Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It's automatic, it's manual. It knows what you are thinking. Otherwise how could it confuse you? I love my new D-SLR (digital SLR) by Olympus. But so far it continues to frustrate me. (Maybe I should read more of the instructions? I breezed through them twice, but, well, you know guys vs. instructions.)

What I love about it is that I can easily affect flash shots to output more or less light. I can even bracket a picture by taking three versions at different settings very quickly. (Just don't ask me how to turn that on yet.) One of my pet peeves is that so many flash pictures are too bright up close. Too dark beyond that.

I've only used the wide angle lens so far - it came with another longer one too, but I prefer wide.

There are so many settings to decode... I am learning - slowly.

My gripe is that I haven't found a quick way to see the pictures I have taken, once loaded into the computer. I have some theories about what I should do, but haven't tried them yet.

Here's a picture - it's not touched up.

I'm going to try to find some of the pictures from Bastrop State Park where we weekended a few weeks ago (blog below somewhere) and add pictures to it.


In Minneapolis, the weather people on TV would get very serious about snow. (It averages 55 inches a year) "OOOOOoooooooo here it comes." Like anyone who's been there a full year doesn't know what it means.

Here, in Austin, we just had an ice storm and they were pretty rational about it all - it's rare and everyone seemed to take it in stride. Which means people stayed home. But now - here comes the Arctic chill a.k.a. The Pipe Buster!

It's amusing to me that they've been predicting this two weeks out (and rarely get TOMORROW right!) And the low predictions vary between teens and 20s. Oooooooooo. This is coming from the north pole. Normal daytime high today would be 62, just for comparison.

When I had a radio station to program I very seriously wanted to do what I am about to suggest but never could get the morning show to see the humor.

We'd do the weather with our weather guy. We'd do it with a dog (one bark means clear, or whatever code.) We'd do it with a nun (I figure she knows God, maybe gets the inside scoop.) And a fortune teller. Then keep score. Fun? Or just crazy?

Monday, January 22, 2007



My mother claimed to have seen a UFO from a roof top restaurant in Naples. Our neighbors in Minnesota had a very close encounter when they lived in Nebraska - a silent globe went right by their outdoor deck while they were there! (They were reluctant to give full details - we had to pry it out of them - so it didn't seem to be a hoax.)

Many reports of lights, etc., are obviously not otherworldly. But I remain intrigued, since, if it were true that we were being visited by intelligent life from other worlds or dimensions, it'd be the biggest story ever.

Here's what I don't get: At night, many appear to drive around with their lights on. Which would mean that they don't care about being spotted. (Or they are bad at it. That conflicts with the intelligence necessary to build one of these things.) If being obvious doesn't matter, why not be more obvious in the daytime? If we are ants to their intelligence, why worry about the reaction? That'd be like a human worrying about an ant reaction to his choice of shoes.

If they are intelligent enough to get here, you'd think they'd be better at hiding. If they don't care, you'd expect to see more obvious ones out in the open.

There are some very good photos taken over the years. I expect these to get better and more prevalent with so many cell phone cameras in the world today!

I co-produced a radio broadcast on UFOs which aired in 30 countries on this subject back in, oh, 1976. I can tell you some of the people I interviewed were pretty darn straight-arrow types.

There are stories of those in the military who "saw a flying saucer", etc. who were then commanded to shut up about it - forever. Some of those are old enough to not care and the word gets out. One of the astronauts - I forget which one - he was one of the originals - before becoming an astronaut - was in charge of a film crew which saw and clearly filmed what appeared to be a flying saucer on the ground. The military took the film and that was the last anyone heard of it.

I suppose social institutions would break down - religions would have some adjustments to make - and if WAY advanced, those from other worlds could have a profound effect on our group psyches. Maybe there's a rule about being stealthy (if so, some are breaking it!)

Some say it's the military. I say - if so, then why don't they use the darn things in the war. Talk about shock and awe!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Finally we were able to get out of the house and to the supermarket! Trees and Cedars are starting to perk up as their weighty ice melts. I think we did lose some shrubs though, and there's at least one Cedar branch broken. I suspect the air will fill with the sound of chain saws first clear day we get - which is not supposed to be for a while. Forecast calls for Rain.

I've not even come close to mastering my new D-SLR which is why the picture in the post below was taken from my phone. But I AM getting there - there are a few good pictures on the memory card so far. I especially like that it's easy to dial down or up the flash - most flash pictures look very unnatural to me - a blast of too much light. I got a great picture of Terri in the dark with just enough flash to make her clear. Very nice.

........................... Miscellaneous................................

I touted the Beatles LOVE album below. Here's what a friend said:

A BIG THANK YOU FOR RECOMMENDING THIS INCREDIBLE CD!!! GREAT MUSIC AND ASTOUNDING SONICS!!!!! Why can't all CDs sound like this?? Shame on the modern recording industry.

Again thanks. This will remain one of my most cherished CDs. Makes
me feel young again too!

Just remember - if you buy it - don't read the contents - just sit and listen so you can be surprised. I found myself listening with a smile.


After watching part of the Golden Globes and all the Red Carpet crap I feel these folks are almost tragic figures. The ante to the game they play is very high. Not to mention the fall that awaits those who lose their public!

