Movie Meme

Taking a clue from Leslee, here's my own take on the Movie Meme...

Total number of films I own on DVD and video:
Looking at the two bookshelves on either side of the living room TV, Id say there must be over 200 DVDs right there. This includes perhaps 100 movies from the states, and 50 foreign films including mostly Almodovar and Amenabar films, but theres the odd French films in there too including almost all of the Audrey Tautou films and an old favorite Betty Blue. The other 50 DVDs are of the educational variety such as the Carl Sagan series Cosmos, the PBS series on String Theory called The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a whole bunch of Nova episodes, the 2001 PBS 6 hour series on Evolution, the 4 hour Ken Burns special on Lewis and Clark, several NASA/Space Travel type shows like Origins, and the Revolution OS flick which traces the development of Linux and includes curious interviews with Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and of course Linus Torvalds. Among the VHS tapes, I still have my very first VHS purchase, Jeremiah Johnson, and my most recent VHS purchase, the Ernest Shackleton 6 part series starring Kenneth Brannigan(?).

Last film I bought:
Just this week the most recent addition to our DVD collection came in from Amazon... Northern Exposure, Season 3. This television series was a centerpiece to my twenties. The story as a whole further compelled me to travel to Alaska several times, although the filming was done in Roslyn, Washington outside Seattle where I had to stop and have a beer in The Brick,and I did manage to spend a couple days in Talkeetna, AK where the series was supposedly based on. Check out my photos. Only this past year has the NX series been available on DVD. Previously, while fearing that I would never obtain a video archive of the series, I bought a few key episodes that were available on VHS from independent vendors on Amazon. I paid $20-45 for individual episodes that I felt were most memorable, including "Northern Lights" from season 1 and "Thanksgiving" from series 3. The most inspiring character to me was Chris Stevens, the self-taught, quasi-hippi/biker from a wrecked home in West Virginia that elevated himself to the Cicelys poet laureate, DJ, lay philosopher. I remember frantically writing down and later researching all the literary fragments that were used by the Chris Stevens role. There was even a book published containing only the musings, quips, and quotes of Chris Stevens, : Chris in the Morning: Love, Life, and the Whole Karmic Enchilada. By season 5 the NX writers were jumping the shark, and as much as I loved the series I could hardly bring myself to watch with the new doctor and all. I missed the final episode Tranquility Base, which ended with the folky Our Town by Iris Dement, so I guess it will be a year or so before its available on DVD.


Graphics Fun with Orb Weavers

This probably guarantees my place in the Nerd Hall of Fame on the basis of not only spending so much time with a spider, but then spending so much time making graphic art from a spider.

Out of the series of photos taken of this spider, only 2 of them turned out somewhat ok. This view is looking downwards, and since the spider was clinging upside down from the web, this is the underside.

I was trying to use my Kodak digital camera with two magnifying filters attached, from a range of about 2-3 centimeters away from the subject. Apparently, just a millimeter or so throws off the focus, and on a sunny day its quite difficult to determine the image quality by looking at the LCD because of too much glare.

Once I touched them up in Adobe Photoshop, I couldn't help from trying out some of the filters such as the Stylize > Glowing filter which produced the multicolor effect, and also trying create a green glowing outline that might be used as a desktop background by first desaturating, selecting just the light areas, then adjusting the color balance and hue.

To the best I can determine from my Audubon guide to North American spiders, this is one of the Large Jawed Orb Weavers, perhaps the Venusta Orchard Spider, part of the family Tetragnathidae. The guide says:

These orb weavers are easily recognized by their unusually large, powerful jaws, or chelicerae. Like Orb Weavers, they have 8 eyes, and 3 claws on each foot or tarsus. Many species spin orb webs although in some species only spiderlings produce webs. There are about 25 species in North America