Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8 TLR with Xenotar f2.8 80mm Lens

Rolleiflex Camera

A classic. The original Rollei Rolleiflex 2.8 TLR with Xenotar 2.8/80mm lens and yellow with the green gel filters and closeup lens.

Sporting the Auburn Gear in 1972 :: Throwback Thursday

As a follow up to my previous post, 2011 Auburn Football Starts My 40th Season, today’s Throwback Thursday is from April of 1972. I’m sure I have an earlier shot with some Auburn gear but this was close enough, me at about 18 months. It’s just about time to get started for the 2011 year and finally there are some consequential games right from the start with Oregon vs LSU and Boise State vs Georgia. Looking forward to Auburn vs Utah State this Saturday, just hope it isn’t 4 hours of full 100* sun. War Eagle.

National Polka Festival in Ennis Texas 2011 and It's Age at 45

Last night started the 45th Annual National Polka Festival from Ennis, Texas. I’m not going to post a bunch of photos here on my blog but you can see the photos on my Flickr Set for the National Polka Festival.  This festival is something we try to go to every year, and it’s an event Deborah has gone to since she was about 3 or 4 years old. Unfortunately it hasn’t changed much since she was 3 or 4 years old, but it’s still quite fun to celebrate her Czech heritage with others. I just wish the promoters and people in charge of marketing the festival would recognize we are no longer in the 1970’s and make a better attempt to pass along an important event and heritage to the younger generation. It’s time!

I’m not in charge of course but I do work in communicating a message, communicating a way of life that has to be passed from one generation to another in order to survive, and there are some similarities to this and my own ministry. I totally understand their desire to maintain tradition, and that’s important, but each year that goes by the festival promoters attempt to remember the past, not necessarily the traditions, and do nothing to bring in the youngest generation.

Case in point, I go to the SOKOL (the starting hall last night), open Foursquare, no venue checkin. Fine, I create one, take a pic, upload it, now I’m Mayor (haha). I take some photos, go to upload them to Flickr. There is no Flickr group, so I create one (Polka Festival). The only pics on Flickr that show up are from 2 years ago when I posted them, ok, I’ll post a few more. There is no chatter on Twitter, none on Facebook (none that I can find officially from the NPF website, thought they do have a Facebook page, very commendable), and zero, I mean zero computers or other connected devices at the event. Of course there is no wifi (I brought my own) so it wouldn’t make much sense to have a “device” anyway. And, not to embarrass anyone at all, but, all you have to do is take one look at the National Polka Festival website and you get the whole picture. I mean really, come on guys, pay some high school kid $250 to update your website? Do a google search for the “National Polka Festival” and after the official site I’m number 2 and 3 on Google’s list, and I have nothing to do with the festival at all. So far, what they did do differently is bring in a “magician” for the weekend. It would take a whole completely different blog post to explain the things I think are wrong about that, but oh well. We have given it several years and we will probably not come back after this 2011 festival, instead opting to go to Nebraska where at least it will be a new experience.

I say none of this to chastise the festival but in an attempt to give them an outside, objective, perspective on the festival in hopes they will embrace the younger generation so it won’t completely die off… and I’m NOT the younger generation just in case they are reading this, I’m over 40, so you need to be ahead of what I’m talking about. I’ll get off my soapbox now, that’s my free advice to the NPF people in charge.

So, today there is a parade, venders, and Czech dancing and food at all three halls. I will be sure to ruin my diet by eating all the great German and Czech food available, and I’m sure we will enjoy our time at the festival today. For photos of the event just check out my Flickr page. You can also see posts from the previous years 20102009Saturday Parade 200820082007Saturday 2006, and 2006.

One Man's Junk Yard is Another Man's Photographic Treasure

You can find photographic opportunities literally everywhere, these were within walking distance of my house and I’m now thinking they actually look better as a photograph than they do as I walk by every day. I must have looked at these old cars for 5 years, every single day, and never thought about capturing some images until a few days ago. These trucks have seen a lot of my personal history over the years, and at some point I’ll try to get back in there closer so I can avoid all the weeds. I’m thinking about making the middle shot into a nice 16×24 print. I would like to say I have something profound to write about junk and possessions and storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust don’t eat your vintage trucks but they were really just cool trucks sitting in the dirt being overtaken and claimed by the earth once again.

