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Test post

This is a test of the iPad blogging app Blogsy, with which I shall try to keep this blog updated while I am away in January.

I’ve been bad

I haven’t written anything of any kind of substance for a while, and I suppose I ought to feel guilty.

So here’s some things that have been occupying my mind lately:

  • German politics, and my concern that the mainstream politicians are dominated by politics of reactionary cowardice;
  • Photographic art, and the making thereof;
  • The aesthetics of being aesthetic (I should read Kant’s aesthetics so that I can claim to know what I’m talking about);
  • Making decisions regarding which photographic equipment I’m going to emphasise and how I want it put together;
  • Renovating a 225-year-old farmhouse in Germany;
  • Rearranging my house in Namibia

So, next on the list: a meditation on my Leica outfit.

Conflict photography

I’ve had an idea, which I articulated to a friend yesterday over coffee. It’s a bit risqé, and it’s still work in progress until I find a way to do it, but I have an idea for gritty documentary-style photography of conflict situations.

Markdown, WordPress and round-tripping

I tend to write these posts using Red Sweater Software’s MarsEdit blogging software, which, among other things, supports previewing the results of Markdown-formatted posts.

OK, so I’ve become rather fond of Markdown, now that I have figured it out, and I was dismayed to find that the free hosted WordPress.com account doesn’t currently support it; this means that my Markdown-formatted stuff looks like ass once posted. Well, no, but it does look like Markdown, and not like fully-formed HTML. Bum.

Workaround 1

In the presence of both MarsEdit and BBEdit, I suggest the folowing workaround:

  • Install the standalone version of Markdown in the BBEdit Unix Filters folder (usually ~/Library/Application Support/BBEdit/Unix Support/Unix Filters);
  • Write the post in MarsEdit as usual, and format in Markdown as desired;
  • Once the post is completed, use the ‘edit in BBEdit’ command (File:Edit With BBEdit — the keyboard shortcut is alt-command-J by default) to send the text to that hallowed editor;
  • In BBEdit, pass the text through the Markdown filter by selecting the text, and then (to quote from John Gruber’s original documentation) “choose Markdown from the Filters sub-menu in the ‘#!’ menu, or the Filters floating palette”.
  • Save and close the temporary file to send the file back to MarsEdit;
  • Review the returned text in MarsEdit, and post to weblog.

This is a workaround, and it’s pretty clumsy, but it works now. I don’t know if TextWrangler supports Unix Filters, but if it does, then this should work there as well.

Workaround 1.5

If you don’t have BBEdit, but you do have too much time on your hands, you could probably wangle something by saving the post to a text file, running it through the markdown.pl filter from the command line, and copying the resulting text file back into MarsEdit. But if you’re going to do that, you’re probably in a position to just go straight to….

Workaround 2

This is something I have yet to write out properly, but what needs to happen is for an AppleScript to take a selection of text, pass it through the Markdown script, and return it to replace the selection. Post. Like I said, I haven’t written it, but I suppose I’ll figure it out, at which point I’ll make it available.

Ideal World

The great folks at Red Sweater software have already said that they’re looking at rendering Markdown text as it’s posted. That would make all this stuff redundant, and in fact it would be awesome. Consider this a feature request.

OK, so it’s been a while…

What have I been up to?

Well, I count my manifesto as a success. I rescued my photography, I learned a lot, and I learned what else to learn.

Quite by accident I have obtained an awful lot of cameras; I suppose I should count them one of these days.

A few photography-related future possibilities have presented themselves, and it’s going to be an interesting ride to see where it takes me.

But one thing’s for certain: I’m sticking with film. While I no longer rigorously abstain from electronic photography, I also don’t feel as though it would do much for me at this stage.

Unless someone wants to present me with a Leica M8.2, that is.

Off topic: This one’s for Tobi

Tobi 3

I never wanted to write this, and I still don’t, but I’m told it’s cathartic, so here goes.

On 11 February, a little dog blundered into my life. Scruffy little street pup. He was three months old, covered in ticks and dirt, but seemed otherwise in good sorts. T–. and I gave him a bath, pulled the ticks off, and gave him three very important things that every dog should have: a home, a name and love.

I took him to the vet to have him checked up, and he got a clean bill of health and his first injections, and so all seemed well, apart from the fact that we didn’t really have space for him.

A few days later he took sick, and at that point the decision had long since been made for me, and so I took him to the vet. The worst-case scenario turned out to be the case: Canine Parvovirus, complicated by tickbite fever. Did not look good.

He was immediately put on a drip in the quarantine ward, and that was all we could do. T–. and I visited him daily, so that he’d know that whatever this new terror was that fate had thrown before him, he was no longer alone.

He was a miserable sight, covered in faeces and vomit, and it just wouldn’t stop; the diseases had taken all the fight out of him. In the end it was just too overwhelming.

Just past seven this morning the phone rang, and it was I–. from the vet clinic, who gave me the sad news. Tobi had died in the night.

Tobi deserved a fair chance, and I did my best to give it to him. For a few days at least, he knew what it was to be a dog with a home, with a name, and with people and other dogs who loved him. For a few days at least.

I console myself with the belief that, insofar as there is such a thing, I can think of no more deserving a creature of heaven than a dog. Tobi’s in a better place now, with no more sickness, no more beating, no more loneliness, no more ticks. Tall grass, water, stuff to chase and people to be with.

Happy trails, buddy. You were only with us for a little while, but you touched out hearts. We’ll meet again.

Shout out: so_1she



first model-shot

Originally uploaded by so_1she

My friend is turning into an accomplished photographer and designer. Good stuff.

Danger

The first letter of the alphabet and the first integer are powerful.

So I was in a dangerous second hand store, and I chanced upon their camera display, which I must never do for therein lies peril for my wallet.

There was a Canon A-1 there, with “accessories”: the original manual, a ‘how to get the best out of your revolutionary new camera’ book, an Extender FD2x-A and an Extension tube FD 50.

I had no idea what the extension tube was for, but it came with the camera so I’m not saying no.

The shutter is noisy!

So a bit of investigation revealed that the extension tube is for macro work, which my manifesto does not permit me to do, but Tina will love it.

Everything seems to work, except the viewfinder display, which is not really a big deal since I’m planning to use it 100% manually anyway. But man the thing feels meaty!

After a couple of years of digital photography, where you’re surprised the lenses are even still glass, and everything has been dumbed down and lightened and cheapened, it’s refreshing to take something this massive into one’s hands and feel it do something.

I raided the film drawer in the fridge and purloined one of Tina’s Ilford HP5s (I’ll pay her back I promise), popped it in, and took a couple of shots. We will see what that turns into …