Thursday, April 28, 2005

CF4 600 - Slide - 07 Bosham WreckHeya one and all, well mainly just the one because it this blog after all, and there's no point greeting the misled Googlers. So hey you.

Sorry about the long time no blog, but I've been stuck on the assorted huge things which I still haven't finished. But I'm breaking off those for now to get back to my core output. Yep, I have a whole suite of rants coming up.

Grr, Photography, Grr.
For once in my life I make a good print. No blurred bits, no scuffed bits, no finger prints or eye inch wide eyelashes. I put it in the oven to dry. I go away, as the tutor is showing us other stuff. I come back. Not in oven. Where it be? Eventually I find it, not the in usual curled up at the back hole, but on the shelf I left it on. Stuck precisely underneath another print. And it's very literally stuck.

I disengage it, frown at the watermarks, put it back in to finish drying, glare at the man whose print lay on top of mine. This is the same man who spent the entirety of last week talking about his wonderful nephew who is one of the most famous photographic print makers in the world, or some such bollocks (it wouldn't be so bad if his voice wasn't so nasally dull). Yeah, yep, sure, your nephew's an arch printer, of course, from the in-laws side is it? Oh, and you might want to try turning that light off before you make the bloody great hole in the side of the enlarger. Yep, that hole you made again. Yes, say "Oh" in surprise, and laugh it off cretin, and hey, why not do it again, this paper's not going to get any more fogged.

I was actually joking when I said do it again. Bit beyond your powers to get that? Righty-ho. Calm blue sea, gentle waves crashing down on the shore, thunderous roar, liquid shattering, marauding herring gulls arcing overhead, hissing beaks stabbing, spray rising, beating like hail, and out again...

[If a body is found floating down the Thames with a lens set on f8 embedded deep in the back of the skull, be sure to say "His nephew's a famous photographic print maker"].

So I leave the print to dry once again, and hope hasn't sustained lasting damage. I go back to what I'm being taught. I return once more. I play hunt-the-print once again. The guy of the couple who smoke suggests it might be hanging up. His look suggests he thinks I was selfish for leaving it in there. Taking it down I explain that someone stuck their wet print on top of my drier one, hence not taking it out earlier.

I get it out into the light. Slight marks where the two sheets of paper stuck. And a bloody great gouge through the surface of the paper. It's not a mere scratch disrupting the emulsion, but it's engraved on one side, and embossed on the reverse. Which either means the incompetent man had returned, unless it was another incompetent, or Mr Dropping Hints is a spiteful cunt.

In which case I hope you and your good lady whore (who'd struggle to get sixpence for it) either succumb to the many health problems you bring on yourself by constantly nipping outside to smoke (oh, and sharing a stuffy darkroom with a couple of ashtrays isn't really all that fun), or you find the nearest available lamppost and wrapped both yourselves and your bike round it. They're that type you see, the type who think nothing of roaring through a cluttered town centre doing considerably more than 30, only to then slam on the brakes (when it had just rained for the first time in ages), and then screech up the very short hill to where the photography course is held. Either he hasn't quite got the hang of the controls yet, or he too is a idiot, and a petty one at that.

Breathe out the darkness, and in, see the pure white light filling your body, the heat searing your flesh, lungs crackling into a shrivelled mass, and out again.

The thing I was being taught, and so which stopped me from yelling at any of the inconsiderate sods in that darkroom, was colour developing. Well, making colour prints, which is largely, expose paper, put in machine, wait. I tried making a print of one of the images from Bosham [about this time the author notices that he has somehow managed to reverse the image when printing it. You can't tell, unless you know what Bosham looks like. Oddly none of the people who have seen the results of my colour printing pointed out that church is at the wrong end of the village, and that the sun appears to be coming from the north].

In the scan I had problems boosting the red to something reasonable. When doing colour printing we are told to set both the yellow and magenta filters on 60 (no idea what units this is, it's just what the enlargers say), and the cyan on zero, as we would be doing if we were doing variable contrast black and white prints. I do this, and make a test strip (of an entire sheet of paper, which is an inch shorter than the official minimum for test strips. There have been lots of big warnings about what happens if we block the machine).

I feed it into the machine, and four minutes later the test strip comes out. Very blue, fairly green, very dark (with finger prints where I investigated which side had the emulsion on - normally I use the reflexion from the red light, only there's no light as it's colour). I compare to the chart. I'd say it was heftily off the norm, so I lob off 40 from each of yellow and magenta.

