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31May/07Off

Ten

10 years
9 e-mail addresses
8 cell phone numbers
7 computers
6 jobs
5 cars
4 cities
3 houses
2 kids
1 marriage

In other words, Geralyn and I are wishing each other a happy 10th wedding anniversary today. Yay!

Filed under: General 5 Comments
30May/07Off

Photo of the Week: Meet the Duckie Family

Meet the Duckie Family, Samantha's motley collection of rubber duckies accumulated through various sources. From left to right:

  1. Papa Duckie
  2. Mama Duckie
  3. Baby Duckie
  4. Uncle Duckie
  5. Aunt Duckie
  6. Cousin Liberty Duckie who moved to New York to act on Broadway
Filed under: Photography No Comments
28May/07Off

Week 174: Vermin, Ice Cream, and Raspberries

This week's post is a little late because we spent the long holiday weekend out at "The Farm," which is a place out in the country that Geralyn's family owns. I think I can call it "out in the country" because any time the directions to a place include the phrase "turn off the paved road" and you still have several intersections to describe, then you've earned that right. It's the place things go to die, from an old TV to that 32 ounce Purple Passion drink squeeze thing you got from buying cheap booze when you were in college. We like it a great deal.

The place is, of course, also full of animals. We started off our first visit of the season by coming into the cabin and discovering a huge hole that had been chewed through the wall, leaving a gaping darkness ringed in teeth marks and piles of sawdust and insulation. And when I say "huge hole" I mean HUGE HOLE. You may be sitting there thinking "mice" but I was thinking "puma." At the very least I imagined something with a long nose that would start to spin faster and faster like a whiskered drill bit as it ripped through the floorboards. I also kept expecting Sam get up from her next nap saying "I was playing with a kitty in my room!" and we'd have to rush her to the nearest hospital (which isn't near at all) before she went rabid. But she didn't, and in fact we enjoyed most of the weekend.

I say "most" because of one incident. Ger's parents are sufficiently Catholic enough to realize that God doesn't really care if it's Memorial Day weekend, you'd better get yourself to church anyway. And so we went with them. We drove "into town," which is actually a highway rest stop with a McDonald's, an ice cream stand, and a small country church. It's pretty quaint, like something you'd see in one of those Berenstein Bear books Sam likes so much, but it's REALLY small and it's REALLY quiet. And Sam chose that day to be particularly quarrelsome and noisy.

It's kind of a tradition to get ice cream after church, so I told Sam that she could have whatever she wanted if she behaved, then quickly reverted to the inverse of this reward, which is the threat that she'll get nothing if she doesn't behave. She didn't behave. At one point I had to take her out to the car, strap her into her seat, and lean against the hood while she yelled at me for ten minutes. Afterwords, though, it was pointed out that Geralyn had been good in church and that she, Geralyn, should get ice cream damn it.

When Sam came with us into the ice cream shop and was reminded that she would be getting nothing, she threw one of her admittedly rare fits. The old woman working behind the counter peered over at her and said something. I didn't hear what she said, though, because I was too busy sucking on my root beer float and being fascinated by this woman's puffy white head of hair, which looked like it should have been atop a gigantic dandelion instead of a shriveled old lady head.

"What?" I said.

"Is she not feeling well?" repeated Dandelion Head.

"Oh," I said, shrugging my shoulders a bit and taking a bite of vanilla ice cream dripping with root beer foam, "No. She's just mad that she's not getting any ice cream. She was being naughty."

As soon as I said these words, I began to reconsider the need to share them with the denizens of this small country town. Geralyn shot me a piercing glare that suggested that she agreed.

She was probably right because as soon as I had offered my explanation, Dandelion Head rounded on me with ferocity in her milky eyes. "WHAT?" She slapped her hand on the counter in a way that made her foamy crown of hair wobble alarmingly. "THAT'S NOT RIGHT!"

