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Amazon Instant Video Getting Select HBO Shows Starting May 21, HBO GO Coming To FireTV ‘By Year’s End’
ksteimle shared this story from Android Police - Android News, Apps, Games, Phones, Tablets:
well, cool!


Guys, the final piece of the puzzle is now in place: Amazon just announced that FireTV will be getting HBO GO. Since it launched without the service, it raised the question of whether it would ever be available to FireTV users; it looks like Amazon was just busy inking the deal with HBO, because there’s actually even more to this story than that.


Not only will GO be coming to FireTV, but Amazon now has exclusive multi-year rights to certain HBO shows that will be available on Prime Amazon Instant Video.

Done With This Post? You Might Also Like These:

Amazon Instant Video Getting Select HBO Shows Starting May 21, HBO GO Coming To FireTV ‘By Year’s End’ was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

via Karen’s sharin’ April 23, 2014 at 03:02PM
Unusual horse colors
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
For lisa!

Unusual horse colors

The Cremello Akhal-Teke

This Ahkal-Teke horse makes the rounds on /r/pics periodically, so I thought I’d show you guys some of the other awesome colors horses can come in. This is cremello, a creme color base with blue eyes, but not albino or white. This is a result of the creme dilution gene, which has several variations.

Dappled Grey

Grey is an unnatural color in horses that is a result of artificially selected breeding. All grey horses will eventually fade to white, including the one pictured here. What differentiates a white-grey from a true white horse is all greys have black skin. A true white horse has pink skin.


Pinto is the combination of white and another solid color. The combinations very greatly. This is a black/white pinto.

Buckskin Pinto

Dappled grey pinto

Blue roan

Black base with silver/blue.

Red roan

Bay Brindle

Grey brindle

Chocolate Flaxen

Classic Champagne

Champagne is a dilution gene, similar to creme. Classic champagne is black base diluted by the champagne.

Gold Champagne

Chestnut base diluted by champagne gene.


A creme gene variation. Perlinos have a more reddish color, especially in the mane and tail.



A buckskin variation.

Leopard spots

Commonly associated with Appaloosa horses, there are a couple breeds that are spotted, including the Danish Knabstrupper.


A combo of two solid base colors, this is very uncommon.

Red rabaicano


Silver buckskin

Sooty on chestnut

There are many more color variations, but this is a good subset.

via Karen’s sharin’ April 11, 2014 at 06:10AM
Cinematography of “House of Cards” – interview with Igor Martinovic
ksteimle shared this story from Pushing Pixels:
Some interesting stuff on House of Cards here

With two stellar seasons under its belt, “House of Cards” is one of the best things that happened to the world of episodic TV productions in the last few years. After speaking to the production designer of the show a few months ago, it’s time to turn the attention to the show’s cinematography. Igor Martinovic has joined the second season, collaborating with different directors and shooting all thirteen episodes. In this interview Igor talks about advances in accessible digital cameras and how it affects his field of work, intertwining technical and artistic aspects of cinematography, switching from the feature world to join an existing TV show and defining the visual approach for the second half of the original story arc, the pace of working on multi-episode production and the changes his craft is undergoing in the transition from film to digital.

Kirill: Please tell us about yourself and your path so far.

Igor: I am originally from Croatia where I graduated from film school. During my college years the war broke out so I ended up shooting lots of documentaries during that time. In 1993 when the war ended I moved to New York and have been living here ever since.

Kirill: Were you interested in shooting movies growing up?

Igor: Not really. I started taking photographs when I was 9-10 yrs old. My brother had a black-and-white lab at our home, and I joined him in taking photos, developing them and making black and white prints. It was a nice little hobby of ours. I had no clue that I would end up working as a cameraman one day.

At the end of the sophomore year at high school we were supposed to decide a direction in which to continue our education. I ended up in a high school class specializing in TV and film production. We watched a lot of movies, and instead of chemistry we studied photochemistry as well as optics and other related things. It was an experimental class but it gave me a direction. I realized that this could be an interesting profession.

Kirill: What did you work on when you moved to US?

Igor: I started on documentaries back in Croatia, and continued working on those after I moved to the States. My desire was always to shoot narrative and fiction. I slowly started to shoot short films and features, and it all went from there.

Kirill: In the last decade or so we’re witnessing a transition from shooting on film to shooting digital. Do you see that it’s opening doors to a wider group of people, providing a wider access to the shooting equipment and removing certain technical hurdles like buying film reels or doing lab processing?

Igor: I agree. There’s definitely democratization of the process happening right now. It is a progressive process because it brings so many new people into the field. It opens up possibilities for young and talented kids to come out and present their own vision, their own way of thinking. It is an infusion of a fresh energy.

It feeds on itself. The industry that is producing camera devices is broadening, and the base is broadening as well. They’re helping each other to develop the new visual language. In the last ten years we’ve seen an amazing change in the way people capture images. It’s been a small revolution.

It’s happening on both sides. It’s technical, but at the same time it’s a creative evolution as well. People are using these cameras in many different ways that were not even possible or technically achievable before. And it also opens up ways of seeing things, of presenting things in new perspectives.

