Thursday, December 27, 2007

Aslin is a RedHead???

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year folks:

Well someone I know, namely our "kid sister" Aslin dyed her hair red. Ironic considering that her mom is a natural redhead. Amazing what that girl comes up with.

Its only the 27th and I'm already a tired wreck. Amazing what happy kids can do to you having to jog alongside Laci as she furiously pedals her new bicycle down the way. She has yet to put that bike down.
And Gigi is in love with her new portable DVD player (which we require her to share with Laci). Got the idea from Carolyn & Joe (long time close family friends) who got their little girl, Emma a portable DVD to watch educational videos. Thought we'd try the same with our two and its working like a charm.
Of course we also have to deal with Bratz and Dora the Explorer videos but they're educational as well. Dora seems to be quite interesting as she helps teach two languages (English and Spanish).

Browns stupidly lost last Sunday to the Bengals. Now their playoff hopes are out of their hands and depend on the Indianapolis Colts to win for the Browns to get in. Had they beat Cincy, they'd have locked up a playoff spot. Aaahhh, that stinks.

Can't say I did bad this Christmas myself. Ended up with a new HD DVD format player. Now all I need is a Blu-Ray player and my upgrade will be complete, at least till the new HD projector comes along. But that is still around $2200 away but the price on 1080p products is dropping. I may wait a little longer for those.

More comin soon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Its ALMOST Christmas, and its GameDay for the Browns

CHRISTMAS 2007: Well folks, we're two days from the Christmas holiday and to satisfy our eagerness to open our gifts to see what we usually need to take back to the store and exchange it for what we really wanted. But that's just the way it goes.
My wife and I have another way, we shop together and she picks out what she really wants and I get it for her (at a later date to preserve some semblence of surprise). I also try to get one nice real surprise gift or two. Works like a charm.

I've received word that my family has bought me some real gifts as well this year.
As for everyone else on the gift list, except for two soon-2B-spoiled little girls, I get them either gift cards or maybe just plain cold cash. Works every time folks. Now on occasion I get to take someone on a shopping spree (like I did for Carri-Anne and Aslin) for a special day like Christmas or their Sweet 16 birthday.

But the real meaning of Christmas goes far beyond simple presents. It represents the ultimate gift of eternal life that Christ died for to give us. Which is why we celebrate His Birthday on this Earth. OK so we don't have an exact date for His earthly birth but we celebrate it on December 25th.

OK enough from Pastor Hank. I'd make a lousy Billy Graham.

GAMEDAY: Today is game day for the Browns and this one is a big one for the men in the Orange helmets. Win it and we secure a playoff spot. Lose it and we may need a lot of help next week to get in. Its the Battle of Ohio and we're up against the Cincinnati Bengals. OK so we're 9-5 and we should beat a 4-10 team but you never know with this rivalry. The Browns better bring their A game which I think they will.

HEADED HOME FOR CHRISTMAS: Its rainy here in Georgia as I get ready for the final leg back into Florida and home for the holidays. I'll be on vacation for awhile but it will be anything but a nice, relaxing vacation, thanks to two new additions to our family (Gigi and Laci). Which is OK by me but oh are we ever in for it.
Saw a cute little cheerleader doll which of course I ended up buying for Laci (3). Gigi of course is big into the Bratz line and that is what our family is getting her. Those two are going to make out like freakin bandits this Christmas.

POLITICAL RANT: So I'm tracking the Republican race for the candidacy and my favorite, Tom Tancredo already has pulled out of the race. He only ran on one issue, immigration. Hopefully some of what Tom stood for will be reflected in the race coming this January.
Now why do I NOT feel like writing any more political ranting stuff today. Maybe because it is the Christmas season and I'd much rather write about family & friends than roast Republican political hides (don't worry Democrats, I'll be roasting yours big-time when the primaries are over).

Merry Christmas to All and God Bless You

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pizza Party in Laredo.

