seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

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Blog Priorities: Low

hey folks - I'm still kicking.

We are having an insanely beautiful spring. Photography has been great - but the sports are wrapping up. Combine that with busy weeks for Michelle and I at our jobs, and I have to forego something. Lately I have been foregoing blog posts to read. This has been a nice shift as I am way behind on both magazines and books that I started over the winter.

I actually just finished an amazing biology book called Endless Forms Most Beautiful - which I'm sure I will review before too long. Ordinarily, at this point, I would have lots of photo processing to do, but I have a new workflow that I have been using for the past 6 months that has allowed me to quickly process the thousands of photos I take every week.

So things are good - just busy. And besides, I must not have put anything up interesting in awhile anyway - either no one is interested in commenting or the system is borked.

Congratulations to Russell and Rebecca, as well as Farrell and Kristin - who had babies within 2.5 hours of each other last week!

In other news, Banjo is calming down. I plan to finally take some photos of him now that I'm mostly done with spring sports. Beyond that, I have lot of processing left over and still have to officially release my Christmas and New Years photos!

Weekend Wrapup

We got a doggie! Banjo the beagle made it though the night without hopping up on the bed. He doesn't bark really so much as howl. And he doesn't really do that much unless we leave. We did a test where we left him alone for 30 minutes (I was up in Kim's apt) and he was pretty loud.

We are hoping this is just a transitional howling. Our neighbors are quite forgiving, so as long as he gets over it soon, I don't think it will be a problem.

Other than that, he is a great dog. He is seven years old and if you want to know more - Michelle has the details.

At work, we just launched our new site after a long difficult process. I am now trying to fix the errors we didn't find when we were testing it. We made it live over the weekend so we could find these problems and take care of them. Unfortunately, that means I get to do more work over the weekend. Hasn't been too bad, but here I am, working with the contractor to resolve a nasty problem.

Lots of sun has kept me busy shooting in the evenings. Trying to keep up on editing and such but there is always so much to do. I need some rainy days, but it looks like I'll get lots of sun this week. I'm not disappointed - lots of baseball and softball ... and tennis on the weekend. Looking forward to getting the tan back.

Weekend Over Already?

That was fast! In good news, I am in three pools for the NCAA Men's basketball bracketology. I'm winning or in second place in each. Of course, the one that I am winning has no bets or anything. Doh!

Watched some basketball with the family on the big TV on Saturday after whooping some ass in tennis. We'll not talk about how my bowling game has gone downhill.

Read In Dubious Battle by Steinbeck and will soon get a post up about it. Finished editing some photos, started another batch. But more importantly, I got all my invoices out the door! So I'm mostly current. It was a good weekend to play catch up. As a gift to Michelle from her birthday, I ordered a bunch of photos in 4x6 and we framed a couple of them. The rest are going on a newly edited wall. Photos to follow - maybe =)

Got Aunt Cheryl and Jabbour on Skype to talk to Mom but then the video stopped working on future calls. Nothing is ever easy.

In other news, photos from the NCAA National swimming and diving that I shot are flying off the site and to parents, so that is nice. Looks like I will make a bit more on that than I originally thought. I have a month to sell photos so we'll see how it ends up. Either way, taking 23,000 photos (136 GB) in such a short period of time was a good experience - forced me to refine my workflow and figure out how to edit and post very quickly.

We watched the latest Dollhouse tonight. Insane show. Possibly the biggest cliffhanger show ever. Every week the show ends and we are dying to see another. I kinda wish we hadn't found out about this show until it was out on DVD. It is just too good.

Shooting Week

Big week of shooting starting yesterday. I'm taking a few days off my policy job to shoot the NCAA Division III Men and Women Swimming and Diving National Championships (being held at the University of Minnesota). I'll be working most of every day from now until Saturday night.

Also, I have been enlisted to shoot some "facilities shots" at the NCAA "Big Dance" Mens Basketball Tournament games held at the Metrodome. So on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, I'll also be stopping by the Dome to take photos of how everything is set up and handled - they will use these photos in the future when planning events.

It isn't very glamorous, but it gets me a press pass and a chance to see how everything works at these big time gigs.