Kirill: On the one hand some of the newcomers don’t go through the “official” academic channel of learning the history and the theory, but on the other hand they are not artificially, if you will, bound by those limitations.

Igor: There’s nothing wrong with learning your craft academically. I think that one would want to learn how things were done in the past – in the 20s, 30s, 70s… And the same applies to the theory of filmmaking – you can only benefit from it. But at the same time, if you’re talented, if you know what you want to do and how you want to do it, you absolutely should not limit yourself by having to go through those stages. If one is curious he or she can learn these things outside of the institutional framework.

There are few ways people can come to the point where they have a successful career. One is to work in the industry in supporting positions – camera assistants, gaffers – slowly developing and going up the ladder to become director of photography. The other is to finish a school and go straight to doing things as director of photography. Everyone has their own way to find themselves, their voice and their visual language that represents who they are, that shows how they see the world.

Kirill: Is there a transition point between the technical side of things – pulling focus, operating the camera, tracking lights etc – and the artistic side of things where you as the director of photography are in charge of the entire visual language, with all the nuances of setting up the lights, planning the angles, choosing lenses etc?

Igor: I think that cinematography is both. It is as much as a craft as it is about artistic expression. I don’t think there’s a clear line where one stops and the other starts. It’s also about concept, especially in the narrative film making. The point is to discover what that concept is, and apply it consistently. The concept comes from the script, from the story, and once you discover it you have a direction to follow.

Take “House of Cards” for example. Its look sprang from the idea that at the end of Season 1 the series took a turn towards film noir. I realized that the dark dealings, the cynical attitude and crime story Underwood got involved with could be represented through low-key lighting – which is a characteristic of film noir. From that moment on it was clear what direction we needed to take.

We hid our characters in shadows, in half lights, turned them into silhouettes, kept them on the edge of being too dark. Once we’ve discovered that concept, it was easy to apply it. That idea informs your way of shooting, lighting, framing. It is also technical as you have to understand and have the knowledge of the technical part of the process in order to translate that concept into technically acceptable form, but discovering those concepts is something that defines your photography.

Kirill: And for you that happens in the pre-production phase, sitting with the director for feature work or with the creators and the producers of the show for TV work.

Igor: In case of “House of Cards” the look was already established in Season 1. It was defined by David Fincher who wanted a very controlled look in terms of the framing and the camera movement. Framing was very precise, with a lot of central compositions and a lot of space around the actors. The camera doesn’t move when it doesn’t have to. Tight close up shots are used only for really important moments in the story. You don’t pan and tilt at the same time. Most of the movements are done by the dolly. All these elements were already defined in the first season.

In Season 2 we changed the lighting. In the first season, majority of scenes were lit from the top, from the ceilings and overheads. We went into a different direction. We motivated lighting by the sources, and shot it considerably darker.

Kirill: Did you have any particular references from the 40s and 50s, from the glory days of the film noir era?

Igor: Not necessarily. Sometimes film noir can call a lot of attention to itself. We wanted to base it in reality. Every source of light had its motivation – a window, a lamp, a TV screen, a computer screen. We didn’t go for complete stylization. What we did use from that period was the higher contrast – keeping characters in silhouettes, wrapping them in shadows. We did a lot of things to keep characters on the edge.

Somebody once said that the good photography is one that is always on the edge of failure. We were trying to be on that edge in terms of darkness. A lot of television tends to be really bright, offering readily consumable content to the viewer. My theory is that not fully seeing what is going on in the image is one of the most powerful elements of film-making. You can hide characters in the darkness, keep them out of focus, show them reflected in mirrors… We applied all these elements, trying to engage audience, make them participate in the experience. It’s not presented to you right away. You have to look into it to see it. Working like this is a rewarding experience for a film-maker, and hopefully it is rewarding for the audience as well.

Kirill: It also seems to be a rather rare approach to have a single cinematographer shooting the entire season. On episodic TV you usually have multiple teams of directors and cinematographers doing two-three episodes, with the production designer staying for the entire season.

Igor: That was David’s idea. He didn’t want to have two visions in the same piece.

The approach was still much the same since it’s still episodic television. You don’t have that much time to work with directors. They come in, you meet them on location scout over the weekend or late after the wrap, and there’s not much time to discuss the look. The look is designed mostly in advance. Each director brings their own sensibilities to the piece, and the way they approach the scenes and the coverage. But a lot of it is already designed.

On the set of Season 2 of “House of Cards”. Courtesy of Igor Martinovic.

Kirill: So on a certain level the directors of episodic television are more restricted.

Igor: It’s different from feature film work where you come in and completely design everything from scratch. In episodic TV there is a certain language that is already developed. A director could come in in the middle of the season, and he/she has to follow that language. Each of them do their own touches, they change things, they think of a particular coverage, work with actors… For example, there was a rule about no hand-held, no Steadicam – and in a way that already dictates how things are going to be done. If we all know that the camera moves are done in a way that the dolly takes you from a wide shot to a close-up without the operator touching the camera, that’s already established rule and cannot be changed by the director of the specific episode.

At the same time directors define the ways a scene is covered, they set the pacing and the rhythm etc. It’s a collaborative thing, but a lot of it came from David defining the elements for the first two episodes.

