Friday, July 31, 2009
Today has been a bust so far.
This morning I went to one of my fav sites notalwaysright.com and picked up a trojan horse malware. It was disgusting and nasty, called home antivirus 2010. It makes it look like it's your own software, and it's picking up malware (ironically) and you can't get rid of it until you pay $29.95. Nope, I did not fall for it.
However, it was nasty.
It would not let me run spybot. It kept trying to take over internet explorer. It changed my homepage to google for some weird reason. System restore did nothing. It did a lot of other things. I was completely at my wits end!
Finally I found this site. I downloaded Malwarebytes anti malware and I need to give it 27 thumbs up. If I had 27 thumbs. Fixed it, but did take a couple hours to run the full scan.
Oh, and for the fun part. Jingles jumped up on my desk 917 times while i was trying to do this stuff. He got in big trouble and now he's pouting in the bedroom. *thanks for the break cat*
Even tho not always right has been one of my favorite humor blogs, I'm going to give it the big EFF YOU and not recommend anyone ever go there again.
I'm also going to suggest that you download malwarebytes and run a scan. It will find tons of stuff you never knew was there. My computer is running faster now. Oh, and it's free.
AVG, you're on the chopping block next. *spit*
Now, back to trying to rescue my day!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
"I am a relatively new shutterbug and am becoming more and more obsessed as time passes. Somewhere I read in your blog that you use a Canon. I have a Canon T1i and Paintshop pro Ultimate Photo X2. I have a 50mm 1.8 lens that I love but I am thinking of investing in another lens. What do you use? Do you have any suggestions?"
Well Heather, et al:
I'm going to tell you the stinking truth, because as Jasmine Star says, I'm gonna K.I.R. Keep it real.
I have three whole lenses. No really :p
I have the 50mm f1.8, I use it a lot for portraits and food. Unfortunately I've taken a lot of pics of food lately. lol. This lens is on the low end of the cost spectrum (you can get one under $100), but not a lens that most beginners would have. It has dreamy bokeh (depth of field - those blurry bits in the background). I usually shoot portraits with it at f 2.2, because of that, I haven't thought much of spending $300-$600 for the f 1.4 or the f 1.2 I just haven't. Someday I might realize what a moron I've been, but in the meantime, it serves its purpose to me.
I have the 70-200 f4 USM. It's big, and it's white. Ppl eyeball you when you use it. It doesn't bother me until I'm with the unsavory, and then I just put it away. You can get little wraps for the white parts, I've seen them in black and camo. I might have seen hunter orange too, but I might be imagining that.
I also have the kit 18-55. That's it. Yep, I still use my kit lens, and I use it even at weddings. I think ppl underestimate the kit lens. Having said that, my 18-55 does not even have IS (image stabilization), and those are cheap, so I bought one on eBay the other day for $108. I received it a couple days ago, and I can already tell a difference.
I started noticing that my wide shots where soft up close, and that's bugging me a lot. (especially wedding pics!) and I was hoping the IS would help that. It's gotten really good reviews. If I wasn't saving for a camera, I probably would have bought something different. I've heard people say that they get their camera and never once use the kit lens. I think those people are nutjobs. At the least, for beginners, it's a nice general lens that will work in a variety of situations. Would I shoot a whole wedding with it? heck no. But if I had to choose only ONE LENS, I'm scared to say, this might be the one.
*ducks from egg tossing*
What should you buy, depends on what you love to take pictures of. People? Then maybe a 35 or 85 mm. Personally, I don't like the 85mm, I had to back up so much I felt like it was a huge waste of my money (rental) and the wider aperture.
If you like landscapes, then you might like something wide so that you can get the broad sky pictures.
If you like pics of birds or animals, then you would want a telephoto obviously, and I wish I had the 70-300 but, unfortunately, that money tree stopped growing.
If you want to do macros you might go for the 100mm macro.
