Busy busy

We’re in the middle of a crazy June, and life goes well but super busy. Here’s photos from things.

Two weekends ago was Chris and Rob’s wedding. Friday they had a really nice welcome picnic in Schenley Park, and Saturday was their wedding at the Union Project.

Last weekend Owen was in town, as the first leg on a general east coast visit. There were board games and a bit of hiking in Hartwood Acres.

This past weekend Sharon was in town, and we met up with a bunch of her undergrad friends and had a Rock Band session. Also I hosted board games.

My parents fly into town tomorrow as the first part of their ~1.5 week east coast visit. I’m heading to Philly with them for a couple of days before they do some travel on their own.

This follows a crazy May where every weekend had *something* happening as well. July is, thus far, a little less crazy. But it’s shaping up to be a really busy summer… somehow we manage to find time to do housework, but not nearly as much as we need to be doing this summer.

Life, social media and smartphones, Pepsi cookies

My photo journal has been updated to bring it current to today.
May was one heck of a month for gaming… in addition to the weekly Thursday board games, we hosted board games at the house three times, and hosted rock band a few times as well. Life being full of board games and people makes me happy.

I’ve been meeting a lot of new people recently in life, through both softball photography and board gaming. This has given me a desire to start working on People Wars again, so the Juxtapositions expansion continues onward. The set is adding a new card type Dream, that acts like a character once played but goes away at the end of the turn, and new Softball characters that have abilities that interact with Dreams. It should be an interesting mechanic to explore… maybe at some point I’ll get around to printing updated decks and actually playing again.

Owen sent me this article recently, and it just reinforces my desire to not get a smartphone. I’d previously ranted about social media and I don’t think any those opinions have changed since then. If anything, it’s gotten worse since then… my LiveJournal friends page has become basically a webcomic RSS reader and, with few exceptions, the posts that do still show up there are often only several sentences and seem like something that would be appropriate for Twitter.
I’m so old and curmudgeony. :P
Still, I guess I do see the benefit of having a semi-permanent way of contacting people as necessary. Email addresses change, IM services stop existing or fall into disuse… but your Facebook account (as long as you have an account) is pretty much always going to be you. It’s actually rather alarming how many FB messages I’ve sent recently to people. (Many of them were just asking for email addresses, but still…)

I’d previously made Coca-Cola cookies but they turned out rather strange, I assumed due to the lack of sugar in the soda. We recently got some Pepsi made with real sugar, so I figured I’d give it a try again, this time basing it on this recipe.

1/2 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1/2 egg (I just used the egg white)
1 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 can Pepsi (with real sugar)

Melt the butter, and mix it with the sugar until well mixed.
Boil down the Pepsi until it’s thick and syrupy, and immediately pour into the butter/sugar mixture. (It should be reduced enough that it turns hard quickly when heat is removed.) Mix well.
Add the egg, and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients, then slowly mix into wet ingredients.
Place small spoonfulls onto a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 14 minutes.

I think they turned out better this time? They taste a lot like caramel, and not a lot like Pepsi, but they’re still pleasantly sweet and chewy.

If I was doing this again, I would probably add more Pepsi and remove a bit of the sugar. Maybe 2 cans of Pepsi, and then only 1/3 c of sugar? It might flavor them a little stronger.

Life goes. Yay for life.

Posty McPostface, camera stats

You may remember the (failed) chronicles of Boaty McBoatface and its subsequent use for one of the ship’s subs instead.

Apparently Google just released Parsey McParseface today, and Racist McShootface is bidding on some guns.

This makes me happy. Happy McHappyface?

In other unrelated things, GSA Softball has started up for the year, which means lots of nice opportunities for me to get my sports photography on.

It’s been about half a year since I’ve done photo stats, and I’ve gotten a new camera since then. Photoshop album now reports 408319 tagged photos through yesterday (May 12).

