Alternatives to your smartphone camera!

Instax MiniI know I wrote something on this earlier today, but felt that you need to know more about instant cameras such as Fujifilm Instax and Polaroid’s instant camera.


Yes, film is not dead.  Yes there are ways of sharing photos with actual PICTURES that you don’t have to wait forever to see.  It pops out of the camera.  And are a lot of fun! See Kodak’s instant camera for example.

Polaroid tried to have a analog/digital clone but it didn’t work out due to the battery life.  Polaroid was the original instant camera maker.  Remember the Land camera?

Fuji went for a younger audience that never had memory of film.  This was something new!  The current model I’m promoting, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 camera, is the top of the line model, with manual controls, can shoot black & white, and comes in many crazy colors.

  • Per their ad:
    Takes 2 – AA Batteries. Picture size-62 x 46mm. Viewfinder-Real image finder, 0.37x, with target spot
    New Selfie Mirror,Shutter Shutter speed:1/60 sec.
    New Macro Lens adapter for close-ups – 35cm to 50cm
    Automatic exposure measurement. The camera signals the recommended aperture setting with a flashing LED. This helps capture the perfect photo every time.
    Takes 2 – AA Batteries (best with Polaroid AA batteries)

    Just click on the Amazon link and check them out, read the reviews.  I’d appreciate that!


Stylish, Fun at Parties & It’s Not Digital!

Film Is Not Dead!

Film is Not Dead!  Fujifilm!

Rather than have Nikon and Canon give up on film altogether and concentrate on their DSLR and mirrorless line of cameras, there is one plucky company that is bucking the digital trend.  Fujifilm.  Yes, Fujifilm makes some amazing DSLR and mirrorless cameras, but they also make film for the analog photographer.

But there’s something else.

  Instant Cameras.

You may remember the old Polaroid Land camera that was discontinued some decades ago.  The concept to taking a photo with instant analog gratification is still a selling idea.  In fact Polaroid makes instant film cameras now in many fun colors: Polaroid Snap Touch Portable Instant Print Digital Camera

I mean, what is more magical than taking a photo and holding it in your hand?

Of all its array of instant cameras, I suggest the Fujifilm Instax Mini90 Neo Classic!


It’s the most full-featured of the Instax Mini family of cameras.

  The Instax Mini 9!  Flamingo Pink, Icy White, and many more colors.

See the YouTube video showing a quick overview and specifications of the Fujifilm Instax cameras:


Film Is Not Dead!


Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout!

Pre-order Mission: Impossible Fallout on Amazon today!

Critic's Corner Reviews, Blogs & Photography

Mission:Impossible –  Fallout

[Pre-order the Blu-Ray on Amazon.com!]

First Thoughts:

If you want a film that captures the spirit of the original 60’s TV series much more so than the previous in the series, you must see this film!

Rated 98% by Rotten Tomatoes, Tom Cruise belies his 50+ years of age and jumps, runs, shoots and has a lot of spy trouble, and allusions to his earlier romances in the earslier series.  But you need not watch the earlier films, it stands on its own.


After losing a case of plutonium to save his freiend Luther, Ethan Hunt becomes criticized and no longer trusted by the secretary.  And though he “decides to accept” the Mission, the CIA gets involved and puts their own man in with Ethan’s team (Henry “Superman” Cavil).  Ethan reluctantly OK’s this to his detriment as we’ll see.

No spoilers, but I thought the…

View original post 179 more words

Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout!

Mission:Impossible –  Fallout

[Pre-order the Blu-Ray on Amazon.com!]

First Thoughts:

If you want a film that captures the spirit of the original 60’s TV series much more so than the previous in the series, you must see this film!

Rated 98% by Rotten Tomatoes, Tom Cruise belies his 50+ years of age and jumps, runs, shoots and has a lot of spy trouble, and allusions to his earlier romances in the earslier series.  But you need not watch the earlier films, it stands on its own.


After losing a case of plutonium to save his freiend Luther, Ethan Hunt becomes criticized and no longer trusted by the secretary.  And though he “decides to accept” the Mission, the CIA gets involved and puts their own man in with Ethan’s team (Henry “Superman” Cavil).  Ethan reluctantly OK’s this to his detriment as we’ll see.

