Thursday, March 30, 2006

No shots please...

Deanna had her (late) 6 month appointment which included multiple round of shots. Denise said that she handled the first one pretty good but once the second one came everything went downhill from there. So she has been vaccinated for Polio, Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, and Hib, and finally Pneumococcal Conjugate. She also measured and weighed in at 26 1/4' and 16 lbs and 5 oz. The other good news out of the appointment was that she is right where she is supposed to be on everything. Deanna was still a bit crabby once I got home but considering all the poking and prodding I can understand!

I also received a follow-up call from the University of Phoenix. I had requested some information online I think it was yesterday and I guess they don't waste anytime tracking you back down. I am not sure if this is something that I am going to do. I need to make sure the degree that I would end up with at the end would actually do something for me. All of the promotion positions are a different series than I am currently and I would need to make sure that I would qualify with the different programs offered by them. Hopefully it will work and hopefully I can find a way for work to pay for it. I did find out that my GI Bill would pay for the whole darn thing, but I think I have waited too long to really take advantage of it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Backup update...

All I can say is thank god for multiple backups! Fortunately before my restore I was running a weekly backup to my daily backups on a separate 160 GB external firewire drive. So when I went back to that archive I had my 2004 and 2005 libraries in tack. As it turns out the only thing I lost was time and realistically that wasn't too bad. I do need to purchase some more drives to really archive all this stuff and I think I need to have a least 2 copies of everything to make sure nothing is lost. I thinking about buying some reconditioned Lacie firewire drives to fill the gap right now.

So - again - go backup your precious data!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Backup woes...

Well, since I re-replaced the hard drive in the iMac I haven't run a backup on my pictures so today I decided to re-run my archive program thinking that it would just start where it left off. It didn't work out that way. Instead it DELETED ALL of my previous libraries and replaced them with my 2006 archive. Needless to say I am not too happy about this. The only good thing is that I was also running a weekly archive of my images and I had another copy of everything on my other external hard drive. So I don't think I actually lost anything. However I won't be sure until the copy is complete and I get a chance to inspect the data that I do have. I need to order another 250GB external drive so I can have enough space to store everything. Right now what is killing me is the 2005 67GB archive. That is just SO big I can't put it on any of the other drives that I have. So far my burn rate shooting JPG is much less and with the 3659 images I have it measures in just under 9GB.

Anyway the point of all this... Backup your data and make sure you have multiple backup copies...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

And we're off!

We loaded up the trailer and headed out on Friday after work. I had connected the trailer and pulled it out Thursday night and just drove the Bronco to work on Friday. The idea as that I would just call her on the way home and leave when I drove up. For the most part it worked out really well and we got on the road just a little after when I thought we would.

We stayed at the Boulder Creek RV Park near Lone Pine California. I had heard good things about the place and we figured it was close enough to give it a try. Actually the "feel" of the place wasn't as nice as Calico but once we got settled in it was pretty good. The facilities were clean and nice. The only two bad things about the place were the sounds of traffic from Highway 395 and the smell from the Goat pen. The latter was REALLY bad when we first got there and I actually thought it was a sewer problem. It wasn't until later that I really figured out where it was coming from. We were even thinking about moving to a different spot. Fortunately the wind finally shifted and the smell shifted with it!

Since the weather wasn't really cooperating for a relaxing stay AROUND the trailer, in other words it was saying INSIDE the trailer we decided to head out and see what there was to see. One of the first places we came to was the Manzanar Relocation Camp. Neither one of us knew it was there and we just happened to turn the radio to the information channel when I saw the road marker so we decided to stop. I didn't really take too many pictures there as the exhibits (and movie) were kind of intense. Basically Manzanar was one of the 10 (I think) Japanese relocation camps scattered throughout the United States after Japan attacked us during WWII. I can understand the reasoning behind it but it had to be pretty hard for those American's there just happened to fit the wrong profile that were ordered to relocate. It was a bit frustrating when some people in "comment" book equated it to Guantanamo eluding to the fact that we "are doing it again". I mean give me a break. But what can one expect living in California... Anyway the part was really well done and the exhibits and driving tour were incredible. Fortunately the folks that were relocated there only had to be there for a little over three years, but they were not able to go back to their homes on the west coast. They all had to relocated in-land and couldn't stay in California, Oregon, and Washing. If you ever pass by this area you should stop by and take a look.

