I'm Mark and you've found my personal site. Emotional minors or the easily offended should close the window and never return. This blog exists primarily to amuse me. If you enjoy it also so much the better. Guaranteed to be Vain & Vapid™ or double your money back.

Let’s Try This Again

July 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm | No Comments »

I meant to take a break sure. But not almost three years.

Some background. I started this site to familiarize myself with the web. That turned into a blog. All hand coded. (You can still find the original, early 2000’s site where I ranted about Bush 2’s mishandling of the Sept. 11th attacks and aftermath deep in the archives somewhere.) I felt good about it.

Then CMS became a thing and I switched to Moveable Type before settling on WordPress. Updates were regular and varied. Next, I decided to build my video skills (instead of paying others to shoot/edit) and I jumped into vlogs. About the same time, social media came along. I dived into Instagram early while it was still independent. Tried Facebook and hated it. Avoid Twitter but finally gave in and sort of fell in love. Bit by bit, this site became little more than a repository for the YouTube videos. Kind of pathetic.

I always intended to get back to writing and photo posts here but the next video kept looming. Finally we arrived in the Fall of 2017. I was in the middle of editing videos documenting our Helsinki and Vienna trip. Then I hit the motivation wall. I just couldn’t face the thought of opening the video editing application. I decided to take a few weeks off. That turned into months. Then years.

So now it’s 2020. The world seems be unraveling before our eyes. But I haven’t been silent. All my output has been at Twitter and Instagram, where I’ve been documenting our shelter in place adventures with a daily photo. This site sat forlorn. Almost forgotten save the periodic, unsolicited message from domain vultures hoping to purchase the name for a song.

In June, #StopHateForProfit got my attention. I’ve toiled as an advertising creative for several decades so seeing names like Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Target vowing to pull ad dollars and/or go dark on Facebook-owned properties, I paid attention and started thinking about my own uneasy relationship with the social behemoth.

As I said a couple of paragraphs up, I don’t like Facebook. In fact, committing Facebook suicide a few years ago remains one of my favorite accomplishments. I’ve hung onto the Instagram account because I like photography and follow a number of interesting creators. Still I’ve been uncomfortable with the platform since the Facebook takeover years ago. I don’t like stories and never post them. I have scaled back on filters as iPhone cameras have improved. And I hate the algorithm for the way it garbles my feed and tries to push the most popular content down my throat.

All of which is a long winded explanation to justify my decision to join #StopHateForProfit and go dark on Insta for at least the month of July.

I’ve got thoughts about continuing my daily photo posting here. Maybe I’ll even move the first 100 over from Instagram. I might even finish the Helsinki-Vienna videos. Not sure and based on my recent track record, I’m not making any promises.

Stay tuned.


Helsinki 2017 Part 2

October 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm | No Comments »

Second part of our Helsinki adventure. We started with the Lutheran Cathedral, just four blocks from our hotel. It dominates the central Helsinki skyline and all the guides call it a must see. It’s a big white church that seems to have a crowd outside constantly. Not sure what else to say. Yeah, I was kind of underwhelmed. But that didn’t slow us down. We headed to the Kiasma contemporary arts museum and Ateneum. Both impressive. The next day, we took a ferry to Suomenlinna—a historic fort and World Heritage Site. It’s spread across several islands and a bit overwhelming. The wind also managed to spoil a lot of footage we shot. Oh well. Then Monday we hit the Amos Anderson Art Museum and caught a show of emerging artists. All in all a spectacular cross section of Finish art and culture.


Helsinki 2017

October 2, 2017 at 8:11 pm | No Comments »

It’s time for another travel adventure. We decided to take advantage of the recently-added Finnair nonstop between SFO and Helsinki. Turned out to be an easy flight and we felt comfortable in Helsinki almost immediately. This is just part 1. Stay tuned for more.


London 2016, part 2

January 15, 2017 at 11:10 am | No Comments »

Final part of our 2016 European jaunt. We had a couple of days back in London before the flight home. Hit the National Gallery and reacquainted myself with a number of my favorite Impressionist works that I studied in art history classes. Explored the City of London a bit more and discovered the original Roman wall just a couple of blocks from our hotel. Picked up some gifts before the slog to Heathrow. I have to hand it to Virgin for making the airport experience rather pleasant—definitely the best part of their business class. Then back to SFO just in time for a glorious sunset.


France 2016

November 1, 2016 at 5:59 pm | No Comments »

Part 2 of our 2016 European jaunt. We start with a quick train trip from London St. Pancras to Lille, France. Then we picked up a car and headed to Amiens, which would be our base. Rich has studied World War I extensively so visiting the region on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Somme proved irresistible. And who am I to turn down several days in the French countryside? Finally we wrapped up with a quick return to London.


London 2016, part 1

September 5, 2016 at 10:06 pm | No Comments »

Vacation time again. We decided to take advantage of the record low British Pound and last-minute biz class airfare sale so we headed off to London for a few days.


Exciting? New washer/dryer adventure

June 8, 2016 at 4:08 pm | No Comments »

A scintillating tale from the real life adventures of a homeowner.


Over Daily Videos

June 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm | No Comments »

This video is about Over Daily Videos.

(Got to love that helpful YouTube auto-generated description. Trust the algorithm!)


New Camera

December 8, 2015 at 7:11 pm | 2 Comments »

Got a new camera body this week. I splurged on the OM-D E-M5 mark II—an update to the original E-M5 that I have had for a couple of years. The new design fixes a few issues I had with the original so we should be seeing slightly improved, smoother video. Otherwise, the holiday season has kicked off with decorations appearing around the city and our house. Ho ho ho.


Catch Up

November 30, 2015 at 9:57 pm | No Comments »

Yes, I’m still here. The long gap is due to computer issues. First the new iMovie had just enough changes to throw off my editing workflow. Then my hard drive died. Fortunately I didn’t lose much, thanks to backup, hence this multi-week compilation. The Fall season progressed. Daylight saving time ended. Rain started. AT&T is trying to make us pay for three weeks of service we never received. Plus my husband and cats are cute. There. All caught up!