I have always loved reading. Sadly in the past decade I haven't set aside time to read on a regular basis. This all changed in 2008.
I made it one of my daily goals to read get in bed by 10pm and read for an hour before falling asleep. I accomplished that goal more times than not last year. In doing so I read 21 books.
As you will see in the list below, I read mostly non-fiction. This year I'm changing it up a little bit. I am reading one work of fiction and one non-fiction in parallel. I try and switch back and forth each night, but I've really been hooked on PHP 5 Objects, Patterns and Practices. I guess that says something about me that I find it more interesting than the other book I'm reading: The Vicar of Wakefield.
Here is an un-ordered list of the books I read last year, I likely forgot a few, but you get the idea:
- An Empire of Their Own - After rediscovering my faith and interest in Judaism I starting reading everything I possibly could about it. This book, although not specifically about Judaism, covers the immigrant Jews who created Hollywood. Great read if you're interested in Jews, the motion picture industry or both.
- Fast Food Nation - My wife read this book a few years ago and stopped eating beef and fowl that wasn't free-range, organic and grass-fed. I finally got around to reading it and I no longer eat beef or poultry that wasn't raised the way animals were intended to live: on an open range, eating grass and being happy. If you read this book you'll understand why. Basically, feeding herbivores meat, blood and guts from other animals or of their same species, is a horribly disgusting practice that has a wide range of frightening ramifications.
- The Clarinet and Clarinet Playing - Last year I picked up the clarinet again and decided to learn a bit more about it. This book had amazing reviews on Amazon and they were spot on. I will likely read this book every year or two.
- The Wicked Son - This book is part of the Nextbook series. I decided to read it because my Temple decided to start a book club. I enjoyed the book and I will actually be re-reading it so it's fresh in my head for the discussions.
- History of the Jews of Los Angeles - This is a great book from the 1970s about the history of... ok you get the idea. Great read.
- The Elements of Journalism - A very interesting and informative discussion about bias and public perception of the media.
- The Artful Edit - This book has helped me immensely. I recommend it for any writer, aspiring or otherwise.
- The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law - This book is mostly a dictionary reference on accepted spellings of common people, places and things. There is also some good stuff about the law included.
- Photojournalism Sixth Edition - This is the best book I've ever read about Photojournalism. Amazing. I have both the 5th and 6th editions.
- Ansel Adams' The Camera - This should be required reading for any photographer.
- Ansel Adams' The Negative - This is also great reading, although obviously somewhat dated and becoming more and more obsolete.
- Ansel Adams' The Print - [See previous comment]
- The Associated Press Guide to Photojournalism - This book has become almost too dated to be worth reading. I'm guessing the AP is working on a new edition if they haven't already released one.
- How to Photograph Absolutely Everything - This book was pretty good, I would recommend it for beginning photographers.
- The Pragmatic Programmer - This is a wonderful book. I'm going to re-read this one soon.
- Treasure Island - This was the only tome of fiction I read last year. It's an awesome book and a quick and enjoyable read.
- Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills - I re-read this last year. Filled with great tips for mountaineering, it is critical knowledge for me when it comes to Search and Rescue.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Judaism - Despite this series derogatory name, this book was actually really insightful and informative. Keep in mind though that it was written by an Orthodox rabbi so a large portion of it doesn't apply to people like myself who are Reform Jews. It was still very interesting to read.
- The Family Treasury of Jewish Holidays - This children's book was actually quite informative and fun to read.
- The Associate Press Guide to News Writing - This nice short read helped me improve my news-writing tremendously. If you write any type of news, or even blog, you should definitely pick this one up.
- Getting Things Done - I believe this was the second or third time I've read this book. As I mentioned before, this one changed my life.
- What's Your Poo Telling You - This was one of my birthday presents from Penelope. A great little book about poops.
If you're interested in what I'm reading, click here to see my Good Reads profile. I'd love to hear what you're reading, so please post a comment below or link up with me on Good Reads.
Last year I shot 26 galleries for Wired.com. Although we're well into the new year and past the usual top-ten retrospective period, I've put together a collection of my ten favorite shoots from 2008.
I really enjoy shooting for Wired, mostly due to the fact that I'm a huge nerd and love technology and science. I'm looking forward to shooting many more cool locations, labs and lairs this year.
So without further ado, here they are, my top ten favorite Wired.com galleries from 2008:
- #10: New Purification Plant Answers California's Water Crisis - This tour took me through an amazing new waste treatment plant that basically turns sewage to drinking water.
- #9: Homemade Bombs, From Richard Reid's Shoe to Kaczynski's Envelope - I wasn't sure to expect when I attended this Homeland Security trade show, but when I saw the simulated bombs I knew it would be interesting and controversial. When DHS gave me permission to shoot them I was really excited. Don't miss the comments on this gallery. Priceless.
- #8: Journey Into the Science of the Sun - High-vacuum equipment has always interested me. When I saw the giant vacuum chamber used in this experiment I was enthraled.
- #7: Einstein's Legacy: Inside the Quest for Gravity Waves - Another tour that involved giant vacuum chambers. These were chock-full-o-lasers.
- #6: Gallery: Take an X-Ray With Your Office Sticky Tape - When I read the paper about this experiment I loved the whole premise, especially how easy it was to understand by the general public. I really like the glowing tape photo in this gallery.
- #5: Microscope-On-a-Chip Is One Step Closer to the Tricorder - This little chip will someday change the world. Very cool technology.
- #4: How to Make Superstrong, Superflexible Metals - The way the metal looks when it's molten is beautiful. I love these shots.
- #3: Gallery: Inside the Navy's Armed-Robot Labs - This was the only gallery I shot that actually frightened me. Autonomous robots are not awesome when they're armed.
- #2: A Lesson in Internet Anatomy: The World's Densest Meet-Me Room - When I first toured One Wilshire 9 years ago I snuck in a camera and took some photos of the crazy cables in the Meet-Me-Room. This time around I was on assignment and took photos of the crazy cables in the Meet-Me-Room. One Wilshire is awesome.
- #1: Inside NASA's Mars Mission - This is my all time favorite gallery that I've shot for Wired. My editor ranked it as one of the year's best. Here is what he said about it: "Our best science photographer, Dave Bullock, toured the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex shortly before the Phoenix lander touched down on Mars. His photos show the calm before the storm, and his coverage of the landing and the lander's first images was excellent as well."
As I mentioned yesterday, I am going through all my Wired.com assignment archives and uploading my favorite shots, including never-before-published out-takes, in full resolution on flickr and my gallery. Here are a few shots from my tour of Paul Bellan's Plasma Lab at Caltech:
A high-speed camera peers into the vacuum chamber, awaiting plasma to form.
A lens magnifies the view inside the vacuum chamber at the Bellan Plasma lab at Caltech.
Caltech graduate student fires a charge of electricity into the vacuum chamber, creating plasma in the process.
As I mentioned in my Mojave Wildflower post yesterday, I traveled to the revived ghost town of Shoshone for the Desert Explorers Rendezvous. We went on a few off-road trips, exploring mines and ghost towns along the way. It was my second DE Rendezvous, here is my post from the 2007 Rendezvous. Here are a few photos from the trip:
A few weeks ago I took a trip out to the desert with my lovely wife and my father-in-law, Jim Proffitt. The group that brought us together for this excursion to Shoshone is known as the Desert Explorers. They are a group of mostly older folks who have an immense pool of knowledge and love for the desert.
I found and photographed 11 different species of wildflowers. Alan Romspert is a botany professor at UC Fullerton and helped me identify the species I shot during happy hour in Shoshone. Here are a few of the photos I shot: