Sunday, December 26, 2010

Spotted Santa Claus!!!

He was cruising on the Fort Lauderdale boardwalk. So this is how they do it down here!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas folks! Not to be a d*ck, but I'm trying to figure out how many pairs of shorts and swim trunks to bring to Florida! Enjoy your time with family and friends, and travel safe! Until next year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lunar Eclipse 2010

In case you guys missed it because you went to bed at a reasonable time like a sensible person would. Gonna be a very long day of surgery tomorrow! I stepped outside around 1am and saw that about half of the moon was covered, ran in and grabbed my camera, tripod, etc. Came back out and missed the crescent shape. Oh well. Took some pics outside (an hour passes by real fast), got cold. Waited until 2:17 (CST) when it would be at it's darkest and came back inside. I want to stay outside and keep taking pictures, but I need to get up for work in 4 hours!

Taken at 1:25am

Taken at 1:57am 

Greatest eclipse at 2:17am 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oh Baby! A new lens for my Canon

As their packaging suggests, I'm a new father. Had a baby last week. Thankfully, this baby doesn't require changing poopy diapers or getting puke all over my work clothes. I ordered a new lens last week, called a Lensbaby. Here is a link to their website. I've heard about this lens in the past, but never really looked into it.

Whoa! The Lensbaby lens can be tilted to your liking!

See how the left gnome's head is sharper than the rest of the photo, the Lensbaby was tilted to make that area sharp

Sharp in the middle area, out of focus on the sides. Like it or hate it?

*As always, click on the pics to enlarge*

First off, I'm a sharpness junkie. If my photos are out of focus, I'll try my best to sharpen them using some sort of post production software. If that fails, then onto the next picture. Well what the Lensbaby does is gives you a sweet spot that IS in focus, then depending on how much you bend the lens, yes, I said bend the lens, you'll achieve out of focus areas on the photo. Get my drift? Basically you get to bend the lens in any direction and to any varying degree to achieve blurring to your liking. It gives you similar results to tilt/shift photography. Pretty cool, huh?

Two photos for comparison. Lensbaby tilted towards the presents in the first pic, towards the ice skaters in the second. 

Now I suppose you could get a result that is similar using photoshop or some other software, but after reading a bit the result is different. But what fun would that be? I went out this afternoon and decided to give it a trial run. Temps were around 32 so it wasn't too bad outside. Unfortunately the sky was pretty gray and blah looking. That can either be good or bad for the photography. Great in that you don't get any harsh shadows cast from the sun. Bad in that colors are pretty bland and the sky is just boring. Anyway, off to the Old Market.

Sometimes the blurring can give a sense of movement 

After 2 1/2 hours with no gloves on, I decided to call it a day. Get home...about 80% of my 254 pictures were blurry! I mean way too blurry to use! Of course they looked in focus on the camera LCD screen and I thought I was going to get some great images. some reading, turns out that the aperture disc that I had used (f2.8) gives a very shallow depth of field. Should have known, I've never had a lens that fast before. But because of the cloudy sky, that was what I decided to go with. A bigger aperture allows more light in, but you lose depth of field. That is how you get up close subjects really sharp and then you'll have a blurred background. The fact that I was bending the lens made it even worse! Also, the size of the aperture helps to determine the size of the sweet spot according to Lensbaby. Shooting conditions didn't really allow me to test this.

Oh well, I was able to salvage a few photographs. All about the learning curve, right? This type of photography is totally new to me, either you like it or you don't. So far I like it. It gives me a different perspective on a regular scene that you might walk by on any given day. Just need to retrain my brain and remember that I'm going for an artistic surreal feel. I'll have to give it a go on a sunny day, get some more depth of field and see how those turn out. Stay tuned!

 Too cute! Pug with boots

Who needs carbon fiber bikes? Steel is real 

I like how the lights on the left side are blurred and exaggerated 

Getting the horse carriage shot was harder than I thought. Had to wait till they were moving, also traffic would stop right in front of me. Then when I took the shot, the horse wasn't even in focus! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rockin it at the Sick Puppies concert!!!

