Saturday, October 19, 2019

I Voted...Must Be That Time Of Year

Ballots for this year's election were sent out this week. Like in year's past, I opened the letter and expected to see name after name, resolution after resolution to choose from. Instead, there were six names on the ballot. I was to chose four.

It was kind of a letdown. 

I'm not going to say that I love to vote. I mean, I believe it's important, something I try and do as much as possible, even when I'm not fully informed on the candidates and issues. But, I don't look forward to it, don't count down the days to election day. Politics have become (and, perhaps have always been...) a bloodsport. It seems to make good people less so and corruption appears to be the name of the game.

Since there's opposition in all things, there's so much corruption because there's so much good that can come of it. It's not that voting and government is the answer the all problems--far from it, but it allows our society to function, to prevent chaos and anarchy. 

Still, I try not to allow the bad things to prevent me from participating. 

This year I voted for one (of two candidates...) two-year city council position, and I voted for three (out of four...) four-year city council positions. I admit, I should have studied more about the people running. Images of their accompanying political signs that are scattered all around town came to mind as I made my choices and sealed up the envelope. A quick trip to the post office and off it went.

Another year, another ballot. Next year's the big one, the one with local, state, and national choices to make, resolutions to consider, judges to...well, judge. Some love voting. They treat elections like a sporting event and 2020 will be an Olympic year in more way s than one. For me, it'll be another year to fill out the ballot and send it in. Until then...

Friday, October 18, 2019

Dusk...The Best Time Of The Day To Take Pictures

When you understand all photography is based on one simple principle--the manipulation of light--it changes your perspective on every picture you see. A few years ago, my neighbor Nicole (who is an excellent photographer, by the way...) told me that taking pictures on an overcast day is a great time to get great shots. I thought the more sun/light, the better.

I was wrong, of course.

She was right.

These are not hard and fast rules, but, as a general rule, it works. I've found some of the best outdoor shots I've taken were when the light was not as bright as it could be. The other day I needed a picture for my Pic Of The Day. I wandered outside at dusk hoping to find something to shoot. 

Turns out, the lighting was almost perfect.

I snapped several pictures of colorful leaves and a few of the cat who seemed to enjoy being outside with me. I found a picture of red maple leaves which I particularly liked. I even shared it on Instagram, something I don't do very often.

If I took more photos, or make a living with my camera, I'd do more research on the subject. But, on a quiet fall afternoon in Utah this past week, I found the lighting at dusk to be almost perfect.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

What I Saw And What I Photographed...Are Two Different Things

In life there are as many examples where a person took a photograph and the end result is no where near as amazing or spectacular as what the photographer saw. In some philosophical way, every picture is like that. When I see an incredible sunset, the picture can, in no way, capture the feeling I have while looking at the sunset. 

It's just the way it is.

The other night, I had the opportunity to photograph the planet Jupiter. I noticed an incredibly bright star close to the moon. I asked my son what planet it was--he correctly identified it as Jupiter. I remembered my friend Steve told me that his daughter could see Jupiter and its moons through a telescope no bigger than ours.

I thought I'd set it up and see what I could see.

What you see in my photograph is indeed Jupiter. And what you can't see is small lights surrounding Jupiter--Jupiter's moons.

I snapped a couple of pictures, but you can't see anything, other than a big white dot. On Twitter I saw a video of Jupiter and a couple of moons. I took a still shot and included it on this post. So, what I've done is show you a photograph of what I saw and what it really looks like.

Still, as I looked through my little telescope, even if I had taken a picture similar to the incredible one with the two moons, it wouldn't have been able to convey the feeling I had while watching it.

It's just the way it is.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

"The House With A Clock In Its Walls"...I Had Forgotten About This One

One of the advantages of not seeing films in a theater is that you happen upon movies you thought might be interesting, but never got around to watch...

And you get to watch them. 

Today I watched a 2018 film, The House With a Clock in its Walls. I remember seeing the ad--I can't believe it came out last year. 

I knew nothing of the book from which the film is based. It was written by John Bellairs and first published in 1973. It reminded me of another film I saw a few years back, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Both were geared toward children, and I found both of them a little dark, especially the film based on Rigg's book. Bellairs's story dealt with dark themes as well, demons, that kind of thing.

I enjoyed the film. It starred Jack Black--who doesn't like Jack Black? He's engaging and a perfect fit for a children's story. This isn't to say he's not a good fit for other genres. I find him a good actor in almost everything I've seen him in.

