Variations and Chameleon and Moth

My previous post has photos I thought might do well with different post-processing.

For instance, this . . . 

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. . . might turn into this . . . 

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By the way, no SmugMug gallery for these but you can click on them for a larger version. 

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Posted in Creative, Moths, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Photoshop Blended Layers, Scenery, Structures, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Leaving the Mainland – Hoover Dam and Stuff

We closed on our house on the 15th of June. By then, we were in California. Our drive to California added a tad over 1,700 miles to our remaining car, the 2010 Toyota Highlander. This is the path we took (click to open a zoomable version in a new tab or window):

Monument to San Diego

Let me speak a moment about our choice of selling the Tahoe and keeping the Highlander. It was a difficult choice but we went with the logical choice. The Tahoe was older, had 40,000 more miles, is larger, uses more gas, has had more issues than the Highlander . . . so, why was it difficult?

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Posted in Creative, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, Structures, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Last From Colorado

Guess what? I got my big rig up and running . . . 

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Not saying you won’t see any more photos from my Note II, but for the next few posts, I think I’ll stick with Nikon shots. Some photos will be repeats of photos taken with the Samsung. If one is interested, one could compare the two versions by going back to previous Note II-centric posts. 

Also . . . yup; you can click on the photo and have it open larger in a new window or tab. OR you can see them all in their original size in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

The above shot is of one of our Parrot Tulips at our house in Colorado. These were shot in late May while in the middle of selling everything and while also packing a few belongings for mailing. They are the last flower shots from Colorado.

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Posted in Flowers, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

Now, where did that danged Muse go?

While we have accomplished much in the three weeks since we’ve moved here (“here” — for them who don’t be in the know — is Hawai’i), one thing I’ve yet to do is write. 

I mean, I’m writing now but I’m referring to writing writing, as in writing fiction. What’s happened to me? First, I used the excuse that we just moved here. Then, I said I could not write without my big rig. Then, after everything got here, I used the excuse of not having a desk or chair. 

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Posted in Black & White, Black & White, Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Personal, Photo-effects, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Bunch of Stuff

The Big Island is . . . big. I think that’s why they named it “The Big Island”. 

Mind, you, not Texas Big . . . heck, not even Colorado Big. Wait, why do people say Texas is big? I mean, it is, but Alaska is more than twice as big

Anyway, The Big Island of Hawai’i . . . when you are driving around it, the vistas from various parts of the Big Island give a sense of scale that impresses more than the vast expanses of Texas. HERE’s some information on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

By the way, this marks a return to my long, meandering, and many photos posts. Mind you, not forty photos . . . thirty-nine. Here’s a quick preview before we get started . . . 

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Posted in Hawaii, Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Scenery, The Big Island, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 38 Comments

Packing Tips for Shipping . . . and photos

A few hint if you are moving to Hawaii and planning on shipping a few things in boxes . . .

First off, get heavy-duty boxes and heavy-duty shipping tape. Second, tape every seam and every edge. I think I might have mentioned all that before. Here are some other (hard) lessons learned.

Do not assume something like Cast Iron pots will survive the mailing process without the same precautions you would take for a piece of glass or china. They are strong, yes, but also brittle. I made the mistake of assuming they would be OK with just light padding around them. Not so. If they get dropped and hit just right, their own weight will be their demise. Ergo, extra large box so that you can have plenty of padding around them. I knew I had lost one, but just realized both of them were cracked. I should have labeled the boxes as fragile and paid the extra fee but I thought, you know, cast iron.

It’s a no-brainer for stoneware/china. I packed our Demby dishes pretty well, but obviously, I should have had more padding separating the mugs and cups. We lost three of our four most favorite mugs and three of our cups. All of the plates survived. The cups and mugs were individually wrapped in bubble-wrap, put into boxes (four to a box), and those boxes were inside a larger box which had padding all around the smaller boxes. Again, whatever you imagine is a sufficient amount of padding, double it.

The flat-rate boxes are a good choice for many items, but the boxes themselves better be well reinforced by whatever is inside. Meaning, the boxes with things like books, negatives, or anything that filled the boxes and made them fairly rigid, those boxes did OK. The boxes that had a mix of things and were not *completely* filling every nook and cranny got crushed, causing the boxes to split. This is where taping every edge would have helped. Some lauan or stiff plastic sheeting reinforcing the inside surfaces of the boxes would also have helped. Weight is not an issue since it’s flat rate. Use steel plates if you have them.

