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Ok, sorry for not posting for nearly a month, but I’ve been busy trying to re-do my website and set up a new YouTube account, trying to get more translation done on the Grand Lenormand, and of course the regular day-to-day stuff, like work ūüėõ

Anyways, I hope to have this blog moved over to my permanent domain/website sometime this week, and shortly after that I should have my next segment in the Grand Lenormand translation completed (the first four cards from the suit of Hearts).

I’ve also been very busy trying out new things with my camera, mainly macro shots.¬† So far I’ve been mostly working with flowers mainly to get the technique down.¬† Flowers are another ‘No-No’ category for iStock since they’re overloaded with them.¬† But they do provide great learning subjects.¬† Here’s a shot of a tiny bug on a lobelia flower – I didn’t even know the bug was there until I started looking over the shots in Lighroom!

LobeliaD

 

I hope all is going well in your world, and hopefully by this time next week I’ll have the blog fully settled into its new home! Enjoy!

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The time has simply got away from me!  I am working on the next installment of the Grand Lenormand translation, and I hope to get that posted sometime over the weekend.  Sorry for the huge delay in posting. Things have just been a bit crazy around here Рin a mostly good/busy sort of way.  I will try to be much more regular with my postings in 2013.

I hope your year has been great so far, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted here since August!¬† Life has been brutally busy lately, hence the lack of time to devote to blogging and writing in general.¬† I’ve actually had an update to the Grand Lenormand completed for over a month, I just need to get it uploaded. OY!

So please bear with me and I hope things will start evening out a bit so that I can get back to a more regular blogging schedule.¬† I’m still in the midst of some fairly major projects at work that aren’t scheduled to complete until after the new year, so the updates will probably be somewhat spotty, but I’ll definitely try to be more regular than I have been over the last several weeks. I hope things in your world are going a bit more smoothly – Enjoy!

So it’s been a week since Guild Wars 2’s second “Beta Weekend Event.”¬† I haven’t written about it because my observations didn’t really change much since the first BWE.¬† The only things I didn’t like were the changes to the trait system (where you used to be able to pick any trait you could afford, but now had to follow the oh so common & artificial tree structure).¬† And that my server became a heavily populated one, to the point that several of my friends could not join me on the “Crystal Desert.”

The only reason I picked that server to begin with was to help another friend of mine remember which server I picked because all of his GW1 characters have “desert” somewhere in their name.¬† AND I actually HATED the Crystal Desert region in GW1¬†and I didn’t think very many people would pick that server because it was such a crappy part of GW1.¬† Oh well, there goes reason screwing the pooch again, LOL.

So now me and some of my gaming friends are trying to decide if we’re going to drop Crystal Desert in favor of some other “low pop” server, or just stick it out hoping other people will drop instead.¬† The current trend is toward dropping CD and heading for greener pastures.¬† I hate doing it, but it seems I’ve always had to do this kind of “server tag” whenever a new game comes out – ever since the WoW days, when our DAoC¬†guild moved over there. I think we changed servers at least three times, and the same can be said for nearly all of our experiences in other MMO’s – Notably in LOTRO, SWTOR,¬†and Rift.

Anyways, GW2¬†still seems very polished to me.¬† I keep seeing trolls out there saying that they can’t imagine it’s even going to release this year – but frankly¬†I’m just not seeing ANY of their issues.¬† I’d be happy with the game if it released this week.¬† It’s already more stable than LOTRO.

In other news, I dragged out my Alesis¬†QS8.2 synthesizer¬†for the first time in over five years(!).¬† I’m definitely going through some kind of¬†“mid-life crisis” thing where I really want to be more creative.¬† First there was the Nikon D7000 camera to bring¬†me back into my photography hobby and now pulling out the keyboard to reconnect with my music passion.¬† Actually, I guess when I bought those three(!) saxophones¬†(Alto, Tenor, and C)¬†earlier this year, I kicked off¬†this whole¬†creativity¬†kick.

What I really brought out the old¬†QS8¬†for¬†was so that I could connect it to my “new” (used) Yamaha WX5 wind controller. I had¬†to get the WX5¬†because practicing a real Sax in an apartment situation really pisses off the neighbors, and with the WX, I can hook it up to the¬†QS via MIDI, throw on some headphones and practice in near¬†silence.¬† The WX arrived yesterday afternoon, and after throwing some batteries in it and hooking everything up, so far, so good.¬† The only thing I don’t like about it are some of the same complaints that players have had with it ever since it came out.¬† Mainly the octave keys are way too easy to press accidentally or incorrectly, and same with the sustain button. But I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.

