08 November 2007

Bitch time

It's bitchy PK here. I can be in a completely good mood, and all of a sudden on comes a commercial with a song that has the most stupid lyrics ever. Take one of the new iPod Touch ads, with lyrics like these how can you go wrong?!?

"Music is my boyfriend
Music is my girlfriend
Music is my dead end
Music is my imaginary friend
Music is my brother
Music is my great-grand-daughter
Music is my sister
Music is my favorite mistress"

"Music is my beach house
Music is my hometown
Music is my kingsize bed
Music is my hot hot bath
Music is my hot hot sex
Music is my back rub
Music is where i'd like you to touch"

The actual ad splices some of those lines together for a more concentrated bad-lyric experience. Here it is:

Here is another one from Old Navy:
"If you are chilly, here take my sweater"
Hey, I get the idea! Could the rest of the song go like this?
"If you are thirsty, here have some water"
"If you are sleepy, here is a pillow"
"If you are hungry, here take my salad" and so the hell on.
Sheer poetic brilliance!

21 October 2007

Photos around the place

I've noticed some photos of mine are on certain websites around the place. I find it interesting to see which of my photos are used. Here are some links:

Fantasy-fest devil
Diesel the family cat
Kitten in Nicaragua
Major Mitchell cockatoo
Heller International building, Chicago
Little chargers
Murray river

Just so you know

PK is PK right now.

I'm on Corona #5, drinking with a bunch of Peruvians, making squashed frogs for the girls, and I'm running low on Midori.

Update: Midori is finished. )-:

I heart Floridan critters

I spotted this guy the other day climbing up a tree near our place. He was about a metre long, and looks like he's been around.


BTW: I heart Australian critters more, especially Red Back spiders.

Update: Another Iguana.


Iguanas were introduced to Florida from people letting their pets go once they got too big. Now they go through the canals munching on tasty plants.

17 October 2007

Adriana's b'day party

Photos from Adriana's birthday party held on the weekend are online. The star of the party (apart from Adriana)? Squashed Frogs.




The rest of the set is here.

21 August 2007

Monaco panorama

This is a 16 mega pixel stitch of Monaco, taken from a wheelchair viewing area.

Monaco panorama

16 August 2007

Photo used in online publication

I just got an e-mail from an online publication re the use of one of my pictures in their article! I'm always stoked about something like this. The picture is one I took of a kid in Nicaragua in the Granada islands area. He was one of the sons of the tour operator.

Here is a link to the article, it's in Spanish, but it talks about how a study conducted by Stanford university showed that post traumatic stress during childhood makes people more vulnerable to stress, anxiety or depression later in their lives.

Capture of article page (can't be buggered cropping it :-):

What is Ben smiling about?

Can you find it? Click on image for larger version (or here for the answer, you cheat).

13 August 2007

Die-al up

Since I've been in Australia, I've been cruising on the Internet at dial-up speeds. It is so awesome. I love it. In the near future you'll see the execution of a 56k modem once I 'get back up to speed'.

From Australia

I'm currently in Australia (Loxton, to be precise) after making an emergency trip from the States for my Grandpa's funeral. As far as funerals go, it was awesome. What was even more awesome is that we drank the club, where refreshments were served after the funeral, out of port. I contributed in no small way to that. Of course, my love of port comes from Grandpa himself and his influence on me when I grew up with him as a kid. Many frequent trips were made by him to the stash of flagons out by the shed, and every now and then I guess I'd try a sample of the Tawny as well (Tawnys made by Penfolds, Yalumba or Seppelts are a good start). Good times. (-:

I also have to renew my Visa on this trip, so I'm about to head to Melbourne to do that this week. If I haven't seen you yet, I wasn't able to catch up with you this trip, maybe next time.

I didn't bring my camera kit this time around, but the good ol' point-and-shoot was able to satisfy my shutter-bug needs. The two photos below were taken here in Loxton down by the Loxton Riverfront Caravan Park.

Murray River Sunset

Murray River Sunset

16 July 2007

July 4 fireworks

I took the opportunity to practice some firework photo shots.

Fireworks at Tamarac:

Fireworks at Hallandale Beach:

The set is here.

14 July 2007

Photos from Prague

Photos from Prague are online.

St. Vitus Cathedral:

Silhouette of Church of St. Nicholas:

Old town square:

Adriana and the guard:

The whole set is here.

10 July 2007

Photos from Germany

Berlin Cathedral:

Neuschwanstein Castle:

Old mill, where the Doecke side of my family came from:

The whole photo set is here.

02 July 2007

France/Monaco photo update

Some photos have been online for a little while now. First up, France:


And a partial set of Monaco:

22 June 2007

An update

Obviously I have been back from Europe for a little bit now. Let's just say I spent most of last week being exhausted and a little unwell. I spent most of this week catching up on work. Family celebrations over here have also been occupying some time.

