My Memorial to Jared Johnson.

My Memorial to Jared Johnson​

I first met Jared, almost 28 years ago, when he was, 17, and the sys-op of “The Cat’s Meow” BBS.  His handle was RedWolf.  Despite our age differences, we did become great friends.  He and my oldest son, Paul, were very close, more like brothers than just friends.  Alan, my youngest son, called him Uncle Jared.

This friendship held true. When Paul went to CT for vacation, Jared was the one that picked him up at the bus station. And Jared was there again, when Paul moved back up to Connecticut. Jared was there for me when I left an abusive husband.

I moved to NY, and was doing ok, until an injury and job loss threw everything into a tail spin. Because I had no income, I had eviction proceedings, and the state of NY were circling to take Alan away because I would have no home, no food. I made a frantic phone call. Paul and Jared came to NY and picked Alan up and brought him to where his brother lived with Jared, in CT. Those social workers were pissed off because I told them Alan was with his brother. They demanded to know what his name was and where he was. I replied “Paul is an adult, 19 years old, and Alan’s legal guardian if in case of my not being able to care for him. I know if you got your hooks into him, it would be a cold chance in hell for me get to him back.” Yeah, they were pissed off.

After I got myself squared away, we kept in touch over Yahoo, ICQ and AIM all the time.. well, spare time.

Even when I moved to Australia, we retained that contact. Then AIM vanished, and ICQ for all intents and purposes cacked it, too. Skype came in handy, but the time difference made for interesting schedules for calls.

So, there was Facebook posts, Yahoo (until they shut down)  and  FB Messenger. He never once mentioned he was ill. Not once. I’m of two minds about that; one, that I wouldn’t have been able to do anything to help, and two, I would have moved heaven and earth to see him before left us. Paul said I’m better off remembering him the way he was, in the photo I have of him.

And with much tears, typing through ‘salty goggles’, is the synopsis of my friendship with Jared. I loved him dearly, as if he were one of my own. My original “Un-Son”. I will miss his kindness, his sensitivity, his sense of humor. The world is a less bright place without him here.

Be at peace.

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And the hits just keep coming

Jared Johnson, my original Un-Son, who was one of the most gentle, kind, selfless beings to walk the planet, passed away yesterday from esophageal cancer. Paul, my eldest son, contacted me and told me about his passing. He got to see Jared before he died, and got to talk to him. Jared was ready, he was tired.   He was only 44.  He was so selfless, and didn’t want anyone to worry,  he didn’t let anyone know he was ill, and right until last week was posting cute and funny things on Facebook. To say I am gutted would be an understatement.   I only have one photograph of him, and that is how I will always remember him. Human slave to cats, and a very kind and loving human being.

I will miss him forever.

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Umm ow?

Physio/Exercise session.  As willing as I am to do these (ask Meg the Motivator aka Meg the Merciless)

A lot of the pain I am feeling is the exercises and tortures are correcting years worth of bad posture created due to pain.  It’s amazing how the human body with adjust to things that aren’t quite right.  Have a sore knee, you favor one side, dipping one shoulder down, slightly flexing the spine.  Have a sore back, you hold a position that causes the least amount of pain.

All the things I’m doing at SporTreat is correcting decades of me adjusting to a slowly calcifying disc, its collapse, then right knee going, surgical replacement, then then left knee starting to go.

For now, although I hurt from the neck on down, I am sitting without bowing my shoulders or rounding my back. Both feet are facing the right direction.   Yay?

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I’ve been doing some reading on photography forums

And it seems that with the exception of hard core professional photogs that use a lot of tools that come in Photoshop, the main reason people keep subscribing/renting it is because of Adobe Camera Raw, which Adobe makes sure will only work up to a certain version of Photoshop (ie 6.7 with CS5, 9.1 with CS6. IMO, Adobe *could* have but didn’t make ACR usable with other versions, and not for the reasons they claimed.)

There are ways around getting stuck with renting Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, and to keep using your older version of Photoshop.

1: Don’t fall for the often misunderstood phrase “No Longer Supported” if you update your computer’s OS.  All that means is you will have to make GOOGLE search your friend if you  have a problem using CS5 with Windows 10. Or ask a tech savvy friend. If that tech savvy friend says “Subscribe to Abobe” they aren’t as tech savvy as they claim.

2:  Use the Adobe DNG converter. This will take your proprietary raw files and turn them into ‘open source’ digital negatives. I’ve done this when I had CS5 and got new camera.  Guess what? Exact same result editing the DNG in CS5 as I got when I edited Canon’s proprietary CR2 and Olympus’ ORF file in CS6.

3: Find a different program to use as your camera raw editor. Yes, people keep chanting “Adobe is the industry standard”, not realizing or caring that it was Adobe company itself that branded itself the industry standard.  There are many other camera raw editors you can use, and then ‘punt’ the resulting JPG into whatever ‘old’ version of Photoshop you have. I do suggest, do you due diligence when looking for raw editor.  There are many that are way over priced for what they do.  A few are so slow and clunky.

My PERSONAL experiences are thus so far, in no particular order:

1: CaptureOne – no denying it is a great photo editor, but for the average hobbyist, or learning photographer, it’s way over loaded in features. It is also THE most expensive editing program out there.  Their 2020 version runs at $515.00 AUD for a single user license, or $35AUD to ‘rent’ it.

2: DxO Labs – Their latest version is fantastic. I have nothing negative to say about it. It has the best lens correction catalog, and if your particular camera/lens combo isn’t on your hard drive, DxO will search and have it available for download if possible.  It has not only adjustment brushes/gradients, but it also incorporates the U-Point tech of Nik. DxO has solved issues with certain photos for me. Definitely not overpriced for everything you get. Currently, you can get it for $ 189, no subscription.

