I did a small photo shoot with Desirae this evening, trying to capture her many tattoos. I'm fairly pleased with the results, although I lost some of pictures to blur. For lighting I used my 6500k full-spectrum florescent fixture. I tried to emphasize line shapes, focusing on getting tattoos in each shot. The session wasn't very long, but I did get a lot of posses.
My god daughter Aislinn opening up her xmass gift. I got her the most banned book of 2008--a kids book titled "And Tango Makes Three." It's about penguins, and the story is really cute. Tango came from an orphan egg, hatched by two male penguins who had built a nest, and were trying to hatch an egg. Both being male, there was no egg. So they nursed a rock that resembled an egg. When the zoo keeper gave them Tango's egg, they took turns looking after it, hatched it, and raised the baby chick. That, with illustrations of penguins, is pretty much the whole story. I first herd of the book in a banned book reading at my school. I loved the story decided my god daughter needed some dissident material in her reading library. She didn't seem to have any odd reactions at all, which I figured would be the case. But I think that's the point: there isn't anything unusual about it. If people never see something growing up, they might think it'd odd the first time they are exposed to it, or beleive it's odd if someone tells them it is. However, if you grow up around something that is a social taboo, you are more likely not to find it all that weird when you get older. I grew up a vegetarian. Latter in life I saw people going vegetarian or vegan as a way to make a statement. That statement didn't seem too radical to me--I had done the vegetarian thing for around 16 years. There were some people though giving up meat was a huge lifestyle change, and one that would be difficult to make.
I knew the weather was suppose to be bad, so for my last day of work before the winter shutdown I kept the radar on my screen the whole day--and it just kept getting worse. Normally I work until 4:15pm, which gives me the 8 3/4 hours a day I need for in order to take a half Friday. However, with the radar of impending doom, I decided to cut out at 3:00pm. The drive was white-knuckle pretty much the entire way back home. Eve (my car) needs new tires, so I knew my control wouldn't be all that great. I knew the drive would be a challange. As I left, my roommate was pulling in. He called me to tell me I had a headlight out--not a good way to start a long drive on a bad weather night. I wanted new headlights anyway as the ones I had were really dim. So I stopped off at an auto parts store and picked up the brightest (and also most expensive) bulbs they had. I'm glad I did--they helped a lot. Most of the Iowa drive happened between 50 and 60 MPH. I had two lanes and at this point, it was mostly rain with a thin layer of ice. I had control for gentle turns, but stopping and quick maneuvering was out of the question. As I started into Wisconsin, the rain turned to snow, and before too long, the roads started to accumulate a frozen mix of ice and snow. My speeds dropped to around 40 to 45 MPH. On hills, Eve would often break free and spin. With all the road noise, I could not hear the engine RPM increasing. My only indication that I was spinning was be looking at RPM and MPH, which would shoot way up. I drive Hwy 11 most of the way through Wisconsin, and in Brodhead I switch do Hwy 80. Hwy 11 was hard driving, but hwy 80 was much worse. Despite only going around 40 MPH, I drifted into the shoulder a couple of times. Each time, letting off the gas and allowing the road to slow me down gave me back control, but it was a little nerve racking. Usually I take Beloit Newerk Road from hwy 80 to hwy 51 to get to the Garage. But I decided that if hwy 80 was this bad, Beloit Newerk was likely worse. So, I went to visit Tazz right away. The trip was around 4 hours, but honestly I don't know how much more. I was glad to be done for the evening, but the weather wouldn't be clearing up the next couple days, and I have more driving yet to do.
The basement has a path light by blue LED x-mass lights. They run down the stairs, have one branch off to the washer, and other other makes a loop around my area. They are a bit dim, but enough to walk around.
I could weeks ago I picked up a new heater I thought I'd try for heating under my desk. I saw a flat panel device and saw it was designed so that it could be mounted on a wall. I was so impressed with it's heat output, I decided I'd try it in the box. It worked fantastic. The wall mounts old it about 1" away from the wall, directly over the ventilation fan. It provides radiant heat and doesn't get very hot itself. And none of the surfaces in the box get hot as well, although noticeable warmer. The heater takes just a few minutes to warm the box up. It is a better setup then the oil filled heater--warms up faster and small profile. A few days latter, installed a thermostat in the box. The device I bought was the cheapest thermostat I could find that would switch 120 volts--furnace thermostats switch 12 VDC and a relay in the furnace switches the AC. This thermostat was designed for base-board heaters. I followed the directions and had it wired in no time. But I found the heater never shut off. The switch on/off worked, but the temperature settings left the thermostat always on. This model thermostat had two independent switches because it can switch both 120 and 240 loads--and for 240, one uses both switches. Since I was switching 120, I decided to try the other set. Sure enough, that worked. I found that setting the temperature to 60 F (15.5 C) creates a perfect sleeping environment. I think the actual temperature in the box is a little warmer, but maybe 60 really is a good sleeping temperature. The only down side is that I have to get out in the morning, and it sure isn't 60 F outside that box! In the picture, you can see the flat panel heater in the center right, and the thermostat in the center, far left.