Monday, April 21, 2008

A simple dandelion

Pretty amazing how something generally viewed to be a weed can look so beautiful. "eye of the..."

May I recommend that you click here to go large.

Sigma 150 mm macro f/2.8 handheld

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Tarheels?, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Kaitlyn's feet after a long day playing at the Attisano's new house.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Microsoft is fading into a black hole....

Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer said on Friday that Microsoft is the global leader in e-mail and instant messaging, but in Internet search -- the most important application category and the biggest source of online revenue -- "we are the clear No. 3 in the market."

He sought feedback from the crowd of IT pros, many of whom have dedicated their careers to becoming expert in Microsoft's products, on which Internet search engine they use.

"How many of you use Live Search as your default?" Ballmer asked.

A smattering of hands went up. Tepid applause.

"How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?"

Far fewer hands went up and the room was relative quiet, until it filled with laughter.

Ballmer, trying again, louder this time, "How many of you use Yahoo search as your default?"

The same response.

"Wow, we offered 31 bucks a share," he said, to more laughter.

"How many of you use Google as your default?" Ballmer asked.

The vast majority in the audience raised their hands, cheering and hooting.

Ballmer looked around. Smiled. Scratched his cheek. Rubbed his face with his hand.


Now my take on "things" over in Redmond.

Vista is a piece of crap, Microsoft has basically admitted it was released undone and not ready for the public. Rumor has it that there are so many bloated lines of code that their programmers can't effectively program. Plus, who thought there was anything wrong with XP anyway?

If you haven't heard of open source, you quickly will. Open source basically means free and better. Thousands of developers across the world improve each piece of software and the "community" makes it better, for free. There are complete open source operating systems such as Linux available for download for that do a great job. So, no need for Vista.

Besides XP and Vista, there's MS Office, right? Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook. Enter OpenOffice is a FREE software package that has Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress/Draw (PowerPoint), check, check, check. Cost: Free. Check.

Wait, I never mentioned Explorer. You got me. You're right, Internet Explorer is the only way to get online and it will never ever die. Right. Mozilla Firefox is FREE and better the IE in about 100 ways and already has more than 17 per cent of all users.

Don't forget about versions of software either. Google's got GMail, GCalendar, Google Docs and a ton more.

Do you want to be a pallbearer at Microsoft's funeral? It won't be long now.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Paige's first soccer game

Paige's first soccer game, originally uploaded by -SPK.

Click here to see the whole set.

Iron Pigs Game

Iron Pigs Game, originally uploaded by -SPK.

We took in the second game ever last night at the Bethlehem Iron Pigs Stadium. It was a b-day present from Stais and Boom, thanks guys!

This photo was taken through my prescription polarized sunglasses...

See the whole set here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Unattended children will be given an Espresso & a free Puppy

Maybe I need to become an unattended child... I'm ready for both.

Paige Modeling

Paige, modeling

Paige, modeling

Paige, our model

Nicci Wright took these pictures of Paige in a hand sewn outfit she designed. She as a business selling awesome children's clothing and asked Paige to be her model for part of the Spring line.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Late post, Easter morning

Do you still remember how excited you would get at Easter and Christmas? I *barely* did, but having kids helps to make it so real again. This video is so much fun for so many reasons....

Denny Hamlin Fan

Denny Hamlin Fan, originally uploaded by -SPK.

There is none cuter!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

I got so stressed watching this

El Caminito del Rey (The King’s pathway, often shortened to El Camino del Rey) is a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Alora in Spain.

The walkway has now gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. Some parts of the walkway have completely collapsed and have been replaced by a beam and a metallic wire on the wall.

Many people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years. After four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way into the walkway.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Centralia PA underground Fire

Centralia PA underground Fire, originally uploaded by eaglerm.

This is a photo taken by Ricky Mensch of Wind Gap PA. This is a truly interesting story and I just recently read about it myself.

There is a small town in Pennsylvania called Ashland where Route 61's northbound traffic is temporarily branched onto a short detour. Exactly what the detour is circumventing is not immediately clear to travelers, however few passers-by pay it any mind
a detour is nothing unusual. But anyone who ignores the detour and ventures along the original route 61 highway will soon encounter an abrupt and unexplained road closure. Beyond it lies a town filled with overgrown streets, smoldering earth, and ominous warning signs. It is the remains of the borough of Centralia.

