Category Archives: Michelle

The Windy City: Day 1B

I need to start out by thanking everyone that wished me a happy birthday. I believe this is a comprehensive list of everybody that wished me a happy birthday.

+ Kim and also thank you for buying me birthday Buffalo Chicken tots and the card.
+ Ron, Clevenger, Jordan, and Aaron. Although I may have bought those birthday wishes with donuts.
+ Elizabeth and also thanks for buying me candy bars I know you don’t like but the real thanks goes for looking for my favorite candy bars the Whatchamacallit and the Take 5! You are the real hero! Also, glad you are digging SHRINKING! Such a great show!
+ Steph. My birthday buddy, I hope FAST X was everything you wanted to be and I’m trying not to lose just a smidge of respect that you went to it.
+ Jesse – Sorry I was so aggressive in accusing you of eating all the mystery cheese.
+ Nader – Thanks for the frog statue!
+ Shannon- half credit for including a picture of a gross cat with your birthday wishes.
+ Michelle – good job taking a three day weekend to celebrate my birth.
+ Jay – doesn’t look like you got any rhubarb. It isn’t going to pick itself.
+ Kelly – thanks for the kind words. Not necessary, but thanks.
+ Angie – hope the postcard arrives soon.
+ Monica – thanks for sending me the picture of me in my Hulkster phase.
+ Suzie – thanks for knowing the proper animal to include in a happy birthday wish!
+ Jason – glad you are feeling better!
+ Bill – thanks for replying “no problem” when I said “thanks”. Don’t know why, but that amused me.
+ Sara Lockner – thanks for almost using enough exclamation marks in your birthday wishes!
+ Shawn – I’m sorry your wife used up all the world’s supply of punctuation in her birthday wishes and there wasn’t any punctuation left for yours.
+ Faust – thanks for pretending that banking sounds fun.
+ Teresa – thanks but I have my doubts you know who Dwight Schrute is.
+ Anders – I don’t know if it was a great one, but I’m sure May Movie Night will be.
+ Sarah Toot – Thanks for thinking I have the slightest clue what emoticons mean. Don’t feel pressure to do better next year.
+ Alexis – thanks for letting me think today was my day.
+ Baier and Dre – We didn’t have much interaction, but thanks for thinking of me.
+ Micky – thanks for multiple birthday wishes. It isn’t a contest, but if it was I think Elizabeth won. At least I think that is what she yelled at me as I walked out the door. But your message was the closest I came to having cake today. So that is something.
+ Lori – thanks, no need to apologize for transferring me my favorite kind of call, even if I really shouldn’t have been first in queue. Hope things went well today.
+ Mark – thanks. I suppose I should learn when your birthday is. Also stop using your desk for storage. Nah!
+ Lowell – thanks for the gift card. I like to think you would get me one even if the company didn’t require it.
+ Carla – thanks for getting your birthday wishes in right before the buzzer.
+ Nathanial – thanks for the final birthday wishes of my day.

I think that is the list. I think that is everybody that wished me a happy birthday! Thanks everyone!

If you are wondering what I did for my birthday, it was nothing super spectacular. It was mostly an average day.

I woke up about 5:54 AM. A little late for me. I was up late last night watching the NBA Playoffs. Then trying to watch the season finale of THE CURSE OF OAK ISLAND. Dang it! This wasn’t the season they actually found treasure. And I was so sure! I also ate fried food the night before. I’m trying to eat healthier, so it is fairly rare I eat fried food these days, he said hoping that there were people that believed him. Point is I slept in. It was my birthday. Cut me some slack!

I’m not sure what I did when I first got out of bed. I think I moved to the couch and watched the news for a little bit. Then I went outside and watered the flowers. I also took apart the trunk in the Camry. I had a slight gas spill in the trunk the night before and it was creating a pretty strong smell in the rest of the car. Then I took a shower. Brushed my teeth. Got dressed. But on cologne option #2. Said goodbye to Naima. Got in the Camry. Headed out.

There is an old birthday tradition at the Computer Mine where on your birthday you bring in food for the other employees. On a good day, there are about 10 employees in the building. (On a great day there is less.) On this day, half those people were gone for various reasons. On my way to work I stopped at the Dutch Oven Bakery and picked up a dozen donuts for my co-workers.

This is a small detail of what transpired on my birthday, but perhaps one of my favorite things that happened.

I left the donuts in the breakroom and then sent an email out to the people I knew would be in the building. Here is the backstory.

About 2 weeks, Elizabeth brought in a dozen donuts from a bakery in Nevada. (For the record, and I might get rode out of Boone on a rail for saying this, these donuts buried the ones from Dutch Oven.) She cut all the donuts in half. Now I feel like I shouldn’t have to explain why, but I will. She cut them in half so that people could try multiple donuts and multiple people could try the same donut.

Back to my birthday. Based on my current work schedule, Ron gets to the building about 30 minutes before I do. Elizabeth gets to the office about 15-30 minutes after me. She is in Special Forces so she can come and go as she pleases. I guess that is really more backstory, for what I’m promising you isn’t much payoff.

So back to that email. I explained in the email that there were donuts in the breakroom for my birthday. I didn’t cut them in half (cause I’m lazy – I didn’t write that, but it was in the subtext) but maybe when Elizabeth got here she would cut the donuts in half. I added that this wasn’t sexist on my part, just she is very passionate about the donut cutting thing.

Here is the “payoff”. I’m telling you that the ink wasn’t dry on that email before Ron was standing next to my cubicle. He wished me a happy birthday and then said that he was going to go get a donut quick before Elizabeth got here and cut them in half.

I said it wasn’t much of a payoff, but I thought it was hilarious.

I think it was somewhere in here I went to take a Snap of the donuts to keep my Streaks going with Logan (501), Brandon (257), Nathanial (89), Fran (37), and Alexis (23).

Somewhere after this, Elizabeth did come in. She did not cut all the donuts in half, but she did cut the donuts she tried in half. Take that Ron! She also brought me candy! So the day was off to a great start.

After that I put in a good solid 8 hours for The Man. I was a problem solving machine. Well to be honest, in the morning I mostly did a lot of rando stuff. I think the highlight of my morning (besides the other stuff I’ve highlighted) was being on hold with a customer for about 30 minutes as they repeatedly rebooted their computer before announcing, I’ll have to call you back.

Then came my lunchbreak. I did point out that I am trying to eat healthier. That means (amongst other things) that I only drink pop once a week. I’m pretty much completely off fast food. I rarely eat fried foods. This means that one of my favorite haunts, B-Bop’s has been off the table. But I figured it was my birthday, I could treat myself to B-Bop’s.

I drove halfway across Ames and got the #2 with Cheese with a Large Pepsi.

