29 December 2009

Paint project

This is a graphic work that Mary and I collaborated on by email over a year ago and posted to Silk Creek Portal. Mary created the basic artwork and then I got involved.
It was a study in how altering the eyes of an image slightly can have a great deal of impact.
In Paint, by zooming in and altering an image pixel by pixel you can engineer artistic effects. It takes time and effort but the program is something anyone can access.

22 December 2009


The lolcat thing might have peaked some while back but it's cute. For the uninitiated lolcat is the secret language of felines. It's got devotees who have translated the Bible into cat lingo. (God is "Ceiling Cat," derived from a photo of a pussy paw dipping down in consecration from a suspended ceiling.) A cat is a "kitteh". Food is generalized as "cheezeburgerz". There are certain established conventions in lolcat, but if you just want some fun, you can make up your own.

10 December 2009

Petunia's Pals

Petunia is a wonderful person with wonderful photos there. You might even learn a bit of Norwegian!

08 December 2009

Mallow Fellows

Petunia of Norway says she takes pictures just for fun, and this shot proves it!

07 December 2009

And The Band Played On

Sometimes things, esp when I'm involved, move slowly. You get diverted, sidetracked, whatever, and I'm sure you all know what sort of thing I'm talking about.
At any rate, these pictures were last summer at a benefit concert for "Love, INC", a ministry of the First Presbyterian Church in my hometown of Jackson. Long enough ago that I've got a full beard now, but you can see that we guys are truly handsome and loveable. Love In The Name of Christ (Love INC) sponsors various relief supplies and help to needy people in our area. A WORTHY CAUSE!
The Holy Jean Band is due for another benefit concert on January 24th (a Sunday) that we plan to record on CD so that the audience can get a copy. Goal: raise $2000.
Not pictured here but joining us will be Emily, our new singer, Ted, our drummer, and Bert and Bea Furman, good friends. AND MORE... stay tuned.

03 December 2009

Dead Man Gawking

Santa is DEAD. It's official now. Photographic proof has surfaced on the net, and here it is.

Unlike the '70's proclamation that God had passed away (because of declining church attendance) the demise of St. Nicholas was not caused by lack of interest in the holiday or even the recent decline in per capita Yuletide spending in the US to less than $364 (anything less than one dollar per day being the poverty level).

No, Virginia, Santa was a victim of his success, not failure. After approximately 1100 years of roaming the globe philanthropically filling stockings and dispensing cautionary lumps of anthracite, Nick was licked by technology, or the decline thereof.

As we all are aware, Chinese manufacturers have cornered 99.999% of the world market in Christmas holiday lighting. The inside story of this is sad in itself.

Employing slave elf labor was never Santa's style, so along about 1995 it became economically impossible for North Pole LLC to compete, and their last reliable string of multicolored bulbs was shipped out. Subsequently the Polar Ice Pack began melting, and the handwriting was on the wall. All remaining operations were translocated to Boca Raton, FL, and 75% of the elves went into retirement near Ft. Myers. By 2007 NP International's total output consisted of driedel tops and knitted Kitten Mitts, intended to allow domestic shorthair housecats the ability to survive in the wild in January.

In 2008 production of even this dubious moneymaker was halted by legal action, the Florida Supreme Court holding that "kitten mitts" was a copyright infringement against "Kitchen Mitts Conglomerated", a wholly-owned subsidiary of "Everything and ANYTHING Kitchen-Related," a Hong Kong holding company with damn good lawyers.

Holiday spending peaked in 2009 when the last domestically owned American dollar passed to the Chinese. The holiday which Santa built from little more than a reindeer and ruddy nose had been pushed to the final tipping point long feared by some but ignored by too many. We all know what resulted. A worldwide economic financial disaster.

The Chinese, of course, took over everything remaining of the holiday not already in their grasp, retaining all rights to the name, which was modified to ChrisMart Day and moved to September 25th.

