Thursday, July 31, 2008

Friday's Thoughts

It's been a good week. The second grand daughter has spent the week with us while her mom and older sister are at church camp. Em is eight and absolutely a joy to have around.

I had to travel out of town last night. Got back this afternoon, so I'm a little tired around the edges.

I'm in chapters 6 & 7 of my study of the book of Revelation. Like all of God's Word, it is a source of joy, hope, strength, and comfort.

I have had some wonderful photo opportunities this past week. You can see a couple of them in my recent posts. I have a couple of more coming up next week. Stay tuned for Ruby Tuesday and Wordless Wednesday.

My friend with Lou Gehrig's disease is not doing well. He is down to 110 lbs. Last year he was a healthy 195. He is ready to go home to the Lord. His family is prepared as well. I am going to miss him. I guess that's all I've got for now. It is Friday and time for an inspirational song. Thinking about my friend and the difficult journey that he has still ahead of him, I know that when everything looks dark, and there appears to be little hope, Jesus Loves Me! As a Christian, our hope is not here. Our joy is not here. Our security is not here. In John 14:2-3, Christ said, "In My Fathers house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a pace for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. Our hope is not here, nor is our home. My friend is going to a glorious place because he has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. It is our only hope! That hope was made possible because "Jesus Loves Me." The simplest of messages in a simple hymn. Enjoy.

Jesus Loves Me - Gaither Vocal Band

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 30

Thirteen Reality Television Shows
Ever since the last writers strike the television landscape has been changed forever by reality shows. They come in every concept you can imagine. Some are great, some are OK, and some aren't worth the effort. Here are thirteen that I am aware of. Some I watch, some I don't.

1. Survivor:
The mother of all reality shows and I have never gotten interested in this show.
2. American Idol: I watch this one religiously! I post on AI blogs. I know more about AI than my wife. I am an AI junkie.
3. The Biggest Loser: The name says it all. I don't watch.
4. Nashville Star: This show was great when it was on USA network. NBC bought it and ruined it. Billy Ray Cyrus is the worst host in television history!
5. The Bachelor: Nope not interested.
6. Dancing With the Stars: I took ballroom dancing lessons from 7th -11th grade and love it. I watch this show most of the time and do enjoy it.
7. The Amazing Race: File this one with Survivor. I have never connected with this show.
8. So You Think You Can Dance: There is some truly amazing talent on this show and Cat Deely is the best host on reality television.
9. Circus of the Stars?: I'm not even sure of the name of this show. That ought to tell you I don't watch it.
10. America's Got Talent: Maybe so, but not much of it is on this show. It is little more than the twenty-first century version of The Gong Show. I don't watch this one.
11. Big Brother: I watched the first three seasons, lost interest and really haven't watched any of it since season 5. I tried watching this latest edition, but I just can't do it anymore. If I wanted this in my life, I'd just hang around a bunch of junior high girls.
12. America's Greatest Dog: What! There is such a show? No thanks.
13. Last Comic Standing: I watch this one from time to time. I like it for the most part, but I just haven't worked it into my schedule. Probably won't.

Did you see your favorite listed?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Old Yeller

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Hair Product

This is some of my wife's hair product. Actually, I think this is all of her hair product. At any rate, when I saw them sitting on her vanity the other day the first thing I thought of was Ruby Tuesday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Elementary PhotoShopping

This past week-end we were in Tulsa for a concert. Saturday we spent part of the day at Windsor Market. This is kind of a designer flea market. There are antiques, reproduction furniture and accessories, along with photographs and art work. Many of the booths have the business cards of the artists and designers displayed. I found this old red metal lawn chair in one of the booths. No, I didn't buy it, but I have learned if you're going to get some unique photographs for Ruby Tuesday or Wordless Wednesday, you need to have a camera with you at all times. You also need to be looking for unique objects and possible camera angles.
These photos were inspired by Anna Carson Photography. During a recent photo shoot she spotted a yellow metal lawn chair and came up with a few truly nice photographs. OK, here is the chair that I found.

