Category Archives Fun

Q. Who sent me this absolutely beautiful wicker picnic basket for my birthday?
A. I have no idea.

This is my Birthday Mystery
When I got home from my Hawaii vacation a large box was sitting at the front door. I brought it in, and inside the box was this fantastic picnic basket (photo by Kalebra on her trusty iPhone). I searched everywhere for a “This is from….” card. I looked inside the box and out, inside the picnic basket itself, and everywhere I could think to look but I could not find who sent it.

So, the really nice person who sent this to me for my birthday is probably thinking I’m an ungrateful rat since I’ve never thanked them for it. I’ve called a few folks who I thought might have sent it to me, but you have to be careful with that because you don’t want to ask someone directly and force them to say, “Ummm, no, I didn’t get you anything for your birthday,” so the whole thing is kinda awkward, as is the post, but I’m desperate to find out whom to thank and I can’t let this drag on any longer.

My guess is that the person who sent this expensive gift must know me pretty well, and in that case they probably read this blog, and if you are indeed that person, then you know my cell phone number, and if you would call it so I can thank you personally for such a very cool gift that I can’t wait to use to surprise my wifey with a picnic (of course, at this point it will only be when and where, because I think she knows a romantic picnic cannot be far behind).

So, that’s my story
If you sent it, please please call me. If you know who sent it, call them and have them call me. If you didn’t send it….why not! (totally kidding. Just a joke). Thanks for helping me track down “The Mystery of the Unmarked Birthday Picnic Basket.”

I don’t know how he does it, but he’s done it again!

Our buddy Ken Toney was the first person to pick Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band” which is the song I had to go out and buy the Cowbell for, so Ken picks up a copy of my just-released “Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers.” 

Lot of great guesses though, from Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” to Loverboy’s “Everybody’s working for the weekend” but Saturday I was using that cowbell on American Band at “Not My Reunion.” We did have a ball, and I was able to coax Brad Moore into taking some photos so I hope to have some of them for you tomorrow here on the blog.

I’m in Nashville, Tennessee today for my “Photoshop for Photographers Tour” and I’ll be in Philly on Friday with the tour and next Monday in New York City so I’ll hope I’ll get to meet you in person in one of these three towns. Have an “it needs more cowbell” kinda day!

Any day where you have to go buy a cowbell, is a weird day.

But that’s part of what I’m doing today, as I head to Lakeland, Florida (where I was born and raised) to play drums at rehearsal with the band Phoenix, which was my first “real” band back when I was 16-years-old in high school.

We reunited the original members around 10 years ago for a fun gig up in Georgia, and then we played five years ago for our High School reunion (well, technically it was the guitar player, bass player and keyboard player’s reunion. They were Seniors and I was a junior so they graduated a year ahead of me and the lead singer, which is why to this day my wife refers to this gig as “Not my Reunion.”).

It’s great seeing the guys again and playing a song that absolutely requires cowbell but yet is not BOC’s “The Reaper.” (The first person to guess which 70s/80s song it is, wins a free copy of my Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers). Our set list includes songs from Frampton, Bad Company, Doobie Brothers, Skynyrd, The Eagles, and even a Hendrix tune.

The actual gig is Saturday night and I’m trying to coax pro-concert photographer Brad Moore into coming and shooting the gig, but he’s used to big concerts and this surely is not, but if not, Kalebra will have some shots from her “Trusty iPhone” and I’ll share those next week.

I’ll be in Nashville on Monday with my Photoshop for photographers tour, and if you make the trip out to meet “the drummer of the band Phoenix” I hope you’ll come up and say hi. Hope you all have a rocking’ weekend!

\m/ \m/

Man, did I need a vacation (and did I get one!!!). Two full weeks off, starting at Disney’s new Aulani resort on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, and it was supposed to end there, but we got “Disney fever” after seeing a TV ad for new Carsland area of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, so we changed our flight home to stop in LA so we could take the kids of Disneyland  for a few days.

The photo above was taken in “Carsland” —- that’s the life-sized Flo’s V8 Cafe from the movie Cars. Disney recreated Radiator Springs, full size, right down to the street lights, and they did an absolutely brilliant job — it was like walking into the movie. It was way better than I even thought it would be, and of course, the kid’s absolutely loved it! (and we rode all the rides everywhere!).

So, where are the Hawaii photos? Where’s the photo book?
Well….here’s the thing. There aren’t any. I never went out shooting the entire time. I really needed to take a break, and I wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with my family so I basically hung out around the pool, swam with the kids, and just did a whole lotta nuthin’ for days on end. It was awesome!!!!

I did have my camera gear with me to take a few shots at the Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin WWII sub, but nothing worth sharing. So, I mostly took shots at Disneyland (which was awesome all the way around, though  I’m still amazed at how small their castle is compared to Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Florida), and hung out with the wifey and kids, and it really recharged my batteries (besides which, I’m heading to Ireland soon and I’m hoping to take PLENTY of shots on that trip).

One note: if you’re wondering how to get shots where there’s virtually no tourists in the scene, here’s one trick: wait until late, and be really, really, really patient. If you wait long enough, you’ll get a short gap in in the non-stop sea of people where you can grab about two frames. I did it in the middle of the afternoon at the castle and got the bridge in front completely tourist free! Keep the camera up to your eye, and your other eye open so you can see when a gap is about to appear.

Back to reality
Today I’m back in the office and back to reality (sob, sob), but I did miss all my friends here at work so part of me is really glad to be back in the saddle (though the other part is already missing those cool tropical breezes and that frozen pina colada beside the winding lazy river pool).

Have a great Monday everyday (sniff, sniff). ;-)

Tomorrow at 6:00 PM ET is the 2nd episode of my wife Kalebra’s “Playful Side of Pinterest”and she’s got a great panel of guests lined up, including Roni Delmonico, Anna Nguyen and Tana Teel who’ll be  talking about Inspiration for your boards, how to find people to follow and advice on Pinning, plus they’ll be talking about Pinterest’s dirty little secret⦠Men Pin!! (And she has heavy hitters Trey Ratcliff and Ron Clifford as guests to bring the male perspective). ;)

And of course they’ll be playing a round of “Pin it or Spin It” (everybody watching at home gets to participate this time) and “The Chocolate Game” (think “drinking game” only with chocolate).

When: Tomorrow @ 6:00 PM ET
Where: At this link
What: Lots of fun and inspirational stuff for Pinterest lovers everywhere!

I’ll be watching right along with you!

Photo by Brad Moore

I want to wish all my readers (well, at least the US-based ones) Happy Independence Day.

I'm taking today off to spend some time with my family, and I hope you're able to do the same. Have a great day and we'll see you here tomorrow for “Free Stuff” Thursday.

Just in case: here’s what â˜Independence Day' Really Means to Us
Today is a national holiday celebrating our country's independence from traditional film. No longer will we press the shutter button thinking, "Well, that just cost me 22¢" or "Well, that's 36â”time to pop in another roll." or that phrase heard so often on vacation, "I need to stop and buy some film."

Should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: No longer will we wait hours, or days, to see our prints only to find out that someone was blinking or the flash didn't fire. No longer will we go quitely into the night, to drop off our film in an overnight drop box. We're going to live on to shoot for free another dayâ”free from the tyranny of film chemicals and safe lights; changing bags and temperature regulators; cotton gloves and Print tongs. No today as we gather together to fill our 16 and 32-gig cards with wild abandon we celebrate our real Independence Day! (-insert wild cheers here).