Mildly Amusing Musings & Some Photographs

Posts tagged “2012

Let’s Have a Party! Wooooooo!

(C) Conn!

Pictured here is Wanda Jackson at The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ on August 25, 2012.

This is one of the first photos I edited with my new computer & Lightroom 4.  Phase One of Operation Conn! has begun.  My old pc decided he wasn’t going to connect with our new internet provider so I took him for a checkup.  Said checkup revealed that his capacitors were dying.  The technician said I may have a few more weeks without glitches or a few months.  His last upgrade was about 15 years ago & there was also no easy way to revamp his system to make way for the extra speed & power a new camera will require.  Despite knowing that a mac or at least a laptop would be more practical, I opted for a touchscreen desktop HP.  I waited nearly a week to disconnect my old pal, buy Lightroom, and hook up my new friend.  My old friend served me well & I still didn’t throw him out.  I left him just where he has been for the past 15 years & set up the new pc in front of him.

Prior to the upgrade, Photoshop Elements 5 was my editing program but I kept reading about Lightroom 4 & how great it was so I made sure it was my first purchase (especially when I heard Wanda was coming to town).  I meant to write immediately to document my return to the future (or at least the today) but, of course, I didn’t so now I am writing as a fly has landed on my screen & continues to mess with my typing & as I have 400 photos open in LR waiting to be edited.  400?!  That is insane.  I used to only be able to open about 20 at a time.  With a week of LR editing behind me now, I definitely do not hate it the way I did on first use.  I still dislike that simple terms like “open,” “save” & “close” are “import,” “export” & “delete” in LR.  I also dislike not being able to add text or multiple layers but I now have Elements 10 to take care of that.  I am fairly certain that all sounds pretty amateur to whomever is still reading & didn’t stop when I kept referring to my old pc as a him or didn’t stop at the mere mention of *GASP* editing photos on a pc!

What else is new?

Image

I LOVE Gaslight Anthem’s new album, “Handwritten” & cannot stop listening to it. I am currently eating a Fruit Roll Up.  Despite not watching them, the Olympics did what they have done to me every fourth summer since I was little; they made me start swimming laps again.  I broke my second lawnmower of the summer & had to weedwhack the entire lawn.  I ordered new red boots for my Wonder Woman costume.  addicted to “Entourage” & watched the whole series in less than two weeks & have not stopped watching for over a month.   I do not blog often enough but did start an Instagram to also not keep up to date.

That is about all.  I am hoping Phase Two, buying a new camera, begins within the next few weeks.  I am definitely leaning toward the Canon 5D MkIII but the Nikon D800 is also an option.  I will have to weigh the cost of lenses & batteries for both.

Oh, that isn’t all!  I love Wanda Jackson.  She rocked my socks off.

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Flava in Ya Ear – May 15, 2012

I just uploaded my pictures to ADAY.ORG for their worldwide photo project.  The goal was to capture your daily life in ten photos shot on May 15, 2012.  I worked that day but I also had to to take Big Papi to Mini to have his power steering replaced.

My loaner was a 2012 Mini Countryman.  I loved the color & the SiriusXM.  I didn’t have anyone with me to take advantage of the extra roomy backseats but they looked really nice.   There was a sunroof for the front & a moon roof for the rear but I still prefer the full convertible.

Most of the day was grey & rainy & my workload was so spread out that I didn’t have much time during work to shoot anything outside of my route.  Around noon, I decided to take advantage of the loaner Mini’s SiriusXM radio & I started shooting what I was listening to as well as a photo of what was outside at that time.  Syncing the photos to the radio photos was a task I would never complete in a timely fashion & I couldn’t find just ten that worked well for the project.   This made me miss SiriusXM & it also made me want a radio that displayed all the titles of what I listen to.  I suppose an iPod would work too but I liked the idea of selecting from 100+ stations that I didn’t control.  I did take a break from the radio for a little bit to re-take the “There’s A Law” shot I missed last time I had a loaner.

Subsequently, I tested some of the other CDs I had with me to see which would register the song titles.  Besides those few, here is what I listened to May 15 between 11:57am & 6:13pm when I returned the loaner.

