I publish any updates to the site and what's on my mind, if it's there. Read below.
So, given the choice, who would you pick for president of the United States? A very left-leaning Democrat or a Socialist? This will be our reality if Trump and Sanders win their respective nominations. Yay.
So, it's been an incredibly long while since I've posted on here. I said before that I knew I'd get fired up about something and want to post an update, and here it is. With all the crap going on about Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the Democrat report about the CIA, the mid-term election results... I have decided to get fired up about the Daily Caller's article regarding the school meals provided to Obama's daughters. The link is here.
I saw the headline first this morning, "REVEALED: Obama Kids Lunches Vs. Public School Food..." and I thought to myself, "Self, this is really dumb. They go to a private school. Of course their lunches will be better than public school lunches. This is a dumb article." But a thought niggled at me... What if their lunch consists of fatty cheeseburgers with bacon, and ice cream with unlimited toppings for desert? Then Mrs. Obama would actually be a hypocrite, as her stated goal has been to get kids to eat healthier. So I clicked the headline'd link. And it painted a story about how spoiled the Obama daughters are compared to public school kids, which is something that the Daily Caller would defend if the kids in question were those of a Republican president. It included the menu - a combination of exotic, tasty sounding, yet healthy items. The article even goes so far as saying that their lunch is "completely free", and anyone with any understanding of how private schools work know that the lunches served there are anything but free. Even more frustrating are the comments below the article in support of the message. In short, the article was dumb. Irritating. Regressive to the cause the outlet espouses.
In speaking of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Michael Brown got what was coming to him. Eric Garner did not. Brown was killed because he was a violent threat (Don't agree? Look at the evidence. Still don't agree? Then the difference is that I trust the evidence and you don't). Garner was killed because the cop was an idiot. That indictment rests on the substandard training of the NYPD - how can you tell when you're actually choking someone? Here's some clues... I'm not even going to get into the idiocy of arresting someone who buys things for a certain price and then sells them to others at a higher price to make a living. It's F'ing called capitalism. Sucks to New York for creating a black market with excessive cigarette taxes.
I just came over to say that Dairy Queen's Flamethrower chicken sandwich is surprisingly tasty. The actual sandwich even looks bigger than the picture, the amount of heat is perfect, and the meat/bread ratio is well within the range of "I like". I told them not to put any sauce on it though, so if you order it and don't like the sauce, don't hold me responsible. If it weren't for the staff at Olympians Greek Restaurant not saying anything to me for 7 minutes after I sat down, I would have never walked out of there, turned right, and saw the chicken sandwich advertisement on Dairy Queen's window.
So, I think it's time to retire Photography Phaturday. It had a good run, but after the resounding silence of the last two weeks, it hasn't kept anyone's interest, and frankly, I've lost interest in it as well. I'm keeping the graphic alive; it will just scroll down with this post as I add new posts. I've gone through several "Why bother?" phases with this website throughout the years, but I know myself enough to know that I will again get fired up about something and feel the need to say something that the world ought to know.
From this point forward, there will be no more scheduled updates to this page.
About twenty minutes after last week's (2 weeks ago) photo, June, 2005
This photo was actually one of a series of fourteen. The G5 had a feature that I didn't use much... hold down the shutter, and it snaps pictures indefinitely. This one made a cool animation of the clouds going by, and I picked this one to feature because you can see the most of the shadow of the closer cloud 'lump', without clipping too much of the cloud 'lump' in the background.
So two weeks seems to be my going update rate lately. Even with that, I'm a day late with this one. Though, my daily schedule has been many times more busy than days in the past, it's not a lack of time, but a lack of motivation that keeps me from updating this site. So, if you're out there... friends, family, strangers on the internet, if you pop in and see this paragraph, shoot me an email (crawdaddy79, gmail). Just let me know that you've checked in.
