Stating the obvious.

We bagged a total of 18 Post Offices this weekend bringing our total to 345, which is almost exactly 3/4 of the state’s 461 total. Pictures are up on Flickr! and the old-school gallery, but as usual on the Monday after, there are no descriptions yet.

Westville, SC 29175I shot most of the photos using the auto-bracketing feature of the camera and then ran them through the Dynamic Photo HDR program and I discovered three things: 1) no matter how hard I try I can not hold the camera still through all three exposures, but the software does a pretty good job of aligning images. 2) I really need to do the tripod with ±2 EV bracketing for best results and 3) the effect is cool, but the over saturation of colors makes it more of a gimmick filter, than a useful tool, but this last statement might be way wrong if I knew how to use the program better.

Started down, went up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 494


Posting Avoidance Syndrome strikes again. PAS – another acronym to add to the sidebar maybe? Too bad I couldn’t figure out an ‘s’ word to put on the end to make it PASS.

I spent the evening adding captions to the latest Post Office photos and locating them on my Flicker map. I now need to find a photo representing heat for the Tuesday Challenge. I’m seriously considering using a photo I used for a meme in the long ago past, but will probably use the HHI sunrise photo from a couple weeks ago, at least it is a little more current.

I can’t even come up with descriptive titles.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 495

David Hiller of Madison, Ohio is a Lucky Stiff

He won the new Miata in the International Motor Racing Research Center’s raffle that I had earmarked as the Emperor II. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to wait the 1,087 days until I’m due a new Miata, er MX-5.

I was out late last night helping a friend to get his wife’s new laptop to print wirelessly to the printer connected to her Windows98SE desktop. It was not easy. Microsoft removed native printing support to Win9x machines from Vista. I kept getting an error message. Searching the web led me to a solution, but it didn’t work the first time and rebooting both the old desktop and the new laptop seemed overly long. Uninstalling and reinstalling the software for the HP all in one was not quick either. But I persevered, and I’m pretty sure it will print now, but even that is slow to happen. I don’t know why, here at the Bogardus Estate the XP laptop wirelessly to XP desktop prints as quick as the from the desktop to the directly connected printer. If they complain about speed, which I doubt will happen based on the speed that things move on the Vista laptop, I’ll look into it.

Mmmm. Presents.I was out sort of late tonight at the MMC Holiday party. Had a pretty good time. Donna ended up with a Christmas Snow Globe and I took home a cheapy 6″ random orbital buffer. The anal retentives over on in the Car Care Section of the forum would recommend I spend a hundred and a half on a Porter Cable and then more on pads and such, but that is too steep for my blood. I still plan on applying the wax by hand and just using the buffer for removal. I’ll let you know how it works.

Remind me tomorrow to tell you about my Emergency Room visit this morning….

Started down, went up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 496

Crashing Back To Reality

Watched Deja Vu on Sunday. I was right with them, even the whole time travel thing, up until Denzel gets shipped back 4-1/2 days. Fifteen, twenty minutes earlier they made a big deal of sending a piece of paper back. They said they had to keep the mass low and still the power requirements were so high that they blacked out the whole city of New Orleans doing it just as the paper was materializing. Everyone held their breath to see if the 3 x 5 scrap of paper successfully made the trip. How they manage to send back a 200lb man after struggling with the paper I just couldn’t believe.

I am usually happy to suspend my belief in reality for a good movie, but it seems lately that there is always a point in the movie that brings me crashing back. I’m betting there is a term for it in Roger Ebert’s Little Movie Glossary, but the best I can come up now is “jumping the shark.”

When we watched National Treasure I was happily enjoying the trip when they bust into the vault under Independence Hall or wherever it was that has been sealed for 200 years and they flick a cigarette lighter to the torches lining the walls and they light right up and burn brightly for the rest of adventure. Come on. Our founding fathers must have purchased them from the same place as the Pharaohs of Egypt because every time an explorer find a mummy’s tomb, the torches in there light right up after millenniums.

It happened in The Astronaut Farmer too. I don’t remember exactly what did it, but it was sometime late in the movie. I mean I even bought the fact that launching a rocket through the roof of a barn wouldn’t incinerate the barn. But I was jarred into reality somewhere and ended up shaking my head in disbelief.

I don’t think it will happen in the 3rd Jason Bourne movie, but it is possible. I hope it doesn’t happen in the 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean movie, but it is probable.

