Mildly Amusing Musings & Some Photographs

Posts tagged “driving

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?

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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.


Big Papi – The end of my love affair with my Mini?

I wrote this in February after having the Mini serviced.  I forgot to post it apparently.  Ooops.

My dad was the manager of a body shop.  He worked there for 44 years 8am-5pm, staying later & working weekends on his own restorations.  The first restoration I remember was the 1941 Dodge.  We met Cousin Brucie & The Duprees in that car.  I thought that was a big deal.  The next one was one of my favorites, a 1957 Nash Metropolitan

 followed by my “Blue Hawaii” MG. 

From there, the cars got smaller & stranger – BMW Isettas, a King Midget, a Messerschmitt, et. al.   When he got sick, he liquidated his collection to pay his medical bills.  He also took some of the cash to buy a Mini.  In October of 2005, he bought an ’05 Mini Cooper convertible.  When he died, my family convinced me that he had bought it with me in mind.  It took a few months, but I eventually caved in & began driving it regularly, leaving my ailing Sebring on the sidelines.  Fresh off a trip to the World Baseball Classic, I named him Big Papi.  

Once I got over my fear of breaking him, I dreamt of driving him to exotic places, cruising Route 66 with the top down, taking part in an entire Mini Takes the States Tour… Ahhh,a new car… Based on my previous habits of driving already worn cars into the ground, I figured I had a good 100,000 worry free miles.  Such was not the case.  Every 10,000 miles, I have had to have the CVT transmission reset because it doesn’t kick into the next gear.  When it happens, I feel like I am in “Speed.”      I can drive up to 48mph or over 65mph.  Anything in between comes really close to the redline.  This wasn’t as much of a problem when I was under warranty but I’m at 70K miles now.  The increased RPMs make the engine hotter causing me to have the thermostat replaced in October.   Long story short, I was told that the demise of my transmission is imminent & my best bet would be to trade him in.  For what?  I don’t want any part of a different Mini.  I have never not had a convertible, but a bigger vehicle would be better for hauling band equipment since mom’s PT Cuiser has surpassed 80,000 miles.  A car payment would severely impede on my desires to get a new video camera & upgrade other equipment.   AND, this says nothing of the fact that Big Papi represents all of the blood, sweat & tears that were the cars that were sold for so much less than they were worth in order to buy him.  Do I take my chances & keep driving him, hoping that the transmission won’t leave me stranded somewhere?  Or do I take him to some shady dealership where they will give me $5000?  Mini Cooper, I am so disappointed that you were not even remotely serious when you said “Let’s Motor.”  For $25,000, I would expect a car to last longer than 70,000 miles.  There are almost 29 pages of similar & worse complaints on consumer affairs & it is quite obvious that almost every one of them is from someone who loves their Mini as much if not more than I do.  I am sad.  I am also going to have to deal with my brother saying “I told you so” because he told me last year that I would not be able to afford the maintenance.

*Update*
So, I just surpassed 78,000 miles & I feel the transmission starting to slip again but we had a really great day yesterday.  We drove back roads of NJ that I never knew existed.  Long stretches of tree canopied, narrow, sloping roads and long straight paths bordered by farms.   Top down, good music playing…  The hot sun made cool by the breezes… THAT’s driving 🙂


Driving into spring…

I would much rather sit and mess around with pictures or watch a movie than take the time to update this so here are some Jan/Feb driving shots mixed with some fixed shots from “the shore.” 

I had a terrible headache the other night & didn’t feel like doing much so I decided to play with some pictures.  This started off as a black & white photo.  I was originally going to just paint color onto the sign. Then, I wanted to paint the car.  Then, I got lost in my head & wound up with this.  I wish my license plate really was a pair of lips.


“Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more…”

I can’t drive through the Freehold countryside without thinking of my dad & the music of Bruce Springsteen.  My dad went to school with Bruce.  Unlike most Bruce fans of his age, my dad readily admitted that he had no idea who Bruce was when they were in school. My dad moved from Freehold in 1967.  He had lived on a farm in an area that has since been plowed over by Rte 33.  While I never got to see exactly where it was, I do know that the area in the image below is less than a mile away. 

Freehold, NJ

“They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back to your
hometown…”


“Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey…”

It has been a while since I have really written so I should let you know that I have moved on from my days of regularly waiting tables.   I have a slightly more steady flow of income from a job that involves driving around A LOT and informing mortgagers that they need to call the bank.  I get to take pictures of the houses but it is hardly a “photography” gig.  However, I do get to travel the NJ roads least visited or remembered, but most memorable.

Last month, I found this scene near (or in?) Farmingdale & passed it twice in the same week for these alternate views…


Lensbaby 2.0

So, apparently the wedding pictures I took weren’t too horrible because my friends presented me with a very unexpected thank you gift in the form of the most awesome Lensbaby 2.0 (maybe they’re just really nice, awesome people).  I have had it for less than a week & have yet to dedicate sufficient time to fooling around with it but preliminary results are extraordinary.  The only downfall is that I cannot just shoot while driving unless the subject is about two feet away.  Here are some fun early pictures.

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Below is Anthony, from Binky Bianca.  He is half of the aforementioned couple.  For this shot, I was borrowing a color splash flash that I intend to add to my repertoire as soon as I am done writing this.  For the record, Binky Bianca is one helluvan amazing band.  I have had their song, “Absolute” stuck in my head for months now.

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 Snowball 37 shared Saturday’s bill with Binky Bianca.

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For more on Lensbaby, Binky Bianca, Binky (whose married to Anthony & thus responsible for making Lensbaby a part of my life), and all other cool artsy things, please visit mimeographic.com.   I seriously don’t know where this girl finds the time…  I still haven’t posted all my photos from SXSW nor have I really begun the documentary editing process.