Here’s individual camera stats, including all cameras for comparison

Intel Pocket PC camera October 6, 2000 – September 18, 2003 1077 days; 2.95 years 15,829 photos $200 14.7 photos per day 1.26¢ per photo
Olympus C3000 Zoom September 28, 2001 – December 5, 2003 798 days; 2.186 years 10,647 photos $450 13.3 photos per day 4.23¢ per photo
Kodak Easyshare DX6490 December 8, 2003 – March 17, 2006 830 days; 2.274 years 49,413 photos $500 59.5 photos per day 1.01¢ per photo
Nikon D50 March 22, 2006 – November 15, 2009 1334 days; 3.655 years 105,067 photos $570 78.8 photos per day 0.54¢ per photo
+$250 repair cost 0.78¢ per photo
106,916 shutter releases $570 80.15 shutter releases per day 0.533¢ per shutter release
+$250 repair cost 0.77¢ per shutter release
Samsung SL30
July 27, 2009 – May 11, 2016 2480 days; 6.79 years 20,879 photos $70 8.42 photos per day 0.34¢ per photo
Nikon D90
February 26, 2010 – May 12, 2016 2267 days; 6.21 years 200,264 photos $780 88.34 photos per day 0.39¢ per photo
260,614 shutter releases 114.96 shutter releases per day 0.30¢ per shutter release
iPhone 5 June 23, 2013 – December 23, 2014 548 days; 1.5 years 130 photos $0
(Provided by work)
0.24 photos per day 0.00¢ per photo
149 shutter releases 0.27 shutter releases per day 0.00¢ per shutter release
iPhone 6 Plus
January 8, 2015 – April 7, 2016 455 days; 1.25 years 2652 photos $0
(Provided by work)
5.83 photos per day 0.00¢ per photo
7218 shutter releases 15.86 shutter releases per day 0.00¢ per shutter release
Nikon D7100
December 2, 2015 – May 8, 2016 158 days; 0.43 years 3258 photos $620 20.62 photos per day 19.03¢ per photo
5431 shutter releases 34.37 shutter releases per day 11.42¢ per shutter release

It’s worth noting that, even though the D90 has 7863 more shutter releases than the last stats, I’ve only kept 3725 of those photos (~47%), which means I’m editing down photos much more heavily than I used to. Similarly for my new D7100, where I only keep ~60% of the photos I take with it.
I also only keep ~37% of the photos I take with my work iPhone. (A lot of this is probably due to picture quality… since my photos with it tend to come out blurry, I usually spam the shutter button when I’m using it, and delete the junk later.)
For contrast, I kept more than 98% of the photos I took with my D50.
This is good, both for looking through photos later, and also for hard drive space.

No graphs for now… more graphs probably when I hit 325,000 photos.

Life is good :)

Life, moneys

It’s May, so life’s photojournal and stats have been updated. Surprisingly few photos this time around (averaging about 1000 a month). Also the Costa Rica trip accounts for around 1/5 of the total photos, but even then, clocks in under 900 photos. I guess I’m getting better at editing down what photos to save? (Certainly doesn’t feel like I’m taking any fewer photos than usual.)

I’ve been reading quite a few articles lately on the interwebs about income, savings, and general money things in the US. Here’s a few interesting articles, presented without comment for now, mostly because I’m not really sure how to consolidate my thoughts and opinions on financial situations and things right now.

Unrelated to anything, here’s my XKCD garden. It has a Neko Atsume cat in it, hiding behind the bush in the middle.

Chloe and Brent came over for dinner today, and Chloe asked me how life was, and I really couldn’t think of anything bad in my life right now. Sure, I might want to quit my job and just relax or travel forever (not because of work, but because not-work is always a more attractive opinion), but realistically, everything in life is going well, and I don’t have any complaints about any situation (home or work) right now. I think I’m just incredibly fortunate in many ways in life.

So yay for life and things, at least?

Costa Rica and wedding’d

We successfully made it to Costa Rica and back, and overall it was a good trip, even if it was entirely less than ideal.