After 13 years of living in the DC area, we've finally decided that we should stop renting and buy a house. After three weeks of looking, I'm starting to wonder when sanity is going to come back to the housing market. $350,000 for a 1200 sq. ft. townhome 20 miles outside of the city? And that's supposed to be a good deal? Are you kidding me? As much as I was dead set against becoming one of the many drones in the area who sit in their cars for two hours a day, I may have no choice but to join them. It comes out to be about $200 a month saved for every five minutes longer I spend in the car, or 100 more square feet if we spend the same. The further you get out, the newer the houses are, too. I just wish there were a good option; a house with enough space that won't fall apart on us, that's affordable and reasonably close to where I work, in a neighborhood that doesn't produce broken windows and bits of trash piled up wherever the wind blows it. I might start buying lottery tickets...
Oh, and a couple of weeks ago I posted Episode 13 on my "Bad Drivers in Northern Virginia" channel. Click here to watch it.
Sunset over the Mississippi River, June, 2005
I've already posted this picture on this website, but it's definitely worth posting again, as it's one of the 'best' pictures I've managed to take. (For those that haven't been keeping up, I am going through my old pictures chronologically when I don't have a 'picture of the week' to post, which is often the case.) I say 'best' because I just happened to be at the right place at the right time; no special skill was involved other than keeping the edge of my window from showing up on the edge of the picture. What you see here is a sun that is totally blocked by clouds, while its reflection in the water is not. Really incredible sight.
In speaking of being on planes, I just came back from my fifth trip to Germany. Eight hour flight there, eight hour flight back. When I travel, I typically leave my coat in my luggage because I don't feel like lugging it around (lugging... never associated that word with luggage until now) while I eat/wait for my plane to board. I wear a t-shirt and jeans, and about half hour after take-off my feet will get hot, forcing me to take my shoes off as a result. I have the A/C nozzle maxed out and pointed right at my face, and I'm usually still uncomfortably warm. Around me are people dressed in sweaters and scarves, with the airline provided blankets covering them up to their shoulders... some are even wearing hats. I don't get it... Yes, it's 30 degrees outside where we took off, and it will be 30 degrees outside when we land, but it's a solid 75 degrees on the plane (unless I'm totally crazy, which is always possible).
I took no pictures while in Germany. I was there by myself for the most part, and for some reason when I travel alone I tend to keep to my work and to my hotel room, eating at places that are walking distance, assuming the hotel doesn't have a restaurant, which they usually do.
A pond at a driving range, Reno, NV. March, 2005
This picture was not doctored. It was actually so bright that my camera couldn't pick up any colors except black and white. The reason I took this picture is because of a game from 2002 called Morrowind, who many said its water effects were neat to look at, but totally unrealistic. Compared to the above pic, I beg to differ.
I know I missed another week. Sorry about that. This strange website is still active... for now.
Sunset in Tampa, March 2012
A day late, but not a dollar short; here's the promised sunset picture. No time to type up something worth reading, so what you see is all you get this time.
Tampa airport, Friday last week.
I've taken pictures of hundreds of different sunsets, but Tampa is unique in that it's the only place I've been to where I'm not the only one trying to capture it (in my immediate area). Here, at the airport there were five others standing at the same window (wall of windows) I was, taking pictures with their cell phones. I was the only one with a real camera, but even so, it's a rare feeling for me when I'm in a group of like-minded people. I'd consider it a random fluke if not for the last time I was in Tampa, and the exact same thing happened... except that time I was on the riverwalk downtown. I was one of about six people in my viewing range taking pictures... I remember an older couple on bikes; they looked homeless but they were just probably Florida natives... they just stopped, got off their bikes and watched the sun go down. I talked with them as I snapped away on my camera, and they had a perspective on life and experience in general that I'm not used to seeing in the DC area (the short of it: slow down so you don't miss the chance to appreciate what's in front of you). I'll see if I can't dig up the best of that batch for next week's Photography Phaturday.
McDonald's in the Dallas airport (or Houston... but probably Dallas), November, 2004
For those who are long-time frequenters of this website, this picture might look familiar to you. Once upon a time, I'd try to find a 'funny' image to post at the top of the page. I would update the text below the 'destination table' with thoughts, updates, and other things that I felt like posting. However, above that table would be an "ironically funny" picture that changed on an arbitrary basis. It wasn't usually a picture that I owned, but one I found on the internet somewhere and thought it worth sharing. If I had the chance to post my own image, I would certainly take the opportunity. This picture, I posted on this website sometime around November, 2004. Shortly thereafter, it was replaced with another one, and my loyal visitors thought they'd never see it again. They were wrong.