Kirill: And you were shooting individual episodes as blocks.

Igor: It would be two episodes at a time because most of the time we would have a director who would do two episodes back-to-back.

Kirill: How would you compare the shooting schedule on “House of Cards” to your feature work?

Igor: The shooting schedule is as in any episodic television. You’re doing 6-7 pages a day. You just work harder and try to make it as best as you can.

The quality of the crew on the show was extraordinary. We had really great camera operators – Gary Jay (who worked on many Michael Mann’s films) ; Ludovic Littee; amazing gaffer Frits De Yong… There are people helping you to achieve the vision, and they are all artists in their own right. It is really important to have a good crew to help you achieve what you’re after.

Kirill: Do you see the wave of high-quality television productions as sort of a revolt, if you will, of creators against the deluge of reality shows that has flooded the landscape in the last few years?

Igor: That’s interesting. I’ve never thought this way about this relationship. Part of it is that the film market was a little limiting as well. It started to shrink. There’s not much place where writers can express themselves, and they’ve started to look elsewhere. And reality television overpowered the landscape, appearing boring and repetitive. People are always looking, especially in these diverse market, to become something better. Netflix has shown that and now everybody is trying to follow in their footsteps. It’s the desire to create something new and different and better than what’s already out there.

Kirill: Original content on Netflix is not traditional TV in the sense that it’s being distributed on a digital platform to a variety of screen sizes and form factors, as opposed to the “regular” broadcast distribution. Do you still call it episodic TV?

Igor: When you think about it, it’s not much different from TV. In the way things are produced, it is still using the old TV model that was established long time ago. In that sense it is TV. Majority of people that worked on the show are coming from TV background. The difference is that executive producers like Scorsese, Fincher and now Soderbergh – people from the film world – come to television world and work in a way they have been working while shooting feature films. That’s where the change comes from.

On the set of Season 2 of “House of Cards”. Courtesy of Igor Martinovic.

Kirill: But then once you start shooting, is it much different from your feature work? You have roughly the same departments working together, roughly the same structure of your own crew and division of responsibility within it.

Igor: Absolutely that’s the same from the technical perspective. It’s more about having the time to pay attention to detail. That’s where the difference comes into play. And I think it’s changing, and it’s a good thing that people from film are coming in – not to say that there was no good television before.

The television is the territory of writers. It’s where they can expand their ways of telling a story. Instead of having only 90 minutes, you have 13 or 26 hours. That’s a huge change. You can develop characters, expand or contract their presence. In the feature film you can’t do that. In the TV, when you see that something doesn’t work you’re able to adjust without compromising the whole narrative. If you see something working really well, you expand it. The narrative is not as strict, and the way of telling a story is more flexible.

In the feature film world it’s all about telling your story in the most efficient and compact way that fits into 90 minutes framework. In TV you are open, you are influenced by what is happening on the set, by how certain actors are performing and interacting with each other. You see a bit of attraction between two people, and you incorporate that into the script.

Kirill: My impression was that the show was pitched to Netflix as a 2-season block with all the major plot lines already defined.

Igor: In a sense yes because it was following the narrative of the original BBC series. But a lot of things changed. You have a new actor coming in, and you see a great tension between two characters, and the next episode will definitely utilize that. Or you see some actors giving a really great performance, and you expand that role.

Major things like the outline were done in advance. But you have around 26 episodes with total of around 20 hours, and I don’t know who would be able to map all the details way in advance. It would take a really long time.

Kirill: Did you stay through post-production to do color correction or perhaps additional shooting?

Igor: I was fully involved with color correction for months after we finished shooting. We used a system called Pix during the production. The dailies were posted on Pix so everybody could see them and comment on them. We also used Pix in post. Color correction was done in LA, they would post files on Pix and I would check it and send them really detailed comments about what needs to be done. In this system you can actually draw on the image, mark places where you want to correct brightness or color, make notes on the specific frames. Color correction process took a while because we had to grade 13 episodes.

Kirill: Netflix is a streaming service and people watch the new season in a more private setting, mostly at home. Was there any equivalent of the premiere party that you have when a new feature film is introduced to the public, at a festival or a big LA / NY movie theater?

Igor: There was a premiere of the first two episodes in The Directors Guild screening room in LA. We approached the series as one would approach a feature film, and it was good to see it projected in a dark room with a few hundred people in the screening room. First two episodes were shown at the Berlin Film Festival as well.

Kirill: Now that you’ve tasted the world of episodic TV, do you see yourself mixing feature work with television work in the future?

Igor: I don’t make any distinction between documentaries, feature and television. It’s either a good project that excites you where you connect to the story, or not. But I don’t exclusively do one or another, taking a job just because it’s feature film or just because it’s TV.

Kirill: How much information do you have when you decide to join your next project?

Igor: It’s the same thing as when you watch a movie in a theater. You sit down and you read the script, and if it hits you, it hits you. If there is a story that resonates at some level with my way of seeing the world, that tells a story in a compelling way, I would just go for it. In any art form, you’re either taken by something or you’re not. That said, sometimes you make a mistake and take a job that you think will be great and it doesn’t turn out that way but at the end you always learn something.