Do you want a prime? Or do you like to zoom?
Personally, I prefer zooms. Less running around for me when I'm not in a situation I can run around :)
If I were to buy one lens tomorrow, I would buy the 10-20mm super wide because I LOVE wide shots. Love love love. It's my favorite. People think you only might use a wide for landscapes or buildings, but I like to go really wide, and get in close to a subject, it looks completely different than standing back and just zooming in.
Whatever you pick, get the absolute best that you can afford, even if that means maybe putting it off for a few months so you can save up. Good pictures are almost always the glass, (and the person behind it lol). Rarely the camera, so don't let some snobbish mkII guy tell you that you take inferior pics because your camera didn't cost $3k.
I've seen guys with really expensive cameras that ran it on full auto. OK, well I can do that with a point and shoot. Having said that, I am saving for a new camera. I am going to go to a 50d (I think) for my main camera. I shoot a lot of weddings, and receptions means dark, and high ISOs, so I'm getting a lot of grain with my 30d.I hope that helps you. I know i didn't actually *answer* the question. LOL.
All my Love,
Then Heather had the GALL to actually RESPOND AGAIN.
Good Lord girl. ;)
Among other things, she says: " I am interested in hearing more about your wide angle up close technique."
Excellent follow up, and something I've been meaning to post about.
Please look at the following photos:
But then I got to thinking, what would this look like if I shot it just a little different.
I stood in the exact same spot, but instead I shot at a much wider 18 mm and approximately 3 inches from the handlebars.
The handlebars are approximately the same size, but the rest of the bike has completely changed. Not only can you see all of the fender, but you can see the shadow of the wheel. Yes, there's distortion, and years ago, old school, this would have been a big no-no.
BUT, this isn't a cover poster for "40-year old virgin" and I like to be a little more "edgy" for this small town.
If you use a point and shoot, zoom out, but move up close. You'll have to experiment with how close you can get to maintain a sharp picture. Try this with people. Imagine huge noses and tiny ears.
You know, how I normally look
You see, in the beginning, it was just a "look at my pretty pictures" blog. Oh, and a place to remind you when I take a shower or bought butter. :p But somewhere along the line, it changed to a place for you to "look at my pretty pictures, which btw, reminded me something from my past, so now they'll be a bloodletting."
It started out innocent enough. Tanner was bored.
That's it. Just stuck out here in the country, with nothing to do, so he decides to drag out my bike and see what's wrong with it.
Yep. I have a bike.
This is a special bike. And when I mean special I don't mean "special". I mean *special*.
Out in the world, there's a place that a whole lot of you have never heard of. This little chunk of land is called Sharpsburg, Iowa. Sharpsburg is just a hop, skip and a small jump from my hometown, Conway, Iowa and in comparison, a veritable metropolis. Sharpsburg has a booming 98 people compared to Conway's 68 (census 2000), and Sharpsburg is much more culturally diverse with 94% white, versus Conway's 100%. *cringe*
So you can see, any activity that takes place in Sharpsburg, would be quite the step up for a lowly Conway-ite.
So the end of summer, in 1979, when Sharpsburg put on it's annual Labor Day festivities, of course we all went. What they did there, I can't remember. I'm sure there was a show of some sort with some hometown musical act. Everyone brought their lawn chairs and faced the basketball court in the park while someone strums a guitar.
There was also always a big watermelon feed. Someone would bring in huge cattle troughs, fill them with water and gallon jugs filled with frozen water and hundreds of watermelons. One or two or twelve guys would stand there and cut watermelon for hours. I have no idea who donated them all, but there was no charge for the icy cold watermelon. We ate watermelon until the sticky pink juice ran all the way to our elbows.
And mom cussed because we were covered in stick.
Mom. It was free, it was ice cold, it was yummy. Forgive me?
That year, they were giving away 2 bikes. One boys, one girls.