I looked at her trying to figure out if she was playing along perhaps exaggerating things for the benefit of what she assumed was a particularly dense toddler. I quickly decided that no, in fact she was about to vault over the counter and kick my ass. These country people are tough. I pushed Sam, who had stopped her crying to stare at the ice cream lady in her signature mixture of alarm and confusion, towards the door. We made it out and finished our treats out in the relative safety of the minivan. And yes, Sam got a few bites.

So while Sam is just usually charming, Mandy had Gerayn's whole family eating out of her hand. Seriously, she was running the place within a day with everyone fawning over her and noting how charming she was and what a good baby she was (all true, by the way). Mandy played her part, cooing and smiling on queue, and generally being the nicest person --baby or otherwise-- that anyone had ever met. All this despite her new fascination with blowing big, messy raspberries for hours on end.

Other neat stuff about Mandy is that she's really getting the hang of grabbing things and manipulating them, which isn't surprising given that it's a skill her sister always excelled at, too. She's not sitting up or even rolling over too often, but I think she's getting there. She's way more alert and socially active than she was even a week or two ago.

The only weird thing I've noticed about her is that she's got a kind of receding hairline. Only it's not really starting from her brow. It's starting in the back, at the base of her neck, and working its way forward. It's really odd, but my suggestions that we just shave her and be done with it have so far been met with much resistance.

Filed under: Parenting 4 Comments
25May/07Off

Book Review: The Call of the Wild

I kept reading this book by Jack London thinking that I'd read it before in grade school, and that any minute now some guy would need to start a fire to stay alive while his dog just sat there thinking he was an idiot for coming out in the cold like this. But apparently, that was a different story. Part of the confusion probably comes from the fact that The Call of the Wild also features a dog and the perils of the frozen North, but this book is much more focussed on the canine part of the cast.

It is, in fact, a fine old adventure story where Buck, a big ole' dog, is yanked out of his life of relative comfort and sold into the harsh world of sled dogs caught up in the frenzy of a gold rush to the fridged Yukon. The story traces Buck's arc from bewildered newcomer to his battle to become the alpha male of a sled dog team and finally the leader of a wild wolf pack. Buck triumphs over many obstacles, stares down many dangers, and endures many hardships in his journey, and it's all pretty entertaining.

It is, in fact, the kind of adventure story that many young boys would be interested in, even in this day and age. There's some cruelty and violence, but none of it is gratuitous, and let's face it: having a badass dog as the main hero is an effective hook for boys (and some girls). The only thing that I found kind of distracting is that having Buck be the main hero necessitated humanizing him, to the point of giving him intelligence nearly on par with that of the humans around him. For example, the furry hero routinely uses reason or displays emotions not typically found in animals. It's the kind of thing that nudges the story from straight-up adventure story into the territory of fable or fantasy, but if you can suspend that bit of disbelief it's not a bad ride.

Filed under: Books 3 Comments
23May/07Off

Photo of the Week: Backyard Panorama

You'll probably want to click on that teeny tiny thumbnail to see the full picture on this one. And make sure you scroll across horizontally unless you've got a HUUUUGE monitor. It's not an interesting or otherwise good shot, but I wanted to play around with making a panorama shot in Photoshop. It was incredibly easy. I just put my camera on a tripod and took a bunch of shots of my backyard, making sure each one overlapped by about 30%. Then I fixed Photoshop with a stern glare and said "Minion! Stitch these together post haste!" And it did.

Seriously, it was pretty much that easy. And the shot came out almost perfectly, with just one glaring problem with depth of field that was an issue with the original picture than the stitching process. Can't wait to redo this with a scene that's actually interesting to look at.

Filed under: Photography 5 Comments
21May/07Off

Week 173: Goats, Kung-Fu, and Aliens

The big event this time around has been that my mom ("Nana" to Sam) came to visit for over a week, getting much needed quality time with the kids. Both of them warmed back up to her quickly, even after Sam rooted through my mom's suitcase for the last of the gifts she had brought. Sam also seems to think that Mother's Day isn't officially over until Nana goes home, so she's been opening every morning with "Happy Mother's Day!"

