Monthly Archives: April 2015

Luncheon with the Chamber

copyright 2015 db walton

Newly Mowed Lawn

Luncheon with the Chamber

I attended a luncheon with the chamber today.  The Canal Connection Chamber of Commerce is doing a bi-monthly luncheon and this time we had it at Yellow Mills.

There were seven women in attendance and I was the only man.  It seems more and more that businesses are being run by women.  I am reminded of a documentary I watched on micro loans and how if they give the loan to a woman, the money gets spent wisely on the business.  If they give it to a man, it gets squandered.  There might be a correlation here.  In fact, PPA reports that more women attended Imaging USA this year.

Guys, quit goofing around!

I came home from the luncheon and decided to mow the lawn.  I figure, I can handle it.  It’s a ride-on mower.  That shouldn’t inflame my leg.

I go to start the mower, which, by the way, started just fine a month ago when I tested it.  It wouldn’t start.  The battery was dead.

Driving Elizabethe’s car around the block and parking behind the mower shed, I jumped the mower.  I got it started and let it run while I drove her car back around the block and parked it in the garage.

Before I pulled out of the shed, I thought I should turn it off and re-start it.

Dead.  The battery is very dead.

I pulled the batter and just before leaving to buy a new one, the UPS truck pulled up.  Yes, it was my new camera.

Exercising discipline I put the camera away and drove to NAPA Auto Parts where I purchased a new battery.  I came home and installed it and the tractor started right up.

Uhg.  Now to mow the lawn.

It took 4 hours and I was exhausted.  You’d think it wouldn’t be so exhausting, but “taking it easy” for six months really wears down your stamina.

At least the lawn looks nice.


Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

That was the best pizza crust I’ve ever baked.  I decided there was something I could do to make eating the crust more appetizing.  So I did it.  I brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled garlic salt all around the edges.  Wow, was that good.

I cheated a little.  I used a pre-made shell from Wegman’s.  Topped it with a pint of home made sauce, some grated mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, mushrooms, salami, pepperoni and Italian sausage and then I baked it off at 565F.

It was yummy.  (Darn.  I should have taken a picture.)

I got the idea as I was grocery shopping at Wegman’s.  I thought… I should make a pizza for dinner tonight.  I totaled up the ingredients and it cost me about $12 to make it.  It was definitely a $25 pizza, and probably more.  I was generous with the toppings.

At the end of the day, I was getting ready to go to a networking social when our home teachers called and asked if they could come over.  I’ll admit… that sounded more appealing.  Not that I don’t enjoy business networking, I just don’t like the aspect of being around people while they are drinking.  (Hmmm… I wonder if drinkers realize who uncomfortable alcohol consumption makes some people feel?)

We had a wonderful visit with them.  They were there right after my accident and shared some things I had not heard before.  It all makes me even more thankful I’m alive.

Silly People

Silly People

Silly people.  I need to learn how to laugh when silly people say stupid things.  No, they aren’t stupid to them, but to people who know the truth they are.

Let’s take, for example ,a meme floating around on Facebook.  It displays the following…


As a mathematician, I look at that and say, “No, none of that is right.  It is a misuse of the equal sign.”

And, perhaps this illustrates the problems our schools are having.  If grown ups are circulating stuff like this, no wonder children are confused.

In mathematics an equal sign means that both sides are the SAME when reduced to their simplest state.  That’s not the case here.  There are no qualifiers on the 2 or the 6 to imply equality.

The more correct display would have been f(2)=6.  Which means there is a function, when 2 is applied to it where the answer is 6.    So, rather than 9=? it should have asked, “f(9)=?”

The function itself should have been written in the form of f(x)=y.  And, given the various x and 7 values, what is that function.

The function is this…


Plugging in 9 for x, you get f(9)=9*(9+1)=9*10=90

(A little known fact about me… I college I got straight A’s in math classes and took nearly every class offered in the subject.  I would have majored in it, and was only about 8 units away when I graduated of getting a 2nd bachelor’s in mathematics.  I did earn an associates in math.  I even too Calculus for Biology Majors as an elective I was so in to it.  But, in the end I did not see where a B.S. in Mathematics would have helped me get a job.)