So when it came time to give away the bikes, I sat out in the crowd, like 99% of everyone expecting nothing. Then all the sudden, I hear my name over the loudspeaker. I was in shock. With most things in life that shock me, I sit sort of speechless.
I bet you wish I was in shock more often eh?
Someone pushed me in the direction of the brightly lit stage, and I walked up scared to death. The man holding the ticket looked at me and said "How did you end up winning a boy's bike?"
"My mom put my name in the wrong box."
There were some laughs, and a lot of mumblings, but I ended up pushing that bike off the basketball court and it made the ride in the back of the truck home. I'm sure it made a lot of people really mad, but I don't remember one person saying one word to me about it.
I had a brand new, bright red bike.
With a crotch crunching bar right down the middle. (sorry). To this day, I have never figured out why they put that bar on a boy's bike, but that's another story for another day.
Every day, mom would go off to work, and leave my 14 year old sister in charge of us all. Yeah. Huge mistake. Did I mention the torture? Yep. They'd sit me on that old hand-me-down bike for hours on end pushing me off an imaginary cliff 900 times a day, until I would rip off my kneecaps and fling them at them in hopes of getting away.
It rarely worked.
Then one day. *boom*
It just worked. I just... did it. They rejoiced. I beamed.
I still hated them for torturing me.
So no, I will never say thank you :p
So a year later, when this bike came my way, it was a taste of freedom. By this time, we were living in the country, where there's little to do, and if you wanted to visit your buddies, you needed to walk. Period. No mom with her Starbucks and her SUV setting up play dates at the park. Hell to the no.
Wanna play with Bev and TJ? Cool. *walk.to.town*
(BTW, TJ's old phone number as a kid was 2477. Seth's birthday? nope.. gotta pause to remember that. *sigh*) So it was great when a free ride came along.
That bike and I, we put in thousands of hours together, even in the winter. I got a basket for the front of it, so I could put my books in it when I drove it to school. I had to hide the bike tho, back then kids would have trashed it just to torture me. (can we see a theme here?) That basket? yep, it got mangled shortly after that because of a massive bike accident.
I pulled it back as straight as possible. Picked gravel out of my palms for eleventy billion years, set my bike up and went again. That bike has been to hell and back, and I just can't seem to let it go.
When I lived in town, there was even a point where the bike lived upstairs in Seth's room, hanging from the ceiling like a decoration. I liked it. He could care less.
There have been other bikes. Like when the ex and I, we weren't getting along all that well. In an attempt to strengthen our relationship somehow, I tried to adopt his hobby. Bike riding. I just went out and bought a bike. It was purple, and made me think of my old bike. Cept it had 10 speeds and fancy brakes.
Those brakes by the way. Ended up being a bone of contention with me for years. They squeaked. Not so much squeaked as propelled a blood curdling, ear bleeding, mind bending squeal.
I didn't know this when I bought it. It's after you leave the store and throw your body on it, go 29 miles an hour (probably an exaggeration) down a steep hill, that you figure out that you'll never hear out of your right ear again.
I asked the ex to fix it.
long story short. It was never fixed. I took it personal. It ate at my craw for a *really long time*. I hated that bike. Hated.it. It was a broken symbol of a broken attempt at mending a broken relationship.
So I did what I always do when things make me sad, angry, mad, frustrated.
I sold it.
This college girl came to my garage sale. She needed a bike, and didn't have a lot of money. She had her boyfriend and $15 with her. Asking price was $35. I looked at her and said "The brakes squeak", and she understood. I looked an him and said "will you please promise me you'll fix these brakes?" He agreed and promised he would.
I made him pinky swear and I promised to hunt him down if he didn't.
He swore again.
$15 was a deal.
A broke college kid had a ride, and I had exorcised a demon out of my life. All is right with the world and I've not been on a bike since.
He picked up a skill from his dad of working on bikes. I can remember many, many broken inner tubes and my ex being super pissed because he couldn't get them in. He must have mastered it, because within minutes, Tanner had the brand new inner tube, in the 30 year old tire.
