drwex: (WWFD)
I'm a photographer, of sorts. I love/hate Photoshop disasters as much as anyone. And there are reams to be written and said about how Photoshop body morphing has been used to distort and hypersexualize the female figure.

But there's also a lot to be said for the use of the tool to deal with things that should have been dealt with before the shot was taken. For example, the recent release of unretouched photos of Lady Gaga's Versace ads have gotten a great deal of noise. But what is the retouching doing?

It's making the wig look more like hair and less like a wig. Great. Should've been done by make-up before the shoot, but apparently that's Gaga's personal wig and they decided not to replace it. Photoshop covered up a bruise on her leg. Again, makeup should've handled that, but didn't. They've fixed the contrast and brightness. Guilty as charged - I do that with just about every picture of my own that I pass through Lightroom. A photographer more talented than I am might be able to get their light levels and contrasts just right and looking good on a glossy printed page, but not in a hurry or on a budget and deadline.

Yes, they also made Gaga's arms appear slimmer, but is that necessarily more of a lie? In a very cogent analysis for Vice.com, artist and former model Molly Crabapple points out that all photography is a form of lie:
Framing is a lie. Lighting is a lie. Cropping is a lie. When you suck in your stomach, or turn your head so the light washes out your laugh lines, you're lying as much as any liquefy tool. Untruth is baked into the process...

Crabapple also goes after Dove, which carefully restricts it notions of 'real' womens' bodies to "...smooth-skinned, able-bodied, fleshy but not fat." She is unsparing in reminding us that Photoshop's digital tools are modeled on the physical tools used for decades on film photographs - tools that shaped how we viewed Hollywood stars throughout the last century.

Crabapple's column, as a rant, is necessarily somewhat extreme. But I found her point of view refreshing.
drwex: (Whorfin)
Fuck winter

Fuck snow

Fuck shoveling and the back pain it gives me

Fuck having to tromp through snow in my boots and the calf cramps I get from that

Fuck having to scrape off the car multiple times per week

Fuck the cold and fuck the arctic wind that brings it

Fuck the viruses and colds and flus and the misery and isolation they lead to

I am so _done_ with this shit I can't even express it properly. Yes, we had a good party and the dog is great and the family is awesome but I am really ready to stop being in pain and stop having to layer up so I can step outside.
drwex: (Whorfin)
I'm having a hard time shaking a long-running cranky. Things that pissed me off in rapid succession this AM.

Pope gets huge headlines for saying he won't condemn gay priests. This dude has approximately the lowest bar in history to clear, given his predecessors. Let's see, I won't condemn someone for their inner thoughts. That raises me almost to the level of adult. It's sure as shit not adulation-worthy.

People emailing social lists saying "I'm 49 but I can pass for 32". Who gives a flying fuck? You may not look your age, but you should damn well act it. You want to date younger women? Whatever gets enthusiastic consent from your partners is OK by me. But, seriously, stop skeeving me out.

I think my problem is I have too high a standard for my fellow humans. And it's not even 9:45. Now to see if I can get through my day without cranking at my cow orkers.

ETA: took a brief walk, practicing my breathing exercises.
drwex: (Whorfin)
Rather than pollute all my friends' LJs and Google+ entries:

I do not understand why people are so jazzed about Ender's Game being made into a movie. I will not see it so long as it deposits even one more penny in the pocket of that homophobic, misogynistic loudmouth.

I do understand that some people are able mentally to separate an author from that author's works and certainly there have been some great works produced in the past by authors who were seriously problematic. However, when faced with a modern author who is right now today using the fame and money of his books to promote an anti-woman, anti-gay agenda I simply cannot fathom continuing to support him in any way. This is not just a guy who has private beliefs I don't like. This is a man who writes columns and gives speeches advocating his views. The more money he makes the more hate he is able to spread and I'm not able to be a party to that.

