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Apollo Archive

I love space.

Recently, thanks to the Martian, there’s been a lot of attention on NASA and space exploration.  Frankly, I think there should be more attention paid to the incredible work that NASA does and a larger portion of our National budget should be spent on what they do.
As a photographer, I admire the large volume of images that they release to the public domain every year.  Images that inspire.  Images that educate.  Images that, I hope, lead us to think about life in this universe of ours beyond our own, little world.
So, when I saw a link earlier this week to the Apollo Archive on Flickr, I knew I had to share it with you all.  There’s not much else for me to add, but go take a look at Kipp Teague’s little “About” page describing the project.  It’s not actually run by NASA, but it wouldn’t be possible without them and their help.

So, there you are.  Short and sweet this week.  Just a simple link to amazing photos of our space exploration history.

Cutting The Cable

It seems to be all the rage, but I think we’re going to do it anyway.

I killed “cable” television a number of years ago, after having lost it during Hurricane Ike in 2008.  I used Netflix, before streaming was really a thing people did, and binge-watched shows a disk at a time.  Lost made a lot more sense when I watched four episodes a night, and not one a week.  The plot continuity between episodes was a lot easier to…
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Woodblock GIFs

Those are pronounced like the spreadable peanut product, by the way, with a soft “J” sound.

So, you know, don’t be a heathen and pronounce it like “gift” with the “t” left off. The creators intended it the other way.
But, I already digress.  The point isn’t to reinforce the correct way to say it, but rather to give you a link to view some.  And, not just any GIFs, but some very beautiful, creative GIFs based on ancient Japanese woodblock prints.  I’ve loved those “Views of Mount Fuji” era, colored, Japanese prints since I can remember.  And, I’m a child of technology who remembers that the first on-line animation we had was really the animated GIF.  (Which probably reveals my advancing age!)  So, in any case, when you combine classical art with modern-ish technology like this, I just eat up with a spoon!  And, hopefully, you’ll enjoy these captivating images brought to you by, too.
After all, it is Friday and I’m sure you all need to relax a bit as much as I do, so, enjoy!


Best Air Show Ever!

I don’t know about you, but I sure could use a little escape this week!

Seriously, with IT staff and consultants visiting from another country for the launch of a super important project at work this week, I’m pretty wiped out.  I could use a little escapism.  So, nothing to learn this week, or even make you think too hard, really.  Just a bit of science-fiction fantasy to feast your eyes on.
As a kid, I grew up literally under a flight path for Glenview Naval Air Station, which has seen been closed.  We used to joke that we could almost serve those pilots coffee from the second floor of my childhood home.  And, since Glenview NAS was such a big part of our community, we were always doing things there.  One of my favorite childhood memories is trooping through all the military hardware they had on display.  (And, once when I was quite small, getting a little too up-close with a Grumman Intruder while talking to the nice Captain who flew her!  My poor mother!)
In any case, this week I bringing you a link that combines that childhood love with my life-long love of science-fiction; The Sci-Fi Air Show.  And, yes, it’s just what it sounds like; a fantasy air show featuring some of the greatest science-fiction franchises from TV and movies.  The photos are stunning!  And, be sure to check out the great “Extras”!

Well, I’ll be busy today, but y’all enjoy the site and have a great weekend!

WordPress Training

Free training, of course, for my favorite content management system; WordPress.

Not familiar with WordPress?  Well, you should be since it runs or manages a significant percentage of the web.  As of this writing, “significant” means about 25% of all websites.  Yeah.  That’s a lot.  And, there are a lot of reasons for that.  For one thing, it’s well supported and lots of developers work with it, so getting help and customization work done is relatively easy.  For another, it’s easily extended and added to via themes and plugins.  Also, it’s free.  But, most importantly, it’s easy to use, once you get the hang of it.
That’s where these links come in.

If you’re a small business owner who’s looking to get started with WordPress, this infographic at Search Engine Journal runs you through the basic decisions you need to make to launch.  It’s basically a guided check-list for setting up your site with WordPress from a business development perspective.  It’s pretty basic, but if you’re totally unfamiliar with WordPress, this isn’t a bad place to start.

If you want some more specific, detailed training, there are a lot of free videos that can help.
For starters, you can check out this ten-minute video that runs through a lot of the basics, once WordPress is already installed and running.  It’s on YouTube and free from  I can’t vouch for their site, but the YouTube video isn’t bad and a good place to start for creating posts.
If you want to know about the rest of the WordPress experience, then check out the videos at  You have to sign up for a free account, but doing so gives you access to 17 free training videos that cover all the basics of running a WordPress blog or website.  They really hit all the things that a regular user might need when it comes to having a self-hosted WordPress site.  None of them will make you a super guru or WordPress developer, but they will give you what you absolutely need to know.

So there you have it, basic training for WordPress.
And, yes, I know that mostly everyone else is talking about the anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks.  9/11 was horrific and not something we should forget, but, frankly, so many have written so much about it at this point that I can’t imagine what I’d be able to add to the discussion.

How much money are you making?

How much money are you making right now?

I mean, as the time ticks by, are the dollars and cents racking up? And how does the rate at which you make money compare to other people in the US?  They say that comparison is the root of all unhappiness, but, when it comes to salary and money, I don’t really know.  I mean, I hate to admit it, but I very easily lose perspective on where I fit.
I have a friend who tells me I should look at side jobs and find ways to make my technology skills serve me better when it comes to money.  He knows that, although I do make a very nice living, I have way too much consumer debt and feel the stress of that.  Also, he’s an artist and very independent in a lot of ways.  He’d love to see me, and all his friends, get out from under “working for the Man”.  But, I’m not sure that life is for me.
Especially when I look at a site like Salaries In Real Time and see how long it takes a starving artist to earn the money for a simple fast food burger.  And, when I compare that to how quickly I make enough money to pay for a burger, well, I think how crazy it is that I always feel like I’m short of cash.  It’s ridiculous and I have to do something to change that.
Anyway, the site lets you put in your salary and watch the time spin and the money rack up.  And, it has some jobs and celebrities calculating at the same time your numbers run, so you can compare.  It’s fascinating and mesmerizing, but, at the same time, it can be a little sickening if you also think about all the places your money is going and how it’s being wasted almost as quickly.