It's sitting by my backdoor, and when I walk passed, it says "hello and good morning". I nod, and then plop myself in my shiny red neon and leave the gold old-fashioned lazy way.
He has patience. And an underlying way of nagging me.
Just like every other man in my life.
And now, I contemplate getting on it, and seeing if I remember how to fall down, and if gravel still hurts as much as it used to. My gut tells me it hurts worse. But this other nagging soul in my life keeps saying "nooooooo". That nagging soul is my butt. "you love me, please don't get rid of me!"
So today, I step on the bike, and sit down. Nope, I didn't ride anywhere, it still needs another inner tube, and probably new tires... oh, and streamers from the handles! I want those too!
And guess what. I've not grown one single solitary inch since 5th grade.
So if in the future, you're driving down a gravel road in NW Missouri, and you see a blond with a big butt, riding a super old fashioned, just 2 wheels, no speeds, no hand brakes, faded fuchsia (formerly red) bike with streamers, do me a favor. Just wave. Please avoid kicking gravel and dust in my face, just think of it as your little way of keeping me on a butt reducing program. :)
Oh, and there's one last little bit to this story.
Same town, same location, same day, one year later.
I won a blue girls bike :)
I gave it to my mom. She put a seat on the back for my new baby sister and we'd ride together on the back gravel roads of southwest Iowa.
On a butt reducing program.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I have "issues". Pun intended.
I can't remember exactly when it started, I'd like to say 10-15 years ago, when I started making bears, but wait, I remember when I was a teen, obsessing over the latest 16 magazine wondering which star was going to make the cover, and is it worthy to clip and save those pics?
Yep, I love magazines.
I have always kinda known, that I have problems with this. My biggest issue is paper over all. I need a really good organizational system that's easy to stick to. Yep. That's all I need.
And the sure will to stay out of the magazine aisle.
I'll never forget the time that I had a garage sale, bundled up some old bear magazines to give away. Neatly tied with a piece of jute. Organized by YEAR. come on people help me out here!
I remember watching as my ex carried them to the car. He knew. DON'T take those back in the house! LOL. I let him. I still think about those old magazines.
I thought I was doing pretty good when I took a huge stack, handed them to Amber (a new scrapbooker) and said "Enjoy them if you like, and if you throw them away, never ever tell me so."
And she hasn't.
And I'm dying to know.
Then while reorganizing my scrapbook room, I found a stash that I'd completely forgotten. While getting a suitcase out for our honeymoon, I said to myself "what the heck is in this bag?" Only to open it and find magazines I've not looked at in several *years*
I can tell you what the problem is. With the older magazines, I want to make sure I don't throw away issues that I was published in. In the newer ones, I want to take the time to go through them and pull out the good idea.
But that creates a whole new problem! bits of paper.
I have problems with paper did I mention that?
No wonder I ended up working at a newspaper, owning a craft store, scrapbooking, photography... all things that come in contact with paper on some level.
So this morning, out of the blue, I picked up a magazine where the person on the cover has been annoying me for a year. Really, and I started to pull out all the layouts I liked (I'll get there) and tossed the rest of it in the recycling. Then, I just randomly picked up 2 more.
OK, I can do this.
I didn't even flip through it.
It was my favorite magazine.
So I pick up my camera and take a picture of my obsession. In the process I decide I will find TEN magazines to throw away.
I will not give them to a friend.
I will not thumb through them.
I will not put them in a cute little magazine organizer.
I will not store them away.
I WILL recycle them. That's it.
I found 10.
I buried them at the bottom of the recycling bin, which will be taking to the center today. *sadness* Now, I need to do that 72 more times. I don't think I'm exaggerating.
