Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cyclists lose a round: Black Hawk revisited

Real quick...

Three cyclists who contested their tickets for the sin of riding bicycles through Black Hawk, Colorado, had their citations upheld by the local judge.

Surprise, surprise.

It will be interesting to see what spin LAB puts on it this time.

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Ask Dr. Wally: Meer-acle Water

Dear Dr. Wally,

I visited our town carnival over the weekend. There was a booth attended by a stunning young woman hawking something called "Meer-acle Water." She said it boosted amino acids and reduced recovery time, all while purging the body of unwanted ions, heavy metals, phosphates, fluoride, and a long list of other chemicals. She seemed very sincere and even showed me the differences between tap water and her product by using some kind of digital meter. Does this stuff work? I don't know, but I'll be getting a case of it every week for the next three years. She sold me on a contract.

Hydrated in Hugo

Wow! That's a lot of water. Are you a fish? I ask because it's very possible you're a sucker.

Now, I fully understand the persuasive power of attractive women. After all, I've been married four times. Or is it five? Regardless, it's impossible for water to be ionized. An ion is a charged molecule and water is a conductor. It would dissipate the charge. We call all these claims by their scientific name - hooey. It's made up. It's imaginary. And it sells like crazy.

Next time you're in Broken Elbow, have some of our miracle water. We're at the top of the watershed, so our water comes from a spring up the hill from town. In the winter, it's 38 degrees right out of the tap - perfect for chilling beer - and in the summer we hardly ever get tadpoles in it since we installed that new filtration system.

Dr. Wally

Next month: Deflecting Amway mind control rays with common household products.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day weekend

Yeah, right. It's a 'holiday' weekend so I get two days off. This overtime stuff is getting old.

(Click through for the full size photos. They're better!)

This was taken months ago with a Yashica Lynx 14, another rangefinder from the 1960s. I like the camera and I think the images are good, but it's a squinty viewfinder, difficult to focus quickly, and for that alone I don't carry it often. I'll have to tinker with it in low light sometime.

I purchased the 'pro' version of Zoner Photo Studio after using the free version for awhile. One of the photo blogs said this is very similar to Lightroom, but I wouldn't know. It does just about everything I need in a photo database and editing program. I've played with the panorama function, like in this photo and some others. The paid version will do high dynamic range and some other things I haven't learned to use yet.

Finally, as I wandered the Blue Dome Arts Festival last weekend, I saw this. The two women are members of Tulsa Belly Dance and they were preparing for a performance. The guy's reaction was simply fortuitous.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Severe storm photos

This storm hit Joplin, Missouri last night, spawning a tornado that killed many people. The numbers are still rising as I write this.

At the time, Mary remarked that the clouds looked pretty. And they do. But their fluffy appearance comes from powerful updrafts. They looked almost like steam boiling atop a kettle.

The view in that first photo is roughly east to southeast. I took it with the Kodak Z1285 using the camera's internal stitching software. Afterward, I corrected some of the distortion in Zoner Photo Studio, straightening that light pole in the middle but making the edges distort almost like a fish-eye lens.

The bottom photo was taken less than half an hour later. The storm stretches from east to south, growing as it moved. This was taken with the same camera with the lens zoomed to about 100 mm. They were stitched in Zoner. The right most ones are out of focus but it looks OK in the smaller sizes. The original was over 30 megs!

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

This won't turn out well

OK, the CDC just put out a 'public service bulletin' that supposedly makes tongue-in-cheek reference to the Zombie Apocalypse. Yeah, right. That's what they want you to think. It's just another clever government disinformation campaign intended to lull us all into a false sense of security. The zombies are out there. They're coming. And we're utterly unprepared.

Actually, the CDC wants all of us to be prepared for any emergency, not just the Zombie Apocalypse. It contains the list of items we should have on hand in case of any natural disaster, something that should be in the forefront of our thinking since the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan. Here in Oklahoma, we have the New Madrid fault to our east in Missouri and Arkansas. It hasn't produced a major earthquake for nearly 200 years, so it's just possibly due.

But my money is on the zombies.

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They're gone! They're gone!

I worked overtime today. This afternoon, I fell asleep after work. When I woke up, no one was around. The television was off. No one was in the house. The street was eerily silent. No planes went overhead and even the noise from the freeway was gone.

