Saturday, September 30, 2006

A thought

Tomorrow is the first day of October. So isn't it time to start seeing those pesky Lexus commercials where spouses give cars for Xmas, along with the rest of the usual ads?

The season seems to start earlier every year, so I was expecting to see something by now. If they keep going, we'll eventually be able to see tow-planes pulling banners for Xmas sales as we lie on the beach in July! :-)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

He's really a nice guy

I belong to an organization of lawyers and judges dedicated to fostering greater professionalism and civility in the practice of law. Tonight was our annual dinner. Our keynote speaker was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Without mentioning him by name, I will say that the mention of his name didn't give me the warm & fuzzies, based upon what I'd read in the press. So I was surprised at how much I liked him. (No, it's not Scalia--let's not get carried away, people! I do have my limits!) :)

I'm a member of the Executive Committee of this group, so I was sure to get to at least say hello to him. I guess I was expecting an empty greeting and about 10 seconds of his time. Instead, we had a very nice, intelligent conversation. We actually spoke a few times. He also gave a great, smart, self-deprecating, funny talk. Finally, it was neat to be sworn in by a US Supreme Court Justice (especially since I'd decided that I liked him by the time that moment came around--I wish my Mom was still around to see it. She would have loved it!).

I'll take a lesson from this. While I still think his political leanings are much more conservative than mine, that doesn't mean he can't still be a smart, thoughtful man and a decent human being. Our political process is so bent on demonizing anyone who disagrees with a political view that it maligns good people. That doesn't do anyone any good!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sometimes little things amuse me

I happened upon this gate when I was in the park a couple of days ago. I love that I found it wide open...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ever think about the road not taken?

When I was a boy, I was encouraged to get a good education. It was expected that my parents' kids would go to college and graduate school. I was told that I could do anything I wanted with my life, but a professional degree would always be a safety net. No matter what I did, I could always fall back on a traditional profession if things went bad.

So I went to college and law school. I practiced law, and then I went into management. I've done pretty well in my career, but it's not my real love. I have a hobby that I love pursuing. Unlike many hobbies, this is one of which many people have made careers.

Yes, if you know me, you know that I mean photography.

Just taking the camera with my as we ran errands today made me happier. Even taking a photo of myself in a grimy side mirror perked me up.

The problem is that I have a standard of living to which I'm accustomed. A big chunk of that involves a mortgage that needs to be paid every month. I might be willing to make some sacrifices to pursue a new career, but I don't want to sacrifice the roof over my head!

If I were to quit my job, go to school for a degree in photography and look for work, it could be many years (if ever) before I returned to this level of earnings. Yes, something less would be fine, but things could get pretty ugly before I reached a decent standard of living.

I've always said that photography would be my semi-retirement job. I'd content myself with enjoying it in my off hours, but a real commitment to my art would have to wait. Recently, I've been feeling like it's wrong to put it off. If I'd had a less conventional upbringing, I might have enrolled at a school of fine arts and studied my craft, but I didn't. Don't get me wrong--I don't fault my parents at all. If I had said I wanted to take that route, they'd have supported me, I'm sure. It's just that I didn't even consider that route in my early years. It never really occurred to me.

I guess there are plenty of people far worse off. Still, to be a magazine photographer or a travel writer/photographer (even better, I could shoot photos, and Marc could write the text) or even one of the guys who shoots photos for all sorts of industries... you know, the glossy shots you see in companies' annual reports? To be with National Geographic or Life magazine (is Life still publishing?), or to be in any number of other roles where I could put my skills to use. Now, that would be a great life!

I just hope I can make the most of my skills before the sunset of my life!

Friday, September 22, 2006

A pretty good day

It was a relatively calm day at work. I even got to leave a bit early, and then I went over to see how Patrick was doing. I'm happy to say he's doing great. Okay, the morphine seems to be helping, but he looks good. He doesn't have that post-surgical pallor that some have. He really looks great, and he's in good spirits. So that really made my day.

In other news, my laptop computer is back. It had some issues, and now it has been fixed. The problem is that one of the fixes required the replacement of the hard drive. They gave the old one back to me with a card for a place that rescues data from crashed hard drives. The prices on the card make me wonder if it's worth it! I really just want my Quicken data. Everything else either got moved to the new desktop PC before the laptop crashed or is stuff I can live without.

On that note, time to go see if Marc is interested in being molested! ;)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rugby photos

Okay, I'm done going through the photos, making a few corrections in Photoshop, adding my copyright and posting them on smugmug. So now I can share some here. As always, click on each photo for a large version. The link for the full set is at the bottom. And feel free to tell me if you like them--my ego always appreciates it! ;)

The full set is here. Hope you like them!

I'll post something soon!

All week, I saw various things I thought would make good blog subjects, but I've been too busy to post anything. Having waited, I now have really good material: more rugby shots!

We had a match yesterday. Photos will follow shortly!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A little photographic experimentation

You may recall my mentioning in a prior post that Marc bought me a special flash set. After our trip to the festival earlier today, I decided to relax a bit in the sunroom. I read a book for a while, and then I decided to experiment a bit with the flash set.

Using just two of the flashes, I decided to work with Mandy. She had made herself comfy in the large club chair that used to be my Mom's. I can't blame Mandy, since it's a very comfortable chair! :)

I set one flash up across the room from her and bounced it off the white ceiling. I set the other up near the back windows and put a yellow-orange gelatin filter on it, so I could create lighting like sunset (even though it wasn't that time of day yet, and today's overcast would kill any chance of such lighting occurring naturally even if it were).