I cropped it to this size, ran a couple of color enhancements and it's pretty much ready for Ruby Tuesday. Now it's time to look for that interesting angle. Ooooh, here's one.
Now, crop it. Then run Auto Smart Fix. Next run Adjust Color, Hue/Saturation and make the colors a little more intense. Finally run Adjust Color, Adjust Color Curves/Increase Contrast.
Bang!!! Now we got a photo ready for Ruby Tuesday! But, since I'm posting this on Sunday afternoon, I'll have to think of something else for Ruby Tuesday. Not to worry, I found that subject and photographed it last week! Like I said, always keep a camera close. See ya then.

Basic Information:

Camera: Canon A630 (8.0 megapixel, point and shoot)

Camera Setting: Portrait (Auto flash)

Editing Software: PhotoShop Elements 5.0

That's it! I can't take my digital SLR everywhere I go. The Canon is a great little point and shoot camera. It has high resolution, compact size and is easy to carry. It uses SD memory cards just like my SLR and it is powered by 4-AA batteries which means that fresh power is never very far away.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trying to Get a Glimpse

It's Friday!!!! This morning my bride and I will be heading to Tulsa. Tonight we will be attending a concert by Signature Sound. If you read this blog very often you already know that Signature Sound is one of our favorite southern gospel quartets. We have third row, center section, seats for the concert and I can't wait for it to start.
On the way, we will stop at Ropps, a Mennonite bakery, to order some dinner rolls and other goodies that we will pick up on the return trip Saturday. They also make a three-berry jelly (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries) that will make you slap your mama! I will be picking up a jar of that for sure. I'm thinking lunch is going be at Cheesecake Factory! If not Friday, then certainly Saturday before we head back home. I know there is going to be shopping involved Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
Friday is inspirational music day here at Brain Freeze. In honor of tonight's concert, and the fact that I am leading a study in the book of Revelation, I will leave you with a Signature Sound classic, Trying to Get a Glimpse. We're in chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation and that is where the apostle John gives us our first real glimpse of heaven. So, without further delay, here is Trying to Get a Glimpse.

And for our second number, the message is the Rapture of the Saints. Those who name the name of Christ, have repented of their sin, sought His forgiveness, and invited Him into their hearts, and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, have the blessed hope of eternal life. It is not about a religion, a denomination, a church membership, it is about having a Savior who is alive and dwelling in you, guiding you, and giving you the power to live every day for Him. If death doesn't visit us first, there will come a day when those who have placed their faith in Christ will fly away to a home that He has prepared just for us. Until then, we are encouraged to hold on and remain faithful, "Til We Fly Away".

Have a great week-end everyone. I know I'm going to.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

On the Grandson

On his sister
As always, click on the photo to enlarge. Enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

My "Sooner" Coffee Mugs

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Take My Hand

It's been a long week and I haven't been in the best of moods for the most part. I won't bore you with the details, just suffice it to say that I am glad that Friday is finally here. I will say that the best thing about this week is that I have been reminded that I need to daily ask my Lord to "Take My Hand" and request a "Closer Walk With Thee". This arrangement comes from Selah. Enjoy.

Precious Lord Take My Hand/Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Selah

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The Babe

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

Little Red Corvettes!

I found these two Vettes, one new and one used, at a local car lot. The first thing that popped into my mind was "Ruby Tuesday"! Click to enlarge. They are something special.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Play Ball!

I know. Major League baseball started in March. Little league, for the most part started in late May or early June, but for the grandson, it started last week! You see, he's actually too young to play T-ball, but due to numerous rain-outs, the season has been extended and players are missing due to previously planned vacations. So, the coach called my son-in-law and asked if "The Big Guy" would like to fill in when needed. At 4-1/2 years old, he jumped at the chance to wear a jersey, ball cap, and cleats. I will say that it is entertaining. I wouldn't call it baseball, but it is fun to watch. Here a a couple of photos of the boy and his game.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Random Thoughts, I Think

