Archive: May 2008   |   View all recent posts

Top 10 ways to stimulate the economy with $3.30
WHAT: Random   |   WHEN: May 22, 2008

So I get home from Berlin and find a small mountain of mail waiting for me. Amid the coupon books, 4 credit card offers, countless pizza deals and the Pottery Barn catalogs was a letter from Uncle Sam. Generally whenever I get a letter from the IRS, my first reaction is curiosity, then a few seconds of terror & guilt (uh-oh, they finally figured out I didn't list the $1.72 in dividends I made on my savings account during my sophomore year in college as taxable income), then back to curiosity. Then I opened the letter and read those six letters everyone loves to hear from the IRS. r-e-F-U-N-d!

Yep, looks like the IRS wants to help stimulate the 'ailing' economy (which, btw, is not technically ailing... it's still growing, just not at as high of a rate as recent years), so to do my part they've given me $3.30 to get the ball rolling in turning the economy around as part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008. Wow, $3.30... think of all amazing things I can do with that. I know what you're thinking. "$3.30? What can you do with $3.30? What a waste!'
Well, to be honest I was a little skeptical myself at first, but I did a little research and put together the Top 10 Cool things I could do/buy with those 330 pennies. Prepare to be amazed.

1. Buy 2/3 of a Happy Meal, as long as that 2/3 includes the gimmicky toy. They can keep the fries.

2. Buy 8 first class stamps to send out personal letters to government officials thanking them for the $3.30 incentive.

3. Turn up the AC 1 degree (which is to say make it one degree cooler) for 30 minutes a day for one month.

4. Invest in a mutual fund with an average annual return rate of 9% and let it sit for the next 30 years netting a profit of something like, well... I don't really know; I hate those kinda math problems. I'm guessing it might be worth - let's see, multiply by 1.09, divide by pi, carry the 2 - about $17 dollars.

5. Buy 3 iTunes songs, boosting Apple's bottom line and solidifying my cult Mac status.

6. Mmmm... Milk Duds at the movies.

7. Fill up the car with 3/4 of a gallon of gas.

8. Go crazy on eBay and bid on that replacement Nikon lens cap I've had my eye on.

9. 5 words... "Hi, welcome to Cold Stone."

10. Put it in an envelope and mail it right back to the IRS as penalty payment on the previously-mentioned unreported $1.72 dividend income from 1994.



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Berlin ~ Day 5: That's a wrap
WHAT: Travel   |   WHEN: May 22, 2008
It was the longest of times. It was the shortest of times. The first 2 days without luggage seemed to last forever... I had developed a bit of a phobia about putting the same clothes on every day; I was certain there were yet-to-be-classified micro organisms developing new colonies in them, just waiting for me to slip back into them so they could feed and multiply. That's admittedly a little over-dramatized, but after a full day's travel and then another day and a half in the same clothes (sans washing), they were starting to take on a life of their own.

The last 3 days went by in the proverbial blink of an eye and are a little blurry. One thing is certain, though - there were Kodak moments just waiting to be created that I simply ran out of time for and never got to. Sorry, Kodak moments... I'll find in you in Berlin again and document you some day. Hang in there.

I'm happy to be back home where I can sleep in my own bed, and if my luggage doesn't show up, no biggie - I'll just pull something else outta the drawer. Maybe one of those t-shirts I've ben hanging on to for no other reason than "but I can't throw this one out... I might wear it someday if one of my friends buys a new house and has a painting party". Who doesn't have clothes taking up space in the closet or drawer for just that occasion? Okay, put your hands down... it was a rhetorical question. How did I get so far off course, here? Where was I? Oh, right... leaving Berlin.

So here's some of my favorite images from the last day. Enjoy!


Too funny... looks like it was changing time in the department store window. Cover the little one's eyes for this PG-13 image.


Lotsa Smart cars in Berlin. They looked like a lotta fun to drive, and I think I heard someone say they did as well or better than most cars in their class in regards to crash impact performance. Huh? What else is in that class of vehicles? Mopeds & tricycles??


Souvenirs! Okay, seriously, how could I not buy these? 1, they're chocolate. 2, it's practically my logo on them - it was meant to be. 3, they're chocolate.


Let's see, what else is Germany famous for? More souvenirs. I won't use this that much, but I love the detail work, and it's just plain cool.


I loves me some old world architecture. There were some really cool churches in Berlin.






The ceilings rocked!












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Berlin ~ Day 5: cont'd
WHAT: Travel   |   WHEN: May 22, 2008
Sometimes there's just too much love for one post. So here's a continuation of images from my last day in Berlin.


Proof I was in Berlin. The shameless self promotion on the shirt was all for not... unfortunately no sessions booked that day. The carry-on baggage screener at London Heathrow airport did ask about photographing his kids, though... until he realized I lived in Dallas. I believe his exact words were, "Oh, sorry, you're no good to me then".




Loved all the stone and brick work in these old buildings.


















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Berlin ~ Day 4
WHAT: Travel   |   WHEN: May 19, 2008

We wrapped up the conference I was here for yesterday afternoon, and I had a chance to get outside and look around the city a little. Today will be a big photo hunting exercise for my last day, but we covered a a fair amount today, and there is still so much more to see. Not. Enough. Time.

Okay daylight's burning, so I'm gonna be short on words today, but here's some of yesterdays images.


This was graffiti on a section of the remaining Berlin wall. Sweet, I found my name.



More wall graffiti.


The Potsdamer Plats district has really flourished since the wall came down in 1989. Lots of new, modern growth here.



A cobble stone trail snakes through the city marking the location of the wall before it was torn down.


Sections of the Berlin Wall still remain standing as historic markers.



You can rent these little cars to drive around the city.



This is Checkpoint Charlie. It was at this point where a milestone event in the start of the Cold War occurred when an American tank and a Russian tank faced-off for more than a day before both being ordered to retreat.



If I had a goatee, I'd be a dead ringer for a Russian.




An image of the Holocast Memorial I snagged during the bus ride.










These last few images are from the place we had dinner at last night.






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Happy Birthday, Kylie!
WHAT: Personal   |   WHEN: May 18, 2008


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