Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rabble Rousing for Wisconsin Workers

M and I snuck over the bridge Friday afternoon, took in a show of a traditional Chinese Symphony that night, then headed to Annapolis on Saturday to participate in a solidarity protest at the State Capitol. M being from Wisconsin, we've been very focused on the plight of the workers. We being rabble rousers at heart, it didn't take much to get us out there waving signs and chanting with the best of them. Busy week this week, city election primary on Tuesday, giving a "last lecture" on Wednesday (that I still haven't finished writing) so I've much to do. Have a great week!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


So on Valentine's Day this year, M and I got each other gifts. Normally we're just candy and card type people, but we had a little money after paying some bills so I got M a Kindle to take with us on Spring break. She's an avid reader and a daily newspaper consumer. So this will allow her to take lots of reading with her without packing a lot. M got me a new digital camera, the Canon Rebel xs that I've been lusting after in one form or another since I saw my friend Larena's a number of years ago.

So M got me the Rebel kit that comes with one lens. A friend of ours has a Cannon regular film camera and let me borrow a bigger lens of hers and it actually fit my camera! So M and I went to Assateague to try out the camera using both lenses, so I could figure out if the one it came with would be enough for most types of pictures (it won't be) or if I should get a lens more like the one I borrowed (I should). The lens it came with (18mm-55mm) is fine for close-ups and within a few feet of the camera. It doesn't zoom far enough to get mid-range to long-distance shots, like the borrowed lens (70mm-300mm). M got me this camera to address the issues I was having with my current camera. First, it sucked the life out of batteries and took forever to come back after taking a picture, so that I missed a lot of action shots waiting for the camera to let me take the next picture. The other thing that bothers me about my old camera is that I like to take nature shots, then blow them up and edit them on PhotoShop. The old camera doesn't take sharp enough shots, when I blow them up, they get blurrier the larger I go. This Cannon takes unbelievable shots, in rapid succession, with a stabilizer in the lens to reduce shake and keep images sharp. I don't know if you can do it from this blog, but if you can, click on the photo and then zoom in on the surfer's face. At least on my home computer, I could zoom in on the surfer's face, see him really close up, and it was still really sharp. The surfer was over 100 yards out in the ocean from where I was standing on the beach.

This next shot was especially exciting for me when I zoomed in on it. I arranged a bunch of purple shells on the sand, and when I zoomed in on the picture, I could see each grain of sand. The grains looked like colored glass balls. I think this is going to be the first shot I blow up to print. The colors and clarity are amazing, and I haven't even hit it with the contrast tools on PhotoShop yet. As an aside for Marilyn, I will get your Fall tree photos to you, been delayed. I will probably get to them by the end of summer. Yeah, I'm already scheduling my projects that far out. Sad isn't it? ;-)

This last shot was my test to see how sharp a picture the camera could take at something in the far distance that was moving. It was really windy at the beach and this flag was flapping all over the place. The shot, as you can tell, came out nice and clear with no blur from the movement of the flag. So overall, I'm really happy with the camera. I'm still reading my way through the instruction manual and figuring out the settings and how best to take different types of pictures. Expect some artsy-fartsy shots before the year is out. :-)


You know what's awesome? Not having to worry about small kids, because they've grown up and are off on their own. Which means, Friday after work, we can plan to go to a movie. You know what else is awesome, when I went to pick up M after work and she had a particularly bad day and really needed to destress, we had somewhere to go. Instead of going to the movie, we took advantage of the 70 degree weather and headed off to the beach. The salt air smell fantastic and reminded me of summer. We were able to enjoy the late afternoon and the sunset.

Plus we walked on the boardwalk to get some exercise and get rid of the stress of the day, then went out for a wonderful dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Yes, Pat, we had steamed clams. M also had crab imperial and I did the shrimp and ribs special. It's wonderful to be able to be spontaneous and to live near the beach where you have some place to escape to. Ahhhh. We really needed that. I'm going to need it alot in the next four weeks because Friday I got news that I will have 5 cases competing for my attention and completion before we leave for vacation during Spring Break in 4 weeks. Head down and get going I suppose!

Last full day in Europe

Ahh, all good things must come to an end.  Our European vacation is drawing to a close.  We leave Nice this morning to drive back to Barcelo...