Category Archives: Animals

Remember Tonight…

I thought I would take a Friday off from regaling you with events from the Alamo Bowl Road Trip because, I do now own the drone that I have been planning to own for several months now.

While admittedly, I only reached 9 of my 10 goals, nobody has seemed to displeased with the fact that I’ve switch the filling of my change jar to when I pulled the trigger on the Sony RX0.

I received the DJI Mavic 2 Pro on Wednesday. I was able to put it together and charge the batteries and read parts of the manual. Because I wanted to at least see it in the air, I flew it about a foot off my dining room table and took a picture.

When I got home from work on Thursday there was a brief respite in the harsh weather conditions and I was able to fly it around my backyard for a bit and snap a few more pictures.

Therefore I present the first pictures taken with Photography 139 One (name unofficial and probably will change by the end of this blog):


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

This is the tip of the iceberg. There will be plenty more drone blogs in the future. A full review and tons of video. Tons of video!

I can report that Naima is not a big fan of Rodan 139 (see, I told you the name would change), but I feel in time she will grow to love it. Like how she loves being carried to the basement to watch Iowa State basketball games or two watch the feature movie on Movie Night or how she loves inflatable things or how she loves her dog food bag.

Speaking of Movie Night, Movie Night in February will be ON February 17. Projector rolls at 6 PM. The feature will be FORTY GUNS. It will be the first (but certainly not the last) Samuel Fuller movie shown during Movie Night. The B Movie is still to be determined. Snack currently to be determined, but popcorn will definitely be on the menu.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is EYE:


WEEK 178 - EYE
EYE

An EYE photo is simple enough. It is a picture of an EYE or anything EYE related.

Happy photo harvesting!

Selfie Project – January

Loyal leaders may recall that I started up the Selfie Project again in 2019. At the end of every month I will check-in with it to share some of my favorites from the month.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the month, you can follow me on the Instagram to see what I have done and where I have been.

To follow me on the Instagram, scan my Nametag below:


Instagram Nametag

Spoiler: For January I’m not sure I did anything all that exciting. Although I did leave Iowa once to visit the Miller Triplets in Kansas.

Here are my favorites:


December 31, 2018
December 31, 2018

January 4, 2019
January 4

January 8, 2019
January 8

January 10, 2019
January 10

January 12, 2019
January 12

January 14, 2019
January 14

January 16, 2019
January 16

January 17, 2019
January 17

January 18, 2019
January 18

January 20, 2019
January 20

January 21, 2019
January 21

January 22, 2019
January 22

January 23, 2019
January 23

January 25, 2019
January 25

January 26, 2019
January 26

January 27, 2019
January 27

January 29, 2019
January 29

January 30, 2019
January 30

January 31, 2019
January 31

Hopefully I will be interesting in February. There is a baby I need to visit up in Minnesota. A baby I need to visit down in Des Moines. If the weather gets nicer, I could spend some time pursuing THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT or I could spend the entire month hanging around the house with Naima.

The struggle is real!

+++++++

Here is a big update on my pursuit of a drone:

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – I am going to consider the bank fraud situation resolved. I haven’t received a letter saying that it is a done deal, but the bank did place the $350 that I requested in my bank account as a provisional credit. The investigation is still to be closed by January 31. I have a naive faith that the investigation will end in my favor. Otherwise, Credit Union Time?
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order my drone.

That looks identical to last week’s drone update. This is because it is identical to last week’s drone update.

Here is what is different. I’ve decided not to wait until the coin jar is full to pull the trigger on the drone. I pulled the trigger last Friday and it should arrive to be safely caressed in my arms tomorrow.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually use it due to the weather, but I will monitor the weather closely. It is possible that the first day of decent weather I’ll take off of work and go play in the skies above us. No higher than 400 feet and not within 5 miles of an airport.

I know what you’re thinking, you snagged your reward before achieving your goals. That shows a lack of discipline. This is very disheartening, considering you have been yammering on and on to anybody that would listen that you are going to be more financially responsible this year.

This is true. My main goal of 2019 is to be lest wasteful with money in certain ways. However, the benefit of that is that I get to be more wasteful in other veins.

