Slide show


In my never-ending quest to improve my blog, I’ve discovered a new feature in WordPress.com! Yes, if you look below, you will see … Ta da! A slide show!

I’m not sure why, but I have a lot of pics that I have saved from the Internet. For some strange reason, I saved a lot of pics with computers in them. What exactly does that say about me? Hmm. I wonder. So if you look below you will see some of my favorite PC pics. I took the liberty of adding my own captions.

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I hope to occasionally use this feature in my blog in the future!

Dangerous pics


My dashboard, as seen through my iPhone

As I was crossing the Mississippi River, I suddenly got the urge to take a picture of the St. Louis Arch at seventy miles per hour. What you see above is my failed attempt of that picture. I’m lucky to be alive! But the image is foreboding. If I don’t change my ways, I will surely hurt myself.

Ever since my blog readers requested pictures, I have been trying to take more pictures. However, I’m sure they didn’t mean for me to risk my life in the process.

Some people don’t like when you sneak up on them and take their picture. But if they’re in public, they’re fair game. Sometimes they look at your strangely if your request to take pictures of their personal items. For example, I once went to the offices of all of my colleagues at UIC  to take pictures of their computers. They gave me the strangest looks when I asked permission to photograph their computer. I supposed I would react in a similar fashion if someone came to my office only to photograph my computer. Occasionally, when I go out with my friends to eat, I tell them, “Wait! Before you dig in, let me take a picture of your food!”

For a while, I was taking pictures of interesting license plates. But it seemed that I only time I saw interesting license plates was while I drove on the highway in excess of sixty miles per hour. This didn’t stop me from trying to take pictures. They say that talking on the phone while driving doubles your risk of getting into an accident. And texting increases your risk by eight times. But no one said how much the risk of getting into an accident is increased while trying to take pictures. I think it increases a lot more than eight times. I have had a few close calls, so I can vouch for that.

Once while I was driving to UIC, I saw a license plate that read CHITOWN. I had to take a picture of it! I attempted to get my camera out and take the picture before the SUV bearing that plate turned. There was snow on the ground and the street was slippery. I had to get a picture of the plate! But it wasn’t just any CHITOWN plate. It was a Kansas license plate! I risked crashing my car and I took a couple of pictures. I was overjoyed by my success. When I got home, I noticed that the license plate was unreadable in both pictures. I risked my life for nothing! What were the chances of me seeing this Kansas SUV in Chicago again?

Miraculously, I saw the SUV again about a month later. Again I took pictures as I drove north on south Ashland Avenue. The pictures didn’t come out clearly again! But I figured out that whoever drove the SUV was bound to come down Ashland Avenue again. And sure enough, about a month later, I saw which way it turned and I followed it. I was hoping the driver would hurry up and leave the vehicle so I could take a picture of his license plate. But, no, he took his sweet time gathering his things. I was in a hurry to get to UIC, so I got out of my car to take a picture of his license plate. The driver gave me a very suspicious look, so I told him I only wanted a picture of his license plate. He silently consented, but he eyed me cautiously. Well, I’m used to always getting strange looks anyway, so I took the picture and left. But it turns out I was too far away and the plate was too blurry to read.

Well, I knew the driver with the Kansas plate and I had similar schedules, so I would look for his vehicle in the same parking spot another day. A couple of weeks later, I saw it again. This time I parked right behind it. And I took several pictures to ensure that one of them would be readable. Just then, I noticed a man in a nearby vehicle reaching down under his seat and eyeing me suspiciously. At first, I was sure he was reaching for a gun, but I managed to convince myself that he was merely getting pen and paper to write down my license plate number. Regardless, I left as quickly as possible. Below, thanks to my persistence, you see the fruit of my labor. Behold!

CHI-TOWN on a Kansas license plate

I’m lucky to be alive! 

Photoshop


Photoshop at work!

I enjoy reading, but lately I’ve really enjoyed reading computer books. Well, with the computer books I read, it’s not actually reading. Most of those books for dummies and idiots are hands on guide to using various programs. I’ve learned a lot about computing reading those books, despite being neither a dummy nor an idiot. Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I love reading those computer books. I can now do many things with many programs. The downside is that someone is always asking me how to do certain things on the computers.

I learned to type on an old typewriter I found in our attic on Wood Street. I also found an old typing manual from which I learned how to type. When I was in the Marines, I took that typing manual with me and in my free time I did every single exercise in that book. And now I can touch type. So, it was a natural progression for me to start reading computer books to learn how to use programs.

I used to buy the books despite being very expensive. Then, they almost immediately became obsolete. I would use them once and remember all the commands that I planned on using. I had a huge pile of expensive, obsolete computer books that I eventually gave to the used bookstore. I always had the latest software and I always read the latest books. I still don’t understand how the latest knowledge on computer programs is directed at dummies and idiots. Apparently there’s a huge market. I don’t buy these books anymore, but they’re available through the Chicago Public Library for free. Some branch in Chicago always has the book I need.

Photoshop has been the most difficult program for me to use. The main reason I bought the program was because my iPhone used it to download the pictures to my computer. But then I found other uses for Photoshop.

I’ve been writing my blog for years. No frills, nothing fancy. Just plain vanilla text and formatting. Then, some of my readers started asking me when I would upload pictures with my posts. I was truly surprised! I had readers! That’s right! Readers! As in more than one. And they were actually reading my blog! They thought pictures would enhance my blog. So I started taking pictures for the blog. I must admit that Photoshop has improved my pictures due to my lack of photography skills.

I read every Photoshop book available through my library and I learned quite a lot. Last May, I went to an educational seminar in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, where I attended two Adobe classes where I learned more about how to use Photoshop. I never realized how many commands are available. I know I’ll never even use half of them, but it’s nice to know they’re available.