Sidebar: A great birthday present would have been the B-Bops across the street from the Computer Mine opening back up so I don’t have to drive completely across tarnation to get B-Bops goodness. They have been remodeling for months now! How long does it take to remodel a restaurant that doesn’t have a dining room?!?!?

It was just as good as I remembered. Although, I could feel the salad place next door judging me a little bit. But I literally ate there the day before. Asian Crunch Salad, no protein. So I think we’re square. Stop looking at me lettuce!

After I got back to the work I was a machine. Updating Server Managers. Modifying hosts files. Attaching SQL databases. All a beauty of motion, while sitting in a desk chair staring at 3 monitors. Barely taking a break to try to solve the mystery of what happened to the missing (I failed).

I called it a day, leaving many a satisfied customer in my wake. (Which means next time I work I won’t be able to solve anybody’s problems.) I drove home. I like to take a route home (sometimes called Old 30) where I drive by a bunch of railroad cars just parked along the highway to see if there is any interesting graffiti to photograph. There wasn’t anything transcendent like a painting of a dog or a clown or characters from The Simpsons, but there was one I found photo worthy. I pulled over and snapped a photo. I’m collecting these images and when I hit about 20 or so I will share them. This is what passes for an art scene in Boone.

Got home. Said hello to Naima. Then mowed my back yard. Which needed to be done before it became a 3 man job… again. I was supposed to have a meeting with my friend Kelli. She is opening a wine bar and wants to use my photography on her walls. I was supposed to look at the space and kind of figure out what we wanted to put there, but that meeting got postponed cause, from what I’m gathering, one of her kids did something dumb. Like go to Grand Junction.

The cancellation opened up a hole in my schedule and I was able to take Naima to Dickcissel for a walk and some wading for her. It was also a good time for me to take the theme reveal image for next week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme.

There was a decent rain coming down on us when we completed the loop. Which meant Naima was soaked all over. I consider this to be a positive though, because the smell of wet dog masked the smell of gas. Not much of a trade up, but small victories.

I decided to go to Dairy Queen for ice cream on our way home since I’m eating healthier. Unfortunately, the line in the DQ drive-thru was crazy long, so instead I drove across town to Big Kahuna’s. This is a considerable upgrade in the quality of the ice cream for me, but it meant Naima didn’t get a pup cup. Sorry, Naima. Don’t feel too bad for her. She did get a full pork chop for supper. Me? I had a cherry amaretto ice cream waffle cone for supper. The supper of champions!

I came home and started watching the Lakers-Nuggets game to finish off my night. While sitting there I got a snap from Nathanial asking for my opinion on his options for the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. He is the second person to ask for my opinion. Meanwhile, humble narrator, hasn’t even given any consideration to what he will enter. Usually at this point I at least know at least 2 of the pictures I will enter. This year I have absolutely no clue. I mean that could be a weekend project, but I don’t know I’ll have much time this weekend either. I guess we’ll see what happens.

After the Nuggets won, I watched a little bit of “90s Nation” on MTV Classic and called it a night. Nodding off into a golden slumber listening to the “Morbid” podcast on H.H. Holmes. Part 4. All in all, a pretty good birthday.

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We begin where we left off last Friday. Lowell, Tony, and I were walking around Chicago waiting for Kim to get done getting good union employees fired for smoking a joint while putting up our booth. Kim has no chill. We were going to checkout a place called Zombie Taco as a potential place for supper. Kim had told us that we were to pick the place for supper. Tacos are always a good choice. That is free advice that I’m giving you, that I wish I had listened to on Day 3 of this trip. Unfortunately when we found Zombie Taco it seemed to be only a walk-up window and on top of that, it seemed to be closed.

But back to the walkabout.


Chicago, Illinois
A play on “This American Life”. My favorite radio show. But I’m not sure what it means.

Chicago, Illinois
I think this place was abandoned.

Chicago, Illinois
Never let anybody tell you, wearing Skechers is not cool. I wear them. Snoop wears them. Tony wears them. Elizabeth’s Grandma used to wear them.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
My greatest regret from the trip to Chicago is not taking a river cruise.

Chicago, Illinois
I wonder if this was the boat that the Dave Matthews Band dumped their poop on. As awful as that must have been, still better than listening to their music.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has a fair collection of interesting bridges.

Chicago, Illinois
More street art.

Chicago, Illinois
Down to the River Walk.

Chicago, Illinois
Another interesting bridge.

Chicago, Illinois
It was around here I met a lady that was walking a golden retriever. Such a good dog. Also, more street art.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
I’m guessing this is to protect you from Dave Matthews dumping his poop on your head. Now if they could devise a way to protect you from his awful music.

Chicago, Illinois
I assume Dave Matthews put that there.

Chicago, Illinois
I’d tell you what I think of Salesforce, but enough work talk.

Chicago, Illinois
There is also a Dick’s Last Resort on the San Antonio River Walk. This parking garage is an excellent example of why I would never want to live in a city.

Chicago, Illinois
But it is pretty to look at.

Chicago, Illinois
My #1 goal of the Chicago Trip was to see The Bean. Crossed it off the list Day 1.

Chicago, Illinois
After telling us to pick the restaurant, Kim picked the restaurant. Which fortunately, was 1 block from The Bean.

Chicago, Illinois
The WPC theme this week was FRIENDS. Nathanial told me I could take a picture of my reflection and I could be my own FRIEND(S). I have FRIENDS Nathanial. Still a cool shot.

Chicago, Illinois
The sculptor (Anish Kapoor) of The Bean at first hated that people called it that. It’s official name is Cloud Gate.

Chicago, Illinois
It is made out of 168 stainless steel plates welded together.

Chicago, Illinois
It’s highly polished exterior has no visible seams.

Chicago, Illinois
It measures 33 x 66 x 42 feet.

Chicago, Illinois
The design was inspired by liquid mercury.

Chicago, Illinois

I still have one more collection of images to share from Day 1 of the trip to Chicago.

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


WEEK 400 - HAPPY
HAPPY

HAPPY! What a great theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what in the Dave Rauker is a HAPPY photo? Simply put, it is a picture of somebody that is HAPPY or a picture of something that makes you HAPPY. HAPPY is, well it is a feeling of pleasure or contentment. In case you aren’t sure you know what it means to be HAPPY.

HAPPY has been a theme one other time. Here are a few of the submissions from that time to provide you with some inspiration:


WEEK 71 - HAPPY - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen – Week 71

WEEK 71 - HAPPY - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker – Week 71

WEEK 71 - HAPPY - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim – Week 71

WEEK 71 - HAPPY - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard – Week 71

WEEK 71 - HAPPY - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett – Week 71

In fact, that was pretty much every submission I received for HAPPY. I bet there will be more submissions this time.