No spoilers, but I thought the story though somewhat slow initially really picks up and with cliffhangers on cliffhangers, takes the viewer on a white-knuckled journey through London, Paris and Kashmir to find out who is running a secret bad-guy organization and get the plutonium back.

I liked how things never really work out well for Hunt.  His motorcycle fails to start when the French police are chasing him.  His helicopter gets shot up just when he’s catching up to the bad guy’s helicopter.  And his former wife shows up at the same place as two plutonium bombs are ticking down to seconds!

Final thoughts:

The movie has car chases, helicopter chases, ticking bombs, terrorists, and masks. Check it out!

J.J. Abrams produced this one with director/writer Christopher McQuarrie.

Cast include:

Tom Cruise     …                                 Ethan Hunt

Henry Cavill               l           …         August Walker

Ving Rhames                          …         Luther Stickell

Simon Pegg                             …         Benji Dunn

Rebecca Ferguson                  …         Ilsa Faust

Sean Harris                             …         Solomon Lane

Angela Bassett                        …         Erica Sloan

Vanessa Kirby                         …         White Widow

TRAILER:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wb49-oV0F78

True Story! Tales of The Big City!


Over the last few years on my Facebook account I would tell my friends of the wild and crazy goings-on in nighttime San Francisco, the BART system crazies and the cashiers of the world.  Both frightening and funny, here are a few of my terrible tales, true stories that I experience.

Do you have any crazy tales from your town?

True Story: In Walgreen’s, clerk asks Are you a member? I said yes, put in my phone, etc. Later the same day, the same store, the same clerk — “Are you a member?” I said, “You know I am, you saw me this morning, remember?” She says, “Oh, you’re not a member then?” Argh.

I think she heard the word “remember” and thought it was member or something. I wish there was a school for low wage clerks!
Strange but True: I got some jellybeans for my jar at work but didn’t buy more and wish I could have gotten more. The next day my supervisor says “I got these jellybeans by mistake, want them?” Strange but True!
True story: I called a cr union to see if they have coin change machines. The cr union I usually use had an out of service machine.

I asked the customer service guy if his cr union has a coin change machine. He said no, because it lowers the fees.

Imagine that, a cr union which doesn’t want to lower fees. WOW!!

Yesterday, in 2017, same girl again asking for money, same line, same sign. She was a bit worse for wear. She was actually on the train, and when someone gave her money she’d say “Bless you” and when the train lurched unexpectedly throwing her off balance, she said, “Oh shit! Sorry!” Sad and funny.

True Story – SuperCuts and the Crappy Customer Service!

So I walk into the store and see the place is full to the brim with suits getting their haircuts. There is one chair left. No one at the waiting bench. Ah, my chance!

So I put on my coat, pocket my wallet (never know), and sign “Jim” and hesitantly wrote my phone number. I could always block it later.

I am escorted to the seat, the haircutter asked how I’d like it, I tell her, and I noticed she put the usual black sheet on me without asking about my glasses. I took them off myself. I noticed my nose was still being a problem and asked for a tissue. She said “A what?” I said a tissue and she hands me the box of the “tissues” that they use to go around your neck when you cut your hair! I tear it off after some effort, which she could have done for me, and it was like sandpaper on my nose. Yikes.

She mows my hair with some abandon when the lady from the cashier comes over, pushes the sign-in board into my face and says “Is this you? Is this your name?” I said, “Can’t this wait? I’m getting a haircut!”

She ignores my protest and says “Your name is Chris?” I say no, it’s Jim .

She doesn’t even say thanks, and walks away! Damn!

So I grumble about that and the haircutter ignores me and continues cutting. I’m used to chatty ones but she was quiet throughout. I noticed that she was careful in her cutting after that, maybe some amends for her loud, annoying cashier friend.

The haircutter then shows me the mirror, I say OK (it was just OK), and doesn’t even offer to give me back my glasses and no offer for a product on my hair, (as they USED TO years ago).

