March 2006

31. March, 2006 - month end
Wet
Wet
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Tomorrow it’ll be April. Feels just about right this year. The rain this week has washed away all but the most stubborn snow, and the weather tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. Heck, I might even get outside and rake up some of the overwinter crud from the yard. Plus it’s time to reorganize things in the garage so I’ll have room to park my trike out there when I take it off the trainer. Not quite time for that yet, but it’s time to make room.

Flowers
Flowers
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Pictures? Well, it’s time to use up the last of the ones from the Conservatory so we can do Carousel ones next week. First it’s some kind of plant that collects a little pond of water in it. And bugs and larvae and stuff. I pumped up the colors a little bit, but not as much as you might think. It really was pretty bright, even in the gloomy light of last Saturday.

Plaque
Plaque
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Then some pretty flowers. The way the lone stalk hung over a wall, isolating the flowers from the rest of the greenery caught my eye. I don’t remember the exact shooting distance, but it was very near the half-metre minimum focusing distance on my lens, and if I remember correctly, I had to shut off the auto-focus because it was trying to make the background sharp. I think I’m going to need to read the autofocus section of the camera’s manual again so I have a better idea of how to convince it to do what I want. I don’t mind focusing manually, but there are times when it’s tough because I’m shooting from a funny angle.

And finally, one of the plaques on the light-posts outside the Conservatory. The place opened in 1915, so I’m not sure what the deal with these plaques are. They look like something from the WPA to me (for no good reason, probably), which is the 30s. They’re not present in the photos from the opening in 1915. Dunno. Maybe one of my readers has a clue?

30. March, 2006 - things to remember

Finally realized that Daylight Savings Time starts this weekend. Didn’t notice until now because this weekend is next month, but I had to flip over the calendar to write down a couple things and noticed the small print informing me that I’ll have to change the clocks. At least I didn’t find out about it on Sunday by waking up and noticing that the computer clock doesn’t match it’s less-savvy brother that hangs on the wall.

Watching the Carp
Watching the Carp
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A picture of people. Kinda rare around here, I guess. There always seems to be a cluster of kids watching the carp in the reflecting pool in the conservatory. I caught them all unawares, and the colors leapt out at me.

Fallen
Fallen
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Next up is a leaf that had fallen and been left. It was over eight inches across and well over a foot in length, and just laying there on a low concrete wall in the middle of the plants. I’m not sure why I find it as interesting as I do, but I like it.

In local news, the rain last night washed away the last of the snow in my yard. My property is now officially snow-free, so it’s time to start thinking about all the outside projects for the year. I’m hoping to get a patio and a retaining-wall built before Memorial Day, and then get the rest of the yard in shape once the construction is done. Plus the garden. I don’t think I’m going to try for more than that this year, but we’ll see how things go. And that’s about going to do it for today. I woke up a bit late with a head full of snot, so I don’t have more words for you. Seeya tomorrow.

29. March, 2006 - blah

I’m running early this morning, which is sometimes a really good thing. On days when waking early works out well for me, I blaze through my morning reading, finding a lot of links for you to read, then put these ramblings together for you and get on my way to work, arriving before just about anyone else, and that leads to a productive day there, and a happy afternoon of cutting out early with the satisfaction of a job well done.

Spiky!
Spiky!
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Today is one of the days when I spend two hours surfing the web, and find nearly nothing that seems like it’s worth posting. If I’m feeling really motivated, I’ll go back through the stories I looked at, and pick out a few more things to fill the quota, and all is well. Or I’ll have a big backlog from earlier in the week, and coast by with that. But today I came up relatively empty, so I feel compelled to fill the space with something, and this is what you get. Are you as dissatisfied with this plan as I am?

Big Leaves
Big Leaves
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Two pictures today. Both of plants from the Conservatory. Both looking at details. At first glance, I liked them. This morning, I’m not so sure. I think it has to do with whatever mood has struck me today, and probably I should just shut up and go back to bed and try starting over on the day. If I were still working for myself, I would, but I guess I’ll go into the office and try and code myself out of this funk. Wish me luck, eh?

