Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Greed isn't only on Wall Street

I've heard a lot of people talking about corporate greed, bankers' greed, and such concerning this whole banking problem we're facing currently.

The root of the problem IS NOT with the bankers, it's with the people who couldn't afford things going to a bank to get a loan or a credit card to get money for something them.  These people got their homes they couldn't afford, so now we have bankruptcies.  These people couldn't afford the cars they bought, so they're being repossessed.  These people couldn't afford the big screen t.v.s, and all the other things they bought, not worrying about when or how they would pay them back.

It's OUR greed that caused this, but we're blaming the bankers who ALLOWED us to have  what WE WANTED.

I saw a photo in today's paper of a person outside some government agency with a sign that said "greed kills".  I suggest that this person should've been sitting outside of BEST BUY instead.

Folks, don't throw the blame at the big corporations, government, or Wall Street.  It may truly lie at your own door step.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We've already created The Matrix

I was watching my daughter sit on the couch flipping channels, complaining about how stupid things on TV were, but seemingly unable to get up and walk away.  Television is a Matrix for us.  A place where our body rests in a safe, comfortable area and our minds wander off in far away places.  We don't interact with anyone, we learn little (depends on what you watch), and our muscles are trained to sit.

Video games are similar, but at least they are not completely passive.  At least we make choices and are engaged in some mental exercise.  

Friday, September 26, 2008

One bite at a time

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

When I get down on myself, it's almost always because I feel like I should be able to do everything--all the time.  I look back on the day and see what I've done, and get crazy because there are 30 other things that I wanted to get done as well, but couldn't fit.

I have been getting better about this.  I've rearranged my "to-do" list and now structure it like this.

Morning:  Pick 2 things which are vital and for "Immediate Action" and get them done before 11 a.m.  Sometimes these take more time, sometimes less, but this is the primary goal and if these things get done, I try not to get stressed about the other stuff.

I divided the other tasks into 4 categories:  Photography, Painting, Home, and Business.  I then try to make sure that I spend an hour or so on each category, then move on to the next, so that each day I'm able to touch on at least some of the things from each category that need to be done before the kids get home and things become more chaotic and unplannable.  (is that a new word?) 

It's tough when things take a long time and I have to decide whether to ignore the other categories or not, but I try not to.  I also try to limit things like checking email and the internet, leaving my home studio (because things always take 3 times longer once you step out the door than you think they will).  

One thing that I say to my students is that "Continual Improvement Equals Success".  In my situation, I suppose this is should be "Continual Forward Progress Equals Success".

Baby steps.  

Friday, September 19, 2008

So Sorry for Time Warner Customers

I am one of those customers, but I'm not feeling sorry for myself.  I only get my cable through Time Warner Cable.  Many people also get their telephone and internet through TWC.  Five days after our recent windstorm, the cable is still out.  I heard someone last night saying that TWC was warning that it could be a month before they totally restore service.  Bad?

What if your business uses Time Warner Roadrunner Business Class for its internet?  After several days without power, they're then stuck with weeks of no internet?  How is that good business?

I'm so happy that I lucked out and stuck with DSL, which even worked when the power was out (modem powered by battery backup).

I lucked out.  I continue to hear the arrogant advertising of Time Warner making fun of slowpoke dsl and the "phone company" on radio ads and the stations we can grab off the air with rabbit ears.  I wonder how grating these ads will be to people who are losing money every day because they have no access to the internet.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Power outage, Hurricane Ike in Ohio

Wow, what an interesting week!

Sunday afternoon, we were in Gabriel Brothers when the power went out.  We went outside and the wind was crazy.  It was sunny outside, but the wind was such that it felt like you could just lay down on it, sort of rest diagonally in the air.  The big metal tube "return your carts here" corrals were blowing over and we knew it was time to get home.  Traffic lights were out, but fortunately we live only about a mile from the mall area.  

We got home and the power was on, but it had gone out, so we shut down and unplugged the computers in time for the power to go out again.  We went outside and everything was crazy.  It was beginning to cloud up, but the wind just didn't stop and it never did rain more than just a misting.  Our shingles were beginning to flip up, so I tried placing some 8' 2x4's on the roof to save the shingles, but then they started flying off the roof, so it was time to ditch that idea and just let the shingles go.  

My son and I decided to have a bit of fun, so we got our skateboards and a few big pieces of cardboard, held the cardboard like a sail, and went whizzing down the road on Ike Power!  It was fun.  

After that got a bit old, and it was clear that this was a major event, I went and got a camera and began documenting the storm.  I also grabbed my wife's camera and took some video.   We lost lots of shingles and part of our privacy fence, but others lost more, so I grabbed my gear and went out touring our neighborhood shooting pics of trees down all over the place.  No fun. I haven't been able to look at the pics/video yet, but I'll post them as I get them processed. 

It all started around 3:00 and the winds died down to "normal" around 6:00.  They say that 180,000 people lost power in the Dayton DP&L area.  Down in Cincinnati, 680,000 out of a total service area of 800,000 homes and businesses were without power.  Cars driving through on the interstates were stranded because the gas stations didn't have electricity to pump gas.  People were told to conserve water because the electricity to pump water to the towers was out.  Schools were closed, businesses were closed, everything stopped, and we all cleaned up.

We went for days without power and a day or two without phone service.  Many cell phone towers had been damaged, so some providers didn't function.  The food in the fridge and the freezer was spoiled and had to be thrown out.  

We just got our power back last night at 6:15.  We were so happy!   

