Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Back To Corn Country

Got the call this morning to go back to Iowa, so I'm flying out Wednesday morning with a connecting flight in Dallas-Ft. Worth and arriving around 3:30pm Des Moines' time tomorrow afternoon.

This deployment I'm working in my current department instead of being loaned out to my former, so I'm especially looking forward to that. And to also seeing folks I worked with when I was there in June and the first part of July.

I also realized I'll be there during the Iowa State Fair, which has a long and rich history. I usually avoid these kinds of things like the plague, but it's hard to pass up a chance (hopefully) to attend such a famous annual event and take lots of photos.

Plus, I've seen both the 1945 and 1962 film versions (and liked them both about the same), so it will be interesting to see how the modern-day event compares to the musical versions.

You can follow my trip updates tomorrow on Twitter.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Writing Productivity Resources

Lifehack has an excellent list of Writing Productivity Resources that, if you're a writer, you'll find as helpful as I did.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fandango Wants My Movie Review...Not

I enjoy using Fandango to purchase my movie tickets. I find it much more efficient to pay for my tickets online and then stroll past the long lines at the box office, into the theater and up to the ATM-like machine to retrieve my tickets while the rest of the suckers customers are still standing a mile back in line.

The day after you see your movie, Fandango sends an e-mail asking if you'd like to post a review for their "community." I have always ignored these requests in the past, but after seeing "The Dark Knight" this past Wednesday I thought I would go ahead and post my feelings about this film.

The problem is that reviews are limited to 1,000 characters. Not 1,000 words, but 1,000 characters! That's roughly 200-225 words. My grocery list has more than 200 words. I looked at my review and it was 900 words (after I had edited out about 300) so I decided not to take the time to cut three-fourths of it to participate in the "community."

Apparently, Fandango does not want anything more in-depth than, "Wow, that was the best movie ever." or "Man, that movie sucked like a Hoover."

But I'll still get my tickets through them.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Breath Of Fresh Air

Hasn't it been a breath of fresh air this week to watch a member of our government visit international leaders and speak to international crowds...

...without shaming and embarassing our country?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch Passes Away

I just returned home from a lunch date with my friend Kirk to find that Randy Pausch has passed away early this morning as a result of his terminal pancreatic cancer. Kirk and I were discussing his book and life at lunch today, with each of us remarking on how much he had made us think about a lot of things we might not have otherwise.

You'll notice that his book, "The Last Lecture" is over on the right hand column under "What I'm Reading." It has been there for a while because the book, that was a result of his famous "Last Lecture" given at Carnegie Mellon University last September, was a difficult one for me to get through. In a strange coincidence, I had just finished reading the book last night because I was reading it in small bits and then setting it aside. As I shared with Kirk today and with Cindy earlier, it was, for me, difficult on an emotional level to process the book all at once. I had watched the lecture presentation when it appeared on the Internet and had ordered the DVD for our personal collection, but there was something even more visceral in the act of reading the words of a man who was speaking and writing for his young children who will grow up without him physically in their lives.

When I closed it last night I wondered to myself how much longer he might have. Sadly, it was not much at all. "Time is all you have." he wrote at the end of chapter 23, "And you may find one day that you have less than you think."

Randy Pausch has had a tremendously positive impact on the lives of people who never even met him. I feel there must be many people out there who, facing a terminal prognosis like his, have found the strength of character to face it head on with courage and grace. He was an inspiration to us all, and our world is a better place for having him in it these past 47 years, and especially these past 11 months.

My sincerest sympathy to his wife, Jae, and their three young children. Your husband and father was, in the end, what we all should aspire to be in terms of our humanity.

Rest in peace, sir, and thank you for all you gave, to your family and, by extension, to the rest of the world.

Sunny 105.9

Ever since I returned from Louisiana in May after being gone for 6 months, I've been meaning to write about how happy I was to find out that local FM radio station WOCL 105.9 (formerly Cool 105.9, Power 105.9 and ORock 105.9) has returned to something resembling an "Oldies" format of Top 40 hits from the 60’s through the 80’s. It's been nice to hear familiar voices like Bob Berry, and the oh so sexy voice of Laura Francis.

Back when I was a contributor to Orlando MetroBlog, I wrote the following post. To the best of my knowledge, it still holds the record for the most commented on post in the history of Orlando Metblog, which showed that having an oldies station in Orlando was important to a lot of listeners.

