schmenzer speaks!

Does a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel at Mickey D’s Count?

Well, I’m not sure if they count as a real bagel but I do eat them once in a while. Usually the bagel is the best part of the sandwich. Sometimes I just crave the greasy, sloppy, salty sandwich that is the BEC. Besides, if you are a Coca-Cola fan you already know that McDonald’s has the best fountain Coke of any restaurant.

Slopeflying at Atwater Beach 02-26-05

Mirko and I got out and flew some today. We hit Atwater beach about 2PM and were met with a light northeast wind but that was OK. I had the Weasel and the Alula. Both nice light air planes. Plus, the wind-chill was almost nonexistant.

I flew the Weasel first and there was enough wind, probably about 7 or 8 MPH, for loops and rolls. Mostly I just did a bunch of close to the lip flying using a sign and a weed for turn points on a mini race course.

Mirko tried his 100-inch ASW 27 but there just was not quite enough for it to fly.

Next I flew the Alula. One of the reasons I got this plane was to see if it is better in light air at the slope than the Weasel and today was a good day to try the comparison.

Mirko was clicking away like mad with my Nikon D100.

Greg flying his Alula. The view is looking northeast from Atwater Beach

Long Weekend Trip to Door County

The long weekend seemed like a good time for a family trip since Wendy and Sydney both had off so we headed up to Ephraim in Door County, WI. This is located up the “thumb” of Wisconsin on the Door Peninsula.

We left Whitefish Bay at about 5 on Friday for the 3-hour drive to DC. It was an uneventful trip except for the Luetenbachís fire we saw just a couple of miles from our destination at the Hilltop Inn.

The Hilltop is really nice. We had a 2-bedroom suite and it was perfect for the weekend. That, and it was pay for two nights and get the third free!

Friday evening we just settled in and I did some prep work for a meeting I had with a client in the area on Saturday.

Saturday I had a meeting at Tannenbaum Holiday Shop where I am helping with marketing and web site stuff. Nice meeting with Ron, the owner. I shot about 200 pictures of the shop for future use. The Nikon D100 and Nikon SB-600 flash worked great!

After I got back form my meeting we headed to the Top of the Hill Shops in Fish Creek to look form some boots and mittens for Syd. She got a nice pair of Giordano mittens but no boots.

After the shopping we looked for a sledding hill and found the nice big one in Peninsula State park but it was TOO big for Sydney. We then headed to Pottawattamie State Park where they had a smaller hill from the Sydster.

While Wendy and Sydney were doing some runs on the hill I got out my Majko. It is an electric powered RC sailplane. Really sweet. I flew for about 30 minutes and could have flown longer but I am not sure how the LiPoly battery I am using in it likes the cold.

We went to dinner at PC Junction. They have a cool G-gauge or some large gauge train that runs along the top of the bar and delivers your order on flat cars. Syd loved it! No derailments today and the food was good. I really like their Chile.

Saturday evening Wendy, Sydney and I watched Elf. Pretty funny that Will Farrell!

I woke up at 6:15 on Sunday morning hoping for some good sunrise light to shoot the Tannenbaum shop but when I looked out the window it was snowing pretty hard and the wind was kicking about 25 plus so I closed the blinds and hit the sack for a couple more hours. Nice!

Sunday night Wendy and I watched The Usual Suspects. Last time she watched it she fell asleep. What a travesty! Well, this time she made it to the end and so finally saw one of my favorites!

The only real disappointment of the whole trip for me, besides having to go home, was that I never got good light for the exterior shot of the Tannenbaum building. Maybe Photoshop will be the ticket. Worst case I guess Iíll have to go back and do it again. Oh, Darn!

Corona Rally Mexico

Next up on the WRC calendar is the 2nd edition of the Mexican Rally. 2004 marked the first event and it was enthusiastically received and this year promises more of the fastr action that a gravel rally can offer. this year’s course is more geographically concentrated so spectators should be able to get to many view points.

Check out the official info onCorona Rally Mexico.

Chicago Auto Show and Subsequent Revelry

Steve, Tom, having just arrived from Charlotte, and I headed to the Chicago Auto Show with the Badger Bimmers BMW club and stuck around Chicago for the night to visit with our bud Bob. Being a local resident, Bob was the tour Guide for the evening.

Starting off Saturday we had to get up at o-dark-thirty to meet the bus at 6:45AM. The club graciously chartered a bus to take the faithful from Milwaukee to Chicago.

The trip down was leisurely, as we did not have to be at the show until it opened at 10AM so we stopped at Cracker Barrel to break our fast.