As I was leaving work after a late night of Lasik consults on Tuesday, my supervisor chuckled as she told me to have fun at the "wet" puppies concert. What she actually meant was Sick Puppies. First time I heard the band name, I was like who are these guys with a name like that? Either really hard rock which I'm not really into, or just probably some one hit wonder group that will get some quick radioplay on the River. Well, fast forward four years later and the Sick Puppies are still going strong and have quickly grown to become one of my favorite rock bands.

Shaman's Harvest started the night out. Some southern sounding rockers that called us rednecks. haha 

The group from Australia has a number of songs that can be heard on the radio, including All the Same, Odd One, You're Going Down, and their current hit Maybe. What I like about the group's music? Some of it can be hard hitting like Deftones or Chevelle style, while the song Maybe is a lot softer and something your parents might actually listen to.
Local boys Emphatic were second to play 

What is that you ask? A kid's mohawk in front of me. I was trying for an artistic shot of the band through the mohawk, couldn't quite get what I wanted. 

Best thing about the concert? It was only $8.97 before the BS fees that are always tacked on. Heck yeah! Concert sold out in eight days at Sokol, so they moved it to Mid America Center and had Shaman's Harvest and Emphatic open for them. They announced that about 6000 people were in attendance last night, great turnout! What I don't understand is why parents would bring their 4 and 5 year olds to a rock concert where beer cans are thrown (yeah, one hit me in the face), mosh pits breakout, and the F bomb was repeated in certain songs by one of the earlier bands? Cheaper than finding a babysitter I guess. Jeez. At least the kids were up in the seats.
The meat and potatoes of the concert, Australian band Sick Puppies!

Emma on bass guitar. HOT! Especially loved how they made the fan blow her hair back the entire concert! 

Before any of the bands came out to play, The River staff stepped onto the stage, did their intros and announced a few bands that they're bringing to the Big O in 2011 (don't quote me on these, but I believe this is what they said). No Doubt! Yes! Foo Fighters, YES! BEASTIE BOYS, YES YES YES!!! I've see Foo Fighters with Red Hot Chili Peppers back when the Civic Auditorium was still jumping, great show! I've always wanted to see Beastie Boys, this year might be my chance!

Slowing things down with their accoustic session 
More accoustic goodness 

Back to the Sick Puppies concert. Great show, great price, can't complain. Only way to do a concert is the mainfloor which is where Cody and I immediately went after getting our overpriced drinks. Sick Puppies turned the entire mainfloor into a huge moshpit by the end of the show. Pretty cool if you ask me. I've never crowd surfed before nor do I plan to, but moshpit I'll do! Shaman's Harvest played their few songs their known for, great job by those guys. I missed their show a few weeks ago because of Thanksgiving and I really wanted to hear Dragonfly. Done!


Sick Puppies singing Maybe from DJ Chi Wai on Vimeo.

Sick Puppies singing All the Same from Misterlime on Vimeo.

Sick Puppies singing You're Going Down from m w on Vimeo.

Local rockers Emphatic played their tunes, saw them at Riverriot and I was a little more into their music this time around. Might have helped that it wasn't 90 degrees and I was setting my mood for a rock concert instead of Weezer. Sick Puppies came out, and they rocked the MAC. Shimon on vocals and lead guitar, Emma slapping the bass, and Mark on drums. Maybe the coolest part of the show and after? They really tried to get the crowd into it. Most bands just play on and throw a few water bottles out to cool people down. Not these guys. Get up, bounce when I tell you to. Get to know the people around you, have a fun time. They even did a small acoustic session in the middle of the set to help cool everyone down. After playing their last and final song of You're Going Down, Shimon announced that immediately after the show they'll be signing autographs by the merchandise table. And he said that they'll wait until every last fan gets a signature. Wow, how cool is that? That is dedication right there! I considered it, thought about how I have no signatures from musicians. But then I saw the line nearly out the front door and I had to see early postop patients this morning. Yeah, maybe next time. MAYBE

Thanks for the great show guys, especially at such a great price! If you're gonna lose some hearing, might as well be worth it! And that it was!

