Sunday, January 30, 2011

Back On Track

On Christmas Eve my main computer got infected with something nasty.
I was able to get the spare online later that night, and made do with slowness and no PhotoShop until a week ago. Got my demons exorcized (thanks to my friend and tech 'Buz', and have spent the time since then fixing my wireless network issues and upgrading what I could.
Now, we're back to the way things were over a year ago (before the last major disaster), but even better. Progress!
The main problem remaining is that many of my Christmas gifts were supposed to be prints of my photos, including ones taken AFTER the disaster. Without PhotoShop, I was seriously behind schedule.

Then the band took two weeks off and then some, so money has been tighter than _ _ _ _, which meant I couldn't afford to get anything printed.

Today my wallet had some new friends inside, so I bought Sylvia the scanner she wanted (to embarrass her friends from West Campus HS) and as luck would have it, the same unit has a printer built-in.
I just finished getting it up and running, and after a couple of minor glitches that were soon fixed the prints have been landing in the tray, passing inspection, and getting put into frames!

These three are for Sylvia's new office:
When I say "new" office, I mean that the frames were bought over 3 months ago (just before my life went all crazy) and I'm glad they finally got done.
Over the next few days I hope to clear the backlog of other jobs that need doing, and being able to make quality prints at home saves me an incredible amount of time and effort.

I've never had a printer before.
Over the years the horror stories from other photographers kept me away.
Color management was always the biggest issue, with guys spending months trying to get the correct profiles created and installed, only to have software updates ruin everything again.
And we're talking about printers in the 4-figures range.
No thanks!

Dipping my toes in the pond for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised when the very first print exactly matched the way the file looks on my monitor, without having to do jack-squat.
(Okay, instead of "pleasantly surprised" let's make it shocked!)
The place where I used to get them done had a definite shift to the red end of the spectrum (I guess for warmer and more pleasing(?) skin tones) and there was no way to avoid it.
Not anymore.
Dead honest representation here, so far.
The real test will be black and whites, which used to suffer from a touch of pink.

Here's the bestest part: Our new Epson printer/scanner cost less than logic would admit is possible.
Not $200.
Nor even $90.
How does $30 sound to you?

Suited me just fine!
Add $10 for glossy photo paper and color me impressed.

Of course, photo ink costs more by weight than gold OR cocaine so eventually the Piper will get paid.
Hopefully I'll be all caught-up by the time I need more ink.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dos Caballos

This is my new friend Dixie:

And this is Red:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Fine Hawk

Getting the mail yesterday I somehow spotted this hawk lurking in the big tree in our back yard:

It eyeballed me as I took 2 photos, then took off:
I was lucky to get this shot before it was blocked by the neighbor's house and trees.

* * * * * * * *
Does anyone remember that funny movie from the '80s where all the high school boys were horny?
OK, narrowing it down, they had a peep hole in the girls gym shower.
Kim Cattrall (pre-Mannequin) was nicknamed Lassie and the smell of gym socks made her howl?
Well, there's now a 2nd restaurant in SA named after that movie located in the old Red Lobster at 410 & Callaghan. (I think the original is on Culebra near downtown).

Don't go there!
Trust me.

We broke our rule about giving a new place a month to get their act together, and are now back to rigid enforcement.
2 burgers with fries/onion rings and sodas = over $16 = ouch + it better be really good.
Nope--the fries were soggy and the rings tasted like fish.
Tilapia, to be exact.
And when a burger is supposed to have onions, there should be more than 1 small circle.

But what sucked the most was waiting over 45 minutes for disappointing and overpriced food.
With no apology.
It's like they were driving to HEB for more meat and potatos after each order, as if the idea of needing to churn them out on a Friday night was a big surprise.

Our polite email giving them a heads-up got a reply that struck us as a lot of excuses.
Here are some gems, copied verbatim, leaving out the parts that had crazy bad syntax or made no sense:
"...we are a gourmet restaurant.

We prepare everything fresh and hand patty meat.

We are not a fast food restaurant."

(Got THAT right!)

I suggest you "hand patty meat" a little faster and some day you can work your way up to a slow food restaurant.
I grilled steaks with rice and corn for dinner tonight and it took less time, despite starting with a cold stove and frozen BBQ.

