Le Tour

Shot these on my Moskva 5 loaded with Adox CHS 25 pushed to 50 ISO.
Jessica and Cassie, two photographers from NKU, are in the top photo. I don't remember ever seeing that huge bottle Jess is holding, but there it is. Looking at the bottom photo, it's hard to believe I lived there and walked those streets. If there hadn't been 200 people on the tiny little platform, I could have stayed all day atop the Eiffel Tower, watching the cloud shadows crawl across Paris.

Finally, I would like to say: Hipstamatic ain't got nothin' on me!

Something's wrong here...

No class until three on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I was up early to shoot in dawn light, but after the sun was up I had nothing to do but kill time. I got some tips on two possible trails for the mountain bike within 10 minutes of campus, and decided to check them both out.

Trail one: steep downhills, but not very technical for the most part. Dusty ground with dry leaves over the top = one long skid all the way down. My back wheel was locked for 90% of the runs, and when it wasn't I was going so fast I couldn't even tell what I was riding over. Awesome. I hit a creek at the bottom, pulled an endo, and over the bars I went. Great fun, but the back wheel hit a rock on the way back down and I had to retrue it to get it to spin again.

Trail two: What trail? I rode for 30 minutes on wide gravel paths through the woods, wondering what the person meant by, "I don't know how people ride on those trails." I saw a little offshoot, took it, and there I was in the scariest riding I've ever done. Narrow, steep hills with sharp turns at the bottom, super sharp and pointy rocks waiting for skulls, and some downhills I almost couldn't even push the bike up. I walked all but the easiest parts (gnarly roots running across an almost-cliff), and won't ride the harder stuff until I have a riding buddy with me.

So, all of this exploring without any injuring except to the bike. I get back to the dorm, riding with a tripod in one hand, and lock the brakes while on the sidewalk 20 feet from my door. All my weight shifts forward, and since I only have one hand on the bars, they turn 90 degrees. Down I go: bar end to the bicep, eggbeater to the shin bone. Both are nicely bruised, and my shin is pretty swollen.



Hot Pepper Sauce

Chopped peppers + vinegar. I'm going to let it set for a few days and see if it's hot enough.  


As the Teacher's Assistant

Kylie: I didn't get a job yet or a Latin name. What's my strength?
Mr. Fox:  Listen, you're Kylie. You're an unbelievably nice guy. Your job is really just to... be available, I think. I don't know your Latin name. 

So I just watched Fantastic Mr. Fox recently, so excuse me mentioning that movie twice in the past couple days. The above quote just about sums up my role as the Photo One TA. I more or less talk to students about things like shutter speed, auto-focus modes and matrix metering, or engage in witty banter with Chris. In the classic subservient assistant manner, I also bring him his Starbucks. Grande iced coffee, black. It's an easy order.

The perks so far are incredible: three credit hours for talking about photography with people fresh enough not to be cynical, and with technical problems that require 30 seconds with the manual to fix. Chris has already given me a stack of PDN magazines to keep, the rare Cartier-Bresson's France to borrow ("You were in Paris? Here, take this book!"). Today Toni, an older student, gave me her Nikon N90, because she isn't going to shoot film and didn't want it to collect dust. I put on a nice prime lens, grabbed an old roll of Fuji Superia 800, and ran it through the camera during class. Its place in Nikon's 1990s lineup is pretty close to where my D200 was in Nikon's 2000s lineup. I now own two generations of obsolete Nikons! Here are some shots from my first roll.

Too Many Videos Lately

I've been posting too many videos lately for my taste, but hey. I love watching BMX and trials videos, because... well, mostly because they're just plain entertaining. But also because these dudes are simultaneously totally nuts, super talented, focused and driven. Pushing the boundaries of human physical capabilities just to push them... I will never do anything close to what Danny Macaskill does on his bike, and so I'll live vicariously through youtube. I'm here to do something else, and that's fine by me, as long as I can watch him and his cohorts play, and be amazed by the way creation works. When this guy shows his grandkids this video they'll stop making mean comments about him behind his back. They will probably keep making fun of his music though. I ought to stop here and mention that a while ago I was strongly considering buying those same Five Ten Freerider shoes, albeit in a more respectable colorway.

When I'm out of school, I'm going to do a few things. One of them is buy a motorcycle. Another one is start doing motion work. I definitely believe a still image is more potent in most situations, but short films like this, with their thoughtful camerawork and creativity, strongly dispel the loathing I feel for mankind when I see clips like E! or whatever that celebrity gossip TV show is. Plus, I think trained photographers shoot motion video in a funky way, when compared to trained videographers, and I like that. I should go to bed, but I'm going to eat pretzels instead.