A few thoughts for next time:

Radio:  The only radio I found that worked on batteries was my daughter's boom box, which took C batteries.  I had exactly 8 C batteries, so we had to conserve radio play so that the batteries didn't run out.  Many of our friends had no radio or no batteries for their radio.  Schools have varying degrees of logic concerning these things, so it's important to know if the kids need to go to school.  The school I teach at was closed Monday, had school (normal time, no delay--even though most districts were closed) on Tuesday, but was then closed on Wednesday.  

Phone: Time Warner Cable went out and is still out.  Those people who use the digital phone service and RoadRunner have no home phone or internet.  Also, many of our friends only have cordless phones, which didn't work.  We had two corded phones which plug directly into the wall jack, which gave us phone access other than our cell phones, some of which which ran out of power.  

Digital Photographer: I was able to take pictures, but my laptop is way too old, so I was pretty much stopped in my tracks as far as downloading or processing images.  I couldn't get to my web site or email.  In the future, I think I'm going to make sure that I have a current laptop with all my primary software loaded and backup batteries, both for travel purposes and for emergencies like this.

Traffic Lights:  Do we need them?  I really think that I spent less time at traffic lights when they were totally dark and everyone treated the light like they were 4 way stops.  It eliminated all the waiting for people who weren't there.  I'd like to see statistics to see if there were more wrecks with the traffic lights working or with them not working.  I bet they were about the same, or possibly less with the traffic lights NOT working.  People had to be more careful, and didn't assume the other guy was stopped.

Oil Lamps:  Fantastic!  We have two oil lamps which became invaluable.  Candles would light up a tiny area and were much more dangerous.  I highly encourage everyone to get oil lamps and extra lamp oil.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Working and Weekends

I do three things to generate income.  I teach Art 3 days a week.  I paint and sell those rather Impressionistic paintings through galleries on on my web site.  I also am a photographer, shooting seniors, families, and maternity for private clients as well as photojournalism and event photography for corporate clients and media outlets, and I also sell my images as stock photos.

I'm writing this because, as I left school Wednesday, one of my co-workers said "enjoy your four day weekend."  I stopped and said "It's not really a weekend, I'll be working the next four days, just not at school."  He said, "but you won't be here, and if you're not here, then it's the weekend."

People have no idea how much time and effort go into creative enterprises.  It really bothers me that people see the production and sale of creative work as "play time" and not "real work".  It's odd.  I suppose it's mostly because they haven't ever tried running their own business, dealing with the work itself, clients, customer fulfillment,  suppliers, invoices, etc.  I'm sure my co-worker thinks I'm just sitting around relaxing.  

Then again, I suppose there are factory workers who feel he just talks to kids all day and gets paid for it.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rumors burning time

I've been watching the new release announcements of the big camera manufacturers with interest.  Canon put out a teaser which is thought to be about a 5D Mk II coming soon, but no details.  It just occurred to me that I've checked in at DPR probably 5-10 times per day in the last week or so, wanting to know "what will the big announcement be?". I'm just wasting my time, because reading these posts about "it'll be this", "no it won't", "it'll have a yoga function", "no, it'll be pilates, you moron", "oh, come on, if it doesn't have a mixed-martial arts button it won't be a pro camera". 

Gibberish. I guess we'll all find out soon. I'm going to try to limit my time spent on rumors.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Google Chrome Is Cool, but not perfect (yet)

I downloaded Google Chrome and I really like it. I like the way it's simple and clean. I like the way photos look on it.

I use so many Google apps at this point that I decided to give Chrome a try. I had been using Firefox and I didn't like how Firefox dealt with some web sites.

I love how big the pages are.

I did get a weird error on Blogger, saying that my cookies and javascript were disabled on my browser (which they weren't), but after I hit cancel on all the warnings, it turned out that I had signed in and everything was fine.

Things aren't perfect, but I'm excited. I think this is going to be good!


9/8 I'm still using Chrome and I still like it, although it does have problems with Java sites. The sites I upload my photos to for printing won't work with Chrome, so I revert to IE or FF.

9/9 I noticed that my computer has that chug-chug-chug sound going on when I'm using Chrome, like when it's downloading something. The light is on showing the processor working. When I close Chrome, the chug-chug stops. I opened Task Manager and nothing strange showed up. I don't know what's going on.

9/11:  I was in the middle of sending emails with attachments using Gmail and got a message "you have been signed out of this account", thus losing the email and the ability to save as draft.

9/12:  I like how the fields to be typed in are outlined in yellow.  I found that very cool when using an online keywording application. 

9/13:  I'm still getting Gmail signing itself out of the account and closing unpredictably.

9/14:  In Facebook, you can hit "next" to go through people's photos, but eventually it will refuse to continue and hangs up.

I judged the Miamisburg Art Guild Exhibition

It was my honor to judge the 2008 Miamisburg Art Guild Juried Exhibition. I was really impressed with the wide variety of works that were entered in the show and the quality of those works. It was a lot of fun judging and the folks at the M.A.G. were very gracious and helpful.

In the photo you'll see Steve Wohler and I with Steve's painting "Smalltown Stovebolt" which won Best of Show.

New Oil Paintings

These paintings took me f o r e v e r to finish! They're pretty thick as a result! I got started on them a few months ago, and I just couldn't decide how to finish the flowers, but it finally just "came to me" and I think they worked out well. They're both 22 x 28". Titles are "Tulips and Pond" and "Tulips and Orchard"

Friday, September 5, 2008

Dayton Ohio Event Photography

I put up a new page focusing on my event photography yesterday. I've been shooting events for various newspapers and magazines for the past several years and thought it was time to put examples of this side of my business on the web site. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Are there any photos you really like?

Are there any photos you don't like?

Thanks for your input.