Hunting Wabbits

Heheheheheheh.

I like to stalk big game, and there is no bigger game than other photographers at car shows. Particularly the professional ones.

It can be dangerous sport. You get a person who has been up for 27 of the last 24 hours carrying a tripod, two cameras, three flashes, and a half-eaten sesame seed health bar and you’ve got a wounded creature. No knowing which way they’ll break and when they charge it is all over in a flash. Either they savage you or they fall over and go to sleep.

This car show I found two of them in the wild; John and Brad. Brad was focussing his Canon so hard on the general crowd he didn’t even notice when I took $ 20 out of his pocket. He’d been going at it pretty solid for days in an effort to get all the cars covered for publication. I hope he wasn’t counting on that $ 20 for food.

John, on the other hand, was easier to find as he had girls around him. I think he had them in tow for artistic purposes. The first stand I saw him swoop on was the Japanese Mooneyes exhibitors. They were bemused but took it in stride. Next time they’ll be faster to scramble out of the way.

As there were more girls – a lot more girls – in the pin-up and promotion business at the show I’ll bet he was busy for the rest of the day.

The smaller game – the amateur shooters who were trying to get the cars on their DSLR, mirror-less, and compact cameras – I left alone. They were doing their best to cope with the crowds* and the light but very few of them were making the most of their opportunities ( apart from the scrum around John with the girls ). Most failed to use flash even if they had it as pop-up on their cameras and I am willing to bet 99% of them had the cameras set on Auto or P. I hope their chosen manufacturer had a provision in the cameras to run a high enough ISO to succeed.

The mobile phone shooters added unsteadiness to all the other handicaps that small camera users face. But that is alright because most of them will lose the images they take when they drop or lose their phones. It is just passing pixels.

Note: I am actually very grateful to John – a friend – who gets me in to the hot rod show as one of his photo team. I never stalk him when he is seriously busy or seriously stressed. I do not take money from his pocket because there is none in there.

*   I cope with crowds by finding the position I need for the car shot, then setting all the controls, framing the shot, and smiling sweetly. If you stand there long enough smiling even the hardiest crowd gets nervous and goes away.

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No Day Is A School Holiday

Because we all go to several schools.

We may pass our time in primary school and high school when we are young and hang out every week day for the weekend…thinking that we’ll be out of school on Saturday and Sunday. Wrong – we just go from one learning environment to another. If we are lucky we never see the seam between school learning and home learning.

Take an example. We learn how to do cooking in Home Economics in school. We practice it at home as soon as we can. We fail miserably, and then we fail partially, then occasionally, and then not at all. We’ve learned the theory and gained the knowledge – time to move on to the next failure.

Or a more academic subject: mathematics. We can struggle through geometry for years and then bring it home to our shed and then instinctively use it to find the centre of a piece of wood for the turning lathe. We can go blank in algebra and then all of a sudden find ourself using it to apportion paint to walls. Learn, do, no gap.

Even if there are no striking examples of learning on the holidays, we still discover how personal interactions do or don’t succeed. We travel and are gawping students wherever we go. We work at a vacation job that has more complexity than the moon launch.

Learning. In school, out of school, night and day. And none of us need be afraid of it at all.

 

Good Morning, Sir. How May I Hell You?

Everyone should work retail at some point in their lives.

Indeed, I’ll go further than that – they should also, at some point:

a. Work personal service – wait tables, attend a public desk, man the complaints counter.

b. Work publicity. Write copy, draw illustration, serve at a promo show. Think up the bullshit and then have to spread it…

c. Work in dirt. Even if it is just a personal garden, everyone should work in dirt until they get a good result.

d. Work in a position that is monitored by a jealous and vindictive overseer. This may be a person or a professional board.

e. Work in a workshop. Whatever they produce makes no difference – it will cement their character if they can eventually do it well.

f. Work to a deadline. And fail once, and then succeed once, to know the difference in the way it feels.

g. Work to a financial bottom line. Unless they have had to watch the pennies, they’ll never know how to accumulate the pounds.

h. Work in a job where they were in command. Command of the job and command of other people.

If they have done all or most of these things, they are well-rounded individuals. But they mustn’t get cocky – so is the Michelin Man. And he gets tyred sometimes…

No… back to the topic. People who vault to command without ever experiencing the reality of work live in an unreal world and make false decisions. People who never rise also never see what command should be – there is always a battle between them and others that is detrimental to business. There needs to be a shared experience to share in effective management and effective employment.

 

 

Up. On. Off. Coffee.