Actually, work is one of the bright lights in my life this week. Things have been going (surprisingly) well. A problem that I expected to pound my head against this entire week sorted itself out last Friday and this Monday, and I’ve been able to move on to other things. A bug that I was completely stumped on may turn out to be the fault of someone else’s change — I don’t know if I’ll be able to successfully pass the bug, but it’s worth a try. If I can, that will mean that I’ll be able to get back to the biggest project on my plate, which I’m looking forward to. So yeah, heading to work is probably for the best. Seeya tomorrow, hopefully with a better attitude.

28. March, 2006 - refund

Got my federal tax refund in the mail yesterday. And it presents me with something of a problem. I’ve got enough going on today that I’m going to be unable to get to my regular bank to deposit it. I can however get to “the other bank,” which I would prefer didn’t have my money, but which is much more convenient. I guess there are worse problems a guy could have, right?

Foggy Flower
Foggy Flower
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I’m going to plug through the pictures from the photowalk last Saturday for a while. And I’ve decided to do them more or less in chronological order, which means a full week of delay looking at flowers and such before we get to the horsies from the carousel. But if you’re really jonesing for pictures of wooden horsies, you can check the flickr tag. Or maybe the other tag. We’re really not all that organized. Other folks have been busy posting, and there are some pretty cool results.

That’s one of the best things about these outings. I get to watch other people taking pictures and see the results online, and when one turns out really cool, I might even remember what the person was doing that I wasn’t. Is it improving my photography? Maybe. But even if it’s not, I’ve been having fun.

27. March, 2006 - waiting for April

We get to face March’s last gasp today, according to the weather guys. Snow and rain later today, but warm enough that it won’t stick. Which is just fine by me. I’ve had enough of the snow, and am ready for April to, in the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay, come like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

If you step on the carousel, it’ll rock back and forth
If you step on the carousel
it’ll rock back and forth
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The weekend. Friday I came home from work and did nothing. Well, I stared at the TV, while the TiVo made the various pixels dance for me. And given what I recall of the evening, that’s a fairly accurate description. I didn’t so much watch TV as let it play in front of me.

Saturday: I had thoughts about heading to the gun show before the picture-taking, but didn’t. Nor after. Taking pictures was enough for me for the day, and it went swimmingly. We met at the conservatory (except for a few stragglers) and spent 45 minutes taking pictures of plants. And of people taking pictures of plants. Then to the carousel, where Chuck and Lori straggled in. The picture today is of Peter explaining to Chuck why people couldn’t walk on the platform. The animals were kinda sad and disappointing for me, and I think for everyone else, too. We cut that short and about half of us headed to Gabe’s for some food and drink, and all was well.

Sunday turned out to be the nicest day of the weekend. Went up to visit Mom, and enjoyed the lack of snow. About 30 miles north of here, the ground is completely free of snow, and that, plus the sunshine, gave me a boost. When I got home again to a backyard still covered in the white stuff, it sucked the energy out of me again, and napping seemed like the best plan, and a perfect way to wrap up the weekend.

24. March, 2006 - late start to the weekend

A late update this morning. I got to bed a little later than usual, which meant waking up later than usual, etc. At least the cold or whatever seems to be mostly behind me, so I’m ready for whatever fresh dose of viral fun my co-workers catch from their kids next.

Spoon Bridge and Cherry
Spoon Bridge and Cherry
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You’ve seen it before. When we were out walking around the sculpture garden, one of the challenges was trying to get pictures of things that didn’t include the other people in the group. Another was trying to get new and interesting looks at things that have been photographed to death. This was my attempt to meet both of those challenges at once, which was made trickier by the fact that the pond that the spoon bridges was frozen, so there were geeks with cameras walking all around it. Two behind that clump of shrubbery on the left, and I think two more hidden behind the bowl of the spoon. I debated whether I should attempt to straighten out the picture or not (it wasn’t intentionally shot at an angle), but laziness wins out again this morning. Ditto for the vignettes in the corners from having too much filter on my lens that was zoomed all the way out. Oops. Maybe I’ll clean it up and have a second picture to post sometime in the future.

The weekend is once again full of “stuff.” Taking pictures with geeks (more on that in a minute), perhaps a gun show, and a visit to mom. And hopefully a few minutes to catch up on some sleep. But I guess the weekend matches the week. I’m way behind in my laying around and watching TV this week, and it appears the backlog is just going to grow. Good thing my TiVo’s got the Really Big Drive.