More Silly People

There are more silly people out there.  The above I just chalk up to their not being as math savvy as me.  The ones that really gripe me are the ones who don’t know, but think that they know, and then abuse others in the process.  That’s just wrong.

I know I’ve been guilty of that at times and have had to repent, but I think there are some who make that their avocation in life.  We used to call them “trolls” in the early days of chat rooms on the Internet.  They were the ones that would start their post like…

“Brent, you’re wrong and I’m going to prove how stupid you are…”

Eventually, they would get banned from the chat room.  Before their banning, people would stop reading their posts.  Some would pick fights with them, while most would ignore them.  They would move on to somewhere else, changing their screen name to hide their shame.

Life Experience

Life experience teaches us.  Nobody can argue against life experience, yet silly people try.

There are societies where the older you get, the more respect you get because society recognizes your life experiences.  During my life, as a whole, our society in the U.S.A. has not been that type of society.  It has only got worse with each rising generation.

Now, that last comment wasn’t meant to include everyone.  There are many good people who are taught to respect their elders.  However, I believe those who are not taught this outweigh those who are.

I also believe those who survive young adulthood become less and less silly as they grow older.  Life experiences teach them.

No, I’m not talking about mathematics here.  I’m talking about the unseen sciences and the keys held by our creator.  The formulas were given in the Beatitudes.  I think the Beatitudes contain the formulas to help us deal with silly people, as well as avoiding becoming one of them.

So, as this day closes, my goal is to try to be more like Jesus and work on applying those 8 simple equations given in the Beatitudes.

New Camera

New Camera

My company sets aside a certain amount of money from each job for new equipment.  Equipment breaks and wears out and needs replacing.  Today I bit the bullet and placed the order.

I’ll be blogging about it when it arrives.  This one has “weather sealing” which means if I get stuck in the rain I won’t have to worry as much.  However, it is NOT an underwater camera.

We’ve been having a run-in with the utility company in regards to our rental.  We go through the same thing every year or two.  They claim they can’t read the meter.  We’ve given them a key, we’ve told them they have two businesses that are open during the day who will allow them access, and they have made no attempt to contact us.

I have a problem with this excuse because in modern times we have call logs available to us.  I can look at my phone’s list of “missed calls”.  I can see if they attempted to contact us.  So, when the rep on the phone says, “We tried to call you,” my immediate thought is, “Baloney!”

The bottom line is this…

The meter reader got lazy and marked it as not-accessible.

Whether they got to the meter or not is no excuse for why our tenant isn’t getting a bill.  Here at the house, we get a bill when they don’t read it and it has a big “E” on it for “Estimate”.  When they read the meter, it has an “A” for “Actual”.  So, the problem isn’t being able to read the meter or not, the problem is the tenant isn’t getting the bill… we are getting the bill.

It is a huge customer service failure too when a company representative makes excuses.  I always taught my reps to say, “I’m sorry for the frustrations, but I will make sure this gets resolved to your satisfaction.”

Nobody wants to hear, “Well, it’s your fault.  We couldn’t access the basement,” when the question is, “Why aren’t we getting a bill?”

Lame excuses don’t make for happy customers.

Area Conference

Area Conference

We had an area conference at church today.  I’m not sure where it was broadcast from, but we received it at our chapel.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) is very consistent in its instruction and teachings.  As a result, conferences like this are, to the best of my knowledge, unique to our faith.

Elder Hales and Elder Neil L. Andersen were speakers as was Sister Linda Reeves and Elder Kacher.  Before they started the broadcast, our stake president, Jeffery Clark, talked to us.  He joked about how this technology wouldn’t have been possible had it been left to him.  As he closed the conference, he joked that our stake conference would be done King Benjamin style, out by the pavilion with a large tower.  He’s got such a great sense of humor.

Elizabethe convinced me to make hamburger stroganoff for dinner.  It was a hit.  Our new sister missionary raved about it.  I actually like stroganoff, but I also like experimenting in the kitchen, and there wasn’t much experimenting with something I’ve been cooking since I was about 12.

