Archive for June, 2013

[writing] As Far As You Know, I Wrote Earthsea

Posted in art, net_liff, writing on June 17, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2946.According to an idiot online expert system, I come off in print like one of my idols:

I write like
Ursula K. Le Guin
I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

I was thinking of putting this in my sidebar but I’m leaning toward not doing this thing. It’s an interesting thing, kind of like getting a lottery scratch ticket and finding I won a grand, but it’s a distraction, really. The decision is governed by rules of which I’m not aware, which are coded by human developers who layer their own assumptions thereunto. Also it’s crufted over by advertising, so the ulterior motive is maybe the profit one and not all that hidden.

It’s kind of easy to have an algorithm tell you your writing has Ursula K. LeGuin’s voice and figure you’ve achieved something.

The object of my writing is maybe to be inspired by UKL, but not to be a clone of that.

My diary calls. 


[pdx_liff] If Portland Was Powered By The Clapper

Posted in liff in PDX, teh_funnay on June 14, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2944.Clap on … clap off …


[art] Gakyō Rōjin Manji Microsoft Excel

Posted in art, art tools, digital design tools on June 12, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2943.… or, The Old Man Mad About Art with Microsoft Excel.

Seriously? He did this:

With MS Excel?

Yep. As quoted, the 73-year old artist, Tatsuo Horiuchi, remarked “Graphics software is expensive but Excel comes pre-installed in most computers. And it has more functions and is easier to use than [Microsoft] Paint.”

I didn’t even know Excel had drawing tools!

A more complete gallery is viewable at Spoon & Tamago:

Hat tip to Carla Axtman at the Book of Face.

[pdx_photo] Parklane Park, In Black and White

Posted in black and white photos, PDX photos, SE PDX Photos on June 12, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2943.When I was out pitcher-takin’ yesterday, I explored a few features of my camera that I didn’t use often. One of them is black-and-white.

Parklane Park is a little triangular park where SE 155th Avenue and Main Street meet: it’s bracketed on the south and west by Main St, on the south and east by a curve of the interestingly-named SE Millmain Drive, and on the north by a vacant lot that was at one time a private airport (Trohs Airstrip) and was subsequently a sand and gravel quarry. It’s a nice little – but not too little – park embedded in one of those secluded southeast neighborhoods where, if you’re lucky, you’ll come by and see a league game of baseball or soccer, and kids are always playing.

The camera I own is a used Kodak EasyShare. Even though the supporting company has largely abandoned this, it’s rich in features and performs the champ for me and, just for fun, I took a couple of black and white pictures.

One (above) was predominantly light, and I let the shadows frame the picture in the second one, below.

When you live in a world of color, you tend to forget what drama a monotone brings to even the most mundane scenes, and you realize why black and white photography still has a place in artistic photography. When I look at such a picture, the brain gets active in a different way; it begins to work at exploring the light and dark spaces, and fills in color based on whim, whimsy, and memory. Color photos do it all for you – it’s all layed out, nothing left to guess at. Black and white, though, draws one into the frame.

There’s dramatic tone in the darks and lights, mystery and intrigue in the way the world has paradoxically been reduced to a shadow of itself while somehow becoming sharper and more defined. Details not noticed before leap out.

An ordinary suburban park becomes an extraordinary parallel world.

[pdx_photo] Mt Hood and Division Street and The Hood and The Camera Thereunto

Posted in Baja Gresham, Division Street, Outer East Portlandia, PDX photos, SE PDX Photos on June 11, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2942.I’m very happy with the area of Portland I live in, even if it’s not the fashionable, Portlandiable part.

As a matter of fact, I think I’m happy with it because it’s not fashionable.

Recently I took advantage of a view point that I’d actually not visited before. At SE 136th Avenue and Division Street in outer East Portland, there’s a pedestrian overpass. Its south end is located square between the Dairy Queen on the corner and the Dutch Bros of which we have much custom. We had decided to go it rough, get our coffee from Da Broze and our lunch from the shabby but so very good Cruiser’s Cafe and pack it off to Parklane Park and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. The Wife™ handled the coffee-purchasing duties and I ascended to the apex of the overpass to catch the view.

It was so nice, the camera came out.

Division Street in Portland runs, from the river out through Gresham, and if you don’t count the part calling itself SE Division Dr just beyond Gresham, about fifteen miles. That’s a long, straight piece of pavement; when I was a kid and growing up in Silverton, Salem was fifteen miles down the road.

I’ve always been impressed with streets that run that long

The thing about Division is that it’s unabashedly suburban. It’s rode hard and put away wet and it’s still got a sort of grace. In the above picture there, the little blue-gray apartment complex called the “Swan Court”? Back when this was how you got from city to city, that was a shabby little motel called the Swanee. That’s been quite a while.

The division it’s named after isn’t obvious, but I’ve wrote of it before. This street runs parallel to, and exactly one mile south of, Stark Street, which is on the Willamette Base Line.  Division Street is laid out along the first section line south of that base line; that’s the division it refers to. It was, before it was urbanized, called Section Line Road.

It, of course, beckons one to Mount Hood, which is my other fetish.

The hood I speak of is perhaps a bit of a lazy coinage these days, and I’m a little sorry for it, but it’s hard to avoid using it when speaking of the peak. I’ve lived in its shadow all my life, and it’s kind of a lodestone for me. When I see it, I know I’m where I should be. Home ground.

The challenge with my meagre equipment is to frame and choose the perspectives. I don’t have the luxury of attaching a telephoto lens when I want to get a perspective that highlights the way Mount Hood seems to loom on the horizon in subjective view; I have to stand and look and then crop the result.

I use in-camera effects.

But it’s not entirely bad. I think it makes me work more creatively. When you don’t have fancy devices to support your artistic vision, you have to be nimble. Still, I’m always surprised; Hood always comes out so much smaller in my photos than the impression I get simply looking at it.

Cities in Oregon usually impress the visitor because there are so many trees. I remember as a kid in Salem going up to the Chemeketa Parkade, that garage that overbounds Chemeketa Street; you look north and you can’t see the city for the trees. Outer East Portland, with so much green, is the same way. As urbanized as it is, the urban gets lost in the urban forest pretty quickly.

And if I take another POV, I arrange more of humankind’s works, such as they be, power towers and power lines and transformers and plastic signage and roofing and insurance offices in front of that great mountain and, well, it’s something I’ve been able always to find some sort of odd beauty in.

It’s our world. It is what it is.

And so it goes.

[diary] The Business Journal Of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

Posted in diary, literature, writers on June 11, 2013 by Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis
2941.From the world of letters and diaries, we have this gem: the ledger of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In a business ledger, between the years of 1919 and 1938, he laid it all out; what he earned since his leaving the Army, a record of his published fiction, the money he earned by other writings, a biographical “Outline of My Life”, and the money Zelda earned from her writing.

It’s fascinating to me because of two things it reveals; first, that a writer on their own is not necessarily a poor record-keeper, keeping track of some minutiae for their own records if not posterity, and, second, FSF was quite a neat penman, keeping orderly records in a meticulous hand.

View it at