After finishing up the latest batch of work on my desk, I decided to take a stroll into the kitchen to refill my coffee mug. Imagine my surprise when I saw a young woman rappelling right outside the window. I flashed her a cheesy grin and a thumbs up, then looked outside the window and down upon the gathering crowd. Unknowingly, my workplace was smack dab in the middle of an event called “Over The Edge Pittsburgh” by Our Clubhouse, a free emotional and social support group designed to help those touched by cancer in western Pennsylvania.
I stopped using my blog to vent a year or so ago, but in this case, I had to make an exception. It started with a harmless stroll through Sears at Ross Park Mall in Pennsylvania on a lovely Sunday afternoon when a nice guy talked me into buying a bed. It had been ten years since I purchased my last one and admittedly, it was falling apart. Those Sleep Number beds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, but that’s another story. The salesman was extremely nice and knowledgeable so I was very satisfied with that side of things. In the end, I paid $1500+ for a queen mattress, queen box-spring, and a frame. It was to be delivered that Friday. Five days until delivery…pretty impressive, I thought. Oh, how was I wrong.
I’m taking a timeout here to blog about something I’ve seen on social media everywhere…the mass dumping of ice water on people’s heads in the name of ALS. This meme/fad originally started with Pro Golfer Chris Kennedy and his trainer, James Whatmore, when the latter was assigned to complete an ice bucket challenge and pass it on. The idea here was that you had to donate to charity should you fail to complete the challenge within twenty-four hours. This started a revolution that swept the nation, to the point where celebrities and other famous persons became involved. I’ll be honest, this idea is both ingenious and incredibly stupid. Just as a side note, I had originally titled this article as “Freezing your ass off for ALS”, but opted not to for SEO reasons.
It’s been about a year since I bought my Nikon D3100 and unfortunately, about that same length of time since I’ve last blogged. The title, as it suggests, is meant to address both issues. I’ve learned a LOT over the past year, though I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself an expert…at least, not yet. A year ago, it would have taken me a minute to play with the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings to get an ideal picture of whatever was before me. Now, adjusting these settings based on the current situation is almost second nature. If it’s really bright outside and I’m trying to take landscape photos, for example, I know to start with a shutter speed of 1/500-1/1000, maintain a low ISO, and go from there. Of course, a good photographer will be able to adjust these on the fly as the need arises…I think I’m at the point now where I can safely say that I’m there.
Have you ever tried some of Kashi’s products like “GOLEAN Crunch!” cereal? I have. It tastes great going down but holy hell, it gives me gas like you wouldn’t believe. I’m apparently not the only one…there are forum threads out on the web devoted to people who have the strongest sphincter muscles in the world because of this smelly problem. I know what you regular readers are thinking…WTF is he smoking and where are “my” game reviews? No worries…I occassionally go off on tangents like this. Why? Because I can, and it’s fun.
Haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie yet? Well, you’re in luck. “Star Trek Into Darkness” is beaming down to most retail stores everywhere on September 10, 2013 (locations & dates may vary). If you don’t feel like waiting in line, you can pre-order the movie on Amazon and select “two-day shipping” to receive it in the mail on release day.
My recent trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo was a success overall, but I felt that I could have done better. Out of the four hundred pictures I took, only seventy-five of them didn’t have that grainy look about them. This was partly my fault, as I was trying something new this time around…Auto-ISO and Manual mode.
So, not much has happened since my last post. Created a website on Zenfolio, scheduled my very first appointment for a photo shoot, drafted up price lists and customer FAQs, you know…the usual. You can’t see me right now, but I’m jumping up and down like a little school boy who bagged his very first rare Pokémon. Okay, obligatory update over.
It’s been one heck of a ride thus far…that is, in terms of photography. Since my last article, I’ve shot and edited many a photo. I came up with a name for my photography quote unquote “business”, went out and bought Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, and have now begun seriously considering expanding on my lens collection.
I’ve been pretty lacking this past week in terms of game reviews, but I’ve had a good reason. I put down the controller (temporarily) and replaced it with my very first digital SLR camera. I’ve always loved taking pictures, even as a kid. Well, it was finally time to splurge and bring one of the hobbies I’ve been neglecting all these years to the front burner. When I first opened the package and began playing with its features, I admit that I was overwhelmed. In fact, you can read about all of that in my first impressions article (click on the hyperlink to the left).
So…the saga begins. Like almost everything else I do, I’ve decided to jump head first into photography, having no prior experience beyond the point-and-shoot cameras I’ve owned over the years. I’ve always wanted to take my board game reviews to the next level by taking nicer pictures, but I’ve also been dabbling with the idea of doing portraits & landscapes. Who would have thought that all-knowing logical me would have an artsy side?
J.J. Abrams is keeping a tight lid on the identity of the villain in the upcoming “Star Trek” movie, which is due to be released on May 17th, 2013. A couple of trailers have surfaced over these past few months giving us some clues, but the overall plot remains a mystery. I should probably say right off the bat that the below may border spoiler territory, so continue at your own risk.
I’ve seen a lot of talk about violent video games in the media lately and usually I’m able to ignore it, but there are some comments that eventually send me off the deep end because of the ignorance and stupidity involved. For example, Ralph Nader recently called video games, “electronic child molesters.” This is obviously an exaggerated view-point hyped up for the benefit of the media, but it begs the question: “Is there really any truth to the idea that violent video games can cause an individual to exhibit violent behavior?”
I haven’t written anything personal in a while, but I came across something that I believes warrants a look. An individual on Facebook, who shall remain nameless, had this to say:
Hey folks, I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Merry Christmas. Please be safe this holiday season, and if you must drink, do so responsibly. For the record, that includes hitting the donate button on the right side of the page and dipping into your life savings…just kidding!
May your games be joyous and your cookies extra chocolatey! Most importantly, remember to take a moment to look around enjoy the company of those who may have made a difference in your life. I’m not sure where I’d be today without those who have entered mine.
And for the record, I had help with the below picture…
There’s a lot I know about Star Trek, but this particular tidbit took me by surprise. First, it’s important to know that Alexander Courage created the original theme song to Star Trek. Unknownst to Courage, Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics to the original theme with the sole purpose of receiving royalties from the profits of that theme song. The theme was obviously never released that way (as was intended), and after listening to the theme with the lyrics included, I’m glad it didn’t.