Mostly about my amusement

Year: 2012 (page 2 of 3)

No, they are not miniature grenades

Think I’ll have a problem at the airport?

I like film photography and use up a lot of film. I also needed a new key chain as my old one was made out of leather and was falling apart.

Light bulb! I take my film to the local Costco and Lily is on friendly terms with the people behind the counter. So I asked them if they could spare the old used 135 film cartridges.

Boy, could they. I got about a dozen and picked out some different color ones. I got some 1″ key rings from Home Depot, Dad has a drill press in his work room and in a few minutes I had new key chains.

I remain fashioned challenged

It’s probably not going to shock anyone, but I really do not understand the ways and hows of women’s clothing. But I do like to use any excuse to take pictures.

Lily always goes with us to the Easter Sunday mass and afterwards we head to breakfast.

Before we headed out she was wearing a nice outfit but it looked like she was heading to a dinner. I mentioned that it looks too fancy for church (I did say I’m fashioned challenged, right?) and she added one piece of clothing.

She was transformed by just adding that one thing. Literally, she changed the whole tone of the outfit and went from evening attire to Sunday church.

Of course, I wore jeans and sneakers, but I’m not even a little bit fashion conscious. But I did insist on posting about it and here we are. My amazement remains intact.

New skin for an old Olympus Trip 35

I wish I thought to take a “before” photo.

Last year I purchased another Olympus Trip 35 for 2 reasons. The first reason was to replace the camera that had taken a hit and stopped working. The second reason is that I wanted to try to re-skin one. Since the replacement camera cost less than $40 on eBay why not?

No turning back now

Back in December I went online and ordered a Cobalt Kid Skin (Goat) for my camera from They have quality products but are really backed up. I received my order about 60 days later.

That’s not a complaint and I really am happy with what I received, but keep that in mind if you want to order from them.

Removing the old leatherette was not difficult and I started with the back. I pulled out my old Swiss army knife and began peeling the edge up in no time at all. Yes, yes I did.

Oh yeah, don’t do that. You’ll just scratch the metal underneath and tear the old cover. Instead use your thumbnail and lift up the edge. With a little effort it will come right off as long as you proceed slow and smoothly.

On the back I didn’t do that and later on I had to remove the scraps. The front pieces came cleanly off with just my fingers and some patience.

Applying the new skin was very simple and straight forward. I had originally gotten some Purell so that I could use the wet method but I eventually went with just applying the new cover directly on.

Future Film Camera enthusiast

It worked. The pieces lined up and I now have a Cobalt Blue colored Olympus Trip 35. Looks cool! My only concern is that I have 4 Olympus Trip 35 cameras lying around. But that’s alright for now.

Here’s a gallery of the newly re-covered camera.

I included a photo of my Nikon for size comparison. Compared to the compact camera it’s huge.

This was a fun thing to do and took hardly anytime at all. But unless one of my cameras gets broken (again!) odds are I won’t do this again soon.

Report from the home front

As I embark on taking care of the household while Lily is away, I thought it would be a good idea to take notes for when she returns on the 2oth.

It’s like a blog within a blog and I’m going to have fun with it.

Monday Day 1!/jan_dembowski/status/179150138676232192

That didn’t go very well.

Last night my son had some sort of bug and was tossing his cookies all night long. Fortunately I had help but I was in no condition to go to work today.

The children are cooperating and I’m really pleased. They’re doing their home work, eating their meals, and peacefully playing with each other. It’s actually kind of nice and quiet.

I could get used to this. I do miss my wife, but this extra alone time with the kids is a welcome change.

Tuesday Day 2!/jan_dembowski/status/179530235857997824

Sigh, the kids are acting up.

It’s only little things but they’ve learned to repeat phrases like “Mom would let us do that” and “That’s not what Mom said”.

At what age did I become contrary like that?

They are being very disrespectful and I’m patiently explaining that

  1. that’s not true about Mom and
  2. I’m the one in charge.

Nothing to get excited about, just kids being kids.

Wednesday Day 3!/jan_dembowski/status/179888060224389120

Without meaning to I’m sleeping later in the morning. This has lead to my parking the car and running like a madman to the train.

I don’t get it. It’s like I’m getting up a full 30 minutes later.

The kids are acting odd. It’s like they are taking turns testing me and how I’ll react. They don’t do it at the same time but it’s like one will wait in the wings while the other tests my defenses. That’s weird!

It’s probably nothing. I’m tired from a lack of sleep.

Thursday Day 4!/jan_dembowski/status/180233203100024833

The alarm was set to 30 minutes later!

At first I thought it was Lily’s doing but now I’m not sure. The kids are acting so strange.

