December 2010

Ups and Downs of 2010

Family – Although we’ve been through some illnesses and injuries, we’re all still healthy and doing ok. There’s a lot to be said for that. Our own family here has grown with the addition of some new cats and kittens. They’re a lot of work, but they’re worth it.

Economy – Despite some positive (and I use that term lightly) indicators, the economy is still in the dumpster and shows few signs of recovering soon. I’m halfway through the third year of a pay freeze, although I am very glad I still have a job. The oil companies and speculators are in the act of committing wholesale robbery again, but the rest of us won’t be seeing an increase in income in the near future.

Red Sox – Another roller coaster season. They did very well considering injuries and such, but they faded badly at the end, mostly due to really poor pitching performances. On the bright side, they’ve picked up Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Bobby Jenks, so 2011 is looking pretty sweet right now. Can’t wait for April.

Patriots – Talk about a surprising season. Most folks had predicted they’d be lucky to have a winning season. Instead they’re leading the NFL. Amazing coaching by Belichick and another banner year for Brady have lifted them to home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Amazing.

Miracles – Or maybe just really good planning. Either way, it was the year’s bright spot to see the Chilean miners make it out of that hell hole alive.

Airline Travel – It gets worse and worse. Between the nightmare of getting through TSA’s gauntlet and the continued mismanagement of the airlines themselves, there is no shortage of really pissed off fliers out there.

Technology – Some really cool stuff appeared on the scene this year. Apple and Android led the way with a quantum leap in mobile computing. My personal tech inventory got a boost this year from a very nice 42″ HDTV and new Canon T1i DSLR. Plus I saw most Red Sox games on the new HDTV thanks to my Roku box (although a mini-thumbs down to MLB.TV’s poor service, which almost made the whole deal worthless).

Education – Mine is done. At least the formal part of it. I completed my degree program and was awarded my Master of Science degree on Dec. 20th. So glad that’s behind me.

Very busy today at the feeder in the back yard.

Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder Busy Feeder

Merry Christmas, everyone.

I finally moved up to a full DSLR camera. This is my new Canon T1i. This is the 18-55mm lens. I also have a 55-250mm lens. So far I’m liking it a lot, but the weather hasn’t been cooperative. I took a shot of a very cold prairie on the way home as well as the methane burn off near a landfill I pass. Both were taken hand held. Can’t wait to try out some really long exposures using a tripod.

Canon T1i

Cold Prairie

Methane Burn Off

Ups and Downs of the Week

Red Sox – Picked up Bobby Jenks today. Let’s hope he works out better than some other reclamation projects the Sox have tried (*ahem* Gagne).

John Boehner – Do people actually believe this cry baby is a stable leader? My god.

Patriots – They embarrassed the Bears on the Bears’ home field in the Bears’ home weather. They should sweep the Packers aside like so much sawdust on the floor, but those are the games where they sometimes falter. Time to send the Packers packin’.

IL budget issues – The campus is trying to save money by not plowing the parking lots. A lot of people got their car stuck on level parking lots with 6″ of unplowed snow. Safety takes a back seat to money.

More Photoshop fun – Making a dull vacation picture interesting.

Salzburg Sphere

Ups and Downs of the Week

Done with School – Defended my thesis (CCK) this week, so I’m done. My degree requirements are complete. No more school for me.

Congress – Can it get any worse?

Patriots – Kicked NY Jets to the curb where they belong. Now they need to dominate the Bears to cement their position as the premier NFL team this year.

Red Sox – They finally opened the purse strings and bought some serious talent. I’m really looking forward to next season now. They still need some starting pitchers and mucho bullpen help.

Ramsau Webcam – Caught a ghost family crossing the bridge.

Ramsau Ghosts

US Postal Service – The single worst way to ship anything. My order from NY made it from the shipper in some small town in upstate to Forest Park, IL (Chicagoland) in a day. Somehow 3 days later it still hasn’t made it downstate to my door. Pathetic.

Ups and Downs of the week.

Photoshop – I should be designing Christmas ornaments.

Ramsau Ornament

Patriots – Doing well so far. Monday night is their chance to finally hold the lead in their division. Or be firmly in second place.

Catbirds – Not exactly what I was hoping for when I put this feeder up.