You look at who’s directing – which is crucial. You look at how the story is going to be told, who is acting to see how the characters can be portrayed in a new and exciting ways.

Most of the time the primary cast is known. Films gets approved once the actors are attached. That’s when they start looking for director of photography, unless you have a relationship with the director where you read the script in advance. But most of the time you get the script after the actors have been attached.

Kirill: What stays with you when you look at your productions from a few years ago?

Igor: They become part of your life. In a way, camera work is a state of mind. You live it, you spend 12-14 hours a day just on the set, and then a few more waking hours thinking and talking about it. It becomes your life. It becomes part of your DNA.

You remember the moments of making the movie, but also you remember a moment a movie gets shown, the moment when you share it with the audience. That moment is crucial. That’s why we do what we do. The moment of sharing your vision with the audience fills me with joy in case of a good movie [laughs] or fear if it’s not.

Another part that really excites me is pre-production. You conceptualize the film, you create it in your mind before you start shooting it. You search of ways of presenting that story, and that’s the most exciting part of the job. When you shoot, it’s a lot of logistics, trying to be faithful to your idea and your vision. It’s great, but it’s very focused and hard work. Conceptualizing is fun cerebral process but you have to trust your guts as well.

Kirill: Does it feel that you’re relinquishing some of the control when it goes to post-production?

Igor: It’s certainly possible and it does happen. It all depends on director’s approach, and that’s different between different directors. Sometimes they only shoot things they think will be of use, and you decide those things on the set. I prefer this approach since in this way you’ll tell the story the way you want to tell it. If you shoot for the extensive coverage, there’s going to be one thing missing – your point of view.

Obviously there are other directors who approach things differently. They cover a lot, and it’s a valid way of working as well. A lot of television used to be done like that, and I think things are changing a little bit now.

Kirill: And specifically on “House of Cards” you’ve worked with the specific directors on post-production phase of each individual episode.

Igor: Yes. There’s always a pair of editor and director for two episodes. It’s fairly quick, because everything is quick in television.

Kirill: Going back to the transition to digital, do you think that your craft is losing something in the process of moving away from the physical medium of film?

Igor: You can’t lose something without gaining something else. The important thing for me is not the technical aspect. It’s the stories we’re trying to communicate through the visuals that matter. I’m sure one can use any camera from any period of time in the last hundred years and make a compelling film, a visually appropriate film. In my opinion technology is secondary.

If in five years somebody decides to film a movie with Google Glasses, I’d say lets let’s do it. Let’s find what the Google Glasses bring to the equation, let’s find whether there’s a new way of covering things. Look at the new technology – GoPro cameras per example. It’s an amazing tool. You can put a camera anywhere you want. Suddenly you can have a POV of a cheetah by attaching the Go Pro on actual animal… There are so many application of a small camera like that. The best thing of all is that it is opening new ways of expression.

To say that film is dead and that movies will suffer because of that? I think that’s very limited thinking. It will bring a new aesthetic, a new way of seeing things, and we will all benefit from it. Otherwise we will stay the same. We would probably stagnate if there’s only one way to do things. When you think about it, it’s just a means in the process of telling the story. With this new technology you can tell the same story, but in a different way. And it’s exciting to find these new ways, because that’s how progress works. You have to embrace the new and try to find what you can do with it.

Kirill: And on the set the feedback monitor loop is immediate. You don’t need to wait for the dailies to be developed and hope for the best.

Igor: That’s something that has its positive and negative sides, like any process. The beauty of shooting on film was that you had to imagine everything in advance. You had to see it in advance and then to create it. It was your imagination. Now everything is open, and it’s more about your reaction to it. You’re immediately reacting to what you see, and you’re changing it as it happens. It’s just a new way of seeing things.

That’s why I think the initial concept is really important. To know what you’re doing allows you to control it. Other people can comment on it and you’ll know if you want to listen to those or not based on how that fits into your concept.

Everyone on the set where I shoot is encouraged to suggest things, and I often ask people to get involved in the process. But at the same time you have the guidelines that you’ve set up, and you play within those rules.

Kirill: Do you have a chance to see almost-final cuts before the public release? Do you still get surprised by how it all comes together after editing and sound are done?

Igor: You do get surprised. You see certain things in your own way, and they turn out to be different for various reasons. Sometimes the way you thought about it just doesn’t work. On feature films I usually get to see the rough cut and comment on it.

On “House of Cards” it was different from episode to episode. I got to see the rough cut directed by Robin Wright because it was a very open collaboration, and we had extensive discussions while shooting and in the post.

Kirill: Was it weird having the same person directing and playing the lead role in the same episode?

Igor: On the contrary. She was very open to suggestions, very collaborative. We played things back on set so she can see herself and decide if she likes certain shot or not.

She started directing at the time where the crew was really tired – five months into shooting. She realized that and brought really good fresh energy into the set. She asked for everyone’s opinion and she was a team player. It was a fantastic experience.

Igor Martinovic and Robin Wright on the set. Courtesy of Igor Martinovic.