Happy photo harvesting!

Chicago Food Adventures

I’ve decided to lump all of my Chicago food adventures into one massive post. I was in Chicago for parts of 7 days and ate meals there on 6 of those days. Some of them great. Some of the good. Some of them bad. All of them photographed.

I started the trip with $481 in the Per Diem Fund.

Meal #1 – Day 1 Lunch – Capriotti’s


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

My goal whenever I travel is to eat in a place that isn’t near me. I actually failed twice on this trip. First, was Capriotti’s. I didn’t know it at the time, but there is actually a Capriotti’s in Clive. I don’t regret it though because this was one of my favorite meals on the trip.

Cost: $22.74
Per Diem Balance: $458.26

Meal #2 – Day 1 Supper – Giordano’s


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Giordano’s is the second restaurant I ate at that I could have eaten at in Iowa. I’m not a big fan of Chicago Style Pizza. New York Style Pizza is also trash, if you think I’m taking a side. While the appetizers were good at Geordano’s the pizza was definitely not all that great.

Cost: $30.02
Per Diem Balance: $428.24

Meal #3 – Day 2 Breakfast – Wow Bao


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Also one of my favorite meals. Wow Bao was actually in the hotel and if I wasn’t trying to spread the wealth, I might have eaten there more than once. It was also dirt cheap. I don’t drink coffee because I don’t actively hate the environment, also it tastes like ass, so they gave me milk for free. Which was a bonus!

Cost: $5.91
Per Diem Balance: $422.33

Meal #4 – Day 2 Supper – Wrigley Field Concession Stand


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

I really thought I would eat more at Wrigley than I did. Especially considering I didn’t have time to eat lunch. I have to say that the concession stands at Wrigley were a real disappointment. I thought there would be better food options at a Major League Baseball stadium. Especially one as historic as Wrigley Field. But my “Bison Hot Dog” was just okay.

Cost: $17.70
Per Diem Balance: 404.63

Meal #5 – Day 3 Lunch – Taco Truck


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

The area where we stayed at was very nice, but it is lousy with corporate restaurants. Lowell and I probably walked close to a mile to get to some food trucks that were near The Bean. It was worth it. This was one of my favorite meals on the trip. There were 8 food trucks there. 6 of them served tacos. They mostly all seemed to serve the same menu. I’m not even hating. 6 taco trucks isn’t enough if you ask this guy. My only regret is also not getting an order of Mexican Street Corn.

Price: $13.50
Per Diem Balance: $391.13

Meal #6 – Day 3 Supper – Broken English Taco Pub


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Between the Street Tacos and the Taco Pub there was a Computer Mine “Party” hosted by our Sales Team (or whatever they have been branded as this week) that included free appetizers. There are no pictures of that and it was free. I made a pretty huge mistake by not going for tacos at a place called Taco Pub. I zigged when I definitely should have stayed the course. These were amongst the worst nachos I’ve ever had in my life. The nachos at The Other Place hold the distinction for the “Worst Nachos Ever” for me. At least it was free. For reasons I don’t understand, Cathie paid for everyone’s meal at the table. It was about the last time I saw Cathie socially on this trip. She lost her voice the next day and I don’t know she ever left the hotel besides to go to the convention. I need to find a way to pay her back at some point. Like maybe she could make me monkey bread and I could eat it. I think that would make us square. I should have bought her meal at Zeno’s. Dang it!

As for the group photo… It is the only one from this trip. The THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE for most of my time in Chicago was FRIENDS. I briefly toyed with the idea of having servers from various restaurants take very poorly lit group photos of all my meals and then submit them to THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE under the name “Our Server at Place X”. But I didn’t do it. Maybe if I ever go on a work trip again.

Cost: FREE! Thanks Cathie!
Per Diem Balance: $391.13

Meal #7 – Day 4 Lunch – McCormick Place Food Court


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

I should have been like Tony and done a walkabout of the Convention Center and scouted out all of the food locations. I only knew about the balcony food court. There was a long line for the “burger” place up there. So I just grabbed a wrapped Caprese sandwich. I was trying to eat a healthy option and I do like a good caprese sandwich. This wasn’t it. I don’t want to give a way the ending of this blog… so I won’t.

Price: $15.00
Per Diem Balance: $376.13

Meal #8 – Day 4 Supper – McCormick & Schmick’s


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

This was supposed to be the most expensive meal of the trip for me. But, once again it was free. Gina paid for my meal and Lowell’s meal. I got the New York Strip which I think was in the $40-50 range. I added an extra side of grilled asparagus, which was around $11. Then I got their “Classic Crème Brûlée “, which was around $10. I wasn’t trying to stick it to Gina. I ordered all that stuff anticipating paying for my own meal. Then she picked up the check for Lowell and I. I should have anticipated that happening though. It is her move.

But there are two incidents at the restaurant I need to bring up. As Micky can tell you, I like a good bantering with the server. I had an intense discussion with the server about the dessert menu. As you can see from the pictures above, for the dessert I had crème brûlée . I have no complaints about it. It was excellent. It wasn’t what I wanted though. On the dessert menu they had something called “Chocolate Bag”. The menu described “Chocolate Bag” as “White Chocolate Mousse and Fresh Berries Topped with Whipped Cream”. What the menu doesn’t tell you is all of that is put in a bag. A bag made of chocolate. Yes please!

Only the answer came back, “No!” McCormick & Schneebley’s or whatever this dump was called, was out of chocolate bag. I had to settle for crème brûlée like a commoner.

The other dessert menu moment was the reason I love banter. On the dessert menu was “seasonal” cheesecake. When I inquired about what the current “seasonal” cheesecake was and what the cheesecake was for the other seasons is, the banter escalated to the point where the server said, “Yeah, for the spring cheesecake we should serve it with a dead bird on top of it!” Bingpot!

Cost: FREE! Thanks Gina!
Per Diem Balance: $376.13

Meal #9 – Day 5 Lunch – Connie’s Pizza


Chicago Food Adventure

Another lunch on the convention center floor. Connie’s Pizza wasn’t great, but a considerable upgrade over the sandwich I choked down the day before. I was thankful to Tony for pointing it out to me.

Cost: $12.00
Per Diem Balance: $364.13

Meal #10 – Day 5 Supper – Soju BBQ


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure
Kim’s Meal Before

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure
Kim’s Meal After

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

I might give Kim a hard time for having a Midwest white woman’s palette, but she was a trooper for giving Korean BBQ a chance. Even if she ate next to none of her food. She at least gave it a shot. So snaps for Kim for challenging herself.