Ever since we started planning this trip out (for Mars’ wedding), we’ve both just been entirely unenthused about going. It lined up terribly with work obligations for both of us, flight times were horrific, and Costa Rica has never been a place that came up on our radars as a place we wanted to go. Also mosquitos and bugs generally love me, and I was not looking forward to dealing with that. So we spent a lot of time trying to figure out how we could make the trip work, and generally being unhappy about even going.

The first two nights were worse than expected: Our flight left at 6 AM, so we went to a hotel by the airport the night before (Tuesday night) to spend the night. But because of the way their airport shuttle worked, we had to catch it at 3:30 AM, which meant we got less than 4 hours of sleep. Then we flew most of Friday, got there, checked in to our room, and were miserable the rest of the day… an attempt at dinner nearly resulted in vomiting in the restaurant (I guess from exhaustion and such), and we probably collapsed into bed around 8 and just slept.
(4 AM airport = sadness.)

The first real day at the resort (Thursday, by this point) was spent not really doing anything, and it was actually perfect that way. The place is situated in the “cloud forest”, which means it’s in the middle of plants and greenery and general naturey awesomeness. We walked the nature trails they had, watched (and photographed) hummingbirds, milked their cows, explored their church and greenhouse, and sat with books on benches overlooking the beautiful views around. It kind of forced us to disconnect from technology and just enjoy where we were, and that’s something I should do more often. Also the forced break from work, with the lack of laptops and cell phone service, was exactly what we needed.

The second day we booked a tour to actually get to see *some* of the country before we left. They took us to a coffee plantation in Naranjo, Sarchi to see them build and maintain the iconic oxcarts, and a farmer’s market in San Ramon. Most of the almost 6 hours was spent driving, and it’s interesting to see how long it takes to get anywhere, even if stuff isn’t really all that far. (For example, from the main road to the resort is 9km, but it takes 30-40 minutes to drive that because of the quality of the road.) But it was a really good tour (particularly the coffee tour), and makes me wish I’d stayed for the longer tour this week. That evening, Keith, Ian, and Al-Tim got in and we met up for dinner.

Saturday was the wedding. We met up with Keith, Ian, and Al-Tim for breakfast and did all the resort stuff again: milked the cows, walked the trails, watched the hummingbirds, and played some pool in the game room.

The wedding itself was in the afternoon, and was beautiful. (Also led by our friend Jason from undergrad, who is now a Catholic priest.) It was the first mass I’ve been to (I guess this was specifically a wedding mass), and it was nice. The reception had tasty food and good company, and the evening generally had fireworks everywhere (some smaller stuff when Mars and Dan exited the chapel and during their first dance, and a full fireworks display at the end of the evening). I guess that’s a Costa Rican thing? The first dance fireworks were probably the most unexpected, but the full display at the end was really long and pretty.

So yeah. In the end, I think I’m really glad I made it out for the wedding, although I still think I would have skipped the trip had it been anything less important. The country is beautiful, but the travel involved around it is hellish. So I’m really wishing I could have made the tour work, because that travel for a week and a half would have been much more worthwhile.

Photos of general things and the wedding are on my photos site, as usual.

Other random awesome things from the trip:
The sun is almost directly overhead a little before noon, resulting in the smallest shadows we’ve ever experienced.

There are beetles that look like they’re made of solid gold. The front desk guys showed us one and we thought they were trying to sell us some jewelry or something at first.

There are bugs everywhere. During the wedding, a cicada flew into the floating candle at our table, snuffed it out, and got trapped in the hardened wax. It was actually rather beautiful (and complimented the table decorations well), but kind of sad. (Keith commented that he kicked a beetle at one point, which is not a comment you’d normally expect to hear until you realize how big they can get here.)

The road to the resort was, as mentioned, almost a dirt road. Also there are remarkably few traffic lights in the cities (although they do seem to like speed bumps, and the drivers take those very seriously). Makes me glad we had chartered vans everywhere. Never try to drive in Costa Rica, I guess?