I wound up not getting the power steering repaired because they saw my brakes & tires as a bigger safety issue & I just couldn’t afford both.  Big Papi & I are in a very abusive relationship.  Whenever something breaks, I feel like I should sell him & get something cheaper to fix but then I see him & drop his top & our love affair continues…

I really love my expensive, little buddy. His brakes, two tires, a belt and an oil change came to $1100.  The power steering & new related hoses will be in excess of $1500 but they said I can’t damage it anymore than it already is & I can continue to drive him without power steering.  K turns are now Super Triple W turns but otherwise I almost prefer the tighter steering & my arms really could use the workout.  Already the driving muscles I used to have from driving the Dart are coming back.  I wish the Dart would come back too.


“I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel…”

On November 22, my beloved Big Papi was rear ended.  Four & a half months later, the insurance company & direct repair shop (who will remain nameless until a later post) finally arranged for me to take him to Mini myself to get his backup sensors & trunk latch fixed properly.  I was told by the insurance company that “inconveniences are to be expected when you’re in an accident,” but this has been a total nightmare.  Luckily, a trunk light that constantly turns the interior lights on & off is “not a safety hazard that prevents you from driving.”

Big Papi is a 2005 Mini Cooper convertible.   He has some pretty big issues with his CVT transmission.  Every 10,000 miles, he needs to have it adjusted.  Unfortunately, due to poor timing & being poor, I let it get to the point where he could barely drive 45mph.  Shifting into the manual mode, I could sometimes get up to higher speeds but downshifting was a 50/50 chance of a jolting trip to 6000+RPM.   This leads to the only positive experience of the car accident – I was forced to take Big Papi to Mini of Monmouth.  Since they opened, I had wanted to give them a try but it is often more important for me to be editing when I am not working & I could get by driving 45mph most of the time.

I was a little worried that Mini of Monmouth would not be as great as Princeton Mini.   I thought maybe Mini stopped trying now that so many non-waving, boring people were driving Mini Coopers.  Even their advertising is not as fun.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the staff at Mini of Monmouth was equally awesome.  I dropped my car off around 9:30 & received a call less than four hours later to say that Big Papi was ready.  Part of me was a little disappointed because I wanted to test the 2012, take nice pictures of it & write a review.   Because I was working, the nice pictures didn’t really happen & I didn’t get to experience the Mini at night, but here are some mostly cosmetic notes on my six hour drive.

I loved the fun paint on the loaner & was really glad that the Countryman body has not become the only body style.  I think it looks like a Subaru & lacks the charm of the regular Mini Cooper.

I love the orange eyeballs in the headlight eyes & the second set of eyes in the parking lights.

Super cute tail lights too.

I want one of these.   Overall, I approve of the exterior.

The seat controls are still lacking a bit.  I hate that the back adjustment faces the center console.  It is really inconvenient to get your hand in there without jamming your knuckles.  Maybe the non-base models have power seat controls?

The windows have a power down & power up which would be a decent feature if it wasn’t quite so difficult to get it to stay about 3/4 open.   Also, while the location of the cup holders is a bit better than the 2006, there really isn’t much room for a big drink still.  Anything taller than this would have made it really difficult to operate the windows.  There is another cup holder behind the center console but I learned that it isn’t good for cans.   Also, the side/door pockets don’t have as much room as the 2006.  I could barely fit a few CDs in it.  (Yeah, sorry, I don’t have an iPod.)

Ahhhhh, a defroster that doesn’t require super-loud high power defrosting only.  In theory, since I didn’t actually need a defroster today, this is a huge improvement over the 2006.

The round key & push button start took a little getting used to.  When I first tried to start it, I had no idea I needed to put my foot on the brake so I sat there basically turning the radio on & off.  This criticism is for all car manufacturers who have opted to alter the wasn’t-broken-don’t-need-to-fix-it standard turnkey ignition.  Who decided that the motion of turning a key was just too much work?  Instead of letting your designers gadget up something like that, how about working on the mechanical aspects & improving fuel efficiency?  Oh never mind, I saw “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  It is much more important to have a key that doesn’t need to be in the ignition (Audi) or a car that parks itself (Lexus).  If you can’t park your car, you shouldn’t be driving.

On to the slightly less cosmetic…  I didn’t have nearly enough time on the highway but I made the most of my 2.8 miles of speeding.  If the police ask, this was photoshopped.   I was only trying to catch up with the car that passed me.  I like the large speedometer & the 2012’s ability to kick some ass quickly but found the gas indicator a little distracting.