And now, before you think that I'm walking in aisles of boxes stacked to the ceiling, that I buy clothes because it's just easier to buy something that's new than to wash the old stuff, that my house smells something between dead stewed rats and cat crap. Nope. It's not. It's just piles of magazines, 29 deep, here and there, tucked away for the world to not see my dirty little secret(s).
It could be worse. Trust me, I've seen and dealt with so much worse. There are ppl with REAL problems out there and I hope that they can get some counselling or medication to deal with their obvious hoarding problems.
In the meantime, I am going to stop picking up scrapbook magazines, which won't be hard considering that despite my "help" all but 2 have gone out of business!
So Um, anyone need any magazines?
Monday, July 27, 2009
What he meant to say, is that there was a meadowlark right outside the window. He said "It's a weird bird" and I said "it's a meadowlark" and he was all "oh." But that's not the point. As I went to the kitchen window to look out at him, something in the pool caught my eye.
There's was a bird! In the pool!!
I said "There's a bird! In the pool!!"
Gene jumps out of the chair and heads outside, and the rest of the story plays out something like this:
2. "Are you god?"
3. "OMG, you're not MY MOMMY!!"
4. "DAD DAD! That man touched me. WITH his *BARE HAND*"
5. "I'll sue you, but first I'm gonna chirp really really loud and closer than ever before, but then, then I'll sue you. "
Man, Robins have some serious aggression and entitlement issues.
Gene's response? "I just didn't want him to crap in the pool".
Oh you big softie you!
- Bought a new laptop! Woot. Now I can stop whining about it. Walmart had back-to-school laptops on sale, so we all got up really early on Sunday morning, sat in line and actually got one of the only 10 they had. We're happy! It'll mainly get used when this computer (in the kitchen now) gets moved to my scrapbook room, and the main PC (in the dining room) gets moved to the kitchen. Gene will then do most of his surfing on the laptop. Did you keep up with that? LOL I also am SURE I will use it on our next vacation to keep the blog updated instead of saying "see you next week!", I didn't know how much I missed it until I paid $12.50 for 17 minutes at Marriot in Golden, Colorado. LOL
- We had to give the cats baths last night. OMG. Cats really don't like getting a bath. Mack took it well, Jingles flipped out. Kinda funny considering he's actually gotten in the shower with me before.
- Went to Michaels Saturday evening, and saw that they had cricut cartridges for $40 and paper pads for 30% off. I picked up the hello kitty cartridge because I have absolutely NO NEED for it. LOL. I also picked up the GCD chic bebe paper pad, marked $7.99 and 30% off that.
Long story short, the cartridge rang up at $89.99 and the paper at $21.99.. UH. *no*. It took forever, but I ended up getting the cartridge for $40, and the paper pad for around $5.60. But get this, when she was ringing it up, she messed up on the discount and gave me too much off. She caught it as she was putting my receipt in the bag. It took me a while to even figure out what she was talking about.
Finally she said "Oh just forget it, it's fine". So in the end, my cartridge cost me around $33 and the paper $5.60! Woot. I saved like $75! Made me feel better about buying hello kitty that I did NOT NEED.
- Went to garage sales on Saturday morning. That was almost a bust (Fridays are better fyi) and at the last one, we found an awesoooooommmme big cabinet for me to put scrapbook paper in. Honestly, I don't know where to put it. LOL. It's so perfectly, perfect for scrapbook paper. Oh, and $10! Score
- Speaking of awesomeness and bargains. I got this last weekend at an antique mall:
It's doll size, but I'm going to sit a cute baby in it on Friday.
- I had an engagement shoot with Paige and Randy on Sunday morning. They are so cute. She is nervous giggly. Those brides are fun. Giggling makes cute pictures. I'll share soon
- We've been going through paypal hell recently. Trying to return inferior products to China. Yeah that. Ugh. I'm pretty close to just giving up.
- Saturday was my mom's birthday, and Sunday was Gene's middle son's and my Brother in law John's birthday. July is a big birthday month!! Happy Birthday everyone! You got your cards, now step up off of me.
