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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Good Tuesdays

After a couple of Tuesdays without a dedicated Good News Tuesday, it is about time for another edition.

I ran across the first one today, but the story is from last week. It is a story of how people from all over the world heard about a family in need of financial help to keep their house. They needed $10,000 (US Dollars) in 2 weeks to keep their house from foreclosure. That was their financial situation after mechanical problems, health problems, job loss and an unexpected pregnancy. A friend posted an entry on her blog about the families situation and word spread. Read the story for a great tale of Christmas spirit.

I read another story about some folks that anonymously paid off layaway items for some Sears customers before Christmas. I think this another great story because the donors are not doing this for publicity, but just to help some people have a little better Christmas. They chose to payoff necessities like children's clothes, shoes and even some toys. Read the story here.

Like I've said before, there is enough negative news going around. Let's take a few minutes to remind ourselves that there is still some good left in the world and try and think of ways we can add to the good to make the bad a little less bad.

Please leave your comments with any good news stories you have heard or seen. Also, mention any suggestions for what you think people could do to make the world a better place.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

TILT (Things I like Thursday) - Christmas edition!

OK, I saw this on someone else's blog so I thought I would use it once in a while. Except she said things she loves whereas I am setting the bar a bit lower. They only need to be things I like to be included in my TILT.

Rainy Days Living in a desert, we don't get a lot of them, so we tend to enjoy them more when we do get them. One of the things I like about them is when you get a rainbow the rain.
rainbow

Since this is Christmas Day (Thursday), I would be remiss if I did not wish you a Merry Christmas. That does not mean that you need to be a Christian (much of a typical modern Christmas celebration has nothing to do with church, religion or Christ) and I wish you an equally Merry Christmas if you are Jewish, agnostic or a follower of any other religion. We can discuss the merits and flaws of different religions another time. For today, lets keep Peace on Earth and Goodwill on the Internet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Typealyzer

OK, you can blame Nettie for this, but of course, she will pass the blame on to someone else. As long as we don't need to take accountability for our own actions, then everything is ok. Right?

Typealyzer analyzes your personality based on your writing. Here's what it said about me after it looked at my blog. Seems pretty accurate to me, especially the part about starting something new and not following through. The brain picture really is almost identical to one I got after taking a much more complete personality test. Maybe even stranger is that after listening to a few songs by the "Artist you might enjoy", I actually think it does sound like something I could get into.

ESTP - The Doers

The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.

The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Perfection

I just read this blog post about perfection and really liked it. No, I usually do not beat myself up over perfection in most areas of my life. The bed does not need to be perfect when I make it in the morning (and if I'm in a hurry and it does not get made, I don't spend the day worrying about it). The Sunday newspaper can be on the couch next to my seat past Wednesday without giving me an ulcer. I can write an email and not worry that the grammar police are issuing a warrant for my arrest. When I do my work, it is important for me to do what is needed to keep my employer in business. That does not always mean the best database design or the most efficient SQL, and I have to be ok with that.

When I work on my photography though, I tend to put a lot more effort into making things look the way that I feel is professional. Sometimes that means I delete a picture that is 95% great. Other times that means that I spend way too many hours getting it from 95% great to 99% great. There will always be something I think I need to do to "finish" one of my better photographs and I have to allow myself to accept that sometimes that is what makes my pictures special.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gun Show

I spent Saturday with my oldest son, my Dad and a long-time friend of my Dad's. We started off the day by going to the gun show. It had been a few years since we had been to a gun show, so we headed out to the State Fairgrounds to see what there was.

More photos at Flowing Desert Photography

There was a lot of people with the same idea.
More photos at Flowing Desert Photography


There has been some speculation that a Democrat in the White House would be likely to try and make changes to restrict gun freedoms. I think Obama winning the election has spurred a lot of people to hedge their bets and consider buying a gun (or another one) as well as some extra ammunition. This is probably a good idea within limits as firearms have typically been a good value holder, and if gun laws get tightened much, some types of weapons might see a tremendous price jump.

We weren't looking for any new guns, just wishful thinking. Window shopping was all my budget could handle. There was a lot to see and a lot of people that wanted to see it. There were some very neat guns, including antiques, some with price tags as high as $65,000. As far as the guns for ordinary people, I didn't see anything with a price that would have tempted me. In talking with other people, the general consensus was that since the election, prices have gone up on guns and this gun show was reflective of that.

After a few hours of walking around, we started to get hungry. Fortunately, my Dad was prepared so we headed out to his truck. He had hamburger patties and a gas grill which we fired up in the truck bed. Pretty much everyone that walked by was jealous, but we enjoyed it.

