Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Last night I went to see Suzanne Vega perform at the Variety Playhouse. This was my first time seeing her perform in person. I was somehow surprised that she sounds virtually exactly the same live as she does on her CDs. I suppose that is an indication that her CDs are not over-produced and that she is just a really superior singer / songwriter. She started the show by singing "Tom's Diner" a capella. I think she did that to get it out of the way since so many people know her by that one song (including me for a long time). She then proceeded to sing a variety of the songs from her latest CD as well as many of her better known older songs; many songs she sang with very little instrumental accompaniment. She provided nice backstories to describe the history of the songs she performed and even tossed in a bit of humor at the expense of Rod Stewart. It was a thoroughly enjoyable show. I overheard someone say that he felt like "he had been put under a spell" for the duration of her performance. I think that is a good way to describe the experience. I hope she comes back again soon as I would gladly attend another of her shows.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I took Mom and Dad to Florida over the week of Thanksgiving so they would have the opportunity to visit two of my aunts that live there. We first went to visit my mom's sister-in-law who lives in Lehigh Acres. It's been more than 20 years since we've seen her, so I suppose it was just about time. On the way we stopped in Sarasota to see the ocean. We weren't there for very long, but I think it made an impression on my mom; she's already planning a future vacation there. From Lehigh Acres we then drove back north to Ocala to visit my dad's sister. It hasn't been nearly as long between visits with her, but the area really has changed a lot. I put up some pictures from the trip on flickr

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Game Day

Dad and I went to the Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina game today. My brother-in-law has season tickets and was kind enough to let us have use of his seats. The last time I watched a Tech football game in person was when I was a freshman there. So, it's been a long time. Both Dad and I had a great time. He was reminded of his days in high school when he played the baritone in the school band. 

It was an exciting game. This shot was just after we scored a touchdown. It's difficult for me to say if I had more fun watching the game or more fun experimenting with my new camera. This was the first chance I've had to use it since buying it last weekend. I blew through my 2 GB CompactFlash card quite easily, and I was being conservative in what I chose to shoot. It's a good thing that I have an 8 GB card on order. It won't be difficult to fill.

This was a shot of the winning team. We won the game in the last 15 seconds with a field goal. To say that the stadium was energized would be an understatement. It was really an awesome game; the weather was picture perfect, the game was filled with action, I had a fun new toy to play with, and Dad and I got to spend the day together.

Garden State

I was in New Jersey last week attending a conference for work. Most of the week was spent indoors. That wasn't really a problem since it was also mostly rainy throughout the week. On Friday, however, the sun came out and the natural beauty and color of the changing leaves became apparent. These pictures do not do justice to the intensity of the colors. Unfortunately, I had my camera set for taking pictures of white boards in dim conference rooms and I forgot to change the settings before snapping shots outdoors. The last time I was in New Jersey I was under the impression that the state was mostly monochrome. I actually was looking at video from a color camera and thought there was a problem because everything appeared in varying shades of gray. I must now admit that my first experience was not at all typical of what I saw this time. Now I understand why it's called "The Garden State."

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Big One

Persistence pays off. On Friday morning I saw on dealnews a particularly good price for the Canon EOS 40D body and Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens at Circuit City. Thanks to a coupon that provided an additional 10% off the sale price if picked up in the store, it was possible to buy the kit for about $250 less than it is currently sold from most reputable dealers. I have been waiting for this camera to hit the stores and this deal was just way too good to pass up. I jumped onto the Circuit City website and placed my order with the intention of picking it up from the CC near work.

Grant and I ventured over to the store on our way back to the office from lunch. They were having some computer problems at the store when I arrived, so the customer service representative wasn't immediately able to locate my order. He sought help from someone in the camera department and came walking back up to the counter empty handed. They didn't have the camera in stock and allegedly no other store anywhere near Atlanta did either! I was annoyed. He offered to special order it, but said that it would take 2 weeks to arrive. Ugh! I told him just to cancel the order. I received my $24 gift card as their compensation for not having the item available 24 minutes after I ordered, per their advertised policy. Great... I now had a gift card for $24 but not the awesome deal on the camera I've been waiting for.

I checked their website when I arrived back at the office and it confirmed that the camera was unavailable unless I felt like driving to Chattanooga. It was the "Big One" that got away.

This evening on a whim I decided to check the CC website one more time. Impossible! It said that the kit was available for pickup from the store a few miles away from me in Acworth. I placed my order online for the kit and a high-speed CompactFlash card and this time called the store to verify that they REALLY had the camera in stock. The CSR confirmed that they did. Happy day! I drove to the store and picked up the kit along with the memory card. It was even better than the "Big One." The best part was that due to the lower taxes in my county and the $24 gift card I received for my inconvenience yesterday, I paid $41.82 less out of pocket than I would have on the original, awesome deal.

This would have been a Disney movie happy ending if not for one small "gotcha." They gave me an SD memory card instead of CompactFlash! So, unfortunately, I'm going to have to go back to the store tomorrow to exchange the card for the right type. It's annoying, but at least I still have a great camera at a great price. I'm really looking forward to being able to take shots with it. I love my PowerShot SD800 IS, but my new bundle of joy will provide me with a completely new world of options to explore in photography. I look forward to sharing my experiments.

UPDATE: The exchange of the SD card for the CompactFlash card went just about as well as I expected. I showed my receipt to the customer service representative and then showed the box containing the incorrect product. She was new, so she had to ask a supervisor what to do. After finding out that she should just return the SD card and then ring up the CompactFlash card she instructed me to go back to the camera department to bring the correct item to the desk. Sure, I could do that. I walked back there to discover that the card I needed was in a locked display case. The only employee in that part of the store was helping / flirting with a small group of young ladies as they searched for a camera. I realized this wasn't going to go anywhere fast so I went back up to the front of the store and asked the CSR if anyone else could unlock the display. They paged someone to the camera department and asked for me to go back there to wait for them. I went back to the display case and waited about 5 minutes (felt like 10 or more) for someone to show up. It was the same guy that was helping the young ladies (apparently he was the only person with the key). I took my card back up to the front desk and the CSR proceeded to ring up the order. Uh oh... The price didn't match what I paid. I informed her that was correct since I received a 10% discount on the item for picking it up in the store from the online order. She looked puzzled and thought she should still charge me EVEN THOUGH MY ORIGINAL RECEIPT WAS FOR THIS ITEM. She went back and contacted her supervisor again. The supervisor authorized the "discount" and was about to leave when she noticed that the SD card box was open. She asked me if I had opened it. "Yes," I said. That was how I realized I was given THE WRONG ITEM. She let it go and that was that. So, I finally got the right card and my order is now complete. I certainly don't like dealing with Circuit City and I wouldn't recommend it as a first choice to anyone, however this bargain was just too good to pass up. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town for the next week so I won't have a chance to experiment much with my new camera (I don't feel like taking it with me on a business trip where I'll most likely be in a hotel conference room all week). I'll try to get some pictures of interesting things posted up over the next couple of weeks, though.