And for the record, fishy onion rings are unacceptable.
Fish gets it's own fryer--every idiot knows that.
I'll have to disagree with the use of the word gourmet.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Walking Around Boerne

On Sunday we traveled up IH10 a bit to Boerne, which brought back memories of the time I damaged Sylvia's Dad's truck using the rear end of a deer at 4am.
First, we went to Market Days in the town square to look at the same kind of stuff that can be found at the Market Days in Leon Valley or any other small town that wants to end up losing money on a noble idea.
And to try our best at avoiding mud. (I was coughing a lot, because at 3am that morning I was loading the band's trailer in the cold cold rain).
Syl bought some blueberry/habanero and other similar jams from a vendor who it turns out also sells at Artisan's Alley here in town.
Enough of the complaints--let's walk the main street and poke around some shops!

Hey...nope--too Alamo Heights-ish.
Cross the street.
Stop to take a picture up a tree:
This was fun because other shoppers(?) had to look up too and couldn't figure out what was so important that I needed a picture.
Made you look!

We started finding a few antique stores that were open, and the fun began.
I soon found the big brother to our Pyrex salsa containers, at a very low price due to inconsequential chips in the lid. SOLD!

I almost bought a publicity print of Don Knotts as Barney Fife, but the signature didn't seem right to me. It would have looked great next to my autographed print of Julie Newmar in her CatWoman outfit.

Found some great ViewMaster discs from the '60s and '70s, like the moon landing, and would have gone back for them had I managed to locate the ViewMaster viewer itself instead of just a non-stereo-vision screen projector.
After teaching myself how to make 3-D photos a few years ago, I soon found that nobody I know is able to view them correctly without lots of effort (not gonna happen) or lots of expensive equipment (also not gonna happen).
However, I do know how to make my own ViewMaster discs.

Later, I spotted this great old Chevy pickup hiding between some buildings:
It was very cool.

After the New Year's Eve show in Kerrville, our singer forgot her jacket.
Because I'm sweet, I brought it back to SA instead of trading it to a 9-tooth pig farmer for some chops.
But since I'm also a bit of a dick, at our next show last Friday I dragged a ladder onto the stage and hung it up as high as I could.

Still haven't found out how she got it down, but whoever helped her is on my list.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Random Stuff

While waiting for the plumbers today, I took apart our old cordless house phone.
We've been cell-only for a long time, and it was a POS anyway, so I was collecting screws and spare parts from the base unit (got some good stuff).
Then I noticed that the adjustable external antenna didn't even have a wire up the middle, so I'm guessing that the two spirals of wire with the foam are the new antenna protocol.
And by new I mean 2003 as opposed to 2000:

This is my new grill--a Christmas present from Sylvia:
It's the one I wanted, and after a few meals has proven to be the perfect grill for us in both size and features. Easy to clean, doesn't take up much room, LOVE it!
Best part is that my brother assembled it for me on Christmas Day so I could concentrate on getting the house ready for our party later that night.
If you look at this post from August you can read about the end of my old BBQ, as well as my newest bass. I got a case for that bass for Christmas, too.

Last week we went to Holly's to take pictures of her horses.
I have a bunch of stuff to work on from that shoot, but it'll have to wait until I can get my computer fixed. As I mentioned last time, this spare one doesn't have PhotoShop and in fact can barely handle the internet, so my more important (to me) photography will have to wait a while longer.
In fact, besides the horses I have a few other shoots sitting patiently.

While at Holly's I took the opportunity to sight-in my .22 and shoot a group to check for accuracy after all the recent work I've done to it:
That's 3 shots into one ragged hole at 30 yards.
Center-to-center this measured out to 0.157" according to my calipers, which is extremely good for the same gun with a heavy aftermarket target barrel, let alone a 25 year old thin factory one like mine.
And I'm still not done tweaking this gun!
Very glad to finally have proof that I'm on the right track.

Oh, and the plumbers did a great job so far, with high hopes for complete success when they find the right parts and return.
The leaky faucets are now dry, and the most-corroded metal drain pipes have been replaced with PVC.
Plus, my home-brewed fixes were approved by an expert.

No promises as far as how long you'll have to wait for another post, but I'm 72.2% more optimistic than I was just yesterday.
Oh yeah--Happy New Year!