Author: Pete

Pointless Points

To mitigate the seriousness of yesterday’s post, I present to you 50 things about me.

  1. Are you a morning or night person? Always been a night owl. I hit my stride about 9 PM
  2. Do you prefer, sweet or salty foods? Salty. If I eat anything sweet, I have to follow it with something salty.
  3. Ninjas or pirates? Ninjas of course.
  4. Autobots or Decepticons? Evil! Decepticons all the way!
  5. What was your favorite childhood television program? MST 3K
  6. Are you a collector of anything? Guns, cameras, kids.
  7. If you could be any animal, what would you be? I’d definitely be a sloth.
  8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Immortality, and the ability to pass it on to people I like. In other words, I’d be a vampire.
  9. What is usually your first thought when you wake up? Oh crap, it’s morning again.
  10. What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? Should I expend the energy to turn off the TV or just leave it on…
  11. What’s your favorite color? Orange
  12. What’s your favorite animal? I want a koala
  13. Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? I think it’s probable that there’s microbial life elsewhere. Intelligent life? I don’t think so.
  14. Do you believe in ghosts? I believe in angels and demons…
  15. Ever been addicted to a video/computer game? Which one(s)? Never. Except maybe Tetris.
  16. If you were given 1 million dollars, what do you spend it on? Sake and whores, obviously.
  17. Have any bad habits? Pepsi
  18. Which bad habits, if any, drive you crazy? Spit left in the sink.
  19. List 3 of your best personality traits: I don’t have any good traits.
  20. List 3 of your worst personality traits: I’m crass, offensive, and I lack empathy
  21. Have any celebrity crushes? Not since Olivia Wilde started on House
  22. List 1 thing you wish you could change about yourself: I’d be less chubby. But only if I didn’t have too change my diet or exercise.
  23. Any tattoos or piercings? Lots of tattoos
  24. What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex? Are we being honest here? Definitely the booty.
  25. Whats your dream date? Watching a movie in bed while eating Texas Roadhouse
  26. What personality traits do you look for in a partner? Friendly, happy, steady
  27. What personality traits do you dislike in other people? Manipulative, selfish, arrogant
  28. Do you see yourself getting married in the next 5 years? I think my wife would object.
  29. Are you mostly a clean or messy person? I keep my own areas clean, but I could care less if anything else is messy.
  30. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? SoCal
  31. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? SoCal
  32. List 3 goals on your life’s to-do list: Raise 4 girls and have them still like me at the end. Move to SoCal sooner not later. Visit Italy.
  33. Name 1 regret you have: Working for my dad.
  34. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid: Absolutely nothing.
  35. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult: I do what I want!
  36. What’s your favorite song of the moment? Music? I hate music.
  37. What’s your favorite song of all time? Music? I still hate music.
  38. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night? Watch the Royals.
  39. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon? Watch the Royals.
  40. Have any hidden talents? I can pee standing up.
  41. You’re about to walk the green mile, what do you have as your last meal? The blood of my enemies.
  42. What would be your dream job? Working for myself.
  43. Which would you rather have, 100 million dollars or true love? I have true love, so I’ll take the money.
  44. If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? Healthy kids, Healthy wife, 300 Million dollars
  45. Ever wish you were born the opposite sex? If so, why? Nope, but if I was, I’d take advantage of the perks of batting my eyes to get what I want
  46. Name 1 thing not many people know about you: I am bald.
  47. If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to? Pete Petersen after my grandpa!
  48. Do you believe in the afterlife? Yes
  49. On the topic of abortion, how do you feel about cookies? Sugar cookies are the best, but abortion is the worst.
  50. What’s the second thing you notice about someone of the opposite sex? Teeth. If their teeth are all present, straight, and white, she’s a winner!

Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme (Model 7404) notebook computer, group shot, one open 90 degrees, the other closed, showing handle.

If you’ve ever dropped your laptop off a table, you know the fear. Every digital thing you own may have just died a tragic, untimely death.

Dell has the solution, and it comes in the form of the Latitude Rugged Extreme 14. This laptop is ridiculous in every way. It’s heavy, it’s bulky, it is so big it has it’s own handle and shoulder strap. And you could drop it off a cliff in a rainstorm while it’s open and on, and when you climb down to retrieve it, it will still be running just like you left it. It’s constructed from magnesium alloy and ultra-polymers. It’s IP-65 against water ingress. Its official spec says it can withstand a 6′ drop, but they are tested at 12′, and most survive from much higher drops than that.

It’s tested to run at -20 to 145 degrees. It can operate in blowing dust and sand, snow, salt fog. The desert. High altitude. The jungle.

And best of all, it can run in a manufacturing operation in Missouri. That’s where I come in. I work in a manufacturing environment where we have heavy equipment and chemicals everywhere.

