Note On Desktops

Hello everyone, I just wanted to write a quick note about the desktops available on the site. Its come to my attention that not everyone is able to find my probably too subtle links to the zip files containing the full resolution desktop images and I wanted to clear it up a bit here. Each desktop post on the site is marked within the desktop category so you know which ones are being posted as desktops. Within these posts I once made the image as the linking point to the downloadable zip file but later changed to a text link within the text of the post.

Somewhere along the way the links became lost in the text and my poor choice of hyperlink colors lead visitors to misunderstand where the desktops were to be downloaded. At any rate, for now, I have made the link color within posts a lovely orange to make them stand out more and in the future I will see about making the links more clearly defined.

Sorry for any confusion and thanks for reading my note here. I hope you continue to enjoy the blog and what I offer here. More desktops soon! I have a flickr spotlight I would like to sort out as well as some new images so as always, stay tuned for more and thanks for visiting!

X-Pro West

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A tiny sampling of some more photos I took while on my trip West in February. These were scanned in and I did not clean any dust from them so pardon the dust. The film was some Fuji Slide film that was cross processed in C-41. I was really curious to see how the film would react with this kind of unpredictable processing mixed with the colors of the rocks and sights of the Western U.S.. While at first I was not sure what I thought of them I think they came out pretty interesting and I thought I would share a few here on the site before I get around to cleaning them up and posting them to flickr or anything. This batch of four were all taken in the same area, a really great spot… Anyways, let me know if you have any thoughts on them…

127

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I finally got my hands on scans of the contact sheets from the 127 film I shot on the trip I took to Utah last month, here is a strip. Oddly, I picked a few to show here that were shot in Memphis, not Utah. I like them all the same. I cant wait to get this enlarger functional and start making prints.

Pyramids

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At work one slow afternoon I found this packing material, pyramids that protect the corner of speakers that were shipped to us. I knew I wanted to shoot them but it was not until I lay one on a table that I noticed what would be fun to do with them. So I placed them off in the distance and tried to shoot them like a little landscape of cardboard pyramids. As I shot them I decided to cut out a little man as well to give it something else, some kind of vague, playful perspective.

And here they are for your desktopping pleasure. To download all three simply click or right click here to grab the zip containing all of them in desktop form and please mind the terms of use and only use these for your own personal desktop wallpaper needs. Thanks and enjoy!

I Know It Well

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Here is something I have thought about doing for a long long time but only today finally managed to feel inspired to do. Take a few photos while listening to records and it was the perfect day for it because the grey cloud diluted sun snuck through my windows made for some beautiful tones and subtle shadows for the images. I tried to keep things simple because they were shot for desktops after all. The record playing was from Bon Iver, his newest EP called Blood Bank and the titles of the images are randomly selected from the lyrics of the title song. Hopefully everyone enjoys the images, surely there are some vinyl collectors out there that may appreciate them.

To download these three desktop images simply click or right click here to save the zip file containing all three images and please respect the terms of use, these are for private use only and commercial use is not allowed without my permission. Thanks and enjoy!

Downtime

We all have moments in our lives where we just don’t want to be doing anything at all that we know we should be doing. Not every moment of our lives can be full of the constant drive that we wish we could put into it. This is why certain things exist in the world of personal entertainment. It comes in a thousand different forms, TV, movies, gadgets, toys, alcohol, or video games and its that last one there, games, that I decided to expand on a little bit.

More specifically, my favorite games for the iPhone/iPod Touch. There are hundreds of them available and they keep popping up faster than anyone with any sense of priority or self control in life has time to explore. Well, lucky for you I am here to help out a bit and point out my personal favorites as I have a few to many here on my phone but there are a few that deserve all the attention they can get because they are simply wonderful experiences. To me, modern video games have become less and less interesting over time as production costs go up and up and this race for the best graphics or most violent gameplay seem so much more important to what made video games fun to begin with which is to offer the player something unique, challenging, original, entertaining…

All that silly introduction nonsense aside, what I am trying to say is that I really appreciate game developers that are out there taking chances on something interesting, unique, and fun as well as game makers who push for new ways of enhancing gameplay and making their games something new and interesting that involves more than aiming for the head and pulling a trigger.