I nearly failed to mention that I hate the new turn signal/directional.  It doesn’t stay clicked in position until you turn or turn it off yourself after a lane change.  It was very hard to figure out if it was on.  Turn signals too were fine the way they were.

Before I found out my car was ready, I was listening to NPR so I didn’t realize the radio displayed the song titles.  I love that.  If I knew it was there, I would have put on “There’s a Law” so that there’d be some irony in breaking the law.  By the way, I was listening to The Disciplines.  You should too.  I don’t think this stereo was as good as the Harman-Kardon though.  At loud volumes, there was quite a bit of distortion.  At times, I felt a little like the people I make fun of for having a stereo so bass-y that it shakes the plastic aftermarket body kit.  I also dislike that the radio buttons aren’t numbered & there was no quick way to switch between a CD & the radio.

None of these cosmetic issues I had outweighed the fact that it was indeed fun to drive.  Add in the nice people at Ray Catena Mini of Monmouth & I found myself falling back in love with the Mini Cooper brand.  When I picked up Big Papi, I was happy to see that they gave him a bath.  Also, I can now back up without beeping, open & close my trunk without lights coming on AND, the best part, drive over 45mph!  Separate from the insurance company’s bill, I had them adjust the transmission.  My buddy is back!!!!  Now, when people ask me how I like my Mini, I can once again tell them just good things.

This is the radio I love AND the super cool plastic window/lock overlay that they should reissue because mine is cracked.  I prefer that new climate control though.

A very big thanks to Steve at Mini of Monmouth.  I’ll be back for an oil change soon.


“I’ll close my eyes & listen to you read the story…”

I keep not finishing any of the SXSW posts that I start writing because I am too lazy to upload the photos for the third time (they’re already on facebook & flickr) SO I am just going to post a bunch of highlights, starting with my most favorite moment.

During the BLURT Magazine/ Dogfish Head IPA party at The Ginger Man on Friday, March 16, 2012 at SXSW…

This is Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow playing/singing “Solar Sister” about five feet away from me.   I am not able to post my own video of this event because someone (me) was screaming a bit too loudly.  I get excited. I can’t help it, especially when I’m in an open space & may have consumed a few glasses of wine.  You can see a great video of it here & be sure to listen up for a special name change in the middle.  When I heard it live, I thought it was just my imagination.  Actually, this whole night was nearly out of my imagination.

Earlier in the evening, Ken started his set with my most favorite of his songs, “Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)” & also played my second favorite, “One Morning” as well as a boatload of great new songs whose titles I don’t know.

Mmmmm… Gretsch.  I love Gretsch.

I have continued my trend of being too close to get good shots.  Luckily, I have great memories despite having a crappy memory.  I shot this with my newly acquired Sony Mavica CD-400.   When we stopped in Delaware on the way to Texas, my brother gave me it because he wasn’t using it anymore.  I had previously had the 300, 400 & 500.  As my dad upgraded, I would get the old one.  I would then find a way to crack the LCD screen.  One time it was because someone said they saw a snake & I fell while running away.  Motherfuckin’ snakes.   Unfortunately, we weren’t in any one place long enough to charge the batteries fully so I didn’t shoot too much with this.

This was also our first time seeing Jon Auer solo.  His “Burn & Shine” medley was particularly exceptional.  He didn’t break any strings though. This might be the first time we’ve seen him play & not break a string.

His open hand was begging for a glowing orb.

I know driving to Texas isn’t free, but did I mention this was a free show?  It was AND there was more greatness to follow when Jody Stephens joined in for some rollicking Big Star songs.

Many special guests came out, including some of the great “Third” singers/players, John Doe, the guy from Blitzen Trapper, Ian Moore & Peter Buck from R.E.M.  I kept thinking Peter Buck looked like Bill Murray so I couldn’t say hello because I kept laughing, expecting him to start reciting “Groundhog’s Day” lines (because I am sure that is what the real Bill Murray does when he isn’t loading Tia Carrere’s band van).

I should start taking notes of set lists or get a new battery for my video camera so I can at least have a poor recording to reference.  Suffice it to say that this only fed my frenzy of adoration for these guys.  Every time we see them together, I fear it will be the last time & I don’t ever want that to be the case.  I do want the next show to be somewhere where it is ok to dance though.  The sitters behind me weren’t too keen on my desire to dance to “September Gurls.”  I hate sitting down almost as much as I hate being quiet.

These guys are the greatest.  Induct them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now please (& don’t forget John Fry).