Monday, November 29, 2021

I Saw the Light


Let me tell you about me and Christmas.  I'm not good at it.  Christmas is a skill set that I just do not posses.  A few years ago, I let the world know that I had given up.  I don't like a lot of Christmas things and I am old enough where I feel I no longer have to pretend.

Yes, I do appreciate parts of the season, especially the Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men thing.

That brings us to decorations.  I love looking at Christmas decorations and I have a great time photographing them.  I have no skill for, and no desire to decorate myself.

I kid you not.  My Christmas decoration consists of unscrewing the white light bulb on the front porch and replacing it with a green one.    Fun, festive, and fast.

That brings us to today's topic.

About a year ago, a local chain of hardware stores advertised a bulb that alternates between red and green!  Beauty!!!

I visited two stores in this chain.  None in stock.

Around Independence Day, the chain advertised a bulb that switches from red, to white, to blue.

Same story.  None in stock.

Making things worse, the staff at both stores was full of excuses, and was unfailingly unapologetic.

I'm a letter writer, and I came very close to firing off a missive to management.  Hey, if you don't have it, don't advertise it!  Plus, stop blaming the "national ad" for the snafu.

It is said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different outcome.  Call me crazy.

Last week, it was another newspaper circular, and another ad for the elusive color changing bulb.

I stopped in a store, affiliated with the same chain , but owned by a different local company.  None.

I went to a store run by the horribly unapologetic people.  None.

I resigned myself to another Christmas with the plain green bulb illuminating my front porch and sidewalk.  Decorative, but I hoped for more.

Amazon was no help.  Ordering one on line, from another supplier, promised delivery AFTER Christmas.  Thank you, very much.

I did click on one thing and it said another store in the shoddy and unapologetic chain had some in stock, and I can reserve an order for pick up.  I nearly fell out of my chair.  Not being greedy, I ordered just a couple and waited an eternity for the confirmation return email.  It finally arrived, and I was in the car to secure my treasure, even if this particular store was several miles out of my way.

The confirmation email said I was to visit the store with my order number and picture ID.  I arrived, parked, went to the register, told the clerk my name and I was there for my bulbs.  They were in a bag and I was out the door in seconds.  No order number or ID required, which disappointed me.  I didn't anyone snatching my bulbs before I got there.

The bulbs are still in the bag.  I'm one of those people who doesn't like to see anything Christmas related before Thanksgiving.  I'm a mid December decorator.  By the way, I had an orange bulb on the front porch for that late November holiday.  For Halloween, I used a blackish purple one.

2021:  the year I "aced" Christmas and took decorating up a notch.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Andy's Angles: New and Old


This is the old caboose recently installed outside Carbondale City Hall.

Usually, these things obnoxiously stick out like a boil on a baby's bottom.

Here, it fits.

Carbondale has an interesting railroading history.  The caboose is a great addition to the downtown.

The locals tell me the tree you see here will be trimmed back a bit, and the caboose will eventually be used as a tourist promotion office, a place where people can stop by to learn about area attractions.

History is preserved and I like it.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Andy's Angles: Simply Red


Just about every tree looks great in the fall, but some stand out in the crowd.

I was on Route 6 in the Carbondale area, trying to get some sweeping vistas, when I spied this beauty near the guiderail.

This fall's weather was funky-- very warm for very long, and that impacted the colors.  I've seen better years.

This one just looked great.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Black Friday


I've mellowed a bit on Black Friday.  Don't get me wrong.  It's still one of my least favorite days on the calendar.  By the way, Independence Day is moving up fast on the list, thanks to the indiscriminate, irresponsible, reckless and inconsiderate use of fireworks.  

Be that as it may, Black Friday still an day of excesses-- too much hustle and bustle, noise, confusion, and stress.  I choose not to participate.

While I'd rather see money spent on local businesses, or big businesses that employ local people, internet shopping has taken some of the shine off the Black Friday apple.

I do admit there is a big need to save a buck these days, and if it means going out on Black Friday to stretch a dollar, by all means, go for it.  Also, some people used Black Friday shopping as family time.  That is a good thing.

Two words come to mind today:  considerate and careful.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving

 I know I say it every year on Thanksgiving.  We all have something for which to be thankful, if we look hard enough.  I will admit there are years where it is really hard to find-- especially recently.

One of the things that drives me insane about the holidays is the expectations.  Not everyone can be with family, or have a family.  There isn't a turkey on every table.  Not everyone has that Norman Rockwell scene.  It's easy to get caught up in the cliche.  Don't become depressed if the season isn't what society expects.  It's still good, even if it is less than Martha Stewart perfect.

I take the low key approach.  Weather permitting, I'll play with my camera in the morning.  It's usually followed by dumping the pictures in to the computer for a little tweaking.  I also expect to work on this year's Top Ten photo collection.

