A Photogenic Weekend

I've been out most of this weekend playing with my new camera. It's been one adventure after another.

Yesterday after a long day of hiking I took Eric to Wachusett Reservoir to get some pictures of the sunset. While I was pulling out the driveway I spoke the following words to Eric. "Ops, I forgot my GPS I suppose I should go and get it... Eh, never mind I know where we're going." Those were oh so wrong. Sure I knew where we were driving, but once we parked the car what I thought was going to be a short half mile hike to the lake turned into a 3 mile hike on what must be the most confusing trail system I've ever been on. The trails kept crisscrossing each other, but we eventually got to the lake just in time for the sunset. After sunset we tried to go back the way we came, but made numerous wrong turns and got ourselves completely lost. We kept hiking though and eventually got out of that accursed forest well after dark. It was all worth it though since I got some great sunset pictures as you can see.

I got up early this morning to go to a state park to do some geocaching and take a few photos. That went pretty much as I planned, but then on my way back I ran saw a score of kites in the air off in the distance and knew something must be up (no pun intended). I went to check it out and it was a Kite Days event. There were a few hundred people there and probably a hundred kites. It was pretty picture heaven, and I started clicking. While I was taking pictures a bunch more people asked me if I worked for the newspaper. My standard response is a pretty bland no. I'd like to come up with a catchy news or business name that I could use so I could say something besides my bland no. If any of you folks have any ideas for a name I could use please email me or leave a comment.
Peace out dudes and dudets!


Immigration Cartoon

I found this cartoon half funny, half sad, and half insightful (you need sound).

Don’t go criticizing my math skills. If it doesn’t involve antidifferentiation of an asymptotical minimum from the Cartesian family of complex numbers it just isn’t worth doing right. At least that's going to be my alibi to Uncle Sam if he doesn't like my tax return.


Bah to Traffic

I had to drive into Boston today during morning rush hour for a meeting with some clients at work. It should have taken me around 40 minutes, but because of traffic it took a little over an hour and a half. It wasn’t so bad because I knew I only had to do it one day, but I don’t see how people could do this every day. It would drive me CRAZY. Crazy like a chicken that’s missing its tongue!



Flickr is widely regarded as the best photo sharing website on the internet. I tell you this because I started a Flickr account about a week ago and have been loading pictures up to it. I think some of you out there might get hooked on it like I have. Some people put amazing photos up on it. For now I put a link to "My Flickr Photos" on my sidebar. I will definitely be putting more photos on it than I do here, but I'll keep putting a few here. If anyone here is already on Flickr or gets into it enough to make one of their free accounts make sure you make me a friend in Flickr. Peace!

My New Camera

I ordered a new camera and received it this past Friday. It's a canon 30D which is one of those digital SLR cameras (SLR = I can change lens). So far I've been very pleased with results. I got it so I could shoot better pictures under a wider variety of conditions than my current point and shoot camera. I certainly don't plan on getting rid of my point and shoot since it's small enough to go anywhere and this new camera is a monster. It's raining outside right now so I decided to update my blog instead of continuing my quest for those perfect pictures.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took so far.

It's me and my camera, don't we make a cute couple!

Here is a picture of some campaigners in downtown Shrewsbury. There were probably 50 people hanging out there on various corners and I took pictures of them all. I was asked a few times if I was a reporter for the newspaper :)

Since you all know how much I love the outdoors I thought I needed to include at least one picture from the woods.


Amazing Translator

Today I met with some folks from one of the major Japanese auto manufactures at work. We discussed ways they could improve the computer rendering of their cars that they use in their show rooms. I do this sort of work fairly frequently so that is not what impressed me. What amazed me was the translator they had. He was freaking amazing. He had absolutely no problem listening and talking at the same time. In fact I could swear the man was listing to two or three conversations at the same time while talking in the other language. This is something I could never do. I have enough difficulty listening to a single person talking in a single language and responding in an intelligent way when my turn comes. It's truly amazing the talents some people have.



I spent a great day outside enjoying nature. The weather was great. The mountains were steep. The trails were invigorating. In short it was a great day. Great until I got home and realized I had eaten my last real food for lunch yesterday. So I headed to the grocery store to pick up my staples: precooked pasta, tortilla fixings, and some frozen meals. Imagine my surprise when I saw the grocery store was closed because of Easter. If Jesus was so smart why didn't he pick a different day, which was more convenient for me, to rise from the dead? Eh, I guess I can't complain too much since overall I had a great day. I even managed to find some microwave popcorn and a protein shake in the cupboards which I'm munching on right now.