And here I’d like to thankIgor Martinovic for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk about his art and craft. Second season of “House of Cards” is available on Netflix.

via Karen’s sharin’ April 06, 2014 at 11:13AM
(Click through for the gallery) A kitten who was rejected by…
ksteimle shared this story from Your daily dose of fluffy:
Sharing for people who still don’t follow the adorable animal blog that I curate (John).

(Click through for the gallery) A kitten who was rejected by it’s mother was taken care by a golden retriever.

via Karen’s sharin’ March 14, 2014 at 09:32PM
Behind the Scenes at Fee Brothers
ksteimle shared this story from Drinks:


[Photographs: Nick Guy]

On the eve of its 150th anniversary, Fee Brothers is busier than ever. In fact, Joe Fee, who owns and runs the company with his sister Ellen, says 2013 was the best year they’ve ever had, and things aren’t slowing down. “Growing isn’t even the word for it. I prefer exploding before my very eyes,” he said during my recent visit to the company’s Rochester, NY headquarters. “The last several years have been very, very good.” Things are so good that at the time of my visit, a new building was under construction, to be used just for holding finished product.

What started in 1864 as a grocery and liquor store is now one of the most popular cocktail ingredient brands in the world. Best known for its cocktail bitters, Fee Brothers actually makes almost 100 products, all with a staff of only 13 employees, in a surprisingly compact factory.

Fee Brothers in Rochester, NY

On the production floor, ingredients are mixed in giant pots that hold up to 1,500 gallons, before they’re bottled, sealed, labeled, and boxed for shipment. When it comes to bitters, for example, flavor extracts are mixed with glycerin in huge quantities. “My grandfather started making bitters during Prohibition. He couldn’t get alcohol,” said Joe Fee. “He got extracts; people who were making flavors could get alcohol, very tightly controlled, but they needed it to continue making flavors. So his next best thing as a base was glycerin, and we’ve continued using glycerin as a base ever since.” The alcohol-based flavor extracts do give the bitters some proof: “If you absolutely gotta get a buzz on,” jokes Fee, “and all you have is bitters, grab for the lemon. It’s like 45% alcohol. And when that bottle’s done, grab the mint, which is like 35% alcohol. And your breath will be minty fresh when you’re done.” (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

Joe Fee

Joe Fee shows us some historical Fee Brothers product labels, including wines and spirits the company used to produce.

Many of the processes at Fee Brothers are mechanized. The finished bitters are piped from the pots to a 12-nozzle bottle filler, which automatically puts the right amount of liquid into each container. Then a dasher is added, care of a vibrating machine that makes sure the plastic piece is facing the right way before being forced into place. Another machine screws on a cap and a tamper-evident seal, which shrinks around the neck of the bottle when run through a heat sealer.

But there’s still a necessary human element to the whole thing. From unloading boxes of empty bottles onto the line, to removing them when they’re full and capped, to pressing the big red button when something goes wrong, the Fee Brothers crew takes an active part in the operation. Each bottle is hand-labeled, including the bitters, which are wrapped in a paper sleeve.

Bitters, Bitters, and More Bitters

I asked Joe Fee if he’s open to adding new flavors to the lineup. “We are not against the idea of doing anything new—in fact we have something in the works,” he said, although he wouldn’t get into details for fear of a competitor beating him it. Normally Ellen Fee is in charge of developing new flavors, but it was Joe who came up with Black Walnut, the most recent bitters addition. He said it took about 10 or 12 attempts. Says Joe, “When you’ve made 50 syrups, when you’ve made 15 bitters, their bases are essentially the same, so now it’s a matter of playing around with flavors.”

New flavor ideas come from a few places. “It’s a combination of things. Listening to bartenders talk, that’s what I do most of,” says Joe. “The rhubarb was a good example. Looking behind the bar (we asked) what flavor is not represented back there? What flavor don’t they have readily available to them? At that time, there weren’t any rhubarb spirits at all.”

When asked about the ingredients that go into Fee Brother’s products, Joe says they try to use natural components as much as possible. “Not everything releases its flavor well, like strawberries. You don’t get a particularly strong flavor, so we augment with artificial. I’ll use the natural flavors if I can, if it’s going to taste great. If not, I’m going to use a little bit of artificial.” The flavor is the most important thing, he says. “I don’t want to put out a bland product.”

Head over to the slideshow for a peek at the Fee Brothers factory »

About the author: Nick Guy is the accessories editor for iLounge, and covers barware and drinking accessories for The Sweethome. He is based in Buffalo, NY, and on Twitter is @thenickguy.

via Karen’s sharin’ March 10, 2014 at 10:49PM
Some cute comics
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
Good stuff!

Great comics by Jim Benton (with artist’s permission)

Do check out Jim’s website: His Facebook page:

via Karen’s sharin’ March 03, 2014 at 11:39AM
More firepit porn! Resubmitted with an approved host this time. [1280x1024]
ksteimle shared this story from r/designporn on Imgur:

via Karen’s sharin’ February 26, 2014 at 10:30AM
Rock balancing
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
This is pretty awesome

This rock balancing is done by Michael Grab. He is an artist and has killer patience. On his site <a href=”” rel=”nofollow”></a>, Grab explains: “The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of ‘tripod’ for the rock to stand on. Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright, or in most orientations you can think of with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another. Parallel to the physical element of finding tripods, the most fundamental non-physical element is harder to explain through words. In a nutshell, I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.” Pretty sick, amiright?

via Karen’s sharin’ February 20, 2014 at 09:06AM
The most spectacular libraries of the world
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
More library porn!

