Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Special pt. II

Don't start here.
Start down there,  part I is below.
I'll wait.
All caught up?
Well as I was leaving the area, I had to stop for provisions:

That was like the best ever popsicle!
I almost went back for one more.
The sun was getting lower and I had to make some time.
So off I went!
I hadn't planned to spend so much time at Sand Island.
It was nice though and I found a place I didn't know existed.
Which is always a good thing.
The real reason I went out was to spend some quality afternoon time on the road.
The Road to Perdition(RTP).
First I had to pick this up:

I'm telling you that cooler thingy is coming in handy!
Riding in the late afternoon is different.
Maybe is quieter, not as many folks on the road, but mostly it's the light: that warm afternoon glow.
My plan was to find a nice spot on the side of the road:

The wind dies down some so the ride back is not as torturous.
The water smooths out as everything seems to slow down.
I sat there and took in the view:

While I ate my sammich.
It was nice to just sit there as most of the time I'm just passing by a huffing and a puffing.
Although it's a bit windy, almost the whole two mile stretch is a nice kick back and enjoy the view area.
Bicycling to different places is nice, but most of the time I'm just passing through.
At least today, I got to spend some time enjoying the places I went to.
I was thinking about this as the sun got lower.
Time to head on back.
First I had to stop for this:

That's right conical frozen treat fans!
Way to pack on those calories!
Anyways, I got four more weeks before I go back to work.
Today's ride taught me a nice lesson.
Time to take advantage of these long summer days.

Sunday Special pt. I

Lemme say that every time I'm on vacation, I can't help but feeling like I should be doing something.
Like a nagging guilt, it's an uneasiness I get when I'm just sitting around.
Of course I do my best to overcome it.
Hence my love of the couch.
Don't you know.
I think it also stems from knowing that I should be using this time to do things I don't normally have time to do.
I was thinking this today as I was watching Law & Order.
So off I went!

Crossing the bridge over to the Sand Island Recreation Area.
No reason, just decided to go this a way instead of that a way.
Except today, I followed this dude:

Around a locked gate and over a dirt road that followed the shoreline.
I wasn't sure if I was trespassing or not, but hey! it's Sunday and no one was around.
More dirt roads and I found myself here:

This is nice!

The road winds through some brush and stuff; abandoned recreation stuff I think.
I passed by what looked like an ATV track and coming back some place that turned out to be a park for remote control cars.
Down the shoreline to the point:

There were a few folks out and about as this is the back side of the abandoned ball fields I saw during an earlier visit.
Prevaricating Garmin info here.
If you look at the map, the whole area I just came through is actually part of the park, it's just not accessible by car.
You have to walk or bike to get here.
Well the afternoon sun was beating down on me and that water looked good so I did this:

Then I did this:

I did that for a while, just sitting looking over this:

Sort of a Wish You Were Here moment.
Okay, not really.
I was having a pretty good time there by my lonesome.
Well I couldn't just sit there sunning myself all afternoon, I had places to go and things to do!
So off I went!
After putting my shoes back on.
I wanted to see where the road linked up to the park and I wasn't far from where I was:

Remnants of pillboxes at the point.
Obligatory shot of Diamond Head:

Well it was getting on the late side and I was getting hungry so I had to head on back.
I climbed up a little hill at the abandoned ATV place just so I could look around:

As the crow flies, I'd estimate that downtown Honolulu is less than a mile away.
Part deux coming up.

Sunday Early Edition

Late again.
This is not good as I've taken to sleeping in.
It sort of helps that I live in a place where if I want, it's night all the time.
Especially on the weekends.
Perpetual darkness.
I sort of like it.
Next month, I'll get back to my old schedule and practice waking up early.
I hope.
So anyways, I was out yesterday and noticed that the Prevaricating Garmin is well, prevaricating:

Here I am at a dead stop, and it's says I'm moving!
Slowly, but still it should read zero.
It's in GPS mode so maybe that has something to do with it, I haven't noticed it doing that when I ride with the physical sensors on the bicycle.
I'll have to check.
Also yesterday, I was on the Road to Perdition when I spied my shadow out of the corner of my eyeball:

If you squint yer eyeballs, it looks like there's something sticking out of the side of my head.
I was riding around, trying to figure out what the hell that was, weaving all over the road.
I think I'm possessed.
Never did figure out what that was.
Or I gotta get a hair cut.
Or something.
Lately, I've been thinking about yet another camera.
One of the good things about teaching photography is that I learned a lot about well, photography.
The bad thing is that now I don't like the pictures I take:

In this image I wanted the water to be in focus.
After three tries I gave up.
I suppose I could have put the lens through the spokes then recomposed.
Or I could get another camera with manual controls and some focus lock.
Which I am thinking about.
I've also been reading some about resolution and larger prints.
I ordered two 16x24" metal prints because of the sale and learned that to get the maximun 300dpi in the print you do need a certain amount of pixels.
I also prefer to shoot now in RAW since you can manipulate the images way more in post production compared to JPEGs.
So a new Quest for Camera is on!
I mean the camera I'm using now is okay, but I'm thinking of doing a few more large size prints, especially now that I have a new office to decorate:

After sharing a classroom last year, I gotta say that getting my own office, to me, means I have arrived!
Even if I have another year of probation.
Well, one year and one day.
Anyways, I'm sitting here trying to decide whether or not to get out on the bicycle and if I do where I'm going.
I'm beginning to prefer riding in the late afternoons, around sunset, only because  the lighting is nicer.
Must be that photography thing rubbing off on me.
Or maybe I'm just lazy.
Or something.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caught on Tape!

I mean film!
Okay, not really.
Or something.
On Father's Day I went out with the la famille and only now I'm giving them the good once over.
The pictures I mean.
Adorama Pix is having a 30% off sale so I'm gonna order a couple of metal prints and I'm trying to decide which images to do.
I mean to print.
If you are interested in those metal prints I showed you, now is the time to try them out for sort of cheap.
Anyways, I'm going over the images, like really scrutinizing, and I find an anomaly.
Like an alien invasion:

Here's a 100%+ crop of one of the images.
If you squint yer eyeballs and look right in the middle, you can see a green line.
At first I panicked, hot pixels!
No, not a streak like that.
Doesn't appear in the other pictures.
Here it is again, another 100%+ crop:

See it?
Going from right top corner to left?
You can even see the half moon to the top right of center.
The first image was taken about twenty feet to the left of this image.
I don't think that can explain the change in the apparent trajectory of the line or whatever it is.
The images were taken approximately two minutes apart.
Missile launch?
Spy satellite?
Space Station?
Alien invasion?
My best guess is that they are from a meteor(s), ion or plasma trails given the greenish color.
I was trying to visualize the two images and my position on the shore and I think it was two events.
Then again, that super wide lens does some tricky things.
I'll let you know if I see any strange folks walking around.
Oh, I forgot.
That's my niece's head in the picture.
Not some alien.
Although it kinda looks like one.
Alien I mean.

To Work and Back

Sort of.
In a roundabout way.
I mean I didn't go like straight to work like I would if I was going to work for real, this was mostly a let's see what it would be like it I did go to work.
If you know what I mean.
Anyways, my new tires came in the other day.
I had to change out my old tires cause they looked like this:

My best guess is that they got maybe 500 miles on them.
The Schwalbes cut easily as you can see and they also started to well, crackle.
Not the whole tire, just parts and only the front.
The rear looks okay, so I'll just save it as an emergency spare.
I replaced them with these:

Well after putting them on, I was all hot to take them out for a spin.
So off I went!
Headed east today, towards work, just to see how hard it would be to actually commute by bicycle.
Prevaricating Garmin info here.
It's a difficult route.
Mostly because of the roads involved which are heavily used by really big trucks and the lack of a bicycle lane in some spots:

Where there is a lane, it's a bit crazy with all sorts of big rigs passing right next to you.
The surface conditions vary from okay to bad to mountain bike only and you have to keep an eyeball on what's in front.
Doable though.
I was kinda going here and there so my best guess is that it's about six miles out.
I came back using a different route which was just as bad, though not used much by the heavy duty industrial stuff.
Aloha Tower is about where the bicycle lane ends:

From there it's on the sidewalk for a quarter mile or so then into the park.
You could take the road, but it's like the main line into Waikiki so again, it's heavily used.
At the beach:

Point Panics on a manageable day.
From here, I would say it's less than a mile from school.
I did detour through Ala Moana Beach Park since I never road on the path that goes around the park.
It's nice, but it's concrete so it's go those joints.
The Continental GP4000s tires are nice.
Seems a bit smoother and they handled the rough surfaces well.
A fast inspection revealed no bad cuts or anything even though I was riding in the gravel and broken glass on the side of the road.
I gotta say, I really really like the way the Deda is set up right now.
More on that later.
I almost forgot!
Yesterday I also got this:

My new Road ID.
The old one had my previous address on it so it was basically out of date.
I took off the address line and added the "save my bicycle" on the bottom.
I hope I never have to use it.
So anyways, I've been trying to figure out a safe way to pack like four thousand dollars worth of camera crap on the bicycle.
Hell I don't know if it would even be safe or if the stuff would vibrate and rattle into small pieces.
Crashing would also be on the expensive side.
More on this later.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Digs, Cygolite Expilion 600

I'm moving.
No, not like where I live moving, but classroom moving.
Two doors down:

I need to change out the chairs and move some other stuff so I'll be headed on back before school starts.
We also got some new computers on order so I want to make sure everything gets installed okay.
During summer, the maintenance folks also clear out all the rooms and seal the floors so I'll have to wait until they are done.
I also went back in because of this:

Every summer the state library cleans house and has a book sale.
This year, because it's held at our school I qualified for a book coupon.
It comes at a good time because I need to set up that new classroom.
My haul:

Thank you Friends of the Library!
Then I came home and had a humungous lunch and fell asleep.
Then I woke up and decided to head out and test my new light.
So off I went!
The Cygolite Expilion 600 has well, 600 lumens and a GAGILLION settings.
Okay, not really.
More like eight: low, med, high, boost, flash, steady flash, walk and believe or not, SOS.
Like in Morse Code S O S/...---...
It's like way better than that other light I got which it should be as it cost like three times more.
I won't even bother comparing them.
The Expilion throws a nice wide beam:

That's on low.
I tried medium and high and well, it's brighter.
I traded off lumens for duration here as I was out for two hours and about eighteen miles.
Lemme say though, low was enough for me.
Where there was ambient light, there was no difficult transitions where your eyeballs had to readjust.  When I went down the Road to Perdition, in the picture, and there was no light, low was plenty enough to illuminate the road ahead.
I like the Expilion so much, I may get it's big brother, the 700.
You know, for when I take out the road bike and go Super Sonic.
It does take a while to charge, like five hours, so I may get another battery pack just in case.
I'm beginning to like riding at night.
The streets around here are mostly deserted and if I triple up the Road to Perdition I can get in maybe 22 miles.
It's quiet, only the sound of yer tires on the road and the wind blowing past yer helmet straps.
Although Perdition makes your legs burn like the fires from hell, the view at night ain't bad.
Around here after dark, I pretty much own the road:

New Arrivals

I can't find anything!
Lemme start from the beginning.
I can't find anything!
Moving was a pain.
First I had to loosely organize everything by need.
Sort of.
Which is why:
I can't find anything!
It's here somewhere:

Like I'm in my own Indiana Jones movie.
Okay, not really.
Most of my stuff is on that rack on the left, in the middle row, in the back.
I think.
I mean it sort of looks like my stuff.
I can't really tell cause I can't see through the shrink wrap.
In particular, I was looking for some bicycle stuff.
Two boxes worth.
Now that I need it.
A tire lever.
Now when I moved I swear I had like three or four tire levers sitting around.
I can picture them, you know, Park Tool blue and all that.
Now they are nowhere to be found so I got this:

The Topeak tool, not the Park Tool cause wouldn't you know it as soon as I ordered the Topeak tool I found one Park Tool.
Anyways, you can see the difference in size.
It also comes apart:

So one tool becomes two tools!
Two tools.
I kind of like the sound of that.
The Topeak tool is heavy plastic, so heavy that I thought at first it was plastic coated metal.
Being longer, it should give a bit more leverage for those hard to stretch tires, but I'm throwing them in the ole tool box and carrying the Park.
After I change my old tires with some new tires.
Which should be the next new arrivals.
I also got this:

Cygolite Expilion 600.
From left to right, USB cord, battery, light, mount and charger.
Very nice.
Very nice bright light too.
I'll test it out later.
Finally, this:

That's right I made a mistake fans!
Erasers for my Pentel Kerry pencil.
Not that I make a lot of mistakes or anything, but I do have to occasionally change a grade.
Or something.
Work is right around the corner don't you know.
Them erasers were something else that I had some of and I still have some of I just don't know where the some are.
I got a feeling that after this is all done, my moving, I'm going to have a lot of redundant systems.
Speaking of work, I must go in today to check on some things.
More on this later.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday Final

It's like a drug.
I'm addicted.
So as part of my twelve step program, I got me a bicycle.
Get off the couch, it says to me.
Back off! I says to it.
The bicycle I mean.
Look fatso, it continues, if you don't get off your you know what, you are gonna wake up with tire tracks across yer back!
Okay, okay, I says.
I give in.
So off I went!
It was raining off and on all day so I waited until the late afternoon to get out and go for a ride.
An addict's excuses.
Anyways, I went out looking for some good light.
I take pictures don't you know.

The afternoon light makes some interesting patterns under the viaduct.
I like repetition and pattern so those are things I'm constantly on the look out for.
Also different points of view, things you might miss for instance if you never look up:

I can't control the exposure on the small camera so sometimes I just take pictures to see what stuff looks like.
If there's potential there, I plan to haul out the big camera and go back.
Mostly though, I was out hunting and gathering:

Took me a while, but I finally bagged me a turkey and ham sammich.
Cooler thingy comes in handy:

Headed on over to do the penance run, I see this:

Usually a rainbow is a good thing.
Except I live over there on the left and a rainbow means it's raining.
So I go right.
Towards the sunset.
I've been fooling around with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) plugin.
In my opinion, HDR only works with certain compositions and you sort of have to look for it:

One of the times I like to use it is when I shoot into the sun.
If you look at the left corners, you can see the chain link fence I shot this through.
I cropped it a bit and ran it through the software:

I find that HDR also works well with clouds:

HDR is kinda a frou-frou thing so I try not to use it too much, but it does add another dimension to what would otherwise be a tame image.
I need to get back to that area with the big camera cause the light at sunset is really nice.
In fact today, I scouted out a bunch of places I need to get back to.
Anyways I was getting hungry so I headed on back.
I only got caught in a slight drizzle.
I took yesterday off to sort of rest the legs.
When I first moved here, I was sort of looking at riding to work and this week I hope to see just how far and difficult it is.
Hopefully my light comes in so I can venture a bit further at night.
About the venturing further part.
At night I mean.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sand Island Recreation Area pt.II

Part one is below.
Go there, then come back.
I'll wait.
I suppose the plan for Sand Island was for it to be a sort of all around park.
Way in the back, I found this:

What appears to be a four baseball field complex that has been overgrown with tall grass.
There are also two more fields, one little league and what looks like a softball field.
Those two fields are maintained.
The thing about Sand Island is that it is way off the beaten path; you really have to want to be here to get here.
If you know what I mean.
It's worth it though:

The shoreline area is beautiful.
You can see remnants of some pillboxes there on the beach.
The whole area was sort of a dumping ground for many years.  Squatters were kicked out in the seventies and clean up of the area began though some historic stuff still remains.
Over on the shipyard side Army barracks still stand from the forties and fifties, though I heard they are slated for demolition.
More sand:

The park area is not very pretty.
Being so far from the mountains it gets very little rain.
More on that later.
There's lots o'room, but it's not very green:

Requisite bicycle picture:

As I mentioned before, there are still some historic artifacts there.
A couple of observation towers stand, although they are just structures and aren't accessible:

Downtown Honolulu is right across the way:

If you squint yer eyeballs, you can see what I mean about the rain.
Over on the left it's raining, probably where I live, but the rain doesn't make it all the way over to the shoreline.
Anyways I was getting hungry so it was time to leave.
I stopped off down at the Reef Runway place and caught some Raptors taking off:

The other day I was about a mile away from here and saw two of them take off and just go vertical!
Crazy pilots.
After paying my penance to the wind I went to my now favorite eating place and had this:

I'm getting some miles in on the bicycle but for some reason I'm not losing any weight.
I wonder why.
The BMX track is open today so I may go over and take a look.
Weather permitting.