I make my way to the line of Suits who wait their turn to fork over their plastic. I finally get to pay, ensure I mark NO TIP and offers a receipt, I say no. She doesn’t even offer to say thanks, come again.

Back in “the Day”, I used to be asked about how often I get a haircut, suggest for me to come more often, chatter like that. Now I enter the business model of conveyor belt mentality, in-out-next!

Annoying but true

True story – Intelligence Quotient: I go to a different cashier the other day, I buy lottery tix and some milk for coffee. It’s cold and stormy. I say to her “Nice weather we’re having.” She says “That will be $6.99.”

Guy nearby says “Were you being sarcastic?”

I said, “Yeah, but not everyone gets it.”

True story – Having a Day: I go to a cashier, pay my money and she says “Have a Day! I guess that would be inevitable. She said it twice.
Absolutely disgusting! BART Powell Station. At 10:45pm. As I enter the train, some young punk threw a bag of sliced hot dog in the yellow strip outside. What the hell? 😳😳😳True story
True story: Bozo the Clown runs BART!

Sunday 7:55 am, North Berkeley BART. Station closed. Supposed to be open. Employees take a day off and didn’t tell anyone. I call Bart Police. They say Fremont Bart operator will open door. He opens, gives us access but card not accessed. I arrive at Montgomery Station. Agent doesn’t look surprised North Berkeley had no staff on duty. I get a free ride.

Tell me again why they called a strike in 2013? Argh!
True story: 145 Jefferson Safeway; how not to run a grocery chain. Sunday, 7pm, 25 people in one line, another 10 in Express. Finally after 20 minutes they open a third. Clerk rings it up surly and looks bored. Doesn’t bag them. I say “gonna bag them?”. Then he says he will. Such incompetence and no concept of service-oriented like Trader Joe’s ! 😬😜
True story: At 7-11 on Sansome Street, San Francisco. It’s 10:45PM. I walk in to pick up some milk for hot chocolate 🙂 when I see this guy on his cell, laughing and talking, stuffing a bag of chips into his jacket. It was sticking out as he nonchalantly walked out. The cashier was too busy chatting with is buddy to even notice. I pointed it out to him and he did not seem to care much. What price, morality?

True BART Story:

Had to listen to a bunch of rap from dancers who took over BART for a few minutes and then passed the hat.

Before that, a guy who’d been there a few weeks before saying the same story, wanted money since he was going to sleep outside. No one really paid attention since it costs good money to support the homeless.

Finally I dozed and nearly missed my station. The door was closing, I ran up and was nearly too late. I had to force the doors as its jaws bit into my arms. Ouch! At least I didn’t end up in El Cerrito Del Norte and have to add another 20-30 minutes to getting home that night.

True story!
True Story:

Walking down Montgomery Street and just outside a building, a man put a pillow on a garbage can and sat on it, stretched out where his feet were resting on a bannister and he had his head out, and reading a book! And he had a fedora hat on! Wish I took a picture.
True Story: two friends were talking; the first says where can I meet you? The second says ‘Are you familiar with the City?’ He says yes. The second one says ‘By the Pyramid.” The first says, “Where’s that” Duh.
I was carrying my bag of groceries on Saturday evening on the way home when the rain storm unleashed its full fury and force on the grocery bag, and 40mph winds on the cereal box. When I got home, pretty sopping wet, the bag was in pretty bad shape but held together (Thank you god of Safeway) but the cereal box was quite a soggy box. Glad the inside lining left my corn flakes alone! True story!

True Story @ Work!

Always worth repeating:

Down the hall the copier is beeping like the mad machine it is. The attorney “can’t get it to work.” He calls over his secretary and she is having a hard time too. I walk over, see the problem and say “why don’t you put paper into it? The red indicator shows there is no paper in the trays!” I then put the paper in and it works fine.

Bambi Walked Into My Life — True Story! :

Last night I was getting on BART, Montgomery Street, when some Yahoo decides to force the door open. He ruined the door so it would not close. The driver was pretty mad but composed, telling the passengers in no uncertain terms that we would stay there thanks to Yahoo in the second to lead car. He also warned against violence on the perp.