I also think Ryan Seacrest is extremely good and comfortable in his role on E (and American Idol) - he's the real deal. Great star interaction. He's quick and seems genuine.


Can't wait to see him play at the Superbowl. I think he's in a league of his own - amazingly talented. Check the CD 3121, his latest.


Sucked me right in again. I do wish they could bring President Palmer #1 back from the dead. It hurts to see him shill Allstate Insurance during the show.

And then they let lose with the first of 5 atomic suitcase bombs. THAT.... is scary!


Is back starting Sunday. It's an odd show but really well done. Gritty more than typical Sci-Fi, though it is set in space. Good acting, writing, direction. DRAMA. A long way from the Lorne Green version. Like, oh, lightyears.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


"...let's move to Texas where the weather is so much nicer than Minnesota! And the winters are warm!"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

SNOW !!!

It's snowing right now. Minnesota weather has found us. We are surely doomed.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Me!!! I can't believe it - I am on such a winning streak! I have won almost every lottery ever run by people simply using email addresses! Where will I put or spend all that money?

And I must be on a list in Africa too, because so many there want to be my business partners. They want me to hold their money. I guess they know how much I won and I sure wouldn't steal theirs, because I don't need any more!

I'm not sure what to buy first - a neighbor has a new Bentley and it's one of the few cars that I really like. V-12 I think.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I've got to comment! This is so rare in today's world. I HAVE HAD NOTHING BUT GREAT EXPERIENCES WITH VERIZON people. I've had maybe 5 or 6 interactions - these are the best trained, helpful, nicest people in service today! I just bought two new phones and the guy at the mall couldn't have been more helpful. What a great representative! And the LAST guy was the same way, two years ago!

Well done, big V!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Cabin Sweet Cabin

Last weekend we spent a few days at Bastrop State Park. Terri had rented a cabin there. Not too rustic, it had heat and hot water, but it was still a ton of fun!

Bastrop State Park is otherworldly compared to Austin, though only 50 miles away from our house. The reason? Tall pines. Here, trees are oaks and short. There, the ground is orange from pine needles everywhere. Geodes are sprinkled around, too.

We set out, confident that we had way-overpacked for our few days. Wasn't till I unpacked that I discovered I left out the, uh, toiletries (and waterproof camera case for my new camera.)

It only took a day before the toothbrushless life got to me, and we set out to find Bastrop the town. Entering the huge Wal-Mart I discovered to my delight - better donuts than we get at the local market. Donuts? You bet. Then, I grabbed a toothbrush and paste too.

Back at the cabin brushing: ACK!!! Bubblegum flavored Colgate! I hadn't read the label. Just grabbed/conquered in a manly way and split the Wal-Mart scene.

I gotta tell ya, bubblegum flavored toothpaste is like washing with mud. It's just WRONG.

At one point I was tending our outdoor fire and the charcoal grille we also had going. Night fell. Terri went inside to get the food. WILD ANIMALS were making noises near the lake behind us. I thought maybe Racoons... or...? (Later we found out - three ducks. Wild? One was domestic.)


Good company, books, a nice hike, and even an hour of staring at the roaring fireplace in the dark while a 'cold front' had descended on us... it all was magic.

Bastrop, by the way, is a town so small they don't have a marching band - just a car alarm.

I discovered the many ways NOT to take pictures... and a few ways to do it correctly. The new camera is very advanced with many options with which I am not yet familiar. I may post a few to this post once I get some time.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Re: The New York City gas smell the other day - Natural gas doesn't smell bad, if at all. There's a chemical added to stink it up; otherwise, you wouldn't know your home was about to explode. It's called mercaptan. Back in the day, when I was in high school in a much more innocent era, my friend, the high school genius, would order various chemicals for 'experiments'*. One time he acquired some mercaptan. There's something you don't want to ever get near. Whew! A little goes a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way!

* = blowing stuff up. In today's world there'd be FBI down on his smart head. He later went on to get his Ph.D. in Physics and work on esoteric stuff. Sad to say, cancer claimed him at a young age.

I remember one day Jim was mixing some nasty explosive that you had to keep wet or the friction of simply mixing it would set it off - he was very carefully stirring a peanut butter jar full of the stuff while we watched over his shoulder. A little had dried on the lip and his stirrer hit it. Snap and spark! Jim gently put the jar down and then shook while his deodorant failed. Guardian angels are real.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


The project was approved by Paul, Ringo, and Those Who Matter In The Lives Of The Fab Four and/or their estates. The idea was to marry (sorry Paul, bad word there) the music of the Beatles with Cirque de Soleil with Las Vegas acting as preacher.

Sir George Martin and his son Giles were given the task. They had access to all the Beatles' master recordings. The resulting CD is out now, titled LOVE.

It's amazing. If you lilked the Beatles, you will - um, LOVE this. One warning - don't read the track list. RESIST! If you don't, you will have lots of surprises, and you'll have a ball.

Some of the songs are completely intact - I think - some are edited or remixed. Overall, it sounds as if the Beatles did parts of it, uh, Yesterday. Sorry. Proof that Tomorrow Never Knows.

This is as close to AN EXPERIENCE as a CD is going to get you. My recommendation is to get relaxed, turn out the lights... fire it up... and enjoy.

This was the most Beatle-fun I've had since the first time I heard Sgt. Pepper.