Category Archives: Daily Adventures

2011 Gone!

Wow, I can’t believe another year has drifted by!

A few personal thoughts on 2011:

One Post A Day is too much!

Yep, I started with a noble but in the end, unrealistic goal of one blog post a day.   I think I burnt out so much that it partly contributed to little to no blog posts for the rest of the year!   I’ve been thinking lately about the purpose of my blog – it was really to document things/tricks that I’ve found/done/learnt or taken time to figure out so that I can refer back to it in the future and possibly help others.   And this seems to correlate to the posts I get the most hits from and the people who comment about my posts.   In 2012, I definitely want to go back “to my blog roots” 🙂

Youth Church Band and Guitar!

One great community give back in 2011 was getting involved in the Youth Group Band at church.  OK, I don’t’ really consider myself a “youth” anymore, but it was fantastic to get involved, see other youths get involved, introduce more “youthful” music/repertoire at church, and do it all by playing the acoustic guitar more!   So much that I even had 2 guitar lessons towards the end of the year that really inspired me to do more in 2012.

Date Nights

This is something wifey and I have been struggling but I’m happy with how this went in 2011.   One date per month (minimum) on the anniversary of our wedding date.   Now that the kids are older, we tend to go out with the kids rather than without since it’s “easier”, but when we do go with the kids, we’re missing out on our own couple time.   Definitely something I want to continue in 2012!

Photography Returns!

I think 2011 was the most successful year so far in getting something back from my photography hobby.  Enough to partly upgrade my DSLR to a D700 anyway.  But I wonder now whether I should start actively pursuing paid work or continue the “for fun” aspect.   There was a time near the end of 2011 where photography started becoming a “chore” which is definitely NOT what I want it to be.  I started losing that creative/inventive spark and I don’t want that to happen again.   On the other hand, I now thoroughly recognise having to charge a reasonable amount for my time and “talent” 🙂

Giving The Kids Space

The hardest thing I did in 2011 as a parent was giving the kids more space and trusting them more, especially Miss 12.   I definitely struggled with the concept of actually NOT helping with her homework, trusting that she’ll study for school tests without my help and complete her homework in time.   There’s still this hidden urge in me to want to help her, help her do her best, force her to tell me how school went – but this never worked out the way I wanted.   Time and time again in 2011, I found that it was the moments when I didn’t say anything and just let her be, that she would be happier and there would be those magic moments when she would make her own effort to open up and talk – often just before bedtime.    Parenthood doesn’t get easier as the kids get older – it just changes 😉

Finally, thank you readers, friends and family for coming and visiting my blog!  I really hope you find it informative, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes thoughtful 🙂  May 2012 bring much more happiness and joy into your lives!

 

 

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ANCA WA Choral Festival Concert Photos

ANCA is the Australian National Choral Association – an organisation which aims to encourage and promote choral music and choirs in Australia.   The WA chapter has just been reformed and they had Choral Festival Day to mark this occasion.

No, this was not a “concert” – it was a festival where for a few hours, everyone first did a warm-up, then different choirs sang for each other and it all finished with a big “sing” – where everyone learnt a song together.

It was a fantastic session – the age range of participants ranged from Primary School to people in their 70’s-80’s!  So many choirs and people were interested attending that there weren’t enough seats in the venue!

I was there to take some snaps to document the day.  The hardest part was choosing the right time to click the shutter button as many of the items were quiet – so I had to time my shots with louder parts of songs, or right at the end just before or with the applause.  Maybe I need to investigate a mirror less camera body one day or some noise dampening for the Nikon D700 🙂

Here are some shots from the day!

PCCC Fundraising Concert Photos

A few months ago, I was asked to take some photos for a church fundraising concert.  It was great to see such a huge audience turnout for the concert, which unfortunately pushed me right to the backs and sides only.  However, there were many different acts so I was able to move around between items and get different angles.

The best part of the event was the last item where various ensembles all combined together!  It was wonderful to see the adult choir, childrens choir and orchestra all together.  Was it professional musical standard?  Of course not, these were all amateurs doing something for a good cause.  But what struck me was the gusto – the passion that they all had – well done to all!

Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day!

Miss 10’s first pop concert!

Wow!  This weekend marks a special occasion for our Little Miss 10.  She’s going to her very first pop concert – Wifey is taking her to see Justin Bieber at the Burswood Dome!  

I’m trying to rack my brain to remember what was my first concert – I think it was either INXS or John Farnham at the Perth Entertainment Centre, many eons ago. 

The cool thing for Miss 10 is that we got her a special ticket that came with some goodies – a Justin Bieber fan pack, that arrived in the mail yesterday.  Let the Bieber-Fever begin…

I wonder if I should get wifey some ear plugs…  I heard that the crowd screams have been reaching 110db in the last few concerts in the rest of Australia (http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/entertainment/music/justin-bieber-20110502-1e5bx.html).

The Sassy Cookie

At work I’m always on the lookout for new places to get cake.

Yes, cake.

