You Have Reached…

Yeah, this is my blog answering machine.  I’m actually going to be without technology for the next two weeks.  Well, unless I find an Internet Café or something during my travels.

In the mean time, feel free to leave a comment.  They won’t appear, but I will be able to read them when I return.



No Maps?

For the first time in my life I was told the local AAA office doesn’t have a particular map. Usually, they say something to the effect that they don’t have a map specifically for an area, but then give me a map that covers the area I want.

AAA is a great place for travel bags and stuff like that.  I noticed they carry a lot of travel related goodies.  (It is where I got my laptop backpack/roller-bag.)

I had so many errands today.  I had to drop some photos off at the mission office and saw some of the sisters, as well as President and Sister Francis and the office staff.

I also ran in to Sister Rippstein.  She served last summer in Palmyra, and was there waiting for her parents to come pick her up.  She has completed her mission and is heading home.  (Houston, Texas, area if memory serves me right.)

copyright 2014 db walton
Sister Rippstein

The Great Melt


A week ago we had sub-zero temperatures. Everything was frozen. It was very, very cold.

This week, we have temperatures in the mid to high 60s.  Everything is melting.  Thawing.  Dripping.  There are puddles everywhere.

Someone complained on Facebook about it being spring-like weather.  Oh, not to worry, it is supposed to dip down in to the teens by this weekend.

It was a slow night at the temple tonight.  Either way, it is always a nice place to be.

By the way, if you are planning a visit to Palmyra, plan your temple visit too.  We truly are a “tourist” temple.  When you think about it, most of our local patrons come from just a few stakes.  If you live out west, many of your temples are fed by dozens of stakes.  Thus, we love to keep busy when tourist come to visit.

When you plan your visit, plan on bringing your own ceremonial clothing.  We do not rent clothing here.  Call ahead and schedule an appointment.  Although drop-ins are usually accommodated (because we have room), there are times when we are packed to capacity.  Making an appointment guarantees you’ll have a seat (as long as you are at least 15 minutes early for the session.)

Palmyra Temple at Christmas (painting by db walton)
Palmyra Temple at Christmas (painting by db walton)

Also, the Beckwith Mansion (http://www.beckwithmansion.com) is only 2 miles from the temple.  It’s a great place to stay.  When you call us to make reservations (315-359-5280) make sure you tell Elizabethe when you plan to attend the temple.

Bag It

I’ve been searching for a good travel bag for my Fujifilm X-E1 that has enough room that I could carry another small camera.  I finally found one.  The Lowepro Passport Sling II.  (Click on the banner below and you can see it or order it.)

Lowepro Passport Sling II Bag (Black/Red)

I like it because it can sling over my shoulder.  This way, I don’t have to worry about it sliding off.  It also has a padded compartment to protect my camera, and a few outside pockets for things like a water bottle, memory cards, etc.

I looked at the smaller model, but you really have to have a small camera to fit inside of it. I guess if you had a point-n-shoot, it would work, but it is way to small for a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) even though they show it with a Nikon 1.

I think I’m all set for my trip.  I just have to pack and organize stuff.

Ruining the On-line Experience

A recent visit to a vendor’s web site left me with an uneasy feeling about what happens when you cater to the least common denominator.  Because of smart phones (and largely because of the carry over of a vendetta that Steve Jobs had against Macro Media and Adobe) many web sites have dumbed-down so they will play on both smart phones and computers.

Some savvy web designers build their sites so you will see a mobile version on your smart phone, and a full-blown version on your computer.  However, some just dumb-down the entire site so you see the mobile version on all devices.

I guess that’s kind of how society is heading too.

I watched video where this kid went on ranting about how school isn’t needed and with the Internet, he can get his own education in his own way.  Someone ought to tell him that the Internet contains a lot of false information, and without the tools, knowledge and wisdom to know what is false and what is true, you might have a brain full of false notions and ideas… dumbed-down to the least common denominator.

For example, I saw a post that said, “Like attracts like”.

No, that isn’t a law of physics, but “opposites attract” is a law of physics.  Another law of chemistry is “like dissolves like”.  Where did I learn this?  In high school and college physics and chemistry classes.  Heaven forbid had the Internet been available in the mid-70s, I might believe false notions that like-attracts-like.

Recently a video has been circulating where a guy claims he heats his entire room with 4 tiny candles.  Not using my brain, I bought some votive candles and a couple of flower pots to give it a try.  But, as I was putting it together, my scientific training came to the forefront of my brain…

Energy cannot be conserved or created.  (Another law.)

Thus, 4 candles will add as much room as they can regardless of what you place over them.  In fact, when I recreated the guy’s candle and flowerpot set up, the candles wouldn’t even stay lit because they were not getting enough oxygen.  As Adam and Jaime (Mythbusters) would say, “Myth Busted!”