On another subject, this weeks is going to be another crazy crazy busy week, but towards the end of the week Deb and I will be heading out to Dallas for the annual National Polka Festival. We try to go every year but we missed it last year. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be posting some news about an upcoming trip in July, and then my blog will probably turn into the family trip blog on I-20 from Alabama to Texas. This time we are making the 750 mile trip in one day and I will probably attempt to max out our Verizon MiFi on the way out of boredom. I am looking forward to bringing back a bunch more images than I have in the past, for some reason, perhaps because of everything going on at the end of last year, I have keen desire for sheer photographic documentation.

Summer certainly seems to be here at this point in Auburn. We can’t seem to get out of these upper 95* days (although it seems really early for that), and everyone seems to have scattered to the wind like they always do once school lets out. This trip to Dallas is actually going to be our first trip out of the area since about January 2010. As a person who once loved to travel, I’m a bit apprehensive about this trip and others coming up this summer. Time to let go and give it up to God and let him handle the worrying, but I would appreciate your prayers, at least for this coming weekend.

Coming up, hopefully tomorrow, is a shoot from the Museum of Fine Art in Auburn, info about a trip coming up in July, and then it’s on to Polka days.

The Humble Prayer of a Confederate Soldier

I love this short prayer below. I came across it this morning looking for some files from about fifteen years ago, and I am sure many have read this poem before. The author is only listed as “unknown Confederate Soldier” (here), so it comes from a few years back, but it is still worthy of circulation today.  We can still call on His name today in the 21st century and He will “most richly bless” us.

The Humble Prayer of a Confederate Soldier

I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
I am, among men, most richly blessed… if only because of You, Lord. Amen.

The Truth in the Bible Still Survives from 1895 to Today

The Book of Mark

Bible Published in 1895

Title page of bible from 1895

Title page of bible from 1895

1896 in History :: So what was going on in 1896?

Tonight we start the first part of a series of studies on how to study the Bible, called Journey Bible Class.  Yesterday I picked up a Bible at a local store specifically to start using tonight, but I have about 30-35 Bibles here in my office so I guess I could have used one of those but I was looking for one in particular.  One I have here in my office is this one Bible published in 1895 I picked up after someone threw it away back when we were in the book business. The Bible I picked up at the store yesterday was a relatively nice leather covered Bible but it made me think about this one I have that was published more than 100 years ago.

It is far from fragile and you can flip through the pages, look at the illustrations and everything you do with a Bible purchased today… but… in it’s time, this Bible must have cost a small fortune.  It took more than 100 photographers and a huge number of editors and all the other people to put this 1895 Bible together.  It weighs about 6-8 pounds, is a hard cover, has tons of illustrations, and is even referenced and includes commentary, wow.

You can read it very well on the photo, but if you look on the blank page it has, written in pencil,

Oct the 6 1896

Presented To.

Mary Jane Williams.


G.E. Th Williams.

and on the inside it still has a cross stitched book mark that says “I love Thee With All My Heart”.  Of course if you flip through the pages you will see that the scriptures are the same in this book published in 1895 as in the book I purchased yesterday.  The history of this Bible is incredible to me.  I am holding in my hand something that is tangible evidence of a God’s word being passed on from person to person more than 113 years ago.

I took these photos today when I got to work.