It's Friday and this has been my first full week back to work since my vacation. It's been a long week. It's also the first full week in our new office building. We're finding all of the little glitches and things that need to be fixed or tweaked, and there are plenty of opportunities for tweaking. Now I know why they take ships on a "shake down" cruise before putting them into service. My office is pretty much unpacked. I'm still waiting on one bookshelf and I have a couple of pictures to hang, which I will do this morning.
This evening the grand boy will be playing T-Ball. I understand that this is a hoot to watch. He's not really quite old enough to play, but with vacations and all, the team doesn't always have enough players, so last week they asked his dad if "The Big Guy" would like to fill in. Apparently, he loves it! I'll be at the game tonight with camera and video in hand. Film at eleven....well, we have ten o'clock news here and since I don't have the software to compress video nor do I really know how to post it here, you'll have to settle for a couple of still shots.
I want to go see Wall-E. Maybe I'll take a long lunch.
I need a couple of subjects for future posts. Any suggestions? I thought about doing one on pins that I own. Z-z-z-z-z! Maybe not. How about where to find good digital photography information? That's gonna take some research. I am looking for and taking photos of vehicles for my "If You Own This Vehicle....You Might Be A Redneck" series. I was going to limit that to pick-up trucks until I found the jeep below parked outside our previous office one day.
I was going to post my weekly inspirational song here, but Blogger has changed the way that works since I was on vacation, so I'll have to figure it out later. Have a great week-end all.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

You Might Be A Redneck

If you built that new "custom" hardtop for your Jeep out of plywood, in shop might be a Redneck.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fun With PhotoShop (Elements)

A couple of people actually liked my Wordless Wednesday photograph, so I'm going to explain how I got the final product. We were wandering around one of the shops at Downtown Disney and I was looking for an interesting photo op. I had already taken all of the typical tourist shots of the family.
I spotted the Mickey Coffee can and mug display. I think this will work. I'm using a Nikon D80 digital SLR with an 18-135mm lens. I set this in portrait mode to soften the background.

Here is the original photo right out of the camera. It's OK. Nothing special and certainly nothing that would draw your attention. The first thing I did was to crop the photo. Then I went to "Enhance", Auto Smart Fix, and this is the result.

Next, I went to Enhance, Adjust Color, Adjust Hue/Saturation. That allowed me to pop the blue and red in the photo. Here is the result.
Finally, I went to Enhance, Adjust Color, Adjust Color Curves, Increase Contrast and this is the result. You get a photo that pops.

This whole process takes about five minutes. Believe me, if I can do this, anyone can. I am neither a computer geek nor a PhotoShop expert. I just like messing with pictures. Give it try.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday Double Feature

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

These coleus plants were at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. I took this photo one afternoon while my bride and I were wandering around the park.

Raising Sand

Yesterday afternoon I was cruising the channels and stumbled upon "Crossroads" on MHD.I caught the end of "Live Sets" featuring Trisha Yearwood, who I think is the best female vocalist since Linda Ronstadt. Crossroads puts unlikely combinations together in concert. I watched Robert Plant/Alison Krause then stayed for Reba McIntire/ Kelly Clarkson. The Plant/Krause duo was wonderful. I will be looking for the CD later today. Here are a couple of cuts from the show. Enjoy.

Gone, Gone, Gone

Please Read The Letter

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Belated Inspirational Song

In my hurry to wrap up my overview of our family vacation, I forgot to post my weekly inspirational song. Since Friday was Independence Day, I can think of no better inspiration than "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Remember our men and women in uniform that serve this country around the world each and every day. Soldiers do not pick their battles nor determine the worthiness of war, they merely serve their country with integrity, honor and unwavering loyalty. If those of us who claim the name of Christ, call ourselves Christians, and serve in the army of the Lord, would serve our King in like manner, Christ would indeed reign in the hearts of men and peace would come to this troubled world in which we live.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Disney Wrap Up


First of all let me say Happy Birthday USA. This is a grand country and we are blessed beyond measure by Almighty God to live in a place that allows us the freedoms that we enjoy...and too often take for granted.

