Well…

So,

Let’s say that last week I was living in an apartment and wondering if we’d ever get to leave.  You know how these things work out, you move somewhere with high hopes and then life happens and 10 years later you think to yourself, I was only supposed to live here for six months.  Well, that is how I was feeling last week.

This week has a little bit of a different feel for me.  I feel like I am about to move…oh…let’s say in…well…less than 30 days.  Yes that’s right, the Yamada’s are buying a house.  It’s not as grand as the one we wanted when we first moved here, but it’s nice.  A little back yard but behind the back yard is one of the housing community’s parks and, ya you guessed it, one of the pools.  It’s like having a pool in my back yard but I don’t have to worry about upkeep on the thing.  (Sounds good, right Scott?)  Small patch of grass in the front, which means I’m really going to have to figure out how to convince Jo to let me get that riding lawn mower.

Could use some paint on the inside and I’ll have to get a washer and dryer and of course the refrigerator.  I’m getting one with an ice maker and I’m throwing my stupid ice trays out.  MAN I hate those things.

I’m pretty excited about it, I haven’t gotten any pictures yet, when we went to look at houses I went from work and I didn’t have my camera with me.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good snaps tomorrow, Jo wants to look at it again.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve got for now, I’ll show you what I did in my latest class in a bit.

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Date With Quinn

So,

Over the last month or so my son, Quinn, has kept coming up to me and saying…”Dad, remember when we went on a date?”, “Yes, son I remember.”  “Let’s go on another date.”  After that my heart fills with pride and joy that he would want to hang out with me.  Now I am not expecting this to continue but I am hoping that it will for both of them.

Today though he picked for us to go out to McDonalds, he called it the one with the arches.  We went, we ate, we talked, and he told stories.  I ended up dropping my phone in catsup, but luckily it missed going in all the important holes.  We had fries and McNuggets, I had a Big Mac, Quinn had Strawberry Fanta.  It was delicious…strangely enough I actually don’t mind McDonalds, but I did offer up Wendy’s but he didn’t choose that one.

I told him we could go ride his bike, or actually he could, it’s not big enough for the two of us, and then we could go eat lunch.  Of course that isn’t what he had in mind he wanted to eat then ride and since it was his date I conceded and let him have it his way, which is actually  Burger King and where we normally go.  After we ate we drove to the Y by our house and in the back there is a big parking lot which today was completely empty and so made for some nice space to ride around without having to worry about getting hit by a car or running into people or other bikers or anything really, except the curb, which he did once or twice.  Good thing it wasn’t a street full of cars, parked or moving.

As a side note, I might have mentioned that I got a new camera.  I’ve been saving my bones up and through a couple of early Christmas presents I saved up enough to get it in time for opening presents.  Oh, and I spent a couple of days on my homework, got it done and turned in and viola…camera.  Thanks wife.  She finally put me over the edge.  Anyway, all that to say I took my new camera out to take some pictures of Quinn riding his bike around the parking lot.

Quinn is riding his bike, actually with the pedals

He learned a new trick, which isn’t so much of a trick as just a skill that I’ve found actually needs to be learned.  Both Jake and Quinn learned to ride a bike, the balance part, on a Skuut, The problem they both had was that they needed to “learn” how to actually make the pedals to ’round and ’round.

Just being cool

And then he just suddenly struck a pose, I guess since I had my camera out he felt compelled to strike a mighty pose.

So, of course he is Joelle’s son which means he really likes to talk and tell stories.  In this case, you will notice on the above picture there is a hand brake.  Now this hand brake goes to the front wheel, but it doesn’t work worth a darn, but anyway, he wanted to show me how it worked.  He just started riding a bike and so that would be to much, back to his feet….

So you're going along...

and movin'...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then you get ready...

And then you Squeeze...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And squeeze!!!

How great is that.  Now you all know how to use the hand brake on your bikes.  He really did a great job getting out there and pedaling and just plain ol’ not crashing into to much stuff.  He’s my boy and I’m proud of him.

On the other hand, the camera was wonderful.  I had it on CL which for Nikon is Continuous Low speed, and I didn’t feel like I was struggling to get the next shot off before the bike went by.  I used my 35mm prime lens the whole time which was really cool, and also meant that I wasn’t worried about him getting to far away and not being able to crop way in, the new camera adds 10MP to the old one.

it’s got a lot of buttons and dials and switches that I am still figuring out but I’ll get there…eventually.

And on that note I leave you to it.  Have a great day.

I’m a Worrier….