I have been working on the 2600 or so photos I took whilst on vacation. A lot of these were experimental, some panoramas, some HDR test shots (for the record, I hate how some people are seemingly abusing the HDR concept on sites like Flickr. Some of the photos are just god-awful). One thing that I am kicking myself about is that a lot of the photos had dust marks on them. It's taking me a while to remove such spots. I tried cleaning the lens whenever I could, but sometimes in the excitement of it all I forgot about that, not that I could see such spots when reviewing photos on the small screen of my D70.

I am extremely happy with my new lens purchase, an 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor. Haha, enough jargon for you? It replaced three other lenses on the trip and did a pretty damn good job at it. Even better - I still have not been charged for it. There was a hold put on my card when I ordered it, I took a couple of days to release that hold, and the expected charge never went through. We'll see what happens with that though.

Photos from France should be up in a few days.

08 May 2007

Planning for Europe

Everything is almost planned for the trip to Europe that Adriana and I are going on later this month. It is certainly going to be one fast-tracked experience, with visits to Paris, Rouen, Caen, Milan, Nice, Monaco (F1 Grand Prix), Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Munich and London in the space of three weeks.

I'm trying not to get flustered about it (and some people who know me well enough could imagine what I'm like right now), but it's difficult not to. Part of me wishes that the organising part of the trip was finished a couple of months ago. Unfortunately things happen, schedules must be changed, and that is what I'm going through right now.

I've tried to take advantage of what is offered in terms of deals as much as possible, however misinterpreting some things early on has led to a bit of frustration now. I think I switched between buying the Eurail pass or buying point-to-point rail tickets two or three times. I'm flying the cheap airlines (flylc.com is great for finding which cheap airlines fly between what cities) as much as possible. At one point we were heading from Munich up to Berlin via train. We're still using the train, but now going from Berlin to Munich simply because of a cheap airline ticket (and time...) Milan wasn't even on the list, at first. Neither was Prague. They were simply "since we're in the area, we might as well check them out" thoughts. This has shortened time in other areas, and our visit to Berlin is now structured around a "Berlin in one day" guide.

Language. I'm worried and embarrassed that I won't be able to speak German properly, having sworn and cussed at people in German for what seems an eternity now. I've been revising that like crazy recently. I'm also trying to learn some basic Italian and French words just to not feel like such a dweeb. I remember for a time I was in Nicaragua, by myself, not being able to speak Spanish. It was bad, but I actually knew enough words to order some chicken and get the right seasoning (oh, and an accompanying beer, of course). In the end a lot of the people we'll meet will probably speak more English than I speak of their language. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

Just preparing for this trip has been an interesting experience. I know what not to do next time, and I know exactly how it should be planned out. It seems the places you visit (and when) are more dictated by how you're going to get there. For example: look up what Eurail pass you can use first, then plan what cities you're going to see around that. Better yet, give a travel agent a list of cities you want to visit and see what comes out the end. It caught me by surprise and brought out someone I haven't known for a while: da flustered PK.

After all this, there is one thing I can't wait to do: take pictures. Not just a few, not just a few hundred, but a few thousand. I have a brand spanking new lens, a photo backup device, and a happy little trigger finger. Bring it on!

28 April 2007

Let people download

Something that has piqued my interest lately is how labels are reacting to the fact that people are downloading music rather than buying CDs. Some labels are reacting to this. One of my favourites, Distinctive records (the label for "Way out West", "Hybrid", "General Midi", among others) has embraced music downloads and I've downloaded several albums from there (if only they'd tag the damn mp3s properly). Thankfully, I can play those mp3s on any device as there is no DRM (Digital Rights Management) on the files. iTunes is now offering DRM-free music from EMI, so as an aside I'm glad about that too.

At the Winter Music Conference recently there was a big discussion at how music has gone from buying albums to downloading singles. Labels need to embrace this concept, or die. The kids of these days (it seems like I'm 50 years old writing this) buying music don't really know the concept of buying a whole album from an artist. People only want to buy the songs they want to listen to. More importantly, they want to buy it and listen to it now. The internet and iTunes in particular have made that an expectation.

Some labels have not embraced this whizz-bang concept of digitally downloading music. So when I heard that a label was dying because of "illegal downloads" I was curious. Here is a quote from the filter27 website, where I first saw this posted:

According to Herwig, illegal downloads of Dependent albums outnumber legal purchase by a factor of three or even five to one. "Money was always tight," he says, "and in the future it's only going to get tighter, because even if we were to continue to produce quality CDs, the rate with which they will be purchased legally will continue to decline. Each album released would represent an ever-increasing financial risk."

Herwig also points out that an unnamed Russian warez site recently distributed over 5000 downloads of one of Dependent's releases in just one week while the label only sold about 1000 copies of the same release in physical discs.