My way of being more financially responsible is to have set some goals.

Goal #1: Decrease my actual debt load my a certain amount of money. I’m not heavily in debt. I have a house payment and some credit card debt. However, while I don’t have a car payment, I want to hammer on my debt and get it below #X by the end of the year. I’ll report on my progress here, because congratulations, you just became my accountability buddies.

Goal #2: Figure out why my website is costing me so much more money than I ever intended. I have partially concluded this goal. I actually (I know people should do these things) sat down and reviewed what my webhost was charging me. I discovered that I was paying $10 a month for something called Website Builder, that I don’t use. I built my website with my own two hands and Vest’s two hands and WordPress. They are also charging me like 8 bucks a month for PHP 5.2+. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I need that, but at the very least, I’m saving $120 bucks a year on this website.

Goal #3: To stop wasting so much money going out to lunch at work. It is not an exaggeration to say that in 2018 and the years before I went out to lunch, on average 4.5 out of 5 work days a week. If I conservatively estimate the average lunch to be $10, I probably spent $200 a month on lunch. That is $2400 a year. My goal is to only eat out for lunch 20% of the year. I estimate that just by bringing lunch from home, I can save $1800 a year. The good news is that I’m on track this year. In January there were 22 work days. I went out to lunch one time. I’m currently at a 4.5% eating out for lunch percentage. My worry is that I will get burned out on eating in. So I’m going to try to mix it up as much as possible. If you have any cheap, healthy lunches that are easy to prepare either at work or on the Sunday before the work week starts, throw them my way. This week I’m eating overnight oats. This space is a place where I might also share some of the recipes I come across. I have to thank American Ninja Steve for introducing me to overnight oats. I’m not making his recipe yet because it involves lots of exotic ingredients I need to be able to track down like flax milk and hemp heads. But when I make that for a week, I’ll share that recipe here.

Goal #4: Save money by buying used lenses. I’m still torn on whether or not I’m going to buy a new camera this year. It has been almost 3 years since I bought a new camera and I’m getting the itch. However, I am vexed on what camera to buy. I’ve thought about crossing over into the Sony mirrorless realm, but that means a whole new camera mount. The other option is to buy the camera that is above my camera in my current platform. That camera sells for about $3200. That price tag is going to take me a lot of meals of overnight oats to justify in my head. Especially with my debt lowering goals. While I don’t know about buying a new camera, I have compiled a list of lenses I want to buy this year. I’ve decided to hit the used lens market this year as I can save sometimes as much as 30% by going used. Some of the lens I want are pretty cheap, but some are not. The exciting news for you is that every time I get some used glass, you’ll get to read an exciting equipment review! Yay you!

Goal #5: Up % of the paycheck that goes into savings and 401K.

But none of this explains why I felt it was okay to pull the trigger on the drone with the change jar still 2 inches from the top.

There are two reasons for that:

#1. Through my works and luck at the computer mine, I had $325 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my virtual wallet. In my wildest dream, there isn’t $325 in the coin jar.

#2. I recently ordered a new photo toy called arsenal for $185. It is a camera attachment that allows you to control your camera with your smartphone. Now I can already control my camera with a smartphone, but there is limited control. It basically throws the camera into automatic and you get what you get. Arsenal allows you to control pretty much all the main settings on the camera. Plus it is supposed to do its own focus stacking and HDR. Plus it has some pretty sweet time-lapse settings. However, I got an email that they can’t make it Arsenal work with my camera and don’t think they ever will be able to. They refunded me that money. Although to be honest, that $185 isn’t going toward the drone. When the refund hits my account it is going towards some glass. Not sure which one I’ll pull the trigger on first. But don’t worry I’ll let you know.

So where is that change jar money going to go. Well, one camera purchase I am dedicated to this year is the Sony RX0. Therefore, when the change jar is full I will take it to the bank and then order up the Sony RX0.

This concludes your Tuesday camera equipment purchase updates.

10-13-08

There is quite the collection of images in the folder called 10-13-08. I can’t possibly include all of them in this here entry, so I’ll just have to pick out a few that I like the most.

The pictures range from Gyro Day at the Computer Mine to the Ames Party Bus in action to a road trip to Kalona with Mom, Teresa, and Jay.

