Christmas Time is Here

I can’t believe it’s only 13 days until Christmas. I’ve turned on the snow on this site, apropos considering the temperatures we’ve been experiencing this week. I’ve also been working on my Christmas list. Honestly, I don’t feel there’s a lot I need right now. I’m enjoying not having “stuff” around and I’m trying to keep more stuff from coming in. Things I do appreciate include1:

  1. things that I will use (to be differentiated from things that you think that I’ll use)
  2. things that are home made
  3. things that are consumable (although this needn’t mean strictly in the edible sense

This is not to dissuade you entirely from gifting me something, just to make you stop and think.

The Advent Conspiracy also has an updated video, which I’d encourage you to watch especially as it’s what I’ll be doing in Haiti (a bit) and this time of year in general:
Click for YouTube Video

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying going to some Christmas parties and have several more to go to in the coming weeks. Compared with what I’d normally be doing this time of year (finals and driving home for Christmas), I’m grateful to be where I am and to be doing what I’m doing. And the New Years eve party (LEGO’s! What a grand idea!) should be fun too. I also get the 24th through the 1st off from work (paid!).

  1. but are not limited to 

The Advent Conspiracy

Jesse Shoman pointed me to this quite a few months ago:
Click for YouTube Video

For a couple of years now, I’ve really dreaded buying gifts. It’s not that I don’t like giving, because I do. The part I don’t like is giving meaningless gifts just for the sake of giving something.


The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary love.

So, what happened? What was once a time to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and shopping lists.

And when it’s all over, many of us are left with presents to return, looming debt that will take months to pay off, and this empty feeling of missed purpose. Is this what we really want out of Christmas?

What if Christmas became a world-changing event again?

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy.

If you watch the video (which I think is pretty good), they say that American’s spend $450 Billion on Christmas every year. I was a little bit skeptical of that number, but I did some research and for 2008, the National Retail Federation predicts that $470.4 billion will be spent this holiday season1. There’s also a footnote that reads, “NRF defines “holiday sales” as retail industry sales in the months of November and December. Retail industry sales include most traditional retail categories including discounters, department stores, grocery stores, and specialty stores, and exclude sales at automotive dealers, gas stations, and restaurants.”

Personally, I think the $450 Billion number is high, but I believe that the point is still valid.

1 Source:

New Toy

My brother got me a Bogen Super Clamp for Christmas. It was on my wishlist, so I was pretty pumped to use it. What I didn’t realize is that it didn’t actually come with all the hardware that I needed to use it. This was my fault.

After doing a bit of research on exactly what I would need and want, I finally ordered a swivel-bracket with umbrella mount and a 5/8″ snap-in pin.

I used B&H photo, which is the same company I ordered my tripod and head from. I can now take cool photos like this:

DSC_1761 (by Mr Ferguson)

In reality, I’ll be able to put my flash just about anywhere now:

The bent arms of the clamping jaws make it particularly appropriate for clamping onto a variety of shapes. Pipes, railing, doors, shelves, tables, tree branches, electrical conduit running up the wall in a high school gym (not too tight…) are all no problem.

The Real Start of 2008 and a Recap

Going to a university based on a semester systems does weird things to ones brain. I feel like for every common year I live through, it’s really two years (one for each semester). Thus the real start of 2008: Part One commenced this past Wednesday. The other interesting thing is that the time between semesters (i.e. Christmas break) feels like a black hole where time ceases to exist. And in fact my sleep schedule usually becomes wildly out of whack very quickly. I attribute this to the lack of daily structure afforded to me by class (during the school year) and work (during the summer).

So here’s a recap of my four week black hole:
Drove back to Seattle with Dunstan and Kit. Stopped in Grand Junction along the way to see Grandma and Grandpa.
Many dinner parties (more on that later).
Hanging out with good friends and meeting some new ones.
Christmas Eve dinner at Duke’s with the Boyd’s (had Fish and Chips, Chowder, and a Mac and Jack’s).
Christmas was exciting. It snowed. New 50mm f/1.8 prime lens.
New Years Eve Party at Staples.
Drove back to Denver via Jackson, Wy with Liz.

For those more picture inclined:
IMG_0179 (by Mr Ferguson)

IMG_0182 (by Mr Ferguson)

IMG_0184 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1343 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1362 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1379 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1380 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1415 (by Mr Ferguson)

IMG_0187 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1439 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1441 (by Mr Ferguson)

IMG_0188 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1443 (by Mr Ferguson)

DSC_1452 (by Mr Ferguson)