Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #40

13 Top Google Searches For "John Needs _____"

Idea shamelessly stolen from Our Seven Qtpies. Go to Google, type in "your first name needs" and report the results.

The meme is supposed to be the first 10 results, but I'm making it a Thursday Thirteen by taking the first 13 results.

1. Strange News: 'John' Needs Operation After Hooker Bites Penis For Non-Payment. It wasn't me. I swear.

2. John needs your bone marrow. I hate vampires. Blood is never enough for those suckers.

3. John nees to get his patootie back here. From a forum post. I hate the word "patootie." It's forever linked with Rosie O'Donnell, and therefore stained.

4. My Life's Work: John needs… Another blog doing this very meme. Go figure.

5. John Needs Help: AnimeNation Anime Forums A guy named John who has a Ask John thingy on an anime forum, is himself asking for help. Even egg heads need help now and then.

6. Vimeo / John Needs More Paper. A video of a guy trying to use newspaper and duct tape to cover his patio table. Oooo-kay.

7. Sex, Lies, and Scandals, The Private Life Of John C. Wu: Some guys old blog. No recent entries.

8. See Me As Your Brother…John Needs Your Help Please: Kind of like the Nigerian Lottery Email Scam, only different. A dying man wants you to help him distribute his fortune.

9. Flickr: Photos from John Needs New Ideas. A guy's Flickr photo site. I'm not a big fan of Flickr, the pics are too small.

10. OH-16: John Boccieri Called To Service Again / Buckey State Blog: Best I can tell, an Ohio state senator being put forward to run for US Senate. Snore.

11. 'John' Needs Operation After Hoooker Bites Penis For Non-Payment: Same story as #1, on a different site. It still wasn't me. I swear.

12. Late For The Sky, John Needs, John Wants, John Gets: A guy named John's blog post about this very meme.

13. Berwick Today News - John needs help to find late mother's ring: Cool story. A guy in England buries his mother's ring in the place where she used to love to sit and enjoy a view. Apparently someone with a metal detector found it an dug it up, he went to the place and there were holes dug all around, and the ring was gone. He appeals to have it returned. Yeah, that'll happen.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

8 Things Meme

I was tagged by Lady G at A Glance Into My World to do the 8 Things About Me meme. I do memes in my own way.

I recently did one of 7 things, but here goes.

Here how this works:
1-Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.

2- People who are tagged, write a blog spot about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.

3- At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.

4- Don't forget to leave a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Remember how I said I do memes in my own way? Well, I don't tag people. If you want to do this one, consider yourself tagged and have at it, OK?

1. I think pineapple on pizza is an abomination.

2. I hate it when I answer the phone, and a computer tells me I'm on hold because all of their telemarketers are busy. OK, moron, YOU called ME. Yeah, like I'm gonna hang on hold for that. I hate talking on the phone anyway.

3. I try to always chew with my mouth shut. If alone, I sometimes break this rule. I then punish myself with something difficult like taking a nap, or…

4. I still like to open the car door for my wife, IF she doesn't beat me to it. (She's quicker than me.)

5. I make it a point to leave the toilet seat down when I'm through. I'm not perfect about this, but darn close. But I've always wondered, what's the big deal? One flick of your finger and gravity will do it for you if you happen to find a toilet seat up. How hard is that? And it only takes about 3/4 of a second.

6. When I was young, I liked to draw, and could copy things really well, but couldn't make the leap to, say, drawing a real person's face.

7. I have to use Sensodyne toothpaste for my cold/hot sensitive teeth. Even though the other brands supposedly have the same active ingredient, Sensodyne is the ONLY one that works for me. Every time I've tried other brands, my sensitivity comes back within two weeks. Grrr.

8. My paternal grandmother, whom we called Mamaw Eunice, loved to eat calf brains in eggs, and also ate squirrel brains. Hence, I NEVER, EVER, EVER ate eggs at her house.

If you want to do this, then you're tagged. Blame me. I'm used to it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Sleep Report

Warning: Boring Sleep Number bed report.

It's still too early to declare total victory, but Lovley Wife and I are loving our sleep number bed.

We usually only spend that kind of money on luxuries instead of something useful, we're true Americans in that regard, but Lovely Wife keeps saying while laying there, "This bed is SO comfortable." I feel the same way, and for the first time in several years look forward to going to bed.

One of the main reasons we chose this bed is it's ability to be two beds in one, I can dial in my side to be pretty firm, "80" is my setting so far, and Lovely Wife can have her side softer, "55" is her number so far.

We chose the middle-of-the-line 5000 series, and it has a pillow top, something we've never had in a mattress.

I can have my side nice and firm, and yet feel like I'm laying on a cloud as well. Kind of a wierd thing, but true.

I usually feel pressure on my hips and shoulders but I don't with this bed. I think I sleep much longer in certain positions because of this. Before, pain in my hips or shoulders would wake me and I'd turn over, and although I still turn some at night, it seems to be because I want to, and not because my hips or shoulders demand it.

Because of my back, the only ways I can sleep are on my left or right side, not on stomach or back. So not having pressure point pain wake me up to turn over is nice.

I think I'm sleeping a bit better overall too. I definitely feel more rested, though I still don't want to get up in the morning. That may be due to other issues though. I think I have sleep apnea and by the end of the day I'm dragging.

When we first got the bed, after only three nights of sleep on it, I could definitely tell that the nerve damage pain I usually feel in my left leg was greatly diminished. I just realized that I was walking more normally, and not limping nearly as much. Then we went out of town for a couple of nights, and the hotel bed had my back aching and my leg hurting with each step again.

Now that I've had another three consecutive nights on the bed again, I noticed much less leg pain again, and I can only guess it's the bed. It's the only thing different in my life right now, and otherwise the shooting leg pain was pretty much a constant thing, with every step.

I'll shut up about this now, but I hope that as time progresses, that I'll have at least a bit more improvement in my back and leg pain due to the bed. I'll let y'all know more as time goes on.

I thought about this bed for several years, but the price tag put us off. But like one mattress commercial says, you spend a third of your life in bed, so buy a good one. We finally have done that and are cautiously optimistic that it will have even more benefits for us in the long run.

For now, it's just nice to hurt less and enjoy how darn comfortable this bed is, oh, and to be off the floor after three years of sleeping there.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day 2007

I've been going through one of those periods of life where I seem to be hanging on by my fingernails.

One day after another, just gettin' by.

The Bible has a verse which, when I was a kid confused me and never could figure out what it was trying to say. Jesus said, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."