OK, I didn’t mean to go on like that, it just sort of came out. I don’t usually talk about anything tech on the site anymore so I thought I would provide a little context. Readers here I would like to think like to be challenged as much as I do when it comes to playing games and many of you may or may not have iPhones or iPods that can play these games but I thought it would be fun to point out a few to those who do because if you enjoy a little break from life here and there as I do then these will do a good job of giving you something interesting or thought provoking to do with your mind in its downtime. Now, without further delay, here are my picks for best current iPhone games most of which I just noticed are puzzle type games…

I have included links both directly to the iTunes app store page as well as the developers sites and included a gameplay video from each game so you can get an idea for how it plays.

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Zen Bound

I may as well start with my favorite of all, Zen Bound. This game is less of a game and more of an experience in my eyes. While there are goals set up to move you along and motivate you to complete the puzzles much of the game is simply to experience it. To let it into your mind and let yourself get lost in it. The idea is simple, you are presented with an object made from wood or stone an on that object there are two nails, attached to one nail is a length of rope that is pulled taught in front of you and the object is to rotate the objects in ways that eventually cover as much of the surface of the object as you can. This does not mean you completely cover every inch with rope, as you lay rope across the surface of an object it dyes the area around the rope a color/texture and the idea is to paint as much of the object as you can.

It is a beautiful game in its simplicity and combined with a great, well suited for the game soundtrack you cant help but get lost in the act of wrapping things up. It is surprisingly calm and clears my head as I play. The perfect distraction from the troubles of life and the most immersing gaming experiences I have had the pleasure of playing on any platform.

iTunes LinkDeveloper Site

Gameplay Video:

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Edge

Up next is another unique one that I love. Edge is slightly more traditional in approach and is a sort of platformer style game only in three dimensions and you are not any sort of character in the game, you are simply a cube that is dropped in an expanding floating island of a world and you have to get from point A to point B while collecting items for bonus points as well as avoiding falling off of the edge of the game board. While this may sound simple and boring at first, it is amplified by a unique style and aesthetic in both its morphing level design and great sound design and music. It all combines into an experience that is really engaging and fun to play because each level presents you with a unique puzzle like design to navigate through. The game was recently updated with an additional 17 levels and a new control option that adds even more to the game. Worth every penny.

iTunes LinkDeveloper Site (Note there is also a lite version of this game that lets you try out the game)

Gameplay Video:

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SPiN

This was developed by the same team that created Zen Bound and is just as unique in its approach. This game is a game about silhouettes of objects and matching an objects orientation to the shape of the silhouette shown. You are given an object and a silhouette and you must rotate the object along its various possible alignments to match the objects outline to the silhouette. As with Zen Bound it is a strikingly simple concept made into something amazingly fun and unique. The graphics are colorful and playful and add a lot of personality to the game as you play. There are objectives, bonuses, and increasing speed as you play through the game as well as a time limit to reach the correct orientation of each object. Its a great casual game that I highly recommend checking out as it has not gotten nearly as much attention as it deserved.

Itunes LinkDeveloper Site (Note there is also a lite version of this game that lets you try out the game)

Gameplay Video:

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Eliss

This is the most recent game to suck me in and its a great one. Another simple game that lies somewhere between puzzle and action. Its graphics are simple shapes and outlines yet are presented in a really elegant sort of a way. The idea behind the gameplay is hard to describe actually. Basically, you are on a playing field where various colors of circles appear on the screen. These circles can be combined to make larger ones or split to break into two smaller ones. As the game plays out these points appear of different sizes where you drag your circles into that cause them to disappear which progress you through the level. The challenge lays in its speed and in the fact that two different colors of circles can not touch or else you start to loose energy and once your energy is gone entirely the game ends.