February 3, 2005

Bring Back The Oldies!!

Have I mentioned lately that I HATE CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS!!

Driving home from work yesterday I was flipping through the radio stations and when I hit the preset button for Big 100 FM there was Spanish music coming out of my speakers. For a moment I thought I had come in during a commercial, but then it kept going and going. Then I thought I must have accidentally messed up the preset button, but that turned out not to be the case either.

What DID happen was that Clear Anal, I mean Clear Channel, had abruptly and with no advance notice, switched WEBG 100 FM from an oldies rock and roll format to a Hispanic format.

Now, I have nothing against Spanish music. It's not what I normally listen to, but I sure like to watch the ladies dancing to it. My gripe is that there are plenty of other Hispanic music format stations in Orlando but there are NO other oldies rock and roll music format stations in this market.

Not surprisingly, according to an article in today's Orlando Sentinel Money section, the change over is all about the Benjamins. More can be made by playing for the locally increasing Hispanic population. I understand that, it's a huge market to tap, but it's not like they were LOSING money with the oldies format. They just are being a good unfeeling corporation and doing what they feel will make them MORE money. Greedy bastards!

Here's the e-mail I (and every other oldies fan who subscribed) received from former Program Director J.J. Duling entitled "A Farewell Note From Big 100":

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for over five years of incredible support. We are saddened that BIG 100 is gone-- we were as surprised as you by all this. Show Business can be kind of funny like that sometimes. Your friends at BIG 100 hope 'The BIGgest Hits' will resurface somewhere on the radio dial in Central Florida soon.

So, on behalf of Mike Harvey, Deanne Schulz, Dave Kelly, Chris Rivers, Bob Berry, Bill Barber, Dave Matthews, Uncle Johnny, Tom Kent and Joe Johnson from Beatle Brunch, thank you for your thoughts, prayers and good wishes and thank you for an amazing rock & roll journey here in Central Florida.

JJ Duling, BIG 100 Program Director

That's the hope I'm holding onto, the Orlando market needs an oldies format radio station and perhaps one of the other stations will switch to that format, hopefully in the near future.

Have I mentioned lately that I HATE CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS!!

I can't believe it has been 3 years since Orlando has enjoyed an Oldies FM radio station, but I know I'm enjoying the sound.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Dark Knight

Went to see The Dark Knight yesterday at the IMAX theater with Shawn, Amber's significant other. I have a review up over at Athena.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Miley "Ya Know" Cyrus

I'm sitting here watching Good Morning America and they're running an interview with Miley Cyrus.

Miss Cyrus seems like a pleasant, open person, but I'd suggest she get some public speaking professionals on her team to help her stop injecting the phrase, "Ya know" between every two or three words she speaks. I suppose this is how young ladies speak, however it can be painfully distracting to most listeners over the age of eighteen.

Monday, July 21, 2008

This Is Hard To Resist

The Writer's Digest Book Club is having a "Buy One Get One Free" sale.

Why do they do this to me?

Especially when I already have a 2-foot stack of unread books waiting for me?

I have to be strong.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Should I Read Next?

Like many of you, I'm a voracious reader. Many times, I'll read a book and think I'd like to read something else by the author. With sites like Amazon or the author's own presence on the web, it's fairly easy to locate other books by an author I find I like. But what if I want to read something with a similar theme or plot by the same or other authors?

Then I go to the What Should I Read Next? website.

At What Should I Read Next? you can enter a book title and author name and "the site will analyse our database of real readers'
favourite books (over 47,000 and growing) to suggest what you could read next."

I decided to give it a try, first as an unregistered user, to see what it would recommend if I entered "Odd Thomas" by Dean Koontz. Here are the resulting recommendations:

Tick-Tock - Dean R. Koontz
Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Prodigal Son, Book One - Anderson, Dean, Kevin J. Koontz
City of Night - Dean Koontz, Ed Gorman, Kevin J. Anderson
The Bad Place - Dean R. Koontz
Countdown - Iris Johansen
Castle Waiting: The Lucky Road - Linda Medley
Infernal: A Repairman Jack Novel - F. Paul Wilson
The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon - Tim LaHaye
The Double Agents: A Men at War Novel - W.E.B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth IV
Dragon's Bait - Vivian Vande Velde

Books I have read on this list are bolded.

