Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Sparkles

It's always exciting for me to wear an item that doesn't have a male equivalent, like a halter top or off-the-shoulder dress. Male garments don't bare shoulders so doing it makes me feel girly.

I explained in my last outfit-post that currently I'm forced to create new looks under limited circumstances. As a result, there are two problems with the outfit below which are obvious. First, it desperately needs jewelry but my accessories are all in storage. The choice was plain or not at all. Second, the short hem-length is obviously immodest. Most women's clothes are made for 5'4"-5'8" females and when a 6'0" tall person wears them, they fall short. You'll have to bear seeing a lot of leg. 

Hey, I do what I can and it isn't always perfect. :-)






Monday, February 21, 2022

Kodak Instamatics

Friends make our lives sweeter.

Do you know how I got into film photography? A friend. My close friend Ashley gave me a Holga camera as a birthday gift. It returned me to film after decades-long absence. Since then I've dived deeper into vintage film cameras and love shooting them.

It's happening again. Unsolicited, a friend sent me two old film cameras to play with. Both are Kodak Instamatics, equipment I've never used before although I remember seeing them during the 1970s. It'll be fun to explore the capabilities of these primitive machines.

The camera on the left is an Instamatic 30 which was made between 1972-1976. It uses 110-cartridge film which is easy to load. The camera on the right is an Instamatic X-15F, made from 1976-1988 and uses 126-cartridge film. 

These camera were point-and-shoot devices designed for simple snapshots. They're mostly plastic and have cheap lenses. Because the negatives are very small, enlarging their images produces grainy, fuzzy photographs but, in the right hands, that doesn't mean the cameras can't make art. :)

Do you remember these cameras?

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Golda Schultz

Last night I took Robin to an orchestral concert at the New York Philharmonic as a Valentine's Day gift. The peerless orchestra, conducted by Santtu-Matias Rouvali, performed three different pieces. The centerpiece was Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony and, of course, that was an exciting event. But what really surprised me was an accompanying vocal performance of songs written by Richard Strauss. The songs, based on poems, were sung in German by opera soprano Golda Schultz.

I've never heard a more beautiful, talented voice. Golda Schultz has the sound of an angel and the strength of a Valkyrie. She was born in South Africa, lived in Germany and recently performed with the Metropolitan Opera here. She studied at the Juilliard School in New York.

We had third-row center seats and were about 15 feet away from her. Wow! You haven't experienced life until you've sat that close to a master-musician deploying unmatchable vocal skills. Golda did things I wasn't aware are humanly possible and she did them with delightful bubbly personality. It was a seraphic performance I'll never forget.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

"Reality+"

Last year I read a brilliant book on the past ("About Time,” by British historian David Rooney; Norton 2021). This year I'm reading an equally brilliant book on the future ("Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy," David J. Chalmers; Norton 2022). I recommend both books highly.

David Chalmers uses ancient and contemporary philosophy to examine new technology: i.e., "virtual reality" and "augmented reality." Contrary to conventional thinking Chalmers concludes that these alternate modes are actually real and that, with technological improvement, they will offer us new ways to experience life that are worthy. He also controversially but convincingly argues that we can't dismiss the possibility we're currently living in a "Matrix"-like computer simulation. Really! And it's tough to refute a smart philosopher :)



Sunday, February 13, 2022

Back To Basics

I started this blog a dozen years ago with the primary intent to explore my femininity. I hoped to do that with outfit-posts, questions about female life, and making new friends. It's been a success although it occasionally detours into other areas, like autobiography, travel and my other passions.

I was able to create outfits in the beginning and get your valuable feedback. ("Put a belt on it!") Lately, however, I haven't been able to create outfit-posts due to a variety of factors, primarily home-renovation. All of my female clothes, makeup and supplies are stored in boxes, largely inaccessible. I'd be lying if I said this doesn't bother me. Female expression is not only central to my inner self, it's the reward I promised myself for conforming to conventional gender-expectations for a looong time. Too long.

My plan is to resume this activity when I acquire and set up a new playhouse. That, unfortunately, is taking longer than expected because of a temporary dip in my investments. You've probably heard how the stock market, crypto- and everything else tanked this Winter. I'm still pursuing my plan but waiting until the investments bounce back.

In the meantime, I miss dresses! And heels. And makeup. I pulled stuff out of storage to have some fun. The dress was recently given to me by a very close friend and I've been itching to try it on. Here it is in all its glory.

Thoughts?




