Friday, October 31, 2014

Carving the Pumpkin

It was close this year, but we found an evening when we were all home to carve up some pumpkins.

Of course the best part will come in the next few days when we roast up the seeds!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

To Catch a Photographer

At the high school football games in Anderson county the newspaper, the Anderson Independent, sends a photographer to each game on Friday night.

These photographers usually will live Tweet during the game.  For those of you not familiar with Twitter what I am talking about is that the photographer posts updates throughout the game with photos and descriptions of the game.  

During these games in Anderson county I like to try and spot the photographer and tweet them a photo of themselves hard at work.  Sometimes this is harder to do than you might think.  There is a large amount of people milling around the sides of the field during a game.  Usually each team has their own photographer milling around.

To spot the photographer I usually view his photos and determine where he took the photo from.  Next I look for the enormous Cannon telephoto lens.

Found ya!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Start the Clock

I have been saying for a while now that when Cari gets a job I will start a timer to my retirement.  That timer will be set for five years.  That gives us time to pay down some debt while we both work and before I retire.

Well guess who got a job last week.  Start the timer!

As I was doing my happy dance yesterday Cari stopped me and pointed out that she doesn't have a full time job.  Her PRN job is not considered full time and that my timer doesn't start until she works a full time job.  I asked her when that will happen and she said, "possibly never".

For Christmas you can get me t-shirts that say, "I'm retired".

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kenny G in Hong Kong

In case you thought it was over, the Occupy protests in Hong Kong continue every day.  The protesters want the right to freely elect the chief executive.  Mainland China wants to screen and select candidates that would be eligible for election.  I've been following the events on Twitter most evenings and a few nights ago I saw a few photos of Kenny G walking around with the protesters.

Then on his own account he posted a photo of himself at the protest area and said he hoped it had a positive outcome.

By the morning that tweet and photo had been deleted and replaced with some other messages saying that he doesn't support the Occupy movement and he wished people wouldn't use him like that.

To see all of the photos and see the twitter messages check this LINK.

Apparently the Chinese government was not happy about Kenny G slightly supporting the "illegal" protests and he was asked to remove the offending message.  Not wanting to stand his ground in the face of losing some money Kenny G quickly followed orders.   Sad.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anderson Cooper "rant"

Last night on Twitter I came across something Anderson Cooper wrote responding to someone publicly.  It said:
.@vandongene dude, you were rude and asking for a selfie near where a soldier was killed. It was completely inappropriate. Think about it

That message from a celebrity interested me so I scrolled through some of the responses as well as the message the Anderson was responding to.

Pretty quickly I saw a story that was developing where some guy requested to take a photo with Anderson at the site of where the Canadian soldier was shot yesterday.  There was a YouTube video posted by the guy wanting a photo.  I watched the video to watch Anderson's "rant".

The guy was clearly in the wrong here but Anderson seemed reasonable considering the situation.   Meanwhile, the guy who started this whole thing was getting pounded on Twitter by people in support of Anderson Cooper.

Most of the tweets and the YouTube video have been removed but the internets saved them for you to see.  Check it out at THIS LINK.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let Me Check That

Here, let me check the back-up camera in your car.

Probably not the safest photo shoot I've done.  Really have to trust the driver on this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

High School Reunion

I recently received a message from a friend that I had not seen in about twenty years.  As I just wrote that, I realized I am old enough to have friends that I haven't seen for twenty years and now I'm thinking about other blogs that can be written.

My friend, Nathaniel, said that he would be traveling within just a few hours of my house and wanted to see if I would be available for a visit.  This was a rare treat and we invited he and his family to come visit.

Nathaniel was a senior when I was a freshman and we were both in band.  During that one year of marching band together we formed a great friendship and we shared a lot of great memories.  It was great to meet his family when they visited and share stories from twenty years ago.  

Facebook does a pretty good job at keeping you up to date with someone but nothing can beat sitting up with a friend until midnight catching up with each other.  That's something that Facebook can't get you.  

Thanks to Nathaniel and family for the visit!

