Thursday, May 29, 2014

Memorial day photo shoot

Here are the results of our photo session with the big didge and the timer/tripod setup.  I'm pleased about my 50 mm lens even though beyond about 6 feet the focusing isn't always on.  The 28-135 lens is much more reliable but the color and contrast aren't as good as the 50.  

Tyler has a great on-cue smile.  I'm glad his teeth are doing better and people still comment on the color of his eyes.  

Scott was more interested in exploring the creek than doing pictures but he gaves us a few good portraits.

Woulda been nice to get Blakey smiling in this one, but this was the best we got.  Again, a bad photo is better than no photo.  He had fallen asleep in the van and it was hot out, so pictures weren't his top priority.

It's easy to critique your own work.  But you know what?  All of our eyes are open and our expressions are within normal limits.

So that's what we got.  Could a professional have done better?  Who knows?  When I judge photos, I look at the sharpness, bokeh, color, and contrast.  Heidi looks at the expressions of the people and the composition.  I think a lot of luck and patience are needed to capture good expressions and we were running low on both.

Monday, May 26, 2014


I'm the chief hairstylist.  I've been experimenting over the years and since the kids don't really care about the outcome, it's been a great way to learn cosmetology.  

I call this the "Wolverine."  Here I think she looks like me.

Blakey loves getting his hair cut.  When I asked him, he jumped and clapped and climbed up into the chair.

He was a good boy and looks dapper.

Kira's haircut ended up a bit like an a-line, but it's okay.  This is how I want her to do her hair, but she wants it back.

This is how she'd do it if it were up to her.  Lately, she's been letting me brush her hair in the morning and evening but it's still such a birds nest.

Scott's lizard collection is up to seven.  I'm impressed at how he's caught and maintained them.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Demolition Derby 2014

Last night was the demolition derby at the Sacramento county fair.  We look forward to it all year, and even though it is 77 miles away, it's still worth it.  I popped a huge bag of popcorn and added sugar, since last time, I had to buy a little bag for $5 which ended up getting spilled anyway.  Well, the popcorn was a hit and there was even some left over!  

We also brought bagels and fruit, so we were set with food.

The nursery needs a family photo and this is the one I want to put up:  Us as we really are.  The demolition derby is my kind of crowd:  People there to have a good time and not stress over what the Joneses are doing.

Lately these two have been into getting their picture taken.  They can be so cute when they're together. After a while, Kira started pinching Tyler, so Tyler would respond by hitting Kira and we had to separate them.

Blakey was kneeling through most of the derby and I thought it would fall asleep like this, but no.  

A guy in a front-wheel drive 1983 Buick got hit so hard that it threw his car about 12 feet and then another car hit him from the side. He motioned that he was injured and the derby shut down while the emergency crew took him to the hospital.  They reported that he had a leg injury but was stable.  The announcer said it was the only time he had seen an injury shut down the derby, but I bet all of these guys have neck and back problems for at least a week.

Once the derby resumed, the four cars went at each other for a long time and they just continue to function.  One guy lost his right rear wheel but kept hitting cars.

Kira was in good spirits and jumped all over the grand stands.

The smoke is a combination of steam and oil.

On the way home, on 12 west, I could see someone two cars behind me in a gosh dang hurry.  Over a double yellow, he passed up the car in front and got behind us.  I knew he would try to pass again on a double yellow and I wasn't sure whether to create space for him or get close to the diesel so he could pass us both.  Well, he started passing again on a blind double yellow and I saw a car coming.  So did the diesel, but the guy passing didn't see it.  The diesel started to move into the shoulder.   Suddenly, the  passer veered into our lane and would have clipped us had I not stomped on the brake and swerved into the shoulder.  I honked and put on my brights.

I think I would be irreversibly traumatized to have witnessed a head-on collision.  The passer and I ended up at the same light and I wanted to roll down the window and say, "Hey man, your foolish driving is not just risking your own life.  You're risking ours, too."

We stayed behind him for another 10 miles and then he passed up two more cars on a double yellow.  We could see that he was about 30 seconds ahead of us when we got back into town.  He was either drunk or high, and it's not my responsibility to try to teach right from wrong.  It's best to just avoid those people.

When I pass people on my VFR, I make sure that it's going to make a significant difference, that it's in a legal passing zone and that it's safe.  If it makes less than a minute of difference, I usually won't do it.

Anyway, the demolition derby was great and the kids enjoyed it.  I want to enter a car in it for subsequent years but I don't want to drive it.  Maybe I'll do LeMons with Miles.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dinner at Pop's

Action shot of Scott drifting into the fridge

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fun with the little didge

Remember when people used cameras to take pictures?  Yeah.  At least 90% of people now use their phones for all of their photo needs, and the other 10% or less use dSLR's.  Me?  I use all three, and yesterday was the little didge's turn, my 2004 Canon powershot Elph.  Heck, it could be a 2003 or 2002 but I wouldn't know because I bought it on ebay for $12.  

These pictures are somewhat posed, but it's still fun to look back through the blog archive to see how the kids have grown and see the clothes they're in.  

I'm not in the pictures that much so this was fun.  Got my trusty Honda hat on and my huge glasses.  Heidi recommended against these pair, saying they were too big for my face.  Well, you know what?  I don't care what people think; I was going for over-the-top and I didn't want any light to get in.  I always wear a hat outside the home, and sometimes inside, but it's hard to get into glasses because either Heidi loses them (most common) or they break.  Well, she has three of her own pair and I keep these hidden but both handles broke.  I had to repair them with MMA and if you look closely, you can see.
Photo bombs from Blakey and Jack

A BNSF diesel electric train stopped right in front of us and distracted the boys for a time.  Here, Scott is crossing home after a triple.

We think they're watching the game but they're probably checking out the train.  The rail crew were watching the game from their deck so I approached and asked, "Is there a problem with your locomotive?"

Turns out they had been on the clock for 12 hours and a relief crew had to come, and for that, they had to stop the train.  They had only been underway for an hour but waited at the station for this train to arrive from Chicago.

Scott was pretty stoked to get a homer.  I remember getting homers too because I ran fast and the kids would overthrow the ball.

It was in the high 90's and the kids played in the sprinklers.

Scott fouled this ball and you can see the low cut of his swing.

I should crop this photo, but this will have to do.   Denae could appreciate that.

It was a good game and then we drove RC cars out front.  The two things I like most about the little didge are that the focal length is so short that almost everything is in focus and you don't have to worry about getting the eyelashes in focus.  Second, it's so lightweight that it slips in your pocket.

I know that it's slick to take a picture or video on your phone--cuz I do that too--and then upload it to whatever social media rage you subscribe to, but the quality of the little didge and SLR is still better.  And the only people who still blog are Dan-o, my sister and Denae, but I prefer blogging to fb/instagram/twitter/whatev. #whatev.  See what I learn from my e-gossip?  People put hashtags on everything.  Okay, bye.