Category Archives: Happenings

Déjà Vu

    Last Friday evening I went to a high school football game, as I do most Fridays in the Autumn.  I had paid the $3.00 parking fee and as I was getting out of my car in the parking lot I glanced up at the sky and had the strongest Déjà Vu feeling – – –

   A hot, humid Friday evening in September two years ago at another nearby school parking lot looking up at the sky at a giant ominous black cloud directly over the stadium surrounded by brilliant sunshine.  I’m thinking: “Oh oh!  Perhaps it would be wise to take my umbrella with me.”  Inconvenient, yes – having my camera bag to drag along also – but I prefer to take my showers unclothed in my bathroom, not outdoors fully dressed.  🙂

   So, I paid my admission and found a perch at the highest row of the stadium.  It was a half hour before kickoff and Florida sports crowds being  notorious for late arrival, there were only twenty or so people in the stands.

    I had only been seated for a few minutes when I felt some raindrops on my head, shoulders and knees.  In instants it seemed, just as my umbrella was fully open, a few drops became a mighty deluge.  Everyone but me and one other wise man with an umbrella not far away rushed, thoroughly soaked, to the shelter under the stands. With no wind the rain was falling in torrents straight down, leaving we two sitting in our small cylinders beneath umbrellas, completely dry.

   The rain lasted just a few minutes.  Then sunshine returned, as did the people to the now very wet stands.  I, of course, nice and dry,was feeling quite superior – it certainly pays to come prepared!

    It took just a few minutes before the smug smile left my face.  I began to feel a little dampness below and in seconds my rear was soaked!  The stands are metal AND GROOVED!  It had taken only moments for the water in the groves to fill up the vacuum beneath me.  😦

   Thus, glancing at a large ominous black cloud over the stadium last Friday night, that eerie Déjà Vu hit me.  Naturally I took my umbrella with me, but this time determined to head for beneath the stands with the rest of the people should history repeat itself.

   However, despite the dark cloud overhead it remained dry prior to kickoff and right through the end of the first quarter – even though it was so humid that it felt like if one closed a fist and squeezed then warm water would seep between one’s fingers.

   But as the teams lined up for the first play of the second quarter a loud siren began – notice that there was major lightning in the vicinity – and the public address announcer ordered everybody to leave the metal stadium.  By law, there would be a minimum 30 minute delay until an all clear signal permitted renewal of the game.  I decided to leave.  I had no desire to wait around that long or longer – so I went to my car and headed home.

   On my way I decided to stop for groceries – bad idea – it was raining heavily as I left the supermarket, and I got soaked sprinting to my car.  It turned out that the game was not resumed that night.  It was completed on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Awesome Autos!

Last week our Camera Club took a field trip to the Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, located in Ft. Lauderdale (of course!).  😀   The theme of our February competition is Car Details, so the trip was a timely one.

The museum is a reproduction of a Packard showroom from the 1920’s with antique Packards going back over a hundred years, all in awesome condition, and all in full working order.  In its day the Packard was the Rolls Royce of American automobiles.

The 28,000 square foot building not only contains those fabulous vehicles but it also is stocked with thousands of pieces of memorabilia – old dashboard clocks, hood ornaments, carburetors, period side lamps, custom gear shift knobs, etc., etc. from all makes of cars.

I spent a lot of time taking close up photos of of all kinds of car details and will have a difficult time selecting the two that I will enter into competition.  But I couldn’t resist also taking shots of the autos themselves.  Here are a few – just a small sample – the word ‘awesome’ is hardly adequate to describe them.

Auto001Auto002Auto003Auto004Auto007Auto009Auto010Auto011

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Hands and CookooBird Bikers

Ye Gods – no post since September!  Well, as the old saying goes:  “Time flies when you’re having fun.”  In truth, it also flies when one is not having fun!  So I’ve discovered.

True, I have been busy with my Camera Club activities, my new social life, and entertaining visitors.  But, despite good intentions to get back to posting, it seemed that whenever I got some leisure time I would either be too lazy to post or use the time to catch up on my reading.

