Sunday, October 27, 2013

Budding Photographer

Today Sissy and Buddy asked me if we could go exploring down town. As Sissy says it is a great spot to take pictures. Both kids like to go on photo walks with me. Sissy asked if she could take pictures as well so, I decided to let her try out my Canon Powershot S3. I set the camera to full auto and explained a little about the rule of thirds and how to use the grid in the view finder to line up her shots.

I think she did a fantastic job. These photos have not been cropped and other than a slight lighting adjustment on the first one, no editing was done.

As we walked we talked a about the angle of the sunlight, using shadows, fill light as well as changing our position and how those can change the shot.

Thankfully this is the only shot she took of me.... :D
I noticed that on some shots she was tilting the camera slightly, so I explained to her that if she was going to have a tilt she should make sure the angle was obvious otherwise it would look more like she just wasn't holding the camera straight. This was the next shot she took.
Pretty promising for a nine year old that has only taken photos before with her DS. I may be biased, but I think she has a very good eye for photography. I am thinking I should take her off auto and continue her photography eduction all on manual. What do you think?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

FF: Favorites

Hi Fragment lovers! My mind is still hopping all over the place but I made it back with a few rather random fragments, that have been racing around in my head since my last fragmented post.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Have you ever noticed that a person's  favorite cartoon character in some way mimics there own personality?
My favorite cartoon characters from my childhood are Dumbo, Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales … hmmm, I wonder what that says about me?

A friend of mine mentioned that a person's first car is like their first love and no matter how old they get or how many other cars they have, that first one will always hold a special place in their heart. I can see where that could be true for many, however for me it isn't. My first car was a 1967 Pontiac Le mans and while my children swear it is an awesome car and I never should have gotten rid of it, to me it was the epitome of an old lady car. Although now I guess it could be a nice classic car. My second car however, will always be my favorite. Not only did she have power and looks, but she took me on many a wonderful journey. She was a 1971 Pontiac Ventura named Bella, and oh was she a beauty. My third car was my pride and joy, but still comes in second to Bella. It was a brand new, right off the showroom floor, 1979 dodge colt hatchback with a twin shift. Talk about handling, she hugged the mountain roads like they were her only love. She wasn't as fast and powerful as Bella, but oh could she handle. Every car since has been just that a car and no more. What about you? What was your first and your favorite car?

While I am on the subject of favorites, … in my quieter moments I thoroughly enjoy word games. I have found a new favorite place to enjoy fun word games and quizzes, you can check it out here.

Posts from my blogs this week:

Ugly Mom Prom
A few not so good shots from the extremely fun Ugly Mom Prom.

Sabor a Mexico
A short review of the best Mexican food I have found so far in Rapid City, SD.

Friday, October 11, 2013

FF: Taking it easy

This week I have been taking it easy, in other words I've been lazy!

Of course I did manage to do my fingernails. This weeks theme... artist canvas

I watched a lot of fun video's. This one really brought back memories of when my kids were small.

Then there was a really cute one about a dog that you can see Here. I wanted to embed it as well but there wasn't an embed option in the share options.

I love George Clooney! He has a new movie coming out in December that I have got to go see. The movie title is 'The Monument's Men'. The movie is based on a true store about a unlikely group of men in WWII who come together to save historical artifacts. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, you can read more about the movie and watch the trailer HERE.

Most of the 31 inches of snow we got last weekend has melted, now we just need to get out and clean up the tree mess.

Overall my week was rather quiet. Other than working a few hours at the part time job, I didn't do much in the way of work. Although, I did manage to share a few photos Here and Here. Then I came across this Lao Tzu quote that just seemed to fit my lackadaisical mood. After a bit of looking through my nature archives I manage to pull out a bit of motivation and create this.
Prints and products available Here

There you have it my easy week fragments, now spread the love and see what others have been up to around blog land.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Monday, October 7, 2013

October 2013 Blizzard

It looks like we have skipped Autumn and gone straight to winter!
Friday October 4th as predicted a blizzard hit western South Dakota.
The rain and winds started early Friday morning and by midday had shifted to snow.

By early evening not only was our street gone but so was our power.
The wind and snow were still going strong.

 Out came the extra blankets, candles, board games and cards.

Thankfully our home is very well insulated so although a bit chilly, it wasn't too bad. The poor kitty though was cold and wanted snuggles. 

Here are the sights that met us come Saturday morning:

 Of the seven trees in our back yard only one is still intact with no damage. Of course the only tree not to break is the one we thought would break as it is more than half dead already.

 Believe it or not, somewhere under all that snow is a fence and a road. I posted a few more photos Here. The official Blizzard snowfall for Rapid City has been reported to be 31 inches!

At least our car wasn't completely covered.  Some neighbors weren't as lucky.

Late Saturday afternoon; The grass is beginning to show where the wind had blown the snow to a thin layer, and the sun had begun to melt that layer. Unfortunately the power was still out and of course the only non electric cooking appliance we have is our barbeque.  With the warning we should have been prepared but of course we weren't, we had no charcoal, lighter fluid or dry wood. After a bit of thought my S-I-L chopped up a dry pallet that had been in the back of the garage and set about making a fire to cook us a hot meal of hotdogs and chili. After many failed attempts to start the fire using crumpled paper, cardboard, kindling and even straw, I pulled out the big NO NO. Yep, I was the one to suggest using Acetone to start the fire.
Acetone is very very flammable! You should never use it to start a fire.... um ya... but if you do ... don't try pouring more on after a flame has already started. And Don't stand near the fire holding the Acetone! Thankfully, my S-I-L put out the flames on the lip of the bottle before they hit the inside.

