Sunday, July 25, 2010


Black smoke rose from flames
When I set fire to the thing
We made together.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Now on Flickr

Well, I finally did it. I've broken down and created a Flickr account. I've actually had one for a little while but I hadn't really use it until recently. I guess I just instinctually resist popular services if I wasn't one of the first on board. Flickr has a lot going for it, though. The collaboration and sheer amount of uploads has stolen me away from Picasa Web.

Check out my Flickr Photostream here

One of the things that I loved so much about Picasa Web was it's fantastic integration with Picasa, the photo organizer. But I was soon disappointed with the way that Picasa handled geotagged information. It didn't like the way my application added data to the EXIF tag and would frequently refuse it altogether. So now I've switched.

I've gotten my hands on a copy of Adobe's Lightroom 2.0. So far, it seems very cool. I've even found a couple of cool plugins which automate the task of uploading photos to BOTH Picasa Web AND Flickr. Very cool.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guitarist Pics from La Huerta

I got another chance to play around with my new D90 when Angel wasn't hogging it. Here's a link to all of the shots. None of these are retouched, but they're still nifty.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angel's Sculpture/My New Camera

First, here is Angel's sculpture that she's been working on for a little while. It's still a work in progress. Hopefully she will finish it soon so that I can steal it for my office.

Second, this was taken with my brand spankin' new Nikon D90 with my also brand spankin' new Sigma 17-70mm lens. I LOVE this camera/lens so far. This was shot at 3200 ISO! If you don't know why that's so impressive, just take my word for it- it is. Much more to come, I'm sure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hiking White River Bluff in Syllamore

Wow. Angel and I absolutely LOVED this trail and this area. I took some vacation this week and we decided to drive about 4 hours from Fort Smith over to Mountain View, Arkansas.

We stayed in a great little "cottage" called the Lincoln Street Cottage which turned out to be a nice little two bedroom house not far from non-alcoholic downtown. The nightly fee was only $65 which was $15 less than the Best Western in town which did not look very nice. Our cottage, on the other hand, had a private driveway, a sun room, full kitchen, and was kept immaculately clean. This was easily the best deal in town and I highly recommend them if you plan a visit to Mountain View.

Now to the trail.

We got started around 10:30 am, but because of the slope of the hillside, the light was like early morning. It was a brisk 50 degrees or so outside and there was still dew on the leaves as we began. I'm not generally the kind of guy who throws around adjectives like "magical," but I have to say that this trail was exactly that: magical. The first portion of the trail is filled with quartz peppered stones that shimmer as you pass which is just surreal. Further up, the trail turns to flint under foot and displays fantastic water shaped pale white outcroppings.

It also seems as though we picked the right time of the year to visit as the leaves were changing brilliantly and were out in full force. The trail winds through evergreen and deciduous forested portions which provide a varied path of soft pine needles and colorful fallen leaves.

The trail winds about along a ridge line which means that the elevation does not change very much, making for a nice gentle hike. At about mile 3.5, the rail opens up to a vista of the White River cutting through the community of Syllamore.

I'll stop typing at this point and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Hiking Lake Wister

I have very few nice things to say about our hike around Lake Wister. I'll go ahead and type them now: The weather was nice and... I can't really think of anything else. This park is terrible for hiking. There was no parking around around the trail head; we actually had to pull off to the side of a narrow dirt road. I guess we were lucky to find the trail head as it wasn't really marked. There was a receptacle for trash about a tenth of a mile away from where the trail started on a double track dirt road leading up to what we concluded was an aerator for the deep end of the lake. The trail was suppose to be about a 5 mile end loop. Unfortunately, we were only able to hike about two miles up, then double back as the trail was not marked and was overgrown. I guess this park is more about water sports than hiking, which is fine, I guess. It's just a shame to have so much acreage and potential for great trails without much improvement at all.

Here are a few shots from the trail.

Hiking Runestone Park

My sister and brother in law decided to come down and go hiking with Angel and me over the past weekend. We decided to go check out Runestone Park. Angel and I went here about a year ago and walked around the paved trail that leads down to the actual runestone (which is pretty cool), but hadn't really explored much of the surrounding grounds. I accidentally erased my GPS track for our little hike, resulting in a lot of cursing, no geotagged photos, and no data, but oh well. I estimate that it was around a mile and a half hike around the grounds. The path that we took may have actually been a deer trail as it was somewhat oergrown in areas, crossed over a dry runoff creek, and ha a fairly challenging climb towards the end. Also telling, the trail ended on the wrong side of a fence that we had to jump over to get back on the path. Oh well. I didn't take a lot of pictures on this one, but the results are below. We were at least able to add to our mushroom series.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Big Education Idea

As I watch my DVRed version of the 3rd and final presidential debate, I'm coming up with a fantastic idea regarding encouraging success in students and rewarding great teachers. As I think back to my school days, or at least to the days on which I chose to attend, I recall a great deal of apathy from my teachers toward their jobs. I don't think that many of them were there for success. I think that most of them were just there.

McCain and Obama both talked about rewarding good teachers but they didn't really specify how, which makes me believe that neither of them have really been able to outline that detail. Almost every business of which I'm aware revolves around a bottom line of numbers. Guidelines, plans, and mission statements are all fine and dandy, but everything leads to the objective and measurable bottom line. So what is the bottom line for teachers? How can one quantify a "good job" done by a teacher? To me, the end result of a good teacher is the acquired knowledge and understanding of his or her students. Knowledge and understanding is fairly easy to quantify through use of standardized testing.

So here's the solution: Base salaries and raises for math teachers off of the standardized testing scores of their students, and English teachers in turn, and science teachers in turn, etc.

This is a plan that I'm sure most teachers will despise. It's often hard for individuals to accept accountability where it has previously been absent. But I guarantee that a plan that structures teachers' pay based on performance will throw us to the front of the pack on education and will ensure the success of our students.
Fort Smith, Arkansas
...just narcissistic enough to own a blog.