Encounters - Denise Stewart-Sanabria

The Huntsville Museum of Art has a series that has been running since 1986 called Encounters. It is focused on regional contemporary artists and I always enjoy getting a chance to hear the artists speak on their work and answer questions. This exhibit, running October 7th through January 20, 2019, is featuring two bodies of work from Denise Stewart-Sanabria. Denise lives in Knoxville and I’ve met her a couple of times at shows there.

She also has a solo show in Nashville running October 6th through the 25th at The Arts Company.

I could try to describe her work but honestly, listening to her talk about the influences is s tough act to follow. Below is is a video from Knoxville Public Access Television featuring her in her studio and a few shots I took at the talk at the museum.

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Spider Stories and I Told Myself So

Yesterday was a day for spiders. It started with a coworker who is generally REALLY creeped out by spiders showing me a fuzzy silhouette spider eating a bug pic on her phone sent to her by another coworker. She wanted to know if I knew what kind of spider it was and said it’s really big. I don’t have this pic to share but it was small and shot through a screen. I couldn’t make out any details really, but I offered up this image to illustrate what a big spider really looks like.

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Next up, another friend began a conversation that started with “I just did a horrible thing.” Long story short, she tried to save a spider which she normally would have squished but in the process the spider lost a couple of legs. I explained it could survive that way just fine and go her for overcoming her normal first reaction to just kill it.

Next up, on the way home I noticed a little jumper clinging to the outside of the driver side door window. It was a decent size and was tucked in nicely. This morning on the way back to work, it was still hanging out so I managed to snag a crummy cell phone shot (more on that in a minute). If it is getting good meals hiding on the side of the car I may get a chance at a better photo this afternoon.

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Now the “I told myself so” part of the story. This morning I eyeballed my camera bag and waffled in whether or not to put it back in the car. I said to myself nahh but you might regret it. Well I regretted it when I pulled into the parking lot. Perched on a lamp post between me and the front door was a very nice calm hawk.  

So that’s two photos I could have gotten with the good camera and a proper lens that I had to settle on cellphone shots with instead. 

 

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Snoozing Facebook Keywords and Other Random Shit

I just saw a blurb somewhere that Facebook is adding a feature to let you snooze keywords for 30 days. Soon you will be able to avoid or limit exposure those topics you are tired of seeing or shows you don't want spoiled. 

Alexa has a skill that will let you post to Slack via voice / dictation. While I find this interesting I don't work in a place where when I am anywhere near an Echo device that I want to think about work at all. Work is the only place I use slack. Also - pretty much anyone can walk up to an Echo and and say "Alex use dictate this to slack please" and it will get posted as the person logged into the device. 

I think it might be time to read "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield again. I always seem to get energized after a read/listen. There is a lot in there I need reminded of and it is a short listen perfect for round trips to Sewanee, Nashville or Chattanooga. I'm going to need a break from "Dreamsongs" by George RR Martin soon anyway, while short stories it is a big tome.

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Tested - D+

I’ve been a fan of Tested.com for years. Really just the YouTube channel so some of my complaints might be unfair. I really do enjoy a reasonable number of their videos. Granted some of their stuff is tedious and appealing to the deep nerd/geek culture. The best content usually involves Adam Savage from Mythbusters fame. Frank Ippolito also generates excellent content. Norm annoys me most of the time, but just because he is so darned awkward. It's a nerd channel so you get what you pay for. Speaking of paying, they have a fair amount of content behind a pay wall. I'm sure that has value to a good number of people and you can't do what they do without having a revenue stream of some sort. The aging content on the premium side does sometimes find it's way to the free YouTube channel periodically too.  

This may be a nit pick to some people, but for me it seems like an essential part of what makes a good youtube channel of this sort is missing. Video production is top notch, that is never a problem. Where they are lazy and I find this really shocking, is show notes for the episodes. They mention products left and right and claim to be all about the maker culture and facilitating creatives. But you watch a video like this one and have to wonder "How much effort would it have taken to link even the most basic of things below the video?" 

They don't link to anything mentioned in the video. Even a dolt would link to the resin kit they are painting. Heck the template at the bottom of the video notes doesn't even mention Frank who is in the video. 

Here is another one, same basic problem. This one just begs for more info. They did however manage to link to their inspiration for this project. Not quite as bad, but you can tell from the comments that people want help with finding some of the stuff they use in the vids. Come on guys, get with it. Hell these are both from the premium feed, people paid good money and deserve the extra effort. 

Kick Start my Heart

In general I am a fan of Kickstarter and to a lesser amount, GoFundMe. I've backed quite a few things on Kickstarter and been pretty darned pleased with most of them. Where I find myself reluctant to back a product is when it involves slightly complicated production or technology. Particularly if this is the teams first go at a product. They tend to run way past projected delivery, stumble, and the end product isn't always that great. 

Where I am rarely disappointed is backing a book. Books are generally pretty straight forward from concept, design, production, and fulfillment. Things fail of course. Sometimes the creator wasn't far enough along in the content creation and when they HAVE to produce they panic and collapse under the pressure.

Never, ever expect the project you fund to deliver on time. It rarely happens. People make plans for their project based on meeting their goal. Lightning strikes and they end up funding 200 or 300% and aren't prepared for the success and struggle to scale up. They offer stretch goals and don't factor in the added time it takes to fulfill those goals. 9 out of 10  times book production appears to be in China. It's just economics. It takes time to get things from there to here. Proofs have to be created, shipped, turned around if problems are found. There are holidays that might unexpectedly  delay production. A hurricane might sink your ship. Essentially shit happens, don't freak out if it takes a while to get your reward.

If you do back something, engage with the team. Kickstarter has messaging within the platform. If the team working the project is communicating with you and giving updates, respond. It encourages them and garners you good will and helps keep you informed of what is happening so you don't think they just vanished with your money. 

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Rejected

I have a DJI Spark. I picked it up a couple of months ago and have only flown it in my back yard so far. I've not shot anything anyone would consider more than amateurish of course. I haven't really had much practice time. 

This weekend I took it with me to my girlfriends restaurant which she is currently in the process of reopening in a new format. Formerly known as IvyWild, it was a farm to table fine dining restaurant. The food was amazing and it was a popular spot for special occasions in the town of Sewanee, TN. The new format is a wood fired pizza and wine bar. Soon to open and it is going to be wonderful. I'll post more about octo π soon. 

My plan was to do some exterior shots for her and just get some more time on the drone with some real settings that would give the footage a bit more of a cinematic look and feel. Sadly, no flying or footage in her location as there is a small airport near there and her restaurant is just inside the no fly zone. Rejected.. 

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Whoah - What Did I Just Watch?

I cut the cord on subscription cable TV years ago. However sometimes you still want to watch what approximates TV so I subscribed to Sling. Amazon Prime has it's benefits, but the offering always seems thin to me. It could be nothing more than the weird suggestions and search function. Netflix generally rocks but you are funneled into their suggestions pretty hard too. That is fine.

Sling offers a base selection of channels and à la carte features as well. One of the channels in the standard line up is El Rey Network. Kung Fu classics, Godzilla marathons and old action TV series are on the menu most of the time. Yesterday I noticed a series I had never heard of before called Starhunter Redux. I knew it was going to be bad, the lead was Michael Paré. I was not disappointed.  Wow. The first episode had a plot hiding in there, but the cuts from scene to scene to scene really had no connection what so ever. The character motivations were horrible or not explained. Things just didn't make any sense. Super low budget, but the space scenes are interesting. Just can't express how bad it was. 

I'll probably watch another episode.