23. March, 2006 - slow morning

Okay, I was still up by 4am, but I’ve been dragging this morning. It’s taken the better part of an hour to come up with any kind of idea about what to type here, and as you can see, it’s not much of an idea. The excuse today is that the sniffles have gone away, to be replaced with clogged sinuses. Won’t stop me from heading in to work, but I’m running in a lower gear today.

Basilica and Trees
Basilica and Trees
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I’m into the pictures where there are little (or not so little) flaws that bug me in each of the ones I have left to post. Today’s for example, was framed such that the top of the cross got cut off. Just a few pixels higher, and I would have been happy with it, but a little mistake like that means it gets condemned to a slow day like today. I guess that’s not all bad. At least it’s only a small mistake that bugs me about the photo, but I am going to need to pay a little more attention to details like that if I’m going to make pictures I like more frequently. And it’s only a couple days until I’ll go out and collect a new batch of stuff to start throwing at you.

And I think that’s going to do it for this morning. Time to go eat some sudafed before they make it illegal, and then head off to work for the day.

22. March, 2006 - forms
Reflection
Reflection
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I mentioned before that I like seeing buildings reflected in other buildings. Today’s picture is another example of that. Same building hosting the reflection, too. It’s 1221 Nicollet, which is some Wells-Fargo building. Sure is shiny!

I’m sure all three of you who read the site are sick of hearing about it by now, but I think I finally finished filling out all the forms I needed to do as part of getting hired. I think I at least know now why there are so many. The place I work is big enough that there are different HR people for all kinds of things. And each gets their own form. You can’t just fill out one direct-deposit form. You have to do two, because you get both paychecks and expense reimbursements direct-deposited. Multiply that by all the various things a big company does, and that adds up to a lot of forms. But as I say, I think I’m done now. It’ll be nice to be able to go back to doing productive work.

And I think that’s going to do it for the day. Today is my normal Wednesday, with nearly half the work-day consumed by meetings. I guess I should probably head in a little early to get some work done. And to make up for cutting out early yesterday, which I’ll maybe talk about tomorrow.

21. March, 2006 - Spring
Reach for the Sky
Reach for the Sky
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Today’s picture was taken on the Loring Greenway. I don’t remember off the top of my head which building that is in the background, but I like the picture anyhow. It ain’t perfect, but it’s interesting. At least to me.

They tell me it’s spring out there. And I can see it in the sunrises the past few days. The sun is now coming up in the gap between the houses across the alley. That gap happens to be straight east of my dining room windows, so I’ve got my own little stonehenge every morning. But it sure doesn’t feel much like spring this week. High temperatures are hovering around freezing, and don’t seem to be putting much of a dent in the snow we got last week.

Of course I’m not exactly ready for spring myself, having logged a whopping hour or two on my trike/trainer since the first of the year, but I still feel like Mother Nature could throw me a bone. Especially since I started the “spring cleaning” last night. At the rate I’m going, the house will be ship-shape by, oh, about 2025. But hey, there’s at least less dust in my bedroom, so maybe I’ll be able to kick the sniffles one of these days.

20. March, 2006 - another Monday

Another weekend come and gone. Friday at work went pretty well, but wasn’t especially productive in terms of things finished. I got to juggle my priorities a bit, and have started implementing a new plan to keep me focused on one thing at a time, since I’ve felt like I’m thrashing around lately. I also had my new employee orientation, which was a couple hours of my life spent listening to a woman read a powerpoint presentation over the phone to me (and others). It took me ten minutes to read it to myself. Sigh.

Saturday was the single-game ticket sales over at Midway, with the PeTA gang out in the parking lot tuning up our tailgating. And because we had a big bonfire going, everyone ended up smelling a lot like smoke when we were done. My coat still smells like wood-smoke, but it’s the time of year when I’ll soon be taking it to the cleaners before putting it away for the winter. Or this year, because my winter coat is pretty darned beat up, probably just tossing it and keeping an eye out for a new one for next winter.

