All About Me

This morning I found the Daily Prompt on The Daily Post was All About Me. Or more specifically, Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you. Seeing that I currently have two blogs that I am posting to I am going to limit my answer to this particular blog since the other is my photography blog.

Ramblin’ On

This title has multiple meanings to me and if you are unfortunate enough to visit this blog frequently it will begin to make quite a lot sense. I tend to ramble. My thought process is not always linear and I can jump from one topic to the next with barely a breath in between words. I also have a tendency to ramble on and on about topics I am either very interested in or feel I can contribute some wonderful insight.  Usually the wonderful insight is only in my head and the moment I notice the blank stares on the faces of the people I am talking to I know it is time to listen.

Like now for example… I’m contemplating delving deeper into this topic but my point has been made and I should leave it alone. Maybe just this once I will contradict my normal MO…

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Teachable Moment

I haven’t always liked to talk. I generally have to feel comfortable around people before I truly open up so I don’t really understand where this need to blab on about any topic is coming from. Maybe it is a need to release some of those thoughts in my head or maybe I enjoy being given a topic and allowed to ramble on. Either way, if you are reading this you are caught in my babble stream…

The Daily Post‘s prompt for the day is Teachable MomentYou have to learn a new skill. Do you prefer to read about it, watch someone else do it, hear someone describe it, or try it yourself?

I consider myself a quick learner. If I do not know an application, programming language, etc., I do not have any trouble figuring it out. Just give me a book, the help file, an example, or access to the internet and a specific assignment, and I will learn what I need to get the job done. I learn best by doing. I’m hands on. I can go to a class but until I have to figure it out on my own to accomplish a task it will not sink in.

How about you? How do you learn?

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Childhood Revisited

Today’s question:

Sure, you turned out pretty good, but is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? If you have kids, is there anything you wish were different for them?

Check out the original post at The Daily Post: Daily Prompt.

I grew up quite the introvert and still to this day I spend a lot of my time in my own little worlds. I like to read, I play video games and love to explore with my camera. This doesn’t preclude my current social behavior. I often tell people upon meeting them that there are a few subjects they should avoid unless they have a couple hours to hear me ramble on. I am far from shy or timid in most situations. But that has not always been my way. The thing about my childhood that I wish I could revisit would be the 1st grade…

I was a holy terror in kindergarten! My friends and I had a lot of fun causing the teacher to have her hands full keeping our attention on school when required. But she knew how to handle us and did not stifle our play time. I survived and managed to learn what I needed. I would not be so lucky in 1st grade.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked my first grade teacher but she was not as adept at dealing with me as my kindergarten teacher. I spent the majority of 1st grade with my desk facing the wall, away from the rest of the classroom! Ha ha ha. It worked for the teacher as it managed to wrangle in my social behavior but the side effects on me lasted well into college. I worked very hard not to be noticed. I learned I needed to behave but the pendulum swung too far the opposite direction.

I had friends in school and was not an outcast but I was only a glimmer of the shining social terror I started out as. It really wasn’t until late in college and eventually at my first job that I was able to overcome this behavior. I often wonder if I would have turned out different or had different experiences if I had continued on my original path? Who knows, it isn’t something I dwell on but the thought does pop up every know and then.

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Daily Prompt: Karma Chameleon

Today’s Daily Prompt on The Daily Post is

Reincarnation: do you believe in it? (Daily Prompt)

I personally do not believe in reincarnation. Although there have been a lot of unexplained events in my life that have kept me re-evaluating my concepts of life/death. But I do not think any of those events are necessarily reincarnation, actually they would be closer to spirits or personal energy that has refused to return to the galactic pool.

I was raised having to go to Sunday School every week. Neither of my parents attended church but my sister and I both went for our weekly dose of religion. The irony is that now I do not have a need for religion while both of my parents are very religious. I suppose that is the yin and yang of the universe. The balance must be maintained. Energy must not be created or destroyed.

Sorry, my mind wandered for a bit… not sure where I want to go with this post.

