Friday, November 29, 2013

Photo Blogging Challenge (November 2013): People

It's that time of the month again when P.J.'s monthly blogging challenge comes around.  This month's challenge was people.  The hardest problem I had with this theme was narrowing it down to just 5 photos.  Here's my take on the theme for this month.

1.  Grocery Shopping
As most of you know, I enjoy street photography.  That doesn't mean it comes easy to me.  It just means that I enjoy it and when I come across a good opportunity, I'll take it.  Street photography is easier when the area is busy.  The likelihood of a bad encounter lowers, I think when there's more people around, but that doesn't mean it's not with some risks.  I've never had anyone give me the evil eye, but then again, most of the time, I usually shoot from behind or the side.  Here's one I took that I included in another blog entry a couple of days ago.  I was walking from our auto mechanic's after dropping a car off to be serviced when I saw this guy riding his bicycle.  It was clear that he was coming from the grocery store based upon the several items in his basket.  Just something about him made me want to take his photo. It was a quick decision and this was one of only two shots I got of him.

2.  Shoes
At my school, I run a photo club.  We have weekly meetings where I will discuss a particular photographic technique, show them examples of what I'm trying to get across to them and then take them out on a photo walk on campus where they can practice the technique.  As of this moment I have upwards of 35 students in the club, so they are a handful at times, but it's also enjoyable to watch them experiment.  I don't have any set requirements on the type of gear they can use, so many of them are using tablets or their phones as their main camera.  In my opinion, that's fine.  The purpose of the club is to get them comfortable using their equipment, not limit it to just those who have full-fledged DSLR cameras.  While out on a photo walk a couple of weeks ago, I noticed several kids standing in a group.  Obviously, the variety of styles of their shoes is what struck me and I set this shot up.  Back in the day, we had white Converses and Black Converses, either high top or low top with white shoelaces, and that was it.  I like the new colors.

3.  Family
Since this post comes one day after Thanksgiving, this entry wouldn't be complete without a photo of some members of my family.  Veteran's Day weekend, I drove up to the Bay Area to visit with my daughter.  My older son came along as well.  I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that my daughter is a Northern California resident from now on.  She has a job teaching fourth grade in Milpitas, California and I don't see her jumping ship to find a job closer to home down here.  My son graduated this past June from college and has been looking for work over most of the summer.  He has found employment just this week with a firm located in Whittier, CA, close to home, but still a bit of a commute.  If this pans out into a long term type of employment, I can see where sometime in the future he'll move out into his own place, probably closer to his employment.  My youngest son is soon to be attending college and getting his life choices in order.  The nest is slowly emptying out.  I took this photo of the two older ones while we were walking toward an amazing sandwich shop in Santa Clara.  The visit up there that weekend was all too short, but she will be coming down here for Christmas, so I'll see her again shortly.

4.  Cool
As noted above, I enjoy street photography.  I kind of wish I'd actually stopped and talked with this guy as I really liked his style and I think he would have made a nice addition to my 100 Stranger project.  It seems like hats of this type are coming back into style again after an almost 50 hiatus away from men wearing stylish hats in public.  President John F. Kennedy is supposedly to blame for the decline in men wearing hats as it was reported that he didn't like wearing hats.  It appears as if that's just an urban legend.  However, as I read that article, I think he looks very odd wearing that top hat.  Although those photos show he wore a hat, most photos of the President show him without a hat.  The hat was just in decline for some time and it's easy to blame a young man with immense power for its demise.  President Eisenhower, Kennedy's predecessor very rarely wore hats during his administration.   Either way, it's kind of nice to see hats making a comeback.  Where it used to be difficult to find a hat outside of specialty millinery stores, now it's common to find them in everyday stores such as Target.  I found this guy soaking up some rays in front of a restaurant earlier this week.  I later saw him after he'd taken off his jacket.  He didn't look as cool then.  The combination of hat and jacket made the shot.

5.  Farmer's Market
I drove into Pasadena on Tuesday to do some geocaching and to also go on a photo walk with a friend of mine.  We walked around Pasadena's City Hall and several other places.  Around the corner from her house was this small farmer's market lined up on the sidewalk.  It wasn't a very large farmer's market, but it did have a lot of photo ops and we spent close to a half an hour then taking shots.  I'd taken a shot similar to this one looking over some onions and potatoes, but it was all an endless line of browns leading off into the distance, so after walking down the entire length of the market, we walked back and I spotted this shot that had a little more color in it.

And that pretty much wraps up another month of the photo blogging challenge.  Once again, here's a link to P.J.'s page where, if you scroll down to the bottom, you'll see a list of all the other bloggers who are participating in this month's challenge.  Check them out as there's a lot of really nice shots in there.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Yesterday's post originally was entitled Thanksgiving.  I changed it after I started writing, so since today is the actual day this year, I'll be posting some of my thoughts on what I'm thankful for.  You may not agree with all of them, but that's your right.

