Please follow / comment me there. I'll most likely continue to *attempt* to cross-post entries here too for awhile, but not sure if or for how long, so if you wish to continue following, i recommend using that url from now on! Pages that link to other posts on my blog, still point here though for the moment. Everything else should still be the same or better - anonymous comments still supported, etc.
Another really cool thing was I was able to "import" ALL of my previous LJ posts & comments in one fell swoop using their tool (free), maintaining the posting dates and the continuity of this blog!!! They also allow you to store images there free too (LJ charges) so now I can have images there w/o necessarily having to clutter my Flickr. LJ has been fun, but it really literally seems to be dying. It was completely off the grid w/o warning for over 24 hours this week prompting me to scramble for a new host since I was afraid they had just pulled the plug. I didn't panic b/c I have all my posts for the last 2+ years stored as HTML files locally! :) I briefly contemplated writing a simple Perl/CGI script to handle basic blogging/comments using my ISP's server, but Wordpress looks like it'll meet all my blogging needs for now. Wordpress does force you to use one of their CSS templates and charges for full CSS and non-trivial template customization, but the Sandbox template they provide includes everything i really need (LJ's the same way, so nothing lost there). It took me awhile to find that one though - most of their other free ones made the screen too narrow and put too much crap around my stuff. Sandbox is the closest thing (flexibility-wise) I found to LJ's S1 Default layout (template) which always worked well for me.
While visiting my mom last week, I found this really cool green wine bottle in her living room. I vaguely remember it from childhood, but never paid it any mind before, but sat there staring at the green pyramid shape and the crystal prism stopper and then holding it up to my face and looking through the triangular prism. I had one of my *rare*, artsy-creative moments when the repressed artsy side of my brain suddenly rares up in stubborn rebellion against the dominant and equally stubborn tech side. The thought of the "All-seeing eye of Osiris" on the back of the dollar bill popped up as an image in my head. Those of you who know me well know that I, when I get an image in my head, have to make it manifest so I can look at it, so I did a shoot requiring over a dozen takes, then created this image. This is also one of my very rare self-portraits. I've never been much into self-portraits and have always been a bit paranoid about posting high-quality images of myself on the open internet, so that was part of the reason I went for big time bokeh, to not only sharpen the image of the bottle and the eye but to blur my face out somewhat as well (for our mutual benefit)!
Two-toned Daffodil, backlit by the sun.I know it's been a bit since I've posted, but I seem to be suffering a bit of "Bloggers' Block" as of late. I had a very politically charged opinion piece mostly written up after recently seeing several political Facebook posts that raised my hackles a bit, but my computer ate it in a very weird way that I think was Karma, so I'm convinced that it just wasn't meant to be. I don't like to post much political/religious fare on my Facebook because I have Facebook friends of all religions and political stripes and I do not feel that that is the proper forum for such rants. When I feel the occasional need to rant, I prefer to do it here where people who don't wish to see it can simply ignore it.
My Linux upgrade saga continues. I would say I'm about 90 percent there at this point. I got my window-manager problem fixed. I ended up switching to GDM from Mint's LightDM, then found this: http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-906990.html. Ended up only having to edit /usr/share/xsessions/Afterstep.desktop and change the "Type" parameter to "Application" and pound (comment) out the "NoDisplay=true" parameter line, then restarting X.
I also got my browser (Firefox 10) set up and safely working under a separate user (see my previous article post on this subject). This is something I highly recommend to all Linux/Unix users since it's not hard to do and greatly adds to your computer's security, since the browser and any malicious code launched through it runs as a user with very weak privileges and thus can be prevented from altering, or even seeing other programs and data on your computer. I do not know if this is feasible on Windows, but I do recommend working in Windows (if you insist) as a separate (non-Administrator) user.
Got my fonts working on Tk/a2x by adding all the files from my old /usr/share/fonts/truetype/freefont/ dir. Then I added symlinks to atm3270.ttf, atmfull.ttf, and lucon.ttf to /usr/share/ghostscript/fonts/. This makes them visible to ghostscript and Tk. To get them visible in X/xfontsel, I looked in /var/log/Xorg.0.log, which told me it looked by default for fonts in various X-ish places and "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType/". There was nothing in there but empty fonts.dir, fonts.scale, fonts.alias, and encodings.dir. So, I ended up renaming that directory and symlinking TrueType instead to /usr/share/fonts/truetype/freefont. That's where all my cool truetype fonts live along with, the requisite (for X) apparently, the fonts.dir and friends files. This seemed to work for a while, but has since stopped working. I've yet to figure out why.