And I have just now discovered that WordPress changed the posting process – rather confusing, but I shall soldier on!

I intend to write in the future about some of the things that have happened since my last post but this post relates to the weird title above.

First – Hands

The theme for my Camera Club’s January competition was hands.  Actual judging will take place tomorrow, January 20.  I was not very enthused about this theme but I suppose it helps one to improve one’s skills trying different things.  I took many photos of hands – both mine and those of others – and finally settled on entering the following two in the competition.  Frankly, I’m not very enthused about them.

The first photo is of my own hand.  I placed a black foam board against the back of a dining room chair for the background and set my camera up on a tripod a foot in front of the chair.  Then, after I set the camera aperture, ISO and shutter speed to fit the lighting and depth of field I wanted, I set the timer to 10 seconds; leaned way over so that my hand would be approximately where I intended it to be when the photo was taken; pressed the shutter button half-way to set the focus on where my hand was; pressed the shutter button fully to start the 10 seconds; rushed behind the chair and and posed my hand holding two dice in front of the foam board – and waited for the shutter to snap the photo.

It took a few tries before I was satisfied with the following:

Baby Needa a New Pair of Shoes

The second photo I chose was of two elderly ladies’ hands.  I enhanced the photo in Photoshop by posterizing – a process that thickens edges and overall adds emphasis to almost every feature.

Hands13-p

Second, Cookoobird Bikers:

I couldn’t think of an appropriate word to describe a group of more than a hundred crazy bikers, who for the 2nd year in a row on Martin Luther King’s Birthday (National Holiday) staged a foolish and dangerous demonstration to encourage people to put down their guns and get on their bikes.  Nice thought, I suppose; it certainly is a good thing to discourage violence – – but I’ll let this video I made from part of a local newscast show what craziness was going on in South Florida yesterday.

A wee bit of the top of the TV screen unfortunately doesn’t show in the video because I had my camcorder on the kitchen table in my breakfast nook aimed at my little kitchen TV and didn’t realize it wasn’t quite high enough to capture the entire screen.

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A Few Videos

I took my annual trip to Myrtle Beach in May, arriving on Saturday, May 9th just as Tropical Storm Ana was passing by out to sea heading for a landfall a little further north near Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was one nasty day – very windy, and rainy, very chilly for May.  Needless to say, we spent the first day inside.  I took this video from our balcony with my smart phone.

The weather quickly warmed up midday on Sunday and the rest of the week it was delightful.  Every morning we took long walks on the beach – two miles north to a fishing pier and back every other day and on alternate days to and beyond another fishing pier to the south about 1.2 miles away.  We were fortunate that the tide was out each morning.  At high tide the very wide beach completely disappeared. Strolling on the beach was impossible as is demonstrated in this video.

On Monday the 11th of May I drove to St. Petersburg with my nephew to attend the opening baseball game of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Park.  While we and over 30,000 others were patiently awaiting the gates to open the team mascot, cheerleaders and break dancers performed accompanied by music played so loud that I was seriously concerned about damage to my hearing.  The break dancers were very entertaining.  I wanted to capture them on video but there were too many people in front of me.  Later when we got inside, though, I was able to make this short video of  some of them performing for people entering the stadium.

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Gadzooks!

Egads!  I have not posted to this Blog since February 25th – definitely a record length hiatus for me!

The reason? Well, I was terribly busy for quite a while, entertaining visitors and travelling.  Since then, I have been decompressing; enjoying the return to my dull sedentary lifestyle.

I had three sets of relatives stay over, one couple for ten days – very enjoyable, but also very stressful.  There were also trips of varying lenghts to Orlando, Brooksville, Myrtle Beach, Naples (Florida, not Italy), Jupiter (Florida, not the planet!) and St. Petersburg ; plus several photo-shooting outings nearby with the Camera Club.

Naturally, I spent money like a “drunken sailor” – eating much too much at too many expensive restaurants, and piling up many miles on my odometer – so much so that I decided it was time to get a new car, which I did a few weeks ago.  I will likely post some photos of my new four-wheel baby soon!