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Makes a 7yr Old Happy?

What is it that the birthday girl wanted for her birthday?


If you are asking what a Tiki Man is and if you are asking where you can get one.  Check the fish bowl supplies at Walmart.

She was very specific in what she wanted and she was very happy when she got one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lunch Service

Let's talk about customer service.

Nobody does fast food service better than Chick-fil-a. You don't have to like their politics and you don't have to like their food but there is no dispute about their fantastic service. 

Around here, Chick-fil-a is packed at lunch time. To help move that lunch crowd they stop using the speaker system in drive through and put several employees out there with tablets. 

They walk up and down the line taking your order and if you pay with a card they'll take your payment as well. It doesn't matter how hot or how cold it is outside, I have only ever been greeted by a smile. 

By the time you get to the window they hand you your order and you are on your way. I can't think of anyone doing fast food drive through anywhere close to this quality of service.

There are a lot of places that you can get a quick lunch but there aren't many that you can get it with that level of service.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Selfie with my love.
If I was taking it with someone is it still considered a selfie?  Does it even matter?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Lunch time

Today I took a lunch break, something that I have frequently missed recently, and made an opportunity to do some exploring.  During the drive I came across a large cemetery.  There were several statues and monuments around the grounds as I drove through the meandering road.  There was one statue that caught my attention. 

I parked and walked up to the plaque in front of the monument.  The statue is very detailed and there are people entombed inside.  I imagine that those buried inside paid for this monument but there was no inscriptions to indicate this.  

There is a block sitting in front of the statue and the block is engraved with a lot of text that I didn't photograph.  It talked about the meaning of life and explained all parts of the statue.  Here's a summery of what I remember it saying:

Each person in this statue represents a different perspective on people thinking about the meaning of life.  There are young, old, doctors, philosophers, monks, families, couples, etc... in the end none of them understand the meaning of life. The only one to understand the meaning of life is Christ Jesus who is the beginning and the end. 

Monday, October 06, 2014

Competition Season

Late September and October are great times for hiking and they are also great times for marching band competition. 

It's great to watch all the bands perform.  Even ones you have seen in previous weeks continue to evolve and change as they fine-tune their shows.  

This past Saturday our kids won best percussion and best horn line in their class.  

Only a few more weeks left of competition season and we're working our way up to a bigger trophy! 

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Following the Instructions

When it comes to putting stuff together there are people that, upon opening the box, toss the instruction sheet to the side and get to building.

There is another group of people that, before unloading the box, grab the instructions and start on step one.  

Almost always, I fall into the second category.  Sometimes that doesn't always work.  

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Steam Security

Security in our electronics is obviously becoming more and more important.  Yet we continue to hear about hackers obtaining our credit card information from places we thought we could trust such as Target and Home Depot.

One of the places that I have come to trust is Steam.  Steam is a platform on the computer for purchasing and playing video games.  There's more to it than that, but if you think of it as a video game mega store on the computer then you will have the basic idea.   Steam has my credit card information as well as my purchase history and personal information like my address.

Apparently my password was not secure enough because someone was able to get into my account.  This was my reminder to stop breaking password rules that I knew about.  Rules such as
 - don't use the same password for many sites.
 - use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols in your password
 - change your password from time to time.

I broke the above rules with my Steam account but thankfully Steam was looking out for me.  I received an email that someone was accessing my account.  In that email they listed the IP address that was accessing the account and where that IP address was from (Russia).

On the Russian side of this, the hacker was possibly looking at a screen that was asking for an access code to complete access to the account.  The access code was in my email.   Also in that email was a link that gave me the option to completely lock down my account until I had a chance to get to a computer and call Steam to resolve what was happening.

For Steam to recognize that my account was being accessed from a place that was different than usual and then hold the account until I verified it was awesome.  I have since changed my password and followed the general password rules that I know (and hate).

Although I have learned we can't trust the places that most often gets our credit information I'm happy to say that the gaming mega store of Steam is one I can trust.  I think I'll have to buy a new game to celebrate.