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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wondering "Do I feel lucky punk? Well, do I?"

I haven't posted here in a LONG time :(

There is a new photography tip and Photoshop action site I just learned about today through a Facebook friend. They are having this amazing contest that I'm DYING to win! I would win an amazing camera and an awesome bag to put it in. You can never have too many cameras, and I just threw away my old bag as it was ripped and the zipper had long ago broken :( Anyway, I can earn extra entries by blogging about the contest, and while I'd love to keep it to myself so no one else could win, I'm already behind the curve ball on that one. So, I'm sharing the contest here as an opportunity to earn 5 more entries. It seems very worth it to me!

The name of the site is SummerAna - Photoshop Actions for Photographers. If you don't know anything about actions, let me just tell you that for someone like me, who spends WAY too much time editing, they are a lifesaver! They take the guess work and constant tweaking out of photo editing. Plus, there are so many cool layers and tools that you might not think of if you don't spend hours in Photoshop (which I can't do right now).

Here's a link to the contest:

If I do win, I will be sure to let you all know!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When was the last time you felt lucky?

Looking at this question, you might really have to think about the answer, I know I did. The first thing that popped into my head was an event several years ago. My family had gone to a small Nascar race just outside of Savannah, Georgia. There was a contest to win a 7 day cruise for 4 people. Well, who could pass that up? Not me. At that time, I had never been on a cruise, but knew it was something I wanted to do.
For this particular contest, there was no purchase necessary and you could enter as many times as you wanted, so I grabbed a stack of the entry forms, headed back to my seat and proceeded to fill out about 100 entries (with help of course). They made the last call for entries and I took all the ones I had complete and put them in the box with the thought that I never win anything so I wasn’t holding my breath.
Imagine the thrill I got when I heard my name! I was so excited I screamed and stomped, much to the dismay of those around me. I didn’t care, I had actually won something major and I was thrilled! I think I screamed so much I lost my voice and the stomping on the metal bleachers hurt my foot after a bit. I started making plans right away. I knew who I was going to take with me, when and where we were going to go and everything else. I had all plans made on the 40 minute ride home. I WAS EXCITED!
Well, you know they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions? I’m not sure about hell, but it could certainly be the road to disappointment. In one week I went from on top of the world to feeling like smacking the crap out of someone. Just one short week after winning my first cruise, the cruise liner that was supposed to be my ship of dreams, declared bankruptcy and stranded a whole ship full of passengers in another country to find their own way home. WHAT?!? You read it right; they just left them there with no regard for their well being. Why? Because, since they were out of the country, if they didn’t return they wouldn’t have to give up the ship due to the bankruptcy. Pretty crappy customer service, huh?
Well, that’s not the end of that story. NASCAR, in their infinite wisdom, sent out a “replacement” prize. Before I tell you what it was, let me just break down the dollar value of my cruise. For a week long cruise for 4 adults, to the Caribbean, the prize package was estimated at $4000! Not too shabby. Now, back to NASCAR – since they co-sponsored the contest, they provided a prize that was supposed to replace the cruise, so I thought, okay something else real cool, right? WRONG!
I received a certificate for entrance into any NASCAR race I chose for 4 people. Cool, NOT! Here’s the deal, I could go to any race I wanted, BUT I had to get myself there and pay for my hotel and food. SO, basically NASCAR was getting by with offering me about $200 worth of tickets to “replace” my $4000 cruise. I don’t think so! What the heck are they thinking? So, I called them to try and get an answer. Well, wouldn’t you know crappy customer service again!
Needless to say, I basically told them there was a place I’d like to deliver their tickets to and hung up the phone. Why do I mention this event when talking about feeling lucky? Because it’s events like this that can really put things into perspective for some people, myself included.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be lucky and win the lottery, or have my photos published in National Geographic or Rolling Stone or some other really cool magazine, but those aren’t things I usually think about when I think about being lucky, not anymore. Lately when I think about being lucky, those things pop in and out of my head I barely give them a second thought. The things that pop in my head and stay are the things that make me feel lucky all the time and make me grateful for what I have.
So, now if I ask myself “When was the last time you felt lucky” I can honestly reply that I feel lucky today. Today, I heard the alarm clock because I’m not deaf, I was able to get out of my awesome bed because I’m not incapacitated, take a hot shower because I pay my water bill, talk to my husband and son because I have them in my life, see the sun come up because I’m not blind, go to work because I have a job, etc. etc. etc. I can go on and on, but I think by now you probably understand where I’m going with this. Sure, I’d like to win the lottery and look like a model and stuff, but having that other stuff in my life is what makes me truly lucky, the rest is just extra.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bieber Fever? Who cares?

