Photo Trip to Fort Pickens

This past weekend our family made a quick trip over to Pensacola to see Josie (the newest edition to the McReynold family). While there my brother in law Clarence and I made an early morning trip to Fort Pickens and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. We were both armed with cameras hoping to capture some great shots. It was overcast, yet the temperature was wonderful and we managed to get in a full morning of pictures before the rain started. We had several hours to walk the beach around the point and traverse the entire fort area.

Fort Pickens was originally built in 1834 and was one of four forts built to protect the Pensacola Bay. It was used until 1947, but saw it first conflict during the Civil War when it fought a battle with Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas. The Union forces maintained control of the fort during the war although the troops suffered due to the harsh environment and lack of adequate food. Walking through the fort and around the area, you could see how it would have been a horrible place to be stationed for any significant amount of time.

I’ve included here a small sampling of the photos that I took that morning. Most of them are of the fort itself, but some of the surrounding area. I tried to keep the lighting of interior photos to be the same as what I saw with my eyes. During the 1800’s, lighting would have been somewhat limited and I can imagine there being many shadows.

For me it was a great morning walking down the beach. It’s always too hot during Summer days and the morning and evening times are perfect. Very thankful for the chance I had to relax and take some photos. That… was very relaxing.

LTC Bible Reading Challenge

We haven’t been “all in” for LTC (Leadership Training for Christ), but one thing that Quinn and Hayden did take part in was the Bible reading challenge. This isn’t personal Bible reading (which they do also), but it is public Bible reading. They have read passages of the Bible at our small group and several Wednesday night services, but the most challenging have been those in front on the congregation (of close to 500).

Standing in front of such a group can take your breath away (unsurprisingly making it difficult to speak). This has always been something of a personal battle for me, so naturally I transfer that onto how I think they feel. Thankfully, they have a talent for public reading and do an awesome job of it. This morning they shared the reading of the 23rd Psalms. A couple weeks ago, they had a more difficult reading from Judges. They did a fantastic job! I’m really proud of their willingness to step up and contribute. It’s enjoyable watching them as they grow physically as well as spiritually.

Graphics vs. Text

It seems that “quote graphics” are all the rage on social sites like Facebook. People take a nice little quote and turn it into a picture. I assume this is to make it more attractive since that’s pretty much its only redeeming quality. From a programmers perspective, it makes no sense at all. Okay, I realize that there are lot of things that don’t make sense to programmers, but this has become my new pet peeve since its use has skyrocketed.

Take for example the graphic above. The text itself can be stored with each character taking up a byte (or 2 bytes for Unicode characters). So this would be 106 bytes (or 212 bytes for Unicode). The graphic on the other hand takes up 8,192 bytes. That’s roughly 39 times more than the Unicode equivalent. Considering that the graphic I created was heavily compressed (because that’s just the way I roll), you can figure that with all of the graphics of this type being stored online that the waste is considerable. Now I realize that when someone “shares” it on Facebook, another copy isn’t created hence it doesn’t get worse when shared. That’s true, but you could share the quote just as easily. On top of all that, it’s much more difficult to grab the information via copy and paste for use in other applications (which implies that there is actually valuable information in the graphic to start with).

I realize that anyone reading this post now has a new weapon in their arsenal if they want to mess with me, but I just needed to get that off my chest. My apologies if you actually made it this far in the post. I would make a promise to not go on a rant in the future, but I’m pretty sure I am not able to keep it.

Coloring Some Eggs

As we do every year, the kids got the opportunity to dye a few eggs. It seems that for egg hunts, the plastic eggs are all the rage (I haven’t really seen a lot of plastic chickens, but oh well). The would seem to short circuit the tradition of coloring your own hard boiled eggs. We consume a fair number of the good old fashion hard boiled eggs on a regular basis, so it’s not a problem to dye some for the fun of it.

Over time, I’ve gotten better pushing the release button on the whole mess it creates. Now I just tend to sit back and watch (and take pictures of) the mess being created. It’s a lot more fun to just enjoy their interactions. Let me tell you, those weren’t the best looking eggs I’ve ever seen. They had a great time with it though. I think that eventually they will realize that even though two colors can create a cool new shade, you can only extend that so far until you get brown. I blame Mythbusters for the over experimentation.

Coloring the eggs was a great end to a wonderful day off to spend with the kids. What a great crew. I do love them.