Afterwords, we decided we had had enough of the gun show for the day and decided to head over to the range and fire a few rounds. Unfortunately, the first range we went to was already closed. The second one we went to had a line of people. They said the wait was about 40 minutes, but it ended up being over an hour and a half. My Dad's friend couldn't wait any longer so my Dad dropped him off while my son and I started shooting.

We had fun shooting several of our guns, but when the guy in the next lane started shooting an HK MP5 in Full Auto mode, my sons eyes got huge. He noticed and offered to let my son shoot it. He had the Range Safety Officer show him how to use it. My son shot a couple rounds in single shot mode and then switched it to full auto and emptied the remaining shots with a few trigger pulls. He also let us shoot a high end handgun he had with him that was very nice.

All-in-all, it was a great day. Stay tuned for the photography blog on this day coming soon.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Meme

Copied this from some friends blogs. If you play along, mention it in a comment here.

1 Wrapping paper or gift bags? I prefer wrapping paper unless I need to wrap it.
2 Real tree or Artificial? Fake
3 When do you put up the tree? Usually a day or two after Thanksgiving.
4 When do you take the tree down? New Years Day usually.
5 Do you like eggnog? Yup. Sometimes with a bit of Rum if I'm not driving.
6 Favorite gift received as a child? I got so many great gifts, it is hard to pick. Probably the Atari video game system the year we got that.
7 Hardest person to buy for? My oldest son.
8 Easiest person to buy for? My sister.
9 Do you have a nativity scene? A nice wooden one we got when the boys were little and they could play with it.
10 Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. (I don't read ANY email cards unless I am expecting them and they are attachments I can download and scan. I can't stand getting eCard links and that will earn you a spot on my naughty list.
11 Worst Christmas gift you ever received? More than one, but the thought behind them all are what is important.
12 Favorite Christmas Movie? Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
13 When do you start shopping for Christmas? the 24th? Sometimes I do it early (the 23rd) Fortunately, my wonderful wife usually handles most of this job.
14 Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? ReGifted? I think so.
15 Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? frosted sugar cutout cookies
16 Lights on the tree? yes, but not too many
17 Favorite Christmas song? religious- Silent Night, Holy Night (esp at a candle light service), secular- I want a hippopotamus for Christmas (or Chipmunks, or the Adam Sandler one)
18 Travel at Christmas or stay home? usually in town (any relatives outside of town live in cold places)
19 Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Nope, pretty much only Rudolph.
20 Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel
21 Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Usually 1 on Christmas Eve, the rest Christmas morning.
22 Most annoying thing about this time of the year? crowds at stores
23 Favorite ornament theme or color? nope.
24 Favorite for Christmas dinner? Honeybaked ham, sweet potatoes
25 What do you want for Christmas this year? health in my family

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Internet Development Skills

Many, many years ago, soon after Al Gore finished creating the first release of the internet, I made a few web pages. Nothing fancy, just some text and pictures to prove I could do it.

About a year later, I was in a new job and was responsible for our corporate network. As a result, I learned about configuring routers and understanding more about the technologies to access the internet from a corporate network.

At my next job a few years later, part of my job was taking care of the servers that maintained my employer's DNS information. That put me in close contact with some of the core operations of the internet.

Other than those periods of time, my experience with the internet has been mostly as an end-user. I surf, I email, I game. From time-to-time, I would also dabble in looking up information with a "whois lookup" to find out who was behind a web site, but usually I have been away from the infrastructure of the internet for about 8 years.

Having recently registered a domain for my budding photography business (Flowing Desert Photography, feel free to stop by and say "hi") I wanted to have a bit more flexibility and control over what I used on my domain. The answer I decided to go with is to move my picture galleries to a subdomain (photos.FlowingDesert.com) and use the main domain (FlowingDesert.com) as a main home page for my photography business. I also decided to start a dedicated Photo Blog using another subdomain (blog.FlowingDesert.com) that would be accessible from the main home page.

Once I had the action plan of what I wanted it to look like, I then needed to figure out what I needed to do to implement it. Setting up the subdomains was pretty easy once I had figured out that was the way I should go. Pointing the subdomains to the right places -- the blog subdomain to blogger and the photos subdomain to smugmug -- was a bit trickier. With some help from my hosting tech support and a few online searches along with a little patience (it is not an instant change) I finally got things all pointed in the right direction this past weekend.

I am satisfied with the first release, but have a list of things that I want to do to enhance the design and content. Feel free to take a look at FlowingDesert.com and either leave comments on the blog over there or on this blog (I still plan on keeping this blog alive with non-photo stuff) or shoot me an email with any comments. Graphic design is NOT my strong suit so this will be a slow process as I try to figure out how to add an image to the background of the page and make other elements transparent in addition to updating with interesting content on a regular basis to hopefully keep your interest.

Thanks for stopping by. If you like what you see, be sure and tell a friend or a comment. Better yet, do both!