3:On1PhotoRaw – Camera raw editor on steroids is how I described it to a friend. Not only do you get everything that is in the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, it comes with tools found in Photoshop, too.  You can use On1 as a standalone editor, not just as RAW editor, or as a plug in for Photoshop (caveat being if you can open the raw image in Photoshop). Pricing varies to $99 to buy it, or an extra $50 to subscribe to On1Plus. On1Plus isn’t software, it’s priority support, webinars, workshops, and other goodies thrown into the mix. It does have a few shortfalls (they removed Focal Point (creating a focus region bokeh effect), which is what keeps me running Windows 7 on another hdd (dual boot system) because I have their older software on that computer, which does have Focal Point.

4: Exposure X5 (the software previously known as Alienskin Exposure) – This is a great all-in-one camera raw editor.  And if it  had come out with this prior to my deciding to use On1, it would have given On1 a run for my money.  It has many of the same tools, features and functions as On1, but it also has some that are no longer available in On1 (creating a focal point/region focus). I’ve also found it less of a system resource hog than On1. I have been getting reacquainted with how to use Exposure.  Yeah, it’s that good.  Pricing varies (I suggest if you can, get the bundle. Well worth the $149)

There are others, Affinity (great software for it’s pricing). I’ve imported finished JPGs into Affinity to use some of the features and tools they have, that none of the others do.

Skylum Luminar, Windows version: earlier versions work better than their latest release.  If you have 2018, stick with it. I swear it was as if they released buggy beta versions on the general public. I typically use it only as a plug in for Photoshop because of this.

So, there it is. And remember, this is just my opinion and experiences. Depending on your computer, your experiences may be different.

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Well, that’s annoying

It seems that after all these years of buying TopazLabs/Topaz software for photoediting, paying a premium price for “Lifetime updates”, the owners of the company have decided to go the subscription model. They sent out a smarmy email, with a link to a lackluster blog post from “Eric” as to why they were doing this. I don’t care.  Every one of my purchases came with the “Lifetime updates” in the contract. 

This isn’t a case like with Slysoft, who just changed their name, and invalidated everyone’s current lifetime updates (IMO, it was like if Ford changed their name to Cord, and then told everyone who just bought their extended warranties they were no longer valid, because Ford didn’t exist anymore). Topaz and Topaz Labs are still being owned and operated by the same people.  Also, the claim of a better product?  Seriously, for what I paid, I could use On1 PhotoRaw and Photoshop and get the same results without using Topaz. 

So, why do I use Topaz products? The LIFE TIME UPDATES is why.  That is what they contracted with me for, and that is what they’re trying to renege on. 

Can anyone say “Class Action Lawsuit”?

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Found out what the problem is/was

When I went to the Perth Zoo, I was ok. Knees felt a bit wonky, but that was from the deep knee bends, and squatting down I did to get some great photos of the beautiful animals.

We drove home, and when I got out of the car, and the knees and ankles were a bit stiff and complaining about what I put them through (was at the zoo for almost 6 hours)

I stuck the CF card into the reader, transferred them all to the hard drive, turned my chair, and started to get up, and pain in my right heel almost dropped me where I stood. If it wasn’t for my chair and the cat tower, I would have fallen to the floor. To say excruciating pain would not be an exaggeration.

I called for Wing to get my cane from the closet and I ended up using it for the next few days.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, to when I saw my physio, “Simon the Sadist” , and told him about it.  He got me an appointment with a personal trainer, for supervised exercise. 

“Meg the Motivator” at SporTreat.  Went through all the history with spinal surgery, knee surgery, compartment syndrome surgery, the recovery from the knee replacement, and the car accident afterward. 

I told her about the constant pain in my heel. It seems I have inflammation where the Calcaneus tendon attaches to the heel. Not plantar fasciitis.  Best solution is to take anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen), ice packs (20 mins on, 20 mins off) and better shock absorbing shoes.  I already had the right kind of shoes, according to both Simon and Meg, so today, I got some silicone shock absorbing pads.

Even though I only need one in the right shoe, I have to use both, or one leg feels longer than the other. Felt relief and less pain almost immediately. 

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Quoted verbatim from a friend about the GOP and their Putin Puppet

Once the defense went from “he didn’t do it!” to “Ok so he did it but it’s not illegal for *him*”, and there wasn’t a peep of outrage over that from a single soul on the republican side (do they even have souls?) I realized the damage that’s occurred in this country is 100x greater than I ever thought.

Then they changed the defense to “He did it, but it’s not illegal because he has determined it to be in the best interests of the nation and national security to ensure he is re-elected at any and all costs.” Not a peep.

Then they flat out said, “just because he did it and it’s impeachable, doesn’t mean it’s in the nation’s best interests to impeach him.” and that’s it. That’s the moment when I completely lost my shit.

They’re saying yes he did it, but that doesn’t matter because we don’t care. Yes, he did it, but it doesn’t matter because he’s the President and therefore above the law. Yes, he did it, but corruption and unethical behavior are acceptable if it gets you re-elected. Yes, he did it, but it’s the President’s right to obstruct and disregard Congress.

They’ve undermined their own authority, negated the checks and balances in the system, and given him license to be a dictator, and there is literally nothing that can be done about it. If we thought he was terrible before, wait til we see what’s coming, now that he knows he can’t be touched.

When the Founders set up our system, they gave us impeachment as an option in case a particular president or other elected official needed to be removed. They never anticipated that the corruption could become so widespread that the very body charged with carrying out justice against the president would be working entirely in collaboration with him to carry out that corruption. This is the ultimate failure of our system, and unless we re-write all the laws pertaining to this, it can never be fixed.

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