I was alone in a silent world.

The rapture thing must have happened! Nothing else would account for it. I was alone!

So of course, I stripped off all my clothes, smeared peanut butter all over my body, and ran down the street singing "John Brown's Body" not because it was especially appropriate but because it was all I could think of at the time.

Freedom is a highly personal thing.

A police car came around the bend and stopped at the bottom of the hill. I did a quick u-turn and hot-footed it back to the house. I heard a couple of yelps from his siren, but never looked back.

So I'm not alone, after all. In fact, I probably won't be alone for long as they're pounding on the front door. It's really hard to get all this peanut butter off in a hurry.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rusty old hulks

I came across this on How to be a Retronaut yesterday, and since I know some of you like these rusty old hulks (I'm talking at you, George!) go take a look. They're lovely photos of seriously large bits of junk.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Carney Art

This is carney art, as in carnival, not the late Art Carney.

I wandered through the Trail Days carnival early this morning just as the sun was coming up. The whole lot was deserted. It was kind of eerie in a way, but once I really started looking at some of the art work applied to a couple of the trailers, it rapidly went downhill to out and out creepy.

OK, monkeys I can handle, even ones that look like they were spray painted by a talented graffiti artist. But monkeys and "shoes required" tipped the irony meter.

This is a detail from the first photo of the ticket trailer up on top. There's a lot going on in that one, including two policemen presumably falling to their deaths from a balloon. But if you look carefully, you find that the guy wearing the boater isn't looking up at the falling balloonists. He's looking down at this woman's big butt. What's more, her sly smile seems to indicate she knows where he's looking.

This is painted on the entry door to the ticket trailer. There's a good reason your parents said to never take candy from strangers, and it doesn't get much stranger than this. Look carefully and you'll notice that his right eye is actually a wide angle lens.

This is part of the same trailer. The guy is obviously impressed with this young woman's talents. Both of them.

Sure, there's more 'normal' carnival stuff, like riding this chicken on the merry go round. Lovely.

Here's the Ferris wheel in silhouette against the rising sun. It was early. And it was cold! Temperatures fell to the low 40s overnight.

The deserted midway at dawn.

I think the city contracted with the same carnival for the last couple of years. Many of them winter here in Oklahoma so perhaps this is a local carnie business too. I think there's an Oklahoma tag on the merry go round trailer.

This is the first time I've really noticed the art on the trailers. It's perhaps in the realm of folk art. I got a kick out of looking at the details, though, and it's a reminder to look for those little things that I'd normally miss.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Gundy's Airport

This morning, my friend Wade accompanied me out to Gundy's Airport just east of Owasso. It has a single north-south runway and it's used by many local pilots. Most of the houses surrounding the airstrip have both a garage and a hangar.

The rest of the photos - the good ones anyway - are over on Flickr. There's an interesting mix of new and old, restored and decrepit. Since the airport is underutilized, there's hangar space rented out to RVs and even a few cars.

If you visit Gundy's, be sure to get one of the popular treats here in Northeast Oklahoma, an airplane-on-a-stick.

It just doesn't get much better than that!

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Quick photo dump

This American Airlines DC-3 visited Tulsa over the weekend for a fund raiser at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. It spent Thursday night in a hangar at the maintenance base and I was able to get a few photos early Friday morning.

The color shots are from the Kodak Z1285 and the black and white images are scans from the Nikon N6000 loaded with Kodak 400B/W, scanned at our local photo lab. Click through and look at the full size images for the detail.

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Now what?

I've seen plenty of strange cycling stuff over the years, from Skid Lids to magic lasers meant to provide your own personal bike lane. But this helmet ranks near the top in terms of sheer goofiness.

First, be very afraid. "Six out of ten" bike crashes occur after 4PM. (And the majority of all cycling crashes occur in summer months when the sun goes down - what? - later than 4PM?) So if you wear this lighted helmet, maybe it increases the magical powers inherent in styrofoam and plastic.

In some circles, nothing says "dork" more effectively than wearing a helmet, but in this case, anyone wearing this uber-dorky model deserves to get beat up by some smart aleck math nerds in thick glasses.