Friday, January 27, 2012

Mac Vs. PC

For years I have wanted to be a Mac owner. A Mac was the very first computer I ever used, way back when I was a little kid and computers were magical things that other people had but we didn’t. I used the computer at the library to play a Reader Rabbit game. I really don’t remember much about that game, but I remember the computer. It had a green screen. Which may seem really weird to people nowadays, but that was normal to me back them. Game boys were the same way. I’m not really sure why they chose to make the screens green…

When my family finally did get our own computer we got a PC, as that was pretty much what everyone had, and I didn’t even know the difference. I’m not really sure when I became aware of the whole PC vs. Mac thing, but I was on the side of PCs for a very long time. Mainly because I, like most people, don’t like change very much. And Macs are very different from PCs.

When I went to ITT Tech, we were not taught how to use a Mac. The laptops we got were all PCs, and every computer we used at school was a PC. There was one Mac back off in a corner somewhere that we were told we could use if we wanted, but we were not told how to use it, and I avoided it because I didn’t understand it. Many of my classmates, and even a few teachers complained that we weren’t being taught on Macs because according to them, Mac was “The Industry Standard” when it came to art and graphic design. But then, ITT Tech didn’t teach us a lot of things we probably needed to know.

After I got my first iPod, and began to understand what Apple products were capable of did I embrace the idea of getting a Mac. I really started to want one after I got an iPod Touch. It was amazing. If they could make computers that were half as amazing as their MP3 players, then they would be awesome. Unfortunately my iPod Touch had a defect, and it stopped working. At first I had planned to get a new one, but not having very much money, and being in pretty desperate need for a new laptop, I decided to use the refund towards that instead. The laptop from ITT Tech had been ailing for a very long time. It’s screen had died, and I had hooked up an old dinosaur of a monitor to use it. It wasn’t a “Laptop” at all. I wanted a Mac, but I decided against it because of the price. Macs are very expensive compared to PCs, so I went with an HP instead. I told myself that next time it would be a Mac.

And it was! As of yesterday I am a Mac owner!

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>Sniff!< It’s just so beautiful! :’)

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Normally I would not have been able to justify this expense, but if you’ll recall, a couple weeks ago my computer caught a bad virus. I ended up erasing the entire hard drive, and that got rid of all the programs I needed for school. I thought I would be able to reinstall them easily, but no such luck. My disk drive will not accept any of my disks, so I had no way of doing any of my homework. As I am in two graphic design courses this semester, this is a HUGE problem.

You may also recall that I received a scholarship for this semester. I decided that my money from that would go toward the laptop, otherwise I don’t know what I would have done.

I’m not completely anti-PC like some Mac owners. I think for the most part Macs ARE much better, but there is still at least one thing about the PC I like better, blogging. And since, other than the disk drive not reading my installation disks, my PC is back to normal, I will keep blogging from my PC. I use a program called Windows Live Writer to Blog, and there is no comparable program for Mac that I know of. At least not a free one anyway. So until someone comes up with a good blogging program for the Mac, I’ll be keeping my PC.

Ok, I’m done with this post. Time to go back to my Mac! :D

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day. It’s the New Night!

School takes too much time. I seem to have no time for blogging lately… I was planning to post this a few days ago, but school got in the way…

Anyway, almost two weeks ago now, I went to the zoo. This is nothing unusual, my photography club meets there once a month. What WAS unusual, was that I had to be there at EIGHT IN THE MORNING. The zoo is in Omaha. I am in Harlan. That is over an hour away. It’s bad enough that the club meets at nine. That means getting up at seven. This month I had to get up at six. It was awful. I almost died. Not really.

So I get there wondering what this was all about and I find out that we are going to the Kingdoms of the Night exhibit. That’s the nocturnal exhibit underneath the Desert Dome, in case you’ve never been to the Henry Doorly Zoo. Why would we go to the zoo two hours before they open to visit the nocturnal exhibit? Because at eight o’clock the “Sun” hasn’t set yet. All the exhibits were still bright as day. Have you ever been in a cave that is fully lit? I have.

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It was so cool to actually be able to take pictures in there. I have hardly ever been able to get good pictures down there.

