Internet prying by the Canadian Government

I’m as outraged and disgusted as the next parent at the fact that there exists pornography that expoits children, let alone the sheer volume of this sick stuff that’s apparently available on the internet. Catching the people responsible for this (the suppliers and purveyors) as well as those who download it (the consumers) is important work, and our Police on every level should be commended for continuing this fight vigorously.

However, our Conservative Government has yet again overstepped its mandate in attempting to drive through recent misguided legislation that would permit Police to gain access to any citizen’s internet usage from the user’s ISP without review or just cause, eliminating the need to request a warrant. Haven’t any of our leaders read “1984” or “Brave New World”?

Had this misguided bit of legislation gone through, who knows to what extend this would have encouraged our Prime Minister and his weak-minded ministers to intrude further into our private lives.

The vast majority of us have nothing to hide, and abhor those who do have the most disgusting things to hide.

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Some of my Voice-Over Demos

A couple of years ago, I took several courses on Freelance Announcing, taught by a really great talent, Earl Sky at VocalPower.ca and learned a great deal.  Thanks to the amazing people I met in this class,  I had way more fun than a person as a right to have, and I miss our evening classes together.

Condenser Microphone

These courses culminated in the creation of a demo “tape” for each of us, through which we would get some sideline work doing voice-overs and narrations.

If you’re curious about my voice-over work, or you need someone to voice an ad or narration,  please drop me an email  and I’ll send you my demo (~ 2MB in size, 1 minute in length).  It contains a number of samples of voice-overs, presenting different styles suitable to television or radio ads, corporate messaging or documentaries.

To date, I have scripted and voiced a couple of dozen self-running demos and instructional videos for my current employer, and continue to develop new voice-overs on a regular basis.

My voice will be heard in the demos we’re running next week at my company’s booth at the 2012 RSA show in San Francisco.  If you’re interested in hearing these in order to determine whether you’d be interested in getting my demo.  Click through to any of the following links (the context of the product may or may not appeal to you, but you can evaluate my voice-over).  The following were all recorded in my own studio.

http://youtu.be/NxV1rOMzxfo , http://youtu.be/bm0oyL8-sQ4 , http://youtu.be/yWqQTP2zfpg, http://youtu.be/o8iHsF3pDxU

In my studio I have a number of condenser microphones, tube pre-amps for silky vocals, a mixing panel and an audio-to-USB connector that permits highest-quality transfer into the PC where I record direct to hard-drive. I record using Audacity or Adobe SoundBooth, and can produce the resulting file(s) as MP3s, WAV, or any other sound format desired.

I’m sure I can do a great job for you

Coincidence?

About a week ago I remarked to my son that our aging van will be turning over 200,000KM soon, and that I hoped I would actually see that happen to celebrate our “old girl’s” faithful service.  I then continued to drive to and from work for several days, and didn’t give it another thought.

On my way home this evening, I stopped at a light, and by sheer coincidence happened to look down at the dashboard to see this:

Odometer at milestone

Milestone reached – ready for the next 200,000KM

Nikon F4s

I have finally acquired a pro-level Nikon film camera body – an F4s.  This past weekend yielded some better weather and lovely quality of sunlight, as I have been dying to go off into the hinterland to take some photos with this amazing instrument.  Many photo experts feel that this was the most innovative and game-changing camera that Nikon has produced, before or since, as most have been incremental changes over their predecessors.

For some great reviews and other resources on the Nikon F4, see:

Ken Rockwell’s review of the F4

Nikonian’s Review of the F4

Nikon's F4S - the most innovative Nikon ever?

Nikon’s F4s – probably the most innovative camera Nikon ever made

The F4s weighs a lot, and feels so very solid and competent in the hand.   I was recently able to get a Type E replacement focusing screen for it, which has faint grid lines overlaying the viewing field/focusing screen.  This will help a lot with my perpetual problem of getting the horizon just slightly askew (which can also be attributed to not taking enough time on the shot to know that I have all the variables just so), and will also aid in thinking through compositional elements better.  Realistically nobody needs grid lines to do these things if he can take his time, but sometimes the moment passes too quickly, so the shot must be taken regardless.

Basia and I went to lovely Niagara-on-the-Lake Monday afternoon, and I took a number of shots with the F4s while there – looking forward to getting those developed when I finish the roll.

Will scan and post some of the better shots into this article later.

Taking a short “wander” around Unionville, ON

Yesterday Basia, her brother Andy, his wife Crocetta and I took a short walk through the charming Main Street in old Unionville, ON.  It is quite pretty with a number of buildings on the main street and surroundings looking to be well into the “Century Home” category. However, yesterday’s cold temperatures were biting enough that we didn’t want to spend hours exploring the side streets.

After nosing around for a while, we ended up at Blacksmith’s Bistro for a late lunch (around 3PM) partly because their menu looked intriguing, and partly because everything else except the coffee shops was closed.  This turned out to be a very happy turn of events, as everything we ate was absolutely excellent.  Our waiters were very attentive and knowledgeable, the food delicious, and the upstairs dining area at the back of the building had the most beautiful light pouring in the windows.

If you’re ever near Unionville (ideally not in winter though it has its charms),  both a walk down Main Street, and the Blacksmith’s Bistro for lunch or dinner are highly recommended as time well spent.

Photography using film

With digital photo equipment flying off the shelves, and greater and greater pixel densities (Nikon’s new D800 has a 36-MegaPixel sensor), I’d like to make a plea in favour of ensuring that film continues as a beautiful, expressive photo medium.

Fuji Superia 35MM Film Cassette

Fuji Superia 35MM Film Cassette

I believe film should not be permitted to die of loneliness, particularly after is has been used to capture the world’s history and memories for the last 100+ years.  Tragic enough that venerable Kodachrome has gone from the market after decades of being the medium of choice for the world’s best photographers, now it could be that Kodak itself is at risk of disappearing unless it can work some miracles through its Chapter 11 woes.  More remarkably, Kodak’s film division remains profitable (which I find worthy of rejoicing). In a way, that’s not surprising.  Despite the quick uptake of digital cameras, there must still be millions of film (35mm and other) cameras still out there, and still capable of taking as good pictures as they ever did.

Have you ever been amazed at the quality of the photographs in (say) National Geographic Magazine?  The majority were shot on 35MM slide film, and some on print film.

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