The House With a Clock in its Walls tells the story of a recently-orphaned Lewis Barnvelt who must now live with his strange uncle and the uncle's equally strange neighbor. Turns out, uncle and neighbor was a practicing warlock and witch. Throw in peer pressure, jr. high bullying, curiosity, raising the dead, and the end of all humanity, and you've got the makings for a fun little story. 

The film made me want to read the book--something that I'm finding to be a good sign. When I like a film based on a book, I usually really like the book once I read it.

When I saw the film was available to watch, I remembered I wanted to see the film. I finally got around to seeing it, and I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Riding A Bike...At Work

Back when I was in college, I used to ride a bike to work, from Farmington to Salt Lake, or from Salt Lake to Farmington. I was in much better shape back then. I know lots of people who bike to work. I'm now able to bike at work (while on breaks, of course...).

I remember driving out to the Salt Lake valley somewhere years ago and picking up a bike stand, one of the few things I bought off of KSL Classifieds. I thought it was such a cool thing--you automatically have an exercise bike and you don't even have to buy a bike. It's like being able to drive your car in your own home.

I brought in my mountain bike, put it in the basement, hooked up the contraption, and went to town.

Then, I forgot about it.

When I created an office in the basement last year, we had to clear out stuff to make space for the desk and computer. Out went the bike and the stand. They've sat in our outdoor shed for a year. 

Until now. 

Last week, I noticed the stand and wondered if I ought to bring it back inside. I really didn't have much to lose. If I didn't use it, I could always haul it back outside. It's been setup for a week. I've used it twice. That doesn't seem like a lot, but it's the most I've used it in the last six or seven years. And I never ride the bike outside anymore, so at least, I'm getting some use out of both the bike and the stand.

I do have exercise time at work. I plan on using this as a way to get more exercise time in. Will it last? I hope so...ask me how things are going in a year's time. Who knows? I may just get back into shape after all.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Apparently...Social Media Believes I Have Bad Breath

It's no secret everything we search online, see online, or speak through our phones--online, or not--is stored, kept, accessible, retrievable. I've blogged about this before--how I mention something casually to a friend one day, and the next time I get online, there's an ad for that very thing.

Like I said, it's no secret.

Still, I find it interesting when I see this type of personal information hijacking first-hand. It happened again to me this morning.

Two days ago, I posted a subtly funny Pic of the Day picture. It contained a bag of goodies given out by the Walmart corporation for using their drive-up grocery service. We've used the service for years and we intend on continuing. From time to time, the good folks at Walmart have included a bag of stuff to celebrate a local holiday or other event. This week--Halloween.

Most of the contents were edible, but a few weren't. I thought it would be fun to arrange the edible things with something some have tried to consider edible, tried and failed and take a picture. This morning I received a Facebook comment about my picture, about mouthwash, about millennials, and their judgement (or lack there of...). I should say that I do not necessarily agree with this assessment of an entire generation. Just wanted you to know.

I responded to my friend's post, but not before noticing an ad for Listerine Ultra Clean Mouthwash directly under my friend's post. 


I think not.

I closed the program. As I'm wont to do, I then opened Instagram. And what did I see? Another ad for Listerine. I decided to press my luck and see if there was an ad for Listerine on the third leg of the social media holy trinity, Twitter. I actually expected a Listerine ad to be on my Twitter feed, but it was not. Of course, the Instagram Listerine ad may have only been added after I saw the Facebook Listerine ad. Although, I'd like to think the Instagram Listerine ad was sitting there waiting for me to see it all along.

The more we look for this type of thing, the more we'll see it. Of course, there's always the distinct possibility that I actually need to use the product.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Moon At The End Of The Road...

The text message came in yesterday afternoon. It was a simple request, can you attend our early-morning meeting before church tomorrow?

Even though I was in the middle of an eight-hour work day at my Halloween gig and that I would be getting hime around 11pm, I agreed to go. It was only an hour-long meeting and I could get some sleep this weekend--it's a long weekend for me. But, it was tough getting up after that alarm went off this morning.

I got dressed and found my way to the car. It wasn't until I turned onto State Street that I saw it, a huge full moon hovering over the island. I knew I had to get a picture of it.

I knew something else as well. I knew the picture wouldn't even come close to the amazing sight I was privileged enough to see. If I had my Nikon and a tripod to set up the shot, maybe. With my little phone--no way. I took the pictures anyway, not necessarily to try and show you, my loyal blog readers, the beauty of the morning view, but as a reminder to me that sometimes agreeing to attend an early-morning church meeting can pay dividends other than helping someone out.

It can mean taking a turn and seeing an autumn moon descend into the a western morning sky.