Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fireman Helmets and Photography

J got issued a new "lid" at work: a new helmet. He sure was/is proud of it. Had a laugh when they ran a call and his new helmet had to ride up in the front of the truck with them, LOL.

The next day he brought it home to show us.
I had seen some lovely pics that others (with some real artistic talent) had taken, so I attempted to try my own artsy-fartsy type set-ups. Out of lots attempts, this is one of the better ones

I wanted him to pose wearing it, but he's a terrible model. He can't relax and look natural and gets aggravated when I try to tell him to turn this way or that, makes goofy faces. Ryan had him laughing in this one and I liked it better than all the ones he 'posed' for.

Yes, that is smoke drifting up behind him, lol. Ryan had our fire pit thing lit earlier and it was sitting there and he thought it would make a good "prop" to have smoke wafting up in the background.

While we were out messing with "photo ops" last night, I found out Ryan has all these cool photos effects on his phone, like Vignette, Distortion, depth-to-field and some others. Kinda pisses me off than my nearly $200 digi-cam doesn't have kewl stuff like that.

I know I have Photo-Shop-Pro on my PC, but I'm not good at visualizing taking photos to be able to edit a certain way later.

Ryan owns his own helmet, and had ordered a front shield for it, and it finally got here.
I had gotten him interested in making the artsy type photos of their gear, so he wanted me to help him set up a Scene.
We have this vintage old screen door (J was supposed to be restoring for me) propped up out on the carport and Ryan liked the look of it, so we set his stuff up in front of it.

These are pictures he took with his cellphone camera.

Ryan saying "Don't take a picture of me!" and blinding me with his helmet-light.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Better Week

Ahh, better.
So last week I mentioned that had pissed me off to high heaven.
What happened was, about 3, 4, maybe even more? years ago J had upgraded and got a Blackjack phone, like this:

At the time we got unlimited texting and didn't go on the web on our phones, so this was exactly what he needed.
But then, sometime after that, things changed. There were times we were away on a trip or somewhere and needed information and wished we'd had an internet connection, plus I got him addicted to Facebook, which he can't go to at the station, and his GPS info is outdated and costs like $100 to upgrade, where as if he had web on his phone he could use google maps. So, the next time he was up for upgrade, which was about 1.5 - 2 years ago, he got a smartphone and a data plan.

In the meantime, our youngest son was still using a Razor, with a numerical keypad. Like me, he's not a big talker, and will text instead. He never complained, but I knew what a PITA trying to text on a numerical keypad was. So after J upgraded we gave Kev the Blackjack so he could text more easily. (He texts like 1,000 times more than I do, so I was okay with keeping my old numerical keypad phone while he got the Blackjack.)

1.5 - 2 years later, decides the Blackjack is a Smartphone and despite the fact we/he never used the web on it, forced a $30 a month data plan on it.
I called and told them we didn't want/need the data plan, and was told all smartphones have to have a data plan, no choice, there was nothing they could do.
We didn't even really know it was a Smartphone - how the heck could you even see the web on that tiny little screen? - but it wasn't like we just bought or got the thing, we'd had it for at least four years without HAVING to have a data plan on, so I call bullshit. I could see if we had just gotten the phone, but we hadn't.

My choices came down to (1) having the web blocked, which would also block him from being able to send picture texts, even though we pay for unlimited text and picture messaging, (2) BUY a non-smartphone, or (3) PAY $36.00 to upgrade to get a free non-smartphone.
I didn't think it should cost us to have to get another phone, when we had one that worked perfectly well.

Our last option was to just pay the monthly data plan cost that he'd never use.
He only plays online RP games that he's not able to play on a cellphone, or even something like my Kindle. He doesn't have email, doesn't have a Facebook, doesn't Twitter, nothing like that. So paying even a cent for him to have web access is nothing but wasted money. Even so, I was going to just give in and take the $15 plan same as the rest of us have and hope I could convince him to somehow get our moneys worth out of it (although, I *do* go online on my phone sometimes, and even I don't get our money's worth out of it. I've never even used more than 8% of my monthly allowance, and that was a big month. Usually it's no more than 4%.)
Then the gal informed me that they "don't carry the old plans any longer" so the cheapest plan he could get would be $20 a month.

I was furious that they would treat me, a long time, loyal customer, like that, and I took it pretty badly. (I didn't know it until then but I was PMS'ing.)

I did go and check out every other cellphone carrier and plan I could find, and sadly, there is nothing better. The ONE other carrier with decent coverage in our area cost even more.

I was furious, distraught, upset, worried and beaten. But finally I told myself, chick, take a chill pill, this ain't the end of the world. It's not even the worst thing that could happen. You can figure something out.

I wished I hadn't been nice and helped a friend's son out by giving him my old phone when his got stolen a few months ago, but that gave me an idea...I bet someone else probably had upgraded and had an old phone stuck back in a drawer somewhere.
I decided to try posting on a Freecycle group I belong to, asking for a NON-smartphone.
Freecycle is an online group where you can post things you no longer want, but don't want to throw away. For instance if you buy a new couch, but your old one is still in decent condition, someone out there might could use it.  Or if you've gained/lost weight and your clothes no longer fit but are still in good condition, someone out there could probably really use them.
I mostly give stuff away since I started working on de-cluttering around here, but they aren't opposed to members posting if they are looking something that someone might have and just didn't think to post it, and sure enough, I got a reply from a lady saying she had one, but it needed a charger.

