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So, the Sigmonster was returned. The rental company apparently did want it back after all. Meanies. =:) Still, I have to say, even if I had a few thousand kicking around for such, I'd be struck with the option of the far more portable 200-400mm f/4. Not as long in reach, but, not requiring a tripod - and that's been uncomfortable to deal with, impressive a lens as it is. Still wonder if I should've rented a 2x TC to go with it, just for the hell of it. =:) Meanwhile, I've thrown my hat in toward another contest - in part because of the allure of the grand prize (an eight day National Geographic tour of Alaska's coastline!), and partially simply the prestige of the contest itself. Whether or not I stand a chance - WTH. =:D They'll be selecting the winners over July, so, I shan't be held in suspense for long. The competition is, naturally, hefty: something in the order of 25,000 entries, and the judges will be selecting ten out of all that, then ordering those into the winners and runners-up. (FWIW, this shot of the lens was at my original rabbiteering spot - it was the final day of the rental, so I thought I'd give it a try there, while I had the chance. Unfortunately, the weather was looking iffy, with rain coming at some point in the evening - one forecast said around 6pm, the other, more like 9pm. 'Course, it had to be the former.. and there's no cover as you walk back into town, about 20-25 minutes.. still, it wasn't heavy rainfall, just a prolonged shower. Here's one moment from that evening, showing just how concentrated rabbits' attention becomes in a pursuit)

That was a seriously fun weekend. =:D I'm not really given to appearing in public, but the venue beckoned - and, as it turned out, I finally got to meet lupestripe. ^_^ Plus a few other furs, including a very cute tanuki. ^_^ We met at a coffee house, where I was able to catch up on some well-needed caffeination in the form of a cappuccino with an extra shot (but no caramel syrup! They don't offer any), before we ambled off toward the market, splitting briefly to grab something lunchable. Much admiration was found for the bejeweled pig. Then, off to the canal, for a pleasing stroll beneath some undecided, yet moderately happy skies, passing by many narrowboats and other folks enjoying the walk, before ascending to one of the higher parts of town, followed by a most welcome descent upon the Bell, a particularly cozy pub with a good line in both ales and ciders, and a surprisingly strong line in live music (demonstrated the next day by a 4+ hour set by Truckstop Honeymoon, originally of N'Awlins, latterly Oklahoma, "following the inclement weather") - but then, if you check their site, you'll notice an applauding quote regarding the place from Robert Plant.

Then another coffee house - but, having enjoyed a delicious Bitter and a beautiful local medium-dry cider from nearby Box (yes, you can indeed live in Box), my palate was out of coffee mode, so I simply enjoyed good conversation with Lupestripe, Wolfie, Ambery, and others. After this, as the puppy and coyote were both keen to watch the evening's World Cup game, it was off to a pretty neat venue that only opened after I left the town, with a good line in casks, kegs, and well-done pub food - in my case, just a snack of a nicely soft-boiled nommy Scotch egg. =:9 Oh, and there may have been one or two pints involved. Maybe.

As the game finished, with Lupestripe mostly managing to multiplex his consciousness between the game and the conversations around the two tables, some of the attendees took their leave, whilst the rest of us headed off to dinner at the Salamander, one of my old haunts, which I'd recommended for reliably good food, and Bath Ales' wares in as top-notch condition as you'll ever find them. (Gem in bottles is quite pleasant, but on cask, it's an entirely different, magnificent animal =:) Finally, with the loose intent of probably taking a taxi up to campus for my room for the night, I wound up walking the whole way. I slept well that night. ^_^


Here's a place that brings out my inner Rarity. ^_^ I know I'm going to have to get along to Artesian (assuming their "smart casual" dress code doesn't rule me out, given I'm incompatible with formality) sometime before very long - such wonderfully imaginative cocktails, and simply beautiful to look at as well; a feast for the palate and the eyes likewise. How about the Magician? "Becherovka, cherry, smoke, jasmine. Presented in a special cup from Czech Republic with an inbuilt straw in the handle, this particular cocktail is designed to reveal a new taste with every sip, changing from red fruits and cherry to jasmine and smoke." Or to finish off with, perhaps What is Agugu?!: "Talk about indulgent, this rich chococlatey blend of mezcal and tequila, sweet vermouth, chipotle and high-grade Mexican chocolate is the ultimate dessert as cocktail. Swizzled and poured in front of the guests at the table the thick, intense layers of chocolate, chilli and tequila dance around the palate very nicely. Prepare for a head rush."

The furry short Kaze: Ghost Warrior's been uploaded, legitimately, to YouTube.

And on the trailer front, you might enjoy the recently completed one for Stina & the Wolf, coming out soon. It's perhaps presumptuous to make any conclusions on a trailer, but it strikes me as a production you might enjoy if you liked, say, The Company of Wolves, or Labyrinth, with a tiny bit of Final Fantasy.

And, apparently there's also one now out for the forthcoming Astérix: Le Domaine des Dieux. It's CG, but, looks like it might be handled quite well, though admittedly, there's not a lot to judge by. Anyway, it comes out in France on Nov 26.

If you enjoyed Yonderland last year, you may be pleased to hear it has been renewed for a second series, filming this autumn, airing in 2015.

As for Ridley Scott, his next project won't be Prometheus 2, but The Martian, "the story of an astronaut who becomes one of the first people to walk on Mars, only to then face the prospect of dying there too when circumstances leave him stranded."

