Tuesday, July 31, 2007

First flame!

Well today was an interesting day. I finally made my first flame on iStock Photo. This means I have an image that has sold more than 100 times - actually sold it twice today so the number is 101. Some people can hit this mark a lot sooner than I did - but I finally made it and I actually have another image that is right in line to become the second flame (just 4 more sales to go). Speaking of "flame" we also have flame back in our water heater... Well, it's actually a NEW water heater and it is working GREAT. And I didn't have to install the darn thing. There is a whole story to go along with that - maybe I will write it later. I am just glad that we have made it through another catastrophe!

Monday, July 30, 2007

What now...

Can you believe this (well you probably can) we get home last night and our hot water heater bites the dust... Luckily it is in the garage and it didn't blow up but this morning I was greeted with a luke warn shower. At first I had hoped it was just the pilot light - but it wasn't... So now I have another one on order (local shop this afternoon) and it will be installed tomorrow. So it looks like we are again relying on the trailer to save our bacon! Just hard to believe...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Livemore, movies and vinyards...

This is the weekend that we took Devin and Desirae up to Livermore to stay with Nana and Max. For the last couple of years they take the kids for a couple of weeks. So they will spend the next two weeks here and then meet us in Pismo for the return trip home. Toward the end of the day (after dinner) me, Max and Desirae headed into the hills to try to catch the sunset and get some neat images of the vinyards. It was great fun and I think both of us made some really nice captures.Denise and I also had the opportunity to finally go and see the new Harry Potter movie. As you may recall this was something we had planned to do when Nana and Max drove through on their way to Lauglin but because of our A/C woes it didn't happen. So we made a mad dash out, had a quick lunch and caught the movie. I am not into the Harry Pottery stuff as much as Denise is but I thought it was a pretty good movie and it seemed to flow pretty quickly.

So tomorrow we head back home and we get to spend the rest of the week thinking and getting ready for our Pismo Beach trip. At work we are going through a re-inspection so it is probably going to be a pretty odd week. There is a chance that I might have to work the mid shift - I just need to make sure I don't get sick or anything before our trip!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back on track and new camera...

Well things are starting to get back on track. We have our A/C fixed, our new electrical, and we were ready for Nana and Max to come down this weekend. Max purchased a new Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi and was hoping that we could talk camera. Last weekend wasn't really an option with all the drama going on but this time we were able to pull out cameras and give everything a go. First impression, the Canon XTi is a pretty neat little camera. Max is having focusing problems, very similar to the problems I was having with my D70 when I first purchased it, so hopefully I have given her some ideas on how to address that. For me the problem is that I was not waiting for the camera to finish focusing before I made the exposure. Since I have slowed down things have worked MUCH better. Hopefully that advise will work well for her.

Max, a plumber by trade, also helped me out with the proper way to repair a sprinkler line. As it turns out I wasn't doing it right and as a result the same spot would continue to break. The break this time wasn't my repair - but the other folks (the propane guys) repaired it the same way I would have. So hopefully this new repair will hold up. She also helped with fixing our toilet that has been leaking since we came back from vacation. So at least we got a couple of things done this weekend!

We are also getting ready for our Pismo Beach trip. I think we have another Camping World trip we have to make to get the last remaining things we need to get. Denise and I are REALLY looking forward to that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Take a step back...

Sometimes you just have to take a step back when you look at the things that are going on around you. This weekend was supposed to be a nice family gathering with a visit from my mom and Max with the opportunity for Denise and I to have a few hours of time to go do something together (a movie was the plan).

Everything quickly changed on Friday when Denise and I, who were both not at the house, came home to find the A/C broken and not working. Denise quickly called the air condition place that installed our unit a few years ago (and who happens to have his home office about 100 yards from our house) but was unable to get them to answer the telephone.