So, in any case, you’ll probably see more finance and money related links posted on Friday here, along with some of the other changes, as I try to get my, and subsequently our, finances under control.  I hope this process isn’t too hard on my poor wife.  At least, not harder than the financial abuse I’ve dealt her so far.  Ugh.


Free Star Trek Movie

Want to watch a free 90 minute Star Trek movie?

No, it’s not an officially sanctioned, studio-made movie, but it still looks pretty good.
And, it has some stars from the franchise in it, reprising their characters, albeit in roles that have changed or progressed from where they were in the series.  Yes, it’s entirely fan-made, and fan-sponsored via three Kickstarter campaigns.  (See?  Sometimes Kickstarter does actually produce things!)
The link comes via and the movie is on YouTube.  The movie is titled Star Trek: Renegades.

Full disclosure here; I haven’t actually watched the movie, but reviewers I trust reasonably well have said good things about this, so I feel okay recommending it to you all.  Besides, at the very least, it’s worth the price of admission!

Art History – Photography Style

Browse classic photographic artists and be inspired.

Or, just waste time.
Whichever suits you, it doesn’t matter to me, unless you’re wasting time at my office. And, really, even then I don’t care as long as you’re not wasting my time.  In any case, browsing photography is one of my favorite ways to kill a little Friday-afternoon-and-I-don’t-want-to-do-real-work time, so I thought I’d share this.  It comes to us via DIY Photography and they got it from Reddit.  It’s the Red List’s historical photography.  You can browse by photographer or by subject.  Be warned, though, like any good photography collection, there’s some nudity in it, so it may not be entirely safe for work.  Also, if the site prompts you for an email and won’t let you browse, just but in some nonsense with a “” and the annoying, little pop-up will go away.
I like to browse images from the greats so I can figure out how they framed shots and try to reverse-engineering their lighting.
And, I just love photography.

Enjoy browsing and your weekend!

Writing Pot-Boilers

We’re not talking cookbooks here.

Pot-Boilers, far from collections of recipes, are quickly written stories of, sometimes, dubious quality that are sold cheaply.  The name comes from the idea that writers cranked these out to meet their regular expenses, or “keep the pot boiling”, as it were.  You might be familiar with them as “pulp fiction” or the somewhat more modern “airport novel“.
The old “pulp fiction” which I’m most familiar with is science-fiction or detective fiction that was written for cheap magazines and dime novels.  Any number of great characters started in some variation of these “literary” works.  And, while there may not have been a recipe, per se, there certainly have been formulas for this kind of genre fiction.  One of the most famous is the Lester Dent method, called the Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot.  You might not recognize the name, but Lester Dent is the creator of Doc Savage, one of the pulp era’s most well known heroes.  His work inspired many others, including Michael Moorcock who created the infamous Elric of Melniboné, among other brilliant characters and works.  In fact, Moorcock had his own method, largely derived from the Lester Dent method, which you can find here: How To Write A Book In Three Days.
The method is relatively straight forward and Moorcock outlines it quite well thusly;

“First, he says, split your six-thousand-word story up into four fifteen hundred word parts. Part one, hit your hero with a heap of trouble. Part two, double it. Part three, put him in so much trouble there’s no way he could ever possibly get out of it. Then — now this could be Lester Dent or it could be what I learnt when I was on Sexton Blake Library, I forget — you must never have a revelation of something that wasn’t already established; so, you couldn’t unmask a murderer who wasn’t a character established already. All your main characters have to be in the first third. All you main themes and everything else has to be established in the first third, developed in the second third, and resolved in the last third.”

Actually, the full Lester Dent Pulp Paper Master Fiction Plot is a little bit more complex than that, but, really, that formula sums it up pretty well.

So, there’s the secret to your writing success.  No need to spend big bucks on a writing course or to get your MFA in Creative Writing, just follow the Lester Dent method to success!  (And, if you think it’s not possible, just follow the link to his Wikipedia entry at the top of this post.  He was quite successful cranking out this “low brow” pulp fiction!)
Seriously, I hope that’s provided a bit of inspiration to you to get writing.  What have you got to lose?

Flickr’s 20 Under 20

Just some pretty pictures to look at.

Seriously, I have been under the weather all week and I don’t have a lot left over for even a Friday Fun post.
I don’t know if it’s just allergies or a hateful Summer cold, but my head is all stuffed up and my brain is working slower than molasses at the North Pole in January.  So, pretty much, all I’ve got for you is this one link to Flickr’s 20 Under 20, a “celebration” of twenty photographers on Flickr who are under twenty years of age.  Don’t worry, though, it’s not all selfies.  This is a curated list of photographers chosen by much wiser and older art gatekeepers.  No, seriously, though, it’s a good list and the folks chosen to curate it are pretty talented.  One is the Director of Photography at Vogue magazine and another is a professional photographer who I “know” from Flickr that takes brilliant portraits and is also the Managing Editor for The Photographic Journal.

Besides, we all know that if you had the time to read this dull entry, you have plenty of time to peruse these fine, young photographer’s portfolios.
Oh, and by the way, I may start posting these Friday Posts at different times, later in the day, to test my click-through rates.  Supposedly, posting things later in the afternoon on a Friday will bring me a higher click-rate.  I’m not sure that I believe it, so I may start testing that theory.