Let me just start by saying that I don’t have Bieber fever, I don’t even like him a little, it’s just that I’m not at all surprised about the success of Justin Bieber’s documentary. As an “expired” teenage girl, I remember how much money I used to spend on magazines, movies, TV and other merchandise, just as long as my favorite guy of the moment was involved in any way. Having said that, it’s not surprising to me at all that this movie is the #1 concert movie ever and I am VERY glad that I don’t have teenage daughters so I don’t have to be infected vicariously with Bieber fever.

So, why are teenage girls such a driving force for consumerism? Who knows really? Maybe it’s because they are “daddy’s little girl” and they don’t get told no, or it might be that there are more girls than boys, but I think it’s because teenage girls are more driven to get what they want and to either fit in with the crowd or to start their own trends. Who doesn’t want to start something that will have lasting effects and essentially make their mark on the world? You’d be lying if you said “not me” because everyone wants to leave a mark of some kind. It’s why we all strive for that illusive 15 minutes of fame.

I don’t get it, this Bieber fever thing. What makes him so wonderful? Okay, I can give the kid “props” for getting out there and chasing his dream, AND using social media to do so, that’s kind of cool, but other than that, I still don’t get it. I mean, let’s start with the hair, what’s up with that? It’s the new style, right? Wrong, it’s not a style for pete’s sake. He doesn’t even do his own hair I’ll bet. I’m sure there is some stylist that just got lazy one day and decided to flatten his hair down to his head from the crown out and they said “voila” and a new hairstyle was born and now you see it EVERYWHERE! Wow!

And, how can a 16-year-old singer have enough story to tell to create documentary about their life? What life, he’s 16! Most famous people don’t get their life story told until their old or dead. Again, I just don’t understand why this one is so special?

Okay, I’m rambling again. That’s what I get for shooting from the hip and just writing. Sometimes the thoughts just flow too quickly for me to organize. Oh well, maybe I’ll make a youtube video of me typing my blog and then I can be famous too!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here's Your Sign (Thanks Bill Engvall)

I know it's going to be one of those days when I turn on the news and have some kinds of comment about everything on there. This morning was one of those.

I'm constantly amazed at the stupidity of some people, or maybe it's arrogance, or maybe there's no difference between the two. One thing that really got me going this morning was the news story about four Americans who were killed by the Somali pirates. Let me preface this by saying that I'm sorry that four people are dead and I feel for their families, but let's get real people.

I don't know about you,but the thought of taking a vacation, in my rich people yacht, in pirate infested waters, just screams "come and get me." To me, this would be like taking a vacation in Juarez, Mexico right now, just not gonna happen! Why is that some people with money think they are immune to the "hardships" in this world? Does having money erase your common sense? Must be some chemical they put in the ink of all those Benjamins.

Then, I got going even more when the earthquake story came on and I just wanted to reach through the TV and slap the crap out of the reporter. These are college educated people, right? I'm assuming they have studied journalism, but hey, you know what they say about assuming. ANYWAY, this stupid reporter asks questions like "How did you feel when your fiancee got pulled out of the rubble?" How the heck do you think she felt, pissed? I just don't understand why people would think we need to dumb down everything. If we didn't do that, then maybe common sense would still be around.

Instead of dumbing down everything, why don't we use the idea put forth by the comedian Bill Engvall. Just make stupid people wear signs, that way you know not to ask them anything. I know everyone has their moments (myself included) because stupid can be contagious. I'll throw myself on the fire here. I'll never forget this one instance in high school, and I'm not saying there was only one, when my parents invited some friends over. I asked mom "what time are they going to be here?" She replied "4:30, 5:00." Well, in my mind, I heard 4:35, so imagine my surprise when they arrived at 4:35! I thought my mom was just awesome and when I told her I was amazed that she nailed it, she just gave one of those looks like "Oh honey, you need to go lie down." :)

See, everyone has stupid moments, but some are so stupid they should get a Darwin award!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Odd reactions?

Last week, someone I know died in a tragic car accident. I was not close to this person, but I did know him and am close to his wife. It was/is very troubling news for me because this is the 3rd time in little more than a year that the husband of a friend has died in tragic and unsuspecting ways.

I say tragic and unsuspecting because none of these men were physically ill in such a way that would lead you to believe they were soon to pass. I mention all of this because I've found that responses and reactions to these deaths rather odd. People say and do strange things when confronted with a sudden death. The most common odd response (yes, I realize that is a slight oxymoron) is when someone says "I just talked to him/her" as if the fact that you were just in contact makes it any more surprising that this person has died.

