I’ve just posted three new photo galleries, including a bunch from our fun day out on Saturday and my trip with the kids to the State Fair yesterday. Click the Offspring link in the top navigation bar to view them.
I’m not quite sure what it is that fascinates me about abandoned structures (ghost malls, disused freeways, etc.) and dying remote outposts (like Resolute, Nunavut). Maybe it’s the potential to explore the mystery behind the downfall of a place. Maybe it’s apocalyptic fear. Maybe it’s a melancholy over the crushed hopes and dreams of the developers who created these places. At any rate, whenever I hear about something like the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, I have to learn more. Or more specifically, I have to see pictures.
Prypiat was a moderately-sized city of about 50,000 residents, located about a mile from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine. At least, it was a moderately-sized city up until the disaster in 1986 that turned it into a ghost town.
T. A. Mousseau, a biologist from the University of South Carolina (of all places) is one of the leading researchers on the effects of the Chernobyl explosion and subsequent radioactive fallout on wildlife in the area. Humans have been banned from within a 30-km radius of the site, but plants and animals are on their own.
As genuinely useful as studying the effects of the radiation on wildlife may be to productive civilization, I am most interested in vicariously exploring the urban wasteland left behind, and fortunately, Mousseau was kind enough to oblige my interests with a photo gallery of scenes from post-Chernobyl Prypiat. Further research (thanks of course to Wikipedia) led me to this fascinating photo gallery.
So far every time I’ve shown the new guitar, it’s been a stock photo I grabbed from the American Musical Supply website (where I ordered it). But last night I was IMing (what an odd verb) with a coworker and I decided to show it off. Thanks to the wonders of Photo Booth and the built in camera on my MacBook, it was possible. (Photo Booth takes photos as a mirror image for reasons that are obvious when you’re sitting in front of the computer looking at yourself on the screen. I’m not really left-handed.)
Hopefully (yes, I know that’s not a word, but hopefully William F. Buckley isn’t reading this), this site has now become slightly easier to use, thanks to my super-cool new translucent navigation bar. I’m taking the transparent PNG thing to the next level here, stacking transparencies on top of one another, and the overall effect is very cool, I think: the nav bar is shaded, but you can still see the photo through it all. Actually, the individual text links on the nav bar are separate transparent PNGs, in the top layer. (OK, technically they’re not CSS layers, but whatever.) Then the nav bar itself is part of the next layer down, which includes all of the shading and the logo that are overlaid upon the actual photo, which is at the bottom. This way, I can easily swap in new photos without having to redesign anything else. The photos just need to be cropped to the right dimensions. (Of course, it’s been ages since I’ve taken a new “34” photo. But maybe now I’ll get back into that project. I really want to take a picture of the signs at the end of the offramp from eastbound 494 onto County 34, because they’ve got “End MN 100” and “Begin Cty 34” side-by-side. And I’ve been a fan of 100 since I was about 5 [for some reason… but at any rate, this parenthetical has gone on far too long now].)
I’ve also added in an “Offspring” link which, if you’re logged in and have been granted access, will take you to the new Gallery2-based photo library. But since I don’t want just any old stranger/psycho looking at pictures of my kids, I’ve added the log-in requirement. Like I mentioned in my last post, if I know you, feel free to register for an account, and then let me know and I’ll set you up with access to the gallery.
I know many of you have been waiting patiently (?) for the return of the “Offspring” photo galleries. Unfortunately I’ve been really busy with work (and life)… and I’ve been spending most of my “geek” time doing music in GarageBand or playing the Wii (i.e. losing to Fletcher at bowling), rather than getting the new photo gallery stuff set up on the site.
Fortunately for you, we’ve taken almost no new pictures since Christmas, because a) the camera’s batteries are crapping out and b) the camera has been misplaced for several weeks. So, you haven’t missed anything, really.
One of the key points in getting this set up was finding a mechanism in WordPress to restrict access: in short, I want to know who’s looking at pictures of my kids. Now I’ve found a plug-in to manage access to individual blog posts, so that’s one more hurdle jumped.
Future posts in this category will require you to be logged in. Fortunately, it’s easy to register and once you’ve done it, you should never have to do it again. (At least, not until I decide to change my site entirely again. But I don’t anticipate doing that in the near future, if only because I’m not going to have the time to mess with it!)