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With almost no lights it is pretty much impossible to take pictures anywhere in any of the nocturnal exhibits, unless you use a flash, and then your pictures look horrible.

The only bad thing about the morning was, as this was the nocturnal exhibit’s “Daytime,” most of the animals were sleeping.

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I feel so bad for those Springhaas. I mean, how would you like to share your bed with a porcupine?

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Even with the lights on I still didn’t get a very good picture of the giant salamander. This beast is huge and weird looking, but he’s never in a position where I can get a really great photo of him. This is the best I could do.

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If you look very close you can see lots of little animals all over this exhibit. All asleep.

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This is a Prehensile Tailed Porcupine. I’ll bet most of you didn’t even know there was such a thing. Now you do. :)

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This one is for you mom. :p Isn’t he cute? :)

The best part was going through the swamp.

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The reason?

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I FINALLY got some good pictures of this guy! I have never been able to photograph the white alligator before, but with the lights on it was easy!

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I have a few more pictures, but I will save them for my photo blog, and I will try to get them up tonight.

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It was fun to photograph the other photographers as well.

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After I got to the end I went back to the beginning because I never saw one of my favorite animals, the Aardvarks. And I never saw them even when I went back. They must have either been off display, or they had a really good hiding spot to sleep in. Aardvarks are pretty big, so I know I didn’t just pass them by.

As I went back, the lights started going dim since it was almost 9 in the morning, and the Naked Mole Rat display started to look really cool.

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I’ll spare you any photos of the actual animals since they are pretty much the ugliest animal ever to walk the earth. (Rufus the Naked Mole Rat on Kim Possible is an exception, but he doesn’t count since he’s a cartoon) Plus, I never got any clear shots of them, otherwise I probably would post one. :p

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Back at the beginning it was “Sunset.” The Springhaas and Brushtail Porcupines were just starting to wake up, but I didn’t have time to take any more pictures. I had to get to the meeting.

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And that was my adventure. I took more photos in the jungle after my meeting, but I’m saving those pictures for my photography blog.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Week Down

Well, my first week of school is done. It was pretty busy, but more happened than just school.

First I’ll start off with the school news. I have class every weekday but Friday. Monday and Wednesday we have Digital Drawing, which is going to be all about Adobe Illustrator. I am very glad for this. Learning Illustrator was one of the classes that I took at ITT Tech that I was very disappointed in. It was combined with Photoshop, and I never felt like I learned much at all there. As I’ve told a lot of people, you could tell the teacher was there basically just to earn a paycheck. The teacher for this class is completely different. You can tell she’s a graphic design genius, and all her students love her. Most of them have had her before, and it seems as though they are all one big family. They are always cracking “Inside” jokes about things that have happened in previous semesters. It’s kind of amusing to listen to sometimes. But my point is, this teacher seems a LOT more friendly and helpful than my teacher at ITT Tech was. I hope that this will be a very profitable learning experience this semester.

Tuesday and Thursday is Design 2. I’ve already told you that this is the same teacher I had in my very first semester over a year ago. He’s one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, so I’m glad to have him again. This semester there are only 4 students in the class, Joel and I are two of them, and there are also two other girls. The teacher told us that since the class is so small he wants to have our assignment be more personalized to our own styles, so he’s going to try to come up with assignments that are similar, but different for each of us to do.

Wednesday we also have Painting 2. The same teacher as Painting 1 last semester. Like I have said before, he is pretty new to teaching, but he is still pretty good. I like him a lot more than most of the teachers I had at ITT Tech, and they were all a lot more experienced than he is. I look forward to doing more paintings. (And yes, I still need to show my paintings from last fall, they will be coming soon… I hope…) And like Design 2, there are only 4 students, Joel and me, plus two other girls. The one girl is a girl from our Painting I class last semester, and I am assuming that the other girl is too. The second girl missed the first day, but she had already contacted the teacher, so I think she’s not going to be one of those students who flakes out and misses most of the classes and ends up failing. It would be pretty sad if that happened in an advanced class like this with so few students.