The Basilica of St. Mary
The Basilica of St. Mary
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Sunday was a lazy day. I’d woken up on Saturday with the sniffles, and again on Sunday. I decided it was best just to spend Sunday at home and not go visit mom like I’d planned, since if this is a cold, I didn’t want to spread it to her. I would probably stay home from work today, except I still need to fill out my benefits forms for work, and the deadline is tomorrow. Got to be done. Then again, I’m not sure I’m actually sick. I might just be having allergy symptoms from the dust that’s gathered in the house lately. Spring Cleaning needs to happen soon.

In the pictures category, I’m back to the photowalk on the 25th of February for source material. While I find the night photography interesting, it doesn’t yield as much material due to longer setup times, so I’ve run that well dry. Today’s picture is actually handheld in low light, and came out better than I expected, but expect mostly outdoorsy stuff for this week. This Saturday will be a walk around Como Park, so hopefully there will be pictures of plants from the Conservatory, pictures of wooden horses from the Carousel, and some more lively critters from the zoo.

17. March, 2006 - got nothin’

No links for today, and I don’t even feel much like ranting about anything. Have a good weekend.

16. March, 2006 - more snow

It’s snowing out there all right. The traffic doesn’t look too horrible yet, but it’s still early enough that most people haven’t headed out to clog up the roads. I’m running late myself, and figure I’m going to shovel out the sidewalks and such before I leave for work, and work a rare late day. The snow is supposed to taper off around lunchtime, so hopefully there won’t be too much accumulation after I shovel. I wouldn’t especially mind taking another snow-day today, but there’s a lot to be done, so I’d better go in.

East Bank of the Mississippi in Minneapolis
East Bank of the
Mississippi in Minneapolis
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East Bank of the Mississippi
East Bank
of the Mississippi
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Pictures today, two versions of the same HDR-processed series of St. Anthony Main and the Pillsbury A-Mill. The one on the left is what came out of the camera, with some obvious white-balance problems. The one on the right is one I “corrected” until it looked like what my brain remembered seeing. I don’t think either is a completely accurate rendition of what that area looks like, and I had some problems with image alignment again, but they’re interesting views, and I kinda like ’em. They also use up the last of the pictures from the photowalk on the 11th, so I’ll be switching to something else tomorrow. The complete archive is here in HTML or here in flash, if you want to see the result of a couple hours of walking around last Saturday evening.

15. March, 2006 - more snow?

Is it too early to ask if I can take a mulligan on this entire week already? Turns out there was power at work on Monday, just not until 10am or so. So I’m out a day of vacation that I don’t have there. Then there’s yesterday. Didn’t get in to work until 11:30. Lose another couple hours. And then spend most of the day fighting with the computers that didn’t much appreciate having their power yoinked on Monday morning and both computers had hard drive problems. And now word comes that we’re due for more snow beginning tonight, and snarling the entire workday on Thursday. Are you sure it’s too early for a mulligan?

One other thing about Monday - when I asked whether it would cost a day off or not, since there was no power, the reply was that most people worked from home. Makes sense, but one of the reasons this job was attractive was that it was not at home. I worked from home for seven years, and at this point, I really like being able to come home and be away from work. So it’s an unpaid day on Monday for me. And maybe another tomorrow.

Downtown Minneapolis from the Stone Arch Bridge
Downtown Minneapolis
from the Stone Arch Bridge
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Regarding yesterday’s garage-door-opener headache, it turned out that fixing the old one would have been $150, and a brand-spankin’-new one was $345. With a five-year warranty. I ponied up the money and just got the new one. It’s a lot better machine, and I didn’t feel ripped-off at all. But that’s probably why the repair guy had a new opener riding around in his truck.

Downtown Minneapolis
Downtown Minneapolis
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Today’s pictures are interesting to compare. The one on the left is an HDR-processed one, and the one on the right is the only picture from another set I took to process that didn’t have any wiggle in it, so it’s pretty much “straight.” I’m pretty sure I like the straight one better, mostly because it doesn’t have the jiggle and halos that mar the processed one. And I got lucky and got the right exposure that actually has both good highlight and shadow detail.

I dunno. I think I’m going to need to experiment more, but I also think I prefer more time spent getting the composition and exposure right, and less time at the computer. Once I get better with my camera-technique, maybe I’ll be able to produce more interesting shots using the computer, but it’s not as exciting to me as I thought it might be.

