Jan 31, 2005

topleftpixel forums :: View topic - tips for handheld shooting: Most of the information here is very helpful, but I need to clarify the breathing aspect. The technique that should be used to stabilize your body is to breathe out 10-15% of your tidal volume and then pause. The reasoning is two-fold. One, your body has a natural rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. By the time you've exhaled 50% of your tidal volume, your chest is no longer moving from dorsal to ventral and most of the motion is rostral to caudal. If you only exhale a small amount, your body would not have moved dramatically from the original position when aiming had occured. Two, and you can try this at home, if you are exhaling and then pause, your heart will skip a beat. This technique will stabilize your body as much as possible.

Jan 26, 2005

Here's an email I had to send at work. Pretty pathetic, but I'm not really bothered by it; it's funny, really.

As you all know, I have a large number of snacks available in my office. As some of you know, Iíve made most of them available to all of you to just grab whenever you want. Iíve specifically stated NOT to take the Clif bars, as I actually paid for those and they are my meal replacement if I am working late or if my hypoglycemia is acting up. Iíd rather not have to start locking them up in my PED, though that may be easier.

Anyway, to whoever did it, I hope youíve enjoyed those seven bars. Thanks for occasionally leaving the empty wrappers. If youíre that desperate for food, just ask me.


Yes, I know it could be multiple people stealing the bars.

Yes, I know it could be people that are not on this team.

Yes, I know it is not that big of a deal. Iím acting on principle.

This weekend, Kat and I went to a club called Watertown for my acquaintance Phil's birthday. Most of the details can be ignored, so we will. The important event happened right around 2 AM, which may explain a few things. One of Jeff's friends, Martin, is seemingly enamored with Kat. They all hung out on Friday and Martin was permanently attached to her. Saturday, the same thing. Kat said he was a good conversationalist and enjoyed talking to him.

While on the dance floor, the guy-to-girl ratio was pretty far off and Kat was having to dance with multiple guys all the time all night. She was a bit annoyed, but I could tell she was okay with it. Our friend Tim was dancing with her, trying to make me jealous (in a joking way, seeing as I trust him). He kept saying "Dance seductively, Kat!". I was amused. Anyway, eventually Martin was dancing one-on-one with Kat. I was off dancing with a few others, so I wasn't paying too much attention. A little while later, I was dancing next to them and I noticed a bit of butt-grabbing, but that is pretty standard on the dance floor. Kat didn't seem too upset, but I kept an eye on the situation just in case. I notice that he was dancing with his arms sort of around her, but not actually touching her. No problem there. I noticed his hands moving a bit in and a bit up and then I realized where his destination would be. As soon as he touched her breast, I went into action.

Martin is a thin guy, probably sub 145. If this was a bigger guy, my first action would have been more violent. Instead, I grabbed his right wrist (the one connected to the hand touching her) with my right hand, pulled his hand off and up. At the same time, I stepped in with my right foot, placing myself between him and Kat, pushing him backwards with my left forearm to his chest. At this point, he started to struggle and said "Wait!" to me. I didn't want to hear any excuses, so I pulled him close and simply said "Know your limits. Know your boundaries.". He started to struggle and say something so I pushed him back about five feet (not down) and I walked off. Kat, Jeff and Tim followed me and we left the bar.

Jan 23, 2005

I fucking love photography.

Jan 20, 2005

Everyone makes mistakes. The true defining factor is how the mistake is handled.

I ordered two sets of two speaker stands from Amazon sometime last week. This week, I received just one of those sets (two stands, not four). I emailed their customer service address and the response was amazing. Without questioning me, they are sending out the second set Next Day Air at no cost. I'm impressed; Amazon, you will retain me as a customer and I will attempt to bring you more business.

On the other hand (I should have used OTOH, since I never get to), let me describe the horrors of Dollar Rent-a-Car. The name alone should have scared me back into the hills, but NO, I had to try to get a cool car. So, like you know, I went back to Detroit last weekend for the auto show. Because of Microsoft, I get discounts with Avis and normally use them for car rental services. I usually get a Grand Am or an Alero or something equally bland for about $170 for a three-day-weekend. I thought that I should try to get a cooler car for the auto show weekend and remembered that some company rented out Chrysler 300s. Normally, I hate Chrysler (and all parent, sibling and child companies) because the father of She-That-Will-Not-Be-Named worked for them. I decided that was simplistic and found out that Dollar rented them out. The 300 fell into their Premium classification and a weekend rental was calculated to be about $165.96. That was about what I would pay normally, but I knew the final value would be greater due to airport fees and so on.

Fast forward to 6:30 AM (EST, so my brain thought it was 3:30 AM) and I'm trying to pick up my car. There is only one person ahead of me in line, but little did I know how long that one person would take. From what I overheard, a group of three guys were severely delayed and thus they wanted to rent a car instead. They must have tried five different credit cards before they found one that went through. All in all, it took about 20 minutes and I know they ended up paying around $575 for three days. Ouch. So, finally it is my turn. I told her my name and she said "Okay, Mr. Bibik, it looks like we have you down for a Pacifica today." I corrected her and said I requested a 300. She informed me they did not have anymore 300s and that the Pacifica was also in the Premium class. I hate big vehicles and I'm especially not going to pay extra to roll in a minivan! I knew I couldn't do anything about it, so I asked for a vehicle in the next lower classification. She said I could upgrade to a 300 Touring, but from my investigations on the web, that would have been at least $200 extra. She had a Dodge Stratus available, but since I requested a Premium rate, she couldn't give me the Stratus rate but only a 10% discount. I wanted to fight it, but what can some simple counter lackey do? Nothing. So I agreed and she started typing for what seemed for five minutes. I swear to god she was posting on Blogger about the previous guys. Anyway, over the clickity-clack, she quips "You know about our underage driver rate, right?" Once again, I wanted to fight, but what could I do? I said "yes" and KNEW that my quoted $165.96 was going to be terribly off. She then asked if I wanted full coverage or basic. I said basic, not realizing that "no coverage" would have also been an option. When she finally printed out an agreement for me to look over and sign, the final value was about $360! In addition, the dot-matrix-printed agreement was so confusing. Just picture it, a 11"x13" page filled with 8 point Courier font and she circled SEVEN areas that I needed to initial. All I cared about was getting the hell out of there. I looked for the insurance area and saw DECLINED x3, so I figured at least I wasn't going to get reamed by that.

