Some commutes are better than others

Jan14

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

I had to stop on my way in this morning to capture this freshly tilled field.  Although I have a 50 mile commute to work every day, it’s made more pleasant by the lovely Central Valley scenery.  The Altamont Pass, also on my route, is beautiful this time of year, since winter is the green time (lotsa rain).

I love the smell of the earth, and love having my own small garden.  I have warm memories of my Grandfather, who forced us to till, plant, water, weed, fertilize, harvest, and eat out of his garden.

Ever feel like you are being watched from above?

Jan13a

“If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything.” ~ William Faulkner

As I walked to Starbuck’s for an afternoon passion tea, I felt some beady eyes looking at me – sure wish I had better than a 5MP camera on a cell phone.  Mr. Buzzard was interested in me, but probably not as a snack.  He only likes food that doesn’t move, I think. 

Nice to get away from the monitor into ‘nature.’  Nothin’ to see here, move along.

One point twenty-one gigawatts

Jan13

“The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?” ~ Dr. Emmett Brown

So I was driving home last night kind of fast, when suddenly, lightning struck my car!   Right at that moment, my camera took this picture.  Wait?  What year is it?  It’s not 1985?!?

Tron Lav

Jan12

“Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive
the standard substandard training that will result in your eventual
elimination. Those of you who renounce this superstitious and hysterical
belief will be eligible to join the Warrior Elite of the MCP.”  ~ Sark

Can you guess what this picture is?  No, it’s not a building, it’s actually the lavatory floor from inside the stall.   TMI?  Even the mundane can be artful. 

But I find the bathroom an overlooked subject.  I spend a good amount of time in the bathroom – no medical problems, I’m just one of those people who’ve always spent too much time on the can – wives-tales of hemorrhoids be damned!  So you’ll see more than one pic reflecting one of the most sacred rooms in the house.

I took this in the corporate bathroom at work, then used a cool filter to Tronize it – this is how I imagine the stalls in Tron – maybe they’ll show that in the upcoming Tron Legacy movie (trailer), I can’t wait!

MCP:  Program, what are you doing in there for so long?

Program: Err, sorry, just purging some data.  You know, input/output, heh heh.

Ceiling fan pushing air

Jan11

“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who
is born of the Spirit.” ~ Jesus, John 3:8

So, I was lazing in bed last night, realizing that I had not taken my daily pic.  Well, there’s always the ceiling fan.  But the low light made the picture pretty worthless.  PicSay Pro to the rescue! 

After applying about 5 different filters to the picture, including brightness and contrast adjustments, here’s what you’ve got.  What do you think it looks like, if not a ceiling fan?

Note: the line along the bottom is the where the ceiling meets the wall.

My head cold makes me feel – funny

Jan10

“Health is not valued till sickness comes.” ~ Thomas Fuller

This is me – well, warped by some of the cool transformations possible with PicSay Pro, an app for the Android phones.  This is one of the few paid apps that I must have for my Motorola Droid (along with BeyondPod, Twidroid Pro, and Open Home – you can see all my recommended apps at Guide: Best Android Apps for the Motorola Droid).

But this pic captures how I have been feeling with a scratchy throat for over a week now – you know, the kind where it feels like a microscopic elf is picking at one spot in your throat with a tiny, sharp pick axe?  Argh.  I haven’t slept well for a week. 

She wore a raspberry beret

Jan09

“Where have all the raspberry women gone”?  ~ Prince

Yes, I am a child of the 80’s, and Prince’s music was part of that (watch Raspberry Beret music vid, the 80’s were so gaudy).  I think I owned every one of his albums up till Paisley Park before becoming a Christian and swearing off of him.  However, I still love many of those old songs that were part of my life. 

Funny how songs can take you back, or come up in reference to daily life.  My youngest (2) is so cute in her beret.  Being a third child, she seems to fit the bill – she is the loudest child, and the most humorous – she is always saying funny things, making funny faces, and being a sweetie-pie (when she is not instigating her older brother).

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Arts and crafts – why?

Jan08

“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  ~ Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote

My wife and oldest daughter (6) went to a craft show today, and came back with this artful rendition of a small bird.  My mother would rightly categorize this thing as ‘something else to collect dust.’

I mean, they are too ‘precious’ to play with and break, so you just have to look at them collect dust.  Now, a few nice pieces of art or sculpture are really nice to have, but a house full of baubles would feel cluttered, dusty, and make me crazy!

I’d rather have my kids involved in real nature – real bird watching, real bird feeders.  Hmmm.  I think we need a bird feeder at home.  My cats sure would like one ;)

Snacks

Jan07

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”  ~Voltaire

Snacks break up an otherwise tedious day.  I should have eaten a banana, but for some reason, was craving cream-filled cookies.  Yum.

Cube Toys

Jan06

“It is better to play than do nothing” – Chinese Proverb

Those of us who have worked in IT forever know that cube toys are not only a reflection of our “I play with toys” geek identities, they help us all keep our perspective on our work, esp. when it gets overly serious.  If it ain’t fun anymore, why am I doing it? 

I have a few toys at my desk, but this is one of my favorites – not that I actually PLAY with it, but this Strogg just reminds me how much fun I had playing Quake 2 when I was younger and single, and how I used to rule the Friday afternoon Quake deathmatches here at the office (back when our company was small enough to do that – now it would be verboten).

Whether you sport radio-controlled cars, koosh balls, or nerf guns, you need some toys at work.  In fact, I need some new ones.  Hmmm.  What do you recommend?