Another one claimed if you took orange peels, placed them in vinegar, let it sit for a couple of weeks, it would clean grease, lime deposits, etc.  I know orange oil is a great degreaser, but this concoction doesn’t clean worth beans.

Again, you get a lot of false information on the Internet.

Why go to school and college?

Well, given how bad public education has got over the last couple of decades, that’s a good question.  But, going to a good school teaches discipline, good study habits and problem solving.  And, depending on one’s choice of curriculum, they may learn good analytic skills too.

When it comes to college, there are a lot of take-the-money-and-run colleges out there.  As long as you pay your tuition, you get a diploma.  That’s wrong.  Employers are starting to catch on to such schools.  This means such diplomas are worthless.

I guess what I’m saying is, there is no shortcut to education.  There is value in knowing true principles and laws.  You can’t decipher truth from error unless you have the tools by which to decipher.  Stay in school and get a college education – one where you attend class, take exams, do research, write papers and work your butt off.

Sisters Graham and Killen came to dinner tonight.  I made a white bean chili and some gluten-free cornbread with flan for dessert.  We had a nice visit.  Sister Graham goes home this week.

B&H Affiliate

My studio is now a B&H Photo and Video Affiliate.  What does that mean?  That means, if you are looking for some great deals on photography or video or audio equipment, you’ll want to come to this page, and click on this banner…



The next step is going to be scheduling a workshop in NYC at B&H’s store.  I’m working on a class about Corel Painter.

I’ve been updating my photography blog at http://www.dbwalton.com for the period I’ll be out of town.  It’s getting to the point where it is hard to keep track of which days have entries.

I managed to take a walk down to the village.  A few days ago it was sub-zero, and today, it is in the 50s.  Fickle weather.

Related? Yes. How? Don’t Know.

It would be foolishness to equate a disaster to a specific action of the people affected by the disaster.  For example, we can’t say why a tsunami hit Indonesia in 2004.  Unless revealed by God to his prophets, we simply don’t know.

So, are some natural disasters related to sin?

Yes.  The Book of Mormon gives a great example.  Things were on a slippery slope and the Lord sent Samuel the Lamanite to warn the people.  They didn’t listen.  Then, in 3 Nephi, chapter 8, when the destruction hits, it is of no surprise that suddenly, the people turn to the Lord.

O that we had repented before this great and terrible day, and had not killed and stoned the prophets, and cast them out; then would our mothers and our fair daughters, and our children have been spared… (3 Ne. 8:25)

I don’t know exactly how there is a connection between sin and disaster; I only know that we have been warned.  Samuel warned the Nephites of the impending doom.  They didn’t listen.  Then, when the earth quaked and the volcanoes erupted they decided to cry for help.  (Hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  They also say there are no atheists in the foxhole.)

On September 23, 1995, a prophetic warning was issued to the world.  The warning was that sin, “will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.”

What are those calamities foretold?  With modern electronics it doesn’t take much to search the scriptures and read about earthquakes, plagues, storms, wars, and other things that await.

I remember sitting in the Oakland Interstake Center back in the 1980s listening to Cleon Skousen.  He talked about these calamities and then said, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

I thought to my self, ‘That’s interesting.’

I thought the comment regarding prophecy was interesting, and I almost felt he was saying the prophecy could be undone.  But, as he went on to speak, I realized he was teaching us that it is a warning of what will happen, conditional upon our failing to keep the commandments.

The world has become an evil place.  Expecting this warning to be reiterated in the April, 2014, General Conference, it should be disconcerting to some that it came 3 months early.  Today, the church issued a stern warning.  It is very clear and the fact that it was issued between General Conferences tells me that the Lord didn’t want it to wait 3 months and it needs to be said now.  (Click here to read the warning.)

The closing paragraph starts with, “As members of the Church, we are responsible to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to illuminate the great blessings that flow from heeding God’s commandments as well as the inevitable consequences of ignoring them.”

Same-sex marriage is just the tip of the iceberg.  I was appalled by the story about an actress, who when asked why her TV show had so much nudity, went off on the reporter as though he was a terrible person for asking.  In fact, one news report headlined it as being the “most offensive question” ever asked.

Offensive?  Wow, just a few years ago reports would have been their TV show was offensive for showing nudity.

What has become of our values?

Another headline boasted of a new movie having used the F-word more than ever before.  You can’t go to some news web pages anymore without being bombarded by news glorifying immorality, drug abuse and profanity.

During the two week period of Christmas and New Years, Elizabethe and I was shocked that we couldn’t find anything of value to watch on TV.  In fact, Elizabethe likes this show called Castle.  (I personally find the acting in it pretty bad.)  In the show there’s some romantic tension between the leading man, a mystery writer and consultant to the police department, and the leading woman, a police homicide detective.  I come in to the room the other day and she’s watching an episode, and there the two of them are in bed.

