GardenGrrl's WunderBlog

SkyWarn Classes 2009

By: GardenGrrl, 9:29 AM GMT on December 29, 2008

Hi folks, for a change of pace I thought I'd do a weather related blog.
January in North Texas is the start of SkyWarn Classes brought to the public free of charge by the National Weather Service.

SkyWarn Classes are fun, Free and educational. They will teach you the difference between SLC's (scary looking clouds) and Wall Clouds. These classes are great yearly refresher courses on identifying weather patterns or cloud formations that are or could become Tornados.

To find out if there is a SkyWarn Class being held in your state all you have to do is go to the National Weather Service contact site. It will direct you to your local NWS website which is loaded with great information about weather in your area along with NWS sponsered events like SkyWarn Classes.

Link Sign up early and enjoy the sky show:)

Please see Baja's comment #16 for really great on-line SkyWarn links.

Just a quick Blog update before disappearing into the batcave for the week. Bird watching from my kitchen window is off to a glorious start this year. I'm seeing a large number of cardinals and house finches, but what really has me excited is the appearance of gold finches! For several years I have hung a finch sock out to be ignored. This year I have spotted the little beauties several times at the feeder. Cross your fingers and let's hope they stay for the year instead of migrating north. Would love to see them in their brilliant summer plumage.
Have a great week!

Today look for little things that make you smile.

Updated: 10:27 AM GMT on January 11, 2009


Holiday Roll Call

By: GardenGrrl, 10:52 AM GMT on December 22, 2008

Today is Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas Everyone and a Joyous New-Year!

December 23rd, Festivus, see comment #14 the link to this fun holiday.

Todays Entries; Happy Hannukkah and Happy Solstice!

Each one is about light. We start Hannukkah with the lighting of the first Menora candle and solstice by celebrating the coming of sunshine. Here spring is concieved and after a cold and snowy gestation comes color and life.

With Hannakkah comes the memory of my step-Dad Gene. He brought so much light to the world that he was a beacon on to himself. Gene also had such a great sense of humor. He would have loved this song and sung along loudly. This ones for you Gene :)

Bring Happy Memories to the Party.
Peace from the blog porch.

Updated: 9:32 AM GMT on December 24, 2008


Waterproof Camera Test/Poor Roxie

By: GardenGrrl, 10:55 AM GMT on December 16, 2008

Roxie my happy little maniac, also known as a pembroke welsh corgi, often fancies herself to be a soaring bird. Maybe it's the dog costumes to blame and she thinks she is a super hero capable of flight.

During one of her "flights" this evening she did well on the flying part but the landing was a bit rough and she came up lame on the right leg. Poor long bodied doggie was not built to be a tripod and kept tipping over trying to stay off that leg.

Didn't want to wait until morning to see the reasonably priced vet if her leg might be broken or a joint dislocated so with credit card in hand went to the all night emergency vet. Thankfully she only has an elbow sprain. The bad news is we have to keep her activity level down to less than couch potato.

Poor Roxie has to be still for a week. I should have asked for doggie downers along with the anti-inflamatories. Please send sleepy energy to the little wild thing.

Camera Test Here
Did you know the view from inside the aquarium to the dry outside world is pretty clear. I've always wondered about that until I got this new camera.

I have been eyeing the Olympus waterproof, shock proof, low temp resistant cameras for awhile. They were always just a bit spendy for my taste. Finally one was on sale for less than $200. so I got one.

This is my semi-scientific test of the Olympus 850SW. After charging the battery I kept it on straight-from-the-box factory default settings. The pictures are taken in 8 megapixel normal compression mode. All pictures were taken in the "Auto" setting with and without flash turned on. The fish tank pictures were taken in the "Underwater Macro" mode.

Prior to testing I went to and read customer reviews for the camera. This is a great site to read consumer reviews of products they offer for sale. It can save you a lot of headache. For instance there is a very important comment regarding the battery. If you put it in backwards it will easily go in but you will have to send it back AT YOUR COST to get it removed. Good to know.

Here is what I like about the camera:
It is small enough to fit in the front pocket of my blue jeans and comfortably walk around all evening when we went to Sundance Square.
It is user friendly.
It takes pretty good pictures.
It really is water proof. I can take this out in the rain and take pictures. Hooray!
It has some fancy internal editing features and sepia coloring.