The most spectacular libraries of the world

The Tripitaka Koreana at the Haeinsa Temple in South Korea

The Janggyeong Panjeon in the Temple of Haeinsa, on the slopes of Mount Gayasan, is home to the Tripitaka Koreana, the most complete collection of Buddhist texts, laws and treaties extant, engraved on approximately 80,000 woodblocks between 1237 and 1248. The Haeinsa Tripitaka woodblocks were carved in an appeal to the authority of the Buddha in the defense of Korea against the Mongol invasions. They are recognized by Buddhist scholars around the world for their outstanding accuracy and superior quality. The woodblocks are also valuable for the delicate carvings of the Chinese characters, so regular as to suggest that they are the work of a single hand.

The grand Mafra Palace Library, in Mafra, Portugal

The Mafra National Palace is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery located in Mafra, Portugal. The Rococo library, situated at the back of the second floor, is truly the highlight of this palace, decorated with precious marble and exotic wood. It contains 35,000 volumes, including the precious first editions of Camões’ Os Lusiadas, a trilingual Bible from 1514, and the earliest edition of Homer in Greek.

The Codrington Library at All Souls College in Oxford

The Codrington Library is a historic academic library in the city of Oxford, England. It is the library of All Souls College. The library in its current form was endowed by Christopher Codrington (1668–1710), a Fellow of the college who amassed his fortune through plantation slavery. The library was completed in 1751, and has been in continuous use by scholars since then. The modern collection comprises some 175,000 volumes, about a third of which were produced before 1800. The library contains one of the largest collections of manuscript and early printed books in the United Kingdom, and attracts scholars from around the world.

Biblioteca Joanina, in Coimbra, Portugal

This library, formerly known as House Bookstore, owes its name to Magnanimous King D. John V. “Portugal ‘s John the Magnanimous astonished the rector of the University of Coimbra by telling him that his request for help towards library facilities was too modest, the lavish result was financed with gold reserves that had been recently discovered in Brazil”.

The George Peabody Library, Baltimore

The George Peabody Library, formerly the Library of the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore, dates from the founding of the Peabody Institute in 1857. In that year, George Peabody, a Massachusetts-born philanthropist, dedicated the Peabody Institute to the citizens of Baltimore in appreciation of their “kindness and hospitality.”

Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena, Italy

Biblioteca Malatestiana in Cesena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy was created by Malatesta Novello, the last lord of Cesena. It is in the wing of the San Francesco Monastry in center of Cesena and it was completed around 1450. It was the first European civic library, i.e. belonging to the Commune and open to everybody. The Malatesta Library, or reading room, consist of 58 reading desks, 29 in each aisle. The windows on each side provide maximum natural light on the desks while the one at the far end lights the corridor.

Philosophical Hall, at Strahov Abbey, in Prague, Czech Republic

In the final quarter of the 18th century, Abbot Václav Mayer decided to build new library space for the numerous additions to the library. To this end, he had the current Philosophical Hall built on the site of a granary by Jan Ignác Palliardi, an Italian architect naturalized in Bohemia. The amazing size of the hall (length: 32 m, width: 22 m, height: 14 m) is compounded by the monumental ceiling fresco by Viennese painter Anton Maulbertsch, painted over six months in 1794 with the help of just one assistant. The highest rows of books are only accessible from the gallery; hidden spiral staircases, masked with false book spines, lead up to the corners of the gallery. The fresco ‘Intellectual Progress of Mankind’ is a concise depiction of developments in science and religion, their mutual impact on each other, and quests for knowledge from the oldest times until the time the hall was built.

Admont Abbey in Austria

Admont Abbey is a Benedictine monastery located on the Enns River in the town of Admont, Austria. It is the oldest remaining monastery in Styria and contains the largest monastic library in the world. The abbey is known for its Baroque architecture, art, and manuscripts. Adorning the ceilings are seven frescoes by Bartolomeo Altomonte who was 80-years-old at the time and completed the frescoes over the summer months of 1775 and 1776. The frescoes depict the steps in ‘man’s exploration of thinking and speaking from the sciences to Divine Revelation in the central cupola’. Lastly, the library collection comprises some 200,000 volumes. The most valuable treasures are the more than 1,400 manuscripts (the earliest from the 8th century) and the 530 incunabula (early printed books before 1500).

Altenburg Abbey Library, in Altenburg, Austria

The imposing Altenburg Abbey Library in Austria, built in 1740, has a Baroque interior which rises up three floors. The vast domes, barrel-vaulted ceilings, red and blue marble columns, frescoes, statues and prancing horses make it difficult to spot the puny collection of books cowering below in just nine bookcases.

