Archive for January 2006

23/Jan/2006 – Luke Swank   4 comments

Luke Swank

Modernist Photographer

Photography of the actual exhibit was not permitted, but here are few I took where I was allowed.


I made a collage using Picasa and some pictures from our trip to the CMOA.

Carnegie Institute Lydia at Lunch

Lydia and I had lunch before we took in the lecture Whose Truth Is It? An Examination of Photography and Creative Nonfiction.

Trees and Winter Sky

Trees against a winter sky. Taken outside the Carnegie Institute, home of the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art.

On Saturday, Lydia and I went to the Luke Swank: Modernist Photographer exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. We picked this day because, in addition to the exhibit itself, Howard Bossen, curator of the exhibit and professor of Journalism, Michigan State University, East Lansing, was going to give a presentation on Whose Truth Is It? An Examination of Photography and Creative Nonfiction. While Professor Bossen discussed the notions of fact and truth in photography, Lee Gutkind, founder and editor of the Creative Nonfiction journal, also spoke on these concepts in writing creative nonfiction.

This description probably makes the lecture sound a little stuffy, but it was in fact very interesting. For example, even though photography has been described as simply the mechanical recording of a scene (the reason why it was not considered art for the longest time,) we still need to ask ourselves, “Why am I being shown this and not something else? Is the image serving a particular agenda?” (Of course, there is also the capability to mechanically or digitally manipulate images after they have been taken, which wasn’t discussed.)

In taking a photograph, the photographer makes a choice. I think that Susan Sontag expressed it well in Regarding the Pain of Others.

“The photographic image…cannot be simply a transparency of something that happened. It is always the image that someone chose; to photograph is to frame, and to frame is to exclude.”

“To frame is to exclude.” That thought, along with the examples that Professor Bossen showed the audience, moved me to look at photographs and photography differently.

After the presentations, the speakers opened a discussion with the audience. At my urging, however, Lydia and I ducked out to catch the guided tour of the exhibit. A sweet old lady, whose name escapes me, took Lydia and I���just the two of us, at first���into the gallery. She explained, using example photos, some of the background of Luke Swank and his work.

We learned some interesting things about the man as well as his photographs. A few details stuck with me. I learned that Luke Swank had no formal training in photography, but he observed the work of others and learned from those. Also, he was in his late thirties when he took up photography. Swank’s work also reflected his interest in geometry, light and shadows. He had written that you had to peer at his photographs to discern the details hidden in the shadows. All of this appealed to me.

After the tour, with our parking meter expired, we decided to head back home. We hope to visit again and spend more time with the exhibit. It runs through February 5.

Posted Monday, January 23, 2006 by Grant in Random

19/Jan/2006 – Flashback   18 comments

Picture of myself that I snapped from our web cam back in 2000. I had just turned 35 then.

Big difference, huh?

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 by Grant in Random

16/Jan/2006 – Menger’s Sponge   15 comments

Menger’s What Now?

Sponge. Menger’s Sponge.

Photo of a depth 1 Menger's Sponge made out of business cards.

Completed depth 1 Menger’s Sponge made out of folded business cards. No glue, tape, or fasteners of any type, except the folded cards themselves.

Used 192 business cards: 20 cubes of 6 cards each (120,) plus 72 facing cards.

Make your own.

Karl Menger (1902 – 1985) was an Austrian mathematician. He is credited with the first description of a fractal solid called, conveniently, Menger’s Sponge.

I made a depth 1 version (pictured left) out of folded business cards. I am in the midst of constructing a depth 2 sponge. None of this is an original idea, at least, not my original idea. Dr. Jeannine Mosely undertook the construction of a depth 3 Menger’s sponge, but I don’t know if she ever was successful.

Geeky? You bet.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 by Grant in Random

08/Jan/2006 – Every OS Sucks   5 comments

Every OS Sucks

Learn why. Musically.

This is too funny. Make sure you follow the link posted here: <>.

Now, I understand that one requires a certain level of geekiness to appreciate this fully, but even the less geeky among us will still be amused.

I, of course, laughed my ass off.

Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 by Grant in Random

Paris Vacation, Day 8   12 comments

Cité des Science & de L’industrie, La Tour Montparnasse, Geocaching, and Dinner
Picture of Anakin's pod racer from Star Wars, Episode I

Anakin’s pod racer from Star Wars, Episode I.

Picture of kids playing at the Science Center

Kids have boundless energy… moms don’t.

Picture of a sign in a stairwell noting a height of 207 meters

And we were not all the way up, yet… Probably finished up around 210 or 212 meters on the helipad. (About 690 feet.)

Picture of a global positioning system (GPS) receiver

Our global postioning system (GPS) receiver notes the location of the old Prime Meridian, which ran through Paris before the world adopted the one in Greenwich, England.