OK, now I'm going to wrap up the Disney trip. I know you're getting tired hearing about it so I'll make this last post a little longer and an all inclusive wrap up of the last three days of the trip. Day three found us at Magic Kingdom. As I mentioned in my Thursday Thirteen, if you have young children, do this park first and get it over with. By 1:00 p.m. it will be wall to wall people.
We went to Hollywood Studios first because it was Star Wars week-end and the whole family are huge Star Wars fans. I got some great photos at Magic Kingdom. Some are in my first preview and I will post a couple of more here. There is a parade of lights (floats) and a fireworks display at the end of each day.
Day four found us at the water park. The family started the day at Blizzard Beach. I found another water park. I got a guide and a bass boat and fished around the lake at Magic Kingdom.
I met my guide about 6:45 a.m. at the Contemporary Resort marina. We spent the first twenty minutes fishing with flukes. That's kind of a large minnow shaped plastic bait for those of you unfamiliar with the term. The bass were not interested. They were apparently closer to the bottom and not interested in chasing a swim bait or jerk bait, so we changed to plastic worms. Bam!!! The first bass took my worm and the fight was on. He was about 2 pounds, but it was a good start. They were picking up the bait very softly. I know I missed a few fish because it felt like I was hung up in the grass. Instead of setting the hook, I would just try to free the bait from what I thought was grass, when it was actually in the bass's mouth. I hate it when that happens. Over the next two hours I caught a dozen or so fish that weighed between 2-1/2 and 3-1/2 pounds. Nothing huge, but it was a great morning and it was my idea of a water park!!!! It was my vacation within a vacation. No lines, no crowds, nothing but a bass boat, a guide, and a rod & reel. After my adventure, I met the rest of the family at Blizzard beach. I hadn't been there an hour when it started to lighting and rain. People were putting on rain poncho's and leaving the park. It's a water park people!!!! You're supposed to get wet! Well, they closed the park because of the lighting so we went back to the hotel and then headed for Downtown Disney. We found a few more trinkets and I took a few more photos. That evening our daughter and her husband had a special dinner at Spoodles while we took the grandcrew to Ragland Road Irish Pub and Grill at Downtown Disney.
Our food was wonderful. Mrs. Driller had the shepherd's pie, I had a 10 oz. sirloin, grilled to perfection. We all ordered dessert and it was just as good. Mine was three little containers of chocolate. There was a dark chocolate mousse, a very small milk chocolate shake, and a white chocolate mousse. The presentaion made me feel like I was a judge on Iron Chef America.
Thursday we split up. Mrs. Driller and I went back to Epcot Center while the rest of the family went to Animal Kingdom. My bride and I had a wonderful late table service lunch at the Italian Restuarant, Tutto Italia. While we were there it started to rain again. This time it lasted for a couple of hours. We spent the first hour enjoying the meal and the rain. The rest of the family got rained out at Animal Kingdom.
Friday morning found us checking our bags and preparing for the flight home. We used the Disney Magic Express service. If you are staying on Disney property, they will send you baggage tags before your trip begins. When you check you luggage at the airport, the next time you see it will be when you arrive in your room! You will get off the plane, board a Disney bus, go to your hotel, check in, and go to your room. Your luggage will arrive in about an hour. When you check out, Disney will tag your luggage, issue your boarding passes and the next time you see your luggage is at your final destination airport. This is about the best service I can think of. I just loved it. The planes were on time and the flight home was just as it should be, uneventful.
There you have it... six days at Disney World. It will probably be our last trip there. We've done it twice and I'm not sure I need a third trip. I would be up for the Kennedy Space Center or Sea World though. Here are a few photos of our last three days. However, the "money" shot was posted yesterday on my Thursday Thirteen. If you missed that, you need to scroll down and click on it to enlarge the pic. Hope you enjoyed the trip. I have no idea what I'm going to talk about next week.
Now this is my idea of a water park!

I bought this print for my office

A different view of Magic Kingdom - Tomorrow Land

Mission Space at Epcot Center - Great ride

The Big Guy at Downtown Disney

Homeward bound, it was a Magical Week!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thursday Thirteen No. 29