Started down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 496

It Is Starting To Smell A Lot Like Christmas

Seems like every third commercial is for a fragrance. Both men’s and women’s. The actresses all look familiar, like famous people, they probably are, but I can’t be sure, my subscription to People expired in 1981.

I saw a commercial for a vintage Tide T-shirt. If you bought one the proceeds would go to help Hurricane Katrina and victims of the California wildfires. Cool, I’ll help. The shirts are $15, but I never found out how much they wanted for shipping. I would have given them my credit card data to buy the shirt, but first I would have to register to use their site and to do that you need to give them the usual phalanx of info. Forget it, not like I’d ever use their site again.

The Bourne Ultimatum was very good, left me wanting more. It really never slows down for you to dwell long enough on the improbabilities and impossibilities to let them spoil the movie. I wonder if the series is available in a three disc set or are they waiting for the 4th movie? I don’t know if they are going to make another movie, but they sure left it open for one. Matter of fact they probably already have a script, just retool the second movie a little…

To wash the bad taste of At World’s End out of our mouths from the other night, we popped in TDPM this afternoon.

Governor Swann: Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?

Aaaah, that’s better.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 497

Miata Polaroid

Miata Polaroid

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 497

A Collection Of One

Doh!This Sunday afternoon Donna, her cousin Laurie, and I are going to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra in Columbia. To get ready we have been listening to their Christmas Eve & Other Stories CD in the car.

Tonight we traveled to Augusta to go to Best Buy where we were to pick up a gift card for her boss (and the Jason Bourne Collection for me.) I was at a loss as to what to get for my boss. He has two small boys, so I thought while at Best Buy I would pick up a DVD with some My 3 Sons episodes and just mark through the 3 and replace it with a two. Then I’d tell him I edited out all the scenes with Chip in them. Turns out My Three Sons isn’t on DVD. Dang. My wife, the sensible one (as if that isn’t self evident already) suggested we get him a Tran Siberian Orchestra CD.

We found the Trans Siberian CDs easy and right next to Christmas Eve & Other Stories was The Christmas Attic. When Donna asked did we have that, I said no. She said, “Buy it.” So we did. Less than 3 months after selling my entire 486 CD collection, we now have a collection of one.

Finding the Jason Bourne Collection was a lot harder. I looked up front in the new release area, but the only DVDs there were single disc Bourne Ultimatums. I checked the Drama aisle and then the Action/Adventure sections to no avail. I then gave up and figured when I did my in store pickup of Forbidden Planet I’d ask the clerk where to find it. The line for in store pickup was 4 deep, so we divided to conquer. I stood in line and Donna enlisted the help of Pamela Landy to find Jason. Actually she found a tall guy in a blue shirt and asked. His first response was, “We have that?” but led Donna to the close proximity of where it should be before he himself had to ask another associate. Turns out the nondescript silver package was up front on a big display stand. It was on the bottom row of about 15 rows of giant yellow headed Homers on the cover of the Simpsons Movie.

DOH! My boss is a Simpsons fan. I should have bought him the movie. I’m always one step behind….

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 497

Is The Miata A Good First Car

I recently had a friend who has a 15 year-old ask me that. Below is my response. I know there was a thread over in the forums about the very subject, but I couldn’t find it. Somehow I overloaded the search capacity of the forum by putting the word Miata in my search string. Go figure. If you can think of any I missed, good or bad, add them in the comments.

I think a Miata is a terrific first car, but I might be a little biased. 🙂

First a couple of good reasons.

  1. No back seat. This decreases peer pressure to get the driver to do something stupid by 2/3rds. It also decreases in car distractions by the same amount.
  2. A Miata is not a very powerful automobile, if he ever decides to “see what she’ll do” he will be hard pressed to get it to 90MPH coming down the High Rise.
  3. The Miata is a very safe automobile and can take a lot of abuse while protecting it’s contents.
  4. It is also highly maneuverable and won’t roll over like a SUV with it’s high center of gravity.

Now a couple reasons why it wouldn’t make a good first car.

  1. While safer than an SUV it is small and can be overlooked by inattentive SUV drivers.
  2. In some circles a Miata is stereotyped as a girlie or a gay car. This is mostly fueled by uniformed muscle car or pickup truck drivers. (It’s a running gag over on the forums.)
  3. It is rear wheel drive, which lends itself to being used for drifting.
Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 498

Didn’t See That Coming

Trans-Siberian Orchestra LiveProud Mary? But then again if I knew to read that wikipedia entry before going. This afternoon’s Trans-Siberian Orchestra started a little late for one of two reasons, the band arrived late or the basketball floor wasn’t taken up in a timely manner, both of which we heard while waiting to get into the arena, but there wasn’t any official word.