So a top spec rugged 14 extreme will set you back about $7,000, and it will last until the sun turns into a chunk of charcoal. I frequently toss and drop mine to demonstrate to friends. It’s a computer AND a party trick.

Hasselblad X1D-50c

Do you love insanely high resolution, smooth, creamy medium format images but you hate carrying 200 pounds of medium format gear? If so, you have found the perfect weapon of choice in the Hasselblad X1D-50c.

Prior to the X1D, I was shooting the Hasselblad H5D-50 Wifi camera and carried several of the heavy HC lenses in my kit. The X1D uses the SAME sensor. It uses software that is actually more modern than the H5D.

After a couple of weeks with the X1D, I sold my entire H5D kit including all of the HC and HCD lenses. The XCD lens line is so much lighter, and syncs at 1/2000 out of the box. My HC lenses would have required an expensive shutter upgrade to achieve anything higher than 1/800. And multiply that fee by 6-8 lenses and you’ve got some serious outlay of cash.

I currently shoot with the X1D, and my lens kit includes the 90mm, 45mm, and 30mm XCD lenses. I’m excited for the release of the 120mm later this year, and frankly that may just complete my kit.

The 30mm is plenty wide for landscape, the 90mm is amazing for portraits and fashion, and the 45mm is a great walking around lens for street photography.

So as pros go, the high end 50MP CMOS sensor, the beautify of Hasselblad’s color management system, the fast flash sync, and the medium format “look” in a package that comes in at a third the cost of a new H5D system, and frankly stacks up nicely even against the H6D-50.

As many before me have noted, it does have some “early adopter” issues you might expect in a new platform. The firmware is buggy. It sometimes hangs up. The delay after a shot is unacceptably long… close to 2 seconds. Focus is MUCH slower than any comparable full frame 35 (as if there’s such a thing), but it’s quite similar to the H6D I rented. Again, I think this is more related to firmware than hardware. We’ll see with future updates. My biggest complaint is the “eye level activation” that works like a piece of crap if you happen to wear glasses. I cannot get the thing to activate unless I take off my glasses, which renders me nearly blind. I really hope that Hasselblad addresses this issue in a future firmware update, as it drives me absolutely nuts.

All in all, for a camera body that rings in under $11,000, and lenses worthy of the brand, I highly recommend this camera. If you shoot action, medium format isn’t for you anyhow. If you need 100MP, you need the H6D anyhow, and you are almost certainly shooting in a studio. X1D was meant to be highly portable, and it shines.

People of the Lie

Today I turn 39. A couple of years ago I read a book called People of the Lie, and I realized that I and my entire family were the subject of the book.

Being in a home with a narcissist while growing up is challenging in ways you can’t fully understand until you are an adult, and in my case, not until I was in my late 30’s. What’s interesting is that my little brother, six years my junior, figured it out 10-15 years before I did.

When you are a person of the lie, you are simply a fixture… you’re not a person. You exist to validate and placate the narcissist, never rocking the boat, never hurting their fragile ego. If you do, you aren’t berated – you are shunned.

As a little kid, you learn that love is conditional, and you’d better not do anything to upset the apple cart. You do everything you can to placate the narcissist to preserve yourself as best you can.

The narcissist will swing back and forth between flattery and bullying. You are puffed up with compliments to keep you hooked, then the rug is pulled back out. It’s a control tactic, and it’s very very effective on spouses and children. People who feel obligated to make it work.

I sat and stared into space during thousands of hours of conversations. I had learned never to disagree, but my conscience wouldn’t let me agree either. I sat silent so that I wouldn’t have to do either. He would press me “Are we on the same page” to which I would continue staring off into space and I’d mumble something incomprehensible. It’s a very strange thing to have learned, and even stranger that the dynamic worked for as long as it did.

As a little kid, you learn that love is conditional.

A narcissist can never self-reflect. The narcissist is “always right,” “always persecuted,” and “always the good, altruistic hero.” If someone rejects their manipulation or challenges their skewed version of reality, not only are they shunned, but they are a “loser” or “crazy” or a “bad person.” They are badmouthed to everyone else stuck in the lie. I saw this happen with each of my siblings, until finally it was my turn.

I’m actually sad that I was the last. I should have figured it out sooner, and I should have tried harder to protect my younger siblings. I knew the damage it was doing to all the members of the family. I just didn’t know how to fix it, and I didn’t want to be on shun island.

Now that I’m on shun island, I feel free. There is no more control, no more manipulation, no more being part of the lie that is his double life. You can’t use people as pawns and against one another if they all communicate directly with each other (something narcissists try like heck to prevent).

So, I got no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m free. No matter what happens in the courts, no matter what happens in my job, it doesn’t matter. I’ll never be part of the lie again.