Disperser Bookcases – Part I


The above is a photo from a number of years ago. My office at home looks pretty much the same now as it did then with the exception the desk lamp is now an LED affair.

I linked the photo in my comment in THIS POST by Virginia Duran. The post dealt with work-spaces, but I was asked about my books.

The top two shelves are my books, while the remainder are Melisa’s cookbooks. Some of the books have changed since then, and a few more now rest their weary spines on the faux wooden shelves. I thought I would do a few posts on what exactly finds space in the shelves of my various bookcases (yes, I have more bookcases than the one shown here).

This I will do this over a number of posts because I have a lot of books. And that’s just the ones that are not boxed up (I’m not opening boxes).

Here we go . . .


Let’s start with the left side of the top shelf, shall we?


There are a few things that are hinted at, but not shown in this photo. On the far left you see a couple of sheets of paper . . . when I bought the Serenity Ship Papers there was an offer to get free discharge/amnesty papers from The Alliance. Those sheets are them for both Melisa and me. Here’s mine.

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Now, the interesting thing with that is that I wanted to come up with a suitable photo; one indicating someone who has seen the horrors of war, who was trying to get back on their feet, and who was none too happy with The Alliance even as they were granting him amnesty. I shot a couple of versions of me wearing a hat and one of my photographer vests. Then I modified it by making it look I was in front of a broken-down shack (which does not show up in their crop). I did not shave for a few days and tried looking as I might look if I were meeting a politician face-to-face.

Skepticality-1After going through all that trouble, I wanted more use out of the photo and I looked to turn it into a Gravatar. My first attempt is shown on the left. Prior to that, my gravatar was a stylized representation of a figure playing racquetball. I thought that was rather limiting as I was much more than that.

I darkened some features and, to give me the appropriate look for someone that many consider unbalanced, dangerous, and just plain nuts, I gave me light blue eyes.

Skepticality--2But, there was still a spark of humanity coming through (mind you, it was a small spark), a hint at a soul . . . “That’s it,” I thought, “that’s what’s wrong! . . . it looks like I have a soul!” Well, crap . . . everyone knows the eyes are the window to the soul, so . . . Perfect!

For many years this was the gravatar, the avatar many people knew meant ejdalise was on the web, prowling and itching for a spirited discussion.

Of course, once Disperser came into being, all links to humanity had to be severed, and hence my current header and gravatar. But, on with the books.

Oh, the folder has all my color matching tests and sheets for the monitor, printer, and scanner. I do have a photo of the content, but it’s not very interesting.

The first book we encounter is “Photographing the Landscape: The Art of Seeing” by John Fielder. Melisa bought me this book at a garage sale, and it is a very nice book with lots of great photographic examples, technical topics, advice on perspective, lighting, focus selection, being at the right place at the right time, and a host of other things.

The version I linked to is a revised version and includes tips on digital photography. Mine is a 1996 version, and still references film. Nonetheless, new or used, a nice reference to learn from, and it doubles as a decent coffee table book.

The next book is “Colorado Roadside Photography Guide” by Robert Castellino and and Len Krueger.

I think I actually bought this new, but I don’t remember. The book is great because it not only has the locations, photo examples, hints for the best times and routes, but it also has a foldout map of colorado (printed on heavy glossy paper) listing the 118 locations grouped by quadrants.   Colorado is a very scenic place. The Amazon listing has the option to “look inside” the book, for them who be so inclined.

Complete Guide to High Dynamic Range Digital Photography” by Ferrell McCollough is next on the list.  I bought this book not to make the overly-developed surreal photos everyone was seeing when HDR first came on the scene, but because I saw it as a useful tool to solve some photographic challenges. THIS PDF explains a bit about High Dynamic Range photography.

This book is an excellent resource speaking of both the possibilities and limitations of the tool, techniques, and most important, the programs available to facilitate the process, including examples output from each of the major players in 2008 (the publication date); They are still the major players even as the capabilities have evolved with increase in computing power. A good primer for getting into HDR photography, but remember: nothing beats practice.

You say you want to know about lighting? You say you want clear and simple examples, tutorials, advice, and everything you need to improve your understanding of lighting in digital photography and its practical applications? Well, the next book is a good resource. “The Complete Guide to Light & Lighting in Digital Photography” by Michael Freeman has helped me, and continues to help, in my understanding of the application and use of light. There are newer offerings that are as highly or higher rated, but I found the writing in this book clear and easy to follow despite the sometimes difficult subject and terminology.