I eventually killed the 'main picture' concept because I was conflicted on the idea that I was stealing someone else's content (most of the time). What wasn't owned by me, I never claimed otherwise, but even so I didn't like it when others used pictures from my website, so who did I think I was to use pictures from other peoples' websites? This is what forced the idea of Photography Phaturday (and the subsequent theft of hundreds of my images by others).
Sunset, Houston, TX. November, 2004.
On constant travel, working 12 - 16 hour days for about three months in a row, I still managed to find time to get pictures where it would be worth it. This is one of them. I don't remember a lot about Houston other than the work I did there.
Sunrise last week, before the snow storm.
Another sunrise, just like the update from the beginning of the year. This time, I used a different level of zoom and it was taken from 8 feet higher in the air than the previous one (I walked up stairs to the next level). The cloud formation isn't as cool, but the burning color of the sun makes up for it (I think).
Somewhere between Minnesota and Texas, November, 2004.
This was the first flight I was on where I fell asleep without intending to. When I woke up, the sun was blasting in through both sides of the mostly empty plane, I felt like I was waking up at nap time in Kindergarten. Tired, excited to be awake, but also trapped. I was greeted by some amazing cloud formations, so I pulled out my camera and groggily snapped a few pictures.
We got hit with a fairly nasty snow storm last week... The snow isn't so bad as the cold that came with it. It hasn't been above freezing for longer than I want to remember. My car makes very strange noises if I try to drive it before it's fully warmed up... My washer fluid that's supposed to be rated to -10 degrees froze instantly to my windshield when I tried to use it. Turns out it's rated for -10 degrees Celsius, which isn't helpful when it's less than 14 degrees Fahrenheit. I have always liked cold weather, but weather like this is just painful. I can't wait for it to be back up to 40 degrees.
Same place as last time, different time of day, November, 2004.
I have nothing in particular to say about this photo... Just thought it would be good for you to know what Minneapolis looked like during the day time, since you already know what it looks like at night. This is one of the few major places I've gone where I don't have anything especially unique to say about it. There's a YouTube channel that posts dashcam videos (click) from the city... and it actually has pretty good captures compared to other channels. Fortunately, I didn't experience anything traffic related while I was there.
This week flew by just like the last 60 weeks or so. Nothing new.
Minneapolis, November, 2004.
Once again trying my hand at night photography, I took many failed photographs this night. This one was the most successful. Not crooked, not out of focus, no flash accidentally going off (illuminating nothing but the flash itself reflected in the hotel window), good angle, good balance of lights and buildings.
Happy New Year, by the way. I've always made a stand against New Year resolutions... if you need to improve yourself, you do it. Don't wait until a new year, just do it now. However, due to money spent in the last quarter of 2013 with car repairs, more car repairs, my trips to Australia and Germany that I got reimbursed for, but somehow still lost money, and the holidays, the new year is a perfect time to clamp down on finances until everything is caught up. No more eating out, no more random internet purchases, buy groceries in bulk so I have leftovers to eat for lunch instead of spending $10 - $15 a pop (however worth it it may be to escape for an hour, it's proven an unsustainable behavior). Of course, there's always a tax return to look forward to, but I'd rather that be a bonus than a "Oh great, now we can pay some bills we've let get out of control" crutch.
As of right now, all Powweb servers are down. Probably hacked or sabotaged or something... Figures that the one time I finally update on a Saturday, I can't upload the update because of external forces. Drat. Though the time below reflects the completion of this update, it likely won't reflect the time you're earliest able to see it. I will continually check the site and when it's accessible, this update will be available for the world to see.
Sunrise, South East from our apartment complex, Monday morning.