So…

One of the things I got, if you believe things like this get passed on, from my mother is that I’m a worrier.  When I was growing up, the bus my brother and I were riding on broke down and we got home late.  Since my mom was a teacher she also got home late but that day she beat us home.  We walked in to her crying and worried sick something had happened to us.  We were fine and really thought is was silly for her to be so worried that the bus broke down and she beat us home.  I mean how crazy is that, buses break down all the time, right?

Today, I was cleaning up some of Moka’s poop in the boys room.  Ya, she doesn’t whine at us when she needs to go out like wonderful Nala did.  Anyway, my phone rang.  Now on my phone I had an alarm sound for the ringtone, I just changed it and gave that one to my wife so I’d know when it rang it was her.  I answered the phone and said hello, a little bit disgusted because I was cleaning up poop. (Mad might be a better word)  Jo was crying and said she was just in a pretty bad accident but she was ok.  Now, I’m typically a slow thinker, sometimes it takes me days to come up with a good response to an argument I had 2 days ago, but when I get calls like this my mind starts  racing super fast.

I mean so fast that by the time she says she’s had the accident I’ve already thought about both the good and the bad.  After she says she’s ok, she starts saying “I killed them all, they’re all dead”.  Ok, bad accident, calling me so she’s ok but everyone else is…what…dead?!?  I try to get out of her  if the kids are ok and it’s like pulling teeth.  I’m about to freak out.  I mean get in my car and drive way to fast up there, calling my mom and having her drive way to fast to get down there, meanwhile I’ve got to call the in-laws and tell them…what?  And while I’m driving.

She, I think, finally heard the panic in my voice and told me they are all ok and the police just got there and she’d call me back when she knew more.

At this point I still didn’t know about the people in the other car, and to be completely honest it’d suck if they had been killed but my concern right then was my family.  I start calling people and when they answered the phone I gave all the pertinent details before I said hello, “Jo was in an accident and is ok, the kids are ok, they’re all ok.”

I made it through about 2 phone calls before I lost it, unfortunately I lost it at Pop’s secretary.  She took it in stride and when I called back I apologized and understood.

They’re all ok, the car is dented pretty good in the back driver’s side by the trunk and the other car ended up getting pretty smashed up.

I’ve been going around the house crying because I could totally have lost my entire family today.  Some things just never get thought of and now I know why…they’re just too horrible to have to think about.  As I’ve been walking through the house I’ve been thinking about being alone again.  And you know what?  I am absolutately terrified of the prospect.  That woman makes this house run, my credit score is 750, or something like that, because of her, we are almost out of debt because of her, I eat good food because of her, I’m back in college because of her, I love photography because of her, I have three wonderful children living with me because of her, she is why I have a relationship with God, she makes my world go ’round and I have no idea what life would be like without her.  Hopefully, and God willing, I will never have to find that out.

Dear Jesus, thank-you for my wife and my family.

It’s About Time Yamada

So…

Here’s the thing.  I came back from Okinawa and had to drive on the right side of the road again.  As I type I realize the humor, right or wrong, left or right, oh man, that’s funny.  I’m really talking about the actual right side of the road.  We also had to adjust our speed, for the last 3 years we would go to Okuma (the military camp place near Nago) and would be flying, FLYING, past traffic at 55 mph.

After we got stateside and started driving our conversations in the car went a lot like this:

Jo:  Don’t forget to go to the far lane.

Brent:  Far lane, got it…wait…far lane here or far lane over there?

Jo:  Over there on the far side.

Brent:  Ok, far side, I got it this time.

(Light turns Green)

Brent:  (whispering to self)far side, far side, far side, far side, far side

Jo:  NO, NO, NO, STAY TO THE RIGHT OF THE DIVIDER!!!!!!!

or

Jo:  Honey, you know I love you and I think you’re a great, safe driver right?

Brent:  Why yes, yes I do…and thank you.

Jo:  You’re only going 50.

Anyway, lot and lots of conversations like that, and not to embarrass myself too bad but I still walk to the wrong side of the car both to drive and ride.  But all of this is to just simply say, I know I said in my last post that I’d try to keep up but to be honest that has proven more difficult than I had imagined it.  Studying for my Navy classes takes up a bit more time than anticipated, because I’m actually trying to learn the stuff before I get out to the ship.(sigh)  And for my actual school, school, I’ve been taking these retarded classes like Drawing…I think on my last post I put up some of my work.  I mean come on, I’m trying to be a photographer why not let me take some photography classes, my drawings ended up being not terrible, at least I think they didn’t.