When I was older, it hit me. "Each day has enough evil of it's own. Don't waste time worrying about yesterday or tomorrow." (John's Louisiana Public School Literal Translation)

So here I am to try to write a Memorial Day post without having thought for even two seconds about what I was going to write. Instead of stressing and freaking out, this is one of my shoot-from-the-hip posts I've been having to do lately.

If you serve in the US military, or are in the family of one or more of our brave service men and women serving right now. God bless you, and thank you for your service and sacrifice for our country.

If you have served in the past or know or have a family member who was injured or died in service to America in the military, God bless you and thanks for your service and may God comfort you for your lost friends or loved ones.

God Bless America!

Photo: That picture up top is a slide I took in The National Cememtery Of The Pacific, in Punchbowl Crater above Honolulu in November of 1987. A very humbling day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday May 27, 2007

Love bugs are out in force in central Florida. Like the killer bees, they've slowly made their way from central America to cover the entire US Gulf (of Mexico) Coast. This was our windshield as Lovely Wife and I were returning from Zephyrhills to Palm Bay. I cleaned it before we left Zephyrhills. They are so sticky that the stuff in your windshield washer tank and your wipers are woefully inadequate to clean them off. Only scrubbing will do.

Love bugs on the front of our Camry after we arrived home yesterday (Saturday) evening. In some patches of highway, the love bugs were so plentiful that it sounded like it was raining on the car. An added bonus is that if you slap one that is on your clothes you will be rewarded with a really excellent black smear. I HATE these things.

Yellow water lotus as far as the eye could see in Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee as Lovely Wife and I were making our way home (among the love bugs). I know what you're thinking, how in the HECK do you pronounce Lake Tohopekaliga. I have no idea. I follow everyone else's lead and just call it Lake Toho. That's a lot easier for my drawling southern accent to handle.

Another shot of the lotus in Lake Toho. Trying to show how many there were. This is just a portion.

One of the small palm trees up against the front of our house had bloomed and I took a photo. It's pretty when they do this; I like the shade of yellow they become. The blooms are green when they open up, but become yellow after a couple of days.

The night before our new Sleep Number bed arrived. We had cleaned out 2/3 of our bedroom and this was my last night on the floor (hopefully). So far so good on the Sleep Number bed. (My two nights in a hotel bed in Zephyrhills, Fl just about killed me though.)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday Afternoon Update

Sorry I didn't post anything. I've been out of town since Thursday night.

Lovely Wife and I were over in Zephyrhills, Florida until now (Sat. evening).

Life intervenes, ya know?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Star Wars (the first movie, episode IV)


Time flies doesn’t it?

On May 25th, 1977, Star Wars made it’s debut. Um. That’s THIRTY YEARS ago, people!

Hard to believe.

I didn’t see it when it first came out. But almost immediately I started seeing news reports about this movie that people in L.A. and New York were standing in line for hours to see. And when they showed some clips from the film, and then I started seeing the real commercial for it, I wanted to go see it.

So sometime during the summer of 1977, my good friend Glenn B. (lived across the street) and I rode our bikes up to the old mall in Monroe, La. that was at the corner of Louisville Avenue and Oliver Road.

There was a two-screen theater there called The Plaza (I think that’s what it was called) where Star Wars was playing.

I certainly remember us riding our bikes to go and see it, but I don’t remember sitting in the theater and watching it. Bummer.

I do remember that after it became such a hit, that people were already beginning to speak of sequels that were supposed to come out approximately every three years.


Three years is an eternity when you’re fourteen. As in, “Holy cow! I’ll be SEVENTEEN when the next one comes out! And then TWENTY when the one after that comes out! Heck, I won’t care about them by then.”

Yeah, I was wrong. I cared.

I’ve never been a huge science fiction fan, but I have become more and more so as I’ve grown older. I’ve even branched out and read a few science fiction books.

But I still remember seeing those commercials for Star Wars and then Glenn and I riding up there to see it. Oh, to be fourteen again. Sigh.

Our other Orleans Street buddy, Wes R. was our group’s cynic. Wes was (and probably still is) the person in our group of friends that argued about everything. Even if he totally agreed with you on a position, he would often play devil’s advocate and argue the other side of an issue, just to get you all riled up and for the sake of getting into an argument. The boy loved to argue. Some people lift weights and run marathons and such; Wes exercised his argument muscles and he was the best.

So when everyone was loving and talking about and repeatedly going to see Star Wars (Held over for the 14th big week!), Wes, being Wes, decided that he was going to be the only person in America to NOT see Star Wars.

Wes made the following statement to Glenn and me, “I’ll see it when it comes on HBO.” Wes’s parents were the first people I knew that had HBO.

And Wes stuck by his story, and over time it even became a joke among us, because years and years went by before it was finally shown on HBO. That was around 1983 or so, I remember it being not very long before I got married and left home (1984). Being stubborn is a necessary trait for loving to argue.

I do remember specifically sitting in the theater and seeing Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Jedi, and who I went with, but I still cannot dredge up any specific memories of Glenn and I sitting in there and watching Star Wars.

Oh well. I’ve seen it a squillion times since then anyway, and at least I remember going to see it.

(I know that's Dark Helmet up there, but although I loved Star Wars, I think "Spaceballs" is one of the great movie spoofs of all time. I loved Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet.)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #39

13 Questions and Answers About Me

I've been pathetic, and having trouble coming up with ideas for Thursday Thirteen. Thanks to all who chimed in last week and gave me ideas.

What I'm going to go with for a few weeks is to break up one of those "100 Questions" memes. Take the lazy man's way out. That's me.

Here's 13, and my answers.

1. Have you ever been arrested? Nope. I admit that I have done a couple of things in my wild youth that could have resulted in my arrest, had I been caught. Not proud of that. No. No details forthcoming.

2. Have you ever been on t.v.? No. One of my main goals in life is to be invisible. Kind of contradictory with me being as big as I am, but I guarantee you that I'm one of the quietest moving big guys you'll ever see, or not see as the case may be.

3. Do you like to travel? Yes. I haven't been to a lot of places, any money we might use to travel always seemed to be needed for new car brakes, doctor's visits, etc. I have been to Hawaii once, and Yellowstone. Those are the two biggies in my travelling life.

4. Do you usually eat dinner as a family? Not much any more. Number One Daughter lives a block away from us with her Aunt Lydia, and although Number Two Daughter is still at home, our schedules usually conspire for us to NOT eat together. Another problem is that Lovely Wife would make a good European and likes to eat late, and I like to eat a good while before I go to bed. So I'd rather make a sandwich early than to wait for a cooked meal later, and closer to my bed time.