Another old dockapp program that no longer worked was "wmpower", which stops working somewhere after kernel 2.6.35 or something like that. Problem is that it has the path to the kernel's power management stuff hard-coded to "/proc/acpi/info". In newer kernels it's now "/proc/acpi/wakeup". All I had to do was download the latest wmpower source (v. 0.4.3) and modify /src/power_management/acpi/libacpi.c, line 81 as follows (diff/patch):
The Obamanation tries to use Jesus to Justify [Higher] Taxes "Perhaps he should not take Jesus out of context. He [Jesus] was speaking of charity to your fellow man. NOT of charity to [or by] your government. It is the American people who are the MOST charitable people in the world." me:I totally agree and wish to add this quote from II Thessalonians 3:10: "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
I took this photo in a park area in my mom's neighborhood while visiting this week. Then in a rare moment of artistic inspiration, I decided to add the streaming teardrop of blood. Also thought about bloodying the other dark streaks on his face but decided on just the single tear. It seems to bring out a variety emotions on different levels that I can't even begin to explain, much less express, so we'll just leave it at that.
I don't understand what's so "green" about electric cars - you STILL have to BURN something and produce just as much smoke and pollution (more if coal) SOMEWHERE ELSE, since the anti-nukesters will never allow us to build the plethora of nuclear plants needed to provide enough cheap and clean electricity necessary to truly make electric cars "greener" and effective for widespread use!
me standing next to a truly beautiful and "green" car (that's not mine)¡ :/ I want a car that I can "START" and "turn over", NOT one that I have to "turn on"! I want an "ENGINE", not a "motor", that will roar to life when I twist a real metal KEY (not press a reboot button) and where I can feel that herd of horses under the hood chomping at the bit to muscle me onto the open freeway on one of our antiquated 60' long right-angle freeway acceleration ramps and then cruse at the legal speed of 70mph up hills with power to pass the inevitable junk-wagon that always seems to be tooling along in front of you just as the road is about to narrow to a single lane! I like a car to be SIMPLE, the LESS ELECTRONICS, the less to go wrong, the BETTER! I miss the time when a high school dropout could fix your car, or you could at least hold it together with bailing wire until you could get to the mechanic, rather than the whole thing just instantly turning into a 1-ton boat anchor without warning because some "oxygen-sensor" or the "main computer" failed. On my dad's old car, the A/C compressor went out on the way home from a long beach trip. He simply cut the belt off and we drove home without A/C and power steering. Today, you would be stuck on the side of the road. I wander now if my car's ever going to "crash" suddenly on the highway with an invisible "blue screen of death" and just seize up right there in traffic?! When I'm looking at a car, I don't care about the size of it's "hard drive", I care about the size of it's engine, it's leg room, and it's trunk size and it's gas tank! Am I old-fashioned or what? The answer must be yes, because I even sorely miss those little triangle-shaped windows almost all cars USED to have. Some of the older ones used to even have them in the BACK too (like this one)! I even miss hood ornaments too and I love the swan that gracefully adorns this hood.
Finally, a quiet week this week, Kid's back off to college, better-half is back at the office, and I'm back at work by myself here at the ranch! I just finished eating the last homemade holiday cookie here as I type. (Thank you Honey for the awesome home-baked cookies!)
I'm proud of the fact that I was involved in the largest internet protest ever this week by taking this blog down to protest the SOPA and Protect IP bills grinding their way through Congress as most bills do, sort of like making really cheap sausage. Wordpress (this blog's host site) was down for the day (Wednesday), but it was left to each individual blogger whether or not to take down their blogs. If you are not familiar with this pending legislation, you should because it threatens the open froutier of free-expression that is the internet, the last such frontier left in the world. Here's a good site, including a video, that explains this in more detail. It is really sad that so many of our Congress critters are bought and paid for by Big Hollywood, and that while we condemn censorship in China and elsewhere, we are so ready to practice it ourselves. It looks like the protest is starting to have some effect, several in Congress, and even the Obamanation appear to be backing away from it, but still, we're up against a LOT of campaign $$$$$.
My roll of 35mm b&w film arrived this week and is now loaded in my camera ready for some serious b&w street photography, but I haven't had a chance to do any yet, hoping to Saturday! This is the first time I've ever had any b&w film, having been doing my b&w of late using digital. I had hoped to buy some at the store, but was unable to find any, so, off to Amazon.com I went & got this 36exp. 400iso. b&w film.
I got the latest Linux installed on my lappy, but I haven't touched it during the workweek because I've been too busy with my photos and enjoying the beautiful warm weather we've been having lately, to want to work on it in the evenings. besides, my current ancient Linux installation is working just fine, of course!
