May 31, 2006

I Am Here

A year or so ago a number of people posted photos of the places in their homes where they blog. Here is the place where my posts are made when I’m not in a wi-fi café:

office1.jpg

Photos can be odd. Somehow the disorganization on the bookshelves is more noticeable in this picture than in real life. (You can tell which books I've been reading because they're stacked sideways.) My office looks smaller, too, although this is only one-fourth of it. And the wall color is off. Is it me, my camera, or does photography always distort interior rooms one way or another?

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 31, 2006 10:24 PM
Comments

Great! I have a Lebanese flag hanging on my wall as well!

Posted by: Omega80 at May 31, 2006 10:50 PM

You should see my bookshelves. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep them neat. They are marvels of stuffagerie. and when I go into nice, neat impeccable homes that have no bookshelves, but rather have Soap Opera Digest and Redbook, I feel sorry for the inhabitants.

Posted by: Jauhara al Kafirah at June 1, 2006 01:37 AM

I love books. I love libraries. I love being surrounded by books. Makes me feel smarter. I love working and being surrounded by books. I love how interviews with intellectuals are always done in front of a book shelf. Yet all my books are hidden away. Organized and neatly put away behind cabinet doors. My house if full of books yet you'd never know they were there unless you ask. For some reason, I don't want people to see what books I'm reading or have read.

Love the flag. I don't have any flags in the house. One of my Italian friends once told me: "You know there is something about Lebanon that is just not Arab. I watch the TV channels and while I don't understand the language, I love watching the women and the programs (pervert). And your flag says something. All the other Arab states have black, white, red and green. You have a proud tree. That says something to me."

Says something to me too.

Thanks Michael.

Posted by: The Perpetual Refugee at June 1, 2006 01:59 AM

is the second flag Kurdistan's?
am I color blind or is it upside down Michael?

Posted by: hiwa at June 1, 2006 04:52 AM

Perpetual Refugee. THAT's IT! I have always thought this about Lebanon. It is that proud Cedar Tree that makes it so unArab. Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted by: Jauhara al Kafirah at June 1, 2006 05:02 AM

as far as the photography goes, I'm guessing your using a point and shoot camera, and that is probably part of the problem.

1- distort room interiors-
Architectural photographers get paid very well to deal with the way a lens will distort space. It's something that an amateur photographer will not be able to do as it would involve a good deal of cash for the right gear

2- wall color
The light from the window is probably throwing of the auto-white balance of the camera. Try taking the picture on a cloudy day, or at night with a flash, you may get better results. Or it might be your camera sensor isn't very good at handling red colors.

Posted by: Just a Voice (ann arbor) at June 1, 2006 05:57 AM

Let's not forget the cultural and ethnic legacy of Phoenicia, Hellenism, Crusaders, Byzantium, France, etc that makes the Lebanese so distinct from their neighbors!

Posted by: Rommel at June 1, 2006 06:10 AM

Just a Voice is right about the white balance (if your camera is digital, that is); the color temp of the lights inside your house are skewing the results a bit. Indoor lights are deficient in certain parts of the spectrum, which parts depending on whether the lighting is fluorescent or tungsten (i.e. a standard bulb). Setting the white balance for indoors will fix things. Or, if you're still using film, you'd either want to get a filter or use specially corrected film. Or, you can grab photo editing software like Photoshop (if you wanna pay), Gimp (which is free, and for non-commercial photography much more than enough), or some other product (such as what comes with the digital cameras and scanners nowadays) and look up how to color correct with that.

Posted by: ElMondoHummus at June 1, 2006 08:13 AM

Cool. Even given your cautions re: true wall color, it's clear you like BOLD colors. My own "library" is done in what Miller Paints calls "Purple Elegance." Hey, it works.
Some years back C. Northcote Parkinson, inventor of the infamous 'Law,' wrote a little piece called "A Title on the Door" [from the carptet company's ad line "a title on the door rates a Bigelow on the floor," in which he remarked on a curious relationship, e.g., that the really great work of institutions was never done in the grandiose settings they usually create for themsselves, but in cramped humble surroundings. Cases in point: the marbled halls of ancient Rome or of Washington D.C., compared with the actual dates of their very greatest achievements. Seems to hold true for the limited sample of blogers-I-like-to-read-whose-workspaces I-can-picture.

Posted by: Ken Stewart at June 1, 2006 08:36 AM

Ah, Michael, Everything's comfortable; except the chair. Too bad you don't have one of those meshy Miller jobs.

Not given a close up of the books themselves; I hope you've read JIMMY ROGERS. (He was a Columbia Professor whose toodled about the globe. Writing up the countries he visits, from both a businessman's perspective, but with such a rich eye for detail. INVESTMENT BIKER, and then his next one, done after a trip in 2000, are among my FAVORITES!) Like you, when he writes, you enter the landscape.

And, we live in such an interesting world.

Neat of you to share this picture.

Posted by: Carol Herman at June 1, 2006 09:18 AM

This is exactly what the MSM lacks. A human element. This is a real person. He has a favorite color. He keeps his books and CD's in dis-array. (I'm glad I wan't called on to help you move all of those books up-stairs when you bought the house! Where are the rest of them, at Seans?)
As great as the writing is, it is even better for those of us who know you, and will be better for those who now can come to know you. Inviting the world into your home is a great step toward breaking down the "walls" that divide us. A little like that great hospitality you wrote about from the ME. It is harder to "hate" someone once you have been invited into their home.
Next time include the Kitties! Even the Trolls won't be able to criticize them! ;)

Posted by: Lindsey at June 1, 2006 11:38 AM

perpetual refugee:
"Yet all my books are hidden away. Organized and neatly put away behind cabinet doors. My house if full of books yet you'd never know they were there unless you ask. For some reason, I don't want people to see what books I'm reading or have read."

I have been to your terrific blog. This statement reminds me of some of the sentiments you have written about concerning your initial nervousness when you relocated to your current home and job. Sometimes letting people know who you are allows them dangerous access to your most veunerable spots. Obviously for you books are cherished and personal.
It is stuff like this that makes me feel that I know you, even though unless you come to visit MJT here in Portland, I will surely never actually meet you.
I keep my books out of sight too, but they are not particularly organized!:)

Posted by: Lindsey at June 1, 2006 11:57 AM

is that the kurdistan flag upside down?

Posted by: rozh at June 1, 2006 04:39 PM

Rozh,

Is it upside down? Well isn't that stupid of me? (Yes, it's the Kurdistan flag.)

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at June 1, 2006 05:39 PM

Thanks for this photo, Michael. It is good for my wife to see a workspace and library more messy than mine/ours sometimes :)

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as far as the photography goes, I'm guessing your using a point and wad up camera, and that is possibly songster of the problem.

1- infect room interiors-
Architectural photographers get leased pure fine to deal tetherball the way a lens sphere constancy dogleg allot. It's etwas that an lay photographer zealously not be unperceived to do as it would involve a cheerful deal of cash for the alavenge gear

2- paries color
The light from the light is before long throwing of the auto-white commensurability of the camera. Try infectious the approach on a dark day, or at velvet darkness-fallen spheroid a flash, you may get better results. Or it charisma be your camera sensor isn't nearly all-seeing at authority red bunting.

Posted by: proxy site at December 16, 2007 12:49 AM
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