Sunday, November 30, 2008

San Francisco Zoo - Dad's Visit

My Dad and his family decided to do a road trip from El Paso (El Paaa'hso) Texas to San Francisco to come and see me. They ended up being able to stay for Thanksgiving (post up coming). 
These guys were playing for like 20 minutes. I know it is a bit blurry but I thought that it really captured the play. I like how the bottom guy's face is kinda sharp. 
This guy was about to fall asleep standing on one leg.
I just think this guy looks kinda funny passed out in the sun. 
This is Lonigan, the youngest of my Dad's brood. He is a ham, and hams get their pictures taken. He is a pretty funny little guy with a ton of spunk. 
These apes really make me sad. You can really feel their frusteration at the walls and confinement. I wish they could get a chance to be out in the jungle before they die. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Liz's Pics Sunset

The blimp up in the upper left hand corner is this new tourist company located at Moffett Field in Mountain View. For $500 you get an hour long ride around the bay area. Liz thinks it is worth it, I think it's a rip off for just one hour. I understand that's progbably how much it costs, but I just don't have that kind of money to spend on an hour. You can also see the Transamerica Building off to the right there. I just wish it wasn't so grainy (need a faster lens-grr). 

Fall Colors

Without Polarizer.

With Polarizer.

I just wanted to post a nice little useage of the polarizer. The leaves are waxy and do a good job of scattering the sunlight which makes them look washed out and white. If you use a polarizer, you kill the glare, and the color comes right through. Not to mention the sky is a bit darker which is always nice. These were taken at Mill's College the same day as we were digging in the dirt. See, California has fall colors too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mill's College Native Tree Planting

Whew! Well that's a start. I will be continuously working on changing how the blog "looks", and maybe eventually get to how it "feels", but I can at least stand how things are right now. This last weekend, Brian asked if I wanted to plant some trees, and I said yes. Liz went along for the ride as well, and probably worked harder than me. Oh and I'd like to thank Squidfingers for their pattern (on the sides, but I'll probably make my own eventually), and to this site done by a chica named Amanda which explained the modifications that I have done thus far. 

HDR Shovel
Peeps working, digging holes, etc. 
HDR of ths site and the huge Euch. Liz and Liz are working in the back.

Brian in digging motion.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The 500th Post!

That's right, 500 posts thus far on this blog in just over 3 years. Most of these have been in the last year, as my photo taking has escalated, as well the number of websites I'm currently plugged in to on a daily basis has grown, I have gotten more active on this blog. I hope you all out there have enjoyed what I have posted, and plan to continue to post in this public forum. In honor of this occasion, I have decided to overhaul the look, format, and style that is posted here on Guz's World. This site will be dedicated to pictures, politics, and philosophy- sorta typical of what has been here thus far. Basically this site will be reserved for writing my thoughts, while using visual images to string the thoughts together (or the narrative will be there to explain the pictures). The difference is there will be no more posts of simply images, with no text, in a big post-gasm.

Those kinds of posts will be reserved for a new blog that I am starting, Guz's Photo Blog- simple name, but to the point I think. It will have a seperate different layout and style. I don't know that I will do the multiple image sets though, I haven't made up my mind. I'd appreciate some input- do you like the 3-5 image sets, or would you maybe rather a picture per day, one picture per post. Even though it will be very hard for me to choose, I would be doing some serious filtering of my pictures, only publishing the very best cream of the crop. Thoughts? Also, would you prefer no text, or just maybe a single line of text, like a caption in a magazine? Remember there will be overlap between the two blogs, and from any given set, I will probably post more pictures here, than over there, only here there will be a dialogue explaining what was going on with me during the photo taking. Thoughts, opinions, or comments on this?

Well, anyway, I have really enjoyed the whole blogging experience as a medium of expression, and I hope that I can keep it up, because I'd really like to look back years from now on these first few years with some kind of sentimentality. Thanks for visiting!


Bush and Surveillance

If the gov't starts spying on journalists, I hit the panic button. I always knew the Bush administration was spying on us, but I guess I hoped that my fears were false. All those conservatives saying, "National Security" are full of shit. I mean are you all so blind to think that someone with unparallelled supervisory powers will use them for "Good", whatever that means? The temptation to spy on your enemies (and in this case friends as well- see Tony Blair) is just too great for anyone, especially someone as morally defunct as the 43rd Presidential Jerk of the US. 