5. Do you sing in the shower? Sometimes. It's painful, even to me though.
--5a. Do you sing in the car? Yeah, a lot. I can turn the CD up loud enough to drown myself out.

6. Do you wear a watch most days? Yes. I feel completely naked without a watch. I'll drive all the way back home at lunch if I've forgotten my watch. Plus, I'm one of those people that can never remember what day and/or what day of the week it is. My Casio watch has an analog face, but also a small digital one that shows month/date/day of week. Love it.

7. Do you brush your teeth EVERY night before bed? No, not EVERY night. I'm lazy like that sometimes.

8. Have you ever had a professional massage? No. My work sometimes pays for us to have the ability to go and have one during times they're crushing us with workload, but I never go. I don't like touching and being touched by people I don't know.

9. Do you ever say things you don't mean just to be nice? Absolutely.

10. Have you ever dumped someone over something small (Like Seinfeld, man hands, close talker, etc.)? Me? Mr. I-Long-To-Be-Invisible? Are you kidding? I've only seriously dated two people in my life, and I've been married to the second of those two for 22 years.

11. Have you ever bought anything off of an infomercial? Yes. A memory enhancing program. Although it didn't make me the genius I hoped it would, I still use many of the memory techniques from that program to this day, 15 years later.

12. Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? No. I got married before Al Gore invented the internet.

13. Have you ever driven across America? No. But I have a fantasy of riding a bicycle across America. Seriously. I have a whole shelf of bicycle touring books where people have written out their stories of those kinds of tours. I'm even a card-carrying member of the Adventure Cycling Association, just to help keep hope alive.

I would love to take a long driving trip with Lovely Wife too.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed

Bad health can sure separate you from your money.

Folks will try most anything to get better with the least amount of effort. That includes spending huge amounts of money to have surgeries or to try the latest "cure" for whatever ails them.

In my case, I just have a bad back. And in 2003 I screwed up an iffy back quite thoroughly, resulting in two, count 'em, two, back surgeries in 2004.

In desperation, I tried different sleeping arrangements. I've spent more nights in my recliner than I can count. Nights where I would spend a couple of hours in the bed, then the recliner, the couch, the floor.


But since 2003, the most consistently amenable sleeping arrangement for me is to make a "pallet" on the floor.

So at night, I roll out a layered set of pads and blankets next to our bed and sleep on that. And have for several years now.

Sometimes I would get optimistic and try sleeping in the bed again but after two or three nights, my back would get worse. So, back on the floor I would go.

We finally decided to try to buy a fine quality bed, but which one to buy?

To make a long story longer, we decided to look at, and ended up ordering a Sleep Number bed, if for no other reason than it gives me an infinite number of beds to try out. If I buy, say, a nice Sealy or Stearns and Foster, well, that bed is what it is. It's a single roll of the dice and if I can't sleep on it, then that's an expensive mistake.

Our choice of the Sleep Number bed was basically to have a great quality bed, but it adjusts, and therefore gives me many different settings to try. And if I can find a setting that allows me to sleep in bed as decent as I do on the floor, then that's money well spent.

But my hope is that I can eventually adjust it so that I can sleep all night, in bed, and sleep well. If I could start getting a decent night's sleep after 3 years, I think it would change my life and then the exorbitant price of the thing will have been justified.

Another good reason for this bed is that each side allows that person to set the firmness level of that side of the bed. Lovely Wife has always much preferred a soft bed, but had just dealt with having rock hard beds because of me.

I also hope that in addition to me finding a better way to sleep, that Lovely Wife can have her side of the bed softer and that she will sleep better too.

Last night was our first night on the bed, and she had her side set at #55. That's the number the person in the Select Comfort store helped her determine by laying on the beds in the showroom.

I slept pretty good. For one thing, I just lay there for a while, luxuriating in the softness of the pillow top and the nice sheets. I'm a simple guy, and clean set of nice sheets is a pleasure. I started out with my side of the bed set at 55, as determined in the store, but I quickly reset it up to 65.

After laying there a while, I still felt as if the bed was still a little too soft and bumped it up to 75, and that's how I spent the night.

One nice thing is that I slept through the night, and didn't have to get up and move to my recliner. That's a common night for me to have to do that.

I was sleeping well enough that I just turned off my alarm and kept sleeping for a little while longer.

Lovely Wife said she slept ok too, when she got up to let the dogs out, but she's still in there sleeping, so I can't give you a detailed report.

So, my first night in the new bed is a big "thumbs up."

I'm optimistic and hopeful that after time, we can dial in a level that will give us better sleep. Something we haven't had in a long, long, long time. Sure did have to write a big check to try this.

If it helps, it will have been worth the price though.

I'll keep y'all posted on any progress (or regress as the case may be).

No. This isn't a pay per post thingy. I was just giving y'all a report on how we slept for the first night in this hideously expensive bed.

It's a big deal to me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n Roll

Well, not really. I lied.

See, I decided that this lack of desire to write lately is getting a bit tedious. I hate it. I feel compelled to write, but I'm in a funk in which, even though I have some good ideas on what to write about, I don't care enough to even write.

Does that make any sense? I have subjects, but just don't feel like writing. But if I write about something that happened when I was a kid, or whatever, I at least want to inject a little bit of life into it, you know?

So what I decided to do this morning is to just sit down and start typing words without any real point, without any specific destination; sort of a timed writing deal. You know, where I tell myself I'm going to sit here and type something, anything for, say, ten minutes, and regardless of how stupid or boring it is, post it.

I came up with the title that has absolutely nothing to do with anything I'm writing, but hey, it just might get my blog a few more hits. Now I'm probably the least comment hungry person you ever, or never, as the case may be, actually met, but it is a little gratifying to know that there are a handful of people with bad enough taste to actually check in here from time to time and read whatever swill I've served up for you on any given day.

Long gone are the days when I had many childhood stories or remembrances of things from my family's past to type out and try to capture some of the laughter or pain or whatever emotion the story would naturally convey.

But as I said, I do have some stories, but my attitude hasn't been such that I felt I could do the stories justice. I cannot bring myself to write something about my Father or Big Brother if I'm feeling pretty dead on the inside. I want to write their stories when I'm inspired. Literally. Inspired means "in spirit." The best writing, and therefore the best things to read are when the author has put down words that were inspired by his or her innermost being.

The best writings are always from the heart, or spirit. Pain is a detriment to this process. In my case, back pain.

So here I sit, putting down words with not one iota of spirit in them, but boy is that second hand on the clock moving!