Make the most of the day, and do the best you can.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021



Today, the day before Thanksgiving, is the biggest travel day of the year.  Plus, bars will be packed tonight as old high school and college friends get together.

It picks up again Sunday, as all those people who left today return to where they came from.

I'm sure the high price of gasoline will put a damper on some excursions.  I get that, but after the last two years, I know a lot of people who aren't going to let a few dollars get in the way of family time.

I consider myself lucky.  First, I have the day off.  Second, I never had to travel far during a holiday season.

The stress must be unbearable and I thank my lucky stars I don't have to do it.

Be it near or far, whatever you do, do it safely...  and think of the people working this weekend to make sure you make it to your destination in one piece.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Get Away Days


In college, it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

In high school, it was the day before Thanksgiving.

Both are major getaway days.

In adult life, you get away when you can, and thanks to email, you are really never away.

High school had its own feel, and it was so nice to close the books and look forward to an extra long, five day weekend.  We had Monday after Thanksgiving off for deer hunting season.  Only a few of my friends engaged in the sport and I didn't understand why an entire school district had to shut down.  I would have preferred an earlier end to the school year in June, but hey, a day off is a day off.

The college break was a little shorter.  I loved how the campus could be rocking on Tuesday and be a ghost town on the very next day.  We "townies" remained behind to keep the college radio station running.  It was when the hard core radio people took over.  I missed my friends, but I also did enjoy the campus quiet, including an abundance of good parking spaces.  It was a nice atmosphere.  Me, my microphone and all those albums, spinning the hits as people enjoyed the holiday.  I miss that.  Radio has a wonderful intimacy that is really lacking these days.

I was lucky. My family understood I was pursuing what I really enjoyed,  and I did make sure to spend some quality time with them on the holiday.

Get away, but don't get too far.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Scrapple

 I actually heard this on the radio on a recent Monday morning.  The announcer read a very old weather forecast and then said "Coming up, more on WXXX."  More what?  Nice way to engage and keep an audience.

I'm sorry I can't get there as often as I once did, but Corning NY really knows how to do the Christmas season.  If you ever get the chance, go there.  You'll love it.

The fact that a man and his daughter survived a plane crash one week ago is northing short of amazing.  So is the technology that allowed first responders to find them.

Underrated song:  Jackson Browne's "Rock Me On the Water."

I really miss the old CBS Sports logo.

There are plenty of work and school days between now and Christmas, but face it.  We all lack focus on our daily tasks with a holiday looming.

I was too young to fully appreciate the "Patty Duke Show." but I did get the concept.  Duke did a lot of 70's game show work, and was adorable in every appearance.

I say it every year.  Good luck to my radio brethren, forced to play a steady stream of Christmas music.  The day after the holiday must feel so good.

Who does every turkey cooked on tv look overwhelmingly greasy?

CVS closing 10 per cent of its stores, Dollar General expanding.  Americans have voted with their wallets.

Two types of hand sanitizer:  gel and liquid.  I've grown fond of the liquid.

The clip is on YouTube-- a long credit roll from David Letterman's "Late Show."  Has a talk show ever had a better band?  Easy answer.  NO!!!

Happiness is...  going to a national chain hardware store and actually finding the things they've advertised in the newspaper circular.  That has been rare in the last couple of years.  I'll have more on that soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Andy's Angles: Trailing Off


It's another set of light trails today, before I move on to other things.  I've returned to the scene of the crime.  This is where I attempted light trails for the first time, a couple of years ago.  I'm on the Scranton end of the Viewmont Mall parking lot.  Interstate 81 runs left to right.  The other trails come from cars and trucks on the North Scranton Expressway.

Same location, same 30 second exposure, same wide angle lens.  I got lucky with this one because I caught a car making a turn, and there is a nice curve on the lower right.

The final shot might be the coolest because it catches a car looping off an Interstate 81 exit ramp on the left.  I hope you are viewing this on a larger screen.  You can see the TV towers on the mountain west of Scranton on the right and the towers on Penobscot Knob in Hanover Township in the center of the shot.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Andy's Angles: Trail Weekend


Of all the types of photography I've attempted in recent years, long exposures seems to give me the most satisfaction.  I delete more than I show you here.  Here is a recent effort.

I'm in the parking lot of the Fashion Mall, along Business Route 6 in Dickson City.  The camera is pointed south.  The tail lights are headed toward the North Scranton Expressway.  There is a faint trail near the green sign noting the ramp to Interstate 81.  That trail is traffic on the interstate.

This was another attempt with my wide angle lens.  Unlike the Route 315 shots, which is a brighter area, this one was tough to focus.  The wide angle lens is not known for its ability to let in a lot of light, and that's where the focusing issues started.  I'm sure this would be a better shot at dawn or dusk.  Soon!