Senior Exhibition Mailer Idea...

Redid it, adding back in "photographs by James Rice," which I'd canned earlier. I think it needs to move left a few tics, though. More importantly, a border with cut corners mirroring both the width and style of the font... that might be a problem with commercial printing and trimming, but we'll look into it later, won't we? I really like the main typeface; it ties in with the ideas of the series pretty well. Too bad this isn't due for weeks... in fact it hasn't even been assigned yet!

Canis Lupus and Two Songs

Old news: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeekquel outsold Fantastic Mr. Fox in the box office.

Got this song in a free sampler from Amazon. Diggin' Darondo's grooves in general.

Fantastic video of fantastic old-time music––this is one of my favorite tunes by Clarence Ashley. I'm learning general clawhammer banjo, in part inspired by Ashley, and making what I consider great headway.


Life in the Box, and a Good Verse

Four more months of this...  I'm living on the edge of campus, below front-of-the-building ground level, facing west– away from school and into the woods. I can ride the bicycle up to my front door. I can't wait until I get my Metallica poster on the wall and mountain bike on the top rack; Then things will be pretty OK. Not pictured: Awesome fish-themed shower curtain and grungy kitchen.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: 
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple. 
Psalm 27:4

What more do we need?

Final Semester Rules of Engagement

–No movies during the week

–No television, ever

–No Facebook, unless premeditated personal communication is to take place

–Meat must be eaten at most once a day, and all food must be nutritionally wise, unless courtesy or other situational factors take precedence

–Cash all checks promptly

–If spare time is miraculously present, it must be spent
a. Spiritually
b. Working ahead on assignments
c. Reading about or experiencing something new
d. Exercising, esp. riding bicycle
e. Practicing guitar or banjo, writing music, etc.
f. Cleaning living space

–All living space is to be kept tidy, ready to entertain company at a moments notice

–Coffee must be fresh

–Waste must be minimized

–Manliness levels must never waver, except when kittens or bulbous spiders are present

–Sleep, while pleasant, must not exceed 8 hours at a time. There is no minimum

–Windows should be open if possible

–Lights should be off if possible

–If at all possible, do not spend a single cent

–No impulse buys when shopping

–Try to lose less pens

–Mornings are to be spent wisely. Less sleep, more living

–Recreation should not open the wallet. Cheap thrills only, and when appropriate

–Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without

*This list may be amended at any time


Bill Monroe's Mule Skinner Blues

This song got me through a few eight-hour late-night/early-morning sessions in the darkroom last semester. This song on cassette, my Mere Christianity audio book, and knowing that I could sleep for a few minutes on the couch in the next room over before class started. Here's to one more semester of absurd sleep patterns and hermitic living.


Old Dry Stone Wall, Laughery Creek Valley

The remainder of a 19th-century stone wall, deep in the woods.  I love history more than I usually acknowledge, and abandoned structures like this always make me curious...


Psalms 139: 23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
And lead me in the ancient, everlasting way.

Tony Renner, Gollum's Cave (for Jeff Sippel)


On Trombones

(1. characteristics of the trombone)
The trombone's belching, muddy tones and rotten timbre are odious in the hands of the proficient, fully toxic in those of the novice. Musically diarrheic, the huffing and puffing lips of those who indulge themselves in the artless pursuit of tromboning quiver hungrily at the thought of assaulting the ears of their relatives with muffled tonal farts and indistinct arpeggios. (I say relatives, for a trombonist has no friends, nor audience for that matter, save those obligated by bloodline to endure his pernicious practice.) The awkward gangle of tubing and braces is only amplified by the desperate thrusting of bony elbows as the user pumps out note after attempted note, just as the terrible musty rush of air from within the lungs is amplified by the comparatively fine brass bell, but only after suffering much abuse and debasement within two or three miles of sliding passageways, exiting the instrument to return the favor to all those unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

(2. history of the trombone) 
The littlest amount of perceptivity will tell us that, though modified over time, the basic elements of the shape of the trombone betray its original use as a crude sort of urinal. Unwilling to move the royal body from the throne room to empty the royal bladder, surely the various and sundry kings of France used golden plumbing leading from a golden receptacle (now the bell of the trombone) through the golden walls to the golden moat. The slide, of course, allowed the royal urinee to adjust the bell so that he might stand or sit as he pleased. It will not require great amounts of imagination to picture the day that an overeager and shortsighted court jester used a spare urinal to play some royal fanfare, and the rest, as it is said, is history.

