Tuesday, February 28, 2006

from russia with love

EDITOR'S NOTE: This entry is best read after reading this article on lomography. Yup, it's time for some edumacation.

In my quest to amass an arsenal of varying cameras, I have made two recent purchases.

One arrived Friday afternoon, and in enough time for me to shoot off a roll of 24 and have it developed, all before bedtime. Whee! Bummer is, because it's 35mm, I have to scan it in. And if you know me at all, that's not gonna happen for some time.

So. I'll steal someone else's pix and show you what mine kinda sorta look like. Or better yet, what they will look like once the sun starts shining again (I didn't spring for the flash version).

Without further delay, I present the Lomo Actionsampler:

Neat, eh?

I love the effect.

As for purchase number two, well, that's a bit different.

I *could* have tried to buy one from lomography.com but they rarely have any in stock, since they're hard to come by. I ventured to eBay, and lo and behold, I found a genuine Lomo Smena Symbol from a Russian dealer.

So it's sloooowly making its way here from Russia and should arrive in (gulp) thirty (30) days. It's not exactly the Lomo LC-A or Holga I want, but $30 (with shipping from Russia) is better than $95-$200+.

For now.

Assuming my Smena from Russia works when it arrives.

As an aside, I've recently developed an interest in "toy cameras," which is the term used to describe what the Holga and LC-A are. These cameras are made of plastic, including the lens, and are built so cheaply that some light is allowed to seep in, giving the photos an unusual effect.

Lomo pix are generally characterized by their dark edges, "tunnel effect, and the hazy quality of the photo, drastically different from typical 35mm or digital shots. The Holga uses 120 film, creating an especially specatcular image when developed as a 6x6 photo.

There are ways to Photoshop an image to give it a "Lomoized" effect, but nothing looks as good as good as a true Lomo photo.

There are some good examples here of pix taken with toy cameras.

For Holga specific photos, I offer up one of the Flickr groups dedicated to Holgagraphy , of which I am member, if only a spectator at this point.

If this entire entry seemed foreign (pun intended) to you, my apologies.

But not really.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

shake it loose

What a week.

It started out to be a pleasant one -- see the pics below for proof:

Then it started.

So as the GM for three (soon to be two--explanation later-later) restaurants, I'm in charge of staffing. Most of our staff has been with us for years, and problems are fortunately few and far between in an industry plagued by high turnover rates. But every once in a while the shit really hits the fan, as it did this week.

Part of the problem is that we have quite a few folks related to each other working for us, and this is where the problems usually arise. In this case, the husband works at store #40 and the wife works at #51. Store #51 has been slow, so I decided to cut hours across the board. I knew there would be a problem with this husband and wife set, because we're in the final stages of selling store #40 and we're nearing the end of the close of escrow period. The problem is, the new owner will be bringing in their own team of employees and not need our staff, including the previously mentioned husband. In other words, if I can't find another store to put him, he'll be out of a job in a matter of weeks. I obviously knew this situation going into cutting hours at #51, but business is business, no matter how "tight" my staff thinks they are with me.

So Tuesday I go in and meet with the staff at #51 individually and tell them about the sluggish business lately, and by and large they understand. I mean, most of them would rather have a job with reduced hours and the promise of those hours returned than not have a job at all. Plus, they're not stupid, they see how it's been slow lately. I also let the staff know individually that I'll be giving their biannual raises in the next pay period, so that helped to soften the blow.

I meet with the wife half of the husband/wife pair and go around and around with her, she's disputing the whole thing, and after 30 minutes of this, my patience is wearing thin. We end the conversation simply with her saying, "My husband is going to have something to say about this," which, of course, I already knew. He's quite outspoken.

The day progresses, and I'm on my way home in the evening to meet up with some friends when I get a call from her husband, completely up in arms about everything, so much so that he's not speaking clearly or intelligibly. I explain over and over again the situation but he's not hearing me, apparently, and is shouting over me to get his point across. I keep telling him I want to speak to his wife, not him, because she is the person that this about, not him. This goes on for several minutes until he says, "Okay, well I quit and so does she." I wasn't thinking clearly, obviously, when I said, "Fine," because I was so heated at this point. I can often do without one staff member, but two is pushing it as far as floating back-up staff members around.

Plus, he's the cook.

Did I forget to mention that?


Long story short (too late) a call was made to grovel so that he'd come back at least until store #40 is sold. Because I'm fairly close with the staff (a mistake sometimes) I know that they can't afford to have both of them be out of work. I mean, who can, really? So a compromise is reached whereby he'll return to work and his wife will too, at decreased-but-not-so-dramatically hours, and the condition that I'm not to speak to the pair, his terms. WTF?!


So even though it was a short week, by Friday I'm feeling like I need a stiff drink, and I don't even drink. Instead, I get a call from the folks I used baby-sit for, and I haven't seen them in so long that I haven't met their youngest, a two-month old girl.

The evening went well, even if the little one spent most of the time screaming her little head off. I stopped at the drugstore on my way home to pick up some film I dropped off earlier (can I just say the highlight of my week was getting film from my new Lomo developed?!) when I dropped my cell phone. I guess it had been dropped one too many times (I'm hard on phones) and the screen went completely dead. I figured it was no big deal since I have the insurance, so I head to Cingular first thing Saturday morning, only to find out that, yep, it's gone beyond repair. I decide to buy a new one, cause it is my work phone after all, only to find out that we're on a national business plan of sorts that has to be dealt with differently to get promotional pricing, and the earliest I can get a new phone is Wednesday.

