• Useful
  • April17th

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    I’ve had an iPhone since the first one came out – I actually WAITED IN LINE for one! hahaha I was one of those people…but I could NOT wait for it! Now, 3 iphones later, Apple has truly surpassed all expectations. With the help of the App store, the iPhone is a photographer’s dream! All of these are taken with an iPhone 4 and edited using random apps on the iPhone – I even used the iPhone to combine the before-&-afters and uploaded them to WordPress straight from the phone!

    I did a presentation on photography at the Lincoln Parish Library once as part of their summer learning workshops – I told everyone about what to look for in cameras, both small ones and large ones; however the most profound thing I said (in my opinion) was that the BEST CAMERA is the ONE YOU HAVE WITH YOU. You can have a $30,000 Hasselblad at the house, but if you see something you want to take a picture of and you miss it due to lack of a camera…well, that doesn’t make for a very good picture now, does it?













    – Ross

  • October31st

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  • October13th

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    Ya know what I miss?

    *****hin hint hint***** – look at title of this post.

    Yes…that’s right…I miss the occasional:

    Just every once in a while – I’d like to hug one of my friends here. But they don’t do it! It’s always a kiss on the cheek and a little touch on the shoulder or just a handshake between guys.

    I have mixed feelings about this, because you also do the whole cheek-kiss thing when you first meet someone, and I really like that. It’s very personal and an immediate ice breaker – an immediate connection. However there’s the whole “how many times do you do it” question which is, by no means, a little question with an easy answer…

    Spain & Italy: 2

    Netherlands: 3

    France: 1, 2, 3, OR 4 depending on location

    Belgium: 3

    Germany: air-kissing is restricted to family or very close friends. Handshakes are dominant.

    I also have some friends from Turkey and they also do 2.

    So whenever you meet someone, you not only have to remember their name, what they look like, and try to remember what they study, but you also get to remember where they’re from, what part of that country they’re from, and how many air-kisses are customary. This proves to be EXTREMELY difficult, let me tell you.

    So the moment you forget and default to just 1 air-kiss (as many people here in Belgium do, because I mean…lets face it, 3 is overkill) you get stuck with the other person expecting another one and you’re standing there looking at their face turned to the side. Then you get to do the whole “oh hahaha sorry! Let’s finish that!” kind of thing and try to fix the faux pas.

    Many people just say that you should look at what other people are doing and guess from that. Well there are a couple of issues with that:

    1) There are about 1,000 international students at this university representing no telling how many countries with no telling how many customs on air-kisses. My program is taught in English, so we’ve got students from literally all over the world…makes it VERY confusing.

    2) Most Belgians default to 1 kiss (traditional is 3, remember) with friends or people of their own age (USUALLY). So if you’re the new one in a group, you’ll notice everyone else just doing 1 air-kiss, but apparently you’re expected to do 3…sometimes… So yeah, I’ve had multiple awkward encounters on this point alone.

    So…my advice? I guess…just do some research! Make sure you know where you’re going and what the custom is in that area. When in doubt, just ask your friends what they think you should do; they’ll know…probably! But you should also just prepare yourself for some awkwardness: prepare your awkward laugh, get ready to swoop in with a witty phrase and finish off as many air-kisses as they apparently see fit…

    But back to the point – no one hugs here. When some friends and I went to Paris last weekend, we met up with some other Americans there and, of course, we all hugged each other! One of the girls actually yelled a little like “Ah! Americans who hug!”.

    CLICK HERE to continue reading the entire post

  • October6th

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    So I’m starting a book this evening entitled “The Rational Optimist.”

    Every week or every couple of days, I will post a summary and review of each chapter that I’ve finished. I probably won’t be reading this book too fast since school has finally started and I’ve got my assigned readings to do, as well. But I will try my best to post as often as I can to update progress on this book.

    I was recommended this book by Amazon based on my previous purchases. The title immediately caught my eye because I would like to think that I am a “rational optimist” – I have faith in society as a whole, and the influx of bad news on our computers and televisions is only a single part of the larger picture. Below I’ve included a blurb about the book – maybe you’d like to read it with me?