I took a handful of shots, varying the angles of the flash heads and altering the ratios of the outputs of the two until I got what looked like a nice balance. This one is my favorite...

It has the warmth of the sunset, but it's subtle. It's not the appearance of blast of sunlight. Just a glow. Do you like it?

It's a festival!

I was going to refrain from posting until Patrick noticed that last post, but then I realized he's out of the country. So we'll just keep going with life until he gets back!


Over the next week or two, there will be weekend "festivals" in the towns to our south. First in Merrick and then in Bellmore. The main thing they accomplish is screwing up the parking at the train stations (where they're held).

So let me give a big THANKS! to the organizers for making my commute tougher. *sigh* Anyhow, the weather's pretty nice today, and that seemed like a good enough reason to grab the camera and see what was going on at the fair in Merrick. As it turns out, not a hell of a lot. But I did take a few photos while I was there.

This should encourage the kiddies to behave well.

Wood animals, anyone?

Real animals, anyone?
And isn't it great how excited dogs always are to meet?

Now THIS is a good idea, with all of the walking germ factories children around!

Ride tickets

Vomit, anyone?

Is this a Whack-A-Mole I see before me?
A classic! And don't you love the Mardi Gras beads hanging off the top?

For the little kiddies.

When I was a kid, Nathan's (the hot dog place--but the one near us had a big game room) had one of these. I lost a lot of quarters trying to cash in!

I know they're minimum wage jobs, but some of this looks like a fun way to spend the day.

Just out of the shot--someone saying, "Instead of the stuffed animals, what do I have to do to take you home?

Health food

More health food

And even more health food

Let's take a closer look at that last one...

Fried Oreos and fried cheescake? Like they're not good enough without being fried?

Good thing I'm dieting, or I might have tried some. :) Actually, that's not my kind of thing. On the other hand, the stuff in this next shot smelled wonderful!

If I were going to go for anything sweet, this would be more to my liking.

This guy was with one of the people running a booth, so he/she was tied up out back.

As we started heading out, I decided to take a few shots of this ride.

Don't they look thrilled to be there?

What I really wanted to do was see if I could find the right shutter speed to preserve some movement and still get the kids pretty sharp.

Shutter speed's too slow.

Getting there.

Oh, and do you think those two kids noticed the camera? :)

Joe Cool

That last shot? I should send it to the parents of all the little girls at this kid's school, framed like a Wanted Poster. This kid's trouble!

Now why couldn't I be so cool when I was that age? :)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The rest of the Ogunquit trip

Okay. I've milked the Ogunquit thing long enough, I suppose, so I'll just post all the rest of the photos now. Well, except for the orgy photos. I can't have those getting out! ;)

Our lunch on Sunday again brought us to Perkins Cove. At lunch, these silly boys couldn't help but be a little goofy.

The view to the south. Well, I think that's south. I'm not 100% certain, but I suppose that's not important now.

It started raining again, so they lowered the clear plastic flaps they use for bad weather. Then the rain got heavy, and this bee came in and spent a while drying himself off, working furiously with his little--what are those, anyhow? Feet? Paws? Probably not.--whatever they are to get the excess water off.

More views of the beach at the hotel.

And on the inlet side.

Our balcony with a view of the inlet side.

Speaking of the balcony, have I mentioned the antics of Patrick and Greg? The sex was just nonstop. Don't they ever sleep? We sure couldn't sleep much with all of that noise! On the balcony, in their room... it didn't matter. They're worse than any newlywed couple! I can only imagine that the headboard in their room was splinters by the time they were done!

So where were we?

We went for coffee (and hot chocolate) at a local coffee shop. It was nice. Again, lovely views.

Aren't they an adorable couple?

The beach in front of the hotel.

The hotel

Isn't he resourceful?

The dunes

Back at the hotel that evening, there was drinking! *gasp* Here we see Patrick playing a game where a wine cork is thrown and he catches it in a cup. Clearly, he's trashed!

Like I said. Trashed!

But still doing work, the poor thing.

Chris models the bottle of "3 Blind Moose" wine. This is what one drinks when one gets wine from the Cumberland Farms store in Ogunquit. BTW, isn't Chris cute?

Marc on the bed.

Hmmm. Speaking of that, I should wrap this up soon. I just thought of something else I want to do this evening! ;)

Next morning (before leaving for home)... breakfast at Bintliff's. FABULOUS! If you go to Ogunquit, go there. The breakfast was amazing.

The perpetual conversation piece.

Patrick entertains the table.

Someone at our table (someone who is repulsively trim, by the way--so it sure wasn't me!) got this for breakfast. For scale, take note of the fork and spoon. One doesn't go away from this place hungry!

We stopped on the way out of town, so Marc could do a little more antiquing.

On the road home. New England really is lovely (not that you could tell from this photo).

Leftovers from the industrial days. Much of this apparently has been turned into a senior residence or some such.

We stopped at a Shaw's supermarket on the way, because they don't have one near us.

Why Shaw's? Because someone told us our dogs would like "Zen Puppy" treats, and Shaw's carries them.

These signs reminded me of a friend of ours.

Another random shot of the road.

One last stop to see the tailor.

That last one? That's the hotel corridor. We use a Korean tailor who flies to the US, goes to certain cities and rents a hotel room at each stop, so his clients can go see him. His prices are great, and the quality is excellent.

Okay, so that's the trip. Hope I didn't bore you to tears. Now I'll go see if I can jump Marc! ;)