Friday, October 10, 2008

Red and Yellow

Roses in ShadeMichele has several knockout rose beds in her garden. They give a lot of red color to the garden that really stands out in the Fall. The photo at right, a fisheye view, gives an idea of how many flowers were in bloom a couple weeks ago. That was taken using the natural light and shade on the plants. There are some insects on the flowers, but nothing like those found on the sedum flowers.

The first photo below is a close up of one of the rose blossom taken using a few flashes to get a good depth of field. I like the soft texture of the rose petals.

The second photo below is of a plant that gives some more yellow color to the garden. It is one cluster of flowers on a Lantana. The cluster is about the size of a quarter and they branch off of some medium length stalks. I was intrigued by how the little rectangles unfurl into trumpet shaped flowers.



Thursday, October 09, 2008

Survivor Gabon

I'll admit it -- I'm a reality TV junkie. One of my must see reality shows on broadcast TV is Survivor.

For the past several seasons folks have organized a Survivor pool at work. This year Carla is running the "team building exercise." My Survivor contestant is Jacquie, which is appropriate since she grew up in Minnesota. You can read her whole bio here. She seems like a solid competitor and, more importantly, someone who does not have an annoying personality that grates on the other contenders. Go Jacquie!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Favorite iPhone Applications

There aren't a huge number of free applications for the iPhone that I use a lot. But there are two of them that are really cool.

The first is Shazam. Have you ever been listening to a song and wondered what the title of the song was or who was singing? With Shazam, you simply hit a tag button when the song is playing. The software listens to the song for a few seconds and checks the sample against its database of recordings. Generally within a few seconds it returns the song title and artist along with links. It works pretty well even with background noise. I use it in the car when I'm listening to the radio and I hear a song I want to write up for the Songs in Haiku site. I just hit two buttons and bingo the song is tagged on my list of songs. No need to try and write something down while driving. You don't need an iPhone to use the service. Check out their web site.

The second application is called Trailguru. It's an application that keeps track of bike trails, hiking trails, etc. using a GPS. The iPhone ap uses the built in location services to record a trail as you walk or bike. It also keeps track of stats like average speed, distance traveled, etc. The screen capture below shows a trail that Dianne and I created while walking around the Deerfield Towne Center area. The green flag was our starting point outside of the Polo Grill. We walked along and did some window shopping -- the blue line. The red flag is our stopping point at the car. The Google map photo was taken while the strip mall was under construction, so it just looks like a barren field. But it gives you an idea of what the service does.

Check out these applications.

Trailguru Test

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Day Trip to Louisville

Dianne by Adam's BatDianne and I drove down to Louisville early to look around before the evening roller derby bout. Our first stop was the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory -- the spot where the Louisville Slugger baseball bats are made. I had a Louisville Slugger bat growing up as likely did a lot of folks reading this post.

I thought the factory tour was interesting. You followed the manufacturing process starting with a rough billet all following it all the way through finishing. They were manufacturing bats when we were visiting and many of the machines were being used. Unfortunately they didn't allow photography on the tour. :^(

The building also has a batting cage, small museum area, a gift shop, and various displays. The photo above and right shows Dianne near one of Adam Dunn's bats that is on display near the wall of signatures. She is holding our little bats we got on the tour of the manufacturing area. If you're in the neighborhood and have any interest in baseball it is worth a stop. Dianne Hugs the Big SluggerIt's an easy place to find. There is a HUGE bat outside the building. The bat is over 4 stories high! Here is a fisheye photo showing Dianne at the base of the bat. The fisheye lens exaggerates the size, but it is quite large. Click here to view a larger version of the photo.

After visiting the museum, we walked along Main street towards downtown. There is quite the mix of old buildings (some well kept and some not) and new buildings. There is also a mix of shops ranging from Army Surplus to upscale galleries and restaurants. It was very clean though -- which could be because there was very little pedestrian traffic to make any kind of a mess. The photo below shows some of the old buildings on Main.

Downtown Louisville

The Belle of LouisvilleWe also walked toward the Ohio river and found a park overlook near the dock for the Belle of Louisville riverboat. The photo at right shows Dianne looking out toward the river with the Belle of Louisville docked below in the distance. Click on the photo to see a larger image. There was a large statue of William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) there. As usual, Dianne struck the same pose as Clark in the photo below.

After that we drove around the University of Louisville (a lot of angry cardinals in the pavement around the school) and also drove in to Churchill Downs. Overall it was a relaxing day in Louisville. See a few more photos from our visit in this Flickr set.

Clark and Clark in the Park

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sour Smash Roller Derby Bout

CatfightDianne and I capped off our visit to Louisville yesterday (more on other activities in a future post) by attending the Sour Smash event at the Kentucky Expo Center where the Derby City Roller Girls hosted the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls. We thought, and rightly so, that the BBRG would need a couple more people in the crowd cheering for them. It was a good match with the BBRG beating DCRG by a score of 106 to 41!