Understanding the Banks

In my continuing attempts to both understand the financial meltdown and provide resources for others to do the same, let me suggest that everyone listen to "Bad Bank" by This American Life.

This one hour radio show does a great job of explaining what the problem is with the banks - explaining some of the terms we hear everyday even though many of us only have a basic understanding of what they mean. Very accessible, good production value, and they have made the podcast available for free (listen on your computer or iPod or whatever).

I also want to note that I am disappointed in how some people keep suggesting we can just let many of these banks and companies fail without seriously explaining what that means. If these institutions fail, the pensions that invested in them will not have the money they need to pay their benefits. Any guess on who will then bail out the pensions (who weren't taking risks, mind you - these were AAA-rated investments, right?).

I would like to note that Reagan created a HUGE deficit which created the massive debt. After 8 years of Clinton, we were projecting surpluses and worrying about paying down the debt too fast. After 8 years of Bush, the economy is destroyed and the debt looks permanently unmanageable. Republicans who want to blame Obama for running the debt up too fast need to shut the fuck up.

Weekend Roundup

Some updates...

Aunt Cheryl and Jabbour left this morning after a week visiting us - I got to spend time with them here and there throughout the week. Throughout the week, we had many fun conversations and laughs, often at each other's expense. All part of the fun! I'm starting to do more video chats over Skype and gChat with people - more fun that just talking on the phone.

Now I need to make good on the vidcam I promised them so we can chat with them from PA.

Over the course of the week, I got hooked on the Wii Fit. Its balance exercises were really fun and, I suspect, helpful for climbing. Aunt Cheryl set a pretty formidable ski jump record but I was able to beat it with a lucky attempt.

I also greatly enjoyed some Hula hooping although I was quite sore the Monday after at work. Lots of muscles I don't ordinarily use, it turns out. But I'm doing better now - and once we get our own Wii Fit, I'll strengthen them.

In the meantime, we picked up a Wii today and created our Mii characters.

Yesterday, I spent the day at Isaac Therneau's wedding - he and his bride, Shari, asked me to photograph it. It was a long day, but it was a very rewarding and fun time. The wedding was beautiful and I had lots of opportunities to good photos (I don't think I squandered all of them). From a photographer perspective, the wedding was perfect - everyone was relaxed and having a good time and the service had plenty of musical interludes where I could move around to take photos from different angles.

All in all, it was a pretty good week. I even gathered all the information for doing my taxes. I think.

I created a sidebar for my Amazon store, which features books, dvds, and music I recommend. For those who are looking for something to read, I highly encourage visiting. I'll be adding more over time.

Where Somebody Equals Me

Thanks to Russell for this fine YouTube pick to celebrate. See if you can figure it out:

While Michelle and I were up in Duluth, I asked her to marry me and she said "YES!" We were walking along the harbor, enjoying a brisk post-breakfast walk. The next day, because it was what she wanted, we found a ring she liked in the antique store and had it resized when we got back to St. Paul.

As of now, we do not have a date and we are not in a rush to pick one. But it is official - Michelle and I are gonna get hitched. And Kimmi said she would dress up like a bear on the occasion, just like in the video.

Lest you think I am lying, she has confirmed it on her blog!

Understanding the Financial Mess

Understanding these complex financial problems is not so hard with these two videos. Take a minute to learn where the problem comes from. Thanks to Russell for passing it on to me.

And Part II:

Returning Home

Michelle and I are wrapping up our Duluth weekend and preparing to head back home. We have had a great time despite the crumminess of the walls in the Comfort Suites - don't think we will be staying at another one if we have better options. We could hear too much in rooms all around us throughout the night.

But the view has been beautiful. The ice cracked on the lake right out our window and we have watched as it soaked up water and has now refrozen.

Yesterday, when we were walking along the harbor, we heard a loud cracking noise and got to see a crack suddenly appear on the ice in front of us. It must now have frozen very deeply since that warming trend we had a few weeks ago.

Michelle and I woke up to this - it was a good video to kick off the day, thanks daddYman.

Op-ed in Pioneer Press

After a commentary in the local paper by some so-called free market types (so-called because they are against government, not for functioning markets), I called the paper to ask for some balanced coverage. This was Wednesday. I wrote this column that afternoon.

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