Another test strip. Dark, fairly green. The chart says take another 40 off magenta. Er... I don't think it does minus figures. I ask the tutor. She takes one look at it and says take 40. I say I already did. She does that special smile she does when she's trying to think of a nice way of saying "It's gone wrong, and it'll probably stay wrong".

She recovers by changing the topic to the timings. She says make a print at 3.5 seconds (the minimum of the current test strip being 5). I ask if I should just take off as much magenta as possible, and leave it on zero. She says no (and skips the "why not?"). We compromise on 10, and because I've adjusted it, making a new test strip, but running in second intervals from 3 up to about 7 or 10.

I use a baseline of two and add seconds from there (Look how rebellious I'm being, I'm not following her to the letter! I'm starting with a whole second less). I make a print at two and half seconds. It's not great. The boat is really dark, the sky has lost contrast and colour, and the background wasn't that great when I took it. I think I can soon fix some of that by tweaking the contrast. Only we used to use magenta and yellow to do that on black and white, but on colour they change the colours produced. Ah...

Is this where cyan comes in? Or maybe where the white-light switch does? I don't know, but there must be a way, mustn't there?

She comes round evaluating the end results. Mine makes her pause. She asks which film it was on, and I reply the slide one. She mentions it'll be the film, it's a bit special. Apparently it'd be great for creating some really funky effects, but they don't really work with what I was printing. She mentions once again that it's special. I suggest it's because I'm a special person. Thankfully she gets the implication, and mockingly agrees.

Then it's one to doling out films, and the second money transfer of the day (after she managed to be offered £5.20 to pay £1.20, and take the five pound note, giving me £3.70 in change, and she doesn't have ten pence on her right now. Um... I thought it would probably be easier to not confuse things by giving back part of the change and the twenty piece and taking a pound coin instead). There's four films which we all have, and there's four different films for us to quibble over. Two are infra red, or thereabouts, one is fine grain black and white, and one is as yet unknown because it got grabbed early. The woman next to me is inspecting both IRs. She puts one down. I pick it up. There's a couple of lines of small print on the top half of the lid. I open it to read the side of the film. Tutor swears. I look panic stricken, and hurried seal it back in the container.

Ah, the second line of the small print I couldn't read because I've spent the evening walking in and out of darkrooms, and focusing the grain on films, says load and unload in complete darkness. I'd managed to pick out the bit in the first line about the can, but I thought they were talking about the metal canister which contains the film, not the plastic film container around that.

I sit there thinking "Oh bugger etc.". The tutor tries to reassure me. I guess I'll have to take that film now. She keeps breaking off trying to reassure me. She claims there shouldn't be too much infrared around in the room (it's a large, fairly cool room, at night, cut into the side of a hill). I vaguely agree, as fluorescent tubes don't run that hot, and they are high above us. So not much IR. Oh apart from my hot little hands, in which I was clutching it.

Remind me to ask her next week what ISO the IR film uses; I was trying to find that out when I opened it.

She could have warned us though. She'd seen us open other nearly blank film containers to read the side of the canisters inside, so it's not that far beyond belief that yet another black canister might get opened.

But having tried looking up the ISO of the film, and having to guess which film it is (the 3 lines I thought said something like Kodak Snap Crackle POP, like the others say Ektachrome or NPS, were all the warning), it turns out that I think I got the most expensive film of the selection. Which I may have promptly ruined. So that's nearly a good thing.

Admittedly reading Kodak's doom laden website it turns out I need a [text does not display properly] filter. And to do odd things with the exposure settings. And the focusing. And even more stuff I don't understand. It comes to something when the bit of the diagram I understand is the bit that says LOG.

I'm still curious though. Is less than a mill of black plastic utterly impermeable to infrared?

Anyway, so that now, along with other stuff is now sitting in a box in the fridge (and I just found myself worrying about the effects of constant exposure to the fridge light. Um...).

So annoyances piled upon one another. And then today some delightful woman decided she would join the plebs and go swimming. A. She's a dry hair swimmer. It's a swimming pool. It's a large body of water. There's usually something innately wet about it. B. She disdained to follow the requests, nay, orders of the signs and so did not shower before entering the pool. And thus she left a sick of perfume across the surface. It feels wonderful when it gets deep down into one's lungs. Trying to subdue the coughing and gag-reflex I suggest she might like to rinse off her perfume before she comes swimming next time. To which she replies:

"Well, I can't smell it".