Thankfully, this Summer should be a quiet period, at least it has started out that way.  There should be no more visitors until the last week of September when I’ll have a niece and her husband as well as a nephew come for a week.  I’ll be taking them to a Miami Marlins game in their new stadium and an NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.  They are crazy Bills fans, planning on wearing their Bills jerseys to the game.  I will have to buy and wear a Dolphin jersey, of course.  The rivalry between the two teams is intense – but the rivalry between the fans is even greater.  I must make it quite clear where my loyalties lie!   🙂

I have quite a few photos to post in the coming days, as well as a few videos.  This post was just to announce that I am still “kicking” and have not abandoned the Blog.

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In Which I Rail on my $#^*# Unipod – And Videos, Too

I was so excited and happy when I bought my unipod so I could make videos safely with my camcorder attached to my windshield.  Previously, I had been steering with one hand and holding the camcorder in the other – neither a wise nor a safe thing to do, especially while driving at 80 mph (approx. 130 kph).  I made this post including a photo of it when I bought it.

I have to admit that it had performed quite well for a long time – but during the past half-year or so it has been misbehaving – sorely testing my normally mild nature!  It seems that it no longer wants to stay in a fixed position aimed forward.  Instead it insists on gradually leaning forward and down, resulting in a gradual but increasing view of my car’s hood (bonnet).  Grrrr….  No matter how tightly I adjust it the adjustment doesn’t last.  Maybe the set screw has worn down.  And most of the time I am unaware of how badly it has drooped until it becomes obvious that it is aiming down. So, my videos have really suffered.

I guess it is time to consider replacement.

These two videos show how bad the problem has become.  In the first, taken shortly after I had arrived on the island of Key West, heading towards my motel, I didn’t notice that the camcorder had leaned so far until I was stopped for a red light just before making a turn towards the motel.  As much as 15% of the screen view was taken up by the car’s hood.

Here is a pretty poor video taken on Key West’s famous old town main shopping street – Duval Street.  The unipod was definitely misbehaving throughout. Two things of interest in the video are: First – the strange license number of the Chevy truck from Canada that I followed early on.  I can’t imagine why anyone would pay extra to have it. – and Second – near the end of the video I was following three bicyclists, two of which in blue polo shirts being police.  In front of them was another truck.  We stopped for a red light and the police rode around the front of the truck, making a right turn.  Immediately, upon them passing, the truck proceeded to cross the intersection while the light was still red.

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We’re Number Three!

Wow!  The man doesn’t make a post in two months – then makes posts three consecutive days!  Wat up wid dat?

Take a look at the following parts of the front pages of yesterday’s Fort Lauderdale and Miami papers:

Sun-Sentinel-Population

Herald-Population

Yay!  We’re number three!

When I was just one year old, according to the 1940 Census, my home state – New York – was the most populous state in the Union.  With a population of  13,479,142 it was the only one of the 48 states with over ten million people.  Pennsylvania, with 9,900,180 was the 2nd most populous, and Illinois with 7,897,241 was 3rd.  The major population and political power of the country was concentrated in the  Northeastern and Upper Midwestern States.  In 1940 Florida’s population was 1,897,414, ranking 27th.

Since then, all of the states have gained population, the the major gains have been experienced in the South, mainly in Florida, the Southwest, primarily Texas and in California.

According to the just released Census estimates, the most populous states are now:

California…………………………..38,802,500

Texas…………………………………26,956,958

Florida………YAY!……………….19,893,297

New York…BOO HOO!………..19,746,237

Illinois……………………………….12,880,580

I feel sort of sad that my native state, the Empire State, has fallen so far behind in people and power.  There was once a time that the Governor of New York, whether Democrat or Republican, was automatically a leading contender for his party’s nomination for the Presidency.  There was once a time that New York’s electoral votes usually determined the result of presidential elections.  New York City in 1940 was the largest city in the World.  Now it is only the 19th largest.  Too Bad!  So Sad!  Boo Hoo!

However, if New York had to be dropped to 4th place I’m glad it was by my adopted state of Florida.  However, even though Florida gains an average of 803 more people each day it can never hope to catch either Texas or California.

 

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