Here’s what some of the boxes looked like when I got them.

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That goes for larger boxes as well. First, again, blow the extra buck to buy the heavy-duty cardboard boxes (I got them at Home Depot, but anyone who sells regular boxes will also have the Heavy Duty versions of them), but also, make sure there are no “soft areas” for as sure as liquid excrement flows downhill, those areas will be punctured, ripped, or otherwise violated.

I should have snapped a few photos of the larger boxes. One of them was well on its way to being cut in half. 

By the way, you might think that using clothes or other soft material as padding/filling would work well. No. Get yourself some peanuts. Styrofoam peanuts are preferred, but I imagine actual peanuts would work as well if a tad messier.

Another hint: in some of the boxes, I used small items as “filler” — that’s how we got to ship stuff that we now look at and say “why did we ship this?”. That’s ok as long as the “filler” is really packed in there. If it can move, even a bit, crushed and split box will be the result.

BONUS HINT – while we still would still ship a few things, were we to do this again, the amount we would ship would be a lot less. A lot less. Let me repeat it . . .  A. Lot. Less.

Some of what we shipped was what one might call “emotional shipping” . . . stuff that was difficult to sell/give/throw away. Some of what we shipped fell into the “legitimate” category, and I covered that a bit in my previous post. One metric I used was “if it’s cheaper to ship than to buy new, ship” . . . provided, of course, that we had the room.

That works better if one is doing a shipping container. The whole purpose of what we did was to get rid of cumbersome possessions . . . yet, here I am opening boxes and saying “this is useful . . . but not right now; where are going to put it?”

For, that is the problem with what we did. The whole idea was to downsize, and we did. BUT, living in a two bedroom apartment does not leave that much extra room. Had we rented unfurnished, and if we would have blown some money to get the “right” things, we could be more efficient with our storage and space usage.

Right now, however, we’re trying to work out what additional furniture we want/need for the PC ad sewing machine, where we might put that furniture, and where we might store all the stuff associated with the PC and Sewing Machine.

We’ll work it out, but that’s the crux of the matter . . . we have interests and hobbies and, like all interests and hobbies, they require space. They also accounted for much of what we shipped. 

Anyway, that’s a problem I’ll tackle in another post. Right now, back to shipping.

One last hint about shipping things, and it’s something I said before. Unless you are doing a container (20′ x 8′ x 8′), or even if you are, start the process early.

By far, that was our biggest mistake . . . we waited until way too late before deciding what to do. Because of it, getting rid of everything seemed like the better idea. Because we had waited, neither paying for a shipping container nor getting rid of stuff were really good options. Really, at that point, it mattered not what we decided. Each decision had a different version of “suck”, but “suck” was the main component of both choices. If there was a third choice, we could not think of it at the time or it was associated with an ever bigger version of “suck”. Hence, mailing stuff it was.

That said, having had more than a month to rethink the chains of events, we still think we made the best decision we could have. The only regret, and it’s a slight one, is not getting rid of more.

In that regard, I’ll repeat myself . . . you can’t get rid of everything. Not if you have any interests or hobbies. What you can do, which I think we did pretty well, is to pare down as much as possible. Sure, we could have shipped a bit less. And yes, I’ve looked at a few things we thought at the time were a  good idea to ship and now wonder “what were we thinking!”

But, many of those things were filler items. I now know . . . put what you want into individual boxes and pack those boxes in larger boxes and use peanuts to fill the empty spaces. Tape the crap out of everything, and use good tape.

Let’s see . . . what other hints?

. . . did I mention mailing less? How about “more padding”? Stronger boxes?

Well, then . . . I think I covered everything I can think of right now.

Here are some photos. This is the little nature area at the Old Kona Airport park. I mentioned it before, but here are a few more photos.

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That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Photography Stuff, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Unsettled . . . but OK

Day five of no Internet . . . we are hanging on. Barely.

“How are you posting this stuff?” you ask.

Well, Bob, I have a phone. It’s one of them there smart phones. Don’t know how smart and all, top three percent, but pretty smart. One of the programs I bought a long time ago (when I still had my Droid X) is called PdaNet. 

