyen - Visting Artists and Scholars from SFAI on Vimeo.

Please note: The video above is approx 1hr 18 minutes- and then, inexplicably repeats...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

CHEM CON?


Intrigued? Here's the hour long, unedited version...


Recently, The Wife, has become rather obsessed with chemtrails, she checks them out first thing every morning from our apt window that has a fairly decent view of the environs above. Yeah, I know, I know... Conspiracy Theory Rabbit Hole; leave it alone and let it lie- sensible, normal folk just don't go there! And that is why I'm letting these other professionals make the argument... Many think they are spraying aluminum particles to counter the effects of global warming, and there is no denying that there are quite a few individuals and institutions that are very aware of the increase in toxic, non naturally occurring aluminum throughout our environment - hhmmmm... 

Now, for the most part, I can't tell a chemtrail from a contrail with anything near 100% accuracy- and many who swear they can are not taking into account things like: altitude, temperature, humidity, condensation, barometric pressure and all other measure of wind and weather factors that can simulate a multitude of effects. Granted. But there is no doubt that: a) we have been unknowingly sprayed, b) have an alarmingly large increase of environmental aluminum and other chemicals in our natural environs  (see/hear above), and c) and lord only knows what this can or cannot do...

Bottom line- One Simple Question: if this is simply a question of normal contrail exhaust condensing into ice crystals instead of simply dissipating- why are they expanding into cloud formations? They either freeze and condense (ie- concentrate and grow smaller) or dissipate and... disappear! Normal contrails do not exponentially expand in size and volume (see below)- unless something else is going on...

Photos: © S. Banos   Now, I'm not saying- but...
That's one helluva "cloud" from that single C... trail!









Monday, March 26, 2018

March For Sanity...


Photo: © Stan Banos


Well, it was heartening to see the many thousands (of all ages and races) that showed up in San Francisco to protest our current armed madness in the US of A. The poise, intelligence and commitment of this particular group of teenagers to address this situation in the absence of their elders is one of the few beacons of hope these past few many years... 

That hope was certainly tempereded upon reading this- remember when Republicans were... Anti-Communist
Addendum: The recent NATO led action does not negate the above- the point being that Republicans of yore would have been rabidly demanding like actions from the get go...


Photo: © Stan Banos

Friday, March 23, 2018

Benign Coincidence...

Photo: © Stan Banos

So I'm checking out Blake Andrew's blog as I'm oft wont to do on occasion, and click on his link to Josef Chladek's photobook website- which is quite fun, as you can well suss out for yourself. And the very first book I serendipitously clicked upon and examined on his magical bookshelf, Sorry For Damage Done by Vincent Wittenberg and Wladimir Manshanden, was delightfully relevant to what I'm currently starting to amass...