14. March, 2003 - snow day

Update 8am: Some weeks it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. Headed out the door this morning, went out to the garage and hit the button to open the door. Apparently it had frozen down overnight. The opener broke it free, but when it did, there was much jerking and bouncing, and the chain for the opener jumped off the sprocket. After a half-hour of trying to fix it, working up a sweat, and giving my collection of blue language a good workout, all I had succeeded in doing was working up a sweat, tearing up some knuckles, and jamming the cable on the other end of the opener so it’s completely screwed up. Called for professional help, and what do you know, I’ve got time to do some more shovelling outside. Maybe I will get the area in front of the garage cleared yet.

Ugh.


As I mentioned yesterday, there was no power at work, so I got a snow-day. It wasn’t a complete day of lazing around by any means, since the snow was wet and heavy and shovelling it turned out to be an all-day task (broken up by trips inside to rest up and cool down), but by the end of the day, I’d caught up on a few things around the house, shovelled all the sidewalks, and given up on shovelling the area in front of the garage. I’d tried to start the neighbor’s snowblower figuring I’d clean up the area between our garages with some mechanical help, but that turned out to be a no-go and was probably more exhausting than heaving around shovelfuls of soggy whiteness.

What the heck. It’s supposed to get warm next weekend, and I can attack the packed-ice trails my tires will make in front of my garage once more of the snow is out of the way. Right?

Pillsbury A-Mill
Pillsbury A-Mill
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Today’s picture is the first one I’ve processed using HDR techniques that turned out something like what I actually saw at the time. It’s far from perfect, what with everything in the left half of the image looking blurry from a little motion between the various exposures, but the medium-size version looks okay, so I’m relatively happy with it.

I think the answer to getting even better results is going to require a two-pronged attack. One is to hang some weight from my tripod so it’s less-likely to wobble around between shots. The second is going to be figuring a way to adjust the camera and take the next exposure without touching it. The auto-bracketing only does three frames I think, and requires a trip to the menus, but I need to take a look at it and see if maybe I can use that to make this sort of picture turn out better. At which point I’ll probably get bored with it and move on to something else.

13. March, 2006 - snow

Update 11AM: Minneapolis has declared a snow emergency. Make sure you’re parking in the correct place.

Update 8:15 AM. I made it into work, but there’s no power there. Large parts of the metro have no electricity due to lines down from the snow (parts of eastern Minneapolis, Falcon Heights, Roseville, and Arden Hills were all without power as I was driving past), so if you live in Minneapolis/St. Paul, call before heading in. According to WCCO, it’s 35,000 without power so far.

It’s snowing out as I write this. The nice weather of the weekend is no more, and there’s a whole new set of pictures to be taken of things outside, but I probably won’t today, since there’s work and hassling with roads and shovelling sidewalks to worry about. Plus I’m in something of a cranky mood this morning, which seldom makes for good pictures.

Demolition
Demolition
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But hey, there were some over the weekend. I had as much fun as expected on Saturday, going out with the other photo geeks. And as expected, I missed a friend’s birthday party, because by the time I was done wandering around with the camera, I wanted to do nothing more than head home to bed. Sorry.

The first picture of the batch is of a building that’s being torn down on the east (downriver) end of St. Anthony Main. It looked like just the kind of thing to get people started with while there was still available light, but I decided to pull out my flash and see how that worked. For an on-camera flash, I was pretty impressed with the results. I wanted to flatten the rubble with direct lighting, and I think that worked. Yet the bit of roof that’s remaining lends depth to the picture. Does it all work? Probably not, but it was still interesting to see how much of the space I could light up. And it starts the week off in such a way that it’ll be easy for me to have more impressive photos later in the week.

10. March, 2006 - running late

It’s weird to find myself thinking that I’m running late shortly after 6am, but that’s how life is lately. Instead of the usual 4am, I “slept in” until almost five, and as a result am wondering if I’m going to be up to going out to pizza tonight. The user-group thing last night was okay, but I don’t know if I’ll do it again. I didn’t really feel like socializing after the presentations, and just headed home. Guess I just wasn’t in the mood.