Because it's light enough in the morning now that I can open the blinds as I get ready for work, I was able to notice that our normally white balcony banister was actually a subtle shade of pink. It is due to this, that I knew there would be a good picture to get out of it, so I grabbed my camera and braved the 30 degree air outside. I took four pictures, all of which were crooked. With this one, I fixed its rotation.
There's no reason for this update being a day late... At least I got it done in the morning.
Heidelberg, Germany. Photo taken last Friday.
I like this photo because of the contrast of architecture. In the foreground you have new vehicles, traffic lights, then behind it, hundred year old homes built on 200 year old roads, and behind that, a 700 year old castle.
This was my third time in Heidelberg. The first was in 2011. I flew from DC to Philadelphia, and used my layover time to get a sandwich at Potbelly's before my 7 hour, 59 minute flight to Frankfurt (I remember exactly how long it was, because if it were 8 hours, then I would have qualified for business class). Something in that sandwich started tearing me up about two hours into the flight, and the following six hours became to be the worst flight in my life. I spent about four hours standing at the back of the plane. To top it off, when I finally landed in Frankfurt, my bag did not follow me. Turned out United put the wrong tag on it and sent it to Switzerland. By the time I got to Heidelberg, I was not in the mood to do anything, but my colleague was insistent that we walk the riverwalk and go to a handful of shops/restaurants he was familiar with (he once lived in the town for four years previously). I made the mistake of making the conscious decision to not bring my camera for the walk... and I missed out on some incredible photos. Ever see a sun setting at the end of a foggy river at the bottom of a valley sprinkled with beautiful houses? I took that picture in my mind, but until I can figure out how to transfer it onto my computer, I won't be able to share it. My second time in Heidelberg was at my insistence, and my (different) colleague didn't really want to go. He wanted to go to Luxembourg so he could get his passport stamped with a different country... I told him that European countries don't stamp your passport when you're traveling from another European country, but he still kept saying "I want to get my passport stamp." Anyway, we went to Heidelberg and I tried to take him to the restaurants that my previous colleague took me to, but got lost and we ended up just eating at some random place that wasn't bad. I took some pictures, but not many because it was about 12 degrees outside, and very windy.
This third time, it was at my insistence once more (luckily my colleagues (all new) seemed interested as well), and I took exactly 200 pictures of the town. Unfortunately, because of the preferences of the driver, we did not eat in the town, and instead drove to Frankfurt where our hotel was and ate there.
I transferred most of this main page to the archive... This is something I used to do regularly because when a page had too much text, it would cause my HTML editor to be very very slow. Since November, I've been using CoffeeCup, and I'm fairly happy with it, though I'm not happy about its price tag.
The view from my hotel room window, last Tuesday. (Adelaide, Australia)
I have a lot to say for this update, but I don't have the energy to say it. Going from DC to Australia to Germany to DC in 8 days has really taken its toll on this ole noggin of mine. Hopefully I can come up with a paragraph or two before the end of the week. Enjoy the picture.
A river, a bridge, and a sunset in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. October, 2004.
I don't think either of these photos are worth printing out and hanging up on a wall, but I do think this is a perfect example of what HDR merging could bring to the table, if I'd known about HDR merging when I took these pictures, so that I'd know to use a tripod so that the merge can actually be possible without cutting the sun out, or building ghost bridges as seen here. Anyway, these two were a result of me actually trying to learn how to use my camera. The left image was taken at 1/800th of a second, the right at 1/60th. The sunset looks great on the left, and the street and river look great on the right. The only way to get both looking great in one image is to merge the two, or to get a magical camera (actually, my G1X has a mode specifically called "HDR" that works better than my HDR merging software on my PC) (I may talk about that later when I am in another situation like this one, where it would be useful).
I still owe you three more photos/updates...
My aunt/uncle in-law's cat, picture taken Thanksgiving week.
So I haven't been using my camera to capture things I normally would post on this page, but this is one of the few exceptions to that rule. Want to see a super-high-resolution picture of a cat face? Click here.
I'm a horrible website editor recently. I typically update every week, and rarely take two weeks to update... This is the first time in three and a half years I haven't updated in three weeks, and that's right after it took me two weeks to update, right after it took me two weeks to update. That's absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable... I wouldn't stand for it if I were you.