As for what music I will learn with, I’ve already got a bunch of “fake books” that I bought when I got my saxophones earlier this year, and I also downloaded some medieval and renaissance music (the Carmina Burana¬†& Codex Verus¬†+ some others), because I’d like to learn some of In Extremo’s¬†piping music to play on my Saxes/WX, and a lot of their music comes from those sources.

I hope things are going well for you, and have a Happy Father’s Day! Enjoy!

This is just a note to myself to capture the photographic¬†subjects that were assigned many (MANY) years ago when I took an architectural “Photographic Seeing” course at the University of Utah back in the early 1990s.

  • Rule of Thirds, Point of View,¬† & Framing –¬†artistic composition
  • Lines: Rectilinear/Curvilinear, Actual/Implied
  • Shallow vs. Deep Depth of Field (f-stops)
  • Short vs. Long Exposure (no flash – shutter speed)
  • Monotone & Chromatic
  • Light (no flash) – Front, Back, Side, Warm/Cold, Diffuse/Harsh
  • Texture¬†(Smooth vs. Rough)
  • Flash Photography
  • Photo Essay consisting of 12 related photos (Final Project + your best work from the previous assignments)

If I remember right, each subject was presented to the weekly class via slide show by the professor consisting of some of the best (and worst)¬†work from past students.¬†Then you were required to shoot a whole roll of 20 slides that you thought best represented that week’s particular topic. Then you would bring in your top 2-4 slides, put them in the projector and everyone’s “best” work would then be presented to the class for discussion. You also had to turn in the rest of your slides on that subject to the professor in one of those clear plastic, 3-ring binder slide sheets that held 20 slides.¬† And she might pick a different slide that she considered to be your best shot from the group when the graded¬†sheet was returned to you the following week.

I’m wanting to note this because I just got a new DSLR¬†(Nikon D7000)¬†and I’d like to use this class’ topics¬†as a¬†kind of¬†guide to familiarize myself with the new¬†camera.¬† ¬†I’d probably add a topic to the above list, since most DSLRs are capable of this now: HDR Photography (basically where multiple photos are layered to make a single photo).

Dunno if it will help you familiarize yourself with your camera or not, I’m hoping to post a picture or two from one of the above topics each week as I learn more about my camera, hopefully it won’t be as boring as watching uncle Fred’s vacation slide show!¬† Enjoy!

But it’s certainly a far cry from the wonderous smart phone I was hoping it would be.¬† Yeah, the functions are pretty cool and all, but jeebus, it drops a lot of calls!¬† This thing must have just about the worst antenna ever!¬† Before now, I’ve never had a dropped call before – ever, except when I’m on the road out in the boonies/mountains, travelling at a high rate of speed.

This thing drops calls while walking around in my small, corner apartment¬†(ie – two walls are exterior walls – with windows!).¬† So that’s the biggest disappointment.¬† I can’t even use the 4G capabilities because it won’t hold onto the signal for more than 5 minutes or so.¬† And I live in very¬†large, very¬†flat city – there are virtually NO signal barriers (Las Vegas).¬† In all honesty, I can’t recommend a¬†Galaxy Nexus until they fix their antenna/reception issues.¬† Talk about buyer’s remorse – I’m thinking I should trade it in for a RazorMaxx – I think I still have time to do that.¬†I’ll have to look into that possibility.

Just wanted to float this out there for now, I’ve got a couple other posts I’m working on.¬† It’s definitely Spring out here in the Mohave, so hopefully Spring will find the rest of you soon!¬† Enjoy!

I was¬†more than a full year overdue on my “new every two” contract with Verizon (this option is no longer available, more on this later), and hanging onto a phone that I absolutely hated (the LG Navigator) – hoping for something great to come along.¬† Nothing did, so instead of putting up with that awful LG phone any longer, I made the plunge.

I had sort of been waiting (and waiting, and waiting some more) for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.¬† But when it finally came out, it was missing a few things that I’ve dearly loved on smart phones ever since I had my Treo by Palm (my most¬†favorite phone – EVER!).¬†¬†The Nexus didn’t have a physical keyboard, nor did it have an SD ¬†card-reader slot -ugh!¬† And by the time the Nexus was finally available, the¬†2012 Consumer Electronics Show was barely a month away – surely something amazing would be show up for CES!?¬† Nope.

What¬†did show up¬†were a couple re-works of Motorola’s Droid, that actually¬†turned them into serious contenders against the Nexus; the Droid Razr¬†MAXX, and the Droid 4. Neither of which have the latest Android Version, code-named “Ice Cream Sandwich” –¬†which the Nexus does have.¬†But it sounded like it might be “coming soon.”