Then, since the site advised me, "To get more accurate suggestions, add more books you've loved to your list - to do this you'll need to register. You'll also be building our database and improving everyone's suggestions." I registered and received this additional list of recommendations:

Demon Seed - Dean R. Koontz
Prodigal Son - Dean Koontz, Ed Gorman, Kevin J. Anderson
The Face of Deception - Iris Johansen
Nightworld - F. Paul Wilson
The Wine of Angels - Phil Rickman
Mr Monk Goes to the Firehouse - Lee Goldberg
Guilt - John T. Lescroart
The Mercy Rule - John T. Lescroart
The Stone Monkey - Jeffery Deaver
The Saboteurs - W. E. B. Griffin, William E. Butterworth

Books I have read on this list are also bolded.

The recommended books by Koontz were similar in theme, but a lot of his books follow that similar vein. The books by other authors that I have read were also of a similar nature, so I would have a fair amount of faith in the output and I imagine the output would only become more valid as more registered user join and participate.

If you're ever wondering what should be next on your reading list, What Should I Read Next? is a good place to find the answer.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Too Tired To Post

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weekend Plans

Lost my Internet connection last night so couldn't even post the cheese grater slide photo.

We're hosting our grandchildren tonight and planning on going to Universal Studios tomorrow before taking them back home to mommy and daddy.

I had wanted to go see The Dark Knight at Orlando's only IMAX theater on Saturday night, but all the shows were sold out. Maybe it's for the best. I don't like crowds, so if I wait until later in the week perhaps there won't be a massive throng of humanity to wade through. I didn't care for the last Batman movie (I know, I was definitely in the minority), but this one looks like it will be very good (of course, that's what I thought about the last one).

In fact there's no doubt it's for the best since now we'll be enjoying dinner out with Cindy's parents, which is always a treat.

Sunday will probably be spent going through my office continuing to filter out what's needed and what is not. It's just amazing the things you accumulate. I think I'll be using eBay and Freecycle quite a bit in the near future.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

BlogOrlando 2008

It's back.

The third annual BlogOrlando is taking place September 25th-27th. I attended the first BlogOrlando in 2006 and enjoyed it immensely, but missed last year's because I was in Minnesota. If you're a blogger in the Orlando area, you should do your best to attend.

If I'm in town, I'll be there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Way back a long time ago (it seems), I was invited to join Facebook by my friend Dawn. Facebook is a social networking website and, since I'm not a huge networker, my list of friends is no doubt small compared to those of others. Still, I do enjoy the connection with those who are my friends and Facebook helps me keep up with their lives when I may not get to see them personally as often as I might prefer.

I confess I'm not a very good responder to a lot of the different requests my friends may send through Facebook, because most of them involve using various programs that I would rather not allow to access my information.

Here are my 17 Facebook friends:

Cindy - My wife. She still hasn't uploaded a photo of herself.

Dawn - My friend. We met when we were both charter members of Orlando MetroBlog several years back.

Jeremy - My step-son, who is a programming genius.

Piedad - My sister-in-law. My brother has no idea how lucky he is.

Michelle - My friend. We met online through our blogs and then in person a few years back at an address by world renown travel expert Arthur Frommer.

- My friend. We met because she is Michelle's best friend and subsequently became one of my good friends.

- My friend. We met through her friendship with my brother when they lived in NYC and have maintained it through her move to the great Northwest.

Hanni - My friend. We met through her friendship with Jeremy.

Zaida - My friend. We met through our common interest in Bookcrossing several years ago.

Heather - My friend. We met through her friendship with my daughter. Curiously, neither my daughter or I have met her in person. Our friendship has been completely conducted online.

Michael - We met when I conducted an interview via e-mail for the Athena Comics Site that I write for. We have never met in person either.

- We met online through our blogs, but also have yet to meet in person. That may be remedied in the near future when Pelf visits in conjunction with her turtle studies and scholarship that have brought her from Malaysia to the U.S. for a few months.

- Co-worker and friend.

- Co-worker and friend.

Millie - Co-worker and friend.

Fritz Marie
- Co-worker and friend.

- Former co-worker, still friend.

If you're a family member or friend of mine who is on Facebook and we haven't connected there yet, consider sending a friend request my way.

Monday, July 14, 2008

FriendFeed Frenzy

Hand in hand with my Twitter use is my FriendFeed. FriendFeed is a social networking tool that allows you to aggregate all the online activities of, who else, your friends!