(Also, the novel was mediocre. It was a great short story but much weaker at novel length.)
drwex: (pogo)
As someone said: any week in which "Crazed Elvis Impersonator Mails Poison to President" is the 10th headline is a hell of a week.
Unsurprisingly, I have THOUGHTS )
drwex: (Whorfin)
Today's NPR talk show on Texas (or rather, some kook fringe elements in Texas that even Gov Perry won't sing with) trying to secede got my blood boiling. I had to turn off the radio and think about why and here's what I came to:

This secession stuff is angry white racist stuff. It's angry white (mostly) men trying to get rid of all those nasty colored folks. Of which, naturally, the President is the biggest one. But look: Texas has had its entire state school system under court supervision for years because they (the Legislature) refuse to provide adequate funding for poorer school districts. For "poor" you can read "brown" or "Latino" as it pleases you.

Texas has also had the most redistricting plans rejected by courts of any state I can find. The reason the courts keep rejecting these plans is because they're (say it with me) racist. They are plans designed to marginalize and minimize the voting power of non-white people.

If you got rid of Federal oversight, the people running Texas would be free to de-fund poor and Latino-majority school systems. They'd be free to disenfranchise non-white folk. They'd be free to let white people go armed to the border and shoot those nasty brown people who try to cross it. This is what they mean when they say "free" - free from the interlopers in Washington who make them treat non-whites somewhat better.

Lest you think I'm making this up out of whole cloth remember that I lived in Texas for four years. Even though I lived in Austin, which is considerably more liberal than the rest of the state, it was still one of the most overtly racially segregated places I've ever been. There literally was a 'wrong side of the tracks' and I had real estate agents refuse to show us (a white couple) houses on THAT side of the tracks. Back then we could manage to get people like Ann Richards and Jim Hightower elected, which you sure couldn't do today.

I find it depressing and upsetting that the press (let alone NPR) is spending time on this nutball stuff and that nobody seems willing to call it for what it is: racism.
drwex: (Python)
Someone just sent the most epic fuck-up email I've witnessed in a while. The sequence goes like this:

Person A sends mail to $VERYBIGLIST of people, with a notice of job availability.

Person B sends private mail to A indicating interest in this job.

Person A then sends a mail to $VERYBIGLIST saying "Dear $nameofPersonB thank you for your interest in our job; here are the details you asked for."

I can't swear that B's manager reads that email list, but you can damnsure bet his coworkers do.

The piece de resistance on this is that A's email contains the standard footer:
NOTICE TO RECIPIENT: The contents of this e-mail message, including any attachments, are meant only for the intended recipient of the transmission. It contains information that is confidential and proprietary to the sender and/or the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, be advised that any dissemination, distribution, or use of the contents of this message is strictly prohibited. If you received this message in error, please notify us immediately by return e-mail and please permanently delete all copies of the original e-mail and any attached documentation from any computer or other media. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

As if _that_ would protect you from a fuck-up of these proportions. I know Person B, in a professional context, and I feel sorry for him being outed this way. But man that's funny.
drwex: (Python)
Perry can't remember what parts of the US Government he would like to discard.

Cain can't remember which women he groped.

Romney can't remember his position on abortion rights.

Gingrich can't remember why nobody likes him.

Bachman can't remember basic US history.

Did I omit anything?
drwex: (Whorfin)
The funny part is that I wasn't really paying a lot of attention to the 'nymity debacle on Google+ prior to this. I chose to make a statement of support for friends because they cared and because I support my friends. And now I'm up to my nostrils in it. So, let me give you words of wisdom from one of the better thinkers on the topic, danah boyd:

“Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power
The people who most heavily rely on pseudonyms in online spaces are those who are most marginalized by systems of power. “Real names” policies aren’t empowering; they’re an authoritarian assertion of power over vulnerable people.
[A]long comes Google Plus, thinking that it can just dictate a “real names” policy. Only, they made a huge mistake. They allowed the tech crowd to join within 48 hours of launching. The thing about the tech crowd is that it has a long history of nicks and handles and pseudonyms. And this crowd got to define the early social norms of the site [...] This was not a recipe for “real name” norm setting. Quite the opposite. Worse for Google… Tech folks are VERY happy to speak LOUDLY when they’re pissed off. So while countless black and Latino folks have been using nicks all over Facebook (just like they did on MySpace btw), they never loudly challenged Facebook’s policy. There was more of a “live and let live” approach to this. Not so lucky for Google and its name-bending community. Folks are now PISSED OFF. (emphasis in the original)

I think I'll also go write something for My Name Is Me.
drwex: (Default)
Woke up this AM to find my Google+ profile is suspended. Not hugely surprised - it's one of the risks of protesting in someone else's playground. I can't post to any of my circles nor can I comment on posts, but apparently I can still read things, including things posted as "Limited" - presumably that's to circles that include me.