I did join a new photography hosting site this week: "Camera Enthusiast - (www.camera-enthusiast.com)". It is mostly a Pentaxian-oriented site (I'm a proud Pentaxian myself), but is open to photographers of all gear. They are currently allowing free, unlimited photo space for members to create and display their work in albums! So far, it seems like a pretty cool site. I'll continue to post work on my Flickr account, but will also contribute here too. On Flickr, my work is displayed in a single "stream" from most recent to oldest, but since it's only a freetard account (I'm cheap, lol), it only shows my 200 most recent photos, which has been reasonable, but I've been shooting a lot lately, so now stuff that's less than a year old is dropping off. Either I'm becoming busier, liking more of my shots, or else becoming more vain, lol! With this site, your work is automatically broken up into albums. There are also discussion threads and the members seem to be mostly serious photographers, both amateurs and pros. Still a lot of exploring to do.!
While my week was peacefully boring and quiet, my Stack-o-Stuff has filled up nicely this week, please see below:
"Put Another Log on the Fire", by Tompall Glaser Found this song, from childhood after it came up in conversation as my wife was adding a log to the fireplace the other night. WARNING: If you're a feminist, you won't like it, but for rednecks & the rest of us, it's a real HOOT, so enjoy!
This Week's Stack of Stuff:
Interesting "Green?" cubicle walls! - Courtesy(c) MTV Geek
Quote of the Day - (Cuttin' thru the BS): "There are several common ingredients in how the left enlarges its control over our lives. The first is the selection of some aspect of reality -- global warming, carbon footprints, population growth, inequality, diversity, for example. The second element involves designating the selected aspect of reality as a crisis. The third step is to explain that the only way to avoid Armageddon is by reducing everyone's freedom and by giving more centralized power and control to those who understand the magnitude of the crisis. The rest of us are told that our freedoms are a luxury we simply can no longer afford." - "Special Report Now Playing: The Sustainability Con", By Ron Ross, American Spectator, Jan 12, 2012.
The holidays are now officially over, sigh. My daughter's gone back off to college and I began taking down the Christmas lights outside an hour after she left (She did not want any of the Christmas decorations removed while she was here). It's also when I clean out the gutters. This is the perfect time to do it because when I put up the lights in November, the leaves are usually still on the trees and the gutters are mostly clean, but by January, all the leaves have completely fallen and are filling the gutters. I decided this year to only take down half of them today and the other half the next time we get a weekend with decent weather. I left up the ones that I can see from the den windows!
This was a rare beautiful January weekend weather-wise and perfect for getting out and doing some more b&w photography! I am currently intrigued with b&w and have been shooting around town and nearby countryside capturing some good rural and street scenes. I also got out and jogged and, as I mentioned earlier, spent a couple of hours taking down lights and cleaning the gutters.
I got my calendar back this week too. I had submitted the twelve pictures I posted recently under "My Year in Photography" to Walgreen's to make a 2012 calendar. They did an awesome job on it too! The only problem is that they apparently can't make duplicates after you submit it in-store. They said to re-submit it online, which will save it!
I ordered myself a roll of b&w film to try out in my ME-Super this week after not finding in stores. I'm interested in trying out b&w via film. Can't wait!
I also began the arduous process of installing a new Linux version on the extra space on my new hard drive, Linux Mint v12. So far, I've got it installed and my browser extensions and two custom fonts installed. I've installed some of my software and copied my /home directory over and got my Tk software, namely the E editor and JFM3 filemanager up and running happily. Suspend & hibernate are working, I still have a titanic amount of stuff to do, since I've customized and tweaked just about EVERYTHING on my existing system, including rebuilding the kernel to remove all the bloat! I've only spent some time in the evenings and late at night since it's been too nice to not be outside during the day. The thing that's got me stumped at the moment is how to add my Afterstep window-manager to the login session manager. It uses one that I'm not familiar with "lightdm" or something "gdm"-ish which I've never set up before. Anyone have any ideas? - please comment!!
I did have one minor tech triumph today just before my daughter left. She was needing a M$-Word doc converted to PDF and could NOT do it on Windows, even in OpenOffice (she had ABANDONED Linux just before heading off to college). I was able to open it in Libreoffice and print it to a file (pdf) for her and send her on her merry way! She also introduced me to a new word today - "Sorastitute" - n: College-aged girl who is a member of a sorority who's name contains Greek letters, lol!
"Lunar Eye" - Had fun making this one using a huge cedar bush & fiddling with the contrast!
Street photography on the Square in town.
"Old Rugged Cross" on Pearson Ranch.
