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World War Z underwater zombies

World War Z Underwater ZombiesLet it be said that there were no underwater zombies in the World War Z trailer; just extremely energetic ones. However, after I saw the trailer I did some research to see what the deal was with this movie. And as I skimmed through the wikipedia page for Max Brooks’ book, I was getting kind of stoked to see it, until I noticed it mentioned the persistent problem of zombies emerging from the ocean to attack settlements. Wtf? (more…)


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The Wolverine

The Wolverine Idiot Robot with SwordsSaw this one.  Spoilers ahead.   Before I go further I must note that I watched and enjoyed the X-men saturday morning cartoon for years.  In my opinion, past movies have not lived up to the expectations set by these childrens’ cartoons, and The Wolverine is no exception.  However, it was better then I thought it would be until the end happened.

The initial setup was cool – a feral, despondent Wolverine is brought out of isolation by the mysterious dying wish of an old aquaintance.  And having him drawn in to guarding an innocent heiress from seemingly endless hordes of blade and gun wielding Yakuza that never learn from the mistakes of their dead comrades is fine for awhile.   Even the entire clan of ninjas taking him down with a hundred poisoned harpoons is acceptable.  But the end of the movie is out of freakin control.   Maybe there’s a precedent for it in the unknown-to-me comic book universe, but the writers of the X-men cartoon would never have let this junk slide. (more…)


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Horsepower vs Torque In 1000 words

Picture courtesy of shol.com

Each minute, this mill generated four horsepower.

What are horsepower and torque?

Horsepower‘ is a unit of power that was originally coined to market steam engines to mill owners.   Before the age of steam engines, mills would harness a number of horses to a large wheel and have them walk in a circle in order to turn a shaft at the center of the wheel, and thereby run the mill.  One horsepower is the shaft-turning work done per minute by one theoretical horse in such a theoretical mill. (more…)


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thumbnail Dragonfly Alights zoom
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Yams: Sweet Potato Impostors

sweet potatoes

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes and yams. To this day many people consider them either interchangeable or different names for the same thing. When I was very young, I didn’t know the difference. I just knew that the fat, soggy discs I was fed on a weekly basis were horrible and that the hearty, flaky skinned, cinnamon-spiced delights served at my Grandma’s for Thanksgiving were delicious. For awhile I chalked it up to the method of preparation: the cinnamon and oven-baking must be the key. But I was wrong. Although they look similar on your plate, one of these orange-fleshed root vegetables is an all-star and the other is a worthless fraud with a  name that rhymes with ‘scam’. (more…)


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Cozumel Diving Pics

Cozumel Diving Pics

Here are our Cozumel scuba diving pics all arranged in galleries by the dive site:

1. Francessa
2. Paso Del Cedral
3. Santa Rosa
4. Palancar Bricks
5. Palancar Caves
6. Dahlila
7. 50/50: Santa Rosa Wall & San Francisco
8. Punta Tunich

9. EVERYTHING – all of the above galleries are jammed into this one enormous gallery for if you just want everything in one place.

Note that there is a handy auto-play button in the top right of every gallery and that Palancar Caves was my favorite area. Dahlila has some amazing pictures including a nearly invisible Scorpion fish and an Eagle Ray.

 

FAQ

Why are many pictures blue tinted?  Was it really that blue underwater?
No – it was much more clear and colorful in person.   The bluishness you see is the best that the camera’s auto-white balance feature could manage.   Next time we will experiment with manual white balancing once we’re underwater.   I used a flash on some shots and they have more of a natural coloration.

Why are some things covered with sand?
There had been a severe tropical storm the week before and the locals said it had dredged a bunch of sediment up into the current.  Therefore many stationary objects have an unusual coating of sand.


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Pacific Rim’s Secret Weapon

Pacific Rim’s Secret Weapon

Like his bridge-stomping Kaiju monsters, director Guillermo Del Toro has been evolving.

