Bathroom remodel, days nine and ten

Roughly another day of work, spread across Saturday and Sunday, and I put a whole bunch more tile up on the back wall of the shower surround. Time to turn my attention to the side walls.


Movies Weird

A bit of Friday fun

Do you like movies?  Do you like spoofs?  Are you just tired of the hype around Brokeback Mountain? 

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, here’s a little Friday diversion for you: check out the movie trailers for “Brokeback To The Future” and “Top Gun 2, Brokeback Squadron”

I found the pointers to these clips in a great NPR article on spoof movie trailers (and for you etymologysts, it has an interesting little sidebar on the origin of the word “satire”).  The NPR story links to a number of spoofs, including my favorite, a trailer for a nice, uplifting comedic drama, “Shining”.

(note: don’t bother watching the trailers for “Big” or “Taxi Driver”, they fall short)


A place to get your help on

The support team for Windows Live Mail has put up a new blog with a bunch of great information for users (and prospective users) of the Windows Live Mail Beta.  There are answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), common problems and known issues.

Check it out, I give it a


Bathroom remodel, days seven and eight

Okay, I admit it, I was a little intimidated by the tile portion of the project. I knew if I screwed up the other stuff that it could be easily corrected or hidden behind… yep, you guessed it… the tile. Since the tile is the last bit I wanted to be doubly-sure it looked great and so was very cautious about getting started.

I spent a few hours Saturday reading about the process… and said process was different depending on which book I read, nice. On Sunday I dragged my feet, prepped the area, snapped some chalk lines, arranged some tools…  I finally got started around 1:30 or 2. After a couple hours I got the hang of it, but really only put up a few rows of tile.

No biggie, now I have the hang of it and the rest will go more quickly… and less stressfully. 😀


The best camera function you never use

It’s too dark, use the flash
Remember how pretty downtown looked that night?  Remember grabbing a great snapshot of your friends enjoying the night?  Remember getting the picture back and having a great shot of your friends… on a completely black background?  Crap!

Don’t fret, there’s a solution (for next time, not for fixing your old pictures).

All digital cameras… um… all digital cameras with a flash… well, let’s just say most digital cameras come with a special mode that improves the way your pictures look at night.  Traditionally called a “slow sync” or “curtain flash” this mode combines a flash to freeze the foreground (typically your aunt Greta) with the slow shutter speed needed to get the surrounding environment to show up at night.

One small setting change and Val goes from standing in the dark to standing in Disneyland.

Making it work for you

This really isn’t magic, but you may be surprised by the results.  Trying it out isn’t daunting, there are just three things you need to do:

  1. Learn to turn it on
  2. Steady yourself
  3. Don’t forget to turn it off (really… don’t)

Turn it on
Turning on the night-time shot mode will differ for every camera, but it is typically grouped in the settings as a flash option.  Try cycling through the various settings for your flash but don’t be frustrated if it doesn’t just pop up, on my Canon PowerShot S410 (and on my old S110 as well) the mode is called “slow synchro” which requires the camera be put in “Manual” mode.  To find out exactly how to set it for your camera browse through your manual for this icon:

It takes a steady hand
You remember the old commercials for the game “Operation”? No?  At any rate… because the picture will be taken at a slow shutter speed you will find it difficult or even impossible to hand-hold your camera for the shot.  I’ve managed to get some okay shots by just standing very still, but the best shots always come from either using a tripod or finding some piece of the environment to use as a brace.  I often look for a door frame, light post or fence and just hold the camera against it.

Don’t forget!
I have a number of great pictures which have be screwed up by leaving the camera set to slow sync.  And if you have multiple people using the camera you can frustrate your partner by handing them a poorly configured camera.

If we hadn’t noticed the bad setting, instead of a great picture
with my parents I would have been left with a blurry memory.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

The beauty of digital cameras is that you can just go nuts taking pictures and not be wasting film or processing costs.  So go nuts!  Try taking the picture even when you don’t think you can hold it steady enough, you might come up with something you like.

A deep breath, a steady hand and a lot of luck netted me a fun self portrait with Paula on Main Street USA in Disneyland.



Bathroom remodel, days five and six

Got the tub plumbing finished yesterday and Philip and I did the sheetrock and backer board done today. Next up: tile.


When? For what?

I’ve been going to town uploading pictures to our smugmug site… and I came across this:

The for sale portion amused me… but I forgot to post the picture.  Better late than never.  Good thing that sudden ice age didn’t hit.


Goodbye Micah

This picture was taken by Paula in March of 2002 when Leslie adopted Micha.  At around ten years old, with a heart murmur, a little blind and a lot deaf, Micha was not the prime candidate for adoption but Leslie took her in and gave her a great home.



Our thoughts are with you Les.