Monday, January 31, 2011


No, not the song by DefLeppard.  The weather report.  It seems we're on the front end of a storm of historic proportions.  Or, as the National Weather Service says:  "CRIPPLING WINTER STORM EXPECTED TUESDAY INTO WEDNESDAY"

Hopefully it's just the normal hyperbole, perhaps notched up a bit more than usual.  On the other hand if we really do get an 1", then 6" or so of snow.....  well, I don't want to think about it.

The image above is the view out the windshield at lunchtime, before scraping.  Naturally, I had to use my Qdoba card to clear the ice, since I'm in my wife's minivan today.  I subsequently bought a scraper, which will make leaving work easier..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow, Field, Trees

just another scene seen around town... This is actually just off SR-159 just north of where I work (38.611723,-89.991009)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Trouble with Sunset Photos...

 I read somewhere that it is virtually impossible to take a memorable image of a sunset.  I don't know if it's just that there are so many that they all blur together, or if the photo medium simply can't compete with God's "canvas" of sky.  And while I've taken countless sunset photos, I'm not sure any qualify as memorable.  Doesn't matter, I can't resist.  I took the image below while leaving work this afternoon.  Just another sunset image, but I like it.

Now, I have to confess, there's a bit of digital darkroom here.  In the spirit of "openness", below is the "straight form the camera" version, nothing beyond resizing:
The most noticable difference is that I cloned out the poles along the horizon.  Cropped to 4x6 aspect ration.  I brightened the foreground slightly, darkened the buildings to silhouettes, filled the notch of the roofline on the right....  a few other minor things. Am I a bad person?

Sledding Hill

Taken at a local park during lunch this past week....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sting, Stang, Stung.....

I remember when when I first heard the Police.  It was early spring, 1979 (my freshman year of college), and "Roxanne" came on the radio.  And it reached out and grabbed me (and seemingly most of the guys in the dorm).  New and different and oh-so-cool.  I, of course, quickly bought the album, and it was a staple of my early college experience.  And as college progressed, I purchased each subsequent Police album.  But, it did seem that each album got played less than the predecessor.  And I never bought their last album on vinyl (Synchronicity, 1983).  And 25+ years later, they get played a lot less (by me) than other music of their time.  I think there's a couple of reasons, but the main one seems to be (IMHO) that each subsequent Police album had more peaks, but also more valleys.  Some of the stuff on the Synchronicity is not at all to my liking (Mother, Miss Gradenko, O My God, Tea In The Sahara))

Regardless, I've been listening to them over the past few days, and enjoying.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pinewood Derby Pt. 2

We had a great turnout at the pinewood derby today.  IIRC they announced there were 83 cars, more entries than we had scouts in the whole pack last year.  I always enjoy looking at the cars, the creativity....

And, of course wondering where the cars are on the parent:scout ratio....   What I mean of course is how much of the creativity (and building skills) is the parent(s) and how much is the kid.  Now, I'm a big believer in teamwork, and I've certainly been involved in the ceation of my son's cars.  But so has he, and I've tried to ensure he's more involved each you than the year before...  And hopefully learned a few engineering principles along the way...

This car, for example, is pretty cool.  But not really in the scope of what I expect from a 9 or 10 year old kid.  Or maybe he's a woodworking Mozart?

Especially compared to this car, which certainly appears to have a large component of "kid input".  Incidentally, the bottom car earned a trophy, the top car didn't.

Last image from the day, an "artsy" shot of the tropies.  There were 5 divisions (Tigers / Bears / Wolves / Webelows 1 / Webeloes 2).  Each division had a 1st through 4th trophy.  And Grand Champion (a matchup of the 5 winners).  And a "Cubs' Choice" (fan vote for coolest car), a "Best Paint Job" and a "Best SCout Theme".  Lots of hardware to go around!

My son didn't egt anything this year, but he has in the past.  In the 5 years he has a 1st, a 3rd and a "Cubs' Choice".  So he's done alright.

2011 Pinewood Derby - Pt. 1

Today was my son's last pinewood derby. He's raced each year from Tigers to Bears to Wolves to Webelos 1 and 2. Next year he'll be a Boy Scout, and he'll be helping run things.

Seems like we're always rushing to get the car done. We got the kit last weekend, started Wednesday, and were mounting the wheels at 8:30 this morning. Weigh-in was at 9:00. But it's all good. The car got done, he was happy with it, and it ran OK.