Santa was put out to pasture, ie, made homeless, since his Workshop was now floating through oil slicks in the North Sea. Rumors persist that Japanese whale fishermen sank it with explosive harpoons but those remain unconfirmed.

Santa drifted from city to city and town to town, pathetically picking up litter and stuffing it into his suit as padding to replace the pounds of jolly he'd lost on his quest for spiritual guidance. "Show me the LIGHT! Show me the LIGHT!" he would moan, bending down time and time again for a McCheesy wrapper or a BurgerWop box.

God listens.

Santa found himself in the lower Michigan town called JACKSON, apparently drawn to the state by the mitten shape of its Lower Peninsula on Google Earth. Lights weren't working on the inherently defective Chinese-made street decorations. Santa tried to fix them and died from electrocution.

He's finally at Peace, but not on Earth.

19 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you have a wonderful, loving, safe and healthy holiday!  :-D

13 October 2009

Proposal: The Southern Michigan State Fair

Dear Brad:

I'm sending copies of this letter to a variety of contacts and friends..

Your column and the accompanying article which appeared today in the Jackson Citizen Patriot regarding the future of the Jackson County Fairgrounds was timely, lively, and clearly puts forth the issues regarding this important tradition. I was gratified to see that you included my suggestion about relocating the State Fair to Jackson. Thank YOU!!

Here's my view. Mr. Treacher is an administrator, and I hope he continues to be a good one. But the Fair needs an Events Coordinator, I believe, and this task alone is a full-bore, full time job. Problem? Paying such an expert's salary. Well, I have a solution to THAT to propose to you and the Fair Board.

I will offer my services to fill such a role, if it is made official, for $1 a year. Just as it was in the Depression, times call for experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the business world to step forward to serve their country and community where they can, and because I have been a Jackson County fair goer and resident for 58 years and have experience for over forty of those years in the entertainment business, I WANT THE JOB.

Mr. Treacher is good with money. The Fair needs ideas and promotion and a slam-bang selling job to revive. I am willing to help. I would also encourage any professionals also willing to step up to the plate to serve on an advisory committee for the Southern Michigan State Fair, which is what I propose the new venue be named.

I am planning to attend the Fair Board meeting on Monday, if they let me in!!

Thanks again, Brad. I always enjoy your column and I think you, too, are a professional.


Michael Serafin-St. John
339 Oak Grove Ave Apt Q
Jackson, MI 49203

21 September 2009

E in P Rerun:The Following is NOT a Hate Cartoon!

(If this cartoon is hazy, click on it to enlarge it.)

In modern politics, or in olden politics, for that matter, "handlers" of the candidates try, sometimes desperately, to mold the image of an office seeker to fit what they think is some sort of ideal of electability. This is what is known as "packaging". The same thing that is done with bread, beer, corn chips, and lunchmeat... the four food groups.

We don't complain about this situation very much until election time approaches, but of course it has been going on without our notice all along. This is no surprise... a candidate is really perpetually either running for an office or running from one all their political career.
Go, go, go.
But at election time we notice what we've been trying to ignore, because some politician will bring it to our attention to try to defame his or her opponent. In political terminology this is referred to as "calling someone out" and in regular speak as "the pot calling the kettle black".
Being "packaged" is made out to be a sin, and we are supposed to think these handlers and their "image issues" are devils of deception. We're supposed to wonder what rotten, no-good, low-down, cotton-pickin' rascal this candidate must be deep down if he or she needs to be gussied up like Emma's prize pig at the county fair. Something, somehow, must be gang agley. There's squirreliness afoot someway, and we the public must beware, beware, beware.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. Humbug.
This sort of worrying is like being afraid to fly because the plane is painted purple. It's not of any importance. Not at all, for one simple reason. You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear.
No, the real problem isn't in what we are told to believe about politicians, because on the whole we're perfectly skeptical. We voters are basically too savvy about the way the game is played to be fooled by the cheerleaders on the sidelines. The real problem isn't in what we are pressured to believe. It's what we talk ourselves into thinking that's dangerous. It's in what we WANT to believe, even if all the evidence is to the contrary.
For example, if we vote for Hillary it's because we want to believe she'll bring this country together, stop the war, fight poverty, give us all affordable health care, correct the economy, and be the perfect representative for all our interests around the world.
Now go back and fill in the foregoing statement with the name of any other candidate you want, and the statement remains true for any of them. I don't care who you plug in, if you want to believe, you will believe, and that's your right, even if you're wrong.
It's really a good example of blind faith in action, the way we vote. But what other choice is there? We could look at the candidates' voting history, maybe? Not much help there. Things and people and their opinions change, as do the times. Look at their professional careers? Maybe, but in the case of the Presidency it's a whole new ballgame with different umpires, and a lot further between the bases.
I decided that I'm not going to expect miracles or sainthood from my choice for President, just that they be somebody I wouldn't feel ashamed of a couple years from now. How can you ask for more than that?