"A popular claim often seen on Internet maintains that the P2P culture weakens the majors and bolsters the independent labels. This is, we can assure you, 100% bullshit. Even if there are listeners who download first and buy later, they are clearly in the dwindling minority," says Herwig.

My biggest question was: did they offer digital downloads of their artists' music from their website? I looked around and was not surprised when the downloads I found were samples for albums that were available on CD only. Hey, no surprise there! People obviously want their albums but are not prepared to buy, wait for delivery, only to probably rip them to mp3 anyway when they arrived. The only get-it-now method for receiving the music was to download a torrent of the album. This hurt the label AND the artists.

'Dependent' records get no sympathy from me. They were holding on to an old way of doing business in the music industry. They didn't realise that or were too stubborn to change, and thus are getting all they deserve from their lack of foresight.

23 April 2007

Muse in concert

I am in a pretty damn good mood right now, having just come back from my first Muse concert. How can I say they were fucking awesome without swearing? Even from as far back as I was sitting I could see Matt Bellamy strutting around on stage and working that guitar like nothing else. It was awe-inspiring. "Supermassive black hole", "Knights of Cydonia", "Hysteria", "Stockholm Syndrome" were just some of the songs they played and I was lapping up every damn second of it.

The only bad thing was that they were a support act. Muse should not be the support act for anyone and I have, at length, complained about this to people. I guess I should be glad they're even travelling this far south into Florida, but I cannot stop thinking about what could have been. In this case they were supporting My Chemical Romance. Whilst I know a couple of the MCR songs I am not what you would call a super-massive fan. This was just proven to me tonight when after the adrenalin rush of Muse, I sat through the glam-rock of MCR relatively unswayed. The seats were comfortable at least. Some people weren't tricked by the comfortable seats though as they left the building after Muse finished their act.

A couple of times during the MCR performance I was suddenly awoken by massive firecrackers going off. I had to give them kudos to them for that though: their stage presentation was fairly good, with lots of fire and explosions and pretty glitter to keep the kids interested and me awake. It was sort of like "Disney on Ice" meets KISS.

Eh, I wish MCR's music had the same impact on me as it did to all the teenagers at the concert. They were all going crazy and that's when it dawned on me. MCR isn't aiming to be that great musically (and I really don't think they are), they're fulfilling a certain niche that emo-teenagers are craving: simple, emphatic, easily digestible music that doesn't do anything new but is packaged nicely. I think the best way of putting this would be to say:

My Chemical Romance: "The Wiggles" for teenagers.

18 April 2007

What's going on?

Things have been especially busy lately. I've been hanging out with my girlfriend Adriana a lot. Yes Mum, I've met the family, and they're absolutely hilarious! So things are good there.

I recently helped organise a "baby shower" (I use the quotes since it had guys there too, and showers as such are normally a female-only affair) for my friends Jessie and Omar, and I took pictures at another shower party for friends Maha and Matt.

Maha and Matt's shower photos
Jessie and Omar's shower photos

20 March 2007

Wedding in South Beach

On the weekend I attended a double first: a Cuban wedding, and a wedding in South Beach. It was an incredibly short church service, but that just meant more time to party afterwards. Which they did. A lot of. I've never seen so much dancing (and good dancing at that) at a wedding. Congrats go out to Milly and Val!

Some pictures are included below, click here for the set slideshow.

Adriana, Val, Milly, Gio

An emotional moment


A good look

28 February 2007

Tornado in South Florida

Apparently there was a developing tornado spotted in South Florida this afternoon, specifically forming over Tamarac, where I happen to live! It didn't touch down, and not much damage was caused, apparently, but I'm curious to see what damage was done on the drive home tonight.

UPDATE: Absolutely no damage whatsoever. Yay!

I have to add, and this is the craziness in me becoming more apparent, but as soon as I heard there was a tornado forming I wanted to go home, grab my camera and take some pictures. I didn't do that... perhaps next time.

UPDATE #2: It did touch down! From this site:

National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Dixon said a tornado touched down near Tamarac and was on the ground for 2.75 miles.

Dixon said the tornado had 80 to 85 mph winds and was about 50 to 100 yards wide.

03 February 2007

Tiesto who?

Heard a funny story at a work luncheon yesterday. I'm going to paraphrase this one, I can't remember all the details due to me laughing so much while the story was being told.

One of my friends who lives down in South Beach was invited to dinner by a friend. "We're going to have dinner with Tiesto!" For anyone who listens to dance music, that would be quite a dinner to attend. Except, she hadn't really heard of him. Anyway, they're out at dinner, she asked him questions like:

"What do you do?"
"I'm a DJ."

"Where are you from?"

I think the funniest was when they were approaching the line for a club:

"This is a cool club, except it's really hard to get into. We might have to wait a while".
"Oh, I don't think we have to worry about that :)"

10 January 2007


I gave into this phenomenon, which is an exercise in usability frustration, a long time ago. If you got sucked in like I did, let me know at http://www.myspace.com/daecks.