Monthly Archives: February 2009

My Galactica Sonatica

Last week I got the notion in my head that I would like to see Battlestar Galactica music composer Bear McCreary perform his pieces live. I am a huge fan of his work with the series and the two shows he performed last April were well received by everyone in attendance.

Logistically speaking this would be a mess and anything but cheap. Last year the tickets were $20 but when you include airfare to fly into Los Angeles, transportation, food and a hotel room it would definitely inflate the cost; but what a trip it would be.

Bear McCreary Composing

There is no guarantee that a live performance will happen, it’s all speculation. However it is something McCreary wanted to do again and with the series wrapping up next month I think it would be a nice send off. Although all of this could just be one giant Cylon pipe dream.

I will stay on the look out for any performance rumors. If you would be interested in an Alberta to California trip to hear the live musical performances from a science fiction show (as I try my best to sell the nerd factor) get in touch with me.

Top 10 artists

Thinking about making such a trip for Bear McCreary got me wondering about the artists in my top ten list, according to my How many of them had I seen live? If I was such a fan of their studio music then at the very least I should see them perform live.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were only three I had not seen live. Besides the aforementioned Bear McCreary The Beatles is one that I will have to live vicariously through historic footage on, but Radiohead is still very around and touring and a possibility.

I may not go out of my way to see Thom Yorke and company live, like I have with U2 or The White Stripes, but if the opportunity presents itself I would do my part to complete this Top Artists challenge. Or maybe I am going about this all the wrong way and should listen to artists that are more prone to touring Canada?

So say we all.

My Delayed Appreciation

Baraka Monkey NaganoIn the fall of 1993 I had just turned eleven and saw something I would not appreciate until over 15 years later. I saw a lot of movies when I was growing up, but one in particular stands out. In November Mother dragged Dad and I to see Baraka in theaters. I hated it. For an eleven year old I found no redeeming value in the movie, there were no words, it had strange music and peculiar visuals.

Dad and I bugged Mom for months, even years, following that movie. It was the movie that we compared all movies to after the fact but I just did not understand it. Even now when I told Dad about the movie he groaned and asked if I knew what I was doing, after all these years that wound never healed.

The powers of technology have allowed Baraka to return to my life, this time in the form of a beautiful transition to Blu-ray. When visual aficionados list must-have movies on Blu-ray this one is high on their list and on the weekend I realized why.

Baraka Movie Title

What I could not understand 15 years ago I appreciated now. I understood what the movie was saying and even after all of this time the message could still be interpreted.

I can’t say exactly what did it for me in this movie but I felt an emotional connection to several scenes and thought the images were very powerful. Every shot felt like a beautiful photograph and I would be lucky enough to witness just one of those moments for myself.

I’m glad to have given this movie another chance even if it was the punch line to so many jokes all those years ago.

My Complete Library

This is not the first time I have done this, but this attempt was certainly more demanding.

In July I listened to every song in my iTunes library at work. Back then the challenge was 3873 songs and seemed like such an easy task compared to the 9000 that were laid before me now.

iTunes 8997 Playcount Zero

iTunes LogoIn August the hard drive to my Mac Mini, which I listen to music on at work, crashed. In doing so it took all of the previously stored play counts with it. I took this as an opportunity to bring in my collection of music from home and do some necessary pruning, updating of tags and adding album art.

I am not sure how many songs I brought in with me back in August, but I figure for every two albums I removed I added another in the last seven months. iTunes was kind of like a revolving door and as it stands now the song count is 8997.

August 27, 2008 at 8:38 AM my first song was listened to and on February 13, 2009 at 10:45 AM my final song on this journey was played. Five and a half months later my mission was complete.

Unlike my Playcount Zero challenge in July I did not end on a meaningful or important song, I was simply trying to get through it. There are some songs that really need a mood to listen to. And the full discography of bands I have (The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Who) are great and each album offers something different, but it can be so tedious at times.

Now that my library has all been played at least once, I will take this time to enjoy the liberty of my playlist and listen to songs without feeling the guilt of neglecting other un-played songs.

My Hiatus of Shame

When I go periods without updating seagurs I usually have something to show for it at the end. Perhaps I was busy at work, out of Internet range or on vacation, but none of that applies here. This is essentially a ‘nothing is going on’ update and I’m ashamed to say my pockets are empty and I have no stories to tell.

… everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

I have also noticed my Twitter activity has decreased in that span. I was under the impression that Twitter was responsible for bloggers having less to write about, not that both would both see the same lack of updates. I am trying to be a little more conscience of what I tweet and that may have affected my decline as well.

However, I was one press conference away from the perfect storm of television. This is when every show I watch, which is currently on the air, had a new episode. It would have been a monster week but now it seems that will have to wait until next month.

Stay tuned for something to happen, because I know I will.

My Red Dot

George: You think she would care about the red dot?
Jerry: It’s hard to say.
George: I don’t even think she’d notice it. Can you see it?
Jerry: Well I can see it.
George: Yeah, but you know where it is.
Jerry: Well what do you want me to do? Not look at it?
George: Pretend you didn’t know it was there. Can you see it?
Jerry: It’s hard to pretend because I know where it is.

Once you see something it is hard to un-see it. This was the case for me over the weekend when I was editing photos taken from a wedding on Saturday. In the lower right corner of the photos was a peculiar red dot. I know what a dead or stuck pixel looks like and all the photos taken on Saturday had the dot in the exact same spot throughout.

I changed lenses on the Canon Rebel XTi, tried a different camera setting and the red dot persisted. I went back to photos taken from Revelstoke and did not see the blemish. It is entirely possible that I wasn’t using a high enough image quality at Revelstoke to see the dot or it developed in the span of the week, but I was immediately heart broken.

Canon XTi Dead Pixel

Click here to view an uncompressed 2MB file with the pixel outlined.

I did some research and came across a very helpful blog post on dead pixels on a XTi here. Reading through the comments an update was posted from the author about a potential fix, via Flickr, was uncovered:

1. Put on a lens on your camera and set your camera to take RAW+L (raw & jpeg) photos on your camera.
2. Go into a dark area and take a few photos with varying ISO and shutter speeds, possibly even going as long as ISO 1600 with a 30 second shutter speed.
3. After you take the pictures press the menu button, the right arrow button and go to the “Tools 2″ setting, far right. Now select the “Sensor cleaning” setting — generally set to “Sensor cleaning:Auto”. Click on it and select “Clean now”. The sensor cleaning takes a few seconds. Wait 30 seconds.
4. Take another pictures in RAW+L (raw & jpeg), compare the pictures to those take in #2. Your hot or dead pixel should be gone.

I followed these steps exactly, returned to a dark room to see if the fix was successful and saw even more dead/hot pixels than before. You can click here to view the JPG version of the original 10MB RAW file that shows the pixels in question. I did the best I could to troubleshot this so I returned the camera to where it came from, and fortunately such a problem was covered under the extended warranty.

To continue my string of public service announcements, I am posting this in hopes that someone may try the sensor cleaning/dark photo steps if they come across a hot, dead or stuck pixel in their DSLR.