My last class is an online class, and it is called simply Graphic Design. I will not be able to access the class till Monday, but from the e-mail the teacher sent out it sounds like it may be more Illustrator. I am hoping that it will go beyond Illustrator though, as I would like to get into the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite as well.

Okay, now onto “The Other stuff.”

The biggest thing actually started a few weeks ago, but I hadn’t posted about it yet. I have been upgraded to “Checker” at work. (No, this did not come with a raise, that would be nice though! :) ) I still do courtesy work sometimes, but lately I have been working the cash registers more than I have been sacking. Last night I was on the express lane for about half the time, which was new. I’d never done that before. I think I prefer the regular checkout lanes. It’s a lot easier to check out the groceries when you are handing the items off to a courtesy to sack, and you don’t have to worry about running out of counter space when some one reads “Twelve Items or Less” and thinks it says “Twenty Items or more.” Plus the express checkers have to worry about cigarettes a LOT more than the regular checkers. If it was just a matter of which brand they wanted, this wouldn’t be a problem, but there are about 57 varieties of cigarette per brand and it gets very confusing.

A few days ago my computer decided that it wanted to spaz out and it began shutting down my anti-virus programs, spitting out pop-ups all the time, crashing every single internet browser, so it was completely impossible to get online, and just generally having a complete melt down. I think I either got hacked, or it caught a virus, either way it was a mess. I ended up saving my important files to a hard drive and completely erasing the memory, essentially starting my computer over from scratch. On the plus side, it runs a whole lot faster now, but on the down side all my files, programs, settings, favorites, and everything I had customized is gone. I’m still trying to get everything back to normal.

I got a new camera this week as well. This is not a fancy DSLR camera, but I wanted a small camera that I could carry around with me at times when a DSLR would be very inconvenient. I got a small Canon PowerShot with 12.1 Megapixels and a 14x optical zoom.

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It also has a GPS function, which “Geo-tags” your pictures, and can plot out a map where they were taken. Normally I wouldn’t really care about this feature, but (And this brings me to the next bit of news) there is a very good chance that I will be going on a road trip this summer with some friends, and I will take full advantage of this camera setting if I go. :) I’ll explain more about the trip when the time gets closer to say for sure. Right now I’m almost positive I’m going though. :)

So, that’s all my news for now. I have more stuff to blog about, but it will have to wait for another time. If I have time tomorrow, I will share what happened last week at the zoo. It was very out of the ordinary! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Slothful!

Ok, This is what happens when you link me to YouTube… A friend of mine posted a video to facebook, which led me to another video, which led to another, and another, and another, and suddenly it’s after midnight…

Anyway, I wanted to share the best three that I found. All of them were taken from a show about a Sloth Sanctuary. Have you ever seen a baby sloth? You haven’t? Well, prepare to be blown away by the utter adorable-ness contained within these videos. Seriously. They are so cute that cute no longer is a descriptive enough word. Someone needs to invent an entire new word for how adorable baby sloths are.

Ok, now it’s bedtime for me. It should have been bedtime a long time ago, but YouTube has a hypnotic power that just can’t be resisted… :p

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

301!

My last post was post 300. I have made 300 posts on this blog! Actually it’s probably been a few more than that because there have been a few that I’ve ended up publishing, then deleting later, but the post count right now is at 300!

I was in the middle of posting all my Christmas pictures and didn’t want to interrupt the series just to do a commemorative post, so I am doing one now.

Actually I just found this hilarious video and wanted to share it. Since one of the first things I EVER posted on my blog was a cookie monster video, I though this would make a good video to celebrate a posting Milestone. A video from the good old days of Sesame Street, before Elmo took over, when Kermit was still one of the main characters, and the humor was still VERY “Muppety”. :)

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Muppets? :p

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. This blog was brought to you today by the letter “C” and the number “301”. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Nerd Party!