While we were all very happy when the power finally came back on around 10pm Saturday night, it was rather fun playing games by candlelight. 

Now for Sunday in our City: Blizzard Clean Up and Playing in the snow!

My Son In Law did get the driveway cleared to the street. The housing tract was still not accessible to anything but 4x4's and snowmobiles.
Then again who wants to go anywhere when there is plenty to do right in our own yard!

As blizzards go this one wasn't too bad. While it did close down the western side of South Dakota for a few days with extensive power outages, snow and wind damage to homes and trees, as far as I have heard there was no loss of life.  The clean up continues and most likely will take the better part of a week but that is just a minor inconvenience.

To continue your virtual travels be sure to click the button below to visit Unknown Mami's:

Unknown Mami

Friday, October 4, 2013

FF: Ready or Not

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Ready or not winter has decided to come to our neck of the woods. That is right, here it is only the 4th of October and the snow is flying strong.
This is a peak out our front window this morning. The weather channel is calling for up to two feet of snow and blizzard conditions with strong winds. We had plenty of warning about this storm. My favorite was from this young man. Love his warning about umbrella usage.

You can be assured all these little guys are curled up in there homes away from the elements.
This high fiber diet really sucks!
I had high plans for this week, all of which got left behind due to a nasty cold. I did manage to sit on the porch with my camera and get a few shots, but nothing very special.

Of course I still had to go to work Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, which gave me enough excitement to last a lifetime. I know this is suppose to be fragments but I really need to tell what happened and hopefully get others opinions on the situation.

Wednesday evening was very unsettling for me and probably many others present at our local Mall. A young man in his 20's made a mass death threat on Facebook, saying he was headed to the mall to kill a bunch of people. I was working at my part time job when we got a warning from another mall employee that the police department had notified mall security to be on the lookout for a man. Supposedly the only information they gave was a partial description and that he was wanted by police and believed to be headed to the mall. at approximately 8:30pm we were asked to keep an eye out for this person and if we saw him to detain him and alert mall security. About five minutes later mall security came around and gave us a better description and told us the police were on site and blocking all entrances and exits and exactly why this person was wanted. No longer were we being asked to detain the individual but to contact security immediately if we spotted him. Our store manager asked if we were to shut and lock the security doors but were told no we could not close. The next hour was so tense it seemed like two or three hours. We did not see another security guard or police officer for some time. Then about 15 minutes later we saw one police officer run past our store front. Then all was quiet. During this time mall shoppers were still walking through the halls and into stores as if they were totally unaware of the situation. A half hour after the first notification it was finally time to close and we still were unsure if the individual was on the premisses or if he had been apprehended.  We preformed our usual duties and shut down and locked the store. We were very apprehensive about leaving but had heard nothing and had watched as a number of people leave the building through the exit near our store so we decided to go ahead and leave. As we left the building at 9:30pm we saw no police or security guards but we did see a mall maintenance worker who informed us that he had seen the police remove a man in handcuffs who fit the description. The maintenance worker did not know if they had found any weapons on the man or anything else. All he knew was that the man had been apprehended in one of the other stores and arrested.

This is not my first rodeo, growing up in Southern California I had the great misfortune to experience two similar situations while working in retail stores during my teens. The first time was in a major department store, where a disgruntled customer killed the fine jewelry clerk at one store then traveled to the same store in another city about five miles from the first, where he once again attacked the fine jewelry clerk with a hatchet almost killing her as well. At that time I was the evening manager of the fine jewelry department  in another city, fifteen miles from the first, which the police determined was most likely his next target. They stationed plain clothes officers at all of the entrances and two uniformed security guards remained close to my department never taking their eyes off of me.  They apprehended the man as he entered the store, putting an end to his spree and all of our fears. Although it was tense evening, I never felt the fear that I felt this last Wednesday. Why should I fear, I knew there were officers at every entrance and I could see the security guards protecting me just in case the man got past the officers.

The second time was in a smaller shop in a fair size mall. The store manager received a call from security informing him that their was an individual in the mall considered 'armed and dangerous' giving a description and once the manager told them we did not have anyone fitting that description in the store he was instructed to move personnel and patrons to the storage area and lock the door until security gave an all clear. Everyone except the manager stayed in the back room for maybe a half hour before the call came that the threat had been removed and it was safe to return to work as normal. It was a bit stressful, more so the just not knowing exactly what was going on, but it was scary. Everyone felt safe because the situation was handled in a calm and well thought out manner.

Surprisingly not one word of this weeks incidence has been reported upon any news stations. They (not sure if 'they' is mainly the city or if it is mainly the owners of the mall or a combination of the both) want it kept quiet as they do not want people to fear our town and mall are not safe places to visit. I can understand them not closing down the mall and possibly alerting this mad man to the fact that they were on to him. I can also understand not wanting to create panic, what I don't understand is creating a situation which put every employee and mall patron in danger. I can also understand not wanting the public to fear the city is not a safe place.  However, I think it is better that they do the following two things; One, put an improved plan in place for violent threat scenarios; Two, let the public know that yes things like this do happen but the threat was dealt with keeping the public safe. Rose colored glasses never truly helped anyone.

So what do you think?

Sorry about turning this Friday Fragment into a full blown post.