Saturday, February 12, 2022

New Camera

Have you ever seen a TLR camera? I just picked one up.

I've always been intrigued by these machines. TLR stands for "Twin Lens Reflex." Unlike most cameras that you lift to your head to focus and shoot, TLR cameras are held at your waist; you look down into their top where the image appears facing upward. They get their name from having two lenses, one which shows you the image and a second lens beneath the first which records the picture. The two-lens design distinguishes this camera from "Single Lens Reflex" (SLR) cameras which is what most people are familiar with. Also, unlike 35mm SLRs, TLR usually use different-sized film. My new TLR uses 120-roll film like my cheap Holga.

I've been on the look-out for a TLR for some time. The problem was cost. The most famous TLRs were made in Germany by Rolleiflex (1929-2015). Like Rolex watches, Rolleiflex cameras are vastly over-priced; I see them advertised for $10,000. That's more than I want to pay for a seventy-year-old used camera.

Last week I came across a Yashica 12 on Craigslist. Made in Japan, Yashica is known as "the poor man's Rolleiflex." Because it lacks the prestige of the German camera, it sells for much less but many photographers report it works just as well due to fine design and high-quality lenses. One says "the results from the two cameras are almost impossible to tell apart. Both have Tessar-formula lenses and both produce very sharp images." For this new camera I negotiated the price down to $100 which seems reasonable. 

You'll see what it can do in my hands soon!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Men's Room


Sometimes it's odd to be female on the inside and male on the outside. Socially I'm forced to live among men while often feeling strange in their company. Here's an example.

Do you know that in many restaurants -- including fancy ones -- the men's bathrooms are decorated with soft-core porn images of naked/semi-naked women? It's quite common, even in places that are respectable chains. This is very popular in places with bars. 

Restaurant owners apparently believe these images appeal to their male patrons and won't offend anyone. I'm sure if women used these bathrooms there'd be complaints but gender-segregation keeps them out and unaware.

I don't visit women's bathrooms but I doubt there are naked pictures of men in there. Are there? What do you think about this?


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Billiards

Most of you know that billiards is one of my passions. The pandemic disrupted the fun when local pool halls closed down; they eventually went out-of-business. There's no place to play nearby so today I trekked way out to Bayport to try VIP Billiards. It was okay -- no atmosphere but decent tables. No VIPs there except for me.  :-)

My ultimate goal is to get a pool table of my own which I'll set up in my future playhouse. Because I'm not boring I want to buy one with contemporary style. Here are a few options I'm considering. Do any appeal to you?















Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Finding Color

People inexperienced in photography make a common mistake of believing results are determined by the quality of a camera. That's not true. Good photographs come not from fancy cameras but from skilled minds behind them.

On a bitterly cold day last December I went outdoors with my 1957 Kodak Brownie Starmite II. The camera is a mass-produced piece of crap with a cheap plastic lens. It was sold the year I was born for $10 to ordinary folk who used it for family snapshots. 

Before going out I thought carefully about what I could do. I had color film (127-roll) which I'd never used before in this camera. Recognizing the strength (color saturation) and weakness (unsharp focus) of my equipment I decided to emphasis the former and put all my eggs in that basket.

I looked for and found a sleepy South Shore town that was empty. It was late afternoon and dreariness had chased shoppers home. One thing stood out, however, in the dark Winter -- bright, colored neon lights in deserted stores. Unseen by anyone else they called to me like an artistic beacon. I played with them and created the images below.

What do you think?















Wednesday, February 2, 2022

"Ozark"

In 2017 I predicted -- before anyone else and against large odds -- that young Julia Garner would win an Emmy for her outstanding work in "Ozark." She did. Then she won again in 2018. 

If you've seen the new, final season you'll agree with me that Julia is a lock on winning her third Emmy. Wow.



Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Ms. Conundrum

Do you know this girl?

She rides fast motorcycles, likes to wear pretty dresses, roots wildly for a hockey team called the Devils, collects fine art, paints her toes bright red, cooks with fiery hot peppers, attends symphony orchestra concerts, knows how to pick a lock, invested in cryptocurrency before others knew about it, reads philosophy, loves high heels, hikes in the woods, ponders the nature of consciousness, lifts weights, achieved professional ├ęclat during a long career, savors 33 year old single malt whisky (Laphroaig), etc. And that's not even opening the box of secret activities only her close friends know about. 

She is, as Sir Winston Churchill said in 1939, "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."