Lovely old farm house at Pearson & White Settlement.
This has been a hectic week. Lot's of stuff seems to want to go out at the beginning of the year. First, my clothes-dryer element burned out, after lasting only six months, then a hot water element, that lasted a little over a year, and finally, my computer's hard drive appears to be on it's last leg. Fortunately the hot water element is under a six year warranty, so I was able to call and get an auth. no. from Whirlpool and toddle down to Lowe's and get a shiny new one freeeeeeee! The fun part was spending my Friday night draining the heater with a Shopvac® & vacuuming out all the hard well-water deposits and replacing the (bottom) element. We still had hot water, but just not very much. I suspect the element failed awhile back, but did not become noticeable until the water became really cold due to Winter.
Cloning my existing hard drive that has both Windows-XP and Linux partitions:
The hard drive did not completely die, but rather my system had crashed twice within a week resulting in fsck reporting numerous errors, such as lost inodes, chains, and duplicate references even though I shut down my system properly and the file-system (ext3) is journaled. This tells me the hard drive is starting to go bad, so I did a quick routine backup of recent stuff and purchased a new, larger one right away and cloned it onto the new one (I had figured out how and done it once before a while back). Fortunately with Linux this is duck-soup simple to do! I didn't hesitate to do this, since for one thing, the "dying" drive could become unusable at any time; and, I had been secretly wanting a new, bigger hard drive for Christmas, but had not gotten myself one then, after blowing my wad on a totally awesome new Tamron 90mm macro lens for my cameras (see what it can do)! :D
All I needed to do was boot up with a Linux live-CD (so that the existing drive is NOT mounted), connect my new SATA hard-drive up via a hodge-podge cable kit to the USB port and run 2 Linux commands. The only requirement is that the new drive be as big or bigger than the drive to be cloned.
WARNING: MAKE *CERTAIN* YOUR EXISTING DRIVE DEVICE-ID IS THE *FIRST* ARGUMENT TO ddrescue() ELSE YOU WILL WIPE YOUR EXISTING DRIVE! He does NOT ask you if you are SURE!!!!!
The 2 commands (run as sudo/root in a terminal) are: (Don't let the terminal scare you & please don't ask me for a GUI interface!)
cfdisk -z /dev/<your-NEW-disk-device> #This makes sure an empty partition table exists, I believe. ddrescue -v /dev/<your-OLD-disk-device> <your-NEW-disk-device> #This clones your disk.
The second command will take awhile, so make sure your computer is on reliable A/C power (no thunderstorms nearby), and be ready to go off and do something non-computer geek-ish - I replaced my hot water heater element, lol. For cloning a/b 230 gig of data, the second command took me about 2 hours.
I then created logical ext4 partitions in the extra space in preparation for a fresh Linux upgrade install (when I have time), since I will want by current, uber-customized current WORKING Linux install to exist concurrently with the new install for a good while until I get everything moved over and customized into a usable state! ;) My plan is to eventually remove the old partitions and resize the new ones to include the space now occupied by the current ones, but, no hurry there because I have plenty of space for all of them.
My one concern was how badly Windows-XP, on the first partition, would squawk thinking it was now on a different computer, which last time required me to "re-register" it online with Micro$oft using the sixteen-digit hex product code on the sticker underneath my computer. This time, Windows booted up without a hitch, yay, which allowed me to fix the one hiccup that did occur - my system clock (local time) on the Linux side was an hour off, but I remember from past experience that booting Windows once will rectify this and it did!
I'm now enjoying a new, faster, bigger, quieter hard disk - YMMV!
I first got interested in learning about photography back in college when I received a 35mm film SLR (Pentax ME-Super) as a Christmas gift, but, over the years had gradually gotten to where I was only taking pictures at Christmas, birthdays, and vacations. I had also drifted away into P&S cameras and our first couple of digital cameras were P&S. I got my first digital SLR camera (a Pentax K-x) Christmas of last year and have fallen back in love with photography. I even stunned myself with the fact that I had taken over 6000 pictures in the last year with my new toy. There's just so many things to experiment with and ways to capture images. I've thrown away a lot, but kept most. I've found that digital is a much easier and quicker way to actually learn and practice photography. Mistakes are easier to identify and correct due to immediate feedback and relative ease of trying different settings, exposures, and framing, as well as the ability to alter the virtual film speed to the conditions.