We had a number of activities planned, such as going to a local farm-slash-theme-park where Sam got a chance to feed some goats, though she did get a bit freaked out when they started sneaking up behind her, ninja style, to nibble on her hair. The weather started out great that day, but a storm blew in right after we had a chance to eat a ridiculously overpriced and frankly gross lunch. The park actually has a tram that you have to take from the main area to the parking lot, so naturally hundreds of people rushed the boarding area at once when the rain started to pour. And guess who didn't have any umbrellas? That's right: everyone.

The soggy crowd erupted into pandemonium as soon as the trams started arriving, and between trying to grab Sam and break down the stroller, I lost track of Ger and Mandy. People were screaming, the rain was falling, and some guy in a uniform had just put up a red nylon rope between me and the tram. Suddenly someone was shouting my name and I look up to see Geralyn holding Mandy and waving to me from her place on the departing tram. In a flash of assertiveness I grabbed Sam, ducked under the rope, and bolted onto the train. People started screaming and someone began shouting at me over a loudspeaker, but I dove into the seat next to Ger and sat very, very still. I figured that if I didn't move they couldn't arrest me. Because that's only logical. And sure enough, after another moment the train departed. And then it coasted right past where our rain-soaked stroller was still sitting on the platform.

The fun thing was that since we were all four completely soaked by the time we got to the car, we went home and let Sam just put on her new rain coat and rubber boots so that she could go splash around in the rain. She had fun and it made for a good photo op:

Mandy is coming along quite nicely. She's starting to get to the point where she's much more interactive, what with all the grabbing and the smiling and the following trying to keep her eyes on you even if it means arching her back until she's forehead to butt. She's getting extremely vocal, too. Her new favorite thing is to make these really high-pitched but happy shrieking sounds to entertain herself. She'll be lying there going "WWWRRREEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAAAAWWWW!" I'm pretty sure she's perfecting a Bruce Lee impresonation, and that one day while I'm strolling past her pack-and-play she'll come flying out with a roundhouse kick to the side of my head.

Sam is also doing fine in general. She's learning to play by herself a bit, but most of the time she insists that one of us accompanies her so that she has something to boss around. She's also picking up some weird ideas, as I found out the other day when I was lying on the groud helping her name her stuffed animals. Mostly she gives them fairly literal names like "Pink Bear" or "Baby Dog." At one point, though, I held up this little pink alien:

Alien

"What's this guy's name, Sammy?" I said, holding up the alien.

She gave him a quick look. "That's Pedro."

It took me a second, but I couldn't help laughing.

"Okay, no more Fox News for you, Sam."

Filed under: Parenting 4 Comments
18May/07Off

Book Review: The Once and Future King

I really didn't get what I expected out of this book, which I always thought was a serious retelling of the King Arthur legend. I mean, it is that. Eventually. But it's strangely paced and the work's tone follows this odd arc across its four books that put me off.

The first book, "The Sword in the Stone," follows Arthur's childhood, and it's dippy, whimsical, and laden with fantasy. It is, in fact, not too far from the Disney cartoon adaptation of the same name. Arthur has all kinds of adventures when his tutor Merlin turns him into different kinds of animals so that he can commune (literally) with nature. There's also legendary figures like Robin Hood and mythical creatures like griffins. The whole thing was chock full of anachronisms and modern humor, which was pretty distracting. It's probably good stuff for young adults, but I found it pretty silly and almost quit reading.

The weird thing is that beginning in the next book and continuing on through the last two, things start to get more serious. The second book still has some humor and silliness in it, such as when two knights create an elaborate costume to impersonate the mythical Questing Beast, only to have a real Questing Beast fall in love with them and pursue them across the countryside. But it's more melancholy, too. The third book turns its focus to Sir Lancelot's rise to prominence, and by the fourth book there is no humor at all and the tone is utterly tragic as it recounts the star-crossed love triangle between King Arthur, Sir Lancelot, and Queen Guenever. It ends quite sadly and is a far cry from a young boy who turns into a talking fish and has grand adventures in the Sherwood Forest.