What I don't like;
It has a proprietary battery and image card. Be prepared to spend another $50 bucks on an extra battery because we all know that one battery is never enough.
Both the image card and battery must be inserted correctly or you will have to send it in for repair.
The water sealing gaskets are really delicate. Nick one and you ruin your camera if you take it under water.
They recommend replacing these annually.

Most common consumer complaint on Amazon was blurry pictures.
If you are like me and often move the camera while depressing the shutter, yes the pictures will blur even with image stablization. If your subject moves the image will blur. Good control and stationary subjects gave me good pictures. Otherwise, yes I had some fuzzy shots. Then again I do with all cameras.

So here are the pictures I took. The first are outdoor night shots at Sundance Square in Ft. Worth.

Next, I stuck it in the fish tank and of course had to take a picture of that with my other camera (Fuji Fine Pix point and shoot with 18x mega zoom). The fish was not impressed. He remained sleeping at the bottom until I tried the flash. Opps. Poor fish woke up. Picture was all white. Flash doesn't work in fish tanks. The only lighting in the tank was from the living room ceiling light. It was a great way to test the camera for being water proof, but I don't recommend putting the camera in your tank to take pictures of the fish.

Finally after carefully wiping with clean towel and waiting about forty five minutes for it to either have residual leakage destroy it or be good and dry, I took pictures of Syd.

So there you have it, outdoor night pictures, underwater pictures and indoor pictures. This is the quick out of the box test of the Olympus 850SW.

Life is learning. Learning is fun. Play.

Updated: 9:00 AM GMT on December 17, 2008


Just A Few Shopping Days Left

By: GardenGrrl, 10:10 AM GMT on December 10, 2008

Time flies by when deadlines approach. I can sit pondering my next action and whooosh, life just went by leaving me blinking and perplexed as to where time went. This is a great gift to have when standing in line or waiting in a doctors office. So is the ability to shut off the putz around and ponder genes and just dive right in and get stuff done.

This is the time of year to just dive right in, then sit around to enjoy at leisure. The house has been cleaned (well pretty much), decorations are up and da-ta-daaa shopping for gifts for other people is done.

It wasn't planned but this evening we got our big gift for each other early. There was a broken MP3 player emergency and we had to go get a replacement. Didn't like the ones at Best Buy so we went to gadget heaven also known as Fryes Electronics. Everything we have been wanting over the last couple years was seriously on sale. Yep, we bought stuff (typing with big grin). But no, not a TV, the one we have has to blow up first and I like square versus the rectangular screens.

We did get another camera though! I've been wanting one of those small pocket size, water proof, shock proof take pictures in the snow or rain or under water drop in a puddle and fish it out an it works cameras. It was on sale along with the high speed memory cards. Hope it really is water proof because you just know I'm going to put stuff in the bathtub, fill it with water and see how it works:)

After my long shifts are over. See ya'all next week and thanks for stopping by.

It's not too late to decorate something :>)


Tornado in TX #45 Otherwise same blog

By: GardenGrrl, 9:04 AM GMT on December 01, 2008

And the seasons they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down, we'er captive on a carousel of time...

On the news they were talking about how advertisers are using nostalgia to market things this Christmas. How when we remember the "good old days" we see it through rose colored glasses of fond memory. Somehow this makes us more comfortable buying stuff.

I like the idea about seeing the past through rose colored glasses. Forgeting the things that were painfull and remembering the things that make us smile now. Why pick old scabs. What we can't forgive maybe it's time to forget. As I get older time moves so much faster and I'm starting to feel like I don't have much time left to waste on things that make me unhappy. That's why I like this song so much, it's a great anthem for aging. When I listen to this song I sometimes imagine scenes from my own life.

Through my own efforts of creating a life for myself where I am basically content, I hope when I'm really really old that when I hear this song in my head it will be filled with pictures of happy nostalgia that isn't entirely the work of those rose colored glasses.

Today IS the "Good Old Days"
Peace from the blog porch.

Updated: 10:17 AM GMT on December 09, 2008


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Gardengrrl likes being outside and watching "Sky-TV"

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