Blue Laws

Dusk at the Estate

Dusk at the Estate

Although I am a firm believer that government should not regulate or force people to participate in certain religious practices, I do think that government should not stand in the way and thus allow people the right to worship how, when and where they may.  At one time, many communities had “blue laws” that prohibited doing business on Sunday.  I disagree with the law, but fully agree with the practice.

I believe if people everywhere would start keeping one day a week sacred (Sunday for the Christians, Saturday for the Seventh-day Adventists and Jews, etc.), the world would be a much better place.  There is a blessing attached to each commandment we keep.  And, for those of us who are Christians, God says, “Six days shalt thou labor and do all they work…”  In return, God promises us that we will be kept, “unspotted from the world.”

I take that to mean that if we go to church on Sunday that God will bless us by helping us avoid temptations and pitfalls.  Hence, the world would be a better place.

There are those who say they can be closer to God by going camping on the weekend and being in the wilderness.  However, I think there is a good reason God wants us in church.  If you are alone in the wilderness, the only person who benefits is you.  If you are at church, you are strengthening others and visa-versa.

I enjoy the 3 hours I spend on Sunday fellowshipping with the saints.  It is uplifting.  It is encouraging.  

So, comes next Sunday, if you’re tempted to go out to dinner, to the store, or mowing the lawn, put that stuff off another day, hop in the car, and go to church.  The walls won’t come tumbling down, lightning won’t strike, and the minister won’t ask, “What are YOU doing here.”

Along another line, recently a man who took exception to my political views resorted in name-calling and false accusations against my character.  I have no idea why this man is so angry at the world (I say world, because it could have been any number of the hundreds of millions of people who think the same as I do,) but there seems to be a tendency among a few people, that when someone disagrees with them they (1) call the person a foul name, (2) the accuse the person of being uneducated, mean, bigoted (which, ironically, when you call someone a name automatically makes the name caller bigoted), or some other untrue label, (3) desire to get the last word in by saying there is no use talking to someone as stupid/uneducated/blah-blah-blah as you and demand you never talk to them again.  (You will notice this pattern quite often – especially if someone fears being exposed as a fraud or if they have no other way of defending their position.)

Well, first off, if someone calls me a name, I let them get the last word in because at that point, I don’t want to continue being verbally abused.  If I pull in front of someone accidentally, and they yell, “A——!”  I’m not going to stop my car and have conversation with them.  I’m going to just keep driving and try to brush it off and not let it affect my day.

So, the next time someone calls you a name, just walk away.  Remember, those who call names have a tendency to also engage in other unhealthy habits.  Just smile, wish them well, and walk away.

Hosta Pics with iPhone

I had some client work this morning that took me to 1 pm.  It was hot, and I had two fans blowing on me, and I was stuck in front of  a computer screen.  Not really a comfortable situation.  It takes a lot of diet soda to make it through a morning like this.

The electrician came by to give me a quote on the dry-house.  I’m asking for 3 circuits to the office – 2 for outlets, and 1 for a dedicated outlet for a window a/c unit.  Then, the lights and ceiling fan already have wiring, but I’ll  be switching out the actual on/off switches on them.  He also said I may need a new ground rod.  Other than that, it looks pretty good.  He says it looks like the building is fed with either 4 or 6 ga.

Then, it was off to Happiness Gardens to sign the new lease.  They are good for another 5  years.

I took my iPhone with me as my only camera just to see if I’d be kicking myself for not at least bringing my G10.  Well, nothing happened that I wished I would have had my G10, but I am definitely NOT going to be using the iPhone as a camera except in situations were that is all I have.  Here’s why…

  • it doesn’t do a very good job on exposure – most images are under exposed.
  • it is too hard to hold it still and press the shutter button on the screen.  (Whoever suggested that design is nuts.)
  • it lacks detail (probably due to the size of the lens and aperature opening.

But, here is a picture of one of my hostas in bloom:



I had to take the image in to Photoshop because the whites were just too gray, and the colors were undersaturated.  Also, there is a great deal of color-bloom in the image.  My guess is it is a result of digital noise on the sensor.  But, if I were to compare the iPhone 3GS camera to stand-alone cameras, I would put it as being a low-end $99 3MP camera.  (Most other camera phones I would put as being $20 toy digital cameras or worse – so as far as phones go, it is pretty decent.  G10 it is not.)