I have seen many other people out using fancy DLSR cameras and I can't help but notice how they have their exposure mode wheel set and that most have them set in "Auto" or "Green" (P&S) mode. Experience has shown me that if you shoot in "Auto" mode, which is handy for occasions where you have to be prepared to shoot suddenly, your pictures will be pretty much the same as what you can capture with a much smaller, more convenient, and less expensive P&S camera. I don't see a lot of point to purchasing a DSLR camera and lenses to shoot P&S. I find myself manually adjusting the exposure compensation and the other parameters in order to do more challenging captures and to get better results. I purchased my DSLR with the intent to further master and practice the art of photography with the skills I learned with my manual film camera and adopting them to the digital world, which opens up additional parameters to control and all sorts of additional possibilities for photographic expression. This has made photography fun and challenging for me again!
After seeing a couple of these "Year in Photography" posts recently, I've decided to do one myself. I've compiled a small album here with a picture from each month of the year that I feel best represents my first year in digital photography. I've learned a lot during the last twelve months and (hope) that my photography skills have improved somewhat during that time, and I've had a lot of fun in the process! It has also been fun for me to go back and look at what I've done and at some of the earlier ones and thinking "why did I do that like that?" or "I would definitely change such and such if I were shooting that today!"! Anyway, if you've read this far, thank you and I hope you enjoy the visual part of the tour below! If you are interested in these and more of my photographs, please visit my Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/53919821@N03/.
Created w/toy solder & handkerchief
Aggie Bonfire Memorial
Redbuds, an early attempt at macro.
Denton Night Scene
"Humming Bug" (Sphynx Moth)
Along came a spider!
A Texas Sunrise
"Cool Reflection" "As-was", NO editing / post-processing!
re: “I just can’t bring myself to pay over $400 for this…” – uh, I just did! Amazing what the imminent arrival of Christmas AND the expiration of a $50 rebate can do to an otherwise tightwad like me. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee – Merry Christmas to me! Lots of bug & flower pics for you my loyal flicker fans, lol!
All I want for Christmas is these 2 new lenses! The first is a full 1-1 macro by Tamron. The other is a "Fast 50" by Pentax that opens wide up to f1.4! So, if any of you sugar-daddys / santa clauses out there are still struggling to come up with something to get me this year, here you go, lol! I almost bought myself the Tamron, but then they sold out of the new ones below $400. I just can't bring myself to pay over $400 for this right now.
photo: "The Guardian"Military given go-ahead to detain US [citizens as] terrorist suspects without trial Americans can be arrested on home soil and taken to Guantánamo Bay under a provision inserted into the bill that funds the US military. me:This is so unconstitutional and un-American in so many ways! Why do we continue to put these people in office and sit there snoozing in front of our TVs while our liberty is stolen from us? What a sad, sad day for America and Freedom. Rand Paul is right, "the terrorists have won".
Wedding Photographers Sued for Using Music Online - by ABC News Online, Dec. 2011. me:This is scary - so if you photo or video a wedding that has a copyrighted painting or a copyrighted song playing on the radio in the background, the rights-holder can sue you, - this is just wrong! There needs to be some kind of law to separate copying someone's work when it's the main subject of the copy versus an incidental appearance in the background!
<<<<<< me:It was cloudy here¡
Quote of the Day: "Once upon a time, women were considered the 'fairer sex', the 'better half', Stewardesses were talented and beautiful. Wives were softer, more gentle. Men fought for their honor. Feminism crushed all of that. It is a testimony to their movement that in today's post-feminist entertainment media, part of what makes television so corrosive and sour is just how piggish the women have become." Article by Brent Bozell, "Newsbusters", Dec. 10, 2011.
Quote of the Day: "In the first half of the 20th century, we got widespread use of the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, electricity, radio and television, indoor plumbing, air conditioning and refrigeration, the computer, nuclear power and rockets. All we got in the second half of the 20th century were some improvements on one of those inventions, the computer, with the personal computer, the Internet and the iPhone. (Boomers were more focused on acid trips than space trips and dropped the ball on the hard work of pushing scientific progress forward.)". Ann Coulter, "The Newt [Gingrich] history you ought to know", Dec. 7, 2011 - "The Daily Caller"
Obama Watch: "Organizing the Takers Against the Makers" by Peter Ferrara, Dec. 7, 2011 - "American Spectator" "These people can't count. Alan Reynolds explains in yesterday's Wall Street Journal why. The CBO study estimated incomes from individual income tax returns. And income on those returns was not the same in 1979 as in 2007. Because of the Reagan revolution in tax policy reducing the top individual income tax rate from 70 percent in 1979 to 28 percent in 1986, billions in business income switched to reporting on individual tax returns rather than corporate tax returns. So the top 1% weren't earning any bigger share of income than before. They were just reporting it on a different tax form."