One of many smaller, earlier moshpits

 Even after hitting it big, they still take the time to sign autographs for everyone that wanted one. How cool is that? 

*Click on any of the above photos to bigify them*

FYI, it's not easy taking video and pics at a concert standing next to the moshpit. Crowd surfers, people shoving from every direction, coats flying into your face and even shoes. And a 16 can of beer flying through the air just adds to the danger that us photographers put ourselves through just to get the shot. Haha. Love taking pics, that's all I can say. My suggestions? Just take lots of pics, try not to use flash, and hold the camera steady with two hands above your head. Higher ISO setting also helps if your camera has the ability to do so. Link to 311 show here, RiverRiot 2010 link here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Yes it is cold and snowing out

So glad that I got two nights of singletrack in before this arctic blast hit. It was 50 degrees out at 7pm last night as I finished my lap. Mark from MNR and I did a lap, bumped into Dale at the crossroads as he was heading out to Bike DeLights. Seriously, only in NE can you go from 50 degrees at 7pm, and watch the temps plummet to 12 degrees a little more than 12 hours later. Yikes! Low of 1 degree I heard.

Thursday night I made it out with Greg, Brian, Paul, Aaron, Mike F, and another Dave that was out riding the trail at Tranquility. Stopped at Pizza Gourmet for some spicy garlic wings (man those were good) and the hearts desire pizza. I feel guilty for eating so healthy! It was old school night, meaning the waitress was serving us "Sh*tty" beer as she coined it. PBRs for Paul and I. Glad we got Aaron's chain fixed!

It felt so good to get out and ride the singletrack. Hopping on the rollers is boring, but at least I'm pedaling. Hopping on the singletrack makes your week just that much better! Stay warm folks and drive carefully.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elvis gets married during a marathon, completes it, then saves a life

Interesting little article, a doctor dressed as Elvis got married during a marathon at a chapel in Vegas, finishes the marathon, then saves another marathon runner's life afterwards at a burger joint. How crazy is that?

Steripen, so fresh and so clean clean!

I'm not much of a camper or a hiking adventurist, so this is new to me. Steripen has a product where you simply dip the pen into a container filled with water, 90 seconds later after some zapping with UV light, you have purified water! Suppose to be able to kill certain types of bacteria and viruses. I know many of the sterile products that we use in surgery are simply zapped with UV light at the manufacturer to make them sterile, so this makes sense.

Okay, after reading some more it sounds like Steripen has been around for 10 or more years. This is just one of their latest and greatest travel sized units.
Picture from Steripen

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bike De'Lights Anyone?

Todd pointed out that Bike De'Lights is this Friday. Anybody planning to ride it this year? It had never crossed my mind because I figured the weather would be too cold. But who knows and it sounds like a lot of fun. Also, possible ride this Thursday with Greg. I've already looked into lights, cheap set of 12 mini colored lights battery operated is less than $2 at Menard's. Jazz up that old steel stallion that has become my indoor bike if I plan to ride this Friday.

Bike De'Lights link

It was a cold one...

This was the third year that I've rang bells and I guess I've always been lucky with warm and sunny temps. Well this past Saturday was a different story. I chose to ring bells before the crappy Husker loss in front of Bag n' Save at 114th and Dodge. No wind block and they don't sell coffee inside (I was looking for anything warm). Four hours of 20 degree weather with a wind that had a gnarley bite was a bit much for me. But I endured the pain with layers upon layers of clothes. Two layers of wool socks weren't quite enough though, my feet were pretty numb by the end of my shift.

Some things I noticed? Firstly and oddly, lots of people sitting in their cars. They weren't customers and they weren't employees. Cars would just pull up to the parking lot and people would sit inside for half an hour or more. One lady left after sitting for 1/2 hr in the parking lot, got her Jeep cleaned, then parked in the corner of the parking lot for another 1/2 hr. Weird.

Secondly, people were stupidly wearing shorts and short sleeves. Yeah, it was cold. Where is your winter coat?

Holy coldness Batman!

