Stop The Clock

Chiming clocks always sound like a good idea until you’ve lived with one for a while. You’ll always know the time, whether you want to or not. But just one attempted nap and the coolness is gone. It will have you pulling out your hair before the third ding of nine o’ clock.

Well my hair has started thinning recently, due to one of these clocks. Just turn off the chime, right? There’s a little switch in the back, right? Not so much. To design a clock that is unable to not chime is kind of broken. So I decided to fix it. I got out my little multi-tool and I fixed it the same way they fix your cat when you don’t want any more kittens.

I neutered the clock.

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What do you do when you go to a restaurant and find lipstick on your drinking glass? Do you just sit there and ignore it like a good little boy and wind up catching Mad Cow Disease and Bird Flu? Do you blow up at the waitress in a steaming pile of anger and end up with a major headache and a bill for the damages, as well as stitches in your hand from the broken glass? Or do you do what my girlfriend did and politely ask for a new glass, most likely subjecting the rest of the city to the deadly wrath of the red lipstick, spreading AIDS and chicken pox and eventually killing off the human race.

I ended up giving the waitress a generous tip on how to wash dishes.

Strong-willed faucet

Reason number 2,491 why I don’t like public bathrooms:

If there’s anything worse than a leaky faucet, it’s a sassy one. Automatic faucets are cool, except they’re always either too cold or too hot. And then you can never seem to figure out where the censor is to get the thing to turn on. But apparently they have a mind of their own too, and can be pretty stubborn. Yesterday I had an encounter with one of these useless overkill gizmos. I walked up to the sink to wash my hands, but the faucet was already running. I stuck my hands under the stream, and logically enough the water turned off. I pulled my hands away and it turned back on. So after a couple repetitions of this process, I just stood there for a second watching the water run. But as soon as I walked away, the faucet turned off. If it was finally working right I’ll never know, because I had already given up hope of getting my hands wet.

Somebody hold me back

Last week I had a project for work that I needed to get printed out. I don’t have access to a top quality printer, so I had to take it to a “professional print shop” (note the quotation marks). I finished up the artwork and printed out a test page, which turned out fine; the right size, and accurate color. So I sent the files to the print shop and they printed out a test page. I looked it over real quick and something didn’t look right. I wanted it to be perfect, and since we needed 300 of them printed, I didn’t want them to screw it up. So I asked them if they printed it out at actual size or fit-to-page, and they said it was actual size. I gave them a skeptical “okay” and went back and got my own test print and compared it to the one they had done. Theirs was considerably larger, and it was clear that it was fit-to-page and definitely not the right size. So I showed them what it was supposed to look like and they seemed clueless, so I went into their computer room and showed them how to change it to print at actual size.

Well the job is completed now. I haven’t seen the finished product yet, but someone who has seen it told me that part of it that was supposed to be blue was printed out in black, and the wrong paper was used. I’m not so sure I want to see it now. I might get mad and hurt somebody, and I don’t want anyone getting hurt.

Don’t make me recycle you

It really bugs me when my computer makes weird noises. So you can imagine what was going through my mind when my computer started making this really annoying buzzing sound. It was loud too, and it would turn off and on and change pitches and do all kinds of weird tricks. It would start with a low hum and then jump into a high pitched squealing noise. I found out that a nice swift kick would shut it up pretty good. But then it would just start right back up again in a few minutes. It worked for a while; I’d be doing my usual stuff on the computer and the noise comes on, give it a kick and it quiets down; the noise comes back on, give it another kick. But one time it was making the loudest noise ever, and it kept getting louder. I gave it a kick and nothing happened. Another kick; again, nothing. I gave it a few more kicks in different places, but with no luck. So I decided to open the thing up and see if I could find out what the problem was. One of the fans was rubbing on something making the noise, so I made a quick adjustment. The noise stopped immediately, and I couldn’t have been happier. So I closed it back up and went on with my work, knowing that I had conquered the evil computer noise. But guess what happened next. I can’t believe the nerve that thing had. Yeah, you guessed it; the noise started up again, immune to the kicks and even the same adjustment I had made to the fan. Maybe I should just count myself lucky that my computer isn’t going on strike.


I was asked to take pictures of a local high school basketball team a couple of weeks ago. I, of course, accepted the offer and went to take portraits of all the team members. The pictures turned out pretty well, and the team and everyone affiliated were quite happy with the results.

Well just yesterday, the team gathered for a banquet at the end of the season and I was asked to take a group picture of everyone. So I brought in all my equipment and got set up while some of the moms arranged the kids just the way they wanted them. Lo and behold, another one of the moms came by who happened to be a “professional photographer.” So she took over and dictated the room and started yelling at the kids to get them where she wanted. She actually did pretty well too. So I just stood there hiding behind my camera and waited for her to be satisfied with the arrangement. When the kids were finally in order, I was able to do my thing with the camera, until… she grabbed my tripod and started moving it back. It was nice that she came to help arrange the shot, but touch my camera? Trust me, you don’t want to go there. I asked her what she was doing, and she said something about making more room for when the picture is cropped. “Cropped for what?” I asked. “I don’t know,” was the response. I didn’t say anything more, but what I was thinking was, “HELLO, I have a zoom lens for a reason. It’s this newfangled thing that allows you to not have to drag your tripod back and forth.” Needless to say, I stood there and pushed the little button on the camera. I was tempted to say, “Okay, here’s the remote. I’ve optimized the settings on the camera for the current light conditions. But since you took over the show, and you’re the ‘professional photographer,’ why don’t you just push the button.”

I’ve been asked before if I considered myself a professional photographer. But even if I was the best photographer in the world, quite honestly, I don’t think I would ever consider myself a professional. For one thing, there’s always so much more to learn. Each and every experience can be a learning experience, as well as humbling. But probably an even bigger reason is that…I simply don’t have a big enough mouth to be a “professional photographer.” Especially after my adventure yesterday it seems that, particularly for portrait photographers, they need to have the characteristics of a dictator and take charge and yell at everybody and all that good stuff. But that’s not me. I could probably manage one or two people, get to know them, interact with them, and make a natural looking portrait instead of dictating their every move. But what I find that works best for me is non-portrait stuff. Nature, macro, still, abstract, and so on. Things that I can be creative with, and put a part of myself into every picture (not literally). I even have fun taking pictures of people in natural settings, doing something other than standing and smiling at the camera. But for me, just photographer is fine without that other big fancy word.