The first movie I saw of his,  Mimic, was dark and gripping through and through.  Think Alien in the New York city subway.  It was atmospheric, polished and most of all serious – its brutal intensity broken only occasionally by the shoe-shine-boy-savant; I’ll always remember his name for the creature – ‘Mr. Funnyshoes’ – because it was such a rare chuckle in such a vicious movie.  Mimic was solid filmmaking to be sure but – for better or worse – thoroughly nightmarish. In short, we have a lot of danger with little, if any, relief. (more…)


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FiLMiC Pro 2.9.5: The Video Camera App Gold Standard

For anyone familiar with manual camera controls, the built in camera app on the iPhone 4s is disappointing.  Like any full-auto approach it’s designed for ease-of-use and decent performance under varying conditions, but that’s it.  There’s only one control: exposure and focus are simultaneously spot-set via screen tap.  You have no other options.  And the screen taps don’t stick.  If the shot changes or the subject moves too much, then it resets exposure and focus based on whatever is in the middle of the screen.  There are situations where this kind of behavior is the way to go: casual run and gun video.  But if you want to make video that looks good, you’re going to want to set up each shot. (more…)


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World War Z underwater zombies

Let it be said that there were no underwater zombies in the World War Z trailer; just extremely energetic ones. However, after I saw the trailer I did some research to see what the deal was with this movie. And as I skimmed through the wikipedia page for Max Brooks’ book, I was getting kind of stoked to see it, until I noticed it mentioned the persistent problem of zombies emerging from the ocean to attack settlements. Wtf? Given all the serious, scientific and culturally insightful treatment Brooks was...
article post

The Wolverine

Saw this one.  Spoilers ahead.   Before I go further I must note that I watched and enjoyed the X-men saturday morning cartoon for years.  In my opinion, past movies have not lived up to the expectations set by these childrens’ cartoons, and The Wolverine is no exception.  However, it was better then I thought it would be until the end happened. The initial setup was cool – a feral, despondent Wolverine is brought out of isolation by the mysterious dying wish of an old aquaintance.  And having him drawn...
article post

Horsepower vs Torque In 1000 words

What are horsepower and torque? ‘Horsepower‘ is a unit of power that was originally coined to market steam engines to mill owners.   Before the age of steam engines, mills would harness a number of horses to a large wheel and have them walk in a circle in order to turn a shaft at the center of the wheel, and thereby run the mill.  One horsepower is the shaft-turning work done per minute by one theoretical horse in such a theoretical mill. Work happens when a force is exerted upon an object to achieve a...
article post
thumbnail Dragonfly Alights article post

Yams: Sweet Potato Impostors

Sweet potatoes and yams. To this day many people consider them either interchangeable or different names for the same thing. When I was very young, I didn’t know the difference. I just knew that the fat, soggy discs I was fed on a weekly basis were horrible and that the hearty, flaky skinned, cinnamon-spiced delights served at my Grandma’s for Thanksgiving were delicious. For awhile I chalked it up to the method of preparation: the cinnamon and oven-baking must be the key. But I was wrong. Although they look...
article post

Cozumel Diving Pics

Here are our Cozumel scuba diving pics all arranged in galleries by the dive site: 1. Francessa 2. Paso Del Cedral 3. Santa Rosa 4. Palancar Bricks 5. Palancar Caves 6. Dahlila 7. 50/50: Santa Rosa Wall & San Francisco 8. Punta Tunich 9. EVERYTHING – all of the above galleries are jammed into this one enormous gallery for if you just want everything in one place. Note that there is a handy auto-play button in the top right of every gallery and that Palancar Caves was my favorite area....
article post

Pacific Rim’s Secret Weapon

Like his bridge-stomping Kaiju monsters, director Guillermo Del Toro has been evolving. The first movie I saw of his,  Mimic, was dark and gripping through and through.  Think Alien in the New York city subway.  It was atmospheric, polished and most of all serious – its brutal intensity broken only occasionally by the shoe-shine-boy-savant; I’ll always remember his name for the creature – ‘Mr. Funnyshoes’ – because it was such a rare chuckle in such a vicious movie.  Mimic was solid filmmaking to be sure but – for better or...
article post

FiLMiC Pro 2.9.5: The Video Camera App Gold Standard

For anyone familiar with manual camera controls, the built in camera app on the iPhone 4s is disappointing.  Like any full-auto approach it’s designed for ease-of-use and decent performance under varying conditions, but that’s it.  There’s only one control: exposure and focus are simultaneously spot-set via screen tap.  You have no other options.  And the screen taps don’t stick.  If the shot changes or the subject moves too much, then it resets exposure and focus based on whatever is in the middle of the screen.  There are situations where this...
article post