Bad News from Flickr

I used to pay for extra space to use the photo archives on Flickr.com. A few years back they offered unlimited space for free. I loved that. Who wouldn’t?

Now Flickr is changing the rules and charging $49/year for accounts with more than 1,000 images or videos. I just don’t want to pay for something I have been getting for free for years. Who would?

Yahoo owns Flickr and I figure they make enough money, though that’s not based on my evaluation of their ledgers. We’ve got till January to move or delete images and I think that’s what I’ll do.

Microsoft, Shutterfly, Google and Facebook all have free photo archive space. I’m sure there are other services that also do. It’s just that it will take a lot of time to move these files. I have many on my computer or on an external hard drive. It’s a chore to get all these files organized though.

Ah, technology. You get us used to a service and then when we’ve made you integral to our lives, you pull the rug out from under us.

N.B. Microsoft charges now.

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The Idiot

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Ayako and Kameda, the Idiot

Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot blew me away with its depth and complexity of emotion. Many years ago I saw David Schwimmer in the lead role in the play at The Lookingglass Theater. That adaptation left me cold. I still recall how bored my friend and I were. In spite of this bad experience I was curious what Kurosawa might do with the story.

In a nutshell, The Idiot is about Kameda, a man who due to an injury during the war is rendered an idiot. His particular cognitive “deficiency” is that he’s somewhat mentally slower and also sees the worth of every person and thus loves every individual. When he returns from the war to Hokkaido, he stays with a family and the feisty daughter Ayako, against all her wished, falls for him.

In the same home is another boarder, Mr. Kayama who though he loves Ayako, has agreed to marry a kept woman famous for her beauty, Taeko, for 600,000 yen. Taeko’s photo is up at the train station and when Kameda and Akama, another man returning to the city, see it they’re swept off their feet. Taeko and Ayako both despise Kayama for valuing money over love.

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Both Taeko and Ayako fall for the idiot, Kameda, because he’s the only person in the story who’s honest. No one has met such an honest, perceptive person. Although these women are at their most genuine when they’re with Kameda, you know that they’ll corrupt him and that no healthy relationship is available for him. Still Kameda is thrust into a confusing web between these women, his friend Kayama, Ayako’s parents and Akama. While the film has several grasping, selfish characters, we see that they’re grasping at a virtue that they value but will also corrupt. There are no villains, just people who can’t make up their minds and whose indecision and schemes are lethal.

The Japanese actors, all Kurosawa regulars, were masters of emotion which this story requires. It’s a long film at almost three hours (cut down from over four), but Kurosawa kept me interested.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I enjoyed being an election judge again and I’d urge you to try it. It’s a long day, and though you’re paid, if you divide by the hour it’s not a lot. Still it’s a necessary role to fill so that we can all vote. I met some interesting people and got to see the election up close.

I’d report that most of the trees have lost their leaves and that it’s as cold as it usually is in December (i.e. in the 20°s). Last Thursday we had a couple inches of snow. I’m wondering if this portends a rough winter.

I’d tell you that I’ve been wrapped up in Masterpiece’s series Poldark, which will finish next Sunday. The writing is nail-biting as the characters’ are all taken to the brink of disaster, some over the brink. I only wish it ran for more than 8 weeks.

I’d tell you that I loved Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot. The film is beautiful and moving. There’s emotional depth, which made me care about even the gruff characters.

Yesterday since it has been cold, I prepared fondue for my brother and his family. It was a fun cold night dinner.

Thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting this Weekend Coffee Share.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

I’d tell you that I’m sad that Halloween’s over. Soon the decorations will be gone, as will the vividly colored leaves. The rainy cold of November is hard for me to take.

I had three job interviews last week. Two were for part time jobs, with low pay. One of these was at the library for my hometown. It’s small and cosy and would be a good place to start working. Alas, it’s only 18 hours a week. It galls me because in Illinois for government jobs if you work 19 hours a week you get benefits. This rule turns out not to help anyone and it just means penny-pinching organizations will not give more hours to part timers. They’ll get the most they can. If you are scheduled to work 18 hours, you wind up working over 19 as you come into work a few minutes early and leaving a little late.

The other part time job interview was with an Apple Store. The two people I met were personable and authentic. There weren’t any trick questions. I felt at ease. However, I wonder if they’ll opt for someone with an “edgier” look.

The full time job was as an Instructional Designer for a manufacturer. The company makes steel pipes and fittings. It was a pretty good phone interview and I was blown away by the salary range — about double what full time librarians make. I wound up not getting called in for a face to face interview, which I attribute to my lack of industrial experience. As an Instructional Designer, you don’t have to know the ins and outs of the subject matter, the experts on the team do. However, there probably were candidates who did have more familiarity with that. The experience has made me think that Instructional Design is worth pursuing.

Saturday I got to see a wonderful production of Jane Eyre at Northwestern University. They have such talented students and the set and costumes were great. More on that soon.

I also saw three compelling films on DVD, all recommended by Sharon, my film guru in the A/V department at Skokie Public Library. They are: The Rocket, The Cave of the Yellow Dog and Kedi

I’m so tired of the election campaigning and the ads. I believe in democracy and care about elections, but the campaigns drag on and the TV ads are unrelenting. Tomorrow I’m an election judge, which I enjoy. I’ll also be in a safe, electioneering-free zone! I so look forward to respite from the ads, punches and counter-punches. I think there should be a few days before the 2020 would-be presidential candidates start their barrage.

