Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanks to Zirretta

I have a severe dilemma at the moment. Not counting the winged hamsters pounding on my window with burning torches I realized there are no more books I have to read on my list. I started rereading a favorite of mine, but I seek advice from those that might accidentally stumble onto this site or visit it.

My sister has a great book called Book Lust and it's companion More Book Lust which is more or less a book of literary recommendations for all sorts of genres and interests.

Though I plan to ask her tomorrow if there are any specific recommendations I send my question into the Internet and it's series of tubes, since it's not a dump truck. (Series of tubes full quote [2 minutes long])

From dusty literary classics to sun bleached westerns, pew pew science fiction, "Look upon the land and behold it's power" epics, "Maus"ey graphic novels, steamy romance novels, well maybe not romance novels or any with Fabio as the main character.

Anything you want, those you have read a dozen times or those you have had recommended to you.

With Christmas coming up our family always does a gift exchange with each cousin getting another to give a gift to. Maybe I could write down one of your recommendations. Either way I will be giving the bookstore a Christmas gift of sales this coming month.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Darkness on Black Friday

Note: I wrote this post with breaking news as a source of information. Those familiar with breaking news know that some of it is exaggerated or false. The original post mentioned two women that were killed at a Toys R Us. As the day went forward, it was said by police that two men shot each other inside the store, and there are no other suspects. The post has been updated and currently coincides with news reports. Though things may change as more facts are learned this has still been a dark Black Friday. The original post with changes made is below.

I do not want this blog to become too serious in any way, but I believe some things have gotten out of hand on Black Friday. Black Friday received its name for the enormous amount of sales made the day after Thanksgiving.

Though Black Friday initially received it's name due to a comparison to the chaos that took place during Black Tuesday, the day of the 1929 stock market crash, it now is seen as the day businesses go from no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the profits (the black) in accounting.

Businesses open very early in the morning, with some offering "door buster" sales around 4 to 5 a.m. A door buster sale turned deadly in New York.

Black Friday has taken on new meaning for me, associated now with sadness and heartache. A 34-year-old male employee at a Wal-Mart in New York's Long Island was killed when the store opened at 5 a.m. A door buster sale actually became one when about 2000 people gathered outside broke down the doors and trampled the employee. Several other employees and shoppers were hurt or taken to the hospital, all because people could not wait to buy the latest piece of junk. The store couldn't even keep it's doors closed and reopened it’s doors only a few hours after blood was spilled next to DVDs of The Incredible Hulk for 9 dollars. I never knew the price of a human life could be bought for such a great deal.

Emergency teams trying to save the man’s life were even pushed around by shoppers trying to grab that last on sale item while the paramedics were trying to save him. Not one person has been charged with any crime; after all, it was a door buster sale. The running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain sounds calmer than this madness. Fourteen people have died since the first running of the bulls in 1910, and as sad as that is, at least they knew what they were getting into and not simply doing their job.

Black Friday was even further stained with the red blood of innocents when two men shot and killed each other shot at a Toys R Us in Palm Desert California. There are no concrete facts yet, but no other suspects are sought and no others were shot. This is just sick. A Tickle-Me-Elmo is never worth a payment of blood.

Toy guns are fine with me, but when someone brings a tool of death into a store designed to fill the dreams of children and kills two people I feel like taking one of those Elmo’s and beating the despicable gunmen and throwing them into Oscar the Grouch's trash can. I am no fan of personal violence, but Black Friday got darker for me today.

Even as I sit here at a Peet's Coffee Shop in a relatively small shopping center I have seen over a dozen police officers wearing bullet proof vests walking around just in case. Two are standing in the Best Buy electronics store and checking bags of shoppers for weapons.

I apologize for the somber post; I wish that I never feel the need to write one again with all my heart. May the families of victims this Black Friday be comforted as we use coupons clipped on Thanksgiving, when we sit down together to enjoy the countless things we are thankful for, knowing that there will be an empty chair this Christmas for some when we pass out presents stained with blood.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pixels and Yarn

I know it is quite late but I figured I would link some photos I took at the Harvest Carnival on Halloween since I said I would.

I had a great time taking them, unfortunately, I have a very poor flash right now so when it hit nighttime so did many of my photos. I am planning on picking up a Vivitar 285 to use as an external unit. Would have been useful when I caught our dinner running around before we fired up the BBQ.

Sure there are newer and possibly better TTL (Through the lens) flash units out there, but it is hard to beat the 285 or it’s smaller sibling the 283. The 285 has been around since 1972 and I would wager many photographers still carry this workhorse with them. Further, some of the cheapest TTL flash units are more than 200 dollars, and to be honest you need to spend several hundred more for a good one.

A brand new 285hv, which is a rerelease of the original only runs about 80 dollars as well. After 36 years of service Vivitar made only one change worth noting, which is lowering the voltage of the flash so as not to hurt digital cameras.

To make things sweeter the 285 and 283 are manual, and I think most photographers are a whole lot smarter than a tiny little chip inside a TTL flash.

In other news, my sister will be happy to hear that I am getting better at knitting. It feels like I have two left hands, no thumbs, and 8 fingers on each hand some days, but I am nearing the completion of my first piece, considering completion as it being square. If only I was this talented.

Thanks a lot GidgeFlibbit, another one addicted.

One more thing, what set of photos is complete without an angel?