Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Regional Differences

July 15, 2010

The 15th annual Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Day is coming up this August.

(Trains dogs, not people. Wonder if there's a training day for us?)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Why Stop Now?

July 12, 2010

Today’s paper gave some statistics about births, deaths, etc. in Idaho in 2008. The most fascinating to me: The longest marriage that ended in divorce was 71 years.

I’d love to know the story behind that one! What made them finally give up?

(The shortest marriage that ended in divorce was 17 days.)


July 10, 2010

I saw some Organic Croutons in the store.

Does that mean that the little bread cubes were raised with no pesticides?

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Idaho

April 28, 2010

One thing Idaho does really well is stars. We visited a friend’s cabin in the mountains during the winter, and the stars were so thick that even the most distinctive constellations were hard to pick out. I had never seen anything like it.

There’s an observatory at the Bruneau Dunes. (See "Scenic Idaho".) I hope the state thinks better of its idea to let ATVs roam on the dunes. The thought of what those fumes would do the sky viewing (let alone the ATVs themselves taking the fun out of hiking and sliding on the dunes) is appalling.

More on Cheap Goods

July 10, 2010

In January 2010 I wrote that we may have to decide whether we want cheap goods or we'd rather be healthy, in view of China's relaxed attitude toward life-threatening additives in their products. (See "The Economy")

Looks like China may be taking the decision out of our hands. Their workers are demanding more money (almost a living wage, darn them!). So some companies may be moving operations back to the U.S.

I tried to work it out to its logical conclusion, but got flustered.

If the Chinese workers demand more money and the companies move back here, the people in China will be out of work. But soon the goods will cost more because the workers here will want raises every now and then.

The products will be safer, but consumers will gripe about the cost.

With a lot of people out of work, the wages may fall again overseas, making the product cheaper (but not safer)...


Define "Wilderness"

June 14, 2010

Idaho passed a bill designating a huge area as wilderness. Now people are griping that they can’t get to it to bike, hike or camp.

Isn’t the definition of wilderness, "Leave it the heck alone"?

I guess their definition of wilderness is, “Don’t mine or develop it; let us mess it up instead.”

Too Many Numbers

July 9, 2010

I’ve taken some good pictures in my time—not all of them accidentally—but I get confused on HOW cameras work. For instance, an f-stop regulates the light that enters the camera—the smaller the F-stop, the bigger the aperture. The bigger the aperture, the quicker the shutter speed should be.

So you have a small number letting in lots of light and a big number (500), which stands for a quick shutter time (1/500th of a second). And it depends on the situation as to which combination you use.

Now throw in depth of field, which can help you hone in on your subject and leave the background blurry (it sounds like zoom, but isn’t). Do you need a big f-stop (=small aperture) and long shutter speed (a small number) or vice-versa, or something else?

Toss in a little dyslexia, and the fact that my brain freezes like a rabbit near a fox at the mere thought of learning something new, and you’ve got big trouble in photography land. It’s enough to make me hyperventilate!

After spending quite a bit of time trying to help me work it out, my brother-in-law finally said, “Small f-stop = blurry background.”

Now that I can handle.

My Life is one big F-stop

July 9, 2010

When I’m by myself I’m the most relaxed person in the world. I don’t clean obsessively (ask anybody!); I don’t fidget, or worry about how I look, or mind that I sing off-key.

Put one other person in the room, though, and I get totally tense. It’s amazing. Part of that is the fact that I feel like I need to adapt to other people; most of it is that I just don’t get other people.

For instance: Why is it funny to make mean remarks about total strangers—the way they dress, how much they weigh, how many teeth they have? Do people really like beer? If my neighbor walks over to say hello, do I offer her a drink even though she just came from the house next door?


(Now that my mother-in-law has introduced me to "The Big Bang Theory", I get a kick out of seeing all the ways that Sheldon and I are alike in our dealings with other people, and our puzzlement at certain social conventions. Unnerving, but funny!)

It’s the f-stop thing all over again, but without the short sentence to explain it.