Category Archives: Uncategorized



Zoom in for pop

Dave with cameraA friend asked me about using a zoom lens, so I collected a few shots that demonstrate effects I sometimes seek. Other than the obvious—increasing size when I can’t get closer—there are a number of things a long lens does that can actually make it worth walking farther away from the subject. Read on



A secure feeling

About a year ago I upgraded to a “smart” phone; last month I crunched it in a bicycle crash; and all throughout I have become increasingly concerned about how easily it could be lost or stolen. This vulnerability, amplified by the recent Target credit card snafu, drove me to tighten up security for my online identity. I’m feeling more relaxed as a result, and I encourage you to read on and learn how you can do the same.

As explained in this Zonealarm article, access to your email—a likely by-product of cell phone loss—could enable a thief to use the “Forgot password” procedures to gain access to many important websites. So, Read on



No dummies

A friend recently passed along an informative video that taught me a lot about the third amendment to the US Constitution, which, I admit, I’ve not thought about in a very long time. Unfortunately, it did little to address other more important questions. The main premise is that we citizens need to be ready and able to defend ourselves from harm that our government might potentially inflict upon us. I would suggest, however, that most people feel far more threat from other directions. Read on



Competing globally

I’m thankful to my brother-in-law Tom for passing along an interesting article about stagnant income growth titled Wage Woes. It took me a while to work through it all, and I’m glad I did. I too have been worried about the growing income and wealth gap, and it’s good to see some solid analysis. I generally agree with the thrust of this article, and I learned plenty from it as well. I especially agree with the idea that longer-term structural issues are what really matter versus business cycle variation.

As an aside, it is, always good to see someone else rail about the negative effect of the uncertainty caused by our Congress of the past few years, and to even put some data around that!

The one thing in the paper that I question is the correlation between income growth and transfer payments. The next few paragraphs outline my response. Read on



Grounded again

Plan B after the weather killed our trip from Homer to Katmai (see Susi’s posts Gone… and Grounded…) was a drive north to Talkeetna where we could fly toward Denali and land on Ruth Glacier. Who was to know there are clouds in this part of Alaska too?

After Wednesday morning’s flights were cancelled, Susi and Ben drove 60 miles to see if they might get a glimpse of Mt. McKinley only to be met by even less visibility and a bit of rain. We spent the afternoon doing computer work until the sun popped out and I enjoyed a lovely bike ride along the railroad tracks. Ben and I tried to drown our sorrows at the Denali Brewing Company, but even that didn’t work as neither of us really felt like drinking more than the samples of their beers—many of which were excellent!

Déjà vu Thursday morning, with lots of waiting around and admiring flowers until the flight service could determine whether they were flying or not. Everything was a bit more complicated and slower because a citywide power outage knocked out the computers.

We finally got word about 9:30 that Denali was socked-in once again, our third miss in as many swings. Though we seemed to be striking out at flying on this trip, one option still remained, and even gave Ben the chance to be pilot!



Hot time in Victoria

We enjoyed a gloriously warm, sunny Sunday in Victoria, where the wharf was jammed with locals and tourists on this first warm weekend of spring. Sidewalk vendors offered the usual array of trinkets and caricatures, and street performers grabbed our attention with sleight of hand, juggling and comedy. The surprising finale had Dave riding a trike while wearing a flaming helmet! Check out Terry’s photos and see Dave defy danger by riding between the juggler’s legs. What fun!

As Susi notes in her blog post, Scenic envy, the views around Victoria were stupendous. Butchart Gardens were in glorious bloom with tulips, and Parry Bay made a fantastic frame for the Olympia mountains to the south. Check out the 05-05 Victoria album to get a taste of the beauty.

Speaking of south, Seattle was also fun, and you can see a few pictures from there in the 04-28 Seattle album.



Speed bumps?

Speed bumps?Unruly speedersSpeed bumps? On a walking path? Really?

Well, maybe not. But that sure is what they look like!

These shots were taken on the Larch Mountain Trail at Multnomah Falls Recreation Area along the Columbia River between Oregon and Washington. Of course, the yellow lines really mark spots in the trail that have been uplifted by tree roots. But a cynic like me can’t help but see those unruly little feet and immediately comment on our government’s tendency to be way to helpful at times!