Have a looksie:


Gyro Day - 2008

Gyro Day - 2008

FNSC

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

While I’m not 100% sure, I believe that is the last of my Ames Party Bus pictures. Which means I should explain why you haven’t seen Becky driving around the Ames Party Bus in 10 years.

I might not be getting the details 100% correct, but the spirit of what I’m writing is dead on.

Shortly after Becky finished restored the Ames Party Bus and began putting out an APB on fun, Big Party Bus felt threatened. In fact they were scared. Petrified.

Big Party Bus checked their address book to look up which state representatives they had in their back pockets. Then they went to these bought politicians and pulled their chains.

The bought politicians reacted by passing a law that made party buses carry an exorbitant amount of insurance. Like an incredible amount of insurance. Insurance that was price-prohibitive.

This effectively shutdown the small-time party bus. Becky was out of business, shortly after the party had begun. Rich people win again.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Spoiled

Euphonious

Kalona (Part 1)

Kalona (Part 2)

Next week’s walk down memory lane will involve an Iowa State football match with the Bugeaters of Nebraska.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Branch Davidians

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

You see, we had stayed the night in possibly one of the worst places in the United States. If it wasn’t for Chip and Joanna Gains, Waco, Texas would have zero positive press.

When you say Waco, Texas people only think of a handful of things in no particular order:

1. Branch Davidians and their fiery end.
2. The Baylor football program and the scores of sexual assaults and rapes that they committed that were then duly covered up by the school, athletic department, and most disturbingly… the police department.
3. The 1916 lynching, torturing, burning, and mutilating of Jesse Washington. A lynching that was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.*
4. Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy being murdered by fellow Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson.
5. FIXER UPPER

I wish I would’ve thought to go see the memorial to Jesse Washington, but it was forgotten. Sorry Jesse.

But being someone with an interest in history and more than a bit of a fascination with cults, there was no way we were going through Waco, Texas and not visiting the Branch Davidians and the site of the Waco Siege.

It is not a stretch to think that it was one of the most important historical events of the 1990s. It was an event that contributed to the dangerous rise of the alt-right and was directly responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Killing 171 people. Including 19 children.

It is not overstated it to say that we would be living in a different America if the Waco Siege never happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember the Waco Siege, here is a brief synopsis from the Wiki:

The Waco siege was the siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, carried out by American federal and Texas state law enforcement, as well as the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for Koresh and a select few of the group’s members.

The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died, including David Koresh.

There is too much controversy and too much backstory to really do the Waco Siege justice. If you have questions about it, I suggest you leave them in the comments and I’ll answer with what knowledge I have and what opinions I possess.

What I will state definitively is that the Waco Siege was a terrible waste of life that could have been easily avoided. It is what happens when law enforcement tries to do things for public relations, rather than for… well law enforcement. They took their mistakes at Ruby Ridge and made them exponentially worse.

I’m sure these were some of my thoughts as we pulled up to the gate of Mount Carmel. One gate was open. There was a sign that said that you could get a look around the ranch for $10.

Shortly after we pulled into the ranch a truck came speeding up towards us. Considering where we were, was a little disconcerting. The driver rolled down their window and told us that we should hurry up to the chapel. They were giving a tour up there and we could make it if we hurried.

So we bypassed the building we thought we were supposed to pay at and headed up to the chapel.

Once we got there, there was a guy there telling the story of the Waco Siege. He wasn’t a member of the Branch Davidians in 1993, but now he researched the event with David Thibodeau** (one of the few to survive the fire).

He showed us pictures of the people that perished in the fire. He showed us “trophy photos” that the FBI took after the church (they are offended by the term “compound” because of its militaristic connotation) burned completely down. If you know any hunters, you know what a trophy photo is. You can imagine what you would feel like if people took trophy photos with the remains of your friends and loved ones.

He argued that David Koresh wasn’t even doing anything illegal. It isn’t illegal to stockpile and sell firearms. While it might (you can take out the might for me) be morally reprehensible to most of us to have sex with 14 year old girls, in Texas 14 year olds can be married with parental consent. Which David Koresh did have. Yeah. Gross. Texas, Do better.