I actually enjoyed the parts dealing with Arthur, Lancelot, and Guenever. It's a powerful story about love, loyalty, honor, justice, and pride. Those are the kind of powerful concepts that I think of when somebody mentions the Arthurian legends, and it works here. What didn't work quite as well is how the whole novel jumps around from focus to focus and lurches along the time line without any concern for pacing. This is a story that should have felt more epic in places, and it didn't. I also didn't like how the first book about Arthur's childhood had a tone that was so discordant with the rest of things. It's not even like they're part of the same story or world.

Still, it was more entertaining and enjoyable than not, especially the tragedy revolving around a king, his queen, and his most loyal (sorta) and upstanding (kinda) knight. And it's all pretty clean with just a little violence, so I think a lot of young adults would like it, especially if they're into the setting.

Filed under: Books No Comments
15May/07Off

Photo of the Week: The Testing Puzzle

This one was kind of fun. In case you don't recognize what that is, it's a standardized "fill in the bubbles with a No. 2 pencil" test. Like the SAT, GRE, or what you may have to take to get some jobs. I created it mainly as a test shot for submitting it for the cover of TIP magazine following their recent call for photos. Also, it seemed like a neat idea.

Since pre-employment tests aren't a popular subject for jigsaw puzzles, I made it myself. I started by going to a children's resale shop and finding a puzzle that was about the right size. Finding the right size puzzle was actually the hardest part; most were too big. But once I had it Sam and I put it together:

Then I took a blank answer sheet like this one:

And then I married the two together by flipping the puzzle over, smearing some "Mod Podge Matte-Mat" on it, and laying the answer sheet down. I think regular craft glue would work just as well. I pressed it as flat as I could, rubbed out all the wrinkles and bubbles, then let it dry. When it was dry I took an exacto knife and, working from the bottom up, started to cut out the puzzle pieces:

This was tedious, but I quickly realized that I didn't need to cut out ALL of the pieces, just the ones I wanted loose for the final shot. Speaking of which, I arranged the pieces and took the final pic in a DYI light box using two halogen shop lights and a tripod:

I'm still not 100% happy with it and may play around with it some more (maybe try adding a hand holding one of the puzzle pieces to the shot), but it was fun. I also may try doing it with some other kinds of documents (color pie charts, etc.) to create something more generic.

Filed under: Photography 5 Comments
14May/07Off

Week 172: Donuts, Elizabeths, and Greeting Cards

This week's Saturday followed much as last week's, in that first thing in the morning I grabbed Sam and we headed out to give Geralyn some semi-alone time. Instead of a museum, though, we went to a Krispi Kreme donut place. After getting over her initial fascination with the donut conveyor belt and the glaze waterfall ("glazefall?"), Sam realized that HOLY CRAP we were actually there TO EAT DONUTS! She had had these circular treats before, but for some reason the fact that there was an entire restaurant that sold nothing but donuts got her keyed up. We procured our breakfast, which she attacked with intense concentration and sporting the appropriate headware:

She only ate two of the things, but then again for a person of her weight it was probably more like eating the better part of a dozen. This fact dawned on me while I was strapping her into her car seat on the way out and I noticed that he eyes wouldn't stop moving. Furthermore, she wouldn't stop talking, with most of her ramblings consisting of verbatim recitations of Curious George scripts. So we went to the park, where I set her down to run and bounce around the equipment like a giant pinball.

Of course, she had a great time. As did many other children who were brought out by the awesome weather. Sam is a pretty friendly kid and has no problem running up to someone about her size and sparking a playdate. The odd thing, is, though, that her playmates seem pretty much interchangeable to her, to the point where she calls all girls "Elizabeth" whether that's their name or not. I found this out on Saturday while following Sam and a newly minted friend around the park with Sam saying "Jump on the slide, Elizabeth" and "Let's get on the merry go round, Elizabeth" and "Climb through the tunnel, Elizabeth."

At one point the little girl did something that I absently thought was worthy of praise and I said "Good job, Elizabeth."