Whatever happened to courtship, dating, engagement, weddings and then sex and family?

Instead, the entertainment world makes us believe that (a) sex isn’t a sin, (b) sex and love should be separated, and (c) marriage isn’t necessary… oh, unless your gay.  (I state this because if you closely watch many TV shows, you have heterosexual couples living or sleeping together with no discuss of marriage, while the entertainment world celebrates states where homosexual couples are allowed to marry.  It is another double-standard presented to us by the adversary.)  What these shows portray, the do under the umbrella that it represents society as it is.

Well, we’ve been warned.  It’s a prophetic warning, meaning if we don’t heed it, these things will happen.  We were warned in 1995, and the proclamation has been read many times since, but again today, it has been reiterated in very stern terms.  Perhaps we should ponder what Cleon Skousen said when he said, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

—–

Elizabethe and I took a drive down to Henrietta today.  She has a big drawing she’s been working on and wanted it scanned.  The only place that would do it for a reasonable price was near Henrietta.  So, since we were down there, we took a coupon and ate at CiCi’s Pizza.  (It was kind of funny.  Our meals cost us $5 and our drinks $5.  Because of our coupon, 50% of the bill went for two sodas.)

Rediculous

Today I see a post on Facebook by someone claiming the nicest people they have ever met have tattoos, but the most judgmental people go to church.  (It could have said pit-bulls, drive Corvettes, or anything else.  Tattoos are not the point here.)  The series of comments then turned in to a series of name-calling, of which, the person who posed the original comment was calling names.

It became ridiculous.

I don’t like name calling, and there is a difference between name calling, and identifying a behavior.  For example, and I only use tattooing as an example because of the Facebook posting, to say, “It is foolish to get a tattoo”, is not the same as saying, “Only fools get tattoos.”  The first identifies an action as foolish, where the second labels the person as a fool.  There’s a big difference.

That’s not the issue at hand.

People want others to be accepting and kind to them.  So, they post stuff like this not realizing it would have been fine just to stop at “The nicest people I’ve ever met were covered with tattoos.”  Period.  Why not just leave it at that.  The message sent by the original post wasn’t that tattooed people can be nice, the message was people who go to church are not, hence, stereotyping.

There are nice people all over, and you can’t link niceness to tattoos, piercings, the car you drive, where you live, or whether you go to church or not.  Niceness doesn’t have to be a 100% either.  I’m sure most people are nice to some people and not so nice to others.  Even the most loving person to walk this earth (and I’m speaking of Jesus Christ) had his enemies.  The Pharisees thought he spoke blasphemy, and in the end, he was put to death.  There was no one kinder than the Savior.

Enough said.

I went to my networking group meeting this morning.  We had a nice turn out and a presentation by our resident real estate agent.

Things are warming up around here.  It was in the 20s today, and the sun came out.

Site Directors Goodbye

Elizabethe and I helped out at the Hill Cumorah this evening as the site missionaries said their goodbyes to Elder and Sister Searle.  They will be leaving on the 17th to return home to California, and we will receive new site directors.

They asked me to do a group shot, but I didn’t realize there would be soooooo many people there.  So, we did as best we could to squeeze everyone in to the Christus room for a shot.

copyright 2014 db walton
Historic Site Missionaries

I sure love being around missionaries.  Anyone in need of a pick-me-up and a positive attitude should invite some missionaries to your home.  These hard-working people have given up time from their lives to do service and help people.

Also in the picture are some of our friends from Historic Palmyra.  (Another group of hardworking, positive attitude people.)

We will miss the Searles.  We’ve enjoyed our friendship with them.

—-

We had some broken water pipes and heating problems at our building in the village.  Another plumbing bill.  This time, I’ve asked the plumber to help come up with a solution to keep the heat at a level where we don’t have this happening again.  I think we’ve got it figured out.  (Our plumber had a brilliant idea.  Install an over-ride thermostat in the basement so when the basement gets to a certain temperature, the heat kicks in no matter what the upstairs thermostat is set to.)

I also think I’m going to install a 220v heater in the bathroom that is set to 50F so if the regular heater goes out, at least we don’t end up with a broken toilet and stuff.

Being a landlord is a tough job.  You can go months without a single issue, and then one day, all heck breaks loose.  (Like today.)

Whoa That’s Cold

This morning I got up and checked the temperature.  -6 Fahrenheit!   Then, I looked at the temperature with the wind-chill factor.  -32  !!!

Needless to say, I tried to stay indoors as much as possible.  But, during my missionary meeting, I got cold because the house felt cold and drafty because of the wind and cold temperatures.

It should be interesting to see how many people venture in to the cold to attend the temple tonight.