There are a number of various elements that enter the game such as black hole like formations that suck in your circles leading to end the game and other obstructions to get in the way of you clearing your circles from the board. It is a fully multi touch experience and the controls are as obvious as putting up to five fingers on the screen to move elements around as you play through the various stages of the game. I have never played anything like it and find it a highly addicting experience.

iTunes LinkDeveloper Site

Gameplay Video:

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A few others I also really enjoyed that are very much worth checking out. (links all go straight into itunes)

Theseus (amazing, simple puzzle game that is really challenging. lite version available)

Chop Sushi (a really entertaining take on the ‘match 3’ style of game. lite version available)

WordJong (a game that I am pretty sure has been available on other platforms as well that turns Mahjong solitaire into a word game)

1112 (a beautiful adventure/puzzle game. light version available. lite version available)

Centipede (yep, the classic, surprisingly fun on the iPhone)

Chuck The Ball (odd name and idea but its a great puzzle game with a think quick twist to it. lite version available )

Pachinko (modeled after classic Japanese pachinko machines)

Ivory Tiles (A really wonderful sliding puzzle involving mahjong tiles. lite version available and also a sequel called shift)

It was fun putting this post together and I look forward to seeing if anyone enjoyed reading through it as I am often thinking of other possible things to feature here on the blog. Till next time…

Drive

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Another simple image but as I was looking through recent photos I thought this would make for a nice desktop. I took this while driving in a light rain, I just stopped the wipers long enough to snap a couple photos which may or may not have been smart or safe but look at the colors and the lovely little droplets of water forming.. and the trees and light red bokeh circles from the car in front of me. How could I resist?

To get the image for your desktop wallpaper simply click or right click here to download the attached zip file which also contains my terms of use. Please, these images are provided for your own personal enjoyment as your desktop image, no commercial use, thanks and enjoy!

Triangle

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I had no good reason to take this photo, I was just messing around at work one day and cut of the corner of a cardboard box then, while I was carrying it around something compelled me to put it here next to the light of a window and take a photo of it and for whatever reason I ended up liking it a lot and figured, why not post it online? Yes, it was a slow day.

To get this desktop simply click or right click here to download the zip file containing the image and the terms of use which pretty much just remind you that this image is for your personal use only, thanks and enjoy!

On the Hi-Fi

It has been all to long since I have set aside a few minutes to put together a music post and I have wanted to write one for quite a while now. There are one to many great new albums to mention here but I will do my best to pick a nice diverse selection of great new music that I have been listening to lately and hopefully some of you will find something new in the process as well. It is always really hard to decide what to post and because it has been a while since I have done one of these music features I am finding it even harder to choose. I will try and keep my descriptions short this time around to make it easier for you to read through the selections. Without further delay..

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Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid

Dan Auerbach is one half of the blues rock group The Black Keys and he has released his first solo record recently and its really really good. The Black Keys have this sort of gritty grungy vintage approach to the blues and this is along similar lines only much smoother in execution. Every song on here stands on its own which says something for a full length to be full of great songs minus the filler. It ranges from more simple acoustic blues like on the wonderful opening track, Trouble Weighs A Ton, to the more head nodding electric blues The Black Keys are known for. If you like the blues at all I highly recommend this release one of my recent favorites.

iTunes LinkArtist Site

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Here We Go Magic – Self Titled

This was a more recent discovery. I don’t know to much about the band other than I really enjoy this album and I think they are quickly picking up momentum in the popularity front. Understandably so. Music like this is surprisingly trendy these days. Its a little hard to pinpoint, a little folk, a little rock, a little ambient, a little electronic.. Kind of a grab bag of Lo-Fi love that will keep you guessing. The first track is what good me hooked and is my favorite on here. Check them out and see what you think, its really good stuff.

iTunes LinkArtist Site

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Calmer – Past is Present EP

This is an album I featured on my calm music blog, You Disappear, a while back. Calmer is the musical alias of Colin Palmer, a NYC musician crafting some of the most interesting jazz inspired electronic music that I have ever come across. The fusion of electronic elements and jazz is something really unique and the thick sound he has created with layers and layers of synth, drums, guitars, and other elements is really fascinating to listen to. From what I know he spent a few years working on this music and Anyone into jazz, electronic, or music that pushes boundaries of these genres should certainly check out this great EP.

