Kris' Birthday Party at Rock House, Harbor Island, Bahamas

Rock House patio at night
Last night we had an amazing dinner at Rock House on Harbor Island. We had dinner there once before with a large group with children — which must have been a planning feat by Brenda Becker because they don’t allow individuals under 18.

At any rate, this was a completely different experience — later at night and even more beautiful than I remembered. The pictures just don’t do this place justice.

Birthday Cake and Sparkler

Check out the rest of the pictures I uploaded from that dinner.

Harbor Island, Bahamas


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My tormenters unwittingly helped me out. At the office on Thursday the 29th, my mean co-workers were gleefully telling me that the approaching winter storm would strand me in Winston Salem while my friends, ironically from Minnesota, would be enjoying rum drinks on the beach.

I don’t mess with my beach vacation so I checked out the forecast and it really did look bad for my Saturday departure. I immediately called Delta and asked if they would re-book me to leave Friday morning to Atlanta and leave the rest of my itinerary alone for Saturday morning out of Atlanta. They actually did it without charging me and thanked me for being proactive about it because they anticipated lots of unhappy travelers the next day.

I used some Starwood points to book a room at the 1 year old Downtown Atlanta W Hotel and made plans for dinner with Peter Jirak who I had not seen in probably 10 years.

All in all it was a good plan. Had a nice time in Atlanta and all flights went as scheduled while Winston Salem got blanketed with ice and snow. Bill, Michel, Kris, and I all arrived at Harbor Island within 40 mins of each other to start the week of beach yumminess.

Only down side so far is that Sip Sip, our favorite beach lunch place, is closed all week because they took the week off for a vacation which they did not clear with us. *huff*

Micro Four Thirds Cameras and Leica M Lenses


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Long ago, in the dark ages of my life… in college actually… I was a photography minor. I loved everything about it, but mostly the delicious precision devices that you used and the unexpected way unremarkable things became remarkable in a picture.

Off and on through my life I’ve gotten back to it and played but I’ve avoided anything really serious since digital photography became the norm. I find that didn’t feel like hauling around full size DSLR with me, yet the smaller point and shoot cameras always disappointed me in quality and control.

At some point I discovered that Leica made a compact camera and decided to try it out and bought the Leica D-LUX 3 and found a camera that started to approach what I was looking for. Small enough to have with you all the time, but with optics that could produce exceptionally high quality images. Sadly the D-LUX 3 suffered from image quality issues in low light situations like most small sensor cameras, but was still my favorite compact camera.

In August of 2008, Panasonic and Olympus announced a new interchangeable lens camera system called Micro Four Thirds. This system provided compact camera bodies with DSLR like sensor size but smaller because they are rangefinder style, omitting the mirrors and prisms that provide through-the-lens viewfinders. The system is an open standard that allows lenses from different manufacturers to be used with full functionality on bodies from

For a lot of us interested in portability and quality this was very exciting and the first three cameras from this system are the Panasonic GF-1, Olympus E-P1, and Olympus E-P2.

One of the cool things about this system is that with a small adapter, you can use Leica M lenses in manual mode on these camera bodies.

Speaking of Leica, they released a full-frame sensor (meaning the sensor is the same size as the exposed area of 35mm film) version of their iconic rangefinder cameras. The Leica M9. This thing is freaking beautiful and small and quiet and and…. $7,000.00 for the body alone. Leica lenses are also terrifyingly expensive, but considered by many to be the finest camera glass you can get for general use.

Scott is on a quest to find an affordable combination of superior optics and portable camera bodies and has in his grubby paws both a GF-1 and an E-P2 camera body with various lenses from the Micro Four Thirds system and Leica M and I’ll be posting my impressions and experiences with both.

Harbor Island, Bahamas, Pink Sand Beach and friends


Originally uploaded by Party Monster

Soon I’ll be returning to the scene of this crime and I’m sooo looking forward to it.

The house sits on this beach and you can walk up and down it with hardly anyone else around. Also, you can access several restaurants and bars doing this as well, then, um, meander home down the beach. *grin*

I seem to recall plenty of times wandering down the beach to Sip Sip and having a fabulous lunch with fruity rum drinks and then walking back to the house for a nap. Highly recommended.