See, at top speed, I type about 30 words per minute. I'm not one of those people, like Big Sis, who can disengage their minds from their fingers and let them fly. I cripple my own typing ability by having to think about each and every letter that I put down. That slows my typing to pitiful speeds. Big Sis is one of those people that makes a keyboard sound like a high rate machine gun she can type so fast. Not me.

OK. I see that that at this point I’ve been typing for almost twenty minutes, so I need to wind this down.

I wish I had a point with this post, but I don’t. Sorry. But if I do this each and every day, regardless of how lame the posts are, I hope that eventually the inspiration will come back.

How's about an abrupt subject change? Cool, let's do it.

I have had very few good night’s sleeps in the past three or so years, and last night was no exception. Makes it hard to think meaningful thoughts and to write meaningful posts.

Lovely Wife and I are supposed to have our new Select Comfort Sleep Number Bed delivered today, so it is my sincere wish to be able to, in the near future, sit here and write meaningful, inspired posts because I’ve started to sleep well.

It's amazing just how bad my mind works on little sleep.

I had better sleep better on that new bed! Darn thing cost as much as a used car.

Ding! This egg is done. See y'all tomorrow.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Fred Thompson On Michael Moore

Fred Thompson is more elloquent in thirty-eight seconds than Michael "Don't Bother Me With The Facts" Moore will be throughout the course of his entire life.

I love this guy. Fred Thompson that is, not Michael Moore. Because I don't really care for Michael Moore.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday May 20, 2007

Number Two Daughter graduated from Bayside High School Saturday morning.

It was sunny, windy, and in the low 80s. We all have the intense sunburn on our arms, faces, and legs to prove it. Sunburns of love.

There were well over 500 graduates and the ceremony was held on the football field. If it weren't for the wind, it would have been unbearable sitting in that sun while five hundred and some-odd yunguns strolled across the stage for their diplomas.

Afterwards we went and had some really good seafood at Shell's.

Congratulations Rachel, we love you!

And they even had a student lead a prayer at the beginning of the ceremony! No ACLU led morons to stop it like they tried to do in my home town of Monroe, LA last week.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Some Things Are Hard To Take

I cannot truly relate to y'all just how incredibly blessed my life has been.

Now that I'm in my mid forties, I can look back with my 20/20 hindsight and see just how good I've had it.

My parents were crazy in love until my Dad's death in 1994, 42 years of marriage. They started "going together" when they were in seventh grade. How blessed is a kid's life whose parents are like one?

I had good childhood and teenage friends.

I was healthy.

But one thing that I always thought helped make it seem as if I'd lived a charmed life, was that I knew all four of my grandparents. The first one to pass away did so when I was 20 years old.

I had the blessing of knowing all four of my grandparents while I was an adult. Looking back, and after knowing all the people I've known through the years, I see how great a blessing that was.

And over the years as things have happened, as our daughters have said and done incredibly cute things, there have been many, many times I wished that one or another of my loved ones who have passed away were still here so that I could tell them about it.

That's one of the hardest things in life to me. Compared to what many have had to deal with in their lives, and maybe still have to deal with, things like my chronic pain pretty much pale in comparison.

I try not to let my hurt and my bouts of depression affect those around me, but I sometimes wonder how much I hurt them with my withdrawal from life from time to time.

I do know that if I summed up my life in a big ol' list of things good and bad, my life has been and is still better than many millions, maybe even billions of people on this planet.

But in this man's world, the one wish I would love to have granted would be to have an opportunity to spend some more time with my Dad, Father In Law, Mother In Law, Big Brother, Grandparents, who have passed away. Just to sit and talk a while, maybe have some good food together. Give them all a hug.

I miss them.

Friday, May 18, 2007

No Amnesty

I agree with whomever wrote this underneath this bridge.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

No Thursday Thirteen, but...

I could sure use your help for ideas.

Seriously, I'm thinking of stopping my participation in Thursday Thirteen though I like it a lot.

I just can't think of any ideas that inspire me enough to even write about, so if any of y'all have some good ideas, leave them for me in the comments.

I would appreciate it a lot. I don't want to quit, but like this week, I could only come up with a partial list of random things. Not even 13.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Boring Computer Stuff / Ty Tabor of King's X

The computer we use at our home is a four year old Dell. It does it's job well, but it's a bit long in the tooth for handling the massive files generated when I scan 35mm slides. In other words, my computer does what I want it to, it's just old and slow by computer time.

The computer came with a 120GibaByte hard drive.

When I started scanning my slides in earnest over a year ago, I quickly started to fill that up.

I got another hard drive for Christmas 2006, a 160GigaByte internal one that I added into the computer. But it being an older computer, not top of the line, the two hard drives were on the same internal cable to the motherboard.

In other words, the computer had much more room for my slide scanning and digital photos, but it was now slower due to two hard drives trying to use the same "highway."

And recently, I saw that I had almost filled both the 120GB and 160GB hard drives with my stuff. And to add insult to injury, most of my photos were not backed up. Anywhere.

So I was just trucking along with my head in the sand, ignoring the fact that computers eventually break down, they are ultimately mechanical devices, and that I was way past the point of buying a ton of blank DVDs to back up roughly 270GB of photos. That would take about 70 DVDs holding 4GB each.

I started looking at external hard drives, expecting that a 500GB external hard drive would cost me about $100 per 100GigaByte.

I found an external, 500GB, USB 2.0, hard drive at Best Buy on sale for $150!

Yeah, I can hear the sharp intakes of breath, the hands placed over the mouths, OMG (Oh My Goodness) being wispered aloud. "A 500GB external hard drive for a mere $150? Why that's, that's, that's, HALF A TERRABYTE!"

I hear the scratching around as you pull a solar calculator out of the computer's desk drawer, or as you pull up the Windows XP calculizer. I hear the click of the buttons as you divide 150/500 and look up at the wall, stunned at the realization that your old internet pal John, of Least Significant Bits fame, just paid a mere $30 per 100GB for a brand new, 7200rpm, 16MB cache, USB 2.0, external hard drive.

I hear the wind wistle past your nose as you shake your head back and forth in absolute disbelief/wonder.

"Hey! Wait a minute. Who makes this hard drive? Probably some cheap piece of garbage, made by somebody I've never heard of and that will break down two days after the warranty expires and leaves you worse off than when you started. Ha! See!? It's NOT such a great deal after all!"

