Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gwen Elizabeth Bramblett

Born 5-2-2011 at 17:31. 9 pounds 6 ounces, 17.75 inches.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ellis County needs something better to do.


Read the whole story; it's entertaining that they have so much time to spend on this, but last time I called in a driver who was all over I45, they couldn't get a deputy there in the time it took him to get all the way through the county.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A sellout by any other name

From the NRA:

We didn't "sell out" to Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. We told Congress we opposed the bill. As a result, congressional leaders made a commitment to exempt us from its draconian restrictions on free speech. If that commitment is honored, we will not be involved in the final House debate. If that commitment is not fully honored, we will strongly oppose the bill.

In other words, "don't come after us, and we'll keep quiet." This from the organization that has circulated Martin Niemöller's words so many times:

THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

BP Oil Spill Live Cameras

Need Internet Explorer for it, but it's worth a look if you have the bandwidth:


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tax dollars in space

20 minute star trailsThis image is a 20 minute exposure taken about 5 miles south of Stephenville, and looking east.  To the right of the frame is normal night sky.  To the left is tax money spent on light that does nothing useful.  This is light sent off into the sky by poorly designed fixtures; up to 40% of the total light output of many of the streetlights and exterior building lighting in the city is wasted in this way.

Stephenville light dome

This much shorter exposure looking north gives a much better idea of the total light waste.  Remember that it's a clear night; that light isn't being reflected from clouds, just illuminating normal atmospheric haze.  On a cloudy night, the glow can actually be enough to navigate by at this range.

Why does this happen?  In order to define the problem, it is helpful to establish a few basic reference.  As this image from Phillips/HADCO shows, there are multiple regions of illumination to consider with regard to the typical street lamp.  The primary illumination area extends to a maximum of 80 degrees above the vertical line from the lamp to the ground.  (It is worth noting at this point that most lamps do not emit enough light to provide useful illumination to this distance.  In a typical streetlight installation, the angle is less than 70 degrees.)  From 80 to 90 degrees, the light emitted is not useful for illumination at ground level, and contributes only to glare.  Above 90 degrees, the light emitted becomes skyglow, as seen in the first two images.

Thus, a street lamp which emits light equally in all directions would waste 50% of its output as skyglow, and another 5% as glare.  Fortunately, this would not be a typical streetlight design; the hood and overhead supports of most streetlights block most of the light from going directly upward.  Unfortunately, this tends to be more of a design accident than an intentional and properly implemented approach to good lighting design.

EVLuma Retrofit ImageThis image from EVLuma illustrates the light output of a typical NEMA fixture, commonly used for street lighting in Stephenville, compared with a fixture retrofitted with their full-cutoff LED module.  Note that in the normal fixture at left, there is a significant amount of light emitted both horizontally and well above the horizontal plane.  This provides no useful illumination from an elevated fixture.  The LED retrofit eliminates this waste light, but other methods, including reflective shields, are also available.

Taking, as an example, a typical 150 watt high pressure sodium bulb -the most common streetlight light source - and placing it in a reflector assembly to redirect the wasted light back into the useful area, we can then reduce the needed wattage by 40%, or 60 watts, without reducing the amount of useful light at all.  Multiplying that by the 1,096 streetlights in Stephenville would give a savings of over 65 kilowatts of energy.

How well do full-cutoff area lights work?  This photo of a local motel illustrates an excellent implementation of efficient, low-glare lighting.  The parking lot is well illuminated, with very little light shining beyond the area of intended illumination, and no light going directly into the sky.  Additionally, almost no light is directed into the rooms' windows, where it would serve no useful purpose, and would disturb the customers.

How can this problem be effectively addressed?  Replacing all of the more than 1,000 streetlights in the city would be cost prohibitive.  When New Mexico passed its lighting regulations, in 1999 all existing lights were grandfathered, but any replacements were required to be compliant with the new regulations.  Texas Health and Safety Code chapter 425 requires that all new or replacement state-funded lighting comply with restrictions including that all light fixtures with output over 1800 lumens (roughly equivalent to a single 100 watt incandescent bulb) be of a full-cutoff design.  As such, the city should adopt similar restrictions on at least its own outdoor lighting, and potentially on all outdoor lighting within the city.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fort Hood

I never met the shooter, don't know him, don't want to know him, and I'm tired of seeing his name and picture plastered all over the damn place. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't deserve a name, so he can just be "the shooter" from now on. Let's remember these names instead.

(The list of wounded is obviously not complete, specific injuries and ranks may be a bit mixed up, as some were listed differently from one article to the next. One might think the reporters could have the facts straight by now. If anyone has information on the other wounded, please comment, and I'll update the list.)


  • Spc Keara Bono: Wounded in head and back, already back to work and still hoping to deploy on schedule.

  • PFC Amber Bahr: Pass-through wound to back, dragged another wounded soldier out of the area and provided first aid.

  • PFC Justin Johnson: Wounded in back and foot. Was able to walk again within a few days.

