Showing posts from March, 2011

Blackouts on Thursdays

I thought it was bad coming home Wednesday. Thursday intruded on my consciousness at 6:40am with a bright flash and a loud thunderclap when a bolt of lightening hit near the house. I was awake instantly; that's what they must mean 'awake in a flash'. And so where all the little critters. Ruby was up on the bed staring at me, Max was down on the floor staring up at me, and Lucy leaped up onto my chest.

So I got up, put out the garbage and recyclables in the pouring rain, and then discovered that water was standing so deep in the back yard it was seeping into the back add-on and flooding the floor. Fortunately it's tiled in that area, so I grabbed towels (lots of towels) and sopped up the water and put 'em a big green carry-all tub to haul out to wash and dry them for a second round if needed. I left for work, my wife in charge of the critters and ready to sop up more water if the need arose.

Then I loaded up the commute-mobile and headed to the east side through th…

Wednesday Like a River

The skies turned black and the rain poured out of the heavens like it meant to wash me off the roadway. When the rain wasn't pouring, the wind was blowing my little Prius around like it was going to kick it into the guard rails. The weather was bad enough that saner drivers had pulled off underneath overpasses until the rain let up a bit. I just slowed down and kept rolling down the 408 until the weather cleared around I-4.

You see this kind of weather in Florida, but usually later in the year, especially when a tropical storm, or worse a hurricane, comes to visit. Whoever said March leaves like a lion must have lived in Florida.

Sitting at the Universal-Turkey Lake intersection, waiting to stop over at Walmart to pick up something special for supper. Tonight is unofficial Mexican night, where I fix tacos with ground turkey. I needed a few extras to fill out all the fixins. After a big, wild rainstorm clears out the light gets unique, especially the afternoon light.

When I got to…

Some Startups Should Be Avoided

[I wrote the original version of this post on 27 March with a different, more confrontational title. I then deleted the original on 29 March. This 2.0 version has had some of the rougher edges filed down. My reasons for doing this I keep to myself.]

There's a blog posting loose on the Internet titled "Why we don’t hire .NET programmers" by David Barrett, CEO of Expensify. David Barrett's posting is a classically trollish post illustrating several key flaws found in too many startup founders: a toxic mix of exaggerated self-importance and an unreasoning bias against Microsoft technologies.

David Barrett's exaggerated self-importance is quite evident if you look at his company's website. The company, Expensify, is dedicated to producing an expense reporting module for Salesforce and Google apps.

With all the money they've raised along with all the trash-talk about .Net programmers (and Microsoft in general) and the boasting about the staff, you'd think …

On Tuesday

The day before had been long, dark, rainy, dreary. Depressing. This morning, the clouds were riding low and fast, skirting over the highway, given birth by all the moisture dumped the day before. The sun kept breaking through in odd little places.

The problem riding eastward into work in the morning is you get the full effect of the sun in your eyes unless it's overcast. This in-and-out hiding is probably worse than full sun. Clouds cover the sun and the daylight dims down to a comfortable level. Then the sun quickly uncovers and you're staring right back into full sunlight. Gives the old irises a real workout.

Pull into work and pull into one of the hybrid vehicle preferred parking spots. Unless you get there reasonably early, most (if not all) of the slots are taken by tattered little student-mobiles; we have a population of interns from nearby U.C.F.

Behind the eight-foot steel perimeter fence surrounding the building and through those windows sits one of my office cubes.

Rainy Days and Mondays

Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down
What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

Lyrics: Carpenters' Rainy Days and Mondays


Taken with the Olympus E-1, Sigma 30mm, ISO 100. Nice handy combination. The Sigma works better on the E-1 than the E-3. Go figure.

Pleasant Valley Sunday

I don't know why I picked this title. There are no valleys to speak of in Florida, and I left the Monkees behind a long, long time ago. And charcoal? I haven't burned charcoal for 15 years; I'm a propane kinda guy. Anyway...

This was a weekend full of weekend work. Which meant I grabbed whatever opportunities that presented themselves. The MetLife photo op came about mid-day Saturday while I was out getting a quick lunch with my wife. I happened to look up and there she sat (the blimp, not my wife), in a section of the sky that was nicely clouded, and reasonably clear in spite of the haze. Why was the blimp flying over my neighborhood? Because the Arnold Palmer Golf Invitational is being held across the road in Bay Hill. No, I wasn't there and won't go there. For the record, I hate golf.

Late Sunday morning, I'm out again, this time trying to pick up some Einstein bagels at the Marketplace. I waited too late in the morning to snag a baker's dozen. The plac…

Used is the New New

I have, over the last five years, purchased five Olympus E-series bodies in the following order: E-300 (early 2006), E-3 (late 2008), E-P2 (early 2010), and two E-1s (2011). I gave the first E-1 I purchased to my youngest daughter, to supplement the E-300 I had bequeathed her when I purchased the E-P2. The second one, which came in mint condition with the HLD-2 grip, I kept for myself

I purchased all but the two E-1s as new. The two E-1's came to me used. The first E-1 came from KEH, while the second I won in a bid on e-bay. What is remarkable about both are the prices. The KEH copy was $250, while the ebay copy with grip was $200.