January 4 Following Mormon abandonment of polygamy, Utah admitted as 45th state
January 5 German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen’s discovers x-rays
January 7 Fanny Farmer publishes her 1st cookbook
January 18 British troops occupy Kumasi, West Africa
January 29 Emile Grubbe is 1st dr to use radiation treatment for breast cancer
February 8 Western Conference forms of Midwestern U, later renamed Big 10 Conf
February 18 Cave of Winds at Niagara Falls goes almost dry for 1st time in 50 yrs
February 23 Tootsie Roll introduced by Leo Hirshfield
March 1 Battle of Adua: 80,000 Ethiopians destroy 20,000 Italians
March 8 Volunteers of America forms (New York City)
March 20 Marines land in Nicaragua to protect U.S. citizens
March 25 Modern Olympics began in Athens, Greece
April 4 Announcement of Gold in Yukon
April 6 1st modern Olympic games open in Athens Greece [3/25 OS] American, James Connolly, wins 1st Olympic gold medal in mod history
April 15 1st Olympic games close at Athens, Greece
May 4 1st edition of London Daily Mail ( penny)
May 6 22nd Kentucky Derby: Willie Simms aboard Ben Brush wins in 2:07.75
May 14 Lowest U.S. temperature in May recorded (-10 degrees F-Climax, Colo)
May 15 Tornado kills 78 in Texas
May 18 U.S. Supreme Court affirms race separation (Plessy vs. Ferguson)
May 27 Tornado hit St. Louis, killing 255 and leaving thousands homeless
June 6 George Samuelson leaves New York harbor to row across Atlantic
June 15 Tsunami strikes Shinto festival on beach at Sanriku Japan 27,000 are killed, 9,000 injured, with 13,000 houses destroyed
June 26 1st movie theater in U.S. opens, charging 10 cents for admission
July 8 William Jennings Bryan “cross of gold” speech at Dem convention
July 21 National Federation of Afro-American Women and Colored Women’s
July 28 City of Miami incorporated
August 16 Gold discovered in Klondike, found at Bonanza Creek, Ala
August 20 Dial telephone patented
October 1 Yosemite becomes a National Park
November 1 1st bare women breast (Zulu) to appear in National Geographic Mag
November 14 Power plant at Niagara Falls begins operation
December 8 Start of Sherlock Holmes “Adventure of Missing 3 Quarter”
December 25 “Stars and Stripes Forever” written by John Philip Sousa
December 30 Stanley Cup: Montreal Victorias beat Winnipeg Victorias, 6-5
December 31 25th auto built in US [thanks]

Don’t think my Bible is going to be around in 2133 but I guess it could be.  So if those items above are facts of history, how far back do we go before we don’t think these things actually took place.  We have buildings in this country that go back to the 1600-1700’s, China and Japanese history goes back a pretty good ways, and so does Israel and the history spoken about in this book.

Of course we as human beings selectively choose what we believe as truth. Perhaps today this poem I wrote below is what truth is.

What Do We Believe is the Truth

Truth is all relative.
Truth is what we make it to be.
Truth is fluid.
Truth is adjustable.
Truth is changing.
Truth is false.

Truth is love.
Truth is faith.
Truth is belief.
Truth is alive.
Truth is sacrifice.

Last Round of 5 Year Old Expired Kodak BW400

Kodak BW400 Expired Film

Deb on Kodak BW400 Expired Film

Auburn Basketball Game

I got back the last of my expired rolls yesterday. This time it was on the Kodak BW400 (consumer version, not professional grade) film that was also about 5 years old.  The grain is pretty significant and the scans are not all that great as far as color correction goes, but then again, for 5 year old expired film, it’s not bad.

This first shot was out my front door during a tornatic rain storm we had just a few days ago.  Hard to believe it was 75* with thunder, rain, wind, etc and yesterday it was below freezing.  I like this particular shot, the grain of the age of the film is covered up by the image itself.  The Auburn Basketball game was from last week, not 50 years ago.  You can see Jeff Lebo on the sidelines among other current Auburn Basketball players.

What Kodak GC 400 Looks Like After 5 Years in a Camera

Scott Fillmer's Office

Scott Fillmer

I recently shot a few rolls with an old film camera that had a roll half exposed.  As far as I can tell, the film had sat in this camera for 5 years.  The time stamp on the first half of the film reads 11-12-03 so that is almost exactly 5 years to the day.  Kodak GC 400 is a pretty grainy film to begin with and a consumer film that was sold mostly in Wal-Mart and other retails stores.  Surprisingly the color is not all that bad.  The first image was one a took a few days ago of my desk, the second is one me and my old ride.  Had to be a while back, I still have some hair.

Today is Cute Wife Kid Pic Day :: Throwback Thursday

Deborah in 1970

This is the next installment of Throwback Thursday as coined by my friend over at Vagabondrunn, see Throwback Thursday (5), for his latest update. This image is obviously not me, far to cute for that, but my wife, at age 4. She says she actually remembers getting this photo taken. I don’t doubt it. Funny thing about this photo is I wasn’t born yet. Guess that kind of gives away our ages but oh well. What a cute kid. Be sure to leave a comment with your post so we can take a look. I will try to actually get one of myself up there next week.

