Tuesday, October 13, 2009

reviews

It's been such a long since I posted anything other than photos that I thought I'd give words another chance. A lot has been going through my head about marriage, but I'm not going to expound about them yet. I will say however, that Hilary has been one of the most sanctifying influences in my life. You may not be able to tell because I've sort of disappeared for a while, but being in a relationship in which I learn first hand what it means to love and put someone else before my own interests has really changed the way I think about, and do pretty much everything.

Ok, so... here's a set of things I've been thinking about/interacting with on a daily basis/listening to/looking at etc.

1. Psalm 27. "He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle." While working this evening, I overheard part of a Bible study mom was doing and this verse stood out to me. In the present age, the church is the tabernacle. There are still places, however, that feel holier than others because I mentally associate them with prayer. I'm still trying to pinpoint why this was the case, but when I was in Japan church buildings were a place of refuge for me. On multiple cold dark and rainy nights I needed a safe haven, so I sought out my church just to sit on the steps and pray. I had seen and felt God's presence there, and so it was a natural place to run to. Why the churches in Japan? I'm not sure... I think it's because I depended on the church in that country. They were my family. The church was my home away from home. But, it seems like it should be this way wherever I go. Wouldn't it be great if Christians came to the church in the middle of the week because they had seen God's presence at work there and they needed to pray?

2. The highland games are Saturday. I've been practicing the caber toss several times a week for the last month. There's a bunch of other events that I should also be practicing, but nothing can compare to the satisfaction of finally flipping a stubborn log. I'm getting a lot better at it, but I broke a caber last night.

3. I haven't had the time or energy recently to find good music on my own, so instead of been letting friends do it for me. Liam Corcoran has a real knack for digging up interesting bands. His most recent (or maybe I should say my most recent discovery of one of his discoveries) is the fusion/classical opera/electronica vocalist Sasha Lazard. I'm listening to her right now. My favorite is "Angeli." Ave Maria + the grooviest beat

4. Grooveshark. Stream most (ok... 50%) of the music you could ever hope to find. It's like Pandora, but you determine the playlist. Is that really legal? Maybe, but it still sort of feels like cheating.

5. Aradhna. Some missionary kid who speaks accentless hindi decides that indians (the ones from india, not US) could use praise songs in their own manner, and so he writes a bunch. And they're really good. So, I can't tell exactly what they are saying, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that the song I'm currently addicted to isn't signing the praises of Vishnu or whatever (like with Gopala, which is probably the most frustrating song in the history of all music I have ever listened to, for this reason).

6. Slam Dunk. I've been a bit depressed about manga/anime recently. When I think about marriage, I also think about kids. That gets me thinking about what I would want them to read and watch. Something I like about manga/anime is that they often tell real, imaginative, and fascinating stories. The artwork is often stunning as well. The thing I don't like is that most series is how they treat the female body. You don't have to look hard or read long to get what I mean. Slam Dunk was suggested to me by Yuko and Eriya a long time ago. I didn't read it because honestly, mowing the lawn sounded more interesting than reading a comic about basketball. I finally got around to reading it because I did some sort of google search for "greatest manga ever" and it came out on top. I was like "hmmm... didn't Yuko say I should read that one?" I found an English translation and plowed through it.

I am delighted to say that it was the 1) the best manga I have ever read, and 2) it was the cleanest manga I had ever read. If you aren't into manga at all that is great, stay that way. But if you decide you want to give it one shot, try this one, it is completely worth it. You can find some english scans at www.onemanga.com. I don't think an English version has been published.

7. Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize. I know this is old hat by now, but I would be very nervous if I were him. The affection of the masses is so volatile. It seems like people, in a strange way, love to watch those they once idolized fall from grace and he's not immune to that. By accepting this prize he is declaring himself a peacemaker, but it seems to be something that will be impossible for him to live up to. The people who consider him the Obamessiah will probably be the first people to turn on him when he doesn't live up to their expectations.