I have just finished my television adaptation of an old (public domain) novel that’s another delightful American Downton Abbey. The bigger challenge is getting it to see the light of day, i.e. get produced. Now I’m going to start on a contemporary series idea. If I can finish that soon, I’ll have three submissions, two that are new, for the Act One Upfront. I hope to submit these before the Early Bird session is over.

Thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting this Weekend Coffee Share.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I loved the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns where they display probably over 1,000 carved pumpkins that fit a variety of themes like sea creatures, optical illusions, monster couples, horror stories, sports, etc. The event typically sells out and this year was no different. We lucked out on weather as it was neither wet, nor cold. The event was a delight for all ages. Kudos to the garden for hosting this event.

I’d also tell you that I finished the Coursera.org called The Manager’s Toolkit: a Practical Guide to Managing People at Work. I learned a lot about hiring, resolving conflict, decision making and performance management. The six week course, which is offered throughout the year and takes about an hour a week, featured substantive articles and video content. I did gain insights that I probably wouldn’t have if I just searched for articles or books. I took the free version as I don’t think the certificate would help me that much for job hunting.

I’ve started an adaptation of a novel for the Act One Upfronts, a program for alumni where selected writers get to pitch their ideas to producers and agents. My aim is to meet the early deadline in November.

I’d toot my own horn to say that with only a few glitches I managed to change my MacBook Pro’s hard drive and so it operates much faster. However, I’d add that this did not fix the problem of the computer just shutting down at random times, not something I relish as it means I can lose pages of work I’ve completed. Fixing that issue, is my next challenge. Wish me well.

Thanks to Eclectic Alli for hosting this Weekend Coffee Share.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve finished my Election Judge training, Six and a half hours on Wednesday and two and a half on Sunday. This year I signed up to be an equipment manager, which means more money, but also more training time, so it all evens out. There’s a lot of little details to follow, but the experience is worthwhile as if someone didn’t help out, there’s no way we could hold elections. If you live somewhere that holds elections, you might want to give this a try.

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I’d tell you that Tuesday I went to a History Happy Hour at the Chicago History Museum. I went with my aunt and we agreed that we were disappointed in the amount of history offered. The theme was Halloween so we expected local ghost stories, but what we found was a table with some artifacts and archives that were kind of eerie, e.g. numerous examples of Victorian hair jewelry. Hard jewelry is exactly what you might guess, bracelets, necklaces, earrings made from hair. According to Wikipedia, it was worn when mourning. They had some podcasts on a Devil Baby legend and a famous murder, but I’d hoped for a live person. I’m old fashioned, but this was at a history museum.

Thursday I attended a group for playwrights. Of the five of us, four brought ten pages which we read and gave feedback on. It’s a worthwhile group that meets monthly.

A lot of people has put out their Halloween decorations and it’s sprucing up the neighborhoods. Here are some from my aunt’s neighborhood.

Saturday I went to the library for a writing program about revision. I was disappointed because the presenter got off track and talked a lot about outlining and covered so many basics like using index cards to organize. I think I’ve reached a point where I just need to write and get feedback from people I trust.

Visit Eclectic Allie’s blog for links to other Weekend Coffee Shares.

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Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

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Moody Church Chicago

If we were having coffee, I’d rave about Open House Chicago, where visitors can choose from 250+ sites of architectural significance, many that are not usually open to the public. On Saturday I went with a friend to a dozen or so sites in the Gold Coast neighborhood, including St. Chrysostom Church, the Graham Foundation, Moody Church, The Palette and Chisel art center and several others. On Sunday I volunteered at the First Methodist Church of Evanston and beforehand saw American Toby Jug Museum, a distillery and an architectural firm housed in a one time horse stable. The weather this year was ideal, sunny and a bit crisp. Volunteering was fun and allowed me to meet some new people. In addition, as a volunteer I got two tickets for Chicago Architectural Foundation’s walking tours (worth $25 or so). This week I’ll share posts on each significant site.

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At the American Toby Jug Museum

I just got home from my October Great Books Discussion Group. On the one hand it was great that we had a large group, 15 (which might be a little too big). We read Genesis this month and I’d looked forward to a lively discussion. There are many very sharp people in this group. However, the leader spent about 35 minutes expounding on background information, unaware that a lot of the people there knew much of what he shared. It was quite exasperating. Then when we did get to talk we just went around the table sharing impressions. By the time everyone had shared their impressions, rather than talking about the text as is the point of Great Books we had a lot of ramblings and digressive commentary. We flitted from one person to the next, never coming to the few questions people raised about the text when we went around the table. Such a waste of time. A couple people had joined and seemed to just want a platform to talk about irrelevant ideas. The leader occasionally broke in with more background, which we’d heard before. Not our best meeting.

I’d also say I was captivated by the animated film Loving Vincent, which uses oil paintings and the subjects of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to tell the story of the last weeks of his life. Amazing!

Visit Eclectic Allie’s blog for links to other Weekend Coffee Shares.

 

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