Thanks dude. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coorelation: TV and Happiness

From the NYTimes- Link

“We looked at 8 to 10 activities that happy people engage in, and for each one, the people who did the activities more — visiting others, going to church, all those things — were more happy,” Dr. Robinson said. “TV was the one activity that showed a negative relationship. Unhappy people did it more, and happy people did it less.”

Girl in Pink - Revisited-Update

All of this politics talk has gotten me thirsty for some pointless art play. Here is a picture I took about a month ago, and since I've been playing with motion, blur, and overlay- I thought that I would try to combine them into something new. Here the original and new versions are, let me know what you think- this was a quick rough attempt, and I need to know whether it's worth going back to my original big image and re-working that version- or not. Which do you prefer?
UPDATE: One more of just a weee bit of blur on her backside...?

Umm- Definition of Tacky?


It's a short one. All I gotta say is nuff said.

Tacky or not, the Chinese?

Anyone remember the Simpsons where the news reporter freaks out thinking that alien ants are taking over? Here come the Chinese...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Automaker Bailout: UPDATE - Bailout Semantics

I again have to start with, This topic really makes me conflicted.

If you are interested, please listen to these two podcasts:

Both of these programs really made me think hard about the consequences of both acting, and not acting with reguard to the automotive industry. 

Here is what Mitt Romney has to say, the best argument I've seen against a "bailout". 

I have been thinking about what the term "bailout" means. This is what Wikipedia has to say about the word (and more). An excerpt,
"bailout, in economics and finance, is an injection of liquidity given to a bankrupt or nearly bankrupt entity, such as a corporation or a bank, in order for it to meet its short-term obligations. Often bailouts are by governments, or by consortia of investors who demand control over the entity as the price for injecting funds.
The bailing out of a corporation by government is controversial because bankruptcy can be seen as being caused by the failure to satisfy consumer demand; the bailing out is thus an instance of government intervention on the market overruling the will of consumers. The bailout also chooses winners and losers. For example in the most recent bailout by the US government some companies were allowed to fail while other companies were bailed out."

Ok, so, my question is, what's the difference between that, and a loan? From what I've heard about the nature of these "cash injections" they are more like loans. We, the people, the investors into these companies (AIG, Bear-Stearns, et al) will be paid out first, and other people will get paid out differently depending on the way the terms are structured, but from what I've heard this is more of an investment into these different companies and markets. The US gov't did this with Crystler back in the early 80's when Lee Iaococca steered them back on course and we the people turned a profit on that loan. I ask again, what is the difference between a loan and a bailout? Again I turn to Wikipedia- Loan:

"loan is a type of debt. This article focuses exclusively on monetary loans, although, in practice, any material object might be lent. Like all debt instruments, a loan entails the redistribution of financial assets over time, between the lender and the borrower.
Legally, a loan is a contractual promise of a debtor to repay a sum of money in exchange for the promise of a creditor to give another sum of money."

Everything before the last break was written last night/early this morning. I love it that my girlfriend beat me to the punch on that article from Mitt, too funny.

I was talking to Jeff about this difference between a bailout and a loan, and he had a good point; a loan becomes a bailout when the terms of that loan are so much better than the company could dream of getting (at the time). Basically, the government is giving these companies such good terms on these loans that compared to what normal lenders would be requiring (ie more money down and worse interest rates), the government is effectively giving the money away, hence, bailout.

However, this doesn't completely capture the problem in my opinion. We get two birds with one stone by helping out the auto industry, a potentially profitable investment for our tax dollars (sure the return sucks, but it's not a total loss), and the tax revenue generated by keeping the car companies alive (not to mention less cost for unemployment, etc.)- assuming that history is an indicator and we get our money back.

Some of this was taken from a response to an email comment I received last night- I hope to post bits and pieces of the comment as I found it to be very insightful and heartfelt.

The bad side I see is structural. Obviously the big dogs at the top are less than functioning members of the company. I'm not talking about all the voices of dissidence against poor corporate policy decisions; ie taking a personal hand in systematically destroying the public transit systems, keeping CAFE standards low, or lobbying against the Koyoto protocol. I know that there are young intelligent people who work at these companies and who are trying like bastards to improve the company from within. That's who I'm not talking about.

Who I am talking about are the leeches who run this economy. Seriously, business people, up in the front office, wheeling and dealing and sucking asshole to keep their job security. What do they really do? Keep the books? Make sure money moves from A to B and back again? When did they design a new product? When did they turn a gear or wrench? Ok yes, I'm being extreme here, but they are seriously the fuckers that I'm pissed off about. And you KNOW that if we pump 50 billion into the automotive coffers, those bastards are still going to walk away with tens of millions for their salary, while good people lose their job and get nothing.