Stopping Surreal
Stopping Surreal
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As I went on about at great length yesterday, today’s picture is the last one I’d planned to post from the photowalk two weeks ago, and I really should have taken more time to punch up the colors. I think I’m going to try using some of the new tools to put up a gallery of the whole mess, but next week, I’ll hopefully have some new pictures taken tomorrow night. I like night photography, but seldom have the urge (or energy) to head out in the evening with my camera unless there’s some good excuse.

The big problem with tomorrow night is that it’s also a friend’s birthday party. But because I’m not very good at keeping track of things, I’d decided to head out taking pictures and got myself excited about it (and told people I’d be there) before I knew about the party. Still haven’t figured out if I’m going to try and do both, but I think it’ll hinge on how tired I am. It gets tougher every year to stay up “late,” and it’s pretty sad when “late” means staying awake to watch the weather in the 10pm newscast.

9. March, 2006 - work-week rhythms

So I’ve been working at the new job for more than three months, and I’m finally starting to notice things like the fact that the work-week has a rhythm. Mondays and Tuesdays are new things at work, and less time at home. I’ve been consciously trying to “front-load” the week a bit. Wednesday is meeting day. A minimum of three meetings, and usually more. Thursday I try to consolidate the work that was done earlier in the week, plan for the next stage of the project, and get started on that. Friday, the goal is to get everything into a state where I can let it rest for the weekend without losing my place, and get out of work a bit early to make up for extra hours in the first half of the week.

I suspect that when summer hits, the rhythms will change. Saints games will add another factor to the mix, and my days will be very full, at least on game-days. I’m looking forward to it now, but it’s not too hard to guess that I’ll be griping about being busy come June or July. Yes, I would complain if they hung me with a new rope.

Water Works
Water Works
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Today’s picture? Well, I’m not especially happy with it overall, but there are some cool details if you look at it full-size. I probably should have put some effort into tweaking the exposure to show more contrast, but I didn’t.

I’m nearing the end of the photos I took while walking around a couple weeks ago. Well, actually not, but I’m running out of ones I like. No, that’s not entirely true, either. There are another eightteen photos from the day that I liked enough to give four stars to (the ratings being relative for the day). So what’s up with feeling like I’m out of pictures?

Well, when I did the first pass on the pictures I knew there were two weeks between the previous photowalk, and the one that’ll be happening this Saturday, so I quickly rated my pictures and pulled out the fourteen I liked most at the time. And of those first fourteen, only one remains, for tomorrow. It feels like any that didn’t make that first cut are culls, even though some of them are probably better than ones I’ve already posted. In any case, I’ve still got them on hand, and maybe I’ll just hold onto them to dribble them out, one per day. Like a lot of things around here, you’ll probably know what I decided about the same time I figure it out.

8. March, 2006 - more things to do

The saga continues at work. I think I’ve been hired as an employee, but it’s hard to say for sure at the moment. I got to work yesterday to find a couple emails saying I couldn’t be hired until the forms had been received, but they were before the phone-call on Monday evening. I figure one of these days I’ll get something concrete one way or another.

Side door - Basilica of St. Mary
Side door
Basilica of St. Mary
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I was thinking of titling the picture off to the right “God and Country - And an alarm system”, but went with the simple description instead. When I spotted it, I had one of those WTF? moments, and then thought to myself that it was sad that churches need security systems, but not all that surprising. Hell, people were stealing chalices and such from churches back when I was in high school, too. It still makes me wish that people sucked less, though.

One other thing of note for today. Apparently I haven’t established my technical bona fides around work just yet. I pointed out an email message saying that things in the printing system on Mac OS X are (or have already, actually) changing in a way that will impact my work. The boss I pointed this out to asked me to jump through some hoops to make sure there’s a concern. Okay. Fine. I’m the new guy and have to prove myself yet, but it means I’m going to have to spend some time later this morning putting together a sample application so I can say for sure whether it won’t even compile or just won’t work (I’m betting on the former). And then I’ll have to write an email that avoids snarkiness. Well, at least I can still snark here.

