I went to the mall on Wednesday to do some final grocery shopping for Christmas and when I got back to my car (that’s it on the left) I had to get in through the passenger door (we have right hand drive cars in South Africa) because some idiot had come along and tried to park in the same bay as I was.
Category Archives: Thoughts
The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.
The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.
In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 548 posts. There were 12 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 582kb. That’s about a picture per month.
The busiest day of the year was January 6th with 322 views. The most popular post that day was Swimwear, Africa Style.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were eolake.blogspot.com, righthealth.com, twitter.com, health.kosmix.com, and search.aol.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for gallstone, green point stadium, african women, african beaches, and south african women.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Swimwear, Africa Style December 2007
Abscess April 2008
New Green Point Stadium May 2007
Surf Phosphorescence in False Bay March 2007
Romancing The Stone January 2008
Previously it was megapixels that marketing materials used to influence the less well informed into thinking one camera was better than another. Now it seems to me that the megapixel war is over, or has at least been forgotten for the moment. It’s HD video capability that is the latest feature used to market cameras and camera-equipped mobile phones.
Not that I’m denying that these HD video claims refer to valid, useful features. The point is that the marketing claims lead the less experienced buyer to assume they will be able to produce professional looking videos all by themselves, using just their shiny new camera. This is clearly not the case.
I don’t yet own an HD video capable camera nor have I any experience of making videos beyond quick, jerky clips grabbed with my non-HD compact camera or cell phone. But listening to podcasts like TWIP I have come to realise that just because we hear that some TV show episode was shot with an HD-capable digital SLR camera, we can’t make the assumption that they used just the camera. After listening to these podcasts I’ve come to realise that many accessories, often very expensive accessories are used as well. Professional quality external audio recording equipment, a variety of rigs to steady the camera or move it smoothly and devices to allow a focus puller to focus the camera are just some I have heard mentioned. Learning this has made me realise that just buying a new DSLR that shoots HD is not going to let me produce anything approaching decent videos; not without learning a lot about how movies are made and buying more equipment any way.
This was brought home to me on Monday when I came across a blog post highlighting Apple of My Eye, one of the first HD videos to be shot with the new iPhone 4. The movie is short and deceptively simple and the blog post says “Shot and edited entirely on the iPhone 4 / iMovie App (in 48 hours)”. This doesn’t mean that some guy just grabbed his phone and fired off a quick video though. At the end of the movie is additional footage showing how the movie was made. This makes if abundantly clear that without specific knowledge and extra equipment, you are not going to be producing quality video.
So, go ahead and buy yourself a new, HD capable camera; but realise that you will have to go through a steep learning curve, invest in buying or renting more equipment, and enlist the help of friends before you will be able to produce that hit movie you dream of.
I was at the V&A Waterfront, walking around with my camera; shooting my usual mix of people and objects. As it began to get dark I bought a drink and snack and sat on a bench to eat them. When I was done I got up and was walking towards a dustbin when I was approached by a young guy; perhaps 17 years old.
He said that his mother had noticed that I was photographing her; she was uncomfortable with this and he asked that I stop. He wanted me to delete any photographs of her from my camera so I scrolled through the images showing to them so he could identify the relevant photo or photos. I must have had at least a hundred photos on my card so this took a while. He eventually spotted just one in which he said you could see her back. I remembered the shot and was doubtful that the subject was what he thought it was but deleted it anyway, knowing that I could undelete it later if I wanted.
And undelete it I did, to find the main subject of the photograph was four young women leaning over a bridge railing, photographing the seals below. In the background were two men and half the back of a black woman. Of the females in the photograph, four were too young to have a child of the age of the guy that approached me; the other was black while the guy that approached me was white so she probably wasn’t his mother either. Rather odd then that he wanted me to delete the image. Perhaps after flipping through many images he began to realise that I may not have photographed his mother after all and picked a random image rather than admitting error. Or maybe the LCD on the back of a camera is just too small to positively identify the subjects of a photograph.