16 September 2009

Women and Their Wants

(When Ann Landers, the advice columnist, passed on, the job passed on too, and the column is now "Dear Annie". I wrote this the other day after reading a particular letter.)

Dear Annie:

After reading the letter of "Disheartened in Louisiana" I feel I need to comment.

This lady, a widow, says "all the men she meets" want just sex, not a relationship. One or both of two things have to be happening here. One is, she is approaching men with the wrong signals. Or two, with the wrong attitude.

I've searched for a companion for thirty years, not just seven, and I have to say I have a lot of discouragement myself over the fact that the women I meet almost invariably believe the outrageous falsehood "Disheartened" seems to believe as well.. that "all men" are sexual creeps out to get only one thing. We are not. We are human beings, we are individuals, and we absolutely do not deserve to be collectively punished in this manner.

I have a strong suspicion that what "Disheartened" finds is what she WANTS to find, and what she sees she wants to see, to back up her prophecies about "all men."

If we men did not show a healthy interest in sex (which she mentions prominently) what would be the case for her then? Aha oho, we'd be instantly rejected! (And labeled.) You cannot vary your rules to suit yourself. This is contradictory and if you operate that way, always testing and holding our behavior up to a changing impossible light, OF COURSE we will not wish to have a long-term relationship. There is no trust or loyalty or openheartedness in such a woman and we will definitely go elsewhere if we have any dignity at all.

Signing off with much more to say but no time...

Much maligned in Michigan

14 September 2009

Domestic Violence

October is National Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Month.

This is a photograph of some graffiti in some ruins in Syracuse, NY. It represents what it feels like to be sexually or physically abused by someone you love (or don't).

12 September 2009

order out of Chaos

Fractals are a result of chaos theory. I love the designs, which seem
very ordered to come from chaos.


I feel as if I am caught beween a rock and a hard place. And about to
tumble into space.

Pacifists of the world unite!

I've been reading Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver. Great book. Have you read it? What did you think?

I'm 3/4 of the way through the first rough draft of a children's chapter book. It's keeping me very busy--and you?

11 September 2009

"Belinda's Price"

Her chosen grave before him, Paddy brought his shovel down
And pierced the breast of Ireland to prise it from the ground
He lift his eyes to heaven and he cried out sad and clear:
"Oh Lourd, why take Belinda and her Spirit from us here?"

"Ah, Lourd," prayed sturdy Paddy, "ye have giv'n us this Earth
And all which grows upon it and beneath, for what it's worth
But why did ye see fit to give us poor Belinda May
If only as a flower seven years and snatched away?"

"What did she in her little life not holy in your Sight?
What sin had she committed? None! so what gave you the right
To take her back untimely? Well, for taking her away
I take this stand...I'll be hell-damned if I won't make You pay!"

"Belinda's Price from You, oh Lourd, is lasting Peace on Earth
My price for her removal is redemption from our curse!
You may not wish to pay this price, but I say all the same
My name is Paddy Donnell, and by God I make the claim!"

The blessed Moon, in crescent, like a silver scimitar
Slid sideways through a smoky sky and left behind a scar
A Star shone through that rifted cloud of midnight in the mist
And took a fair position over Paddy's outflung fist.

And Lo! a Voice, a Rumble, like a thousand raining stones
In tumble down a mountainside in mashing, crashing moans
As if from many miles away, yet to one ears are borne
Such came the Voice of God to Paddy, answering his scorn:

"I hear ye, brother Paddy, oh ye simple, foolish man...
I hear ye as ye bellow badly, questioning my Plan
Such arrogance as you display deserves no recompense
But as I am a gracious God, to PEACE I will consent."

And from that moment all the people, land to burning land
Cast off from war and fighting, and instead began again
To take this World and make it in the Image of Above
And drown all hate in charity, in hope, and faith, and love.

And children gathered flowers, woven in a grateful garland
And in Belinda's memory they danced the fields of Ireland
And Irish mothers smiled on them, and knew, forevermore
Their sons would be no sacrifice to foolishness of war.

By Paddy's sons' and brothers' toil a monument was raised
A "Statue of Belinda", carved and placed above her grave.
And every morn about it were a thousand petals flung!
And everywhere those blossoms fell, a thousand seedlings sprung.

But what of Paddy, father, left to ponder what God wrought?
Well, after many months had passed, with Peace at long last bought
He pined for poor Belinda, and her blessed presence lost
And in the end he muttered, "Lourd, it wasn't worth the cost."
Original Poetry by M. Serafin (2003) Reprinted by permission (2009) All rights reserved.

The Beachcomber

Leaflady Gail has been in California for a couple years now, and she often visits the nearby beaches at Arcata near Eureka, which for those of you who are geographically challenged is on the coast north of San Francisco.. quite a ways north, actually.

Gail says the climate there is not what you'd expect. I looked on the weather and saw that while they had 100 degree temperatures recently near Los Angeles, Eureka had temps in the low sixties. And Gail says that's typical.. YEAR 'ROUND.

This explains the misty fog and Gail's attire.

I miss having Gail here in Michigan as much as she misses the wide variation of weather we enjoy (and sometimes complain about), but fate separates us.

If you see this, dear LL, remember me and smile, OK?

01 September 2009

The Price of Excess

One too many clubs in your bag at Barclays? Sorry, guy, it'll cost you.. penalty strokes for each hole played in non-compliance.

It cost Jim Furyk 14 places in the standings (from sixth down to twentieth) and a cool ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in prize money.

That's a lot of brewskis.

28 August 2009

Goings-on These Days

Scientists of space say they have noticed a planet out there that is DOOMED!! Doomed to spiral down and CRASH into its star, with probably pretty nasty burn-up sort of effects, as one could imagine. Or can we? Imagine such a thing? Well, yes, sci-fi writers have imagined such things for fifty years and more. Look up "The Big Eye," a book from the sixties (I believe) which goes into what sorts of changes men and women go thru when a scientist informs them their world is going to end with a bang when a wayward big red planet comes closer and closer and...

Well, you'll have to get the book and read what happens at the end...

Perhaps yet another sign of endtimes.. but women as beautiful as Ms. Gosselin not only populate TV but also our own humdrum lives. There is, for one example, a 30-year-old girl who visits the pool at my apartment complex (whose name is Sarah, by the way) who is fully as beauteous as Kate and is much more proximate to my situation than any TV screen. She suns herself in a barely legal bikini and enjoys intense male attention.

Sarah tells me she had a guy living with her for several months until she determined that he was already married to another woman.. a woman who began a stalking campaign to get her man back. Apparently this was a success, for he went back home to her, but Sarah shrugged the whole thing off.

"I don't go in for dating these days," says sexy Sarah. "I met him at a bar, and bar things never seem to work out."