The University of Bath has an interesting series of public lectures available as free downloads (MP3 only, no video, unfortunately), with diverse topics including the science of time travel, pain management, artificial photosynthesis, and infinity.

If you're looking for a good biology/natural history set of books, I see E.O. Wilson's "Life on Earth" series of seven iBooks is now free. They're a good example of blending video and animation where appropriate - they're not merely text and drawings translated from a paper format into electronic form. Well worth downloading!

In something of a coup (so to speak), as part of the British Library's 2015 celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, they've arranged loans of two other rather significant documents: the Declaration of Independence, copied by Thomas Jefferson ("It is particularly interesting because it shows passages subsequently excised in Congress, such as Jefferson's lengthy condemnation of slavery"), and Delaware's copy of the Bill of Rights, one of twelve surviving copies, out of the fourteen produced.

And to wrap up this entry, another shot produced with the aid of the above monstrous lens - nothing dramatic, just rather adorable. ^_^ There was a lot of nuzzling and bonding going on between these two. Now and then, the seemingly dominant one would pause for a few seconds, leaving me plenty of time to catch this moment.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Still wonder if I should've rented a 2x TC to go with it, just for the hell of it. =:)

You could always rent it again, and with a TC then! Good luck with the contest, too, I'll keep my ${appendage}s crossed for you.

assuming their "smart casual" dress code doesn't rule me out, given I'm incompatible with formality

I'd imagine you'll be fine. "casual" is, after all, by definition informal; for "smart casual", I'd expect that you'd be OK with e.g. jeans and a turtleneck or polo shirt. If more were required, I'd say they'd not be asking for "casual" anymore.

The place sounds interesting, too. Wonder how much they charge for those things. :)

The furry short Kaze: Ghost Warrior's been uploaded, legitimately, to YouTube.

Nice. And wow, I remember that piece — watching it (with the creator, no less) at EF X, and buying the DVD. :) Pity it's only in Youtube in 360p, though I of course don't know what resolution the original final render was in. (Probably not full HD, alas...)

In something of a coup (so to speak), as part of the British Library's 2015 celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, they've arranged loans of two other rather significant documents: the Declaration of Independence, copied by Thomas Jefferson ("It is particularly interesting because it shows passages subsequently excised in Congress, such as Jefferson's lengthy condemnation of slavery"), and Delaware's copy of the Bill of Rights, one of twelve surviving copies, out of the fourteen produced.

I'm surprised to hear the USA were willing to part with those (and hand them to their former colonial masters, no less). :) I'd not want to be the one who decided to approve the loan should anything happen to either.

Still, very cool, and a great opportunity to see these documents with your own eyes!
I'm really tempted, but that grade of lens is pretty expensive, even if you don't own it - £173 per 3 days, which wound up being about the weekly rate, under the 50% off offer I took advantage of.

I do, nonetheless, have a Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 coming later this month, under the same offer. And that will be compatible with the 1.4 and 1.7 TCs I have. ^_^ Much lighter, so it'll be feasibly handheld, even if a bit heavier than the 120-300.

I'd like to hear what the actual rendering res of Kaze was - given that was in the age of DVDs, it may well have been SD, but who knows?

Even as is, seeing some of the early American documents is rather inspiring. We're entering a difficult time of universal surveillance, by all parties. It'll probably be a dangerous time ahead, but exciting.
Ah, yes, not cheap at all. With that sort of rental price, you might make a handy profit buying one and renting it out yourself! :)

And exciting times indeed! But if "may you live in interesting times" is a curse, I don't want to know what "may you live in exciting times" is.

Semi-related — have you seen Charlie Stross's YAPC::NA 2014 keynote? Some food for thought on what the year 2034 looks like there. (I'm not sure I share all his conclusions, but still.)
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Check out the other photos on their site. ^_^ Oh, I do hope they'll let me in! ^_^; I absolutely adore the care that goes into the composition of drinks such as those, let alone the recipe, and what sound like some very thoughtful, multi-layered compositions.

True, they're not cheap, but if they taste anywhere near as good as they look, I'll be having at least one of every one of them. =:D

So.. you're in town when? ^_^
..and https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BpvZ1xlCIAAjm9C.jpg :D
I'm kind of frustrated. Over the years I accumulated a nice bit of kit when I was shooting Canon Eos 35mm (I started shooting Eos around 1990) only to find that the lenses don't work with DSLRs. I have this nice 400mm APO, and it's all but worthless. Though one piece was interesting: I had a nice little 24mm that the diaphragm had stuck wide-open, I could still use it setting my camera at aperture-priority. Worked just fine. And with the wide-angle giving you increased depth of field inherently, it was fun to work with.

My 6D's kit lens is a very nice 24-105, and since it's full-frame, no 1.6x to apply. Still, I'm mainly a landscaper, and want something wider, I'm just not sure whether to look at an 18-20mm prime or a wide zoom. I probably ought to rent a 20mm for a week and see if it would be adequate.

But that looks like some pretty sweet kit that you've rented there. I really like your bunny shots on Flickr, my site is at WayneWestPhotography [dot] com, including a video that I made at my wife's observatory.

Interesting that you should mention The Martian. A friend has been telling me about it, and said he was going to give me a copy, but gave me something else instead. He's probably going to be pretty happy when I tell him Scott is making it in to a movie.