Amusement value so far:
- I'm suspended for name violation of the ToS. However, I'm unable to change my profile name in order to comply with the ToS. So my name continues to be visible as the thing that upset them.

- Contrary to their written policy, no warning was given. (Also not a huge surprise - seems to be what happened to others.)

- I am unable to set a Gchat status. I can, however, write snarky commentary in my profile description text.

- In order to get reinstated I have to provide proof of identity. An accepted proof of identity is a "reputable" (their word, not mine) site containing my name and picture. Among the listed reputable sites is Facebook.

Yeah, I got nothin'.

I've spent more time on Facebook today than I have in months. Thanks, Google!
drwex: (Whorfin)
I am presently hating on Joomla.
You have been warned )
We won't even start on the bit where clicking the button to change to SEO-friendly URLs breaks all the CSS. WTF

ETA: got it set up so I could ssh in and fixed the simple problem in seconds. Now to tackle the bigger problem...
drwex: (Default)
The short form: nobody died, we will almost certainly be able to pay all our bills (on time even), and we are now banking at Sovereign Bank.

Citizens Bank can kiss my rapidly departing ass.

In other news I am now on Google+ but for some reason a few people are being blocked trying to add me there; I have no idea why.

Posted via LjBeetle
drwex: (Python)
Or, more geeks on the net. io9's extremely sarcastic review of Transformers 3 contains gems like:
[This movie] feels like three different movies, edited together by a lemur on provigil.
drwex: (Python)
Over at io9.com they're arguing over the possible new looks for DC's revamped character line-ups. The image of Superman appears to show him wearing armor, which raises the inevitable question of "why does Superman need armor?"

Poster PurpleSteve dismisses reasons why Superman needs armor thus:
If you live in the DC universe, and you're doing something nasty enough to attract superman's attention, then I'm pretty sure you know who fucking superman is. On a scale from one to ohshitimgonnadie, 'I just pissed off superman' doesn't really rate much lower than 'I just pissed off superman and he's wearing armour'.

Part of me misses living in a social group where this kind of discussion was commonplace.
drwex: (VNV)
New York state has now legalized same-sex marriage. It has been obvious for a couple years now that opponents of marriage equality are fighting rear-guard actions. From a high of passing state-level DOMA laws last decade to now when DoJ won't defend the federal law and we are creeping toward a situation where 1/4th of the country will recognize all couples' rights in marital arrangements. The war isn't yet won, and won't be for some time, but momentum is on the side of equality now.

If you have not read it already, I highly recommend Michael Barbaro's piece in the NY Times about how this was made to happen: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/nyregion/the-road-to-gay-marriage-in-new-york.html?_r=1

Nate Silver picks up on some of this in his column (http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/25/cuomos-presidential-moment-forms-contrast-with-obama/) and in particular highlights how Cuomo's style contrasts with Obama's. What would it look like if Obama actually got out there and led rather than making nice speeches and letting others do the heavy lifting? I suspect it would look like this fight - tough, nail-biting, down to the individual vote counts. And maybe we'd still lose some, but at least we'd feel like we were in the fight instead of capitulating every time the Republicans say "boo".

Cuomo's style is hands-on and top-down, with tight control over rogue elements in the coalition. He comes across as a guy with political brass balls as well as heart and brains. Right now I think Obama's testicles are named "Hilary Clinton" and "Nancy Pelosi".

Oh, and while we're doing tallies you baseball fans may be interested to know that the Minnesota Twins have announced they'll be making a team "It Gets Better" video, joining the Red Sox, Cubs, Mariners, and Giants who have already done so.

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