I haven’t posted in a while, so I’ll point out a number of recent photo albums:

04-12 Monterey

04-13
Asilomar

04-14
Ocean Cove

04-18 Redwoods

04-19 Redwoods

04-22 Tillamook

04-24 Multnomah

04-25 Portland



Joshua blooms and blooming painters

Joshua Tree bloomPlein air painterI guess we hit Joshua Tree National Park at a pretty special moment, as the trees are at a blooming peak. NPR station KPPC in Los Angeles used five of my photos to illustrate their story Joshua trees in the Southern California desert are in ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ bloom. You can see the rest of my shots from that day in the 04-06 Joshua Tree album.

This climate also seems to nurture plein air painters, as we found out when Susi and I visited Point Lobos State Reserve just south of Monterey. With the 2nd annual Plein Air Convention opening tomorrow, the park was crawling with them. You can see some, along with a few pretty ocean vistas and huge cypress trees in my 04-09 Point Lobos album.



Street photos at an Art Festival

Tubac 3: Cowboy Tubac 11 Population of the town of Tubac, Arizona must swell by 2 or 3 times when the annual Tubac Festival of the Arts is in full swing. Although the works displayed were more like crafts than arts, some were very fun to look at, and the people were all extremely friendly! Fortunately, the day also gave a chance to pick up some candid street shots that you can see in the 12-02-10 Tubac Art Festival album.



“Call Anytime You Have Questions”

Dave probably regretted that last comment after he got the 4th call from Jerry & I on our first day out – that’s in spite of all the  “how to” and checklists that Dave prepared for us: we have a departure list, the arriving list, the hour before arrival list, checking the tires and batteries lists, connecting water and electricity lists, appliance manufacturers list, toad (the term RVers lovingly refer to the car towed by an RV) hook up and toad detach list, and a few more he threw in just in case we needed them.

Although Dave’s brother, Jerry, is a quick study and ready to help any way he can, this journey without Dave has emphasized how much of a team we are and how many things Dave was doing on our journeys that I had no clue he was doing.

So, even though Jerry & I chuckled at the list that began with, “Wash the windshield, if necessary”, thank you Dave,  for all the details you’ve given us to keep us rolling down the road!

Love,

Susi



Speak out for sane governance

Our elected representatives are playing a silly game of chicken with the country’s reputation as they continue their publicity grab over the debt ceiling. Please tell them that we expect better. You can find links to send them messages in my previous post. Regardless whether or not you agree with my stance, please contact your representatives and insist on better behavior.

Here is the message I just sent to all of them:

Honorable ___________,

I am glad that we are finally taking some serious steps to reduce overall spending.

I am terribly dismayed that the process has devolved into a silly game that politicians are playing for political gain. While it is not one-sided, I think that the Republicans are being far too noisy and recalcitrant.

Tax loopholes are EXPENDITURES just like any other government policy. Tax loopholes need to be closed as part of a process to reduce federal spending. The artificial designation of closing tax loopholes as tax increases is silly grandstanding.

We elect our representatives and pay them handsomely. Please do your part and act like adults who are truly committed to the good of the country. Sensible discussions of the real problems and clear solutions can and must be found.

Thank you,

Dave Bezaire



Speak out for peace

I imagine many share my sense of unease as the political situation in the Mideast becomes more and more volatile. Our hearts go out to those hurt in the conflict, and we feel angst about the future directions new leadership might take. Now, with talk of military intervention in Libya, I begin to worry that we might be pulled into yet another difficult, expensive, civil war that will guarantee the ugliness of many dead people at our hands, and a further deterioration of our nation’s status in the world community.

Worry hardly seems an adequate response, so yesterday I sent messages to our elected representatives stating my strong opposition to the use of military force. Although I passionately stated my belief, I had precious little “meat” to support my argument. I was pleased to read George Will’s March 8th article, On Libya, too many questions, and sent another round of messages today referencing it.

I encourage everyone to consider these issues carefully, and to make your voice heard. Our elected leaders need our input so that they can make good decisions on our behalf. Easy to use forms are available, so it takes just a couple of minutes to send a note.

Although I would hope that each person sends their own words, I want to make my feelings clear, so here is the text that I sent to my elected officials:

Dear ___________,

I strongly believe that we should avoid military action in Libya. Please carefully consider the questions posed by George Will in his March 8th article, On Libya, too many questions.

We must avoid engaging in yet another ugly, costly civil war that will result in many dead people at our hands, and a further deterioration of our standing in the world community.

Thank you,

Dave Bezaire



Thank you, Marie

One of the deeper fears Marie ever mentioned was, “losing my mind”. She was at peace with life and ready to face death, but having seen many friends with dementia in their later years, she clearly knew what she did not want to endure. So, it was ironic — and very scary — that her final disease was brain cancer. Read on