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Welcome to the 6×6 Blog

This is the post excerpt.

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YAD-FP4-16-005-001 Portland MuralSix by six—what’s that mean?  In a basic sense, it’s because my blog will cover six main subjects—Baseball, Books, Cameras and Film, Commentary, History, and Movies.  When the mood strikes me, I’ll write something about one of these broad topics.  Six by six has another connotation, connected with the Cameras and Film topic.  Six by six is a film format (negatives 6 cm by 6 cm), generally known, at least in the US, as 120-size film.  I’ll explain more below in the short post below in the Cameras and Film topic.

Baseball

Ah, baseball—my favorite sport.  I’ve been a baseball fan as long as I can remember.  In fact, it’s possible that for many years I didn’t even know that other sports existed.  My memories of baseball go back to roughly around 1960 or 1961, when I was four or five years old.  No doubt because my oldest brother (I have five; I am the youngest) was a Yankees fan, I was too.  The Yankees having a superstar like Mickey Mantle didn’t hurt.  If my brother had been a Philadelphia Phillies fan, I might not have been so interested as there were no particularly memorable players on the Phillies in those days (sorry, Phillies fans).  These days I am a die-hard Seattle Mariners fan and don’t particularly like the Yankees (or the Phillies).  Over the years I’ve had some hate going for some teams (the Baltimore Orioles in the 70’s, for example, and even the Yankees during the George Steinbrenner days) but I really don’t dislike any teams now, although the Red Sox got kind of irritating for a while after they won a couple of World Series.

My baseball posts will mostly be on how I see where the game is going today, where I’d like to see it go, and maybe some nostalgic musings on the past.

Books

I love books.  Probably this was because my mother read to me as a child.  If you have children, read to them.  Maybe not if they’re in their 30’s, as mine are, but definitely if they are still young ‘uns.  I remember that I picked up reading with absolutely no problems whatsoever, and for as long as I can remember I have always been reading at least one book and have another (or more) on the shelf to be read next.  I’m not a book snob in the sense that I don’t eschew e-books; in fact, I have a nice tablet with e-reading software (Nook, if you are interested, as well as Kindle, but I prefer Nook).  I also have tons of hard copy books.  There’s something about them that I’ll never give up, but I do like the convenience of having books on a tablet.  My book posts will be mostly book reviews (not usually the latest publications) or commentary on authors.

Cameras and Film

I love photography.  I love film photography.  I love old, working cameras.  I love taking pictures using film in those old, working cameras.  I love developing the film myself in my bathroom darkroom.  I’d love to make prints in that bathroom darkroom, but I haven’t in many years, simply because it’s a pain to set up the enlarger, mix up the chemicals (print developer doesn’t last more than a couple of days before going bad), and take it all down again because the boss doesn’t want it taking up all the room in the bathroom, even if it’s the one downstairs and there are only two of us at home now.  So, I scan my negatives and post my pictures on Instagram (MarkJ913) and sometimes Facebook.  My posts will be about my pictures and my cameras, especially my beloved Yashica D twin lens reflex camera (using the 6×6 or 120 size film) and my Olympus OM-1 (35mm) and the film and developers I like to use.  120 film (aka medium format, although there are other sizes of medium format film) is my favorite because the negatives, being much larger than 35mm negatives, therefore have that much more information on them and present better, either as actual prints or as digital files after scanning.  I do like the convenience of 35mm film, however.  I shoot almost entirely black and white, because I just like black and white, and it’s easy to develop at home.  Nothing beats the thrill of removing my freshly developed film from the developing tank and seeing what’s on it and how well the negatives came out.  I seldom use color film, partly because it’s not that easy to develop at home, and partly because, IMHO, most color films these days suck.  I have tried developing it at home—I recently bought a color kit from http://filmphotographyproject.com/ and more or less successfully developed a couple of rolls—but it was kind of a pain and I also messed up my chemicals and had to toss them.  Maybe later.  By the way, I am not a total film snob—I have a pretty nice digital SLR (a Canon Rebel Ti), and when I want to take color pictures, this is what I use.

Commentary

I probably won’t do much of this—people seem to get angry with commentary they don’t like.  I’ll try to keep politics out of it, and limit myself to writing about my perspective on issues of the day, but it may be hard to do that (keep the politics out).  Fair warning—I am conservative, and therefore my commentary will be influenced by my conservative views.  If you don’t like conservative views, I’ll try to provide trigger warnings and safe spaces for you to flee to.

History

I love history.  In fact, I briefly (for like five minutes) considered majoring in History in college (instead I majored in Forestry, and I’ve worked in the nuclear industry for 36 years.  Go figure).  Once in a while I’ll talk about historical things that interest me.  Again, be warned, as my musings may be influenced by my conservative leanings.  I’ll try to be unbiased and present other viewpoints.  No guarantees you won’t still need to flee to a safe space.

Movies

Last but not least, movies.  Just like you, most likely, I like movies.  So, in the same vein as my book discussions, I’ll occasionally talk about movies, both new and old.

I hope you enjoy my blog!  If not, the world will not end.