exercises in missing the point

Power & Politics podcast from February 17, 2012

It was disappointing how neither the host nor the NDP MP saw (or, at least acknowledged) the political and satirical value of the Vikileaks30 account. Yes, it was personal information. Yes it was so-called “private” information. Yes, its publication was unwanted. That’s the point.

I did enjoy the general tone of the conversation, though.

G.I. Jay-Z

Ninjas ninjas everywhere!

I don’t know the story of the first G.I. Joe movie (outside of what the trailer told me), but it looks like they’re bringing the second one around the what made the comics so awesome in the early-to-mid-90s. Ninjas! Action! Excitement! Ninjas! Snake-Eyes! Snake-Eyes being awesome! Jinx. Red ninjas! Yellow ninjas? Snake-Eyes! Tommy! Tommy vs. Snake-Eyes (though not as much a mid-90s thing)! Scarlett!

See the ninjas for yourself!

What you see above is an example of why they’re bringing back all the 80s and 90s franchises in movies. Nostalgia is a powerful thing.

I haven’t seen the fist G.I. Joe movie yet, but that teaser and this trailer for the second one are bumping it to the top of my “watch the comic-based movies of the past decade” list.

One thing that just struck me, though: my impression from the first movie’s trailer was that they by-passed making it a U.S. exercise in hyper-violent patriotism by making it a European or NATO-based team (not quite sure which, but that was the impression I got). The second movie looks set to make it much more Real American Hero(tm).

on my inadequacies as a photographer in a technological age – likely part one in a series

If I were counting down the days until the end of my contract in Thailand, the numbers would be getting rather small. But I’m not, so who really knows?

With one month left of work, we’re looking ahead to the following two months of travel around Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. There will be scuba, swing dancing, and sights galore throughout Southeast Asia. And photos. Lots of photos.

Oddly enough, even with the advent of digital photography in my life, I haven’t been putting (m)any of my photos online for friends, family, or foreigners to see. They’re currently locked away on my hard drive, waiting to be catalogued, geo-tagged, and left alone for another chunk of months or years. That’s what happens to digital photos, right? Never developed, rarely opened, often forgot? To that end, I haven’t even been keeping up with the Photo a Week thinger I started a few months ago. That’s the kind of thing I need, though, to get in the habit of not only taking photos on regular occasions, but showing them and learning from feedback. A couple of friends are doing 365 day projects, where they take a photo each day and post it online, but I’m not even to the point where I can keep that up on a weekly schedule. Though maybe that’s a good impetus — the commitment and routine of doing it daily. (They’re each taking a decidedly different approach to taking/posting photos every day. Steve is going more of the “make each photo a challenge” route and posting every day, while Maria is using it as a way to document her year in photos and to look back at her technical progression, and posting the results weekly. I think Maria’s route would be the best for me, considering my current skill level and increasing unwillingness to sit down at my computer every evening and while away my time online.)

So all of this was to say that I have a few thousand photos I’ve taken since October and nothing public to show for it. I’ve been playing around with some galleries and such to showcase some of my shots, have toyed with the idea of going the Tumblr route, have debated throwing things up on Flickr, but haven’t actually put any of those things together yet. It’s a weird conflict between wanting to show my photos and wanting to control and manage the things I put online in the way I want to. The problem is that if I keep going that route, I won’t ever do anything with my pictures, so in the spirit of actually doing something without having totally figured out the best and most amazingly technological and aesthetic and future-safe way of doing it, I present to you….a photo:

Photo of Christmas Tree at Central World
Outdoor Christmas tree at Central World, Bangkok (2011)

This is one of a small collection of Christmas tree photos I’ve taken in Bangkok. The collection is small, but the trees are massive. I guess they have to make up for the lack of snow.1 There was another tree inside the mall2 that was also impressivly large. Not as nice as this one at night, but impressive nonetheless.


  1. Which brings up a weird expectation about Christmas: as much as I love the movie White Christmas, our association of snow with Christmas is just as normal (or abnormal, as the case may be) as 30+ degree weather and whatever constitutes a Christmas tradition in Thailand. Normalcy (and expectation of that normalcy) is relative. 
  2. This is also the mall where I found a DC Comics store. Not a store where they sell DC comics, but a DC Comics store where they sell merchandise with DC Comics characters and words on them. Shoes, shirts, bling, etc. Alas, not a comic was to be found. 

Canada’s "Dutch Disease"

Will Oremus:

It’s well known that America’s dependence on foreign oil forces us to partner with some pretty unsavory regimes. Take, for instance, the country that provides by far the largest share of our petroleum imports. Its regime, in thrall to big oil interests, has grown increasingly bellicose, labeling environmental activists “radicals” and “terrorists” and is considering a crackdown on nonprofits that oppose its policies. It blames political dissent on the influence of “foreigners,” while steamrolling domestic opposition to oil projects bankrolled entirely by overseas investors. Meanwhile, its skyrocketing oil exports have sent the value of its currency soaring, enriching energy industry barons but crippling other sectors of its economy. Yes, Canada is becoming a jingoistic petro-state.

He could have dialed it back at times, but overall worth reading.