Finished Reading “Nailed”

Yesterday afternoon I finished reading David Fitzgerald’s excellent book, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All.

imageI have seen a few YouTube clips  of Fitzgerald speaking – his appearance on The Atheist Experience is especially good. Wait for the caller who tries to challenge his thesis… Devil

He often has a humourous way of engaging with his audiences. It makes you want to listen to what he has to say. But he is also extremely knowledgeable on the mythicist side of Jesus’ existence. Don’t think you can throw some basic apologist fluff at him like Flavius Josephus; because Fitzgerald will blow that argument away instantly.

Personally, I am still waffling slightly between mythicism and historicism. While I really like Bart Ehrman’s writing, I was less than impressed with his Did Jesus Exist? I felt that Ehrman fell uncharacteristically short with his argument. But not so much with Fitzgerald. He makes a series of clear cases that easily raise sensible doubt as to whether dude named Jesus was stomping around early first century Palestine raising the dead and coming back to life himself.

Fitzgerald has spent the years since Nailed was published doing additional research. This has produced three more books and with Nailed as the first, the series is now called “Mything In Action.” The three new books cover the idea that there was even a regular human that inspired the Jesus fable.

So when I finish those books, maybe I will no longer remain on the fence regarding the Jesus stories that I grew up with.

Saturn V Model Finished

Earlier this afternoon, I put the last few pieces of the Saturn V LEGO model together.

Saturn VThis is a big, beautiful model from the Ideas series. Ideas are fan submissions that get voted on with the hope that they are turned into a shipping product. The wonderful Women Of NASA set is also in the Ideas series.

I will upload a better image to my Flickr album later – for now, here is a crappy cell phone camera shot. Note the re-designed Burj Khalifa model for scale. The Saturn V is nearly one meter tall – by far my tallest model.

The third stage is sitting in place and thus easily lifted off. A lunar lander model is held inside the cone of the stage. At the base of the rocket is the crew capsule with water floatation balloons deployed.

This means I have to move on to building the Big Ben tower now.

Cleaning The Blog Categories

imageJust like the Flickr albums and images, I really need to clean up my blog categories. Many of these I rarely use or do not use at all.

I suspect that the Entertainment and Music categories can be removed. Although my background is programming, SQL Server and a smattering of SharePoint; I simply do not blog about these topics. So those can be removed.

I’ve never liked the name of Ray-Tracing as a category for my 3D work. I will likely change that to Digital Art to reflect the change on Flickr. Perhaps breaking it out into multiple categories – Modeling, Texturing, Rendering – could work?

Skepticism can be combined with the Atheism category. Perhaps a Photography category that is distinct from Photoshop is in order?

Hopefully, I can get into the mySQL database that powers this blog. I could write a query to show what categories I have used most often. I’m reasonably certain that I have the skill to do that… Sarcastic smile

Cleaning Up My Flickr Albums

I have used Flickr for a very long time now. Much of that has been not knowing anything at all about how to take a good photograph. I was a point-and-shoot guy with no thought to subject or composition or camera settings.

I think it is high time that I cleaned out all the garbage shots from my albums.

The exception will be my various travel albums and photo walks. There may be poor quality pictures in there, but they are my memories and so those will stay.

I’m going to get rid of my Fitness album completely. Sadly, I’ve lost all those gains and cannot seem to get myself wanting to be in shape again.

I am undecided about the Dungeons & Dragons album. I have made a considerable investment in the plastic miniatures of heroes and monsters as well as the cardboard Dungeon Tiles sets. When I first moved to Texas, I tried playing Dungeons & Dragons remotely over instant messaging applications. It was a miserable failure. Some of those photos were meant to represent the player characters in that failed game.

The Ray-Traces album will be renamed to Digital Art and only put in quality renders. The Work-In-Progress or test renders album will be removed. The Photoshop album will get merged into the Digital Art album.