No shit.

You've been wearing it all day, just like you have been for everyday for the past few decades by the smell of it. It's like your own none-too-expensive BO, fresh on every day.

Naturally I am far to polite to say such things. Instead I hopefully swamped her in my wake (it's amazing the power being embarrassed imparts). And why does my voice go up a few social strata when I'm nervous?

And another thing. You know I took those silly who to vote for things a while ago? And managed to not be as Lib Dem as I think I am? Well, I'm now really not sure who I'll vote for. First came the hustings I missed. Apparently the Liberal candidate was ghastly. Alan Partridge is the most common comparison (admittedly the only other is Mr Slope, which was a obsequious clergyman from one of the Barchester stories as played by Alan Rickman at his most slimy. Obviously a comparison of limited appeal). He somehow managed not to get booed when he described himself as a "leader of the community".

But then again the local Tory newboy is nearly as bad. UKIP's man was completely out of his depth. There was someone else but no-one can remember which party they were from. And finally there was Labour candidate in the staunch Conservative, lately slipping towards the Liberal Democrats, seat. He apparently was intelligent and charming, and by the sounds of it a natural born Conservative. I think he very nearly won the votes of several people, if only it didn't mean voting for Blair and both New and old Labour.

So the "pompous idiot" tag means I'll now have to feel guilty for voting for the Lib Dems. But who else is there? They at least have a chance of winning round here.

And as if hearing of my spreading doubt, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, The Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP, sent me a letter.

First things first: Unless the post is even more buggered than it usually is, that title is not true. You, Mr The Rt Hon Kennedy, are not a member of parliament, by dint of the fact there is no parliament, what with the whole dissolution of parliament (which always makes me think of the Queen pouring salt over it to protect her petunias).

The letter starts:
You probably share my belief that how our Government treats our older and younger citizens is a key test for a civilised society

Do I know? So that's the key test thing then? Is that like one of Brown's 5 tests for joining the Euro?

The letter continues exploring how it would be better to be older under the Lib Dems (helpfully every other paragraph is underlined). Only in the penultimate paragraph does he break away from the theme, and that's with this great piece of logic:
It's not a fair society if you feel unsafe in your own home. The last Conservative Government promised more police. But when Michael Howard was Home Secretary police numbers were cut by 500. The Lib Dems will put 10,000 more police on the beat.

How many police are there anyway? Is 500 a lot? Would the 10,000 be permanently on the streets or would it be a once a month thing a bit like community service? And I've just found something out being actually doing research for once. According to the Howard biog on the Tory website:
In May 1993, he became Home Secretary, a position he held for four years. During his term of office, crime fell by an unprecedented 18 per cent. When he left office, nearly a million fewer crimes a year were being committed than when he became Home Secretary four years before.

So did he cut police before or after crime fell? Would doing it afterwards be a reasonable action in the circumstances?

[Not that I'm advocating voting for Howard, but...]

I'm still not sure which is the best part of the letter. It could be the graphics on the back where Michael Howard's head floats on a blue background over a clip-on bow-tie (and I note they weren't the glasses he had on just now), and Blair and Bush are looking at each other with doey eyes. But it might be something better than the Punch and Judy imagery (Chaz is seen talking with a slightly worried and surprised looking elderly woman, who may need a better bra).

Or it could be the fact they sent a letter detailing the better deal people over 75 would get under the Liberal Democrats to someone who is over fifty years away from such schemes applying to me. Will the Liberal Demoncrats still exist as a party by then? Will Parliament as we know it still exist by then? Or have their models suggested that 2055 is the first year in which the Liberal Democrats can gain a parliamentary majority?

So unless someone in their data centre misread a 2 as a 7, they really haven't done their homework. Or am I supposed to think of my poor grandparents? Hate to break this to them, but both sets of grandparents were much older than that when they died, and they've been dead a while. And I think my parents would be a bit miffed if I thought such tax-breaks might apply to them.

Or, could it be that they sent out a letter with a cheesy PS. It's a highly edited, planned letter. The PS has probably been in there since the first draft. If they were trying to impart a level homely, oops-a-daisy folksiness then... just don't bother.

Right so a PS which isn't exactly post-script. And what does it say?
It's not fair...