Also you should know that even if they go bankrupt, it will be a restructuring bankruptcy. There is no way that they will just disappear. The airlines almost all went bankrupt back in '02 and they are looking like they'll be turning a profit this year, even with this insanity. Finally, let me say this. I don't want the US automotive industry to disappear. I guess I am just asking the question, what does it mean to be a "US" company anymore? For GM to become a viable business almost everyone that I have heard speak on the subject says that their play is outside of the US at this point. Their overseas market has been practically untouched (until very recently) by the economic slowdown. This means that even if they get money from the gov't, they will still have to shift their product to more foreign sales, which we all know means more plants in foreign countries, with foreign engineers, and less American people in jobs.

Finally, I think that the best way to deal with this entire problem is to actually help the workers. One of the worst problems the Big 3 have is their fixed overhead costs related to taking care of the aging baby boomers who are now retiring, getting sick, and dying- these things cost LOTS of money that the Big 3 just doesn't have right now. I've got an idea! How about we have some universal health care so the Big 3 doesn't have to be financially responsible for these people's insurance. That is a big source of inequality between the Big 3, Japanese Auto, and Euro-Auto makers. So maybe instead of bailing out companies, we need to bailout the American people. It would allow for stronger bargaining for higher salaries (you don't pay my health insurance no mo, give me money bitches!), no more pressure about changing jobs (most of us change jobs every 2-3 yrs on average), and old people would no longer worry about paying for their 20 sets of pills they have to take everyday.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about this subject. I think I've gotten it all out. Good Luck to you Big 3, I hope to see you on the Flip-Side.

Out My Window Again

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The 67 from My Window

Morning Breakfast

I can do better, there will be more of these composite over time kinda things to come. My new project.

Automaker Bailout?

This question has been asked often this week. I am honestly not sure what to think right now. I've been asked my opinion a few times this week alone, and I'm so conflicted about this question. On one hand, the automotive industry is one of those cornerstones of the US economy. Or, it was. Also, I'm from Michigan, and I remember how the Big Three represented the green blood of the Michigan economy, and while my nostalgia for the Great Lake State is rather low, I still don't like seeing any state's economy crumble (besides maybe some of the coal economies of apalacia- sorry guys carbon is SOOOooo 19th century). 

However, on the other hand, articles like this really stoke my anti-car nature.  These are the same groups that lobbied(s) HARD against raising the EPA's emission standards, raising the mpg average of the automotive companies fleets, and against the Koyoto Protocol. I mean screw you guys and your making money on heavy, big, huge profit margin SUVs and large luxury vehicles. I'd also like to go ahead and call scenanigans on buying up large chunks of the public transportation systems of Los Angles, Chicago, and Detroit. That was totally a bullshit move guys, you went for the kneecaps on that one. In the 40s, GM started funneling money into a company called National City Lines, whom bought up a bunch of these rail and trolly lines in the cities around the US, and then systematically ran the businesses into the ground while getting more people to buy cars. (This point is debatable FYI). 

Finally, pleanty of other automobile manufactuors are doing just fine. Toyota is struggling with the downturn, but they have pleanty of cash reserves from the sales of the hit Prius (who saw that coming, I mean what a fucking hippy car!?!), and from their sheer market grab of the last decade. Honda is in even better shape than Toyota as they have made fewer risky bets over the last couple of years (this isn't coloquial knowledge, but I don't have sources either). BMW is releasing a whole line of diesel cars in the up coming year, and those should do well w/ biodiesel, etc (also, where is the diesel/hybrid? I haven't seen that yet). 

Really I think the question comes down to where we draw the line? We bailed out the banks in fear that they would stop loaning to the companies that have our jobs, but most American companies don't really have our jobs anymore. They've sent those jobs overseas in order to profit on reduced shipping costs (just like Toyota and Honda have done as well btw- so I'm not criticizing, just stating). Who are the banks supposed to loan to if we don't have companies like GM/Ford/Crysler to loan the money to? How is that loaned money supposed to help out Americans if these companies no longer employ Americans (in the same way and number)? Does it really matter if these companies condense/fail? It would be another piece in the long history of American commerce, maybe the end of a chapter that I for one, would be sad to see move behind me. 

(By the way, the pictures were grabbed from a collaboration between LIFE magazine and Google who is now hosting over 10,000,000 images from the magazine's 130ish years- Link.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I think that this passage is the thesis of this book; that being an overview of the philosophy of dualism. Mind and Body: are they seperate, indistinguisable, or simply physical? 

