8.28.2006

Ever Watch the Venture Brothers?

Here's a man who actually suffers from Rusty Venture's condition: Fetus in Fetu.

Wow, this is creepy.

8.24.2006

How to Make a Panography

Are you bored? Here's something fun and cool to do curtesy of Wiki-How.

How to Make a Panography

Do you ever look up at the sky, a towering office building, or an expansive landscape and wish your photos could capture everything you can see with your eyes? You can do this, by creating a panography, taking dozens of photos of a scene and assembling images that represent what your eyes see.

Steps

  1. Go out into the world and find something interesting to shoot. Pick your point of view, making sure you can see everything you want to shoot without moving from your position.
  2. Click on picture to enjoy the beauty


    Manually set the white balance, focus, f-stop, and shutter speed on your camera. This ensures that it doesn't light meter every shot and your photos aren't all differently exposed. If you want your panography to consist of many individual photos, zoom in a bit. If it's your first try, you may want to stay zoomed out so you'll have fewer shots to assemble at the end.
  3. Point and shoot. Don't move from your position, but do move your lens in all directions. Try tilting your camera to different angles to soften the straight panorama look. Keep in mind that the more your shots overlap, the easier it'll be to assemble your panography later.
  4. Make sure you cover every spot with at least one picture. We tend to only photograph the interesting spots, like lines and busy areas, and oftentimes forget to get the plain areas. Leave a shot out and you'll be left with a hole in your final piece with no way to fill it!
  5. Click to enlarge


    Unload your camera and, using Photoshop, resize your photographs (try width or height of 800 pixels). It's tedious to do this manually for each photo; so to expedite the process, record the resizing and saving of one photo as a new Photoshop Action. Then go to File > Automate > Batch to select the new action and apply it to your entire folder of panography photos.
  6. Create a fairly large new RGB canvas to work on. If it turns out the canvas is too small, you can always add some space later (Image > Canvas). Copy the new 800px versions of your images into your canvas--5 to 10 images at a time ought to be manageable.
  7. Set the opacity of each photo to about 50%. Using the Transform function (Ctrl/Apple+T), start rotating each photo to fit the ones next to it. Be careful to make sure you're rotating (you should see a curved arrow tool when you're near a corner) and not skewing the photographs. Now go photo by photo and assemble your panography like a puzzle. It will take a while to get it right, so be sure to save your work as you go along.
  8. When you're finished assembling the photos together, make final color, contrast, and levels adjustments. Go to the layer palette and add a new adjustment layer of any kind by clicking the round black/white symbol.
  9. To share your panography or post it online, just combine all the layers (Shift+Ctrl/Apple+E), and resize your image. Be sure to save this file separately instead of overwriting the original, which you'll want to keep in case you want to make changes later.


Tips

  • If you want to save the originals, don't forget to duplicate your folder before you resize.
  • Submit your creations to the Panography group on Flickr. But be sure to follow the rules if you do:

    • Individual images are not to be skewed or rescaled.
    • The base color is white.
    • The sides are not to be cropped, even if there is one long strand of shots standing out.
    • The images should all have similar color or contrast adjustments for an even look. This is not Techno.


Warnings

  • The more photos you take, the more RAM your computer will need to make the panography. Also, some cameras don't give you the option of manually setting the f-stop and shutter speed. Sometimes one of your preset modes (for example, landscape mode) will keep your settings relatively uniform. Give it a try. If all else fails, automatic mode still works; the effect is just a little different.


8.22.2006

New Hidden Talent

Apparently, if there is some way to make something geeky, I can do it.

Here's the new hidden talent:

I can tell you what kind of yarn it is by touching it.

Example: Kelly showed me the hat she's crocheting and bid me to touch the soft, soft yarn.

I identified it as Bliss by Caron.

I was spot on!

So what is my favorite yarn?

Sinsation by Plymouth.

that ole' fountain of youth

David Copperfield claims that he's found the Fountain of Youth sought after by Ponce de Leon and hollywood superstars.

"I've discovered a true phenomenon," he told Reuters in a telephone interview. "You can take dead leaves, they come in contact with the water, they become full of life again. ... Bugs or insects that are near death, come in contact with the water, they'll fly away. It's an amazing thing, very, very exciting."


Well, he is an illusionist. Take it with a grain of salt.