Centralia, Pennsylvania was never a particularly large community, but it was once a lively and industrial place. At its peak the coal mining town was home to 2,761 souls, but today the population of its cemeteries far outnumbers that of its living residents. The series of events which led to the community's demise slowly diminishing its numbers to less than a dozen began about forty-four years ago.

Centralia 1962In 1962, workers set a heap of trash ablaze in an abandoned mine pit which was used as the borough's landfill. The burning of excess trash was a common practice, yet at that particular time and place there existed a dangerous condition: an exposed vein of anthracite coal. The highly flammable mineral was unexpectedly ignited by the trash fire, prompting a quick effort to put it out. The flames on the surface were successfully extinguished, but unbeknownst to the fire fighters, the coal continued to burn underground. Over the following weeks it rapidly migrated into the surrounding coal mines and beneath the town, causing great concern.

Soon the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources began monitoring the fire by drilling holes into the earth to determine the extent and temperature of the fire. In retrospect, it was realized that the well-meaning workers may have unwittingly provided the fire with a natural draft by drilling these boreholes, feeding the coal's combustion. As a precaution, the Department also installed gas monitors in many homes within the affected area, but nonetheless many residents complained of symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.

In 1969– seven years after the fire was started– a more involved effort was made to contain the fire using trenches and clay seals, but the attempt was met with failure. In the 1970s, concerns over the severity of the extensive subterranean fire were stirred when a gas station owner noticed that the contents of his underground fuel storage tank seemed hot, so he measured the gasoline's temperature, and found it to be a troubling 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Numerous attempts were made to extinguish or contain the underground fire over the next two decades. The mines were flushed with water and the burning coal was excavated, but despite the persistence of the workers, their efforts were unsuccessful. The work continued for years at a great expense, with no appreciable progress.

After burning beneath the surface for almost twenty years, the fire drew national media attention when the ground crumbled beneath the feet of twelve-year-old Todd Domboski in 1981. The sinkhole– about four feet wide and 150 feet deep– had sufficient heat and carbon monoxide concentration that it would have killed the boy had his cousin had not been there to help pull him to safety. It was not the first nor the last sinkhole caused by the fire, but it was the most sobering.

At that point, about seven million dollars had been spent in the firefighting effort. Experts determined that the only option remaining to effectively battle the fire would be a massive trenching operation, at the cost of about $660 million, with no guarantee of success. Left with such limited options, the state of Pennsylvania basically condemned the entire town, and spent $42 million in government funds relocating most of its residents.

The fire still burns today beneath about four hundred acres of surface land, and it's still growing. There is enough coal in the eight-mile vein to feed the fire for up to two hundred and fifty years, but it may burn itself out in as few as one hundred years. A few residents remained in the borough after the buyout, but their numbers have dwindled since then to about a dozen. Most of the unoccupied homes and buildings have been razed, and large portions of the town are being reclaimed by nature, leaving meadows crisscrossed with overgrown asphalt roads and the occasional steaming or smoking hillside.

In its prime, Centralia was a vibrant community with five hotels, seven churches, nineteen general stores, two jewelry stores, and about twenty-six saloons. Today it is a modern ghost town whose guts have been burned out, and whose main path of ingress has been closed and detoured. Residents are expected to return in 2016 to open a time capsule which was buried in the town in 1966, back when the town's future was still somewhat optimistic. Its future now is decidedly more grim… There are currently no further plans to extinguish the fire, and most modern maps no longer show a dot where Centralia once stood.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Barack Obama

Barack Obama, originally uploaded by -SPK.

A picture I am proud to say that I took of our future President.

A huge shout out to Stephanie Monahon for hooking us up with two tickets and for having Barack sign a book for us, too!

For the first time in my life, I'm excited to be following a presidential election and be voting FOR someone, rather than choosing the lesser of two evils. Barack stands for a lot of what I believe in, and for what I believe America needs now.

Click here for the whole picture set.