"Oh contrare," says I. "This, my too quick to disbelieve me friends, is a Western Digital MyBook hard drive. And if you have any computer knowledge at all, you know that Western Digital is a well-known and well-accepted brand of computer hard drive. And though it's impossible for you to know this, one of my friends that I went through Louisiana Tech's electical engineering program with went to work for Western Digital in the Dallas area after we graduated. I'm also helping a friend by buying a Western Digital hard drive. It's a Win-Win situation like that 7 Habits of Highly Successful People book writer likes to go on about."

It' OK. I'm not offended, I almost didn't believe it myself until I had that hard drive in my hot little hand and then hooked that baby up to my computer last night.

It's a real deal, I tell ya.

So, after reformatting it from FAT32 file scheme to NTFS, I was left with 465 glorious GigaBytes of free hard drive space. As I left for work this morning, my computer's new symbiote was busilly (is that a word? well, it is now) accepting the 270GB or so of digital images. So when I get home this evening, I'll have a back up to each and every digital photo, PLUS a couple hundred more GigaBytes for more!

My back hurts, but life is good!

And to place a cherry on top of this sweet deal, Best Buy had a copy of Ty Tabor's latest CD, Rock Garden.

"Who the heck is Ty Tabor, you ask?"

Ty Tabor is none other than one of the two guitarists whose work inspired me to pick up a guitar and begin to learn to play several years ago. Ty Tabor is the long-time guitarist for the rock group King's X, one of my top three all-time favorite bands.

Ty also puts out solo ablums, as do the other members of King's X, and the one I bought yesterday, Rock Garden is his third solo CD, and it is very, very good.

Lots and lots of tasty guitar playing and SOLOs thoughout.

Modern rock music guitarists don't play guitar leads any more. I don't know if they're all sucky players like me, or if they think themselves above playing guitar solos.

But I for one LOVE guitar solos, and think that almost every rock song could be bettered by a soulful guitar lead.

Again, through all the pain, life is good. A massive hard drive for my peace of mind and some unexpected new rock from one of my favorite musicians.

Yesterday wasn't a bad day at all.

(Note: Despite the photo of Ty on the front of the CD, he's right handed, it's a reversed photo. That drives me nuts when they do that. Unless of course he's even more talented than I thought and can play left handed too. Now that I think of it, the bassist and lead singer for King's X is left handed and Ty might be playing one of Doug's guitars in the photo. Hmmm. A mystery.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lookin' For Angels

When I was growing up, from time to time I would hear folks tell stories about angels. Or what they were convinced were angels.

There's a verse in the Bible that says something along the lines of, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

These stories usually are in the form of stopping to pick up a stranger, giving the stranger a ride, and when dropping the person off and driving away, there's no one in the rear view mirror. The stranger was gone. Like God was testing them or something.

I always kept that in my mind, and from time to time I have tried to help folks when I could. This has been tempered however by the dangers of stopping and picking up strangers, you know?

But years ago, when I was in college for the first time in Monroe, Louisiana, I was heading north on Forsythe Avenue one day. I saw ahead of me on a corner on my side of the road, an elderly black man with two paper sacks of groceries. It was brutally hot, humidity making you sweat just to look outside.

And I get this super strong feeling in my gut that I MUST stop and offer to help this man.

So, I turn on my blinker, turn just past him, and pull as close to him as I can in the parking lot beside him.

"Sir? Can I give you a ride somewhere?"

"Yes, and I sho 'preciate it."

He gets in the passenger side of the 75 Ford pickup I was driving back then, and ask him where he needs to go. He tells me a place about three miles away, where his grandson is, and that he was trying to walk there, but just ran out of energy in the heat.

This was when Ol' Blue, my pickup truck, still had a working air conditioner. I cranked that baby up on high, and the old guy just breathed a sigh of relief.

I got to where he wanted out, and he thanked me about 20 times for giving him a lift and sharing my air conditioner.

I must admit, that I looked back, almost hoping that he had disappeared, but he was there, walking toward the building where his grandson worked.

Then about a month later, I saw him again, just a bit farther up the road from where I had seen him and picked him up the first time. I pulled over right in front of where he was walking, got out and waved him to come get in the truck.

He just smiled and got in with his grocery bags again.

He wanted to go to the same place, but he had been determined to make it this time, but I had seen him, recognized him, and stopped for him again.

I dropped him off where his grandson worked, or so he said.

But this time I didn't look back; I didn't need to have an experience with an angel to know that I had done the right thing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Meme Monday

I was tagged for two different memes on the same day late last week, one by Babystepper on this blog, and another by CG on my photography blog.

Being the world-class meme killer and chain letter killer that I am, I decided to try to answer these. But I'm not going to tag anybody else.

If you think this is a meme you can do easily, consider yourself tagged and use the idea for a post one day. I know. I suck at this, but hey, it's not like you're gonna track me down and beat me up, right?.... RIGHT?!

Here’s how it works: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

1. I like soggy cookies. Did you forget and leave the Oreos open and they got all soft and mushy? Send 'em to me. That's how I like them best.

2. Related to #1. If the Oreos are brand new and crunchy as potato chips, I'll hold them under a slow running water tap for about five seconds on each side and then eat them. It's quick way to sog 'em up the way I like them. My wife is still horrified when seeing me do this, even after 22 years of marriage. The water softens them up and yet I still have that full Oreo flavor, unadulterated by the taste of milk or something like that that normal people use.

3. Related to #1 and #2 above. I've never, ever told anyone outside my immediate family that I do this with Oreos. I KNOW it's weird, and I don't want to freak people out. I feel free now that it's out there.

4. I'm reading my first Oprah Book Club book. I LOVE post-apocalyptic books. End of the world and just a handful of survivors? I love them. My favorites are Long Voyage Back by Luke Rhinehart, and Swan Song by Robert McCammon (which I liked better than The Stand). The other night I wanted to buy and picked up a copy of Cormack McCarthy's latest, The Road and it had a big ol' Oprah Book Club sticker on it. It's a post-apocalyptic book. So, for the first time in my life, I'm reading an Oprah Book Club selection. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet.

5. I didn't go to kindergarten. My parents put me into the first grade when I was five. I never had any problems in school though.

6. I'm not into sports cars. Most men love them, but I can see a fine exotic sports car and almost tear my TMJ joint yawning so big. I value cars for their practicality. My dream "car" right now is a fully decked out Honda Odyssey or a Honda Pilot. Boring, huh? I want a car based on how to get out of the way of a hurricane, and in good times to carry our brood and to carry my guitars/amps or cameras in the air conditioned part of the vehicle. The ONLY exception to the sports car thing is that I would love to have a Shelby Cobra, even a kit car version. The blue on with white stripes.

