Friday, March 13, 2009

Steve's Weight Loss Update

The weight is still coming down, a little at a time. I hope that by shedding the weight slowly, I will not be in such a hurry to put it back on!
This week I learned of the sudden passing of a co-worker from my days with the Federal Highway Administration in Minnesota. His name was Tom Fudaly. Apparently he died suddenly while waiting for a red traffic light to change. He was only 56. The person who told me did not have any details about cause of death. He was still working for FHWA but had moved to Lansing Michigan. He was survived by his wife Carol. I can't recall if he had any children. Tom was one of those nice guys who got along with everyone, worked hard, and played hard. When I looked him up on, it looks like he was very active in his job. He will be missed.
Tom's early departure emphasizes the importance of my quest to shed those excess pounds. My brother Larry's recent discovery that he has diabetes is another reason.
Until next time, don't wait to shed the weight before it's too late.
Love, Steve

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photography 201

Sometimes things don't go as you expect or hope.

A friend e-mailed yesterday afternoon and wanted some pictures of some dynamic message signs (DMS) here in Tampa made by a company in St. Paul, MN called ADDCO. When I looked at what I had in the archives, I had some that looked like the DMS at the left. The words are all garbled! So I went out after work and tried again and got the same results. The sign is working fine, but the picture does not show it.

Why? I'm glad you asked. Electronic signs, light bulbs and most electrical appliances operate at 60 Hz (Hertz). Hz are cycles per second that the lights are on an off. Movies have 30 frames (or still pictures) per second but we can tell when one picture ends and the other starts. When we look at the sign with our eyes, we can't see the "off" because our eyes can't adjust that fast. So we see the lights on or smooth motion. The camera in the daylight has a shutter speed of about 1/200th of a second or faster. That means it only lets in light for 1/200th of a second. During that time some of the lights on the sign were "off" so the picture looks goofy.

This morning I tried again. This time the camera worked fine. Usually at night, the shutter speed is 1/30th of a second. That allows all the lights to cycle "on" at least once. It also allows your hand to shake a little for a slightly blurry picture. Also the other lights kind of bleed into the surrounding background.

These pictures were taken at one of the entrances to the reversible express lanes. I was in the downtown Tampa end. This entrance was closed so the lanes could be reversed for inbound traffic (from the suburbs to downtown).

Don't worry, I wasn't standing traffic. There wasn't much traffic and I was standing on a median island when I took these pictures.

I like to drive the express lanes when I can. But since I am not in a carpool any more, the $1.50 each way really adds up. I figure I can save enough to buy at least a tank of gas every other week by avoiding the Expressway. If you don't have a SunPass, the toll fee is $1.75 each way.

Using the free highways takes 5-10 minutes longer each way, but that's okay most days.

May your life be blessed and your lane be the right pace for you!

Love, Steve

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Time for Every Purpose

Check out the Little House in the Woods Blog. It seems to be a time for moving. They are moving from WA to MN and taking the whole month of March to do it. They are planning educational trips to various places around the country. That will be quite an adventure and the whole story will unfold before us on the Blog.

For me, a smaller move. For most of last year, I worked in the HNTB's Sarasota office. A small office in a new office building on the border between Sarasota and Manatee Counties. It was a new office, only open for about a year or so. In October, I was transferred to the downtown Tampa office. Previously I posted a picture of the view from my office window. I moved most of my stuff from Sarasota to Tampa at that time.

At the end of February, HNTB announced it is closing the Sarasota office. So yesterday I went there to get the rest of my books and stuff, I still had the key. There is no room for these books in my new office, so I packed them in boxes and moved them to our storage unit. Who knew I would turn into a packrat. I moved about 5 boxes of stuff. That's after the car full of boxes I took to Tampa.

There is a season for every thing. I guess this is a time for moving.

Love, Steve