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Archive for the 'Rant' Category

Grab the right lens

Monday, June 21st, 2010

It should go without saying — grab the right lens. We went to the Memphis Exotic Italian Car Show today and I just grabbed my camera on the way out. I only have 2 lenses and I figured that the one already installed would be “good enough”. Well, that was a big mistake. It wound up being my 50 – 200 lens, which is fine, but a bit too much zoom on an APS-C sized sensor like I’ve got. I kept finding myself trying to step back in places I couldn’t. It was really frustrating. Neat cars, nice show, a little small, especially for $10/person, but nice place to take Grandpa on Father’s Day. There are truely some cool cars in town.

It’s GMT for me

Friday, June 11th, 2010

I’m giving in. I’ve set my camera clock to GMT. The timestamps in the EXIF data on most of the pictures I take are only good for picking out what day it was taken, maybe even localizing to morning or afternoon. The problem is I almost never remember to change it’s setting when we have the DST transitions or travel to different timezones. If I never remembered I guess it wouldn’t be quite as bad. So, today is a flag day — all of my primary camera pictures after 6/11/2010 are stamped in GMT.

Educational quality and spin

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Yesterday, I was searching around for the results from the BBQ competition last weekend when I happened across this article about Tennessee students:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/education/article/0,2673,MCA_22897_5547147,00.html

I was surprised and dismayed that my newly adopted state performed so poorly with regard to education (not that Oklahoma was particularly great). I thought “at least they are being honest about it.” A local paper actually covering such news is important.

Well, today, I’m searching around for other local news to find out where a rather scary “random” park shooting was, and I came across this article:

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5549461,00.html

I thought that those articles were somewhat contradictory.  It’s certainly possible for, say, the best school in the nation to be located in the worst district in the nation, it’s just not likely.  So, I decided to find out a big more about the study mentioned in the article and I found the results posted here:

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/challengeindex/

It was good to see exactly what the study was supposed to show.  Well, for one, it’s a “challenge” index and they state pretty clearly that they don’t include magnet schools, or charter schools with high (I’m paraphrasing here) composite ACT and/or SAT scores.  I have plenty authority on the matter to tell you that magnet schools can certainly challenge their pupils.  The mini Commercial Appeal article doesn’t mention this.  They also include a nice disclaimer at the end, so maybe they expect more astute readers to catch them, but I’m sure the schools they mentioned will be touting this as “proof” of the quality education they provide, just as the article implies.

Well, I decided to take a look at the list a bit and see who is where, etc.  Didn’t I just read that they leave out magnet and charter schools?  Then why is the #1 school on the list named Talented and Gifted?  Why is the #2 school named Science/Engineering Magnet?  I start scrolling down the list and find a school I’m a bit more familiar with — Classen School of Advanced Studies.  I know that’s a magnet/charter school.  There are a bunch more just like that.  Something seems a bit fishy to me.  At the minimum, there needs to be some clarification, but I’m wondering if there was some funny business going on here to make somebody look good.

Something is wrong with the medical system

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Something really needs to be done about the medical system.  It is simply insane.  A few weeks ago I got sick.  This one really got me.  Late one night I decided I better go to the emergency room.  I was there about 13 hours.  I got 4 liters of IV fluid, lots of needles, a chest x-ray, and a CT scan.  I really was in bad shape.  I haven’t felt that bad in a long time.  Anyway, the bill finally came.  Well, it came in 2 parts, but the total so far is just over $11,000.  I say so far because it seems these things tend to be sent in multiple parts.  Maybe this is it, I just don’t know.  We’ll see how good our health insurance is.

Always where you least expect…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I found this article a couple days after it happened and I just hadn’t gotten around to posting it (buried in a a few hundred open Firefox tabs).  It just goes to show one needs to be prepared anywhere.  This happened literally at one of the intersections that defines the border of our “campus” at work.  I haven’t heard it mentioned by anyone either.  We’re in a “safe” area, but that’s simply a misnomer in a place like this.  The latest statistics I’ve seen say that the murder count for Memphis for 2007 up to March 14 was 30 (up 7.1% for the same period in 2006).  Hopefully that’s just a statistical anomaly.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5402238,00.html

Gun Free Zones Protect the Children

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Okay, sarcasm mode off. I just saw this on the news.

http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5569718

Didn’t the bad guy know that schools are gun free zones. Or maybe he knew that made for a place law abiding citizens wouldn’t be able to protect themselves.

KFC Protester

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

I saw one of those KFC protesters this weekend.  It surprised me.  I knew they existed, but never imagined I’d see one in “my” part of the country.  It’s not like I live in California or New England.  Anyway, it was just a brief glance while driving by at 40mph.  I didn’t even notice him until he was literally right next to me.  It’s sad people have the time to do such things with a passion and don’t really do anything constructive about it.

Dumb Bans

Monday, August 14th, 2006

The activists are doing it, they are advancing their cause to impose their values on us.  I came across this article today and it just makes my blood boil.  I’ve never even tried foie gras, but I know where it comes from and if someone else wants to eat it I sure as heck won’t stop them.  Check it out:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/14/foie.gras.ap/index.html

Political idiots on the street

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

So, elections were just held this past week here in Memphis (I guess it’s probably state wide).  So, leading up to election day I’d see tons of people standing on the street corners holding up campaign signs.  It’s a minor annoyance.  But that was last week.  Today, we’re driving home from the movie and what do we see?  A bunch of idiots (and I mean a bunch, probably 75 of them) holding signs and shouting condemning the Israelis.  I mean, come on, this is Memphis.  I bet half the people driving by (on a Sunday evening, no less) don’t even know or care about the situation over there right now.  And to top it off, they are protesting against Israel?  Look, I’m one to believe that Israel is not a close American ally.  Israel is looking out for Israel.  They appreciate our support, and in exchange, they give us chunks of intelligence.  They are not, however, looking out for our interests any further than what also benefits Israel.  That said, I truely respect the Israeli position.  Those people have the balls to go out and do what’s gotta be done.  It’s not pretty.  It’s not clean.  I don’t even think Israel is doing as much as they could do to limit collateral damage, but what else can they do?  Honestly, what else could they do?  What would we do if a the drug cartels in Mexico started lobbing missles/rockets over the border into American towns and the Mexican government couldn’t or wouldn’t do anything about it?  You bet we’d be hitting back pretty hard.  People just don’t get that.  I’d love to have that ideal world where we can work out perfect solutions where nobody ever gets hurt, but this is reality.  This is real life and real life isn’t pretty.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Sunday, August 6th, 2006

We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest today.  Turned out to be a little disappointing.  It started out as a decent film, but close to the end I felt the length eating at me (similar feeling at at around 2 hours of Pearl Harbor).  Then, they pull some crap and start setting up another story that they don’t finish.  This isn’t a TV show, and it’s not billed as a trilogy, so they shouldn’t be doing this.  Needless to say, they’ve got a cliff hanger for part 3, whenever that comes out.  Aside from that rude ending, I quite enjoyed the story.  It was funny, and actiony, and fantasy, and all the summer blockbuster boxes checked, I just can’t get past that dirty trick ending.  What, next year they’ll put the trailers in the middle of the film… Grumble grumble grumble…