It does something I’m sure other people do via their mobile carriers, but I do it via this program. Namely, I share the data package on my phone with my PC. In preparation of us moving here, I upped my plan to 12GB of monthly data, and I’m making good use of that now. 

Mind you, were I to do my usual photo postings, I would use up my quota in something like a day. Less if I transferred photos from the laptop to SmugMug. In that case, it would be like three photos, unless I did a panorama . . . then, it would be one photo, and I’d have to wait until the next billing cycle to finish uploading it. 

On a side and completely unrelated note . . . take care when shopping for milk; do not accidentally grab any containers labeled “extra calcium”. I’m not sure what they put in there (I’m guessing pulverized bones from assorted roadkill) but whatever it is, it changes both the consistency and flavor of the milk, and not in a good way. I’m suffering through it because I don’t want to waste it, but it’s a harsh lesson I’m learning. 

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Back to posting and photos and the Internet . . . 

The above sign gave Melisa and me a few good laughs the first few days here (and even now). The only Harry Kim we knew was THIS Harry Kim. 

Sadly, or fortunately, the signs refer to THIS Harry Kim.

Now, the photo above is from my phone. Were I to use the laptop to process the photos, I would be in trouble. Not because of data limits — although data limits would still be a consideration — but because the laptop I’m using is from around 2007 and running Vista 64. Mind you, it’s OK for surfing the net (and I do mean just OK and not great) but a veritable dog when it comes to anything even resembling my normal photo workflow. 

I wanted to post one of my Nikon photos and after importing it into Lightroom, I tried doing what I usually do . . . literally five minutes later, I was still working on the first photo and watching the little “busy” animation spinning on the screen. I canceled what I was doing. 

I do miss my PC. I mean, I have my PC, but it’s pretty useless without the monitor. And, that’s assuming both PC and monitor made it here intact. 

. . . which, I can’t check until I have my monitor. 

And, it’s not just photo processing. Even typing and editing stuff on this laptop is a chore that tests my mettle. Really, we should have bought a new one before we embarked on this adventure . . . we would have had we not been swamped.

I am shopping around for a new laptop, but meantime I’ve ordered a Chromebook . . . which will be useless until we get the Internet on Thursday (if all goes well, and if my modem works, and if my router works, and if, and if . . .) but which will be a significant improvement for usability when it comes to web-based stuff. Or, so I hear. 

Meanwhile, you get photos from my phone, processed on my phone, uploaded to the Media Gallery with the phone, and finally linked in these posts.

Mind you, it’s not like the photos are awful. Even after WP tries its best to mess them up, some can be almost OK. But, they ain’t my Nikon shots.

For some, it don’t matter none . . . 

Yet another steep drive. The camera is pointed level and at the horizon.

Yet another steep driveway. The camera is pointed level and at the horizon.

But for others, I think the Nikon shots would show a little better.

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For instance, the above has some of the highlights blown out. I could go in a bit and the phone would meter a little better . . . 

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. . . but it’s not the same composition. I have said it before . . . the best application for phone photos is Macro (or, near macro).

Perhaps, what I miss most is writing. I just received another rejection letter (eMail), this one for my “Nancy” short story. I currently have no stories out, and I need to get back into submitting them. Most of all, I need to get back into writing.

Sure, I could write on the laptop and even the phone. For me, part of the writing process involves having the right environment, and right now we’re still unsettled. Yes, we have a more permanent place to stay, yes, we’ll soon have our car, and yes, I now live someplace where Spam is appreciated for the culinary masterpiece it is, but, for all that, we’re still somewhat unsettled. 

It’s a mindset, I know, and for many things we are essentially settled, but every little thing is a reminder of stuff yet to be done. It’s not oppressive, or even bothersome, but . . . writing and photography, my two main hobbies, are significantly impacted. 

No, I’m not whining . . . well, maybe a bit, but my heart’s not into it. I am relaxed, I am rested, I am well fed. That’s more than a lot of people can say. 

. . . still . . . sure wish that monitor would get here . . . and that we would have a proper Internet connection . . . and that Loco Moco plate lunches and Malasadas were not so dang calories intensive . . . and that we’d have our own car to tool around with.   

Otherwise, everything is good and we’re enjoying ourselves.   

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

<><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><><><o><><><><><><><>

Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Posted in Musings Stuff, Opinion, Personal, Photography, Writing Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments