Sunday, July 31, 2011

Welcome Back Jared!

I will continue where I left off in my last post, only this time with pictures! We didn’t end up leaving right at ten, but we left in plenty of time. We got to Cedar Rapids at least an hour early, and after stopping to ask for directions, found the Ice Arena where the ceremony was being held.

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As we entered, I noticed that they had a huge screen set up, and a very familiar movie was just starting.

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If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll remember earlier this year I wrote how much I loved the movie Rango.

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A bunch of little kids went out into the arena and sat right in front of the screen.

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The entire movie played before the soldiers arrived. I’ve been wanting my parents to see it, but we’re still going to have to watch it at home sometime, because it was so noisy there, I doubt they were even able to hear enough to figure out the plot.

About halfway through the movie, Eva, her parents, one of her sisters, and two of her nieces joined us.

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Eva and Paige had done their toenails in Jared’s Honor.

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Paige also had her hair done with patriotic ribbons.

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They were all wearing homemade t-shirts with welcome back messages for Jared, and they had brought flags to wave.

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Apparently one of the Muppets was in Jared’s platoon!

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Finally, after being almost an hour late, the soldiers started marching in.

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Can you spot Jared?

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It took me awhile but I found him.

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This was the literally the second after they released the troops.

Normally these next couple of photos would be instantly deleted because of the people standing in the way, but they were too perfect in capturing Jared at the moment of reuniting with Eva, so they stay.

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Since it’s getting so late, I am going to publish this now and continue with more pictures tomorrow. I have a lot more coming. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It’s Been a LONG week

This week was finals week for my summer classes. I had a ton of algebra to finish if I wanted to get it all out of the way before the Fall semester.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I also had a quiz, a test, a paper, and a final exam all due throughout this week in Nutrition class.

If THAT wasn’t enough, I was scheduled for FOUR days at Hy-Vee. I usually get just a couple days, so why they chose this week of all weeks to give me a ton of hours is beyond me.

But wait, I’m not done. If those four days weren’t enough, one of my coworkers asked me to fill in a few hours for him because wasn’t going to be able to make it to work at 4 the next day, so I told him I would.

Is that all? No! At the beginning of the week we heard from Jared! He was headed for home! After a year in Afghanistan his tour of duty was finally over! So in addition to all this stuff I’ve had to deal with, I now had to find someone to cover my hours on Saturday, so that I could go with my family to meet him.

Needless to say this week has been just slightly stressful.

I suppose you are wondering how my finals went. The algebra class was a Pass/No Pass class. If I didn’t learn enough to pass I would have to pay for another semester and keep working on it this fall. Joel had already taken the course and he told me that everyone in his class had taken two full semesters to complete it. I did not want to do that. I do not like math. I “Get” math and I generally don’t have a problem with it if I know what I’m doing, but I do not like it, and I really did not want to have the expense of another whole semester. So I worked my tail off and this afternoon I took the final assessment to find out if I had learned enough to pass. And I did! I did in one half semester what it usually takes other students two FULL semesters to do. And I NEVER want to go through that again!

As soon as I was done with that test, I logged onto the school website to get into my final exam in Nutrition. As I explained before, our teacher is not in Harlan, so we had classes in the basement of the library, with video cameras and microphones. Our tests and assignments were all done at home over the internet. I was a bit nervous about getting that test done because I knew I’d be working on math at the same time the test was open. There was only a three hour window in which we could take it. I finished the math test about an hour before the nutrition test closed. Thankfully I knew the stuff on the test and I completely aced it. Zero questions wrong!

I got home at about 5 that evening and I was starving. I had been so busy with school stuff, and nervous about the tests, that I hadn’t eaten anything all day. That was rather new for me. I’ve always heard of people being “Too nervous to eat,” but I’d never had it happen to me before today. Mom called me soon after I got home and asked me to make tuna salad for supper. She had been at work all day and was headed for home. We were going to leave right after supper, and as you might have guessed, I hadn’t even thought about packing yet.

