Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Visual DNA

Ran across this personality survey today. It uses an image based approach to discern your personality. An interesting approach. I thought my results were fairly accurate considering there weren't that many questions in the test.


Happy Halloween!

Over at Songs in Haiku we've had a Halloween theme going the last few days. Check it out!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Leaf Flight

Fall ColorsIt was a beautiful Autumn day here in the Cincinnati area. Very few clouds in the sky made for a nice day to check out the fall colors and get some photos from the air.

In the afternoon I went flying North and West of the Cincinnati area. I first went over the Caesar Creek state park area and then flew West to Richmond, IN. With the sun still so high in the sky there was a lot of afternoon heating that created thermals and some turbulence. It was especially noticeable around Caesar Creek which explains why there is a soaring club there. Even at a shutter speed of 1/800th I had some blurry photos. The photo to the right is one I took around the edge of Caesar Creek lake. The leaves are looking good with lots of yellow, some red, and still some green. In another week or so many of the yellow leaves will be gone as will most of the green. Click here for another photo of the park and click here to see the bridge across the lake. The photo below was taken somewhere between Middletown, OH and Richmond.

Fall Colors HDR

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Aviation Charts & Google Earth

One thing I find a little hard to do when making a cross country flight to a new airport is to spot the airport from a distance. Large airports are pretty easy. The small ones, with just a single runway, can be harder to see. They are easier to spot when you're up high, but you have to plan your descent to be at the right altitude when you get to the entry pattern for the field. That compounds the problem. Winter makes things a little easier as the dark runways pop out from the surrounding snowy landscape.

I've been using the top down satellite views available on Google Maps to get more familiar with the lay of the land. It helps to translate a chart view to the view of the area. An example is shown in the image below. The satellite image on the left has a green arrow showing the Blue Ash airport (KISZ). Compare that to the VFR chart view on the right where the Blue Ash airport is the red rectangle above the 100/50 numbers. (Click on the image to see a larger version) The satellite views help, but you never have that top down view when you're flying in.

Last week I ran across a site called Chart Geek. They provide aviation charts (sectional charts) that can be used in combination with Google Earth and the flying feature. It's a nice addition since you can get a view from the same perspective you'll have when flying in to a new airport. A neat idea. Here is a sample video from Chart Geek.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Some Leaves

The leaves are finally starting to get some color here. Because it was such a dry summer, some of the leaves just died and don't have much color. But there are some nice colors. It's a pretty time of year.

Here are a few leaf macros. The first is a partially curled up maple leaf. The second is the underside of a dried, curled leaf. I used a direct flash from the right and a diffused flash from the left to accentuate the veins. The bottom photo is a leaf I pressed flat and let dry. Not a lot of color, but I like the texture.

Maple Leaf

Leaf Underside


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Suspicion Confirmed

Dianne's out of town for a couple days. That means I'm a bachelor and I have complete control of the TV. So what did I watch tonight while relaxing a bit? I decided to check out an episode of Cavemen on ABC. I know, I know -- what was I thinking? I couldn't resist checking it out. I figured it would be bad, but I had no idea how bad it could be. Wow! How long can the pissed off caveman theme hold on? Not very long unless ABC is really desperate for sitcom ideas. Trust me on this one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Murphy Feather

I'm so far behind posting photos. It's time for a series of photo posts. Our Quaker parakeet, Murphy, went through a molt recently -- surprising since she has picked out a lot of feathers. Here is one of her feathers. A little dusty, but I like the green and blue colors.

Murphy Feather HDR

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jason's CRG Photos

In case all you roller derby fans didn't notice, Jason Bechtel posted his photos from last Sunday's match between the Cincinnati Rollergirls and the Burning River Roller Girls. Click here to see his Flickr photo set. As I've said before, his photos are excellent -- even more impressive given the lighting conditions in a roller rink.

My favorites from Jason's set include his series below showing The Librarian giving it her all to block the very tall BRRG skater Rogue Cheddar. The Librarian was taking on a mountain of a pivot to make a path for the jammer, EMolition. The Librarian seemed set up well...blocking from inside out and getting a solid hit in. But she just bounced off and went down. I think Jason's photo series was taken just before my photo showing her on the floor. It's that type of heart, taking on someone about twice your size, that makes it fun to watch the CRG team. To see Jason's full size versions of these Librarian photos, click here for 1, here for 2, here for 3, and here for 4. Thanks to Jason for posting another great set of photos. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Macro Mondays Music

Tuning PegI'm so far behind in posting pictures! It's been a busy week.

