June and July and a little bit of August

  • Somewhat on impulse, I picked up a Canon 77D.  I figured this would be a good camera to have around for filmmaking, without being terribly expensive.  The APS-C sized sensor is certainly more appropriate than the full-frame sensor in my 5D Mark II.  The video quality is good, and the autofocus is quite good.  That said, the 77D is a cheap-feeling camera body, and it lacks a number of nice features.  I’m glad I didn’t spend a fortune on it.
  • I am into the third season of Community, and I am enjoying it reasonably well.  I watched the newly released second season of GLOW.  It was good, but not quite as good as the first.  I’ve also watched Goliath.  The second season is what caught my eye, but I wisely watched the first season first, which was really good.  The second season took a while to get good, but it eventually did, though not as good as the first.  I also picked up where I left off with Masters of Sex.  I’d gotten through the first season, but hadn’t started on the second.  I have started watching Fawlty Towers, because it is given as a good example to illustrate the structure of episodic comedy, but so far I’m not just not enjoying it that much, I suppose because the comedy is so unsophisticated.
  • I have broken out of a reading slump.  Notable reads this year have been The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin and Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty, both through my book club.  The latter is a Hugo nominee.  I also got to read Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol, the second and third in the Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells.  I’ve decided that I like her style of writing so well that I am going to try some of her other works.  I read The Collapsing Empire, another Hugo nominee this year by John Scalzi, which is the first in an upcoming series.  I also read Neuromancer, by William Gibson, the so-called noir prophet of cyberpunk.  I read The Guns of Empire and The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler, which completes the Shadow Campaigns series.
  • My hot pepper plants are finally producing.  Jalapeño and serrano had started producing first.  Some of the plants were dropping buds, and when I investigated the cause, I found out I was using the wrong fertilizer.  Nitrogen makes pepper plants grow big, but it also discourages it from growing fruit.  Instead, I should be using magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt).  I dosed the plants with it, and it already seems to be making a difference.  I finally have viable peppers growing on all of my pepper plants, and the serrano and Carolina Reaper are beginning to turn.
  • I got to watch one of my films in the St. Louis Filmmaker’s Showcase, plus a bunch of other films that friends worked on.  The rest of August is going to be a busy month for filmmaking.  I’ll be doing sound for two films and Assistant Director for another this month.  I am working on producing another film, but that probably won’t shoot until April.
  • My neighbor passed away.  It wasn’t much of a surprise, because his health had been dogging him for a couple of years.  I would call him a friend.  Not a close friend, but closer than I’ve been with any neighbor since my childhood.  He finds his way into my thoughts often, mostly because I tend to wonder what he will think of the things I do to my yard.