I find it especially useful for keeping up with those who I don't follow on Twitter. For instance, John Frost of The Disney Blog (I had hoped to meet him at last year's BlogOrlando event, but was out of state at the time) is a frequent blog and Twitter poster. If I followed him on my BlackBerry, my phone would never stop making that "Star Trek transporter" sound I use to alert me to incoming twits, so I find it helpful to have him on my FriendFeed and follow his postings through that medium.

At the end of the day I receive a FriendFeed activity report on what my friends who are online have been up to that day. This includes blog posts, Twitter posts, Flickr uploads, additions to their Amazon WishList, items shared on Google Reader, Facebook activity...just about anything done online. Plus, sometimes friends of YOUR friends will have their activities show up, in case you see something of interest from them and decide to add them directly to your feed. That urge hasn't struck me yet and probably won't.

FriendFeed is a great way to see what all of your online friends and acquaintances have been up to, and keeps you informed about their online lives.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Staying In Touch With Twitter

I've been using Twitter for a while now and have found that I really enjoy how it lets me post a quick update of small events during my day (so much so that Cindy told me I went over my wireless plan's 200 text message limit by 104 last month). I also appreciate how it lets me keep up with the lives of some of my friends and acquaintances through their posts. A few of them are set up to go right through to my Blackberry and the rest I can peruse on the site (or through FriendFeed, more on that in another post) at my leisure.

Since time is not always a luxury for me, even with the brevity of Twitter posts, I am selective about who I follow. Here's a list of who I currently have on my follow list:

Cindy - my wife. She only joined to follow me and never posts anything herself.

Denise - My friend. She joined and then ran into some kind of technical difficulties that she has not resolved yet.

Michelle - My friend. We also use Twitter on the Athena Site to keep readers up to date on site postings.

Zaida - My friend. She hasn't used Twitter in quite a while. Get busy girl!

Vanessa - My friend. She is by far the most frequent poster of my friends, and I love reading her Twits.

Jill - My former editor when I wrote for Suite101 and a personal friend of Michelle's. She's catching up quickly to Vanessa in post frequency.

Danny - A fellow writer in Winter Park. We haven't met personally yet, but I'm sure we will at some point.

Orlando Sentinel - My local paper. When I'm traveling, their Twits help me stay up on breaking news in Orlando.

If you're a family member or friend who hasn't signed up with Twitter yet, I hope you will and will let me know when you do so I can add you to my follow list.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


As a writer who enjoys research, I am an intimate friend of Google. But today my brother sent me a link to a visually cool search engine known as SearchMe. Type in your term or inquiry and a graphic representation of the relevant pages where your search term appears are served up to you in a stream. Just click on the pages that interest you to be whisked away to the site.

You can search the Web, Images or Video in categories such as Mobile Phones, Business News, Software, Instant Messaging, Advertising & Marketing and Blogs, or do one single search under all categories.

For a different online search experience, check out SearchMe. You can thank my brother.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Cheese Grater Slide

Ok, here's the scoop. I try my best to post each and every day, but sometimes work or personal issues prevent that from happening.

Still, I don't want those who faithfully stop by here (or check their RSS feeds) to come away empty-handed.

From now on, when I don't have time to post an entry, I'll post the photo below of the kid hurtling down the slide toward the giant cheese grater.

That way you'll know I "couldn't cut it" that day. And hopefully everyone has a good laugh.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back Home For A While

Spent today unpacking, doing laundry, trying to catch up on mail (both snail and e-) and failing horribly at it, running to the post office to mail off my travel documents (and pick up more snail mail), stopping at the big box home improvement store for some yard items and then a nice dinner with Cindy and her parents.

I wish I had managed to work a nap in there somewhere.

Friday will be breakfast out, some shopping, a movie and (hopefully) some relaxing and then Saturday will be yard work and cleaning out the attic. Somewhere in there I hope to fit in some time in the office, which has become the repository of all things not found elsewhere in the house.

