I’m going to Disney World! Almost

Its that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the grass is green, but dying due to lack of water and proper care, the kids are getting paroled from school for the summer. Its time for summer vacations.

Why summer vacation? Why not spring vacation? Fall vacation? I guess it’s because the kids escape from school in the summer. Its hard to take them out of school in October. Then you have to forge that Doctor’s excuse…

But once again, I’m going to Disney World. Im not saying when, some of you people might be nefarious individuals and wish to come do harm against my property. I’ll just say this – it’s sometime between now, and September. You guess.

I love Disney World. I love the preparations. There’s the Hotel Selection, the dates, which parks to visit which days, what to take, what to leave behind, which restaurants to eat at, what to eat at which restaurants to eat at, the drive, how much cash to take, what are we going to do, what rides to ride, who do we want to see.

For over-planners and list makers like myself, its the equivalent of a bulimic visiting a buffet. There’s always going to be room for more. Once I pull out the driveway, it all flows easily. The work has been done.

I just joined the DISboards…. a forum for people into Disney World stuff. 7 posts and I’ve pissed someone off. I made the mistake of telling a lady who was looking for camera advice, to check out another photography forum. I upset some pro on there, who said “who are you to tell her to go elsewhere? you dont know us! A lot of us are pros and can give good advice” I hate pro photographers.  A snooty bunch if ever there was one. I even warned her, watch out on the other forum – they can be kind of snooty. I guess snootiness isn’t limited to one forum.

Any way -here are four of my own favorite pictures (not including

family of course) from my last trip. I’ll put them up here so I can share on the Disboards…

Save the Murlocs!…. shirt.

So, I have this shirt I bought from Hot Topic (yes, I went in there and I’m over 13. I’m sorry). Anyway, it was the only place to get this exclusive World of Warcraft shirt. It features the spoof for Save The Murlocs! (www.savethemurlocs.org), which every Warcraft player knows is a farce, because they kill you on site and are generally unpleasant. However, the shirt is funny. It features a stylized Merloc and the logo, seen below:

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The only problem is, the damn shirt is too small. It started out the right size, if a little short. After washing it two or three times, it shrunk to the point I can’t wear it anymore. So, I decided to make a copy of it. I photographed the shirt, and plopped the picture into photoshop.

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Thanks to the “Remove background” tool, it was short work to get rid of the black shirt, and print out the new merloc on a transfer. I wasn’t really happy with the colors, they were a lot more muted and earthy coming out of the printer onto the transfer. It will work for my upcoming trip, but I’ll probably only be able to wear and wash it a few times before it peels r bleeds, etc. I needed some more shirts for Disney World.

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So, it works. Not the greatest, but it worked. Next time I guess I’ll stick to witty text or black and white pictures.

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Lightning and Thunder and Rain, Oh My!

I was slightly disappointed in our thunderstorms on Friday. Sure, there was a lot of rain. I do mean a lot, like pair ’em up, Noah rain. And there was a little wind, although not so much it was raining sideways. Of course there was the requisite thunder and lightning, but all in all I was still upset.
As someone who likes to go outside and risk life and limb (okay maybe not limb, just life?) taking storm photos, this storm was about as photogenic as that fat guy they had to cut out of his house when he topped 850pounds. Imagine that guy in a speedo. That’s how unphotogenic this storm was. The sky was completely covered in a solid layer of uniform grayness, showing absolutely no storm structure at all. It was also full of mist, for it had been raining on and off all day.
Sure, there were a few impressive lightning strikes but nothing I could capture. They were coming from any direction, at spaced-out intervals not suitable to really be able to predict. During a good storm I can point the camera in one direction and generally be able to figure out, for example, the area I’m looking at might produce a strike every 20 seconds. Clouds almost seem to talk to each other sometimes. One cell will produce lightning, then a few seconds later the other will. Its very impressive when you can get out from under it and see what’s going on.
But, the storms Friday sucked for this. I wound up with a half dozen images showing semi-lit pines, but that was all.
At least we didn’t lose power.

Until 12:42 in the morning.

The storms came and went and came and went, and we were okay until then, Zap! No lights.
At 6:30 the next morning we were all up, and I fired up the generator. I love that thing. With no TV to speak of, because the cable was out, all we had was the fridge and the last vestiges of hot water in the tank. We went to Myrtle Beach for the day. That’s another story.

At least when we got home, it was determined that the power came back on around two hours after we left. The Cable is still out, and knowing the cable company is not nearly as efficient as the power people, I expect to have cable back sometime in the next two weeks, between 1 and 4 pm.

IPhone fun with infrared.