New Friends

It’s nice moving to a new place and having people invite you over for dinner.  Such was the case again last night.  We had dinner with Don and Jodi Taylor.

Don and Jodi have recently returned from serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They served in the State of Washington.

We had a nice time getting to know the Taylors.  The live on the south edge of the village just off  highway 21.

Shortly after getting home, we heard the popping and bangs of the fireworks over at the fair grounds.  You don’t realize how close you live to the fair grounds until they have their fireworks show.  It sounded like someone setting off firecrackers right in our own backyard.  Next year, I’ll pay more attention to the fair’s schedule so we can find a good place to watch the fireworks.  (We also missed the parade which came right in front of the house.)

Aside from a busy day at work, nothing much else to report on today.

Have you had your senior portraits done yet?

Have you had your senior portraits done yet?

Special Edition Post

I know many are not taking the time to look this up.  But, if you are here, reading this, please take action.

What I am about the quote outlines the powers given to the U.S. Government – aka The Federal Government.  Please read it carefully.  When you get to the end, I have some comments I would appreciate your reading them too.

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;–And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Now that you have read what the United States Constitution says, have you asked yourself the questions, “How does nationalized health care fit in to this?  How do bank-bail-outs fit in to this?  How does the take over of General Motors fit in to this?”

If you have come to the same conclusion that I have, get on the phone and call your representative in Congress and tell them  that the Federal Government, according to the U.S. Constitution, has no power or right to make some of the decisions they are making, and you would like it to stop.

If they rationalize and say, “It’s needed,” remind them that more than 75% of the people of this nation do NOT want national health care.  We did not want the government to bail-out General Motors.  We did not want the government to bail-out the banks.  And, we most certainly want them to stop spending us into financial bondage for generations to come.

onOne Junk

I have to call it like it is.  After spending many years as a software developer and product manager for a line of PC software products, when I see junk software, I have to call it like it is.

My iPhone experience of the last 24-hours has been an eye opener to how people will quickly  write an application for a hot product and then have the audacity to sell it.  Such is the case with onOne’s DSLRemote.  Now, let me preface this by saying we are talking about two separate programs – one for your PC, and the other for your iPhone.  The one for my PC kept crashing AND it caused my Wacom table to stop working, and the one on the iPhone just froze. $20 isn’t a lot for a program, but it is for an iPhone app considering many applications are only $0.99 or $1.99.  But $19.99 for something that shouldn’t have left the programmer’s hard drive without the words BETA-TEST stamped all over it is near criminal in my book. 

And, please, I don’t want some software engineer from onOne calling me asking me to try this or that.  You had your chance, and you blew it.  Software should work first time, every time.  So, no, I’m not going to be your beta tester.  I’m retired.  I don’t do that any more.  I stopped being a computer programmer back in 1990.  But, for Pete’s sake, get some professional photographers to beta test your stuff before you try to sell it on iTunes.  Either that, or just give it away so you don’t tick off people like me.

Don’t sell me junk software and expect me to be quiet about it.  Enough on the subject.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I tested out the iPhone camera on the woodbine growing outside the greenhouse.  This morning was foggy and there was some dew on a spider web.  It looked pretty cool so here’s what my iPhone produced:

Woodbine Cover with a Spider Web

Woodbine Cover with a Spider Web

I also loaded an image in Photoshop.  Pretty impressive for a 3MP camera with this tiny little lens.  The biggest drawback to the iPhone camera is that it is truly a point-n-shoot.  Literally.  You have to POINT to what you want it to focus on, and the press the camera icon for it to take the picture.  Thus, “point” and then “shoot”.

Cone Flowers Shot with iPhone & Edited with Photoshop

Cone Flowers Shot with iPhone & Edited with Photoshop

Now, the iPhone tries to be many things to many people, and for that, I must admit Apple did a pretty decent job.  As a phone, it is the best functioning cell phone I’ve ever had.  As a camera… if Canon made a digital SLR the likes of a 5D Mark II with a built-in-phone, I probably wouldn’t buy it.  I already look pretty funny carrying this big camera & lens down he street.  Imagine the stares I would get holding it to my ear?