They’re planning something and I think they somehow resent that I’m in charge. It’s a struggle to get them to do things.

I’m not sleeping too well, I never do when the wife is away.

Friday Day 5!/jan_dembowski/status/180587857365311489

I made to the right train today!

I had to get up really early (why is the alarm set to 5:15 AM? doesn’t matter) but I was on time.

My co-workers have been teasing me about being by myself without adult supervision. Also they’ve notice that I’ve not shaved my beard this whole week.

Lily doesn’t like me with a beard but she’s in Mumbai. So there.

I’m still not sleeping well. It’s making me a little disorientated.

Saturday Day 6!/jan_dembowski/status/180972846791659520

Where am I? How did I get here?

I seem to be in charge of some sort of military camp. My two underlings aren’t like me; I think they’re part of the local native population.

The resentment that these “children” are harboring for me is intense. They can’t seem to be able to follow instructions and keep asking for the previous Administrator.

I keep telling them “I’m in charge and that’s that!” but it’s just not placating them.

I may need to implement a more strenuous process and procedure.

At work we are trained that with the correct process documentation anything is possible. And with that process a lack of accountability is successfully achieved.

That must be true, that’s what the compliance and audit people say.

Sunday Day 7!/jan_dembowski/status/181320558657544194

I’ve begun to gather evidence of the crimes being perpetuated against my lawful administration. At the moment it’s all circumstantial but as I am the judge and jury of the court I don’t expect any problems.

The natives are almost in full revolt. They keep complaining about the tasks that they are asked to do, something about “child labor laws”. I just don’t get it. They’re 8 and 10 years old and all I’m asking them to do is a little factory work.

Children have been working in factories for over 100 years. Everyone her has to pull their own weight and I see nothing wrong with these people working till midnight to help pay the bills.

This great nation of ours doesn’t run on good wishes you know. How can I run a benign dictatorship without money?

It’s all very distracting and just adds to my lack of rest. I feel like I haven’t slept in days.

Some other day later!/jan_dembowski/status/181673572547309568

I think it’s Monday. Yes, that’s right. 1,2,3,4… 8. It’s the 8th day.

I’ve been speaking with the natives and have brought up my “issues” with them.


I narrowed down the problem somewhat


I must calm down. That’s not me speaking, that’s just the result of the sleep deprivation. But-


Tuesday Day 9!/jan_dembowski/status/182132419711864832

It’s amazing what some sleep can do to your mood. I was afraid I was losing it a little there for a while.

But it’s all better now and I’ve come to terms with the disintegration of This Just and Divine Administration of mine.

You see, it’s not my fault.

The blame lies at the feet of my followers. They didn’t believe strongly enough and-

THEY ARE COMING FOR ME NOW.!/jan_dembowski/status/182151096754647040

Hello? This is Lily speaking.

Jan is a little bit tired and will be taking some time off. Nothing to worry about. With some rest and relaxation he will be fine.

The children are also well. They keep snickering about something but I am not sure what they are talking about.

Thank you for your continued support. It is good to be home.

Thrift shop find: Sunpak Auto 121C flash

MSN-001A1 Delta Plus Gundam figurine not included

I collect old parts for a junk pile cameras and today I found an old Sunpak Auto 121C flash at the thrift shop.

When it comes to cameras, the local thrift shop isn’t often a good place to go picking. They’re like a magnet for all sorts of broken junk, most of which are really cheap plastic 35mm toys.

Occasionally you will find some decent Olympus consumer film cameras, but that’s because they don’t know what they have. Once I even found a Olympus Trip 35 only it wasn’t passing the red flag test and looked like it needed a lot of work.

Today the kids and I were there and while they searched for inexpensive toys, I saw the flash. The batteries inside had leaked but somehow hadn’t corroded anything on the inside. It was $9 so I took a chance and took it home. Success! I put a fresh pair of double AA batteries and the flash fires.

Compared to modern camera flashes, it’s a simple no frills model. But my film cameras are at least 37 years old, so it’s exactly what I wanted. With a little elbow grease it cleaned up really well.

This was a good find. The flash is small and works so I plan to take it to get-togethers and shoot off at least one roll of film.

So! 10 days left to my own devices

After much prodding I have finally convinced Lily to post to her own blog. That intense conversation went like this and took a lot out of me.

Me: You should post articles about what you are doing or topics you like. It’s fun.

Her: Okay.

Me: *blinks*

Her: That looks new. Do you know where I can find good technical support?

Right now she’s on a plane to India on a business trip and she wants to blog about the experience. It’s her second trip and I hope she takes lots of pictures.