Filters make the regular world fresh

Jan05

“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” ~ Robert E. Lee

Today’s pic is the light fixture above our table at Red Robin’s, taken on my Droids using the solarize filter. It made the yellow fixture just a little prettier.

To wax philosophic, I wonder if my world would be more fresh and interesting to me if I looked at it differently?

But shouldn’t we be happy with reality, not a filtered view?  I guess it depends.   Filters have many functions, including:

  1. Clarification – perhaps our view is muddied or unclear.  A filter can remove noise and add clarity.  Think of those blue-filter sunglasses.
  2. Enhancement – perhaps we only see the most obvious attributes of reality, and a filter could enhance less obvious, but equally real or important features so that we notice them.
  3. Transformation – this action may distort reality, but it can cause us to see objects totally differently, perhaps even find associations that we had formerly missed, or even cause us to fail to recognize an object.
  4. Masking – this is possibly the most potentially negative aspect of filtering – that of hiding attributes, either pleasing or displeasing.  This definitely leads to misapprehension of reality, which might be a bad thing.

Questions to ponder:

  • What filters do I use when experiencing life, and especially people?  Do they mask or transform so that I see inaccurately?
  • What filters could I employ to clarify or enhance my view of the world and others?
  • Should I attempt to view the world and people without any presuppositions or filters?  All or just some of the time?

 

Why blogging takes so much time – templates

Jan04

“Form follows function – that has been misunderstood.  Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.”  ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

This picture is of Larry’s 365 site.  It looks better than mine – you know why?  It’s not just because he’s intelligent and good looking, it’s because he’s using WordPress, and I’m on Typepad.  Unless I go get some custom template (and there aren’t half as many for TP), I”m stuck with TP’s templates.

What can we learn from this picture?

  1. Half the time spent on blogging, for a lot of us, is spent tweaking the look and feel.  Yes, we know that content is the most important, but who wants a blog that looks so pre 2000?
  2. I have a nice 21 inch second monitor at home, set up in portrait mode, for browsing.  It is SOOO excellent, everyone should do it.  Now, to get a third monitor so I can have two of the portrait ones and one landscape. 
  3. Larry may be a better photographer than me – but hey, he does that as a pro, I’m just a guy with a cell phone. 
  4. WordPress may be better than Typepad.  But I have all my blogs at TP, so I ain’t moving soon.

 

Trains are fun, but are they old school?

Jan3

The construction of the Union Pacific Railroad was of greater importance to the people of the United States than the inauguration of steamship service across the Atlantic or the laying of the Atlantic Telegraph. Yet the one has been heralded from time to time and the other allowed to sink into temporary obscurity. ~ W.F. Bailey, The Story of the First Trans-continental Railroad

The best gift my 3 year old boy ever got was a Thomas the Train set.  He plays with those things for hours on end, has learned to surf YouTube on the Apple TV for “choo choo happy” (it’s a long story), and he takes his tracks and trains with him everywhere.  It started with a backpack, and now it’s a backpack AND a small suitcase on wheels.

One of my jobs is to put the tracks together for him on a regular basis – he never uses the table we got him, it’s more fun to assemble them on the floor.  Today, I put together a nice dual loop track, but his 6 year old sister drew him away with … computer games.  All my hard (and fun work) assembling the track, and Nick Jr. online was more important. 

However, the trains still hold his attention much longer, and truth be told, those damned flash games don’t work if you move your mouse outside of their borders, and he gets frustrated with them quickly.

The power of the moon

Moon

“When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator” ~ Ghandi

There are times I wish I had more than a 5MP camera, like when there is a full moon with a halo around it.  Nevertheless, the camera on my Droid did take a neat photo.  What shall we say about the moon?  Here’s what I know about the moon:

  • Like our relationship with God, it has no light of its own, but reflects the light of the Sun
  • Islam may not be so much Abrahamic, but rather based on a moon-goddess religion, hence, the star and moon symbols
  • It’s hard to believe that the moon impacts the ocean tides as much as it does, and perhaps even HUMAN behavior.  Funny.
  • When the moon is low in the sky, it appears larger than usual – but it is not any larger, it’s just close to other visual referents like houses and trees, and appears larger to us.
  • When the moon is low in the sky, it is often various colors of red because of particulate matter in our atmosphere.  Cool.

 
I wonder if the moon’s presence is what made the girl in yesterday’s photo so attractive?

A Respite at Starbucks

Starbucks

“Sometimes the most urgent thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Ever want to just get everyone out of the house?  Here in the small central valley town I live in, there aren’t many choices nearby – it’s either the grocery store, a fast food joint, Denny’s, or Starbucks.  Today is my birthday (“New Years Baby”), but having small children means I don’t really get a day off.  This evening, we retreated to Starbucks for some milk chocolate (kids), a caramel macchiato (wife), and a 2 pump decaf soy mocha (no foam, no whip) for me.

When you and/or your kids are going bananas inside, where to you run out to?  McDonald’s playland?  Starbucks?  The playground nearby? 

  

The 365 Photo Challenge

Dec31

“I didn’t need to see that.” ~ Squidward

My friend Larry has challenged me to take the 365 Photo Challenge – take one photo a day and blog it.  That’s it.  Self-indulgent?  You bet.  Fun?  Probably.  Here’s a photo for ya.  My New Year’s birthday cake, with my favorite SpongeBob character on it.  Now leave me alone.

 

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