Well folks, the van is here in Laredo, TX where you can look out across the Mexican border. And you can get some tasty REAL Mexican food. Oh delicious. Throw in some Papa John's pizza (very popular with the government folks) and it makes for a fun time.

Christmas is almost here. My boss (my wife) and I are buying this year for two new special family members (Gigi and Laci, more on this in a future blog) but suffice to say I've spent about half my Christmas wad (and a chunk of the $$ I had designated for a new second digital SLR, Canon EOS-40D) on Dora the Explorer and Bratz stuff.
Oh and for this run, my wife put one of the big "Bratz" dolls in the passenger seat, named it "Kyrsten" and I'm supposed to make sure it stays there with me until I get home for Christmas where "Kyrsten" will be given to Gigi as a Christmas gift. OK so you get some good-natured ribbing from some of the NASA guys but once I tell them what it's for, I get some honest-to-goodness congratulations and well wishes.
(Personally I wanted to get Gigi a BB gun, a Jags cheerleader outfit and teach her how to shoot but that will have to wait till her birthday. My mother-in-law would have a flying fit).

This year, I got the Christmas cards done real fast even if I no longer have a copy of my old dBASE (later Access) Christmas list database. Little by little though I'm rebuilding the database (the old file got wiped out last year when my hard drive crashed. One of the things I didn't have a backup copy of). Good thing about this is that I can get rid of the old Christmas listings (folks I haven't heard from in 2-3 years).
I was going to add to Aslin's a iTunes gift card but she's apparently lost her iPod. I'll have to ask Kirsten (Aslin's mom) if they're planning on replacing Aslin's lost iPod.

Watching the current crop of Republican candidates from which I MIGHT choose one to vote for is getting to be a real bore. Only about 3 of these turkeys actually sound like real Reagan Republicans (which unfortunately doesn't include any of the so-called "top tier"). It will be interesting once the electoral process gets underway in January. C'mon Republicans, give me a reason to get out and vote for you, other than keeping the Socialists (formerly the Democrats) from winning. Its a real drag having to choose between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich in November.

Well my new film scanning business is just about ready to go live. The web site still needs a little work but the new web site is up and ready. Just need a few additional scans put up. Some of these pics are over 30 years old (some old Kodachrome 110 slides and negatives) which I shot. Once I get them reduced down to size (the 110 TIFFs are like 12 MB in size), I'll post a few here. That Nikon film scanner is pretty amazing the job it does with the small 110 frame.

OK so the Cleveland BROWNS are now 9-5 (assuring them of their first winning season since 2002). One more win and they lock up a playoff spot. Pretty amazing consider everyone was picking this team for no better than 6-10 this season. Personally I'm hoping for a Browns vs. Jaguars playoff game maybe played in Jacksonville (the wife, me, Gigi and Laci would go to the game. Aslin would join us as well, heck we need a babysitter while I'm yelling my head off cheering on the BROWNS).

Well, I'll add more later as I think of it. Got some techincal issues to tend to now.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Googling in Gulfport.

Ah, here in Gulfport, Mississippi glad to be well south of all that wintry weather hitting OK and the Midwest. Of course I was nice and safe at home in Florida but duty calls.

Film Scanning Business Update: I've been testing out the new 110 film holder for my Nikon film scanner. Works great in that it gets 110 negative strips thru the scanner unharmed and scanned nicely using Ed Hamrick's VueScan software.
But VueScan still has a couple bugs to work out when using it with the FH-816 film holder on the Nikon 9000ED scanner. I've sent a detailed report to Ed along with the log files. So far Ed has been pretty good about supporting his product.
So far though, I've scanned over 100 of my old surviving 110 negatives, some of which were shot over 32 years ago. I'm getting some good scans but as any photog knows, Kodacolor 400 film in 110 format was one of the grainest (lousiest) films made. There's only so much image data you can pull from a 110 negative (but its far more than can be pulled from scanning a 110 print).
Once I get em scanned, time for some Photoshop magic to pull out image data and make for saving my old memories for the digital age.

