Posted: February 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Using Photoshop to try and make a construction site seem a little cathedral-y, mainly by overcranking the picture exposure and contrast, and the saturation of individual colour channels.

Really too Easy

Posted: February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Especially as no one said they had to be particularly good.

Wikipedia: A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. »

Through the Lens, a great site by cameraman Chris Weaver for video shooting information beyond the ‘What Camera has the awesomest DOF’ level, has a wonderful page of principles for working camera operators. The ‘rules’ in this page are all behavioural rather than technical, although he does get very usefully technical elsewhere on his blog with pages such as “What is a Lighting Gobo and How to Make one in 5 Steps” or “10 Tips for Shooting Steady Hand Held”.

This generality makes these gems very applicable to almost all areas of artistic work where you have to collaborate with other creative or management types.

How To Be a Better Camera Operator – Part 1: MINDSET.

1. Know Your Craft

Elevate yourself beyond mediocre. The world’s full of mediocre people…be outstanding! You’re a professional camera operator, make it part of your identity, be proud of it. Learn everything you can about your craft and master it…and I don’t mean dabble in it…I mean really master your craft. Become a recognized expert and you will always be in demand.

2. Offer Creative Input

There’s nothing worse than just standing behind the camera waiting to be told what to do, it’s just not good enough. Producers and Directors need your creative input; they need enthusiasm and endless suggestions on how something can be shot, improved and enhanced so that it massively exceeds their original concept. Its part of your job, so always provide masses of creative input whenever and however you can!

* This does depend on the type of production you are working on. In documentaries it’s quite common to go straight to the director with your ideas and suggestions, on drama that is not the correct etiquette where you would instead discuss ideas with the Director of Photography (DoP).

3. Go the Extra Mile

This is hot on the heels of rule No.2. Don’t just do what you have to or what you think you should do. Your job is to go above and beyond. Don’t be lazy, make a tremendous effort, even if you’ve been working nonstop for 16 hours, find something within yourself to make that extra effort, uphold your professional standards, do whatever it takes to produce the best possible results you can. Nothing should be too much trouble…it won’t go unnoticed by those higher up the ladder.

4. Be Professional

Don’t fool around, it can waste precious time, cost money and it looks totally unprofessional.

If you want to work as in film as pretty much anything, or if you have an interest in any other collaborative arts, I seriously recommend that you read the rest of his post. If you like free ebooks, join his mailing list to get them when he publishes them.


Posted: February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
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It’s too easy to just post photos to the blog. Perhaps I should claim it’s an artistic choice and just use the blog as a slightly snazzier photo ablum?

Meal Published!

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Uncategorized
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My second published short story….

Tumba is an old man who struggles hard to just get by under the harsh African sun. When the government arbitrarily decrees a doubling of the price of maize meal, he lashes out with potentially disasterous consequences.

Cold Type is an awesome Canadian magazine that publishes hard left political views, articles and positions. Contributors are of the calibre of environmental activist George Monbiot and hardline filmmaker and social justice campaigner John Pilger. I’m thrilled and honoured to have had short story ‘Meal’ selected by editor Tony Sutton, the former chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota and founder of a political public relations, no wait, that isn’t right. Is it? Ah, there it is. *ahem* selected by editor Tony Sutton, an ex-editor and troublemaker of various “undesirable” Apartheid-era magazines in South Africa, incl. Drum and Frontline, for Cold Type’s  first issue to run fiction. The story is on page 42, but the whole issue is worth reading. Unless you’re a rabid conservative or ex-GOP chairperson. In that case it should be run straight through a drip into the cold ice that freezes through your veins.


by PuzzleMonkey

In some parts of Africa they call the sun “The Government.” It’s as brutal, and just as hard to get away from.

The heat presses down on a white-haired man as his short, tired steps carry him toward the shop.  His shoes are cracked, but the years have buffed them with a dull sheen even as they’ve grown too loose for his feet.  The shloffs of dust they throw up sink away as if they too are too weary to rise, and want to stoop like his shoulders under the threadbare….

Carry on reading

Greetings once more, fabulous Reader, and my thanks to you for allowing me to introduce today’s miniature masterpiece.

Joseph Haydn was on holiday in the picturesque Bavarian mountain town of Berchtesgaden, in those days famous for the wonderful toys made there, but these days notorious as the holiday home of that butcher of humanity, Adolf Hitler. Anyway, Haydn wandered into a toy shop where he found an enchanting array of toy instruments. So delighted was he that he promptly composed a symphony for the orchestra and these little instruments. It is said that on its first performance in the garden of the Prince, the musicians chuckled so much they could barely play their instruments.