    “A counterblast to the prevailing pessimism of our age, and proves, however much we like to think to the contrary, that things are getting better.

    Over 10,000 years ago there were fewer than 10 million people on the planet. Today there are more than 6 billion, 99 per cent of whom are better fed, better sheltered, better entertained and better protected against disease than their Stone Age ancestors. The availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going erratically upwards for 10,000 years and has rapidly accelerated over the last 200 years: calories; vitamins; clean water; machines; privacy; the means to travel faster than we can run, and the ability to communicate over longer distances than we can shout.

    Yet, bizarrely, however much things improve from the way they were before, people still cling to the belief that the future will be nothing but disastrous. In this original, optimistic book, Matt Ridley puts forward his surprisingly simple answer to how humans progress, arguing that we progress when we trade and we only really trade productively when we trust each other.”


    – Ross

  • September20th

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    Tomorrow, September 21, 2010, will mark a significant date in American History.

    The opportunity to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) will come before the Senate and will undoubtedly result in a landmark decision. I say landmark, because no matter whether it is approved or denied, it will send an impressive message to the entire world. It is up to us to make sure that the “impressive” nature of the results reflect positively on our society and our amazing country.

    DADT, formally known by the title “Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993,” prevents gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. It also prohibits the military from asking sexual orientation on recruitment forms; however, it DOES NOT prevent the military from investigating whether a service member is homosexual. In the United States, more than 12,000 individuals, willing to serve the US with dignity and die for freedom  (a luxury that is ironically not even allotted to themselves), have been discharged from the military due to their sexual orientation.

    There are many countries (25 to be pretty exact) around the world already allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military. Canada and England are two such countries. Canada began allowing gays to openly serve in the armed forces in 1992 – talk about way ahead of their time!!!! – amid claims from 45% of currently serving military members that they would refuse to work with gay peers. Canada has since reported “no effect” since the ban was lifted. England allowed gays to openly serve in 2000 amid numerous claims that their military would be adversely affected as well. England has also since reported “a marked lack of reaction.” Canada not only accepts gays into the military but also actually allows gay marriages on their military bases, and Israel (gays openly allowed in military since 1993) provides benefits to same-sex partners of its military forces.  (SOURCESOURCE)

    I understand some people’s arguments against the repeal of DADT, but for the dispelling of the most common myths regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, please visit THIS site.

    I leave you with an interesting fact:

    “A lot of recruits would be more leery of bunking next to an ex-con than a homosexual, but the military admits hundreds of felons each year, including some violent ones.” (SOURCE)

    “Data released by a congressional committee shows the numbers of soldiers admitted to the Army with felony records jumped from 249 in 2006 to 511 in 2007. And the number of Marines with felonies rose from 208 to 350. A bit more than half of the Army’s 511 convictions in 2007 were for various types of thefts…130 for drug offenses…two for manslaughter…five for sexual crimes…three for negligent or vehicular homicide…[and] two received waivers for terrorist threats including bomb threats. At least 235 of the Marine Corps’ 350 waivers were various types of thefts…another 63 were for assaults or robberies that included the use of a weapon…1 for manslaughter…4 four sex crimes…and 5 for terror threats, including bomb threats.” (SOURCE)


    “On the one hand, the Pentagon is discharging highly-qualified, honest, law-abiding men and women because they are gay, while on the other hand granting waivers to rapists, killers, kidnappers and terrorists. Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will reduce the need to grant felony waivers.” (SOURCE)


    Watch the video below, provided by Lady Gaga, and call your senator NOW!!!!

    I am unfortunately not able to call my senators due to my geographic location and absurd international calling rates, but I HAVE enlisted a friend to call on my behalf. I have also emailed my senators, David Vitter and Mary Landrieu, and posted on Facebook and Twitter (reaching approximately 1,500 people) to call or email in support of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

    I’m attempting to do my part the best way I know, and your help would be much appreciated by myself and millions around our country!

    Click HERE to see how you can contact your senators and help end this inequality!!!

    You can also call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your senator’s office. If they are not available, please ask to talk to one of their staff members or leave them a message in the hopes they listen to their constituents.

    CALL: (202) 224-3121

    Thank you.

    – Ross