When the weather did clear up the kids did what they do best... Play in the dirt! It is truly amazing (to me that is) how much time they can spend just playing in the dirt. When I took this photo most of the other visitors were gone (on Saturday) and there were not too many people left in the park. I did light a fire a bit later but the weather turned again and really turned windy and nasty. We had hoped to cook part of dinner over the fire but I finally just dumped water on it and put it out. Denise ended up making a tri-tip that was AWESOME! Since the diet we haven't really eaten much meat, but man that was GOOD!!!

Today we just got up a bit late, made breakfast, played at the park, and headed out. From running around at the part Desirae was beat and crashed shortly after we got on the road. Devin was being really good about her falling asleep on his shoulder.

Even though the weekend didn't go as expected Denise and I were really happy with the turnout. We did travel around and checked out all the other campgrounds that were local to Lone Pine. We came across Manzanar and we both were really glad that we stopped there. We also had a pretty good time at the Boulder Creek RV Park. All in all we are eagerly planning our next trip!

As usual I posted all the selects from this trip to here!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Headin' out!

Well, we have the trailer just about ready to go and connected up to the truck! Tomorrow I will take the Bronco to work and on my way home I will give Denise the call to load everyone up. When I get home it should be a small matter of parking the Bronco and jumping in the GMC to leave! We are heading up the 395 to Boulder Creek and it should be a nice relaxing time! Denise already checked with them and it is no problem if we get there a bit late they said to just come on in, find a spot and we can figure everything out Saturday morning.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Mid week...

Well I continue to edit photos from last weekends shoot. I am not sure if I really like this shot but decided to go ahead and put it up on the site. I must admit that the more I look through the shots the happier I am with them. I need to get a bigger back drop so I can do full length portraits.

I didn't mention this yesterday, but I "got the call" on Tuesday so I have been reliving my past hell once again. It looks like I get to go back to my normal job tomorrow morning and then I get to spend the remainder of the week in my dungeon. The only really good thing is it has given me a chance to connect back up with Pat and really talk about the RVing stuff.

Speaking of that - I think we are going to make the trek to Boulder Creek this weekend. It is close enough that we should be able to get there on Friday.

Monday, March 20, 2006

More LRS

Well, this is another shot for this weekend that I edited tonight. For the most part, after going through the images, I am pretty happy with them. I wasn't so happy when I was shooting them though. I guess I had a vision in my head on how I thought the shoot was going to go - and nothing really went the way I wanted it to. I think part of the problem was that my background wasn't that big and I wasn't able to do any full standing shots of Denise. I think had I bought another sheet and used one on the floor and the other up it would have worked. But I didn't buy 2. Oh well...

We are trying to figure out where we may go this weekend. Like I said yesterday, WeatherDock seems to think that the weather is going to be good. We are just having one heck of a time trying to find a place that is relatively close that would be good to go. We were thinking someplace in Ventura, but our internet searches are not going very well. It starts to get a bit stressful when you can really find a good place to go.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

More "Living Room Studio"

Well, I pulled out the gear tonight to make some portraits. I even ironed the backdrop, well considering how bad it looked I didn't really have a choice. The main goal of this evening was to make the above capture to show Deanna with her new hair cut. Now it isn't so new, but it has taken me a while.

Both Devin and Desirae wanted to get into the action and have their portraits taken. Devin just nailed it on posing tonight and I ended up only taking about 17 shots of him. Desirae, on the other hand, was a bit more problematic and I took a ton of her. She really gets caught up in looking at the flash and anticipating it going off which just ruins the pose. My favorite shot was this one cropped pretty tight. For some reason she really likes wearing her Halloween clothing.

For the most part the entire weekend was fairly uneventful and today fell in line with that. I did get the utility trailer behind the fence in front of the Outback. I was kind of worried about that but everything worked out. According to Denise, and her WeatherDock, we should have clear skies next weekend so I think we are going to plan a short weekend camping trip for next weekend. We are not sure where we are going to go, but I would like to find someplace that we could make it on Friday after work so we could maximize our time.