Here’s the deal, we live in the Mojave Desert, which was scheduled (and hit) really “nice” 100+ temperatures during the weekend. So trying to survive without a/c is really not an option. We made it through the first night (barely) but Saturday was a disaster from the beginning. The house never really cooled down during the night and when we woke up it was hot, hot, hot!!! I am not sure if you have had the opportunity to truly experience the joy of the Mojave desert but to image it turn on the oven at 350 degrees, once it has warned up, open it up, and sit your head in there. It is really cool because you can actually feel the water from your eyes evaporate! Needless to say I was a raving ass for most of the weekend. Oh, and just for the record, the a/c folks NEVER called us back over the weekend.

We decided to turn to plan “B” which was to light up our travel trailer and get some relief! The first problem is we did not have an electrical out that could support the current draw from the RV a/c unit. Okay, so no problem. Readers of the blog probably remember when we purchased the trailer and remember that I bought a really nice, China copy, of a Honda generator. I should pause here for a moment and remind everyone about the “buy it right, but it once” mantra that I completely failed to follow… So I powered up the generator, connected the trailer, and fired up the a/c unit. Well, as soon as the compressor kicked it, the generator powered off. Talk about a defeated feeling. Neither of us was very happy at that particular moment either! (Notice a trend do you?)

Keep in mind that at this time the temperature was just breaking 100 outside and the house was hotter than that (it actually felt cooler outside). We collectively decided to remedy our failed generator purchase and get a good (read Honda) solution. So I picked up the phone, called camping world (to make sure they had everything) and loaded everyone up and started heading toward Bakersfield. We ended up going with (2) Honda EU 2000i generators with the parallel kit that gives us 4000 watts of power in a more portable (ie – Denise can move the darn things). All I can say is the trailer with the generators was a lifesaver! We basically spent the entire weekend (until Tuesday) in the trailer living by generator. Now this was a major pain because we had to re-fill the units every 4 to 5 hours and we made numerous trips to the gas station. The other thing is we were worried about someone complaining about the noise (even though they are “quiet” units, it’s a generator, it makes noise). We would run the units as long as we dared with the longest time being Sunday night went we shut them off around midnight.

Okay so here’s the real deal here. We could focus on all the bad points, and boy was their bad points, or we could focus on the good. So, we did have a pretty nice trip in Bakersfield, we purchased a great set of generators, we had a nice lunch/dinner with Nana and Max, we got to test out the trailer before our Pismo trip, and we had an awesome grilled salmon (camping in the front yard). Denise was also able to get an electrician to come over and wire up a 125V 30 Amp RV circuit so we can now just plug the trailer into the house and run everything (include both the rv a/c and the house a/c). Devin and Desirae also had opportunity to stay with Nana and Max in a hotel in Mojave (which I am sure was an experience in and of itself). Considering the circumstances the kids were pretty good. Actually I ended up buying them a set of iPod for being so good about it

In the end I think I am starting to embrace the drama that is our life. Everything we always do seems to go just a bit off – but heck I know that, Denise knows that, so just roll with it… All I can say is sure is easier to type those words sitting in the house in the a/c!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Too much...

During dinner Deanna just gave out and couldn't stay with us any more. We have her sitting at the table now so at least this time she didn't fall asleep in her plate! I think everyone in the house can relate with getting over being sick and stuff. Anyway Denise snapped this pic and I thought it was a great shot!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Everyone's sick...

So it seems being sick is going around the house. Desirae turned up with pink-eye on Thursday night and it got worse Friday. I left a bit early on Friday so I could take Desirae down to the doctor and get her a better regiment of medication to fight her eye infection. The doctor also said that she was having a problem with her right ear and prescribed some medication for that as well. She was a pretty good little girl during the entire ordeal and it seems like the new meds are working pretty good.

Denise has also started not feeling well, she is normally the healthy one of the bunch, but she just wasn't able to dodge the bullet this time. She ended up going to the doctor today because she wasn't getting any better. They did do a battery of tests to make sure nothing major was a miss and they didn't find anything major. They were concerned because she was having a bad reaction to the decongestant causing her heart rate to run up. So the doctor recommend some different OTC medications that should hit the mark better.

Hopefully this week everyone will start feeling better.