The Black-n-Bluegrass Roller Girls took the lead on the first jam and never looked back. They easily adapted to the faster surface and the pack was moving fairly fast. The photo above and right shows BBRG jammer EMolition and DCRG jammer Envy Miyoni. The first period was a bit strange in that there were several zero/zero jams. At face value, that isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Morgue Takes a TumbleIt was just the way the jams were called off that was strange – sometimes the DCRG lead jammer was ahead and in the open and called off the jam without even trying to get one or two points before the BBRG jammer could catch the pack. There were some tough blockers on the DCRG team – of particular note was Sk8 Ninja who dished out many hard blocks. The photo at right shows Morgue Ann le Slayer going down after a hit from Sk8 Ninja. Despite the DCRG blocking, there were several jams where the BBRG scored 4 or 5 and DCRG had zero. EMolition, Roseanne Scarr, and Morgue Ann le Slayer were rotating as jammers and at the end of the first period BBRG was ahead by 28 to 13. The photo below shows everyone looking at Roseanne to either block or help her.

All Eyes On Roseanne

That's Gonna HurtThe second period was generally more of the same, with a lot of tough blocking. The BBRG had a great rotation of blockers including the Hurt sisters, Hot T. Molly, and Buckhead Betty. There were a couple jams when the BBRG pack was less well organized and not able to help their jammer as well as they could, but in general there was good teamwork and excellent defense! The photo at the right shows Juwana Hurt putting the hurt on a DCRG jammer. The photo below shows the defense on both sides as Morgue Ann gets hit as Buckhead Betty dishes out a hit. At the end of the second period BBRG had opened up their lead and the score was 55-25 in their favor.

Blocking Both Jammers

SistersThe third period saw several other BBRG skaters wearing the jammer star to get more experience and score some points. I probably will miss some folks, but Jewel B. Hurt, Aine Ass, and Hellaina Havoc all got lead jammer status. I think those additions to the jammer rotation helped spread the workload and allowed BBRG to widen their lead even more. The BBRG defense was also tough -- as shown by the Hurt sisters slowing up Envy Miyoni at right. The DCRG fought hard the entire way and they were dishing out their fair share of hard blocks. I haven’t travelled to very many away derby events, but the DCRG crowd has to be one of the most vocal that I’ve heard. It makes for an exciting derby event and must help motivate the DCRG skaters.

The Derby City folks know how to put on a fun derby event. The Kentucky Expo Center is a nice venue (although parking is $6) and they have a solid, clear sound system that made it easy to hear the announcers. Me and JuwanaThe announcers were good and helped to whip the crowd into D-C R-G chants periodically. I’m not convinced about music playing during the jams, but their DJ did a great job picking tunes to add to the excitement.

During the breaks between periods, several of the BBRG folks came over to say hi. That was nice, but I wasn’t sure how well received that would be in the middle of a sea of DCRG fans :^) After the match, Dianne and I were able to talk to several of the BBRG skaters. Special thanks to Buckhead Betty and to Morgue Ann le Slayer for coming up and introducing themselves to Dianne and me. Dianne got a photo of me with Juwana Hurt (above) who had several great hits during the evening. We also got to talk with EMolition and Dianne got a photo of me with her too. Me and EMolitionIt was exciting to see EMolition back in competition and she certainly posted quite a few points for BBRG. We met and talked with BBRG fan T.J., who can’t wait for BBRG to get WFTDA status and take on the Cincinnati Rollergirls in the future. We’re fortunate to have a couple derby teams in the area and there should be some exciting local derby action to see! Finally, we also got to talk with Skinny Minnie who unfortunately did a number on one of her fingers that was really swelling up fast. Hope you are doing ok.

I posted quite a few photos from the bout in a Flickr set that you can see here. There are a couple nice series of photos taken in rapid succession that shows the action unfolding. In particular I liked this series (first, second, and third) showing a sandwich block on Morgue Ann le Slayer that works out well due to some quick thinking in the pack -- and this series (first, second, and third) showing a failed attempt to slow Roseanne Scarr.

Congratulations to all the BBRG team on a big win to finish the season!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Chrysanthemum Bonanza

Mums on the PorchWhen I was visiting Michele's garden a couple weeks ago, she had several pots of chrysanthemums that were bursting with color. The photo at right shows one of the pots on her porch, taken in the morning sun with a fisheye lens. They really add color to the garden.

The first photo below is a close-up of one of the blossoms. The early morning light gives the petals an almost golden color. After spending some time taken insect pictures, I discovered another pot in the back garden. By that time it was later in the morning and as the sun got a bit higher the flowers lost a bit of that gold hue. In the background shade you can see some purple flowers that are from a pot of asters.

Finally, the third photo below is a set of photos taken from one mum pot, on the same day, that shows how the flower opens up. I wonder what time span this represents if it were a single flower. I was intrigued by how the color changes as the flower opens up. The photos show the actual colors as best I can. Go here to see a larger version on black.

Yellow Petals

Burst of Yellow