7. My hearing is getting really bad. It seems that I hear fine, music in the car for instance, but I constantly ask people to repeat themselves or to speak louder.

Again, this was an easy enough meme that even I could do it, so if you want to do this one, have at it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday May 13, 2007

This past Tuesday, I wrote a post about, and also included some photos of a Soviet made Zorki-4 camera I bought off ebay.

The seller said the camera worked fine, and she also had a perfect 100% positive feedback on over 200 transactions, so I took a chance, and hoped to get a decent working camera that I could play around with for cheap. When I received it (shipped from Ukraine), the camera seemed to be in great shape, so after checking out it's functionality, I loaded some film.

Todays pictures were on the first roll of 35mm print film that I put through this camera. Warning, I wasn't going for artistic merit in these. I was just pointing and firing away at different types of scenes and lighting to check it out at different settings. It was the first time for me to use Kodak UC 400 film, Ultra Color. The film was a bit too grainy, and the colors almost too intense, but overall, I was pleased with how good the camera performed.

This first one, I hooked up an old flash to the camera to check out the flash sychronization. It worked better than I had hoped, the old, early 60s flash and this late 60s camera. That's Angel on the left and Lilly on the right. They were both bummed because I was leaving for work, hence the last ditch, pitiful look to try to guilt trip me into staying home.
Some of Lovely Wife's flowers right outside our front door.This one is the gate to our back yard, on one side of the house. I wanted to get both shadow and bright sun.This one was taken at Ballard Park in Melbourne, Florida. This park is only about five minutes from where I work and I wandered around there the other day during my lunch period.This shot was as I was walking along the creek, following these two snowy egrets. They stayed a careful distance from me, but I like this shot anyway.This final one was on a different day last week at lunch. It's the Atlantic ocean, but it had become really overcast because of the tropical storm that was northeast of us.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Teddy Says...

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. -- Theodore Roosevelt

There is a new post today over at my photography blog.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Woodrow Says...

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter's evening. Some of us let these dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes always to those who hope that their dreams will come true. -- Woodrow Wilson

There is a new post today over at my photography blog, but nothing here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #38

13 Random Things

1. Tropical Storm Andrea, the first TS of the year, is about 150 miles northeast of us. Thrills. Doesn’t that stupid storm know that hurricane season doesn't begin until June 1? I hate people who show up for parties too early.

2. I love styrofoam cups. A large diet coke from Whataburger will last me all afternoon, and still have ice in it when I head home from work. I don't care if it's politically incorrect. In fact, I like it more because of that.

3. We had a front come through our section of Florida Sun/Mon and it was sunny and breezy with highs in the 70s for a couple of days. Like heaven, I tell ya.

4. Now though, outside here in central Florida, it looks and smells as if there are forest fires nearby. It's really smoky and smelly. The forest fires are actually a couple of hundred miles north of us on the Georgia/Florida border.

5. Watching the show "Pet Star" on Animal Planet will give you a big laugh and have you smiling, even if you're depressed. That poodle doing back flips was awesome.

6. You should see our cat come through our pet door in our screened enclosure around our back patio/pool area. She bats it with her paw like a boxer on one of those little upside down balloon looking things (speed bag?) and when she has the rhythm right, scoots through. It's funny.

7. At work, in the evenings when everyone else has gone, sometimes the timer shuts off the lights in the room where my cubicle is. I stick my hand up and give a Queen Elizabeth wave and the motion sensor turns them back on.

8. Lovely Wife sure loves her some lighthouses. Her latest acquisition is one that goes by the pool, has a solar charged battery, and then lights up automatically when it gets dark. Really cool.

9. My "new" Soviet made Zorki-4 rangefinder camera is really nifty. It cost a bank acount crushing $39.99 on Ebay from Ukraine. It is solidly made and seems to work great, especially for a forty year old camera (1967). I have a roll of film in it now, and will post some photos taken with it when they are developed and I scan them. Really old-school.

10. Who thinks up paint color names? It's not "mother earth soil" it's BROWN. It's not "tropical azure", it's BLUE.

11. I'd like to give the man/woman that invented Lortab a big ol' hug.

12. The new French President-Elect, Sarkozy, is supposedly a conservative. Wonders never cease. A conservative president of France? Wow!

13. I think that Paris Hilton gives useless, spoiled, drunk-driving, trust fund babies a bad name.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Liberal vs Conservative Media Bias

If you want to read an incredibly well-written, articulate post about the Liberal's fear of right wing talk radio and Fox News, go over to Norma's blog post Mort And Me, on her blog Collecting My Thoughts.

It is brilliant and won't take you but 4 or 5 minutes to read (depending on whether or not you went to Louisiana public schools.)

Go on!


Sharia Law, In England

There was a thing on the news Monday morning, on the radio, and they were talking about a place in England where there are so many muslims that the muslims have formed a council, and essentially rule this community of muslims under sharia law. Islamic law. No education for women, only eye slits for the women to see out of when out in public. You get the picture, creating a mini islamic state within England.

The English powers-that-be pretty much adopt a hands-off approach to them and let them have their way. What are they thinking? England has more socialist programs in their country than we do and the English are more apt to look to their government to solve their problems, but come on, that's scary stuff. That something like that is gaining a foothold in what is essentially a free country. Where's the liberal outrage at the trampling of these people's rights?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not picking on England, I wouldn't be surprised to find that this happens in other countries as well. Maybe even here. But still, this is the one that made the news I was listening to.

I was getting ready for work and I didn't remember the name of the town or area they were talking about, but I got a mite upset with them. Because what I saw in my minds eye, is women and children being denied rights that are theirs by law, but then again NOT, because the English governments responsible for this area would rather leave them alone. "Hey, if we don't hear of any trouble, then we'll just pretend that everything is hunky-dory."

As I got ready for work, I thought that I need to remember this and look it up and try to learn more about it. I've decided against that. I'd rather not know the details.

Makes me want to puke.

And how is your day?

Here's a pretty picture to help dissolve the darkness:Yeah. It's a rerun; you saw it last year sometime.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A New Camera (sort of)

As much as I have embraced the digital revolution in our lives, I have to admit to still having a strong love for our analog world and even analog technology.

There's a look and "feel" to color positive (slide) film that digital still hasn't been able to match.

Now, having said that, I was on an internet excursion recently. I have always liked the look and feel of old cameras, but I'm one of those people who doesn't want to collect anything that will just sit there. For example, in the guitar world, there are people who collect rare, vintage guitars and keep them carefully maintained, but never play them, and certainly don't gig with them.