Christmas cards are almost done, and I'm getting exasperated with sticking money (and gift cards) in the cards. But the warm feeling of giving (especially to our family and neighbors) more than makes up for it. And Christmas shopping, sheeesh!!! (What Aslin, that new iPhone you want costs WHAT? ). And my wife's gifts.....well there went that lump of $ I was hoping to save for the new digital SLR (Canon EOS-40D) for my photo business. Guess it will have to wait a couple more months.

But maybe I'll see that new HD-DVD , or even a Blu-Ray player under my tree this year. Tough choice between the two, and I'll probably end up with both anyway. I might want the HD-DVD player first since the newly remastered "Star Trek" episodes are out on HD-DVD.

And now I'm drooling over the new Panasonic HDTV projectors (model PT-AE2000). Oh to have that new 1080p model to watch Cleveland BROWNS games on. OK so I do have a HDTV but the new projector technology puts my 2004 model to shame.
That and I'd love to see one of my old cult favorite movies on HD-DVD or Blu_Ray, Night of the Comet featuring one of my big movie star "crushes" from my college freshman days, Kelli Maroney (Kyrsten kinda resembles Kelli, heck Kyrs even had Kelli's feathered hairstyle back some years ago before I met her).
BTW: Glad to see that Kelli is still doing quite well for herself as an actress. Count me as one of her fans for life.
Speaking of films on DVD, they still haven't released one of my older favorites, SkateTown USA on DVD. What is taking so long? Oh it was a cheesy film about the short-lived roller-disco craze but that's what makes it so fun to watch, much like Thank God Its Friday (which I do have on DVD). I keep checking Who owns the reproduction rights to Skatetown USA anyway?

Getting near time to update the MySpace page with some newer pictures, to include the "Charlie's Angels" pics (the three lovely young ladies helping Kyrsten and I decorate our home for Christmas). I've posted one in a previous blog here.

And speaking of Christmas stuff, good to be getting some of my lost and broken equipment replaced. Someone made off with my Lumiquest kit at a wedding I did and I managed to break a hot shoe on one of my flash units. Clumsy me. But its finally getting replaced.

And to say it again....Merry Christmas to all who read this blog.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Its Been Awhile

Yes folks, I know its been awhile since my last post. Just haven't had the itch in my typing finger. That and a lot to do for the Christmas holidays.

Glad to be home in Florida this particular week considering the ice storm hitting out in the Midwest. Makes for some beautiful landscape picture-taking but miserable for driving and for the electric power grid.

Now wouldn't you know it. We get some of those small lighted trees (you buy from Home Depot) to line our driveway with. Looked beautiful when we put it up but now 3 of the little trees won't light. Seems a connection has gone bad somewhere. Come to think of it, is there anywhere you can get Christmas decorations that aren't el-cheapo junk mass-produced in China? Christmas lights that light from year to year for example would be nice.

You know you have too many decorations when you get the house the way you want it and still have tons of decorations to put up somewhere. So they stay in the semi-retired bin for the year. This year my wife got our tree so nicely decorated, I didn't want to add to it with my Hallmark Signature ornaments (the Star Trek series being one of my favorites). So now I'm looking for a place to hang them. We need a second tree.
But we had some good help too as you all know our neighbor Les and two of her friends helped out. Later when Leslie's dad came back from his job, he pitched in in helping to deck my halls.

I watched my Cleveland Browns give me a near-heart attack (as usual) in defeating the NY Jets 24-18 in a game they almost blew in the 4th quarter. Defense still needs some work but that has to be addressed in the off-season. For now we're stuck with a porous defense (but somewhat improved), a decent offense and a 8-5 win-loss record which nobody was predicting at the beginning of the season.

And now time for more Christmas shopping as my wife is pulling on my ear.