Archive for April, 2013

Vegas Recap, Part 1

You already know how our time at the airports went, so I’ll skip those parts.

Day 1

The first order of business, though, was getting packed. My wife bought new luggage tags for the occasion. Here is most of our luggage, right before I loaded it into the minivan:

photo of luggage and suitcases with name tags that say 'mine'


Before we left the house though, here is how the kids felt:

  • Alpha – no big deal, he has been on airplanes enough
  • Beta – excited to add to his tally of flights
  • Gamma – anxious about flying
  • Delta – airplane! airplane!


NFL in April 2013

In the last week or two, we had the announcement of the 2013 NFL schedule. Now that we know who will play whom and when, we can start predicting wins and losses.

I keep my predictions over at Some Fun Site. View results of previous football seasons.

2012 Summary

Last year, I predicted that

  • Buffalo Bills = 5-11

How they actually did was

  • Buffalo Bills = 6-10

Not too bad…


Panoramic Photos from our Vegas Trip

I’m still compiling the photos and recaps of our trip to Las Vegas, but until those are done you can enjoy these panoramic photos of various places near there.

For each of these, I took multiple photos from a spot and used Autostitch to blend them into one big photo.

Right-click on a photo and select View Image to see it full size.

Red Rock Canyon

panoramic photo of the mountains near Red Rock Canyon

This photo is not from Red Rock Canyon; it is from a hiking trail near there. It should give you the general idea of the area though.

Hoover Dam

panoramic photo of the Hoover Dam, as seen from the overlook on the Nevada side

Autostitch: poor man’s fisheye lens.

panoramic photo of the Hoover Dam, looking down from the middle of the dam itself

Be sure the camera strap is fastened around your wrist when you hold the camera over the side of Hoover Dam.

Valley of Fire

panoramic photo of the Valley of Fire, taken from the climbing rock next to the visitor's center

That’s the visitor’s center on the left. The rock formations that the people come to see are on the right.

Zion National Park

panoramic photo of the river going through Zion National Park

That one was not very impressive, but we were on the canyon floor so it was hard to get a good panoramic photo. If we had more time there, we could have gone to some higher elevations and had some better views.

These next two photos are my first attempts at HDR photos. I took a couple of photos from the same spot but with different exposures.

HDR photo of one of the peaks at Zion National Park

That one turned out okay, but the next one is not.

HDR photo of the canyon at Zion National Park

I think the default hue and saturation settings that Corel PaintShop Pro applies when making HDR composites are too aggressive. That, and I should take more than two exposures and I should ensure the camera does not move at all between shots.

But it was fun to try.

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.

Psalm 50:2

Cynical Lions Headlines

With the NFL draft next week and people getting back into NFL mode for a little bit, I thought it would be fun to predict some possible headlines that Lions fans could see this season.

Lions Spend First Two Draft Picks on Wide Receiver and Running Back
“We are sticking with our policy of drafting the best player available, regardless of need,” stated the team official.

Hanson Extends Streak to 22 Years without Winning at Green Bay
“Don’t feel too bad, no one here knows what it’s like to win there,” a teammate consoled him on the trip back to Detroit.

Due to a Little-Known Rule, Schwartz Unable to Challenge Opponent’s Key Touchdown
NFL admits they like putting in different obscure rules just to see if the Lions can find them.

Suh’s Injuring of Opponent Ruled Accidental
“He will not be fined since he thought he was punching the ball,” stated one league official involved in the review of the incident.

Stafford Sets New Record for Most Yards Gained Without a Touchdown
The stretch of throwing for 3,000 yards while scoring only field goals will probably never be equaled, say analysts.

I realize the Hanson headline doesn’t work now that he has retired, but he wasn’t retired when I wrote it. If it really bothers you, then I guess you could substitute just about any other Lions player for Hanson.

The roaring of the lion and the voice of the fierce lion,
And the teeth of the young lions are broken.

Job 4:10

South by Southwest

Having recently flown for our vacation, I have some thoughts on various aspects of dealing with Southwest.

Most of the interaction with the company was fine.

  • Buying the tickets online – fine
  • Calling customer service to add infant without a ticket – fine
  • Calling customer service the day before the flight to confirm something – fine
  • Checking luggage and getting a boarding pass at DTW – fine
  • Checking luggage and getting a boarding pass at LAS – not good

My first recommendation to Southwest – hire more pleasant, more helpful people for the Las Vegas airport

Now for some background on the problem: we did not have a birth certificate for Delta. Southwest wanted documentation that Delta is less than 2 years old.
The first phone call was to add him to my ticket, since I couldn’t buy him a ticket online. The lady on that call said we would need to bring proof of his age, such as a birth certificate, passport, or medical record.

Chore Chart

So we setup a chore chart to list the responsibilities of various family members.

image of a kids' chore chart

But the kids got ahold of the dry-erase marker and decided to update the chart. If you look closely, you’ll find that

  • I get to make lunch and dinner
  • My wife gets to eat lunch
  • It’s hard to read, but she also gets to give spankings
  • Alpha’s only responsibility is to take a bath
  • Delta’s job is to make a mess
  • Gamma’s job is to get spankings
  • Beta’s chore is to play video games for 5 hours

I’ll let you guess who wrote most of the updates.

To these divisions of the gatekeepers, the chief men, were given duties like their relatives to minister in the house of the Lord.

1 Chronicles 26:12

Family Conversations, Part 19

The Scene: dinner.
Beta: More honey!
Some Wife: No, all you did was lick the honey off the biscuit.

The Scene: I’m looking out the window with Delta
Some Guy: Look at that!
Some Wife: What?
Some Guy: A Bobcat is going down the road
Some Wife, starting to walk over to the window: Really?
Some Guy: Yes, but it’s the small bulldozer kind of Bobcat, not the animal kind of bobcat.
Some Wife, abandoning her trip to the window: Oh, never mind. I thought it was something interesting.
Some Guy: It is!

At least Delta’s with me on this one.

The Scene: Kids’ bedtime
Some Guy: Did you brush your teeth?
Beta: Yes.
Some Guy: Tonight?
Beta: Awww maaaan

Nice try, but you have to brush your teeth tonight.

With toothpaste.

And a toothbrush.

The Scene: I forget
Some Wife, to me: Your eyes are red
Gamma, suddenly interested: Let me see!
Some Guy: Okay
Gamma: There are red hairs in your eyes.
Some Guy: I suppose that’s what bloodshot looks like.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.

Proverbs 4:24