Being 58 and 28 years beyond Sarah in life experience I'm a bit too old to pursue any sort of relationship with her, but take my word, SOMEBODY will.. it's a simple matter of time and who she picks next.

Women are the gatekeepers and are the ones to say when (and thus have no restrictions) but men have to self-govern themselves to maintain their integrity when faced with a "come-hither" from dangerous beauties. I'm not assigning blame or anything, but facts are facts and if a man does not take responsibility for himself, look out.

26 August 2009

A Tribute


For Labor Day weekend (hopefully the Sunday thereof) I've invited family and friends over to the apartment complex where I have taken up residence, Canterbury House Apartments.

Canterbury has over two hundred (!) units in it, organized into Buildings, each with a number, and one-, two-, and three-bedroom townhouse-style units in each, with letters running from A to S.

Got all that? Well, I'm in Building 339, Apartment Q, and this is near the end of the building, with a porch letting out into a resident parking lot.

A few steps away, off the back of the complex property, is a woods. There is a place I can dig for earthworms to go fishing with, and a clear area where, if the weather cooperates, I will set up a luau-style party outside for my guests. Planned: pork loins (catered by a local downtown bistro famous for them--Darryl's Downtown in Jackson), fresh sliced pineapple, rice and sweet potato casseroles (individual ones--classy and freezeable), and, of all goes well, a special French-bread spicy garlic bread of my own invention. Cool, huh? And not as expensive as all that sounds since Darryl's promised to help out with the thing a bit for the advertising, as it were. You know, where did THIS come from? And you tell everybody if they like it where to get more.

Anyhow, the regional office of the company which owns Canterbury was consulted and they said, "WHOA! absolutely NO open pit fires or bonfires!!" Consequently I had to come up with an alternative to the traditional luau format.

For $2.50 (closeout at CVS Pharmacy) I picked up a bamboo hawaian torch, and then I designed a barbecue setup (pictured above) to be made from found materials. My brother Bob supplied the empty oil drum (he's had two of them dating back to the eighties when we had an oil company) and I found an electric sheet metal cutter for $10 at a garage sale, and I plan on making my grill in time for the party.

Back in the '70's we threw a Labor Day yard party for the staff of Portage Lake State Park where I worked as a Park Ranger, and then we took an empty drum and sliced it in half length-wise to make two grills. This is different, but the new design should work as well and be transportable back to the complex garage area by dolly, so there you go!

Today's Fractal

Oh-oh, bad me, I can't resist playing.

(See more--much more--computer art by Mary and myself in Nerd Shots, another blog. Click HERE to go see.)

How Quickly We Forget

Ok, ok, what POSSIBLE link could there be between a somewhat faded Pop star and the onset of dementia?? It's a teaser. Actually it doesn't matter WHO the celebrity face you choose to use but if you want to test for Alzheimer's condition, researches suggest that the ability to recognize famous faces tells you a lot.

Are you good with names and faces? Hmmm? Well, here's the slight difficulty I have with this new theory about testing for dementia using this method. I remember conversations really well, almost like a tape recorder, but I have trouble remembering the full lyrics to songs, even ones I write myself. I can remember faces from YEARS ago, but screw up the names associated with those faces. I can remember all sorts of historical trivia and I have a good brain for quotations BUT knowing WHO said what.. and when? Ring the gong, I'm toast.

Dates are an especially irrelevant thing with me. Just not important. I don't TRY to capture that info and hold it so I never can feed it back. When did I eat last? who knows. What year was the Magna Carta signed? go ask somebody who cares. In what year was I born? AHH! I can answer that. (Exceptions to every rule, kiddies.. people DEMAND that info from me so I'm FORCED to spew it back.)

I like it when people remember my date of birth and wish me well but if it wasn't for intensive interrogation over the years I probably wouldn't give a darn about THAT date either.

Memory, according to Einstein, is finite, and he disregarded a lot of things for fear of clogging up his mind with things that weren't relevant to more important things. But I kind of disagree with that. Memory is one thing but I look on TIME as the most finite thing there is, and that it is a tragedy to waste ANY of it..

