Boots

20 April 2019

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I hadn’t properly cleaned my boots last time I put them away.

When I unbagged them and sat on the back of the car in the Lakes, a few weeks ago, they still had mud on them from a previous walk. Mud, from snow melting into earth, and white chalk, from the North Downs.

And now, that mud and chalk was translated a few hundred miles north, to be trodden into ground near Derwent Water.

A smile on the inside: how much mud and soil and who knows what else have I moved around the county, mixing tiny samples from one place into another?

My last pair of boots had taken me up hills in France, Cyprus, California, Australia. I didn’t clean the Australian soil off them for a few weeks after I returned. I couldn’t bring myself to do it; it was a final memento of a huge trip, a little piece of something alien, brought all the way home. I finally replaced those grey synthetic boots with these leather ones around 2016, when the old pair were just no longer waterproof. I was sad to do so; they had so many travels trodden into their soles; the new ones, stiff and clean, didn’t feel like they could match up.

But now, a few years later, these ones have really started to get their miles in, slowly – and highly inefficiently – redistributing soil and dirt around the world.

They’ll get a proper clean and wax in due course. In the meantime, I still like the tingle of all the previous journeys I see in them in moments like this.

  • "The problem is that photography has always been a technical pursuit and the mediating technology required to make a photograph has always threatened to overwhelm it. To quote Donald Kuspit, 'Technology is the last valiant attempt to discredit and devalue the unconscious…. The unconscious is the bête noire in a scientifically and technologically managed world, which is why it must be killed or at least ostracized.' The endless upgrade cycle, the more and more laborious and tedious mastery of imaging software, the solid belief in technical improvement and control as a means to achieve success, all of this leads one further and further away from any possibility of making original or authentic work. This is the bind of the technology treadmill. What it gives, it also takes away. So in digital photography we have an inherent pitfall in the photographic process married to the culturally dominant fixation with technology and control which are themselves obstacles to the unconscious, the very source of creativity itself."

    Fantastic quotation and comment from David Comdico over at TOP. I feel this applies hugely to electronic music, too.

I recently had a problem with my Sony RX100 mk3: it wouldn’t automatically swap between displaying in the viewfinder and on the LCD.

If turned on with the viewfinder extended, the viewfinder alone would work; if turned on with the viewfinder shut, the LCD would work. But if the viewfinder was on, raising and lowering it to my eye wouldn’t swap between the two. I spent a while faffing with this, convinced it was broken, and failing to find anything on the internet to discuss this.

Anyhow, then I found this video which explains the problem, and takes a full two minutes to get to the point. So I’m re-iterating that point, in writing, for everybody using a search engine!

Long story short: if you’d guessed that the sensor that detects when it to your eye is playing up, possibly, because of dirt, you’re entirely right. What you might not have worked out is where that sensor is.

It’s here:

Sony eye sensor

It’s not in the viewfinder; it’s to the right of it, on the lip above the LCD. Mine didn’t look dirty, but I wiped it down a few times and sure enough, everything worked fine again. Problem solved, and one of the most useful features of this little camera worked properly again.

  • "Show up for the work. For me, this means sitting at my loom every day and weaving for at least a few hours no matter what else might be pulling at me in business or in life. I was given this advice early on, in both my studio art education and in writing workshops I attended over the years. This commitment is the gateway to developing a habit, and in turn, a creative practice. The simple repetition of throwing the shuttle across the loom for even an hour has never failed to open up my thinking, ground my anxiety and, ultimately, move the work forward. Even if my thoughts don't dramatically shift, I can walk away from the work and see tangible evidence of a woven yard or two. Affirmation." As if I didn't need reminding. (I bookmarked this primarily, though, for the beautiful photos and workplace.)
  • "…nothing really gets older online; the only aging of things here comes from the erosive force of changing human sensibilities. The black of that North Face jacket looks just as black, but the point of wearing it has faded a little. Here there is only the appearance of getting older because everything else has gotten much newer. The pixels do not outwardly become worn. They are like grains of sand. If one is destroyed, it’s too small for us to know it’s been annihilated. And there is so much sand."
  • "I wonder if there’s a business to be gotten into where one shows movies the way everyone wants to see them: just the movies, from the very first second you start watching. It’s a naive thought; I understand that. But I can’t forget that when those lights went down, when that screen went up, and when that twangy riff kicked in, there were audible gasps and cheers in the audience, and someone behind me yelled out “whoa, awesome!” I want to believe that there’s a business to be gotten into that capitalizes on “whoa, awesome”."
  • Stewart Lee's dark, self-referential Christmas tale from this year, for the New Statesman.
  • "In other words, the more packages you send at once, the shittier job FedEx does of delivering each of them, with each package getting less and less of a delivery attempt. And the limit actually approaches zero, which means that if you somehow send me infinity packages through FedEx, they will not even knock on my door. They will take the infinity dollars and run. I did honestly not intend today to use math to prove precisely how bad FedEx is at delivering packages, but, um, here we are?" I love Ryan North.