I on the other hand loved this meal. Everything was fantastic! The “Kimchi Dumplings” that Tony ordered was possibly my favorite food item I had on the entire trip. Also snaps to Tony for going out to eat with a group larger than 4 people. Which is some kind of arbitrary rule he established for himself.

I haven’t had Korean barbecue since DaeHee’s mom made some for me. I made sure to send him plenty of pictures of it, cause I’m a swell guy. He was slightly jealous. By slightly, I mean extremely.

Cost: $37.00
Per Diem Balance: $327.13

Meal #11 – Day 6 Lunch – Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

The final day of the convention. This is basically a polish sausage with barbecue sauce thrown on top of it and grilled onions on top of it. It was by far the best thing I ate on the convention floor. If I had found it first, I might have just had it three days in a row. A guy I’ll assume was Robinson said, he would “hook me up”. And I think he did. I have no complaints about it.

Cost: $16.25
Per Diem Balance: $310.88

Meal #12 – Day 6 Supper – Lou Manalti’s


Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Chicago Food Adventure

Way back on Day 1 I stated I don’t really like Chicago Style Pizza. Give me a good Quad Cities Style Pizza and we are talking. But Chicago Style Pizza doesn’t do much for me. However, this pizza might have changed my mind. This was one tasty pizza! I would have this pizza again in a second! It was a perfect way to cap the trip!

Cost: $33.75
Final Per Diem Balance: $277.13

Day 7 didn’t involve any eating. At least not eating I would consider that came out of my per diem. We got up early. Didn’t eat breakfast. Flew back to the Cyclone State.

Those of you with a keen memory might recall that I did go through the drive-thru at Ted’s Coney Island on my way back to my house, but I don’t count that towards the per diem.

If you are wondering I’m doing with the extra $277.13 I just pocketed… I guess I spent some of it to send some of you postcards that I think maybe 2 of you cared about. I also bought a Chicago magnet for my fridge. But truthfully, the full $481 went into savings. A couple of weeks ago I outlined some goals I have. One of those goals is to switch banks. I took this coming Friday off as a birthday present to myself. My big plan is to start the process of moving banks. At the very least I will open a couple new accounts in a new bank. Actually a credit union. I don’t know how long it will take me to phase out of Bank of the Bear, but at least the process will finally be started.

The last bit of business for this blog is that I want to rank my Chicago meals from worst to best.

Chicago Food Adventure Power Ranking

12. Caprese Sandwich – Convention Center Food Court
11. Nacho Mama-s Nachos – Broken English Taco Pub
10. Sausage Pizza – Connie’s Pizza (Convention Center)
9. Bison Hot Dog – Clark Street Grill (Wrigley Field)
8. The Special – Giordano’s
7. Super Polish Sausage – Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs (Convention Center)
6. Breakfast Bowl – Wow Bao
5. New York Strip Steak – McCormick and Schmick’s
4. BBQ Chicken Cheese Steak – Capriotti’s
3. Street Tacos – Sabor Taco Truck
2. Malnati Chicago Classic – Lou Malnati’s
1. Korean Brisket – Soju BBQ

If I still make the cut for next year’s convention team, it is New Orleans. That could also make for a fascinating food adventure. We’ll have to see what happens.

Muscatine County Aux. – Vol. 5

Since my trip to Chicago I know I have missed celebrating a few birthdays on this website, but the bleeding stops today.

Happy birthday to my awesome sister-in-law and fellow Brandi Carlile fan Becca!


Minnesota State Fair - 2019

I hope you have a birthday that is as tremendous as you are! Lots of Brandi Carlile music and lots of adventures for you and Jonah!

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Also, happy birthday to my favorite Editor Michelle!


Day 318 - November 14, 2021

I hope you don’t slave away at the Computer Mine too hard today!

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Today I am sharing the final collection of auxiliary images I took on my trip to Muscatine County to harvest their town signs. Including. Finally. The picture of the dragon that sold me the best watermelon I’ve ever had in my life.


Muscatine County  - Muscatine
Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine

Muscatine County  - Muscatine
Tasted better than it looks.

Muscatine County
This dragon knows its watermelon!

Muscatine County

Muscatine County

Muscatine County

Muscatine County  - Conesville
Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville
I have questions, but every time I ask a Catholic about Catholic things they don’t know anything.

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

Muscatine County  - Conesville

I definitely enjoyed Muscatine County. I might have to make a watermelon run again this year, or commission Micky to bring back a melon. Hashtag watermelonlife!

Next time we hit the open road for auxiliary images from THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, we will visit Henry County and Jefferson County.

Viva Las Vegas: Day 3C

After the party was over, Lowell and I waited around for what must have been hours for these people to leave so we could go back to the conference center to setup computers for the following day’s CMC.

I think we finally got into the conference center, set up the few computers we could and got back to the hotel room about 10:30.

We were supposed to arrive at the party a little early to eat before the guests got there. But that didn’t really work out. I had a couple pieces of shrimp and a slider. Not enough to keep me going. So after hitting our hotel rooms, we met up, I think at the Heart Bar for a little bit. I think this might have been the night I was either propositioned by a prostitute near the slot machines OR a very friendly and lovely lady wanted to hang out with me and buy her a drink. It is hard to tell. We will never know.

Things are starting to become a blur at this point. Then sometime after midnight we ended up at Earl of Sandwich for a late supper. Earl of Sandwich was pretty good except for the distinct smell of drain backup emanating from the drains near their pop station.

Per Diem Fund Update

I started the day with $240 in the Per Diem Fund.

Breakfast: Free
Lunch: Free
Cocktail Hour Snacks: Free
Earl of Sandwich Supper: $17

Estimated Per Diem Fund Balance: $223.


Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

I hope these party pictures don’t give the false impression that my job at the Computer Mine if fun. It is hard work. Nonstop. Nose to the grindstone.

After such a late night, the morning came around pretty quick.

According to my highly inaccurate fitness app, I walked 19,158 steps for 8.72 miles.

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This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is SCENES FROM YOUR COUCH:


WEEK 396 - SCENES FROM YOUR COUCH
SCENES FROM YOUR COUCH

SCENES FROM YOUR COUCH?!? That seems like an odd theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

This theme was suggested by Angie. It was meant to be subversive. If you have read the rules for (and there aren’t many rules, but they do grow a little by little) THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE, you may remember the this line:

“This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.”

Here is your chance to not get your butt off the couch. You can literally sit on your couch. Take a picture of whatever you see from your couch and submit it to me. Now, you don’t have to take the picture from your couch. You can pile a bunch of your favorite people on your couch and take a picture of them. You can take your picture from behind the couch. It actually doesn’t even have to be your couch. You can find somebody else’s couch you like better and take your picture from there. It could be a couch in a store or a hotel or a bar. Doesn’t matter. It just has to be a SCENE FROM A COUCH.

