March 2008

30. March, 2008 - out like a lion?

Yeah, I’ve been talking about the weather a lot recently. But that’s probably the most exciting thing going at the moment. Spring and fall in Minnesota tend to mean that the jet stream is coming right over us, so we get interesting changes in the weather in a hurry. Yesterday was a beautiful blue-sky day, flirting with 50 degrees. Today is supposed to be gray with a chance of rain, and tomorrow they’ve got a winter-storm watch declared.

And it feels like spring should already be in full force. During last year’s warm spring, I got a jump on a lot of the “outside projects,” and set reminders for myself to tackle things this year. This year we’re having more normal temperatures, so when those reminders pop up on my computer, I’m having to postpone them. Maybe for a couple weeks, or maybe for a month. Hard to say at this point, but it’s got me thinking about the weather.

22. March, 2008 - spring
geese in the snow
geese in the snow

Thursday was officially the beginning of spring, so naturally it started to snow here in Minneapolis late thursday night. When I woke up on friday morning, the snow still wasn’t sticking to the sidewalks and streets, but by the time I made it out of the house, there was already a half-inch of accumulation on my sidewalks. The snow is still coming down (though slowly) and there’s about 3-4 inches piled up on the lawn. Welcome to spring in Minnesota!

That said, it’s nice to have more sunshine every day. I haven’t been taking full advantage of it yet, but I’m starting to get itchy to get outside to do things. I don’t have all of my “winter projects” done yet, but the big task of moving all my books out of the basement and putting them on my shelves is close enough to done that I think one more push will get it done. Perhaps this weekend.

I think that’s about it for today. I have a bunch of errands to do, so I suppose I should get moving for the day.

16. March, 2007 - weekend fun

Been a full weekend so far, and I’m not sure whether I’m going to get out and do anything today or not, so I’ll procrastinate a bit with some typing.

Auto Body Experience
Auto Body Experience

Friday night was the Auto Body Experience show at the Eagle’s Club. I’ve tried taking pictures of them there before with mixed results, so I set off this time with my IR-converted D-50 and IR-converted Vivitar 285-HV. I had planned to keep the flash off-camera, but due to bad prep work, ended up shooting with it in the hot-shoe. And I didn’t get as many photos as I’d have liked, since my camera battery crapped out after the first set. Remember: proper planning prevents piss poor performance.

In any case, I got a few photos I’m happy with. But I struggled with a variety of issues. The D-50 might not be the best tool for this job, since going full-manual is kind of a pain with it. I can never remember how to change the aperture while in full-manual mode, which is exactly what I needed to do in this situation as I moved around with the flash. But I can report that the modified flash is only about two stops slower than the unmodified flash (I didn’t have a "spot-on" exposure all night, so I’m guesstimating). That’s not bad, since it meant I could take flash photos from anywhere in the room at ISO 200, and turn the flash down to half-power at ISO 400 in order to spend less time waiting for it to cycle.

I also had focusing problems. I expected that auto-focus was going to be flaky due to the poor lighting in the Eagle’s, but I figured I’d zero in on a recipe eventually. Well, I might have if I’d taken a manual-focus lens, but the kit lens from the D-50 is miserable when you’re trying to manually focus it. I'll bring a different lens next time I try this experiment.

Still, in spite of these problems, I got about a 10% hit-rate on “good enough for flickr” photos out of the evening. That’s about what I expected, so I’d call the experiment a success.

Saturday was the single-game ticket sales out at the Saints. It’s an occasion we mark with a gathering in the parking lot. Since I’d been out late the night before, I arrived a little late, and didn’t bring any food to cook. But there were free hot dogs and brats provided by the Saints, plus Lynn cooked up some Reubens, so I didn’t go hungry. Had a good time seeing the tailgating gang again, and got to give Bruce the Bacon is a Vegetable apron I’d found for him.

After that, it was time to head home for a nap. And then an evening of TV. I was tired and smelling of wood-smoke from the bonfire in the afternoon, and just being lazy was a perfect way to end the day.

12. March, 2008 - metaphorical poo

A couple thoughts this morning. One is that yesterday’s high of 50 really got me thinking of spring. I know there’s a good chance of one more big snowfall, and one more cold snap yet, but it feels like we’ve turned the corner on winter.

The second thought that bubbled to the surface is that sometimes I pay too much attention to things I probably shouldn’t (of course there are plenty of times when I’m completely oblivious too, but those seem to suck less at the time). That can be very handy in cases like the one I mention below where I found a new supplier for aloha shirts. But there are other times when I wish I didn’t notice things I do.

One example is at work. I’ve almost wrapped up my work for the next big release, just about on my self-imposed schedule, which is early compared to everyone else. And I noticed that the penalty I pay for being ahead of the game is that I get assigned bugs that other people have introduced, rather than being able to start thinking about the next release and getting a running start on that (which is why I tried to finish early). There are those who develop more or bigger new features more rapidly, but they tend to generate a lot of bugs. And they get noticed for being speedy. Those of us who play a more conservative game get less glory, and have to come by and clean up the mess left behind by the faster-moving folks. I’m pretty sure that noticing that fact isn’t good for my long-term job satisfaction.

But what the heck. It’s nice being able to think I’m close to done for the cycle, whether that’s true or not. If I have to spend a while following behind the parade sweeping up the elephant poo, well, that’s not all bad either. As the TV show theme-song says, It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it. Besides, it’s only metaphorical poo, rather than the real thing.

10. March, 2008 - They do this every year

Once again it was the weekend of spring ahead (fall down). Earlier than formerly, not as early as a few years when I was little. But being a morning type, it hit me a little harder this morning. It was time for me to be headed off to work, and the sky didn’t even have tiniest hint of sunrise yet. So I decided to type a little before heading out the door.

I was double-booked on parties this weekend. And by now I should probably have been able to predict what happened, but I really meant to make it to both, and instead spent more time than planned at the first, and then came straight home, rather than attending the second. Still a good time, but that’s one group of folks I’d have liked to have seen that I didn’t.

Beyond that, the weekend was a time when I was going to try and wrap up a few of the winter projects around home. I did, but there’s still plenty to be done around here before baseball season starts. And with opening day being May 8, and the first pre-season game being April 28th (or possibly the 27th), there’s not a lot of weekends left for projects.

But this is probably good news for those of you worried that I’ve been crankier than usual lately. Spring is coming, as is baseball, the taxes are already paid for the year, and I’ve got more than enough things to keep me busy for the next few months. There’s still snow on the ground (and I expect one more big snowfall before winter is completely done with us for the year), but between the daylight savings time switch and signs of life over in St. Paul, spring is near and that’s improving my mood.

5. March, 2008 - Dear Minnesota drivers

When we get snow (about an inch during rush hour this morning), and you don’t know how to drive in it, please stay the hell off the freeways. A semi-truck driving 5 mph on the freeway with blinkers on has a driver who does not know how to drive in the snow. The 30-something white-knuckled woman driving 20 mph in the left lane of the freeway does not know how to drive in the snow. The 20-something kid in the pickup doing 60 coming up behind the 30-something white-knuckled woman does not know how to drive in the snow. If you need further examples, sit home and watch the damned traffic cameras, rather than venturing out and getting in the way of those of us who have someplace to be and would like to get there in one piece.

Thank you.

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Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:01:59.