Did a talk yesterday to an audience in the old folk’s home. It was easier than I thought it was going to be because I’m also one of the old folks – and my audience was prepared to listen to me.

Public speaking is a lot of fun:

a. If you have something to say.

b. Someone will listen.

c. They serve coffee and cake afterwards.

You can make it work if you take the advice of the title. Get up, get on, then get off. If you are lucky you can also get away, though for some audiences I would advise a smoke screen and plenty of jinking.

I had a good introduction from someone who was a former patient and who still had enough teeth to talk with. I gave a 20-minute show covering two main ideas, and this was enough time to engage them with a question, satisfy them with an answer, and then shut up before they became restless. There were enough visual aids to engage their eyesight – without having to look at a charts or words on a screen. There were familiar things as well as new items.

And there was coffee and cake afterwards. You can dissolve a lot of impatience with morning coffee.

 

 

A Note to Friends: We Are Enemies

If you have no friends – and unfortunately there are some people who don’t – you can still have enemies. They may take the place of friends and provide you with as much pleasure and reason for being as the happier relationships.

In some respects they are a cheaper option – you needn’t wine or dine them and no birthday or Christmas presents are needed. No petrol need be expended in visits, unless you elect to stalk them late at night. You’ll never be called to collect them from the city watch house.

On the other hand, you’ll need to spend more on tranquilizers, antidepressants, and laxatives to cope with a large circle of enemies. If you have really made some horrors you may have to add arms and lawyer’s fees to that as well.

The return they give in boosting the morale and venting off the rage that we all feel against existence may compensate you for this but some people feel they can get all the stimulation they need from electric sockets  and stepping on Lego blocks.

Those who do elect to have friends can make them, buy them, or inherit them. The initial cost may be higher in the case of commercial companions but there is an advantage in that they can be discarded without regret – the others always seem to stick on. Friends are also somewhat more expensive to maintain – food, drink, entertainment, creams, ointments, anti-fungal treatments…it all adds up. Plus those pesky birthday presents. It is sometimes all you can do to find a suitable item at the Goodwill and a trip to the municipal tip can take just ages.

Of course there are advantages – someone to tell your secrets to and from whom salable confidences can be extracted. Someone who will lend money and be too embarrassed to demand it back. Someone who owns a trailer and will shovel things into it.

Be careful not to mix friendship or enmity with blood relation – at least until the important wills are read. You can be stuck on the wrong side of a codicil with no way of reversing the situation – and no-one wants to end up being the relative-in-the-wrong.

The Royal Wedding

I’ve been watching the social media site Facebook for the last few days and noted a number of people saying that they are not interested in the Wedding of Harry Windsor and Meghan Markle. They’ve taken time out of their day to do this, thus suggesting that they are, indeed, interested.

So they should be. It is a real event for the two young people and staged in such an open fashion as to enable all to see what is happening. There is enough drama of the good old-fashioned kind to satisfy all, and no-one need feel sad at the end of it.

Indeed, just the opposite. A cheerful union of two people from different countries, with the reasonable prospect of them having enough to eat, a place to live, a chance to do their jobs, and perhaps even have children. I cannot think of a better antidote for the sadness, the tragedy, and the politics of the world – and I would wish the same happiness for any of my Facebook friends who have seen it.

 

Coupla Shotza

That sounds like a Polish folk dance, doesn’t it? The Kupula Shotza. with big skirts and lots of twirling around.

Actually it is a prescription for the end of a good day and the start to a new project. I am retired, with enough working space around me and time to spare…I can commence making trouble in a dozen ways.

Fortunately I have not retired with a fortune…or I would actually be dangerous. I have also retired in a very nice part of the world and need not try to escape from it. Indeed, I really think I should be wise to escape into it rather than the other way round. I have a comfort zone and I’m smart enough not to allow someone to try to inveigle me out of it for their own purposes.

See? The coupla shotz are working. I’m actually thinking for myself. If you’d like to draw up a chair and pour one, we can can both benefit.

It is very rarely that we can admit to being happy. We are not allowed to be so by the people who want our money…happy people don’t spend. We are allowed to search for happiness, but we’d need to buy all the equipment for the search and pay ( ask about ezi-finance terms ) before we could play.

And in the end it would not be play. It would be work.

I used to worry about not being successful, or rich, or powerful. I could as readily have worried about not being puce, or steam-powered, or slanted. It would, in the end, have made as much sense. I have now reduced my worries to whether the dinner will be overcooked or whether I will be able to do my hobby in my little workshop…rain and cold weather affects it. It is a much more basic approach to life, and much more pleasant.