Basically, I do not believe in reincarnation, but on that note…

I have a grandfather clock built by my wife’s maternal grandfather that I swear is inhabited by him. He loved to ‘pick’ on kids. He loved having fun. This clock tasks me daily. It will run 2 minutes slow for weeks. I adjust the pendulum and think I have it set but then after a few weeks of running perfectly it will do a 180 and run two minutes fast. Sometimes is gains two minutes and holds itself there. I have had it chime the hour in the middle of the night but not be on the hour. I like to think ol’ Granddad is playing with me…

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eReader or Paperback?

Six months!  It has been six months since I have done anything with this blog.  I should be embarrassed! I do have a good excuse though… I have been focusing on my photography blog, which, has been growing quite nicely. Anyway, on to the topic at hand.

eReader vs Paperback

Erica on the The Daily Post has issued the weekly writing challenge: Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap to be this: How do you prefer to read, with an eReader like a Kindle or Nook, or with an old school paperback in hand?

I answered the poll question on the post with ‘Paperback’ but I felt I needed to qualify my answer. I am a book person, simple as that. I still have the first books I purchased myself over 35 years ago. I would save my allowance and money I made cutting lawns to purchase sci-fi paperbacks in which to loose myself. I was hooked, I was a bookworm.

Libraries were a weekly trip for me. I devoured everything on space, model rockets, slot car racing, my favorite television shows, etc. If I couldn’t afford the book I went to the library and borrowed it. Sometimes, even though I already read the book, I would buy my favorites when I saved up enough.

In recent years I have become a fan (fanatic if you prefer) of Disney. Not just the parks but the man and his company. I own more books on that subject than I probably should admit. lol But I need to have the book in hand! I want to see the pictures and feel the weight in my hands as I read. I want to be able to peruse my collection. To look over what I have gathered, what I have read and what still awaits me to read.

Even more recently I have become something of a photographer, well, maybe a better way to say it is I have taken up photography as a hobby. A very fulfilling hobby that I never imagined would consume me as much as it has. Here is where I needed to explain my original answer to the question…

In the photography genre I have split my approach. I still buy books. I still go to the library and borrow books but I have found there is a great online eBook collection of resources that I just can’t pass up. When a favorite photographer publishes a small eBook on a subject and it only costs $5, how can I refuse? When there is a very specific topic I would like to learn, the best solution is typically an eBook. The cost is minimal, the read is quick and then I am off exploring and experimenting. For me it is win/win…

The other area of electronic reading that I have found to be very useful is electronic versions of magazines. I can carry my whole months allotment on my tablet and read an article during lunch or while waiting at the dentist’s office. I find it very convenient and actually allows me to read more which is always a good thing!

So, even though I answered ‘paperback’ it wasn’t the whole story. I will always be a book person and not a week goes by that I don’t find myself driving to the local bookstore or library, but I have discovered the convenience of an eBook and I have to say I am enjoying that as well.

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Small Television Rant

The state of television’s decline has been bugging me for a few years now.  I don’t watch a lot of television, it just isn’t worth it to me.  Now I can sit in front of the screen when I want to let my mind float away because of the numbing boredom but when I want to be entertained it is almost impossible to find a solution.

Network television is a laughable joke.  There is only one or two shows I would sit down and watch (NCIS, I’m looking at you).  Most of the entertaining shows I watch are not on one of the major networks.  I’m tired of reality shows, singing or dancing competitions, cooking competitions and the general sad comedies that fall back to the childish humor I thought was funny when I was twelve.  

I actually liked Big Bang Theory when it first aired and even into the third season but somewhere toward the end of that season it took a drastic left turn.  I try to watch hoping the nightmare will end but it just hasn’t found it’s groove again.  I know some peple might see the show as an insult to the technical, scientific, smart sterotype but it is me and when it started it made me laugh.  Not any more!

At least I have my DVR recording some entertainment this summer.  Both USA Network and TNT have shows worth watching, at least for me.  They all border on the ‘it wouldn’t/couldn’t happen that way in real life’, but at least they are entertaining.  Right now I’m enjoying; Burn Notice, White Collar, Covert Affairs, and Leverage.  They’ll provide small distractions I can call upon from the DVR when I have had enough of everything else…

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One of my favorite shows is back!  The fifth season of Leverage started last night.  If you have not heard about this show you can find the official website here:  I stumbled across Leverage during its first season and had to play catch up by watching episodes online.  I’ll admit some of the shows stretch reality a little bit (or a lot) but it is very entertaining and that is really all I am looking for from my television.  🙂

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Happy 4th of July!