Thirteen Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World

1. Plan ahead....way ahead. Book the trip six months in advance.
2. Purchase the Deluxe Dining Plan. It is $30 per person per day. It includes one quick service meal, one table service meal, and one snack per day. However you can use them anytime you wish. It is the best deal in town. The table service meals are wonderful and the service is great, regardless of the restaurant that you choose.
3. Stay on Disney property. While this is certainly a matter of taste and can be more expensive, if you are planning to visit only Walt Disney World parks, this offers the greatest amount of convenience. Shuttle buses and monorail service is available to take you anywhere you need to go at no extra charge. If you drive to the parks, they're gonna charge you $12 for parking.
4. If you have children under 12, visit Magic Kingdom first. It is a zoo, an absolute sea of people, regardless when you visit, so you might as well get it out of the way.
5. Don't vacation yourself to death. There is far too much to see and do in each park to get it done in one day. Enjoy what you can and don't worry about what you miss.
6. Have a plan. As soon as you enter a park, maps and schedules are available. Take a few minutes to review the schedules and determine what shows you want to see and when you intend to see them. We missed the stunt driving, thrill show at Hollywood Studios because of a lack of planning.
7. Take a break during the day. There is nothing wrong with going back to your hotel and taking a nap.
8. Find out when each park has extended hours. One night Hollywood studios was open until 2:00 a.m. This is the perfect time to ride your favorite thrill rides with minimum crowds and waiting times.
9. If you visit in May, June, or July, take a cheap rain poncho. It will rain some nearly every day.
10. If you intend to buy souvenirs, and who doesn't, go to Downtown Disney in the morning. The shops are nearly empty before noon. The place is extremely crowded at night and the shops are packed.
11. Again, if you have younger children and you want them to meet Disney characters, book a character breakfast one morning. Characters are in the parks for photo ops and autographs, but the lines can be long and the heat and humidity can be a little daunting. The character breakfasts are held in the hotels and they come to every table.
12. Take a park break during the middle of the week. Spend one day relaxing at your hotel pool or visit one of the two water parks, Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. Yesterday I asked the 4-1/2 year old grand boy what he liked most about Disney World. His answer was, "Blizzard Beach, Soarin (a great ride at Epcot), and the hot tub (at our hotel). See, even the little ones like some down time.
13. See some of the shows. It's a break from the waiting lines at the rides. It's a break from the heat and humidity and it gets you and the kids off your feet for a 20-30 minutes. Monster's Inc., at Hollywood Studios is good. A Bugs Life in Animal Kingdom is very good. The 3-D shows are all very good (there is one in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot).

Bonus feature. While waiting for the fireworks display to begin at Epcot one evening, my wife looked across the lake and said, "that sunset would make a pretty photograph." So I walked over to the rail, framed the shot, and snapped this picture. I think my wife has a good eye for a great photo. You just gotta click on this one to enlarge and enjoy it.

Sunset at Epcot Center

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hooray for Hollywood!

Our first full day at Disney World began at Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios). The month of June featured Star Wars week-ends, which means that the Storm troopers opened the park. Once the park opened we headed straight for the traditional shot of the Wizzard's hat from Fantasia. As always, just click on any photo to make it real big!

I'm wearing two hats!

After the short photo session, most of the crew wanted to ride Tower of Terror followed by the Rockin' Roller Coaster...not my cup of tea. I stayed with the three younger grandcrew while the remainder of the family headed of to seek their favorite thrill ride.

Once all of that was over, we went to the Monster's Inc. show starring Mike and Marty. Marty is a character that was not seen in the movie. It was fun and it was air conditioned. After the show, it was time for lunch, so we headed to the Sci Fi Theatre Restaurant. The interior is done like a drive-in movie. All of the tables are set in replicas of 50's cars and all of the seats face the screen. They are playing a loop of trailers from 50's and early 60's science fiction horror movies. They are hilarious. You see a very young Lee Van Cleef in a very cheezy "B" movie role...long before "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly."
After lunch we rode the Star Wars ride which is kind of like a flight simulator. It was great fun. Between the end of the ride and the exit through the souvenier shop we encounter Darth Vader. My son-in-law is a huge Star Wars fan so this encounter is more fun for him than the grandcrew.
Note; My Son-in-law is 6'-3"

A little later we headed back to the hotel for a rest. We're going back to Hollywood Studios for the night show "Fantasmic", which starts at 9:00 p.m. It is a laser light/water show that features many of the Disney villians and some truly cool special effects. They use a rear projector to show clips from "Fantasia" but the screen is a 50' foot high spray of water! The results are stunning! After the show Nana and I take the kids back to the resort for the night while their parents enjoy the extended hours of the park that evening. The park was open until 2:00 a.m. Most of the parks offer extended hours at least one night per week. This is a great opportunity to ride your favorite ride several times without the long waits associated with such rides during the day. Our daughter said the never waited longer than fifteen minutes to ride anything during extended hours. Note; if you ride the ride until 2:00 a.m., you might not want to plan an early breakfast the next morning.
Tomorrow we're going to Magic Kingdom. See you then. Yes Travis Erwin, we will go fishing a little later, I promise.