(3. advice on trombones) 
Any piece of sheet music that has been so much as looked over by the queasy eyes of one of those players of Satan's Whistle must be cremated at the earliest chance before it can putrefy. Any trombone found deserted must, lest it be returned to service, be melted down and recast into rings for pigs' noses, where it will continue in much the same manner as before––adorning the face of the repugnant––only silently. Any person found to be composing music specifically for the trombone must be bludgeoned to death with a trombone kept for this purpose (and which has been rendered unplayable by permanently blocking the tubes), just as that composer would have acoustically bludgeoned the world. 


At Dawn

Normally I enjoy the earliest moments on the front porch with a cup of coffee or on a bicycle along the road, but... 
I don't think I'm the only one who enjoys walking through glowing blades of grass laden with cool water droplets.

Fish and Fishes

Big Fishes Eat Little Fishes by Bruegel the Elder

Everybody knows that, like deer and deer, "fish" is both the singular and plural word for, well, fish.
Everybody has heard someone pluralize "fish" as "fishes."
My entire life I have assumed that both were legitimate synonymous words, but that "fish" is the more accepted form in modern usage.
What a fool I have been!

"Fish" refers to multiple creatures of the same type or species, and "fishes" refers to multiple creatures of different species.

Two goldfish are fish. A goldfish and a catfish are fishes. The above is a picture of fishes.


From the 1897 Sears, Roebuck and Co. Catalogue No. 104

"The rain falls alike on the just and unjust. 
  All should be supplied with Mackintoshes."


"We have discarded all imported mandolins on account of their    
  worthlessness as a musical instrument."

"The banjo is a popular instrument.
   It deserves to be."


"Following are a few things which should not be done: 
  Don't wear a thin shoe for street or rough wear.
  Don't wear shoes too narrow for your feet.
  Don't fit your shoes short ; especially the ones with pointed toes.
  On the contrary, they should be fitted very long.
  Make your foot much more stylish in appearance.

Finally, a product description from the Department of Revolvers.

"The above illustration engraved from a photograph will give you some idea of the appearance of this revolver, and at our price of $2.75 it will surely prove a death blow to competition. It is a genuine American hammerless revolver. Dealers may say it is impossible. Some may say we do not furnish it but we do. We propose to demonstrate to the consumers of the world that our trade, reaching into every State in the Union and then into every country on the globe, places us in a position to go to the manufacturers with such large orders for cash that we can buy and offer our leaders at prices that will strike terror to dealers and competitors. We use the word "competitors" but we have none, and a comparison of our prices with those of other houses will convince you of this fact.  Our policy is 10,000 revolvers at a profit of 10c. each which amounts to $1000.00 rather than 100 revolvers at $2.00 each and amount to only $200 profit. Every one who buys from us talks for us. We treat them right, we give them unheard of values for their money, and in consequence they will talk––talk words of praise. You can't stop them. Dealers try to, so do certain would-be competitors try to stop them, but they can't. Our customers sound our praise, and as a result our bargain list grows bigger and bigger as each leader succeeds the other.
This new hammerless revolver is made by the New York Arms Co., and is known as the Bull's Eye Hammerless. Solid frame, full nickel plated, fancy ornamented rubber handle, patent safety lock so arranged that accidental discharge is impossible, uses Smith & Wesson central fire cartridges, 22, 32 and 38 caliber as desired. 22 caliber is adapted to rim fire cartridges. 22 caliber has 2 1/2 inch barrel and weighs 9 oz. 32 and 38 calibers have 3 1/4 inch barrels and weigh 14 and 17 oz. respectively. If you buy one you will buy more.
You can sell them at $5.00 each."

"For a First-Class Chance
  To Buy Nice Pants,
  We Need Say No More,
                 Page 164."


Magnets, Magnetic Fields, Magnetism...

I'm certain I don't understand 1% of the laws and properties of magnetism. I decided to brush up with some quick 'n' magnety reading here, here, and here. It's beyond me. If it weren't 4:30 AM (and if there weren't so many equations riddled with greek letters) perhaps I could do a smidgen better, but I would still be woefully unlearned. Now, I will appreciate magnets as a layman. I do know that in our 21st century lives it is too easy to be un-amazed by the tiny portions of God's oeuvre that the scientific man has "decoded." How little we know! When I really look, I can see signs of an infinite intellect in the smallest of things. I hope we will all look more intently.