Time Warner Can Kiss My Butt


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big dumb time warner gray box of doom

Big Dumb Time Warner Box

A few months ago I decided that I wanted a more modern TV experience than that provided by my cable provider Time Warner. Their DVR installed in my house for the last 3 years was an eye-popping marvel of technology in the mid-ninties but was showing its age.

After talking with my friend Patrick who was a happy Dish network customer, and based on their recent purchase of Sling I decided I liked their system. Calling them to order and get an installation date was a breeze and the price was exceptionally good. Next, and I didn’t look forward to this part, I had to call and cancel my cable TV service, but I intended to keep my high speed internet with them. Surprisingly, the call went very well and I had a disconnect date that was close to my Dish install date, both right before Thanksgiving for my family’s visit to chez Scott.

The first problem occurred when the Dish installer came to the house and saw the giant gray armored metal box on the back of my townhouse. He was unable to get it open, and it was covering all of the wires going into the 18 (!!) jacks in my house. So he left and told me that I had to get the cable company to unlock the box or they would have to run separate wires, which wasn’t going to happen.

Back on the phone with Time Warner, I asked that whoever came out to disconnect the cable TV leave the box unlocked for a week so I could get my new service installed and she “noted” my account. I also asked that I be called when they were there so I could watch them and make sure they left it open because I sensed doom.

Well, they didn’t call me when they came, I just happened to be home for another contractor and the Time Warner guy and an apprentice came up to my patio and unlocked the box and started to disconnect wires. I went outside and chatted with them and asked them to leave the box unlocked for a week so I could get access to those wires. He shook his head and said, no can do.

Turns out that those cables were run and installed by Time Warner and they feel pretty possessive, nay pissy about them. I asked to have the wires that were not being used anymore pulled out of the bottom of their box so that they could be used for other service at which point they told me “Those are our wires and you can’t use them.” Mind you, these wires go directly to every cable outlet in the townhouse.

At this point I told them that they may think that they are their wires but they are wrong and they were going to expose them. While looking right at me the cable technician placed the cover back on the box and locked it telling me it wasn’t their policy to allow the use of those wires. This pissed me off big time and I asked him how Time Warner would like to be billed for the storage of cables in my house. At which point he wasn’t sure how to respond while I demanded to talk to his supervisor.

Said supervisor confirmed that they were not going to allow me access to the wires. After being incredulous with him I told him that I required the box removed from my house immediately which he said they wouldn’t do and I should contact their “security” department. He said that since the box was for all the townhouses that they would not remove it — a point which I made his technician prove was wrong because all of us have our own giant metal boxes. After the manager guy heard this and after more of me demanding it be removed or I would do it with a crow-bar and dump it on their lawn they decided to unlock the box.

This sort of behavior is unbelievable to me and I can’t believe that it is legal. Because of this I’ve had DSL installed and will be canceling my high speed internet with these guys also — and I have removed the locks from their dumb box and if they lock it when they come to disconnect the internet, they will find it on their lawn cut up in little pieces.

In the end, all the wires except the cable one (so far) are pulled out the bottom into another, smaller box (installed by my very nice neighbor Tom), where the Dish network guy connected to the house.

Singapore National Day Fireworks 2006

We, of sound mind and… er… wait. Let me start again.

Singpore Fireworks Blog Clip Web2

Back in Singapore. At the Swissotel Stamford again, only this time we lucked into the last day of a week of Fireworks. They are displayed directly outside our hotel window over the water. How cool is that. We are on the 20th floor this time rather than 50 something, but it was still a perfect view of the fireworks. I used the handy fireworks mode of my video camera (who knew?) to try to record some of it just for fun. I’ve included a clip with this post.

One of the coolest things, aside from watching them from a balcony with zero obstructions, was that you could see them reflected in all the glass buildings in the central business district as well. Just beautiful. The fireworks started exactly on time at 9pm and ran for 15 mins. They played a soundtrack down on the cricket lawn that could be heard all around the marina district… very clearly. Scary.

More pictures and stuff on Lynne’s blog.