Abbey of St Gall Library, in St Gallen, Switzerland

Above the entrance to St Gallen Abbey Library, one of the oldest of its kind, is a Greek inscription which translates into English as “pharmacy of the soul”. The library was founded in 719 and is almost as ancient as the whole abbey site, which can trace it origins to a hermitage set up by Irish monk Gallus. Only 30,000 of the library’s collection – books and manuscripts – can be seen. Some volumes are considered simply too precious to be shown in public, 400 of which are over 1000 years old, according to the deputy director Karl Schmuki. Ancient treasures include a Latin manuscript of the Gospel and the oldest book in German. The library also contains the earliest known architectural drawn on parchment - of the abbey itself - a copy of which can be seen in the library.

The Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, France

On 14 July 1988, President François Mitterrand announced the construction and the expansion of one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world, intended to cover all fields of knowledge, and designed to be accessible to all, using the most modern data transfer technologies, which could be consulted from a distance, and which would collaborate with other European libraries. Construction of the library ran into huge cost overruns and technical difficulties related to its high-rise design, so much so that it was referred to as the “TGB” or “Très Grande Bibliothèque” (i.e. “Very Large Library,” a sarcastic allusion to France’s successful high-speed rail system, the TGV). After the move of the major collections from the rue de Richelieu, the National Library of France was inaugurated on 15 December 1996. It contains more than ten million volumes.

National Library of China in Beijing

The NLC in Beijing is the largest library in Asia, and one of the largest in the world with a collection of over 26.3 million volumes of books by 2007. It holds the largest and among the richest worldwide collections of Chinese literature and historical documents. The library consists of the books and archives from imperial libraries dating to the Nan (Southern) Song dynasty (founded 1127). It also contains inscribed tortoise shells and bones, ancient manuscripts, and block-printed volumes, as well as books from the Qing dynasty, imperial colleges, and private collectors.

Battle scarred books

Bomb-damaged books now stored safely in the chapter library, Noyon Cathedral, France All photography is the work of Will Pryce

via Karen’s sharin’ February 03, 2014 at 09:50AM
An Orangutan from a zoo reintroduced to the wild in Borneo began spear fishing after watching local fisherman
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer.

An Orangutan from a zoo reintroduced to the wild in Borneo began spear fishing after watching local fisherman

via Karen’s sharin’ January 30, 2014 at 11:47AM
Isolated System [1239 x 991]
ksteimle shared this story from r/fractalporn on Imgur:
Sexy fractal. Also testing something for ross.

via Karen’s sharin’ January 27, 2014 at 03:16PM
Peter Capaldi’s Costume! - Imgur
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
Well. That’s pretty damn sexy!

Peter Capaldi’s Costume!

via Karen’s sharin’ January 27, 2014 at 03:05PM
You never know when this might be useful - Imgur
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:
Probably for Ross…

You never know when this might be useful

via Karen’s sharin’ January 24, 2014 at 01:33PM
Made a family heirloom with my dad - Imgur
ksteimle shared this story from imgur: the simple image sharer:

Made a family heirloom with my dad

Merbau, Pine, Mahogany, Spotted Gum and Tasmanian Oak
Designed table to seat eight people.
Sourced timber from a couple of different sellers. Corgi wanted to get in on the action.
Preparing to cut table pieces to size.
Pieces cut to size and rearranged into chosen pattern.
Preparing for dowel drilling.
Holes drilled.
Took a break from the table top to work on the frame. Routing slots out of legs.
Legs complete.
Routed names in to make it a future family heirloom.
Back to the table top. Glued the table top in three sections using PUA glue.
That’s a lot of glue.
Chiseled off glue.
Three glued sections
Back to the frame. Glued, screwed and doweled the braces on.
Bolted the legs on to the frame.

via Karen’s sharin’ January 22, 2014 at 09:48AM
on a long run | WIL WHEATON dot NET
ksteimle shared this story from WIL WHEATON dot NET:
Good advice for all of us, I think.

I went to my doctor yesterday, and told him how crummy I’ve been feeling. We talked about a lot of different things, and ultimately decided that it was probably a good idea to change up my brain pills. This morning, I started something new, and I really feel a lot better. I honestly don’t care if it’s a placebo effect at this point, but the end result is the same: I don’t feel despondent, depressed, and shitty about myself.

“You are very hard on yourself,” he told me yesterday.

“I know,” I said, “I just have really high expectations that I want to meet, and with all these incredibly successful friends …” I trailed off because I felt like I was starting to feel sorry for myself.

“Being judgmental about what you make or don’t make doesn’t help you at all,” he said, “you have to do your best every day, even if your best isn’t what you want it to be.”

I knew he was right, and I knew that it was my depression getting in between me knowing that was right, and accepting that it was right. That’s one of the incredibly frustrating things about depression: I can know that the way I feel is just my brain chemicals being messed up, but whether I accept it or not, the end result is the same: I feel awful. It’s a little unfair that it doesn’t work in both directions, but after living with it for my whole life, I can tell you that depression doesn’t care about being fair; it’s really a dick that way.

My doctor said that I was very clear-eyed about my mental illness (psychologists call people like me “the identified patient”), and because I could be rational even when I was feeling irrational, he wanted me to try some cognitive therapy. “When you feel bad, when you are thinking and feeling that you’re worthless or anything like that, I want you to recognize it, and then make an effort to replace those bad feelings with good ones.