Eventually the man (I can’t remember his name) left and we were introduced to Heather***. Heather really made this a special stop.

Heather was 9 years old during the Waco Siege. She was in Mount Carmel when the siege began. She was the last person to leave, days before the final assault that ended in the deaths of almost every Branch Davidian in the building. Including her father.

If you know the timeline of the Waco Siege, Heather’s dad was the mailman that was inadvertently tipped off to the ATF’s attack by a lost member of the media. This is why the ATF didn’t have the element of surprise. This is why the raid should have been called off.

Before he died, he gave her a teddy bear and told her that the bear would watch over her until he saw her again. Then he sent her out into the “Babylonian” world.

As she told us the story she paused and then said, “I didn’t know at the time that he meant, when we see each other in heaven.”

As she walked down the driveway, she expected to be shot in the head every step she took. Finally, she reached the end of the drive and was grabbed by the police. They took the teddy bear away from her and ripped it up.

This wasn’t done (completely) out of malice though. They were checking the bear for a bomb. There wasn’t one.

Tears rolled down her face as she told us this part of the story.

Then she said, “I never got the bear back.”

You could tell with the way she said it that it still hurts that the last thing her dad gave her. The thing that was supposed to “watch over her” was taken from her, destroyed, and never returned.

She wiped the tears off her face and apologized for crying.

We told her not to apologize and thanked her for sharing such a memory to people who were basically tourists in her pain.

Then she offered to give show us the rest of the grounds.


Branch Davidians
The current chapel was built in the same place as the chapel that was burnt down.

Branch Davidians
The fire.

Branch Davidians
Trophy photos.

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Stage.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Telling the story.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Pointing out the “Trophy Photos”.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh

Branch Davidians
Heather is seated in the lower right hand corner.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh thought he was the second coming of Jesus, but this time he wasn’t sinless.

Branch Davidians
Bill Clinton was president during the Waco Siege.

Branch Davidians
Tanks crushed this bus.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
People were trapped in this storage room.

Branch Davidians
Heather’s ducks.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
They built this pool the year before the Siege. They got to use if for 1 year.

Branch Davidians
Heather was really cold. It wasn’t cold for Iowans with plenty of built in insulation.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Oklahoma City Memorial

Branch Davidians
ATF Officer Memorial

Branch Davidians
Current Chapel

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Memorial

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians are an offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Gate.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
The road outside of Mount Carmel.

Branch Davidians
The Branch

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Selfie with Heather.

During the tour Heather didn’t say anything positive about David Koresh. She talked about how he separated her from her dad and took over her discipline.

As a child Heather was pigeon-toed. He used to make her walk back and forth the length of Mount Carmel. He would hit her with a stick when he felt she was walking pigeon-toed.

If David Koresh would have stayed alive and remained in power, she would have become one of his wives when she turned 14.

Mount Carmel burned down when I was in high school. We watched it in class. I have seen at least 5 documentaries on it. I have seen a movie on it. Willy and I watched the WACO television show last year. The tragedy of what happened there didn’t really hit home until I was standing on the same ground where it all happened. It is something I will never forget.

We thanked Heather again for sharing and giving us a tour. I felt like a doucher, but I asked for a picture with her. She obliged willingly. She asked us to friend her on The Facebook. This made me feel like less of a doucher.

I broke my 2 month absence from Facebook long enough to become her friend on The Facebook, but I haven’t been back since. If I ever get the stomach to return, I’ll hit her up and see if she remembers us and see how she is doing.

We gave her a hug. Loaded back up in the rental and left Waco profoundly changed in a way that is hard to figure. My best guess is that it would be the way you would change if you saw the Vietnam War Memorial with a veteran of the Vietnam War or if you talked to a holocaust survivor or met somebody that was in the towers on 9/11. Something that was merely academic, was suddenly real.

We were a couple hours from San Antonio and several hours from the kickoff, but the game seemed decidedly less important than it did just an hour or so earlier.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RUINS.


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

A RUINS photo is a picture of something that is in decay.

Happy photo harvesting!