"[She] was therefore born of a situation which brutally reveals the irreconcilable duality of body and soul, that fundamental human experience.

A long time ago, man would listen in amazement to the sound of regular beats in his chest, never suspecting what they were. He was unable to identify himself with so alien and unfamilar an object as the body. The body was a cage, and inside that cage was something which looked, listened, feared, thought, and marveled; that something, that remainder left over after the body had been acounted for, was the soul.

Today, of course, the body is no longer unfamiliar: we know that the beating in our chest is the heart and that the nose is the nozzle of a hose sticking out of the body to take oxygen to the lungs. the face is nothing but an instrument panel registering all the body mechanisms: digestion, sight, hearing, respiration, thought.

Ever since man has learned to give each part of the body a name, the body has given him less trouble. He has also learned that the soul is nothing more than the gray matter of the brain in action. It old duality of body and soul has become shrouded in scientific terminology, and we can laugh at it as merely and obsolete prejudice. 

But just make someone who has fallen in love listen to his stomach rumble, and the unity of body and soul, that lyrical illusion of the age of science, instantly fades away."

-Milan Kundera

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Here is an interesting idea which I don't fully grok. I will when its fullness comes. (read Stranger in a Strange Land and my speak won't seem so odd.)

A View from the Sidewalk

Is that Poo? Yes it is. Why did I take a picture? Because I was amazed by the wall poo, the shear logistics boggles the mind, and it was like the exclaimation point on that block, being the 5th pile (yes five) that crossed our path. I have come across poo in the city before, but this kind of density deserved preservation for posterity. 

Gmail Labs

For those of you using Gmail, I highly recommend you take a look at your Settings/Labs section. There are some really interesting features here, and you can really change the look of your Gmail interface. My favorite is the picture next to the Gchat text. 

Say Goodbye Uncle Ted (Please!)

This is encouraging news blostering my opinions of Alaskans. Looks like Ted might just lose after all. I was really worried that a group of Americans were about to put a felon in the Senate, sheesh.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

City Super Sprint

Liz and I did a "City Super Sprint" which is a 1/4  Olympic triathalon. We went to the pool just down Bernal Hill and swam 400m. Then we dried off, got on the bikes and rode to Golden Gate Park. We had a nice little hill climb up Sanchez, but nothing to extreme or nearly as extreme as other areas in the city (ie Bernal Hill). In the park we did a 2 mi run around Stow Lake. This was my first attemt at something like this, and it was more tiring than I thought it would be and my theighs are kinda sore. I think if I could work hard on the swimming I could do a "Sprint" (1/2 Olymic triathalon), but the open ocean events around here make me nervous. 

Little Guy with Overlays

So this is a technique of combining multiple pictures with different features like textures, a main character, etc. in such a way as to enhance without overly complicating the piece. I've tried to make a couple of these without much sucess. This is the first one that I like. 

De Young Museum - Part 4

De Young Museum - Part 3

De Young Museum - Part 2

De Young Museum - Part 1

Friday, November 07, 2008

Magnum Photo Essay

This is a very provocative format of presenting a story. This essay is about capital punishment and how the US is one of the last countries to still use it. I love how simple the essay is, I find that its simplicity really drives the point home. 

Stevens <3 of Oil Co. = Messed Up Elections in AK

I read on this rather liberally biased blog an interesting breakdown of the elections turn-out results in Alaska last night when my eyes were tired. I don't trust political blogs that are obviously biased. I assume they are exajerating most of their numbers and comments to a point where the truth becomes fuzzy. However, this morning I went ahead and looked at the numbers from 2004 vs. 2008. For the presidential election in 2004 Alaska had 301,914 people vote- a 66% turnout (and 60% in 2000). In the presidential election in 2008, Alaska had 223,258 people vote (so far- absentee hasn't been counted yet)- a turnout of ~54% lowest turnout ever for AK. This means that in 2008, a year of record numbers of people voting and record years for turnout percentages and a year when their own Governor is on the ticket, Alaska had a reduction of over 25% from 2008! This at a time when there was a record number of people voting in the Alaska primary, a record number of newly registered democrates, and record number of people going to political rallies. I guess that when Tuesday rolled around they just thought all the hoopla was over blown...

(Also, I found that the Washington Post got wind of this today as well - Link)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Election Cartogram

Area is proportional to population and color is proportional to percentage dem vs. rep voting. I remember the one from 2004 being much less uniform...