For a bit of history, in the past we headed to the Detroit International Auto Show and always thought of Detroit as the best of the best. For me the celebration and sheer spectacle of Detroit is very hard to beat. Chicago still does not seem as full of pomp but I must admit that I enjoyed the show more than Iíve enjoyed Detroit for the past few years. Frankly, Detroit just gets too crowded on the weekends. If you go to Detroit hit it on a weekday.

Even though we hit Chicago on a weekend day, and the first weekend at that, the place is so spread out that there was never the assholes-to-elbows component of the Detroit Experience. Really, the only thing I missed about Detroit was the road trip. It is normally a 3-day affair with other activities around Detroit filling our time. Variously, Kart Racing, Hooters, Walter P. Chrysler Museum, Hooters, Casinos, Strip Clubs, Hooters again watching Barret Jackson at Jeffís etc. Iím looking forward to being able to go back to Detroit next year.

Chicago Auto Show Overview

Chicago Auto Show overview

Anywhoo, there were a lot of great vehicles on display. Of the production cars you could really purchase, the new 530xi from BMW piques my interest. Also. The new Mustang is really sweet! One really tempting ride is the stripped Subaru Impreza WRX. Without all the boy racer add-ons the car is pretty reasonable and if you want to geo rallying it is a great starting point for a very competitive car. If I were going to autocross again Iíd scope out the new version of the Honda Civic Si. I used one to good effect in the late 80ís and early 90ís. The new car seems to have moved a bit towards the size and purpose of the í87 that I really liked.

bmw 530xi

BWM 530xi

We banged around the show for about 5 hours and pretty much saw all wanted to.

Tom dialoging Nina

We moseyed to our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn, and found the room satisfactory and a relative bargain in downtown Chicago. Thanks fro the hook up Bob!

After a brief rest in the room we cruised across the street to Rock Bottom for an appetizer and a Sampler. 9 beers for 7 bucks. Not bad.

After the food and beer we crashed at the hotel for a couple of hours while we waited for Bob. Various snorts and snores were heard and we kind of watched Lackawanna Blues on HBO. Iíd rather have seen Deadwood but the new season doesnít start until March 6th!

Bob showed up about 7:30 and after the preliminaries were dispensed with we walked around for a bit, went the wrong way, then hailed a cab. We made it too Scoozi for our 9PM reservation and had a nice dinner punctuated with several martinis.

Following dinner we cruised to a few of Bobís favorite restaurants to check them out for future reference; variously having drinks or not.

After the restaurant tour we made a stop at the Hard rock cafť where martinis were a surprisingly affordable $7. Had to stay for a couple!

Later, we headed to Rush Street and after a couple of quick stops at clubs where the young and beautiful hang out we lighted at Cactus and consumed mucho Herredura Blanco. Out of a snifter of course! I dug this place since it was in the heart of the action yet not crowded. For an old fart like me the pushy, sweaty masses donít have the same thrill as they did when I was a youth.

At about 1AM we said good-bye, Bob.

At 2AM we were back at the room where we left sleepy Tom. Steve and I were not quite done.

We went out and hailed a cab and gave the cabby one request. Take us to the nearest open bar! We ended up right back where we had just been. I guess the Rush Street area is the late nightspot.

We killed a few more brain cells at Cactus and were, for some reason, feeling hungry again. We split from Cactus about 3:30 and we hit upon the best place of the evening for me, a place called Dublinís. Dublinís was still serving, so a Bass Ale filled the bill and then the menu came. So many choices at 3:30 it was hard to choose. The Irish Stew got the call and it was the perfect thing. Very good! Do try it if you get in the area.

Breakfast at Andrewís Sunday AM, a trip to Union Station and a ride back on the Hiawatha finished an enjoyable weekend.

Formula 1 starts in just 18 days!

March 6, 2005 is the first F1 race of the year at the Albert Park circuit in Australia.

Your’s truly will be rooting for Mark Webber this year. BMW/Williams said good-bye to Juan Pablo and Ralf. Looks like Nick Heidfeld will fill the other seat unless Antonio Pizzonia can rest it from him.

Check out the interactive circuit map at:

Australian F1 Circuit

Check out the new livery for the BMW/Williams team:

New BMW colors

I’m Reading Real World Camera Raw

Raw is the native file format of many digital cameras. This book is about how to build an easy workflow even if you deal with thousands of images.

The Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop has been around for a while and ever since I got my Nikon D-100 I’ve putzed with Camera Raw but, besides doing the required conversion to get Raw images in to Photoshop, I didn’t work wih it much.

I’ve read several digital image books but all the rest have delt with using Photoshop and were more like “darkroom” books. This book takes you from the “negative” on and so includes a lot of info I did not previously know. There are several parts of the image optimizing process that are better done in Camera Raw. Some are better to do after the image is in Photoshop. This book helps explain what works best where.

Let me know what you think if you read this book.

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