In a struggle to be happy and free

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Category: children Page 2 of 6

Photographing birthdays

Among my family and friends, September is the month most densely packed with birthdays. Last weekend was my mom’s birthday as I said in my last post, and yesterday I had the pleasure of attend Lori and Rustin’s son’s birthday.

The party was at one of those family amusement places designed for this purpose. They’ve got laser tag, bumper cars, a climbing wall, all sorts of arcade games, and similar such activities. I took pictures and with the extended ISO range of the 5D3 (as compared to the 30D, at least), I was eager to take some photos in conditions that were too dark for my previous camera.

Our hostess invited me to watch the laser tag match without participating and I enthusiastically accepted. Here’s the birthday-boy firing at his mom, who’s standing beside me:

4M6C0780.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17–40mm 1:4L @ 40mm, 1/40, f/4, 25600 ISO

4M6C0780.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17 – 40mm 1:4L @ 40mm, 1/40, f/4, 25600 ISO

Not only was there a lack of light, but what little light I had in the laser tag area worked against me. Fluorescent black light was the only light source. I’ll never complain about tungsten lighting again!

4M6C0780.CR2: 5D Mk.III, EF 17–40mm 1:4L @ 40mm, 1/20, f/4, 25600 ISOLori stood beside me because she decided to take a break from the mayhem. Despite it not earning her any points, she felt free to ‘fill me with photons’ as she approached a moment earlier.

The image to the right is quite soft because the shutter speed is 1/20 of a second, without image stabilization. The photo isn’t bad, considering. This also explains why the beam expands so much as it crosses the room. The slow shutter allows plenty of time to capture any movement of the beam during the exposure.

Except the shutter speed, all the exposure settings are the same as the previous image.

The kids all had fun, and that was the most important thing. I took some photos that I’m pleased with and that’s nice, too.

Carnival car

They see me rollin’…


…they hatin.’

Sound out the words

I’m forced to rely on Starbucks for Wi-Fi access temporarily. It’s not terribly inconvenient, but it’s not so bad. As a bonus, I’m enjoying a latté that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Another thing I like is the opportunity to people-watch.

There’s a nice man here with a young girl who I assume is his daughter. I’d estimate that she’s five years old, though I’m notoriously bad at estimating ages. They’re reading an exercise book in which she’s supposed to sound out the words. To his credit, dad explains what the words mean after she sounds them out. I doubt that’s part of the lesson, but I’d do the same thing because words without meanings aren’t much use.

They went through words like still, stub, spin, skip, and I was surprised that stab was among them. What I found even more interesting was stag. Dad described the meaning as going to a party alone, as in ‘going stag.’ I was amused because I wouldn’t have even thought of that usage. Not in that situation, anyway.

I was thinking about the male deer. Stag and doe, right? Well, I was also unknowingly thinking about parties because a quick check with Wikipedia told me that the most common labels for the male and female deer are buck and doe, respectively. But this varies with animal size, and regional dialect. The male and female members of larger deer family are sometimes referred to as stag and hind. It’s vague because deer are not an individual species, but rather a family.

The things one can learn from simply sounding out words and carrying it a step further!

Inmates running the asylum

You know the saying about inmates running the asylum, right? In a similar vein, the children are running the Itawamba County School District in Mississippi.

The sordid tale started when Constance McMillen wanted to dress up in a tuxedo and take her girlfriend to the prom. Yes, Constance is a girl. But the school board nixed her plan. No same sex dates at the prom! Perhaps the children there are so fragile and unused to new ideas that they’d instantly expire. The ACLU got involved, and instead of a stand-up fight, the children…ummm, I mean the fine folks at the school board, decided to cancel the prom altogether. See what I mean? I expect such a reaction from angry children, not the people in charge of the institutions preparing our children for the real world.

Come to think of it, if they can make it through utter bullshit like this, the real world will be easy. But I digress…

At this point, the ACLU has filed a lawsuit in federal court on McMillen’s behalf, to prevent the school board from cancelling the prom. I can’t see how the school board will marshal any sort of legitimate defence. They say they cancelled the prom “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” Do they not see that they’re making it far worse? Streisand effect, anyone? Even more lame is their reason for saying she couldn’t bring her girlfriend to the prom. They claim same-sex dates violate students’ rights. Welcome to the twilight zone.

I hope McMillen prevails. She’s got a good start because her dad knows what’s what. She said that she didn’t want to go back to school after the board announced that they had cancelled the prom, but her dad convinced her to. She said,

My daddy told me that I needed to show them that I’m still proud of who I am. The fact that this will help people later on, that’s what’s helping me to go on.

You’re a good man, Mr. McMillan. You should be proud of your daughter.

Hat tip: CBC News


So that’s it, it’s done. Mike Affinito’s Facebook group was a success. His pregnant sister told him she’s name her child, due on August 9, ‘Megatron’ if he created a Facebook group and it got a million fans. It seems she underestimated the power of Megatron because it took only 11 days, 7 hours, and 22 minutes.

In the minutes leading up to the one millionth fan joining, these were a few of the more amusing wall posts:

Kathy Brown ou all know that… like.….. this is probably all a joke! this kid is just asking for attention his sister isnt going to name it fucking megatron!

There’s always a killjoy. Kathy is right, but we can hope for a Megatron middle name, right?

Lisa Parente im horny.

There’s always a horny one too, thank goodness.

Dave Herczeg Hope its a boy. that names suck for a girl

I bet a girl named Megatron would get beat-up a lot less than a similarly afflicted boy.


The horny one got all introspective and thoughtful. That’s not supposed to happen!

Edward Colaprete So how do you stop this thing…its like a Toyota…whoa.….….….

Topical humour makes an appearance.

Danny Weryzynski PROOF NOW!

And it’s funny, because I was thinking much the same thing, though I wasn’t expecting anything right now, for goodness sakes!

Still, it was fun.

Update (June 11, 2014)

The facebook page reports,

he was born 8/3/2010, named dylan. we’re all very upset it wasn’t Megatron, but thank you all for the support.

I think that’s for the best, at least as far as Dylan is concerned.

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