*If we ever have Youth Group again, we will briefly discuss the lynching of Jesse Washington
**David Thibodeau is the survivor that wrote the book that part of the television show WACO is based on. He was played by Rory Caulkin in the show. I can’t recommend that show highly enough.
***Heather is featured in a documentary about the Branch Davidians that aired on A&E in 2018. I have procured a digital copy of it. If you ever want to watch it, I can arrange it. But you have to ask nicely.

The Proverbial Swan Song

While I was preparing to write this entry I went down a rabbit hole on the origins of the term “swan song”.

I have heard the term many times, but never really understood what it meant. Apparently there is a belief dating back to ancient Greece that swans stay mostly mute for their life and then right before they die, they sing a beautiful song.

There is still a fair amount of debate on whether or not swans do in fact sing a beautiful song before they die. I would like to think it is true since swans are among the most beautiful of birds. They certainly are the most beautiful bird that you can see in Iowa, in the wild.

The term isn’t always morbid. Is has come to be synonymous with doing something great right before you retire.

I don’t know if this post 100% qualifies, but it is about a form of retirement for me.

For the last couple of years I have done some pro bono photography (although I once was paid in homemade treats for Naima) for the Boone Area Humane Society. The last time I did photography for them was when I covered their annual Pet Memorial Day Celebration.

Due to the shifting sands of the power structure of the Boone Area Humane Society, I have a feeling that I won’t be asked to do any photography for them in the coming years. But that is a story for a different time.

Here are some pictures from that event:


Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Kio ran the event. Pastor Doug gave a speech and lead us in prayer. It was a cool event. I hope it continues to happen in the future, but the way things stand currently, I have my doubts.

Another loss that people in one of my communities are experiencing is that we learned that we will be losing Pastor Doug and his amazing wife Jodie near the end of June. It is a good deal for Doug because he is getting a big fatty promotion. He will be the District Superintendent of the Southeast District. He will be posting up in Mount Pleasant.

For our church, it kinda sucks. Doug is a great Pastor and Jodie is possibly an even better Pastor’s wife. Losing both of them will leave a hole in our church that the next person or persons will have quite a time filling.

The new Pastor will also be like the 80th Pastor we have had in the last 5 years. Now that is probably hyperbole, but search your feelings, you know it to be true.

There is a common misconception that somewhere in The Bible it says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a common phrase that is trotted out as a reassurance when people are going through difficult times or grief.

The truth is that this isn’t in The Bible. Sorry, but sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

That being said, I would like to give the common response to the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I wish God didn’t know we were so strong*.

The good news is that while God doesn’t say anything about giving us more than we can handle, God does say that we won’t be tempted beyond our limits:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Therefore, I hope my church will not be tempted to feel sorry for itself. I hope my church won’t feel tempted to cling to the past. I hope my church won’t be tempted to resist the future.

A new Pastor is coming. While they will be the 80th Pastor in the last 5 years, I have faith that we will get a good one. We are in a good position and while we aren’t exactly a “destination” denomination, we are in a relatively good place and we have some powerful people looking out for our interests.

Playing the numbers game, we’ve really only had one bad Pastor in the last 15 years. While they were a really, really, really, really, really bad Pastor (I mean the guy sermonized at least once a month about past congregants he had smited and that is just the tip of the iceberg), we aren’t due for another like him for at least 30 years. Those are my calculations at least.

While I’m sad to be losing such great people, I am optimistic about the future and what a new Pastor will bring to our church and what our church will bring to a new Pastor!

There is light at the end of the tunnel and at this time, I don’t hear a train.

*On a personal note, this phrase has always bothered me.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers

Back in May I spied a yellow bird dancing around the branches of my cherry trees inspecting my cherry blossoms.

I quickly grabbed the Alpha 77ii and went about the business of photographing the little guy.

My neighbor to the east was outside and she tried to strike up a conversation with me. I believe it was on this day that I realized that she hasn’t the slightest clue about what my name is…

“Neighbor guy. Neighbor guy. Neighbor guy.” She kept calling to me.

I was trying to ignore her and hoped she’d go away. Not just because being called “Neighbor guy” is super annoying. It is like being called “buddy” or “pal”. 2 failed attempts of endearment. But the reason I was ignoring her this time is because all I wanted to do was photograph this bird.