Here are a few pictures I took today.



Let's give a cheer for spring is here!


Ramstions 2 - Democracy Debated

While I was out in a forest hiking this chilly spring weekend, I started thinking back towards the middle of 2003. The second invasion of Iraq had just started. Ratings for President Bush were sky high and much of the media was focusing on finding Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Weapons which the presidency had informed the public were the main reason that necessitated swift action instead of continued negotiations.

I have often wondered what caused Bush to rush into this invasion. I have a long list of things it might have been. Everything from family pride, to a desire increase his ratings at the polls, to him truly believing that Saddam had or would soon have the ability to launch an attack on other countries. Personally I hope it was the last one even though that likely indicates he's a bad judge others whom he appointed.

What really matters here is not what caused this mistake, but rather that he's made many mistakes and that he's made few contributions to counter these mistakes. Don't take me for just another ranting democrat. I didn't vote for Kerry because I couldn't bring myself to vote for mediocrity. So in the end I voted for someone I full well knew had no chance to win. While others who voted for that other 3rd, or 4th, or even 5th candidate said they weren't voting for a win, but so eventually there is that 3rd party. I make no such grand illusions to myself. I can't think of any democratic country with a unified people that has more than two significant political parties. Countries that have many political parties tend to have people with different cultures or belief systems, but these countries have other problems. The reason countries with a unified people only have two parties is because it's easier that way since one group usually wins. It's easier for the human brain to conceptualizing winners and losers rather than a nebulous how good are we doing factor. Easier is good for most people because I believe most people tend to be either lazy, stupid, or both. Ideally a government would be made up of the best people for the jobs and there would be no parties. Here is one of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Looking at history as a guide, every powerful nation eventually falls. Usually they survive for a time in mediocrity, but eventually older nations crumble to the new nations. Sometimes the fall is a long agonizing fall, other times it's a swifter change brought about by a new idea such as bronze, democracy, or anti-slavery. I see lots of things on the horizon that could speed the US's decline. It might be a truly new idea such as curing aging or space colonization. Or it might be a revitalization of an existing idea such as the widening economic separation of the classes, or exhaustion of natural resources. Whatever the reason for the eventual fall no man can effectively argue against the idea that each day that passes is one day nearer to the fall of the US as the dominate world power. So does this mean that the US is going to fall soon? I doubt it since this process from start to fruition tends to take centuries not decades.

I'm not a fan of our existing political system. In other words I'm not a fan of democracy. I would have no bad feelings if a new form of politics came into favor to replace democracy when the eventual revolution in the US happens. Many of the founding fathers of this nation were revolutionists at heart and believed that the nation they made would last only a short time before a new cleansing revolution occurred(Benjamin Franklin actually put a number to this idea of around 100 years). That's a fine concept, but their flaw in logic was that they thought people in a hundred years would care as much about government as they did. As I said before people tend to be lazy or stupid which means the people will ignore the need for a revolution until it is long past due. Since we can't rely on timely revolutions, another solution would be a political system that took into account this part of human nature.

All I really want to do with this editorial is get a few people to think about how democracy isn't as great as most people think it is. It's the current fad and as surely as the US will fall one day, so surely will the dominance of democracy one day fall. Personally I'd love to see a new form of government that uses statistics to filter out the voice of the lazy and stupid so that elections were more of a contest to find the best person for position rather than finding the most popular person. I don't believe the government should be run the way corporations are run, but if a corporation had leadership similar to this country's leadership I think we can agree it would fail rather quickly. We need to find a system that puts better leaders and decision makers into places of power.


Hiking the Weekend Away

I hiked to the top of two mountains in Massachusetts this weekend. One was Mount Grace which is the second tallest mountain in the state (already done Greylock which is the tallest). Both of the summits I did this weekend had geocaches hidden at the top for me to grab. Rather than type a few million words you can take a look at some of the pictures I took this weekend.

First here is a picture of a lake I found this weeekend. It wasn't during my hike to either of these mountains, but I liked the picture so it's here.

I believe this is the tallest fire tower I've ever seen at the top of a mountain. That's a lot of steps to climb when you had though you were done climbing the mountain, but I had to climb it to get a good view from the top of Mt. Grace.

A view from the top of Mt. Grace.

A lonely tree at the top of Mt. Tully.

The view from the top of Mt. Tully.