Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Snagged An Alewife!





Last year, when I caught the one and only fish for the whole year, it was a Northern Pike in Kenosha Harbor.  Before catching it, I said, “Time to go home yet?”  Then, I hooked onto the fish and said, “After I catch THIS FISH!”  And then I reeled him in!  

Well today, my buddy Jim and I went to Racine Harbor in Racine, Wisconsin to try out luck fishing.  The water was really murky and churned up so we had a feeling we would not catch anything.

After trying for hours with no luck, just for fun, I said the same thing today... “Time to go home yet?  After I catch this fish!”  And lo and behold, I snagged the small Alewife!!  I guess that’s the magic phrase!  It has worked twice now!

Jim also snagged an Alewife today before I did!  No big fish for us today.  But at least we weren't "skunked"!

A little "Photoshop Magic" turned this small Alewife into a "Monster Alewife"!  Perhaps that's why some people don't believe me when I tell them I actually caught a big fish!  ;)
Here's last year's Northern Pike from Kenosha Harbor:


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Has Digital Photography Improved Over The Years?






Last week, I went to Washington, DC and got a chance to photograph the outside of the White House like I did in late 2000.  But back then, I used a Sony Mavica digital camera that was loaned to me for the trip.

Because this image was taken before the 9-11 incident, security was not as high as it is most likely today, so I was able to get closer and not have the gate in the way.

If you would like to see how much the image qualities have changed over the years, click on the images and download each image and then zoom in to view them.  The most recent image of the White House was taken with a Nikon D4 (4928 x 3280 pixels) with a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  I think you'll see quite the difference in image quality!

The old Sony Mavica recorded onto a 3.5" floppy disk at 1024x768 pixels of resolution.  Yes, it was great in its day, but nowhere close to what we can do today!  The image quality is nowhere close to the Nikon D4.  Had the image been taken with the new Nikon D850 (a higher resolution camera than the D4), it was be even better!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Washington DC Trip - May 7-12, 2018

































My wife and I went to Washington DC this past week, driving all day on Monday to get there and all day on Saturday to get home. Not sure of the exact time, but it was over 13 hours of drive time each way.  We stayed at a hotel in Alexandria because staying within the District is rather expensive.

In the past, I never got to see Washington DC even though I had been there twice before on various trips for business.  I got to see the White House from a distance (as I did this time) but did not have a good digital camera with me then as digital was really new.  To see how poorly a cheap early digital camera does, check out this blog post to see the White House.  Also, I never had the chance to go on an 8th grade trip as many kids have and still do, so I really wanted to go to see the city and our country's history.  By the way, there were tens of thousands of 8th grade kids in Washington DC when we were there!  I have never seen so many 8th grade kids!!

We purchased an "all-week" Metro train pass and used it to get around. We probably did not need to buy the full week's worth ($60 per person) but it was comforting knowing that we didn't have to worry about how much to add to the card to get around.

I am very grateful to my wife for walking so much to get us around town! I wouldn't doubt she walked at least 8-10 miles per day for 3.5 days! We took it easy on Thursday doing very little just to let her feet have a break. I scootered everywhere and so I wasn't tired at all. I kept telling her that we should get her a scooter one day, but she refuses to be seen on one!

We hit almost every Smithsonian museum and also went to Mount Vernon (George Washington's home). Of all, she said she liked Mount Vernon the best. For me, I'm not sure, but it was definitely worth seeing. Great exhibits!  I've included a number of photos of the home here on the blog.  We also went to Arlington National Cemetery and got a free tram tour because I had my handicap placard with me.  We got to watch the changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We saw President John F Kennedy's burial site with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis next to him and the Eternal Flame.

I also got lectured by the Secret Service! That was fun. We were looking for the White House and to get some directions, I rode my mobility scooter up about 20 feet on a driveway to go talk to the officers there. Well, just touching their driveway is enough to get the Secret Service upset. While one officer was explaining to me how to get to the White House, another officer yelled, "Sir! Do you know where you are? You are on a restricted area!" (There's always the one guy that has to exert his power... I've seen that before from regular law enforcement officers.) I explained I only wanted their attention to get directions but they weren't looking my way, so I scooted up about 20 feet to ask them. He told me next time to wave them over. Well, that's hard to do if they don't pay attention. Oh well. The other officer was just as nice as can be. He probably wanted to make up for the lousy attitude from the other guy! :) And yes, they all drive those black Cadillac Escalade SUV's! I had to wonder how hot they get since the cars are black and the guys all wear black with black bullet-proof vests on hot sunny days! Our temperature was in the mid-80's.  The day we left Washington D.C, the weather was expected to be in the 90's!  (Back home, it was in the upper 40's and raining.)