The girl stopped what she was doing, looked up at me, and said with some annoyance, "I'm Lori."

Thus did I begin to suspect Sam's new social quirk, which was confirmed a few minutes later when she said of another girl, "Elizabeth gave me some of her corn." And it was good that I had a working theory by then, since this new statement was pretty weird to begin with.

The next day was Mother's Day, for which I am always at a loss. Not for lack of wanting to treat Geralyn to something related to her relatively new role in life, but because I'm so terrible at getting gifts and she's so terrible at giving suggestions. When asked what she wanted, Ger told me to get a machine that could stop time, so that she could work on her scrapbooking for a few days while the rest of us are frozen still, caught in the act of asking where our blankets are or if she's ever going to buy more Diet Coke. I told her that not only did Target not sell such a contraption, but it was probably against any number of the laws of nature. This did not sway her, so instead she got an appointment for a pedicure and --I kid you not-- a Sonic gift card. She loves her cherry limeaids, that woman.

And while we're at it, now is a good time to share my approach to the gift-giving activity I hate most: buying a card. My decision process usually goes like this:

  1. Go to nearest store (grocery, drug, book, etc.) that sells cards
  2. Grab a card
  3. Is this card possessed of obnoxious prose cobbled together by some drone working in Cube 11-R of the relevant greeting card company? If "NO" then return to Step #2. If "YES" then proceed to the next step below.
  4. STOP LOOKING AT CARDS IMMEDIATELY.
  5. Buy card and go home.

This system always results in tasteful cards with only a brief, on target message inside and a minimum of time lost. I don't understand people who spend more than 40 seconds shopping for cards.

And speaking of Mother's Day, my own mom is here visiting for the rest of the week, which is great fun. Since she can play with Sam now. Expect more about this next week.

Mandy is doing great, as always. She's grabbing stuff pretty regularly now, and has discovered the ten delightful digits at the end of her feet. Sometimes she gets pissed that she can't detach them, but on the whole she continues to be a strangely good baby. She also rolled over from her stomach to her back the other day, which brought me back to the days of babyproofing and watching as my child ripped safety gates out of the drywall by their anchors. Good times.

Filed under: Parenting 3 Comments
11May/07Off

Book Review: I am Legend

I am Legend

Okay, someone explain to me why this 1954 novel by Richard Matheson is supposed to be a classic of the horror genre. Because I don't get it. It actually starts off with a pretty interesting premise: Robert Neville is, as far as he knows, the last human on Earth. A plague has turned everyone else into vampires, and he spends his days fortifying his house against their attacks and his nights trying to research a cure for the disease.

Okay, cool. That's a good start. The problem is that Matheson just doesn't go anywhere with it. The main character just plods around for a few hundred pages, fighting depression, alcoholism, and his sex drive. Then, when things DO start to develop with the introduction of another character who may also be a surviving human, the story collapses and just ...ends. Like, it just comes to the end of a paragraph and stops without resolving hardly any of the mysteries, plot threads (few as they are), or even action that was set up.

What's really weird is that there's quite a bit of book left after the story ends. On the very next page there begins a series of short stories that are utterly unconnected from novel I was just reading. So you got some guy who's really good at throwing ping pong balls, a tiny but murderous statue that comes to life, a haunted house, et cetera. None of these relates back, and the jarring transition is completely unexplained. It's weird and annoying.

Matheson's writing is a bit melodramatic in places, but generally good. I just don't get what all the praise was about.

Filed under: Books 2 Comments
9May/07Off

Photo of the Week: Curvy Bar

Curvy Bar

I like the curves and colors here. It's a bar at the hotel I was staying at in New York. See the rest of my Flickr photo stream.