The track:

The 1st race:

My son's car was pretty consistently 2nd or 3rd in each 4-car heat, so we weren't surprised that he didn't place.  But that's fine, the car ran well, he had fun. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day!

We had a pretty substantional snowfall last night, and it's still snowing this morning.  9.25" in Glen Carbon (at 6:45am), that's a lot of snow for the St.Louis area! 

A snap of the backyard.  It was still pretty dark, pardon the poor quality:
- - -
The dogs didn't seem to like it much.  Stu basically stood in one spot for a seemingly long time.  I think he was trying to figure out how to "do his business" without dipping his tush.  Or is that too much information?  Our last set of dogs loved the snow, would run around, flop, roll, spin....  These dummies just stand and look unhappy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mid-Winter, Mid-West, Mid-Morning.

I think a better title would be "Hazy Shade Of Winter" from the Simon and Garfunkel song (covered by The Bangles).  But I started with the "Mid" thing, guess I'll leave it.

Looking out my office window this morning, I was struck by the sun through the thin clouds, jsut clearing the bare trees.  The office camera was the only one handy, so I snapped a couple of shots.  I don't really like it [the camera] very much, so I've never learned how to do exposure compensation or anything fancy.  But I tried several different shooting modes, and came up with a couple of different versions.  Thisone was the best balance between under exposed and over exposed.  Maybe I'll play with the original file when I can get to Photoshop and see if I can make it better.

But it's not half bad as it is.  No?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rather Than An Ornament

Ok, several folks I know on FB are doing this "make an album cover" thingie.  I don't genaerally do these things, but after seeing a few, I decided to give it a shot.  I think it turned out kind of interesting.

Here's the "rules:
1 - Go to Wikipedia and hit random. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. 2 - Go to and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album. 3 - Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover. 4 - Use Photoshop or similar ( is a free online photo editor) to put it all together. 5 - Post it with this text in the "caption" and TAG the friends you want to join in...Consider yourself tagged if you can read this.

Now, I did cheat a little.  the first image that came up (step 3) was something with lots of words already added, didn't fit the program at all.  So I decided to hit random again.  And, truth be told, the second photo was just, well, yucky.  So I did do it one more time.

Kinsd of cool, but it does flag one of those interesting points.  I copied this image w/o the artist's knowledge or permission.  Anyone with a smidge of computer savvy could do the same with anything I've posted online.  Which I'd really rather wasn't the case.....  But I just did it....  so I'm mildly conflicted.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Running Out?

My iPod passed a significant milestone yesterday:  I passed the 90% full mark.  Yep, my 80 Gig friend (which actually has a bit under 75 Gig stoage space) is under 7.4 Gig of open space.  And a mere 12,605 songs....

Hmm, perhaps I need to start saving pennies for a 160 Gig replacement?  I still have a lot of vinyl to dub, and there's always something new on my wish list....  It didn't take long to fill my 30 Gig ipod, but the 80 Gig has taken 4 years to get this far.  Unless I start downloading videos, a 160 ought to last quite a while.  Regardless, I figure to have a few months to plan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bare Trees

For some reason, I’m really drown to this kind of subject, high contrast image of bare tree(s). I’ve done several though the years, and none have ever garnered much (if any) interest. Including back in my BetterPhoto days. I guess I’m just out of the mainstream (again).

Whatever. I took this image today, decided on a vertical-panorama type presentation (it’s really just a narrow crop). Hope you enjoy it at least a little!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Geek Alert!

Last week, during our FLA vacation, we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando.  They claim to be the largest HRC in the country, and I can believe it.  I really enjoyed wandering the place, looking at the various memorabilia.  In fact, I probably enjoyed it too much, hope I didn't overly disturb the other patrons.....

My favorite find by far was the 1967 Hagstrom 8-string bass played by Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience:

Way cooler than my Hagstrom HII-B.....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Walk In The Woods

We got home yesterday from a 10 day trip to the south and east.  2800 miles, and 52+hrs of driving.
We started with a new year's trip to Maryville, TN, to spend New Year's Eve with my wife's sister and family.  Actually they're about 1/2 hour outside Maryville, towards the Smokies.

I always enjoy wandering the woods on their property, and this trip was no exception.  Below is an area of fallen trees I came across:

More to follow.  I'll be posting all the vacation photos on my Facebook page, if you're a friend, you can see them all.