How Often Do We Donate Our Garbage to God

Trash Dumpster Full of Garbage

This may sound like another semi-negative blog post on my part, but it is something that my wife and I deal with quite a bit and has really struck a nerve, so stay with me if you can.

When we look at what we have and what we decide to give up for various things, it is truly fascinating to see what it is we find worth to give to God. Scripture says we are to give God the first fruits, right? We are not supposed to give him what is left over, but the good stuff. Well, when we started getting involved with thrift stores about a year and a half ago, we found something we really weren’t expecting. A lot of real garbage.

If It is Garbage, Throw it Away

Do we stop and notice what we are donating. Do we think about it before hand. I am donating this so someone else less fortunate than me can have it at a good price. We take up collections of items to ship overseas once in a while for a good mission trip, are these materials you would want to send to them?

This sort of leads me off topic a bit for this conversation to a familiar site among churches, the church garage sale (or bizarre, or flea market). This is where we bring all our junk and try to sell it off to raise money for the church in some manner. I have never cared for the notion of bringing up our items that have no value or meaning to us to sell, but that is all for another article (there are good “church sales” too).

The point here is, when we give, and we know it is supposed to be for a mission, the church, or to further the kingdom in some manner, do we reflect on what it is we give? Does what we give reflect on what perception we give others about the church?

Goodwill, Salvation Army, Mission Thrift Type Stores

Some of you may know that my wife and I volunteer in a mission type thrift store each week. We have done this now for more than a year, going on 18 months, so we have had the privilege of seeing what all we bring into these store to donate, and we are amazed, daily. A huge amount of our time (and everyone else who works there) is spent on sorting through what is actual donated materials that can be cleaned up and sold, and pure garbage. I am not talking about something old that I personally wouldn’t buy, or a color I don’t like, I am talking about trash. The stuff the WM (Waste Management) picks up at your house once a week.

You know, stuff that is of absolutely NO value what-so-ever. Old prescription bottles, coloring books with all the pages already colored, Bible studies that are completely written in or half the pages torn out, old food, broken items of all kinds (as in smashed with no repair possible), and so on. These are things that no one would ever want to give to someone, let alone sell.

Throwing Away Garbage Costs Tons of Money

This is a serious matter for these stores. Just this year, one of the local Goodwill Store in Opelika closed their doors for good. They had been opened at that location for 22 years. They were receiving items they couldn’t sell (stated lack of donations) among other reasons, but their costs to stay opened were just too high.

What is amazing about the whole process is the thrift store is left with taking out the trash. This has become more and more expensive over time but has now reached critical proportions. My wife and I work with one single section of materials, and we personally throw away about 2,000 pounds of materials each week that are not able to be sold in any shape or form. A recent conversation with one of the employees about the cost of trash pickup was amazing. He explained that last year, the thrift store we work with was paying about $300 a month for the dumpster pickup in total. Dumpsters were picked up a few times a month. We are not talking about the small dumpster either, this is the full size 18-wheeler trailer size.

But, prices had been steadily rising. Now, as of this post, the thrift store is paying $450 PER PICK UP, which happens a few times A WEEK, and the cost seems to have no ceiling. Over the past year from what I can tell, the cost for trash pickup at this store has gone from $300 a month to more than $2000 a month.

What is amazing is that the amount of trash that is required to be thrown away keeps increasing as more people donate their pure garbage instead of salable items the store desperately needs. What is truly amazing about this is that people are donating things to these stores, and are COSTING the store money instead of increasing their revenue. This is taking away from their effectiveness as a mission or all the other great things that they can do with donated material revenue.

Please Continue to Donate to Thrift Stores

Please don’t get the wrong idea here. If people did not donate to the local thrift stores none of these missions would be able to continue. Goodwill and the Salvation Army do many things other than sales at their stores. Disaster relief, aid for the hungry, and a whole host of other things, so please continue to donate, but when you are filling that trash bag, think about whether the trash bag should go to the dump, or to the thrift store.

If you dispose of something that is actual garbage, you will be saving the store money. If you are one of those pack rats that just can’t stand to throw something away, no matter what it is, just think about the cost incurred by the thrift stores to dispose of your trash.

What are your thoughts? Do you donate to the local thrift stores? Just leave a comment below, I always enjoy hearing what the readers have to say.