This past Monday the theme for the Macro Mondays group on Flickr was "music." This one was relatively easy to get a couple photos. For the last several months I've been trying to learn how to play the guitar. I used that for my main subject. At the right is a tuning peg on our electric guitar. I like the spiral wound string on the peg. Below is a shot taken with a slow shutter speed just after plucking a string. I thought the vibrating string represented the music theme well.

Lately I learned the chords to the Oasis song Wonderwall. That was relatively easy. Now I'm trying to learn some picking techniques for the song White Bird. K. T. Tunstall is good acoustic guitar player! That song is a lot tougher, but I like the sound of that style of playing.

Dianne is very quickly getting sick of hearing both of these songs. She's also sick of hearing Everywhere I Go. A great blues song I learned a couple months ago -- although I have no idea what the lyrics are!

Pluckin' A

Monday, October 15, 2007

Black-Eyed Buckeyes Bout

Stalling Candy KICKassOn Sunday evening, Dianne and I went to Castle Skateland in Loveland to watch the final home bout of the season for the Cincinnati Rollergirls. Cincinnati hosted the Burning River Roller Girls from the Cleveland area. Cincinnati lost the match -- their only loss so far this year. I'm not sure of the final score (I'm sure Miss Print will have it on her blog), but they lost by about 30+ or so. However, the final score doesn't reflect the whole story of the evening. Cincinnati skated hard and stayed in the hunt most of the evening.

The Burning River Roller Girls have a strong 'all star' team. They have several fast jammers including Professor Booty and Eva Lucien. Although their jammers were fast and strong, the Cincinnati jammers seemed to be a pretty even match for them when in the open. Sk8 Crime, EMolition, Candy KICKass, Miss Print, and Sadistic Sadie were jamming for Cincinnati. I thought the main differenceAn EMolition Sandwich between the teams was with blocking. The BRRG team has several strong pivots/blockers that included Ivanna Destroya, Morbid Cherub, and Rouge Cheddar. Ivanna and Rouge are pretty tall (close to 6 feet) which gave them a bit of an advantage with stride and bracing for blocks. In addition, the BRRG pack seemed very well organized in general. That size and organization made some jams difficult for the Cincinnati jammers. A couple examples are the photos at the right. On the top, Candy KICKass got a hard shoulder block while stuck behind Rouge and Morbid. The second photo shows EMolition getting squeezed between the shoulders of Kill Basa and CoCo Sparx (the BRRG skaters in orange).

It was tough in the pack with both teams dishing out their share of hard blocks. Sk8 Crime went down hard early on and Mean Arlene fell and hit her head/helmet hard on the floor. The CRG blockers were hitting hard too. The photo here shows the after effects of a hit that Sadistic Sadie gave to Morbid Cherub (the skater in orange on the floor) in order to clear a path for Miss Print (wearing the jammer star).
Blocking for Miss Print

After the first period, Cincinnati was behind by about 20 or so. They adjusted during the break between periods and battled back in the second period to get within 8 or so. The third period started OK until one jam where the Cincinnati jammer was sent to the penalty box and BRRG scored ~14 to Cincinnati's 0. We missed what happened to result in that penalty. That hurt. The next jam Sadie returned the favor with a 10-0 jam in favor of Cincinnati, but that was followed by an 11-0 jam in favor of BRRG. The BRRG team scored quite a bit in the last few minutes to widen the gap. But for the match as a whole, it was a great effort by all the CRG skaters. Check out all my photos from the event in my Flickr set here.

It was a good event logistically too. The experienced Cincinnati Rollergirls and volunteers know how to put on a good derby event. I have to say I prefer the Gardens, but I understand the need to use another venue. I was a bit surprised with the smaller crowd. I thought the place would be packed given the way the Cincinnati Rollergirls have been filling the Gardens. The Bengals finished early -- maybe the Sunday "school night" cut back on the crowd?

Me and The LibrarianAfter the event I was able to chat with a couple skaters including The Librarian. She was kind enough to pose for another photo with me. You gotta love the shush pose.

Even though the home season is over, the Cincinnati Rollergirls' traveling team has matches coming up in St. Paul and Denver. Maybe my Minnesota readers will catch the St. Paul event next weekend. Good luck to the group on those trips! Check out Miss Print's blog for info about those events and other off season news.

Thanks to all the Cincinnati Rollergirls for a great home season this year!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Return From Augusta

Chilo BuildingLast weekend Dianne and I went to Augusta, KY. After taking a ferry across the Ohio river, we returned to Cincinnati on the Ohio side.