..like the time wasted trying to remember where I put my keys.......

25 August 2009

Farm by Moonlight

by Mary Stebbins Tait, digital smudge painting, new today.

Ghosts in the Wave

My lovely Leaflady snapped this shot of a big breaking wave and said to me, "Do you see a ghost?"
Actually, blown up..? Several!

Word is, out there in the Great Beyond, there has been a wayward planet sighted. This sucker revolves BACKWARDS around its star, the reverse of the direction of every other known planet. On such a world there may be unknown effects, but we can speculate:
  1. Elvis is not dead.. he's running for President of the American Medical Association following his discovery of a blanket cure for heart disease.. peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
  2. George W. Bush has just been appointed Prime Minister of Lithuania.
  3. Madonna Cicone has received the Pope's blessing and proceedings are underway to nominate her for sainthood. (And she IS a virgin, but doesn't feel like one.)
  4. Pete Rose is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  5. Alice Cooper is Mayor of Detroit, his home town, following a landside vote that enjoyed the full support of the Archbishop of Detroit, the head curator of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and St. Madonna Cicone.
  6. Superman has athlete's foot.
  7. Batman is portrayed by Jack Nicholson in the latest installment of the movie series, opposed by Joker, portrayed by Rachel Ray, who wields poisoned pumpkin pies.
  8. There is, and always has been, Peace on Earth.

22 August 2009

A Beauty Treated Beastily

"We'll let Paris' cherry-adorned dress slide, but her cheesy plastic earrings and overly bronzed skin are unforgivable."

Well, I'm sorry, but this here dude disagrees. Ms. Hilton may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but she knows style. Anybody saying otherwise is just attempting to draw attention to their own snarkiness. (Meow! Hiss! Spat! Splat!) Photo by Campos/X17 Online
Graphic work: M.Serafin

20 August 2009

Company Logo Work

Two versions of Logo work need to be made to check gray scale effect. You would LIKE to have any logo you do show up well on television, and to do that, you need to pay attention to the black & white values along the gray scale. How well do different colors contrast, is the question. Some colors are different tints but fall in the same contrast range and therefore aren't as legible.

Color is so great, ain't it? It somewhat irks me that logos stick to old-fashioned drab one, two or three-color effects simply to save printing costs. With today's computer printers and digital work there's no reason to do that anymore.
(The version above has EIGHT different hues in it, and each one is there for a good reason.)

Current Work in Progress

I may not be the best graphic artist to come down the pike but I have fun creating stuff, almost always using
the "Paint" program, which as far as I am concerned is good for most anything
(These are a few samples of stuff I've done recently.)

17 August 2009

Letters from Family

Hi Mike.

Good to hear from you. What is up with the eyesight? I hope this something that can be corrected.

The music gig sounds like fun. Let us know when and where you are playing and maybe we can make one of the performances. Around here (Lansing) several of the popular open mike nights and places that featured local talent have closed apparently due to the poor economy.

I trust all is well with Cousin Ron and Vickie. The last we saw them they did not know what was in the future with Chrysler and employment. Retirement was the back-up plan. I know they had an interest in moving back in to Jackson. I don't know why. I don't see Ron as ever retiring.

Take care.......................Cousin John

Dear John and Karen:

Cousin Ron moved to one of the houses he owns near the hospital.. a lot more convenient, tho I am sure that downsizing and leaving his luxury digs on the lake was a somewhat bitter pill to have to swallow. He is "looking for work", but I don't think that right now is a good time to be over 60 and wanting to be hired in ANY field of manufacturing in the US. Maybe in the energy, health care, security or construction design areas as a contractor/instructor/administrator, but NOT as a general programmer. Ron's background is strong and long-term but proly pretty specific to a specific system, and to be "portable" his skills may need to modernize, broaden, etc, so MY thought is he should just go back for training and get upgraded.