There are two things I love about this theme. First, it means that there is somebody that actually reads the rules. Second, this picture can be the easiest one you take for this year’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE or you really take your creative juices for a walk to figure out how make this picture, let us say different. To really stretch the boundaries of the theme.

Happy photo harvesting!

Viva Las Vegas: Day 3B

Today is Good Friday. I wish those who celebrate, a good Good Friday.


Page 5 - Reject

Matthew 27:32-56
32-34 Along the way they came on a man from Cyrene named Simon and made him carry Jesus’ cross. Arriving at Golgotha, the place they call “Skull Hill,” they offered him a mild painkiller (a mixture of wine and myrrh), but when he tasted it he wouldn’t drink it.

35-40 After they had finished nailing him to the cross and were waiting for him to die, they killed time by throwing dice for his clothes. Above his head they had posted the criminal charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews. Along with him, they also crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

41-44 The high priests, along with the religion scholars and leaders, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—he can’t save himself! King of Israel, is he? Then let him get down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then! He was so sure of God—well, let him rescue his ‘Son’ now—if he wants him! He did claim to be God’s Son, didn’t he?” Even the two criminals crucified next to him joined in the mockery.

45-46 From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

47-49 Some bystanders who heard him said, “He’s calling for Elijah.” One of them ran and got a sponge soaked in sour wine and lifted it on a stick so he could drink. The others joked, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Let’s see if Elijah comes and saves him.”

50 But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last.

51-53 At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.)

54 The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

55-56 There were also quite a few women watching from a distance, women who had followed Jesus from Galilee in order to serve him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the Zebedee brothers.

There is a Tenebrae worship service at my church (Boone First United Methodist Church) at 7 PM tonight if you are interested in attending. You. Are. Invited. At least I will be there.

But what is a Tenebrae service? Glad you asked is:

For United Methodists and some other Protestants, the story of the suffering and death of Jesus from John’s gospel is divided into 16 readings. After each segment of the story is read, a candle is extinguished. After the fifteenth reading, which confirms that Jesus had died on the cross, the last of the 15 lit candles is extinguished or taken away, and a loud sound (called strepitus in Latin) is made to convey the sense of total loss of God’s presence and the effect of the death of Jesus on the universe. The final story of the burial is read in near darkness.

Now aren’t you glad I used scripture from Matthew?

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After spending most of the day part of Day 3 in the conference room area making sure things were working for the speakers and being a de facto sound guy, the evening was for partying. The type of party that you are required to go to by the Computer Mine, but it is okay cause you are getting paid to be there. Plus, I was tasked with taking pictures of the event, so I wasn’t required to mingle. Just kidding, taking pictures of the event required much more mingling than not photographing the event.

The theme of the CMC Party was Game Night. Costumes were encouraged, but not necessarily required. Unless you were employed by the Computer Mine. Then they were required. I don’t believe a picture of my costume exists, so you will have to imagine what it was like. I will tell you that my costume was a BIG hit with some people and a head scratcher for others. It was maybe a little tangential to the Game Night theme, but my goal was 100% comfort. The one thing I didn’t expect was how boiling hot it was in that costume. The costume you only get to imagine.

Here is a first collection of pictures from the evening:


Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3
One of the jobs of Computer Mine employees was to hand out poker chips… I may have gave 90% of my chips to this office.

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

Las Vegas Day 3

There is a strong yellowish hue to these pictures cause of the lighting at the event. I could fix more of that in post, but don’t know there is a reason to do that.

There is still one more collection of pictures from Day 3 to share. When I share them, I will give the Per Diem Watch Update.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ODD CAMERA ANGLE:


WEEK 395 - ODD CAMERA ANGLE
ODD CAMERA ANGLE

ODD CAMERA ANGLE! What a great theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what is an ODD CAMERA ANGLE photo? Simply put, it a picture taken from an angle that is different than normal. The grand majority of pictures are taken from the eye level of the photographer. This theme challenges you to look down at your subject. Or look up at your subject. Or look at it from an angle where something small looks big and something big looks small. Or try out a Dutch angle. Put yourself on the ground or in a hole or in the air. Just don’t take your picture eye level. That’s all we’re asking here. The world is your oyster. You just have to look at it askew.

This isn’t the first time that ODD CAMRERA ANGLE or something similar to it has been a theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Have a look back at a few submissions from the past for a bit of inspiration:


WEEK 326 - ODD CAMERA ANGLE - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin – Week 326

WEEK 359 - ODD CAMERA ANGLE - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot – Week 359

WEEK 359 - ODD CAMERA ANGLE - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard – Week 359

WEEK 359 - ODD CAMERA ANGLE - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland – Week 359

WEEK 85 - HIGH PERSPECTIVE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett – Week 85

Hopefully something in there inspires somebody.

Happy photo harvesting!

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

I need to start the day off by wishing Andree a happy birthday. Happy birthday Andree!


Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

I hope your birthday is filled with joy, or at least as much joy as one can feel when they are in Houston, Texas.

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Yesterday was the end of the college basketball season, which also means it is time to crown the winner for Year 18 of the Roundball Oracles.

The winner was Will Baier. Congratulations Will! Making it back to back championships for Baier brothers! It seems like almost everybody in the Baier family has won, except Jason. Hmmmm…

His name is now on the List of Immortals.

ROUNDBALL ORACLES CHAMPIONS
2023 – Will Baier
2022 – Ben Baier
2021 – Micky Augustin
2020 – Tournament Canceled
2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Also “congratulations” goes to “The Sara” winner… Ben Baier. It was a close one this year and came down to the tie-breaker. It was so close to going Shawn. Then he would have had a “The Sara” trophy and the actual The Sara living in his house. Maybe next year.

Ben Baier went from the penthouse to the outhouse in one year. Maybe next year he will be back in the penthouse and his brother will be in the outhouse. It will be interesting to watch.