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I finally got it working. I have been playing around with an iPhone app called dslr.bot. It’s purpose is to remote control my canon camera, but it needs an infrared source, like on the front of any modern remote. The above device consists of two IR emitters, faced back to back. Without going into too much electronics, the iPhone headphone jack cannot send out the IR signals with just one, each diode puts out half the signal. I screwed it up the first time, and finally got around to rebuilding it. So, now it works. This little thing goes in the camera bag, replacing a huge button thing with ten feet of wire attached. Since I have my iPhone at all times any way, why not. I’m thinking lightning photography too. I could sit in the relative safety of the car, and remote the camera. But then again, why go?
It is ugly… I need to try and make one more, and pot it inside something. A little chapstick cap full of epoxy might hold it all together. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. My nearsightedness used to be bad enough I could build tiny things. Any more I find myself trying to take off my glasses so I can see close, only to find they are already off.
If someone knows of a good tv remote app, it would be fun to be able to change the channel on TVs in restaurants. They always have sports of the news channels with stock crap at the bottom. Am I the only nerd that would rather see the history channel?

Carowinds Impressions

First of all – Carowinds is a theme park. During “Education Days” the Theme is:  Cut in line and act childish, especially if you are a member of a choral group. I’m not sure why the physics classes and the bands seemed to behave, but the choral groups were bad. EVERY line I was in had someone jumping lines, cutting in front of us, or “placeholding” where two friends stand in line until everyone else arrives, then cuts to the front. Even in the chick-fil-a line. What gives? Enough about Eygpt. Schools – its time to teach kids not to break in front of each other. I’m not talking little kids either, they seem to know it, it’s the Middle and High school kids that are self-centered a-holes.

End rant. After all – I enjoyed the rides. Kaylee did too. Upon entering the park, she pointed out the biggest roller coaster in the place and said “I want to ride THAT!”. The Intimidator, named after Dale Earnhardt (A man who, incidentally, died by smashing himself into a wall – not necessarily the best name for a roller coaster. You wouldn’t name an airplane the “John Denver Express” would you?) So, we got in line.  Kaylee informs me as we get on that “Mom said I can’t ride this”. Oh. Too late. It was scary as hell going up, but once at the bottom of the first hill, it wasn’t too bad. We rode it four times.

Oh – and Carowinds gets very mad when you take a picture of the photo that they took of you on the ride and want to sell you for ten bucks. Disney doesn’t care. Go Disney! We wound up riding all the big coasters: Afterburn (which used to be called Top Gun), Thunder road, the Carolina Cyclone. We stood in line for Nighthawk (the Borg), but it was too long, and we left. All in all we had a good day. Towards time to go, Kaylee decided that it would be okay to miss her dance recital, everyone would just think she was sick. I told her she committed to dance, and we were leaving early to get there, end of story.

I think she was glad to go, she seemed happy enough dancing.

A most horrid crime of thievery…

I’m running a wildlife welfare program, unintentionally. I don’t mind feeding the birds, after all, their seed is relatively cheap. They also throw the seeds they don’t like into the yard, and grass grows. At least, green vegetation that to the neighbors might resemble grass, is growing. That’s close enough for me.

But peppers are expensive. I planted a great number of Thai pepper plants and Jalapenos, because they taste great when cut and used fresh. The Thai peppers go into a concoction I call “Angie’s Glop”, which tastes like an ass-kicking teriyaki glaze, and is great of grilled animal flesh of varying sorts. The Jalapenos, we use on everything from tacos to hamburgers, not to mention in salsa.

Evidently the pepper leaves taste good. Something, over the course of two days, reduced my nice-looking Thai peppers to twigs. I put enough Sevin dust on the plants that my garden looked like it suffered a very late-season snow.

Where have all the leaves gone?

The next day (after a rain), my jalapenos had been attacked, too. Having thought maybe it was insects like tomato horned worms, I decided to spray the entire garden with enough permethrin to kill any living animal in a 25 yard radius. No good. More twigs the next morning. I could only hope that whatever is eating my leaves is off somewhere dying a long, slow, agonizing death, but evidently not, because my plants continue to disappear.

I purchased some Critter-Ridder (made by the wimps at the Hav-a-Heart pest control company) which is essentially pepper dust and oils. I’ve never sprayed a rabbit with pepper spray, but this is supposed to produce the same effect. It’s supposed to discourage them from eating in your garden. I have my doubts, because if they are eating my pepper plants, something tells me the pepper dust might not be that much of a discouragement. I’m looking for something that affects the little bastards more like a shotgun blast to the stomach, but I can’t find “Critter Killer” at Lowe’s.

I thought about unwinding the high voltage wire from a bug zapper and using that as a garden fence, but the risk of catching the yard on fire seems a high price to pay.

It would be fun to watch, though. Next year, I guess I’ll just build a fence.