I think that you MUST take whatever opportunities that arise and aggressively pursue creative alternatives, and Ron has never been known for that. He will have to switch to tactics he's never had to use before.

Talked to Bob last nite and we think that a get-together on September 5th (Sunday) would be cool. He said he's been trying to engineer a way to get Joe up from Tecumseh for bike-hiking on the Falling Waters railtrail and we would ALL like to eat, drink and be merry playing cards and music.

If I act fast to reserve it, the clubhouse where I live, Canterbury is available.

The greatroom holds about forty people and is equipped with a full kitchen and would be ideal for a party. I think we should take advantage while we can. I definitely want to have a Christmas Eve dinner party here since that was Dad's birthday and we ALWAYS had a party for him that day in the past. But in the meantime, all I can do is offer that alternative.

Do me a favor and call Bob and get the lowdown from him on this whole thing and let me know what you guys decide is best to do.

I see Cousin Timmy twice or three times a week because we are in a group called "Twist of Dylan" and are doing rehearsals quite a bit.

Another incarnation of the same four guys plays christian folk-rock called "The Holy Jean Band" . We are willing to go play anywhere that will cover our expenses, because it is a ministry thing.

The leader of the group, Harvey Zook, writes our songs, researches the Dylan material, and gives the group(s) their identity. Timmy and I are the experienced "old hands" who supply the backing.

We will let you know when we are coming up your way but in the meantime we could use your help promoting our act to friends, enemies, and the powers that be up there. WE DO GOOD WORK CHEAP. (yuk yuk)

Your cuz


13 August 2009

I never knew much about this particular issue until I went in the National Guard back in 1983, but there is such a thing as "SIGN DISCIPLINE" in the matrix of the military (along with all the OTHER sorts of discipline--- etc etc etc til you're SURE that there has GOT to be a God because only God could create "LATRINE LIGHT and SOUND and LITTER DISCIPLINE PROCEDURES for use in UNFRIENDLY TERRITORY."

Anywho, in the bowels of Army discipline procedure manuals there is not only one but many manuals telling you how to do what, signage-wise. One manual I looked up dealt with acceptable colors for use on night convoy work, and one combination was black with, and I'm trying to be accurate here of THOSE was

Beachrock Bingo

Photowork by: Mary Stebbins Taitt
Location: Trinidad
Graphics by : M.Serafin

08 August 2009

Grandmother and Child Reunion

Leaflady (Gail, my love in California) sends this bulletin:

Nico got home from the hospital in San Francisco last night. So far all is going well. He was checked by local pediatrican this morning. She said he seems to be doing fine, but warned them that any sort of respiratory ailment during the first month might send him back to the hospital! So they plan to have few visitors, avoid taking him to public places, etc.

The twins are doing fine with him SO FAR ........

Again thanks to everyone for your support during the scary time we went through. And I promise to start paying more attention to what's going on in YOUR lives, instead of deluging you with what's going on in mine!


Announcing: music festival preparations!

The Second Annual CROSSROADS "Concert in the Park" will "erupt" on Sunday, September 20th at Cascades Park in Jackson (Michigan), with five contemporary Christian acts sponsored by Joint Heirs Music Ministry, New Moon Entertainment (that's ME, folks!), 20/20 Light & Sound, and several local churches and charities. BIG DEAL? YES!!!

One of the bands that will appear is the Holy Jean ensemble, consisting of Harvey Zook, Peter Rogers, and Mike and Ted Serafin... I'm playing bass, Harvey plays acoustic guitar, Pete plays harmonicas, and Ted (Timmy to the family) plays drums and assorted other stuff like the recorder, xylophone, pots and pans, tambourine, congas, blocks, bells & whistles.

We have fun. We just designed a "covered wagon" to haul our stuff, and when it isn't stuffed with our stuff it's going to be used to haul recyling loads hither and yon. (Mostly yon.)

