Archives for category: Random

My hangover this morning shows that my plan of completely health living for three months didn’t quite work. Things were going well until a bottle of tequila got handed round. This is always a bad thing for a night of drinking…
On the plus side my feet are better, which means I should be able to go running again next week.
I’ll be giving more updates when I feel better.

Part of the preparing, packing and tiding that I’ve been doing in preparation for my travels has included a level of digital tiding. When sorting out some of my data I stumbled across a rather philosophical blog post that is yet to be finished. A first draft if you will.
Recently I’ve not seemed to be having these kind of philosophical life ponderings as much as I used to. I wonder if it’s because I’ve had less free time – a possibility that excites me as travelling is definitely going to have it’s slow points. I could be the process of a younger mind looking for answers to the eternal questions. Bearing in mind that this was written a few years ago and is not actually finished (there are some bits that don’t seem to quite make sense) while you enjoy the ponderings of a younger Rob: Read the rest of this entry »

I have been busy busy busy this past week. I can tell you this, you really find out how popular you are when you’re leaving the country. I have been delighted and flattered to find that I’m very popular! This has added a social busyness to my packing busyness, which has been a nice change of pace. I think I would be going crazy if I were JUST packing and cleaning all this time.

So as I settle into my penultimate day at work I can’t help but feel that tomorrow will be an emotional day.
The last jobs that I left were either because I didn’t like it (temping) or I couldn’t actually do the job I was being paid to do. You can imagine how demoralizing it is to go to work and not actually be able to do anything useful in an autonomous way. Here however I can do my job, quite well I like to think too. And I enjoy it (most of the time). In fact the only reason I’m leaving is because it felt like time for a change.
Admittedly that change has turned out to be a kick-ass trip around the world but still, it’ll be a sad day.

This morning I was dreaming about being in a film – well sort of being in a film, you know how dreams can be – when I was rudely awoken. I thought it was quite a good idea so I’ll share it with you.
The main character is a single father raising a son. He works in a forensics department and is good at his job. Money however is tight. This could be illustrated by clips of him balancing spreadsheets and choosing the cheapest tinned goods in a super market. However life is still good and he has a firm relationship with his son.
Then he makes a mistake at work, and one of his responsibilities is taken away from him. This comes with a minor fall in is pay (think co-worker saying ‘Hey it’s only $30’ or something like that). This is too much, however our character tried to rework his finances he still needs an extra $7 a week to make ends meet.
At this pivotal point we see the father and the son sitting at a table, the father is looking to find a second job in the newspaper and the son is doing homework.
Father: “I don’t have enough time to get any of these part time jobs!”
In desperation he asks his son if he has any ideas
Son: “Well you could read scripts”
Father – Looks puzzled
Son: “I’m sure you could read scripts and note down if you liked them or not, it wouldn’t pay much but it’d only take a few hours a week”
Father, gets the wrong idea and proffers some paper and a pen to his son: “Ok write something”
Son laughing: “but I don’t have any money to pay you”
Father: “Well you’re what fourteen now? I think it’s about time that you got a job”
Son: “…”
So the son gets a part time job and writes scripts so he can pay his father $10 a week to read them and say if he likes them or not. The thing is that the father likes the scripts too much. He strongly starts to believe that these scripts should be made into a movie. From here much hilarity could ensue (this is pretty much where I woke up so how it ends it pretty open).

So there you go, let me know what you think. For some reason the father figure was played by Steve Martin in the dream.

On the way into work this morning I was thinking about dark background flash photography. Essentially I was wondering how you would work out how far away your background would have to be from your flash and subject in order for the background to be recorded as completely black.
I’m sure you’re all well aware of the rule that light falloff follows an inverse square law. It also occured to me on this drive that f-stops on a lens also follow a square law. This led me to wonder the following:
If you know the dynamic range of your sensor in terms of stops – for example 9 – and you know the distance from you flash to your subject – 1m – is the black level distance really very easy to calculate? 4.5m beyond subject.
Let me walk you through what I’ve just done:
I’m assuming (incorrectly but this is just a quick example) that your correctly exposed subject falls dead in the middle of your dynamic range, i.e. 4.5 stops from peak white and peak black. I’m also assuming that if you double the distance between your subject and your flash (to 2m) that you’d have to open your aperture up one stop to compensate. This would give evidence to my idea that the square law fall of light is directly proportional to the square law nature of ‘stops’ in camera lingo. My final assumption is that if you took a meter reading and the underexposed by 4.5 stops (in this case with a dynamic range of 9) that you would get a pure black output.
All of this is just conjecture at the moment, but I have an idea of how to test it… more info when I get the time to experiment 🙂

Last weekend I was over at my cousin’s house for tea. My Aunt and Uncle had a new vacuum cleaner that needed ‘assembling’ before it could be used – basically the handle needed screwing on. Now I don’t know if it’s my engineering training or the fact that I’ve been taking things apart and putting them back together for most of my life, but to me the assembly seemed obvious. My Uncle though still felt the need to check the instructions.
It was at this point that I had a thought. This mechanical assembly was so second nature to me that I wouldn’t have thought twice about doing it without any instructions. So there must be things that I find very difficult, perhaps to the point of complete confusion, which other people can do with ease.
All I need to do now is decide what these things are and if I want to become better at them. I’m a firm believer that everyone can do anything, if they put their mind to it.

Well, I’ve been circumcised. Under local anaesthetic I may add, which means that there’s random and slightly uncomfortable small talk during the procedure – mainly mocking ‘Britain’s got talent’.
This all happened about six weeks ago now and everything’s healed up, which is a relief! I have been slow to blog about it as I’ve been contemplating about how much information to go into. I’ve got no real problem with telling people that I’ve had the operation, as long as it’s not a group of people for some reason, but I don’t want to give people too many nasty mental images…
I can tell you this though, your idea of modesty can be sharply re-aligned (if only for a short time) by having to lie on an operating table in a room of about six or seven people in and your most private jewels out and on display. It was pretty cold in there too… honest.
In some respects it was a poorly timed operation, I was just getting into an exercise routine that would have made me limber as a dancer, strong as an ox and as focused as a monk (really) by the time I left for my crazy training in China. As it happens I’m going to go to the gym tomorrow…. we’ll see how that goes.
On the other hand of course I’m glad to have it all sorted before I leave for a years worth of travelling.
I did find a rather interesting side effect of having to sit very still while recovering. I’m not talking about the large number of DVD’s that I got through, but rather the fact that I found my creative spark rekindled – so to speak. It happened right at the end of my two weeks off work, while I was visiting my lovely friends in Loughborough. Now I don’t know if the extended period of mental rest was the cause, or if it was the quite mornings with a thought provoking book that did it. Either way I’m quite happy about it. Now I have some notes on musing about the world and curiosities that I hope to explore and eventually share with you 🙂

This is really a post to check if I can put flickr pictures up here (preparing for the travelling in every way). I would like to wax rhapsoic in telling a story of three men in a small backgarden, united in the persuit of an image. An image unformed but in thought and word. Time melted away as we worked together until finally the above image came into life and the work was accomplished.
But I won’t

I can only talk too much about ted, here are the two most recent talks that have got my juices flowing. And in my opinion compliment each other too 🙂

If the embedded version doesn’t work, here’s a direct link

direct link again
Also if you missed the last TED video that I ‘dug’ here’s a link to that too.
That’ll give you about an hour (if you watch all three) of complete fascination.