Today is America’s birthday!  She is 236 years young by my calculations.  I wanted to write something to commemorate the day but feel a little overwhelmed with picking a topic.  I am going to fall back into my safety net and write about a ceremony at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World that feels right for today, the flag retreat ceremony.

Every day at 5pm, since the park opened in 1971, the Magic Kingdom has done a flag retreat ceremony at the flag pole on the end of Main Street near the train station.  I had learned about this event a few years ago but had never managed to attend.  This past May, during my solo visit, I made it a point to experience the ceremony.  I was a little shocked by the small size of the crowd that assembled but happy to be able to get a great vantage point to take pictures.  You can not help but get emotional experiencing this ceremony and it is one event at the Magic Kingdom I am going to tell everyone they should not miss.

I wish I could provide more details about the veteran who participated on May 17th, 2012 but I got so caught up in the moment I was barely able to get the pictures I wanted.  I also felt I should not be snapping away during the Pledge of Allegiance or the playing of the Star Spangled Banner while the flag was lowered.  Maybe the next time I’ll pick a different vantage point so I won’t feel weird taking pictures while these portions of the event are occurring.

The Dapper Dans before the ceremony

Playing America the Beautiful

Just as the flag was to be lowered

The presentation of the flag

I was very happy I finally attended the flag retreat ceremony.  I can see myself making this a must see event every visit to the Magic Kingdom.  Here are a few other resources/blogs on the flag retreat, they provide much better coverage and detail than I was able to get.

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Books and Their Creation

It sure has been a long time since I last put words to post on this blog.  I mentioned yesterday on my photography blog that I wished it was due to something cool or important but actually I just haven’t been feeling the need to speak out.  Anyone who knows me understands that is a rare event when you get me talking about a favorite subject.  I’m hoping this will be the start of something more regular…

Yesterday I explored the new book creation module in Lightroom 4.  I have been getting requests from family to put something together to show off my pictures (family is always a nice ego boost).  I suppose I should have done a little more research but with the tool already available in a software I am familiar with I decided to jump in with both feet.  The service associated with the book module is blurb, so I created an account and starting working on putting a book together.

Front and back cover for first book.

I decided to start with an easy subject for me, Disney, specifically our last vacation to Walt Disney World.  I already had pictures processed and ready to use which was probably harder than the actual creation of the book.  The Lightroom module was easy and very intuitive.  Of course, it doesn’t help with picture layout, order or the story I was trying to tell (which ended up being just a wandering of the parks).  I threw something together in a few hours and sent it off to blurb to be created.  The book should be here in a few weeks.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed…

UPDATE: I received my book last Wednesday!  I was very excited to see it but nervous that the money I spent would be wasted if the pictures didn’t print well.  The book looked great!  Now I have to learn some book layout skills so the next one doesn’t look like a picture book put together by a 1st grade class.  The only issue was the book was creased in shipping…

Book Damage

I will say that the customer service at Blurb was great!  AFter speaking with them and sending this picture they are re-printing the book and shipping it to me for free.  Definitely will be working on another book through Blurb.

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Working from Home

I am working from home today.  I have to take my daughter to the doctor’s office for a shot and it is just easier to stay at home then drive back and forth to work multiple times. I am lucky that I have a job where this is possible and a boss who practically encourages me to do so.  I think he has an ulterior motive because he knows I generally sign in way before my normal start time and have less distractions.  Although, that Uncharted 3 game in my PS3 is calling my name…

Why does working from home have a different feel than working at the office?  I am still sitting in front of a computer programming, administrating, developing, etc.  Is it the fact that I didn’t have to get dressed?  I can sit in my pajamas and nobody would know?  If we could capture this work at home feeling in the office would our employees be more productive?  What has to change so work doesn’t feel like work?  I am not sure why these thoughts are running through my head now…  oh, look, the data transfer script is finally done.

OK, I know, my break is over.  Back to the grind…

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