I'm pleased to announce a new Perl module release to CPAN - JSON::signature-to-image.pl. This is a Perl version of the PHP tool with a similar name by Thomas J Bradley which converts a JSON data string containing a web-user's hand-written signature on an HTML5 "Canvas" into a standard PNG image file. I needed the ability to do this for work last week and had to spend the better part of a morning trying to grok this and cobble together a solution that would work within our Perl-based system. I love projects like this when I can create a generalized solution to address a problem where no good solution existed before.
I attended the "1st Annual DFW Photo Expo" this Saturday. I was hoping to look at a couple of lenses and possibly score a sensor-cleaning kit, but no joy on either account. There were absolutely no Pentax lenses to be seen anywhere. I did not expect to seen much Pentax stuff at something like this, but still held out some hope, especially since Panasonic and Sony had well-stocked booths in addition to the expected presence of Cannon & Nikon. One positive was that despite almost all the tutorial seminars showing online as being booked up, I had no trouble attending one of them. The seminar was about flash techniques. I only stayed for the one seminar and then left after checking out all the booths. I almost bought a bag, but wasn't willing to part with $40 for it.
Quote of the Day: "Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can't give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don't have to work because the other half's going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody's going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation." - Adrian Rogers
My father in law pulled out this camera which had belonged to his dad to show me while we were visiting them for Thanksgiving dinner. It says "Zeiss Contaflex", and after doing some research, I determined that is is actually a Zeiss Contaflex II, mid 1950s vintage. I persuaded him to stick some 35mm film into it so I could take it for a quick spin! It had an attachable flash unit that required individual bulbs, for which we had none and it was dark, so I had to experiment with low-light shots. It took me a little while to figure out how to work the meter, which had separate ring controls for dialing in aperture and shutter speeds from those on the lens. You guesstimate the values and adjust until the mechanical meter indicates the proper exposure, then you dial in those values into the lens using the rings on it, then press the shutter release. The viewfinder will then stay black until you mechanically turn the film advance knob as far as it will turn to advance the film, then the viewfinder opens back up. With equipment like this I do not know how anyone ever got any non-posed shots! I only took a few shots and left it with my Father in law to decide whether and when to finish out and develop the roll. Still it was interesting figuring out how to use an old, mechanical camera. Apparently these were popular "consumer" grade 35mm cameras back in the '50s and Zeiss sold a lot of them.
This Thanksgiving week has been good, but very busy and harried. We had the big meal here this year on Friday, because that's when everyone could come. Wednesday was spent having dinner at my in-laws. I spent most of Thursday and part of Friday rushing to put up all the outside Christmas lights, since bad weather's due this weekend. This seemed to take a lot longer than normal this year partly owing to one string being completely burned out and requiring electrical repairs. Not sure why otherwise, guess I'm just getting older and slower, maybe?
Despite all this week's busification, shopping was definitely NOT part of it! Instead, it was all about getting ready for and enjoying friends and family, and rigging up all the lights! I REFUSE to participate in the Black Friday pandemonium and my family all pretty much feel the same way. I could never see myself spending my holiday camped out outside of a store, then stampeding in in the wee hours of the morning and spending the rest of the day being jostled around in crowded store aisles serenaded by horrible holiday muzak, screaming babies and cranky kids all to save a few buck on cheap Chinese-made flotsam that probably be occupying a landfill by the time this annual day of ritual sacrifice to the gods of commercialism is repeated next autumn. I will, most likely however, do some shopping online this weekend as we buy each other some simple stuff that we would otherwise normally order for ourselves.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with shopping other than that I just personally hate doing it. My main issue with Black Friday is that it forces people to have to work during holidays that they should be able to spend with THEIR families and friends. I believe that people have a finite amount of money to spend and that they will spend it even if retailers are not open during holidays. I am the same way about not generally eating out for Sunday lunch after church, which is a tradition for many because this prevents many people from being able to go to Sunday church services themselves. I was one of these back when I worked in a restaurant in high school. The Sunday lunch crowd was often our busiest and, i might add, messiest shifts. People used to often come in just after worship and expect you to wait on them hand and foot, then treat you like scum because you were working instead of in church. :/
The most depressing thing this week has been the total snatch of defeat from the jaws of victory by my Texas Aggie football team at the hands of our traditional Thanksgiving rival the t.u. Longhorns. This was particularly hard to swallow because this is the last time this game is scheduled to be played since the Aggies are leaving the "Longhorn conference" for the Southeast Conference next year and t.u. claims that their football schedule is booked for several years. Tradition was, when we get outscored, to sneer back "Wait 'til Next year", but this time there will be no "next year", so we'll have to live with their annoying boasting for the foreseeable future. We didn't even allow them a first down in the first quarter and had a 16-7 lead at half, but, as has been the horrible case all season, we collapsed completely in the third quarter with several huge turnovers and stupid penalties.