So, the iPhone is a phone, and the camera is there as an I-wish-I-had-a-camera-with-me item.  You know, for when the grandchild does something real cute and you’re sitting at Burger King and your real camera is in the car.

Finally today, I get this super long letter from the White House in my e-mail.  I’ve got to really scratch my head here.  This is really confusing.   There is not a law regarding national heath care, and any  law would be made by Congress & the Senate, but the White House staff is telling us how this law (which doesn’t exist) is going to work.

Surely I cannot be the only person in this country that finds this… strange…. presumptuous… out of order… (and I’m trying to be calm and rational about this).

So, if they can say what it is going to be, anyone can say what it is going to be and be equally as wrong, right?  I mean, if a law doesn’t exist and I say it will include instructions on how you need to end your life, I can be just as wrong as the guy who says it doesn’t include instructions on how to end your life.  Right? 

So, the book I have never written foretells exactly how this bill is going to turn out.  I mean, right down to the exact verbage of the bill.  And, all I have to say is, every politician in Washington D.C. is wrong because they haven’t read my book. … which isn’t written yet.   I’m not even sure I’m going to write it.   Stupid?  Yup.

Well, we’re living in difficult times.  There is no doubt about it.  So, if you want to get away, and come to a quiet, peaceful village, give Elizabethe and me a call and let us know when we can expect you.

iPhone 3GS 32GB

Well, I now carry a phone that has more power than the PDP11/70 or the CDC Cyber 760 I used in college.  It has more disk space.  It has graphics.  It has a touch screen.  It communicates via wireless to the Internet. It has color.  It takes pictures.  It records sounds.  It shoots movies.  And, best of all, it was only $299.

Are we spoiled!

In college, I had to purchase a 128kbyte 8″ floppy diskette that cost me $30.  I had to haul around IBM punch cards for my assembly language, FORTRAN and COBOL classes.  32kb storage was a LOT.  After graduation, I thought a 48kb TRS80 Mod III was nice.  Two years later, I thought my first 5MB hard drive ($750) was cool.

Now I have a phone doing much more.

I decided to test the camera in the mall.  Here’s a snapshot at the burger place…

Johnny Rocket's at the Victor Mall

Johnny Rocket’s at the Victor Mall

Right now, the iPhone is download a 300MB software update.  300MB.  When Elizabethe and I got married our first computer we bought only had 1GB (also 1000MBs).  This iPhone takes 1/3 a GB just for a software update?  How crazy is that?

The guy at the Apple store asked, “So, what do you do?”

“I’m a professional photographer,” was my reply.

“Ever think about changing to Apple?” he asked.

Why do I always think of the clever responses AFTER.  I should have said, “Yeah, as soon as Apple fixes that problem of having to remove the battery from the MacBook when it locks up.  At least with my HP laptop if that ever did happen (emphasis on did), I could just hold down the power button.” 

But, I always think of those things too late.  I’m just not quick enough on the draw with the snappy answers.

Did you know you can’t attach a lanyard to the iPhone?

You spend $300 on a phone, and it doesn’t have a little loop for a lanyard.  Heck, my $49 LG had one and I’m less concerned about accidentally dropping it than I am my iPhone.  (If any design guys from Apple are listening — it needs a hole for a lanyard.  Seriously.)

Holy Cow!  It just finished the 300MB download, now it is extracting it.  How big is this thing?

And to think… when  I bought my last hammer, I just came home and started pounding nails with it.  Now, I have a $300 bubble level that takes 40 minutes to install a software upgrade so it can tell me if my picture frames are level.

While I’m talking about the iPhone, and if someone from Apple happens to read my comments, here is my wish list for a future iPhone:

1)  Place to attach a lanyard.
2) The ability to drag & drop from my desktop without messing with iTunes.  For Pete’s sake, just make it look like a USB drive.
3)  a top mounted button to activate the camera – the touch screen stuff is nice for a lot of apps, but not picture taking.
4)  Did I mention a little hole for a lanyard?
5)  A standard USB connector on the phone.  What’s with monster Apple thing?  My $3000 dSLR uses a standard USB, so could you.
6)  A mini or micro SD card slot for file exchange and transfers.
7) New phones should already have the latest software.  This coming home and having to spend nearly an hour upgrading the OS on the phone.  Come on.  Couldn’t you guys have some way to do that in the store – quickly?
8) A stylus
9) A place to store the stylus

I guess that’s enough for them to chew on for now.