Filed under: Photography No Comments
7May/07Off

Week 171: World Tour, Soccer Mom, and Rapid Growth

Since I was basically gone the last two weekends and left Geralyn to take care of the kids by herself, I decided it might be wise to grab Sam and go away from the house to deliver a little respite before anybody got hurt. The weather was nice so I had a number of options open to me, but I decided that a certain two-for-one admission coupon to a local children's museum needed to be used before it burned a hole in my pocket. I had misgivings as soon as I pulled up to the place, situated as it was in a nondescript strip mall between a nail salon and a check cashing place. And I didn't think that the Louvre or the Guggenheim have empty four packs of Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails abandoned in the middle of their parking lots.

But actually, it turned out to be really cool. Each room of the place had a different theme associated with a different country, with various buildings, props, and best of all toys that followed the appropriate theme. It wasn't large so that the entirety of the children's planet consisted of China, Senegal, Mexico, the Philippine Islands, and a gift shop, but it was really cool in that it was the kind of place I could just turn Sam loose and let her go bonkers. Everything was interactive, and the running theme was that you were supposed to mangle and manhandle stuff up instead of just look at it. The China room, for example, even had costumes you could dress up in and a kid-sized kitchen where you could prepare a traditional Chinese meal. There was also a Chinese market, where Sam tried to sell me a five pound drum of Shark cartiledge as a "cure for boogers."

It was in the Mexican village room that I had another one of those parenting epiphanies. They had a station where you could make your own little parade decorations out of paper, streamers, a straw, scotch tape, and spit. There was a little sign that explained how you were supposed to neatly cut out the shape from the paper, glue streamers to it, et cetera, but Sam rebuffed my initial attempts at showing her how to follow the directions. She opted instead to just hack the crap out of the paper with the scissors, slather the whole thing with glue, and tape on no less than four handles. As I usually do in such situations, I just shrugged and let her do her thing. She was focused and seemed to be having fun figuring things out on her own.

Then along came another little girl, this one perhaps four years old, and her mother. I glanced over at the mom as I scooted to make more room at the table and had to suppress a little snort of laughter. This was a stereotypical soccer mom --blond hair done up, fashionably oversize purse-slash-diaper-bag slung over her shoulder, wearing makeup at 10:00 on a Saturday morning, and sporting what was probably a $200 jogging suit that tapered down to the tops of pristine white tennis shoes.

"Here, honey," Soccer Mom said, grabbing at the materials in the girl's hands. "Let me show you how to do it."

"Mmmmrraaaahhh!" said the girl. It was at this point that I noticed this four-ish year old girl was sucking on a pacifier. She angled her body away from her mom and tried to glue some streamers on to the paper.

"No!" Soccer Mom said, trying to reach around her and grab the paper. "You have to cut the little smiley face out of the paper first! Honey. Honey."

"Mmmmrraaaahhh!" repeated the girl.

"Look, here. See, here's a picture of how it's supposed to look. Honey!"

"Mmmmrraaaahhh!"

At this, Soccer Mom threw up her hands. "FINE!" she said, and walked away.

The little girl watched her go, then looked over to me and Sam. We just looked back at her, apparently neither of us able to think of anything good to say. After a moment, Sam passed the girl a fist full of straws, which she accepted as she sucked on her pacifier thoughtfully.

Although she did not accompany us to the children's museum that day on account of my inability to lactate, Mandy is also doing fine. When we found out that we were having another girl, one of the perceived benefits was that we'd be able to save a lot of clothes because of all the hand-me-downs from Sam. This theory looked good on paper, but if you haven't noticed, Mandy is a bit more shall we say better equipped to survive a long winter than Sammy was. There are entire boxes of size 0-6 month clothes that Mandy basically just skipped. If she continues on this trajectory she'll be eleven feet tall by the time she's three years old. Still, she wears it well, and who cares? She's healthy.

The last thing I want to mention this week is that I love this picture of iSam listening to my iPod.

Filed under: Parenting 6 Comments
4May/07Off

SelectionMatters.com is back

After almost a year off, I've decided to revive my other blog, SelectionMatters.com. It's less of a personal journal and more of a professional one, with an emphasis on I/O Psychology, employment testing, recruitment, and selection. I had a few people at the SIOP convention last weekend either tell me they recognized my name from there or that they used to read it and were disappointed that it went away. This was kind of cool, since one of the reasons I made that site was to build my network and give prospective employers something job-related to uncover if they went and did a Google search on me.