Photo by Ariana Cubillos (c) 2011.
Some of my Autumn color photography, more coming soon (Flickr)!
Quote of the Day: "If you've ever owned a Windows computer chances are your computer was at one point infected with a virus. The solution to this problem is not purchasing antivirus software...The answer to this problem is abandoning Windows as your main operating system" ("Why Linux Isn’t Only for Geeks") by Cristian Stan, Linux News, November 19, 2011
We went down to College Station this weekend to visit our daughter and watch the Aggies play a home football game in Kyle Field. This was the first time I've been back to an Aggie home game in a long time, despite having been to a few road games over the years. The Aggies won the game handily 61-7 and I took a bunch of photos! I especially enjoyed watching the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band perform at halftime and shot a short video clip showing what they can do! It felt weird though, SITTING on the alumni side instead of standing and yelling the whole game from the student side (see photo)! After the game, we took her and two friends to dinner. We had a great time the whole day!
First, a Veterans' Day Thank You shout-out to all the veterans out there! Thank you for keeping us all safe and free, my prayers are with you and your families! May God give you peace, strength, courage, safe passage home and, victory over our enemies!
I finally did take the plunge and ordered not 1 but 3 apocalyptic books by 3 different authors (had planned on getting 2 but w/3 I got free shipping, XD (This cover is what had originally caught my attention)! I ended up not buying that book, but three others that seemed more interesting to me after reading reviews. I've always had a fetish for apocalyptic / eschatological / sci-fi / historicalish reading, even though I've been a somewhat infrequent reader of late. Anyway, the titles are: "The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse" by Patrick Heron, "Apollyon Rising 2012" by Thomas Horn, and "Omega Conspiracy" by I.D.E. Thomas. They're all about similar subject matter but from the points of view of three different authors. I read the first one this weekend and began the second one, which I finished yesterday. Haven't started the third, and may save / savor that one this weekend. As a reader, I go for stuff that has opinion and some information and potential truth to it as opposed to pure fiction or allegory.
The first two have not disappointed in any way. They are chocked full of weird, but interesting theories in attempting to fill in details surrounding information provided in the Bible, mostly the books of Genesis and Revelation, but also drawing from the book of Enoch along with secular sources. They back their theories with numerous scriptural and historical references. This gives the reader the opportunity to, after reading the book, go further and research information that is of particular interest. Their theories have offered possible answers to several missing pieces / questions I've had over the years with interesting possibilities, but some of their postulations seem a bit of a stretch, particular some of the numerology references, as if someone spent a lot of time "running numbers" until they were able to match a specific factoid to a number they were looking for in order to support a point. Other ideas, particularly the overarching one in both books about the year 2012 being possibly prophetic, they were able to provide a large preponderance of evidence supporting their view, particularly the one that reference that year in it's title. So, I'd suggest reading w/a grain of salt tossed over one's shoulder! One thing that I always look for in books is the ability to get the reader to thinking, particularly in new ways!
New wifi-minded carrier offers unbelievable $19 unlimited phone plan! me:I've never been a big fan of cell-phones (rumor abounds that I've said that they are the "Spawn of the Devil", but I never said that, though that thought has crossed my mind, lol) - I think they are way overpriced, overhyped, overadvertised and over-annoying. My current phone is a basic no-contract, pay-per-minute-as-you-go brick that I hardly use since I work at home & don't get out that much, but hey, I, even I just might have to bite on this! It's $19 per month, NO CONTRACTS!!, UNLIMITED calling, texting, AND data, can use home WIFI, and the phone is powered by Android (Linux!) - (Anyone out there looking for Christmas gift ideas to get me, hint, hint, haha!)
'Tis been quiet around here this week. Halloween came & went quietly and as usual, we did not have any trick-or-treaters. We rarely do seeing as we're over a hundred yards off the street down a dark driveway. We do occasionally get one or two, probably on a dare, but we always have plenty of candy around just in case!
Winter has made an early and rude arrival this week with howling North winds yesterday and our 1st freeze this morning. Seems like just yesterday, it was over 100 every day, though we've been having some really nice Autumn weather on most days. I've only taken a few decent pictures lately and included some of them here.
Sports are the pits right now with the big World Series letdown combined with the fact that both the Aggies and da 'Boyz are bad and the Mavs are locked out, but hey, guess we still have the Stars!