Why do we say such things? I don't know about you, but I think we say weird things because we feel like we have to say something and aren't quite sure what to say. "I'm sorry", which seems pretty standard, seems like such a weak offering in the scheme of things, doesn't it? There are some that say "I know how hard this must be" and all I have to say is do you really? I mean, how can you know. Have you lost your best friend, your lover, your partner? Even if you have, you are totally different people from others and have no idea about the ins and outs of that relationship.

Every person is different and each of us faces death and comes to grips with it in our own ways. Having lost my share of friends and family, I can only offer this advice to others, be there for that person in the best way you can, and sometimes that means saying nothing at all.

To my friends who have recently lost, let me just say this, you are all amazing women with a strength I can't even begin to understand and you have dealt with your tragedies with such grace that I can only hope that others appreciate how strong you are.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The downfall of America

I've been home sick for three days now, and in that time, I've had plenty of opportunity to watch A LOT of TV. I have seen ads for shows that just make me shake my head and ask why, like a new show on TLC called "The Unpoppables" which is an entire show about balloon artists. Now, TLC has some really interesting shows, but how many episodes can you make about balloon artists?

That's not even what prompted this posting, it's another show I saw advertised on TLC (yes, I'm kind of hooked on that channel the past few days). The show that got me really worked up is a show called "Outrageous Kid Parties". This show is exactly what it sounds like, parents going WAY too far to give their kids a memorable birthday party. So it hits me, this kind of activity is what's wrong with this country.

Overindulged, spoiled rotten, little kids who never get told no are going to be the downfall of civilization. In the main preview for this show, this mom is planning a birthday party for her daughter, who looks to be about 6 and the budget is $15,000. That is freaking ridiculous. I find it terribly sad that a parent feels the need to spend that much money on a party for anyone, let along a little child.

It's a shame that these parents feel the need to buy the love of their child as that can be the only explanation. I just keep singing the Hall and Oates song "Rich Girl" which basically says that the rich girl will never need to be strong because she's got her daddy's money. This little girl will never know what it means to actually earn something on her own. Her parents have set the example by handing things to her. What a shame.

Sound familiar? Does the name Lindsey Lohan mean anything to anyone? What about Paris Hilton? Spoiled rotten rich kids who have never had to work for anything and these are the examples that are being set for our young girls in this country. One can hope that others will see this show and be as disgusted as me, but unless people scream about it, no one will ever get rid of it.

I'm thinking I've rambled in this post, perhaps it's the sickness, but maybe it's just that I have so much to say that my brain works faster than my fingers.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Have pride for pete's sake

Who watched the Superbowl this year? Well, if you didn't, you're one of the few. The estimates say that more 97 million people tuned in. That number varies a bit depending on your source but either way, that's a lot of people. No matter your reason for watching, something kept you in front of that TV. For many viewers, myself included, it's usually about the commercials, for some it's the half time show and, believe it or not, some people actually tune in for the game. This year, for me at least, it was a combination of the commercials and the National Anthem.

Being from a military family, I am fiercely patriotic and believe in an individuals right to freedom of expression, however when it comes to our National Anthem, I believe there are some things you need to leave alone.

This years performance was one that really got me going and not in a good way. There is no doubt that Christina Aguilera has an amazing voice, but as she's shown in the past, she just shouldn't be asked to perform our National Anthem in public. She's messed it up before, so what made anyone think she wouldn't do it again?

Our National Anthem was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and was adopted as our nation's song in 1931. Why do I mention all the history? It's important for you to know that those lyrics written so long ago are just as relevant today as they were back then. The words have special meaning and should remain in their original form.

One should not be able to drag out words, add their own touch of soul or, God forbid, add or delete words. There have been some really terrible performances of the National Anthem, and those performers were not asked to sing it again. Take Steven Tyler who, at his performance as the Indianapolis 500, changed the last line to say "The land of the free and the home of the Indianapolis 500", or Michael Bolton who wrote the lyrics on his hand and had to stop singing in order to check the words. I appreciate both these artists, but I don't appreciate the butchering of our anthem.

I fully believe that Christina Aguilera should be placed on a type of "no fly list" for singing the anthem. She belongs on the same list as Steven Tyler, Michael Bolton and Roseanne Barr.

So, to anyone that's paying attention, let's get the word out that we don't want Christina Aguilera to perform our nation's anthem again. I'm all for giving second chances and this was hers and she failed miserably, so let's learn from this and find someone else!