Meanderings of Z.

Location: United States

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Roadrunner and the Hyena

The roadrunner makes his way over the abrasive ground as though he is slightly levitating. Each left and right change made with purpose and intensity. Clearly he is looking for something. Or perhaps he has found it and is pursuing it across the landscape beyond my ability to visualize it.

As I watch the chase I am amazed as the speed at which this bird can run. It isn’t clear why it is running around after his prey instead of flying, but it is entertaining never the less. As it turns out I am not the only one. In the distance I can hear an odd sound that resembles a laugh. Not a deep, loud, belly laugh, but a high pitched, pointed, almost shrieking laugh. The sound of it alone is enough to make me join in the jocularity.

As I continue to watch out the window I see movement in the distance working its way closure. Turns out a hyena wanted a closer look at the roadrunner weaving its way around the landscape. I am not sure of the purpose of this close visit. Is the hyena simply interested in the entertainment value as am I, or is he looking for a late night snack? What do hyenas eat in the wild? If not the roadrunner, is he interested in the morsel the roadrunner has been pursuing for the past 15 minutes?

In the distance are the most spectacularly naked mountains I have ever seen. Jagged figures thrusting up from the otherwise flat horizon, with their red-orange color in sharp contrast to the blue sky acting as their backdrop. With no vegetation on their surfaces every detail of their carved features is visible. Shadows tracing the various facets acting as a sun dial as the shadows move across the mountain.

When I look back down, I find the roadrunner and hyena have both moved on. Looking back up at the mountain I expect to see a trail of dust and small nuclear explosion caused by a failed use of an Acme explosive device against the roadrunner.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Portrait Wanna Be

For several years I have wanted to get back into photography. I used to love taking pictures throughout my college years and missed it. About 8 months ago I broke down and bought a new digital SLR camera. Nothing too fancy, but one that would allow me to change lenses, take control when I wanted it, and something that was getting good reviews.

Since getting the camera I have taken over four thousand pictures. Although most have been of activities or family events, a lot are more artistic. Shots of nature or people where I was trying to capture a little something extra. As I reviewed these shots over the past few months, the desire I had years ago to get a portrait light kit resurfaced. After about 3 months of research and struggling with the continuous versus strobe question I finally got the kit a few days ago.

Although I still have a lot to learn, and haven't purchased a light meter yet, I posted a few of the first pictures for your review, comments, feedback, and/or constructive criticism. I am still getting the hang of positioning the lights, especially the background light, but I seem to be improving little by little. I will post additional ones as I have time. These photos will be accessible to those of you setup as as friends and family within Flickr.

Slide show.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Surfing Internet Gets You Fired in NYC

So, NYC has decided to fire a 14-year department of education employee for surfing the internet at work. My first thought was that the sites he visited were suspect. Turns out he was surfing news and travel websites. Sure, he wasn't working while he was doing this, but neither are people that are taking personal calls or even taking a smoke break. Do you think the management team determined how much time was spent surfing and compared it to other employees taking personal calls, extending their lunch, or going out for a smoke? Should they all be fired as well?

Sounds like this was a political firing, or a setup for some new law or policy that needed a legal precedent. Sure, when you are at work you should be working, but everyone takes care of personal business from time to time. The real question is, was his supposed "abuse" of internet access above and beyond normal work place behavior? Although the articles I have read don't provide specifics, I doubt that appropriate due diligence was performed. Either that or we will be seeing a lot of NYC firings in the next few months.