7. March, 2006 - Deep thoughts? Ha!
Sculpture in the courtyard next to Masa
Sculpture
(next to Masa)
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It seems as though I might have been successful in completing the paperwork properly yesterday. I got a call yesterday evening asking for a couple bits that were on the papers I’d dropped in inter-company mail just so everything could get entered into the computer yesterday, and I’m taking that as a good sign. Of course there’s still plenty of opportunity for things to go awry, by I think I’m past the worst of it. My co-workers seem amused when I make statements like Human Resources is not your friend. The very name “Human Resources” makes me think they’re in charge of gathering the raw materials for Soylent Green. But it’s true. Departments like that exist to limit a corporation’s liability and help it acquire the meat for the grinder. If they help employees along the way, that might be nice, but it’s not what they’re getting paid for.

Sculpture Garden
Sculpture Garden
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A couple more pictures today, too. Both are public art I decided to take pictures of for no particular reason other than they looked cool at the time. The first is next to Masa, where we dined last month, and it caught my eye that evening. I’m not sure whether I prefer it lit up at night or backlit by the sun, as in this picture, but it was kinda cool looking. The second is a piece in the sculpture garden that always has me wondering. I’m just not sure what the point of it is, but it catches my eye, nonetheless.

One last thing before the links: I just looked at the calendar next to my desk and there’s something written in for every Saturday this year. Sure, on a few of them I just decided to stay home and be a hermit, but now March is already filled in, with multiple items on a few of the weekends. It’s nice to know I’ve got stuff to do, rather than just rattling around the house on a Saturday, but I keep thinking that I’d like to go out of town, if only for a weekend, and then something comes up and I put it off for another week. And that’s how I go a couple years without a real vacation.

6. March, 2006 - full time?

As expected, but little talked about, on Friday I got an offer from the place I’ve been contracting at. They’d like to bring me on full-time, and I got all the details I need to make an intelligent decision. I celebrated by heading out for some beers at the Sporty. Not an especially late evening, but I’d had my fill by the time I arrived home a bit after 10.

Downtown from the Sculpture Garden
Downtown
from the Sculpture Garden
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Saturday, I had been planning to go up to mom’s, but waited around for the package containing all the paperwork to arrive via courier. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a “signature required” delivery or not, but didn’t want to take the chance and screw up the whole process. Once it arrived, I said to heck with it all and took a nap. Evening was the monthly session of cards.

Downtown & Lamp
Downtown & Lamp
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Sunday, there was snow. Not a lot, but with the temperature hovering just around freezing, it was wet an heavy. I shovelled off the sidewalk so I wouldn’t have a ton of ice to deal with later if it got cold, and then headed over to the gun-show in Stillwater (didn’t find much other than some cheap ammo - but I still enjoy the atmosphere). The roads were pretty treacherous, but once I hit the freeway on the way up to mom’s (for the visit that got pre-empted by my Saturday nap), it was all clear sailing, except for the occassional over-cautious person doing 55 while everyone else was trying to cruise along at 75-80. Home, and then some TV.

Which is all a long-winded way of explaining why I have a half-inch thick stack of paperwork I need to deal with this morning before starting work for the day. There are many forms that need signing, and additional bits I need to dig up, and all the paperwork is probably the single worst thing about starting a new job. Oh well, it needs to be done, I guess.

And today there are a couple more pictures from the photowalk on the 25th. It looks like I’m going to use up my flickr quota for the month on just this set, which is going to be a drag since we’re less than a quarter of the way into the month. I was all ready to buy a pro account too, but I just don’t feel like dealing with paypal in order to do that. And they only accept payment via paypal.

3. March 2006 - that was weird
Runoff from Construction Hennepin Avenue
Runoff from Construction
Hennepin Avenue
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Yesterday, after finishing up the morning blogging, I headed upstairs to get ready to go to work. And found that I was very tired. Now this was following Wednesday, when I’d gotten a headache at work (I seldom get headaches except when hungover), come home, and gone to bed about 8pm. Since none of this seemed right, I checked, and I had a fever. Went to bed for a few hours and then decided to email in to work saying I wasn’t feeling well. Slept a grand total of about 13 or 14 hours before I finally got up to putter around the house and take a nap on the couch while watching some TV. I have no idea what was up, but I think I’m feeling better now. Apparently my body needed a day off, but it was kind of disturbing to go from feeling relatively healthy Wednesday morning, to having a headache that felt like my head was exploding that afternoon, to just feeling wrong most of yesterday. It sure didn’t help with the schedule at work much, either. I’m starting to get the feeling that I’m behind where I should be, and that’s not a comfortable feeling.