Oh and Color Theory…color theory?  Really?  Color theory?  How’s this for color theory…my camera takes a color picture and I put it on my computer and change it to Black and White, or Sepia, or  some other thing.  I did end up actually learning quite a bit.  Like what colors might look good together and why, what is a hue, and saturation.  Tone, isn’t that the same thing as hue?  What’s a hue?  Ya, I can answer those questions now.

And this last class.  Survey of Contemporary and Modern Art, you might ask yourself, what’s that?  Those of you from PUC, I might liken it to History of Western Art.  Oh I’ve got this one in the bag, right?  Riiiiight.  No, there was an actual study of art.  Brushstrokes?  Are you kidding me?  P H O T O G R A P H Y ! ! ! ! ! !  Color palettes, you’re joking right?  P H O T O G R A P H Y ! ! ! ! ! !  7, yes you heard me, SEVEN pages of text later, with pictures so it ended up just about 8½ pages, I end up with not only an A for the paper but also 95% for the class and the instructors comments on the paper were all good. And I learned some valuable information on some very GREAT photographers, and photographs that changed the world.

Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, 1936.  Which was taken during the Great Depression and helped feed migrant camps around the US.  This particular camp got a shipment of 20,000 pounds of food.

Nick Ut a photographer for the Associated Press out of Los Angeles captured a Napalm bombing on the Vietnamese village of Trảng Bàng and saved a 9 year old girls life.

Timothy O’Sullivan, Alexander Gardner, and Mathew B. Brady, photographed the civil war when photography was still in it’s infancy and exposures were still to long to catch the action.  Your camera HAD to have a tripod and you had to have a horse or two to get your equipment from place to place.

It’s been a frustrating journey so far and I know as an artist I am supposed to take these classes, AND, despite how ridiculous I think these classes are they actually are managing to open my eyes and broaden my outlook.  Maybe there’s hope for me to be a successful photographer yet…We will have to wait and see.

Next up, Introduction to Photojournalism, I wonder if I’ll have to write for that one or if I’ll actually get to snap some photos.

My Wife….

So…

My wife…is about the most amazing person I know.  She is truly a SUPERHERO to my boys, the girls and me.  Here is what makes her super….

This weekend she had her dreams crushed, I mean destroyed.  She has a picture of our lives and what she wants out of life and how we should be living.  She wants to raise her own chickens, if we could find the land to do it, she’d raise her own cows both for eating and milking.  There would definitely be some sort of garden and probably it would be significant.  We would go to farmers markets and personally know a fishmonger, a butcher and a baker.  We would not have HFCS in our diet, nor would we have Xantham Gum, Monosodium Glutimate(MSG), or maltodextrin.  We would like to eat “Hippie” and with all the other stuff be “Hippie”, to include live in a veritable “Hippie” place.  That was Whidbey Island for Jo.  She has more websites from her research of the place in her bookmarks than I’ve ever had in my life.  She has been researching for months and within the space of one day had it all taken away….

She called her parents, cried, was sad and hasn’t done the dishes.  This is since Friday night…LATE.  Today is Tuesday.  So this is, like, 3 days later.  Now for the new place, she has a website list that rivals (possibly beats) the Whidbey Island list.  She’s already found a place for us to get grass finished beef, she’s found a place for us to live…while we are looking for a house to buy.  She has found schools for the kids to go (Japanese) which are probably to expensive to enroll them into.  She has met with several people, sent e-mails and chatted…did I forget to mention I got sick today, I was going to be a good husband and do the dishes for her.  I got sick, and SHE did the dishes for ME.

She is my friend and the mother to my kids.  She is the keeper and caretaker of my family, she pushes me to new levels, new limits.  I’m back in college, Jake will have an easier time learning Japanese in the future, Quinn is the strongest most coordinated kid in his gymnastics class, and Kira is BE-E -A-U-TIFUL.

She is MY WIFE…MY HERO….

That wasn’t so bad!

Well…

That wasn’t as bad as, ummmmm, well, as bad as, well…as it could have been.  You see, I just finished my first term back at college.  Up to this point, and there are 2 assignments to grade still, I’ve only dropped 7 points.  The next to last assignment I think I did good on, but the last one…well, I thought I had read somewhere it had to be like 1 or 2 slides, man was I wrong.  While I was trying to take stuff out everyone…EVERYONE was putting more in.  Aaaaaaaaugh!!!!

I had to work and I couldn’t do the homework at work because all the stuff I needed was at home.  I couldn’t download the example she had for us because I couldn’t find it.