  • Sgt Paul Martin: Wounded in back, leg, and both arms. Was carried out by an unnamed soldier during the incident. Expects to deploy late.

  • Sgt John Pagel: Wounded in arm and chest. Back at work.

  • Pvt George Stratton III: Wounded in shoulder. Recovering.

  • Sgt Joy Clark: Wounded in arm while rendering aid to another wounded soldier.

  • Cpl. Nathan Hewitt: Wounded in hip and calf.

  • Pvt Ray Saucedo: Wounded in arm. Back at work.

  • Spc Grant Moxon: Wounded in leg. Recovering.

  • PFC. Joseph Foster: Wounded in hip. Hoping to deploy on time.

  • Spc Matthew Cooke: Wounded five times in torso and head while helping another wounded soldier. Recovering slowly.

  • Maj Randy Royer: Wounded in arm and leg. Recovering.

  • Pvt Alan Carroll: Wounded twice in arm and once in side. Recovering and hoping to deploy.

  • Cpt Dorothy Carskadon: Wounded twice in hip. Recovering.

  • Sgt Chad Davis: Wounded three times in shoulder and back while moving to subdue the shooter. Recovering.

  • CWO Christopher Royal: Wounded three times in side and back, also while moving to engage shooter during a reload. Recovering.

  • Sgt Alonzo Lunsford: Wounded in stomach and head. Recovering.

  • Spc Logan Burnette: Wounded in hip, arm and hand. Recovering.

  • Sgt Shawn Manning: Wounded six times in chest, abdomen, leg and foot. Recovering.

  • 2LT Brandy Mason: Wounded in hip. Recovering.

  • Sgt Patrick Zeigler: Wounded four times in torso and head. In neurological rehab, possibly paralyzed on left side.

  • Sgt Patrick Blue III: Wounded in side by bullet fragments while running to the scene. Back at work.

  • Sgt Amy Krueger

  • Michael Cahill, civilian contractor

  • Sgt Justin DeCrow

  • Cpt John Gaffaney

  • Spc Jason Hunt

  • PFC Aaron Nemelka

  • PFC Michael Pearson

  • Cpt Russell Seager

  • Pvt Francheska Velez

  • LtC Juanita Warman

  • Spc Kham Xiong

  • Maj Libardo Cavareo

  • Spc Frederick Greene

Friday, October 9, 2009

Revolver reload

Some people have asked about my backwards reloading method with a revolver, (loading with the weak hand, while maintaining a more-or-less firing grip with the strong hand, as opposed to the "normal" method of transferring the gun to the weak hand, loading with the strong hand, and switching it back afterward) so I figured I'd try a video to clear it up a bit.

The casings coming out are fired and unsized, so four of the five do not drop free without the ejector. The speedloader is a Safariland Comp I.
What I find is that this method allows me to fire (or simply cover an area) one-handed while I get the speedloader out and ready, then reload quickly and get back into action without having to change hand positions multiple times.
The closing of the cylinder looks a bit more violent than it actually is, though I have yet to hear of anyone being particularly gentle with it in an actual encounter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Multimedia message

Nothing says "fire up the grill" quite like a bowl of raw beef swimming in bourbon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

What time is it?

Nap time!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009


Thought I'd posted this one already. She dozed off playing with the elephant, and was so sound asleep even the flash didn't wake her.

Libby taking a nap.

Still working on crawling, though:

Libby trying to crawl

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Libby update

Two month checkup and vaccines this morning. 10lbs 5 oz and 22 inches, and hungry as usual.

Libby playing with her stuffed elephant

She's learned that the elephant makes a neat jingly noise when it moves, and she can sit and poke it for hours.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hat etiquette

I'd like to raise a question, particularly to those who wear a hat as part of a uniform, but also to anyone who wears a hat on a regular basis: what rules of etiquette do you try to follow regarding your headgear?

For those with uniform hats, does your department publish specific rules regarding hat etiquette, and if your uniform includes multiple headgear options, (department ball cap, more formal brimmed hat, brimless knit cap, etc.) do they vary based on the hat itself? Are women in the same uniform hat expected to follow the same rules? Do you alter those rules to suit certain situations, or just flat out follow what your parents taught you regardless of policy?

For reference: Evil Swede's Guide to Hat Etiquette.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sometimes film works best

I probably could have gotten pretty much the same shot with digital, and I wouldn't have had to wait a couple days until I dug out the developing stuff to see what it looked like, but somehow this just feels right with black and white film. Besides, I feel safe in saying that the negatives will still be fine in 25-30 years when her kids will get to see this.

Libby just after birth, in the warmer, black and white photo.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Well, that's the first part done...

...just 18 years to go.

Libby, a few minutes after birth, resting quietly in the warmer.
Libby and Jessica having some mother-daughter bonding time.

Liberty Elaine, 7lbs 9oz, 1744 Central time. Posting from phone. Pics soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


...one way or another.