I noticed the screen in the chapel covers about 60% of the pipes.  This really baffled the sound of the organ.  It got me thinking about how that could be resolved.  Perhaps a screen that was of acoustically clear material (like what they use on speaker grills) would solve the problem.  My first thoughts were, “The organ is on the blink again.”  Then, I thought, “I’m losing my hearing big time.”  Finally, I looked up and saw that huge screen covering the pipes.


Lavender Paint

Lavender Paint

I opened what I thought was a can of dark purple paint, about 1/2 full, and added some pink paint, only to discover the purple pigment had floated to the top.  It was actually a light lavender paint and adding the pink didn’t have much impact.

Hmmm… I stood there thinking.  What a waste.

Ah, I got it!

I pulled out my acrylic paints and put some red, blue and crimson in it, got the drill mixer and ta-da!  A darker lavender paint.

copyright 2015 db walton

Studio Outdoor Door Wall (photography by db walton llc)

This is what the door looks like after painting.  The doors on the sides are yet to be painted.  The colors will be bright, a little bolder than a pastel, colors.  I still have a couple of doors that need to be mounted to the wall.

copyright 2015 db walton

Chipped Paint Removed from Door

Here’s the paint that came off that center door…

Such a mess.  The paint literally fell off when I looked cross-eyed at the door.  Okay, I’m just joking, but it came off pretty easily.

Since I had paint out, I figured I could handle working until noon today.  (Slowly working my way up.)  I took out some paint and started touching up the studio.

copyright 2015 db walton

Studio Painting Started

The green on the window sashes still needs to be painted, and the ribs on the green house windows need to be painted too.

I took a walk around the yard and the trees have buds, but no leaves yet.

copyright 2015 db walton

The Beckwith Mansion Spring 2015

The tulips and daffodils are in full bloom, and we’re starting to get grape hyacinths blooming as well as a few other flowers.

copyright 2015 db walton

Daffodils Blooming

copyright 2015 db walton

Tulips at the Beckwith Mansion

The elders came over and helped move my exercise bicycle in to the bedroom.  This way, I’ll remember to ride it.

Age of Adaline

Age of Adaline

Today Elizabethe and I saw the Age of Adaline.  It is a wonderful movie.  I kept thinking how they would resolve it, and it resolves nicely.  I highly recommend it.

We got to the movie theatre and there was another couple arriving at the same time.  Courtesies were exchanged as we entered.  Nothing really out of the ordinary.

After the movie, we just went home and I checked e-mail and updated my blog, etc.  We didn’t have a lot of time because I agreed to substitute for a friend at the temple.

I’m there at the temple and I see this man and I’m thinking… “Where do I know him from?”

Then, it hit me!  He was the guy at the movie theatre.

I said to him, “Did we run in to each other earlier today?  Did you and you wife go to the movies?”

He said he did, and reminded him that we entered the theatre at the same time.  He remembered and we had a nice laugh about the likelihood of running in to each other twice like that.

The funny part is he is from Auburn, California.  As we talked, I told him I lived in Fair Oaks, and then in the Foothill area.  He suggested I might know his wife’s brother, which it turns out I did.

I wish we would have had more time to talk, but we were at the temple and a session was about to start.

No Show

No Show

A no show appointment is very irritating especially when you offer to provide them with something extra.  Actually, it’s pretty rude.

There’s a reason doctors charge when you miss their appointments.  I guess I have to go back to my old routing of taking a payment even if it is a pro bono session.  But, even then, if they flake and I get to keep the money, I’m still out money.

In today’s credit card economy, I think I’ll take their credit card information, tell them if they don’t show, they will be billed X dollars.  If they do show, the charge will be reversed from their card.  And, if they do not show, and do a charge-back, I’m authorized to add another $50 to the charge.

It is sad that I have to be such a hard-nose on something like this.  If you’re reading this, for heaven’s sake, if you cannot make an appointment, call days ahead of time to reschedule.  Or, if you’re having second thoughts about the appointment, be honest and simply cancel.