Apologies to Ponce de Leon. I didn't mean to compare him to hollywood, who would smear his quixotic search by making a movie about how he was (insert whatever random, insulting, and unhistorical thing you want here).

Headline of the Week

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

8.18.2006

Lost Cities

Here's a bit of creepy for you:

How many ghost towns litter the world, utterly devoid of life after the local mining, logging, or industry disappeared?

We live in a world filled with empty towns and boarded up houses. But while these sleepy places rest, larger mysteries, Lost Cities, consume our landscape. Enjoy!

Gold Tooth Cat


In this undated hand out photo, Sebastian, a Persian cat with long black hair, sports gold crowns on his two large teeth, which grew sticking out from his lips in an underbite similar to a bulldog's. Concerned that his cat's exposed teeth could be damaged, Dr. David Steele a dentist from Alexandria, Ind., had gold crowns made for his cat pet. (AP Photo/Dr. David Steele via The Herald-Bulletin)

Wow. Just wow.

8.17.2006

buttons!





















don't mind me, i'm just adding buttons.
feel free to steal!

Two heads are better than one


Aquarium officials at the World Aquarium in the City Museum of St. Louis hope an exhibit that opens next week and runs through Sept. 5 will prompt the creation of a Guinness World Record for the most two-headed animals on display.

Their star attraction:
That's him on the right! A two headed albino rat snake!

Cryptozoology Maine

Residents wonder if dead animal is legendary mystery beast.

The animal was found near power lines along Route 4 on Saturday, apparently struck by a car while chasing a cat. The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody is sure exactly what it is.

8.14.2006

Flying Spaghetti Monster!

May we always be touched by his noodly appendage!

News Story of the Day!

You're going to love this...

TRANSEXUAL CHICKEN WREAKS HAVOC IN HENHOUSE

I am not making this up, I swear.

8.08.2006

10 Strange Monuments

To go with the 10 haunted hikes.

Strange Monuments

Note that some may be offensive or considered sexually explicit.

Story of the Day!

Okay, okay... Library Story Time!

Get this:

We got a call from a patron saying that she wanted us to hold her water bottle. We determined that her water bottle was not in the lost and found, so we couldn't do anything of the sort. While trying to tell her that we did not have her water bottle, she said that she put drugs in her water bottle and was concerned that someone would drink her water.

Because people do that, you know. Drink from mysterious water bottles.

I would like to know what kind of drugs were in the bottle and if they have anything to do with the belief that someone else would drink the water.

Maybe she needs this drug instead.

Haunted Hikes

10 Great Places to go on a haunted hike.

Early for Halloween, but just right for National Park season. Enjoy!

My favorite huanted hike? The Appalachian Trail around Iron Master's Mansion.

Title of the Day!

Here's the book title of the day straight from the email of my supervisor Greg:

The Men Who Stare at Goats


(psst... it's about conspiracy theories, the war on terror, and psychics)

8.07.2006

The No Religion Guide to Being Pro-Life

It's time for a serious post:

I am tired of Pro-choice activists, Planned Parenthood, media outlets, and main stream lobbyists treating Pro-Lifers like religious lunatics.

We are not.

In fact, most Pro-Life advocates are pro-life for reasons other than religion.

But I just can't say that, can I? The public has been so convinced of the lie, I have to prove it.
So here we go:

The No Religion Guide to Being Pro-Life

After I started writing this essay, I found a report that did a better job than I. The South Dakota Task Force on Abortion submitted their findings to the governor in December of 2005. There report is 71 pages long, does not reference religion, and includes scientific backing for every statement made. It includes the interviews with Planned Parenthood of South Dakota and the testamony of 1,940 women who have had abortions. The report is long and thorough, but it is not written in 'legalize' and therefore not a daunting read.

Report of the South Dakota Task Force on Abortion

If you can read this report, and still be pro-choice, I feel very sorry for you.


Before I sign off, here are a few stories of abortion survivors. And I'm talking about people who survived their mother trying to abort them.
Gianna Jessen also, Gianna's Personal Website and Gianna's Testamony before the Constitution Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on April 22, 1996
Amy Charlton
The stories (and pictures) of six survivors
The Survivors


And here's some food for thought:
Ten Different Types of Abortion Survivors

me out

8.06.2006

Synchronized Fish

Seriously.

Whether real or fake, it still looks cool.

8.05.2006

Step Away. Just Step Away.