Besides the son who approached me, it seems the woman had also complained to a security guard. He approached us just as we were about to part company and wanted to know why I was taking photographs. I told him it was a hobby, that I belong to a photography club and had already deleted the photograph that was pointed out to me. He was happy with this, saying that I was allowed to photograph there, it’s a major tourist spot after all, but that he had to take heed of complaints from customers.
Some days later, as I write this I wonder what prompted this. Clearly the son could not identify his mother in any of the photographs on my card. What made his mother think I was photographing her then? Did I perhaps photograph something near her causing her to mistake where my lens was pointing? Is she simply paranoid? Perhaps the strangest question of all; why didn’t she approach me when she thought I was photographing her, or even just wave and shout “Please don’t take my photo”? Why have both her son and a security guard approach me some thirty minutes after I took my last photo and a good distance away from the spot I took it? It’s all rather odd.
My gout has finally settled down to the point where I was able to go for a ride this morning before it got too warm. I rode just under 4 kilometres; not a lot but better than nothing.
So much for my commitment to cycle at least a short distance each day. Yesterday, towards evening, my gout and arthritis started to flare up. Cycling then became an impossibility as just shuffling around the house sent waves of agony radiating from my right big toe joint and left ankle. My back was sore too, as was my right elbow and thumb joint (hello RSI). I took some Cataflam and went to bed. Being immobile helped the pain but it took me a while to fall asleep. Although I wasn’t uncomfortably hot (the fan helps) it felt as if I had waves of heat radiating off my face. Thinking I might have a fever it crossed my mind to take my temperature but the thought of getting upright on my sore feet again to go to the bathroom for the thermometer put paid to that idea.
This morning I am still sore but thankfully not as bad as last night. I have somewhat blocked sinuses and a post nasal drip so I probably have some virus that is causing all this to flare up. I’ll do my usual of trying to ride it out but if the gout persists without getting much better I’ll go along to the doctor on Tuesday or Wednesday for a Voltaren shot; that always does the trick, giving rapid relief. In any case, it seems my cycling aspirations are on hold for at least a day or two.
Image from Wikipedia Commons, is a 1799 cartoon depicting gout.
If you’ve been following this infrequently updated blog for more than a few years, you’ll know that I have a serious weight problem. You may remember a time when I followed a weight loss, or lifestyle modification plan; losing 30kg before falling back into old habits. I have been steadily packing on the kilos since then and am not quite sure what I weigh now as I passed the 150kg limit of our scale some months back; my guess is I’m somewhere around 170kg now. I get very little exercise and am extremely unfit. A walk to Pick n Pay at lunch time invariably ends with me out of breath from the slight uphill slope on the way back. I almost always enter the building through the basement parking entrance and use the lift rather than continuing up the slope and climbing the single flight of stairs.
I’ve been well aware that I need to stop this cycle of weight gain and diminishing health but as one does I’ve always put it off for another day. Today is that day. Sitting in the waiting room this morning while Mela had an ultrasound, I picked up a cycling magazine and found an article about Scott Cutshall. Scott is an American that was in even worse shape than I am when he turned his life around. He weighed 238kg at his heaviest and doctors had given him just six months to live without having bariatric surgery; even that was no guarantee as he had just a 50-50 chance of surviving the surgery. Sitting at his window one day he spied a man swooping through traffic on a bicycle and was inspired to begin cycling. After some trouble finding a custom cycle builder that would take him seriously he had his new cycle, one that could support his bulk, and started cycling daily. As you can imagine this was no easy feat but he persevered and aided by a meal plan of his own design, the weight started to fall of. Today he weighs just 78kg and continues to cycle many miles per day.
Reading this article was a tremendous inspiration to me and I told myself that I will follow his example and begin cycling every day. This evening I began, dusting off the bike that I haven’t touched in at least three years and getting out for a short ride around the neighbourhood. I only rode 2.74km today but it’s a start. As I increase my fitness I’ll increase my distance too. We are already makign a point of modifying what we eat so that will help too. If Scott could do it, I don’t see why I shouldn’t be able to do it too.