Eventually we did go, but the Yahoo caused delay that made us miss the Richmond connection. Had to wait for the next one 20 minutes later. Thanks a lot!

And then, after leaving BART at Berkeley, here comes a DEER prancing down the street!

I have to stop staying up so late!
True story:

Today on the way to work, I walked by a woman who was taking care of a dead animal, rolling it into a box. I only took a glance as it was so disgusting to see. The fur looked like a beaver, probably a raccoon. Yuk.

And at 7:20 in the morning, too!
True Story:

No adventures this week, although a girl with a crummy cardboard sign asked me for money, the same one who asked for money months ago. She’s young and not working? Yikes.

rue Story:

I’m coming out the North Berkeley Bart a few nights ago, around 11:15 pm., and a guy is stilling under a flag pole saying “Good night, I don’t want anything, just saying good night!” over and over to people as they pass by. No one pays him any attention. He says the same to me and I say “Thanks.” He was so taken by surprise by this that he said you’re welcome, and then thanks again.

Amazing, I was probably the only person who paid attention.

True Story: North Berkeley BART’s first train on Sundays leaves at 8:06 AM. The gate was locked, no explanation. Clock ticked well past 8:06 and I can hear the train going by. My train. The B-starts! Finally the workers come out and one is yelling over and over “It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault!” Yeah, way to go with the responsibility ticket, Bucko. Buncha nerds! I reported their heinies to the Constables at BART Central.

Sorry for the hot language!
True story: Saw a blind lady cross the street and head towards and entered an entry that said Sidewalk Closed, Local Access Only. I saw this but had to wait for the GD light to change as she headed towards some construction. I yelled to her when I got there and she heard me and came back. I then guided her back to the proper area.

Always helping the poor and disabled in my everyday life. 🙂
True story: I get off BART to go home and amidst a bunch of others I saw this fat wallet on a bench. Oddly no one else saw it.

I found the fat wallet and went to the escalator and talked to the attendant. He said “Hey, that’s exactly the wallet someone on Ashby called about, thanks.”

My work is done.

Movie Review: Scorpion King (2002)

Jesup: Live free.
The Scorpion King/ Mathayus: Die well.

downloadFirst Thoughts:

You really have to leave your brain at the door to enjoy The Scorpion King, a prequel to the second Mummy movie, to better explain the origins of the Scorpion King. The original Scorpion King was not The Rock, but another guy who with fast reflexes is hard to kill. He can catch arrows in his bare hands and can deflect weapons with his sword. He’s the best swordsman ever and he’s also ruthless.


I did enjoy the themes of revenge and a thirst for power and how power corrupts. Not so good was the martial arts fighting – I doubt there were martial arts fighing in pre-Biblical times! The casual mentions of Biblical cities, such as Sodom & Gomorrah, was interesting as well.

220px-The_Scorpion_King_posterThe fast action was great, with Dwayne Cooke’s crazy arrow scenes (where an arrow can hit you and has enough momentum to punch you out of a bar!), the pause as the beautiful sorceress he has been hired to kill falls in love with him, and the bad old King who finally loses his kingdom.

Bottom Line:

Making one’s own destiny is a lot of work, and the Rock does so out the top! Kelly Hu as the sorceress is well worth the price of admission. If you like non-stop action and some scenes that make absolutely no sense but are fun to watch, then rent this film. 

Top 5 Must-Read Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series!

OK, What Do I Read Now?

I’m sure you’ve seen “best of” lists for books, audio books, Kindle reads, etc.  And when you ask what must-read books to check out, you see a list of amazing authors Asimov, Heinlein, King, etc.

What about now?  Who is topping the New York Times Bestseller lists for Science Fiction/Fantasy?  Who is currently writing some amazing prose to spark the imagination of readers?

The books below are not necessarily new, but the most popular on Google Play.  There are cheap Kindle versions, audio books, paperbacks and hardcover editions on Amazon.  Click the links.