Along with all those bodies I have a few FourThird mount lenses, all of them purchased new as well. I have exactly two ĀµFourThirds lenses, the original kit lens that came with the E-P2 and the M.Zuiko 17mm pancake. Every other lens is used via adapters.

After spending a fair sum of money on all-new equipment, I looked at what was happening and started …

Driving 55 in 2011

Remember Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive 55?" Released in 1984, it became the unofficial anthem for the SUV generation that came to power during the Regan presidency. We'd been driving 55 since the Oil Embargo of 1973 and President Nixon's subsequent signing into law the National Maximum Speed Law on January 2, 1974. The NMSP was finally repealed during the Clinton Administration on December 8, 1995.

While all the states accepted the law in order to continue to receive federal highway funds, no-one liked the law, and enforcement was generally lax unless you were really, really over the speed limit. As an example, I was still single and living in Atlanta in 1980. In January of that year I'd just heard back from Digital Communication's Associates HR that I'd been hired. It was an engineering job I really wanted, at a company I really wanted to work for.

I was ecstatic, and so I went roaring out of my apartment parking lot in my little silver Honda Civ…

MetLife Blimp Returns

The MetLife blimp returned to Orlando this week to be a part of the Arnold Palmer 2011 Invitational  being held at Bay Hill (right across Apopka/Vineland from Sandlake Hills, where I live). While I have absolutely no use for golf, I was certainly happy to see the MetLife blimp return.

I wrote about the MetLife blimp last January. As you can see from the second photo, the little MetLife had a complete livery change, up in Tennessee. While I will miss Flying Snoopy, I certainly think the new livery is better, certainly brighter and more cheerful. With white being the predominant color, it will certainly stand out while in flight.

I'm curious about the flight characteristics of the blimp now that the sides are mostly white, instead of mostly dark blue. White absorbs far less heat than dark blue. Will it take more helium to achieve the same buoyancy? And if there's more helium in the blimp, will it handle any differently? These are questions that came to mind after I left.

I didn&#…

Barely Out of Tuesday

Yes, I know what I said on Monday. So I put the cameras aside (mostly) and stayed away from blogging (mostly). But life never stops until you're dead. And then, only for you.

I drove my wife to an outpatient facility so that they could look down her throat and check for acid reflux damage. My wife's condition has required the use of certain drugs for over 20 years, and one of the side effects has been an effect on the tissues lining the esophagus. While they didn't find anything, they implied enough to scare us both, so this trip was a necessary preventative measure.

I drove her up, waited for her, and then drove her home. On the way home we stopped at an Einstein's at Orange and Michigan, where we each picked up a bagel breakfast sandwich. Afterwards she grabbed a chocolate mud cookie, and left me change from a five on the table.

It's funny where the mind wonders sometimes. I started thinking about how we were going to feed nine billion people in 2050. The report…

Time off

Just a head's up to everybody. I'll be off-line for the next week at a minimum. I've been churning these posts out at least one/day, sometimes two or more/day, since before the first of January.

Other Life Issues (OLI) need to be addressed, and I need to take a breather and recharge a bit. I won't be posting for at least a week, unless some wild and crazy event occurs that compels me to write Something Witty and Insightful (SWI).


Sunday Schadenfreude

While traveling around the Mall of Millenia today, I cam across yet another store closing, this time a Robb & Stucky. They're an expensive furniture store that cater to the hoity-toity living in their decreasingly valuable Mac Mansions scattered about west Orange County. Like Border's, Rob & Stucky declared Chapter 11 back in February, and so they're in the process of dismantling what they can to save whatever is left. Good luck with that. Unlike Border's, they won't be missed.

The wife and I were bad. We had lunch at Tutti Frutti, right next to Macy's in the main part of Millenia. Once again we used a Groupon to cut our cost just about in half. I filled my cup up with a swirl of vanilla and chocolate-by-death, then loaded it with pineapple slices and strawberries. You know, for the health part. And, truth be known, it is yogurt, so it wasn't that outrageously bad. But it sure tasted good enough to be bad.

I do hope Tutti Frutti is around for a whi…

We can be so cruel

This story started yesterday when my wife and a young nursing student, who's been helping my wife around our house, went to rescue a seven month old mixed Siamese cat named Snowflake. The nursing student saw the cat being tossed from a second story apartment where she lived. She came rushing over to our house to tell my wife about it. My wife knew were there was a local SPCA shelter, across from the Mall at Millenea, and so the two of them went back and found Snowflake, alive and fortunately unharmed, and took Snowflake to the shelter.

I got a complete blow-by-blow when my wife got back. I wanted to write about Snowflake's plight, and asked if I could go take a few photos of Snowflake at the SPCA shelter. Unfortunately it was too late in the day for that, so I made plans to go there today and check up on Snowflake.

Snowflake's story turned out to have a happy ending; when we got there around noon and asked to see Snowflake, we found out that Snowflake had been adopted soo…