I've posted a photo of my favorite exhibit from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.  It was just too weird to leave it out!  Looks realistic, don't you think?  I took nearly 900 photos this week, mostly of museum exhibits, but those images wouldn't mean much to anyone other than me and my wife.  I included a couple just to complete the story, but they aren't anything spectacular photography-wise.

We also noticed a lot of food trucks near the museums!  They seemed to be a very popular lunch option for locals as well as tourists.  But no, we did not buy anything from the trucks.

I've also included a photo of my Metro train card too.  Very easy to get around on the Metro system in Washington DC!  It really is the best way to see the District!  But, be prepared to walk a lot even if you take it!  You have to get from museum to museum and of course walk the museum too!

Finally, we almost died in Pennsylvania! Driving home, we narrowly missed getting in a major accident going 70 miles per hour! My wife was driving in the right lane and some guy decided to cut us off and get off an exit ramp from the far left lane! My wife slammed on the brakes and swerved, narrowly missing him as he sped on his way to get from the left lane across our lane and to the exit ramp. His van said his company was some kind of emergency service. Well, if that's how they drive to "save" people from emergencies, I guess they drum up business by trying to kill people! Yes, we missed dying by about a few feet! If we had hit him, we would have definitely died from hitting his car and being crushed by all the other cars driving at 70 mph behind us.  Also, the rain had not started yet.  If it was raining when this happened, there's no doubt we would have skidded into him and all the other cars would have skidded into us.  God was looking out for us, that's for sure!  The rain started not long after the incident.

For the photography, these images were taken with a Nikon D4 camera and a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens.  The interior photos of Mount Vernon were taken with a Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 ultra wide angle lens.  Only ambient lighting was used and photos were all post processed using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC software.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Field Trip to the Volo Auto Museum





It's alway's fun to go on field trips with my students!  Today we went to the Volo Auto Museum!

I got to say hello to Brian Grams who is the son of the owner of Volo Auto Museum and to tell him how much I enjoy the museum.

Did you know that for only $14,900, you could own that Ford Model T?  It might cost you a little more for the 1966 Batmobile though!  The Flintmobile is a one of kind...

Thursday, May 03, 2018

You Can See It In My Face



I asked my students to send a photo of me before I started my diet.  Nobody sent me one.  I guess they were all afraid to insult me by showing me how overweight I had gotten!

But this photo of me at one of my guitar get-togethers shows my weight in my face, if not my body (obscured by the bass).  It was taken last year just a couple of days before I started my diet.  Compare this to the recent photo I posted just days ago.  You can see a change just 6 months later.

I think you can see the weight in my face.  OK, you can see it in the upper body too!

Here's an interesting composite comparison.  The photo of me teaching in 2012 was taken by my student, Barry Nagle.  (Thanks Barry!)


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Final Six Month Weight Loss Total - 48.5 lbs



Well, it's been exactly 6 months since I started my diet on November 2, 2017. My total weight loss came in at 48.5 lbs... just 1.5 lbs shy of 50 lbs.
Not bad, but now I start my new goal of 75 lbs down in one year. That's only 26.5 lbs more to go! I think it is obtainable since this is only 1/2 the weight to lose compared to the last six months goal.
By the way, I didn't suffer in my eating these past 6 months! I ate a lot of pulled pork, ribs, chicken and more! My neighbor asked me if I felt weak from all the weight loss. No! I'm actually more energetic now than I was when I was heavier!
The photos are of last night's pulled pork. Perhaps the BEST pulled pork I've ever done. It pulled like butter! Zero resistance in pulling and the bone came out fast and clean. I'm getting better at this smoking stuff!


Why I don't exercise....
Two reasons: 1. I am lazy. 2. I don't want to lose weight from exercising because I know that once I stop exercising, I will gain back the weight.
I know I will never exercise the way doctors tell you that you need to exercise. Because of this, if I lost weight due to exercise, it is bound to come back once I stop.
Instead, I prefer to exercise for cardio reasons and for toning. While I have lost 48.5 lbs in 6 months, I still have a ways to go to get to a "respectable" size. Once I get there, then I will exercise for toning.
Right now, the only exercise I get really is on the recumbent bike that I purchased a couple of months after I started my diet. I don't do it as much as I should, but it's better than nothing. I really need to work on toning soon though. Weight training would be good, but I fear the issues with my knees.
Really, the only exercise I enjoyed doing was TaeKwonDo! And THAT is what messed my knees up! I did TaeKwonDo from perhaps when I was 15 years old to my mid-30's. I could do that all day and not be bored of it. But most any other form of exercise, I just had no interest in it.