Photo by JerseyJJ

They made up for it by playing for about 2-1/2 hours. The first half was an enhanced version of Christmas Eve & Other Stories. Then they introduced the band and used Proud Mary to segue into non Christmas TSO music for the second half.

A few things have changed in the 3 decades since I went to a live music concert. First, the only smoke in the stadium was generated by the band’s special effects crew and didn’t have that familiar sweet smell. Secondly, to show appreciation people used to hold up their lit butane lighters, now you have the glow of thousands of cell phone cameras. The trouble is, the glow only shows to the crowd, but the band is obliviously aware they were missing out, because towards the end they asked everyone in the crowd to hold up their cell phones towards them for a whole song.

Good show. Loud, kind of made listening to one of their CDs seem too quiet no matter how far to the right you twisted the volume knob.

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 502

He Say You Brade Runner

BladerunnerI’m sorry Ridley, I think I like the 1982 theatrical release better. The voice over narration gives it a real noir feeling. Plus, after watching all that dark and rain and smoke its nice to get a happy ending, no matter how contrived.

I’m re-watching the theatrical release version now. Afterwards I’m going to give the Final Cut version a look, who knows, after watching all the “making of” stuff I might get all the symbolism and think that the final cut is better. But don’t hold your breath.

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 503

Merry Christmas

Please accept — with no obligation, implied or implicit — my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable tradition of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your preference. In addition, please enjoy a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/06: 503

Monk Moment

We spent a frustrating 2 hours tonight searching several stores for a 32oz insulated water bottle with a big enough opening on top to except ice cubes. They are in every store, on numerous aisles as long as it isn’t Christmas time and Donna had the misfortune of dropping her water bottle and breaking it this morning December 27th.

To ease our suffering we dined on Carnitas at Marias. We were seated at a booth by the window with a lovely view of the laundromat next building over. As I looked through the faux wood blinds, it came to my attention that several of the slats were tilted different from the majority. Reflexively, I nudged the offending slats into line with the rest.

Adrian would have been so proud.

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 503


2007 is almost gone and tonight I wasted 10.5 minutes of what is left watching The Fountain. Here is my three letter review. WTF?

We watched Dark Side of the Rainbow on Christmas day and the same three letter review applies here as well. One difference though, we watched the whole movie. But that probably has to do with we both like Pink Floyd and the Wizard of Oz.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I haven’t seen it and more than likely won’t. A barber who slits throats and has a downstairs neighbor that grinds up the carcasses to sell. WTF are people thinking? A musical?

How does someone whose name is Brian, who has a blog, and its main focus is Miatas, go undetected by me? Three letters. Briansworld.

Started up, went down, back up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 505

Clearing the Decks

We have zero DVDs awaiting watching. Yesterday we watched Flags of Our Fathers, today it was Kate & Leopold.

Leopold: Why is it called a toaster when it produces no toast, but simply warm bread, and inserting it two times produces charcoal? The ideal toaster would have one and a half insertions to produce the correct toast.

This afternoon I watched Letters From Iwo Jima. I have one last Christmas gift DVD coming in the mail, an Amazon gift certificate from friends, that will need watching – The Incredibles, maybe later this week.

Now comes the daunting ask of cleaning up a years worth of worthless photos I’ve got filed away under the My Pictures folder…

Started up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 505

Closing The Books

12-31-2007Another year shot to hell.

And I can’t start 2008 yet, I don’t have my calendar. Shutterfly shipped it on the 19th…

I was invited to take part in the second annual Enchanted Ceiling Last and Beginning photo shoot. I looked up at the sky several times today and there was nothing in it, no character. I could have started an image in PSP with a plain blue background and submitted it. Went out on the deck with the camera on a tripod and set it on Starry Sky mode. No much there either, even after running it through the auto photo fix. Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting.

With 20 of 32 bowl games completed I have picked 12 correct which is 5 behind the leader. Of the 12 games left I differ with the leader on exactly 5 games, so best possible scenario is a tie. Unfortunately there are eight people closer than I. Kiss the 2007 Pigskin Prognosticator Prize goodbye.

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 01/01/07: 506