I pull out of the parking lot and the windows are a mess. It looks like some kids attempted to cover the entire rear window with fingerprints. The windshield isn't much better. The outside is dirty, so I go to use the washer fluid... oh, silly me, I expected there to be washer fluid! Luckily, I was able to get home safe where I promptly spent 20 minutes cleaning the windows and putting in washer fluid. Anyway, the car was a dog, I spent $30 on gas (but I drove over 600 miles so it got pretty good mileage), and turns out that they automatically charged me for LDW since I was "underage". 24.5 is less than 25, I agree, but I can drive better than 90%+ of the population. Sigh, the final figure was $366.

Jan 19, 2005

I'm back from my Detroit mini-vacation! The purpose of the trip was to attend the North American International Auto Show (NA and international? Isn't that a bit of a contradiction?) and to see family and friends. It was kind of sad going back, simply because there are so many people still in that area that I want to be around.

What started out as me getting together with Chris turned into a larger gathering. I had talked to both Megan and Tina before I left and we figured out that we were all free on Friday. I talked to Chris and said that they would probably be coming with me. Lindsay was going to be home, so she invited Jackie and Tiffany over. Since they would normally bring their SOs, this was turning into quite the gathering. Since Megan hates driving, I offered to drive from Livonia to Ann Arbor and then out to Troy. Tina was in Farmington Hills, so she met me at my place and we went out to AA together. Well, turns out they wanted to do dinner before driving out to Troy and they could only agree on one cuisine, Italian. This led us to Macaroni Grill and we were not seated until about the time we should have arrived at Chris and Lindsay's. We ended up being about two hours late!

By the time we showed up, Tiffany had already come and gone and Chris was ASLEEP. We woke him up, talked and watched some fight tapes until 1:30 in the morning. It was good seeing everyone and I think that group meshes well. As always, the girls spiralled off into discussing things of their past and looking at pictures, but that gave Chris and I a chance to talk one on one.

On Saturday, I went out with my aunt and Grandpa for his 75th birthday. Later, I went to La Shish with Jenn and Eric and then we were off to the auto show! We met up with Chris Ziegler (sporting a brand new Canon 20D) and purused the show until it closed. I filled up an entire 1 GB CF card and also found out how difficult it is to photograph reflective and black surfaces. My favorite car, the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish S, was near impossible to photograph, but here was my best try:

For whatever reason, Subaru decided not to show ANY Imprezas. No RS, no WRX, no WRX STi, no wagons, NOTHING. At the Subaru display upstairs, they had all other models, including the disgusting new Tribeca. Downstairs, they had a mockup rally car and an SPT WRX. I would have liked to have taken some hi-res photos of the '05 WRX STi, but I will survive. The show was cool, but I wasn't overly impressed by any one vehicle.

After the auto show, Jenn, Eric and I couldn't decide what to do next. Jenn called up an old high school friend, Katie, who worked at a local bar. Turns out, she was getting off work in a bit so we headed her way. It took about an hour before she was ready, but we were also given free beer while we waited. We ended up staying at the bar, mostly listening to Katie's crazy stories. Her sister lived with a few strippers and a few drug dealers until one of them threw another through a glass door. So much drama in the SEMI. We closed the place down and I returned home around 2:30 AM full of just the right amount of beer and stinking of entirely too much smoke.

On Sunday, I returned to the auto show, this time with my father. I took a bunch more pictures, trying not to duplicate what I had done previously. That night, I went back to Chris and Lindsay's and the three of us chatted and watched TV. I returned home the next morning.

Jan 11, 2005

WTF? Since when did our product still blue screen? This is the first one I've seen on a computer I own in probably three years.

Damn, it was cold out this morning. Yes, I'm from Michigan so I shouldn't be cold at a whopping 32 degrees windchill, but don't forget, I never wear a coat or gloves out here. Maybe I should start and maybe I should do something to keep my car warm.

Jan 9, 2005

Ford Focus Forum, News, Discussion and Chat: Now this is a great installation. So far, I've been trying to mount the horns either behind the main grill (where the Ford emblem is, though mine is now an SVT emblem) or where the stock horns are (behind the drivers side fog lamp). Instead, this person has installed them in the lower grill in the bumper! I just need to figure out how to do the same thing.

Ford SVTOA Official Forums - Floor jack - jacking points?: Since the sill jack points SUCK on the SVT, I should save this link for posterity. In case the pictures disappear, I've uploaded them to my gallery: front and rear.

Jan 4, 2005

Pontiac | Vehicle Locator | Results: Yeah, the vehicle locator is totally busted. It hasn't changed in weeks. Additionally, the mega-rebate for the GTO has since expired so no GTO for me!