Six-Sigma Sick

The Sacred Grove

The Sacred Grove

I’m really getting sick of Six-Sigma training, and I’m only 1/2 through the yellow-belt training.  Perhaps it gets better, but the disconnect between test questions and course material is really frustrating.

I got my state inspection on the Grand Prix as well as my scheduled oil change.  A grand total of $41.  You can’t have your tires rotated in California for less than $41.  When you consider this was the equivelant of a California Smog Check AND and oil change… I’m a happy camper.

So, I go to put my registration sticker on the window.  I follow the instructions on how to remove it from the paper.  I go to stick it on the windshield as instructed, and the sticky part of the sticker will not stick to my glass.  It just won’t stick.  It’s somewhat tacky, but not tacky enough to stick to the glass.  Now what?

I decided to go to the temple.   The temple is always a way to lift a burden off one’s shoulders.  You can feel the stress just wash away as you walk through the doors of the temple.

After the temple, I came home and painted the spice rack.  Well, I gave it its first coat.   It really sucks up the paint.

Joseph Smith's Cooper Shop

Joseph Smith's Cooper Shop

Thunder and Lightning

I could not believe the thunder and lightning last night.  It was pretty cool.  When it is like this here, it is just a continuous roll of thunder.  Kind of soothing.

I built a spice rack that is 34″x36″ for the kitchen.  I don’t have it done.  The 1st coat of paint is drying.  Tomorrow I’ll screw it all together and then give it another coat of paint.  By Wednesday, it should be ready to go up on the wall.

Other than that, I’m about 50% through the Six-Sigma Yellow Belt training.  There is sure a disconnect between the test questions and the course material.  Some of the questions are so far disconnected you wonder if the person who wrote the question talked to the person teaching the course.  Perhaps they should have used the Six-Sigma process to create the course and exams.  I think in Six-Sigma terms some of those questions would be called “defects”.  And, since there are so few questions, their defect rate is quite high – the defect rate wouldn’t even be in the single-sigma range.

Go figure.

The Sacred Grove

The Sacred Grove

Garden Harvest

We actually got enough from the garden today to make a nice salad for dinner.  The only thing put in it that did not come from our garden was a sweet onion.  Other than that, we had tomatoes, bell peppers, peas, and cucumbers from the garden.

The little rabbit doesn’t run off when he sees me now.  He is still a little spooked if I move too fast or get too close, but he allows me to get within 6-8 feet of him and I think he is more curious than scared.  His den is in a bush under the breakfast nook window, and in the evening he can be found sitting in the grass  adjacent to that area.



Ahoy Thar Maties!

Today was the big Pirate celebration in Palmyra.  What a fun event.  I talked to one of the organizers, Cap’n McDeath, and he was telling me they would like this to become a sort of a Renaissance fair.  They do not want it to be a competition to Canal Town Days – they want it to be different.

The Unterborns - owners of Liberty House B&B

The Unterborns – owners of Liberty House B

It is only a 3 year old tradition (which surprised me given the participation), and they hope it keeps growing.  The Unterbornes, picture above, have been quite instrumental in organizing this event.  (Oh, and if you are looking for a B&B, Irene is a great breakfast cook and the accomodations at the Liberty House are 5-star.)

They had booths selling homemade goodies, hots, burgers, jewelry, books, and all sort of stuff.  Just browse through my images for an idea of what was going on – after all, a picture says 1,000 words.

The fun part is the bed races.  People make beds with wheels, and they have one person in bed, and 4 pushing the bed.  They race down main street. The person in bed has to put on some over-sized p.j.s and then they race  to the finish line.  What a fun idea.

After I had enough of the pirates, I came home and taped the wall upstairs.   I have some more taping to do and a few small patches of sheet rock to put up and then I will be ready to paint the wall.   I can’t seem to work on the dry house with this wall be unfinished.