Along the way we stopped at the Chilo Locks Park on US 52 near Chilo, of course. The site of a former lock on the Ohio river has been transformed into a park and nature preserve. Check out their web site and scroll down a bit for photos from the 1930s and today to see difference in the river level. My photo to the right shows the former powerhouse of the lock. The lock was closed in the early 60's due to some damage caused by an accident. With the larger and deeper Meldahl locks in place, the Chilo locks weren't repaired and they closed once the Meldahl dam was completed. According to a sign at Chilo, the depth of the Meldahl lock was sufficient to replace 3 other locks as well. That must have been a time saver for barge traffic. The Clermont County park district has done a beautiful job with the site. The buildings are in good shape (except the water tower needs some work) and there is lots of green space, parking, and some shelters for gatherings.

Chilo BuildingDianne was having a sneezing fit when we were there. I looked around a bit a snapped a few photos. The park has a wonderful view of the Ohio river. I like this photo I got of the river side of the Chilo lock powerhouse. In this high dynamic range image, the reflection of the blue sky and clouds in the windows really pop out. The sign indicates it was the 34th lock on the river. The scale is for river height. The flood stage in Cincinnati is about 50 feet. The sidewalk is quite a bit above the river today -- click here to see a downstream view towards Meldahl dam that shows the steep bank. What's amazing is that in the Ohio river flood of 1937, the water level reached 80 feet in Cincinnati -- to the top of the scale here! That's a lot of water!!

While in front of the powerhouse, I took a series of images for a 360 degree panorama photo of the site. It's a large image, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. I used a polarizing filter to bring out the blue sky. Had to keep adjusting it as I moved the camera around. I posted a version of the panorama here. I also made a globe view of the panorama that is at the bottom of this post.

A few miles downstream I pulled in to the Meldahl lock and dam area. There is a large, shady park area with picnic tables and shelters, but you can't see much. The lock area is heavily fenced off and the fences are fairly far away from the lock. Grant's BirthplaceThere was a tug with several barges using the lock. The only decent photo I got was of this old anchor on display in the park. Not a recommended stop unless you're going to take advantage of the nature watch areas.

A bit closer to Cincinnati we stopped at Point Pleasant to see the birthplace of Ulysses Grant. A national historic landmark, they have the restored cabin back on the spot where he was born (it had toured the country back in the 1800s). The cabin is the building on the left in my photo. There is a nice park there with lots of information signs. You can also tour the cabin. Just across the main road is another park right on the Ohio river. The stone bridge for the main road, honoring Grant, is good to check out too. If you're in the area, it's worth a stop to look around.
Chilo Panorama HDR globe

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Black-Eyed Buckeyes This Sunday

CRG on the AttackThis Sunday is the last home event for the Cincinnati Rollergirls when they host the Burning River Roller Girls from Cleveland. The battle of these two Ohio teams is billed as the "black-eyed buckeyes." This match will be at Castle Skateland in Loveland. I'm sure the place will be packed, so get your tickets early.

From the couple of news article links off the BRRG website, they've been skating together for a couple years. However only this year, starting in April, the BRRG had roughly monthly intra-league public bouts among their own 4 teams -- sounds a lot like the first year of the CRG group. Now they've put a traveling team together to head south to Cincinnati. You can see the photos of the BRRG all star team here, although their names aren't posted with the pictures.

I couldn't readily see on their website which of the BRRG skaters are on their traveling team. Why am I even interested you ask? Well, from this article in the Lakewood Observer I see that one of their skaters is a chemist! From a quick look at skater names, I first thought it might be Sister Mary Cyanide. However both Dita von Bitch and Professor Booty mention science interests in their bio and Booty mentions being in lab. Sounds like a science based team. I also noticed in this article that one of the BRRG skaters is a librarian. Seems like a lot of librarians are into roller derby. If she is on the traveling team, it'll be an interesting shush-fest match-up against The Librarian. If you didn't notice, Miss Print posted the CRG line up a few weeks ago.

Don't miss the last home CRG event this Sunday. It starts well after the Bengals game is over. And unlike the Bengals, hopefully the CRG group will go undefeated this year!

Little Pillows

Been too busy to come up with any decent blog posts lately. Been meaning to post on our return trip from Augusta, KY. Saw these little pillows on the swissmiss site. Pretty cool idea. You can find 'em here.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saturday in Augusta

Augusta KentuckyOn Saturday Dianne and I drove to Augusta, Kentucky. Augusta is a town of about 2000 people located along the Ohio river about 45 minutes Southeast of Cincinnati. The main purpose was to visit a relatively new business in Augusta -- Amy's Blue Daisy. The owner of the shop was one of Dianne's former co-workers. There is an article about the shop in a recent issue of Augusta's newspaper, The Ledger Independent. The shop is right in downtown Augusta (the yellow building in the photo).