I'm sorry, I can't possibly take you seriously after that. You might just as well have written I want [doesn't get] or I hate you *door slams*. It doesn't help that words based on fair have appear ten times in the letter. And it's a big print [for bears of little brain] letter.

Charles Kennedy signatureEdit 30/04/05: And for your veiwing pleasure, we present the CK signature, courtesy of that nice man over at In Actual Fact, because he just so happened to have a spare CK autograph lying about. And who is going to be even nicer and put up with me liberating his bandwidth, what with the whole not having a server of my own thing.

And now being really infuriating, I'm going to try and analyse The Dear Leader's (not that DL) handwriting. The first C looks like it's made from two lowercase e's. The l bends off early to meet the small, solid a. The r is split in two. The next l (hang on, the first l must be an h, only it's like an l) is twice the height of the previous one, and with a loop in it. The e is like an upside-down and, or an alpha with its legs in the air. The s is triangular one, so the upper curve is missing, only the apex is far to the left. The K is a reverse tick and a curving l parked next to each other, with the bend of the l running along the baseline of the script. The next e is a dash with a kink at the right hand end. Next is a shallow u followed by a squashed m and then blob c, or possibly x. Then comes another l which a different height to any other vertical, and like all, except the h, isn't vertical. But it lends further to the right than the others, and some of them lean hard to the left. Then comes a slight blip like one of these ^. Followed by a big long line higher than the middle of the m. And then down on slightly curving course on a bearing of about 150. And there's apparently a dot at the end of that line.

So what does irregular handwriting, with sudden loops, squashed sprawls, and verticals ticking like metronomes, say about the man? Oh, and by the way, the base of the main body of Kennedy is level with the top of the e and s in Charles. Hmm, you'd think the leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third leg of the political pas-de-deux, would have right slanting, ever ascending writing, forever I-think-I-can-ing, wouldn't you?

Anyway I'm off to snigger at the photographs on the back of Mr Kennedy's letter. Actually I'm off to think "doesn't the policewoman on it look young?" Maybe targeting the old wasn't so wrong after.

I'd stop discussing this. Basically, Kennedy: Right On, or Rt Hon?


PS to the photo thing (and yes I can have PS, as do you seriously think this is planned or edited?). What was it I was saying about negativity begets negativity? Well, there's negativity and there's stupid and/or selfish people.

PPS. The astute amongst you (why do I keep repeating that phrase? Maybe I hope one day it will come true, and that there might me someone astute rather than just Stu [and to whoever I just panicked, don't worry I didn't know you real name, that was coincidence. I do now though]). Anyway, astute yadda, I broke off whilst writing this to watch Question Time with all 3 Dear Leaders, but they had them on sequentially (sequentially of what? Descending likeability? Rising smarminess? Ascending inability to answer the bloody question?). I may or may write up my responses to that at some point.

[Insert comparison of political leaderships and the effects of eating Mcdonald's, Supersize Me being on 4 at the same time, here].

But it was fun playing whoever's game it was (I heard about it on Saturday, then from another source midweek (since forgotten, so if there's an outraged blogger out there say so), and someone I was watching it with blithely informed me that I could not have heard it on Saturday as it was only the Guardian today. The Guardian obviously being beyond a little light plagiarism, much the Government). Anyway the game was guess party affiliations, and spot the obviously planted questions. Blair got one on something about Labour has increased spending on X, to gain Y better results, oh heck, better not look too partisan, some comment about is it a waste of money? There, now no-one will notice I came in the same car as Blair.

Re: The ginger Scottish politician.

I received an e-mail from one "Charles Kennedy MP" with the title "The general election has been called", and thought oh well, they've just dissolved parliament, they haven't had time to change the name field yet, but it was still there on the last mail I received (last Friday).

As far as the handwriting analysis goes - show us a picture, there's one here

If I wasn't on the LibDem e-mailing list and that image wasn't at the bottom, your overseas reader demographic wouldn't have known what you were on about.
I'm on the list because I'm a former LibDem - but I took the test - I wasn't as LibDem as I thought I was.

Have a delightful weekend etc. Cheerio!
your overseas reader demographic - yeah right, it's just you and the anonymous guy (possibly guyette) in Nebraska.

How come you get a black one? Mine was blue (identical, but blue). Do I look like a blue ink person? Ok, so I do use it, when I haven't lost the pen with blue ink in it since before Christmas. Or maybe I look like a purple ink person.

I think I ought to go to bed.

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