So people are up in arms about this picture. Calling it offensive and disgusting.

How far do we, as a society have to have fallen, to consider a picture of a breast feeding child offensive and disgusting? The fact that a few parenting groups are raising their red flags, shows that they don't really understand what's happening in our culture to make them react this way.

We live in a world that treats pregnancy like a disease. Mothers are treated like shit in the work place because they have children and given significantly lower wages and leeway for time needed off. Affordable child care is non-existant in most places. Men and women with families are passed over for lucrative jobs and promotions. Women who want to have children are treated like second class citizens by feminists and childless women. Hell, women who marry are often denied jobs and promotions because employers assume they will have children.

All of this has led to a culture of disrespect. Disrespect for children. Disrespect for mothers and fathers. And disrespect for life.

So now we have a picture of a breast feeding child. The child is doing what every baby does when breast feeding: eatting and looking up at mommy. Mommy is showing less flesh than most bathing suits. The picture is tastefully done and gets the point across.

So why is this disgusting and offensive?

Because of the culture of disrespect, that wonderful picture of motherhood is considered sexual. Mommy, in our culture, is little more than an object. Showing a woman, even part of a woman, doing something that is nurturing and natural makes her a person. The baby, looking up at her, confirms that mommy is a real person and not simply an object of desire.

But not only is the picture considered sexual, it's considered offensive because it shows a baby doing something that proves its a living, breathing person. We live in a world where babies are disposable. Don't want it? Kill it! And because mommy is an object for sex, we see the baby as doing something sexual rather than eatting.

Because, you know, babies don't eat.

Only in our oversexed culture, where everyone becomes an object to be used and discarded, does a picture like this become 'offensive' and 'disgusting.' Only in our oversexed culture do people hide pictures of breastfeeding from their children and then let them watch the scantily clad women of MTV. Only in our culture would we hide a picture of nurture and laud a picture of desire.

If you think this picture is offensive and disgusting, you need to reexamine how you see the world.

Really think about it.

Because if you are uncomfortable (or 'grossed out') with a baby eatting, you should watch yourself in the mirror when you eat. Yeah, the baby is much less disgusting.

And cuter.

Here's more sane people talking about the cover:
Rachel over at Women's Health News
Rob over at Unspace
Lindsey over at Theology and Geometry
And The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog

8.03.2006

A Sigh of Relief

Usually I'd post something like this over on I Roll 20s, but this seriously affects my job as a library drone.

Windows Vista is not ready.

Not by a long shot.

This is great for my library. It means we are going to save a huge wad of cash by not being forced to upgrade this fiscal year. In a time when library budgets get tighter and tighter while services expand further and further, this brings a sigh of relief.

It also means we can put off, for one more year, the massive headaches that will cripple us when we attempt to integrate the library's operating system with Vista. We have so many problems just getting the operating system to work properly as it is.

8.01.2006

Beauty: What it does to us

We all want to be beautiful.

We all want to be attractive.

But more than that, we want a partner that is beautiful.

Having a meaningful relationship was easy in the past. We weren't exposed to hundreds of picutres of beautiful men and women everyday. The people we met made up the pool of potential husbands and wives, and though their were plenty of attractive people, they weren't any knock outs.

Now we come to the modern era. Billboards, magazines, television, and movies give us picture after picture of beautiful men and women. Each of one of them is highly unattatinable, but in our minds, they are potential mates. Men see these pictures and think less of their partners. Women see these pictures and think less of their partners as well as themselves.

The end result is a whole lot of unsatisfied people who crave air brushed and computer altered pictures rather than the real people. We crave these images because our brain associates them with health and good genes, which are things we want for our children. But the emotionally fulfilling relationships we need to live happy lives eludes us in the pursuit of beauty. People with whom we would have long lasting and fulfilling relationships become people with whom we would never interact because they do not compare to an image that doesn't exist.

With the rise of mass media and prolific availability of contraception, the divorce rate sky rocketted. Not only could we attempt to have that beautiful starlet or hunk, we could sleep with them without the 'pesky' risk of children, and therefore successfully cheat on our partners. The end result is a whole lot of selfishness from a distorted mind set, and a culture filled with unsatisfied people who build relationships on sex rather than on love and commitment.

For a commentary on beauty and studies on it, go to Psychology Today for Why I Hate Beauty.