Things at work and at home have picked up at an incredible pace. From the time I wake up until about 9:00 at night, the business (busy-ness) is constant, and the last thing I want to do by then is something that requires brainpower, like updating this website.
In a fit of productivity, earlier this week I decided to clean the dust from inside my computer. The outside was bad enough, but the inside was grotesque. I actually pulled off the cooler from my CPU (usually, I stick the mini-vacuum between the fan blades and move it around) and brushed out the black dust that was totally caked in the heat sink fins. In my rush to put the cooler back on, I broke one expandable peg on one of the quarter-turn locking levers. A insignificantly sized piece of plastic, barely larger than a pencil tip effectively deadlined my $1400 Franken-monster. Best Buy would not have a replacement. CompUSA no longer exists. Computer repair shops have mostly disappeared off the face of this earth. Luckily there is one final brick and mortar bastion for those of us that not only like PCs, but also like building our own. That place is Micro Center... a store that manages to keep itself packed with customers despite the ever constant decline of useful geeks in the general US population, and the ever increasing popularity of ordering things from NewEgg. Anyway I bought a new cooler (a little fancier than the stock one I was using from before), and installed it with less fuss than I anticipated. It involved installing a backplate on the back of my motherboard, and installing bolts in the previous mounting points. Somehow I managed to do it right the first time, and my computer has magically stopped locking up while I try to do silly things like play games or watch YouTube videos.
A clock in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. October, 2004.
I looked through my "Pictures of places I've been" section, and am flabbergasted that I did not post at all about this neat little town. There will be more pictures of this place in coming weeks, as it was very picturesque, and the first time I actually walked around a town with the sole intent of taking pictures. The place was interesting... it seemed to be a well behaved college town. We ate at a few restaurants in the downtown area, and the food was surprisingly cheap. At a sit-down restaurant, I got a fancy sandwich with fries and a drink for about $6 (a meal like this would have cost about $16 in downtown DC, $12 in the outskirts at that time (to convert it to today's costs you can add 25% to each).
I expect to post a photo once again between now and the coming Saturday, to make up for my lack of photo last weekend (again).
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Housewife in Flip Flops
This is my sister Nina's blog site. In the past I received multiple emails from her asking how to do a site.. how to blog and such. Of course I told her to learn HTML, as that's the way I do it.. which is the best way to do it.. like all the things I do.. But instead she popped out with this Blog site of hers. And then she deleted it. And then she un-deleted it. And then she deleted it again. Then she un-deleted it. Then she deleted it again. Then she left a placeholder up and started a new blog. She talks about her daughter, spiritual journey, hiking, piano playing, music in general (especially classical), and as is typical of people with pets... her pets.
I first joined DeviantArt because I wanted to see what others thought of my photography. Most people liked it but I didn't really get noticed like I thought I should. You leave an insightful and sometimes helpful comment on someone's page or image, you expect at least to have your profile looked at (there's a counter on your profile page to determine how many people have looked at it). But it turns out that if you don't have tits in your avatar, no one cares. They also changed the front page to make it that much harder to get noticed by random people browsing the site so I pretty much gave it up about two years ago. I'm leaving the link there though because it does offer a pretty good service for free. Have fun!
Almost every day, I get my daily dose of news and political opinion from this site. Neal Boortz is a radio talk show host out of Atlanta, and is syndicated across the nation with several stations... though few actually carry his entire three hour show. He played on three stations in DC for a while, but the station that owned them went under. I prefer Boortz over the rest (UPDATE: Except Jason Lewis.) simply because he takes the most callers and rarely disappoints with his arguments. Unfortunately, like I said, he can't be listened to in the DC area unless I am at my computer and connected to the internet, where his show can be streamed from the site linked above. Also, if you click the "news" archives you can read his commentary from times past, and most of his predictions are accurate (he was way wrong about Clinton becoming president this time around).
If you want to see where my old site was,
Pay no attention to this counter. I am not spying on you. Really.