By nature I don’t learn certain things unless I have a need for them (I’m speaking of practical knowledge – knowledge in general is always welcome in my brain), so I tend to read parts of this book both as a refresher and when I am faced with a particular photographic situation.

Next we have the Personal Financial Strategy folder . . . a very in-depth analysis, as it relates to finances, of where we are in life, and the chances of us achieving our retirement goals. You can pay to have someone do that for you, or you can check if your financial institution offers it as part of you trusting them with your money (the case with this report) . . . but I can tell you what it says . . . IF you live within your means, IF your goals are commensurate with your savings, IF the world doesn’t go to shit, and if you don’t live abnormally long, well then, you’re in great shape! . . . maybe.

You see, it’s all based on assumptions, and tweaking one or two numbers one way or the other will either have you on the street begging for a meal at 75 years of age, or shitting in gold-plated toilets even if you live to be 120. Bottom line, be reasonable, cautious, don’t overextend, don’t be stupid, and hope the world doesn’t go to crap in a handbasket.

Next you see a magazine of sorts . . .

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A number of years ago I attended a workshop in Denver run by Scott Kelby. Kelby is . . . well, read about it HERE. If it has to do with Adobe products and photography, this is your guy.

I’ve been a NAPP member (now Kelby One) for many, many years even though I am not a professional in any sense of the word. Professional or not, membership gives you access to training, a magazine packed with hints and tips, news on new products, explanation of new features, hands on examples, and everything you need to accomplish impressive stuff using Photoshop and Lightroom.

That particular seminar was a bit of a disappointment. Kelby covered way too many personal anecdotes that, while entertaining, were not helpful; I would have preferred a few more practical tips. Even the workbook (shown) was a disappointment as it was printed in black-and-white. Mind you, the cost of the seminar was reasonable ($80 or so, with the membership discount), but there was nothing I had not already read in his excellent books.

The one thing I did learn about was gaffer tape . . . seriously, get some. Very useful stuff.

If you can afford it, the yearly Kelby One membership level that includes the video classes is well worth it. Lots of good material to learn as much or little as you want about any or all of Adobe’s offerings. If you plan in joining, wait for their sales; you get a good discount and maybe even some freebies.

The last book I will cover on this post is “Strong on Defense” by Sanford Strong. I bought this used book after reading what I thought was an excellent article by Sam Harris “The Truth About Violence“.

I know I think differently than many people who read this blog, especially when it comes to violence and personal protection. Many question not only my propensity for owning and carrying guns, but my whole mentality regarding keeping me and mine safe. I can’t convince those who think the world is safe that the world does not care about what they think. 

It’s something that must be experienced, but unfortunately that is one case where the exam comes before the lesson.

I don’t live a paranoid life; I live in a state of almost constant good mood (annoyingly so, according to some), have a positive outlook about life, and think we live in the most amazing of times.

Because of it I also think about, but don’t fixate, on things that could change all that. However small the possibility, violence is a danger that is never completely absent, and it can have devastating consequences.

For the same reason that I try to learn about living healthy, eating well, exercising, having insurance, having regular medical checkups, wear my seatbelt, etc . . . for the same reason I do all those things, I consider the risk of violence intruding into my life as a real possibility.

There are many things I do to mitigate and lessen the chances of it, and one of them is to be armed.

But this book is not about that. This book is about the mindset one has to have to avoid becoming not only a victim, but a dead victim. Even as I write this, I know the majority will have already averted their eyes . . . it’s something that is difficult to contemplate.

Still, if you click on anything on this post, click on the article above, and then read these other two articles by Sam Harris: “The Riddle of the gun” and “FAQ on Violence“.

If you can’t find that particular book, I also own these other two, and they cover similar information: “The Gift of Fear” and “Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected“.

That’s it; I won’t mention the topic again, as the rest of the books on any of my shelves do not deal with violence (unless it’s fictional violence).

Thank you for reading this first installment, and I hope you join me for the remainder of the trip through my library. Lots of good stuff to come, if I do say so myself (I usually have to, as few others ever speak so).

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Expanding Consciousness
Expanding Consciousness

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  

If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.