“When you are feeling bad about a job you didn’t get, think about a job that you did get, that you feel good about. When you feel bad about not finishing a story, recognize that feeling, and remember how you felt when you published something you’re proud of.”

“That sounds like something I can do,” I said, “and it sounds like it may help me break out of the cycle of depression telling me a suck, then making me feel terrible because I believe that I suck, which makes me depressed, which lets depression tell me that I suck.” I imagined a particularly ugly ouroboros wrapping itself around me.

I don’t think this means that I don’t allow myself to feel disappointment, or frustration, or any of the other emotions that I think we all need to feel to be a fully-functional human. I think this means that I don’t let my mental illness take something like feeling unsure about where a story goes next and turning it into the Very Certain And Unshakable Belief That I Am A Worthless And Stupid And Idiotic Loser Who Everyone Knows Really Sucks. Not, um, that I’ve felt like that a whole lot lately, or anything like that. Um. Right.


Let’s get started, shall we? This weekend, Anne and I went to the mall to pick up some fancy pants I had tailored. While we were there, we noticed that the big old men’s clothing sale was happening, yadda yadda yadda I got three awesome suits for less than the cost of one, if they weren’t on sale.

Guys: it turns out that your beautiful wife telling you, “WOW, you look great in that suit,” is a powerful motivator for buying that suit. And two others. Because reasons.

After we were finished getting them tailored, Anne had to get on the phone to handle a bunch of #VandalEyes business, so I went into the bookstore until she was done. On my way to the Science Fiction section, I stopped to take this picture of their Tabletop game section:


While I was taking this picture, a young man cautiously approached me. “Mister … Mister Wheaton?” He said.

“That’s me!” I said.

“I love your show Tabletop! You are the reason my friends and I play games, and I’m actually here today to find something for one of them.”

I put my phone into my pocket. “That is really awesome,” I said. “The main reason I make Tabletop is to inspire other people to play games.”

He swallowed, nodded, and said, “um, would you, uh … would you help me pick out a game for my friend?”

My heart grew three sizes. “I would love to do that!”

I asked him a bunch of questions about the games they like to play together, his friend’s level of experience, and how much he wanted to spend. Ultimately, he settled on Ticket To Ride. He shook my hand, thanked me several times, and walked away, happily.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” a voice said behind me. I turned and saw a young woman with a nametag that indicated she worked in the store.

“Yes?” I said.

“This is my section,” she said, pointing to the games, “and it’s here because of your show, Tabletop.”

My heart grew another three sizes.

“We order all the games you play on your show, and we usually sell out of whatever you’ve just played right away.”

“That’s really cool!” I said.

We talked about the games that she had in the section, and I recommended a few new ones for her, including Hive, Love Letter, and Coup.

“I’ll see if I can convince my manager to let me order those,” she said. “Anyway, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you for your show, and for everything you do.”

“It’s my pleasure,” I said, “and it really means a lot to me that you took the time to tell me that.” I started to walk back to the Sci-Fi Books, and stopped. I turned back. “If your distributor doesn’t know what’s coming up on Tabletop — and they should, but if they don’t — please e-mail me and I’ll give you the release schedule, so you can know what to order.”

“That would be great,” she said.

“Awesome.” We shook hands, and I walked back to the Sci-Fi books. Before I could really figure out if I was going to get anything, my phone chirped in my pocket. It was Anne. She was off the phone, and didn’t want to go on a quest to find me in the store. “I’ll be right out,” I replied.

I walked past that Tabletop game section, which was absolutely huge — even bigger than the entire Sci-Fi and Fantasy book section, combined, and a little voice in my head said, “it’s okay to feel a little proud about this.” I listened to it.

I’m still frustrated and disappointed when I see a character on a TV show or in a film that I clearly could have played, but didn’t even get to audition for (a casting director recently told my agent that they would not even see me for a role, because “Wil Wheaton can’t play someone in his late 30s,” even though I’m 41, with two children in their 20s, and just letting me spend thirty fucking seconds in their goddamn office to see how I look now and how I interpret the role may change their mind). I’m still frustrated and disappointed that I haven’t produced any original work of fiction of any consequence in a year, and that I haven’t finished Memories of the Future Volume 2.

BUT — and it’s a big but* — instead of focusing on those things, and feeling like I’m being crushed into a singularity by a black hole of depression, I can look at the show I created and brought to life with some very talented people, that is having a very real and lasting impact on a lot of people, in a very positive way.

When I look at the writing I haven’t finished, I can look at the calendar and see all the times I was working on a video game or an audiobook or an animated show, and was on the road to promote Tabletop, and honestly accept that there just wasn’t that much time to write the things I wanted to write, because I was busy working on other things.

I can stop being so hard on myself, and I can stop judging myself, and I can stop holding myself up to standards that are so high, even the people I’m comparing myself to every day would have a hard time reaching them.

Or, at least, I can try, and I can do my best, because that’s all I can do.

*hurr hurr hurr

via Karen’s sharin’ January 22, 2014 at 08:57AM