I did take the opportunity to crash in the Outback for a bit. It is a perfect place to hide for a nap! It was pretty nice and the weather was a bit better during the day so it wasn't too cold.

We did walk over to an open house across the block. It is a 2050 square foot 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath house with a 3 car garage. It looked pretty nice and they were asking $327k for it.. Hard to believe and it will be interesting to see how quickly they sell the house. The homes around it are not really great looking and the house is a bit out of place. At least they continue to build homes like that around here so that is a good thing!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Late blogger...

Okay, I am WAY behind on posting a blog. The week went by fairly quickly and I was sick for part of it. I really should have posted something but I just haven't been able to get around to it. The above photo is a not-so-great photo of the new truck. Considering the weather has been pretty bad it is fairly dirty right now so it looks better here anyway. The really bad part about the weather being so bad is that we really can't go do any camping right now - unless we just want to stay in the trailer, which isn't really the point. I suppose in some ways the weather would be good for a photo trip - but I didn't think about that until just now...

One thing that is really interesting, since I have gone back to my normal job the weeks are FLYING by! I mean it seems like the week starts and then it is over. So that is kind of nice. The weeks are filled with a bunch of crisis but I think that is to be expected until I get back into the swing of things and get things going how I would like them to be.

I want to do some more portraits so since I need to get some shots of Deanna and her new hair cut I will try to pull out the studio tomorrow to make that capture and to get some new shots of Denise.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Small Day Trip...

Desirae and I loaded up in the truck and headed over to Red Rock Canyon to check out their campgrounds. It is a dry (no hook-ups) but Denise and I are thinking that it might be a good close place to go and I wanted to check it out to see what it was like. No one else but Desirae wanted to go so it was just us. It was an interesting place and I think it would be a good weekend trip. I know it is close but I think it would be fun and we could do some exploring around the area. The rock formations are pretty nice and colorful and they have fire pits so we would be able to do smors.

I spent the morning configuring the hitch for the new truck. It was a bit of a pain but I think I have it ALMOST figured out. After I was done I re-checked the manual and realized I have one minor problem that I need to fix before we go anywhere. I drove around the block a few times and went toward Silver Saddle to check the feel of the new truck towing. All in all it felt pretty good and I think the new truck is going to work out very well in this capacity. It was also easier to back up. I was able to get it where I wanted it when I came back. It is still probably going to be a chore to get it in the back yard, but I think it will be easier with this truck than with the Bronco.

Speaking of the Bronco - with the weather being so cold I inadvertently broke the bug deflector when I grabbed it yesterday when I was checking for rabbits eating it. It pretty well shattered and I am not sure what I am going to do about that... Oh well...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Movin' to solids...

Well, Deanna has moved onto to solid foods! If you can call rice cereal solid food! This is a big step and and the first one toward Denise not having to nurse anymore! Deanna does seem to wear a lot of the food, but it is still cool that she is eating. I was thinking about giving her a french fry the other day and Denise about bit my head off! Oh well, it is been a while since the last time we went through this! :)

We also gave Deanna her first hair cut (trim) today. I had to hold her head in place so we were unable to get any photographs from it.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The van is back...

Okay, this will be q quick one... The damage was fairly minimal and we got the van back yesterday. It was just the one wire on the injector and the shop was able to fix it for under $50. So we have all the vehicles working again!

Monday, March 06, 2006

The van was lunch...

Well, it happened again. The rabbits decided to move into the van while we were away for the weekend and chopped down on the fuel injector cabling. Denise loaded everyone up and when she started the van it just didn't sound right and the service engine light soon came on. She aborted her trip into town for Deanna's doctor's appointment and popped open the hood to find thumper chopping away, pooping on the engine and looking back at her. Well, after the prerequisite scream the little guy jumped off the engine and hid in the bushes, I am sure waiting for her to leave so he could go back to his lunch!

Anyway the van is back in the shop and hopefully the damage won't be too bad this time. I guess it is time to go back to rabbit rampage and thin out the population again...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First trip... A success!!!