THE SARA “WINNERS”

2023 – Ben Baier
2022 – Joey Randazzo
2021 – Rachel Gildersleeve
2020 – Tournament Canceled
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

Here are the final Roundball Oracles Standings:

1. Will Baier – 204
2. Toby Sebring – 200
3. Sarah Karber – 193
4. Tim Peterson – 189
5. Cathie Morton – 188
6. Elizabeth Nordeen- 185
7. Andy Sharp – 184
8. Russell Kennerly – 184
9. Linda Bennett – 183
10. Micky Augustin – 183
11. Carrie Baier – 180
12. Dawn Krause – 178
13. Corey Faust – 177
14. Jesse Howard – 176
15. Jason Baier – 173
16. Angie DeWaard – 171
17. Michelle Haupt – 170
18. Carla Stensland – 170
19. Jackson Faust – 168
20. Frank Meiners – 157
21. Lowell Davis – 155
22. Andree Jauhari – 154
23. Christopher D. Bennett – 154
24. Robert Henning – 154
25. Nader Parsaei – 147
26. Logan Kahler – 145
27. Rachel Gildersleeve – 145
28. Joey Randazzo – 144
29. Olivia Baier – 141
30. Jordan Toot – 141
31. JJ Baier – 141
32. Brandon Kahler – 136
33. Becky Parmelee – 131
34. Derek Dohrman – 122
35. Sara Lockner – 112
36. Shawn Lockner – 111
37. Ben Baier – 111

Congrats to everybody that did better than me this year. And there were a lot of them. Cherish the feeling, cause it won’t happen again. Okay, it probably will.

+++++++

A few weeks back I took Rodan139 out for a couple test flights. The second of those flights was a spin above the Pilot Mound State Forest. Here are a few pictures from that flight:


Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Rodan139: Pilot Mound State Forest

Next week I will share the pictures from the final flight I took on the battery test flight day.

Viva Las Vegas: Day 1A

I need to start today by wishing Nora a happy birthday, so happy birthday Nora!


Canvas No. 50

I hope your birthday is filled with lots of candy and cake and ice cream! If not, I will buy you so much ice cream next time I see you.

+++++++

Time to start sharing the real camera pictures from my work trip to Las Vegas. I took the backup camera to Vegas just cause I’m always leery of traveling on planes with the 1st string camera. Even though the bag never leaves my side. It is probably a mental block that I will never get over. We’ll see what happens next time I walk on a plane. In April.

I took enough pictures on Day 1 in Vegas to split them into to two posts. This is post 1.

Vegas Day 1 started in Boone. I got up and headed for the Des Moines International Airport a little after 9 AM for my 12:15 flight. I’m one of those people that gets to the airport early. Probably cause I don’t fly that much and probably because I get paid to be there early, sorta. That is how I interpret the travel rules.

I knew there was bad weather west of us and the potential that one of our flights could get cancelled. The good news is that they didn’t. The bad news is that a little after getting to the airport, I got the notification that the flight from Des Moines to Denver had been delayed. Which worked in my favor because the Des Moines International Airport is currently under construction right. They have taken away a bunch of the parking in the parking ramp to make room for employees to park. This meant I had to drive by the parking ramp and the Blue Lot and the Green Lot and the Red Lot and the Yellow Lot and the Indigo Lot and the Cyan Lot and the Polka Dot Lot and ended up all the way in the Gray Lot. A lot so far away from the airport terminal I think it might be in Norwalk. Possibly Cumming.

I took a 15 minute shuttle ride to the airport. It took me a minute but I finally located the Southwest check-in counter in the room with all the weird car rental places and checked my luggage. Two things here. First, I wasn’t crazy about flying Southwest. I haven’t flown Southwest since the last time I went to Vegas, which was almost 20 years ago. I haven’t heard good things about Southwest. They say the people on there are animals. But not in the millions of good ways that animals (in this scenario humans are not animals) are easily superior to humans. But in the bad ways where humans compare other humans to animals to make them seem lesser than. Second, I did buy new luggage for this trip. I don’t travel much in the manner that requires luggage, but the two trips I took in 2022 showed me that the luggage I have been using isn’t practical. Merely sentimental. I bought the new luggage off of Amazon because I had a Amazon gift from my computer mine anniversary. I can say, that while the walls of the luggage seem a little thin, so far I am digging the new luggage. I bought red luggage so they would be easy to spot in the baggage claim line and because they were $30 cheaper than more mundane colors. I don’t know why.

After getting through the security line without incident, I found my gate, grabbed a seat and discovered I was the first person there from the Computer Mine. I wasn’t there long before I got another notification that the flight had been delayed again. Now it was going to be over an hour late taking off. I took solace in the fact I had been reassured by the Southwest ticket lady that there were over 30 people transferring from our flight to the connecting flight in Denver to Las Vegas and there was no way that they would leave that many people behind.

While I was comforted by that information, one of the things that concerned me is that Southwest has no assigned seats. You have an assigned position to get into the plane and then once in there, it is every person for themself. I was worried that I would get there late for the connecting flight and lose any chance at getting a good seat. I’d end up in a middle seat. Nobody wants that. Not me. Not the person in the window seat. Not the person in the aisle seat. However, they hadn’t started boarding when we got to the connecting flight and I was able to grab a sweet spot in the emergency exit row!

If you don’t know, that means extra legroom! It is like 1st Class for those of us in steerage! Bingpot!

The flight into Vegas was a little rough because it was so windy. I didn’t get a snack or beverage service. That is how I determine if a flight was rough. By the time we got to the hotel, I was famished. The only sustenance I had knocked down was a bag of snack mix and 6 ounces of 7-Up on the flight from Des Moines to Denver.

We took a shuttle form the airport to Planet Hollywood, our home away from home for the next 5 days. Here is my review of Planet Hollywood:

It is kinda dirty. It is a little rundown. The big selling point is that it has what I would call a glorified mall. There is virtually no Hollywood artifacts or paraphernalia there. But for what we were there for, it worked great. The conference facilities and staff were great! And it is near places that are cool like the Bellagio, Paris, Caesar’s Palace, and The Flamingo.

After getting to my room, which had a breathtaking view of a parking garage, and organizing some stuff and claiming the bed nearest the breathtaking view (my roomie Tony didn’t come in until the next day so I got choice of beds) I connected with Lowell and we went to supper.

We walked down to Caesar’s Palace to look for a buffet, but we actually ended up in the Caesar’s Palace food court where we ate at Bobby’s Burgers. A restaurant that is connected to Bobby Flay. Who is some kind of chef of note, but he isn’t a raging douchebag like Gordon Ramsay, so you might not have heard of him. I’ve only heard of him because Faust used to be big into him back in the day.

I ordered a Bacon Crunchburger (Bacon, American Cheese, Potato Chips, Bobby’s Sauce – yeah not crazy about that name either), French Fries, and a Soft Drink. The price tag came to a little over $30.

THIRTY BUCKS!

I consider the Computer Mine to be generous with their per diems. I know it is set by the government, but I usually come back with a little extra coin jingling and jangling around in my pockets. This is mostly cause I don’t drink alcohol. In fact I was actually mostly off pop before this trip, but I fell of that wagon pretty dang hard in Vegas. I don’t think it is inaccurate to say I went on a regular Pepsi Cola Bender. We are almost 2 weeks out and I’m still weening myself back off the hard stuff.