The Atheism album will be deleted. I made one photo as a memorial for Christopher Hitchens. I had intended to share collected irreverent memes but I was unsure of copyright. Also, there could be nasty reactions from the ultra-sensitive snowflake crowd. Those who get their knickers in a twist whenever somebody

Building The Saturn V In LEGO

Back at the end of April, I bought the Saturn V rocket in LEGO. I already had the Big Ben model. Both of these have yet to be built primarily due to my concern about building space.

I usually build on the small table that also serves as where I use my work laptop when I work from home. Flat surfaces typically become storage places for me…books, papers, miscellany…it all builds up rather quickly.

Needing some incentive, I put out a Facebook poll to my friends. After 10 votes in a couple of days, the Saturn V has the lead. So I am calling the decision made and will commence the build this week!

Slipping Gears On Blog Posting Again

Here we are, half-way through the month of June and this is my second post. Before that, my last post was the middle of May. Let’s get caught-up on the stuff in my world.

I was going to evaluate BlogJet as replacement for Windows Live Writer. I abandoned that idea when I saw that BlogJet is nearly as old as WLW and has been just as long without any update to its software. Why would I pay for that when WLW is free?

Another piece of software that I began evaluating is RizomUV. It turned out that most of my evaluation period was being done on an older version. So the author graciously extended my evaluation period so that I could use the latest version. As previously mentioned, this tool has many features that make it superior to UV Layout; I am almost certainly going to switch. I did hit a few technical oddities but that might be caused by issues with my bell tower mesh.

NPS_TorontoBefore Photoshop World, Canada celebrated Victoria Day. I took the opportunity for a long overdue photowalk at Nathan Phillips Square, Roundhouse Park and Ripley’s Aquarium. I must confess, Nathan Phillips Square was much smaller than I had envisioned.

I arrived very early in the morning, so the square was empty of people. Occasionally, buses would arrive and about 30 Asian tourists would tumble out and take cellphone pictures for a few minutes before moving on to the next site. Since I had my tripod and other gear with me, I was deemed to be an expert (how little they knew! Sarcastic smile). Several people asked me to take pictures for them. I happily obliged – it was fun.

Islington_Subway_BWOne of my favourite photos was the first one of the day. I thought to take a photo of the train arriving at Islington station. This one screamed at me to be done in black & white.

I also took a photo of the connecting tunnel at Spadina station that links the east-west and north-south subway lines. The early morning holiday hours saw this normally crowded area devoid of people. So I liked how that came out.

This has inspired me to make a major (for me) photography project based on the subway lines. I’m still considering what my precise approach will be.

Photoshop World 2018

Last Wednesday, I flew to Orlando, Florida for my second Photoshop World. Just like the FFRF National Conventions, I am going to aim to make this an annual event for myself.

The flight into Orlando experience some short but fierce turbulence. It didn’t bother me; I was more intrigued by my fellow passengers’ reactions. For the first time in my life, I saw real fear on someone’s face. This poor woman across the aisle was terrified and it showed in way that I had never seen before. Behind my seat, a young girl kept asking, “Are we okay?” The plane was already on approach, so we had no choice but to go through it. Quite the experience.

PSW 2018 Welcome SignOf course, PSW was an even better experience!

Scott Kelby, the entire KelbyOne staff and all the amazing instructors really do their utmost to make this a great conference for creative people. Everybody is friendly and helpful.

Several people from the KelbyOne message forums attended. We met up often in the Community Lounge area to relax and chat and to help other attendees.

Here is the link to my Photoshop World 2018 Flickr album.

Natural Light Still Life - LilyOddly, I did not take that many photos this time. But there are a few shots that I am proud of.

KelbyOne member, Melanie Kern-Favilla attended to show off her floral photography technique. She delivered a KelbyOne class on her style too. With Melanie’s suggestions, I photographed this still life lily with natural light. It is hard to believe that there are massive floor to ceiling windows behind me with the Florida afternoon sun glaring in. But that’s Melanie’s magic at work!

May was a sparse month for blog posts. I’m aiming to change that this month.