My back pasture just after I finished mowingThe time changes this weekend - back to "Winter" time - grrrrr! I personally would prefer Daylight time year-round. As it is, now it will get dark almost as soon as I get off work. Not too bad, since I now work at home and don't have to commute, but still, working from sun-up to sun-down stinks. Congress has expanded Daylight time over the years and has wanted to make it year-round to save energy for years, but there's still too much of the tired protest whine of "My kids will have to walk to school barefoot in the dark...XO", even though I haven't known of any kids who actually still WALK to school in years! I still remember the one year that DST ran all year because we were in the first "Energy Crisis" and had to save power or else the universe would implode, which was the last year I actually WALKED to school (went to Middle school further away the following year) and I do not remember it being dark.
One small tradition I cling to with the time-change is that I always insist on getting the entire yard and pasture mowed, the mowers put away and all the yard-work done BEFORE the time-change, probably due to the fact that I used to commute and it would indeed be dark when I came home from work. It also seems that in the winter the weather is rainy / miserable / cold most weekends so there is very little time available for mowing, etc. after that point. I have also observed that grass mowed mid-October does not grow back due to shorter daylight hours and cooler ground temperatures, so it just always works out well this way. Also as November gets going, getting ready for the Holidays starts competing for my time and energy. Hopefully we'll have some awesome autumn color soon (since the summer was very dry this year) and I can get some good autumn photos!
Some belated parental advice to protesters - "Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, 'Who parented these people?' [so] Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't..." by Marybeth Hicks, "Jewish World Review" Oct. 20, 2011.
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Texas Rangers today; The score stood four to two, with but one inning more to play, And then when Elvis died at first, and Josh did the same, A sickly silence fell upon the patrons of the game.
A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast; They thought, if only Cruz could get but a whack at that - We'd put up even money, now, with Cruz at the bat.
But Beltre preceded Cruz, as did also Michael Young, And the former was a lulu and the latter was yell, young; So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat, For there seemed but little chance of Cruz's getting to the bat.
But Beltre let drive a single, to the wonderment of all, And Young, the much despis-ed, tore the cover off the ball; And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred, There was Michael safe at second and Beltre a-hugging third.
Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell; It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell; It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat, For Cruz, mighty Cruz, was advancing to the bat.
There was ease in Cruz's manner as he stepped into his place; There was pride in Cruz's bearing and a smile on Cruz's face. And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat, No stranger in the crowd could doubt 'twas Cruz at the bat.
Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt; Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt. Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip, Defiance gleamed in Cruz's eye, a sneer curled Cruz's lip.
And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air, And Cruz stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there. Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped- "That ain't my style," said Cruz. "Strike one," the umpire said.
From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar, Like the beating of the storm-waves on a stern and distant shore. "Kill him! Kill the umpire!" shouted someone on the stand; And it's likely they'd a-killed him had not Cruz raised his hand.
With a smile of Christian charity great Cruz's visage shone; He stilled the rising tumult; he bade the game go on; He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew; But Cruz still ignored it, and the umpire said, "Strike two."
"Fraud!" cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered fraud; But one scornful look from Cruz and the audience was awed. They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain, And they knew that Cruz wouldn't let that ball go by again.
The sneer is gone from Cruz's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate; He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate. And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go, And now the air is shattered by the force of Cruz's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright; The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light, And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout; But there is no joy in Texas, mighty Cruz and the Rangers have struck out.
Uugh. Blah. So sad, so so very sad, my heart is sore. I just want to throw up or pound my fist thru a wall¡ Expecially after we were but 1 strike away from our 1st World Series Championship TWICE last nite. So many missed opportunities. )--; grrrrrrrrrrrrr-%$!#&%¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡1111111¡
Regardless, Congratulations and Thank you Texas Rangers for a wonderful and exciting season! We just came up 1 strike and 1 game short. See ya Next Spring!
This week we went to the World Series Game 5 at the Rangers' Ballpark in Arlington, less than an hour's drive East. It was absolutly AWESOME! We arrived nearly 2 hours early and got to go down to the seats just behind the dugout and take lots of photos. The Cardinals were doing batting practice and Elvis Andrus and Mike Adams came out on the field so I was able go get some good closups. Our seats were way up in the nose-bleed section on the foul-side of First Base, but we could still see the action and I was able to take some good zoom shots as well as panoramic shots of the stadium itself. The game was close until the bottom of the eight when the Rangers took the lead for good and WON 4-2, taking a 3-2 game lead in the best of seven Series! I could not wait to watch yesterday's Game 6, but it was rained out until tonight - GO RANGERS! `"' & \\\v///