OBTW - My mother is a tech support genius! I am not really one to use the telephone technical support of the various products that I use. My mother on the other hand is like a pip-viper that will not let go. You see we were having problems using the Apple iChat application to video conference. We had tried all kinds of different things to make it work and it was beating your head against the wall. Anyway she wouldn't let it do and she ended up spending probably 6 hours of a couple of days on the phone with Apple and Linksys folks. Bottom line - the damn thing works now. The key was with the Linksys folks, but they walked her through all kinds of changes on her router and now everything is working without a hitch. So major kudos goes out to "pimpmacnana" because she truly impressed me! I really was at the point of giving up and just using Skype - but her perseverance paid off! I am also very impressed with Linksys's technical support because she has had this router for a LONG time (I have the same model) and they still stood behind their product and supported it! Way to go Linksys.

On a final note - I WILL start shooting with my real cameras again - so I hope folks don't mind the iPhone images. Denise is also seriously thinking about starting her own blog (which I hope she does) so maybe there might be another perspective besides mine... Hmmm, that might NOT be a good thing! :)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back to work...

Well, it was back to work today. I was meeting with Todd toward the end of the day and we were working on some personnel ideas/issues and I took this capture while he was on the phone. Actually I started messing with his camera, the one on the desk, and I thought the angle looked pretty good so I grab my phone and took the same angle with it. I definitely do not have the resolution of a DSLR but I think the shot still turned out well.

I also had the opportunity to look at some of the wedding photography from a guy at works late wife and it was truly amazing. She really had an amazing eye and her photography and wedding books were truly impressive. I felt very honored that he was willing to share her work with me and I really wish I would have had an opportunity to have know her. I met her once at work but never had a chance to talk photography with her.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July!

Well, we had another successful 4th of July! We didn't have anyone over and it was just us but will still did all the same stuff. Denise made some outstanding food including her famous BBQ ribs that were just fabulous! She also made home made potato salad and her signature desert. Everything was made in a much small quantity of course - but it was all REALLY good! The California City fireworks display was impressive and I think this year was even better than last year. I decided not to photography it this year but instead sat and watched it with the family. Devin and Desirae really enjoyed it whereas Deanna was a bit more confused and freaked out by it. In the end she did come around and we all enjoyed a pretty good show.

So its back to work tomorrow for the rest of the week, hopefully it will be a quite!

Starting the 4th...

The morning started off well with a flag raising ceremony with the Daisy's at the base ball fields in the city. Denise and Desirae made the trip over there while Devin, Deanna, and I stayed home. This was the first time a flag has been raised on this particular flag pole and the mayor came out and did his thing. The local newspaper was there too photographing the event. Desirae was really happy when they got home because she said, "I am going to be in the paper!" So it will be really neat to see that next week when it comes out.

This year is a pretty low-key event and we didn't invite anyone over. As it turned out our yard is completely trashed. The water went off while we were on vacation so the grass in the back is completely dead and everything is overgrown with weeds taller than Deanna. Now Denise did do an excellent job weeding the front - but the back is completely lost right now. That is probably something that we will start trying to address this weekend...

Anyway considering this is posted early - I should most more through out the day!

Happy 4th of July everyone!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Looking up...

The other day when I was taking (crappy) pictures of the iPhone I also did a simple shoot with the girls. Now, since I was lighting the iPhone overhead with a softbox and I didn't have any lighting the who exercise had the girls lookup up or having their faces up. I had 3 shots that I thought worked pretty good and I decided to use them for stock - they are sitting in most of the queues right now but one site already approved them. I also made this one my wallpaper on my iPhone - so it looks pretty neat there.

OBTW - one thing I have forgotten to mention is that it seems like things are getting better at work. We have new boss and he seems pretty good. My first impression is very positive. On Friday we gave him the grand tour of all our my facilities. When Hubbard left he said that we needed to give the new guy a complete tour and show him everything. So we drove 96 miles and drove him to every site. This is the first time in like ever that a Commander has been taken to all of the sites. I think it gave him a pretty good perspective on the size of the base - plus all the equipment that we have. Hopefully it went well - will see how things go tomorrow! But at least I feel positive for a change - that is "kinda" nice!