I can't deal with that. Assuming that I had the $200K or so that a nice 1959 Les Paul would cost me these days, I would still want to play that puppy. I would not buy something like that and then just put it in a display case. Consequently, I probably won't be collecting rare guitars in my life. I'd rather have a cheap knock off of a Fender or Gibson that I can play and enjoy than to put up serious money and have the item just sit there and to show off to people.

Same is true with me and cameras. I'd love to have the money to buy a Leica rangefinder camera. I've never owned one, but have held and played with them briefly in camera stores and they are the ultimate in mechanical precision. They have a level of quality and precision that you can feel when you hold it. Amazing stuff. But the price tags are way out of line with what I'd ever pay for a camera, and I don't lose any sleep over it. I like them, I understand the love some photographers have for Leicas, but I don't let my lack of having one bother me either.

I discovered recently that over the years, the former soviet union shamelessly copied Leica designs and sold them internally, and eventually exported them too.

In fairness to Leica, the Russian copies of the Leica designs were nowhere near the quality of a real Leica, but they are actually some pretty decent old cameras, have the look of Leicas and can still be bought on Ebay for instance, for almost nothing. If you take a design that is almost pure genius, and copy that design, even mediocre copies of those designs can turn out to be decent working copies. That make sense?


This is a Soviet made camera, derived over the years from original Leica designs. It is a Zorki-4, the most popular Soviet camera that they made, and the one which they made in the largest numbers. This particular camera was made in 1967, so it's a forty year old camera, and has the warts and kinks of a forty year old mechanical device, but it still has a lot of cool vibes and cool character.

I had started out weeks ago learning about Leicas and their history, but quickly got side-tracked onto the myriad Leica copies that were built by the Soviets and the Japanese. Even Nikon's and Canon's first cameras were Japanese rip-offs of Leica designs.

The copies that fascinated me most though were the Soviet made Leicas. Originally they copied them down to even shamelessly stamping Leica's logo on the Soviet made cameras. Granted, they weren't and still aren't as good as a real Leica, but the camera in the picture above, is one I bought from a lady in Ukraine, off of Ebay, and received it yesterday.

Check out the top surface of this camera:
See that red insignia on the left of the top? I've seen translations of this on different camera sites, some say "50 Years Of Soviet Power, some say "50 Years Of Revolution." So I don't really know for sure, other than them celebrating 50 years since the bolshevik revolution.

This camera, though it doesn't operate as smoothly as a new one, it's controls and mechanisms are slightly rough in operation, still works fine and cost me a whopping $39.99. It cost $30 to have it insured and shipped to me from Ukraine. In fact, the controls seem much smoother and of higher quality than I was expecting. We'll see how it does with film in it...

The lens, a Jupiter-3 is a normal lens, a 50mm f2.0. It's a Russian copy of a Leica Sonnar design. It doesn't have the coatings that modern lenses do to reduce flare and reflections within the lens, but it's a solid, working, camera and lens that should last another 40 years with proper care.

This dude has no light meter, the operator has to know what shutter speed and f-stop to use in whichever light the subject is in! One has to set the shutter speed, set the f-top, focus manually, and the film winder isn't a lever, you have to spin that big knob on the top right of the camera to the next film frame. Crazy stuff when compared to my automatic everything Nikon.

At least I'm old enough to have learned photography with cameras similar to this one, and plan on having some old fashioned fun with it.

Anyway, that's probably enough about this camera and Leica copies to put you to sleep, but I just wanted to share my new purchase, and as soon as I've checked it's operation out and have taken some pictures with it, I'll post them on here.

There's still some neat old mechanical stuff in this world that can be had on the cheap.

Lovely Wife is a sweetheart to indulge me in my cheap camera thrills.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Stuff I Think About #1

The news media. They keep harping on how bad President Bush’s approval rating is. But I say, so what. Most of those people polled don’t vote anyway. If it was a poll based only on registered voters, I’d say fine, his approval rating stinks and that’s bad. But since it’s just the general population in these polls, I don’t care what they say. Besides, think about the alternative; Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi with their cowardly Democrats who are trying with all of their might to force us to lose the country of Iraq and turn it over to the terrorists and to allow a new killing fields to happen like what happened when we pulled out of Viet Nam would be ten times worse a President than Bush could ever be.

For the record: I support President Bush in his desire to successfully create an autonomous, democratic Iraq. I like President Bush. I pray for him so much it makes me wonder if I have any faith at all. I stand against weasels like Reid and Pelosi who are trying to undermine our troops’ work in Iraq. I think, “Support the troops by bringing them home. Now.” is the dumbest and most cowardly, contradictory thing I’ve heard within my lifetime. (I saw that on a car’s bumper sticker the other day. I’ll just say it upset me a bit.) By and large, our troops believe in what they’re doing over there and THEY WANT TO HELP IRAQ BEAT THE TERRORISTS!

I believe that western civilization is on the decline. It’s a bit scary to see that “the west” has so embraced abortion and not having kids that Europe and North America are on the decline in population. Yeah, I know America is growing, but that’s due to immigration. We aren’t having enough babies. All the while, muslim countries and families are popping out babies in huge numbers. Simple mathematics is all it takes for one to see plainly that western civilization is dying, and that in the future, Islamic countries will continue to grow in power. What I hate about that fact is that peaceful muslims keep their mouths shut and allow the 10 percent of muslims who are radical and dedicated to creating a world under sharia law to continue to rule. I guess deep down they approve of the terrorists and radical islamists or they would do something about the cancer in their midst. So the continued growth of muslim populations around the world will result in country after country becoming like Iran, where the nut jobs rule, and crush and force the more peaceful minded and quiet muslims to submit to them. There is no room in countries like Iran for other religions like Judaism and Christianity. In fact, in many of these countries it’s ILLEGAL for one to be a Christian. That attitude and frame of reference in government will only become more widespread as America and other western countries continue to show cowardly behavior by adopting the attitude that we shouldn’t be over there. We should fight radical Islam with everything we have. But we won’t. Too many people in this country are gullible enough to believe that these people can be reasoned with and that we can reach a reasonable equilibrium in the world through diplomacy. That will never happen. Rest assured, the radical muslims like the ones in control of Iran ONLY use diplomacy as a way to buy time to get stronger and to allow them to find more ways of defeating us. Our very lives and freedoms are in danger of ending. But we act as if what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is just something that the lying, warmongering Bush made up. It isn’t. Our survival as a country and our survival as people free to worship or not worship is on the line. The Democrats presently in the US government are pursuing a path to hand this country and the west by extension over to the radical Islamists like Iran. It’s really sad. This used to be a strong country. We’ve gone from “the greatest generation” to “here, you can have the country, just shoot me and be done with it” in a measly 50 years. The baby boomer generation sucks. In the not too distant future, we’ll be forced to adopt Islam or die because we’re too dumb to understand that that is the ultimate aim of radical islamists. Join them or die.