Realistically speaking, here’s what happens when you flake on an appointment…

  • The business would have scheduled someone else in your stead during that time.  Thus, lost revenue.
  • The business still must go on, so the hour, two hours, three hours, etc., that they would have been working with you is now down-time.  The electric bill still adds up. They don’t get a rebate on their insurance because they have a 2-3 hour block going unused, and expenses keep rolling in.
  • Preparations for your appointment are wasted.  (Think of it as ordering a pizza, and then right before the delivery guy gets to the door, you call and cancel.  Yes, that pizza is already made.  You just cost the pizza company the cost of a pizza.)

Our society has become so far removed from people interactions that things like this are more common than they used to be.  When you’re trying to be a nice guy and someone does this to you it hurts.  I’ll be honest, it sends a message to the business owner, and the message is this… “My time is more important than yours.  I don’t care if you were doing me a favor or went the extra mile, I decided to do something else.  Never mind any apology or efforts from me to offer some sort of remuneration.”  It’s too easy to send a text message to avoid any conflict.

I doubt they will ask to reschedule, but if they do, the answer will be, “Sure.  Do you want to put your session on a Visa, MasterCard or America Express?  Your payment is non-refundable.”

And, when they say, “Are you still going to give me _______?”

The answer will be, “That was a one-time offer, and sorry… it was only good on the day we had you scheduled last time.”

I don’t like wasting time, so I did do some writing and experimentation to demonstrate some lighting techniques.  You can see them here…

What Type of Lights


Happy Birthday to my daughter Natalie.  I hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Preparations for the Cold

Preparations for the Cold

Wait.  It is late April.  Why are we making preparations for the cold?  Because they say it is going to snow tonight.

Elizabethe spent a good portion of the day making coverings for her seedlings in the garden.  The sister missionaries came over and helped scraped some paint inside and then took a tour of the garden and back yard.

copyright 2015 db walton

Sisters Jones and Petersen

We want the place to look nice as tourist begin to arrive.  Here at the Beckwith Mansion we get a lot of guest, especially during Hill Cumorah Pageant.  (Hill Cumorah Pageant brings tens of thousands of people each day to Palmyra, New York.  It is held mid-July.  Those wanting to visit during pageant should make their room reservations NOW.  We happen to have a couple of openings due to some schedule changes, so call us before the word makes its way around!)

It’s been too cold to do any painting.  I’m anxious to get some of the weather beaten paint touched up.  Also, I’m going to repaint my door wall.  One of the doors is almost down to the bare wood after this winter.  And, I have another door that needs to be mounted to the wall.

The Beckwith Mansion and Estate is a Tourist Home.  (A Tourist Home is like a Bed and Breakfast, only we do not serve breakfast.  We offer a clean room and linens when you check in and access to the kitchen and laundry facilities.  We cannot, offer any hospitality services by law.  This, however, allows us to keep rates lower than motels, hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns.


Lightroom 6 is Announced

Lightroom 6 is Announced

Lightroom 6 is announced today.  While my non-photographer friends would say, “So what?”  For photographers this is a big deal.  But, not so big to me.

I see Adobe’s move to release a major release as a big slap in the face to those who want quality.  Lightroom 4 and 5 were both released with some serious bugs.  In fact, the last release of Lightroom 5, version 5.7 has major performance issues that Adobe hasn’t fixed yet.  Then, they announce Lightroom 6 has improved performance!  That would be like buying a car with a defective accelerator and being told, “We’re not going to recall your car.  Instead, you have to buy this year’s model.”

Of course, a couple of years ago they threw us under the bus when they came out with the subscription based Photoshop.  I’m sorry, I’m not interested in subscribing to a software package.  You can visit my photography blog for more on that subject.

So, I went to Adobe’s web site and discovered they’ve made major changes to it.  It’s like it is all about the Creative Cloud.

Wow.  They really don’t want my business, do they?

I started poking around for non Creative Cloud products.  No such luck.  Their web site has change to cater to the live-for-today market with little forethought for the future.

Now I’m beginning to see why AT&T dropped Adobe and went to Corel products.


At the temple tonight I got a lot of work done for some of my family names in the 1800s and before.  One person was born in 1706.  That was a good feeling to have completed his work.