I didn’t want or need another conversation about if I think her dogs bark too much or how I trained Naima to not bark constantly when she is outside. I didn’t want to hear about how her other neighbor had called the police on her because her dogs bark constantly when they are outside.

I just wanted to photograph this bird!

So I never made contact with her. I just kind of said, “Yeah” and “Uh-huh” to whatever she was saying and kept photographing the bird.

Here are a few products of my rudeness:


Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

Yellow Bird

She also calls Naima “neighbor dog”. She is an interesting lady. Very interesting.

+++++++

Here is an update on my 10 Step Process to buying a drone.

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – I am going to consider the bank fraud situation resolved. I haven’t received a letter saying that it is a done deal, but the bank did place the $350 that I requested in my bank account as a provisional credit. The investigation is still to be closed by January 31. I have a naive faith that the investigation will end in my favor. Otherwise, Credit Union Time?
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order my drone.

9 out of 10 steps are complete. I might call my change jar good and take it to the bank soon. With the weather being so brutal, you can’t really even use a drone right now. Although this weekend’s weather report would be good enough. Hmmmm… decision… decision…

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Magnolia

I slept like a baby. Like an angel. Like a baby angel. I woke up in the morning ready to take on the world.

After I got out of the shower I decided to walk the Motel 6 grounds to check out the lay of the land. I carried the trusty Alpha 77ii with me as I was deleting images because I didn’t want to run out of images on the memory card because we were going 2 places I planned to photograph.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Motel 6

While I was deleting pictures a paranoid Motel 6 employee approached me and wanted to know what I was photographing. I explained nothing, I was just deleting images. He seemed to be satisfied with this answer. But he also seemed to shadow me for several minutes. Not very trusting these Waco types.

I don’t watch a ton of home improvement shows, but my two favorites are REHAB ADDICT and FIXER UPPER. While Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t making the show now, they have created a tourist trap where people can fork over their hard earned coin for overpriced mugs, shirts, and bags.

Jesse and I left the hotel and headed to this oasis in Waco known as Magnolia.

Here are a few images:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

The fact that the Alabama Sweet Tea food trailer wasn’t open was a minor tragedy. True, I still had a couple bottles of Gold Peak Extra Sweet Tea in the cooler in the car, but I strongly wanted to evaluate this Alabama Sweet Tea to see how it stacked up against my own brew, Thick Soul Sweet Tea.

The lack of Alabama Sweet Tea wasn’t going to ruin the trip, but it certainly left a hole in the trip that didn’t seem could be filled.

My recommendation if you go to Magnolia is to skip the bakery. There is a trailer that sells the same food as the bakery, with a considerably shorter line.

Magnolia was cool and all, but it is still mostly just a store. As a minimalist, there is only so much unabashed commerce I can stand.

That being said, if you are in Waco I would recommend stopping.

As for the bakery, I had the Silo Cookie and the Chocolate Chip Cookie. They were both tasty, but the Chocolate Chip Cookie has it all over the Silo Cookie. They also sold cupcakes, but I didn’t purchase any, as I am not a big fan of cupcakes.

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SURPRISE!


WEEK 176- SURPRISE
SURPRISE

A SURPRISE photo is a photo of anything that deals with a SURPRISE. From reactions to results to planning.

Happy photo harvesting!

10-01-08

There are two types of pictures in the folder called 10-01-08. The first types are pictures taken during the restoration process of the Ames Party Bus. The second type is everybody’s favorite: flowers!

Have a looksie!


Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Flower

Flower

Moonflower

Moonflower

Moonflower

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Mums

Mums

Mums

Mums

Miums

Miums

ON a future blog I will rehash the rise and ultimate demise of the Ames Party Bus, but this isn’t that post.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” blogs to their original glory:

Volt-Face

Restoration

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Iowa State football.

Dickcissel Park & Naima

This collection of pictures come from a trip I had to Dickcissel Park with Naima back in late may. This must have been right before she started her allergy medication because as you will see, one of her eyes is looking pretty rough.

Her allergy medicine isn’t cheap, but it is definitely worth it!


Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Don’t worry, there are plenty of other pictures of Naima at Dickcissel Park yet to be published!!