That's enough for today kids.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Picture Post, Sunday May 6, 2007

When we lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in the mid to late 80s, Lovely Wife worked for Bright Mortgage in Dallas. "Bum" Bright, the business' owner was also the owner of the Dallas Cowboys at the time. Just a mile or so down the road from Bright Mortgage there was a lake, and we went and ate lunch there a couple of times. We went back there one evening to let the sun go down and for me to try to get some evening and night shots of the Dallas skyline. The following three images are 35mm slide scans of that evening. Canon AE-1, Tokina 35-105mm lens, Kodachrome 64 slide film.

When Number One Daughter was a toddler, we went on a trip to the Galveston area below Houston. This is a pic of she and I, taken by Lovely Wife of course. Dig my flat-top, and how working in the sun had bleached my hair blond from brown.

Some parrots at the Fort Worth Zoo. I always end up taking zillions of shots when we go to zoos and later I wonder why I bothered. Zoo photographs suck in general. But I have always liked this slide, the colors of these birds transcends them being in a cage. Beautiful.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Let It All Come Out

Lift yourself out of it all
Come out from the shadows to the sun
Oh you gotta lift yourself out of it all
Yesterday’s over, a new day’s begun
You’re only sick as all your secrets
Let them all come out, let them come
This devil came to steal your name away
This devil came to give your name away


Newsboys, from the song Let It All Come Out.

What's more self centered than a blog? What is it about blogs?

I know that I have loved, hated, and dreaded blogging. But it's also the first time since I was in college, took photography classes and had to show my work, that I've shown any of my photographs to anyone other than my family. So that's cool.

But right now, I'm in a rather dark place. As a Christian, I know that I have hope. I know that I'm blessed, but it doesn't prevent the darkness from descending from time to time.

I talked on here one day about how as kids my classmates and I had "seasons" at school where we would bring and play with certain items at recess. Marbles for a while, yo-yos for a while, and things like that.

A curious thing about my life has been that just like made up seasons for toys, or even the real climatic seasons on the earth, I go through periods of moods.

I've had a lifelong tendency toward depression and seeing the glass as half empty, but with the onset of chronic back pain, my life is pretty much upside down.

My back has been hurting a good bit lately, and as the darkness follows the setting of the sun, depression follows the unrelenting periods of pain.

I am doing ok, but one of the worst side effects of the chronic pain and depression is that I feel as if I lose about 50 I.Q. points.

My work as an engineer can be damanding on the intellectual side of me, but in periods like I'm in right now, I struggle. A lot. Things that I can remember off the top of my head on a good day, send me scrambling for my engineering books to look up formulas and things because my mind is being dragged down by the pain.

Again, I'm doing ok, but where this blog is so incredibly easy to write for on a good day, I honestly and truly draw a blank when the darkness descends. I DREAD writing, the self imposed deadline of posting every morning, yet the compulsion to write never abates, but my personal standards of what I want to put out there via this blog makes the effort a chore.

Normally something on the news, something someone says, anything really, can remind me of a childhood or youth story, and I write myself a note, and when I can, write that story out and post it here.

Right now I'm in a personal drought. I actually have any number of posts that I could write, but the flair and humor I like to sprinkle within them is just not there. In those cases where I write anyway, the writing seems completely dead.

It's as if the pain robs me of much of my sense of humor, and the joy of telling a story, no matter mundane, comes alive. The deadness of my writing reflects the deadness I feel inside at times, and I hate it. I know I can do better, but not until I wait it out, or put in huge amounts of thought, energy, and caring to make what should be an easy post to write, to at least show a weak heartbeat.

These are the times where I can usually throw in a good batch of pictures and let it go at that. But lately even that has taken monumental effort; just to resize, upload and write brief descriptions for the photos is a challenge.

Don't get me wrong, I love blogging, the reason I started it in the first place was because I KNOW I'm supposed to write, it's a compulsion. But I wasn't writing and I was about to blow a gasket. So I started this blog as a vent in the true sense, a pressure valve. Not necessarily as a place TO vent, as in ranting and anger, but to relieve pressure within me. I felt I had some stories to tell.

On another level, I don't think that there is a human alive that doesn't feel, regardless of how introverted, that they would like to put something "out there" to prove that they're alive. That's what this blog is for me; a way of saying, Hey! I'm alive! I'm here! even if no one reads or cares.

It's the modern version of putting notes in a bottle and setting them out on the waves of the ocean.

Bear with me. I'll get back to some stories when I can.

I just have some issues to work out, along with some kinks in my back.

Thank you to all who read, and especially the ones who take the time to de-lurk and to comment. You don't know what it means to be one of 6 billion or so people on the earth and have a few folks say, hey, I hear ya or I know you're there.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #37

13 Photos Taken With Our Sony Digital Camera

I post lots of photos that were taken with the Nikon D70s that I bought last year, but for several years I used a Sony DSC S-75 along with my 35mm equipment.

You don't have to have a snazzy camera to take nice pictures, and since I'm a lazy slug and couldn't think of a T13 that interested me enough to do, I'm posting 13 shots taken with our Sony point and shoot camera.

1. Sunset over the Indian River Lagoon from Melbourne Beach, Florida.

2. This is Lilly, one of our miniature poodles, when she was a puppy.

3. A street shot in Powder Springs, Georgia, 2002. We lived in Powder Springs from 89 to 92, and walked around downtown when we were in the Atlanta area for a visit a few years ago.

4. Downtown Disney, in Orlando, Florida. Virgin megastore on left, Surk-doo-so-lay in that big tent lookin' thing in the distance, and House of Blues on the right where the water tower is.

5. Another sunset over the Indian River Lagoon.

6. A trail photo on Kennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta.

7. Evening sky over the Atlantic Ocean, taken at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, Florida.

8. Fountain and downtown Atlanta, taken in Centennial Olympic Park.

9. Nifty lookin' clouds above Downtown Disney in Orlando.

10. A parking garage outside of Underground Atlanta.

11. Beautiful sky over the Atlantic beach at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral, Florida.

12. Rowers on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, Georgia.

13. Yes. Another sunset over the Indian River Lagoon.

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