However, the Droid phones have a few drawbacks themselves, mainly; no way to upgrade/change the battery without shipping¬†the whole thing off to Motorola (same problem¬†with the iPhones), and their own, customized version of¬†the Android¬†operating system that cannot be over-ridden –¬†which in turn includes (A LOT OF) “bloat-ware” from both Motorola and Verizon that cannot be deleted from the phone. And while the droids do allow you to insert microSD cards, you have to remove the back cover from the phone in order to do so – it’s not simply a spring-loaded slot like the old Palm Treo’s and even my nemesis, the LG Navigator had.

The reason I substantially¬†favor the Nexus over the Moto¬†phones, is its “clean” implementation of Android.¬† I want to learn how to develop for the Android platform, and I think it would be nice to have a phone that has a pristine as possible implementation of the Android OS for testing purposes.

Pros & Cons:  Here are what I think are the biggest pros & cons for each phone;

Samsung Galaxy Nexus:

Pros

  1. Uses latest, “unadulterated” Android Operating System
  2. Has a great Screen/viewport
  3. You can self-update the battery in case of failure, or to upgrade to a longer-life battery

Cons

  1. No memory expansion AT ALL
  2. No physical keyboard
  3. Stock battery pretty much MUST be upgraded to a long-life battery.

Droid Razr MAXX

Pros

  1. Comes with a Large, long-life battery
  2. Memory can be augmented with microSD cards

Cons

  1. Uses a proprietary version of Android which cannot be updated until Motorola & Verizon make their “special version” available to the user.
  2. Cannot update/replace the battery without shipping the whole unit back to Motorola
  3. Even though you can technically use microSD¬†cards in this phone, it’s kind of a pain-in-the-ass (PITA) to do so, since you have to¬†remove the back panel of the phone – using a special tool – in order to switch out the card.

Droid 4

Pros

  1.  Physical Keyboard
  2. You can use microSD cards to augment the memory, with the caveats above.

Cons

  1. Small (short-life) battery that cannot be upgraded period, and can only be replaced by shipping the unit off to Motorola.
  2. All of the other “Cons” listed above for the Droid MAXX

It was a very hard choice, since NONE of the phones on the market meet what I use for a base criteria: easy to use SD (or microSD) slot, non-proprietary up-to-date version of Android, user replaceable/upgradable battery, physical keyboard. I also had to give up my awesome, unlimited data plan – so now I pay¬†significantly MORE per month for very limited bandwidth and text messages. TBH, I’m not entirely pleased, but I hated my old phone and it was in extreme need of being replaced.

In the end, I opted for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.¬† I hope I’m not too disappointed without the keyboard and SD options.¬† Honestly, I really miss my Palm Treo – I wish an updated version of that phone were available with its awesome keyboard and standard (full-sized), externally available¬†SD card slot.

But, in ordering a new phone, I had to give up my AMAZING old Verizon contract which not only had plenty of minutes, it also included UNLIMITED bandwidth usage, UNLIMITED text messaging, and the “New every two” clause that basically gave you an additional¬†discount on a new phone every two years.¬† All that for less than $80/mo!

Now I have¬†(severe) bandwidth & texting limits, no additional phone discount every two years, AND I get to pay ~$20 MORE than I used to!¬† Yay!¬† So I’m not too thrilled with Verizon’s new (draconian) contracts, YUCK – I’d be paying up to $60 more to actually get something semi-comparable to what I had before. But for now I’ll just test the waters with what’s supposed to be their “el cheapo” version (even though it’s considerably more than I used to pay, for MUCH more service).

The new phone should arrive later this week.¬† Hopefully I can do a bit of a “hands-on” review by this time next week.¬† In the mean time, I hope your work week goes well! Enjoy!

One month in and I’m still really digging SWTOR and some of the dialogue is just making it that much better.¬† I about fell out of my chair when my companion piped up, “Don’t look at me, I don’t know what we’re doing. I just shoot things!”¬† Too funny!¬† I’ve got one of each archetype up to level 20 now, and my “main” (Sith Inquisitor/Sorcerer) is level 30.¬† There was definitely a difficulty jump as I neared 30, but it seems OK now that I’ve crossed that threshold.

In other news, I’m still noodling around on my saxes.¬† The Tenor has become my preferred instrument.¬† It’s much easier to play and control than the either the Alto or Melody – which definitely have a tendency¬†to “squeak” if your embouchure isn’t perfect (that’s the way you hold your mouth/lips on the mouthpiece, in case you were wondering).¬†¬† I’m really looking forward to this weekend (my neighbors are probably dreading it), since I will be getting an old Herb Alpert trumpet book today.¬† It’s a good thing that trumpet and tenor sax are in the same key.

I’m getting pretty good at playing “Windy” by The Association, and “Hey Jude” by the Beatles, I’ve also started learning “White Room” by Cream and “Eleanor Rigby” another Beatles tune.¬† It’s been a lot of fun, so I guess that’s it’s a good thing I had this little “crisis.”