8. Windows sucks. But I'm addicted to it at the same time. I can't use macs. I've tried and just failed. However... I just can't believe Microsoft, with all their continual updates and everything. I have never had a virus, and I still don't have one. I am very careful with how I connect to the internet. However, for all that, my "ultrafast" (3 years ago) core duo laptop has been slowing down and complaining recently. This evening, when I turned it on, the start bar was all messed up. The systems is starting to collapse under the ponderous weight of the endless updates and patches that automatically download and install themselves against my will onto my computer. It is the beginning of the end.

9. Acoustic Holographic Filtering. It's what I'm calling this strange filtering method that I think I've invented. I'm sure somebody somewhere has to have done this before and written up something about it, but I can't find it in the literature, probably just because I don't know the correct terminology. Anyway, I've figured out a pretty killer way of separrating waves that are impossibly jumbled together. I'm pretty happy about it. I love it when I love my work. Doesn't ecclesiastes say something about that?

10. Sleep. Not overrated.

11. Swine flu - do you have it?

12. The D5000. I'm looking at maybe purchasing this camera someday when I have money to spare. It seems like a really great camera for a good price. People are dissing it because it doesn't have the build quality and of the D90, but

a) You get the same butt kicking sensor for like... 400 dollars cheaper
b) You still get all the stuff I care about:

Active dynamic range "enhancement": So, there are way better ways to do this imhop, but digital camera designers finally figured out that it drives people nuts when you have to underexpose the photo to capture the highlights, or overexpose the same photo to get the detail in the shadows. Still can't touch the eye though... (heh heh, God does it again)

Chromatic aberation correction: do those little purple and yellow borders lining the edges of the high-contrast portions of your photos drive you nuts? Me too!

Several built-in dust protection devices: the big dark blob in the sky that appears whenever I take a photo with my D40 is getting old.

Lense distortion correction: I can crop and you won't even know it!

Vibration reduction in the stock lense: How many photos would I not have had to throw away...

ISO3200 that doesn't look horribly crappy: heck it's even got ISO6400. It's like a whole stop better than the D40. I never liked flash photography (maybe just because I'm so bad at it), so this would be a real plus.

People, (or at least one of the most popular camera reviewers on the net) seem to say that the D40 is the best thing since sliced bread and if it isn't a D90 then just get a D40. But I have a D40 and it's not all he cracks it up to be. Don't get me wrong, I love the camera (and Ken Rockwell also happens to be my favorite camera reviewer btw, pretty level headed guy). It's been great, it's been with me in heavy rain without any sort of protection and emerged unscathed. It's knocked around the globe with me, and I haven't been gentle with it. But it has dust problems, the photos aren't very croppable and I crop like mad because I'm not great at framing my photos. Dynamic range enhancement is something I've dreamed of, and I can't stand the purple edges that line my sunny day contrasts.

13. Jobs. I've been imaginging working for a camera company. Image processing is just like just acoustic signal processing but with an added dimension, right? Microphones... theyre cool but honestly, they already do a pretty good job for what their meant to do. The great thing about cameras is, digital cameras have so many ways they can be improved. I've spent nights thinking about how to improve the dynamic range of the digital camera because I think their perfomance is so crappy. Anyway, who knows, maybe I'll end up working for Nikon or (the horrors) Canon some day.

Ok, well that about does it for today, guess I'd better hit the sack. More next time

4 Comments:

Blogger Hilary said...

Yay, Tim! Thanks so much for posting!
I love you...

8:33 AM  
Blogger -jacob said...

I haven't felt for myself, but I read that the D5000 feels kind of "plasticy" in the hand where the D90 feels more like a solid tool. However, like you said, $400.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just roundfiled my pc and bought a macbook pro. the transition has been surprisingly easy, and most of the surprises have been good surprises, rather than frustrations. might be worth giving a mac another try, man.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew N. Petersen said...

I really liked that part about the Church being a holy place.

5:55 PM  

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