Saw a cool sight outside our house the other day and captured it live on my new camera, the Panasonic DMC-FZ28. This camera can also capture video in HD (although the one below is a low-res version).

Not bad for a camera – eh 🙂 ? I am quite happy with it. It’s automatic setting for taking snapshots does a very good job indoors and outdoors – which is a huge improvement from my earlier Nikon pocket camera which was horrendous 100% of the time indoors. In addition, the DMC-FZ28 also allows full manual control if needed (have not played with that). One complaint is that for some strange reason, I am having blurred results with my close-ups more often than I expected. This in spite of holding the camera steady. But then perhaps I need to reduce my caffeine intake.

The video capabilities of DMC-FZ28 is quite impressive considering it is just a camera – the 18x optical zoom comes in quite handy with videos. So much so that I returned the Creative Vado I had bought (for just a toy). I think this camera beats the pants out of both Vado HD as well as Flip – I think much better picture, and way more control including an 18x optical zoom compared to say 2x or 4x. The audio of course is  unimpressive (like Vado and flip). It just picks up from the built-in mic – no external control. But after all it is still only a camera.

For “special moments” etc. I think using the camera to capture a 5 minute excerpt video, watching it and forgetting about it is much better than recording 30-40 minutes of home videos every now and then and them gathering cobwebs (it has been so for us). Anyway, that is my current thinking.

The camera is about $300 – but I had enough credit card points to get it for free. So no complaints here 🙂

The other day as I was driving around the neighborhood I spotted the following sign at the entry of a neighboring town:
Road Sign

Red Light Photo Enforced Community – Hmmm.. that seems odd and contrived I thought. But I knew what it conveyed. In that community, at certain traffic light intersections. cameras and sensors monitored whether cars came to a full stop on a red light – exactly where they are supposed to (e.g. going over the white line is a violation). If you did not follow the law to the tee, you get a surprise in your mail a few days later. A ticket with a hefty fine, along with a photograph of your car “caught red handed”! You can even go to a website where they will have a video of you caught in the act. Obviously, I am speaking from experience 🙂 !

This was done in my town last year and everybody raised a big hue and cry because it was seen as a big money making racket for the town. For example, they installed it not in intersections which were already considered dangerous (from past accident history), but ones where they expected more crowd etc. – and ones where more affluent folks from other towns were expected to visit – i.e. better revenue stream. It was also argued that these caught more of the very minor violations (e.g. you did stop but went over the line) rather than the real dangerous, major ones as in someone clearly ignored the red light and shot through the intersection. There is also the “big brother is watching” feeling this gave to common folk. Eventually the PR was bad enough that they stopped it. But this is good business for the towns, and they can always say “hey, laws are meant to be followed”. In US, if it is good business, it is usually unstoppable.

Anyway, enough of about that, as that is the not the true intent of this post. It is instead about something far more trivial! I felt that the ordering the words red light photo enforced community read odd and seemed contrived. If one wanted to convey that in your community, stopping at red light was enforced via photo, is this how one would word it? My English isn’t super strong, and so maybe, this is fine, but it still seems odd. As I was thinking of alternate ways, I broke out into a broad smile and guffawed, because I am sure they must have thought of the another ordering and immediately rejected it as it immediately would have been appeared at FAIL blog as follows:

Road Sign Fail

Road Sign FAIL

“Photo enforced Red Light Community” – Now that reads quite funny if you think about it 🙂 !

PS: If you have not checked out FAIL Blog ( you must. It is hilarious and will keep you occupied for a while!

Jeez! All hell is about to break loose!  

That is what I thought yesterday around 11 AM when  I looked out of my office where the scenery usually looks like this in early summer:



Instead, it looked like this:





(Note: Yes, Crappy photos I know. Besides having to shoot through tinted office building glass windows, as noted earlier, my camera sucks! But I have a new beauty that arrived today. More on that later)


Seemingly out of nowhere, dark clouds had gathered, ominously poised over where I was.  It looked pretty awesome and scary. Like I said, I sweared, Jeez, All hell is about to break loose!

And all I immediately thought of this (awesome, awesome) song Stormbringer by Deep Purple (ah! takes me back to my college days), – with its ominous lyrics, and pulsating hard guitar sound:

Watch/Listen to it here:

Note: That is a cover band. They have done an awesome, awesome job!

 Stormbringer – Deep Purple
Comin out of nowhere drivin like rain
Stormbringer dance on the thunder again.
Dark cloud gathering breaking the day
No point running cause its coming your way.

Ride the rainbow, crack the sky
Stormbringer coming, Time to die.

Got to keep running.
Stormbringer coming
He’s got nothing you need
He’s gonna make you bleed

Yes indeed Dark Clouds gathering breaking the day. No point running ‘Cause it was coming my way!

All hell did not break loose – at least not where I was 🙂 ! For all the posturing, Stormbringer decided to take it North and East of us for that one. O’Hare airport got like 3.5 inches of rain or so in a short time due to that storm. We (at home) got nailed by a one later that day.

Oh and btw, this is how storms come about in the midwest – usually during spring. Shock and Awe. Stormbringer dance on the thunder every year, many times.

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