Day 28 - Command Dogs on Duty

This is a sign on an industrial facility around here. Looks like is has suffered under the hard, Northern Californian winter (wait, what?) quite a bit. Of course, that doesn't exactly explain what command dogs are (Google is of little help) and how they differ from regular guard dogs. Oh, and what about when they are off duty? Questions, questions.

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Day 27 - California Republic

This is a bumper sticker I saw on a parked car today. As Wikipedia so nicely teaches me, the Flag of California is a reference to the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, four years before California became a state. The bear flag, however, was not legally made the state flag until 1911.

I find the flag to be relatively rarely used around here by private people, while the US flag is omnipresent. It seems, people have less of a need to declare their regional than their national affinity. (In Germany, this is quite different, but I'll save that story until a later photo. Bear with me.)

This is a 14mm wide-angle photograph, which is why you can nicely see the distortions at the edges. My wide-angle lense is stuck open at its maximum, f/3.5 aperture, so it doesn't take the sharpest pictures, but I still like it.

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Day 26 - Certified!

Today I got (re-)certified for CPR! The photo shows a handy little bag with a CPR face mask in it.

It was my third first-aid class, but this was the first time that I learned how to do infant CPR (and perform it on a baby-sized mannequin). It was also only the second time I got to try out an AED. (In case you're wondering, they are so simple a kid can use them).

Now let's all still refrain from having heart attacks in my general vicinity, will ya?

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Day 25 - Fireplace

This is a picture of our gas fireplace. Turned out to be a much more interesting subject than I expected. It is quite hard to take a decent photo of it, because the brightness contrast between the (fake) logs and the flames is so high. Due to the quick movement, a simple HDR photograph is also out of the question. Finally, when adding enough ambient light, the glass in front of the fireplace results in visible reflections from all angles. This photo is one of the latter kind, with enough ambient light, but it quite obviously shows a reflection of the opposite wall on the right hand side of the picture.

Apparently, I am due for buying a polarizing filter soon! Then, I can retake the picture and see how the two compare.

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Day 24 - More Juice!

Two weeks ago, my two-year-old laptop battery decided to kick the bucket and give me a whopping 40 minutes of maximum runtime before suddenly switching off. No bueno! Today, the replacement arrived.

On the upside, though, this really helps keeping meetings short and sweet when you're about to run out of battery any minute. You should try it sometime!

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Day 23 - Petroleum Pipeline

Turns out, we live in the general vicinity of a petroleum pipeline. So we are advised (and actually, required by state law) to hold our digging, until the exact location of the pipeline has been marked with little yellow flags. This doesn't only go for serious excavations (as in, building a house, if anyone here built basements), but also putting up a fence and the like.

Luckily, it doesn't actually cross our rental property, or it would look as disturbing as in this picture on a flyer we received recently in the mail:

Pipelines in your community

There's little that would make me feel more fuzzy and warm on the inside than have my kids run around and play just a few feet above a dangerous oil pipeline.

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Day 22 - V8 Kompressor

When taking our dog on a walk, we come by some really nice cars. Like this one (A Mercedes -- thus the "K" in "Kompressor"). Why they are parked outside, I am not sure: Either the owners want to show them off. Or they can't fit them into their two-car garages because two thirds of it are taken up by their everyday vehicle (Yukon XL, anyone?) and the other third is spent on random storage. Or both?

I begin to love the 50mm prime lens as my primary lens. I have to employ my "foot zoom" alot, but it takes fantastic pictures.

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Day 21 - Lonely Gingerbread Man

A lonely remainder from last year's holiday festivities: This gingerbread man (kit) at Mozilla HQ begs you to bring it to life... then eat it. How selfless!

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Day 20 - Brownbag and Brown Bag

Not to be confused: In the foreground, a brown bag. In the background, Aakash getting ready for his "Firefox Input" brownbag.

You're welcome.

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Day 19 - Rebate Card

Yesterday, I found the reply to a mail-in rebate in my mailbox. Mail-in rebates are as common in the US as they are silly. Instead of somehow bundling the rebate processing at the point of sale, every consumer contacts the manufacturer separately and then gets their rebate back in the mail. Of course, the US is infamous for both making everything regarding money incredibly complicated -- and then finding elaborate workarounds to make things go faster instead of actually fixing the system.

Anyhow, what struck me as interesting is that the rebate was not paid out as a check, let alone direct deposit or the like, but as a prepaid visa card. I can use it at the store like any other debit card, and once it's empty I can dispose of it. That's kind of neat, but honestly is more inconvenient for me than a check: I could deposit a check and forget about it. For the card, I need to keep track of how much is still on there if I don't use it all at once. If my bill is more than the amount on the card, I need to make sure the merchant can handle several payment methods at once (so, no using it on Amazon in that case). All in all, I am not too impressed.

The pic is a macro shot from my cell phone. Not too bad. On a white piece of paper, the colors were relatively acceptable this time.

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