So if you're so inclined, check it out again. I'll be updating every Friday.

Filed under: I/O Psychology 1 Comment
3May/07Off

Visit to New York City

Last weekend I journeyed to New York City for the 23rd annual SIOP convention. This was somewhat a big deal, since I hadn't been to New York since I was like four, and a subsequent life's worth of Dirty Harry and Curt Russle movies had convinced me that I would be pickpocketed, mugged, and ultimately eaten by homeless CHUDS within a few feet of the deboarding gate in La Guardia. This turned out to not be the case, and there was a surprisingly low number of attempts on my life during the whole trip.







Most of my time was spent in Time's Square where the conference hotel was. The great thing about this location is that I was able to walk around with my camera stuck to my face without looking like a complete moron because every other person was doing the same thing. In fact, if you put your camera down for more than a couple of minutes, you could get a ticket. I was initially delighted with shooting all the flashy stuff at Time's Square, but my glee diminished once I realized I was taking picture after picture of what were essentially advertisements. Sure, they're forty foot high digital ads, but and ad for Maxell cassette tapes or a giant M&M candy is still an ad. I also would have killed for a wide angle lens with image stabalization for the night shots, but oh well.







I did manage to get away from Time's Square some, though. Friday night I met my friend Chris and his girlfriend for dinner. When we hit the street he pointed in one direction and said "We're headin' that way."

"Are there many CHUDS?" I asked, noting that the direction was into territory lacking in giant billboards and throngs of tourists packed together for protection like zebras in a herd.

It turned out that there were not many, and we had a nice dinner in an area called Hell's Kitchen, which I always thought was where Daredevil or dancing gangsters from West Side Story hung out. Didn't see either. The next night I hooked up with another friend, David, and went with a small group to dinner in Little Italy (which, much to my disappointment, did not contain midgets from Sicily). We took a jaunt through SoHo before taking the subway back to the hotel. That last was kind of interesting, since it was the first subway I'd ridden on where the conductor actually came on the speaker system and advised us to "BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS AND HOLD ON TO YOUR PURSES AND BAGS, PEOPLE."







The most disappointing part of the trip was Saturday afternoon when I decided to set out on my own down 7th avenue in search of the B&H Photo New York Superstore. I like to buy my photography stuff through B&H's website because of its great selection and pretty good prices, so their mythical New York Superstore had always fascinated me. As far as I could tell it was supposed to be the size of Connecticut and crammed full of all kinds of photogeekery. So I trekked the 14 or so blocks from the hotel, fighting my way through crowds and navigating by the sun and the occasional street sign. When I finally got there I found out the damn thing was closed on Saturdays. As Yoda would say, TFW? Who is closed on Saturday?





So instead I walked another bunch of blocks over to the Empire State Building, figuring I could zip up to the observation deck. Only it turns out that Saturday afternoon is hardly the ideal time to do this, as the wait was over two hours long. So I turned around and trudged back to the hotel, but as it turns out David and I had time before my flight out on Sunday morning to go to the GE Building in Rockefeller Center, where I took a picture OF the Empire State Building instead of FROM it.

Overall, very fun trip. I just wish I had more time to go look around and visit other parts of the city like the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the site of the World Trade Center. But I had to squeeze the actual conference in there, too. And dodging those CHUDs was time consuming.

2May/07Off

Photo of the Week: Empire State Building

Empire State Building

A shot of the Empire State Building from the observation deck at the top of Rockafeller Plaza in New York City. I was there recently for a convention and got quite a few pictures, some of which I'll post in the near future.

You can't see it in this resized image very well, but if you look at this high resolution version the sharpness and detail I got on this shot using the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens are kind of amazing. It's even more pronounced in the original RAW or .tiff file formats. As usual, see the rest of my Flickr photo stream.

Filed under: Photography 4 Comments