Before I go any further, I just need to say… 300TH POST!!!!!!! Ahem. That’s all. :)

So. A nerd party. Yeah. That’s something I’ve never done before. :) Normally you would not find me doing anything like this. And if it were a public event, there’s probably no way you’d catch me going out in a crazy costume, to mingle with other nerds. I would just feel way too weird. But this was just a party of friends, so I figured, why not. :)

Robert and Rachel Swensen have been hosting a weekly movie night at their house for the last few months. The movies are all Christian themed, and cover a wide variety of topics, like Salvation, Creation, Abortion, and once in awhile a Christian comedian thrown in for good measure. :)

A couple months ago Rachel came up with the idea of having a “Nerd Party” one night, and instead of just watching a movie, we’d have a whole night based around The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Everyone would come in costume and we’d have themed foods, and watch a movie.

So finally a date was set for the 27th of December. The only problem was finding a costume. I could not find a whole elaborate costume to wear, so I went with my normal clothes, and bought an Elven Cloak, and an Elven Brooch to wear with it. I ended up getting a really good deal on ebay, so it didn’t cost me too much, which is always a good thing. I went as a “Modern” Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings.

After most of us had arrived, Rachel took a group shot, so here we are. :)

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I also decked out my backpack to add to the “Modern-ness” but still staying in character as Sam. He always had his pots and pans on a bedroll, plus his elven rope.

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I have a feeling that “Real” nerds would shun us all as not being authentic enough, but I’m sure that none of us would care too much. We still had fun. :)

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Joel actually made his own cloak. He sewed it by hand!

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Joel also made Shaina’s headband for her.

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This would definitely not count as an authentic Lord of the Rings Weapon. :)

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Rachel probably had the most authentic looking costume of all of us. But I’m not sure her method of cooking was very authentic. :)

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Sonia was an orc, and Skyler was a faun. Thankfully he chose not to dress exactly as the Narnian fauns. :)

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Alex French and Nathan Brace came after we had taken the group shot. Alex had never watched the Lord of the Rings, so she didn’t wear a costume, and Nathan also dressed as a faun. Specifically Mr. Tumnus. Though I’m not sure Mr. Tumnus had green fur… :p

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We watched the extended version of The Return of the King, which is over four hours, then we visited.

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And played with toys. :)

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Rachel is entertaining the idea of another themed party sometime in the future, so we may be doing this again. :)

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My friend Matthew was back at his parents house for Christmas, so his mother had a party so we could visit him. I went with my cousins to Nebraska to see him. We hadn’t seen each other since early last year when we went to the zoo together. (Link to that HERE)

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My cousins and I went to his parents house to see him. Matthew’s sister, Rachel, her husband Robert and their daughter Ariana were also there.

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I may be biased, since they are my friends, but I am pretty sure Rachel and Robert have the cutest baby in the world. Who could see this picture and disagree?! :D

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Uncle Matthew. :)

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This picture just cracks me up! :D

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After we played a few games and visited for most of the afternoon, we went downstairs and watched Cars 2.

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And played with Ariana. :)

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Robert and Rachel offered to drive Shaina and me home so we could stay late, but the night still seemed to end too soon. Before we left, Rachel took some pictures of Matthew and me together.

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You may have noticed Matthew was wearing a hat all day.

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Here’s what he was hiding underneath it. :)

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We may have been picking on him for it, just a bit… :) In love of course. :)

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We miss you Matthew! You need to move back here! :)
This wasn’t the end of the festivities… The next day we had another party, but that post will have to wait.

To be continued again… :)

Christmas Day

Yeah, it’s been a couple weeks ago. I’m just now getting around to moving the pictures off my card and editing them.

You might recall our last miserable Christmas. Jared was in Afghanistan, I was sick, my parents were sick, Grandma ended up in the hospital, and we had no tree. This Christmas was a HUGE improvement, Jared was back, everyone was healthy, but we still didn’t have a tree. Instead we used a poinsettia on the piano bench. :)

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After I took this picture I kind of forgot about taking any more until we got over to Grandma’s house.

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I gave my cousins two “Simon’s Cat” books for Christmas. If you haven’t seen any of those videos, you really need to. Just search for “Simon’s Cat” on YouTube. They are SO funny!

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Jared gave both Mom and Grandma camel hair blankets that he bought in Afghanistan.

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As you can see, I didn’t take many pictures that day. The next two days I took quite a few more though, as I went to two after Christmas parties. Those will have to wait for now…

To be continued… :)