Our first "camping" trip was a success! It started out on Friday morning cold and wet but we got on the road and made it to Calico Ghost Town pretty quick. We were really kind of lucky because when we got there the check-in person wasn't sure they were going to have a space for us. They filled up pretty quickly and we got one of the handful of open spaces. That would have been really disappointing had they not had anything available when we got there.

So, in the rain we setup the Outback and made camp. Because of the weather we stayed inside pretty much the remaineder of the day and didn't do a lot. Fortunately Denise purchased a 10" portable DVD player (she likes to watch movies) and it came in real handy while we were all stuck in the trailer because of the weather.

We also made a jaunt into Barsto to because once we got setup we realized that we forgot a few things... The main thing being blocks to extend the stabilizers. So we hit Wal-Mart and bought a few things (can't remember right now) and then we went to H&E home center and I got the real nice people there to cut me up a 4x6x8 into 8 chunks. I was using rocks and stuff to stabilize the trailer - but I didn't think that was going to work very well. I felt MUCH better once I got the blocks under there.

On Saturday once we finally got moving we went into the Ghost Town and the first thing we came too was a pony ride so we let Desirae and Devin ride the pony. It was pretty cool and they both seems to really enjoy it. Walking around Calico was a lot of uphill travel on uneven terrain, but it went pretty good. We did just about everything they had to offer, to include Maggie's Mine, Mystery House (I bailed on that one), craft project, and the train ride. I don't think there was anything else that we could have done there. Devin really walked his legs off there and it wasn't until the very end that I carried him back down the hill to the pavement.

Anyway, if you want to see the pictures I took, you can find them here!

There were only two bad things from the trip. First, I didn't adjust the sway bar correctly before we left so basically I drove the entire way there without any sway control - that made for a very stressful drive. Second, I don't think the Bronco is really up to pulling that much weight. It was makin' funny noises when we got there and right after I disconnected the trailer. Once we drove it around a bit everything started working right again, but I don't think it would be up for extended pulling duty. I guess it is a good thing I have that new GMC in the driveway! Oh, on the way back, with the sway bar adjusted (I am not sure if it was correctly adjusted) it didn't sway around so much and made for much more comfortable drive back.

Friday, March 03, 2006

On the road again... Almost...

Well, we just about have everything loaded up and ready to go. The weather is pretty bad right now, cold and rainy. We will just take it slow and steady especially since we are not really in any hurry. The weather tomorrow and Sunday is supposed to be a lot better so hopefully we will have a good weekend. Even if it isn't we have games and such for the kids, and as a last resort we can pull out Denise's new portable DVD player and have the kids watch movies in their bunks! Either way our expectations are for a good trip!

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Desirae did some finger painting the other day and had a real blast. Denise had this stuff for a while and decided to take some pictures while Desirae was being creative. Personally I think the "paintings" turned out pretty cool and it was really great to see how happy Desirae was in the photographs.

This has been a pretty quick and intense week and I am really glad to get to my "Friday" point for the week. Tomorrow we will take our first travel trailer trip and we finally decided on going to Calico Ghost Town. The weather looks like it is not going to be great all the way around, but Calico looks like it has the best chance for good weather. As it turns out the weather at Lone Pine wasn't going to be very good and there was even a good chance for snow... So I think this will be a better trip for us.

I also went into town on Wednesday to pick up a portable DVD player that Denise wanted to get basically for herself and to potentially use for the kids if things get too boring for them on the trip. While down in Lancaster I thought it would be a good idea to go check out the GMC trucks and see what was available. Well, to make a long story short, I pulled a "Tony" and came home with a new 2006 GMC Sierra 1500 truck! Denise never really liked the Murano so I figured I might as well just do it and get something a little better for towing. Denise really likes the truck and I think this is going to work out good. I don't have 500 miles on it yet nor do I have the braking controller so we are still using the Bronco for tomorrows trip... Though it sure was nice to be able to move the 2 trailers around without having to switch towing vehicles! I figure my little utility trailer doesn't really count as towing within the first 500 miles...