It’s interesting to note what was playing at the time we were on our trip.

Grant’s Flickr page

Saturday, October 22

We broke our fast at the same place we had done yesterday. I had a petit-déjeuner Français (French breakfast,) which is a hot beverage (I had café au lait,) a croissant, a tartine (slice of baguette with butter,) and jam.

After morning fuel, it was onto the Metro for the Cité des Science & de L’industrie (Science Center) because they were having a Star Wars expo. In an effort to manage crowd congestion, admission to the Star Wars portion was staggered with tickets that stated at what time you could enter. Even so, the exhibition was crowded, since the ticket didn’t say when one had to leave.

On display were many props, costumes, and models from all six Star Wars movies. In the large central area six movie screens ran looping clips from the films along with multilingual “facts” about the imaginary planets that make up the Star Wars universe. The descriptions for the other articles on display made an effort at educating by speculating on the science behind some of the gadgets and events in the movies like, “How would a light saber work?” or “How much energy would the Death Star need to harness to be capable of destroying an entire planet?”

The Star Wars exhibit was fun and we poked around the other displays at the Science Center before heading off to La Tour Montparnasse. This building is a modern one (built in the 1970s, I believe,) which helped the French to realize that they should keep the ugly sky-scrappers out of the old city (hence the creation of La Défense.)

The realization came too late, however, to save the city from La Tour Montparnasse. It was already built. Still, it is not all bad. From the 56th floor there is a fabulous view of Paris that has the one from the Eiffel Tower beat in several respects. Firstly, Montparnasse is (somewhat) closer to the city’s center, providing a better panorama. Secondly, instead of a view of Montparnasse, which one would have from the Eiffel Tower, here one has a view of the Eiffel Tower, by far a better deal in my book.

This thought put me in mind of the gentleman who had hated the Eiffel Tower so much that, after it was built, he had lunch there every day just so that he would not have to look at it. If he lived today, I’m sure he would have his lunch at Montparnasse, instead. Another advantage of the Montparnasse view is that the wait for the elevator (lift) is shorter.

Tall windows enclose the 56th floor, providing unobstructed views in all directions. There are also the obligatory snack bar and gift shop. If the comforts of indoor observation are not thrilling enough, then, for the cost of climbing a few flights of stairs, one can venture out onto the helipad for a wind-swept, 360° view of Paris. Too bad that the day we were there it was overcast and threatening of rain. Nonetheless, we took a few shots and some were even passable.

Lydia’s pre-trip research had identified two geocaches within walking distance of the Tower. So, we went off a-hunting. The first cache was in a cemetery and the second was at the Paris Observatory. Once our quarries were found, the only things left to do were to hop on the Metro, head back to the hotel, and get ready for dinner.

For dinner, we took a Rick Steves suggestion (who, I am certain, never pays for a meal in Europe) about 7 – 10 minutes away from the hotel. The place was small and friendly with only 5 or 6 tables. The meal was very good. But, what else would we expect? We had read in Rick Steves’s description that the Chef/Owner had lived in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, for three years. I was glad that he spoke to us in English.

As we ate and enjoyed our relaxing meal, we overheard two other couples chatting (in English.) They were both “doing” Rick Steves, too. As a fact, running into other “Rick Stevies” is not uncommon when one visits one of his recommendations. Two other families in the restaurant spoke English, so the waitress, who had mentioned to us that she wanted to practice her English, got a linguistic workout. (And we hit her up for the occasional French word, as one ought to do when faced with such an opportunity.)

Read more about day 8 on Lydia’s blog.

< Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 >

Posted Saturday, January 7, 2006 by Grant in Myself, Travel

Tagged with ,

02/Jan/2006 — Seven Things about Me   12 comments

Thanks, Sweetie… I know you are just spreading the love. (smooch)

Its[sic] a game…where you have to state on your blog….7 things that describe yourself..and then you tag(ask)….7 people on your blog list to do the same thing as well on their blog and then those people have to keep it going and invite 7 people on their list and so on…

Yet, this also has nine more things at the bottom… go figure.

Seven things to describe me:

  1. Patient
  2. 5′ 10″
  3. Generous
  4. Self-critical
  5. Witty
  6. Altruistic
  7. Reticent

My Biggest Dream: True peace and security

My Favorite Color:  #006400 

My Favorite Number: pi (Ï€)

What I love most about my life: I still have it.

My Biggest Fear: Losing a friend’s respect.

My Hero: Anyone who can retain their integrity despite this world’s corrosive influences.

My Favorite Hobbies: Reading, writing, photography, learning.

My dream car: I don’t fawn after cars, but I’d take any Chip Foose creation.

Favorite snack: Humpty Dumpty brand Party Mix

I tag:

  • Anyone who reads this and wants to play

Posted Monday, January 2, 2006 by Grant in Random