Let me break it down like this: this is my work phone, home phone, cell phone all in one. I absolutely cannot go incommunicado for that long, if only for work purposes. The idiot at the Cingular store suggests I buy a prepaid phone to use temporarily until the new one can be sent from the business headquarters.

What.a.friggin.idiot. Yes, let me buy TWO phones, please! So I cave and buy a phone on the spot for the full price, a ridiculous amount of money equal to a good portion of my Christmas bonus. But! (Of course there's a but.) It needs to be "unlocked," so the idiot at Cingular sends me to some shady place two towns away to pay another $40 to have the phone unlocked for use, then tells me to come back so he can extract the numbers from the old phone. I do as I'm told and go to the shady phone guy, return to Cingular only to find out they cannot extract the numbers I had stores because they were stored on the actual phone, not the SIM card. (You knew that was coming, right?) Beyond frustrated, I go back to the shady phone guy who offered to extract the numbers for a mere $15 after I talked him down from $25 only to find out it really cannot be done.


I'm now trying to contact all the folks I think were stored in my phone to have them send me their numbers. More importantly, I lost all of the phone numbers for my employees that were stored in my phone! That'll be a bit harder to trace, since half of them change their numbers with great frequency.

On the plus side, if there is one, every time I answer the phone it'll give me a thrill to guess who is calling, since the caller ID will simply show a series of numbers that I won't recognize! I mean, c'mon (COME ON!) who memorizes phone numbers these days?! ;) Oh, and I have a cool Razr (ridiculous spelling) too.

Other than that, not a whole lot is new. Heading up to SF today with the fam for some dinner and other family related goodness. My uncle (mom's brother) is moving from the O.C. (don't call it that) to Northern California (today, actually) so it should be interesting to see how it all plays out since they don't get along very well. If anything, I figure my cousins might come up for visits frequently and that'll be rad, since we get along well. He and my aunt got divorced last year, and everything just got sorted out...

If you've made it this far, I congratulate you.

This verbal diarrhea is why I don't write very often.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Google Pages

(One of) The latest tool(s) in Google's arsenal is Google Pages. It's basically Web Publishing for Dummies, much like how Blogger is Blogging for Dummies (myself included).

I'm guessing their riding high on their success from Blogger, but the concept of "personal home pages" seems so...1999.

Of course this didn't stop me from signing up for one.

(click for a larger image)

If you have a Gmail account, you're set to sign up for Google Pages.

If you don't, email me or leave me a comment and I'll hook you up with one.

Friday, February 24, 2006

photo friday: masculine

Mission San Jose, Fremont, CA 1.06

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

self serving

More pix from my lovely Monday off. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- all weekends need to be three days long.
(click to enlarge any photo)

Monday, February 20, 2006

dead presidents

or, how I spent my Monday off:

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"People are fed up with us - and so are we."

Word of this could not have come soon enough.

"Coldplay is Splitting Up"

Let it be known here that I cannot stand Coldplay.

Chris Martin said it best himself: "People are fed up with us - and so are we."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

gossip folks

I neglected to ask my father, who was in Carmel last week as a spectator of the AT&T Pro-Am, if Dennis Quaid looks as much like Neil Young in person as he does in this pic:

How appropriate is the verbiage under Nicole Richie's Diet Dr. Pepper campaign? As in, she's on the "eat nothing diet."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

under the knife

Good Plastic Surgery claims she's had work on her nose, cheeks and chin.

Witness Angelina's alleged before and afters (click for larger image):

Did she or didn't she? (Whatdya think, Lis?)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

gimmie a gob, guy!

Ah, yes.

The end of an (all too short) era.

But much celebrating was had Friday night with the "season" (yes, it's still termed 'season') finale of Arrested Development.

These folks (two links) were kind enough to host a shindig, and I brought the following as a tribute:

"Two sticks and extra nuts? What is this, Mardi Gras?"

Saturday, February 11, 2006

monkey business

Sometimes I just want to scream, "It's harmless entertainment!"

"Curious George" controversy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

raising the status quo

Today's news:


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

zoom zoom zoom

I am intrgued by Zoom Systems and their creativity.

When I spotted this vending machine at San Francisco International Airport last year, I just thought it was cool. I didn't know it was going to be *cue music* the wave of the future.

Vending machine at SFO, International Terminal

Monday, February 06, 2006

I can't relate to this at all.

At all.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

industry shady

I was cruising around last week, driving between work locations, when I saw something quite literally in the road.

So of course I had to take pix, just because it was so...random.

Can you make out what it is before scrolling all the way down? (Click each photo to enlarge, if desired.)

Just another day in my geeky life.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

white castle

And I thought I had heard of everything...

Need dinner plans for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 03, 2006

brokeback to the future

The touching story of a love that could never be.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

never thought i'd miss a hand so much

It's Wednesday and I'm still grinning from my great weekend.

Not only did I get to see the Upright Citizen's Brigade (and Will Arnett, of course) but I got to spend it with great friends having a great time.

Lots of pix were taken, which is always a highlight for me.

Because everything has to do with 'AD,' dig this HUGE crane machine.

This could be good for Army...

There was even a seal inside!

(Okay, so it's a dolphin, but humor me!)