Usually drunken.

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Contest Awards

May 23, 2009, 10:37 am by Paul Stiverson

Recently I’ve had a couple friends ask for my endorsement toward awards for which they were nominated. In case you are unfamiliar, the granters of these awards find nominees somehow then—instead of bringing in a panel of judges to determine who is most deserving of the award—they open up the voting online and basically see who has more friends they can goad into voting for them. I, for one, will not play ball; if there is an award to be given it should be given based on merit, not on popularity (unless of course the award is actually a popularity contest, in which case the two are interchangeable).

Ben Morris and the Great American Boxcar Chorus asked me to participate in just such a contest. After fighting tooth and nail to be nominated in a number of categories they perpetually bothered me (via their mailing list) to vote for them in their quest to be named “Live Band of the Year” at the Texas Music Awards. They eventually won the award, but without my support. I probably would have lent my support to them had I seen the band perform that year (and a significant number of the other nominees so I could make a reasonable comparison) because I love “Ben and Them”, but I will not sully the award by supporting their bid for it if I, personally, cannot say that they are the best live Texas country band of the year (judging by the shows I saw last year they were not). I did attend one of their shows after the award was presented, and I will say that they were very entertaining (as is the new album), and I probably would have voted for them given that performance.

More recently a photographer friend of mine was nominated for “Best Wedding Photographer” in Dallas-Fort Worth, and despite the fact that they did not photograph my wedding (I’m not married), despite the fact that I have not attended a wedding which they photographed, despite the fact that I have not even seen any of their wedding photos or spoken to a happy, well-photographed bride, they have asked for me to vote for them. I really only have experience with one wedding photographer in the D-FW area, the elderly couple who photographed Mark’s Wedding, and by god I can’t imagine that any worse photographers exist, but that doesn’t mean that my friends are the best. In the email soliciting my support they didn’t even bother to send a photograph of a satisfied bride, they just assumed that by virtue of friendship that I would support them in this supposedly skill-based competition. If somebody needs a wedding photographer I will support my friends by suggesting them as a photographer that I know, but I will not vouch that they are the best in the area because I cannot validate such claims.

I cannot blame my friends for asking for my support, they are doing what is necessary to win the contest, I can only blame the holders of the contest. If you are thinking about giving an award then please, please, seriously please find a panel of judges and look at the portfolios of the nominees to determine which is the best, don’t just put a form on the internet unless you only care about which nominee has the most unscrupulous friends.

Street Art II

Jan 30, 2009, 9:54 am by Lew

rocket shipThis was in a construction tunnel for the condo tower "the austonian" on Congress ave. I liked it. I thought it was neat that someone would spray paint a rocket ship.

Array Brownies

Jan 23, 2009, 2:01 pm by Lew

array cake get!Yesterday was my bday and for the occasion my fiancee made me a delicious and hilarious microarray brownie cake. if you are a bio nerd this is funny. if not then it is jargon. i wanted to share though.

Street Art I

Jan 21, 2009, 3:47 pm by Lew

Barton Springs under the Missouri Pacific BridgeI have long wanted to document street art that I happen upon. I finally got a camera phone so now I can start doing it. There are some street artists (that I have known) that have a strict code. They are artists using the outdoors as a gallery. They only put their art on public spots, like electic boxes and light polls. never on a building or private propert. many are wheat-pasters, they use a flour based adhesive so their pictures will dissolve after a month. i don't always condone street art. but some of it is really good. i won't post every scibble i happen on, but anything that obviously took some thought and effort i will add here. So here is my first contribution. This was taken on Barton Springs Road in Austin, it is a stencil sprayed on a bridge pillar on the missouri pacific (mopac) railroad bridge. enjoy.

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