Category Archives: Bethany

Gratitudo

Happy Thanksgiving! Every year on Thanksgiving I like to think about my many, many blessings. I know, real original. You should feel free to try it sometime. But make sure you let everybody know that I invented gratitude.


I am thankful for my family, no matter how family is defined:

April 9, 2019

May 18, 2019

May 25, 2019

August 24, 2019

September 19, 2019

October 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

February 25, 2019

June 29, 2019

July 6, 2019

August 4, 2019

April 6, 2019

May 12, 2019

I am thankful for my friends:

January 16, 2019

March 12, 2019

PHOTO JOURNAL - PAGE 121 ALTERNATE

Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

March 21, 2019

May 6, 2019

May 17, 2019

June 1, 2019

June 6, 2019

August 25, 2019

July 12, 2019

August 10, 2019

August 13, 2019

August 18, 2019

September 7, 2019

September 20, 2019

September 21, 2019

October 5, 2019

October 21, 2019

April 27, 2017

Selfie Project - January 21

March 3, 2019

I am blessed with an amazing church family:

April 7, 2019

Selfie Project - January 27

April 17, 2019

May 1, 2019

June 15, 2019

June 23, 2019

June 24, 2019

June 25, 2019

June 27, 2019

July 13, 2019

September 25, 2019

October 27, 2019

June 28, 2017

I am blessed with a decent job and work friends that I don’t mind seeing more than 40 hours a week:

January 12, 2019

August 30, 2019

May 2, 2017

Selfie Project - March 27

Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa

I’m blessed to share my house with Naima:

January 10, 2019

October 6, 2019

July 9, 2019

Naima

This is only a small sampling of my blessings, but I feel to go on much longer would sound like boasting. Thank all of you for choosing to be part of my life!

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Once gain, hitting up that sweet, sweet 2018 backlog. Back in September I went to see and ride Thomas the Tank with Bethany, Nora, and Bethany’s friend Harvey and her kids.

I frequently go down to the Boone Scenic Valley Railroad when Thomas is in town, but this was my first experience riding Thomas.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day:


Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

Thomas the Tank - 2018

I’m not a parent, but I think that bringing kids over to see Thomas is a pretty good deal. While riding Thomas might be something of a rip-off, there is plenty of other things to do there for free. Riding Thomas also gets you a free ride on the trolley, so that makes it a little bit less of a rip-off.

Anyways, Nora loved it!

Selfie Project – August

Now seems like a good time to check-in with my favorite pictures from my August SELFIE PROJECT pictures.

It would seem that I had a successful month of August. I met Vice-President Joe Biden. I competed in a barbecue contest at the Iowa State Fair. I also competed in a photography contest at the Iowa State Fair. I dine at a Brazilian Steakhouse totally not for Jay’s birthday. I went to an air show. I met my great nephew. I went to the Minnesota State Fair. I dined at Zeno’s. I went to an Iowa State football game.

Here are my favorites:


August 1, 2019
August 1

August 2, 2019
August 2

August 3, 2019
August 3

August 4, 2019
August 4

August 5, 2019
August 5

August 9, 2019
August 9

August 10, 2019
August 10

August 11, 2019
August 11

August 13, 2019
August 13

August 15, 2019
August 15

August 17, 2019
August 17

August 18, 2019
August 18

August 23, 2019
August 23

August 24, 2019
August 24

August 25, 2019
August 25

August 26, 2019
August 26

August 29, 2019
August 29

August 30, 2019
August 30

August 31, 2019
August 31

I’m not sure I’ve had as busy of a September, but I guess we’ll find out in October when I get a chance to look back at it.

Last Pufferbilly Days

Hitting up the 2018 backlog, thought now would be a good time to share some miscellaneous pictures from the Sunday of the 2018 Pufferbilly Days. Trying to get these out there before this year’s Pufferbilly Days festivities kickoff in a couple of weeks.

Bethany brought Nora down for Pufferbilly Days. Most of these pictures are from when Nora and Bethany rode a ride in the Pufferbilly Days Carnival.


Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

Pufferbilly Days

The last two pictures are the two pictures that won their category in last year’s Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

Naima Takes Dickcissel

Dipping into the backlog again. This post finishes off all of the backlog from May of 2018! WooHoo!

It once again draws on a consistent theme. Me taking pictures of Naima at Dickcissel Park.

You might be wondering why I took so many of these pictures last year. The reason is because I spent a considerable part of 2018 trying to get the perfect picture of Naima running at the camera. Ears in the air. Tongue sticking out of her mouth. Silly dog smile on her mug.

I also had an obsession with getting a picture of her in the water. From underwater. But that is a project that will continue into 2019, I do believe.

Here are some more Naima pictures:


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

Gotta keep hammering away at that backlog!

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Also, since the purchase of the drone, I’ve decided to start actually adding some content to my YouTube channel. In the past, the YouTube channel has only really existed so I could like other YouTube videos. Over it’s 10+ year existence, I’ve only uploaded like 30 videos.

That will hopefully change in the coming months. ‘

I recently put up my first “test” video. It was mostly a test of if I could figure out how to do it. I’m not particularly good at video editing and it shows in this video. What also shows is how terrible I am at sound recording.

I hope my video editing skills improve. We’ll see about the sound recording skills. Actually I have no choice but to improve on sound recording. You’ll see when you watch the video.

So below, checkout this YouTube video I made on DJI Mavic 2 Pro Quickshots with Bethany as the guinea pig:



If you don’t subscribe to my YouTube channel, please do because when I hit 100 subscribers, I can customize my channel’s URL. In the future, there will be more drone videos and I have plans for more videos revolving around the birthday present I’m giving to myself.

Also, a big shoutout to Joe who is helping me with video editing. The video is edited with an open source video editing program called OpenShot.

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!

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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.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 176 – SURPRISE

I knew SURPRISE was a tough theme and participation took a predictable hit this week. This week’s theme is considerably easier, but you might have to go out in the -50 (wind chill) temperatures to get a picture. You don’t have to, but I know I will be! Probably. You need to be careful with electronics in cold temperatures. I know a guy who recently bought a drone and can’t fly it yet because the temperatures are just too cold.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates and temperatures. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 176 - SURPRISE - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

RUINS! What a great theme! But what is a RUINS photo? A RUINS photo is any photo of something in decay. Not necessarily something organic, but if you feel like interpreting the theme that way, more power to you.

I can’t wait to see your interpretations!

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HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

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That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very ruinous Monday.

Brown vs. Board of Education

On many a trip to Manhattan I have driven through Topeka and seen a sign for the Brown vs. Board of Education historical site. Many a time I have thought, I should stop and check that out. Every single time I have decided against it and kept driving to get to Bill Snyder Country sooner.

In early November I went down to Topeka with Bethany and Becca to see Nate and Laura’s triplets who were still in the NICU in Topeka.

As fate would have it, we stumbled across the Brown vs. Board of Education site. We stopped and we took some pictures.

Here some are:


Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

If you don’t know what Brown vs. Board of Education is, I’ll assume you are a product of the Boone School Systems.

Here is a little tidbit from the History Channel’s website:

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.

It was interesting to stand in a place that was so pivotal in the civil rights struggle. We didn’t have time to actually go into the school, but I’ll have to return sometime. When I have more time and the government isn’t shutdown.

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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 – My bank fraud situation is partially resolved. The bank sent me a letter saying that I would get $150 or so bucks because I was a victim of fraud. I called them and said “Thanks! But that number is about $370 light.” Then we had an exchange where the person that I talked to couldn’t even find my account. Finally they said to send them another affidavit for the other $370 bucks. I’m hoping this time it doesn’t take 2 more months to resolve. I won’t hold my breath.
  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 a drone.

I am now 8 of 10 steps complete. I am close to ordering that drone. Just need some good news from my bank and to find some more spare change just laying around.