iTunes Link Artist Site

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Flying Saucer Attack – Distance

I found this album through eMusic this month and have really enjoyed it. It was released back in 1994 and is a collection of singles which was released after the groups first full length album. They are a British group centered around two members who wrote and recorded most of the music. The music itself is a cross between ambient and noise pop not unlike My bloody Valentine and other such artists. The opening track called Oceans is a great ambient piece and the third track, Crystal Shade, is a wonderful noise pop song full of a thick reverb that makes it sort of dream like and is the song that originally got my attention as I was previewing songs from the album. If you are into this sort of music I highly recommend it.

iTunes LinkLabels Site

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Mount Eerie – Dawn

This is another album which I featured on You Disappear and I wanted to mention it here as well simply because I love it. I have enjoyed the music of Mount Eerie aka The Microphones for some time now. The music on this album was written a few years ago and has appeared on a lot of various albums of his in different forms but they had never been recorded and collected in the way they were originally written, with a simplified approach of just acoustic guitar and singing. Its the way these songs are best heard and I find the songwriting to be really brilliant and insightful. The album is available digitally, on vinyl and within a cool looking book containing the original sketches while the music was being written. Here you will find calm music and in my opinion, wonderful songwriting.

Artist Page

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Selected+Collected – eMusic Compilation

Obviously another eMusic discovery and its actually only available through eMusic. It is a collection of songs from a handful of largely unknown groups many of which have not even had one proper release yet. While the collection visits a lot of various genres it does hole a cohesive feeling to it and most of the music you will find here is the new breed of avant indie rock blending lo-fi recording and a hodgepodge of various influences to create some really wonderful unique music. It has been in heavy rotation since I have downloaded it and suggest you check it out if you are looking for a great, eclectic collection of new, up and coming artists.

Albums page on eMusic

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Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP

Many of you may already be familiar with Bon Iver because I have featured him here on the site a couple of times before and because his music seems to have burst into popularity lately but I wanted to include this EP here because it certainly has been among my recent favorites. Its music for lonely moments and is hopeful in a melancholic sort of a way if that makes any sense at all. These four songs are wonderful and makes me really look forward to what he has to offer in his future releases.

iTunes LinkArtist Page

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Mike Bones – What I Have Left

I found this one song randomly and it connected with me in some way and would just not let go. Its one of those songs that just feels unflinchingly honest and it shows. It is a simple approach to songwriting in some ways and its lack of any sort of hook or chorus leads you to hear the message and feeling within the song without the need for a catchy hook. Its just a good solid progression and a great song in my opinion and wanted to include it here simply because it is one of the most played songs among my recent discoveries and I wanted to share. You can hear it via the video that was made for it here.

iTunes LinkArtist Page

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Beirut – March of the Zapotec & RealPeople: Holland

Beirut is a group that I have listened to for some time now and originally sort of avoided for some reason and I cant really explain why. Needless to say it took some time for it to really click in my mind. The music is full of horns and a light hearted traditional sort of an approach to its songwriting that I really love. The album is split right down the middle as it is actually two EP’s released as one full length album. The first half is all swinging horn melodies and the second half is nearly all danceable electronic with a hint of the horns that combine in a really great way that I really enjoyed hearing. As you can probably tell I really have no idea how to describe the music you will find on this album but I highly recommend you check it out simply because its a wonderful collection of songs.

iTunes LinkArtist Page
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I think I will leave it at that for this post, there were a few more albums on my list which I considered including but I think I have gone on long enough.Hopefully you discovered something new for your ears here and keep an eye out for more music suggestions as I hope to start doing more of them again but well see what happens with time. Thanks for reading and I will see you next time!

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IMAGES FOUND WITHIN THE FIFTYFOOTSHADOWS.NET PARALLAX WALLPAPER PACK ARE ©JOHN CAREY AND MAY NOT BE USED FOR ANY COMMERCIAL USE WITHOUT PERMISSION. 

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