BP is back up, so she goes in at 5AM. If labor isn't progessing, they'll give it a little push as needed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

No change yet...

...still having the occasional contraction, but no discernible pattern, and not particularly frequent. She doesn't want to go jogging, for some reason.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's update

Blood pressure is down a bit, and the doctor doesn't expect to be inducing, but did confirm that she's pretty much ready to go into labor at any minute.

I was actually starting to look forward to having a set time, but they say inducing sometimes makes things a bit harder, so I'm sure we can wait.

Keep watching...may have some interesting stuff to post this week.

We should know Tuesday if they'll be inducing labor Thursday due to the blood pressure issue. OTOH, she's far enough along that it could start on its own any time now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Maternity Photos

We'll probably do a few more, but here are my favorites from the first attempt.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The new house

2-2, CH/A, slab foundation so no skunks can move in underneath. More than twice the space of the rental, a garage I can use half of for workspace and appliances that work right. (Except for the dishwasher, but we didn't have one at the rental, so even just having the space for it set aside is nice, and it may just be hooked up wrong.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Moving soon...

Well, we closed on the house Tuesday, and the sellers are expecting to be out by the first, though they technically have until the fifth if they need it. If I disappear from the net for a few days, I'll either be fighting with a new internet hookup, hauling stuff, or resting up from those tasks. We're paying the full month on the rental so we can take our time moving and cleaning.
Unfortunately, this house doesn't have all the extra rooms of the one we tried to buy before, so I won't get to have a dedicated studio/photo-work room, but it does at least have space for me to finally have a dedicated workspace for reloading, metalworking and woodworking.
The baby's due in February, and we plan to take advantage of the empty rooms to do a few maternity shots before we move most of the stuff in, so hopefully I'll have a couple of those posted as soon as things settle down. I bought a 9x10ft piece of muslin for a backdrop just in case, but I think we'll have enough blank white walls before we start hanging photos to not need that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

They're at it again

Remember the last bunch of attention whores?

Well, they can't even be troubled to come up with a new story. Same old lights in the sky.

There's even yet another picture of a point source of light. Gee, can't find thousands of those on any given night.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pics from the Sonogram

I'd post the video, but I don't think I have any video editing software on here than can black out the personal information.





Appendage counts are all correct for a female, and proportions are within normal parameters, so it looks like we're in good shape so far.

Oh, by the way...

...it's a girl. Unfortunately, my wife has the sonogram video and pictures stashed somewhere and I'm not waking her up to ask where, so you'll have to wait a bit for pics.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let's get tacticool

A few weeks ago, I picked up two Kimber LifeAct Guardian Angels, one for my wife, and one for myself. Mine have "Kimber Guardian Angel" on the clip, but for some reason, Kimber, as you can see at the link, has decided it should relabel the device as the "Kimber PepperBlaster."
I guess I won't be getting a couple more to keep in the cars, now, unless the older ones are still in stock at the shop where I got them before.
Now this was a nice discreet way to carry pepper spray; it looks like pretty much anything except a weapon. It could be a radio, garage door opener, PDA, phone, medical device, whatever. Now that they've stack a tacticool name on it, that advantage is gone.
Part of my reason for getting these was that they could be clipped to a pocket or bag, and carried discreetly in places like classrooms where I can't legally carry my gun. The shape and rather noncommittal name would prevent awkward questions from the anti-self-defense crowd, and allow it to even be carried in-hand in a potential confrontation without losing the element of surprise. Not only did they kill that capability, they also did it with a goofy-sounding name that belongs on mall-ninja gear, not a serious self-defense tool.

I've sent an email to Kimber requesting that they explain their logic. We'll see what their response is.

(Yes, I know I could just sand all the writing off the clip, but after paying $40 for a two-shot pepper spray device, it shouldn't be left to the user to modify it back to a more useful state.)

EDIT TO ADD: Thanks to EmergencyEm for reminding me: support SCCC and make this post less relevant.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What the hell?

Does some manufacturer now make a cologne or body spray in a 2-gallon "single-use" size? I've had four people walk by in the last couple hours that made me dig out the air freshener. I thought maybe it was just me until I went to get a fresh can of Ozium from the cleaning lady and she knew exactly why right away.

It's rarely even a scent that would be good in normal quantities, either. There seems to be a strong preference for godawful cloying some-kind-of-fruit-rotting type stenches.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Regency Bridge

Now that's an out of the way landmark. Fun side trip, though.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jumping on the bandwagon

What the hell, I got curious about this thing.

You are a

Social Moderate
(56% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:


You exhibit a very well-developed sense of Right and Wrong and believe in economic fairness. loc: (24, 143)
modscore: (53, 34)
raw: (5132)

Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid.com: Free Online Dating
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The carnival's in town...

It's gotten so small the last few years that they've stuffed the whole thing into a relatively tiny area with parking all around it. That makes it kinda tough to get photos without traffic in them, but it still makes for some interesting long exposures.