iLOMO


I first learned about the LOMO cameras and Lomography from JPG Magazine. Basically, as I understand it, LOMO produced cheap cameras in the Soviet Union that were known for their flawed results. Those defects, however, earned the camera a following that found the results artistic and enjoyed the randomness it produced.

I’ve been meaning to get an app for my iPhone to provide some new photography options, possibly CameraBag, which a coworker uses, but, upon some browsing, decided I would go with the LOMO app. I’ll probably get another camera app before too long, but below are some results of my first couple of days of playing.

Remember The Time


I’m afraid that I said all I have to say about the death of Michael Jackson over on my other blog, which, really was nothing at all. And, really, what is there to say about his passing? The Michael Jackson that was the definition of cool when I was a kid went away a long time ago.

But I was intrigued by a blog post by a friend, who wrote a a response to the “Where were you when …” discussion. Basically, she heard the news on the radio and then followed it on Twitter for updates.

Making it a bit more meta, my answer to that question is that I heard about his passing from her tweet about his death. In fact, I heard about Farah Fawcett’s death yesterday the same way. (Well, kind of … someone posted a picture of her with no explanation, which made me assume she must have died, so I turned to Google news.)

Anyway, it reminded me of the post and discussion on here a while back about how people heard about Challenger. (Answer — for people my age, generally watching it live on television.)

I’d be curious to hear other people’s experiences with this — How do you hear about major news events? Is there a shift away from traditional media? Have you learned about anything significant through social media? (For me, social media is replacing not so much traditional media but direct interaction as a news source — I think I’m more likely to hear from Twitter or Facebook the things I would have heard from a friend before. Not entirely sure, though.)

For Great Justice!


I’m writing this post from the jury waiting room at the Madison County Courthouse, where I’m doing my civic duty. By blogging, apparently.

This is my second time being called for jury duty. Or, rather, my second time reporting for jury duty.

Back in ye olde days in Indianola, I got called pretty frequently, but always got excused ahead of time. It was a win-win situation, I suppose — my boss didn’t want me to be gone, since we had such a small staff, and odds are I wasn’t going to be able to serve anyway, since I covered police and courts and thus new all the players and many of the cases, so it saved them having to eliminate me.

That said, I kind of would have liked to serve. Covering courts, it would have been interesting to experience it from the other side, to find out what it was like to be behind-the-scenes as a juror. (And if one of us had ever been selected as a grand juror — I can only imagine. We would have found a way to serve if that had happened. To have every record, every official, every room of every public agency open to us? Yeah, wow, I can only imagine.)

So it was kind of exciting three years ago when I got called for jury duty in Madison County for the first time, and having no reason that I couldn’t report.

And it was, indeed, an interesting experience, albeit not in the way I had hoped. I learned a lot about being a juror, but without actually serving on a jury. Really, it was not unlike the wonderful learning experiences of my two trips to see shuttle flights scrubbed. It’s very much a part of the reality of the experience, but not the reality I had hoped for.

But the Circuit Clerk did a great job of explaining the importance of the “nothing” that I did. Court doesn’t move forward without jurors. Pleas are entered, settlements are reached, largely when cases are about to go before a jury. And that doesn’t happen unless there are potential jurors. So by sitting in the jury waiting room, I’m very much helping resolve cases.

So yesterday and today, I’ve been dispensing justice … by blogging, Twittering, reading, texting, Facebooking, etc. Again, not what I’d hoped for, but isn’t it nice to know, as you’re reading this blog entry, that while I was writing it, I was bringing criminals to justice?

Thus far, I have been called in for the jury selection for one case, but, after going through the voire dire, was rejected, either because of my ex-wife or my ex-fiancee, I’m not sure which. But definitely not my fault. (Yes, I know fiancee needs an accent mark, but I don’t know how to make one on this computer, even though it’s easy on what I’m used to. I’m here doing my civic duty, and they thank us with Windows machines. Still, MUCH better than nothing, so I’m grateful.)

Jurors have been called for jury selection for other cases, but I haven’t been selected to even be part of those selections. They’re expecting another round this afternoon, so we’ll see.

Lecture


OK, I may have been wrong yesterday.

Upon further thought, there’s really not much I need to say about my talk (which was Saturday, not Friday as I wrote yesterday).

I gave a talk to the North Alabama Science Fiction Associiation Saturday about my book, Homesteading Space, basically the same lecture I gave once back in March. Because of everything going on this weekend, my plans to actually review my PowerPoint and notes before didn’t come to fruition, so there were times that I was talking about one slide with no clue what was on the next one. It made for an interesting experience. I definitely got to draw on my improv talents.