While coming into town, Dianne noticed we were driving on Heather Renee French boulevard. Heather, Miss America in 2000, was born in Augusta. There's a big sign proclaiming that fact as you drive into town. Dianne knows Heather from graduate school -- another Augusta connection.

Barge on the OhioAnother big draw for Augusta is the Clooney family. Rosemary and Nick Clooney were born in Maysville, KY, just a bit further up river from Augusta. Nick Clooney settled in Augusta when working in the Cincinnati area and his son George Clooney graduated from Augusta High School. Rosemary Clooney purchased a 'get away' house in Augusta in the 80's that is now a museum. Amy mentioned Augusta gets a lot of visitors because of Clooney family ties.

The city has a riverside park that provides access to the Ohio river. The photo here, taken at the park, shows a barge going downstream to the locks at the Meldahl dam. The park has shelters and picnic areas and plenty of parking for visitors and people with boat trailers.

Jenny Ann FerryAfter our visit to Augusta, we decided to take the ferry across the river and return along the Ohio side. There is a ferry that runs between Augusta and Higginsport, Ohio (weather permitting). Supposedly this is only one of two ferries (the other is the Anderson Ferry just West of Cincinnati) that are still operating on the Ohio river. According to this site, there has been a ferry operating on this spot since 1798.

The ferry, the Jenny Ann, was pretty cool. To me it seemed like a barge that could hold about six cars. Centered on the side of the platform was the wheelhouse and engine. When the ferry was loaded, a hydraulic arrangement pivoted the bridge and engine around the connection to the platform. It swings around pretty fast and keeps the barge platform pointed the right direction. That way the captain is always looking forward when coming into the landing. The photo at right, looking upstream, shows our car in front of the engine side of the ferry.

We were on the ferry with only one other car. Note in that picture you see the US flag near the middle of the ferry and the Ohio flag near the Ohio end of the ferry. I got a nice picture of Dianne under the Kentucky flag -- mounted on the Kentucky end of the ferry. This was about midway and looking downstream. It was a beautiful day, but very hot and humid for October! About 20 degrees above the average high.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

New T-shirt

If it wasn't such a pain to wash, this wi fi T-shirt at Think Geek is pretty cool.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I Got Tagged

Well...technically we got tagged, but I'll fix that at the end of this post.

Peteej tagged 'us' with a grammar meme and gave a link to Songs In Haiku on his blog. Although he tagged Songs in Haiku, I'm going to answer the tag here. Trying to write a song haiku to point out my grammar errors and tag others might make my head explode. By the way, if you haven't been there, check out Pete's blog Me and My GPS Camera Phone. The blog title says it all. I think he has a wonderful blog concept and he does a great job executing it.

The tag is for the "I have grammar issues" meme. Boy is that appropriate! I know Dianne is laughing now. If anyone needs grammar help it's me! Here is an explanation of the meme from Jon's blog.

To play this game, all you must do is explain what your most common writing mistake is. Then, you simply tag five individuals for the meme. Those five people will, in return, tag five more people. Ultimately, readers should see a tapestry of common grammar and spelling mistakes. Therefore, anyone that is feeling ashamed of their errors will feel a bit more confident and secure.

The problem is I'm so bad with grammar I don't realize all the mistakes I make. How can I tackle anything?!? Well, here goes with actually two items that always make me stop and think while writing. The first is the correct placement of punctuation when using quotation marks. When I started formal reviews of my writing at work, I'd always get nailed for this by the reviewers. I've improved. Rather than rehash the rules here, I'll refer you to this site. The second grammar item I struggle with is the correct use of affect and effect. Bottom line is that affect is usually a verb and effect is usually a noun. But it's not always that simple for me. Here is a short explanation and here is a more detailed (i.e. confusing) one.

Since Songs in Haiku is a multi-author blog, it's only fair to tag Dianne and Pat as well. I also think our first guest contributor Erika Jean deserves a tag. Keeping the tags local, I'm also going to tag TheKman and Carla (so she'll post on Blogger for a change).

Monday, October 01, 2007

Some Colors of Autumn

A gourd, some indian corn, and a pumpkin taken during our trip to Shaw Farms.


Indian Corn

Pumpkin Top