Right now I am in bed in my grandparent’s basement. I have no internet connection, so when I’ll get a chance to publish this is anyone’s guess. I hope I’ll be able to find a Wi-Fi hot spot somewhere tomorrow before we meet Jared, but if not, you’ll read this when we get home tomorrow night.

I’d better sign off for now and get some sleep, we are going to try to get to Cedar Rapids by noon tomorrow, so we’ll probably leave at ten in the morning.


EDIT: As you can see I didn’t get this published before we met Jared. I took lots of pictures, so look for them sometime soon!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Most Awesome Boring Class Ever!

I was just looking up my classes for next fall, and comparing textbook prices between my school’s bookstore and (Always go with, kids. Your school bookstore is a fountain of greed and corruption, there to milk every last penny from your withered wallet while you stand there shedding bitter tears, watching them toss your money in the air and dance as it showers around them. Seriously though, amazon is WAY cheaper.)

This fall I signed up for Geography because I needed to get a diversity requirement out of the way, and I really didn't feel like taking African American History or some other liberal nonsense. Not that the history of blacks is inherently liberal or nonsense, but given the current political climate and the state of education in general, any college class that calls itself “African American History” and is listed in a section that fulfills a “Diversity Requirement” is bound to be an extremely left skewing class.

ANYway… Geography has never been one of my favorite subjects, and before today it was one of my least-looked-forward-to classes. I have been figuring that it was going to be the most boring class I had to take this semester. However, as I looked through the list of books I would be required to purchase, I came across this.

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Suddenly, I am looking forward to this class almost as much as Digital Photography and Painting. :D

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I Don’t Share EVERY Photo

Yesterday on my photo blog I posted some pictures that I found kind of odd. Just a random assortment of pictures that normally I would not choose to feature. That’s not to say they were bad, they just weren’t what I’d call my best ones. I just felt like trying something a little different for a change. If you didn’t get a chance to see it you can find that post by clicking HERE.

I always share my posts to facebook, since most people don’t have blogger accounts, and don’t want to open one just to follow one blog, so I use facebook to notify people when I post, and this lets people comment, since you need to have a blogger account in order to comment. In the post I asked for feedback as to if I should do more posts like that one and I got this reply on facebook.


While I understand that some might think that seeing every single picture a photographer takes would be cool, I think you ought to know, it really isn’t. Every photographer, even the best of the best (Which I am not) shoots hundreds of thousands of pictures that will never see the light of day. And with good reason. They just aren’t worth looking at. A good photographer knows that in order to get one good shot, you’re going to have to take many, many, many bad ones. People have many misconceptions about professional photographers. They just assume that they can take one shot and Bam! Magazine-Worthy Gold! If only this were true! Photography is all about trying different things, seeing what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes, especially in the case of shooting animals, it also involves just taking as many pictures as you think necessary to get just one that you can pick out as the best. Which is what I do. I just shoot a whole bunch of pictures in a row and when I get home I go through them and pick out the best ones to use for my blogs.

Today I thought I’d show you just why I don’t publish EVERY photo I take. You’d be bored out of your mind by the time you were done looking at them.

In order to save upload time (For me) and download time (For you) I’m just going to upload really small versions. Some of them I will deem good enough for my Photo blog so you will get a chance to see larger versions of a few of these later on. For now, here are the unedited versions, before I’ve gone through picked out the good ones, prettied them up, and weeded out the redundant and just plain bad ones.

This is (One of?) the zebras. This is the first time I have seen any of the zebras in years. I am pretty sure they have more, but this was the only one out there this month. They spend a lot of time out of sight where it’s shady and cool. So far I’ve always been disappointed when I go to see them, so I was happy to see at least one this time. I’ll check back next month and maybe the rest will be there.

Okay, here is why you don’t want me to share every single picture I take. And please excuse the quality, like I said these are unedited and the lighting was HARSH that day. It was so hot. You can probably tell this zebra was pretty miserable.

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So there you have it. And this is just an example from ONE animal. Think of how many different types of animals I take pictures of. Think about how many different flowers I take pictures of. Think about everything I share on here. Do you really want all my blog posts to look like this one? :p I didn’t think so. :)