I think this needs to be added to all management training – people underestimate the power of cake – people love it, it brings people together, it motivates them to come to meetings 🙂

I recently found out that there’s a new cake place near my work – The Sassy Cookie.   It’s a quaint little corner shop that’s been fitted out in a vintagey/crafty/Perth Upmarket style.  

Yes, I’m sure it’d be a hit for mums for morning tea after dropping off their littlies to school.  But would a box of various cupcakes (some even gluten free) stand the litmus test for a bunch of computer nerdy engineers?

The answer is yes – it seems so!  Although each cupcake is a little pricey and they didn’t have discounts for multiple, they did taste nice 🙂

Website here: http://www.thesassycookie.com.au/

Screwed by jump in Nikon D700 prices

Aarghh!

My move to a full frame Nikon is complicated!

I’ve finally sold my Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, and Tokina 12-24 f/4 through eBay.  No problems with the Nikon lens, but hit a snag with the Tokina when the first winning buyer decided to change their mind after winning the auction.   Even more frustrating is the delay from waiting to be able to raise a non-paying buyer case and then closing it, coupled with the fact that with eBay now, you can’t leave negative feedback for a non-paying buyer!

Anyway, that’s all done and it’s all sold.

Then I moved onto buying the Nikon D700 body.

I did my normal thing of comparing the prices on B&H, and on eBay sellers like DigitalRev.  Then I decided to look local, and found that PRA Imaging had the Nikon D700 body for only $2295!  What a steal – that’s even cheaper than eBay or B&H! 

Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock last week and I was told that there should be some coming in on Friday.  I thought, cool, I’ll go in and pay by cash.

So I called on Friday, and they said that the shipment will be coming in on Monday instead – today.

So I called today at lunch, and they said that they’ll be coming in this afternoon but I should put a deposit on one if I really want one.

I was scared that they will all be sold out, so I gave them my credit card details and was ready to go ahead with the deposit when I asked to double checked the price.

$2295 right?  NO!!  Apparently that was last week’s sale price!!  It’s now gone up to $2785, practically $500 more – or a ~20% price increase!   It seemed that they would not budge on the price even if I paid by cash, citing the worldwide Nikon price increases due to stock shortages and the impact of the tsunami on the Sendai plant where they manufacture the D700’s.

I was sooo frustrated and angry with myself.  Why didn’t I just pay for it by credit last week at the fantastically low price?

Too bad for PRA, it was straight to eBay for me – I just need to now pay GST/duty when it comes in *sigh* but it will still be significantly cheaper.

The next problem?  Getting back the wide range on my lenses.  I’ve literally just got a 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8 and my 70-200 f/2.8 now! 

I can’t afford the 24-70 f/2.8 yet, so it’s looking like either a third party zoom, or maybe just a prime like the Nikon 35mm f/2.  I can’t stomach buying a 24mm f/2.8 if I will buy a 2.8 mid range zoom one day.

And the next thing?  Selling my good old D80 body as the final part of funding my change to full frame.

Can’t wait until this is all over…

The last episode of the last disc of the last season of West Wing

Wow! What a journey!

A few years ago, Wifey and I were looking for a new TV series to watch.  I can’t remember what we had just finished, maybe Alias, BSG, another season of 24, or something. 

A friend at work suggested West Wing.  I thought, “What? That show about politics?”  Sounds boring, probably won’t have the suspense of a law drama, or mystery of a police crime series, and definitely not the thrill of an action drama.

So we borrowed the first season on DVD from him – which was in 80s type colours and in 4:3 format!  Yes, not even widescreen.

But we were hooked.  The fantastic writing, getting a peak behind the scenes at the Whitehouse, the genuine acting and interplay between characters, the uplifting speeches, the dizzying single steadycam shots down corridors and through rooms (I’m sure they were walking around in circles sometimes!)   Wifey and I followed the characters so closely that, yes, we formed that strange one way bond with them that TV and movie shows allow.

We did stop at the beginning of Season 5 for a while – I’m not sure what, but the overall storyline stalled and it wasn’t engaging – was it Aaron Sorkin leaving as executive producer?  But other friends said we should persist, and it actually did get better.  I think the whole Santos campaign storyline is so overarching with that question of whether they’ll win or not at the end, that it hooked Wifey and me in until the end.

And last night, we just finished watching the second last episode of all.  7 Series X 22 episodes a series X ~40 minutes is nearly 102 HOURS OF TV!   This leaves the last episode of the last disc of the last season to watch tonight.    I sense a massive TV void about to appear. 

Wifey has already suggested we start all the way back at Season 1 and watch the whole thing again!!!  If so, maybe I should get the Complete Series Collection on DVD (http://www.amazon.com/West-Wing-Complete-Collection/dp/B000HC2LI0)!  For me, I’m thinking of starting Breaking Bad.
The West Wing Unofficial Guide – http://westwing.bewarne.com/

The West Wing Episode Guide – http://www.westwingepguide.com/

List of West Wing Episodes on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_West_Wing_episodes