Taking Pictures
Taking Pictures
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The Continental Hotel
The Continental Hotel
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For your weekend enjoyment, here are a few more pictures from last Saturday’s photowalk. I’ll probably switch back to revealing them one a day next week, but I needed to get a few more tossed out there (they’re also on my Flickr stream) for the frozen theme contest over there. I’ve also already got ideas for next week’s hot theme challenge, but they’re still lifes I’m going to have to set up at home sometime this weekend. I don’t really think I’ve got winners for any of the themes, but I’m having fun with my camera, and that’s reward enough, I think.

This weekend? It’s another busy one. Got things to do tomorrow, but so far I’ve managed to keep Sunday clear of anything outside the house. I’m planning to set up and take the still-life compostions I want to do on Sunday. Plus there’s probably some housework that needs doing. Well, probably needed doing months ago, but I’m going to try to get to it now. It’s not a full-on spring cleaning or anything, but I need to at least cut down on some of the clutter and dust-bunnies. And maybe I’ll try one more time to figure out a vacation that isn’t dependent on the airlines, since who knows whether they’ll be flying when I want to leave town.

2. March, 2006 - link light, picture heavy
I like buildings reflected in other buildings
I like seeing buildings
reflected in other buildings
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Relief
Relief
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Another morning when I just didn’t find much “out there.” Sometimes the days are like that. But hey, there’s pictures (yes, more than one!). Rather than space them out, one per day, I decided since I was short on links this morning, I’d try to make up for it with pictures. Sadly, since I’m lame, these aren’t going to show up in my RSS feed, so some people won’t even notice them. Still, of the hundred-thirty-some pictures I took last Saturday, the one I posted yesterday, and these three are my favorites (and coincidentally needed no cropping and minimal post-processing). There are about a dozen more that I think I’ll get around to posting, but they’re either not quite as good as these, or need a little work (because they’re not quite as good).

A colorful puddle
A colorful puddle
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Thinking about the photowalk, I didn’t really have a theme in mind. Mostly I just wandered around, trying to keep my eyes open to things that looked neat. Having a large group of other people doing the same really helps, for a couple reasons. First is that I didn’t feel as conspicuous walking around with the camera and generally geeking out. That let me think about the photos, rather than being distracted by what other people might think. Second, when you’re out with other photographers like that, sometimes other people see something that sparks an idea. While none of these photos were (as far as I know) inspired by someone else taking a picture of the same subject, earlier photos in the set were, and that “got the creative juices flowing.” In case you hadn’t guessed, I had a gosh-darn lot of fun out walking around being a geek with a camera.

1. March, 2006 - Ash Wednesday

Winter’s about had it, as far as I can tell. The only snow remaining in the back yard is the sad pile left from shovelling in front of my garage, and while there were the usual threats of doom on Channel 9 last night, saner weather forecasters were saying we’re basically getting nothing here in the cities. Yeah, there’s probably one big snowfall yet to come, but I’m definitely starting to feel like I should be getting more miles in on the trike and trainer soon. Seems like a Lenten thing to do.

I’ve also been thinking about an out-of-town vacation. And soon. But I’ve held off on actually booking any flights or anything until I find out what the Northwest pilots are going to do. I completely understand their position and can see why they’ve voted to approve a strike, but damn, it’s a pain in the ass when a guy’s thinking of a vacation.

The pipes in Peavey Plaza
Peavey Plaza
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On the computer front, I got the new hard drive installed in my Mac last night. I didn’t have the right tray to mount it in place, and between it being a loud drive (am I the only one who wishes manufacturers would put decibel ratings on their drives?) and the makeshift mounting, I now have a new “thrum” running through my office-area when the computer is on. I think today’s lunch (in between the five hours of meetings today — I’m going for a new record) will be a trip to the Apple store to see if they can set me up with the right mounting bracket and some rubber washers to maybe help with the noise isolation a bit.

And having the new drive in place means I finally sucked last Saturday’ photos from the camera. I haven’t even gone through them all yet, but today you get to see one of the earlier ones of the day that I really like. And with any luck, I’ve got enough that I can post one a day between now and when I go out on the next walk with the photo geeks on Saturday the 11th.

Last Month
Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:00:37.