Chargers are easy enough to find on ebay, and I figured even if we couldn't find one for it, we wouldn't be any worse off than we already were, so I made arrangements to go pick it up.
I didn't even ask what kind it was or anything. Didn't matter, I just needed a NON-smartphone until I could figure something else out. I was really expecting one of those ancient, blue flip phones from 6 or 8 years ago. To our surprise, it turned out to be a Texting phone, a Neon II, pretty much exactly what I would have bought or upgraded to!

Even better, it turns out all of our chargers also work on this phone, so we were able to get it right up and going, and we can just share chargers and not even have to buy another one.

I called Monday and they removed ALL the data plan charges.
However, she was sure to inform me that they were putting it on a Pay-per-use plan, which costs $2.00 a MB, and that's ANY amount up to a MB, for a minimum of $2.00 (even if he justs hits the web button accidently and disconnects quickly).

Screw you, , I won.

I started on Monday, but even that wasn't as bad as it can be sometimes. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with cramps, so I got up and took a couple of pain relievers and was back asleep in no time. When I got up at 6:30 to get Kev up for school, they were still working.

We finally got some much, much needed rain this week.
As much I love sunshine and warm, pretty weather, I also just love a rainy day every so often. Good days to just relax and curl up under a blankey with a book. I put some beef tips in the crock pot and they smelled sooo good cooking all day.

We also got some excellent progress made on the doorway between the carport and the back porch this week.  The door is in, and to the right, on the floor is the platform the boys built that we set our spare fridge on. It had been sitting on the back porch, taking up space, so now it's tucked neatly into that corner of the carport, opening up the space on the back porch for visitors and hanging out and such, but cold drinks still handy for when we're working or hanging out outside.

Also this week J's been able to get out in the evenings he's home and do some trout fishing. He enjoys fishing and it helps him unwind and relax, and I like stocking our freezer with free food, so it's a win-win!

Here's hoping for the goodness to continue on into next week, and good days for my Bloggy friends too!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Glad This Week Is Over

I thought last week was rough, but this week was just about as bad.

Monday started out okay. I got the unpacking and laundry done and watered the garden and such.

But, I started sneezing hard as the day went along. Not like when I just sneeze from allergies *achoo*, these were like *Ah, Ah, Ah, AH, AH, AHHHHH- CHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* sneezes, and my nose started running like water faucet and my ears felt itchy, cloggy.
These were pretty much the same symptoms my niece started with last Friday, so I figured I had caught her Strep throat.

I felt bad on Tuesday but J was home and ready/willing to work on any of the projects I wanted done around here so I got up to tell him what I wanted and supervise.  We (he) got started on opening a doorway between the carport and back porch wall.

He had to work at the urgent care office on Wednesday, which was good, because I was really miserable sick (with a head cold. Other than drying out from sinus drip, my throat didn't get sore or my glands didn't hurt so I don't think I got the Strep part.).

However, we were in for a late-season Frost Thursday morning, so me and the boys had to go out and get our little garden sprouts covered.
I've never had to do this before but I read putting newspapers over them would protect them (lol, newspapers again). We put stakes at each end, ran a string, and draped the newspapers over it. Ended up having to anchor the corners with rocks because of the wind.

R said our garden looked like a little mini-prison camp

Thursday was cold and I felt like heck so I didn't hardly get out bed, only to get me some more OJ or Chicken Noodle soup or take more drugs or tinkle.

I don't care how "old fashioned" it might be, there's just nothing like hot chicken noodle soup and cold OJ when you're sick.

The rest probably did me the best, though. I'm always preaching to the boys how when they are sick they need to lay down and rest and sleep as much as possible and let the body work on fighting the germs, instead of having to do that plus everything else if you're up doing this and that, playing, working, etc.

Friday my head was better and the cold began it's progress towards my lungs, as usual, so I'll have a naggy cough for the next few weeks. But all in all I felt better, and was able to make it down to my Aunt's to get my taxes done and go by the grocery store.

Man, I don't know what happened, but we aren't getting back even a third of the tax refund we usually get. Sucks because I was hoping to be able to get a new roof this year with it.

The weather is back to lovely, sunny and warm today. Good day to be working on things like projects around the house if one's husband wasn't off wasting the day at a Mudbog.
Oh well, he works so much, he needs a break to have some fun every now and then.

I slept in then got up and opened the doors, put in some laundry, and had big plans to make some accomplishments around here. I swept the carport and dusted off an old stationary bicycle to yardsale or give away, made a pitcher of lemonade and started cleaning off the piles of stuff from my kitchen island.
I opened an envelope from my auto insurance company to find a CX notice! Apparently my payment was due the 4th. I'm not sure how that happened, when before it used to be due the 26th. Last month I paid it 3/12, and it wasn't late.

So I came in here to pay it, and some other bills while I was here, and saw my cellphone bill was quite a bit higher than usual. Quite a bit.
They made me so mad I could spit nails :(
Cellphone companies are nothing but scammers, crooks, and assholes, because they know even if you change providers, they are all the same.
I'm seriously thinking about going back to the days of having no cellphone. We managed to survive thirty years without them.

After that, I got pretty much nothing else done. Finished the laundry, made a homemade chicken-pot-pie for supper, that's it.

To top it off, two of my cousins went at it on Facebook, and in my family, people can't just say "oh that's between them" and leave it alone. Everyone is going to take sides and start fights with each other.
This happens every so often, and I refuse to get involved, so I get left out of the gossip, so then I don't know who exactly is pissed at who, and when I bring someone up in conversation, I usually end up offending somebody else.

I hope tomorrow is the start of a better week.

Monday, April 09, 2012


We went and spent the week and had Easter dinner and an egg hunt at my sister's. And that's all I have to say about that.

Unless you're interested in what I really have to say about it.