The per diem I got for this trip was $288. The fact that I had just spent $30 for a food court burger caused me to take a step back. I expected this to be one of the cheapest meals I shoved in my face on this trip to Sin City. I wasn’t sure $288 was going to make it.

Dang!

After Day 1, I had an estimated $258 remaining in the per diem fund.

Maybe eating is overrated…

After the meal we walked around something I would describe as an open air mall that was between The Linq and The Flamingo. This is where I took the majority of the pictures I took on Day 1.

Here is the first collection:


Las Vegas, Nevada
Caesar’s Palace Sportsbook

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
There are few musicians I like lesson than Jimmy Buffett, but the man can market.

Las Vegas, Nevada
In-N-Out Burger was on Lowell and I’s list. It was the only thing that we crossed off our lists.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
I wasn’t expecting there to be so many candy stores in Vegas.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
Seeing the actual Vegas sign was on my list. This is the closest I came.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
I do regret not going in here a little bit.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
Not the Bellagio fountains.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
This was so close to being my MUSIC photo for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

I have several more pictures to share from Day 1 that I’ll share at a future date. My best guess is March 17th, while I’m eating a Reuben from West Street Deli.

And nobody better give me any nonsense about letting the Reuben rest for a day and it somehow being better. Got it?

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is SUNRISE, SUNSET:


WEEK 391 - SUNRISE, SUNSE
SUNRISE, SUNSET

What is a SUNRISE, SUNSET picture? It is a simply a picture of a SUNRISE or of a SUNSET. I’ve heard some grumbling this is a hard theme. The weather is bad. I go to bed at 6 shortly after eating my early bird special at the nursing home. I don’t like going outside. Whatever. Of course THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is hard sometimes. That is what makes it great. If it was easy everybody would do it.

“Maybe you will just have to get creative.” He muttered while sipping on a cocktail made out of tequila, orange juice and grenadine. Unmixed. In a tall glass. Served on the rocks. Sometimes garnished with a cherry and orange slice.

If getting a little lit doesn’t inspire you, maybe these example submission from when SUNRISE, SUNSET was a theme in days past will:


WEEK 43 - SUNRISE/SUNSET - CARLA STENSLAND 1
Carla Stensland – Week 43

WEEK 43 - SUNRISE/SUNSET - KIM BARKER 2
Kim Barker – Week 43

WEEK 43 - SUNRISE/SUNSET - STEPHANIE KIM
Stephanie Kim – Week 43

WEEK 43 - SUNRISE/SUNSET - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt – Week 43

WEEK 43 - SUNRISE/SUNSET - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett – Week 43

Happy photo harvesting!

Viva Las Vegas: Cell Phone Pictures

I need to start the day by wishing Andy a happy birthday. Happy birthday Andy!


Day 129 - May 9, 2022

I hope your birthday is filled with all the joy you can handle!

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I spent almost all of last week in Las Vegas working at the Computer Mine Convention. I didn’t get to see anywhere near the amount of stuff I wanted to see because I spent most of my days staring at conference room walls. However, I did get a chance to see a few things and took a few pictures. Today I’m going to share some cruddy cell phone pictures from the trip.


Computer Mine Convention - 2023
While some people got “rock star” parking, I got stuck in the Gray Lot, which is more like “zydeco star” parking.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
And the flight got delayed.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
4 flights. Only got snacks on one of them.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
On flight #2 I got rock star leg room.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Southwest. Wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
New luggage made it to Vegas.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
The view from my room.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Meal #1. $30 for this.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Closest I got to the actual Vegas sign.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I’m sure I have an exhibit in there.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Fran said I absolutely had to eat here. It was also high on Lowell’s list.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Elvis and Marilyn made out of jelly beans.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
If he goes ring pop engagement ring and she says no, she is a terrible person.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
So many candy stores in Vegas.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
View from the room at night.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Speechless.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
A bar where a robot mixes your drink. Lowell said it was a Top 5 Drink he has had made by a robot.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
They are planting marigolds already!

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Planet Hollywood is kind of a dud, but it is near cool casinos like Paris.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I can almost see Emily and Mindy walking down the street.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
The real Arc de Triomphe was built by a megalomaniac, so it makes sense that they put a poster of one on their recreation.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
This sign is how I knew how to get my elevator.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
It was 130 degrees in this room.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Planet Hollywood

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I didn’t disappoint Fran, but I did make her jealous.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Michelle.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
The show is about to begin.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
A lot of eyes on me when this speaker asked the audience, “What is one thing that every man knows about every woman.”

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
View from my Friday dinner table.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Friday supper.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Friday dessert.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Fountain of the Gods.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Neptune’s Fountain.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Bellagio Fountain.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
The other elevator bank had Miranda Lambert on it. They won.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Nacho Daddy, for people who like puns and nachos. That includes me.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Neither Kim or Lowell stepped up to the challenge.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I sent a picture of these to my Pastor who is a Chiefs fan, he wished bad things to me. Very bad.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I didn’t get the Raiders Nachos. But these were delicious.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Scott recommended I check out the Bellagio Gardens.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Saturday night supper.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
I am sad to report I never ate here.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
Goodbye Las Vegas.

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
It was from here that I waved at Susanna.


She waved back!

Computer Mine Convention - 2023
And on the final flight I got rock star legroom again!

All in all it was a pretty good trip, even though I put in some massive hours. It was certainly better than my previous trip to Las Vegas for the Evil Clown Empire. But that is a story for a different day.

+++++++

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


WEEK 390 - STORE
STORE

STORE! What a great theme for Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE?

But what is a STORE image? It is simply an image of a STORE or taken inside of a STORE. There are all kinds of STORE(s) out there. From department to convenience to junk to antique to book to music to grocery to dollar to a little kids lemonade stand. Of course, there is more than one definition of the word STORE.

This is not the first time that STORE has been a theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Here are some examples of previous submissions to inspire you:


WEEK 141 - STORE - LINDA BENNETT
Week 141 – Linda Bennett

WEEK 141 - STORE - KIM BARKER
Week 141 – Kim Barker

WEEK 141 - STORE - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Week 141 – Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 18 - STORE - CARLA STENSLAND 2
Week 18 – Carla Stensland

WEEK 18 - STORE - SARAH KARBER
Week 18 – Sarah Karber

Happy photo harvesting!

Clayton County Aux. – Vol. 2

Time to share another collection of images from my road trip to harvest the town signs of Clayton County that I took back in July. These images were once again, all taken in Dubuque County. That area of the state, Clayton County, Allamakee County, and Dubuque County is the prettiest part of Iowa. Almost feels like a different state.