What's YOUR weekend shaping up to be?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree

I'm comin' home, I've done my time
Now I've got to know what is and isn't mine
If you received my letter tellin' you I'd soon be free
Then you'll know just what to do if you still want me
If you still want me

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree
It's been three long years
Do you still want me?
If I don't see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree
I'll stay on the bus
Forget about us
Put the blame on me
If I don't see a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

Bus driver, please look for me
'Cause I couldn't bear to see what I might see
I'm really still in prison, and my love she holds the key
A simple yellow ribbon's what I need to set me free
I wrote and told her please:


Now the whole damn bus is cheering
And I can't believe I see
A hundred yellow ribbons 'round the old oak tree
I'm comin' home

Lyrics sung by Tony Orlando and Dawn

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One Of My Favorite Essays

I have no patience for toxic people. I don't like them around me, I don't like them dumping on me, and I do my best to avoid their droppings in my life. But sometimes you have no choice in the matter.

Our lives are a series of actions and reactions. Actions are self-generated but reactions can make us dependent on the person performing the action...or they can set us apart from that person. One of my favorite things to read on a regular basis is David J. Pollay's Beware of Garbage Trucks! - also known as The Law of The Garbage Truck. Here's the first two paragraphs; I hope you'll follow the link to the entire post and I hope you enjoy it and find it as helpful as I do.

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.

Read the rest here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Starship Captain From Iowa

John Wayne is not the only famous person born in Iowa. According to the city of Riverside, Iowa, on March 22, 2233 the future Captain James Tiberius Kirk will be born in their fair town.

Star Trek mythology found in the original TV series, movies and novels establishes that James Kirk , Captain of the starship Enterprise, was born on a farm in Iowa. Riverside seized upon the fact that the city was never mentioned and declared that they were the locale of his birth. To my knowledge, no other city in Iowa ever disputed their claim.

Being a big fan of Star Trek, I was a little bummed out when I discovered that I missed the city's annual James Kirk/Star Trek celebration last Sunday. Although it's a 2 hour drive from Des Moines to Riverside, I would have skipped the Des Moines Art festival and made the drive to be a part of it had I known beforehand.

For most Star Trek fans, James T. Kirk is the epitome of a starship captain. A natural leader, man of action, performing feats of daring-do, and possessor of romantic conquests across the galaxy. A sort of "woman in every planet" kind of sailor, if you will.

There will always be the natural comparisons and competition among fans between Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard (the other captains, Sisko, Janeway and Archer are seldom included), but Kirk usually edges out Picard. The general feeling among the fans I know is that if you want something done, call Kirk; if you want to talk about it, call Picard. I do, however, recall one episode of ST: TNG where I actually cheered when Picard leaped from his captain's chair and cold-cocked some enemy who had unexpectedly transported to the bridge.

But Picard was born in France and Kirk was born in the good old USA...Riverside, Iowa to be specific.

Here's a link to the local newspaper's coverage, along with some photos of the festivities.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm Blushing, Part II

I was checking my friend Denise's website today, catching up on all her posts and photos since arriving in West "By God" Virginia, and was greeted with a Birthday Wish to me...and a promise of an arriving gift. Go check it out for a good laugh.

The Value Of Venting

One of my co-workers startled me today by saying, "Jeff, I just wanted to tell you that I admire how you manage the people in your department. You always seem upbeat, fair and patient with everyone. I just thought you should know that it's noticed and appreciated."

I thanked him for telling me, but you know, we're all human. I do my best to exhibit those traits he mentioned, but there are times when I'm thinking "I'd like to strangle so and so!" lol.

However, the truth is I try, repeat try, to treat people the way I would like to be treated. If I'm doing something right, it's nice to be told that, but by the same token if I'm doing something wrong (and I do that a lot) I want to be told that too (but in a nice way, of course) so I can do better.

Plus, Cindy and I have a nice arrangement. I can call her and vent about things or people at work and she can do the same to me. It's safe, since no one at work has to hear it, and we even occasionally have good advice to offer each other that sometimes helps the situation. If I didn't have her as a safety valve, I'd probably let things build up and then blurt out some really unpleasant thoughts. I'm really thankful for her being available when I need to do a little venting.

Originally I was going to post about something that is "sort of related", but as writing does sometimes, this entry took on a life of it's own. Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to my earlier thoughts.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Well, Pilgrim

If you drive for about 20 minutes from Des Moines in a southwesterly direction, you'll come to Winterset, Iowa. Winterset is mostly known for three things; its the county seat of Madison County, its beautiful covered bridges (thus forming the setting of Robert James Waller's "The Bridges of Madison County"), and its the birthplace of Marion Robert Morrison.