Anyway, before it’s all going to be over I’m going to end up dropping a few more points(Thank goodness for partial credit)but not to many.  I’m figuring since I have 97.76% I’ll still end up with an A.  Not bad for my first time back.

If only I’d done this back in 1988, wait…Oh, I remember, in 1988 I knew all of 4 people including me and had no idea what in the world I wanted to do.  I guess it has pretty much taken me 20 years to figure out what I wanted to get a degree in.  Not really something they tell you when you are starting out college at 18.

A huge thanks to everyone out there who has written an e-mail to me or on my FB, sent me something through the snail mail, called or in some other way offered me some words of encouragement.  It was only 5 1/2 weeks, but about 1/2 way through the class I started to get a little sluggish with my homework.  I made it through, however, and made a couple of online friends, I don’t think I’ve ever done that.

My next class is Computer Literacy, I’ll be getting into the photography classes after that, hopefully that one won’t overwhelm me.  I’ve gotten a lot worse at computer stuff since I’m old and got kicked in the head.  Oh, and here’s a bit of news if you follow my blog much….

I’ve decided to go with Mac.  In my research I discovered Mac people say Mac and PC people say they don’t know.  Also there’s the part about anyone who is anyone in photography uses Mac.  I’m not really sure what that means, but it sure does sound important.  Anyway, it just makes more sense to use Mac for photography for me right now.  I’ll try and get some good posts in over the next 96 and the next 96, which is basically the time between now and the start of the next term.

Mac or PC?

Ok, so….

I’ve got another one for ya.  Mac or PC?  You see, I’ve started back to school recently as an art student, photography art not drawing or any other kind of art really, just photography.  Although I do have to take a drawing class in which I suppose I will be able to practice my stick figures.  Before I get to side tracked about how bad I am at drawing, let me get this dilemma out.  Back when I was in school, college, Mac was the way to go for anything visual arts.  They were still using film back then, but everything else was Mac.  These days I’m wondering if anyone knows which is the better platform and why.

That’s important to me…the why…I’ve already asked around.  From one of the professional photographers that really helped me in my decision of camera Aviva(Mac) to my friend(I didn’t ask him but I KNOW what he is gonna say) Pete.  Including 2 of the 4 Mac guys we have working at the main exchanges on Okinawa.  What I am getting from both camps is:

MAC – Oh, Macs are so great…They never crash…They never get attacked by viruses…Mac programs were made for Mac computers by Mac people…Everything just works…It’s so easy…Mac can run windows also.  Mac this, Mac that, wonderful Mac.  My wife has a Mac, we have iTouches, I’m getting an iPhone when I get to the states, Jo’s iCal is on my iTouch which helps me to be more in touch with my wife’s schedule.  A definite boon to my existence if you know my wife.

PC – Are you kidding, Mac’s are so expensive…I can get twice the computer for the same price…I can get exactly what I want in my computer…PC’s are so much cheaper….

Bottom line, Mac people love Macs, and PC people hate Macs.  What I am looking for is the why, why should I switch?  Why should I not switch?  Remember I am getting my BS is photography.  I have to use Photoshop, I may switch to Aperture 2, I have to use Microsoft Office, I may switch to iWork09.  I’m looking for a mostly unbiased opinion, which I understand I will probably not be able to find one that doesn’t have some sort of slant to it.

What I’m not really looking for is the last time I was at the BX talking to the Mac guy, I asked him “Photoshop or Aperture?” his reply, “Gimp”.  DUDE!!!!!!! That is SO NOT HELPFUL.  “I’m a programmer so I like Unix, and it’s free.” Ok, ok, fine, fine, free, yes I understand that.  Stop being a smartass and answer my damn question.  I’ve downloaded Gimp, I have no idea what I would be doing either there or in Photoshop and at least Photoshop’s interface is a bit more refined than that of Gimp.

You see, I have a PC already, but I don’t upgrade.  I don’t get faster chips, I don’t get better cards, I’ve only a rudimentary knowledge of what I am doing on my computer.  I have to ask my friend Pete if I want to upgrade anything and even then when he asks me a question to inquire about what I am looking for I just have to say, you choose, because I have no idea.  I have no idea about Mac either, my wife is always toying around with getting this so PC people can see it or that so it shows up right on a PC.

In the interest of not taking up to much of your time I’ll end with this,  even open minded people can be closed minded about some things.  As for me I think I’ll see what all the hype is about and make a switch. (At least that is the way I’m leaning right now, who know about tomorrow)