Dubuque County - Epworth
Epworth

Dubuque County - Epworth

Dubuque County - Epworth

Dubuque County - Epworth

Dubuque County - Epworth

Dubuque County - Bankston
Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Bankston

Dubuque County - Holy Cross
Holy Cross

Dubuque County - Holy Cross

Dubuque County - Holy Cross

Dubuque County - Luxemburg
Luxemburg

Dubuque County - Luxemburg

Dubuque County - Luxemburg

Dubuque County - Luxemburg

Dubuque County - Luxemburg

Still so many pictures from this trip to share. Eventually we might even make it to Clayton County!

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


WEEK 388 - FRAME
FRAME

FRAME! What a great theme for year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE! This is a theme that was suggested by Sarah Toot.

But what is a FRAME picture. It is simply an image where the main subject of your photo is FRAME(d) by something else. In the theme reveal, it is literally a FRAME, but in practice it would more likely be something else. Something else blocking in your main subject to draw attention to it. And your subject doesn’t have to be FRAME(d) on all 4 sides. 3 sides or 2 sides also works. Of course, there is more than one definition of FRAME.

This isn’t the first time that FRAME or FRAMED was a theme for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Here are some of the submission for that theme from the past:


WEEK 342 - FRAMED - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest – Week 342

WEEK 342 - FRAMED - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen – Week 342

WEEK 268 - FRAMED - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt – Week 268

WEEK 212 - FRAMED - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland – Week 212

WEEK 112 - FRAMED - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett – Week 112

Hopefully that provides some inspiration!

Happy photo harvesting!

WPC – WEEK 382 – TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES

It is time to begin the 10th year of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE! I’m pumped! Are you pumped? Of course you are pumped? The theme is clearly called TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES, but I had a few people enter under a completely different theme PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES. I decided to accept their submissions because I am super magnanimous!

But the real question is, was TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES a popular theme? You will have to keep scrolling to find out!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, January 2, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):

1-Mary Green – 1 week (2)
2-Jesse Howard – 1 week
3-Monica Jennings – 1 week
4-Sarah Karber – 1 week
5-Sara Lockner – 1 week
6-Sabas Hernandez – 3 weeks
7-Becky Parmelee – 3 weeks
8-Willy McAlpine – 7 weeks
9-Tamara Peterson – 9 weeks
10-Brandon Kahler – 20 weeks
11-Linda Bennett – 23 weeks (3)
12-Sarah Toot – 24 weeks
13-Angie DeWaard – 28 weeks (2)
14-Dawn Krause – 32 weeks
15-Kim Barker – 38 weeks
16-Joe Duff – 39 weeks
17-Logan Kahler – 41 weeks
18-Teresa Kahler – 50 weeks (2)
19-Carla Stensland – 50 weeks (2)
20-Michelle Haupt – 51 weeks
21-Micky Augustin – 52 weeks
22-Andy Sharp – 53 weeks
23-Bill Wentworth – 54 weeks
24-Cathie Morton – 58 weeks
25-Elizabeth Nordeen – 59 weeks
26-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 61 weeks
27-Kio Dettman – 63 weeks (3)
28-Christopher D. Bennett – 485 weeks

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:


WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth (Nebraska) – 55 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland (Iowa) – 51 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker (Iowa) – 39 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (Texas) – 40 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas) – 24 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot (Pennsylvania) – 25 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson (Iowa) – 10 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley (Iowa) – 62 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa) – 29 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - BRANDON KAHLER
Brandon Kahler (Iowa) – 21 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - MICKY AUGSTIN
Micky Augustin (Iowa) – 53 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa) – 60 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause (Iowa) – 33 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler (Iowa) – 51 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee (Arkansas) – 4 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman (Iowa) – 64 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen (Iowa) – 1 week

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Iowa) – 54 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - SABAS HERNANDEZ
Sabas Hernandez (Iowa) – 4 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Iowa) – 42 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Iowa)

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt (Iowa) – 52 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton (Iowa) – 59 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard (Iowa) – 2 weeks

WEEK 382 - TRAINS, PLANES, & AUTOMOBILES - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest (Iowa) – 1 week

25 participants! A solid but not spectacular start to the new year!

We had submissions from:
+ Iowa
+ Kansas
+ Arkansas
+ Texas
+ Pennsylvania
+ Nebraska

Pictures taken in 6 different states isn’t bad.

My submission for this week was taken about 15 miles from my front door.

Year 9 we finished with submissions taken in the following states:
+ California
+ Nevada
+ Arizona
+ Colorado
+ Texas
+ Kansas
+ Nebraska
+ South Dakota
+ Minnesota
+ Iowa
+ Missouri
+ Arkansas
+ Louisiana
+ Wisconsin
+ Illinois
+ Michigan
+ Indiana
+ Ohio
+ New York
+ Pennsylvania
+ New Jersey
+ Washington D.C.
+ North Carolina
+ Florida
+ Alaska

25 different states. I hope we can beat that this year. Although, I don’t know that I will contribute much. Right now for 2023 I have work trips planned for Las Vegas and Chicago. I’m going to a concert in Omaha. I’m going to visit the triplets in Little Manhattan. I’m sure I will have other trips, but that is what is on the calendar for now.

I rely on my big travelers like Cathie and Sarah and Kim to help fill out the map. No pressure.

We did have many submissions from foreign countries as well. Spain and Mexico and France and a few Caribbean islands come to mind. I plan on tracking that better this year as well.

The big milestone this week was Michelle hitting 52 weeks and joining the 1 Year Streak Club! A big accomplishment! She has said that after hitting one year she would throw in the towel. I guess we’ll wait and see what happens.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. The following streaks went kaput:
+ Mary Green – 1 week
+ Monica Jennings – 1 week
+ Sarah Karber – 1 week
+ Sara Lockner – 1 week
+ Willy McAlpine – 7 weeks

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 383 - REFLECTION
REFLECTION

REFLECTION! What a great theme to kick of Year 10 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what in tarnation is a REFLECTION picture. It is simply enough a picture where a major compositional element of the picture is a REFLECTION. Mirrors obviously make great REFLECTIONs. But there are other things that REFLECT(ION) as well. For example water. I nicely waxed floor. Eyes. The list just goes on and on. Also, don’t forget that there is more than one definition of REFLECTION.

While considering possible subjects for your REFLECTION picture reflect on the following quote and I’m sure you will create a magnificent REFLECTION image.

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is noblest. Second, by imitation, which is easiest, and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
-Confucius

I look forward to seeing your interpretation of the theme.

RULES

The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge. There is a limit of 3 submissions per participant. To be considered the photographer, you have to be the one that takes the picture. Don’t be stealing the work of other artists. You can submit pictures for other photographers that took pictures with your camera or phone, but give credit where credit is ude.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is it. Thems the rules!

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of REFLECTION in this place that holds up a mirror to me next Monday.