Third and most important, people are caring and nice. Not only do they throw money into the kettle with this down economy, but they were kind enough to help an elderly gentleman who just had foot surgery. This guy maybe walked a foot per minute. I was going to help him load his groceries once he got to his car, but two different couples were nice enough to help him cross the street and put his groceries into the car for him. Granted the guy stopped in the middle of the street, literally for five minutes to tell stories about his nice wife who was at home. There was a line of cars stopped waiting for him but nobody honked, which really surprised me! It is those kind actions that really make your day. Definitely good to know that there are still nice and caring people out there who will donate their time, patience, money, and even food to those in need without asking for anything in return. We get so caught up in our lives, holidays, and stress at work, that we sometimes forget that there are still good deeds that go unnoticed all around us. You may not see it happen everyday, but they do.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Can't live with them, can't live without them. Saw this picture on another blog and I think it is hilarious.
"Have you seen him?," photographed in Minneapolis, MN, and contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr Pool by BB reader Phil Jones (website).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Too cold to bike, must roll instead

Watching the trials portion of a bike dvd while on rollers is not advisable. Oddly enough, watching them try to balance totally throws you off the edge of the roller!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Airbag for my head!

Lady at work heard about this on the radio and instantly thought about me and my accidents that I brag about at work. I haven't been on bikerumor in awhile, but here is the story. How would this airbag work if the rider was wearing a helmet, which most of us are and should be anyway. Not so keen on wearing a collar everytime I ride. But then again, if this were to save your life even once or prevent head trauma, then I guess it would be worth it??? More of a joke or a good idea? You decide.

More videos at the bikerumor link.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The cat says hello

The leftover turkey is finished and the shopping put a dent on my
wallet. Time to head home. Hope you guys had a good weekend! Got a
long drive ahead of me, at least I have bright and sunny skies ahead
of me this time around. For those of you riding today, have a great
ride! See you guys Monday night!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's that time of year again

There are always people out there that are less fortunate than us. Thankfully there are individuals and organizations that go out of their way to help out the community. Even if it is just a little bit, it helps. Salvation Army is still looking for volunteers to ring bells. It is super easy and time goes really fast. They handle the kettle, bell, apron, and pickup of everything. You don't even need to speak to anyone to sign up, it is all online! How easy is that? Just remember to dress accordingly. Patty and daughter rang bells last Saturday, I'm scheduled for the 4th of December at Bag N' Save. Check into it if you want to ring a bell.

One thing that is really cool is that they send you an email/piece of mail that thanks you and tells you the amount of donations you helped raise during your shift. Coins and bills may not seem like much during your shift, but when you get that piece of mail and it says that over $250 was raised by you during your shift, you're wow! I really did help to make a difference!
Ringing bells in front of Oakview 2009

Finally living in the 21st century!

I'll admit it, finally bought my first Ipod. I've always hated Itunes, so I held off as long as possible. Trip to sunny Florida Keys booked, Hawaii next year, and hopefully Colorado. It was time to get my music together! Ran into NFM last night to buy something else, they had the Ipod touch 32gb on sale with a free mini speaker, how could I refuse? It's like when you go to the grocery store to buy milk and you come out with a cartful of food. They get you everytime! As cheap as I am, just downloading the free apps for now. So much out there!
Instead of packing for my drive out to Michigan last night, I spent two hours running to 4 stores to buy my mom bbq sauce that can only be found in NE (made in Minden). Get home, worked on the transfer of music till midnight. Still had to pack, check on the car, and next thing I know, I was tearing my dashboard apart to get to the back of my stereo. I knew there was a line in on the back of my DVD headunit. I spent a summer with my car ripped apart to put in Dynamat (sound deadener), six audiophile speakers in front (housed in kick pods) and two subs in the trunk. Pushing about 1400 watts. Done and done! 3 am, finally ready to go to sleep. Too bad I'm now at work and have a 10 hour drive in front of me!

Happy Thanksgiving to all the readers, friends, fellow bikers, and family. Be thankful for everything and everyone that you have in your life. Safe travels, get some biking in, and stay warm!