This performance is conducted by Felix Weingartner, an Austrian composer active in the early part of the twentieth century, and a major influence on the conductors who would become better known in later years. He had the rare distinction of having been fired from the position of Chief Conductor from both the Berlin Court Opera (a position he’d obtained at the precocious age of 27) and the Vienna Court Opera (where he had succeeded a promising young upstart named Mahler) because of his refusal to compromise his artistic principles.

The orchestra in this 1931 recording is uncertain, but is usually attributed to the (most likely apocryphal) British Symphony Orchestra, and the instruments featured include, amongst others, a ratchet, a toy drum, a toy trumpet and a cuckoo.

Subsequent research has revealed that the Toy Symphony was actually composed by Leopold Mozart, court composer and father of the more famous. Further, even more subsequent research has overrevealed that it was more likely to have been composed by any one of a number of Austrian monks.

For me, though, it will always and most fondly remain Haydn’s Toy Symphony.

That is how Herr Weingartner and I proudly present it for your delight.

Yours Classically,

Sanjay Leopold

 Download from the Internet Archive

Wikipedia: Propitiation is the act of appeasing or making well disposed, especially a deity, thus incurring divine favor or avoiding Divine retribution. »

I’ve asked my very good friend Sanjay to share his wide and slightly mischievous knowledge of classical music with the blog and you good readers. He’s generously agreed, so over to him for an introduction.

Greetings to you, generous reader.

My name is Sanjay Bartholdy, and Mister Monk, the owner of this web sight, has requested me to share a little of my collection of music with you. I know very little about the Internetwork, but pray that you will find these little missives informative, diverting and, perhaps, instructive.

In my country, and for all I know, elsewhere in this wonderful world, it is often customary for the proprietors of commercial establishments to post a notice saying “If you like our (type of product or service), please tell your friends. If you don’t like it, please tell the management.”

Should you enjoy the music provided here, please share it with your friends. If it isn’t to your taste (perhaps, for example, you care more for the later, more brash, discordant works of composers subsequent to the modernist period), have no hesitation in informing Mr. Monk.

If you find the music to your general liking, please return in future when I intend to provide you with examples in the areas of Classical, Romantic and Modernist composition and performance. Occasionally I’ll also include examples of the art of the Musical, the Jazz ensemble and other areas of musical work that might be of interest to a connoisseur such as yourself. I will also permit myself the small liberty of stretching the boundaries to include occasional examples of music from the idiom of classical Indian music.

So, my good friends, please be seated and enjoy these humble tastes of the masters’ art.

There will be many Sunset Photos.

Posted: February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Because everyone loves a sunset photo. Except if you’re deeply bitter and  miserable. Although, I’m twisted and bitter and even I like a pretty tinge.

ImageI write fiction. Some short and some long, and they tend to fall in two camps, Demented or Overly Serious. The whacko stories, like “Dognabbit!”, featuring intergalactic violin maestro Yehudi Menuhound and two suspicious feline detectives, apparently aren’t bizarro enough for the bizarro market, while the serious ones, such as “The Audacity of War”, are, judging by responses, too slow for the mainstream market and too light for the literary presses.


I also shoot and edit video as a profession.

Unlike fiction, the blogger should really stick to what he or she knows in order to try and skip looking like a prat spouting rubbish they know nothing about. Naturally, they might still achieve this, but blogging about what you know is just more sensible.

So, what do I know about?

  • Music in the edges, gutters and grouting of popular culture.
  • TV series in the edges, gutters and grouting of popular culture.
  • My own attempts at writing.
  • Some technical guff about shooting and editing video.
  • The basics of photography

That’s pathetically thin. Perhaps I should take up a horison broadening activity like, oh, uhm. Ghn.

So, blogging it is, then. This blog will feature occasional updates about my literary struggles, photos, occasional video forays and  my take on obscure, forgotten or irrelevant TV shows and movies. I’ll also post reviews of punk, folk, world, classical and other records, the best of whom will combine several of these forms. I’ll also throw in the odd weekly mix tape and various observations, hints, tips and perhaps the odd tutorial. As a smack to my photographic slackness, I also intend to post a new photo six days a week.

Mainly I aim to have fun. If you get a smile or a moment of enjoyment, information or, gadzooks, learn something, that’s a massive boost for me.

Thank you, dear reader.

I remain, as always, Puzzled.

Aside  —  Posted: February 6, 2012 in Uncategorized
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