I hope all is well in your worlds (real and virtual), Enjoy!

I hope y’all survived the holidays!¬† I had a great time spending time with family up in (very cold) Utah, but I’m glad to be back home in the warmer climes of Las Vegas.

I’m still very much involved in playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.¬† I now have at least one character of every class archetype levelled up to where they have their spaceship – I wanted to see what they all looked like.¬† I think my favorite ship, by far, is the one given to the Empire Agents.¬† It’s a very sleek, fast looking ship.¬† My least favorite is probably the one given to the Jedi – it’s a bulbous, frog looking thing.

I think¬†SWTOR¬†will easily hold my attention until Diablo 3 comes out.¬† After that, all bets are off.¬† And of course I’m assuming that D3¬†will release prior to Guild Wars 2.¬†¬† As I’m sure I will be picking up that title as well.¬† In fact, I’m half expecting that GW2 will be my “Next Big MMO.”¬† But only time will tell.

In other news, my “mid-life crisis” has kicked into high gear over the past two weeks.¬† I’m not really sure exactly what kicked it off, but it’s definitely happening now.¬† I think I’m going to blame it on my sister ūüėĬ† Over the holidays she brought out her violin (which I think she gave to her daughter?), and played some Christmas tunes on it.¬† That got me all nostalgic over my long-lost saxophone.¬† I remember me and my Mom taking it in to get re-padded back in the mid-1980s, but I don’t remember ever going back to pick it up ūüė¶

So….¬† I’ve since bought (in the last 2-weeks) three (3!) saxophones!¬† OMG!¬† An Alto, Tenor, and an antique¬†C-Melody.¬† I used to play the alto back in elementary and Jr. High, but gave it up due to a conflict between my 9th grade¬†band class and French classes (which I’d been studying¬†since 5th grade – the same grade I first picked up the sax).¬† Anyways, I’d been doodling around on the new alto and tenor for a week or so when I remembered that they’re “transpositional” instruments, meaning if you play a C on them, it’s not a “C” on the piano (nor the violin, for that matter).¬† On the alto a “C” is actually an E-Flat, and on the Tenor it’s a B-Flat.¬† Which means you have to either “play by ear,” use special sheet music for each instrument, or learn to transpose “on the fly.”¬† I don’t see any of that happening in my case…

So… in comes the C-Melody sax, which actually plays a “concert C” when you play “C”¬† (make sense?).¬† This makes it much easier to play along with a¬†keyboardist, vocalist, and violinist – who all use¬†the same sheet-music.¬†Also, my grandpa used to play a C-Sax back in the 1940’s, but nobody in the family remembers what ever happened to that instrument.

The nice thing with sax¬†(and most woodwinds in general) is that they all share the same fingering – the “C” as noted in each one’s specially transposed sheet music, uses the same fingering – even if the actual note/pitch is widely different.¬†I’m wondering if it just wouldn’t be better for these “out-of-tune” instrument players to be taught in “concert” pitch – meaning alto sax players know to finger an “A” when they see a “C” note, and tenors know to finger a “D” when they see a “C.”¬† Then everyone will actually be playing the same “C” note.¬† OMG music is confusing!

I hope all is well in your world, and if someone tells you you’re playing to the wrong tune, just tell them you’re playing it right, it’s just in a different key! Enjoy!

Ok, I know I’ve been neglecting the blog for a good while now. But hopefully that is about to change.¬† I think I’m finally getting settled into my new home and job out in Las Vegas and things seem to be getting back to some modicum of normalcy.¬† Only time will tell.

I just updated my PC last weekend, so that was nice.  I did the upgrade because so many new games are going to be coming out soon for the PC.  I believe Skyrim will kick things off, followed by Guild Wars 2, SWTOR, and Diablo 3.

Currently, I’m still sub’d¬†to Rift, EVE, and just this week I re-sub’d¬†to LOTRO¬†for a year in prep for Isengard¬†which comes out later this month.¬† EVE and LOTRO are getting the lion’s share of play, Rift has gone to the back burner for a bit, but it’s still a great game.

I’ve been trying to jump-start my social life in my new surroundings by joining various “Meet-Up” groups, but that has been very spotty at best. And the gay bar scene in Vegas is surprisingly poor.¬† Salt Lake was WAY more fun to go to the bar than in Vegas.¬† Here it seems everyone is hunched over their electronic poker or 21 game instead of dancing or socializing. I’ve also heard that things really don’t start happening at the bars here until after midnight.¬† By that time I’m ready for bed, damn I’m gettin’ old.

Anyways, I hope to be writing with a bit more regularity now, and I hope all is finding you well! Enjoy!

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