The other side of the coin…..the grass is just the same colour

8 11 2014

DSC_2393 - Version 2

For 5 months I have been culturing a beard. The moustache and chops are optional but depend on my propensity to approach the razor. I’ve had beards before; they come and go. The first when I was about 28, the second aged perhaps 35.

Of my own volition, I live in a society which discriminates against many things: tattoos, skin colour, ethnicity, gender, and beards. Of course there are also many positive points about Japan which in my opinion outweigh the negatives quite considerably but nonetheless…..I can see the grass on the other side of the fence and it is exactly the same shade of shit brown that it was when I lived in England.

I consider myself privileged to have had the experience of living in a society whose values are far removed from those I experienced in my formative years. I think it’s an extremely humbling and valuable life lesson, that absolutely everyone should aspire to. It seems that there are so many people whose outlooks might change when they’ve had the experience of being treated as an inferior commodity; with no hope in sight of being able to truly change that society mindset.

So this morning, armed with a sharp blade, foam, and a vision of purity, I set about the cancerous growth that had so clearly afflicted my face for the last 5 months. A labour of love (and hate, and itching, and the most negative reactions you could ever imagine from my sons and the wife – I suppose everyone else being too polite to say?) destroyed in a few deft minutes. Oh so that’s what my skin looks like? Yuk! Should have left it alone. One cold sore and a few unidentified bumps have been discovered. Should we inform the National Geographic Survey?

Visually I thought a beard added significantly to any guy’s appearance. It’s a balance implement for the hair on his scalp, even if he doesn’t have any? Well I have to think about that one. Maybe add some bristles in Magic Marker to a few campaign posters that are stuck up around my neighbourhood, just to get a vague idea. The hair on the chin adds a frame to the ‘eyes/nose/mouth’ that seem to be the fixation of portrait viewers. Or perhaps that’s just me.


a makeshift pipe wrench.

18 04 2014

so, this is a little piece about a problem I encountered with one of the numerous bits of photo gear that I own, and the simple solution that resolved it. 

I have this old rolling studio stand, that the wife insists must be kept in the garage. it’s a heavy old thing, probably steel, with aluminium sections. not terribly large, maybe 6 feet tall at full extension. the legs can be folded for transportation, and therein lay the problem. somehow I had managed to misthread the bolt in the base, that holds the legs in the ‘using’ position. so out came the toolbox and every wrench I own. you know what I am going to write next….yep, none of them had wide enough jaws to grip the head of the bolt.

but what occurred to me was this simple solution – MAnfrotto to the rescue. MA= Mechanical Advantage, right? who was it who wrote ‘give me a long enough lever and I will move the world’? Archimedes I believe, or one of those clever Greek blokes. 

I am, I guess, a bit of a Manfrotto collector. because their stuff works. it’s that simple. take one #122B Adjustable Pole for backlight stand, insert studded end into Super Clamp #035, and tighten. now you have a wrench with jaws opening up to 60mm, and a huge lever. without needing the extra leverage of the second extension, I was able to fasten the jaws of the clamp around the offending bolt head, and move it enough to allow the legs to be collapsed.

now I know you’re thinking ‘yeah, but the bolt is still misthreaded’ well true enough, but the legs can still be used in the rolling position well enough, without need to rotate that bolt. THANK YOU MAnfrotto


two men and their wheelbarrow

18 02 2014

two men and their wheelbarrow

on my way to Big Sight exhibition halls yesterday, ride past this brand new road. much as I generally loathe construction, it is quite a refreshing sight.