(Blurbs from “Google Play” list):

looking for alaska



Looking for Alaska>  The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars – Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award!





one second afterOne Second After > New York Times best-selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real…a story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages… A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). A weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies. – Months before publication, One Second After has already been cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read




the alchemist, 25th anniversary editin

The Alchemist > Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. What starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.



throne of glass

Throne of Glass > Celaena Sardothien is a daredevil assassin with unrivalled fighting skills. After a year’s hard labour in the salt mines of the kingdom of Endovier, Celaena is offered her freedom on one condition – she must fight as handsome Prince Dorian’s champion in a contest sponsored by the king. [Get the 7 book set!]




red queen

The Red Queen > The #1 New York Times bestselling series! Red Queen, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Aveyard, is a sweeping tale of power, intrigue, and betrayal, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

[Get the four book box set!]




These are the top reading suggestions now on Google Play, now available on Amazon.com.  Maybe you could comment on a few of your own best reads?


Book Review: Illegal Alien, R.J. Sawyer

illegal-alienFirst Thoughts:

I really liked “Illegal Alien.” It was written at the time of the O.J. Simpson murder trial and Sawyer cannot resist mentioning it throughout the book. This is fine, as it allows the author some flexibility of plot and pacing: an old lawyer who has won his share of cases, Mr. Dale Rice, a black man who knew Martin Luther King, Jr. and at 70+ years young gets the chance of a century – to defend an alien accused of the murder of Calhoun, a PBS n

ews/astronomer who was the first to step aboard an alien vessel, make friends with the creatures and introduce tehm to society.


It is interesting how Sawyer uses the alien as a complete zero in looking at the American justice system. The author admits (on other forums) to have thoroughly researched our system of justice and in many ways it does come up wanting. The shifting of gears between defense and prosecution, the calling up of witnesses, jury selection, and so on is interesting.


Racism plays some part; also reliability, trust, deception and a stick-to it tiveness runs the gamet of the novel.

The only thing I did not like about the novel was its apparent criticism of those who love UFOs, Star Trek and other geek elements. Minor point. 

Bottom Line:

Creative, a bit dated, and fascinating look from a Canadian (alien?) perspective of our sometimes wild and crazy justice system. Recommended for lovers to To Kill a Mockingbird and whoever sat through the entire broadcast of the O.J. Simpson trials.

You can get the Audio Book or the Kindle Edition on Amazon.com!   The audio book is free with a subscription to Audible.com, an Amazon company .

Iphones & Flowers – Winning Combo!

iPhonography can be fun when shooting flowers.  The color really pops and the flower looks really pretty as wallpaper.

Ohlone Park (1 of 9)

Photo by Jim Mourgos 2017

First Thoughts:

For several decades I’ve been shooting tons of film and digital shots usually with an SLR or even a point & shoot camera.  Point & shoot cameras have essentially died off at the present, thanks to the widespread use of smartphone cameras.

My smartphone camera is an oldie, an iPhone 6, but since it does a good job of shooting flowers I won’t part with it soon.  Maybe next year.  Don’t you iPhone 10 users miss the headphone jack?  But I digress …

iPhone Hack:

First, it’s a good plan to get the perfect flower.  Not one with dead leaves or petals.  Not one that is overgrown.  A pretty one.  A credit to its species.  You get the idea.

Then holding your phone close, shoot a lot of pix.  Pick the best one.  Do some minor edits and then share with your friends.  Flowers get lots of hits on Instagram although try selling them as stock is a challenge.  There are so many excellent shots of flowers!

I try to focus on the stamen, the inner flower.  And if the flower has a bee or butterfly, more power to you.  That really adds interest and fun to the shot.

Lasting Impression:

iPhonography can be fun when shooting flowers.  The color really pops and the flower looks really pretty as wallpaper.  And  it’s great practice for your “serious” shooting when you do macro photography with a decent DSLR.

But if you cannot afford a DSLR right now, use your phone!  And practice, practice and practice some more.  Study and more practice.  Get good at what you do!

There are many fine books on iPhonography.  Check these out please!  Your support of me as an Amazon affiliate go a long way to helping me continue these photo blogs and online reviews.  Thank you.

What kind of macro shots have you done with your  phone?  Leave a comment!