Whether and when on the Bandwagon is, as most such things, a Matter of Moola. Scratch. Dinero. Long Green. Payola. Lettuce. Monetary Considerations.

When we go around the world with our little trailer we aim to attract the sort of people for an audience that, had they been born about eighty years earlier, would have followed the circus (which is Latin for "traveling show", by the way) to the field outside town and gone under the BigTop to see the Greatest Show on Earth.

True, we would have been in the "FreakShow" area, not center ring, but so what!!!

27 July 2009

09 June 2009

Sometimes you get a photo that is pretty impressive but just too dense, kinda like a really overdressed movie idol who can't spell.
The bottom shot was impressive but didn't speak in clear tones. It had a lot of reflection effect, unfortunately, TOO much. To me that was overkill when mated up with text... the picture image would compete with the writing I wanted to do with it. So, I thought, crop out a nice portion that is simpler.
I uploaded the picture to the Paint program and used the selection feature to "grab" the part which kind of looked like the shore of an island, losing most of the distracting reflection effect of the original shot and gaining a great focus on the colors and the essence of the shot. Your eye could now capture the image more quickly and it made a more concise impression.
Sometimes less is much more... and I think a lot of modern graphic designers are going back to that as witnessed by the increasing use of simple, almost cartoonish images in many magazine ads and sprinkled iconic colored graphic illustrations in the text areas, too. It's a fresh look, using broad simple colored backgrounds or plain white rather than a lot of cluttered backgrounds.
Nothing's new, of course.... they did all this stuff back in the early days to illustrate all sorts of periodicals in one to three colors, where the images had to remain relatively simple. If you recall the early black and white Volkwagon ads or the placard ads in restaurants in the fifties for Coca Cola or certain brands of hot dogs or whatever, THEY used the principle of simplicity, never claiming to be high art. And the effect worked fine.
We can put photos in graphic framing or attention-getting backgrounds and mimic the same thing, which is kind of what this posting is all about.

06 June 2009

Autumn's Fire

Photo forwarded by: G. Slaughter
Editing and text: M. Serafin

05 June 2009

Photo: G. Slaughter
Text: M. Serafin

Thought for the day

When you have visions of the one you love, why does it hurt? Shouldn't it be totally joyful, not a crazy mixture of joy and longing and remembrance?

31 May 2009


A new love inspires much...........
Picassa 3 is a neat program to experiment with. I don't normally use the "retouch" function (which allows for the removal of blemishes, etc). This lady's face did NOT need THAT! However, when I moved the brush width to maximum and disturbed the image slightly on the right portion of her face I noticed that the right side locks of her HAIR jogged to the left at a certain critical location. I'd restyled her hair electronically!

COOL! I said to myself, and saved the result. I cropped her face tight and applied sharpening, film grain and messed with virtually all the other effects to get what you see. Note that I definitely altered the color temperature... this allows a lot of surprising color effects to pop out when a picture has been sharpened (which increases contrast and depletes the number of discrete pixels... kind of an Andy Warhol effect.)

Every image is a combination of two things... shape (or form) and color. A photograph is not a single image but thousands of individual images (call these pixels if you want) arranged in some organized way. Our eye captures this organization and our brain compares it with previous experience stored in memory. That's seeing.

Is seeing believing? Maybe, maybe not... but when you see something that strikes a deep chord within you (in the case above: beauty, life, joy) it translates to emotion. You are either attracted or repelled by striking photowork. You are never bored!!

23 May 2009

Siri and Grover Make Friends

Siri made a visit to Gail's place (grandma Gail often looks after Gemma and Siri) and Gail took a couple shots to let me see with my own nearsighted half-retinal eyes how big a hit Sesame Street's Grover had been. "She wouldn't let go when she left," Gail informs me. "They're probably fighting over him right now."
I hadn't intended to cause a sibling battle, figuring there was also Elmo hanging around to even things out, but novelty does strange things to women. Of ANY age...
Photography: Gail Slaughter
Editing: Michael Serafin