- All weekend we worked on tile when I wasn't taking naps or taking pictures. Tiling is not FUN. If you know a tile guy, HUG HIM AND TELL HIM HE'S my new *HERO*. I do the dry fit, and the sticking them down, and the grout, Gene does all the cutting (that's a wet job) and we cuss at each other a lot in the process. Maybe it didn't help that I needed a nap badly. Maybe it helped less that he stuck a tile right where I told him not to stick a tile! My eyes crossed. For a few min. The life went on and I came here to brood about it. :)
Epic boring tile laying photos:
And finally, a little note under the granite from Gene. He wanted to confess something for future generations. I feel the truth should come out now.
Now, aren't you glad you asked me how my day was?
Great idea right? Whelp, there's one problem. At this point, you're paying for the cost of 2 photographers. Many brides around here, do not want to incur this extra expense (and I don't blame them). So, I tell them, that if they want one, I can get one, or, if they'd like snapshot type photos, my husband picks up the camera also once in a while and shoots too. *he's learning - it's free*.
Anyway, so my point is, that yesterday I was exhausted. I mean, dog tired. We got up early (I'll explain in my next post) and I tried to go to bed "early" at 11:45. I didn't fall asleep until around 1:45. :/ Then, we get up at 6:30 a.m., which is just "Tuesday" for Gene, but "Oh god is there sunlight out there?" for me. (OK, I normally get up at 8:30).
So at around 4 p.m. I was so tired I could not keep my eyes open. I decided to go take a nap. At 5:15, 30 minutes after gene was supposed to wake me up, he comes in and we both end up taking a nap for another half hour. LOL.
Somewhere in there, I heard my back door open. Yes, I leave the 14 year old alone. All by himself. Almost like he was nearly a full grown human. *gasp*. I assumed he was going to go out to swim. When we got up a little later, I peeked out the window and saw him with my camera.
Yep, I let that toddling 14 year old "play" with about $2k in camera equipment whenever he feels like it. Just A.) don't drop it or I'll kill you and B. Don't drop it or I'll kill you.
So, I've decided that I'm going to force Tanner into indentured servitude at 14 (much like my own mother did to me... I HATED going to craft shows lol), and he'll be my new second shooter.
Either Tanner is the goldfinch whisperer, or they are getting used to us. I'm so jealous, he got so close! It's ok to smack kids if they're YOUR kid right? Right!?
This is the mean goldfinch. He fluffs up his little top-knot when other finches come around. Then he chases them off. Dude. It's a buffet.
I hate redwing blackbirds.
And he took this one the night before:
So this morning, I download my pics off the camera, and I see a sunset. I didn't know Tanner took some sunset pics, they were great!
But.. I get to looking at the date (I sort photos by date taken) and realize that Gene took it this morning! It was a beautiful foggy sunrise in NW MO.
Now I can start charging for "my" second and third shooters. :)
PS. If you think I'm trying to be cute and quirky with all the watermarks lately, I'm not (Ok maybe a little). It's because I recently had some photos of mine taken and used without my permission so this is a little self preservation. I don't feel right putting my watermark on a photo that someone else takes, even Tanner, so that's why you see his name there. This Public Service Annoucement has been brought to you by the "don't steal my photos and I won't sue you" department of Cease Fire Studios.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Do you remember them? Yes, they are the couple that we have so much overlapping history, that their family is almost my family. I have proof, I could post photos, but we'll save that for later. In the meantime, let these photos tell you about their beautiful day, in May, at the lake. (the exact place were were married, by the same minister even :)
No really, the girls spent more time tieing their bows than it took for Amanda to get dressed. Step in. zip. DONE. hah.
It's one of my very favorite moments of the day.
It also gives them a quiet moment together alone, which is probably the last one for the day. We take this opportunity to do a mini shoot of the couple.
Then the guests start to arrive...