Naturally I’m running her blog as part of my multisite installation. Picking a theme was tricky so once she gets the hang of WordPress I’ll encourage her to find one she likes.

You can take a look at her blog at

She’s going to be away for 10 whole days. To commemorate this event our son thought it would be appropriate to spend all night hurling. As a result of those shenanigans I’m mostly sleep deprived today and am amazed that I can even form complete sentences.

Although run-on sentences don’t seem to be a problem for me right now.

10 days. This maybe a good time to order a Olympus 35 RC or XA rangefinder camera…

Get Your Tin Foil Hats Right Here!

Update: Sometimes I DO over think a problem and a solution. Which is odd because SSL is also one of my (supposedly!) strong points. Skip to the comments below for something that Andrew Nacin pointed out. 😀


Part of my professional life is to think about topics like data leakage. That’s when you do something and, without realizing it, you transmit information that you hadn’t intended to.

For example, my company may have an internal web page with this URL:

And on that page is a link to a NY Times DealBook blog posting as a reference. One of the readers in my company clicks on that link without hesitation. Why wouldn’t they click? That’s what the link is there for.

When Dealbook processes their web access logs, they’ll see a URL as the HTTP referer (I’m spelling it correctly after this) that the company or person who clicked that link may not want them to see.

How to prevent sensitive referrers from being sent from your WordPress blog?

  1. Install and configure YOURLS (svn revision 703). Get that working with a short domain, it’s easy to do.
  2. Install and activate my short Force Javascript Redirection YOURLS plugin. [download id=”1″]The useful bit is only one line.
  3. Install my WordPress Convert Links to Yourls plugin but don’t activate it yet.[download id=”3″]
  4. Modify two lines in that WordPress plugin for your  configuration. Sorry, I’m not up to making an options page (yet).
  5. Active that WordPress plugin.

And poof! the Tin Foil Hat is in place. Any links in your post content or comment text will have their links sent to your very own link shortner and the remote site will only see the short link as the referrer.

Read on to see how it works. Read more

An example of film vs digital

Last weekend my family was having dinner at my in-laws, looking at photos from their recent trip to China, and having a good time. Since I knew there would be a lot of us there I took my cameras.

Here’s a photo I took with my DSLR  and no flash.

Nikon D300s, f/2.8, 30mm (45mm equivalent), 1/25 second, ISO 640

It’s a good capture and I’m shocked that a 1/25 second exposure worked out so well. My hands shake and that lens is not a stabilized version.

A few minutes after this someone asked why I wasn’t using my film camera. So I shot this next photo using my Olympus Trip 35 loaded with Fujifilm Superia 200 and also with no flash.

Olympus Trip 35, f/2.8, 40mm, 1/40 second, ISO 200

If I had thought about it, I would have set the D300s to 200 ISO! But this is still a good comparison. The film version is more grainy and, thanks to the lighting, a little underexposed. Here the Nikon clearly beats the Olympus film camera.

My DSLR takes awesome photos but next to the Olympus Trip 35 it’s a tank. My film camera is not small enough to go into my pocket but just the right size to go with me everywhere in my backpack or even outside coat pocket.

In the year that I’ve been shooting with film I’ve shared 500+ photos on Flickr and I won’t get tired of it anytime soon. But it’s good to know my DSLR really is a better camera than the one I purchased via eBay.

It ought to be better, that film camera was manufactured in 1975.

I am SO taking the kids to see this movie

I have a little girl (and a boy) who will love the movie Brave. I’ll take them to see it almost as soon as it comes out.

Thanks to The Mary Sue for sharing this.

I’m one of 4 boys and have zero experience dealing with little girls. That’s why I can say it’s different for girls but I can’t really say why it’s different. I can explain it and I sure don’t understand it.

My girl is talented and smart. She picks up all sorts of crafts without any effort and loves making things. Lily is like that too and our girl often impresses us with her ability.

Yet I find I need to reinforce that a) she really is smart, and b) she can do anything. She sometimes lacks that confidence and needs to be told more so than her brother.

The boys in my family, including myself and my son, have always understood these things. We know we’re smart (by divine inference!) and we’re only limited by ourselves (read as I’m also lazy).

That’s good and it made for some really fun and colorful knock down fights discussions growing up. That’s my parents fault and is how I was made. I like it and wouldn’t change a thing.

Although as I get older I do find it more useful to keep those details inside. 🙂

But I’m not equipped to deal with the confidence issues that little girls have. I just don’t have the experience. But I’ll continue to work at it and more movies like Brave will help.

Now if only Disney doesn’t screw this up somehow; I’m still miffed that their new movie won’t be called “A Princess of Mars”.