And that was something that became very obvious during this one — that’s what I enjoy most about giving these talks, is combining my writer world with my improv world. I enjoy sharing information that I’m passionate about, but it makes me happy to be able to make it interesting and accessible, and I love being able to make people laugh during the talks. In fact, that was one of the highlights of Saturday’s talk — there was a joke that was sort of integral to the presentation, meaning that I couldn’t skip it, that fell completely flat when I gave the talk back in March. This time, it worked, beautifully. Sublime.

The NASFA group was a great audience, and it was really fun sharing with them.

I still hope to get another opportunity to do this again before too long.

Trailer


I still need to blog about my talk Friday and jury duty, but, sheesh, nobody’s gonna want to read any more than the two posts I’ve already written today. So I’ll come back to those. Looks like I’m going to be spending a good bit of time in this jury room, so I should have plenty of opportunity to come back to those.

3G S


My new iPhone was activated when it was handed to me.

Many people reading that sentence wouldn’t realize there’s any significance to it. The people like me are aghast.

That means the guy at AT&T opened the box of my iPhone. He took my iPhone out of the box. He handled it. He plugged it in to his system. And then, after he was done with it, and only then, did he give it to me.

For a Mac geek, it’s the equivalent of prima nocta.

So, no unboxing pictures this time. So sad.

That said, wow. I love my new iPhone. More than a little.

I got my last one two years ago, the first weekend the first iPhone was released. The technology has changed a bit since then. The GPS — very fun. The video capability — nice. The compass — uh, compassy. (And, yeah, I actually have made use of it already.)

It surprises me sometimes how fast it is; I’ll be doing a task that should take a while, but that between the faster connection and the faster processor just breezes by. It’s more than a little agreeable.

OK, it’s occurring to me that this post really serves no purposes other than to brag on my new phone. (And, after being the rare iPhone owner for a year, I lost that ability over the past year, when suddenly everybody was getting iPhones, and iPhones that were better than mine.) But, yeah, I really have nothing worthwhile to say other than, “I like it.”

Sorry. Please carry on with your business.

-30-


OK, the last post about MPA, I promise. (In case you missed the rambling thus far, and don’t care enough to read, I went to Biloxi Friday for my former editor’s induction into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame.)

I went. And was glad I did.

I don’t know if Jim knew I was coming or not. He acted like he was surprised, and I was going to honor that. Whether he was surprised or not, he was glad — Jim hugged me at least three times in the first five minutes I was there. I was one of only two of his former employees to attend the induction. Which also meant that Jim and Cynthia invited me to sit with them at the reserved VIP table up front, which was a very cool experience.

Rambling thoughts:

The induction was great. Jim is, if not sui generis, at least a legend from a better age of newspapers. It was wonderful to see him getting the honor he deserved. I loved his acceptance speech. Such a humble man. If he has any idea how brilliant he is, it’s only because he believes in what he does — in other words, it’s not that he himself is great, but that if you do things this way, the results will be great. The truth is a combination of both, of course.

And it was flattering to be mentioned in the acceptance speech. I loved the manner in which Jim bragged on me, looking across the crowd of editors and publishers and asking how many of them could claim their paper produced someone who works for NASA. And he read part of one of my stories during a lighthearted part of his speech — the report about the guy who stole over a thousand condoms from the local health department; a story which got Indianola mentioned on Leno. I’d forgotten how good my lede to that story was. You know, I really wasn’t bad at this.

And that was another part of the experience. I got to talk to another former boss, Gary Andrews, my general manager in Houston, and one of the few superiors I really liked and respected from my year away from Jim. We had a great conversation, but he talked about the potential that I had, and that if I ever decided to come back to the industry, he would help in any way he could. That, and the whole evening, made me realize, I could have been good at this. Heck, I was good at it. I could have been great. Made me wonder what might have been.

Conversely, however, it was very interesting being at Hall of Fame for the first time ever and not thinking “Someday…” This time, I knew … that’s never going to be me. Not necessarily because I couldn’t, but because I won’t. But, more than that, because of the way things have changed. People like Jim, who because synonymous with their community, are increasingly few and far between. And that’s what I would have wanted to do, what I would have wanted to be. I had, and have, no desire to be the guy that some chain puts in some town for a little while before the next changing of the guard. I wanted to serve a community. And that’s not what the business is about anymore.

Along those lines, the optimism was rather depressing. The outgoing and incoming presidents of the press association both decried the rumors of the death of the newspaper industry. And, to be sure, with good evidence. But the fact that so much time was spent denying the impending doom was not particularly heartening; the last time I attended, many moons ago, no one felt the need.

I came out of it with much the same sense I had going in — there is hope. The local community newspaper offers a product that no one else can offer, that no one else can compete with. But I have never seen an industry so determined to shoot itself in the foot. (Including the music industry five years ago, and that’s saying something.)

It WAS good seeing old friends. It was good making new friends. It was good talking shop with people who are still passionate about what they do, what I did. It was good seeing that there is still hope; that the battle isn’t over, and is still being fought.

But it was also good being able to leave and come home afterwards.