He was born in Winterset in 1907 and while at birth his name was Marion Robert Morrison his parents changed his middle name to Michael with the arrival of his younger brother because they wanted to call his sibling Robert. He only lived in Winterset until he was 4 years of age, when his family moved to California for his father's health.

In movies, he became the quintessential man's man in western, war and detective movies and his signature phrase was a drawling, "Well, Pilgrim."

Yes, he may have been born Marion Robert Morrison but you know him as...John Wayne.

I wanted to go down to take pictures of the house, but my co-worker Julia went down before me to take photos of the bridges and stopped at the house during her trip. I'm glad she did because it turns out you can't take photos inside the house, only of the exterior. I would have felt as if I had wasted my time if I had driven down there and been told I couldn't take photos of the interior.

So, in lieu of my cancelled trip, here's Julia's photo of the outside of the house where John Wayne entered the world.

Friday, July 4, 2008

I'm Blushing

My schedule has been so hectic that my e-mail and RSS feeds are growing to gargantuan backlogs. I try to hit at least my personal e-mails each day, but general ones and the RSS feeds have been falling by the wayside in the hope that a day off will allow me to catch up.

I just took a few minutes to go through my RSS feeds of blogs by friends and discovered this one by my good friend ZenGrrl wishing me a Happy Birthday. I am truly touched.

And, even though I can't eat it, I absolutely love the Superman cake!

Thank you, my friend.

Happy Birthday America!!

Happy Birthday to the greatest country on the face of the earth.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I Don't Feel Older...Yet

Sorry for the absence yesterday. Tuesday I came into the Des Moines office for a few minutes to pick up some documents then drove 2 1/2 hours over to Cedar Rapids for a day of meetings. I finally arrived back at the hotel here in Des Moines at 10:30 that night and went straight to bed without even firing up my laptop. It was a fun trip, as you can see from my Twitter posts.

Yesterday was a nice day, even if I spent all of it at work. Thanks to all who sent congratulatory e-mails, text messages and phone calls. Your remembrance is much appreciated.

Despite being tired, I still went to see "Hancock" right after work as a sort of present to myself. While I did not think it was Smith's best work and it was a bit "rough" in some of its storytelling and plot executions, it's difficult for me not to enjoy watching Will Smith in just about any of his cinematic spectacles (with the obvious exception of "Wild Wild West"). Overall I found the movie to be very enjoyable.

No holiday for us tomorrow. It will be a "regular" 12-hour day. In fact, I won't have another day off while I'm here in Des Moines.

That's because my original 30-day on loan assignment comes to an end next Wednesday and though I have been asked by the folks here to remain (until Christmas!), at the request of my regional manager I'll be returning home that day to make myself available for work in my own division.

The bright side (besides the obvious one of being home, seeing my wife and family, etc.) is that I'll have time for writing, something which has been in short supply while stumbling through 14-16 hour days here in Des Moines. Time, that is, after I catch up on all the items on the "Honey Do" list Cindy has been compiling while I've been gone.

Hmmm...I wonder if I can figure out a way to stay out here?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Year Is Half Over

"In youth the days are short and the years are long; in old age the years are short and the days long." Nikita Ivanovich Panin

It seems like just a few days ago that I was in Baton Rouge on New Year's Day. Now the year is already half over. I don't feel like I'm in old age yet, but damn, the years are getting shorter and shorter.

Due to scheduling requirements I had to take another day off so I asked for yesterday in order to attend the Des Moines Art Festival. My plan was to walk around the festival, which was held in downtown Des Moines, and then walk around the downtown area itself, all the while indulging my inner photographer.

Here was a hard lesson learned by experience. I don't think I'll ever make this mistake again. I had taken about 150 photos when I looked down and with disbelief realized I had been shooting in manual mode. I adjusted my settings and continued on my Photowalk, but I knew what awaited me later when I downloaded the pictures would not be good.

I was right. Those manual shots were all blown out with brightness or buried in darkness. If I decide to take the time, I might be able to salvage some in Photoshop...but I'm not sure yet I want to devote the amount of time I may need to get anything presentable.

But, while we're on the subject of photos, I did take the time tonight to finally upload photos from Mikey's Birthday in Downtown Disney this past June 7th to Flickr. Click the Flickr badge on the right or here to get to them.

More scheduling news tomorrow.
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