Holiday Parties 2013

Christmas is here!

Event Report 20131220-21

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The Experience

The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is always a great time to see friends and just enjoy life.  We always give it our best shot.  The shots below were taken with my Olympus OM-D E-M1 digital camera and 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.

The photos below are what we saw.

Our intention was to start with a dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant "The GodFather".  But our dinner partners had to abort due to a family medical emergency so we went by ourselves.  As usual, dinner was fantastic but due to the time of year the place was packed.  I conned the owner into taking the photo above.  Kathleen looked great in her low-cut cocktail dress.

The next day, Saturday, we had a number of things on tap.  While we were waiting for the first event, we heard noises outside so I went to investigate.  The SDFD had a rig and a few personnel out in the street for a training exercise.

I spoke with captain of the truck and he told me that this was a defensive tool and it could be mounted on the top of the truck or detached (as shown) and deployed remotely.  This is an adjustable nozzle and is pointed my moving the nozzle manually or via the control wheel.  Nozzle components can be removed from the exit end to adjust the volume/distance of water.  Note the sledge hammer.  There are spikes on the mount that must be driven into the asphalt to prevent the device from tipping over due to the force from the water pressure.

We were told to stand clear and the device was energized.  It produced a nice, tight stream.

The stream was perhaps 100 feet.

Next came the manually handled nozzles.  Since the hoses are large and the pressure is high, plenty of force is generated by the water passing through the nozzle and it must be controlled with sufficient grip strength.  If you were to lose your grip of the nozzle it would turn into a flail with many pounds of brass fittings whipping through the air causing grave risk to anybody that gets in its way.

My virtual daughter Jessica announced that she got married to Hussein.  They both came over to be part of the Jones' family Christmas party that were were attending via Skype.  Sadly, one of the party-goers changed an adjustment on the camera and I did not notice it until later that caused most of the photos to be overexposed.  The photo above of Jessica and I was one of the survivors.  She towers over me when in her heels.

Jessica is a long way from the 19 year-old girl that came to live with us back in the 1990s.  Now she is a mother with a step child, but still just as beautiful and vivacious.

Next up was a tree-trimming party at our friend Steve Anderson's place in Mission Hills.  We arrived and spotted several houses just down the block that were lit up, so I walked down to see how the camera would handle a night shot without a tripod.  While not the best shot ever, the photo above was taken at an exposure time of 1/3 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 1600 HANDHELD and turned out wholly acceptable.  Usually, the lower limit for a handheld exposure is 1/60 second.  This is a great demonstration of the power of the 5-axis sensor stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera.

My long-time friend Steve purchased his most recent home in Mission Hills.  It was a nice place and then he worked it over resulting in a REALLY nice place.  Above is family room and entrance to master bedroom.

The kitchen has a nice, functional layout, granite counters and new appliances.

The casual dinner area has a 4" thick butcher block table.

Steve purchased this awesome custom table made from a single slab of acacia tree.  Note the checking in the far end of the surface that is held together with wooden "bow ties".

The living room also has a nice gas fireplace.

Contrary to popular opinion, the objective for the night was not just to gorge on wine and food but included trimming the tree.  I was able to get the group to stop long enough to have them face me.

Steve has known Roger and Janet since his M/A-Com days.

When we finished trimming and the food was ready, we filled our plates and went at it.  We had spiral cut ham, green bean casserole, yams and escalloped potatoes and it was great.

I have known Steve since college where we were both in EE school together.  That would be 40 years by my count.

No Christmas Eve would be complete without a trip to our dear friends Kai and Tina's for a prime rib dinner.  Kai does a great job with the BBQ and the prime rib was awesome.

After Kai's cooking duties were completed and dinner was over, we all got a chance to chat before the gift exchange.  Kai and Tony were emphatically discussing something important.

The children were very excited by the presents, particularly little Lucas.

Pam and Tony got gift cards; always useful.

Lucas was very happy about his bow and arrow set.  The rest of us ran for cover.

Watching folks have fun is fun as well.

Anthony and I were just chilling.

Jackie is growing up to be a very pretty young woman.

The holiday season is always great fun.  This year was no exception and the parties will continue until New Year.

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