This will not be a post about being thankful for friends, family, etc.  I'm always thankful for them.  I want to show some thanks for other things that I think many of us take for granted.  And while it's true, we may take our family for granted, I hope that I don't.

First off, I am going to say I'm thankful for our health care we have here.  My dad was an "orphan" by the time he was 27, my mom was "orphaned" before she turned 40. Both of my parents are still alive as is my father-in-law.  Without advances in medicine that we've had in the last 50 years, it's very likely that they might not be around to enjoy their grandchildren.  While it weirds me out a little to realize that I'm now the father of three adult children, my parents have seven adult grandchildren.  I don't believe my dad's parents even got to enjoy one adult grandchild.

I'm thankful that I can get up in the middle of the night and get a drink of water if I want.  Nearly one billion (yes, you read that right, billion with a B) people don't have access to safe water on a regular basis.  According to website, 3.4 million people die each year from a water related illness.  The majority of those illnesses are caused by fecal material (still hungry for that turkey dinner?).  More people have a cell phone than have safe water to drink.  Those are some sobering statistics.

I'm also thankful that I live in a country that allows me to worship, or not worship as I please.  Can you imagine living in a country where you could only worship via one religion?  What if you didn't agree with that religious philosophy?  Think about that the next time you kneel down to pray.  Our country might not be perfect in many ways, but it's a lot better than many other areas out there.

Lastly, I'm thankful that we can all share in discourse about what we think is right and wrong with our country and with the way some businesses choose to run their business, which is what I'm going to do right now.  

Over the past week, I've seen many posts on Facebook from people voicing their displeasure over certain stores opening for business today.  The business of the company is to make money for the company.  They don't make money when they're closed.  If they believe this will bring in more money for them, then more power to them.

You don't have to go.  Yes, I respect your right to voice your displeasure, however, I believe you're wrong.  If you don't like it, don't go.  When I worked as seasonal help at Disneyland back in college, I never worked on a holiday.  Why?  Not because Disneyland was closed, but because the permanent employees all wanted to work.  They got paid time and a half.  Granted some stores might not do that because they aren't unionized, but the employees might need that extra money down the road for Christmas presents.

I also find it interesting that all this complaining has been directed at stores opened on Thanksgiving Day.  How many of you watched the Macy's Thanksgiving parade?  Do you think Macy's produced that out of the goodness of their heart?  Why are there no complaints about the people holding onto the tethers of the balloons at the parade?  In fact, why is there no complaints about the NFL playing football on TV?  All those poor football players, and referees and stadium employees away from their families on Thanksgiving Day?  What a travesty.  I think we should boycott that too.

Tongue in cheek aside, I hope all of my readers have a happy Thanksgiving, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.  As for me, my plan is to watch the Lions win on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2003, then drive with my wife and boys to my sister's house to gather around the table with the family that's here in Southern California.  My thoughts will be with family members (especially my daughter who will be celebrating with her boyfriend and family in San Mateo) who weren't able to make it down.  I know we shall be seeing them at Christmas.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

When worlds collide

While geocaching in Pasadena yesterday, I got to the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds.  This is the big turn at the beginning of the Rose Parade where all the TV cameras are set up to give us the best view of the Rose Parade.

The grandstands are almost completely set up now in preparation for New Year's Day only 36 days away.  Lots of money gets spent every year.  Several streets yesterday were closed down as one company that builds floats was transferring those floats from where ever they were built to where ever they will be decorated.

And yet as we see all this money being spent on one parade, just across the street I was reminded that many people in this country are still wanting for basic necessities.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Have you ever had one of those days where you knew you'd forgotten something, yet couldn't quite put your finger on what you'd forgotten?  Yep, that was me today.

A couple of months ago, we made the decision to change our ISP as it was just running way to slow for our purposes.  We ended up getting cable for our internet and along with dumping our old internet provider, we also dumped our landline as well.

I went slowly at first, mainly because I was concerned about making sure all of the places where I use my email address had been changed to a new one.  I figured that as soon as I'd get an email from someplace, I'd head to that site and change the email address to the new one.  That worked out quite well and we eventually made the switch and I just forgot about it.

Fast forward to today.  I've been posting blog entries for the past couple of months, granted, not too many of them, but enough that I figured I should have gotten some comments, yet I wasn't getting any notifications about comments on any of my posts.  How strange.  It finally dawned on me today, so I went in and checked the settings for this blog and sure enough, the email for notifications was still set at my old address.  Ooops.  

Needless to say, I had about 20 comments on my past entries that needed to be published.  All those people are now probably thinking I'm a jerk, since I hadn't responded, nor even published their comments to my blog.  Well, they've been published now and I made sure I posted a reply back to each one of them.  I apologize for any inconvenience.  Sometimes, it just feels like I'm spiraling down into oblivion, much like the photo above.

Thanks for coming by and yes, please feel free to comment here.  I'll get the comment notification from now on.